Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

For Jim

April 2, 2013 - 2:58 pm 8 Comments

(We aren’t dead, or even brains that wouldn’t die. But we are doing science and we’re still alive.)

Heatwave Misc.

June 20, 2012 - 5:49 pm 1 Comment

– It’s stupid hot outside. You know it’s stupid hot when the Akitas, no matter what time it is or how badly they have to go, pause in horror at the threshold when we go to let them outside and ask themselves if they really have to go THAT badly. We are unrelieved as yet by the traditional afternoon thunderstorms of summer. I’ve lived in Phoenix and New Orleans, and while the heat there is greater, there is nothing quite like several thousand feet of altitude to make sunlight really extra miserable. On the bright side, shade makes much more of a difference.

This is pretty nifty. It’s a pulp fiction dance track. The link warns me it might infect me with an earworm but so far all it’s infected me with is a burning desire for a vanilla milkshake and an In-N-Out burger.

– You might also like DJ Faroff’s mashups. Some of his more successful tracks, like the Cypress Hill/Beatles/Joan Jett one or the Gwen Stefani/Elastica/Smashmouth one, we now like vastly more than the originals and play as part of our regular music collection.

– So we finally got round to checking out Black Books, as recommended by eight million or so of the usual sources of “British comedies/sitcoms are more hilarious than US ones, also you should like this because you’re bitter cynical assholes too!” As it turns out, against all expectation, we do. Usually, when the primary source of comedy in a series is that everyone involved is a terrible person, we don’t (See: Coupling, Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny In Philhedelphia, Fawlty Towers), but the people writing this seem to have advanced comedy fu in really stretching the “situation” in “situation comedy”.


June 13, 2012 - 10:15 pm 18 Comments

Sorry for silence. Yesterday was busy. So was today.

People, please don’t let your cats roam. I know some seem happier that way, but even if you’re willing to accept its likely early, violent demise that doesn’t necessarily mean your neighbors have been in on your life decision, though they may be on what it does in life and may be on that final bit, whether they like it or not, too.

Bitey Lurks: Problem-Solving

April 2, 2012 - 4:36 pm Comments Off on Bitey Lurks: Problem-Solving

Or, “A common cultural trope annoys the piss out of me, part XXXII”

The script goes about like this: “If you didn’t want to hear solutions for (problem/situation/angst), why did you even bring it up?” Often with something contemptuous about only wanting sympathy or to be listened to.

To which my reaction is: Champ, what on earth makes you think another rational adult who presumably has no cognitive impairments is upset about a problem with a solution so obvious you’re going to come up with it on the spur of the moment and make everything better?

Body image problems gotcha down? Have you tried eating less? Family relationship stressful? Have you tried cutting them out of your life? Boss abusing you? Have you tried standing up for yourself more? Insomniac? Have you tried going to bed at the same time every night?


Most of the time, when someone has a problem they see at least the beginnings of a route to a solution to, they go to someone they think has some expertise in that kind of problem and elicit their help (or a more textual reference) to begin solving it, if they can’t do it on their own. Sometimes by coincidence that’ll be a friend/relationship partner- by coincidence. What they go to friends and relationship partners for is a bit of emotional support, because that’s what those people in our lives are for, at least in some part.

Saying “Never admit to being unhappy unless you’re unhappy about something I can feel good about fixing for you” to an emotional intimate is basically saying you’re terrible at your job, as well as something of an ass.

As a coda? Listening to someone tell you X thing happened and they feel shitty about it takes up a lot less time than listening to someone spend two hours framing something in byzantine “problem-solving” language or ranting about fundamental injustice in the system/universe when they mostly just want to say they’re hurt, angry, or sad, and want to feel like someone is on their side.

Spent The Day There

January 12, 2012 - 9:39 pm Comments Off on Spent The Day There

Free Ice Cream Outage

December 21, 2011 - 10:53 pm Comments Off on Free Ice Cream Outage

…Yeah, the holidays are rolling in and we’re busy, plus inspiration has been nil.

On the bright side, we’ve got one incoming guest post and one collaboration. So that’ll be like ice cream with *sprinkles*.

