Mini Comics Roundup

If you don’t follow me on Instagram or other social media platforms, you might not be aware of my new hobby of posting mini comics over there. So here’s a roundup, plus a new one I somehow didn’t get scanned/posted before now.

These were all scanned using the CamScanner app, so if they look kind of cruddy, that is why. I ran them through Photoshop (okay, GIMP), but some of them, this was as good as I could get them. Or conversely, if you think they look awesome, that’s also why.

From Jan. 11, 2016:
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Like a lot of people, I sometimes struggle with feeling like a total fraud. At this point, I’m pretty comfortable with my frauditude. I observed to someone a few years ago that it has been a long time since I went into a job confident that I could do all the parts of it flawlessly without issues. If you are reading this and also struggle with feeling like you are faking your way through life, I urge you to not worry about it. Nearly everyone feels like this. Just roll with it, you’ll be fine.

I went on my first business trip (to Long Island) since 2008 the week of January 11th. That previous trip happened to be in early February of a leap year too (to Houston, TX), and was chronicled in this comic:

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It’s weird that eight years later, I’m back in healthcare IT after a long jaunt into different various fields. I no longer worry about feeling like a corporate stooge–for one thing, I work at a much less corporate place, and for another, I have come to the realization that art and making a living both have to have a place in my life. At least until the singularity.

From Jan. 14, 2016:

Security at LGA_1

This actually happened on my way back from my trip–there was a fire alarm as I was coming through security. No one seemed concerned. Certainly not the TSA agents.
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On the way out, I left the morning that David Bowie’s death hit the media. I actually woke up to an email from B telling me about it. On the way back, I was sitting in LGA waiting for my flight when the news that Alan Rickman had died broke. It was a weird week. At the gate, the agent was making announcements noting that it was not necessary to “slam” one’s bag into the bag sizer, and if we persisted in doing so, someone would get hurt.

From Jan. 28, 2016 (ish):

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Deadlifting with Daniel during the St. Paul trip. I didn’t feel like inking it, and it looked better in pencil anyway.

Mixed grip means one hand palm up and one palm down. It is the best; I don’t care what you say.

From Feb. 3, 2016:
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I sketched this out basically on the back of an envelope to amuse Daniel and Claire while we were in St. Paul for a wedding after I ran from their house down to the Mississippi River. Then I decided to go back and draw it out for everyone. It got three likes on Facebook. That is probably about what it deserved.

From Feb. 4, 2016:

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I get anxious about travel.

From Feb. 6, 2016:

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We went out to a company event in Montana for the weekend. After spending a few hours cross-country skiing (skate skiing, actually), I dashed out of the rental shop just to see the shuttle back to the lodge leaving the parking lot. Luckily, one of the women was heading back to pick up some trekkers, so I managed to get a ride and didn’t have to wait two hours for the next shuttle. We talked about wildlife on the way back.

From Feb. 7, 2016:
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Another one from my skiing experiment, and one from the hotel. A bit behind the times, I guess, but no worse than the Joyce one, right? XKCD did the same thing a while back, except much better.

That’s all for now. I’m done traveling forever until April, but I may do a few more of these periodically. I enjoy the somewhat instantaneous feedback aspect (i.e., people clicking the little heart icon on Instagram), and it’s usually a lot faster for me to do these little ones than to think up a joke and draw 4+ panels. But we’ll see. I have another longer comic sketched and partially inked that I might be able to get up this week if I’m lucky.

 

Em oi! #413: It’s Only 43 Leagues

150 miles is 43 leagues or 211,000 ells.
As ever, if you’re having trouble reading, click to embiggen. I’ve had this comic sitting on my desk since before my trip to Long Island last week. I only just got around to scanning it. Oops. I was playing around with some different inks and Speedball pens. I have mixed feelings about how the art came out.

