Monday, March 30, 2009

Too-deep-for-a-Monday: Raging Force


So it's getting late and I was trying to decide whether I was going to skip Too-deep-for-a-Monday and just post something about the news for Newsday-Tuesday but as I was looking through my poems it occurred to me that a had one that is vaguely relevant to two current news stories. The flooding in the Midwest and the G20 protests in London. It's not exactly the same, but close enough. I figure it's fitting for a Monday post so close to Tuesday.



The prompt for this poem was 'extended metaphor'. I tried to weave the metaphor through the whole thing, and I think it worked out well. Hope you like it.

Raging Force

The demonstrators march peacefully through the streets
Like the steady flow of a quiet river.
A sudden storm arises in the skies;
The crowd’s anger surges
Then breaks open like the floodgates.
The quiet river runs rampant.

Waves of punches flow through the crowd.
The waters smack violently against the sandbags;
The policemen each armed with nightsticks and barrier shields
Strain to keep the swelling rioters back.
The sandbags become saturated;
A weak point collapses under heavy force.
A torrent of rioters rush though the police line.
Someone throws a rock through a shop window;
The looting begins.

Boarded up houses offer little resistance
To the barrage of water permeating through every crevice.
No sofa, no bed, or television is safe.
Teargas canisters shoot into the mob;
The rioters’ resolve begins to weaken.
Finally the floodwaters crest.
Left with no other options the police open fire;
The mad river begins to recede.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Settlers of Catan, and Web Comics I Like


Yesterday a friend sent me this article from Wired Magazine about a board game of German origin called Settlers of Catan. Each player is a tribe that collect resources and build roads and cities on an island called Catan. From the article I discovered that you can play the game online for free at playCatan.com. (You do have to download the game client software though.) So I thought I'd give it a try, and it was really fun. It involves some strategy but the rules aren't too complicated. Also, unlike some board games that take FOREVER, this one can be played in just about an hour.

I had actually heard of the game before. There was a reference to it in a comic I read called Questionable Content. I looked up Settlers of Catan then, just briefly, but I hadn't discovered I could play it online until now. I'm really glad I heard about the game again.

And on the subject of comics, I found a new comic today through my Google Reader suggestions. (I love you Google!) It's called Anti-Heros, and is a humorous comic about a troupe of villains in an RPG game. It's based off a comic that I've been reading for quite a while called The Order of the Stick.

I'm a big fan of web comics, so if any of you out there know some good ones you should recommend them to me. I am always looking for fun comics to read when I should be doing more important things.

Friday, March 27, 2009

RPG Friday: Exalted Game Update and RPG Links

So today is RPG Friday and I have a couple of things to share. First, I discovered from reading RPG Blog II an RPG forum which I've joined and has been kind of fun. It's called The RPG Haven.

Second, I had another game day of my Exalted table-top RPG. The person running the game (the 'storyteller' or 'ST' in Exalted terminology) is unfortunately going to stop so we'll be switching to a different ST. I hope the game survives the transition as it has been a lot of fun.

Last time we had just saved a newly Exalted Solar from dual threats of a rival barbarian island and a Wyld Hunt team. This time we managed to convince the Wyld Hunt team to join us. (We made them an offer they couldn't refuse... namely sinking their ship if they didn't cooperate.) And all of us together went into the volcano to fight the Raksha (a chaos entity) inside and cleanse the volcano of the chaos-taint. My character very nearly died (should have actually, but the ST was nice) though he did manage to hit the Raksha with an Arrow of Reason before he went down, which allowed the rest of the group to actually damage the Raksha. (yay!) Unluckily for us, cleansing the chaos from the volcano triggered a violent eruption and we just barely were able to evacuate the island in time.

So all in all, it was a fun session.

On a regular life note, I've been dealing with having my door repaired for the last two days and have been busy trying to get research finished so I have missed some posts. I didn't cook anything this week so no "What's Cookin Wednesday" anyway. :( I'll probably make pesto and chicken again tonight, like I did for St. Patrick's Day since it was so yummy, maybe I'll get a better picture this time.

Well, my equipment has probably finished sterilizing in the autoclave so I should probably go check on it, so that's all for now. Take care!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random Movie Inspired RPG Idea

So I saw the movie "Body of Lies" not too long ago, it's about a CIA operative in the Middle East. One of the big things they kept showing is this control room with a satellite feed where they could zoom in to someone's chin hair and track them wherever they went as long as they were outside.

This got me thinking, what if there was something like that in a magic campaign setting. Perhaps a scrying command center that could peer out of any reflective surface.

I can just imagine it:
"We've set up a perimeter sire, 30 scrying surfaces active." "Target is on the move, I need more surfaces activated to the southwest. Come on people, we're going to lose him! We need about 20 more scrying bowls in here, stat! So help me gods, I'll have you all doing hard labor down in the mana mines if you screw this up! And this coffee is fricking COLD!!!"

Newsday-Tuesday: Internet killed the newspaper star


The chain that owns the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune is in bankruptcy. Other papers, large and small, are teetering on the brink.

On Monday, the Ann Arbor (Michigan) News announced that it will publish its last edition in July. Taking its place will be a Web site called AnnArbor.com.


So on this Newsday-Tuesday I thought I'd look at what is happening to newspapers across the country. It seems that the internet and the recession are becoming a one-two punch for the newspaper industry and local papers are dropping like flies. Now, personally I never really read the newspaper, but I do read news on the internet. I don't know if online journalism can attract the same amount of revenue and thus the same amount of talent.

This concerns me because I think journalism plays an important function in a democratic society. Without it corruption can take root and spread without anyone taking note. (Not that this doesn't happen with a healthy media, but it at least reduces it somewhat.) I hope something will be able to fill this void, but I fear that nothing will and an important check on corporate and government behavior will be lost.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Too-deep-for-a-Monday: Altruism - Why?


So I decided for today's Too-deep-for-a-Monday I would discuss a philosophical issue I've been pondering lately. (I'm rapidly running out of my stock of poems and I figured this would be a good alternative.) The issue is the phenomenon of Altruism.

Altruism is behavior that benefits others over oneself. I have been contemplating for a while, why does such behavior happen? It seems like people should want to look out for their own interests if they can, and thus altruistic behavior is backwards.

Here's my thoughts thus far, feel free to comment and add your own if you'd like.

My first thought is maybe it is just a moral imperative. Altruistic behavior is what we "should" do, so we do.

But for this to be true, who's keeping score? For those with religious beliefs that's an easy answer, but what about those without religious beliefs? Surely they can still have a moral code. What motivates them? (I guess in retrospect this proposed solution just shifts the problem from the question of why altruism to why morals. But I had a thought on morals anyway.)

Perhaps morals are a defense mechanism.

The logic might be like this, "the world is crazy and unpredictable, but if I follow this moral code then there's a semblance of order and predictability and that makes me feel better" or perhaps, "I can't directly control the behavior of others, but by having a public moral code, with disincentives to breaking it, maybe I'll gain some protection even if it limits my behavior." Friedrich Nietzsche had an idea kind of similar to this.

Perhaps morals have nothing to do with it, maybe Altruism is simply done out of the expectation of future rewards. For the religious there is the concept of reward in the afterlife for good deeds now, but the rewards don't have to be that far out to still motivate. Social image can be a future reward that works in this life. Perhaps Altruism benefits an individual by building a good reputation with others, maybe even by building a good reputation to oneself (we like to think we are good people, right?)


It occurs to me though that animals can be altruistic too, so at least part of the motivation has to be pretty fundamental.

Perhaps along the lines of the future rewards thing, it's just simple reciprocity - I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

Another possibility is that it is simply hard wired behavior in our brain (i.e. it just makes us feel good) - how would this have come to be? There's an easy answer from creationist/intelligent design perspective (it's just the way the Creator/Designer wanted it), but what about from an evolutionary perspective? For altruism to be hard wired, it would have to have been a successful trait. Altruism would seem to make an individual less fit (by using resources for the benefit of another, rather than oneself), but perhaps groups of altruistic individuals fare better than groups of selfish individuals.

