Monthly Archives: February 2014

Cute Dogs For Your Monday Blues

Cute dogs for your Monday blues – Enjoy!


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Psychology in Writing

In my past life, one of my positions was CFO for the Department of Health Services.  I had a number of awesome discussions with our Chief of Psychiatry, Amy Schwartz.  As with most knowledge, it can filter down in strange ways.  In this post, I want to share how it has helped me as an author.

1.  Everyone is the hero of their own novel.  Amy taught me that it is nearly impossible to find someone who does not view themselves as the focal point and hero of their life novel.  No matter the evidence they may be evil, petty or a failure, they never view themselves as a villain or as a background character.  For that reason, I try to write villains that believe they are heroes.  Why do they do what they do?  How do they rationalize their goals and their behavior?

2.  No one views themselves as a side-kick.  At the salon the other day, two ladies were working side by side and called themselves a team.  I asked them, which is the hero and which is the side-kick?  What followed was a pause of silence for a full two minutes.  They both think they are the hero and the other the side-kick, but would never say it.  Whether you have a dominant hero or villain, there are no henchmen, side-kicks or blindly loyal people.  They can be robots, zombies, mind-controlled, crazed cult followers, etc.  However, no one even partly normal will view themselves as your side kick.

They might be the unappreciated reason the hero wins, because of all their work.  They may be waiting to learn from the mentor before coming the master.  They may follow the crime lord out of fear, profit, or wait their chance to betray or move-up the ranks.

Henchmen - What do they think of themselves?

Henchmen – What do they think of themselves?

3.  Even given uniforms and strict appearance rules, people will stand out.  You cannot contain individuality.  Everyone has it.  Whether it be a more confident walk, a gleam to their eye, a sigh before they do something, even in the most homogenous situations, everyone can tell characteristics about the others.  Your story cannot have redshirts or mindless thugs that all look and act the same and be reasonable.  Even a casual observer’s brain will pick up some non-uniformity to classify people.  Tall, short, build, eyes, hair, gait, speech, lack of speech, eye contact, hand positions, skin, clothing condition, something.  I was in the military where they try to make you all the same.  The more they do outwardly, the more you learned everything about the person inside.


4.  People who are positive or negative tend to stay that way.  Even if your hero or villain wins, they will be negative about it if they are negative people.  If they lose, they won’t give up if positive.  Outlook is mostly interior and psychological and not tied to someone’s outward fortunes.

5.  People question authority, gossip and bitch.  Wherever you have a group of people, they will talk about each other, form cliques and complain.  If everyone gets along in your story and supports each other, there should be some supernatural intervention or it won’t ring true.

6.  People do not change with history.  People in Rome wrote graffiti, cheated each other, committed adultery, thievery and made fun of each other just like now.  The more we find about any ancient people, the more we see humans have changed very little in their quests for love, sex, power, conflict, wealth, travel, gossip, etc.  Writing about people 10,000 years in the past or future might not be that different.

7. Group identity causes conflict and confidence.  Our group is awesome.  Your group sucks and might be dangerous.  It’s the basis for nationalism, families, tribes, prejudice, racism, etc.  In any group, one group will cling together against another.  Common friends and common foes.  It might be something nice like which sports team you prefer, or something bad like we want the fresh water from the river and need to kill you to get it.

8.  Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  You can look this one up.  Basically, we are hard wired to get what we need.  A person dying of thirst, hunger or being tortured to death will do things beyond the pale.  Yes, starving people will be cannibals, murderers and eat trash.  Even if they were normal people two months ago.  Never underestimate the drive of instinct in dire circumstances.  People do not retain ‘civilized’ rules when civilization breaks down.

9.  In a crisis, the most dangerous threat is other humans beings.  If people need things to survive and there are not enough to go around, the math is done very quickly.  Things may go ok for awhile, but the stronger the instinctual need to survive, the longer without needs met, the more dangerous it gets.  Even good people will rationalize their actions.  Remember number 1.

10.  There is no random speech.  All you know is that person told you something at that moment for some reason.  They may have lied, told the truth or been mistaken.  But why did they open their mouth and tell you that?  To make you love them, respect them, fear them?  To fill in a silence?  To test you, because they were nervous, to throw you off the trail?  You can do so much with this in your writing and your life.  Why did that person say this to me, in this place and time, in that tone of voice?  What trail of events or conversation evoked that statement and why?

I hope these help you as well.

Michael Bradley

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8 Ordinary Things That Look Insanely Cool Under a Microscope

NOTE: Profanity.  This site gets upset if I delete the profanity, so please be forewarned.

