Monthly Archives: October 2012

Midweek Drabbles, or “well, that escalated quickly…”

“Morning.” I still had my eyes shut and a rather odd taste in my mouth as I wound my arms around the smaller frame beside me. The warm, smooth skin seemed to rise at my touch and yet, oddly enough, stiffen. I shrugged and leaned into the embrace, completely intoxicated by the scent of someone else. I sighed, feeling oddly content. Well, more so this morning than usual.

A voice growled at me. “I would let go if I were you.” My eyes snapped open.

“Alex!” I yanked my arms away from her as though scalded. I was suddenly hyper-aware of several things: we were both naked, one, in the same bed, two, and the person that we had both been attempting to romance all night was snoring softly, alone, on the other bed beside us. I picked up my clothes hurriedly and motioned to Alex to do the same and then follow me into the bathroom. Once inside, we quickly dressed; I couldn’t help but notice all of the small bruises on Alex’s body. “Did I do that? Just what the hell happened??”

“We fucked.” She stated it so simply. Then again, this was Alex we were talking about here; everything’s black and white to her, pretty much. “What else do you think happened?” She handed me a small, plastic cup of mouthwash. Well, that explained the aftertaste and the smell on my fingers. As I washed my hands, taking special care of my left, Alex scoffed at me. “You’re such a fucking lightweight. You were half-drunk on a cupcake.”

“Well, excuse me for not being a quarter Irish or whatever!” I hissed back at her. “I’m on the Paleo diet! It makes me super sensitive to alcohol, unlike some people!” Alex snorted, but then left well enough alone. We both finished waking up before exiting the bathroom as quietly as possible
.
Stacy was still sleeping, her face angelic, porcelain. I sighed, and Alex sighed; we were both rather taken by the petite, elvish girl, to say the least. She was light, lithe, and airy, something neither Alex nor I were, to be sure… A few flashes of last night were still rushing through my mind. I felt myself begin to blush at all of the things Alex and I did. I quickly glanced at Alex; she seemed preoccupied with the same thought, blushing and averting her eyes too.

How strange. A couple of years ago, I would’ve been ecstatic to have been allowed in the same room as Alex, let alone to drink with them, bake with them, and particularly to sleep with them. But now…nothing. I felt nothing, save a bit of embarrassment, I guess. I reached over to gently brush away a stray hair from Stacy’s face. She stirred, her usually bright, blue eyes still a bit cloudy with sleep. “Morning.”

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I may be working the counter…

But I am not your motherfucking servant. Seriously.

Maybe it’s just because my university hosted some kind of speech and debate competition, or maybe it’s just that the high schools that actually have debate teams and shit just happen to have a higher concentration of kids with high levels of Unwarranted Self-Importance, but work was actually irritating yesterday. Sure, it’s a minimum wage job but it’s generally alright. It’s not every day that I contemplate refusing service to someone due to their obnoxiousness, though, which is saying a LOT, because this is, again, a college campus.

I dunno, it’s just the little things. The way they walked into the place, a ravenous pack on the prowl. How they just tossed a $20 to pay for something that was barely two bucks. I shit you not, I had to send the only other person there to the Mothership in order to get singles because every other person was paying with a $20. It seemed like the constant whine of “There’s no food here!” was doubled, maybe even tripled, that day. It was fucking annoying.

I guess there were a few good things that happened to me during that shift, though, the little gems that helped me finish my five hours there. I was taken as a guy multiple times, despite the fact that wasn’t even trying to pass at all. I generally refrain from expressing my masculinity fully when I’m working, as my manager and my co-workers have no idea that I’m genderfluid and maintaining a lower timbre of voice for such a long time is exhausting so I usually default to my usual, higher-pitched voice towards the end anyway. But, yeah, that made me happy.

There was also that one guy who had to have come in about four times during the course of my shift. I’m not gonna lie, he was pretty cute. Dark blonde hair, tall, lean, at least an 8.5. It pleased my aesthetics, though I didn’t feel compelled to do anything about it, except admire his bone structure (which is, really, all I do when I see people that appeal to my aesthetics only). He seems like a nice chap.

