Friday, December 31, 2010

Writing Tip - Get Published, DUH


Now that I am FINALLY published in the first issue of Nap I can give this writing tip: get published!  Then people can read your stories!  DUH.  If you're not published then how are people going to read what you wrote?  I guess you can show them one by one, but that's going to take a long time!  So get published already!

Here are the steps to get published.

1.  Write a story or poem.
2.  Submit said story or poem.
3.  Wait.  Go for a walk or get a burrito or something.
4.  Get accepted and then published!
5.  Show off to friends through various internet outlets: Facebook, Twitter, etc.
6.  Write blogs about getting published and give advice because now you can because you are published!
7.  Go on a drinking binge, feel the futility of publication and of life.
8.  Wake up and repeat!!!

Have a Happy New Year and next year just get published already!  Goodness!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Now that I have OVER 500 friends on Facebook...


...I can rent out an Applebee's and have a 500 Friend Party and I will be the host because only I know all 500 people.  We'll have appetizers, like buffalo wings and curly fries and we'll sing karaoke - OF COURSE we'll sing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody, all 500 of us, can you imagine that song 500 people strong?  It'll be like bringing Freddy Mercury back from the dead.


We'll drink from a fountain of beer and my 500 friends will marvel at the ice sculpture of me, in my honor, and they'll take pictures with it and share stories of the times I hung out with them and the times I should have hung out with them and they'll share secrets about me that I only wanted to share with certain people, but no, all 500 people will know everything about me, but they won't judge they'll be in awe.


Then we'll watch The Long Goodbye on a 42 inch flat screen, one of Robert Altman's best, and not all 500 of them will like it, the movie has it's haters, but they'll sit and watch because they don't want to end the symmetry of the 500 friend party.

The problems will begin when we try and split the bill.


This always sucks, but imagine when you have to do it with 500 people!  And, of course, like 100 of them will have forgotten their wallets or only have brought debit cards, and they'll ask where the nearest ATM is and you'll tell them, but no, no, it's not their bank, can you spot them this time?

This will cause friction.  People will argue.  They will complain about not eating the appetizers they're having to pay for.  I didn't drink this, they'll tell the bewildered waitress.  There's been a mistake.  Management will be called.  It will take hours to sort out.

The bathrooms will break down from overuse, the bar will run out of drinks.  We will become sweaty and tired and frustrated.  Who thought of this 500 friend party anyway?  Who thought this was a good idea?

And then, finally, when everyone's had enough, we'll burn the Applebee's to the ground.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things I want to do next year

Get published like everywhere

Hiking

Visit Philadelphia

Have a blast at AWP

Get so drunk that I actually do make a mistake

Write a play

Ice skating

Need to have to MUST lose ten-fifteen pounds

Take so many pictures at a party that I literally document every single thing that happens there and it won't even be a good party but people will always wonder why there are freaking 1500 pictures of it on Facebook

Start casually dating: I'VE NEVER DONE THIS

Get over at least one of these fears: Lightning, Embarrassing Myself in Public, Bugs, Decapitation, Casual Dating, Hard Drugs

Investigate Chicago more fully

Write Blogs more frequently

Read at least one story a day (short stories, flash, etc)

Have the opportunity to rob someone, then at the last minute back down because I'm not ready yet

See some freaking shows in Chicago!  Goodness!

What do YOU want to do next year?!?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Writing Tip - Meet Rebekah

First, read her blog:

http://justanotherwaitress.com/


Look at her pictures on her blog.  Rebekah Brown is one of my best friends.  The world needs to know this.

Writing Tip #2 - Meet Rebekah!

How is this a writing tip?  If you are fortunate enough to meet Rebekah Brown in your lifetime, which you probably will, these things happen, you will need to become friends with her immediately.  It will be hard at first, because she seems weird.

