Friday, September 30, 2011


2,436 spoons, oh crap! How many grocery bags of spoons is that?  I'm sure Gary Hovey would recommend train cases or small suitcases. Worth his weight in flatware, hmm. Who has 2,436 spoons? I'd e-mail Gary for a picture, but I really need whole ones. Ooo how about silver?

A diet should have some sorta plan huh? I mean, get healthy, loose weight, get in shape, get stronger, something. Oh wait I got one, get comfortable. There's one that I can totally get behind. Maybe that's what we had in mind back when we first conceived of the Flatware County Diet Converter.

   For instance I've started to refer to my weight in scientific notation. Instead of 2,436 spoons, (are there that many spoons in my whole neighborhood?) how about 2.4k and change (we know we're talking about spoons right). What's 36 spoons, a mere 3lbs. Ok, if it was change, it'd take the bottom outta yer pocket. 

Hey I think I'm onto something here, using an informal scientific notation (actually in scientific notation that's 2.436 x 103) I can tabulate my weight in two digits instead instead of three. Then, using the Flatware County Diet Converter,  I can express my pounds lost (or gained) in spoons. Well, that still hasn't accounted for the game board yet, but we seem to be getting closer.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Dam a bunch-o sneaky ass fractals anyway. Wanna use up a couple of hours and generate a glossary sheet full of words whose definitions are full of words you'll need definitions for. Maybe you should check out fractals. Oh yeah you'll need an attractor, no, not a protractor. If you clicked on attractor, you probably see (phase space, iteration, differential equation) what I mean.

  I just wanted to describe the cool patterns I found with my fractal exploration programs (I use the free ones). I got lucky when I found a book on fractals at a yard sale (cheap). Chaos: The Making Of A New Science by James Gleick (1988) is still my favorite fractal reference. It's my only book with more bookmarks in it than my copy of The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Even though all the formulae went right over my head, and it's doubtful my math vocabulary will ever catch up, it's not enough to stop me. I barely understand lots of my favorite stuff.

 I guess What got me started illen was trying to find a link to share Tierazon, one of my all time favorite (kinda hard to use) fractal explorers (not free at the moment). I'll probably have to edit most of this cranky rant out later, but if you clicked on that last link, you may share my disappointment (bummer). At least the link to Manpwin is still hot. It's latest version includes a number of color filter settings (and other stuff) from Tierazon (some of which works).

While zooming around in a fractal, that whole perturbed oscillator thing means that the patterns never quite repeat  but are self-similar. In Tierazon the regions of apparently 3d forms have allowed me to find a number of favorite neighborhoods.

The three fractals here all relate to the InkyOliveBunny coffee mug design I made for the Stochastic Dreams section at the Flatware County General Store. Thing is I had to go back and render them big since I liked the neighborhood enough to make it make it my desk-top, and the one for the mug was already too small unless I cropped and stretched it.

I gotta admit  I don' begrudge Stephen C. Ferguson his decision to charge admission to play among his many software titles. While I love Tierazon and have spent a ridiculous amount of time stalking the wily fractal there, I'm cheap, and don't have a budget for updating my fractal chasing tools.What tha hey, my old shareware version is still kicking and, this "Poor little fractal monkey," isn't about to stop pressing the lever.

Strange Attractors

How to find them, those regions
Of space where the equation traces
Over and over a kind of path,
Like the moth that batters its way
Back toward the light
Or, hearing the high cry of the bat,
Folds its wings in a rolling dive?--Robin S. Chapman

From the Robin S. Chapman poem Strange Attractors @

Saturday, September 24, 2011


  That's right, if you manage to step back in time, you best step away. Radar Rabbit couldn't and we're still finding pieces of him. Dr Emilio Lizardo (Lord Whorfin) and Buckaroo Banzai also found out the hard way. De Obertruster est not vithout unintended side effects. What you push into an other dimensional space isn't always what you get back. It cost Radar the best lab assistant he ever had, the same day she started work with him.

