Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I am a source

So how many times do I have be referenced before I become a respected source?

1. LAW (the band) at Wikipedia (I have tried to edit this to refer directly to the individual post but it keeps going back to the general blog url)

2. Dardick tround at Wikipedia

and now...

3. The Styx song "heavy metal poisoning", what are the muffled words spoken just before the song starts? at Yahoo Answers

Cthulhu Akbar!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What the...?!

Man, how many times in the space of 15 minutes does someone have to try the same search phrase before he figures out that my site doesn't have anything about it (600+, apparently). I wonder what or who "JARL" is, anyway.


When you don't revisit your Netflix queue very often, you sometimes forget what you've added to it.

Hoo boy. You know, when I searched for this one I just did it to be silly--I never really expected them to have it. I was really surprised when I saw it was part of their inventory. This was one of"favorite" "so bad it's good" films (well, "films," since it was shot on videotape) from the videotape rental heydays of the 1980s.

After I found this one I quickly tried Shriek of the Mutilated but unfortunately Netflix doesn't have that one.

The last one I got from them was Billy Jack. First time I've seen that movie since the 80s. Still cool, but a lot of bad acting from the bit players.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Making a spectacle of myself

Had an eye exam today because I've been feeling some eye strain and it's been 6 years or so since I last updated my prescription. The doctor recommended I have that pupil-dilation exam because 1) it was included in the cost of the overall exam and 2) I'm 46 years old and have never had it done before. The good news is, my eyes are perfectly healthy. The bad news is, she said it would wear off in 2-3 hours and it's now been nearly 4 hours and I still look like a belladonna freak.

Something new today, though. She told me that my right pupil is slightly larger than my left. I was not surprised at this, but curious as to why no other optometrist I've ever seen in my life had noticed it before. I wasn't surprised because I've always felt that my right eye is more sensitive to light than my left. I guess this explains why.

Turns out my prescription didn't change much, and she recommended I keep my current spectacles for a backup in case I break my new ones or something.

Had a curiously interesting conversation with her (male) receptionist about the origins of our last names and families (he is Polish, or according to the doctor, "half Polish" which kind of cracks me up). Somebody else in the office had a cellphone ringtone of the first few notes of "The Entertainer" and for some reason he asked me what that song was. I told him the title and that it was a classic old ragtime piece by Scott Joplin. Strange how a semi-obsessive interest in music can impress some people. Of course I do have an album which includes that piece.

It also turned out that whoever supplies Walmart with frames had some kind of snafu at the factory and they were dumping a bunch of frames cheap. So I got some $64 frames for $9. Now that I have a new prescription, I can get some free safety glasses thanks to my employer. I won't have to wear my nice new glasses for work.

In other news, today I received a CD of Open Office. Already tried out the spreadsheet and it looks really nice. Not totally identical to Excel, but it will open my old Excel sheets and I won't have to resort to that p*r*t*d CD of Office anymore.

Will the last one out of Lockhart please turn off the lights...

Lockhart humor in Real Life Comics.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A retraction

I may have, in the past, at some point intimated that Diamond brand matches are the worst pipe lighting matches in the world. Vastly inferior to my favorite old Ohio Blue Tips--which by the way I heard that they have disappeared because they were bought by Diamond...

Anyway, I would like to retract that statement. Penley brand matches are the worst **** pipe lighting matches in the world. I am about 3/4 through a box of 250 Penley kitchen matches and I have already had THREE matches break in half and fly flaring onto my shirt.

I think these are some matches that my wife got at Dollar General. I gotta st0p and get some more Diamond matches tomorrow before I catch myself on fire with these **** things. Penleys are made in India, according to the box label. I think Diamonds are still made in the U.S.

I wish I could still get Ohio Blue Tips, though.

Friday, March 26, 2010

I think I'm about at 6 7/8

7 stages of blogging.