So yeah, those are my thoughts on Altruism thus far. And that's it for this Too-deep-for-a-Monday. As I said before, feel free to comment if you have any thoughts. Maybe we can get a good discussion going about this. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Of visits, games and that which is flat.

So I'm done with winter quarter. Yay! I haven't gotten back all my grades yet, but I think my GPA should stay around the same. This coming week I have to get as much research done as I can so I have "conclusive data" with which I can write my thesis. My parents came up and visited today. We went out and had a nice brunch and then went to the park. I had homeworks to grade but they went surprisingly fast.

I went bowling yesterday, which was fun, though I'm not as good as I used to be when I was on a league (169 average then, bowled around a 120 last night). Also, I played "Go" for the first time yesterday. It didn't go very well though (pun intended). My attacks were too slow for my opponent and I forfeited the game after several major captures on his part. It seems like an interesting game though. Easy to learn the basics but tough to master the strategy.

The other day I picked up a book called Flatland from the bookstore and I've been reading that some today. It's about a 2D world, where shapes have a society. All of the women are lines and the men are shapes of varying sidedness. The higher number of sides the more respected. The book seems very harsh towards women which I found to be strange since I was expecting basically a playful mathematical sort of story.

Well, that's about all for my weekend update for today. See ya!

Friday, March 20, 2009

RPG Friday - A new Exalt


So my Exalted role-playing game day got moved to Tuesday this week (not sure why) but it was a fun session. Our group got a hot tip from the fate planners in Heaven that a new Solar Exaltation was going happen soon on a particular island and our group was sent to investigate. Turns out the island is inhabited by crazy barbarians who worship the volcano on their island and sacrifice captured enemies to it. They are also cannibals and got highly offended when one of our group members refused to dine at their feast (my character).

As if that wasn’t enough to worry about apparently the hot tip we got from Heaven got spread around a bit and a Wyld Hunt team was also alerted to the coming Exaltation and was dispatched to the island. (The Wyld Hunt are Dragon-blooded Exalts who hunt down Solar exalts and kill them. Most Dragon-blooded think that Solars are demons and threaten the stability of creation.) The Wyld Hunt team began circling the island in their ship, presumably waiting for the exaltation to occur. We debated having our Solar flare his anima to trick the Wyld Hunt team into thinking that the exaltation was happening and then ambush them but ultimately decided that the essence expenditure of the battle that would inevitably ensue could tangle fate to the point that the exaltation prediction might end up not coming to pass.

In the end a rival island came and attacked, led by powerful fire elementals (from the volcanoes on the nearby islands). The chieftain’s wife Exalted protecting the village’s children from the elementals, and the Wyld Hunt team sprang into action. Their sorceress casted a tracking spell that summoned a wind hound to hunt down the new Exalt, and our sorcerer responded by bringing a meteor down from the sky into their ship… twice… ha! They had a water aspected Dragon-Blooded on board that put out the fires and shored up the damage and when we stopped the game they were in a panicked retreat. We have yet to decide if we are going to pursue or just let them go and hope that we can convince the newly Exalted Solar to come with us before the Wyld Hunt team comes back with reinforcements.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday - It's not Irish but it's Green!


So I decided to make a green themed meal for St. Patrick's Day, and unfortunately it had mixed results. I started it with a spinach and artichoke dip (not shown), but I accidentally got a bunch of the liquid from the jar of artichokes into it, which gave it a really briny off taste. I'm going to have to give it another try soon though. I got some aged Asiago cheese to go in it which was really yummy and I'd like to get it to work nicely. The rest of the food was awesome, though the picture doesn't do it justice. I will have to remember to be careful how close I take pictures with that camera. On the left is thin-sliced chicken breast with a poultry rub. On the right is spinach and egg angel hair pasta with a basil pesto. Full disclosure, these elements were just store-bought, but I did have a final exam on Tuesday and today, so I didn't have a ton of time.


