Saturday, November 9, 2013

He glanced at her and did not answer. Then he said, "I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire held in a man's hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire in his mind—and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression.

"Do they ever think?" she asked involuntarily, and stopped; the question was her one personal torture and she did not want to discuss it.

The old man looked as if he had noticed the sudden stop and understood it; but he did not start discussing it; he said, instead, "I don't like the thing that's happening to people, Miss Taggart."

"What?"

"I don't know. But I've watched them here for twenty years and I've seen the change. They used to rush through here, and it was wonderful to watch, it was the hurry of men who knew where they were going and were eager to get there. Now they're hurrying because they are afraid. It's not a purpose that drives them, it's fear. They're not going anywhere, they're escaping. And I don't think that they know what it is that they want to escape. They don't look at one another. They jerk when brushed against. They smile too much, but it's an ugly kind of smiling: it's not joy, it's pleading. I don't know what it is that's happening to the world." He shrugged. "Oh, well, who is John Galt?"

"He's just a meaningless phrase!"

She was startled by the sharpness of her own voice, and she added in apology, "I don't like that empty piece of slang. What does it mean? Where did it come from?"

"Nobody knows," he answered slowly.

"Why do people keep saying it? Nobody seems able to explain just what it stands for, yet they all use it as if they knew the meaning."

"Why does it disturb you?" he asked.

"I don't like what they seem to mean when they say it."

"I don't, either, Miss Taggart."

     – Atlus Shrugged, Ayn Rand

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I find it puzzling when others discover that I enjoy the works of Ayn Rand and automatically assume that I must therefore be a selfish, egotistical individualist.

I am a member of the scientific community.

The implication that I would not understand the inherent benefits of cooperation is so ludicrous that it is almost unintelligible.

It is possible to agree only partially with someone else's ideas.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Our future is so overwhelmingly bright.

If you know where to look.

Monday, August 26, 2013

The next time that someone complains to you about the fact that a portion of his tax money is spent aiding those who are disadvantaged enough to rely on welfare or food stamps or other such governmental assistance programs, begin to pay closer attention to the way that he lives his life. More often than not, his behavior will quickly begin to indicate an overarching lack of empathy for others.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Registering for classes.

It feels strange...after almost two years away from the system.

Like a foreign practice—something in which only other people take part.

It is strange.

But still warmly familiar.

It feels good to be a number again.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mushi-Shi with my father.

This show is creativity manifest.

It goes well...

With grapefruit and whiskey.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I find it funny that so many people are so outwardly upset about the Zimmerman verdict.

Before you get me wrong: I am upset, too.

The prosecution charged too high; they chose to fight for sensation rather than for justice.

But people act as though Zimmerman is getting away without punishment.

As though his life is not over.

As though he will not spend the rest of his days in hiding, forever looking over his shoulder and perpetually fearing for his safety during any and all public interactions.

Those who require vindication in order to cope with the fact that terrible things are bound to happen within a population of genetically imperfect beings can take comfort in the fact that Zimmerman's decisions will never again be truly his own.

Friday, July 12, 2013

JC Denton: "You said 'outside influences.' What does China fear?"

Isaac: "China is the last sovereign country in the world. Authoritarian, but willing—unlike U.N.-governed countries—to give its people the freedom to do what they want."

JC Denton: "As long as they don’t break the law."

Isaac: "Listen to me. This is real freedom: freedom to own property, make a profit, make your life. The West, so afraid of strong government, now has no government. Only financial power."

JC Denton: "Our governments have limited power by design."

Isaac: "Rhetoric—and you believe it! Don’t you know where those slogans come from?"

JC Denton: "I give up."

Isaac: "Well-paid researchers—how do you say it?—'think tanks,' funded by big businesses. What is that? A 'think tank?'"

JC Denton: "Hardly as sinister as a dictator, like China’s Premier."

Isaac: "It’s privately-funded propaganda. The Trilateral Commission in the United States, for instance."

JC Denton: "The separation of powers acknowledges the petty ambitions of individuals. That’s its strength."

Isaac: "A system organized around the weakest qualities of individuals will produce these same qualities in its leaders."

JC Denton: "Perhaps certain qualities are an inseparable part of human nature."

Isaac: "The mark of the educated man is the suppression of these qualities in favor of better ones. The same is true of civilization."

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Rule 1: Make a contribution to science, no matter the cost to personal comfort.

Rule 2: Never consciously contribute to the development of weaponry.

Monday, April 22, 2013

"I know that it probably doesn't show, but I have crippling ADHD."

"That...does surprise me. You always seem so calm and collected."

"It's interesting, really. My other...complications tend to keep it from surfacing as it does in most people."

"It must be difficult. Especially considering the sort of thing that you study."

"It is. It's...exhausting."

"So why do you fight it? Why not find something that is easier for you? Something that doesn't demand so much of your energy."

"Because this is the path that I have chosen for myself. This is what has my attention. This is what drives me forward."

"It's just...you...you always seem so miserable. There is a discomfort in your speech. Your calculated mannerisms disguise it well, but it is still there."

"You are among the first to notice. Or at least among the first to say so."

"If this cripples you so, why keep fighting? You could be so much more comfortable, if you tried."

"Indeed. Don't think that I haven't considered it. Earning my undergraduate degree was the most difficult thing that I have ever done, and it is only going to get harder from here."

"So why struggle? Why sacrifice so much for this? You aren't answering my question."

"You're right, I apologize. Let me ask you something."

"Yes?"

"Have you ever tried to tell a crippled man that he can't walk?"

