Friday, December 31, 2010

My thoughts are all over the place.

My heart pounds tangibly between my ribs.

My vision jumps with every beat of the struggling mass of tissue within my chest.

I have a headache from unwittingly clenching my jaw.

I relax the muscles, but the damage is already done.

I furiously scratch words off of the page as I transpose letters, misspell common terms, and drag ink across the paper from the involuntary muscle spasms that have lately become so commonplace.

I want to write.

My writing is the only thing holding the rest of me together.

But I can't write.

And I have no idea why.

For the first time in years, I am experiencing anger.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Gangsta, gangsta at the top of the list.



I apologize for the crappy picture quality, but my phone camera is the only way for me to get pictures onto my computer at wor--uh...this place that I am at right now where it's actually totally cool for me to be on the internet and I'm not slacking off.

Okay, fine, I'm at work, but I'm working with Pro/ENGINEER and there's only so long that you can stare at one model without blinking before you start making mistakes.

Anyway, I received this mouse for Christmas from my parents. I had been needing a new wireless (it's corded in the picture, I know, I will explain) mouse because I broke the scroll wheel on my old one carrying it back and forth to class with me every day. It was a sad, sad day when it happened, as that mouse has served me well over the past few years. I'm still getting used to the feel of this one, but I've become pretty comfortable with it already, and I'm really liking the feature set. It's a Razer Orochi: Razer's first wireless gaming mouse, from what I understand. Now, I'm not a gamer anymore, but there's no reason why non-gamers should not be allowed premium mouse features. The mouse connects wirelessly through bluetooth, but it comes with a USB cable that plugs into the front of the mouse under the scroll wheel and allows the mouse to run off of the computer's power (rather than using the batteries) and operate at twice the DPI. Wireless mode hits up to 2000 DPI, which is more than enough for me, but the mouse is more powerful than that.

The Orochi has seven buttons: three as usual (left, right, and center click), and two on each side. The mouse is programmable, and the software allows you to customize each button. Right now I have forward and back buttons under my thumb and DPI adjustment buttons on the right. One thing that I really like about this mouse is that instead of saving your settings in the software used to customize the burrons, it saves a profile directly to the device so that if you take the mouse elsewhere, your customized settings remain. Also, the scroll wheel clicks to the right as well as straight down, allowing the center button to be clicked with the side of the finger instead of lifting it off of the left button. This will surely seem like a small conveinience to many, but I have been using it with Pro/ENGINEER today and it has made a world of difference, as center click is used frequently.

Anyway, it's a great mouse, and I recommend it to anyone looking for a versitile and relatively inexpensive high-quality mouse. My only complaint is that some of the edges in the plastic have kind of rough edges, but it's not a big deal. Your hand will find a comfortable way to sit.

Also, the scroll wheel glows like something out of Tron, which makes me shiver inside when I look at it.

TTFN

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She's gone.

I am never going to see her again.

My feelings for her do not matter to anyone anymore.

Our time has long been over.

Reason tells me to listen to these notions.

Reason tells me to be done.

Reason tells me to move on.

Reason is exceptionally weak when confronting the self.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pseudo-hiatus

With the primary holiday of the season come and gone, I am beginning to realize that I think I need a little bit of a break from this blog.

Not long; maybe just two weeks or so.

But between working during the winter break, putting time into this short story idea, friend and family obligations (good obligations, of course), and trying to switch Drinkable Review over to its new site before I head back to school, I really just don't have a lot of time for other writing.

I forgot to mention this earlier, but I am in the process of moving Drinkable Review over to its own dedicated URL. I have been considering doing this for some time, but some unexpected and recent developments have finally inspired me to action. The review is starting to gain a teensy bit of notoriety, and I think that for the sake of optimal traffic control and potential advertising benefit, it would be best to just switch it now before the archive gets any bigger than it already is.

But the primary reason for this hiatus is, as much as I hate to say it, that I think that I just need a little bit of a break from journaling.

I need to get away from my written thoughts for a little while and allow myself some time to refine some of my new ideas, opinions, and stories.  

