This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Looking through some old stuff.

In order to find a specific something from my college days I thought I had saved, I found a bunch of my prior writings, some of which are fairly recent but most of which stretch back to my college and high school days. I realized that I could increase my postings exponentially during this Christmas season if I would just type some of that stuff out (and maybe even edit it a little as I go).
There's even a little poetry in there! Don't get excited, it's very bad poetry. It's so bad I'm not sure it even qualifies as poetry -- it's just weirdly-shaped prose. It does involve cats, though, so I guess I'll post it here as part of my secret Operation: Cat Smear, which is not nearly as secret as it used to be.

  • A review of The Phantom Menace written from the point of view of an idiot (not me).
  • "Top Ten Things You Never See at Concordia University" (written with Brian Fibiger)
  • Old columns from my college newspaper.
  • My 7th grade report on the excretory system, which ended up not quite long enough so I had to tack on a "tour" of the bowels from the point of view of a piece of digested food.
  • My Senior College Seminar on "Self-Esteem Theology." It was the crowing achievement of my college career. I'm serious.
  • A one-act play I wrote for my "Ancient World" class in College. It involved the various Roman Emperors and other important Roman figures getting up on a podium in front of the rest, one by one, and explaining why they were the most important figure in Roman history. The others would then heckle viciously, and the whole scene ended in a big fistfight. I wrote it in one night (3 hours' time) and got a 96%. My roommate was in the same class, worked on his (super-serious) report for two weeks, and got a 98%. I told him that there's no substitute for creativity, which didn't really help.
People get ready. Also, I didn't see it, but I think my 1st grade story about a deer that gets revenge on hunters is in there, too. I sure hope so. That was the first true indicator of how warped my mind was. Is.

Friday, December 16, 2005

How Many EMTs Does it Take to Rescue a Bluff Jumper?

First of all, read this news story. It involves my alma mater, Concordia University Wisconsin.

When I was in school, one of our favorite activities to do on a lazy winter afternoon (when it wasn't too cold, or too windy, or snowing, or mysteriously foggy) was something we called "bluff jumping." It was best after a fresh deep snow, as this created the cushion needed to create a pillow-like effect that prevented dread accidents like the one described in the story.

Bluff jumping, like most college activities, was both ill-advised and exhilarating. Allow me to set the scene: Along the entire East side of the CUW campus there is a bluff that overlooks Lake Michigan. This bluff was very steep (a lot steeper than it is now, I hear) and stretched approx. 350 feet down to the beach below. Our mission was to find a very steep and very clear portion of the bluff, so that we could have a fun and clear slide when we eventually landed. Most of the time we used a cleared-out section near all the parking lots and stuff, where a makeshift hiking trail had been constructed by students that had come before us.* It was clear, and the snow fell in white blankets, 2 feet deep at least by the time January rolled around.

What you would do when you "bluff jumped" was simple: Dress in winter clothes from head to toe (very important) and either take a running start or just dead-jump off the side of the bluff. Not exciting, you say? Well, the main excitement came from the fact that the bluff was so steep that you could not see the ground beneath the lip of the bluff. You had to take it on faith that the ground was actually there. By all appearances, you were jumping off the side of a 90 degree cliff to your death. Even though you know the snowy pillow is down there, it's still insane, because you're jumping blind.

So you've just jumped and you're flying through the air an unreasonably long time, possibly flailing your arms because its fun. When your parabolic trajectory crossed the bluff's steep decline, you would glide into a pile of snow and slide another 20 feet or so because fluffy snow is not the most effective braking system in the world. When you finally stop, your heart is racing and there's mud and snow down your pants and up your shirt, and in all sorts of other funny places. You lay there a long time, not wanting to move (because you know you somehow have to make it back up the snow-covered bluff, and you're not looking forward to the effort). When you finally decide to get up, you get as much of the snow off of your bare skin as possible and take the 5-minute trip back up to the top of the bluff, being careful not to slip on any icy patches. Then you go back to your room, put the clothes in the bathtub, and have some hot cocoa because you are cold and that was awesome.

