Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Yes Virginia, You Can Run A Country On Unicorn Farts.

For an election that didn't change the presidency, the House or the Senate, this was probably one of the most historic elections of all time.  Ideology has now triumphed over reality.  We are now a corrupt banana republic continent sized Greece, and no one cares.  The people have spoken, and this is what they want, as long as someone else pays for it.  If I were the Republicans, I would think for a while about making a hard step to the left, and giving America what it wants in spades, then forming a new party to clean up the mess.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Music for Halloween

Yeah, it's a day late but I felt I had to do something.


From Shawnee, Oklahoma.  One of the many places across America the Oil Company accidently drilled a hole to Hell.

Halloween really snuck up on me this year.  I had plenty of warning of course; I've been looking at Halloween merchandise since August, but things just haven't looked Halloweeny.  The radio stations kept to their usual playlists, and I really didn't see that much on TV.  (Don't watch much at all though.) The trick-or-treaters were out in force and the local zombie walk looks like it is on it's way to being a tradition.  Still, there were fewer lights on, everyone was home at seven, and the local preacher didn't bother to publish his "Halloween is Satanism" (using the World Book Encyclopedia as primary reference) letter in the paper, and no one decorated.

Don't know what it is, or if it's part of a trend.  I'm sure the economy, uncertainty about the future, and Sandy all played a part.  On the other hand, what was once exclusive is now everyday.  In entertainment, we are pretty much flooded with vampire and zombie TV shows and movies.  Erotic vampire romance has taken the place of Nick Carter and Mack Bolan on the supermarket book shelf.  There are also ordinary people.  Pinhead used to be kind of scary, Now, well, I'm sure someone is working their way up to it as an expression of individuality.  Basically, if Americans are walking around looking like extras from "Apocalyptico" everyday, you really can't dress up any more than that.


People of Wal-Mart


Disclaimer: I don't care if you are into body modification, tribalism or whatever they call it these days.  It's your business.  Just don't ask me for a job or to pay your unemployment when you can't get one.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Have Had Enough Of This #^!@$ Chris On This #^!@&$ Train!

As the anonymous writer of the revolutionary pamphlet Virtues of a Deep Fried Hot Pocket, Properly Aged it may come as a surprise that I am very picky about restaurant food.  In fact, Gordon Ramsay would probably be telling me to keep my voice down, it's not that bad if we ever ate somewhere together, like a train.

Meals came with the sleeper ticket.  Much like the sleeper compartment itself, the passenger feels obligated to use what has been paid for to the utmost.  As a result, I found myself shambling towards the diner car more than once, despite knowing what was waiting for me.

First the good.  portions are very large;  no one goes away hungry.  Second, meals come with a side salad.  They were always fresh.  No overly ribby lettuce, and the tomatoes had no rancidity to them whatsoever.  The salad was also dry, a pleasant change from the soggy ones I often get.  Third...  uniforms of the dining crew were nice...?

The bad:
Seating.  They have communal seating.  Even if there are plenty of booths available they insist on seating four at a table.  They call it part of the experience, I call it lazy. I also call it terror on the tracks. If you don't time your arrival perfectly, you could wind up by the window with no way out and no barrier between you and your boothmate.
Bread.  A little under cooked, still white on top.  Dry.  Nice hollow sound when thumped.  Breakfast biscuits the same way.
Meal One, Fish.  Mushy.  Served with vegetable medley.  I hate side dishes that are lumped together as an afterthought.  Cold.  Also served with vegetarian chili.  Interesting.  Nice try, but if you are going to be innovative, get it right.
Meal Two, Eggs and Bacon.  Think the bacon was microwaved.  No much of an aroma.  Ordered eggs scrambled dry, but got a plain omelette instead.  Scrambled eggs are supposed to be fluffy, but they poured mixed eggs into a pan and let it cook until the bottom was done , then put it on the plate.  Still jelled on top.
Meal Three, Half a Roast Chicken.  Not totally fond of chicken, but I do enjoy a roasted one in a bistro setting.  Rather bland, skin not crunchy. Few too many bone splinters. Green beans were cold.
Meal Four, Steak.  Actually good!  Too bad it took an hour and fifteen minutes to get it from the moment I sat down.
Dessert:  Not freezer burned, but they had a texture which is difficult to describe. Imagine if something is very deeply frozen, then quickly thawed.  It's as if the cheesecake kept the crystalline form internally despite being  soft all the way through.
The Staff.  Some were inattentive, others were inexperienced.  Chef  stewards were professional, but the rest need some help.

