Aitch-Bar

Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say


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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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We Pick Things Up…

Taking a month-long trip to a location 6,000 feet above sea level may lead to thorough desiccation of the body, but fortunately it doesn’t have to mean loss of muscle tone. Twenty eight years ago an egg was fertilized; this egg eventually produced Carlos, who would end up tracking down cheap second-hand free weights and a bench, and arranging them on a mat in our cellar. I try to attend religiously. Atrophy and mountain lions are the largest persistent threats in this area. The former, leading to a condition colloquially known as “physics body” or “the N-body problem,” is preventable in principle. The latter is not. After dark we huddle in the cellar, admist our weights, and pray that they only take our livestock this night.

If I could pass one wisdom nugget to the world, it would be to always read the label on protein mix before laying down monies. I ended up with a tub of a pink something, flavored with antibiotics and a hint of strawberry, which seems to be a mix of equal parts anabolic steroids and cocaine. The instructions recommend that body builders actually go eat other sources of protein, suggesting to me that their product foregoes this ingredient altogether. Normal humans: Add 0 scoops to milk and consume with eggs. Bane: Add 1-2 scoops to five tablespoons water and force down. Then consume eggs.

Friday night was the night for The Expendables 2: The Expendening. If you haven’t seen, The Expendables is based on the true story of a group of friends dealing with the realities of middle age, during which the world around them reflects on itself as they attempt to define what it is to have lived a “good life.” A masterfully constructed metanarrative draws themes from a rich body of works in psychology and classical literature. The first movie won two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actor in a Leading Role.

We showed up 30 minutes early for the movie–an unprecedented show of force for a town of 10,000–and proceeded to stand at the head of a non-existent line for another 20 while the previous showing finished. Upon entering the theater I consumed a king-size bag of Whoppers and the world started to move much too slowly. My review of the movie is somewhat colored by this experience. There was not nearly enough action, and when there was, the guns did not spew bullets fast enough. Stallone enunciates too much. Chuck Norris told too few Chuck Norris jokes. Schwarzenegger isn’t old enough. More. More, damn you. This is escapism; I need a movie that doesn’t resemble my everyday life.