Friday, November 30, 2012

Another Worm Rescue!

Yesterday it drizzled/sprinkled/misted off and on -- mostly on -- all day long.  I appreciated all the wet, and I guess the earthworms did too;  there were three of them within a few feet of each other in the parking lot at work.  I dug a little depression amidst the grass and dumped them all in together (I was a little pressed for time) before lightly covering them with damp soil.  I hope they didn't fight.

Number of worms rescued:  39

Another One Of Those

Once again, two small eddies in the cosmic ocean converged by chance, and the resulting wave washed over me.

The other day I happened to come across a book of poetry composed by a 19th-century Japanese monk called Ryokan.  I opened it at random and there was a map of what used to be known as the province of Echigo, where the man was born.  I had never heard of the place before, but anyway this is what the region looked like, courtesy of the internet.

Not in the mood for poetry at the moment, I put the book down and picked up another.  It was the Zagat survey of restaurants in the Los Angeles area, 2013 edition.  I opened it at random, and first thing, there was an entry for a sushi restaurant called Echigo.  Below is an image of the place, from an internet street view.  From what I can see here, it does not resemble the province in the slightest (but maybe there are references to the region inside the establishment?).

I looked up the name -- just because -- but there was nothing that meant anything to me.  There are people named Echigo, and apparently there's a brewery in Japan called Echigo, plus an Echigo-Matsunoyama Museum.  I am familiar with another sushi restaurant called Matsu no Sushi that used to exist in Little Tokyo, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

Just out of curiosity I also looked up Ryokan, and found this picture of a statue of the man.  It's beautiful.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Magnetic Pole


Small airplanes have been known to be attracted to the magnetic fields of electrical structures such as transmission towers and cell trees and become stuck fast.  This light pole near my office is a well-known hazard to air traffic.  Strangely though, it only pulls from right to left -- never left to right.

I guess that makes it one of those fabled MONOPOLES that physicists dream about.

Related post:  Marooned In The Sky

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Secret Language Of The Earth (Pt. 13)

As to the meanings of these spontaneously formed 'words' of the Earth, I would hazard the following guesses:

Top Image = 'Dance Taste' (no idea what that would mean)

Middle Image = 'Complete' or 'Stable'

Last Image = 'Pixie Pants'

Related Post:  Just a Fun Post

Friday, November 23, 2012

Balancing Act

To avoid getting burned by the object of one's love, one must learn to maintain a delicate balance.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Last Crane Update

What 101 miniature paper cranes look like, in differential states of order and randomness.

In a high-entropy state:

In a low-entropy state:

With the addition of this batch I think I've passed the target number of 1000, but of course I have to do a head count.  At this point you would be justified in wondering, Why didn't Sam keep a running tally as he was making them?  Because organization is an entropy-lowering activity, and Sam's mind is an inherently high-entropy system.

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Coincidence


I was looking at the Moon when a car sped past, stirring the air --

At the distance of the Earth-Moon system, the Sun's rays are parallel.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Yet Another Vanishing Building


Today it drizzled off and on all day long.  The City of Angels appeared gray, enveloped as it was in a light mist that blurred the boundary between land and sky and seemingly brought everything closer.  One had to exercise particular caution driving because... well, in sunny L.A., the moment raindrops dampen the pavement -- be they ever so precious few -- people seem to forget how to drive.  And thus it was that I was slowly making my way down Western Avenue through the heart of Koreatown, when I happened to notice this odd sight.

In old Warner Bros. cartoon shorts, 'vanishing cream' meant literally that -- you put it on, and you vanished.  Well, it looks like a product like that exists in real life.  Obviously someone had just started to give that building a coat of 'invisibility paint', then had to stop when it started to rain.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Reminds me of science fiction illustration from the 1950's.

Jacob's Ladder

There are a number of contraptions and all manner of sculptures that have co-opted the biblical moniker, but surely none of them deserves it more than this rainbow-hued phenomenon...

Is That You, Count Orlok?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Paper Crane Project Update

Panel 13!  I haven't counted them, but taking the previous panel of 69 as about average, I figure I should be somewhere in the upper 800's now.  We're on the way!

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Front And The Back Of A Cloud


As I was pulling out of the office parking lot, I observed this con'trail.

Then, a while later on the freeway, I saw it again -- but this time it was tilted in the opposite direction.  It seems I had driven around it and was now seeing it from the other side.

Now I feel just a little as if I'd gone through Alice's mirror and am now inhabiting the other half of space, like the science fiction character who was turned around his axis through the fourth dimension and became his own mirror image (I wish I could remember the author and title!).  The protagonists of the Korean movie 'Into the Mirror'/거울 속으로 (2003), and the Hollywood movie loosely based on it, 'Mirrors' (2008) [HERE BE MOVIE SPOILERS] suffer somewhat similar fates, although what ultimately happens to them is unknown, since the movies end with their realizing they have 'passed through'.

I don't, however, expect what happened to that unfortunate man in the story to happen to me -- he starved even though he ate normally, because the dextro- and levo- (the right- and left-handed) molecules of the food he ate no longer fit his flipped-over body.  In fact, according to my bathroom scale, I would do well to eat a little less.

On The Way To Vote

The General Election took place on Tuesday the 6th.  As this was the first time I would be voting at the new polling place since moving downtown, I came home early to give myself plenty of time.  As I crossed Hill Street I came upon this cute scene.

According to the campaign button on his hat, the marionette got his wish.

Friday, November 2, 2012

More On Invisibility

My preferred method of achieving invisibility, camouflage, has already been discussed.  So this post is about the other, 'classic' (or 'obvious') method -- Trasnsparency, as illustrated here by the Stealth Crane.

The two above photos reminded me of a short story by Jack London, called 'The Shadow And The Flash'.  It's about two rival geniuses who are in competition to develop a method of making objects invisible.  One tackles the problem head-on, by choosing transparency as his objective.  The other goes the less obvious route, by trying to make objects 'perfectly black' (that is, absorbing all light);  I suppose this can be considered an idealized form of invisibility-through-camouflage.

Eventually they both succeed in reaching their objectives and render themselves invisible, each in his respective manner, but they also run up against ineradicable flaws in their methods;  when the transparency man moves, the continuously changing refraction of light causes his body to send forth flashes of rainbow-colored light, alerting others to his presence;   the perfectly black man, of course, cannot hide his shadow (London glosses over the other obvious problem -- that, even in the shade where his shadow would not be detectable, objects behind the perfectly black man would be obscured and give away his silhouette).  As for what happened to these men, I shall not spoil it for you -- you should read the story.

With a little assist from a disruptive background, the invisibility effect is greatly enhanced.  I can hardly see the crane in the below photo, even though I know it's there.  I suppose this could be considered a combination of transparency and camouflage, for the best of both worlds.