But then her eyes will glaze crazily when she has an insane idea, or she'll take your joke and add to your joke and make it funnier, reaching new levels, then breaking those levels, like levels on a video game or something.  Or maybe she will make a moment so awkward that you'll have to rush out of the room to breathe again.  Or maybe you'll have the best conversation of your life with her, like I did, on a park bench, eight in the morning.  And then everything will be different.

I don't know what you'll do.  I'm not psychic, so get off my back.  But I do know you'll be better off after meeting her.  Because she is weird.  Really fucking weird.  And not in that annoying way that people say, 'oh I'm so weird' and then they're not really weird and they're lame.  NO.  Like WEIRD.  Like not-of-this-planet weird.  I'm not saying Rebekah Brown is an alien but SHE PROBABLY IS A FUCKING ALIEN.  She'll always see the world in a different way, a better way, if you ask me, with her five eyes (two in the front, two in the back, one on the right) and electric mind powers.

And isn't that what being a writer is all about?

So if you want to be a writer, there are two choices.  You either have to be Rebekah Brown or you have to meet Rebekah Brown.  This is my writing tip to you.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Writing Tip - Listen to Foreign Music!

Because I will soon be a published writer I feel like I should share my writing knowledge to you so you can be published too.

Writing Tip #1 - Listen to Foreign Music!

You should listen to music that you are unfamiliar with while writing. Right now I am writing a story that will change short stories forever. To achieve this, I am listening to Utada Hikaru's "Traveling". You should listen to foreign songs while you write so you won't get distracted by the words. Also, Asian girls are pretty.




Sunday, November 28, 2010

My Dad Invents THE SPAMWICH

During Thanksgiving break, I had the opportunity to make my parents' breakfast.  I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE BREAKFAST.  

But I do know how to cook two things: EGGS AND SPAM.  I scrambled the eggs with pride, and fried the Spam like anyone fries Spam, with a mix of elation and shame.  

But I forgot an important element.  My Dad hates eggs!  

Now here's where the magic happens.

Instead of freaking out and throwing a tantrum, like most men would do, he gave me a smile and patted me on my head, like I was eight again.  "Give me the Spam," he said.  

I  gave him two loaves of fried Spam.  He took the Spam, and a slice of pure American Cheese, put them on some bread and set them in the microwave.  

Here is the results:


MY DAD HAS INVENTED THE SPAMWICH.  

Not only did he eat this whole thing without sharing, without stopping, as shown here:


He then proceeded to bring up it's creation for the rest of my time home.  When we got gas for the car.  "That was one good sandwich, wasn't it?  I don't even know how I thought of it."

When we went to the mall: "It just happened.  Cheese and Spam.  And then bread.  Who would have thunk it?"

When we picked up my mother from work: "I just microwaved that thing.  Didn't even know how long.  The world is a crazy place."

Before my sister came over for Thanksgiving dinner:  "Did you tell your sister about this?  She needs to know about this.  She would be proud."

And now I share it with the world.  His greatest invention:

2 loaves of Spam
American Cheese (please take out of individual package for better enjoyment)
Bread (white)
Then microwave for...he doesn't remember, you'll figure it out.

You can thank him later.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Chew on Lit

If you haven't read this article on lit magazines you should: http://bit.ly/cY6LKe

It says that lit mags, and the short story, are cool again.  This has been my feeling for months now.  I feel like we're in the middle of a short story renaissance.  Amelia Gray, Christian Tebordo, Lindsay Hunter, Blake Butler, Patrick Sommerville...are just a few of the greats that are making this a great time to read short stories.  

Soon, I will be published and then rich like all of these people.  After this happens, I will open my own store, hopefully here in Chicago.  

It will be called CHEW ON LIT.

It will have the largest lit mag selection IN THE COUNTRY.  We will sell lit mags, NO BOOKS.  NO NEWSPAPERS.  LIT MAGS.  


...We will also sell chewing tobacco.  

I do not chew chewing tobacco, but people that chew chewing tobacco seem to have limited places to buy and chew it.  This is an untapped market, trust me on this.  We will make most of our money from selling this, TRUST ME.  

