Another Day, Another Blog

August 6, 2009

Random haikus

Filed under: when natures strikes back, writer's block — iamza @ 5:34 pm

Snow falls: travelling

through cold night skies unaided,

no need of a ship.

. _._.

The northern lights: a

magneto-charged romance

between earth and sun.

August 4, 2009

Hello, my name is Normal

Filed under: curiosities — iamza @ 5:16 pm

Eschew obfuscation normality.

Is there such a thing as normal? Aren’t we all slightly bent in different ways? Isn’t that part of what makes being sentient such an adventure? If we all thought the same, if there was only one way of viewing the world, what would be the point of reading novels or going to the movies? We’d be able to predict exactly what was about to happen, how the heroes and villains would behave, because they’d think the same way we do.

It’s our abnormalities and differences that make us interesting, both to ourselves and to others, and gives rise to creativity and inspiration.

Normal is vanilla, generic, bland. Why would anyone want to be normal?

Current cogitations

Filed under: curiosities, the joy of life — iamza @ 12:09 am

Why is it that space exploration is suddenly the network flavour of the month? All of a sudden, the new in-show seems to be one that includes a space-ship, a small group of slightly incompatible crew members, and a strange other intelligence guiding things from behind the scenes. (See also: Virtuality, Defying Gravity, and Stargate: Universe).

Is this just a subconscious reaction to the 40th anniversary of the moon landing?

Also, why is it that all the publishing houses are busily churning out books about vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, and/or ghosts? And let’s not forget the sudden spate of tragically romantic vampires and other assorted monsters on screens both big and small! (See also: Twilight, True Blood/Sookie Stackhouse novels, Moonlight, The Vampire Diaries, Blood Ties/Henry Fitzroy novels, Supernatural, Being Human, etc.)

When do we get a vampire who is neither tragic nor romantic, but rather a bit of a buffoon? “Hey, meet my friend, Jack. He’s funny, with fangs!”

February 28, 2008

And with the spring, all things shall bloom again

Filed under: bright ideas, the dandelion wars — iamza @ 10:53 pm

My mini daffodils are blooming, and filling the garden with some much needed colour. Everything else (aside from the ubiquitous weeds, and my lawn) is still looking decidedly dead. Come on, shrubs, wake up, damnit. Winter’s nearly over!

In another week or two, I shall have to dig out the gardening equipment — the spades and the forks, the clippers and the mower — and try and restore some kind of order to an unruly lawn. Hopefully, I should then be able to find the pond again without getting my feet wet.

I haven’t checked on the fish all winter. So, uh, why do I have this pond again? Oh, right, I inherited it.

I also seem to have inherited a pair of Avon ladies. I think the previous resident was cheating on her Avon representative with another Avon representative. I get catalogues delivered to my door twice a week, and they come with a note saying “Hi, I’m your Avon Representative. My name is …..”

The notes are signed with two different names.

I am still trying to decide how best to break the news of the previous occupant’s indiscretions to my real Avon representative. The problem I have is that I don’t know which if the Avon ladies is the one I’m ‘married to’, and which is the ‘mistress’. Perhaps I should just put out Karen’s catalogue when Megan is expecting to pick up hers? That way, I can be a safe distance away from the inevitable tears and trauma that are bound to follow. As an added perk, maybe both Avon ladies will decide I’m also a no-good cheating cheater, and that I need to be taught a lesson. Yep, no more Avon catalogues for me, ever!

December 15, 2007

Saving Einstein

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:20 pm

It was an accident, so they tried to tell everyone later. Newton, Thorne, and Einstein had gathered in the upstairs library for their bi-annual “Save a Physicist, Save the World” campaign. They’d been waiting for quite a while for their fellow compatriots to put in an appearance. Rutherford was downstairs in the middle of a fencing lesson, being bombarded with foils. And Bohr was outside, circling the house like a lost electron.

Bored, Thorne handwaved a wormhole into existence, and Newton lobbed an apple at the shimmering interface. “He shoots, he scores!”

