Archive for February, 2006

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Conundrums

February 24, 2006

When I was in my early twenties, the question occurred to me of whether I’d rather lose my tongue or my nose.  I was intrigued by the question, and put it to many friends & co-workers to gauge their reactions.  At heart, it’s just a judgement of your vanity vs your practicality.  Your nose, frankly, serves little functional purpose other than to enhance your sense of taste.  And losing a nose would save you from several unpleasant smells on a daily basis.  Losing your tongue, on the other hand, would have a huge impact.  No speaking, ever again.  No presenting in meetings, no chatting up potential mates at the bar, no joking around with your friends, just silence, or worse yet, awkward malformed grunting.  When I first came up with the question, I decided I would rather lose my tongue.  At a glance, I would be like anyone else, not like the freakish Voldemort looking freaks with no noses & snake like slit where their nostrils used to be.  Almost everyone else chose to hold on to their tongue.  Now, at 34, I realize the long term impracticality of choosing looks over a basic human form of communication, but I still wonder if more young people would choose to retain nose over tongue, and if so, at what age does the inflexion point occur, where the majority of people suddenly realize the value of speech over looking like everyone else.

In my mid to late twenties the question that plagued me was whether it was preferrable to have your long term significant other (spouse or otherwise) leave you for someone of the same gender as you, or for the opposite gender.  This question was provoked by a succession of co-workers suddenly catching gay and leaving their wives & children for people of the same gender as them.  If you’re the person that’s being left, I used to believe I’d want my spouse to choose someone of the same gender as her, because then it’s like, “ah, I see.  the fault wasn’t with me at all, she just wanted to have sex with women, and since I’m not a woman, I wasn’t in the running.”  Whereas, if my wife leaves me for another man, I’m plagued with self-doubt.  What is it about me that isn’t manly enough for her?  Was I not tall enough?  Was I bad in bed?  Did she want someone with a better body?  etc…  I’ve found that this line of reasoning tends to hold true with men, but it’s hardly a scientific study, since the men get distracted by the thought of their wives having sex with another woman and then tend not to put enough diligent thought into the question.  Women, on the other hand, tend to disagree.  The rationale I heard the most was that when their husbands left them for another man, they would view the entire relationship as a lie, as though the man had never truly loved them.  There’s probably a deep sociological lesson to be learned here, but in a nutshell, it boils down to women being more emotional and trust oriented, and men more sexually driven, in my opinion.

Now, at 34, the question that has been on my mind for the past few years is a less philosophical one, but still just as personally revealing.  Let’s say you’re a man, and you were going to have sex with a woman whom you had formed a simple connection with over shared interests, etc, but that this was going to be a one night stand.  For the purposes of the hypothetical situation, let’s say you were on vacation in the Bahamas, and you were returning home the next morning, never to see each other again.  Now, let’s branch out.  One of the two situations is possible; which one is preferrable is the question.  In situation one, the woman is missing a key limb.  Either the left or right arm, or possibly the left or right leg.  She remains in every other way perfectly compatible, funny, sexy, interesting, etc.  Just no leg.  Or arm.  One major limb missing.  Now, the second situation is exactly the same, same woman, same interest level, same attractiveness, etc, EXCEPT this woman is missing both legs & both arms.  Which woman do you have sex with?  The three limbed woman, or the no limbed woman.  It seems like a very simple choice to me: the no limbed woman.  If you’re going to be a bear, why not be a grizzly?  Will you really look back on the people you slept with at the end of your hopefully long & fulfilling life & remember that all of them had the same number of limbs?  No, you’d remember the ones that stuck out, right?  And what would stick out more than a gorgeous torso with no arms and legs.  The number of people who have slept with someone with three limbs is probably pretty high, whereas the number of torso fuckers has to be a pretty elite group, like the Blue Angels or something.  I dunno, I guess all I’m saying is, if you have no arms & no legs, keep your chin up, there’s someone out there for you.

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I really want this T-shirt

February 22, 2006

This one, right here.  But the fact that I work with a dwarf* kinda puts me out of the running.  I could wear it on weekends, but now that I have a two month old, where the hell am I going on weekends that people can laugh at my witty T-Shirt.  Lousy dwarf, ruining my t-shirt wearing fun.  Technically, dwarves aren't the same as midgets, but I bet some people would be offended nonetheless.  Lousy people, being offended on behalf of my dwarvish co-worker.

*not the cool kind from Lord of the Rings.

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Who is having sex with this woman???*

February 22, 2006

Janise Wulf, who is 62-years-old, holds her four-day-old baby boy, Adam, in Mercy Medical Center Redding’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Redding, Calif., Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2006. She is one of the oldest women in the world to successfully bear a child. The newborn is her 12th child. She is also a grandmother of 20 and great-grandmother of three.

