April 27, 2013 at 7:10 am (Short Stories)
Tags: Fiction, High School, Reunion, Short Story
Liz sat alone at the bar with a half-full cocktail glass in hand. Her peers at the plastic tables glanced at her and gossiped, but few would make eye contact. The boys bold enough to do so presumed potential in the neighboring stool, but she played coy much too coolly for even the most persistent alumnus.
Despite how casually the boys crept up to her, not one of them remembered her from high school. She wore her name on the tag stuck to her green blouse, but nobody could recall a Lizzy Smith in any of their classes, especially one as dazzling and unapproachable as the woman at the bar. Some suggested she might just be somebody’s escort, but they only did so after their attempts failed.
She remembered all of them. She had known some of them her entire childhood; time hadn’t changed them at all except for the wrinkles that hid beneath their foundation. In the few moments before she had moved to the bar, she overheard the same conversations she remembered in high school: the girls gossiped about old classmates as the boys pecked each other like peacocks. They used new words and dressed in expensive-looking suits and dresses; she found it cute.
After their efforts proved fruitless, the boys snubbed her as blatantly as the girls had done from the moment she entered the gymnasium. They repaid her apathy with silent scorn, escalating the race as she sat in place. After an hour of their fruitless stalemate, the boys no longer approached the bar except for drinks.
She no longer wondered if they remembered the girl in the corner; she now knew she never existed. In the four years she spent in high school, she had not made a single friend, but in the four hours she spent inside the high school gymnasium, she had made dozens of bitter admirers. With that, she tore off her name tag, flung it into the plastic trash bin, and proceeded out the double doors. The chatter, the eyes, and the nineties pop muffled into a slight murmur as she walked away from her high school and into her new car.
April 26, 2013 at 12:36 am (Poetry)
Tags: April PAD Challenge, Immigration, Poem, Poem-A-Day, Politics
Wrote this for day 15 of the Writer’s Digest April PAD Challenge: “Write an infested poem.”
That French bitch brought home fleas–
refugees from the tramps
she beckons from alleys.
The vermin make their homes in my stucco,
blot white-washed walls with foreign specks,
and nibble at my well-lubricated chest.
Did the alleys not offer them enough
to fill their dirty families? My leftovers
could feed an African family for a year,
but these bloodsuckers want much more
than what I toss into the black and brown bins.
They want to turn my country home
into a hostel for whatever roach
will come. Rats, frogs, everything but the wasps.
What happiness can they find here?
Air conditioning, broadband, satellite TVs
won’t feed them. Will they follow me to my office
and multiply until I’m the minority
forced to seek sanctuary in the alleys we built
for them? The bombs set off don’t help;
they breed like dirty, brown bunnies
and have hard shells that could survive hell.
I might as well burn down the house
since I can never tolerate this itch
that gnaws my nuts, my chest, my fists.
I finally had the bitch put to sleep;
I claimed she was a stray.
I still keep pictures up of her
at home, at church, on bumper stickers and shirts
to prove to the world
I loved Liberty.
April 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm (Journal)
Tags: Journal, Nostalgia
After my parents cleaned out their storage room, I rediscovered my high school yearbooks. I might have kept them if the signatures left inside hadn’t reminded me why I made no effort to keep in touch with my acquaintances of that era. Even when I saw my best friend from junior high in an art class I took at junior college, I did not talk to him; I preferred the company of the two thirty-year-old mothers beside me. That I never saw them afterward either felt appropriate; I was still lost in transition.
I don’t hate the people, but I hate the past. I have no fond memories of it outside of daydreams and music, and those only served to sedate me in my inadequacies. I have nothing to show for those years; I no longer even have count them as part of my life. Sure, all those regrets and mistakes shaped me into the person I am now, but what more will those memories do for me?
I’ll preserve the music, the video games, and the passion, but the people and the memories can go right into the graveyard. I have new people to befriend and new memories to make. This new life fulfills me so much that I no longer harbor fantasies of returning the past and redoing everything right; even if I could, I know the success I could gain would not compensate for what I’d lose. As much as I regret the past, all those years spent inside my head molded me into the person I always wanted to be. Thank you, Past. Thanks for making me a fighter. Now go away.
April 17, 2013 at 4:48 pm (Photography)
Tags: Ducks, Park, Photography, Pond
I couldn’t afford a DSLR, so I bought a used Canon PowerShot SX130IS. Though nowhere near as powerful as the DSLRs I salivated over, it does allow me to manually adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and ISO, and, with an easy hack, allow me to save shots as RAW images (which are like digital negatives). I could experiment with this inexpensive point-and-shoot camera and learn how to fiddle with these settings before I drop a grand on a better camera.
Here’s one of my best shots from my first photo shoot. I know I could take a much better shot once I actually understand how cameras work and gain more experience at editing photos in Aperture, but I think it looks quite good for an amateur’s attempt.
April 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm (Journal)
Tags: Barnes & Noble, Nook
I like to spend time between classes at the pond at the university; it’s more peaceful than the cafeteria and less stuffy than the library. Few students bother me there, and the few who do keep their distance. The ducks who beg for bread can be a nuisance, but they compensate with their beauty. My biggest grievance is with the sun.
I don’t mind it, but my iPad mini does: I can only see the screen at the brightest setting, but the glare hurts my eyes even then. I could suffice with paper, but all my books reside in apps, and I hate to write on actual paper anyway. That reason, a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card, and a trip to Disneyland I had hoped to make encouraged me to purchase a Nook Simple Touch Reader yesterday.
