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It’s been a good while…

Good morning and, if you celebrate it, Happy Easter! If not, hey, there’s gonna be plenty of chocolate and candy on sale tomorrow that’ll be shaped like eggs. Good stuff.

So, it’s been a very, very long time since I last posted something on here. Most of it is me just plain forgetting to do so and part of it is that nothing’s really been happening, per se. I’ve had a couple exams, a few more deadlines thrown my way, but nothing I really felt like writing about, y’know? Although, since last time, I have seen a couple of really good movies! Am I an avid moviegoer? Not really, but I’m glad I managed to catch these two in one way or another.

So, I watched Silver Linings Playbook with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago. It was a nice way to end off my Spring Break, all things considered, though I was only enthused by the fact that Jennifer Lawrence was in it at first. So, we get to the movie theater and my friend and I are chatting about what might happen in the movie; I didn’t read anything about it online so that I didn’t spoil myself beforehand, but I had come across a few GIFs on Tumblr so I figured it would have something to do with some very unstable characters, to put it mildly. What I didn’t expect was the engrossing story and the rest of the cast just complimenting each other so nicely. We found ourselves cringing and laughing and just adding our own commentary to what was going on, which says a lot about the film. I think the movie was just shy of two hours, but they just flew on by and before I knew it, the movie was over. Just trust me, go and watch it if you still can.

The other movie I watched was one that I got to see last night at the movie theater on campus, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Again, I just went because of Emma Watson, who plays Sam in the film. Maybe I should pick all of my movies like this, based on whether or not one of my favorite actors is starring in it, because this movie was really good too! And apparently the author of the book is also a hell of a director; I liked the general aesthetic of the film, as vague as that sounds. It was appropriate for the story while still being very pretty. The story itself kind of made me glad that I didn’t read the novel beforehand because I feel that, if I had, I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the film half as much. That’s just me, though; I don’t particularly enjoy watching the same thing multiple times because then I already know what’s going to happen and that just ruins it for me. The only exception to this is when I watch it with different people because they can add it their own personal twist to things and keep it fresh. But, yes, this is definitely a must-see; not only do the characters and the story sparkle, but the music ties it all together nicely.

And that’s pretty much the highlights of the last month or so. I am, as ever, approaching the day I graduate with my bachelor’s degree with just a little bit of trepidation. But that’s fine, I’ll just face it head on.

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Well, hey, at least you remembered to vote…

Howdy! My university is currently in the middle of its Spring Break, something that doesn’t fail to amuse my comrades in the UC and CSU systems, who have their Break a bit later I believe. Nevertheless, I’ve elected to use this time to catch up on my schoolwork and, as our professor was kind enough to mention that his next exam would involve copious amounts of cell signalling pathways, I figured that I should probably get cracking on that. But before I do, it’s time for my usual blather in the form of the Sunday Post.

So, my university just finished having their student body elections to determine just who will be sitting at the helm for the next academic school year and, while the candidates that I supported unfortunately lost, I’m fairly happy with the results. Fairly happy with just a smidge of “Yep, I knew it”. See, while most of the other positions were embarrassingly uncontested, the race for president and vice president was much more heated than I remembered last year’s being. There were four candidates, which I’ll just summarize with  monikers that will, hopefully, be enlightening in regards to my own opinion of them as well as somewhat hilarious because at least one of the candidates totally was:

  1. The two people that you see pitching in everywhere: Clearly, my pick for this election. They actually came in second, I believe, which is definitely where I’d thought they’d be if they hadn’t just straight up won because they’re just that good. Both the potential president and VP are driven and responsive people who have consistently contributed to the university as a whole well before trying their hand at an actual office. I would trust them with all of my issues, or at least the ones relevant to my experiences here at Pacific. So, why didn’t they win? It’s probably a mix of the other two candidates having a bit of a Ross Perot effect and their sheer comparability with the candidates who actually did win. Again, I felt that they were really, really close; they could’ve taken it if not for numbers 2 and 3.
  2. The two inexperienced frat boys with nothing but partying on the brain: Now, I’ve actually gotten a LOT of flak for calling these two “frat boys” and I get that not all of the people in fraternities (or sororities, for that matter) behave in that stereotypical manner that we’re all accustomed to. However, these two fit the bill to a T. Traditionally, the people that run for President and VP also happen to be upperclassmen, juniors and/or seniors who, having spent some time at the university, a) want to contribute to their student body, preferably before they graduate and b) have taken the time to make those connections to, not only students, but the faculty that they’ll soon be working closely with in their new positions. While this group had plenty of a), I felt that not only were they lacking b), but were a bit too naive in their ambitions. Would it be great if Pacific had more of a social scene? I guess, but that’s not why we’re here. Could we make improvements to the catering company that serves our school? Sure, but you could’ve done that anyway if you organize, connect, and are incredibly persistent. One of my band directors back in high school said it to me this way: you don’t need to be in a position of power to have power. These two running for office did nothing, I feel, but detract from the much more viable candidates; their biggest appeal had an emotional sob story as their linchpin, not the interests of the student body. I would’ve recommended that they sit on the sidelines and mature a bit more, become a bit more certain and aware of what they say and how they carry themselves, and only then toss their hat into the ring. Do I sound harsh and critical? Yes, I hope so! I actually want them to reevaluate their strategy, cut out that ridiculous and irrelevant crap about having it so much harder than everyone else (because everyone does in their own way, get over it), and come back sharp and focused. They could easily come back next year and take the office; they’ve got the time to do so.
  3. The BUSI/COMM double robots: Honestly, these two came out of nowhere. I could be exaggerating or it could be due to my coursework keeping me on the other side of campus, but I had never seen or heard of these people before the election. I’m not saying that they’re terrible; at least they had the good sense to not call Stockton “ghetto” in front of people who are actually from Stockton (like The Frat Boys did; truly cringe-worthy). And, really, if you think about it, people who are versed in the art of public speaking and business management are probably more than qualified to hold a public office, or at least I’d hope so. But, see, while I’m certain that these two could theoretically be strong contenders, what with their training in their respective fields, I felt that they were overall forgettable. I went to the debates that were supposed to exhibit all of the candidates at their best and these two didn’t make much of an impression. Again, it’s a bit of a shame; their talents have been cultivated for this sort of thing and yet they neglected to put points into their Charisma, so to speak. I only call them robots because one had a monotone and the other had some hyperinflections going on or something.
  4. The already-made men: Or, to the rest of the student body, our new President and Vice President for the 2013-2014 academic year. Now, why do I call them “already-made”? Because, like the Mafia, these two already had an “in”; they both have prior experience in the student body office under Arts and Entertainment, better known as the section of ASuop that is the most public, the most influential, and definitely in better standing than all of the rest of ASuop combined. Why? A&E throws the parties, hosts the concerts, and generally caters to students. Here on campus, if you’ve ever been to an event hosted by ASuop, it was most likely A&E’s doing. What’s more, they did exactly what one should do when in a favorable position like this one: they capitalized on it immensely. And it worked for them, clearly. Again, I would’ve voted for these two if the people that I actually voted for had not appeared just because they are that favorable; they know the system from the inside-out, they have those crucial connections in place already, and they’re generally amicable people, either naturally or because they’ve grown accustomed to it in their work. 

So, why didn’t I vote for the people with the in, then? Believe it or not, it’s precisely because they had the in and there was a better candidate, in my opinion, who wasn’t so deep into the very system that I wanted to change as a voter. Nothing against ASuop, but come on: you’re going to have a sort of nepotism inherent in place. Who gets hired? People who know people who are already working there. Who controls the flow of information? The people who work there. Who has intimate contact with the people who actually run this institution? The people who work there, especially the President of the Student Body. It’s literally their job to be the mouthpiece for the President of the University, to act as a kind of bridge between the students and the regents. And I believe that the current acting president and VP are also cut from the same cloth, being people who got their start in the Student Body Office. Have they done their job as that increasingly vital connection? Nope. Is it too far-fetched to assume that the president-elect and his VP will do exactly the same thing and be just as ineffectual? Not at all, methinks.

