Shannyn is gone, I heard

With an eye toward Umbrage Day, I went looking for someone born on the third of October, and wound up with Shannyn Sossamon, a founding member (drums/vocals) of the band Warpaint, which got some attention on these pages three summers ago.

Well, she has left the band — she was replaced by Stella Mozgawa after the release of Exquisite Corpse — but over the years she’s piled up some seriously interesting credits as an actress. Before Warpaint, she starred opposite Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale; during Warpaint, she starred in Wristcutters: A Love Story, set in a semi-afterlife reserved for suicides; after Warpaint, she starred in Monte Hellman’s Road to Nowhere. You can’t get much more eclectic than that.

And to me, anyway, she looks like someone who’s done three startlingly dissimilar films:

Shannyn Sossamon

She’s raising two boys: the older, Audio Science, is 10, and Mortimer was born last year.

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There’s no space like home

The first game at the ‘Peake, like most games at the ‘Peake, sold out; unlike most games at the ‘Peake, there was no TV coverage to speak of, so we didn’t get to see the spectacle of five-nine Nate Robinson dropping a flagrant-two on seven-oh Steven Adams. The Nugget-est Nugget was duly escorted off the premises. Shortly thereafter, Adams himself disappeared, having rolled up six standard garden-variety fouls. But hey, that’s preseason, so it seems almost superfluous to mention that the Thunder won this one easily, 109-81.

The Kevin Durant show was kind of schizzy. In the first half, KD was doing that playmaker thing and moving the ball around seemingly at will. In the second, he just tossed up buckets. Scott Brooks, who’d said Durant would play at most thirty minutes, pulled him with five left in the third; by then he’d hit 13-20 and 6-7 from the stripe for 36 points. Serge Ibaka looked like he wanted to grow up to be a low-post man. Jeremy Lamb looked — well, he’s still young. Both Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher handled the point with aplomb. And rookiest rookie Andre Roberson rang up nine rebounds in 17 minutes, which is downright Ibakian. (Serge had, um, nine.)

Telltale statistic: Durant outscored all five Denver starters combined. (Team high was ten, by Nate Robinson and Andre Miller.) OKC outrebounded the Nuggets, 55-33; Denver shot only 38 percent. The Nuggets did pull off nine steals, which is impressive; unfortunately, this was a night when the Thunder would swipe 13.

Then again, it wasn’t all glorious for the home team. Kendrick Perkins, who did not play tonight — busted finger — drew a technical, because that’s just how he rolls. There’d better be video of this.

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Virb unmodified

There was a time when Virb was thought of as a serious rival to MySpace and even Facebook. But Virb’s site builder-plus-social networking scheme never quite caught on, and eventually it was rolled into Web host Media Temple.

Well, it’s about to be rolled back out again:

Media Temple has been acquired by GoDaddy, the Web’s largest platform for small businesses. I’m lucky to have been part of this process from the very beginning, and I truly cannot wait to see what the future brings for these two companies. But more on that shortly. First things first: What does this event mean for Virb, YOU, and your website?

Well, this changes absolutely nothing, while also changing absolutely everything.

After early meetings with GoDaddy, it quickly became apparent that we shared different visions for our website builders. So … I’m thrilled to announce, GoDaddy has decided Virb will be sold back to its original founder and investors, Brad Smith (that’s me) as well as Media Temple’s co-founders Demian Sellfors and John Carey.

“We shared different visions” = “Hell, no, we won’t GoDaddy!” Maybe.

(Via this Andy Baio tweet.)

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Calm down already

This is, we are told, the “most relaxing tune ever”:

There is apparently some science, or at least something science-y, involved:

Carefully arranged harmonies, rhythms and bass lines help to slow the heart rate, reduce blood pressure and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Manchester trio Marconi Union worked with sound therapists to create the soothing tune, which also slows breathing and reduces brain activity.

Scientists played the song to 40 women and found it to be more effective at helping them relax than songs by Enya, Mozart and Coldplay.

The study — commissioned by bubble bath and shower gel firm Radox Spa — found the song was even more relaxing than a massage, walk or cup of tea.

And you’re not supposed to listen to it while driving.

The original version runs eight minutes and change; someone made a ten-hour loop of it, which strikes me as counterproductive, since one of the bits of technotrickery here is gradually to drop the tempo, from 60 bpm to 50; jumping back up to 60 defeats the purpose — unless, of course, you’re about 90 percent asleep already.

(Via a bug and her beau.)

