Sunday, March 2

Memory

Mine is not a story, but I do have some stories to tell.

I rank fond memories by how slow they feel when I try to drift back. Is there a small moment that can help me remember the whole?

I remember sitting on top of one of the Atlas Mountains by a fire. I’ve never seen so many stars. I remember corn smoldering on coals that burned on the Casablanca sidewalk. I remember an egg vendor who ran his little illegal business out of the back of a gray van. Customers would keep an eye out for the police. I remember choosing to give my two silver coins of change to the same beggar in a row twenty. It wasn’t really a choice.

I remember the English Lake District because of the boggy heath. The mist closed in as we reached the rocky top. I asked someone how close we were and they turned to point at the peak, only a few yards away, but it was already invisible.

I remember the ducks moving over the reflected moon in Lake Michigan. The cars passed along Lake Shore Drive, and I sat and talked.

I remember waking up early after barely sleeping. There was breakfast and calmer conversation, less feverish than the night before, when urgency was only apparent in the speed we moved from one topic to another.

I remember standing on a rooftop and watching a parade.

I remember being too exhausted to pose for a picture after biking a hundred miles. We ate all the pizza.

There are characters missing from all of these memories that I haven’t named because I know them. You were there. I know your name.


I’m trying to remember the stories, but all I can remember is your face, my father, mother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, neighbor, roommate, and trusted friend. I remember you, my friend.

Tuesday, July 16

Bike-/Visit-/Camp-/Sightsee-...ing

I've wanted to post about the June 6th-9th weekend for a while, but I didn't have many fun photos despite all the fun that was had. So, these are compiled (stolen) from Tyler, Jan, Adam, and Steph.

Jan, Adam, and Steph were going to meet us at the Weko Beach Campground, just north of the Michigan Dunes. Tyler and I biked there from South Bend (and back the next day):




This next picture is the only one that's mine. I think it captures the feel of the campground as Jan, Adam, and Steph arrived.




On the other hand, this next picture is just plain better. Bikes and camping hammocks!




We made a campfire and neighborly campers gave use s'more supplies.







The following morning, Jan tested the hammock and agreed that it had superior qualities of general comfort.




Then, we went to the dunes.





We tried rolling down the dunes. I wasn't very good at it.


(Above: Not me rolling. Due to my inferior rolling skills, I don't feature in the action shot.)

While Tyler and I were riding back to South Bend, the others made an architecturally impressive sandcastle.


The day after that, we all went to Chicago, where we witnessed some standard tourist attractions...



...and some not so standard ones:




Those were all pictures of some Frank Lloyd Wright interior design work.

We also hung out in the Signature Lounge at the top of the Hancock building.


Before some of us headed back to South Bend and beyond, we had a big dinner at Tyler's apartment. Much gratitude for all those that made any effort towards making these couple of days possible.

(I don't have a picture of the dinner at Tyler's, but I do have this picture of the dining table that we ate it on. Tyler made it. I helped a little.) 




Thursday, June 27

Instruction Manuals

Instruction Manuals are worth zero cents, in case anyone was wondering about my opinion on the subject. Apparently, if you don't read the instructional manual, you might die, but I'll get to that in a minute.

So, because I'm moving, I've found various small objects that I have to decide whether or not I want to keep. I like to think I'm choosing to keep, sell, donate, or throw away, but if I'm honest, it's really just keep or throw away. All of the things I could sell or donate are split between keep and throw away. For instance, this small appliance that doesn't really work very well could be sold or donated if I was feeling particularly generous or capitalist, but instead it is going in the trash because selling it would be dishonest and donating it would be insulting. I'm just going to keep justifying that to myself.

The point is: there are some random things in my house, and many of those things are instruction manuals. I always feel the need to flip through them, as though I say to myself, "I can figure out the usefulness of this small booklet by reading a few random snippets." The truth of this pretended self-statement is that the only way a quick-glance usefulness evaluation can be effective is when the instruction manual is terrible. It only takes a couple typos and a too-vague description to let one know that the already-recycled paper is worth more than the symbolic content of the barely-adhered ink patterns.

