June 10, 2005

Another letter to SI!

The latest Sports Illustrated printed the following sentence in a blurb regarding the National Spelling Bee.

"One word the competitors were not asked to spell: ecstaticness, which is what Anurag (Kashyup, the champion) ... was feeling."

My copy editor side went red, and this letter was sent to S.I.

Dearest SI,

For The Record (June 13, 2005, pg. 26), the main reason that 'ecstaticness' wasn't a spelling word is because it apparently only exists in sportswriters imagination.vocabulary; the kids at the Bee would understand that the word is e-c-s-t-a-s-y. See also a player's "aggressiveness" (a-g-g-r-e-s-s-i-o-n) and a team's cohesiveness (c-o-h-e-s-i-o-n).

In all seriousness, if you're looking for a copy editor, I'd love to help out in any way I can, especially cutting down un"ness"essary suffixes. My phone number is 317-475-0395, or just respond to this email address.

Please consider the top paragraph as a submission to Letters, and the lower a job request/plea. I love your magazine and would love to work for it and find ways to make it even better than it is.

Michael O'Neill

It won't be printed, but it'd be really funny if it did. :-D

June 08, 2005

I guess I don't get it....

Why would anyone want to buy a Hummer? I don't really know anyone that has one, but most peoploe I've seen ooze this aura of arrogance, precocity, and having to make up for having a small wang with the unnecessary size of his vehicle. That I get. But the new H3 is a smaller-scale Hummer with a lower sticker price. Why? So you can buy it and ooze all these things PLUS be a cheap bastard as well? Who knows....

Last one

This is the final story for the creative writing class. A few of us have formed a critique group and will probabky meet every now and then, but I'm not sure what I'll be writing for it.... Please enjoy :)

