December 22nd, 2005


How did I get on this subject? Ugh.

Here's a generation gap thing for you:

T had to go back to his mother's family home in Munford (with an "n"), TN to attend his uncle's funeral, or as he puts it, "had to take a couple days off and do the dead-uncle thing."

It was one of those traditional open-casket affairs with a separate "viewing," service, and interment.  When they got to the cemetery, the huge over-built oak casket was lowered into what his relatives said was a very expensive copper sarcophagus or vault or whatever.

His family religion (Assembly of God, I believe) subscribes to the same belief that most of my older relatives hold that Jesus will need to know where the body is so that he can resurrect it when He comes again and that the body needs to be intact.  In fact, T's mother considers cremation an abomination.

When my grandmother was explaining to me once why they bury people in lead or concrete vaults, I asked her what happens to people like soldiers who were blown to bits in the trenches in World War I where no trace of their bodies were ever found.  She said not to worry, that the Lord would take care of everything.  Of course, I had to ask why, if the Lord could find all the pieces in one instance, he couldn't do so in another.  Aren't we putting limits on the Almighty here?  Her reply was something along the lines of, "Yes, He can do anything, but if we intentionally make extra work for Him, He's not going to be as happy with us as He would be otherwise."  I let it drop.

The point is that pretty much everyone I know anywhere near my own age wants to be cremated when they go.  My personal preference would be for them to use any organs that are usable, let Med students practice on the rest, then grind up what's left and use it for fertilizer.  I realize that cremating the final residue is probably as close as the law will allow.  I do not want some semi-preserved, twisted, dried out facsimile of myself lying around for four hundred years.

There was a truly hideous tale on PBS the other night in which they were exhuming the body of some guy who was rumored to have been a patron of Shakespeare's.  There's a group that believes that most, if not all, of Shakespeare's stuff was written by Christopher Marlow in exile after he "faked" his death in order to escape a bunch of spies and government officials who wanted him out of the picture.  This group suspects that Shakespeare's "patron" was really a go-between who received the plays, sonnets, and whatever else from Marlow and either gave them to a real Shakespeare who published them under his own name or published them under the name of a totally fictitious Shakespeare.

Anyway, they thought that this patron guy might have been buried with some papers that would prove that Marlow wrote Shakespeare's work.  The guy was buried in a lead vault four hundred years ago.  When they opened it, his remains had liquefied and stayed that way the whole time.  Ick!!!  He was nothing but soup.  The lead, because of its weight and malleability, had apparently formed an air-tight chamber in which the anaerobic bacteria did what they could then chemical decomposition took over until an equilibrium was reached where nothing was going to decompose further and nothing could escape, not even water vapor so that the whole mess would dry up.  Needless to say, they found no papers.  See what I mean?

I suppose even an amateurish attempt at embalming might prevent the soup scenario, but Jeez!  I would rather be nothing but a memory (or not even) than end up a grotesque reminder of the impermanence of the human body.


Bumpity, bumpity, bloop . . .

This morning I went up to the recording studio where Augé works to snag a couple of Buckarettes CDs to give as Christmas gifts and when I was finished my truck wouldn't start.  It started without a hitch at 9:00 and wouldn't turn over at all at 11:00.  So I spent most of the day in that lovely space of finding a garage that could look at it today (luckily it's a highly recommended place as well), getting it there and getting a rental car.  T's MG is on the fritz, so I can't borrow his truck this time cuz he needs it his own self.  The good news is that it is the starter and only the starter, so they can have it ready tomorrow.

It's actually good that it happened during Non-Denominational Winter Festival break and not during school.  It's got 140,000 miles on it and this will be its third starter.  That's par for the course, I guess.  The clutch lasted over 130,000 miles, which amazed me.  I just don't need any really serious car problems till I finish school, thanks anyway.

. . .

I have to e-mail Sandia Man a finished version of the help file for his database, get maybe two more Christmas gifts, get them all wrapped, and then I don't have to do anything till January 9th.

Crap, I forgot I have to get books on order for next semester.  That's always a pain.  I try to buy used ones on the cheap over the inter net and making sure they are the right edition and everything can be a challenge.  Used book sellers tend to wonder why you care, but I sat next to a girl in a math class once who had an odd edition of the book and her page numbers didn't match the teacher's page numbers and most of the homework problems were there but numbered differently.  I'd just rather not deal with the added aggravation.  They actually added three chapters in the middle of the latest edition of our C++ book which made it even more confusing for those with earlier editions.

I, of course, have my traditional Christmas Vacation To-Do List.  Had 23 items on it of which 18 remain.  Fifteen of them no one else would know if I ever did or not.  I have a truly lousy track record with Christmas Vacation To-Do Lists.  I swear, I never completed a single task on some of them.

Last year I had the Portfolio Project From Hell, which was nearly a year late and the College was breathing down my neck to get it done.  So I did it.  Reluctantly.  And got sidetracked innumerable times in the process because I didn't want to do it, but I simply had to do it.  I'd make a good mule.  Or at least what people expect of a mule.

. . .

In other news, grades are in and they're all good.  Trying to maintain a relatively spotless GPA was sort of a game, but now that I'm toying with the idea of a graduate program, it's actually taken on some real importance.  I'm just thinking that, coming out of a mediocre school, you don't want a mediocre GPA.  Most of these graduate programs say, at least in their literature, that they don't even want to talk to anyone with less than a 3.0.  And I'm assuming they mean a 3.0 from a recognized program.  Hell, I don't know.  I could be full of shit, but like I've said before, what the hell else do I have to do?

Goof off, I guess.  I love to goof off.  Hopefully, I'll get that out of my system before the shit reenters the fan on January 9th.

We'll see, I'm sure.  Whether we want to or not.