I intend to continue posting from time to time throughout this hiatus, but the posts will likely be along the lines of my more initial content (mostly just pictures and brief quips about things that I see around town). While this may appeal to some of you out there who have been reading from the start, others who wish to be notified when I return to form may send me an email at the address listed in the sidebar.

As I said, I will not be gone long. This is, more than anything else, just a technical break while I work out some issues with some of my other online ventures, but I do think that the time away from my writing will offer me an opportunity to further improve the content that I have planned for the next few months.

Anyway, before this gets too long, I just want to say thanks in advance for your patience while I work through some of the other things that I have going on right now. Keep checking back from time to time, as this is in no way a complete abandonment of the blog despite my utilization of the term "hiatus," and I will definitely be back on track by the time I return to school.

I hope that everyone enjoys the rest of their respective holiday seasons, and I look forward to getting back to work here on Ultimate Gourmet come mid-January.

-Hayden

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry/happy holiday season of your choosing

I love the holidays.

Although I do wish that they could be more relaxed and that everybody wasn't so uptight about shopping.

Sometimes I feel that holiday shopping, particularly the last minute mob rushes, is a perfect example of people abandoning their developed social mentalities and giving in to their more primitive evolutionary impulses.

But I still love the holidays.

People are, in general, just nicer to each other.

I long for a reality in which a major holiday was not required for society as a whole to show concern for its respective individuals, but I will take what I can get.

Also, I love gingerbread.

Gingerbread is my favorite.

Happy holidays from Ultimate Gourmet.

TTFN

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I have officially begun preliminary efforts towards my short story.

I intend to keep posting here during work on the piece, but it will likely be sparse until mid-January.

But keep checking back. I may try to keep it up.

I'll keep you guys on the know about how the break is going with regards to my writing.

TTFN

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ice

I wake up in the driver’s seat of my still running vehicle.

Japanese Hip-Hop tumbles out of the speakers.

I suddenly panic and wonder how long I had been asleep.

The display on my ever-failing stereo has gone out, and I press my fingers against it, seating it temporarily back onto its contacts, revealing the time, track number, and bass monitor.

7:11 am.

Fifteen minutes.

I still have almost two hours before my exam.

I relax into the upholstered seat as much as possible.

How did I fall asleep for fifteen minutes?

I took the stupid pill an hour ago.

How did I fall asleep?

I don’t have time to worry about this right now.

The car is still running.

I turn it off.

The silence of the crisp, cold morning settles in around me.

There is no one else in this parking garage.

But then again, why would there be?

I’m sure that very few others were still awake to see the sunrise with me today.

I get out of the car.

The air is freezing on the third floor of the open, concrete structure.

I collect my things and start towards my destination and walk across the bridge out of the garage, proving my initial hypothesis incorrect.

The air is just freezing.

Period.

My gloveless hands immediately begin to ache in the wind chill.

The wool coat around my chest and waist keeps most of my body warm, but the few exposed areas create a stark contrast between comfort and brazen hostility.

I reach the library.

Halfway there.

Patches of water in the school’s reflecting pool are frozen solid, broken up only by the slightly warmer water being pushed through the pool’s fountain and out onto the icy surface.

I listen to the water splash and slap against the partially solidified surface.

I listen to the sound of the water being forced through the pump.

I listen to the eerie silence surrounding the noise.

I survey the campus around me, taking note of the fact that, other than my chest and eyes, this fountain is the only source of motion.

The surreal placidity of the environment around me only serves to emphasize the song of the fountain as its auditory propagations ricochet off of the surfaces around me, each material giving their respective echoes a unique and profoundly delicate texture.

I stare at the jets of water, pausing for a moment to soak in the sublime beauty of this private orchestra of machine and nature.

My face is numb.

The cold doesn’t hurt anymore, although every movement of my frigid knuckles is exquisitely painful.

I miss the bracing sting against my face, but the lack of feeling makes the second half of the trip easier.

I take a smooth breath, inhaling the clean air deeply into my lungs.