8 Ordinary Things That Look Insanely Cool Under a  Microscope

 A really powerful microscope is the sort of thing nobody would buy for  entertainment, yet we can’t shake the feeling that if we had one, we’d use it  all the time. That’s because, as we’ve proven several times over, the most mundane crap in your house is transformed into  surreal, freaky, trippy, and sometimes terrifying works of art when viewed at a  microscopic level. It’s like seeing into an alternate universe.
Don’t know what we mean? Well, check out the mind-blowing close-up views of  …

#8.  Chalk

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty  Images

At Normal Size:

For decades, chalk was used in classrooms to spread knowledge to large groups  of students, and in recess to spread the myth that hopscotch was fun. It turns  into powder when you use it, so up close it probably just looks like, what, sand  or something? It can’t be too exciting …

But Up Close:

PLOS Biology It kinda looks like we  should be worshiping it.

Huh. Apparently, chalk is a bunch of tiny little soccer balls … if soccer  balls were made out of dead bodies, that is.

Yes, those yarmulke-looking things are actually the shells of dead  microscopic organisms like foraminifera mixed with the corpses of sea algae. So  the next time you see a chalk outline of a murder victim, just know that it was  created with the help of about a billion teeny-weeny corpses. It’s pretty much  the ultimate counter to that circle-of-life crap that Disney likes to shove down our throats.

#7.  Kosher Salt

At Normal Size:

Kosher salt is the slightly chunkier cousin of regular salt, so named due to  its ability to soak up the blood of various meats, rendering them kosher. It’s  pretty much Dracula in salt form.

But Up Close:

Museum of  Science, Boston The microscopic ancient Mayans  sacrificed many innocents here.

Wait, when did Dracula leave Transylvania and move to an ancient temple?  Because that’s exactly what a crystal of kosher salt looks like. This isn’t  food; this is something a tiny little Indiana Jones would invade while searching  for long-lost religious artifacts that will melt Nazis’ faces off.

Dr. Gary  Gaugler / Science Photo Library We’ll be shocked if  that thing isn’t filled with wee little Predators and Aliens.

And here’s another shot, lest you think the first one was just a lucky angle.  Nope: Kosher salt, across the board, is made out of tiny pyramids. So the next  time the office racist starts ranting and rambling about some vast Zionist  conspiracy, show them these pictures as proof that, if they’ve ever ingested  kosher salt, they now have little Illuminati pyramids floating around inside them. Then take cover,  because exploding heads tend to be quite messy and sticky.

#6.  Orange Juice

Hemera  Technologies/ Images

At Normal Size:

No false advertising here: This is juice, and it is very much orange. No  other juice is that straightforward. If you ever call tomato juice “red juice,”  for example, you’re either a baby, insane, or a straw man we just created for  the sake of this joke.

But Up Close:

FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY/BARCROFT This is what a screwdriver looks like if you replace the vodka with  LSD.

As it turns out, orange juice only contains the slightest hint of orange. In  fact, it looks more like Jackson Pollock’s busted windshield than something you  pour down your gullet whenever you’re sick with the flu.

This picture is courtesy of our old friends at Bevshots, who magnify dried droplets of various drinks and then  photograph the results. They tend to stick to alcoholic drinks mainly, but  occasionally venture into the world of non-booze, as long as you can easily mix  it with booze, as is the case here.

So now you know; enjoy a tall glass of  yellow-purple-blue-green-red-pink-orange-brown-silver glass shards, liquefied  into juice form and then turned solid orange somehow, in the morning. It’s part  of a complete breakfast.

#5.  Snow

Emmanuel Boutet

At Normal Size:

Beautiful, precious, unique specks of icy poetry, perfect to romp around in  with childlike joy. Or miserable little tundras that cause mass chaos at the  grocery store, back up traffic for miles upon miles, and force you to waste  precious hours shoveling out your driveway. Take your pick.

But Up Close:

Science Musings That big one in the  center has acne.

Oh, bullshit; no way that’s real. That’s one of those construction-paper  deals that schoolchildren make when the teacher has a migraine or a hangover,  right? Nope, it’s very much an actual snowflake in all its microscopic glory.

But here’s the kicker: It doesn’t even look like a good snowflake. Seriously,  you’d think a real snowflake, even up close, would still look the friggin’ part.  Instead, it looks like something little Johnny crapped out in two minutes so he  could get back to eating the clay. We all know nature isn’t perfect, but we’re  shocked that something so beautiful and crystalline would actually garner us a  C-minus in art class.

