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Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #1196512
Not for the faint of art.
 Complex Numbers A complex number is expressed in the standard form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i is defined by i^2 = -1 (that is, i is the square root of -1). For example, 3 + 2i is a complex number. The bi term is often referred to as an imaginary number (though this may be misleading, as it is no more "imaginary" than the symbolic abstractions we know as the "real" numbers). Thus, every complex number has a real part, a, and an imaginary part, bi. Complex numbers are often represented on a graph known as the "complex plane," where the horizontal axis represents the infinity of real numbers, and the vertical axis represents the infinity of imaginary numbers. Thus, each complex number has a unique representation on the complex plane: some closer to real; others, more imaginary. If a = b, the number is equal parts real and imaginary. Very simple transformations applied to numbers in the complex plane can lead to fractal structures of enormous intricacy and astonishing beauty.
July 24, 2019 at 12:13am
July 24, 2019 at 12:13am
#963094
 Waterfront Take us on a sensory journey to a place that is significant to you. Try to describe the place using all of your senses so we can be there with you! You can see the house from the train as it crosses over the wide water. Can't blame you if you missed it, though. What catches the eye is the water itself, a bay stretching out to the horizon. And the docks of the marina next door - in the wind, the sailboats' masts and rigging ring with the sway of air and water. Perched as it is on a small bluff overlooking the estuary, the house itself is protected from the waves the wind stirs up, but not the sight of the boats, or the sounds. Sometimes, a train rumbles across the nearby bridge, and you wonder if anyone's looking. At night, in the summer, it's the humidity that gets you. The humidity, and the bugs. You're wearing pungent, antiseptic bug spray, but still you have to slap at the occasional flying critter, lest it bite or sting. The slaps sting too, only not as acutely. In daytime, you can escape the heat by diving into the water. Well, not literally diving; the bottom slopes gently from the shore to the navigation channel, smooth rocks tickling your feet. Behind the house stretches a garden and a field. Sometimes, you have to thin out the carrots. Bring a hose with you so you can rinse off the roots and sink your teeth into their crunch and savor their sweet taste, a flavor that prepackaged "baby carrots" can't even touch. And don't get me started on what passes for sweet corn in the stores; here, you can eat it raw, right off the stalk, before the sugars have a chance to degrade into starch. The damp ground produces a musty odor that speaks of dying and growing things. And of home. Because this is home, at least for the younger version of me. Sometimes, I miss it. Most of the time, though, I remember how much work a farm is, and I'll settle for store-bought corn.
July 23, 2019 at 12:32am
July 23, 2019 at 12:32am
#963033
July 22, 2019 at 12:03am
July 22, 2019 at 12:03am
#962976
July 21, 2019 at 12:02am
July 21, 2019 at 12:02am
#962919
 Sweet Emotion Write an entry inspired by any three WDC emoticons. You pick the emoticons, but make sure they are tied to your entry in some way. I don't speak emoji. What I mean is, unless it's, like, a smiley-face or a laughing face, it might as well be a bunch of x's. If someone were to send me a text containing a string of emojis, my mind would simply go blank; I wouldn't even be able to go, "eggplant, poop, alien, waving woman, googly eyes," because my gaze just slides off the string - let alone attempt to translate that into whatever metaphorical language. Similarly, I don't text people emojis unless it's, like, a laugh, or something equally simple and unambiguous. Honestly, I miss the early days, when we had to work to make our emotions clear. If we couldn't do so with our words, we'd have to come up with strings of characters to emulate facial expressions. It was a bright, purer time. Kids these days don't know how easy they have it. Get off my lawn. But I'm used to the WDC emoticons; they're clear and easy to understand. When I was a baby WDCer, we didn't have as many emoticons. For this entry, I'll pick the three that made me the most excited to finally see as SMs released them during my tenure here. - believe it or not, the "angel" emoticon had no mirror-universe doppelganger for a long time. I don't remember what year the Devil one came out, but I do remember finally feeling that my life was complete. I have simple needs. and all the other donut emoticons - while I eschew the actual pastries (as opposed to chew them) these days for obvious reasons, I was glad to see these appear a couple years back. I use them instead of bullets, especially when giving lists of suggestions in reviews. They don't "mean" anything; they're just tasty, delicious, forbidden donuts. *drool* But. is the WDC emoticon I use the most. Also for obvious reasons. So many things elicit that reaction from me, and its absence was a pox upon my existence before it finally showed up in the list. Now, of course, I can also do this: But I'm still glad for the emoticon.