He pulled an envelope from his coat pocket and fished out a faded polaroid. This was her, Radar began, "She wasn't orange like that till just after lunch, and I wish you could have seen what she was doing with our computers. After lunch I called her up to the front face to see my favorite new exit. Welcome to to the Brier Patch, I said and bowed deeply while giving a this way gesture." She stepped boldly but carefully up to the double chalk lines the arrows designated as the brier patch. She seemed more thoughtful than surprised as she squinted into the bright sunlight high above the biggest sticker patch I've ever seen. "So how-do you back-fill a tunnel that ends in mid air?" Vic asked. "Ooo yeah," thought Radar, "That's gonna leave a mark. Oh man is she serious!"

   He admitted it was a jerk thing to do, but at the time it seemed harmless enough. As Vic began to turn away from the hole Radar grabbed the shoulders of her lab coat and thrust her out into the brilliant sun-light. "Saved your life," he said, and snatched her back. "Dam she looked surprised, and orange, and really scratched up. I could tell from the way she elbowed me in the face as she shook me off, that she was more than a little pissed. I hardly even felt it".

  "What happened, what did you see?" Radar asked, but got nothing. No really, she just smoothed out the shoulders of her lab coat and dusted herself off like it happened all the time. "Have you noticed how she squints a little when she's really ticked?" He asked. She disappeared before quitting time that day, without saying another word. Nobody saw her leave. "I really didn't think we'd ever see her again," Radar said. But like the English Wizard told Lord Thibault, "Time is like a mountain riddled with tunnels."  

Hmm, I see the hand of fate at work here. Damn, fate has a scar the same place I do. But wait, I haven't sent anyone to "The Brier Patch," yet. It sure isn't the kind of assignment Vic generally gets. She's always stayed in the background. Considering the sensitive and essential nature of her work for the DPP, we've been lucky to have her at all. Since her encounter with the Cheddar Swan she's avoided most public events. Granted, dressing to compliment a bright orange complexion must be a bit of a challenge.

 She says she thinks of it as a place to start, and now  prefers to be known as Cheddar Vic. Lately she's been night-editor, and has organized and re-organized my roll-top almost nightly. She was always thorough, but the way she's been  plundering the library recently, it's like she's running out of time. I'm not sure she even goes home anymore.

But dammit she's in all the pictures! It can't be, but she's right there. Argue with a pile of good photos some time. The lab coat really sets it off ya know. Nobody but Cheddar Vic can pull off that shade of orange. Stand down Johnny Storm. That's our Vic and she looks determined, and kinda scratched up too.

  Great what an assignment, "Go to the Brier Patch. Find your way  into this cave in Birminghan-past, and hook up with Radar Rabbit. Wear a lab coat. Oh yeah maybe wear some long pants, you're probably gonna to get scratched up." Well she's already been there, right?  According to the pictures Radar Rabbit slipped me at his press conference this morning, Cheddar Vic's due for a really long day.

"Yes you can," I told her and handed her a pass for the Gravy Boat Ferry at Fat Bottom. The coat looks great on you, and you hardly look pissed off at all. Where'd you get those scratches anyway? Alright, you've got an expense account, but watch out for anything served by a ladle. You could end up down there on a permanent assignment. We know you grow yer own, but you should probably keep it outta sight. With all the flooding caused by BP's (Buttry Pohne, Flatware County Engineer) relief wells earlier this year, all they've got are Gourdless phones.


  With the release of Radar Rabbit's tell all autobiography "Falling From A Broken Sky" looming, several previously squelched stories have recently emerged from the "Brier Patch." Located on the far bank of the Adipose River south of Fat Bottom, the deep narrow valleys and brier covered hills of " The Brier Patch" have often been a source of dark rumors and cautionary tales.

  Long considered one of Flatware County's best kept secrets, the DPP (Doppelganger Protection Program) has been quietly shielding and settling the flood of doppelgangers recently displaced to the Lake House area. Details of the recently recovered script of C.O.D, an as yet still unmade movie by O D Rabbit, have forced the DPP reluctantly into the lime light. 

  The OD connection to Flatware Count first came to light during follow-up research on casual remarks made by Radar Rabbit during a recent interview. His offhand mention of, an alien menace in Birmingham, (Al) and quantum tunneling experiments conducted under Red Mountain, were the bread crumbs that led eventually to the original manuscript of C.O.D.