Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pinball Princess (with stars in my eyes)

I probably didn't need to do this because this exists:
But why the heck shouldn't I spend a Saturday afternoon this way...without further ado here is a side by side comparison of what pinball you can play at each of Chicago's beer arcades!

Pinball Games
HQ Beercade
Logan Hardware
AC/DC (Pro)

AC/DC (Premium)

The Addams Family

Attack from Mars


Avengers (Pro)

Avengers (LE)

Back to the Future

Cirqus Voltaire
Doctor Who
Dolly Parton
Elvira and the Party Monsters
Indiana Jones: The Pinball Adventure

Last Action Hero
Lord of the Rings

Medieval Madness

Metallica (Pro)
Monster Bash

Pirates of the Caribbean


The Simpsons Pinball Party


Star Trek

Star Wars Episode 1

Terminator 2

Theatre of Magic

Transformers (Pro)


Twilight Zone

The Wizard of Oz

X-Men (Pro)

Monday, May 18, 2009

what's the matter with antimatter?

On a recent episode of the Daily Show, Tom Hanks was explaining his conversations with the particle physicists and his explanation of antimatter made me want to learn more. According to Hanks, certainly a preeminent authority on antimatter -- antimatter's been made in the lab, the world survived, and now the antimatter is gone because nobody was around on christmas break to push the buttons on the machine keeping the antimatter in existence. This reminds me of LOST.

The explanation of antimatter that CERN (which somehow stands for the European Organization for Nuclear Research) has created around Hanks' movie Angels & Demons is rather informative and understandable. But since you might not be as intrigued as I am, allow me to excerpt:

In the intense heat of the Big Bang, particles of matter were forged out of pure energy. But for every particle of matter created, a 'twin' was also born - an 'antiparticle' identical in mass but with opposite electric charge.

Our world is made of matter, which consists of three types of particles called electrons, protons and neutrons. Each particle has a specific mass and electric charge. For example, the electron has a negative charge, and the proton a positive charge.

Antimatter particles have the same mass as the particles that make up our world, but carry the opposite charge. For example, the electron, which has a negative charge, has an antimatter 'twin' with the same mass but the opposite charge; we call the 'anti-electron' a positron.

Particles and antiparticles go together. Imagine sitting on a sandy beach. When you dig a hole, you also create a pile of sand. One cannot be made without making the other: they are complementary - just like particles and antiparticles.

So, that sandy beach metaphor was pretty effective in helping my understanding of antimatter along and it reminds me again of LOST.

Back to what Mr. Hanks said -- I looked it up and indeed CERN made and stored antimatter for a wee bit of time. But it takes a lot of work and energy (literally) to trap antimatter and keep it separated from matter. The world record for storing antiparticles is held by the TRAP experiment at CERN: it kept a single antiproton in a Penning trap for 57 days! The scientists performed very precise measurements of its mass and charge before the trap was switched off and the antiproton ... annihilated. Fun fact: The British scientist John Dalton (1766-1844) who developed the atomic theory of matter, kept a meterological journal for 57 years from 1787 to 1844 (disclosure: I have not verified this fun fact's veracity).

Doesn't all this talk of beaches and twins and pushing a button to keep something in existence (or at bay) make you think of LOST? Indeed, these people have speculated on antimatter theory and LOST. I agree with the person who commented on 8/26/08 and think more recent episodes definitely support antimatter experimentation theories. I also agree that people with a better understanding of particle physics should contribute to the body of LOST theories immediately and encourage them to use the comments section of this post to do so.

In conclusion, I hope this post becomes the definitive conversation on theories of LOST related to particle physics or something like that.

Suggested reading:
Thank you, Tom Hanks, for making antimatter matter to me and to my gentle readers. Also, thank you to the writers, cast and crew of the television show LOST. Last but not least, this post was brought to you by the number 57 and the letter L.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

dairying definitions

Today I believe I was served cream cheese with my tato skins. Curiosity ensued. After exhaustive research, I've concluded sour cream and cream cheese are really kissing cousins. If you peruse the bullets below you'll see the same raw ingredients and the same basic concept of taking cream and milk and culturing them. Add a little guar gum to get your desired consistency and ouhla you have either cream cheese or sour cream.

