Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general -Mark Rippetoe

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Old Main:

Old Main

It was the central building of the Utica State Hospital, but in a past life it went by another name: the New York State Lunatic Asylum.

Look at that thing. This creepy mother fucker is straight out of an episode of Supernatural. And once upon a time, a thousand inmates were housed inside its cold, stony walls.

The New York Lunatic Asylum opened in 1843, and was the first state-funded hospital for the mentally ill. It was also the home of the Utica Crib:

Utica Crib

Sleep tight. We’ll be back to let you out in the morning.

So of course when they announced that they were opening Old Main to the public for the first time in half a decade, my wife and I jumped at the opportunity. Unfortunately, so did about four thousand other lovers of all things weird.

The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, which is apparently a thing, announced tours from five to eight. We arrived at around five fifteen, and there were already about two thousand people in line. We waited in line for four hours, and by the time we made it near the Asyum’s imposing doors, the sun was falling.

The director of the Landmark Society informed us that the tour was being shut down, and everyone still in line was going to be sent home.

The crowd, by fiat, decided that this was not true, and simply remained in line. Someone called our Congressman. Someone else called the Governor. And I swear to God I am not kidding about that. People really wanted to see the creepy interior of the spookiest building in the county.

The director gave in, and the remaining tourists were allowed to (quickly) pass through the Asylum’s bottom floor.

The results were less than spectacular.

We were expecting horror. We were expecting torture. We were expecting tales of lobotomies and electroshock therapy. Hell, we were looking to see the damn Utica Crib, since we invented the thing. Instead, after four hours in line, we saw about a dozen rooms, which had been renovated into office storage, and a handful of photos of what the place had looked like back in the eighteen hundreds.

So far, my experience with haunted houses, both purportedly real and admittedly theatrical, has been wholly unimpressive. The brightest part of the evening was when we went out for pizza afterwards.

Regardless, I’m going to write a story about Old Main. It’s just now going to open with a couple of pretty young murder victims who break in after standing in line for half a day, and want to see what the forbidden Fourth Floor is all about.

Thomas: Hola! Un vino blanco y un majestic, por favor!

El Camarero: Si! <Machinegun spanish>

Thomas: …Fuck it. A white wine and an orange fruity thing, please.

El Camarero: …Yes sir.

El Talachero: Hola! Habla espanol?

Thomas: Solomente un muy pequito.

El Talachero: Si, si. <Machinegun spanish>

Thomas: …

El Talachero: …points to air conditioner. Thump thump thump thump thump! No more!

Thomas: Ah! Si! Gracias!

Thomas: Hola! Quiermos internet en la habitacion vente dos cincuentra tres, por vavor!

El Conserje: Si! <Machinegun spanish>

Thomas: …

El Conserje: You don’t really speak Spanish, do you sir?

Thomas: …No.

A Mobius Strip is a neat mathematical concept of a solid object that only has one surface; you can make one by giving a piece of paper a half-twist and then tapping the ends together.

Or, if you’re like this crafty individual, you can make one with a 3D printer:

There are more pictures here.

This is really cool, and I’m temped to buy one. The only problem is you have to figure out a way to add the ball bearings yourself.

(via BoingBoing)

Winner of a much-deserved Red Dot Design Award, the Paper Dish replaces the greaseproof sheet found between a pizza and a cardboard box with an improved design that easily tears apart creating a miniature paper plate for each slice.

(via Gizmodo)

It’s basically an Ewok village carved out of a bonsai tree, and I do want it so.

Update: io9 has a lot info.

The answer is OMG ADORABLE:

(via Boing Boing)

Every once in a while, I get to say something that’s just kind of cool. I had one of those happy moments tonight. To wit:

I’m the scariest guy you know. The fact that he concerns me should tell you something.

I’ll leave the context of that little nugget to your imagination.

I dropped by Wal Mart on the way home tonight. The cashier asked the woman ahead of me if she wanted to spend a dollar on one of those hearts/shamrocks/whatevers that go to feed starving soldiers without puppies or whatever. The woman stopped, considered, and then asked:

“Is it tax deductible?”

I just kind of stared at her. No, this one dollar donation is, sadly, not tax deductible. No, the woman working the overnight at Wal Mart will not be writing you a receipt to document, for the benefit of the IRS, your lavish generosity. This dollar, this single, lonely dollar, will be forever lost to you, earning you no reward and no recognition, save maybe the warm feeling in your heart.

The woman said “no thanks.”

I was asked this afternoon if it would be possible to develop a new user interface over the weekend. I hate questions like this, because the answer is usually “yes,” but a “yes” qualified with “if I work seventeen hours a day, every day between now and Monday, stopping only long enough to get more potato chips and soda out of the vending machine, and occasionally using the loo.” I relayed this fact, and the guy doing the asking got a thoughtful look on his face, then said “I’ll ask management,” and wandered away.