Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A few days ago I was telling a co-worker about this, and he said it was funny because the day before his wife had been in that area trying to find something while he was speaking with her over the phone and using Google maps to try and give her navigation. She had asked him something like "what's the difference between Theo Parkway and Theo Avenue" and he had to tell her "it must be something new, because Google maps doesn't have it."
Yesteday Albatross mentioned the TV show Forever Knight in comments--a show which I also enjoyed. I was able to watch the full series, two shows at a time, when they were being shown on the Sci-Fi channel back when we first got satellite TV.
Unfortunately, I can't stream it from Netflix, although I can rent all the DVDs from them. I might get a few soon just so I can refresh my memory on their characteristics. Note: Crackle did have it available for streaming, but I just checked and it has been removed. Bummer.
One thing I do remember but which I didn't particularly care for was that the vampires in this show could fly, although they never appeared to shape-shift. This was an integral part of the story, however, allowing Nick Knight to catch criminals with swift and ruthless efficiency, but it's not something I would ever use myself. Vampires having the strength of Superman and the speed of The Flash just makes them much less interesting, for me.
I have not entirely abandoned my own attempt at a vampire (hunter's) tale, I'm just letting it lurk and fester in my mind, and have recently made several attempts at starting a new chapter but I can't get the mood right.
Also, I just couldn't stand that whiny chick who played his sort-of "love" interest. She just got on my nerves. On the other hand, I really liked the character of LaCroix.
Also I just recently thought of something: someone should write a mash-up/parody called The Ghost Whisperer in Darkness. It would end with Melissa Gordon banging her head against a padded wall in Arkham Asylum. Just a thought. Tagline: "It's not a gift...it's not a curse...it's just insanity."
I think from now on, most albums I buy will be downloaded just because it's generally cheaper that way. There are a few that I will buy on CD, but mostly, I think I'll download.
So I have saved a few pennies and was ready to get something new today. New for me, anyway. A thought occurred to me, so I went over to Painted Ocean and re-read Albatross's Iron Maiden posts.
I also listened to some samples at Amazon before I decided which one to buy. So I am now downloading my first Iron Maiden album, although I'll let you guess which one, if you want. If you know anything of my own musical preferences from reading this blog, you may be able to take an educated shot. Or not. Anyway, I'm sure I'll have to write about it fairly soon.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
For a while now I've been kind of paying attention to vampire variations in popular culture. Most vamps these days have pretty much gone oatmeal. I mean, they're all just about the same and there's really nothing new (except for the sparkling).
Today I watched a movie from 1945 called The Vampire's Ghost. It had some interesting quirks that you don't usually see nowadays. It didn't have anyone who I had ever heard of starring in it. However, I do want to show you a picture of the guy who played the vampire. By the way, I don't know where "the vampire's ghost" came from. He was just a normal vampire. Anyway, here he is:
John Abbott. He does look kinda like he could be a vampire, doesn't he? Especially when he does his mind-control stuff and his eyes bulge out. Freaky.
- No reflection (can use mind power to shatter mirrors)
- No fangs
- Enjoys cigars
- Can go outside in daylight but has to wear sunglasses
- Was created by a curse (NOT by being bitten)
- Lead bullets go right through him as if he isn't there
- Severely injured by a spear point that had been dipped in molten silver*
- Can mind-control people into not squealing on him
- Appeared to fear the cross
- Extended lifespan (400 years)
- To create new vampire, had to use a special ritual involving an ancient forbidden temple, a symbol traced on his victim's forehead with earth from his original grave, and biting victim
- Was healed by lying with his head on a small box containing earth from his original grave and being exposed to moonlight (not clear if both moonlight and box are essential, but it appeared so)
- Killed by burning; also a large stone statue fell on him while he was burning
Not a bad movie, but at 55 minutes it seemed a little short and I think it could actually have used a little more thriller-related padding.
I liked it. 3 stars.* Don't ask me how the African natives got a pot of molten silver to dip their spear points in. I never figured that one out.
Monday, June 27, 2011
For some reason, this band's initial release in the States had them called "Chameleons UK," but their real name was The Chameleons. Wikipedia calls them post-punk. This is one of those albums that, if you hear something from it, you probably won't recognize it but you'll immediately think: 1980s. Or at least, early 1980s.
Back when I used to work at the pizza place and had several co-workers with whom I discussed music almost constantly, this was a group that everyone else referred to as "one of those groups Alan likes." Also included in this list was Echo and the Bunnymen, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Shriekback and The Screaming Blue Messiahs (for example). I never actually got any of the Lemon Drops' albums, just for the record. And I'm still trying to replace my worn-out-beyond-listening tape of the Messiahs' Bikini Red, which included the immortal classic "I Wanna Be a Flintstone."
