blurp | Science, Art, Life

Friday, October 27, 2006

Sleuth Collecting

I started collecting Nancy Drew books last year as an effort to direct gift buying compulsions. Suggestions of foregoing gifts were often unheeded so I needed a better solution. But asking for something is dangerous: you become labeled with that desire forever (we all have an Aunt Bess who likes pigs or Uncle George obsessed with cars). I decided to take the risk and so far it has worked out nicely.

I spread the word that I like the vintage blue hard-covered Nancy Drew books. I didn't think of this at the time, but this request encourages people to spend their money at antique and independent book stores as opposed to big chains. I also discovered I like collecting them more than I thought I would. The books are chucked full of good childhood memories and great vintage art.

So now I've started adding to my collection myself, picking up books I find at local antique shops and even perusing eBay for good buys.

I just got my newest addition in the mail this week: a 1961 edition of The Password to Larkspur Lane.

Link to info and pictures of all the Nancy Drew Books
Link to cool foreign versions of Nancy Drew Books

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Pre-Halloween Special #2

I found this gem on a webpage which lists the 40 most recently posted images to live journal (Link Below). I really hope its a real candid and not posed; its so perfect.

WARNING: Nudey photos frequently show up on the above mentioned website And occasionally some pretty gruesome ones too. Browse with caution.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Blankets Banned

My brother-in-law's graphic novel, Blankets has been banned at a Missouri library, at least temporarily, because of complaints that it is pornographic. Its a beautifully drawn book with some nude scenes. I can see how the naked drawings could make people feel uncomfortable, not because they are obscene, but because they are very honest and sweet. Just the thing to make a sexually suppressed person squirm.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the National Coalition Against Censorship in wrote a statement of support for Blankets which concisely sums up any potential rant of mine.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Photos of Faith*

I took these photos at the Xcel Energy Center yesterday as the Women of Faith conference was letting out.

*I don't know and am not implying anything about the religious beliefs of the people in these photos.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Dawkins vs. Colbert

I'm going to buy The God Delusion today.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Moose Wings and Laser Vomit

Random recent photos. The naturey ones make nice screen backgrounds (click on them for a larger image). The night-time ones are a product of collaboration and therefore not mine to take sole credit for.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


I went back to my Alma Mater for a football game yesterday and snapped these shots.

Motorcyle at the gas station - they were bummed because they had a flat tire.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Lipstick and Bath Soap

Modern feminism is messed up.

Today I was a presenter at a Girls in Science day hosted by a local news station. Girls were able to meet professional woman in science jobs and do some science activities with them. I thought this would be great, expose girls to role models who can help inoculate them against gender stereotypes and to encourage them to pursue their interests despite what our culture may insinuate.

As I perused the other presenter's stations I was disappointed. One station was about the chemistry of making lipstick, another station was about making scented soaps and bubble bath, and in the introduction the host said she would do her science job "while wearing high heels." Ugh.

I don't think that there is anything wrong with these stations, but I cringe at the messages they send about what being a woman is. We are saying that being a woman is wearing makeup, taking bubble baths, and wearing high heels; that being feminine is equivalent to being beautiful and sexy and by-the-way you can use science to help make yourself more beautiful and sexy.

Girls need to hear that they are not bound by our culture's expectation of women. They need to be given the confidence to take the privilege boys have because our culture has not given those to them. We need to stop deceiving girls into thinking that sexism is a thing of the past because that forces them to be content with the present. They need to hear that even in our modern society sexism, racism, and a whole cornucopia of other "isms" are thriving so they can know the challenge and be prepared for it.

Not all the stations were bad, in fact they were probably out-numbered by great ones. But the women-are-for-sex message is so strong it has paved a pretty smooth rode for itself, other new messages are still bushwhacking their paths and can be easily overpowered.

Additional Reading:
Good explanation of "Gender privilege" from an unexpected source
Interesting article about the role of Men in eliminating sexism

Friday, October 06, 2006

Waiting for Good Charlette

I snapped some photos today of fans waiting to get into the Good Charlette concert next to my husband's office. I borrowed his boss' Canon 1DS Mark II which I had no idea how to use so I just kept it on P-mode.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hag Syndrome

October Pre-Halloween Special:
Hag Syndrome AKA Sleep Paralysis

A person experiencing sleep paralysis can't move, talk, or breath when they wake up and they often feel a huge weight pressing on their chest. Normally, when a person is sleeping chemicals are released to paralyze their mussels so they don't act out their dreams but with sleep paralysis a person wakes up before the chemicals wear off. The freaky part about sleep paralysis is the hallucinations that accompany it, people often see, hear, smell, or otherwise sense demons, hags, or other bad guys - hence the name Hag Syndrome.

Hag syndrome has been documented since Greek times and has been incorporated into many culture's lore and arts. That famous painting of the monkey-like demon sitting on the woman's chest is thought to be a depiction of sleep paralysis. Hag Syndrome also makes an appearance in Moby Dick and in some Ernest Hemingway poems. Does anyone know of any others? (more from Wikipedia)

The Nightmare, by Henry Fuseli (1781)

I experienced sleep paralysis once in college and it was bone-chillingly terrifying. I awoke from a mid-afternoon nap lying on my back and unable to move or breath. I saw this demon-like creature on my chest attempting to smother me with my blanket. It only lasted a few seconds but It felt intensely real and I honestly thought I might die. Oddly enough, I just shrugged it off as a pre-finals sleep-deprived nightmare and forgot about it until this summer. Now I know messed-up sleep patterns, stress, and sleeping on your back are common triggers for Hag Syndrome. Even though the paralysis was very scary I'm glad I experienced it; it makes me feel connected to an ancient human condition and helps me have patience and empathy for people who believe in the supernatural.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Unabashed Nerdiness

Blogs are an opportunity for people to revel in their own personal nerdy delights. In honor of this, I'm posting some photos I took of a group that meets every Tuesday in the park next to my house. I accosted them last week with my camera.