Monday, December 20, 2010

Anything goes as long as everybody's really surprised about it.

My brother knows a lot about Lost. Not because he's ever seen it, but because he's overheard a couple co-workers argue about it. They're die-hard fans.

One co-worker claims he usually doesn't like science fiction, because it's "not realistic."

When it was pointed out that, in Lost (apparently, I've never seen it either),a character uses a wrench to turn the entire island by 90 degrees, and that this is not realistic, he explained that that didn't count, because the guy was really surprised it happened.

So basically, as far as I can tell, he's comfortable with any science-fiction premise, as long as there's a dude somewhere who's really confused about it.

Captain Picard: Lock phasers on that vessel! Full speed ahead!
Worf: Aye aye, captain.
Dazed-looking guy in a t-shirt, off in the corner: Whoa. Am I... Am I in space?

Et voila, a new Star Trek fan.

I'm sure he's not the only potential audience-member who is alienated by all these characters and scenarios that are somewhat different than the ones they've personally experienced. It could be a great way to access new demographics. Just write in a modern-day character and have them express confusion or amazement off to the side. Now they'll feel like they're really immersed in it!

This doesn't just have to be for science fiction, either. Just be sure to deftly include a minor character wearing jeans and a hoodie into that Tudor-era historical drama, and give them a couple of lines like, "Hey, why's everyone talking so funny?"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Women hold up half the sky

A really good New York Times article about how targeting women for international aid may be the best solution to poverty and many human welfare and human rights issues.

Includes tales of women who have gone through some really horrible shit, whose lives (and whose family's lives) have drastically improved, from things like microloans and educational opportunities and other aid organizations.

The most inspiring to me was about this one woman in Zimbabwe, Tererai. As a kid, she begged her father to be allowed to go to school, but he wouldn't let her, because she was a girl. Her brother was sent to school though, even though he was pretty indifferent about it, and she would read all his books and end up doing his homework. The teacher found out, told her parents she was a prodigy. So she was allowed to go to school for a few months, until she was married off at the age of 11.

Then an activist from Heifer International came. I'm just gonna quote the whole rest of the story about her:

Tererai’s husband barred her from attending school, resented her literacy and beat her whenever she tried to practice her reading by looking at a scrap of old newspaper. Indeed, he beat her for plenty more as well. She hated her marriage but had no way out. “If you’re a woman and you are not educated, what else?” she asks.

Yet when Jo Luck came and talked to Tererai and other young women in her village, Luck kept insisting that things did not have to be this way. She kept saying that they could achieve their goals, repeatedly using the word “achievable.” The women caught the repetition and asked the interpreter to explain in detail what “achievable” meant. That gave Luck a chance to push forward. “What are your hopes?” she asked the women, through the interpreter. Tererai and the others were puzzled by the question, because they didn’t really have any hopes. But Luck pushed them to think about their dreams, and reluctantly, they began to think about what they wanted.

Tererai timidly voiced hope of getting an education. Luck pounced and told her that she could do it, that she should write down her goals and methodically pursue them. After Luck and her entourage disappeared, Tererai began to study on her own, in hiding from her husband, while raising her five children. Painstakingly, with the help of friends, she wrote down her goals on a piece of paper: “One day I will go to the United States of America,” she began, for Goal 1. She added that she would earn a college degree, a master’s degree and a Ph.D. — all exquisitely absurd dreams for a married cattle herder in Zimbabwe who had less than one year’s formal education. But Tererai took the piece of paper and folded it inside three layers of plastic to protect it, and then placed it in an old can. She buried the can under a rock where she herded cattle.

Then Tererai took correspondence classes and began saving money. Her self-confidence grew as she did brilliantly in her studies, and she became a community organizer for Heifer. She stunned everyone with superb schoolwork, and the Heifer aid workers encouraged her to think that she could study in America. One day in 1998, she received notice that she had been admitted to Oklahoma State University.

Some of the neighbors thought that a woman should focus on educating her children, not herself. “I can’t talk about my children’s education when I’m not educated myself,” Tererai responded. “If I educate myself, then I can educate my children.” So she climbed into an airplane and flew to America.

At Oklahoma State, Tererai took every credit she could and worked nights to make money. She earned her undergraduate degree, brought her five children to America and started her master’s, then returned to her village. She dug up the tin can under the rock and took out the paper on which she had scribbled her goals. She put check marks beside the goals she had fulfilled and buried the tin can again.

In Arkansas, she took a job working for Heifer — while simultaneously earning a master’s degree part time. When she had her M.A., Tererai again returned to her village. After embracing her mother and sister, she dug up her tin can and checked off her next goal. Now she is working on her Ph.D. at Western Michigan University.

Tererai has completed her course work and is completing a dissertation about AIDS programs among the poor in Africa. She will become a productive economic asset for Africa and a significant figure in the battle against AIDS. And when she has her doctorate, Tererai will go back to her village and, after hugging her loved ones, go out to the field and dig up her can again.

She's amazing. Such a contrast, between situations like that where women have to struggle and work so hard for the opportunity to be educated, and, well, people like me, who have had it handed to them. People who are just expected to go on to higher education. People who don't give a shit about what they're learning and are just in it because that's the expectation, the step you go thru before being shunted off into your career. (This last one, not me so much, but the others, yeah.)

Providing these opportunities is not only a way to drastically improve the lives of countless people, but it is actually the most effective way, studies are showing. It's even the most effective in terms of the bottom line: far less costly than many other aid programs which have ended up having little effect, and in some cases investors have more than recouped their losses.

I have been thinking lately of joining the Peace Corps at some point, makes me kind of wish I, uh, had some kind of experience in things like small-scale economic development. I don't. I guess I'd end up in some sort of educational capacity, such as teaching English or environmental or sustainability or public health stuff. I don't know-- I just want to do what's needed most desperately, even if the other things are helping. Like rescuing women like one who was mentioned in the article, who was enslaved in a brothel. Or helping to provide basic needs, where people are starving and don't have water. The world is so fucked up and it's so heartening when people can do something effective about it.

Speaking of which, the Glacier mining company, which wanted to turn much of Maury Island into a gravel pit, despite the sensitive habitats and the aquifer like, right there, had their lease rescinded. Or something like that. I was very happy about it, still am, until I went to the comments page of one Seattle Times article, and it was filled with douchebags saying stuff that I was attempting to summarize and articulate, but I won't bother, I'll just say that I'm not sure which was greater, the ignorance or the smugness. AAAAAARGH. Well, fuck them, got ours. And if right and reason prevail, we'll keep it.

Death Vans

(Maybe "Deathmobile" is catchier?)

Apparently in China there are roving vans, providing the nation with its much-needed criminal executions. Some morbid speculations, and some quotes from the article I found this in, below.

Some quotes:

Makers of the death vans say the vehicles and injections are a civilized alternative to the firing squad, ending the life of the condemned more quickly, clinically and safely. The switch from gunshots to injections is a sign that China "promotes human rights now," says Kang Zhongwen, who designed the Jinguan Automobile death van in which "Devil" Zhang took his final ride.

China's refusal to give outsiders access to the bodies of executed prisoners has added to suspicions about what happens afterward: Corpses are typically driven to a crematorium and burned before relatives or independent witnesses can view them.

I suspect there IS use of prisoners' organs, because I've Heard Stories, Man (from a friend who studied under an American doctor who was roped into doing a heart transplant from a still-living (anesthetized) condemned criminal), but in China's defense... even if you were entirely legitimate, there's plenty of reason not to bother allowing "access."

Some random dude from another country is like, "Excuse me, foreign busybody here, I need to inspect the corpses of every person you shoot. You know, because you're probably doing something bad with the bodies." Would you go to the trouble to appease them, or would you tell them to fuck off and just get on with the cremation or whatever?

Jinguan's glossy death van brochure is printed in both Chinese and English.

I want to see this brochure. I want to see this brochure SO BAD. Someone find me this brochure!

The lethal cocktail used in the injections is mixed only in Beijing, something that has prompted complaints from local courts.

"Some places can't afford the cost of sending a person to Beijing — perhaps $250 — plus $125 more for the drug," says Qiu Xingsheng, a former judge working as a lawyer in Chongqing. Death-by-gunshot requires "very little expense," he says.

Qiu has attended executions by firing squad where the kneeling prisoner is shot in the back of the head. The guards "ask the prisoner to open his mouth, so the bullet can pass out of the mouth and leave the face intact," he says.

Is this for the sake of the relatives?

