What do you consider a significant improvement? Recently a record was set by a margin of 16 seconds. The old record was eight minutes thirteen seconds, 8m13s. The new record is seven minutes fifty-seven seconds, 7m57s.

For this thirteen-second improvement is described as smashing, crushing, and trouncing. Strong language. Pause, count to twenty. Did that take long? Doesn’t really seem so, does it?

When you are working on a skill, keep in mind small improvements are significant.

Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Fight or Flight, That’s the recognized responses to “perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival.” How was freeze left out of the discussion?

You’re familiar with “deer in the headlights”? Maybe you’ve seen one. Perhaps you’ve seen another animal, a rabbit maybe, frozen, waiting. A flight may follow, but freeze comes first.

Perhaps, also, you’ve seen people in high-stress situations just curl up. They follow the path of no-action as a response to the harmful event or perceived threat.

Why this doesn’t get more recognition and attention is a mystery to me.

Four Day Earworm is Cruel not Cool

This earworm, marimbas (I think) and female harmony singing “cool, cool samba” (again, I think), had drifted in and out of my brain recently. Such a fragment is resisting searches. Quickly it became evident “cool samba” is not the real lyric. There is a small bit of certainty – it is from the 80s, probably early to mid-80s.

Gar! What is it?

Update: Found it, Cruel Summer from Bananarama. My earworm did not include the bass line with the marimbas.


If you’ve ever set out to learn a foreign language you know how tricky translation can be. Even professionals have a tough time. This Vox video details some of the problems faced around the world when translators took on Harry Potter.

The Pillow Book of Sei ShoĚ„nagon has been translated from Japanese to English multiple times. It is interesting to compare translations. I’m currently doing just that, with the versions by Ivan Morris from Columbia University Press and Meredith McKinney of Penguin Classics.

Differences appear from the very beginning.


In spring, the dawn — when the slowly paling mountain rim is tinged in red, and wisps of faintly crimson-purple cloud float in teh sky.


In spring it is the dawn that is most beautiful. As the light creeps over the hills, their outlines are dyed a faint red and wisps of purplish cloud train over them.

Great translators are a gift.

A Gift of Dog Songs

Today’s mail brought a copy of Mary Oliver’s Dog Songs: thirty-five dog songs and one essay. This is a book of poems about dogs, all of them lovely and loved. The poems are accompanied by pen and ink drawing by illustrator John Burgoyne.

This is a heartwarming book that we decided to buy while reading a library copy. The used copy we received is in pristine condition. It does not seem to have ever been read. If it has been read, not extensively. Inside there was a note.

A gift from:
Sara J Cobb
Hi Rob, Happy BDay! I feel as if I know you yet not enough yet. But I hope you like M. O. My fav is pg 31.
I wish you the best of birthdays. Meeting you was one of the best blessings of 2013. Hugs!
From S.

It seems Rob did not enjoy the book. Did he even read it once? Here’s hoping life has worked out well for the two of them, especially the thoughtful Sara.

The favorite poem she cites is this:

Benjamin. Who came from who knows where

What shall I do?
When I pick up the broom
      he leaves the room.
While I fuss with kindling he
      runs for the yard.
Then he’s back, and we
      hug for a long time.
In his low-to-the-ground chest
      I can hear his heart slowing down.
Then I rub his shoulders and
      kiss his feet
and fondle his long hound ears.
      Benny, I say,
don’t worry. I also know the way
      the old life haunts the new.

Note: we did not buy this book via Amazon.

Fair Warnings

I have a friend on Facebook that used to live in Portland. He’s moved to a distant place, so FB is our contact point. This guy, yeah, I’m guarding his identity, is also a bit of a public figure. He is internationally famous in his field of work. He gets massive amounts of FB Friend requests from fans. Periodically he batch approves them and then sends out this notice so the new “friends” know what to expect. Note: some redacting perfomed.


Okay, so I just approved a gazillion new friend requests, so here are some basic facts to prepare you noobs. You people who were already here can just carry on or mock me as you usually do when I post this one.

  1. Do not ask me to like your page. I will not. And I will unfriend and block you.

  2. Do not add me to groups or poke me.

  3. It is not necessary to thank me for adding you. That’s a leftover from MySpace.

  4. On a similar token, if I just now approved your friend request, it means I don’t actually know you. If you voted for Trump or admire him or his policies, kindly fuck off and unfriend me and save us a lot of grief. People might give me shit about not being open to other ideas, but if I don’t know you yet, I don’t really care about your ideas yet and if you like Trump, it’s a pretty good indication that I will strongly dislike you. I’m old enough that I’ve already heard the other side’s arguments for a long fucking time and know that I do NOT agree with them. Any family or friends from the real world get a pass. Them, I will always listen to even if I disagree with them. But for people I don’t even actually know? No. No Trump people.

And to add to this, if you are Alt Right or use the term SJW or Social Justice Warrior to describe people you disagree with, please fuck off. If you do not believe in diversity in comics, supported gamer gate doxxing or believe in doxxing in general, FUCK OFF. I want nothing to do with you.

If you think it’s cool to harass creators, fuck off. If you are happy about Star Wars actors being driven from social media because of harassment, fuck off.

  1. I also post a ton of stuff about beer because I brew beer and am heavily involved in the brewing and beer scene here in [home area].

  2. I post a ton of comics stuff, mostly my own work, often step by step or work-in-progress stuff. So, for comics folks, it shouldn’t be too bad. Just ignore the other posts if you don’t wanna read them.

  3. I love my family and post about them with kids pics and stuff. I love my distant family as well and stay in touch with them here.

  4. Do not post spoilers. I will unfriend and block you.

  5. I write rants sometimes and curse and use the word fuck. If you are easily offended, save us all some grief and go away.

  6. I will not promote your kickstarter, so don’t ask.

And: “why don’t you have a professional page, [name]?”

I don’t feel like managing yet another page. I already manage this page, the [my area] homebrew competition page and Twitter, my own Twitter and the homebrew competition website. That is enough work for me at the moment. People will have to filter stuff. Just the way it is.

Welcome. And cheers from [Here]!

ML: Biblio

When one thinks of online shopping, especially for books, Amazon comes to mind. I’ve been an Amazon customer since 1996. Recent news of the working conditions in Amazon warehouses, including low pay and a surveillance heavy workplace have dulled my appetite to shop there.

Disclaimer: I’m also weaning myself from the impulse-driven habit I’ve developed.

Wouldn’t it be nice to shop at a local bookstore? As a Portland, Oregon resident there are many great choices. You may not be so fortunate in your local bookstore selection. For you I heartily recommend Biblio.

Biblio serves as an online presence for scads of independent booksellers while supporting a 501(c)3 organization that performs charitable work promoting literacy and bringing libraries to underserved populations.

This combination is wonderful.