Def. The contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.
Def. The contemplation of one’s navel as an aid to meditation.
Inflating a set of cat lungs
Lungs are by most accounts mundane. Everybody has them, few give it much thought. But sequestered within darkness of the chest cavity, enveloping the fluttering heart, there’s a incredible wonder to this oddly inflatable organ.
Dissection is a destructive process. Rudely excised from membranous mooring and nourishing vessels, the deflated lungs appear little more than bloodied meat; amorphous and exposed…….until a breath of air unfurls its secret glory.
Here, a set of cat lungs is inflated with a straw. Comprised of hundreds of millions of microscopic air sacks called aveoli, Mammalian lungs harbor air capacity that is difficult to believe unless seen. The color of the entire organ lightens into a soft pink, as each microscopic sac fills with air.
A debt of gratitude is owed to cyborgraptor for her assistance in creating these gifs, as well as the students that help me film this demo.
Public service announcement: You essentially have balloons inside your chest. There’s some really great anatomy GIFs and images on that blog, too.
The more I learn of how we we function, the more amazed that we do at all.
I need to go to bed, but I can’t stop watching this.
This is the tale of my nasty book-buying addiction. Since 1998 or so, for every five or six books that I bought, I’d read maybe one, leaving something around 80% of my library (over 1000 books) unread. Most of my library is still in boxes: we don’t have enough room in our house to display all of them. My office is a mess of boxes and books, and I can’t work in there because of it. To fix this problem, I’ve instituted a new system I call the Clearing: for every new book purchased, one book from the stacks must be read, and then a decision made: keep or give away. The Clearing began with Cloud Atlas.
How long has Cloud Atlas been in the stacks?
I have trouble remembering how long I’ve had some books, but CA is pretty easy to pin point, since I am not in a possession of a copy of this book, persay, but an original Advanced Uncorrected Proof, of a Random House trade paper original (hard to believe that CA was a straight-to-paperback, in the U.S. anyway)marked for August 2004 publication. The letter on the inside of the book from the Editor is dated Dec. 2003, which is probably when I picked it up, out of the galley bin in the basement of the Shaman Drum bookshop in Ann Arbor where I worked from 2003 to 2005. So, 10 years. 10 years. I’ve had this book. OH! and before I forget: Full Disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for a review. Please keep this in mind, dear author/publisher, when offering me a copy of your book for review. I do get around to them, eventually.
Why did you buy it?
The cover is lovely. Also, I was probably caught by the blurb. I was a sucker at the time for novels with giant casts made up of multiple narratives that connect in unique and interesting ways.
Why didn’t you read it when you bought it?
There were literally hundreds of galleys for the taking. Hundreds. And I, book hoarder that I am, took as many as I could feasibly carry back to my rental on each trip. It would have been very difficult to read them all, given that I was also enrolled full time in school, though I tried. Also, as word came in of how good this was - I had to avoid it for awhile. I’ve heard my psych major friends speak of the notion of ‘pleasure anxiety’, and I think that I may experience this phenomenon when it comes to books.
What was it about?
Many things. Slavery and more generic captivity. Reincarnation. Salvation. Justice. Art. Technology. Unifying principles of same. That last bit makes Cloud Atlas one of the most religious books I’ve read in a while.
Would you have felt differently about it had you read it when you bought it?
Yes. Ten years ago, a combination of the structural complexity, justice-oriented themes, and prose written in fake English dialects of the future would have blown my mind. It didn’t blow my mind now, but I’m a better reader and a deeper cynic than I was then. The construction of this non-linear narrative was delicately stitched together, and like a novice quilter’s six-pointed star, too many seams were showing. There are times when Mitchell knew that his story ark (plot is too strong of a word) was drawing thin enough to break, and he would clumsily patch things over with a slab of expository dialogue. There were beautiful moments of self-awareness, too, as when Robert Frobisher explains the structure of his new composition, nearly identical to that of the novel he is cast it. Though this book has become something of a classic, it is obvious how much this book was a product of the early aughts. One thing that struck me was how nostalgic it made me for those days, a time whose political realities(9/11, the beginning of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the right-wing nutjob factions first real taste of power in this country, the PATRIOT act) should inspire anything but. Yet - we were so naive, then! And naivete, like it’s friend ignorance, is its own kind of bliss. My own personal political righteousness was not tempered by feelings of hypocrisy. I wasn’t some grown bourgeois twit swaddled in the comfort of an increasingly rare corporate job in a nearly recession-proof industry having just spent the last five years watching many of my nearest and dearest scramble for purchase on our collective road to serfdom! I was a college-aged bourgeois twit swaddled in the comfort of an excellent school and the largess of my exceptionally generous parents! I could bemoan injustice without ever having to think about the role that I might be playing in perpetrating it. Things that seem shockingly banal now had the gravity of epitaphs. We were all really freaked out that the government wanted to know what books we were checking out from the library.
So: Keep or Give Away?