Overall, probably not as bad as I make it out to be.  You have to take the circumstances into account, but I've eaten in places where full meals were freshly prepared in areas much smaller than the bottom deck of a train carriage.  I didn't make a snobby visit to the kitchen, but I suspect the main problem is over reliance on the microwave.  Cook something, then put it under glass right away; that's the main impression.

Better than airplane food I imagine, but sixteen dollars plus for a plate should get you something really good. All the trains also had snack bars on board where you could get drinks (cans, not bottles) packaged food and cold sandwiches, all pretty affordable.  That is probably the future.  Amtrak could do a lot to improve efficiency and reduce waste, but I imagine an outside vendor (sorry Aramark, but I hope it's not you) taking over meal services with an expanded selection in the snack bar.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Your Chamber, Sir.

Accommodations are pretty snug.  The sleeper cabin measures six feet long and three feet high.  It's not claustrophobic though, because if the upper bunk is kept folded, there is plenty of headroom.  It's definitely designed for the thinner generation of the 70's: I thought there was a nice (thoughtfully carpeted so you stuff wouldn't fall off) end table where I kept my wallet and stuff at night.  Turns out they were the steps to enable the more spry member of your party to vault himself into the top bunk.  

Everything is built solid.  Metal and glass abound.  Ergonomics are a buzzword of the future.  It's kept up well, but there are the usual problems of stuff that is getting old.  Speakers don't work and lights don't always come on.  It's not always a bad thing though.  There is supposed to be a closet in the room, but it is only a few inches wide and not very practical.  The closet is missing in many rooms, and that provides the perfect space for a suitcase or bag. Biggest problem quelle horreur! is that there is only one power outlet and..  and..  NO WI-FI.   You would think that's a problem considering the two-day aspect of the trip, but time moves pretty quickly.

Overall it's comfortable.  During the day.  At night, no.  The two seats in the cabin lay flat, and a mattress that is stored on the upper bunk is put on top.  The seats don't meet all the way, and the mattress is thin, so you will wake up with a backache right about the spot where there is no support.  What is a gentle rocking during the day becomes violent shaking at night.  Also expect a cherry "Rise and shine!" from your cabin attendant no later that 7:30 AM.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pt.2: All Aboard!

The first thing I noticed about train travel is  a comparative lack of security.  There were no guards at the doors, my bags were never searched and no one ever asked me for ID.  If you had a valid ticket, you were good to go.   In fact, they didn't have any problem with non-passengers waiting in the lounge or coming out to the train with you.

Part of this reflects good sense.  What are you going to do with the train now, Mr. Terrorist?  Move it back and forth after the passengers have jumped out the windows and doors?  The other part is that they intentionally cultivate a "family atmosphere", in fact, the train to Dallas was 45 minutes late while they kicked off some kids for smoking weed.  Cause trouble, and they stop the train.  I took sensible precautions, but I never worried about leaving my stuff unattended at any time.

The bad about this casualness is that it's very confusing at times to figure out what is going on.  Sometimes they scan your ticket at the door, sometimes in your room, and sometimes in the lounge.  Train 20 to Chicago won't necessarily have a big "20" on the nose.  Like any other mode of mass transport, the speakers don't work very well; of course I was next to the lady (my grandmother did the exact same thing) who was loudly reading the ingredients off of a Chicken McNugget  sauce packet while I was straining to hear which door I was supposed to assemble at.  I just acted like one of those cleaning robots that trundles along until it hits a wall:  Asked the first Amtrak employee I saw which way to go and went that way until I saw another Amtrak employee.  I repeated the process until I was firmly in my seat.

Next: amenities.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Chris Starts Training

I wanted to look at monuments and statuary without the insane hassles which come with flying, or the exhaustion which comes with days of driving.  Since my preferred method of travel, zeppelin service, is not yet available, I elected to give Amtrak a try.  Here is how it went, for those of you (like me) who haven't taken that mode of travel yet and are curious.