Addendum: “Poppycock,” says Lynn.

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Umbrage Day

This item from yesterday prompted the following reaction [in Comments] from Lynn:

If we can’t be offensive on Halloween then someone needs to invent a holiday specifically for the purpose of offending as many people as possible.

Fillyjonk subsequently suggested this holiday be named “Umbrage Day,” which idea Lynn endorsed, adding:

There are so many people who would have no idea what it means. Now we only need to set a date, preferably on the anniversary of some particularly notable historic umbrage.

This thread, therefore, is to solicit suggestions for when Umbrage Day should be held, and justifications for same. I’m leaning toward the third of October, for the following reasons:

There are, of course, 364¼ other days which could be pressed into service, and your ideas may well be better than mine.

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Thirty points for sure

The generic name — tofacitinib — is not exactly euphonious either. But Xeljanz? Huh? Nancy Friedman? Anyone?

Oh, and Pfizer thinks highly of this stuff: it’s two grand a month. Wholesale. No credit for knowing that the pill was originally developed by a guy from the National Institutes of Health.

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Came back YouTubed

I mentioned this five years ago, and while it can still be had at the old location, it’s now turned into a very static video for your embedding convenience, enough reason to bring it back here:

The mark has been made.

[Warning: Audio may not be safe for work.]

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Vintage genes

I got a letter Saturday from Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe, a genetic-testing company more or less down the street from Google, offering me their Personal Genome Service, once a cool thousand dollars, now for a mere 99 bucks.

Wojcicki’s pitch:

I believe preventative health information should be accessible to everyone. It’s been my personal mission to empower people with tools to help prevent illness, not just treat it.

They offer a home kit: basically, you spit in it, send it back to them, and tons of genetic information comes back to you.

And by “you,” they don’t mean you if you live in two certain states. From the fine print:

23andMe’s services are not available to Maryland residents and restrictions apply for New York residents.

New York says you can’t have this sort of testing done except at a clinical laboratory licensed by Albany. The solution to this is a quick trip to Jersey, so as to avoid the dreaded New York postmark. Maryland won’t even allow them to advertise their services, and if somehow you find out, you’re still disqualified because they require an actual medical professional — or, since it’s Maryland and you’ve seen The Wire, a court order — to take the sample.

I just might have enough curiosity to send off for their kit. It’s not like I know every last twist and turn of my DNA by heart. (Although “the pony genome and the human genome match up about 98 percent,” according to a story I wrote last year. How is it that my life is following my fiction, and not the other way around?)

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I don’t get it (third base)

Yet another collection of things I don’t entirely comprehend because they’re so damned screwy.

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Targeting outflow

The 66th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics features this symposium:

In response to harsh and repeated criticisms from our mothers and several failed relationships with women, we present the splash dynamics of a simulated human male urine stream impacting rigid and free surfaces. Our study aims to reduce undesired splashing that may result from lavatory usage. Experiments are performed at a pressure and flow rate that would be expected from healthy male subjects.

“Aims,” they say. As if.

(Via this Jennifer Ouellette tweet.)

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Bel Air du temp

She bought it new in 1957. It’s been her daily driver ever since:

Routine maintenance is, of course, a must: she has the oil changed every 1000 miles, twice as often as GM specified in those days.

(The whole story from The Truth About Cars.)

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Strange search-engine queries (402)

Visitors who arrive here via search string seem much like Christopher Columbus: he had no real idea where he was going, and he misinterpreted what he found when he got here.

Autoculture Girls Yore:  The curved-dash Oldsmobile, for some reason, was widely considered to be a girly car.

supporthosiery hazards:  Take them off too fast and they fly across the room.

apparently everything causes cancer:  Except cancer treatments. They create bankruptcy.

Geezer fogey codger curmudgeon coot fart:  You’ve just heard the final moments of a Congressional roll call. Thank you for watching C-Span.

61/2 oz coca-cola bottle, bottom says coca-cola shoulder says coca-cola side says Dennison Ohio bottling works:  Do I look like friggin’ Antique Roadshow? Take it back to the store and get your nickel.

jailbait nude naturists:  Only if they’re underage.

does mazda still have trans:  No. The new 3 is powered by a ball of glowing light under the hood.

You are Scheie:  Actually, no, I’m not. Although Scheie comes here occasionally.

the boston rag newspaper:  The Globe, being a broadsheet, makes a better rag than the tabloid-sized Herald.

hello miriam this dee dee the one came saturday to get the micro twist. just took my hair out the ponytail today n cumulative to find out that i got big micro twist in the middle don’t:  look anything like a tired call girl so I guess I wasted my money.

are Americans getting clumsier?  They be trippin, mon.