Unfortunately, Einstein picked just that moment to take a closer look at the collection of dusty books piled on the table in front of Thorne’s wormhole. The apple hit Einstein square in the head, stunning him and causing him to stumble backwards into the wormhole. Then, before either of the remaining men could so much as blink, the wormhole sealed itself up with a barely audible burp.

Newton looked at Thorne.

Thorne looked at Newton.

“Oops,” said Thorne.

The door to the library opened, and Rutherford came in, his face red and shiny, and full of pockmarks where the foils had driven home. “I say,” he said, “there’s nothing quite like a little blood-loss to make one’s head lighter. It’s a good feeling, actually — makes me feel unconstrained by the gravity of the situation.” He paused, and looked around the room. “Where’s Einstein?”

Thorne bit his lip.

Newton coughed. “He, er, stepped out.”

“Well, at the rate we’re going, we’ll never get this meeting off the ground,” said Rutherford, and stomped across the room to the library’s sole window. He yanked the window open, and leaned out. “Bohr! Stop fooling around with those daisy chains, and get yourself up here!”

Newton cleared his throat. “Uh, Galileo called. He’s having legal issues, and probably won’t come. His ex communicated with lawyers, and now Galileo’s stuck in court. The judge is apparently a real hard-ass.”

Rutherford frowned. “So it’s up to the two of you, Einstein, Bohr, and me to save the world?”

“No, no,” Thorne said, with a curiously high-pitched laugh. “Michelson and Morley are coming as well. They were caught up in light traffic, but should be here any minute.”

Just then, the door to the library opened again, and a pale-faced Bohr snuck in trailed by a dozen daisy chains.

“Good of you to take time out of your busy schedule to join us,” snapped Rutherford.

Bohr sighed. “I was going to give you one of my chains,” he said, “but I think I’ll give it to Michelson and Morley instead.”

“Oh, they’ve arrived, then?” Newton quickly interjected, as Rutherford’s face purpled and his mouth opened.

Bohr nodded, then looked quickly around the room. His eyes narrowed. “Where’s Einstein?”

There was a moment’s silence as Newton looked at Thorne, and Thorne stared down at the floor with sudden and intense interest.

Newton glared at the top of Thorne’s head.

Bohr cleared his throat. “Uh, Einstein? Remember him? Crazy white hair pointing every which way but down?”

Newton transferred his glare to Bohr. “He stepped out.”

Thorne covered his downcast eyes with one hand, and mumbled, “Wa-a-a-a-ay out.”

Bohr’s gaze narrowed still further. “Define ‘wa-a-a-a-ay’.”

“Hesteppedinawormholeandisnowquiteprobablylostsomewhereonthefarsideofthe universe,” said Thorne.

“What?” said Rutherford, even as Bohr yelled, “You lost Einstein?!”

The library door opened, to reveal Michelson and Morley standing in the hallway, smiles quickly draining from their faces. “Einstein’s lost?” said Michelson.

“That’s bad,” said Morley. “How are we supposed to save the world without Einstein?”

Bohr frowned. “Well, I suppose we could try recreating the experiment.”

Rutherford nodded. “Excellent idea. Thorne, make a wormhole.”

Thorne looked down at the floor again. “We’ll need an apple,” he mumbled, “and some rope.”

Michelson pulled an apple from his pocket. “I was saving this for the ride home, but you can have it.”

Bohr looked at the daisy chains looped about his feet. “I reinforced these chains with wire,” he said. “Will they be strong enough, do you think?”

Newton looked up at the ceiling, lips moving silently as he did some quick mental calculations. “Hey! It just might,” he said, then stooped down and picked up the loose end of a daisy chain, which he tossed at Rutherford. “Here, tie this around your waist. Morley, run and get a fencing foil from the hallway downstairs.”

“Me?” said Rutherford. “Why me?!”

