My brain….

As I mentioned before I took a recent trip to Iowa City because Nancy Andreasen wanted to take a picture of my brain. She’s a Big Deal neurophysician who’s doing research into how the brains of creative folk do their big, weird think-makings.

The plan was for me to go in, get my brain scanned, have an interview, then do some tests that measure cognitive function.

It was going to be a full day, so I drove down to Iowa City and spent the night. The morning before I went into the hospital, I was nervous.

Specifically, I was nervous about what shirt I was going to wear.

While I was driving down to Iowa, it occurred to me that if, say, lightning struck the building when I was in the MRI, I might develop superpowers of some sort. And on a day when you might develop superpowers, the shirt you wear is a pretty important decision. As they say, clothes make the man.

Because I hadn’t planned ahead, I only had two good options. One was my Legend of Neil t-shirt. And the other was my tried and true, Joss Whedon is my Master Now shirt.

At first the Neil shirt seems to be the front-runner. While pixelated, Link’s powers are nothing to scorn. In addition to a cool pan-dimensional inventory system. I could throw bombs, shoot fire, and engage in some implausible but terribly convenient music-based teleportation.

Plus, when I was at full health, I’d be able to throw my sword. Or shoot lasers out of it. I was never really clear on that.

Despite all this, I went with the Whedon shirt. While less tangible, Whedon’s storytelling prowess is more in keeping with my lifestyle. If I could add his powers to my own, I would become nigh-unstoppable. Plus, I hear that due to contractual obligations, he can call up Alyson Hannigan at any hour of the day or night and have her drive out to his house just so he can smell her hair.

That’s a power I wouldn’t mind inheriting. It would be nice to cross that off my list of…

Okay. Hold on for a second. Time out. I’ve got to tangent away for a moment.

Here’s the deal. Sometimes, late at night, when I’m low on sleep and writing a blog, I write stupid bullshit that strikes me as funny. This isn’t a new thing. In addition to my novels, I’ve been writing ridiculous humor pieces of one sort or another for almost twenty years now.

What’s different now is that I’m doing it online. Also, these days a ridiculous number of people read the blog. People link to it. Sometimes 7-8 thousand people a day stop by to read what I write.

Usually I don’t think about it much. But every once in a while I get a terrible thought: what if someone reads this?

I’m not talking about us geeks. I write this blog for my fellow geeks to read and laugh at. I’m worried about one of THEM reading it. Y’know. One of the cool famous people…

What if a couple years from now I’m at some party out in LA, and I get to meet Alyson Hannigan? A mutual acquaintance waves her over and introduces me as “New York Times Bestselling Author, Patrick Rothfuss.”

She smiles politely. Nods. But wait… there’s something more. I see a flicker of recognition in her eye. I get excited, thinking, “She’s read the book! She knows who I am!”

Then she says, “You’re that pervert who wants to smell my hair!”

I freeze in place, trying to think of something witty and disarming to say. But all I can think is, “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Why did I ever write that blog? Why didn’t I just post up tour dates on my website like all the other authors? Why didn’t I write nice safe blogs with funny pictures of my cat? What is wrong with me that I’m compelled to tell these weird fucking stories all the time?”

Then, with the fluid grace that comes from years of experience, Alyson maces me. I fall to my knees, clawing at my eyes and saying something garbled about the fact that all humor is rooted in transgression. But before I can make my point clear, Alexis Denisof steps up and proceeds to give me the beating of three different lifetimes in the space of about 45 seconds.

Which sucks, because that means I probably won’t ever get a chance to smell his hair either. So that’s two things that are never getting crossed off my list.

Jesus. You see? I can’t stop. I swear there is something wrong with my brain.

Speaking of which, *that* was supposed to be the point of this blog. Showing you the picture of my brain.

So here it is:

(Click to Embiggen)

It’s actually a computer model that they generated based on the MRI scans. If any of you can find the spot on there that compels me to endlessly make an ass of myself, I’d appreciate it if you’d point it out to me. Maybe then I could do a quick Dremel trepanation and let the demons out or something.

Wearily yours,


This entry was posted in Joss Whedon, my dumbness, small adventures, tangentalityBy Pat72 Responses


  1. Gnavin
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    If they haven’t got a sense of humour their hair isn’t worth smelling anyway.

    • DMage
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

      i was reading this part “Plus, I hear that due to contractual obligations, he can call up Alyson Hannigan at any hour of the day or night and have her drive out to his house just so he can smell her hair.” and when i read this, i thought “daaaamn, that’s a good contract.”

