Book Review: The BFG

Originally posted on Geeks and Geeklets

the-bfg

Title: The BFG

Author: Roald Dahl

Published: 1982

Pages: 240

Genre: Fairy Tale/Adventure

Kid Friendly Rating: 6+ Click here for the Common Sense Media guide! The book may be a bit violent by current kid’s book standards considering the Giants’ general habit of eating humans, but it is not any more grisly than many traditional fairy tales.

Synopsis:

Sophie’s life as an orphan meets an abrupt change when she spot a massive figure roaming the streets at night outside her orphanage. Fearing for his own discovery, the figure takes Sophie hostage and transports her to a far-off land, where Giants roam.

Fortunately for Sophie, she learns that she’s been captured by the world’s only “friendly” giant. After learning a great deal about each other, Sophie and the Giant hatch out a plan to rid the world of the evil, man-eating Giants, once and for all.

Final Thoughts:

Whenever I talk about this book, I like to tell people that I literally read the cover off of my copy as a kid. Which is true. I loved the book so much that I read it several times, and eventually both the front and back covers took so much abuse that they simply fell off. It may say more about the age of the copy and my cavalier treatment of it than my readership, but I still think it says something. And there really is no doubt that I loved this book.

And still do. I was very happy to discover upon re-opening it this week, that the book still contains some of the magic that I so thoroughly enjoyed as a young reader. What’s more, some of Roald Dahl’s clever jokes, which undoubtedly flew right over my head as a kid, are now right on target. For instance, the BFG informs Sophie that Giants travel to Wellington to eat humans for their “booty” flavor, and to Panama when they want a taste of hats.

The BFG’s manner of speaking is endearingly mixed-up and silly, which is also fun for kids as well as adults, like when the BFG refers to humans as “human beans” and his favorite author as “Dahl’s Chickens.” He also has a favorite soda-like drink called “frobscottle” with upside down bubbles that induce a certain silly bodily function that the BFG gleefully refers to as “whizzpoppers.”

The BFG’s hobby is to catch and categorize dreams. He has a collection of many thousands of dreams in jars which he enjoys blowing into the bedrooms of young children at night. Sophie is very curious about the dreams, and both she and the reader will find a lot of fun in reading the BFG’s descriptions of the dreams he has caught. It is this very hobby that led to Sophie’s discovery of the Giant, and ultimately gives rise to their plan to do away with the evil Giant brethren that torture the BFG when they are not hunting abroad for dinner.

Near the end of the book, there is a very funny fish-out-of-water scene in which the BFG meets the Queen of England, and her butler becomes increasingly exasperated in his attempts to accommodate the BFG while maintaining his proper royal butler dignity.

All in all, I give it 5/5 stars, regardless of age!

Note: This book is set to be released as a live-action Disney movie on July 1, 2016. Directed by Stephen Spielberg, the movie will star Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton, Bill Hader, and Jemaine Clement. Watch the first trailer, below!

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Ancient history: Stage Script: Spanish Castle Magic

This is probably the narrative equivalent of painting with your eyes closed.

 

Scene: A medieval-looking castle with modern attachments (movie posters, etc…). Dining hall. A long, wooden table. KING and QUEEN sit at the table with PRINCESS JESSICA and her suitor, LORD MICHAEL. All eat a primitive-looking feast with their bare hands. KING and QUEEN look amused as LORD MICHAEL stands before them, attempting to enthrall them with his tales and woo the disinterested-looking PRINCESS. He wears a cape and a sheathed sword around his waist.

LORD: (speaks like Errol Flynn) …so there I was in the middle of the most dangerous jungle in all of Africa, surrounded by three lions. I knew that the slightest betrayal of weakness would set them upon me. You see, m’lady, a true knight must have a heart of steel in the direst of circumstances. So I drew my sword from its sheath, raised it up to the gods, and with an earth shattering cry… “COME AND GET ME.” …I invited their atta…

PRINCESS: (yawning) And you slew them one by one. How brave and… masculine of you.

KING: Jessica, let the young man speak. Truly a man with such adventures is worthy of your time.

QUEEN: Yes, do go on, Lord Michael.

LORD: With pleasure, my lords. …I waited tensely for their attack, sword held high, but they never struck. One by one, they lay on the ground and began purring lazily. I had defeated them with my valor alone. My mind is a weapon every bit as sharp as my rapier. Exhausted, and now comfortable in the safety of their presence, I lay down among them and napped.

Princess attempts to hold in a laugh

LORD: (unabashed) With a start, I awoke to a cacophony in the trees among me. As the noise drew nearer, the lions awoke and abruptly ran off. Cowards. I rose and picked up my sword just in time to meet the herd of wild boars charging toward my clearing! I skewered all but one. This last, I looked in the eye and told, ‘run now, lest you meet the same fate!’ You see, Princess, even in mortal danger, I had the presence and fortitude to show mercy to so helpless a creature. The remaining 27 boars are the very ones I brought here, as my gift to you, my lords.

PRINCESS: (mumbling) Oh God…

PRINCESS pulls out her cell phone and begins texting someone. QUEEN elbows her in the shoulder.

KING: Bravo! And a fine feast it has been. I marvel at your skill, Lord Michael. I beg you to come hunting with me in the forest tomorrow. With you by my side, I won’t even need the royal guard!

LORD: With pride, my lord

Smiling smugly, the LORD sits at the KING’s left hand. While they chat animatedly, attention shifts to the PRINCESS and QUEEN.

PRINCESS: He’s such a pompous prig, mother. And that story… are there even wild boars in African jungles?

QUEEN: Give him a chance, darling. He’s handsome and rich, and, well… It might have been true…

PRINCESS: Don’t be ridiculous!

QUEEN: That’s beside the point, Jessica. You know how important it is to be well-protected and provided for in days like these. It’s not the good old 20th century anymore.

LORD MICHAEL lets out a hearty HA-HAHA as he stands up and shakes hands with the KING. He walks around the table to PRINCESS JESSICA and lifts her hand.

LORD: My lady, will you give me the pleasure of your company on a short walk through the courtyard?

PRINCESS: (looking at the expectant faces of her parents and smiling weakly) Um… Sure.

LORD and PRINCESS walk to the other side of the stage.

LORD: I would be happy to take you as my wife.

PRINCESS: Take me?

LORD: Surely princess, and in these evil times, I would protect you. I have slain many beasts and monsters of the night. Women stare serendipitously as I pass. You could be the lucky one, and bear their jealousy as a trophy.

PRINCESS: What an honor!

MICHAEL looks at her uneasily. An emergency weather siren sounds in the distance.

PRINCESS: The day is clear. Could it be another mass attack? I thought that most of the armies were long since destroyed. Only vestiges remain.

