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from June 11, 2013

Another Alien Bill by my co-conspirator James Harvey. Not sure I've ever seen the guy in pants, but at least it sets him apart from that damn Monsters Inc guy.

PROTIP: if you're trying out the upgrade to iOS7, take screenshots of your homescreens, because icon ordering might not be preserved.

from on pint glasses and the ephemerality of things

From my friend Sumana's Blog:
When Leonard and I first moved in together, I asked him to get rid of those big pint glasses he had. They were chipped and scratched, but that's not what I minded. I just didn't like dealing with glass, because glass breaks. Anything glass is on loan from a jealous God. I feared the inevitable smashes, so goodbye glasses.

Years passed.

Somewhen I found myself thinking, so what if the glass breaks? There's a saying that you must drink from the cup as though it is already broken. Maybe I'd just had enough hard knocks to appreciate ephemeral joy and function for what they are, instead of clutching them so hard they fall apart. Maybe I'd had enough hard knocks to know that I won't fall apart even if a glass does.

There's a Jorge Luis Borges quote:
Nothing is built on stone; all is built on sand, but we must build as if the sand were stone.
So now I've bought a few commemorative pint glasses, on trips. One from Pacific Standard. One from Borderlands. One, from an art shop in Providence, featuring two astronauts in love.

We drink water from them, mostly. The clear round glass admits light, lenses it, lets me see a dream of what's on the other side.

They are for him. They are for us. They are for me. They are whole, and someday they will be broken. Not "but," but "and." But I chose them, so I can distantly imagine even cherishing the memory of their deaths.

from what THOSE women want

So I'm trying to pull together a trip to Portugal/Germany/Argeles, and my host in Portugal will be Johnny, a friend of my AFS exchange brother and veterinary intern (I think thats a rough idea of her current role) - she also happens to be a ferociously terrific writer as you can see on her blog Which Surprised Her... (Portuguse women often adopt masculine nicknames, a habit that to to be frank I find kind of hot.) A while back she wrote a piece What These Women Want:

It's been a girl fest lately, and we've been discussing relationships a lot. Men often complain they don't know what women want. This is what we, my mates and I, have to say.

We're in our early thirties-late forties and are, respectively, the ones who are happily married, the ones who are happily together, the one who is so happily together she's doesn't seem to get it anymore, the one who is happily not looking for together right now; the one who is unhappy bcs she keeps breaking up and falling right back into it; the one who can only do flings and has a little black book, the one who cannot do flings at all bcs she always becomes emotionally involved, the one who thought she could cope with flings and is unexpectedly smitten, the one who had a fling turn into an actual love relationship, the one who doesn't even want flings bcs she is perfectly happy alone with her child; the one who says she doesn't want a relationship bcs she was hurt too much but secretely harbours hope, the one who says she does but is visibly too jaded and out of faith; and the one who is waiting for her boyfriend to move out of his ex's flat. We don't always agree abt the details but we know what we want from our men and, for most of us, this is it:

