17 November 2008

A Brief Open Letter to Friends


My apologies if I've been less than responsive to you these past few months. Much of my free time has been consumed with work for my 2 classes. I had the unwitting luck of signing up for a brace of classes that, while sharing similar material, both demand a much higher weekly work load than I had yet experienced in my grad school career!
This, along with my other obligations (the stray photography gig, the mrs.'s opera performances), has kept me pretty incredibly busy.
The good news is that school is over for the semester on 12/4, and doesn't pick back up until the end of January. I'm hoping to pack in a lot of Holly-Jolly partying and goofing off into those 2 months before I have to sit back down in front of the laptop and start cranking out more school work.
Until then, I beg your patience and understanding. It's not for lack of friendship that I do not communicate, it's because I'm consumed with thoughts of CASE tools, SRS documents, and the wild, wonderful world of software verification and validation - Independent or otherwise!

Your Pal,


xkcd and me: It was only a matter of ... time?

It finally happened. Something I wrote years ago and have re-posted in a web-log environment once or twice (and apparently went viral at Mount St. Mary's Chemistry Department before viral was cool - and I never attended the Mount) has been also created in visual form by the talented creator of xkcd:


My work, to which I refer:

Existential Chemistry

The torture was rapidly becoming intolerable. His strength was breaking down. Before too long, his will would be gone and his soul would be among the damned. He felt himself drifting off to sleep. He was in Chemistry – A life sentence, with no parole, or at least it felt like it.The oppressiveness bore down upon him, driving him into a stupor. The poor attempts at humour were like knives digging into the skull, complete with the grinding noise one would expect from metal on bone – or was that the instructor's voice?He no longer knew; colour faded into sound and sound became smell. He could taste what he felt, and it was a bitter taste. The bitter taste of apathy, mixed with the rotten smell of old things, kept long past their worth. Perception became subjective, and the subject was Chemistry.He sighed. The word "entropy" was uttered. His boggled senses locked onto the word, tasting, touching, and smelling it. They knew that this was their guiding principle, that the senses no longer obeyed any laws of order. Disorder, chaos, random sensations processed by random thought. Paradox. Sleeping while awake, loving while hating, wanting while repulsed, coveting while rejecting. The torture wore at his soul, and became a threat to existence. If this madness continued, existence in the normal plane would no longer be possible. He would go insane and mentally combust, his mind forever trapped in paradox. In Chemistry Class.Paradox spread. The senses realigned, though they did this from sheer boredom rather than any significant change. They quickly remembered why they had chosen to hallucinate in the first place, but by now, apathy had set in, and sensation became dulled. No longer caring, shut down was imminent. He was asleep – In Chemistry Class.He had a dream. There was a morning, and he wasn't in Chemistry Class. He slept in, and was joyous, for all was as it should be. But these were all dreams, for he awoke into the existence that did not follow linear time, that seemed to exist always, and yet never. His watch ran sideways – In Chemistry Class.Time kept on slipping into the future. An Angel showed him the way out, as another kept him sane throughout the ordeal. He would make it, it was time, the ordeal would soon be over, the ordeal of Chemistry Class.

It's not a picture-for-word duplication, but the sentiments, the intent, are the same.
It's very Leibniz-Newton. Only without the hurt feelings or powdered wigs.

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