Today I went out for food and the place was still serving green beer so I figured what the heck, why not? I think it was just Miller Lite underneath the green though, which I'm not really a huge fan of, but oh well.

A while ago a friend showed me a recipe for Beer Cupcakes, which I tried and were delicious! I was tempted to try to come up with a recipe for Green Beer Cupcakes, but again, I didn't have tons of time. I'm still milling it over though and I may try it this weekend. It would be easy to just do the same recipe and add green food coloring, but for one, green beer is typically not made from a dark beer like Guiness (which the recipe calls for) so it's kind of a cop out, and two, it's a chocolate cupcake, and green food coloring might just make it a really gross color. I guess I could just do the icing green, though. Anyway, if anyone has suggestions on what might work for a green beer cupcake let me know and perhaps I'll give it a try.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Newsday-Tuesday - Crazy Japanese Technology


So I found two stories about technology stuff from Japan. I'm not sure which is weirder. The first one is about a female robot fashion model. I would like to point out that this is usually the first step towards giant robots destroying Tokyo in your typical anime movie. Careful Japan!

The second is this bizarre Karaoke mic that is supposed to be for singing discretely. The rationale is that walls are thin in a lot of apartments in Japan and thus people have been hesitant to have crazy karaoke sing-a-long parties... until now. What pray tell is the motive to sing karaoke if you can't actually hear it? You might as well just lip sync and save yourself the money.

Anyway, I thought those were interesting/funny. Hopefully you agree. :) Everyone be on the look out for robotic doppelgangers with trendy threads and people singing really bad karaoke really quietly.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Too-deep-for-a-Monday -- Dreams


So my next and last idea for a theme day is "Too-deep-for-a-Monday Mondays". Where I share some of my poetry or discuss philosophical questions or whatnot. I figure maybe it'll give me and maybe others something to ponder, and perhaps even bring a little bit of a Zen-peacefulness type mood to start off the week. Lol, I think my aspirations for this idea might be too deep already. ;)

So anyway, I finally finished the reports I've been working on, and I have been staying up way late each night and into the morning doing them so I really need some sleep. In light of this, I thought I'd share a poem I wrote called "Dreams." The prompt for this poem was "Seven ways of seeing (blank)," which might help to explain the structure a bit. Anyway, here it is. I'm off to get a few hours of sleep before I have to head into the lab.

Dreams

A boat flowing down
A river of garbled thoughts.
Waves of random neurons fire,
Splashing pictures in a sleeping brain.

The shattered fragments of a day’s events
Haphazardly collected and refashioned -
A moonlit mosaic.

A warped mirror, reflecting life
Not quite as it is.

Beautiful attendants all around,
I relax, lounging on my throne.
A pleasant breeze is wafted over me
From the servant’s palm leaf,
Then the alarm clock buzzes.
Too brief a respite from incessant reality.

A cacophony of memories and images
Each striking a cord
In a whimsical night song.

A cauldron, stirred by a mysterious shaman,
Brimming with cryptic messages and portents.
Strange symbols bubble over into the mind.

Magical illusions shimmer,
Glitter flying through the night air.
Then, like dust settled,
All is swept away.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Weekend Update - Fun with Fluid Dynamics

So in the scheme of my blog themes, I've decided that at least one weekend day will be "Weekend Update" where I give a look at what has been keeping me busy.

The last few days I've been trying to get projects finished for my classes and have thus missed a few days of posts. (I had planned to post about my role-playing game, but that got canceled anyway due to my workload, so I'm not sure what I would have posted anyway.)

I still don't really have time to blog, I have one more report to do and it's a day late already. But I wanted a break and I thought I'd share some neat looking images from my computational fluid dynamics report. I had to model two jets of water coming in from the sides of the tank seen here, and coming out the top.

The velocity contours the program makes, like the one below are pretty cool looking.

This one shows that my flow is coming out the wrong end for one my simulations... epic fluid dynamics fail!

This is a picture of the static pressure profile, I thought it kind of looked like wings or something.