Recently, I was sitting around working while B was playing a game called Shadows of Mordor. It’s a surprisingly good game, and we found ourselves getting drawn back into the whole Tolkien thing. First, we watched The Hobbit (the Tolkien edit, not the full version–also, our copy was corrupted, so I missed the battle of the five armies).[1] Thereafter, I started re-reading The Lord of the Rings. At first I was only going to read FoTR . . . but I’m about to finish TT tonight. I’m surprised by how much my memory of the book has been overwritten by the film version, which I saw approximately 100 times (each section). I had forgotten, for example, that Faramir doesn’t try to drag Sam and Frodo back to Osgiliath(?) only to be attacked by a Nazgul. (Now I’m not even sure I’m recalling the film correctly.)

I’ve also become obsessed with the distances everyone is traveling in the book. In many sections it’s hard to tell, but in general I get the feeling that before the splintering of the fellowship, they are walking about twenty miles per day, more or less. That’s twenty miles in eight to twelve hours. At one point, when traveling with Glorfindel, this is referred to as a very long, difficult day’s march. The above comic was my immediate reaction. Of course, terrain counts for something, and they were frequently not on trails but just sort of out in the middle of the country, but still. (Maybe it was Bill the pony slowing them down?) Somewhat surprisingly, both groups (Legolas / Gimli / Aragorn and Sam / Frodo / Gollum) move much faster after the splintering than before it. But seriously, if I can run 31 miles in six hours, they should be able to go a little faster.

Another thing that interests me is that at least up to the point where Sam, Frodo, and Gollum enter Mordor, Sauron’s evil is very remote. The surroundings, even into Ithilien, are described as beautiful and the weather is quite fine. If one takes the tales of Sauron’s evil as provided by such luminaries as Gandalf, Elrond, etc. as tales (opinion rather than necessarily fact), it’s easy to begin to see Sauron as just a (hated) political leader. The orcs, for example, as seen during the scene of Merry / Pippin’s abduction, are quite like men in many ways with their conflicting loyalties and drive for glory. Sauron also employs regular men for his cause. In fact, when Faramir and his troops ambush a bunch of soldiers heading to Mordor, Tolkien offers us the following surprisingly sympathetic passage:

. . . Suddenly straight over the rim of their sheltering bank, a man fell, crashing through the slender trees, nearly on top of them. He came to rest in the fern a few feet away, face downward, green arrow-feathers sticking from his neck below a golden collar. . . .

It was Sam’s first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace… (646)

Tolkien was, of course, a veteran of the First World War. This paragraph speaks to me of perhaps a memory of his battlefield experiences and the trauma he may have experienced. But it also raises for me the question of Sauron–the ever-unseen Big Bad, who is noted to be fixing the roads outside Mordor, who is apparently able to convince a lot of people, including Sauramon, to join him–can he really be as bad as Gandalf et al tell us? But beyond that, even despite the themes of good and evil, Tolkien doesn’t necessarily view these battles as righteous or valiant, and he doesn’t necessarily lionize violence.

At this point, B looked over at me and said, “Are you arguing that Sauron is all right because he made the trains run on time?”

Well, maybe. Don’t look at me like that. My favorite characters from this rereading are Smeagol / Gollum[2] and Galadriel, so.

If you’re interested in this “LotR is a story told by the victors and Sauron was framed” idea, you may want to look into The Last Ringbearer, a Russian parallel novel exploring that side of things.

There is clearly a lot more to talk about in LotR (I mean, it’s over 900 pages long), including world building, the role of women, the peoples and the North / West versus South / East thing, the colonial(ish) myth of empty places for colonization, etc. But I’m not going to touch on those here–feel free to comment with your thoughts though. And tell me I’m not alone in liking Gollum and hating Sam.

We’ll file this comic under GV1065.17 T65 L86 2016, for Recreation. Leisure–Sports–Track and field athletics–Foot racing. Running–Distance running–Marathon running–Special topics, A-Z–Tolkien, works of.

Cited
Tolkien, JRR. The Lord of the Rings. New York, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1994.

[1] I still really want to see the Dol Guldor part. I love Galadriel and am a longtime fan of the actor who played Radagast.