All things are vanity

I've been in one of those phases during which I think: 10,000 other bloggers have already added their two cents so why should I bother? I don't know why I'm even bothering to make this post.

I have been keeping fairly busy with real-world stuff, and am having a horrible time trying to de-pop that Holst LP. I don't know why there's any noise on it at all, since I'm pretty sure I played it only once when I bought it.

I've also been re-familiarizing myself with some music notation software called Melody Assistant, which is one of the few programs I use that I actually paid for after using the trial version, and the second music notation software I ever bought--the old one being for Win 3.1 I think and it didn't work very well anyway. I bought this one because it is able to use shape-notes (7-shape system) instead of just conventional round notes. The software seems quite complicated to get the hang of, but I'm getting better at it, and once you figure out what you're doing you can print finished scores right out on your own printer. I am not a composer (not officially) but I have harmonized a few hymns, set music to a few poems, and studied the harmonization of literally hundreds of hymns. I'm currently working on converting a piano score for an old hymn to four-part a capella harmony.

I am now on vacation for a full week plus two weekends. I didn't take a real vacation last year, and I was starting to feel the burn-out. My ideal vacation is to go nowhere and do nothing. I'm sure I'll be running around the area here a little, but the kids are in school and my wife will be working and I'm just going to relish whatever peace and quiet I can get.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Oh man...

This just killed me. Check out the last picture. I was LOLing until tears ran down my face. Probably proves I have a cruel streak in me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Album cover artwork

I think this is a totally cool idea, but this particular execution of it is--to me, anyway--somewhat disturbing in certain instances.

10 Creative Album Cover Artworks at Oddee. Warning: NSFW.

Makes me want to give it a try, but avoid those certain man/woman pairings. Check it out and you'll see what I mean.

Oh, what the heck...

Here's one screen cap of Ol' Squinty-Eyes himself. This look is saying: "You shoulda never ****** with me."

From Barquero.

Pseudo-random links

This was going to be my regular Monday post this week but I got side-tracked by computer problems. Now that I'm back to ripping albums I probably won't be doing this thing anymore, for a while at least.

A brief overview of weird stuff falling from the sky. Yellow mice?

Thief-acrobats with 18 DEX in New Jersey. And they made all their saving throws.

Socialists can't spell.

Online cryptid coloring book.

Texas: Cradle of the Dogs. (I heard something on the radio this week about some other scientists whose research shows that dogs were actually domesticated first in the Middle East).

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Just wanted to mention that I saw a movie last night that you might want to see if you're a fan of westerns and pipe-smoking. Barquero, from 1970, starring Lee Van Cleef. Also starring Forrest Tucker as a jovial yet ruthless mountain man.

Van Cleef will be a featured pipe smoker at my other blog sometime in the future--I keep finding so many cool pictures of him smoking a pipe that I keep putting it off--so I'm not going to post any pictures now.

In Barquero, Van Cleef plays a hard-bitten barge operator at a remote spot on the Rio Grande who gets caught between a group of sheepish settlers, who he doesn't particularly like, and a gang of murderous outlaws, who he truly hates. Lots of great pipe-smoking action as Van Cleef puffs away on a Peterson in between shooting bad guys.

I will not describe the end lest I give away a spoiler, but the ending scene I found especially enjoyable: pipe smoking, a muzzle-loading rifle and long-distance shooting--three things I like the most!

It's raining outside

But that's not unusual.

It's raining and cool. On Saturday. Which means I'm not outside working in it for once. Heh heh.

I was still having some computer troubles yesterday, but I spent several hours on it last night and I think I'm pretty much back to normal now.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Some good news, for a change

I got my new record-cleaning stuff in today, so I'm going to start ripping vinyl again!

