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Phlegm Stories

I've read that one of the biggest time-wasters of people (like me) who are always burning the candle at both ends is reading magazines. I totally understand that. Magazines can easily be the empty-calorie snack of the knowledge world. Unless the magazine is one that you read from cover to cover and get plenty of useful ideas from--and for me, those titles include Writer, Writer's Digest, F&SF, Photoshop User and Layers magazines--there's the possibility that they'll be like the People magazine with a 2-page article you're interested in, but then you end up getting sucked in and flipping through the whole thing for half an hour after you've read your one thing.

What's even more difficult is that I'm the serials coordinator for my day job and I handle 140 magazine titles every month. You've got to figure, chances are at least 20 or so will have an article that looks interesting! I do my best not to bring the all home. Only so many hours in my life.

But this week I brought home Popular Science because it had a 100-best-inventions type of article, and I had the notion that I might pick up an idea either for Zero Hour, or just for a story in general. I was flipping through and I found the story of a guy who invented a medical device called the Lung Flute. (If you want to have a look, here's the site. I think it might be more aptly called a lung kazoo but I suppose lung flute sounds better.) Very weird non-sequitur, the company is within spitting distance of a shopping plaza in Buffalo I hung out at all the time as a teenager.

Aside from wanting a Lung Flute RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I'M DROWNING IN MY OWN PHLEGM, what impressed me most was the story about how they came up with the idea. A bunch of engineer-types were hanging out, shooting the breeze, discussing how they could modify things to vibrate in such ways that they could influence the human body. In particular, a toilet with a vibration that would make you shit uncontrollably.

And I had a little Camp Hell flashback.

That was the part I wanted to share with you guys. Carry on.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 29th, 2009 10:14 pm (UTC)
I can see that being a part of Camp Hell.

And I agree, magazines can be an empty calorie snack.
Dec. 29th, 2009 11:36 pm (UTC)
That said, I suppose I'll go read some magazines. I brought way too many home today ;-)
Dec. 29th, 2009 11:38 pm (UTC)
You're allowed, you are recovering from a nasty cold
Dec. 29th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Oh, very cool! The part where they showed him working a calculator on the palm of his hand is a lot like the way I envision the "keying" that they all do under a red laser beam when they want to program something.
Dec. 30th, 2009 01:39 am (UTC)
You're not supposed to have Camp Hell flashbacks! I think there comes a time when we become way too involved with our characters. ;)
Dec. 31st, 2009 01:15 am (UTC)
I was a library serials assistant at a couple of different libraries. The serials librarians got on me every so often because I'd start reading instead of checking the magazines in.

I get ideas from some journals, but they're more psychology and human development journals and such.

Hope you feel better soon. It sounds like you've really been going through it.

(*possible spoilers*) And yeah, Stefan was scary sometimes. The idea is a very old one, though. TV Tropes is a lovely time-waster. Here's their take on it: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrownNote

Here's a great TV Tropes definition, just because: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HoYay

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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