July 20, 2019 at 12:49am
July 20, 2019 at 12:49am
#962878
July 19, 2019 at 12:04am
July 19, 2019 at 12:04am
#962838
 Plans Okay, I think I’ve tortured you enough this week Today, the prompt is a little simpler What are your weekend plans? If this weekend isn’t noteworthy, share your plans for an upcoming weekend or a past weekend that is worth writing about. So now I'm painted into the corner of having to admit that I don't do anything on weekends? How is that not further torture? I'm aware that there is this time period called the "weekend." I know this because I have to keep track of it so I don't have to deal with the hordes of people on the roads and at events during that time. Apart from that, Saturday and Sunday are just ordinary days for me. I've heard that some single people go out on "dates" on the "weekend." Dimly, I recall doing that occasionally. The mere thought makes me want to stay home. I've also heard that some people deliberately go outdoors in that time period, perhaps even to places that don't have electricity and/or an internet connection. As far as I can tell, those people are of different species than me. So my weekend plans are thus: Play video games, watch some streaming service, blog here, write something for "I Write in 2019"  [E], and do next week's Comedy newsletter. Perhaps the subject of that one will have to be weekends. I do have a minor trip planned; I need a vacation from doing nothing productive at home so that I can do nothing productive in Las Vegas instead. But that'll be in about a month. Technically, it will start on a weekend, as I'm leaving on a Saturday, but I'm going to be there most of a week. What I really want to do is another road trip, but that's going to have to wait; my main focus right now is on losing weight, and the purpose of traveling is to find nice places to eat food and drink alcohol, neither of which furthers my goal. This applies to Vegas as well, but the timeframe is more limited. Someday I might live an interesting life again. That day is not Saturday. Or Sunday.
July 18, 2019 at 12:13am
July 18, 2019 at 12:13am
#962792
 Oh, Great. Complete the following statement: To achieve greatness, one must... ...avoid complacency. This is necessary, but not sufficient. There's luck, skill, talent, whatever. The vast, overwhelming majority of people will never achieve greatness. Yes, this in all likelihood means you. Me too, obviously. Ain't I a ray of sunshine? With high levels of ultraviolet? Fortunately, the benefit is in the striving, not the achieving. Journey, not destination. This leaves out the question of how exactly one defines greatness. I would argue that the greatest businessman of all time was Steve Jobs. Supporting documentation: He and a couple of friends built a computer out of spare parts in a garage, and he parlayed that into a vast business empire; at the time of his death, Apple was the most valuable company in the world (defined as having the largest market capitalization). And yet, by all accounts, he was a shitty boss, an even worse father, and prone to the kind of cognitive bias that leads people to believe bullshit (hence his death). Did Steve Jobs "achieve greatness?" By some measures, certainly. By others, no. Now, I'm no expert, clearly, as evidenced by the fact that I'm not great. But it seems to me that you have to qualify what you mean by it. And I think that, like the ever-elusive "happiness," you can't get there by wanting it. I mean, you can wake up one morning and affirm to yourself: "I shall achieve greatness!" You can do this all you like, and you'll die in obscurity - though maybe you've lived a good, full life; that's irrelevant to the discussion. Since it's de facto Moon Week, I'll provide another example: Neil Armstrong. He gets credit for being the first dude to put boots on the moon. Solid achievement. Not everyone could have done it. But there were at least two (Aldrin, Collins) and several more astronauts who also could have done it. They all had the same training. They likely all had similar aspirations. There was a vast network of support behind all of them; the "first" honor could have easily gone to another person. It was very nearly a Russian. That would not have diminished the achievement in the slightest, but the story would be different. Point is, that's just the most obvious example: not only must one work smart and hard in one's chosen field, but there's an element of luck, a need for support (even Einstein admitted he built on the achievements of others, or, in his words, stood on the shoulders of giants), and the kind of mindset most of us are just not cut out for. And then there are those who achieve greatness without hardly trying, those who probably don't deserve it. Thomas Edison comes to mind. Dude cheated. Everyone I've mentioned so far has been male, but gender is irrelevant to the topic. I could as easily talk about Rosalind Franklin, Hypatia, or Marie Curie. Our culture has a bias; we don't have to internalize it. As Shakespeare noted: "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." (That last bit is especially prescient when one considers Neil Armstrong, who quite literally had it thrust upon him in the form of five giant rocket engines.) Any way you look at it, though, most of us will never be in any of those three Shakespearean categories.
