Friday, December 31, 2004

Guillermo V. The Corporate Lifestyle (Part 17)

The past couple days have been interesting. I've been coming to terms with two painful facts: I am horribly unhealthy AND I am actually becoming engrossed in my work.

I think that's why I'm subconsciously trying to get fired.

We had a "secret Santa" before the holidays. My present didn't come in time, but I got it yesterday.

It was a StrongBad t-shirt.

I whooped and hollered, hugged my friend Ryan who gave it to me, then I put on the shirt over my long-sleeved button-up shirt. I glared about, trying to look menacing, daring anyone to bring up the fact that Wednesdays are not "Casual Fridays."

No one said anything.

I wore my StrongBad shirt over my work clothes for the rest of the day. I was not bothered by any of my superiors.

I didn't expect them to. A mere half-hour earlier, during break, I had been jumping through puddles in the rain and my kakhi pants were completely soaked.

Today, I was sitting on the floor trying to take apart my desk. I failed miserably. I should have expected failure. The desk had survived many a mail clerk before me and will certainly survive many after me.

However, I managed to get a lot of thick, black grease all over my face and hands. I left it on.

I looked like a rogue mechanic on the warpath.

Again, I got a few odd looks but not a single reprimand.

Which leads me to the conclusion that either I can get away with whatever I want...or nothing I do really matters.

Either way, it should be interesting.

I guess only time will tell. That or my inter-office e-mail.

I hate insurance.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Right now, in Philadelphia, more than 10,000 literature scholars are gathered for the Convention of the Modern Language Association which began yesterday.

Right now, in Philadelphia, more than 10,000 literature scholars are terrorizing bars across the city, swarming upon bartenders like a plague of locusts, only literature scholars are more annoying than locusts because they'll get too drunk to stand upright and still try to correct your grammar.

How I envy them.

Not that I have significant reason to. (Heh, I just ended with a sentence with a preposition; howd'ya like that?!) The night before Christmans Eve marked the beginning of the end of my hermit streak I'd been setting since the end of the semester. Now, with my ears still ringing from loud music and eyes red from lack of sleep, I'm almost glad to settle down into a regular work week.

Then again, Sibbitt made me a gift of a Cuban cigar he acquired on his travels (the kind old man Hemingway smoked) and a bottle of homemade apple brandy. If anyone would like to share a good cigar and get drunk (or as the MLA might say, get literary,) I shan't be far.

What a wonderful time of year.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I've been out advocating Capitalism this holiday season along with millions across the world. It's quite magical.

Well, it's been interesting, at least.

Whenever I buy a book I puzzle over the disparity in prices between the United States and Canada. Why do Canadians get charged so much more?

I'm certain that someday Canada will publish a book so amazing that everyone will have to have it and then the literary tables will be turned; the price for Canadians will be a mere $2.75, but in the US the book will be sold for no less than $20 and a written apology. At least.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I heard a joke. I'd like to share it with you. It's about bats, which I like, and about priests, which I don't like as much as I like bats.

Three priests are sitting around in a bar, drinking and talking. Naturally, the conversation turns to problems at work. "I must tell you," says the first priest. "I'm having a most unusual problem. Bats have infested my church. I don't know where they came from, but they will not leave. I've already called an exterminator to spray poison where they roost but it hasn't worked. They just won't go away."

"That's awful strange," says the second priest. "I've got the same problem! A bunch of bats are just settin' there on the ceiling of my church. They're stubborn bastards, too. I got so fed up with 'em I finally just grabbed my shotgun and let 'em have it. Didn't work, though. Now I have bats and holes in my ceiling."

Then the third priest says. "You know, I know exactly how you feel. Not too long ago, I had the exact problem the two of you just described."

"Well, what'dya do?" the second priest asks.

"Well," the third priest says, "I went up to those bats, I baptised, I confirmed them, and I haven't seen a single one of them in church since."

Friday, December 17, 2004

"Inter-office Nerd-dom"

I received one of those delightful forwarded e-mails at work yesterday. It read as follows:

The following is supposedly an actual question given on a University of
Washington Chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound"
that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is,
of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs
heat)? Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's
Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some

One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we
need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at
which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul
gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for
how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions
that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you
are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is
more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more
than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell. With birth
and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to
increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume
in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and
pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand
proportionately as souls are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter
Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all
Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in
Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year
that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into
account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be
true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen
over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it
follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore,
extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine
being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."


Not to be out-nerded and quite eager to idle away my remaining time at work, I responded.

The student's answer to the test question is an admirable effort, but it is

The student has overlooked a third possibility.

Boyle's Law, again, states that in order for the temperature and pressure
in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately
as souls are added.

He concluded that if Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at
which souls enter Hell, then there would lead to an increase in
temperature and pressure until all Hell breaks loose.

He also concluded that if Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the
increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop
until Hell freezes over.

However, he completely overlooked the possibility that if the volume of
Hell is expanding proportionately as souls are added, then the temperature
and pressure will stay the same.

I believe the latter to be the most likely of the three possibilities. My
support for this is as follows:

Firstly, astronomists have recently discovered that, contrary to the
prevalent theory of entropy, the universe is not decreasing in its speed of
expansion, but actually increasing.

And it would have to be increasing. As our astute chemistry student friend
pointed out, "With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the
number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially." This should sound
familiar by now: In accordance with Boyle's Law, we now have our
proportionate expansion of volume to accommodate an increase in souls while
still maintaining a constant temperature.

Secondly, the planet Earth, relative to the universe around it, remains at
a fairly constant temperature. This is pretty remarkable considering the
universe contains examples of temperature fluctuations in the millions of

What does this all mean?

The conclusion I have reached is this: We are in a place that maintains a
constant temperature in a universe that is expanding in volume at an
increasing rate.

Or, to put it more succinctly:

We are in Hell.

I could be wrong, though. After all, I've never taken a chemistry class.


Guillermo Lopez

Your Friendly Neighborhood Mail Boy

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I am not a difficult person to outsmart.

I know this to be true because I outsmart myself all of the time.

The most recent time was a couple of days ago after I had taken my Italian final exam. Our class had agreed to meet at a nearby restaurant at 7 pm. Having completed the final by 6, a number of us made our way to a bar within walking distance of the restaurant. A couple sake bombers later, we realized that we were 10 minutes late and scrambled off to meet the rest of our class.

As I found a place at the table, one of my classmates, Tiffany, walks up to me and plops down my jacket. I had left it at the bar and she had gone back for it. I thanked her as profusely as two sake bombers would allow.

Upon recognizing that I was in a forgetful state of mind, I ran to my car and threw my jacket in the trunk so that I couldn't possibly leave without it. After a moment's thought, I opened the car door, took out my cash, and threw my wallet under the front seat. I then proceeded to completely erase the event from my memory with the aid of various Italian wines.

I was a little disappointed when I found my wallet. I had been hoping that I would have to embark on an epic journey filled with great deeds, colorful characters, and farcical misunderstandings. And in the end, I would find my wallet and realize that what began as a journey to look for my wallet became a journey to discovery myself.

Then I could get the movie-preview guy to do the voice-over: "In a world where things are a certain way, a boy leaves behind all he ever knew to search for his wallet and finds himself along the way."

But, the wallet was just under the seat of my car. Looks like none of us are going to have to worry about any of that.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Check out Luis's review of one of our favorite movies: Charlotte's Web.
Now would be an excellent time to despair.

While riding the high of passing my Italian final exam, I find myself without a wallet.

It has almost been certainly been thieved, considering that every item that accompanied the wallet has turned up unmolested.

This is the last time I go out for dinner and drinks with my Italian class.

Who am I kidding?

I'm like a mouse to cheese. A sexy, dark-haired, bilingual cheese.

I feel naked and alone without that absurd leather pouch.

It feels like freedom.

This is where the heroes are made. This is what sifts them from the rest of the silt and rubble.

I think that despite my inability to access my financial resources for the next undetermined period of time, I will still be able to accomplish my goals in a manner that will not compromise my beliefs.

Very Randian, I know. Whatever it is, it's how I live. How I choose to live.