It's called Gruv-Glide.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ghost comment

A few days ago I clicked on "publish" to approve a comment, but for some reason Blogger "rejected" it instead. Now every time I go to my dashboard it says I have a comment to moderate, but when I click on it I go to "no unmoderated comments." Lost in cyber-limbo somewhere, I guess.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

P.S. I still hate daylight saving time

Well, I think I'm back. That was a scary couple of days. Once I got the machine up & running again, I tried a full restore from my backups but it didn't sit well with the computer. So I started over once more and this time I'll be doing some "manual" restoration (that is, re-installing from scratch) plus selective restoration from my official backups. And a lot of updating.

I don't really know why the crash occurred. I guess it's just one of those things. Anyhow, I had my Official Worst Route Ever today, which is a cycle 11 in the area of Harry Wurzbach and Rittiman. This is my regular route and like I said, it's very bad. It's been worse for the past six months or so because every time I've gotten it, it has rained. The City has been in some of the alleys (it's all alleys) spreading fill dirt because they turn into mini-creeks when it rains. So I was slogging through a lot of mud today. Fortunately, a few weeks ago I went and bought some knee-high rubber boots because I knew the next time I got this route, it would rain. By the way, I predict it will rain again on April 17. That's my best guess, because I'm not sure exactly what day I'll get this route again next month, but I'll update you as the time comes closer so you'll know with utter and complete certainty that it will rain that day. Anyway, the boots did a good job and were more comfortable than I thought they'd be. Of course, I was still covered with mud by the time I finished.

But when I got home I found that my wife had been cooking and baking and we had a big feast for my son's birthday (which is tomorrow) with grandparents as guests. I gave him a Wolf Scout cap & belt that I picked up last week for him, and I intend to bring home a small CD player tomorrow. I think I might also burn him a Deep Purple CD so he can practice "Smoke on the Water."

The management did something smart for a change, and changed our clock-in time to 7:00 AM instead of 6:30. This is a good thing to do, because DST really screws with outside workers and this way we won't have to be reading meters with a flashlight for the first hour (only half an hour or so now). Once sunrise gets back to a more reasonable time next month we'll go back to 6:30.

So now I'm having a pipe and trying to decompress from the stress of having a large computer-shaped paperweight on my desk. Sheesh.

Computer problems

The last thing I did yesterday was install Power Point. Suddenly the computer started getting all kinds of weird problems and when I tried to reboot everything came to an end. For a while it didn't look like even the system restore disks were going to bring it back.

I have backups this time, but I lost about 30 mp3 albums that I hadn't backed up yet. Other than that, it's just the major pain that this kind of thing always is.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And I sounded awesome

Both of my kids are in the same music class, although they are in different grades. So they are both practicing with their recorders at the same time. My daughter asks me how to play that ending whistle part from the Spongebob theme song (G-A-B-A-B-G).

My son asks, "Daddy, can you play that guitar part from 'Smoke on the Water'?"

And for the first time in my life, I found myself playing that famous guitar riff on a soprano recorder.

The things I do for my kids sometimes.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Friday night video: El Perro Del Mar - God Knows

Here's one from the Scandinavian Gold sampler from Amazon which is still available as a free download. Creative yet primitive video. I'm not sure how the Three Stooges' evil cousins fit in.

Here's an actual photo of the Sarah Assbring, the singer.

P.S. "...melancholic twee pop?" Who thinks up these ridiculous sub-sub-sub-genres?

P.P.S. Albatross, I somehow managed to delete your comment instead of publishing it. I don't know how that happened. I'm sure I clicked on "publish."

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The recession and Texas

Interesting news at The Whited Sepulchre.  Read the whole thing and note the point made after the list.
Their formula takes into account projected job growth and housing prices. Here's the list:

1. (tie) Washington, DC-Arlington-Alexandria
2. (tie) Austin-Round Rock
3. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington
4. (tie) Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington
5. (tie) Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown
6. Denver-Aurora
7. San Antonio
8. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy
9. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana
10. Kansas City (Missouri and Kansas)

Skip this rant, since it doesn't really contribute to the argument in this post: Seeing Washington D.C. ranked as the most recession-proof enclave on the planet should come as no surprise, since our system requires all the tax, stimulus, lobbying, porkulus, and kickback money to go there first so that our Lords and Masters can take their cut off the top. Look at the huge pay increases given to Department Of Transportation employees, for instance. The number of employees breaking the $170,000.00 per year barrier has increased by 1,680 % in just two years, while the rest of us struggle through a recession. Nice, recession-proof work if you can get it.


