Category Archives: Nerd game proper

Picture bloodbaths and elevator shafts*.

They just announced the winners of the Genius grants from the MacArthur Foundation, said my copy of the LA Times yesterday morning.
Ooohhh, I got all excited and almost spilled my tea all over myself!

But, oh, hey, listen. They’re not Genius grants; they’re genius grants. You know, for lesser geniuses like these guys, not one of whom had a memorable verse on 36 Chambers:

Some of these are genius-er than others. Like it’s nice that somebody wants to develop theories to explain global climate change, but as I understand it, we already know there’s climate change and science has tried to explain how it works…but science keeps bumping up against people for whom the explanation to everything is Jesus.

And the dude who wants to study avian development, evolution, and behavior… somebody should tell him that birds are pretty dullsville. Unless you’re produced by the Neptunes and it’s ’02.

But still…I’m putting the hate in a drawer for now and acknowledging the fine work of these individuals. Especially you, Jerry Mitchell – examining unsolved murders from the Civil Rights era, DOPE. Let me assist you, pretty please, and May the Wu-Tang W’s Light Shine Upon You for the rest of your days.

David Porter – “I’m Afraid the Masquerade is Over”
OOOHHH, mad one! We see your trap! You can never escape your fate!


*related to nothing in this post; I just always liked that opening.

I gotta get away from this day-to-day runnin around.

Depressed people are more intelligent, says my beloved scientific community.
[Scientific American]

See, that’s why Ash Roth

looks like that.

People in a depressed mood spend all that time ruminating about problems, and it makes them more analytical. They dwell on a complex problem, breaking it down into smaller components, considering each one at a time. Those Cymbalta commercials are always asking if you’ve lost interest in formerly pleasurable activities since that’s one of the clearest parts of diagnostic criteria for Depression. If you no longer find pleasure in, oh I don’t know, music, for example (kill me), or sex or food (kill me and kill me), it could be because your brain needs to conserve all that depressed energy to work on analyzing and figuring out why it’s depressed. It needs consistent and uninterrupted thinking time, which would also explain why people experiencing depression are often socially isolated. Everything fun in life just serves as a distraction when the brain is trying to analyze the problem.

Once again, my parents’ record collection holds the answer to all questions of the universe and science and the ways of human interaction. If you grew up with Neil Young on the turntable platter in the living room, crying out that he wishes he could be back home and he’s feeling disoriented and sad, you already know the smartest are the most depressed. But thanks anyway, Scientific American.

When I refer to my “grizzled Canadian fake-uncle who writes and sings songs,” I am NOT referring to Bryan Adams, you guys. Pay attention.

Neil Young – “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.”
The sweet sounds of a weary Canadian in the throes of existential/geographical crisis. Work it out, Neil. Work it out.


Also, the name CRAZY HORSE for your band would have been so FRESH;
it’s a shame it’s already been taken.

. . .


“Heat waves getting worse” – some scientists. “Heatwave will always rule so hard” – me.

Professionals in my chosen discipline of science are claiming that heat waves out here in my area (the western U.S.) are getting worse due to that wacky liberal myth of “climate change.” Heat records keep getting shattered into a thousand tiny pieces. Elevated humidity is also more frequent, and that causes heat waves to last longer. The heat increases the demand for electricity, which we mostly still get from fossil fuels because Republicans hate Mother Earth, and that, in turn, causes emissions of the gases that cause climate change. And then it starts all over. Second verse, same as the first.

Heat waves are deadlier than hurricanes or tornadoes, they say. In ’08, California experienced an early and severe heat wave starting in May, and there’s only more of that to come–climate experts are now warning that the impending serious heat wave will kill more and more of us. Only I’m not taking this seriously, because nobody can ever convince me that Heatwave will kill me. They might kill me with basslines and they might make me die from wanting to wind my waist too much, but it would be such a fun, pleasurable death that I wouldn’t be scared to go at all.

