30 December 2010

My state is prettier than your state

by Cecily
picture of highway and mountains, looking out of a car

While I was in Montana I drove to Billings. It was a very nice drive. Now I am back in the good old District of Constitution, daydreaming about mountains and open roads.

17 December 2010

I been to wild Montana

by Cecily
I'm in Missoula. It took me 25 hours to get here, counting from when I left my house yesterday. That wasn't very fun, and now I'm kind of sick, but I'm sitting on the couch amidst many parents, siblings, and hangers-on, and somebody is probably going to build me a fire and bring me a beer any minute now so overall I'd say things turned out okay.

14 December 2010

Petty complaints dept.

by Cecily

  1. My downstairs, where I hang out with my friends, is very freezing. My upstairs, where I sleep, is very hot. This is the opposite of how I would prefer things to be.

  2. My printer ran out of paper halfway through so I went to school, where one printer is busted and the other printer is very low on ink and neither printer prints color. My final printed product was unevenly inked and colored, which displeases me.

  3. Then the post office was closed so I had to drive to a different post office and people in traffic did things of which I did not approve.

  4. Now I feel like I'm done doing things. I have accomplished enough. Sadly, there are still things left that other people are expecting me to do.

  5. I think I'm getting a sinus infection, and I have to get on bunch of planes on Thursday. Two thumbs down, Sinuses.

  6. This list of complaints is way more "whiny and annoying" than "funny" or "provoking others to large amounts of sympathy and/or gifts", so I'm probably not even going to get anything out of it.

Whatever. I am almost done with the semester. Almost. See you soon, internet.

24 November 2010

Q &/or A

by Cecily
A linguistics professor won a bunch of money on a game show. CBC News wrote this sentence about it:

Kennedy, a linguistics professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, won $17,700, capping his win by correctly answering "What is a Quarter Horse?" to the question "This American breed was named for its ability to race a distance of 1,320 feet" in the horse breeds category.

The question has become the answer, and the answer, the question. It's like that saying about chickens and eggs, sort of. Or like that other thing where you say "this sentence is false" and then everyone is so confused. Because what is a question, really? Or an answer? We may never know.

Alex Trebek, what have you done?

13 November 2010


by Cecily
I was reading the news (instead of writing my dissertation or grading tests or applying for jobs or cleaning my room or doing the dishes or any of the other things I'm supposed to be getting done) and noticed this sentence that President Obama apparently said:

"She is a hero of mine and a source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human rights in Burma and around the world"

The title of the article calls the country in question "Myanmar", and the article is at Al Jazeera, who I usually assume are on the leftest side of naming conventions. I remembered having at least one conversation with someone who knew about the difference between calling this country Burma and calling it Myanmar, but I did not remember the content of the conversation so I looked it up on Wikipedia. It is very interesting!

The two names are different-register variants of the same Burmese word (according to Wikipedia). Phonetic register variation: interesting.

Obama used the opposition version (according to Wikipedia) while stodgy old Al Jazeera English used the oppressive regime name (according to Wikipedia). Political implications/subtext: interesting.

27 October 2010

Teaching is fun.

by Cecily
We had a really awesome (for me) and hilarious (to me) conversation in class yesterday wherein every one of the students was completely taken aback by my claim that nouns are NOT people, places, or things, but just words that have particular qualities. There was like a 20 minute tangential discussion/vocabulary review that wound up with everyone being sort of angry and confused by my claim that the chair I kept using for an example was not a noun, but the English word "chair" and the ASL sign for "chair" are nouns.


Eventually the discussion resulted in me writing lists on the board of "characteristics of the chair" and "characteristics of the ASL sign "chair"

chair: black, plastic, has wheels, has padding, can sit on it.

sign: made with 2 hands, both hands in "U" handshapes, one hand stays still, the other hand moves, noun.

Then for the next 5 minutes everyone kept zoning out and talking to themselves. When I would pause my lecture to ask what was going on, they would each (at different moments) be all "oh I was just thinking about if that cup was a noun, or if the sign "cup" was a noun" or "so the close-vision interpreter is not a noun, but if I sign "interpreter", that's a noun".

