Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hornswoggle?

From the hot word:
Wayne State University’s Word Warriors have released their top ten words to revive in 2011 . Starting in 2009, the Wayne State Word Warriors have highlighted obscure English words to bring back into common usage. Citing the vast vocabulary available in English – the biggest in the world, in fact — the Word Warriors contend that the depth and elasticity of the language is often disgarded for the quick, easy and accessible word. “Too often we limit ourselves to words that are momentarily popular or broadly applicable, and so rob ourselves of English’s inherent beauty and agility.”
Click to see the list. I remember using "paroxysm" once and the guy I was talking to thought I had made it up. So I explained it. He still didn't believe me until he went and looked it up in a dictionary.

I do actually use schadenfreude on occasion, because I enjoy engaging in it so often.

P.S. The opposite of shadenfreude is "sour grapes." Those Germans have a word for everything.

The strange case of Rudolf Hess

I'm sure most readers of this blog are big enough WW2 history buffs to be aware of one of the weirder occurrences of the war: when Rudolf Hess parachuted into England to supposedly try and make peace with Winston Churchill.

Now documents have come to light that show Hitler was in on it. At the Daily Mail.

Learning Latin: look where it got me

Robert Charles Bentley (1889-1945), American humorist, editor of Vanity Fair, drama critic, published fifteen volumes of his collected humorous essays. Also an actor. This guy was very funny. Unfortunately in later years he succumbed to alcoholism.
Passing Ulysses S. Grant's tomb in New York, Benchley was seen to be scribbling something on the back of an envelope, which he slipped under the door of the monument. The note read: "Please leave 2 quarts Grade A and 1 pint whipping cream. U.S.G."

*****
A scene in one of Benchley's movie shorts required that he be strung up in a mess of telephone wires above a street. While waiting for the final camera, he said to his wife, Gertrude, "Remember how good at Latin I was in school?"

"Yes."

"Well, look where it got me."

The horror!

At Oddee.

If I ever walked into a house like the one in picture #1, I would run screaming. Anyone who tried to stop me would be shot dead and I would mindlessly stomp their bleeding body in my mad escape.

So, you know, if your house looks like that, never invite me in. Fair warning.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Over the wall

An interesting photo appropriate for the day at If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Glad I could help

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cool video, great song



A little too much Moby and not enough Heather Graham, but still pretty good.

This & that

Just wanted to mention another interesting audio source: HPPodcraft.com. This one provides podcasts reading and discussing Lovecraft stories. Back in the olden days I used to participate in semi-organized IRC discussions of Lovecraft stories. It was quite interesting and fun.

Today I finished downloading all the free audio books available at Lovecraft eZine, then downloaded the first 20 episodes of podcasts from HPPodcraft.com. I have enough on the Fuze to keep me listening to Lovecraft on the drive home for weeks to come. So far HPPodcraft has 78 episodes, so there's a lot more still to download and listen to.

I have also been building the playlist as fast as I can today. I'm now up to Jeff Beck.

Last night I finally watched a movie that I probably should have seen a long time ago: The Naked Gun. Funny. Also I should note that Netflix now has available for streaming: The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, The Best of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and....Invader Zim!!!

Maurice Barrymore on America

Maurice Barrymore (1847-1905), born in England but later moved to the United States where he became an actor, and sired a family of actors (John, Lionel and Ethel). Great-grandfather of Drew Barrymore.
An English friend once scoffed at Maurice Barrymore's enthusiasm for his adopted country. "Why," he said, "we could go over to America and beat the daylights out of it any day."

"Again?" inquired Maurice.

Friday, May 27, 2011

J.M. Barrie's acting advice

Sir James Matthew Barrie (1860-1937), author of Peter Pan and other plays.
While producing one of his own plays, Barrie was approached by an inexperienced member of the cast. Although his part was a very minor one, the young actor, anxious to give it the right interpretation, sought Barrie's advice. Sir James gave the matter some thought. "I am glad you have asked me," he finally replied. "I should like you to convey when you are acting it that the man you portray has a brother in Shropshire who drinks port."

Playlist progress

I skipped, or I should say--scanned through the "H's" pretty fast, since most of it I was very familiar with. Now up to Ian Matthews.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Got sidetracked...

Haven't made any more progress on the favorites playlist. I got sidetracked listening to the new Moby album.

Free-Floating Planets

Free-Floating Planets May be More Common Than Stars - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Astronomers, including a NASA-funded team member, have discovered a new class of Jupiter-sized planets floating alone in the dark of space, away from the light of a star. The team believes these lone worlds were probably ejected from developing planetary systems.

The discovery is based on a joint Japan-New Zealand survey that scanned the center of the Milky Way galaxy during 2006 and 2007, revealing evidence for up to 10 free-floating planets roughly the mass of Jupiter. The isolated orbs, also known as orphan planets, are difficult to spot, and had gone undetected until now. The newfound planets are located at an average approximate distance of 10,000 to 20,000 light-years from Earth.

"Although free-floating planets have been predicted, they finally have been detected, holding major implications for planetary formation and evolution models," said Mario Perez, exoplanet program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
Eldritch.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

General favorites playlist progress update

Now on Hawkwind. 6 1/2 hours worth just of Hawkwind songs.

Ethan Allen: I'm off, boys...

Ethan Allen, of course, a prominent figure during the American Revolutionary War, who lived from 1738-89.
Ethan Allen with a group of associates attended a Sunday service led by a stern Calvinist preacher. He took as his text "Many shall strive to enter in, but shall not be able." God's grace was sufficient, observed the preacher, to include one person in ten, but not one in twenty would endeavor to avail himself of the offered salvation. Furthermore, not one man in fifty was really the object of God's solicitude, and not one in eighty--here Allen seized his hat and left the pew, saying, "I'm off, boys. Any one of you can take my chance."

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's time to make a peanut butter sandwich and kill them all

Heh. A "thrill-com pilot" called The Ward. Click to view. Via HPPodcraft.com.

Lovecraftian humor? Yes, I guess so.

Pound vs. Abercrombie

I have read somewhere the bumper sticker wisdom: "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace." In fact I'm pretty sure I've at least seen it on a t-shirt. Well, here's...the rest of the story.

Lascelles Abercrombie was a British poet and critic and professor of English literature at Leeds and London universities, who lived from 1881-1938. Ezra Pound was Ezra Pound.
Abercrombie had expressed an opinion with which the poet Ezra Pound violently disagreed. "Dear Mr. Abercrombie," wrote Pound. "Stupidity carried beyond a certain point becomes a public menace. I hereby challenge you to a duel, to be fought at the earliest moment that is suited to your convenience..." Abercrombie was rather disturbed by the challenge, knowing of Pound's skill at fencing, but then he remembered with relief that the choice of weapons lay with the party challenged. "May I suggest," he replied, "that we bombard each other with unsold copies of our own books?" Pound, having far more "weapons" than his opponent, immediately withdrew the challenge.

No fun with playlists

I have not been doing any work on the records-to-mp3 conversions lately. I have, rather, been really working on building the big general favorites list. I am provisionally up to "G," provisionally because when I get to the "various artists" directory there are files that will be going everywhere. Anyway, right now I'm on GTR.

I'm not listening to every single track, either, because I do want to finish the list in my lifetime. Most of them I can just look at the directory and immediately pick out the ones I want. Others, however, require a further listening for decisions to be made.

While in this process, I have also been creating a playlist of "rock instrumentals." Of course, all these tracks will be ones that I personally have in my own collection, not some sort of universal list.

I would also like to create a playlist of rock/pop songs that include a saxophone part. I have already put a few tracks into this list but I'll need to go back over the beginning of the list again to see what's what. I don't remember every track that uses a saxophone.

I have designed my directory structure with the first name first. So, for example, George Harrison is George Harrison and not Harrison, George, which puts him into the "G" list. The only exception I make to this rule is with groups beginning with "the." So, for example, The Doors is listed as Doors, The.

Not that any of this matters to anyone but I couldn't think of anything else to post about today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright and Rex Stout

In 1930 novelist Rex Stout built a fourteen-room house, with his own hands, on a hilltop in Danbury, Connecticut. Later he invited Frank Lloyd Wright out to see it and waited patiently for his evaluation. Wright examined it carefully and then said, "A superb spot. Someone should build a house here."

Call me, Debbie!

We had a crossover/campout last night for the Cub Scouts. My son is now a Webelos. What is the plural of "Webelos" anyway?

We got rained on a little this morning, and I was pleased and surprised that the Walmart tent kept the wet out. I was also surprised that my back didn't hurt this morning. Apparently sleeping on the ground is better for my back than those bunks on the U.S.S. Lexington.

