Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Nothing ever happens the way we want it to in life. That's part of the difficulty in it (if you live by some sort of moral code). We plan, we strategize, we prepare, we pray, and what do we learn from it all? Not that these things aren’t useful, but that we don’t get what we want. But we move on anyway, and continue to plan, strategize, prepare, and pray for the next day. And thru it all we become more of a whole person; more of a soul and existing entity.

Of course we are all familiar with the question, “Why do good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people?” This stems from the ever popular Christian conundrum, “Why is there Sin?” Of course most theologians will respond, “Well, because of The Fall.” Luckily for me, I had a college professor who had his own theory about sin and why it exists, that answers the inquiry much more competently. “To form relationships,” he said.

Think about it. What kind of people would we be if we lived in a perfect world with perfect everything and materializing fantasies? Why do we form friendships and relationships? It’s because we need someone to be there for us; to help us thru our lives. How could we ever form a solid relationship with God (or a good friend for that matter) if there was never anything that we needed advice, or compassion or Love to help us get thru? “Gee God. Thanks for the perfect day again. Nothing to complain about today. You da man! See ya soon.” Oooh I can feel the bonds forming right there.

Those people that tell us Life is so easy, so “cake” probably don’t have any friends or spiritual being. Why would they need to? They have no reason to create such a relationship to help them self thru the day, or hour, or minute.

So all we can do is either accept that the world doesn’t treat us kindly and find those that can make it bearable, or we can go about our lives in a mindless, soulless bliss that attracts the likes of butterflies, sea horses and hummingbirds.

That is the purpose of Life. To become a real person, a real entity that is capable of existing not only in the physical realm, but in a place that nobody can see, hear or touch, but only be, only be who we are to become. And to get there we have to persist thru trial after trial of humiliation, disappointment and rejection. But thank goodness we have those moments though because without them we would have no body to help us get thru them.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Do I have the coolest friends ever or what!

Is there a reason why these guys don't come around to the Toona area? Oh yeah. We have no flippin' book stores here!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The following blog entry is a modified email to a friend at work who keeps my intellect challenged (thank goodness someone does). I figured only about one or two of my readers would even remotely find this interesting, but I figured, "Hey, why the heck not!"

So I did a little research and came up with the following understanding of the Poincaré conjecture, A mathematical conundrum:

Of course, me being curious and all I decided to go on a search and find out more information about the mathematics things you (referring to said friend) were talking about earlier. The problem that was proven was the Poincaré conjecture. Now this concept has been proven for all n dimensions except for 3 (which as it so happens is what most people perceive as our existence dimensions, I'm not in agreement with that, but that's another story). Basically, from what I could gather in simple easy-to-understand terms is that using mathematics you can prove that an object's surface area can be manipulated to look like a sphere's surface area without breaking or cutting that surface area. A torus (or donut shape) for example is not such as object, mostly due to the hole in the center of the shape. A box however could be manipulated to make a sphere surface area. A different way of thinking about this is to draw a loop around any (and every) portion of your object, and if you can move and shrink that loop down to a point on the surface area of your object, then that object is really a three-dimensional sphere. Now all the articles I've read throw around fancy names like manifolds, homeomorphic, and topology, but they would just send me on what seemed to be never-ending dictionary references. I guess the hard thing about this postulate was proving it for three-space. It had already been proven in every other dimension (which is confusing in itself as I have a hard time comprehending a 3 or higher dimensional surface area, but math equations using higher dimensions are much easier to compute than to visualize).

Actually as it turns out, Grigory Perelman, who won the Fields Award (the math noble prize thing you spoke of) for the solution actually declined the nomination and is thinking about perusing other avenues beside mathematics. I think that about sums it all up. Hopefully this is a little easier to understand than what the paper had written in it. Why people are trying to prove something like this just baffles me. Although there is a one million dollar reward for the solution, but Perelman declined that as well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Finally justice! For years I have been arguing (it was really just an internal argument) for the removal of the planet Pluto from our solar system. Frankly I was worried about the addition of 3 new planets to our solar system, but thanks to the removal of that proposal and the intelligence of the scientific astronomical societies, Pluto has been demoted to the likes of Dwarf Planet. With the new definition of Planet, and the addition of Dwarf Planet, our solar system will now contain eight planets around our sun (Dave Matthews may have to change some lyrics) and countless other dwarf planets and small solar system bodies. Why should a mass smaller than the Moon and orbiting the sun in a debris of ice and rock be considered a planet anyway? Well now it's not. So let's get those text book updated and let's pop the cork (for the second time in a week).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

