brucine (broo'-seen), 1) n. Pharm., Chem. a bitter, poisonous alkaloid, C23H26N2O4, obtained from the nux vomica tree; 2) n. Bruce Bortin's 'low-impact' weblog

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Bayer, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
"That's probably not even close to being a shooting pain in my left arm. I'm sure it's nothing." I was on the 9 San Bruno, heading back to HAP from Ward 93. "Naah, it'll go away soon. This is not an event."

It was still bothering me when I got to the office. I was still trying to deny it was happening. I sat down at my desk and opened my messenger bag. Oh crap, really? I'd left some files and my legal pad at Ward 93. Crap. Crappity crap-crap crap.

Gotta go back. There goes my lunch hour. And that's going to be two more rides on the eternally charming 9 San Bruno. This is just great.

I bought a five-dollar chicken & cheese sandwich at the Martha & Bros. on the corner and bolted it angrily on my way to the bus stop. Still trying to ignore that arm. I remembered all the times I had laughed, ha ha!, at similar sensations in my right arm. Ha! Right arm pain? That signifies nothing! Ha, I tell you.


I was able to get into Ward 93 and retrieve my stuff, although I did have to convince some lady there that I was legit and not a client. "There's some terribly confidential material in there." "I understand, ma'am. That's what I'm here for." Ramona at Reception vouched for me.

Back on the bus, I had the sudden realization that if anybody else was having shooting pains in his left arm, I would have told him to take an aspirin, right now, and not be an idiot. I got off at Walgreens and did just that. Whatever was going on between my left arm and my imagination eventually quit doing that. I hope that when I do start having an infarction, I'll remember this.


Chicken sandwich, sheesh. Contraindicated. What a douche.


Meter, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

1/26/2011 - Staff #72 - I wasn't sure how to mail such a huge envelope. When I told Margaret that I thought I'd just walk it down to the PO, she said not to, as my reimbursement would come out of HAP's Petty Cash acct, while the postage meter is billed directly to downtown. She said that Tuan would help me with the mailing.

I got Tuan at his desk. While I walked the western route to the meter, past Ramona's office, he headed east, then south past the JV's desks. Odd, I thought--a little bit longer route, I wonder why Tuan is--…and he stopped in the supply closet, came out with a roll of scotch tape.

He helped me with the mailing. I guess it IS alright to run a regular envelope thru the meter and scotch tape that to the larger envelope, which was what was hanging me up in the first place.

Tuan handed me the scotch tape dispenser, and the new roll of tape that he'd gotten out of the supply closet. "In case it run out," he told me. I taped the regular envelope to the big envelope.

It ran out. I don't know how he knew that it was about to run out, or what gave him the foresight to stop in the supply closet. I just know I'm a little freaked out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Herbes de Provence

Sunday, January 23, 2011

St Annex

St Annex.jpg, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Patron Saint of nihilarian bureaucracy.

Annex 03

Annex 03, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

FICTION (more like HUMOR if you ask me)

Ha-Ha Ha-Ha
San Francisco Public Library

Ruuuude Bike Saddle

Ruuuude Bike Saddle, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

It wanted to molest me. Nothing that plenty of black vinyl electrical tape won't cure.

Sombrero Fallout

Sombrero Fallout 3, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
These guys used my photo for their CD. Cheers, Mark! Cheers, Dave!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Strain Relief

Strain Relief, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
My headphones/earbuds always fail right where the cord meets the plug. I'm hoping this helps. Dental floss & krazy glue.

PS This only lasted about a week.  Seemed like the krazy glue caused the insulation on the wires to degrade.  It broke at the border where the glue stopped. I've made a new one using white duct-tape like stuff, and it's working beautifully.



Annex, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Right around 9:00 am

I Totally Proofed this Guy's Appellate Brief

Our Vacuum Cleaner

Our Vacuum Cleaner, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Takes Kenmore "O" Bags

We'll Be Home Soon, Ruthie

We'll Be Home Soon, Ruthie
Originally uploaded by dumbeast
After the teeth-cleaning. 'Faced.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Holy Crap, Sinners!

Some anonymous mega-tagger and I just got sort of published in Warren Ellis' blog. HAP gets a namecheck.

Here's the one that he didn't use:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The People's Torah

If anybody can explain this interface or the project that it represents to me, I'm listening. 

I'm the second letter H from Genesis 13:5. Something about Lot.

Apparently, my hand is invisible.  Maybe I'm Adam Smith, or some construct of his.

Crizzled Paint

Crizzled Paint, originally uploaded by dumbeast.


