Tuesday, December 07, 2010


It is here. The dawn of the age of Ken.

Of course if you read this I bet you anything you've already heard about it. But still. It is here.

And sometime, especially if I receive the brilliant cover illustration, I will youtube up the Back to the Future album my brother made that started this whole thing. You hear that, brother?

This was fun enough for everyone that you bet yer best half we do it again, be a part of it, get in touch.

Good bye.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The first note of Frogger

On the old Atari 2600 I would play a lot of Frogger. The opening theme, you may recall, went something like this:

(at 0:49 in this review)

However, if you held down the reset switch, that first note would go until you let it back up, which made it seem like a pickup note and made the melody sound more like this confusing version:

I remember holding down the switch for as long as I could. That's still the feeling I have for long pickup notes landing into the start of a melody. And maybe it has something to do with these retarded remixes I am so fascinated with.

Also, there is the matter of

Barbarbara Ann

Take my hand.

Do you have to?

Do you have to?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Yngwie's Odyssey

So my "little" brother made these albums you've maybe heard me talking about. He took existing albums and then made new songs with the song titles of the albums. He did My Name is Sasha Fierce first, which I forget the story on that one. But then he did the Back to the Future soundtrack, and he called it Cousin Marvin, and it told the story of Marvin Berry's tragic life after Chuck stole that "new sound" from Marty and never gave him credit for it. So I got pretty into that idea and then I figured out of brotherly competition I better do one myself. So I did, and so here it is, as a youtube playlist for your coninuous enjoyment.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Diggin' for gold

Readers, let me just be honest here. I love picking my nose. I am an avid nose picker. I think, at heart, many of us share this love. Whether you do it in private, in your car, or brazenly at the dinner table, we can all share the glory, fulfillment, suspense, sometimes failure, and usually satisfaction of such classics as

  • The Snap: when the initial booger is attached by a thin line of strong snot to some more booger material, which then snaps out to join it. Or, for the less fortunate or less skilled picker, the Failed Snap, in which the snot breaks, leaving the top booger stranded.

  • The Diamond: Often to be found high in the nasal cavity in the early morning, the Diamond is a super-hard boulder which would be a sitting duck if it weren't way up where you have to use just the very tip of your pinky, entering at an odd angle. When performed correctly, the entire boulder can be shaken lose and allowed to drop out. More often, one's finger crushes the boulder, destroying all the satisfaction of such a massive haul by breaking it up into more run-of-the-mill material.

  • The Clean Sweep: This is the one that keeps you going back time and time again, though it only happens about once a month if you're lucky. It starts with what feels like a normal booger, but then as you pull it out, it is attached to a vast network of snot and boogers that covers the entire interior of the nostril in question, which all breaks free and pulls out like a molted layer of skin. This is the strike, the home run, the touchdown of nosepicking.

  • The Thumbtack: These small boogers are so hard and pointed that when you try to pry them lose it is difficult not to push them painfully into the side of the nose. Best to just leave these ones be, as recent research suggests a Thumbtack may evolve into a Diamond if given enough time and space.

  • The Interior Zit Dweller: These ones are dicey. They are just run-of-the-mill boogers, but they are located on or around one of those nascent interior nose zits that usually never really come to fruition but cause so much pain and eye-watering to the avid nosepicker. They are best approached with caution and with repeated, honest assessments as to whether the find will be worth the pain.

  • The Wait-That's-Actually-Skin: Usually found at the inner bottom of the nasal cavity, these seem like boogers but you soon realize they are little flaps of actual skin. Some nosepickers will then back off, others treat them more like a hangnail.

  • The Disapparator: This is a booger you feel on first probe, but then as soon as you go in to get it out, you can no longer find it. Sometimes an explanation comes-- you find a Diamond on your shirt a few hours later, or it turns up when you next blow your nose. But sometimes it is just plain gone, and nobody knows what happens to those ones. Some say they are there, in your heaven nose, when you go to heaven.

  • The Fool's Booger: Sometimes your inner nasal walls will have little ridges or bumps that interact just so with your fingertips to produce the sensation of a booger being there when really there is no booger. Many a nosepicker has squandered seconds, or even minutes, searching for the Fool's Booger.

  • The Booger-Snot: As its name suggests, this is a hybrid between solid booger and gel-like snot. It is best disposed of by an authoritative "farmer's blow" in a suitable direction (downwind, clear landing zone). In some unfortunate cases, Booger-Snots have been known to be accidentally snorted inwards and disposed of orally like their cousin the Loogy. This is another zone of inquiry entirely, and frankly not my area of expertise.

