Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Ode To Ye Cell

So a friend recently asked me to help them come up with a poem about a cell. This is what I came up with. I'm actually pretty proud of it.

Ode To Ye Cell

You little cell, modicum of matter, invisible to the naked eye.
Insignificant? No. You still matter, to me, myself, and I.
You see, without you I could not see.
There’d be no life, no dogs, no tree
To built a fort, or use to build a home.
So keep on building polypeptides with your ribosome.
Your Golgi apparatus, discovered by Camillo
Packages proteins so I can pack my lunch-o,
Take it to work, eat, digest and live.
But you, unselfish you, you give and give and give.
You literally split yourself in two in that process of mitosis.
I wish I could shrink down real small, and give you a big ol’ kiss!
You little cell, modicum of matter, invisible to the naked eye.
I sure do love you, for without you I would die.

Sean's Half Blogathon

I enjoy ideas. They are like little dew drops from Heaven. No, wait, stop the horses and hold your presses. That expression is a bit cliché. Ideas are more like, forgive me for saying so, but they’re a lot like poop. You take in all sorts of food and “food-like substances” (for you Pollan-philes), including a veritable smorgasbord of preservatives, additives, and bona fide nutrients and produce the same substance each time.

Seriously, ingested substances come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, though we all know by now to avoid yellow snow. Even via sight, smell, and taste we cannot identify, nor would we want to, every masticated modicum making its way through our digestive tract. For some food touch-a-phobes, dinner quickly becomes a debacle when the peas touch the carrots or the Brussels sprouts befriend the Belgian waffles. Each food must remain untouched or else it is not eaten. Other people relate more to Buddy the Elf and his ability to eat from a plate resembling a Jackson Pollock painting. The point is that every day people all over the world put some pretty crazy crap into their bodies, yet through the miracle of our stomach and intestines, we all go on living… and pooping. No matter what something was when it went in, when it comes out, it is poop.

I know I’m being gross, but take my hand (don’t worry, it’s washed) and come with me to the land of conclusions. Each day you open your eyes and experience an infinite number of stimuli. Martin Heidegger lectured on how if each stimulus had to be individually absorbed and processed by us, we would not be able to function. Sparing you the gory details of post-Modernist thought, our consciousness is able to make sense of everything and somehow we continue to function. Throughout the day we are bombarded, and bombard ourselves with music, sensations, words (both spoken and written), colors, people, etc. It is akin to what may happen if a fat camp took a field trip to a Vegas buffet. Asparagus, hamburger, smell of grass, music of Ace of Base, chili, sunlight, wind, lemonade. The fat children consume food. People consume sense data. Fat children poop. People excrete ideas. No matter what comes in, ideas come out. Ideas = mind poop. I like ideas. Did I already say that? Methinks that be what got us into this mess in the first place.

Sometimes I have good ideas, and other times I have bad ideas. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t know what they are until I see the flashing lights and men in uniform. After about 30 encounters with the aforementioned gendarme, I am beginning to learn that travelling at a velocity greater than that posted on little, white, roadside signs is a bad idea. Doing the laundry and dishes without being asked, on the other hand, is always a good idea. Good ideas rarely make for good stories, though, so here are two bad ideas I’ve had.

Bad Idea #1

When I saw the notice in the paper, it seemed like such a good idea. Deal or No Deal announces a casting call in Salt Lake City on Saturday, blah blah blah…” The rest of the information is irrelevant. I was going to go and get on the show and win $1 million and be set for life. And the best part of it was that even though lots of people were thinking the same thing, I was the only one who was right. I called my brother, and after a minimal conversation, convinced him that it was a good idea. The next morning at six we were up and running. Good idea.

Our odyssey progressed from the car to riding Trax, to trying to walk faster than the other people who looked like they were going to RC Willey too, where the line didn’t really look that bad. It was then 8 AM. We wouldn’t leave until nearly 3 PM. Bad idea. But it gets better/worse. It turns out that the line that didn’t look too bad was really about 345,620 people crammed into a parking lot, but it doesn’t look like that many people because there are about 75,000 switchbacks. I felt bad for all the people in front of me who didn’t know that only after interviewing me would the producers find their man. After a few hours, however, I began to feel a little like a crazed Jack Nicholson, lost in a labyrinth at the end of The Shining. Perhaps if an axe or croquet mallet had been available (depending on whether you read the book or watched the movie), I could be writing this to you looking dapper in orange from the Point of the Mountain. This was quickly becoming the devil’s Disneyland, and we were about to descend to the ninth circle of hell.

We arrived at the doors of the warehouse thinking that our journey was about to end and the producers would finally be able to rejoice at having found their next contestants (my brother and I). What we found was that the line continued inside with about fourteen times as many people and three-and-a-half times as many switchbacks. We persevered.

