Blue Devilry from a satellite

September 25th, 2006

Short update. Right now I'm very mad at Fox Pay Per View's coverage of the OU-Middle Tennessee game. If we are already paying $30 a set to watch the game, why should I have to be subjected to the same tired car-lot and pharmaceutical commercials I get when watching over the air? I'm doubly mad that an ad for Car-Max pre-empted coverage of the opening kickoff. There was no chant, no opening hymn to my Saturday Service. Luckily, I'm still coming down after last week's fiasco, so this ought to be a bit easier.

Otherwise, I'm very comfortable living in the buffer area where bad decisions give you immediate benefit, but before consequences must be faced. Will the other shoe fall? Probably, but not today. We'll see what the rest of the debate season holds.

We could never decide what to call the cat
so we called her "Cat."

Amaxablutophobia

September 11th, 2006

This semester is just ridiculously busy. Too much work. Too much school. Just enough tutoring. Not enough debate, or Denny's, or time for gallivanting. That's why I'm not going to Georgia State's tournament, but I am likely going to Missouri State that next weekend. I feel even worse for my brethren in law school, or on their way such.

When I was but a child, I had a relatively fear-free time of growing up. Bathtub drains were nothing. Heights: tree houses, roofs, etc. were actually inviting. The only things that really registered on the list of things I should be afraid of were wasps (a phobia inherited from my mother that I still hold) and automatic car washes. Yes, every time my folks would start to drive the 1981 Chevy Citation through the gauntlet of boiling chemicals and spinning brushes of doom descending on my tiny form, I would duck down behind the center console, and cover my head and eyes. Little garages behind the Texaco with such inviting names as "Sudsy Fresh" and "Kwik Kleen" were the cause for a double take every time we'd drive through. One would think that after 20 years or so of growing older, and more comfortable with modern technology that the quiver in my pulse would have abated. Sadly not so. Though I've been washing my car by hand pretty much since I've had one, I happened to be in a position where a late-night bird-poop removal was in order. Denise, in her perfectly normal wisdom, decided to take her shiny new car though the local "Blitz Foam" in Norman. I was pretty sure by this point that I had gotten over my child(hood|ish) qualms. Suddenly, though, the composite rubber-nylon-iron-rust brushes spinning at Mach 2.2 started slapping arhythmically against the oh-so-thin windows, and all I could think about was how mere human flesh could not possibly withstand such a whipping. But millimeters farther and I'd be rent to shreds. My blood pressure climbed like a meth-addled Sherpa, and my breathing came low and shakily. For what seemed like hours I stared into the jaws of the beast, and it tasted my fear, and thrived upon it. Only Neisy's frugal sense and disdain for undercarriage wash and extra wax cycle got us out of there before I could lunge from the cabin and go screaming into the night. Suffice it to say that the next time there needs to be a meeting of water and steel, it will come from the end of a nice, safe garden hose. Perhaps I can even make a business of it.

On Tuesday evening, during a tutoring session in the Maths, I came across a bit of a puzzler, in the form of a probability statement. It seems that if you draw a series of one-toothpick-length separated parallel lines down a piece of paper, then throw a bunch of toothpicks in the air above said paper, the number of toothpicks that land touching a line is exactly 2/pi. This little proportion looked strangely exciting to me, and as this was an elementary text, it did not indicate why the number was thus. After two days of occasional figuring in between pretending to listen to my Stat professor lecture, I had the right integral set up. Turns out that the problem was originally posed in 1733, and only solved 44 years later. That upped my ego pretty well.

Also, the Monte Hall problem, explained as a rousing game of "Donkey, Donkey, Treasure" at IHOP on consecutive nights makes me wonder if teaching math might be a plausible fallback career, if this whole "computers" thing ends up being a dead-end industry.

There's a flame, there's a spark,
But she beat my high score.
So say goodbye, there's the door.

Six miles north of South Platte

August 25th, 2006

Bluetooth works quite well under Linux. Turns out it was working the whole time, just not in the directory with my phone's MP3s on it. KAnyRemote does NOT, however, work on my Samsung A900. The phone does not have the correct AT codes built in to interface with the keyboard and display. Oh, well. I've needed to write a J2ME midlet for a while anyway.

Probably the most exciting development from the last week is that Intrigue no longer acts like a stroke patient. After a mild amount of haggling, considering the industry, I got the entirety of my rack and pinion replaced, along with the tie bars and two new tires, all for less than 3 months of payments on the Honda I bought in sadder times. I now remember how much I love this car, and how I really don't need anything new for another...100k miles or so.

School started Monday, and of my three classes, the hardest will likely be the music one. For reasons already harped upon, I have no idea what it looks like, as the syllabus requests, to "describe how the music makes [me] feel." Luckily, my engineering classes have no such requirement. That will certainly make my music-feelings journal smell a bit earthier.

