Friday, September 30, 2005

Lesson of the Day: There Are No Teams in Outer Space

Flash Gordon: Now that I've done you a favour, I have one to ask.
Akim: Anything.
Flash Gordon: Now that I'm on your side, may I have my stun gun back?
Akim: Of course. With pleasure.
[Akim has a guard return Flash's stun gun back to him]
Flash Gordon: Thank you, your highness. Frankly, I felt a little undressed without it.
[Flash stuns Akim and proceeds to attack the guards]

Thank you, Flash Gordon 1950's TV series. Thank you.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Alien Pumpkin

The special lady and I went pumpkin hunting last weekend during which time I had a *great* idea for an alien pumpkin. Well, now I feel dumb. Link.

Best Show Ever

Back in 1993 as a sophomore in high school I attended my first show at the long out-of-business Metro rock club in Richmond VA. I saw Inquisition and Rain Like the Sound of Trains which, incidentally, is still one of my favorite band names.

I have all three Inquisition albums dubbed on tape from friends and an XXL t-shirt of the 'We Got a Bomb' logo that I bought at a later show (I think Screw 32 and AVAIL played that one - oh, and I wear a size small), but stupidly I never bought a CD. Actually, I'm not sure the first two records were ever on CD. 'Revolution: I Think It's Called Inspiration' definitely was, and unfortunately was released in concert with the band's demise. I think I saw Inquisition maybe 3 times before they split.

For the past several years I've checked eBay for the 'Revolution' disk. Surprisingly, you can get the vinyl LP pretty easily, and the CD does pop up occasionally but usually the bidding gets out of hand. I blame Strike Anywhere listeners who want to research the singer's old band and are willing to pay $30 to get the disk used. That's fine I guess. I would have done the same thing in my teens.

Well, AF Records is releasing 'Revolution'. I'm going to buy it. In fact, I think I'm going to pre-order for $10 - then I get the poster and pin, too.

Strange feeling being at such a different point in my life than I was at that first show. Ordering the reissued disk, from a computer, with my credit card, sitting at my desk at work, and still happy to get the poster and pin.

UPDATE: Inquisition is soon to launch a posthumous web site.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Messengers and Wheelchair Marathoners

Richard Rosenthal of the New York Marathon recently contacted the NY Bike Messengers Association to request biker accompaniment for wheelchaired marathoners. The wheelchair race precedes the running race, and since roads will not yet be fully closed, bikers ride ahead of the racers clearing pedestrains from their path.

Rosenthal states: "My intent is to present the NY Road Runners with the notion they should feel some gratitude for and indebtedness towards all cyclists...."

The average winning time for the marathon runners is 2 hrs 15 mins. The chaired competitors average 1 hr 30 mins!

Liver-Piercing Pencil Gun

In the third grade I was told by a teacher not to shoot the stapler at my friend lest I "puncture his liver". Never mind that even when unfolded and used as a "gun", staplers fail to achieve a projectile velocity above that of a dribble.

Well, take this third grade friend. This'll definitely do the trick.

Insane Flying Cat Copter

Speaking of cats and Inspector Gadget, I give you Doraemon:

(Dictated, not read)
Has been born to 70’s and the 80’s early times friend, probably all cannot forget the machine cat the happy memory which brings to us. In the book most let us dismiss from mind with difficulty perhaps is hundred valuable bags of inside one each one marvelous tool, was a pity in reality life their function certainly cannot realize.

That's a lotta epoxy

On my list of things to do one day: build my own bike frame. I'm thinking steel or ti. And I'd pay someone to teach me how to do it.

This guy decided that would be too easy, so he went ahead and constructed this carbon fiber monstrosity in his garage. Carbon fiber. In his garage.

Very impressive. Except for the decision to model it after a SoftRide...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Yummy Sloth

Ever wonder what a baby sloth looked like?

I would definitely eat that.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Shiver Me Timbers

I just learned that my sister will be attending her junior year Homecoming Dance dressed as a pirate.

So. Effing. Cool.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Bleepin' Monkeys

Speaking of chimps, from the NYT:

"Time and again, people have told me that cursing is a coping mechanism for them, a way of reducing stress," [Dr. Jay] said in a telephone interview. "It's a form of anger management that is often underappreciated."

Indeed, chimpanzees engage in what appears to be a kind of cursing match as a means of venting aggression and avoiding a potentially dangerous physical clash.

Frans de Waal, a professor of primate behavior at Emory University in Atlanta, said that when chimpanzees were angry "they will grunt or spit or make an abrupt, upsweeping gesture that, if a human were to do it, you'd recognize it as aggressive."

Such behaviors are threat gestures, Professor de Waal said, and they are all a good sign.

"A chimpanzee who is really gearing up for a fight doesn't waste time with gestures, but just goes ahead and attacks," he added.

By the same token, he said, nothing is more deadly than a person who is too enraged for expletives - who cleanly and quietly picks up a gun and starts shooting.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cheeta Lives!