  • The Super-Glue: This one comes out of your nose just fine, but somehow the oils on your fingers seem to activate a clinging mechanism, whether it be strictly adhesive, magnetic, or caused by some subtle manipulation of quantum gravitation. The effect is that you cannot get it off your finger, or if you do it is just onto another finger. It resists both flicking and wiping and often must be pinched off with a neutral substance like paper or tissue.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Records and CDs

I am in the middle (well, closer to the end, thank God) of moving across town right now. Today was my big day of going through all my records and CDs and deciding what to do with them all. I was struck by something I never really thought through. CDs suck. They are a horrible product. The shitty plastic cases break. I'd say 70% of my CD cases were broke. No matter, I just put them all in one of those binder things anyhow. Which now seems just about out of date, cuz I could as easily rip them all onto a hard drive. What would make me want to keep them would be the art, but since all the shitty ass plastic cases are broken and infuriate me every time I open them and they fall apart, I just stuck them all in a box that will go to the basement and probably never again see the light of day.

I paid probably an average of $7 each for all those CDs-- lots of new, lots of used, lots accidentally stolen but balanced out by those accidentally stolen from me.

Then my records. My records had to be winnowed. I have limited shelf space and tons of good rock, classical, and a few jazz records. I mean for real good, not just tons of Sergio Mendez or 101 Strings or stuff. These records look beautiful. The sleeves, even when worn, are often things you could hang up or frame. The most broken ones just need a little tape to keep the discs from falling out when you pick them up. The older ones have a circular halo around the record, like the back jeans pocket of a seasoned tobacco chewer or the wallet of a wishfully thinking horny young teenage boy.

I paid probably an average of $3 each for all these records-- lots of used, a few new, a few in bulk, a few individually ordered or sought after.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I hate to be one of those people who thinks newer stuff is shitty and older stuff is awesome. But in this case it is true. CDs are just a piece-of-shit product that got sold for way too much money and used shitty plastics that are probably filling landfills right now. When the shitty plastic cases break, the shitty plastic discs with the thin metal coat are bared to the elements, like cold, or heat, or friction, or, I don't know, air, and now lots of them won't play unless you play them on a super quick drive. Where's the super quick drive but in a computer, where you could just rip them and not have to get infuriated with the broken case in the first place.

Whereas records, you can hold them and feel the weight, you can look at the art at a reasonable size. Having to flip them engages you in the music, if you are paying close attention, or encourages multiple listens if, say, there are lots of people hanging out and someone just keeps flipping the record when it runs out. They are hard to break, hard to lose, and easy to love. I'm sure the markup on records was astronomical too, but at least the product was worth a shit. Plus isn't it true that they sent out that stuff to space for aliens to hear and they decided they better use a record since a CD might be hard to figure out? Um, plus, don't those crazy audiophiles say there is like a 7 micro-hertz band that CDs cut out but you can hear on a record, if you have a titanium needle and vacuum-sealed superconductor speaker cables?

So I guess I'm saying that, in my opinion, records are a superior product to CDs. That's all. And just to be clear that this isn't one of those knee-jerk older-is-better sort of things, let me say that I prefer DVD to VHS, and maybe even laser discs to DVD. Then again, film and projectors aren't quite as affordable and available as records and record players...

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Alaska: Fact or Fiction

It has recently come to my attention that there are those among us who don't believe in the existence of Alaska. I am outraged and propose in this modest post to prove, using the latest scientific and philosophical methods, beyond any shadow of any doubt, that this majestic state does indeed exist. The argument is circuitous and involves eyewitness accounts, false steps, red herrings, and logical brain-teasers, so bear with me, non-believers.

Postulate 12: Alaska is huge
You could fit like seven Texases in Alaska. Three of them could fit on Denali (aka Mt. McKinley) itself.

  • In the literature and maps I read about climbing "the big one," there seemed to be an almost obsessive focus on when and where to dispose of one's shit. Latrines and crevasses mostly. Each day is a struggle to get to the next place to put your shit. If you fall down a certain crevass, you will plummet into one thousand and one explorer's shits.
  • Caribou sausage tastes like kilbossa.
  • Mosquitoes have no known predators and so rule the wild. But their bites itch less than mosquitoes in the lower 48.

Sub-Argument 12b: The Tundra
Tundra comes in three exciting flavors: bog tundra, high alpine tundra, and original tundra. They say walking on tundra is like walking on bowling balls covered in something squishy which I can't remember. I found it to be like walking on circus peanuts.
  • Did you know that high alpine tundra has twice the potassium content as original tundra?
  • There is also something called the "taiga," which I can't remember what it is.
  • If you were to lay motionless in the tundra for 24 hours in the summer, you would wake up covered in lichens and mosses. These are said to give you Powers.