First of all, thanks suckers!  Amtrak burns through taxpayer cash faster than a solar energy startup.  Of course, railheads like to point out that other forms of transportation have public funding involved as well, and they are right.  Even the profitable freight lines on whose rails Amtrak has to run wouldn't be there without the public handing them large tracts of America way back when.  My personal view is that infrastructure is a vital part of keeping America together and government has a role to play in that.  Exactly what the role is, and how involved are subjects for debate, but like any other program, if it is offered, one should at least consider taking advantage.

With politics set aside for now, let's move on to packing.  I have actually not traveled very far in the last few years, and it has been a very long time since I went anywhere in anything other than a car.  Two things became very apparent to me:  First, you have to be more careful about your packing.  In a car, you can overdo it because it's your car.  You just leave the excess stuff in the trunk or back seat.  Second, the last few years have seen an upsurge in electronic devices.  before I knew it, I had put in my bag the cellphone charger, the e-reader (and charger) netbook (and charger) digital camera (with case, batteries, and memory cards) DVD player (with charger and selection of movies) GPS (with charger) plus the multicard reader and connecting cables.  Don't even get me started on medication.  I'd no idea how much space pill bottles take up.

All told, my bag tipped the scales at about twenty pounds.  My first mistake was to put it in a gym bag, figuring twenty pounds wasn't that much to carry.  Wrong!  When I got to DC, I switched to one of those bags with the telescoping handle and wheels.  Not only do wheels make it easier to haul around, they let you take your stuff into a restroom with a urine soaked floor without getting anything messy except the wheels.  A minor error was to get a hard sided case.  A softside would have been easier to squish into the cabin, and  the extra zippered compartments would have been useful.  Still, the hard case kept everything safe, and it is a snap to clean.

Second mistake was to cram everything into one bag.  While on layover in Chicago, I put my bag in storage, which left me having to carry camera and e-reader in my hands.  My moment of panic was when I returned to the lounge and realized I'd left my Kindle in the restroom.  Amazingly, it was still there when I raced back, but it underscored the necessity of having something to keep your vital stuff with you as well as freeing up your hands.

Next:  Train Inspection

Monday, September 10, 2012

Then And Now

A year ago, I had a filling pop out.  While we were waiting for everything to go numb, I asked Dr. E. about how healthcare reform was going to affect dentistry.  He replied that dentistry was such a small part of the healthcare pie it wasn't even on the radar.  

I have quite a few amalgam fillings, and I usually have to get one of them repaired every now and then.  The rule so far has been to watch for as long as possible, then fix when a crack starts to grow or darken.  I was therefore a bit surprised when the Dr. walked in and said "Let's schedule an appointment to do all of your maintenance work that needs to be done before your insurance re-ups  in December."  I of course inquired as to the sense of urgency.  Apparently in order to meet the demands of healthcare reform, the insurance industry is going to start shifting money away from dental and vision towards health proper.

At the moment, this is simply an interesting factoid.  There's nothing else really to say about it; dental was a part of the company healthcare package and like any good parasite I'm going to exploit anything that's free.  It's just that I can't shake this sense of foreboding, like my next filling will be inspired by a an Iron Curtain propaganda pamphlet.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pet Peeve Of The Week:

Stud finders.  I have never, ever been able to find a stud with either the cheap magnet-on-a-rocker type or the expensive type that looks like a handheld video game from the 80's.  I think they are all voodoo crap.  I would have been better served walking along the wall with a forked branch.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

X-Mas Is Here

At least the toys are.  Started unloading them this week.  Most are rather banal, but some make a stab at education:


That's pretty nice. Cool, educational.  We get a series of Smithsonian toys every year which cover a range of  educational subjects.  Better read the fine print:


Little Cletus mite be disappointed with his gift not having them Mars germs and all.

What an outrage.  I'm going to call my betters in Congress and have them do something about it.






Thursday, August 2, 2012

False Flag! It's A False Flag Operation!

I guess by this time everyone has seen the video of a jerk giving the window girl at Chick-fil-A a hard time.


It tastes good not because it's free, but because it's been filtered through Christian values.