      Also, i think she would beat you up herself, so, while you are getting beat, you might as well smell her hair.

      • Posted April 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

        See? This is the sort of encouragement I don’t need.

        • DMage
          Posted April 29, 2011 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

          i was just saying, i would do the same.

          • Posted May 1, 2011 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

            You lack ambition! In the thick of the beating you might even take a handful of hair for yourself.

        • llewcellist
          Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

          You are so funny. I have to play the Dvorak Cello Concerto on Friday and was stressed, but your blog entry helped a lot. By the way, your books are really great. Your language is artistic and the storytelling and world is fresh and creative. Thanks.

  2. Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:51 AM | Permalink

    All in all, I’d say this post does an excellent job of giving us a picture of your brain.

    And the jpeg is pretty cool too!

  3. theunrepentant
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    Wow. Look at the brain on Patrick!

    • bansbergk
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

      Yeah, he must work out

  4. Froody42
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    You just need to pick the celebrities you blog about carefully. Tycho made a comic about wanting to groom Felicia Day, and he actually got to do it!

    Who knows, maybe Alyson Hannigan will one day invite you to a session of smelling her hair!

  5. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    Honestly, if you’re not pushing that line of “is someone going to read this…?” it isn’t as fun anymore.

  6. noregsson
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    I may be no Hannigan, but I’ll be sure to mail you some of my hair if I ever cut it or shave my head.

    Imagine Pats entire wall mounted with the collected hair of all his fandom!

    I srsly need to get famous . . .

    • DMage
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

      he could make something like a world’s biggest hair ball

  7. Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

    Ahhh, Alyson Hannigan, hottest geek chick ever…

  8. Marcus Cox
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:37 AM | Permalink

    Had I been drinking a liquid while reading this either my monitor would be covered in it by a laugh educed spit take or my keyboard would be destroyed by the liquid shooting out of my nose. I seriously had to restrain myself, lest my coworkers thinking I’ve gone crazy due to my incessant giggling.

  9. Merus
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    If all humour is rooted in transgression, explain puns.

    • bornyesterday
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

      puns are transgressions against common usage of language. which is why they are so damn funny.

      • MisterMerf
        Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

        It’s a useful generalization, but don’t take it too far.

        The unexpected is often humorous. It must be transgressing against normality. Does that explain anything? Not really.

    • Posted April 29, 2011 at 3:35 PM | Permalink

      One could argue that puns aren’t really humorous. A pun might be clever, but you would never laugh at a pun.

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

        That was going to be my argument. When was the last time you heard anyone other than the person who made it laugh at a pun? Even the person who made the pun does the awkward “Ha? Ha?” kind of laugh.

      • Robo
        Posted April 30, 2011 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

        Puns elicit laughs, they just take longer to unfold. It typically goes something like this:

        Eye-rolls/shake of the head (occasionally paired with an audible sounds – usually a groan or jeer).
        Reluctantly appreciative, but polite laugh.

        50% of the time a pun=chain ends with a comment like, “you’re stupid.”

        • Posted May 1, 2011 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

          A polite laugh isn’t a real laugh, and it can’t be used as evidence of humor.

          No more than a fake cough isn’t a real cough, and it’s not actually indicative of a disease.

    • brrbear
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

      the part of your brain which compels you to do this is the well known, but rarely seen, bridge that exists between all male brains and the rectums of said-brains’ owners. the bridge is initiated by the sight of an attractive female, and often terminated by the loud slap of your own forehead, insertion of your own foot in your mouth, or both.

  10. Ent_hused
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:48 AM | Permalink

    You could always go full bore, put out a Call for Famous People with Hair and invite them over to your house for a hair smelling circle where you’d greet them with wicker baskets full of exotic conditioners–scalp salves borne by the fingers of pygmies. Then you’d all at least be complicit: you, the famous people, and the pygmies (who I hope you would at least let watch since they did pick the ingredients that made such a bedeviled soiree possible). I will be content for the uncensored pics of the lucky conditioner that is applied to your beard a la mammary ritual.

  11. Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    It’s always fun to drop by and get such wonderful humour. Plus it took 3 attempts to remember my password, darn it. Made it in the I am trying to think of something witty and tangenty and humoress to say, but , nope, I got nothing. I rely on coming here, remembering my password , if that fails I can atleast read your postings.

    You do put a smile on our faces, most important thing, smiling:D


  12. Posted April 29, 2011 at 7:58 AM | Permalink

    ooo spelt humorous wrong, or is it humourous, sad when I can’t be bothered googling to check….lol!!