LORD: All but one, my lady. Check your phone.

PRINCESS: No service!

LORD: It is as I feared. I must fight them off for your king.

PRINCESS: Why don’t I have service? What the hell is going on?

LORD: The Foil Falcon Army is all that remains of the Kitchen Revolt of ’37. Their attacks are little known and documented because their swarms block all chance of phone contact. Get behind me, lady! Here they come!

(Lord draws his sword as crumpled up pieces of foil begin swinging across the stage;  screeching like nails on a chalkboard. He begins to swing wildly while ducking away from them, as the Princess ducks near him)

LORD: Ah! Cover your ears, lest they bleed!

PRINCESS: Hmm… this is strange.

LORD: Argh… They are so elusive. And the hunting dogs will be no help. Ever seen a dog’s face when it bites into foil?

PRINCESS: Yes, but… They don’t look very dangerous. Thank god we captured most of the Fork Army. They were devastating to our tomato crops.

LORD: Tomahto, princess. You know that pronunciation is impolite.(he continues to duck away and swing wildly)

Attention shifts back to the KING and QUEEN.

KING: Did you hear something?

QUEEN: Hmm… No.

KING: Must be my imagination.

Back to the LORD and PRINCESS.

PRINCESS: (now standing upright) Oh, and remember the Roller Pin Revolution? The Royal Gardener is still complaining about his flattened flowerbeds. He said he just found another one last week rolling around in his Petunias.

LORD: Really, princess. Ack! This is no time for reminiscing!

LORD MICHAEL whirls around and finally makes contact with a piece of foil. Another slowly approaches him. He lets out a high pitched scream and dives out of the way.

PRINCESS: Oh, and remember when the spatulas invaded the castle and flipped over all the furniture?

LORD: Run, princess! Their numbers are too great for me! Save yourself! The screeching is unbearable!

LORD MICHAEL runs around with one arm covering his head, not even looking now as he swings at the air above him.

PRINCESS: Well… I mean, I’ll walk inside and ask for help if that’s what you want.

LORD: I’m sorry princess! I am defeated!

LORD MICHAEL drops his sword and wraps himself up in a fetal position.

PRINCESS: (to herself) Good god. Is he serious?

PRINCESS JESSICA walks over to LORD MICHAEL’s sword. Brandishing it, she thrusts purposefully at the Foil Falcon Army hoard. Foil drops at her feet. 

LORD: Wh-what’s happening? A savior? Am I dead?

PRINCESS: I have yet to see the danger, but you are safe at my side, Lord Michael.

The attack subsides. LORD MICHAEL looks around dazedly before jumping to his feet.

LORD: Ah! You are very brave to have picked up my sword, princess. But you are lucky they did not recognize your wish to fight. They would have devoured you! (beat) I can’t wait to tell your father how I fought off wave after wave of the ferocious Foil Falcons to save his helpless and frightened daughter!

PRINCESS JESSICA shakes her head and looks up to the sky in disgust. She pulls out her phone and begins texting. LORD MICHAEL moves to follow her.

LORD: Now, as I was saying, Princess… I am also rich… I have real, stationary silverware back in my castle, for example… and very high threadcount sheets… (continues talking at her as lights fade to black)

Ancient history: Stage Script: Something Amiss

A door stands on the left side of the stage. On the right side of the door, a rug lays on the floor in front of a couch. An end table sits to the right of the couch with a book bag on it. Linda, 45-ish, sits on the couch with a book. Brandon, 17,  enters stage left, rummaging through his pockets anxiously. He looks around confusedly and creeps up to the door, gently grabs the handle and eases it open.

Mae: (looks up from her book) Where were you?

Brandon: (looking surprised) Mom! What are you doing up?

Mae: Well, I couldn’t find you and I was worried. Where were you?

Brandon: Oh, uh… I just ran out to help Matt with some homework.

Mae: You know better than to leave late at night without telling me.

Brandon: I know, I’m sorry. I thought it’d only be five minutes, but (pause) um, I couldn’t find my notebook, and I was looking for it. And I realized I left it here.

Mae: You carry all your school stuff in that bag. How did you forget that?

Brandon: (nervously) Yeah, pretty funny right? (moves past her to the bookbag, looks at her, looks at it, then picks it up and turns his back to her as he rummages through it).

Mae: I think we need to have a talk, Brandon.

Brandon: (looking more alarmed and frantic while searching as she speaks. He drops the bag on the floor) Mom. (pause) You didn’t go through my stuff, did you?

Mae: No, but I think I would have a right to. You’ve been acting so distant lately, Brandon. Your father and I barely see you anymore. You’re out with your friends almost every night.

Brandon: (sighs and looks slightly relieved while still looking around for something) So, I’m not supposed to have a social life? I just want my privacy, okay mom?

Mae: (turns and looks at him quizzically as he continues to search) It wasn’t in there?

Brandon: um (pause) it was, but I’m looking for something else. Did anyone else open my bag while I was gone?

Mae: I can’t imagine why you think we would want any of your school stuff.

Brandon: Yeah. Mom, I’ll be right back. (to himself) Maybe I dropped it outside.

He rushes out the door. He pauses and scans the ground in front of him. His eyes light up as he seems to spot something and rushes to the left side of the stage and stoops down to grab something from the ground. He holds up a plastic bag filled with something leafy and green, smiling.

 Brandon: Thank God!

Screeching tires and the ‘Whooooop’ of a truncated police siren. A door slams shut. Brandon looks to stage left, mortified.

Brandon: Oh, shit. (sheepishly) Hello, officer… (fade to black)

Ancient history: Stage Script: Lunchtime Loser

This is a one-scene play written to be submitted for possible use by a summer camp for kids hosted at Westminster College.

 

5 round tables sit onstage, surrounded by chairs. Four of the tables have someone sitting at them. Mike, 14, walks on from stage right with a tray in hand. There appear to be various items of low-quality food on it, with a half-pint of milk. Mike looks around nervously and approaches the nearest table.

Mike: Do you mind if I sit down?

Seated guy: (looks annoyed) Football players only. I don’t recognize you.

Mike: Well, soccer is called football in some places…

Seated guy: Get out of here!

Mike backs away, looking slightly paler. He moves to a table where a young woman is seated.

Mike: Ca-Can I sit here?

Seated girl: (turns up her nose and begins pointing at chairs as she speaks) Well, Jenny is coming, and Kayla, and Tiffany, and Julie, and Julie’s BF Bobby. There’s no room for you.

Mike shyly looks down and moves away to another table. He approaches a person wearing glasses with his/her head in a book.

Mike: (looking hopeful) Excuse me… (pause) Um… Do you care if I sit here? (pause) Hello?

