A Personal Ad

On the grandest of summer days, beneath a willow tree in the beautiful park that I can see from my bedroom window, I met my true love.

Wait, no, that was only the stupid plot of some sappy romance novel I read a while ago.

Truth is, I’ve never met my true love. How can I, with my line of work, my bad hours, and worst of all, my bad hair? No one could be attracted to this hair, that’s for sure. Sadly, it’s part of the job description.

Nowhere in my very extensive memory can I remember wanting to do what I do. Sure, I was smart. I loved watching all those television shows with chemistry sets and experiments. Yes, I got straight As in elementary, then high school. Of course I got into the best school there could be. But nope, I don’t think I ever really thought that I’d be applying for a post as “Mad Scientist, Female.”

No, no, you’ve got it all wrong. I’m not really a mad scientist. I wish! No, I’m only playing one at the Museum of Scientific History and Literature. It’s an odd place, to be sure. They have all these different characters here, some playing cliches like me – there’s a Frankenstein plus monster, of course – and some taking on the parts of historical figures like Galileo or the Curies. Me? I was fired from my grown-up job at the Modern Science Research Center because of “budget cuts.”

With student loans I still haven’t paid off, rent and utilities due every month, and one mean landlord, I had no choice but to get a job as quickly as I could. So here I am, working at the weirdest museum known to mankind: we’re open between 10am to 5pm, and then from midnight to 5am; we have an Einstein who’s got worse hair than I have and a horribly false German accent; drunk science geeks traipsing around in the middle of the night; and finally, to take the cake, a huge fake library with bookshelves bearing fake cardboard books. What’s with the library? As the sign says when you enter: WE’VE CATALOGUED ALL SCIENCE-ORIENTED NOVELS SO THAT YOU WON’T HAVE TO! People are supposed to walk around and write down titles of books and then see if our amazingly understocked bookstore and gift shop happen to have them. They usually don’t. We get lots of complaints.

But it pays alright, and I’m applying for jobs during every spare moment I have. Oh, the hair thing? Well, it’s a wig, obviously, but it doesn’t agree with my real hair, and so my dull brunette mop is matted and disgusting after every time I put that stupid fake tangle on top of it. The woes of the young and… employed?

I know I’ve got a lot to be thankful for. But not having a steady boyfriend since high-school has started to wear on me. During college I was stuck in my books, during my summers I interned everywhere that would take me, and after I graduated I was lucky enough to get a job at the Research Center. Working there for another four years has gotten me to the age of twenty-six without having kissed anyone since I was seventeen. Okay, that’s a lie, there have been encounters here and there, but I’m pretty ashamed and revolted with all of them, so I try to pretend that they haven’t happened.

Yes, people, even science geeks have needs, you know!

The point is, I really would like, for once, to meet someone who isn’t a) a smoker; b) an alcoholic and c) a complete idiot. Is that really so much to ask for? Apparently it is. But don’t they say that intelligent women intimidate men? Well, I seem to have scared all of them away – although I think the ones I dated were all much too dumb to have recognized me as being super-smart anyway.

No, excuse me, I’m not blowing my own horn, I’m simply stating a fact. I’m smart. I have powerful deductive skills, I grasp new concepts quickly, and if I don’t understand something then I’ll work at it until I do. I also have very small and steady hands which are an asset when you’re working in a lab.

So here I am, ready to break through all the barriers and say that Gertrude Jenkins, twenty-six years old, five-two and one hundred and ten pounds, is looking for a date. Not true love, so don’t get freaked. A good date will do just fine to start with.



Missing It

There’s a certain sound that keystrokes make. It’s a sound I hear a lot these days, but usually the sound’s only result is long papers about Antigone or Oedipus or Henry VIII. Not that those results are unsatisfactory – not in the least. In fact, my brain feels as if it’s expanding with every day, acquiring more material, whether useful or not, and using it to fill in the gray corners that have remained as empty and barren as understocked warehouses in thriving cities on the verge of poverty.

However, it’s been a great long while since I’ve associated the clack-clacking of fingers on keyboard with something creative. I feel like while one part of my brain is being used more and more and is stretching its limbs and crying out for joy, another part of it is slowly shrinking into the corner, scared, intimidated. The fear isn’t only from this new intellectual beast growing up near it – it’s also from the tremendous amount of talent that my eyes see every day, in the minds and eyes of other people. The school and environment I’m in is full of people who are writers at heart – many are genuine and love writing, although a fair few are also merely intellectual snobs who feel that knowledge is power that must be shown off, not just consumed. But those aren’t the intimidating ones – those are the ones I just choose not to associate with.

Still, the talent that is rampant on this campus is astounding and my creative brain seems to shrivel up with terror at the thought of being inadequate. But I miss it. I miss that part of me. I miss writing stories and poems that don’t rhyme. I miss writing character studies and wracking my imagination for new things to write about, new styles to try out, new places to describe.

