Vonnegut’s Fortune Cookie.

“Peculiar travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.”

- Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

This week has proven to reinforce this quote many times over.

Everyone has a story.

Sitting here at Stella’s is so gratifying.  It puts one in a position of constant observation, as if I am an anthropologist observing an obscure indigenous tribe.  These are real people with real stories that bear as much significance as any other story.

Perhaps that is what makes life significant — not who you are, but what you are.  Without conversation, we’re drones.

What did you talk about today?

It’s the end of the world as we know it.

With the new year mere hours away, there are bound to be eschatologists at work depicting humanity’s final hours as being at the dawn of or during 2006. Since I have a strange fascination with the field of eschatology, I figured I would present some of the theories that are cropping up across the Internet:

  • According to this site, 2006 is the year prophecized by an angel to the prophet Daniel when people’s distress is at its peak.
  • According to Michael Drosdin’s book The Bible Code, an atomic holocaust is set to erupt between 2000 and 2006. These years were encoded with the words “World War” in the Bible as equidistant letter sequences. Creepy.
  • Millenialism is the belief that the world would end in the year 2000. Well, that sure didn’t happen. However, many believe that since theologists could be wrong about the true birthyear of Jesus Christ, the true end of the world would occur within that factor of error. Could it be six years?

All I know is that I’m going to be partying like it’s 1999 tonight. Who knows if we’ll see tomorrow?

The Cold War II: A follow-up

Vladimir Putin announced today that Russia would delay its oil export hike on Ukraine three months, giving Kiev a chance to reach compromise. However, if Ukraine does not sign on to the deal, Russia’s oil monopoly Gazprom will cease supplying oil as early as this Sunday. Putin remarked on his decision at a meeting with Gazprom head Alexi Miller:

“I instruct the government and Gazprom to ensure gas deliveries in the first quarter of 2006 with the conditions and rates of 2005, on the condition that before the end of today the Ukrainian partners sign the contract with Gazprom’s offer for switching to market prices in the second quarter,” he said in remarks broadcast by Russian TV. (BBC News)

Although Russia has insisted that the dispute will not affect the European Union’s oil supply, 80% of its exports are sent through Ukraine, forcing many to think otherwise.

This news comes only minutes before this Bloomberg article that puts oil at a two-month high in the states.

It’s going to be a cold, cold winter.

And I thought I had seen it all…

Yesterday might have been the most obtuse day I have ever had. Please be aware that although I am about to attempt to convey its events with words, I do not think there is a language that is sufficient to fully express the eccentricity of yesterday’s events. That said, allow me to begin. [Read]

To Ph.D or to not Ph.D…

Looking at graduate programs is making me cringe at the thought of paying another $30,000+ per year for school. I would like to realize my dream of becoming a professor, but at that cost I will be paying for it for life. I suppose the knowledge gained would easily be worth it, but I am already in over my head. So far I have looked at UC Berkeley and Cornell — although, these should probably be considered my “dream” schools.

We shall see soon enough…

The Cold War II — only this time it won’t be a nuclear winter.

Russia today threatened to cut off gas from Ukraine unless they begin paying four-fold what they are currently paying for their gas imports.  It “demanded that Kiev agree to pay $220-$230 (£128-£133) per 1,000 cubic metres, compared with the $50 it had previously paid instead of transit fees for gas heading to Western Europe.” (Page, Times Online).  This could mean a very, very cold winter for not only Ukraine, but also western European countries that depend on Russian oil imports for 80% of their oil consumption.

Some analyists claim that the situation isn’t worth panicking over:

“Germany can be supplied for more than two month from gas storage tanks,” Martin Weyand, head of the Federal Association of German Gas and Water Economy (BGW) pointed out this week. (DW-World.de)

However, with oil prices as high as they are in the states, such developments can make us wonder: is the party over?

New party with old friends.

I had the pleasure of seeing some old friends this week, including one of my best friends from grade school who happened to be serving in the military overseas. Here are a couple pictures:

Sarah and I

Everybody.

teejay vanslyke development & design: it’s legit.

I went to the County Clerk’s office today to get my DBA notorized so that I am officially recognized as a sole proprietorship.  It’s neat to know that my business is now a legally recognized entity.

The security at the courthouse cracked me up — it’s sad that even to access the Clerk’s office I had to go through a metal detector… I bet they think I’ll steal… their paper… or something.  I suppose it’s necessary, but I certainly would rather be greeted with a cheery “Hello” than “Remove all metallic items from your pockets.”

Oh well.

Words of wisdom.

Greg:  “T.J., maybe if you didn’t like dick you wouldn’t like blogging.”

Greg:  “Blogging sounds like a sexual term, anyway.”