What do I have? To quote Rorschach, "Your hands. My perspective."

I do get upset when I lose all the other things in my life that distract me from who I am, who I think I am, and who I am trying to be. I have found it difficult to stay upset. I meet too many people that frantically flounder to maintain their smokescreen as if we already couldn't almost see entirely through them.

I'm not saying they're wrong. But my arms can't flap that fast.

I hope they find happiness. I'm pretty sure I won't be anywhere near them when and if they do.

I raise my glass in a silent toast to them. To myself. To all of us.

I'm pretty sure we won't make it out of this alive.

Still, I'm very glad I found you here. Even if it was just for a moment.

Good night.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

There is a great evil loosed upon this machine. I believe it is known as Spyware, and for some reason I can only type if I right-click with my mouse, hold down the button, and then type with my free hand.

It is quite frustrating.

This is the last time I ever trust a website that promises me free Natalie Portman wallpaper.

Oh, who am I kidding? I fall for it every time, like a rat to cheese.

A sexy, intelligent, dark-haired cheese.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The hour grows late and I am still awake.

This is not like me. Or rather, it is like me but like the me I was and less like the me I have been recently.

Hmm, I'm trying to figure out if I've insulted myself. I hope not.

I've been this new fad diet that is "all the rage" with Mexican-American males aged 22-23. I've been subsisting primarily on oatmeal and Claritin. The combination of oats and allergy medication helps me feel like a race horse and breathe like a champion.

An unexpected side effect is the 40% decrease in my need for sleep. It's very strange to me. But I feel pretty good so I guess I can't complain.

No rest for the wicked, I suppose.

* * * *

Sometimes I wish I had kids. Especially times when I read things like this.

"Phlogiston, Calx," I would scold. "Make sure to eat all of your vegetables. Remember, there are starving people up in space."

"Fine," Phlogiston would retort. "Why don't you go put the vegetables into a geosynchronous orbit and let them eat it!"

"Young lady! What have I told you about being smart at the dinner table!"

"Don't worry, Pops, she's not," Calx would snort, "A geosynchronous orbit has to be at 35,000 kilometers above the Earth and the space station orbits at 550 kilometers. The space station can't reach that altitude, ya dummy!"

"Boy," I would growl, "Don't call your little sister names. And what have I told you about using the metric system?"

"Naw-aw," Phlogiston would say, "A simple, low-energy Hohmann Transfer would take them right out of Low Earth Orbit, stooopid!" She would stick out her tongue and cross her eyes to emphasize the word "stooopid."

"Heh heh," I'd laugh. "'Ho man'. You kids say the darndest things!"

Friday, December 10, 2004

I jolted awake in the frosty darkness to the sound of my own teeth chattering. The alarm clock's red glare said 2:28 am, as I assume it does every night at 2:28 am. I failed to see the reassuring orange glow of the heater in the corner. The heater sat in cold silence and was certainly not heating anything.

As I grumbled out of bed to see what was the matter, a ghostly apparition appeared in front of me. It glowed faintly as it swayed from side to side. A bit of drool tried to escape out of the corner of my mouth as I stood aghast. A voice began to speak. "Guillermooge...Guilermooge..." (At this point, the bit of drool was recruiting others to join the liberation movement.) "Guillermoooooge..." the ghost continued. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants."

"The Ghost of what?!" I sputtered, sending droplets of saliva into freedom and darkness.

The ghost seemed to flicker, darkening slightly as if in annoyance. "Guillermooge...I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants."

"But I've got plenty of pants!" I snapped, my fear having turned quickly into annoyance. "So you're wasting your time. Now off with you! I don't fancy being woken up in the middle of the night by some bloody forgotten Old Navy commercial."

The ghost sparked and flashed like a heater with an electrical short. " will listen to me. I am the Ghost of Christmas Pants and I have come to offer you a chance for redemption. Do you know what day this is?"

"Yeah, it's December 10th. Aren't you out a bit early?"

"Foolish mortal! Today is Friday. Pants-Down Friday! Think, boy. When was the last time you celebrated Pants-Down Friday?"

I pondered a moment. "Ah, yes, I remember. Never! Now go away and leave me alone."

"You lie, Guillermo," the ghost said, "Think back to when you were a lad. Why, most people looked forward to Friday because it meant a coming weekend, because it was Casual Day at work, or even because it meant the school cafeteria was serving pizza. But not you. You, you couldn't wait for Friday because it meant you could drop your pants to your little heart's content."

"Spirit!" I cried, "You speak of a time long since past. I was but a scamp of 21, naive of the ways of the world and the astounding social pressure to keep one's pants up at all times. Now I am too old; I canna change. I canna possibly change."

"How old are you?" the spirit demanded.

"Twenty-two and a half."

"You are young, fool! I've got plot holes older than you! You can still change!"

"No, I can't."

"Yes, you can!"

I pondered a moment. "Hey, I never thought of it that way before."

"Wonderful!" the Ghost of Christmas Pants said with a glow. "Now sleep, sleep, and forget all about the strange and extraordinary events that occured here tonight...well, not the stuff about the pants and not about me being the Ghost of Christmas Pants. I mean, after all, forgetting everything would make this entire exchange pretty much pointless and-"

If the ghost said more I did not hear it for I was already back in bed and sound asleep.

I woke the next morning to sunlight streaming in through the window. Remembering my marvelous encounter in the night, I ran to the windowsill and stuck my head out. I saw a child sitting nearby. "You there, boy!" I shouted happily.

The child glared at me. "I'm a girl!"

"Eh, yes of course, sorry. Em, you there, girl!"


"What day is it?"

"Today, sir? Why, it's Friday."

"Yes!" I cried with glee. "It's Pants-Down Friday! Now listen boy-"


"Right, yes, girl. Now listen, em, girl, I want you to run down to the mall and fetch me the nicest pair of underwear you can find!"

"What are ya, daft? I haven't got any legs, mister. Why do you think I'm just setting here?"

I blinked. "Yes, that is rather odd. But no matter. It's Pants-Down Friday and nothing can go wrong!" I grabbed my hat, cane, and monocle. I put on a pair of my nicest pants and immediately dropped them. I shuffled down the stairs and out the door, cheering all the while.

Shortly afterwards, the police brought me to the jail house. They put me in a holding cell along with a few other troublemakers. One of them looked very familiar. "Hey, it's you, the Ghost of Christmas Pants!"

"Hello, Guillermooge," the ghost said cheerfully. "I see that you are a new man."

"You bet!" I paused. "So what are you in for?"

"Urinating in public."

"Oh. Yeah, they're really cracking down on that."




Make up your own moral!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

So I haven't been exactly straightforward lately.

I'll try to remedy that now.

In the past couple of months I have:

-gotten a credit card

-said goodbye to my precious '89 Toyota Tercel and hello to a '98 Mercury Tracer

-fallen asleep in the parking garage at work and stumbled in two hours late

-eaten sea urchin for the first and last time at the sushi bar with Matt

-gone to court to testify against my father

-been cut off by a rookie police officer which caused me to hit a truck

-gotten into numerous arguments with my biology professor

-donated money to National Public Radio

-gone to a strip club for a bachelor party where I was unexpectedly tackled by a dancer

-purchased a lot more books and another bookshelf

-taught my two-year-old neice how to skank in case ska ever comes back

-filled my co-workers desks drawers with popcorn (one rigged in such a way that when she opened the overhead compartment, popcorn showered down upon her)

-thoroughly enjoyed the films The Incredibles and Finding Neverland

-discovered that I can vomit standing on my tip-toes (with the aid of a dumpster) after a night of drinking and dancing at Hot Pink

-fallen in love with a woman I can't have

-abandoned writing a novel

-been struggling with the choice of sticking with the soul-dulling world of insurance or taking a drastic pay cut and teaching an after-school program

-gone to the "Fiesta of Lights" with Luis where we saw Barney the Dinosaur

-had a pizza-eating contest with Joel (there was no winner)

-finished three of the five books I'm reading.

But whenever people ask what I've been up to I still shrug and say "Work and school."

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

At work, sleeping under the desks has been officially banned because of me.

