Friday, December 14, 2007

The Dust Settles

Well every one, finals are over. The tests have been taken and the dust is yet to settle. By that I mean the grades have not been posted, so the results are still unknown. They should be good from how I felt about the tests, but I have been tricked before. The Optics test went well I think, and there was miraculously enough time to finish this round. I feel decent about that one. The Calculus test went fine as well, but there were a couple of solutions that popped into my head on my way to the car, but the professor is pretty liberal with partial credit.

I’m here at work till 1am today, then it’s off to San Francisco and Half Moon Bay tomorrow. This is going to be a welcome break. Though it is a work trip I actually have to take tours and learn things about the hotels, but there is free time. Those latter two words are rarely in my vocabulary, so I plan on using it to its full extent. I am going to bring my camera so there will be a new round of pictures to show every one on my return. At night I plan on reading, then some reading and after that more reading. I am currently working on Beowulf. I am a little ashamed to admit that it was the movie that made me want to read it. Now you are probably thinking the same thing. “What a poser” are probably your thoughts right now; but let me explain. I did enjoy the movie, although when I was watching it I was thinking “this is good, but if the poem has been around for hundreds of years, this can’t be all there is to it.” And I was right. The book is fantastic. Much better than the movie (of course). There is one thing that you will have to keep in mind though; it is very quick and not much detail (it is technically a “poem”).

And most of you (who care) are now also wondering “weren’t you just reading Don Delillo’s Falling Man?” The awnswer is yes, so let’s do a book review now shall we:

Falling Man by Don Dellilo. This book was great from cover to cover. As I have said before, Delillo’s books are not to be read for action or plot, because frankly both suck. The best thing is the way he writes. The term “wordsmith” is rarely used, but perfectly fitting here. The book is about the changes in peoples lives after 9/11 and that’s all. The book however discusses the concept of individuality and how we go from a collective group to the outside of that group, and the steps we take back and fourth. Also the routines and repetitions that we do on a daily basis, that bring us to a sense of normalcy, and the breaking or changing of those. The two concepts are most heavily contrasted by the character Keith, one of the survivors of the falling towers, and Hammond, a fictitious terrorist that hijacks one of the planes. In addressing the two issues he points out the loss and gain of the “self” or individual that we have when we are part of a mess of information and just manes and numbers, to being outside of that and what we find in ourselves there. Fantastic read if I don’t say so myself, and I do.


Monday, December 10, 2007

On The Eve Of Battle...

Good evening everyone. I have some slow time here at work, so I figure I will give everyone the usual check in. Yes, I do have a final tomorrow, but I have studied so much I think my brain is actually full. Grey Matter real-estate is at an all time high with premium mental interest rates. For those of you who I have not complained about this to yet, my study guide for Optics is 170 pages long. That is just the study guide. That is not a study guide; that is technically a novel if you as me. Or a text book in its own right.

Needless to say I have not been outside very much in the last few days. I have been walled up in my little study hole pretty much non-stop. I do feel ready for the test however, so “bring it on” I say, “I have studied for you, and you will know you were in a fight, that’s for sure”. The test is tomorrow, and then I have a day and a half to get ready for the next final on Wednesday. After that I am free. Free for a couple of weeks, then to do it all over again. Only a few more semesters to go then I am done. The light is at the end of the tunnel and approaching rapidly. The only thing after that is to decide what to do with the rest of my life, which is a good situation to be in. Or maybe not, considering the gravity of the choices at hand. I have never known exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life, so the choices are many. Maybe.

I am also on the recovering end of the sniffles. If that is not a typical pain in the ass of the season I do not know what is. It started in my sinuses, and went to my chest. Try not to be too envious, because I can get you one for Christmas if you want. In fact I think that is what Santa’s “lump of coal” is referring to. A metaphor of the cruelest kind. When you think about it, coal in winter is not a bad gift, because you can heat it to make you warm. So, I believe that this “lump of coal” is actually the Flu. That’s right- if you are a bad kid, Santa will come and empty his nose in your face while you are sleeping. Isn’t that worse? I thought so. And being that everyone gets sick around the holidays, does that mean that we were all bad at one point? Very likely I think.

I have had so many cough drops that my skin drips of Hall’s Vapor Action. I now move about in a fine mist of relief, save maybe the dogs to whom I am Tear-Gas in hair gel. The Flu and getting sick go hand in hand in with the word “winter” my head. That’s not the only thing mind you, I do find other thoughts associated with winter. So let’s try some free association shall we:

Winter- snow and snot rags.

Christmas- caroling, presents and snot rags. Oh, and family and pajamas.

New Years- snot rags and hang-overs (I mean, just he Flu Mom).

Skiing- frost on my skin. (No snot rags that time, but sure to follow).

Snow- irritation (shoveling, driving in and getting everything covered in). And snot rags.

Thanksgiving- turkey, gaudy sweaters, little children (just from the extended family, you know the screeching and diapers making life hell below the knees?), snot rags.

Christmas shopping- slippery parking lots at the mall and other people’s snot rags.

Snot rags- snot rags.

Notice a little pattern? Me too. I will be glad to see the spring rains. Now its off to home, to get sleep for the big day tomorrow, and study more the next. I shall let all of you know the outcome.