Page 1


LITERARY MAGAZINE Powell Perng Editor-in-Chief

Grace Hsia

Co-Managing Editor

Jeffrey Chang

Fundraising Chair

Divya Gupta

Editing Chair

Shivank Sharma

UMEC Representative

Rebecca Wozniak

Publicity Chair

Dr. Elizabeth Hildinger Blueprint Faculty Advisor

Kathy Lu

Co-Managing Editor

Aric Velbel

Submissions Chair

Micah Paul Bennett Layout Chair

Vinayak Thapliyal Website Chair

Dan Rodak Staff

Sponsored by: Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) University of Michigan Engneering Council (UMEC) arts@Michigan The University of Michigan College of Engineering ArtsEngine

2010-2011 Issue I Front Cover Art by Angela Schmidt Back Cover Art by Micah Bennett Designed in Adobe Indesign CS5 7.0.3 Typeset Garamond Printed by Print-Tech, Inc.

Harry Benford Wotong Shen Shonda Bottke Sarah Verner Anna Chen Angela Schmidt Eugene Chow Katie Caruso Parke MacDowell Felix Lipke Susan Montgomery Lian Zhu Lyle A. Murphy Grace Hsia Mark Navarro Mark Yurich Dan Rodak Andrew Kurdelski Rodriguez-Ricardo J. Laureano Amy Wu Paul David Stanczak Somya Sharma Susan Hill 小 白 Andrew Joseph Crow Jason Sielaff Jack Woodward Sudarshan Sivaramakrishan Craig TenBusschen J. P. Boyd Chao-Wei Su Ryan A. Nash


Table of Contents Editor’s Note..............................................................................................................................................07 Powell Perng

Fiction/Prose Mime and Punishment..............................................................................................................................10 Sarah Verner

Cough*.........................................................................................................................................................16 Lyle A. Murphy

A Greeting...................................................................................................................................................25 Jason Sielaff

A Short Story..............................................................................................................................................26 Grace Hsia

Science By Any Other Name...................................................................................................................28 Andrew Joseph Crow

Reason By Any Other Name....................................................................................................................30 Andrew Joseph Crow

Open Door, Insert Bob............................................................................................................................64 Susan Hill

New Law of Thermodynamics................................................................................................................68 Harry Benford

Spine.............................................................................................................................................................71 Craig TenBusschen

Stackhouse...................................................................................................................................................77 Jack Woodward

A Memorable Highlight............................................................................................................................81 Harry Benford

The Solitary Waves of Tuzlan..................................................................................................................82 J. P. Boyd


Poetry Waking Up in Cherry Hill.........................................................................................................................08 Somya Sharma

Chair Gypsies..............................................................................................................................................09 Amy Wu

Cardboard Cutout......................................................................................................................................13 Grace Hsia

ABC’s of Poetry.........................................................................................................................................14 Felix Lipke

Untitled........................................................................................................................................................15 Jason Sielaff

The Thing There Isn’t Any Word For....................................................................................................20 Leath

Wild & Free.................................................................................................................................................21 Ryan A. Nash

Michigan Engineering for Life.................................................................................................................22 Sudarshan Sivaramakrishnan

Neverland....................................................................................................................................................24 Lian Zhu

Math 412 Rap.............................................................................................................................................27 Sudarshan Sivaramakrishnan

The Mad Gardener’s Remix......................................................................................................................67 Felix Lipke

Words...........................................................................................................................................................69 Eugene Cho

Rivers Poem................................................................................................................................................70 Mark Navarro

Let Freedom Ring......................................................................................................................................74 Paul D. Stanczak

Back..............................................................................................................................................................75 Ricardo J. Rodríguez-Laureano

Glitch...........................................................................................................................................................76 Dan Rodak


Visual Art Adelita’s Misfortune...................................................................................................................................32 Shonda Bottke

Sid, the Restless Octopus..........................................................................................................................33 Shonda Bottke

Sforzando!...................................................................................................................................................34 Shonda Bottke

Wolf Sight...................................................................................................................................................35 Lyle A. Murphy

Back Home.................................................................................................................................................36 Yang Wei

Miles to Go.................................................................................................................................................37 Katie Caruso

Relaxing.......................................................................................................................................................38 Susan Montgomery

A Monkey....................................................................................................................................................39 Andrew Kurdelski

A Mighty Wind...........................................................................................................................................40 Katie Caruso

Not All Who Wander................................................................................................................................41 Katie Caruso

Bathed in the Sunlight...............................................................................................................................42 小白 Light.............................................................................................................................................................43 小白 The Covered Path......................................................................................................................................44 Lyle A. Murphy

Striving.........................................................................................................................................................45 Susan Montgomery

FRAYMD....................................................................................................................................................46 Mark Yurich

Chess in Hyperspace..................................................................................................................................47 Lyle A. Murphy


Mountain Sunset Panorama......................................................................................................................48 Lyle A. Murphy

NIGHTHAWKS........................................................................................................................................50 Angela Schmidt

Untitled........................................................................................................................................................51 Anna Chen

Ethereal........................................................................................................................................................52 Lyle A. Murphy

Daydreaming...............................................................................................................................................53 Anna Chen

Wave Pavilion..............................................................................................................................................54 Parke MacDowell

[PARADOX] OF PRESERVATION.....................................................................................................58 Chao-Wei Su

The Ambiguity of Positive and Negative Space...................................................................................63 Wotong Shen

Contributors..............................................................................................................................................86


Editor’s Note

I was pleasantly surprised upon receiving Elizabeth Cammarata’s e-mail last March wherein she announced the winners of the Roger M. Jones poetry contest. Scrolling down the list of names on my Blackberry (strategically positioned under the desk next to my right thigh) in the back row of the lecture hall, I was stunned to see that the girl sitting three rows in front of me and two seats to the left (Battleship, anyone?) had taken second place in the contest. For all I knew, she was just another biomedical engineer with medical school on her mind. Who knew that she wrote poetry, much less, great poetry? Being myself an engineer with an interest in literature, I was tempted to hop two rows down, tap her on both shoulders, and engage her in a conversation about Ars Poetica. I reconsidered, however, after I realized that I had never actually spoken to her and that I probably would have frightened her irreparably had I actually made that leap. Regardless, this unlikely phenomenon of finding a fellow engineer who was also interested in the arts got me thinking: How many other poetically inclined engineers have I encountered over the past three years without even realizing it? How many other pleasant surprises have I missed? Having worked as a staff member for Xylem Literary Magazine of the Undergraduate English Department the semester before, I was tickled by the idea of having our own literary magazine for the College of Engineering. Quite simply, it would be a medium through which engineering students could share their creative works with one another as well as with the greater Michigan community. This ‘zine’ would be a collection of the best, most engaging works of prose, poetry, and visual art produced by a student body that many would consider the most uncreative when it come to artistic expression. Elizabeth’s e-mail, however, convinced me otherwise. Today, with the contributions of a brilliant and motivated editorial staff, you are holding in your hands what has crystallized from that initial urge to hop two rows of desks in order to congratulate my classmate on the quality of her poetry. Blueprint Literary Magazine has since expanded its initiative to encompass all four colleges on North Campus: The School of Art & Design, The Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, and The School of Music, Theater & Dance. As this year’s Editor, I want to thank you personally for taking an interest in our publication. I sincerely hope that, after reading this first issue of Blueprint, you too will find yourself ‘pleasantly surprised.’

Powell Perng


Waking Up in Cherry Hill Somya Sharma

With the morning rays, he stretched out and touched his toes wiggling them, one at a time, and then all at once. He brought them to life. He gazed from his window at the wild cherry fields of succulent goodness, imagining their taste in a pie, and listened to the faint voices of children breathing amidst the amber-rimmed leaves which would never leave them. It was almost as if they were exploring the first day in their bodies. Patter-hearted; eyes dilated, he moved toward the window, absorbed by the glass, liberated from his sloth-like pace, ready to see the World again, which he had so genuinely loved so long ago. Gliding over the razor-sharp sea of grass, he was carried by the wind toward the horizon that had always been there for him, for which he had cared none. Cherries are nice, he thought.

8 Blueprint


Chair Gypsies Amy Wu

There exists a place that I call home somewhere between here and the streets of Rome Lost, I join the chair gypsies on the overnight train and wander from door to door How observable are our lives through this kaleidoscope of lies despite your persistency, I forget you and me, emotional resilience is my most convenient downfall I just want someone to understand the equations that govern me make no sense All I see are impending changes Undamped by the unstable street lamps flashing in my eyes Somewhere exists a place within this ball of distractions and as I wander from door to door, the attractivity of the origin is slowly calling me home

Chair Gypsies 9


Mime and Punishment Sarah Verner

Everyone knows that the detective always turns out to be the murderer. This is why I have quit my job. You see, I have quite a plan, quite a detailed plan indeed, but if I remain in my current facility as an investigator, I will surely be the first suspect. I will admit, I’m going to miss my office—and also the perks. I’ll miss that frosted glass door, with the letters that spell out my name with “Private Investigator” written underneath, reading in reverse from the inside. I’ll miss the fame, the valor, the glory. I will surely miss the ladies as well, yes indeed! What glorious shapes and sizes they come in, like a box of assorted cigars. Each one different but satisfying in its own right.

I, since childhood, have suffered from what is known as Metamfiezomaiophobia, which, of course, is a fear of mimes. I expect you will keep this to yourself—a gentleman has to keep his reputation in mind.

Well, don’t you see that I’ve done it again. Now, I can recall my first day on the job, that with it where was I? Yes of course, Alexander and Friends brought a fine specimen of the Latin American variety, Instant Circus. On February 17th (Yes, yes, here it is Colombian I do believe. She was unusually shaped, in my journal.), all of my astute detective observations but, in the way all rare things are, startlingly beautiful. had led me to this festive gathering of nomadic freaks. Her silhouette outside my door still haunts me to this And as I stood from at a distance, watching the colorday: the letters of my name in reverse sprawled across ful and overenthusiastic carnival workers weave around her generous bosom. She wore a hat with a pheasunsuspecting patrons, I knew that it was not going to ant’s feather tucked under a ribbon, and it arched into be pleasant for me. You see, I forgot to mention that midair, tickling the passing breeze. Her lips were full, I also struggle with Erythrophobia (which you proba brightly painted pink, and at that moment, bunched ably already know is a fear of the color red). You may into a frown. She had come, sobbingly, to ask me to or may not have noticed that most circuses seem to solve the most troubling case of her missing grandtheme their décor around this color, pitching giant red mother. tents, juggling red balls, wearing big red clown shoes, et cetera, et cetera… Let me just say that almost as soon as I had turned her talented pair of lips into a smile, I had already I swallowed down approximately 4,000 milligrams found her long-lost Nan. As it turned out, she had of the pills my therapist had prescribed, although, I wandered from her old folks’ home and through a se- think the daily dosage is somewhere around 500 milliries of unfortunate misunderstandings had accidentally grams, but no matter! I set on, determined to find Nan, wound up working as a carnie for a traveling circus. Al- the pills beginning to burn in my stomach, which come exander and Friends Instant Circus, if I recall correctly. to think of it, probably explains the bleeding ulcer that’s been troubling me for the past several days. This brings me to my main point, my apologies for digressing, an old habit of mine. While investigating I pulled out the photo that Nan’s granddaughter had for sweet old Nan, I ended up at the circus, as I have entrusted to me. I looked carefully at her face, studied mentioned. Now may I first say, that I, as any man, her strangely white hair, her vaguely crazed blue eyes. have my secrets and my weaknesses. I am not all this Her smile was sunken in, and it was evident that her ruggedly handsome exterior would lead you to believe. teeth were once again in a state of being lost when this

10 Blueprint


photo had been taken. I tucked it back into my breast pocket and patted it to ensure its safety.

the person next to her, who at the time was eclipsed by her massively teased head of hair. I leaned to try and catch her attention but instead came nose to nose Now, before I continue, I must tell you of another with a perfectly painted white face—a mime’s face. He most essential part of this tale. It happened approxihad black eyebrows painted high and curiously on his mately three months prior, but let me consult my diary. forehead, and his lips were blackened in a coy smile. Yes, exactly three months to the day. On November He gestured to her as [“though”?] to ask who I was the 17th, I met a woman. Her name was Candi, spelled and why I wouldn’t leave them alone. His lashes batted with an “i,” and she was just as exotic as the name at me, and I leaned over and vomited all over his shiny implies. The moments I spent with her added up more black shoes. He pantomimed disgust. or less to an hour, and although I did pay for our time together, I knew in my heart that we were most in love. In an instant I understood the predicament— You can just tell, with things of that nature, of course. this mime had stolen my love, my dearest from me. Snatched our young, tender romance right from her Now, back to this circus business. As I weaved breast. Crushed it like a newly hatched butterfly, resolvthrough the crowd, shoved past small children and ing its wings into a silvery powder. mothers with strollers alike, I scoured the masses for Nan. That white hair would be hard to miss. Unless of He had to die, this was a fact, but Nan needed to course she had dyed it or used a wig—I hadn’t ruled be rescued, and the former was going to require some out the usual antics. And in only a few moments time, planning, and also some different medication (maybe in between the Bearded Lady (who I might add was of the liquid variety), for I had noticed that the pills rather pretty, if she would only just wax or shave now had not dissolved and were floating amongst the waand again) and the World’s Fattest Woman, I beheld a tery chunks of vomit in the grass. pair of unsteady blue eyes that could belong to none I dashed behind the man with the mustache and other than Nan herself. slipped into Nan’s booth. What she wore, I cannot Her head poked out from a hole in a brightly striped describe in detail, for children might be within earshot, curtain, her eyes darting around mischievously, her and God help us, let’s save their innocence for just a lips puckered into a toothless, wrinkly pout. I glanced bit longer. Nan did not surrender easily, and I suspect up at the sign above her: “World’s Oldest Sex Kitten.” they had her under the influence of some sort of drug, And beneath that, “Must be at least 18 years of age.” which is common practice in the sex trade. But after And further beneath that, “Twenty cents per peek.” a long and impassioned conversation, she agreed to A line of boys who looked much younger than the abandon her position in the traveling circus and return age the sign stipulated stood in line, stretching their to her retirement community. necks and trying to hurry the lowering of their voices. On the car ride to return Nan, I began stewing and They rubbed the coins between their fingers nervously, brewing my plan for this mime, this dastardly fellow in watching the boy in the front of the line pay the man monochrome. And after a few blocks, by jolly I had got with the thick curled mustache and then stoop down to it. Now, I must mention here that the last and most impull the curtain away. His head lurched back from the portant of my weaknesses is Thanatophobia, which as hole and as he walked away, he looked at the mustache you certainly know is a fear of death. So, finding a way again, as if considering demanding his money back. to kill this mime, this heinous thief of love, without Now if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, as I ran over having to see him die, or be near him die, or listen to to Nan’s booth to rescue her from this heinous abuse, him die was most essential. I ran into a woman and noticed a familiar aroma. And this was my plan: I was to trap him under a Something like tuna fish and funnel cakes. I paused glass box, of my own design, causing him to eventually and turned to my right only to behold my dearest, my use up his allotted oxygen and after a certain amount Candi! She stared at me blankly, and then turned to

