bunch of random crap for the summer

Time to flush out some stuff from my my blog list again. There is a lot of stuff here because I’ve been lazy and busy.

Scary Earthquakes

Peninsula Regional (quicktime, 15MB) and San Jose (quicktime, 4MB) simulations of real time ground shaking in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. Watching the ground on this simulation shudder and convulse in wave after wave scared the absolute bejeezus out of me until I noticed the part that said 1000X Exaggeration. Still. Whoa. See more earthquake simulations and maps on the USGS site here. (from boingboing back in april for the 1906 centennial).

Big Mouth Play Cave

Nido Play Cave. OK! Plastic, brightly-colored, adorable, anthropomorphic, yes, indeed, I must order one now. Never mind that I’m probably too big to fit inside. I can store, um, acorns in it. This was originally at Design Within Reach But seems to be unavailable now (insert out of reach joke here).

Squid Shirt

The Loch Ness Imposter, another threadless t-shirt. Design by Ross Zietz.

OMG Kittens!

Kitten vs Frontrow Battle. Apparently the defining purpose of the internet is to enable pornography and adorable kitten video. OK I guess lipsyncing teenagers are in there somewhere too. (the quality of this video stinks near the start, it gets better). (I got it from Gizmodo).

Things to do With Old Computer Books

Usually my pubsub egosearches for my own name are pretty boring. Very rarely, however, I get something like this:

Deep Inferno resident Vibrating Liz, 52, says she gets around this dilemma by using thick, heavy, mostly outdated computer manuals. “One night the roaches just stormed my house,” she explained as she reclined comfortably in a rust-colored Barcalounger that had been temporarily relocated to the top of her refrigerator. “Hundreds of them, running all around, their little feet click-click-clicking on the hardwood floors. I was flinging those big books right and left. Finally I was so frazzled and worn out, I just couldn’t deal with cleaning up the corpses until the next day. A friend dropped by later that night and saw the complete works of Laura Lemay scattered randomly all over the house. I started to apologize for the mess, but he said, ‘Oh no I understand perfectly. I get pretty frustrated with CSS myself sometimes.'”

Read (dead link) the rest of the story at (dead link) Granny Gets a Vibrator (an extremely well-written blog and I just realized that I know the author from her previous life on the Well. Well, hey.)

Good Deed For the Day

I keep losing this site so maybe if I post it here I won’t lose track of it again. Greendisk recycles computer trash. Not actual computers, I have a local recyclery for that, but all the other computer related crap that big computer recycleries won’t take. They recycle tapes, CDs, batteries, cables, boards, and printer cartridges. You have to pay them to take it ($7 for 20 lbs) but its better than tossing it all into a landfill. I think I may be able to fill up my 20 lb allowance just with old coax cable.

I have No Shame

The One-Man Salute. Moon Gas. Tail Wind. The Gluteal Tuba. The Third State of Matter. Chair Air. Backdoor Breeze. Otherwise known as a fart post, by the Fat Cyclist. Now, you may be thinking, “Surely, Laura, fart posts are beneath you,” but you would be wrong. It is a really funny fart post.

A Visual Extravgaza of Light and Music and…soda

Have you seen the mentos and diet coke fountain video yet?

HOWTO Become a Tuscan Butcher

Bill Buford’s story in the New Yorker about learning how to be a real butcher in italy and then the adventure of buying a whole pig in the middle of New York City.

“Signor Cecchini,” I said, “I am a friend of Mario Batali.”

“Accidenti!” he declared (which seemed to mean something like “Well, I’ll be God-damned!” but what did I know?).

“Mario is the son of Armandino,” I said, reading from a script. (My Italian was no better than Chapter 18 of “In Italiano,” the textbook used at the Scuola Italiana del Greenwich Village.)


“And I would like to be a Tuscan butcher.”

“Accidenti! Vieni! Pronto! Ora!”—Come! Quickly! Now!

One week later, I was in Chianti—Dario’s butcher shop was halfway between Florence and Siena, in Panzano—feeling that when my stay was completed I, too, would be a different person, but I had no idea how.

Fix-it-Yourself Geekery Runs in the Family

My sister Sharon’s really great story about the leaky water heater in her Airstream trailer and the random bullshit the RV water heater dealer tried to tell her about why she couldn’t put a generic water heater in there. “you can’t do that, it’s the wrong kind of power. It goes through inverters and converters and things.”

My sister is an electrical engineer.


Have you seen the video of the Mime acting out Natalie Imbruglia’s Torn yet?

Really Bad Ideas Part 3985

Lord of the Rings: the Musical is a really bad. I repeat: didn’t see that coming.

OMG Kittens 2

A bunch of months ago I posted about the cheetah cam at the National Zoo. The cheetah kittens are all grown up and now we have a tiger cub cam for three sumatran tiger cubs born May 24. On a DAILY BASIS I am DYING of CUTENESS watching this site.

I have more stuff but that’s enough for now.

diablo rojo

I don’t squid blog much any more because its become all the rage. Everyone’s squid blogging these days. Squid blogging is so last year.

But I had to blog this story because it totally creeped me out. Dancing with Demons is a long essay about encountering Humboldt Squid while diving. The Humboldt, colloquially called the Diablo Rojo, is big and apparently plenty mean.

Even though the squid make no known sounds intentionally (for communication), they do make some. Their chitenous ring teeth grate on my camera housing and body armor when they attack, sounding a bit like a dog’s toenails on a tile floor. The most incredible sound they make is when they attack and feed on flesh.

Thousands of ring teeth cut into the flesh of their prey so deeply, you can hear it. When they drag their victim away with pulses from their massive jet funnel, the sounds of their hapless victim being ripped apart fills the water. It sounds a bit like heavy duty Velcro® being pulled apart underwater. Then the beak can be heard, that huge knife-edged beak. The gouging of bone and tissue sound like the shredding of cabbage combined with that of hacking apart coconuts with a machete. It is unmistakable.

No wonder I’m not sleeping well.

strange and violent squid sex

They say that keeping a blog is a good way to find yourself. And you know, I really had no idea I had such a fascination with our eight-legged mesopelagic overlords until I started blogging about them. So there you go. All this time I was a latent squidblogger.

From collision detection I learn more uncomfortable facts about giant squid. As in, if you are a male giant squid getting laid is just no fun at all. The good news is that if you are a male giant squid you have a penis as long as your body that behaves, um, “a bit like a high pressure fire hose.” (make joke about spam email here). Squid mating also requires no aim or talent at all — all the male squid has to do is inject “sperm packets” somewhere into the skin of the female. The bad news is that the female of the species is a third larger than you are, isn’t the least bit interested in you, and mean as heck. (make joke about women in bars here.)

Although this hasn’t actually ever been observed the thought is that giant squid mating happens when a male squid bumps into a female squid in the dark in the ocean. (I am kind of dubious about this part. The ocean is a really big place and this seems mighty chancy to me). A violent mating battle ensues. The extra-long projectile penis is apparently a good idea because with it the male can inseminate the female from some distance away and then run away before the female figures out precisely what’s going on (make joke about men in bars here).

But apparently things get kind of confusing in the dark when there are a whole lot of legs involved. A bunch of male squid have been found that have been inseminated by another male squid, and a few that have been inseminated by themselves. Being a male giant squid must be very, very confusing.