Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Comic strips - the finale

Boat Crime (
Kinda, you know, whatever and whenever.

Pictures for Sad Children (
Long comics about whatever.

Nicky 510 (
A comic about a kid.

Not Invented Here (
Mostly about two guys who are programmers. But it's not really programming humor so much as office humor.

Two Lumps (
A strip about 2 cats.

Channel Ate (
A strip about whatever.

THERE! I'm done! And glad of it!
Gonna be a few years before I try that again.
WADDA YA MEAN "there's more on your other computer"!?! Forget them!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

horse rental

Would you call a covered wagon rental company "Yee-Haul"?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon

Dreamworks isn't my favorite animation studio. "Shrek" was alright, but wasn't a great movie. It was funny and had a good story, but it also relied on topical references for it's humor. Right off the bat they've made sure that it won't survive the years. And that's their big hit. Compare it to "Shark Tale", "Madagascar", "Over the Hedge", "Bee Movie", "Kung Fu Panda", or "Monsters vs. Aliens".

Now they've put out "How to Train Your Dragon". I didn't believe that it was a Dreamworks movie. I had to look it up.

Look at these Pixar posters. What do you notice?Click to enlarge.

They're colorful, they show the title, they show the characters, in small letters there's the company name. So what?

Now look at these Dreamworks posters. What do you see?They're colorful, there's the characters, there's the company name, and in big letters there's the name of the voice actors. In the Shrek poster the names are bigger than the title. This tells you something about the priorities of the studio. Pixar places the importance on the story. Pixar IS the star.

Dreamworks places the importance on the actors. Their movies aren't really bad, but they can't compete with Pixar. They need the famous actors as a crutch.

Now have a look at the poster for "How to Train Your Dragon".Not a single actor's name. The name of the studio and previous popular works is relatively small. The focus of the poster is the movie itself.

I bring all this up because it seems that the movie benefits from this change of focus. They actually produced a great movie. I'd expect this from Pixar or from some small new company, but not Dreamworks.

What we have in this movie is a viking village that is beset with dragons. The son of the village leader is a scrawny twerp to wants to help, but can't. He's small and weak and clumsy. When one of his inventions manages to take down a dragon nobody believes him. He hunts down his downed dragon and finds he can't kill it. So he lets it go.

Over the course of the movie he makes friends with the dragon and learns enough about them that he quickly leads his dragon hunting class. Still, he won't kill the dragons.

Naturally, the village finds out about the friendly dragon and uses it to go after the main nest. And the kid has to go in and save the day.

Ok, there's some familiar themes here. The same has been said of "Avatar". It's a good story, well told. I'll probably get it on DVD.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Links: March 26

Trampoline skillz.

Commuting via zip line. [link]
No indication how they get back.

James Randi comes out of the closet on the JREF podcast. [link]
You may notice the total lack of mockery directed at The Amazing Randi by me. That's because at no point in his life did he encourage depriving gays of equal rights or abusing them in any way. This isn't true about the heaps of priests and conservative politicians who get caught having gay affairs and then try to deny that they're at least bi-sexual.
Oh, perfect! These guys are the ones I rip on. [link]

I grew up with the woman on the right.

Having pointed out that the landing sites of a couple of American moon missions have been spotted from orbit, I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the landing site of a Soviet moon mission has also been found. [link]

Both parts of Congress have passed health care bills, the President has signed it, now they're sorting out the differences. Author John Scalzi has written an excellent summary of the situation. [link]

A new video from the Tesla Coil playing band Arc Attack. [link]

The Large Hadron Collider has set new collider beam record by triple the old record. They're preparing to double the new record. [link]

Giant steel Soviet machinery. [link]

If we just turn on that one gene... [link]

Parent has an e-mail chat with the chaplin of his kid's school. [link]

Furniture from street signs. [link]

"At the end of the test every single mouse was dead." [link]

"Off That" a rap rationalist anthem.
The MP3 [link]

Sir Christopher Lee reads "The Jabberwocky". [link]

Weaponized chili peppers. [link]

Fox News is full of crap. So why haven't any other news agency done an exposé. [link]

Great missing dog signs. [link]

Philip K. Dick's letter to one of the makers of the movie "Blade Runner". [link]
Just so it's clear, "Blade Runner" is based off of the book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" by P.K. Dick.

