Monday, February 25, 2008

Excuses, Excuses

Reginald, Get Back Here!
I’ve tried to start this blog a few times now, but every attempt sounded too convoluted or too watered down or just plain boring. It’s as if my creative muse has left me to fend for myself on this one (yes, I have a muse. His name is Reginald. He’s one of the lesser known muses. Got picked on a lot as a wee muse at muse school.). Actually, Reginald really did leave me. Apparently when you can’t afford to pay your muse’s monthly fee for more than 2 months, he goes in search of someone else to inspire with his whimsical whisperings. Start checking the new Shoebox greeting cards, I have a feeling Reginald is working for them now. Sell out.

So, since there’s no supernatural chauffer ensuring that my train of thought doesn’t derail into ridiculously boring terrain (When it happened in the past, I wasn’t worried. I could always blame Reginald. He’s a terrible driver.), I’d recommend you open the following link . Consider this my lifeline to you. Not really, but it is a curiously addicting game. Especially for people who have difficulty concentrating on any one thing for more than about 15 seconds. If you’re slow at switching gears, it might not be quite what you’re looking for. I’d advise those people try going here instead . Yeah, I know! Crazy, huh?

Ok, so now that I’ve hopefully diverted everyone away from my sub-standard writing, I can blog in pea- Oh, you’re still here… Huh, I really thought those links would have sent everyone off on internet tangents…. Could I interest you in…this? No? Damn! Alright, fine. Here’s the blog:

The Impending Apocalypse
I thought we'd go with something a bit lighter than my usual banterings, but then I found out the Maya decided to end the world in 2012. Some of you may not be all that savvy about Mayan mythology. It’s ok to admit it. We all get busy in our lives, and sometimes we just don’t get around to stuff we’ve been meaning to; dusting the plants, alphabetizing the recycling, reading up on end-of-the-world oojie-boojie, etc. (Un)Fortunately for you, I’ve had enough free time- as of late- to get the low down, the 411, the skinny, and all sorts of other slang terms I should not be using but have chosen to anyway for the purpose of making Tom Johnson smack his forhead and say “Damnit, Storm! Stop that!” Apologies to those of you who do not like to read cuss-words. If Reginald were here, I would have had something much more audience-friendly in place of that “Damnit.” Damnit, I did it again…

Ok, so the basic gist is this: The Maya really like time. Seconds, minutes, hours, days weeks, months, years, decades, epochs, eons, eras, ages, if you name it, they’ll time it. They also really like math. So already, the Maya and I are not exactly on the fast-track to friendship. They’re in the one category of nerds so far beyond me and my own love of acquiring factoids and trivia that I can legitimately bully them! And I would totally atomic wedgie them and then take their lunch money were it not for two facts; a.) They’re mostly died out, and b.) they’ve got so much science backing up their claim that 2012 is the end of time as we know it that picking on the Maya might cause their scientists to come to my house and fork my lawn…well, they’d probably do something a lot more sinisterly science-y to it, but you get the idea. I do not want Stephen Hawking deflating the tires on my car.

ANYWAY, the Maya have calculated a lot of ridiculous stuff way off into the future (eclipses within a few seconds, the appearance of comets to within minutes, etc., etc.). Their track record of a few thousand years makes them sort of a good source to check with about things pertaining to time.

Their calendar stops on December 21, 2012.

STOPS! It wasn’t like they got bored of their time keeping hobby and finally got around the inventing the wheel (they NEVER invented the wheel). Eugene the Mayan didn’t drop the stack of stone tablets the calendar for 2013-3045 was recorded on. No, the calendar STOPS. That’s it, that’s all there is. The finish line for the game of Life is 2012 and I haven’t even started looking into potential midlife crises yet.

The Maya include a bit of an explanation for this 2012 stop date. They say that our solar system is going to eclipse the naval of the galaxy on 12/21/12 around 11:00 PM standard time. When that happens, we’ll be cut off from some sort of fundamental cosmic energies and time will stop.

If that sounds like a bunch of neo-New Agey gobbledy gook, I sure hope you’re right. But if you’re lodging your argument in a bed of physics, it’s not looking good for all the science-o-philes out there. The solar system actually will eclipse the center of the galaxy (whatever that means) on 12/21/12. And that apparently will cut us off from some variety of cosmic radiation that’s been gently showering down on us for the last 26,000 years. I don’t know what that really means or entails, but this is one of the few occasions where stopping the universe from drenching my cells in radiation sounds like a bad idea.

The various scientists are also muttering something about the polarity of the planet reversing (south is the new north) by 2012 and an intermittent period where the planet has hundreds or thousands of poles all over the place before South and North finally settle down in each other’s old homes. Think Trading Spaces. I recommend you all go out and buy larger bird feeders because if your yard turns out to be a South or North Pole, you may be responsible for the well-being of a few hundred thousand Canadian Geese and other migratory species. I sure hope you like Monarch Butterflies. Millions of them.

Also in the magnets category of the apocalyptic jeopardy board, there’s some sort of ‘crack’ in the magnetic field around the planet. The magnetic field, apparently, absorbs the ‘bad’ cosmic radiation (yeah, there’s good and bad cosmic radiation. News to me. For the sake of imagery, imagine a lot of yellow smiley faces and green Mr. Yuck faces falling on the Earth. Like Skittles. Only in two flavors. And some sort of skittle eating…thing wrapped around the planet eating the Mr. Yuck Skittles…with a crack in it…this metaphor isn’t really going anywhere…how about a fluid mosaic model cell membraney kind of thing with a hole in it. Does that work?) This ‘crack’ is letting bad cosmic radiation in. So not only are we losing out on the nutritious, yellow smiley face radiation, we’re getting a heaping, steaming plate of Mr. Yuck. Yuck.