So I ran into a "disgruntled" customer today who was angry that it was so hard for him to use the water cutoff. He had to use the company cutoff because the leak was between it and his customer cutoff. The company cutoff is this weird 5-sided thing that you need a special wrench for. So it went like this.

Me: "Oh, yeah, you need a special 5-sided wrench for that."

Him: "He [his plumber] had one! But he had to stick copper shims all around it so he could get a bite."

"He had to stick copper shims in it?"


" was the wrong size...too big."

"NO! It was the right size! Your cutoff is too small!!!"

I wasn't about to argue with that kind of logic, so I just gave him my standard "I understand, sir, but I'm not authorized to do anything with hardware, call [number redacted] and they should help you."

In other unrelated news, Corey Haim is dead. The Lost Boys is still one of my favorite movies. I also like Silver Bullet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

10 more albums #70

All Amazon free downloads except the one noted. Lots of "world music" this time around.

Music from Israel (2009)
Music from Brazil (2009)
Cumbacha World Music Sampler (2009)
20/20 World Vision Sampler (2009)
Minty Fresh Sampler (2009)
Music from Croatia (2009)
Owl City - Ocean Eyes (2009, CD)
Paper Bag Fall Sampler (2009)
Pressure Sounds (2009)
Ghostly Essentials: Avant-Pop One (2010)

Recently I downloaded several "Music from such-and-such-country" samplers from Amazon. Most of them don't really give you a good idea of traditional music from that country; rather, they are generally westernized pop music in whatever language that country happens to speak.

Anyhow, the Music from Israel sampler is pretty good--I like it a lot. Only one song in in English, but this whole collection is good. I give it an overall good score of 2.4,* and none of the songs got less than 2. Songs added to my general favorites list are:
Miri Mesika - "Tipa Tipa" (Little by Little) (female singer)
Aya Korem - "Shir Ahava Pashut (A Simple Love Song)" (female singer)
Dani Robas - "Masheu Hadash Matchil (Something New Begins)" (male singer)
Shay Amar - "B'osher Ve'Be'Oni (In Wealth And In Poverty)"
Who'd'a thunk that Hebrew would sound so cool in westernized pop songs?
Final verdict: it's free--go get it.

The Music from Brazil sampler didn't score so well, getting a solid 2.0 overall. But nothing deletable and four new ones for the favorites list. The songs presented are, to my ears, variously a mixture of pop, countryish, rock, rock/rap, and jazzy pieces. Four instrumentals out of the 14 songs included. Be aware that if you download this one, read the comments. The songs were not tagged properly and the artists weren't even identified. Thanks to a couple of commenters for supplying all the pertinent information. The new favorites are:
Gilberto Monteiro - "De Lua e Sol" (instrumental featuring the accordion and guitar)
Escurinho - "Lá Vem a Onda"
Paulo Moura - "Terezinha de Jesus" (jazzy instrumental)
Banda de Boca - "Samba da Bahia" (cool harmony vocals, a Latin beat that percolates)
All vocal songs in Portuguese.
Final verdict: it's free, so why not? At least start with the four I mentioned and go from there. Note: the one by Escurinho is what I referred to as rock/rap, but it also has singing with a hard rock beat (not hip-hop). I don't know. I guess I just prefer rap in Portuguese (and Japanese, but that's another story).

