Extra credit

Today I gave a final exam for the logic course I've been teaching. When I arrived, one of my students asked me why I'm "Porcupine Dave". I thought that would make a nifty extra credit question, so I told them, for 5 extra points, to write an interesting story explaining the name. Wow. I knew my students were sharp and creative people, but I was not prepared for the awesomeness that ensued. Some out-of-context selections:
  • All of a sudden a deer-elk thing burst out of the brush.
  • Obviously Dave was mistaken. This was no mouse.
  • With his trusty map and compass by his side, he set off in search of the hairy booty.
  • Then, you will lead all the mutant porcupines, such as myself, to the Promised Land.
  • The porcupine picked up the straw from the cup and began using it as a blowgun, shooting its spears of death in Dave's direction.
  • Dave, with his gentle heart and benevolent soul, was unperturbed by this change of routine and handled it with insurmountable grace and unmatched dignity.
  • His nickname was confirmed years later when he was found drinking vodka from the skull of a porcupine.
  • So as Dave lifted up the tuba-esque porcupine to clean out the dirt he received a faceful of urine and prickles.
  • Neither pork or pine cones are better because I'm an atheist.
  • Dave felt a surge of pain across his chest because the porcupine had bitten off his nipple.
Plus, two stories were so good that Lauren and I photocopied them in their entirety and may use them in decorating the new place. You see why I'm going to miss these kids. It's been a hell of a class.
posted by Liar at 00:16


Cherries galore!

I'm eating so many cherries! I'm going to turn into a cherry!
posted by Liar at 13:53


What's wrong with this picture?

It's just an empty can of delicious strawberry soda. What's wrong is that it was in a 12-pack we bought the other day. Already empty in a sealed 12-pack.
posted by Liar at 19:37


People are weirder than we give them credit for.

As proof, I submit: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which I saw for the first time yesterday. This is a straaange movie, and yet just about everybody who's seen it loves it. And rightfully so: the movie is touching and funny and beautiful and all that. It's just weird as all get-out. If you need further proof: Radiohead. Once again: very strange, everybody loves 'em. Everyone is a closet weirdo. Of course, if you don't like either of these things, that makes you weird, too, since everybody seems to like them.
posted by Liar at 23:07


Today's class

I'm teaching a class here at UNC, and today LJ came to sit in and watch. I've been working these kids hard for two and a half weeks, and Lauren had no trouble at all picking up right where they were. I'm so proud of my smart baby! Three cheers for the budding logician: Hip! Hip! Hooray! Hip! Hip! Hooray! Hip! Hip! Hooray!
posted by Liar at 23:05


Oh my.

Hey! The people at www.archive.org are nifty people. Among other things, they've archived a big library of audio recordings of classes and readings given at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. (The JKSoDP was founded by Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman, and is the Writing Dept. at Naropa University (that semi-Buddhist university in Boulder).) So the archive is a bit heavy on the Ginsberg, which doesn't particularly blow up my skirt, although it may well blow up yours. On the other hand, there's a bunch of stuff there that I'm looking forward to hearing: several lectures by Peter Lamborn Wilson, some William Burroughs lectures, and a few on interesting topics (eg the relation between animal sounds and human poetry) by people I've never heard of. It's a big archive. Everybody go there now: while archive.org looks as solid as anything, you know how these things always end.
posted by Liar at 21:09


The lollipop stick thing.

The legs met today! Next: a butt and a bulge, and then on up the torso!
posted by Liar at 22:29


These bugs must bee from Ansterdam, but termite be a way to beetle them.

Q: How can you tell when a bug is from Ansterdam? A: When it gnaws a Holland the wall! We've declared war on the little black ants that plague our kitchen. We deployed nine evil-deadly-bait stations, of two varieties, to trick the ants into poisoning themselves, plus we hit what seemed to be their home base with a layer or two of Black Flag. The results so far: Ants prefer dollar-store evil-deadly-bait to Wal*Mart evil-deadly-bait. We set two of the dollar-store baits just inside the back door (where they come in), and lo! we've got the poison brigade at work full-time. So far, though, there's no indication that any are dying. I think they just like the poison. There is some success; they don't come any farther into the apartment. They're happy to have their evil food, and they turn around and cart it back out, leaving the rest of the kitchen more or less alone. When we run out of poison, maybe we should just smear jelly on the back door.
posted by Liar at 16:28


My stolen microwave

So today was a longish day at work. Lots of teaching, lots of office hours, lots of tutoring, lots o' logic in the air. Then, just as I'm wrapping up, I hear thunder coming, so I hop on the moped and race the storm home. So I arrive, exhilarated from the ride and tired from all the teaching. I walk in through the back door, into the kitchen, and I see that the microwave's been stolen. In fact, it looks like the whole kitchen's been cleaned out. After I get my bearings, I see that the microwave's just been moved. It's still here. And the kitchen hasn't been cleaned out; it's been cleaned up. Spotless. All the dishes have been done, too, and the recycling's been taken out. Plus there are more groceries in the fridge. Plus there's a Jiffy Lube receipt in the living room (my car needed to see those folks). What an angel Lauren is! She did all this today while I was at work. (At least, I hope she did. Otherwise, something mighty weird is going down.) She is such a wonderful person, and she's an absolute pleasure to live with. Yay! (Vernon, here we come!)
posted by Liar at 16:06

Good news!