I told you about the wackaloon being voted off the Texas School Board. Alas, he's done a lot of damage already. Here's a breakdown. [link]

Rocket and shuttle launch photos. [link] [link 2]

Impressive Mario papercraft. [link]

If you're familiar with Bill O'Reilly you know how he talks over guests and cuts off microphones when they're in danger of making valid points. If you've seen Crossfire or most any modern American talking head show you've seen people yelling over each other. this link has a whole Jon Stewart interview with a Bush apologist. It appears to me that Stewart worked hard to make sure that the guy got plenty of opportunity to speak. The other guy disagrees. So they posted the whole, uncut interview on their website for everyone to see. This is why "The Daily Show", a comedy news show, is better respected and won more awards than most serious news shows.
The subject is the use of torture as an interrogation device. [link]

Game: Imperfect Balance - Use these blocks to push those blocks off screen. [link]

Those of you who listen to audio books will want to download "How to Succeed in Evil".
Superman is always gonna kick ass. It's his comic book. He's the main character. He has to. But what if it wasn't his comic? What if it was Lex Luthor's comic? The story opens with a Superman type character completely failing to stop an airplane from crashing. Then we switch to an evil consultant. You're a super villain? You need an investor? This is your guy. Just don't come to him with yet another death ray in space.[link]

While on the subject, I should remind you of a similar book - "Soon I Will Be Invincible". If you check out my review you'll find links to chapters 1 and 2 available for free. Yummy just finished reading it. Ask her, she liked it. [my review]

How the Borg named Hugh is responsible for passage of health care reform. [link]

Alien vs Pooh. [link]

The trailer for "Weird" The Weird Al Yankovic Story. [link]

Sexist church shocks it's own female member with extra sexism. Sure, they can't vote, but they were prevented from even speaking. [link]
Lutheran women of Baraboo... LEAVE ALREADY!

Picture of the Milky Way on fire. [link]

Short films of Tim Burton. [link]

Collection of female punk rock music. I've downloaded a lot but haven't listened to any of it yet. Could be rubbish. [link]

How different tech companies got their names. [link]

A Nightline discussion "Does God Have a Future". Sam Harris, Michael Shermer, Deepak Chopra, and Jean Houston discuss the issue. [link]
Deepak shows once again that he has a lousy grasp of physics. Trying to wrap his brand of religion in scientific terminology in front of a crowd of CalTech students probably wasn't his best plan.
The discussion suffers from the major problem that all the guests, religious and atheist, favor dumping the modern and historic religions. The religious guests want everyone to follow their particular beliefs, one wrapped in bad science and the other little more than "Be excellent to each other." The atheists keep trying to remind the religious people that there's thousands of years of religiously based culture to purge first.

How I'd build a homeless shelter for myself. [link]

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comic strips - part 10


Abstruse Goose (
Not so much a strip as a storyboard. It's about whatever the cartoonist wants it to be about. It's a long enough format to make the joke more than just a gag.

You Say It First (
One of the many strips that are cast completely in anthropomorphic furry animals. Alas, that's kind of it's defining feature.

Doc Rat (
A strip about a doctor who is a rat. Some stories, some gags.

Jesus and Mo (
Jesus and Mohammed hang out and make religion look stupid.

Out at Home (
There's an idiot millionaire, his kids, and assorted other things. They try for a gag a day while keeping longer story lines going. They usually start with someone doing something stupid and a series of bad things happening.

Rooster Teeth (
Four (or so) guys work in an office together. Sometimes it's office humor, sometimes it's video game humor, sometimes it's dating humor.

Sequential Art (
There's a guy, his girlfriend, a scientist who hangs out, some super intelligent idiot who escaped from a lab. Sometimes it really cracks me up.

Freefall (
There's this alien in a humanoid space suit. He's a conman with his own space ship. He has a one of a kind intelligent dog as his crew.

Johnny Wander (
A reality based comic about a group of friends who live together.