  13. elias
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    It’s the yellowish-orange part.

  14. Steven
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know much about brains, but yours looks extra-wrinkly. I think that means you’re smart.

  15. Anne577
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    That’s also the spot of the brain that keeps me reading this blog, and not most other famous authors’ blogs, so don’t get rid of it if you do find it. I love it!

  16. loki
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:48 AM | Permalink

    what’s a brain

  17. Robin the Acolyte
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Wow, Pat. They bronzed your brain!

    Now you can keep it on your mantle forever, mounted on a little plaque, right next to Oot’s baby shoes.

  18. Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    I like when you make with the funny.

  19. jdcb
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:29 AM | Permalink

    Now to find someone with a 3d printer…

    • galktika
      Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

      Nearest engineering school?

  20. rolandthejester
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    Dremel Trepanation…..holy crap that’s good. Makes me think of the ending of Pi. Man, that movie makes you cringe…..

  21. Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Hmmm. I was expecting some coloration indicating where all your creativity shoots out from. Sort of a let-down…..

  22. spoonyspork
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Hrmph. You’re only showing us the side of the brain that – in theory – would be the side telling you “publicly” admitting you want to smell someone’s hair is a bad idea. XD

    Did they give you one from the back or top? It’d be interesting to see if one side has more wrinkles, or bumps out on one side, or something.

    That said, my older sister had a freak accident involving a twirling baton that basically gave her a lobotomy in her left frontal lobe. It affected her ability to do math, and her ‘this is a bad idea’ concept. So now she’ll do things like, say… answer the door naked. It’s actually like she eats a plumb bob every day. Maybe you’re creative part is squeezing the frontal part and causing random misfiring… I’m no neuroscientist or anything though; just someone with the experience of growing up with a sister with a frontal lobe made of scrambled eggs. :)

  23. RainShine
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    ROFL You have no idea how funny that story is… I am the victim of a serial hair-smeller… :D

  24. laurafromNY
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    You have a cat?!

    • Posted April 29, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

      No. Which is the main reason I don’t write about it in the blog.

      • galktika
        Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

        …that should be the last thing that’s stopping you. I’m sure all of us would love to hear about your cat especially if it was imaginary. :)

        • DMage
          Posted April 29, 2011 at 9:19 PM | Permalink


        • Little My
          Posted April 30, 2011 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

          Imaginary cats are all very well, but hypothetical ones are even better. Look what it did for Skinner.

          • Mickey
            Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

            Didn’t work out so well for Schrodinger though…

  25. LisaD
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Oh. So my wanting to smell your beard is not so weird then?

  26. justajenjen
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    That is one sexy brain, Pat. You should be proud of that thing and show it off as much as possible.

  27. Posted April 29, 2011 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

    How cool is it that your brain is golden-ish. Anyway, I think if you carry around your pic of your golden brain, when Alyson Hannigan is tempted to beat the snot out of you, you can flash the pic. This will probably cause her to offer her hair for sniffing.
    I’m just saying. Its a damn sexy brain. And its golden.

  28. frostyjack06
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 4:28 PM | Permalink

    Well, if you squint a little, some of the sections look like a pairs of misshapened breasts with inny nipples…I’m not sure if that is going to help you much…

    Brilliant blog. It was somewhere in between getting maced by Alyson Hannigan and being pummeled by Alexis Denisof that I realized I was getting a small glimps of just how thin that line between intelligence and insanity can get sometimes. But I also realized that if your mind can spark up an interaction such as this all over the type of t-shirt you’re wearing, what will you write next when the King Killer Chronicals have concluded?

  29. Posted April 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    I do think its cool that you release what the actually -however geekily- think about. There is enough celebrity pet blogs out there. Hell, I don’t even have the guts to do my own blog on some of my actual thoughts. I’d be worried it’d actually reveal the empty space where my brain should be.

    Congrats Pat on confirmation of a natural looking and healthy appearing brain; it confirms that, as we should already know, that you have one (I wish I had that privilege). The brain fetishists will be thrilled!

    Now, can’t help noticing you do like to talk about games, and a fair few of us readers definitely like to read your insightful views on the gaming world. I stumbled on this blog post today, which has the overlap of games and narrative:
    I was wondering then, if you have additional views to Christian’s with regards to a lot of games mishandling of the third act, and a lack of focus to modern gaming narratives?

  30. Posted April 29, 2011 at 6:58 PM | Permalink

    Man you crack me up.
    Maybe that’s your superpower?
    And a rather unusual amount of things Buffy related seem to coincide with your life. You a fan?