Mindblowing, for them, and incredibly entertaining, for me. Now I just need to get this shirt and wear it to class. Hilarious linguistics humor for everyone!

30 September 2010

Linguistics Road Trip

by Cecily
Lindsay and Kyle came to town with their foreign sign languages and their foreign friends. Then we all drove to Indiana for a conference. Lindsay and I had big plans for our Linguistics Party Van, involving duct tape and fireworks and a keg, but Kyle is such a killjoy good influence.

Later, Lindsay and I will make a video for you, in which she tries to explain things and I make fun of her for not knowing which words go to which language.

15 September 2010

DC politics update

by Cecily
Looks like DC's next mayor will be Vincent Gray. A solid standby of a spectrum election name- no frills, no nonsense, easy to pick out of a paint chip array, and in DC everyone is wearing a gray suit anyway about 80% of the time.

This was only the primary election, so most races with secondary-color-name candidates have yet to be decided. We'll have to wait for the final decision on the exciting Vincent Orange v Vincent "Kwame" Brown race for the council chair.

05 September 2010

Dear internet,

by Cecily
Oh, hello.

This semester may well be the death of me. I am doing way too much of some things, and not nearly enough of other things. The first category doesn't really include anything I think anyone wants to hear very much about. The second category includes everything that is nice and good.

So far, it has been this semester for one (1) week. Maybe after some other weeks pass by, I will get a better attitude and think of something funny to tell you about.

your friend,

24 August 2010

15 August 2010

10 August 2010

It's a tiny town, and everybody knows what you been doin'

by Cecily
Random neighbor dude woke me up in the middle of the night by ringing the doorbell* repeatedly. At 2:30. My truck was parked on the next street over, and the lights were on. He was sorry to wake me, but wanted to let me know so I could turn the lights off and make sure the battery wouldn't be dead in the morning.

To clarify: when I say "random neighbor dude" I mean, I didn't recognize him. We haven't actually ever met, to my knowledge. And yet, he knows which house goes to my truck.

I haven't decided exactly how I feel about this. Famous? Important? Conspicuous? Flattered? Nervous? It's hard to say.

I didn't go turn the lights off because I was too asleep to function. Now the battery is presumably dead. Who wants to come help jump it?

*It makes the lights in my room flash on and off and the bed shakes. That's how.

28 July 2010

Listen to those congressmen arguing!

by Cecily
If this bill becomes a law*, maybe it will be easier to find a captioned version of its biopic.**

(click through to the youtube page and then
click underneath the video for a transcript)

*It passed in the House. See 01:58-02:02 of the video for a visual aid about what happens now.
**It won't. Youtube videos aren't covered.

26 July 2010

Happy birthday, limited civil rights

by Cecily
The ADA is 20. Tom Harkin says pretty words, but since Glee has already been signed on for a third season, I don't think we're really winning.

17 July 2010


by Cecily
Abby came over the other night and reminded me of this video.

(warning: probably not safe for small children or those who are prone to nightmares about insects)

by Run Wrake. Via.

*where "fascinate" has its old-timey witchcraft meaning.

29 June 2010

This is where the term "political spectrum" is originally from

by Cecily
Constitution City is notorious for its high numbers of monuments, presidential ghosts, politicians in suits, and chicken bones on the sidewalks. A lesser-known phenomenon in Our Nation's Fine Capital is the interesting and unusual election process.

The rule is simple: if you want to run for City Council or Mayor, you have to change your name. You can keep your old name for private and tax purposes, but your new politician name must follow this format:
[Vincent] [optional middle initial/nickname] [color term of your choice].

During the campaign season, rallies are held at which supporters wear the candidate's color (usually garments, but face and body paint are becoming more and more popular). Occasionally an especially fervent supporter will paint her house to match a candidate's promotional material. Finally, on election day, each DC resident finds an item of the appropriate hue and brings it to the voting booth, where an instant photograph is taken of the object. Many residents take this opportunity to once again wear colorful clothing and face paint to show their support, but any object (napkin, pencil, earring, bottle of nail polish, power tool, etc) is acceptable, as long as at least 80% of the surface area is a candidate's color. When the photo booths close, the Spectrum Committee sets to work creating a portrait of each candidate from the votes. In each race, the candidate with the largest photomosaic wins.