Philosophical interlude: The Kenai Peninsula
Kenai is an Atabaskan word that means "tons of dudes fishing." The Kenai peninsula is peninsula'd from the north by the Turnagain Arm of the Cook Inlet, so called because left turns are illegal in these waters, so if you want to turn left, you have to turn right, then turn backwards, then turn again. Perhaps it is the dizziness brought on by this local custom that first drove men south to the Homer Spit to dwell in broken old ships and discarded spires from long-closed Chldren's Palace locations along the Western seaboard. It was here that man first invented a string long enough to catch the locally preferred gigantic sea-catfish, dwelling at the bottom of the ocean where it thought it was safe.
  • My understanding is that salmon are basically trout that went out to sea and didn't come back. Except for their patented sexual perversion of swimming up a river and auto-asphyxiating in freshwater.
  • Beginners are often taken in by the so-called "Fool's Halibut," actually not a fish at all but a member of the marsupial family.

"Alaska's Playground"
Alaska bought it off craigslist for $50 from some dude in Wasilla. It was hardly used at all and would cost $69.99 new, so it is widely considered a pretty good deal.

N.B. For the purposes of this argument, the following shall be taken as axiomatic:
  • Each one of us was born with a certain form of "Fool's Bear," which we forgot when we turned one year of age, but which we can once again remember. What is your Fool's Bear? Mine is the tree stump. For many it is the rock. For others, the bush. For a few of the most unlucky, their Fool's Bear is the Bear itself, which confusion has led to not a few maulings.
  • Bears in southern Alaska come in three exciting flavors: Brown, Black, and Fool's.
  • The Fool's Bear is not a bear, even to a dyed-in-the-wool phenomenologist.
  • If a Black bear charges, you are to stand your ground and fight back, going for the eyes and nose.
  • If a Brown bear charges, you are to stand your ground, but play dead, and only fight back if it does more than just flop you around.
  • The Brown bear is also known as the Grizzly Bear, after the Brooklyn-based indie folk band.

The Muskeg
Do you like sphagnum moss? Then you'll love the Muskeg. I don't know about you, but I like my water tables high. I like decomposing muck. I love tiny little trees. I love beavers, and I love agaric mushrooms. Who am I? I am Muskeg. Hear me decompose.

Into the Wild
I liked this movie. I read a little about it, and it is a real mystery. I went with my family out to the end of the driveable part of the Stampede Trail, same place some dude dropped the main guy off and gave him some boots. It is about a ten-hour hike to the bus where this guy stayed, which I understand is still there, with a journal in there and all kinds of things left/brought by visitors. I gather that a lot of Alaskans think of it as a suicide. After all, what the dude didn't know because he didn't consult a map or anything is that the river that hemmed him in when it rose had a hand-winch crossing about a quarter of a mile from where he left that hat (in the movie), and that there were several well-stocked sort of emergency hunting cabins in the nearby woods. What I like in the movie is this new idea of how to be an explorer by forced ignorance. Since everywhere is pretty well mapped, the only way to get lost is to avoid maps. You could think of worse ways to accidentally die.

Beer and Coffee
Like the Pacific Not-As-North-and-Not-as-West, Alaska loves their nice coffee and nice beer. Even pretty far out from any bigger town, there will be drive-up little coffee huts with espresso and stuff, and every store or gas station seemed stocked with all those crazy-ass hoppy ales from Montana and Oregon. Plus there are like twelve breweries in Alaska, such as:
  • Alaska Brewing and Bottling Co in Juneau (diggin' the stout)
  • Homer Brewing Co in Homer (diggin' the bitter)
  • Silver Gulch in Fairbanks (didn't get there or taste the beer)
  • etc.

Resurrection Bay
There were some Russians out in the greater Pacific back in the day, and their boat broke, so they came down a fjord-lined inlet to the site of present day Seward. Then they fixed their boats, and it was Easter, so they called it Resurrection Bay. We went out there on a boat and it was where I saw sea lions, orcas, mountain goats, puffins, seals, a really far away humpback whale, a shitload of bald eagles, and a sea captain with TWO hooks. Seriously.

Sub-Argument 12c: Concerning the Leading Cause of Death for Mountain Goats and Dall's Sheep
It is commonly held, or at the very least held by the aforementioned two-hooked captain as well as the hippie bus driver at Polychrome Pass, that the leading cause of death for these creatures is falling off the dang mountain.

