Tuesday, March 10, 2015

03.10.15 | In the Style of D.J. Waldie


After construction at the gate finally finished, the campus seemed like a scale model. Carbon copy street lamps and newly planted trees stood straighter than soldiers as the road stretched across the campus. We were plastic figurines, all features obscured, travelling about. Used to the root-lifted pavements, we tripped on our feet on the flat brick floor.


Our house was on the corner of the intersection, fenced off by a hedge that was not there in the preview video from ten years ago. The house itself was built 98 years ago and has undergone renovation a number of times to attract students. In this run-down neighborhood a distance from campus, it took a lot more to do so. We chose this house at the intersection but some still called it the “ghetto house”.

A European fountain sat in a corner of the yard but it never had water. The renovators left it untouched. They came one morning without warning to repaint the house and re-landscape the yard. We’ll just be working on the outside, they told us. Don’t mind us.

And at the end of the day they were gone, but the house had a blinding new coat.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

11.01.14 | Apophenia

The universe is trying to tell me something, she thought, when she finished her shower gel and shampoo on the same night. The bottles sighed pomegranate and mint when her fingers embraced them, but they oozed no fluids—they were dry. Empty.
Both of them.
This is rarer than cosmic alignment, she thought.
It’s like— like emptying a jar of peanut butter on the same sandwich as a jar of jam.

And three days later, it happened.
She did not have time to wash the jars before work, so she left them to soak in the sink. She did, however, have time to make coffee and discover that—of course—the lone coffee filter remaining in the carton would contain the last of her coffee ground.

No doubt about it, the universe was definitely trying to tell her something.

Everything’s dying.
In pairs.

And I will die alone.

When predicting a series of coin flips, one typically would not predict more than five heads in a row. The coincidence would be too absurd.
But when a coin is actually flipped and yields ten consecutive heads, people flip.
Statistically speaking, any permutation of such binaries would have the same probability. Heads-tails-heads-heads-tails is just as likely as heads-heads-heads-heads-heads.

That was what she told herself.

Assuming a fair coin, at least.
Coincidences aren’t supposed to mean anything.

The next morning, two doors down.

He held his milk carton vertically over the bowl, and shook it slightly, examining the white beads as they fell. The cereal crumbs that had been at the bottom of the bag now floated at the top of the bowl, trembling as the milk drops struck the surface.

He blinked.
Finishing these on the same day—what could this possibly mean?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

04.15.14 | Blood Moon

I used to see the sky as a ceiling. I was on the Earth, the ground, the world. The moon and sun were just passersby in this skylight window.
But seeing the blood eclipse today—my first eclipse—my perception changed. I imagined the moon there, and the sun behind us, behind the Earth.
I am science-literate. I have learned about the solar system in school and I understand how it works, how there are planets and planetoids revolving around a star, and how moons revolve around these planets. But I never realized how ignorant I was to the astronomical implications regarding the human condition. (Pun not intended.)
The idea that we are now standing between the moon and the sun is profound to me. I stood on the Parkside lawn and looked up. The sun was no longer out there, above our heads, but directionally beneath our feet. But that would be the wrong perspective. "Beneath" implies that I am the center. I am not the center. We Earthlings are not the center. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that our feet are pointing toward the center of not just the Earth, but also the sun and thus the Solar System.
The universe is magical and I am glad to be here, even if we are just "tiny specks on a planet particle".

Saturday, January 18, 2014

01.18.14 | 算命

In Chinese, fortune-tellers are known as calculators of fate. Every person is born under a specific alignment of stars. The fortune-tellers read this. Each canvas of constellations is mapped onto the fetus, forming its skin and skull. The ridges on a palm or the arch of an eyebrow can reveal much more than a résumé.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

08.27.13 | [Untitled]

Dull orange intoxicates the night,
Casting ghosts on walls
And in pavement cracks.
We too were once ghosts,
Whispering on purple rooftops,
Bathing in moonshine.
By daybreak we donned our skins
And slept.
But one night we lost time—
Dawn cracked without a sign,
And morning swept us away.
When I looked again,
You’d vanished.
I now haunt empty streets
Searching for your solitude.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

04.17.13 | 31.71.40

Some people say mirrors don’t lie,
But the truth is,
If you lie to the mirror, the mirror lies to you.

Monday, February 11, 2013

02.12.13 | Nihil

Essentially nothing exists except fermions floating about in a vast expanse of nothingness. Yet the fermions are able to interact in such complex ways that not just “sustain life” but also allow us to think and feel emotions. Am I controlling these fermions or am I simply responding to their unfathomable demands? Is there a point to the complexity of these structures and systems they have formed? If I die, I will merely be recycled, and the world will go on. Everyone dies. That’s how these fermions work. They’re fickle, but they’ll always be here. The true individual is not the human but the subatomic particle. We are simply formulaic aggregates.