This will be a place where people can chew chewing tobacco and will not be judged them for it.


We will sell designer spitoons for them to spit in.  We will not judge them.  


On Sunday Nights, and sometimes Wednesdays, we will play silent films.  


There will be a live organist and piano player.  It will be AWESOME.  


We will have readings and lit mag release parties.  We will have art exhibits and art experiments too, sometimes.  

And, of course, BEER.  Bongo Zeptobrewery will provide the beer because my friend Dan makes the damn best home brew and by then he'll be famous too.  Check them out!  

So we got lit mags, chewing tobacco, silent films, readings, art shows, release parties, and BEER.  It will be amazing.  It will be perfect.  It will be CHEW ON LIT.  

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Things I Believe In


If you don't believe in something, you'll fall for anything. I heard that great quote from the Sucker Punch Trailer. That Zack Snyder sure is smart!!!!

So it made me think of all the things I believe in. Make your own list and we will compare!

I believe that it's impossible to spend less then 10 dollars at Chipotle.

I believe that if a fat person asks you if they are fat and you honestly answer, yes, you're fat, they will eat you because they are fat.

I believe that if everyone had a nap time, the world would be a better place.

I believe fun is fun, except that one time when it got WEIRD.

I believe that lightning is man's one true enemy.

This I believe.


I believe that you can turn that frown upside down, sometimes.

I believe that fools fall in love, sure. But other people fall in love too, cool people, so get off my back.

I believe that pizza feels good in my mouth!

I believe in staring at people, then looking away when they notice you're staring at them, then pretending that you were just looking at the clock, or the painting to their right.

I believe in nice shoes, even if they kill your feet. It's worth it.

I believe in food, GOD, I love food. Wait, am I fat?

I believe in you. All of you. All of us have a chance. It's true. Good night.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

How Not To Do Your Homework

First, eat sushi, then go downstairs to the second floor cafeteria, and buy more sushi to eat later.

Next, Watch YouTube videos of the web show Clark and Michael from like three years ago.



Then: watch Amelia Gray reading at the Encyclopedia show.



Okay, okay, that'll take some time, sure - but then you have to call the parents! That'll take up plenty of time!


But they won't answer! Write an angry letter to them because of this.

USE CALLIGRAPHY SO THEY KNOW YOU'RE SERIOUS.


Condemn everyone, especially that fucking dog, Falco.


Go to CVS to buy book of stamps to mail the letter.

Buy some Gatorade, the red kind, to fulfill your daily electro-light intake.

FORGET TO BUY THE STAMPS.

FUCK.

Forgo the letter. Eat some more sushi.



Write a blog about it. Link the blog in your Facebook account. Link it to your twitter. Like it on your Facebook and leave a comment just in case people don't notice it. Practice self-loathing. Fall asleep early on a Saturday night.

Dream of rhinos.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Top 10 Top 10 Lists

In honor of 10/10/10, which I missed because I didn't really think about it, I've compiled a listing of the top 10 top 10 lists that people have or should make. Without further ado...! The list!

10. Top 10 Best People Ever, just really chill people, you know?
9. Top 10 Books to Read about Space IN SPACE
8. Top 10 Places to go if you're going to live forever
7. Top 10 names to call that person you don't like across the hallway
6. Top 10 10-year-olds
5. Top 10 ways to deal with your need to make top 10 lists
4. Top 10 comedians who died hilariously
3. Top 10 sicknesses that EVERYONE is probably going to get
2. Top 10 things that look better grouped in groups of 10

And the top 1 thing in my top 10 top 10 lists is...

1. Top 10 top 10 lists!

What! How'd that happen! I'm so honored! Thank you so much for all of your support!!!! And thank you 10 for being there so we can make lists from your bottom to your top!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A note on Investigative Blogging

Investigative Blogging is going to be the future of writing. Read this blog by the founder of investigative blogging:


Then take two pills and call me in the morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tao Lin, Getting Lost, and Purple Rain Purple Rain

I saw Tao Lin tonight at the Book Cellar! He signed the book I just finished, "Richard Yates" and a book I'm just starting, "Eeeee Eee Eeee". He was amazingly awkward.

I wanted to say something witty and tell him how much his writing has impacted me in the short time I've been reading him.

But I was scared and the wit wouldn't come out.

Fortunately, another writer from Roosevelt convinced me to go back in line and show him a flyer for our Literary Magazine, Oyez Review. Both of us, brave, extended an invitation for him to submit. He nodded, then folded our flyer into a box, where he placed other cards that people have given him inside. I'm not sure if that's good or not.

BUT I MET TAO LIN.

On the way home, I got off on the wrong stop. I was lost, but I wasn't scared because I heard music. It was like Chicago was rocking out for me.

I followed it, and, sure enough, there was an outdoor concert, a band called 16 Candles, singing "Purple Rain" to a crowd of people, on outdoor tables, drinking beer. A sign over them read "Octoberfest". Maybe they're trying to get a jump on the month. Ambush the fucker.

A man with long hair was grooving to it. His facial features were exactly like Patrick Swayze. His dancing was not. Then it reminded me that he was gone and I became sad. Then I became happy again, because two lesbians were slow dancing in front of me. They looked like they had known each other for years. Someday, I want to love a lesbian that much.

I think things will work out here. Purple Rain. Purple Rain.



Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Places I Thought Were Local But Are Not Local, Part 1: McCormick and Schmick's

McCORMICK AND SCHMICK'S. I thought you were a local restaurant in Philadelphia. YOU ARE NOT A LOCAL RESTAURANT IN PHILADELPHIA.

I spent a lot of money at your Philadelphia restaurant thinking I was spending money at a local Philadelphia restaurant. But here I see you in Chicago. YOU ARE NOT LOCAL.

I HATE YOU McCORMICK AND SCHMICK'S!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blog Review!!

I just read this stunning new blog called: HAVE A GREAT CHICAGO! How clever is that? I think it's by a new, up-in-coming writer! Highly recommended investigative reporting blog! Check it out!!!!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Chicago Dreamin' Part 2 - Not Going Down Without a Fight!


CHICAGO. I'm not scared of you. Even though I had a dream about you where I got lost and eaten by a herd of these fucking things:


What the hell are those things?!?

I'm not afraid of Chicago. Even though it's massive. Even though I have no friends in it's prestigious "Loop" district.


But it doesn't matter. I will out-loop this loop. I will out-second this city.


I will Roosevelt you in the face, Roosevelt University!


I WILL FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU ARE, YOU FUCKING GIANT BEAN!


And you, LAKE! You're not so great!

And YOU! CUBS!
....fuck you!

I think I've made my point here. I'm absolutely terrified.

Pictures of PUPPETS taking Pictures!

THIS IS DUSTIN.

He's taking a picture here, a beautiful nature shot on the jagged hills of Mt. Rainier! Dustin knows a thing or two about adventure. And he knows a thing or three about pictures. He took most of the pictures on the hiking trip, but he probably won't say so, cause he's modest.

I've left many things behind in Philadelphia, but Dustin is a constant bro. People sometimes stare when I carry him around, but what do they know about friendship? What do they know about adventure?

DUSTIN KNOWS.

And this blog is dedicated to him.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Chicago Dreamin' Part 1 - POINT Z

I'm looking ahead, Chicago dreamin', to Chicago, and my new life.

But that might be a little boring at first, and there's going to be a big learning curve, and it'll be stressful, so I decided to step up my dreamin' and go from Point A to Point Z!

In two and a half years time, I will have a collection of short stories that I will be trying to sell. There will be about ten stories inside, with a couple essays, and even two or three poems. But let's skip that process too - writing and selling writing isn't fun to write about.

What's fun is TITLES. I've narrowed it down to 4 titles for my future short story collection. This is Point Z.

