My Name Is Tyson, and I’m Germaphobic

Alright, well it’s actually called Mysophobia, but I figured more folks would recognize it better if I called it Germaphobia!

I will admit though, I am a bit afraid of germs and bacteria. Kinda odd especially since I was all into making E. Coli cultures today in the microbiology lab. But I like having clean hands, and not getting sick! Also, I’m working towards applying to the only level 4 lab in Canada, and one of fourteen in the world. That’s right, this incredibly accident prone guy might be working with some of the most dangerous biochemical substances in the history of mankind!

The other night, I watched that movie Contagion, which really doesn’t help this little bit of a fear at all. It’s all about the spread of a super-virus that’s taking millions of people’s lives. It uses a lot of camera angles and imagery to show just how easily disease can spread throughout the world, causing an epidemic. While I was watching the movie, I was chowing down on my popcorn and instantly thought that someone had to touch it at some point…

Also, sometime during the movie, they said that a person touches their face up to 3000 times a day. If its true, that’s an incredible and scary amount that I really have difficulty fathoming. My face must be absolutely filthy by the end of the day really. But I found the movie very interesting as well; especially how it punched in the reality that a super virus is actually very possible. Especially with some of the stuff I have been learning in my advanced microbiology classes. For example, in the entire worlds stockpile, we have only been able to find a medium to grow/reproduce 0.1% of all bacteria.

I don’t really like to think about it all too much, it just kinda shows how weak the human race really could be, and everything I learn in my classes don’t really help that viewpoint at all.

Neither does Contagion!

In my biochemistry class, we need to find a topic for our scientific research essay. It’s not due until mid-November, but it’s still imperative to work on it at a constant basis until then. I’m not sure what to choose for a topic though. It needs to be biochemistry related and very recent research, so I probably just need to do some research on recent findings. Maybe I’ll ask a biochemist too, I have a friend working at the University of Calgary in Biochemistry. Unless anyone has any suggestions? They would be greatly appreciated!

Since I’m talking about science things, I might as well continue along that subject line. Yesterday I got the new issues of Science Illustrated and Popular Science to help me look for a possible topic. But I actually enjoy reading them, a lot of the articles are extremely interesting and have some pretty insane information and experiments that have been going on. There’s actually a pretty inspirational story in Popular Science about a college student that was paraplegic, but didn’t want to graduate in his wheelchair. So a group of student engineers at U.C. Berkeley built him a machine that allowed him to walk across the stage and get his diploma. Basically he’s considered a cyborg since the exoskeleton they installed into him is a combination of his flesh and this machine. I would recommend to read the entire issue though if you have the time, its apparemtly a special education issue.

“If you can’t get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you’d best teach it to dance.” – George Bernard Shaw

Tyson Trepidations

A Canadian Remembering 9/11 And Other Shenanigans.

I remember a decade ago from today, I was in the sixth grade sitting on the swing set with my best friend before the school bell rang.

This is when I first found out about the disaster of 9/11.

I mean sure, I’m Canadian, so a lot of Americans don’t understand why a lot of us are sombre about the events of that day. But really Canada and the states are so similar and tight knit, it doesn’t really matter we different countries, and our economies are so interwoven we directly affect each other. Not just that though, Canada plays a huge role in the war against terrorism, especially by taking over a lot of the duties of the United States Army in Afghanistan. I mean I even know a number of great Canadian people that have died serving the war against terrorism. These are people that I went to camp with, did some of my military training with and befriended over the last decade. So of course the events of that day affect us just as much as many Americans.

Pardon the language I’m about to use, but a decade ago from today, when I was merely in sixth grade, is when I realized that the world is fucked. I mean I don’t really like thinking into it very much, I know a lot about politics, government and the worlds affairs; its all a scary aspect that shouldn’t be disregarded. But in a way, its kinda sad that it takes events like 9/11, the assassination of JFK, declaration of war against Germany and the bombing of Pearl Harbor are what it takes to make me remember exactly what I was doing that day.

