Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Aujourd'hui j'ai fait du sport

Athletic regimen while revising thesis: 1) Following 20 minutes of contemplating getting up to reheat coffee, 2) get up to reheat coffee. 3) March efficiently back to work space, job done. 4) Go back to get coffee you left in microwave. 5) Repeat.

I am willing to make a fitness DVD series if somebody wants to make me a lucrative offer.


Thanks to the artistic stylings of local grocery chain Monoprix (see below), I've decided to start requiring that everything I consume be in Rubik's Cube form.

I guess this will pose something of a challenge where coffee is concerned, though.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Yep, I too would fear the Caped Crusader if he were the size of a standard Vienna sausage

In keeping with yesterday's post, here are Spidey and friends in finger form.

Etsy eats up more of my time than Facebook, trying to find my keys, and local bureaucracy COMBINED.

They can be your own, you know.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Pride and Prejudice ... in finger puppet form

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a classic novel of great merit must be in want of finger puppets.

That's right. These are Pride and Prejudice finger puppets, available on Etsy. From left to right, you have Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Bennet and Mr. Bingley.

Clearly Jane Austen (who, by all accounts, never posted even once on Etsy) died too young to realize that true creative greatness lies in another art form.

Friday, June 1, 2012

This is Your Brain in Training

I'm happy today, because according to the New York Times, nothing I do is actually my fault. I feel I can trust the Times over other city publications, which is frankly silly. What is the real difference between the Times, and, say, the N.Y. Post? Frequency of use of the word "sicko," that's all:

Times: Man Kills 3 in Bronx
Post: Sicko Kills 3 in Bronx

Times: Israeli Officials Weigh an Imposed Palestinian Border
Post: Sicko Officials Weigh an Imposed Sicko Border

Times: Crossword Puzzle
Post: Sicko Puzzle

So, yes, I have confidence in the Times, and this confidence is at an all-time high now that they've gone on the record as stating I cannot be held responsible for any of my actions. Why, you ask? The answer lies with our bud neuroscience. Let us consider the brain:

Whoops! Ha ha. Wrong brain. I meant this one:

SOURCE: Duke University Medical School
Anyway,  the reason I mustn't be held responsible for any of my actions is because according to neuroscience, my personal brain, age 24, is still in training. IIII KNOW! AWESOME, RIGHT? I have this on the authority of a Times article entitled  "What the Brain Says About Maturity," written by no less than Dr. Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple University. According to Dr. Steinberg:

Significant changes in brain anatomy and activity are still taking place during young adulthood, especially in prefrontal regions that are important for planning ahead, anticipating the future consequences of one’s decisions, controlling impulses, and comparing risk and reward. Indeed, some brain regions and systems do not reach full maturity until the early or mid-20s. (NYT, May 29, 2012)

That's right, fellow young adults: your brain is a trainee brain. It is the equivalent of a bepimpled teen boy named "Zack" who is on his third day at the Regal Cinemas up the street, learning to scoop popcorn, yet not quite mastering it with 100% accuracy.

However, there is hope for progress (I mean for my brain; I am not so sure about Zack). According to neuroscience, one day soon my brain shall grow up, in a peppy montage with Timon and Pumbaa at its side. Or maybe I am thinking of Simba. No matter. My point is, my young adult brain will become an old adult brain, and then I will be responsible for my actions. That will be a dark day indeed, because at the moment, whenever I say or do something asinine, I have only to go, "HA HA! THAT WAS JUST MY BRAIN FORMING!" or, "WHOA THERE! THAT PREFRONTAL REGION SUUURE IS A WORK IN PROGRESS!" and it's all taken care of. Everyone will instantly forgive you everything including cannibalism, except if you live here in France, where you can legally be sentenced to death for asking if there is a public restroom.*

In fact, let us divert to this important issue for a moment. There are exactly two locations in the Republic of France featuring toilets.** One of these is my former host family's house, although if you come to France (motto: "Liberté, Égalité, A Frightening Lack of Bubble Thé"), I do not recommend you use their toilet. First of all, you are not invited, and if you were to enter the house you would surely be licked to death by a vicious tiny dachshund. Second of all, the toilet is extremely volatile, which I interpret as strong finer feelings regarding who uses it. Sadly, the toilet has no say in this matter, and is thus reduced to silent passive-agressive measures such as blocking up for the hell of it. This was always enormously effective and resulted in the near-constant presence of the family's hardy plumber and general all-around fix-it man, a guy named "Serge" whose mysterious omnipotence convinced me he was also secretly running the government, possibly while wielding a plunger.

The other local toilet "hot spot" is my school, Paris III, which is admittedly hard to access given that it is surrounded at any given moment by a billowing mass of carcinogens. In France there is a firm law that smokers must keep a strict .000000000000005 cm distance from a building. In the event you DO get to the Paris III restroom, the health risk, without getting into indelicate detail, is significantly greater than if you were to just let your bladder explode.

But back to my original topic,*** which is: my brain-in-training. Young adults with young adult brains, if you are out and happen to do something such as the following:

1. While sitting at lunch across from individual you wish fervently to impress, attempt to
utter a sophisticated witticism, which is probably actually stupid, but whatever.

2. Follow this with a demure sip of coffee.

3. While taking demure sip, accidentally let loose a 7,600-decibel snort at your own witticism and spray coffee in your own eyes.****

Then just remember what neuroscience says: you didn't actually do it. Then feel free to go forth and commit all manner of atrocities, such as arson or buying the National Examiner. Your prefrontal regions are simply too pre-frontal to know better.

But that's not to say the conscientious (meaning "weenie") among us can't take certain measures to check our impulses. For example, you could take up a hobby. Just make sure it's a worthwhile hobby that contributes to your mental abilities (example: world travel), and not a dangerous hobby that ensures your brain's swift atrophy until all you have left up there is Hamburger Helper (example: college).

And for the rest of you brain-in-training young'uns, live it up, enjoy the moment, and - from the bottom of my heart - don't tell me about it. Oh, and above all, if you do decide to take the world-travel route, and you come to France, and while here you simply MUST use a bathroom, then I assure you - in all seriousness - that it IS okay to use one. In Ohio.

* Answer: No.
** Source: Fodor's
*** Did I have one?
**** Not that this actually ever happened or anything.