There was this girl who came in and took a peek behind the counter. I had brought in my DS, expecting it to be the usual, dull opening Saturday shift and expecting to have some time to try and raise my Pokemon before Matsuri’s event next month. We started chatting about Black and White and how I was still playing SoulSilver because I wanted to raise everyone to level 100. She just raised her eyebrows and commented that she had tried the same thing in FireRed and how it had taken almost forever to do so. Now because of her, I want to get a move on from SoulSilver and play White (or Black; apparently, the difference is relatively minor, so it’s a bit of a toss-up) before Pokemon Day.

So, yeah. TL;DR: Working with high school kids may be annoying, but it’s the little things that keep you from flipping out and breaking shit in their faces just to see them squirm. Happy Sunday!

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Midweek Drabbles…or at least it would be, but I’ve got nothing new…

So let’s turn it into a bit of a rant space this week, shall we?

Now, yesterday I was in the middle of my analytical chemistry lab. We were working on titrations (as usual) only this week we had to use something called a pH electrode. It’s this fancy doohickey that is basically a long tube that ends in a very fragile, very expensive bulb. This is hooked up to a pH meter in order to get your readings because they haven’t yet designed pH electrodes that aren’t just peripherals. Or have they? I don’t know.

But titrations. In general, we titrate and rely on the color change of the indicator to tell us where the endpoint is so we can then calculate the molecular weight of the analyte using the volume of titrant. Fairly simple stuff, unless you want to talk about last week; there were so many numbers that I had no idea what to do with them all. Still, I managed a decent 27 out of 30 and, really, the place where I got docked off the most points was in my objective for not including bicarbonate as one of the two components of the unknown. But that’s neither here nor there. What I’m trying to say is that titrations are complicated when you’re trying to be careful.

In order to fully appreciate this rant, there is something else you need to know: people rarely call me. Ever. My phone is usually silent. I have just a standard flip phone which has served me well throughout the years because getting a smartphone is 1) unnecessary to me at this point in time, as I am not in that high a demand to be constantly connected 2) well out of my means, as I have to pay for my phone by myself and I’m your stereotypical “broke-as-fuck-college-student”, and 3) I just need a phone, thanks. If I wanted another iPod, I would definitely save up for one, but I don’t. I’m actually hoping I’ll luck out and my best friend’s boyfriend (who is also a friend and a bit of a wizard with technology) will be able to resurrect my fallen iPod touch.

So, the phone is usually silent. I sometimes get texts and the like but actual phone calls are not a daily occurrence. I find that this elicits a strange response from me whenever my phone rings; I am easily startled by the sound of my own ringtone and will jump a little out of my seat when it rings. As it turns out, I received not one but two phone calls yesterday, both in places and situations where reacting in such a way to my godsawful ringtone must make me seem just a bit ridiculous.

The first was, of course, in the middle of lab. Again, one has to be careful when titrating, particularly when you’ve gone from “add titrant 1.5 mL at a time” to “add titrant in 2 drop increments” and your burette isn’t exactly as cooperative as you’d like. Luckily, I wasn’t the one titrating with the electrode at the time; my partner was in the middle of that 2-drop-then-1-drop part of the experiment and I thought it would be more efficient if I just let her have at it. Also, I wasn’t feeling very well, a direct consequence of various people who can’t seem to cover their mouths when they’re sick and cough, the inconsiderate bastards. But, yes, my phone went off, I nearly jumped off of my stool, and I reflexively answered it. It was just a phone bank asking me if I was voting for their candidate. I said “Sure” and then bid them a good evening, despite the fact that I still haven’t a damn clue, just to get them off of my phone. I pay per minute, dammit, leave me alone!

The second phone call was from my mother, calling me to report on my brother-in-law’s unfortunate situation. It seems the big lump decided to go eat out at McDonald’s and, of course, got Salmonella. I don’t normally crow on about other people’s circumstances, but it serves him right for trying to break off his relatively healthier lifestyle like that. But it was while I was in the university library, which is a dreadfully public place, so I must have no doubt seemed like a bit of a freak, jumping a couple inches off of my chair like that. Maybe I just shouldn’t sit down whenever I have my phone out. Who knows?

