Monday, June 26, 2006

How could we have been so nerdy?

I just came back from wiki-surfing! This is what I saw:

Damn, they don't make magazine background gradients like they USED to!

I was meandering through some biographies of the world's wealthiest people and came across good ol' Bill Billy Gates here. The fact that Bill Gates was once this nerdy is no great surprise, but Time Magazine... how could Time Magazine have been this nerdy?

Jesus, it was only 20 years ago, but that magazine cover looks like an anthropological artifact.

I found these Wikis of extremely wealthy people interesting, both for the astounding facts they contained and for the amusing personalities of the writers of the articles. Warren Buffet is portrayed to be so classically American -- he filed his first income tax return at 13 - deducted his bike as a work expense. Bill Gates, on the other hand, seems a bit sickly -- like he took advantage of a fledgling, confused industry (computing) and weaseled around into just the right places to succeed. Mmm, slantastic.

Nonetheless, they are interesting accounts to read, to think about, to talk about. Warren Buffet seems like he could be the protagonist in an Ayn Rand novel. Though Ayn Rand probably wouldn't approve of the 39 billion Buffet just recently announced he would donate to charity, with most of that going to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wikipedia has been expanding in all directions so damn fast that now it's kind of an awkward teenager. It is one hell of a creature though.


(more on various personal developments soon!)

Monday, June 05, 2006

I almost died tonight

That's no shock title, I seriously almost died tonight. My dad and I were driving home on I-294 from Buffalo Grove (where we were checking out a '98 Camry XLE for sale) when I noticed a huge white square object sitting in our lane 20 yards in front of us. Washing machine? Piece of posterboard standing on edge? Hard to say.

I blurted "watch out!" to my dad, and he reacted -- we swerved sharply out of the way. SCREEEWWEEEERRSHHHHHREEECH! Next thing I know we're sliding across lanes of traffic, skidding in wild arcs back and forth on the highway as cars pass us going 80 MPH on either side. At that point my brain understood two things:

1. The sea of headlights and taillights, if observed at night from an erratically spinning vantage point, is pretty psychedelic.
2. My car has a lot of momentum right now. So do the cars that are probably going to hit me. And that truck that's staring me right in the face as it approaches us helpless spinning saps... it's got PLENTY of momentum.

At that moment I was fully prepared for the possibility of getting severely messed up by this truck. I was waiting for the impact.

We ended up near the outer shoulder and gathered our wits enough to move off the road. The two cops sitting 40 yds ahead on traffic duty didn't react in the slightest, either to the big white thing in the middle of the highway, or the fact that a car just spun the hell out and was now sitting on the shoulder. We didn't really care, though; we just sat in our car and breathed deep and listened to our frantically pumping hearts slow down a bit.

My dad claims that the car oversteered... I think he just got startled and jerked the wheel way too hard. In any case, we still haven't found a good used car for me to drive around. If you got something, email me.

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Poop That Looked Delicious

Yeah, that's right, that's a shock title for today's entry. Now keep reading.

It all started back a few weeks before Acappellapalooza when I was working long into the nights in three and five hour spurts on that friggin' Xchords movie in my room. I was eating poorly and infrequently, and ended up losing a bunch of weight and getting frequent hunger pains.

Everything subsided for a time, but then finals came and I found myself working 12 straight hours no break on a paper in the library. Got some hunger pangs then, too.

They didn't go away after that -- been feeling them more or less continuously for the past month -- so of course my slightly paranoid doctor parents started suspecting an ulcer. I've been taking stomach-healing prescription drugs like crazy for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

Hold on, I've almost reached the poop part of the story!

So today I did some X-rays and they made me swallow this chalky, white drink (Barium) which apparently illuminates the shape of whatever it passes on the xray (hence the usefulness -- by seeing the negative space within the stomach, you can basically see the stomach itself). The doc said she didn't see any ulcer, so it could be inflammation from other causes.

And then I pooped, and it was pure, pure white. I paused for a moment above it, in reverence -- it looked so innocent, like a Dunkin Donuts powdered sugar pastry or something. It looked delicous.