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day out of time

August 31, 2010

I’ve come full circle. Having graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Science, I am living upstairs at my grandparents’ house, where my mom and I first moved when my parents split up 12 1/2 years ago. Borrowed my granddad’s Chevy Silverado (Ol’ Blue) to move my belongings from Bowling Green to Nolensville, the same truck I rode with him in when they were moving from Lawrenceburg to Nashville back in 1994. Boxes and miscellany were stacked between him and me in the cab of the truck, and at some point he noticed I stopped talking. He lifted up a lampshade and I was fast asleep, worn out from running up and down the stairs of their old house to help fetch things for them.

That truck is older than I am. It’s an ’84 model, whereas I’m an ’87 (and I didn’t come with cupholders).

Here’s some random pictures for your enjoyment.

This is the mini-supercell that helped me get my degree:

Two friends who have had an enormous impact on the last 5 1/2 years:

We had just finished a show at The Muse. Tyler is holding a bottle of cough medicine, Christian a cup of beer, and I don’t know what I’m holding.

This is my mugshot from when I was arrested last year for public intoxication:

I hope this doesn’t bar me from employment, but I should point out it’s pretty much the least trouble you have to be in to go to jail. Some could even argue it’s essential to the college experience. I spent six hours in the drunk tank (with someone I discovered went to my high school, coincidentally) and was fined $209. What upsets me most is two months later, a WKU professor was fatally stabbed in the parking lot of the BG Rec. Center, and as far as I know the case is still open. They don’t even have a suspect. Perhaps if BGPD spent less time busting drunk kids walking home from parties they could help fight real crimes.

In case you’re wondering, this is the image I used for my chatroulette escapades (previous post):

It’s an old Halloween mask hanging on my couch. I would initiate a conversation by typing “Hi! It’s Death.” Some people were amused, some were freaked out, and the masturbators got to see their eventual demise…heh heh. When I got bored with that, I took an empty gas can and set it in front of my webcam. Once the other party realized what it was and gave a response (usually “dude set urself on fire!!!!!1”) I would grin maniacally and pretend to guzzle gasoline. Oh yes, I have too much time on my hands, and I am easily entertained.

Hope all’s well for my friends who are still in school. I wish you the best of luck in putting up with the weeks ahead.

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chatroulette

April 10, 2010

look at the bud(s)!

March 22, 2010

I’m watching Donnie Darko, Director’s Cut and mulling over the last few days. It finally hit me three o’clock Saturday morning. I wept, laughed, asked why, and got no clear answer. Nine hours before the equinox, I had an awakening.

That day I drove to Franklin, that night I took some medicine, and Sunday I delivered in the rain. Asleep again.

It’s a leap of faith, I guess, to believe he never intended in his heart to harm anyone. Everyone that knows him better than I do seems to think so.

How much did he know in advance? In his last seconds, could he see the effect he would create in the lives of the people around him, who loved him? Did he sacrifice himself for us? For anything?

When I wrote on Thursday that “he had all kinds of ideas in his head that he wasn’t sure what to do with,” I’m not so sure I was right. I barely knew the guy. Perhaps he and his friend had a mission.

What they left behind is less of a message and more of a mystery.

The answer is showing itself in bits and pieces. I’ll never really know.

march madness

March 18, 2010

Yesterday seemed like any other day, save for it being St. Patrick’s Day, which people in this country seem to either love or hate. (I’m one-eighth Irish by paternal lineage, so I feel a tinge of pride in getting shit-faced drunk and singing songs by myself. Others may not be so enthusiastic.)

Something happened yesterday, however, that is so bizarre I haven’t even been able to accept it yet. It seems like a hoax to me, somehow. But the news organizations agree, two 20-year-olds from Brentwood, Tennessee robbed a bank in Gallatin and ran from the police, in addition to firing shots at them. The young man who owned the getaway car was Jonathan Ryan Skinner, a meteorology student here at Western Kentucky. I had two classes with him this semester, and two last semester. He gave me a ride to Tennessee one Friday night in early February, so I could pick up my old car to sell. I have ridden in the very Toyota they used as their getaway vehicle.

Ryan wasn’t the one who dressed up like a leprechaun and robbed the First State Bank (which happens to be in a neighborhood where I worked as a surveyor a few summers ago)—that was David Cotton, who also went to Brentwood High. It was Ryan’s car they used; I recognize it in the photos. They drove into a field outside Gallatin and fled on foot. Police say Cotton committed suicide—then Skinner picked up the gun, and pointed it toward the officers—so he was shot, and killed.

