Monday, January 31, 2011

Movie review: The Green Hornet

The Green Hornet - radio program, TV show, comic book. I'm familiar with none of these. Most of what I know about the character, outside of the basics, comes from spoofs. Kato was spoofed in several Pink Panther movies. The Fat Albert gang would run home to watch "The Brown Hornet". So when the first trailer for "The Green Hornet" came out I really didn't have much room to lip off about how silly the hero was coming off. That didn't stop me from complaining about what a goof ball he was being, however. Then the second trailer came out and Seth Rogan didn't look nearly as retarded. Useless and just along for the ride with Kato: action hero, sure, but not as silly.

I can't find the first trailer, but this is more like what I saw from the second trailer.

Britt Reid (really? Britt? That's not a hero name.) is the trust fund baby of newspaper tycoon James Reid. When his dad died Britt got everything and had no idea what to do with any of it. His origin story is due more to him firing his entire staff in a drunken fit more than anything. Having done that led him to a bad cup of coffee. He had to find the guy who makes the awesome coffee. That'd be Kato: auto mechanic, inventor, karate expert, and coffee maker. They both hated James Reid. On a run to vandalize a statue they run into a gang of muggers and stop them. They decide to keep doing that and rid the city of the criminal element.

The question that must occur to you while watching the movie, partially because they ask the question in the movie, is just what Britt brings to the team. Kato makes the car and weapons. Kato fights. Kato drives. Kato makes the coffee. Lenore Case, the secretary, understands the criminal mind. Britt... well, besides being the funding, he rides along and parties mostly. Even he can't really explain what he does. I'll tell you. Besides the money and the newspaper, he's the face man. He's the one who decided to be heroes. He didn't know the next move, but he saw the opportunity to exploit the right people to figure out the next move. When they approach gangs he's the one who approaches them first. He's the guy who really wants to be the hero.

There's this scene at the beginning of the movie that I felt was under played. Young Brett is sent home from school. All the way home he played with his superhero action figure. He was sent home for fighting bullies that were picking on a girl. This wasn't the first time. He's not out of grade school and he's already picked his heroes and is emulating them. As punishment for fighting his father takes his action figure and snaps it's head off.

As I saw it, Britt stopped the hero stuff but lost his motivating force. Not just the hero stuff, that probably would have passed. But his dad basically told him to stop trying stuff, stop doing stuff, stop trying to be better, or I'll destroy what you love. So when the movie jumps forward to find Britt in the present he's just another worthless trust fund baby. No skills, no ambition, nothing but being a pudgy, overweight Paris Hilton. So when the father passes he loses his purpose in life of being a pain his ass. His last effort to piss off his dead father is where he realizes that there's nothing still keeping him from his development as a person. He goes back to where he was in the opening scene. He was never able to get past his superhero phase as a kid, so that has to play out in his adult life. Thus, the Green Hornet.

This isn't a great movie. This isn't "The Dark Knight" or "Spiderman" or "X-men". But it's not a bad superhero movie either. It's not "Fantastic 4" or "Catwoman" or "Spiderman 3". It's more like "Kick Ass" where the Kick Ass character starts as a well funded adult.

I'll probably get it on DVD, but by the time it comes out I could totally be over it.


Today's post is delayed. Please hold.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Links: January 28

The Jurassic Park Theme played 1000% slower. [link]

Picture: Shanghai in 1990 and 2010. [link]

Fire cracker in slow motion.

A 1 hour 45 minute dissection of a presentation by a climate change denier. [link]

Kill it with fire!

Paper full of seeds. [link]

I would attend this music festival. [link]

How our gadgets impact our reading schedules. [link]

Doctor Who fan service:
How does one leave this in one's hotel room? [link]

TARDIS toddler toilet. [link]

Clothespin Chandelier. [link]

When we went to see the "Radiolab" roadshow they did this bit about why people can't walk straight lines. [link]

Make a Wi-Fi radio from a sound card and router. [link]

game: Z-Type - type the words to kill the attacking words. [link]

How to clean a porcelain coated sink or tub. [link]

Marketplace Canada did an episode about Homeopathy.
Part 1

Part 2

It Gets Better: the music video.
Watch through the credits.