Here they are:


Some Things You Just Don't Talk About

This Is What It Means To Be Displaced

You Always Say That

Everything Will Be Just Fine As Long As You Do It Yourself


Look for one of these titles on your I-Pad.4 or Kindle 3000 as you zoom through the city on your jet pack, over the post-apocolyptic landscape of 2013.

CHICAGO DREAMIN'!!!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Pictures of People Taking Pictures Part 4 - Big Sky Country Edition

Here we have my Dad taking a picture of my favorite picture of the whole trip! It was a bubbling pool of sulfer right in the beautiful and breathtaking Yellowstone.

He's such a pro with his camera, the classic Minolta, one of the last of its kind, that he was even able to catch the tiny white bubbles escaping the steaming blue earth. I don't know why this pool of sulfer was blue, but it was the bluest blue that ever blued, if you know what I mean. And it was clear enough that we could see the crevices and small canyons as it stretched down below. Simply amazing! Big Sky Country, we bow down to you!

Monday, August 2, 2010

How Do You Perceive Yourself, Falco?

Do you know what you are? Who you are? Do you know your name? Do you know what a name is?

When we eat at the dinner table and you try to join us, do you think you're one of us? Or that we are one of you? When you see your reflection, do you know that is you?

Do you know the concept of you, Falco?

When you bark at other dogs at the park, are you trying to scare them away, or find a friend? Is it lonely for you, Falco? Do you sleep to escape all of this, Falco? Do you dream? Do you dream about us?

Do you know the concept of us, Falco?


I sometimes wonder, when you attempt to make love to my mother's legs, if this is a statement of your adoration of her, or if, somewhere in that mind of yours, you believe her legs are one of you, and that you are one of hers, and if you believe that connection is enough to join you two together, you stupid, dumb rapist, Falco.
Do you know how happy you make my parents, Falco? Do you know how much they love you?

Do you know the concept of love, Falco?


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

28


Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 28 years old. You might think that is old. If you do, you are stupid, because it is not old. 28 is a very small, young number.

There are 28 days (usually) in the SMALLEST month of the year, February. 28 days is nothing compared to the 31 days in December - (now, 31 - that's old!)

28 is also the number of dominoes in a domino set, the world's SMALLEST game.

In math, 28 is the second PERFECT NUMBER. I don't know exactly what that means, but it gives one pause, doesn't it?

There are 28 letters in the Danish alphabet. Soak that shit in.

So, yeah, I'm more then happy with turning 28. There was nothing special about 27, the not-so-perfect-number.

28. It's not old, it's small. It's perfect. It's Danish.

Friday, July 23, 2010

MY DAD


Years ago, when my Dad was stationed in South Korea, he jumped in front of a speeding train.

He had a wife waiting for him at home, and two children. My sister was two. I was one.

After he
lifted the five-year-old boy from the tracks and brought him to safety, the boy cried uncontrollably. It happened so fast that the onlookers, and there were many, thought that the both of them were crushed underneath the train's massive frame. But they were alive, and the boy ran home, which was on a hill overlooking the train. My Dad never saw him again. He did receive a medal though, and my sister and I are photographed with him on the front page of an army newspaper. He was 22 years old. Six years younger then I am now.

This rea
lly happened.

So did this: when we were stationed in I
llinois, a big man, over 300 pounds, was choking to death at the side of the road. A cop was doing everything he could to save this man, but he was too small and the man too big. People drove by, people watched. The big man was going fast, he was going from pink to purple, dying right there. My Dad, and another Sargent, through efforts I can't fathom, were able to expel the piece of hot dog from his throat.

I've heard these stories, I've seen the meda
ls. And I admired these things, and I admired my Dad. But I've never seen it myself, until this week.

My Dad doesn't
look for trouble, he was just watering his plants. It was almost ten at night. The VW Bug pulled up across the street, four houses down. A sports car, a souped-up Jaguar, high beams blasting, was right on it's tail. A young man jumped out of the VW, screaming:

"What do you want from me? Why are you fo
llowing me?"

