strictures and structures

if only we stopped trying to be happy, we could have a pretty good time

Month: November, 2010

glee has become plus ungood

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– 0.5 HB mechanical pencil
– 2 episodes of Glee (Duets and The Rocky Horror Glee Show)
– kneaded eraser
– white eraser of unknown material
– Gap ad for women’s jeans

artistic commentary from my father:
“That looks like a man.”

other notes:
– the torso seems too wide
– I should be less afraid of having darker shadows and sharper gradation
– I need to stop using HB and 0.5 mechanical pencils–the range of
shades offered by HB is pitiful and it’s hard to do any nice shading
if the lead is too thin
– the chin is too narrow
– Glee season 2 is really bad. I would never have been able to draw
something this complete if I were trying to multitask during season 1.

spider webs

Try this the next time you see a spider web: touch it.

But I’ll get stuck! Nasty webbing will get all over my fingers! you cry.

Not if you touch the right part! See, spiders don’t want to get stuck
in their webs any more than you do, and they are not covered in some
kind of magical anti-stickiness. That’s why they use two kinds of silk
to spin their webs. One type is the sticky sort that brings flies to
their maker, but the other type is purely structural, not sticky, and
permits the spider to travel safely along the web. If you imagine a
spider web as a spoked wheel, the structural, non-sticky parts of a
web are the spokes. The sticky ones are the “spokes”
perpendicular to the main spokes. I tested this by touching the
spokes of an especially large, fine web today. It feels almost like a
very, very thin fishing line–quite smooth, and you can slide your
finger up and down without it catching. It even digs into your skin a
little bit. I believe it when they say spider silk is stronger than

Spiders–better engineers than any egghead from Silicon Valley.

no subject.

People ask you how you’re doing. If they’re just acquaintances, you
say, fine, how was your weekend. If you actually like them, you step
it up and describe how some asshole San Francisco cabbie nearly ran
you over on Market Street, or you complain about the salsero with the
dreadful body odor you encountered Monday night.

But nobody, nobody, gets to hear about what’s truly consuming you.

Some enormously heavy motherfucker stepped on your left big toe five
months ago, and turned it a dark and bloody purple underneath the
nail. At first, it was an interesting addition of color to your life,
but one day, you touched it as you came out of the shower and it
wiggled. Since then, the impending loss of your toenail has eclipsed
every spiritual revelation, new lust, exquisite meal, frustrating bug,
financial mishap, lost employee badge, unacceptable dance partner, or
near-death by vehicular homicide you had, or could have had.

Any day now.

A goose-girl once confessed her troubles to an iron stove and the
king, eavesdropping, took it upon himself to kill her tormentor. [1] You, on the other hand, 
will confess your troubles to a blog nobody reads, and pray that someone
comes to rescue you with a bottle of stem cells. Nobody will, but you
feel a bit better now.

PS Thank god, it’s growing back.


[1] Grimm fairy tale #89:

various things i don’t like about Ruby, a compendium

0. Procs versus blocks versus lambdas–really, 3 options for doing
basically the exact same thing?
1. The syntax is a little too loose–e.g. you could end up typing “foo
bar 1, 2, 3″ when you really meant “foo(bar(1,2),3)”.
2. Some bizarre names for the built-in functions. Enumerable#inject?
Array#shift? I can sort of understand “shift”, but “inject”?
3. Blocks are confusing, and there’s multiple ways of passing them in.
   def foo(&block)

   def spam(block)

   foo { puts ‘hi’ }
   spam({ puts ‘hi’})

It just occurred to me that it’s really annoying that the syntax for
passing in blocks bans parentheses, when parentheses are valid for
every other kind of parameter. I.e. foo( { puts ‘hi’} ) will throw an
error, but add(1,2) won’t.
4. “and” versus &&, and “or” versus ||. Jesus, what is this?
5. [1,2,3][0..1] versus [1,2,3][0…1]. It looks like a typo. I
remember _why vividly described “…” as a velvet rope, but one that
sags in the middle, but despite his poignant guidance I still can
never remember which is freaking which.

In general, Ruby has a lot of weirdly redundant syntax and concepts.
Also I’m not sure how I feel about the following:
   class Array
      def sort(&block)
         #bizarre jane sorting method


I’ll probably decide I don’t like it. Imagine using some gem from some
dumbass who overrides “+”. Enjoy debugging that, suckers.