This is too much. We were just starting to be friends. I could tell he was different, that he had all kinds of ideas in his head that he wasn’t sure what to do with. I sat next to him Tuesday in the Met Lab, and he asked me if it was too late to drop a class. Yesterday we had exams in both our classes, Dynamic and Synoptic, and he was absent, so I figured he had gone ahead and dropped those courses. I didn’t find out until today that he was already dead.

So, Ryan Skinner, whom I barely knew, rest in peace. I can’t fathom what drove you to take part in such a reckless scheme. I guess I don’t even understand why you were interested in the weather, like me. May you find your way back into the light.

Back into the light.

March 2, 2010

Ah, I’ve been busy. It’s a good feeling. No time to sit around worrying about things you can’t change.

Had some interesting runs tonight. Went to the Alpha Delta Pi house three times, first for two orders, then another, then I forgot the sweet tea and said “I can bring it over ASAP” but she was like “Oh, it’s fine” like it was nothing and I said “Are you sure?” and she said “Yeah.” Then she called the restaurant and asked where her sweet tea was.

Then there was an order for Antonio, a cook in the kitchen, whom I didn’t know because I’ve only been there 2 weeks, I barely know the names of all the managers and deliverers. When I got to his house he wasn’t there, so I went about my run, delivering the other orders. Then Shaun called my phone and said Antonio called to say he was back home and to drop it off when I could, which I was gonna do. Finally got Antonio’s order to him and he hands me a twenty—I awkwardly hesitate—”You want some change?”—like he’s a bum on the street—he asks for two dollars back—keeps asking “That cool?”—even offers the whole twenty like I seemingly wanted—I stand by his original tip—though as a coworker, I feel he shouldn’t have to tip me—I just didn’t know his name, and made a mess of social graces.

A super intoxicated female called asking about the Mariah’s 30th Anniversary 30% off dine-in deal, if it could be applied toward delivery. Phil had to explain to her it only applied to dine-in orders. I ended up delivering her order, and she introduced me to her parents and asked me in slurred words “Why can’t I celebrate Mariah’s 30th Anniversary at home? I’m kind of drunk” and I said “I wish I could make the rules…You should have gotten drunk at the restaurant.” Really.

All these things are learned. I’m catching up.

it’s mardi gras outside

February 17, 2010

The past few days when I wake up it’s been snowing, though there’s not much on the ground. It’s a running theme. Definitely the snowiest winter I’ve seen, and that’s not saying much. My friend EJ in Southern Ontario says they’ve had a relatively snow-less winter. Similarly, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver suffer from a lack of snow. We need to send some of the white stuff from D.C. to B.C.! (Ha…I wonder how many other shithead bloggers have already coined that one.)

Just today in Mesoscale we covered lake-effect snow, the kind most Ontarians usually deal with. This was right after I presented my forecast for Seattle. See, all B.S. meteorology seniors and some of the geography grad students at Western are participating in this national pay-to-play forecast contest. The forecast city changes every other week. We started off with Atlanta, and now it’s Seattle. Let me tell you, forecasting for Seattle (especially precipitation amounts) is a bitch.

(The funny thing is the models are showing a huge cutoff high developing over British Columbia and the Alaskan Gulf by the end of the week, bringing above-freezing temperatures as far north as the Yukon Territory, while the eastern half of the continent remains frozen. Those poor bastards in Vancouver.)

It was my second forecast discussion in two days. TJ (not related to EJ) and I gave a synoptic-scale discussion for the 424 Analysis & Forecasting kids on Monday. Drs. Goodrich and Durkee were present for that one.

EVERYTHING HAPPENS AT ONCE. This evening (immediately after the Seattle forecast and the lake-effect snow lecture) I started training for delivery at Mariah’s, a staple of Bowling Green dining. My friend Mike is a waiter there and put in a good word for me. I know a few others, too, so it looks like a good place to be. Again, it seemed like the perfect night for training: we got orders from our best and worst tippers, so I know who they are. A cop pulled up lights flashing behind an employee’s car as he was leaving—haven’t yet found out what that was about. Just walked into the kitchen like he owned the place, too. I had to wash the smell of bacon off my hands when I got home. Seriously, though. I work in a restaurant.

Then I watched the second half of the Kentucky–Mississippi game with my downstairs neighbors. John Wall isn’t the only important UK player, but I see magic in that kid. (Also in DeMarcus Cousins’s headband. It’s a ball magnet!) But really, number 11? My favorite prime number?! It really is! And he’s got the double-L in his name: Wa11. Eleven is a special number to me. I was born on the eleventh. And my name is John Wi11iam Ho11and.

And he’s the Great Wall of Kentucky. And he’s younger than me. To tie it all together, just like there’s a Boston U. player named John Holland (with the prime number 23 on his jersey), there’s a meteorology student here named John Wall—but he spells it differently.

