February 17, 2006

end of it all

i'm exhausted and the words "heat death of the universe" have become fixed in my brain. except, i keep turning it slightly so that the words, "sleep death of the universe" continually trundle around up there. i get very self-absorbed when i need a nap.

February 16, 2006

city trek

i didn't blog for so long because i had nothing of interest really to say. well now i have a story. i had an adventure!

last saturday, i was supposed to go on a class field trip to the la brea tar pits, aka. page museum. whee. and i slept through it, i slept through it hard. so to make up for it, i had to go alone. thursday my schedule is nice and open, so perfect time to go, no? the museum is a couple miles down wilshire and thursday is kat's busy day, so i thought, why not make jim drive? haven't hung out with him in ages and he has a car. called him weds and he told me he was free thursday afternoon, so plan was set! got out of class at 1 and called. called. walked back to my apartment and called. ate lunch and called. watched an episode of west wing and called. then walked to the bus stop. i had forgotten to bring quarters, so i changed a dollar at the gas station ande bought some gum. he called me back when i was almost at wilshire, and by then i was seething with the rage of the blown-off. but apparently he had only then gotten out of class. i said screw it, i'd take the bus. this is where it got interesting.

i had written on the three big fingers on my left hand the streets before, at, and past my bus stop. i watched the clock and willed the bus faster as it got stuck in mild downtown traffic. i thought the museum closed at 4 - pit 19 closed at 4, the museum closed at 5. oops, hehe. i sat in the very front and watched the banner intently waiting for wilshire & __ or really any of my finger streets. finally, finally the last of my streets danced across the banner and i bounded out of my seat, on what was now a very crowded bus. a small, elderly lady shuffled into my spot, to my immense, spry chagrin. i bounded off the bus and headed back the way the bus had come a block or so and it didn't look right, so i headed forward about twice that distance. i did not see a museum, but i saw a coffee bean/tea leaf in the distance and headed for that. now, our lovable pothead apartment manager had lost the key to our apartment some days ago, and only told kat yesterday when she went in to complain they hadn't fulfilled a work order a week since it was placed, son in full laptop paranoia, i've been carrying around my baby all day. i bought a chai latte and $3.85 worth of internet and promptly googled mapped my location, using the address of a tire shop accross the street. i found i wasn't too far from the museum, namely 1.1 miles west. i asked the man next to me what direction was east (forward) and headed off with my brimming spicy drink. i speed walked and precision sipped several city blocks all the way to museum. on my way, i saw window washers cleaning a shiny, modern, black office building, and a huge statue of many bulls, and a white suv with the lisence plate "iketrnr" (like ike & tina, which brings up many questions: is tina's husband's surname actually turner? did he take la tina's last name when they wed? did she marry him before being famous? am i thinking of the wrong people? do i care enough to answer these? hah, no!), and various men who smiled or waved, and my sexy, sexy relfection. it's weird that i only ever feel sexy when i'm essentially alone. i finally got to the museum with half an hour to spare. half price admission! the tar pit looked a lot like a muddy pit. the bones were pretty cool, i liked the big, scary, skeletal birds - very gothy. but the museum wasn't particularly informatinve and i had to collar a docent 5 in before closing to answer my questions. basically, i held up my homework and he went through each point, laughing. i stopped on a grassy hill outside above a sculpture of two prehistoric lions posing so pretty and copied down what i remembered of his answers and billowing in the breeze.

as i went back, i contemplated hanging out at lacma for a bit, but it was late and i needed to stop at ralph's. took a rapid bus back that trundled down the street at high speeds, jolting as if it were running repeatedly over the curb. and small tanks. got back and went to ralph's, filled kat's shopping list. on the way back down to street level, my headphones caught in the elevator door and an earbud was torn completely off. so of course, i took the elevator back up and bought replacements at best buy. trudged back to the apartment and called jim, aplogising for being pissy on the phone when he called me back. i figured, i had had a lovely trip without him, and likely more fun wandering the streets alone. and i couldn't really blame him when i hadn't said what time i had wanted to go.

after all of that, i got back home and collapsed. tiring day.