To protest, the next day I wore socks with sandals because for some reason this absurd practice is allowed by the dress code.

I'll show them. I'll show them all.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Okay, story time.

A long time ago, there was a little princess named Nanelle. She was an energetic, enthusiastic girl and she loved to explore the vast gardens that surrounded the palace. One morning, she spied a little cocoon hanging from a branch. She called her father, the King, and asked her what it was. The king told her. "It is a cocoon. A caterpillar is inside."

"Why does the caterpillar hide in there?" the princess asked.

"Keep watching, my dear, and you may soon find your answer."

So the princess intently watched the cocoon all that morning. She wasn't used to sitting still, but her curiosity wouldn't let her leave. Finally, her patience was rewarded. The cocoon began to tremble. It split open and out climbed a beautiful butterfly. The butterfly rested on the branch and then flew off. The princess was delighted.

The next day, when Princess Nanelle was playing as usual, she saw another cocoon. "Poor little butterfly," she said to the cocoon. "You must be very lonely in there." She was a kindhearted girl and the thought of this made her sad. "I'll help you get out," she decided. She plucked the cocoon from the branch and carefully split it open. Inside, the butterfly lay still. After a few moments, she realized that it was dead. With tears streaming down her face, she ran to her father and told him what had happened. The king kneeled down and hugged his daughter.

"My dear," he said as he wiped the tears from her eyes. "I know you were just trying to help. But in order for a caterpillar to become a butterfly, it needs to spend that time all by itself in the dark. It needs to go through the struggle of breaking out of its cocoon. Only after all this can it finally spread its wings and fly in the sunlight."

Princess Nanelle sniffled. "But why?"

"Keep watching, my dear, and someday you may have your answer." He laughed. "And if you do, I would be honored if you would let me know as well."


The moral of the story is: Leave it alone!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Today is one of those days at work where I throw in OK Computer and turn the volume up as loud as I can withstand.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

The Green Monster Is Back.

I have no idea what is happening to my template. I've gone with the usual cut-n-paste style of coding HTML that I picked up from my time with a local website chop-shop (you have no idea how much you can get for a decent, only slightly-owned commenting system.)

Even though I have no reason to believe so, I'm going to go about my business as usual and assume that this problem will solve itself.

It's The American Way.

Update: The Green Monster, a.k.a. my old template, is, in fact, not back. I had it up for a brief, shining moment. Then I discovered that what I was writing was not showing up. Thus, I snagged this template I came across. It looks like rusty metal.

Neglected metals=manly.

But more importantly, neglected metals=posts that actually show up. I am also more familiar with the HTML so I can put up my cache of links.

So sleep well, new little template, a.k.a. Rustface.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Kill your delete key.

Or, if you do not have the heart to kill it, freeze it in a bowl of water. Then, when you have the desire to use it, you must take it out of the freezer and leave it on the counter or in the sink until it thaws out. If the destructive desire remains (meaning you must have written something particularly terrible,) then, by all means, utilize the delete key.

That's what it is there for, after all.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I was at work this morning at six o'clock.  The sky was dark and sullen; a fair representation of my mood.  I was greeted by towers of mail that seemed to almost reach the ceiling.  Nicole greeted me as well.  She noted that I was in dire need of a shave.  It is not uncommon for me to ignore my stubble until she politely but firmly reminds me of it.

One of my tasks required me to walk across the street to the neighboring building that is also a part of the company.  I opened the door and stepped outside.  A light rain was falling.  There is an underground tunnel that joins the two buildings.  Many employees use it when they are unwilling to brave the seasons.

I am not fond of the tunnel.  It has a timeless feel to it and large pipes running overhead that sloths could hang from easily.

I walked out into the rain.  It was a playful rain and I was only almost entirely soaked.  I completed my task.  No one asked me why I was drenched.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


. Slept in your bed: Nunya.  Nunya Business.

. Saw you cry: My brother and my father.

. You shared a drink with: Sunday dinner at Mike and Mai's.

. You went to the mall with: My sister because I have no fashion sense.

. Yelled at you: Don't remember; I'll have to check the face imprint on the wall.

. Sent you an email: Janelle.



. Danced naked:  Yes.  Yes, I have.

. Dreamed something really crazy and then it happened the next

day: I'll let you know if I get sliced up by a ninja today.

. Wish you were the opposite sex:  Only when I'm out of money at the bar.

. Had an imaginary friend:  Of course.  In fact, the only reason I have real friends is to make my imaginary friends jealous.

. Do you have a crush on someone:  Hold on, I'm trying to figure out how to circle "yes" and then drop this e-mail on the floor after snack time.

. What book are you reading now: The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell, The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levine, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and I'm always reading one of my comic books.



. Worst feeling in the world:  Hurting someone, or worster than that, hurting someone unintentionally.

. Future son's name: Calx.

. Future daughter's name: Phlogiston.

. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal: Bedtime Bear.

. What's under your bed: A computer desk.  Speakers.  (I have a loft bed.)

. Favorite sport to watch: Football.

. Siblings:   Three brothers, one sister, and a dog that eats and sleeps just like one of the family.

. Location: Phoenix, AZ

. College plans: Yes, it does.

. Piercings/tattoos: I have no superfluous holes, but I have a tattoo of the Bat Signal on my left shoulder.  (I deleted the pointless "Tattoo?" question.)

.. Do you drink: Love Potion #9, on the rocks.

. Who is your best friend: Not you.

. What are you most scared of:  Going insane.

. What clothes do you sleep in: I sleep naked in case I have to get up and dance.

. Where do you want to get married:

. Who do you really hate: Zombies.

. Been in Love: Yup.

. Do you drive: A smashed-up Mercury Tracer.

. Do you have a job: Well, being a mail-clerk is more of a calling.

. Do you like being around people:  Sure, if I'm not trying to sleep and they're not taking my food.

. Are you for world peace:  Sounds dull.

. Have you ever loved someone you had no chance with:  Of course, I don't love people just because I think I can get all up ons.  

. Have you ever cried over something someone of the opposite sex did:  I cried this morning because I've been born.  Damn you, Mom!

. Want someone you don't have right now:  Not really.

. Are you lonely right now:  There is a difference between loneliness and solitude.

. Song that's stuck in your head a lot: "And I need you now tonight/ I f***in need joo mooore than ever."

. Do you want to get married: Of course; married guys get all the ladies.

. Do you want kids:  Well, I'll need someone to hit after my wife leaves me.

. If you were stranded on a deserted island who would you like to be stuck with and why: Someone who can build a raft.


 New Person: My friend Mai.  She made me spaghetti with all kinds of mushrooms in the sauce.

. Room in house: My room if there isn't anyone in the family room and nothing is cooking in the kitchen.

. Type(s) of music: Dance music.  Naked dance music.

. Band/Group(s):  The Big Sea.

. Color:  Today, black.

. Perfume or cologne: I almost never wear cologne, I just take a shower if I'm stinkin'.

. Month: No.

. Flower:  I would love lilly pads if they could support my weight.



. Cried: No.

. Bought something: A bookshelf.

. Gotten sick: I am a little sick, yes.  Unless you mean last week when I called in sick, because I was sick.  Really.

. Sang: Fo sho.

. Met someone: Yeah, the guy I hit.

. Missed someone: Like the deserts miss the rain...mmm...desserts...

. Hugged someone: Yes.

. Kissed someone: Uh-yes.

. Became shy around someone:  Can't help it; I'm shy when I'm caught dancing naked.

. Been to the diner: Elephant Bar?

. Exercised:  Yerp.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

My sacred place is almost complete. I can sprawl out on the thick blue carpet and read in the soft, glancing light of the handful of light sources I've placed around the room. My laptop sits patiently and glows invitingly. It hums while it waits.

I've forgotten how important this kind of environment is to me.

I went to class today. This may not seem newsworthy but as of late it has been just as likely to find me outside of the classroom as in it. Fortunately, I test well.

Although, I was pretty lost on the epidemiology section of my biology test yesterday. I had read Outbreak and seen the movie, but both were too long ago to be of any use.

I came to a question that read "Discuss an instance in which treatment is better than prevention."

