Friday, May 16, 2008

Lithium

Lithium is not found free in nature and makes up only 0.0007% of the earth's crust. Lithium carbonate (Li2CO3) is used as a drug to treat manic depression disorder.

Buying ice cream with twenty-nine choices on my first visit to Rostock, Germany
I could see what I wanted; but couldn't find the shop that sold it: I'd lurk at the back of lines, only to discover the retailer serving liquor or bratwurst mit einen kaiser. I tried following people around who held the desired delight, but couldn't muster the nerve to ask: Wo finden Sie es? I was too tired to deal with all that miscommunication entailed.
After walking up and down blocks of stores displaying beach toys and sport clothes and kaffee, I spied one with a long line, a sign out front with pictures of cones and cups filled with neon-colored ice cream, and corresponding prices. Viola!
Ja. I'd found my longed-for treat. As I neared the front of the line, I craned my neck to decipher the flavors before I had to pick one. Vanille, schokolade; pfefferminze, nougat; walnuss, haselnuss, whisky krem, and all sorts of berries.
My turn.
I point, not remembering the word for dish, open my mouth, and promptly start speaking Thai. Kaw nung... oops. Wrong language. Dang. I smile and hold up two fingers.
She asks if I want two scoops. I can understand that. Yes. Whisky krem und nougat.
New-ghat?!
She quizzes. I nod my head. Plop goes a scoop of chocolate-looking soft ice cream.
Nein, nein. Ist das schokolade? I ask. Waving my hands back and forth in front of me. No schokolade, bitte.
The clerk squints at me, thinks about removing the scoop, but realizing it's already melted into the whiskey cream portion and cannot be separated, frowns.
Nur whisky krem, I say.
With an annoyed sigh she grabs a new cup, dishes me a new scoop and bangs it on the counter. I place 50 euros on the money plate and she returns 47.50 back to me.
I walk away dissatisfied with the exchange, vowing to be more patient with myself and others in the future.
I don't even like whiskey.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Helium

Helium, the second most abundant element in the universe, was discovered on the sun before it was found on the earth by Pierre-Jules-C├ęsar Janssen, a French astronomer.


One of my favorite musicians recently released another solo album. From his first track I hear an excellent life motto. "Everything I do gonna be funky from now on...just to be myself and do my thing, a little soul can do you no harm." The headache I've been cursing all morning starts to dissipate as I dwell on those words.

I'm not sure what it means to be funky for anyone else, but for me, it's walking on my own path, swinging to my own groove, and feeling in harmony with the world in my own skin. It helps to practice at some level, a bit of mindless (or would that be mindful?) bliss.

I can not solve the troubles of this world, but I don't have to add negative energy to it. So I'm going to be myself and do my own thing. You do yours, too.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Hydrogen

Hydrogen is the raw fuel that most stars 'burn' to produce energy.

Chris Ison said, during a journalism workshop that I attended this weekend, that taping one's interviews is a good thing, "but painful." He went on to say, this man who's won a Pulitzer for his reporting, that he hates to listen to all his dumb comments and questions when later transcribing the recording.

I found that remark to be a mixture of delight--even the pinnacles of success carry the same self-doubt as I--and reassurance--I'm not alone in my angst as I strive to be that Perfect Journalist. As if.