Monthly Archives: June 2013

If you’ve never seen Cary Huang’s absolutely beautiful and mesmerizing Flash animation that allows you slow scroll in scale from the smallest know objects (quantum foam at less than one Planck) all the way out to the scale of the observable universe, set aside half an hour or so and go here: Scale of the Universe.

This is so brilliantly done, and so perfect in it’s effect and simplicity, I can’t even begin to describe it.

Not only will this make it abundantly clear how much we truly don’t understand about the world above and the world below, it will astonish you how much we do understand.

(Don’t forget to click on the actual graphics, as a short paragraph describing each thing pops up)

The ‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times over many years and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers.

The introduction begins like this:

“Space,” it says, “is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindboggingly big it is. I mean you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space. Listen …” and so on.

(After a while the style settles down a bit and it begins to tell you things you really need to know, like the fact that the fabulously beautiful planet Bethselamin is now so worried about the cumulative erosion by ten billion visiting tourists a year that any net imbalance between the amount you eat and the amount you excrete whilst on the planet is surgically removed from your bodyweight when you leave: so every time you go to the lavatory it is vitally important to get a receipt.)

To be fair though, when confronted by the sheer enormity of distances between the stars, better minds than the one responsible for the Guide’s introduction have faltered. Some invite you to consider for a moment a peanut in Reading and a small walnut in Johannesburg, and other such dizzying concepts.

The simple truth is that interstellar distances will not fit into the human imagination.

Even light, which travels so fast that it takes most races thousands of years to realize that it travels at all, takes time to journey between the stars. It takes eight minutes from the star Sol to the place where the Earth used to be, and four years more to arrive at Sol’s nearest stellar neighbour, Alpha Proxima.

For light to reach the other side of the Galaxy, for it to reach Damogran for instance, takes rather longer: five hundred thousand years.

The record for hitch hiking this distance is just under five years, but you don’t get to see much on the way.

Your Thought for the Day

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A chapter of my book got written this weekend.

I should back up and explain that, yes, I’m writing a book, and, yes, it’s an autobiography. Stop making that face; you don’t have to read it.

I should also explain that I didn’t actually write said chapter, but the events that will someday populate those pages happened this weekend, and when I do get around to writing that chapter, it will be awesome.

The quick version of the story is on Saturday morning, I got a call from a number I didn’t recognize. When I answered it (yes, I do, on occasion, answer the phone), I was surprised to hear the voice of a girl I hadn’t spoken to in over a year. When I say hadn’t “spoken to,” what I actually mean is we hadn’t talked, emailed, texted, chatted, “Facebooked,” written letters, #subtexted, sent smoke signals, exchanged carrier pigeons, shared an out-of-body experience, or communicated in any way.

I was even more surprised when she told me what she really wanted–

I should digress here to explain a few things, lest the offer she made sound far more attractive than it actually was (especially to pigs like me). This is not a girl I was interested in beyond a little casual sex. I made that very clear when we fooled around last year. Other than having body parts that fit together as designed, we’re completely incompatible. I don’t want to date her, hang out with her, or even talk to her, really (hence the lack of smoke signals). If a Dutch realist painted a metaphor of she & I trying to make a relationship work, it would be a tableau of a woman who died in childbirth, her stillborn babe clutched in one arm and a rotten apple in the other.

I was even more surprised when she told me what she really wanted was, in essence, to be my sex slave in exchange for moving in with me and being given the chance to prove she was worthy of being my girlfriend.

Yeah. That was my reaction as well. For a moment I was literally speechless. When I finally did recover my senses, I suggested that sounded like a really, extremely bad idea, which went over like skinhead at a bris.

For the next twenty minutes I endured a monologue that rose in volume as it increased in vitriol. A lot of things I already knew — how broken I am, how dismissive I am, how elitist I am, what a shitty person I am, in general — got shouted into my ear along with confirmations that I should never have children, that I can’t be trusted, that I’m sick, twisted, and poisonous to any woman who’s stupid enough to fall for me, etc., etc., ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Oh, shut the fuck up and get in line, I thought.

I listened to all of it knowing that eventually the storm would blow itself out, and I’d be able to tell her to fuck off in a calm, reasonable manner.

