Posted by: David | February 28, 2011

Brain Check

Left brain or right brain? Stare at the spinning lady a bit and decide whether she’s going clockwise or counterclockwise. Clockwise says you’re right brained, anticlockwise = left brained. Or vice versa, it doesn’t matter. What’s more important is that she appears to be totally NAKED! That’s cool, right?

This stupid animated GIF has been everywhere.

It’s really just an optical illusion. I’ve stared at her way too long and now see her oscillating back and forth, right leg and left leg switching impossibly. Her boobs may be switching left for right as well, but I don’t care. They’re so, ah, symmetrical … Anyway, I’m sure you get the point. Please tell me what that is.

Extensive Googling has proved beyond the shadow of doubt that this captivating cartoon is no more scientific a test of brain side dominance than whether you sucked your thumb in utero. OR your right thumb. You might try wearing your slippers on the wrong feet too. If that feels weird, then you probably have a brain. Good for you, you’re ahead of the game. If it feels perfectly normal, then check whether or not you actually put them on the wrong feet correctly. Screwed that up huh? Try it again.

See the birdies? Hear the piano music? YES!

If you’ve been following closely, then you’re probably beginning to wonder what the hell the point is here. Mainly I just wanted to justify the use of the cute title “Brain Check”. It rhymes with “Rain Check”. I also wanted to show off the crazy scene at the bird feeders and this seemed like as a good a time as any. Finally, while we were having breakfast Sunday morning, a blue jay and a cardinal were spotted in the sumac trees. It was snowy and gray and they were too far to really capture through the not-so-clean window, but here they are anyway, after some digital enhancement.

The red bird is on the left, blue bird on the right.

I’ll bet you didn’t fall for that old trick for one second, did you?

If you are reading these words and still breathing comfortably, then congratulations. You have passed the Brain Check. You’re good to go for the rest of 2011. Thanks for your continued attention.


  1. I never got past “naked.”

    I suppose you pictured a roof under her, then?

  2. OMG. What if I didn’t pass?

    Don’t worry about it Maleesha, you can probably find a job in the IT field. 🙂

  3. love the bird photos

    Thanks nursemyra. I only wish that a) I had a long telephoto lens, and b) the blue jay was facing the camera.

  4. You are suffering from James Bond opening credits syndrome.

    …and she is spinning anti-clockwise.

    That’s a whole whack of birds! I can’t tell the window is dirty likely because my own are nearly impossible to see through after a winter in the woods.

    Trying to trick us with the colours of text re: the birds is naff and you should be ashamed. The birds, however, are lovely so you are forgiven.

    …oh, and I do believe I have a brain. I can tell because it hurts. “It’s got to come out!” “Are you the surgeon?”

    I guess the spinning nude chick IS reminiscent of a Broccoli film opening montage.

    I like that: ‘whole whack of birds’ Yes, it was a really busy morning at the feeders.

    Your brain can feel no pain, they say. But, happily, whilst searching for the source of your quotations (not found) I happened upon the IMDB’s list of Withnail & I quotes. Lo and behold, here is how they reckon that quote I wondered about:

    Right, here’s the plan. First, we go in there and get wrecked, then we eat a pork pie, then we drop some Surmontil-50’s each. That way we’ll miss out on Monday and come up smiling Tuesday morning.

    You were right about it being a drug reference. Apparently Surmontil is an anti-depressant with sedative effects.

    • My quote is a sort of backward quote from Monty Python’s Brain Specialist sketch. Classic!

      Thank you for that trip down Memory Lane S. Le. Always loved those Mr. Gumby sketches. Please continue to pepper your commentary with appropriate British comedy quotations. ♥

      The plumage don’t enter into it!

      • Perfect quote keeping in mind the red and blue birds pictured here!

        He’s pining for the Fjords!

  5. Oh good! I passed. I also seem to be right brained… Whatever that means!
    Also? WHY is she naked? And why on earth did they spend so much time adding nipples? I am confused.

    Hee hee, good for you leaf! Whatever that means. Brain side dominance seems to be for real, but the spinny naked chick ain’t. Maybe here is a better test for how you use your brain.

    And to answer your question as best I can, I doubt that the nipples took that long to add. I’m sure that they’re just for symmetry and balance. See this page (scroll down a bit) for some further enhancement of the image …

  6. Great birdy pictures! Abby spied a cardinal in the tree outside her window one day, but I was too slow with the camera. Then we saw a bluejay outside the window of a Mexican restaurant, but I didn’t have my camera with me. Basically, there is no point to either story other than to say I’m jealous you were in the right place at the right time with the right equipment.