Michael O’Neill

As he placed the mop back in the bucket, Tim couldn’t help but think that things weren’t supposed to have worked out this way. He glumly rolled towards the supply closet under the now-dimmed lights and put the tools of his trade away, shutting and locking the door when he was through. He took the ring with his personal keys off the chain which hung from his belt, then sighed as he walked toward the ’86 Cutlass Ciera that he thought barely passed for a car.
After hitting the highway, he set his head on the headrest, glad to be headed home. It had been then same routine for months – wake up, go to work, come home, go to bed, rinse and repeat the next day. The time between steps was filled with logging on to the Internet and the occasional beer. Such was the life of a bachelor, but it wasn’t what Tim wanted. He’d graduated from Cornell a few years ago with a degree in physics, but hadn’t been able to find his way to graduate school or a job of any consequence since. He was living in an apartment in Cleveland, working as customer experience technician at the Steinman Museum of Science (that was actually the title he’d given himself – his employee application had him under the job “janitor”). The plan was to work up to a more substantial role working on the museum floor rather than mopping it, but nothing had opened up.
Placing his keys in the valet by the door, Tim took off his worksuit and hung it in his closet. He chuckled as he looked at the three-piece black suit sitting next to what he’d just put up, almost taunting him to wear it. The last time he’d done so was when his parents were in town, and he’d shown them where he worked. He went in on his day off and led them around as if he owned the place, knowing how professional he looked and how well it was fooling dear ol’ Mom and Dad. He still wasn’t exactly sure why he’d told them he was more than he was – Lord knows he pulled it off, though. The advantage of cleaning off every exhibit in the museum was learning all them without anyone one else being in the way.
Each exhibit had reminded him of a professor from school. Tim had looked up to his professors not only because they had the position and prestige he’d wanted, but because of the knowledge they passed on. While they covered everything physics-related during lectures, it was outside of the class that Time found he learned the most. Professor Lambert had related stories of perseverance, be it in the lab or on the baseball diamond, while Dr. Murphy had let him in on how to keep your name in scientific journals long after your research had ended. It was Dr. Malkovich, however, who had taught him the most, sharing information not only about astronomy and quantum mechanics, but about how everything in physics affected everything in day-to-day activity. It was these lessons that Tim treasured most from his days on campus.
Sportscenter provided the soundtrack for dinner – a sublime dish of macaroni and cheese, complemented exquisitely by a fine sample of Tomato Ketchup, circa 2004. Throughout the highlights, Tim felt a familiar knot start to tie itself in the pit of his stomach. It’d been so many months since he’d graduated, and he still wasn’t doing anything in the field he loved. Just working for a museum wasn’t enough for him – he’d even lied to his parents about it because he felt so ashamed. His friends from school had all found well-paying jobs in their field or were following their dreams in graduate studies – some even had started families. It seemed to Tim that all he’d gotten out of his education was a fancy sheet of paper and a grey worksuit.
It was that thought that pushed Tim over the edge. He stepped out of his apartment and strolled down the sidewalk, hoping the brisk air would do him good. The only thing the walk provided him with, however, was more signs of what he felt was failure. Every car he passed reminded him that he was driving a piece of junk, while every house he passed reminded him of the one bedroom apartment he lived in. When he passed a house with a swing set in the front, he started to run. It was the thought that he wasn’t able to support a family on what he was making that moved his feet to a quicker pace. He ran back to the complex, but didn’t stop at his door, instead treading a path to an open, unlit area far away from the buildings.
He stopped only when he couldn’t run anymore, his hands clenching his knees after doubling over in an attempt to catch his breath. Not helping were the tears rolling down his cheeks and the gasps from crying in frustration. He sagged to his knees, hands moving up to cover his face, his only solace in having run far enough away from the buildings that no one would see it. He wept, letting everything pile onto his back and flow through the tear ducts – the disappointment in not finding a good job, having to lie to his parents (his own mother, for God’s sake), even his rusty car found a way to fit into the oppressing weight. He finally leaned back, taking in a deep breath and getting one last good cry out of himself.
Had he not had his eyes clenched so tightly shut, he might have noticed the lights that went on in the apartments, or even the birds that flew out of the trees when he screamed. But he kept his eyes shut, taking in the night air as he tears slowed and his breath became less labored. Still leaning back, he wiped his nose clean, then rubbed the remaining drops from his eyes and opened them.
What he saw was something he’d stared at and studied for years, but only know did he truly understand the reality of. The clear night allowed the night sky to stare Tim right in the eye as he stared in wonder at everything above him. Throughout school, he’d learned about the distances between Earth and the stars, but numbers on paper didn’t do justice to what he was feeling in that moment. Seeing everything above him made him feel so small, and while for most people that might drive out all thought, he couldn’t help but hear Dr. Malkovich’s voice run through his head.
“Physics is all about balance – that’s what makes it so beautiful. Not only does it govern stars – the largest things in the entire universe – but it also makes subatomic particles whiz around each other at lightning fast speeds. Everything works to a balance – action/reaction, kinetic/potential energy, even simple machine use balance to work. The only other place where we see this is in life itself. Every happiness to one person comes at a cost of a sadness to someone else, and vice versa. Balance exists between any emotions or desires – ambition and acquiescence; exultation and devastation; satisfaction and frustration. While you may enjoy one feeling, remember that its opposite may be lurking around the corner.”
Tim knew that it worked both ways – even as frustrated as he was with his position in life, satisfaction lay somewhere around the corner, he just had to find it. What he was feeling now might just be the balance from the success he’d had in college. Either way, he finally knew he was going to be all right, which was something he hadn’t felt in a very, very long time.
He picked himself up and headed back home, red-faced and still a little wet around the eyes. After cleaning up his gourmet meal, he scribbled a reminder to call his parents the next day, thinking that the quickest path to feeling better started with being honest with himself and his family. He made it to bed that night and slept better than he had in weeks, finally all right about where he was in life. He certainly wasn’t satisfied with his position, but at last he figured out that he could be satisfied with how he felt about it.

June 02, 2005

MySpace! Mine! Gimme!

I have a MySpace! You can find it at http://www.myspace.com/hkeller812, and if you'd like to be listed as one of my friends, you should, um, do that thing that makes you my friend on MySpace. Yeah. That or (if you don't have a MySpace) just email me (michaelponeill2003@yahoo.com) and I'll invite you as a friend! Whee.