I’m coming back. In a big way. I have to, if only to preserve my sanity and give myself something completely outside of my day-to-day struggle with books and papers and people to focus on. I hope I manage to stick by this promise – I’m coming back and I want to write something, even just a paragraph, each and every day. I know that I can’t expect anyone to read my words when I don’t have sufficient time to read theirs as well, but I’m going to strive to meet that goal too. When I was at home, I managed to read so many posts a day and I enjoyed it. I want to manage to read at least once or twice a week the full range of your – all my wonderfully supportive friends’ – blogs and catch up with you as well. I hope I can keep my promises this time. In the names of Dionysus, Henry VIII and Alan Turing I’ll try.

Wizard Mathews [A Short Story That Isn’t Really About Magic]

The Great Wizard Mathews, sat down and wrapped his cloak around himself. He thought, for the hundredth time that day, that his experiment had gone horribly wrong. He shivered a bit and flinched away from the noisy road, burrowing himself further in his cloak, and closed his eyes.

The Great Wizard was an expert of his field and an important man, where he came from anyway. His expertise was crystal balls, the kind that look backwards and forwards and over the world. They were simple things, really, crystal balls. It was all just an easy matter of tweaking with the chemicals and dimensions that made up time and space and then confining the tweaked bits in glass orbs. All quite easy stuff really, as wizarding went.

Mathews sniffled and then sneezed. The smoke down in his little corner was even worse than it had been walking around all day. He was quite sure he saw some poisenous matter drifting from the strange little gate in the ground. He pressed his old, wrinkled and once-respectful face against the dirty stone and tried with all his might to disappear from the place. What a fool he had been! He was so angered with himself that he bit his hand and beat his head against the wall a few times.

The trouble with Mathews was, he got bored quickly. He had been in the crystal ball business for some fifty odd years, a short time indeed for a wizard, and he grew so bored with fiddling and confining things in orbs that he decided to fiddle with time and space a bit more, only this time outside of orbs, and see what would happen. His first experiments were exhilerating – Mathews passed through time and worlds quickly, colors and sounds flashing by him until his head fair spun with it and his body felt invigorated and new with the energy of it.

Today though – Had it really all just begun this morning? – Mathews had thrown himself into the process with so much gusto, that he had gotten stuck. Stuck in one place, a place so different from his own world that he wanted to weep at its ugliness. The worst thing was that his powers seemed to be drained. He had decided that an evil spell must be on this place. He knew it in his bones. He saw other abandonned or lost wizards like him around the noisy, dangerous and smelly place he was in, also bereft of their powers. He knew them as his brethren because of their wizened faces, their cloaks and capes of all manner, their weariness at this world and most of all, their constant mutterings – stuff he reckoned must be spells. Well, would be spells if they’d worked- it seemed all the others had lost their powers as well.

Mathews tried to speak to the others, but most were so deep in dispair at their lost powers that they didn’t answer him. Some spoke in code it seemed, muttering low, but Mathews did not understand their code and alas, knew not how to go about cracking it.

So it had gone all day, and Mathews was now tired. Bone weary, even. He glanced up and saw a child look at him, from far away. He sighed, tried to smile at the little boy, and then lay his head back against the wall and slept.


“Robbie, come here! Stop staring at that old vagrant!” A woman murmured urgently, tugging at her young son’s coat, as the boy tried to go over to the wizard.

“But Mommy, Mommy, he’s a wizard! I saw a crystal ball in his pocket! I want him to teach me magic,” the little Robbie screamed in protest. His mother pulled him away, still screaming, and tried to explain about homeless men and vagrants and promised to buy him some ice cream. When Robbie wouldn’t stop screaming about the wizard, his mother dispaired and bought him a glittery plastic magic wand from the toy-store.

Robbie was content then, and agreed to go home without a fuss. But when he was tucked into bed that night, he wondered about the wizard and knew, for one clear moment before he fell into the deep sleep of children, that he was the only one in this world who would ever know that that man was a Great Wizard.

Don’t colleges WANT students?!

Why must colleges have such HORRIFIC websites? Can they not see they are losing the faith of the young generation, i.e. the generation they’re supposed to be catering to? Anyone who breaths and lives the internet knows how annoying it is to stumble across a website that is not designed well, has missing links, has strange ways of navigating users from place to place and is all-around generally bad.

Suggestion, O Collegiate Geniuses: take twenty jacking-off, pubuescent, nineteen year-old kids from your newest freshmen class, prefferably the ones taking many computer classes, tell them to design a more approachable and straightforward website and give them extra credit so they’ll do it. Your problem will be solved and your websites won’t make me and the other prospective students want to scream and hurl things at our screens.