Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Taking Offense

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Flickr Credit: Celestine Chua
There are a few best things that have ever happened to me, but one I will never forget happened last year in my English class. We were reading part of Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.

And I’ll be honest—it was great writing, but I didn’t like some of the ideas. Like, they made me uncomfortable. No one else seemed to mind, and it wasn’t a raw-shocking-graphic-bundle-of-horribleness-meant-to-scar-me-for-life. I read it.

But it bothered me. That’s when my English teacher gave me the most important lesson he taught that year.

“It’s okay to be offended.”


What a concept.

And I pondered it. Like—it’s okay to be offended! It was liberating.

The paradigm shift exploded in my brain. And I thought about it. To some degree in the society I know and don’t always love, there’s this expectation that you will not get offended. In fact, it’s almost offensive to be offended.

Someone says I’m stupid—“Oh, don’t get upset. They’re just having a bad day.”

Someone commits a crime—“It’s really none of your business.”

Someone jabs at my religion—“Everyone can believe what they want; don’t hate on other people’s beliefs!”

It’s not that they don’t always have a point. Maybe that person is having a bad day, and I need to be extra forgiving towards them. It’s possible that the kid who committed a crime is having family issues, and it’s not my job to speculate. And my own response to the religion quip might have been made emotionally, rather than with kindness or reason.

But my problem is this: by making that excuse, that person is saying that it is wrong to have an emotional response to what I have just experienced.

How I present that emotional response is another matter entirely—I know.

Nonetheless, I think sometimes we forget that it’s okay to take offense. Attending a public high school, I’m familiar with many four-letter words, and it’s easy to become desensitized to their meaning. But maybe we shouldn’t. One of my favorite episodes from the TV show Arthur is called “The Bleep,” where D.W. learns a curse word. At first it’s a funny thing she’s learned and she shares it with her friends, but later, when she’s distracted and angry, she yells it at her mother—you can imagine she’s in trouble.

And I always liked the way Mrs. Read explained it to D.W. later. “It’s like saying ‘I want to hurt your feelings.’

There are a lot of things out there that are controversial, and sometimes people take offense at things that should be no matter at all, and sometimes people ignore things that, logically, should really hurt them.

As readers, we run into things that may offend us sometimes. More than once books have been banned because someone has been offended, perhaps over a small thing. People will defame an author for a discrepancy and shame readers for enjoying what they’ve read. It’s not cool.

But I also understand.

There should be a middle ground, in my opinion. Some things happen in books that we should not promote in real life, and there are books that are appropriate for some ages and not for others. Death is much more permissible in fiction. You’ll notice that 50 Shades of Gray doesn’t show up in many elementary school libraries. There’s a separation.

Therefore, I think we should learn to take offense gracefully.

I googled “How to be Offended” and aside from the first hit, everything else advises you how NOT to be offended.

This is the one link, and I think it’s worth the read, but I think I’ll add my own procedure for learning to be offended, especially because it is so easy to run into reading material that may bother us.

Now, there’s always the option of just closing the book or the window and saying, “I don’t want to read that,” which is fine. There are things not worth your time or your energies. But sometimes there is material we’re stuck with, in which case I find it better to use this method:

  1. read it twice—rereading something familiarizes you with the text, which is going to be important for the next steps
  2. pinpoint the offensive parts—in most circumstances, you can describe why something in particular is offensive
  3. reread the offensive parts specifically—there’s almost always a reason someone writes something; the unfortunate truth may be that it is intended to hurt your feelings, but it’s also possible that this person merely wants to be informative or is trying to make a point
  4. understand—figure out the exact meaning of what this person means, be sure to take into account irony or any other factors
  5. make a decision—did this change your mind? Maybe it did and maybe it didn’t, but I’ve always found it affirming to state my conclusion.
    1. “Even though I’ve read something that bothers me, it turns out that I still have the same opinion I did before.”
    2. “Wow, this really changed my mind about that issue.”
  6. reconcile—do you need to take action? (NOT: do you need to ban this book?) Do you need to discuss your value system with someone? Do you need to find a website or a person so you can ask more questions? Or is this a case where you should close the covers and say, “I’m glad I learned something about another perspective—but I think I’m done for now.”?

The exact timeline of this process can vary. It took me the duration of the assignment to figure out how to deal with being offended at Joan Didion’s piece. But I’m glad I read it, and that I did it, because I have a better way to handle emotional blows now.

