Domestic Woes

There aren’t monsters under beds,
I think I can say that for sure;
There’s one in the bathroom
And it’s a toilet paper-vore:
Yesterday, I changed rolls,
Today, I’m changing roles;
It’s the third one this week
That’s just been devoured whole
So one and all,
Lo and behold:
Your poet’s stepped into
The investigator’s mould—
Is this a stroke of genius
By a next door neighbour bold,
Who has us in the palm of their hand,
And our rolls in their stranglehold?
Have I just lost all my sense
Of normal space and time?
Maybe all those tests are now
Eating this brain of mine
Or is this just a frantic
Effort on life’s part
To get this indoorsey CS kid
To finally trip down to Walmart?
Either way, one and all,
The joke’s growing old;
This is not the college story
I’d like twenty years hence told!

 

For the record, I’m not really indoorsey, I’m just cold. It’s 9 degrees outside and we’re on the lakefront. It has dramatic effects on a nice warm day’s efforts to keep you from freezing. It belittles the sun until it loses all motivation, and if that doesn’t ruin your day, you need to sign up for a CS degree.
And I really did change the toilet rolls yesterday, and they’re over today. Someone is eating toilet paper here, and this is not the sort of thing I imagined would make a Sherlock plot scene. “Mr. Holmes, we’ve been loo-ted!”

Sunday update: four. Four rolls.

Step Into The Dark

You don’t get paid for punishment. You get paid to do something useful. Help someone out. Put some skills to use.

And sure, there are a million people out there with the exact same skills as you. Why do we inherently bend ourselves backwards to believe that something Worth Doing must be something you’d consider a chore, something you have to slog for, something you don’t necessarily jump out of bed to do?

Why don’t we just do what we like then? Is it a bad thing to ask to be doing something in life that you like to do? Is it somehow ‘less worthy’?

It isn’t ‘lucky’ when I do something that I like. It shouldn’t be. You shouldn’t be sighing and telling me I’m one lucky bugger to be doing something I like if I am, because it’s not normally how ‘the world works’.

The whole idea of working and earning was a completely human-made process. So as a human in the system, I’m just that. A human. Not a cog in the wheel. I should decide.

I shouldn’t be sitting around here taking moment long guilty pleasure breaks to do something I like. I should be able to do it when I like, with no shame. No guilt. No “it was fun while it lasted, but now I gotta burn this bridge, hide this away, out of sight, out of mind, and get back to work”.

In all honesty, it kind of sucks. I don’t get to be this age again. It shouldn’t be in your place to tell me to wait until I’m forty. Wait until it’s all over. Hide away from everything that calls me and shut my ears tight and yell ‘ladiladila, I can’t hear you!’ just like you did. Just because you did.

It tires me out. And I know I’d never ever wear of certain things. It’s not a phase. Half your life is not a phase. We can pretend it will wear away. Maybe it will someday. But not for the reasons you think it will.

It won’t ‘grow out’, it’ll die.

And with that, I should probably admit that this was more cathartic than substantial, and put my phone down and get back on with my physics. Don’t get me wrong, I love it. I just wish I could stop pretending I didn’t love some other stuff too. I wish I could pretend it really isn’t for me.

But that probably will never happen.
Or maybe it will. But the effort it takes to make it is probably less than the effort it will take me to kill it.

But I know I won’t die with it.

My Roommate Selection Process Feels Like Tinder

I filled applications. Then I filled some more applications. I’ve browsed through majors I’ve never dreamed of doing and fantasized about others my mother would never dream of me doing. I’ve answered questions in writing that no normal socially functioning person should ask a person, much less a seventeen year old. My personal data and quirks have merrily sailed into data banks of colleges I have no obligation to be selling out to, and even paid them for it.

I heard back and got admit letters and rejection letters (tons. The environment thanks universities for having the sense not to print rejection letters on paper. Phew, fireplaces are not even violent.)

I’ve even attended meet-and-greets with other university admits.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, makes the idea of going to college a distinct reality like trying to find a roommate does.
Or more accurately, providing a self-profile and being matched with a roommate.

They say, provide information about yourself, interests, passions, other things that you may be looking for when searching for a roommate.

Isn’t that exactly how Tinder functions?

To make it more sinister if possible, neither me nor my Mystery Future Match get to swipe in either direction. Faceless shadows behind administrative desks will do that for us. Now that’s a swipe in the face.

I’ve done this, what, fifteen times already, and I’m still procrastinating describing myself. It’s hard stuff. Makes me want to run away and hide. I wonder if that’s a valid description? “Having to describe myself makes me want to run away and hide. Looking for a roommate who doesn’t mind me bringing along a broom closet to hide in.”
Maybe I should stick with “Not a morning person. Bear with black curtains. Drawn close.” Or go with the very considerate warning: “I might just blog about you.”

Yikes. Maybe no one should want to room with me.

At least I have some time to think about this.

And I’m thinking.

I’m thinking, is Tinder for asexuals a thing?

While I’m thinking, I’m drawing dragons. I’ve graduated beyond researching them.

image
This draft oughta amuse you.

When Alarm Bells Ring

I’ve pretty much been leaving myself Post-It’s all over the house. I swear, if I expanded base to the whole city, we’d practically be living  in a Paper Town.