Seventeen short switchbacks and two hours later, my mind pooped. I had an idea. This is the idea around which this story revolves, so pay attention. We were walking by a pallet of open tile and I said, “James, you should grab some of that.” So he did. For the next couple hours, he amused those around us by complaining that this was the longest check-out line he had seen and asking why the returns line was so long today. He being a very likeable guy, people around us started having fun, and this sadistic routine didn’t seem so bad. And then they asked us to hold tight while they took a 30 minute lunch break. 45 minutes later they would return, but by then my brother was gone.

You see, when we saw people going up on a three-story forklift, we waved. People like being waved to, right? Not this one. She just pointed. That mean, little lady, out playing Moral Crusader just pointed back. We looked to the right and saw one pubescent warehouse worker with a walkie-talkie. He pointed too. He then underwent mitosis before our eyes, splitting into two acne clad young men. One stayed and pointed while the other went and quickly returned with their adult counterparts. The fuzz. They simply could not swallow that he was not stealing the tile (since tile has such a high resale value on the black market) and escorted him from the warehouse and off the property. After nearly six hours, this was his ignominious end. For four pieces of tile. Stupid.

I was mad. It was probably a mixture of a sense of injustice, pent up anger at the thousands of dollars I’ve spent at traffic school, and a sense of guilt because it was my idea to have my brother to grab the tile. Most likely it was 95% guilt, but it came out as anger. I tried to control it, but an hour later, when it was my time to shine before the producers, I think they saw through my disguise. With my 20 seconds to shine, I threw an Irish accent at them, did a little jig, told them of my world-travelling adventures, and how excited I am to be a father. I guess I my act wasn’t enough to hide the fact that 50 bazillion switchbacks and no food make Sean a dull boy. It may have been my twitching eye, grinding teeth, or foaming at the mouth, but I didn’t get invited to go to Round 2. I went and found my brother and together we went to IKEA, got some cinnamon rolls, and drowned our sorrows in their frostingy goodness.

Deal or No Deal? No Deal. Bad idea.

Bad Idea #2

I love to run, it makes me smile. I think I’ll run another mile. At least that was my credo in high school. Now I don’t like to run. But I do anyways in the hopes that someday I will smile at it again. So I signed up to run the Salt Lake City Half Marathon. I’ll discuss the race more with you at a later date, but I’ve already written way too much and lost probably 90% of the people who started this, so I’ll just focus on the bad idea (and yes, signing up to run the race was a bad idea, but that’s not it).

The week of the race, I received an email on Monday that said, “CRUCIAL INFORMATION FOR SATURDAY’S RACE – PLEASE READ IN ITS ENTIRETY”. I thought to myself, “Not now. Maybe later. I’m doing important things.” And I continued picking the lint from between my toes. The night before the race I opened up this “important” email to give it a gander. It wasn’t long before I read, “You cannot participate in the race without a bib,” followed by, “You cannot pick up your race packet and bib after Friday at 8 PM. There will be no bibs handed out on the day of the race.” It was 9 PM on Friday. Nuts.

I had paid $55 to run in this asterisk-percent-ampersand race and I’d be hornswaggled if I couldn’t run in it! So I began emailing everyone who had an email address listed on the race’s website. Then I realized they wouldn’t be reading their emails before 7 AM the next morning when the race began, so I took to the phone. Answering machine after answering machine listened carefully to my impassioned plea without response. So finally I called the corporate offices of the organizing company in Michigan. I got a recording, but they offered a directory of names. I heard a name I had seen somewhere on the site and dialed her extension. I got her voicemail too, but she was foolish enough to have left her cell phone for the event’s sponsors if they had an emergency. I called her cell and left yet another message. This time my prayers were answered in the form of Leah Del Angel (Italian for “of the angels”). She arranged for my bib to be at the starting line the next morning, but I had to be there by 5 AM. By this time it was nearly 11 PM.

Four hours later I was up trying to grog my way through packing a breakfast. I threw in a granola bar, some nuts, and a special hard-boiled egg that I had been saving. Megan made it especially for me. It said, “I love Sean”. Cute, eh? The only problem was that it was from Easter, nearly a month ago. While eating it on the drive up at 4:15 AM, I noticed it smelled funny and tasted like I was eating a dish sponge. I gagged on the first bite and swerved, nearly hitting the cement divider. I wanted to spit it out or vomit, but instead I swallowed and bit again. Much of the white of the egg was orange. I told myself that it was just the dye which had seeped through. Logic hadn’t woken up yet, and I could just think, “This egg represents my wife’s love for me. If I consume the whole thing, it will give me strength in the race.” Bad idea.

Substitute diarrhea for strength and you hit that nail right on its little head. Somehow, I still ended up finishing just over 1:50:00, averaging about an 8:30 mile. That’s better than I expected to do, but I think I can only attribute that to my inexhaustible drive to beat those people who don’t look like they should be running faster than me. Seriously, could I like with myself if I let the 5’1”, 250 lb, chub of a dude beat me? No. The problem was that even having beaten him I hardly lived.

