Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm Forcing Goodness Upon You, Don't Look So Down!

"I'm driving in my auto
I'm going to the post office
I'm sending you a package
Filled with love and joy

I hear you have some problems
That need all your concentrated worrying
I understand your suffering
I'm observing all your grief
But this is a world where I like to hang my hat
Something good's going to happen to you today!
How about that? "

- Shari Elf, "I'm Forcing Goodness Upon You" (excerpted)

Friday, January 30, 2009

Two-Sentence Movie Reviews

From Hell

When you have a crazed serial killer on the loose, women being kidnapped and murdered, stonewalling by your superiors, and panic in the streets, what you need is Harry Callahan- and what you get is a dope-smoking Johnny Depp. Gobs of atmosphere, costuming, and setup, but no justice, no vengeance, and no resolution, and it's hard to enjoy a film where the hero has no impact on the villain at all.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Aaaaah! Tsathoggua!

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I'm really getting sick of people actually listening to political talk shows of whatever flavor and pretending that whatever is said on them carries any weight other than that of your standard, run-of-the-mill opinion. Opinions are highly overrated these days. In order to get one of these shows one has to be so entrenched in a single one-sided position that thought outside one's side's particular viewpoint is impossible- otherwise it would be a thoughtful discussion of issues, with no shouting other people down, and hey, that's bad for ratings. This leads to a show that is nothing but an exercise in identification for viewers- either, "Hey, someone on TV agrees with me! That means we're both right! Yay!" or "Hey, someone on TV disagrees with me! That means one of us is wrong! Boo!" That's all they have to offer. There is no actual real content, because that would disrupt the flow of animosity, but they try and pretend something of actual intellectual merit is going on- Jerry Springer Shows for people who try to pretend they're above watching Jerry Springer. If you're watching political talk shows, it's because you've already made your mind up about something, but you don't want to argue it yourself, you want someone else to argue it for you, and you want to watch- it's mental masturbation. These sorts of shows are not designed to make you think, they're designed to dig you further into whatever corner you've assigned yourself to while making it even more difficult for an honest and thoughtful exchange of ideas to ever actually occur between different sides. Apparently people would rather watch others- supposedly well-educated and intelligent others- shout and snort and whine and grunt and smarm and smug and act like kids on the playground than watch a respectful debate. If this is what you want, fine, whatever floats your proverbial boats, but cowboy up and admit to yourself and the world that you want to watch people make faux-clever cutting comments at each other as though they were fourth graders debating which TV show is best, rather than trying to claim you're watching something that means anything. I'm not sure why people don't just admit what they really want, cut out the middleman, and go watch the Ultimate Fighting Championships instead, but people are great about fooling themselves.


Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm playing through Silent Hill 2 in the off-hours, and while yesterday I was seriously considering recommending a name change to "Inaccessible Hospital Areas Hill 2" today I've changed my mind and am now espousing a change to "How Is It Supposed To Be Atmospheric When I Can't See A Damned Thing 2" It's a bit unwieldy, but I feel it's much more descriptive. #grins#

Edited to add: Okay, how about "These Walls Look Like Ham 2" ?


Two-Sentence Movie Reviews


Commits grievous contraventions of the laws of physics, tactics, ballistics, medicine, mechanics, electronics, sex, basic intelligence, illegal business, dialogue, and cohesive scene construction, and is not clever, stylish, or charming enough to be forgiven in any category. Boys will love it, but if you're not male and 22 or below, it's utter, utter bollocks.

(The Owlvark's review: "It should be called 'Wank' ")


Sunday, January 25, 2009

I <3 Lore's Monster Manual Comix.

And I imagine that if you read this blog, and have the slightest knowledge of D&D, you will too.

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The Owlvark, who, after copious amounts of tea and sleep is feeling much better today, has been tinkering away on the old Philco radio, and it's quite fascinating to watch. My knowledge of electronics is limited- I can make LED's light up with some wire and a battery, but that's about it- but he's good at explaining things, so I'm learning a little about how it works. Currently he's replacing the old capacitors with newer models, which are about an eighth of the size. He took apart a couple of the old capacitors, and they appear to be just rolls of paper and foil, which apparently worked perfectly well for many years, and is kind of amazing when you think about it. The first idea was to save the old capacitors and hollow them out and use them to disguise the new ones, but they're in such bad shape (the wax is degrading and they're very dirty and delicate) that it doesn't seem worth the trouble. Still, he says that once he's finished it should work just fine, which I am quite excited about. I worked hard on refinishing the case (although I have to do some more work on the veneer; the bits that didn't need fixing when I worked on it last now need some attention) and it'll be so nice to see it back in working order. They just don't make 'em as aesthetically pleasing as they used to.


funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More reasons to love Wondermark

As though you needed more.