Erf World (
This one has taken a strange turn. It's a largish comic about a guy who hits his head while being a game master in a D&D-type game. When he wakes up he's in a world based on D&D. It uses similar terminology and battle tactics. He quickly becomes a military leader. Unfortunately, these days the author does a strip or two and then a page of undrawn story that I never read.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Flat Alice

For today's post you need to go somewhere else.

A friend's kid sent me her Flat Stanley variant so I could take pictures of it around DC.

Flat Stanley is a story book character who is small enough to fit in an envelope. By drawing their own and sending it somewhere the class becomes involved in their social studies or geography lessons. This makes them pay more attention and retain more than they would if the same pictures were shown without their Flat people.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Comic strips - part 9

It just keeps coming.

A strip about whatever the artist feels like.

Commissioned Comic (
Another comic about some guys playing D&D. Unlike some that spend 99% of their time in the game, this toggles back and forth between the game and the gamers quite often.

Subnormality (
An extremely verbose cartoon.

Political cartoons bu Jeff Danziger (

Assorted political cartoons (
Political cartoons that the Center for American Progress likes.

Mangled Stare (
A comic about a guy and his family. Sometimes he has powers. Othertimes he doesn't. It updates whenever.

Jack (
A not at all funny strip that usually focuses on the incarnation of death.

Dork Tower (
A comic about gamers.

Apple Geeks (
Two comics about some people. One is a hard core Apple Computers fan. Often tech related, but not always.

Menage a 3 (
A comic about a guy who's inept with women and the hot chicks he completely fails to get anywhere with.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is here

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

Springtime for HitlerYeah, I picked the version from the new movie because it has Captain Jack Harkness.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Links: March 19

Lets start off with Yummy working in the sidewalk cutout in front my house. Image courtesy of Google Street View. The blurry green thing on her shoulder is what came out of the lint trap after that Leprechaun got trapped in the clothes drier. I gave it to her as a pet.

School cancels prom because they can't legally prevent a lesbian student from bringing a date. [link]

Texans reject wackaloon from leading state school board. [link]

Here's an interview with said wackaloon.

Games - 9 great physics puzzle games. [link]

Hide the body, eat the body. [link]

Flyover of Candor Chasma on Mars using data from the HiRISE telescope on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Large impact crater uncovered due to deforestation. [link]

Pic - Bad day for lizard. [link]

World's biggest house of cards. [link]

Repressive religious upbringing a significant cause of sex crimes. Porn a neutral leaning toward positive influence. [link]

Vocal music maker. [link]

Slick drawing tool. [link]

A device that plays your credit card data as sound. [link]

image - Model Enterprise-D the size of a hair. [link]

The story of the early days of Windows. [link]

image - Spring time in north Mars. [link]

Venus terrorizes Ohio.

picture - Batman fighting a shark with a lightsaber. [link]

Things you can use vodka for other than drinking. [link]

picture - Pyramids seen from space. [link]

That's one of many pictures posted on this astronaut's blog. [link]

Popular Science complete archive. [link]

A fascinating article on the history of the cure for scurvy. It focuses on the discovery of a cure and the loss of that knowledge. [link]

Game - Line Simulator: You're in line for a PS4. Get the people in front of you to leave. [link]

Ferret hand jobs. [link]

Painted people. Not what you think. [link]

Christopher Hitchens writes about the Pope's involvement in the ongoing rapist priest scandal. [link]

Bigelow Aerospace now hiring astronauts. [link]

Pictures from the 2010 Winter Paralympics. [link]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Comic strips - part 8

Holy crap! It's more comics.

Neurotically Yours (
A biweekly animated comic about a constantly pissed squirrel and his perpetually inflating owner.

Mint Condition (
There's these guys, and a woman sometimes, and they kinda, um, do.... stuff. And things. Except, of course, when other stuff happens.

Slackerz (
A remarkably similar description to the one above.

Sorry Comics (
An irregularly updated comic about some guy whose life sucks. Not really funny. Not sure why it's still in my queue.

Maneggs (
Irregularly updated, but funny.

