Thursday, October 27, 2005


i adore my books. currently they are all affectionately crammed three-deep into my mid-height lame ass billy bookshelf, but as soon as i have enough money to not have to begin sentences with, "as soon as i have enough money," i am going to purchase at least two more, maybe a tall one with opaque glass doors and certainly a nice big wooden one (real wooden, not ikea particleboard wooden, though that's working fine for me for now).

alas, at this time i shall be content to merely pine. i think a lot of it is erin's influence - her (unhealthy) obsession with furniture design has rubbed off on me to an extent, and i'm enjoying thinking about not only the different ways form and function can work together (or not), but how they can also be real design strengths.

(okay, can you tell i'm sick of law reading and just ready to go back to analyzing useless crap again? give me chekhov! bf skinner, godard! f, i'll even do an essay on f-ing bookshelves and herman miller, just NO MORE CIV PRO).

anyway, bookshelves.

this is neat, huh?? tilt, tilt... i can imagine putting all my plays into these, or, um, my cliff's notes.

i also love this:

that's f-ing badass, man! i probably wouldn't want it for my house, but those lines are so nice and crisp, and i love how it just pops. (not to mention that titanic lamp kind of tricks out your eyes...)

now, see, this on the other hand is a bad idea. there is no respect! no organization! i am not a fan.

and this is just impractical and ugly.

you sick of these yet? i want to end on the best one. ladies and gentlemen, i give you:

what, not impressed, you say?? well, i'll admit, empty, this design makes little sense. looks a bit like tigger's stripes or something, but they are a little irrelevant.

until you put books on there.

i am not kidding:

holy shit, man!!!!!! was i not kidding?!?! look at what this design does - it creates open space, not just on the sides of the books but above them, too. (granted, there aren't that many in here, but the way the shelves go it *does* create that negative space.) it accomodates varying heights and thicknesses of volumes, and it's all tilt-y, which breaks up the lines at soft angles. i fucking love it, man, i am not kidding. plus, it's crazy enough to catch the eye, but it's not absolutely atrocious to have in a home. neat, right?!?!

*[blogger's note: the site changed the photos, so there's no longer a full-length shot with books on the shelves. =( sorry, kids! i'll keep checking back, and upload the handsomer ones if they ever get put back online. meanwhile, apologies for the comments not really fitting the photos...]

Sunday, October 23, 2005

put what where? - article

from the times (london)

Put what where? 2,000 years of bizarre sex advice

Tight corsets cause nymphomania, orgasms can kill and wasps are a turn-on. John Naish looks at the top sex tips over the ages

Mating. Reproduction. Nothing is more crucial to humanity’s survival, so it would be logical to expect us to have got it sussed early in our evolution. But since the start of civilisation, the fundamentals of human sex — where to put it, how and when — have been absurdly confused by a parade of moralists, pundits and visionaries all claiming to know the magic secrets and only too happy to pass them on at a very reasonable price.

Just as every generation thinks that it invented sex, we also think we invented lovemaking manuals, or at least based them on a few prototypes such as the Kamasutra and Marie Stopes’s 1918 Married Love. But today’s maelstrom of books, videos and DVDs has a far richer, more twisted heritage than that.

The tradition of bestselling love guides goes back to the Ancient Chinese. [blogger's note: we are so racy!] Our earliest known manuals were first written in 300BC and buried in a family tomb at Mawangdui, in Hunan province. Recent translation reveals the timeless nature of the subjects they tackled.

Written as Cosmo coverlines, they would look like this: Four Seasons of Sex — and Why Autumn is Hot, Hot, Hot; Wild New Positions; Tiger Roving, Gibbon Grabbing and Fish Gobbling; Aphrodisiacs to Keep You Up All Night! Plus Exclusive! Your Love Route to Immortality.

As ever, it was all nonsense: home-made Viagra recipes involved ingredients such as beetle larvae, wasps and dried snails. The books also promised that any man who had sex with a different virgin every night for 100 nights without ejaculating would live for ever (albeit rather uncomfortably).

