hereticalphysicist
Saturday, January 29, 2005
  The Overcoat

Like most people, I had a tough time in middle school. I was portly, wore glasses and pigtails, whiny, and poor. Because my family was so poor, I was pretty excited to get a new jacket that wasn't even a winter coat or anything! I thought it was just so cool: denim, with one sleeve a red plaid pattern and the other a yellow plaid pattern. This was the early 90s, so I realize now that I had no taste.

The first day I wore it to school in 7th grade, I saw one of the most popular girls in the school wearing it. I thought she was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She pretty much just ignored me. Sometimes she was friendly, and sometimes she laughed at me with everyone else. While I desperately wanted her to talk to me, at the same time I didn't want to get the attention of the popular kids at all. You never knew when the popular kids would be nice and when they wouldn't. She noticed me, however, and laughed. "Hey, you got the same jacket! You know we can't both wear it at the same time!" I knew she was joking around with me, so I hadn't crossed the line with the jacket. Still, I knew that if I wore the jacket, she would notice me, and then maybe her friends too. I was mortified. More than anything in middle school, I wanted to pass unnoticed. I had no illusions of ever joining the popular group. The best I could do was remain ignored, instead of being laughed at. So I submitted. I stopped wearing the jacket to school. It agonized me, too, because it was such a waste of my mom's money, and we could have spent it on something we needed.

These days, I realize that if I had continued wearing the jacket, the situation would have been worse for the popular girl than it would have been for me. Who wants to dress like a loser?

Recent Media
Ender's Shadow, Orson Scott Card.
The Federalist Papers, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay. Let's hear it for Columbians! Seriously, though, I think I need to brush up on our government a little, starting with the Constitution.
The Animation Show, Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeld. Hertzfeld is mostly known for his Rejected animation, where he basically revels in the fact that animations can't die, no matter how much you torture them. By the way, did anyone know that Mike Judge was a physics major?
Harold and Kumar Go to Whitecastle. This was actually really funny. The best part is Kumar's bong hit cell phone ring. A new generation's Half Baked. And Mike wept to see New Brunswick. Just kidding.
The mirror. I've realized lately that I'm shaped like an ape. A slightly protruding belly. A long torso. Mike and I compared the length of our forearms, and they are approximately the same. So either Mike is shaped like T-Rex, or I'm shaped like an ape. My dad once told me that if I were a farm tool, I'd be a reaper. If I were a cartoon character, I'd be Leela from Futurama. She's in better shape than I am, but I've got the hairstyle, the poor depth perception, and the attitude problem.
 

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Tuesday, January 25, 2005
  Images of America

I guess since I just recently read "America" by Allen Ginsberg, I'm kind of on an America kick. I'll go with it.

I didn't spend much time talking about the road trip across country that Mike and I took to get out here, but believe me, it was beautiful. Here are a few recollections.

In Morgantown, WV, we stopped at McDonald's. As we were driving into the parking lot, I saw a tiny bird fly by, a sparrow maybe, with a huge french fry in its mouth. The fry was about longer than the bird itself. It was totally awesome.

In Maryland, earlier that day, actually, the wheel fell off our U-Haul trailer. We were detained on the side of the highway for four hours waiting for a new trailer to show up. The dude that helped us talked exactly like Boomhower on King of the Hill. You couldn't understand a single word he said, except for "I tell you what!" and he always had a cigarette hanging out his mouth. He was really nice, but he called me bossy. Maybe. What's your point?

And to anyone who has never been to the American Southwest, I strongly urge you to drive out there. New Mexico is possibly the most beautiful place on earth. At first it looks like Mars, with weird shaped rocks all over the place. You'll drive across completely flat ground for a hour before you realize there's a cliff drop to your right. We stopped by the painted desert. Everything was flat all around, uniform in beige color, and all of a sudden we come to the edge of a cliff, and there it spreads out before us, in deep reds and purples and blue. I think I might have cried.

Anyway, don't go your entire life without driving across this country. You may once, but only once, listen to Simon and Garfunkle's greatest hits. Do not indulge in sentiment.

Recent Media
KNOWLEDGE That Leads to Everlasting Life. I used to work for New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). On my resume, I call my position "political activist." Actually, I just walked door to door for about 5 hours a day trying to get people to give money to the group, or get a membership. I worked on commission. While I feel that working there might have made me more conservative, overall, I look back on my high school job fondly. Anyway, I actually went to the door of a Jehovah's Witness. Instead of my giving him my rap, he gave me his and a little evangelical pamphlet. I took a break that day to read some of it in a church yard. It was the nicest place to sit down in the neighborhood. I never finished it, but I also never threw it away, because, if you ever saw my apartment, you would see I never throw anything in book form away. So I decided to read it now. It's interesting. It's already established that Catholics and Jews are not going to have any of this "everlasting life." Apparently, they also differentiate strongly between Jesus and God. People that worship Jesus as God are probably not going to Heaven either. Obviously, I'm not convinced.
American Idol. Why am I watching this? Is Paula on drugs? What circle in hell do you think the judges will be placed in? Will I see that loveable freak from New Orleans in Heaven?
 