U. S. Department of Agriculture “Now, Creation, you can do better than that. No recess for you  today.”

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#4.  Insect Anatomy

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty  Images

At Normal Size:


But Up Close:

Wikimedia Commons Dear lord,  someone squared a scorpion.

Let’s just say that if you weren’t running away from these unlikable pests  beforehand, you’re about to start real soon. Insect body parts, as seen through  a microscope, are pretty much the stuff of horror flicks. Take the tiny fruit  fly, for example. Annoying, but hardly menacing, right? But then you look at the  above close-up photo of their feet and they suddenly look like they can fuck up  you and everything you love with one well-timed swing.

The bugs that can hurt you are no less terrifying. Ticks spread their filthy  Lyme disease by stabbing you with their mouths. The part of a tick’s mouth used  to stab prey is called a hypostome, and it ain’t pretty.

MicroLab  Gallery “Oh yeah, like your tongues are so  fun to look at.”

That’s the black-eyed tick, not that it matters much. A tick is a tick, and  they all hate you. Now observe the mouth-knife of the deer tick:

University of Minnesota Easily the  most dangerous insect in any prison fight.

So yeah, ticks fucking stab you, in case you needed one more reason to  despise them. But at least their weapon looks cool. Here’s a mosquito’s stinger  up close:


Turns out the dreaded mosquito is content to kick our ass with a goddamn  Capri Sun drinking straw. So when you manage to destroy one with a well-timed  book smash, consider it a mercy kill.

#3.  Seawater  Images

At Normal Size:

It’s water. Pretty much the entire planet is made out of it. It’s the reason  Earth isn’t just some barren rock dancing lonely around a gigantic space  furnace. It’s the No. 1 reason you’re alive today, unless you drown in it.

But Up Close:

It’s not so much the water itself that’s freaky; it’s the inhabitants. All  247 quadrillion of them (give or take).

N. Sullivan / NOAA / Department of Commerce So like the Bronx, but less salty.

These are diatoms, a catchall term for the various dead algae bits floating  around the ocean and, almost inevitably, down your throat. Yep, if you’ve ever  swallowed seawater, this was your dinner. And, to be fair, some of it looks  delicious, especially that doughnut-looking fellow slightly above center. It  looks like a chocolate-blueberry concoction that you could have for dinner while  convincing your sad ass that the blueberry flavoring counts as your fruit intake  for the day.

Unfortunately, the rest of it looks like old cigars and various types of  industrial waste.

#2.  Fly Ash

Sigma Sales Company

At Normal Size:

Fly ash is one of those things you see all the time, but probably have no  idea what it does. It’s basically ground-up coal that we use to  reinforce concrete. So even though it just looks like a bunch of dirt, it’s  pretty much the only reason sidewalks, streets, and the foundation of your house  are still standing. So the next time you see a pile of ash just hanging around,  remember to thank it. Just don’t get too close, cuz it’s kind of incredibly radioactive.

But Up Close:

Wabeggs Did someone just shine a  halogen light in our eyes?

Fly ash, underneath it all, looks exactly like a dead planet. Its surface is  littered with craters and barren, rocky islands of varying shape and size, the  lack of atmosphere and sunlight result in a cold, all-black surface, and any  life that somehow manages to emerge is almost immediately extinguished. Either  that or it’s a whimsical bubble machine party … it depends on what kind of  imagination you have, we suppose.

#1.  Shark Skin

Albert  kok

At Normal Size:

Sharks are fascinating creatures: They die if they ever stop moving, they  can smell one tiny drop of blood in a body of water the size of an Olympic pool,  and babies will eat each other in the womb until only one remains. But their  skin? It’s just dull gray flesh, so who cares, right? Skin has to be the one and  only uninteresting part of a shark.

But Up Close:

Nope. Their skin is extremely interesting. Namely because it’s made out of  teeth.

George  Lauder The only reason you rarely see sharks at  petting zoos.

Great holy fuck. This shouldn’t be part of an animal. This thing is literally  nothing but teeth. Its teeth are probably covered in tiny teeth.

Those small scales, by the way, are called denticles, and they help the shark  reduce drag while it swims, allowing it to move around the ocean and eat  everything as smoothly as possible.

Australian Museum If you zoom in on  these close enough, you probably find more teeth.

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What if the world were 100 people??

What if the world were 100 people??


