Or Does It Explode?

A funny thing has been happening on my blog.  I’ve been noticing it for a while now.  WordPress, lovely host that it is, keeps track of all sorts of data for me!  It tells me how many views per day I get, what posts people are viewing, visitors’ Social Security Numbers (That’s a joke!), and what search terms led readers to my blog.  Ever since I started putting tangentially related pictures in my blog (or just cribbing totally relevant photos from movies, video games, history, whatever) I’ve been ensnaring (and hopefully keeping!) readers who stumble upon me by searching for things like, “Indiana Jones I Love You eyes” or “Maid Marian Men in Tights” or, obviously, “How to dispose squirrel corpse.”

As a quick experiment, I googled that last one myself.  I am proud to say that my blog is the third result out of 16,100,000 results.  I’m beaten out only by two queries on www.dogforums.com and, in the number one place,  the thread on ask.metafilter.com titled “Help me dispose of this sad little corpse – squirrel…

Both of the authors refer to their squirrel corpses as “little” or even, “sad, little”.  I feel bad for the authors.  They’re both so paralyzed by fear of dead germs* that sad, little problems like squirrel corpses bring them to a stand still to such an extent that they have to put everything on hold until they can ask the internet what to do.  Too bad they haven’t got my phone number!  (Then again, them posting questions in 2008 precludes my services.  Unless they have sad, little squirrel skeletons cluttering their yards and sidewalks.  Hmm….)

Now, let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to memory lane–it’s in my ears and in my eyes!  As you’ll recall, I had friends visiting recently.  They had lots of adventures during the week they were here, but I was sadly only able to partake in a very few.  No, indeed, I had to work.  I like my job, but it was a pain in the butt having to go in and work with guests in town.  I really wanted to spend my time with them!  Since I do enjoy my job, however, each day blew by.  I mean, by the time I had finished saying, “Hello,” “Goodbye” was already on my lips!  Or that’s what it felt like some times.  What can I say, I was working for 6:30.  Certainly, every day quickly went by with a little help from my friends.

Here’s a few photos of us carousing!

Here we are eating Georgian food! That's basically all we did all day every day! Or, night, in my case.
We strolled around at night, crossing The Peace Bridge, in all its fuzzy, night-photo glory!
We even got woken up by fireworks at night! Hooray!
We spent a lot of time checking out the new fountains at Rike Park (How do you spell that?) We stopped to take a picture of four of us in front of it. It changes colors! First it's red, but now it's...
Blue! It was playing classical music like "The Sorceror's Apprentice" and "Live and Let Die". Good stuff, man. But before we knew it, it had changed colors again! Now it's...
OMG what the Hell happened!?

So, disclaimer, this stuff about corpses and dead germs and squirrels?  It’s not a prelude to a murder confession.  Nothing suicidal or deadly happened.  Let me explain exactly what did happen.

One peaceful morning, on Mtskhetis Khoveli (sp?), I had the day off work!  We decided that we would all meet up at nine and go to the Georgian baths together!  Lauren would opt out because of shyness, but we would pick her up afterwards and all eat ajaruli khatchapuri together!  Hooray!

As we were peacefully nestled into our sleeping spaces (Maki had a couch), a LOUD explosion or crash or something woke us up.  I believe my exact words were, “What the Hell was that?”

“Shit, I don’t know.  The water heater?” Maki offered in reply.  Never one to turn down an expedition to an exploded water heater (true story.), I walked to the kitchen.

What I found there had me speechless, so speechless.

Someone or something had been completely murdered in my kitchen! You can see the blood leaking out from under the fridge!

The smell gave it away immediately.  Two liters of wine had exploded ALL OVER MY KITCHEN!  Even without the smell it would have been easy to trace the explosion to its source.  (Hint: It’s source looked like this:)


Upon noticing the lack of a bottle, I shouted to Maki, “Dude!  The bottle is nowhere!!!  I think it destroyed itself.  I think it was vaporized by the explosion!”  (Did I ever mention that I studied history?  And have never done anything to earn myself any sort of scientific title, especially one so prestigious as “Stanford Engineering”?)  Maki came running, took one look at the kitchen, and ran away again…to get his camera.

After poking around the kitchen for a while, I found the bottle.

It had shredded itself and launched behind the fridge. Sadly it was not vaporized by the force of the fermentation.**

We rolled up our t-shirt sleeves and set to work.  Not, of course, before forcing Angela awake to see the glory of our bespattered kitchen.