Also, I'm not so knowledgeable about either ballistics or the human skull, but... is it hard to aim a bullet from the back of someone's head so that it goes out their mouth? Well, maybe if you don't mind chipping a tooth or clipping a lip or something, it might not be so hard.

Tycoon Yuan Baojing was executed in March in a death van, in northeast China's Liaoyang city. He had been convicted of arranging the murder of a man trying to blackmail him for attempting to assassinate a business partner.

So he hires an assassin, that fails, someone BLACKMAILS him about the failed assassination, and his solution is to hire someone to assassinate THEM? What if that failed, and he got double-blackmailed, etc.? "Oh shit, now I *really* have to kill them off, I'd be up to 68 attempted murder charges if this ever got out!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

car wash and greek mythology

I love going through the car wash.

I think what I like about it is seeing the water wash over the outside of the shell of my car, and the kelp-forest-like cloth strips thumping and draping on the windshield and side windows,, like I'm in an underwater vehicle, like jaques cousteau. i dunno.

The one I just went to was awesome, the most elaborate and prolonged car wash I'd been in. I couldn't stop smiling. There is even a THREE COLOR WAX or something like that. With a neon rainbow arch. And there were indeed 3 types, sudsy pink, blue and yellow, with a sort of chemical candy smell.

Greek mythology kicks ass:
At Ephesos, southwest of Lydia, he captured and bound the Kerkopes. These were dwarfish pranksters who played tricks on passers-by near Ephesos or at the narrow pass of Thermopylai in Thessaly. According to Tzetzes they were two brothers who had laughed at their mother, the Okeanid Theia, when she warned them that “they had not yet met the man with a black bottom.” While Herakles was sleeping they stole his wallet, but he awoke, caught them, and hung them head downwards from his shoulders (or from a pole, as artistic versions usually portray this incident); since it was warm Herakles was wearing no trousers and from their vantage point the Kerkopes could see his buttocks and genitals, “bushy and black-haired;” remembering what their mother had told them they broke into laughter and Herakles, equally amused, set them free.

Heh, Herakles was gross.

A peculiar aspect of Herakles’ stay with Omphale is the custom they adopted of wearing one another’s clothing. Painters portrayed Herakles wearing a yellow petticoat and having his hair combed by Lydian girls. Ovid says that Herakles wore a diaphanous purple negligee and a girdle which could not fit around his waist, while Omphale wore his lion-skin and carried his club. While the two lovers were asleep, wearing each other’s clothes, in a Lydian cave, the god Pan crept in and began to feel his way through the darkness. When he reached the beds, he first touched the lion-skin; thinking this was Herakles he lay down next to the other sleeping figure and pulled up its dress. Discovering a pair of hairy thighs, he nevertheless was about to proceed further when Herakles awoke and pushed him away. For this reason, says Ovid, Pan hates deceptive clothing and those who participate in his rites must worship naked.

O, also I should read me some Ann Radcliffe (early Gothic author), whose work is luckily on Project Gutenberg.

Monday, August 17, 2009


You know those sports teams with names like the Redskins, the Chiefs, etc., that Native Americans (rightly) deem objectifying and derogatory?

Satirists have suggested that perhaps, instead of picking an "Indian" mascot, sports teams should name themselves stuff like "the Caucasians," "the Honkies," etc.

That almost happened.

In 1947, Florida State University held a poll to decide what their school's mascot name should be; they ended up picking "the Seminoles."

But "the Crackers" was first runner-up.

If only.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I love Nemi

One last thing: I love this comic, Nemi. It's Norwegian--second most popular comic in the country, in fact--and the site I link is its translation into English.

One thing I appreciate about it is that the drawing itself is hilarious, and often beautiful. It seems like a lot of comics don't let the art do enough work. Or make it do enough work. Possibly because they're not capable, I really don't know. But Nemi's expressions are so awesome. She is kind of my hero.

I guess, comics character wise, I like "primal" sorts of women, in the sense that they follow their id. Maybe because I wish I did? :D

superdeep holes and self-unawareness

Other stuff:

World's deepest hole (Kola superdeep borehole). So coool.

World's second deepest hole:

"This well reached a depth of 31,441 feet where it encountered molten sulfur that melted the drill pipe and forced the end of drilling." Damn.

Unilateral neglect.

Some people neglecting a side of their own body, some neglecting a side of external objects. You can try to draw their attention to the "missing" side gradually, putting an eyepatch over the other eye, throwing a ball at them from that side, etc.

The Dunning-Kruger effect. In short, if you're ignorant, you are more likely to overestimate your own competence in something. The more you become familiar with it, the more accurate, and the more humble, your self-perception becomes.

Similarly, there is anosognosia, a lack of awareness about your own illness or disibilities. Like, even to the extent of not being aware that you have become paralyzed.
The condition does not seem to be directly related to sensory loss and is thought to be caused by damage to higher level neurocognitive processes which are involved in integrating sensory information with processes which support spatial or bodily representations (including the somatosensory system).

However, this can be temporarily cured. By squirting ice-cold water into someone's left ear (WTF?):
In regard to anosognosia for neurological patients, there are currently no long-term treatments for anosognosia, although, like unilateral neglect, caloric reflex testing (squirting ice cold water into the left ear) is known to temporarily ameliorate unawareness of impairment.

It is not entirely clear how this works, although it is thought that the unconscious shift of attention or focus caused by the intense stimulation of the vestibular system temporarily influences awareness. Most cases of anosognosia appear to simply disappear over time, while other cases can last indefinitely. Normally, long-term cases are treated with cognitive therapy to train the patient to adjust for their inoperable limbs (though it is believed that these patients still are not "aware" of their disability).

I got an MRI today, not as a medical precaution but because I wanted to experience that and see what my brain looked like. (I didn't pay for this or anything, the data will be used in a study.) It looks pretty cool, even though for the most part I don't know WTF anything is in there. It is easy to find images in there, Rorschach-test like. MIND READING LOL.

earth heat loss and gain

Geophysics is so freaking cool.

We have in our skin, especially our hands, sensitivity to infrared (long wavelength) light.

"Also, water holds heat much better than does air. See the experiment below. Because of this property, a three meter layer of the surface ocean (about 10 feet thick) can hold as much heat as the entire overlying atmosphere (roughly 10 km thick). "

Off New York City if you take a steamer headed to Europe, you will see the edge of the Gulf Stream clearly as a distinct zone where the cold greenish water of the Labrador current, closest to shore, gives way to the warm blue water of the Gulf Stream.

Notice that on the western side of the Atlantic at about 50 degrees latitude we have Canada and Greenland with subpolar, cold, climates. At the same latitude on the eastern side of the Atlantic we have Ireland, Great Britain and lower Scandinavia all of which have mild climates. The difference is the Gulf Stream and the tremendous amounts of heat it transports northeastward to the higher latitude atmosphere.

he Gulf Stream changed its travel path considerably as the subtropical gyre shrunk and shifted southward. The result was that the heat pump carried its load more eastward than northward It locked heat closer to the equator, which underwent little glacial age cooling. But this set up isolated the higher latitudes and deprived them of their heat supply. So, large sections of the northern continents cooled and froze. Huge ice sheets spread over the land (imagine an ice layer a mile thick, as modern interpretations suggest) and sufficient ice to drop sea-level by over 100 meters.

Monday, August 10, 2009


Relation between loneliness and stress, heart disease, etc.

I want this book. ("Masterpiece Comics, a new book that reimagines classic literature in the style of well-known comics (including Shakespeare's Macbeth in the style of old newspaper strip Mary Worth.") I want it so bad. September 1st!!!

In writing news, I am writing stupid epigrams. By "epigrams," I mean four-line poems. Not exactly a classic definition, I know. This is the definition used in Linelinelineline, the "journal for the new American epigram," founded by friends of mine (I am a co-editor.) And by "stupid" I should clarify this to mean that my epigrams are stupid, not that epigrams are stupid in general. Except, kinda, when they want to be? In a good way? Like the form may be "four line poem," but we also look for a sort of enthusiastic puerility. Or uh, at least that's what I'M into.

Here is my stuff from the first issue: I want to fuck a slam poet! Or be one!

Anyway, each one of the epigrams I'm dong now starts with "I am [something]." Where the something is a thing, creature, concept, etc. Like "The 80s," "rubella," "Nessie," "a coffee bean," "an abstract concept," etc.

I also wrote a series of epigrams about Michael Jackson. Still working on all of these.

Oh my god what did I accomplish this Zellowship? About jack shit. And yet I feel like I've changed a lot in the last year, in ways I don't know if I can articulate or even sensitively perceive.