These odd beginnings set a trend: weird tips from strange authors, many of whom became manual martyrs. Ovid, the Roman poet, advised women on the best positions to suit their bodies in his poem Ars Amatoria. For example: “If you are short, go on top/If you’re conspicuously tall, kneel with your head turned slightly sideways.” The prudish Emperor Augustus banished poor Ovid to a chilly outpost of empire (a small town on the Black Sea in modern Romania).

Medieval European sex advice followed the strait-laced trend: most of it said “don’t”. Pleasure paved Hell’s roads and misogynistic manuals such as De Secretis Mulierum (The Secrets of Women) claimed that females used sex to drain men of their power and that some hid sharp shards of iron inside themselves to injure innocent lovers.

A technological breakthrough in the Renaissance put us back on our lascivious tracks. The printing press enabled publishers to churn out dodgy books faster than the Church authorities could ban them. Readers were treated to gems such as Mrs Isabella Cortes’s handy hint from 1561 that a mixture of quail testicles, large-winged ants, musk and amber was perfect for straightening bent penises. The era also brought us the earliest recorded recommendation of slippers as a sex aid (“Cold feet are a powerful hindrance to coition,” warned Giovanni Sinibaldi in his 1658 book Rare Verities.) But to find history’s oddest advisers, we must look to the Victorians and Edwardians. William Chidley, for example, believed that he could best promote his ideas by walking around in a toga. Chidley, an Australian, advised readers in his 1911 pamphlet The Answer that heavy clothing caused erections, which would lead to sexual overexcitement, illness and death, as well as being “ugly things” of which “we are all ashamed”.

He urged people to live on fruit and nuts and to practise a method of flaccid intercourse apparently based on horses’ sex lives. Yet it wasn’t his ideas that got him repeatedly arrested, but his silk toga, which the authorities thought indecent. After his death, supporters continued propounding his theories into the 1920s.

For the ultimate proof that you don’t need relevant qualifications to become a world expert, we turn to Marie Stopes. She was married and in her late thirties when she wrote one of Britain’s most enduring sex guides, Married Love. But she was also a virgin.

Stopes was inspired by her betrothal to Reginald “Ruggles” Gates, who, she told a divorce court, had failed ever to become “effectively rigid”. When Married Love hit the shelves early in 1918 it outsold the bestselling contemporary novels by a huge margin. By 1925, sales had passed the half-million mark.

Stopes was a fan of Hitler’s eugenics and arrogant enough to offer Rudyard Kipling and George Bernard Shaw advice on writing. Her main sex-manual innovation was a theory that women have a “sex tide” of passion that ebbs and flows on a fortnightly basis — and woe betide the man who didn’t understand this. In case her second husband, the manufacturing magnate Humphrey Verdon Roe, got it wrong, she made him sign a contract releasing her to have sex with other men.

So that’s our sexual forebears, a weird lot with funny ideas. Compared with them we might appear at the zenith of sexual enlightenment. Our age is remarkable for the sheer volume of sex advice being consumed: one woman in four now owns a sex manual, says a survey by the publishers Dorling Kindersley. Everyone from porn stars to the car-manual firm Haynes has one out. Well, I wonder. In 50 years’ time, I foresee the students at a university faculty of s exual semiotics studying the early Twenty-Ohs with the same mirth, incredulity and horror that shake us when we consider our ancestors’ obsessions. Perhaps they will wonder why we bought so many manuals, videos and DVDs but seemed to have so little time or energy left for sex. Maybe they will link our obsession with orgasms to our endless need to go shopping. They might also connect our avid consumption of sex advice to our growing terror of personal embarrassment and “getting it wrong”. They may even have a name for us; perhaps the erotic neurotics.

