Thursday, May 30, 2013


Some time ago I put away the origami cranes in a carton.  Then recently I took them back out.  My plan is to have them glued to a stiff board and placed in a custom-made plexiglass frame for permanent display, just like a painting, and I wanted to get an idea of the dimensions of such a frame.

Good thing I did too, because it turned out I had laughably underestimated the size of the frame that would be required, if I were to house all 1000 cranes together in a single frame, as I had optimistically planned.

That simply would not be practical unless one had the indoor display capacity of a gallery, as I found out once I began laying them out in a rectangular format.

That's just 200 -- one-fifth of the total, and it already takes up an area measuring approximately 43 inches by 32 inches.  To my mind that probably approaches the practical limit of manageability for ordinary plexiglass frames.  I could be wrong, but I would want to err (well) on the side of caution.

Maybe 250 per would be all right, or even 333?  But then I would have to do some fast juggling in order to divide them into 3 identically and pleasingly proportioned rectangles somehow, without any left over.  Could the middle one have some special feature in the center that would allow for unequal distribution among the three, à la 'Avidya' below?  Maybe :).  This is something I will have to work on.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

'Neighborhood Butterfly'

Strictly speaking, this post should be titled 'Random Flitting Object #2' -- but I think this may be the same butterfly I encountered several weeks ago in the same parking lot ('Random Flitting Object', April 9), which would make it a Neighborhood Butterfly, like a Neighborhood Stray Cat or Neighborhood Thrift Shop.  I find the phrase amusing.

Not that I'm proud of it or anything, but I'm willing to bet no one has ever assigned the 'Neighborhood X' role to a butterfly or, indeed, any insect before (as in, "Bugger that neighborhood cicada!  It's so LOUD!").

And what if one or more of the earthworms I rescued from the sidewalk and returned to the soil were 'repeaters'?  That would certainly qualify them as 'Neighborhood Worms' (in addition to being dangerously immune to learning from a  mistake), which I find even more amusing.

Monday, May 20, 2013

I Like A Sociopath

Someone using the name M.E. Thomas -- which probably is a pseudonym -- has authored a book in which she discusses her sociopathic personality.  That is to say, she has actually been formally diagnosed as a sociopath.  You know -- she has no empathy for others' feelings (she actually refers to us normals as 'empaths' rather in the way the magical folk in the Harry Potter books refer to us as 'muggles'), she can be ruthless and manipulative, she can contemplate -- or perform -- pretty dark acts without qualms, that sort of thing.  Like a psychopath.  BTW, I'm not too sure what the technical distinction is between sociopathy and psychopathy, but in the book she accepts that most lay people tend to use the two terms more or less interchangeably, so I guess the pitiless, unfeeling, solipsistic psycho stereotype is somewhat useful as a pointer.  To an extent.  So long as we remember that there is a whole spectrum of sociopathic personalities.

It so happens that I started to read M.E.'s book just the other day, and in it she mentions that she also operates a blog, in which she discusses sociopathy-related issues.  I therefore sent her an e-mail c/o the blog, stating what I thought of the book so far, and to my surprise she actually e-mailed me back:

ME:  I just started reading your book.  It's got me envious of sociopaths.  Your description of yourself and others of your ruthless ilk (that I've read so far) has me thinking you may actually be the healthiest and happiest -- or at least the least unhappy -- people around.  As one who is subject to a host of conventional guilts and cares, I imagine a world where sociopathy is the norm and everyone is blithely, uncaringly, and honestly self-seeking, and I can only sigh at the vision.  Perhaps the Golden Rule, that most pragmatic interpretation of self-interest, would actually be the guiding moral principle in that world.

M.E.:  Thanks for this!  Can I publish what you wrote on my blog?

ME:  Be my guest >..<  XD  I only hope the rest of the book doesn't make me eat my words ;o)

ME:  Can I publish your response on MY blog?

M.E.:  Yes, of course.

It may be that she is not used to hearing her condition described in such glowingly positive terms.  But why not -- as long as the self is satisfied with itself, the minimal condition of happiness is met, no?  And sociopaths, as I understand them, are not significantly bothered by self-criticism, except perhaps in a practical, evaluative manner that has nothing to do with moral compunction.  In the Star Trek universe, the devious, asura-like Cardassians and the nakedly greedy Ferengi, unapologetic self-seekers all, always seemed to me the most smugly self-satisfied characters to me.  Add the practical logic of the Vulcans to the mix, and that is how I see sociopaths.  The better-adjusted, high-functioning ones among them, anyway.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Low Cloud

If only it had been over the roof, I really think I could have gone up there and touched it, put my hand inside it.  Probably it would have felt cold and wet and swirly -- like putting your hand inside the freezer compartment of the refrigerator or getting caught in the spray of mist at the supermarket vegetable stand.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

*I Feel Within A Rain Of Tears

These last few days we got us some honest-to-goodness rain.  Not a lot, but enough to remind Los Angelenos that there are other kinds of weather besides healthy and boring.

*Sento in seno ch'in pioggia di lagrime = aria from Tieteberga, an 'opera' by Vivaldi

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A Little Green

When I opened my eyes this morning it was past 10:00 AM.  I didn't feel up to getting out of bed, so I stayed in it a while longer and finally got up at 10:33, feeling woozy and fuzzy.

I didn't understand why at first, but then it came to me.  Yesterday I gave blood in the morning.  Then in the evening I drank wine.  It was pretty much the normal amount I drink when I have wine, but I suppose when you have less than the normal amount of blood, it's proportionately more alcohol than usual.

Post-Rain Figure With A Long Neck (A Portrait Of The Author)