Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Lucy's got a new pair of shoes'

...also, the worst toe-stubbing in the world.

Rejoice, dear reader, for I have a tale for your enjoyment. But first, I'm afraid that you must mourn--mourn for the loss of my battery charger, for without it's electric nourishment, my camera has died. So it has come to this. A tale without visual aid, but a tale nonetheless.

But let me assure you, what this particular post may lack in flair and shine, shall be compensated ten-fold in the flourishes of my language, and soon the rhythmic clack of fingertip striking key shall fill the air like sweet music.

My tale begins long ago, with the unexpected puncture of Lucy's innocent rear tire. The layers of rubber were cruelly rent asunder by an unknown obstacle, allowing the pressurized lifeblood within to quickly and forcefully escape. I was able to act quickly, and a replacement, yes, a replacement tube was soon inserted and the lifeblood replaced, but it sadly would not be the same. No, for the gaping chasm, the unhealing wound, the gap through which the tube could burst at any moment, was still menacingly present.

And so it remained, living in an unsteady balance, until just yesterday, when the air once again found a way to burst forth, leaving me stranded, and without transportation. Do not be alarmed, dear readers, for I was fortuitously near a bus stop, where I soon boarded the massive vehicle, with crippled companion in tow. It was then, on that fateful ride, that I knew precisely what I must do.

Shortly after waking this morning, I shamefully drove myself to the cycling shop, in search of the replacement which would save Lucy's very life. Thankfully, the replacement tire which I was in such desperate need was quickly forthcoming, and I dashed home, to prepare for the surgery. The flash of the wrench, the groan of stretched rubber, and the erratic symphony of metal scraping metal filled the room to it's capacity. Soon, though, air was replaced and repressurized, bolts were firmly fastened, and the deed was done.

There she stood, restored and renewed, gleaming before me like a beacon. The new tire existing in stark contrast with the rest of the machine. Slick, clean, black rubber stood out against dusty, worn, and duct-taped, and she was whole once more. Success hung tangibly in the air, like a fine mist of happiness permeating the room with pure joy.

So let us halt the story here, so that we may have a chance to rest, and meditate on what we have heard today. Picture for yourselves, because as previously stated, I am sorrowfully unable to do so for you--picture the beauty of the machine, now fully formed and repaired beyond it's previous state. It is truly a beautiful thing, dear readers.

Oh, I almost forgot. So I stubbed my toe sooo freakin bad today. It was nuts. I was walking through my room, right? and my big toe totally nailed my piano. Let me tell you, hurt like a dicken, several dickens actually. So anyway, I look down at the thing, and it's bleeding like ka-razy, man! Totally split open. That's how hard I hit the thing. So I'm running around my apartment, trying to find a band-aid, but of course, I don't have any, so I just had to let the toe bleed itself out. Totally gnarly.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Flying downhill at the speed of AWESOME!!

while actually going about 15-20 miles per hour.

Recently (wink, this isn't actually a week old story, wink), Sand Springs held it's first ever (to my knowledge) downhill soapbox race! (Actually a series of many one-on-one time trial events) and I was there to capture all of the action.

Although, saying that I was there capturing the action would be like saying that Hunter S. Thompson was capturing the action of the Mint 400 in Fear and Loathing. But I was physically there, taking pictures, which you'll see dispersed throughout the text, and that's what I'm trying to say.

It was a very interesting affair, and for the entire hour I was present, I was captivated. Every few minutes, the horn would blow and you'd see two kids in hastily manufactured, wheeled, death-chariots, careening down the road at relatively slow speeds until they finally anti-climaxed by plowing into either a bale of hay, a pile of sand, or each other. It was awesome.