[2] I actually feel like Gollum is rather hard done by. He certainly doesn’t deserve much of the shit he gets at the hands of Frodo and Sam. Sam is especially pretty cruel to him–there’s another paragraph where Gollum finds the two hobbits sleeping, and Tolkien writes that “could one of the sleepers have seen him, they would have thought that they beheld an old weary hobbit, shrunken by the years that had carried him far beyond his time, beyond friends and kin, and the fields and streams of youth, and old starved pitiable thing” (699). That passage very much made up my mind about him. And he is a much more interesting and complex character than a lot of them.

Em oi! #412: Foucault’s Elf

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I was surprised, but also not surprised when B told me about this conversation. After all, about a month and a half after we met, I went on vacation to Philly and sent him a postcard from the Eastern State Penitentiary, a panopticon prison based on Bentham’s ideas. And he decided not to dump me. Yay. I should have guessed that after all these years, my madness has rubbed off on him.

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To be fair, that employer was kind of surveiller et punir. Click to embiggen.

It still kind of shocks me that the “elf on a shelf” thing has become, well, a thing that people do. I find it kind of creepy. But then I’ve always found Santa creepy too, even when I was a kid and desperate to have Xmas so that I wouldn’t be different from all the other kids in my class. I look forward to having children so I can forbid them from celebrating Christmas.

We’ll file this week’s comic under GT4991 L86 2015, for Manners and customs (General)–Customs related to public and social life–Festivals. Holidays–Special days and periods of time–Christmas–Special customs–Elf on a shelf. This isn’t explicitly listed, but it fits into the categorization right between “Pistol shooting” [GT4990] and “Santa Claus” [GT4992]. If you are about to say, “Em, what the hell is up with pistol shooting being listed under special Christmas customs?,” well, I want to commend you for asking the right (tough) questions.

Here are a few other Foucault comics for your reading pleasure. I would guess there are others, but I can’t lay hands on all of them right now.

There is some sort of philosopher threesome joke to be made here, but I ain't doin' it.
This was drawn three days before we got married! My hair has changed a lot since then. Bryan’s hasn’t. He can bench press a lot more now though.
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I think this one is B’s favorite. It’s based more on The Birth of the Clinic.
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My favorite comic ever. Also more Birth of the Clinic.
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I don’t remember what happened here. Also, I drew this on notebook paper and tried to turn up the contrast to get rid of the lines. Good job, Em of eight years past.
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Philosophers love cake because they understand the true meaning of life.

Em oi! #405: Philosophy Ruins Films

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Well hello. It has been a while since we had one of these little chats, hasn’t it? I’ve been reading a lot, but not blogging too much beyond book reviews. So you’re probably asking, “Hey Em, how’s it going?”

It has been all right. Not great, not amazing, but also it’s going much better than it was in January. I went through a rough patch between seasonal affective disorder and a leg injury. The first was solved with phototherapy, the second with PT, which is just about finished. PT has been a strange collection of triggerpoint dry needling (which is not super pleasant, and the alcohol wipes are giving me a rash) and various exercises and stretches designed to 1) make you feel inadequate when you realize how many of them you keep forgetting to do and 2) fix whatever imbalance exists in my hip that is hurting my ankle. In the meantime I spent a lot of time swimming in January when I was totally off running, and then running only on the dreadmill and elliptical in February—I’ve been doing about 24 miles on the dreadmill and close to that on the elliptical as well. I’ve also been lifting weights a lot; since early September, B and I have switched to a 5×5 program which is a lot more intense than our previous 3×10-type program. My lifts have gone up a lot, which is very satisfying, but I’ve also put on some pounds of muscle and so my bra no longer fits right.* The best news is that as of tomorrow I am encouraged to try running outside again; if everything goes well, I may be able to show up to race the 50-Furlong World Championship in Paoli on Saturday. I doubt I am in condition to defend my title as 8th fastest woman in the world at that distance, but it would be really nice to race again.