May 22, 2012

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:

50 would be female 50 would be male

20 would be children There would be 80 adults, 14 of whom would be 65 and older

There would be: 61 Asians 12 Europeans 13 Africans 14 people from the Western Hemisphere

There would be: 31 Christians 21 Muslims 14 Hindus 6 Buddhists 12 people who practice other religions 16 people who would not be aligned with a religion.
17 would speak a Chinese dialect 8 would speak Hindustani 8 would speak English 7 would speak Spanish 4 would speak Arabic 4 would speak Russian 52 would speak other languages

82 would be able to read and write; 18 would not

1 would have a college education 1 would own a computer

75 people would have some supply of food and a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain, but 25 would not

1 would be dying of starvation 17 would be undernourished 15 would be overweight

83 would have access to safe drinking water 17 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

Source: 100 people


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Cosplayer Pictures for Your Saturday

A bit late, still recovering from my back procedure Wednesday.  Enjoy!

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10 Unbelievable Facts You Didn’t Know About Redheads

Founder and Editor of Ginger Parrot (, a website for redheads

 10 Unbelievable Facts You Didn’t Know About Redheads
Posted: 16/02/2014 22:19

1. Natural red hair is harder to dye than other shades

Headstrong as it is, ginger hair holds its pigment much firmer than any other hair colour. If redheads desired to dye their hair to any other colour (why would you?), it would only have a noticeable difference after bleaching the hair beforehand. Otherwise, the colour won’t take.

Bleaching, of course, is just bad news for hair. Especially red hair, which is much more fragile than other shades anyway.

2. Redheads have less hair on their heads

In terms of total number of strands, gingers have far fewer atop their red heads than any other colour.

On average, flame-haired beauties have 90,000 strands, compared to blondes with 110,000, and brunettes with 140,000.

They’re not exactly going bald though, as each strand of natural ginger hair is much thicker, so the appearance is often that redheads have more hair in general.

These fewer but thicker strands make it easier to style, so be jealous.

3. Redheads don’t go grey

Staying true to its stubborn stereotype, ginger hair retains its natural pigment a lot longer than other shades.

So there’s no need to panic about going grey – red hair simply fades with age through a glorious spectrum of faded copper to rosy-blonde colours, then to silvery-white.

4. Red hair and blue eyes is the rarest combination in the world

The majority of natural redheads have brown eyes, with others likely to have hazel or green shades.

But like red hair, blue eye colour is a recessive trait, meaning that both parents must carry the gene for a child to be blessed with it. This makes those with red hair and blue eyes the rarest minority in the world, with only 1% having both.

So, each one is about as rare as a four-leaf clover.

5. They’re more sensitive to thermal pain

Countless studies have looked into the genetics behind redheads claiming that they are more or less sensitive to pain.

Research shows that redheads are more sensitive to hot and cold pain, with their bodies able to change temperature much quicker.

Also, in surgery, gingers might require approximately 20% more anaesthesia than other hair colours. The exact reason for this is unknown, but it is thought that a link to the mutated MC1R gene could be the culprit to its effectiveness.

6. The Romans kept redheaded slaves at a higher price

Those with fiery-coloured hair were held in high esteem in Roman art and culture. Thought to be strong and determined, they were more expensive than other slaves, and prisoners would even have their hair dyed to be displayed as trophies.

Either that, or wigs of red hair were reportedly imported from northern Europe, for slaves to wear.

7. Russia means ‘Land of Reds’

Translating to mean ‘Land of Reds’, Russia boasts a high density of gingers located in its Kazan region, at over 10% redheads, a similar density to Scotland and Ireland.

8. 40% of Brits are ‘Secret Gingers’

Extensive research conducted by BritainsDNA has found that more than 40% of the population carry the mutated MC1R gene that’s responsible for red hair.

Both parents must carry the gene to be able to spawn a ginger baby, which lies at 25% if they’re not ginger themselves, but still carry the ‘secret gene’.

9. Adolf Hitler reportedly banned ginger marriages

…For fear of ‘deviant offspring’. Of course.

10. Gingers generate their own Vitamin D

Having pale skin may mean that redheads burn more easily when exposed to UV rays, but their paleness can serve as an advantage.

Redheads can’t absorb sufficient Vitamin D due to low concentrations of eumelanin in their body.

This may sound like bad news, but this lower melanin-concentration means that gingers can cleverly produce their own Vitamin D within their body when exposed to low light conditions.

Emma Kelly is the Founder and Editor of Ginger Parrot (, a website for redheads, delivering news and features on topics specific to those with ginger hair, including General News, Fashion, Music, Beauty, Film, Health and more.

The site also sells hair products, clothing and gifts for redheads and redhead lovers alike.                              

 Follow Emma Kelly on Twitter:
MY NOTE:  For the record – Gingers do receive a freckle for each soul they steal – so be careful if you fall in love with them…


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Tea for All!

For when you are throwing a very big tea party…


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