Mime and Punishment 11


of time, suffocate. It was poetic really. If I constructed the glass box cleverly enough and minded my finger prints, the patrons at the circus would think he was just up to the usual tricks, what with the pretend entrapment and all. And I could slip away unnoticed long before he expired. I don’t mean to be ostentatious but it was a brilliant plan. Now, as I mentioned, I have quit my job as an investigator for this purpose, to avenge my love, my

12 Blueprint

sweet, without suspect. I am going now, to the circus, to do the deed. I have the glass panes carefully stowed in the back seat of my car already. And what a perfect weapon it is! No one would suspect a man replacing his windows to be a murderer! Well, I’d best be off then. Actually, come to think of it, I do need someone to drive the car, for my getaway of sorts. Would you mind? It’s of utmost importance.


Cardboard Cutout Grace Hsia

So I fell in love, With a cardboard man. But I saw only front – Sad sod that I am. He seemed an intellectual, A tender kind of sensational. Pained I’ve been to learn That he is one dimensional.

Cardboard Cutout 13


ABC’s of Poetry Felix Lipke

A to Z: Blissfully Conceiving twenty-six Double-sided lines that flow Effortlessly as improv. Free verse not good enough for you? Go and fetch my poet’s black beret– How simply I manipulate Anglais! It requires a special type of writer, Juggling end-hung letters with high IQ. Knitting together an alphabet soup, Ladling spoonfuls of assonance too. Merely halfway through and swiftly swoon, …Now what to do with this leftover room? Oh man, this could be an epic fail. Put the pencil down and take a break. Quickly fix myself PB & J. Roll myself over, and di. Shhhhhhh. (Time elapses: *Gong*) Ugh, what the F! Vexatious, baroque, Wrist-shackled, XXVI lousy tricks for lines so inorganic! Your cumbersome form is like some egregious exam and I bombed it! I mean BOMB! Zero chance I’ll go from Z to A.

14 Blueprint


Jason Sielaff Fall comes. Fall leaves. Crunch, crunch On the sidewalk beneath your feet. A brush is taken to the cement city. The air is cool now A hint of the icy chill to come. Night comes swiftly now The cement city is swallowed whole With glowing orbs lining the streets Fall is so lovely! Clean, crisp, confident Summer’s farewell, winter’s prelude Cider and donuts. Red apples galore. The street sweepers are busy now Fall comes. Fall leaves.

Untitled 15


Cough* Lyle A. Murphy

I believe I’m dead, staring at an asbestos-covered ceiling in my friend’s trailer at Windy Way Mobile Home Park. I’m on the rug staring, staring, staring at Jesus. He speaks to me through the whitewash. The rough face focuses in and out, sparkling. Jesus comes, and then he goes. In between his absences, elephants and little dwarves with beards come. I can’t taste my tongue. There’s something in my mouth. My eyes are watering. There’s something on my chest, so I look but there actually isn’t anything there. Actually it’s there, but I can’t see it. It’s that huge invisible rock that sits on you and makes it impossible to twitch even one muscle, strand, or fiber and lift yourself from the delicious floor or sofa you’re sprawled on at the minute. A cat comes by; it licks my face. My face is wet. I can feel the very air itself now whistling through the room. Jesus comes back. He’s giggling because he just farted. Funny Jesus. I hear something. The cloudy quiet is retreating, leaving me to the roaring waves coming to surround me on the floor. I still can’t move. I blink. Can’t move. I blink. Try to move. I blink. Jesus flies away. Now comes his cousin, Fred. Fred’s a funny guy. He has good weed. Bad teeth, though. Fred’s a funny guy. He has good weed. Bad teeth, though. Fred goes away. I feel my stomach tensing up. I’m gurgling. I don’t know what’s funny but it’s hilarious. Ha ha ha ha hah ha ha ha hee. I’m…time to go to La La Land…

stained pillow. I let the cracks in between the cushions of the couch take me away from the tingling – ahhhhhhh – gum wrappers; crumbs; a plastic, greasy fork – ahhhhhhh – quartersahhhhhhh – peanuts – ahhhhhhh …then it stops. Stop. I wait. My body is trembling because I can’t stand the pause before that looming presence - oh now any minute my toes are gonna be sliced off one by one in excruciating pain and gore - oh god no.

Why the wait? Why string me out like a fish with its last few gulps and gasps of air - I’m sobbing fat tears Huh huh huh, that really tickles. Like sandpaper…I into the blanket clenched by my fists…and then the flinch like a snake curling my body all up so nothing pain comes. can get to it. The blanket is like a snake all curled up and constricting my body as a boa constrictor would… Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth. Oh great the tickle thing is back! The ebbing agony, the ebbing agony – Ahhhhhhh – My poor foot’s being eaten and stripped by hot magma as I bury my head under the covers of a smelly,

16 Blueprint

On second thought, it feels kinda good. Like a soft down from a baby bird or a pair of those fuzzy handcuffs strippers use sometimes. My foot is really fucking tender though, so it’s like ecstasy because it’s really good, but my nerves are too raw right-now-


it’s-gotta-stop-that’s-it-I’m-ending-thisIt’s Fred’s cat- Milkshakes – licking and rubbing against my foot. “God-damn-it, Milkshakes!” I roar as I lower the mace of a pillow gripped between my two hands. He flees away into the kitchen where this oily smoke lingers. “Fred, for fuck’s sake, what’s going on...Fred?” I launch myself from the couch, but the blanket is twined around my feet, making me awkwardly fall to the floor, nearly missing the coffee table by hairs. My head’s throbbing like a bitch. The room’s spinning again. Oh that feels weird as my stomach aches while my lungs burn. Not risking standing up, I slowly crawl into the kitchen, weaving between clothes and empty cans littered on the floor while coughing and hacking up my left lung.

whipped cream, though, cause then I’d be throwing up that delicious banana cream pie. “Yo bro, you better wake up,” I nudge him with the tip of the sock on my foot. He grumbles something about no more margaritas, so I nudge him again. “What the fuck man I’m trying to sleep!” He turns and explodes like an angry, livid badger with red eyes and a grizzled beard. “Holy crap, he looks like a badger,” says my stomach and the tension comes again, and I let myself fall to the grass clutching my insides as I let loose. I can hear my gusts of laughter traveling down the street in booming waves. “Sorry, Mikey. I didn’t realize it was you, man,” apologizes Skip, our local Loco Man. I watch his cracked lips move up and down before the grating sound of his voice reaches my ears.

It’s kinda chilly outside, that nice fall cold though, that makes the air seem to crackle and snap with each “Fred! Where the hell are you?!?” whiff of your voice, making clouds of smoke into the The smoke is coming from the oven. For some rea- air. It also makes me notice the Scooby-Doo pajama son there’s a charred teddy bear in there but thank god bottoms pasted to my sweaty legs and the tattered tit’s not on fire. There’s that white foam from the fire shirt draped on my shoulders. extinguisher sticking to the sides. My throat then chooses to launch itself into convulA nice breeze blows in, ruffling the hairs on the back sions as I wheeze and huff, undulating my body on the of Milkshakes as he slurps water from his bowl in the damp grass. corner. There’s a bra nailed to the refrigerator door “Hey Skip…huh huh hach... sorry I didn’t recognize with alphabet letters underneath, spelling ‘CUm hERe.’ you…hoo huh hach…there for a minute. You by any What the hell happened last night? chance…hach huh hah hooh…remember last night at I look over at Milkshakes eating orange Jell-O out all? Or…seen where Fred is?” I ask weakly. of his food dish then to the open screen door. Oh I can feel another bone-crushing sequence of fucking great. There’s a guy passed out in the yard. coughing coming on as Skip takes a moment to reGroggily, I push myself to my feet and totter over to count his thoughts, kinda quietly mashing his lips and swing the screen open. I walk over to the man; then beard all together. the world spins like a kaleidoscope… “Well, you guys were both pretty far gone last night Grass is tickling my left nostril where I fell down after I saw you swimming around in the city fountain. those steep fucking steps of Fred’s. Groaning, I move I think that was the last time I saw you. I got rounds I to where the man snores to himself. He’s wearing this gotta make you know. Gotta protect us from the those old dungaree jacket and it looks like he hasn’t shaved in devious trees! They’re on the loose -gaining strength, about a couple of weeks. For some reason he smells plotting their treachery…” like bananas. Banana cream pie would be so delicious right now with those little vanilla wafers. Not too much “Come on, Skip, focus! You remember seeing us

Cough* 17


after that at all?”

eyes aren’t aching.

“That was it, Mikey. I made my rounds then came here because I heard reports of seedlings growing in your yard. I must have fallen asleep waiting for them to sneak out.”

I’m walking down one of those streets that is quiet and subdued. You hear noises every so often but mainly it’s like everyone is keeping to him or herself or haven’t woken up yet from their sleep.

“Thanks, Skip. I’ll see ya later. Good luck with your patrols!”

I think I’ll swing by Will’s place. Will’s a good guy. Kinda silent too much of the time, but I think that’s because he doesn’t have much to say about things. Skip helps me to my wobbly feet as I slowly walk Things are the way they are, so what’s talking about it down the sidewalk heading towards downtown. gonna do? I like to delude myself that I understand I can hear the rush of all that blood streaming to my Will. Nobody actually does but I can probably relate head as I stand up. All I see is white for a couple of better than most people. seconds. My whole world is too bright to see. I can’t There are a couple of trashcans out at the curb as close my eyes though. As I’m walking, the edges of I walk up the little path to Will’s porch. One thing my vision are fuzzy. Everything looks really soft and about Will is that he’s got a schedule he likes to folfurry. I can’t think of too much. Everything is really low. His lawn is even mowed and trimmed, which is slow and determined. I feel like I’m on a beach with saying something, on a block where everybody’s yard the sun bathing my body in light. My skin is tingling is so overgrown you could find a car in it if you went and my face is getting warm. looking. What’s that called? I know the name…uggh what’s As I wait for him to answer the bugling of the outthe name of that feeling? of-tune door chime, I take the time to untie my shoes. A Niacin flush. Ha ha! That’s what it’s called! Will’s different. He actually believes in Zen and all that spirituality mumbo jumbo. One of his rules is your I guess medical school was worth something. That’s shoes have to come off when you come inside. It’s real irony for you to digest next to your Captain actually a nice rule. Makes you feel more comfortable Crunch cereal you had for breakfast. Wait I didn’t have when you’re inside. breakfast though. An eye peeks out from the crack the door just made. After a couple of steps I’m back to myself. Or whatever you can call ‘myself ’ at this moment in time. “Oy, how are you, Mikey?” If someone asked me my name I’d be hard put to tell “Hiya, Will. Been up to no good lately?” them what it was. “As always my friend. Come on in.” Mark? Matt? Mike? No-no…it’s Mikey! Will’s house is hard to describe. It’s super neat I have some of my self-confidence back at least. and tidy but never that starched-walls-and-linens kind Not much going on today. Is it a Sunday or a Mon- that just gets suffocating. Plus, his bathroom is amazday? I guess it doesn’t really matter because it seems ing. Anytime you’re about to hurl or just die of indilike all the days are the same - all running and mashing gestion you go to Will’s bathroom. You don’t tell him together like the colors of the rainbow into one big of course but it’s one of those unwritten rules. There rainbow day. are places like Hawaii and Jamaica and then there’s Will’s bathroom. Some even swear it can cure cancer The sun’s out. Nice and shiny but not too shiny but then again Joe a couple blocks over is sort of full where sometimes your eyes begin to hurt and you have of it. to squint. That’s one of the most horrible feelings in the world when your eyes ache like that. I’m glad my “So I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d

18 Blueprint


swing by and see how you were doing.” “I’ve been pretty chill. Did you hear about Ben Roberts? No? So a couple days back he went on a drinking binge and stole one of the those…what do ya call it…uhhh the…copy machines? Yeah, from his work and so he goes and makes like 300 copies of his bare ass…” “Wait, wait a minute. Ben Roberts? The guy who sold us that laced weed back in the day? Oh Jesus… Dude, I tripped out on that stuff! Ha ha ha…I couldn’t even remember my name…” “Yeah, yeah that one. Anyways he makes like 300 some copies and then posts them up all over town. You walk down the street and you’re like getting mooned every couple seconds by these signs! I was walking down Monroe St. and I could barely stand up cause I was laughing so hard…uhhhh. What was I talking about? Oh well. You want some hits off my hookah? I got some new stuff I’ve been trying out.” “Yeah man I got a couple minutes to spare.” ... Oh my god I could die right now. Little evil monkeys could come and stab me to death right here and now and I’d probably just laugh but I wouldn’t be able to laugh, just gurgle. Gurgle up some blood from my bleeding lungs. When I was little I saw some cow lungs. We dissected them in health class and the teachers gave us these bicycle pumps with surgical tubing to have some fun and inflate the lungs. Whoosh, whoosh, and those lungs would swell to the size of pillows. My back feels like a pillow right now. No, more like a sponge on second thought. A sponge is more likely to conform to whatever it’s laying on. I don’t honestly know what I’m laying on right now. It could be a pile of sharp silverware or one of those squishy waterbeds. I wanted a waterbed once. I had this cool idea to fill it with goldfish so I could watch them swim around as I fell asleep. Sleep. Oh sleep sounds delicious right now. I could sleep like Rip van Winkle right now. Right now. Now can last a while because it’s like constantly running into the present. They’re two in one. Like twoin-one shampoo and conditioner. Or maybe two for one like the bad hotdogs at Speedway down the street.