So I learned about a new ocean today. Well I guess it’s not really new, just a different name than what I’m used to. Back in my early days I learned about the world’s five oceans: The Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. It turns out that back in 2000, the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) decided that it would rename the Antarctic Ocean to the now present Southern Ocean. The funny thing about this change is that I found out about it while navigating thru Google Maps. Okay, so I got bored at work today and decided to cruise the world. There in the ocean surrounding Antarctica was the Southern Ocean. I though to myself, "What the flip!" So my next train of thought took me to WikiPedia where I investigated and found what actually happened. Did all the giant pull down school maps change by the way? It makes me wonder how much more stuff I learned back in grade school is no longer accurate. I think we need a newsletter of some sort to keep us all up-to-date. Next week’s letter might entail the 3 new planets we’ll be adding to the solar system (read about the here). So much for the infamous My Very Exhausted Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas phrase. Maybe I’ll get the ball rolling and state this: My Very Exhausted Mother Cannot Justify Secretly Uniting Navy Prisoners Carrying Xylophones.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Is it really necessary to be all touchy-feely when you're driving with your significant other? Honestly! So I'm behind some dude on my way to work today in the typical beat up Covite car (friends of mine that live in The Cove, please take no offense) when his dudette girlfriend, or wife, or mistress, or what-have-you decides it would be fun to play a game of swing--your--partner's--hand--round--n--round. Yeah that's great isn't it? How about we drive idiots! This is ridiculous (my current favorite word of the month by the way)! New York State outlaws hand-held mobile phone talking but we can play with our driver's hands and who knows what else while he drives? Yeah, I don't think so.

And let's talk about the silly hands-free mobile phone law. It's stupid. It's not my hand holding the phone that is distracting me from my driving; it's the person I'm talking too. That's absolutely no different from a passenger talking my ear off (except when I'm tuning said passenger out which shamefully I have done before [but I've also done that on the phone too]) in the seat next to me. The distraction comes when your concentration is focused not on your driving, but on your conversations. It's like when I pass a cute chick (or "hottie" as my mom has learned) on the highway, my attention at that point is no longer based on driving, but on . . . well . . . her. Oh come on! No judging! You know you all do it!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Hershey Park! Sounds like fun (did anyone get that pun?) right? You know it! That's where I was at today. While The Workplace picnic headed to Idlewild for the day (along with some people with hangovers I'm sure) I went to a real amusement park with some camp buddies. To kick things off let's talk about people's math skills. So there must have been at least 30 people in front of me at the opening gates and my guess is all of them paid for their ticket with their credit card. So of course me, liking to be different, paid with straight up cash. Now, the cost for my ticket was exactly $35.95 and I gave the ticket booth lass two twenties. This of course entails change of precisely $4.05. Not difficult. In fact I bet there are second graders out there that are quite capable of doing that math. So The Booth Lass opened the change drawer and just stared blankly at it. At this point I was pretty puzzled and I could see her trying to do the math in her head. And unfortunately she was struggling, bad. I could have just told her, "four oh five," and been done with it, but you know, I don't want people getting the idea that I'm arrogant or anything.

So The Booth Lass proceeds to get a five dollar bill out of her drawer. "You have got to be kidding me," I thought. Luckily after puzzling over whether that was in fact the correct amount of change for too many seconds she put the five back in and got out four ones and a nickel. This is what you get America when you refuse to teach your math classes without a calculator. I guess I could have helped her out and used a credit card as well, but I had the cash so I used it.

So moving on. The rest of this entry is going to be pretty dull so here it goes quickly. First we hit up The Great Bear (which was great), then the new ride, Storm Runner, by the creators of Kingda Ka (Storm Runner was absolutely KICK A** by the way, unlike it’s larger cousin!), followed by the Sidewinder (the dizzying dizz I like to call it), then the Wild Mouse (extremely wild I must say), followed by the Wildcat (oh so very nice as well), after which we raced Lightning Racer with Justin and I coming away with the victory on Lightning and then Thunder, then the infamous Reese's Extreme Cup Challenge (a laser tag type ride in which I always win apparently), then lunch and Chocolate World (I hate singing cows and always will), followed by the Comet, Superdooperlooper (a great combo right there) and rapping the day up with one more attempt at people beating me at Cup Challenge (still didn't happen). So that was my day. And I must say, it was AWESOME!

I don't want to go to work tomorrow . . .

