Mar 29, 2005


I felt it today, many times. That rather intense emotion that sweeps over me, lifts me off my feet, and grants me wings. It's almost always very sudden in its arrival and just as quick in its departure, but while I am wrapped up in it, I couldn't be convinced that there is a single thing wrong in life: all that I seeheartastesmellfeel is flawless. All the complex little bits and pieces which are ordinarily askew seem to arrange themselves into a simple masterpiece of perfection. Locked into these moments of euphoria, I am reminded of the rationale behind why I continue to bother tolerating "reality" and the routine that is mandatory for maintaining a comfortable living. For all the unpleasantries of life, be it worrying about finances, struggling in school, or getting discouraged at work, I know that life has thousands more simple moments in store for me, moments that will flood me with joy and wonder--and the grating routine and constant looming threat of Ordinary will enable me to relish such moments even more intensely. Rather than waste my life searching for "ultimate happiness," that sort of perpetual state of joyousness one can only obtain if they're a character in a fairy tale, I would much rather accept that life is but a series of brief, passing episodes of elation and ebulliance and plenty of periods of gloominess and frustration to balance it all out. The former would not exist were it not for the counterbalance provided by the latter.

I met my mother in town about an hour from here to pick up my notebook computer which the repair centre had delivered back to my permanent address. It works for now, though there's no telling when it will go out again. The town itself was blanketed by a dense fog, and I found the atmosphere delightful. A small public garden lay across from the parking lot of Tex drive-in, inviting me to wander its narrow gravel paths. I could see the visible mist moving along before me as I strolled through a sort of lagoon. I find wandering about in the fog to be quite comparable to sliding about beneath a warm blanket. It's always very comforting and often extremely ethereal. En route to home, I witnessed the most blazingly vibrant rainbow I had ever seen over the ocean far below. Its colours were so intense it nearly made my eyes hurt, and I was compelled to don my shades even in the face of an approaching band of heavy showers. The late afternoon sun was intense, setting the windward verdancy ablaze, and intense also was the rain falling out at sea, making for one remarkable spectacle. That, and "Destiny" by Zero 7 happened to be playing. Euphoria. Before long, I ended up driving straight into the miniature rainstorm, or perhaps it drove straight into me, and the challenge of driving automatically increased tenfold. Not long after I made it home, I decided to start playing Total Euphoria on my iPod, grab my umbrella, and take a nice, long walk around town. I am glad I did, for it was an extremely enjoyable experience. I wandered around the park across the street for awhile, wading through puddles of water in the grass nearly knee-deep, then crept by the Pagan house, and the riverside dungeon (well, it's disguised as a power plant, but I'm sure much more evil things occur inside it than power generation). I paid very little attention to where I was going as I became more and more lost in the music, following desolate roads of asphalt that accomodated the transport of rushing water more so than traffic. At twilight, everything seemed tinted dark green; a dark, soaked, saturated rainforesty green. And most things smelled earthly: rushing water, wet wood and grass, and wildflowers and not-so-wild flowers. I was deeply entranced by everything.
As I sit here listening to the pouring rain which still has not ceased, I realise that I have not had a Tuesday this euphoric in a long time, and I do believe it's all thanks to the rain.


I must officially declare in the here and now that rain meets a lot to me, notably more so than most people I have observed. It could have something to do with the fact that I am an Aquarius, and have always been attracted to water. With the ocean, streams, springs, swamps, and climate here, I feel very much at home. The desert held an exceptional sort of beauty that I have not experienced since departing from Arizona, yet I could never feel quite at home in such a place. The summer monsoon was not enough to quench my ever-persistent thirst for rain. I often found myself sitting cross-legged at the base of a bone-dry desert drainage, longing to return to a land where water, the very essence of life, slid off the verdant slopes in limitless abundance. The desert is an enjoyable place to visit for its surrealism, but living there is not for me.