(Heatwave’s only other appearance on HeightFiveSeven was during the “Big DaddyKane’s sexual skills are still unproven at this point” post of 2009, but they deserve more shine! Listen to this jam! And don’t think of corny things like The Hustle when you hear it, I’m pleading with you; give in to that “Love Rollercoaster“-ish bassline. You’ll be like a hundred times happier, I promise.)

Granted, we don’t all have the hips of Raquel Welch in ’68 like some of us, but still. You can do it/put your ass into it. Get your drink and your 2-step. Pop lock and drop it. Shake your body down to the ground. Get low. Lean back. Etc. The intro of “Boogie Nights” is SO FREAKING GREAT, it’s up there with Tigah styyyyle and the rain at the beginning of “Sweetest Taboo.” Here, it’s like this:

Booogieee niiiiiights/whooaaaaohhhhohhhhhh…,” over that jazzy backing track with the double-time drums. Or you could just press play. PS: It’s true – boogie nights really are always the best in town. Always.


Why music gives us the chills.

Tommy James & the Shondells with the assist.

I’m a scientist, you guys.

I knew that I revolve around sciences just like Ghost, but I didn’t know I was a professional science lady dork until a couple minutes ago when I read this article that explains the following:

Certain ways that music moves and blends and climbs, in your ears and brain and heart, gives you the chills. It literally shifts your breathing pattern and speeds up your heart rate.

See, I been sayin this already, blinding you with my science, since like ’94. I know how composers play with melody and change things up to try to get you to feel a certain way they know you can feel. So in the article when they say that research tells us that the key shivery and wonderful moments in a piece of music are:

– when a symphony turns from loud to quiet,
– upon entry of a solo voice or instrument, and
– when two singers have contrasting voices,

it’s clear that these researchers are not familiar with my hypothesis stating this same thing, based on my years and years of living the music-nerd life and figuring out what it is about a song that just murders you. And by murders, I mean makes you want to live forever. And then I remember that the researchers have never once been in the passenger seat whenever I’ve been out driving around and “Crimson and Clover” has come on the radio. The drop from loud to quiet, the entry of a solo voice/instrument, the contrast of voices – add in some sex in the form of a Midwestern white boy saying My mind’s such a sweet thing, and you have “Crimson and Clover.” It’s the perfect pop song that makes you shiver and I didn’t even need to do any research. I just listened to it. Over and oh-verr. And this, everyone, is how I know I was a scientist in my past life. With hips.

This part of their findings was pretty obvious too, but still…it sounds so fancy in technical terms:

(Music-induced) shivers down the spine even show up in brain scans, according to research. As chills grow in intensity, bloodflow increases between areas of the brain associated with euphoria-inducing vices like food, sex, and drugs.

I mean, science is kind of amazing. Like music, it’s part of our everyday life, it really is, and sometimes (or all the damn time, in my case) it feels so good to just pause and think about it. Some people think that delving into the reasons behind things that deliver pleasure in powerful doses takes away from the pleasure because it takes away the mystery.
I am dissimilar to these people. They don’t understand me; they probably don’t even have a “Nerd game proper” tag on their blogs. We don’t hang out.

All that mess above, all that I just wrote, was foreplay. Scroll down and hit play for the event. Just get comfy, ’cause
Now here she come walkin oh-verrr is basically the dress-remover of the last 40 years in musicdom (sorry, Kells – even Prince knows it and nobody knows more about the removal of dresses than Prince). Oh and real quick, and “Crimson”-related, is the fact that

Tremolo, or tremolando, is a musical term describing various trembling effects.

And that, babycakes, was probably the most sexy sentence I have ever written on HeightFiveSeven.

Furthermore, I don’t know how that over and over ever passed FCC regs. Normally they don’t allow such blatant porn on commercial airwaves.
Why am I still talking? Sorry. Press play and enjoy the science.