  • I explained that she doesn’t really know me at all.
  • I explained that I don’t really know her, nor do I wish to.
  • I explained that, contrary to her opinion, I don’t have “dozens” of girls who I’m fucking.
  • I explained that I’m really too busy for such shenanigans ( I did not say “shenanigans,” but I totally wish I had), and so the only girl I’m seeing at the moment is RHK, who I’m spending time with because I genuinely enjoy her company and find her pretty wonderful and amazing in just about every way.

That went over badly as well. So I fell back to plan A with a sincere “Fuck off.”

The next morning I got an email so delusional it could have been a William S. Burroughs novel. She pleaded with me to see reason, called me a “puzzle” she felt she could solve, insulted RHK specifically, and girls in the porn industry in general. I’d like to say that my response was rational and mature, but that would be less than the truth. The real story is that her head is now mounted on a spike outside my front door, right next to Ned Stark’s.

I told Vega the story because I wanted her opinion on why the crazy ones become fixated on me. She still has a bit of her own (sadly unrequited) fixation, so I knew she’d have some insight. She claims that this my penance.

“You are,” she explained with a note of glee, “the only man I’ve ever met who’s equal parts emotionally available, and emotionally insufficient.”

Thank Bob I have a strong ego, or they’d be pulling hollow points out of what was left of my skull.

The moral of the story — and this is very, very important — is this:  Never answer the phone when you don’t recognize the number.

B  Grandpa 1aI know readers of this blog have come to (reasonably) expect a tide of unrelenting bitterness and hate. It would be rational to brace for some vitriolic tirade about Not Owing Your Parents Anything or Bullshit Hallmark Holidays. It’s true that I believe both of those things, and on any other day, that might be a rational expectation.

I’m sorry to disappoint.

Father’s day has always been a strange proposition for me. My own dad took off when I was two, too young and too freaked out to handle the responsibility of a young wife and family. I don’t think that was ever his plan. I was adopted by my grandparents — Sylvia, my maternal grandmother, and Cecil, her second husband — and raised by them. My mom was a frequent recurring character in my childhood and upbringing, but I didn’t even meet my dad until I was 18, so Cecil was the only father I ever knew.

In one of those curious ways that life tends to booked itself, he had abandoned his first wife and four sons in Oswego, New York, in the 60s, and got waylaid by my grandmother on his road west to California. I don’t think he ever resolved the guilt he felt for that (people of that generation really weren’t equipped for that kind of introspection), but he did his best to make up for it in raising me.

Whatever his other faults might have been, he was a better father than I had any right to expect. He was never cruel or capricious or manipulative. He told me what he thought, taught me what was expected of me, and supported me in everything I ever wanted to do, even though he understood little of it. He never batted an eye when I wanted to act, to make movies, to move to L.A., to be utterly unlike any member of my family. He didn’t care that I was making a living working in porn. He was just proud of me.

He never pried into my personal life any more than I pried into his. We had a mutual respect that way. He treated me like a man, from the time I was old enough to remember, and I tried to show him the same consideration. He wasn’t a deep thinker, or a man with lofty aspirations (if he did have them, he never whined about not achieving them), but he had more simple wisdom and strength and common sense than any human being I have ever met.

This picture is from the last time he ever visited me in L.A. When he left, we both somehow knew we’d never meet again. Instead of just getting up at dawn to make the long drive home and calling me when he got there (his usual M.O.), he hung around, let me take him to breakfast, and we talked. We both cried when he hugged me to say goodbye, and a few months later, he died in his sleep with Buster, his perpetual companion, asleep by his side.

Yesterday, I was describing the old man to RHK, someone who has become very important to me in a very short period of time. (The initials stand for Red Harlot Koala, but that’s a story for another day). As I was talking about him, something struck me that I haven’t felt since I was with K; It saddened me that Cecil will never meet RHK. He would have loved her.

So, happy Father’s Day, you old fart. I still quote you often, think about you constantly, and keep you alive in my stories and memories. I miss ya.

P.S. As a bonus, you can see two of my first cats who came to Los Angeles with me in the photo; fat Max on the floor, an enormous orange guy who used to sit on my grandfather’s shoulder across the back of the couch, and Sylvester, my strange little girl who often looked at people exactly as she’s looking at him in the photo, as if she’d never seen a human before.

Your Thought for the Day

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