People also would do "bluff sledding," stealing the trays from the cafeteria and using them to slide down the steep hill. This may have been the faster way, and probably was the more dangerous way(as evidenced by the above story), but it was no substitute for propelling yourself off a cliff and landing in a pile of snow. There's no sense of flight or style in bluff-sledding. Plus, if the mulletted cafeteria worker spots you stealing a tray, you'll be on cleanup duty for a week.

*Truthfully, the path had to be constructed and re-constructed every year because of bluff erosion, a process that led to us coming back from every summer break and noticing the bluff was a few feet closer to the campus than it was before.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Quick Hits

Above: Aeon confirms that there is (sadly) no giant baby in this glass of water.

The "holiday season" has me doing all sorts of things that keep me from writing, and it sucks. I haven't updated this since the 9th, and I'm sorry. But this isn't one of those "I'm sorry's" that really means "You can expect this trend to continue." I'm actually sorry about it, and mean to make it up to you.

Soooo, some quick hits (because I need to keep things quick):

We did see Aeon Flux on Saturday, and it was far better than it had a right to be -- considering all the fears mentioned in my previous post turned out to be well-founded (it had a linear plot, pedestrian direction, a lame Trevor Goodchild, no giant baby, not enough violence, and I knew What the Heck Just Happened). They managed to make a good sci-fi/action movie though, and used just enough references to the look and plots of the source material to justify it being named Aeon Flux. It helped that they got the visual style of the movie correct. The cartoon was about 90% technolicious visual style, and 10% everything else. That covered over a multitude of potential problems. The story also turned out to be less of a problem than I anticpated, and truth be told was far closer to an actual Aeon Flux plot than I thought it would be. I mean, there was human cloning in it, as well as drugs that gave you access to really white brain chat-rooms. That was pretty cool.

The one thing I didn't like was the "Trevor Goodchild: Good Guy" character. I kept waiting for the twist at the end that made clear that he was actually evil, but it never came. Orin Goodchild, the bad guy, was a complete fleeb. He made James Marsden's character in Copycat look like Hannibal Lecter.

Now all they gotta do is make a sequal that contradicts everything that happened in this that would be Aeon Fluxy.

I'm also knee-deep in Lost right now, having almost caught up to where the world is right now. Thankfully, there are re-runs going right now until January. All I've got to say about it right now (before my uber-post, which will happen when I catch up) is that I cannot wait for the Eko episode. I need to see what that guy's about. He's the best character ever.

Life is hell right now. Is this a cry for help? Am I a teenage girl? So emotional.


I got to thinking about a Christmas letter, and I asked myself, "What could possibly be a better Christmas letter than this blog?" And then I thought, "Wait -- why not try to bring traffic to this blog through my Christmas letter?" So that's another thing I gotta do. Or, I might make the dog do it. I suspect many of you will find out soon, though maybe not before Christmas, because I am not very good.

I have officially joined the ranks of the "coffee achievers." Do we still call ourselves that?* Hey, studies have shown that one cup of black coffee a day is pretty good. It has antioxidants or somesuch. Just as good as tea, actually. Eat that, you greenies.

The sheer volume of consumer electronics being purchased at wildly discounted prices this Christmas season is flooring me as we speak. Seriously, I'm lying on the floor right now. You know, you guys should be praying for me to get a new job so I can officially post a no-holds-barred expose' of the crapulence at where I work. Right now, I'm kind of hamstrung by the fact that I still work here.

* This brings to mind a Bloom County comic from back in the 80's. Opus (the penguin) had started drinking coffee, and was reciting word-for-word the absurdist "coffee acheiver" commercial from that era, i.e., "It picks you up and never lets you down." Opus was always a sucker for TV commerical pitches, like the time he bought 100 Ronco "Salad Shooters." Anyway, he ends his speech with a question to the people who have gathered around him -- "or is it all (the coffee achiever thing) a bunch of hooey?" To which they nod emphatically in the affirmative. I think of this comic every time I grab the glass pot and pour a cup.