Whoever was in the Jaguar said nothing. He simp
ly revved the engine in response. Inching closer. The high beams lit the whole neighborhood.

I was on Facebook (natch) when my Dad asked me to come outside with him. We inched c
loser to the cars as he explained the situation.

He ca
lled out to the young man, "Are you okay?"

The young man nodded. He to
ld us that the Jaguar had been following him for miles, after he yelled at him for driving too slow. He wanted to go home but didn't want the Jaguar to follow him there. The Jaguar backed up, then came forward. The young man said he wasn't scared, even though he was.

We waited across the street as the young man ca
lled the police. Inside the Jaguar, I was picturing a drug dealer or a thug, maybe five of them, holding machine guns and machetes, craving retribution. I imagined a TV newscast, with breaking news:

"Tragedy strikes a quiet neighborhood, as a father and son are gunned down, two men at the wrong p
lace, at the wrong time."

I've been trained by the city to avoid things
like this. To keep on walking in the sign of trouble. So it was completely alien to me to see my Dad walk right into the heart of trouble, right to the VW. He told me to stay on the other side, that it was better if we were spread out. More than 10 years out of the military, and he was still considering tactical maneuvers.

I watched as he ca
lmly stood with the young man, then walked over to the Jaguar. He would tell me later that he told the driver that he admired what he did with his car, how he always loved the Jaguar. The driver, not the insane drug lord I imagined, a tired man, not that much older then my Dad, and not that much different either, replied with a simple thank you.

My Dad did not take sides. He did not esca
late the situation. He did not pretend to know who was right or try to barge into this as a masculine force, as so many lesser people would have.

He was a ca
lming barrier between these two sides, his presence, his insistence on being there, stopped any escalation.

"I just wanted to make sure they didn't ki
ll each other," he told me, after the police arrived and took over.

And he did, when a
ll the neighbors around us pretended not to hear. Because he knows, even though he might not have the words for it (that's my job), that it's all about people being there for people. He knew it in Korea, when the boy danced stupidly on the train tracks; in Illinois, when the man was choking to death at the side of the road; in twenty years in the army; as nearly thirty years as a father; it's all about being there. I wish I could say I always live by these words, but my Dad is a better man then I. Which is fine, because he's a better man then most.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

My love letter to Wireless



Dear Wireless,

I fucking
love you. I wish you were here with me, always. I took you for granted before, and all that you did for me. The instant gratification. The streaming videos. Hulu. Facebook. IMDB. I never knew how much I Wikipedia'd that shit until I wasn't able to Wikipedia that shit. Blogging is nothing without you.

I have you now, brief
ly, and I don't want to let you go. Run away with me. No one has to know. We will have beautiful babies and tan on the beach. I fucking love you, baby. IN THAT WAY. I know, it's weird. But I want to go all the way with you. IN THAT WAY. We can make it classy, I'm a classy guy. I'll bring bubbly. That's champagne, not the cheap shit either. Tell me what you think. No pressure. I will dream of you, until our next meeting.

Love Always,


Tim

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Things I Forgot I Missed

A clear night sky, stars everywhere. Seeing old friends. Transversing the backyard with my Dad, watching him worry. That stupid dog jumping all over me. The Walmart I worked at. The good people there.

The sky.

Joking with my sister like we are the only ones who get it, because we are the only ones who get it. Starbucks with my family, us ordering a hundered different things, coffees, and chais, and muffins, and scones, my Dad watching the car the whole time, that stupid dog inside it, my Dad hoping that he's not scared and won't be kidnapped. Does he mean dognapped? No, he mean's kidnapped.

That sky.

Jack in the Box, my God, how I missed you. Driving aimlessly until the aim is to drive. Mt. Rainier, just there, just sitting there. Hearing my parents laugh. They have the most wonderful laugh. I forgot how much I missed their laugh. Chanting with my Mom before sleep. That dog lying next to us when we do chant, our voices soothing to him, that stupid, loyal, wonderful, beautiful dog.