/end rant

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Maybe that’s why they call it “Voices of Light”…

So, yesterday I had the chance to go to a really surprisingly interesting and subtly high-brow event: a live viewing of “Voices of Light: The Passion of Joan of Arc” featuring the musical talents of Anonymous 4 as well as a LOT of people that I see around campus but never fully realized that this is the stuff they live for. Seriously, it was amazing! It’s events like these that make me proud to have chosen the University of the Pacific over any other institution. Undergrad research plus the opportunity to see world-famous artists perform their craft? Score!

Now, the event itself was described as “an oratorio with silent film”. What that basically translated to was an orchestral dugout filled to the brim with string instruments, some of whom were people that I’ve been in the same classes with; a stage laden with everybody that was singing, be they soloists or Anonymous 4 or the Pacific Choral Ensembles (which are simply massive); a projector screen hanging from above where the film was going to be, well, projected onto; and a very enthusiastic, very intense conductor coordinating everyone in order to match up with the film. Because it’s a silent film; the music was composed well after the movie was made.

The story behind what happened to the film is kind of creepy, actually. Not “The Grudge”-scary, but just unsettling enough that it makes my spine tingle. Apparently, the film’s original negatives were destroyed in a warehouse fire, which is disturbing given that it’s a film about Joan of Arc, who happened to be burned at the stake. It was reconstructed a bit after…only to be destroyed in a fire. Again. Very creepy. And then, fast-forward a few decades, and some guy finds an immaculate copy of the original in some kind of insane asylum(?!?) and another guy, Richard Einhorn, thought to himself, “You know what this needs? Music!” And thus was born “Voices of Light”, a kind of accompaniment track to the otherwise silent film.

Haunting. Beautiful. Majestic. Powerful. These are all the words that come to mind when I think back to yesterday, when I was sitting in the concert hall, staring at the projection screen. I’ve got to be honest, these guys are good. The University Symphony Orchestra and the Pacific Choral Ensembles, they are damn good at what they do. And rightly so; I can only imagine the time and effort that was just poured into this one performance. But then you have the talents of Anonymous 4 and the film itself, The Passion of Joan of Arc, and everything just… I sat ramrod straight the entire time, which is saying something because those seats are damn comfortable! I’ve got to be honest, if I had to see the film by itself, with no sound at all, I would’ve probably gotten bored about thirty minutes in. It was interesting, but the music just stuck it to me. It was wonderful! Some people were moved to tears; I didn’t cry, but that’s because I can hold myself back from doing so, otherwise I would’ve been blubbering too no doubt.

I’m really, really glad I was able to partake of this once-in-a-lifetime experience. I still have my ticket stub, which is going into my journal, all neatly taped in and tucked away. This is the kind of thing that makes me very glad to have friends in departments and schools that are well outside my own little niche; it was all because of my friend (who was a part of the performance herself as a soprano in the Pacific Chorale Ensembles) that I got my ticket in advance. And for free, no less! Being a student definitely has its perks! But yes, I got my ticket about a month and a half in advance, which turned out to be the right thing to do, as the show sold out relatively quickly. It was a splendid performance, I had fun at the show (and afterwards, when I went to dinner with a few friends), and yeah! Bravo!

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Midweek Drabbles, or “clearly, this has nothing to do with enzymes…”

[Quick side note: I’ve already got my idea for this year’s NaNoWriMo! I’m really, really excited! Let’s just hope that I don’t become my own editor halfway through and end up not finishing because I’m cringing too much.]

As far as cars go, I’m probably a Honda: sturdy, reliable, though not the epitome of “sexy”.

There’s something about a wooden pencil that just takes me back. Back to when learning my times tables seemed almost impossible. Back before I even admitted to myself that I was a sexual being. Back to days where how big I was didn’t matter, when not shaving my legs wasn’t a statement, just “not applicable”. Back to when what I wore and who I spoke to was dictated by someone else. Y’know, the good ol’ mindless days.
I weep not for them.