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The Omnivore's Hundred

Instructions amended slightly from their original incarnation.

1) Copy this list (including the instructions)
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Strike-through any items that you would never consider eating, or have tried and will never try again (remember to bold it though, because you've still tried it once).

- From the one and only Fox, via the one and only Teh Kid

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes (Though once I have a garden...)
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper (I'm not that much of a masochist.)
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi Peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi (At least until next time I'm at the Indian restaurant; I remember seeing it on the menu...)
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O (It's a bit too 'frat party' for me, thanks.)
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail (They're damned expensive, for some unknown reason)
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects (Eh, it's only cultural conditioning that makes the idea unattractive- protein is protein.)
43. Phaal (See: scotch bonnet pepper)
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £80/$120 or more
46. Fugu (What, am I stupid?)
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut (I realize I'm in the minority in this, but the one I had was fresh and everything and it still tasted to me like it had been dipped in a thick coat of wax.)
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi (Too expensive here to try.)
53. Abalone (I can't for the life of me remember where, though.)
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (Not unless I was actively starving to death)
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine (Man, I miss this stuff)
60. Carob chips (I <3 Tiger's Milk Bars)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin (It's the stuff they use in Pepto, I believe.)
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake (OD'd on it at the Tidioute Fishing Tournament when I was a kid; now I can't stand the stuff...)
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini (Caviar is only prepared fish eggs, unless they specify "beluga" or what-have-you, and I ate a lot of fish eggs growing up.)
73. Louche absinthe (I don't know why we never got around to getting any absinthe while I was in the UK; we kept meaning to...)
74. Gjetost, or brunost (I'm getting some at Wegmans' next time, though, as it sounds really good)
75. Roadkill (As in, "Hey, if we have to pay for car damages, we're certainly not going to waste the deer that caused it. Throw it in the back.")
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie (Haven't been able to eat these since I was a teenager- the vast amounts of sugar make me queasy)
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong (It's an acquired taste)
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum (I'm filing the recipe away for future reference, though)
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a Michelin three-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers (Violets, mostly)
89. Horse (I have a few personal issues with the concept. I have eaten zebra, though.)
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam (It belongs in Monty Python sketches and not on my plate, thank you.)
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano (Oo, definitely have to try that)
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job, which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship. "

- President Obama, January 20th, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

"Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

- Dr. Martin Luther King, August 28, 1963

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Why oh why oh why didn't William Gibson's screenplay for Alien 3 get chosen? Is it perfect? No, but hey, what is? It's at least four times as awesome as any science fiction film I've seen in the last several years, and, wonder of wonders, it's actually *scary*, which is not something often I say about films. I can't see where it would require a supersized budget, at least no more so than Aliens; it's set on a space station, so the sets could be claustrophobic, and there aren't a crap-ton of aliens in it at any given time until the end, and even when there's a lot of them it's nothing Stan Winston (Gods rest his soul) couldn't have managed. I won't wreck it for you guys, but it's as suspenseful and bloody and violent and heroic as one would hope an Alien film to be, and even leaves the ending open for a series of Marines vs. aliens films, which also would have been great.

Interestingly, I get the feeling that the Alien toys released in the early 90's were sort of based on this script, or possibly vice-versa. They were weird, but cool- I still have the bull alien around somewhere.