The egg caused the worst of my afflictions. A rotten stomach and digestive tract plagued me for the following three days. I could hardly eat, move, sleep, or really do anything. It was not, however, the only one. I had bled from eight different locations on my body as a result of the race. Each location became extremely sensitive to water, touch and movement. I also had extremely sore muscles since I decided to go and pick up my gear bag before stretching, which turned out to be another bad idea. In and of itself, that is a good story too, but since I promised that I would only force two bad ideas on you today, that, my friends, must remain a story for another day.

P.S. If you’ve read this far, you must have some time on your hands so feel free to check out the pics of me running the Half Marathon at this link. In some I’m trying to look inspired or tough. In others I’m being a ham. In the rest, I’m just trying to not think about that damn egg.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What is it?

I can see what's happ'ning.
And they don't have a clue.
We fell in love, and here's the bottom line: Our family's growing from two.

Okay, that was dumb. But I do not apologize because that's what you'll get when you log the blog of the Irish dog (translation: when you access my web log).

Welp, as promised here I am updating our blog. Now that we've made it known that we have a blog and our number of visitors has gone up 400% overnight to four, I need to make good on my part of the deal. You come here. You is specting read stuff, so I is give you read stuff.

Yesterday was a big day for the Murphy family. After 20 weeks of agonizing over the gender of our unborn child, we finally know the truth about what it is. No more calling it an it, or a thing, or a whoozi whatzit, or peanut brittle, or caramel ketchup, or anything like that. We can finally call it a...

We'll just see if you can tell fo' yo' self.

That's right, folks. Megan and I are going to be the proud parents of a tuber! The ultrasound technician said that its eye development is amazing! He mentioned that he's seen rare cases of vegetable procreative anomalies before when parents were especially fond of a certain veggie around the time of conception. (Where do you think the term "Beet-nik" came from? Those hippies sure liked their beets. I'm not sure about "flower child" though. I don't think many of them actually consumed flowers, but I suppose under certain influences a tulip may seem appetizingly like a supreme pizza.) We especially liked this shot because it actually looks like it's waving and smiling. He said that while their facial expressions at this point are random twitches meant to help muscle development, I say poo poo on the technician. I know my child, and it loves me! It's got it's father's head. The only downside is that it will stay an it forever. While some people will carve their potato children and others store a hodge podge of interchangeable facial features in their potato's hind quarters, we plan on letting little Tuber Q. Losis Murphy be what it will be. I've heard they even have tater communities up in Idaho.

Don't say I didn't warn you about me.

But seriously, we're having a GIRL!! We are so very excited about it and have some great shots of her from the ultrasound. We're sad that the machine which makes a recording wasn't working cause our little ragazza was putting on quite a show (licking her lips, yawning, waving, etc) but we did get some great stills.
She's a little scary when she yawns, but that's okay. She has come a long way from looking like a kidney bean in her first ultrasound. It could be worse. Yea, if we could just have the thing and show it to you now, we totally would. But I'm guessing it looks probably like a sea monkey right now and we should let it get a little cuter. (Thanks, Diablo Cody)

So as we leave you, from the crossroads of the west, this last picture says it all. Life is good. Thumbs up. There ain't no potato inside my wife. There is a beautiful baby girl who I just can't wait to welcome into our lives and fill her head with all sorts of nonsense.


I guess if you want to be done, you can, but I just remembered something else I wanted to show off - my wife's hilarity.

So we're coming back from the ultrasound and we decide to go and get a cake from Smith's to bring up to my parents' house in Orem. While Megan was making her perfunctory tri-hourly trip to the loo, I started eying the selection in the bakery. They were closed, so we couldn't have them write anything on it, but we could write it ourselves, but they only had blue cakes. That's when Megan came up with the following epiphany of geniosity:

We walked into my house with the cake mostly covered in a paper bag from Smith's, and my dad immediately said, "Is that blue frosting I see? I know what that means!" We nodded understandingly. Not wanting to lead anyone on for too long, we pulled the bag off. Boy I wish I had a picture of their faces! The best was my two little sisters, Shannon and Caitlin, who came home from their Young Women's activity later. We had covered the cake with a towel, then pulled oh so deviously slow to reveal the cake from bottom to top. They yelled, "It's a bbbb..." and stopped cold in their tracks as we pulled it the rest of the way off. "Does that mean it's a girl?" Shannon then asked. We answered in the affirmative.

I found that unfortunately the story doesn't translate too well over the phone. While speaking to an uncle, I related the story of the cake to tell him the good news, to which he replied, "Well, as the Godfather says, <in a husky tone> 'May your first child be a manchild'." I laughed, then stopped and explained that the cake read, "It's NOT a boy." Our conversation didn't last much past that awkward moment. Ha!