That said, there is something about a rainy day that is more effective than most things in warming my soul and ecapsulating me in a euphoric little bubble. Even an overcast sky on a relatively dry day makes me oddly content. I had a nightmare last night in which I peered out my bedroom window in the morning, only to see a completely clear blue sky, not a cloud in sight. Maybe five or six such days actually occur here every year. I strangely felt as if I was dying of thirst, even though I am not certain what that must feel like. Fortunately, I woke up to the sound of pouring rain, which likely had not stopped since the previous night, and a sky full of magnificent solid grey. The usual pattern here is that a torrential downpour will occur for ten to fifteen minutes, then the sun may reveal itself, then another band of low-lying clouds will come along and release another downpour. The weather alone can make an otherwise typical day much more interesting, especially for someone such as myself who has a strong interest in meteorology. Lately, however, the rain has barely ceased at all, and the river is more swollen than I have seen it in a long time. The movement and transport of water can produce endless beauty.

Unfortunately, in stereotypes, rain is often used to represent gloom, a foreboding atmosphere, and an excuse to stay inside all day. It's never raining in those commercials advertising a certain product or prescription drug that's supposed to make you feel good, oh no. It's almost always bright and sunny outside, and everyone seems so frolicsome and light-hearted even though a potential side effect of the product they're using is possession by the devil. Could you imagine a bunch of happy people running around in the rain, endorsing a brand of orange juice? As much as I love drinking orange juice in the rain, I doubt it. Humans are usually too afraid of getting their expensive clothes wet, or having their heavy mask of make-up wash away, revealing... *Gasp* ...Their true face! I'm glad, in a way, that a rainy day keeps so many people sheltered. At twilight yesterday, I embarked on a delightful walk around town in the pouring rain. I encountered only a few cars and one or two other walking souls. There were no obese moms hauling around their screeching babies in strollers or equally annoying people. It was an invigorating experience. It always is.

It's not that I never enjoy sunlight, either. I do enjoy its warmth on me from time to time, but only in strict moderation. Fortunately, I happen to work right on the edge of a cloud forest.

I'd better be careful about spending too much time in the water, though... I might develop wrinkles, and we all know you can never be beautiful as long as you have a wrinkle.

Mar 25, 2005


I greatly enjoy being a liberal hippy, not because I actually choose to label myself like so, but because being called such means I am considered essentially the furthest thing from an overly religious, war mongering, environmentally apathetic republican. Though I don't agree that I should label myself as such, I certainly take being called a hippy as a compliment. After all, most "hippies" I know are extremely pleasant, respectable people. Consider all the hippyish things about me: I love nature, I am a vegetarian, I adore animals more than humans, I am all for progress, change, and revolution, I go around barefoot most of the time, I live in one of the most liberal regions in America, I am not patriotic, I do not love my country, I would never join the military, I think war is senseless, I detest George W. Bush, I dress in earth colours most of the time, I don't care much for dressing up or wearing clothes at all, for that matter, I totally subscribe to this weird new age philosophy that the bible is a crock of lies and that God is a metaphysical super-weapon created by man to control the masses by exploiting instinctual fear of the unknown via authoritarianism, and that my behaviour is guided by an inner animal, I entrench myself in a cult interest entitled "furry," I deeply care about the environment, I sign environmental protection petitions, I donate to animal rights organizations, I cherish happiness over work and school, I would prefer to live poor and joyously rather than rich and unhappy, I play video games starring anthropomorphic animals in beautiful worlds rather than ultra-realistic war simulators, I let my hair grow out for over two years before I finally got tired of it, I shave maybe once every four to five days, I have one heck of a vivid imagination, abortion sounds like a wonderful plan to me, and I don't think communism is all that bad.

I am such an insane hippy. Actually, I believe I am one of the sanest people I know. Of course, even the most insane can be entirely convinced that they're sane. I honestly think I am sane for desiring to snuggle up against a tree and watch a magnificent sunset while hugging a raccoon in my lap and eating a healthy salad and listening to Bob Marley while the world around me is serene and at peace and feeling irie. But, you tell me. Please, though, don't ever think you'll be doing anything but complimenting me by calling me a damn hippy.