Well, the day is almost over and I'm so disappointed that Debbie Harry didn't come for me.


Apparently the human brain is a lot like cookie dough...

Thanks to this article at Cracked.com, I have just seen what might have become the most awesome half-hour sitcom in the history of television.

I had never heard of this show before, but it was a unaired pilot that never got any further than the first episode. It's like The Six Million Dollar Man meets The X-Files meets Knight Rider meets The Incredible Hulk. I'm talking about Heat Vision and Jack. Starring Jack Black as rogue astronaut Jack Austin and Owen Wilson as the voice of his sentient motorcycle, Heat Vision.

Very funny and inventive, lots of in-jokes referring to other TV shows and certain TV tropes. Fortunately, the episode lives on in cyberspace and you can view it on YouTube.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More fodder for the mp3 player

Old Time Radio Fans. Free downloads, a lot of them.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

An anecdote I can empathize with

Evelyn Waugh, British novelist, who lived from 1903-66. Waugh was male, by the way. He converted to Catholicism in 1930. This was told by Joseph Epstein (an American essayist).
"Once, when he had behaved with particular rudeness to a young French intellectual at a dinner party in Paris at the home of Nancy Mitford, Miss Mitford, angry at his social brutality, asked him how he could behave so meanly and yet consider himself a believing and practicing Catholic. 'You have no idea,' Waugh returned, 'how much nastier I would be if I was not a Catholic. Without supernatural aid I would hardly be a human being.'"

The infamous Mission Road route

Click to enlarge a little.

This is probably not of much interest to anyone but today I figured out what was going on in this area and it made me utter a mild exclamation. I believe my exact words were, "Holy cow!"

This is an area that I motor (as a verb; it means "to read meters while driving from one meter to the next, rather than walking"), and which I did today. There has been a massive amount of construction in this area for the past several months. Concepción Park has, or had, three meters, two of which are not really pertinent to this post but as a by-the-way are accessible from E. Theo near the swimming pool (the rectangular thing inside the bend of E. Theo). The pink dot is where a large meter is, or was, inside a vault. It rarely showed any consumption. However, because of all the construction, today was the first time in 3-4 months that I was able to go inside and try to find it. This is an old map; everything there now looks completely different. It was so changed that all I could do was park in the general area and walk around dumbly looking for any signs of the old vault. One of the construction workers asked if he could help me; I told him I was looking for a water meter that used to be there--it had been in a big vault. He looked at a co-worker and asked, "Hey, was there a meter in that vault we buried?" I started laughing, and then they both started laughing. So this is another "lost" meter that I'm sure will remain on the route for months, perhaps years to come, until someone figures out that it isn't there anymore. I'm pretty sure it was removed before they buried the vault; unfortunately, the people who remove meters never seem to tell the rest of the company about it.

Anyhow, there is now a new street in this place. It begins where that red dot is on Mission Road and (it's still closed so I don't know exactly how it runs) comes out where that other red dot is on E. Theo. The old E. Theo (from Mission Road) now dead-ends about where the blue dot is and there is no longer a street between there and the bridge. I don't know what the name of this new street is going to be. Will it be E. Theo? Will we have two roughly parallel streets that are both called E. Theo? Or will it suddenly change names as it comes across the river bridge and become something else? Will the old E. Theo-from-Mission Road be reconnected to the the old E. Theo/unnamed new street? Who knows?

As another by-the-way, that area that I circled in green is the big Mission Road Pump Station. There used to be 4 meters in there. One of them went to a small house. I was told that that house was once used by a full-time security guard who lived on the premises, but it hadn't been used in a long, long time. Anyway a couple of years ago they moved the house out and removed the meter. It took about 6 months (or more) for them to eventually take that meter off our route.

The pump station has also been undergoing extensive construction. The last time I went in there, I don't know how long now, probably about a year, all three of the remaining meters had been removed. Because of the construction, I haven't been inside there since, but of course those 3 meters are still on the route and I don't know if they'll ever disappear or if they plan on them being eventually put back in the ground.

So anyway, I don't think you are technically supposed to cross the bridge there at E. Theo right now because the new street is still officially closed; however, I think it is passable. I'm just not going to try it because I'm sure someone would complain about it.