“We don’t know where Einstein came out. You’re the one of us most capable of defending himself if it’s somewhere nasty,” said Newton in a distracted tone. “Now, hurry up and tie that rope around your waist. Thorne, can you handwave the wormhole back into existen–?”

“Wait!” yelped Rutherford. “What about my foil?”

“What about my apple?” Michelson said mournfully from his vantage point in the corner.

Morley came running back into the library, a foil clenched in one fist. “Here you go,” he wheezed, handing the foil to Rutherford whose face looked distinctly paler than it had a few minutes before.

Thorne gulped. “Now?”

Newton nodded grimly. “Michelson, get ready to toss that apple at Rutherford’s head as soon as the wormhole appears.”

“What?” squawked Rutherford, even as Michelson’s gloomy expression melted into a giant smile.

Thorne waved his hands, and a shimmering blue circle opened just behind the table of books. Michelson’s apple sailed across the room strong and true, and hit Rutherford with a thud. “By node!” Rutherford yelled even as he disappeared in a cloud of bloody daisy petals.

“I love it when a plan comes together,” said Bohr, and smiled.

 

-30-

December 14, 2007

Thought Experiment

Filed under: ficlet, humour — iamza @ 10:34 pm

Michelson! Morley! Leave that laser equipment alone, will you? You’ll hurt someone.

Einstein, stop hitting Hertz. No, he doesn’t have to discuss photoelectric effects and quanta with you if he doesn’t want to.

Maxwell, where did you get that magnet? And the wire? Just put it down before you hurt yourself.

Liebniz, if you don’t put that apple away, I’ll confiscate it. Yes, I bloody well can, and what do you think your parents would say if they found out you’d been tossing apples at Newton’s head all day, anyway?

Marie, Pierre, move apart please. You’re starting to glow.

Damnit, Millikan. What did I say about letting your oil spill all over the pla–

OW! Michelson! What did I say about the laser equipment? No, don’t look at Morley. You’re the one holding the laser, and I’m the one with a hole in my leg. Just, just put it down, and go and sit next to Marie.

Yes, Rutherford, I’m fully aware that gold doesn’t tarnish, but, as I’m sure you’ll agree, gold foil leaves rather a lot to be desired in the bandage department.

Thorne, Morris, why don’t you send that wormhole somewhere useful for once, and fetch the nurse?

Morley, so help me, if you don’t put that laser down right now… No, I don’t care about testing the penetrability of gold foil. Nor, Mr. Kelvin, do I care about the interior temperature of a gold foil-encrusted oil planet when subjected to a blast of electromagnetic radiation from one of Hertz and Maxwell’s contraptions.

Liebniz, if I see that apple one more time, I will stuff it in your mouth, and serve you for Sunday lunch. Clear?

Dear god, when will this day end? No, Davies, that was a rhetorical question. I do not need to know what happens in either the first or the last three minutes of the universe right at the moment.

Einstein, take Rosenberg, and check up on the wormhole twins, would you? And ask them to hurry it up a bit. The room is starting to fade at the edges.

Schroedinger! Put Marie’s cat down, and give her back her radium. No, I will not climb in the box so you can think about whether I’m alive or dead. No, I don’t care that you’d leave out the radium! If you have to think about something, think about a tree falling in an empty forest.

Where is that godforsaken nurse?! Is it starting to get dark in here, or is that just me? Edison, could you turn the lights up?

Morse, Bell, call for help, would you?

I’m just going to take…a little nap….

October 31, 2007

This and that…

Filed under: the dandelion wars, the joy of life, writer's block — iamza @ 1:44 pm

It’s Halloween already! Good grief. Where did October go?

I have bulbs and roses ready to plant in the garden. Sadly, my garden has been sorely neglected over the summer, and it now more resembles a weedforest. I weeded a patch about a week ago, and chortled a bit at the thought that any bugs that haven’t already migrated south for the winter (not that they’d get very far without a bug ark of some description, given that there’s a sizeable channel of water between here and somewhere warm like, say, Spain) are probably even now writing to their local Bug MP about the problems of deforestation and desertification.

