Archive for January, 2005

Ice Tombs

My friend Marco refered me to a page full of pictures from the extremely cold and windy day a couple days ago. The water for Lake Geneva has encased cars and trees in ice. It’s crazy! I’ve seen the results of one or two ice storms in Ann Arbor, which are quite beautiful and destructive, but the speed of development and thickness of these ice tombs is somehow deeply scary. I look forward to my nighmares gaining a new encased-in-ice permutation.


Unsolved Codes

Oh, the heady days of elementary school, when finding frogs in ditches was all the rage and I was at the peak of my clerical skills! Each day brought a new filing technique more unstoppable than the last, and for a time it all had a point, of sorts. I started producing what I hoped would be an exhaustive lists of interesting ciphers. (To the ignorant people who might think I mean “codes”: I look down upon you! Feast on my smugness and contempt! …then get educated.) Each cipher, though an utter triviality, was technically different on some extremely superficial level, thereby justifying a new delightfully colored notecard. Among the ponderings that might have stalled my Cherrio® consumption were “Hmm… should I translate all the ‘a’s to ‘f’s today, or maybe to ‘g’s?” and “Does this diagonal squiggle best misrepresent the word ‘the’ or is the article more poorly indicated with a solid hexagon?” All this was maticulously filed away in a box of color coded notecards, which were carefully notched and labeled by hand like notebook section dividers. This was of course fueled by grandious fantasies of self-importance and impending intrigue. Only the security that comes with the two-character transposition cipher pastelorange-5 is good enough for arranging meetings down by the creek and choosing which Transformers™ to bring along.

Anyway, what I’m getting at, very indirectly, is that there is a whole lot of sweet unsolved ciphers/codes out in the world, and I’m pretty certain I would have come up with them given enough monkeys, typewriters, and colored notecards. But of course it would be shame about all the colored trees that would have to be felled, so I have left some for others. One aestheticly pleasing example Kryptos, hidden deep in the heart of spy-land.


Celine Dion, Devourer of Children


Project Pluto

I learned two things from this brief on Project Pluto

  1. there can be scarier things in the world than multiple independent warhead thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles (namely multiple independent warhead thermonuclear intercontinetal cruise missiles that spew a plume of radioactive exhaust all along it’s tree-top tickling path), and
  2. the making of cheap American beer is a more lucrative industry than the nuclear powered missile industry.

I would like find a little comfort in these facts, but I expect you can excuse my hesitation.


Keychain Gardening

keychain plants
A fad I can get behind, growing plants on your keychain. I’m a sucker for small things, and photosynthetic things, and keychains. But much growth time do you you get before you need to replant in your belt buckle?


Bad Novels

Why do I hate politics? Why do Americans hate politics? For that matter, why do people hate politics? And yet, sometimes you just can’t stop reading about it. Maybe because it is all a bad novel. Did I mention that I am deeply embarassed to be a US citizen? I am.


The Lonely Island

Everything I have looked at on The Lonely Island has been hilarious. I laughed so hard, if only I had worn plastic pants today I might have felt free to pee them. Oh plastic pants, where are you?


Child’s Play

The brutal truth about classic video games from the most brutish of them all, young teens. (via boingboing)