Who is that over there? Oh that’s just Will. He looks so relaxed. I should probably leave. I’m too relaxed right now so I might disturb him. I think I’ll go down to the Pharmacy. The Pharmacy is the place to be. Places to be. People to see. I think I’m running low at home. Yeah definitely. You never can have enough. You could be on a mountain of it and want more. Might forget it though. Forget. Forgot. Forgive. For. Four. Por favor. Either or. Oh, that feels weird. I’m gonna cough out an organ. Or cough so hard I turn my body inside out. That’d be a way to go… … “Hey Mikey! Long time no see man! You running low already?” “Yeah, Carl. It’s been a pretty…hah hoo… rough week for me. You guys here just get your next… hoo hach huh…shipment in?” “Yep, we just got it. The government’s pretty good about getting it here on time, so I’ll give them that.” “Yeah, but they aren’t as good about paying for my college tuition. I guess I have no idea what I would’ve done if they…didn’t make it legal man. I’d be bugging out without a hit here...huuh…and there. Probably would be dead already from freaking out or boredom. I swear to…hah huuh…fucking god my job is like the asshole of all jobs.” “I hear you. You got your card on you?” “Yeah, it’s right here…alright I’ll see ya next week. Take it easy Carl.” I feel another cough coming on. My lungs are tingling and burning. Time to go feel some burn. Cough up that lung of mine. Maybe cough up my liver or kidney too. Give it to some sad, little dying boy in a hospital. Cheer him up. Cough*

Cough* 19


The Thing There Isn’t Any Word For Leath

It’s ironic that I regret making loveto You, not that you’re ugly, but because I feel defiled in that my innocence is being ebbed away, with each grunt and moan, and that no matter how hard I scrub my skin will not shed to reveal the virgin that I once was, because the glow that my skin once had is gone, and my skin now rots with the pungent odor of me and you, after scalding water has burned the grime and suds from my rouge body.

20 Blueprint

This is not an excuse, of how it’s me and not you, but a poem about me and how I regret what I didn’t know, despite the flow of warmth my body feels adjacent to the Guilt and Loss of my inner child, as fading cries linger on stale airs that butt away into the past of doubt and hormones and whispering Consciences. Don’t get me wrongI don’t believe in purity but in the separated soul, unreachable by grasping hands that it cannot see in the dark because it is on another plane where such things do not exist, but white love that shines even in the heart of the warm sun after it has passed through the waves of lust that coincide with and undulate with rings of scarlet around a single still orb.


Wild & Free Ryan A. Nash

Like the wind, blowing around you. Lifting your curls a little, wistfully sighing when you try to hold them together. Like the rain, falling on your outstretched arms in a thousand tiny embraces, whistling in tune with the wind. Like a beam of moonshine. Reflecting, like a twinkle, in your eye. Like a beam of moonshine on a windy, rainy night.

Wild & Free 21


Michigan Engineering for Life Sudarshan Sivaramakrishnan

From the Blue, to the Maize, all you folks listen up Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Now Maize, back to Blue, race to the shining trophy cup Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Steering the world, through, the pursuit of the dream Floor, the gas pedal, ain’t never run out of steam I spit but the truth, we be something never seen before While everybody getting ready, we head out the door Crucial to success, is a fundamental notion Like a potion from a pool, vast, as, the ocean To set things in motion, you've got to first have ambition Listen to what I say, it's a whole new rendition Of an age, old, story of sheer innovation Stemming from the soul, truly, a sensation Put your mind, to the grindstone, avoid the frustration Every single day, is an auspicious occasion To think, enjoy, immerse into what you do If you bring passion from within, you won't know time already flew Time flies when you're having fun, and it's fun when time flies by I keep myself on my toes, and I do not even know why Fame is just passing, short-lived, just, ephemeral Paling compared to, what I said, before, in general From the Blue, to the Maize, all you folks listen up Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Now Maize, back to Blue, race to the shining trophy cup Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Leaders and best, we fly, straight to the top Nobody dare even question, we're the cream of the crop 3-2-1, go and don't ever stop We hit the ground running, while everybody takes a couple hops The paper product comes and goes, but memories remain Forge the discipline, don't be swayed by cheap, gains Focus on your target, what matters most to you Is it to be rich and famous, or to just love that which you do When you learn for the sake of learning, do for the sake of doing Forget about what happens, all trivial things ensuing

22 Blueprint


Don't care about, why, the, crowd's, cheering or booing Keep your head held high, focus on just improving Then the rest of the pieces, of the puzzle, just fall, right into place If you were to look behind, you'll see you're at the front of the race From the Blue, to the Maize, all you folks listen up Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Now Maize, back to Blue, race to the shining trophy cup Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up From the E, to the E, to the C, to the S 3 majors in the one, anybody take a guess Electrical, Computer, Computer Science where it's at Cool cats, yo, just, racking up the stats Double E keeping active, since 1-triple-8, Optics EM VLSI, Circuits and Solid State Double E Systems CE CSE, also have a nice, ring EECS makes up a third of, Michigan, Engineering AERO moving fast, they about to go supersonic A O double S well known here, no need for no mnemonic Biomed, Engineering, state of the art research Chem-E doing their thing, they can't never be besmirched C double E going strong, in the Environment and Civil I-O-E big, and still on the rise, the antonym of to shrivel M-S-E excelling, make, rapid advances, to the field Mechanical Engineering, great work being revealed N-A-M-E, that's its name, Naval Engineering, top of its game NERS, all about Nuclear, setting yourself up for a great career That's a short recap, of what we've got As you saw, it's quite a lot Each department with its own, taste Aight man, no more time to waste From the Blue, to the Maize, all you folks listen up Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Now Maize, back to Blue, race to the shining trophy cup Michigan Michigan, Engineering, that's, what's, up Michigan Engineering For Life, Represent the Leaders and the Best Conquering Heroes, Valiant Victors, Hail to the Champions of the West

Michigan Engineering for Life 23


Neverland Lian Zhu

I used to write poetry A few days ago When the sun forgot not impassioned words And the ivy drowned out the brick walls. We lived in Neverland. Oh the green grasses And the clover with its prickly smell We fell and we fell Rolling in forget-me-nots and mushroom petals. We, wendy and peter. But oh how the grandfather clock tolled and tolled And the future beckoned from those worn-out hands And we stepped inside, cautiously, Our feet brushing the welcome mat. Your blue eyes and my green. Oh the future, gone and not seen, By tired eyes, worn out from textbooks and Rearing from highlighted phrases and job applications. Our ivy is still there, Outside the window of my parents’ house. Green still clinging to the red brick, but We are just so hungry For the world That sometimes I think that we must have sleep walked Right from Neverland Into reality A place where I think that I used to write poetry.

24 Blueprint


A Greeting Jason Sielaff

How are you today? Hm? Oh, yes, yes, I know, you’re doing fine, classes are going fine. But how are you? What do I mean? I mean if I had simply wanted to acknowledge you, I could have said “hey,” or “’sup?” or simply nodded my head at you when our eyes met. But I care about you, if you are willing to accept that. I truly want to know how you are doing. Tell me about your life, about your hopes, your dreams, your fears. All of your mess. Throw it all over my table, because mine isn’t clean either. I welcome it. I want to know you and be known by you. I don’t care if we’re only acquaintances. Because I love you. So I invite you to drop your guard for a minute. Tell me what you’ve really been thinking about lately. Who has inspired you? What made you stop and contemplate the state of your life for the first time in a long time? What ruined your entire day? If you can’t talk right now, I understand. I have those days too. But don’t lie to me. I know; the truth is harder to deal with—it’s so much more complicated, more involved, more messy. But it’s better for the soul. So don’t lie to me. Tell me you had a bad day, that it just. totally. sucked. It’s okay. Because I love you. And that is truth.

A Greeting 25


A Short Story Grace Hsia

In the corner of the playground, an effeminate, pallid boy hid under a mulberry bush. Clad in the royal blue of his academy, he pretended to read Catcher in the Rye. Pretending, because he couldn’t get around some of the terms like “flitty.” He watched the other children running up and down the glinting metal play equipment. His mind couldn’t grasp why he felt distant from his classmates. They were a mere ten feet away. A boy ran up to him. “Arnie, come play tag. Drop that book…geez, stop looking so stupid Arnie. Come play.” He felt a wave of emotion. He was too young to recognize anger and embarrassment’s love child, shame. Arnie shifted his book that much closer to the shade, causing the other boy to stop and stare. Then he began saying, in a singsong chant, “Arnie, old Arnie, he’s such a dummy. Sits and sighs, boys make him cry.” Arnie turned away, though not sure why. Almost to himself, he said, “Stop. Stop saying that.” “Aw, does little Arnie want to cry?” “Stop it!” Tears were pricking his eyes and he felt the air pressing down on him. His shoulders were heaving from the effort he put into breathing. “Arnie, old Arnie, he’s such a dummy. Sits and sighs, boys make him cry.”

26 Blueprint


Math 412 Rap

Sudarshan Sivaramakrishnan m-a-t-h four one two it's 9 AM, wutchu gonna do learn about rings, fields, and groups send your brain through infinite loops but not the cyclic kind, they're too hazy i wanna learn math, but I'm too lazy call me wen, that's my name modern algebra ain’t no game it be the cause of all this fame each mathematician ain’t the same Eisenstein up in here, keepin’ it cool trying to make Galois look like a fool Euclid steps it up, with the GCD then we got reduction modulo p r-s-a cryptography commutative rings with identity learning all about irreducibility permutations mapping right back to me isomorphism, theorem number 1 Fermat's little theorem jumpin’ the gun now back to the lemma named after Gauss but abelian rings are king of da house ordering, subring, integral domain the whole show is just gonna be insane kernels, partitions, canonical maps chapter 1 through 6 without any gaps Dedekind’s cuts not from the book Euler's phi function, stealthy like a crook cosets, generators, multiples galore prior intuition right out the door integers, rationals, complex, reals polynomial factor rings with ideals congruences, relations, finite fields that's pretty much the entire spiel so time to celebrate, class is done working on math with y'all has been fun looking forward to a great bonfire better dress up in yo math attire that's how we gonna get back on track Sudarshan out, holla right back

Math 412 Rap 27


Science By Any Other Name Andrew Joseph Crow

"Just shoot the one whose shells keep on landing closest to us," Sylvia demanded. "Which one is that?" asked David. Just then one of the tanks let off a bright flash. Sylvia steadied her bat and swung. The shell went straight up. "Hmm, a pop fly," she mused. "Ok, I think I know which one," David said. He drew back his bowstring. The tank was maybe a mile away. He released it. The arrow vanished into the distance. "Missed!" David readied another arrow. Just then the turret of the tank sheared off the main body. "That is quite a delay. How can anything that travels so slow fly so far, and how can it then split a tank in half ? In fact, the whole idea of me destroying a tank with a bow and arrow is scientifically preposterous." "What do you mean? It's the most scientifically sound thing you could do. Incoming!" Sylvia shouted as she deflected another shell. It flew over the horizon. "We have a hypothesis that your arrows will destroy these tanks. We have run experiments where the control group was not shot by arrows and it remained intact. The experimental group of five, make that six, thanks you have shot with arrows was completely destroyed. This supports the hypothesis. Therefore, if you desire to destroy tanks, the scientific evidence supports that you should shoot them with arrows. Duck!" Sylvia was interrupted by a shell that landed just behind her. "For some reason this just happens to not agree with all of your previous scientific models. Then again, not many people in history have tried to destroy tanks using arrows. So, your six, make that seven, highly successful experiments may very well constitute the majority of research in this particular area. In the end, it all boils down to the basic question of all science. 'Does it work?'" "But even if it does work it doesn't make any sense," David replied.

28 Blueprint

"Maybe you just need to adjust your physical model to accommodate this new information," Sylvia said as she glanced straight up. "Hmm, that shell is coming back down." She poised herself for the swing. "You know, that actually is incredibly insightful, but when did you learn anything about science?" David asked, although he never did get a response. Sylvia swung the bat and the crack of the bat told David it was a good swing. However, the crack of the back swing against his head sent him tumbling out of bed. "What the? What a weird dream," he blurted out before he remembered that Sylvia was probably still asleep. The room was dark except for a slight green glimmer. Looking towards the source of the glimmer, David saw a struggling pair of wings emerging from a small lab coat entangled in his dream-catcher. Removing it from the bedpost he carried it into the kitchen and freed the fairy into an old mason with several holes punched in the lid for just such an occasion. David placed the jar on a shelf next many other oddities. Hanging the dream catcher back on the post he crawled back into bed. Sylvia stirred and asked him, "What are you up to now?" David said in an annoyed but soft voice, "Remember to call the landlord about that hole in the screen tomorrow morning. We had a science pixy stuck in the dream catcher." "Well that explains my dream. I was running experiments on why trolls turn to stone in direct sunlight,"


she muttered somewhat clearly. "What were your conclusions?" he asked with perked curiosity. "I have no clue. You know I don't know the first thing about science. Happy anniversary, by the way," she muttered almost incoherently as she rolled over and went back to sleep. David shook his head. It had now been over a year since those two annoying unicorns had dragged him out of bed and made him go on the quest to save the beautiful princess from the enchanted far-off land, and he had married her almost immediately. However, many things still did not make sense. If she was really her father's greatest treasure then why did the palace guards let her just wander off into the forbid-

den woods? Who builds a palace next to the forbidden woods in the first place? Why didn't her father send out anyone to free her after he discovered that the evil witch had captured Sylvia? Also, why is it that after they were married Sylvia would not be able to return to her distant enchanted land until after David finished Med school, and why did the herald who bore this news look like some high school kid from the Renaissance Fair? Furthermore, if her father, the king, were so loaded, how come they had to live in this run-down one bedroom apartment in one of those neighborhoods that generally make decent folk uncomfortable at night? Yes, there were a lot questions, but one thing was for certain: after countless magical interruptions David finally had something that might actually assist him in studying for the boards.

Science By Any Other Name 29


Reason By Any Other Name Andrew Joseph Crow

“You have to be a little more subtle when you’re observing people. They get the wrong idea. Do you have something to show him now?” David asked. “It’s been tinkering with the inside of that black coffee-making box,” Sylvia replied. “I see it.” Turning to the man who was now gathering his coat, David asked, “Excuse me, sir. Do you see something odd about the espresso machine?”

one else notices him. Be reasonable,” the man said, regaining his composure.

David paused, as if he was gathering his thoughts. It was not necessary, but it made a good effect, and lent credibility to that which he was about to say. This sort of acting in conversation was a learned behavior “Um, no I do not.” The man glared at him. The little from being around Sylvia, but he accepted it as one of incident (while entirely his fault) still stung his ego. the hazards of marriage. “Reason is only as good as “Well, take a closer look.” the premises on which it is based. We all tend to base our thoughts on the same premises. For instance, we The man approached the machine slowly, and assume that we can reliably observe the world around then he stopped in disbelief. He rubbed his eyes, and us, and that our minds are not manufacturing experilooked again. Then the look of shock was complete. ences.” “I thought it was a mouse at first, but mice don’t wear pointy hats or long beards.” “Excuse me ma’am, may I have this?” the gnome quietly asked Sylvia as he held up a loose staple. “Those would be gnomes. Mmm, this is good tea. Thank you, my dear.” Sylvia said, putting down her “Yes, go ahead and take it,” she said in a hushed and teacup. hurried voice. The gnome bounced off the table onto a chair. Then he scurried towards the espresso machine “But, that is not possible,” he said, making a grab at power cord, which he used to scale back to the counter the gnome. from which he was removed. “And yet you are holding one in your hand,” remind“From these premises, you take your observations, ed Sylvia. and come up with the conclusion that gnomes do not Then, the gnome piped up, “I pardon you, my good exist, simply because you have no recollection of obsir, but would you please be kind enough to put me serving them.” David continued, “Now, you see somedown?” thing which contradicts your conclusion, and instead of assuming that your conclusion was wrong, you start The man placed the gnome on the table and to question the very premises that led to your original slumped into a chair. “This is some kind of trick, or I conclusion. In essence, your no-gnome conclusion has am losing my mind,” he said, as he watched the gnome become the new premise, and your sanity and ability to shuffle around the volumes on the table looking for observe are now dependent on whether or not you see what was only known to him. gnomes.” “Why do you say that?” asked Sylvia. “I would not consider it a new premise as much a “Because gnomes do not exist, and if they did run sanity check, in this case in the most literal sense of the around coffee shops, people would notice them. No word,” replied the man in a form familiar to him, even

30 Blueprint


though the conversation was not entirely comfortable.

of shrapnel, the largest piece being a steam-cleaned gnome. The barista pulled her head up (after hitting it “It really depends on your definition of sanity,” said on the counter, of course) cake in hand. “You saved David. “If sanity is going with what you observe, then my life.” it would be insane to not acknowledge gnomes. If sanity is going with what would appear to be univer“I just ordered cake. Are you alright? I am a doctor,” sal conclusions, then it would be utterly ridiculous to David replied. acknowledge gnomes.” “I’m fine,” she uttered. Then in a louder voice, “Is “You are painting it rather subjectively,” said the everyone okay?” looking over a shop full of shaken man. patrons. “Here, take the cake, it’s free.” “Logic is based on subjectivity,” said David. “Don’t look at me like that. While logic may be a cold, clear, and unvarying path from one idea to another, the starting point is entirely up to the thinker. Since logic is a cold clear path, where one terminates is entirely dictated by where one begins. If you start with the nognome premise, then logically, you cannot trust your senses or mind in this situation. If you start with the premise that you can trust these observations, then you must conclude that gnomes exist. Why others don’t appear to see them, is something that I have yet to determine. Either way, the choice of what to believe is yours.” The man just looked at him, preparing a retort, if not logical, then at least witty, when a whistling came from the espresso machine - a bad whistle. David contemplated how it sounded like a steam engine about to explode. That was one of the two sounds that things made in movies before exploding. The other sound was a beeping noise. Why someone would take the time to put a beeper on a bomb was beyond David. David was lost in thought when Sylvia, without changing her gaze from the machine, said, “My dear, I would like a piece of that chocolate cake, the one on the bottom shelf, please.” She followed the request with a quick jab from her elbow to shift David’s focus back to her. David approached the counter, and asked the barista who was leaning against the machine, seemingly oblivious to the horrid sound it was making, for the item which required her to put herself further into the cabinet than any other item. To make the whole maneuver take even longer, David bent over and took his time selecting just the right piece of cake. Just then, the espresso machine exploded in a burst of mostly steam and a little bit

David returned to the table, placing the cake in front of Sylvia. “How did you know?” “There are some advantages to being a princess raised in a magical land. However, that was not supposed to happen.” She took a bite. “You’re right. Those machines don’t explode like that,” David interjected. “No, that is not exactly to what I am referring. That box was working perfectly when I arrived here not three hours ago. Yet, as soon as the gnome began to tinker with it, it began to misbehave. Now, it has destroyed itself in a most dangerous fashion.” “But, gnomes don’t destroy things. They fix them, and they never put people in danger while they do it. Would you agree that was a gnome?” asked David. “I most certainly would agree that to my senses it appeared to be a gnome. Furthermore, to my recollection there is no such thing that so closely resembles a gnome. This is most disturbing.” At this point, the gnome was regaining consciousness, and, after shaking himself off, he made a hurried exit from the premises. Sylvia jabbed David again. He began again, “You still have a choice: accept that what you saw today was just your senses not behaving correctly or that you have been incorrect all of these years. Don’t feel bad. We now have to cope with our own disillusionment. Don’t you think that it is funny that disillusionment is seldom welcomed, but usually beneficial?” Sylvia interrupted, “David, you are getting off-topic, again.”

Reason By Any Other Name 31


Adelita’s Misfortune Shonda Bottke

Adelita was a loggerhead sea turtle featured in the PBS documentary, “The Voyage of the Lonely Turtle”. She was held in captivity for most of her life in a 10’ tank, before she was released into the wild on August 10, 1996, with a tracking device to see what she would do; she was the very first sea animal to be tracked crossing the ocean basin. Adelita’s journey was also tracked live on the internet by millions of children. Researchers discovered that she swam 9,000 miles from Baja, Mexico to the coast of Japan & she swam for 368 days straight, without resting. Adelita was the first Pacific loggerhead to prove that these animals actually

32 Blueprint

do swim great distances to lay their clutches of eggs. Shortly after reaching the coast of Japan where she was hatched, to hopefully lay her eggs on the beach where she was born, she was caught in a fishing net and drowned. Unfortunately, turtle deaths by fishing nets, long lines, and plastic bags are an all too common fate. It is my intention to create a mosaic which juxtaposes Adelita against a coral reef; looming in the background is a net. I hope that people will come away from my mosaic with an appreciation for the beauty of marine life and a desire to protect it.


Sid, the Restless Octopus Shonda Bottke

“Sid, the Restless Octopus” was created for ArtPrize 2009. This mosaic was created to honor an incredible octopus named Sid. He lived in the Portobello Aquarium in New Zealand. Sid would routinely get out of his tank and one day he simply disappeared. Five days later when an aquarium employee was walking into a room, Sid popped out of a floor drain and made a mad dash for the door. Fortunately for Sid, the folks at the aquarium fattened Sid up and then released him back

into the wild. My goal for this mosaic was to capture Sid’s entrapment and longing for freedom while he was hanging out in the floor drain. I also wanted to draw attention to the incredible intelligence of octopi. “Sid, the Restless Octopus”, it measures 28”W x 25”H x 2”D. This mosaic is made of art glass, stained glass, dichroic glass, blue mirror, moonstones and labradorite on a plywood substrate.

33


Sforzando!

Shonda Bottke

"Sforzando!" is a musical expression for playing a note(s) with sudden impact/ expression. I was inspired by the unique piece of art glass which dominates this mosaic and my son, who is a cellist at Pioneer HS. While he practices, I work in my studio and his musicial talent inspires me. My intent with this mosaic was to create a piece of art which is

34 Blueprint

fluid, dynamic and musical. "Sforzando!", it measures 24" x 24" x 1.5". This mosaic is made of art glass, colored mirror, transparent Venetian smalti & quartz geode on mirror with hand painted glitter grout lines on a plywood substrate with a black frame made of red oak.


Wolf Sight

Lyle A. Murphy

35


Back Home 小白

f/8 ISO 80 1/2500

36 Blueprint


Miles to Go Katie Caruso

37


Relaxing

Susan Montgomery

38 Blueprint


A Monkey

Andrew Kurdelski

39


A Mighty Wind Katie Caruso

40 Blueprint

Mykonos, Greece


Not All Who Wander Katie Caruso

Bamff, AB, Canada

41


Bathed in the Sunlight 小白

f/4.5 ISO 200 1/640

42 Blueprint


Light 小白

f/4.5 ISO 200 1/1600

43


The Covered Path Lyle A. Murphy

44 Blueprint


Striving

Susan Montgomery 45


FRAYMD Mark Yurich

46 Blueprint


Chess in Hyperspace Lyle A. Murphy

47


Mountain Sunset Panorama Lyle A. Murphy 48 Blueprint


49


MITTEN FACTORY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS

Nighthawks: Movie Poster Series

SHOWING AT LIGHTWORKS 2010

Angela Schmidt

SHOWING AT LIGHTWORKS 2010

MITTEN FACTORY PRODUCTION PRESENTS

PRODUCED BY

BEN KRUMAN AND GARRISON POSTON WRITTEN BY KELCI PARKER DIRECTED BY IAN ADELSON DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY CHRISTIANA BOTIC AND ASHLEY HARRISON ANDREW ERICKSEN ART DIRECTIORS DANA PIERFELICE AND ANGELA SCHMIDT LIGHTING DESIGNER DAVID SPARKS SOUND DESIGNER JORDAN ROBINSON BY GABRIEL SALTMAN STARRING REED CAMPBELL, CASEY HANLEY, AND MARGOT MCGRATH

CAMERA OPERATOR SOUNDTRACK

MITTEN FACTORY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS

SHOWING AT LIGHTWORKS 2010

50 Blueprint


Anna Chen

51


Ethereal

Lyle A. Murphy

52 Blueprint


Daydreaming Anna Chen

53


Wave Pavilion Parke MacDowell

54 Blueprint


The proliferation of digital fabrication within the discipline of architecture carries the promise of ultimate customization, the built realization of previously untenable forms, and unprecedented fluidity between design and construction. In practice, however, there seems the tendency to exploit only a small fraction of the potential afforded by this technology. As an alternative to the oft-explored strategies of sectioning and panelization-the ‘go to’ moves for rationalizing complex form-we propane a new tectonic mode, one in which the architectural vehicle of the Line is explicitly leveraged toward the nuanced description of space.

didactic one within the dialogue of digital fabrication.

The Pavilion operates as landscape furniture, an occupiable space of gathering and leisure. Set on the grounds of the University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, the Wave Pavilion serves both a functional role as a place for student discussion groups or private reflection and a

CNC rod-bending device that operates in tandem with a multi-use 7-axis robotic arm to shape the Pavilion components. These specialized but versatile tools-along with the scripted communication codes that transform 3D computer geometry into robot /bender choreography-expand into robot /bender choreography-expand

Here, Line is made real in the form of slender steel rod. By a scripted strategy of geometric evolution, the individual members of our line species coalesce into a form-society, one in which the intrinsic behavioral tendencies of the species compound with environmental motivators linked to the spatial and programmatic needs of the project. Gradients of pattern read across the breadth of the Pavilion, but moments of eccentricity-phase shifts, vestigial phenotypes, dormant features-highlight the composite relational processes of the underlying system. Here Line becomes a means of Grounded in traditions of drawing, this new morphol- challenging the ubiquity of the Blob within scripted/ ogy rises from a monad of simple linear geometry. parametric form-making; geometric composition supThis crude but variable base unit, deployed within plying all the complexity and nuance for which we have an assembly via complex relational logics, emerges as become enamored of calculus-dependent design. more than just Line, instead evoking surface, becomThe clarity of the project’s conceptual impetus relies ing atmosphere. The Wave Pavilion instantiates these on the precise fabrication and assembly of its conaspirations. stituent elements. To this end, we designed and built a

55


the domain of the architect, accelerating the relation- ‘translation’ than of direct instantiation; drawing made ship between design and construction. Hereby, the leap physical, immediate, and tactile. from conceptual to built form becomes less one of

56 Blueprint


Innovative fabrication processes were pioneered in or- a multi-use 7-axis robotic arm to shape the Pavilion’s der to produce the intricate structure. Our custom-built skeleton out of 0.25 inch diameter steel rod. prototype CNC rod-bender operates in tandem with

57


58 Blueprint


[PARADOX] OF PRESERVATION Chao-Wei Su

The Thames Barrier, long used as a counter to tidal shifts and flooding, will become obsolete in the year 2045. The newly modified barrier will act as a commentary on the paradoxical behavior of cultural preservation. First, a row of four library ‘pods’ represent what is preserved. Hidden inside are books and manuscripts that identify with archaic British literary culture. These iconic books are held within the perforated confines of the pod. Its perforated skin is vulnerable to water while increased tidal fluctuations help it stay afloat while anchored. Second, smaller autonomous pods housed in the barriers themselves juxtapose the larger pods dominating the site. These refuse pods contain commercialized mediums that are otherwise regarded as trash. Nevertheless, other cultures may selectively value these items based upon their own relative biases. This selectivity of written word and how they are stored is a paradox—one that questions how institutions, religions, and states deal with preservation.