Cheeta the Chimp, famous for his roles in the early Burrough's Tarzan movies, is the world's oldest chimpanzee at age 73.

Perhaps his old age can be attributed to adopting a cleaner lifestyle - he long ago stopped drinking several beers a day and smoking cigars, and has cultivated a love of art. For a very reasonable $125 you can order an original Cheeta painting complete with photos of the artist with the work and personalized headshots.

All proceeds go to the C.H.E.E.T.A. Primate Sancuary which rescues former stars from (usually) retirement to biological research labs.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Nintendo Revolution

Finally, Nintendo has released some details about its Revolution controller, and I have to say I'm pretty curious. I haven't really been interested in their products since the SNES.

The new device resembles a television remote and uses a gyroscopic type mechanism to control movement - in every direction. So, you wave your hand left and Mario moves left. Thing is, with this set-up you can control pitch and yaw, or use it as a gun in a first person shooter. Apparently, Nintendo will offer attachments such a an optional analog stick. Running through a first person shooter using the analog stick to steer and the controller itself to aim and shoot would be pretty darn fun. I do wonder about arm fatigue, though.

Of, course, this will all depend on the ingenuity of game developers to get the most out of the technology, but I think this might actually save Nintendo in the latest next-gen round.

Hacking Legos

Last month Lego launched Lego Factory, software which allows users to construct digitally a lego model and then purchase through the web the bricks needed to make the models. Users can also purchase the bricks for other users' designs.

Seasoned builders quickly discovered, however, that the 'palettes' Lego Factory uses often contain more bricks than are required for the model, or worse don't have some bricks needed for the design. The user then has to purchase other palettes to acquire the needed bricks ending up paying for many unneeded bricks.

After finding that each palette is made up of several bags of bricks, Software designer Larry Pieniazek coordinated efforts with other users to create a database of all the brick bags and the palettes comprised of them. Factory users could now build their models with individual bags in mind, and then choose to modify their design if it required the purchase of too many palettes. Costs could be dramatically reduced if desired.

Encouragingly, Lego expressed the desire of the company to develop the factory together with it s customers. Lego was a little taken aback, however, that the hack emerged within days of the launch.

While Lego may be embracing a pseudo open source attitude with Factory, the company defintely does not want you to refer to their toys as Legos. This, apparently, could be devasating to their trademark, so they ask that you please refer to them as Lego toys or bricks. Go to and read the disclaimer. Geez. Lego's consumers call them Legos! Way to scold those that love your product. If I were a kid going to and that message is what I received, I would be confused and less-enthused.

MAKE Magazine @ Seattle Mac Store

From the MAKE Magazine site:

On Saturday, Sept. 17, MAKE Associate Editor Phillip Torrone presents Podcasting 101: How to Make, Produce and Publish Podcasts from 3 to 4 p.m. Learn what a podcast is and how to make them using your Mac and GarageBand. Also learn how to get listed in iTunes, RSS, and more. Phil will also show how we make our enhanced podcasts, plus a whole lot more!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Diesel Kitty

I think cats are great for petting, playing and putting in my mouth.

But some people think they are good for fueling diesel engines.

UPDATE: Apparently, the German inventor Christian Koch denies ever using expired felines. The story's author now says that he only meant to imply that cats could be used. Koch: "I've never used cats and would never think of that. At most the odd toad may have jumped in". Regular ole' rubbish ("paper, plastics, textiles") is the preferred fuel for Koch's KDV500 engine.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Galveston Hurricane Disaster 105th Anniversary

Today is the 105th anniversary of the Great Galveston Texas Hurricane Disaster, (so far)the deadliest US weather event on record.

Some stats:

* September 8-9, 1900
* 6,000 deaths (ranges up to 12,000)
* category 4 at landfall
* wind speed: 135 mph
* pressure at landfall: 931 mb
* damage: $150 million

Some Katrina stats:

* August 23-31, 2005
* Estimates vary greatly
* category 4 at landfall in Louisiana
* wind speed at landfall in LA: 124 mph
* pressure at landfall in LA: 918 mb
* estimated to be costliest storm to strike US

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


Every once in a while I refer affectionately to my special lady as "Scarface". Now she has a site where her kind can share stories: Scarmageddon.

Love you, honey.

Actually, I have a pretty good one myself and will post a pic shortly.

Friday, September 02, 2005

EFF's DRM Guide

Not sure about Digital Rights Management and how it affects your legal music downloads? Check out EFF's layman's terms guide and prepare to be irritated.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

NOLA Live Blog

This person is blogging from a 10th floor datacenter in New Orleans. Sounds like a war zone out there. Looters are ransacking stores and selling their finds. Some are shooting at police. Gangs of thugs are setting fires. There is no police infrastructure. Some precincts literally are under water. Officers are quitting their jobs. Aside from the factthat many officers are themselves looting. This is not good.