Moses met the Pharoah. It wasn't quite like we're told.

Ben Goldacre: science at a million miles an hour.

10 best lines from the Golden Globes. [link]
Honestly? Bring Ricky back next year. I might actually be tempted to watch.

Taco Bell sued because their beef may not be beef. [link]
I would have gone after McDonalds first. Billions served, for which nearly a dozen head of cattle lost their lives.

Kid with a quality camera. (Your child may vary) [link]

Keyboard diet.
What is advised. [link]
What I do. [link]

Ant getting a drink.

Picture: Orion over a Mayan temple. [link]
More [link]

Rogue star! RUN! [link]

God's press conference.

An article about what we know and what remaining questions there are about pregnancy and fetal development in zero or diminished gravity. [link]

Michael Douglas: Photo bomber. [link]

What smells do girls like? Looks like Axe will be coming up with coffee cologne. [link]

Rock star of science posters. [link]
I may need some of the smaller versions.

Power outlets with USB jacks. [link]
Thought I'd posted this before, but I couldn't find it.

Part plant, part animal, all freaky. [link]

Yesterday was the 44th anniversary of the Apollo 1 fire. This is Phil Plait's memorial. [link]

I want to sent Sarah Palin some BBQ sauce for her feel. I mean if they're gonna spend so much time in her mouth...

Interesting bit about the effect of North American mountain ranges on our climate. [link]

Speed camera lottery. [link]

NASA finally has it's own solar sail deployed. [link]
They were beaten by Japan who would have lost to a private group if they didn't have to rely on broken down Russian tech for the launch.
WHAT!?! It's gonna reenter the atmosphere and burn up? What's the point? Congratulations, NASA, you got something to unfold. Too bad it doesn't do anything that a solar sail is supposed to do.

The GOP: pro-tracking your internet activity - anti-tracking whether psychotics have guns. [link]

Mystery piano found on sand bar. [link]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I called "Uncle!"

I fought it as long as I could.
I did.
This was a road that I did. not. want. to go down.
They're nifty and convenient, but expensive as hell.

I refer, of course, to my new cellphone.

My land line costs me $15/month and long distance calls are $0.10/minute. The people at the phone company hate me for that. They can't comprehend how anyone would want a phone without caller ID, call waiting, voice mail, and a host of other packages. Last time I set up a new phone I thought I could hear the smoke boiling from the ears of the person on the other end of the phone as she tried to come to terms with the concept.

Early mobile phone cost something more like $0.25/minute. People kept telling me the price was coming down, but every time I checked they were still something I deemed absurd.

Then came the smart phones. It's a pocket computer. It's more computing power than the whole of NASA had to land a rocket on the moon. And I have to worry about sitting on it or dropping it in the toilet.

Everything finally came to a head recently. My weekly drive to Frederick (1.5 hours one way) which will become 3-5 days a week some day, the drive to visit Yummy in Baltimore, topped with the fact that her doorbell doesn't work so I need to call up to let her know I'm there, and having used my Kindle for portable internet for a bit more than a year... all this made me take the plunge.

For only $180/month I get two Droid 2 phones with unlimited data, far more minutes per month than Yummy and I can use once we take out all the Friends and Family people.

On the bright side, Yummy is gonna dump her plan and use my second phone. It added $30/month to my plan, but she's currently paying $50/month and that's after stripping it down to the bare minimum.

Expensive little fucker. My car better break down a lot to make you worth my money.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sod Off Wednesday: January 26

Yesterday Mom told a small tumor to sod off. Here's hoping it listens.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

28 hour day

Previously on Dougintology:

Congress: We're closing the military base you work on.

Col: Good news! I found us some new offices.

Contractors: (to current residents of new offices) This wall is load bearing! You're gonna have to redo your plans.

Col: Everybody work from home. We should have offices for everyone by April.