These last two show the velocity looking like what it's actually supposed to. Yay!


So yeah, I'm not sure if these are actually interesting or if I've just been staring at this stuff for WAY too long. You decide. :)

Well, back to work on the other report. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's Cookin' Wednesday - Shrimp and Red Pepper in Vodka Sauce


So continuing with my next theme day... Wednesdays shall be "What's Cookin' Wednesdays" where I talk about something exciting I've cooked, or food and drink that I just find yummy or interesting. I figure it'll also motivate me to cook something fun at least once a week, which is always a good thing.

So today I made Shrimp and Red Pepper in Vodka Sauce.

10 oz jumbo shrimp (frozen)
1 medium sized red bell pepper
1 jar vodka sauce
12 stalks of asparagus
1 good handful of thin spaghetti (I'm not really sure how much that is, I always sorta just guess... enough for two or three servings)

I cooked the pasta as normal but took it out a bit before it needed to and put it in a pan with the vodka sauce and the red pepper to cook a little more. Cooked the shrimp in boiling water as per the instructions on the bag, then added them to the pasta and stirred. Steamed the asparagus for about 8 minutes over low boiling water.

Not too complicated really, but it turned out decent. I had the idea that rings of the pepper would look neat and be fun, but it turned out that they were hard to cut up while eating. If I did it again I'd probably chop them up more. Some fresh grated Parmesan cheese would have really put it over the top, I wish I would have thought of that at the store.

I paired it with a Chateau Ste. Michelle dry Riesling that I've been wanting to try. I tend to go for reds but I like a good white wine every once in a while. Rieslings are my favorite as far as whites go.

Anyway, it was fun, and now I have leftovers for lunch at school tomorrow. (Yay!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

News-day Tuesday - Embryonic Stem Cell Debate


So I'm going to try to take Breeze's advice and have "theme days" to organize what I post about. I've decided that Tuesdays will be "News-day Tuesday" where I give my take on issue(s) currently in the news. So here goes:

"President Barack Obama will reverse the U.S. government’s ban on funding stem-cell research today and pledge to 'use sound, scientific practice and evidence, instead of dogma' to guide federal policy, an adviser said. ..."

I'm sure this story is old news to most of you by now, but I feel I'm in a unique position to comment on it since I actually DO research on embryonic stem cells. (From mice in my case though, not humans.)

First, some points of clarification.

Stem cells are an area of interest becaue they can turn into different cell types and thus might be used to treat degenerative diseases or restore damaged tissue.

There are different kinds of stem cells. Some are adult stem cells, the kind we all have in our bodies. These can be used to turn into a large variety of cell types, but normally not all cell types.

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells), are those from an embryo (as the name suggests) and those can turn into ANY cell type.

Also, it is my understanding that there are already government approved ES cell lines but that they are not as good as others being used in private research.

Another important point is that researchers have successfully transformed adult stem cells to give them similar morphing power to ES cells. They call these iPS cells (induced Pluripotent Stem cells). Unfortunately they still haven't worked out all the kinks in these cells, and the genes they use to transform the cells are also involved in tumor/cancer formation.


Ok, now on to the current story:

My gut reaction is to be in favor of Obama reversing the ban. This is in line with my "I want science to cure death so I can live forever" philosophy, as it potentialy removes a road block to life extending research. But, as many have pointed out already, there exists the ethical question of "does using ES cells sacrifice innocent human life?" Since I work with mouse ES cells every day, it's easier for me to justify in my head that ES cells are "just cells." Though in the case of human ES cells there's still a nagging uncertainty in the back of my head. On one hand, yes, given the right conditions an embryo can develop into a fully functioning human being, that's where we all came from, but on the other hand, the embryos people want to use are destined to be disposed of anyway, so perhaps using that potential life for good is better than letting the life die in vain. So even if I consider the ES cells human life and not "just cells" I still am uncertain.


From a different perspective, the use of ES cells versus iPS cells both have technical advantages and disadvantes.

