When she opened the door, I asked, "Who's leaving first?" indicating both her bus and the #1 behind hers.
She said, "I'm getting ready to leave in one minute," so I hopped on.
A very pretty girl with impeccably manicured pale pink fingernails and long, jet-black hair sat to my right and I strained to see what book she was reading. Yenta.
It was called Matter Interactions I: Modern Mechanics. The pages had graphs on them, some of which had a formula written across or under them. Whenever I see graphs and formulas, I'm always taken back to my undergraduate years—that would be some 25 years ago—and my advanced calculus classes doing things like:
- Vector Spaces
- Continuous, Discontinuous, Uniform and Paradoxes of Continuity
- Surface and Improper Integrals
- Convergence, Divergence, Differentiation and Integration of Infinite Series
- Power Series
- Fourier Series
And whenever I think of "complicated formulas," I always think of the lyrics to this first verse of Jeannie C. Rileys' song, The Rib:
And answer phones of every kind from coast to coast
Help keep the astronauts in space with complicated formulas
And give you echoes of my voice in song
I wash your dishes iron your shirts and give you children
And never mind a bit except when you forget
That I am flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone
And that Adam called me woman for I am the rib
And not a footbone to be stepped on not a legbone to be walked on
Not a hipbone to be sat on not a backbone to be leaned on
Not a shoulderbone to be cried on not a headbone to be relied on
But a ribbone to be side by side hand in hand not lesser then
Not greater then but just what heaven planned
Yes you see I am the rib
Whew! That was some serious digression...
I found this A.W.A.D. information at once astounding and horrifying. I can't even begin to fathom such a writing undertaking.
A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
Recently I came across this book titled Never Again. It's the story of a gambler who wants to correct the mistakes of his past by not doing (or saying) anything again. It's a fine topic for a novel, but that's not what makes the book noteworthy.
It's written with the constraint that no word would be used again in the book. It starts off nicely. Here's the first sentence:
"When the racetrack closed forever I had to get a job."
And then it quickly goes downhill. Here's a sentence from a randomly opened page of the book:
"Environmental breakdown hillsides, counterpotentially, demonstrate stumps bristling clear-cut floodplain backdrop."
But what would you expect when you can't use any word -- including nut-and-bolt words as: in, on, to, for, is, are, he, she, said -- more than once. The writer cheats a little with the use of contractions ("Juicier diversions're proposed.") in an effort to make use of words that have appeared earlier, but that doesn't help much.
In spite of the general unreadability of the book, I applaud the author for the extremely difficult challenge he tackled (as if writing wasn't hard enough by itself). And if you think it's easy to write with such a constraint, try your hand at crafting a paragraph, let alone a 200-page work that uses no articles, no prepositions, and no pronouns more than once.
There's a long tradition of writing with self-imposed constraints. A group called Oulipo has tried many things with constrained writing, often with admirable results. Some examples of constrained writing are lipogram and univocalic.
This week we'll feature five isograms, words with no letters repeated. These are words that say: Never again.
I caught the Wolfline bus to my car at the Avent Ferry Park & Ride, and stopped into the Food Lion to pick up some cream cheese and chives to make that Spanish Olive Cheese Ball to take to Alex's later this evening. I was in disbelief that they didn't have any fresh chives, and walked back and forth the produce area enough times that if doing that would make some appear, they would have.
Totally frustrated, a light bulb went off, and I thought, "I could just buy some of that cream cheese with the chives already in it!" When I got to the cheese section, they only had cream cheese with both chives and onion in it, so I bought that.
After making the cheese ball, I participated in an e-Rewards survey that paid $12, which is a lot, but it was a 40-minute investment that I'm still in disbelief that I didn't get disqualified for, because it was about beer, of which I was only able to say I drink because I had one Thursday at the movie theater when I went with Jen. I just don't drink beer. And I answered that I had one in the last four months, yet it still kept me in as a participant.
There were so many things about that survey that are going to make the margin of error so wide that the results will not be significantly valid, but I suppose the people who contracted the survey will never know that.
After about 30 minutes of questions about beer, it switched by saying, "We're going to go in a slightly different direction now. Are you familiar with the NFL?"
I responded that I was and the next question said, "How interested are you in the NFL," to which I responded, "Not interested at all." The next question was, "What is your favorite local NFL team?" That's the kind of shit I'm talking about in terms of being horribly designed. And there was no choice to say, "I don't have a favorite local team."
It went on to ask how interested I was in the playoffs, if I knew who was playing, if I was going to watch the Super Bowl, and so on, all to which I answered no or not interested. And then the surprise of all surprise questions popped up in the closing demographics questions: "What is your sexual orientation?"
I checked the, "Gay, Lesbian, Homosexual" choice, and I so expected the next screen to come up in 72-point red font saying, "That explains a lot!"
It was a weird "beer-related" night, as on my drive to Alex's I was listening to John Tesh's radio program, "Intelligence For Your Life," he noted in one of his little "Did you know?" segments that in beer commercials you will never see anyone actually drinking the beer. "They're not allowed to."
During RuPaul's Drag Race, which is sponsored by Absolute, I watched and, sure enough, no one ever drank or even acted like they were drinking or even sipping a drink. So, I guess that applies to all alcohol commercials. How interesting.
I joined Alex, Steven P., Bill, and Steven C. for the show, which I'd never seen, but found entertaining to a point. I much more enjoyed the socializing and food, though—Alex made some killer hors d'oeuvres, along with a penis-shaped cake that was killer.
Everything was absolutely delicious, and the Spanish Olive Cream Cheese Ball went over well.
There were some classic lines slung between the drag queens throughout the three hours of programming that we watched. Looking back now, out of context, they don't seem nearly as funny as they did at the time, but I'm capturing them for posterity:
- From one of them who had dressed up in drag as a nun at one point: "I got to be Sister Element of Surprise."
- They said of one very plus-sized drag queen who got frustrated trying do something she wasn't succeeding at, "She bit off more than she cold chew," to which I retorted, "And she can chew a lot."
- From one of the judges to one of the drag queens, whose outfit had to be made out of Christmas ornaments and fabrics, and who had on no more than a thimble full of clothes including just a little piece of flora over the crack of her ass: "Is that mistletoe or camel toe?"
- RuPaul to the two worst drag queens of the evening, "Ladies it's critical, your last chance to survive. Get ready to Lip Sync for Life!"
- And finally, RuPaul to all of the surviving drag queens at the end of the night, "Condragulations."
It was way later than I thought it was when I left there, and I got home at right about midnight, where I had to do about an hour's worth of work. What a real drag.