Choice of last name is a complicated tactical matter; most candidates hire teams including psychologists and linguists to find colors that are perceptually salient but not too common, and color names that balance the distinctive with the familiar. Color terms can win or lose elections- analysts believe that the outcomes of several races have been influenced by candidates' choices of color words that were not well-known (Vincent Viridian lost to Vincent Rose in a landslide in 1992; exit polls indicated that only 12% of voters could identify viridian on a color wheel) or have unclear referents (the 1978 three-way race between Turquoise, Green and Grey took three extra months to decide. In the end, Grey was declared the council member for Ward 5, but controversy continued around reports of vicious arguments in the Spectrum Committee Chambers over whether some 6,000 votes were turquoise or green. Several committee members resigned amidst rumors and accusations that they had called the race for Grey purely in order to end the bickering about the turquoise/green votes).

Once elected, the DC Spectrum Committee provides each council member with a wardrobe and a vehicle in the correct color scheme. Pictured below is the current council.

(standing) Vincent Periwinkle, Vincent Plum, Vincent Pewter, Vincent Blue, Vincent Red, Vincent Marionberry, Vincent "Phil" Brown, Vincent Mustard.
(seated) Vincent Black, Vincent Kelly, Vincent Gray, Vincent Navy, Vincent "Kwame" Brown.

The current election season is especially exciting, because it involves the first-ever Vincent Orange! Orange is challenging Vincent "Kwame" Brown for Vincent Gray's Council Chair seat (Gray and Vincent "Michael" Green are challenging incumbent Vincent "Fenty" Red for the mayor's seat). Historically, council photographs have been dominated by Browns, Greens, and Grays, with an occasional marionberry suit in the back row or the Mayor's office. It would be nice to get some brighter colors in there, although Orange may have a tough time with the electorate, as orange is not a flattering color on many people.

26 June 2010

Do I ever encourage a near party atmosphere because of my comfort with using humor?

by Cecily
Probably! Well, I'd like to think so, at least. Could I start my next meeting, presentation, or conversation by telling a funny story? Why, yes, yes I could!

I feel confident, therefore, that I am an Expert at Humor, one of many Competencies in which I am all-too-rarely evaluated or praised. Although, I have to admit that the fact that I am not psychic has left me a little behind the field on Strategic Ability and Innovation Management ("Creates highly effective strategic vision and has an uncanny sense of how situations can unfold; prepares well in advance to take fullest advantage of the changing environment") and Managing Vision and Purpose ("Is a gifted visionary, anticipating future trends and artfully crafting a broad vision incorporating many groups and organizations"). Who knew Microsoft liked hilarious prophets so much?

A Competency I did not even know existed is Managerial Courage. Someone who is an expert in this area "Has a commanding but undaunting presence" and "Forcefully and definitively takes negative action to quench trouble", which sounds more like Being a Superhero to me, except, what does "negative action" mean? So maybe a Supervillain instead.

The best part of the Humor page is the recommended readings. Dilbert! Is this a complicated joke involving several levels of meta-humor? I can't tell! Which just makes it funnier. Good job, Humor Competency Writers!

Summary: if you want a cubicle job in today's economy, you should be a clairvoyant stand-up comedian with superpowers. It is your choice whether to use the superpowers for good or evil, but you should probably replace the words "good" and "evil" with "positive" and "negative" on your resume if you want to be called for an interview.

14 June 2010


by Cecily
I spent the weekend watching the superbowl with some Australians. It got sort of depressing on Sunday afternoon, but then again, there was a keg, so. Every cloud, or whatever.

Elizabeth spent a lot of time writhing around on the floor screaming, to show us how Italians play soccer. Ben spent a lot of time screaming at the refs, because they hated justice and beauty. I spent a lot of time refilling my cup, because it kept getting empty. The children spent a lot of time taking their clothes off, because that is how they do.

