Lost and Found

Posted by Lizzie on Thursday, April 30, 2009
People of the world, our guest blogger for April is Dan. Enjoy!

A lot of people say that “what goes around comes around”—that there is balance in this universe. I like to think that there’s some truth to this mentality. I’m not saying that turning the other cheek when somebody punches you in the face is always in your best interests [they might punch that one, too], but that there’s certainly something to be said for not “burning your bridges.” I would like to reflect upon this phenomenon in the material sense [Karma meets Capitalism. Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Buddha].

Everyone can remember things of theirs which have been lost or stolen, of high or low (sentimental) value, but before you cry about it think of all the sweet things that you’ve found or been given! So you’ve just lost a few million in a Ponzi [Pansie] scheme, depending upon your current relation to the retribution/reward policy of the cosmos…tomorrow UPS could be delivering you a freakin’ talking unicorn that lays golden eggs, packaged in a crate made out of cheesecake [Wikipedia cheese polymers and matrices]. So how do we know where we stand in this cost/compensation equilibrium? Something you might want to know when crossing the street or picking out a hooker.
Don’t worry, I’ve devised a system:

Accessories and articles of clothing: ± 2

Food/drink: ± 1

Vehicles: ± 7

Money: ± 1 (.20 * $ amount)

Furniture, fixtures, equipment: ± 3

Miscellaneous: ± 1

Irreplaceable items: ± 5

Now let’s put it to the test…with my life. For simplicity, I’ll list anything applicable in the order of the above categories.

Accessories and articles of clothing
-2 = +2 -2 -2 Umbrellas
+2 = Green, Fidel Castro-esque hat
+2 = Black, Fender zipper hoodie (a zippie, a zoodie?)
+2 = White headband
-2 = SpongeBob t-shirt
-8 = -2(4) Luggage at Geauga Lake
+10 = +2(5) underestimate of the freebies you can get in Oakland

•Umbrellas pass like they’re batons in a relay race.
•Found the hat in Eddie’s, before it was consumed by the monster that is Market Central.
•I got out of my car. I came back to my car. There was a white headband on the passenger seat???
•Krista Novak stole my shirt.
•A thief stole my swimsuit at Geauga Lake when I was 8. He/she should have spit in my ice cream while he was at it.
•They might as well be shooting t-shirts out of cannons.

-9 = -1(9) people not having money when going out to dinner/use of meals to repay personal debt.
-9 = +1(3) -1 (12) bottles of liquor given to me versus bottles I have given
+30 = +1 (30) gross underestimate of the freebies you can get in Oakland

• “Oh thank you so much for helping me move out—I owe you dinner!”
•OK, so I’ve boozed a lot of people out, BUT somebody recently stole me a bottle of Bombay Sapphire and somebody else gave me a bottle of Absinthe!
•You don’t have to be an active participant in anything to receive cookies, pop, or pizza.

-7 = my orange bike
0 = -7 + 7 Buick Roadmaster

•Somebody stole my bike off my front porch when I was 10. Little did I know much I’d miss that thing when in college.
•My dad needed the car one day while I was swimming at the local pool. So without telling me, he walked there and drove off with it, leaving me with nothing but a towel and sandals.

-4.87 = -1(.20 *$24.37) my last paycheck at Café Sam, because I never wanted to walk in there again
0 = -1(.20 * $268) +1(.20 * $268) my wallet
+4 = +1(.20 * $20)

•I proceeded to work there the following summer.
•My dad thought it’d be funny to break into my car while playing basketball and steal my wallet.
•…and then I found twenty dollars.

Furniture, fixtures, equipment
+12=+3(4) # of rooms I’ve been able to furnish from old people dying
+3 = shower rack that I took from my last apartment which was already there when I arrived
-3 = Lobos Mgmt. disposing the grill on our back porch.

•They’ve gone to a better place (my apartment).
•After it was condemned, I actually went into the empty building to grab it. Then I compared it with other apartment’s racks and took the best one.
•Lobos management stole our grill because it was chained to the wrong side of our porch.