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Monday, January 24, 2005
  America Confesses...

Confession of the 1970s: We have really bad taste.

Confession of the '80s: I love money. Omigod, you love money too?

Confession of the '90s: We love cookie dough!

Confession of the '00s? Don't know what schadenfreude means, and proud of it!
 

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Sunday, January 23, 2005
  Pictures of Me

Somewhere, in middle America, a Bush supporter has my picture.

In 2000, a bunch of Columbia students were going to D.C. to protest the inauguration, as I'm sure many did this year. I thought it was a little silly, because what was going to happen? They're going to cancel the presidency? Although, protesters in 2000 had a lot more reason to protest than those now, because Bush won fair and square this time. What are they protesting? Democracy?

Anyway, I was convinced to go to D.C. in 2000 by my boyfriend at the time, who wouldn't really listen to any protests of my own that this was all very silly. You can begin to see why we are not together anymore. Anyway, I thought a trip to D.C. for $20 sounded fun, so what the hell? I'd never been to the inauguration before.

When we got there I was handed a sign and a marker. Since I wasn't really that serious about the whole thing, I wrote on the sign, "Bush Makes Me Feel Dirty." Or something like that. Then I climbed onto a pedastal and waved it around. Of course, Texans in their big hats and fur coats (okay, buying a new fur coat is despicable enough, but walking around in it in the rain? That's just plain waste. Grrr....is what the animal might have said.) walked by and called out to me, "Take a bath, hippie!" Whatever. What did I expect? No offence to Texans I might like by the way. And cowboy hats are fine. When they're not on Bush supporters.

Because all the other protesters were earnest about what they were doing, none of them were that amusing. So I got most of the attention out of my group, and people actually came up to me to get their picture taken with a REAL LIFE PROTESTER!!!!! I let them do it. I didn't care. They went back to their families in Illinois and showed them a picture of a gen-U-wine coastal elite in her natural habitat.

Recent Media
Howl, Allen Ginsberg
Juan de la Rosa, Memoirs of the Last Soldier of the Independence Movement, Nataniel Aguirre
 

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Friday, January 21, 2005
  Lazy Day Word Play

By the way, the haiku was not about marijuana, as Mike thought. I was putting away some sage I'd dried. And was filled with poetic spirit, or something.

Mike's Dad came to visit about a week ago. His impression was that we're living in squalor, which is definitely not true. Our apartment is richly and tastefully decorated, and we drink a lot of wine. Our lifestyle is definitely on the extravagant side. He probably just thinks we're hobos because we eat on the floor. Hey, somewhere that's civilized. But if any of you saw it, I know you would not agree with Mike's dad. This is a hint-hint to my friends reading this. No perverted shower porn freaks though. Except for Christian.

Mike suggested this:

Recent Media

(The name strikes me as a little pretentious, but I'm sticking with it.)
Shardik, by Richard Adams. The Watership Down guy. This book is no good though. Do not read it.
Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath.
King of the Hill Season One DVDs
The Office special
Boy with the Arab Strap, Belle and Sebastian. Play this when it is 75 degrees outside and you can cruise down a highway lined with palm trees. Like I did yesterday.
Oh, and Hello Nurse has a full concert for download on their website and it is awesome.
I'm a bimbo: New Rock Star Crush: lead singer of the Killers. He is just so awkward.
 

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Thursday, January 20, 2005
  Haiku

My fingertips are
scented by the crackling
dry herbs beneath them.
 

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Wednesday, January 19, 2005
  Animaniacs

Mike and I went to the beach today to fly a kite. The air was supernaturally still, though, so I just amused myself by chasing the gulls on the pier with my kite, which looks like a dragon. I saw a gull standing on one leg. I ran up to it, growling and sneering behind my dragon kite, and in its haste to get away, it fell into the water.

Just kidding. I didn't chase it, but I did walk up to it. It dropped its second leg and limped along the railing of the pier a few feet before dropping ungracefully into a perching position.

When Mike and I got home, we saw another gull fly out of a dumpster with a plastic bag in its mouth. Must have been a juicy catch, because when another bird approached the first gull went apeshit and started chasing the other one. The other gull tried getting away, but the first one got its tail in his mouth and dragged him out of the air.

