Thursday, June 12, 2008


Forrest Gump said life is like a box of chocolates. I say it's like a roll of toilet paper. Think about it. Sometimes you've got a full roll and it seems like you can pull off as much paper as you want. Other times, you get near the end of the roll and you have to be careful about how much you use. Occasionally, you have a seat before realizing the roll is empty, and you have to call for someone to bring you another. When the roll gets thin, sometimes you've got a dozen new rolls in the cupboard, other times you've got none left. The paper can be soft and thick, or it can be raspy and so flimsy you have to use big handfuls of it. And sometimes, when things get rough and you totally run out, you have to improvise and use Kleenex or paper towels. I can't think of a better metaphor for life and all its ups and downs, its tide-like surges, its waxing and waning. Sometimes there is no want, sometimes we need help to get by, sometimes things are rough. And when things are at their darkest, when we feel like we've used up the last metaphorical sheet, life reminds us that there's always a fresh new roll under the sink.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Spring is here, and the blossoms covering the trees have been magnificent. The trees are now leafing out robustly, so the blossoms are falling like snow and fading away. Walking down the street this morning, I came across a sight that I can only describe as a "spring snowdrift."

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Earlier this week, I spent a day at the courthouse for jury duty. My name didn't get called, so it ended up being my only day of service. However, that was enough to make me think about the role of law in human society. And it boiled down to the simple conclusion that we humans as a race are selfish creatures by nature. Countless laws at the local, state and federal law exist to prescribe and proscribe what we can and can't do. Thousands of citizens across the country report for jury duty every day because there is a constant flow of criminal proceedings and civil disputes requiring prosecution and mediation. Why is there so much conflict, why are so many laws necessary? Because we humans are selfish; left to our own devices, we will always do whatever we can to get ahead; we will push the envelope as much as possible to take as much as we can for ourselves. So in a sense, we are more civilized than animals, because we have created a legal framework to protect ourselves from each others' selfish impulses. But one can also argue that, because such a framework is even necessary, we're no better than any other species of animal.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Ah, spring is here at last. Not that this past winter was much of a winter—thank you, global warming—but even without snow, it was cold and crappy enough to earn the name "Winter." Today is our first day of 70-degree weather, and I'm loving it. Cassie had a brilliant idea, which you employers interested in boosting employee morale should consider: the first time the mercury goes over 70 each spring, give us the day off. Call it an "Anti-Snow Day." As I walked down the street at lunchtime and felt the sun on my face, I almost felt like I was back in southern California. Except for the honking horns. And the skyscrapers. And the hordes of people. Oh well, at least enough sunlight snuck down between the tall buildings to warm my face.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


In the past three years, I have lived in southern California, northern Virginia and New York City. In all three places, I have regularly visited the gym. In so doing, I've made a curious observation that I don't understand. In SoCal and New York City, which are ostensibly more progressive and liberal than Virginia, men in the gym locker room are much more self-conscious and shy about nudity (and, conversely, they're more open and comfortable about it in Virginia). In New York, for example, most men wrap a towel around themselves before pulling off their pants. In the steam room, they wear shorts or wrap several towels around their bodies. If you are nude for any length of time while you're changing clothes, you can sense a vibe of discomfort from the men around you. By comparison, in Virginia, men walked from their locker to the jacuzzi fully naked, they stood around talking to one another totally nude, they even stood in front of the sink and shaved without a stitch of clothes on. They were completely at ease with their own nakedness and that of the men around them. It seems contradictory that men in a more conservative part of the country would be more liberal about locker room nudity, and vice versa. It's an observation for which I have no hypothesis. Would anyone care to venture one?

Monday, February 25, 2008


One aspect of life in New York City that I have not yet adjusted to (and might never) is the constant horn honking by New York drivers. They honk at anything, anytime, for any reason. At traffic lights, they have lightning-fast reflexes: the instant the light turns green, their hand reaches the horn faster than the foot of the driver in front of them can reach the accelerator. Car service drivers picking up a fare sit in front of apartment buildings and honk, instead of calling the customer on their cell phone to let them know they're waiting (despite the fact that every one of these drivers has a Borg implant Bluetooth device in his ear and talks incessantly on the phone while driving). And then there's the second on my list of annoyances, the double-parker, who engenders no small amount of honking himself from passing cars. Occasionally, you'll see a "Don't Honk Horn - $350 Penalty" sign, but that has about as much effect as the "Speed Limit 65 mph Maximum" sign on California freeways. To the native New Yorker, perhaps the horn honking sounds like birdsong. But to this beach bum, it's as enjoyable as bird crap.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


I happened to be browsing our great country from space, thanks to the wonderful satellite view technology of Google Maps, and on a whim I zoomed in on Pike's Peak. As I then browsed the surrounding country, I came across a very interestingly shaped lake to the west of Colorado Springs. The shape of Big Tooth Reservoir would merit little more than a passing glance to the average person, but to a Star Trek fan like me, the lake leaped off my computer screen. To illustrate what I mean, take a close look at the image comparison below. Coincidence? Or is it a deliberate mark left by Starfleet Command to signal imminent first contact?

[Click image to enlarge]