What else have I been doing? Learning to code. As in write computer programs. So far if you want a program that spits out a triangle (right or equilateral) in ASCII or that curses at you in a variable way based on your input, I am your programmer. Actually, I have to admit that this is my second attempt at learning to code. When I was an undergraduate, I took the introduction to programming course the UW offered (which is taught in Java). Now I am learning Caché ObjectScript, which is a much less well-known language, but it is easier in part because B is teaching me, and it turns out that he is a much better teacher than the grad student (who may have been a forestry major?) they had teaching the intro class when I took it. B is a good teacher; it’s also convenient to have my professor on site rather than inaccessible except by email sometimes. I may also be a better student now.

Well let’s not go overboard on that.

I’ve also been learning indexing. And Chinese. And editing a bunch of books (I did three full-length manuscripts, on ancient Athens, moral philosophy, and sociology, from the first week of February until last Friday the 7th of March). In other words I have been busy, not sleeping enough, unable to find time to do the things I enjoy or see my friends much, and basically acting like I’ve not developed any coping skills since college. But things will get better now.

A note on podcasts and the like. A bunch of people gave me recommendations, many of which have been very satisfying. The Hound Tall Podcast (formally The Hound Tall Discussion Series with Moshe Kasher) is very funny and a lot more Jew-y than Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me (I recommend the George Clinton interview if you haven’t heard it yet). Of course the Ultrarunner Podcast is a good way to keep up with a sport that no one follows but me; my new goal is to get interviewed on there, since I’ll probably never get on Fresh Air. Also, the Moth Radio Hour has some very good stories–also some gutting ones, so do be careful. Finally, John Harris’s excellent podcast/audiobook of The Epic of Gilgamesh was both exciting and intellectually stimulating. I may or may not have time to do a whole review, but in the meantime, it’s highly recommended.

I’m filing this comic under PN1995.9 S695 L86 2015, for Drama–Motion pictures–Other special topics, A-Z–Star Wars films.


*If you are reading this and saying, “Wait, you only own one?”, I will tell you: You obviously don’t know me. Ninety percent of the shirts I now own came from races. I am not an enthusiastic shopper.

Em oi! #404: Why They Don’t Do Reality TV Shows about Writers

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Oh my G-d, that sofa. If I have to draw it again, I don’t know, I’ll go crazy.

We’ll file this under PN1992.8 R43 L86 2014, for Drama–Broadcasting–Television broadcasts–Special topics–Other special topics, A-Z–Reality programs.

I…had originally planned to do a chart of like all the races I did this year, and talk about how much I ran and all that kind of thing, but then I was struck by the thought that no one cares. Basically it’s something I’ve been dwelling on as I try to figure out what I want to sign up for next year. A lot of popular races tend to sell out early, and race directors of course like this and encourage people to register early by offering lower fees if you do so. One race that I do every year sold out in less than seven hours.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what might be a good goal for next year. As a runner, there are basically two ways to go: faster or farther.

I will say now that I suffer from some–let’s call it optimism about my running abilities. I don’t often fail at tasks I set myself, and even when I do, you know, cross the finish line in tears (Marine Corps in 2009) or limping/bleeding (Dances with Dirt 2013), I usually count it as a win because, you know, I finished! Even the triathlon in which I had a panic attack during the swim and took so long finishing the rest of the race that B actually thought I might have drowned and was going to look for me in the medical tent when I finally crossed the finish line counts, to some extent, as a win.

All this comes to the fact that recently, I’ve been doing some speed work. Nothing too big–one week I did 5×400, then the next week 4×800, then this past Thursday 3×1200. My 800s were at an average pace of 3:22. According to one marathon time-predicting test, called the Yasso 800, if you want to run a marathon in x hours:y minutes, you should work up to a set of 10×800 where your time is x minutes:y seconds–in other words, 10×800 at 3:22 could predict a 3:22 :xx marathon. I thought about this and figured that even if I took a bunch of extra time on the second half, I could still run a 3:30:xx, which I think would be a Boston qualifier for me. I am of course ignoring a few key facts, like:

  1. I did 4×800, not ten, and my times were definitely dropping by the last one.
  2. This would require me to run an 8:01 min/mi for 26.2 miles. My single fastest race last year was 10 miles in 1:21:46, an 8:11 min/mi pace. There is, it turns out, a huge world of different between an 8:11 and an 8:01.
  3. I ran that race in April.
  4. Also, every time I have tried to do serious speed work, which is the only way to get faster, I have gotten hurt. In fact, even with the 3×1200, my foot was starting to act up.