Out There (
Sort of a comic strip soap opera, but somewhat amusing.

Rob and Elliot (
Updates weekly... most of the time. There's these two guys and stuff happens.

DNDorks (
Another comic strip about some people playing Dungeons and Dragons. Lately the update schedule has been shot to hell.

Digital Unrest (
A comic about video games.

Pressed (
A comic strip about a small newspaper.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fisher House

You may have heard recently that the largest chunk of Obama's Nobel Prize money, $250,000, will be given to the Fisher Houses. [link] I thought I might let you know what that is.
Elizabeth and Zachary Fisher (above) funded the first couple of Fisher Houses in 1991. The first was at the Naval Medical Center just outside DC. The second was built at the Forest Glen Annex, a Walter Reed Army Medical Center extension. Soon a proper foundation was founded to make sure there was at least one on every military medical facility.

The point of the Fisher Houses is much the same as the Ronald McDonald Houses. They provide free housing for family members of wounded military personnel while they're undergoing treatment. If they had to get a hotel for the weeks or months that a wounded soldier it would easily bankrupt them.

In late 2004 Denzel Washington was visiting Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio where he was helping present Purple Hearts. During a tour of the base the Fisher House was explained to him. He did make a large donation but not on the spot and not enough to pay for a whole house as the circulating e-mail claims. Obama's donation will not pay for a whole house either, but a quarter of a million dollars isn't chump change.

These are the two Fisher Houses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC). They were built in 1996 and 2004.

Unfortunately, because of the quantity of soldiers surviving their injuries but still needing ongoing medical care, there is insufficient room at WRAMC to house them all. After filling up the base hotels wounded had to start being kept in the Fisher Houses. Their families could stay, but they had to share a room with their wounded soldier. It was when they had to start moving people into what were condemned buildings that the famous Walter Reed/Building 18 scandal broke. The decision by Congress to close WRAMC led to funding for building repair and upkeep being lost. So Building 18 was open and housing wounded, but it looked like crap. Money has since been reinstated to keep the buildings up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Comic strips - part 7

Sick of this yet?

Mint Condition (>
A comic about whatever the author feels like writing about.

Teaching Baby Paranoia (
This comic recently ended. I include it because I liked it enough that I recommend reading the archives. It's a comic about obscure points in history.

unnamed political comic (
Exactly what I called it.

Bunny (
A rather odd strip about 3 different colored bunnies. Can go from sweet to homicidal fairly quickly.

Rusty and Co (
Another D&D type comic. There seems to be a storyline, but it only updates once a week so I'm not really sure where it's going.

Legend of Bill (
Yep, it's a D&D type comic. It tries for a gag-a-day and a storyline. The author goes on frequent vacations, but he does get guest comics for those times.

The Dog House Diaries (
A stick figure comic about whatever.

Snowflakes (link)
A comic about a bunch of kids at a Catholic orphanage. There are story lines, but I'm having issues following them.

Buni (
A pantomime comic about a bunny whose life sucks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Movie Review: Alice in Wonderland

We're all familiar with the old Alice in Wonderland story. If, by some chance, you're newly arrived on Earth (first of all, "welcome") you can read it here or listen to it here. The rest of us either read the book, saw the Disney cartoon, or caught the zillions of references to it in TV, literature, comics, and song. Last night I had more examples, but off the top of my head I can only think of the song "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, The Mad Hatter from Batman, and the chick with the tattoo that Neo was supposed to follow in "The Matrix".

Now there's a new Alice in Wonderland movie. Only, it's not about the book "Alice in Wonderland". It's not even about the sequel, "Through the Looking Glass". This is a new Alice story based on the first two.

The posters and teasers showed that this was gonna be Wonderland shown in a way that only Tim Burton could, or would, do it. I was expecting the completely mad classic story with the acid trip look we kept seeing advertised. When I found out this was a late teens Alice returning to Wonderland I was afraid for the story. Sure, finding a small child who can act is very hard, but why mess with a good thing?

Actually, there is a flashback scene with a 6 year old Alice that makes me glad that they didn't go that route.