So, go be offended, I guess. Enjoy it. And, when you’re ready, decide what you’re gonna do about it.

How do you handle a situation when something offends you?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Louis Pasteur

Photo Credit: Britannica
Diseases are great. Diseases are fun! That is, unless you catch them, in which case they are significantly less great and even less fun.

Louis Pasteur is great, and Louis Pasteur is fun—and that’s a definite statement. Known as the god/father of microbiology, Louis Pasteur is probably one of the coolest scientists of the nineteenth century. And, if you’ve ever had a glass of milk, then you have something to thank him for.

In reality, you don’t even have to drink the milk to see it on the carton: down near the bottom there’s a little schpiel that will say “PASTEURIZED MILK” and maybe the grade and some other great facts to help you bond with your milk.

And you’re like, “Great. Leave me alone; I want to blow bubbles in my milk before Dad gets home.”

But hear me out.

If you don’t know anything about pasteurization, let me sum it up for you in simple terms (and we’ll talk about milk, because I know about milk):

  • milk has bacteria in it, really gross pathogenic bacteria that makes you sick if you ingest it
  • milk men and women take the pathogenic milk and put it in a heater
  • we heat up the milk to 154.4 degrees Fahrenheit for thirty minutes
  • the heat affects the bacteria that’s present in the milk; the enzymes in the milk are denatured 
    • proteins that keep the bacteria functioning are heated into a different shape so they can no longer do their jobs—this is also the reason that you could die from a fever
  • the denatured bacteria dies—but some bacteria remains unaffected by the heat
  • the pasteurized milk is shipped out, and we keep our milk in the fridge to prevent the unaffected bacteria from spoiling our milk too fast

(Of course, people still drink fresh milk sometimes. They probably don’t die. But, in today’s society where we don’t all own cows and we don’t want to go to the store every day, it works out to take out the bacteria to make it last longer.)

But wait, there’s more.

The thing is, this guy who actually started developing the pasteurization process, Louis Pasteur, was actually a pretty awesome guy—practically a scientific superhero. Check it out.

Louis Pasteur was a chemist, first and foremost, and principal among his interests was germ theory. Back in the day, a popular theory ran around of spontaneous generation: that is, stuff came out of nowhere because God said, “Let there be maggots.” And thus maggots were.

So maggots randomly appeared on meat, food went bad for no reason, and mice came out of dirty underwear (no, I’m serious, we watched this video in Bio Monday morning. It’s worth your two minutes).

Louis Pasteur was like, “Don’t be ridiculous,” and experimented with beef broth to show that there was something in the air that we couldn’t see that made food go bad. He proved it, too: his broth left out to the open air would spoil and turn nasty (I’m sure you’ve left something out too long, too) while the broths that were sealed or swan-necked (twisted over) didn’t spoil nearly as fast.

However, he had more on his plate than mere beef broth. No, Louis Pasteur studied fermentation as well!

I just studied a whole unit on cellular respiration, so I’m not going to give you that speech, but I will say this: if you’ve heard about fermentation, then it’s probably been in relation to one of two things: your sore muscles after you’ve exercised, or beer.

Plot twist, Louis Pasteur actually came up with initial pasteurization processes for wine and beer, not for milk! While studying different organisms that multiply with oxygen (aerobically) or without (anaerobically) in his fermentation studies, Pasteur used his methods to make his alcohol safer to drink.

But that’s not all.

Monsieur Pasteur’s studies in microbiology saved the silkworm industry in France—knowing nothing of silk worms himself, Pasteur spent five years studying silk worms, breeding them, and then coming up with methods to prevent their contamination with harmful microorganisms so that France, not to mention every other country with silk worms, could keep making silk.

And, on top of that, he came up with vaccinations for Anthrax (independently of Koch, by the way), chicken cholera, and rabies.

Yes, rabies. He dried out a bunch of rabid rabbit skulls in his yard and then stuck pieces of their brains in a nine-year-old kid’s stomach. (And that’s still pretty much what they do to you if you get rabies today.)

But, truly, if he were around today, I would give this guy an air five, because apparently he didn’t like to shake hands.

So, what did you learn today?

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Surprize & Discovery in 1807 England

Today's topic was inspired by two truly marvelous stories: Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrelland the 2003 movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldBoth are set in roughly the same era: the latter in 1805 and the former begins in 1807. All three deal with England during the Napoleonic Wars (hence the title).

England during this time was in the middle of a very feisty and contentious war with France. It was also an exciting time in History: there was America's Ograbme, impressments, Ali Pasha taking over Egypt, the international slave trade ending...It was definitely a time of great change, excitement, surprize (I use the archaic spelling) and, of course, most importantly - discovery.

Russell Crowe as Captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey.
Photo Credit: weebly.com
For the unaware, Master and Commander is, put quite simply, the story of a British ship, the Surprize, trying to destroy its French enemy, the Acheron. But it is so much more than that! It is a wonderful movie, especially if you appreciate the time period and context in which it takes place. There is no Jane Austen and her Mr. Darcy here - rather, a rough, but playful, exciting, but sobering account of war and discovery on the high seas.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, on the other hand, is slightly different. By slightly, I mean alternate-history slightly. In an alternate England, magic was alive and well until the 1600s - when the Raven King and the Aureate magicians disappeared. Everyone knew the history of magic - but none knew how to conjure it - until Mr Norrell, and later, his wayward disciple, Jonathan Strange come along during the Napoleonic Wars, and bring magic back to Britain.

Both of these have a main element of discovery among them - but also showcase its effects quite well: the benefits, the joy, and the dangers resulting from curiosity.

*      *       *
Discovery, of any kind, is always exciting and slightly shocking, by definition. To look upon or learn something that was never seen or known before is humbling, and yet there is a certain thrill about it. From discovering a new element, to naming a new species, to reading a previously unknown letter by someone famous, to unearthing a new artefact, to proving a new theorem - all provide a great sense of either hope or terror. Because, for every cure for polio or smallpox, there was also the discovery of Ebola and how to create an atomic bomb. For every discovery of America, there was also a great genocide and mass murder of countless innocent people. For as humans, we have been entrusted with the greatest gift of all: curiosity. But as humans, we also have a sadly notorious proclivity for using that curiosity for horrifying things. Keep this in mind.

*      *      *
Mr. Norrell, the
greatest magician of the Age.
Photo Credit: fantasybookreview.co.uk
In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the peaceful naivete of Mr Norrell and Jonathan Strange, bravely trying to use Magic for good, is upturned when Strange is interested in the darker, more dangerous arts, and tries to use magic for these. For me, this is like to nuclear power. The possibilities of nuclear power, when first discovered, are endless, and amazing - virtually limitless power from a few radioactive metals and fission! But then came the atomic bomb. Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Today, we live in a nuclear age. The days when schoolchildren were taught how to hide from an A-bomb are thankfully gone, but the spectre of attack still lies heavy over our heads. Such is human nature. But don't think I'm entirely cynical...

*      *      *
One of the most telling scenes in Master and Commander takes place when the Surprise first arrives at the Galapagos Islands, between young Lord Blakeney and Dr. Maturin:

Maturin: Here's an insect that's taken on the shape of a thorn to save itself from the birds.
Blakeney: Did God make them change?   
Maturin: Does God make them change? Yes, certainly. But do they also change themselves?  Now that is a question, isn't it?

There is a perfect reconciliation of science and faith here. Often these two are at bitter odds - which is correct? Which explains Life, the Universe, and Everything? As for me, I maintain that they are two different ways to explain the same thing - for me, God is equivalent to the Universe, Creation is the Big Bang, science is equal to faith, and a rosary is equivalent to a microscope. They are all one and the same.

*      *      *
Mr Norrell is a most secretive person. He is narcissistic, in a way - he wants to be known as the only magician in England, and while he and Jonathan Strange become good friends, they eventually become opposing magicians. This is partly due to Mr Norrell himself - the old "hero creates his enemy" prophecy-trope.
You see, Mr Norrell owns every single book of magic in England. When magic was unknown he was able to purchase every one rather quietly and on the down-low, but when magic became respectable and fashionable, everyone was on the lookout. However, Mr Norrell was able to get to every single one - spending up to 2100 guineas on one rare book. He did this to hide information - in short, to ensure he was in control of knowledge. (Shades of 1984 here...) This is partly why Jonathan Strange went his own way, away from Mr Norrell - unable to read the great books of magic which Norrell hid, he felt there was more to knowledge and set out to discover more. Strange is in the right here, partly. To me, Norrell represents the old, traditional order - trying to keep stability and a semblance of right and wrong which has stayed in place for centuries. But Strange is the young discoverer - the pioneer, as it were. He represents discovery, science, and progress. He is to bring the world forward in terms of Magic - but, of course, there are many dangers in wait for him. (Does he succeed? Well...you'll have to read the novel to find out.)