Oh, also, I'm writing a resume for the first time in a very long time. The last time I had to do something similar was applying for grad school like... 3.5 years ago? Jesus.

Anyway, my resume actually looks more impressive than I imagined it would. I have a masters degree, give me money!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Human hair merkin"

Oh my god please don't tell me this is actually made from pubic hair. It's head hair, right. Head hair.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tobacco smoke enema

From "20 Scary Old Surgical Tools."
Tobacco Smoke Enema (1750s-1810s)
The tobacco enema was used to infuse tobacco smoke into a patient's rectum for various medical purposes, primarily the resuscitation of drowning victims. A rectal tube inserted into the anus was connected to a fumigator and bellows that forced the smoke towards the rectum. The warmth of the smoke was thought to promote respiration, but doubts about the credibility of tobacco enemas led to the popular phrase "blow smoke up one's ass."


This one is actually much less scary than any of the others, but maybe the weirdest. I'm skeptical about that really being the origin of the phrase, as those things are so prone to people making up fanciful stories about them.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Moose milk

This wikipedia article on moose milk owns.

Moose milk, also known as elk milk, refers to milk produced by Alces alces. Though it is most commonly consumed by baby moose, its production has also been commercialised in Russia and Sweden.

Moose milk is high in butterfat (10%) and solids (21.5%), according to data collected on Russian moose; research into American moose milk is in a less advanced state than in Russia, but appears to indicate that American moose have even higher concentrations of solids in their milk.

Moose milk is commercially farmed in Russia; one sanitorium, the Ivan Susanin Sanitorium, even serves moose milk to residents in the belief that it helps them recover from disease or manage chronic illness more effectively. Some Russian researchers have recommended that moose milk could be used for the prevention of gastroenterological diseases in children, due to its lysozyme activity. A farm in Bjurholm, Sweden run by Christer and Ulla Johansson is believed to be the world's only producer of moose cheese. It has three milk-producing moose, whose milk yields roughly 300 kilograms of cheese per year; the cheese sells for about US$1,000 per kilogram. One Russian moose researcher had also previously tried to make moose cheese, but he stated that, due to the milk's high protein content, the cheese became hard far too quickly. He was not aware of any attempts to make moose ice cream.

Also, the other day I was in a coffee shop. On a chalk board near the counter, it advertised coffee cake, scones, etc., and "various squares." As in, uh, lemon, toffee, I dunno, I can't think of any other kinds of squares. But I found it really amusing.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Women are more interested in genitals than faces; men are more interested in faces than genitals.

Also, male fruit flies become bisexual upon daily exposure to alcohol. (Too lazy to link, found under "beer goggles" article in wikipedia.

Friday, February 13, 2009


You know those things on standardized tests where they ask you to read a few paragraphs and then pick the best title?

My mom always did really bad on those, because she would pick whichever title she thought was the most interesting, instead of whichever title best summarized the reading, which is what you're "supposed" to do.

So I am thinking about that a bit with regard to book titles. With poetry, especially, the title wouldn't be simply a thing to sound interesting and make you pick it up, but could go a long way towards suggesting to the reader what the collection will be "about."

Does a collection have to be "about" anything?

Does a poem have to be about anything? Why do we use that preposition? "About" seems surrounding, not directly touching, nebulous. It feels like it ought to be on, or within, or something.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

i need to loosen up

Bleh, I am either more of a formalist and/or just more of an anal retentive person than I thought. Or at least, I'm working on a poem and I was all distressed because the lines and stanzas were of significantly different length. I tend to write poems where that is not the case. Like unruly free verse is just too OUT THERE, man, and a solid poem needs to at least look neat on the page. See, unruly. Must be ruled. Value judgment. I need to go with the flow and embrace my inner free verser.

"ruly" is an archaic word meaning "amenable to discipline or order." Like, "That dog is really ruly, you must have trained him well."

I think it's interesting when we start to only use the modified version of a word, to the point where the morphology is smeared and it would sound really weird to use the non-prefixed form.

What are some other examples of this? I cannot think of any right now.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Lamest recreational drug ever

Naxolone is this drug that binds really well to opiod receptors in the central nervous system, so they use it in emergencies when someone has overdosed on heroin. They inject it or give it with a nasal spray and it works quite quickly (in like 2 minutes!)

They have given it out in emergency kits for addicts in a number of major cities, and it's reduced the number of overdose fatalities. Yay!

What I really came to post about, though, is this:

Naloxone has also been known to cause a slight tingling feeling in the lower extremities. This is the rush of adrenaline that often follows an injection of naloxone. When used for recreational purposes, this has been found to be the main effect users strive for. Users often feel bloated and nauseated after the tingling effect leaves the body.

What the hell, that is the lamest high ever. Why would anyone bother to do this?

"Whoa, man, my foot feels slightly tingly!"
"Yeah, me too, holy shit!!!"
*minutes pass*
*guys puke*

I guess it's better than jenkem.

I ate some gold today.

It was 24 karat.

A coffee shop that is about to open was doing some gold-leafing on their windows. I had walked by earlier in the afternoon and saw rough blotches of gold, making out the form of what seemed to be a large coffee cup and some letters. It wasn't precise, the squarish patches of gold were overlaid to give plenty of room for the final image. I was really curious about it and wanted to ask the woman what was going on, but I was kind of shy.

Later I came back that same way, and she had finished it, and was wiping it down. Now the excess gold was removed, so you had a gold coffee cup and the letters of the shop. They clearly weren't open for business yet of course, there were tarps and stuff all in there, but I sort of gestured to see whether I could come in. She and the other people working in there were very friendly, and explained how it worked. A mother and her young daughter came in as well, and were also admiring it.

Apparently you can wipe a surface with a gelatin mixture, and then just press gold leaf onto the surface, smoothing it out. Then you mark where you want the boundaries of the image, and paint inside it. The paint holds the gold leaf to the wall! Then you just wipe away the extra gold with water! So amazing. It's apparently a very old technique.

So there were little bits of gold all over the place. I can't call them flakes, because they weren't. They weren't hard and sharp and they had no weight to them whatsoever. The closest thing I can think of is that they were like the incredibly thin bits of ash that will waft up from a fire, that simply disappear when you touch them. Touching the gold was like that, it was so thin you couldn't even feel it, really, just see it sort of melt away between your fingers.

You could press it against your fingertip, which I did. It was so thin I could see my fingerprint through the gold leaf. I hear you can beat gold to one molecule thin. It was so beautiful and cool.

I asked if they were going to vacuum it up and save it or something; one packet of 25 gold leaf things, which were like 3.5 inches square maybe, cost 44 dollars, and there were at least 10 packets on the table, probably. He said he thought it was a lost cause, and indeed, the gold was just so ephemeral-seeming, what would you even do with it, it would disappear. So I figured it was okay to eat some of it. I wanted to consume gold and know what it tasted like!

I pressed some onto my finger and then licked it off. Of course, it was a very small amount, so I could barely taste anything, just that faintest tang of metal. You'd have to have more gold to get a really good taste.

From what I did taste, though, it did seem a lot purer and cleaner in its taste than, say, the taste of iron or nickel. That could be because gold just tastes better, or because maybe the iron and nickel I've tasted is impure. Like if I had to analogize the tastes, I would say that iron is like silty water or something, nickel is like mucky swamp, and the gold is like cold stream water.

It would be so awesome to get a ton of 24k gold and just play around with it. Supposedly it's quite malleable. Just take balls of it like clay and make stuff out of it like you were playing with play-doh. Take gold leaf and smear it all over your whole body, and be even cooler than Goldfinger. Eat it! Swim around in 24 karat gold leaf!

This is the kind of thing I would be so tempted to do if I was ridiculously rich. Obviously it would have to be truly ridiculous wealth, past the point where I've made sure basically everyone I know is financially secure and like bought entire islands to preserve them and set up charitable foundations and stuff. Other stuff I would like to do is get a lot of liquid nitrogen and play with that! I saw videos on youtube where people toss boiling water or hot coffee into the air, outdoors, in their like -40 degree weather, and it just turns into a snow mist and comes down in a gentle arc! That of it which doesn't just seem to vanish.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Jesus, is this for real? It raises so many questions.


--How do you make biodiesel out of human fat?

--What quantity of human fat would you need to actually fuel a car? For that matter, what quantity of fat is usually removed from procedures like liposuction?

--Did this guy like, plan this for a long time and carefully store his patients' fat for the purpose?

--In his fridge, or what? I mean, this guy would have had to walk out of his clinic with one of those little biohazard coolers full of human fat. Over and over again. (Unless he was smuggling baggies it in his pockets or something.)