I think that gets everyone up to speed. We go there once a week for staff meetings, but that's it.
At the staff meeting last week we were told that work hasn't started yet on the offices for the people in our offices. They weren't clear on why, but there seems to be an issue between the contractors and the Army bureaucracy. It can't be a scheduling conflict because I know there isn't enough work for all the contractors. Knowing the system it's more likely a case of some dumb fuck leaving the paperwork on his desk for 6 months.

A new month for our move in was mentioned: September.

It came up in conversation. I don't know how reliable the guess is, but I'm believing it.

I'd have switched to a new day system if it weren't for staff meetings on Wednesday and Yummy on the weekends. I'd like to try a 28 day system. My natural inclination is to have a day longer than 24 hours. With 28 days you add 4 hours to 6 days and drop the 7th. I'd get to sleep a few extra hours and I'd stay up a couple hours longer. As it is I already start work around 10:00 most days. Except today when I started around noon.

A 21 hour day wouldn't work the same. Strip 3 hours from 7 days to make an 8th. Sure, I'd get a 3 day weekend every weekend, but that would require going to bed earlier instead of later. That's just not gonna happen.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday Links: January 21

Sorry about Friday Links being missing last Friday. It decided it wanted to show up a few weeks back. 

Five emotions invented by the internet. [link]

Rockstar Games new expression capture technology. Watch the video. [link]

If you have Grand Theft Auto 4 for the PC you can edit one of the data files to eliminate friction. The result is this video that had me weeping with laughter.

How to watch movies in your Linux command line interface. [link]

I need more ties. [link]

What life is like for those who sit at "The Button" in nuclear silos.  [link]

How to "make" your own "plastic". The quotes are because I don't know if you can call some of these plastic and the first one isn't so much making plastic as it is changing one kind of plastic to another. The first one is very entertaining though. [link]

Chihuahua attacked by owl. [link]

Interesting romantic habit. [link]

Someone tries to make sense of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptists Church. [link]

New letter says that the Vatican gave explicit orders to cover up pedophilia. [link]

Part two of Brian Deer's breakdown of the Wakefield autism "study". This one covers how they planned to make money from the study. [link]

Thunderstorms create antimatter. [link]

Stephen Colbert talks about how Bill O'Reilly "proves" the existence of God. The trick is to not have the science background of a 3rd grader.
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Bill O'Reilly Proves God's Existence - Neil deGrasse Tyson
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>Video Archive

Here's the original piece.

Christopher Hitchens on how to make a proper cup of tea. [link]

Some years back a Christian science teacher got busted for branding crosses into the arms of his students. The trial is ongoing, but he has FINALLY be been fired. [link]
And it only cost $900,000 to get rid of a really bad teacher.

Isaac Asimov talking about global warming back in 1989.

Turns out homosexual activity is more common in Saudi Arabia than actual homosexuals. It's just easier than being straight. [link]

A letter from a church pressuring a member to go to confession or be harassed by the community. [link]

Sweet greenhouse in Pittsburgh. [link]

An article about the debate between 1 or 2 spaces after periods. [link]
It's real simple. Two when using a typewriter. One when using a keyboard. Two hasn't been valid since I was in... 5th? grade.

View from the back of an arrow.

Buy some NASA roast beef. [link]

I always get excited by stories like this. It's a revived effort to clone a woolly mammoth thanks to improvements in gene sequencing technology. [link]

Picture: contrails as seen from the ISS. [link]
Other pictures from the ISS. [link]

A great story of a teen being stalked by a pack of girls who think they're wolves. [link]

Crap. Now I have to update all my outlets. [link]

A quick test of the IBM computer Watson. It'll be competing in a full game to be aired in February. [link]

Game: Rebuild - SimCity in the Zombie Apocalypse. [link]




I must be extra bored today. I started thinking about various superhero scenarios. It started with this cartoon.
Borrowed without permission from
It changed to a question about what would happen if a duck were bit by a radioactive spider. Then wondering about Superman and radioactive spiders. Namely, what if Clark Kent went on a school trip to a nuclear energy experimentation lab instead of Peter Parker. A radioactive spider bites Superman and he gets the proportional strength of a spider. Would Superman even notice? Or would it be like radiation poisoning for him? Sure, he's still got the strength of Spiderman, but that's a lot less than he had. Would he even notice he can climb walls since he can already fly? Could the spider even bite him? The man is already bulletproof. Think those tiny little pincers would do any good? The spider might just die with a toothache.