This route has been a constant source of confusion and entertainment since I started doing it. It was one of the few routes I was assigned to when I was first hired that I still do every month. Never a month has gone by that I didn't have a mysteriously disappeared meter (or in a few cases, a mysteriously appeared meter). I know it now so well that I don't even think about it anymore, but as I told a co-worker today, if they ever threw somebody onto this route cold he would be completely screwed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dante

I recently finished re-reading a collection of anecdotes. Some of them struck as especially funny or interesting. I may post a few more of these in the future. Here's one that cracked me up.

Lope Félix de Vega Carpio was a Spanish playwright who lived from 1562-1635.
On his deathbed in 1635, Vega asked how much time he had left. Assured that his death was at hand, he murmured, "All right, then, I'll say it: Dante makes me sick."

Official documents

Hey folks, here are the official fliers regarding Stage 1 & 2 water restrictions in S.A. if you are interested. Straight from the mouse's horth.


Don't have any info on Stage 3 yet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Useless Information Podcast

One of the many internet thingies that passed me by while I languished in the dial-up zone was the podcast. A few days ago someone on FB mentioned a podcast, and it reminded me: Hey! I can download podcasts now!

So I went to the site mentioned and have now become a fan of The Useless Information Podcast. I've listened to several so far, and so far the only topic I already knew about was the bat bomb project of WW2.

Quite entertaining and informative. Really helps pass the time on the drive home.

Funny and scary

5 Superhero Movies You Won't Believe Almost Got Made | Cracked.com

"Hollywood's high, high standards." Heh.

YouTube update

My first-ever upload to YouTube, the H.R. Pufnstuf theme song, has now broken 1,000 views. So I thought it would be a good time to list my top 10 YouTube uploads again. Actually I think I only did the top 5 last time but I'll go ahead and do 10.

1. H.R. Pufnstuf theme song - 1,006
The first upload and the clear winner by a huge margin.

2. Kathy Dalton - I Need You Tonight - 351
Holding a solid second place for a long time now. This one has the most "likes" (with 4).

3. H.R. Pufnstuf theme song (reprise) - 245
The shorter, ending theme version of the song. This and the following two were neck-and-neck-and-neck for a long time, sometimes switching places in the list until they seem to have conclusively sorted themselves out a couple of weeks ago.

4. H.R. Pufnstuf - Ice Cold Lemonade - 205

5. H.R. Pufnstuf - End of the Road - 190

6. H.R. Pufnstuf - Pronouns - 130

7. Kathy Dalton - Pour Your Wine - 109
This one seems to be "trending" upward and should slowly move up the list.

8. H.R. Pufnstuf - Oranges, Smoranges - 97

9. First Quest: The Music - The Quest Begins - 90
I guess this one is moving up the list because everyone wants to hear something from this album, so they pick the first track. After they hear it, they don't want to hear any more.

10. Kathy Dalton - Ride Ride Ride - 84

I've noticed that some of my uploads just won't appear in YouTube searches. If I ever figure out why and can fix it, I expect this list to change quite drastically.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard's legal battle to keep files secret 120 years after killings

Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard's legal battle to keep files secret 120 years after killings | Mail Online

Of course this immediately makes me think that there's a really good reason, such as: some prominent person who is alive today would be embarrassed by the information in these documents.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lovecraft audio books

Thought I should mention this source for audio books (or stories) of H.P. Lovecraft: Lovecraft eZine. Some are straight, no-frills readings, others are dramatized. Almost all are free, with some links to other sources that require purchase. I listened to The Call of Cthulhu while driving home last week (90 minutes long--took two days), and it was very weird to hear many of those mythos-words spoken aloud.

The same person who does the Lovecraft eZine also has a blog called Autumn Radio, another source for non-Lovecraft audio books of sci-fi and horror. So check it out, too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Advanced System Care tip regarding NoInstrumentation (no Most Frequently Used list)

This post is because I know I get a lot of Google hits for various posts and this is something I couldn't find myself. So maybe it will help someone.

This is for anyone who is using the Advanced System Care software for computer maintenance: if you've upgraded to version 4, you've run a "deep care" and all your most frequently used software list (from the start menu) has disappeared.

It's easy enough to find how to set your registry entry back to get the MFU back. Just Google it.

My problem was, I couldn't find anywhere how to prevent Advanced System Care from doing this in the first place. I first assumed it was the registry optimizer because it's a registry entry, so I pored through several hundred registry problems after running "scan only" and it wasn't in there. Next I took a wild stab that it was part of system security since it sort of had something to do with history. No luck there, either. So here we go.