This is so much of a farce, you wonder if it has to be part of a joke.  Regardless, it shows how the liberal left has become it's own worst enemy.

I admire how she handles him; she repeats the company line in a fairly calm manner.  Not me.  My defense mechanism in such a situation is to start an uninterrupted discourse of all the foolish  mistakes the company has made followed by a lecture of how I personally have been wronged... Wronged!  by the corporate suits. Works every time.  They sympathize with your plight and leave the store promising to do whatever it takes to get you a raise.

I have to be careful though.  Last week the big boss went to a meeting where the bigger boss announced that spies had been working the stores in the district photographing everyone at work  "..and why don't we dim the lights and look at the slides now?" My DM immediately looks for a window to throw himself out of when yours truly pops up on a slide, and is pointed out as an example of the company work ethos.  My secret?  Always have something in your hand, and perfect the retail version of Zoolander's "Magnum".  A focused look, but never questioning.  You are the master of the data, and it amuses you.  Slightly.  I've spent months walking around a store with a sheaf of green and white computer paper on a clipboard and absolutely no idea what to do with it.  Of course it all comes around, so I've walked into offices where the manager has been writing gibberish for years with no one finding out.


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Redneck Logging

Like there's any other kind.

Had a tree die from the heat.  Not sure of the exact type, but it was one of the *berry trees which are basically giant weeds.  They grow fast, always where you don't want them and have the habit of rotting very quickly when they do expire.

The idea of me up on a ladder holding a chainsaw with property very close has all the hallmarks of a farce somewhere between "America's Funniest Home Videos" and "Faces of Death" so I called an expert, if an expert is described as a friend of a friend who needs some money, but not too much.

Sherm did a pretty good job.  He cut the stump off level so it could be used as a pot holder, and didn't trample the plants that were in the flowerbed around the base.  Part of the contract stipulated removal of the debris, and I didn't see a pickup, so when I went out and saw bare ground with him carrying branches into the alley, I was sure there had been a miscommunication.

No worries though.

Yep.  All the way to the front.

Apparently he's just going to leave it there and burn it as he needs it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Quickly Dr. Oldman! To The Aerodrome And Nova Zemlya!

Ok,  I have no idea about the fashon world and thought Prada was a bureau of the Russian government.  The glimpses of fashion shows that I've seen look rather silly to me with the men's fashions appearing especially namby-pamby.

Not this though. This I want.




I'm going to have to change my lottery prayer from "Dear lottery fairy, if I win I'll make sure little Timmy gets his operation" yadda, yadda yadda to "I'll make sure all my friends and family are dressed in the Prada 2012 fall collection."

Monday, July 23, 2012

Just A Random Thought

This will seem sick and insensitive, but let's be thankful the Aurora shooter only had guns.  Imagine the carnage if he had his PhD in neuroscience before pulling a Joker and wanting to "see the world burn."

This is one of the things that does worry me.  Technology is progressing in leaps and bounds and it's only a matter of time before someone cooks up a virus or toxin in his or her basement lab.  Actually, I think it's a testament to the goodness or laziness of mankind that it hasn't happened on a wider scale by now.

Two  other thoughts:  I hope the "humans are a cancer on the Earth" types start getting their due attention.  I fear them more than I fear Islamic radicals, Christianists or the Tea Party.  Second, all those James Bond movies where the villain is plotting the end of millions don't seem like fantastic escapist fiction anymore.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Brains Get No Respect

Power out in Maryland, fires in Colorado, drought here (again) and hardcore Islamists in charge in Egypt and Mali.  What to do?  For me, the big decision is whether to press on with the second season of Lexx.  I'd grown rather fond of the Divine Predecessors:


but now that they've been squished, eaten, and blow'd up, I'm wondering if there is any reason to go forward.

P.S. Ever noticed that there is now a sort of standard brain accent?  It's a lot like a ghost accent with the groaning replaced by bombast.



