Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't worry it's a short one...

For those of you who don’t already know—I had been victim to defenestration and it’s had me down for the past two weeks. Thank you, thank you, thank you again for those who sent flowers, get well cards, and much needed recovery funds! You’re the reason I’m back and up and blogging again.

Having my first beer out of body cast right now—I think the most appropriate (the ONLY appropriate) things to say is, “Bottoms up!”

When your perspective changes drastically, it’s hard not to reevaluate and take stock of what you have… and who you have: a co-blogger who has upped his post frequency to make up for the time I’ve been down.

Expect regular posts in the coming days.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Irony, Thy Name Is Attention Boors

This post is about irony, comics, and man-crushes.

While considering ideas for a new post, I decided I wanted to write about my very favorite webcomic, ________. Don't worry, I'll tell you the name later, but other things are afoot.  

This thing, for example.

As soon as I settled on that topic, I experienced a crisis of relativity. What was I, a freshly-minted, devilishly almost-handsome, and recalcitrantly polemical budding blogger with a limited but rabidly loyal  fan-base (um, right?) doing promoting  what is quite possibly the cleverest, most followedest, bestest webcomic ever?  It seems more likely that anyone reading this blog has already heard of the comic.  Maybe they should be promoting me...Anyway, I just found it ironic that our small blog might try flexing its ability to advertise other web produce rather than trying to garner attention onto itself.

AND NOW! The big reveal! The webcomic which I love best, and I bet you will soon as well, IS...........

Written and illustrated by Zachary Weinersmith (A.K.A. Zach Weiner), this brilliant comic delves into science, philosophy, mathematics, and sometimes it just has funny jokes.  There is also a series of skits by him and his friends called SMBC Theater.  Friends, I hope you'll join me in supporting the fine gentlemen and ladies who produce these wonderful works and visit the link I gave above and any of their many youtube videos, such as this one (Video contains strong language, viewer discretion is advised):

The guy playing Thomas Jefferson is Zach.  He holds the dubious honor of being the one man who rivals current Kyle's Man-Crush champion Tim Minchin.  Neither of them is Brad Pitt, I grant you, but they arouse my intellect like few other humans.  The reason for this is that they are able to convey complicated concepts (and make them look ridiculous, often because they are) with mediums that appeal to everyone.  I love philosophy, but philosophy sometimes has the tendency of intentionally making itself inaccessible to people not trained in philosophy.  Convoluted language, terms that only trained philosophers can understand, and, though most people do this, the habit of viewing the world only through the lens of their own experience while discounting all others.  As the behavioral biologist Robert Sapolsky would say, they "get stuck in their own bucket."  Fortunately, we have people like Zach, who reach into many different buckets and hold their contents up to the critical light of comedy, where their pretenses are stripped away, leaving only the core idea.  Sometimes, we find that the core is rather silly, even though it's a widely held belief.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have disagreed with a few (very few) of his assessments.  Perhaps through no fault of his own, not being a trained philosopher, I've seen (two, I think) misunderstandings of a philosophical position. As I explained before, misunderstandings like these are often the fault of the philosophers' tendency to work within their own buckets to the point where they cannot divorce the concept itself from the specific language they've been trained to describe it in.

Anyway, I just thought I'd draw the magical creations of this man to your collective attention.  Have fun exploring the mind of Zach Weiner, and remember to check back here to see if we've rustled up anything else interesting!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hey...Will....Hey Will...Hey Will?

Loneliness is the feeling of being alone, and a lone lonely loner should be thrown a bone.

Thus begins the greatest poem I'll never write...I envision it as a kind of dark but vaguely hopeful Dr. Seuss.  Okay, darker.  Let's be honest, some of Dr. Seuss is scary shit. Have you read The Cat in the Hat? He terrorizes children worse than the Kool-Aid Man.  Sure he cleans up the mess before the parents get home, but if that little boy doesn't end up with some stress disorder because of this damn cat, I'll be very surprised.

Warning: Rampaging Asshole

Oh! The Places You'll Go has some scary stuff too.  But enough about one of my favorite authors.  

So what IS this post about? Is it about my pregnant ghost shrimp? No, but it should be.  Yeah, I thought it was a dude too, big whoop, wanna fight about it?  

The best way to determine this shrimp's gender is clear...

This post is actually about my co-blogger, Will (please, enough with the "ghost shrimp/tiny pale penis" jokes).  Perhaps, like me, you've noticed his lack of posts and horrid stench.  Perhaps just the stench.  Regardless, I hope you'll join me in lighting a fire under his shapely, but tragically un-firm, buns.  If you know Will, and can stand talking to him, tell him you want some productivity so Kyle doesn't have to work so hard, slaving away at entertaining an international audience of high-class and fancy-free male and female Homo Sapiens Sapiens.  We salute you, you crazy monkey-spawn, now let's go tell Will what we really think of him!

There he is, get him!...Oh wait, that's Justin Long...

Probably Will. If you see this man, punch him and tell him I sent you.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Office Banana Bread: A Review

Today I entered my office to discover a piece of banana bread, in a ziploc bag, on my desk.  Fearing a plot by my office mates to fatten me up and eat me, I left it alone at first.  I told my brother about the mysterious bread, but he had no explanation for it.  However, the culprit made herself known when my coworker presented herself and told me that she had made it (though I still don't know why it was given to me...).  In order to thank her properly I wrote a review of the bread and sent it to her.  Here it is:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 11:22am
Subject: Banana Bread- a review

Bouquet: Warm, subtle, earthy tones provide a subtext to the dominant banana scent, hints of sweetness, not overpowering, but firm.

Texture: Dense without being hard, soft without being mushy, delightful melting quality accentuated by the numerous chocolate and cranberry bits.  Nuts provide a nice textural counterpoint, balancing the bread's mouthfeel without distracting from it.

Taste: Precocious but not overbearing, the traditional banana-bread taste playfully interwoven with the tart cranberries, earthy nuts, and exotic chocolate tastes.  Undertones of bread provide a stable platform for displaying the less-common additions.  First strikes the tongue with a tasty but simple banana bread experience, followed quickly by the veritable explosion of the chocolate melting onto the taste-buds, and, as it is chewed, the sweetness is immediately cut by the cranberries.  The salivary perk given by the cranberries mellows smoothly into a creamy, strongly banana-tasting finish, which lingers, still suggesting chocolate to the mid-tongue region.

First Prize.

Happy Darwin Day!

Darwin's much-loved "Shut the fuck up while I'm explaining this tree-thing" face.  

In honor of Darwin Day, I've posted my favorite picture of Darwin and one of my favorite quotes.

-Charles Darwin

Monday, February 11, 2013

As the Protagonists Look On...

Ghost shrimp.  The name conjures up images of ethereal, wall-penetrating shrimp and very tiny, spooky spirits.  But what are they really? The least filling party food? The ghosts that always get picked last in ghostketball?  Sadly no, because ghostketball doesn't exist...

But they're learning...dear god, they're learning!

Ghost shrimp are actually a species of freshwater shrimp that have see-through bodies!  This adaptation undoubtedly is an excellent camouflage against predators, because the shrimp currently watching me write this are only visible by their eyes and the food in their stomachs.  "The food in their stomachs?!" You are undoubtedly screaming at your computer screen right now.  Yes indeed folks, one of the most entertaining reasons to have these li'l buggers is the joy of watching them eat.  My shrimp are currently existing on betta fish pellets, which are orange.  When they eat, they hold the orange pellet in front of their face, and this pellet gets smaller and smaller as they eat it (however they do that...tiny forks? mouth-straws?).  As the pellet gets smaller, an orange ball can be seen growing right behind their eyes.  If you look carefully you can see this ball pulsating as the stomach muscles (I guess) move the food around.  Pretty interesting stuff.  They also swim around, walk along the bottom, perch on plants, groom moss balls, and generally clean up around the place. 

They make excellent pets as long as you like easily maintained but difficult to see animals.  I currently have 2 in my tank, or possibly 3, since Pierre's disappearance can neither be confirmed nor denied.  What I can tell you is that right before I typed this sentence, Guy swam to the surface and grabbed a pellet! This is cool because until this point I've only seen them take food that had sank to the bottom.  Anyway, if you already have a freshwater tank, consider adding these interesting little cleaners!  

Hey man, your "ghost shrimp" is showing.

Kyle's Page of Perfidious Poetry

Sometimes, when left to my own devices, I write poems.  Now, I'm no Robert Frost or Snoop Lion, but I'll add poems here whenever they float across my cerebrum.

Tale of the Work-Crow

"I'm bored! I'm bored!" croaks out the crow,
and flies o'er fields beswept with snow.
His work to do is tedium,
a raging current of hum-drum.
Alighting near an icy brook,
he spends some time on his facebook,
then checks his e-mail, changes tunes,
depressed to see it's only noon.
Resolving soon to go to lunch,
He restlessly peers out from his branch
and claims for the third time today
"I'll start to work after this break!"

Advice for Your Court Date

If you wish to win your case
first you must put on your face.
Of course good arguments they'll seek
but no one likes an ugly freak.

So paint your lips!
Paint your eyes!
Mask yourself,
wear a disguise.
The things you say will get a pass
if all eyes are glued to your ass.

It works for prostitutes and boors,
it works for waitresses and whores.
It can also work for us,
let's try to maximize that bust!

So curl your lashes!
Curl your hair!
Make them pant,
and make them stare.
Your case will never hit a rut
When you look like a little slut.

If perhaps there is an afterlife
ours surely will be filled with strife
Yet comparatively we will do well
when we're the hottest chicks in Hell.

The star that burns the brightest..

I wish Lumosity had a hangover button you could click so they wouldn't drop your score so low.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Do this or die:

Open this

And then play this.

Random Thought Droppings

Right. So here's the thing, and the thing is this:

My job is a bit of a stop-n'-start venture, so every so often I get a long stretch of waiting.  Such has been the case today, and in lieu of forcing work on myself, I've decided to save my strength for the next big work push (which will be tomorrow, as it turns out) and read online articles instead.

