I think one of the the most asinine things I’ve ever seen is a box of table salt labelled “organic”.

Now, I fully understand that words can have different definitions in different contexts, so this isn’t going to be a smug “duh, all food is organic” joke. Quite the opposite, in fact.

In this context, “organic” can mean one of two things:

  • an agricultural product raised in accordance with a particular set of standards; or
  • anything that has carbon in it.

Table salt is clearly not an agricultural product, so the former definition is inapplicable. But as a food product, surely it satisfies the second one…

… except, almost uniquely among substances that are classified as food products, table salt doesn’t contain any carbon, either.

It’s iodised sodium chloride.

Even nomenclatural pedantry can’t make “organic table salt” a true statement. Like, they picked the one food product that can’t weasel its way into being “organic” via sheer technicality, and slapped an “organic” label on it anyway.

anonymous asked:

Have you ever found it frustrating having to do something you don't want to (as in, doesn't tickle your fancy) but it helps pay the bills?

So, let me tell you a quick story:

My grandpa on my dad’s side came over from China when he was pretty young— grew up in Chicago. He was in high school when World War 2 broke out; he joined up, and was put in the 407th Air Service Squadron. It was part of the famed Flying Tigers fighter group, and one of the first all Chinese-American units in the military. He fixed planes. He also shot at them when they strafed the airfield. With a pistol.

He was there when the Japanese officially signed the surrender, and was honorably discharged soon after. The very first thing that he bought with his stashed up pay was a sterling silver bracelet with his serial number on it.

I keep it within sight of my desk at all times.

After the war, he went back to Chicago, but his father was already housing too many Chinese immigrant workers (up to this point, most Chinese immigrants were single men because of strict immigration laws and quotas), so he had to move to Detroit to live with an uncle and finish high school.

One of his high school teachers noted his artistic abilities, and recommended that he use his GI Bill to go to art school. Of course, his dad wouldn’t have it. So, he worked in laundromats, owned his own grocery, and later worked as an insurance salesman instead.

70 years later, I’m the graduate of an art school, and I’m taking a break from drawing to write this out.

I guess my point is this: the time that you use to pursue art has to come from somewhere. At some point, a sacrifice was made by you, or others, to allow you to have that time. Illustrators try to make a living in that intersection of art and commerce in an effort to lessen that sacrifice. There are some that are doing quite well at that. There are many, many more that are not.

Even those artists who we view as extremely successful have to sacrifice time. It just comes from other places: relationships, health, or family, etc. The real struggle then, is to find that balance on how you are spending your time.

If you know that a life spent making art is your ultimate goal, then doing things you don’t like aren’t really frustrations. They are necessities that must be done to give yourself time.

I think this is why I cringe every time I hear someone say that self-righteous creed of the “creative class”: “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” That statement discounts all the hard work and sacrifices that you or others have made to be in that situation—what on Earth would entitle us to only work jobs that we love?

I don’t do this because I love it. I do it because I must.

It’s in my bones.

Linguistic knowledge versus pedantry, a graph

A. Danger point. Increased linguistic knowledge has led to a surge in linguistic pedantry, resulting in an imblance. 

B. Crisis point. Full on pedant. False confidence in good linguistic knowledge has led to pedantic half-truths outweighing facts. 

C. The road to recovery. Taking time to understand how language actually owrks has led to a more tolerant outlook. 

D. A sensible place to be. The more you know about language, the more you see the nonsense of linguistic pedantry. Be aware that at point D you may be called upon to challenge people at point B. This can be difficult, as people at point B often have the weight of public opinion behind them. Be patient, and encourage them to move towards point C.

(by Rob Drummond on twitter

The Great Vowel Shift, or A Brief History of English
  • The Great Vowel Shift, or A Brief History of English
  • Stuff You Missed in History Class

After a truly stunning number of listener requests, today we’re talking about the Great Vowel Shift, by way of a very condensed overview of the history of the English language. 

Tracy also gets all irate about pedantry.