This reminds me of other amazing animals I've seen.

I was walking down a small street in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, when I heard these squawking sounds above me. I looked up and saw three pigeons perched on a ledge. The two on the sides were whaling on this one pigeon in the center. It tried to get a way, but everytime it stepped into open space to fly away, the two other pigeons would pounce again.

That same day I saw a giant horse pulling a carraige. The horse paused for a second, crazy look in its eye, then sneezed so hard all four of its legs splayed out beneath him.

Another day we were waiting in line to buy tickets for a boat to Vieques, an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. A lizard came running around the side of the building and a cat came right after. The lizard hopped on my suitcase, and I started freaking out because I did not want a lizard to get mauled to death on my suitcase. Gross. He hopped off, though, and then the cat pounced and ripped open his back. He actually got away again and started running around our feet with his innards hanging out. But, you know, a disemboweled lizard can't run very fast, so the cat soon caught up with him and ripped him in half.

Then there's the rat fight I saw in the subway station...

One more story: When I was in middle school, I used to hang out at the playground near my apartment with a scruffy gang of neighborhood kids. One night we were wandering around the parking lot and I noticed a HUGE squashed beetle on the ground. I was feeling kind of mean, so I got a piece of paper and scooped it up in the paper and dumped it in the manager's mailbox. He was a really nice guy, so I don't know why I wanted to be so mean. But, you know, kids are mean like that. And I'm definitely not known for my maturity, that's for sure.
 

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Sunday, January 16, 2005
  All right, closure!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a couple of kids that bang on my window everyday. They had stopped for a while--Christmas break, and I'm sure with all the rain they took a more direct route home than behind my apartment.

Last week, however, things came to a head. I was standing at the window, showing Mike a little bit of mold growing on it (eeewww!), when I saw a kid come running up to the window. He saw me, and the expression on his face went from "He he" to "oh shit!" He didn't stop to bang on my window, he kept running. I opened the window and heckled him as he ran down the alley. Then he friend walked up and said, "That's the one who hits your window, not me!" And I said, "Well, I guess he was just too scared to hit my window today." Then I think I yelled, "TOO SCARED!" Or something to that effect. The memory's hazy.

Anyway, I haven't been bothered by them since. Too bad. I really wanted to prank them.
 

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Saturday, January 15, 2005
  PERSONALS

In search of Tim Connor who lived in Goleta from 1987 to 1990. He possibly grew up in Santa Barbara. He is approx. 40 years old, 6 feet tall with brown hair. He dated Holly Mansfield in 1988. I have good news and would like to contact him. Reward. Contact me at (619) 337-8981.

WANTED

In search of white pages phone books for the Goleta/Isla Vista area from 1987 to 1990. Will purchase or pay for borrow. Contact me at (619) 337-8981.

These two ads were in the Daily Nexus, UCSB's campus newspaper. They were in two separate sections of the classifieds, and I'm surprised I even noticed that they both have the same contact number. I'm intrigued by these ads. I wonder, did Holly Mansfield herself post the ads? Someone must really want to find this man. Mike says that by posting this I could be endangering the safety of this man, Tim Connor. Perhaps someone wants to find him for the wrong reasons.

First I thought, maybe he knocked up Ms. Mansfield in 1988. Perhaps she's demanding child support now.

More likely, perhaps it's not Ms. Mansfield who posted these ads. Perhaps it's the kid, the one she had in 1988 or 1989. He or she would be about 17 now, old enough to have the resources to track down his/her lost father. But why is there a reward involved?

The second ad is what really intrigues me. Why would someone want a Goleta phone book from 1988, when surely Tim Connor won't be living at the same address or have the same phone number? If the person who took out the ad was Holly Mansfield, wouldn't she know where he lived? I can imagine other possibilities, but they all spark more questions.

Of course, I'm only studying this on a very superficial level. I'm certainly not going to start sleuthing this or anything. But I am willing to do some Google snooping. Here's what I turned up.

Google: Holly Mansfield

1) A poem

A blue eyed girl with bashful smile
Her heart always on the prowl
For pretty men who say they care
and sales on fashion underwear
She lives her life behind the walls
Of fantasy and shopping malls
and looking good in darkened bars
where hungry eyes won't see the scars
She's desperate to conceal the past
from ardent love that never lasts
pretending she's just like the rest
hoping to pass another test
In this game of love and lose
be careful of how you choose
for bleeding hearts are hard to mend
and broken dreams become the trend
for blue eyed girls with bashful smiles
with histories that are reviled
by pretty men who said they cared
until your fragile soul was bared

Holly Mansfield

By the way, the domain name www.intelleng.com belongs to a company Intelligence Engineering, LLC, which no longer exists.