I actually am so optimistic that I couldn’t convince myself that this was totally out of the question–I had to instead convince myself that Boston is bourgeois and I don’t really want to do it.[1]

So that leaves farther. You can’t have followed this blog for long without realizing that I really enjoy ultrarunning as a sport, and that I often think farther is better. I’ve run an average of 45 miles/week this year, despite being off several weeks with various injuries, and managed to somehow do 61 miles on a week that I was “cutting back” before a marathon. Because I felt a huge sense of accomplishment when I finished my last 50K, I thought: Why not do a 100K?

There are actually plenty of good answers to this pro or con, depending on how much you feel like running around in the woods for ten hours is a good time. But the major con is injury. Specifically, the problem is that I have recurring injuries, and the cause often seems to be running above 20 miles in one run. You can run a marathon off a long run of 18 miles, even a 50K, but I’m going to guess it will be hard to do a 100K on that kind of training.[2]

Bring it all back home, Lupton–what’s your plan? To be honest, I have decided that what I really need is a year of not getting hurt. So I’m going to take it pretty easy–I’m planning to do the Ice Age trail half marathon in May, and then the Powerman in Kenosha in June, and then see where I’m at. If things are feeling good in the first half of the year, I may try to jump into a marathon or 50K, like the Trailbreaker or the Mad City 50K, both of which are small enough that I should be able to make the decision last-minute. And then after June…I don’t know. I’m not going to plan that far ahead right now. I know lots of people who have super impressive plans for next year; I just have to admit that’s not going to be me this year.

Next time, hopefully I’ll have something to write that’s not about running, like more on Ulysses or something. Wouldn’t that be fun? ‘Cause seriously.


[1] Perhaps the most fantastically snobbish statement I’ve ever made. Hilarious too, because by many (economic) measures, I’m kind of bourgeois as well…

[2] For those who might be somehow curious: There’s actually very little research on what constitutes a good training plan for a 100K (because so few runners do them), and most plans that are available are kind of based on “this worked for me” strategies.

Em oi! #403: Stress

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A little more surreal than we typically go, with I guess the exception of some of the older strips like this one:
One of my favorite early comics.

I was going to write something mildly amusing about stress here, but then Daniel introduced me to Numberwang and I sort of figured “why bother?” No, that’s not right… uh…This started when I had to edit about 320 pages in a week (actually closer to 450 over two weeks, since there were two distinct projects). That kind of speed is not my favorite, since I am pretty meticulous in my editing and like to have a chance to look at things really closely, and when you have to edit fifty-ish pages per day, you often can’t do that.

Life has been as usual a series of ups and downs here. I ran my last race of the season, the Burbee Derby, on Thanksgiving. It was my slowest 10K of the year at 52:34 (the fastest was the 50 Furlong World Championships at 50:55; of course, 50 furlongs is actually 6.25 miles, but I measured the Burbee course at 6.3). I feel both happy to not have any more commitments until New Years and a little sad not to be preparing for any major races. Still, I’m committed to sitting on my tuchas and eating ice cream caramel cookie crunch gelato for a while.

Other events: The dishwasher developed (at some point, we’re not sure when) a small leak that eventually ate through the basement ceiling. Lucky for us, it has been far easier to fix than we ever anticipated. And I have more editing projects, though less urgent than the one I handed in last week.

Finally, NaNoWriMo ended and I lost, having written just under 25K words in the month of November. People actually ask with some frequency if I do NaNo, and I hate having to admit that I have won once in the ten years or something I’ve been doing it. Come to think of it, I may have cheated that year and worked on a novel-in-progress. So that would be possibly zero times I have managed to write a novel in a month. And I am an actual legit published author! So congrats to those who won, and for those who didn’t–you can still be writers, it’s okay. (Side note: I see that suddenly GUD is apparently gearing up to publish their Spring 2014 issue sometime…maybe in early 2015 by the look of their last blog entry? Given that their last published issue was actually the one I was in, if they manage to pull off another issue I will be able to feel like I didn’t have a hand in killing them somehow. So, um, good luck, guys?)