Mar 23, 2005


I've really gotten tired of writing about me, lately. Maybe that's because I've been getting tired of being me, lately. Sometimes, I would like nothing more than to be able to step outside of myself and examine myself as another individual that isn't myself, so I don't have to force myself to imagine how certain others perceive me. ...Or wonder whether I could tolerate my own behaviour if I had to be around myself as another person. Either way, I have been enjoying objective writing on social sciences much more than personal journaling. Anything that takes the focus off of me is a good thing. I am not certain why I feel this way, whether it's caused by a deficiency in self-esteem, or a realisation that I do not want to be respected, commended, or admired by most. I don't want to be nice to people I don't like, or smile upon my brother, or be really liked. I am sick of being told to lighten up because people just automatically assume based on what I write, how I dress, and the way I look that I'm dismal and brooding under this unassuming human disguise. I have no social life whatsoever, and I am the biggest recluse I know. Some might say that's a terrible issue that needs to be resolved; it's what I call a good start. I am sick of the ego, and I am sick of the self. I am sick of capitalising the letter "I," and I am sick of typing "myself." I am sick of complaining, so I am going to enjoy the rest of the day in silence.

That's right, folks. Shhhibilance.

Mar 19, 2005

My not posting or being around lately is primarily a result of not having access to a personal computer, aside from my being thoroughly distracted with academic obligations. Hopefully, Gateway might actually provide some quality service this time around and fix my computer for good, providing doing so is a conceivable feat. I am currently on my old Dell desktop, which has served me reliably for going on five years now, and I may lug it back with me after spring break. I believe that from now on, I will always be sticking with Dell. Am I ever going back to Gateway for a future computer purchase? They can talk straight to the paw, because I so don't even think so.

As my mother cannot drive for another ten days, I am taking her to the commerce market so that we may replenish our aggregate food supply (excuse me, I've had to absorb far too much economic theory over the past couple weeks). It has gotten miserably depleted--even worse than my own apartment.

Mar 14, 2005

A refuge from the norm.

This Saturday has been spectacular; much more memorable than the Saturday a week ago, during which I barely made it through a rather dull field trip to the museum due to a very unpleasant short-lived illness. I was in peak condition this time around, ready to charge out and immerse myself in some grand adventure. That is exactly what I did.

I was supposed to join my class group at the Natural Energy Lab for an all-day field trip, which necessitated me arising at 7:15 in the morning to get ready and be there at 9. I had stayed the night at my parents' house, since the drive would be only an hour from here, as opposed to two hours from my home. Waking up wasn't a problem, since I had gone to sleep no later than 9:30 the previous evening. The major incentive for climbing out of bed, perhaps, was the enthralling sight of the rain sheeting down outside my window. As my sleep-heavy eyes glazed upon the dark, heavy fog tangling itself in the tree canopies, I developed a sudden feeling that today would indeed be something special.

I did make it down to the proposed meeting spot with time to spare, but no one had arrived. Twenty minutes later, still no one had arrived. I could have been in the wrong place, or had the wrong time. Whichever the case, the realisation hit me that I was entirely unenthused about meeting up with a group of humans and conforming to their agendas like a little elastic drawstring all day long. Therefore, I simply dropped everything and took off into town, as it was only seven miles past the lab. The freedom to do as one pleases is a wonderful thing. If the field trip required a major written assignment, I would not have jeopardised my mark by ditching, but since it did not, I ditched. I felt I had much more to gain than lose by doing so.