  1. We want our men to understand that sometimes we have Bad Hair Days, Bad Bum Days, and we need an extra ego booster - extra bcs we want our men to think us beautiful and sexy anyway, and to fancy us like bloody hell, and to show us that they fancy us like the bloody hell.
  2. We want our men to understand that sometimes we want them to devour us, we want to merge with them, become one amidst a charm of hummingbirds, but partnership doesn't mean parasitism. We are fiercely independent too, and it is healthy that we meet our mates alone sometimes, that we actually want to, healthy to not always be joined at the hip.
  3. We want our men to not be intimidated by our strong personalities, intelligence or need for a life beyond them, this isn't a geisha drive-thru; in fact, we want men who'll thrive on it.
  4. We want our men to say 'No', and stand up to us. Please stand up to us, we need our men to be men we can respect.
  5. We want our men to be intelligent and cultured, we want to be able to chat with them for hours abt big things and small things, to always want to chat with them; our men may sometimes be aggravating but they're never dull.
  6. We want our men to not be put off by our tears, bcs we sometimes cry and it won't always make sense, they can't always fix it - and it IS alright, we just need them to hold us and pull us onto their laps and cuddle for a bit.
  7. We want men who are manly, bcs if someone's going to be girly in a relationship it'd better be the girl. We respect men who can cry, men who can show pain and sadness, men who can be vulnerable without pulling away - and we want those men as well - but little whiners make us shudder.
  8. The Porties among us want our men to not ever - EVER - read Paulo Coelho/be too esoteric bcs we, as a whole, have found out that that equals absolutely, staggeringly, unbelievably mindfucked.
  9. The Porties among us want our men to keep their bleeding mouths shut regarding past relationships/sexual encounters for the most part. It is not included in our cultural mating rituals, it is no one's business, and we firmly believe there should be only two in bed, not dozens.
  10. We want our men to be able to discuss everyting with us, including their exes , we want them to be able to vent if they're still ruminating, if it was traumatic, if they're still finding their footing again - but no ad nauseam obsessing though.
  11. We want our men to make us laugh and giggle, we want to be able to be silly together.
  12. We want our men to make us laugh in bed, sex must never be a power struggle or a source of grief. One of us had a boyfriend with always half-mast erections actually tell her The others were tighter. [And we stil want to kill the limp little fucker.] We want men who will tell us how they like it, show us how they like it, show it when they like it. No need to wake up the neighbourhood really but they must never just lie there like a log. This isn't assisted masturbation, and a huge chunk of our pleasure is enjoying theirs.
  13. We also want our men to be able to listen to what we actually like without being emasculated. One of us once heard back I know what I'm doing!, prompting her to snarl in frustration If you did I'd have had an orgasm long ago!
  14. We want our men to not be selfish, we want to be part of their lives, not a hobby. We will happily and yet with a certain ammount of self-sacrifice accommodate exes, children, pets, relatives - we certainly expect the same. If their backs are spasming so badly that they can barely move, let alone drive the 40 minutes to be with us, we will be furious when we find out they spent that very evening jumping up and down at the corner cafe watching the football match with their mates [and that's part of the reason the one of us who keeps trying to break up keeps trying to break up].
  15. We want our men to not be threatened by our mates who are men. Our mates who are men are honorary girls and they've long accepted the fact that, to us, they don't really have a penis. One of us was accused by her boyfriend of coming out of the garage with her mate while wiping and smacking her lips. [Knowing that people expect from others what they themselves would do, all of us are so disgusted we can barely look at him.]
  16. We want our men to like our mates who are girls. The one of us whose boyfriend has yet to move out was out looking at flats with him and they were discussing the space they needed (she has two pets and a tiny flat and they intend to mostly stay at his place) when he said And I probably should get an extra room for *insert her best friend's name here*. It was adorable and profoundly right, we're super loyal - but we also want our men to know that our mates are good for them, and very often we have not started a fight or nagged bcs during a dissection session they told us to not be daft and brought us to reason. Our mates know more abt our men than our men are comfortable with but they reign us in, and our men should kiss their feet.
  17. We don't want our men to move in with us right away. In fact, were they to offer [one of us experienced this on the 2nd day], it'd cause a stampede for the hills. But we need to feel that we can build a future together, that it is indeed a partnership, not a protracted affair.
  18. We want our men to be emotionally available. We know that being wanted is a turn on and during those tentative early days we reply to them when we feel like it, bcs we do feel like it, and we want our messages to be clear. If they want us, they should let us know as it happens - not by Wednesday at the earliest so we don't think them too eager. Interest begets interest, and waiting in trepidation for them to deign to move their King doesn't do much for our self-esteem. It makes us feel rejected and ugly and by now we know better than that. We're not playahs and we don't do games.
  19. We want our men to be emotionally honest. We want them to ring when they said they would, to show up when they said they would, to do what they said they would (we also want the rest of the world to behave this way, btw), and to NEVER make promises they cannot keep. We want our men to know we are trying out best to be lucid and not create expectations, but if they create them for us and not follow through we will be FUCKING PISSED OFF. The one of us looking for flats was in tears today bcs the ex is emotionally blackmailing the boyfriend, begging him to stay, asking what has she ever done to him that he wants to leave her, and he is ravaged with guilt.
  20. We want our men to know we certainly are not like that, WTF?! A man who stays with us stays with us fully, completely, all of him. We want our men to know we can have understanding and patience but there's only so much time we will wait for a proper outcome. We can't say when we will say Enough!, but we know we will say it soon enough. And then our mates will help us cry it out and cry it out we will, but we never beg.
  21. We also want our men to know that we don't like ambiguity. We don't like to remain in a limbo while they sort out their sorry lives. We'll survive the Nos, it's the eternal Maybes/Eventuallies that make our sanity disintegrate. Pain is harsh but prolonged pain is impossible to bear. Our men made a decision? We want them to fucking own it already.
  22. We want our men to have the courage to tell us they stopped wanting to be with us the moment they stop wanting to be with us. A man who no longer wants us we no longer want, even as we still do. We live by blunt truths.
  23. We want our men to know that if they were brave enough to end it when it needed to be ended we may spin from the pain but we will feel respected; we will forever respect them in turn.
  24. We want our men to be absolutely decent human beings, there's nothing better than being able to trust someone. We don't like bad boys and their drama and anxiety-inducing ways at all. It's a home, not a misfits' retreat.
  25. We want our men to protect us from the Big Bad Wolf. We can be fierce and stand on our own feet, we carve our own way, but we need a cave to retreat to. Our men are it, or they're not our men.
  26. We want our men to be good fathers, and we'll forever be judging their capabilities/potential on that. Husbands/boyfriends don't last forever, we're acutely aware of that (and yet we all pray ours will) but fatherhood does. The sort of men they are matters not only to us but to the children we'll hopefully have with them. And if we can't dream of having children with them, whichever way they come, then there's no point.
  27. We want our men to understand that our pets are family, and untouchable, and we are and forever will be animal daft. One of us had to once point out to a fling that it could never go beyond that and state his dislike of animals as one of the reasons (there were more); he replied But if I made you choose btwn your pets and me you'd choose me, right? - and to this we collectively say 1) No one makes us choose anything and 2) Oh, honey...
  28. We want our men to realise that our evergrowing piles of clothes, books, shoes and bags make us better persons.
  29. We want our men to leave the toilet seat down.
This is what we want from our men, and it is not too much to ask, we know it isn't. And we know it bcs we would never ask for what we ourselves aren't more than willing to give.