-1 = original Charizard Pokémon card, the one that did 100dmg
-1 = a basketball

•Stolen from my locker in the 5th grade. Enjoy it, you little bastard.
•Writing your name on it doesn’t always work.

Irreplaceable items
-5 = my Diablo II account
+10 = -5 +5 +5 virginity

•For real? Just for a Stone ring of Jordan? Some people have no common decency.
•You’ve only got one, but you can take as many as you please.

OK, so let’s tally up the scores. +4 +12 -7 -0.87 +12 -2 +5 = +23.13
Uh oh, I might be in trouble. Either I have a tendency to dwell on the positive aspects of my life, or my day of reckoning is soon to come. Whatever the case, you can bet that I’ll be living it up in the face of danger, jaywalking, and choosing Candy over Sandy.


4/21 Update

Posted by Lizzie on Monday, April 27, 2009

In case you're a loser like me and care about shit like how Polaroids work:

Instant film may seem like a simple product in the package, but it is actually carefully composed of layers of dyes, emulsions, and developers—everything needed to capture the image, develop the film, stop the developing process, and neutralize any unused chemicals.

It uses the same general principles as the roll of color negatives you put in a regular point-and-shoot camera. A standard color negative has three layers of silver bromide crystals, each sensitive to a particular color (blue, green, or red). When film is exposed, a latent image is formed in each silver bromide layer as light reduces Ag+ ions to Ag.

Instant film contains those same three light-sensitized layers, but below each layer is an oppositely colored hydroquinone-decorated dye. For example, below the blue-sensitive silver bromide layer sits yellow dye, where yellow is the opposite or the "negative" color to blue on the color wheel. Analogously, below the green-sensitive crystals lies magenta dye, and below the red crystals lies cyan dye.

The image is formed through a complex, inverse filtering process: The dyes from unexposed layers are allowed to pass up through to the image layer and combine at the surface. For example, if a blue area is exposed, then no yellow dye can pass through but magenta and cyan can, and the mixing of these two colors forms blue.

After exposure, the film is ejected from the camera, passing through a set of rollers that spread developing chemicals across its surface. One of these developing chemicals is potassium hydroxide, which diffuses downward and reacts with all the hydroquinone-decorated dyes. The resulting dye molecules can then diffuse up through the light-sensitive layers wherever their corresponding silver bromide molecules have not been exposed.

The process ends when the potassium hydroxide reaches the timing layer, in which any leftover base is neutralized. Unexposed silver bromide is then dissolved by other components in the developing solution, including potassium thiosulfate and uracil.

The whole ordeal is finished in a minute or so and—voilà—a photograph is born.

Source: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/science/87/8712sci2.html


Installment 5 of "Songs-That-Make-You-Feel-Better" Sunday

Posted by Ryan R. on Sunday, April 26, 2009
Summer and I have been flirting over the last couple of days and it feels good. Nothing describes it better than Island in the Sun. Now get out there and take over the world or at least your culdesac!

This one goes out to you Rob Steezy! I hope you find your island somewhere out there on the lake.


On Most Days, I Ache For Something Real

Posted by Lizzie on Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I feel another wave of incoherency coming on. That can't be good for the blog.

The most satisfying thing I've done in months was deactivating my Facebook account.

Yes, it was impulsive. But for whatever reason, it felt right. And I haven't had a millisecond of regret so far.

I'm on a mission to simplify my life. And Facebook was part of the excess junk.

In all honesty, I have no idea why I did it. I tried to explain this to Matt. And I really could only hypothesize and take shots in the dark about the specifics.

I guess I just miss when everything was real. I miss actually staying in touch with people instead of resorting to writing inconsequential things on their walls every now and then. I miss talking to people on the phone. I crave physical memories over digital memories. Talking on the phone has become oddly uncomfortable. And I'm not the only one who avoids it. Since when should having a real conversation, actually having to talk to someone in person (even the people you love the most), be awkward? The fluidity of being real with someone is lost.

When you talk to someone in person or on the phone, it is what it is. What you say can't be taken back. It's not always perfect and you can't go back and make it perfect. But this is why it's real. On Facebook, you can delete a sentence five times and try again. But an audible sentence can never really be taken back because it's already been heard.