Dillard's is back on my good side. After interacting with the most awkward over-30 salesman I've ever come across, I swapped out the "airy" shirt for one with a bit more substance, and French cuffs. I'm already looking forward to the next time I'll have reason for cufflinks and tie.

I've been trying to decide whether I want to debate at all in the coming year. I think I've simmered down and accepted that I'll game for at least another little while. What keeps me tied to the activity, despite lack of time that I actually have to contribute to it, is ultimately the comaraderie and intellectual stimulation. That and sometimes Jackie's crazy disads really come true. Crazy though he is, he has a knack for getting me and others enthusiastic about the activity.

Inspirations have I none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
and love is not loving

So I can wear my new cufflinks

August 15th, 2006

Alright. I'm better now. %)

Four quick updates to things I don't like about my phone

  • When sending a text message there is NO POSSIBLE WAY to
    include a semicolon, outside of the pre-done winky face. How will I ever flirt again?
  • The T9word thing doesn't have an immediately obvious way to add
    words to its dictionary.
  • When I try to send a text to multiple recipients, the phone will mysteriously add random people from my recent outbox. I can delete them and get the list I want, but it's really odd.
  • Bluetooth is finicky, at least under linux.

Picture from episode 2096 where Phil Donahue hugs Snuffleupagus

Jessica Marlin's wedding was on Saturday, and as beautiful as any I've seen, though the crowd was a bit more...sophisticated than I was expecting. I'm sure her family was pleased to see as many as came. It was especially good to see Fike, and little Carrie Spielman I haven't seen in years is way hot now. Not that she wasn't before, but wow. I'm looking forward now to another debate reunion thing, where I can hear crazy stories about crazy times. Probably not as crazy as Phil Donahue hugging Snuffleupagus, but then again, what can be?

Shortly (read: hours) before the wedding, because I'm just that kind of lazy person, I went to Dillards to pick up a nice shirt and tie that I could wear out. The tie that got picked out for me is actually a rather nice one, and the shirt that went with it was also lovely. Both, though are significantly more expensive than the clothes I generally buy at the grocery store late at night. Significant like a two-digit percentage of the weekly Denise budget. Given that, I expected them to be of slightly higher quality than the union-bashing brands of Honduras manufacture. Oh, but my faith was misplaced. I put the shirt on after wrestling with the bizarre pins and plastic things and ironing out the square wrinkles, only to find out that there was a rather lovely hole just above my right nipple. Suffice it to say I had just enough time to engineer a solution involving scotch tape and not caring before I had to be out the door, obvious little scratch and all. So now, the shirt is in its little bag with receipt and separate proof-of-purchase sticker and waiting to be exchanged for a shirt that is a bit more consistently woven. The tie even succumbed to two little dangling threads that had to be clipped. What is the world of high fashion coming to?

It's fine. I think I wanted French cuffs anyway.

You remind me of home.
The heater's warm but fills the room
with a potpourri of dust and gas fumes.

The Great Yassa

August 13th, 2006

Probably my biggest fear, one that I really hate talking about, is that I am entirely too far into my story, the plot is set, and I will die without fulfilling some measure of my potential, disappointing those who put faith in me: that I would leave the world no great lineage that followed, no great invention that benefited, and no great example that elevated. It's on days and especially nights where I am concerned about what I am doing as a person and as the person that I want to be when the prospect of even growing another day older terrifies me in ways that turn my stomach and make me resent the happy couple next to the piano and the old man next to them who sings Frank Sinatra songs. I really don't want to become someone that leads a meaningless life in the Capra-esque sense that if I were never to have been, the world would be functionally the same. I know that I have had some kind of impact in each of the conversations I have ever had, and I take great joy in that. That joy, paradoxically, does not quell this fear, but just reminds me that I fear at all. The ultimate concern is that I am measuring myself against a yardstick borne of my imagination, and one against which I will always be measured wanting.

The crazy part comes in that I am simultaneously afraid that I will have some great impact that will turn out to be negative. I certainly don't want to become an unwitting Ghengis Khan, or even Robert Oppenheimer. On days like that, I take great comfort in the notion that I will have an impact in the world that will die out like ripples instead of a tsunami. It may be a coping mechanism, but it feels like a real enough emotion to where I have had conversation at length about it with the likes of Mike and Novelist Dave. Tonight I realized that the heretofore quite adequate comfort that a life of mediocrity would give me is insufficient to overcome the fear of aging. It's almost as though mediocrity is a choice, and I demand my options be open. Stupid linear time.

The problem with turning one's life around is that it denies that one was capable of perfection. How can I have a Christ complex if I've already sinned? This is probably the primary reason why I go reluctantly into change, half-heartedly into games, aggressively into groups of my peers, and as a child before the seats of power, no matter how merciful or mild.

Oh, and I'm mad at Dillard's too, but that's transient.

Whatever. I'll calm down tomorrow.

It was a very good year
for city girls
who lived up the stair
with all that perfumed hair
and it came undone
when I was twenty-one.