July 31, 2008

Something Serious

When becoming an atheist there are many things that must be rejected and other things which must be accepted. One of the scariest of those is accepting your own mortality. Once you realize that there is no life after death - all that's left is death. No one, of course, wants to die - but at least the religious have something to look foreword to (science fiction actually has an answer to atheistic life-after-death called "ascension", but I don't buy into it).
Which makes me think; I have already used up a quarter of my life. Just how long am I going to have to struggle to obtain complete happiness? When I finally get everything I want in life - how long am I going to have to enjoy it? Factor in probable senility in my later years and it really gets me questioning things. Maybe I should be putting my full efforts into getting thing I want now, so that I can enjoy them for as long as possible.
And maybe that's morbid, or maybe it has forced me to understand exactly what I want in life. I know I want worldly success - and I have a general plan on how to get there. I know I want the love of my future wife - so I don't fool around when it comes to women (and maybe that's a scary idea - but it just means that I don't go for anyone who I don't think is worth it). I even know I want kids at some point.
How many people (guys?) my age can say these things? Maybe I'm just crazy - but I'd like to think that knowing what I want in life makes me a better person. And if you never set goals for yourself, how can you ever expect to get what you want?

July 30, 2008


I dedicate the following mythic passage to a similar woman in the present, who should certainly keep the lesson in mind:

The first woman was named Pandora. She was made in heaven, every god contributing something to perfect her. Venus gave her beauty, Mercury persuasion, Apollo music, etc. Thus equipped, she was conveyed to earth, and presented to Epimetheus, who gladly accepted her, though cautioned by his brother to beware of Jupiter and his gifts. Epimetheus had in his house a jar, in which were kept certain noxious articles, for which, in fitting man for his new abode, he had had no occasion. Pandora was seized with an eager curiosity to know what this jar contained; and one day she slipped off the cover and looked in. Forthwith there escaped a multitude of plagues for hapless man,--such as gout, rheumatism, and colic for his body, and envy, spite, and revenge for his mind,--and scattered themselves far and wide. Pandora hastened to replace the lid! but, alas! the whole contents of the jar had escaped, one thing only excepted, which lay at the bottom, and that was HOPE. So we see at this day, whatever evils are abroad, hope never entirely leaves us; and while we have THAT, no amount of other ills can make us completely wretched.
(from The Age of Fable by Thomas Bulfinch)

July 29, 2008

Someone Else for a Change

I always share my poetry with you all, but this time I'd like you to take a look at someone else's work. Take a look at the lyrics to Bleeding Love. (performed by Leona Lewis; written by Ryan Tedder and Jesse McCartney - source).
Other than the fact that Leona Lewis sings this song incredibly - I have to give real props to the writers. Maybe they wrote it so anyone could identify with it, or maybe I'm just keen on identifying with it - but the story told here feels very familiar.

July 28, 2008

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You!

Whew! Almost missed posting today.
Anyway, I have nothing else to write so I'm going to let you know about some of the things I'm working on.
Bored out of my mind, I have begun a Spreadshirt store that I am slowly adding t-shirt designs to. Nothing fancy; just simple geek garb. It will be featured on my new website. And I don't expect to sell a thing.
My much anticipated ballad is nearing first draft state - just one stanza left to go. I forget when I actually started it - but it's been something like a year in the making.
Speaking of which - I have already begun companion piece to that ballad. I may decide that they should be released simultaneously, or not.
And hopefully I'll have something better to blog tomorrow.

July 27, 2008

More Drivel from the Poet

Pressed to find something to blog today I dug through the archives and elevated this to "sweet nothing" status:

Thirteenth Sweet Nothing
by Chris J. Shull

Long ago in a lonesome time
Appeared a girl who was like none.
And when her hand held tight to mine
We danced all day upon the sun.

And I'm no more the lonesome knight;
Now blessed by her perfect design.
She makes makes me sing and dance all night
So long to being left behind.