* * *


Alaska does exist, Q.E.D. So suck it, non-believers.

Friday, June 11, 2010

My own personal bias vis-a-vis living history

  • On a completely different note, I want to talk about two ways of enacting history, and my bias about them. First, you got your history-killing Olde-Tymey-ness. This is when you try to reenact historical artforms just as they were, down to the clothes and styles, etc. I call this history-killing because it freezes things into a period and stifles them there. It makes the period itself the showcase, rather than the art that flowed through it. I get most annoyed with this in music, because it just so happens I am really into acoustic instruments, but this buts me up against so much Olde-Tymey-ness I could puke on your suspenders and washboards. Cuz see, my bias is towards the second way of enacting history, which is radically directed at the individual artwork and its enduring message in today's society. No need to beat around the bush here, I am talking mostly about silent film, and the way plenty of those movies are awesome and plenty of them suck, and how that distinction is being lost by their historical fetishization by Olde-Tymey-ists. Each film before and after sound is its own deal, and putting them all to shitty ass old ragtimey huzzah music just dilutes the good ones and makes the bad ones even worse. To reenact movie history, you have to take the movies seriously as though they were made today, and part of that is playing music that is relevant today. It's like the difference between baby-talking to kids or treating them as real honest-to-god people. I get pissed about this issue because to me it is a matter of respect, and my bias is that respect is important, and you disrespect history when you fetishize it and parade it the way Olde-Tymyists do.

  • So I guess I'm saying there are things within the arts that endure and things that don't, and making that classic argument about how styles change but substance stays the same. Wow, I never thought I'd be that guy, but I guess in my older age that is what I believe.

  • There is an element of tragedy to historical style-peddlers, because it takes incredible talent to recreate a style, but that talent seems wasted to me when it parades the dead for the living, instead of trying to create something that will have life long after the maker is dead.

  • Miscellany

    • What are blogs even for anymore?

    • The delicious curry I made yesterday, which I think is vegan even:
      • Have some yellow curry paste, a can of coconut milk, some garlic, a humungous yam, and some spinach and mustard greens in your back yard you better eat quick cuz they are going to seed.
      • As per the instructions on the container, stir fry a giant spoonful of the curry paste in some of the coconut milk for a while. Nice and hot.
      • I usually would put onions in there but all I had was garlic so I put a bunch of cut up garlic in there, like six cloves worth, just at the very end of the stir-frying part, so you don't burn it.
      • Then add the rest of the can of coconut milk, and about a can's worth of water, and the yam, which you cut up into lil' cubes
      • Let it come to a boil, then turn it to simmer, with a lid on there.
      • Oh, did I mention you should be also making a pot of rice? Be making a pot of rice.
      • Go to your backyard and grab a bunch of spinach and a bunch of mustard greens. Oh also some fresh basil if you got it.
      • Rinse off the greens and basil. Then just shove it all in the pot, even if you have to squish it in, they will shrink so much, it'll be fine.
      • Wait til the potatoes are tender. You want that to time out with the sauce getting to a nice thickness. If it is too thin, take the lid off and turn up the heat. If it's too thick, add a little more water and put the lid on tight.
      • I like to add something sweet, usually pineapples and pineapple juice, but if yes you have no pineapples then just use sugar, it's what I did and it was fine.
      • Pour that shit over rice, it's delicious.
      • Don't be alarmed when you piss and it smells weird.

    • I recently heard about how it is too late for anything to save the planet except massive changes in personal behavior, which obviously will never ever happen because humans are designed for shit and even if 99 people somehow change how they live, that one person out of a hundred can still fuck it all up (some brilliant engineer who used to be into wind kites did some calculations or something, I forget). In other words, the situation may be hopeless. This depressed me for a few days, because I didn't know what the use was of trying to live in a more responsible way. Then I got the idea of the "Last Sip of Milk" theory. My mom used to get pissed when someone would just leave like one swig of milk and put the carton back in the fridge (yes, the cardboard carton, remember those, anyone?) I mean, the milk is doomed, it's gonna get killed by someone eventually, but you can at least do your part by taking a small enough amount that it is the next person who kills it. Not because it is morally good, just to not be an asshole. I don't know, I'm still working on this one, cuz it also occurs to me another way to not be an asshole about the milk is just to put it out of its misery so you at least don't get the next guy's hopes up...