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Oh for crying out loud...are you all eight years old or something? "*They* had ads on buses, so *we* have to have ads on buses!" Screw you, stop acting like third graders- do you know what the money spent on both sides would have done for a third-world nation? Let me put this plainly, because I am tired of people assuming my views on the subject. I find all forms of being preached to equally annoying, regardless of origin. If someone from either side says, "But *we're* right!" guess what? You're fooling yourself if you think you're different from the other side by virtue of anything other than viewpoint- telling people what to believe is telling people what to believe, whatever side you're on. I find atheism, especially chosen as it is by so many people for no other reason than they find organized religion irritating and/or incomprehensible, to be just as preachy and sanctimonious as any evangelical religion out there, and I'm sick and tired of having both sides try and tell me why they're obviously right and the other is obviously wrong. Screw off! I'm not an atheist, and I'm not a member of an organized religion. I have my own belief system, with which I am extremely comfortable with, and I have never had the urge to write a book, start a website, or put messages on buses to tell the world about it, because that's not my job, not my responsibility, and it's definitely not any of my damn business. It's self-aggrandizing and self-important, and the leaders on both sides of the debate absolutely love being the spotlight, which is why they do what they do. I don't give a damn what your religion is, or lack of it, but the next time either of your groups decide to have another little playground war, why don't you refrain from throwing money around to draw attention to yourselves and, hey, here's an idea, spend the money on something that really matters- send it to the Heifer Project or some other charity of your choice, and help some people who really need it, instead of trying to generate controversy and publicity. Go help someone with your faith, or help someone with your lack of it, and everyone, seriously, try to stop being such attention whores.

And yes, there are no comments. I am not interested in others' views on the subject being written about on my blog. This is the kind of debate that virtually no-one can remain polite, objective, and open-minded about for long, and polite, objective open-minded discussion is the only type I tolerate. For this same reason, I'm not taking comments on this via email. Yes, there's freedom of speech, but that's in the country at large- I run my blog as a tiny, text-based benevolent dictatorship, and I have the option not to listen to people's opinions when I choose, and right now, I don't give a damn where you stand. Go *do* something worthwhile with your beliefs/lack of them, don't just sit around bitching endlessly about it.

Enough words. I'm off to give some time and money instead.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Speaking of Lost Girls-

"One of the things that we remarked upon after finishing the book was what a profoundly '60s agenda Lost Girls was actually carrying out, even though it was coming out in 2006. If you look at the elements of Lost Girls, it's got Victorian children's fantasy characters like Alice in Wonderland, who was very big during the '60s. That Lewis Carroll imagery was very popular. You've got flowers everywhere. It's dripping with art nouveau, which of course was something that was also true of the psychedelic era. Its basic message is very pro-erotic. It has a fairly relaxed attitude to drugs, which was also true of much of the '60s. Its basic message is, "Make love not war." I've remarked to Melinda that if we'd just thought of that before we started on the book we could have just bought ourselves one of those badge-making machines and saved ourselves the trouble of spending 17 years doing a 240-page, lavishly illustrated book. We've tried to explain why sex is a normal, healthy human urge. The sexual imagination is a normal part of healthy human life. Actually, going to some foreign hellhole and getting killed or killing people who are just the same as you other than an accident of geography -- that is not natural. Yes, they're things we've been doing a long time, but it doesn't mean they're natural and it doesn't mean that they're right."

-Alan Moore

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

General Ramblings

I'm up to my eyeballs in new (well, new to me, anyway) books to read, which, by the way, is on my list for basics of living, right after food and shelter. A portion of my Christmas money went towards used books, so I have a sizable stack of fascinating things to read. Currently I've just finished Alan Moore's "Lost Girls, " which was amazing, by the way, although absolutely not for everyone. I'm halfway through the second volume of the authoritative biography of Theodore Roosevelt, a cookbook I got for Christmas, and a collection of Robert E. Howard's Cthulhu Mythos-themed stories. In the stack for future reads are some cool-looking book review magazines Ma sent me, a Patrick McManus book ("Kid Camping From Aaaaiiiieee to Zip"), "Mon cher Papa: Ben Franklin and the Ladies of Paris, " Robert Chamber's "The King In Yellow and Other Stories, " a collection of Mythos-style stories called "The Book of Eibon, " Lord Dunsany's "The Charwoman's Daughter, " and a book on Chinese swordsmanship.

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Sunday, January 04, 2009

Two-Sentence Movie Reviews

Crimson Force

Duamuteffe: "Hmm, there's an IMDB comment that says that if you pay attention to the plot, you'll really get something out of it- but I paid attention to the plot, and all I got out of it was pain."
Owlvark: "I got out of it was that it was a complete rip-off of Stargate- does that count as 'something'?"


Saturday, January 03, 2009

One-Sentence Movie Reviews - Return To The House On Haunted Hill

"Today in Kitchen Stadium- whingy teens vs. Iron Chef Arkham."