Saturday, April 20, 2013

This is the point in the evening when I become very upset.

Five drinks in.

Five drinks in, it has become manifest.

She is still gone.

And she always will be.

She is...

She is nothing more than a memory now.

A set of memories.

A facet of my past.

Most likely remembered incorrectly.

Selectively.

Like most everything else.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

I am not who I am, but what I have done.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

"Here the basic reversal is most deadly. The issue has been perverted and man has been left with no alternative—and no freedom. As poles of good and evil, he was offered two conceptions: egotism and altruism. Egotism was held to mean the sacrifice of others to self. Altruism—the sacrifice of self to others. This tied man irrevocably to other men and left him nothing but a choice of pain: his own pain borne for the sake of others or pain inflicted upon others for the sake of self. When it was added that man must find joy in self-immolation, the trap was closed. Man was forced to accept masochism as his ideal—under the threat that sadism was his only alternative. This was the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on mankind. This was the device by which dependence and suffering were perpetuated as fundamentals of life."

- Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Thursday, April 11, 2013

As of this morning, I am officially attending Johns Hopkins University this fall.

...

Johns Hopkins...

It still doesn't feel real.

Monday, April 8, 2013

I still miss Christopher Hitchens.

And Nujabes.

I miss Nujabes.

My actions all suddenly seem so important, and I'm not entirely sure how to handle it.

I still miss Nujabes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I need a place to work.

Some place quiet, where I am uncomfortable.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Fruition


Words later.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I am not sure what was different about today.

But this afternoon I decided that it is time that I started making something of myself.

I am ready to be a scientist proper.

Whatever it takes.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Despite appearances, I am still here.

I know that I have not been writing much lately.

I've needed some...time.

Some time to myself to advance some of my other hobbies.

Some time for unbridled escapism.

My life has become mind-numbingly routine.

My thoughts: uninteresting.

But I will be back to form shortly, I hope.

I do have plans to write again.

I have some potential projects in the works.

I've just needed some time.

If you are still reading this, thank you so much.

I look forward to sharing my life with you again soon.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jameson on the rocks.

One of her old favorites.

I never particularly cared for it at the time.

I still don't, really.

But I drink it anyway.

An expensive reminder of her breath against my neck.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Everyone has a story.

To assume that yours is more interesting simply because you have a college degree is arrogance of the highest order.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

You are free to believe whatever you like.

Everyone is.

Just remember that your conviction about an idea has absolutely no bearing on its factuality.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I wish that the medication did not work as well as it does.

Then I would have an excuse to not take it.

Then I would have an excuse to feel like myself again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The sound of car tires peeling across wet roads.

It reminds me of my old apartment.

Of my time with her, there in that room.

It rained so much the day after I realized that I was never going to see her again.

It brought me turmoil.

It brought me peace.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Let me guess your age."

I turned to the man next to me.

His teeth were yellowed, but his smile was earnest.

My attention had returned to my beer during a break in our conversation just a few moments before.

The sudden query took me by surprise.

"All right," I said.

"Go ahead."

The man looked me over, taking in as many details as he could.

"Thirty," he estimated.

"An even thirty."

I shook my head.

"That's very flattering, but no...that's pretty high."

The man looked shocked.

"High? Well...you must have wisdom greater than your years, then."

I smiled gratefully and looked reflexively down at my drink, avoiding eye contact.

The blank stare of the deep black ale in front of me looked back.

Bashfulness does not suit me.

I laughed quietly at my lack of control.

"Thank you," I said, turning back to the man.

"But that is still quite high."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Scratch scratch scratch.

Tap.

Scratch scratch scratch scratch scratch.

Tap tap tap...

Scratch scratch scratch scratch.

Tap.

I had forgotten how much I love the sound of my handwriting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

La Manif Pour Tous is a French anti-homosexuality organization created to combat the recent "Marriage for All" bill that seeks to grant equal marriage rights to homosexual couples in France.

The following video is a documentation of a recent protest organized by the group, in which approximately 340,000 French residents turned out to publicly denounce the bill and express their flagrant disregard for the rights of the homosexual community.

When I watch this video, I do not see a group of people, united in their ideals and beliefs, fighting for what they believe is right.

I see the faces of 340,000 French bigots.

I see the faces of 340,000 self-centered citizens, happy to restrict the freedoms of others in the interest of "protecting" their own way of life.

But most of all, I see the faces of 340,000 terrified individuals, driven to anger by their inability to move beyond their own fear.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


After two solid weeks of work and almost 300 dollars in fees and shipping expenses, my graduate school applications are all finally complete and submitted.

Goodbye for a while, society.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The familiar hiss of carbonation escaping the bottle reaches my ears as the cap loosens under the leverage of the polished aluminum opener.

I stop, turn the bottle ninety degrees, and gently pry the lid off, catching it around the bottle opener with my thumb and forefinger and tossing it into the trash in one continuous motion.

The empty vessel is cold against my free hand as I lift the bottle to pour.

The glass, angled 45 degrees toward the surface of the table.

The bottle, angled 45 degrees away from the plane of my torso.

Everything in a certain way.

The ritual must be...correct.

The amber liquid flows—slowly—into the glass, filling the air in front of me with the aroma of Red Hook Long Hammer India Pale Ale.

One of my old favorites.

The smell reminds me of...

Well...not "better" times.

More familiar times, perhaps.

Times when I felt...more like myself.

Times when I felt useful.

Needed.

I have finished half the glass.

I don't remember drinking it.

I savor the remainder, and open another.

It's funny how...

It's funny how, from time to time, everything can seem manageable.

And then you suddenly remember that she is gone.