Sour cream:
  • True sour cream is a dairy product made primarily of cream. Adding bacteria derived from lactic acid makes sour cream sour. The bacteria essentially culture the cream, causing it to become thick and sour. Light sour cream is made with part cream and part milk. It often requires stabilizers in order to provide the desired thickness. Nonfat sour cream is made with nonfat milk and normally needs a significant amount of stabilizers like carrageenan and guar gum in order to replicate the thickness of true sour cream.
Cream cheese:
  • Cream cheese refers to the soft, spreadable white cheese that is consumed fresh. Cream cheese is made from a combination of cream and milk, and is not matured or hardened, as are other cheeses. Instead, it is slightly firmed by the introduction of lactic acid. Frequently, less expensive brands will add stabilizers like guar gum to get the necessary firmness, because the high fat content of the milk products is prone to separating.
  • Certain flavors of cream cheese are classified by the Food and Drug Administration not as cheeses, but as "cheese spreads," because their milk fat content is substantially lower than that of whole cheese. Cheese *spreads* are also wetter than cheese foods (my scientific way of saying "higher in moisture content"). Oh naughty!
I hope this becomes the definitive explanation of cream cheese vs. sour cream the world round!

I know we're all looking for the meaning of it all. I know our worlds will likely shatter if we discover that the only thing responsible for distinguishing between what goes on our potatoes and what goes on our bagels is guar gum. So I used my Wisconsin-bred brain to dig as deep as possible into the real MEANING of it ALL and here is what I think. I think that sour cream needs to reach an acidity of at least .05% and must contain at least 18% milk fat. I'm not sure if it takes 18 hours to reach .05% acidity (like Acidophilus Cultured Milk, incidentally cream cheese also takes 12+ hours to get cultured). I do know that Streptococcus lactis is the culture to be used for sour cream. Actually, turns out in 1985 Streptococcus lactis was reclassified to Lactococcus lactis. Knowing this may change your life...

Moving on, lactic acid is also used in making cream cheese. It's rather hard for me to grasp the nuances of the lactic acid bacteria group so follow that link to learn more. But I'm guessing there's no desired .o5% acidity or sour requirement for cream cheese. Also to be a cheese, I've inferred there is a minimun milkfat content requirement. Because you're counting on me, I've extensively reviewed federal guidelines regarding cheese identities to arrive at this vital information...cream cheese requires a minimum milkfat content of 33% by weight of the finished food and a maximum moisture content of 55% by weight. Aight?

Brief Bibliography:

I had to read way too much of 21 CFR 133 (see the link above about what cheese really really is) because the internet, as I have been saying, sucks these days. Case in point:

Your search - cheese+"minimum fat" - did not match any documents.


  • Make sure all words are spelled correctly.
  • Try different keywords.
  • Try more general keywords.
  • Try fewer keywords.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's That Time Again

My Birthday Party"Because They Did It"
February 28th, 2009
My House

If you know where I live, you are invited.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

the ghost of birthdays past

february 28, 2006
i turned 29 in the chena hot springs. later in march i had the biggest birthday party. we sang and ate at the ba mien food court on broadway. it seems like a great place to get married. then we went to kodiak and to the hopleaf. i gave my bottle of cider to some french man. turning 29 in the hot springs may be a life highlight.

and from there you can see the aurora.

february 28, 2005
i ate dinner at goose island on clark. the next day i went to san francisco with jenn. i slept in the most secretive bed i've ever been in. later in march i had a party at the underground lounge. i drank all the ciders they had. dancing was fun. my hair was dark red. i beat karl and steven at mario party in the wee hours.

february 28, 2004
i was in seattle eating a scone at the crumpet store in pike place market. i flew home to chicago and went to the pumping station bar to meet some friends that were out for some other reason. i got a burn that left a scar in the shape of a smile from alan's cigarette lighter. i had a party at matilda's later in march. karl did not come, we had just met. mike brought ice cream cake from culvers. the delightful charms of lainie and nanette prompted mike young to remark that i only hang out with nerds and hot chicks. pretty much.

february 28, 2003
i went to hawaii in early february. i sent an email called "drip" and another called "drop" to canada. i ended up in winnipeg, i believe, on the actual day. if so i went to the record store, and ate at a new but not so great mexican restaurant and had a mix of positive and negative experiences. i may have played speed scrabble in the misercordia neighborhood. that was a nice time.

february 28, 2002
i went out with lainie, justin and jeremy to dinner and then to spin. on my way home from spin, i ran into jon. jeremy and justin got naked that night.

february 28, 2001
i was flying in an airplane over my hometown of oshkosh, wisconsin. for some reason this is the only time i've ever flown low enough to actually make out my hometown (it's on a big lake so not that hard to spot). later that year the flight path changed entirely so i've never flown over oshkosh again. i was flying from chicago to boise, coming home from my interview at the American Library Association.

