Impressions 'n Expressions

Location: Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India

The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life is when dreams are surrendered to reality.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Laurie and Advance Sergeant Carl Harris - The case of Chamomile and Skylon 4

This Hillllllaaaarrrrriooouussssss!!!!!! Be patient and read it completely!!!!

Here's a prime example of "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" offered by an English professor from the University of Phoenix.

The professor told his class one day "Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back, also sending another copy to me. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back-and-forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached."

The following was actually turned in by two of his English students Rebecca and Gary.


(First paragraph by Rebecca)
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

(Second paragraph by Gary)
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel," Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspaper to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted, wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace disarmament Treaty through the Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty, the Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid Laurie.

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semiliterate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, my writing partner is a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. "Oh, shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of freaking TEA??? Oh no, what am I to do? I'm such an air-headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels!"


Phantom limbs and more...

The Brain and the Mind...fascinating.

Everyday we go about our tasks without asking how and why we do the things we do...we worry about the speed and amount of memory our computers have. We ask if our computers can do certain tasks efficiently. We worry too much about the brands of computer that we need to buy..Lenovo..Compaq..Acer...but have we ever asked ourselves how the biggest computer of them all..the Human Brain, works? Have we ever tried to find out the intricacies and the complexities surrounding the nueral networks in our brain?

Recently I was reading a book by V S Ramachandran, 'Phantoms in the Brain' (based on reviews, I thought it will be a truly engaging book, but I was disullusioned) about phantom limbs and how our brains percieve pain and other sensations even on amputated parts of our body. There are people who have had thier hands amputated, but can still feel pain and other sensory perceptions on the hand and fingers that are no more there. The book by V S Ramachandran made me think and use the grey cells a lil on the mysteries of the working of our brain, which was a wonderful experience ( my train of thoughts..not the book ). Coincidentally the latest edition of Frontline featured an interview with him that piqued my interest in learning more about Ramachandran's works. I was browsing thru his site when I found a link about a new book called 'Curious Minds- How a child becomes a scientist' edited with an introduction byJohn Brockman. I need to get my hands on that one. Learn more about the contributers to the book.

By the way, V.S. RAMACHANDRAN is the Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and professor with the Psychology Department and the Neurosciences Program at the University of California, San Diego, and Adjunct Professor of Biology at the Salk Institute. You can read his bio here.