On the other hand, you might find something truly frightening in an equally useless instruction manual for your Smartphone. I knew my phone must be some piece of black-ops tech when the title was just a series of mystical acronyms. My HTC Evo 4G LTE doesn't need sensible branding like the Samsung Replenish (an eco-friendly phone). Instead, futuristic-sounding code replaces any sense of user-friendliness. It becomes clear that Smartphones are a little too Smart when they warn you about "Electronic Devices in Vehicles." Apparently, my phone might affect "improperly installed or inadequately shielded electronic systems in motor vehicles." I would like to know exactly what kind of shielding is necessary for my phone to not break my car in completely undefined ways.

Such prospects become even more frightening under the title: "Turn Off Your Device in Dangerous Areas."  Let's be clear, these instructions are not to protect the phone, at least not directly. The real concerns are listed under two subtitles with descriptions of areas that your phone my affect: "Blasting Areas" and "Potentially Explosive Atmospheres."

Listen, Instruction Manual. Are you the only thing standing between me using my phone safely and various things exploding because I didn't turn my phone off? I have news for you. I did not read you in your entirety. I imagine that few people do, especially if I extrapolate from my own actions, and my own actions include a complete disregard for the notion that I should read you even after you just told me that I might make things explode if I don't turn my phone off. When Brian Regan saw a sign that read "Blasting Zone Ahead," he astutely observed that it should say, "Road Closed." Similarly, I think there should be some sort of reliable assurance that my phone is not going to cause a demolition site to prematurely implode. All the best.

Monday, May 13

Bike Outing

I went for a nice ride with some friends on Sunday. It was a good kickoff to the warm months. I'm thinking I might do a bike-camping trip sometime this summer.

Sunday, December 2

The St. Nick Six (No Cash Prizes, Part Deux)

As you might recall, I ran the "Saint Nick Six" last year, a 6k, christmas-themed fun run that the nearby St. Joseph's church/school put on every year. I did it again this year with the same group of people and it was a lot of fun. Some might say it was even more fun. Gary and Tim didn't throw up this time. Monika and Amanda decided to do the 6k run instead of the 3k walk. I went from 7th out of 7 in my age group (20-24) to 8th out of 10 in my age group (25-29) and improved my time from 35:07 to 32:24 (roughly 8:45/mile?). I placed 95th out of 130 male runners compared to last year's 73rd out of 90 male runners. The race is getting pretty popular, apparently. Enough metrics. Here are some pictures:

This is the group of use before the race.


This is the race starting, and I'm wearing antlers and four little bells attached to the safety pins on my number-tag thing.


Coming up to the finish!


Celebrating as I cross the line!


Then celebrating with Amanda after she crosses the line.


Yaaaaaay! Ok, I should probably go back to working on finals and stuff.

But before I go. I should share the one mishap of the day. Gary made a mistake with his tag, rendering his time unrecorded. He then took off his shirt to celebrate the big finish. So, the only record that he finished the race is:



Bahaha....

Sunday, November 4

pence/cents

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151144133110665&set=a.235978145664.135781.207730000664&type=1&ref=nf



A MEDIATION BETWEEN HER MAJESTY AND THE FREE STATES


Concerned duel citizens have been made aware that Her Majesty Queen Eli
zabeth II made some passionate demands in response to the Declaration of Independence. Due to the timely demise of its original authors, the Declaration and its supporters have criticized the timing of the Queen’s message, explaining that one of her predecessors may have been more suited to challenge the Free States’ independence on such terms. Those who speak on behalf of the Declaration of Independence feel that the Queen’s spirited, but essentially peaceful, list of demands would have been much preferred over the bloody events of the late eighteenth century.