So, Yummy and I went to see the movie Saturday night. We briefly meet young Alice dealing with strange dreams of her trip to Wonderland and get some idea what kind of person her father is. Then we leap ahead to an 18 year old, pale Alice with dark rings around her eyes, who is being swept along by life toward places she doesn't want to go and doesn't know what to do about it.

Alice is going to a party where she will be proposed to by a Lord that she doesn't seem to know. At the party is all manner of person, most of whom are supposed to be different Wonderland creatures. But when the proposal comes Alice runs off into the garden maze and slips off to Wonderland.

This next bit bothered me. You know how the Harry Potter movies seem rushed because they have an insane number of pages to fit into a 2-3 hour span? That's how the next 10-15 minutes of the movie feel. There's about 20 minutes off footage that you just KNOW ended up on the cutting room floor and needed to be put back in.

Long story short (too late) Alice has come to fulfill the prophecy that says she'll kill the Jabberwocky and end the reign of the Red Queen. The problem being that the throne belongs to the Red Queen by right of inheritance. The White Queen is popular, but she's a usurper and this isn't her first attempt at taking the crown. Little things make you come to mistrust the White Queen.

We also see Alice grow into herself over the course of the movie. She drinks the shrinking drink to make her tiny which reflects how much of the original Alice there is in her. But as she gets her confidence back and starts to take command she eats the growing cake to make her large. When it comes time for her to accept the final challenge she is made normal size to reflect that she is fully Alice again. So when she returns to the surface she has regained her confidence and is able to tell the Lord she's not interested and steps in to become an active part of her late father's business.

For the most part I liked the movie. There is symbolism and themes and what not that can be followed by someone other than pretentious prats in smoking jackets who are just making shit up anyway. I'm not sure, however, that I'll want to buy it.

I look forward to seeing costumes of the Red Queen's soldiers at future comic conventions.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday Links: March 12

15 house plants you can use as air purifier (and I can turn to crispy brown vegitation). [link]

Vatican personnel caught in gay prostitution ring. [link]

Another anti-gay senator busted picking up men. [link]
What's the difference between a Democrat and a Republican?
When Democrats cheat on their wives it's with another woman.

Pedophile priests in the Netherlands, too. [link]

Ground to water to air hovercraft.

Fast food dominance infographic. [link]

I shot the... [link]

Recently another gay hating Senator was busted for drunk driving after coming out of a gay nightclub with another man. Now this California state senator has come out of the closet at age 55. [link]
I think the guy was scum for spending his life working to deprive a group of people of equal rights, but I have to applaud him for coming out of the closet instead of continuing to live the lie he made of his life. His punishment for his discrimination is the knowledge that he's wasted 3/4 of his life. I hope he can enjoy what time he has left.

Remarkably honest church. [link]

Game: Steambirds - turn based plane battles. [link]

Tasmanian Devils are quickly dying off because of a contagious cancer that spreads when they bite each other in the face. But there seems to be a colony of them with a natural immunity. [link]

Graphic - Budget forecasts based on different bills. [link]

Baby woolly mammoth on display in Chicago. [link]

Build your own R2-D2.
Full plans available from the R2-D2 builders club. [link]

Graphic - Disclaimers to put in textbooks. [link]

If you've got a clear sky between now and the 16th could you take some star readings and record them here? It helps them build a better guide to light pollution and viewing areas. [link]

The obligatory astronaut squirrels link. [link]

Making of Invader Zim "facts". [link]

The end of YouTube's broadcast day.

Game - Robot Wants Kitty. Navigate a maze to unlock skills to help you get to the kitty. [link]

Old woman growing horns. [link]
She's lucky she's in China. They may be oppressive, but most places with living conditions like hers she would likely have been burned to death by now. Actually, she probably would have died 60 years ago.

Totally ripped fish.

New way of generating electricity. [link]
I gotta say, I love me some carbon nanotubes, but when do we get our fraking space elevator already?!

Christianity and the Constitution. [link]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Book Review: George's Secret Key to the Universe

There are some books that I pick up just because of the author. Sometimes this leads to reading books that I wouldn't typically read. In this case the name was Stephen Hawking and his daughter and the book was "George's Secret Key to the Universe".

