The Cool-Suck list!
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is this your first time?
We all know about orientation. Orientation is that boring, pointless,
stupid activity that occurs during that first day at your new college.
What happens is, they round up all you incoming freshmen and have you follow
along behind so-and-so, some fat guy who walks you around campus and shows
you where everything is. "This is the Cafeteria," says the fat guy. "You
eat here." Continuing... "This is the Library. This is where all the books
are."....."This is the computer lab. It has computers in it." Et cetera.
That's if your lucky. If you're not (I wasn't), you get what's called
the Extended Orientation, alternatively known as the Instant Death Freshman
Torture Experience. Mine lasted five days. During the first week of school,
before they even bothered to start classes, TSU freshmen were subjected
to everything from hours of lectures such as "Setting Your Goals For 2000"
to an in-the-gym activity in which everybody takes off one shoe, throws
it into a large shoe pile in the middle of the gym, picks another out of
the pile at random, and tries to find its owner. Yeah. That's exactly what
I'm paying $15,000 a year for. I want to throw one of my shoes, which BTW
look exactly like about 50 other peoples' shoes, into a pile with several
hundred other sweaty, stinky shoes, wait awhile so they all absorb each
others' odor, then pick up someone else's shoe and bring it to them.
To this day, I'm still not completely convinced that both the shoes
I'm wearing right now are indeed mine. A LOT of people wear black Airwalks,
Mealtime for me is arguably the most important aspect of any day (excluding,
of course, certain calorie-burning activities involving the opposite sex).
That's where the school cafeteria comes in. After a hard day of classes,
there's nothing like coming to the cafeteria for some nice delicious....whatever
that stuff is. To be very honest with you, you're not going to like what
they give you in the cafeteria. Now, that's not to say the food is necessarily
unsafe to eat, heck, it's probably better for you than the crayons
you ate as a kid or that 'nontoxic' Elmer's glue. It's not going to be
moving or making any sort of animal noises when they schlop it on your
plate. (And in any event, the cowbell (or saddle, as the case may be) will
have been removed at this point.) But there's quite a bit of difference
between the food being dead, and being identifiable. You
will notice yourself coming through the line quite often and saying, I'd
like a bit of this, some of that stuff, and a few of these
things over here.... It's not often that you'll reference the food by name,
e.g. "steak", but by type ("meat"), attribute or function ("that sticky
stuff that holds the peas together") or, more often, color. "Gimme one
of those brown things." . You're really going to look forward to those
long weekends where you can go home and get a real, home-cooked meal. (Even
though some kids' moms don't cook anything much better than the school's
cafeteria does, it's still the thought that counts.) And if you can't get
home for the weekend (for example, home is in Pakistan) the Taco Bell down
the street always serves well as a surrogate mom. Hey, at least whatever
you buy there won't look so much like cat vomit.
It's the middle of Math class. But not just any
math class. PRECALC. You're a college freshman who took calculus last year
in high school, made a few little mistakes on your college placement exam
and got kicked back to Trig/Precalc. The professor is busy trying to teach
the fat girl in the first row, again, what a graph is. "X Axis.
Y Axis. Origin. Do you guys all know what a quadrant is, or should I explain
it again?" You apparently nodded off for a few seconds...minutes...periods...because
you spasm awake just in time to see the professor explain how to reduce
a fraction. You remember hearing him say, "Naaah, let's do something a
little simpler." Muffled sniggers and a voice from the back of the room:
You have come to the understanding that this
class is a hopelessly pointless Waste of Your Time. You pass the time the
best way you can, by playing games on your graphing
calculator. Your matte black TI-85 calls out to you, begging to be
played with. "Jut one quick game of Tetris," it says, "Come on, it'll be
fun." After a few minutes..no..seconds of cajoling from your calculator,
you're heavily engrossed in a deathmatch round of Dr. Mario with the guy
next to you. The prof apparently doesn't notice all those little black
wires stretched between desks, linking opponents in multiplayer winner-take-all
deathmatches. And so it continues, day in, day out. Until....
"I love Breakout...dink, donk, dink, donk...woah.....waiiiit
a minute, what's going on here....oh no...this isn't happening......no.....No....NOOOOOOOOOOO!..."
"My damn batteries!"
