I used my brand-spanking-new rice cooker today to make a big ol' batch of sushi rice, and then used my nifty new sushi mold to make Spam Musubi. Even though I had no furikake and no nori to wrap the finished onigiri, Rachael and I agreed that this is good stuff. Next time, I do believe I'm going to slip some diced pickle or avocado into the mix.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Alternate title: Forget, Hell!
The Raiders beat Tampa Bay to knock the Buccaneers out of the playoffs. Eat shit, Gruden!!!
Posted by Ted at 4:12 PM
Friday, December 26, 2008
Liz and I shop early for Christmas. This allows us to be done (usually) by Thanksgiving, thus avoiding the crowds, and it also allows us to get lots and lots and lots of goodies for each other because it's spread out over months.
And I'm all about the lots and lots and lots part. I like presents.
From Rachael, four glow-in-the-dark zombie finger puppets. A nice accompaniment to a set of silicone bakeware.
From Robyn and Henry, the aforementioned ink (two bottles actually, there was another bottle of Mont Blanc Racing Green).
For kitcheny goodness, since I've been cooking Japanese quite a bit lately, Liz bought me a rice cooker and a mold to make Spam Musubi (Hawaii's unofficial state food).
From the Dead Tree Department, I got a hardcover copy of Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, and the two volume set of Plutarch's Lives. For fun there were a couple of harmonica books too (yep, I'm still playing).
There were plenty of movie-liscious moments too. Nicholson in The Shining, the 20th anniversary edition of Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers, the two parts of the Ginger Snaps series that I was missing, and lots and lots of lesbian vampire titles (it's like it was a theme or something, not that I'm complaining).
Like I said, "lots and lots" and those were the highlights. I was very very good this year, or I fooled a whole lot of people.
And just in case you think that I'm shallow and crass and completely miss the real point of Christmas, never fear. Even if there were no gifts for giving, our family is still enjoying health and love, and we're appreciating our good fortune. Hopefully you had a wonderful Christmas too.
Posted by Ted at 11:03 AM
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Books... made of paper? Interesting. Next you'll be telling us how you've taken up writing on stone tablets!
Well, no, not quite that far back. I have mentioned that I've relearned the forgotten art of written correspondence and now have pen pals from the USA and Canada. I also mentioned that I've rediscovered the retro-wonderfulness of fine fountain pens.
Three pens that I have at work every day are the Lamy Safari. I have the yellow with an extra fine nib (and usually blue-black ink), a red one with a fine nib (and red ink), and a "Vista", which is clear, that I keep filled with red-black ink (medium nib). The Lamy's are the personification of German engineering: all function over style. Extremely reliable and comfortable to write with for long stretches, but possessing the gentle good looks and friendly lines of a u-boat.
I also have a Reform 1745, which was a common pen used by many students in Germany in the 50's-80's. Someone found a bunch still new in the box and was selling them cheap. This one is my daily writer at my desk at home.
The rest of my fountain pens are Chinese economy pens, a couple of which I've reviewed on FPN (Hero 78 and Picasso 903).
For Christmas, daughter Robyn and Son-in-law Henry got me a bottle of highlighter ink and an eyedropper pen with a felt chisel tip. Basically, you use an eyedropper to fill the pen with ink, and then use it like a regular highlighter. Except that it's refillable. Very cool. Very neon yellow.
Posted by Ted at 7:53 PM
Monday, December 22, 2008
"Cabbage: A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head."
Posted by Ted at 9:50 AM
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
My daughter Rachael has gotten me started on reading a series of books by Janet Evanovich. The main character is Stephanie Plum, who works as a rookie bounty hunter for her cousin in New Jersey. They're funny and the mystery parts aren't bad either. Recommended.
While devouring the third in the series, I discovered that Stephanie Plum and I share the same favorite pizza: extra cheese, black olives, green peppers and onion. What's more odd; that pizza, or that I have the same tastes as a fictional character?
I also delighted in this paragraph:
My parents lived deep in the burg in a narrow duplex that on a cold day like this would smell like chocolate pudding cooking on the stove. The effect was similar to Lorelei, singing to all those sailors, sucking them in so they'd crash on the rocks.
Heh. I love that my granddaughter has a name from German mythology.
Posted by Ted at 9:35 PM
Friday, December 12, 2008
Coworker: "Casual day, eh? And you're dressed all in black."