Here’s a link to our notes and research.

anonymous asked:

I know that to be a great artist takes a lot of discipline, and I am worried that I am way way way too lazy right now. How can I make myself more disciplined? How much time do you spend a day on making things?

It’s funny that you ask this, because I’ve recently been playing around with this idea of “how can I make myself more disciplined.” Here’s what’s working for me.

I randomly stumbled across a time-management system (?) called the Pomodoro technique awhile ago, and decided to try it out. Normally, I’d roll my eyes at any “technique” that has a trademark after it, but this one was simple enough that it didn’t seem too affected. The basic idea is as follows:

- Give yourself 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time.

- After 25 mins, take a short break to stretch, do other tasks, assess. 

- Every 4x 25min blocs, take a longer 15-30 minute break.

- Track all metrics, including: start times, tasks completed, times interrupted, break times, stop times. 

Here’s an example of my absolutely incomprehensible metric tracking:

Every 25 min bloc, I make a line, eventually creating a box. So every Box on my chart is 4x 25min blocs (or 4 Pomodoros, I guess).

So what does this chart say: first off, I start off really late. 10:30 AM! I tend to wake up really slow, and do other things like run, eat too much breakfast, and dick around on the net. 

Second, my peak productive hours are between 10:30AM-5PM, as I was actually increasing my rate of productivity (I started off taking 4x Pomodoros per piece, or two hours, but then as I worked, I cut it down to 3x, and even 2x right before dinner.) 

Thirdly, right after my peak productive hours, I get distracted. Hence the one interruption, then failing to complete a Box and going straight to dinner. My productivity drops as well (I’m back to 4x Pomodoros per piece). 

And this is just one day’s worth of data! I can compare this to other days to see if my assumptions really are patterns, AND most importantly, if I’m making progress.

The biggest thing for me though is the 25 minutes of uninterrupted work time. I got that timer above to solidify that as opposed to using a digital timer— I found that the tactile sensation of setting it and hearing it tick makes my brain go into “OK it’s work time” mode much easier. Make this time sacred: hide your phone, close your browser, pick music/podcasts ahead of time, gather all your supplies around you. Physically minimize your distractions when possible. 

As far as time per day goes, I consider myself a full-time illustrator, so I put in at least a full days worth of work: 8 hours minimum. But as noted above, it’s not uncommon to put in 12. I think it is important to have designated START and STOP time though, just to help put boundaries on your life. Too much work is unhealthy. Health, family, and friends always come before work in my book. 

Hope this helps! I think everyone probably has their own ways of doing things, but this is really working for me lately. 

hey before you draw another pic of a tyrannosaurus not being able to brush its teeth or something because of its short arms or write another comment calling it a giant chicken because of its feathers remember that it was basically a bipedal semi-truck with a powerful enough set of jaws to bite through almost a foot of solid bone


My pedantry aggravates me when Morrigan and the Inquisitor pronounce “geas” as /gas/. “Gaes” is the Scottish Gaelic spelling of an Irish Gaelic word “geis” and should be pronounced /geSH/. It’s actually a really cool word associated with magical compulsions or a vow with consequences for breaking that is put on someone by goddesses in Irish folklore.

MOD NOTE:  Link provided by Confessor


Kinetic typography video narrated by Stephen Fry. Every time you want to pedantically correct someone’s vocabulary or criticize them for an imprecise word choice, just think of this video.

I have to say it: almost all of the bee stuff in Takiawase is completely incorrect.

In this image, we see the corpse with the hive in/on him. Issues:

1. Bees produce comb in vertical sheets anchored at the top. Comb is actually very delicate - the hexagonal structure makes it very strong for its thinness, but it can’t even be held horizontally in hot weather without falling apart. The comb here is just sort of placed… wherever.

2. Bees also usually build comb in an enclosed or at least sheltered space. In warmer climates - like, much much warmer than Maryland - they might build a hive outside, but it wouldn’t be just totally exposed to the open air and weather and upholstered all over whatever random object the bees happen to find. And they wouldn’t build on or near the ground if there were trees nearby - it isn’t safe from predators!