First, follow the instructions that you can find pretty much anywhere to set your NoInstrumentation setting back to bring back the MFU list. This will cause ASC to find an "error" again. Go to "deep care," uncheck everything except "system optimization" and run "scan only." There will be a registry entry with a registry value of NoInstrumentation. First uncheck it so that it doesn't keep setting the entry to their "recommended" setting, then right click on it and select "ignore" so it ignores it from then on.

I guess maybe getting rid of the MFU list can make somebody's computer somewhere run faster, but to me having no MFU is just a big pain in the @ss.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Traditional Gospel Hymns (free sampler)

Just wanted to mention this collection which has proven somewhat interesting. Fifteen tracks, 8 of which are a capella and the other 7 instrumental. Well, I'm not a big fan of instrumental-only gospel music because it seems like kind of a waste of time and something of an oxymoron.

However, check it out, especially the a capella tracks which are all by a group listed only as "Savae." This is actually the San Antonio Vocal Arts Ensemble. Their tracks on this sampler comprise about half of their 2007 album Revival Tonight!

This is so awesome



UPDATE: When I originally posted this, the collection was being sold for $1.99. It's higher now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

This reminds me of something

Back during my previous job, when I was a contractor reading electric & gas meters, I was working a route that went down Hildebrand--a route that I did several times--and got to this one house that had both meters in the back but they couldn't be seen from behind the house because of all the stuff in the back yard. So I had to go around front and rattle the gate. The house had a gate, which was locked, and I didn't plan on climbing a locked gate if I could get someone's attention first.

So I rattled the gate, and I heard a creaky old voice shout, "Whad'ya want?!" So I answered back that I was there to read her gas & electric meters. "Oh, okay," she said, "be right out."

She came out an unlocked the gate, and said, "I thought you were one of those damn missionaries again." She was a tiny old lady who could have been any age between 85 and 200 for all I know. She led me into her back yard, which as I said, was full of stuff. I keep italicizing that word to emphasize that there was a lot of stuff. There were potted plants everywhere, both on the ground and hanging from tree limbs and ornamental pot hangers. There were all kinds of weird outdoor knick-knacks and rustic objet d'arts everywhere, both sitting and hanging like the potted plants. And as I had said, she was tiny. She couldn't have cleared 5 feet. She must have lived there alone for a long time because all the hanging objects in her back yard were hung low-altitude for short people. I had to keep dodging and ducking to work my way through there. The whole time she was rattling on about this & that, the way old lonely people do to unexpected and not unwelcome company (I run into this kind of thing a lot, though not as much anymore since I no longer have to go into people's yards).

She said one thing that I thought was interesting and which stuck with me, for some reason. As she was walking me back to her front gate, she looked at the thin strip of her almost non-existent front yard and said, "You know, when I first moved here, that street out there wasn't nothin' but a cow trail. But they kept widenin' it, and every time they did, they took a little bit more of my front yard. And now there ain't hardly nothin' left."

From San Antonio Remembers:
1908
Cow Street is renamed to Carey Avenue (later Hildebrand in 1928.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A brief comment on parmesan cheese

Nice. My wife's place of employment has an employee meeting today. All the employees there, in order to make their meetings slightly less onerous, have taken up the tradition of bringing food and having a sort of mini-potluck on Meeting Day. I kind of wish they'd have more meetings, because every time they do, my wife makes her stuffed half-jalapeños.

I don't know what they're really called. But she cuts the peppers in half, scoops out the insides and fills the hull with sour cream, parmesan cheese and pan sausage. They're really delicious.

I say this because I wanted to make a brief comment about parmesan cheese. I had always thought I didn't like it. Until, that is, she began making these things and had to buy some real parmesan to do it. That is, parmesan that comes in a big block and requires grating. That stuff is excellent. I don't know who came up with the idea that something called "parmesan" should be powdered, sold in shaker containers and apparently flavored with skunk scent, but they should be severely punished. Nastiest stuff I've ever tried to flavor food with.

In case you've never had actual parmesan, you should. But then of course you'll never want to eat that powdered cr*p again.

That had to hurt

Came across this today in the Wetmore/Ridge Country area. Ouch. Click to enlarge, as usual.