*People who are turned on by this:

Sea Hag

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Conspicuous consumption

February 22, 2006

I love reading websites like Uncrate or Crib Candy for their detailed lists of things I would never buy but secretly want.  Ooh… $200 meat tumbler!  Up until now I had to tumble my meat by hand, and increasingly so over the last year (get it? that there was some sly innuendo!).  Thanks to the "groups" feature in the nerdy alterna-web browser I use, I have a group of sites that I check once a day, after 10:00 PM.  I call that group "After 10 PM" because I don't feel like employing subterfuge in my website group naming conventions.  In it, there's currently the aforementioned Crib Candy & Uncrate, which I peruse to see what it is I won't purchase, and then there's also Woot, which I actually HAVE bought stuff off of, many times over the years.  Finally, I have NatalieDee in there, since she throws up one new cartoon a day.  But other than the photos of her pug Chuck, which so rarely get updated, I'm not sure there's as much amusement to be had at Natalie's site these days.

For a while I had the HGTV Dream Home giveaway in there, to remind me to enter the contest daily.  It seems like a foolish waste of time, but when I'm living the good life in my two million dollar house in Asheville NC, all you losers can say you knew me when I lived in a tiny house in Los Angeles that was barely worth half that much!  Also, any of you that know how to cook Thai food are welcome to visit me, as I have it on good faith that the Thai restaurants in Asheville are not as good as the ones here in Los Angeles.

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10 reasons geeks make good fathers

February 19, 2006

I can only pray that at least some of these are true.  The math one, for example, is clearly not, nor the science fair one.

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Facts I know that are true

February 15, 2006

Before the dawn of the web, I would occasionally be given a piece of information so bizarre that my mind would just file it away and not think of it again.  By the time the fact would come up again months or even years later, I would have completely lost the ability to remember if it was something that had been told to me as truth, or something I saw in a fictional location like a tv show, movie or novel.  In almost every case, it was something true, but very unlikely.  I can only think of three examples now, but they are all exact cases of things I was told and then later doubted my own memories.

Fact #1: Jimmy Carter was attacked by a wild rabbit.  It doesn't seem right.  I mean, I can't think of anyone else who has been attacked by a swamp rabbit, but if I were to imagine such a person, they would be a toothless yokel, most likely one who was out to catch a tasty rabbit dinner but instead caught a vicious bunny comeuppance.  Not, you know, the most powerful man in the free world.  I think this one was helped by the fact that it happened when I was like seven or so.

Fact #2: There is a town in Western Pennsylvania that has been on fire for 45 years.  That town is Centralia, PA, and it is a town made of coal, with an aerated network of underground (and thus hard to reach/extinguish) tunnels throughout, one of which caught fire in 1961.  Only 11 people still live there, but still, 11 people still live there.  WTF people of Centralia?  Your town has been on fire since I was negative 10 years old, property values aren't going to turn a corner.

Fact #3: The city of Seattle burned to the ground in the 1890s and rebuilt itself two stories above the old city, leaving an the remains of an entire city underground.  This one's a bit of an exaggeration, there's nothing underground but ruins, but how and why it happened seem unique to Seattle among all US cities, and fascinating to me.

Now that I have readily available web-access I can check any of these things quite easily; just another way in which my daughter will grow up in a world completely different than the one I grew up in – no more factual uncertainty.  Ironically, one of my father's favorite things to do with me as a child was to make up complete lies when he didn't know the answer to a question.  He told me a large old stone by the roadside in Oxford was a Roman mile marker, and that it dated back 1800 years to when the town was a Roman outpost, and the Romans put them every mile on the major roads, starting in London and spiraling out.  I believed him as he is a famous medieval historian, and also very somber and not prone to hysterics.  Later, my mom told me it was just a random boulder and that my father had improvised the lie for no particular reason. 

One of the things I had been looking forward to in having a child was sharing some of the more unusual, wonderful things in this world with her, like taking her to the waterfall at McWay Falls in Big Sur, or to Mont St Michel on the coast of France, but also, just as much I had looked forward to telling her the elaborate lies my father told me, and making up new ones, turning common boulders into Roman milestone markers.  Lousy internet, de-gullibleifying my 2 month old daughter!

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I am a dork

February 14, 2006

I love old maps, really old, especially of America, especially ones that show either the seeds of things to come (like the names of territories that became states) or things that were the cartographer's best guess of how the map would look if they had bothered to actually explore it (like maps where Baja california extends all the way up to modern day Oregon and splits the entire state of CA off into an island).  For that reason, I really love The Old Map Gallery in Denver.  They have tons & tons of maps from pretty much the 1400s on, broken out by country, state & city.  I bought an excellent map of 1936s Los Angeles that was put out by city boosters during the first LA Olympics trying to promote the fledgling city (it's amazing how little LA there was pre-WWII) to the rest of the world.

In general, I'm always fascinated by the Los Angeles of the first half of the 20th century.  From the carving out of the Venice canals to the thieving/importing of water to turn this desert into a metropolis, to the creation of an entire industry that has come to define the town, only Las Vegas has done more in less time to impact the view of America outside our borders.