Sunday, November 03, 2013

A Slightly Belated Blog

And a slightly belated ruining of your childhood.

Seeing as last year I posted a small collection of creepypastas (creepypastae?), I decided to do the same, however there are only 3 this time.

Found by accident, all authored by SlimeBeast are:

Abandonned By Disney

A Few Suggestions (the prequel)

Room Zero (the sequel)

Sweet dreams, all.

Until next time

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not this year, I'm afraid

Hallowe'en Blog cancelled due to rain.

Instead, enjoy this Homestar Runner cartoon:

 and come back next month for what will probably be a whiny blog.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Complete Waste of Everything

It's sort of how I'm feeling right now, and have been for the past two months or so now. Its also the end result of my summer, and the thought process I followed to remedy my summer problem. Allow me to explain:

Another summer has come and gone, and once again I have failed to find gainful employment or meaningful volunteer status. This is the third summer in a row. Naturally my complete inability to contribute both to society and to my own future has left me with a sense of crushing hopelessness, directionless anger and a never before felt self-loathing. I had a minor identity crisis as I realized I am the very thing I hate most in life: a self-entitled, unskilled, mediocre youth- A complete waste of carbon.

So what to do?

Well I had this revelation late June, which for those of you who have jobs or do not care any less, is basically the deadline for summer employment. If you don't have a real job by the end of June, you're sunk because all there is left at that point is summer camp positions and I'll be damned if I'm going to work at a summer camp. I am terrible with children, I can't stand them- A complete waste of time and effort.

Whilst balled up trying to escape the weight of my depression I began to contemplate not the act, but the consequences of suicide. I wasn't actually going to kill myself, calm down. I was just thinking about the resultant future should something terrible happen to excise me from my miserable situation. I realized that, no, while I do not deem it "nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" as one might say, but killing myself would be the most outrageously selfish thing I could possibly do. My troubles are small by comparison to things happening in the world, and it would leave my immediate family and friends at a complete loss. All that time, effort, emotion, money, care, et ceterae- A complete waste of all that.

So our title for this edition of my ramblings very concisely sums up my passing opinions of myself and my summer as it stands.

So what to do now?

The damage is pretty much done at this point, there's nothing I can do and that's really the worst part of it. I haven't been able to draw, write or otherwise create anything of value this summer that might have helped alleviate my sense of uselessness. I did learn to knit and I've done a little sewing. Big freaking' deal, it's not that constructive. I should have stayed in my university city over the summer, maybe I would have been marginally less miserable. Or maybe I might have been more miserable because I missed the slightly bigger city I officially live in. I don't know.

What I do know is I have a lot of unused energy from the stress and anger that's only served to make me depressed and physically ill for the first time in my life, in a cycle throughout the past month and a bit. Ill enough that I actually went to a walk-in clinic (and sat around, semi-ironically, for about 3 hours feeling awful) to see if there was something more serious wrong with me. The friendly smart-ass doctor said I was almost definitely suffering a stomach flu because the extreme stress I was experiencing wasn't likely the cause of my illness. He said to come back in a few days if it continued because it was probably a flu if it did.

 Joke's on him, I felt fine a few days later.

So where has this left us, this tale of sadness and anger?

It's probably left you feeling ever so slightly worse, as a relating of unfortunate circumstances tends to do if you have any shred of compassion in your being, even though my circumstances aren't really that bad. (Conversely if you are a psychopath, complete jerk or some degree of sadist, it's probably given you a good chuckle. You're welcome.) It's also probably prompted you to start thinking of positive, encouraging things to say to me to make me feel better.

Stop. Don't think another positive thing. I'm serious, stop. And don't you dare say it to me, either.

An optimistic, encouraging phrase is THE MOST PATRONIZING THING YOU CAN DO TO SOMEONE WHO IS MISERABLE FOR INTERNAL REASONS. I cannot stress that enough without increasing the font size and maybe making it a big flashing gif. Seriously. You optimistic people make it some kind of crime to be miserable and you just HAVE to try to make it better, don't you? It doesn't help.