59


“Hidden inside are books and manuscripts that identify with archaic British literary culture.�

60 Blueprint


“This selectivity of written word and how they are stored is a paradox–one that questions how institutions, religions, and states deal with preservations.”

61


62 Blueprint


The Ambiguity of Positive and Negative Space Wotong Shen

A 96-layer model

63


Open Door, Insert Bob Susan Hill

I first noticed the black streak of fur dodging my presence when I went out to the barn to feed the horse and the cats. Another stray cat has found its way into our barn for food and shelter, I thought. It’s not an uncommon occurrence; we get numerous stray cats visiting. Our barn is one stop along the way of finding food and much to my husband Steve’s chagrin, I’m happy to pro- petted by me, cat,” I told him. Talking softly, moving vide the strays with some food. I have one steadfast slowly, offering food, I was gradually able to touch him. I took a long look at him as I petted him. His rule: everyone deserves a full tummy. ears were small and tattered, but not from his genetics. As the days went on, I noticed this black cat hangThey were torn and parts were missing from fights. A ing around the barn more and more. I started to talk large, heavy cat, he was weathered and grizzled with to him and he became less skittish when I appeared in a squinting eye, a veteran of multiple fights and hard the barn. I noticed a tattered red nylon collar on him. times. It was impossible to tell his age. His coat was He had been someone’s cat once. Someone had loved dirty and dull, a product of scrounging for food wherhim enough to put a collar on him, but where was his ever it was available. The other cats in the barn were home? I mentioned it to Steve and he thought the not friendly toward him, so I started putting food aside neighbors across the street could have been his owners. in another dish for him to eat in peace. Once he ate, They moved in, stayed for several years, and then one he would head off across the pasture toward the ditch day, they were gone. Perhaps he was their cat. and the woods to continue his schedule. “If you’re going to eat my food, you have to get

64 Blueprint


As the days wore on, he started to perk up when he saw me come into the barn morning and night. He enjoyed my petting him now, and I decided he needed a name. He looked like a Bob, so that’s what I started calling him. I walked in the house and announced to Steve that Bob seemed to be friendlier. “Who’s Bob?” Steve asked cautiously. “That black cat in the barn. I had to start calling him something.” Steve winced and rolled his eyes. He knows when an animal gets a name it is staying. He heaved a heavy sigh and shook his head. “Bob?” “Yes, and we’ll have to get him neutered. And he’ll need all his shots.”

“So? What does that mean?” I asked. Tina described the disease: How it could be spread through bites and fighting, how it would compromise his immune system and how he’d have problems as the disease progressed. She went on. Finally, I asked, “So, what is it you want to know?” “Do you still want him neutered?” “Of course. That’s why I brought him in. Why wouldn’t I?” Tina paused. “Most people, when they find out their cats have feline leukemia, put them down.” Horrified, I sat there stunned. Put Bob down? No way.

“Uh, no. I want him neutered. He’ll be fine. Pump Steve just nodded. He had given up the animal fight him full of antibiotics and let me know when I can long ago. He just rolled with the news now. pick him up.” Bob was now a part of the barn scene and after petI could hear Tina smiling over the phone. “I’m so ting him one night, I wondered if I could remove his glad to hear that. You can pick him up tonight.” too-tight collar. “Bob, I’m going to cut your collar off. I need you to hold still.” I took my pocketknife out and carefully cut the collar off. Free from the collar, Tina’s words kept ringing in my ears. All of our cats Bob shook his head and I scratched his neck, giving were susceptible to catching feline leukemia, and I was him a good massage. Bob was ours. panicked about Bob being around. I could scrub all Bob gradually started coming to the house to eat the dishes, change the water dish after Bob drank from the cat food on the porch. “Good morning, Bob,” I it, take precautions. Then it hit me. Bob had been would say to him when I set the bowl down. He would around and interacted with all the cats already. There reply with a little chirp. I picked him up one day to see was nothing I could do to change it. Either they’d been how he would react. Nothing. He was heavy, probably exposed, or they hadn’t. We’d take it as it came. about 15 pounds, but he didn’t mind being picked up. It was now time to get him neutered. Bob recovered nicely from his surgery and became a I called the vet, made an appointment and told him regular fixture at the kitchen door. One day, I opened to give Bob the works: all his shots, worming, checking the door and said, “Bob, would you like to come in?” his ears, etc. Steve dropped him off that morning and around noon I got a phone call from the vet. “Sure,” he chirped. And in he walked, looked around the kitchen and sat down on the rug like he’d Tina, the vet technician, said, “We’re doing all the always been here. shots and worming. Do you want us to check for feline leukemia?” “Sure,” I replied. “Why not?” A short time later, Tina called again. “Bob tested positive for feline leukemia.”

Bob definitely was someone’s cat. He took a tour of the house, making mental notes of things and places of interest. He peered into the bathtub, jumped in and sat there, looking around. He hopped on the bed like

Open Door, Insert Bob 65


he owned it. He checked out the couch and picked out the house and when he wants through, he doesn’t push his spot. This home would do nicely. them enough so he can squeeze through, he pushes them over with a loud crash. We have a ramp that the The first time the dogs met Bob in the house, they dogs use to go in and out into their area, and Bob loves came roaring into the kitchen and saw Bob sitting to walk up the ramp and look out the window. “This calmly on the rug. They circled him, trying to entice is where the dogs go outside, Bob,” I explained to him him to run. He held his position. If any of the dogs once. He seemed to nod his head and take it all in. tried to poke Bob with his nose, Bob would tolerate it once or twice and then lash out a huge black paw, strikHe likes to sit in the middle of the ramp and refuse ing a muzzle with a resounding thump. Bob never used to move as the dogs come in. The first dog comes his claws; his large paw packed enough of a punch to down the ramp, sees Bob and puts on the brakes, afraid prove his point. The offending dog would recoil and to go past him. Then comes the dog pile-up as one look horrified, but would try it again. Bob repeated by one, the dogs rear-end each other on the ramp. All the thrashing and ended the encounter with a decisive are frozen in place, waiting for Bob to let them pass. glare, giving them the “stink-eye.” He was a force to be I’ll look at Bob and say, “Seriously, Bob. Let them respected. through.” He gives a chirp, turns around and hops off the ramp. The dogs fall off the ramp and skitter past He was unfazed by our dogs; in fact, he acted like him. he was one of them. We would take the dogs out for a walk around our property and Bob would follow us. He has taken to staking out a place on the couch and We were a sight: two people, five dogs, and a cat taking the dogs lie around him, careful not to encroach on his a stroll. territory. They lie on each other in odd positions to stay on the couch, but do not touch Bob. Bob has his interesting way of living with us. He loves to open cabinet doors and look in them, someOne cold night, when we had let the cats stay in, times pulling things out of them so he can get a better I picked up Bob to put him out for the night. Steve view of what’s inside. He chirps and looks at the looked at me and said, “How come Bob has to go out, counter to let me know he’d like his food bowl. He sits when all the other cats can stay in?” like a Buddha with his back in the corner of the couch, “You want him to stay in?” I asked cautiously. Had laying back with his large tummy exposed, earning the my husband suddenly become a softie? nickname of “Buddha Bob.” He tries to play with our Keeshond, Morgan, by stalking her and leaping at “Sure,” he replied. “It’s only fair.” her when she walks past him. (She’s not amused.) He Another victory for Bob. I swear I saw Bob smile. hops into the bathtub and takes a bath. He loves to be brushed and he’ll give “air kisses” if you find the right Today, Bob is a permanent fixture in our home. His spot. He loves to be swept down his back with the coat is sleek, thick and black and he’s still the head of broom. He sits on the arm of the couch when we’re the dog pack. My brother-in-law’s dog came to visit for watching TV and lets his butt slide off into our laps to a week and Bob set her straight immediately. Steve and get comfortable for the night. We have baby gates in I just smiled. We wouldn’t have had it any other way.

66 Blueprint


The Mad Gardener’s Remix Felix Lipke

He thought he saw a waxing moon Descend into his hand: He looked again, and found it was A mariachi band: “It doesn’t change a thing,” he said, “Crescendo’s just as grand!” He thought he saw a grizzly bear That made a bold advance: He looked again, and found it was A girl who liked to dance: “It’s such a great relief!” he said, But then he wet his pants. He thought he saw a German cake With cherry-flavored frost: He looked again, and found it was A river he had crossed: “Well this is wonderful,” he sighed, “For now I’m really lost.”

The Mad Gardener’s Remix 67


New Law of Thermodynamics Harry Benford

Back in 1948, when my wife and I were looking for a house in Ann Arbor, we had retained the services of a real estate agent to help us. He led us to one house, in particular, which I well recall. It seemed an ideal place in all but one aspect, which was the heating system. This featured a small furnace burning powdered coal packaged in paper-wrapped bricks. As were about to leave the house the current housewife asked us what we thought. We replied that we liked everything except the coal-fired heating system. To this she replied, “Oh, we didn’t like it either at first, but then we found that air that has been heated by coal feels warmer than air heated any other way.” To this amazing claim the real estate agent (who was supposed to be helping us) exclaimed, “You know, I’ve noticed the same thing myself!” Some help.

68 Blueprint


Words

Eugene Chow I’ll take all my Happiness, angriness, sadness, joyfulness Emotions I hold dearest The metaphorical, the ethereal Put them all unto thus Little black words upon a stretch Singing out fluidity of thoughts Bringing the unspoken to match. I think poetry in wars that never end Poetry in governments that never spend In wards that never tend Poetry in dreams that never yearn In minds that never learn. And poetry in eyes that ever listen Poetry in ears that ever smell In noses that ever taste Tongues that ever feel In skins that ever watch.      *** I was lying on the warm bonnet of my car Silhouetted against the froid of the night With an ice cone from the bar Watching the heavens from afar Wondering about the physical, the literal In face of mental wonders spread before me Wondering about words that formed But have yet neither fact nor form And so If you keep really silent Erase thoughts hasty or tendencies violent And really Really, really, listen You can hear the universe whisper Of liberation and peace and the oncoming winter Of words and imagery subtle That yearns for form And the placing unto paper.

Words 69


Rivers Poem Mark Navarro I. Cuyahoga this is where the river went wild and the fennel seeds came in spilling oils on the shore; this is where those damned grey suits stood and smoked their Cubans and lit the whole damn thing up: the flames are green and the smoke moves up into the already grey sky. the rain stings. the way the faces melt when the river blazes and our fathers from the north look on, wide-eyed and bent-kneed, waiting to see what will happen after the flames subside and the man standing over the bridge leaps off, thinking that his leap plunged him into the greasy Hellfires. II. Raisin my father floated logs down you to construct a railroad that now runs through my back yard, where diner cars and cars carrying gasoline chug through, making my dogs crazy with sound. when the automobiles come back there’s only one way to go: that rusted steel contraption under which the desolate currents flow. the flora reeks of lagers which i’m sure my father enjoyed after his labors were complete, after my mother’s labors, her shrieks shaking the water and the cattails and high grasses on your shores: i was born on it, baptized in it; its waters still crawl over me and my still-laboring father. III. Kalamazoo the waters are still; the waters are swirling with colors like a twister over the farmlands which your waters now irrigate with poisonous vittles. there’s no place to walk

70 Blueprint

without seeing blackness; there is no where to swim, no rocks to beat your tattered clothes against. she looked deeply at me and her mouth curled up like the river bends, her eyes fell smoothly from her face like the oilslick over the surface. her words are crude and coat doves with thick soup and resistance. the drums are easier to pick up than her pleasures, they’re easier to haul away to make the people reclaim their moment. IV. Huron there are too many poems from my own fingers praising your unclean rushing waters drowning the bougainvillea buds with acid rain: the treetops rustle as your thick white foam pushes up against their roots. there’s a centaur somewhere in the lushness surrounding you. the ravens overhead cannot see their reflections in the brown that makes you up: i tread along you but i cannot drink because Ypsilanti takes her gears and dips them in your waters: they run down to Ann where the sun is just as hot but the boys sweat longer because they have no place to bathe. V. The Stream Across from the Bay concrete shores and an old man on the ledge enjoying his dinner while two walk along in wanderlust. there’s a step down and a hand over my slacks until we see a runner coming. a kiss before we think of somewhere we could go, something we could do. we can’t hear the bay over the rushing river; i can’t hear anyone say stop over the rushing in my mind. we can return that night and feed the river and ourselves wine, curl up, fall asleep naked to the sounds of the flowing waters.


