Duck!

On any typical day of the workweek, my morning routine is as follows: Wake up at 6:15 A.M., hit both of my alarms, go back to bed. Wake up again, but this time in a panic for fear that I might’ve overslept. I glance at my alarm clock, numbers glowing an ominous red, and hope that I only dozed off about ten minutes or so–7:21 A.M.

To allow sufficient time for me to get dressed, eat breakfast and unhurriedly walk out the door, I need to be out of the house by 7:00 A.M. So, on a usual morning, I’m rushing out the door.

But not today. Today I actually got to leave at 7:00 A.M.

Continuing with my morning routine, I need to drive my car to my uncle’s, where I park it and walk to the train station. I take Route 83 to get there, which, if you’re not entirely aware, is a very busy highway and especially so during morning and evening rush hours.

Well, today was no particular exception, and, when I was out on the more busier portion of the highway, I notice far off into the distance a brown speck on the median. I get a little closer and see a duck. “Nothing unusual,” I thought to myself. “There’s usually tons of roadkill on this highway.” I get a little closer and, eyes simultaneously fixated on the road and the duck, notice the fowl to be very much alive, and notice little more specks around it. I drive even closer and notice, to my extreme shock, that the duck is a female duck waiting to cross the road–with her little ducklings.

A large gasp was all I could muster from my vocal chords; I don’t think I’ve been more concerned for a creature of the woods in quite some time. Even though it was just a family of ducks–animals come and go every day–I really do hope and pray that they got through safely.

Heck, I even thought of turning around, stopping on the median and having them somehow jump into my car, and I’d drive them off to a pond or something.

But all I can do is pray for those little anatidae.

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Confestim revenio, Europa: A Prologue

I’ve come to realize that, even after nearly three years, I have little to no written documentation about my satiation of wanderlust in Europe.

In the autumn of 2006, I traversed the winding and labyrinthine streets of London, studying at Queen Mary during the week, hitting up British culture on weeknights and weekends.

About every third weekend or so, I visited other hotspots of the western side of Eurasia: Paris, Amsterdam (don’t worry, I didn’t do anything bad there), Vienna and Rome.  After London, I’ve decided that Rome was my next favorite city in Europe.  Vienna was very traditional and gave a warming and welcome aura of coziness; Amsterdam was fine, but if you’re not into drugs or prostitution, there’s not much to do (well, not entirely true; I’ll tell you all I did later); and I didn’t really care for Paris as much as I thought I would.

Don’t get me wrong though—Paris was great!  But you can pretty much visit all the touristy areas in less than a week.  It’s all about the French culture that keep people skittering back.

And so, let’s begin with London.

A Collection of Things

b194065696Lately I’ve been in a sort of collecting mood where I take certain hobbies of mine and look for “collectors’ items” that pertain to them. For instance, not too long ago I really got into this book called Bone. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading this hefty graphic novel (I say “hefty” because I’m referring to the One Volume Edition, not the nine separate books), I highly recommend you do so.

The author, Jeff Smith, utilized his childhood doodles (which he named “bone creatures”), borrowed from one of his favorite stories, The Lord of the Rings, and created his own world where three bone creatures—the Bone cousins—are chased out of their hometown by a mob and are stuck in the wilderness. When Fone Bone, the main character of the story, meets with a mysterious young person named Thorn, the three cousins and company stumble upon adventure after adventure, much in the same vein as in Tolkien’s tales. You can visit the website here. And you can also read my take on the book.

Anyway.

I was enamored so much by this wonderfully crafted story that I decided to buy my own copy. And here’s where my recent aficionado-ism comes in with “collector’s items.” After much research, I found out that, back in 2004, Smith released a rare, limited edition run of the One Volume Edition. Only 2,000 copies were made, and each was numbered and signed.

I had to get a hold of one of these bad boys.

After much patience, diligence, and Googling, I finally found one. It was definitely worth every penny, and I am now the proud owner of one of the out-of-print copies.