February 13, 2006

she dreams in digital

me: i had this really great dream last night.
me: well, afternoon
mat: do tell
me: it's kind of hard to explain
me: i mean, the narration can't quite capture how awesome it was
mat: k
mat: fair enouigh
me: i'll try, though, for your viewing pleasure
mat: do your best
me: okay, i'll start with the villain
mat: does it involve you, naked? cuz you know, that certainly ups the viewing pleasure
me: haha, mental projectionist's reel?
mat: mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm hmmmm
me: no nudity, i'm afraid, but if you'd like to picture me naked while i recount my story, you're welcome to
me: now no heckling, i'm about to begin
mat: yes, sweetie
mat: is it ok if a drool while i imagi...listen to you?
me: haha. shush
me: alright. i'm beginning with the villain
me: a brilliant programmer
me: he has created a extremely lifelike virtual world - the best virtual reality to date. think the matrix. it's exactly like the real world - sensations and amazingly high res
me: but it has its limitations, too
me: like in a video game, you can only go into the parts of it that have been mapped out, everything else is just sort of scenery. surfaces that may look real, but that you are unable to interact with
me: it's sort of a stub-world
me: and the programmer has maybe 100 people or so trapped in his creation.
me: think the matrix, again, if you must. their brains are trapped in it, and they cannot break free, because there are no physical confines to break out of
me: we're all trapped in a room. it looks like a small room, but we can all stand there without being crowded
me: and opening to my left is a set of french doors and a narrow balcony that juts far out over a deep, deep chasm
me: outside, several leagues below the room is, what can only be described as a large canyon floor - large enough that no walls can be seen, but there was the impression that we were very solidly situated atop a cliff
me: a dark pine forest covers the canyon floor as far out as i looked
mat: several leagues? hah
me: the scene was vaguely reminiscent of those japanese scroll paintings...but i go on
mat: sorry, continue
me: we weren't happy, to be trapped, obviously, and as soon as we got through yelling at the programmer that he couldn't do that &c. and he vanished in thin air, i promptly launched myself onto the balcony and into the air in a glorious free-fall
mat: (naked)
me: (only if you have the cheat code)
mat: oh, i do
me: (a warm room, alcohol, and a sinatra mix tape?)
me: rather than this being a suicidal move, i suspected that the scenery below was merely in place as a sort of psychological deterrent for people trying to exit that way, and that the programmer had in fact not created any boundaries in that part of the world
me: i dove straight through the image and came to an unmemorable stop somewhere below the gif
me: i was in an off-white room resembling a classroom (empty walls, a floor that gave the impression of mismatched vinyl tiles), dimly lit with fluorescents
me: and huddled in the room were all sorts of brightly colored cartoonish creatures, like escapees from a fantastical zoo
me: they told me they were refugees in the program, hiding from the programmer in that sub-routine to escape being put in the room with the other prisoners. they though they had a better chance of escaping from where they were, you see
me: they looked
me: i guess i must have left that room and wandered around a bit, because the next thing i knew, i had been caught again and was with the other prisoners in the balcony room. i had no idea what had happened to the toons, i suppose they were caught
me: as soon as the programmer left (by then he had developed the typically villainous attitude toward me as the amusing creature who foolishly, futilely, and a bit obnoxiously was determined to thwart his plans), i launched myself back off the balcony
me: i assumed he had done some reprogramming to prevent me from going the way i had before, but it was still my best chance of escape
me: (to go back a moment, i forgot to mention the others - my friends - who were among those trapped in the room. there was a single mother with one or two young boys also trapped and the programmer's wife, who was not pleased with him. both were very scared, and hugged me in relief when i was returned)
me: so, when i leap, this time, instead of not really landing, i faceplant hard and a little painfully on a tiled porch
mat: haha
me: i get up slowly, but not injured and the programmer is lounging back in a wooden reclining patio chair, at a table with similar chairs all around
me: he has one hand resting on the table with a drink
me: he leans forward with some interest and begins asking me, did i really think he would let me go, what did i expect would happen the second time and other slightly mocking things, making him sound like a bond villain
me: somehow, and this part is blurry, i break free of the program. maybe i run, maybe i attack him image, but somehow i make it back into the real world
me: i think then i must go and try and free the others. i guess he had most of them physically in a central location, hooked up to his vr
me: when i get, there, however, the people are being let free
me: my friends are rushing away from there like bats out of hell, but they stop and talk to me
me: they're both terribly glad to be let free
me: apparently, the programmer hadn't taken my escape attempts seriously, thinking no one could possibly want to be free of his computer realm
me: when i succeeded in breaking out, it had sort of burst his bubble. he realized that no one wanted to be a part of his new utopia and became despondent
mat: aww poor nerd