I just miss when things meant something. When they were unapologetically representative of life. Like Polaroids. I'm compulsively turning all my favorite digital photos into fake Polaroids to capture that quality.

Polaroids are real moments. You can't stop to delete the bad ones and take the picture over again. It is what it is. And to satisfy the foolish impatience in all of us, they almost still count as instant gratification. How long does one take to develop? Minutes. It's instant physical photography.

The difference is that a Polaroid picture is there. It's tangible. It's in your hands. It's been created. You can't make it go away. It's more significant than the insignificant pixels on a memory card.

You take them. You pass them around. People write things on them. People take them home. They become part of your life instead of part of your computer. And I miss that.

The color is always off. The actual picture itself is bad at least half the time. But somehow that imperfection is more real to me than something that was created by a camera that exists to achieve perfection. With a Polaroid, you get what you get. And the memories are preserved just the same.

Maybe it's true that when a picture is digital, everyone gets a copy. But when a picture is a Polaroid, someone gets to have the picture that was physically there when the memory happened.

Somehow it's more than just a representation.

That whole post was dichotomous on so many levels. Being 21 in general is dichotomous on so many levels. I am 12+ serious contradictions a day.

Can I also say that I love Polaroids for their white borders? And framing the shot in a square instead of a rectangle is bliss.


We All Do What We Can. So We Can Do Just One More Thing. We Can All Be Free

Posted by Lizzie on Thursday, April 16, 2009
Third post in a row. I'm desperately vying for Ryan's approval.

The sad news is that it's 90% business without much substance.

We're starting to network and get the word out about this project. My hope is that we can connect with other bloggers and see what happens. I love people. Honest. They fascinate me.

Especially 20-somethings. We're different. But all the same.

I just added this Facebook blog network application called NetworkedBlogs (http://apps.facebook.com/blognetworks/). If you're a blogger or follow blogs, check it out. Facebook applications are kind of sketch so I avoid adding them at all costs, but I'll let you know how this one works out.

I've already found a few new blogs of interest and I'm now following them. I didn't know you could follow blogs until today. Well, actually, that's a lie. I guess I knew you could do it. It just never occurred to me to find blogs to follow. Usually I just bookmark the friend blogs and harrass them about telling me when they update so I don't have to keep checking.

Anyway, it's time to get on this shit and explore the blog universe.

The thing I've been most disappointed about is the fact that a lot of people don't have easy ways to contact them other than commenting on their posts. I'm all about shooting people e-mails. But then again, I'm not sure I'd make my personal e-mail address available either. This is a thank you shout out to Ryan for creating a blog-specific e-mail address for us: Thanks, buddy.

I also stumbled upon (not in the sense that I hit the Stumble! button, but in the sense that I was surfing the internetz and happened upon it) this site for twenty-something bloggers: http://20somethings.ning.com/. I'll be checking that out and seeing what it has to offer in the coming days... if I have time.

April 24th is the day of miracles when my semester officially ends. But until then, I'm dying.

And I'm sure that all the prompts for input get annoying but I always feel like it should be said just in case... If any of you have suggestions regarding getting the word out and/or connecting with other bloggers, drop us a line or comment. :)


Taking The Slack Out Of Slacker

Posted by Lizzie on Wednesday, April 15, 2009
"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

That being said, I'm doing my best to pull my half of the PQLC weight and will now draft my second post in a row.

We're transitioning from PQLC Beta to the real deal. Taking into account feedback from readers and our own musings regarding what works and what doesn't, we're coming up with new ideas and abandoning old ones.

We decided that attempting weekly clockwork consistency regarding the music on Sunday and Monday and MC questions on Wednesday was compromising our basic intentions. It was getting old fast and made us less inclined to post anything with much substance.

I haven't talked to Ryan about this, but perhaps we'll create some kind of supplement which would create an alternative space for our music suggestions so that they can still be accessed for those who are interested. In this way, the idea would survive, but would cease to be an overpowering focus that takes away from the rest of the content.