Keep in mind that this is just an assumption. There is also the possibility of our new officers kicking all sorts of ass, so to speak, and rallying to the students’ defense in matters that are near and dear to our hearts, like those nasty tuition hikes and certain unwise decisions to build certain buildings that, while picturesque, are generally pointless and without great merit in addressing the issue of overpopulation in the residence halls (which, granted, could be solved in other ways, though I have a sneaking suspicion that our Board of Regents isn’t too overly concerned about the matter or anything aside from remaining “financially solvent”, to use their jargon). So, yes, I’m horribly cynical when it comes to the people in charge of our student body. I’m just basing this on what I’ve seen in my time here at Pacific: absolutely nothing being done, no pushes to keep our Board in check, no transparency in matters that affect all of us, nada.

Granted, it is rather difficult to be effectual when that body that you’re supposed to hold accountable makes it damned difficult to do so. It’s not uncommon that an initiative to take both the students’ view and the regents’ view into account in the form of, oh, let’s say a committee of some sort, to be undercut by an unwillingness to communicate effectively. Or to just stop at talking without actually doing anything. Or to not even have the chance to talk because some people can’t be bothered to rearrange their schedules to accommodate the people they claim to represent, who are trying to do that and work on their various degrees so that they can contribute in their respective fields. I have a feeling that, in order to effectively be heard as a student body, it’s going to take more than effective point-men at the forefront (which the president-elect and his running mate totally are).

I’m going to be utterly and cruelly blunt: it’s going to take our regents, the people that we’ve entrusted the future of our school to, getting their heads out of their collective ass and trusting us, the students, to hold some sort of awareness and attentiveness when it comes to more than just tuition hikes. It’s going to take the students, in turn, to worry more about what’s going to happen in their time here and cultivating the ability to empathize with the regents as well as project their visions of the future beyond their undergraduate careers in this institution and actually giving a shit about what will happen to this place after they leave. And, most of all, everybody is going to have to stop trying to look good and actually fucking doing something. Give me some results, not a building that I have no use for! Don’t give me a bullshit plan for the future and then sit on your hands about the details! I want answers to my questions, not your usual, infuriating, PC runaround! I want our President to hold consistent office hours, just like every other professor on campus is beholden to whether people actually show up or not. Either that, or welcome everyone to your house on campus instead of those parties for the select few that you seem to damned insistent on; those aren’t enough. You can’t go around sampling only a few and believing that you have the voice of the entire student body, Madam President. It’s statistical bullshittery, it makes for opinions tainted by pointless pandering, and it needs to stop. Why am I demanding the unreasonable? Because I want the unreasonable: to get involved in a way that doesn’t detract from why I am actually here.

Long story short: am I glad that I voted in the ASuop elections, despite the fact that the people I supported didn’t win? You bet your ass I am!

 

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It’s been a while, hasn’t it…

Hi! I know I forgot to write some thing last Sunday, as is my custom, but I wasn’t feeling up to it. I actually wasn’t feeling up to it this morning, either, but you know? Today’s gone remarkably better than expected. I mean, it’s gone from me moping about the things I can’t change to right now, writing freely about whatever I want while listening to a bunch of calming acoustic guitar instrumentals. I am truly fortunate.

Didn’t do much out of the ordinary last week. Didn’t expect to be doing so much today, either, but thankfully that didn’t pan out as previously predicted. I mean, I woke up like usual, did my laundry as usual, went to Matsuri’s executive board meeting as usual and then, sighing, submitted myself to my fate and went to the United Cultural Council’s Spring Retreat. Honestly, I’m glad I did; there was this activity we did called “Feeling Families”. It helped me work out some of the issues that’ve been getting me down lately and you know what? I’m not the only one who’s scared by default or the only one who gets mad with a purpose. I mean, of course I’m not the only one; there are, what? Seven billion people on the planet or something, right? Odds are good that there’s at least one other person who shares my woes and joys. But I kind of forgot that and the reminder was nice. Again, it helped immensely.

Actually did my homework, which is nice. I dunno, when you get to college, you can be assigned homework, but I find that my professors aren’t really as strict about it. You should do it, of course, but it’s more of a way to check if you can go on sleeping or daydreaming in class. Then again, I’m probably not the best person to ask for advice regarding academic matters. I’m an okay student, but I find lectures tedious for the most part, favoring the more practical, hands-on approach of lab work to sitting in class, taking notes. It’s one of the reasons why I’m pretty sure that I’ll make for a successful research scientist.

