Archive for the 'akds404' Category

The Great Gatsby

Friday, December 30th, 2005

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” – The Great Gatsby

Inspired by a true story

Monday, December 26th, 2005

We begin with a simple misunderstanding: my parents are probably under the impression that I am an insomniac.

I’ll break here and try to address 2 questions:
1. “Why call it a “simple” misunderstanding?”

Well, I call it simple not because I choose to, but because it is. Indeed, its simplicity could not be more evident than a Japanese dining room.

Oh Snap! I will now present that my above metaphor could not be more sweeeet if I had written that in haiku form and rolled my self around in honey… while, simultaneously, eating an assortment of desi sweets including, but not limited to: laduu, golabjamun, etc. All this, while using a candy cane to push the keys on my laptop to type this post in a hyperglycemic stupor. Yes. That’s how sweet that japanese dining room metaphor was.

2. “Uh alright” you might acquiesce, “But why are your parents only “probably” under said impression, dear chap?”

First, if you’re wondering about the “chap” reference, know that I’ve been assuming for some time now that all you readers are British, even though we get absolutely no hits from United Kingdom or England or London… =(

Regardless, to answer the question, we must first embark on a tale fit to be told by Tolstoy…

A few days ago my dad called from mother Russia. This is not to imply that my mother is Russian… I just have an affinity for communist lingo and stuff by Bulgakov.

I’m just kidding; I’ve never read anything by Mikhail Bulgakov… I just wanted to sound intelligent.

Anyway he was on business (my dad, not Mikhail). So there my dad was, waiting for his flight back to Turkey when he decided to call me.

And I? I was up reading blogs. Your blogs. It was about 2:30AM my time.

“Hello?” I said, not recognizing the number appearing on my cell phone.
“You’re still up? – What are you doing up this late?” asks my dad in a surprised voice.

See, now I was caught.

I couldn’t reply with a question like what are *you* doing up because that would not only be rude but stupid since it was 11:30AM in Moscow – a time when people are “suppose” to be awake. And I couldn’t say, “Just reading blogs dad ..” because well .. I’ll just leave that one to you.

Clearly my dad loves to put me in Catch-22 situations.

So I did what every good graduate research student does when their advisor asks them a difficult research related question… I changed the subject:
“So.. uh how’s the weather in Moscow?”
“Not too bad.”
I try again, “How’s the city?”
“Yes much cleaner – Why are you still awake?”
“Touché”, I silently replied.

The last time my dad visited Moscow (for an extended period of time) was in the late 90’s. He had made the mistake of visiting it during the winter. Winters in Russia aren’t nice; they say Napoleon lost because of the Russian winter. Napoleon who had conquered most of Europe. Other than him returning with a fur hat (my dad, not Napoleon), I couldn’t think of anything else that could engage him in a discussion.

Thus back to my original problem. How to reply to: Why are you awake at 2:30AM?

Living on a college campus you take a few things for granted. You can order pizza until 2AM during the summer and 4AM during the school year. Subway is open until Midnight during summer and 2AM during the school year. It is not weird to take a walk at 3AM to get your head straight. The problem is: it’s very difficult to explain this to people who don’t live on a college campus or who have never visited a college town. Their first question is always, “But why would you want to visit Walmart at 1AM?”

It’s quite possible this isn’t a problem with the rest of you (Yes, you crazy Brits, with your chaps and teas and top hats and uh metric systems and court jesters?). Or then again, you could all very well be thinking collectively at the moment: “akds, we love you, but please get help.” To which I would reply, “touché.. mates”

To cut this post short, I finally (and skillfully I might add (note to self: think about adding)) evaded my dad’s question as to why I was up so late on a school night by bringing to his attention that he was using his UK cell phone in Russia to call America and that couldn’t possibly be cheap. The call ended soon thereafter with mutual asalaamualaikums.

Oh and to answer the original question, about my parents being “probably” under said impression, I truely have no idea as to what they think. However, my dad had joked he ought to call me at 3AM regularly from now on to see if I am asleep. But don’t worry. It’s all in good fun.