Even though its a decade since that horrible disaster, I’m going to turn it over to a bit happier of a note. I don’t like being morbid all the time, I like making people smile and being happy myself nonstop.

News!

I shaved off my beard last night. I felt kinda weird; I had it for a while and it grew on me a lot, now I think I look a little odd. Even my sister and a couple of my co-workers told me that I look funny without my beard. I’m sure it’ll be back soon, I just need a better grooming kit first, it was starting to get a little bit of a hassle and not look so clean.

After shaving though, I began to wonder if I should get my haircut too. It’s been about six months since my last one, which is the wait time I usually take before cutting it. Generally when I cut it, I get it pretty short. I always tell the snazzy haircutting artist lady to use a number 5 razor on me. Last time I did that, the lady was pretty shocked, she said, “Are you sure you want to go THAT short?!”.

I guess if I do, it’ll be pretty spontaneous, or in response to other people suggesting its time to cut my hair. Or maybe I should go to other extremes and dye it pink or something! But then again, my boss at work would probably kill me…

Oh! One more thing! I was approved for student funding, so guess whose going to return to California for New Years?! That’s right, TYSIE! I’m pretty excited, and I’ll probably get my airline ticket soon before it starts getting too expensive. I’ll stay with the same people that I always stay with, they are pretty awesome and fun. Plus the only people I know there, I kinda wish I knew a few more folks in the states though, that way I have more places to crash and hang when I’m travelling through; because I do that quite a lot.

Percey’s Seaside Antiques

This is the start to my story, it begins with an older lady named Angela Percey who owns an antique shop on the island of Saint Crista. Don’t worry though, the main character of this story isn’t this old lady with a bad memory, she just happens to the person I open with. Maybe you’ll meet the main character later though. But enjoy the small amount I’m posting of what’s going to turn into a zombie story!

Angela Percey was gazing outside the window of her little shop, Percey’s Seaside Antiques, when the sun began to fade behind the encroaching clouds.

To her it was just another day of business. She stood at her post behind the cash register, in wait for one of the shoppers to purchase some of her antiques; or as she liked to call them, her “pre-owned treasures”. Of course, she never really expected anyone to purchase anything, they rarely did. But she didn’t mind, being a widowed older lady in her mid-sixties, she just enjoyed the company of the occasional local or traveller to talk to. She actually loved to hear about the travelling and life stories of her visitors, as well as talking to some of the locals that stopped by. In fact, Angela loved her antique shop in general, it meant everything to her over the last thirty-five years that she’s been running it.

As the clouds overtook to sun, there were only four customers present at Percey’s. Only one Angela recognized as a local and like most of the residences that came in, she knew he was a fisherman. Other than that, she couldn’t remember his name, making her grow quite frustrated with her once quick mind.

She didn’t recognize any of the other three customers though, they were most likely tourists since the island of Saint Crista attracted an estimated half a million guests every year. That was always something that baffled Angela though, she could never understand nor envision that amount of people. It was probably since she only left the island once in her life, which is something she vowed to never do again. She liked the simple and stress free life that she had there, so she never felt as though she ever really needed to leave the island. For Angela, where most people see the world as small, it was always huge to her, and quite a monstrosity too.

She lived in the larger of the two towns on the island, Port Champlayne. In general, both of the towns were fairly small, with Port Chanplayne consisting of about four thousand people. Then there’s the smaller of the two, Bellwich Bay, having only about three hundred folks residing in the town. Other than the size though, both towns were mainly occupied by fishermen, retirees, and tourists from all over the world.

