and I quote

november 2010

click for permalink November 30, 2010

Since I cannot bear to start December without a single entry in November, here is an unapologetically random sample platter of this past month. My not-yet-new year's resolution is to update my damn site at least twice in December (not counting this because it is still November, wink).

We finally, four months after moving, managed to have a bunch of friends over for dinner in our new place. So that was an accomplishment, even though it took us until the very last minute (technically past it) to finish putting everything back on the bookshelves and cleaning bathroom, kitchen and living room to an acceptable level to be seen by anyone but us.

shoesI'm almost but not nearly ashamed enough to admit that one of the highlights of my month was buying this amazing pair of shoes. I wore them to a party (my mother asked, incredulous, how I could dance in those things. Silly wabbit, I told her, I was lucky I could stand!) but that's beside the point. I'll be perfectly happy whether or not I ever wear them again — in fact, this very thought has given rise to a brilliant idea — my very own shoe museum, a shrine to the fabulously impractical.

Aside from that, it was a pretty banal November but I managed to keep busy enough rearranging and upgrading furniture, hanging pictures, storing and digging out of storage and giving away loads of things, and hunting and gathering and acquiring new things for the apartment. When I was forced to sit still for reasons of inherited phalangeal frailty, I spent hours listening to a number of excellent and soon-to-be top-ten-listed audio books, ordering tangible books from Amazon with last year's Christmas gift card, just in time for this Christmas (thanks Dad!), and wondering how it is that we've managed to all but cure diseases like small pox and polio, but we can't even find a half-assed workaround for carpal tunnel syndrome.

Meanwhile in science news, it was announced this week that the long-awaited DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, for those of you who aren't Last Psychiatrist groupies) will be reclassifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Not to be confused with "declassifying," as would be the case if it was no longer considered a disorder, the way homosexuality and a yearning for equality were in earlier editions of DSM, but rather because "by not having a useful description of it, that behavior is no longer psychiatry's problem." Here's a TLP primer on narcissism:

"The narcissist feels unhappy because he thinks his life isn't as it should be... but all of those feelings find origin in frustration, the inability to love the other person. He's a man in a glass box, unable to connect. He thinks the problem is people don't like him, so he exerts massive energy into the creation and maintenance of an identity...

But that attempt is always futile, not because you can't trick the other person — you can, for an entire lifetime, it's quite easy. But... because no amount of identity maintenance will break that glass box. If the other person is also in a glass box, then you have a serious problem. If everyone is in their own glass box, well, then you have America."Last Psychiatrist

Here's a delightfully palate-cleansing quote from Mind Hacks:

"The US is quietly abandoning the "war on drugs" according to an article in The Independent. Does this mean the expansion of military bases in Colombia is to be re-justified as part of a war on salsa music? Kids told to 'just say no' to fake tans and enthusiastic rhythm sections."
— Mind Hacks

Speaking of drugs, Williams S. Burroughs would probably not be my first choice if I had to pick just one favorite Beat generation icon, but there's no denying the man had a way with words. In this video from 1986, he has a few choice ones for the American institution of Thanksgiving, among others.

I know I have a weird fetish for this stuff, but it never ceases to amaze me how alarming the same old facts can become in the hands of a brand new artist or technologist who, fresh from the shock of discovering them, takes up the task of shocking us anew with a bold, novel presentation. This is a time-lapse map of every nuclear detonation since 1945. It was created by Isao Hashimoto and it shows the location and nation responsible for all 2,053 in just under 14 1/2 minutes.

I don't usually go around quoting You Tube commenters, but sometimes that one guy with a gift for understating the obvious is hard to beat: "I [k]new we (the US) loved nukes, but damn..."

Then there's one who asks the radioactive elephant in the room question: "At this point, how is the south west portion of the United States even inhabitable?"

Ah, but who said it was?

Which reminds me of this video from Australia's TropFest short film festival, spanning the last decade. This is definitely in my top ten and I probably watched 100 of the 150+ that are now online, over the course of one rainy weekend. I recommend the related links but consider yourself warned, they are habit-forming.