I did get some decent feedback about the MC questions, but again, they just take up so much space. Perhaps we'll create a reader list and send the MC questions out as weekly e-mails. We're still trying to work this out.

Again, we welcome any feedback you might have. E-mail us at BetterMakeItFast@gmail.com!

In other semi-related news:
Along with our pal Desiree (PQLC's first guest contributor!), we're also heading up a summer book club. We attempted a similar endeavor this winter, but with schedules and academic exhaustion, it never really got off the ground. We're hoping that we can transition Book Clubby out of the beta version and into the real deal as well.

Projects and lost causes seem to be our thing as of late.

Anyway, I'm mentioning this because we're currently in the recruiting phase. Our first (and hopefully only) administrative meeting regarding the potential reading list, time, location, etc. is on Monday, April 27th at the Kiva Han on corner of Forbes Ave. and Craig St. around 7:00PM. So, should the idea of a summer book club spark your interest, do consider attending! We'd be more than welcome to have you and would love your input. Bring a list of any books you may want to read.

In case you're concerned about how legit this shit is, here's a little bio about Desiree and her qualifications for being the primary source of intellectual stimulation as the chief Book Clubby guru.

Desiree, a tender 21-year-old free spirit, is a recent graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, completing a B.A. in English Writing with a concentration in History in December of 2008. Her reading capabilities far surpass those of the average human being, in that she can easily read 5 or more books in one day. With 3.5 years of esteemed college education behind her, she is chock full of literary insight and very skilled when it comes to picking apart written works and providing context and parallels. The knowledge she possesses as a result of being well-read is an element that any book club would be lucky to have. Her personal work is captivating and intuitive, with an engaging and refreshing style that can't be found anywhere else.

Don't let this intimidate you. Our meetings are very relaxed and informal. If you're seeking a pretentious literary organization, look elsewhere!

Just know that should you choose to participate, your time will not be wasted.

So, to wrap things up and curb my tendency to be long-winded (if that can even be curbed), Ryan and I have a lot going on and the more participation from alternative sources (i.e. you) in regard to any of our projects, the better!

Until next time...

Love love love.


Who Wrote Holden Caulfield?

Posted by Lizzie on Monday, April 13, 2009
Ryan's getting on my case about the fact that I haven't updated in a month. This is my formal apology: I'm sorry.

It's true that the only way to fight inconsistency is to force yourself to be consistent. I'll do better, I promise. Especially now that school is almost over. There will be more time for the important things.

And it's not like I don't have blog ideas. I have 10 blog ideas a day because my head spins with thoughts. I just never get around to doing anything about them.

Anyway, the topics that seems to be occupying all my thoughts today are those of life and death. Which are very broad topics. And I have no idea what I'd say about life and death at this point. Other than a summarization of the heart to heart that my sister and I had yesterday pertaining to events on Friday and Saturday. I really can't reiterate this enough: Listen to each other. You can gain a great deal of perspective just by talking to someone. Sometimes you're the one with the broken heart. Sometimes they are.

Boo. Already this blog is very unfocused and vague and confusing and I'm just rambling. Which is why I'm not actually blogging about life and death.

Instead I'll blog about being 21. Or at least being Liz at 21.

(This is probably going to be confusing as hell anyway.)

I'm grown up. I did it in a day. People say that you can't do it in a day, but I did. Maybe I'm not all the way grown up in the sense that I haven't reached full-fledged adulthood, but I've grown out of being a kid. I'm out of the premature quarter-life crisis and I've made it to the happy safe zone before the impending real quarter-life crisis. The calm before the storm?

Anyway, this is partially related to life and death, I guess. Well, it started with death.

After talking with Mary about death things, I realized that I feel like I've done enough that I could die right now knowing that I did something with my life. But I'm only 21. And if I'm feeling this way at such a young age, who knows what the fuck I can actually do. It's weird to feel accomplished at 21. Everything from here on out is just bonus accomplishment. Superfluous accomplishment.

And it's not the kind of accomplishment that's related to school or tangible success. It has to do with people. I feel like I've done good for people on some level. Not that I'm a hero or anything. Because I'm not. I've let a lot of people down. And I haven't done as much as I could have. But it was something.