As Angela was lost in her own thoughts, the local fisherman then began to walk towards her, snapping her out of her own thoughts and also cause her to straighten her posture. The fisherman shot a smile at her, which she returned immediately, yet still fighting with her brain to remember his name. But almost as soon as he smiled, his face immediately went flat, straight into an empty and lifeless expression. Angela had never actually seen such an expression before, it was almost as if the soul had been sucked right out of the fisherman. All of the colour had left his face, his lips went completely flat, his eyes lifeless and no longer looking at Angela, moreso looking right through her. Angela began to feel an odd tingling sensation run over her body from head to toe, and even though it had passed quite quickly, her heart rate doubled as a result.

It was in that moment she noticed that the fisherman’s face didn’t just turn completely lifeless, his entire body did as well. He stood there in mid stride with his right foot protruded forward and arms still in their swing, but he was frozen in place. Not so much as a muscle twitch could be seen come off of his body. Nothing.

Everything about the fisherman began to horrify Angela, she reached up and placed her hands over the hollow of her neck, where her mothers medallion could always be found. She clutched onto it tightly, and told herself a quick prayer, something she had become quite accustomed to since her husband had passed away from a heart attack no more than two years prior. After a few minutes to take in the scene before her, Angela’s slow and old brain finally began to work again, and she reluctantly took her eyes off of the fisherman to look at the rest of the store.

Her shop was quite dark for mid afternoon, the clouds had blocked out a lot of the suns light, and caused an eerie green glow to protrude through the windows. Everything was very quiet though, and all Angela could hear was her own heart beating. The other three guests looked the same as the fisherman. Perfectly still. Almost as if God had pressed the pause button on all other life in her store.

Two of the people were together, Angela observed earlier when they arrived that they were a young couple, she assumed on a honeymoon or something of the sort. But now, they were frozen in place, looking at some of Angela’s antique tableware, holding her favorite bowl that she remembered was made in Sicily. On the outside, the bowl wasn’t anything special, just white porcelain. But on the inside it had the most beautiful hand painted rendition of Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. In the back of her mind, she wondered how she could remember a bowl was made in Sicily, but couldn’t remember a fisherman’s name. But that thought quickly passed.

The last person in Percey’s Seaside Antiques, was a middle aged woman who was completely still in a very thoughtful pose. To Angela, it looked almost as though the lady could be a mannequin, especially with her ghostly white face and the soulless expression that had subdued all of the customers in the antique store.

Angela closed her eyes, horrified at the frozen people before her, but partially frozen in place herself as a result of utter fear. She clenched her medallion with both of her hands tightly, causing the flesh in her knuckles to turn white. She prayed. It was a while since she last attended church, probably longer than she would have liked to admit. But she recited every prayer that she could remember in her head, with her eyes clamped tightly the whole time and embracing the medallion Angela’s mother had passed down to her during her childhood.

Suddenly there was a series of loud thuds that filled the room, accompanied by the sound of something breaking. The loud noise caused Angela to jump and snap open her eyes which immediately fell on the porcelain bowl, now in several pieces scattered across the floor. She scanned through the pieces of her beloved bowl and frowned deeply at the sight of it, but then she noticed the young couple that were admiring its beauty were now littered on the floor next to the porcelain shards.

Tears began to fill Angela’s eyes, as she continued to notice that all of her customers were now in a lifeless phase on the floor, appearing to be dead. Her legs began to shake under her due to fear of the situation and she fell to her knees as tears began to stream down her cheeks. She could not fathom what had happened, but was much too shaken still to try and do anything about it. Her hands finally broke free from her medallion, but only to bury her face into her hands instead, letting out a shriek of a mixture of grief, horror and shock.

After a few moments, she managed to take some deep breaths, or at least enough to stop the crying. As she wiped the tears from her cheeks and eyes, she took another glance around the room with a deep feeling that she was the only one alive in the entire store. Angela’s eyes eventually met the fisherman’s face, he still had his eyes open, a vision that would bothered her for the rest of what life she left. In his eyes, she could see the whites of them slowly turn red and his once brown iris was now completely black.

It was at that moment when she was looking into his strange eyes, she finally remembered his name.

“If you can dream it, then you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse” – Walt Disney
Tyson Trepidations.