I don't know how the collaboration went on this book. This isn't what you typically expect from Professor Hawking. Did he advise on the science while his daughter wrote the story or was the partnership more equal? It's a lot more readable than "Universe in a Nutshell". Of course, it's also intended for pre-teens. I've got no real reason to suspect that Steve (I call him Steve) couldn't write for kids.

The book is about some kid named George. His parents are about as close as you can be to a Luddite these days. They're a couple of uber hippie eco freaks who grow their own food, keep a pig in the back yard, and do with as little as possible. They don't even have a computer and that's what really bothers George.

Next door is a big, old, empty, spooky house that George has been told never to go near. And he doesn't until the pig busts through the fence and George has to recover it. That's when we meet the other major characters. An astronomer, his wife, and his imaginative girl have recently moved in. They have an intelligent computer that can open wormholes to other parts of the universe.

This is where I think Steve (I call him Steve) comes in. The astronomer talks about space and various astronomical phenomena in a simple and easy to understand manner and gets it right. The book also contains photos taken by the Hubble Telescope and sections elaborating on stars, black holes, and the like in ways that would have been awkward to try to fit in the main narrative.

Soon the school announces a science fair with a computer being the first prize. George consults with the astronomer to work on his entry in the fair. But soon an evil teacher finds out that his old friend and current nemesis, Eric the Astronomer, is in town. He vows to steal Cosmos, the name of Eric's computer.

And, of course, there are bullies. There are always bullies in books for this age group.

I recommend this book for anyone old enough to read Beverly Cleary level stuff. If you're the sort that reads to your kids, I can recommend it for that, too. There's lots of illustrations and, of course, the Hubble photos I mentioned before.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Comic strips - part 6

Yeah, this again.

Namir Deiter []
Honestly, I don't know why I read this one. It's not funny or interesting.

Gunnerkrigg Court []
Still trying to figure out what's going on in this one. There's this girl and some forest spirits or something and they... um...

8 Bit Theater []
A comic drawn with video game sprites about a group of idiots who think they're the chosen ones who will save the world. It used to be better, but now the story just kinda drags.

Calamities of Nature []
It's a comic strip about a couple of unspecified anthropomorphic animals.

Ubersoft []
A comic about life inside a Microsoft ripoff.

The Zombie Hunters []
A strip about... well, the title says it all.

Bad Machinery []
Some troublemaking British girls...

Capes 'n Babes []
There's a man, a woman, and a werewolf.

Hijinks Ensue []
Some people making snarky comments about popular media.

Octopus Pie []
uhhhhhhh... I really don't know. He's taken to updating once every few weeks and then posting all of them at once.

Can you tell that I burned through the good stuff early on?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Comic strips - part 5

Damn I have a lot of comics.

Rocket Road Trip (
A superhero comic that updates once a week.

Penny Arcade (
Another video gaming strip. It's one of the more successful strips out there, but I think it's really kinda weak.

Girl Genius (
This one, on the other hand, is brilliant. Three times a week you get a whole page of their ongoing storyline. Well drawn, great story, and funny. The only reason I don't have all of the books for this is because I keep forgetting what numbers I have and don't buy any.

The internet is populated by nerds and this strip is for them. It's stick figures doing all kinds of gags with lots of math and science thrown in. A lot of the comics get passed around the internet.

Nodwick (
Actually, there are several comics on this page, all done by the same guy. I used to collect his comic book, PS238, but then the distributors changed the rules about minimum allowable order by a comic book store. Now I order a bunch off this site every 12 months or so.
Friday links is partially populated with stuff I see on this page.

Theater Hopper (
A comic about movie lovers.

Ctrl Alt Delete (
Another video game based comic. Over the years it's developed into something better, but still sticks in the general area of video game subjects.

My First Dictionary (
Formatted like a kid's book to help them learn new words, this comic uses the words in dark and adult themed situations.

Hanna is not a Boy's Name (
I'm still trying to decide if I like this one. It's got a long running storyline, it's not funny, and it updates irregularly. It's about some supernatural private eye.