Bad Blogger

September 15, 2011 - 4:18 pm Comments Off on Bad Blogger

…Two days no updates, fail, I know. Some of it is busy-ness (we’re preparing for fun guest times over the weekend, and there’s the box o’ pup), but most of it is just flat being tapped out for content and the internet either not being obliging in dropping things I have a concrete opinion about into my lap, or serving to demonstrate that ideas I thought would be good for content (“why are some proteins more allergenic than others?”) aren’t because the answer is far too long and complicated to distill into a blog post (“for reasons that require an advanced understanding of immunology and biochemistry to articulate”, it turns out).

So, the pupdate, because for one I have nothing else, and for two it’s a well-known fact that the internet loves cute fuzzy animals.


They are standing, walking, and playing, and getting steadily better and more developed at all three. Wonder Girl has taken to shouting a battle cry before pouncing on her brother, which remains more cute than annoying given she’s still not nearly good enough at sorting all four of her legs to stick the landing very well. Wonder Boy is more inclined to try and remove each of his sister’s limbs in turn; I think his strategy probably has better long-term potential, though it’s not nearly as entertaining to watch. They have both tried to get Kang involved in their rudimentary reindeer games, but she’s not interested; she is generally only in the whelping box to clean somebody or (grudgingly) feed them.


Their personalities are getting more distinct. Wonder Boy is quieter and mellower, and usually prefers to solve his problems either by waiting them through or finding some place or condition under which he can resolve the question by sleeping through it. He’s also quite ticklish- scratch his side and he thumps a hind leg, scratch his butt and he’ll shimmy. (And, often, fall over.) Sleep, food, petting, and the chance to bite his mother’s ear are his main joys in life. That’s him on the bottom up above- all things being equal he often prefers to sleep belly to the breeze.

Wonder Girl is opinionated and ambitious. She is not the slightest bit reluctant to share demands or opinions with the world in general, and is the most likely to be shouting the house down until you figure out what her issue is and help her fix it. She’s also the fastest to try new things- she was the first to try baby food when it was offered, the first to figure out the purpose of the potty pads, and if things progress as they are now will also be the first to escape the whelping box. (She spent some of this afternoon roaring furiously that such was still beyond her.) She is more likely to try and get the humans’ attention than her brother, though she usually has some aim in mind beyond just getting her bottom scritched, usually play.

Wonder Girl on the right, plotting

They are cutting their milk teeth, so next step on the map will be the first steps at weaning. It took Wonder Girl awhile to figure out that she needed to lick the baby food off the plate rather than attempt to eat the plate itself, but once she did she was a big fan of the whole concept, and her brother picked it up quickly after he woke up. Kang will be so relieved.

They have toys, but have not yet figured out what they’re for. Hopefully this will be a next step, I suspect those sharp little baby teeth are no more comfortable for them than they are for us and Kang.

Seek And Ye Shall Find

May 19, 2011 - 3:56 pm Comments Off on Seek And Ye Shall Find

…Because search terms are the easiest punted blog content on the planet, that’s why. What can we at the nerd ranch help you with today?

a blod of skin can out of my vigina

….Oh my, er. Well. It probably wasn’t skin, it was probably shed uterine lining; as you go through the glorious and slightly inexplicable experience of menstruation over the course of your life as a woman, you will come to be familiar with the multifarious things your uterus can and will spit out other than blood.

If you are very young, and given the spelling I hope so, it could also have been your hymen. No, you didn’t lose your virginity. Contrary to patriarchal tribal standards the thing isn’t that durable; if that really were the standard I lost mine to a ten-speed bike when I was nine.

man eaten by bear

They do that sometimes but really not nearly as often as you’d think given the population of bears and population of humans. I suggest avoiding grizzly and polar bear country, as they are far more likely to look at a human and see a Happy Meal rather than a confusing and distressing biped. They have more evolutionary experience with us, being Old World migrants.

why is an organism without incisors and canines a better suited herbavore?

Thank god, a question I can answer.

That’s because mammals have specialized teeth, and it really does depend on what kind of herbivore you’re talking about. Canine teeth are specifically suited for tearing through meat (sometimes in the case of a still-living animal, as in the case of primates with huge canines designed for fighting other primates), and thus are of very little use to a herbivore. Incisors are designed for chopping; you’re not likely to see any herbivore without or with underdeveloped incisors that eats plants with any kind of significant woody fiber or tubers. What really marks an herbivore is big, broad molars, for grinding- which is the bulk of what you’re going to have to do with plant food.

