Sunday, April 30, 2006

Graffiti on the Wall

Sometimes graffiti annoys you, as it's there simply to mar the beauty of whatever was there before. It doesn't improve on things, it simply removes things, preventing the future from seeing the same things we can see now in the past. Kilroy was here.

Sometimes, though, you wonder if they had the same problems in times long past. Did the ancient Chinese emperors have to hire armies of people, not to keep the invading Mongol hoardes out, but to keep the wall clean of graffiti? Or was it ok with them if, after having spent the stored money in the treasury and taken out a loan the size of a football field (a really, really, really big football field) the people around used it to leave messages for future generations?

Or maybe, just maybe, the stone came pre-graffitied so any additional graffiti was unable to further decrease the value.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Steep Wall

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Many Sunny Days Are Enough?

I've dropped off the edge of the world again, and this time I really mean it. Thankfully, China's here to break my fall. Yet, being on vacation means I don't have as much or accessable internet connectivity as I do back in my own apartment, so some things suffer. Of course, there's little chance my blog even noticed.

I have been in China traveling, though, and have been having a blast. Saw the Forbidden City and the Summer Palace and the Great Wall. Which is rather huge and hard to climb, when you're surrounded by people, all of whom are wanting to walk by the handrail so when they slip on the 45-degree slope they'll have something to catch their fall before they end up sliding all the way to the bottom and having to start over like a modern-day Sysiphus that only has to worry about getting himself to the top of the hill. We carry enough baggage around anymore that the boulder's just a drop in the bucket anyway.

Of course, when people get tired of climbing the wall, they end up sitting wherever they are. Which invariably means that although everyone wants to use the handrails to help climb..just in case, nobody can. People are littering the ground around the rails, leaving just a well-worn trail leading to the top. So I didn't feel so bad when I was unable to indirectly even use the railings to stop myself from having to run back to the bottom. For, you see, my lens cap was unable to grab the railings to stop itself. Too many people in the way.

I suppose it hated being stored in my pocket, and wanted to see the world too. I can't really blame it, I suppose. But it would have been nice if it had said something instead of simply running away the first chance it got. But it ran anyway. Jumped out of my hands and began to roll down the Great Wall. Past the masses of people relaxing while they recuperate enough to re-start their climb, past the people that just smiled and waved at it as it ran along on its merry way. Past the people that began laughing at me as I ran along after it.

I suppose it realized that it had little chance of running faster than I. It had gravity on its side. I had economics on mine--do you have any idea how hard (and expensive) it is to get a new lens cap when you're on the Great Wall in the middle of nowhere? Me either. I don't think it's even possible. There was no chance it was going to get away. I just had to have more endurance, as it was reaching a valley. But that's when it found a way out.

Most people try to take a souvineer with them when they leave from their vacation. Alas, I left one from mine. Somewhere on the Great Wall, halfway down a water drain, is sitting a lonely lens cap that surely is wishing it had stayed with my camera. For now it's alone and can do no more traveling; it has nothing else. While I may not have a lens cap, but at least I have a story. And about a mile's worth of uphill exercise.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Sugar Bowl

I love candy. I mean really, who doesn't? So much yummy sugary goodness, but that's just the tip of the iceberg in why candy's so good for you. Candy can make me happy when I'm feeling sad. That's why I keep a whole bunch of it onhand; that way, any time I even vaugely think that I'm starting to be a little bit blue, I grab a handful and hit another sugar high. Candy makes a rainy day pass by quickly, keeping me from getting bored. What's filling this chocolate? Hmm, let me try! Ooooh, strawberry. What's filling this chocolate? Hmm, let me try! Mmmmm, more chocolate. What's filling this chocolate? Hmm, let me try! Mmm..err...ugh! Cricket! What's filling this chocolate?

So I have a candy bowl at home that I try to keep filled. Sure, this means that I have to run back to the store every day or two, but hey, it's worth it to see the look of joy on..err.. my own face as it's covered in a layer of sticky goodness. Mmm, candy. I'm a really big fan of candy.

The main problem with candy, I suppose, is that it's like a drug. Not that I know from experience, but I've seen all those after-school specials and in-class brainwashing sessions. I know that the more drugs you take, the more you need to take to get the same 'sugar high'-ness. And I know that when you come down from your 'sugar high', you crash horribly. And that you frequently get a little bit for free, but after your bucket of razor-filled Halloween candy has been eaten and you realize it's still eleven an a half months before you can get some more, you've got to pony up the big bucks just to get your sugar fix.

Yes, I love candy. But sometimes I think they need to at least put warning labels on each candy bar. Or at least stop leaving it just sitting out at work...I'd be so much more productive in the afternoon if I didn't waste half of it in a candy coma.

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Three-Year Plague

I didn't break any this time. We went to an amusement park, and I didn't have a single ride break down on me, either while I was on it, or waiting to be on it, or even while I was just walking by. My super power is gone.

It might help that I didn't ride many rides myself, and only manage to break the rides when I'm wanting to ride them. I rode the wooden coaster a few times, and the one water ride that was working once (although the other water ride, the one ride I /really/ wanted to ride, was shut down before we even showed up.) If I'm not riding rides, they're much less likely to break.

Yup, I avoided rides like the plauge this time. I don't like roller coasters, and the ones that spin and twist and turn and throw you upside down, tossing you out of the car, only to catch you "safely" on the ride back down, well, those rides I avoid. Like the plague. Which is odd, as I haven't yet avoided the plague.

Nor do I really know how I'd go about avoiding the plague. Sure, if I saw it walking down the street, I'd probably go ahead and cross to the other side. Or if I saw it riding the bus, I'd call a friend for a lift, or try to catch the train. But since I've never seen the plague, I fear it's going to be somewhat hard to avoid.

So I guess that by avoiding something like the plauge, it more means that I do just fine avoiding it by doing nothing special, and manage to survive with no inconvienence to myself or change in my lifestyle.

So maybe I didn't avoid the roller coasters like the plague. I stood around and watched them for whole minutes while I waited for the ride to finish so we could move on to something else. It's the price I pay for going to an amusement park with someone that loves to ride those silly things.

I didn't avoid them like the plague. I watched them tolerantly, unable to change their course, but wishing that I could do something to make them better. No, I didn't avoid the roller coasters like the plague this weekend.

I more avoided them like an annoying three-year-old child.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Gnomic and Gnotobiotic