Speaking of, it seems as though my advisor hasn’t yet given up on the notion of retaining someone who knows his lab inside and out yet and, truth be told, I’m glad. I might just be taking him up on the offer of enrolling in the master’s program, despite what I told him earlier. I dunno, it’s just that that leap from the end of my undergraduate studies to the beginning of graduate school looks so wide and scary. The fact that I’m pretty much on my own, something that I was well aware of for a few years now, has only just started to sink in and it’s only made an already terrifying prospect so much worse. I’m starting to warm to the idea of spending two more years here, in this comfortable academic cocoon. Besides, I’ll be able to see my friends graduate just as they’ll see me graduate this semester. It won’t be like every other time people leave, where I leave them behind or they leave me behind. Losing people, even if it’s to their own futures, their own hopes and dreams, never gets any easier for me.

That’s probably the biggest thing that’s been affecting me this week: one of my friends/person-that-I-have-this-embarassingly-huge-crush-on is currently in the middle of rushing for a certain Greek fraternity. Now, I’m no stranger to the Greeks; I know how they’re all about being a family and being together all the time, joined at the hip or what have you, but I consider myself to be generally anti-Greek. If you tell me that you belong to an organization with three letters and nothing else, I will assume that you are a pompous, self-righteous nitwit who is too weak to stand on your own two feet and have to rely on an organization to make a name for yourself. It’s this prejudice, reinforced by past experiences, that will steer me clear of ever joining any such organizations myself. However, when you go to a university as small as mine and have friends flung far and wide, you’re going to have a few Greeks. Some of them can at least remain civil, some of them stay just the same, and others completely block you out if you’re not one of them. It happens.

So why this person, aside from the obvious “Because I like their face!”? I guess it’s because I’m greedy, I’m needy, and I don’t like to share, at least when it comes to them. It’s strange how I never actually noticed them until another friend told me mentioned how they were remarkably attractive. At the time, I was trying to get over someone (ironically enough, it was the same friend who complimented the current object of my affections) so, while I had known them for a year, I had never really entertained the notion of hanging out in earnest. So, what? I guess I felt betrayed a bit when they seemed to blow me off for an organization that I’m sure can actually help them out later on. Or when they went to a mutual friend’s party and didn’t really mention it when they excused themselves from hanging out on a three day weekend. Our schedules are so hectic that it seems we’ll never have any time unless we make room and I want to make room, but I feel as though imposing my will on them is improper. Tell me, are we friends if I still think like this?

I may not feel like the situation is completely hopeless. Well, at least not anymore. But all I can do is change my own response to this situation, which is eerily parallel to one I encountered two years ago now. That one didn’t end happily, as I’m only an acquaintance to them, but I’m determined to try another approach, one of simple acceptance and a humble presence at their side, should they need it. It’s all I can do here, so I’m not going to push them away. Not again.

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This is why I love PACS 3…

[Okay, so I’ve got an assignment due in a few hours for PACS 3. I started off the prep sheet as usual, skimming the readings and the questions, no big deal. But then I started responding to the first question…and was “done” about an hour later. Holy shit, right? But this is why I love this class; I don’t get to write like this in my usual classes at all. So, in lieu of an actual post, here’s the first question and my response. You’ll find that it’s basically like any other post that I write on here; I think that keeping a blog where I just write things out for its own sake gives me a bit of an edge.]