--Plus, because "the vast majority of [his patients]" actually want their fat to be used for fuel, according to him... did he ask them that beforehand? "I want to power my hybrid car, do you mind?" I wouldn't mind. I mean, it's just going to waste otherwise, right?

--What kind of byproducts result from refining human fat for biodiesel? I picture some kind of gross sludge. But hey, maybe that's the case for corn biodiesel.

--What kind of byproducts result from burning "lipodiesel"? Does it smell disgusting?

--"California law forbids the use of human medical waste to power vehicles," according to the article. Is this a specific law which was already on the books, possibly as a result of some other biomedical debacle, or is it just a more particular extension of some "you can't do anything with human medical waste except burn it" law?

Speculations and insights welcome. :D

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Car tires used to be white (natural rubber) until they figured out that carbon made them last longer. I did not know that!

Creepy/awesome art by Hirotoshi Itoh. How the hell does he make those? Impressive. Stones unzipped to reveal things.

The modern pork industry is fucking disgusting and evil.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OMG I want to go here so bad. And I can not wait to get certified for diving...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

This guy is awesome and I want to visit his lab and play with his snowflake machine and make snowflakes.

gallery of his snowflakes!

More! The one above is just a few.


Haha, holy shit: Twin Musical Tesla Coils Playing Super Mario Brothers.

Also, ancient Aztec instruments. Some of them sound really freaky. Then again we have no idea how the instruments were meant to be played. But some sound like raspy animal cries.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008


The Santa one (number 5) is the worst.

Also, tracks in a hydrogen bubble chamber.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Tactile-emotion synaesthesia!

And The Body Swap Illusion. I want to do these experiments on myself so bad. It would be cool to throw a "mindfuck" party where you did this, and maybe also flavor-tripped or something.

The comments are also awesome.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Check this out:

This man is clearly a werewolf. First of all, his name is WOLFE ffs. Secondly, his damn ears, combined with the fact that his arrest is for indecent exposure, make it clear that he was apprehended while in the middle of transitioning from wolf to human. Because wolves don't wear clothes. His ears may be the last part to return to normal.

Anyway, this mugshot site generally kicks ass.

Friday, November 21, 2008

On Pratchett and fictional success

I've loved The Office (American), but this last season or two it's really gone downhill. Not enough conflict, not enough misery (especially with Jim and Pam). The happiness of real people is important, and we should care about that. And we tend to translate that onto fictional characters. We identify with them, their suffering, their happiness, and so we want them to be successful and happy. But happiness is what real people deserve. As writers, we have to resist that, because it's not interesting, not for very long. Some might think they want all the characters to find true love and self fulfillment. But they don't want that, really, because it kills the story.

A successful story either has to end at the point of triumph ("and they lived happily ever after"), or, if it keeps going, some new difficulty has to arise. This doesn't necessarily have to be the same type of difficulty as before, the undoing of whatever success has already come, but it does have to arise, and to seem urgent and compelling, rather than a comparatively superficial problem on top of overall serenity.

And this, I think, is one of the difficulties with sitcoms. A movie has a discrete end. So does a book. The author can more easily chop things off at a satisfying point. But a sitcom has a tendency to keep going and going and going for as long as there's a sufficient fanbase and sufficient money. (Of course the same thing happens with books and movies, when there's more sequel than there is compelling material.) Arcs complete themselves, the narrator's lives progress. Unless the sitcom is one of those time-frozen ones, where everything returns to the status quo at the end (like The Simpsons), it eventually becomes unrealistic to stay with the same sources of dramatic tension, and it becomes boring to keep inventing slightly different obstacles to the same outcome. Either the couple gets together, or they get over it. Or we get a Friends type clusterfuck, where the same damn people get together and break up over and over and then all get married to one another in a big circle-jerk of fan-pandering. Much preferable is, say, the series ending of Seinfeld, where all the show's main characters--unredeemable and dislikable, but always interesting--die in a plane crash.

I think the character of Vimes, in Pratchett's Discworld series, is an example of an author successfully handling the cumulative triumphs of a character, while constantly keeping problems and danger imminent, and stakes high.

In Vimes' first appearance, in the novel, Guards! Guards!, he is a misanthropic, despairing alcoholic, in an underpaid, Sisyphean, and irrelevant job as a City Watchman. Over the course of several novels, he becomes happily married to the richest woman in the city, thus becoming the richest man in Ankh-Morpork; rises in rank to the Commander of the Watch and then to Duke, expands and revolutionizes the institution of the City Watch, and gains international influence and respect.

But while you're glad for him and glad to see the progress that he and the Watch make, there's no placidity, no happily-ever-after zone where the characters are just sculling around, and we're still watching them because we've grown to like them and want to see them content. (See: Jim and Pam, season 5. Even the potential minor conflicts are usually resolved by the end of an episode!) With every one of Vimes' gains comes a challenge of greater scope, and failure always has dire consequences, for entire cities and populations as well as for Vimes personally. This is one way in which Pratchett keeps it interesting, even while the characters--and perhaps the city as a whole--continually succeed and grow in stature and comfort by the end of every book.

That is mostly to do with the plot. Equally critical to Pratchett's successful handling of this is his characters' personalities and attitudes, and the realism (or cynicism) of both the characters and the author. Vimes is still a misanthropic alcoholic (though later a dry one), and feels uneasy with material comfort and prestige. This sets up a dramatic conflict between the character and his own successes. Failure and misery? Always dramatic. Success? In Vimes' case, also a source of frisson. This is a character whose happiest moments involve skulking in the rain at 3 am and chasing an armed thief down an alley, who chafes at reward, and who can't help but stir the turd. In other words, we are, as readers, guaranteed a good time.

As for the author's cynicism--well, you don't want to simply take a look at someone's books and automatically infer things about their beliefs and worldview, but the expository voice, and the nature of events as they unfold in his books, is pretty consistent. It would also be overly simplistic to characterize Pratchett's worldview as simply "cynical," as if it just despaired of or belittled humanity. His perspective is much more nuanced, clear-eyed, understanding, and forgiving than that.

Humans are foolish, brutal, selfish, ignorant, small-minded, curious, inventive, resourceful, adaptable, insufferable, and creative. They can make gods out of the desert wind, boredom out of the majesty of the universe, and a damn mess out of anything with a proverbial DO NOT TOUCH sign. The kind of happiness you find, on Discworld, is the kind that's Good Enough. War and conflict may be on the horizon, but for now at least we have peace. Problems are forestalled, not eradicated, and we can rest at the end of a satisfying narrative, applaud the characters' successes, while well assured that something else will come along and fuck things up, and we'll be treated to another adventure.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Crime! and PIs and stuff.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

freezer lad

I should really update this more frequently, and with more poetry related stuff.

I'm doing this poem a day thing, which has been very helpful for me. Today I started out trying to write a humorous poem chronicling the origins of Freezer Lad (who apparently is some sort of dodgy superhero or superhero sidekick) and within like 2 lines it turned into something which ended up being a sort of elegy for dead relative/coming of agey thing. PLANT METAPHORS AHOY

I still have issues with line breaks. But I think they're *good* issues, or at least I'm glad I think about it, even if I don't know what to do a lot of the time.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

rainbow teeth, wtf

Before going to the dentist, I googled "rotten teeth," and found a site with a gallery of fucked up teeth pictures. The most fucked up is this:

Rainbow teeth!!!!!!!! Oh my god.

It is caused by "biliary atresia," where the draining of the bile from the liver to the small intestine is fucked up. And somehow it colors the teeth. Wikipedia did not mention rainbow teeth.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

This is so cool.

Sharpie house

animal crosses and birds not birds

Freaky animal cross photoshops.

Also:[blockquote]From Neuropsychology of PTSD: Biological, Cognitive, and Clinical Perspectives, edited by Jennifer J. Vasterling and Chris R. Brewin.

McClelland [McClelland, McNaughton, and O'Reilly (1995)] describes trying to teach a computer simulation of this neocortical memory system about the properties of birds. The network performs well when it is given lots of examples of birds, and is told that all of them can fly. However, when it is presented with a penguin, a bird that cannot fly, the network experiences catastrophic interference and responds either by classifying the penguin as a nonbird or by concluding that birds cannot fly after all.
This description of "catastrophic interference" is clearly reminiscent of clinical accounts of how trauma overturns long-held assumptions and is hard to integrate with previous knowledge. In the process known as "overassimilation" (Resick & Schnicke, 1993) some traumatized people attempt to deny the reality of the event and turn it into a nontrauma, equivalent to trying to turn the penguin into a nonbird. In the process Resick and Schnicke term "overaccomodation", people let the fact of the trauma overturn everything they previously assumed to be true, equivalent to concluding that birds cannot fly. (279) [/blockquote]

from a site analyzing the character of Stephen Colbert (as he is on the Colbert Report, not the actor).