I also realized that Sand Springs was now home to it's very own cycling shop. It happened to be on the same street as the sweet racing action, so during one of the breaks, I went in to take a look. As much as it pains me to say this...I was very disappointed. It appeared as though what they were calling a cycling shop was nothing more than two racks of tiny, tiny mountain/bmx bikes and a catalog. The people there, while coming off as slightly needy, were nice, and shoved one of their business cards into my hands as soon as they ascertained that I was horrified, as the hardcore road biker that I am, at the limited nature of their shop.

But the feeling of horror soon subsided as I entered the real world once again and was immersed in the world of juvenile street racing. Looking around at the proceedings, I was amazed to see that, in the distance, an entire section of downtown which was devoted to the gastronomic impulses of the lookers-on. There were, across the street, improvised stands selling the likes of funnel-cakes, fried [insert any item here], and cotton-candy. Of course, because whenever you've got loads of people standing around staring at asphalt, you're going to sell loads of unhealthy food.

But all good things must eventually come to an end, dear reader, and after my sister was content in buying a ridiculously overpriced bag of spun, molten sugar, we left the scene behind, which was still buzzing with activity long after we were gone.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure that I spotted Rocco from Boondock Saints while I was there.

Blog Posting Insanity!

Here we go. It's been a while since I've last posted (I've had a lot of sleeping to do). But now I'm back in action. Here comes the new content!

(of course, if you're reading this, then you've already read most of the new content)

There went the new content! Except for the following:

Everyday Optics!

Photo taken of my ceiling

The absolute value of a sine function.

See kids, math can be fun!

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I've had a very boring week. I've done nothing, up to this point, that could be considered "blog-worthy." This evening, I set out, and some may say I have succeeded in my attempt, to change that.

Craving adventure, as I am wont to do, I set out from the coffee shop at which I spent a large portion of my day, in search of something--this ephemeral something I could not yet put my finger on, but I set out, regardless, to find it.

So I left. Lucy (my bike) and I wandered through the streets and alleyways of Stillwater for a time, searching for that which is inherently unsearchable.

My first encounter with the extraordinary came abruptly, when I noticed a pile of what seemed to be junk on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the contents of this particular pile were not the ordinary sort of junk (bits of rusty metal, slowly rotting wood, stained couches, and what-have-you) but rather rusty, slowly rotting, and stained business signs, from every type of establishment conceivable. Among those that I recognized were Conoco and Holiday Inn (as seen in the photo), and many, many more. I was slightly disappointed, because being on a bike prohibited me from stealing any of these great pieces of unintentionally modern art.

Regardless, and with my appetite for the unusual whetted, I pressed on through more parts unknown. (Side note: If you've never experienced a city completely by bike or on foot, you're completely missing out. There is a myriad of sense experiences that you are missing out on by driving a boring car through your city. Try it out some time, and pay close attention to the sights, sounds, and smells of your particular parcel of the country. For instance, I noticed today that many parts of Stillwater smell a bit like poo, and that's all part of the experience.)

Anyway, the evening was wearing on, and I was determined to continue exploring while I still was able. Hearing the sounds of drunken collegiate revelry in the distance (foreshadowing!), I came upon a very strange sight. It was some sort of monument, I guess, probably to the rail lines which used to cut through Stillwater back in the day. I was more struck, however, by the fact that I had no earthly idea why there should be a train engine, on it's own tiny set of tracks to nowhere, sitting in front of a mock station, in the middle of downtown Stillwater. In a way, though, not knowing why that train was placed there made the scene more poignant and mysterious to me. There was someone out there, I thought to myself, who cared so much about this particular train, that they enshrined it here, so that I could later find it, and wonder at its origin.

But mysticism and determinism aside, I snapped a few poorly-lit photographs of the scene and carried on. By this time, it had gotten properly dark. Lucy, with no front or rear light to guide the way, was as blind as I, as we barreled down the ill-lit streets of our town, searching for another sign.