    • Like every two-bit asshole in the world, I have my two cents on the big oil spill. It is this: boycotting BP does no good-- every oil company does the same sort of shit, and you'll only make the other ones stronger, thus creating an even smaller group of multimillionaires, who will squabble less with each other, and form an even mightier and more focused pile of money to influence politics. The only real retaliation is to boycott oil at all, or at least use less, about which see the above item about how nobody will ever change their personal habits ever and we are all fucked, or at least our children are.

    • Speaking of changing personal habits, I think the main people who need to change first are the poor people. It seems like poor people buy the stupidest shit, live the stupidest unhealthy lives, and care the least about the health of the planet. This is so ass backwards it infuriates me. As a poor person, I have found that living healthier, being a more responsible consumer, and caring about the planet more are all mutually beneficial to a low-income way of life. You walk or bike more, you buy less gas, you save the planet. You grow more food or at least cook your own food, you spend less money, you save the planet. You recycle, you get some money, you maybe walk or drive to the recycling place, you get healthier. You grow food, you don't drive to the grocery store, you save the planet. It all works together, health, ecology, and economy-- which gives you three reasons to do it. No moral posturing necessary, because saving money and being physically healthy are their own rewards. But instead you so often see poor people driving their fat asses in gas guzzlers through McDonalds drive-thrus. I have heard it argued that fast food is so cheap it makes poor people eat it. Bullshit. A one-dollar bag of raw beans and a two-dollar sack of rice can hook you up for a week for less than a Big Mac. That is fucked up, friends, and though I believe people on the whole are fucking idiots, I still hold us responsible for the idiotic choices we make on a daily basis, i.e., I can't comfortably lay the blame on advertising or education or cultural values or whatnot.

    • It's not like I sit around worrying about this shit, I just wanted to actually write something in my blog, and this is for some reason where it went. Jeez, come on, I'm not one of those people. I mean, shit, I eat fast food like once a week and when I'm in a bad mood I will drive my van ten blocks to my girlfriend's place. I got no moral high ground to stand on, so the arguments I'm making are not morally based.

    • I have another big idea I've been working on, I guess I'd call it something like "Halfway." It is a way to address the difficulty of changing personal habits. The idea is that you are always gonna fail if you try to do it all at once. So if you want to change your economic, ecological, and health habits, every little bit helps. Instead of not driving, you can park further away-- that way you use a little less oil, you pollute the environment a little less, and you get more exercise. You can take your bike in your car and park pretty damn far away, then bike the rest, which may also save you money if you have to pay to park. You can order a shitty pizza, but then put garden spinach on it. You can only ever buy shit that has coupons. You can only turn on your AC when you get home, or turn it off in the middle of the night. Every time you go shopping you can gather all your shit, then at the last second pick three items to sacrifice.

    • God I sound like an asshole. Sorry.

    Friday, April 30, 2010

    Why am I awake already

    • The Chee-Bone: this is when one gets literally or physically erect as a result of cheese or the idea of cheese.
    • IWHSS: the Infinite Wiper in a High Stress Situation is a common occurence when moving one's bowels directly before important events. As the old adage goes, life is but a series of infinite wipers in high stress situations (IWHSS).

      . . .

    • I was laying by a cat that will start purring if you barely touch her, and I farted pretty loud, the bed vibrated, and she started purring. This really happened.
    • I just found out that Jessica Biel and Jennifer Beals aren't the same person. This breaks my biggest Similarly-Named-Celebrity-Conflation (SNCC) since I successfully differentiated Mickey and Andy Rooney in late 2006.

      . . .

    • What if Harold Ramis decided to make a movie about two men from the year 1 A.D.? One of the men would be really awkward, and one would be portly, hyper, and prone to flights of fancy, both cast by the leading actors of those varieties. What if a fried chicken chain restaurant decided to make a sandwich where the bread was fried chicken breast and the inside was bacon and cheese? Answer: of course it's gonna be pretty funny, of course it's gonna be pretty delicious, these are not ground-breaking ideas here, more like reverse alchemy, start with gold and end up with I guess gold of a lesser carat but still quite desirable.
    • On the other hand you got your surprise combos. Chicken and waffles. Popcorn and Good-n-Plenties. John C. Riley movin' to comedies, Bill Murray to dramas.

      . . .

    • Now that I am a little older and a little wiser, I think my favorite line in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure is at the end of their history report, when Ted says "Thanks to great leaders such as Genghis Khan, Joan of Arc, and Socratic method, the world is full of history."

