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July 2007 Archives

July 2, 2007

Where your food comes from

Modern chewing gum has its roots in Central and South America. The Aztec had harnessed the power of rubber and its use was found everywhere- from bouncing balls used in sports to footwear used to play sports with bouncing balls. Even in recreational chewing. Thanks to a chance meeting with an Inca explorer sometime in the early 15th century the Aztecs learned how to cultivate the coca plant. The high priests quickly took a liking to the plant for its medicinal purposes and its ability for them to pray longer and harder to the gods. Eventually the plant was mixed with rubber and yielded a soft, chewy and stimulating food.

The sporting community quickly took up the practice of chewing the substance and this resulted in bloodier matches (cf. sacrificial offering of the Mesoamerican ball game's losers) and week-long religious ceremonies filled with orgies and dancing. The coca gum spread throughout the Americas and was said to garner peace between the various civilizations. During European colonization the gum was outlawed and the coca was replaced by the sugar cane introduced in the Americas by Columbus. This change relegated chewing gum to an activity for children starving due to the conquests of the Amerindians. Those that did have the resources for acquiring food spent them on pure coca.

July 9, 2007

Wannabe artist or wannabe scientist

I've been lost since I've come back from Montauban. And when telling my aunt, a recruiter at a local technical trade school, that I don't exactly know what I want my 'end point' in my career to look like, I mean it and don't see anything wrong with it. When the career counselor at my semi-recently-graduated-from university tells me I'm having a quarter-life crisis I don't believe it and I'm mildly insulted to have such a buzzword thrown my way.

The truth is I'm now looking into going to GVSU for getting a master's in Computer & Information Science. I don't know if it's the right thing to do, but it fits my interest, time frame and possibly budget. I've known that I've been interested in it for years and have twice taken intro to programming courses, and was twice forced to drop them due to work scheduling conflicts. I could enroll in the program for this fall, so soon!, and adjunct teach the French 101 course at the same time. I'm also looking into substitute teaching in the area for the fall (anyone have any leads on that?) or something else.

The other truth is I don't necessarily want to stay here but I have enjoyed studying and working at Grand Valley. I prefer academia to corporate life and my French degree is a solid base, but I can quickly and efficiently improve my chances of going elsewhere (anywhere) to study and work after this. I hope.

I feel like I've been a wannabe artist for a long time. I've wanted to be a musician, an actor, a writer, etc. but now I'm turning towards my wannabe scientist dreams I've held for even longer really. Ghostbusters first got me interested in science (albeit paranormal science) when I was younger and since then I've wanted to be a Ghostbuster, an astronaut, a time traveler, a roboticist, a genome sequencer, an anthropologist, a species cataloguer, etc. A lot of more recent desires have involved software programming and web design but I've felt very lacking in both the scientist and artist departments to work on those roles. I hopped on the computer train a bit late and when I first started I was too distracted by AOL keywords that I didn't take the time to learn about them and do what most computer nerds do. And I regret that. And I'm trying to change that.

July 25, 2007

Accio Spoilers!


(I don't actually love Kelly Ripa)

· I had a woman get very angry at me on the phone at work the other day. She hit by person B who was hit by person A. She didn't hit anyone. She was filing on her insurance policy. After I got all her information and claim number I gave her the deductible and she was furious, insisting that she wasn't at fault and shouldn't have to pay. I explained that only if she wanted the company to pay for her damages would she have to pay and that we're required to read an insured's deductible after they've filed a claim.

She didn't care. She promised to call her agent and tell on me. I was very patient with her but didn't want to just let her win and actually kind of argued with her, explaining the process, what she did and why she was stupid.

"You've made me very angry, Mr. Kevin. I am not happy at all."

"Well, sorry that this has upset you, but thank you for calling ___."
"Thank you too. Thank you for nothing."

Also, she was living in Texas and from India. When I eventually got her an adjuster and she found out that he was stationed in Oklahoma and that I was in Michigan she was even more upset, thinking that she should be talking to someone near her or at least in Texas. At this point I was happy that we can live in a country where an Indian-American woman can call a call center and be upset that the white guy on the other line is far away.

· By the way, I'm not giving a shit about the presidential campaigns, debates, etc. The election is in 15 months. People running for president who are currently in office should be doing the job they've been elected for until maybe 9 months before the election.

· I finished Harry Potter yesterday and can return to the internet. I like how often the word "effing" was used. I didn't like how she killed off Hermione.

July 30, 2007

Den jäkla snömannen

I'm incredibly ashamed of myself. Yesterday was another Sunday at work that saw me with few calls, no ambition to read and a desire to go home early. I was going stir crazy and unsatisfied with my fruit-only diet weekend. It was time for lunch and I went downstairs to the staff fridge to pick up my Blue Goodness drink. Being the weekend there are often food items in the fridge left over from the week with stickers tagged on Fridays by the custodians. If the food remains in the fridge until next Friday, they throw it out. I spied an old-looking blue Tupperware container of lasagna. It looked like it had been there a few days and I considered taking it.

So I took the container, looked around and went up the elevator. (I'd put my sandal in the door so I could quickly get back on after getting my juice.) I got off the top floor and noticed people outside so I quickly went into an empty conference room and ate a couple pieces of the lasagna using the knife I intended to eat my orange with. After a couple bites I decided I'd put the food back or eat the rest later and that I should go outside and join my fellow former classmates. I closed the lid on the container and put it on the floor under a chair. As I walked toward the outside door I heard someone say my name. I turned around and saw a co-worker (one I trained with) coming toward me. We'll call her Andrea.

"I just saw someone take my lunch. Was it you?"
"Look, I'm really sorry. Yeah, it was me. I have no excuse and this is really weird, but I thought someone wasn't going to eat it. I didn't have much food for my lunch, but I'm so sorry."
"Umm, why would you do that? That's the second time someone stole my lunch now."
'What other degenerate would steal lunches? I don't know if I'm happy or disturbed that I'm not alone.'
"I know, it doesn't make sense. I don't have any money on me, but I'll give you money for the food. I'm really sorry."
"No, it's just... That's my food. We just bought a house and don't have much money and that was my only food for the day."
"Look, it's not gone and this is so weird and I can't apologize enough."
"There's still some left? Can you give it to me?"
I led her into the conference room and pulled the container out. She got a weird expression on her face.
"I took a bite and then felt guilty and was going to return it after I finished eating my lunch."
"Alright. Well..." and she went back downstairs.

I went outside and didn't know what to say to the others, who didn't know, and ate in near-silence. I cringed at the thought of it going around that I'm "the lunch stealer" and how people wouldn't be able to trust me. A group left and another co-worker came in and I told him I had to confess to him before it got around. He laughed and seemed to think it was funny/okay, but really I think he never wants to talk to me again either.

And I feel like Chris Farley/Norm McDonald at the end of this Swedish Billy Madison clip.



About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to spacebase in July 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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