As you probably know, there is an inverse correlation between the effort put into finding something extraordinary, and the chances of finding something extraordinary. That is, the harder you look, the less likely you are to find such a thing. Knowing this principle full well, I charged on, into the night, telling myself that I only needed to find one more exciting thing before I could go home and report my findings. And it was at that moment (roughly) that I noticed something odd. By this time I was headed roughly towards campus, and I began to see that the car-density per parking lot was increasing sharply. Nothing made this point more clear when I noticed that a bank, located very close to campus, had it's lot packed with vehicles, well into the ATM lines. What could be the cause of this?

Of course! I thought in a sudden bout of Sherlock Holmesian insight, the football game!

The OSU whatevers were playing the Texas A&M whatevers at the manly-man's sport of college football tonight. Thus, as I pierced the heart of campus, my way was consistently and frustratingly blocked by drunken revelers, orange-clad alumni, desperate to relive former days of glory, frat boys and the ever-present sorostitutes, all of whom were shouting and stumbling and generally milling about. For several square blocks, an entire tent-city had sprung from the ground, orange and white canopies protecting wide screen tv's, beer (pronounced in typical Oklahoma fashion, BEHR) coolers, and lawnchairs filled with fans. The sense impressions, which I previously alluded to, were threatening to overwhelm me as I coasted through the heart of the madness, the sights: orange masses of people moving amorphously about, clutching BEHRs and trying to cross the road, the sounds: horns honking at random, shouts of "Go Pokes!" and in reply, "F**k you!" and the smells: a strange mix of the telltale scent of an impromptu wing stand and urine.

Eventually, not caring much for the madness and debauchery concomitant with collegiate sport, I left the mob scene behind, in favor of quieter territory. And this is, I'm afraid, where today's story has to end. I'd seen quite enough for one day, perhaps even one week. I silently pedaled home, where I then sat, with my laptop in the most literal of positions (on the top of my lap), to write it all down.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Move! Book Sale!

This post is a bit overdue, but I've got a bit of time while I'm not studying for my test (which I have to take in about eight hours), so I've decided to throw this in.

If there's anything that you should know about me, it's that I go absolutely [expletive deleted] for used book sales. Actually, now that I think about it, the only thing better than a used book sale is an impromptu used book sale. And this, my friends, is where I will begin the tale.

It was saturday afternoon, and I was riding my bike down to the coffee shop to waste some time, do some homework, and get some of my all-important blogging done. Suddenly, out of my periph, I spot one of those cheap, white-with-black-lettering signs which could only signal a public library book sale.

I almost fell off of my bike I braked so hard.

A quick u-turn and an inspection of the sign gave me my destination: the Stillater Public Library, which, to my ultimate delight, wasn't too far away (not that it would matter, I'd probably ride my bike to tulsa if I could just get to experience the lingering aroma of aged literature).

So I booked it to the library. Did you see what I did there? And about an hour later I left with a 20 pound stack of books (shown below), which I then had to stuff into my poor messenger bag (along with my laptop and classnotes which were already in).

The list is as follows:

1. Carl Sagan: A Life - Biography of the man himself.
2. Cosmos by Carl Sagan - An absolute classic in lay-scientific literature, you may remember the 2600 part pbs series of the same name.
3. The Panda's Thumb by S.J. Gould - One of the most important and most cited modern books on evolution. It's a classic.
4. Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke - One of the best SF stories by my absolute favorie science fiction (and science non-fiction, as you'll soon see) authors.
5. The Promise of Space by A.C. Clarke - A book written in the 70s about the shining future of space travel. This might be the first mention of the solar sail concept for space travel, but don't cite me on that.
6. Mathematical Tables and Formulas (3rd ed.) - This one's pretty self-explanatory. I've got a pretty good collection of these books going now, it's the third book of math tables that I now own, despite the fact that the internet and Mathematica make these completely obsolete.
7. The Dirigible Book - Written in 1936 about the exciting new field of lighter than air vessels, this children's picture book captures everything that I love in nostalgic old books. It's even got pencil drawings of flames coming out of a moored blimp--Hindinberg-style.

And, I only spent about 5 bucks.