My chest shudders at the peak of this inverse sigh, and I hold the chilled fluid in my lungs for a moment as my legs carry me ever forward.

The amphetamines have released into my system.

I have never felt more awake.

I have never felt more alive.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I saw Tron: Legacy this afternoon.

It was absolutely amazing, and was certainly worth the wait.

I can't stop thinking about it.

This is the movie for which I have been waiting for 21 years.

I feel like it was made just for me.

And yet, the ending...

The very last moment of the film.

Literally five seconds before the credits rolled.

The ending upset me in a horrifyingly personal way that had almost nothing to do with the film.

She looked just like her.

I tend to think that I am a pretty reasonable person.

I'm pretty good at keeping my past in the past about most things.

But I have never before in my life had stronger, more agonizingly vivid flashbacks.

Oh my God, she looked just like her.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I apologize for my recent abscence, but there will not be a post today.

Between work, having a broken computer, and running around town trying to take care of Christmas and other miscellaneous business, I haven't had much time to post.

I do have some things written up, though, and I should be getting a new post up sometime tomorrow.

Thank you for your understanding and patience.

TTFN

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Imbibe

The alcohol feels good.

The pain does not lessen; that is a lie.

It intensifies.

But my thoughts are clear.

My anxieties strewn about, naked, in front of me, unimpeded by the day's occurrences.

Life is so simple here.

There is nothing but me and this glass; this pen and this paper.

There are no equations.

Inspirations flow freely, but there is no motivation to write.

The bartender replaces my empty Manhattan with a glass of cold water.

I thank him, but not nearly as loudly as I had intended.

He does not hear me.

Do I say it again?

No.

He might have heard me.

My vision darts around the room.

The medication is exiting my system, making for an interesting mix with the effects of the alcohol.

My head swims.

The walls breath with me as I inspect every visible inch of the empty room around me.

Thought comes so easily, but I do not care enough to develop the ideas into anything more than just that: ideas.

Concepts floating unquantified behind my eyes.

The lack of focus stings; a vivid reminder of the chaos that my day to day existence was merely two months ago.

There is still plenty of chaos.

But I don't feel useless anymore.

The bartender places an Old Fashioned on the bar in front of me.

"$2.50," he says patiently.

I have exact change, I'm sure of it. I reach into my coat pocket and curse my disorganization as I fumble around between folded sheets of paper in search of the two alloy disks. Concerned about my lack of haste, I pull the papers out of my pocket, hurling one of the coins across the bar and dropping the other onto the floor.

I am drunk.

For the first time in my life, I am drunk.

The bartender laughs with me: "Well, there's half of it."

I collect the rest of the money and pay the man, making sure that my thanks are audible this time.

I stare into the glass. The amber-hued liquid has leaked all of its initial momentum and settled to a lull at the bottom of the glass.

Why am I here?

Why am I doing this to myself?

Why am I enjoying this feeling so much?

I sit for a moment and watch as the ice absorbs the thermal energy of the fluid around it. I push against the far edge of the brim of the glass, entranced by the liquid as it crawls up the now angled surface.

I have never had bourbon before.

I unconsciously begin to calculate the heat transfer coefficient associated with the natural convection occurring before me.

The sudden chill of the air from the glass against my face dispels the uninvited numbers from my mind as the liquid flows gently over my tongue.

It is absolutely delicious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I am back home for the holidays.

I have not resolved and probably will not resolve the issues with my laptop, but I do have ready access to an internet-enabled computer now.

So I should be updating as usual again soon, bearing in mind the fact that I'll be working full days during a good portion of the break.

See you back here soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Well, I did not do well on my Heat Transfer final today.

It was easily the most difficult test that I have taken.

Also, I came home to a dead computer this evening.

Apparently my laptop is having "memory parity" issues.

I've run a few tests and tried a few things and have determined that it's not actually the memory that is faulty.

It's the motherboard.

So...I'm not really sure yet what I'm going to do about it.