Now, no graphing calculators that I have seen
use any kind of standard battery type. Mine for example uses triple-A size
batteries. As far as batteries go, 'AA' is like the everpresent dust mite,
while 'AAA' is more like a Dodo bird. You can't go rob some new 'AAA's
out of your Walkman or the cushions of your sofa. Getting these wierd-o
batteries involves an arduous trek in search of them (for a lazy college
freshman like yourself, the 15-minute drive to Walmart is an arduous trek).
So that leaves you with no hope save for The Bookstore, a rapacious in-school
establishment that is not really part of the school at all, but a money-leeching
corporate snakepit disguised as a benevolent here-to-help-you establishment.
And of course, they carry 'AAA' batteries. For $8.95 apiece. They know
you'll be needing them. After all, who do you think was in charge of hiring
all those boring professors? And rewriting the entrance exam in Japanese?
And making sure that Zshell and all the best calc games were always
readily availible? Duh.
Sometimes it makes you wonder if they even want
your money. Or if they think your college experience is just one big
joke intended for their amusement. My first day, after class, I went down
to the school's bookstore to pick up my necessary assortment of $80 hardcover
paperweights. Why after classes, and not before? Because that's the smart
thing to do, so I had been told, wait and see if your professor says anything
like "I never ever use this book, so don't even bother buying it..."...So
there I was. Armed with only the blank check Mom gave me just before we
parted. "No problemo", I had thought to myself as I confidently strolled
into the bookstore (the BS for short)... I was wrong. When I presented
my schedule to receive my necessary paperweights and doorstops, the result
was instantaneous. "Sold out, back-ordered, sold out, sold out..." I left
with only three books. A spiral-bound writing guide, a 36-page spiral-bound
lab manual, and a psychology book. They extracted well over a hundred clams
out of me that day.
I kept checking back every day for the sold-out
books..."Hey, do you have any of these in yet?" Nope. "Hey, do you have
any of these in yet?" Nope. "Hey, do you have..." I sent out a request
by email, looking for used books from upperclassmen. The TSU email system
has a convenient 'mailto' address that spams all students simultaneously
with whatever message you address to it. I hate spam, but hey, desperate
times and all. @ALLSTUDENTS Hey, are you willing to sell any of these....".
The result? About 10 offers for the chemistry book I bought off the guy
in the room below me a few minutes after I sent the email, and about 500
"Don't spam me" flames. My English grade still taking a nosedive due to
the book assignments I couldn't do because I had no book, the Bookstore
Bastards finally got in all the necessary paperweights, one every few days
or so, so that I could complete my collection and actually have something
to study from. Now I have something better to do than work on this crappy
In math today we relearned the Quadratic equation.
I beat my high score playing Tetris.
Come to think of it, I probably beat the programmer's
high score too. Moving right along...
Whoever said "There's more than corn in Indiana",
lied. Therefore, it's up to the school to provide weekly entertainment
for several hundred bored, unruly collegiate smart@sses with nothing better
to do. Today they had a pair of those virtual-reality things parked on
the lawn in front of one of the residence halls. This was a big event that
they'd been hyping since the first day of school: Virtual Pac-Man. Think
about it. All this time I thought the whole reason we invented virtual-reality
in the first place was to get away from games like Pac-Man. Pretty
soon they'll come out with a version of "Pong" so real, YOU are the paddle
and you play on a REAL field. Wait a minute--they've already invented that,
it's called tennis.
Which brings me to Welles Theatre. It's, well,
a theatre. It's a room in one of the buildings (since you probably don't
go to this school, you probably don't really care which one) with a bunch
of padded chairs overlooking a stage and retractable projection screen.
It always strikes me as funny whenever I walk in there, that the seats
in the theatre are equipped with those little flip-up armdesks just like
in the lecture halls. It must be so the drama club can re-enact "The Rocky
Horror Picture Show" while the undergrads take notes.
The neat thing about Welles Theatre is, about
twice a week or when Student Senate scrounges enough money out of their
sofas for a laserdisc rental, it's free movie night for all TSU students.
At the time of this writing (which would be, uh, right now) the last movie
I saw in there was "The Wedding Singer" starring Adam Sandler. It was a
unique role for Sandler to say the least; an entire movie without once
using the word "masturbate".