me: realizing the people did not in fact view him as the hero he envisioned himself, he opened the borders of his realm. now anyone could reach it and come and go as they pleased, and the women were rushing out of there as quickly as they could
me: i tried to stop them and tell them that since it was opened, they could live in the program freely, but they wanted no part of it after that and left me behind rather preoccupied
me: i, on the other hand, jacked back into the world
me: i met someone in there, a man who was the programmer's sort of agent within the program, a deputy if you will
me: he worked for the programmer, and since the programmer was off, pouting, most like, he fancied himself in charge and was a controlling sort
me: also, kind of a smooth operator manly sort
me: he was in a tight room, resembling a kitchen with dark cabinets and counters, but without kitchen fixtures
me: people were crammed in, trying to set up residence in the world through this man
me: i went in and joined him behind the counter
me: he knew who i was and we got into a row about whether i was allowed to stay, being the reason that the first settlement collapsed and the reason the programmer was now in a funk
me: i declared that i would ask the programmer and he would surely let me remain
mat: naughty carla
mat: mmm yes....naughty...
me: he said that i would never even be allowed to see the programmer
me: so i turned away from him and clapped my hands twice very commandingly
me: and then sort of waited, hoping it would work and i wouldn't look like an idiot
me: and sure enough, the programmer appeared in front of me on the other side of the counter, looking very resigned and sort of sad
me: he looked at me not quite with reproach and asked me to please never summon him that way again
mat: you can be demanding
me: i wasn't really sure what had given me the power to summon him that way, but i had been nearly sure when i did, as i was then, that he liked me and would come when i called. not liked me on a personal level, but had a thing for me, so he couldn't quite help himself.
me: i apologised and told him i wouldn't unless it was urgent and asked if i might stay
me: he got petulant then, and asked why i wanted to stay, when i had just got through escaping
me: i responded that i was free now to come and go as i pleased, so given a choice, how could i choose not to live in the computer-generated world, where everything was much more amazing
me: the programmer seemed sort of pleased at that and didn't quite acquiesce that i could stay, but it was obvious that i would be allowed to
me: the lackey was upset and left in sort of a huff
me: behind the counter with me were shelves crammed with worn paperbacks
me: i asked the programmer, who joined me back there, if there weren't any more books in his world,
me: he said there weren't as if they weren't very important, at which i insisted that he get more as they were very important
me: he turned away from me, and said he'd see if he could work them into the budget and made some writing gestures in the air
me: then he disappeared and i was left there, now sort of a default librarian assuming charge of the books
me: then the dream cut, and i was walking through an arch into a dark, arcade-like room
me: there were parents and children around me with balloons and cotton candy and the like. it was a fair or an amusement park, and it was also the opening to the virtual world
me: beyond the room with the games and flashing lights, i went into a large, round room. a lobby of some sort.
me: a friend of mine, a woman with mid-length curly black hair was showing a video to a group of children on a dais to one side and teaching them about something or other
me: and i walked through
me: up to the next level where there was my small library
me: and above that were there were classrooms
me: in several of the classrooms, my friend downstairs was teaching also, and some other teachers were duplicated, as well
me: i went up to the next floor, a sort of lounge, and met a family
me: there was a staunch-looking father, a rather tight-lipped mother, and a bright-looking young boy with them
me: the father wanted to send his son to school there and he wanted to make sure he was taught properly. he was rich and no-nonsense and wanted his son to have the best education, so long as it turned him into a serious, heterosexual, man with no imagination - he didn't want his son learning any silly, absurd things or sissy stuff
me: and i listened to him and assured him his son would have a proper, moral upbringing and be well-prepared for life, and secretly thought that once the parents were out of the way, as it was a boarding school, in a sense, the child would be free to ask questions and free his imagination and be silly and all the other things a kid ought to do and really, if he were taught here, he would have a much better chance of being a good person than if left to his parents to raise
me: so, i was showing the family the grounds, and we went down a floor and i intended to show him the classes, but we ended up in a giant, circular library (because remember, the entire building is circular) and it is huge, going around all the sides of the room, and open in the middle, with stairs going down to the next floor which is also a library floor, and there are shelves full of books and desks to study at and plush chairs
me: and all of this is my library
me: so i sit the parents down and tell them more about the place
me: and i'm thinking that the programmer must have changed the code to add the library when i was elsewhere
me: and that he had really done all of that for me
me: and it was thenabouts that i was woken up by a call on my cell phone
me: THE END. now respond