Put What Where? Over 2,000 Years of Bizarre Sex Advice, by John Naish (HarperElement £9.99), is available from Times Books First at £9.49 p&p free. Call 0870 1608080 or visit

Wisdom of the ancients

How to pull
“Pick the woman’s worst feature and then make it appear desirable. Tell an older woman that she looks young. Tell an ugly woman that she looks ‘fascinating’.” Philaenis, papyrus sex manual (2BC)

Go blondes!
“All women are lascivious but auburn blondes the most. A little straight forehead denotes an unbridled appetite in lust.” Giovanni Sinibaldi, Rare Verities: the Cabinet of Venus Unlock’d (1658)

Buns and corsets cause nymphomania
“Constricting the waist by corsets prevents the return of blood to the heart, overloads sexual organs and causes unnatural excitement of the sexual system. The majority of women follow the goddess Fashion and so also wear their hair in a heavy knot. This great pressure on their small brains produces great heat and chronic inflammation of their sexual organs. It is almost impossible that such women should lead other than a life of sexual excess.” Dr John Cowan, The Science of a New Life (1888)

On the other hand . . .
“The majority of women (happily for them) are not very much troubled with sexual feelings of any kind.” Dr William Acton, Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs (1858)

Indian enlargement
“Rub your penis with the bristles of certain insects that live in trees, and then, after rubbing it for ten nights with oils, rub it with the bristles as before. Swelling will be gradually produced. Then lie on a hammock with a hole in it and hang the penis through the hole. Take away the pain from the swelling by using cool concoctions. The swelling lasts for life.” Kamasutra, translated by Sir Richard Burton and F. F. “Bunny” Arbuthnot (1883)

Climaxes can kill
“Fainting, vomiting, involuntary urination, epilepsy and defecation have occurred in young men after first coitus. Lesions of various organs have taken place. In men of mature age the arteries have been unable to resist the high blood pressure and cerebral haemorrhage with paralysis has occurred. In elderly men the excitement of intercourse with young wives or prostitutes has caused death.” Havelock Ellis, Psychology of Sex: a Manual for Students (1933)

How often?
“The ordinary man can safely indulge about four times a month. More than that would be excess for a large majority of civilised men and women.” Lyman B. Sperry, Confidential Talks with Husband and Wife: a Book of Information and Advice for the Married and Marriageable (1900)

Single-handed signs
“Look at the habitual masturbator! See how thin, pale and haggard he appears; how his eyes are sunken; how long and cadaverous is his cast of countenance; how irritable he is and how sluggish, mentally and physically; how afraid he is to meet the eye of his fellow, feel his damp and chilling hand, so characteristic of great vital exhaustion.” Dr Henry Guernsey, Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects (1882)

Never marry these women
“Redheads. Any girl named after a mountain, a tree, a river or a bird. Ones with rough hands or feet. Ones who sigh, laugh or cry at meals. Any girl with inverted nipples, a beard, uneven breasts, flap ears, spindle legs or who is scrawny. Girls whose big toes are disproportionately small. Girls who make the ground shake when they walk past.” Koka Shastra, The Indian Scripture of Koka (12th century)

And, if you can’t find it, don’t worry
“The clitoris, while important, is not nearly as important as many of us have been taught or led to believe.” Edward Podolsky, Sex Technique for Husband and Wife (1947)

But whatever you do ...
“Never fool around sexually with a vacuum cleaner.” Dr Alex Comfort, The Joy of Sex (1972)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

non-recommendations 2 - microsoft word

i fucking hate word with the loathing that most reserve for puppy kickers. i hate it so much my delicate facial features start to twitch when i think too much about it.

fucking presumptuous, piece of shit software, that thinks it knows what i want but only serves to FUCK UP MY COURSE OUTLINE. don't autoformat me, fucking bitch! no, i don't mean "torturous" when i write "tortious"! no, i dont mean "iii." indented halfway in the middle of the page when i write "2)" on the left!!