But for the next few days or potentially weeks, I will not have access to a computer (I'm typing this on a friend's right now), and won't be posting anything.

I will be back as soon as possible, but as of right now I'm not sure when that will be.

I will catch up on emails and comments upon my return.

TTFN

Friday, December 10, 2010

I am working on a new piece, but it probably won't be ready until tomorrow night.

It's exam week, so the past few days have been pretty busy, but I have my last final tomorrow, so I should have time to finish it up after that and start posting more regularly again throughout the ensuing winter break.

Assuming, that is, that this test does not murder me.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Plainclothesman

I recently went to Wal-Mart with my father and sister to pick up some last-minute Thanksgiving supplies. I can not adequately express through words my dissatisfaction with Wal-Mart corporation, and I despise myself a little bit more each time that I set foot inside of the sliding doors and pass by the greeters who no longer offer the anticipated "welcome to Wal-Mart," but rather just smile emptily at the throngs of people passing through the entrance with an expression that screams "help me" within every crease of their tired faces. But sometimes periodic visits to the establishment are a necessary evil.

This time, however, I was glad that I went.

As we got into line to check out and started to unload our items onto the undoubtedly filthy rubber conveyor belt, a man pushed his cart up behind us, waiting for his turn to partake in this strange ritual that has become such a normalized aspect of human life over the years. He was an older man, probably in his late fifties, with a peculiar nose that was unnaturally level along the bottom but turned up ever so slightly on the end. He had a small, unwavering smile permanently affixed on his face, and the outside corners of his eyes were curved upward in the universal representation of subtle contentment.

I did not pay attention to the things in the man's cart at first, but once ours had been emptied, he began to unload his items at the very end of the belt. As human beings thrown together in such an unnatural scenario are wont to do, I stared into the man's cart as though I was unprecedentedly fascinated by the miscellaneous elements of his life on display in the basket in front of him. It was just food. Food and toiletries and a dozen roses. My eyes settled on the roses, seeing at first only an odd juxtaposition of intentions. However, as the flowers came into mental focus, I felt a rise spread through my body, as though my mood was lifting from the realization of the implications. A warmth spread through my chest, and I could not help but smile faintly at the man who stood staring into his cart with the same striking grin with which he had unknowingly introduced himself moments ago, unaware of my poorly regulated intrigue.

The man had run out of room at the end of the belt and was waiting patiently for fresh opportunity. He was dressed simply: a tastefully drab plaid button-up shirt tucked into straight-cut jeans secured at the waist by an unembellished brown leather belt. He leaned forward to rest his weight on the hand-grip of the shopping cart, propping one work-boot-clad foot against the bar running along the bottom of the cart in the process.

From the corner of my eye, I saw my father's hand reach for something on the chewing gum display beside the register. It hesitated there for a moment, before deciding on a small tin of candies. I turned back towards the register to attend to the more pertinent matters at hand, and mere seconds after doing so noticed another hand floating into vision from the other direction, undoubtedly inspired by my father's spontaneous decision. Momentarily unsettled by this odd symphony of hands dancing around in my peripheral, I had to fight back the urge to reach for the display myself, knowing that I did not actually want anything from the shelf and was simply being socially convinced that it was the right thing to do. As I stood at the register, unsure of where to place my eyeballs to avoid potential awkwardness, the man's hand hovered over the tin that my father had selected before finally picking up the box of mints next to it.

The man returned to his upright position behind the cart and inspected the tin. They were nothing special; surely he had had Altoids before. But he seemed almost a little confused as to why they were in his hand. For the first time that evening, his smile dropped ever so slightly and his eyes narrowed in a display of determination: determination to find a justification for purchasing the mints to which he had unwittingly committed himself. His gaze remained affixed on the embossed logo on the small metal box for several seconds more until finally he came to a conclusion and carefully dropped the container into the cart.