My eyes were closed, my head still abuzz from the wine. I felt her sidle up to me, her cool arms embracing me. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the smaller limbs My fingers began slowly tracing over her back, reveling in the smooth, velvet expanse. She sighed happily, and then gave me a quick nip on my jaw.

She moaned, the deep, throaty sound urging me on.
She gasped, hopefully pleasantly surprised.
She growled, her fingers now digging into my hair.
She sighed, pressure released, tension escaping, nothing but bliss.

Next to a bit about electrochemistry
That’s great and all, but we’re not batteries. Like Duracell batteries. How can this be applied to us?

Sleep is powerful.
Compelling, neverending.
Just let me sleep now.

We are very sensitive systems. We inherently dislike stress.

After a particularly long derivation in Biophysical…
Don’t worry. It’s all for the sake of a pretty graph and you know I’m a sucker for pretty graphs.

Hem, haw, hum,
You irritating twit.
Chewing that gum,
Gnawing, then spit.
Revolting.

An example of my thought process:
New drinking game: sip when someone says something stupid.
-> Too bad I don’t have vodka…
-> Should I splurge on moscato?
-> I mean, merlot is fine, but I’m partial to white wines.
-> Maybe I should buy scotch?
-> Pricey. Save it for Winter Break.
-> Um…might not be the best idea…
-> I’ll be by myself, drinking. Not usually a “good idea”.
-> But I’m definitely having champagne this New Year’s!
-> I wonder if Jelly’ll be down for that?

Microsoft Office = n00b-status, really…

Cocaine’s on everyone’s brain,
Save mine, save mine.
I’d rather it be alcohol
To waste my time.

You’re a carnival ride;
You look like fun, but you might break down.
You’re a bottle of Pinot Grigio;
Terribly dry, an acquired taste.
You’re my favorite T-shirt;
Faded, fraying a bit at the edges,
But I’ll always slip it on, comfortable, warm.

Check in after plugging in;
You are (clearly) not a calculator.

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So, after a month and a half on Paleo…

I must say, I’m feeling pretty good. This is going much better than my previous forays with dietary restrictions, like counting calories or not eating meat. Looking back, I’m sure I had my reasons for attempting such feats, but I find myself scratching my head, thinking of something along the lines of “Well, what the hell was I trying to do that for? And why in that way? And for what reason?”

See, I’m no stranger to diets. I may not be the type of person to immediately switch to the newest fad diet, but I am susceptible to things that seem to resonate with whatever I feel at that point in time. Take my very brief period as a lacto-ovo vegetarian as an example. I had started cutting meat out of my diet the summer before I went to college for no other reason than not wanting to hurt any more animals, trying to reduce the impact I had on the planet. However, if you know my folks like I know my folks, you’ll come to realize that this was probably the worst timing ever. Why? Because summer is the season for barbeques and my folks love them some barbequed meat.

Come to think of it, they’d probably approve of the fact that I’m eating meat again. I’m not sure; I haven’t seen them in (seemingly) ages and I doubt they know what I’ve been up to for the past few years.

But yes, summertime was indeed the time for family reunions and long summer days sitting outside beneath the shade, a cooler on one side of the porch and a grill on the other. Everyone’s plates were laden with mayonnaise-slathered salads, spicy, homemade salsas, and the obligatory chunk of carne asada. Me? I had the salad and the salsa, because those were okay enough. But rather than crown my plate with a side of beef, I had a rather large piece of nopal, cactus, that my aunt had taken the spines off of in a hurry once she discovered my predicament. This nondescript little plant was then charbroiled on the same grill that had had those lovely cuts of meat not two minutes before, much to my cousins’ amusement. “Hey, aren’t you a vegetarian? You sure you can eat that now that it’s touched animal fat or whatever?” they snickered.

Yeah, my cousins are kind of assholes. But whose aren’t?

After that, the summer passed by in a flash and it was time for my first year of college. I was only a few months in as a lacto-ovo vegetarian (milk and eggs were okay, but no meat) when I discovered that I was getting these headaches that weren’t going away with painkillers. So, being the persistent type, I continued for a bit longer. It was getting to the point where “splitting headaches” were a thing when I went to the UC for lunch and happened to walk by the Exhibition station. It was here that people could order things like steaks or chicken breasts and the specials could be something wonderful like Philly cheesesteaks with french fries or that rare steak and lobster special that come once in a blue moon. I took a whiff…and that’s when I said “Fuck the environment, I need some meat!”

