I Needed Color

Jim Carrey is painting!

Not that I read these kinds of things on purpose, but from what I hear the guy’s had a pretty rough run of life lately. I have been a hardcore Carrey fan since childhood, and man, what a delight to see him paint like this. Watching him channel his pain, hearing him work through the dark to produce this much beauty, is just outstanding.

This video made me a very special kind of happy.

Jim Carrey: I Needed Color from SGG on Vimeo.


Shoulders down, heart open to the sky

Not gonna lie: I haven’t been to yoga in almost exactly a month.

That is, I haven’t made it to an actual class, but yoga’s been on my mind every Monday, Wednesday and Sunday since the first time I tried it. What to eat before, what to eat after, class sizees, warming up, water-or-no-water? Is it normal to get so sweaty? Lots to think about. In fact, up until a half hour before class tonight, I was still working on my hairdo. Then, I fretted about what to wear. I actually called my husband at work to ask if I had to wear a bra at yoga. Yes, I did that. Over-thinking everything will be the end of me.

(His answer was, basically, no. Just make sure nobody can scope out the goods, “when you’re in the downward doggy style pose, or whatever.” I also Googled it. No bra, tonight or any other night. Wee!)

I came home from work tired, my upper back aching with stress, and all I wanted to do was sit down and fall asleep. But I’ve been coming home, sitting down and going to sleep every day for almost a month now and I still feel like crap. Instead, I grabbed an orange and went to class.  Good move on my part.

This class was more intense, with a lot more fluid movements and far too many high lunges for my shaky, inexperienced thighs. I almost fell over twice, sweated my ass off, stubbed my toe and accidentally crammed my face into my discarded sandles while executing a rather impressive [the pose where you start in plank, lower down with your arms and push your chest up?] with my eyes closed – but I did every single pose, from start to stop, and only modified once! (Fuck you, side plank!!)

This evening, I learned to love the Tiger:

Good gravy, do I love the Tiger pose. Shoulders down, heart open to the sky.

After a wonderfully calm  savasana, I stood up and felt … high. I’m talking bong rip high. It was intense. Good, but different than last time. Then, I felt a rush of joy and energy, but today was more altering, and way outside my normal range of feeling. It was so intense that I felt no fear or shame in walking up to the instructor and asking for some clarification. Highly unusual for me, especially when I’m sweaty, frizzy and smelling of communal yoga mat.

We walked out together, chatting and laughing – it felt so wild and freeing to be there with her, giggling, body so wobbly I could barely navigate a straight line. I can’t explain it, but I want it again. I swear, I could feel my body sing.

Sparkle and fade

What had made me move through so many dead and pointless years was curiosity. Now even that flickered out.

– Mother Night


Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs

I’ve always been curious about the origins of ‘The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog’ but never bothered to find it out. Turns out its a pangram dating back to 1885.

Firstly: a pangram is a sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet at once, making them ideal for testing typewriters, keyboards and selling you on fonts. They exist in almost every language and can be complete proper sentences, like the dog and fox, or a perfect pangram, using each letter a single time, ex: Cwm fjord bank glyphs vext quiz, technically considered an anagram of the alphabet. There are even phonetic pangrams, focused on the pronunciation of the language rather than the letter itself.

It was first seen in The Michigan School Moderator in March 1885 as a suggested writing exercise. Since then, it has been redone (The original sentence began A quick brown fox, not The quick brown fox) and reused by everyone from Western Union to Microsoft. It maintains a firm place in American pop culture.

As I said, panagrams aren’t unique to English, and almost all languages have at least one popular panagram – even Klingon!  Sadly I am unable to reproduce it in the original Klingonian (?) characters, but it appropriately translates to: Because of your apparent audacity the depressed conqueror is willing to fight you.

If you’re bored to death of the fox and the dog, here’s a few other  pangrams to help test out your fancy new pen:

  • Jack, love my big wad of sphinx quartz!
  • My ex pub quiz crowd gave joyful thanks.
  • A quick chop jolted my big sexy frozen wives.
  • Watch “Jeopardy!”, Alex Trebek’s fun TV quiz game.
  • Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs (my personal favorite)

Proud to serve

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell officially repealed [pdf].

A firsthand account of DADT


Nothing has changed all over again

‘History is merely a list of surprises,’ I said. ‘It can only prepare us to be surprised yet again. Please write that down.’

Kurt Vonnegut, Slapstick


The purpose of pruning: an updated theory

Anyone who has even taken a swim or gone through puberty knows that prolonged contact with water (such as in a pool or ocean, or in your sweaty shoes) will prune up  your digits for some length of time.

The popular theory goes thusly, as explained in 2001:

When hands are soaked in water, the keratin absorbs it and swells. The inside of the fingers, however, does not swell. As a result, there is relatively too much stratum corneum and it wrinkles, just like a gathered skirt. This bunching up occurs on fingers and toes because the epidermis is much thicker on the hands and feet than elsewhere on the body. (The hair and nails, which contain different types of keratin, also absorb some water. This is why the nails get softer after bathing or doing the dishes.)

Run that through the Straight Dope Laym-man’s Terms Generator and we get this, from 1987:

Since the underlying tissue doesn’t absorb water, the stratum corneum [very thin, topmost layer of skin] can’t spread out and it buckles like asphalt on the highway in the summer sun.

THE UPDATE! I recall reading several months ago about a new study on why fingers, toes, and sometimes entire soles wrinkle up when wet for long periods. At that time, I did not have a blog, so I probably prattled on about it to my husband as he put his smiles and nods on autopilot and read something political online. However, I was reminded again of this misunderstood phenomenon when I came across a NYT article that blows the absorbed-moisture theory out of the, well, water.

Basically, absorption doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. In fact, there’s absolutely no absorbing going on at all. It’s all about traction. Like a tire, your fingers can’t grip when wet, but add some water redirecting groves courtesy of the central nervous system and you’re practically Spider Man.

In the study, an evolutionary neurobiologist and his co-authors examined 28 fingers [ed: photos of fingers, actually] wrinkled by water. They found that they all had the same pattern of unconnected channels diverging away from one another as they got more distant from the fingertips.

I like my major scientific studies with a few more than 28 fingertips involved, but this new theory does make a lot of sense, especially when you consider this: nearly a century ago surgeons observed that no wrinkling occurs if a nerve to the finger has been cut.

Fun trick to scare your children:  pierce through just the stratum corneum of your fingertip with a (STERILIZED!!1) needle ** and then chase them around the house, moaning. It doesn’t hurt even a little bit, since the topmost layer is only dead skin. As a decorated honors student in junior high, I freaked out my friends on more than one occasion with needles jutting out of the pads of my fingers like a poor man’s Wolverine.

** DON’T DO THIS. It can be done, is all I’m saying.