Truth Universally Acknowledged

December 16, 2010

Wednesday Words: Finals Thoughts etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 3:01 am

One more step. One more final. 50% of a class grade. Friday, then the utter bliss and glory of my first semester of college complete.  What a thought. What a euphoric thought. The countdown to winter break on my whiteboard has transitioned from days to hours (39 to be exact). Looking back over the last few months is an odd mixture of nostalgia and consternation. Nostalgia, because a) there were many fun things to remember and b) because it seems so bloody long ago that classes started. The high school Markus of August with his busy packing and hazy expectancy seems to be nowhere to be found, except in small bits and pieces of things I brought, such as the number of scissors and two to three prong adapters (Two each), Manilla envolopes (14 or so) bottles of Advil (4), and High school GPA , etc, for which I have had absolutely no use. The consternation comes in when I think back and wonder where all the time went. I feel as though I am emerging from the trance or enchantment of the last few months back again into the real world. “Oh,” I say to myself. “There is actually hope of a relief. I had forgotten.” Perhaps this trance was caused by a lack of sleep, the plethora of new experiences or maybe just one too many pieces of the suspicious dining hall meatloaf; regardless, it is nice to be rid of it for the moment.

The phrase “learning the ropes” is of nautical origin. New sailors would need figure out which rope hoisted which sail, how to man the rigging and tie good knots. Learning the ropes is often challenging. One can imagine a novice recruit ending the day with blistered hands and tired arms. But see, then he knew them. He knew which rope to pull in the blistering gale in order to save the ship; he knew how to tie a sturdy knot that everyone else could rely on. And that’s good, because, you see, then he could “show the ropes” to someone else. The similarities to learning any new situation are obvious, hence the popularity of the term. I suppose “learning the ropes” is never finished. Our lives are big ships after all, with many different ropes and sails that will allow us to go with the wind, fight against it or just lay in the doldrums. And I suppose the “winds” that come change through periods of our lives, as well as our ability to comprehend them.

But lest we begin to think, like the late romantic poet Dylan Thomas: “I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul” (1875), perhaps we ought to remember the words of the disciples, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” We have a remarkable capacity to wreak our ships on things. We are hideous captains. Tennyson makes a key distinction in his poem “Crossing the Bar.”

For tho’ from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar. (1889)

If the wind and the waves obey Him, what possible reason could I have for not learning to do likewise?

Now those are some ropes we’d do well to learn.

This has been Extended Metaphors with Markus. Tune in next week for “How an orange is like the European Union.” Ta-ta…



December 9, 2010

Wednesday Words: Happy Birthday to me

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 4:52 am

Birthday Statistics:

19: years old

15: number of sovereign republics the USSR split into in 1991

2: number of Claire’s cakes present

3: Renditions of “Happy Birthday” sung

15: number of near misses in the movie “The Next Three Days,” starring Russel Crowe, which we watched on my Birthday

15: number of near misses we had on the way to watching the movie, “The Next Three Days,” starring Russel Crowe, which we watched on my Birthday

4: number of times the bus driver repeated the phrase, “No more room” before driving off into the sunset.

27: number of distinct times my German partner and I set up times to meet

1: number of times we actually met

4.37: pounds of uneaten candy overflowing from my desk (from Birthday)

25: % of my desk visible

7: hours between the release of World of Warcraft: CATACLYSM and Mikey’s first keystroke on the game. (This is a marvelous show of self restraint)

92: number of friends who commented on my wall for my birthday

The past few days have been quite frigid, as the Northeast moves more fully into Winter. The leafless trees stand in stark relief against the clear sky as a slight nip hangs in the air. People walk to and fro bundled up in scarves and jackets and hats, avoiding the biting chill of the wind as it cuts through the air. Many evidences of the Season have become more obvious, from the annual Messiah sing-along, to Christmas lights in the dining hall, to Jonathan trying to light the Candles (aka Man-dles) in his Menorah (aka Man-orah) in our room (aka man-cave) with a flint and steel. Yet one gigantic hurdle stands between us students and the bliss of a Christmas time: Finals. We are all worried and panicked, and stressed. In many ways, life seems rather barren, as we seek to subsist in a harsh, frigid climate. (Yes, this is far to lyrical, I understand, but let me scratch my literary itch for a few minutes, please?) We feel the loneliness of the trees as they appear lifeless and finished.

But, aha, there is hope. Soon these trials will be over, and we will have grown, our character improved. But until then, what more beautiful way to cope with stress than through the joy in the company of others that Christmas demands. This is a great boon at the moment, and a wonderful promise to look forward to. I’ll be home for Christmas.

December 2, 2010

Wednesday Words: Driving

Filed under: Uncategorized — mboesl @ 3:07 am

An Oregonian’s Guide to East Coast Driving

A few important principles to keep in mind when driving on the East Coast, from very preliminary observations.

1. You are the most important person in the universe.

2. Everyone else is an obstacle to you attaining your goal, regardless of their mode of transportation: bus, bike, automobile or walker.

3. Unlike in other places around the United States, driving a Volvo station wagon is not a sign of social castigation.

4. Traffic lights were created and are maintained by the Bourgeois class to prevent the rise of the Proletariat.  Thus, there is no moral objection to disobeying them on occasion. (See “An Oregonian’s Guide to East Coast Politics,” number #5: “Everyone living between Boston and New York is actually a closet Marxist.”

5. There are many methods of ways to express anger at other drivers. These are important to understand and apply correctly.

a) The finger: Generally pretty unclassy and unrefined. Avoid use except near Hartford and other truck-stops.

b) The Horn: More useful than a seatbelt, this implement is absolutely essential. Use it to hurry pedestrians, complain to the bus taking up 3 lanes of traffic or simply to vent your anger at the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts Shop.

c) Voice barred by glass: Obviously this can take a myriad of forms, from a sideways glance and under the breath mumbling along these lines: “WhatahorribledriverIgofastercantimaginewhytheylet85yearoldImhungrywomenontheroadtheyaresuchhazards

Or outright shouting: Coupled with angry gestures, this is a sure winner if that (insert derogatory term for an illegitimate child here) cuts you off. The true beauty of this scheme is that you are protected by not one, but two tempered glass windshields. Get it out.

Conclusion: While the East Coast can seem scenic, with its rolling hills and multicolored woods, don’t be fooled. Behind the calm and quaint exterior lies a heart of pure maniacal rage. However, due to various laws and other measures, the only means of expressing this rage is through driving. So, fellow Oregonians, reflect on this as you drive the sunny and peaceful boulevards, tree lined roads and loving I-5 on ramps of blissful Oregon. If the other drivers’ smiles are not quite as bright as usual when they calmly and humbly lets you merge into traffic, just think back to what I’ve written, and thank your lucky stars you are over two thousand miles away from the pain and misery of East Coast Driving.

Bottom Line: Public transportation was designed for just that, the public. Use it.

This has been a public service announcement of the Markus Department of Transportation.

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