Friday, November 03, 2006

pen evaporation

I once theorized that the reason that you can never find a pen when you need one is that they evaporate. If this theory is true then it should be possible to saturate the air with pen vapor so that they no longer evaporate (or, more precisely, they condense at the same rate as they evaporate, so the total number of solid pens remains the same).

In an effort to test my theory, I once emptied the supply cabinet at work and distributed the pens around the office. When I was finished, there was no office or desk that didn't have twenty times as many pens as they could possibly use in a year. It seemed to work for a while, but within a month or so, it was getting hard to find a pen again.

My conclusion is that the vapor pressure of pens is so high that it just isn't practical to try to keep the air saturated.

Mist Magic part 11

The story begins here
The man stepped a bit closer but stayed out of reach of my kick. "Where to start?" he asked rhetorically, rubbing his chin, "Perhaps at the beginning ..." The man sat down on the edge of the concrete base of the tower and just started telling me this outrageous story, behaving as if the punches had never happened. And from the way he acted, I don't think my punch had effected him very much at all. His punch, it turned out, didn't actually break any ribs, but left a huge palm-shaped bruise. I have to admit that I paid little attention to the first part of his story because I was more concerned about the blinding pain in my chest, but I'll repeat it here as well as I can.

"My name is Azeroth," he told me, "and I am a Valangzus of Kadlandith." I transcribe the names as best I can, but they clearly were not English. The "th" at the end of the words was voiced like the "th" in "this" rather than unvoiced like the "th" in "path". You never find a voiced "th" at the end of a word in normal English. The vowels were fuller and more rounded than in normal English, and the "K" at the beginning of "Kadlandith" was a faint glottal stop.

"It was we of Kadlandith who discovered the red world so long ago. We called it Rodona because we thought it was beautiful."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mist Magic part 10

The story begins here
Maybe I over reacted. But the guy actually had threatened to kill me, and he might be armed, and he actually had played some kind of trick, pretending to commit suicide. So I spun around, grabbing his arm and slamming it as hard as I could into the metal bar of the ladder. At the same time, I punched him in the stomach and then reached to grab his head in preparation for a knee to the groin. That's when he hit me in the chest with an open hand.

I want to be clear about this because it explains why I think the man's story is worth repeating: I'm a weight-lifter. Not exactly a pro, but I can bench press a healthy 295 pounds. I've also practiced several martial arts and I know how and where to punch someone in the gut; I hit the guy's solar plexus square with the top two knuckles of my fist, using my hips for power and keeping my wrist straight. It was a textbook gut buster from a very strong guy and it should have left the rail-thin man helpless on the ground. Instead, I found myself stumbling backward into the fog where I hit the ground in a gasping, flailing lump of surprise and pain. I was certain that my rib cage had been crushed.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Mist Magic part 9

The story begins here.
Was it lost in the fog? The swirling whiteness might have concealed even so large an object as a shattered and black-clad body. I crept forward, trying in vain to brush the fog away with theatrical waving motions of my arms, searching for the dead or dying man and at the same time wanting nothing to do with such a ghoulish sight. The fog laughed at my feeble efforts, my courage waned, and I stopped well before any real risk of stepping on the grisly remains. As I stood there peering with full concentration in one direction I had a sudden fancy that I was in a move and that a hand was about to grasp my shoulder from behind. I shuddered; my overactive imagination was nearly strong enough to make me look back over my shoulder but my pride was stronger and I resisted.

As I stood there thinking about ghosts and vampires and monsters, and wondering if I would be a star or an extra in this horror movie, suddenly from behind me, a hand came down on my shoulder.

"It's time for that talk," the man said.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mist Magic part 8

The story begins here
I descended the ladder into the starlit mists, suffering a bit of squeamishness over what I would find at the bottom because I didn't know how much a human body would splash after such a fall. Would I step in gore at the foot of the ladder? Nausea surged over me and I had to stop, pressing my forehead against the clammy rung until the threat subsided. I suffer the curse of a vivid imagination.

Thankfully the bottom of the ladder was lit by a floodlight, or the darkness would have been impenetrable in the deep fog. As I neared the bottom, I began looking below me but even with the floodlight, I could barely see past my own feet. Approaching the ground, I actually bent over to look more closely for what lay beneath but could see nothing except another rung. I stepped down and repeated the action. Then again. After the fourth time I gave up caution and lowered my foot without looking, probing blindly for the next rung. The rung seemed to be missing so without thinking I lowered my foot still further. Suddenly I touched an obstacle much more massive than a ladder rung; I had reached the bottom.

I rested there for a moment at the base of the ladder, once again pressing my face to the clammy metal to stave off nausea. Then I steeled myself and looked toward where the body lay. Nothing was there.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

joke science

I used to tease my younger brothers by giving them ridiculous scientific explanations. For example:
Do you know why they use red and green for stoplights even though some people are red/green color blind? It's because people who are red/green color blind also have a problem with falling asleep when they drive, and making the lights the same color forces them to be more alert.
I thought of this today when I was browsing the google searches the led people to my site today. One of them was
farts evolutionary purpose
I'm guessing some younger brother is starting to catch onto his older brother's game and is double-checking on google.

Don't you wonder what the story was though?