Tommy James & the Shondells – “Crimson & Clover”



Garrison Keillor & Cappadonna are infatuated with me.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

High-spiritedness, wit, a love of repartee and wordplay and allusion and jokes–in other words, an English major.

– Vanity Fair

She elegant, pretty eyes, glasses, intelligent
Whispered in my ear that she’s celibate.
– “Camay

Not so sure about the intelligent and pretty eyes part but my glasses and English degree kinda make the boys weak. Quit jockin.
Also, your discussion of Cappa’s “celibate” line and whether or not it pertains to me is making me uncomfortable. Don’t act like I’m not sitting right here, please.


22 years ago to keep it on track.

A post about noripinephrine and Pete Rock. I reminisce, I reminisce.

We remember extremely happy or sad occasions vividly if there’s a strong emotional connection, scientists always say; emotion somehow makes memories last for a long time. It makes sense, like how I can tell you I was drinking orange juice, had my hair in a ponytail, and was standing in the kitchen with my dad on Christmas morning when we heard about James Brown’s death on the radio.

On one of my many science websites I prowl throughout the day (ScienceDaily, what up), I saw that scientists have just discovered exactly why memories last so long–a lifetime even–in terms of brain chemicals. So I had to run and come tell you guys. Extreme emotions trigger the release of norepinephrine, which is related to adrenaline and gives you energy in times of stress in order to help you survive–the “fight or flight” hormone. And now that they’ve isolated the exact chemical cause of long-lasting memories, scientists hope it’ll help them develop treatments to prevent and treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, in which memories cause torment and are not pleasant to have rattling around in your brain. Somebody get Luis Resto on line 1, please.

‘Course, I like to focus on positive, ’92ish memories. Try to tell me you’re not an innocent, bright-eyed young thing again, full of hope and promise, every time you hear the jangly intro* below. Press play for your free norepinephrine rush on a Friday morning.

African-American College Alliance sweatshirts (hollerrr), Tom Scott**, Pete’s super tight billiards game, Pete sporting his own name on a piece of cloth on his head, Pete saying
Never be another/He was my brother, fightin in front of Big Lou’s, using your condom, taking the first letter out of each word in this joint.
I can hear his head bangin on the wall in the next room was always such a perfect example of cadence, right? (or was it just me?)



* 01:39.


No Fucking Way: Up north trip edition

US Prisons too punitive, fail to rehabilitate.

I’m basically the Sasha Grey of the blogosphere (pretentious, Oscar Wilde fan, skinny) but this venture does not pay well. I do it for the love. In my spare time, then, I earn a living as a social scientist with a concentration in prison-industrial-complex superhaterism because I’m a patriot. I live in a wonderful yet infuriating country called America, where almost half of the prison population is made up of black males; however, I am now about to complete the only prison-related blog post you’ll see in ’09 that does not include a picture of Prodigy, Gucci Mane, or Chi-Ali. Please save your applause ’til the end.

Joel Dvorskin, a university professor and criminal justice expert, wanted to find out what social science reveals about preventing and reducing violent crime, and the specifics on how the prison system is a massive failure. He then did some research, and that was a sad time-waster for him since he could’ve just listened to some PRT or Dead Prez. Feeling all pleased about hisself, he would now like to announce that U.S. prisons provide instruction for inmates on how to commit crimes more successfully, and how to behave in an aggressive manner in order to get their needs met and dominate within the social hierarchy. Prisons, he says, are too punitive and fail to rehabilitate. Harsh punishment backfires. And you should probably provide some job skills training if you want prisoners to be less violent upon release and stop returning to the place with all the cages.

“No fucking way,” I said, sitting in the back of my 8th-grade US Gov’t class after having written 19 essays on this topic. Then I gave him a Mumia petition to sign and went back to being miserable and annoying as a middle-class Caucasoid girl from a loving, 2-parent household.

