The Brave Little Toaster: A Guide to Life

Posted by Ryan R. on Saturday, February 28, 2009
Our first Guest Contributor to end the fine month of February is the lovely Miss Desiree. Enjoy and seize the day!

Once upon a time, as a young child, a parental unit put forth the VHS story of a young, good-hearted kitchen appliance, struggling to make a place in the cold, harsh House. My life was forever altered.

I’ve always been clumsy. Disgustingly so. When I was a year old, I managed to tumble head over walker down a flight of stairs. No one knows how I managed this daring feat, but my head was cracked open and a puddle of baby blood littered the landing. The point of this anecdote: I’ve been effing clumsy from the beginning.

Lamps have been destroyed, tables skewed, knick-knacks disastrously rearranged. The Brave Little Toaster made me feel guilty for all inanimate objects that I have so horribly abused in the past. From that day on, I vowed to make amends.

Every time I bump into a desk: “I’m sorry, desk.”

A lamp: “I’m sorry, lamp. Dreadfully so.”

The Brave Little Toaster taught me that everything has feelings, even neglected toasters and old vacuum cleaners. These misunderstood, abused creatures deserve respect. It is my mission in life to give it to them. I love Lamp. You should too.

P.S. I suppose you should also love other things, like your friends, your family, and yourself. But those things are secondary and worthy of only passing thought while you never know when your stove might become angry because you didn’t thank it and it then decided to set your house on fire. Or kill you in some other disastrous manner.

P.P.S. When you haven’t slept in days and begin to hallucinate and think that the microwave is giving you the evil eye… well, it probably is.




It's a Love Hate Relationship

Posted by Ryan R. on Friday, February 27, 2009
Another long week down and many more to go. The blog has found its legs and is going strong. Watch for our Guest Contributor tomorrow. I can't believe the month is already over! Whatever you find yourself doing this weekend, enjoy yourselves and be safe. The Friday edition of Repptar's Prehistoric World deals with my love for Monopoly or my love to hate the damn game.

Don't get me wrong or anything, I love board games as much as the next kid. I grew up playing Checkers, Snakes and Ladders, and Guess Who! I even received a giant book of games one Christmas, that you could open to a variety of games. It even had a digital double dice roller! Not only would it stop the use of weighted dice, but also cut down all math skills needed to play. I was a big fan of most board games but there are a few that I love to HATE! Everybody has heard of these games before, they are:
  • Monopoly
  • Risk
  • Clue
This is the Trifecta of board games, these are the ones that have caused much pain and broken strong bonds of friendship. What makes these games so appealing yet so easy to hate once done? Come sit down on the magic carpet, it's story time.

Monopoly can be found in every house in America, whether it be in the closet, under a bed or in the trash can. This is an excellent time killing game that up to 8 people can play!* It lets players become big time business men that try to take control of Atlantic City. Pick a piece (not the Racecar!), roll the dice and hope you land on something good. Sounds like a great game right? Rolling, buying, and making a fortune off Baltic Ave. Well let me tell you, it's the most frustrating game ever created!

I'm all Gung-Ho to play with just the mention of Monopoly. I say, "Sure! Monopoly is great. I get the Racecar!". Every game starts off slow, buying a couple of properties, paying some chump change rent, and passing Go! An hour goes by and the deals start transpiring, this is where the game takes a turn for the worse. I understand this is part of the game, but every once in awhile you get a griefer who will not trade their damn property for anything! I offer them 2 properties and cash, nothing! Then I sweeten the deal with more cash, still nothing! I haven't checked the rule book for prostitution, but have you wondered why they call it free parking?

Dealing with griefers, rolling a couple of bad dice rolls and eventually having to sell your entire estate because you just landed on Boardwalk is an evening filled with enjoyment. As much as you would like to think, there is no strategy in Monopoly! Even if you would like to think there is, it can easily be blown away. It comes down to luck and the people you play with. However, after all this needless grief you can still see me at the table again and again enjoying the misery Parker Brothers calls Monopoly.

I don't feel like talking about the other two games... just re-read this twice substituting Risk for "Monopoly" and Colonel Mustard in the Study for "evening filled with enjoyment".