July 17, 2019 at 12:06am
July 17, 2019 at 12:06am
#962745
 Hello Darkness... Describe the earliest memory you have. Anyone who's been following along already knows this one. And you're being inundated with it now. It's all over the internet. I can somewhat understand if you're burned out on it, even though it was not only the greatest achievement in history, but the greatest achievement humankind can ever make. So I'm not going to talk about the time people first landed on another fucking world and most of the population of the original world, including me, watched. I've said before that it's my earliest memory. It's definitely the earliest one I can hang a time on. But I have other early memories, ones that may or may not have taken place before July 20, 1969. All of them are dreams. I don't mean that I still dream about them; I don't. At least, I don't think so. But the images stayed with me. They might have been earlier, or later; I don't know. But I still think it's odd that I can remember a dream from fifty years ago (give or take) but not what I had for dinner last Tuesday. The first one involved frogs on lily pads. It's dark, but in the way of dreams, I could see the flora and fauna clearly. The frogs told me something important. I have no idea what it was. Probably "Buy Apple stock in 1984." Stupid dreams. Another one was of a five-pointed star, glowing in the darkness. Make of that what you will. I no longer see it, but the darkness is a recurring thing in my dreams. It never bothers me there. I move through it just as easily as I move through brightness in the waking world. The third, but I think maybe the earliest, was of someplace underground - but bright. So bright. White stairs descending to a white hallway. At the bottom of the stairs, filling the hallway, gapes an abyss. The darkness again, black to the hallway's white. I stop at the edge of the pit. And that's all - I don't remember ever crossing it, falling in, or re-ascending. I'm sure that has great portent, especially since, at three years of age (or thereabouts), I had little if any experience with stairs, and none with bright white hallways with vast yawning abysses in the floor. Much later in life, I made myself revisit the dream, but no matter how hard I tried, I could never make myself leap the abyss, or let myself fall into it. I keep thinking I will fall, one day, as will we all. Whatever meaning these things have, if any, escapes me. At this point, I have to question even my memories of these dreams. But that's the way these things go, I suppose. All that we see or seem Is but a dream within a dream.
July 16, 2019 at 12:13am
July 16, 2019 at 12:13am
#962697
July 15, 2019 at 12:03am
July 15, 2019 at 12:03am
#962636
 I Can Read the Writing on the Wall Describe a time when a personal failure became a positive experience. Hm, so many choices. So... many... failures... I could talk about the time I fucked up a pot roast in front of people, and discovered the world's greatest pizza when we ordered out. Or maybe all the times I fell off my bike as a kid before I finally learned to stay on (I can still stay on a bike. It's like riding a... well, you know.) Or being unable to convince Debbie to go to the prom with me so ended up with Sara (I might have changed their names to protect their reputations). But no, I'll tell you about the time I decided not to become a newspaper photographer. I learned darkroom skills before I got seriously into photography itself. In high school, among other things, I became the yearbook's darkroom technician because everyone else had a life. And maybe because I was the only one who knew what he was doing. Mom got me a camera for graduation, and I took it with me to college. Joined the college newspaper and started taking pictures for them. We had to develop our own film, make our own contact sheets, and print our own photos to spec, and I was rather good at both ends of the business, including retouching the images on the fly in the darkroom. So I thought, well, maybe this engineering thing isn't the best use of my time, and I applied for a summer internship at an actual newspaper. In those days, that sort of thing was highly competitive, and I didn't get the position. I kept on with the college paper, though, because it kept me in beer money; eventually, I graduated and became an engineer. Still did photography on the side for a while, though. So. Many. Weddings. Now, journalism is all but dead; photography is entirely digital; and everyone carries a camera, so there's nothing special about it. Meanwhile, engineering is still a thing that people do and get paid a decent wage for. So, it's fortunate that I didn't get that internship. Positive experience? Sure - as an engineer, I ended up making a decent living and not having to be artistic at all. As a journalist, I probably would have found myself out of a job. The world still needs Clark Kent, but has no use for Jimmy Olsen. Besides, it's just not the same when you don't have to play with fun chemicals to make an image.