    And that the spinning nude chick didn’t do anything for me. Except diagnose me as right-brained, if that test can be trusted.

    Thanks Allison. Just seeing a cardinal is exciting. Since we’ve been feeding the birds year-round for so long, we’ve got regular cardinal pairs hangin about. I think the current ones are descendants. Our cat killed one a number of years ago. We were mortified. But they came back. The females are quite lovely too, with their orange beaks. Blue jays are usually very loud and pushy, so it was a surprise to see one looking so, er, subdued.

    I bet that you probably are right brained, being an accountant and all. Ambi-brained I seem to be, according to a questionnaire. The spinning chick goes both ways and back and forth for me. And that test is not really a test at all, but just an optical illusion. It’s presentation as a test of hemispheric dominance is hokum, malarkey, balderdash, horsepucky, flapdoodle, etcetera.

  7. 100% right brained. I can’t even use my telepathic skillz to make her go left.

    I love your photos so much it hurts. But in a good way.

    ps. I totally fell for it.

    Really B? REALLY!?!? That’s a huge surprise! I thought a) funny people were 100% left-brained, b) Canadians were ALL left-brained, and 3) skillz had 2 z’s in it. My whole brain is wrong wrong wrong. As usual.

    Thanks for the photo props. As mentioned, they are artificially enhanced by upping color saturation and clicking “Autocorrect”. This is like adding sugar or corn syrup, it’s fake but it makes people get addicted.

    So you thought the blue jay was red? Dang. I’m sorry. But thanks so much for visiting!

  8. I don’t know how I passed the brain check, but I did. Who-hoo!

    Must be from all them books you read. Yer smart!

  9. but I don’t want to be right-brained!!! but I can’t make her spin the other way… oh well.
    then again, I walked into a wall today – thought I knew how many steps it was from the kitchen to the entryway with my eyes closed. I was wrong. ouch. Analyze THAT.

    Hey C. Being right-brained ain’t all that bad really. And from what I’ve Googled and read, this whole hemispheric dominance is way too overstated anyway. Neuroplasticity is way more important these days. Adaptation. We really use both sides of our brain. People just love to jump on whatever bandwagon that comes along to classify themselves as somehow different from the throng.

    Can’t explain (or analyze) why you’d exit your kitchen with eyes closed, but I hope you didn’t hurt yourself seriously.

  10. But she isn’t nude. She is wearing a tricot. It is in your imagination that she looks naked. Isn’t it fascinating how many people like to get themselves psycho-diagnosed? As if it were not one of the oldest recommendations (by Socrates?) to try and “know thyself”, which is also impossible, since it depends on the terminology used rather than on one’s nature, and the terminology depends on where you live. Big deal. Online I found a list of all the tests available for sale and otherwise to test your employees, students, patients, soldiers, children etc.

    There were nearly 50.

    You’re absolutely right about my imagination! Can you make her reverse direction by adjusting your gaze?

    An impulse arises to contest your assertion that self-knowledge is impossible. However, in the context of language (if that phrase makes any sense!) or ‘terminology’ as you call it, I must agree. Being a huge fan of Socrates’ recommendation of self-knowledge, it’s an article of faith that this knowledge is attainable. It’s a belief I hold close as well as an aspiration. So all I have to argue with you is whether it’s a ‘big deal’.

    Having worked in the field of education for some time, these ‘personal metrics’ come and go in cycles. The ones I have taken usually put me in the middle of whatever range they ‘measure’. I guess that my astrological sign, Gemini, also puts me amidst this and that. Big deal!

  11. Do you also get a lot of spam in the referrals? Every day 20 or more on whatever was published last, and since I get mostly only between 400 and 500 a day, those 20 hits drive whatever I published last near the top and make it stay there for more than a day.

    And I have an elaborate system of betting on my top posts. The idea is that I can “invest” a maximum of 2% of the clicks I get to favour certain posts of mine against others and so counteract the mass trends. It is a kind of private ping pong with fashion trends. The idea is also to speculate on what will work and what won’t, which is most instructive and depends on school schedules, weekend vs work day, Europe vs USA, and of course on the title of a post.

