Mere Serendipity

Serendipity: (n) phenomenon of discovering something interesting or valuable by accident.

Some of the world's greatest discoveries where serendipidous such as Alexander Fleming's discovery of penicillin. Writing is much the same way; it allows you discover unexpected things about yourself and your environment. Here, we will post thoughts, poems, stories, pictures, artwork, or whatever we feel inspired to do that will reflect serendipity. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Continuum

Continuum

Air is simplicity and complexity
Wrapped in our deformity.
Tying us to our own mortality.

Time is a shifting dichotomy.
Intertwined in our scarcity.
Reminding us of our own futility.

Space is a travesty.
Mocking us in our vicinity.
Binding us to infinity.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

An Airy Pondering

     As I sit here listening to the soft hushed russling of the newly budded trees and feel the wind lightly brush my hair with the fresh smell of lilacs from the bush by my bedroom window, I take a deep breath and just smile. Although I am in the midst of a whirlwind of AP tests, papers, finals, may term prep and graduation, I feel completely calm and content. It is great irony to me that I find such peace in the storm that should be clouding my life in this moment. I can't help but be overjoyed with everything that is happening. There are so many places I can go, so much time to find out who I will become and how I want to spend the rest of my life. It doesn't hurt that I am going to France and Italy next week for 2 and half weeks and then I have the whole summer after I graduate.
     Outside it has grown cold, and I pull a nearby blanket around me to calm my shivering body. How fast the day has gone. I'm sad the sun had to set on a beautiful day yet I am elated for what is to come. In times of reflection, I can simply exist in the present moment, taking in all that is around me that reveals the unique pallet of the environment and all that lives around me.
     All these ponders of wonders all around is stealing time from the fast pace life I lead when I am not writing and thinking. Right now I should be writing a paper and studying for finals but, as is my nature, I am a perfectionist-procrastinator (not a good combination to say the least). I can say with no regret or hesitation that time thinking and writing is a time well spent, especially for one's piece of mind. Don't worry about life, it will happen.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Utterly pathetic

When the phone rings I usually reluctantly pick up hoping it is friend not foe. I wish that it is a familiar voice, but when I do not recognize the voice I grow weary. It is a common experience shared by most old enough to hold a conversation. What I dread….what I fear is the telemarketer. The nasty, aggressive voice that seems to attack from the other end of the phone and it echoes in the far reaches of my mind. Sometimes I even wonder if they are human or not. If I had to choose a life as a perpetual telemarketer or death, it would certainly be a difficult decision. To be or not to be…..a telemarketer.
Today was an ordinary day. The phone rang and I almost had a heart palpitation. I could sense it in the ring…I knew what I was up against. “Hello my name is [ ] and I work for the [ ] organization and I am administering a survey…… (3 minutes later)….. Are you interested?” “Yes.” That is what I said. Can you believe it? I could have said no. I could have fought him off, but there was a desire inside me that wouldn’t relinquish the phone. Pity is what it was. I could tell this guy had probably been blown off countless times, and I could not stand having to be the next person to reject him. I know…I know…stupid. I wasted twenty-five minutes of my life rating Macaroni Grill’s menu variety selection, and describing aspects of me that I would also like to find at Red Lobster. I got disconnected from him three times, he called me back on his cell phone, and I felt by this point we were becoming close friends. That is how crazily insane I am. He asked for many things that I suppose pertain to your restaurant “personality”…he even knows I have never been married. He thanked me multiple times for my patience. He had to repeat the same questions for each restaurant. I was about ready to smash my head into the wall after he asked if I perceived Don Pablo’s as passionate and spunky, but then I laughed at myself. He laughed too. He knew how ridiculous the entire conversation was, and must have thought I was also insane for enduring the incessant questions. And then….in the midst of how pathetic I am, I realized the telemarketer and I had a profound connection. His laugh gave him away suddenly before he returned to his monotonous voice of stolidity. So, I say to you never pass up a moment to utter insanity…you never know what enlightenment you will achieve.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Where is the normalcy?

Where is normalcy?

Jessica made me lip frosting
And Britney gave me her perfume
Paris brought me the mini-mini skirt
And JLo introduced me to Jenny street cool

Michael brought me a court circus Thriller
And Destiny birthed a Beyonce
Bono’s fighting HIV
And Oprah’s got some serious rage.

Cheney missed the quail,
And Stewart missed his mark.
Duff turned Ice Breaker,
And Emenim walked 8 miles out.


Hilary’s reforming the plantation,
And Katrina lit a match.
UAE means Osama,
And switch grass is a great catch.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Critic of 2001: A Space Odyssey

     Never in my life have I seen a movie that I both hated and found profoundly fascinating than 2001. Stanley Kubrick takes his vision of the future, humanity and evolution to the periphery of film, almost as if it were an anti-movie to break all narrative rules and expectations. I understand that during its release in 1968, 2001 must have seemed psychedelic and “deep” without knowing clearly what the depth really meant.
     In the first section entitled “Dawn of Man”, depicts the story of ape-men living and grunting together four million years ago with the primordial threats of rivalry. The ape-men were clearly in ape suits grunting and jumping about, which detracted slightly from the movie since I couldn’t help but giggle and wonder what it would be like to be one of the extras told to be ancient human/ape creatures. Finally, one day, a huge, shiny monolith appears outside the ape-men’s cave, which correlates to the discovery of tools and weapons. In a beautiful scene, the awe of this discovery by an ape-man using a discarded bone to smash skulls is triumphantly displayed with the famous theme song (first nondiegetic sound) in coordination with the flying bones.
     The story changes gears with the famous match on action of one of the flying bones becoming a space ship. In an excruciatingly long and painful scene, the space ship moves across the screen to waltz music. In it’s hay day, this scene must have seemed like the best special effects (the movie did win an Academy Award for visual effects in 1968). However, watching it post-2001 is simply agonizing and I found it difficult not to be lulled to sleep by the music and slow movements. The main character of this segment, Heywood Floyd arrives at the moon base to witness the discovery of another monolith identical to the one seen in the ape segment. It is interesting to witness the similar reactions between the apes and the advanced humans to the monolith since it tied the polar-opposite episodes together.
     As the audience is just starting to get familiar with the story on the moon base, Kubrick presents an entirely different story that is entitled “Jupiter Mission- 18 months later”. This story is about a crew onboard the ship Discovery having an interview with the BBC about their mission and their self-aware computer HAL. In this segment, Frank Poole thinks HAL is malfunctioning and attempts to replace it, yet HAL kills Frank before the deed is done. In a chilling scene painted in red lights that reminds the audience of blood and death, Dave Bowman attempts to shut HAL down while HAL tries to convince Dave to spare it in a creepy monologue. As HAL is “dying”, it sings the song “Daisy, daisy” and while the song progresses, HAL’s voice becomes slower and deeper until it shuts down and the extreme-close up of the red light that is HAL’s eye goes blank.
     The movie goes on to it’s final episode entitled “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite” in which Dave takes a pod into a monolith near Jupiter and is blasted into a display of psychedelics that would throw any epileptic patient into a grand mal seizure. As if the 15-minute 60’s light show wasn’t enough, the story becomes even more bizarre. The movie becomes completely silent when Dave’s pod lands in an ornate hotel suite and he becomes older through a series of stages by use of temporal relations. When he is too weak to get out of bed, he reaches out his hand to a smaller monolith in front of him and, through another match on action shot; he becomes a baby or “Star Child” that is overlooking the Earth.
     As the screen went black, I stared a long time looking for clarity to come to me at the conclusion of this unorthodox movie. For a while, all I could muster was a big fat “what?” but finally, I started piecing things together. Across the four segments, one symbol remained consistent, that was the monolith. The evolutionary milestones of humanity directly correlated to this monolith: the discovery of tools/weapons, space travel, artificial intelligence and finally the ascension to a higher existence. The unsettling segment with HAL depicted as a tragic character displaying more human emotions than the actual humans themselves raised numerous questions of humanity versus machine. I was amused by Kubrick’s vision of the year 2001 and what has come to pass (such as flat screen televisions) and what hasn’t (killer computers with feelings). One thing is for sure, 2001 made you ponder in general. Deep, philosophical questions mixed with questions of “why did I just put myself through this movie?” Despite that, I am especially intrigued by the popularity of the movie and the numerous allusions to it throughout popular culture. It is my sneaky suspicion that beneath the film lays the subliminal message to do drugs; this was, after all, a 60’s movie.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

