Terra Infirma: Republic of Mainz

If I were pressed to come up with a guiding principle for my curiosity about the ungainly beast commonly called ‘History’, it’d be that history has margins and a good amount of the interesting stuff is scribbled there, though hastily erased.  Hence, my interest in what could be called ‘ephemeral places,’ that is, geographic entities whose existence was brief, disputed or is often overlooked. Here’s a softball: a German democratic state that existed for less than four months in the late 1700s.  The Republic of Mainz was created by a counterattack of the free French army against the Prussians and Austrians, driving out Mainz’s ruler and leading the way tothe first democratically-elected parliament in Germany. Like many other statelets allied and/or established by revolutionary France, Mainz soon got trounced by the re-invading forces of the old order, finally being completely snuffed out in July 1793. So it goes, but what […]

Carl Jung's The Red Book

Last week the New York Times published an article by Sara Corbett on Carl Gustav Jung’s unpublished The Red Book entitled “The Holy Grail of the Unconscious.” Corbett’s article covers all of the story from how Jung created the book to its secrecy and ultimate shelving in a safe so there is no need to repeat it here. The book is the outpouring of Carl Jung’s exploration into his own psyche. The few who have read it said they either read with bated breath or felt it the ramblings of a psychopath. The illustration and typography of the book from scans looks amazing, as in these full color scans of The Red Book. Reminds me of the Voynich manuscript— a mysterious illustrated work from the Renaissance filled with peculiar imagery. Though unlikely to live up to the hype of those who have read it, The Red Book promises to be […]

For Writers/Obsessives: Names and Weather

In the realm of fiction, the concept of ‘plausibility’ is a tricky little bastard.  Unless you’re writing about dimensionless plasma dragons beyond all mortal physics and continuity, it’s going to be a sticky wicket to lie just right so that your reader swallows it while still being swept away in the unique fantasy world you’ve crafted. Even real life often comes off unlikely on the page.  Who among us young, shiftless, creative types has not tried to shoehorn into a plot some personally lived-through story that began with neutral spirits and come away muttering “Naw…. bullshit”? As I said, a sticky wicket.  I’ll say it again if pressed. Point being, it’s important to give some air of real life to your stories by recreating the milieu they take place in.  Character and setting greatly factor into this.  A couple of resources for this I came across tonight: Weather History: The […]

12 Lies Every Douche in a Bar Insists Are True

There are many, many lies we all believe. Every douche at a bar will swear these 12 fictoids are true despite science– As everyone know these things to be ‘true’. Here are twelve of the most common that I have heard recently. Ostriches put their head in sand. If you have seen it, it’s called “Photoshop” as in the case of a recent Newsweek cover. We can all blame Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) who attempted to catalog all knowledge of the Roman Empire. In Book 10, Chapter 1, he wrote “…they imagine, when they have thrust their head and neck into a bush, that the whole of their body is concealed.” Thanks, Pliny. In fairness animals are hard to categorize; for some time it was thought a kangaroo had two heads due to the young baby in tow. Disney is frozen Disney maintained an extremely private life leading to rumors […]

Raw Materials: Free Stock Photos & Textures

The Internet is full of places for finding those stock photos of overly happy women working customer support and businessmen striking a deal for serious business. However, maybe you need an image or texture for your blog, reference, design work, or art work. Fortunately there are plenty of places online for free stock images and textures. Always make sure to check licensing as perhaps an image is free but might require permission or may not be available for commercial use. stock.xchng One of the oldest resources for free stock images. Relatively recently acquired by Getty Images many budding would be stock photographers cut their camera and illustration chops here. Openphoto A growing gallery of images some with restrictions and some without. Many of the images are out of focus or require some Photoshop tuning, but the range is stunning. Morguefile A great collection of images for reference, remixing, or backgrounds. […]

The Backroads of Eating at Taco Bell

Mental Floss drags ten secret menus out from the memory hole of fast food legend.  While I’m a card-carrying fancy Dan who only eats triple organic sustainably grown congealed oxygen from Williams-Sonoma, something about fast food ‘secret menus’ really get me going in that James Bond of the Strip Mall sorta way.  Plus, animal style s a genius term to name anything. Also: word from The Underground indicates Taco Bell offers more than just that mythical green sauce for breast-men in the know.