1.    What would you do with the Gyges ring?  Are you good at resisting temptations?
        While I’ll admit that the first thought that entered into my head was “Get an iPod touch from Best Buy for the wonderful price of free”, I now find myself with something altogether different in mind for the Ring of Gyges. It helps that, nowadays, the things worth stealing (an entirely subjective worth, mind you) have a bunch of other security measures that would thwart mere invisibility like magnetic tags. What would be the point of going invisible if that stupid thing at the door would beep were you to pass by with the item in question. And even before then, I’d have to do a full battery of obligatory preliminary tests to see the ring’s power for myself. Can I still wear clothes while invisible? I’m sure I still make sounds while I’m invisible, so just how close would I have to be for someone to hear me breathe and be tipped off to my presence? What is the average reaction to a door opening by itself in this day and age? No, I could not be a master thief with the Ring of Gyges; too much thinking is involved in circumventing it’s inherent weaknesses and an iPod touch is not even worth it when I can just buy it used from Amazon.
        No, I’d probably peoplewatch instead. Or use it to travel safely in the dead of night; you can’t mug what you can’t see, right? Unless you can see their shadow; I’m assuming that, because you don’t become immaterial when you turn it on, the Ring can’t stop your matter from casting a shadow. But nobody looks down, anyway, so I should be safe.
        Eavesdropping is good too, provided the conversation is actually worth listening to. Would I be the best anonymous journalistic source ever? Hell yes; I could probably be able to sneak into meetings at corporations and blow the whistle on them. I dunno, I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them. Spy on them, spy on committee meetings in D.C.; someone’s gotta keep them accountable. Though I’m probably going to need money anyway, just to have a home to return to at the end of the day and somewhere to shower. Ugh, I’m probably going to have to be all sorts of careful picking out body wash, aren’t I? Can’t pick something that smells too nice, otherwise people’d know that someone is there and be on their guard. That’s easily enough solved; just pick something close to what they’re wearing.
        As for money, perhaps the occasional blackmail? Something so secret that they would rather die than go to the cops or blab about it to their friends (or “friends”; I’m counting on them to be big enough jerks that they’re the kind of people who think everyone’s out to get them), making them more amenable to fulfilling my request of basically paying my rent (plus utilities) with just a bit left over for basic foodstuffs. Invisible or not, I’m fairly cheap.
        …Damn, now I want this ring to be an actual thing. I mean, sure, I could spend my life in the pursuit of a cure to cancer, which I think doesn’t exist. I mean, curing cancer would be neat, but now that I know more about the disease, I can’t think of it as a “disease”. It seems to be a condition inherent to organisms outliving their natural lifespans; people just aren’t meant to live that long. I can understand why we still fight. Living is nice. I rather like being alive. So, rather than funneling funding towards something that is inherently pointless, let’s use it to enrich people’s lives instead. “This Ring could basically be my day job instead of searching for the cure to a disease whose essence is too integral to humanity” is the point I’m trying to get across. Might as well do something productive for the world while I still breathe.
        Now for the other half of the question: am I good at resisting temptations? Simply put, no. Again, if the Ring of Gyges actually did exist and wasn‘t just for an overly thought out experiment in morality, I would go off and do exactly as I’ve said vis-à-vis the whole do-gooder spy thing. I would make the degree I’ve been working on for four years now utterly pointless in a heartbeat. If that’s not the very definition of an impulse, I don’t know what is honestly.
        Then again, I do happen to ignore other so-called “temptations”. Drinking in general doesn’t interest me, though I do appreciate a dark ale. I’m too cheap to gamble (it’s so wasteful!); smoking’s a straight-up “no” because my grandmother fell to lung cancer and it’s just gross. Would I date a smoker? Hell no and I’ll sit upwind of them for good measure. Sex seems rather boring, one of the few factors that I find accounts for my chastity remaining intact. It’s not for the lack of people I’d like to get it on with, I just don’t appreciate them clinging. All we did was sleep together, geez.
        Maybe I am good at resisting temptations of a conventional sort, if only because I can rationalize them away into nothing. Just not temptations like skipping out on studying for an exam to go see a choir recital for someone that I like very much or staying up until 2:30 in the morning to see a rather boring show in order to appease my friends. Friends, then, are the source of many a temptation that I just can’t make go away. Peer pressure is dreadful.

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“Tax season” is now in my vernacular…

Not that it matters or anything, seeing as how my status as a student prevents me from claiming my scholarship credits, much to my chagrin. Or maybe I’m doing it wrong; the claim last year was that, because I could still be claimed as someone’s dependent, I couldn’t get that extra $1000 (which could’ve helped me out in school, by the way) so I was stuck with whatever I got from the state from working. It wasn’t much, for those who were wondering.