Friday, September 26, 2008

OMG this is amazing:

List of terms for gay in different languages.

I may or may not write more on this, but I am amused by the linguistic universality of [large vehicle]-[gay woman]. Like the equivalent of the English "diesel dyke," I guess, except it's like "tractor dyke" and "truck dyke." And then there's like "huge manly shoes", which apparently means "dyke" in portugese.

I'm not sure WTF is up with the word "towel" being a synonym for gay, either.

In any case, some are funny, many are inexplicable (ah, yes, a beechnut. I can see why that would mean "guy who likes guys"), and most of them are derogatory, or at best, neutral. Only a couple of "positive" ones.
I can't decide if this is quackery or brilliance:

Do cats' purrs have healing powers?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

See, I'm learning.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Apparently the juice in meat is not blood, but sarcoplasm. Cool.

I really want a steak now, but I don't know how to cook meat. I'm afraid I'd fuck it up, and that maybe I am better off just having it in restaurants. Or maybe I'm just lazy.

Also, here's a cartoon that's a not-even-really-veiled metaphor for constipation.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

The Enigma of Amigara Fault

Umm, okay, this was pretty fucking creepy.

This is cool too, and I'd been meaning to post about it. Only after having read the above do I realize there's a connection.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

ludicrously inaccurate CNN article about camel spiders

This article is amazingly inaccurate.

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The family of a British soldier serving in Afghanistan has been forced from their home after a poisonous [WRONG] spider [ALSO WRONG] hitched a ride back with him and apparently killed their pet dog [I REALLY DON'T SEE HOW.].

Lorraine Griffiths and her three children, aged 18, 16, and 4, moved out of their house in Colchester, southeast England, and are refusing to return until the spider [NO] is apprehended [BECAUSE THEY ARE SERIOUSLY MISINFORMED], the UK Press Association reported.

Griffiths told the East Anglian Daily Times that the spider [NO]appeared after her husband, Rodney, returned from a four-month tour of duty in Helmand province, the arid southern Afghan frontline in the fight against Taliban extremists.

"My son Ricky was in my bedroom looking for his underwear, and he went into the drawer under my bed, and something crawled across his hand," she told the paper.

She said their pet dog Cassie confronted the creature, which they identified on the Internet [SKEPTICISM ALERT]as a camel spider, but ran out whimpering when it hissed at her.

"It seems too much of a coincidence that she died at the same time that we saw the spider," she said. [Uh, exactly how much later did the dog die, if it saw the thing and "ran out whimpering"? Maybe it died of a doggie heart attack or something.]

The desert-dwelling camel spider, actually an insect [SO VERY FUCKING WRONG]rather than an arachnid [NO, IT IS IN FACT AN ARACHNID, THOUGH NOT A SPIDER], can run up to 25 kilometers (15 miles) an hour and reach 15 centimeters (6 inches) in length. Its bite is not deadly to humans [One of the few accurate statements in the article]but can kill small animals [[Well, they are predators and they have ginormous--for their size--powerful jaws, but they can't kill animals that much bigger than they are. AND THEY ARE NOT VENOMOUS THEY HAVE NO VENOM THEY ARE NOT AN INSECT ALSKDJFLKSAJFLASKJDFKLAF SO WRONG. Laziest reporter ever. Or something. I don't even know. Is there someone I can email about this?]

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Researchers have hypothesized that foot fetishism increases as a response to epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases. In one study, an increased interest in feet as sexual objects was observed during the great gonorrhea epidemic of twelfth century Europe and the syphilis epidemics of the 16th and 19th centuries in Europe. In another study, the frequency of foot-fetish depictions in pornographic literature was measured over a 30 year interval. An exponential increase was noted during the period of the current AIDS epidemic. The researchers noted that these epidemics overlapped periods of relative female emancipation. Sexual focus on female feet was hypothesized to be a reflection of a more dominant posture of the woman in sexual-social relations."


"Hair whorls on the head (parietal whorls) have been intensively studied because of the association indicated between brain development and abnormal hair whorls. (Both brain cells and skin cells are derived from an embryo's ectoderm tissue.) Abnormal hair whorls are used as a preliminary predictor of abnormal temperament in most domesticated animals, especially cows, but also in evaluating the mental status of apes and humans. A recent study found that homosexuals are more likely to have the less common counter-clockwise hair whorl phenotype than heterosexuals. Right and left handedness have also been linked to clockwise and counter-clockwise whorls, respectively."

Way fucked.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Wikihow is a goldmine.

(This is the poetry as therapy school of writing)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


"Fashion's Unlikely Conservatives." Interesting take.

Also, I spent a lot of time the other night on It's about uh, tropes in television. Not really doing it justice there. But it's both insightful and really amusing, and the tropes are applicable to other media as well.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Number 16 Bus Shelter

These names rule.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Goosebumps blog. This rules.

Also, 200th post!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Great article about racism and the so-called "race card."

Scary-ass photos of childhood fear type things.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon

This guy rules:

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico appeals court on Friday ruled against a Los Alamos man who wanted to change his name to a phrase containing a popular four-letter obscenity.

The man appealed after a state district judge in Bernalillo County refused his request to change his name to "Fuck Censorship!" [With the exclamation point? Can you do that? I so want to add an exclamation point to my name.]

Judge Nan Nash ruled that the proposed name change was "obscene, offensive and would not comport with common decency."

The man - whose current legal name is Variable - argued on appeal that it was improper government censorship to deny him the name change.

"We do not believe that the district court's action infringes on petitioner's right to free speech," a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals said in its ruling.

The man has the right to call himself whatever he wants, unless there's fraud or misrepresentation involved, the judges said.

But once he seeks court approval for a name change, the court has the authority to turn him down on several grounds, including if the name is offensive to common decency and good taste, the judges ruled.

That law was clarified in a 2004 case in the same court that apparently involved the same petitioner. In that case, an Albuquerque man whose name was Snaphappy Fishsuit Mokiligon got the go-ahead from the appeals court to change his name to Variable.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Children's drawings as photographs and sculptures.

Plus some article about a guy who does nature print things.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stendahl syndrome

Being on computer - internet = productivity. Now to try being awake at normal hours.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

hey i just had a comforting thought: all that nonbiodegradable crap in landfills will probably eventually get subducted and then it won't matter.

of course there are still rocks around that are like a couple billion + years old, so it could take a while

maybe this should be how we dispose of waste: we can just send it down a chute right into the earth's molten... uh, not core, but whatever you call the thing the crust is floating on again.

and then we can surf the earthquake waves.

i wonder what riding a tsunami would be like. that would rule, if there was a way to get out of it before you crashed on the shore and died.
Cool. Maybe the next step could be to grow structures that didn't previously exist.

I have a problem, maybe a blessing/curse sort of thing. I think about the details, and the ramifications of those details, and so on and so forth. I can usually manage a reasonable suspension of disbelief when I'm reading someone else's work, though. Even if I have questions and might suspect plot-holes, I still manage to put it aside. When it's my own work, though, I get hung up on things.

Like, cool science fiction scenario: people can grow wings, extra arms, etc. But then I start thinking about it. In the case of wings, for instance, even if we had ginormous angel type ones, I can't really see us getting off the ground. What is the heaviest animal that can fly, after all? I'm talking both extant and extinct. I'm pretty sure that of extinct animals, there were ones that were probably heavier than extant flying creatures (hugeass birds might top off at like 40 something pounds), but of course their whole anatomy was designed to take advantage of weight distribution, aerodynamics, etc. They weren't just some mammal with wings slapped on.

And of course the musculature. How do the wings attach, how do they work? How do the muscles supply enough power without totally altering the rest of human anatomy, interfering with arm movement, etc? You can't just slap wings on a quadruped and have it work. Alas.

It would be cool if spiders developed flight.

I should look up the evolution of insect wings.

But anyway, I get all concerned w/ how the musculature would attach and how else it would affect anatomy/behavior, etc., and I'm *glad* that I think this way, but sometimes it gets in the way of just having fun silly science fiction premises.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

omg this is cool:
I want to go to Bonbon Land.

Also the mustard museum.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Dissed by Matthew Prior.
Sir, I admit your general rule,
That every poet is a fool:
But you yourself may serve to show it,
That every fool is not a poet.