First stop in town was Costco. I had arrived there ten minutes before opening time, and already dozens of diehard, loyal shoppers were lined up outside the door, as if they composed an army with a vast surplus of shopping carts at their disposal, poised to storm the great fortress of commerce as soon as the heavy iron door was hoisted open. I waited safely on the outskirts, letting everyone else trip over one another in their mad rush to see who could be the first customer of the day to check out. Once safely inside, I almost compulsively nabbed an accessory kit for my iPod, and journeyed across to the other side of the vast warehouse for items of perishable sustenance. Regrettably, the time was too early to locate an empty shopping cart to hijack, so I ended up juggling a pile of cold commodities in my arms. That could have been my workout for the day.

I spent a considerable amount of time in Borders Books & Music, enjoying the atmosphere, a smoothie, and a gander over all the products that were too over-priced for me to ever consider buying. Actually, I did come away with one interesting purchase: "The Dictionary of Dreams and Their Meanings." I should find this a fascinating read, to say nothing of all the remarkably surreal and disturbing colour images throughout the book. For a mere six dollars, I could not pass it up.

While tolerating Wal-Mart, I also discovered something of great use: a miniature tripod for digital cameras. It's something I can take with me, certainly, to use for those majestic twilight shots where dim light becomes a severe handicap to good photo quality. When I exited the store, I felt scattered raindrops, and not faroff the shore, a truly mean, dark-looking band of rain clouds seemed to be drifting closer by the second. By the time I left the parking lot, in fact, the rain was coming down in a torrential cascade. I turned up my beloved This is Neo-Goth album and cruised through town, slowly mind, as the visibility was terrible. My mood, however, was not. The atmosphere of the experience was wondrous, and I enjoyed watching tourists in their flimsy bright aloha shirts and expensive video cameras running for cover left and right.

Eventually, I opted to leave town and head off toward the City of Refuge, a national park area which I rarely ever had the chance to see, due to it being on the other side of the universe as far as an islander is concerned. Essentially, it is an ancient Hawaiian settlement preserved, and is an extremely touristy area. Well, not on this day. Cold fronts tend to keep a lot of visitors in their overpriced hotel rooms, for some reason. It was merely drizzling as I showed my pass (which expires in September, I must remember) to the guard, and proceeded to the picnic area. Beyond was a trail I had not been on in years, and much desired to hike. Though I think nothing of getting soaked, I decided to bring an umbrella along, if only to look wise and protect my delicate digital camera. As pleasant as the day had been so far, this walk was certainly the highlight.

The entire trail I opted to follow runs parallel to the coast--a delightfully isolated coastline whose beauty lies in its rugged, remote nature. The rain did not deter me from taking a few pictures of the coastline and of the trail itself:

I did encounter a pawful of tourae along the path, mostly at the beginning. Fortunately, they all seemed too bothered by the steadily falling rain to give me a big, friendly greeting and a vibrant bouquet of flowers. It wasn't long before I left them all behind. As I strolled along, my bare feet scrambling over the wet sand and rocks, I thought deeply. It only comes natural when I am moving, and fall into a relaxed, perfectly content state of mind. As much as I may question who I really am at times, I thought, who I really am must be who I am naturally inclined to be. That is, I really cannot be a potential social butterfly who is in truth struggling to be freed from his coccoon and the while denying to himself that he needs the company of others for maximum enjoyment. Today helped me realise all the more that I will always much prefer my own company to that of a group of people I hardly know. To be so independent and still have friends that means as much to me as my own salvation is truly a gift.

After awhile, I arrived at a small cliff, upon which was built an ancient stone ramp--a structure I had always marveled at in the past:

As I climbed the walkway, I happened to glance to my left, and noticed something I had never caught before: a tunnel leading into the cliff, barricaded by steel bars:

The gate was locked, as one might expect. I'm sure something "sacred" lurked inside that tunnel--maybe an evil dragon to slay!! Regardless, only a little farther up, another lava tube lead through the cliff, but this one had also been closed relatively recently. Only a sign denoting its "closure," however, stood between the entrance and myself.