But yeah, I’ve got to get on that, filing taxes and other time-sensitive things. I just feels like time’s running away from me, but maybe that’s because, again, I graduate in a few months. Still kind of shocked, though I seem to be handling it well enough. My biggest worry after graduation though is just what on Earth am I supposed to do? Where am I going? How do I get there? Will I have a stable job and living space before November, when the creditors start knocking on my door, wanting a return on four years’ worth of loans? The answers that I have collected thus far are as follows: get a job ASAP; anywhere but here, as the job market’s pretty shit; no clue, seeing as I can’t drive anywhere; and let’s hope so, lest you have to move in with the rest of your clan ’cause that shit ain’t happening.

I love my folks. Really, I do. But, boy, they have issues. It seems as though my older sister is intent on making herself out to be the worst financial role model ever, my younger sister is already in trouble (again), and my mother is resolute on reestablishing her iron-fisted matriarchy, ’cause that didn’t totally collapse when I went off to college. Already, they’re sniffing around me, like sharks chasing chum, and it’s that reflexive instinct to pull everyone back to one place and live under one roof again like we used to at work here. But here’s the thing: I’ve already tasted independence. I know that, if I must, I can and will take care of myself, spoil myself even. So, while I do miss my mother at times, I don’t want to go back. My sister’s abode is little more than a vacuum where the concept of autonomy ceases to exist. Not to mention that, already, I’m flying under the radar; to go back would relegate me to Narnia, as far as closets go, for at least one more decade. Am I ever going to tell my mother? Probably, but not now. Though, really, what is there to disown? I’m already by myself, for the most part.

I dunno. I’ll make it work. For now, there’s two exams to prepare for, though I’ve only the vaguest sense of what I’m doing. Cheers!

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When it comes to writing essays…

Clearly, we are writing to completely different goals. What’s brought on this rather abrupt topic? How about having to work beside people who seem more worried about the length of their essays than their contents? I’m not sure if it’s because I write a lot as it is and don’t really bother keeping the word count in mind or if it’s due to being trained to write directly to the point, but this sort of mindset, one that values quantity over quality, just bugs me. Hell, it’s probably both combined with a general dislike for the frat boy-ish behavior of this bloke beside me. Having written absolutely nothing is not something to brag about, sir. Now pipe down and let me work in peace.

Or I can just put on my iPod. Freakin’ love my little device.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. I see this sort of mentality everywhere except in the sciences. Maybe it’s because we don’t really have much to write about and, when we do, it had better be short, sweet, and to the point. I remember my first formal lab report a few years back; it was a struggle to cut out much of that florid writing. I’m assuming it’s because that’s how I was taught to write in high school, in those literature courses that emphasized imagery and metaphors so long as they added to your work. Writing like a scientist seemed a bit brusque, so abrupt and to the point that there was no room to express oneself properly. Fast forward about three years  and I find myself scratching my head over why some essays are required to be twenty pages long. Why the length? It’ll inevitably be filled with bullshit just to get the word count up.

Even now, with the required liberal arts-ish seminar and all of the writing that comes with it, some of my friends are still struggling, still typing furiously and then clicking on Word Count, praying that, this time, there will be more than enough words for them to be able to stop. Maybe it’s because I tend to write a lot for this blog, but 1,200 words? A pittance, especially when I’m just getting warmed up. I just like words! It makes me wonder why I became a Biochemistry major in the first place…

Oh, right. I like to be in the lab more than I like to write. Go figure.

So, the seminar requires a lot of writing and, what’s really nice, a lot of introspection. The homework is essentially “read something and then respond to it using these questions to guide your thinking”. I’ve had friends spend two, three hours on their prep sheets easily. Me? An hour, tops, and that’s without me wandering off to manage my kingdom online. Currently playing War of Legends, which is another game published by Jagex (of RuneScape fame), because I can just set things to go and do themselves and not have to actively click much. So, between ordering troops to ransack various wildlands and wondering just what exactly Aristotle meant when he said that monarchies are the most ideal forms of government, I can finish off a prep sheet in an hour and a half. I’m not bragging (well, okay, maybe a little), but it’s a damn handy skill to have when you procrastinate and the questions are due at 12:05 pm exactly.

Now back to the irritant. I’m still not sure what bothers me more, writing to an arbitrary word goal or being utterly obnoxious about it in a public space. Again, it’s probably both, but until I can find a way to isolate said noxious persons in some kind of bubble, I think I’ll complain about having to write to X amount of words. Or pages. Especially pages.