*      *      *
Part of the main plot of Master and Commander is the promise Captain Aubrey makes to Dr. Maturin - to spend time to explore the Galapagos Islands and make naturalistic discoveries, particularly that of a flightless cormorant. However, Maturin's hopes are dashed three times - all due to the Acheron being nearby. At one point, Aubrey is all set to sail away and capture the Acheron, but Maturin wants to stay behind, studying all the new animals.
To discover new species! It must be so exciting and tremendous, the act of being the first human to look upon a certain animal, or at least to name it and study its evolutionary traits. Maturin surely felt this way, and I'm sure the other great naturalists - Darwin on the Beagle, Linnaeus and his taxonomic organization - felt this way. However, again - progress and stability clash again when Maturin petitions Aubrey to stay behind.
Dr. Maturin: Jack, have you forgotten your promise?
Capt. Aubrey: Subject to the requirements of the service. I cannot delay for the sake of an iguana or a giant peccary. Fascinating, no doubt, but of no immediate application.
Dr. Maturin: There is, I think, an opportunity here to serve both our purposes...I could make discoveries that could advance our knowledge of natural history.
Capt. Aubrey: If wind and tide had been against us, I should have said yes. They're not. I'm obliged to say no.
Dr. Maturin: Oh, I see. So after all this time in your service, I must simply content myself to...hurry past wonders, bent on destruction. I say nothing of the corruption of power...
Paul Bettany and Russell Crowe as
Dr. Stephen Maturin and Captain Aubrey.
Photo Credit: weebly.com
Capt. Aubrey: You forget yourself, Doctor.
Dr. Maturin: No, Jack, no. You've forgotten yourself. For my part, I look upon a promise as binding. The promise was conditional.
Capt. Aubrey: We do not have time for your damned hobbies, sir!
Bear in mind, Aubrey and Maturin are friends. However, sadly, this is what happens when progress and stability - the stability of the Empire - takes place. I might be reading too much into this, but in a way it's the same argument betwixt Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell.

*      *      *
I hope you'll apologize for the strange way this blogpost was written - a series of vignettes, all slightly disconnected, is hardly the best way to go about writing. It's a bad habit I have gotten in. But I hope this was helpful. If anything, it's a polemic on human nature & discovery - and the outcomes they create when combined. Dwell on that, won't you?


Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Flickr Credit: Jared Polin
I wasn’t sure how he was going to respond. He was my AP Euro teacher, and he was awesome, but the nature of my query could be taken in different ways. But I needed it.

Every semester we were to write reports on historical or historical fiction media. Books, movies. Something that took at least two hours to read.

“I was wondering if you knew any short books I could read for my book report.”

He walks over to his bookcase like it’s nothing and hands me a book. Less than half a centimeter in length. Gray. Yellowed pages. Red Words.


He signed it out for me, and I thanked him. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I read it. You should. I’m not even going to spend a lot of time telling you why, just this: it really happened. We should know about it.

I read it. I moped. I walked around the house, feeling different, feeling pain. Why didn’t the people around me feel this kind of shock? Why didn’t they care? There was death, there was pain, there was destruction.

And somehow, I think, I was caught up in a sense of mourning for every single person mentioned in that book. That they had suffered, and that they had done so until their dying breaths. I had to write a report about it… And I stumbled through it.

But it felt wrong, because it was about something so wrong. But I expressed myself. I assume my teacher read it, and didn’t think I was totally weird.

I passed the class.

Upon reading an essay R.R. sent to me over the weekend, I suddenly thought of my report. Huh. And I reread it. Not terrible.

With your permission, I thought I’d share a little of it from the end. Yes, Heather is a little bit crazy, but even now I still mean every word.

