Happy Birthday, Hubble

“Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery from Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Currently, it is flying about 340 miles over the Earth and circling us every 97 minutes. While the telescope itself is not really much to look at, that silver bucket is pure gold for astronomers.” {From: Hubble Turns 25 – Slashdot}

So, happy birthday to the Hubble telescope, not the Hubble, Edwin. Although I’m sure he has a birthday, somewhere out there.

I was a school-aged nerd when the Hubble was launched, so it was a moment of great importance to me, and I followed it quite closely. Twenty-five years on, that interest has dropped of a bit. Be fair though — a quarter century is a long time, and with all the other shit that goes on in our lives it’s easy to be all, “ho-hum, there’s a telescope floating in space, whatever.” Let us make today a day to remember that, actually, that’s a pretty cool thing.

The Shitty Subway Strategy

It’s not that hard to find people who like to go on and on about the pleasure of eating. They talk of flavors and aromas, they speak of textures with sumptuous words alluding to the broader sensation of touch. But fundamentally, all they’re really doing is layering ostentation on to a much more basic pleasure: the satiation of hunger. In the end, what most people think of as pleasure is really just the relief of suffering anyway. A good meal relieves one of the pain of hunger, just as a pretty sunset allows us to briefly forget that one day we will die, and that our lives will mean nothing. The point is, sometimes it’s enough to cut out the pretense of “good food” and just get down to eating as quickly as possible.

Hence, Subway.

There are several Subway locations in my neck of the woods, and they are generally packed. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because there are so many sandwich topping options that it takes the average asshole about ten minutes to successfully place their order. “Do I want cheese? Um, what kind of cheese do you have? I want lettuce and onions and avocado. No, more. A little more. More. WHAT DO YOU MEAN I HAVE TO PAY EXTRA THIS IS BULLSHIT, YES I WOULD LIKE A COOKIE.” (What is the point of this, by the way? Even if you get them to make it just right, in the end it’s still a Subway sandwich, so what difference does it fucking make?)

When you’re at the back of the line, even if you’re behind just two people, it can take 30 minutes to get your food and get out of there. If speed is needed, you have to be smart about your choice of Subway. You need to find the one that nobody goes to. You need to find the shitty Subway.

You know the one. Their bread is, at best, half-baked. Their lettuce is slimy and just turning brown. So is their mayonnaise. Half of their make-table bins are empty (or straight-up missing). They respond to coupons with a curt “no coupons.” They have a computer-printed sign on the drink dispenser that all-capitally warns NO REFILLS, which matches the one on the entrance that says NO BATHROOM.

Nobody goes to this Subway. Which is why you go. Because when you do, you’re pretty sure you can get out of there in about six seconds, and get down to stuffing your face, (briefly) prolonging your mysterious and painful existence.

At least, this is how I do it.

But a weird thing happened recently.

I went into the shitty Subway and found, to my surprise, that it was packed. Packed with all of those picky assfaces who can’t let an artist do their work without sticking their noses in. It was a howling chorus of “more this” and “less that.” They must have been tourists — I don’t live in a touristy part of the world, but they might have just been passing through. I would be relieved if that were the case, because it would mean that the Shitty Subway Strategy was still on sound footing.

But what if something else was going on? What if my shitty Subway had somehow transformed itself into a Perfectly Adequate Subway? If that were the case, then the Strategy would be ruined. There would be no relief from the crowds, no way to get a shitty sandwich without a whole lot of fuss and bother. This was a crisis point. The only thing I could do was to tough it out, wait the hour or so it would take to get my sandwich, and determine for myself (by means of eating the sandwich) whether or not my (possibly former) shitty Subway had indeed improved itself.

Reader, it did not.

A Letter From the Bog

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the things that being a blogger (or any other kind of writer) does to is to make you look at everything in the world as potential subject matter. Thus, I have lots of thoughts about bathrooms, since I’ve basically been trapped in one since last Thursday. I’ll spare you most of them. You… don’t want to hear them, honestly. But here are two of them.

One thing: do you suppose that the bathtubs of the really rich are more comfortable to sleep in than the ones we peasants have? On the one hand, everything the rich possess seems to be more luxurious and roomy than we poor folks have access to; on the other hand, rich people probably never have to sleep in a bathtub, so why would they bother making them that comfortable? Even if they wind in up in the situation I was in, where it was impossible to sit, stand, or lie down without suddenly having to use the toilet, making it necessary to remain as close to it as possible to the commode, I expect that rich folks have bathrooms attached to their bedrooms, so it’s not really an issue.

On a less disgusting, and more final note, as soon as I am able to leave the house, I’m going to buy an extension cord for my bathroom, because the power outlet is so far away from the seat. I think I’ve run down the batteries on every electronic device that I own over the past few days. Being that my vision was too blurred to do much reading, I had to resort to podcasts and YouTube. When the power ran down, I switch to the old FM radio I’ve got, resulting my listening to more BBC World Service in one night than I’ve ever done in my whole life prior.