Thursday, February 28, 2008


There are some bad things that can happen to a person in this world. One of the worst ones is to have written a long piece of work that you kind of liked and had high hopes for, only to discover that your computer has erased it or your little sister has burnt it or some such. That is a calamity that can undo the strongest of souls, and I don't really like even thinking about it. But let me tell you about another thing that can happen, that's not quite as bad but still pretty devastating.

Suppose there's this puzzle, right? On this website, maybe? And suppose you discovered it a while ago and thought it looked cool, and sat down and tried working it out, and quickly discovered that it was going to be a bigger task than you thought, but also a pretty interesting one? And suppose you had spent the last several days going back to it and trying new ways of working it out, and had many times been tempted just to look at the answer because you really wanted to see the solution? But you always resisted because you knew it would be ten times more satisfying if you managed to solve it yourself?

And then suppose, on your fourth or fifth day of looking at this puzzle, you went back to the website with a fresh new way of working it out all lined up. And then you discovered that it was gone. GONE. Replaced by a totally different puzzle, about some stupid cities in Europe or something. No trace of it remaining anywhere. And no way of finding out what the solution was.

I think that would be a pretty horrible thing to happen, and could sap a person's will to live, at least for a couple of hours.

In other news, the International High IQ Society is henceforth my mortal enemy for life. You will RUE THE DAY, International High IQ Society! You will RUE THE DAY.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

top ten, on the evidence

Yesterday it occurred to me to sort my entire iTunes playlist by play count. (That makes it sound as if I went through them one by one and ordered them myself... not entirely out of character, I grant you, but happily iTunes does it for me with the click of a button.) The top ten are as follows:

10: Greensleeves - The King's Singers
9: Libera Me, from Faure's Requiem
8: The Girl Who Fell from the Sky - (main theme from the soundtrack to Castle in the Sky)
7: First Impressions - Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O'Connor
6: Born - Over the Rhine
5: The Destruction of Laputa - (a choral version of the main theme from Castle in the Sky)
4: Sister - Sufjan Stevens
3: Corpus Christi Carol - Jeff Buckley
2: Agnus Dei, from Faure's Requiem
1: Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair - Nina Simone

Interesting that none of the songs I call my top three (Hallelujah, The Boxer, and Isis) are on the list. I think this is mainly because I mostly listen to those songs on CD. But it's a pretty good sampling anyway. Evidently I listen to songs on my computer a lot when I need soothing-- a lot of those are high on my "songs to calm the troubled spirit" list (particularly "First Impressions" and "Agnus Dei.")

Well, anyway. I thought that was mildly interesting and wanted to share. Y'all should post yours as comments. Come on, it'll be fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

the second thing that made me grin like an idiot today

I was going to write a breezy post all about what I did on Valentine's Day, but then I started reading Rinkworks' I Think feature. It's been a while, and I'd forgotten how brilliant it is. So here is my Valentine to you, and to Sam Stoddard as well (he deserves one from me, after all the years of enjoyment and thought-provocation his website has given me): click this link. Read. Refresh. Repeat.

It's good stuff.