The Cumbancha World Music Sampler is apparently mostly African, but at least one song has a Spanish (or Portuguese--I can't tell the difference) title and one has a French title. It gave it a good 2.5, with four more new favorites and nothing scoring lower than a 2. New favorites:
Kailash Kher & Kailasa - "Kaise Main Kahoon (International Version)"
Sarazino - "Noticias del Enemigo"
Kimi Djabaté - "Kodé"
The Idan Raichel Project - "Ôdjus Fitxadu (With My Eyes Shut)"
Final verdict: it's free, and it's good enough to pay for.

20/20 World Vision gets an even 2.0. One song for the favorites list: "Quando Das Um Pouco Mais" by Sara Tavares (a Portuguese pop song). Also one for the jazz list: "Miles from India" by John McLaughlin. The rest are mostly twos with a couple of ones but nothing that really jumped out at me. Final verdict: download only those two favorites mentioned, skip the rest.

This is Minty Fresh, Volume 2 didn't fare so well, with a 1.7 overall. A collection of pop/rock/alt-pop/rock or whatever. Two new favorites, though: "L'amour, L'amour, L'amour" by The Prototypes (which is in French) and "Post It" by The Aluminum Group. The rest were mostly blah, with one song worth deleting. (Note: this is not one of the world music samplers, it's just a regular sampler). Final verdict: probably shouldn't bother, except maybe for those two I mentioned. Warning: I apparently (something I just recently discovered) have a thing for chicks singing in French, which may be the only reason that first one made the list.

Music of Croatia did pretty well, with a 2.1 overall. One instrumental and all the rest vocal pieces. Only one one, the rest twos and threes. New favorites are "Dalmatino, Poviscu Pritrujena" by Oktet DC and "Davno" by Sasa Bulic (the instrumental). Probably not suitable for the ears of the average pop fan, but then if you're an average pop fan you probably aren't reading this. Final verdict: download it if you're interested in music from other countries.

Owl City - Ocean Eyes. I didn't rate these songs because it isn't one of the samplers, but a CD I actually bought from This whole album is absolutely immaculately produced electronic pop, so I mostly like it. However, there is some autotuning going on so be warned. There's one song, which I don't recall which one at the moment, but it has way, way, WAY too much autotune--so much that it hurts to listen to it. Not quite as horrendous as "Party in the USA" by Miley Cyrus, but still pretty bad. (And how do I know about that Cyrus song? There are some things that are better for you not to know.)**

Paper Bag Records Fall '09 Sampler gets only a 1.5 overall. One rap piece that was deleted, a bunch of ones but two songs that made the favorites list: "Miracle" by Sally Shapiro and "Invisible" by Winter Gloves. This is another of the regular (not world music) samplers of various rock, pop, rap and such. One piece, "Dancer" by Woodhouse has more autotune vocals but I added it to my "chill" list.*** Final verdict: you probably shouldn't bother with this one, either.

Pressure Sounds gets a 1.8. Mostly twos and a couple of ones. This is a sampler of reggae from various parts of the world. Nothing for the favorites list. Final verdict: definitely do not bother. Unless you're a reggae fan, in which case YOU MUST HAVE IT!!!

Ghostly Essential Avant-Pop One is quite nice, and I gave it a 2.1 overall. Heavy on the chill with this one, with 6 tracks added to my chill list. Three general favorites: "Two Dots" by Lusine, "My Radio" by Solvent (which is also going on the chill list) and "Half Asleep (alternate version)" by School of Seven Bells. If for some odd reason you want to hear examples of what I might consider "chill," check out tracks 2, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 11.

Album count: 710.

*A re-explanation and revision of my own personal rating system. Scale is mostly from 1 to 3. A 1 is for songs that I don't particularly care for. Songs that get a 2 are okay, but nothing too special. A 3 means I'm adding it to my general favorites list. There is also a 4 and 5 for truly exceptional songs that really hit me in the gut, and a 0 for songs that I delete after downloading, or probably should delete but keep anyway for instructional purposes. (That is, so I can sit down and say: "Here. This is an example of a song that sucks," and hit the play button.) So any album/collection that gets higher than a 2 is on the good side, less than a 2 means I don't think much of it. If this is too vague for you, tough.