Seated person: (looks around confusedly, then narrows eyes at Mike) What!? I’m trying to do my homework. I can’t believe it’s the first day of school and I already have homework.

Mike: (tries to look sympathetic) Well, can I sit down with you? I’m just trying to sit down so I can eat.

Seated person: No. No, definitely not. I’m meeting people here to make sure I understand everything, and I need space for everyone. Plus your food will distract us.

Mike: (shoulders slumping) Sorry… (He looks around and spots his older brother seated at another table)

Mike: Jason, can I sit with you? I just need to eat and then I’ll leave. 5 minutes.

Jason: Are you kidding me? I’m not going to let anyone see me sitting with a freshman. Your friends will want to sit here, and then I’ll look like a total dork. Go find someone else to sit with, little bro.

Mike: (looks exasperated) You suck! I’m telling mom about this when we get home. I hope you get grounded for a week.

Jason: (shrugs) Whatever. She knows you’re a little dweeb.

Mike looks around sort of dejectedly, and makes his way to an empty table. He sets his tray down, but pushes it aside as he sits and stares at the table. As he stares off, two 14 year old boys and a girl approach, each with trays in hand. Mike looks up, surprised, as they sit down around him.

Boy #1: Mike, where have you been, we were looking all over the cafeteria for you.

Boy #2: Yeah, man. Did you have class with Mr. Black yet? He’s the coolest teacher I’ve ever met. Why didn’t they hire cool people in junior high? Are you going to watch the football game Friday night? My dad can give us a ride.

Girl: (eyes light up) I’ve been waiting all day to tell you, I was talking to Tina first period, and she thinks you are so totally cute. I think she’s going to the football game too. Maybe you can sit together…

All three: Ooooooooooooo (make kissing noises and start to laugh at their collective comic genius)

Mike smiles and starts eating. Lights fade to black as they chatter away.

Ancient History: Short Story: Doldrums of Delays

I wrote this while I was bored in the airport coming home from a pre-preseason trip to London with my Westminster College soccer team; I was just trying to write something amusing to keep me occupied.

Doldrums of Delays

I.

Ben Knauff is bored at the Newark International Airport. His flight has been delayed for three hours. Justin Rivas sits before Ben and yawns as he flips through the pages of a UK-Edition Maxim. A brunette model named Sophie graces the cover. To Ben’s left, Samwise impatiently waits for the flight to commence. He has urgent business in Pittsburgh; the Allman Brothers are teaming with Tom Petty for a “CAN’T-MISS” event. Rumor has it that Stevie Nicks may even appear on stage with Petty.

The plight of young Sam is shared by Blake Ordell (sitting to Ben’s right) and Cory Burns and Ande Saporito, who sit at 1:00 and 11:00 respectively. Nick Hoover is talking as usual. In between words he plays with his fingers. Rounding out this group are Garrett Horvath, Keith Little, and Todd Atwood. Todd incessantly types on his phone to an unknown recipient. Garrett and Keith are in the midst of a grueling match of movie wits (by way of a game developed by Nick Hoover). Since Nick is too preoccupied to supply Ben with a name for the game, the author of this tale will henceforth attempt an explanation of the rules: One player names a movie at random, after which the subsequent player/team must supply the name of an actor in the movie. The first player then has to supply another movie that said actor appears in. The game continues as such until one player “draws a blank.”

The airport seems to vary between stages of unrest. At present it is relatively quiet, but soon the concourse will be crowded once again. The volume of passengers seems to be taking a toll on the terminal, as small articles of trash abound on the blue carpet of gate 108B. Unfortunately, the maintenance lady who just walked by failed to notice the mess. Apparently, she is only paid to maintain the integrity of the trash cans…

Several newcomers have now entered the fray. Nathaniel Gibboney meanders over to Ben and asks him about a “love letter.” Silly man. Also joining the group is Steve Hogya, who views the author of this note with speculative curiousity. Mark Sadler and Girsh Thakar have taken seats in the fringes of the homeward bound group.

As Ben looks around he feels a certain familiarity to this airport. It’s almost intangible, yet present all the same. The gates are incredibly similar to their counterparts at Pittsburgh International, the airport from which Ben hails. It brings somewhat of a calmness to his mind, despite the calamity around him. As he gazes at the white walls, moving walkways, and large windows, he feels strangely at ease. That was, until two unexpected events forced Benjamin out of his reverie. Blake struck first, asking Ben to pick up his weighty luggage. Ben agrees, but in doing so loses his state of euphoric relaxation. Keith moves in for the kill, hitting Ben with a barrage of dance moves. Though he was caught unawares, Knauff is able to maintain a modicum of concentration. Soon thereafter he falls back into the lull of familiarity.

 

II.

            After much delay the group has finally found itself seated randomly on a Pittsburgh-bound 727. It seems as though concert and company have decided they must scalp tickets to recoup their money. Illegal! This writer won’t tell though. Ben is receiving far too many compliments for his writing. Someone should probably knock him down like Nate always does. Ben gazes out the window at his right side. The scene seems eternally unchanging: a retracted walkway, a mobile staircase, a tranquil luggage cart, a squat control tower in the distance. Across the aisle to Ben’s left, Garrett worries about his wounded knee while he tries to distract himself by reading a book titled, How to Live the Holy Life. A noble choice.

Meanwhile, Keith has lost himself in the fantasy realm of Ipodia. Who knows what thoughts are coursing through his mind to the gentle tunes of Mike Jones. Atwood has borrowed Ben’s pencil. Ben hopes he doesn’t use too much lead.

The plane finally taxis out to the runway at 7:11 PM. It was a 3:40 flight. Ben is rather distraught, as with each passing moment he is inching closer to a scheduled meeting with his Playstation at 9:00. He’ll probably miss it. In his restlessness, Ben follows Keith’s blank stare to the cracked and grassy runway outside. The scene afforded by the cell-like window is now noticeable different. Several planes seem to be in line for takeoff. Our captain informs us that he is going to try to “bully” his way in, but perhaps we are being bullied out of the way.

Nick lets out a hearty laugh in the back of the plane and proceeds into a joke about two old guys. It is met with scattered laughter.

The plane jolts to a start. Finally, home we come.

Ancient History: Short Story: A Day in the Life of a Dreamer

This was a short story written as part of a final project for a Detective Fiction/Criminalistics cluster course that I took in college. It was based on details from a staged crime scene. My professor said I didn’t focus enough on the parts of the crime scene that I was supposed to. Probably true.

A Day in the Life of a Dreamer

Joel Postema smiled as he backed away from the poker table. It was the last time anyone saw that particular emotion grace his face.