Seminal 80s. They didn't have great commercial success themselves, but were influential on later bands, most of whom I've never heard of (according to Wikipedia). This was their first album and the only one I ever bought, but then, I don't remember ever seeing any of their other albums of the 80s turning up in the local record store, either.I just finished cleaning this one up today. One track had a dull pop that I had to delete to get it to sound okay. All other tracks turned out perfect.
Available as a 25th anniversary release on CD or mp3 download. This release has more music than the original, or at least my U.S. original, with about 57 minutes of music instead of the 37 on my record.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
If you’re reading this column, it probably means you hate Aerosmith. How do I come to that conclusion? Because if you’re reading this column, it means that you’re the kind of person who is prone to reading things.
That really cracks me up. I am recovering from my cold, the kids have gone to their summer church camp (first time ever for my son), my wife is at work, and I'm killing time by reading about bad music.
It started out I was working on the playlist and up came a song by dulcimer players Mark Biggs and Jeff Doty, called "La Paloma." No relation to the song in the previous post, but it reminded me of it so I looked it up. While doing so I came across mention of a book called The Worst Rock and Roll Albums Ever or something like that, and while looking up info on that book I came across The Worst Rock Stars Ever. Your mileage may vary, but I agree with pretty much everything there, except for a couple of them who I'm not familiar with and therefore can neither agree nor disagree. For example: Liam Gallagher, Shaun Ryder, and this guy:
I wonder if Gladys Knight really believed what she said, or if she was just reading a cue card. I never heard of this guy before, and hope never to again.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
Well, I've been sick. Got one of those bad head colds that started in the throat and worked its way up. I worked through it. I was supposed to be at a family reunion this weekend but decided yesterday that it was best if I stay home, recover, and more importantly, not make anyone else sick. So wife & kids are at the reunion, I'm at home taking cold medicine, drinking lots of fluids and trying to get well.
The Roku has come in quite handy, since I've been spending most of my time awake watching stuff on it, but only one movie so far. Yesterday afternoon I finally got around to watching Interview with a Vampire.
First of all, I'll just say that everything I've seen Christian Slater in (and that ain't much) has made me want to punch him. Except for The Name of the Rose. He just annoys me for some reason that I can't pin down, just like Helen Hunt.
I actually bought this book a long time ago, a year or two after it was released, but I never bothered getting around to reading it. I enjoyed the movie. It kept me occupied and I didn't ever check to see how much time was left, so that puts it well above a lot of other junk I've seen. However, I thought the ending was just a little trite. I'm getting tired of villains--vampires or otherwise--who can't be permanently killed. It was too Friday the 13th.
I liked Brad Pitt's character. I guess Antonio Banderas' character would have been okay too, if not for another of my personal biases. It's not that he annoys me. It's just every time I see him I start cracking up, thinking of that...how you say...SNL skit (I think it was SNL) where he keeps saying, "I, Antonio Banderas" all the time. I tried to find it on YouTube but can't. So if you've ever seen it, you probably know what I mean.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Not the music.
Since Firefox 4.x stopped working, I tried Chrome. Chrome does work, which sets it apart from FF, but it works very slowly and stodgily. So...I'm giving Opera a shot. So far it's working much, much better than Chrome.
I no longer even have Firefox on my computer. I've been doing some Googling and have discovered that I'm not the only one who is having problems with it. Someone let me know if Firefox ever goes back to not sucking.
Been a little sick since yesterday. One of those head colds that comes on extremely fast. Went from feeling just fine yesterday noon to feeling somebody-please-kill-me by 4:00 PM. Feeling better today but still have sinus swelling, although oddly, no congestion. Don't feel nearly as dead tired today. Only somewhat dead tired.
I'm still working on the big playlist, and am now up to the "m's" with Marillion.
I want to take a minute to point out a pretty good sampler that I listened to recently. Link below. A collection of pop & ambient by various artists. I like it.
Monday, June 20, 2011
That review is dated Feb 20, 1999.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Here's a recent entry, the "twisted toad" from "The Horror at Red Hook."
"The strangest monument in America looms over a barren knoll in northeastern Georgia. Five massive slabs of polished granite rise out of the earth in a star pattern. The rocks are each 16 feet tall, with four of them weighing more than 20 tons apiece. Together they support a 25,000-pound capstone. Approaching the edifice, it's hard not to think immediately of England's Stonehenge or possibly the ominous monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Built in 1980, these pale gray rocks are quietly awaiting the end of the world as we know it."via Hell in a Handbasket
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
"I think the end of the world just came for that bag of Fritos I had in my pants pocket."