I skirted past it and made my way through the dim, twisting, supposedly dangerous cavern, provided with just enough natural light to see what was overhead. At one point, the ceiling descended so low I was nearly forced to crawl. Where did the lava tube take me? Well, right out to the sea:

At this point, the only way to go was either straight down into the abyss or back the way I came, so I backtracked, and continued farther along the path as the rain fell ever harder. A little off the trail was this large concrete slab which appeared to be a grave marker of some sort:

Interestingly, after I took the above picture, my camera shut down and displayed the message "NO MORE POWER." That would mark the first time my camera had ever simply run out of battery power. Not long thereafter, I opted to turn around, mostly due to my sharp hunger pains. If only I could have typed "/pizza" on my cell phone and had Domino's air-delivered to me!

My computer is showing obvious signs of self-destruction again. It will no longer charge the batteries, and it shuts down at random times and won't power on again for a good two hours afterwards. I may very well be restricted to doing my plethora of projects over the next couple months on university machines.

Oh yes, projects. For my next English essay, which involves methodically testing a product for a week, keeping a log recording the results, and analyzing whether it lives up to its advertising claims, I chose to research Juicy Fruit. I'll chew approximately five sticks a day, and see how much it "moves me and gets right to me." As for my poster project for cultural geography, I'll be doing participant observation in the local mall for a couple hours and recording the general behaviour of shoppers, incognito. Malls are fascinating landscapes, indeed. As for my hydrometeorology paper, I'm handicapped due to my inability to order research materials from the flooded Hamilton library in time. I intend on completely finishing my term paper on Hurricane Andrew for nat. hazards over Spring Break, though... and possibly following that with my paper on the global cruise ship industry for economics before the end of the week. As far as what's already been done... I discovered I got an A+ on my musical landscapes paper today, and the instructor wants an electronic copy to show to students in future classes. In English, I recieved the top grade in two classes for my first argument essay, and that instructor also wants to use it as a model example for her other classes. I also got a 92% on my last midterm, and feel I aced the last economics test. It's difficult not to feel greatly accomplished and proud of myself as far as my academic work is concerned. I am grateful I have finally been given the incentive to be a little more serious about my college work. When I want to do a great job, I do a great job.

Even though I'll be spending most of Spring Break researching, reading, and writing... I look forward to escaping the routine of awakening at 8:30 every morning for lecture. A break from the norm will do me a lot of good.

Mar 11, 2005

"I totally have a chin!"

My new favourite quote of all time, and it came from totally watching Extreme Makeover for a total of three minutes!

Mar 7, 2005

Through the windows above my bed, facing the ocean, I see a beautiful day, with a light breeze sliding in between the jalousies. The sky is its usual deep tropical blue. Through my back window, on the other paw, the warm afternoon sunlight is crudely shining on the glass, and the mountains are hazy, smothered by a thick layer of sulfur dioxide from the volcano. It's interesting how I can look out one window and see Hawaii, and look out the other, and see Los Angeles. Trade wind-stealing low pressure systems frustrate me.

I have been meaning to get around to posting a little log of the projects I have left to do this semester, to help me space them out and accomplish them one by one, so I am not flooded with several large assignments at once by the end of April.

    World Economics:
  • Literature and data search with 8-page written report on aspect of tourist industry. Due March 29.
  • Field research project on location of an urban service--written report and group presentation. Due April 21.

    Interpretation of Geographic Data:
  • Final research paper on methodology in hydrometeorology (10 sources, 10 pages), with 10-minute Powerpoint presentation. Due end of April.

    Natural Hazards and Disasters
  • Natural Disaster Brochure (Group project). Unknown due date.
  • 10-page research paper on access conditions and differential vulnerability relating to Hurricane Andrew, with 10-minute Powerpoint presentation. Due beginning of May.

    Cultural Geography
  • 5-page essay on viewing displayscapes. Due March 14.
  • Research poster with presentation. Unknown due date.