Reminds me a bit of the Carl Sagan quote, "But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown."

Oh, also my thesis is done, and has been for almost a couple weeks. It was 115 pages. Some of that was prose though. But wait, if I had pretended otherwise and put line breaks in or something, it would have been even longer.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Johnny Squirrel's Fairy Tale Page

Johnny Squirrel's Fairy Tale Page.

This is weird and creepy and amazing. Check out the "Janitor's Life". (WTFWTFWTF)

A website last updated over 10 years ago with this Finnish guy's crude, incomprehensible, creepy MS paint drawings, "for children and other fools." I think he's a janitor, or at least janitors feature prominently, as do mice.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

H. P. Lovecraft's commonplace book

This fucking owns.

Also some art based on some of the stuff in his commonplace book. The first one, with the green beak/insect/carrot/robot/astronaut or whatever thing, is my favorite.

A couple of quotes from his commonplace book:
THE PLACE (horrible and sinister and extra-dimensional) [163]

174 Migration of Lemmings—Atlantis. [no idea but I love it]
Post your favorites :D

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Ah, spring, and the weekend. This brings out a lot of people, like hippies. I have seen some really long dreadlocks and some fairly impressive fros. This weather also brings out the evangelizers, who have set up camp on a busy corner of the sidewalk. They have signs, which at least are not as obnoxious as some I've seen, with big lists of exactly what type of people are going to hell, and are handing out leaflets.

Still, not something I want to listen to. There is occasionally the worthwhile moment, though. For instance, this particular gentleman remarked on our use of the word "hell" in casual speech, e.g. "fat as hell," "cold as hell," etc. Why, he asked, is this amongst our idioms?

Because God put it there.

Hmmmmm. Sounds pretty iron-clad to me. Wait. iron-clad. Why do we say this?

Maybe iron put it there.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I could chew Alaska.

Thinking about pica.

I want to visit that psych museum in Missouri. Perhaps that will be a road trip this summer.


and this article. "I am drooling. I could chew Alaska."

Also this. How the hell do you swallow a fork? I suppose that's something you have to work up to.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

auden article. I am doing an art project based on shield of achilles.

Sunday, March 30, 2008



I am writing this edit in March of 2009 and I still don't have a Ffffound invitation. So please actually read this post and stop asking me for an invitation!

I want a ffffound invitation. [AND DO NOT HAVE ONE TO GIVE TO YOU.]

Really, really, really bad. I love that site so much.

I am an Artist so it will be of great use to me.

Please? Anyone? Any leads? I will write you ekphrastic poetry about images of your choice. :)

Muppets and Murder

There are a great number of youtube videos of people destroying Elmo.

This one is kind of arty. It has an immolated chicken-dance elmo.

There are videos of people dousing Elmo in lighter fluid and setting him aflame, while he laughs, decapitating him with fireworks stuffed down his throat, exploding him at a shooting range (a canister of tannerite stuffed in his body), etc.

I would also like to draw your attention to this fine work:

When I saw this, I laughed until I cried.

This is not all. I present to you the story of Jesus' crucifixion, retold with Muppets:

If anyone knows the artists for these, the original sources, etc., please let me know, so I can credit them.

Also, can anyone tell me how to put shit behind a cut?

I originally had a script that did that, but it made it so that every post had a link at the end of it, instructing readers to click to see the whole post, even when that was the whole post. And that was really annoying, and I don't want that; I have some longish posts, and I'd also like to post more images. Advice?
Hmm, yes *fights the man, then returns to Pottery Barn to buy some accent rugs*

Although, yeah, that shit is pretty annoying, and I wonder how effective things like, say, glancing at someone's long-ass Costco receipt, are at deterring theft, vs., say, the store layout after the checking aisles, which seem quite enough.

Monday, March 24, 2008

According to actual studies, Coke douches are an ineffective form of contraception. You are likely not surprised at this.

However, bitter lemon (a soft drink with quinine and lemon) is a fairly effective contraceptive douche. (Look near the bottom of the page, for an excerpt of the study, and the citation.)

(Uh, obviously don't rely on this or anything. Spermacidal post-coital douching isn't going to be incredibly effective anyway, because there are already going to be thousands of sperm in your uterus by that point.)
I just printed out the 2nd draft of my thesis, which is 54 pages (including toc and crap) and all stuff that wasn't in the first. It is warm. I put it under my sweater. It feels good, like clothes fresh out of the dryer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flowers of bad

This looks pretty rad.


Friday, March 21, 2008

magnetic liquid sculptures, bolivia bugs

Amazing art installation: magnetic liquid. I wonder how they manipulate it.

Also bolivia bugs own and i want them. I want them the size of puppies.

Also, haha: walking table. I don't know what all these videos have in common (they are all showing up as related) but I am digging it.

Also so awesome: magical table. I could watch this forever. I want one too. I have a vague mental list of stuff I would get if I was really really rich (I assume the table is expensive).

OH MY GOD, I want this too!

Magical chair. But can you sit on it? Yes, yes you can. SOMEONE FIND OUT HOW MUCH THEY ARE. They are made out of cardboard.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I'm cataloguing stuff I've written. I seem to have a short-term memory about that--a list I compiled, a few years ago, filled w/ all these poems I've forgotten.

Oh my god I can hardly bring myself to read them. They're so bad. Or actually they're probably not that bad, I just can hardly stand reading them anyway. They make me writhe. Arrrrrgh.

I kind of want to show them to a trusted person and just get their assessment of it. So that I don't have to look at it. My eyes just want to slide off. laskjdflkasjf
Oh my god nasty.


And apparently it's as disgusting as it sounds.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Chameleons own, and not even because of the color change thing, I am not even talking about that. Their swivelly eyes and their fiddleback fern curled up tail and their 2-prong sideways feet! And their fast and sticky tongues.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Gonna do this.

Also want to do this:

and those sensory deprivation floaty tanks.


Pink google search engine for ~*~*~*~*~girls~*~*~*~*~

I wish I was fucking joking.

What the fuck is it, where people think that making something ~*~*~*~*~pink~*~*~*~*~ automatically makes it interesting and relevant to women? Maybe if we were talking about a small percentage of five-year-olds.

Note the "shopping" link up there too.

This makes me want to barf. Please tell me it's an early april fools joke.

And dear god, could they have picked a more obnoxious shade of pink, too? How can anyone even look at it?

I sent them some "feedback."

Sunday, March 16, 2008

general butt naked


General Butt Naked.

The civil war, which killed an estimated 250,000 people in this nation of 3 million, was characterized by the eating of human hearts and soccer matches played with human skulls. Drugged fighters waltzed into battle wearing women's wigs, flowing gowns and carrying dainty purses stolen from civilians.

Before he led his fighters into battle, wearing only a pair of lace-up boots
[hence the name], Blahyi said he made a human sacrifice to the devil.

The sacrifice was typically "the killing of an innocent child and plucking out the heart which was divided into pieces for us to eat," he told The Associated Press on Saturday.

god damn.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I am making a list of all the stuff I have written. A lot of it is like chunks of stuff I haven't developed yet but so far the doc is 139 lines long (one item to a line) and I have not even gotten to the stuff I wrote before the program. Yay. I just want to write and that is all.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


The symptoms of Frey's syndrome are redness and sweating on the cheek area adjacent to the ear. They can appear when the affected person eats, sees, thinks about or talks about certain kinds of food which produce strong salivation. Observing sweating in the region after eating a lemon wedge may be diagnostic.

The Bai Ze was encountered by the Yellow Emperor while he was on patrol in the east. The Bai Ze dictated to Huang Di a guide to the forms and habits of all 11,520 types of supernatural creatures in the world, and how to overcome their hauntings and attacks. The emperor had this information written down in a book called the Bai Ze Tu (白澤圖). This book no longer exists, but many fragments of it survive in other texts.

I want that book. Check out the cool picture of it.

Oh, apparently Ren and Stimpy are gay. I'm not sure if they're actually a couple, though.

poop and related accoutrements

Toilet paper was invented in 6th century AD in medieval China.

Before the invention of the perforated roll of paper we know and love, in the 1800s, "wealthy people used wool, lace or hemp for their ablutions, while less wealthy people used their hand when defecating into rivers, or cleaned themselves with various materials such as rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize husks, fruit skins, or seashells, and cob of the corn depending upon the country and weather conditions or social customs. In Ancient Rome, a sponge on a stick was commonly used, and, after usage, placed back in a bucket of saltwater."

In Japan in the 700s they used these long pieces of wood that looked like paint sticks.