Tomorrow I'm going on vacation in Minnesota, because Constitution City hasn't been humid or mosquito-y enough for me lately. It's barely even like a swamp at all. Twin Cities here I come!

01 June 2010

Gog versus Magog, take 2

by Cecily
Update!!! New extra evidence!!

  1. The earth is disintegrating beneath our very houses.

30 May 2010

Death Fight 5000: Gog versus Magog!

by Cecily
So, it seems pretty clear that we're in the End Times and the apocalypse is impending and the Constitution Gods are about to come back and rule over the ruins of the memorials and whatnot. Evidence:

  1. The oceans are turning into some non-water substance.

  2. Facebook finally turned into the Mark of the Beast. Everyone knows your birthday and your favorite sitcom and how many friends you have, now. Just like the bible said.

  3. There are frogs shutting down highways in Greece.

In an effort to keep the populace soothed and nonrioting, the New World Order has put together a crack team of genius PR dudes to spin the story. At least part of the story- no one seems to care very much about the RAINING FROGS IN GREECE.

Meanwhile, back in Constitution City, the weather continues charming and the pool across the street is open. So that's where I'll be until Ghost Abe Lincoln shows up to collect the faithful. See you on the other side of the rainbow!

27 May 2010

The real pool opens on Saturday

by Cecily

This is a better solution for the under-4-feet-tall crowd than for the rest of us. Or maybe I just need some bigger buckets.

03 May 2010

Negative energy

by Cecily
Alyssa and I started going to Spa World last winter. Warning! The website I just linked to, there, is extremely irritating! It has music and popups and many moving flashing things. It is not a website for the faint of heart, nor the prone to migraines/seizures.

It is, however, a website full of incredible and fantastic prose and information. And the real-life entity to which the website belongs is also chock full of fantastic and incredible, which is why we keep going back even though it is located very far away (30 minutes by car!) in a State.

Spa World is basically a hybrid between a Korean bathhouse and an episode of Star Trek. You go in and trade your shoes for a little orange outfit, and then head to the baths. The baths include

1) BASHER WALL: adding 3D to typical pool, it provides the place to relax within the pool, and inside of water curtain has different atmosphere

which is okay, but I don't really care about different atmospheres or 3D. I like

2) DREAM BATH: bath that analyzed the lying position, it massages the tension in muscle by using high pressured water stream from JET nozzle on sole, calf, femoral region, waist, shoulder. (5 minute at a time)

the very best, along with the steam sauna.

After a few hours of that, it's time to dry off and put on your orange outfit and head for the Poultice Rooms and the food. The restaurant serves gigantic portions of delicious Korean food, and the juice bar serves tea, terrible fruit-free all-synthetic smoothies, and ice cream sandwiches that are shaped like fish.

The Poultice Rooms and the food area are arranged around a large general area, which is full of mats and plastic pillows and people in shorts outfits stretching and sleeping and chatting and reading and typing. It is also full of large television monitors which are showing various news and sporting events. There is free wi-fi and a number of big leather chairs. This is the part that is like Star Trek. Everyone is wearing identical clothing, sprawled out on mats on the floor, and using technology. That's what Star Trek is like, right?

Anyway, the Poultice Rooms are big fancy saunas that emit things to heal you. For example,

When using oak wood charcoal poultice room, one feels better, refreshed, and quickly recovers from poor health. One view of sickness and malaise is a lack of electrons in the body. When the body is warmed via heated charcoal, it emits infrared rays and warms the body for a long time, which improves blood circulation and relaxes muscles fatigue. [my emphasis]

This is absolutely my favorite view of sickness and malaise. A lack of electrons! Do you see what this means? It means that all of my sicknesses and malaises are caused by having too much positive energy in my body. I need more NEGATIVE energy, and then I will be cured!

So: anyone who would like to join me on the back steps for bourbon and complaining, please inform. It's good for me, it's good for you, everybody wins.

02 May 2010


by Special Guest!
Guest post by my mama. Featuring: police handlers, Attractive Sheep, Hello Kitty, primal screams. This is the final Mom Email from China; my mother & stepfather will be back in the Wild West sometime next week, where antics and adventures of a different sort are sure to ensue.