    Writing for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Essay 2--Evaluating how we are "made." Unknown due date.
  • Essay 3 (includes panel presentation). Unknown due date.

Clearly, I have my work cut out for me.


I thought it was ridiculous that Pizza Hut has its own channel via Time Warner digital cable in this area, from which you can actually key in the type of pizza you wish to order from your armchair, and have it delivered straight to your door.

But, it actually gets worse than that. If what I am about to show here was a joke, I would be laughing my tail off, almost literally. It would make an excellent parody of a certain group of people I have come to regard with an intensifying degree of contempt.

That sad truth is that it's real. It actually exists, and it has already been implemented. My initial reaction was to laugh, more in nervous disbelief than pure amusement. As soon as I began to ponder it, I nearly wept.

Yes, my dear hopelessly sociopathic gaming geeks, ordering pizza now no longer requires scraping up the entirety of your blobby mass from the computer chair whose contours are perfectly molded to the shape of your body, or even leaving your precious game of Everquest you've been working on continuously since the last genuine Elvis sighting! You know the world is becoming a better place to live when pizza can be ordered by a simple keyboard command even your average Everquest player could understand! Of course, if no one else is around (and there likely wouldn't be--chances are you never even answer your phone, providing you didn't lose it amongst all the Mountain Dew cans and empty pizza boxes strewn about your room) you'll still have to get up to answer the door and pay the deliveryman. But hey, who said the world was perfect?

And remember, you'll get fresh pizza! It's certainly worth emphasising that the pizza will be fresh, and not a week-old moldy specimen they pulled out from underneath the cleaning supply cabinet (sound familiar?). So you can play content in the knowledge that while you're slaying evil monsters, gaining awesome new spells with which to pwn your rivals, and developing invaluable relationships with 11 year-old nerds who deliberately misspell common words to fit in with a clique and hit on anything that shows promise of having a vagina, your pepperoni trio pizza is in the oven, just rising to be devoured in an Orc-like fashion!

Enough mockery, though. I simply cannot get over how strikingly pathetic this is. My loath of multiplayer gaming is not the primary cause of my vexation. It's the fact that these online RPG players who spend the majority of their lives in a virtual world are only encouraged to keep on playing even in spite of hunger. Honestly, it would be so good for them to get up, stretch, and go for a nice little stroll to a local eatery--get some fresh air, a little exercise, and maybe remind themselves what it's like to interact with real environments and real people. But no, pizza can now be ordered from a video game and brought to your front door, necessitating only a short, intense, breath-stealing waddle upstairs and through the hallway. I can just picture a pasty-skinned, obese kid devouring his fresh pizza, typing in nifty little commands with his fat greasy fingers, thinking "life doesn't get any better than this." I cannot help but be contemptuous of such a lifestyle, because there is much, much more to life than having junk food brought to your door as you stare bleary-eyed into a computer screen, playing epic virtual quests with equally bland souls all day. At least, I hope most people have the capacity to realise that and embrace the finer aspects of life.

Now, if only you could install a sink into your computer desk, and make your computer chair double as a toilet. Then, we'd be in business, wouldn't we? At least, until your toilet backs up. Then, you might just have to turn on your Nintendo and order up professional plumbing service from the Mario Brothers.

Mar 4, 2005

The defibrillators are in the bag, sir.

Natural Hazards class was not very pleasant yesterday. For the final lecture of our biological hazards section, we were shown a video entitled "Modern Meat." It was about food safety in the meat industry and the production of beef, and it was graphic, very graphic. Select images tend to be very impacting and stand out vividly in one's memory. The video provided us some very detailed shots of cattle getting beheaded, gutted, and systematically torn apart as they moved down the disassembly line. As horrifying as it was, I couldn't seem to avert my gaze out of morbid fascination. A meat-packing plant--just one little compartment of the vast human killing machine at work. It's hard to imagine anything more barbaric short of the Holocaust, or other events of massive human genocide.