THERE’S MORE! A Supervolcano underneath Yellowstone National Park is getting ready to explode, we’re overdue for a mass extinction (every 62-65 million years, most things die), there’s an upcoming sunspot cycle peak (in 2012) which will be bigger than any other in recorded history (they can trace sunspot cycles back a few thousand years because of some sort of information found in ice cores drilled in Antarctica) that will up the amount of radiation hitting the planet from the sun (I thought you were on our side sun! Remember the good ol’ days when you were in the Raisin Bran commercials?!) by outrageously large exponents of anything we’ve had before, and we’re (our galaxy) drifting into an energy cloud of some variety…which we should be smack dab in the middle of in 2012. We’ve never really inside of an energy cloud before.

So am I a bit…unnerved? Yes. Throw together all this scientific stuff going on, that the Maya think 2012 is the end of the world, The Bible Code (a code discovered in the Old Testament which has so far withstood every criticism science and math has thrown at it. There’s a book by the same name about the mathematicians who tried to disprove the code only to discover a LOT of ridiculously eerie and creepy stuff in the O.T. like an acrostic containing the names of 66 significant rabbis, each intersected by their birthplaces and dates of birth and death) also says 2012 is the end, the I Ching considers 2012 the end of time, and on and on and one gets to thinking; “how seriously should I take all this voodoo ‘science’ and ‘prophecy’ stuff? Should I change my thoughts on how to use the next 4 years of my life so that I feel like I got the most out of existence while at the same time not leaving myself in a position where I’m totally broke in 2013 should that year come circling around?”

It’s a puzzle. On the one hand, people screaming about the sky falling usually turn out to be among the duller knives in the drawer. I mean, how many times has someone come forward with an end of times prophecy only to have some serious explaining to do when everything was very noticeably not Armageddonized the morning after? But I was a boy scout (made it all the way to Webelo), and was taught by my troop leader to always be prepared. So should I start building a subterranean bunker and stocking it with food, music, batteries, Cranium, Pinochle decks, Scrabble, and Chuck Klosterman books?

Read Lawrence E. Joseph’s book, Apocalypse 2012: An Investigation into Civilizations End, and give me your thoughts please. I really need some help on how panicky I should be getting.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

SIgns, Signs, Everywhere are Signs

Signs I may be the reincarnation of Robin Hood

When you become unemployed (or as I like to call myself, a not-for-profit freelance entrepreneur), it frees up a lot of time to pursue activities that have very little practical value. Most recently, I’ve been refining my parlor games skills. Air hockey, cribbage, Indian leg wrestling: the usual. I’m hoping to start hustling people in their homes next month. I’m so going to clean up if anyone suggests putting money down on a game of Old Maid or Catch Phrase.

Also in my repertoire/arsenal of games is darts. Yesterday, during my third hour of- alright, alright, fourth hour of darts- I threw a dart INTO THE BACK OF ANOTHER DART!!! As in, the point of the dart got lodged in the back of the other dart. Never mind that that dart was in the “1” section of the board, I threw 2 darts into the exact same spot on the board! I have photographs and an eyewitness to prove it.

My immediate thought about this nigh impossible event was to move to Loxley of Yorkshire, round up some Merry Men, find a guy named John, rob him on a bi-weekly basis, and give the pounds and pence I pilfered to the pouting poor public (say that 5 times fast!). Don’t worry, I realized that would be a silly thing to do since I’d have to live in a tree with J-Bo (my obvious choice for a Little John), adopt an English accent, and train a bunch of endearingly unhygienic peasants in the ways of combat and toothpaste. Hmm…besides the peasants, that doesn’t sound so bad…

Signs indicating I may be a hobo

I recently decided to give my beard another chance to show its multi-colored glory to the world (Red, white, brown, and black are in there somewhere). It’s in that awkward seedling stage just beyond 5 o’clock shadow. I realize this may be contributing to my lack of success in the “get a job, ya bum” category, but I thought it might be fun to have some bearddage again. It’ll probably go by the end of the week, but I’ll do my best to hang on to it.

Signs indicating I may be Martha Stewart

1. I cleaned the house quite thoroughly.
2. I started baking bread and other confectionaries
3. I know what a zester is for and what a rotary whisk looks like
4. I’m engaging in insider trading

Signs indicating I’m Arnold Schwarzenegger

I recently started going to the gym twice a day. That’s right, Paul has gone from no gym time to future Ironman. Well, at least half-marathon. We’ll see after that. Part of the reason for this is that I can’t run for more than 20 minutes without becoming so bored that I start looking around the weight room just to see what everyone else is up to. That is NOT a safe thing to do on a treadmill, elliptical machine, or anything that requires ‘balance.’ I’m also of the opinion that if I’m running, when I finish, I should be somewhere else. My weight hasn’t changed too much, but it has moved around a bit and I can now sit up hundreds of times in a row. Not entirely sure what that’s good for, but if all these people are doing it, there must be something that requires repeating the same maneuver over and over. Although, I’m starting to believe that working out is just the act of moving heavy things around so that I can get better at moving heavy things around so that I can get even BETTER at moving heavy things around. I think it’s some sort of scam.

Signs I may be a library

I’m reading (simultaneously)
-Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
-The Jesuit and the Skull by Amir D. Aczel
-I can Read You Like a Book by Gregory Hartley
-The Indispensable Noam Chomsky, a collection of speeches by Noam Chomsky
-The Evolution of Human Morality by Richard Joyce
I know what’s going on in each book (I think)