If there's one thing I like about the theatre
it's the sound system. It's got what I like to call "no-see-um" speakers,
because you don't see 'um. (Probably makes it harder to steal the things
that way...ask Phi Beta Epsilon what happened to them last night,
I'll give ya three guesses...) You do, however, feel 'em. I mean really
feel 'em. These are those man eating monster-bass guys that can cause cracks
in the foundation and launch any watermelon inadvertently dropped into
the speaker cone a distance of no less than 50 feet. Maybe that's why free
movie night is so popular. Come for the free movie, stay for the free butt
Precalc isn't the only boring, waste-of-time class there is. Sometimes
you get those professors, you know, the ones who teach you everything
but what you're there to learn? I've got this Psychology class like that.
Last class where the prof actually taught (as opposed to springing
a chapter test on us) before today, he gave an hour-long lecture on How
To Turn Your Unborn Fetus Into A Star Athelete. He went on to complain
about how he broke his back during football practice when he was 13, affecting
his growth, and now one leg is three inches longer than the other.... Today's
lessons involved light wavelengths, quanta (explained as "light packets"),
the history of the decibel scale...the number 10-7 came up a
time or two...
And all this time the prof would keep reminding us how much we were
learning in his class. "Today," he said, "you've just gotten the equivalent
of an entire semester of Physics." Another time, it was "Eight weeks of
anatomy." I'm still waiting for that whole credit-hour of Psychology
that I was promised.
The one time we actually learned something was in the first couple
days of class. The brain, the endocrine system, nervous system and what
those various lobes of grey stuff in our heads do. That was probably just
as boring as the thing about teaching your 6-month-old baby how to swim.
Or the decibel scale. At one point we were learning about the processes
involved in sleep. Well, about half of us were. The other half were demonstrating
Showers and 'morning wood'
I'm bringing up this topic because it's come up for me (so to speak) several
times in the past few days. What to do with a morning wood? I'm sure all
you guys out there have experienced the morning wood phenomenon (for the
women--guys often wake up in the morning with an erection, it's called
'morning wood'). When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is
go for my shower. Since there are no showers in the dorm rooms, this involves
trudging sleepy and bleary-eyed to the john, where there is a room full
of showers. I normally wake up about 45 minutes before classes, allowing
for 25 minutes to shower, shave, get ready and all that, and 20 minutes
to run down to the cafeteria to get breakfast. The timing works out just
perfectly, considering all the time gobbled up in the trekking from my
dorm to the cafeteria, and about a 10 minute walk/jog to the building where
my first class is.
So there you are, with this perfectly-timed morning routine that affords
you the maximum amount of sleep while not ending up late for class. You
wake up one morning and come to the realization that you've got a case
of morning wood. Now what? You can't go into the shower room with an erection.
Ya just don't do that. Think about it, you're in a room full of wet, buck-naked,
soapy men...and you have a boner. I'll give you three guesses what the
new rumor around campus is going to be. (And, incidentally, you will probably
receive a beatdown unlike any beating you have ever experienced...)
So your only option is to stay in your room and wait until you lose
your erection. Which is not as easy as it sounds. What you're doing is
trying to occupy yourself in any way possible to kill time while at the
same time trying not to think about it? That pretty much rules out looking
at Penthouse while you wait. But of course you realize, trying to not
think about a boner you are desperately trying to lose is like trying not
to think about a pink elephant. (You just thought about a pink elephant,
didn't you? See what I mean?) Your though process is centered around how
much time you are losing due to your morning wood..."When is this sucker
going to go back down? Have I lost the erection enough that I can go into
the shower room without people thinking I've got one?"...
Then you've decided that the erection has subsided enough that you can
go take your shower. You open your door and begin walking toward the showers.
No matter what kind of clothing you are wearing, be it boxers, briefs,
or just a towel, it is going to create some sort of friction when you walk.
You probably know the result of this, which explains why you see someone
step out of their dorm in a bath towel, walk 10 or 15 paces down the hallway,
stop, turn around and go back to their room. Something tells you, "This
guy is going to be late to class for sure."
You can *not* plan for morning wood. It is a seemingly random occurance
with neither rhyme nor reason. And I know what you're thinking: Set your
alarm back 15 mins. or so to compensate for time spent waiting for erections
to subside? Well you know how time is money? In college, sleep is money.
It's a precious commody, and many people spend a great deal of time optimising
their daily schedules to eke the most extra sleep minutes out of their
too-damn-busy days. Since you don't know on what days you will have an
occurance of morning wood, many days it will not be an issue and you will
have wasted 15 minutes of perfectly good sleep time. Think of it as losing
$15. You will be much more prone to falling asleep in class, remembering
less, and miserably failing any pop test thrown at you that day.