Just saw "Up" in 3D. Great flick! Also, I'm in love with the typographical trick of the title.
Last Titanic Survivor Dies - as Lore Sjoberg put it "Time is an iceberg that sinks every ship"
New (to me) UKism: "Best of British!" (for "Best of British Luck to you") -- I love the kind of casual undertone of "eh wot" superiority...

from aghast

Art of the Moment

--a while back I posted some new art by Carly R., who was in my dorm one year at Tufts. Back then I would put up sheets of newspaper-type paper instead of the usual dry-erase board for leaving messages, and sometimes Carly would leave me drawings. (The child is aghast at the F-word some had written above...actually, it may have been Carly mentioning something she overheard someone say in the hall.) It's such a neat picture, such good shading, the teddy bear, the expression, even the pose of the legs. (This marks me find this giant binder I had put in all my papers I had saved from high school and college.)

Analysis of the Moment
Predicting the next big IT failure is about how some companies, by being the market leader at the top of their game and catering to the highest level of demand, become vulnerable to upstarts offering cheaper "good enough" solutions. When it comes to my profession, I see so many instances of over-engineering for the task at hand, thinking it's cheaper to buy an expensive off-the-shelf solution that can be then mangled to do the job just right rather than doing it from scratch...(I'm a big fan of the latter approach, for reasons both good (I really think it's the best approach) and greedy (it's also what I most enjoy doing.))

Geek Link of the Moment
From Slashdot, Before and After (well, "During") satellite pictures of the blackout.

Advice of the Moment
Kids, your birthday only comes once a year. Don't waste it on a metal detector.
Daughter of the Emily "Human Guinea Pig" Yoffe--the daughter had been seduced by a commercial for a metal detector.
From Slate.com's Human Guinea Pig Project article The perverse thrill of metal detecting, the world's worst hobby.

from we want peace, they prepare for war

So some of the Senators who voted for that bill that authorizes military action against Iraq said that they did it following the adage "if you want peace, prepare for war", that by making a strong showing behind the President, Iraq might back down before that action becomes necessary. The trouble is, the guy they've just handed the keys to, it seems to the most casual observer that he wants war...that old saying, questionable at best anyway, could only hope to apply if most of the players actually wanted peace...

It's kind of surreal thinking that there's an excellent good chance that some day our regular schedule broadcasts are going to be interrupted by news of a major strike on US soil, probably a big city, probably radioactive, maybe nuclear. I kind of live in dread of that "oh shit" moment. ('Course, if I didn't have that to dread, I'd find something else. Rob Baum reminded me that in, say, early 2000, when by 2-year-anxiety about Y2K came to nothing, the economy seemed to be running on a cylinders, that was when I had one of my most serious anxiety attacks about mortality in general (which in turn led to the Skeptic's Guide.))

Anyway, Wired had a hopeful article on new detection technologies. For what it's worth, here's my prediction: sometime in the next 20 years, there's going to be a large terrorist bombing in a major city, or maybe several simultaneously. Only then will a system like the type described in the article really be enacted, and life will become a bit more police-stateish. And I think there will be some level of security for a while after that, and not that that many will even be killed, but life isn't gonna be much fun.

Funny of the Moment
On the lighter side, this is a funny take on SPAM in the Star Wars Galaxy.

Pointless Link of the Moment
"Oh my god! They look like Kenny!" "You bastards!"

Doodle of the Moment

--Just touched based with an old dormmate of mine, Carly R....she used to put the best doodles on my message board (actually a giant sheet of blank newspaper) and she says now her doodles are often computer based...I've always thought that she has a touch of Shel Silverstein in her doodles.

Grossness of the Moment
Meathead, Meathead, Rolypoly Meathead...just in time for Halloween. (via Ranjit)

from darts ok


Image of the Moment
--why you should be very careful when playing darts while wearing sandals. (My friend Greg Owen is getting me to join the Dead Yuppies, part of a Tuesday night league.) Luckily, the way I was standing, my toe was out of the way.

News Links of the Moment
Scott Ritter, former UN inspector in Iraq, is pretty sure we'll see a war by October, though since then the administration issued a specific denial. Still, it's an excellent if alarming article. Of course, martial law could be an executive order away, thanks to a Reagan-era FEMA mandate to allow emergency powers in the event of a "crisis" such as "violent and widespread internal dissent or national opposition against a US military invasion abroad". The King of Jordan, along with the rest of the world, is trying to tell Bush this isn't a good idea right now, but he's Captain Oblivious. And just to give an X-files spin to it all, F-16s from Andrews Airforce Base were chasing some UFOs.

Nursery Rhyme of the Moment
Little Miss Moffat
sat on a tuffet
eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider,
and she ate that as well.
Also, the tuffet.