July 26, 2008

Restoring the Linearity

Long time readers may remember that I jumped from Sweet Nothing Nine to Eleven. Here is the missing link:

Tenth Sweet Nothing
by Chris J. Shull

Every day you taunt me
With that smile on your face.
Whenever I reach out
I am put in my place.
I just want to stop you
Where you stand - in your tracks;
So to take time to prove
That it's me that you lack.
And this won't change a thing
But I wanted to say
You're the girl of my dreams-
Now go push me away.
Again, another one that's just been sitting around forever but never made it out into the wild. I guess it was a mixture of not being content with the middle (I still don't think it's great - but it's the best I've got), and just wanting to put other things out for consumption. That said, I really just like the way the end sounds. Eat it up!

July 25, 2008

Square #4

Along I walk
Past mourning doves.
My thoughts with you;
My one true love.
This one is one of my very earliest (the first?) squares. It's a bit corny - but I like it anyway.
Also, mourning doves are kind of a thing of mine, though this is the only piece I have which references them (oddly enough, I only found out that it was "mourning" and not "morning" when doing this post). When I used to ride the bus to school (ages ago it seems), the only sound in the morning, before the sun even came out, would be their lovely song (listen). Despite their not-so-magnificent coloring this dove is still beautiful. I love that I can find them everywhere - even around my Pittsburgh apartment. And when the mourning dove takes flight it displays a hidden radiance; the tips of its tail are pure white - it really took my breath away the first time I saw it (picture sources: 1, 2):

July 24, 2008

Nugget of Wisdom

Life is a series of moments in which the answer to any given moment does not even match the question of the next.

July 23, 2008

Fair Warning

I've been working on redoing the entirety of shullian.com in my own code (it's actually quite cool, for any of you geeks out there). But this post isn't about that. This post is fair warning that if you watch my blog via shullian.com - then it will be changing URLs in the near future (the RSS feed will remain the same). If for some reason your daily fix isn't coming up, just point your browser to shullian.com and navigate to the new blog page. Then bookmark.
For now - take a look around the beta site. It's a work in process, so improvements will be made (and fun features added). The snazzy parts are in the poetry section and the home page. The crazy backend fun is in the blog and the app pages.

July 22, 2008

Square #3

Inside my dreams
It felt so right:
The holding tight,
The kisses light.
Ahh, so true. This is such a perfect capturing of myself.
I'm not too fond of the rhyme scheme though ("ABBB") - kind of feels like a list of "-ight"s.

July 21, 2008

Ethics & Morality

I can't believe I haven't written about this before, but here goes:
I usually consider myself someone with very well defined morals (and I do my best to live by them). But when my iPod reselling extravaganza was in full swing I realized that, in terms of the business world, I sometimes couldn't figure out what was right and and what was wrong (i.e. Is it right to sell something to someone at markup when they could get a better price at a public website?). I had always thought the idea of a course on ethics was ridiculous, but I now want to take one of these classes just so I can see where other people stand (and then draw my own conclusions).
And I've been questioning myself again as manager of the BFSC snack bar. From what I understand, my sole reason for employment is to turn around a foundering enterprise. But just how far can I go? It a classic question of ends, means, and justification. If I don't care about customer satisfaction and disregard the happiness of my employees I could probably generate a fortune. But how far can I push those limits and still like who I am? For now I'm going with, as in so many things, happy mediums.

July 20, 2008


Have you ever watched the movie Accepted (imdb synopsis)? It's a surprisingly enjoyable watch. Anyway, while I was watching that I couldn't help but think, "Make up my own classes? That idea might actually have merit.". Then I realized that CMU has just that: student taught courses (in fact, I took one last Spring). While courses do need approval, I've heard the only real requirement is people willing to take your course. Please take a look at the Fall '08 StuCo course list to see what I mean: https://acis.as.cmu.edu/gale2/open/Schedule/SOCServlet?Formname=GET_CLASSES&SUBMIT=Retrieve+Schedule&SEMESTER=F08&DEPT=STU

July 19, 2008

Square #2

Another poetry square:

You me, I'll see.
I ask - but gasp;
Me choke (dumb bloke).
"Run hide!", mind cried.