Dvorskin has a book coming out called Applying Social Science to Reduce Violent Offending, which I genuinely would like to read despite the hater-ish tone of this post, since my copy of No More Prisons has been in some box in my parents’ garage since ’99 and going to look for it would really cut into my lounging-around time. Dvorskin’s book examines why prisons are failing and what needs to change, from a psychologically informed perspective. Its main point is that we need to stop locking up every other black man and spend resources on violent lawbreakers rather than worrying so much about 20 sacks.

My hollerback book, Incarcerating Poor and/or Brown People Keeps America’s Financial Wheels Turning So Stop Being Naive, Joel Dvorskin, has no release date as of yet.

And because of this fucking downer of a story, things have gotten far too serious on HeightFiveSeven today. I need 2 of the most cheerful songs ever written about being on lockdown in order to feel better:

Give it to me/One time
. Hit it, Toots!

“54-46 (That’s My Number)”


Boom-boom…BAP, boom, bam. Hit it, D-Nice!


“Over your head and got scared/Exactly what I figured you’d do” *

“As deep as any ocean/As sweet as any harmony” – Thomas Dolby, who understands the allure of a lady science nerd.

Once again, I force upon my darling readership a post about how the human body is pretty scientifically amazing and how I never tire of learning new things about it. (Bag me up ’cause I’m wifey material, sonnn.)

In today’s episode of Let Me Blind You With My Science, I share with you all how closing your eyes when you’re listening to scary music makes the the music even scarier, thanks to the most primal responses in your brain. Your brain waves are altered when you hear it, which translates to you runnin scurrred.

In a recent study about music and the brain that I was for some inexplicable reason NOT a part of, researchers had volunteers listen to scary music (“Hitchcock-like, frightening themes,” because Asleep in the Caucasoid Bread Aisle was all sold out at Wal-Mart), and found that

closing one’s eyes enhanced the responses the volunteers felt toward the more emotionally charged scary music. Brain scans revealed that activity ramped up in the amygdala, a primary center for emotion in the brain. In turn, the amygdala fired up brain regions linked with vigilance to the environment and regulation of emotion.

These findings were not seen when volunteers were placed in complete darkness with their eyes open. This suggests these effects are not related to vision alone. (“That is so interesting!!,” me and a bunch of scientists said. “Nobody cares,” said everybody else.)

‘It seems when you close your eyes, your brain has this reflexive response to go into a different state of mind that results in the amplification of certain information,’ (an author of the study) said.

I’m afraid of little, other than wack rappers and Republican administrations.

However, the fright instilled in me by a creepazoid 10/8 meter is truly beyond epic–and that is why I picked this instead of something by Gravediggaz, or Meth’s classic “torture, motherfucker” descriptions from when were all so innocent back in ’93. Aww.

mp3. – “Halloween Theme”

PS, did you guys know John Carpenter composed this? Is this common knowledge and I was out of the loop? I just found out and my whole life has changed. Next time I pick “Horror Film Writers/Directors Who Also Wrote the Theme Song to The Horror Films They Wrote/Directed” for $400 on Jeopardy!, I will straight murder it.

PS again, the science nerds found similar effects (though to a lesser degree) with positive music in the study–closing your eyes, they say, increases the degree to which you find it pleasurable.

In the future, a better understanding of how music can affect the brain could help lead to it enhancing therapies for mood disorders and other ailments. ‘And if you want to use music for therapy, or just want to be more immersed in it, it seems you should close your eyes,’ (an author of the study) said.

“No fucking way,” I replied, while lying on my floor and listening to Black Caesar in my headphones with my eyes closed.

* ’96.


Hemingway. Bardot/Birkin. Os Mutantes!

1. Porn for English majors.

You know, it makes one feel rather good deciding not to be a bitch. It’s sort of what we have instead of God.

Ernest Hemingway –
The Sun Also Rises

People, there’s a reason why I have an entire category on this web log called “A Lesbatronic Moment.” Why hello there, ladies…

Bardot & Birkin.