(Side side note: Despite having actually been published by GUD and having signed a contract with them and everything, I actually have almost no idea who works there, with whom I corresponded, the behind-the-scenes processes, none of that. I corresponded primarily with someone who I somewhat believed was using a pseudonym, and xe was not especially verbose or interested in offering explanations. Oh well.)

I’m still trying to come up with time to think semi-rationally about what to run next year. I have been mostly thinking of 10K to half marathon-length races, because I would like to see if I can improve my speed and maybe even place at the half marathon distance (the only distance from 5K to 50K that I have never placed in the top five at). Or I could go crazy and do a 100K or something. I have heard there’s a plan for a 100K on 50 miles per week, which is basically what I do now. But I’d guess it wants at least a few runs in the 25 to 30 mile range before the race, and I don’t think I can handle that without injury right now. So maybe shorter races it is. Or maybe it’s time to overcome my fear of open water swimming and my crappy biking and do a real non-pool swim tri, since my oly this summer went quite well. Or maybe a couple of duathlons? There are too many choices. I’m going to go sleep on it.

Let’s file Em oi! #403 under BF575 S75 L86 2014, for Psychology–Affection. Feeling. Emotion–Emotion–Special forms of emotion, etc., A-Z–Stress. Don’t ask me what “special forms of emotion” are; sometimes LC speaks to us in mysterious ways. Em oi! #49 can be filed under G557 L86 2007 (since it never got an LCC number originally, I hadn’t started library school yet when it was drawn!), which stands for Geography (general)–Mysterious disappearances, triangles of death, etc.–General works. That is a much more imaginative tag than I gave LCC credit for; I have underestimated them and for that I am sorry.

Em oi! #398: Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

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Pretend I got this up on Saturday for my birthday and not four days late. Thank you.

The idea that you shouldn’t care about your age is about as deeply ingrained in our culture as the idea that you should–check out the phrase “age ain’t nothin’ but a number” next to Nicole Kidman getting botox. I think it was my mother’s particular defiance of age-related stereotypes that rubbed off on me most of all. When she turned 50, someone sent her some black balloons, and she called up the flower shop that delivered them and gave them a stern talking to.

I can’t claim the idea of the princess/queen dichotomy in American womanhood is entirely something I came up with–I believe it was in one of the books I read before I got married, like One Perfect Day, where the author remarked that it is a very particular fantasy to want to be a princess (a childish position of little responsibility) rather than the queen (an adult position with lots of associated power). Of course, I never wanted to be a princess…but I’ll be queen, sure.

Anyway, here’s a picture of me cross thing the finish line at a 20km race on Saturday. I don’t have a picture of myself at 21 doing the same because at 21 my idea of a big day was one where I walked to the library a mile away. Whew. (I’m exaggerating a little, but I wasn’t a runner at the time.) I’ve come a long way since then.
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I’ll file the comic under PA3015.B48 L86 2014, for Classical literature–Literary history–Knowledge, treatment, and conception of special subjects, A-Z–Birthdays.

Em oi! #397: It also Means “of the Greatest Importance.”

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Here is something interesting I found out about cardinals: If you are a priest who is ministering somewhere that it might potentially be dangerous for you to be made a cardinal, the pope can make you a cardinal in pectore, which means he makes the appointment but keeps it secret (from everyone, including the apointee). Later on, he can reveal the appointment. But if he dies (or retires from the papacy, I guess?) before it is revealed, the appointment expires and the cardinal goes back to being a priest (or bishop). This kind of blows my mind, but I guess it is related to how the college of cardinals functions–not surprisingly, for a group that is full of old dudes, seniority is important.

Our yard might look like this picture if any of our trees (save the evergreens) had any leaves on them yet. Also we sold the swing set, it is not there anymore. And Edgar has dragged about a dozen sticks (many of them as big around as my forearm and longer than he is) out of the woods and piled them up in the middle of the lawn. He seems quite pleased with himself. If they start building ramparts, I’m going to get worried.