I have a few friends in the liberal arts and other departments outside of my own, which is truly a marvelous thing. Seriously, I totally recommend that you make friends outside of your major; if you’re anything like me, you tend to feel suffocated after a while and need someone on the outside to give you an opportunity to actually freakin’ breathe once in a while. But yeah, I love my friends to bits until they happen to say something to the tune of “I have to write a 15 page essay for class! Isn’t that the worst?”

…No. Not at all. I’d love to be able to write that much about something; ideally, it should serve as proof that, at the very least, I can come up with 15 pages of stuff about something that I am at least conscious of if not passionate about. Of course, I’m not going to say that because then it’ll turn into a pissing contest of who has more work to do than the other, whose major “totally sucks” because of the workload. I dunno, I’m not into that.

I’ve heard tell that my major is apparently one of the more difficult ones and, you know what? It totally is. Is it the hardest? Well, no. I’m one of those people that believe that, should you have a genuine interest in something, it’s not going to be as difficult as attempting to tackle something that is boring. That doesn’t mean that my courses have been a breeze. I like Biochemistry well enough, but Organic Chemistry was the death of me the first time around and the math component was a bit of a killer too. I got through them because I took my student advisor’s advice and made it fun. Just don’t ask me to depict a Claisen condensation; odds are that I’ve forgotten what goes where.

Where was I going with this? If you’re complaining about the homework now, wait ’til you get to do that shit for real. It’s not gonna be pretty. So find something you like and are reasonably good at or at least shut the fuck up and let other people work in peace. Okay?

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Midweek drabbles, or obvious self-insert is dreadfully obvious…

I was standing in line at the convenience store, “convenient” being an operative term, when she suddenly came in. Her fat face was flushed, her frame clothed in what appeared to be formal wear, and her hair… Ugh, I shuddered internally. And Anne claims that I look like her? Perhaps in the hair, but nowhere else.

“Hey,” she waved at me, almost desperate for my attentions. I could do naught but wave in kind, though the feeling wasn’t mutual. See, for all of her form and flaws and lack of dress sense, Maxim was someone that I socialized with. Part of it was out of a sick sense of curiosity out as to how someone could stand to be tactless and boorish, part of it (most of it, really) was due to running about in overlapping social circles. Unfortunately for me, she happened to run with, and be much more intimate with, my fair lady Oriana. Maxim was part and parcel for the two were nigh indistinguishable. Well, except for the obvious.

She blundered about, thankfully out of my sight, as I hurriedly, mentally pleaded with the person ahead of me. It was going to be awhile; that basket full of cleaning supplies and horrendous amounts of junk food told me that I was pretty much stranded in line. I looked down at the things in my hands, three boxes of cookies and two pints of milk that I was intent on consuming. I had only wandered over to the little store in the first place because I had to check on something in the center nearby. My duty done, I came within this establishment only to find myself seized by this unexplainable urge to eat something, though I had supped only hours before.

I spotted myself in the glass behind the register, twisting my mouth this way and that as I weighed my choices, only to shrug. Screw it, I’m good for it, I can work this off later.

The cashier finished putting all of the groceries in the plastic bags before handing them off to their customer, a big, plastic smile on their face. “Have a nice day!” The hollowness of that phrase struck at me keenly; here I was, in a hell of a hurry to get out of here, away from Maxim Maximus (as I liked to call her, for she was indeed colossal) when I had had the audacity to put on a friendly face and return her desperate little wave. Why not simply be forward, say something to the tune of “I really, really don’t like it when you hug me out of turn, thanks” and be done with this anguish?

Oh, right. Oriana. That impossibly beautiful angel. Beautiful…and taken, of course. I’d be mildly surprised (though pointedly pleased) if she weren’t. But who in the devil had the pleasure? Oriana didn’t say; I didn’t dare press for more information as I had already played my own trump card and revealed one of my deep, dark secrets in return. Could I have revealed another? Sure, I’ve plenty of darker ones in reserve. Besides, it’s her own business. I know that, I’m not stupid. Yet just the knowledge that there was someone else gnawed on me, still gnaws on me. It’s irritating to say the least.

