Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say

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Two Seconds Hate: Truck Nuts

There is a large truck directly ahead. Whatever your cruise control is set at, the truck is slightly slower. Tap those brakes. Can you get around? Negative; the truck is two lanes wide. Blue-tinted smoke bellows from its twin exhaust pipes. The sky rains asphyxiated birds in its wake, and you switch to recirculated air when the world begins to smell like cheap vodka. Judging from the bumper, the driver is geared to go fully Republican when the 2004 election rolls around. The back window is adorned with crucifixes and Gothic lettering, and you assume that the letters actually spell something, but your brain will be goddamned if it’s going to devote the energy necessary to decoding that stupid fucking font1. Still, you think, perhaps the driver is a person who you could hypothetically hold a conversation with. Perhaps, if the two of you were trapped on a desert island, there would be some grace period before things turned Lord of the Flies. And then your eye drifts toward the pavement, and the ensuing aneurysm and subsequent hemorrhage almost make you lose your cool. Camouflage truck nuts. There is only one thought left to think: camouflage doesn’t really work in some situations. Indeed. Not nearly as well as you wish it did. Dare I say, it looks more like leprosy. Enjoy this stretch of one-lane highway while you stare at something that looks similar to, but in fairness slightly better than, a pug’s rear2.

I assume that the endowment of trucks with reproductive organs is the reason why there are so many trucks on the road in the first place, in the face of soaring gas prices and concerns over manmade carbon emissions. There are a lot of issues to discuss on that front. I’m available for debate. Until then I’ll be in the Cabela’s parking lot, neutering pickups and affixing giant collars around their front grilles so that they can’t chew on their stitches3.

Aside from the fact4 that they look stupid, and that testicles are useless without a corresponding man cannon (which no one has the initiative to put on their car for some odd reason), what amazes me is the number of women who attach these to their trucks. There are more than zero who do this. In fact I’m told that hot pink are the scrota of choice for ladies’ vehicles. This is to delineate that these male genitalia are a woman’s. At this point, whatever message one may have thought one was conveying is now pretzeled beyond recognition. We can distill only the basics: you have a Hemi and you want it to feel embarrassed when it goes out in public.

It’s worth noting that South Carolina has imposed a blatantly unconstitutional ban on bumper balls. Which is great news; I love it when two wrongs interfere with one another. And nothing better illustrates the point that South Carolina legislators are well-focused on critical issues. Last year the law was contested by a 65-year-old woman who refused to pay a $445 ticket for going anatomic with her truck, which I guess makes her the Rosa Parks of gluing balls to your car. Her jury trial does not yet have a date set. I await, rapt, her made-for-TV movie.

1. Fuck that font. Write in normal human letters.
2. Pugs look absurd.
3. I have a “Gone But Not Forgotten” tattoo with Bob Barker’s face. With Gothic lettering. … Oh. He’s not dead? Am I the only one who wasn’t aware of that?
4. Fact.



This Week in Wreak

In counterpoint to Ryan’s affluent shoppery, there is the market of Real America, and the signature publications thereof. We live in the post-Gutenberg era, and quite separately have mastered the art and science of ballistics, so it is only natural to expect combinations of the two. What I am never quite prepared for is the gusto with which these combinations are made.

Allow me to BabelFish that for you: Damn there are a bunch of magazines about guns in this grocery store.

I list from the top left:

  • Rifle Firepower
  • Pocket Pistols (note double-checked, this is a firearms-related publication)
  • Crossbow Revolution
  • Personal & Home Defense
  • Guns
  • Gun Collector
  • Small Arms
  • Special Weapons
  • Black Guns
  • Gun
  • Bowhunter
  • Guns & Ammo
  • Concealed Carry Handguns
  • Military Surplus
  • Traditional Bowhunter


The greatest part was something I only just realized after a detailed analysis of the snapshot of the rack: To the very right of these selections I can spy titles including Disney Princess, The Amazing Spider-Man, Spongebob, and other colorful booklets. The children’s literature is directly adjacent to the murder section. I have not legitimately fathered a child (as you may recall), so I cannot opine on this with true conviction, but personally I would at least get a NASCAR buffer in between those two selections.


A Monologue From the Spider Creeping On You Above the Shower

Don’t you mind me, girl. I see you standing there, not sure what to do. You stride into this bathroom all confident, thinking this shower is just another trip under the faucet. You didn’t expect to see Barry up here, spinning a little thang. Barry didn’t expect to see you either. Barry don’t mind, girl. Barry don’t mind.