Me: "It's my 'Ninja Programmer' look."
Coworker: "A ninja with white sneakers?"
Me: "That's the 'Programmer' part."
Posted by Ted at 9:33 AM
Even if you didn't know her name, you probably recognized her.
I paid tribute to her in this Rocket Jones banner.
One in a million.
Posted by Ted at 7:58 AM
Follow the link for a picture and simple instructions.
How to make bedroom slippers out of maxi pads.
These slippers are:
* Soft and Hygienic
* Non-slip grip strips on the soles
* Built in deodorant feature keeps feet smelling fresh
* No more bending over to mop up spills
* Disposable and biodegradable
* Environmentally safe
* Three convenient sizes: (1.) Regular, (2.) Light and (3.) Get out the Sand Bags.
Because nothing says "I Care" like home-crafted gifts.
Posted by Ted at 6:26 AM
My Summer hiatus is over over at Wildside Cinema, over. Reviews by yours truly will be going up twice a month starting next week.
Posted by Ted at 6:05 AM
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The Obama Inauguration is shaping up to be a huge event in more ways than one. There are projected to be more people attending than ever before, the metro system is anticipating over 1 million riders that day (a %20 increase over it's previous one day record), and the inauguration will cost Washington DC more than any previous event - by a lot.
Two things in particular amuse me about the whole business. First, as Obama goes from event to event (including parties after the swearing in), a rolling "security bubble" will move with him, which will cause metro stations and bus stops to be closed as long as the President is nearby. So in addition to the enormous increase in traffic and ridership, they'll have to deal with unpredictable interuptions and disruptions in service.
In related news, due to security concerns during the inauguration, metro will be closing all of its public restrooms. To compensate, they've announced plans to put up hundreds of port-o-potties. A little back-of-the-napkin math shows that there will be one toilet available for every 8,000 metro riders.
I will be staying far, far away from Washington DC - and metro - during the festivities.
Posted by Ted at 6:16 AM
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
With these tough economic times, people don't have as much money to put towards Christmas gifts. Sure, anyone can give out crap bought at the thrift shop, but true thoughtfulness costs.
Not anymore. At least, not as much.
Rather than spending hundreds of dollars for a portrait of your giftee, Rocket Jones is now offering the opportunity to get a custom and personalized drawing of your loved one as a stick figure. For a buck. And that includes shipping and handling.
Rocket Jones Customized Portraiture. Tiffany Elan at Dollar Store Prices.
Posted by Ted at 9:00 AM
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Affectionately known as "Forry" to legions of horror and sci-fi fans (he coined the term "sci-fi" as well as created the character Vampirella), Ackerman passed away at age 92. He published the classic "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine and also owned the world's largest private collection of genre memorabilia.
I saw him in a bit part in a movie just last week.
Thanks to Dustbury for the pointer to this sad news.
Posted by Ted at 8:22 AM
This was given to me by a co-worker. I did solve it, but it wasn't easy. I've also changed a few of the items up a little bit because the original was in Russian and was translated into clumsy English. If you like puzzles, you'll have fun with this one.
5 different people in 5 different color houses , smoke 5 different cigarettes, raise 5 different animals and drink 5 different beverages.
Question: Who raises fish?
1. A Norwegian lives in the 1st house.
2. А Brit lives in the red house.
3. A green house is on the left of the white house.
4. A Dutch dude drinks tea.
5. One, who smokes Rothmans, lives next to one who raises cats.
6. One, who lives in a yellow house, smokes Dunhill.
7. A German smokes Marlboro.
8. One, who lives in the center house, drinks milk.
9. The neighbor of the Rothmans smoker drinks water.
10. One, who smokes Pall Mall, raises birds.
11. A Swede raises dogs.
12. A Norwegian lives next to the blue house.
13. One, who raises horses, lives in a blue house.
14. One , who smokes Philip Morris, drinks beer.
15. They drink coffee in a green house.
This is solvable! Drop me an email for the answer.
Posted by Ted at 7:49 AM
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Written in 1946.
When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.
But wait, there's more.
In our age there is no such thing as 'keeping out of politics'. All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia.
George Orwell wrote that.
Posted by Ted at 6:55 PM
Friday, December 05, 2008
My solution to the government revenue shortfall is to tap into the caring nature of people. Uncle Sam should send letters to every environmental group informing them that we're going to start cutting down trees to sell the timber unless they pony up pronto. I'd suggest $500 per tree per year or it comes down. Considering the money they spend on lobbyists and advertising to convince people that nature is precious, well, it's time they put their money where their mouth is.
