The singularity of existence

Every so often I find myself on a long, slow run through the grass.  Nothing to think about, really, just a long stretch of empty grass and myself, alone with my thoughts.  Be it a cold, dark night, filled with heavy, smokey air and twinkling stars; or a hot, humid, lonely night with dark wet grass slipping under my feet.

I can’t help but think of a younger me.  A lanky, sheepish young man hoping, dreaming of tomorrow (today).  2AM and nothing but cool grass, thick air and quiet between me and the pavement.  Throttled through the damp air with nothing but crickets and naive hope enveloping me.  A hope that I would amount to something unique – not even special – just distinct and memorable.  Unencumbered by self-doubt or failed expectations.

When I am alone with my thoughts and feeling nostalgic, I remember these things.  The fear of trying to make the UNC cross-country team.  What it means to fail.  I remember running up the hill on Wood Dale Drive, tired and unsure of myself.  Seeing the sun set behind a giant oak tree and knowing it would be ok.  I don’t know why, I just knew.  Time goes on and everything is ok.

But time marches on; countless men live and die in blind succession.  Falling helplessly like balloons on New Years; signifying something, but quickly forgotten and on to the next new thing.  Out from the darkness above, illuminated for a fleeting moment, and falling again in to nothing.  Signifying all that once was, all that could have been, and all that is forgotten through the generations of new men who rise and fall in the wake.  In the end that’s where we all are headed.  As fleeting and volatile as any other puff of celestial smoke.

But I am my own person.  I don’t want to be one balloon in the darkness.  Will no one remember how I once pounded thump thump, thump thump, thump thump, alone and shivering in the dark moonlit grass?  Breathing dark and heavy chimney smoke.  Puffing through the humid summer nights.  Marching blindly, endlessly in to the end of all this? Like so many hundreds of men before me…

It’s mad to think we are anything other than a bag full of genetics literally smashing together in an unforgiving pool.  But it seems like so much more sometimes… and it makes me wonder why.  Why am I hurtling forward through this dark and tepid night?

Anyways. If not only for the nights like these, with wind whistling and feet pounding, life seems worth it.

Everyone is given one summer.  Just one.  That’s it, and then its gone.  Ironically, it’s hardly even appreciated at the time.  But maybe that preciousness is what makes it so dear, and what makes life so interesting after that summer.

I don’t know why.  I don’t know how. It just is.

Coach Wooden

One thing I will never claim to be is a huge fan of UCLA athletics – I don’t mind their teams and I like tailgating for football, but overall the school seems to have lost that pride it used to carry itself with, plus the fans here are real fickle.

But I am a huge fan of John Wooden.  Last night some rumors swarmed that coach Wooden had died and that was a pretty sad moment.  Its hard not to respect a man who won a staggering 10 NCAA championships in 12 years, always keeps his word, and still puts a love letter on his wife’s grave every month, even 25 years after she died.

I think his “Pyramid of Success” is a great example of how to play the game of basketball (and the game of life the right way) and I hope coach Wooden is alright.

John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

John Wooden's Pyramid of Success

Immunofluorescent Staining

Man, I love immunofluorescent staining!  I know this is dorky, but theres something awesome about seeing right into cells with glowstick-tagged antibodies.

Rat Intestine - Myosin Heavy Chain - Green (FITC); Cell Nuclei - Blue (DAPI)

Rat Intestine - Myosin Heavy Chain - Green (FITC); Cell Nuclei - Blue (DAPI) 400x

Rat Intestine: H&E stain

Rat Intestine: H&E stain 400x

Rat Intestine: Smooth Muscle Actin - Green (FITC); Cell Nuclei - Blue (DAPI)

Rat Intestine: Smooth Muscle Actin - Green (FITC); Cell Nuclei - Blue (DAPI)

Rat Intestine: H&E Stain

Rat Intestine: H&E Stain

Drunk History

I dont have much to say about this other than that its one of the best ideas I’ve ever seen.  Other than that, I will let the video speak for itself.