I had not been in class for this either. I scrawled out something about how it is better to contract the chicken pox ("How delightful; a pox!") as a child than as an adult and some other babble. Then I came to the next question.

"Describe an instance in which prevention is better than treatment."

I looked down at the question. I shrugged, picked up my pencil, and wrote "Death."

I did not see any need to elaborate.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I love Kermit.

Upon hearing the news that my template may indeed be alive somewhere, there was much happy-dancing, much singing amorously, and (to his dismay) a furious wrestling match with The Noobers on the kitchen floor.  Poor dog.  I really think he thought I was trying to kill him.

Many thanks, Kermit.  I am deeply in your debt.

And thanks to everyone who sent me their links.  I owe all of you bagels with your choice of topping.

I mean it.

Oh, and a beer counts as a topping.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

I am weary.

I have been poring over the HTML for this blasted template and I have yet to figure out how to change anything for the better. Worst than my HTML ineptitude is my discovery that the copy of my old template is not complete. It's very strange; none of the links copied.

Everything else around the links seems to have copied. Just not the actual links.

For the first time I feel truly alone.

I feel lost. I don't know where anyone is anymore. Well, not everyone.

It reminds me of life before and after getting a cell phone. I knew all my closest friends phone numbers by heart before I got a cell phone. Now, I don't know the phone numbers of most of my close friends. I have become so dependent on my little electronic phonebook that I am almost completely helpless without it.

It appears the same is true of my links.

So if you're site is wondering where I've been, tell it that I'm wandering around lost somewhere searching for it. I'm sure I'll come across it in time. How vast can the internets possibly be?

But that wasn't what I sat down to write about.

I'm rebuilding my writing area. It is almost complete. This is something of a test run.

I am not entirely well.

I am physically and mentally out of shape. I can feel it. Even now I'm already winded. It hurts to go on and I want just lie down. It seems that's all I've been wanting to do with my spare time as of late. But I've accounted for that.

I've never been much good at resisting temptation. However, I am fairly good when temptation isn't around so my only hope is to avoid it. Therefore, I have modified my existing futon/bunk bed into a loft bed. I've essentially removed the futon bottom, raised the whole thing, added supports where I could, and stuck my writing desk underneath.

Now it is squeaky, uncomfortable, and remarkably unstable.

I love it.

The once-simple act of taking a nap now involves climbing a ladder and trying to avoid getting hit in the face by a ceiling fan. And, as I've discovered, there is a learning curve.

I'll have to put off posting any new pictures until this giant welt goes away. ("It's not so much here, or here, as riiiight here.")

Having said that, I'm off to try again.

Anyone that still comes here, please send me your link. Don't make me come after you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

DC was wise enough to point out that this month is National Novel Writing Month.

Now is my chance to write a novel about a sass-talking mail clerk that works for an intergalactic insurance company.

Monday, November 01, 2004

I must thank DC for informing me of National Novel Month. I see this is my golden opportunity to fulfill my life-long dream of writing a novel about a sass-talking mail-boy for an intergalactic insurance company.

To be honest, I was kidding at first, but I'm really starting to like the idea...

Thus, I do decree that this novel-writing shall be "On like Megatron," as the kids are saying these days...and by these days I mean the late 1980's.

* * * * *

Despite the best advice of the finest online-quizzes from across the internets, I was not The Cheat for Halloween.

No, I dressed up as Strongbad.

The costume was fairly easy to put together. I bought a pair of big, red boxing gloves and Agent Mulk graciously provided the luchadora mask. I sewed a blue jewel on the forehead of the mask, put it on, donned my boxing gloves, tried to take off my shirt, took off the gloves, took off my shirt, grabbed a six-pack of cold ones and I was on my way.

I don't know how Strongbad does it. I had to ask people to get my cold ones out of the fridge for me, open them up, and then tuck them into one of my boxing gloves. Also, I had a really hard time opening doors. Oh, and I couldn't answer my cell phone. But I realized that none of these things were that bad when, after a few cold ones, I was frantically trying to figure out a way to get into the bathroom and urinate.

I had a great time.

There are some pictures somewhere, but I don't have any myself. If I come across any, I will post them.

Much love,


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Kermit wins the prize for uncovering my gluttonous side! While I greatly admire Ol' Franklin (I'm reading his autobiography right now) and I do understand the benefits of healthy eating, I don't think he or I put that maxim to action very often.

Now for the promised prize.

The prize is...another quote! This one comes to us from a source far less removed in time and space, if perhaps not reality.

Luis, Beth, and I went to the Phoenix Zoo this Saturday. After a fun-filled afternoon of kettle korn eating, paddle-boat paddling, and careening madly about on a two-person passenger bike with Luis screaming in the back, we all made our weary way home. In the car I asked Luis, "So what was your favorite animal?"

"The elephant," Luis said.

"Why is the elephant your favorite?"

"Because he wouldn't tell us where the zebras were."

the cheat
The Cheat. You are evil and you are constantly
causing trouble. Strangely, you never get
blamed for it and you're very popular, probably
cuz you're so gosh darn cute. Rules were meant
to be broken, right?

What HomeStarRunner Character are you? (pictures)
brought to you by Quizilla

Monday, October 25, 2004

Monday's Quiz:

I model my life using two out of three of the following quotes:

"Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night."
Edgar Allan Poe

"You cannot be mad at somebody who makes you laugh—it's as simple as that.
Jay Leno

"To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals."
Benjamin Franklin

Guess which quote doesn't belong and win a prize!

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

The other night I pulled into my neighborhood around 2 am and I saw four
young adults attempting to break into a vehicle.  Thefts from automobiles
are not uncommon around here.  I called the police.

I spoke to the dispatcher and answered all her questions.  I told her that
none of them had seemed to care that I had driven right by them, which is
unusual for people caught in the act.  She assured me that thieves are
"very bold."

I thought back to Rogue and Vagabond Training School...

"If you do not act like you're doing anything wrong," my old, grizzled,
ninja/pirate instructor had said to me,  "People will not think you're
doing anything wrong."

The dispatcher informed me that two police cars and a helicopter were on
their way.

Ten minutes later, she called me back to tell me that, in fact, the car had
belonged to one of the four guys.

Now I know how the Patriot Act must feel...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Today I found out what a breast implant feels like.

I'm assuming I found out the way most people find out. I donated blood.

There was a blood drive at work today. Donating blood earns me a day off and all the juice boxes I could drink. I also get to duck out of work to donate.

All for giving up a little blood. Why not? I'm full of the stuff.

I opted to give two units of red blood cells instead of whole blood. I had never done it before but I understood the procedure. Twice the amount of blood would be drawn from my eager veins, the blood would be separated into plasma, platelets, and red blood cells. My plasma would be returned to me to prevent me from collapsing into a quivering heap.

Sadly, returning the plasma does not make up the disparity between lost blood and gained fluids. Hence the large bag of saline solution hanging innocently nearby...

So now I'm full of saline solution. Just like a breast implant.

I intend to take full advantage of the situation. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to the bar to rake in the free drinks.

Truly, donating blood is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

True, true, those mischevious Canadians burned down the White House.  No hard feelings, though.  Really, I consider history from 1776 to the 1820's as America's freshman year.

Besides, we had it coming after a gangly, socially awkward US torched York, the Canadian capital.

It's sad what the kids in those days would do for attention.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Dear Christopher Columbus,

I have been at work today since 6 am despite the fact that today is Columbus Day.

Please rise up from the grave and mete out vengeance upon those responsible and, time permitting, their brethren.

Respectfully yours,


P.S.  If by chance you were buried at sea, let me know and I will send a boat for you, O Intrepid Zombie Explorer.

Friday, October 08, 2004

My good pal Joey, a reformed gambler, advised against me going to Las Vegas.  

But my good pal Joey forgot one key point:  I am not a gambler; I'm a drunk.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Firstly, everyone who knows Luis should read his latest post.

The boy's scathing wit more than makes up for his almost complete lack of punctuation. (I see his writing style as a grim premonition of the state of the English language after a few more decades of AIM.)

I'm drinking tea in the school library at the moment. I want to better explain myself about how I thought eyes worked.