Spine

Craig TenBusschen I can remember as a child in cars when the wind would rush past my head. I was small for my age and everything in the backseat seemed out of reach. Everything was too far, no exit, no escape. There was only the air to comfort me, caressing the top of my head as it spiraled in and out of the open windows. “Middle seats are for sissies… big sissies,” my brother would say. It stays in my mind with my neck still pushing into the passenger side window forty years later. I was seven then. Barely conscious of my surroundings, and yet I was still given such merciless bullying. It never stopped. I never caught up to their age, the age gap sustained all the way to today. But today there’s no cigarette smoke in the car, no smoke exhaling out of the seats when my body presses into them. “I don’t miss it, I don’t miss it,” I mouthed into the window with my neck burning in an arc against it. My childhood has always seemed dark. I would sit in the backseat where the wind would graze my hair. My father would puff a third cig and ask “You boys hungry.” It didn’t matter we never stopped. I hated him for it, hated his fuzzy lips for murmuring in smoky chuckles. In my life I would watch the smoke cinders fall slowly into his years of addiction, his lips enveloping the brown filter. It reminds me of the pain; I can feel it now. The same feeling the day the air soared through my hair and he threw out his fourth cig. He never saw it catch my window’s draft, and suck itself in. It floated in a fiery spiral down my ratty handme-down shorts. The cig was held in by the fabric and branded my inner thigh with neglect’s initials. My arms were dead then too, failing to react to the sensation of skin melting against the ember. No one recalls the screams. Even now I wonder what they were like. Pure pain echoing out of an alto throat, laced with my body pulsating into the seats, pushing out the smoke. I wrenched my body, small convulsive spasms while being chained in for torture by a safety belt. The irony in that didn’t heal the scar, or stop the singe. My father reached in and grabbed what he had started. Another

pain he initiated the day he bought his first cigarettes. He doesn’t know he paid to kill himself and to scar the only son that would ever mourn him. The dirt from the road builds inside my eyes. They won’t shut anymore, won’t hide from the wind as it blows into them, blurry vision. The air grazes my hair and my face scrunches into a moment where I can see a field surrounded by trees. The same trees of my childhood that Jeanie and I played in when we were younger. Back then I wanted to hide us, make a separate world for us. It was a childish attempt to emphasize that we alone were significant. It was only a matter of time before her lips pressed against mine, young and awkward, but the innocent connection of two young unknowing lovers was a beautiful splendor. The moon’s reflection across her soft pale face left the summers unforgettable. I remember our last night; I was shy, spending the seconds murmuring to her small insignificant words. I said over and over in a nervous tone, “I like you,” and when I looked for a response her eyes focused just over my head. I sat there waiting for her approval and in that instant my neck fought to stay attached to my head. The force and brutality of a jealous overprotective stepbrother is unmatched; the blows of his angered fists and steel boots contorted my body. The fetal position didn’t stop him from creating his own shin-high monument of misunderstood pain. I remember my eyes glazing with the dirt being sprayed into them as I looked at her eyes. She watched in horror, watched me die inside from his rage too afraid to say anything. My spine was never the same after,; it’s still slanted now. My neck was kicked into my

Spine 71


knees over and over as I wrapped my arms around my legs. I was left inside the trees all night, knowing my life would never be the same. My soprano-tenor voice screamed into the black pines, only to ricochet back into my ears from the same seclusion I had sought out. No one came until morning. I spent that night by myself. Shin-high with the crickets and shadowy figures of the dark that scampered in and out of my glazed vision. When we got to the hospital my spine was mangled and broken all over, and the dreaded words were paralysis; with surgery the risks were too great and the damage could have been permanent, severe, and full. The doctors suggested that by allowing my spine to fuse on its own it would adapt to its current state and deteriorate slowly over time, allowing me to salvage most of my life. They say if I had been found earlier, or the severity was any less that I wouldn’t have this slight hunch; deep down I know I’m an inch taller. The car starts to slow, and my body presses into the tightened strap. My head, still cocked to the right, slides forward against the glass, letting my eyes focus on the dash. My mind is blank now and the change in focus creates a moment of serenity that allows me to exhale again. The car fails to stay constant, speeding up again to let my head fall back into the seat. I can now see there’s water in the distance, far down the dirt road, past the trees, with a small blue horizon clashing the light brown road. My eyes struggle to focus. It’s the same color water as the neighbor’s pool where I used to float and float until the sun would fall. Those were the times, when the water would move around me letting my body feel normal once again. Playing all day, I could maneuver my body inside the ripples like I did when I was younger. My own departure from the pains of the world, it never lasts though. My euphoria was easily dispersed but never in my life was it recycled. The wind calmed and the water got heavy. I found out Jeff, the other neighbor, didn’t like how long I floated in the deep end. Before I inhaled that same air that grazed my hair and cooled the sun beating down I was engulfed and the water pressed against the inside of my throat, my small soprano-tenor gargles were entangled in his hands. The sun never looked so distant like as it did the day my feet never seemed to touch the pool’s floor, my hands swished in the water without

72 Blueprint

any direction. The water never tasted so vile, my lungs were exploding inside the depth. Jeff held most of his body out of the water by elevating himself over mine. I had only my dying effort. That minute or two inside the breathless abyss has never been matched, it’s still in my mind everyday. I don’t know if he knew if I was dying, or if he just got bored of the bubbles tickling his palms. I’ve always been somewhat afraid of the water after that, the way it consumes me, moves around me, and engulfs me. My lips were purple when my body finally sprawled on the concrete, coughing what felt like layers of chlorine. My parents always wondered why my nose was scarred on the left nostril, and I never told them it was because my face rubbed against the concrete while I was trying to reintroduce air to my lungs. I couldn’t sleep for days. The kids told me the water in my lungs would find its way out. If I had told my parents sooner they said it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. I wouldn’t have had to have a tube slid down my throat, into my lungs. They tore the lining of my throat when they siphoned out the deadly abyss. Permanent bass, they said, my throat would never be the same. I found out years later that Jeff grew up to be a part-time lifeguard, I wonder now if he still uses little boys as personal flotation devices like he used me. The view of the water slowly becomes a far off blue blur. I remember this same feeling, how being in the car I felt like part of the world, and it would consume me. It did when I was coming home from prom. I held my arm inside the steering wheel and the other outside the window to feel the air up and over my arm and then as it flowed in to caress my face. My date never intended on coming home with me, that’s probably why she didn’t. I drove for miles after she left, every second after reminded me of how I was an outcast. The road seemed to blur and I just quit looking at it, it disgusted me, reminded me that I was distant from anything ever worthwhile. I found myself dazed by the streetlights on the way back to her house. I somehow drove for thirty minutes in a weird circle that ended with me at her doorstep. My head was down when I slowly tapped my fingers on the edge of her front door. My head is always down; the doctors said it was because of the hunch. When she came to the door she gave a stern look of disgust and then pity, and then followed


by her jovial smile. She then pushed me lightly back by my shoulders, but never dropped her arms back down. She wrapped them around the back of my neck. Pressed her lips into mine, and shared with me a quick and powerful kiss. Something to fill my night, I can remember in the mix of euphoria that my fingers were becoming numb. They died that night, my neck slowly pulling from my spine. She never knew that her charity took more than it gave, and I never told her. Everyday after that, the slow wake into the morning separated my spine ever so gently from my neck. “You’ll never know what you’ll lose, and when” they always said to me. All the sluggish walks inside the white walled hospitals, “you’ll never know.” I remember each loss now though. Every morning tempting parts of my body to flinch, alone, I would wonder what limb would fail first. I’d lift my head up and reach for the alarm clock, and in time I’d find two appendages hanging from my shoulders like broken swings. Slowly I was losing my body. It was separating from my neck, and my mind was following it into the numbness. I never wanted anything for the pain in my life. I let the grudges slide out, along with my feelings. Let them float out among the blue abyss into the sun. They’re better out there, outside and away from me. They say I shouldn’t feel anything below my neck. My voice vibrating along my throat is the only thing I have left. My family has always wanted more though. I still feel the burning neglect when I go to the court cases, the briefcase luncheons I was wheeled into that I had no say in. A family built on the foundation of hate and greed. My brothers and sisters always wanted some type of compensation for my figure. I was put in a small apartment and seen for the holidays. I sat idle with only scheduled tube-fed meals and a television to pass the time. Deep down I knew my family didn’t care, deep down I was just a monument to the world for their sincerity. They would pride themselves over the challenges of taking care of me, but as I sat alone and distant with only a caretaker I sat no higher than the same shin-high monument that put me here. The bumps in the road were starting to become farther apart, the car slowing to a stop, which left my shoulder and neck to fall over the safety belt. There

is no greater feeling than the one of watching hands pull your limp body. Every numb appendage of mine was scraping against the dirty stones on the ground. I still felt alive, and I thought to myself “my bones aren’t broken, my throat still tingles when I speak, and my lungs still contract and expand with the world’s air.” This sentiment didn’t matter. With my small bass groans I can try and save myself, but it felt useless now. I can hear the water echoing in my ears. Small “shushes” followed by crashes. My neck is limp and supported only by my chest, which left my head rocking back and forth as I was dragged across the ground. With the small bumps my head would raise to see a ridge. My brother started to cry, whispering to me as he brought my body closer to the pier “this will be better for us… you’re already gone.” I didn’t respond and I know why I didn’t too. I was my family’s salvation. My lost and dead body would propel them into a higher class. The sessions with lawyers discussing my death would leave them more money than they could fathom. The next happened quickly, and I could feel the air grazing my hair. My eyes watched the dark dirt waft off of my limbs in the darkening light. Even though I was paralyzed I still felt like I was flying. I don’t know which part of my body hit the water first, or whether it was the rocks that caught me. I knew this pier, the same one my family would go to when I was younger. My body rotated, sank, and bobbed until it was pinned against the surrounding rocks. I was idle with only the stars reflecting in the ripples. My body seesawed and the blue abyss started to slowly drain into my throat, seeping its serenity into my mind and lungs. The water held me, consumed me, and I found myself watching the dark star-laced waves folding over my nose. The water turned black, and the waves became gray before they grew silent. I didn’t miss the sounds that were slowly leaving. The waves were slowly climbing right above my nostrils, splashing up and washing the dirt out of my eyes that the road had given me, the weight leaving felt good. The dirt had carried so much in it, and I was glad to be cleansed. With this I knew deep down the water wasn’t seeping into my lungs, deep down I knew I could breath freely with the dirt now gone, because I was always an inch taller.

Spine 73


Let Freedom Ring Paul D. Stanczak

When I was young, my parents Kept a piano in the house. I tried to play it, but my father Was always quick to remind me That it wasn’t a toy. One day, while he was gone, I played that piano. I played it loud. I beat the crap out of those keys, And it was a beautiful sound. It was the sound of freedom.

74 Blueprint


Back

Ricardo J. Rodríguez-Laureano It evades my logic, I walked into a loop. I’m back to the search of meaning and you. I’m revisiting the innocent years of conspiracy plans: Thoughts of wasting every minute for the art of the start. I’m enjoying the short rides, your smiles, your ways. In so many fugitives bits you remind me of her. Her, just an idea, someone to get to know better, Someone to forget or remember forever.

Back 75


Glitch

Dan Rodak Glitch in the system: Doped silicone chips Set in a Matrix Of thin copper strips Stricken with bad code. Instructions mangled or missing. Broken Binary. Tangled Cables sit lifeless. Ripe with potential, But at present lie Inconsequential. Anger.

76 Blueprint


Stackhouse

Heard on an Autumn’s Saturday

Jack Woodward

November brought winter upon Ehsquare, lying as it does hard in the path of the continent’s cold air coming down from Canada. Thanksgiving was five days away. Saturday in November — perhaps a chance to rake autumn’s lingering leaves, perhaps a last chance before they were pinned to earth by four months of un-melting snow. But what is the cold and the dance of a few ragged leaves when the wind that stirs them carries the sound of war to every ear in most hated of enemy coaches, Dusty Harrow. town? War! The rumble and shriek of combat had The visitors, grim ogres in white uniforms trimmed grown throughout that Saturday afternoon, until at in scarlet, led by 14 to 10. four o’clock the violent sound mounted toward a crescendo, warning the trembling town that some final Thirty seconds, yes, a mere 30, but hope still lived crisis must impend. — and even waxed a bit — for the home team had the ball, and it rested less than a yard from the OVU goal. War in Ehsquare?!? Of course, for is not the SatThird and goal, with perhaps 23 inches to go for vicurday before Thanksgiving the year’s day of truth, tory. Less than an inch per second! that day upon which Upper Midwest faces the scarlet phalanx of Ohio Valley, that land grant university Timeout by Upper Midwest to plot the decisive somewhere south? The day of the annual Waterloomove. On the sideline the UMU coach, Buff Chuckupon-the-Plastic between those most ancient of lebuffer, lectured his quarterback, a young bull of skill gridiron enemies? It is, indeed, and on the calendar’s and intelligence named Roger Crossfoot. Fans nearby odd years the bitter struggle boils before 105,000 fans could see the vigorous working of the Chucklebuffer in Ehsquare’s greatest pride, the UMU stadium at that jaw, and they speculated upon his instructions. corner where Main Street crosses Ballpark Boulevard. His options appeared to be many. A bullet, or a A football game! A football game that had blosfade-route lob, from Crossfoot to Darter? How could somed over a century until it had become a war! the weary OVUs hope to cover Dick Darter, an elusive receiver with lightening moves, and with hands that Thus the violent sounds that laced the November air could snatch in a pigskin from any trajectory laid close came from the combined fans of Upper Midwest and by Crossfoot? Ohio Valley, and from the perfervid workings of 500 bandsmen, all crammed into the continent’s largest colWattley? How could they hope to collar the streak lege stadium, all incited to frenzy by the crashing ballet of smoke that was James Wattley, a tailback of Olymof 22 skilled monsters on the plastic battleground. pic speed and slashing cuts? The frenzies of that late afternoon moment of crescendo were edged with desperation among the home crowd, for the clock that paced the battle approached its quitting. Only 30 seconds remained — and the home team was behind! Losing, losing, oh losing to that most hated of enemies, Ohio Valley! And to that

Stackhouse? If it was to be the power of a straightahead thrust, how could the OVU team assemble the mass of muscled bodies that could decelerate the bulling charge of Henry Stackhouse, a straight-ahead thruster to whom stone walls were as paper?