***

Ben Knauff couldn’t believe the scene before his piercing blue eyes. As Chief Investigator of the New Wilmington Police Department, he had never seen a murder case before, let alone a brutal slaying like the one at hand. Pools of Postema’s blood mingled below his body as they drifted together toward a small drain in the center of the courtyard.

Knauff paused to reflect on the events that led him to this point. So often in life things don’t turn out as you plan. Knauff originally wanted to be a lawyer, but after several dull years, he realized that his soul would be better served if he could help people in a more direct way. Investigating was his passion, his be all and end all of human existence. It was perhaps also his bane.

A lonely man, Knauff had never married. He thought he might have loved, but invariably his drive and determination to help people resulted in a whirlwind cycle of pain and regret. Love for him wasn’t meant to be. He had more important things to do.

Knauff gathered his thoughts and pressed his attention back to his work. He closed off the area and began his methodic, concentric search for evidence. A scrap of paper reading “Court Yard 10 pm.” A bottle of Jim Beam. A can of Diet Coke. A bloody knife lying beside Postema’s body. A jack of diamonds that had fallen out of Postema’s pocket. It was missing its face, a hole bored straight through it. Knauff paused to think. The evidence seemed inconsistent and manufactured.

The courtyard was really a small pavilion, the result of two buildings connected by a hallway of classrooms. It was accessible by two sets of double doors on opposite ends of the pavilion, but on one side a sidewalk led straight to the crisp morning air. The bottle of Jim Beam was primarily distracting Knauff. It looked unnatural, nestled in the corner of the lower set of double doors. He dismissed it for the time being but noted that it would have to be analyzed for prints. Too bad. Knauff knew glass surfaces are notoriously difficult for print lifting. He would have to be lucky.

Knauff cautiously collected the peculiar evidence and sent it to the New Wilmington Forensics Lab for testing. He checked his phone for the time. 8:15.

“That’s odd,” he thought.

His phone had no service. Knauff suspected it was a temporary problem. His phone was very unreliable. He would have to track down his suspects in person, not that this was such a bad thing. Knauff had a knack for gathering vast amounts of information about someone before they even had a chance to speak. It scared him sometimes.

He walked to the office of Dr. Ann Murphy. Dr. Murphy was the professor who found Postema in the courtyard. She approached his bleeding body to see if he was ok, but when she touched him, he stiffly slumped over. There was no question about his condition, and in his now prone position several wounds were visible on his back.

Knauff speculated. Postema was found sitting on a bench where both doors were visible. Someone could have snuck up behind him and surprised him via the opening in the courtyard.

“I need more information,” he muttered to himself as he walked in to see a weeping mess of an instructor.

Knauff expected to have a hard time gleaning information, so he was surprised to hear about a secretive poker club called the PPOW. His mind drifted as he began to think of potential scenarios.

“…Dr. Sprow?” Knauff was shaken back to the land of the living by the inquisitiveness of Murphy’s voice.

“Sorry, could you repeat that?” he asked.

“I said I expect you’ll be wanting to get in touch with Dr. Bersett, Professor Garrison, and Dr. Sprow?”

According to Dr. Murphy, they were the only other known members of the club. Apparently, she found out about the members when an email was mistakenly delivered to her inbox. It was a memo from Postema, labeled for Bersett, Garrison, and Sprow. The memo read simply, “5 card stud Apr. 12. Usual place, usual time.”

“Interesting,” Knauff thought. At that moment he would have been willing to bet his entire life savings that the murder was connected to this memo. Then again, he hadn’t saved much.

Knauff thanked Murphy for the information and gave her his card. He walked briskly to the nearest pay phone and alerted the secretaries of the departments that he would need to speak with Bersett, Garrison, and Sprow immediately.

At 9:00 am sharp, Professor Garrison was the last of the suspects to enter the room. Knauff silently shut the door and smiled at the group as they nervously looked at each other.

“You need to tell me what’s going on here, now. I have no reservations about detaining each one of you for suspicion of murder if you don’t tell me exactly what is going on here,” Knauff said solemnly.

Garrison shifted in her seat.

“It’s just a poker club,” she cried. “Joel was kind of our unofficial leader. I hope you don’t think we had something to do with what happened…”

“So, what did happen last night?” Knauff asked.

Garrison was struck silent. Knauff wasn’t sure if it was because her fear had now turned to terror, or if she was just surprised by the bluntness of the question. He guessed the former. Finally, Bersett spoke up.

“It was just a typical game, you know? Joel doesn’t usually fare too well, but last night he mopped up. I lost $100 to him in the final hand of the night, but we all lost big. It was one hand among many,” he explained

His honesty piqued Knauff’s interest, but Knauff decided not to press the issue just yet. He turned to Sprow, who was sporting several red marks around his neck.

“Signs of a struggle?” Knauff wondered.

“Dr. Sprow, where were you at 10 o’clock last night?” Knauff asked.

“I was watching TV with my wife. She may have been taking a shower at that particular time but I’m sure she can substantiate my story,” he firmly replied.

His body language betrayed no sign of dishonesty. Knauff needed some time to think.

“I want all of you to stay in your offices for the rest of the day. I’m going to notify your secretaries that you are not to leave,” he said

After sending them away, Knauff bowed his head in thought. He couldn’t shake the feeling that he’d already solved the murder; he just had to work out the details. He looked at his phone. Still no service. Knauff walked to the nearest phone and dialed the number for the lab. Mallory Bugel picked up the phone on the second ring. She did it every time.

“New Wilmington Forensics Lab,” she chirped.

“Mallory, its Ben. Do you have any information for me?”

“This evidence is all pretty sketchy, Ben. There is a single fingerprint on the Jim Beam bottle, but I don’t think it’s going to tell us much. I had to fume it to get anything at all. I also ran IR and UV-Vis on the alcohol and soda. They’re both what they should be,” she replied

“Alright, thanks Mallory. My phone’s not getting any service so I’ll check in with you in an hour.”

Knauff was starting to sweat. He wondered if it was the rising heat or the pressure mounting on his shoulders. He walked back to the courtyard to look at the scene. Postema’s body had been removed, but traces of the spilled blood were a grisly reminder of the horrific tragedy. It didn’t take long for Knauff to decide he would really be more comfortable somewhere else. He decided to walk to Bersett’s office so he could begin asking questions individually.

Knauff walked into Bersett’s office to see him rummaging around through his desk.

“Missing something?” he asked.

“Um, well, I thought I had a bottle of Jim Beam in here, you know, for safekeeping.” Bersett sheepishly replied.

“Funny. Dr. Bersett…” Knauff began. “I’ve got to be honest with you. You are pretty high on my list of suspects right now. Is there anything you can tell me about your crones that might help me out?”