Friday, June 29, 2012

Well, Just Be The Best Soylent Green You Can Be

The first casualty of the Supreme Court not overturning Obamacare is poor Virginia.  She's terrified that the next step is a summons from the Star Chamber of Health consisting of Ron Gettelfinger, Van Jones, John Holdren, a Dutch doctor, and an administrator for the NHS.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Things I've Learned from GENE RODDENBERRY'S CHESS SET

How to make a Roddenberry Sandwich:

Take:
 One Entertainment Producer (Executive may be substituted)
Lay across lap of Entertainment Producer:
 One Naked Hollywood Starlet
Balance on ass of Naked Hollywood Starlet:
 GENE RODDENBERRY'S CHESS SET
Garnish with:
 Two lines of Blow

Serve with copious amounts of alcohol.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

GENE RODDENBERRY'S CHESS SET

I has it.  I think.
The story is a long one, but in true gossip style, it's too good not to share.  It starts off in high school where I had a friend named Keith.  We were big Trekkies together, but a few years after graduation, he moved back to Arizona where he originally was from, and I figured contact would be lost.  About ten years later though, there's a knock at the door.  It's Keith.  Apparently he and his roommate (who worked as a phone psychic) got into a knife fight over a pizza.  Since Keith was the one holding the knife when the cops stormed in, he's the one who gets to go to prison.  He's decided to go on the run.   "Do you know what they do to gay men in prison?"  he blurts out.  "Get into the car, I'm taking you to the bus station."  I reply.

(Disclaimer.  I have nothing against lifestyle choices.  It's just when your high school chum shows you his photo album and mentions that "He overdosed, he committed suicide, that one was murdered, that one's in prison and I hustle for drugs."  you get the feeling that you've grown apart over the years.)


Needless to say, Keith got caught and served his time, plus a few.  While he's away, he writes letters to Star Trek cast and crew.  A member of the production crew replies, and when Keith gets out, he joins him in L.A.  They break up a little while later when Keith accuses him of being the one behind the cancellation of the FASA  Star Trek license.  (That, and "Hey, my ten years younger friend and weightlifting buddy Armando is getting out of prison.  Mind if he crashed here a while?"  For a guy who lived on the street, Keith can be pretty dim at times.)

Anyway, I guess as a petty way of hurting him, this person calls Keith and says that Gene Roddenberry has died and they are giving away his stuff to friends and family, and Keith can be his guest and grab whatever he wants.  When they pull up to the house though, he turns to Keith and says "Oh, by the way, all the Star Trek stuff was yesterday.  Today is just household goods."  Keith replies, "Hide and watch, f**."

Told me he found a whole car trunk full of stuff and picked up Gene Roddenberry's travel chess set on the way out.

About a year ago, Keith got back in contact with me on a Star Trek board.  He told me he was clean and sober and doing well enough that he was counseling others and wanted to send me Gene Roddenberry's chess set as a way of thanking me.  Not really sure what for.  Possibly my Vulcanian response to him telling me secrets I wasn't ready to hear.

Anyway, I might have Gene Roddenberry's Chess Set.  Let's celebrate with song.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Get Pyst If You Can Find It. Much Better.

Yes, it's Myst the novel.  All 466 pages.


Sadly enough, Myst was one of four games I payed full price for.  The other three were Interstate '76, Afterlife, and a really forgettable Tomb Raider clone.  Of course, that is the result of me using Newsweek reviews for my gaming information in the early days.

Back to Myst.  I thought it was pretty, and I understand that many people just love it, but even with a cheat guide, I was too bored to progress much past the island itself.  So now they went and wrote a novel.  It can't be that good, because it's $1.25.  For 466 pages. 

Now for all I know it might be superb. My problem with this book, and so many others, is th' us'e of th'e a'post'rop'he to an' ex'cess'ive ex't'ent to fa'ke an alie'n lan'gu'ag'e.  I don't like stuttering while reading to myself.  I guess this will have to go on the unread shelf along with A Day in the Life of a Moon Rock and Clam: The Untold Story of that Icelandic Bivalve Dredged up in 2007.

