Archive for October, 2013

Mythbusters: Games of Thrones special

October 28, 2013

So, since Mythbusters has done a Breaking Bad episode and a Walking Dead episode, it should be obvious what they are going to do next.

A Game of Thrones episode.

Testing, for example:

  • Can you really cleave a horse in two? (Kari: “Retch!”)
  • How high a wall can you make out of ice? And can you climb it? (Adam: “Fortunately, I have just the costume for the occasion!”)
  • If someone insults you in a language they think you don’t know, can you keep a straight face or will they notice? (Tory: “Why do we have to test this? I want to do the wall of ice!”)
  • Someone at the boards said that, allegedly, you can make a chicken into a dragon for thirty seconds by inserting gasoline-filled eggs into its cloaca, and also there’s this Youtube video. (Jamie: “Really.” Adam: “Fortunately, Jamie has this chicken cloaca rig from his advertising days—“)

Featuring, as a special guest, Peter Dinklage, to test if shortness is an advantage in medieval combat! And Carice van Houten, for a childbirth-related myth!

The TA

October 12, 2013

“Come in”, I said.

A tall, bulky graduate student came in.

“So you’re my new teaching assistant”, I said, gesturing at him to sit.

He sat, laughing nervously. “So the department tells me.”

“Great. Well, since the department tells me I ought to talk to people, which I myself don’t really see the need for, I’m not here to research people for Pete’s sake… uh, why don’t you hype yourself up a bit?”

“I am the best teaching assistant in the world.”

“Oh.” The thought seemed revoltingly improbable. “Please, prove that.”

“I know everything this course can contain, and twenty percent more.”


“I am resistant to all foul play. I am so hunky” — chunky, I thought — “nobody will start anything with me. I drop into my teaching suggestions of gang affiliations, and good relations with all possible thesis advisors. I speak smoothly and act dashingly, but am impervious to all attempts of sexual seduction.”

I blinked; he explained.

“My wrist is my only lover. I desire no other. Also, I do not form emotional attachments to my students, for I could never love a creature lesser than myself” — not setting the bar very high there, I thought — “and thus if the need arises to silence a troublesome student, I can do it with no hesitation, and I live on the outskirts in a house I own, next to an old graveyard.”

“Wh— where you can…” I hesitated. “Bury the—”

“No no! I am financially stable and in no need of bribes, that is all. And finally, I have no sense of humor.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Is that a good thing?”

“A very good thing. If necessary, I can memorize your jokes and pretend uproarious laughter at them, if necessary.”

Eyeroll. “Not necessary.”

“If the students attempt to escape my inquisition by cracking one, I shall not react to it. Not at all. I will stare, unsmilingly, and persist until my evaluation is complete. If absurdist teaching is required, with its heightened peaks of anxiety-caused concentration, why, I can introduce any statement as if it was a joke and one ought to understand it to laugh at it!”

“I don’t really hold with all this pedagogical stuff…”

“Me neither. I have no pedagogical training.”

“Is that good? I’m told people should… well, not that I have it myself.”

The TA smiled. “What is pedagogy but baggage? Lists of what to do, what to not do? I do not believe limiting myself is the right way. There is no law in the classroom. No routine. No human rights… nothing for the little ones to hide behind when my brilliance flares at them!”

“Right. Right.”

“You are Zeus! I am Heracles! There’s a hydra in the stables!”


“When the clouds of chalk-dust dispel, I will be the only one left standing!”

I just dreamed this

October 12, 2013

This is a true story.

I was dreaming, today, just before I woke up.

I was escaping from the house of some athletically evil family with mine. The others had already gone downhill and across the road, to start the car hidden there. I was running down the evil athletic family’s — think horse-riding, archery-doing, and unfortunately lap-running and rifle-shooting! — driveway, glancing behind me to be sure my youngest brother was following, giving him the old fist-raised-and-twice-pumped gesture, telling him to hurry up.

He had, in typical irritating movie-drama fashion, tarried at the corner, talking to some member of the evil family. Possibly because he was the most athletic of us, and tempted; possibly because this was a friendship or a romance thing; I don’t think this was clear to me even as I dreamed it.

Anyway, there I was running, pretty sure that soon brother would overtake me, being more athletic than me, and then, before I got to the car, the evil family’s athletic runners would easily overtake me.

Fortunately, I was armed!

Unfortunately, this was a double fistful of plastic utensils — white, flimsy forks and knives. Which I was arranging between my fingers to make something to rake the pursuers with when they came close — when the phone’s alarm went off and I woke up.

I laid there for a while, asking my unconscious what, if anything, it was trying to tell me. Was this a diet thing?

Then I remembered I had set up a second alarm fifteen minutes later, so I… could… nap a little…

I closed my eyes, took half a step into the direction of dreaming, and a chord floated across my mind, and then two words, written, not spoken.


Moomins are blobby cartoon creatures created by Tove Jansson; they are loved by Finnish children. They do include children, but never pregnancy and much less the causation of one, as far as I can recall.

If those two words were a title card, I didn’t want to know what was behind them.

I opened my eyes and decided my unconscious had decided to give me material until I got up and blogged; so here I am.