July 14, 2019 at 12:16am
July 14, 2019 at 12:16am
#962565
July 13, 2019 at 12:07am
July 13, 2019 at 12:07am
#962521
July 12, 2019 at 12:24am
July 12, 2019 at 12:24am
#962475
 The ABCs of Beer Make an A-Z list on a topic of your choosing. Stretch your creativity! After you finish your list, write a short narrative describing why you chose the list you did and how it relates to you. A is for Ale, the finest of yeast B is for Beer, the best kind of feast C is for Craft, on tap at the bar D is for Drinking it out of a jar E is for Ethanol, organic compound F is for Firkin; let's all drink one down G is for Growler that you can take home H is for Hops, which are useless alone I is for Isinglass, for clarity's view J is for Juice, a citrusy brew K is for Keg, container of ale L is for Lager, most of them pale M is for Malt, the grain that's so dear N is for Ninkasi, goddess of beer O is for Oats, a flavorful grain P is for Prohibition, a real shame Q is for Quaff, what you do with a stein R is for Real Ale, a British design S is for Sour, a popular style T is for Tap, which I see with a smile U is for Unfiltered, filled with a haze V is for Volatiles, scents all ablaze W is for Wort, which starts the beer job X is for Xipe, the Aztec grain god Y is for Yeast, and all of its strains Z is for Zymurgy, the knowledge we gain ...well, did anyone really expect me to pick a subject other than beer? Still, I'm willing to bet everyone gets hung up on X and maybe Z. The trick is to start there and work backwards. Nevertheless, X is always tough unless you're willing to cheat and use something that starts with Ex. I considered it myself because of time limitations, but then I remembered Xipe (actually Xipe Totec) who was the Aztec god of, among other things, agriculture. Hey, that counts. And I had to use Zymurgy, of course. Beer is, of course, one of my favorite subjects. I probably could have gone with science, too, which is easier (especially because science isn't afraid to start words with X), but a guy's gotta have standards. Like forcing rhymes to make couplets work. I didn't have to do that. I hope at least some readers are amused. Probably, I should have bolded all the first letters of each line, but come on - I have video games to play.