We know Superman gets his power from Earth's yellow sun. What kind of screwed up power is that? Presumably any Kryptonian could do the same thing. How would something like that evolve? Their orbit goes around a red sun. This feature wouldn't do them much good. It has no evolutionary advantage. Does it have a good origin story?

Maybe 15,000 years ago the scientist Bruce-El was conducting an experiment on gamma bombs. But he had to get some kid off the bombing range and was exposed to the blast. Instead of turning into an angry green monster he developed flight and super strength in the presence of a yellow sun. Since there was no yellow sun he simply lived. Seems like that would be the end of that field of research if the bomb couldn't kill one person. Over the next several millenia his powers were bred through the general population.

Same thing with radioactive Krypo-arachnids or lightning hitting chemicals in the police lab or experimental super soldier serums. 

If their sun is red now, the Kryptonian sun must have once been yellow. But as the sun aged and turned red their powers failed. I'd imagine that's when their Renaissance period started. Why build a plow or domesticate cattle when you can till a field with your bare hands in about a minute?

Maybe the power has nothing to do with the yellow sun. Kryptonite is deadly to him. Kryptonite is bits of his home planet. Maybe the important thing is that he's no longer on a planet made of Kryptonite.

Did other life on Krypton have these dormant powers? Unless it was part of an accident or experiment mentioned earlier the powers must have evolved. Would Krypton have winged creatures if they can fly without? Or are the powers exclusive to only mammals or only primates? It still seems like there wouldn't be many birds. There they are chugging along with their wings when a cat knocks it out of the air before the bird hears the sonic boom.

A large part of Superman's invulnerability is an extremely dense cellular structure. So if/when Superman dies would he decay? Would bugs and germs and whatnot be able to penetrate his body to break it down? Or would the Kryptonian bacteria in his digestive tract be able to consume him? Do the Kryptonian bacteria have powers since they've never seen the yellow sun? If Superman dies would the bacteria in his GI tract will break him down and move on to digest the rest of the planet's surface?

If you watch the original Superman movie you'll hear Jor-El talk about how the fortress is the collected knowledge from all the known worlds. The logical conclusion is that Kryptonians knew about and have visited lots of other worlds. A dozen at least. Not only this, but they know them well enough to presume to have their collected knowledge on crystal wafers. This assumes regular interstellar travel, maybe commerce, possibly colonies, or at least people setting up shops and housekeeping on these other worlds. So when Krypton goes poof there has to be some Kryptonians not stuck on the homeworld. There's other works in the DC comics universe that tell of the dome city that survived the explosion and yielded Supergirl, but there has to be more than just that.

One flaw in my thinking is that the Kryptonians could have just been watching the other planets like they watch Earth before sending Kal-El here. All research has been by probes so there's not even researcher hiding behind the moon of some distant planet. Or, if instead of the planet exploding, the sun exploded like "Superman Returns" says then the blast of radiation sterilized the planets in the closer star systems and the distance of Earth from the blast is part of why Kal-El had to come here.

But would all those nearby planets have red suns as well? I guess so. If they were part of a galactic cluster or nebula then all the stars would be about the same age. 

And what would a duck do with the proportional strength of a spider?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Scorpion candy

You've probably seen these lollypops before. Lots of gift shops have them. But do you know anyone who has eaten one? To the best of my knowledge, I don't. So I had to be the one to do it.

The blueberry flavoring tastes nothing like blueberries. No more than any apple flavored candy has ever come close to tasting like apples.