Sand. That seems like it would just make it so that you had sand-covered shit lodged in your asscrack, and I don't know how much of an improvement that would be. Maybe if you used multiple handfuls of sand you could pretty much get it off.

1942: first two-ply toilet paper from St. Andrew's Paper Mill in England; toilet paper becomes softer and more pliable. For most of the rest of the twentieth century, both "hard" and "soft" paper was common. Hard was cheaper, and was shiny on one side. Sometimes it had messages like "GOVERNMENT PROPERTY", "IZAL MEDICATED" or "NOW WASH YOUR HANDS PLEASE" written on each sheet near the perforation.

December 19, 1973: comedian Johnny Carson causes a three week toilet paper shortage in the USA after a joke scares consumers into stockpiling supplies.


Toilet paper is sometimes made from recycled paper; however, large amounts of virgin tree pulp is still used.

Wiping our ass on the environment!

From the wikipedia article on "anal cleansing":

Some health faucets are metal sets attached to the bowl of the water closet, with the opening strategically pointed at the target anus.

Haha. As opposed to one of the other anuses that you weren't aiming at.

Toilets in Japan. I want to use one of the high-tech ones but I am also scared of something going wrong.

In Japanese culture, there is a tendency to separate areas into clean and unclean, and the contact between these areas is minimized. For example, the inside of the house is considered a clean area, whereas the outside of the house is considered unclean. To keep the two areas separated, shoes are taken off before entering the house so that the unclean shoes do not touch the clean area inside of the house. Historically, toilets were located outside of the house, and shoes were worn for a trip to the toilet. Nowadays, the toilet is almost always inside the home and hygienic conditions have improved significantly, but the toilet is still considered an unclean area, even though other places are much more likely to have higher bacterial contamination.

In Japan, being clean is very important, and some Japanese words for 'clean' can be used to describe beauty.

Haha: In England, there was historically much fascination with the act of going to the toilet, with royals appointing lesser mortals to assist with the removal of faeces and cleansing of the body parts using towels.

Apparently Louis XIV had bowel problems, and because, you know, L'etat c'est lui, this was a matter of public discussion and newspapers and such would publish updates.

Several non-profit organizations have launched a "Stop Flying Toilets" campaign, using a winged logo and sponsoring races with famous Kenyan marathon runners.

Though it is lower in energy than the food it came from, feces may still contain a large amount of energy, often 50% of that of the original food.[2] This means that of all food eaten, a significant amount of energy remains for the decomposers of ecosystems.

Feces are also an important as a signal. Kestrels for instance are able to detect the feces of their prey (which reflect ultraviolet), allowing them to identify areas where there are large numbers of voles, for example.

Ultraviolet shit! I wonder if most/all shit reflects ultraviolet, or if there's something in particular about vole shit.

To maintain nutrients in soil it is therefore important that feces return to the area from which they came, which is not always the case in human society where food may be transported from rural areas to urban populations and then feces disposed of into a river or sea.

Whoa, that never occurred to me, but it totally makes sense.

Shit is brown because of a combo of bile, which is yellow, and dead red blood cells!

Ok, I just thought of something. Black shit is caused by digested blood, and indicates you've got medical problems. But what if you have eaten blood, like with blood pudding, or, I don't know, vampirism?

Mirror neurons

Ok, this might help to explain something for me. Awesome.

Mirror neurons

"A mirror neuron is a premotor[1] neuron which fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another (especially conspecific) animal. Thus, the neuron "mirrors" the behavior of another animal, as though the observer were itself acting."

"For example, a mirror neuron which fires when the monkey rips a piece of paper would also fire when the monkey sees a person rip paper, or hears paper ripping (without visual cues). These properties have led researchers to believe that mirror neurons encode abstract concepts of actions like 'ripping paper', whether the action is performed by the monkey or another animal."

"It is not normally possible to study single neurons in the human brain, so scientists can not be certain that humans have mirror neurons."

By "possible" I assume they mean ethical. I was wondering how they did those experiments where they isolated the activity of one neuron.

"Mirror neurons have been linked to empathy, because certain brain regions (in particular the anterior insula and inferior frontal cortex) are active when a person experiences an emotion (disgust, happiness, pain etc) and when they see another person experience an emotion. However, these brain regions are not quite the same as the ones which mirror hand actions, and mirror neurons for emotional states or empathy have not yet been described in monkeys. More recently, Keysers and colleagues have shown that people that are more empathic according to self-report questionnaires have stronger activations both in the mirror system for hand actions and the mirror system for emotions providing more direct support to the idea that the mirror system is linked to empathy."

None of the implications mentioned had to do with body self-perception, but it seems like it's on a similar track.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Oh my god best thing today:


Under "Cosmic latte" (a shade of white):

In 2001, Karl Glazebrook and Ivan Baldry determined that the color of the universe was a greenish white, but they soon corrected their analysis in "The 2dF Galaxy Redshift Survey: constraints on cosmic star-formation history from the cosmic spectrum", published in 2002. In this paper, they reported that their survey of the color of all light in the universe added up to a slightly beige white. The survey included more than 200,000 galaxies, and measured the spectral range of the light from a large volume of the universe. The hexadecimal RGB value for Cosmic Latte is #FFF8E7.
What the study revealed is that the overwhelming majority of stars formed about 5 billion years ago. Because these stars would have been "brighter" in the past, the color of the universe changes over time shifting from blue to red as more blue stars change to yellow and eventually red giants.

omgggggg, this rules.
I am making lots of stuff, I rule.

Monday, March 10, 2008

random wikipedia pages

There is a page on wikipedia about Adolph Hitler's sexuality.

I wonder how many [famous person's] sexuality pages there are, actually.

I was going to make this post about more weird-sounding wikipedia pages but I couldn't find enough good ones in a short span of time. But some other random shit I found:

Lists of ambiguous human names

Mr. Floppy's Flophouse

"Mr. Floppy himself was said to be an elusive archeologist from Finland who while not excavating an inverted pyramid that is thought to house the knowledge of all mankind, was hosting late night events in the bowels of one of Oakland's most notorious districts."

"At dawn it was not uncommon for George, the owner of the property to appear in a wizard cape serving shrimp cup of noodle soups from behind his piano."

Mr. Floppy owns.



Like I said, fungi kind of freak me out and I should learn more about them.

Now I think I am going to go home and sleep.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Primate vision, experiments w/ trichromacy

Chinese vs. American visual perception habits

It would be cool, on a related note (it has probably been done, actually) to examine the different perceptions of people who read a r-l language, a l-r language, up-down or multiple directions, when it comes to scanning and analyzing stuff besides words (e.g. just the daily surroundings), and how non l-r readers envision timelines, the past and future, etc.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008



As to what I have done as a poet... I take no pride in it... but that in my century I am the only person who knows the truth in the difficult science of colours – of that, I say, I am not a little proud, and here I have a consciousness of a superiority to many.

Physics-based musical classification schemes.

I especially like the plasmaphones and the quintephones, wtf :D

Monday, March 03, 2008

snow is ALIVE

omfg, wtf

omg, apparently the presence of bacteria facilitates snow formation at higher temperatures.

way fucked!

One of the authors of the study, Prof. David Sands, postulates that forming rain or snow is part of the bacterial life cycle; "We think if (the bacteria) couldn't cause ice to form, they couldn't get back down to the ground," Sands said. "As long as it rains, the bacteria grow."

Sands suggests that changing bacterial populations may affect rainfall; for example, overgrazing during a summer could reduce the bacterial population, resulting in lower raindrop formation, although more work would need to be done to firm up this theory. Regardless, it is an interesting glimpse into the world of the snowflake.

This is totally fucked up :D

Sunday, March 02, 2008

some links

Dumping some links here.

This woman wrote a memoir about how she was raised by wolves after becoming a Holocaust orphan. Now, after the book has made millions of dollars, been translated into 18 languages, and become a feature film, it turns out it was kind of not exactly true. Who could have imagined?

That still sounds like a rad story and I totally want to read that book.

Mel's Hole.

Kelly-Hopkinsville encounter.

Frogs sealed in stone.

There we go.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Capture and Move Microscopic Objects - by the Force of Light !"

How the fuck does this work?

Wait, is light even a "force"?

I really need to learn about physics and chemistry. I feel like I have a reasonable amateur grasp of biology--on the level of evolution, ecology, etc., rather than the level of organs cells, and smaller--but I was always pretty ignorant of chemistry and physics, mostly because things I can't see and that aren't alive were less interesting to me.