*If you have eight friends.


Good Work, Kids

Posted by Lizzie on Thursday, February 26, 2009
Which of these subatomic particles has a fractional charge?
a) neutrino
b) photon
c) quark <---- THE ANSWER!!!
d) positron

A neutrino has no charge, a photon has no charge (WTF is a photon? Every time I think about this, it blows my mind), and a positron has a +1 charge.

But a quark has a either a -1/3 charge (down-type) or a +2/3 charge (up-type).

HOWEVER, there's no such thing as a quark by itself. They're always stuck together in the form of hadrons. A quark is an elementary particle and a hadron is a composite particle. Protons and neutrons are hadrons.

All of that is pretty much useless information. I don't know any practical information that might be beneficial some day. I apologize most sincerely.

- http://www.particlezoo.net/
- "Coming of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris (It's slightly outdated because it was published in 1989 or something, but it will still fuck with your head in the best possible way.)
- the LHC
- boys who know a lot about physics because they teach me things and I fall in love


Art Has No Shape or Form

Posted by Ryan R. on Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Growing up I didn't have a wild imagination. I never formed an imaginary friend or believed I lived in a cloud castle. My feet were firmly planted on the ground. My creativity came from my eyes. I took the subtle criss crossing of branches and turned that into a face. The certain way my living room carpet laid was a field in which I could gallop through. Even today I enjoy making pictures out of everyday things around me.

Art has always played a large part in my life and I'm sad that I never pursued it more. I had to let go of art because it didn't afford me the life in which I wanted to lead. I didn't want to be another struggling artist trying to find his niche. I wanted to be able to provide for myself and eventually for a family. Even though I had to let art go, I still respect it a great deal and appreciate what can be accomplished. Heck! Maybe one day you'll see my Macaroni sculptures in the Carnegie Museum of Macaroni Art.

The point of this post was to say never let your passion fall into oblivion. Even though it might not be your main focus, don't let it slip away completely. Set aside time for a scrap drawing, a small Haiku or a short piece on the Piano. Self expression is vital to the balance of life and people do not set enough time aside to do it. You might not be the next Van Gogh, but that shouldn't stop you from trying.


Installment 1 of "Multiple Choice" Wednesday

Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, February 25, 2009
You learn something new everyday. Well, you're theoretically supposed to learn something new everyday. I'm not quite convinced that you actually do. Regardless, PQLC is here to facilitate all your learning needs. Or at least ensure that you learn something new at least once a week. Unless you already know the answer. Then you're on your own.

Which of these subatomic particles has a fractional charge?
a) neutrino
b) photon
c) quark
d) positron

How trivial! Hope you're not too stumped. Stay tuned for the answer, I'll be posting it tomorrow.


Free To The People

Posted by Lizzie on Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Usually I'm not this serious of a person. Or this emotional of a person. Just wait 'til I get my humor back. If i ever get it back. Then you'll be more entertained. I promise.

Usually I walk to school. Unless it's really cold. Except that I did walk that one morning when it was -5 but "feels like" -22 or whatever. Stupid stupid stupid. Anyway, yesterday I was too tired for the 15 minute walk, so I hopped on a 71A.

I love public transportation. You interact with people. All different kinds of people. It's very life-affirming. People are beautiful when you really stop to realize it. All the good things and bad things. This wasn't the first time I've had a very human experience on a PAT bus.

I sat next to this guy. He asked me if I knew what time it was. I told him it was 10. He asked me if the library was open, because that's where he was headed. I told him that I thought it was. Then he told me that some libraries weren't open on Monday. I reassured him that this one was. Then I asked him what he was going to the library to get. And he said books. And I kind of smiled on the inside and maybe the outside too and I asked what kind of books. He said he didn't know. He just wanted to go in and learn something. OMFG, I DIED. It was the most beautiful thing I've heard in a week.

Then he asked me if I was on my way to school. And I said yes. And he asked me what I was studying and I told him. Then he asked me why I was studying psychology. Nobody ever asks questions about the political science part. Only psychology.

So then I told him that I didn't know. And this is what I usually tell people and then I follow up the answer with an explanation about how Pitt doesn't have a minor and I had too many credits not to just keep going and get the major. But this time, I just told him that I didn't know and stopped at that and a tear rolled down my face. I cried in public. Again.