    Friday, April 23, 2010

    Not the way to fight prejudice

    • When your super race-sensitive friends are describing someone to you who you know but don't know you know, they will tend to say stuff like "oh, he's pretty tall, he's got black hair, um, he wears a hat sometimes, hangs out with so and so," and either not mention "oh he's black/latino/asian" or else they will kind of squeeze it in between other identificatory variables like in the olden days when you were embarassed to buy a porno mag so you'd get like a candy bar and a newspaper too. That's not being open-minded, that's just being really bad at describing the salient properties of something. Like say I left my bright green jacket at your house. I don't call you up and say, "hey, I left my jacket... it's like a men's medium or so, got a zipper on there, a collar, I think there's a little tear in the sleeve."
    • "People-first language" is this thing I've heard about from a few different places where institutions try to get their employees to always say "person with mental retardation/intellectual disability/learning disorder/whatever" instead of "mentally retarded/intellectually disabled person." The idea is that by changing the word order you highlight the fact that they are people first, and their disabilities are secondary. As if the arbitrary fact of word order in the English language, the result of years of conventional shifts and circumstance and practice, has some massive effect on the meaning of a sentence. As if the tall man is different from the man who is tall.

    What these two strategies have in common is that they are easy. Too easy. The real actual way to overcome prejudice is to work through common ideas and learned beliefs slowly through education and exposure to the various cultural "others" we're talking about. This is hard, it takes time, it takes mental re-programming, it takes constant effort and constant attention to unique details of each day's situations. I mean, I guess people's hearts are in the right place when they take the above roads, but I think the main effect is just cluttering up the language and exhausting oneself trying to thwart vary basic perceptual principles of discrimination (not the bad kind of discrimination), and, more perniciously, giving people an outward reason to assume their journey to open-mindedness is over and done with rather than ongoing.

    Jeez, I can't believe I wrote about race in my blog. I must be hurtin' for funny anecdotes or comedy food recipes lately.

    Tuesday, March 30, 2010

    Is this what wisdom smells like?

    • In certain cultures, hunger is personified as a wolf. When you get just a little bit hungry, then eat, it is like you ate the little baby wolf. How could you do it. If you get moderately hungry, you then kill the hunger by eating the adolescent wolf, a better adversary. But if you get really really hungry, then the wolf grows stronger. Too strong. Now the wolf is invincible no matter what you eat to kill it. Then you have no choice but to call upon the deity known as the Crazy Hunger, who alone is capable of dispatching this terrible wolf-beast. You set up a massive feast, I mean we're talkin' a competitive eating type of setup here, just neverending let's say hot dogs and apple pies, and you get down on your knees, and you shake your fists and call out to the heavens, 'Crazy Hunger, EAT THIS WOLF!"
    • I noticed I waste a lot of time worrying about things that actually turn out to be just the problems I was worrying about. Like, e.g., waking up thinking about how later on I will have to pay some bills and find something to eat and figure out what to teach some kid on the piano. But this is such a stupid thing to worry about, because whether or not I worry, I'm still gonna pay those bills, find something to eat, and figure out what to teach some kid on the piano. So I was thinking what are better things to worry about. Of course the saints among us can probably worry about something unrelated to themselves, like global warming or hunger or that sort of thing. I tried that and it doesn't do the trick. Don't get me wrong, I care about those things, but I can't get myself to wake up too early worrying about them. I need some self-interest in there. So my new plan is instead of worrying about the inevitable and inescapable knots and obstacles of the everyday, I will start worrying about what to do in unlikely situations. Like for instance, say you were falling from a blown-up airplane towards the sea from not all that huge a distance. I figure if you are able to streamline your body into a perfect dive, you might not break all your bones and die when you hit. Or how about if you hear a nuclear explosion but it is a good ways off and you have like ten seconds to get somewhere safe from the shockwave, where are you gonna go? Or say someone wants to mug you, what sort of things are you gonna do to make them think you're too crazy to fuck with? Or what if someone decides to interview you about something you did, what are you gonna say to not sound like an idiot? What if you are driving across a bridge and there is an earthquake and you have to decide in like two seconds whether to try to slam on the brakes or accelerate enough to jump the newly formed gap in the middle of the bridge? These are the sorts of unlikely but possible scenarios that I want to waste my worrying energy on from here on out.
    • Every single time I ever get annoyed with someone, and I mean EVERY single time, I then realize it is really something about myself I see in the someone. This goes for cats too.
    • I taught a kid to play the drums. I am a dude who taught a kid to play the drums. If I didn't teach him, well, probably someone else would have. But still.
    • Little kids like Buster Keaton because people falling is still the funniest thing.
    • It turns out it is really easy to make delicious mustard at home with nothing but mustard seeds and water, and probably you want some vinegar or white wine too.
    • It ain't no Hubble deep field, but when you look in ordinary binoculars, you are fucking looking back in time. I mean, not much, just a tiny little infinitesimal micro-nano-mini-second, but still.
    • Our understanding of the things and relationships in our world can be favorably compared to the Hubble deep field. For one thing, we only see shit if we look really close at a spot. For another, things look 2D unless we use our brains and more evidence (like, say, the red shift caused by the electromagnetic radiation doppler effect from galaxies receding from us at varying rates) to figure out how they fit together in 3 d's. There's always gonna be more to understand the closer you look, and you're still gonna be wrong from the perspective of the dude in the future who gets a better look.
    • You should google up some info on the Hubble deep field, I decided it is kind of ridiculous to link to general information like that in a blog post.
    • If you're naturally curious, the internet makes you smarter.
    • The most normal person you know is completely fucking weird as HELL.
    • Keep your eyes on CERN, they are gonna discover some shit that will blow all our minds, even though it is just the shit that everything is made out of. Which fact itself blows my mind.
    • I guess not all of these count as wisdom.
    • I guess potentially none of these count as wisdom.
    • Just because you're older doesn't mean you're wiser.
    • It's not up to you whether what you say is wise anyhow.
    • Just because you put things in topical bullet points doesn't mean they follow any sort of organizational pattern beyond the visual.
    • Good bye.

