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What stuff looks like in my head, part one


I tried to model what numbers look like in my head, as described in yesterday’s post. It turned out remarkably boring, so I quit after one.

On a lighter note, my electrical box passed inspection today!

That’s not a euphemism for lunchtime sex or anything.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:00 pm

God, I love it when you talk technical, Weaz!

When you first mentioned your first group goes to twenty, I thought you were going to go all Aztec/Mayan on us. Their numbering system was … strange. But it worked really, really well.

…um….part one?

Comment from Gnus
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:09 pm

Neat, Sweasel. Graphic numbers.

I has to take my socks off to get past ten on my own. God bless Texas Instruments and HP for inventing the calculator. On my first job with numbers, I used a Marchant rotary calculator (dating myself). More gears and wheels than a NASCAR race, but totally cool to watch it spin away. It used to get so hot it’d smoke. Good times.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:23 pm

Not to change the subject, but the sixth not-severed human foot has washed up on the shores of British Columbia recently.

That’s right – its a not-severed foot, whatever that is. Ace is reporting it, and I’m puzzling over it. I think it’s the clams. They always wanted a foothold on land. But the folks at Aces ignored me over there – the fools. Soon the bivalves will come marching into Washington…

All but one foot were “right” foots, not left foots.

That means there are still a minimum of four foots missing. We’re four feet short.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:28 pm

This looks cool. I have always been mathematically inclined, and numbers intrigue me. Sometimes a number will just pop in my head, with an associated idea about it. For example, I was reading this post and the number 818 popped in for a visit.

What’s 818 have that’s so special you might ask. Hmmm, well the sum of the digits is 17 which is the 8th prime number which of course starts with 1, also 818 is a palindrome. It’s also symmetrical about the 1. I could go on, but this is already odd enough.

In fact whenever I think of the number 818 again, I’ll think of pianos in space.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:28 pm

I knew another one washed up. I didn’t realize they were all ‘not severed’. I guess that means…rotted off?


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:42 pm

I would think ones foots would rot off from the toes upward – not that I know diddly shit about rotting yet.

I wonder if the lone lefty matched up with a righty. And I wonder of the number 818 was tattooed onto any of them.

And that reminds me of Nadsat for some inexplicable reason.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:45 pm

They had shoes on, though, didn’t they? That would make a difference.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 19, 2008, 3:48 pm

I can’t understand why the news is jumping all over this ‘severed feet’ story.

Every sign I’ve seen along the Canadian coast warns tourists to stay at least 6 feet from shore.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 4:02 pm

Ohhhh, Jill.

Check this guy out:


He’s got an oddly broad range of styles and topics, but it’s all funny.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 19, 2008, 4:15 pm

This guy’s toons are beyond fab-o-luss.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 4:41 pm

Isn’t he great? I’m about halfway down the list. Been working my way through slowly for days.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: June 19, 2008, 5:05 pm

Hey, give me a call the next time you want your “electrical box” (wink wink) “inspected” (nudge nudge) and I’ll be happy to – what? An actual electrical box? Really?

No shit.


Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:24 pm

Jill – that was outstanding!

Ace is now reporting that the feet might have been “sheared off” in a plane wreck.

God-damned journalists – “sheared off” is severed.


Comment from BGG
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:28 pm

I was fascinated and horrified at your description of how you think (term used loosely) about numbers. The graphic doesn’t really capture the horror though. It must be muuuuuch huger. Carl Sagan huge.

Comment from BGG
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:31 pm

Er, I didn’t mean to say you don’t think. But you seem to think visually. And thank gods for that, BTW. 🙂 Foot in mouth, a specialty of mine.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:39 pm

No, no BGG. It is truly awful. I realize. I’m not allowed anywhere NEAR finances. I think everything in pictures.

I’m a fairly accomplished musician, mostly because I started playing when I was small. But I hit a wall early on and never got past it. Just recently, it dawned on me it’s probably because I think of chords as pictures; I remember them by the shape my fingers make pressing on strings. If you change the tuning on me, I pee my pants.

This all makes me sad. I have *just* enough math instinct to know that it’s a deeply and impossibly cool subject. But the mathal lobe of my brain is completely missing.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:43 pm

Although…I sometimes wonder if idiots savant (I know I’m not supposed to call them that these days) aren’t doing something similar. You know, the guys who can tell you instantly what day of the week October 12, 1952 fell on. I think they must have some sort of mind-picture they can superimpose data on.

Comment from BGG
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:50 pm

It might be something similar to synaesthesia, which I think would be fascinating. You don’t like, smell colors, or anything, do you?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:52 pm

Nah. I read Oliver Sacks until my face turned blue. Although when I was a kid, we used to play games like “what color is Wednesday?” and “is 6 male or female?”