For further discussion of the effects of optimism on the depressed, please consult Allie's blog right here . Granted my own misery is neither as chronic nor as severe as hers but its a good guide for those of you trying to understand or find a way to interact with someone who is depressed.

Which brings me, I suppose, to my closing, since I'm running out of steam and ways to express my negative mood. I did not mean to upset or alienate all...what? three of my readers? It is not my intention to offend you people in any way, unless I expressly state so. I just had nothing to write about and no ire to fuel me until earlier this morning when I was cleaning our bathrooms.

You may be happy to know that the surgery to remove my wisdom teeth went successfully. I was miserable for about a week because I had to live on jello and soup but now the holes at the back of my mouth are fully healed and don't catch uncomfortable food bits as often as they used to. (There's a pleasant image to leave you all with, eh?)

Until next time. I'm going to go chill out with a book....

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wisdom Teeth: An open letter to my genotype

[As originally posted on my DeviantArt page:]

Ugh, what a mess, eh?

Dear my own Human genes,

I'm just writing to say you're doing a pretty good job! My small size, sensitive guts and near-sighteness aside, I've landed a pretty sweet deal with you, my own genotype. My mongrel genes, as I affectionately call you; a mix of mostly western European with a dash of eastern Euro and Mediterranean genes. A modest and pleasing phenotype, I daresay. Thank you, my genes, for not having distorted or mismatched chromosomes, no strange diseases or conditions. You're a wonderfully healthy set.

But, I do have one complaint. No, no, it's not my height, don't worry.

It's my teeth.

See, you have given me a very small head, the main reason I am not a hat person. But you have also given me quite a few teeth. Too many, in fact. Sure, the ones I have right now are a little crooked and I've got a bit of an overbite but that's tolerable. It's the ones you're trying to give me that are the problem.

I know they're there, the x-rays show them pretty clearly and one has already broken the gums. But you see, I don't need them the way my ancient ancestors did! I am capable of taking care of my teeth, my molars have not eroded from eating tough plants and nuts and do not need to be replaced! I do not need these wisdom teeth! They're growing in angle-wise because there's not enough room in the tiny jaw you have grown me, yet you persist in trying to cram these extra teeth into my mouth. It's going to push the existing ones into each other and cause an accordion train-wreck of dental problems!

I honestly thought you were smarter than this, genotype. You're smart enough to turn off OTHER genes that are no longer needed, like the ones that produce fetal hemoglobin or the ones that made me grow (by the way, might want to switch those back on for a bit, I think I could stand to be an inch or two taller). Why haven't you clued in to the fact that my skull can't fit these extra teeth and that the ones they should be replacing are still working just fine? I don't get it.

I'm sure someone somewhere is working on a way to switch off these wisdom tooth genes in people who don't need them, but I don't know that person. All I can do is ask that you slow things down until April when I'm out of school and the surgeon is back so I can have them mercilessly drilled out of my skull. I know it's a bit of a waste of resources (so is that monthly thing but I know how you feel about THAT), but it's all I can do to avoid horrible pain and massively crooked teeth.

In closing, thank you for the many benefits of normal phenotypic features you have given me, but please take it easy with the teeth. I have exams to write in the next few months and I don't want to need emergency surgery.

Sincerely, your owner and phenotypic result,

Monday, January 21, 2013

Suddenly ANTS! Or: Be glad our atmosphere is only 20% oxygen

So I was hanging around with some of the nerd club guys at my university and we were just chatting away about stuff, and I mentioned I'd like to take an apiology (bee-keeping) course as an elective to fill out my Biology minor. Some of the guys had already taken it (thus recommending it to me) and one of them actually worked pretty regularly in the apiary. They told me it was a really fun and easy course so long as you didn't mind being around thousands of loose flying bees for an hour or so a day.

And we got talking about bees, of course, because bees are awesome and adorable.

Just lookit that little guy...actually I think it's a gal, workers are female. Ain't she cute?

The general consensus was that honey bees are pretty easy-going as long as you don't bother them too much; bumblebees are the friendliest insects on the planet and are almost impossible to piss off (here they shared tales of actually petting bumblebees, which they actually seem to enjoy if you're gentle enough!); and wasps are absolutely terrifying and want nothing more than to ruin your day.