Captain Cutshaw from The Ninth Configuration
"Don't make me take off my sunglasses!"
The big bouncer guy from Bringing Out the Dead
"He used to bring beautiful women here... eat fine meals, drink fine wine, listen to music... but it always ended with screaming."
Crawford Tillinghast from From Beyond
Ninety years in the making, the 21-volume dictionary of the language of ancient Mesopotamia and its Babylonian and Assyrian dialects, unspoken for 2,000 years but preserved on clay tablets and in stone inscriptions deciphered over the last two centuries, has finally been completed by scholars at the University of Chicago.The full hardcopy set will cost you close to $2,000, but you can download pdfs of the whole thing for free: Chicago Assyrian Dictionary.
This was the language that Sargon the Great, king of Akkad in the 24th century B.C., spoke to command what is reputed to be the world’s first empire, and that Hammurabi used around 1700 B.C. to proclaim the first known code of laws. It was the vocabulary of the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first masterpiece of world literature. Nebuchadnezzar II presumably called on these words to soothe his wife, homesick for her native land, with the promise of cultivating the wondrous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
On all levels, this was the language of enterprise, the irrigation of lands and shipments of cultivated grain, and of fate foretold. Medical texts in Babylonia gave explicit instructions as to how to read a sheep’s liver to divine the future.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday, June 11, 2011
Arriving at an airport one day, Bernstein was asked by a photographer if he would mind posing for a picture astride a motorcycle. Bernstein objected. "I don't ride a motorcycle," he said. "It would be phony." The photographer tried to persuade him. He showed him the controls, explaining briefly how to operate them. "I'm sure you could ride it if you tried," he said encouragingly. Bernstein climbed onto the machine and, to the horror of his colleagues, shot off at top speed across the airfield. After a few other maneuvers he returned, grinning broadly. "Now you can take your picture," he announced. "I'm a motorcycle rider."
Bernstein's father was criticized for not having given his talented son more encouragement when he was a child. He protested: "How was I to know he would grow up to be Leonard Bernstein?"
Thursday, June 09, 2011
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
Monday, June 06, 2011
Sunday, June 05, 2011
I was poking around YouTube looking up some old videos when I came across this. The poster said it was a 2009 re-release, but it sounds French to me, which according to Wikipedia would make it a 2002 re-release. Anyway, it's definitely a new version and in my opinion Ms. Kerner is even hotter at 50 years old than she was at 20. I think her voice has improved, as well.
Saturday, June 04, 2011
To store data, the PCM memory chips switch the alloy between a crystalline and amorphous state based on the application of heat through an electrical current. To read the data, the chips use a smaller current to determine which state the chalcogenide is in.A new technology that is much faster than conventional hard drives and flash memory. Interesting.
"We've found that you can build a much faster storage device, but in order to really make use of it, you have to change the software that manages it as well. Storage systems have evolved over the last 40 years to cater to disks, and disks are very, very slow," said Swanson. "Designing storage systems that can fully leverage technologies like PCM requires rethinking almost every aspect of how a computer system's software manages and accesses storage. Moneta gives us a window into the future of what computer storage systems are going to look like, and gives us the opportunity now to rethink how we design computer systems in response."
Friday, June 03, 2011
Clergymen across the United States...denounced Sarah Bernhardt from their pulpits as the "whore of Babylon," thereby ensuring massive attendance at her performances. The Episcopalian bishop of Chicago having delivered a particularly effective piece of publicity, Bernhardt arranged for her agent to send him a note and a bank draft. "Your Excellency," the note read, "I am accustomed, when I bring an attraction to your town, to spend $400 on advertising. As you have done half the advertising for me, I herewith enclose $200 for your parish."
Thursday, June 02, 2011
Bernard once won a newspaper competition by providing the best answer to the question: "If a fire broke out in the Louvre and you could save only one painting, which one would it be?" His reply was, "The one nearest the exit."
Cor blimey, I taste like Tea.
I am a subtle flavour, quiet and polite, gentle, almost ambient. My presence in crowds will often go unnoticed. Best not to spill me on your clothes though, I can leave a nasty stain. What Flavour Are You?
Seen at A Trainwreck in Maxwell. I say "almost" because the er..."Britishness" of the graphic infers hot tea, which I don't like. Iced tea is my standard drink.