The film also provided a lovely view of the meat -grinding- process. Imagine watching two thousand pounds of meat scraps from hundred or thousands of animals being mixed into a giant machine and ground into a thick, pasty substance that shows up in your local grocery store as "hamburger." Indeed, don't for a second delude yourself into believing that hamburger you order up at Jack in the Box comes from a happy, healthy cow on the ranch. The grim reality is that by eating a single burger at your favourite fast food joint, you are actually eating the entrails of hundreds, possibly even thousands, of different animals. And who knows, really, where some of those animals have been. Eating and sleeping in their own shit, most likely, as cows in feedlots essentially live in their own fecal matter. Of course, a technique has been discovered that -might- rid a cow of some of the diseases they carry--a pesticide bath, where they push the animals into a pool full of pesticidal agents. And still, it has been estimated that one-quarter of all cows in feedlots have E.coli in their guts, even though half of all antibiotics sold in the United States are used in the meat production industry. How appetising.

Hamburgers are repulsive. The two-minute sequence of close-up shots showing people stuffing those disgusting things into their mouths was one of the most unpleasant parts of the film. It was even worse than watching them cook on the griddle (the hamburgers, not their obese consumers), drowning in a thick puddle of boiling grease. Forgive me for not understanding why people voluntarily put such rubbish in their body several times a week, or even a month. Nothing is more responsible for the success of fast food than public ignorance.

My instructor is a vegan environmentalist, and for that alone I respect him. Maybe by showing such videos to the class, he's hoping to perhaps convert a couple of his students to a vegetable-based diet. I can't say I'd mind that at all. The earlier one starts on a healthy diet, the better off they'll be when they're older. When people have access to a wide ranged of nutritious foods, many of which could quite possibly taste just as "good" as a greasy old hamburger once an individual gets accustomed to them, why on Earth don't more people try it, if only out of interest for their own well-being?

It's too easy for people to think it's perfectly fine to chug ten litres of soda a week or consume a big hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, ham, and eggs and cheese every morning when so many other people are doing it--when it is a widely accepted norm of our culture. "Everybody" eats hamburgers, after all, so screw the poor nutritional value! People think they taste good and culture only reinforces that notion, making them irresistible to so many. Why keep shoveling this crap into our bodies on a regular basis when anyone who is even slightly educated should know deep down inside of them that their bodies deserve much better? Why do people deliberately disrespect their bodies to such a gross extent? Why does culture so heavily encourage such a thing, from reality TV shows exposing the miraculous results of plastic surgery, to the trendiness of piercings, to the promotion (and unfortunate lingering legality) of cigarettes, to what is considered an "all-American meal"? Why are we as a society so enamored of 'instant gratification,' knowing full well tomorrow will come eventually, and the worse we eat today, the more dismal the following days will be? How can anyone be gullible enough to believe that limiting one's carbohydrate intake drastically in the interest of losing weight could possibly be good for them? What of getting proper amounts of exercise and eating well instead of forcing oneself onto some hocus-pocus diet plan advocated by some quack and perpetuated by every conceivable food manufacturer that tempts every consumer vying for the "perfect body" with the magical number "0"? Zero carbs, zero calories, zero sense.

While I am on the subject, smoking should be illegalised entirely. It's preposterous that cigarettes are still legally sold. According to my economics textbook, in the year 1998, smoking-related deaths accounted for 430,000 deaths in the United States. That's more deaths resulting from cigarette smoking than deaths from alcohol abuse, motor vehicle accidents, other accidents, suicide, homicide, illegal drug use, and AIDS combined. How many casualties resulted from the use of illegal drugs? 13,900. Honestly, if the government cared most about the public's health, cigarettes would have been banned before I was born. Yet, cigarettes are still sold legally, because capitalism isn't interested in our health, it's interested in a profit, which may be applied towards indulging ourselves with more unnecessary and unhealthful pastimes and luxury items.

What are we, stupid?