Punch and Pie (
This is a life strip. It's humorous. It focuses on two girls who stopped dating a long time ago. I'm starting to wonder how long it's gonna be before the author gets the two of them back together again. I suggest starting at the beginning.

Monday, March 08, 2010

How to write on a steamy mirror

We've all seen those movies where someone has written a message on a mirror that only becomes visible when it fogs up. As easy as it seems, there's a trick to doing it right.

The first think people try is just taking their finger and drawing on a steamy mirror. This causes words to appear immediately. And, next time you take a shower you'll be able to see a ghost of the words on the mirror. Not much. Just a different pattern in some of the condensation. Completely invisible if you haven't put your glasses on yet.

To write a message properly you need soap.
Get the soap wet so a respectable amount will come off on your finger when you touch it.
Write the message you want on the mirror.

At this point the message is quite clear. Anyone can read it. You need to get the soap off of the mirror to keep it a surprise.

For my example I drew a heart on the mirror.You need to remove the soap in such a way that you don't smear it all over the mirror. That would ruin the message. But if you put tissues of some kind over your finger and trace the lines of the text you should be fine. It gets hard to do after a bit because you can no longer see exactly where your lines were.

In my case, I wanted the heart filled. To this end I wiped from the outside toward the middle. You can see from the streaks in the picture just how much the soap can smear. That's why it's so important to stay in the lines when working with text.

You can tell in this picture that I didn't get the mirror fully cleaned. I could have spent more time on it, but I'm a lazy slob. Luckily my mirror always has spots and streaks on it.

Then, after my girlfriend had her shower, I had a mirror that looked like this.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Links: March 5

Lots of God botherers doing stupid shit lately.
Recently some Conservative nut flew a plane into a Texas office building. Should he be considered a terrorist if treating him like a terrorist would only serve to make his paranoid delusions a reality? [link]
Honestly? I expect a lot more Tea Partiers to do similar stuff.

1 year old starved to death for failing to say "Amen". [link]

7 year old beaten to death for mispronouncing word. [link]

Meanwhile, back in the evidence based world, microscopic bubbles of primordial universe have been created in an atom smasher. In the octillionth of a second that it existed they got glimpses of why the universe formed favoring regular matter instead of equal quantities of matter and antimatter as it seems that should have happened. [link]
Watch the video. It helps.

Don't bring laptops into this guy's class.

A model of Herod's temple that has been 30 years in the making and is still under construction. [link]

Interview with the guy who created MacGyver. [link]

Another autotuned science song.

Teacher forced to apologize after having kid escorted from school for not saying the Pledge of Allegiance. [link]


Can you hear this sound? [link]
I can.

Article and samples from an awesome computerized classical music generator. [link]

Every teacher at a crap school was fired. [link]
There were other options before them, but the teachers wouldn't work on it. If they were good teachers to begin with there wouldn't be a problem.

Game...kinda. Adjust the positions, speeds, and masses of planets and set them loose. [link]

New analysis reasserts that video games lead to violent behavior... if you don't read to the end of articles. [link]

I would happily drive any of these old "cars of tomorrow" over what's on the road now. [link]

Tree branch meets electrical line.

A scene from Blade Runner done with CGI Legos.

Blade Runner - Tears in Rain (in LEGO) from Zach Macias on Vimeo.

Athiests as ethical as church goers. [link]
Really? Most studies show that Athiests are more ethical.

Airplane boneyard. [link]
I've seen this place mentioned before. I really wanna take a tour.
Looks like you can, but only in a bus tour from the nearby Pima Air & Space Museum. [link]

Great female bowler totally ignored. [link]

David Tennant's farewell speech to the crew of Dr Who.

"OK Go" music video featuring an impressive Rube Goldberg device. If you Google "Rube Goldberg" you'll find cartoons written by him. He always drew elaborate devices to do simple tasks. Thus, any elaborate device like this is named for him.

8 heroic dogs. [link]

Rep. Trent Franks (R) "Blacks better off under slavery". [link]

5 wrong things we're told about hemp. [link]

People given $100 to give away however they like. [link]

If you turn your head, I win.