After a few minutes I started to feel a poke. The tip of a claw sticking out. Not sharp, just pokey.

When enough candy dissolved away to expose a joint the claw bent easily.

Most of the scorpion had no flavor I could make out. But there were a few parts that had something. I'm just not sure how to describe it. When you chew it up there's a ... not sweet, not sour ... I'm not sure what to compare it to. Not chicken. It's familiar. Not fish. Not good. That's for sure. It's not a bad taste, but it sure ain't good. I doubt there'll ever be a market for scorpion Slurpees.

And it doesn't chew worth a damn. The legs come off, the tail comes off, but that's about it. You'd better have something to wash it down because it's not going willingly.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sod Off Wednesday - January 19

Trying to post from my Kindle. It can sod off.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The kitty settles in

Yummy moved in to her new apartment Saturday. Then she settled down to fight the cold that's been harassing her for weeks.

Her kitty was brought over Sunday. He spent a lot of time hiding under the bed, but not as much as expected. Last night he finally decided he likes the window.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Links: January 14

Heavy metal version of the Doctor Who theme.

Sled stealing dog.

A thorough breakdown of Andrew Wakefield's study claiming vaccines cause autism and everything that's wrong with it. [link]

How to make cake in a coffee cup. [link]

WTF kitty.

Statler and Waldorf critique a D&D game. [link]

Hot Wheels with built in camera. [link]

Koi feeding.

Every episode of Star Trek: Voyager.

THIS [link] is someone reading a review for THIS [link] "game".

The Justice League being weird. [link]

Pixar: always awesome. How layoffs in the mid-80's were prevented. [link]

Man shot in head sneezes out bullet. [link]

Gimli Destroys the Ring.

Game: I am An Insane Rogue A.I. - you control the computer system determined to take over the world. [link]

Not from "The Sound of Music".

Twitter stood up to the US government. [link]

We all float down here.

Melting head cake. [link]

Chick-fil-A partners with anti-gay group. [link]
"...return to 'the biblical definition of marriage.'"
Would this be the one man and many wives model? Perhaps the Rape-as-proposal model.

Nazi campaign against Hitler mocking dog. [link]

How to make a bar for cheap. [link]

Leading Australian anti-vaccine activist gets destroyed on a radio program. Listen to the program at the [link]. It's not too long, but I couldn't find the pause button.

Listen. [link]

It's short this week, but you should see all the tabs of stuff I haven't watched or read yet.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Book review: None But Man

I just finished reading the 1969 book "None But Man" by Gordon R. Dickson. Not a book I'm going to rave about or put on my top 100 book list. But I see fairly clearly how it could be adapted as a decent mini-series.

Within the Solar System there are three inhabited worlds: Venus, Earth, and Mars. Beyond the Solar System there are the Pleiades Planets, a collection of colonized worlds that managed to successfully secede only three years before. Beyond that is a race known as the Moldaug.

Cully, the hero of our story, was an orphan raised by the governor of one of these colonies. During the war he became a hero by successfully hijacking dozens of ships belonging to the core worlds. Ships that made a huge difference in the outcome of the war.

The governor has returned to Earth to become a prominent political figure. He convinced his daughter, to make up with Cully. She does and he agrees to come to Earth to finish his education. But they have a falling out on the way home. That's where the story begins. Cully is arrested before he even leaves the space port.

I see the book being a one hour TV series only six episodes long.

Episode 1: Upon his return to Earth Cully is arrested, interrogated, and thrown in prison. The police want to know about the plot by the colonists to invade and conquer the core worlds. This should be done by the first commercial break. The rest of the episode is spent meeting the other prisoners and working up to the escape via hijacking of a visiting space ship.

Episode 2: They have to lose the ship they took, so Cully and the other four escapees swap it for a passenger ship and fly home to the colony worlds. There they explain the delusional belief of the core worlds that the colonists plan to invade. He also explains what the Moldaug's demands that the core worlds give up the colonist planets have to do with this paranoia. He asks for armaments for his ship so he can go into Moldaug space to try to deal with the source of the problem. But first he must get in a machete fight with the enforcer for the corrupt party that has taken over the main political body of the colony worlds.