Saturday, August 12, 2006

As promised, the post about why to be liberated by Life. Friends make it the event that it is. While they come and go, they are always here at the present and always ready to make Life a party. There is so much to learn, so much to teach, so much to take it and experience, with each moment fulfilling us as we embrace it. There is this thing called laugher that pretty much can turn any event or situation into the time of our lives. While for some people it's hard to come by, others share it willingly and freely. Become engulfed in it and you have just found a euphoria to keep you happy for a lifetime. People; it's what we live for. To enjoy people's company is to find peace in Life. And always remember, what happens under the oak tree, stays under the oak tree. It's just better for everyone that way.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Life. If you're not depressed about it, maybe you really should be. And here are my reasons why. First of all, there is no way you could possibly hope to achieve all that you ever desire in life (unless of course you are one for those no personality types that desires absolutely nothing, in which case you fall into my next thought) and even if you do achieve it all, then what? Sit around all day remembering the "good times?" Then as you meander throughout life, you'll make friends, become really close to some of them, and then just like that, they move, or you move, or they get married, or whatever and they are gone. Just like that. Never to be heard from again. It's like you never knew them aside from the random pictures you look at from time to time that have these strangers you so vaguely remember from the past. And unless you're filthy rich, you need funding to do any sort of career change, or to go back to school, or to do any great adventure that could possibly arouse some type of excitement within. Then finally you're left with some constant drab that you do day in and day out which eventually becomes meaningless dribble and you wind up blogging some nights just so you can possibly reach out to anyone out there (no matter how stalkeresk) to just simply be heard.

Now of course there definitely are reasons to not be depressed about life, but right now I don't really feel like telling you about those.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pictures of South Carolina (and me and The Big Fish) have just been posted. Feel free to check them out.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Well this is it. The final vacation of the year has now come to an end. What this means is that somehow I will have to pull some excitement and stress relief out of my a** in order to make it to the end of the year at The Workplace. Have you seen The Office on NBC yet? If not, I’ll give you a brief rundown. It’s about The Workplace. My workplace. The Workplace is also the basis for the comic strip Dilbert. I can’t give specific examples, as that apparently could be costly to my career, so you’ll just have to catch the little hints I drop here and there.

It also figures that my stay here in South Caroline was during one of the hottest weeks in The States in about 5 years. Some people might not care too much about that, but when you live in Pennsylvania for your entire life, you don’t care much for 115+ degrees of heat indexes. Just goes to show you how much Luck enjoys my company. I’ve become so accustomed to the lack of Luck in my life that I don’t even notice that it rarely pays any attention to me. That’s just the way my life goes. Some people win Stillers tickets in giant raffles, others win prize after prize, year after year at The Workplace Christmas Parties, while still that same person wins more prizes at automation conferences around the country. I win . . . um, nothing at Christmas parties or automation conferences and I definitely don’t win tickets to any type of event (unless it’s to a show about me and my disappointments). But that’s life. On the bright side I don’t have issues with tents destroying my pool liner, or microwaves that can’t be fixed by your local certified fixer who works out of his house basement in Nowheresville, PA.

So in the end, it all balances out. Because that is what life is, just one big balancing act and some of us need a little more help than others to keep things from tipping over. And that, my friends is when Luck finds the need to pry its little face in places where it doesn’t belong.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Since it has come up in a growingly lengthy blog comment, let’s talk about stupid things we have done in front of the opposite sex (or same sex depending on which team you play for). There is really only one I can think of that I had done blatantly, and the thought came about while I was getting an ice cream sunday earlier this evening for dinner (yeah that’s right, I had ice cream for dinner. What of it?!). A few years ago, back when I worked for seven weeks at camp instead of just two, I had gone out one night with my friends Justin (a.k.a. The Movie and TV Guru) and Kerri to just hang out and have some fun. We wound up reeking havoc at the local grocery store and Toys R Us. Before we made it to the Toys R Us I saw a giant gumball machine at the grocery store (I believe my actual response was, “Ooooooh! Giant gumball machine!!”). In this machine there was only one flavor of gumball. Lemon. But the beauty about these gumballs was that they were the actual size of a lemon. I had to try one of these.

So while The Movie and TV Guru was checking out with the very cute cashier chick, I decided to get myself a big ol’ smackin’ gumball. I put my fifty cents in the machine, turned the dial and after a few metallic clankity clanks, my lemon-sized gumball was in my hand in all its candy coated yellow glory. Of course I wasn’t stupid enough to shove the whole thing in my mouth at once, but I was stupid enough to bite the darn thing in half and begin to chew. Of course Cute Cashier just looked on and laughed at my pathetic attempt to get a good laugh from her. I got more than that unfortunately.

After about six to eight chews the flavor and juice of the ginormous gumball was just too much. I couldn’t hold it in any longer. Drool suddenly burst forth form my mouth and quickly kept flowing from between my lips. Yellow, lemon scented drool was all over my face, and suddenly all over the grocery store floor. Of course since I am not above laughing at myself I began laughing hysterically at the situation, which only made the situation worse. Needless to say Cute Cashier then only looked disgusted with me and slightly irritated at the pool of drool I had accumulated on the floor. Fortunately I still detected a smile from her lips.

Okay so it wasn’t a shining moment in the life of Jimmy, but I found the situation quite humorous and to top it all off, I was able to blow bubbles bigger than my face that evening! This may sound cool, but when they pop . . . Well I’m sure you can imagine. That stickiness just seems to stick around forever too.