CHAPTER 1: A Change in the Wind

     Eleanor jumped from her bed abruptly, hitting her head on the top of her bunk at the sound of her alarm clock radio. The radio personality, in a much too energetic tone for the morning, spoke enthusiastically about the warm and sunny forecast. Massaging her head, she got up out of bed and trudged to the computer desk to turn off the radio. She looked around her room for her roommate Amy but she was nowhere in sight. She must have already gone to breakfast, Eleanor decided. What time was it anyways? 8:30 am. That was plenty of time before her first class.
     Eleanor walked to the communal bathroom shared by all the girls on her dorm floor and splashed cool water across her face to help her wake up. A few girls she vaguely recognized were also in the bathroom, brushing their teeth and discussing plans for that night. They smiled at her and offered an automatic “hi” which she politely returned. After taking a soothing hot shower and getting dressed, she felt much more awake. She smiled and heaved a content sigh before taking off to breakfast.
     Outside was nothing like the man on the radio predicted; in fact, it was cloudy and cool. Who trusts the weatherman anyways? Thought Eleanor to herself. Even so, her walk was pleasant, as she past trees that seem to project a scholarly stature. She arrived at a small squat gray building that oddly reminded her of her eccentric high school math teacher who had scattered patches of hair sticking up in various directions.
     She walked up the stairs to the caf line, taking two steps at a time. She spotted her roommate Amy with another friend Mary, whom Amy had befriended in her theater class. The resemblance between them was striking and they have been mistake for sisters many times. Both had long blonde hair that was always up in either loose buns or simple ponytails. They shared soft green eyes that squinted ever so slightly when they laughed or smiled.
     Eleanor maneuvered her way over to the cereal line to join up with the Irish twins.
“Eleanor! I see you finally got up.” Amy said.
“Yeah, the radio scared me this morning so badly that I jumped straight into your bunk. I have the bump to prove it.”
“Ouch! You need to get a normal alarm clock like the rest of the world. Hey, we have a spot over here.”
     Together, the trio made there way to the middle of the dinning area where John and Nick where sitting. These two couldn’t have been more different from one another. Nick was a scrawny, curly haired, Chemistry major who prided himself on useless random facts that on some days were entertaining and others just plain annoying. John, on the other hand, was tall, handsome, and blonde with the built of a wrestler. His brown eyes were deceivingly deep yet his wide smile was genuine enough. Both were roommates and John was Eleanor’s boyfriend ever since second semester of last year. Eleanor smiled to herself at this memory but soon snapped back to reality when she realized that John had asked her a question.
“Sorry, what did you say?”
“Haha, you must not be awake yet. What is your first class?”
“Oh, I have British Literature with my uncle.”
“With your uncle?” inquired Mary, “Isn’t that against some rule or something to have a class taught by your uncle?”
Everyone at the table laughed.
“No, I don’t think so.”
“Well, what time does your class start? Maybe you can shoot some pool beforehand with me and Nick,” asked John.
“I don’t think I can since the class is at 11:30. Speaking of, what time is it right now?”
“It’s 11:10, you better run,” piped Nick.
     Eleanor proceeded to shovel the rest of her Honey Nut Cheerios done her throat and with a hasty goodbye, she raced to her uncle’s class. Luckily, it was only a short distance away so she arrived with plenty of time to spare.
     As she walked in, she noticed that only one student was in the class. She wondered offhand why anyone would come fifteen minutes early to the first day of class. Nevertheless, he seemed an interesting character; the way he sat exuberated intelligence and the intensity in which his furrowed brow studied what looked like a blank piece of paper showed that he was introverted and reserved. He looked athletic, a runner probably yet there was something else that Eleanor couldn’t describe that intrigued her.
     Embarrassed at then length of time she had been looking at him, she quickly turned her attention to her uncle who had a jolly beard and twinkling eyes that reminded her of the time he had pretended to be Santa Claus one Christmas. She went up to him and gave him a hug.
“Hi uncle.”
“Hello, my dear,” he responded over her shoulder.
     She turned and walked to sit right next to the mysterious student who seemed to have taken notice of her. After arranging her books, she mustered up the courage to introduce herself.
“I’m Eleanor,” she said abruptly and extended her hand.
Taken aback, the boy took a moment before returning her handshake.
“I’m Will. Nice to meet you.”
Seeing that Will felt really uncomfortable with this attention turned on him, she instead started inquiring to her uncle about his arrival from his recent trip to London.
     She always enjoyed talking to her uncle about literature even as a little girl. She would never forget her eleventh birthday when she received the compete works of William Shakespeare from her uncle. She prized this above all the other scented lotions and pre-teen make-up sets. For weeks, she was completely enthralled into the passion, betrayal, disguise and wit of Shakespeare’s plays, especially his sonnets, Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing. She loved all of it yet thought that Hamlet was frustrating since all he did was think about acting and this postponement of activity caused a chain reaction of tragedy.
     She and her uncle would spend hours discussing books he had given her and his influence was the main reason she wanted to become a writer. Now she was in his Brit Lit class. She was excited for the opportunity to discuss the great classics with the other students as well as with her uncle at the same time. However, she knew that this would be very different from their informal discussions, sipping hot cocoa, sitting by the fire in the family living room on at Christmas time.
     During her conversation with her uncle before class, she would occasionally glance over at the new student, Will, to see if she could involve him in their discussion but his eager fixedness with the books in front of him told her that he just wanted to listen.
     More and more students began to file in and soon her uncle began his lecture by quoting from Shakespeare, Milton, Raleigh, and Chaucer. He laid out the course work but all too soon the class was over. As the class drew to a close, her uncle remarked, “After today, this class will become a forum, for everyone. Everyone is expected to talk and when I say talk, I mean ask questions. It is the questions, which show the true measure of man.” He glanced at his watch and then dismissed the class.
     The next few weeks flew by due to Eleanor’s full schedule of schoolwork, classes, friends, soccer and John. The highlight of the week was her uncle’s class. She adored the material and the discussions. She became increasingly curious about Will who seemed to isolate himself yet at the same time engage with profound thoughts about the texts.
     After a few weeks of class, Will did something very unexpected; he asked Eleanor if she would like to accompany him on one of his daily walks. What was even more unexpected was her affirmative response. What was she thinking? She knew she had a boyfriend and that this walk could be misconstrued as something else. But something about Will captivated her and his mysterious demeanor made her want o know who he really was behind his intense eyes. He would hold her gaze and she would drown in the dark pools of his eyes.
     It seemed wrong to her that she would allow herself fleeting moments of dalliance around Will when she had a boyfriend already but John was hardly her intellectual match. She told herself that she simply wanted to get to know Will better and he seemed to have few people he could talk to. With that decided, she went to her dorm room to get ready to meet Will at one of the lecture halls at 8:30pm for their evening stroll.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Flying a Boogie Board