I disagreed with that last statement simply because I am the wasp-whisperer and I get along pretty well with almost all wasps except the big black ones and the ones who periodically nest in my back yard (IN MY SHED of all places).

No joke, in middle school I used to wait for my friends on a bench that happened to be near a garbage can which, in the warmer months, was usually a target for foraging wasps. Sitting still and remaining calm, I had the wasps come investigate me a few times (landing on my hands once or twice because I had eaten fruit with my lunch and my fingers were still sticky) but never once stinging me. One time walking home from high-school I felt something pinching my finger and lifted my hand to find a wasp chewing rather determinedly on the dry skin near the tip of my nail. It gave up and left pretty quickly, though, once it realized I tasted like human and not delicious nectar.

Om nom nom nom nectar. Get a load of those mandibles though!
According to Wikipedia these guys (paper wasps) are an invasive species from Europe. Who knew?

But anyways, bees and wasps are pretty cool and you should do some research. I found out ANOTHER cool thing from the guys at the club (one of the girls actually, an Ecology major specializing in insects).

The layman may not know this (I didn't until a few days ago), but it turns out that bees and wasps are in the same taxonomic order as ANTS! Yes, bees, wasps and ants are are very closely related. In fact, given fossil and morphological data, it turns out that wasps came first. That basically makes ants wasps that occasionally forget how to fly.

Queens (not pictured) and males tend to retain their wings in most species of ant.

So our discussion of large insects led to its logical conclusion: REALLY large insects.

Naturally being the Paleontology geek that I am, I had to mention that there was a point in time where dragonflies had almost meter-long wingspans.

Relax, guys, it's just a model. But still...They WERE that big once...
Think about it.

These things are colloquially called griffinflies. From what I understand, they only got that big because: a) there was a greater oxygen density in the atmosphere during the Permian period when they roamed the skies, so they could get that big and not asphyxiate, b) their prey was also undergoing some gigantism so they had to keep getting bigger to be able to eat them, and c) there were no airborne vertebrates at the time so there was nothing to knock them out of the sky.

In short (and most importantly), it is the current density of oxygen in the atmosphere that keeps bugs small. If it were any higher than the current ~20%, they'd probably start getting bigger (gradually, of course, it's not like evolution happens overnight. Give it a few million years.)

But take a moment to think about that. Think about how big bugs could possibly get. Dragonflies bigger than seagulls! Ants the size of house cats! Imagine a construction crew digging out a spot for a foundation and suddenly ANTS! BIG ONES! I mean JESUS!

It's scary enough as a Pokemon; this thing is a foot tall and weighs over 60 lbs!
Granted a real-life giant ant wouldn't be that heavy but STILL!

Being devious and inventive by nature, however, I realized that giant ants could easily be harnessed for all kinds of shenanigans. We all know that ants can lift several tens of times their own body weight, but given that they are tiny that's not very impressive. If we could scale that up (without the ants' exoskeletons cracking and crumpling under their own weight), you could do all sorts of fun things with giant ants...

Imagine if you will some kind of giant ant-driven sedan chair! 


Ant-sledding, anyone?
Oh yeah and actual practical stuff like field work, surveying, possibly simple maintenance jobs....

In theory, driving giant ants would be pretty simple. If they stay as dumb as their tiny counterparts, all you would need are swabs of a few different pheromones to either tag things with to get them to pick them up and move them around (ants tag dead/dying colony members with a pheromone that tells others to carry them away from the colony), or a scent trail for them to follow (when ants march single-file like that, they're following a pheromone trail left behind by a scout). If they end up being smarter (you know, bigger brains and all that), it's possible that a few generations in captivity could train them in a few simple tasks.

So, some six-legged food for thought this time around! Consider the awesomeness of bees and ants and how lucky we are to walk alongside the tiny species we have today instead of the giants of yester-era!

Until next time!

(Big thanks to Wikipedia, Bulbapedia, and for the images and fact-checking!)