This is a fun one for a number of reasons (disregarding the actual subject matter, of course). First off, I hope that you know exactly what I'm talking about despite the brevity of the work. Who hasn't felt this way at some point? (OK, don't answer that - it might make me feel bad.) The fact that it's all been boiled down to a handful of words amuses me. Secondly, the rhyming is actually done within each line, as opposed to my normal habit of rhyming of the lines themselves.

July 18, 2008

Data Mining!

An important part of IS is data mining - or taking raw data and getting information out of it. I always thought it sounded dull - but that was before I could data mine the sales at the Barclay Farm Snack Bar (which I manage). I use the sales data from the point-of-sale computer (which I designed, and wrote the software), and determine pricing, staffing, promotions, etc. I won't bore you all with too much information, but I can see things like how many times someone has purchased a small water ice with french fries (54 times).
I can also make pretty graphs (axis values have been stripped intentionally):

July 17, 2008


I have a certain set of poetry which I like to refer to as "squares". These poems have the same number of syllables per line as they have lines (typically four lines of four syllables). I enjoy them because it is a challenge to be coherent in such little space. They are also right to the point. And they are fun.
I realized that I have quite a few of these, so I thought I'd run a series of them. So here is number one (they'll actually be numbered as I publish them, not as I wrote them):

Amazed I am
That one like you
Took such as me-
Beast from the zoo.

This is one of my earliest squares, and I just enjoy the thought of the last line. It also reminds me of Beauty and the Beast, which I enjoyed doing a great deal.
Oh, and I decided this one should go out first because it is one of the more humorous, and I didn't feel like anything heavier right now.

July 14, 2008

"Your Timing Sucks"

I just wrote this one, and I like how it turned out:

Twelfth Sweet Nothing
(Time, Space, Love Continuous)
by Chris J. Shull

A thousand years do I foresee
To find a-one that's fair as she.
But sail I will from sea to sea
With hopes that I may get lucky.

A thousand miles from here to there
With fears that I will get nowhere.
But I can stand the wear and tear
To find someone for which to care.

A thousand heartbreaks in between
Could cause a mighty oak to lean.
But even as my eyes do stream
I'll hold on to my lovely dreams.

As the subtitle would suggest, I like the play of adding love to space-time. I also like the way the meter here is (or nearly is) dead on iambic tetrameter.

July 11, 2008

$ummer Rant

Before I start this rant let me say that I love my friends. But sometimes they drive me crazy. Mainly it's the general consensus that the more money spent, the more fun an activity is. This is absurd (despite the supply/demand implications). Personally I have much more fun when I am just sitting around at someone's house - and it's not just because the penny-pincher in me is liking the weight of my wallet.
At college, people understand this. Fun is everyone spending very little money - but doing it together. Why is the summer different? It's like, since we have summer jobs, we should spend our paychecks. Me - I prefer to save money money at all times, and spend small amounts of money on year-round fun. Seriously, I have college expenses to think about.
Don't misunderstand. I like to go through some cash every once and a while, just for the sake of fun. But the endless flow from my wallet gets me down.
So here is a couple of terrible things to do with friends:

  1. Go to a movie - You spend money to be in the same location as your friends, but not actually do anything with them. You could all go at separate times and talk about it later, and it would be exactly the same.

  2. Go mini-golfing - You spend money to compete with your friends. The only thing that everyone enjoys is the conversation - which you can do free anywhere.

  3. Road trip - While it may be a lot of fun, I usually end up wanting to kill someone by the end of it. Plus (esp. with the cost of gas these days), you can literally calculate the amount you are spending hourly to be with your friends (not that I have).

And some great things to do with friends:

  1. Hang out - 'Nough said. And it's such a versatile activity. You can do it almost anywhere.

  2. Watch a movie - No, not at a theater. Watching at home is so much better. It's more relaxed; you can pause, eat, drink, talk during the boring parts, and hold someone close when things get tense.

  3. Go out to eat - Even though money is involved, you can make it an occasion. Everyone has to eat anyway, and people can eat and talk forever.

The best part - because I do save my money, I can never use the excuse everyone else has; "I don't have enough money."

July 10, 2008

Something Else from the Archives

I don't really know why I originally wrote this one - but it is a poetic response to Shakespeare's Sonnet 130 (link).