The man's smile quickly returned to his face, and we made eye-contact as he looked up. I acted natural, looking away promptly, but not so quickly as to infer that I had been staring. The man's smile was agonizing. For a moment I had began to feel a familiarity with the man. His confusion at picking up the mints was so genuine; unbridled in its sudden manifestation. As a being who constantly wonders if his actions are his own, the man's expression upon thinking about what he was doing resounded with me. But the familiarity stopped there. As soon as the mints hit the pile of items in his cart, he was finished. The wonder did not haunt him any further. He simply let go of the mints and allowed the smile to return to his face as they alighted next to the roses.

I realized in that moment that I knew why the man's smile intrigued me so intensely. There was an honesty within it with which I am almost entirely unfamiliar. This man could with such ease experience an emotion that I can not even begin to muster within myself despite my desperate and perpetually failing efforts.

This man had free access to something that I can barely fathom.

This man was happy, and I sincerely hope that those roses made her day.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ale

The music emanating from the live jazz band in the corner of the room blasts into my eardrums as I sit alone at the bar, staring but not staring at the golden brown fluid in my glass. It stares back at me, unmoved by my longing but hesitant gaze. It has the legs of a beautiful woman. Foam from the perimeter of the surface of the liquid creeps down the smooth surface, marking where the liquid had once been. A smattering of bubbles sits transfixed on the now still surface of the beverage: remnants of the most previous disturbance of the system's vertical axis. I reach for the glass, but stop briefly before tensing my fingers around the perfect material. I can feel the container's temperature radiating from it. Or, rather, I can feel my temperature radiating out. I remain still and think about what I am doing for a moment, aware of the odd curiosity from the eyes fixated on me. I wonder myself, before finally giving into the desire that my body has convinced me that I have towards the liquid and taking a strong sip from the glass.

It is delicious.

I doubt my doubts and lengthen the duration of my "sip." My lips slide slowly off of the glass, and I hold the beer in my mouth for a moment, allowing the warmth from my face to emanate into the cold air within the vessel. At length, I swallow and the familiar aroma overtakes my olfaction: the burned outer skin of a marshmallow neglected over a fireplace. The taste inspires in me an emotion close to contentment. I set the glass on the bar in front of me. The jazz band has gone on intermission and contemporary lounge jazz shouts out of the speakers overhead during their absence. A new patron - one of many since I sat down - enters through the front door. The chilled December air wafts in through the portal and passes over my body in waves, hindered partially by the wool trench hung from my shoulders. I survey my surroundings briefly, only to discover that I am easily the youngest person in the crowded room; not by a significant margin, but still clearly the youngest.

I am stricken by a sudden sense of non-belonging.

I appraise my beer: only a few drinks left. I finish it in two.

The jazz band begins to play its second set.

I place my empty glass on the back edge of the bar and move to exit the establishment.

The cold air wraps around my neck as I walk through the door, buttoning my coat and wondering what it was that I was really expecting from the evening.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

I hate my existence more and more every day that I spend without her.

Why do I still feel this way?

Why am I still compelled to wait for her?

I am never going to see her again.

The end.

That is all that there is.

Why do I still miss her?

Why can't I get over this?

Everything that I do just makes it worse.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing matters anymore.

Or did it ever?

I don't know.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Amphetamine

I hate you.

I hate everything about you.

I hate what you do to me.

I hate this dependence.

I hate the way that you leer back at me every morning.

The way that you so patiently stare back at me through your blue and white gelatin-based capsules.

The way that you taunt me; both of us knowing well in advance the inevitable outcome of the fight that I start with myself every time that I open your notoriously orange container.

I hate the fact that I can't do this without you.

The fact that I can't do this on my own.

The fact that I have so little control over my own mind that I can not get get a grip on this reality of mine long enough to function productively in society.

The fact that my consciousness is so unimpressed by the world around it that it must remove all sensory intake filters in an effort to quench its insatiable thirst for information.

I hate you.

I want nothing more than to dash your translucent plastic skull against the sharpest of stones and crush the shattered remnants under my feet, scattering your powdered entrails across this forsaken ground.

The notion sends waves of anticipatory pleasure down my spinal column.

But...I will not do that.

I can not do that.

I hate you.

But I was worthless without you.