Goddamn stupid long car trips.

Comment from BGG
Time: June 19, 2008, 6:57 pm

You know, creative parents always think they’ve got some cute way of making their kids think outside the box. Unfortunately my Dad’s idea of creative was to say, “How can you be sure you’re not banging your head against the bars of an insane asylum right now?” So that’s why I’m a scientist. Parents. Sheesh.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 19, 2008, 7:08 pm

I’ve never been able to work out how much of that was because my parents were stone cold crazy, and how much was my mother, post-divorce, giving my father a great big, “hey Weasel — I’m raising your kids to be weird!” gesture.

Whatevs. I’ve come to the conclusion only losers waste their lives obsessing about their parents.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: June 19, 2008, 8:03 pm

Okay, can anybody look at the picture and NOT have the Twilight Zone theme run through your head?

Well, okay, not since I mentioned it, but I mean before I shot off my mouth? Keyboard? Whatever.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 19, 2008, 8:10 pm

McGoo you scoff at 818? Count the number of full vertical stacks there are, 8 right? Then count the actual number of keys there are, I discern 18. That number popped into my head based on the visual info. I get those kind of associations all the time. It’s kind of a combination of Rainman and Tourette’s syndrom but with numbers.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 9:08 pm

Oh, no! I scoff at no number. Numbers are cool.

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 19, 2008, 9:20 pm

Now Ace is posting that the sixth foot was a hoax.

Well, I am chagrined. How can I get along in the world if I can’t trust what I read on the Innertubes?

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 19, 2008, 10:10 pm

“Whatevs. I’ve come to the conclusion only losers waste their lives obsessing about their parents.”

“They fuck you up, your mom and dad –
They don’t mean to, but they do.
Give you all their quirks and foibles –
and add special one, just for you

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 19, 2008, 10:26 pm

I like the fact that Ace correct himself.

Do I remember correctly that Her Ladyship actually met the Blogfather?

Ace is up there, for me, with Jeff Goldstein, Mark Steyn, and Oriana Fallaci (of blessed memory).

Lokki: I went through years of therapy where I learned to blame everything on my parents. Then God knocked some sense into me and I realize that I (and the therapists) were utterly wrong.

They did and are trying their best, but no one’s perfect. I thank God for them nonetheless, and ask Him to bless them for all they have done and are trying to do.

Our challenge as people is not to find the source of our issues and obsess therein, but while acknowledging them or not, dealing with them. How to become a better human being, y’know? Too much therapy is about expanding one’s ego and indulging in one’s unbridled desires and aspects of being. We are meant to challenge ourselves and change ourselves.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 19, 2008, 10:34 pm

I just noticed what my sign is: Paperclip. Cool, I didn’t want to have a toe, or bandaid as a sign. I talked to my mom who re-iterated what an auspicious day this was many years ago.

Apparently they were rushing to the hospital when a horde of bugs slowed the trip to the hospital. The bug goo covered the windshield so my dad had to drive with his head out of the window to see.

They were grasshoppers, in the high desert of California. So I’ve got the plague of locusts where they shouldn’t be thing going for me too.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 19, 2008, 10:49 pm

Sure there isn’t a 666 hidden underneath your hair or something?

Just askin’.

Comment from LemurKing
Time: June 19, 2008, 10:56 pm

Going back up the post a ways… “not severed” sounds ominous. Alternatives:

Chewed, crushed, burned, dissolved (acid)… nah, you’re right, McGoo it’s most likely Geoduck freaks of nature. Or banana slugs… they got big enough where I grew up that I hunted them with my .22. You’ve never felt fear unless you’ve had a rabid banana after you with it’s slavering… uh.. jaws… and glowing red eyestalks.

McGoo – care to expound on the base 20 numbering system?

Comment from kishnevi
Time: June 19, 2008, 11:08 pm

Weasel, do you remember the British guy who was on TV about a year ago–he could compute pi to the whatever place in his head and stuff like that? Turns out that he sees numbers as colored geographical features, and somehow that helps him work it out. (Plus he was an aspie, so he could also learn Icelandic in one week.) My brain used visual thinking all the time–except on numbers. I can’t think of numbers as anything except HinduArabic digits.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 19, 2008, 11:27 pm


So the numbers worship cows in a big, black cube?

Comment from Allen
Time: June 19, 2008, 11:41 pm

Muslihoon, I’m clean on the tatooed number thing but I’m sure that the date might be a touch unusual. I just got a most interesting present for my birfday.

Cast: Allen Last Name, Michele Last Name (Wife), Michael Different Last Name (step-son.) Strange telephone person.

Phone rings…
Allen: moshi moshi.

Strange Telephone Person: Huh?

Allen: Hello?

Strange Telephone Person: Is Michael Last Name there, I mean is Michele Last Name there?