We’ll file this under ND1329.3.C37 L86 2014 for Painting–Special subjects of painting–Portraits. Group portraits. Self-portraits–Special subjects, A-Z–Cardinals. No, I am not sure why this is a call number.

Happy Pesach everyone! I hope you had a good seder (or seders if you are more ambitious than I am) and that you are having a good week of not eating bread. I have not had any bread in several days now, yes indeed! Although I must admit I have eaten some tortillas. A line has to be drawn somewhere I guess.

(Ok, actually the rabbis drew it on the side of don’t eat things with flour in them other than matzos during Passover. But they never had to go out to dinner in a non-Jewish city during Pesach.)

I guess this comic is somehow timely because Easter is coming up this Sunday. Happy Easter to all my priest relatives (and priest-to-be somehow-related-by-marriage people)! Actually, this is not a joke, I have one relative who is a priest, and also two of B’s relatives are priests-in-training. That’s a lot of priests for a Jew to be related to. It seems unusual. I also have a relative who studies the medieval Church although she isn’t herself Catholic. I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I can get questions of dogma answered all over the place.

After Easter though, comes the holiday we’ve all been waiting for: Cadbury-Creme-Eggs-Go-on-Sale-Monday.

You were waiting for that too, right? (Cough) I just started training for a triathlon, so I’m trying to stop buying junk food. I’m trying to eat less sugar. I’ll let you know how that works out. Right now I am very hungry and have been eating like it was my job. Probably because I can’t fill up on bread all the time.

It’s, um, Wednesday. Pesach ends Monday at sundown, I think. Be strong.

Em oi! #396: Airplane Hell

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This was on a flight from Salt Lake City to Denver. Let me just say that I am super paranoid about my headphones–not only do I worry about disturbing others, I worry about damaging my hearing, so I keep music/podcasts turned down REALLY low. Evidently this guy didn’t give a fuck if everyone could hear his music or not. He’ll probably go deaf, serves him right I guess. Or that’s about what I was thinking. But at the end, when we got up to get our luggage, I started to lean over the seat to vent spleen on the guy. As I did so, I saw some of the stuff he was texting to a friend on his phone (well, we were on the ground, I guess). Essentially he was in his 30s or 40s, on his way to visit a woman his family disapproved of (they believed he was a sinner because he was going to see her, and she had posted some “mildly sexy” photos of herself on the internet), his family also disapproved of his lack of religiosity… I just lost steam. Poor guy was old enough that he should have a life for himself, but he was so totally caught up in his family’s feelings.

It would have been easier if he was just the stupid teenager I’d assumed he was. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a terrible person. But I didn’t yell at him; his life seemed rough enough already.

Anyway. We’ll file this under BJ2139.L86 2014, for Social usages. Etiquette–Etiquette of travel–Special topics–Airplane travel.

I went out to Black Earth to run the Black Earth 10 Mile Race today. It was quite entertaining–I knew about a third of the field, it felt like, or they were friends of friends. It was especially funny to hear people say “Here come the fast people” as I approached with my friend R. Not sure how long I’ve counted as a fast person. We kept a pretty steady 8:00-8:30 pace for the first 9 miles–it was an out and back course, very flat, so it was relatively easy to keep pace, and I knew when we hit the turnaround that I was in 9th place, so it was easy to drive just a little bit harder on the second half to move up a few spots to 7th. Just shy of the 9 mile marker, two people we’d passed earlier (a man and a woman) came up behind us looking to make a move. I dropped the hammer and took off. For a while, I was running about a 6:40. It was amazing, I was flying.

My hands started to tingle. I realized that I could only hold that pace for a limited amount of time, and the clock was running down. I was very shortly going to have make a choice between passing out and slowing down.

I finished, I believe, in 8th place. I didn’t win the free shoes gift certificate. But I learned something new about how fast I can really push myself to–maybe if I start doing intervals once a week (my PT suggested this), I will actually be able to hold a 6:40 pace for a little while longer.

That’s enough of that. Here are some pictures of dogs and other animals I took.