Monday, May 09, 2011

WoodSongs podcasts

I discovered last night that WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour has free podcasts, either video or audio-only. Just click here for the subscription links.

Cthalvin

At Dork Tower.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Rhonda Vincent and The Rage: Taken (2010, CD)

Uh...now where was I? Oh yeah...

As I said before, this was one my dad & stepmom asked me to get for them, since I have a reputation in my family as "the guy who knows how to find and get things." Since the switch to digital TV, my dad has been watching a show on one of the alternate KLRN channels called WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour. I don't have my TV hooked up to a regular antenna to pick up this channel, but I may have to do that just so I can watch this program. They discovered Vincent when she performed on this program.

When I looked her up and saw that she is a contemporary female bluegrass artist, I knew I would like her stuff too, so I ripped the CD for my own collection before passing it along to my dad. Rhonda Vincent is a singer and songwriter who also plays fiddle, guitar and mandolin. Her backing band, The Rage, all play traditional bluegrass instruments and some of them also provide backing vocals.

I don't know if any of these songs are old bluegrass numbers; I'm familiar with only one track. But heck, it's bluegrass with a female lead and sweet vocal harmonies so how can you lose?

The only track I was already familiar with is "Back On My Mind," which was a hit for Ronnie Milsap back in 1979 and continued to be played on some country stations well into the 80s. P.S. Back in those days I was a big Ronnie Milsap fan.

The only track I didn't particularly care for is the last one, which sounds like it was being sung by a couple of children. It's very sweet and all that, just not really my thing, and it's not really bluegrass.

Anyway, great album. Available on CD or mp3 download at Amazon, which has samples of all the tracks.



UPDATE: You can listen to Rhonda Vincent's appearance on WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour by clicking on the WoodSongs Archive Showlist. Just go down the list and look for her--she's been on there several times. Both video and audio-only podcasts available.

Nice...

This just turned up on the radar: X5 Free Classical Sampler: Gregorian Chants.

Not very big, only 5 tracks for about 20 minutes of music. Also, Gregorian chants are most certainly pre-classical (pre-baroque for that matter) but still, free Gregorian chants!

I'm tellin' ya, X5 is a label to watch out for.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

A couple more movies

I forgot to mention these because I didn't like them so much and I was still kind of buzzing from seeing the two that I really liked.

Well, Netflix does have some badfilms, for example Redneck Zombies which is one of my favorites, and it looks like they also have just about everything Troma ever did. By the way, I watched the original The Toxic Avenger a few weeks ago, the first time I've seen it since it was released to video in the 80s. It's still just as great and stupid as ever (I forgot to rate it; I think I'll give it 4 stars). One of the movies I recently tried to watch was called Zombiethon. Here's the storyline from imdb: "A compilation of trailers and previews from films having to do with zombies."

I don't know why I ever bothered to add this one my instant queue. I watched about 5 minutes of it and gave up. Gave it 1 star ("Hated it!") So I guess if you want a random collection of scenes of zombie gore, this is for you. If you like to watch something with a bit of a plot, or at least some slight indication of coherence, then it's not for you.

The other one was The Lost Boys: The Tribe. This was a 2008 sequel to the original. Corey Feldman reprises his role as Edgar Frog, who now lives in a tiny trailer and shapes surf boards for a living. Of course, he's still a vampire hunter. The other Corey (Haim), turns up only in a stinger added on to the end after the first bit of credits roll, and I'll not say more about that in case you want to see it sometime. So anyway, this older-teenage guy and his younger-teenage sister move to town to live in an old house on their aunt's place because their parents have both died. And...it's about the same as the first movie. The girl gets turned into one of those half-vampires like the guy did in the original and her brother teams up with Edgar to save her. Not nearly as good as the original, in my opinion. I gave it a "meh" rating of 3 stars, mostly for nostalgia's sake. I haven't yet watched the the next sequel, The Lost Boys: The Thirst of 2010, but it's in my queue. I don't expect a whole lot from it, either.

P.S. Netflix now has another favorite badfilm: Shriek of the Mutilated. I checked on this one last year and they didn't have it yet at that time. They also now have The Legend of Bigfoot, which I remember seeing in the theater when I was a kid. Sweet.

The day

Today was quite tedious. You see, someone at my place of employment got a bug up their a** and decided everyone in my department had to take a driver's safety course.

Regardless of past driving record. Regardless of anything, actually.