Also, dude tattoos eyeball lapis lazuli blue. If you're a pussy who has some sort of problem with needles in eyeballs, you might not want to look at the pictures.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A lot of interesting and perhaps relevant (for me) articles cited here.

Fingernails on a blackboard.

Snatiation and gargalesthesia are awesome fucking words. omg.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


This is way fucked (in a good way):


Man, these are awesome and totally scary.

I'm not sure if they just have better monsters, or if the novelty makes it seem better.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

line breaks

I do not know what is up with me + lineation these days, and I should be working on my own thesis or reading someone else's rather than writing this post. Ah well. Factors that go into line breaks:

1) form (e.g. certain number of syllables or beats, end-rhyme)
2) breath/phrase/clause breaks (places one would naturally pause slightly or where there is a discrete clause. breaking across those can create greater momentum and sometimes a jarring sensation, which can be okay/desirable in some circumstances but generally not, I think)
3) making the first and last words of the line interesting and/or significant. We pay most attention to the words at the beginning and ends of lines, because of orthography, structure of English, left to right reading, etc.
4) similarly, placing more emphasis on a certain word than there might be otherwise (in unlineated writing or in a lineation that more closely followed breath or phrase breaks)
5) evoking different or multiple meanings (keeping in mind productive vs. nonproductive ambiguity, that is, ambiguity that actually enhances meaning or expands things in some useful or meaningful way, rather than just cramming in extra connotations/weirdness for the hell of it)
6) surprise or irony

So yeah. A few years ago I seemed to be more into the latter 3, especially doing the unproductive ambiguity thing. I was so all about trying to make poems and lines that made the reader feel like the back of their head was blown off (however ED phrased that exactly). Now I'm really not. That is one flashy trick out of a whole bag of them, and there are better ones. Now I feel like I'm focused more on the first two, or more than I was earlier at least. I don't want to be breaking lines just because it's "poetry" and there are line breaks. One poem recently I was like, fuck it, it will be a prose poem. I don't know, line breaks are awkward for me now.

Oh, also I forgot 7), how it looks on the page. This is an irritating one.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

helium, color

"Most of the world's helium supply comes from underground fields in the United States."

Man, it must be hard to mine a gas, wtf. And why/how is it there?

spectral line

"Many atoms emit or absorb visible light. In order to obtain a fine line spectrum, the atoms must be in a gas phase."

"All atoms absorb in the Ultraviolet (UV) region because these photons are energetic enough to excite outer electrons."

"inelastic scattering of light"

photoelectric effect


Why frequency gaps? Tetrachromats. Berlin and Kay

"In the 1969 study Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution, Brent Berlin and Paul Kay describe a pattern in naming "basic" colors (like "red" but not "red-orange" or "dark red" or "blood red", which are "shades" of red). All languages that have two "basic" color names distinguish dark/cool colors from bright/warm colors. The next colors to be distinguished are usually red and then blue or green. All languages with six "basic" colors include black, white, red, green, blue and yellow. The pattern holds up to a set of twelve: black, grey, white, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, and azure (distinct from blue in Russian and Italian but not English)."


"The distinction between warm and cool colors has been important since at least the late 18th century but is generally not remarked in modern color science or colorimetry. The contrast, as traced by etymologies in the Oxford English Dictionary, seems related to the observed contrast in landscape light, between the "warm" colors associated with daylight or sunset and the "cool" colors associated with a gray or overcast day."

"Any color can be made to appear warm or cool by its context with other colors."

red-green color blindness

"Anomalous Trichromats are often able to readily spot camouflage clothing, netting, and paint that has been designed for individuals with color-normal vision."

Cerebral achromotopsia.

""Mr. I. could hardly bear the changed appearances of people ("like animated gray statues") any more than he could bear his own changed appearance in the mirror: he shunned social intercourse and found sexual intercourse impossible. He saw people's flesh, his wife's flesh, his own flesh, as an abhorrent gray; "flesh-colored" now appeared "rat-colored" to him. This was so even when he closed his eyes, for his preternaturally vivid ("eidetic") visual imagery was preserved but now without color, and forced on him images, forced him to "see" but see internally with the wrongness of his achromatopsia. He found foods disgusting in their grayish, dead appearance and had to close his eyes to eat. But this did not help very much, for the mental image of a tomato was as black as its appearance."

Friday, February 08, 2008

i have gone insane

I think I may have gone insane. Evidence:

i would totally wear this (maybe you know with some pants under it). i totally hate the whole SEXY EVERYTHING costume thing for women, where the most random things are sexualized (like uh, fucking PACMAN), but i mean, come on, look at this thing, this is fucking awesome.

I would totally wear this too minus the mouse ears.

dig the way they can't say the real names of shit (e.g. "polka-dot mouse") to avoid lawsuit presumably

OH MY GOD AND THE MISS MUFFET ONE, ahaha. okay i wouldn't actually wear that one, but i would be tempted too just because of the spider. there should me more clothes adorned w/ giant three-dimensional spiders.

OKAY I WOULD TOTALLY WEAR THIS TOO (just the dress and with like something opaque over my legs), have I snapped? I think I have snapped.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

I have never, in my life, felt as badly about my writing as I do now.

Fuck you tropical thesis, I am going to shred you.

I'm so ridiculous. I should just channel AH forever and get it over with. I should drag feral cats from out under houses for a living. WTF.

I'd like this to pass, please. Jesus.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

note to self: persona poems from fundie perspective.

i've been having fun looking at some old intentionally-horrible poems i wrote (evidently they were convincing as genuine efforts, rather than as something self-consciously mocking bad poetry) and writing some more. This character has kind of emerged (the writer of said poems) and I think I'm going to make her a myspace page when I figure out what kind of username she'd pick.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


Another inadvertent blood sacrifice to the Hopwoods.

Hopefully it will dry and look like coffee smears or something.

I feel proud of my manuscript, but now I'll be obsessively wondering whether I stuffed them in the binders wrong or something.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

look what i found

Okay, so I'm looking over my work because I have to submit the first draft of my thesis to workshop, and submit stuff to a contest, very shortly (and on the same day). A couple weeks ago I just complied all my shit and put it in alphabetical order. Just now I went through my brain and computer to find poems which I hadn't included and there were 23, which I'd totally forgotten about.

This is probably because I rule.

Okay, fine, a lot of them are basically ore at the moment. I didn't say they were all great poems. But perhaps I am unusually productive after all. It doesn't feel that way. I think of all the time I spend NOT writing.

So much work to do. I was looking at a list of the poems I submitted to the contest last year and was like, no WONDER I didn't win, I can't believe I even made it to the judges. I must have drastically improved/changed as a poet. At least, I hope that's true. I suppose it's possible that I simply have a different perspective on my previous work, just because I'm more removed from it now, and that I am making all sorts of equally clueless blunders. That I am just as bad, but my blind spot has shifted around, so to speak.

So much revision needed. And so little free time. I just want to have to do nothing but write. Caffeine is my friend.

Oh, I think a lot about titles. What will make someone pick up a book? Issues:
--Will it make someone pick up the book?
--Is it lame and potentially eyeroll-inducing?
--Is it a reference to a strong poem, and/or possibly one people might consider emblematic of the whole work? (because people are going to try to make that connection--including they're actually reading your poetry in the first place, of course)
--Is it okay to have a title which tangentally relates to your poems, or even doesn't relate to it entirely? I feel like it's cheating. Because sometimes I have way more fun coming up with titles than anything else.

Jaroslaw Kukowski

Also, this guy rules and has freaky paintings. What is it about polish surrealists? I think the l in his first name is actually the kind with the cross thru it that is pronounced like w and that I don't know the code for.

specimens in formalin + deep deep holes in mars.

Oh my god.

Disturbing/fascinating/???/kind of beautiful black and white pictures of animals preserved in formalin.

I don't know WTF a lot of them are.

Also, apparently there are these really really deep holes in Mars, so deep that the sun doesn't illuminate them. I want to spelunk on mars. Actually I just want to spelunk generally, I have not done that in a while. Are there any good caves in michigan? I don't know wtf is up with the word "spelunk," but it's a pretty good word.

YAY. Mystery. We want to find out what is in places we can't see. We want to go there.
I kind of want some of these insane tights. Too bad you can't really see what they look like in full. Also the website is sort of borked, and sends you to the wrong place occasionally. It's like a maze!

I want the red snakey ones.

Friday, February 01, 2008

So many colors

I don't think I'm going to provide context for this. But look around on the website if you want some idea of what the fuck. (May not actually be any more comprehensible after doing so.)

See also the "support the troops" one.