Of course, if you can't make it through Myst, there are more action packed game based books out there:

You'll need MMX technology in your glasses





Monday, May 14, 2012

Against Kirk-Fu, No Defense

But it's pretty hard on the user as well. Lawdog broke his pinkie doing the Interlaced Overhead Hammer Chop a few days ago.  Beats breaking a rib or shoulder doing the Flying Feet to the Chest signature move.  What he needs now is a new style.  After careful consideration and review, I've decided that  Buck Rogers style is probably best.  (Since shooting them according to the tao of Solo isn't permitted yet.)  With Buck, there are a few judo throws here and there, but it's mostly kicks with one foot firmly on the ground and the other foot never rising high enough to crack the kicker in half.  Nice and safe.  Buck can also throw down the dance moves, which defuses any combat situation by impressing an opponent with your speed and coordination.
video
Pick out your best horns Darling while I get my dancing sash.


Found this one by accident while searching.  Must have blocked it out.

Yo!  Draconian Empire!  You've been served.

No wonder Princess Ardala figured she could take the Earth with one capital ship and Henry Silva.

.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Internet Smells Of Ozone And Tastes Like Mildew

So I've been having some internet connection problems, especially during bad weather. It's odd, because storms haven't caused much disruption in the past, but the periods of internet outage were growing longer and longer. I did what I could, then called the provider, who assured me that everything was OK on his end. I was plugging and unplugging every cable, and let the cord from the antenna to the power drop to the floor by accident. Water dropped out. Apparently the antenna had weathered through and water got into the line, shutting down internet. When it dried, everything came back.

One of the reasons I delayed getting help is that we are having the very same problem at work, and we have a similar system. Guess I'd better go make a phone call...



If you happen to be lost in a giant supercomputer, cut a cat5 vine for a refreshing drink.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Crop Duster

I could totally see him mouthing "Rat-tat-tat".

Saw a crop duster on my way to work the other morning. He was working both sides of the highway, and that was as high as he would get, probably to keep motorists from driving off the road while squishing themselves down in their seats. Personally, I roll up the windows as fast as
I can and shut off the vents while speeding up. Those pesticides are bad business.
Nevertheless, it's fun to watch. That strip of green at the bottom of the photo is the field he was spraying, and he had just leveled off after climbing up out of it, and I mean out of it. I would swear that this part of Texas is pancake flat, but there are spots low enough to hide a plane for ten seconds or so.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Remember When...

...winning the war meant the issue was settled? Yeah, me neither.

Some thoughts on the thirty year anniversary of the Falklands War.
  • It was a big waste of life and treasure. If the Argentines had kept up gentle but steady pressure, with face saving compromises, the Falklands would be theirs by now. The same applies to Spain in regards to Gibraltar. The United States is making the same error in regards to Cuba. No, there is no territorial claim, but isolating Cuba is the best thing that could ever happen to the government there. (Paranoid Chris thinks pinko commies in the State Dept. play a role in the embargo because they want a socialist workers paradise reservation somewhere where the culture isn't based on potatoes.)
  • Nationalism really gets the people going. It's too bad the left can only see American nationalism. If any other government starts a war to bolster popularity at home, it's seen as a legitimate complaint.
  • Argentina should take a long look at itself and ask why the Kelpies don't want to cross over.
  • Ever since the longbow, the British make their equipment the hero. Everyone knows the Harrier won the war.
  • I think more lives have been lost and more territory has exchanged hands on the assumption that "They won't fight" and "Our fighting spirit renders us bulletproof". In regards to the Falklands conflict though, sheer toughness won the day.
  • Speaking of British character, that has to be the only country in the world in which sinking an enemy combatant in the middle of losing your own ships left, right and center is considered by some to be a war crime.
  • The Nobel continues it's slide into irrelevancy. What ever happened to self determination, Bishop Tutu?
  • What is it with the left that protests the ruling junta and thousands of missing people, then demands that a population submit to the same ruling junta?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wasn't John Carter Like, You Know, A President?

Wet and saw John Carter this Monday. Thought it was rather good, but apparently most of the country doesn't feel that way: John Carter is on schedule to be a massive Ishtar class flop.

So what happened? I liked the movie, but I saw some standard Hollywood mishaps which are becoming more common these days.