You know, the people who invented Viagra are filthy stinking rich now.
If only someone (me, perhaps) were to invent "Unviagra"...
Sex & Candles
I just turned 18. You know what that means? If I meet this girl and she's
only 17, we talk talk talk etc. and one thing leads to another and it comes
to pass that I 'get a little', it's statutory rape. I've just lost a significant
portion of the market share. And being that the ratio at TSU is something
like 4 guys to every girl, this is very grim news indeed. Being 18 sucks.
Another year older, you still can't buy beer...about the only door 18 opens
for you is the ability to buy pornography. And all things considered, that's
really gonna come in handy.
I can't speak for all us men, but I do know one thing: the guys
in my dorm are total slobs. You'll see the trash in the hallways, garbage
bins spilling over 'cause some idiots just don't realize that there is
a limit to how high you can stack a pile of garbage coming out the top
of an overfilled bin... but the most sure-fire way to tell we have slobs
in the building is a walk into the men's room. A few days ago I was taking
a shower in there...there are these lights in the shower room with the
glass dome over them, you've probably seen these things in some movie before
(on a submarine or whatever)...anyway, some jackass had broken one of these
things, dome, bulb and all, and neglected to clean up the shards of glass
from the floor. I mean the least he could have done is kicked them into
the corner where nobody would step on them...I wasn't injured, but I could
just picture guys walking out of there holding their feet, and trying hard
not to drip blood on each other's towels.
Then there are the toilets. You have three stalls which contain your
basic standard-issue toilet (as opposed to a urinal), and it's always like
a sort of reverse game show; you have your choice of "door #1, door
#2 or door #3" and the objective is to choose the one that disgusts you
the least. It's sort of like..."Door #1: Dribbles all over the seat....let's
try Door #2...floater alert! Moving right along....Door #3...disgusting
inch-deep puddle on the floor, God only knows how it got there (did someone
overflow the toilet, or forget it was there?)...hm, decisions decisions..."
Nothing worse than stepping in there only to find that someone has left
their load in the toydee, not bothering to give the stuff a proper burial-at-sea.
And you know, maybe it's just some psychological thing but I for one am
not too crazy for the idea of flushing someone else's turds. Then of course
you're sitting there, the whole time thinking "Man, just a few minutes
ago some other dude's turds were bobbing happily in the bowl just inches
below my ass." And of course it takes a minimum of 30 min. for the stink
to clear out once you flush 'em anyway. A car air freshener 'dies' a couple
weeks to a month after you put it up. But there's something about a turd,
it just never seems to lose its potency.
Shitty School Newspapers
Speaking of turds, I have to bring up the school newspaper. Sorry to say,
it sucks. The writerz doant no how to spel, the jokes bite donkey ****s,
the text tables run into each other so there are words on top of words,
or on top of pictures, or pictures that cover over half the article, etc.
Today's issue read like Nazi propoganda literature, with 'independant editorials'
about the new school social worker that was hired, how nice she
is, how she's Here To Help You and all that. I understand the importance
of persuading students who might need the help of a social worker to not
be afraid to seek this help, but by propogandizing the school paper is
not the way to go about it. The daily emails are more than enough.
Then there's "Thumbs". Back at my high school their newspaper had a
section called "Paws Up, Paws Down" and it was actually funny. In
TSU's school paper there is "Thumbs". I give them two thumbs straight down
to the bowels of the earth from whence they came. The "Thumbs" include
such wacky witticisms as "Canada (thumbs up)", "Arbor Day (thumbs
up)", and "Buoys (thumbs down)". The one thing I like is the "Chaos" comic
series. As for the top ten lists, well....
Maybe I'm just spoiled. My high school's newspaper won several awards
for its high journalistic and design quality, was one of the top HS papers
in the nation... it's understandable that I would be somewhat unappreciative
of a mediocre paper that ends up getting newsprint all over people's noses...
A flicker of intelligence from
I've been using a stack of those free AOL trial diskettes to shuttle my
files to and from the school computer lab. Everything from 'C' program
sources to pictures, games, midis, updates to my website, etc. are transferred
exclusively via those AOL disks. But I've been having a problem--it would
appear that AOL is getting smarter in its old age, because the newer disks
are coming up with read errors and ending up unusable. Maybe they've caught
on to the fact that nobody really cared about the AOL software that came
on these disks, but were universally appreciative of the free floppies
to reformat and use for other things. Looks like now they're using a type
of disk that can only be written to once (to put the AOL programs on) and
then begins to self-destruct when reformatted. Bad sectors just don't happen
by themselves, you know....