Episode 3: Cully and his team head into Moldaug space. He and two others are playing the role of a demon from Moldaug mythology. They generally cause trouble and steal ships. The episode ends with them coming up on the home world.

Episode 4: On the home world there's a festival going on that should help mask their activity until it's too late. It's the one day of the year when they're all allowed to violate their cultural norms. They meet a little girl who runs around with them and is a help. But they push their luck a bit too far and the episode ends with the girl having a breakdown when they push the violation of cultural norms a bit too far.

Episode 5: Lots of stuff. Hand over the girl to Moldaug security. Find out about new problems on the colony worlds. Send new orders. Kidnap the heirs to the throne. More bad news. More orders. Episode ends with them heading to Earth.

Episode 6: Cully sneaks his way in to the offices of the former governor. There's an invasion fleet coming from Moldaug. Cully gets thrown in prison. After several days he works up an explosive to blow off the door. Then one of his friends opens the door. Rumor has spread that Cully, said to be dead instead of thrown in prison back in episode one, has returned and that the invasion has started. People have freaked. A wave of colony ships leads the Moldaug ships by about two days. Thinking that the colonists are the Moldaugs, the military forces on the Moon pretty much rolled over. Earth forces aren't much better. Cully and friends stroll into the council meeting chambers. But the former governor has wired up all military establishments in the core worlds with explosives. He'll blow them all to hell just to prove to the Moldaug that the core world's aren't a threat. Once he's taken out, Cully convinces a Moldaug ambassador that he's in charge now and explains what Moldaug don't understand about Human thinking and vice versa. The Moldaugs needed the Humans to say "yes" or "no" to the Moldaug claim to the colony worlds. But the Moldaugs couldn't understand that the colony worlds were separate now and the core world government wasn't really admitting that they'd lost control. They kept saying "maybe" which was becoming a major insult to the Moldaugs. The core world government couldn't understand why the Moldaugs were demanding that the colony worlds be handed over. They thought it was part of a plot to conquer them.

I need an agent. I've got several stories that would adapt well.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sod Off Wednesday: January 12

I got all the way to the office only to find out that the staff meeting was canceled and nobody told me. They can all just sod off.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

In the ghetto

I mentioned yesterday that Yummy has a new apartment.

At age 32 she has never lived alone. There has always been a parent or roommate or something. Since I've known her she's lived in her parents' basement. It's a nice basement, to be sure. Bedroom, bathroom, full kitchen, living room, office, and storage. Even a separate entrance. But lots of little reasons to move out have been building for years. Some related to the landlords, but many weren't. It was just time.

Yummy loves Baltimore. She's been wanting to live there for years. She found a place she likes, at an affordable rate, where the neighborhood doesn't suck. It's a converted row house near the main Johns Hopkins campus. Close enough that much of her shopping and hangouts will be primarily used by the students. The Barnes and Noble's second floor, for example, has textbooks and dorm room supplies. The apartment has wood floors, an exposed brick wall, plenty of sunlight, shutters for the front windows that fold into the wall, a one butt kitchen, and a bedroom that won't allow much besides the bed. And all this on the third floor so Weight Watchers meetings should go very well.

Sunday was the house painting party. Parents and siblings and uncles and coworkers and friends showed up with their arsenal of painting and cleaning supplies. Each room developed it's own odor from the fumes of whatever was being used. Two gallons of paint managed to paint the living room and bedroom, but it got a bit thin in places. The kitchen was scrubbed thoroughly clean. The bathroom ... oy, the bathroom.

First thing to know about bathtubs is that they shouldn't be painted. Nope. Never. Particularly not with latex paint. Why? Because it comes away in long strips when you use it or clean it and you come off looking like an idiot. When the caulk is black with mildew you're supposed to remove it and recaulk. Painting over it is not the same thing. The soap tray on the wall was broken so they tried to replace it. The caulk that should have been used on the tub was instead used to try to glue the new soap tray in place. We'll be having to put the tray back up ourselves.

