Saturday, April 14, 2007

Spontaneity has brought a third

Penelope Winters asks: Jesse V, what’s your take on prime numbers?

Hey Penelope thanks for taking the time to write in. Prime Numbers huh? Well, as I understand it, a PN is divisible only by itself and one. For example 11 divided by any other number besides 11 or 1 will give a decimal answer. But, are numbers really worth the same value they were worth years ago? Think of it this way, the value of one dollar is always going down – unless shopping at a dollar store but let’s leave those anomalies out of this.
Or think of it like this, way back when people couldn’t count very high, ten would have seemed like a huge number – the ultimate number. This may explain why families kept having more and more children, they wanted to find out what number came next and, perhaps, to show off their numeracy skills to neighbouring families. As well, people of years ago would have valued 1 gram of salt for more than we do now - same with 1 pinch of snuff or even a one room dwelling. A town would have had tens or hundreds of people, a city may have had thousands. Jack had one old cow, Snow White met a mining team comprised of only seven dwarves, and there was only ever one prince charming (this didn’t leave many options for the dating game).
So what, you may ask, is my point in all of this? Well, if we divide a contemporary 11 by the number 3 from the year 1584, I think we may arrive at a whole number - the number 2 to be precise (I’ve used a complex formula for this). As such, are prime numbers really so special? Only you can decide that Penelope.

Ps- in years from now there will really only be 7 letters in your name

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Brush your teeth, round and round

Remember the old cartoon about the family of hygiene products that only came to life late at night after the family had gone to sleep? It was called 'the toothbrush family.' I have a theory about two of the characters - there was Hot Rod Harry, an electric toothbrush who, if I remember correctly, did speedy laps around the bath tub (something all electric toothbrush owners are forever having to put up with). As well, there was Suzy Sponge, a rather dowdy girl with little colour or personality. I don't think she ever had to soak up any water in the show, nor was she ever dripping from having soaked anything up. They only thing she ever really did was get insulted by Harry. Here's my theory - the two of them hooked up one day when the family was at work/school. All the rest of the hygiene products were still asleep or 'real' or whatever it is they do during the day. Harry was feeling a bit blue and, having exhausted the rather small pool of available partners, was at loss for what to do. Then he noticed Suzy, perhaps still soft from a morning bath. He quietly raced over to her and after a few sweet words that played on her lonely vulnerability (and maybe a little Barry White for good measure) the two of them got it on. When all was said and done Harry felt disgusted with himself, and Suzy, of course, thought it may lead to something more. And so, to hide his guilt, Harry picks on Suzy.
Just in case anyone is wondering, yes, I am still unemployed and have a lot of time on my hands.

ps- here's a link to a more modern version of 'the toothbrush family' - there's no way it could have the depth the of the old one though.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Every move you make

It’s hard to fully explain my experience with ‘the stalker.’ It’s not that it is emotionally difficult, although for about two years after I left the college I had a recurring nightmare that I was in an empty mall being chased by a knife wielding ‘stalker’ and her roommate. Nothing even close to this happened in real life but there is something about finding out that you’re being watched that can be deeply unnerving. I’m getting ahead of myself. This is the difficulty – how to explain the subtle nuances that when added up form something not subtle at all, but rather something sad, and desperate.
It was 1996 - the year of ‘My name is Jesse V, I am 19 years old and this is not happening.” This little saying first sprang up during the summer (life #3) but it carried over nicely into the school year. I have already mentioned my roommates in a previous post, they have a part in this too, though a small one.
It is also worth mentioning the physical setting of the student residence since it bears heavily on what happens (and later provides a set up for a ‘three’s company’ type of misunderstanding). Each residence consisted of five floors with two apartments per floor – as such we shared the bottom level with another apartment of four girls. Perpendicular to our residence was another tower. My bedroom window had a charming view of the sidewalk and the many legs and feet that went in and out the door to the college – sometimes I felt like I was moving museum display. With my window at ground level and so close to the door I think it was almost impossible for people not to look in. My room also had this awful smell and every now and then I would do a tribal dance with this package of floral scents in an attempt to make my room smell better. If anyone happened to look in as they walked by I hoped they enjoyed the show. I could have closed my curtains but 1) I really enjoy sunlight 2) I had two little plants that enjoyed the sun even more than me 3) I was stubborn.
I had also resolved that year to work hard in my studies. (Something I did do but have never been able to exactly replicate since.) As such, I was often sitting at the desk that was by the window. I wanted to start the year off right - I read my textbooks, I took notes, and not long after classes began I started to feel like I was being watched. I’d look out the window but saw no feet (and no legs), a quick glance at the other student residence revealed no people in its windows. This carried on for almost all of September. I was starting to wonder if I was developing some sort of paranoia or if some latent mental disorder was starting to surface.
One evening a friend was over and, after sitting at my desk for a short time, had the same sensation. We had been friends since elementary school and I had told him about the feeling I couldn’t shake. He devised a plan. I’d sit like I normally did; he would crouch down and spring up as soon as I felt like someone was watching me. It worked. As he shot up, another head, two stories up in the tower perpendicular to mine, shot down. This was neither the beginning and most definitely not the end of my time being stalked. Little did I know that my stalker wasn’t working alone and that this incident only seemed to make her braver.

I guess this will be a three parter.
ps- the awful smell was in the room prior to my moving in, and in case anyone's curious, neither scented candles nor shaking a scented floral pouch while doing a tribal dance did much against it.