2) A page listing alumni from the Colorado Timberline Academy, "college prep, boarding school, secondary education, small classes, individualized attention, Durang."

Apparently, a Ms. Mansfield graduated from this school in 1992. She currently lives in California, not too far away actually. Now, perhaps I'm going to far by naming the school where she went and sharing her information on my blog, but I figure if she put this information about herself on the Internet, then she can't expect this information to remain private. Maybe I'll change all the names later.

Anyway, more speculation. If this is a secondary school, that means it's a high school right? So if she graduated in 1992, probably at the age of 18, then was she dating this Tim Connor at the age of 14?

I also found a bunch of other various cites with her name on them, but I didn't mention them here because some of the girls definitely weren't the right person, and some of the stuff just wasn't relevant.

Google: Tim Connor

1) Tim Connor, CSP, Speaker - Trainer - Author.

A motivational speaker based in NC. I don't think this is the guy.

2) Tim Connor, photographer.

I don't think this is the guy either. But here's what he has to say: "
When I was walking around South Minneapolis 20 years ago, camera poised, I was like a stranger in an exotic land, listening intently, passionately, for traces of an ancient visual language I believed the natives had themselves forgotten, no longer even knew they knew. And when I look at my pictures closely now, it occurs to me that perhaps I was right. Perhaps I understood that language -- a few words at least, a broken, corrupted phrase or two. Perhaps I even managed to record it. What’s clear to me (and this is not a tragic thought) is that 20 years later I can no longer separate it from the background of everyday life. Perhaps it’s because that language has finally been subsumed into me. Perhaps I have become what I photographed."

3) Tim Connor, suit.

He works at Sequel Venture Partners, where "venture funding is only the beginning."

4) Tim Connor,
Singer, Songwriter, Comedian, Seánchai & Actor

This guy's from Ireland, so probably not the one we're looking for.

That's about all I found before I got bored of the topic. What have I learned? Don't get mixed up with a guy named Tim Connor.


 

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Friday, January 14, 2005
  Syzygy

The alignment of the moon, earth and sun.

Good-night, all.
 

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Wednesday, January 12, 2005
  Selling Out

Today I didn't get a job. I had applied for a job as a wine hostess at a winery. Now, I don't really need a job, because I already have one, but since I work at home, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try an get a little extra cash to support my hedonistic lifestyle. And I really did want to work there, for real. I had visions of calling up Mike at 7 in the evening, asking him to come pick me up at work because a wine tasting got a little out of hand and I wouldn't be able to drive myself home. But, alas, it wasn't to be.

I don't really care if you all know about this, but I had to explain my motivation for signing up for Google Adsense program. I need the cash. It's all about the Jacksons. (I'm poor--the only time I ever see Benjamins is when I'm handing over my paycheck to the landlord.) I assume you are all smart enough and competent enough to know what to do when you see an ad (CLICK IT, CLICK IT!).
 

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Saturday, January 08, 2005
  Rainy Day Women #12 & 35

I was watching Pulp Fiction tonight. Mike told me that it has been speculated that the boss's soul is in the suitcase that Samuel L. Jackson is delivering. I've never actually read anything about the movie. I don't really care what film students think about it. But anyway, I was intrigued. I speculated, Does that make Samuel L. Jackson the Angel of Death? Of course, he is a messenger--he's delivering the briefcase back to its owner. Angels are messengers, so which one is he? I doubt he's the Angel of Life, whatever that is. It actually seems pretty stupid to have an Angel of Life. Maybe an Angel of Midwives. So probably the Angel of Death. He can't be killed--remember the scene where bullets are rapid fired at him but he is unscathed. He has the protection of god. But he also walks on the side of the dark. The Angel of Death is not to be trusted, I think. He also has power over life and death. He decides the fate of those people in the diner.

Anyway, this discussion is probably dull and uninspiring, but what can I do? It's raining.

Also, I speculated tonight about a rather banal physics/philosophy topic. I usually avoid this kind of speculation--I don't want physics to seem more dramatic than it is. Reality is not dramatic. (Sorry, this is kind of an uninhibited "world view" post.)

Onto the b.s.

So, assuming there are an infinite number of possibilities at any given time, is anything impossible? I know a physics guy reads this blog--maybe he'll give me an easy answer. This is only lazy day speculation. But let's think about this. Surely there can be a 0.000000...000000.....000001 % chance of something happening. So essentially, an infinite number of events can happen at a specific point in time (or space? This involves too muchmath for me today). Given that, can anything not be included in this group? I say, nothing is impossible.