And that sky. That beautiful, star-sprinkled sky.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

On Moving

Haven't written in a while because I am moving and I am sad.

There is less than a week and everything's happening too fast. And I am moving...so...slow. Maybe a part of me just does not want to leave.

With that in mind...does anyone need a bookshelf? A cabinet? A stereo? These things are priceless to me. So you would pay equal to that amount.

Ah, the memories!

Or a futon? Perhaps...? Folds into a bed, but works as a couch. It's like getting two things for the price of one*! (*you would pay for the price of two)

The sadness! Of never seeing these things again! All I need is a good friend to take these things for a monetary amount equal to the sadness of parting with them; a true, kind, honest friend, to help me through this trying time.

But who is such a friend...?*


*Supplies are limited! Please contact me in this blog or on Facebook (please, no phone calls!) Accepts cash or check, with proper identification and proof of sustainable checking account. No refunds or exchanges. Offers based on the amount of love one has for Timothy. Friendship is very much at stake. Offer excluded for residents of Alaska and Hawaii.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Smart Humans or Dumb Aliens?

The Piri Reis Mystery

Piri Reis was a Turkish cartographer and admiral. He made this map, giving credit to past cartographers and his own calculations. He used as many as twenty ancient maps, some from as far back as the time of Alexander the Great.

This is the only half of the map that survives, which shows the coasts of Europe and Africa, parts of Brazil, and other Atlantic islands. Not to mention Antarctica. It is made from the skin of a gazelle.

And. It. Should. Not. Exist.

Why? Because it's from the 16th century. Because it shows landmasses that were unexplored, unknown at that time. And still, it is alarmingly accurate. Even undiscovered mountains and rivers are detailed on this map.

Even more chilling, to cartographers, is the illustration of the coast of Antarctica, not showing what it was like even when this map was made, but what it looked like millions of years before, when it was not covered in ice!

WHAT?

How is this so? Some say Aliens. Ancient Alien Astronauts that came down to Earth and helped past civilizations and provided them with tools, and, perhaps, accurately detailed maps.

This line of thinking follows the studies of Erich von Däniken, who wrote the classic, "Chariots of the Gods", which gave detailed theories on alien-human interaction in the ancient world, with evidence springing from the Egyptian Pyramids, the Babylonians, and Stonehenge.

I love this theory, sure, but it makes me wonder about the intelligence of these creatures and what purpose they had of arriving on Earth and helping us humans. What did they get out of the deal? And if they were willing to help us so much, why didn't they give us death rays or flying cars? Why am I not on Mars right now, talking with Bill, the Alien (shown pictured), about hyperspace?

These Aliens don't seem too smart to me. The problem remains - how many DUMB aliens do you know fly through space?

Answer: None. Which is why I think we're dealing with smart humans here, humans that knew a lot more than we think they did way back then. History is rife with human stupidity, but also with genius.

Who knows what people will think of us 300 years from now!

Will Humans or Aliens get credit for Twitter?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Regarding Fish Brains

These are fish brains.

As you can see here, fish brains develop greatly in the optic lobes and cerebellum, which are concerned with vision and balance respectively.

Did you know that fish can't feel pain? Studies have shown that fish brains are not sufficiently developed to allow them to feel a sense of pain or fear. The awareness of pain, as these studies reveal, come from specific regions of the cerebral cortex, an area that fish do not contain.

As you can see from this diagram here, there is no cerebral cortex. I haven't mentioned the pituitary, which is a endocrine gland about the size of a pea, which sits in a bony cavity. It secretes hormones. The olfactory bulb, as we all know, transmits odors, and works the same and maybe even better for fish. The cerebrum is self-explanatory.

Studies have also shown that humans can manipulate the growth of fish brains. Fish bred in captivity have smaller brains then those in the wild. But if one were to put more variety in a fish tank, something as simple as stones, the fish will develop a significantly larger cerebellum. They nest around these stones and move around less, and become more like their free cousins.