Bone: One Volume Edition Hardcover

Along the same lines of my “collectors’ items” crap, another of my recent hobbies is Killer Bunnies. When I studied in London back in 2006, I attended a weekend get-away for Christians and, during one of the nights where we just hung out, one of the gals busted out the highly addictive card game.

Three years later I finally bought my own set.

After many months and games, I have finally placed my order for the last expansion.

But some of the cards have been tricky to get a hold of, especially for me since I got into the game late. Of particular mention is the Omega Series. I had gotten most of the series’ cards except for the first four. Well, just recently I finally found the first two excruciatingly rare cards: Bunny’s Eleven and The Djarnak.

Bunny's Eleven & The Djarnak

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of being introduced and addicted to this game yet, these cards wouldn’t probably mean diddly-squat to you. But I recommend you get into the game soon and then maybe you’ll feel the same excitement I did when I got a hold of these two cards!

Nerd out.

P.S.:  If you ever want to play, hit me up! I’m always down for a game, provided I’m not working or studying for graduate school.

What happens at work on a not-so-common Friday afternoon.

The waft of afternoon boredom was intoxicating the very fabric of my inner sanity, numbing the importance of drafting discovery pleadings and ripping apart the sinews of what awareness I had left on a post-meridian Friday.
For the last two hours I have been waging a war against the ever-beckoning quiescence with the fact that I won’t be home till Helios himself whips his horses to their stables.
Alas; another four hours of brazen agony.

“Holy crap,” I thought to myself. “If I have to stare at another piece of legal literature, even so much as a caption, I’m going to think of something drastically morbid to do to myself.”
I switch my eyes nearly 90 degrees (I’m bad at math, so somebody help me out here) and see a pile of backers, the end of which seems to go down deeper than Mariana.
“Well, I really don’t want to waste my life over this; God expects more. So nothing drastically morbid today.”

I rotate my eyes slightly again and see a little orange-green globe on my desk. Thank goodness for my co-worker’s appreciation for vegetables: on my Kleenex box (which I rarely ever use; I don’t believe in germs—it’s all superstitious) rests a Mandarin orange that she gifted me two weeks after she started.

She started in February. Today’s May 29.

For a while I felt bad for not eating it right away and made an effort to some day pry open the rinds of that sweet li’l clementine and taste the succulent nectars within. But when it started to turn green, I thought maybe eating it wasn’t so much of a good idea anymore.

So one day I grabbed a Sharpie and drew little eyes and a mouth on it, and decided to name it Gourdo, after my father.  (Okay, not really after my father.)

One of the eyebrows is slanted, echoing an expression made titular by a certain Hawaiian pro-wrestler. The mouth is half closed, half bared, fully grinning; you know, like in the Ninja Turtle comics?

Then I delved deeper into my inner creativity and mused for some imaginary situations Gourdo could stumble into.
You see, the office life isn’t the most thrilling in terms of things physical, so I thought maybe my little fruit could go on some adventures for me. Thusly, during the night, when all is quiet and asleep, Gourdo secretly comes to life, speaks in a very self-reflective way, and explores the very canyons of a downtown Chicago suite.
The very first of these adventures has him come upon a most monstrous element, the very Leviathan of offices: the copy machine. And do not presume that our copy machine is any standard one. Heck no: ours is the latest and greatest, housing all the special features an office could ask for: a fax machine, an email scanner, COLOR COPIES, and 1001 trays.

And yet, it still has problems. (Don’t they all?)

But to Gourdo, it’s a symbol of treachery; Mr. Xerox (as I’ve come to call it) also comes to life, and pitilessly taunts Gourdo with his booming James Earl Jones voice (but boomier than in Star Wars).
“*Gasp!* Egad! The very bane of my existence!” exclaims Gourdo (or something cliche to that effect). And, in his attempts to show Mr. Xerox who’s boss, causes certain features to malfunction so that, the next day, when Selene goes to her sleeping chambers and the office is brimming with human life once again, one of the legal assistants gets blamed for breaking the copy machine.

I need to think of more interesting stories for Gourdo…

But back to work!