Allen: I’m sorry she passed away two years ago, what do you want?

Strange Telephone Person: This is a business matter are you her husband?

Allen: Yes.

Strange Telephone Person: What’s your first name so I can discuss this business matter?

Allen: You don’t know? Then why are you calling?

Strange Telephone Person: I have to know your first name to discuss this.

Allen: OK It’s Mr. Last Name.

I had much fun as the conversation spiraled into the blackhole of obscurity. Best present ever.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 19, 2008, 11:54 pm

Well, happy birthday, Mr. Allen Not-The-Antichrist-That-We-Are-Aware-Of.

I wish I had the chutzpah to mess with telemarketers. I’m just too polite with them.

Comment from Allen
Time: June 20, 2008, 12:18 am

Thanks, time for the birfday ride. Full moon, horse, lack of discretion…


Comment from LemurKing
Time: June 20, 2008, 12:38 am

Oh, if only you had a taping of that, Allen. I live for those conversations. When you can hear the blood bubbling in their temples as the pressure rises, you know that you have accomplished your mission for the day.

Happy birthday, and stay away from the loons, it’s a full moon, I believe.

Comment from Muslihoon
Time: June 20, 2008, 12:46 am

My favorite loon.

Comment from LemurKing
Time: June 20, 2008, 1:37 am

“The loons, Norman… can you hear the loooons….?”

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: June 20, 2008, 4:23 am

Philip Larkin, Lokki? Respec’! 🙂

Comment from Steamboat McGoo
Time: June 20, 2008, 5:49 am

Allen – back in the Good Ol’ Days(tm) I used to keep a list of responses to phone salesfolk next to the phone for when they ask for “Mrs McGoo”, since I have always been single. They ranged from “Oh, God! Has Vice busted her again?”, to “Is this the funeral home?”

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 20, 2008, 6:02 am

Dammit! Did I miss Allen’s birthday?

Pleasant origin day is desired,
Pleasant origin day is desired,
Pleasant origin day respected Allen,
Pleasant origin day is desired.
…and infinite number in addition…

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 20, 2008, 9:39 am

Badger –

Yes. Philip Larkin

Respect. Yes.

And a poem by him for you, Muslihoon, who likes to ponder such things….


If I were called in
To construct a religion
I should make use of water.

Going to church
Would entail a fording
To dry, different clothes;

My litany would employ
Images of sousing,
A furious devout drench,

And I should raise in the east
A glass of water
Where any-angled light
Would congregate endlessly.

Philip Larkin

Comment from JT
Time: June 20, 2008, 9:45 am


You sure that wasn’t some subtle euphemism? cause we all want to hear more about your juiced up electrical box!

Comment from Allen
Time: June 20, 2008, 9:49 am

Weasel, I missed that one. Thanks. What more could you ask for? A paperclip, bug goo, and a Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine.

Comment from Lokki
Time: June 20, 2008, 9:53 am

And an Ogden Nash birthday poem for Allen, who is obvously still quite young, from his friends here:

Crossing The Border

Senescence begins
And middle age ends
The day your descendents
Outnumber your friends.

Ogden Nash

Comment from Gnus
Time: June 20, 2008, 10:37 am

Comedian Tom Mabe has a CD out of conversations with telemarketers and such. The one I like is where he rapidly involves the TM’er in a homicide investigation. Hilarity ensues.

Comment from Gnus
Time: June 20, 2008, 10:43 am

Ummmmm… here. Bless Youtube.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 20, 2008, 11:29 am

I deal with quite alot of telemarketers at work. My favorites are the ones who try to get you to believe that they work for your copier machine company, all in a thinly veiled attempt to sell you outrageous ink and toner. This is the conversation I had yesterday…

rinnnnnnnnng…Me: “Good morning, small information security company…”

TM’er: “Hey! How YOU doin’ today? This is Ed calling about the copier.”

Me: “Fuck you, Ed.” >slam<

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: June 20, 2008, 12:17 pm

OH! We got those for a while. I wasn’t sure what they were. I mean, I don’t go anywhere near purchasing requests, so why call me? But somebody told me they were a scam of some kind.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: June 20, 2008, 1:27 pm

I feel strange as an artist; most artists are incredibly visual and tend to picture things in their heads, remember imagery and have powerful sense memories. I don’t visualize what I’m drawing at all, I conceptualize it and use the skills I’ve learned to put it down on paper. I am not a visual person at all.

Comment from Jill
Time: June 20, 2008, 1:39 pm

Yay verily, Weaselette…they’ll charge you like $250 for a $50 ink cartridge. But since I answer the telephone, I screen all calls. If someone doesn’t want to divulge their information, I tell it like it is. “If you want to get to Jesus, ya gotta go through Mary.”

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