Colder than it looks

Odin eats the generic Oreos for lunch with the gusto of a starving man who had been sucking bark post-apocalypse and had just found a box of generic Oreos in the back pocket of a mail carrier slaughtered by a rampaging mob back before the zombies killed all the mobs.

Walking is a little complicated. He has to pin a box of Greek salad (getting in the mood for a pre-Easter week in Crete) under one arm, hold the box of cookies in one hand and simultaneously twist cookies apart, eat the halves without frosting, press the frosting-halves together to make whole cookies with double frosting and eat them, without getting hit by a car or spotted by a crow. If his mobile phone rang he’d fall apart.

The day is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Colder than it looks, sunny, and Friday before a week of vacation. Family doing well, hobbies doing okay, sort of a general feeling of… despairlessness that is really delicious, in contrast to the cookies which are, seriously, how did our society evolve to such a point, where a grown man eats something like this? And not just any man: Odin, god of the North?


But Odin is without despair. At this very moment, he can feel a new universe pressing in on this one, like a pig at a trough, like a pervert in a subway, like a deaf man in a mosh pit, like a ray of light reflected from a hospital window, like wind on an otherwise still day like those bugs that hop around on the beach like a bird high up like

At night, at the Large Hadron Collider

At lunch there is a pause in the drizzle and Odin walks to the store. He gets a sandwich and chips, although he always regrets getting chips, even though he has plenty to regret this week already, much of it linked to his inability to handle emotions properly.

There is a ‘plink’ as the grey crow lands atop a blue compact car.

It’s always a blue car. Maybe the crow prefers blue, maybe there is just a high incidence of blue cars in this neighborhood. Do car colors vary by neighborhood? If so, according to what factors?

Odin shares a ham sandwich with two grey crows and one black one.

There are a lot of pedestrians passing on the sidewalk and Odin tries to time tossing pieces of sandwich so no one notices, although he is not sure why. Huginn and Muninn also seem to be pretending not to know him when people pass, although they probably don’t know why, either.

What say the slain?

At night, at the Large Hadron Collider, when the scientists are all asleep in their beds, the janitors and cleaning women do secret research of their own. Closing all the doors to keep down noise and turning on only one light in ten, they fire up the LHC and seek experimental evidence for the multiverse.

It started with the idea that additional dimensions might be undiscovered because they were too small, and the realization of a cleaning woman that the real reason might be: we didn’t realize what we were really looking for.

What if love was one of the missing dimensions?

After this, other missing dimensions were quickly identified (posited) and found.

Most basically, we (and everything else) consist of strings vibrating in the previously-known dimensions, and in the additional dimensions. Strings vibrate in dimensions including love, and the sacred, and the random and the accidental. They vibrate in beauty and surprise.

The LHC janitorial staff is looking into the following dimensions (and the particles associated with them):

[Dimension - Particle]

Love – Lovoton

Sacred – Sacroton

Surprise – Bikkuriton

Random – Chanceoton

Accidental – Accidenton

New – Novelton

Similarity – Alikeoton

Opposite – Oppositon

Eroticism – Eroton

Orgasm – Orgaton

And so at night, when the scientists sleep, the janitorial staff does its research. In the dimly-lit vastness of the LHC they learn that when you collide a Loveoton and a Sacroton you get a Bikkuriton and a Chanceoton. When a Bikkuriton and a Chanceoton collide, an Accidenton and a Novelton result. A collision between an Alikeoton and an Oppositon gives you an Eroton and an Orgaton. A collision between an Orgaton and an Eroton produces the original Loveoton and the Sacroton.

The janitorial staff work all night on their research.

Yet in the morning, when the scientists file back into work and don their white lab coats and protective goggles, the sleepy janitorial staff have gone home or to their second jobs, and the LHC is spic and span.


What say the hanged?

Someone said on the radio yesterday that, toward the end of the Middle Ages, people were worried about the collapse of civilization and the end of the world, and convinced that the end of the world was a literal possibility, and that the only thing preventing the collapse of civilization was the Church, and the hard work of scribes, copying out one manuscript after another, and things like that.

And then, despite their best efforts, it did come to an end. Medieval civilization came to an end, but the world did not.

Instead: Renaissance. An explosion of enlightenment and prosperity.

All that ended were some dark ages.

Could it be, that is what’s happening now all over again?


It snowed just now

I stood out on the sidewalk watching it, using a sewing machine as an umbrella. Wearing my bowler hat. An umbrella wearing a bowler hat is absurd. The cat had a worm. Possibly more than one, so I took her and her brother to the vet for a pill each. And to make an appt to have her sterilized. They shaved her belly and did an ultrasound to see if she is pregnant, because she refused to pee on the little paper stick.

There I stood, looking at that familiar ultrasound monitor image, trying to think of a good joke, none coming. How will I explain it to my wife if one looks like me, like that. And all the while, big flakes of fallout drifting to earth out the window. Apocalyptic humor.

Freshly-shaved cat belly is a soft thing.

We’ve been looking for the leopard slug, or whatever it was, unsuccessfully. It’s out there, somewhere. It’s a feeling like when the jungle drums stop, you know? That slug is out there.