In other news, I am contemplating doing a nano-NaNoWriMo. It’s been ages since I last tried to write original fic. If I wrote 100 words a day for each day in November, that’d give me a 3000 word story. No, it’s not quite a novel, but it beats not writing anything.  

October 27, 2007

Fate unspun

Filed under: ficlet — iamza @ 8:12 pm

It feels as though the world is filled with a soft mist that draws in warmth and colour and spits out a steel-cold grey. Imagine, an old woman sitting alone in a tower, locked away from the world, and forgotten. She spins an endless story about faraway places and ignores the cold grey stone and damp vapour separating her from the world only a few hundred feet below.

Fate called in sick one Thursday morning, and destinies everywhere went unfulfilled. And so the spinner sits alone, and she dreams, and in another universe, she is woken by small hands that drag off the covers, and the smell of burnt toast curling blackly at the corners. And in another, she teaches, and in a third she is taught.

The stories unwind and fate has never seemed less important. 

September 11, 2007

9/11

Filed under: the joy of life — iamza @ 1:43 pm

Round about this time six years ago, I was preparing for my thesis defence. I’d just handed in the monster thesis, having spent night after night slaving to get the words strung together in the right order, and fixing headers and spelling, checking page numbers and figure formats, and occasionally making desperate ice-cream runs to the A&P across the way from my apartment in a vain effort to stop my brain from melting.

So the thesis was in, and had been handed to various examiners. I was in that nerve-wracking three week interval where you’re supposed to be getting your final presentation sorted, and reading every folder of notes you ever took on anything to do with your thesis work, and making sure you understood everything you’d written — including the stuff scrawled at three in the morning when you were operating on half a brain cell and a sugar high.

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning when I woke and stumbled out of bed to the couch, and I was happy and relaxed, and looking forward to taking a walk that day along the river. For just a few hours, I planned to forget all about books and papers and slides and everything to do with geophysics.

As soon as I turned on the TV, I forgot about the thesis all right. That morning was September 11, 2001.

I can remember watching with disbelief as the towers fell — it was like watching a disaster movie, and I kept waiting for the end credits to roll. I tried to imagine what it must have been like for the people aboard the planes, sitting and listening to the hijackers, and knowing, long before the rest of the world, that something awful was about to happen. The passengers couldn’t have known the towers would come down, but, at the end, they knew the planes were flying into the towers, and that they were about to die. That thought haunted me for months. 

In the years since 2001, I’ve felt anger and impatience, and an utter bone-weariness with the whole thing. I think I burned out on the wall-to-wall coverage back in 2001, and it seemed like the media, having scented a good story, were not at all keen to let anyone forget that 9/11 was to be ‘the day that changed the world’.

But this year, what I felt most on the anniversary of 9/11 was sadness. Because, at the end of the day, there are 2800+ people aren’t here who should’ve been.

September 10, 2007

Just say no!

Filed under: curiosities, the joy of life — iamza @ 4:09 pm

I have this thing about swallowing pills, especially capsules: I’m convinced that they’ll get trapped in the back of my throat and result in a minor inconvenience called death.

I am currently taking a course of antibiotics to help stave off a brutal invasion by evil jaw-germs. My antibiotics are in the form of capsules.

Have you ever noticed how doctors and pharmacists get very militant about antibiotics? “Now, I’m going to prescribe these antibiotics, but you must finish the full course. Don’t stop taking them until they’re all gone!”

Yes, sir!

Adding to my misery, opening up the capsules and dissolving the powder inside in a glass of water is apparently a no-no. It messes with the rate at which the antibiotics are released into the body.

Can one even overdose on antibiotics?

“I’m sorry, Za-parents. Your daughter is dead of an antibiotic overdose. If only she’d left the capsules well enough alone.”

My friend, Jaye, takes these huge horse pills to beef up her Omega-3, or Omega-12, or something, intake. She offered me some, once. Za-parents can be proud for they taught me well; I just said no.
 

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