In Which I Sorta Kinda Need Glasses?

Are glasses really this effective?

Fun fact: I found out my grade for AP Calculus today and well, uh, it’s not that great. Pretty terrible actually. In fact I think it’s the worst grade I’ve ever gotten in anything in my life, which is saying something since in seventh grade, I accidentally skipped a bubble on a multiple choice test, and every single answer after that question came out wrong as a result.

I can only imagine how the conversation’s gonna go when my parents find out about it. Based on past occurrences, it should start off with shock and anger on their part.

“A [grade removed]?! How the hell did you get a [grade removed]!” they ask. I’ll probably respond with a shrug, which gives off the impression that I don’t care about my grades, which isn’t the best impression to give off in such a situation. 

Then after a little bit they’ll just be concerned, and they’ll likely go ahead and assume that something is horribly wrong.

“Is everything okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Are you doing drugs?”

“Yeah, but that’s not really the main issue right now.”

“Then what is the problem?”

I pause for dramatic effect. Max Richter’s Afterimage 1 plays in the background. The camera zooms in on my face as I burst into tears. “I need glasses!”

Everyone gasps. My mother collapses from the shock and my father’s face grows red with anger. The pet dog quietly leaves the scene. “Don’t you know?” my father says, “That the Black family has prided itself, for countless generations, on our perfect vision?”

“But dad—“

“You are no son of mine. Get out of my house, you freak.”

Perhaps getting bit by a radioactive spider will solve this problem.

Okay, so I don’t think the conversation will actually go like this, but it is true that I really do need to see an eye doctor or something. For the most part, I could see fine, but it’s starting to become a handicap in the classroom. This became an undeniable fact just a few days ago, when I tried and failed to take notes in class.

I was near the back of the classroom, squinting at the board, trying to decode the small, horrific handwriting of my Calculus teacher. Is she writing in hieroglyphics? I found myself wondering. I could’ve sworn I saw the illuminati symbol in there, and that troubles me.

Eventually I threw my hands up in the air and said, “Fine. I’ll switch seats.”

So I moved to the only other seat available, only one row in front of me. This did not help much. And all the time I could’ve spent listening to what the teacher was saying, I instead spent trying to figure what the hell she’d written down. 

I asked around if anyone else had the same problem, but nope, everyone else can read her handwriting just fine. 

And while my family doesn’t actually have perfect vision (I think everyone over thirty has glasses) I myself have always been proud of my eyesight. I used to pass those doctor eye tests with ease. “Good job, Matt,” the Doctor used to say. The subtext being, “because you have superior eyesight, that means you are also a superior person.”

(I think I may have been the only one who picked up on that subtext.)

Oh well. I guess it’s all downhill after this. I know that as you get older, your senses slowly start to go, but I was hoping I’d first lose one of the lamer senses, like the ability to feel pain. That would actually be pretty cool. I would never lose a single game of bloody knuckles.

Is there a point to this post, you ask?

Yes. The point is that no one in the history of the universe has ever felt the pain I’m feeling right now, and you should all send me pity flowers in the mail. Also, if you happen to own the world’s smallest violin, now would be a good time to whip it out and start playing.

___

So for those of you who currently own a pair of glasses, what’s it like? How helpful are they? If I got contacts, what’s the likelihood of me accidentally stabbing myself in the eye? (I have no idea how contacts work.) 

This Post Includes Multiple Adorable Puppies

So, it turns out that trying to do NaBloPoMo is a lot like trying to take up running: if you miss one day, you just sort of lose the will to keep doing it. Or maybe that’s just in my case. Anywho, I think I should just stop making promises, because that always seems to end in disappointment.

Luckily for you people, I’m the sort of person who will never stop writing, for good at least. I may be inconsistent at times, but I ain’t a quitter. Which is a shame, because if I don’t quit smoking soon, the Doctor says I’m at a serious risk of lung cancer.

Hey look, it’s Clifford the Big Red Dog. Except in this picture he’s Clifford the Small Red Dog. Ha, get it? Because he’s a puppy! I. Am. Hilarious.

Anyway, the reason I missed that one crucial day is because of a surprise sickness I came down with over the course of an eight hour shift at McDonalds. I didn’t just get a cold; I got the cold. About two hours into the shift I started to get a sore throat. An hour later, I had a headache and for some reason, my ears hurt whenever I swallowed. It only got worse from there. I completely forgot about this whole NaBloPoMo thing by the time I got home. I just wanted some sleep.

(Side note: before going home, I quickly stopped by a Walgreen’s to get myself some Nyquil, not realizing that because it contains alcohol, you have to be twenty-one or older to purchase it. But the cashier didn’t question me once. Why? Because she thought I was an adult. Haha.)

Here’s a picture of Bubbles the Nerdfighting Puppy

Soon afterward, when the cold improved, I start reading Les Miserables, and for those who’ve read it I have one question: where is Gavroche? Is he ever going to show up? I’m almost five hundred pages in and he hasn’t even been mentioned yet. Or maybe he was mentioned during the Battle of Waterloo, but I didn’t notice it because I kept dozing off. Victor Hugo could have confessed to first degree murder during that section and no one would’ve been the wiser.

Yeah, this post has no real focus. I will however, make two promises that I know for a fact will not lead to disappointment.

Promise #1: There will be snow on this blog tomorrow.