Shenyang is a small city that you never heard of- about the size of Los Angeles- about sixty miles north of North Korea. We spent the weekend there for Jim’s last police training, and except for the cigarette smoke, it was fun. There is a smaller version of the Forbidden City that is in more pristine shape, and a good museum. The police are always very considerate hosts, and I was “handled” by a young policewoman named Miss Ho who toured me around to see things and shop.

I asked to go to look at some handmade folk art or some crafts, and she said, “I know just what you want!” Then she took me to a mall where you could pay to paint a plaster copy of Disney characters or Attractive Sheep, the big cartoon character in China. Oh well, anyway, it’s a nice city.

Each night there was a banquet, as always, and one night they took us to a North Korean restaurant- the food was good, with dancing girls to entertain. The Boss Dancing Girl came into the room and said grudgingly, (in Chinese) “Well most Americans are really bad people, especially the soldiers, but you guys seem to be okay.” After the dances, they served a dish of cold noodles, and some stewed dog. Jim ate this but I could not. Also I felt guilty that we had all the food for the whole PRK on our table.

Our hotel was a beautiful old one on a main square with a famous statue of Mao. We were on the third floor facing him, right at his eye level, and it looked like he was waving hello as he peeked into our room. Lots of people were gathered in this square all the time, doing tai chi, or dancing or roller-skating. Some people had the semi-interesting Chinese habit of standing outside at dawn and doing a primal scream. Since Shenyang is about halfway to Vladivistok, it is about 600 miles east of Beijing in the single time zone of China, that means dawn is somewhere around 4 a.m. right now, and I was bored of the screaming after the first day.

At the end of the training the police gave Jim a complimentary police badge. It is brass and weighs two pounds; it’s at least eight inches across. They put it into a Hello Kitty! bag to present it to him.

After the training we went to the end of the Great Wall where it goes into the ocean, and to the first fort, all of which has been restored a lot, but it is still very pretty and interesting. Then we took a train to the resort where all the leaders of China like to go for vacations, called Bei Da He- on the ocean. Our friend Kaho brought spirit lanterns, little hot air Chinese lanterns that we set off on the beach after dark, and watched them fly up over the water.

We stayed at a hotel that is owned by the Department of Building Oversight. It was actually called a “sanatarium”, not a hotel, and it was staffed by a group of bewildered, fluttery girls who never seemed to know quite what to do about anything. We were the only people in it, possibly because none of the plumbing worked. It seemed as if this was run-of- the- mill - Leslie went down to tell them that her floor was flooded, and the girls came and looked at it and then went away.This is the best way to do oversight. She had to go back twice and complain before they switched her room, but the same thing happened in everyone’s room- water just poured out all over the floor during each use of the faucets. But the beach was lovely, and the air was fresh, so it all seemed good. We got back last night, and are in Beijing for the last week before the movers come.

01 May 2010

Also, governments need to stop calling people "hooligans". It just makes them sound silly.

by Cecily
This NYT article is a brief, dispiriting, but unsurprising look at Rwanda. In excellent journalistic style, the NYT makes sure to examine all the pluses and minuses of having a police state. Is Rwanda a police state? Yes, it is. Now, granted, there's no free press. But the streets are so clean!

"[S]omething of a central African utopia", though, seems like a bit of a stretch. I've certainly never met anyone who thought of Rwanda as any kind of utopia. Actually, many people I've met seem to assume that there is still an active genocidal war going on there, and that they just haven't heard about it recently because the media got bored. Which is also fairly dispiriting, on several levels.

20 April 2010

My truck is prettier than your truck

by Cecily



photos (and much painting) by Katie.

15 April 2010

06 April 2010

Well, this is the most horrifying thing I've seen for quite some time.

by Cecily
WikiLeaks has decrypted and released a video in which a number of civilians, including Reuters journalists, are killed by the US military in an unprovoked attack. The video embedded here is 17 minutes long, has captions, and is extremely difficult to watch.


Update: Still more @ the WaPo, and even more (via Spencer)

it's that time of the year

by Cecily
Science is nigh.