I consider the eyes to be a part of the brain because of their complexity (and partly because in Robocop 2 when they removed the brain of that guy to put into the evil robot they took the eyes, too.)

What I didn't know was that seeing an object with the eyes and closing the eyes and imagining that same object is neurologically identical.

The exact same thing happens when you see something as when you imagine it.

I always thought there were seperate processes for imagining something and actually seeing. Nope. Uses the same part of the brain. Knowing this, now I don't feel so bad about hallucinating...

Oh, and Jared asked about the old template.

I was trying to get that blogger navbar to stop cutting off the top of my page. I don't know what I deleted, but it must have been important because nothing shows up anymore.

I'm a little scared of adding anything to this template for fear of causing the same thing.

So, I guess I'll have my old template back up as soon as I can wheedle and cajole David to stop working so damn much and work his magic on the thing.

Erk, I'm running out of time. I wanted to talk about the Nobel prize for chemistry. I doubt I'll even have time to make my quark joke.

I didn't explain the quark thing either. I'll try. From what I understand, the closer quarks are together the less they are attracted to one another. But the crazy thing is, the farther away they get, the greater the force of attraction becomes. This is like the opposite of gravity.

The article I read illustrated the idea with the analogy of stretching a rubber band. I was surprised by this. I would think that the obvious way to explain how to increase attraction by increasing distance would somehow involve women.

And now I'm late for class.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Too often have I gone through my day blissfully imagining that I was a little closer to understanding life, the universe, and everything.  Then, inevitably, as I learn something new I realize that I never understood some of the things I thought I knew.

One of the latest Nobel Prizes awarded (for medicine) was just awarded to two Americans, Richard Axel and Linda Buck, for discovering how our sense of smell works.

If you are anything like me, your ears perked up and you thought, "Whatever do you mean?  We already know how the sense of smell works.  You can't very well discover something twice, now can you?  Well, I suppose a goldfish might..."

I've been running around thinking I knew how I was smelling things like a pompous oaf when I really had no idea.  I feel so ashamed.

Our ability to detect and distinguish between 10,000 odors is controlled by a huge gene family of "odor receptors."

Amazing.  This actually rocks my little world a bit.  I thought our noses worked like our eyes.  Then I saw "What the Bleep Do We Know" and I learned that eyes don't work quite the way I thought they did.  Now I find out about these odor genes and the way they function reminds me of our eyes.

We have genes to detect certain smells.  Thus, what we smell depends on our genes.  So it's possible that there are smells out there that we can't detect.  This upsets me.  If there is something that smells better than freshly-baked brownies and I can't smell it I am going to be pissed.

Oh, some other Nobel Prize winners figured out Strong Force.  It was quarks all along.  Who knew?

Monday, October 04, 2004

Volcanos are erupting, private spaceships are completing multiple sub-orbital flights, and Billy Joel is getting married.

What I'm doing right now is very, very similar to all of those things.

Wait, no. What I'm doing right now is called "lying." It's very similar to actually doing things, but takes much less energy and a little more memory.

Work has been going well. School has been going...okay. I've been having a difficult time paying attention in class. If I had to guess, I would say it was because I haven't been sleeping much. No, that isn't accurate. I've been sneaking off and sleeping under a desk during my lunch break at work pretty much every day.

I haven't been sleeping much at night.

I find my mind wandering. Instead of paying attention to the mysteries of the Kreb cycle in biology class, I was planning out defensive strategies in case ninjas broke into the classroom. I had successfully planned up to scenario #4, which was a frontal assault by no more than 5 ninjas but at least one robot when something my teacher said penetrated the dense fog of my imagination. "There was a man who made very complex devices to perform simple tasks," he droned. "I believe his name was Goldstein or Goldman-"

I jerked up. "Goldberg!" I didn't quite shout, but a lot of heads turned in my direction. "Rube Goldberg," I added weakly. I sank back down into my seat.

In a few moments my outburst was forgotten and the class was caught up in their precious Kreb cycle. My mind began to slip away and I found myself devising very simple machines that would have to perform very simple tasks. My plans were flawless, but my machines were unnecessarily complicating everything, mostly by stopping for fast food or trying to get one of the other machines to do it for them.

I called my machines "Humans." I decided that I didn't like the name and resolved to think of a new one for them. Just as soon as I can find the time.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


It's me. I'm in disguise.

Some lout has been fiddling around with templates and not previewing them first to see if they'll actually work.

Yes, well, I've somewhat maimed my old template. I'm still tinkering around with it, but for now the only way for a man of my limited knowledge of HTML to display anything is to reset to a default template.

I feel so dirty...

I should also begin the painstaking process of putting up all my links on this weird template. Woohoo.

Hm, what have I been up to, you ask? Mostly running around being a jumble of uncollected thoughts. A few other amusing distractions have happened, though.

I was invited to play on the flag football team at work. I was flattered, but then I found out that most of the players were injured and they were desperate for people.

Good thing I'm not proud.

I hadn't played football since Thanksgiving of 2001, so the game on Saturday was interesting. Personally, I did great, but our team lost and one guy broke his ankle. I felt bad for him, but at least I'll have a spot on the team for another 4-6 weeks.

I'm in the midst of a prank war at work with my friend Nicole. I'm in the lead at the moment.

Part of our job is to open large, provocative stacks of mail. While she was away from her desk, I grabbed an envelope, scooped it full of oatmeal, and then stuck it into her pile of mail. A few minutes later, I hear a shriek from the other side of the cubicle wall.

She was holding up the envelope between two fingers as if it were a dead trout. Everyone began to gather around to see what all the disgusted sounds were about.

The envelope was oozing out globs of oatmeal. Nicole was frantic with what to do with it because she thought it was real mail that had come in through the post office.

Everyone is still gathered around watching. Most of my co-workers had seen what I had done and were playing along. I reached out and took the envelope from her. I held it up to my nose and smelled it. "It doesn't smell too bad," I said as Nicole turned an interesting greenish color.

I plucked out a big chunk of oatmeal, looked at it carefully, and then I ate it. Nicole screamed. "Oh my god! What are you doing?! You don't even know what that is!" I ignore her and continue eating oatmeal out of the envelope.

Everyone else is laughing hysterically. Poor Nicole was confused and disgusted. More and more people were coming by to see what the hubbub is all about. I was laughing and almost choking on the oatmeal. Tears were streaming from my eyes as I listened to Nicole frantically explain to the new people that I was eating mystery goo that came from the post office.

Finally, I could take it no longer and I show her the corner of the envelope where I had scratched out the return address and written "From Guillermo, With Love."

The moral of the story is:

Revenge is a dish best served cold and lumpy.

Thursday, September 23, 2004



"Why are you putting oatmeal into that envelope?"

"Oh, you'll see.  They'll all see..."

Monday, September 20, 2004

What I Learned This Sunday Afternoon:

Never change your oil outdoors on a blustery day.

Unless, of course, you enjoy hot oil spraying onto your face and various appendages.

Not that I'm against that per se, but that's really more of a Friday/Saturday night kinda thing.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Palermo looked down at his feet. He wiggled his toes to remind them that he was still the boss. His feet had been leading him to odd places ever since-
"More coffee?" The waitress held out a dented, gray urn.

"Yes. No. I mean, yes that is more coffee, but I do not think I need any right now, thank you."

She laughed. "No, I guess you don't." She smiled at him and took the battered pot over to the next table.

He returned his attention to his feet. Washing the sandals would take care of everything. Washing the sandals would mean letting go. Tomorrow morning, just before dawn, he should walk out to his backyard wearing nothing but his sandals. As the sun broke over the horizon, he would kick them off onto the grass and blast them with the water hose. It would be very symbolic; very spiritual.

The clean, American water would wash away every last trace of the beach in Mexico. Gone would be the white streaks of salt that stained the brown leather. The grains of sand that tickled and irritated the bottoms of his feet would cling tenaciously, but still drown in the end.

Then, he would turn the hose upon himself. Perhaps, on full blast, the water could wash away all the memories he had made in that foreign land. And perhaps, if he could withstand the stinging spray long enough, it would wash away that foreign emotion most people called Hope that still nestled snugly in his chest.