I realize that it's not very workable, and that a better name than "Ransoming Mother Nature" would be needed.
On the other hand, Stephen Macklin has come up with an idea that makes too much sense to ever be implemented, called "How to Save Detroit, the Economy and the Planet". Follow that link, it's short and well worth reading.
Posted by Ted at 6:28 AM
I've mentioned before about how proud I am to live in Prince William county, Virginia. We're the guys who passed that anti-illegal immigrant law that resulted in a mass migration to neighboring, safe-haven counties. Our county council has stood up to the politically-correct pressure and lawsuits and we've saved millions of dollars in school costs and (surprise, surprise) hospital costs (huge drop in emergency room visits).
So now that times are tough and revenues have dropped? Neighboring counties are looking at raising taxes, charging for ambulance service, public library parking and usage fees and other schemes to increase income.
Prince William County? A 20% reduction in the budget. Fire, police and ambulance are protected, everything else is on the chopping block. We've been told that layoffs will have to happen.
Our county supervisors have remembered that the best way to stay out of financial trouble is to not spend more than you make. Instead of grabbing for more money when needed, they cut costs. It's remarkable, and it's sad that it's remarkable.
Posted by Ted at 5:49 AM
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Monday, December 01, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
My Christmas shopping is about 95% complete.
Posted by Ted at 7:00 AM
Yesterday the mailman brought me a screener DVD of a ghost story anthology from Malaysia. I'm excited, you should be too.
Posted by Ted at 6:58 AM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Dinner tonight was a pot of sausage and lentil soup (courtesy of Suzette again), and a pan of fresh-baked foccacia bread (courtesy of Mike).
Of the soup, what can I say? Two containers are in the freezer, another was dinner for my son and I, and the last of it is in the fridge for my lunch tomorrow. Wonderful stuff.
The focaccia was the first non-machine bread I've baked in a long long time. It's dead simple, but here's my notes from this first try:
1. The dough was very wet. I wound up adding almost another 1/4 cup of flour.
2. I went light on the salt in the dough (about half of what was called for). Next time, I'll go to 3/4 and see if that works.
3. Use 1/3 cup olive oil instead of 1/2 cup. The family said it was "a little greasy", but they're heathens and can't be trusted, especially since they were busy stuffing their faces with it.
Believe me, you want this stuff baking when you're trying to sell your house. Freakin' amazing aroma. And it tastes just as good. Thanks Suzette and Mike!
This morning I was up bright and early to get my annual vehicle safety inspection. While waiting for the mechanic to finish up, I was inside the little store, talking to the elderly gentleman who ran the register.
Inevitably the subject of falling gas prices came up, and he assured me that it was all because of Obama's election. I pointed out that prices started to fall long before the election, but he remained unswayed. It was all because of Obama. Next I tried the "supply and demand" tack. He obviously understood the concept from his comments during this part of the conversation, but somehow it was all moot because the falling gas prices were a gift from Obama.
He's convinced that the economy will be just fine and dandy again come January 20th. I wish you luck old timer, because you're going to need it.
Posted by Ted at 10:14 AM
Saturday, November 22, 2008
From The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone and Claude Rains.
Sir Guy: "You speak treason!"
Ripping good yarn. Highly recommended.
Gas price, per gallon in Woodbridge, Virginia.
In fact, I'd bought gas there yesterday morning at $1.69, so it dropped another six cents during the day.
Posted by Ted at 9:06 AM
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
My family loves Autumn, because that's when I start making big ol' pots of homemade soup. Tonight I tried a recipe found over at Suzette's Joy of Soup blog, which is hella good. In fact, I'm working my way through a steaming bowl right now, with a grilled cheese sandwich at my elbow.
The original recipe is here, but below I'll explain how I bastardized it to fit the ingredients I had on hand. You can assume any eloquence is hers or accidental on my part.
Ham and Tomato Soup
1 can Spam, cut into a large dice (You don't like spam? Weirdo.)