Dice animation.

Fujiya & Miyagi- Ankle Injuries from Insound on Vimeo.

Google "recursion".

Now look at "39 rugdeveien bergen hordaland norge" in Google Street View.
Once you see the guys on the side of the road start going down the street to the right. Watch to see what the guys do.

You may have heard that the earthquake in Chile changed the speed of Earth's orbit. Here's a better explanation. [link]

A quick question for Deepak Chopra. [link]

I think After looks more natural than Before. [link]

Pain. [link]

John Scalzi talks about borrowing a friend's Oscar. [link]
Wife: Where’d you put the phone bill?
Scalzi: I dunno. Did you check under the Oscar?

Ants eat a gecko.

Unique video of the rare giant stinky flower in bloom.

I'd heard the story about what was happening at this aquarium. Now there's a video.

That deaf, dumb, blind, and quadripelegic kid sure plays a mean pinball.

Great camera. [link]

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Comic strips - part 4

Not all the comics I read are exclusively online. There are still lots of good stuff in syndication.

The syndicates offer up and One is a pay site while the other is not. Both require creating a membership.

There are several syndicated strips that aren't on the sites above.
Sherman's Lagoon [link] has a cast of sea creatures.

Fast Track [link] is an office comic.

Zits [link is popular comic about a teenager.

Retail Rage [link] is about working in a store at the mall.

Dustin [link] is a fairly new strip about a teenager.

And the ever popular Dilbert [link] is a strip that everyone already knows.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Short Animation Oscar nominees

This weekend Yummy and I went to see all the nominees for the Academy Award for short animation. I tried to round up all that I could to show you.


French Roast

Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty
and her response to being nominated. [link]

The Lady and the Reaper

A Matter of Loaf and Death a Wallace and Gromit film
Wallace And Gromit - A Matter Of Loaf And Death

DANMAN | MySpace Video

Then there were the also rans.

Pixar's Partly Cloudy

I can't find Runaway or even a decent trailer for it. Instead you get another film by the same guy - Cordell Barker.

The Kinematograph trailer.
This one is depressing enough that I would have called it the winner if it were an actual nominee.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Comic strips - part 3

More comic strips.

Off the Mark (
A daily single panel strip.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (
No running cast. One that I see people post strips from fairly often.

Wondermark (
Looks like the artist uses art from really old books and makes comics around them, but he actually draws them himself.

Basic Instructions ([])
Each strip explains how to do something. (warning: following these instructions may lead to you getting pummeled by others)

Goats ([link])
This strip went for several years as a decent gag-a-day, but it got into a storyline that has been going for years and doesn't show signs of stopping. I'm afraid I read it out of habit.

Starslip ([])
Formerly "Starslip Crisis" and a few other names, this is a sci-fi strip about a ship that was made into a museum and what a crap captain a museum curator makes.

Slowpoke Comics ([])
A weekly political strip.

Medium Large ([])
No running characters. Still a good comic.

Darths & Droids ([])
This cartoon takes screen captures from different movies, changes the stories, and then makes that the action in a Role Playing Game. Currently, he's doing "Attack of the Clones".

Amazing Super Powers ([])
It's tough finding different ways to describe comic strips. It's got some familiar faces, but I wouldn't call them recurring characters. It's kinda dark.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Chekov's kid

We all heard the news late last week that Andrew Koenig had died. He didn't have a great acting career. In fact, only his role on "Growing Pains" made his passing worthy of public note at all. It wasn't so much a death announcement such as it was an excuse to use the word "boner" in print.

Andrew Koenig committed suicide by hanging himself in his favorite park in Vancouver, Canada. He was 41 years old and had a history of depression. The last name is familiar because he's the son of Walter Koenig, the man who played Chekov in the original "Star Trek" series and Bester in "Babylon 5".

There's lots of actors who pass that I don't write a word about, let alone give a whole post. I give Andrew this much attention because of one particular role. He played The Joker in the fan film "Batman: Dead End".

The late Mr. Koenig has two movies coming out this year: "DaZe: Vol. Too (sic) - NonSeNse" and "InAlienable".