Tuesday, June 12, 2012

50 Shades of Graphite

So, you've read how I started drawing again, how that drawing thing is going, and even my most recent post on starting to like the smell of graphite in the morning.

But you've been asking your good-looking self a question:

"What has Daniel been drawing lately?"

Daniel, that's me for those who don't know, has actually not been drawing a lot lately. Or rather, I've been drawing some profiles, but nothing I want to share here.

Excepting that is for this:

This is from a painting by Odysseas Oikonomoy. I rather like it. And I hope you enjoy it--it may be the last copy of someone else's work that I do for a while, or ever.

(More on that last bit later...)


There are four posts on this same topic now. If you're interested in reading them all, check out the following links.

1. How I Started Drawing Again
2. How That Drawing Thing is Going
3. I'm Starting to Like the Smell of Graphite in the Morning
4. 50 Shades of Graphite

Friday, June 8, 2012

3 Quotes on Raising a Brighter Child Translated for Stupid Parents

How to Raise a Brighter Child is one of my favorite books on parenting, mostly because it shares so many useful tips toward the goal of raising smarter kids.

When initially writing this post, for another blog, I was going to give a sampling of those tips via a selection of relevant quotes. However, about halfway through, I decided to shelve that idea and have a little fun instead.

Here, then, are three quotes on raising a brighter child translated for "stupid" parents:
1. "The force of gravity is the one constant point around which a baby systematizes all the spatial relationships he is working out for himself during his early sensorimotor stage of life."
This means that your kid’s going to throw a lot of stuff. Try not to stress out about it.
2. “In talking to their offspring, [effective] parents ‘consider the baby’s purpose of the moment’ and .  . . ‘do not prolong the exchange longer than the baby wants.’”
This means that when your kid asks what time it is, don’t respond with a lecture on the history of clocks or how they’re made.
3. “Give your preschooler the courtesy of listening to her with as much regard and attention as you’d give an adult guest in your home.”
This means that you should treat your kid as if you invited her into your house. After all, in choosing to have and care for a child at all, you kind of did.

I wanted to translate even more than this, but the book is notably absent of gobbledygook; the above three being the closest it comes to being complex.

Have you read it yet? What did you think?

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Truckful of Thai Bitches

Note: This is an old rewrite I did (for fun) of an item I saw in the news. Enjoy!

Thai police officers near the border of Laos are not always prepared for smugglers, but this past Thursday they were.

In an operation on that evening they nabbed four trucks. The drivers tried to flee. They threw things from the truck as they fled. And yet, try as they did, they could not, did not, get away.

The police caught up with the trucks. They arrested the drivers. And they opened the back of the trucks to see what the men were so eager to sneak across the border.

Inside, were hundreds of bitches.

They were crammed into cages, many already dead from suffocation, and all the rest with little time left to live. At the end of their journey, here in Vietnam, they were to be killed too.

The bitches, all the dogs in fact, were destined for Vietnamese dinner plates. But, thanks to the police officers in this northeastern province of Thailand, they—the dogs still living—will run free once again.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

A Poem About Stumbleupon

I recently started a new blog on reading (you can click here to learn all about it) and have been slowly building up content on it.

While doing so, I of course have been following traffic to it--wondering, in a way, whether Facebook or Google or Twitter like me more.

The answer to that question came through yesterday: Stumbleupon likes me the most of all!

More specifically, if all-too-tentatively, it likes me the most because a lot of people stumbled upon a post I wrote sharing 8 quotes on how to change how you feel--enough people anyway to make it my number one source of traffic.

How does a person express their emotions after reading such news?

I don't know.

Why do you keep asking me all these questions anyway?

What is it with all these questions?

I'll tell you what I did though. I took a nap. And, while slipping in and out of consciousness, I managed to put together a poem.

Then I woke up, jotted what I had thought out on a piece of paper in my pocket--there's always a piece of paper in my pocket--and now, sitting at my favorite cafe, where silence is golden, and my black coffee looks as good as ever on ice, I'm going to share it with you.

I'm calling it "That Poem I Wrote about Stumbleupon" for now. Feel free to let me know if you think of a better title than that. But in any case here it is...


When I use your services quite a lot,
And yet hits from you are not so hot,
Stumpleupon, I love you not.
But when you multiply my traffic flow,
With page views high and bounce rates low,
Stumbleupon, I love you so!


[cues applause]

[hits publish]

[hopes you enjoyed it]

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Can you name this famous scientist?

There’s a passage in When I Say No, I Feel Guilty, by Manuel J. Smith, where my favorite scientist is mentioned although not named. See if you can guess who it is:

Recently, after one class, I ran into a former student, a physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, set up and administered by the California Institute of Technology, and he told me an amusing story.

The night before this incident happened, I had given an introductory demonstration of assertive verbal skills to a number of Cal Tech students on campus. The following day, the physicist noted one of the student assistants in the laboratory going around all morning and indiscriminately using a FOGGING response in reply to anything said to him. He kept enthusiastically saying: “You may be right,” to everything, including statements like: “You want some coffee?”

Having heard me describe this typical phase of learning in class as “the impulse you get, after you are given a brand-new shiny set of tools, to go around looking for loose nuts to tighten up,” and having gone through it himself, the physicist knew I would appreciate the humor inherent in the situation. . . .

With a puckish glint in his eye, but also with some sympathy for the novice FOGGER, the physicist told me that he was tempted to go up to the unaware student and say something like: “Harry, I’ve noticed that you’ve been using a lot of FOGGING this morning. Don’t you think you could save it for manipulative situations?”

He restrained his impulse out of his own identification with the student’s situation. He remembered how enthusiastic he himself felt in first being more assertive and learning to cope better with other people. In spite of his [kindness], he still wished he could have heard the novice’s probable response, “You mean you know this already?” and watch his jaw drop when he replied: “Of course. Everybody knows about FOGGING. Where have you been?”

While appreciating the humor in his aborted prank, I asked him: “What makes you think he wouldn’t simply have replied: ‘You may be right. I am probably overdoing it’?” The physicist looked at me and said in kind: “I should have thought of that. He might have!” and we exchanged understanding grins.

There are plenty of clues in the above, so I won’t add any more. Can you name the scientist?