Total hits on xxxxxxx.html Starting Date Goes Here the vacationalist: March 2007

Sunday, March 18, 2007

chemical fires and Canadian Pete.

When the internet was new to the general public, my father bought a computer for the family. He did it in the hopes that it would improve our education. At that time, there was a sort of reverence towards anything that was posted on the internet. It was a vast, bottomless encyclopedia that didn't give paper cuts, or take precious shelf space away from the movie collection on the book case. The day he connected it marked that last day our edition of the World Book was ever opened again. Since then the 29 or so books have sat collecting dust on the bottom shelf. We don't really pay much attention to them anymore; a couch is in front of that part of the book case. The space is no longer coveted for videos. We now regard bulky videos with disdain, calling them VHS, and carelessly throw them to the side in favor of a system that takes up less space, and includes hours of useless commentary over the directors cut of Joey Tribiani in "lost in space." Forgive me if I do not know his real name.

I didn't take too much interest in the internet. I was not a driven student and I didn't see the value in learning to type, so I left my sister Allie to explore the world wide web of endless communication. I had tried it once, just to see what it was like, but exploring involved needing a specific answer to a question, which I didn't have. Instead, I spent my computer time playing Load Runner. In this game, a small blocky figure ran slowly through a blue and black world, climbing up and down ladders, picking up gold before the red monsters ate you and stole your money. At the time the shadow of a capitalist undercurrent escaped me. I didn't pay much attention to the internet until Allie came across what she called, a "chat room". For some reason, she had stumbled onto a rollerblading website that was devoted to hardcore teenage rollerblades.

Over the next several months, Allie developed a sort of internet relationship with a young blader named Tristan, from Olympia Washington. With permission from our mother, Allie dropped her alias, Strawberry, and gave him her real name and address. The two of them began sending each other photos in the mail. His were of rollerblading, and his rollerblading buddies, and hers were pictures I took of her in the backyard by the giant trampoline we had; before it burned down one fourth of July when a stray spark hit it, turning our beloved toy into a ten foot ring of fire and molten rubber. Allie and Tristan kept in contact for the better part of a year, until chat rooms became such common place that their relationship faded into cyberspace. The box half full of the hard copies of her hundreds of emails printed from her romance across state lines now serves as a bed for the cat, who sometimes hides in the now abandoned room. I had never really put much thought into Allie's little affair. It was odd to see her so excited for a email from a skater in Washington when she wouldn't give the skaters in her own Leslie Middle School the time of day. But besides that it didn't affect me. I never really understood her connection to a complete stranger. The images I draw from meeting people online are those of older men looking for underage girls. You know, those guys on 20/20 who show up at the house of Kelly the sixteen year old cheerleader they just met on, only to be confronted by a camera crew asking them when they first realized they were a pedophile. It always made me nervous to think how frivolously we gave out our home address to a random stranger that met Strawberry on Although my mother dutifully reminds me that she personally inspected every piece of correspondence, though I question whether it was for safety rather than gossip.

I think of Allie’s internet friend now, because I have had my first internet friend. His name is Pete and he is from Canada. For a while I talked to him frequently, until it came to an abrupt end. I made a sarcastic comment that was not taken well. Sarcasm never goes as well in writing as it does in speech, and for a while I was very stressed that I had offended my friend. That is until I realized that he is a complete stranger to me, and I had more important things to worry about than what some random person thinks of me. I can just as easily waste my time with something else. The new version of Load Runner has teleport pads in addition to ladders, and a bucket of sticky slop you can drop on the ground to catch those dirty man-eating reds.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

what a way to go.

the most common cause of death among fruit flies is constipation. I have been thinking about this as of late. It is one of the simple facts about the world that I truly enjoy. I am not exactly sure why it has been a piece of knowledge that has stuck with me for so long, but it has, and who am I to question fate?

fruit flies have a very short life-span, no longer than about three days as i understand. They are heavy breeders who mature very quickly. within just a few hours of birth they reach adulthood, and are themselves capable of reproducing at a rate which allows them to be grandparents all in one afternoon. To you and I, it is only a brief moment. we blink, and a week goes by and not much changes from our daily routine. Yet in these moments, fruit flies are born, go to school, get jobs, get married, have children, retire, see the world, and pass on. in those three days they fight for life and thrive. each second is a new experience. and when their time in this world comes to an end they die because they are not capable of taking a shit. they never have done it before, and their bodies do not function that way. they have never needed to evolve that far because they have already procreated successfully without it being necessary. they have done so much, but never taken the time to just take a dump.

i know this is a strange thought, but i think there is something romantic in the plight of the fruit fly. not constipation that is. i in no way find that romantic. But it is the idea that so much can happen in what is just a moment in time. we can do anything we wish to, and every moment it precious.

yet i spend a lot of time sitting. i read books, and dont get out much. i will go from the work week to the weekend with nothing eventful. meh, what can you do?

Another random fact that i love, is that the Advertising agent who first thought of putting a commercial for a presidential candidate on television, was also the guy who came up with the slogan, "milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand." this is why i like NPR.