Monday, March 30, 2015

My favorite spam comment

From time to time I am honored to receive witty and vivacious spam comments on my quiet, little, unassuming blog.  The most recent offering is a clear winner.  The link can't be followed, don't worry:
"Sometimes giving simply your schedule can definitely generate another individual smile," in acсordance աith the website.
Unlеss yoս might ƅe purchasing advertsing yoսrself, thе only method to generate foot traffic iѕ with
attractivfe сontent. That's the ultimate way to confuse уour website visitors mɑking iit hard foг them to gеt іnformation.
mү webpage; eliminate cancer

There are a few obvious highlights to this gem:

1) The upside down 'm' used as a 'w', and the oddball 'Y' used as a 'y'.

2) Suggesting that my goal should be to confuse visitors to my blog and make it difficult for them to get information.

3) Giving my schedule to generate another individual accordance with the website of course.

4) My purpose is to generate foot traffic with attractive content.

5) 'my webpage; eliminate cancer' was a nice final touch to build rapport: who even likes cancer anyway?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Life observed

An examined life requires sufficient pause to
Appreciate dirty ice in the sun baked median.
Unexpected joy is being present--driving through
An icy landscape of chopped corn in a warm car.

Pale, late winter sun warms my face and legs,
Begging me to roll down the window.
I hear the distant sound of birds' wings beating;
Still remote, robins nearly precipitate from the air.

Between the legs of a lonely stop sign dead grass
Shakes and jitters with the chill spring wind.
Take its name while you wait for the light to turn--
The sum total of its purpose a glance before work.

original word

word struggles and pushes through layers in a cortex. word fights to gain meaning, dragging nuance, context and entendre. word leaves a crumb trail in its flouncing, disruptive wake.

But lo, a word materializes not ex nihilo.  A word nucleates from the desire to convey, to paint with a brush upon the mind.  Borne into being by prosaic utility or by passion or by swelling emotion, it fills its proper place, punctuates stillness and noise, soars above towering trees.

Tossed aloft on the wings of a breath, a word fights with the air like a fledgling, its purpose yet uncertain.
Some to savor, sever.

words wash from the loquacious, drop like mics from the mouths of grumpy cavemen.  Yawp!

verse thrills and spills forth, a broken dam of liberated words upon a parchment gorge.

Let's flood some plains.

In defense of "basic"

They suggest the unoriginal,
Unsurprising and tamed.
Branded as un-serious with
Tacit femininity claimed.

They merely like because
And fail to pique the rest.
The music of the crowd coos:
"One mode does it best."

For reasons quite obscure
We ally with consumption.
But make the choice to
Condemn particular gumption.

Implicit in this jest lies
Androgenic confidence.
Is personal value bound by
Cheap cosmetic competence?

Go ahead, quip "basic,"
You're entirely quotidian.
Try harder to be clever,
Your wit exposed is pridian.

We sip homogeneity,
And find the other queer.
Though first judged sardonically,
We gasp and realize: seer.

Friday, March 20, 2015


This is to say concisely: I love spring.

Dirty brown grass promises to green.

The sun is making eyes at me, having dispelled winter's clouds.

Finally it's warm--enough to walk (hand in hand) outside.

Because my goal is brevity, I stop.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Guys night

We're not much for glory days;
The wives are out of town.
Both genuine and banal
We converse, belie, and banter.

Don't look for names in lights
Or record holding swagger:
Old deeds preserved in wax
Share absently, carelessly.

Who tells the men to bleat
On sundry scores and work?
The chants we utter roar
Full of beauty, romp and vigor.

Some long for greatness, silence;
Their enemy made timeless.
My only wish is this:
Unfeigned mutual dependence.

In a thousand hoary homes
You'll not discover greatness.
Dutiful, unrefined we sit
Our story told and ageless.

Seek to improve upon our chatter
And find your aspirations dashed.
The sum of a life: fickle puzzles,
Prosaic and plastered over.

Saturday, March 07, 2015


Numbers are fun.  They're like a huge puzzle that spans infinity.  Numbers are the real deal, and they're complex too (the jokes, the awful jokes).

This post is the 169th that I've published on the blog.  Because I'm a student of arithmetic, it means I know this is 13*13 posts.  And that is beautiful.  It might not mean anything, but that doesn't really matter.  The tiny puzzle that is identifying a number which can be factored as a square is delightful.