“I am not a murderer!” was Bersett’s red-faced reply. “And if you think I’m going to implicate my friends, you can forget it. Anyway, I was at a concert last night after our get-together. Lots of people saw me there.”

Knauff was a little taken back by Bersett’s flaring temper. Why would he be so aggressive if he had nothing to hide? Knauff decided it was probably best to let things cool down. He took a phone number for someone who could corroborate Bersett’s story and stepped out of the office.

Knauff again checked his phone.

“Finally!” he said to himself.

He now had a full four bars of service. As he smiled at his phone it began to vibrate. Incoming call.

“Chief Inspector Knauff,” he said.

“Knauff! Stop calling yourself that. You’re the only friggin’ inspector, and a lousy one at that!”

It was Lieutenant Davoli.

“Who do you think you are, investigating a murder with your phone off?” he continued.

Knauff rolled his eyes. Lieutenant Davoli had no respect for his capabilities as a detective.

“I didn’t have service. What’s the problem?” Knauff replied.

“You’re going to be working in food service if you continue this way. Where have you been?”

“Investigating the case, like any good detective would.”

On the other end of the phone line, Lieutenant Davoli was slamming his phone against his head. He took a while to reply.

“You moron. Dr. Sprow came to the police station with a confession over an hour ago. Have you been badgering suspects all morning?”

“Well…” Knauff stammered

“Sprow’s wife was angry with him for losing so much money. She choked him until he told her he would kill the man responsible. He snuck up behind Postema as he was sitting in the courtyard and stabbed him in the back. Then he planted a bottle of Jim Beam to implicate Bersett. We checked, and what we could glean from the fingerprint on the bottle matched Sprow’s right thumb. Case closed. Come back to the station. I’ve got some papers for you to fill out. God knows you can’t do anything else right.”

Knauff thought he could hear the phone being slammed onto the hook. It was probably just his imagination.

“Ah,” Knauff thought. “Another day, another mystery solved.”

He couldn’t help being a little disappointed, but his mind was at ease. He would get his chance. He could feel it. Knauff walked off in the relentless sunlight of a spring afternoon.

Ancient history: Movie Review: The Princess Bride

Movie Review: The Princess Bride

            The Princess Bride is the hilarious tale of true love. Cary Elwes and Robin Wright star in the 1984 film, with acclaimed director Rob Reiner at the helm.

The film is the big-screen rendition of William Goldman’s 1970 book, The Princess Bride. The story centers around Wesley (Elwes) and Buttercup (Wright), two young lovers who are separated by poverty. Five years after their separation, Buttercup agrees to marry the prince of her land, with the assumption that Wesley–who never returned–is dead. Soon Wesley returns and immediately begins his attempts to retrieve Buttercup from the evil prince.

A spectacular cast highlights this very funny comedy. In one of his first roles, Fred Savage (Wonder Years) plays a sick young boy who is read the love story by his grandfather. Andre Rousimoff(also known as Andre the Giant), plays Fezzik, a big-hearted giant. Billy Crystal plays a hermit magician named Miracle Max. Mandy Patinkin (from Dick Tracy) plays Inigo Montoya, a drunkard master swordsman. Christopher Guest turns in a great performance as the villainous prince.

The soundtrack adds to the film with a well-written score. Singer/songwriter Mark Knopfler, of the band Dire Straits, created the music for the film. He also wrote a romantic song for the movie, called “Storybook Love.” The music does well to portray the story’s themes of love and violence. It is soft and romantic during touching parts, but loud and shrieking when fighting occurs.

Book Review: The Authorities

(Originally posted on Geeks and Geeklets)

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Title: The Authorities

Author: Scott Meyer

Published: September 28, 2015

Pages: 328

Genre: Mystery/Comedy

Kid Friendly Rating: 12+ The book opens with a non-sexual scene involving an adult toy, but it is mostly PG-PG-13 on balance. Contains some violence, mostly in the form of suspects resisting arrest.

Synopsis: Sinclair Rutherford is a fastidious young officer in the Seattle police department. His brown-nosing and generally over-eager manner have made him the subject of scorn and ridicule among senior members of the force. After a high-profile arrest involving an inappropriate object lands Rutherford in his Captain’s doghouse, Rutherford is recruited for a dream job by a local billionaire assembling his own crack team of crime-solving experts.

Over the course of his first investigation with his new team, Rutherford finds himself in a series of varying levels of uncomfortable situations. Rutherford does his best to save his dignity while finding his footing with his new team and following leads on a notorious murder case.

Scott Meyer is quickly becoming one of my favorite comical fiction writers. For information on a few of his other works, you can check out my review of his hilarious Master of Formalities , or Sarindre’s review of the equally funny and creative Off to be the Wizard (book 1 of an entertaining ongoing series).

If the cover of this book evokes the classic crest of the old TV show and 1987’s movie Dragnet, it’s probably not by accident.

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While this book is not so much a “buddy cup” comedy, it definitely draws a lot of comedic value from the fish-out-of-water scenario presented by an officer suddenly forced to work very closely with partners who have personalities and talents extremely at odds with his own. Side note: if you somehow missed the  movie Dragnet, starring a young Tom Hanks and Dan Aykroyd, it’s a great “bad-80’s-movie.”

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Getting back to Rutherford, it’s a fun read, watching Rutherford grow within his own team, even as his frustration at his position mounts. His team has a, let’s say “unique,” set of abilities that both add to the comedy, while also serving to drive the story forward, including a keeper of trained bees, an ex-Dutch special agent, and a mysterious ninja.

Final Thoughts:

If you’re a fan of Meyer’s other work, or of cop comedies like Dragnet, Starsky, and Hutch, Tango and Cash, Beverly Hills Cop, and so on, this book may be worth your time. I give it 3.5/5 stars!

Judith (NSFW) by Scott Hess

A self-described “really offensive” short story by Scott Hess. I take no credit or responsibility for the content of this story.

Judith sat there staring at the mailbox through the curtains of her living room window. The smell of rotting meat hung heavy in the air as swarms of flies circled around the piles of moldy-green beef and pork. Like little mountains, the mounds of warm flesh sat there on the filthy carpet surrounded by cigarette butts and crushed Diet Dr. Pepper cans. Judith was panting heavily. Not just because of her obesity but because today was Thursday and that was what Judith called her Meat Day.  “Sorry Mandy Moore I can’t feed ya now it’s my meat day. Gotta watch for the meat man.”  Mandy Moore was Judith’s beloved dog. Judith saw Mandy as a loving pet, but Mandy was more like a prisoner that had mistakenly snuck into the small house through the chimney and had been unable to escape for the last 2 years. Mandy Moore was not named after the singer/actress that Judith was unaware of and was actually a large male raccoon. Mandy led a miserable life. He hated Judith and the Dorito crumbs she fed him. He was never abused by her but the unsanitary conditions were slowly weakening him, poisoning his furry body every day. Mandy often prayed to Raccotrix, the raccoon God for guidance and help to no avail. At this moment Mandy just sat on his shoebox, reading a 1994 People Magazine, harshly judging Judith for the ritual that was about to play out.