I guess it just makes me realize that I know what I have to be. And it has nothing to do with the conventional sort of aspirations that most people kind of adopt, I guess. When I was trying to explain all this to Mary, I couldn't think of any way to say it other than I felt like Holden when he's talking about catching kids in the rye. I have to catch people and make sure they're ok.

I guess I'm 21 and I've learned the hard way too many times and lost too many people to not have a decent amount of life understanding and I can use that to help other people. Not that I'm the expert. I still have 60 more years to learn. But I feel that I've already done something even if it was small because I've gained knowledge of some kind and I've put it to good use. I've lived and learned and now I can be better.

And I was pursuing what I needed to do when I didn't even know that it's what I needed to do. Which is proof, I think, that it's who I am.

We're all trying to figure out where we belong in life and what we should be doing and what we want. And I think I feel content and accomplished and satisfied to the point that I know where I belong and what I should be doing and what I want. It's not a specific plan or career choice, but it's who I have to be. And everything else will come together accordingly. Because nothing else really matters as long as I am this.

It's an strange realization when you discover that you were doing something worthwhile when you didn't feel like you were doing anything worthwhile at all.

Maybe maturity is coming up with some kind of definition of what worthwhile means to you.

So, to sum up in a far less confusing way with the help of J.D. Salinger, this is what I am on the 7954th day of my life:

"You know that song 'If a body catch a body comin' through the rye'? I'd like--"
"It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!" old Phoebe said. "It's a poem. By Robert Burns."
"I know it's a poem by Robert Burns."
She was right, though. It is "If a body meet a body coming through the rye." I didn't know it then, though.
"I thought it was 'If a body catch a body,'" I said. "Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around--nobody big, I mean--except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff--I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I'd do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be. I know it's crazy."


Rata Tat Tat...

Posted by Ryan R. on Sunday, April 12, 2009
Life Update! The countdown to the end of the semester is 2 weeks and counting! That's right! I can already taste the freedom and it tastes fantastic! That's a lot of exclamation points but it was essential.

Lets talk about creativity. As time progresses forwards, we begin to lose touch with our imagination and creativity. Unless of course you're an art major, but those people are in the minority right??? This might be due to other priorities in our lives but regardless it's a sad thing to see. Here are some little things you can do to exercise your brain.

1. Hang with some children and color or draw. You might as well go right to the source if you're looking for creativity. Children are oozing with creative juices that it takes piles of paper to soak it up. If you have access to any kids, spend 30 mins or so sharing a Crayon box with them. You might be surprised with what you come up with.

2. Poetry is a great way to connect with your world and also yourself. It doesn't have to rhyme or follow any strict pattern. All you need is a pen and paper to begin jotting things down. Start off shallow with your poetry and try to work deeper. All in good fun :)

3. Arts and Crafts! I mean seriously, who hasn't made an unstable popsicle stick house before? It's time to break out the glue, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, Rhine stones, construction paper, box of knick knacks, whatever you can find really. Bring it all out and start putting pieces together. Nothing pretty here. I grade on effort!

4. Last resort, you can always read a book. Ask around your circle of friends for recommendations. It's better to read an unknown author. Begin expanding your tastes to all kinds of literature. You'll learn a lot from books and can help start conversations!

There are some suggestions to keep you busy and to release all that pent up creativity. If you have any more ideas, please leave them in the comments or send me an email! All you anonymous kids can post now! Don't make me call the riot police though!


Let Us Know How We're Doing!

Posted by Ryan R. on Thursday, April 02, 2009
PQLC has been running along for a little over 2 months now, with its ups and downs. Sometimes you'll fall when trying to walk. We'll been learning from our mistakes and trying to make this blog well written and well received, but we can't do it all by ourselves. I'm asking you, the readers, to drop us a message to tell us how we're doing. Is there something you don't like or think there is something we can do better? Let us know! Our Gmail is: BetterMakeItFast@gmail.com

Thanks for reading and please continue to leave your comments on the entries you've most enjoyed. We love reading them!

Later much!


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