~ ~ ~

Regardless, many of the events Nyiszli recorded really stuck out—his descriptions offered a transparent image of Auschwitz in all its desolation. It’s funny, though, because even though he makes it exceptionally simple to imagine ash boiling up in the air, or bodies laying lifeless on the floor, there’s still a long jump to really understanding the circumstances. A few men came to Nyiszli with a friend who had attempted to commit suicide, begging him to put the man out of his misery. I like my friends alive, as a rule, and to be reduced to a state where I would rather see them die than wake up again is beyond my comprehension.

It would be easy to dismiss Auschwitz as a depressing book, filled with the crimes of the past and horror stories we should never wish to repeat. And yet, to deny the fact that, in its own way, Auschwitz is as much an inspiration as a memorial would be a terrible crime in itself. Throughout the book, thousands of people die, bodies are prepared so that one day small children can go to museums and look at the “extinct animals,” and the price of life is reduced until it is next to worthless. Through all that, there are times when the sun shines through the clouds—what I came to think of as “moments of mercy.” I think my favorite part of the book was the day when the young girl was found alive after the gassing, and she was immediately taken under the wing of the doctors like a daughter. She was killed a few hours later, but the kindness she was shown still told me one thing: those in the Sonderkommando had not yet been broken. Despite every injustice still being done within the gates of Auschwitz, there were still people who would do what they could with what they had for someone else.

Prior to reading Auschwitz, I read a pair of books on the World Wars by Terry Deary. I have utmost respect for Deary as an author, because he conveys the monstrosities of war in such a way that children can understand it and even respect it, and yet make it humorous at the same time—even though the World Wars were decidedly not funny. On the penultimate page of Woeful Second World War, Deary related the story of the “gentle German”:

“A Jewish mother faced a Lithuanian soldier, working for the Nazis. The Lithuanian raised his gun and pointed it at her head. His finger tightened on the trigger. He was about to kill her for the ‘crime’ of being Jewish.

“Suddenly a German Army officer stepped forward and rescued her. He turned to the soldier and explained: ‘One day history will judge us.’” (Deary 254)

That woman ended up surviving the war with her three children.

In a weird way, World War II acted like the serum which gave Captain America his powers. As Dr. Erskine said, “[It] amplifies everything that is inside, so good becomes great; bad becomes worse” (Captain). The corruption which infected so many people during the war only made those who could resist it shine a little brighter. It doesn’t justify anything that happened, or even necessarily make it better. But that there is evidence showing, against all odds, there was still basic human kindness and mercy in those bleak days gives me confidence that it will still be there through future trials. If it isn’t, I’m pretty sure the world is screwed.

The Sonderkommando, Nyiszli said, kept going for one reason: to make sure their story was heard, and never forgotten. Nyiszli took those words to heart, as he documented all he had seen within the death camp and made sure that others could read it. As a reader, Nyiszli’s purpose would be lost on me if I simply stopped reading at his book. Books fade fast from the memory, and their essence is only really captured when the act of reading is ongoing. I’m definitely going to read more about the time period, if not because WWII should never be forgotten, then because I still have a lot to learn about the world and the things which have been left behind for my sake.

And if my Junior year has taught me anything, it’s that I still have a lot to learn.

Flickr Credit: MrJamesAckerley

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Cloud Cover

The moon was gone. That was the first sign. Light always travels faster than sound, it is said. Last night, this axiomatic truth was tweaked, slightly. The absence of light travelled faster than sound, and I noticed.

It was 2:00 a.m. I had retired to sleep early, around 9, the previous evening. Trick-or-treating, while fun and exciting (when else does one get to don a masquerade outfit and rob strangers of sucrose-laden treats?) had exhausted me. Otherwise, I should have stayed up until midnight, watching gruesome horror movies or reading Lovecraft or Poe.

But I digress. I could not sleep now, at this late hour. What could I do? Read? Listen to music? But then, as if in answer to my unspoken question -- the rain began to fall. First in small, light patters - then in large, grandiose torrents. I smiled. And so I lay there, just listening, just taking it in, just being happy.

*            *            *

I live in Southern California. Southern California is unlike any other place you might imagine, partly due to the weather. (Yes, there's Hollywood, and excessive traffic, but today is on the weather.)

SoCal is the kind of place where 60 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course) is considered freezing. That is the norm. People don scarves and heavy coats for anything in the 50s, and woe betide the Angeleno caught in 40 degree weather! He'd probably go missing that night, found frozen to death in an ice block two miles away.