For the next 20 minutes Judith nervously drummed her fingers on her sweaty thighs and made small talk with Charvis Brisco, sitting next to her on the sofa. Charvis Brisco was a pile of laundry that Judith thought was a charming Italian Immigrant that married her in the late 80’s. Among her many other issues, Judith had very poor eyesight and thought the soiled linens were a handsome but quiet lover. Mandy was always quite disturbed when Judith interacted with Charvis, especially when she disrobed and made love to him on Monday mornings. Why she never figured out the true nature of her husband, even when she had to reassemble him after love-making remained a mystery that Mandy couldn’t comprehend. On one occasion, while rubbing her genitals against what was once a pair of sweatpants, Judith accidentally moaned the name of another lover “Gubbert” in a moment of ecstasy. When Charvis elicited no response, Judith assumed that he didn’t hear and that she dodged a bullet. Who or what Gubbert actually was remains a mystery to this day, but Mandy vowed never to go near the stuffed SpongeBob ever again.

Around 3 pm the Burton’s Meats truck pulled up and Judith jumped to attention. Caught up in the moment, a dribble of pee escaped Judith and quickly soaked her large diabetic panties. Judith waddled over to the stairs and in her usual manner, closed her eyes and fell down them. She could not think of a quicker and easier way to descend the staircase and her fatty limbs were usually unharmed from the tumble. Today was different however, and Judith broke most of her remaining teeth. Judith didn’t care. She wouldn’t need them for the meat. All that mattered was the meat and getting it right now. She barely even noticed the blood pooling in her mouth.

Just as the deliveryman stepped out of his truck she was there waiting. Hunched over, spitting blood, dripping in sweat and piss she stood before him. “Hello ma’am, is everything ok?” He asked her not out of concern, but out of a morbid curiosity. “Hello Tyrese.. got my meats for me?”  “Yes ma’am, I have a package for you but please call me Thomas. That is my name.” It was then that he began to smell the urine so he quickly ran to the back of the truck, pulled out three boxes and threw them at Judith. “Have a lovely day ma’am” Thomas politely said as he smiled and hurried back into the truck. “Thanks for the meats Jamal!” Judith yelled. She looked down at the boxes but something seemed off. There were three boxes instead of two she regularly got. “Trombone come back, you made a mistake!” She screamed but it was too late. Thomas was already speeding away.

As she sat down on the sofa next to Charvis she picked up the third, smaller box and held it close to her beady little hazy eyes. “Bonus – Free Gift” was printed on the box. “I got a bonus meats Charvis because I’m a good customer!” she explained to Charvis. Mandy stood up and began to walk out of the room. He had seen the ritual before. Too many times.

Judith turned on the stereo and hit play on the Dance Mix cassette that she had re-labeled “Meat Mix”. As the opening chords of Straight Up by Paula Abdul played, Judith was already disrobed and tearing into the first box. “Beef -Assorted Clippings.” She laid there on the sofa completely nude, squealing with glee. Judith filled ever nook and cranny, every flap and roll with various pieces of raw, ground beef. Most of her skin was too greasy for the meat to stick. She had great difficulty getting the filets to stay in her hairy armpits today but wasn’t deterred. The meat ritual was an emotional roller coaster and by the time Step By Step started, she was crying with pieces of ribeye falling out of her vagina. After an hour, Judith stood up and grabbed the second box, “Pork – Soft, Ground”.

Judith laid there in the bathtub. This portion of the ritual was quieter and more peaceful. She inserted her second Meat Mix cassette into the stereo, this one was actually Professor Javier Mesquela’s “Learning Mandarin for Spanish Speakers.” Judith thought the professor’s voice sounded peaceful and it calmed her. Judith took handfuls of the mushy pork and jammed it into her eyes, ears, and nose. She rubbed the pork on her face and into her scalp. It was important for her to become one with the pork. Judith nodded off and urinated on herself once again. She awoke as Professor Mesquela’s Lesson 8 – Adjectivos came to a close.

Feeling refreshed, Judith returned to the living room. Still nude, pieces of the now-warm meats fell from her body to the floor. It was time to see what was in the third box.

Judith slowly opened the cardboard box and peeled back the tissue paper within. A dozen or so small pieces of chocolate was inside with a small note that read, “To our favorite customer. Please enjoy our new, pork truffles”. Judith began to drool a combination of hot slobber and blood from her broken teeth. She grabbed a handful of the candies and shoveled them into her mouth, moaning and gumming them with her tongue. She instantly felt weak and fainted, smashing her head on the coffee table as she fell. A minute later she awoke, choking and struggling to breathe. She grabbed at her chest as her lungs and heart tightened up. Her eyes filled with tears and her stomach was turning in knots. Judith loudly belched, then farted. Violently, gallons of hot, bloody feces shot out of her ass and sprayed the television and recliner behind her. She turned to her side and the shit fountain shot high into the air and covered Charvis who was unfortunately in the splash zone. Judith shrieked and curled into the fetal position as intestines and organs abruptly shot out of her anus and across the room. With a quick jolt and whimper she seized up and died. A small fart crept out and her body laid still.

The sun had set and the house was dark. Mandy picked up the phone and began to dial. “Thomas, it is done. Thank you my angel, I love you.” Thomas replied, “Finally we can be together. You are my stars and moon.” “You are my bright, shining King. You complete me” Mandy said. The two agreed to meet at the rendezvous point, a Denny’s, for coffee and desert. It was over. She was finally dead. Before leaving the house, Mandy knelt before his shrine to Raccotrix and thanked his God for the strength to finally free himself from this nightmare. He held a trinket in his small hand, an amulet depicting the son of Raccotrix… The Great Raccusamal, Opener of Trash Cans and Crosser of Streets. He closed the door behind him, got into Judith’s Ford Taurus, and turned the key. As he looked back through the mirror he started looking forward to his new life with Thomas. The house they would buy in Cape Cod, their children, and growing old together. A tear of happiness fell from his cheek.

The End

Epilogue

Raccotrix looked down upon Mandy Moore and smiled. “Raccusamal, the chosen one is finally free. Tell the others to prepare the relics of Racconsis.” Raccusamal looked up at his father and nodded. “Finally the reign of mankind comes to an end. The day of Racconisence is upon us!” “Not yet, my son there is much work to be done” Raccotrix explained. “Send word to our commanders on earth to gather all of the chocolates and roach poison they can find!  We are now at war!” Raccusamal nodded and began to walk down the golden hallway. He stopped and looked back at his father, perplexed. “Our followers, where will they find the supplies they need to kill the humans?” Raccotrix looked at his son with a knowing smile. “Where else, my dear son… Tell them to look where they have always looked. In the middle of the street.” “Yes of course, father. Of course!”

