February 9, 2009

All Purpose


I had a lovely weekend, threatened only by the fact that I had two very short and very bad sleeps.

They would have been long and pleasant sleeps, but Morty was snoring so loudly that the mattress shook. I lay awake between 4am and 7am both nights, occasionally tilting Morty's head this way and that, trying to stop the sound. When it finally stopped (at 6:45 am), my BH spread out his limbs like a starfish and sighed happily in his slumber. I was pushed off the bed.

Like I said. Bad sleep. (And another shining example of why I need a king-sized bed!)

Everything else was great.

I had a tasty breakfast with Robin, Zoom and the GC, while XUP tended to her daughter's broken bones.

Later that evening, my BH and I showed Milan how to make Fresh's always-amazing crispy tofu recipe. I insisted on the tofu lesson after Milan revealed that he doesn't cook very often, and as a result, eats mostly beans. "Unacceptable!" I screeched. Poor soul. Luckily, he brought wine, and I got kinda stupid after that. He and my BH talked at length about web comics while I sat drunkenly on the couch, rubbing Morty's tummy.

I also seem to remember Milan re-explaining his elephant penis theory, which I have requested he blog about since I can't seem to wrap my brain around it. But it does involve length approximation and pee.

Sunday I lived up to my promise to help Tiana organize her kitchen cupboards. I love to organize, and she prepared a giant fruit platter, so it was a fair trade. Since we had never met in person, we made a pact that we wouldn't break each other's knees should one of us turn out to be in the mob. It worked; we are both still walking today. Tiana also has shiny new cupboards with sexy labels and proper spice containers. Joy!

My only weekend disappointment was my attempt to make bread using the wrong kind of flour. Did you know whole wheat doesn't rise the same way as white all-purpose? I knew that too, but I grabbed the wrong container and mixed it (and baked it!) before I noticed. LAME.


Tiana said...

sexiest labels ever!

Milan said...

From: Dawkins, Richard. "Unweaving the Rainbow."

"The mathematical technique of decomposing wiggling wave forms into sine waves which can then be summed again to make the original wiggly line is called Fourier analysis,after the nineteenth-century French mathematician Joseph Fourier. It works not just for sound wave (indeed, Fourier himself developed the technique for a quite different purpose) but for any process that varies periodically, and it doesn't have to be high-speed waves like sound, or ultra-high-speed waves like light.

We can think of Fourier analysis as a mathematical technique which is convenient for unweaving 'rainbows' where the vibration that makes up the spectrum is slow compared with that of light.

To go to a very slow vibration indeed, I recently saw, on a road in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, a wiggly wet line which followed the course of the road and apparently traced out some kind of complicated repeat pattern. My host and expert guide told me that it was a trail of urine from a male elephant in musth. When a bull elephant enters this curious state (perhaps the elephantine equivalent of an Australian on 'walkabout') he dribbles out urine more or less continuously, apparently for scent-marking purposes. The side-to-side waving of the urine trail on the road was presumably produced by the long penis acting as a pendulum (it would be a sine wave if the penis were a perfect, Newtonian pendulum, which it is not) interacting with the more complicated periodicity of the lumbering four-footed gait of the whole animal. I took photographs with the vague intention of later performing a Fourier analysis. I am sorry to say I have never got around to doing it. But in theory it could be done.

A tracing of the photographed urine line could be laid over squared paper and its coordinates digitized for feeding into a computer. The computer could then perform a modern version of Fourier's calculations and extract the component sine waves. There are easier (though not necessarily safer) ways to measure the length of an elephant's penis, but it would have been fun to do , and Baron Fourier himself would surely have been delighted at such an unexpected use of his mathematics. There is no reason why a urine trail might not fossilize, as footprints and wormcasts do, in which case we could in principle use Fourier analysis to measure the penis length of an extinct mastodon or woolly mammoth, from the indirect evidence of its urine trail in musth."

Milan said...

I do not tell a lie! And you ought to appreciate the time that took to type out!

Milan said...

Also, here is the fried tofu recipe, for any readers who care to imitate it.

Stella said...

Holy moly Milan! I was expecting an abridged version!

But thank you. Zoom's GC will appreciate this immensely, seeing as how he gave me the crazy eye when I tried to explain it... I was all, "There's pee! Coming from an elephant!"

Milan said...

More on Musth, from Wikipedia.

If you think Morty's amorous actions are hazardous, you should read about bull elephants: "Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants, characterized by highly aggressive behaviour, and less notably, by copious discharge of a thick tar-like secretion called temporin from the temporal ducts on the sides of the head. It is accompanied by a significant rise in reproductive hormones - testosterone levels in an elephant in musth can be as much as 60 times greater than in the same elephant at other times... The swelling of the temporal glands presses on the elephant's eyes and causes the elephant severe pain comparable to severe root abscess toothache. One elephant behaviour to try to counteract this is to dig its tusks into the ground... Although it has often been speculated that musth is linked to rut, this is unlikely because the female elephant's estrus cycle is not seasonally-linked, whereas musth most often takes place in winter. Furthermore, bulls in musth have often been known to attack female elephants, regardless of whether or not the females are in heat. Connections to dominance behaviour have also been speculated."

Stella said...

Eeeeew! Gross!

Milan said...

Just imagine if Morty had temporin. This blog would be twice as long.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sad I missed the breakfast -- so close.

Anonymous said...

The Lion's doctor prescribed this miracle cure for snoring which actually works! But I'm not sure your dog will be too pleased about have salt water forced up his nostrils.

Anonymous said...

Snoring drives me nuts! I'm going to have to try that 'crispy tofu' recipe sometime. It sounds great!:) (Or least better than beans anyways;)