  31. Rob
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    I feel strangely in the know with this blog posting, since I actually know who Alyson Hannigan is. Most of the time I’m just sort of riding along. But somehow I get the feeling that she’s more likely to say, “This one time . . . at band camp . . . this pervert wanted to smell my hair!”

  32. Vince
    Posted April 29, 2011 at 10:40 PM | Permalink

    Your brain-meats look like a walnut. I approve of my favorite authors having tasty brain-meats.


  33. TPeer
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    My inside sadist says, keep the demons, the demons are funny.

  34. TowelSmileGirl
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Gluh, it doesn’t freak you out to see your brain like that!? It’s inside your head! Right now! Clearly, becoming a doctor is not high on my to-do list.

    Next up, Pat’s skeleton!

  35. mehawk
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    I have identefied the spot.

    I cleared out the garage last night, drew all the appropriate sigildry, did the obligitory blood sacrifices and chanting. Then placed my laptop in the middle of the circle and clicked “Embiggen” on that very spot 50 times.

    You are soooo screwed.

  36. David B
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

    That was tremendously amusing. I think it ranks second on my “favourite Pat R. block entries of all times list”, right behind the one about the Gayman-Day Index of Cool (reaching about 90.000 units on the aforementioned index).

    Anyways. I am SERIOUSLY tempted to somehow inform Alyson Hannigan about this blog. Anyone know how to discretely contact her?

    And if she isn’t able to laugh about this one then I’m totally with Gnavin: she most certainly does not deserve to have her hair smelled in that case!

    Cheers from Germany,

  37. Posted April 30, 2011 at 12:59 PM | Permalink

    You know Alyson Hannigan is on Twitter, right? I’m actually curious why you don’t hop on the Twitter bandwagon (I mean aside from the fact that it will give you more to do and it is somewhat pointless). In my mind the best use of it is to follow people you like (Felicia Day, Neil Gaiman). You could post links to your blogs and tag them and then they might actually look for realsies.

  38. Brandon Nichols
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    You should have gone with the “Oot Is my Master Now” shirt i gave you in St. Louis. Just saying lol.

  39. Lossimur
    Posted April 30, 2011 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    Pat, you are hilarious!

  40. fanofnotw
    Posted May 1, 2011 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    I have a question. Are you ever coming to Michigan anytime soon? Because I know a lot of people that would love to meet you, or have you sign their books. And I happen to be one of those people.

    • fanofnotw
      Posted May 1, 2011 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

      Or, just like the Midwest in general. Ohio works too. As does Indiana.

  41. Posted May 1, 2011 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Dear Pat;

    I noticed your urgent plea for answers concerning your acute case of foot in mouth disease. I’m happy to report that I may have found an answer, which lies somewhere within the frontal lobe of your cerebral cortex. Dr. Andreasen should be able to further narrow down the exact trouble spot pending the results of her study.

    Best of Luck,


  42. Ross Murray
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 2:22 AM | Permalink


    Rather off-topic buuuuut…

    Do you have any intention of returning to posting what you’ve read/are reading and what you thought of it?

  43. LynaZalhenit
    Posted May 2, 2011 at 9:50 PM | Permalink

    ha ha ha XD … I just found the perfect video to go with this blog … “The Brain autotuned by Symphony of Science” … I just watch it and remember Pat’s Brain

  44. Posted May 2, 2011 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    Oh, Pat.

    You make me laugh. :o)

  45. Juju_K
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    “Click to Embiggen” – I did that three times. I hope you already feel it.

  46. pwcreads
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Dang. Now I want to smell her hair.

  47. carloscastaf
    Posted May 12, 2011 at 8:17 PM | Permalink

    You know Pat…
    You have stolen hours of sleeping from all of your fans. You have spent the day with crazy fans at readings and signings and left with both your sanity and your life. You studied at the University for more years than the age of some of your readers. You write whole chapters about subjects others fear to mention. You have created a universe out of thin air.
    You are Kvothe. We have heard of you. You already have superpowers.

    • ktsmom
      Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      Awww…. if that doesn’t make Pat get a pitter-pat in his heart, something’s wrong with him. That’s the sweetest thing to say, and I fully agree. Pat DOES have super powers.

      I’m re-reading the first two books now, trying to be patient for the 3rd book to come out, and am astonished to find myself enjoying the second read just as much as I did the first!

      Pat – you are DA MAN.

  48. Posted February 6, 2012 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    Dude, I’m so glad someone else wants to know what that hair smells like! Both of them, of course…

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