Our math professor just taught us synthetic division. "No, Professor, I've
never seen that before..."
We had to correct more of his mistakes today than usual. "Um, Professor,
shouldn't that be three x?" You wouldn't expect simple addition
to pose such a challenge to a mathematics professor. You know it's bad
when the professor has to ask the students how to solve a
problem. I can't count how many times we've had to help him along, or how
many times I've heard, "...but I forget the formula...".
This guy has led me to coin a new term: Criminal Incompetence.
I hate english class. Aside from that Psych. class where we don't learn
jack, this class is the biggest, most pointless waste of my valuable sleep
time. (Whoever invented the 8:00 class oughtta be shot--but I digress...).
What really sucks about English class is those damn papers we're always
writing. And what sucks about writing papers (aside from writing 'em) is
revising 'em. You know the drill. Teach wants you to write a paper, then
trash it and rewrite it again for the hell of it. Revisions are
all well and good for folks who just shit their way through the first draft
because it's a first draft. But what if--what a novel idea--you do it
right the first time? English profs, from junior high on, tend to grade
down on folks unless there is some major open-thesaurus surgery done on
papers between drafts. No matter how good they are. Turning in two shitty
versions will get you roughly the same grade as turning in a perfect paper
the first time and having nothing to improve on. So I've come up with an
excellent solution for those of you who, like myself, do it right the first
time. It's called the Unrevise. What you do is, write your perfect paper,
print it out and file it away for later. Then go back and fuck it up. Delete
your thesis, take out a paragraph here or there, strip out about half of
your detail/support, throw in a few simple errors for good measure the
run-on sentence is my favorite, so is the comma splice. Print it out and
turn it in tomorrow as your rough draft. Your work is done! Now just sit
on that good version and turn it in when it's due. This technique has gotten
me a substantial improvement in my English grades. Now if only I could
find the trick to those damn timed essays....
It goes without saying that many professors are full of horseshit. Chances
are, you have one of these bullshit-artists teaching one of your classes.
If you've often had a hard time swallowing the line he fed you, you've
probably got one. My psychology professor....he's got two shovels in each
hand. This guy has broken his back during football practice causing one
arm and one leg to be about 3 inches longer than the other... survived
for two weeks without food or water under his bed, in a coma, after bumming
a piece of e.coli infested hotdog off his uncle at a picnic...had a near-death
experience, was clinically dead, floated above himself and watched the
doctors operate on him, saw the light at the end of the tunnel, talked
to God, etc...can hypnotize people and get them to remember things they
experienced as babies (although at the same time he claims that, even with
hypnosis, which is a fraud BTW, you can't remember something from that
young because it just isn't recorded--yet strangely he has the power to
make you recall those nonexistant memories)....can make you strip buck-naked
in front of the whole class with just a suggestion... designed the spacesuits
NASA uses....and he claims to have psychic powers. Now is this guy cool
or what? In fact, he's full of coolness. Just full of it.
Who's been in my room?
It's kind of spooky. You go home for the weekend to be with your family,
girlfriend, and all... and when you get back, somehow your room looks just
a tad different
than when you left it on Friday. "Damn, I could've sworn I shut
that window before I left..." But the most compelling evidence that somebody's
been in my room without my authorization is this little piece of network
cable I found on the floor near the nonfunctioning ethernet box in the
corner of my room (TSU says the network ports will be working by sometime
next year...). The week before, some guy came into all the rooms to run
some tests on the boxes. I remember waking up one morning (I thought I
heard a knock on my door) to hear my my door being unlocked and see some
guy walk in and plug something in. I woulda let the dude in anyway, but
I was a) sleeping and b) in my underwear. Much better off staying under
Kinda makes you wonder what else goes on in your room while you're
not around. Or exactly what persons and University officials have been
in there, and what they saw. Did they see your friend's empty beer bottles
in your garbage can? (TSU is a "dry campus"; you'd better not get caught
with alcohol or you'll be sorry...) Did they eat your Doritos? Read files
on your computer? Go into your refrigerator for a little snack?