July 11, 2019 at 12:11am
July 11, 2019 at 12:11am
#962433
 Tattoo Vampire Do you have any tattoos or want one in the future? If you had to have a piece of art permanently on your body, what would you want it to say about you? No. No, I most certainly do not. As I've mentioned numerous times, my dad was a sailor. Back in his day, pretty much the only people who got tattoos were sailors, whores, and circus geeks (not to be confused with science geeks, who may or may not have tattoos). While that's no longer the case, he managed to go his whole career and life without once getting the needle. He'd paraphrase Leviticus: "Thou shalt not put shit on thy skin." More like LevitiCUSS, right, Dad? Told you: sailor. I certainly don't put any stock in the customs or superstitions of Bronze Age goatherders, and I don't think people with tattoos (depending on their location) are any more or less worthy of respect or time. But as far as honoring my parents goes, the least I can do is follow his example on this one thing. No, I mean it's literally the least I can do. That said, I'm not a fan at all. A tattoo is something I like someone in spite of, not because of. Or at least it doesn't factor into any dislike I might have (again, depending on the location - someone with a face tattoo is immediately suspect in my estimation). I'm aware that, nowadays, most people have tattoos. A lot of them claim it's expressing their individuality. I express my individuality by not having any. And by wearing shaka shirts and Birkenstocks, but mostly by not having tattoos. "Hey, I express my individuality by doing what everyone else in my peer group is doing! Look at my tattoo!" Don't get me wrong - I've seen some that are great art. That doesn't change the fact that I find the whole idea disgusting. I've seen great art in museums and on retaining walls, too. If I were to change my mind - one thing that not having tattoos allows me the freedom to do at some point - I know what I'd want. A stylized sun, with the words "But Mama, that's where the fun is." Probably on my upper arm. But I'm not going to do it. There's really no need; anyone who knows me already knows I'm a Springsteen fan, and anyone who doesn't will probably get the wrong idea anyway - the more famous version of the song was a Manfred Mann cover with stupidly misheard lyrics - or they just won't care. And that's the bottom line for me: I just don't care what you put on your skin. I care what's beneath it. Or I don't care at all. I went down last night with a tattoo madam To a nude dagger fantasy domain Wrapped in hell, I lost my breath Chest to stimulating Chinese breast Grisly smiles, that don't flake off Corny-colored demons leering Vampire photos, sucking the skin Seeding the night at the inker's parlor Flash permabrand pricked for a dollar Her wrist surreal a heart and flying skull Lettered "Life and love pass swiftly" Grisly smiles, that don't flake off Corny-colored demons leering Vampire photos, sucking the skin
July 10, 2019 at 12:01am
July 10, 2019 at 12:01am
#962384
 Squirrel! What’s on your mind right now? Do you have any “brain worms” or current obsessions? If you didn’t have to blog right now, what would you be doing? I'm sure some people would say that my brain is entirely worms. But no, I'm mostly just alternating between casually playing video games, finding funny shit on the internet, honing my snark, and watching Season 3 of Stranger Things. I can't seem to binge-watch like normal people. Even when I was working on catching up on Supernatural or Stargate, I couldn't usually do more than one or two episodes a day. Sometimes, I'd even get squirreled partway through one and shift to snark-honing or game-playing. In short, my attention span is similar to that of a goldfish, even when it comes to things I nominally enjoy doing. It's not like this is new for me. No matter what I'm doing, there's always something I'd rather be doing. This was a problem when I had an office job; now, not so much. Driving helps. It's not like I can split my attention while driving. By taking away the option of doing other things, I get in a focus zone. It's where I do my best thinking, at least if the traffic isn't too crazy. This is probably why I have several unedited novels languishing on my flash drive (and here). While I can concentrate long enough to come up with short stories or poetry (and, on good days, blog entries), I get to working on the novels and my mind starts to worm around. Maybe when the next Fallout or Elder Scrolls game comes out (do not speak to me of Fallout 76; as far as I'm concerned, it doesn't exist) I'll go back to being able to do one thing for more than 30 minutes. Not anything productive, mind you, but something. So, basically, everything is either a) a distraction or b) an obsession. There doesn't seem to be much in between. If this caused me real problems in life, I'd probably try to do something about it. My main focus right now is on weight loss, though, and disturbing my hard-won equilibrium might have a negative (or, I guess, positive, as in the numbers on the scale going up instead of down) effect on that goal. Fortunately, that's not something I need to concentrate on constantly. I just need to stop myself from ordering pizza or bingeing on Oreos, and in that regard, distractions help. [[Embed over limit (1).]]