He would lay the sandals out to dry. The sun would be fierce. Fire and ice, that would end the world in his footwear.

He contemplated sticking them in the freezer, just to be sure.

It felt good to have a plan again. But first...

"Oh miss? More coffee, if you please."

Friday, September 17, 2004

"He looked up from his work to find that he was the only one in the office wearing pants.  Cursing his forgetfulness, he unbuckled his belt and kicked himself free of his denim constraints.  Pants-Down Fridays seemed to be arriving sooner every week.  He made a mental note to finish putting on the rhinestone lettering on his underwear.  At the moment, it read 'Pants-Do.'  People around the office recognized the beginning of their favorite phrase, but the rest of the world remained largely ignorant.  Soon, he thought, I'll finish these underwear and the world will know."

Jaden is in San Francisco today so all of us are going to have to pick up the slack.  Remember, only you can not wear pants on Fridays.  

And on this particular Friday, I'm not wearing pants for two.

With great power comes great responsibility.

*    *    *    *    *

I've decided to enter this writing contest.  I haven't submitted anything I've written to anything more prestigious than my high-school literary magazine, and nothing else since.  I'd appreciate suggestions.  If there is anything anyone may have read that stands out enough to be quasi-publishable, I'd appreciate the help.

Also, if there is anything that should never again see the light of day, just finish this sentence and turn it in at the end of the day:  "For the love of Cheebus, don't even think about sending in that ____  about  ____!"

Here's an example:  "For the love of Cheebus, don't even think about sending in that POEM about NOT BEING UNDERSTOOD!"

See, it's easy.  And fun!    

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Today at work:

Nicole:  [yelling over wall of cubicle]  Hey!  Did you finish watching Strongbad?

Me: [painfully aware that internet use is prohibited and hoping my boss isn't within earshot]  I don't know what you're talking about.

*   *   *

Later, when boss is out of earshot:

Me: [singing]  I got mad at Nicole/ For screwing up the Strongbad caper/ Hope I don't see her name in the paper...

Sunday, September 12, 2004

We are online.

I love my laptop. Since I moved back home, my laptop has been more neglected than Michael Moore's Ab-Roller. Yesterday, I purchased a wireless internet card.

Oh, it's on.

The calm before the storm; the strange that sets the norm. I don't know what that means, but I'm wireless now so I don't care.

I have been having a fulfilling weekend. Friday evening (during which I shuffled around pant-less without my usual energy because I had only slept 45 minutes the night before) I went to a party at Dana's. It was fun and something of a special occasion because all four Lopez children that are of or near legal drinking age were there.

I feel good. Just thought I'd throw that out there.

Saturday night, Beth and I went over to have dinner with everybody's favorite newly-weds, Jake and Heather. They had decided to go against thousands of years of tradition and we all sat down to a delicious dinner of pancakes, eggs, bacon, juice, and peanut butter and banana.

It was a little disturbing to hear the dry, rattling sound of Cornelious von Omelet (the man who invented breakfast) rolling in his grave, but other than that our meal was awesome.

After dinner, Jake, Heather, and I trekked down to the Valley Art Theater and caught What the $!@#? Do We Know?. The film is astounding.

For a movie about quantum physics, it was almost painfully engaging.

I would have given my left hand for a pause button to give me a moment to pick up the pieces of my blown mind from among the spilt popcorn and discarded straw wrappers.

For instance, when the film showed a boy bouncing a basketball and then when on to explain that the ball never actually touches the ground (the electrons in the ball and the ground repel each other before they come into contact.)

Listening to people that have devoted their lives to figuring things out and the conclusions they have drawn (indeed, are still trying to draw)is not as humbling as I thought it would be. There was a lot of "Hey, I've thought about that too!"

The film does drag at parts, but I found it to be the most informative, satisfying, and frustrating two hours I've ever spent. It's a good thing my tummy was full of pancake.

The film takes pieces of the world and puts many of them together. Then, it presents the almost-complete picture to you.

I loved it.

I recommend going to see the film and then deciding for yourself.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

This morning, I received the following e-mail:

Topic: Borders. Merely a bookstore or fictitious lines drawn imaginarily by You decide.

Please elaborate.

Thank you,

Sir Duke Count Chancellor Bryan Von Hildebrandtendenderschnitzel

I responded:

Honorable Duke Count Chancellor Bryan Von,

Even saying that Borders are both fictitious lines and a bookstore is a gross understatement; on par with saying Jesus was a pretty nice guy.

We must first examine the origin of borders. We will begin our journey before the beginning of time itself...

In the beginning the universe was void. This was very boring for the universe. So, the universe decided that it needed a point. It got one and it looked like this -> .

The universe was very pleased with it's new point. However, after a while the universe realized that a single point is useless by itself. A point without another point to reference itself to is pointless. (This frustrating epiphany is considered the creation of mathematics.)

The universe got itself another point. With the addition of this point came relativity. With relative movement to measure, the concept of time became more than just something to discuss dryly at social gatherings. Time became practical.

The universe was so pleased by this unexpected effect of having a couple of points that it purchased a very nice wristwatch which it promptly lost it on the beach of some obscure planet. In a few millennia, a man walking along the same beach would find that wristwatch and declare it teleological proof of the existence of God.

The universe accumulated point after point after point. When it finally reached 10,000 points, (simultaneously creating and then breaking the very first high-score,) the universe noticed something it did not expect. Some of the points began to connect. The first lines were created.

The universe was not pleased. It knew that nothing good would come of these new lines. It was only a matter of time before lines would crowd up the place, create a second dimension, crowd up that place, and then create a third dimension. Upon the over-crowding of the third dimension, a fourth would have to be created. The creation of a fourth dimension, the universe knew, would lead to the creation of countless bad science-fiction novels.

Things were getting out of hand.

The universe decided to kick out all the lines. This was an easy decision considering the lines were always playing music at late hours, eating all the food in the refrigerator, and refusing to pay their share of the water bill.

The lines, now homeless, are forced to wander from place to place and reside wherever anyone will let them. Early governments quickly realized that establishing lines around their territory would clear up all the confusion the governments were having about deciding exactly when it was okay to shoot someone.

Thus, borders were established, lines found their place in the grand scheme of things, and giant book-music-coffee shops were built to give the illusion that there is actual purpose and meaning to anything anyone was doing.

But, as I think I have illustrated, purpose and meaning were never the point.



Wednesday, September 08, 2004


It's kind of strange to write again after...however long it's been.  I feel like I'm sneaking into my bedroom window long past my curfew even though I'm pretty sure I've been caught.

I guess blogging can be as much about what I don't write.

Having said that, school is going well.  It is a bit grating having Italian class on the campus of a Catholic school, but that's to be expected.  I understand why the security guards are so quick to jive strangers on campus.  The school has Hummer golf carts for the guards to patrol on.  Those very expensive Hummer golf carts.

I can imagine the conversation that led to their purchase:

"Gee, Bob, looks like we've helped every single orphaned child in the world.  What shall we do with all this extra money?"

"Hey Ed, let's buy gratuitously expensive golf carts to patrol the campus!"

"The campus that just spent all of 4 minutes walking across?"

"The very same, Ed, the very same."

Later, when we were talking about our weekends in class, a girl boasted in Italian how her friend was drunk and grabbed the cross of her neck.  So, of course, she punched her in the face.  If I had known how to say "Yeah, just like Jesus would have done," in Italian, I would have.

I love hypocrisy.

Eck, break time has been over for a few minutes.  Hey, maybe if Mulk fixes my wireless internet card on my laptop, I'll be able to write more.  So if you haven't heard from me, please direct all complaints to him.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

We Are Experiencing Mental Difficulties.
We Apologize For Any Inconvenience.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

This Lopez hasn't been getting behind the ol' blog much lately, but the rest of the family certainly is. Miguel with his tech advice, Barbara with her future-pondering, and Luis with his...political analysis? Hmm. That's unexpected.

Not a lot has been going on with me. Jake and Heather became husband and wife on Saturday, which was awesome. I had the opportunity to try my hand at being a Best Man. I didn't do too badly. If I were to grade myself, I'd be waving around a solid B-.

