the ornithogrinarium - Ψυχῆς ἰατρεῖον

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday, September 26, 2008


The kitten has taken off running circles around me with one of my just-laundered socks. It is hilarious.


I bought a ball of yarn called "Turner," similar in colour to this image, "Light and Colour (Goethe's Theory) — The Morning after the Deluge — Moses writing the Book of Genesis,” [corrected now, thanks to Factory Supervisor] or his "Slave Ship."

Monday, September 22, 2008


The foster kitten decided this morning that reflex activation by scruff of the neck is for amateurs; she would prefer to lick her medication from its syringe.

In the absence of titillating details I told my psychiatrist, who did her best to be unpleasant and uninteresting: "You can't make anyone do anything." "You can't make anyone happy."

Helpfulness: Kitten 2, Button Pushing 0.

Adjusted up so as to only include aspects of performance covered.

To live my life, to feel safe, I need ways to conceptualize the world as things I can engage with. I went home and asked the oddly omnivorous kitten about her childhood.

and the plural of 'genius' is....

New MacArthur Fellows.

When I was a child I wanted to study cosmology, or be an astronaut, or a paleontologist (I liked rocks and found fossils by the lake) or an Olympic cyclist, at various times, in receding order. My mom wanted me to be an environmentalist. Please do jump in a tell me what you wanted/want to be when you grew/grow up.


Sometimes I get so excited by what I'm reading I can't absorb anymore and have to put it down. Quoth Mr Lapham:

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled - Plutarch

"Neuroscientists remark on the sensation of joy produced by the chemicals in the brainwhen the mind is being put to creative and imaginative use, a phenomenon they associate both with the pleasure of sexual orgasm and with the endorphin high experienced by athletes in the zone's of effortless performance. The observation supports Plutarch's hypothesis at the head of this essay, stands confirmed by the experiments of Ralph Waldo Emerson (Cambridge, page 142): "When the mind is braced by labor and invention, the page of whatever book we read becomes luminous with manifold allusion."

From Lapham's Quarterly: the journal that enlists the counsel of the dead.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

why does philosophy matter?

Jolley could never seem to come up with a clear, settled explanation, and since clarity is a philosophical virtue, on one level this obviously bothered him. Yet his failure to give a simple answer was, in a way, the best answer he could have given. Philosophy is so much a part of how Jolley thinks, talks and writes that his attempts at an answer were themselves invariably philosophical, which is to say, aimed as much at exploring the assumptions behind the question as at answering it. “One reason it can seem so hard to see how philosophy relates to life is that we have often already decided that philosophy is thinking, not living,” he once wrote me. Explaining why philosophy matters, in other words, requires doing philosophy — the very thing the questioner wants explained.

The New York Times Magazine asks, how does Auburn University teach philosophy?

Friday, September 19, 2008

the foster kitten

I adore the foster kitten. The way she asks to be picked up and held, the way she wriggles around with her rumble of a purr and licks my face to show her appreciation. Then she likes to battle her feathers on a stick or play chase. She has the special talent of being able to stand on two legs; the dog is jealous. You'll have to take my word for how smart she is, but if you could see the way her eyes turn deep amber when she is excited, you'd know it too, for sure.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

these are the things that bother me (life is good)

School is like this: today the philosopher gave a lecture reading closely Descartes's arguments. This was more necessary than, it appears, he'd hoped it would be at the outset. The classroom experience turned abruptly, from checking out the philosopher to wondering what Descartes was on. Which is to say... no, I'm not going to make a joke about my teacher, my thing about older men is embarrassing enough. Philosophy class is great.

The historian is endeavouring to create a classroom nurturing of persons and discussion. I hate discussing with history students; unfortunately, I am one. It never sounds as though any of them have read the text, just that they're expressing opinions vaguely related to the topic based on very little argumentative evidence and a lot of personal, nonspecific intuition or academic cryptography. There's one girl who has a very nice voice and speaks only in buzzwords. She may believe them, but she says very little. She was better than all the sentences with no objects of verbs, just lots of "objects." The situation she represents makes me want to swear violently (de-activated theory: what's the point? About as much as engaging in twenty-year-old discussions of sex-positivity, I suspect). I might contribute more words had I not been away from school for years and had my ego smashed. No way to know for sure.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

not so pretty

Apple computer. Pixelated lines appearing across the screen in yellow, magenta (2), cyan (2). Phone Apple ServiceTM.

"Yeah, check out the forums, it's a really common problem. Three years old? That's way past warranty. Also, the video card is shit."

Nice guys. Very nice.

Monday, September 15, 2008


I got a foster kitten! She's black with the sniffles and is a tiny lovebug who likes to climb all over me and purr. I'm looking forward to my two weeks of kittin love-in.

My poor old cat hated dogs. This one is endlessly curious and (with a little help) seems to be teaching the dog how to be gentle. It's so adorable. The cat kisses me and the dog kisses the cat.

Then the cat woke me up with an exfoliating face wash and dove into the (vanilla soy) milk in my cereal. I was so amused I let her drink it. Discipline can start tomorrow.

allyson felix

See the calm on her face? That's why I decided to try running. So far so good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

fucking david foster wallace

It's difficult to think rationally when my body is doing irrational things. I think I've got it now: the current selection of medications and side effects suggest overloading of CYP3A4 metabolism, so back it (new one) off and titrate slowly, also note the half-life is close enough to the previous med that watching how it goes and considering splitting the dose is probably not as useless as psychiatrist indicated. A sudden drop in blood sodium levels? Hope that might not be dangerous, I did ask. Note to self: psychiatrist apparently belongs to the brutalist school of psychopharmacology, and in the future self-education via wikipedia is probably worth twice as much weight as her "what-evah!" It's hard to know when I've done enough.

Friday, September 12, 2008

a room full of books

I love the silent daytime when I'm home alone writing at the desk by the window. Although this looks more like they're climbing the walls.

via paperback girl's beautiful eye

Thursday, September 11, 2008

fuck me friday

“An even better comparison is the Netherlands, which has a teenage birthrate 1/7th of ours and a teen abortion rate 1/7th of ours as well. And the Netherlands has what is considered to be the world’s most comprehensive sex education programs, complete with free and anonymous birth control and free and anonymous sexual health screening and treatment. And by the way, the average Dutch teen starts having sex nearly two years after the average American teen despite all of that. Good sex education does not lead to promiscuity.”

- Ed Brayton, (via Debauchette and syntheticpubes)

Watch a clip from a documentary on Dutch education about sex and relationships here.

One of my profs named "sex across generations" as a big taboo. I think the way the idea gets acted out is particularly relevant to our ideas about, and quality of, sex education. Then again, some people have a disposition to tee-heeing they couldn't stuff to save their lives, and I have a disposition to hating the dominion of tee-hee.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

the club

Today on the train I started talking to a guy. He'd been talking to an old man.

"You never know what kind of caboose you're going to get."

They were opening windows. The guy and I started talking about cops and tazers being bad, the importance of not threatening police officers (me), and knowing when to run (him). We were facing each other in the single seats by the window, me facing forward, riding backward.

"You don't look like the kind that's been in trouble."

"Um.... I called 911 once. I was really paranoid."

He asked me about it, I said not too much. Remembering in detail can make things scary for quite a long time. We'd both been psychotic, he'd done a long time on the psych ward. Stimulants, he said, he'd been into them ten years, been in jail. He couldn't have been much older than me. Four years clean, he said, no trouble. "Tell me what good came from it," he said, and elaborated when I didn't answer right away.

"People on the psych ward are really open," I said. There are people who've been alcoholics thirty years, people whose lives have come undone, people who've been used, had horrific losses, people who want and want and want, people who let me sit in on their substance use workshops and told me about their lives. I can't explain exactly how it felt when this one girl told me about jail shoes, or another, aged 20, drew a picture in crayon like she was psychicly deciphering my paranoid fantacies.

For the outside lots of this is too hard to contemplate, but inside the sense of connection, of being seen, is profound. Between us the lines are clear about what information can be shared. Above all psych patients respect one another. The man growling and cursing and scaring everyone one day will express appreciation for my obliviously asking if he was okay, though it frustrated him at the time.

I told the guy "that's awesome, amazing." Outside of our context this sounds cheesy and unconvincing, but he knew I meant appreciation. It's hard to explain how cool and how right it is to hear the small shifting means by which someone gives themself life this way. We shook hands and it was good to belong, and then he got off the train.

i just got a call from the prime minister

It was a recorded message. So, um, I just hung up on the prime minister.

i recommend gardening

I've been harvesting bucketfulls of tomatoes from the garden and we just eat them all. Just cherry tomatoes so far - we had an off start to summer which has left everything to ripen more slowly. A lovely suprise has been these amazing little orange tomatoes. Usually I try to avoid orange ones, but these may be the best tomatoes I've ever tasted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

canadian election

Usually I like to vote, but this time I'm feeling I'd rather bash my head into a solid surface than listen to Canadian political rhetoric. The tv news recognizes this propensity amoungst us so much of the time talks to and about voters instead.

If I lived in Guelph I'd vote for Tom King. See here, Mr King's book, The Truth About Stories. I used to listen to his radio show Dead Dog in the City, while working alone in an asbestos-contaminated basement.**

For political coverage see Global, which reportedly takes its stylistic and expositive cues from the Ellen Degeneres show on during the same 5 pm time slot; the CBC doing something vaguely dorky; and CTV talking to people.

no really it's in the eyes


For Sunday. I've been thinking of doing a post called "fuck me friday." It would basicly be my favourites from 'bend me over,' so I think the idea needs ripening.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


I find the coverage of the US presidential race fascinating - not just for the intensity and occasional bad taste (I'm not above perusing gossip) but because I find the way that the stories are told fascinating. Here are some New York Times photographers talking about how they looked at the conventions.

One of the things most difficult for me to measure, as an outsider, is rhetoric v. practical effect, which the Times takes a quick tilt at as well.

There's lots more to this... though I have been interested to follow what Debauchette and Natalia Antonova, of my regular reading, have been saying about Sarah Palin.


One of my fish, the orange one with the plump belly and lovely long tail, just keeps growing. I thought that fish were supposed to receive messages from their DNA regarding growth tenable relative to the size of their enclosure. At this rate I'm beginning to worry there will come a day when I will need to pawn him off on the bartender at the Brickyard. For now he swims excitedly around the front of the bowl like a puppy full of love.

(p.s. ooh Cate look)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

first day of school

I went and it was like they were all speaking a different language. I knew stuff, though, because I got a "perceptive" - which hardened my resolve to continue nurturing other interests and activities. Hopefully Universi-tese will come. Both my profs promised to teach.

One prof brought magazines, and asked us what scripts for gender they rehearsed. My group's was called, "Heart: a business magazine for women," and I almost angrily gnashed at something (visit UnCool, queen of triggering, for background), but the girl beside me gnashed angrily for other reasons, and it was okay.