It used to be that if you wanted to get tears out of me in public, you'd have to drill down for days with the latest and greatest technology known to mankind. So it never happened. But now it's like one scoop of dirt and the underground waterfall spills out.

It was only one tear though. I said I was sorry (for the tear). And he told me not to worry. That no one really knows anything. And that you just have to know to keep going.

And all of that was from a stranger.

And I think that for the rest of my life I'll remember the time I cried on the 71A, in front of a stranger, and he told me that it was going to be ok. And that helped me more than anything probably could have that day.

I think we should cry in front of each other more often.


Music Monday!

Posted by Ryan R. on Monday, February 23, 2009
Every Monday I'm going to be keeping it fresh by introducing you all to new artists or bands swept up by the Sands of Time. For the first week of Music Monday, lets do a throwback to some Lifehouse!

Lifehouse is a rock band best known for their hit single, "Hanging By a Moment". They have released four albums over the course of their career.
  • No Name Face
  • Stanely Climbfall
  • Lifehouse
  • Who We Are
No Name Face jumped started their career and Who We Are continues to bring the hits. Lifehouse is great for listening at home, jamming in the car or for inclusion into your Sex Playlist. All 4 albums rock from beginning to end and you don't feel cheated what so ever. First time listeners and old fans alike, go and experience Lifehouse right now!


Godspeed All The Bakers At Dawn

Posted by Lizzie on Sunday, February 22, 2009
Housekeeping: Des is our first guest contributor. Be on the lookout for that next Saturday. :)

So I'm in Hillman waiting for stuff to print out and I have a few extra hours to kill (because it takes that long to get your print outs in this godforsaken library), and so here's a short commentary on a subject that has a lot to do with our premature quarter-life crises.

It's about knowing who you are and sticking to that.

I think we can all agree that we're still working out our identity issues and that we're going to get another round of identity issues when we actually do hit our real quarter-life crisis. However, I think we can also agree that we're experiencing less identity conflict than we did, say, 4-7 years ago. We've already lived, and learned, and made mistakes... to an extent. And through all of that, we've gathered more information about who we are and what we want and what we have a tendency to do and feel. It's not a complete shot in the dark anymore.

Don't just throw that all away. If you're prone to ignoring that just because you don't think you entirely have it all together, things are going to get messier than they already feel. It's ok (and even encouraged) to push yourself beyond the limits of who you think you are. However, there's a difference between healthy experimentation and reckless abandon.

Having just emerged from 5 months of reckless abandon, I can honestly say that if you pretend to be something you're not just because you want to be something else, you're going to be more unhappy in the end.

In short, you know what's right for you. Or at least you have a more accurate (even if slightly flawed) idea of who you are and what's right for you than other people do.

Listen to yourself first and stay away from overrationalizing. Stick to what you feel. If something doesn't feel right, don't try and explain away why it doesn't feel right. Either wait until it does feel right or try something that already feels right.

This isn't to say that you shouldn't make yourself uncomfortable. You should make yourself uncomfortable. It's how you grow. But at the same time, don't just ditch everything you've ever learned for the purposes of learning something else. There's a healthy balance. Work to acheive that healthy balance.

And consider the opinions of the people you've known the longest and who you trust the most. Because they probably know you the best and can help you determine what qualifies as healthy experimentation and what qualifies as reckless abandon.

In sum:
First, listen to yourself.
Second, bounce some ideas off the people who are likely to know you the best.
Third, don't be tempted to believe the opinions of people you don't really know that well when it comes to what's best for you.

The third one was kind of implied from the first and second.

And don't give in to the pressure of the situation. Take your time. If you feel that the situation is time-sensitive and you don't have enough space to figure things out, then don't follow through with whatever it is you think you want and/or have to do. That's a situation where it's guaranteed to be wrong (Can I get a "WHAT THE FUCK AM I DOING IN COLLEGE?" amen?).