For ES cells, you are probably going to be dealing with cells from one person being used in another person's body (this can work, like in organ transplants and whatnot) but the body recognizes cells with a different genetic make up as foreign and the immune system tends to attack them. This is overcome with transplants by trying to find close matches and also by using immunosuppressants while the organs are being integrated. The immune response may limit the utility of ES cell usage to the point that it's not really feasible. Who knows?

For iPS cells, you have the advantage of being able to harvest them from the same person who will be recieving them, thus immune response is not an issue. However, there's still the threat of possibly giving the person cancer based on the current form of iPS cell technology. Also, iPS cells may not behave quite the same way as ES cells, so their response in the body might not be as good.


In the end I think that even if ES cells do not end up being used for therapy, the basic research with them will give us a better understanding of how stem cells work and is likely to result in research results faster. As I said, there is a nagging concern in the back of my head, but it hasn't been enough to totally change my mind.

If I am ever in a position where I'll be working with actual human ES cells, I'd probably have to do some soul searching to decide if I really truly think that this is ok.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What's in a name?

So Breeze made a comment asking me about my screen name and I figured other people might wonder about it so I thought I'd post a brief explanation. Here goes.

Nano- is for "nanotechnology," a hot topic in chemical engineering and especially in biomolecular (my area of focus in chemical engineering). -bri is for "Brian," my first name. Put the two together and you get "nanobri". I came up with the name when I was taking a nanotech class and was registering for some random site. I decided I like it though and have been phasing it in as my standard screen name.

Anyway, now you know. :)

Where to go from here...

So I only have one week left of classes and then finals week. I am really looking forward to this quarter being over. Though next quarter is going to be worse. I have to write my master's thesis then. I really hope I get my research done. If I have to stay another quarter then that's going to create all sorts of craziness.

I was grading stuff this past thursday which is my usual Exalted role-playing game day, so I missed a session. :( I'm working on a write-up of what my character did and perhaps I'll post that here when I'm done.

I'm kind of unsure of the direction I want to go with this blog. That's part of the reason I haven't posted in a while (the other part being that it's crunch time at school). I could go the RPG route and talk more generally about random ideas that I think would be fun in a game or just neat concepts in general. I could post more of the poetry I've done, and perhaps new stuff if I write anymore. There's random life updates. Philosophical musings. More about my research or other science-y things I find interesting. More about cooking (which means I'd need to cook a little more, I've kind of slacked off this past week.) *shrug* I dunno. If anyone has thoughts on what they would/would not like to see more of, I'm all ears.

Well, I'm off to take a data point (growth kinetics experiment, yay!) and then head to class.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Exalted RPG Character Info

So I wrote up a description of my character's familiar for the Exalted role-playing game I'm playing. I decided I'd post that description here for those of you who find role-playing game stuff interesting. My character's name is Leggit, this post really isn't about him though, more-so the familiar. By the way, I used the picture below as an inspiration for the humanoid form. (Image Source)


Leggit's familiar is a spirit-bird named Ati. The familiar-master bond has a strong resonance between Leggit and Ati and this allows a psychic link allowing Leggit to share Ati's senses at will at a distance up to several miles. Ati has several other abilities owing to his spirit nature. He can travel instantly from anywhere to Leggit's side, materialize and dematerialize at will, and shift between his bird and humanoid form at will. However, the instant travel as well as the materialization drain a large portion of his essence temporarily. (Essence being the term for magical energy in Exalted.)

Bird Form:
Ati in his bird form appears as a raiton - a type of omnivorous scavenger bird found often at battlefields. He has a three foot wing span, a toothy beak, black feathers and black eyes. Rations will eat most anything, from carrion to fruit, eggs and small animals, but since becoming a familiar Ati has been elevated from his previous embodiment to that of a lesser spirit and no longer requires food for sustenance. He is capable of eating if he so chooses and occasionally still steals eggs for amusement.

Humanoid Form:
Ati in his humanoid form is thin, short (about 4 feet tall) and wears a crisp white Nehru vest. Black feathers cover most of his body with the exception of a pointed crimson patch at the peak of his head, an elongated creamy white beak and goldenrod talon-like feet.

