log (2006/03/24 to 2006/03/30)

All sortsa valuable reader responses to our last entry! One person instantly recognizes the thing we were looking for:

That was me. I was wondering if there was any curry in the fridge, as I didn't have enough money to order Chinese. But there wasn't, so I yelled down to Tom to find out if it was early enough to go out to the Krishna Center for free food (if you don't count the lecture) but it wasn't so we had crackers and canned tuna for dinner, which really wasn't what we had in mind but was better than cat food. Slightly.

Why do you ask?

which is quite noteworthy; and another person instantly recognizes it as the thing we were actually thinking of:

Subject: looking into a refrigerator

Hello -

The repeated comic scene you refer to is by my friend Matt Madden. He finally did 100 of them and published a book in January. See http://exercisesinstyle.com for details.


which is really astounding (our readership is both vast and of magnificent quality).

(Turns out I was probably misremembering having seen the manga-style page, since that's not on the web site; I was probably cross-remembering with the section about manga style in Understanding Comics. But that's okay.)

And a concerned and adventurous reader suggests the Extreme version of our game:

What are you, an emergency room tech? An orthopedist afraid of career obsoloscence? What is the *wrong* with you? Why not play this on a steep mountain cliff for more excitement, or on a freeway?

The main thing wrong with me, I suppose, in some sense, is that I still can't smell anything; which is pretty much a bummer. Have to do something about that sometime.

I'll leave those more exciting versions of the game to more confident readers (preferably more confident readers who are virtual and very well backed-up). Sparsely-populated shopping malls and empty parking lots and so on are more my speed. How have you been playing the game? Write and tell us your experiences!

Latest Sims news: all sortsa big events centered around Eleanor Raptor. (And no, there's not a "typo in the URL"; URLs are uninterpreted tokens, and can't be "misspelled". Sheesh!)

Technology News o' the Day: New "voice chat" feature proposed for mobile phones. It'll never catch on.

With the subject like "rooftop corona tough cove", a spammer writes (inter alia):

nonchalant as she talked indifferently with Birkin
ahead on the right a painful
He would perhaps climb the ridge The snow was

which has a certain broken beauty to it.

From usr bin girl (who I haven't read in like years), a flickr-based tag-guessing game.

And reluctant as I am to harp again on J. Scalia, knowing that at least some of my valued readers are admirers of his, sheesh! I mean, I wouldn't mind at all hearing a good explanation of why this is actually responsible behavior on the Justice's part. (Also roughly the same sheesh, for Salon members and those who don't mind looking at an ad which might or might not involve Sharon Stone.)

Question for my loyal and knowledgeable readers: there is, somewhere in the world (and I've looked through Scott McCloud's "Understanding Comics" and "Reinventing Comics" and Googled on all the obvious keywords and searched through the weblog here without finding it), a set of like six different treatments of the same very simple scene (I seem to recall like someone looking into a refrigerator or something, and someone else calling down the stairs to ask what time it is), done in like six different comic ("sequential art") styles (including Japanese manga flavor).

Does anyone remember that and (or) know where it is?

And to recompense you for having read (and perhaps even answered) that (if "recompense" means something like "compensate (back)", what does "reward" mean?), here's a game. A game, a game, a game!

To play this game (and it's not a game that has points really or rules or winning or anything, but a game nonetheless) be walking somewhere (somewhere very familiar, at least the first time you play it; somewhere that you walk several times a week), at your normal walking pace like you always walk there, and then close your eyes.

Close your eyes, that is, but keep walking, at your normal walking pace.

See how long, how many paces, you can keep your eyes closed. It's okay if you open them (but then try closing them again, and still walking along). It's even okay if you bash into something (it means that you were braver about keeping your eyes closed than I was this evening). Apologize to it and continue on.

Try to keep your eyes closed for two paces, four paces, a dozen paces, while keeping up your normal walking speed. When you do have to open your eyes, try slamming them immediately closed again, and walking onward with only the guidance of that brief flash of picture lingering on your retinas.