She also grabbed her camera as the "blood" continued to pool.

We spent that first hour of extra wakefulness scrubbing like crazy.  We tried desperately to get the wine out of the walls and the floor.  We swabbed the onions and the other wine bottles and the sides, top, and back of the stove.  But everywhere we looked, we discovered more wine.

Yes, that is our fifteen-foot ceiling like you've never seen it before! Covered in wine.

The pictures aren’t very compelling, but we also got photographic evidence of the distance of the spray.  It reached my headboard in the living room.  That’s probably, twenty five feet and through two doorways.

Kelly showed up at our kitchen window with a cup of coffee in one hand and a suitcase in the other.  She and Lauren were moving out and staying with us for one half-night.  Their flight was at three.  She smiled and asked what was going on.  I said, you have to see this yourself.  I brought her in and we gave her the tour-de-force.  (De force is the power of fermentation.  So when you want to make wine, you must “Use de force!” -Obi-Wan Kenobi, noted sommelier and world-renowned oenophile.)

Naturally this included the photos.  Kelly helped us clean and made the discovery that, “Hey!  This stuff works on the door frame, but it takes the paint off too!” which was only somewhat helpful.

Eventually we got filthy cleaning the wine and went to get our troubles scrubbed away in the Bath House!  It was great!  So was the Khatchapuri!  And you know what?  With a scented candle, an afternoon mopping, and some slight of hand, you can hardly notice the kitchen anymore!  Heck!  We even threw a party that night and no one noticed!

Aw yeah! Check out that awesome spread we laid out on a totally legit tablecloth!
Just kidding! That was Angela's Host Family's party that they threw her. This is ours! (More people showed up, but we only caught a photo at the beginning for posterity. I will try to recreate the actual party photographically below.
This is what the apartment looked like five minutes after that above picture was taken.

And so, thus ends the mystery of the murdersplosion in the kitchen.  But you know what?  I learned something today.  I learned the answer to Langston Hughes famous poem “A Dream Deferred”.  He famously wrote about how he wanted to have some wine, but he needed to wait.  He dreamed of drinking it, but he had to defer his dream.  Heck, I won’t distill this any further for you (pun intended).  Here’s his poem.  And remember, he’s talking about letting wine sit out in your kitchen.

A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

*At the risk of boring you to death with redundancies, I will now (re)tell(?) the story of my first engagement with death, when I was but a child.  My sister and I were playing in the driveway as children.  I guess I was four or five and she was two or three.  Suddenly, a brokenly flapping bird fell from the holly tree and shuddered its last on our driveway.  Horrified, my sister and I were determined to save it.

Though it was probably dead, we knew that if we could just solve whatever problem made it die it would definitely be ok.  That’s how these things work, right?  What are some possible causes of death?  Pre-School-Aged Raughley and Rebecca will tell you, “Hunger!”  How can we solve hunger, and therefore death?  By force feeding the bird Holly Berries!

We crammed a few berries down its throat (the bird had long since stopped moving) and were quite sad at its non-revival.  We held an impromptu funeral for it and “buried” it by covering it with grass we had plucked from the yard with our hands.  Formalities dispensed with, we ran inside shrieking “Dead germs!  Dead germs!”  Dead Germs are germs that come from dead things and they make you die.  Pretty simple.  We washed our hands as our mom located and removed the bird corpse before it got run over by the neighbor’s lawnmower.  Good move, mom!

**At a Stanford Orientation event they were giving out free “Stanford Engineering” shirts.  There’s an absolutely huge Stanford Engineering graduate program.  During the entire week of orientation I met like four other non-engineers or scientists.  I saw a dude go up to the booth and ask, “Hey, can I get a shirt?”

“Sure!” the booth lady answered, “What’s your department?”

“English!” said the excited young grad student.

“No.  These are for engineering students. (Ed.- It’s not like it’s rocket science, after all!)” she rejected him.  It was my turn up to bat.

“Hi!  Can I have a shirt?” I used my most excited face.

“Sure!  What’s your department?”

“Electrical Engineering.”  One advantage of meeting so many engineering students was that I learned the departments.  Or, some of them anyway.  (I also made some really good friends!  Hi Vijay, Marina, and Ricky!)

“Okay!  What size?”  And just like that, I had conquered rocket science.  That’s how that works, right?


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