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    The PhD Omelet

    Well, I decided to try to start working on my dissertation again, so naturally I commemorated this decision with its own omelet, the P (for Provel-style* cheese) hD (for hot dogs).

    I get a lot of flack for my cavalier use of cut-up hot dogs, but I don't care. I like them. I put those shits in all kinds of stuff. I mean, in a perfect world, I'd only buy grass-fed free-range beef that had its feelings affirmed, and bacon from pigs who were read the Bhagavad-Gita daily from birth. But right now it is Spring Break, which means I make no money cuz all my students are on vacation, which means when I see a pack of shitty hot dogs at Aldi's for 81 cents, I'm going for it. If you cut 'em up and fry 'em, with some spices on there, they taste fine. In fact, if you spice them right (salt, pepper, a little chili powder, some like oregano or thyme or stuff) I'd say they are a better-tasting meat product than Dominos' sausage or the turkey in Lunchables, for instance, though still well below fried Spam or the cheaper, "off" brands of beef jerky.

    So you spice-n-fry the cut up dogs, a couple of them, and then you pour in three or so eggs you whipped up pretty good and put pepper and a little salt in. The hot dogs will magically rise to the surface, and once the bottom starts solidifying, put in a slice and a half or so of your Provel-style* cheese. Hell, you know how to make an omelet. Fold that shit in half at some point, and then also flip it over, it ain't rocket science. Eat it. It's good. Especially if you put on home-made hot sauce that your friend made, if your friend is good at making home-made hot sauce and generous in sharing it.

    *Provel is a registered trademark, I think maybe it always was, of Churny Company from Glenview IL, but Churny was recently bought up by Kraft, and now all the sudden when you go buy provel at DiGregorios it is called provel-style instead of provel. I wonder if Kraft stopped making provel, or if my fave deli changed wholesalers. I don't remember ever being this interested in such a boring subject. It must be that PhD omelet, focusing my mind once again on the most arcane and most over-thought details. Maybe I'd best get to a-writin'.

    Wednesday, March 17, 2010

    Fun with anagrams

    I saw that movie The Vanished a few days back, and like a week or two before that, Shutter Island, and then maybe a couple years ago Memento, all of which got me thinking about anagrams in the back of my mind somewhere, I guess, cuz then lo and behold the other day my mind went blank for a while, then when I came to I realized that "saint" and "isn't a" are anagrams, and then I did this thing you always have to do in music theory where you find the different "rotations" of a series of notes, resulting in something like this (only scrawled out in the sort of messy writing indicative of a crackpot revelation in progress):

    isn't a saint
    as ain't isn't
    saint isn't a
    ain't isn't as
    in 'tisn't as a
    isn't a saint

    Then I thought it would be cool to make a poem where you had to use all the five letters before you reused them, but I had to sort of cheat, and it looked like this:

    saint isn't a saint
    saint ain't isn't as saint isn't
    ain't a saint a saint?

    I dunno, it seemed worthwhile at the time but now it seems like Matty ran out of crosswords and the internet was broke.