     As I gazed across the great blue expanse known as the Pacific Ocean, I said to myself this year is the year: this is the year I learn to boogie board. My thoughts blended with the soothing syncopation of the waves. The ocean may have seemed docile enough from the safety of the warm powdery sand. Yet, I knew it would be a different story once I rode that board to the middle of where the waves began.
      I had it all planned out: in the morning, I would go to the beach with a rented boogie board under my arm and a stylish wetsuit hugging my skin. I would run into the water unrestrained by the waves that lashed mercilessly against me. Once I got over the initial shock of the icy water, I would paddle with all my strength and more to get to where the surf was breaking. As it is in all plans, everything went well until factors beyond my control took over.
     One of the aspects I had overlooked, was the fact that off the coastline, miles and miles away, a hurricane was disrupting the seas, creating waves that surpassed my height by three times over. No longer was this about learning to boogie board, it was about surviving the wrath of the waves angered by a distant hurricane.
     As I battled to get a decent position, salt water blinded my eyes and stung my throat. At this point I hesitated, what was I thinking… is learning to boogie board worth dying for? But I had waited all summer to do this. This was my opportunity to prove to my cousins that I could do something they were terrified to do themselves.
      I turned my board around to get into position, and realized I must have looked like a tasty sea turtle to the sharks below. As I paddled, the sky was getting darker with thunderheads rumbling threateningly in the distance. I could hear my mother calling from the beach for me to come inside, since the weather was becoming increasingly treacherous. The only way to go home was to ride that wave of glory. I waited impatiently as smaller waves passed me. As if coming from some great abyss, a gigantic wave rose from the surface of the water and rolled ominously towards me, gathering speed. Well, I either make this wave or become crushed in a swirling vortex of doom, I thought at that moment.
     All of a sudden, the wave was upon me, so I closed my eyes and my mouth and prayed I would live. I was thrust with velocities that I’m sure could have been comparable to cyclone force winds. The wave was so powerful, that I was no longer skimming the water but flying through the air. I felt exhilarated and laughed as tears lashed my face from the speed at which I was traveling.
      However, this feeling was short lived. As quickly as the wave had sent me soaring through the air, I was falling from the sky. I was panicked, yet didn’t have time to think up a brilliant plan B. I soon crashed into the beach and skidded across the rough sand. Finally, I came to a halt as my board continued its voyage into a sand bank. For a while, I just laid there, spread eagle, not looking forward to tallying up what limbs were still intact. Sand had poured in from all directions and occupied every orifice of my body. Slowly, I sat up and looked back at the ocean. It had mockingly returned to its soothing rhythm, yet I knew the nature of the beast. Not only had I survived, but I had succeeded. Not only was I physically tested, but mentally as well. I had overcome. I picked up my boogie board and started limping away, as a smile spread across my face. I bet I can go faster tomorrow, I thought. With that, I took my board and walked back to the comfort of family waiting for me at the beach house.