That’s right. Take it all off. You don’t have to be shy about Barry. Barry’s just a harmless arthropod. No clothes here; we’re all natural in this bathroom. You dropping that towel. Me in this chitinous exoskeleton. It’s your birthday, girl. Let’s wear these suits.

Start that water slow now. You gotta give the pipes a chance to warm up. The water is destroying my proteinaceous silk weave that I inexplicably put under the shower head, even though this ain’t my first night here and I should know what’s up. That’s my bad. Some strands are still in the water, getting tugged on. They’re rockin’ me all the way up here. That’s some good vibes. Barry’s gonna ride these waves. Ride ’em all night long.


I hope you like eyes, baby. I’ve got four pairs of them. And they’re all on you. I see your loofah, waxing on. You get clean. I use my chelicerae to periodically groom my extremely fine leg hairs. They sense vibrations in the air. Maybe from predators. Maybe from unwary flies. Yeah. Can you feel it baby? I can too. It’s such a good vibration. It’s such a sweet sensation. I do not know if those are lyrics to a song that already exists, as I have no cognitive storage. Maybe Barry will drop an album.

A lesser man would be drooling for you. Barry’s above that sort of thing. Barry drools only to liquidize nutrients, as my organs are not physically large enough for solid ingestion. Let Barry treat you with respect. Just you and me, some pinot, a low candle, some fresh Drosophila. Barry knows the way to satisfy a lady.

You will have to excuse me for my indiscretion; you captivate me. Watch as I enter an elaborate courtship dance designed to prevent you from eating me before the act of conception. Like these moves? Yeah. Who’s #1 in this disco? Right here, baby. These legs are all akimbo.

The time draws near. I will spread my man seed in a special-purpose web and then transfer it to the base of my pedipalps. Yes. That is actually how I do it. I hear you girl. It is hard to believe in God after learning something like that.

Leaving so soon? Seems like we only met ten minutes ago, or about eighteen hours in spider time. I’ll see you tomorrow girl. Don’t worry about Barry. Barry will be right here. Or possibly over there. That other corner looks like it’s in need of some habitation, Barry style–

Hold up. That’s a nice towel. Barry could see himself all up in the folds of that towel.



Lockpickbot, Part 0

(Ported from old blog)

It was a week before Christmas when I decided that my new purpose was going to be to father a robot. Excited by the prospect of exciting prospects, I went apeshit purchasing equipment to this end. Arduino, circuit components, motors, plastic sheets, batteries, yada. The last tally I recall was $400 in. Thus far all the robot does is sit in pieces in a drawer, but it does this very well, and with long stretches between charges.

The problem is not lack of interest in robots generally, but dreams which are cripplingly grandiose. I could make a robot that rolls into walls and turns left. I could attach a broom to its undercarriage and save a couple hundred on a Roomba. Unfortunately my motivation threshold is really crossed in the realm of automata who can understand commands such as “fetch me water” and “delouse this cat,” and have the appendages and power to do so. That requires a leap forward in AI programming, and probably another Arduino. $400 at The Shack is not going to get me the robot from Lost in Space. And so I was biding my time, waiting for the following Christmas when I could ask for some fuel cells and artificial muscle.

GS recently talked me back from the ledge and suggested a small robot that does something interesting and practical, which presents an engaging technical and logical challenge while simultaneously introducing a moral dilemma of a proportion usually restricted to shows on AMC. A lockpicking robot. I’ve blueprinted it in my head and then allowed my mental to leap forward five years in the future, where mass production of these bots and a subsequent glitch in their logic has led to a scenario where doors are all but useless. Like, why even bother shutting the goddamned thing, it’s just going to get opened again in an hour by some fucking robot.

Should we, as scientists, create simply because we can? Jeff Goldblum, dressed as an angel, sits on my right shoulder, reciting quotes from Jurassic Park. There is no devil counterpoint because I don’t need any other encouragement to build this thing. I guess it’s me. I am wearing a devil costume telling myself to build a robot and arguing with Jeff Goldblum.

My Geppetto-like interest might be blunted if I knew for certain that my sperm were all alive and viable. I can easily imagine years of cell phone radiation turning my nethers into an apocalyptic hellscape, haploidic Mel Gibsons constantly in search of fuel. “There is a test for that,” you say. You are correct. The test–and this holds true for tests in general–is a tool for people who are willing to have either verdict be known. Were it possible to only have a test if the answer will be yes, then that would be a good test. But, given the confines of causality, my best bet is to have no test at all until game time. Until then quantum mechanics suspends my seed in a superposition of alive and dead states. Schrodinger’s sperm. Not a good band name, by the way.