Friday, February 16, 2007

slack - don't talk back

the great majority of people does not consider it contemptible to believe this or that and to live accordingly, without first having given themselves an account of the final and most certain reasons pro and con, and without even troubling themselves about such reasons afterward: [---] But what is goodheartedness, refinement or genius to me, when the person who has these virtues tolerates slack feelings in his faith and judgments and when he does not account the desire for certainty as his inmost craving and deepest distress [----] (Nietzsche)
Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings. (Victor Hugo)

All the forces in the world are not so powerful as an idea whose time has come. (Victor Hugo)
slack (adj.) Look up slack at
O.E. slæc "loose, careless" (in ref. to personal conduct), from P.Gmc. *slakas (cf. O.S. slak, O.N. slakr, O.H.G. slah "slack," M.Du. lac "fault, lack"), from PIE base *(s)leg- "to be slack" (see lax). Sense of "not tight" (in ref. to things) is first recorded c.1300. The verb is attested from 1520; slacken (v.) first recorded 1580. Slack-key (1975) translates Hawaiian ki ho'alu First record of slack-jawed (1901) is in Kipling. Slack water "time when tide is not flowing" is from 1769. Slacker popularized 1994, though meaning "person who shirks work" dates back to 1898.

slack (n.) Look up slack at
1794, "loose part or end" (of a rope, sail, etc.), from slack (adj.); hense fig. senses in take up the slack (1930) and slang cut (someone) some slack (1968). Meaning "quiet period, lull" is from 1851.

in conclusion

it is not 1851, i am not quiet. i am too loud. i am high maintenance but i have not squeaked enough. i need grease.

my parents never listened to me, or did i just not complain? i really believed for most of those years that everything was fine. then i realized it wasn't fine, and i ran away. then i came back, they want me to act as if everything is always fine so that they have one less opportunity to contemplate how it is not. i am unwilling, but i am unable to make it better by pointing out how unfine it is. it seems best to be silent. i cannot tell my other family as she will tell them how i said it was not fine as if we all any of us have ever believed it was. as if it is wrong, unfair, unloving to state the obvious. i do not understand.

i would not leave you alone. i worried you might feel alone, i let you know i was here. i would not find it hard to make you not feel alone if someone else was lonely too, i would balance. i might make a mistake but i would try. i would not leave you alone.

i would not ask you to worry about me when worrying is all you've done.

but i won't let you not. i am alone, i am not always fine. i don't want to care about you anymore. i won't. i mean it.

i will put my name on this, and this and this. and it may be a new name and in taking pains to place my name on it i might miss this and this and this. but it will be mine, and they will know it is mine and the time spent making it mine may make it less ours, and for us, but i will own it and you will know it. you will know you were not part of it.

after centuries of evolution (?) (?!), society (culture, what have you) is at a state wherein one of its individuals (biproducts, what have you) might seek out sexual stimulation on the internet as is becoming commonplace in said society at this time. after discovering a heightened sense of connection with the author's ability to weave sentiment and sexuality to such an extent it best encapsulates the sense of spirituality wherein said individual currently chooses to experience their sexuality, it is concluded that there is very little prospect of appropriately conveying and sharing the experience of said connection with any human being which whom said individual has shared sexual relations, ever. as a result, said individual could, as is commonplace in said society at this time, be motivated to share said connection with strangers on said internet. to what end?

my parents never listened to me, or did i just not complain? but i do remember they told me time and time again "don't talk back". i hated it, mainly i did not understand. how could my understanding evolve if i was not allowed to talk back, to ask questions, to get answers?

i keep trying to understand you. i don't want to understand you anymore. i won't. i mean it.

i'm not fourteen, as much as i want and tend to experience the positives and negatives of life as such. but i've been cut too much slack.

nonsense is one of the most understandable words in any langauge.