Monday, November 24, 2008

Also, this:
Something that should make you happy....

Sunday, November 23, 2008


I saw That Girl last night at a ballroom dance; she was dressed real nice but also working as a photographer for yearbook. She seemed calm, poised, regal, and very taller than usual, something that seemed odd until I realized she was wearing heels, something she hadn't done very much of when we were together.

She can wear heels now, courtesy of not having to stoop down to my level, and I don't have to look up anymore. Good decision or not, at least now I know there's a practical benefit to all this, and the future is pretty bright for her.

For me, well, we've got some work to do. More on this (and an honest-to-goodness Dance Story [!!!]) later.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Unfortunately both the lyrics and the singing in this parody are about as good as the original song:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Guest Column #9 (by AJ)
Well, in the interests of a free and fair media, the Author has graciously allowed me to come onto this blog in order to present a more conservative viewpoint against the hedonism that seems to be infecting the media these days.
It bothers me immensely that sensationalism seems to persist in media so often. It's gotten to the point where the last several guest columns that have gotten their own spots on A Seraphim Dream have been about smoking adictive substances, amino acids, and cannibalism (not in that order). Spectacle has replaced substance. What happened to the days of journalistic standards??? What happened to following in the footsteps of Woodward and Stewart and Bernstein? What happened to journalists reporting facts and stories instead of opinions and rants?
It's us. It's our fault. We demanded media that was light and frothy and sold cars and commercials like candy instead of media that was responsible and uncommercial. We sold our souls for ads that steamed over with sex and violence to exploit us. We demanded journalists who were personalities on soapboxes instead of unbiased narrators-

[Editor's note: We interrupt this guest column to bring you this brief commercial break]:

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Keys to Life
I had a math teacher once who taught us all these quirky little sayings that were supposed to help us remember otherwise arbitrary information. She called them her "Keys to Life" (she would actually write "Keys to Life" on the board) and it would go like this:

Teacher: Remember, vectors are "the one to which it points, minus the one from *whence* it came".
Student: "Whence"? [WTF!??!?]
Teacher: If you use that weird little word, you will never forget that key.

And I never did. But I thought to myself, math isn't the only realm that has keys to life. So I went around and asked some folks (regular contributors to the blog) what they thought were the Keys to Life:

That Girl
1) The polar, amphoteric nature of water. Without water, most of the major chemical and biological processes essential to life would be unable to function.
2) Carbon's ability to form stable organic compounds at room temperatures, which form the basis for polymers essential to life.
3) Loudon's Principles of Organic Chemistry, which explains the above two observations.

The Roommate
1) If you lose a game of DoTA, it's because you have bad picks. It's NEVER because you played bad.
2) If you win a game of DoTA, it's because you played great. It's NEVER because your opponent played bad.

1) No blondes. Ever.
2) Always tip the bartender.
3) Don't let the first time you have sex be the first time you've put on a condom.
4) If it feels good, it's a sin.
5) If it feels really good, it's a mortal sin.
6) If it feels really really really good, stick it back in your pants.

1) Shoot them in the back before they shoot you.
2) No mushrooms, ever.
3) No popcorn, ever.
4) I never have, never do, and never will watch anime. Ever. Do you hear that, Mark?

1) Cheetos before liquor, never been sicker.
2) Always make sure you have makeup remover before you try to put on an Emo costume for Halloween.
3) Bros before hos.
4) Unless she's really something.

1) Sleep early, and sleep often.

1) Make sure your glucagon shot is labeled CLEARLY
3) Try to maintain a blood sugar level of about 135
5) Don't be a negative Nancy

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Guest Column #8: A Brief Look at the Econometrics of Sweeney Todd (by fPendl)

[Excerpted with fPendl's permission from his groundbreaking Fermi-problem novel "Freakonomics"]

...Notice, of course, Mrs. Lovitt's comment "With the price of meat being what it is", an obvious reference to the incredible hyperinflation that existed in 18th-century post-Revolution London. However, it is at this point that the unrealistic setting of Sondheim and Wheeler really comes to the forefront.