Summer Heights High

i havent been able to pull myself away from this show lately… i knocked out all 8 episodes in just a few days.  the creator and writer, chris lilley, plays three hilarious characters – Jonah, the polynesian delinquent; Ja’mie, the boarding school brat; and Mr. G, the diva drama teacher.  i highly recommend it and i look forward to the future work of chris lilley.

Puck you!

Mrs Ellis in the library has third degree burns!

Dicktation

welcome to mr g’s room, g’s room, g’s room, take your shoes off and find a seat on the floor!

poor people are more fugly

Rush Limbaugh, Idiocy and Volcanoes

Rush Limbaugh was quoted on his talk show last week blaming the Obama Administration’s recent passage of the health care bill for the massive Icelandic volcano that has cleared the sky’s of Europe from air travel.

that unpronouncable icelandic volcano

that unpronouncable icelandic volcano

Clearly, Limbaugh is confusing this volcano with the massive Tsunami that wiped out Australia… God’s retaliation for the Magna Carta (he smited that habeas corpus bulljive!)  Very similar to the meteorite that blasted the Yucatan after Hammurabi so boldly (and foolishly!) wrote his laws on that slab of stone.  Please, Obama, PLEEEAAAAASSSSEEE don’t pass any more reform laws or Florida may sink in the ocean like that big ass boat they named after that James Cameron movie.

But on a more serious note, should we be more shocked that God has chosen Rush Limbaugh to voice His word… or that His Armageddon would manifest in a bunch of airport closings?

Nike, Roethlisberger, Woods and Vick

-The Antlers, who ive been crushing on lately.  on an unrelated note, im real pumped to go see the National in May and the XX in June…  its shaping up to be a good auditory spring.

I know, the title of this post sounds like one of those “so a jewish doctor, a canadian priest and abe lincoln walk in to a bar…” jokes.  I heard a really interesting take on the whole Ben Roethlisberger scandal this morning on NPR.  Three mainstream athletes have had incredible public image nightmares in the past few years: Michael Vick with his dog-fighting ring, Tiger Woods and his harem of mistresses, and Ben Roethlisberger with his creepy bar bathroom antics.  From the three, only Michael Vick has been stripped of his Nike endorsement.

mike vick

mike vick

Granted, these are three very different cases.  Only Vick was technically found guilty of any illegal activities.  Tiger did not break the law, although his carousing was no doubt shameful.  Roethlisberger presents a very interesting grey area of the law.  Even though he was not prosecuted in the case, the charges were dropped due to mishandling by the police who first arrived at the scene, who were so star-struck that they asked to have their photos taken with Roethlisberger.  One officer has already resigned as a result.  Most people familiar with the case believe that had the police not botched the evidence, Roethlisberger would be found guilty of some form of sexual assault.

guys night out, am i right?

Nike adds an interesting wrinkle to the world of sports since it answers to no court or constitution; it may make decisions based strictly on circumstantial evidence or even just public image.  While Michael Vick was dropped like a hot potato, Tiger got much talked about self-aware commercial and Roethlisberger so far has escaped the Nike hand of justice.  Again, Vick was the only one who technically was found guilty of illegal activity, and Tiger is the most famous athlete alive.

I just find it interesting that America HATED Vick, mostly due to PETA backlash, for cruelty to animals, while Tiger has gotten away with (much less severe) cruelty to wife and kids and Roethlisberger took advantage of a drunk, 20 year old girl in a bar bathroom while his off-duty cop bodyguards kept her friends away.  To me, the order of “most disgusting behavior” goes Roethlisberger, Vick, Woods… but apparently Nike, and America sees it differently.  I wonder what this says about the pervasiveness of and desensitivity towards sexual misbehavior in America?  Maybe its like that old saying… “when one dog dies, its a tragedy.  when one thousand women are sexually assualted, its a statistic.”

America Cries!

America Cries!