**By the way. D*mn. That song could drill a hole through glass if focused properly. I mean, what the h*ll? Do people actually enjoy hearing that cr*p? There is absolutely nothing whatsoever wrong with Miley Cyrus' real voice. This song is evidence that either a) she is even more vapid than she appears, or b) her producer is possessed by a cacodemon from the deepest pits of the Abyss. Or both.

***"Chill" is a genre I partly adapted from an existing genre and partly I redefined for my own purposes. Mostly instrumental although not exclusively so, it generally has too much of a well-defined beat to be ambient and too up-tempo for new age but still tends to be somewhat down-tempo and relaxing. Late at night when I just want to read some blogs, smoke a pipe or two and chill out, I put something on that will fill the space without intruding too much--I load up my chill list.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Monday Maunderings

Selected links to help you pass time on a Monday.

The devil you say: Pew study reveals that the Internet makes news a shared experience. "They seem to access news when the spirit moves them or they have a chance to check up on headlines," the report said. "They send e-mail, highlight news stories in their tweets and haggle over the meaning of events in discussion threads."

"Thank God it didn't rain crocodiles." Unexplained stuff falling from the sky is probably my favorite Fortean phenomenon.

Deny all knowledge--destroy all reports. "This stance was adopted so defence officials would not have to publish the information in response to freedom of information (FoI) requests or pass it to the National Archives."

Come over to the dark side of awesome. (via Hell in a Handbasket)

Record grooves under an electron microscope.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Focus and aim for the head

Nothing important to post. Just that old-timers may remember how I've posted a couple of studies of some anime shows that I like, especially Hellsing. There was that one about the "guns of Hellsing" that drew so much traffic that it wrecked my bandwidth when I was over at Eponym, and which I later moved to this blog but then eventually deleted because I got tired dealing with all the fanboy comments.

Anyhow, I've begun taking some screen caps and thinking out another study on the anime series Bleach. There's one of the first screen caps above. No guns in this one, since guns don't play a part in this series. This one, rather, will be on the swords, especially the sword belonging to the character pictured above.

And that's about all. It will take me some time to go through some DVDs and take some nice screen caps to illustrate the development of his sword (it changes as time goes by).

Like I said, nothing important.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Friday Night Video: Cocktail Slippers - "Go Get It"

A recent sampler download had a song by this group on it. I went looking for a video of that song but apparently it's not available. So I picked this one instead.

When I reflect on the many groups who were popular during my formative years, I sometimes think I got cheated. Both this and the other one ("You Do Run") are going on my general favorites playlist.

Ignore the gratuitous prop-guitar smashing at the end. It's just silly.*

*I don't know who they think they are, smashing a perfectly good guitar.

"...this shattering blow of audible speech"

An interesting newspaper article from April 27, 1928, via Silent Orchestra (Facebook page). Click here to view a graphic reproduction at G00gl3 news.
The most alarming thing on the horizon is the production of a number of hasty and poorly executed talking pictures, which after the first flush of novelty has worn off, will leave the public disgusted and disillusioned. This will be an easy and expeditious way of killing the golden goose. It is all too likely to happen and to lead to a serious set back to the talking film.
In my opinion, they accurately foresaw the future of film but not for the right reason. I think that the silent movie was an aberration and that the talking film went further to restoring story-telling to a more natural method. After all, the precursors of film: theater and even more ancient "'round-the-fire" story-telling relied on the spoken word. Silent film wasn't a protection against bad movies, it was just the first step in killing the art of story-telling.