Here, for the sake of convenience, we'll assume a few postulates in order to simplify our scenario:
1) Mrs. Lovitt's meat pies are about four inches in diameter and more importantly, weigh in with about 4 oz of "meat" apiece- this is about the size of your typical McDonald's hamburger, which we are using for a mass and quality comparison.
2) Despite local variances in pricing due to haggling, variable competition from the fish-monger, and other such problems, we're going to fix the price of meat at about twelve shillings per pound.
3) Not to throw any doubts upon Scotland Yard, but we're assuming a minimal level of competency from the police in investigating Todd's murders.
4) Mrs. Lovitt's is presumably open for lunch and dinner (at least one scene- "The Worst Pies in London" and "God That's Good" is set in each mealtime) and we'll assume she serves breakfast as well.

Now, let's take a look at Sweeney's victims. Assuming male-only victims on what would be in today's standards a slightly deficient diet (1200 cal/day at most, the majority from starch and protein), we can see Sweeney barbering gentlemen not larger than about 5'9" and say, 160 pounds soaking wet. We can divide these body masses into two different segments: inedible bones, organs, gristle etc. and meat (that is, fat and muscle, and given Mrs. Lovitt's well-known pragmatism, liver). From human physiology and our good friend Pierre Alfredo we know that the inedible composes a large proportion of the human body mass *up until a certain point* at which adding more bone structure, larger heart etc. is simply a diminishing-returns game and muscle (which is heavier by volume) becomes the majority of weight gain. However, this point is far beyond the parameters of our scenario so it is safe to say Sweeney's victims will have about 20% of their body mass be meat or about 32 pounds (384 shillings worth).

Some quick arithmetic tells us that this works out to 128 4 oz servings of meat pies per victim. Now it gets interesting.

Mrs. Lovitt's, at the peak of its operation, is shown to contain at least 20 guests at dinnertime, which, extrapolated over a 4-hour dinner time, is 80 guests a night. Add in about 20 guests over a 3-hour combined lunch/breakfast period and you have a total of 100 hungry chorus members demanding more hot pies.

Assuming each member eats only a single pie, that's 100 pies needed per day...which translates to 600 pies per week (Sundays off)...which translates to 2400 oz, or 150 lbs. Think about that for a second. That would mean Sweeney and Mrs. Lovitt would need to kill 4.6875 people *per week* to be able to sustain their business model.

Let's go a little further into Sondheim and Wheeler's delusions. When Anthony goes to retrieve his lovely Johanna from the mortgage, she specifically says, "We were to be married on Sunday- that was six months ago!" That day goes with the same day that Sweeney and Mrs. Lovitt begin their business plan. Some more arithmetic goes and shows that Sweeney would have had to kill about 112 people in order to keep the pies a comin'.

That is, of course, assuming all of the meat could be used at once.

If we allow for more inefficiency in the process, the amount of bodies required jumps again: without a refrigerator to store meat, they would have to cook 128 pies at once to avoid wasting any, and although the furnace is large enough for Mrs. Lovitt to be burnt in at the end of the musical, it is highly unlikely that a single woman would be able to cook 128 pies at a stretch four times a week while also renovating her establishment to a more-reputable place.

But let's give them some dramatic license and say that Sweeney murdered only about 112 people over the course of six months. The average murder rate in many modern cities is less than 10 per 100,000 people per year (, except in Washington DC, because that's like, where the President lives and everything; take away guns, gang feuds, and modern transportation and you could easily cut that number in half. Given that London's population was about 1.5 million in the 1800s, we reach an average murder rate of, at most, 150 per year. Sweeney nearly doubles the rate in SIX MONTHS. As incompetent as the police are, you think they would have noticed a trend in the disappearances?

Now, the investigative methods...