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Macalester, or Mac for short.
Macalester, or Mac for short.
Edgar is happy when Bear is around.
Edgar is happy when Bear is around.

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Bear, who stayed with us for a week while his person traveled.
Bear, who stayed with us for a week while his person traveled.
Kali and Bear go on adventures.
Kali and Bear go on adventures.
Kali.
Kali.

 

 

Bear, lying down.
Bear, lying down.

 

 

 

 

 

Smile nice for the camera, guys.
Smile nice for the camera, guys.
Smile, I said.
Smile, I said.
Guys, come on.
Guys, come on.

Anyway I think my SAD is over so I will try to post more frequently now. I still have a couple of reviews in queue and a few more to write, plus I’ve recently fallen down a post-colonial studies rabbit hole and I’m excited to talk about that (everyone in real life is tired of listening to me talk about it, actually).

Em oi! #395: I Kant Believe It

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This started as more notes to myself on the noumenon, because I have been reading The Parallax View and had to look it up. I dragged through A Critique of Pure Reason in college and also parts of Critique of Judgement and (if I’m recalling correctly) The Metaphysics of Mortals, but I can’t say Kant’s theories ever really resonated with me. Yet since reading First as Tragedy, I’ve had a new respect for him. In particular, I was struck by this passage:

The recent Revolution of a people which is rich in spirit, may well either fail or succeed, accumulate misery and atrocity, it nevertheless arouses in the heart of all spectators (who are not themselves caught up in it) a taking of sides according to desires which borders on enthusiasm and which, since its very expression was not without danger, can only have been caused by a moral disposition within the human race.

Which is to say, while “actual history is confused” on the question of whether or not true [i.e. ethical] progress is possible, spectators across Europe were remarkably sympathetic to the French revolution (Zizek, First as Tragedy, then as Farce, 106).

I think now that this quote is less affecting out of context. Anyway, the remarkable thing was for me that I looked up the noumenon, made my notes, and then suddenly understood exactly the point Zizek was making and sailed on through another several pages. (Then he came to some argument rooted in Hegel and I got bogged down again.)

Anyway I should add that according to Wikipedia, the conflation of the noumenon and the ding-an-sich is not quite so straightforward as the Ziz makes it seem. But you probably already suspected as much.

At any rate, having read my comic, perhaps you are now in a position to appreciate this one by Zach Weiner.

Ok, I have now somehow passed an hour looking at pictures of cats on imagur. Probably time to call it a night.

We’ll file this one under B2799.N68 L86 2014, for Philosophy (General)–Modern (1450/1600-)–By region or country–Germany. Austria (German)–By period–Later 18th and early 19th centuries–Individual philosophers–Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804–Special topics, A-Z–Noumenon. Before you say “Don’t hurt yourself on that topic heading there,” I just want to let you know that PT2100.K3 is German literature–Individual authors or works–1700-ca. 1860/70–Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1749-1832–Biography and criticism–Biography–Personal relations–Relations to friends and contemporaries–Individual friends and contemporaries–Other friends and contemporaries, A-Z–Kant, Immanuel. So just be careful what you wish for.

By the way, I posted two reviews lately that you might have missed: this one of the play Red and this one of First as Tragedy. More reviews soon!

Okay, wait, I just remembered something I have to tell you about Kant. It’s a story my father told me when I was a kid: (and just to ruin it, I have forgotten the setup but) there is a guy in a neighborhood in Germany (well, Prussia). Every day he goes out for a walk at the same time. Every day he comes back at the same time. One day, his neighbor is raking leaves in the front yard and sees this guy walk past, and he has one foot on the sidewalk and one in the gutter. And half an hour later, sure as clockwork, back he comes, one foot on the sidewalk, one in the gutter. And that was Immanuel Kant. Later on, Dad told me that Kant broke philosophy, because he thought of it all. I don’t know if that is exactly true (philosophy has certainly continued after Kant, and gone down a lot of new and interesting alleys), but it perhaps explains to you what a huge and insurmountable obstacle he is in the study of philosophy. You Kant get there from here without going through him.

. . .

Ok, now I’m really going to bed.