3. The comb is WAY too big. A cell is approximately the circumference of a bee, and these cells are twice that.

4. Supposedly this hive has been here for about two weeks, “which makes sense with how much honey is being produced.” No fucking way. A two week old hive would have a couple square feet of comb, MAYBE, and very little to no honey just lying around. The amount of comb in this image would indicate a mature hive over a year old.

5. And, on the other hand, for the amount of comb we’re not seeing many bees. This doesn’t look like a healthy, thriving hive to me.

6. Typically, if an organism like a mouse or lizard finds its way into a beehive, the bees will kill it and then, since they can’t remove it, they’ll mummify it completely in propolis. This is because - obviously - having a chunk of rotting flesh hanging around your food storage is a terrible idea. Bees HATE rotting flesh! No honeybee would ever set up a nest in a rotting corpse, no matter what the Bible says, and if someone put them there, they would immediately fly off. You can’t really MAKE bees do anything.

7. On the tree branch, you can clearly see where the wax sheet was cut, stretched out of alignment, and stuck on the tree!

/pedantic beekeeper

Yo, I’m back from posting hiatus! 

I’m curious: do I have many Asian American followers? And/or Asian American artist/illustrators? 

I am completely loud and obnoxious about Asian American issues on my personal FB page, but haven’t really treated my tumblr the same. I want to change that!

Some starter questions: 

- Are you the first artist in your family? First art school student? What does your family think?

- Have you ever received backlash for having Asian aesthetics influence your work? (”Looks too much like X or Y Asian artist”, “Looks too much like manga”, “Why do all of your figures have Asian features? etc.”)

- On the flip side, do you consciously (or maybe unconsciously) ignore including anything “Asian” in your work? (Only drawing white characters, etc.)

- How important are identity politics to your work? Are you very active in racial politics? Or do you want your work to “just be about the work”?

Send me some stuff, let’s talk about it!

Edit- follow along with #asiansdrawingthings

Not Just Pedantry

The world of classic men’s clothing often feels like it’s filled with a dizzying number of arcane and archaic rules for how to get “properly” dressed. On one hand, I think people ought to not take these things too seriously. They are suggestions; not dictums. In fact, while I think these suggestions are useful, at the end of the day, you have to develop your own intuition for what looks good and dress according to your own eye. Not doing so can make you look a bit stiff; like you put on your clothes according to a “paint by numbers” diagram. 

On the other hand, these things aren’t just for pedantry. Knowing about the history of certain garments and how they’ve been classically worn can be quite useful. Take a simple issue, for example: knowing what details make a garment more or less formal. At one extreme of the formality scale is evening wear, such as the tuxedo, which is classically known as having a single button front, peak lapels, and jetted pockets. Less formal is the city suit, which can be a single- or double-breasted navy number with notch lapels and welted pockets. Less formal still would be a rustic sport coat, something like a checked tweed made with patch pockets, swelled edges, and possibly even elbow patches. The general principle here is that the more simple the piece, the more formal it’s considered, though each detail may have it’s own unique place in the canon (e.g. all things being equal, peak lapels are considered more formal than notch lapels simply because of their association with evening wear). It’s the sum of the details that make up the spirit and place of a garment. 

This may seem like a lot of unnecessary pedantry until you realize that these things could explain why a peak lapel, single breasted jacket might not look terribly right with a pair of country corduroys and Scotch-grain boots. Or why if you’re out shopping, you may want to avoid garments with contradictory details, as they’ll be harder to wear (e.g. an oxford cloth button down shirt made with French cuffs). Pairing shirts, ties, trousers, and jackets according to their formality, place (city vs. country), seasonal appeal (summer linen, winter tweed); and general aesthetic is what often leads to more successful ensembles. To do that, however, you need to know a little more about how a garment’s details defines it with respect to these dimensions.

Which is why knowing a bit about history can be useful. 

No Tony, there is. There totally is. It’s the past tense and past participle of “get”.

Just something(k) for you to think about.