His arms are more winglike than human arms with feathered skin connecting at his side just under the rib cage out to what would be his wrist. These wing-arms do not afford him full flight capability but he can use them to get a boost when jumping and can also glide effectively from a moving start. His wing-arms do not have true hands, but rather, widely splayed finger-like feathers with a small opposed claw. He can maintain a weak grip on small objects with these "hands" and can has enough control to manipulate a writing implement with just passable legibility. His talon feet are capable of a stronger grip and more dexterous. He is capable of carrying a load with one talon and walking with the other and does so with a sort of hop-glide aided by bursts from his wing-arms.

In conversation or when focusing on something his head cocks about with an unnerving suddenness, a very bird-like habit, even while his small blood red eyes remain fixed on a target. His manner of speech is a quick and curt staccato with a slight clacking accent. The overall effect on his demeanor is that he seems somewhat peevish and expectant, anxiously awaiting a response or command.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sag Bashers: Exposing the misguided war on saggy pants



"... In December, the Jasper County Council in South Carolina passed an ordinance making it illegal to wear your britches three inches below your hips and expose your underwear—or worse—to innocent bystanders. In January, South Carolina State Senator Robert Ford introduced a bill that would make saggy pants a crime throughout the entire state. ..."

Full article here: http://www.reason.com/news/show/132019.html

So a friend of mine showed me this article and I thought I'd pass it on. Apparently wearing saggy pants is illegal in some places... wtf?!? I'm not a fan of the fashion personally, and I think it'd be really hard to walk around like that, but illegal??? Come on...

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Fairytale Unfinished

I have a midterm on Wednesday so I've been busy studying for that tonight. Blech. At least one person out there liked the poem of yesterday so perhaps I'll post another today. That way I can be quick and get back to studying.

A Fairytale Unfinished

“Once upon a time,” begins the man,
A man in girth quite like a balloon,
Raspingly reciting an age old tale.
In his chair he rocks as he talks
The chair whining under his weight.

The children sit, listening
To a tale they’ve heard before.
The small room packed nearly full
Quite like a clogged artery.

The storyteller pauses,
Pulling out a handkerchief.
He blots at the beads of
Sweat on his forehead.
“The princess was trapped
Atop a high tower,”
The man moves on.

Hacking now, the man halts his story
And having freed his phlegmy throat,
Continues.
“And then the brave knight
fought the fierce dragon
who guarded the princess.”

In a heartbeat the story
Flows to its close,
But today’s tale would end
Quite unlike the children have heard,
Too na├»ve to see what’s coming.

“And they all lived hap…
Hap…”
Fumbling the final phrase.
His head turns a dark red
As he wheezes his last.
The children, paralyzed with terror,
Watch
As the man drops with a
Thud,
Breaking the silence.

A fairytale unfinished.


So there you have it. This is one of the darker ones I was warning about. I think it's kind of funny, but maybe I'm just odd. I wrote it for a class and was complimented on my use of alliteration and foreshadowing. Ha!

Bah, ok, now back to studying "the phenomena of fluid motions." I assure you all it's highly exciting material.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Portrait of a Daydreaming Student


His ears, a sieve.
The teacher’s voice
Just trickles through.
His eyes still open,
In an empty stare,
Looking somewhere
Past the blackboard,
But his mind isn’t there.
Instead,
It’s gone away to yesterday.
Phone in shaking hand,
Heart beating like a drum.
Finally,
Mustering the courage,
Dialing the digits,
Waiting…
Anticipating her voice…
“Hello,
Mr. Bailey, we’re waiting.”
The ruler hits the blackboard,
Crack!
Back to the present,
Startled, blinking.
“Question 3, on the board,
We don’t have all day!”
A laugh rolls through the class.
Red rushes to his cheeks.

So I wanted to post something, but nothing really exciting happened today, so I decided I'd post a poem I had written a long time ago. I don't really write poems anymore. It used to be an outlet for me. Many of them were dark. This one isn't really.