Don’t get me wrong; I’m hardly the type to desire to one day drive a Hummer, an original model, or see the world burn so that I can continue to drive around relatively cheaply. For one, I can hardly drive at all, as I don’t have my license and there is my notable aversion to driving when it’s much faster to just walk to where I need to go. And then there’s the fact that Hummers are decidedly ugly things, their lines chunky and blocky, their intended audience being the sort to want to look as though they have business offroad that requires the equivalent of a fucking tank when, really, they’ll just be driving up and down the smoother curves of the highway. It’s too much and I just happen to dislike excess in vehicles. Personally, I’d rather like a functional, four-door vehicle of some sort, nothing too showy, if a bit small, to keep neat and tidy.

And now I’m getting distracted; if anything, it’ll be another year or so before I’m on the road, what with graduate school and everything. But after my vegetarian phase, I just ate whatever I wanted and, naturally, my weight just ballooned upwards. I had been losing a little bit as a vegetarian, but that was more of a fringe benefit than my main goal; any losses that had been made were probably wiped out in that first couple months after returning to being an omnivore. I didn’t like it. I was pretty big to begin with and, clearly, I was only getting bigger, but I didn’t really do anything about it until the end of my sophomore year. It was around the same time that I bought an iPod touch and promptly discovered that there were these apps that counted calories. I tried a few and then discarded all save one, My Fitness Pal.

All throughout that summer, I got serious. Little by little, I began to build up my willpower, saying “no” to my mother and her calorie-laden foods, declining my sisters’ offers of fast food and other things that didn’t seem to have quite the same effect on them that they had on me, depriving myself for the sake of myself. It honestly felt as though I were playing a video game; having calories left over at the end of the day was my victory condition. This continued for about a year and, yes, I did lose weight…to a certain point. While I did drop down from 286 pounds to 216 by just watching what I ate and stressing out during the semester, I never did get around to establishing some kind of workout routine. I think there was a time that I was eating the bare minimum and yet the scale wasn’t budging. I was getting any thinner because I had hit my plateau. Despite my losses (or are they gains?), it didn’t seem like I was ever going to get below 215 pounds. That feeling of going nowhere sucks. It made me feel like I sucked.

And then, it happened. One sunk paddleboat later, I was left without an iPod. I’m kind of glad that it happened, but I was devastated when it did. Without my handy dandy device, I couldn’t keep track of my calories efficiently and I let myself go. Sure, I lost a bit of my progress, but that then forced me to look for a way to do this, to lose weight and accept myself, properly. And find it I did.

Flash forward to now: I’m at 209, somewhere that I’d never thought I would’ve been able to reach just a few months ago, and I’m still going. What have I been doing? Eating things that aren’t processed, waking up Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays to strength train using my bodyweight, and just feeling good. I’m not saying “OMG, y’all should go Paleo, like, right NOW!”, but yeah. This is what I’ve been doing and it’s been working for me, so I’m going to keep on going. It’s worth a shot, at least.

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Midweek drabbles, or “I just got a sketchbook! Fun fact: not using it for sketches because I can’t draw very well. Nice paper though…”

Just some observations about the people around me in class…
Dis bitch
Got some Ritz
Sitting calm as can be.

Dis other mook’s
Got his book
And is scribbling freely.

This ninny’s
Sitting pretty
Tapping his toe.

And this creep’s
Gone to sleep
Not worried, oh, no.

Just another day in Biophysical, yo.
Just another. Damn. Day.
*************************************
You are
A single, rogue element,
Distrupting my entire universe.
I think I love you.
I can hardly think
Straight
(No pun intended)

You’re chaos, I’m order,
The sight of you makes me grow
Bolder,
Yet my feelings are a
Boulder
That I must
Continuously
Roll
Uphill.
I am your silent Sisyphus.
**************************************
Ma cherie
If there is one thing
to know about me
it is simply
that
without you, I am empty.

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