In the interest of both parties, a mediator has been selected from among the duel citizens to address the Queen’s major demands and make appropriate recommendations. In response to the overall demand that the Free States return to monarchic rule, it is the opinion of this moderator that such a demand is meaningless because the existence of monarchic authority is unclear. Congress will not be disbanded. It is this mediator’s hope that both countries will appreciate the exquisite inefficiencies of their respective political systems. Now, to the more particular demands:

1. The standard use of ‘U’ in words such as ‘colour,’ ‘favour,’ ‘labour,’ and ‘neighbour’ will be adopted if Oxford University re-instates the standard usage of the “Oxford comma.” The official adoption of the spelling ‘doughnut’ will be accepted if a) American retailers are allowed to spell it anyhow they durn please, b) British retailers begin to serve more than one flavor of doughnut, and c) British retailers give the recipe for jelly/jam doughtnuts to American retailers, who don’t have a clue.

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2. American schools will attempt to discourage young people’s use of ‘like’ and ‘you know’ as well as the related phrases ‘kind of like’ and ‘sort of like’ if British people admit that their younger generations have just as many linguistic problems and that adults in both countries have their fair share of over-reactions to linguistic degradation. In addition, both countries must promise to recogni[s/z]e that there is no such thing as a monopoly on linguistic accuracy that isn’t artificially imposed.

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3. July 4th will be celebrated as a holiday in both countries, but in the United Kingdom it will be known as “Thanksgiving.”

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4. The use of guns, lawyers, and therapists as all-purpose problem solvers will be abandoned in the US. Similarly, British people will increase the number of conflicts that are addressed directly rather than resort to biting sarcasm and indignant silence. Much to the approval of both nations, all such methods will be replaced with fattening foods and candor. Also, American may substitute the shooting of grouse with the shooting of The Famous Grouse (or similar).

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5. The shooting of grouse or The Famous Grouse aside, everyone will take a serious look at violent crime statistics in their own country.

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6. Only “All Way” four-stop-sign intersections with be converted to roundabouts. All roundabouts in England that are surrounded by smaller sub-roundabouts will be converted into ANYTHING ELSE because that is the worst design for an intersection. Recommendations for converting to metric measurements will wait until the UK actually finishes transitioning to the metric system. Americans are, however, interested in what a ‘stone’ is, and how a normal person can weigh 10 to 20 of them.

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7. The USA will adopt UK prices on gas, but will not call it ‘petrol’ because ‘gasoline’ is categorically more accurate than ‘petroleum’ in the identification of fuel used for most vehicles.

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8. All arguments about chips, crisps, and fries will be outlawed. British people will admit that they love catsup. All copyrights for the spelling ‘ketchup’ will be forfeit and the spelling ‘catsup’ will also be outlawed.

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9. All arguments about beer will be put on hold until British people try some American microbrews and distribution rights for said microbrews are expanded.

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10. Hollywood will indeed be required to occasionally cast English actors as good guys. (The splitting of infinitives will be considered acceptable usage.) American actors cast as English characters and English actors cast as American characters will be limited to actors who are deemed worthy, such as Hugh Laurie and almost no one else.

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11. Confusion about the sport ‘football’ will be carefully explained in the first year of school, and everyone will live with it. Criticizing American football for being wimpy will only be allowed from professional rugby players. Those who criticize the wearing of pads in the context of the confusion over the name ‘football’ will be forced to recount every time they ever saw an association football (soccer) player take a dive when the nearest player never touched them.

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12. Americans will be forced to play cricket in grade school, though they will not be expected to understand the rules, and Britons will be forced to play Rounders in a diamond with a hardball, gloves, and foul balls.

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13. Americans will tell who killed JFK if Britons teach them how to make their chocolate smooth.

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14. Britons will accept American participation in the European theater of World War II as partial payment for taxes owed. The remaining taxes will not be paid because Americans really don’t like paying taxes, but we’re all glad that Hitler didn’t take over the world.

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15. Americans would love to learn all about tea time, but refuse to believe that ‘tea’ should be used a general term for the dinnertime meal. American recipes for homemade chocolate-chip cookies will be circulated throughout the UK. Surprisingly delicious British store-bought cookies/biscuits be exported en masse to support the newly instituted tea time.