Shakespeare thought that to woo the ladies,
He'd insult them - but that was crazy.
For if you want to get attention,
You must give your sincere affection.

This doesn't really have of the devices I really like, but I agree with the sentiment.

July 9, 2008

Wisdom Teeth

Well, for anyone who doesn't know what's going on in my life - I just got all four wisdom teeth out. It is quite unpleasant, but my surgeon was great - and I think I got off a lot better then a lot of people. Little swelling, little pain. I should be on my feet in no time.

Current Events

I'll probably get this on the poetry page at some point - but for now:

Eleventh Sweet Nothing
(The Circus)
by Chris J. Shull

Hello. I am the master of ceremonies
And I will be conducting today's catastrophe.
Are there any takers on who will go first?
You there - the boy with the heart set to burst.
Come up to the stage and I'll fix you up right.
And you there - with the curls way out of sight.
I'll tell you a secret this boy's locked away -
I'll tell you a secret and ruin his day.
For this lad's got thoughts that'll make his head rush.
Oh yes! Look at him now, oh look at him blush!
This boy thinks that you're a remarkable girl;
If it meant he could have you, he'd buy the whole world.
So what do you think, so what'll you do?
Now that it's out in the open it's all up to you.
Sweet girl, if you want him, then come up to the stage,
Or if the very thought scares you - then just run away.
But you gotta decide - so that no one will miss
If you choose to run, or if you choose to kiss.

You either know it or you don't. I just like the voice I used because it's something I haven't done before. It's this upbeat, first-person, third-party voice (kind of reminds me of Dr. Seuss actually). I actually had a lot of fun writing this one, because it pretty much just popped out.

July 7, 2008

Another from the archives

I've been going through a lot of my old poetry (including typing a bunch of the handwritten stuff). Here's another one I pulled up:

All across my mind she taunts,
Stifling my ev'ry want.
With great ease has she destroyed
Simple things which I enjoyed.

I like this one because the meter and rhyme seem to have worked out well. While it could be read in a negative light, I like to read it in an upbeat voice.

July 5, 2008

From the Archives

I wrote this one a while ago, but felt I could expand it. I guess I was wrong - so here it is now:

The story goes that Zeus's might
Was in itself a force so bright
That any mortal towards it glanced,
Would catch their death from radiance.

And that is how you make me feel;
A-drowning in a light unreal.
Because of you I fall apart;
Your very presence stops my heart.

This uses one of my favorite devices: mythology. I haven't done many of these lately 1) because they haven't come to me, and 2) because I've written so many I've exhausted them. Overall I really like the myth this is based on (read it on Wikipedia), and that I bring it back to my favorite subject, love.

While I'm on it - let's give a shout out to the Bohemian ideas proclaimed by Moulin Rouge!: "freedom, beauty, truth and love"!

July 3, 2008

So, without further ado...

As I explained in the catch-up post right below this, I will now be posting more poetry. So here goes:

I want to ... give a kiss with my fingertips,
Show you how much I love you with just my lips.

OK, first things first; It is impossible to convey the way this sounds in my head. But I do my best with creative punctuation. Second; I just love the concept of the first line. If these two lines don't spark your imagination, then you are just dead inside.

Ladies and Gentlemen!

I'm back! I'm sure no one hits this blog anymore - but I'll get my faithfuls back.
Since college let out (in which I had a lot of fun and did very well) I've been working as the Snack Bar Manager for the Barclay Farm Swim Club. It's not exactly in line with what you might expect from someone in IS - but it's a lot of fun. And I - of course - bring my own style to the whole affair.

Anyway - I'm tired of only having current events to say so I'm going to start posting more poetry directly into the blog. Why have I not done this in the past? Well, the vast majority of my poetry is only a few lines long (which I used to hope would grow). Unfortunately, after the fist few lines most of my poems just die. The image becomes stained, the rhyming becomes strained, or the clever play cannot be sustained. Thus, I will now give you these lines (which are often my favorites) - but which have not yet become larger works. And since the larger work usually helps convey the idea of the poem, I'll provide a little insight to my writing.