Promise #2: There will be a new post tomorrow. I know this because it’s already scheduled. What is it about? The person to correctly guess the subject in the comments will win a prize.

I will end this post by congratulating everyone who actually did win NaBloPoMo, (and NaNoWriMo), and by including this picture of a puppy about to sneeze.

Congratulations, winners!

Yep. Totally about to sneeze.

The Sad Story of a Lonely White Blood Cell

Sorry for not posting in a while, but I’m really focused on winning Camp Nanowrimo. I would be two days ahead of ultimate goal right now if I hadn’t had to write this short story for extra credit (for biology, which I’m not doing so good in). Basically I had to write a story that told the life of a white blood cell, while also telling the reader about HIV, vaccines, viruses and other science-y stuff. Since I’m drained out in imagination and slightly sleep deprived, I put this as a post. Enjoy.

Once upon a time there was a white blood cell named Loser. Loser was always made fun of by his peers for being, well, a loser. Loser’s mother, who was intoxicated at the time of giving birth (pro tip: alcohol consumption during pregnancy is rarely a good idea), had given her son a surprisingly accurate name.

Loser’s only real friend was another ill-named white blood cell named, “Lamehead McGee,” who never made fun of his stupid name because his own name was just as bad. The two of them had the worst names in all of the immune system. The problem was, Lamehead McGee was a lymphocyte cell, meaning that he mostly fought B-cells, T-cells and virus-infected cells, while Loser was a neutrophil cell, meaning he targeted mostly bacteria and fungi, so they rarely got to see each other.

One day, when Loser was taking a leisurely stroll down the femoral artery, he was attacked by a bunch of mischievous teenage hoodlums. They were also lymphocyte white blood cells, so they had been messing with him from the moment Loser was born (about seventeen minutes ago).

“Hey Loser!” One of them shouted. It was John, who thought he was so cool for having a normal name.

“Yeah?” Loser, who had been in deep thought, turned around in confusion. When he saw who was talking to him, he fled the artery as fast he could. In the end they caught up to him, due to the fact that he had no legs (it was a birth defect caused by his mother’s severe alcoholism. Also, he was a blood cell, and blood cells don’t have legs.)

They beat him up so badly he punctured his cell wall and almost died. When he regained consciousness he was alone. There were red blood cells everywhere, but no sign of white ones.

“Where’d everyone go?” he asked no one in particular.

“There’s been an invasion in the Brachial Artery!” said a nearby red blood cell as he flew by him.

“Jinkies!” Loser shouted. “I hope it’s not HIV.” According to some legends, there was a virus known as a “Human Immunodeficiency Disorder,” which there was no cure for. The virus infected the macrophages and microglial white blood cells without anyone knowing, and used those white blood cells to replicate more of the virus, up until there wasn’t enough healthy white blood cells left to fight viruses or unwanted bacteria. It had a latency period of up to eight years.

With haste he journeyed up to the Brachial Artery, feeling the rush he always felt before going into battle with unkindly foes such as salmonella or the mumps.

When he got to the Brachial Artery he was stopped by General Stephens and his advisors.

“Where have you been, soldier?” he asked.

“I was knocked out unconscious, sir!” Loser said, then asked, “What type of invasion is it?”

“It’s viral!” shouted his advisor, showing him the video they made earlier of them doing the Harlem Shake. “Forty-four million views!” Everyone clapped.

“Congratulations, but what about the invasion?” said Loser.

“Oh yeah. It’s a viral invasion, alright. Appears to be influenza.”

“Didn’t we get a vaccine for this two days ago?” he asked. Loser had aced his history classes in High School, and mysterious ‘vaccines’ that were injected into the bloodstream from who-knows-where had always interested him. None of the immune cells knew what they did either, but everyone did know they helped them build immunity to whatever dangerous substances were injected. After they destroyed those substances, they remembered them for long periods afterwards, even weeks!

“It appears to be a variation of some sort. We’ve already launched operation Phagocytosis. They must have adapted!”he said, and then he ordered Loser to join the battle.

He shouted his warcry and attacked the virus with all his strength. He ingested several mutated cells until he felt sick and worn out. He continued to fight the virus, but no side seemed to be winning. Eventually he tired out and took a quick break.

As he was resting he watched the battle from afar. There were white blood cells from all over the body. Even immune cells that didn’t mainly attack viruses joined in. Macrophages, monocytes, dendritic cells, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, you name it.

A bunch of lymphocyte immune cells entered the battle. He recognized one of them as Lamehead McGee.

Lamehead McGee entered the battle, engulfing virions as fast as he could. Loser watched in horror as a virion snuck up behind him and attached itself to Lamehead McGee’s backside of his membrane.

“NOOO!!” he screamed, and without thinking got back up to try and help him out. The moment he back into the battle range he was bombarded by a group of virions. They attached themselves to his membrane and he collapsed to the floor of the Brachial Artery. He screamed in pain as the virus penetrated his plasma membrane and slowly took over his insides. It was a horrible way to die.

Before the world turned to white, he wished for one last chance to be with his best friend. Lamehead McGee had been the only person who was nice to him, the only leukocyte that cared, and now he was suffering the same fate as him; after death, their cells would still be used by the virus to replicate itself.

Loser died a sad and lonely death.

The end.

Sad endings are cool.