I hear they come from Spain. Climate change. They come from Spain, like these butterflies a friend found on her oleander come from Greece. Like the butterflies, only way more slowly.

Except, it didn’t snow.

All along, part of me was afraid something like this might happen

slugfaceMy wife discovered this bad boy out on the terrace this morning. “Honey, come outside and tell me if this is a rubber slug, because it sure didn’t feel like rubber when I grabbed it,” she said.

We have been playing with rubber slugs lately.

Her theory is that this guy is a result of my experimentation with beer and slugs earlier this summer. So I may have to update my findings. Or at least include beer-induced gigantism among garden slugs among the potential effects examined in next year’s expanded study.

It’s really quite a beautiful specimen. Nearly a foot long – I say nearly a foot long, I can say that, as we are dealing with imprecise science here. Nearly a foot long, and fast. It tried to attack my camera when I was taking pictures of it this morning. I am guessing it got into the Heinekken and Red Bull.

Beautiful pattern. I am from the Pacific Northwest, and I have never seen a slug larger or more beautiful than this one. Here is a full-body shot:


Brane dump

  1. Where can I get a pastry knife/pastry blender in Austria? And what are they called in German? I just get puzzled looks when I describe them to store clerks.
  2. Saw a trailer for “The Men Who Stare at Goats” a while ago. It looks funny. It has Jeff Bridges as a New Agey instructor-guru type. WHY ALWAYS JEFF BRIDGES? DO HOLLYWOOD PRODUCERS READ A SCRIPT, SEE A PONYTAIL AND SAY, “CALL BRIDGES’ AGENT, WE NEED A HIPPIE?” I’m getting tired of that.
  3. As much as I like Jeff Bridges.
  4. Just read Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” a while back too. It took me a long time to get started because the first paragraph broke my heart with its beauty and simplicity, the way you knew both main characters IMMEDIATELY from just a few well-chosen words that weren’t even describing them, and knew that nothing good was waiting for them out there in that post-not-further-described-apocalyptic-world. However, with that great start, I could only be disappointed by the end, and I was. I was left with the feeling that the language was, ultimately, TOO poetic and self-conscious and beautiful for a novel. There were too many coincidences although an argument could convince me otherwise, namely the argument that of 100 pairs of such characters, 99 would have died well before the final chapter in this hostile environment; the only pair that would make it to the end  of the book would be the lucky one. You can be careful and wise and knowledgeable and prepared, but without luck you are fucked pal at least in a vague apocalypse. But I found McCarthy’s economics grand, the most compelling part of the book. Following an event such as the vaguely described one in theh book, everything would become scarce almost immediately. Within 10 years: no bullets, no shoes, no food.
  5. Srsly, our current system ROCKS in comparison.

BeeGee Apocalypse

It was snowing this morning, like something from a Sigur Ros greatest hits video, maybe because I had a Sigur Ros CD in the player. Not that Sigur Ros causes snow, just Sigur Ros similes. It wasn’t a greatest hits CD, though, but a specific CD, the whitish one with a little person in some treeish things.

My day started off productively.  I think my coffee was stronger than usual, at least it sounded that way when I listed to my wife my pre-6.30 achievements. Fed the cats! Got the paper! Made bacon and eggs for the kid and me! Cleaned the litterbox! Fed the birds! And more! I am a god! (Just kidding, God).

A day of win, and still so early. The trick is, I say the trick, actually a trick, a trick is to expect the worst, then it’s never worse than you expected, and usually better, so not only no disappointment, but actually usually a nice surprise. The inner contradiction of this method, of course, is that it — the method — hinges on not expecting the worst. The method, examined closely, is expecting things to be average but pretending to yourself to expect the worst – pretending to be an absolute pessimist. So, kind of a dishonest method. Also, it’s hard to expect the worst, because you can always think of something worse than what you just thought of. Zombies! No, wait, zombies holding your family hostage! No, wait zombies eating your family! No, wait, BeeGees eating your family! BeeGee apocalypse!

Aim for the teeth!

After that it all sort of unravelled, because suddenly the BeeGees were in Ireland and people were arguing over how they could get to Ireland in an apocalypse, and deciding RyanAir and stuff.

I’ll take the Icelandic economy for ten, Bob

The end of the world interests me as much as the next guy, maybe more. The reason I don’t write about it here is I figure, either you’re interested in it, in which case you are already reading somewhere else about AIG managers investing their bailout $$ in cucumber masks, or you’re not interested in it and will find out the hard way soon enough. Either way, I figure we’re here for the kittens, amirite?

I had a dream last night – in fact, I was having it this morning when my alarm went off – that a Turkish international economist had called me from Washington DC and left a message on my thin white Nokia cellphone (Finno-Ugric/Turkish connection! woot, extra dream points). Here is the weird, dreamlike part: The message consisted of a telephone number that would be “open” for the next ten minutes, she said. She read the number, and then, knowing I never understand anything people say on my Nokia, she read it again with a mechanical male voice. At least two of the numbers were in a foreign language, however.

I wrote them all down when I woke, figuring I might buy a lotto ticket today. I just googled the two words I had not understood. One turns out to be a Banda initiation rite, the other is a word in another language meaning pilgrimage.