28 March 2010

This is totally related to linguistics. And awesomeness.

by Cecily
I am super obsessed with this video lately:

It is an Italian music video from the olden days of the 1970s, in which the Italian pop star singer makes up words that he thinks sound like American English. And does extremely, insanely great dance moves to them.

Here's why it's related to linguistics: Those words are gibberish! But, people have brains that like to see faces in clouds and hear words in noises. So there are a bunch of versions of the video with "English" "subtitles". And, depending on how much you can hear, when you listen to the [same] song and you see [different] words on the screen, your brain totally thinks you can hear whichever words are up there. It's like magic!

One day soon I am gonna spend an entire weekend practicing all these dance moves. Watch out.

16 March 2010

the whole wide world is a tiny town full of tiny ideas

by Cecily
Last week, I graded exams and wrote feedback for projects and defended my proposal and calculated midterms and DIDN'T EVEN HAVE TIME TO READ THE INTERNET.

This week, I am working on this project:

Tiny Town House

It has two stories! the second story is made of wood so that it can support small people sitting on it. My plan for it involves pink duct tape, turquoise duct tape, a few minor structural additions, and nailing the rear wall to the railing on the back porch.

Next up: sewing dress shirts. OR making a toy turtle out of felt and fabric. OR entering all my sources in BibDesk so I don't have to do it later. OR something else. The future is full of possibilities!

15 March 2010

Fletcher explains a limited number of things

by Cecily
mostly having to do with letters of the alphabet:

18 February 2010

Healthful Advice: dispatch from China

by Cecily
My mother says:

In the two months we were gone, the only piece of mail we got was a first aid/health care guide booklet from the government. (Our mailbox doesn’t have a lock that works, which is okay because we don’t get mail. I check from time to time to see if anything has come, but that almost never happens. The person who sometimes watches our lobby keeps things in our box because of the no‐ lock thing; sometimes candy and snacks, sometimes other odd bits they need to hide quickly if their supervisor comes by. At the time of writing the box has in it: someone’s gloves and some candy, cracker wrappings, some folded papers and two pens.)

Anyway, the booklet we got covers every facet of a healthy life, and tells you everything you always wanted to know, and many things that you didn’t. We got one last year aimed at newcomers to the community telling how to exercise and what to eat, but I didn’t keep it, which I later regretted; the difference is that I didn’t have a scanner then, and now I do, so I can share! It’s a good thing that I am easily entertained…

The book is a miniature masterpiece of exciting dramas, with fantastic graphic drawings to illustrate the action. It’s all in Chinese, of course, but not being able to read just makes the pictures more interesting. The heroes are a typical family who are dealing admirably with all these tragic and terrible things. The children feature as the most heroic, and the little girl seems to have the most sangfroid of them all.

It starts fairly calmly, with the grandpa having a heart attack. (I interpret this as a heart attack; although I can’t understand why the little girl is so angry at him- maybe he is drunk instead?) Obviously the father is thrown for a loop, and the mother is just upset.

Next, no problems in understanding this, some people being sick: what is causing the projectile vomiting not clear… maybe drugs for the grandma, and possibly bai jiu for the dad. (Because of the dizzy symbol above his head)

(A picture is worth a thousand words!) In the section on first aid, along with great drawings about how to bandage things up, how to splint your legs, etc; comes: How To Wrap Up A Severed Finger! What To DO With It! All in four small drawings!

Then there is a section about cleanliness that has my favorite picture. The action here is utterly mystifying to me. What on earth is she doing? Why is the toilet shaking? Probably it is about earthquake safety, but why put that with the other directions on the page, which have to do with hand‐washing and AIDS? Why is the pillow so nervous?

Also on this page is a condom being smug. This picture is ambiguous. He also seems angry.

The authors of the booklet may not realize the subtext about Chinese life that is revealed by the next chapter; I have included a little selection of the drawings about being wary of criminals‐ disturbingly, in every case the evil person is obviously a weiguoren with blond hair and a chiseled face.

