Friday, June 28, 2013

Lana After Dark

Lana the Box Turtle Late Night Web surfing

It's me, Lana. Lana the Box Turtle. Robyn finally fell asleep in front of a big bowl of chili that she took to bed, so I snuck onto her Blogger account. I don't have my own Blogger account, because I'm a fucking turtle.

I just want you all to know, I'm very happy about the recent Supreme Court rulings on DOMA and Prop 8. In fact, I feel privileged to be alive at a time when I can bear witness to tolerance and equality winning out over hatred and bigotry. Robyn keeps saying that we have to get married now, but I've read all the news reports (I consider myself a very political turtle) and I don't see anything in there about mandatory gay marriages between humans and box turtles. I'm pretty sure she's making that part up.

Now that I think about it, she's been saying stuff like that for years. Like, she's always talking about how "the sicko liberals aren't going to stop until they force humans and box turtles, like the two of us, to have kinky weird sex every night," and then she shakes her head and says it's disgusting, but I swear she looks kind of turned on.

It makes me uncomfortable.

Anyway, just wanted you to know my thoughts on the matter. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's a head of lettuce in the fridge with my name on it, and some countertops that I need to shit salmonella onto.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thanks a lot, Supreme Court

Box turtle gay marriage
This is Lana, the female box turtle that I'm now legally obligated to marry, since the Supreme Court destroyed the sanctity of marriage yesterday.

Well, you better come and arrest me, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because I'm taking a stand for traditional marriage by absolutely refusing to marry this box turtle. The government can take my life, my liberty, and even my XBox, but it cannot force me to marry a cold-blooded reptile.

We're going to date, and maybe fool around a little, but that's it.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

MRE Review: Menu 14, Ratatouille (Vegetarian)

Originally, there were no vegetarian MRE options. Because who gives a crap if people who are different than me starve to death in the field, amiright? The U.S. Military: Okay but Not Great at Keeping Our Troops Alive, Since 1775.

Finally, in 1996, the Pentagon expanded the selection with not one but two vegetarian menus: Cheese Tortellini and Pasta with Vegetables. Half-starved vegetarians rejoiced, but they were in for a nasty surprise: when they went into the field, the veggie MREs were already gone.

Where did they go?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ration Mini-Review: Fresh Hardtack

Homemade Hardtack

A proper MRE review is coming on Wednesday but, in the meantime, let me give you a taste of the original meal ready to eat: hardtack.

Historically, most hardtack has been made with exactly two ingredients, flour and water. You'll see recipes with salt, baking powder, and even oil, but the soldiers and sailors of yore ate hardtack that was unadulterated by those luxury ingredients. Aiming to approximate their experience, I made the hardtack above by mixing a dough of whole grain flour and water, cutting it into roughly 3"x3"x1/2" squares, poking holes, and baking for 30 minutes per side at 350F. I then allowed the hardtack to cool and baked it 225F for another 30 minutes, to get the last of the moisture out. Some "ship's biscuit" hardtacks were baked a third or even a fourth time, to better survive months at sea, but let's not go overboard here (maritime pun!).

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Digital Cosplay

Chibi Ninja
Emily Cammisa has done another amazing portrait for the header. And to answer your next question: no, I didn't pose for this drawing. If I had posed for it, you wouldn't be able to see me.

That's a little joke we ninjas make. But seriously, you would never see me. Except maybe for a couple seconds while your head was rolling away.

If you want a self-portrait that will strike terror into the hearts of your friends and enemies alike, suitable for framing or just printing on a coffee mug, why don't you head over to Emily's website and get a commission done?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse

White Zombie

As you know, I've survived a number of zombie outbreaks, some of which were not even caused by my own unholy attempts to play God. So naturally, people ask, "Robyn? How have you managed to live through so many zombie apocalii?"

To which I answer, "It's actually 'zombie apocalypses'. You're thinking of the irregular plural for second declension Latin nouns ending in -us, whereas apocalypse, from the Latin apocalypsis, is actually an undeclined regular plural with a standard -s suffix."

It may sound like nitpicking, but proper grammar doesn't go out the window just because the world is ending. We need to have standards, or we're no better than the zombies. That's lesson one.

Here are some more handy tips, which you can use to survive your next brush with zombies:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Digestive System, Part 3: Down the Tubes

Last time, we talked about swallowing. Now that the masticated, saliva-soaked food bolus has navigated between the Charybdis of the larynx and the Scylla of the nasal opening, it passes through its very first sphincter and enters the esophagus.

The upper esophageal sphincter closes behind the food bolus, sealing its doom. There isn’t a whole lot to the esophagus. It’s just a slimy, muscular tube for moving matter from the pharynx down to the stomach (and, when occasion merits, back up again.) Liquids slide through by gravity, but a solid food bolus has to be massaged down the length of the esophagus by peristaltic waves. You can visualize peristaltic motion by imagining the way an Earthworm moves, squeezing its body segments in a smooth wave that runs from front to back. Or you can just look at the animated gif in this Wikipedia article, if you like to visualize the lazy way (i.e. by looking at stuff.)