Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kid Tested, Mother-disapproved!

As I wander through life, I've come to accept the fact that I have memory issues. It's not an easy road to follow, as I can't remember the directions to wherever I'm heading. And, in the chance instant that I actually arrive in the appropriate location, I can't remember why I am supposed to be there. I've blamed it on using too much space to store mostly useless information, like every phone number I've had, and every phone number I've ever dialed. Or thought about dialing. Or saw someone else dialing.

But what was I saying?

Oh, my memory!

Just this week I realized the true cause. Growing up, I ingested enormous amounts of cleaners. By the bowlful, and with a spoon. I'm not exactly sure when my desire for this concoction first reared its ugly head. I can remember being five years old, at the earliest. A glorious cleaning agent, also a degreaser, a known fertilizer that has caused algae blooms if allowed to flow into bodies of water... it was one of my favorite treats.

And I have to admit, it's because I fed it to my dog that this all came into the light. You see, I've also been feeding it to my kids. And the other day, during breakfast, some of this glorious substance spilled onto the floor. Before it could be cleaned up, my dog was into it. And he went from puppy-happy, to crack-happy. And with every bite, it was another burst of energy, like he was on a high from the tiniest amount. My dog became a whirlwind of uncontrollable impulses, crashing several moments later into a deep sleep. It was like a super drug, causing me to ask myself, "What am I doing?".

So, beware. I have a feeling trisodium phosphate is everywhere. It's in your local hardware stores. It's in your grocery stores, for sure. And it may already be in your cupboards. In the meantime, I'm going to think twice before buying Kix.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I've Never Eaten A Snail

The European Union was created in 1993 as a means to compete with the US for power and the rights to act superior. It hasn't been easy to mesh different ideas and 23 languages, but all countries involved seem to thoroughly enjoy gathering together, with earpieces to sort out the cacophony, and form new ways to confuse American tourists while they travel abroad.

That being said, only a few decades ago, this may not have been possible. (Thank God, Al Gore invented the idea.) As an example, it was only in 1945 that the enmity between Germany and France ended and the Franco-German Partnership was created. This truly seemed to be an impossibility, and some days may not logically make sense, especially with the never ending battle for who has the superior cars. The French argue their Peugeot reigns supreme, while the Germans stand by their Volkswagen. It's an argument that, like many American Chevy vs. Ford disagreements, has been known to ruin the best of relationships.

And yet, now France and Germany stand strong, side by side. They have overcome their Euroscepticism, and are now known in the EU as the "twin engine that could".

So, why the history lesson? In an amazing turn of events, I have now come to realize I have absolutely no clue who I am. I am but a random person in this world, whose origins are questionable. I'm a foreigner in my own body.

True, I could be feeling this way because I have been suffering from a migraine. They tend to make my mind cloudy. It could also be the smoke in the air, here in Oregon. There's always much speculation as to what we're actually breathing in, as the locals burn their choice, er... incense?

But largely it's due to the fact that I have grown up identifying myself as mostly Dutch/German. I have found my pride in my roots, and also blamed my heritage on my prideful ways (and to quote my Grandma, "Big bones."). Maybe I should have been more aware, and realized that not only is my pride evident, but also arrogance. If I could have seen this in myself, but a bit more clearly, maybe I would have foretold the events that happened this week. This week I found out that, as much as I am German, I am also French. Oui, it's true. So, today I make an internal Franco-German Partnership and pledge to continue life as I have known it. I will try to judge less, and though I will never get over the terror of working with an irrational blind Frenchman, I will live more peaceably with the French. And above all, to avoid more conflict, I will continue driving a Jeep.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Root of All Evil

Until recently, I didn't realize that I had surrendered all rights to my brain. It's kind of like I'm in a horror movie, and I didn't realize I was living it.

As a child, I watched the movie "Invaders from Mars" (the 1986 edition). If you haven't seen it, these giant aliens that take over the world by drilling holes in the back of people's necks. They all became drone-like, and the way you could know they'd been transformed was by the trade-mark Band-aid on their necks. Needless to say, it was highly inappropriate for me to sneak and watch. I suffered endless nightmares from the movie, the only more disturbing images to ever enter my mind's-eye being "Cocoon". [If I ever found a cocoon on the back of my neck, it may be the death of me, especially if ants are involved.]

But back to my decreasing mental capacity.

Lately, when asked a question, I have only had one answer. It's like it was drilled into my brain, and there's only one answer that can come out. It's not that I don't possess any other knowledge, it's that I cannot overcome. There was a seed planted, it's taken root and all that now grows is this lone thought.

It can be a question regarding the weather, an address, a scientific fact, someones height. And, as I find my brain is relying heavily on this lone idea, I now find that my phone is infected as well.

Be warned, it's viral, highly contagious and may soon take over the world. "What is it?" you ask.

As the movie suggested on it's ads, there's no place on Earth to hide.

I can only give you only the same answer I give everyone regarding everything else;


Monday, November 3, 2008

Physics and Physical Labor

In a continued effort to enlighten the masses and help people attune themselves to their daily surroundings (and the insanity of my own), I bring you a thought that's weighed heavily on my head. The law cannot be broken.

Every day I try to live my life abiding by the law. We all do. Yet, lately I have desired more earnestly than ever to break the law. It's driven me to the brink of insanity, yet no matter how hard I try, I cannot physically accomplish the task. I have a theory about why this happens (but theories typically don't hold a chance standing up to laws). But it all comes back to the law. And the law is set. It cannot be broken.

Blast these laws of Thermodynamics!

The Second Law says that entropy always increases in a closed system. One of the things engineers generally do is to define the boundaries of a system such that it is closed. That is, they combine the open system and the outside source of energy into a larger, closed, system.

Have I lost you? I'm sorry. Okay, basically, it all has to do with heat, or energy... but it's also been proven to apply to many other aspects of life. Think of it this way, a wall will not spontaneously build itself, but will fall apart. Energy has to be used to create a wall, but it cannot spontaneously create itself. It can, however come crashing down... everything goes from order to disorder. At best, you can break even and nothing will change, but it will never improve.

Another example is a car rolling along a road that has kinetic energy can do work (by carrying or colliding with something, for example); as friction slows it down and its energy is distributed to its surroundings as heat, it loses this ability. The amount of entropy is often thought of as the amount of disorder in a system.

So, in the system that is my home, as I mop my floors, I earnestly desire to break the law. The law is set though, no matter how much energy I expend, eventually it will all be in vain... dirtied and ruined... and I will mop again, all the while contemplating how thermodynamics has ruined my life.

(and if this is all completely incorrect,'s not surprising)