    Tuesday, February 16, 2010

    Cheddar & Rye

    This isn't a sandwich, but a cocktail. I invented it. Last night. It goes like this:

    • Buy a bottle of Old Overholt (it is the manliest looking bottle on the shelf) and an econo-sized block of sharp cheddar cheese.
    • Put an ice cube in a cup.
    • Pour some rye in that same cup.
    • Break off (don't get a knife dirty for this) a pretty huge hunk of the cheese.
    • Drink the whiskey; eat the cheese.

    Figure 12: The Manliest Bottle on the Shelf

    Ok, I guess it isn't a cocktail. It's just cheap rye on the rocks and a hunk of cheese. What. You got a problem with that?

    Friday, January 29, 2010

    The top four lines from "Against the Wind" by Bob Seger

    • "I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then."
    • "Never worried about paying or even how much I owed."
    • "I was living to run and running to live"
    • "I found myself alone, surrounded by strangers I thought were my friends"

    Also, the top concept from the song: the transition across the three verses from running to seeking shelter and back to running against the wind (first a youthful running against & not even noticing the wind, then with age noticing and seeking shelter against the wind, and then the final running against the wind as the conscious choice of the aging rocker burdened with worldly duties).

    It's so surprising to finally listen to these lyrics that have gone in one ear and out the other my whole life, and find them so poetic.

    Also, the piano solo.

    Tuesday, January 12, 2010

    Steroid-related hypotheticals

    • A guy who took 'roids for the same amount of time as Big Mac. This guy, though, wasn't as good. He never made it to the big leagues. He never even made it to AAA. His minor league career was a series of moves from one medium-sized city to another, never making all that much money, always working his ass off, and now that he retired he is sorta fucked as far as his employable skill set goes. Even in low A baseball he was around incredible players from all over the country, all sacrificing so much to try to make a career in pro ball. These guys were so good any little edge could be what separated them. So this guy started using the 'roids. Let's say by some weird circumstance he used exactly the amount of 'roids Big Mac used, through the exact same time-frame, breaking the exact same laws and all that. Do we hate this guy? Do we punish him the same way? Do we pity him more? Is it more tragic? Is he less guilty because he was less of a role model?

    • How about a guy who took HGH until the day before it was outlawed by the mlb. Before that, let's say he took, Idunno, andro or whatnot until it was illegal. Basically this is a guy who took every available PED until the day before it made the list of illegal substances. He never broke the laws of the US or the mlb. Do we judge him the same way anyhow? Are the morals involved attached to laws and regulations?

    • What about like how people get upset at certain countries' gymnastics programs. Say they don't use any PEDs, but they start rigorous training really early in a kid's life. It maybe stunts the kids' growth. But of course it pays off, they become amazing gymnasts. How about that? Is that ok? No drugs or nothin'. No laws broken. Just a really amped up training regimen. Is that fair? To dip below our own culture's ideas of when is too young to push a kid that hard? At what age do you draw the line?

    • How about the guy who took bum 'roids, it was a hoax, someone sold him saline solution for ten years. He shot it up thinkin' it was 'roids, he did his workouts, he did his training thinking the 'roids were making him stronger when it was really just his workout schedule. He improved a lot, made a career, eventually stopped using when the mlb started testing more, but always wrongly attributed his moderate success to the roids.

    Thursday, January 07, 2010

    I'll be the first to admit,

    I like instant mashed potatoes better than mashed potatoes.

    I am sorry about this.

    Monday, January 04, 2010

    The MDOAT (Most Delicious Omelet of All Time)

    • Have some leftover black olive St. Louis style pizza in the fridge.
    • Have some delicious homemade hot sauce your friend made.
    • You probably have some eggs, right?
    • But do you have some locally made peppered brie cheese?
    • Dice the pizza. I cut it first into long strips, then little squares. Squares beyond compare.

      Figure 12: This pizza is in the process of being diced

    • Cut up some brie cheese and mix it in there with the pizza.
    • I got this idea to make it into some sort of like fritterish thing, so I also put cornmeal and a little egg in there, and tried to squeeze it into a cohesive patty, but it didn't work.
    • So then I just put in the rest of the egg plus another egg and mixed it up and poured it into a little pan and made it into an omelet.

      Figure 12: It turned out so beautiful I thought I would cry; I thought I would die

    • See now, what happens is the provel on the pizza melts all up and so does the brie, and the black olives are perfectly salty and well-seasoned to begin with, and the eggs go so good with the cheese, and the sauce is in there too just waiting to be complimented with some home-made hotsauce (pictured, in the jar), plus you were just hungry as SHIT before you started, so lemme tell you, dear readers, maybe it wasn't heaven but you could see it from there. You could take pictures of it.