July 9, 2019 at 1:01am
July 9, 2019 at 1:01am
#962343
July 8, 2019 at 12:14am
July 8, 2019 at 12:14am
#962268
 Truth, Justice, Etc., Etc. What fictional character do you admire? What specific characteristics do they possess that make them attractive? I'm tired and I need to get up before dawn to take a friend to the airport, so I'mma go with the low-hanging fruit here. Wow, I can actually feel y'all rolling your eyes. But I'm going to press on anyway. Kal-El, as we all know, was adopted by an all-American couple who wanted kids but couldn't make 'em. That right there was enough to start the identification going. Now, I should point out that identification isn't a big deal for me. I don't put myself in the protagonist's shoes. Doesn't matter to me what race, religion, nationality, sexuality, etc. that a character is; the only thing that matters is that it's a good story. (Yes, many Superman stories sucked, but remember, I was a kid when I started reading comics, and what's "good" has changed since then.) He was also a farm boy. I was a farm boy. Only child? Check. Had to pretend to be something he wasn't? Check. Though, later, I'd start to wonder which identity was fake and which was real, but that's a more philosophical, adult conversation. I mean, really, the whole superpowers thing was secondary. Sure - flying, super-speed, x-ray vision, etc. was cool. Costume was a bit poncy, but whatever; it was distinctive. What mattered, as I gradually became aware, was that regardless of superpowers, Superman always tried to be the best he could be. During the "dark and gritty" phase of comics, Superman got a lot of shit - though not as much as Aquaman. Big Blue Boy Scout. Whatever. Sometimes idealism is a good thing. As much as I also like antiheroes, sometimes we do need an ideal. Of course, it's easy to do the right thing if you're a fictional character, and the writer can set it up so that whatever you do turns out to be the right thing. But ideals aren't meant to be realistic; that's why we make the distinction. I don't think too many of us could honestly say that if we found ourselves as a god on an alien world, we'd always strive for that ideal. The temptation would always be there to use your powers for, if not evil, at least to impose your own version of "good" on the alien world. To stand apart, aloof, and utterly defeat whatever you see as "evil." That he's not depicted as doing that is, I think, what makes the character a hero. Anything imposed from above is oppressive; we all have to find our own way. But we can all use a little help now and then. I know my thoughts here aren't exactly new. Whole volumes have been written on the subject. Regardless, I've always liked the character, even when it wasn't cool to do so.
July 7, 2019 at 12:12am
July 7, 2019 at 12:12am
#962192
 One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer It’s the Sunday News! Reflect on the first week of July. Are you on track to meet you goals? What are your plans for the rest of the month? Goals? Plans? A Jedi craves not these things. I was wrong when I thought I knew the worst thing about losing weight. First, I thought it was that I'd have to buy all new clothes. Well, it turns out that if you don't go out very much, you don't need many clothes, so my expenses in that regard have been minimal. It also turns out that no one gives a shit if you wear a t-shirt that's two sizes too big. Pants are another issue, but that's what belts are for. And it's not like my shoe size has changed. Still, I have a ways to go, so we'll see. Then, I thought it would be discovering that it wasn't my weight that made people recoil in disgust whenever they encountered me, but my personality. There, it turns out I was mostly wrong; some people really are that shallow. That's okay. I can be shallow, too. (For many, it's definitely my personality. I can tell, because the "looks" ones immediately run away, while the "personality" ones wait until I say something, and then run away.) But no - beyond all doubt now, the worst thing about losing weight is this: my alcohol tolerance has been severely diminished. That's not an unmitigated negative - after all, it means less money spent on booze, and if there's anything I like better than booze, it's money. But sometimes I like to try several drinks in a short period of time; it takes advantage of my one superpower, which is being able to mix any type of drinks in any order without getting sick. None of this trying to memorize the whole "liquor before beer, never fear; beer before liquor, never sicker" thing. Or is that the other way around? Like I said, I don't have to memorize it, so I don't care. Point is, a lower tolerance makes it less useful as a superpower. I discovered this last week when a friend of mine came to town for a visit. We visited two breweries and sampled selections of their wares, and by the time we were done with the second one, I was definitely feeling the effects; I'm not used to that. I haven't been drinking much in general, so lack of practice probably contributes. This had the other effect, combined with the pastrami reuben I mentioned in a previous entry, of setting my weight-loss progress back two weeks. Oops. Well, whatever. I'm just continuing with the eat-less-and-exercise thing, at least until I go to Vegas for a week in mid-August. That'll probably set me back a month, but since I'm planning on it, that's okay.
July 6, 2019 at 12:10am
July 6, 2019 at 12:10am
#962131
July 5, 2019 at 12:17am
July 5, 2019 at 12:17am
#962065

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