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A few words at the bottom

With David Foster Wallace gone, who will undertake the task of providing footnotes equal to, sometimes even superior to, the text at hand? I nominate Roberta X:

Oh, woe is us, we are martyrs, hated and feared and misunderstood… Er, a-hem. No; that’s a dopey notion no matter who puts it forth. Looky, whatever you believe, the diversity of human thought is such that a lot of people will loathe you for it. When you pop outta the echo chamber and discover this, you can either assume you’re such a singularly special snowflake that you simply must be right because they all hate you, or you can wise up and realize that it makes you pretty much the same as every other little flake, falling, falling from the darkness to the dirt, and the snowplow’s gonna sweep them all away with nary a blink at their uniqueness. Sure, you’re special and so’m I, but so’s everybody else crammed into this too-short bus. Get over it.

And that would seem to be that.

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A few words at the top

I saw a link to this last Friday and promptly forgot about it — Firefox’s snotty “Problem displaying page” has that effect on me — but Sundays have a way of reinstating dismissed memories, and besides I can always use the material, so here’s some of what Prof KRG has to say about post titles:

Readers decide immediately whether they are going to use their valuable time to read your blog post. They decide by scanning your blog title and determining whether it appears to be worth their minutes.

Most certainly.

A good blog title:

  • Attracts attention,
  • summarizes the post,
  • organizes content, and
  • depicts the post’s tone.

Just a few words should be simple to write, but titles often are difficult. It’s challenging to capture tone, voice and content in a unique and short manner.

Unless, of course, you have the temerity to exhibit the same tone, the same voice, and pretty much the same content, twenty-one thousand times in a row.

Of KRG’s 23 (!) title tips, the one I find most pertinent is #14, “Consider meanings”:

Look for other, unintended meanings in your post’s title.

Not a problem. If there’s any meaning whatsoever in one of my titles, you may rest assured that it was intended.

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Attention horror

This being the Era of Unrelenting Umbrage, almost every Halloween costume you can imagine can and will offend someone. Repeat: “almost.” Not all:

Most Halloween costumes are actively upsetting to someone or another. My costume this year is Drowned Titanic Passenger. That’s in hella bad taste. I’ve seen costumes at parties which would freak one or other of my friends out — and badly — because of their triggers and phobias. But when you look over [Julia] Serano’s three reasons, actually they do not make sense in these cases. Upsetting and troubling, yes, but they are not bringing offence and disrespect to an important group in society; they are not appropriative. My costume doesn’t erase the original tragedy — it’s not rewriting what happened or being inaccurate. It’s not making any money. And it’s not demeaning to deceased passengers either. Finally — there isn’t a large group of people who will be harmed in the real world as a result of my dressing up. The passengers are all dead; as are their relatives; and the Titanic sinking has very little to do with present-day issues (in contrast, I would have a problem with a Jack The Ripper/Ripper victim costume, because sex workers are still disadvantaged, and intermittently murdered, in our society).

Despite this bit of innovation, it’s a whole holiday full of potential active upset:

Halloween is just not a great day for sensitive people. Isn’t that awful? A fun day like that, can’t help but shut out a whole lot of people.

Still, if the trend holds up, in twenty years every kid with a bucket, from Glasgow to the Galápagos, will be done up as R2-D2, simply because the only controversial aspect of the little vacuum-cleaneresque droid is that he (do droids have gender? Besides C-3PO, I mean) puts coins in George Lucas’ overstuffed pockets.

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Inalienable writes

Being prolific isn’t exactly an unalloyed joy:

My blog has multiple personalities. There’s the mommy blog where I write about birthday parties. The blog where I feature posts about Oklahoma. And, then there’s all the stuff I write about Generations X, Y and Z. All these topics vie for first position and I get frustrated and end up not writing anything at all. This has been happening a lot lately! There is no way to pull the competing topics together under one umbrella, which is why I’m considering adding sub-domains to

Of course, she’s organized and motivated. Being neither of those things, I accumulate tags and categories. There are fifty-six categories and over ten thousand tags; to give you an idea of how perplexing this can be, neither My Little Pony (166 posts) nor Zooey Deschanel (88 posts) rates a category. Yet.

And there’s this:

I don’t want to worry about whether or not every post is useful or entertaining.

Obviously I’m not worried about such things at all.

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