There were also shelves over the toilet. Yummy has her own thing to put over the toilet. I took down the shelves, but one of the screws spun freely rather than come out. I had to yank the anchor out, too. Then I mudded things so they could be painted later. But between the hole and the several layers of missing paint it was hard to get it even. I wound up leaving it thick so I could go back with a wet sponge to smooth it back down. Then comes a new paint job for that room. We need something that goes well with the tile. What goes well with masking tape yellow?

The movers are supposed to come this coming Saturday. They're sounding iffy so far. We may have another story for you next week.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Another birdie

Some weeks (months?) back we took Gandolf Greybird and Oliver Queen to PetCo. We knew they did nail trimmings for dogs and cats and thought they might do them for birds as well. Turned out they did have someone that knew how, but the people on staff that day weren't confident enough to try. So we went in the bird room as we always do. Yummy put Oliver on the same cage with another Green Cheeked Conure named Ernesto. The two immediately climbed over to each other and started rubbing beaks through the bars and being generally affectionate. Just don't touch the toes or there'd be trouble.

Yummy talked about Ernesto a couple of times a week ever since. He was such a sweet birdie. He got along with Ollie so well. She was worried about how well Ollie would handle being alone in her new apartment.

So Friday night, when I went to buy more bird food, I also bought Ernesto. 

Ernie and Ollie

Ernie scales Mt Ibid while Ollie looks on.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Friday Links: January 7

Game: Chicken House. Knock down the house. Kill all the chickens. [link]

Doctor Who fan service: a TARDIS door. [link]

Interactive panorama of Mars in winter. [link]

Dirty Potter and the Fabulous Gay Farty Pee and Poo Party. Only posted because I think it hilarious that it's read by the guy who did the Harry Potter audio books. I turned it off after a minute.

Woman Tweeting her boyfriend's reactions to watch "The Sound of Music" for the first time. [link]

100 things this guy didn't know last year - with articles to elaborate. [link]

Half serious plan to put a monolith on the moon [link]

Mural of a building. [link]

Light graffiti pictures. [link]

Pictures of abandoned Detroit. [link]

Abandoned places in the Ozarks. [link]

Zepplins! [link]

Ok. Now let me look at those instructions.

"39 Degrees North" - an adaptation of a Neil Gaiman poem. [link]

Here's the good news about the last decade. [link]

Picture: ISS and the lunar eclipse. [link]

Picture: Space Shuttle with lunar eclipse. [link]

Picture: false color phytoplankton bloom off South America. [link]

Samples from actual Abstinence-only programs put to lame videos. [link]

Orson Welles talks about doing cold reading. I have a new respect for him.

Several weeks back the UN had a resolution listing valid reasons for countries to kill people. Being gay was on the list. America was pissed about it, but it made it in. Now it's been removed. I guarantee you that wouldn't have happened 3 years ago. [link]

Even evangelical hate monger Pat Robertson wants marijuana legalized. It's always unsettling when he makes sense.

A much better Star Wars: Christmas Special than the original.

World population expected to reach 7 billion this year. [link]

Picture: sea urchin teeth. [link]

We're not supposed to associate the guy who killed that Pakistani Governor with typical Muslims, but it's hard not to when he's being applauded and showered with flower petals. [link]

Fonts that work better for dyslexic people. [link]

An article about the effects of isolation on people and apes. [link]

Stuff juggling in slow motion. [link]

Open source cola recipe. [link]

Video on optogenetics.

The most adequate Santa story ever.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Another tile

Another tile I scratched out. This is a scene from the family farm. It shows the bunk house with attached garage and silo out back.
The original is down below.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Sod Off Wednesday: January 5

We're on the telly!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Movie review: Fido

After the Zombie War... well, there was no after, really. The cities were walled off and made into a 50's style utopia. And the zombies, some at least, were given collars so they could be domesticated and put to work.