It's really crucial to try and avoid being an idiot. Because not only do you hurt yourself, but you hurt other people too. Do as little damage as possible. The worst feeling in the world is wanting to say you're sorry when the other person doesn't want to listen.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, don't be discouraged when you fuck this up. We all fuck up. A lot. I like to think that it's just because we're young and inexperienced. But perhaps it's just because we're people. And we're not going to fuck up any less as we get older. We're just going to fuck up in different ways.

Love each other. Help each other. We all need someone to hang on to at some point. Make sure that people know they can count on you to be there when the mistakes have been made. And make sure that you have people to count on when your mistakes have been made, also.

And speaking of balances, I think my next blog is going to be on finding a happy balance between school and life. But really, I'm definitely no expert so that might be a bad idea.


Installment 1 of "Songs-That-Make-You-Feel-Better" Sunday

Posted by Lizzie on Sunday, February 22, 2009
I love the Beach Boys. I really do. Don't hate. This song will make you calm your inner turmoil. I promise.


Tee Gee Eye Eff!

Posted by Ryan R. on Friday, February 20, 2009
Wow! What a busy week it has been. I've been shoveling piles of papers and dealing with deadlines all week without getting a minute to rest. The PQLC is finally up and Liz and I are busy making this the best thing since candy on a necklace. Lets get on to the good stuff!

After a week of work, school or bullshit, or all 3, Friday is the start of a long hazy weekend for most of us. I'm pretty fond of lists, so here are some alcoholic and non-alcoholic ways to unwind.

1. Dress to impress, grab a lady friend and head down to your nearest bar dancing establishment. Nothing cleanses your system like dancing and sweating up against a creepy guy.

2. Plan a mixer party, filled with an evening of Martinis, laughs, and plenty of photos you can blackmail your friends with. Put the price of admission as a bottle of liquor or mixer and let the good times roll! or shake!

3. Go out and get a recreational game of bowling or billiards going. I know we all like to think we can bowl a perfect game or run the table like a pool shark. You can make things interesting by putting a little cash on the line. Just make sure the winner buys the next round of beer.

3. The fallback for everybody is of course the South Side! Crawl, Stumble and Pass Out! Just make sure to bring a responsible friend who will watch stop you from making an ass out of yourself. HAHAHA I just said responsible.

Now go forth children, exercise your right to drink. Screw Prohibition!


Trade The Cash For The Beef For The Body For The Hate

Posted by Lizzie on Thursday, February 19, 2009
Part I: A Bit Of Housekeeping
1) We have our layout up and running. There are still a few minor things to be worked out. Ryan's on it.
2) Sometime soon we'll be taking submissions for a guest contribution from one of our BFFs. It's going be published on the last day of the month. More about that later when the deadline approaches. But this is just a heads up to start thinking about if you're interested or not. Tell other people who might be interested. I know you all have an internal blog entry that's just dying to get out.

Part II: A Math Proof Is A Terrible Thing To Waste
Today while I was cutting across a parking lot on my way to work, I witnessed a guy get a stack of papers blown out of his hands. That only happens in the movies, right? No, I saw it happen for real. The poor guy was distraught so I helped him gather his math proof. I'm hoping it was a groundbreaking theory. I feel like my existence is more validated than usual today because I stumbled upon a chance to help someone out. It was a minor thing and only took a minute or two, but honestly, it was probably the most worthwhile thing I've done in a week. Books don't care if you read them, papers don't care if you write them, bottles don't care if you paint them, but people care when you help them out. And of course there's the altruistic side of it, where you genuinely do want to help someone out, but there's also that feeling that a part of you was part of this. Absalom, Absalom sums it up better:

"Yes," Judith said. "Or destroy it. As you like. Read it if you like or don't read it if you like. Because you make so little impression, you see. You get born and you try this and you don't know why only you keep on trying it and you are born at the same time with a lot of other people, all mixed up with them, like trying to, having to, move your arms and legs with strings only the same strings are hitched to all the other arms and legs and the others all trying and they don't know why either except that the strings are all in one another's way like five or six people all trying to make a rug on the same loom only each one wants to weave his own pattern into the rug; and it cant matter, you know that, or the Ones that set up the loom would have arranged things a little better, and yet it must matter because you keep on trying or having to keep on trying and then all of a sudden it's all over and all you have left is a block of stone with scratches on it provided there was someone to remember to have the marble scratched and set up or had time to, and it rains on it and the sun shines on it and after a while they don't even remember the name and what the scratches were trying to tell, and it doesn't matter. And so maybe if you could go to someone, the stranger the better, and give them something--a scrap of paper--something, anything, it not to mean anything in itself and them not even to read it or keep it, not even bother to throw it away or destroy it, at least it would be something just because it would have happened, be remembered even if only from passing from one hand to another, one mind to another, and it would be at least a scratch, something, something that might make a mark on something that was once for the reason that it can die someday, while the block of stone can't be is because it never can become was because it cant ever die or perish..."

Anyway, when someone gets a stack of papers blown out of their hands and across a parking lot, and after frantically running around trying to collect them all, aren't you supposed to meet this person in the middle to return the papers, make eye-contact during the exchange, and fall in love at first sight? It didn't happen. It's true that papers get blown away. Movies don't lie. But it's not true that you fall in love as a result. Movies do lie.

Part III: David After Dentist

This video summarizes existence and the actuality of being. Backwards and in 2 minutes.

Dad: How did it go?
David: I didn't feel anything.

David: Is this real life?
Dad: Yeah, this is real life.
David: Ok, now... ok, now I... I have two fingers.
Dad: Good.
David: Now, four fingers.
Dad: Four fingers?

David: I can't see anything.
Dad: Yes, you can.

Dad: Stay in your seat.
David: [epic yell]

David: I f--I feel funny. Why's this happening to me?

David: Is this going to be forever?
Dad: [laugh] No. No, it won't be forever.

Now, put it in reverse, substitute You/Me for David and God for Dad. I personally don't believe in God, but to me, the concept of God translates into a universal force of existence. Kind of like a fate force, but not really. Regardless, insert whatever you want. Make it personal. It's a journey. The journey of your life.


You/Me: Is this going to be forever?
God: [laugh] No. No, it won't be forever.

(Life-burnout begins at an early age and God/The Universe just laughs)

You/Me: I f--I feel funny. Why's this happening to me?

(Helplessness, befuddlement. Wanting to know why you're subjected to all of this)

God: Stay in your seat.
You/Me: [epic yell]

(C'mon people... who hasn't felt that before? The restraint, the confusion, the unknowing --> WTF angst yell)

You/Me: I can't see anything.
God: Yes, you can.

a: God's lying to you and you're right. There's nothing there to see. You can't see. There are no answers. You're eternally in the dark. And something in you says, "No, this can't be right," and you get some kind of reassurance. Reassurance that you can see, that there's a point, a light at the end of the tunnel, even when there isn't actually a point or a light at the end of said tunnel. This reassurance confuses you for the remainder of your existence. Because you were right the first time. But led to believe that you weren't.
b: You really can see, even though you think you can't. And you're almost there. You've almost made it! With a little encouragement and support you've almost achieved enlightenment!)

You/Me: Is this real life?
God: Yeah, this is real life.
You/Me: Ok, now... ok, now I... I have two fingers.
God: Good.
You/Me: Now, four fingers.
God: Four fingers?

(After being either unfixably misled or almost getting to the point of understanding, you're forced to come to some kind of conclusion about what exactly this is. You ask the all-encompassing question. The response is either a lie or more reassurance. You arrive at an answer you're happy with. You actually found the answer or you believe you've found the answer, and either way is good enough. As long as you believe it, the effect is the same. BUT WAIT! Oh no. Is that true? Is the answer something else? How can I be sure? I'm so confused. I thought I knew, but maybe I didn't. What about this alternative? What is reality? What is anything anymore? A/n: This part could also more literally represent old age dementia where you actually do just completely lose your marbles and think that you're holding up four fingers instead of two)

Right Before Death

God: How did it go?
You/Me: I didn't feel anything.

(No explanation needed)



'Cause It's My Show, You Can't Tell Me What To Do

Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Who?: Ryan and Liz

What?: A blog

Where?: The internetz

When?: Now... until we quit or someone hacks it

Why?: Ryan's lady-friends were complaining about not having enough ways to stalk him

How? Magic


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