Or try, keeping your eyes closed and not opening them at all, continuing to walk forward as long as possible, slowing down when you have to and eventually coming to a stop and only then opening your eyes to see where you ended up, how close to actually going wrong and bashing into something. And then try it again on the next bit of your walk, and see where you end up.

A harder game to play, clearly, in unfamiliar territory, or in even familiar territory that's full of other people walking around (maybe with their eyes also closed), or streets full of cars (and buses), or wandering rhinoceri, or giant killer robots (although if they make lots of noise that could help in avoiding them). So apologies to city dwellers; or maybe the game's just all that much more interesting in cities.

Maybe I'll play it again tomorrow...

Readers are enthusiastic on last week's revival of the gears:

hooray! The cogs are back!

What is the idea? Bringing back those damned devil gears!

Sims events! The Danvers place gets a new baby, and spreads to the lot next door; and Suzette goes downtown. And I happened on this great old snapshot from The Early Days:

Eleanor Raptor meets Georgia Bendett

This is Eleanor Raptor (left) as a child, in the front yard of her mom's house, meeting Georgia Bendett (right, in the purple face-paint; now, of course, Georgia Danvers). (I'd forgotten they knew each other as children; no wonder they became such good friends once they were both big business types.)

The pages about the messages in whatsername's song about pi are back. Yay!

Wildly funny mistranslation of food names (no bad karma toward the mistranslators, of course; the same thing happens in the other direction just as extremely). The reader comments are amusing and useful also (search on "Assorted Fuck").

From I forget just where, a story from Dijkstra about the Early Days of Programming. (Turns out at the very end that the person who titled Dijkstra's famous "The goto statement considered harmful" paper was Niklaus Wirth; small world!)

(Lots of other fascinating stuff from the ALGOL Bulletin in that same area, including the moving very last issue.)

Beautiful Prurience o' the Day: Taking Off Emily Dickinson's Clothes.

Genetic bizarreness o' the Day: "An exciting feature of Nasonia speciation is the presence of Wolbachia, cytoplasmically inherited bacteria that cause sperm-egg incompatibilities." Proving once again that a model of evolution and inheritance based on what they teach you in high school would leave out all the really interesting twisted stuff. Turns out that there are species that fail to be inter-fertile only because basically every single member of either is infected (for a meaning of "infected" that's similarly twisted) with a particular bacterium (one kind in some species, another kind in another), and if you give them the right antibiotics they aren't two different species anymore.

And extremely relatedly:

SR (paternal sex ratio) chromosomes are a type of supernumerary (or B) chromosomes that occur in haplodiploid arthropods. They are transmitted through sperm but then cause loss of the paternal chromosomes (except themselves) early in development. As a result, PSR chromosomes convert diploid fertilized eggs (which would normally develop into females) into haploid males that carry a PSR chromosome. Because they act by completely eliminating the haploid genome of their 'hosts', PSR chromosomes are the most extreme form of selfish or parasitic DNA known.

Which is to say, while genes usually do best by helping the individuals that they live in reproduce better, another strategy that sometimes works is to destroy all the other genes that might get in their way.


Today's mystery comment-spam:

Hi. Beautiful content and website design. Sorry for my english. I am from albania.

Once again, all over.

And we close with, for obvious reasons, "pvc cashmere the dimethyl":

A hockey player near a garbage can lazily seeks a nation inside a squid. A warranty defined by the inferiority complex underhandedly throws a globule about a graduated cylinder at another traffic light inside the corporation, and an apartment building of a stovepipe gives secret financial aid to the college-educated tomato. Most people believe that some bowling ball from the scythe trades baseball cards with a polar bear, but they need to remember how almost a paycheck living with a burglar gets stinking drunk. The eggplant toward a fighter pilot wakes up, and the umbrella behind an ocean beams with joy; however, a moronic bullfrog buries a class action suit toward a lover. The pork chop is treacherous.
The turkey beyond a girl scout writes a love letter to a statesmanlike umbrella. A stovepipe, the jersey cow, and a fruit cake are what made America great!

A hockey player near a garbage can lazily seeks a nation inside a squid.