Speaking of B-'s, I passed my English 102 class. I guess the fourth time really is a charm. I received my grade in the mail, which I promptly sent to the Educational Assistance people at work so that I could be fully reimbursed. Not a bad gig, really.

The wedding was good, though. I'm proud of both of them. I had to give a toast during the reception. I had known about it but I had still been caught off guard when the lady shoved a microphone at me.

I had been trying to prepare something to say since I had arrived at the church that afternoon. I had my little notebook out and was scribbling away, crossing it all out, and then scribbling some more. By the time the wedding started, I had a handful of ideas I was very uncertain about and one good idea that I planned to close with.

I had been forced to use my closing much sooner than I hoped.

It worked out in the end, though. After floundering through the first half of my impromptu speech, the ending sounded that much better. I think it's called juxtaposition; following something bad with something good to make it seem better.

What else, what else? Oh, I got pulled over by the police twice last night on my way home from school. That was fun.

One of my headlights was out. The police officer gave me a paper to fill out and mail in once I repaired it (which I can fix myself) and then sent me on my way.

Less than a minute later, I see red and blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. I pulled over again and sighed as I tried to count how many times I had found myself on the shoulder of the highway in the past month.

It was the same cop. "Hey, I forgot to give you back your license," he said. "Sorry about that."

I thanked him politely. As he walked back to his car, I pulled back onto the road and cut across three lanes of traffic and a Gore point so that I wouldn't get stuck on the highway to East Mesa. The police officer didn't follow.

I've been tired lately. Today at work, I crawled under a desk, buried my head under the jacket Nicole had lent me, and went to sleep.

It's too hot to sleep in my car without risking heat stroke.

School is going well. In my biology class, we're reviewing all the chemistry I never learned. I was almost completely lost during the lecture and it didn't help that I was hallucinating from my lack of sleep.

Today I had the lab portion of my class, so after lecture I trudged along after my professor. He broke out little models of molecules. They were like Legos; I put them together and pulled them apart and had a great time. I was able to grasp the concepts much better than from listening to the lecture. By the end, I was even able to make my own molecules and simulate reactions. It was like a molecular puppet show. I even made a pretty sweet alcohol molecule. I was very proud of it.

So there's a lot of learning going on. So far, so good. However, at the end of next week, my online literature class kicks in. My workload right now is about what I think I can handle, but I'm trying to be optimistic. How hard can the class be? It combines two things I love: Literature and the Internet.

Now I'm off to find a class that will give me credit for sleeping.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

"Deeds, not words shall speak me."

-John Fletcher

(Sounds much more profound than just saying "I'm too tired/busy to write," eh?)

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Ah, the magic of office e-mails.  I received this question from Beth (who was also working very hard in another part of the city) after I mentioned the delightful menu offered by our own company cafeteria.

"my coworker bryan, being as clever as he is, wants to know if the crap sandwiches should actually be called crapwiches??"

Dear Bryan,

There is no rule requiring a sandwich to alter it's name to reflect the properties of said sandwich.  Having said that, there is precedent:  Note the "Spamwich" (the name indicating the sandwich contains Spam, or contains some other filling and Spam has been substituted for bread) or the "Manwich," (another trademarked foodstuff that has become colloquial, usually in more urban settings.)

Both of these examples display the tendency of proper nouns and common food names to amalgamate.  Foodstuffs in a sandwiches that are not proper nouns do not display this property.  A ham sandwich does not become a "hamwich," an egg sandwich does not become and "eggwich," nor does adding cheese to a Spamwich and grilling it result in a "GrillcheeSpamwich."

Also, the word "sandwich" is an arbitrary name.  It is incapable of being broken down into a root word, suffix, or prefix (which is unfortunate for you medical types.)

Finally, there is precedent for my choice of "crap sandwich."  A closely-related term still in popular usage is "shit sandwich," and in cleaning up the language I have chosen not to meddle with the phrase any further.  

But hey, what's in a name?  A Spamwich by any other name will still make your bowels clench tighter than Oprah's hand on a turkey drumstick.  

Or would that be a "turkstick?"



P.S.  Hey, why don't we capitalize the phrase "proper nouns?"

When winter nears she'll sit and ponder
Why absence makes the heart grow fonder
Are days more short or nights more longer?
How long 'til she stops getting stronger?
Is there just this world to wander?
The answers seem a step beyond her

(Just wanted to remind everybody that they're not missing anything.)

Friday, August 27, 2004

The subdued chatter in the office and the click-clack of typing had the effect of a mother's lullaby on Palermo as he struggled to do his work.  Every night this week, his precious dream-time had been whittled down more and more by all the mundane tasks that accumulated during the 12-13 hours he spent away at work and school.

He half-rose from his seat with the intent of defying convention and purchasing a cup of coffee from the vending machine.  A paper cup on the corner of his desk caught his eye and he settled back down with all the grace of a perplexed sack of potatoes.

Oh.  He had already purchased a cup of coffee.

He reached for it slowly, as if the cup was a mirage that might disappear when he came too close.  It remained real.  He was glad.  He wouldn't like it if he had spent 65 cents on an imaginary cup of coffee.

He peered into the cup and saw his own face staring back from the inky, black swirls.  The quality of the vended coffee reminded him disturbingly of machine urine.  He took a sip.  It was no longer steaming, but just warm enough to make his analogy even more accurate.  He grimaced.  His ink-self grimaced back.

He downed half of it.  Grains of instant-coffee-mix that had stubbornly defied the dissolving process staked a claim at the back of his throat and made themselves comfortable.  

Palermo almost wondered why he was taking such great pains to stay awake when all he really wanted in the world was to go to sleep.  Fortunately, he was able to suppress the thought before it surfaced and wholly depressed him.  

He lifted up the cup in a silent toast to the coming respite of the weekend.  He suppressed another thought about how busy he would actually be during the weekend by downing the rest of the bitter coffee.

If life is rounded by little sleep, then Palermo's life was going to be very well-rounded indeed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

My day began, (as I see it) after I left work. I hopped into my trusty Tercel and sped despondently in the direction opposite of my home. No, I had an Italian class to attend on a campus I had never been to before.

The class was being taught on a high school campus. I found the school with relatively little trouble. Er, I found it with relatively little trouble after I had called Beno and he had gotten online to find directions.

I pulled into the parking lot. Shading my eyes against the sunlight, I could see the sihlouette of a cross atop of a small, domed building. I made my way towards it to investigate further.

Shortly after stepping through a gate painted the color of rust, I was hailed by a small, wizened man. He had the uncertain bearing of a campus security guard. A badge shined dully from the shirt of his unkempt uniform. "Excuse me sir, where are you headed?" he asked.

"I am here to attend Italian 201," I said.

He seemed to relax. He pointed out a building and told me class was in there. I thanked him and continued on my way. I noted that the only footsteps I heard were my own. I approached the classroom and through the large windows I could see that a class in session. Not my class, though. I had arrived very early.

I turned away. "It's right in there!" the little security guard yelled, pointing again. He hadn't moved from the spot where we had spoken, as I had assumed, and was still watching me.

Annoyed, I looked levelly at him. He continued to point. I turned away from him and walked over to a small, concrete amphitheater, where I sat down and began to read my copy of Starship Troopers.

A half-hour later, I stood up. I stretched and returned my book to my satchel. The nagging guard was nowhere in sight.

Time to affirm his fears.

No, I had no desire to wreak havok on an unsuspecting preporatory high school. I was merely curious.

As I walked among the cluster of small buildings, I noticed a sign that read "Christ Is The Reason For This School." I walked on. The next sign I came upon read "Landscaping Donated By..." and then listed the names of a presumeably generous couple.

Passing by the parcels of well-manicured grass, I noticed more signs. Posted to each tree was that disheartening sign of civilization: "Keep Off The Grass."

* * * * *

Class began at 7:15. Almost every student that walked in the classroom door was greeted with shouts of greeting and surprise; camaraderie not uncommon among language students.

I sat quietly, feeling very out of place seated among this large family.