The Mormon elders came back today to talk a bit more shop. Boy, if they're right, I'm all set. Check it out: they told me today that after we die, we're split into two groups--the Mormons get all the good, and everybody else wails and gnashes their teeth. So far so bad. But get this: that's just temporary, and while it's going on we get another chance to Mormonize. Then comes Judgement Day, when we're Judged and split into three groups for eternity. Even the worst off of these three groups, though, doesn't have it that bad--they're just not the best. So after J.D., we're all gonna ride crescent fresh. Before J.D. it might be no fun, but if you just hunker down and wait it'll end. So, put your worries aside, kiddies: if the Mormons are right, we'll all do at least OK eventually.
posted by Liar at 00:07


Some political advice from T.S. Eliot

In .mp3 format: (22.16K 0:01)
posted by Liar at 17:50


No magic underwear for me, thanks.

LJ and I were sitting around chatting this afternoon when we got four soft knocks on the door. Elder Preece and Elder Blakely had come to tell us about Mormonism! We invited them in, I got them some water, and we sat down for a chat. Their main focus was on telling us how much G-D loves us, while my main focus was on finding out just how they differ from other Christians, so we were at something of cross purposes, but I think it all worked out: they gave me a copy of the Book of Mormon, so I was happy, and I agreed to pray on it, so they were happy. I like to read various religions' holy books, so I'm happy to have a new one. I haven't checked it out much yet, but from what I've gleaned so far (and from what Elders P. and B. told me), it seems that this book is going to claim that American Indian civilizations (all of 'em? I don't know yet) are descendants of a guy named Lehi, who was told by G-D to flee Jerusalem before the destruction of the Temple (half a millennium or so before JC). What's more, JC himself apparently visited the Indians after His death. That's more the part that interests me. Then there's a bunch about Joseph Smith (sounds like a fake name to me), who had some visions--whatever. Lots of folks have visions. Although finding a bunch of gold plates in the side of a mountain is cool. Anyway, the mythology doesn't sound any less wacky than Christian mythology in general. Of course the practice of Mormonism, or what I think I know of it, gets pretty wacky. No caffeine? That does it right there for me. Let alone the magical underwear. Remember, when a Mormon farts, it goes straight to G-D's Ears.
posted by Liar at 17:59


Did something happen in London?

So I've been calling my two London buds for the last few days, and nothing. Usually they're pretty quick about calling me back. I know they read the blog, though, so I'll say it here: Hey, Phil and Eoin! Give a bro a ring! Lazy bums.
posted by Liar at 19:45

War of the Worlds

Lauren and I went on an awesome date last night: out to dinner at the Spotted Dog, and then to War of the Worlds. (See her post about it, too.) The Neill's Taekwondo ad is supposed to show three times before every showing of every movie, but we were there maybe 15 minutes early and only saw it once. (By the way: Master Neill was wearing Snazziator gloves during class last night.) I wanted to see the movie because I remember liking the book, but Spielberg always makes me nervous. He shouldn't have. This was a well-directed movie. There are minor spoilers in this section on the movie:
There's a tight balance that any `versus impossible odds' movie has to walk: the more dramatic the situation looks up front (the more impossible the odds), the more implausible it has to be for any character facing that situation to survive more than ten minutes. War of the Worlds was able to wlk this balance ably; while there were a few moments of `wait a minute...', on the whole the odds looked darned impossible, while the characters' survival (those that survived) was more or less believable. The first `oh crap here's what we're up against scene' was probably the most exciting. It almost looked like it hadn't been to post: the bluescreen work was obvious, the explosions and buildings falling apart looked like they look on a Universal Studios ride, and there was no score. Not despite, but I think because of all this, the scene was terrifying. Later, more polished, scenes lacked some of the excitement that came through in this one. And the music, when it showed up, was uniformly awful. Not only was it not partiuclarly enjoyable on its own, it had a distinct `let me tell you how to feel' air about it throughout. The music was trying to be tour guide for the movie instead of part of it. It would have been a much better choice to leave the whole movie unscored. There are two ends to the movie, of course: a `what happens with the aliens' end and a `what happens with the characters' end. The alien end was OK; the character end was an inspired risk. If it had been directed one inch in either direction, it could have been awful, but it wasn't; it worked, and well.
Now the section on the movie is over. Once we came back here, I was too zonked to stay up much at all. I hate falling asleep like that when LJ's still up, but that's really all I wanted to do. Now it's 15:30, and I'm just waking. That means I'll be able to stay up a chunk tonight: good news.
posted by Liar at 15:23


Redesign is in the air.

So this here blog's been undergoing some redesign lately. As a side effect, I'm getting way more comfy with CSS and HTML than I've been before. Which is nifty. If you want to see some sweet design work, though, swing by LJ's blog. She's done an awesome redesign.
posted by Liar at 04:08


New comments.

Haloscan commenting and trackback have been added to this blog.
posted by Liar at 16:51


Happy 4th!

Man has the right to live by his own Law. Man has the right to live in the way that he wills to do. Man has the right to dress as he wills to do. Man has the right to dwell where he wills to dwell. Man has the right to move as he will on the face of the earth. Man has the right to eat what he will. Man has the right to drink what he will. Man has the right to think as he will. Man has the right to speak as he will. Man has the right to mold as he will. Man has the right to paint as he will. Man has the right to carve as he will. Man has the right to work as he will. Man has the right to rest as he will. Man has the right to love as he will, when, where and whom he will. Man has the right to die when and how he will. Man has the right to kill those who would thwart these rights.
posted by Liar at 02:40