I say this partly in jest, but it's true: we are used to our hot weather. It's November now, and last week we had temperatures between 92 and 96 degrees, towards the end of October. Even in December, while the rest of the country (except Hawaii and the Southwest) is freezing in snowy, wintry weather, we go to the beach. We hold barbeques. Clearly we're dealing with completely radical weather.

My personal favorite type of weather is rainy, gloomy weather. Think Washington state, Oregon, that sort of thing. I really do love that weather. Last year, I went up to Monterey and the Bay Area (see my former blog for details), and I LOVED IT. I felt right at home, in 65 degree fog and drizzle. I love the rain. There is something poetic about it. I work best under rain. The rain stimulates me, somehow. Do you know how some people need white noise, or music, or some other auditory stimulus to sleep or to work or whatever? For me, rain is that key. I have written some of my best works under rain.

This probably says more about me and my personality than anything (oh! curse you, Freud!) but there is this inexplicable finesse and intricacy about it. It carries the idea that there is more to it than it appears. This doesn't make much sense right now, but let me elucidate.

*            *            *

Room X-8 is a bungalow, just like the other 10 that comprise the X-buildings at my high school. Inside, rows of desks are lined up, orderly. Motivational posters and mathematical formulas, and a portrait of Isaac Newton cover the walls. Two desks suffice to serve the teacher - one, in the corner with a computer and printer, for his grades, and the other, in the front of the room, with document camera and a legal pad and pen. This is where the mathematical master shows his craft to the young acolytes, eager (mostly) to learn. I had once numbered among them, but time and failure had worn down my mathematical curiosity to barely more than apathy. This was not the Master's fault. Rather, it was mine - things that others grasped easily, I struggled. Was it not true? Many late nights had I spent, working to memorize formulas and apply them - and yet, abject and utter failure.

It was December. Like always, it had been a rather hot, sunny season - but this day was different. The sky was dark and cloudy. As I trumped into X-8, it began - a light droplet to the forehead. I looked up, and saw clouds from afar coming to encompass the school. Others were now looking up, quizzically. Did you feel that? Look at the sky. Oh no, it's going to rain. Damn, I don't have a ride home...These betrayed my classmates' feelings towards the rain, and it showed their personality toward this most basic of natural processes. Trivial human worries, feelings, and qualms surrounded me as I walked into the room. Everyone was mostly disappointed.

I sat down at my seat, next to the window. My math teacher began the lesson, teaching about trigonometric formulas, its relation to calculus - which we would be learning in a few short months, and how important it was and how we needed to commit these to memory. I sighed. Math had - and still isn't - my strong suit. Particularly this section - half angle formulas and the like. I really had not understood this chapter, and I'd asked for help, looked up videos and practice problems, but nothing would stick. I tried listening to the lecture, but nothing stuck. There would be a test next week. I had failed the previous one, miserably. Would I fail this one, too?

The lesson finished. Twenty minutes left in class. As I began to work (and inevitably struggle) on my homework, it came down hard. Large, thick droplets fell from the heavens. I had been told as a small, five-year-old child by my grandmother that rain meant God was sad, and crying. I wondered vaguely at this. If so, He isn't the only one who's crying, I figured, looking at my homework. Why, oh why, couldn't I get it?

Suddenly, it all began to make sense. The formula just requires some tweaking, in this case! You don't need to add 2....now take the cosine of pi over 8...The rain was my conductor, I the simple instrument through which the sweet music of mathematical success came through. I don't know how I did it. Either way, I was floored. I looked out at the rain. Its subtle rhythms seemed to contain a hidden secret. This filled me with so much hope and promise for the future, that I could do anything and discover everything. And it does make sense. We are all raindrops, in a way, falling from the cloud of childhood through the atmosphere of Life.

The rain continued late, late into the evening that day. I do believe it was one of my most productive days. 

I passed the test with flying colours the following week, by the way. 

*            *            *

Many do not like the rain. Many despise it, groan about how the 405 or the 60 will be so heavy with traffic, and how outdoor dinner plans will be cancelled, and how inclement weather schedules are going to take place in school, and how miserable it all is, and how all you can do is stay inside.

I laugh at these comments. Because, really, the rain is probably the greatest of all weathers. It brings success, and joy, to me at least. It is true, what they say, about how one man's loss is another's gain. All it requires is a little rain. :)

J'aime la pluie, c'est ma vie et mon âme.

-R. R.