December 15, 2015

December 5, 2015

Damaging Books For Impressionable Children

Don’t look for these at your local bookstore… 

after Hauman & Hauman
The Little Engine That Could But Wouldn’t

“I carry the likes of you? Indeed not!”

How sad all the dolls and toys felt!

“I won’t pull the likes of you!”

And the dolls and toys were ready to cry.

August 25, 2015

Better Person, Better Musician: Responses to the Venn Diagram

UPDATE: You can now order the poster, shown at left, at! Also available are T-shirts, pins, magnets, stickers, mugs, coasters, postcards, and even a clock, notebooks, and more…

Since I posted my PSA Venn Diagrams back in June 2015, hundreds of thousands of people have viewed it—well, at least one part of it. This particular diagram has been liked/shared in the upwards of 28,000 36,000 48,500 60,000 83,000 248,000 times on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, and the like:

The original Venn diagram.
Thanks to everyone who has shared it (without cropping out Pwuth!). Here are some of the greatest comments out there…

August 5, 2015

The Two Fates of Optimus Prime / DeepDream



It turned out the matrix was alien technology all along: an electro-organic symbiote which bonded to its host. As such, its extended use had…consequences.

July 30, 2015

Introducing DeepDream Architect

Sleeping Beauty has awakened. (source)
GoogleNet Places205, inception_4b/pool_proj, 10 iterations, 10 octaves, scale 1.2

Google’s DeepDream has been called “dazzling, druggy, and creepy” (Slate), “weirdly mesmering” (Wired UK), and “utterly psychedelic and surreal […] Lovecraftian nightmare fuel” (Le Bonbon). One month after Google Research loosed their creation on the world, this artificially intelligent image recognition-turned-generation neural net has turned vast swaths of the internet into dark, globulous, glistening nests of hairy eyes and alien dog-worm larvae. Techies and laymen alike have now used DeepDream to profane everything from pizza and presidents to, unsurprisingly, porn. (Also, ahem, brass instruments—see previous post.)

But even AI needs a break from puppyslugs. What else can it do? Well, as of mid-July, various incarnations of DeepDream have been specifically trained on images of flowers (8,000), faces (27,000), cars (137,000), and, oh, ~2.5 million images of PLACES.

Bingo. DeepDream’s new job: ARCHITECT.

July 28, 2015

DeepDreams in Brass

May 20

After being stored next to each other for days on end, my trumpet and cornet have formed some sort of bond. It’s not exactly metal. Think it may involve exchange of genetic material, because I see evidence of changes on the cellular level.

May 22

Discoved no longer have to clean trumpet or cornet: they clean each other. Would worry about this, but both are perfectly playable as long as you clear membranes off the mouthpieces and ignore the sweating.

June 20, 2015

PSA Venn Diagrams

Well, it’s time again for another installment of visual aids!—this time, Venn Diagrams for the benefit of the General Public. Yes, through the exciting drama of circles that do and do not overlap, we will find the beginnings of true wisdom.

[UPDATE: a response to the ‘being a better person & musician’ diagram has now been posted at!]

Let’s start simple:

White ‘chocolate’ is not chocolate at all. It does not contain any cocoa solids. It may have cocoa butter, but then again, so do your chapstick and body lotion. NOT CHOCOLATE.

May 14, 2015

The Most Interesting InstaGirl (N)Ever

ShopInstall may be the most interesting girl ever on Instagram, with 74 official hobbies, including cryptography, ghost-hunting, and balancing rocks (and you thought YOU were interesting).

How, and why, do I know this?

It began, as so many things do, with a simple question: what do young people do for fun nowadays? Let’s look up my most recent followers on Instagram and check out what they’re talking about.

March 13, 2015

White Day & Valentine's Day: BEST Holidays Ever?

What is White Day??

White Day, the Japanese sequel to Valentine’s Day, is now celebrated in South Korea, Taiwan, and China (according to Wikipedia). On March 14th (one month after Valentine’s Day), gifts of white chocolate and marshmallow are given—but ONLY from men to women. Huh? How is this a sequel to Valentine’s Day, you ask?

Well, let’s back up. Japanese society traditionally asks and expects women to be timid, submissive, and deferential to their male counterparts (though modern Japanese society is evolving). In the arena of romance, the woman’s traditional role is to be passive—to BE courted rather than court. That is, on 364 days a year.

On the remaining day—Valentine’s Day—women give men chocolate. Men do not give anything to women; it is a day of strictly one-way giving. It is a chance, a single-day window, for women to be proactive about expressing their romantic interests—nay, a day when they are in fact encouraged to confess their feelings!—in this specific societally-sanctioned way.

Guys, think about this for a moment.

Japanese Valentine’s Day is the best holiday ever.

January 26, 2015

Super Cyborg Killing Transformer Shoe

~ Stories By 8-Year-Olds ~

In the spring of 1987, the grubby little fingers in Mrs. Thompson’s 1st grade class were hard at work scribbling out short fiction. Witches flew on broomsticks. Easter Bunnies delivered eggs, or didnt. Ladybugs ate aphids. Life was grand.

However, as ABC Publishing Editor N. Hardwell was quick to point out (in his brutal rejection letter here), all of these short stories were remarkably formulaic. Every story in the anthology I Am the Easter Bunny, for example, started with:
I am the Easter Bunny. My name is _____1. I am _____2.
1. Floppy, Hoppy, Gilbert, Spotty, Fluffy, Swifty, Floppy, Easter, Fluffy, Heather, Easter, Gilbert, Smarty, Fluffy, and Rainbow Egg
2. Various combinations of: white, fat, fast, nice, happy

Given these cookie-cutter shapes, is it any surprise that the vast majority of children filled in the exact same cookies?

Now, dont get me wrong: for Mrs. Thompson to have 1st graders write short fiction is AWESOME, and she was a GREAT teacher; I certainly loved her. Furthermore, some students must have benefitted from this kind of 1-2-3 guidance (heres looking at you, Easter Bunny named ‘Easter). But to be creative in this context, students had to be crafty—they had to include the mandatory sentences, but then branch out onto their own paths.
I live in Bunny Town. Do you like my eggs? I like Easter. Do you like Easter? I do like Easter. It is fun. Some of my eggs break.
I didnt say they were good paths. But, BUT… then there was young Gordon. Little Gordons Easter Bunny (named ‘Rainbow Egg) hops to the planet Jupiter and has difficulty understanding space monster language. His ladybug, who is melted by magic when trying to kill an evil witch, is rescued by a friend from the witchs castle.

Clearly chomping at bit.

If there were any clearer evidence that young authors creativity was being stifled by these formulaic requirements at school, then it is this story, which I wrote less than two years after I Am a Ladybug, presumably NOT for a school assignment: