Sunday, June 30, 2013

Weekend update: July 1

Remember the massive poison ivy patch I mentioned a few weeks back? The one that ate a fifth of an old library? The last couple of weekends I sprayed everything I could reach. That killed enough of the plant that this weekend I was able to start cutting the trunks of the plant. Several trunks. And I could see where someone did this before. Maintenance will be required to make sure it all stays gone.Some trunks were still covered with leaves. I sprayed them so I can do more next week. Less than 24 hours later I could see a difference between parts of the plant that had a trunk and the parts that don't. 36 hours and they look really sad.

Is it wrong to gloat over dying weeds?

While doing a Home Depot run I saw that the city had delivered a dumpster for the neighborhood. Not that the person who ordered it told anyone other than the photographer for a local paper. I got the dozen or so bags of debris from my house, threw them in the car, and got back just as the city was coming to take it away. They have this lovely policy of insisting that all neighborhood clean up or clean out efforts be done by lunch time. It's always a rush to get people organized and everything picked up by 12:30 or 1:00. Most people are still having breakfast and starting their day if it's a weekend. To heck with being in the right place to notice it's there and getting furniture from their homes.

Having accomplished that I got back to what I was doing in the first place. That's getting my roof painted white. Most of the overheating upstairs is from the roof heating up and that heat coming through. I've got the insulation guy coming Monday to see what he can do about stopping the heat with spray on insulation. But the white paint will prevent the roof from getting that hot in the first place. And it'll stop my roof from radiating heat to cook the neighborhood and the atmosphere as a whole. Sure, it's like putting out one tiny flame in a gas oven. But mine is at least the third tiny flame in my neighborhood to be put out. Do enough and you have raw chicken. Perhaps the metaphor needs work.

Anyway, it took me an hour and a half to wash the roof. The whole time I kept spraying and respraying the surface so I wouldn't cook up there. You should have seen the steam billow off after that first spray. A lot of loose grit washed off. And some general black ickyness.
Then came the painting. I'm not about to haul five gallons of paint up a ladder. I had to pour it into a small trash can and take it up about a gallon and a half at a time. You'd be amazed at how fast it got bright up there. I was wearing a rather big hat to protect my face. Any sunburn I got that day was reflected up of the roof. But that first coat changes color as it dries. From white to ... to ... I haven't washed my white car in two years and won't let it get rained on despite the fact that I drive it around a dust factory. That color. The car that people write "wash me" on.
You're supposed to be able to do two coats a day. Gotta give it drying time. What I missed was that you shouldn't paint if rain is expected in the next 48 hours. Once I realized that, I finished the last of my first five gallon bucket and called it a day. As fast as the paint was drying I figured I'd be fine. So there's a coat and a half of paint up there. The second coat holds it's color better.
Took me about two and a half hours to do the painting with a push broom looking brush.

Once I got down I started feeling the impact of the sun and work (those debris bags were heavy!). I hauled the hose back around to the alley like it were a pile of mattresses. I cleaned the paint off of everything, showered, and then went shoe shopping. What? My shoes were old and worn when I started all this. Despite all the crud stuck to it I waited until they were painted on to do anything.

Sunday I cowered in the basement trying to avoid the heat and horrible, horrible humidity. I put up peg board, hung tools, and installed a light in the dark part of the basement. I'm putting serious thought into putting a hammock down there for the rest of the summer.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Links: June 28

Hammocks may help people sleep. [link]
Good. I'm gonna set mine up in the basement where it's cooler.

15 ways to improve neighborhood unity. [link]
Maybe in a yuppie neighborhood. I was already planning a little library in Westport.
And I guess I'm hoping to get others to use the plants I'm sticking in some of the empty yards. 

Game: Don't Escape - Make sure you can't escape the cabin. [link]

Game: Ninja Miner - leap through the caves gathering jewels and keys. [link]

The long lost Bob from Accounting commercial for Magic: The Gathering.


I need about 20 of these to put around the neighborhood this Halloween.

A mind puzzle a day site. [link]

Do you remember a cartoon about a kid who turns into a car? There's a video to refresh your memory and an animation here to show what that would actually look like. [link]

An underground RV park in Kansas. [link]

The Atlas of True Names is a map with the literal translations of places. [link]

Cross sections of some pretty scary bullets. [link]

A free NSA-proof font. [link]

Just a pretty kinetic sculpture.

Dim lighting improves creativity. [link]
I have to assume that the lighting makes you think you're less visible to others and more free to think and act out of the norm. Similar to how the anonymity of the internet makes people bigger jerks.

Woman catches baby falling from fire escape. [link]

Map of Tweet metadata shows what neighborhoods have what phones and the socioeconomic implications. [link]

We're leaving $7 billion worth of equipment in Afghanistan to avoid spending $14 billion to ship it back here. [link]
Might I suggest that we help someone set up a place to recover scrap metal and leave the stuff with them? Help build an industry, maybe recover some of our money, and make the metal useful to their economy rather than just rusting hulks that we'll be seeing photos of in 20 years. 

Really just one picture. Look at what makes the dividing lines. [link]

Game: Daymare Cat - Find and play all the records to get out of the building. [link]

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Caravan Palace

I live about three blocks from the famous 9:30 Club. I have for almost a decade now. And soon enough I won't. Yet I've never been until tonight. It's a bit like New Yorkers never going to see the Statue of Liberty. I almost went to see Apocalyptica a few years back, but they had two opening acts and the main attraction wouldn't start until midnight on a Tuesday night with no seating. But I wanted to go before I moved so I started looking for someone worth going to see. They have shows almost nightly. But which one was worth it?

One of my friends suggested seeing the Caravan Palace show last night. I went in with no idea what to expect. Stood around with a bunch of other people for an hour. The music they chose to play before the show was promising. The instruments were more than the selection of guitars I've come to expect from concerts. A clarinet, a double bass, a violin, drums limited to a snare and cymbal, a xylophone, one electric guitar, a few keyboards, and a laptop.

The best way I have to describe their music is techno swing (I see online that it's considered electro swing and gypsy jazz. I'm close!). The band consists of six guys on instruments and a female singer. And they seemed to be having a great time. I don't know if this is their first time in America, but during the encore one of the band members decided he wanted to try crowd surfing. The rest of the band cracked up, so clearly this wasn't normal.

They're still early in the tour. Check out if they'll be in your neighborhood at I'd go again.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Home construction

The bulk of the weekend house work was building this! Now I can add wiring and insulation to this wall. I've seen professionally framed walls that didn't look this good. The camera could use some help, though.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Movie Review: Much Ado About Nothing

Some people were looking forward to Monsters U or World War Z this weekend, but the movie I most wanted to see was Much Ado About Nothing.

Almost immediately after filming was done on The Avengers, before he got into the final production Joss Whedon needed to clear his directoral palette. Joss Whedon took a long weekend, invited a bunch of friends over to his house, and filmed a modern adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. If you're a frequent visitor to the Whedonverse you'll recognize most of the cast. He pulled people in from Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Dollhouse, and The Avengers.

Most importantly, the film manages to make Shakespeare understandable. I'd happily show this to kids to show them that Shakespeare is still relevant or as a supplement to reading the play to help them make the leap from thick, incomprehensible prose to an actual story. Because, yes, the whole thing is still in the original iambic pentameter. Captain Reynolds (Firefly) shows the police force as inept and  bumbling. Wesley Wyndam-Pryce and Fred Burkle play strong bickering romantic leads and provide some relief to Angel fans who watched Whedon put them together only to promptly kill her off and break all our hearts. Dr. Simon Tam (Firefly) shows that he should be the first choice as narrator for the next Twilight Zone reboot. And an uncredited character from The Avengers manages to use that to launch her career as the love interest Hero to Claudio, played by Topher Brink (Dollhouse).

The whole thing is just an example of what happens when the director of the third most profitable movie and a show that changed how TV is written gets together with his friends. And you get to tour his house and yards.

I'll get it on DVD and put it on the shelf next to Hamlet starring Captain Picard and Doctor Who and Coriolanus starring Voldemort and King Leonidas.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Movie Review: World War Z

I read the book years ago at the suggestion of an author I respect when he was at Politics and Prose. I loved the book. I put it somewhere in my top 25 most recommended books. So you can imagine my glee when I heard they were making a movie and J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5) was writing it.

In short, the book is a collection of stories told by survivors of the global zombie war.

Then came the rumors and leaks. Soon I lost faith. The movie wasn't going to look much like the book at all. I realized that the book can't be directly adapted. Not unless you have Ken Burns directing. But the departure appeared to be significant. A whole different movie.

So while I sat in the theater before the movie Saturday I was mentally writing this blog post and it wasn't nice. And even as I did it I realized I was being unfair.

I'm telling you all this so that I can tell you that I was wrong. I loved this movie. It tells a few of the stories from the book in a new way. Some of the stories get changed. Some get added. But they keep you on edge for almost the whole movie. And they tell a zombie film that's more than people hiding in a cabin or a mall. But I did need to approach the movie with the book largely shoved from my mind.

The movie ends in such a way that you could call it a decent ending. It's not a cliffhanger requiring you to come to the next movie. There's lots left hanging, but families are reunited and a major weapon is discovered. They wrap it up in such a way that you could fill in the end of the war yourself.

If Superman left you disappointed because it was so slow you'll love World War Z.

Will be getting on DVD.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Links: June 21

I'd heard that without human controls cauliflower would turn back into broccoli. Turns out broccoli is engineered from kale. [link]

For your guinea pig. [link]
Don't try to tell me you don't have a guinea pig. I know better! 

Important tip: messages in bottles need to float. [link]

Ford turns test driving over to self driving systems. [link]
Once I can get a self driving car... that's when I trade up.

Amusing for about a minute.

The Supreme Court agrees on something. [link]

Cat and a soda can. Watch to the end. Or skip to it.

Budgies running in slow motion.

This action movie tribute video doesn't make me nearly as happy as the sci-fi video done to Starships that I posted a few weeks ago. But I think they did a great job.

Doing cufflinks right. [link]

Early wind tunnel pics. [link]

Inside a well preserved fallout shelter. [link]

A Moray Eel that loves being pet.

A paintin' typewriter. [link]

25 things learned from closing a bookstore. [link]

Time to plan a road trip to Pittsburg. They're going to have a massive rubber ducky! [link]

America's 50 most thieving charities. [link]

How that one guy in that one video ran up a lava flow. [link]

Jimmy Hoffa's body may soon be found. [link]

Papercraft person and organs. [link]

Dissection video table.

A brief history of Vespa design. [link]

Why planes don't try faster. [link]

New elevator cable tech may allow mile high buildings. [link]

We've all seen the robot dog/horse. Here's a new robot cat.

Things learned from a Q/A with Edward Snowden. [link]

The Daily Show talks about Christian oppression.

A town in Borneo used an orangutan as a prostitute. [link]

The most valuable substance ever... if we can figure out how to make it. [link]

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

IT'S GOOD! I honestly didn't think there could be a good Superman movie as long as Jon Peters was involved. I'd go as far as saying that it's the best Superman movie yet. Alas, that's a bit like talking about the best Fantastic Four movie. Don't get me wrong, I liked Christopher Reeves as Superman. But I know you and I have the same problems with those first two movies. Spinning the Earth backwards to go back in time, holographic Superman projections, a tractor beam from his finger, Lois's spoken word song (bleh)... these screwed up an otherwise good movie.

My biggest issue with this movie was the music. It's alright music, but not in any way memorable. There's no theme song. No recurring series of notes to stick in your head. Nothing to hum to yourself when trying to pump yourself up. Nothing to get pulled over for because you were playing the soundtrack in the car and accidentally started speeding. It might make good soothing music for PTSD patients. But I doubt they'll make a dime from the soundtrack.

They do manage to skip what they can of his origin story. It's Superman. We know the story. But they do spend a good amount of time setting up the back story for Jor-El and Zod. They don't spend as much time on Clark's childhood as the trailers lead you to believe.
I like that some reporter worked out who he is. If anyone was going to do it, it'd be Lois.

Lots of Jesus allegory. I laughed out loud when they said Clark was 33.

I'm told there's no short clip at the end of the credits. Someone looked it up on their phone while the credits rolled and told the audience. Most of them got up and left immediately. Come on, DC, are you challenging Marvel for the crown or not?

I'll be getting this on DVD.

Monday, June 17, 2013

I'm going to a gardening party

It's a gardening party of one, but still...

Yummy and I and her parents are still on good enough terms that I was allowed to raid the raspberry bushes at their house. Last summer I noticed that a lot of what was growing along the edge of their lawn were raspberry bushes. Dodging the thorns we managed to pick quite a few. The deer came for the rest. Wednesday I went to take a few before Yummy's dad starts a culling of the bushes. I hadn't realized just how invasive raspberries are. There's a lot more than there were last year. As I worked at digging up eight small ones I found runners just under the surface that were running all over. Seriously, their patch seems to have tripled in size over the course of a year.

I picked eight small raspberry plants that were growing in the middle of a path I'd been trying to cultivate in a fenced area behind the house. Not that they have any interest in going back there, but I think they need a hiking trail. I've already killed off their poison ivy. I can't do anything to calm their tick concerns, though.

Six of the poor tortured plants got planted in the yards of abandoned houses on my alley in Baltimore. Five of them look like they'll live. Two others got traded to my contractor in return for some blackberry bushes from his place. One got put in the tire that I turned inside out to see how that effects runner development. I'll be trying to develop the raspberries in rows so that people can walk down them  and pick easily instead of having to hack their way in or get cut up by stickers.

I also took my trusty bottle of RoundUp and walked the alleys that run between Norman's House and the Annapolis Bog. In my alley and around my block I kill everything that might collect trash or is growing through the sidewalk. Down these new alleys I was targeting poison ivy and curly leaf dock. Dock is very invasive and all over Westport. Poison Ivy I'm highly tolerant to and only break out if it gets in a wound. So, as a kid, I was the go to guy for killing the stuff. I've developed a grudge against it and kill it off wherever reasonable.

After spraying those alleys I used the rest of my bottle treating the more persistant things in my alley. Once I reached the bottom of the alley I had another look at the building across the street. That wasn't english ivy or virginia creeper going up that wall. No, poison ivy had covered about 1/5 of the building. And the lawn was a mix of poison ivy and a fresh blanket of curly leaf dock I intended to wait a week before attacking it. I try to keep down to a bottle a week. But by Sunday I couldn't take it anymore and attacked. I could only do so much since I was unwilling to wade into the poison ivy. But I shot up the wall as far as I could and into the yard as far as pressure would allow. Next week I check on it to see what's sick and what I've missed. The week after I should be able to wade out further and kill some more. And hopefully reach the trunk of the big vine and cut it.

I continued down the alley with what was left of my bottle and found the alley heavily overrun with poison ivy. Alas, I also found many garbage piles. If anyone doubts that my actions are doing any good they can just look at the alleys on either side of mine and compare.

I'm not sure if I've mentioned that I've been fencing off the yards of the abandoned houses in my alley. $3 fence posts and cheap plastic fencing held on by zip ties. It's not my yard and there are metal thieves in the area so I'm not sinking too much money into these places. But I'm trying to discourage dumping. After nearly two months the city finally cleared out the dumping in a yard across the alley. That was the last yard that needed a fence. They also mowed that yard and one other. Now I claim those yards as mine. I got a 100ft extension cord so I can get the weed whacker over there. In one of the yards I'd been putting dirt that I'd shoveled out of the alley. I'd planted some pumpkins and hyacinth bean in that dirt and they are coming up. Free pumpkins for the neighbors this Halloween!

Inside the house I finished mortaring one wall, cut down the ceiling joists in the hall and demoed room, and started cleaning the sloppy mortar off the bricks. That last bit is being slowed by the limited life span of the batteries for the drill that runs the flapping sandpaper thing.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Links: June 14

In light of recent events, They Might Be Giants has a ringtone for you.

Tornado mod for Minecraft.

RFK Jr is an anti-vaccination loon. [link]

Regional dialect survey. [link]

Town in Spain mails unscooped poop to owners. [link]

Prosthetic fingers for former Yakuza. [link]

He gave up a $200K job in Hawaii and a ballerina wife for a life in exile. That's how much he loves his country. [link]

Bridesmaid required to get a date. So she gets the most inappropriate one she can find off Craigslist. [link]

How common is your birthday? [link]

Reinvented wheel. [link]

The lie of "Right to work". [link]

Timelapse footage of a supercell. [link]

"Fun" with Texas gun laws. [link]

What happens to CEOs who refuse to cooperate with the NSA. [link]

The untold horrible truth about running. [link]

How to use the internet without Prism (posted without reading... yet) [link]

"You are the worst person I've ever interviewed." [link]

What happens to women denied abortions? [link]

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bad movie night: Chillerama

It's horrible movie time again, boys and girls. You've seen "Dead Alive" and "Rubber" and your friends are still investigating what really killed Roger Ebert. Have a look at "Chillerama". 

"Chillerama" is a series of bad movie spoofs stitched together with a storyline about a drive-in theater going out of business and being attacked by sex zombies. It starts with some guy sitting in the open grave of his wife who has been dead for a year. He want to get from her in death what she wouldn't give him in life. Ss he takes his pants off she sits up and bites his crotch. He starts bleeding blue and goes off to work at the drive-in. We meet our cast of characters and see that some people are getting blue topping on their popcorn.

The first of the bad films is "Wadzilla". A guy with fertility issues starts taking experimental medication to produce more sperm and give them more pep. Instead it takes the one sperm he has and makes it start to grow. It gets loose and goes on a rampage in the city eating people until it tries to mate with the Statue of Liberty. 

Next up is "I was a Teenage Werebear". Set in the '60s, this should remind you of Grease or Beach Blanket Bingo or ... I don't know, I hate that crap. It's about a young man who breaks into song when things start to get interesting with this girlfriend. He develops an interest in these greasers who also develop an interest in him. So they bite him and turn him into one of them - a werebear. When they get aroused they put on about 100 lbs, become hairy, and kill. 

"The Diary of Anne Frankenstein" didn't go as expected. In it Anne's family is descended from the infamous monster maker but they've changed their name to Frank. But they still have Victor Frankenstein's diary. Hitler comes and takes it. He uses it to try to build the ultimate soldier, but ends up with a very jewish monster who turns and kills him. Pay attention to Hitler's German. It gets worse and worse over the course of the movie until he's just naming Star Wars characters. 

They're just starting "Deathication", which is a very feces intense movie, when things go wrong back at the drive-in and you're glad of it. The blue popcorn has finally turned everyone into zombies that go around biting and screwing everything. 

Do not pay a lot to see this movie. It's available via NetFlix streaming and probably in the horror section of your most independent movie rental store.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Book Review: Year Zero

Before I go any further I need to clarify that I'm talking about "Year Zero" by Rob Reid. Not Jeff Long's book. Not Kiara Windrider's book. Not a book of poetry by Brian Henderson. Or an audio drama by Bernice Summerfield. Certainly not any of the songs by the same name. Despite the lack of originality in the title, the rest of the book is a bit different.

In 1977 an alien race, one of millions (at least), found picked up a transmission while passing near Earth. It was an episode of "Welcome Back Kotter". Compared to their own sitcoms, Kotter sort of fell in the "so bad it's good" category. Only without the "'s good" part. Then the end theme song came on. It was one of the most beautiful pieces of music they'd ever heard. Several crew members died of brain hemorrhages and died in ecstasy caused by how wonderful they music was. See, if your species doesn't self destruct you get to join a galactic society based around the arts. Most all technology that could be invented has been and your planet gets access to it all immediately. Then your society gets to work on it's arts and culture. A view of even the most gaudy city would bliss out a human. Many apartments would put one of us into a coma. But they can't do music worth a damn. So they started listening to Earth. Mostly a few stations out of New York City. And they started recording and sharing. Today each and every intelligent being in the galactic society has about 25,000,000 songs. I should say that the survivors do. Just like on that first ship, there was a doozy of a death toll.

Then one day they realized that American laws state that the fine for music piracy is $150,000.

Per song.

Earth is now owed all of the wealth that could be created between the beginning of the universe and the end. ALL OF IT! So it's time for the aliens to lawyer up. Not just to save the galactic economy, but to keep someone from destroying the Earth.

Many of the reviews compare this book to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" (HHGTTG). I think the reviewers are being a bit lazy. I know a few weeks ago you saw me compare the latest Agatha Heterodyne to HHGTTG. The difference being that every sci-fi comedy gets that comparison just for being funny. And "Year Zero" is a funny book. But Douglas Adams had a gift for turn of phrase that made HHGTTG funny. I saw much of that in the Agatha H novels. Rob Reid's book I'd compare more closely to John Scalzi's stuff. Specifically "Agent to the Stars". I'll admit that it seems I'm suffering from a similar laziness to that I accused other writers of suffering from. Because "Agent to the Stars" is also a sci-fi/comedy/legal book. But the word play is closer to Scalzi's style than Adams'. But there are explanations of alien species and societies that will remind you of entries in the HHGTTG. With some hints of Terry Pratchett thrown in, too.

This is Rob Reid's first fiction novel. Before this he was the founder of which launched the Rhapsody music player. So you'll see where his experience there comes through in this book.

Trust me, you'll enjoy this book.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weekend update

Most of my work on my house has been focused on one particular wall in one particular room. Last weekend I spend 6.5 hours scraping crap mortar out from between the bricks. This weekend I put new mortar in that scraped area. Once that was dry I scraped out what I hope will be the last. I'll fill that in next weekend.

Let me tell you a bit about this wall. It's brick. But there are three board about an inch thick that run horizontally and are embedded in the wall. I'm really not sure what the thinking was. But I'm leaving the brick below the bottom board alone. Largely because there's a vent coming out of the brick and lots of really hard concrete around it. The vent was covered in plaster. This indicates that there was a forced air system that predates the radiators. And that different concrete was used around the vent than was used in the brick. So it's going to be easier to just put some decorative paneling over the vent and brick. And it gets me out of scraping that area out.

About chest height there are three rectangles cut out of the brick. Or, rather, bricks were built around something that's now gone. They look like pockets for joists. I may find matching pockets if I took the plaster off the far wall (HELLZ NO!). But the placement is weird for that. I'm considering putting some boards in there and using them to support a shelf.

Above the old ceiling is some brick that was never plastered over. Nobody was supposed to see it so they never knocked off the mortar that squished out between bricks. But I'm planning to raise the ceiling to just under the roof once some 6" of insulation is sprayed up there. I don't want to scrape that area if I can help it. I've got this sandpaper flapper thing that goes on a drill. I'll be using it to clean up the bricks I've repointed and make them prettier. I'll take it to the mortar that's squished out, too. Grind it down level with the brick. If it looks alright I'll go ahead and seal it. If not... another couple of weeks of scraping and mortaring.

With luck, the weekend after that I can frame up the front wall. Then the insulation guys come in. Then wiring, sheetrock, carpet removal, floor restoration (I say that like I have any idea what that involves), a door, and a bed. Doesn't sound like much if I say it fast.

Friday, June 07, 2013

Friday Links: June 7

Recovery of ancient Egyptian city. [link]

A recent Q&A on Twitter with Richard Thompson. [link]

"It's Not About the Nail"

White House to try to address the patent troll issue. [link]

Where we lived in Pangea. [link]

Homemade fried ice cream. [link]
I doubt my freezer's ability to get the ice cream cold enough.

Canine toy critic.

Now you know before hand whether the dog in that movie you're thinking about dies or not. [link]

Cheerios ad summons bigots for showing a mixed heritage family. [link]

New genetics screening service shows some brothers and sisters aren't really siblings. [link]

12 technologies that just won't die. [link]

Sculpting robot.
Mataerial Introduction from Mataerial on Vimeo.

Possibly the first bird. [link]

Roomba circa 1959. [link]

What atheists see in nature. [link]

Why Finnish babies sleep in boxes. [link]

Survey answers about politics change when money is on the line. [link]

The difference between geek and nerd. [link]

10 species announced in 2012. [>link]

Article about the rise of suicides in recent decades. But also have a look at the windows in the page that reveal stationary pictures behind the page. [link]

More giant naked people from Ron Mueck. [link]

Excel art. [link]

The charts say life is getting better. [link]

Art under an overpass. [link]

Maybe they did find Amelia Earhart after all. [link]

Wearable and eatable tech. [link]

Best commencement speeches of the year. [link]
Hell no I didn't watch all that. I didn't even attend my own college graduation! But I skimmed the text.

We're not as good looking as we think. [link]
Not true. I can't possibly be as bad looking as I think.

80% of donated clothes goes to recycling. [link]

5 unexpected diet foods. [link]

Years ago I read an article about the efforts to make Superman 5 and why they all failed. The article was pulled and appeared to have vanished. I tried several times over the years to find it. But my lackey at work found it in the comments of another page. Good work, Lackey. [link]

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Movie review: Star Trek Into Darkness

Seriously. Spoiler warning.
LIARS! Ever since the last Star Trek movie the writers have been saying that this next movie would have a classic Trek villain, but it wouldn't be Kahn. Now, I love me some Kahn and wouldn't mind seeing him in another movie. But don't go telling me it's going to be Gorn or Gary Mitchell (who was my guess) or anyone but Kahn and then give us Kahn anyway. 

OK, fine I'm over that. 

"Star Trek into Darkness" is a good action movie. But it's not Star Trek. In Star Trek you're supposed to come away with a feel good feeling about the future of humanity. You don't get that here. Instead you get a rip off of a good Star Trek movie and a weak sub-plot or two about friendship. There's plot holes, dialog issues, gratuitous underwear scenes, unconvincing deaths, PROBLEMS. 

But I don't want to say it's a bad movie. It annoyed me a lot for a number of reasons, but if it were called "Adventure of a Spaceman" I'd like it more. As far as action movies go it's just fine. but I will not be getting it on DVD. 

One more spoiler. The next movie will not be called "Search for Kirk."

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Not so Yummy

Yummy and I broke up.

This is on me. We've known from the beginning that she wanted a kid and I didn't. But neither of us had dated much so we decided to see how it went. "Good night. Sleep well. I'll most likely break up with you in the morning." Or however the line goes.

Some of my previous relationships had a crisis point. Should she move to DC to be with me or Chicago to be with friends and job opportunities. Things like that. But we weren't going to have a crisis point. We could both keep on with life as usual putting off the decision for years. Then one day we'd realize it's too late for her to have a kid. I didn't want that to happen.

Why now? This has clearly been an issue for awhile. Why, after four and a half years? Well, I sorta signed up to go to Mars without telling her. When she found out, that led to the talk.

And it pointed out some of my own issues. Despite the four girlfriends I've had the ages spent single and the countless rejections left me with psychological scars and patterns that leave me thinking of myself as single even after all this time in a relationship.

It's a civil breakup. No broken dishes or screaming. I'm still taking care of her birds.

So if there's any single fellas in the DC/Baltimore/Frederick area who are looking for a pretty SWF who wants one child you should get in touch. She's one of the least crazy girls you'll meet in this area.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Arrival of the summer heat

It's hot in my house. Norman's house. The Baltimore house. It's hot.

When they told us that heat rises I assumed that the movement of air was a bit more active. It's warmer upstairs than it is outside so I expect a good breeze heading out the skylight.

There's about a 10F to 15F degree difference between levels. Upstairs is around 90F (currently 84F outside). Not because of heat rising, like I thought, but because there's no insulation under the roof. My laser thermometer has it between 94F and 98F up there depending on where I point it. So the roof is heating the upstairs. Only this box fan on wheels that's older than I am keeps things habitable up here. On Saturday I had it trained on me while I was chiseling away mortar (for 5 friggin' hours). In that room the roof was only in the upper 80Fs thanks to the fan moving the air.

The first floor isn't too bad. At least not when coming down from the top floor. The thermostat reads 80F. But the air is very still because my fan is upstairs where the work is going on.

I retreated to the basement for awhile. It's in the 60Fs down there. I finally got my wires nailed up and moved some lumber around. But that work, combined with the still air, soon made it so even the cooler air wasn't doing much good. So I'm writing this upstairs in front of the fan as it pushes air down the hall. I'm still way warmer than I'd like, but more comfortable than in the still air one floor down.