(i want to mention that the programmer was in a sense, satan, and also to apologise for any inconsistencies in spelling, grammar, narrative, or intelligence, i wrote this at 4 am and am not know to be my best at that hour.)

February 08, 2006

ramblin' man

when greg called me yesterday, he noted it's been a while since my last post, which is a malady i've been aware of since my last post. somehow, i've cooled on the whole blog thing. though i still want a record of my college experience, i seem to lack the motivation to write, or any compelling topic. or rather, any topic that remains compelling for more than 5 minutes at a atime, until my attention span shifts and i become consumed with some other minute issue of my life. that and i'm busy. busy, and for once, finally getting down to work. that is, when i'm not obsessively watching the west wing. i've downloaded the first four seasons since the beginning of the quarter and i'm nearly done with the fourth. it is a show that makes me giggle and bounce giddily in my chair. and it has made me jealous of conversation. i find that more and more i spend my time sitting in silence, watching television, reading, or otherwise silently occupied. i am craving banter. but at least i'm feeling intelligent. i go through strange oscillations of self-image in which i may be bored and inert, or sparked wih some creative force that pervades my thinking. i do wish it were not so unpredictable. i can't quite be sure what to attribut this new change to, perhaps my new workload. i am completely swamped. between memorizing the genus and species of several score of organisms across several genera, researching a paper on sexual traits of monkeys (i spend my evenings typing "primate penis phylogeny" and "primate female orgasm" and "primate infanticide" into google), and just trying to stay afloat in physics and calculus, i'm covered in a faint film of dread whever i go. at the same time, i think the stress my be good for me, preventing me from sinking back into stale oblivion. through it all, i'm still wondering exactly what i will do with myself "when i grow up." more and more i am becoming convinced that biology is not the field for me - i genuinely enjoy the science, but learning about it is a distasteful process bereft of any sort of critical dialogue. if i would like to inject my studies with problem-solving, i would best begin research of some kind, but with research comes a battery of dull, repetitive experiments and exacting requirements for time-management and fiscal responsibility. i think i still might like medicine, but the studies required would be worse, even, than general biology, extremely heavy in memorization. then there are writing and law, both fields i had hardly considered till a year ago, but both incredibly competitive, though in different ways. i'm not sure i could stand either lifestyle of intense molar-grinding competition, or probable starvation. and so, nothing really seems interesting or novel enough to write about. i wish i had more freedom to explore more diverse subjects. already, i doubt i will be able to graduate at the end of my fourth year. at any rate, i am feeling very insufficently competitive to enter any professional school. i may have to go another route and take time off between tiers of education. africa still appeals to me. i think i'm in desperate need of a vacation in which i neither sit around slothfully nor work, as i do whever i go home. i'm going to try and do something a little more diverting during spring break, but my inspiration is short. so please, do contact me with suggestions. othwise i will just spend my time on couches and in bed, unrefreshed and unhappy. cheers, and till i write again...