"Toni, come and get your you-know-what out of my fridge, like, now..."
Advice to anyone who's about to go off to college, and thinking about
taking all their cool worldly possesions with them. If you do, don't
let anyone know about it. The concern is not so much that your stuff'll
get ripped off, but that you'll end up as easy fodder for ten-times-removed
friends of a friend of a friend who waltz into your room in droves and
bum your stuff. This guy wants to use your scanner, this guy needs to type
& print his 25-page report on your computer, complete with full-page
color illustrations, this other guy needs to microwave something and--look
at that--you have a microwave, yet another wants to store his beer in your
fridge so you take the heat when you get caught in violation of
the No Alcohol On Campus rule, this other guy needs to make copies of his
collection of Marilyn Manson tapes on your dual deck... You try to drop
subtle hints that they've outstayed their welcome, but there are always
those klingons you just can't get rid of...."Don't you have any classes
tomorrow?" While I really love the fact that you've chosen MY room
and MY computer over all the others to play Quake at 2 o'clock in the friggin'
morning, don't you think you could at least come back sometime tomorrow
and let me get some sleep?
Then there's the car. You NEVER let anybody know that you have a car.
You will have just applied for a job where you pay for the privilege of
being a cabbie. "Where to?" "Wal-mart. And is it okay of 7 of my friends
try to cram into the backseat of your 2-door Pontiac? We can all fit, trust
me.. Stephan can sit on Mike's lap, Zach can lay over everyone, Lim and
Toni can go in the trunk..." Then it's not just Wal-mart, but you're expected
to help smuggle in liquor for them. "Can you drive us to buy some beer?
We'll bring along this guy who's 21 and he'll buy it for us, and we'll
stash it all in YOUR fridge!! Sound good?!?"
"No. The booze store is just a few blocks away from the University
and all the frat houses (very convienently placed, no?), you could always
walk..." Of course, this doesn't apply just to the baggage that seems to
follow when near-strangers find out you've got a car and suddenly get very
chummy, but to real, actual friends as well. Friends are friends, but hey,
everyone's got an ass to cover. So the next time somebody at school asks
you if you've got a car, you know exactly what to say.
"What's a car?"
Lunchroom Philosophy (a.k.a.
Three Engineers, A Cafeteria and Nothing Better To Do ) (a.a.k.a. the Pukinal)
You would not *believe* the kinds of conversations that go on at some of
my tables. Especially when you put a bunch of chemmies or smart-ass electrical
engineers together around plates of shitty food and plenty of stuff to
whine, bitch and moan about. Several lengthy discussions centered around
the jackasses in computer administration (see 'BOFH' below, as well as
the dedication in the photo gallery) and what should
be done with them. Various creative uses of rope, ten-penny nails, Drano,
etc. were suggested (in jest, I should hope), after which philosophy began
about whether a computer is really a computer if users are forbidden from
running external programs on it, and the morality issues involved in banning
IRC clients from international students knowing that they are the only
practical way to keep in touch with their families back home...
In another session a friend of mine begins singing a ditty he made
up as he went along: "There one was this girl, who, fell into the water
and she didn't know how to swim..." The song quickly turned sexual in nature...each
tablemate adding one or two lewd verses where the last left off. This went
on for probably a half hour.
At another table the topic turned to bathrooms--in light of the food
served, this was not at all unusual--and through the natural progression
of the conversation it came to light that the womens' bathrooms in female-only
residence halls have urinals in them. Why do they have urinals in the ladies'
room? TSU was at one time an all male school...but the point is there are
working urinals in there.
"What do you do with urinals?" was asked to one of our female compatriots.
She basically said that they were of little use... unless they were,
in case of excessive partying and drinking, for someone to barf in.
This of course got the male engineers among us (for whom urinals and
puking are intrinsically interesting topics of discussion) discussing the
various limitations of a urinal for puking in (bowl diameter, backsplash,
the flushability of solid materials in a device designed exclusively for
liquids) and thinking of possible improvements that could be made to the
womens' urinals to make them more useful as barf recepticals. It was at
this point that the basis for the "Pukinal" was formed.
At this time there were three engineers (1 electrical [me], 1 mechanical
and 1 civil) that participated actively in the brainstorming process. The
basic design specification called for a large-diameter, flushable bowl-shaped
device that one could lean over to vomit into. Several problems with the
initial design immediately surfaced... namely the issue of passing out
with one's head in the bowl, creating the potential for one to drown in
his/her own vomit or any water in the bottom of the bowl. It was immediately
decided that, unlike a toilet, no water would remain in the bowl. This
still left the issue of vomit. A wider drain was suggested, in conjunction
with some other possiblilites...
Some type of netting over the bowl could provide head restraintin the
event of a pass-out. This created the problem of barf getting caught in
the netting, especially if it was made of any type of fabric (which it
would seep into and become very difficult to adequately remove). A removable,
disposable netting--that could be changed after each use--was ultimately
suggested, then rejected on the basis of "When you're sick, drunk off your
ass, and really have to hurl, are you really going to feel like pulling
a netting out of a dispenser and attaching it first?
Next was suggested some sort of magnetic crown or helmet that could
be put on before using the Pukinal--if a unconscious person's head were
to fall into the bowl, it would be suspended by a magnetic field at about
rim level, preventing it from falling into the bottom where vomit could
be choked on. Strangely enough, this idea was also rejected.
Temporarily disregarded the drowning problem as "mostly solved" until
better solutions could be found, attention was next turned to convenience
issues. The revised design calls for a type of headrest to put your aching
noggin into between heaves (or during?), a hands-free flush mechanism,
and a padded rim. Initial development is slated to begin in the near future,
weather permitting and dependant on how many drunken partygoers we can
find to test the prototype of this unique device.
"Due to an unusually high number of computers experiencing problems,
TSU has institued and is actively enforcing a "No Outside Software"
policy..." Apparently, some idiot introduced a virus onto two of the
computers in the new lab. Strange, because they have antivirus out the
you-know-where to keep stuff like that from happening. But anyway, somebody
infects a couple PCs, somebody else deletes a .DLL, somebody goes around
Winnuking people. And we lose our computer lab. Well...it's still there,
it's still usable for checking VAX mail and typing papers, but not useful
for much else.
All outside software is forbidden from the lab--doesn't matter if you
install it on your own Zip disk or run it from a floppy, ya just can't
run it. This includes everything from ICQ to mIRC to Winamp to any Netscape
other than 3.0/4.0 (whatever's preinstalled on the PC you're on), and every
game ever made. If you get caught with any outside executables running,
your account is toast and you'll find that your password no longer works.
One day I'm in there with my usual assortment of contraband .exe's
running, as inconspicuously as possible--taskbar on auto-hide, ICQ hidden
under the taskbar anyway (practically offscreen), Winamp on System Tray
Only (and I'm sure everybody knows the trick of restarting Explorer to
make all those telltale system tray icons go bye-bye...)
And all of the sudden a bunch (okay, 2, but it sure seemed like a bunch)
of very suspicious looking people walk in and take up residence on some
PCs somewhere behind me. I was pretty sure these guys weren't students--The
mustache on this one guy was way too thick for most normal students,
and there seemed to be less hair on the heads than their should...anyway,
either all the professors had convened for a conference (or Quake match)
in the Best Hall computer lab or the place was just swarming with
Everybody dreads that nasty visit from the BOFH--the Bastard Operator
From Hell. This person has the power to fuck up your life royal, if he
feels like it. You're in a computer science class? C Programming for example?
You need to compile your programs on the school computers ('cause that's
where the compilers are) for your grade? Would that be just a tad harder
for you if you suddenly discovered that your login/password was being rejected???
Or you finish up that lengthy program, it only took you 17 straight hours
or whatever (programming/compiling at many schools, including this one,
is done on a remote computer, and that's where all your source files are!)
and it's due tomorrow...you're all ready to print your list/output file,
and suddenly... FILE NOT FOUND. Meanwhile mister BOFH cackles in delight
from his pedistal on the Administrator's Computer.
It would be a fun day indeed for the BOFH if he caught me. You
know--on an average day... Junkbuster, Getright, ICQ, Winamp, Scour Media
Agent and 3 instances of WS_FTP Pro. In other words, I'm a big fat juicy
Well, to make a long story less long, I didn't get caught by those
swarming administrators (or even King BOFH Himself). A skillful Ctrl-Alt-Delete
let me silently kill every evil app running (using that Godsend 'End Task'
window that appears) with out so much as a single suspicious-looking program
window or cluttered taskbar showing. Not this time, BOFH. Heh heh heh.
To be continued...