Here is another example of a lovely number puzzle that happened "recently."  May 12, 2013 was a day unlike most.  It can be written 5/12/13.  Maybe you're starting to catch on.
That means that:
5*5 + 12*12 = 13*13
25 + 144 = 169 
...which is even cooler because this is my 169th post (no coincidence, I've been waiting for this moment).

It's also important to note that this year will have an epic PI day, though this is unrelated to days that are interesting arithmetically.  March 14, 2015 9:26.5359AM will be 3.14.15 9:26.5359 which is pretty cool.  These days just kind of exist, which doesn't constitute a tiny puzzle so much as a point in time (e.g. 11:11).

Be on the lookout for interesting numbered days though, the next Pythagorean Triple is in 2 years: (8, 15, 17).  It's a less obvious one to me, only because my functional knowledge of squares effectively ends at 15^2.

Maybe that means I need to brush up.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Hand. Cannot. Erase. album mini-review

I consume the music that Steven Wilson produces like it's my job--as if I were actually paid in the legal tender of these United States to do such a lovely thing.  So naturally I pre-ordered his new album: "Hand. Cannot. Erase."  It came in the mail yesterday.

Steven Wilson is the force behind bands such as Porcupine Tree and Blackfield.  He is a progressive rock legend.  I've been fortunate to see him with Porcupine Tree in Detroit during high school, but that was now almost 10 years ago (you haven't truly listened to Anesthetize until you've been there in person to watch codeine pills spin for 10 minutes with Wilson doing weird finger-puppetry things.  This is truth.).

Wilson's albums have both musical and lyrical depth.  He weaves layer upon layer, melody upon melody upon harmony--then he drives it at you in a truck.  This album again deals with ideas of expanding technology, how we engage with it, and how it is transforming humans socially.

It reminds me loosely of Porcupine Tree's album Fear of a Blank Planet, though that album focused more on the consequences of youth growing up sodden and besotted with information--losing curiosity.

My favorite track currently is "3 Years Older":
It's about life slowly slipping away, because you can let it.  But real life takes engagement and effort.  I think Wilson is saying it takes investment, and perhaps a healthy disengagement from the Internet and social media, back to when people shared with each other and spent time with each other.  It's easy to let a fake cyber world slip away, but a real human experience means more pain, more joy--feelings that are harder to run from, more raw.
Life is not some sinecure for you to claim
You have to pay
Beautiful, spectral, haunting, driven, meaningful, evocative, layered--this album is magnificent and I couldn't ask for more from a musical or lyrical standpoint.  SW is an artist and a genius.  I accept my status as fanboy.

Here is a clip of Wilson describing the inspiration behind the album:
In short, this album makes me want to buy a record player, so I can purchase the vinyl version of this record.  As an aside, here is great interview with Wilson talking about the album, 96/24 musical resolution and why progressive shouldn't be shortened to 'prog'. :)

Finally, here is a playlist of the album on YT.  I recommend listening all the way through.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Discovering the dead

Written 6/27/13:
Today my friend tells me a detail about her job that mine will never measure up to, no matter how many papers I publish or mechanisms I discover. She's working on a dig at ----, in southwest ----, for the summer. Her degree is in history, and she studies ancient texts and peoples for her PhD thesis. We've talked together about ancient basalt grinding stones she's studied and how information like that can tell you about the people and ways trade routes take, based on basalt availability in the region (check out this unrelated but cool dig blog that I found). It's pretty fascinating what historians and archeologists are able to infer from the limited data they can collect--where artifacts lie after centuries or millennia in repose.

She told me earlier this week that the area they were working in was home to some tough customers.

In response to her assertion I ask if they've found human remains or bones with knives stuck in the ribs before, or other such dastardly discoveries. She responds that their neighborhood could have made a good Law and Order episode. I like it, but don't know if NBC would go for something like that.

A day after she mentions this, she drops a knowledge bomb on me: there is a skeleton. It's out of the ground after all the proper procedures. But not only that...he was buried beneath a floor and may have been bound, with hands between his knees or feet! They of course can't tell if he was a victim or criminal,, that beats the pants off any job I've ever heard of. Finding an ancient skeleton is just part of the job for people like her. Not a bad day job, time spent scrutinizing ancient texts notwithstanding.

[Some details edited/removed out of respect for the site and dig ethos--3/3/15]