Stackhouse 77


Nonetheless, for 59-and-a-half minutes the whiteshirted defense had indeed contained the passing of Crossfoot and the complementing threats of Darter, Wattley, and Stackhouse, but the effort had clearly wearied them. And a mere 22.99 inches that could be yielded without irremediable disaster! Nonetheless, they had turned back two earlier thrusts in the fourth quarter, and perhaps the lionesque rumblings of Coach Harrow during the timeout had steeled them to one more supreme effort.

a defender crowded every gap, and linebackers loomed close behind. If those 23 inches were to be gained, the advance would have to be through the surge of the offensive line blasting forward with more force than the opposing. And through the driving strength of the fearsome Stackhouse.

The Stak bore inexorably forward, but he was being inexorably borne downward — down down down toward the plastic surface that — if it but touch his knee — must legally end his advance. Amid the press The heart-stopping issue would soon be settled, for of bodies one knee, and then the other, did touch, and the timeout had ended. The UMU team was racing into then the crushing weight of 11 tacklers, entangled with position, determined to snap the ball before the 25-sec- his 10 teammates (even Roger Crossfoot had pushed ond clock ran down. And… yes, Coach Chucklebuffer on some rear end that he though might be Henry’s), had narrowed the options, for Henry Stackhouse was laid him flat and immobile. It was a pileup surpassing at tailback, with instructions, instructions, and perfer- any seen that day. vid exhortations from his coach reverberating between A whistle blew. The timekeeper, seeing that the train his ears. wreck might take an hour to untangle, had stopped the From the UMU band had come (for the ninetyclock. ninth time today) the strains of The Thumpers, the Somewhere beneath, somewhere at the bottom fight song that would inspire the heroes in blue to the of that vast beaver-lodge of armored bodies, lay the supreme effort. The OVU band was not to be outdone, answer to the question that confronted him who had and from its massed brass and percussion had come blown the whistle. And that agonized the 105,000 fans (for the ninety-ninth time today) the blare of Killer in whose hearts had stopped. Scarlet, the fight song that would inspire the defenders in equal measure. Through the interstices of arms, legs, and torsos intertwined there filtered enough light that the ballcarrier The teams were at the line. The offense glared himself could discern The Answer. Looking back along straight ahead, muscles momentarily frozen, except the ground he was aware that his head must be well for those around the eyes of Roger Crossfoot, UMU over the goal line. And his neck. And his shoulders. quarterback. But the pigskin, the vital ‘skin whose position meant Sounds from a shrieking multitude subsided as a six points — or none??? hundred-thousand-plus held its collective breath. What The nose of the ball lay a full six inches short of the had Buff Chucklebuffer called? As quickly as a stroke stripe. Henry had gained only 17 of those 23 inches. of lightening the answer came: Stackhouse would carry! Henry Stackhouse, at tailback — a powerful driver Another chance offered, of course, since fourth who was now the moment’s embodiment of the ideals down was yet to be played. But his team had expended and inspirations that rang down the ages from Fielding its last timeout, and moreover, anything could happen Yore. The Stak, accelerating straight ahead, had taken (the fumble, the accursed fumble, for instance) when the handoff from Roger Crossfoot! the ball was put in play again. Better to slide the ball forward those six inches before the questing officials Henry Stackhouse, a back propelled by the most unpacked the writhing heap above him. But alas, the powerful leg muscles this side of Arcturus, and had arm of a defender was firmly hooked around Henry’s plowed straight ahead into the crack between center elbow. and left guard. No daylight greeted him, however, for

78 Blueprint


No matter, Stak would strive against Hell itself if that was needed to meet the expectations of his teammates, of the countless fans, of Buff Chucklebuffer, and perhaps even of the ghost of Fielding Yore. He would force the ball forward. At the bottom of that pile began a struggle no less fierce than the fiercest that had enlivened the afternoon so far. It was muscle against muscle, will against will, and most of all against time, for the concealing pile would not last long before the efforts of the officials. As they must, those officials, blasting their whistles and mouthing threats against all delays, finally disengaged the 21 muscular squirmers who lay around and above the mighty Stackhouse. And… and when sunlight fell upon the ‘skin, yes, YES, it lay with its nose a full two inches over the stripe. Stak had won! His teammates were pressing close to see, and when they saw, they burst into wild ecstasy. The entire 10 leaped upon the still-prostrate Henry, pummeling, screaming, pounding in an orgy of congratulation. The majority of attending fans who lived and died with Upper Midwest let out their collective breath, with the sounds of victory’s varied cries of joy swelling close behind. Their bandleader raised his baton to trigger the triumphant outpouring of The Thumpers.

these hasty words: “Man, you put that BLEEP’in ball where you found it!” What? What did you say, Henry? Written here it looks like an innocent “bleep,” but that miserable zebra must have heard something else, as did several other zebras. Three yellow flags arced toward the November sky, then fluttered to the plastic turf. Fatal fluttering! Dead ball foul! Penalty, fatal penalty! As the Stak and his stunned teammates gaped in dismay, the ball was marched a gruesome 15 yards upfield. Now fourth and 15 (plus six inches or so). No, make that 30 yards-plus, for after the ball had been spotted, a volatile Buff Chucklebuffer had raged onto the field to add his intemperate dissent, and another penalty (well deserved!) was walked off. The home fans fell into deathly silence, for all that they did not understand the reason for the fatal — and fatally irreversible — occurrence that had killed their victory. The roar of triumph that hovered just behind their lips was never to be heard. The sound that filled the void was instead the shriek of joy from the 20,000 who hewed to the scarlet of Ohio Valley. In an instant their riotous cacophony was joined by the grating strains of Killer in Scarlet, sounding now for the hundredth time (oh, but not the last time!) today, and with more insult than any of the other 99.

The bandleader nonetheless waited with just a mite of caution for the touchdown signal from an official. Looking over his shoulder toward the gathering around The realization of defeat-worse-than-death smote the goal line, he waited for the thrust of striped arms the home fans. They slowly turned to gather their blanabove the milling players. Why didn’t…? It was, wasn’t kets, flasks, cushions, and other paraphernalia for coldit? What the hell…? weather spectating, and like walking corpses began their weary climb to the exits. There were, to be sure, What the hell, indeed. The linesman was carefully some seconds left on the stadium clock, and their team spotting the ball. He was moving it. He was moving still held the ball, but fourth-and-thirty (plus six inches it BACK! He placed it back about eight inches, and or so)? It seemed impossible, and it was. almost to the exact spot where it had lain before Henry Stackhouse began his surreptitious advance. (Good Within a few hours peace had returned to Ehsquare. grief! Do these striped-shirted bastards have X-ray Those visiting fans, they who were recognized as the eyes?) Fourth-and-goal, with the clock starting to roll most obnoxious in the conference, had mostly burned again at 16 seconds. out their store of raucous bleating and taunting of victory on enemy turf, and had mercifully turned homeHenry — the fearsome Stak — the oft-time scorer ward. of decisive touchdowns, saw the official’s move. Unbelievable! Incomprehensible! Intolerable! He abruptly It truly was Winter now. A few leaves may have linshed the five or six teammates who still danced on his gered to dance awhile before next week’s snow ended back. He confronted the erring official. He snarled their existence, but a worse chill than that of Canada’s

Stackhouse 79


sweeping cold fronts had settled in. All the window dressings of Upper Midwest University — the millions of books in its libraries, its cadre of distinguished faculty, its impressive computer resources — were revealed as nothings. They were ephemera with no more warmth nor substance than the decaying leaves, for the Team had lost. The football team, undefeated when the sun had risen nine hours earlier, and bound for a crowning triumph in the Big Bowl on New Year’s Day, had lost to its most hated of enemies.

80 Blueprint

Spirit was dead. Chill was everywhere. Somewhere, somewhere on a bench in a dressing room beneath the stadium, the central figure in this tragedy, the mighty Henry Stackhouse, sat alone, still armored for the gridiron. Occasionally he roused from his smoldering unquiet to slam his helmet against the concrete wall. Each time he did so, he said that bad, bad word again.


A Memorable Highlight Harry Benford

This is one time when I wish I had a dash of poetic talent, because straightforward expository writing cannot begin to convey the emotion of what I am about to relate. Decades ago, over a period of about three years, I was privileged to attend a Boy Scout Camp on Lake George in Upstate New York’s Adirondacks. These camping adventures were limited to one or two weeks in August of each year. I must have been twelve to fifteen years of age at the time. Of those various brief times I carried away many delightful memories, one of which I shall try to describe. First, you must understand that the lake was of surpassing beauty, with its deep blue water encased in steep, gray/green mountains. That was the majestic setting, which even a young lad could appreciate. But, specifically what stands out most vividly in my memory are the several times I stood on the shore and stood entranced as a noble old passenger ship, the Mohican, swept past only about fifty yards away. This occurred daily when the late afternoon light was most benign.

rocked like a giant teeter-totter lending energy to her side paddle wheels, which busily scooped and flung the foaming water astern. While her hull and cabins were all-white, her stack and walking beam were contrastingly black. I am not sure about the color of her paddle wheels, but owing to the centrality of their eye-appeal, I like to think they must have been red. (Had I been the ship’s owner that would most assuredly have been the case.) In any event she flew some colorful flags and was, indeed, a most elegant sight in total keeping with her most beautiful setting. Then, as the ship drew away, the waves she had created struck the rocky shore at my feet in a clamorous and spectacular farewell salute.

****

The ship had been docked at a quay about an eighth Ah, noble and charming old Mohican, you remain of a mile to my left, and was still gathering speed when forever fresh in my memory; so I say “Many Thanks! I she came into view, her tall, vertical stack emitting pray you are resting in peace, on an even keel, in a place plenty of smoke. Above the top deck her walking beam of honor at Poseidon’s right hand.”

A Memorable Highlight 81


The Solitary Waves of Tuzlan J. P. Boyd

“We live logarithmically,” said the science minister of

the tiny Asian nation of Tuzlan as we trudged up the mountain. He was trying to justify the kilometer-long water wave tank inside this huge warehouse, erected by Russia to hold construction materials for the great Tuzlan hydroelectric dam. After global protests, Tuzlan had kept its sovereignty and half the power. And I was here to pass judgment on Tuzlan’s leap into modern science. Huffing up the mountain, Sushil Nair whispered to me, hoarsely, “Solitons began with murder. Did you know that, Frank?”

had told me back in Arlington, “Tuzlan is the Liechtenstein of Asia. One mountain, one lake, and more goats than people.”

When we reached a shelf, the minister called a halt.

In the summer, the slopes were covered with grass, and reminded me of the mountains around Innsbruck.

“Rest here. I go ahead to prepare the experiments.” Nair sat down facing the huge lake below and took a swig of bottled water. He was a particle physicist who had protested long and loudly on the flight from Washington that he was ignorant of fluid mechanics and a poor choice for this site visit. “This whole fact-finding trip is a con! These Tuzlans are so poor they’d sell their children for a few Euros. Why don’t they apply to the UN Aid Agency?” Sara Ishikawa, who was a journalist, moved closer. “Pride, Sushil. And they don’t just want food or material goods. They want education.”

Sara smiled at Nair. “I’ve been to the Moon, Sushil. Trust me, this is better.” Nair scowled and looked at the grass. “I’ve worked for a dozen years on the Big Rings on the Moon. Fighting for more funds because of the unfortunate ---.” “Cost overrun. I know, Sushil. That’s why my syndicate sent me to the Far Side. I wrote a pretty favorable story. There are big problems, but they can, I think, be fixed.” He looked up at the Moon, pale against the nearly cloudless sky, and took another long drink.

As we looked down at the great reservoir behind the When we reached the crest, even Sara, who was Tuzlan hydroelectric dam, one of the largest on the much younger than Sushil and myself, was winded. planet, Nair waved his arm helplessly down at the diMountains surrounded us in all directions. lapidated cluster of stone buildings, formerly a monas“The Minister walked out of here, snaking around tery, that had been turned into Tuzlan’s first university. through the passes, all the way to India. Then he swept “Wasn’t it pathetic? Primary school in one room, floors and lived by his wits until he had saved passage high school in another, the `university’ in a third? The to Australia where he earned a doctorate at Monash Science Minister is the entire department of science!” University outside Melbourne.” I sighed and bowed my head. Jerry Sharman of the National Science Foundation

82 Blueprint

I thought of my own life of First World comfort, and tried to ignore my sore legs. My conscience was beginning to nag, and not about my comfortable house


half the world away. The Minister’s proposal ---. He reappeared and smiled. Who in America had teeth so crooked?

said, “John Scott Russell. It all began with him.” Nair said, “And murder!”