I remained quiet, listening. I could picture the little bursts of light in my brain as old, atrophied synapses struggled to understand this very strange, very familiar pattern of sounds.

To help everyone become better acquainted (i.e., myself and a couple of others that didn't already know everyone) the professor asked us to write three sentences in Italian. Two sentences would be true and one would be false. Heads went down and the familiar song of frantic scribbling filled the air. I took longer than I thought to produce sentences shorter than I hoped.

The class went around reading theirs aloud and guessing. My turn came. I read out loud.

"One: I don't remember much Italian." There were murmurs of agreement. "Two: I anger very easily." A few people looked skeptical. "Three: I hate cold mornings," I finished.

I avoided their eyes and looked down at my paper.

There was half-interested discussion about which was the false statement, if only because I was a stranger to them. In the class was a guy who called himself "Santiago." By the way the other students would dismiss most things he said by smiling and saying, "Oh, that's Santiago!", I guessed he was the class clown. Knowing this, I waited for the inevitable.

"Number 2!" Santiago shouted. "It's number two!"

I jerked up at him, halfway out of my chair, and shouted "WHAT?!"

Even though he was safely across the room, Santiago still jumped back. The rest of the class reacted in a similar fashion. I lowered my head again. "Yeah, it's number two," I said softly. There were chuckles around the room. Either they liked my rather lame joke or they thought I was manic-depressive. Neither would be too far off, I guess.

I made it home from class around 9:30 pm. Just another day.

As it stands, I'll have three nights a week in which I'll be at work by 8 am and return home at 9:30 pm. I'm wondering why I chose this insane schedule in the first place. I suspect I know the answer.

I've been reading Starship Troopers. The book goes on about military life. The tediousness, long hours, abuse, sleep-deprivation. All the stuff I used to do. Used to be pretty good at enduring, too.

The single greatest external influence for me has always been whatever I'm reading. Smoking because Spider Jerusalem does it. Drinking because hell, all the best writers were alcoholics. (Movies have their place, too. I know that if I ever lose a hand I'm going to replace it with a chainsaw. (Oh, and music. Once I quit my job because I had been singing along to Monster Magnet ("I'm never gonna work/another day in my life")))

The problem is that I'm almost finished reading this book. If I'm not careful about what I read next, my whole plan could collapse around me. We'll see. For now, I had better stick to my work.

As of this moment, I have officially overcome all the technological obstacles that have been preventing me from utilizing Blogger's e-mail posting capabilities.

I've figured out that I have to enter the correct "address" for it to be "sent."

At least, I think I've figured it out.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

The Week Ends, The Week Begins

"One of the major difficulties Trillian experienced in her relationship with Zaphod was learning to distinguish him pretending to be stupid just to get people off their guard, pretending to be stupid because he couldn't be bothered to think and wanted someone else to do it for him, pretending to be outrageously stupid to hide the fact that he actually didn't know what was going on, and really being genuinely stupid.

He was renowned for being amazingly clever and quite clearly was so-but not all the time, which obviously worried him, hence the act. He preferred people to be puzzled rather than contemptuous. This above all appeared to Trillian to be genuinely stupid, but she could no longer be bothered to argue about it."

-The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams

* * * *

Today almost wasn't my first day of school.

I hadn't slept very well. It had been a fitful night of dreaming; happy dreams that nonetheless left me emotionally drained before I even began to fumble for the snooze button on the alarm clock.

The drive to work was pleasant. The air was cool and the skyline offered only the tease of sunrise. I didn't need my sunglasses but I wore them anyway so the wind wouldn't dry out my contact lenses.

Mondays are my long days. I slurm into the mail-room by 6 and I am not released until 4:30. I manage to stay upbeat for most of the day, but by the last couple of hours I begin to flag noticeably.

I left work and drove to campus. The morning coolness had long since fled. The radio stated that the temperature was around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Oddly enough, even in my un-air-conditioned car and my business casual attire, I was barely breaking a sweat.

I am a desert rat. Well, I'd say more of a desert shrew. They're feistier and not as intelligent.

I start to shiver when I get into cars with air-conditioning.

But there was no lack of warmth this afternoon. I parked my car and sauntered into alien territory. I had only been on this campus once before when I registered for my classes.

Unfortunately, this was of little aid since none of my classes were going to be held in the Advisement Office or Cashier Services.

I humbled myself and studied a campus map on a kiosk. I decided that I should pick up the textbooks since the course description referred to them as "required." If "required" held the same meaning as the "Shirt and Shoes Required" signs displayed most public eateries, purchasing the books would certainly save me time and bail money.

I found the first book on my little list. It was very easy to find since the book was right next to the sign that displayed the section number of my class along with big, yellow letters that read "Class Cancelled."

My hand instinctively went to the hunk of pewter around my neck that happens to resemble an albatross.

This would be an inconvenience. I had spent considerable time with a very patient advisor formulating a schedule that would satisfy my requirements while leaving my sanity, (if perhaps not my social life) relatively intact.

But on the other wing, I could just take a lighter credit load. I would have my money refunded, I could focus on my other classes, have my Mondays free.

"Drat," I sighed. I hoofed out of the bookstore and went to wait in line to speak to my advisor. I was glad that I had remembered to bring my copy of Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlen.

Several skirmishes with giant arachnids on alien planets later, I spoke to my advisor. He seemed to remember me. I explained that someone was out to thwart our well-crafted plans and we should act swiftly and accordingly.

We did.

I replaced the Geography class that was Missing In Action with a Biology class that fulfilled much the same requirements and was almost exactly the same time. Which meant I was late.

While I like biology, I had been excited to learn about geography because I know so little about it. It is one of the more glaring deficiencies in my knowledge.

I attended my class, returned home around 7:30 pm, and partook in the abundant spaghetti my mama made.

I ate quietly, trying to feel out what will soon become a routine.

In a final act of defiance, I went out to the bar to meet with Sibbitt, Beth, Donovan, Mai, Lauren, Kiki, and Dana. We watched the Olympics on the many hanging televisions, grappled with the notion of becoming working professionals, and briefly discussed Disney characters.

Now I'm here with my blog, a book, and white shirts with a new, bluish tint because I threw them in with some of my jeans. The drying cycle has completed, and the shirts and jeans are wrinkling as we speak.

I find myself less bothered by the wrinkled, blue clothing than I might have imagined. Whom do I have to impress? The only being around is my bug-eyed dog, whom I call The Noobers. He barely raises his head when I come in this late. Plus, he's color-blind.

Now I must be off. To remove laundry from the dryer, upon removing perchance to hang up in the closet, hung up perchance to un-wrinkle.

To dress perchance to impress. To hope that I become what the eyes make welcome to the heart.

To sleep.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Pay attention, Earth Creatures. I am pleased to announce that Guillermo's sister has a blog of her own. I don't know if you're puny human brains can comprehend this, but a blog is an elaborate communication tool that utilizes the "internet" to publish thoughts instantly. Stop by and encourage her in her new habit. Remember, we smoke while we blog.

Four Lopez's down, one to go. Thousand. Four thousand Lopez's down, one to go. I'm aware that according to your primitive Earth calendar today is Friday. On the moon, we do not encumber ourselves with these "pants," thereby eliminating entirely the need to drop them. Enjoy your primitive Friday, Earth creatures.

* * * *

What's this? That's unusual.

Heh, it appears that someone saved a post as a draft and didn't remember to put it up on Friday. Heh heh. Some foolish human, no doubt.

* * * * *

I'm weary, I'm not sure where my mind is, so I'm going to go now. Sibbitt and I went out to the bar for a couple of hours tonight and had an intense discussion about life, the universe, and everything. We're going out again tomorrow evening if anyone would like to join us.

Seriously, we talked about everything. Close calls with chain-saws, statues of limitations, social issues that arise from the lack of a dominant culture, ancient cave paintings, being drunk on rooftops, forest ecology, writing for oneself versus writing with a group of readers in mind, and our mutual desire to conquer the sea despite an intense fear of it.

I'm going to go now for reals this time.

Oh, NPR hasn't gotten back to me about my ideas yet. I'm sure they will. After all, they're listener-supported. They need me.