It took some time to set up. Syncing with my Barnes & Noble account gave me no trouble, but turning it into a full-fledged Android tablet took me an entire evening: First I had to purchase a Micro SD card–Thankfully, OfficeMax had one on sale for $7–, then I had to root it, then I had to backtrack to correct my careless mistakes, then I had to find a text editor to install, and then I had to tailor it to my satisfaction and remove all the unnecessary Google junk that would kill the battery and violate my privacy. After that, I wanted to add my own images to use for the screensaver. At last, I was ready to actually use it!
Reading on the iPad did not bother me except when outdoors, but the E Ink display makes text look so much better that I will use this as my main reading device. Typing on the text editor surprised me too; though nowhere near as good as typing on the iPad mini, it has proven responsive enough to keep up with my thumbs. I can correct the typos later. I can’t do much else with it. Technically, I can play Angry Birds on the device, but realistically, all I can do on it is read and write. That’s all I really want to do when I’m at the pond anyway. I want to read, write, and feel artistic. When I want to dick around on the Internet, I’ll return to civilization.
April 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm (Journal)
Tags: Apple, MacBook
I’ve wanted to upgrade to a new Mac since last summer. I first considered a MacBook Air, and then a MacBook Pro with Retina display, and then a Mac mini, and then even a used Mac Pro, but no matter how well I rationalized each possible purchase, I knew my MacBook was not ready to retire.
I bought this MacBook in November 2008 on an impulse. I had some birthday money left, a new credit card, a new Apple Store in the city, and Apple had released a new thirteen-inch aluminum MacBook; even though I originally intended to purchase a battery for my two-year-old MacBook Pro, I couldn’t resist. After all, why spend $160 on a new battery when I could spend $1,600 on a new machine altogether?
As impulsive a purchase as it was, this has been the best computer I’ve ever had. It’s almost a half-decade old, but it still hasn’t shown its age. It runs better than most PCs I encounter. It looks better too. The aluminum retains its shimmer. Except for a couple dead pixels, you would never guess how old this computer actually is. It only shows its age in CPU-intensive tasks such as rendering videos, but since I rarely make movies anyway, I won’t notice.
This week, I replaced the hard drive with a solid state drive, a 256GB Crucial m4 SSD, and upgraded the RAM to eight gigabytes. Now it boots in forty seconds and almost has the snappiness of my iPad mini. To truly utilize this machine’s rebirth, I’ve made some rules for it: no Flash, no Java, and no computer games. All of those slow down the machine and heat it up, and they all waste my time. Less junk leads to more productivity. I have enough toys as it is; I don’t want my MacBook to be one of them anymore.
When the CPU dies and I must replace it, it will be with a regular MacBook Pro. They may not be as sleek as the MacBook Airs or as pretty as the MacBook Pros with Retina display, but their upgradeability will ensure that I won’t have to worry about its longevity. I may have found joy in upgrading hardware before, but now I consider it a waste of money. I intend to keep this one until the very end. It’s a part of me.
February 14, 2013 at 10:22 pm (Poetry)
Tags: Catholicism, Christianity, Poem, Poetry, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion, Roman Catholic Church
The world speculates on
what awaits the Catholic Church
after the transition.
Smoke signals search the world
for new blood to fill the Vatican,
but every answer to every question
hides in history.
The next pope will come
two generations late
wielding a staff
or a rod if occasion permits.
For the poor and the widowed,
he will cast much money
in exchange for their two mites.
He will not suffer another pedophile to harm
the church’s reputation further–
he will speak out against
homosexuals and priestesses
liberals and abortionists
Girl Scouts and cartoonists.
He will wear an egg on his head.
He will sit on a throne.
The sun will set
the sun will rise
the clock will tick
the clock will tock
the dogs will bark
the cats will hiss
the bees will buzz
the wasps will sting
the wolves will wake
and hunt for sheep
October 22, 2012 at 6:51 am (Poetry)
Tags: Poetry, Yoga
Breath flows like ocean waves
rolling off the rocky core–
the burn expressed in breeze.
Pillars bend acutely
in search of balance
sway with the breeze.
Hands reach into heaven
branch into beams
sway with the breeze.
Foreigners see the forest–
each tree shivers its own storm–
some rooted in place,
some drifting in space,
others choke on the weeds.
The yogini’s breath
shapes each branch into balance
swaying with her breeze.
September 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm (Poetry)
The faculty all knew William by face–
soft pale visage dappled with dots,
jet mop atop fading to ash.
The sweetest boy branded with smiles,
he spent his afternoons near ducks
at the pond named after him,
outlining novels, chasing dreams
of fame with wizards and vampires
in romantic dystopias.
Alone always except for when
he dated the valedictorian–
four years they lasted, but she left.
A master of English, Math, History,
the freshman sought the sage–
the walking Wikipedia–
for wisdom on professors, parking, food.
Nobody ever saw him off-campus
except at the wake. Even mascots paid
their respects to the scholar of the bell
tower, still full of textbooks and degrees.
September 2, 2012 at 6:11 pm (Poetry)
The noisy neighborhood now sleeps.
No foot disturbs the silent streets.
The children vanish with their moms or dads
replaced by picket signs with smiling kids.
The gardeners groom the lawns each week,
the sweepers polish the city’s streets.
The primped up houses beckon newly-weds
to settle down and start new families.