Jones. Hendrix.

X. Michaux. Ali.

Evers. Horne.

Kurosawa. Coppola.

Jones. Strummer. Biafra.

3. Os Mutantes are touring and I’m in. Also, Kurt Cobain wanted them to reunite in the ’90s so they could tour with Nirvana. Had this event actually occurred, I would have shouted Next levels! from the rooftop and thanked the music gods/goddesses.

I see my future, and I am at the Echoplex, and it’s August 28, and I look really cute in my jeans/heels uniform and I’ve gained 10 lbs, and when a dude comes up to me who I don’t want to talk to, I pretend I only speak Portuguese! Yay.

“A Minha Menina”

A lua prateada se escondeu
E o sol dourado apareceu
Amanheceu um lindo dia
Cheirando a alegria
Pois eu sonhei
E acordei pensando nela
Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

(The silver moon, the golden sun, the beautiful morning, waking up to your lovely girl; she’s your love, and you love her. You don’t really need the translation though, right? Just press play and it’s all so clear. Swoon.)


When won’t we understand, this is our last and only chance/Everybody, it’s a future shock.

Remind me to give you my speech about how underrated Both Sides of the Brain is.
(I will do this in a non-annoying fashion, I promise).

Not enough Oakland on this web log lately! OH DEAR. Nobody tell Ant Banks, please.

Del is a superhuman galactic being from the future trying to blend in as a male of the human species in Oakland; he has returned to share messages about time with all of us and has done so every couple of years through his chosen medium of hot fire raps*. And now, finally, the scientific community has caught up with him: thinking about the future, they say, makes you more creative. It’s the magic of something called psychological distance that will make your creativity flow and will make your rhymes sicker. Oh wait–you’re not all MCs. I forget sometimes.

“I can’t fall in this rap game/I got acrophobia”


&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_1">lt</span>;a <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_2">href</span>=&#8221;;&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;Time Is Too Expensive by Del The Funky <span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_3">Homosapien</span>&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;<span class="blsp-spelling-error" id="SPELLING_ERROR_4">lt</span>;/a&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;

An Easy Way to Increase Creativity

Why thinking about distant things can make us more creative

According to the construal level theory (CLT) of psychological distance, anything that we do not experience as occurring now, here, and to ourselves falls into the “psychologically distant” category. It’s also possible to induce a state of “psychological distance” simply by changing the way we think about a particular problem, such as attempting to take another person’s perspective, or by thinking of the question as if it were unreal and unlikely. Scientists have demonstrated that increasing psychological distance so that a problem feels farther away can actually increase creativity.

Studies (have also) demonstrated that distancing in time – projecting an event into the remote future – and assuming an event to be less likely (that is, distancing on the probability dimension) can also enhance creativity. In a series of experiments that examined how temporal distance affects performance on various insight and creativity tasks, participants were first asked to imagine their lives a year later (distant future) or the next day (near future), and then to imagine working on a task on that day in the future. Participants who imagined a distant future day solved more insight problems than participants who imagined a near future day.

This research has important practical implications. It suggests that there are several simple steps we can all take to increase creativity, such as traveling to faraway places (or even just thinking about such places), thinking about the distant future, communicating with people who are dissimilar to us, and considering unlikely alternatives to reality. Perhaps the modern environment, with its increased access to people, sights, music, and food from faraway places, helps us become more creative not only by exposing us to a variety of styles and ideas, but also by allowing us to think more abstractly.

Curtis Mayfield – “Future Shock”
You are just not paying attention if you thought for a second I wasn’t gonna post this when I’m relaying a science story about the future. C’monnn. mp3.

(I also wanted real real bad to post Prince’s “The Future” from the epically tight Batman soundtrack; HOWEVER, Warner Bros’ copyright protection and illegal file sniff-out game is, unfortunately, tighter than my mp3 Google-fu.)