Good article, though. Scroll up and read some other articles to compare how different and detailed newspaper reporting was 80 years ago to how it is now, when even newspaper articles are written in soundbites.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

A two-pipe night

Been a rough couple of days. Tuesdays are always long and exhausting for me because of extra stuff I have to do at night. Also it seems that the universe is conspiring to dump on me somehow every Tuesday and make it even worse than it should be. This time it was a route that I am not familiar with, was all alleys, all the alleys were still flooded, and whoever has been doing that route has not been putting the lids back on the meter boxes. So all the boxes were choked with mud. Also all the lids behind a strip mall at one point had been stolen. They like to steal the big lids to turn it at the metal salvage place.

Today when I got home I put up a new dog trolley, my most professional-looking and bad*ss trolley yet. Ninety feet long, made from 3/16-inch galvanized cable. Eye bolts that would hold a dump truck. We'll see if it can hold a 30-pound dog. Then I replaced all the skirting on the house that the dog knocked down while on her temporary short trolley.

After six months, my cop-boots were in terrible shape. I call them cop-boots because my employer got us a good deal on the same boots that all the emergency services people wear. They were excellent boots, but they were tattered. Anyway, I'm going back to W*l-M*rt for boots now, because their $35 boots last just as long as those special $120 (which I got for half price) boots did. This time, however, I put new insoles in them right off the bat, because I know from past experience that the soles of these boots are too hard. I couldn't find any black leather waterproof boots that weren't also steel toe (steel toe are too heavy), so I got the old suede kind I used to get. But this time, I sprayed them with suede protector right away. We'll see if this helps them stay in decent condition longer. As you might expect, I go through footwear like nobody's business. My other new thing in footwear lately is that I bought some knee-high rubber boots for when it rains, so I won't have to drag my regular daily boots through the water. It doesn't do any good to wear waterproof ankle-high boots when the water goes halfway up to your shins. The waterproofing is still important for everyday wear because heavy dew can also make your feet wet, and wet feet will ruin your whole day.

A company email yesterday revealed that the board of directors are all in a tizzy because the weather experts are predicting a wetter than normal year this year because of El Niño. Therefore, less irrigation will be needed, less water used, and (horror of horrors!) revenues will be down. Rather than cut down on their yearly supply of ivory back-scratchers, they are asking all departments to figure out ways to cut expenditures by 10%.

I just squeaked in under the wire this month with 18 errors--max allowed is 19 or they start getting upset.

All this to say: it's a two-pipe night.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The bell curve

So my daughter comes home from school and says she's having a problem with math.

"It's probabilities," she says.

"Cool!" says I.

"It says what if you have two six-sided cubes numbered 1 through 6 on the sides..."

"Wait a minute. Why doesn't it just say 'dice.'?"

"I don't know."

"Okay, you realize they're talking about d-sixes, right?"


"Six-sided dice."

"Yes, Daddy. I know that."

"Okay, from now on we're going to refer to dice like this: 1d6. The first number means how many dice you have, the 'd' means it a die, and the last number is how many sides on the die. Okay?"


"What's the problem?"

"You have 2d-sixes and..."

At this point I glanced at the book and saw what was going on. "Too bad it's not 3d6," I said. "That's what you use in Dungeons & Dragons."


"For character ability scores."


"Like strength, intelligence and stuff."

"Oh. Anyway..."

So we had some fun learning about the bell curve--or at least I had fun teaching her (something her "teacher" doesn't seem quite too skilled at), although I still think it would have been more interesting with 3d6. Or even more interesting with 4d6 and you get to discard the lowest one.

Monday Maunderings

Quick links for your perusing pleasure.

The Resistance

Garfield Minus Garfield Plus Cthulhu

In the midst of commentary on the MSM meme that D&D makes you nuts, James offers a totally awesome desktop wallpaper worthy graphic of more polyhedron dice than you can shake a Wand of Wonder at.

The Journalist's Guide to Firearms Identification

First run of Venture Brothers action figures announced. Sorry, Dr. Girlfriend is not yet available.

Supermodels ain't what they used to be.

The awesomeness that followed...

Texas sunset at Seguin Photo Blog (wallpaper worthy).