Insane Ramblings of an 18-Year-Old College Student

Thirty-eight thoughts on school, sports, love, Carson McCullers, and the deep questions of life.

Writing 111 Journal Entries

1/18/05

If I were a rock star, I would be able to spend much more money than the meager savings I have accumulated through summer work. Instead of saving my quarters for a bag of chips I could be buying a factory to make chips of my own, specified to my very tastes. Instead of paying money to go to school, I could be reaping the benefits of doing nothing but having fun and looking good! Alas it was not meant to be. I wonder how many bands have a guitarist who doesn’t know how to play (my first guess – many).

1/19/05

As much as it can be difficult to go out and exercise, it is beneficial in many ways to do so. Fortunately, the fabled “runner’s high” has some truth to it. I think most people who begin to exercise would quickly realize that it is much more enjoyable once you start. Hasn’t it even been proven that people who exercise are happier in general than people who aren’t?

1/20/05

If deer had wings I think the world would be a much happier and less violent place. They would be much too difficult to hunt for sport, with their agility combined with flying ability and increased lines of sight. This would discourage hunters, who would likely be unable to find game as suitable as deer to shoot. To my delight, roadways would also be much clearer, as the deer would probably take to the sky for travels as opposed to backwater roads.

1/21/05

If soccer was more popular in the United States, perhaps foreign nations would like us more. We would seem more similar to them, and therefore more down to earth. Perhaps they would compliment us on our ability to be successful rather than despise us for our differences.

1/22/05

How do we know that we all see things in the same way? Perhaps the color that I call yellow is really blue in someone else’s vision. How would we know? If my vision was the complete inverse of someone else’s, what I consider to be a light shade may even be a dark shade. Maybe to some people white people look darker and black people are fair-skinned.

1/23/05

If the Steelers win today, I will be overjoyed. Unfortunately, it is halftime and not looking pretty. I’m not looking forward to having to look at all of the Boston fans in the eye and say, “yea, your team appears to be better.” Hopefully they will make a comeback the likes of which have never been seen.

1/24/05

When did it become appropriate to wear clothing at all times? When did people decide that men could walk around shirtless but women couldn’t? I wonder if the rules of clothing will ever change. Maybe 1000 years from now, only our eyes, ears, and mouths will be exposed. On the other hand, maybe clothing will only be worn in inclement weather.

1/25/05

I am going to play soccer today and lift afterwards. I have to wonder if all of this activity is going to start showing up on my report card. Will my grades suffer, or will the increased activity help my brain to function properly? Really, I just hope I’m not screwing up by working hard.

1/26/05

Thankfully, I was able to turn in my add/drop card before the free deadline. I previously had Bowling on my schedule, but decided it wasn’t worth it after I learned that it cost $52. I figure that I’m already paying enough just to be here. The school doesn’t need an extra $52 from me, especially when my wallet is already paper thin.

1/27/05

I’m a total fan of rock music. I love just about any kind of it. Be it Cream, Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, whatever. It doesn’t much matter to me as long as it ‘rocks’. With that said, I have to say that I am pretty disgusted with the state of rock music today. Talentless fools dominate modern-rock airplay and I’m left to only classic rock stations to pick up the slack. When will the turnaround occur? Will it occur?

1/28/05

I am NOT looking forward to this weekend. Except for tonight, when I have a soccer game scheduled my weekend looks utterly horrible. Tomorrow I am working from 9-5:30 and Ill be doing exactly the same thing on Sunday. You might be thinking, “What? Oh, that’s not so bad.” You might be wrong. I work at a nursing home preparing food and washing dishes afterward. It’s probably one of the most disgusting jobs possible. I use it as inspiration to stay in school…

1/29/05

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig. Work wasn’t so bad. There are a couple cute girls working there now. But it is such a drag to be at home on a weekend like this. None of my friends are here. I have Carson McCullers and my family to keep me company. The TV is delightfully boring tonight. Anyway, 8 more hours of work and I’ll be back in wonderful New Wilmington!

1/30/04

It’s always nice to get back to school, where I’m comfortable. It’s crazy to think of how different that is from the beginning of the year. I used to go home on the occasional weekend to get a good night of sleep. Now it’s a relief to sleep in my nice comfortable college bed. Unfortunately, with all that work I’m going to have to scramble to get all of my writing homework done before Tuesday.

1/31/04

Relationships are a drag sometimes. Read: many times. Why is it that most things in the world that are worth anything take so much work? This one maybe really isn’t worth it. She just depresses me a lot. It’s a shame though because I’ve been dating her for a long time.

2/1/05

If I were a deaf/mute, I wonder how I would go about doing certain things. I would hate to learn sign language, either to read it or use it. Instead I think I would be much more interested in reading lips and attempting to speak without the use of my ears. At the very least I believe I would write messages down rather than sign them out. One good thing is that I would most likely not ever be encumbered by a telephone bill. Why would I need one?

2/2/05

I wonder sometimes about animal and insect civilizations. How consciously do they serve their leaders? if they are so unintelligent, how do they have leaders at all? I would love the opportunity to temporarily become an ant and infiltrate an anthill to see what there is to see and talk to other ants to find out what is going on. Would I be able to meet the queen, or would a soldier ant bar my entrance?

2/3/05

I want to invent a time machine so I can go back and watch some classic rock or even more recent bands perform live. Sure, there are more noble reasons for such an invention, but what could truly be more fun than going to see a Zeppelin concert live in the front row? Revival concerts just aren’t the same. The artists are too far removed from their work to perform it with the same conviction they once had.

2/4/05

This is pick-up weekend! Thankfully, I will be spared the anxiety of it all, as I won’t be pledging whether I’m invited to or not. The only fraternity I have even visited is Alpha Sigma Phi. They will probably invite me because I am a soccer player, but since I have no desire to ever live in the house I just don’t see how it would benefit me. I will content myself with an occasional visit on the weekends.

2/5/05

It’s a good thing that I decided not to pledge because I’m home anyway. My wallet remains thin as ever. I’m anxiously awaiting the day when money will start to appear in my bank account. Hopefully it will be sooner than later, because I feel that the frugal life doesn’t suit me. Bu then, maybe that’s why I’m in this situation in the first place.