Except for the lascivious Big Boy trying to get the Good Girl drunk (the booklet covers almost all aspects of a healthy life):

On almost the last page, there is this great drawing to tell how to duck stray bullets: hide behind the soda machine! (FYI: don’t worry! This doesn’t happen here very often as far as I can see) Only after I had cut it out did I see that on the other side were directions about how you can foil a bank robbery ‐by bravely sending a text message on your phone! I couldn’t salvage enough of the picture to use, though.

14 February 2010

For everyone I love who is far away from me.

by Jocelyn
(another guest post by Jocelyn)

Loretta spent the weekend with me in Ithaca.

Today, we cut up some hearts to see if we could find the love, and then we cooked and ate them. It was a combination Valentiney activity and maybe some anatomy review for me.

There was a little bit of a technical difficulty about the photographs, and so some pictures are with my computer camera and are therefore not great, while others are with Loretta's camera and will be added later.

The hearts in question were a lamb's heart and a turkey's heart, both provided to me when I bought the entire animal for cooking and eating. It turns out that in the butchering process, pretty much all of the vessels are removed, along with the right atrium, most of the left atrium, and (in the case of the turkey heart) the entire right ventricle too. So there wasn't as much anatomy to look at as I would have liked, but still some.

So before making any cuts at all, we could look inside what was left of the right atrium. We found the great cardiac vein, draining blood from the muscle of the heart itself and emptying directly into the right atrium.

This is the great cardiac vein as it empties into the right atrium.

Here I have made the course of the great cardiac vein in a dotted green line, and the toothpick stuck inside it in yellow. We could see the toothpick through the wall of the vessel, definitely.

We could also look inside the right ventricle and see what was left of the right atrioventricular valve, including the papillary muscles, the chordae tendineae, and a little bit of the valve itself.

Except that in this picture, you can only kind of see the chordae tendineae; the light appears not to have been right to see the rest.

The pulmonary arteries and whatnot were all gone, so then we moved over to the left atrium, where we could see part of the left auricle with its pectinate muscles. At this time we also found the aorta (or at least the base of it) with the coronary artery.

Then I cut open the left ventricle, which is the most exciting part of heart dissection.

We looked at the valve parts here too. You can see the muscles and whatnot a lot better on this ventricle, as well as a little bit of the pectinate muscles in the atrium.

You are probably wondering where the aortic outflow tract went; here it is! (With the toothpick stuck through it.)

Since all that was left of the turkey heart was the left ventricle, I went ahead and cut this open too. Again, the toothpick is where the blood goes out through the aorta.

Then we were done dissecting! So I cut the hearts all up.

I actually had a turkey gizzard that I cut up and put in too, because why not. They went in a skillet with butter and garlic and onion and mushrooms and red wine, and cooked for a long time on low heat.

Happy Valentine's Day!

11 February 2010

10 February 2010

Dear Constitution Gods,

by Cecily
This is getting stupid.


your friend,

06 February 2010

Not that I would leave my house anyway

by Cecily
but it's refreshing to have such a good excuse.

very snowcovered porch/alley

10 January 2010

Violent cuddlers welcome

by Cecily
If I were looking for a place to live in Montreal, I would answer this ad:

I need fucking beasts of people, if you are timid you'd better be a real sweetie or have some goddamned amazing superpowers. This is a house of people who have each others backs and I'd like for it to stay this way, familial and feral. I will take care of you. Sometimes we fight each other for fun, sometimes we all sleep in the same bed. Someone tried to mug me last night and I broke his nose-- I'd do the same to someone trying to mug you.

[...]If you like some of these things you might be perfect for this house: plants, boats, junk, bikes, board games, stirling engines, cult films, math & science, puppets, drawing, cooking, sewing, knives, comics, history, bones, dumpstering, reading, being outside, making fireworks and booze and fermented foods.

from Best of Craigslist (link removed to reduce comment spam)

04 January 2010


by Cecily
Spinnery, spunnery,
Cosmical Irony:
Puns are beloved from
Maine to Brazil.

"It is a punishment"
Tom said, while gagging, "that
makes me quite ill."

(Rfts helped with the scansion and rhyme.)