AND FUCK YOU for RETROACTIVELY CHANGING ALL MY NUMBERS TO "1." and all my LETTERS TO "a." WHEN I AM NEARLY FINISHED YOU ASSHOLE! (weeps) when i need to memorize a 5 step process, it does me no good to have all the steps labeled one!!!!

all right. in all fairness, i have a midterm on saturday, and in addition to completely ignoring my emails (that's you jess, alana, ari, em, response is coming...) i have been shunning daylight and naps as well, so i am a tad grumpy, and part of this post is that. also, i will admit that word does not proclaim to be an outlining software, only a word processing one.

THAT SAID, I STILL FUCKING HATE IT. you do NOT know what i want, so stop changing things without at least labelling what you're changing and checking with me first. this is the second time i've had to go back over the entire thing and relabel my numbers/indentations. i know you are confused by my disorganized style of outlining, but FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND ALL THAT IS HOLY LEAVE ME ALONE!!

you know what else bothers me, is that i am actually quite proficient at word. i know how to work it with relative dexterity, and i can fix most formatting problems that other people can't, just by virtue of having used it specifically for formatting purposes, etc. so, it just drives me nuts that there's no, i dunno, loyalty reciprocated at all, like, word doesn't appreciate that i know its ins and outs, it just wants to f-ing dupe me along with all the other suckers. well fuck you! word! you friggin bastard.

...i am calming down now, and adding addendums that are less screaming but not less irritated. word should let me "lock" pages. like, the first fifteen pages of my outline? i should be able to "lock" them and not let the program just shuffle margins and labels as it pleases, since, i dunno, it took me the better part of three weeks to get this shit done, and i dont think some fucking program should be allowed to fuck around with it.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

admit it. you're bored.

here's my tank!
Originally uploaded by jadis.
so, explore my fish tank. click the photo to learn more.

Friday, October 07, 2005

what if? - article

from the washington post...

What If Gene Were a Genius?
Oh, never mind . . .

By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, October 2, 2005; W32

Critics sometimes complain that my columns lack intellectual depth. So today I thought I would examine fundamental epistemological questions of life in a contextual fashion, by postulating alternative realities and extrapolating likely results.

What if Freud had been a woman?

Sex would not be considered the primary force that drives human behavior. Instead, it would be Fear of Having a Large Behind. All men would be haunted by a condition known as "penis shame." The mind would not be divided into the Id, the Ego and the Superego but the Shoe-Desire Region, the Weeping Center, and the If-You-Don't-Know-What-You-Did-Wrong-I'm-Not-Going-to-Tell-You Lobe. Also, sometimes a dried apricot is just a dried apricot.

What if wishes were horses?

Then beggars would ride. But so would everyone else. We would each have, like, 7,000 horses. They would completely paralyze civilization, consuming all vegetable matter in a week or less. Continents would rise several feet, just from accumulated poo. And anytime anyone wished for no more horses, another horse would appear. The world would end in a terrifying, thundering apocalypse of horses, is what would happen.

What if Hitler had beaten us to the bomb?

Humor wäre heutzutage verboten, und Humoristen würde man in der Öffentlichkeit erschiessen.*

What if Shakespeare had been born in Teaneck, N.J., in 1973?

He would call himself Spear Daddy. His rap would exhibit a profound, nuanced understanding of the frailty of the human condition, exploring the personality in all its bewildering complexity: pretension, pride, vulnerability, emotional treachery, as well as the enduring triumph of love. Spear Daddy would disappear from the charts in about six weeks.

What if our thoughts scrolled across our foreheads, like a TV news crawl?

All men would be incarcerated for public lewdness, conspiracy, fraud and crimes against humanity.

What if, as originally predicted, heavier-than-air flight had actually been impossible?

Rocket-propelled blimps. Travel would take a little longer, but the 9/11 plot would have failed, comically.

What if celebrities were punished by God every time they took money to endorse a product they don't use?