So begins Lent. I’ll probably be giving up sleep.

It was a new moon Saturday. It was Valentine’s Day Sunday. President’s Day Monday. Fat Tuesday. Ash Wednesday.

Get my drift?

i prefer the term “snowpocalypse”

February 11, 2010

Holy hook echo, I got a ton of hits yesterday. Relatively speaking. (25.) And only one of them was from facebook. What, did word-of-mouth decide suddenly to take effect again, yesterday? or is it one person continually typing in johnholland.wordpress.com twenty-four times?

Whatever the case, we’re right in the middle of quite the historic winter. Our nation’s capital has shut down, the Federal Government frozen solid. Now look who might get up to a half foot of snow:

Mobile, Alabama could get at least an inch or two.

I bet James Spann is flipping out.

he’s (still) on math

February 5, 2010

What would a numerical representation of your DNA look like? Simply replacing the letters with numbers would make a very long string of only 4 numerals: 1=A, 2=C, 3=G, 4=T, it doesn’t really matter, but the chances of ever finding this string in pi (before you die) are almost nil. There’s always the possibility you just haven’t looked far enough yet, sure, but it’s more likely that the digits of pi are not normally distributed. I’m no theoretical mathematician, but the digits seem random—in such a way that no single numeral (try six) could go missing for the space your DNA requires. It would be very odd if, say, a billion trillion digits in, pi starts using only 4s, 5s, 8s, and 0s for the next, oh, three billion digits.

encantado. igualmente.

February 1, 2010

So I started thinking about prime numbers, and why John Nash’s favorite prime would be 23. I think it’s because it’s the first prime number consisting of two consecutive primes: 2 and 3. I wonder if there’s a name for this kind of prime. The next one is 2,357, which shows you how common they are. Others include 3,137 (31 and 37), 5,711 (5, 7, and 11), 111,317 (11-13-17), 171,923 (17-19-23)… I found this site useful.

I found out the year of my birth, 1987, is a prime.

Then I started thinking about pi, how it goes on forever in a totally random, ever-changing sequence of digits. According to Cliff Pickover in Sex, Drugs, Einstein & Elves,

Recall that the digits of pi (in any base) not only go on forever but seem to behave statistically like a sequence of uniform random numbers. In short, if the digits of pi are normally distributed, somewhere inside pi’s string of digits is a very close representation for all of us. …We can even search for some of the first few consecutive runs using computer searches available on the Web. The string 123 is found at position 1924 counting from the first digit after the decimal point…1234 is found at position 13,807. 12345 is found at position 49,702, and so forth.

This means that you can eventually find your birthday in pi (Mine, 06111987, is found at position 148,775,398). Or your phone number, or your social security. Even a numerical representation of your DNA.

Sir or ma’am, you just got your mind blown.

(P.S. What’s the lowest number divisible by any number between 1 and 10? — 2,520)

there’s frost cakes in the carpet

January 31, 2010

This is the view from my window, looking towards downtown:

You’ll notice I haven’t used my car since the snow started Friday afternoon.

Snow makes the windows brighter, so much sun is reflected back from the ground. Now I understand the first line of AC’s “Winter’s Love”

I love this light in wintertime.

—which may be the best song ever written, in my humble opinion. (Besides “Hallelujah” maybe.) No matter where I am or how many times I’ve heard it, those harmonies and chords will change something inside me and lift my spirit. I wouldn’t say it like that if it weren’t true. Animal Collective has some really good, wide-ranging stuff.

I’ve been learning how to play “Doggy”/”Two Corvettes” from Campfire Songs and “Did You See the Words?” from Feels. The latter has one of the trickiest timings I have attempted to play. I don’t know exactly which it is, but the upbeat and downbeat are either equally emphasized or given alternate dominance from phrase to phrase, measure to measure. On the album version, the crash cymbal is never on the downbeat (with the bass drum, which is what your ears expect to hear) and the song is structured around this detail, but your head still wants to bounce with the boom-CHK boom-CHK instead of the CHK-boom CHK-boom. Avey’s vocal rhythms are so syncopated that you switch back and forth from hearing the down- or upbeat as the pulse. Oh and the harmonies are great, too.

Yesterday morning I went out and measured the snow in my front yard, and ended up between 5 and 6 inches. Which, if the professors are to be believed, makes this the heaviest snowfall in BG since 1987.

I just found out there’s a Boston U. basketball player named John Holland.

His number is 23, which of course was Michael Jordan’s number, but which also reminds me of Pope John XXIII and the mathematician John Nash, who during one of his psychotic episodes thought he was on the cover of Life Magazine disguised as the pope, because 23 was his “favorite prime number.”

My name is fraught with irrationality.

Can’t wait to turn 23!