So last Saturday almost all the department got paid a full day of OT to go to the class, which my employer of course paid for. They sprang this decision on us without much notice, and a few of us already had plans for last Saturday, of which I was one (the Lexington overnight trip).

So today I took the course online, and man that was just hideously boring. Of course I get reimbursed for the cost when I bring the receipt & paperwork in.

So...about 30 people get a day of OT and a free driver's safety course, about 5 others just get a free driver's safety course. Just one of the small ways your ***** company spends your money.

Have a nice day!

Friday, May 06, 2011

How blissfully ignorant I would yet remain, had I not found this job...

You'll probably have to click to enlarge to read it.

The upside-down part in script says "NOVELTY."

Nice visit

Heh...


UPDATE: I would like to say something about this. I am not a fan of either of them. In fact, I don't think it would be inaccurate to call me an anti-fan. However, the Biebling is obviously talented. He can sing perfectly well without using auto-tune and he is proficient with several different instruments. Becky Black wanting to duet with him would be like me wanting to form a tennis doubles team with one of the Williams sisters* because I'm so good at Wii tennis.

*Preferably Serena.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Someday my son is going to think I was the smartest guy in the world

We were talking about computers several months ago, and I told him by the time he grew up--or maybe sooner--computers would be just like this.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

These just in...


I'll undoubtedly say more about these later, but for now...

I put off buying that Kate Bush album for far too long. I was planning on ordering a different album with it (to get free shipping for an order of more than $25), but my dad called me the other day and asked me to get that other album for him, and he'd reimburse me for it. Of course it's already ripped and all the covers & booklet have been scanned for my own collection. My dad and I still come together musically on old-time country and bluegrass. Rhonda Vincent is a bluegrass musician.

Bonus...the back of the CD booklet.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

I hate to say this

But today I started using Chrome. Firefox has become so bloated and stodgy I just can't use it for more than 3-4 minutes before it seizes everything up. I don't know what's wrong with it, but for now Chrome seems to be working the way Firefox used to.

Beliefs and unbeliefs

One woman told me last Christmas that she did not believe either in Hell or in ghosts. Hell was an invention got up by the priest to keep people good; and ghosts would not be permitted, she held, to go "trapsin' about the earth" at their own free will; "but there are faeries and little leprechauns, and water-horses, and fallen angels." I have met also a man with a Mohawk Indian tattooed upon his arm, who held exactly similar beliefs and unbeliefs. No matter what one doubts, one never doubts the faeries, for, as the man with the Mohawk Indian on his arm said, "they stand to reason."
--W.B. Yeats
from "Belief and Unbelief"
The Celtic Twilight

I read (most of) this book many years ago--1997 I must assume since that's when that gasoline receipt was dated that I found in it--and recently decided to re-read it. I think I might have to hunt down a copy of that Katharine Briggs book, too.

Monday, May 02, 2011

A couple of movies

I had today scheduled off so I could rest & recuperate from the weekend, and I had planned on just sitting around watching movies all day--the kind of movies I probably wouldn't watch with the kids around.

Well, I did do that, but with Netflix going at full blast I also caught up on a bunch of TV shows that I like but don't want to sit through commercials. Spoilers might possibly follow but I'll try not to give away too much.

So one of them was Wristcutters, an indie film made for only(!) a million dollars, released 2006. Wikipedia calls it a "comedy-fantasy-romance." It's about this guy named Zia who kills himself by slitting his wrists because his girlfriend had just dumped him...by the way, a good indicator of the kind of comedy in this movie is, before Zia kills himself he completely cleans up his messy apartment until it's sparkling. Then as he is lying on the floor bleeding to death, the last thing he sees is a big dust bunny he missed. So anyway, Zia goes to a sort of Limbo that is neither Heaven nor Hell which is reserved for people who have committed suicide. There he meets up with a Russian emigré named Eugene: a really bad rock musician who killed himself by electrocuting himself with his own guitar; and a girl named Mikal who died accidentally from an overdose. Mikal is convinced that she shouldn't be there because her death was accidental. Zia runs into someone he knew from before he died who tells him that his ex-girlfriend also committed suicide about a month after he did. So he goes on a road trip trying to find her, accompanied by Mikal, who is trying to find the "people in charge" so she can go back to her real life, and Eugene.

City scenes were filmed around L.A., but most of the scenes were shot in the bleak wilderness areas of (apparently) the American southwest. Life in their new world is about the same as it was in the living world, but bleaker. There are no stars, and no one ever smiles. Eventually Zia finds his ex but realizes that she is kind of a whackjob and he's no longer interested in her, having fallen in love with Mikal.

It had a cool soundtrack, with one song by Tom Waits who also played another of the main characters. I did enjoy the humor and laughed out loud a couple of times (like at the dust bunny). I guess that's all I should say about it except: happy ending. Since Netflix keeps track of your viewing and rating history to provide recommendations, I decided to start rating movies. I gave this one 4 stars. Netflix average rating: 3.7.

The other movie was Dead Snow, from 2009. I heard about this one a long time ago and in fact had added it to my queue when I first subscribed to Netflix, but kept bumping it down the list to keep getting more family-friendly DVDs. When I finally got high-speed internet I saw that it was available for streaming.

Dead Snow is a Norwegian comedy-horror movie about Nazi zombies. These are not American-style zombies, which are assumed to be caused by some kind of pathogen and which is actually a highly contagious disease, but instead are zombies created by some kind of mostly unexplained evil satanic Nazi magic. The explanation, of sorts, is given by a mysterious stranger that reminded me of that scene from Jaws--you know the one. One of the big things I really liked about this movie was that, instead of hiding in a house and boarding up the windows until they're all dead, well...

Actually when they first discovered something monstrous was outside killing their friends, they did board up the house. But as soon as they discovered it was Nazi zombies, they immediately loaded up with everything they could find to use as weapons and began killing the sh*t out of them. The Norwegians really hate Nazis. The fact that these were Nazi zombies didn't really mean much to them.

So, with apologies to Joe Bob Briggs, there was shotgun fu, chainsaw fu. snowmobile fu, tree limb fu, sledge hammer fu, hatchet and axe fu, fire fu, (snowmobile-mounted) machine gun fu and even avalanche fu. One of the characters was a movie nerd, and kept quoting various American movies, which was funny because the whole movie was in Norwegian with subtitles and this guy would suddenly spout off something from some American movie, like "yippie-ki-yay motherf*ckers" and "Fortune and glory, kid...fortune and glory." Also one guy got a bad wound on his throat, so he sewed himself up with a fish hook and some monofilament (reminded me of that scene in Roadhouse) and then finished the job by wrapping duct tape around his throat to hold himself together. Another funny scene had another guy cursing Nokia (which is a Finnish company) for his cell phone's battery going dead at a critical moment.

I had originally given this one 4 stars, but in writing this up and still laughing about it, I changed it to 5 stars. A great zombie movie that I would consider non-traditional compared to most American zombie flicks. Apparently most Netflixers don't get this kind of humor and their average rating is only 3.4.

Well, no happy ending in this one, but I'm not sure you can have a happy ending in any zombie movie. I guess Zombieland comes closest to that, which by the way I watched some time ago and also enjoyed.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

I'll be in my bunk

Not a good pic, but it's one of the few I tried to take with my phone--I took more with a real camera which will have to wait until I get the roll developed, but anyway, that shelf on the right was my berth.

My only complaint is that my back hurt a little in the morning, but I walked it off as soon as I got up. This weekend my son and I went on a "live aboard" exercise on the U.S.S. Lexington with his Cub Scout pack. This was my third time on the Lexington (his second), the second time in two years (my first time was in the early 90s), but our first time spending the night there. It was fun, and other than having a mattress without extra lumbar support, I actually liked the bunk. I think next time--if there is a next time--I'll take on one the floor so I can get out during the night without worrying about stepping on someone. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and laid there waiting until 6:45 for reveille.

Our berth was on the starboard side of the foc'sle (that's how they abbreviated it on the signs--I'm not sure if that's a completely correct spelling), that is, to the right of the theater.

I overheard someone from another group asking his pals what a "foc'sle" was, so I broke in and told him. Ye gads, man, I thought, didn't you ever read any pirate stories when you were a kid?

Anyway, they fed us supper and breakfast and we got to wander around all over the ship after dark when all the touristas had been run off, so it was pretty cool.

No ghosts. None that I could see, anyway.

Item found in a book

Sunrise from the U.S.S. Lexington


My son and I were part of a "live aboard" event for Boy Scouts and spent last night on the Lexington. Here's a couple of phone pix of the sunrise about 7:15 this morning.