Note dogs and cats have tiny incisors, and horses and rabbits have huge ones. You’re much more likely to see small incisors on a dedicated carnivore.

most powerful guard dog

…You wouldn’t want. They’re bred for fighting off wolves and bears and aren’t really pets as you’d understand the term. Unlike a big, powerful gun, a big, powerful guard dog has a mind of its own and is likely to conclude you’re not fit to do things like tell them not to eat the neighbor children.

how to fuck with someone’s mind

A surprisingly common term.

It’s easy: behave in unexpected ways. Easiest way is to deviate subtly enough from common social scripts that you confuse people but don’t cause them to default to thinking you’re simply insane. It’s not really a terribly high-order or productive skill, though, except in terms of getting rid of unwanted roommates or seatmates on the bus.

$1 dollar non negotiable steel token.

Defensive hollowpoints usually qualify.

bluebird mad

The Bluebird of Happiness’s ne’er-do-well brother showed up, I see.

women don’t want childish men

Films of Judd Apatow aside, this is generally true. Works the other way round too.

chimpanzees frequently engage in sex 20 or more times a day. should there be no male around, the female of the species will take care of business by any means necessary.

This is… um… really curiously specific. I’m just… going to back away from it. (When do these fantasy chimps have time for anything ELSE?)

The “by any means necessary” thing is kind of weird, too. Masturbation isn’t really that dramatic even for a species without vibrators.

horse shipping crate

The horse usually appreciates it if you use a trailer rather than a crate. So does FedEx.


January 2, 2011 - 2:16 pm Comments Off on Leftovers

So I was all ready to tear a strip off Dennis Prager for some gender/relationship stupidity, but we’re pretty wiped after the trip and I think I’ll go with the scattershot format for now.

– We spent New Year’s Eve attempting to get an early bedtime because we intended to (and did) spend New Year’s Day on the trek home. Unfortuantely, the hotel room catty-corner from us elected to spend New Year’s Eve having a cocaine party. (We know this because all the rooms had balconies and they were indiscreet.) Stingray’s dose of Ambien kicked in before they really got rolling; they really got rolling right around the time mine kicked in. Now, we have Ambien on hand for such special occasions because it’s easy to get a doctor to prescribe and it’s more effective than Benadryl. However, I have one of two reactions to the stuff:

1) I fall asleep quickly and maybe have some weird dreams, but I’m used to weird dreams without any chemical aid whatsoever.

2) I have auditory and visual hallucinations of varying degrees of vividness.

Right around the time the stuff kicked in and I nestled into bed for some shuteye, the cocaine party got their hands on a megaphone. Suffice to say the result as filtered through the Ambien was something of a combination between Deliverance, Human Centipede, and a David Lynch movie. Thankfully for the health and safety of all involved my instinctive response at the time was to stay low and hidden…

– The Bugatti Veyron, as the world’s fastest touring car, is a very cool thing and I can understand why gearheads around the world are fascinated with. I’m mostly fascinated with the front grill. “Mesmerized”, would perhaps be an even better word. It looks, and is, designed to suck down as much air as possible as fast as possible. Because my mind is filthy, things rather quickly go beyond “air” in my imagination. Give me some Ambien or perhaps just around five gin and tonics and I’m pretty sure I could write a horror story about it. If Stephen King could make Uncle Otto’s Truck work….

– The new True Grit is as good as others report. I read the original Charles Portis novel when I was a girl (fantastic stuff for the age range), and this version was note-perfect to it, with all the actors completely subordinate to the characters and their voices, bringing them to life. That’s a rare thing in movies these days, especially for Matt Damon, whom I am forced to admit can, like Brad Pitt, act when asked to.

– Oysters on the half shell so fresh you can taste which bay they came from. Sadly not something we can get in this state. Sigh.

No Soup For You

September 22, 2010 - 7:50 pm Comments Off on No Soup For You

Most of my time and energy is currently taken up by correspondence at the moment, and when I asked Stingray if there was anything he wanted to write he made a noise like the ghost woman from The Grudge and I decided not to press the issue.

Free ice cream to resume when possible.