It's happening already! Consider Rafael Palmeiro, who did those obnoxious ads for Viagra even though he claimed he didn't need it and hadn't used it. Now he's ruined.

Is this, finally, empirical evidence for the existence of the deity?

It is hard to deny.

What if all snowmen could walk and talk, like Frosty?

They'd be gone as soon as we made them. You think snowmen would sit around here just to entertain kids, waiting until the first warm spell melted them? No way. Responding to some primitive instinct for survival, they'd hoof it for Antarctica, or climb Kilimanjaro. The only time anyone would ever see a snowman is by climbing a mountain. We'd expect them to be gurus, and ask them about the meaning of life. But they would just say things like, "Me want toy." Snowmen are idiots.

What if you could smell air? And it smelled like B.O.?

That would be real bad.

What if the wheel had never been invented?

Even worse mileage for SUVs.

What if the U.S. Constitution required presidential candidates to campaign wearing only a sombrero and a cummerbund?

The only people who would run for president would be shameless, contemptible, power-mad, ego-crazed, narcissistic exhibitionists. So, basically, this one's a wash.

What if dogs were as dumb as chickens, but chickens were as smart as chimpanzees?

No one would notice the difference in dogs, but we'd feel a lot worse about continuing to eat all those plump, delicious chickens.

What if there were a doomsday Web site, where if any-one logged on, it would instantly annihilate the world in a fiery inferno? And what if the url were published in a news-paper? You know, something like "Log on to and the world will end?" How long would it take some irresponsible jackass to do that?

Probably no more than three sec

*Humor would be illegal today, and humor writers would be taken out back and shot.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

my perfect sunday

if i had my way, i would spend sundays just devouring the new york times.

i'd start at the crossword puzzle, and do every answer i could, snuggled in bed, letting the sunlight and strain of thought wake me up. i'd spill egg whites on the grey pages of arts & leisure, and sip my coffee while taking in the full-page color cinema ads & off-broadway theatre descriptions. i'd give my boyfriend the sports section and take a shower while he read out unfinished crossword clues and summarized book review titles. i'd flip through the food & travel sections in my towel, and clip coupons, and check television listings as i dried my hair. and when half the day is gone, after i'd dress and pat my hair dry and feel ready to greet the world outside my world, i'd read the front page: headlines and photo captions first. national news, then global. and all the sadness, and all the past, and all the news that some editor deemed fit to be printed would soak through my narrow life as i left my week behind.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

take me out tonight

To days of inspiration,
Playing hookie,
Making something out of nothing.

The need to express, to communicate

To going against the grain - going insane, going mad

To loving tension,
No pension,
To more than one dimension,
To starving for attention,
Hating convention, hating pretension
Not to mention (of course), hating dear old mom and dad

To riding your bike midday past the three-piece suits,
To fruits,
To no absolutes!
To Absolut.
To choice,
To the Village Voice
To any passing fad...

To hand-crafted beers made in local breweries
To yoga, to yogurt, to rice and beans and cheese
To leather, to dildos, to curry vindaloo
To huevos rancheros and Maya Angelou

Emotion, devotion, to causing a commotion
Creation, vacation, mucho masturbation


To fashion,

To passion when it's new

To Sontag, to Sondheim, to anything taboo
Ginsberg, Dylan, Cunningham and Cage
Lenny Bruce, Langston Hughes,

To the stage!

To Uta, to Buddha, Pablo Neruda, too

Why Dorothy and Toto went over the rainbow? To blow off Auntie Em

La vie Boheme.

Bisexuals, trisexuals, homo sapiens,
Carcinogens, hallucinogens,
Men, Pee Wee Herman
German wine, turpentine, Gertrude Stein
Antonioni, Bertolucci, Kurosawa, Carmina Burana

To apathy, to entropy, to empathy,


Vaclav Havel - The Sex Pistols, 8BC,
To no shame,
Never playing the Fame Game
To marijuana!
To sodomy (it's between God and me)
To S and M!

La vie Boheme...