Abraham, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Liquor store. It's right next to the Promised Land Holistic Health Center.

Fixed Goblets

Fixed Goblets, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Thanks, Andreas. Good job!

PTSD Factory

PTSD Factory, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Cat Tail a Deux

Cat Tail a Deux
Originally uploaded by dumbeast
Ruthie & Ray interacting

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

From Wired Mag blog

Previous post
Next post

Earbuds Beat Depression by Shining Lights Into Your Brain

The concept for the Valkee sounds like the worst kind of snake-oil: It’s a little box that combats the dark blues of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) with bright lights. Nothing new there, except it shines the lights into your head through your ears.
Winter depression, in the form of SAD, has been treated with bright lights since forever. Researchers at the University of Oulu, Finland, say t’s not the eyes that need the light, it’s the brain. The ear canal is a convenient hole in the head through which to shine light, so the Valkee uses a pair of earbuds to light up the inside of your head, and stimulate photo-sensitive parts of the gray matter.
That’s the theory at least. Tests run at the University of Oulu confirm its efficacy, offering relief to nine out of 10 subjects with a daily 8- to 12-minute dose for four weeks. And not everyone is as skeptical as me. Valkee has received angel investment from such smart people as Esther Dyson and ex-Nokia boss Anssi Vanjoki.
Proper clinical trials are running now, which further inspires confidence. And for those in northern climes, where the winter months can bring nights that last weeks not hours, this 185-euro light box could prove to be a life saver. Available now.
Valkee product page [Valkee via Oh Gizmo!]
See Also:

Friday, January 07, 2011


golem, originally uploaded by dumbeast. 

A blast from the Past.  Still holds up

Golem, Dumbeast's little pal, his adversary and foe, is an old character from Jewish folklore. He was allegedly created by Rabbi Löwe of Prague back in the 17th century. Apparently, Rabbi Löwe was quite the little Kabbalist in his time, and when the Jews of Prague were threatened with mass eviction or extinction, he decided to use his arcane skills to make an artificial strong man to protect his flock.

The Golem was made from clay in the form of a huge man. Lots of ritual and purification of the soul transpired. When everything was set, an Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet was placed between the Golem's lips, and he became activated.

Frankenstein's grandfather. The first programmable robot in the history of literature. A paramilitary automaton. Without a soul.

Well, you can just imagine how that's likely to play out. You got your hubris, you got your unleashing of uncontrollable forces, you got your people in the community who figure, okay, this shtarker has saved our homes and our lives, I wonder how he'd do at, like, removing that stump. And re-shingling my roof. And pounding the living crap out of that kid on the next block who made fun of my hat.

So after a little running amok, the Golem gets himself deactivated, and his inert clay body remains to this day in the upper storey of some synagogue in Prague.

The Golem story has been repeated in many forms over the years. In Germany, in 1920, Paul Wegener made the world's first horror movie about the dolomitic antihero. Isaac B Singer covered this material better than I ever could in a children's book. Terry Pratchett's world has golems in it, and in 1996, he wrote an excellent book particularly about one. Currently, there's an insipid comic book series about a modern-day Golem.

Stories about calling up something that you can't put down never seem to have a happy ending.

What might happen if the Golem met Dumbeast? Luckily, I was there with a camera when it all went down.

Blue Mess

Blue Mess, originally uploaded by dumbeast.


Monday, January 03, 2011

Special Shaving Towels

Special Shaving Towels, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Check the hand-embroidered monogram, just for me! Thanks, Mary!

Catfood that the cats like

Catfood that the cats like, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

The people at Pet Club couldn't have been nicer about allowing me to exchange the bad flavors that I had stupidly stupidly bought for the good stuff.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ruthie's New Posture

Ruthie's New Posture, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

She might be part river otter

Tom & Gayle on New Years Day

Tom & Gayle on New Years Day, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Betraying the characteristic stunned expressions of Hoppin' John fiends.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Meg's Big Gift Poster

Meg's Big Gift Poster, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

In the wake of the Air France baggage fubar, Meg drew a magical poster of all the lost goodies, thereby causing everything to suddenly sim-salla-bim manifest just in time for Christmas. Hey, presto!

Baffling BART Filth

Baffling BART Filth, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

What's the deal with all the schmutz? Why does it gather around the perforations? So many questions.

Baffling BART Scribbles

Baffling BART Scribbles, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Montgomery Station, on the platform. Who is writing on the baffles? What does it mean?

Meg on the Beach

Meg on the Beach, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Santa Barbara, Boxing Day

Meg & Mary on the Beach

Meg & Mary on the Beach, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Santa Barbara, Boxing Day

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