Though eating fish itself has been proven to be healthy for the human brain, eating an actual fish brain is not recommended because of the fucking horrible taste.

And now you know about fish brains!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Analyzing Joanna Newsom Songs Part 1

Joanna Newsom and I have this connection. She is a Folk GODDESS. Sure. Amazing vocals, natch.

But not everyone knows she took creative writing classes too, which definitely enhanced her lyrical skills. Some people have had trouble deciphering her complex songs. Understandable. Unless you have a Creative Writing Background, such as me, this would be difficult. This is a new segment where I will analyze Joanna Newsom's beautifully complex songs. I'm going to start with one of my favorites of hers.


GOOD INTENTIONS PAVING CO

Twenty miles left to the show
Hello, my old country, hello
Stars are just beginning to appear
And I have never in my life before been here

Okay, easy so far. She's twenty miles away from a show, and it's almost night time, and she's somewhere she doesn't know. Okay. Simple.

And it's my heart, not me, who cannot drive
At which conclusion you arrived
Watching me sit here, bolt upright
And cry for no good reason at the Eastering sky

Now we start getting tricky. She realizes that her heart can't drive a car, which makes sense, I guess, because it's an organ. And she's crying about it.

And the tilt of this strange nation
And the will to remain for the duration
Waving the flag
Feeling it drag

Here she's waving a flag, but it's falling on the ground.

Like a bump on a bump on a log, baby
Like I'm in a fistfight with the fog, baby
Step, ball-change, and a pirouette

I think here she's just rambling.

And I regret, I regret
How I said to you, honey, just open your heart
When I’ve got trouble even opening a honey jar
And that, right there, is where we are

Here Joanna is regretting the honey jar she left behind. Don't we all have regrets? Fucking beautiful.

And I've been 'fessing, double-fast
Addressing questions nobody asked
I'll get this joy off of my chest, at last
And I will love you till the noise has long since passed

She loves some guy with a nice chest, and she's asking him stuff.

I did not mean to shout, just drive
Just get us out, dead or alive
The road's too long to mention
Lord, it's something to see
Laid down by the Good Intentions Paving Company

Here the story takes a sharp turn, like all good stories should. She's involved in a high speed chase, her very life in the balance. What is this Good Intentions Paving Company? Some Mafia organization? Some Government Black Ops Group? Chilling.

All the way to the thing we've been playing at, darling

I can see that you're wearing your staying-hat, darling
For the time being, all is well
Won't you love me a spell

And the chase continues! Hats are blowing off in the wind! They're going to make it (darling) so can't the guy with a nice chest give her a kiss or two?

This is blindness, beyond all conceiving
While behind us, the road is leaving
And leaving, and falling back
Like a rope gone slack

Well, I saw straightaway that the lay was steep
But I fell for you, honey, easy as falling asleep
And that, right there is the course I keep

Through their escape, they have to deal with temporary blindness and ropes and the road itself falling apart, but they persevere. They stay the course and she falls asleep.

And no amount of talking
Is going to soften the fall
But, like after the rain
Step out of the overhang, that's all

His talking almost wakes her up. Don't wake Joanna!

It had a nice ring to it
When the old opry house rang
So with a solemn auld lang syne
Sealed, delivered, I sang

And there is hesitation
And it always remains
Concerning you, me
And the rest of the gang

I think...a gang is chasing them here? I don't know.

And in our quiet hour
I feel I see everything
And am in love with the hook
Upon which everyone hangs

....God, Joanna's fucking weird sometimes.

And I know you meant to show the extent
To which you gave a goddang
You ranged real hot and real cold
But I'm sold
I am at home on that range
And I do hate to fold
Right here, at the top of my game
When I've been trying with my whole heart and soul
To stay right here, in the right lane
But it can make you feel over and old
Lord, you know it's a shame
When I only want for you to pull over and hold me
Till I can't remember my own name

She gets home eventually, and the lovers embrace! Beautiful!

There you have it! Joanna Newsom: easily explained for you to enjoy! Now listen to this beautiful song!