Who else want to share a story here?!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Well I did it. I finally caught my big fish; two to be exact. Both were about 29 inches. That’s pretty big for a fish I think. I’ll have pictures once I get home. The kicker was having two teenagers watch us from about 40 feet away fishing in the exact same river and catching absolutely nothing. In a couple hours The Brother-In-Law and I racked up three 29 inchers, and two 17 inchers. Some highlights of that time include:

The Almost Catch – This is where I snag my second big one! My line goes crazy and about 10 seconds later, Teenager #2’s line starts going crazy. The next words of out Teenager #2 are, “This thing is HUGE! I’ll feed my whole family with this one!” After about a 5-minute fight with the beast we (well okay me) are rather amused at the fact that we have both landed the exact same fish! Or so Teenager #2 thought. Turns out once I got the big guy on the shore Teenager #2’s hook got caught in my line and thus he landed absolutely nothing. The fish was all mine!

The Line Tangle Catch – This is where The Brother-In-Law and my line got slightly crossed and in the ordeal of moving the rods around to get them straight again, The Brother-In-Law landed a fish. To this Teenager #1 uttered, “You have got to be kidding me!” in quite obvious disgust.

The Final Words – Once the last fish was caught and brought on-shore to unhook, Teenager #2 stated in words that he didn’t realize we overheard, “I have never been more jealous in my entire life than I am right now.”

This was where, with smiles on our faces, my fishing partner and I decided to call it day. What a fantastic day it was. For us anyway.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

I caught a big ol' flounder today! Okay, so the fish was neither big, nor old, but it was a flounder. It got caught in my cast net while I was attempting to catch some bait fish and shrimp. So far fishing for me here in South Carolina has been anything but extraordinary. I've been fishing on Sunday, Monday, and Today (for at least 5 hours a day (who the heck goes to the beach when you go to the beach? Not me, especially when the heat index is 115+!)) and all I caught was a single spot tailed bass about the size of a Chinese ruler (whatever the heck that means). I blame my luck, I blame the heat, I blame the tide, but I don't blame the drinks. In any event, I still stand by the claim that a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work. Not that I would know what a good day at work would be like. A bad day (or week) of fishing I am quite familiar with. Somedays I still wish I had become a park ranger. What that has to do with this post I'll never know. Just thought you'd all like to know.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

So I was at the beach today, chillin' like a villain in the warm South Carolina water jumping waves when two girls slowly made their way towards me on their boogie-boards. Now the funny thing about this was that the ocean current clearly should have been carry them the opposite direction, but that didn't really seem to faze them. Of course I noticed this rather early on and would have been even a little flattered had the two encroaching girls not been . . . well . . . girls. I estimate late high school; probably 11th or 12th grade. I would have given them the benefit of the doubt had they not been carrying on, loudly and stupidly like . . . well . . . two high school girls trying to get a fella’s attention. I was content just jumping my waves; believe me. So that's what I continued to do. Jump my waves like there wasn't a soul around me. Of course I listened into their conversation because by this point I could almost reach out and touch one of them. Suddenly I hear the one girl question the other about what ocean they were in. Now, okay, maybe if you were from India, or Russia, one might (I use that term incredibly loosely) not know what ocean they were in off the beach of SC. But clearly these two girls were from the good old US of A and just the mere thought of someone the age of 18 asking that question made me nearly achieve an aneurism.

So here is the conversation starter they use to try and reel me in. "Are you here by yourself?" Wow! A little forward wouldn't you think? Of course the next question out of their mouth was, "What ocean is this?" Now hold it right there! I have finally arrived at the reason for this entry. It's not to inform you about the Ohio high school chicks that were flirting with a 25 year old guy from The Cove, PA. Oh no! But it is to talk about the ways women feel they need to attract the opposite gender.

It would seem that women like to act dumb in order to pick up a man. Why this is, I have no idea. Is it because they want the man to feel in control? To feel powerful? Do they just want some dumb relationship so they can get into a bed? Who knows? I do know this though. The acting dumb bit is going to get you absolutely nowhere with me. I may be in the minority but I find intelligent women highly attractive. Why would I ever want to be involved in a conversation about what ocean is off the east coast with someone older than the age of nine? Frankly I don’t. And I can’t image that impresses a bunch of other dudes out there either. But hey, women, do what you want to do. If you want to act like a ditz who doesn’t know their hippocampus from their hippo-caboose, go right ahead. Believe me, you won’t find me with too much to say back at you.

And don’t worry. Nothing transpired between me and the high schoolers. I patiently waited them out as they idiotically tried to ride the waves back into shore with absolutely, yet purposefully, no luck at all. Once they had finally caught their waves in and waved, and voiced goodbye, I watched them leave the beach. This of course allowed me to safely walk back to my area of rest on the sand. Why can’t I attract girls in my age bracket that aren’t idiots and are attractive? I know they exist!