Be inspired, bitches.
 

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Thursday, January 06, 2005
  Movin' on Up

I just want to direct everyone's attention to the second comment on my post entitled "Wet and Wild."
 

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Wednesday, January 05, 2005
  Book Review for a Boring Day

I'm reading The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving right now. One annoying thing about Irving is that if you read about two of his good books, you don't have to read many more. He just recycles his themes: bears, circuses, deviant sexuality, dominant females, dwarfs. (One survey of his themes would lead one to be slightly suspicious of John Irving's own sexuality. I think however that John Irving is probably more comfortable with himself and his sexuality than most of us can ever hope to be.) Nevertheless, it's an enjoyable read. The best books by him are biographies: they follow the character through their entire lives. The worst books are just episodes in a character's life: A Son of the Circus, The Fourth Hand. There's no build-up--the entire book is concentrated on the climax, on the event at hand. His biographies, while they do always have a climax, a point when the shit hits the fan, are more focused on the substance of the character's life, not the events the character eventually experiences. The climax occurs on five pages of the book, but it's not the point of the novel. He dwells tenderly on details, on small side characters, because I think he understands that a life taken in its entirety is a sum of the small details, and exactly how we'll react when the shit hits the fan depends on these small details that we never notice at the time but always come back to haunt our memories later. People without names, details in our surroundings, will just pop up in your mind 10 years later for no apparent reason. This is what the substance of our lives is. Few lives have a climax--only books have climaxes, so Irving is compelled to include them, but he dwells more on how these small details have a part to play in the big events than the big events themselves. As he said in my favorite Irving book, A Prayer for Owen Meany: "I will tell you what is my overriding perception of the last twenty years: that we are a civilization careening toward a succession of anticlimaxes--toward an infinity of unsatisfying and disagreeable endings."

Oh, yeah, for the record, The Hotel New Hampshire can definitely be one of those 2 books you should read before giving up. He sure knows how to tell a good yarn.
 

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005
  Wet and Wild

I have problems with my plumbing.

A couple of months ago, I stuck a grapefruit peel down the garbage disposal. I've never had one before (a disposal, not a grapefruit), so how was I supposed to know it wouldn't work? When I flipped it on, grapefruit guts splashed all over the kitchen walls, and after that, both sides of the sink filled up with water the color of puke. Like if you've been eating cherry Jell-O. That color of puke. After checking the apartment rules handbook to confirm that a grapefruit was not listed among the things you can't put down a garbage disposal and therefore I wouldn't get charged, I called maintenance. A month later, I got a bill.

Fast forward a couple of months. I dropped a piece of soap down the shower drain, and after that the drain was clogged. We tried about two bottles of Drain-O, with some success. In between the bottles, though, the shower would get clogged again. Yesterday morning, there was a pool of water in the bath from the previous shower a day before a couple of inches deep. Mike and I were optimistic, though. We poured a whole bottle of Drain-O down the drain and decided to go for a run while it worked. I don't know why we thought it would be a good idea to go out and get really sweaty when we weren't sure we'd have a working shower when we got back. But in the worst case scenario, we'd just have to wait for the maintenance man to show up while we were still in our running clothes.

For the past week it's been raining nonstop here. Yesterday was the first time the sun had come out. I knew, because I'm a really smart person, that the athletic fields would be a little muddy from the rain. Unfortuntely, I made a mistake in my calculations when I hypothesized that three hours of sunshine would dry up most of a week's worth of rain. So the fields, like the bathtub, were covered in a few inches of water too. Man, that was a hell of a workout.

After the run, Mike and I both had mud caked to our legs, up to our butts. We came home, looking forward to a nice hot shower, and the tub, instead of having drained by now, was just filled a little higher with water than before, because the Drain-O hadn't drained. We called maintenance, but they would take a few hours to get here, and we couldn't sit anywhere because of the mud on our legs. I tried wiping some off with a wet paper towel, but amazingly, the towel came away completely clean, and the mud was still caked on in the exact same way it was before.

So I did the skankiest thing possible. I went next door and asked my neighbors, Rod and Ted, if I could use their shower. We had two essential things necessary for a porn: a guy named Rod and a girl caked in mud with a broken shower. After me, Mike used their shower. Oh yeah, Rod and Ted are brothers. That's what makes it so nasty.
 

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The story of how I became a very, very bad physicist. But not really.

Other People's Business

Mike (the boy)
Al
Al's portfolio (give her a job)
Christian
Jenny
Paul
Rod
Tia
Todd


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