    I don’t have extra stats, only the ones supplied by WordPress. For instance, I see that a post on Frank Gehry has reached the top posts and I give it 6 clicks to make it stay there — 6 clicks cost me so much that it pulls my stomach tight — and then Gehry falls off the top posts anyway! That takes the wind out of my sails for several hours. And conversely, if I see that those 6 clicks put Gehry on the top posts for several days, I feel on top of the world, the king of the show. This has also taught me a lot about the NYT front page etc.

    The spammer is always the same, but has a different address every day, a meaningless address hard to remember.

    You DO have an elaborate system! Since I barely get 50 hits per day, most of which I assume are accidental since they last only seconds (according to StatCounter), I pay very little attention to the traffic. After 4 years there have been about 54000 visits to this blog. I took that statcounter widget off a long time ago. If I haven’t admitted this before, then I do so now. I blog for totally selfish reasons. But I really really REALLY appreciate my small group of readers. Especially you! 🙂

    The Akismet spam filter usually catches 5 – 10 items per day, though last week I got hit with a record 42 pieces of spam comments. WordPress makes it very easy to deal with this spam and it hardly ever marks real comments as such.

  12. Time for a new post, innit? Come on then! Chop chop!!

    OK Ms. Bossy Pants, I’m working on it. We had a little disaster this morning- flooded cellar! How’s that for an excuse? Hmm, maybe I’ll use that over on your blog.

  13. Not spam comments, but spam referrals! And this time they have been very nice, because they have been hitting your Birdfeeder video: 27 hits! Also, this time I did not see them come in. And now they are there with 2 names: and

    It is easy to see that they are spammers, because to get 17 hits there would have to be many search terms asking about birdfeeders, and that would only happen once the post has been in Google for a long time.

    Now that is very nice. I was going to try and put the Birdfeeders up as a “sticky post”, but I don’t yet know how to do that without having the sticky post displace the latest post.——

    As to getting to know oneself: would you then think that the way you see yourself is similar to the way others see you? And is it your experience that this way of seeing yourself remains the same throughout the years? — !!!

    What? Spam referrals? I’m not sure I understand. Maybe you could email me the full text of one of these?

    I believe that since your home page is set to show a single post, and a sticky post is intended to stick in “newest” position, it may not be possible. You would need to set your home page to show at least 2 posts to allow assigning one “stickiness”. I’m very flattered that you liked this little video, especially because of the way it came to me.

    Good questions on the self-knowledge theme. During my early adolescence I learned that there was little or no similarity to the way others see me and how I saw myself. Moreover, I learned that there was not much to be gained by worrying about how others seemed to see me. And yes, it has been my experience that my way of seeing myself has changed little over the years. I like to think my self-view has deepened somewhat, but often I catch myself engaging in very shallow thinking.

  14. I’ve seen the spinning girl before, and she usually go clockwise. I did once manage to see her going the other way, but I’m too lazy to try it today. Pretty birds!

    Hi Pied. Sorry but the spinny girl has sped up for some reason. Now I can only see her going clockwise too. I wonder how to make her slow down.

  15. I forgot to ask why you call yourself Schlubbe at Youtube and also why in an emergency you would suggest packing up reading glasses in addition to Proust and flour and sardines.

    TheSchlubba is just another example of self-deprecating humor, for which I am famous. A ‘schlub’ is “a talentless, unattractive, or boorish person”, according to an online dictionary. This describes me nicely.

    I think that other item was what you would need post apocalypse. Extra set of reading glasses lest you end up like the Burgess Meredith character in the classic Twilight Zone TV episode from 1959, at the height of the cold war terror. If he’d had an extra pair of spectacles the show would have had a happier ending. 🙂

  16. Spam referrals: go to your blog’s main stats page, and on the left you’ll see “Referrers”. Those are sites that sent you a visitor. Recently, suddenly, there were 10 or more referrals there from one place, up to 17 from that same place again the next day.

    I do get very many hits for some of my posts that were originally made for just that purpose. They are my girlies, the kind of thing a magazine hangs out to get people to look and take in an ad or two, but for me to get 17 referrals for a single post is startling.

    So I checked and found that among the referrals there are many that only want the viewer to come to their place where they sell insurance or financial advice or systems to pay for clicks. Go and look, for you would also have them, and I don’t mind unless they upset my top post list displacing the “girlies” and making it more difficult for my other posts to reach the top list.

    I saw that the baby is now about to come. Happy Birthday to all of you!

    Yes I see what you mean. I don’t have the same level of traffic as you do. In fact, for “All Time” it looks like YOU are my top referrer. Thanks!

    The baby is on the way yes. Thank you for asking. I’ll be sure to post something here when she arrives.

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