Our walls are practically caking with paper now. Once when we were out of space, I grabbed a permanent marker and left myself a note on the glass to conduct a survey. Of course, when it was done, I ethanoled it off. Deodorant’s honestly more handy this way!
Hey, science student here.
Not surprisingly (and I mean that), I learnt this neat trick from a lifeskill teacher.

It has happened on more than one occasion in school that I’ve drawn or written a preparation reaction for a bomb without knowing. IUPAC’s doing a good job, replacing all well known names with less dangerous-sounding ones!
Some are more obvious, of course.
2,4,6-trinitromethylbenzene, anyone?
(It’s TNT, just for the record.)

There was this once when we were in the chemistry lab at school, doing salt analyses.
My lab partner and I have a penchant for, well… living up to the crazy-haired dudes-in-white image: being a bit excited.
Now, we don’t really screw around or try dangerous reactions as such, but we’ve broken a test tube or two and set off the smoke alarms a few times in the lab.

Not in the recent past though, half owing to the fact that we’ve pretty much had exams going on ALL of last month; I had a printed calander of the month of November, and guess what, it was my test schedule. Another reason why there have been no sirens was because the last time we entered, last week, the alarms are in our chemistry teacher’s head. We had one of the most confusion-filled, messed up practicals, and they were our mocks, prelude to the real deal… It’s a story for another day. It was tragic, but hilarious.

Basically, my mother is probably glad that an unmonitored kid at a college far away has not picked chemistry as her major.

So it was a salt analysis that we were doing that day, and my partner and I were trying to live up to our reputation without being kicked out of the lab. (hasn’t happened yet, but I have a hunch that the day it does, the smoke alarms will be more than the more the culprit the us…)

It was a salt that was confirmed with the 2,4-DNP test, it gave either a colour change or a precipitate, and I think it was orange… I need to do that again, don’t tell my chem teacher. All of chemistry in about 15 days, and chemistry isn’t all I study, no no no. To add to that, I’ve recently gotten addicted to James Veitch’s scam email-reply gigs, and at 3 minutes a vid, they’re the perfect length and are perfectly hilarious.
In short, no Christmas for me.
[I think I’d written this before Christmas. This is what happens when I pencil stuff down. It can take ages to put it up!]

So we were doing the DNP test, and the very existence of the DNP in our lab intrigued me. See, I’d done some research when I was bored studying chemistry.
DNPB, or the 2,4-dinitrophenyl group has been around for a while. The Germans use it as gunpowder—combustable and explosive. It fell out of use after that, though, until America rediscovered it in the 80s.
The key word here is combustion.
DNP would raise the temperatures, and an America grappling with obesity woes saw promise in that.

Soon, DNP pills had the market floored, and guess what, they did work, after all, it was only the application of a principle.
DNP caused combustion and raised metabolic rates, and so people began running through their bodily reserves much faster. DNP became the wonder pill the country had searched for for decades.
And then the overheating came to light.
Risks of death were turning out to be pretty high for DNP takers. Of course, it isn’t until you try it out for a few that results and effects actually show. So most people only say the fat-fighting wonders of the pill and made a frenzy for the pharmacist’s. The risk stats came later. One person was believed to have literally cooked to death: his body hit a whopping 43 degrees Celsius, he roasted.

Sure enough, the substance was banned. And here it was, in our chem lab.
Never mind the hot, concentrated hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acids (that we use on a regular basis and have a few lab coat holes because of), there was an explosive in our lab!

(About the HCl, don’t ask how many times people have accidentally swallowed it (in its dilute form, thankfully) while pipetting it out for titrations.
’Adventures In the Chemistry Lab’ ought to be a multi-seasonal television series in its own right. Maybe I’ll do it someday.
Season 1, Episode 1: We Are Bot Responsible For Your Death! (Though We Will Attend The Funeral). [True story. Grade 11, pracs session 1]
Episode 2: No, a Jacket Will Not Substitute For Your Lab Coat!
Episode 3: Brrring, Bbriiinng, Briiinngg… [smoke alarms]
Episode 4: Please Pass the Salt

Episode 10: …Briinng, bringg, brinnggg… No One Cares Anymore.
Season Finale: Can This Batch Pass the Prelims?

Season 2 Premier: A New Batch Arrives!
(Liner notes: Thank god, the last batch made it out… we need more salt!))

So I went around the lab educating people with droppers filled with DNP solution, of the explosive potential of DNP.
At the rate I’d hyped DNP up, I had almost expected something to happen when one drop of DNP fell into my test tube…
But it only just turned orange.
Not even a smoke alarm went off that day.

Speaking of which, our final Board practicals begin next week, complete with an external examiner; that’s when the smoke alarms will really ring!

An Ode To The Doubtful

No, there’s nothing wrong with you
It’s just something you do comes off as new
Don’t mistake their curious look for a stare
Live your life, don’t have a care
Half of your doubts are only your own
And what it makes you do depends on you alone
When you know you don’t have a crystal ball
Don’t be your own downfall
Don’t try to interpret, read their minds
You may never know, a search won’t bring up any finds
But worse, don’t draw a blind
Set the rope on your wrists, bind
You’re someone, so is the next
What you are, only you can do best
Your doubts may reflect in the rest
So know that we’re all the same
Yet we’re all different
Don’t try to blend in, don’t try to stick out
Just stand as naturally as you can.