I’ll probably lend this one out, but it will become a permanent fixture in the stacks.
Reading Woman (1668-1670). Pieter Janssens Elinga (Dutch, 1623-before 1682). Oil on canvas. Alte Pinakothek, Munich.
This maid is so enthralled with her book that she’s abandoned her work, and her shoes, to read. She has moved to take advatage of the only good light, the sunlight streaming in from a high window on to the maid’s cap, the book, her dress, the wall, and the floor.
This is the tale of a nasty book-buying addiction; I’m sure you can commiserate.
My husband and I bought our first house just over a year ago now. It was an exciting time for both of us: we were newly engaged, planning a wedding. We both found this house separately, each on a different real estate site, and when it turned out that the houses that we were each so excited about turned out to be the same house we knew we had to have it. In order to afford it and eat and pay for a wedding, some sacrifices were going to have to be made. I was going to have to stop buying so many books.
I put a system in place: I could still buy books five or six at a time, but I couldn’t buy the next five or six until those were finished and this worked for a time. Husband and my original libraries were still in boxes in our Norristown, PA apartment, and when we moved, some thirty or forty rubberneck bins of books came with us.
I’ve finally started unpacking my books this fall, and I did some math. For every five or six books that I had bought before the move, I’d read maybe one, leaving something around 80% of my library unread. Most of my library is still in boxes: we don’t have enough room in our house to display all of them. My office is a mess of boxes and books, and I can’t work in there because of it. To fix this problem, I’ve instituted a new system I call the Clearing: for every new book purchased, one book from the stacks must be read, and then a decision made: keep or give away.
The Clearing starts tonight with Cloud Atlas.
WERE THERE REALLY SO MANY AWESOME FEMALE MUSICIANS IN THE ‘90S THAT THEY HAD TO MAKE A FESTIVAL JUST FOR THEM?
OH, ABSOLUTELY, AND THAT WAS JUST FOR THE SORT OF EASILY PALATABLE MAINSTREAM “CHICK ROCK” WITH THE WIDEST APPEAL. YOU STILL HAD PJ HARVEY AND BJÖRK AND PORTISHEAD RUNNING AROUND, NOT TO MENTION GARBAGE AND ELASTICA AND THAT WHOLE SCENE, PLUS THERE WAS A HUGE RIOT GRRRRL THING HAPPENING IN THE UNDERGROUND. THEN YOU HAD YOUR CAT POWER AND SLEATER-KINNEY AND WHATNOT FOR THE SUB POP SET. THAT’S STILL NOT REALLY SCRATCHING THE SURFACE OF IT ALL. THERE WERE TRIP HOP VOCALISTS, TORI AMOS AND HER PIANOS, ALANIS MORISSETTE’S NEVERENDING SUPPLY OF HAIR, COURTNEY LOVE’S ONE-WOMAN WRECKING BALL ACT, GWEN STEFANI’S ABS … A LOT OF PEOPLE THINK EDDIE VEDDER WAS A GUY, BUT THAT ‘S NOT TRUE. SHE JUST HAD A FAIRLY DEEP VOICE. AND THESE WERE ACTUAL MUSICIANS, NOT JUST POP STARLETS. ACROSS ALL DIFFERENT GENRES. IT WAS CRAZY. BASICALLY, IT WAS LIKE THAT TIDAL WAVE AT THE END OF THE ABYSS, ONLY MADE OF ESTROGEN.
THAT SOUNDS AMAZING.
IT WAS, HONEY. IT REALLY WAS.
I miss the 90’s.
Kosovo’s satirical political party
“On a sunny day in early October, I strolled down Mother Theresa Boulevard, Prishtina’s main pedestrian artery. The boulevard was clamoring with its usual hubbub: men selling used books, popcorn, and chestnuts, and young people sitting in cafes lining the boulevard, leisurely sipping their third or fourth macchiatoof the day. Eager as I was to enjoy my own lunchtime shot of caffeine, I almost failed to notice the red carpet, staffed by several bearded photographers, set up next to a still-partially-incomplete fountain and a pile of cement blocks.
Visar Arifaj, Partia e Fortë’s “Legendary President” (Kryetar Lexhendar, in Albanian) was posing on the carpet, dressed for success in the party’s ‘uniform’ of a white button down shirt, cargo shorts, and a tie and surrounded by hordes of supporters and fellow party members. The occasion? A party press event inaugurating the boulevard’s completion. In truth, Partia e Fortë had absolutely nothing to do with the planning or funding of this project, but these sorts of promotional events—which involve taking sarcastic credit for something originally implemented by the Kosovar government—are the party’s trademark.”
Traits: Abstract, rational, ingenious, independent
Book: This type is the most likely to enjoy reading up on philosophy, as they think very abstractly (see: Mr. Ramsay from “To the Lighthouse”). Huxley’s blend of scientific insights and social commentary in the classic book, Brave New World would probably appeal to them.
And it did!