I think.

human drama is inevitable

Wednesday, April 13th, 2005

So I had never seen a puppy in real life before until recently… I think any animal in its infant stages has to evoke some emotion, no matter how emotionally empty you are. Myself, of course, being the epitome of emptiness. I’m like a blackhole. Wait, actually the opposite, since a blackhole is actually very dense… I think … nevermind. Anyway, this is just my defense for saying “aww” (on the inside!) when I first saw the puppy. You have to understand I am very uncomfortable with the whole notion of vocalizing appreciation for “cute” things. My friend had a son, and I met him 1 year later and while everyone kept saying “aww what a cute baby” I managed to fumble, “whoa cool baby.” Plus it’s way manlier to repress all your feelings… Right?

Regardless, social etiquette demanded I pet the puppy (damn you social etiquette!! Why must you rule my life?!). This brings me to my next painful point: one of my best friends had a cat. Cats are perfect for the emotionally inept person. You can pet them and then they just look around and walk away. Perfect. With the puppy, you pet it and it just stands there.




Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

I think my problem is that if I were a supervillain, my greatest weakness would be that everytime I came up with some awesomely sweet diabolical plan, I would end up sitting around the whole time thinking how awesomely sweet my diabolical plan was…. Hence, all the dumb superheroes would have nothing to worry about.



psychedelic baby

Friday, March 11th, 2005

Sasha. Who would’ve thought?

That’s the nickname of the chemist who brought extasy (the drug) to the lime light. This guy graduated from Berkeley with a PhD in Organic Chemistry after dropping out of Harvard. But that doesn’t come as surprise; him being from Berkeley that is ;)

Anyway, long story short: he graduates, gets a job at DuPont, invents the first biodegradable insecticide, DuPont makes mucho dinero and makes good on their promise to let Sasha work on what ever project he wants to.

So Alexander Shulgin aka Sasha decided to work on psychedelic drugs… specifically creating new ones.

Yes you heard me.

Although he was always a researcher first (evidenced by him publishing his works in Nature and Journal of Organic Chemistry) DuPont later asked him to no longer identify DuPont as the source of his “funding”.

The legality of his work was conditional in that he had to report to the DEA any new drug he created, which they would then automatically add to their list of Category 1 drugs. Drugs which had no medical benefit, could lead to substance abuse, etc.

All this was interesting, but it was nothing compared to what I read next:

To test the “psychedelic effects” of the psychedelic drugs he created… he would try them.

He would take only a little bit, and he kept an anti-convulsion drug nearby, such that if something went wrong he could remedy it by injecting himself

(He said he’s only had to inject himself twice).

But suppose the drug went well (like extasy)? In that case, he and his wife would try it.

But suppose it went really well. In that case, he and his wife and group of “research collaborators” would try it.

It wasn’t the rampant misuse of drugs that amazed me (Well, we’re talking about Berkely here…), it was the fact that this guy had the chutzpah to try his own drugs!

I’ve no idea how many times my chemistry 200 lab experiment either: 1) blew up, 2) didn’t turn the correct color or 3) melted the glass the experiment was occurring in.

Okay I made that all up. It was always pretty much the chemical thing not turning the right color or something. (Yeah you can see I loved chemistry)

In any event, I’m thinking of switching from WIRED magazine to the NewYorkTimes magazine. I mean with crazy stories like this …



Wednesday, November 17th, 2004

1)Starbucks Frappuccino, Vanilla (chilled)
2)Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts, Strawberry (untoasted)

Taken together: Wow.

#26 on list of

    only things a tired graduate student could experience since he’s too tired and lazy to cook anything or walk to a restaurant.

Today is the day, seize it.

Monday, May 3rd, 2004

I’ve been up all night and now face a dilemma: Shall I stay up, eat breakfast and try to get my study on or shall I sleep, perchance to dream and get my nap on?

update: akds slept. And all was good.


Monday, February 2nd, 2004

Sometimes you can feel fate. Feel it shape your destiny. Feel it flow around you as you stand at crossroads. Like the wind. I must admit, I am nervous. Not nervous about writing here, mind you, but about tomorrow. Thursday I’ll stand at a crossroad. I can feel this subtleness. I have this nagging feeling. But I swear that I am placing my trust in Allah. Some would contend it’s all right to be afraid. Some would ask how could you not feel nervous. But I would like to think that there was a time when real believers would simply resign their fate to the hands of Allah. An act few of us are capable of now. How do you stand tall when changes are coming? How do you sleep surrounded by such complexity and uncertainty? How do you handle the inevitable fate? How do you stay determined in placing your trust in God? Tell me because I can feel the wind but I don’t want to be caught in a storm.