I'd like to share with you some of the more interesting stories (numbered, but in no particular order) I found today:

1.  The White South's Last Defeat
      by Michael Lind


This article takes a look at our current political situation and comes to an interesting, though not mind-boggling conclusion.  As the article states, rather than attribute the differences in political views to Right and Left, the author thinks the crux of the difference is North vs. South.  He supports this view with references to historical military/social accomplishments and demographic shifts, as well as analogous examples in other regions of the country.  I think he has a plausible, but (obviously) not comprehensive theory that deserves further examination.

2.  The Quantum Physics Sequence
     by Eliezer Yudkowski


Actually a series of articles, this is a fascinating, nearly-understandable-to-the-layperson explanation of Quantum Mechanics.  I struggled with the formulas he uses as examples, but because he also provides illustrations and is a fairly clear writer I think I understand most of what he is saying.  I highly recommend trying to wrap your head around these articles.  Don't you want to know how reality works? Well, DON'T YOU?

3. Elves, Aliens, Angels, and Ayahuasca
    by Graham Hancock


This is a talk given by Mr. Hancock in which he explains his theory about why elves, aliens, etc. are actually all part of the same phenomenon.  Essentially he relies on the testimony (both personal and otherwise) of people who have taken hallucinogenic drugs, and he compares this to historical art (cave paintings, medieval paintings) and modern works by people who have taken hallucinogens.  The strange part is that his conclusion is not "Drugs make you see crazy shit!" Instead, he thinks that the particular class of drugs which includes ayahuasca, ibogaine, and psylocibin actually allow the users to look into other dimensions, where these strange beings depicted in ancient art and described by "abductees" actually live.  It's very interesting, though rather implausible.  I recommend watching it just because it's unique, it's interesting, and his passion for this view is compelling.  I wish it were true, but I'm pretty sure it's not.

I'll add more articles here from time to time, so check back now and again!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kyle's fish died today.

This was posted on behalf of Kyle, who is forbidden to use the space key according to the mourning customs of his religion.

In Memoriam


Epitaph for a Fish

For in that sleep of death what watery dreams may come.
Dearest, dearest fish,
A beta in life, an alpha in the aether.

Kyokushin (20?? to 2013)

                                                Graham Chapman (1941 to 1989)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Miniature Terrors: Armies for Hire

    Ah, winter time.  The earth slumbers snugly beneath a blanket of snow, and God keeps jerking that blanket away and putting it back, undoubtedly in an attempt to piss off dear Terra.  Based on my normal response when someone disturbs my sleep, I'm expecting volcanoes any day now.  But these warm spells are more than just God's bedtime hijinks, they are tangible sprinklings of hope.  Opportunities to dream of spring time.  And throughout the world, spring time means just one thing: Brutal, insect-on-everything-else violence.

This weeks nightmares brought to you by Mother Nature, Ltd...

Segue complete!  And now, like a disco dancing CEO, let's get down to business.  

I was the prime architect and care-giver of a garden this summer, and, like the good little nature-elf that I am, I decided to grow this garden pesticide-free.  We here at Attention Boors are friends of the earth, and I, not wishing to hasten our own demise nor earn Will's eternal and slightly bothersome scorn, opted to fight fire ants with fire ants (so to speak).  Yes indeed, friends, I decided that the best way to rid my garden of any possible produce pilfering pests was to bring in my own miniature army. However, I am a man of modest means, so unlike Donald Trump, who has a team of scientists creating tiny humans with machine guns to fight crime in his garden (Lies, 1), I had to find my soldiers the natural way.  To this end, research was commenced and subsequently led to several trips to local greenhouses.  Money was exchanged, awkward over-the-cash-register banter was experienced, and I returned to my field of tiny, green ground-leechers with the homes of their future protectors.  I'll be discussing these various plants, my adventure, and the wee beasties who assisted me in growing some kick-ass veggies periodically on this blog.  As a taste of things to come, I leave you with this.

   Observe the noble soldier beetle:

Hello there.

    According to the University of Kentucky entemology website, these killer whales of the garden eat "caterpillars, eggs, aphids, and other soft-bodied insects." Personally, I've seen the benefits of soldier beetles in my garden and I highly recommend putting in a little effort to attract them.  There was a bank of lemon balm near my garden and it was an excellent attractor of soldier beetles.  I've also heard that goldenrod is good for that, too. If you try this at home, and use lemon balm, be sure to keep it in a pot or separated from the rest of the garden somehow, because lemon balm is kind of an asshole and likes to take over everything. However, it is quite effective, so plant it right and it will work wonders for you.  I had a 3'x5' patch, which is perhaps an unrealistice amount for most small gardens, but I'm sure even a solid 2'x2' plot would be fine.  It is a tall plant, but does fine in the shade (in my experience), so behind the tomato plants (if you have any of those) would be just fine.  Here is what it looks like:

Ooh! Pretty and it smells good?! I'll take it!

    So there you have it.  Look forward to my next bugs n' gardening post which probably will feature one of my favorite garden defenders, the long-legged fly!