Aitch-Bar

Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say


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Shameless Promotion

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For some reason, you read this blog more than you know me. I don’t know why or how that happened, but somehow, you are looking at this. Although that inexplicable situation has come about, there is something you can do to make things better: go to this link and watch this fairly preposterous commercial entry featuring yours truly. Then “like” it. We are in a contest that is based on how many humans like it. I don’t frequently tell people to do things—usually, when it comes to blogging and whatnot, I tend to just write things for years, for free, and then send it into the electronic void and ask nothing in return. Nonetheless, if any of you humans wanted to watch me embarrass myself for the sake of a local ad campaign, please do, and shoot a ‘like’ in our direction since that is the currency of our brave new world, and our brave entry is in a tight race for first.


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Got Damp, Didn’t Sleep, Ate Chinese

My return to the east coast has been five Magic School Bus books’ worth of self-discovery. All but two of these discoveries relate to how difficult it is to carry out my life whilst entirely submerged in water. Normally I love humidity because it means I don’t have to perm my hair and I can grow mold directly in my sinuses instead of having to snort it out of the vegetable crisper. But, after returning from a place with lunar aridity, I feel overpowered. Holler at me if you enjoy moist, because you’ll fucking love every goddamned floor, wall, and table surface in my apartment. You’ll be mashing your body against them like you’ve taken a double hit of ecstasy while singing Marvin Gaye and bathing in rainbows. I’ll be in the corner, wearing shoes.

I’ve slowly been replacing “sleep” with “writing.” I have a lot of buffer here, thanks to the past twenty-seven years where I slept a few extra minutes each day. Those minutes were stored somewhere safe, or invested wisely in some Roth 401A, from which the return dividends are then tax advantaged with subprime deposit withdrawals and rollover minutes. It’s going well, words are moving. The time and manner of the inevitable endgame is less clear; I can tell that eventually I will simply owe the world an apology.

Monday was the first annual Labor Day dinner outing at P.F. Chang’s. Between the three of our group, we had it from an estimated 0 people that this was a worthwhile endeavor, and one person told us literally five minutes before our arrival that we were all going to contract what was made to sound as some form of Montezuma’s revenge. But we pressed on, as we had just donned our supper jackets and the private reservation had already been made. What was most impressive was the restaurant’s dismissal of the idea that food was actually requisite for our enjoyment of their establishment. Over the next six hours I observed the same tray of eight wonton soups delivered over and over again to the same distant table, to a man whose face was never seen, by a boy who has never aged and knows nothing of greed or petty jealousy. I had a Coke that must have refilled at least twelve times. And then at one point I looked down and discovered that, not only was there food, but there was food no longer. I opened my mouth in wonder, and it was blocked by something. That something is known as The Great Wall of Chocolate; it is an admixture of the darkest cocoa, lead, and original sin. Two of the really real actual Terracotta Army knelt behind us in silence, a twinkle in their eye that bespeaks having just watched three souls eat product containing horsemeat soaked in brine. We checked in with one another after twenty-four hours. Ryan reports an overall decrease in his desire for food of any sort. My atrophy is more universal; I could go either way on nutrition, motion, and breathing under my own power. And Chris is gone as far as I know.


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I Have To Get These Hungry-Man Dinners Into My Freezer Before They Thaw, and You Will Not Stop Me

Oh. Shit. Look what’s back in stock. Hungry-Man. It’s been a long time, my friend. I’ve been eating two half-pound frozen dinners in one go, waiting for your return. Your commercial had me convinced that I would get blown away by carelessly-aimed hair dryers if I didn’t gorge myself at every well-preserved meal.

Hold the phone. I wasn’t even aware of some of these options. Home-style Meatloaf? Mexican Style Fiesta? Way to make Boston Market look like an asshole. Popcorn Chicken with Spiced Rum BBQ Sauce? Let me stop you right there. Sold. No way that’s going to make my night end badly. Let me just help myself to one of each. Better beat the rush.

Let me just carefully read the fine print, like I do on all my freezer products. Do not thaw? Jesus. Let me pull out my calculus. We’re starting at 0°, it’s 82° with 36% humidity outside right now, my car can get down to 68° with full A/C over a period of 5 minutes, the house is 15 minutes away, plus 1 to get through the garage where it’s undoubtedly over 98°, and each meal is 1 lb and 150 in2 with a heat capacity roughly that of ice. So there’s maybe eight minutes of contingency here. T0 was 30 seconds ago, while I sat here calculating. We are running the clock.

Well. This just got extremely fucking real.

Pardon me, old lady perusing the Birds-Eye products. Impressive, the way you managed to wedge your cart sideways in the middle of this narrow aisle. I assume that this is part of some master plan too grandiose for me to comprehend. Dare I not disturb this careful arrangement, in case you’ve positioned it in the middle of some space warp and it’s holding the universe together like an episode of Dr. Who. Let me jam myself sideways against the freezer and squeeze around. That’s fine, don’t even notice. The structural integrity of these delectable chicken bits hangs precariously in the balance and I’ll parkour over you as if that’s what it should be like to live in modern society.

I can’t help but notice that this line is taking a long goddamned time. Contingency is burning. Excuse me, sir up at front, buying fruits and shit. Good for you. A hearty bounty from the cavernous bowels of Nature herself. Here’s a proposition for you. Add these two Hungry-Men to your inventory, check them out, give them back, and we will all be better for it. Here is some money. You seem to be spending your life savings on organic melon, I fear these TV dinners would topple you into financial ruin.

No. What is that card. Put that card down. Thermodynamics doesn’t rest because you made a bad gamble that the world would suddenly join hands and embrace American Express. The Nickelback of credit cards. Here’s a fifty. This ought to cover your plants. Look at me. Take the fifty. Buy these Hungry-Men. Buy them now.

Let me explain to you how science works. If even one molecule of the chocolate splotch that magically hardens into a brownie thaws before it starts absorbing micro-rays or whatever, it’s game-fucking-over. That’s not me talking; that’s chemistry. It will leak over onto the corn and form a colloidal shit matrix. That corn is second to none but I will not force down maize brownie. That is sick. That is where typhus came from.

Yes, Officer Dawdles, I was doing 96. Probably because I have somewhere extremely important to be. Does God Himself have a hit out on these mashed potatoes? They are pre-gravyed. The gravy is already on them sir. This is a truly volatile mix of poorly understood ingredients and proportions. If this pile reaches liquid phase in an uncontrolled environment there is a nonzero chance of it coming alive and gaining sentience. It will debate us. It will gain a seat in Congress. It will levy taxes on hand-made jewelry and smiles. It will destroy our way of life. Or I can get to my freezer. I am putting this car in drive. You can shoot me and then lose the battle in November, or you can choose freedom.

Yes, hello son, that is a very nice plastic bag space helmet and matching santoku-knife-turned-laser-gun. Is that our toaster with forks sticking out of it? Ah, his name is Robotron. You know what, son, go play with your robot, maybe show him your aqueous bath tub space capsule, or your fortress in the dryer. No, I did not know we had super juice in a leaky bottle under the kitchen sink. I’ll come try some in a bit.

First, there’s something I need to get done.