Monday, March 26, 2007


What the hell is going on. It's 70 degrees outside. It was 80 earlier today. It was approximately twenty below absolute zero two weeks ago. By my calculations, Lake Michigan will be boiling within the hour. I would care, but I just bought some CDs (Willie Nelson and Bad Religion) and will be enjoying those without actually looking at the melting sidewalks.

Two things:

I was polled yesterday. First, a bit of background. Our phone line sort of comes with the fact that we pay for an internet connection through AT&T. There are like three people that know the number and if those people want to get in touch with us, there are better ways. Cell phones, primarily, though I tend to forget to charge mine for months on end. It happens. The only calls we get on this thing are from telemarketers, wrong numbers, lost food delivery and creditors for some guy named "Raymond", though they've stopped calling for the most part after we started informing them that Raymond has apparently died (we were informed by a creditor looking for the family of "the Late Raymond X". Hm.) Anyway, someone from Gallup called yesterday and because blogging is essentially an enormously verbose way to have one's views out there, I agreed. Thinking back on it, it would have been more hilarious to give completely ridiculous answers that in no way even approximated my politics and which weren't even internally consistent, but alas, I answered pretty honestly. Mostly, the survey addressed the War, the 2008 elections and, oddly, baseball. I told them I was "as excited" for the upcoming season.

Everyone else in the world has already commented on this study (the driver of the #22 bus handed me his thoughts in a three page pamphlet entitled "Staring at your Crotch: A Primer"), but what the hell. I might as well. Something that goes by the name "Digital Storytelling Effects Lab", whose last job was to come up with a way to simulate a cage-match between Old Mother Hubbard and the Little Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe* has developed a technology for tracking eyemovement across a monitor. The technology would allow people to design articles more effectively, so that information can be conveyed such that the user remembers it. Apparently, people respond pretty well to bullets, sub-headlines and more tightly written articles. All well and good. The study also presented subjects with photographs to gauge where individuals tend to focus their attention. Which leads to this picture.

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That, if you couldn't tell because there's a big red blotch over his face and his jersey's a bit obscured, is George Brett. As you can see, there is a bit of a difference between where men look and where women look. Apparently, the effect holds true with pictuers of dogs from the American Kennel Club site, which is pretty freaking scary. But let's think about this. Perhaps it's some sort of competition reaction, attempting to size up threats by staring at their package. Maybe a "preparation for fight" mechanism, along the lines of "Ok, if I have to take down this guy with the baseball bat, I should probably go for his face. If that fails, kick him in the nuts." Perhaps because male genitalia is hilarious. Perhaps the topic of airport security has been made to impact, fundamentally, the functioning of the male brain.

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Harry Shearer is creeped out.

The implications could be immense. Like George Brett's package.

I would like to see a repetition of the study with a picture of a woman to see where both men and women tend to look. It would be interesting to see if a similar trend exists in women looking at women and where men would tend to concentrate.

This picture isn't notable because guys are staring at Jose Lima's crotch. Just a guess.

Anyway, enough of that. You know what I'd like right now? Some salt-and-vinegar chips. Man those things are good.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


There's not much in the news right now I feel compelled enough about to post about and combined with research, I've not got too much to say about any specific topic at the moment. I wish someone would do my taxes for me, I guess. But whatever. I went for a walk today while Jenna was asleep (recovering from her St. Patrick's Day four hour Chicago Transit Authority Extravaganza, which I'm sure you'll be able to read about soon on her blog). I took some pictures, and despite the fact that that's a pretty lame premise for a blog, I'm going to post them. Perhaps with some commentary.

Here we go.

The John Hancock Tower from about four blocks south of my apartment. Nothing too much to say about this. It's a nice, tall building. That's all.
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I don't know what the hell this is.
Taken a bit south of where I took the first one. It's remarkably obvious that this statue is a tribute to something. Something nose-like. With bits of a cage around it. I'm sure it's very profound. Either way, it's nice that we can shape metal like that.
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Vents are important, probably.
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Most of you who haven't lived here probably know Chicago for its politics, its related moniker "Windy City", its proud sports tradition, the ineptitude of certain teams to actually be good enough to justify its sports tradition, its cuisine and its, um, airports. Which are busy. But you're missing the quintessential Chicago characteristic; its perserverance in the face of difficulty. This is most often manifested in response to blizzards, political corruption and sports teams just outright blowing. A good example of this is this bike. This, as you can plainly see, is incredibly difficult to ride, but they ride them all over this town. Don't let a lack of handlebars, wheels or a seat get in your way, just get on the bike and get where you need to be. It's really inspiring.

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Seriously, though, lock up your bikes with more than one lock. Chaining the frame to a post doesn't work.

Moody Church. It's apparently an evangelical, non-denominational church. I feel like I've heard of this thing recently. Either way, their building looks pretty cool.
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I bet this thing is used all the time.
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The water tower. Not the Center for Jewish Life, which I think is being built where I took that picture. I'm sure that actually will be used all the time, whereas the water tower comment was sarcasm. I think that's probably outdated.

Passenger jets fly really freaking low over the city. Lower than I thought it might be, anyway.
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Taken solely because there's a forum member on a forum I moderate named Cass. I will say, without question, that I will never stay here.

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Some of you may know that St. Patrick's Day means that the Chicago River is going to be dyed green with a fluorescein dye. It doesn't look like that's what's going on here from the photos. It looked more green to me when I was actually there at it, but I can't tell if that wasn't just pollution (other than the dye) and I was seeing what I wanted to. If this is just pollution, they're at least some nice pictures of the Chicago River, I guess. Still, pretty awesome that they dye it green in addition to the fact that they built the third largest city in the United States around it and make it flow backwards.

Screw nature, man.
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I don't quite recall what this building is. But it looks incredibly tall when you're below South Wacker Drive on the shore of the river.
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That's enough of that.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm complaining about my hand because I wasn't at the Battle of Thermoplyae

Wow. Being immobilized in a cast for a month is not fun. If you can avoid it, do so. My cast is now gone and the skin on my hand is absolutely horrifying. It's cracking and coming off. Bits of me keep coming off. It's pretty much the most awesome thing ever. I still have some pain in my left hand and it's difficult to actually make a fist, but I'm really happy to be out of that damned thing. Still, I haven't written a post in a month and It's about damn time I do.

I've just finished my last measurement for the day, and so I'll be leaving very soon to go home. I'll write more later. For now, a simple review.

Go see 300. But not at a puny, insignificant standard movie theater. Go find an IMAX theater somewhere in your area. If there are none where you are, drive until you find one. You'll be able to tell because you'll be able to see the abs in this movie for about four miles at 60 mph. I don't know if I could name the last movie that made me think "Hm. I should do some sit-ups." There's been criticism that there are distinct racist undertones and criticism of the depiction of Xerxes I as an eight-foot tall androgyne played by Paulo from Lost. Those are both arguably valid. I can see how you can say that about this film. But then you realize you're sitting in a room with a screen the size of a barn and watching a very convincing adaptation of Frank Miller's work and you forget about that. Because it's freaking awesome. Yes, there are also those who say it's too homoerotic, refering to the fact that every man above twenty but below eighty from Sparta is ripped and wears Speedos at all time.

Firstly, who cares if it is? Secondly, screw them. It's sweet. Go see it on the side of an office building.

Also, Zach Snyder's film has made it so that, in my mascot bracket, Michigan State comes really close to winning it all.

I'd like to point out to those of you that are Jenna that Brian Eno is listed on Wikipedia in the category "Famous Androgynes."