I’m in the middle of my thoughts when I sense someone behind me. Maxim, holding two cups of tea, one a White Cucumber, the other a robust Awake. Rather than strike up a conversation, as I am wont to do, I pretend she doesn’t exist. It’s easy enough to do, once you dislike someone enough, and I find that it’s much easier than actively hating them. Because what is hate but love’s reciprocal? They both have equal magnitudes, only their directions are completely opposite in relation to one another. You’re just as obsessed with them, only in “hate”, you find yourself wishing for their complete annihilation instead of the best. And I must stress that, while Maxim is indeed annoying, she is hardly worth any of my hatred. That would be giving her too much attention.

As I set my things down on the counter, I find myself replying automatically. My mind is circling around the question of just why I find Maxim so irksome, abuzz and persistent. Why? Because she’s completely rancid, the smell of something oily hanging about her like miasma. Why? Because she doesn’t take care of herself, doesn’t have any sense of color-coordination, and seems to be under the impression that green felt is an acceptable material for a suit. Why? Because I had tasked her with finding out whether or not the lovely Oriana was in a relationship but she took too long so I ended up doing it myself anyway, despite being a miserable coward. And, to add to her crimes against humanity, Maxim is the biggest thing that stands in the way of at least advancing my relationship with Oriana. I may have given up on the prospect of us becoming lovers, but at least let me have a scrap of her friendship! Don’t hog it all, you great big brute!

I’m seething on the inside now. I know I am; I can feel a hot knot forming in the pit of my stomach. But I’m pleased to see that my face is completely still. It’s an art, hiding what you feel from the world, from the person you’re fond of but don’t want to ruin their lives by unloading your feelings onto them so carelessly. That, more than the fear of rejection, had held back my tongue that night. Perhaps it was my penchant for watching far too many Asian dramas; that sense of social subtleties and the anguish inherent to them seems to have seeped into my manner long ago.

All too soon, the transaction is over and I find myself walking out of the door automatically, a plastic bag in my hand. I’m not really hungry anymore, though I’m sure I’ll still eat them. I wonder if the resurgence of my craving for sweets coincides with the night I found out that Oriana was already in a relationship. But then I shake my head. Well, of course it does, stupid. It was like that for Amelia, wasn’t it? And Tristan before her. And Claude, lovely, sweet Claude, before him. But before I can mentally chastise myself further, I spot a pair of pale blue eyes and a bright smile that seems to pierce through my very being.

Oriana. My entire being is at ease whenever she’s around. Do I have anything in my teeth? Is my brow furrowed in any way? No? Good. I couldn’t bear to share my troubles with her, not with that gorgeous, kind person. No doubt she’s already got her own things to worry about already.

She says “Hi” brightly and all I can do is wave, lest my mouth betray me. I’m getting better at controlling myself, suppressing the urge to invade her space; it was at its worst when the pain had still been fresh, when I had thought that it was all a lie she told to gently let me down. But I don’t think she ever realized my true intent that night; she hasn’t said as much, at least. I stop in my tracks, more than happy to stop and chat. Oriana seems to have none of that, however, as her eyes scan the store behind me. She brightens up considerable, stopping mid-sentence, and I feel that odious presence behind me once more. Maxim.

The bigger of the two girls trots to the smaller, more slender girl’s side, looking a bit like a Saint Bernard pup. The two exchange greetings before realizing that I’m still here, smiling and looking on like an idiot. Oriana smiles at me. “There’s a concert tonight. Would you like to join us?” And then she takes the taller girl’s hand.

It hits me like the incoming surf, loud and sudden. I feel my face straining as I smother my emotions as best as possible. How was it that I missed this most obvious of things? They’re more than best friends, that much is clear here. They’re dating. Maxim is not only her best friend but her girlfriend to boot, her significant other! Oh, irony of ironies, just how cruel can life be! There’s really no other option now, is there? “No, thanks,” I feel my mouth twist into a smile.

“You sure? I heard them earlier during rehearsal; they’re really, really good.”

“Yeah. I’ve got homework and stuff.” The lies coat my tongue as easily as honey. Thankfully it’s all figurative, otherwise my mouth would be dribbling with the stuff. “I’ll see you two later, okay?” I turn on my heel and walk away, trying to keep it together until I reach my apartment, my inner sanctum.

Just don’t let them see you cry. Just…don’t.

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