2/6/05

Today is Super Bowl Sunday! I’m not even really a huge football fan, although I do watch the Steelers and sometimes a division rival every Sunday. Still, I have to wonder how long it will be until this is referred to as a national holiday. In many respects I think it already is that way, albeit without the title. I walked back into the dorms today and I honestly believe I was hearing the entire building watch the game at once. Does anything comparable happen on Presidents Day?

2/7/05

There is so much talk about the Patriots officially obtaining the status of “dynasty.” My sole question is:, “Who cares?” What’s in a title? And how do you but boundaries on a word like that? Apparently, three championships in four years will do it. It seems like a far cry from ancient empires that lasted for hundreds of years without break. If a civilization came into power for one year, lost control, then took it back for two more years, I hardly think it would be called a dynasty.

2/8/05

Why would anyone drink diet caffeine free Pepsi? It tastes bad. Despite its “diet” title, it really isn’t good for you. There is no caffeine so it won’t wake you up. It will stain your teeth. What is redeeming in such a drink? If its for the carbonation, I’m sure that there are drinks out there that are better for you. Sparkling water, perhaps?

2/9/05

Getting a cold is possibly one of the worst things about cold weather. I never realize how much I enjoy being healthy until I can’t breathe through my nose. Also, I think that there is some kind of rule that says when you have a cold, it is impossible to find a soft tissue. Abrasiveness is apparently what people look for when they go to buy tissues. Has the world gone crazy?

2/10/05

Valentine’s Day is everywhere. I think this is a good example of a holiday that has completely lost its meaning, even more so than Christmas. I wonder how large the percentage of people who don’t know the origins of Valentine’s Day is. I am certainly among that number. I just see a bunch of hearts and pink ribbons around, and know in my heart that no one in their right mind would invent a holiday to be like this. Perhaps commercialism is the root of everything here.

2/11/05

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I had mixed feelings starting this novel. Now that I am finished I agree with my original analysis. I’m not the type of reader who likes to go in for the “extra meanings.” My feeling is that in many cases the novel is simply a story and after it is written authors, scholars, and critics alike go back and infer all of these other meanings on it which were not intended in the first place. For my favorite example of this, see Lord of the Flies.

2/12/05

In some ways I think this is a novel for girls written by a girl. I’m not sure what exactly that means, but it’s like movies in a way. You always know when a movie has been released to target solely a female audience or solely a male audience. It’s not to say that either one is better, but the intentions make it less interesting for the opposite sex.

2/13/05

Despite my feelings about the novel in and of itself, I think Mick is a good universal example of adolescence. Obviously, she’s a girl, but many of the problems she faces (relationships with the opposite sex, abandoning childhood) are not unique to girls. Also, Mick’s aspirations with music parallels with the thousands of kids who dream of becoming pro athletes, only to have their hopes dashed when they realize how unlikely it is, for whatever reason.

2/14/05

Although Mick’s aspirations are clearly hurt by poverty, how likely is it that she would have ever had a real career as a musician? There are millions of people who play an instrument or sing, but only a select few of them ever make money at it. No one can deny that Mick has noble goals, but I question the reality of what she wants. The novel would suggest that Mick could clearly become the next Mozart if given a chance. Who’s to say she wouldn’t just become a good pianist?

2/15/05

Finally, all of the hearts will be gone for a year. Hearts could be my least favorite decoration. They don’t even vaguely resemble an actual heart. I wonder where the shape of a heart came from if not reality. Was it just a random shape that someone decided to start calling a heart? Regardless of my complaints, I guess no one else really cares that the heart design isn’t realistic.

2/16/05

It’s amazing that media is such a large part of our culture that a movie can make 300 million dollars in theater ticket sales. If a movie makes $300 million tickets cost $10 each, one in ten people in the United States went to see it. That is an amazing figure when you imagine all of the different types of people who must have gone to that movie.

2/17/05

Pennies should be eliminated from currency. No one uses them except to give change or save enough money to trade for a dollar. Most of the time when I receive any amount of money I’m thrilled, but if I ever get a penny it’s just a pain. It doesn’t even matter if the amount of the pennies I receive is greater than say, a nickel or quarter, because I’m so depressed to have to carry that much.

2/18/05

TitanNet is very annoying. I don’t understand the need for it. No matter how much networking it provides, it isn’t worth the powerless virus-blocking software and inept web browser. Half of the websites I want to go to show up with nothing but a nearly blank white screen that says “504: Bad Connection,” or something like that. What the heck is 504? Fortunately, TitanNet never blocks mainstream websites such as Yahoo!, where I check my main email…Oh, wait…

2/19/05

In this technological age, I wonder how long it will be until we buy a copy of a textbook online, and read it page for page using the web browser. It would save me energy, save the forests, and save me money, because production costs for the book company would be nearly cut out. It seems to me that enough people have their own computer today that it would be reasonable to do something like that.

2/20/05

I am totally drained from this weekend. I had two workdays in a row that I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning for. Tonight, I’m going to just go to sleep at 9 and wake up at 9 tomorrow morning. That is, if I can stay awake until then. Five hours seems like a long time to wait for this tired soul. The bottoms of my feet even hurt from standing so long!

2/21/05

This weather is disgusting; snow mixed with rain. If I ever move to a more southerly state, you can bet that it will be for a change in weather. It would be better If it was always warm in Pennsylvania, or even always cold The problem is that from day to day (and hour to hour), you never know what it will be like outside. Just last week it went from seventy degrees one day to 40 on the next and snowing most of the rest of the week. It’s difficult to deal with at college, because all of my summer clothes are at home. The second I think it is warm enough to go home and trade clothes, it’s too cold to wear a t-shirt.

2/22/05

I feel that I can relate to Mick a lot when it comes to music. I consider myself to be obsessive at times about it. Now, my musical tastes center on rock and reach outward from there, but I have a deep respect for every kind of music, including Mick’s choice of classical. Unfortunately, I don’t have the talent to dream of becoming a musician one day, but that will never stop me from listening with an open heart and open mind.

2/23/05

I can’t imagine what it would be like to be thrown into the streets today. If a second Great Depression occurred for some reason, and I was left without a home I believe that I would go crazy; however maybe the human soul is more enduring than I would believe. Maybe I would become a better person for the experience. Nevertheless, I don’t think anyone can deny that the shock of something would have serious and lasting effects.

2/24/05

Economics is the most made-up piece of crap class that I ever remember taking. In our first class we had an hour discussion about the “opportunity cost” of going to Pittsburgh. Now, it’s one thing to discuss what you might lose out on, but Econ takes it a step further. For some reason, it is necessary in Economics to establish fictional number values to anything, such as happiness. For instance, in a recent class I was told that “Matt receives “24 happiness” out of vanilla ice cream.” How do I deal with that kind of  (insert expletive here) without losing my mind?