  • It should have been a B movie. A very well done B movie, but a B movie nevertheless. You have to remember the pulp roots of the story and adjust accordingly.
  • And you do that by slashing the budget. One bad thing I've noticed about computer FX is the urge to cram every inch of the frame with something, usually people. The sea of green faces didn't match up with the idea of a barbarian species living in ruined cities on the edge of a wasteland. More is not better for battles; it just becomes detail-less dots rushing together devoid of excitement or emotion.
  • Give us Ah-nold. Say what you will about the 80's musclemen, but no one forgot their names or faces. These days, they all look alike. Jake Gyllenhaal in Prince of Persia, that Mimosa fellow in Conan or this guy: they are all interchangeable. Bad news for the star of a franchise.
  • Someone explain "John Carter". Why not call it A Princess of Mars so everyone knows what's going on form the start?
  • Might want to ask where all the marketing dollars went. I had no idea it was out until I stumbled upon reviews. Contrast that to The Hunger Games, which I didn't know existed until I saw it on three or four magazine covers in the weeks before release.
  • By the way, I don't think the plot is stale. Look how many times the 'future gladiators' story has been used. Hasn't hurt The Hunger Games any.
  • The only problem I have with the actual story are the villains. They are just too vague in their motivations. Make them evil!
  • Dump 3D. There is still no reason to make movies in 3D.
  • Lastly, Edgar Rice Burroughs isn't as widely read as he used to be. Tarzan is about all he is widely known for these days, and Tarzan is so much in the cultural psyche he doesn't need an introduction. John Carter is a little different. If you don't know the books, the movie may be a bit harder to get into.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Pats Day

Just a little something to clear the mind and soul after a long day of green beer, funny hats, lame accents, and lines of dancing people on TV.


Blasting away at kinfolk. What the Irish do best.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Not Like The State Isn't Covered In Examples


For some reason, it's hard to get the Texas flag hanging right. I don't think of flags as sacred objects or anything like that, but I do think if you are going to put in the effort to fly one, you should think about it a little harder.

Day Three

I've also seen the Chilean flag flying proudly on a flagpole or two over the years.





Thursday, March 1, 2012

Race To The Bottom

The Bruce Wayne of our universe, Richard Branson, is in a race with filmmaker James Cameron to see who can revisit Challenger Deep, the deepest known point of the ocean. Cameron is going with the more or less standard spherical vehicle, while the Branson team is using a sleeker streamlined vessel from designer Graham Hawkes. Good luck to both teams, as well as dark horse Triton Submarines (no rich guy yet).

That's about it for now. All I can say is good luck, and it's about time. Two people have gone to the absolute depth of the ocean, and that was back in 1960. Once.

Also, ever noticed that no one ever claimed the dive of the Trieste was a conspiracy?


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

And The Academy Award For Best Father Goes Too...

...Ron Perlman. I don't think any other actor could say "I love you, son" while being splashed with molten metal and make it look convincing. It only gets worse from there. Yep, finally got around to seeing the "Conan" remake. Nope, can't believe Uwe Boll wasn't listed anywhere in the credits.

Yuck. So bad it isn't even rememberable. Bet "Scorpion King 3" makes a more lasting impression.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pineapple Tycoon

Remove ripe fruit from plant.



Decapitate fruit.



Plant crown in rich soil and wait.



Throw the damn thing away.


Game over, man!



Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Urban Archaeology

I entered the garage today. I had last trespassed the storage area of the carport about 1995, when I noticed leaking and decided to re roof it. There was a bit of rot, because I fell right through. ( Ten foot fall, nails and splintered wood everywhere, and I climb out without a scratch. These days, I'd be short a kidney. At least.)

Anyway, the time had come to do sort things out and salvage what was salvageable. I really didn't expect much, because it is all backed up to a prairie; unless it is hermetically sealed, there will be wildlife seeking shelter and the driveway slopes downward towards the storage area.

I was actually surprised. Much of what was in it had composted down to a scoopable layer, but there was quite a bit left in good shape.


What could it be?


Squeeek!




Not squeak.


This shows the fallibility of memory. I thought I had last walked into storage about thirty seven years ago. A 'Star Wars" Burger King glass (real glass) shows human activity much later than that. Science my friends, science.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Memoriam

To all those modern day pirates who cross off the wrong people.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Dinner With Abhoth

By Mackenzie, age six and a half.

Actually don't know who did this. It's a random doodle on a magnetic drawing board over on the toy aisle. Still, think it captures the moment when Doug discovers he is actually a fish-squid from an unimaginably distant planet.