Timmy's family was the only one on their block that didn't have a zombie. When the new head of ZomCom's security moves in to the neighborhood with six zombies it's just too much. Mom has to have one. Timmy names it Fido.

It was listed as a horror, but it's no more a horror than "Shawn of the Dead". It's available through NetFlix streaming and I recommend you watch it.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Well, that just happened.

I'm back from Kansas.

The drive wasn't too bad. Since I've started driving again my eyes didn't exhaust quite as quickly. We took the Prius but drove like maniacs so we only got about 35MPG on the drive out. Around 40 on the way back. We stopped in St Louis on the way out. On the way back we started out from Kansas City and stopped in Columbus, Ohio.

No sightseeing on this trip. We need to do an extended stay in Saint Louis some time. Most of the stuff we want to see is there or darn close.

Come to think of it, there were very few stops on the trip. Could have something to do with the fact that we were driving on Christmas Day. The only dining establishment that we could find open was Shoney's. Everywhere else was locked up.

The stay in Kansas was pretty packed. So many people to visit.
Grammie has deteriorated since I was last there. She's 92. Her voice is very weak and she was a bit confused.
Grandma is better, but still 92. She's moved into some small apartments for the elderly. But her strength is going and she misses her friends.

Our plans to make bird baths from metal around the farm met with complications. The disks from old farm working equipment weren't as deep as I remember. Then the welding masks were old and malfunctioning. The disk we were gonna use for a base may also be too hard to weld on. We're not 100% sure because the welder proved to be too much for the circuit we initially put it on. Dad and I blew a good long time following wires. It wasn't until we gave up that we found a bathroom with a flipped reset button on the outlet that we got things working. At that point we pretty much just said "fuck it."

I got no measurements taken on the brick press.

Mom is overseeing a pair of churches down on the Kansas/Oklahoma border. This means she can't give either quite the same attention that she gave her old one. The plus side is that this makes the congregation have to get more involved. The downside is that she's not as familiar with the church itself. We kept asking questions she couldn't quite answer. "How old are these World Book Encyclopedias?" (a: 1970 and 1975 and 19??) and "Where does this rope go?" (a: it lowered a stained glass panel in the ceiling. It appears not to have been moved in a couple of decades. Certainly not in several paint jobs.) The one that she lives next to really is pretty nice. It's old and has some features I hadn't seen before.
One church had a building they'd practically abandoned. High water bills made them think there was a leak under the foundation. Rather than fix it they just shut off the water. Mom turned the water back on. They found that the toilet ran. $20 in toilet parts later they had the building back. The building will soon be offices.

The town she's in now, Caldwell, is pretty small and pretty isolated. While smaller than the town I grew up near it's so far from a significant town that there are shops and places to eat. But a lot of the shops are only open a couple of days of the week. You have to plan well.

Sometime in 2011 they're gonna have a cattle drive start there for the 150th anniversary of Kansas. For $2,500 you can get a spot. You have to be able to ride a horse, ride it for a week, and be able to camp out. You'll spend a week moving a herd of cattle across Kansas. I just hope to be able to see the herd driven through downtown Caldwell. When the website for the cattle drive comes up I'll post it here.

A friend from Texas was in town. Had dinner with him. We tried to follow it with a trip to the Hank Is Wiser brewery in Cheney only to find out they're not open except Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night.

I got a sand plum sapling from the farm. Now I have to make it survive.

Got measures taken of the existing hay barn so I can develop a more detailed version of my replacement plans.

We made a trip out to one of the old dump sites. I was hoping to find inspiration for the bird bath, but mostly some huge old truck spring from a suspension system for Yummy. That dump used to be full of them. We either made off with them all or they're buried. Still, Yummy got a lesson in the stages of metal decomposition.
We also found a sizable percentage of a cow skeleton. Yummy took her mom a vertibra. I brought back a femur for Mom's tiny dog. No skull. The coyotes must have that.

Thanks to our regular hosts in Kansas City. It's always good to see them. You're right about the Toddtinis. Only one. ONLY one!