Sara looked at him, then me, then at the Minister. “I As he walked us down towards the huge warehouse, seem to have missed that bit in my prep work.” he explained, “Our tank is a thousand meters long and I started to speak, but I deferred to the eager gleam four wide. Because of its size, the effects of endwalls in Nair’s eyes. and sidewalls are minimized. We can measure solitary waves with much more precision than any other facility “It was the 1830s. Canals were the best for bulk in the world!” transport. A team of horses that could pull a ton of cargo in a stagecoach could pull fifty tons of payload Sushil Nair, thinking of the three-hundred-kilomein a canal barge, plodding along the towpath at the ter-wide collider rings on the moon, wrinkled his nose edge of the water, towing the barge. But John Scott and gestured at the tank. “How?” Russell decided that for high value cargo, like people, a The minister’s smile broadened. “All recycled. Sheets steam coach could compete. So he built one to shuttle of glass left behind by our former masters. For a cen- between Glasgow and Paisley. But the Canal Barons tral administration building that was to be the nexus of didn’t like the competition.” our domination.” He paused. “Sabotage! Crash! Four people murThe warehouse was as big as a zeppelin hanger. The dered! The crime was never solved. Russell folded. wave tank was a slender river of glass and distilled Reinvented himself as a naval architect.” He grinned. water, looking ridiculously narrow in the huge space. “Of, among other things, canal boats.” The Tuzlan dam, so picturesque when viewed from The minister said, “His tank was only nine meters thousands of meters above, suddenly came into true long, and he could not ask the UN for superconducting focus. No wonder the Russians, Chinese and Indians anemometers.” As he tapped the old-fashioned keyhad jousted over this tiny enclave of goat-herders! board of the computer, Sarah frowned. Dwarfed by the long glass-walled water tank, a trio “Tank? I thought he discovered solitary waves when of battered wooden desks, side-by-side, were connecthe was riding along the towpath, watching the barges.” ed by floor cables to a glass-walled tower near the end of the tank. Nair nodded vigorously. “He had a contract from the proprietors of the Union Canal that ran from Ed“The dropping tower,”, said the minister. inburgh westward to the Clyde and Forth Canal. Then The machinery inside was mostly hidden by three ---.” unframed sheets of cardboard. The left sheet was I interrupted him by pointing. Pinned on the side of a computer-printed photograph of a dozen-armed the credenza of the left desk was an excerpt from Rusgolden Buddha. The right sheet was a gaudy image of sell’s 1845 paper on solitary waves. Sara stepped next a mythical city --- Agartha? --- with a maze of caves to it and read aloud: “I was observing the motion of a schematically extending deep underground, populated boat which was rapidly drawn along a narrow channel by demons. The central image was a grayscale, slightly by a pair of horses, when the boat suddenly stopped grainy picture of a balding man, looking intently at the - not so the mass of water in the channel which it had camera, dressed in a black Victorian suit. put in motion; it accumulated round the prow of the I burst out laughing. Nair look at me and hissed, vessel in a state of violent agitation, then suddenly “Frank! Yes, this Buddhist-shaman thing is crap, but leaving it behind, rolled forward with great velocity, asshow a little respect!” suming the form of a large solitary elevation, a rounded, smooth and well-defined heap of The minister was not offended. He looked up and

The Solitary Waves of Tuzlan 83


water, which continued its course along the channel apparently without change of form or diminution of speed. I followed it on horseback, and overtook it still rolling on at a rate of some eight or nine miles an hour, preserving its original figure some thirty feet long and a foot to a foot and a half in height. Its height gradually diminished, and after a chase of one or two miles I lost it in the windings of the channel. Such, in the month of August 1834, was my first chance interview with that singular and beautiful phenomenon: The Great Wave of Translation.” Sara added, “Now called a `soliton’ or `solitary wave’.” The minister pushed a key, and a wooden beam fell smartly onto the surface of the water from the wavemaker tower. The leftward waves were absorbed in the wire mesh in the shoals at the near end of the tank. The right-moving disturbance quickly organized itself into two rounded crests, uniform across the whole width of the tank, which fled down the channel. The taller, narrower soliton gradually pulled away from the slower, fatter, trailing hump. Nair explained to Sara as they walked along beside the trailing ridge as it rolled steadily. “A localized pulse usually disperses like white light through a prism, separating into different wavelengths, each moving through the glass or water at its own speed. It spreads like marathoners that are all bunched up at the starting line, but then become strung out in an ever-widening pack as the race unfolds. Nonlinear advection in a fluid does just the opposite: It steepens waves, and pinches atmospheric temperature gradients into warm fronts and cold fronts. A solitary wave is a pulse that evolved into a steady balance between these two competing tendencies.”

The minister patiently added. “Part of our proposal is to dissolve nanoparticles in the water. So much better than powdered aluminum or Styrofoam beads to track the trajectories!” I nodded. “With an array of superconducting magnetometers and Big Silicon to translate magnetic fluctuations into flow velocities.” Nair grumbled, “But why so big? Who cares?” The minister looked at sunlight slanting in through the open door and gestured with his arms. He had odd fan-shaped scars on both wrists from interrogations during the unrest. “We live logarithmically! A cloudless noon, outside, is a million times brighter than moonless starlight, but we can see in both night and day because our brains respond to the logarithm of the stimulus. Likewise, the decibel scale for sound is logarithmic. A jackhammer is a billion times louder than the fall of a feather, but to our ears, concrete-breaking is not a billion times louder. Scientifically ---.” “The Weber-Fechner Law of Physiology! He’s right; all our senses are logarithmic,” said Sara. Nair growled. “But how does that justify an aquarium a thousand meters long?”

“Our scientific senses are logarithmic, too, Dr. Nair. An electron microscope can magnify 100,000 times. Did it make biologists 100,000 times wiser? The Big Eye at the L5 point can collect a trillion times more photons than a human eye, but are astronomers a trillion times more knowing than Kepler? Your Moon collider is a million times longer than Lawrence’s nineinch cyclotron. Will you discover a million times as Sara smiled, and added smugly, “Just like the solitons much?” in light pipes.” Sara laughed. “He’s got you, Sushil; the Daedalus Nair frowned, and I hid a grin. Our world was linked Crater Rings are just the same kind of build-it-bigger in a network of fiber optics, and since the early twenty- lunacy that has driven science upward for a thousand first century, the data pipes had signaled with solitons. years.” “Well, yes. A linear pulse disperses, and Mrs. Jones’ Nair nodded, sheepishly. And then the minister voice would overlap with that of a little boy from Kan- showed off the variations and experiments possible sas, and only a muddle would reach the other end of with his present apparatus, and the new experiments, the continent. But solitons never spread.” the better data, that would be possible in the future. A

84 Blueprint


quantum leap in apparatus size, a smaller but signifi- starlight. “In my youth, my field was `Computational cant leap in understanding: sheer bulk in electronically- Science and Engineering’. But I like `Arithmurgy’ betscored battle with the logarithmacy of science. ter. Greek words meaning `number’ and `working’. Did you know that `zymurgy’ is `beer brewing’? I like Our site visit wound up with a banquet in a tilethe idea of brewing numbers. We cannot brew beer in roofed stone hall, lit only by dim LEDs that mimicked Tuzlan. It all comes over the mountains. But we can the butter lamps which had provided dim and flickerbrew numbers.” ing illumination in the monastery in centuries past. Nair astounded me by becoming quite tipsy on the I nodded. “Light pipes to the outside are almost half local barley-beer. Sarah sampled the flat breads, soups your budget. The data pipes are the real prize. Then and mutton and then danced with half a dozen monks, you can use your hydroelectricity, and your big vacant laughing and twirling. Everyone was happy but me. buildings, to host gigantic server farms. Export bits the way richer countries export gold or knowledge.” I left the banquet to walk in the starlight. My middleaged eyes could pick out thousands of stars! After the “We will measure water waves better than anyone last big earthquake near San Francisco, many, who had before us!” never seen the sky without the backscatter of city light, I laughed. “I know.” I could hear the fear in his voice were frightened by the stars. and I walked further from the hall. “Don’t worry; your I said to the dim figure behind me, “When I was a secret is safe.” small child, a city boy, my grandfather took me to a I said over my shoulder. “I’ll mau-mau Nair by baseball game, returning far past my usual bedtime. playing the Sara card. Sushil won’t want the big negaWhen he took me out of the car at his farm, it was a tive publicity that she could generate if Tuzlan doesn’t night like this.” I stretched my arms upwards as if to get its tiny, pitiful little grant while the enormous cost embrace the beauty, remembering that little boy. overrun for the Lunar Collider Rings is still under The minister said from the darkness, “You barely review.” touched your wine.” I shut my eyes for a moment, then I saw him open his mouth a couple of times, but ignored him and drank in the stars. It was as if a mad Tuzlan was completely at my mercy and he didn’t want tailor had embroidered the stars with diamonds, rubies to press me. Finally, he turned to go back inside. and blue quartz. I kept looking up at the dazzle of stars as I had once Finally I said. “What’s the Logarithmic Law of looked at the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica when I was a Arithmurgy, Minister?” child. From the shadows behind me, he said, “‘Insight “You’re right, you know. Our senses, even our sciengrows logarithmically with the number of arithmetical tific ones, are logarithmic. Understanding grows only operations.’” as the logarithm of mass. Or additions and divides. I waited and finally added, “And the corollary: `If Or the length of a water wave tank. And knowledge, the flops are growing exponentially with time, as in as opposed to data, grows only linearly with time even Moore’s Law, then progress is linear with time.’ “ though we build exponentially bigger. Faster. But linear-with-time has landed us on Mars.” I paused but refused to look at him. “You omitted it from your logarithmic laws on purpose. You realized He stopped, then saw my half-smile in the starlight. too late that you were edging towards the mine field.” He waved, and left me to the stars. As I would leave little Tuzlan to its dam and its light-pipes. As my eyes adjusted to the night --- another vindication of the Weber-Fechner Law --- I glanced over my Arithmurgically distilling optical solitary waves for shoulder and saw him turn both palms upward in the export. Brewing numbers from falling water.

The Solitary Waves of Tuzlan 85


Contributors H a r r y B e n f o r d is Professor Emeritus in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department.

S h o n d a B o t t k e is an administrative assistant in the Optics and Photonics Lab in the EECS department. She is a mosaic artist and has exhibit at the Gerald R. Ford presidential museum.

J. P. B o y d is a professor in the department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences. In the past, he has published sixteen previous stories in Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Amazing, Hitchcock’s, and several anthologies. He is also a member of the Professional Organization for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers (SFWA). He has been a professor in the college for 33 years.

K a t i e C a r u s o is a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. A n n a C h e n is a graduate student in Computer Science. E u g e n e C h o w is a freshman in the College of Engineering. A n d r e w Jo s e p h C r o w is a graduate student in Aerospace Engineering. S u s a n H i l l is a staff member in the College of Engineering. G r a c e H s i a is a junior studying Material Science with a minor in Math. She smiles incessantly and has an affinity for running, Disney films, and the way streetlamps look like fireworks when she forgets to wear her contacts. Despite her mother’s best advice, Grace enjoys talking to strangers and listening to her vinyls. But above all else, she loves writing because, to her, words can be beautiful.


A n d r e w K u r d e l s k i is a junior studying Chemical Engineering. He has been interested in photography ever since he got his hands on a digital camera; however, he still does not know how to use Photoshop. In addition to photography, he enjoys cycling, fish keeping, music production, and cooking.

Pa r k e M a c D o w e l l is a graduate student studying Architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

S u s a n M o n t g o m e r y is a lecturer in Chemical Engineering. A few years back, she picked up photography as a hobby. Two of her photographs were awarded prizes in the 2010 Ann Arbor Summer Festival Top of the Park photography contest.

L y l e A . M u r p h y is a sophomore in the School of Art and Design. He is a Graphic Design/ Illustration major.

M a r k N a v a r r o is a senior in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts majoring in English/Creative Writing.

R y a n A . N a s h is a graduate student studying Computer Science. D a n Ro d a k is a freshman in the College of Engineering. Ro d r i g u e z - R i c a r d o J. L a u r e a n o is a graduate student studying Computer Science. Fe l i x L i p k e is a junior in Biomedical Engineering.


A n g e l a S c h m i d t is a senior in the School of Architecture getting a B.S. in Architecture and a Minor in Art & Design.

S o m y a S h a r m a is a freshman in Chemical Engineering. Her passion for diction began on a family vacation to Quebec while gallivanting through the streets and thinking of the ways to describe her admiration for the Canadian-French culture. Since then, she’s carried a small journal with her wherever she goes, attempting to capture the magic of each new place she travels.

Wo t o n g S h e n is a junior studying Architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

Ja s o n S i e l a f f is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering. S u d a r s h a n S i v a r a m a k r i s h a n currently a Ph.D. student in Optics/Photonics, hailing from the nearby city of Farmington Hills. While academics pursuits and research serve to satiate his intellectually inquisitive mind, he constantly strives to explore and “dabble in” many other diverse walks of life. Rap just happens to be one of those many interests.

Pa u l D a v i d S t a n c z a k is an alumnus of the College of Engineering, B.S.E. 2010. His poem “Let Freedom Ring” was composed while he was a student here, and it helped earn him an honorable mention in the 2009 Roger M. Jones poetry contest.

C r a i g Te n B u s s c h e n is a senior studying Mechanical Engineering.


S a r a h Ve r n e r graduated from the University in 2010 with her B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working towards her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton, England through the Roger M. Jones Fellowship.

C h a o - We i S u is graduate student studying Architecture in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

小 白 is a junior in Mechanical Engineering. He believes that everyone can be the discoverer of beautiful things.

Ja c k Wo o d w a r d is Professor Emeritus in the Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering department. He could surely tell you many tales of ships and boats and such stuff, but sometimes his imagination spills over into more interesting realms — like, for example, fictional football at a semi-fictional university in an almost-fictional town.

A m y Wu is a graduate student studying Aerospace Engineering. M a r k Yu r i c h is a freshman in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. L i a n Z h u is a Junior majoring in Chemical Engineering and minoring in Biochemistry (and maybe Physics). Other interests include Latin (especially Horace and Virgil), cellular biology, watching half of movies with friends, tennis, laughing, and languages in general. She enjoys all forms of poetry, from free verse to dactylic hexameters, but really she just enjoys reading in a loose definition of that word. Something that she covets very much that doesn’t exist is most likely a time turner, not for changing the past but making more of the present.


Harry Benford Wotong Shen Shonda Bottke Sarah Verner Anna Chen Angela Schmidt Eugene Chow Katie Caruso Parke MacDowell Felix Lipke Susan Montgomery Lian Zhu Lyle A. Murphy Grace Hsia Mark Navarro Mark Yurich Dan Rodak Andrew Kurdelski Rodriguez-Ricardo J. Laureano Amy Wu Paul David Stanczak Somya Sharma Susan Hill 小 白 Andrew Joseph Crow Jason Sielaff Jack Woodward Sudarshan Sivaramakrishan Craig TenBusschen J. P. Boyd

Profile for Blueprint Magazine

Blueprint Magazine, Issue 1  

Back when it all began in March 2011...

Blueprint Magazine, Issue 1  

Back when it all began in March 2011...

Advertisement