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cup frozen corn
1 large can of crushed tomatoes
2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1" dice
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Tabasco pepper sauce
3 cups of chicken or vegetable broth
That's right, I used spam instead of ham. Deal with it. I also accidentally picked up creamed corn instead of regular canned corn last week, but a quick root through the freezer saved the day there. I also changed up on the canned tomatoes, bitterly clinging to the idea that my pantry and I were self-sufficient. Since they weren't the called-for Italian-y, I added about a half teaspoon each of basil and thyme, a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder, and a few shakes of parsley. I also didn't add salt, because, like, it's spam.
Next time, I'll make it the right way, but I'm telling you, if this was wrong then I don't want to be right.
Place all ingredients into a large soup pot and simmer together for 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the flavors are blended. The tabasco sauce suffuses throughout the other ingredients to enhance the flavors and create a piquant undertone to the whole thing. Yum.
Note to self: more tabasco next time. And yes indeedy, there will be a next time!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Someone went through our car last night. I was the last one in it, so I'm the one who forgot to lock up. The glove box and console were open and some things were laying on the seats as the thief went digging. Nothing was taken, mainly because we don't leave anything valuable in the car.
Posted by Ted at 8:05 AM
Friday, November 14, 2008
Sitting at a red light after Liz braked hard to stop in time:
Liz: Did the groceries fall over?
Me: (looking back) Oh yeah. Out of the bags, all over the floor.
Light turns green. We proceed.
Me: Jackrabbit starts will not make the groceries fall back into the bags.
Posted by Ted at 8:13 PM
In 2003, The Mummy's Kiss became a surprise hit. Like most erotic releases, this flick featured pretty girls and almost non-stop female nudity. Unlike most erotic releases, there was an actual and somewhat interesting storyline that was more than just "Jenna meets Tiffy for coffee and they have softcore lesbian sex. At the mall Tiffy meets Buffy and they have softcore lesbian sex...". In fact, there were only two sex scenes (that I remember). Throw in a director who insisted that the characters play it (mostly) straight, actors who could provide real character depth, competent special effects and of course lots and lots of gratuitous boobage, and it's easy to see why this movie has built up a bit of a cult following.
An attempt to cash in on the original was made in 2006, with the pathetic The Mummy's Kiss: Second Dynasty. This time around, the boobs are all fake (hideously so), the characters are all cardboard cutouts and the special effects aren't. All of the characters are brain-dead and annoying as hell, and... I can't go on.
Avoid the sequel like Tut's Curse.
I paid $1.84 for a gallon of gas yesterday.
My annual bonus is about the same as last year. Do not confuse the annual bonus with the Christmas bonus nor with the profit sharing.
Thanks to the attic insulation that we installed a couple of months ago, I expect we're going to save a bundle on heating this winter. We did turn the heat on - on November 6th - and the thermostat is set at 65 degrees because the upstairs (where we spend 90% of our time) is a comfortable 70-something that way.
I haven't looked at my 401k, because there's no need to. I won't be touching it for years and years yet.
Despite what some people want me to believe, life is (still) good.
Posted by Ted at 11:19 AM
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here are links to Rocket Jones posts from previous years.
Quantico National Cemetery.
A page full chock full o' information about Veterans Day.
Here's one I posted on Memorial Day in 2006, about my Great Uncle, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in WWII.
Posted by Ted at 7:57 AM
Monday, November 10, 2008
But what the hell, for this:
Note the Rocket Jones relevancies: the evil clown t-shirt (Liz was severely creeped out when she discovered that it glows in the dark) and the bib embroidered by Liz that says "Grandpa's Li'l Monster". Lorelei's first horror-related clothing. Awwwwwww.
If I look a little tired, it's because I stayed up with the little one all night Friday so that everyone else could get a full night's sleep. They were all needing it badly.
Last year, movies* were made that featured zombies and strippers. To my mind, that's one of those perfect concepts, and I shouldn't be surprised that neither of the two I've seen comes close to meeting my lofty expectations.
First up, we have Strippers vs. Zombies. Technically very well done, great storyline and above average acting. Hell, we even get Robert Eglund (the original Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street in a major role as the owner of the strip joint. Unfortunately, the attitude of the movie pissed me off so bad that I couldn't get beyond it. This movie is filled with constant whining about everything wrong with utopia and the blaming of everyone to the right of Al Gore for the ills of the world. Even the "making of" featurette is nothing but the actors and crew telling the audience over and over that you're probably not smart enough to get the movie (stoopid Republicans), so just enjoy the boobs and gore. The entire movie is one big smirkfest, kinda like Code Pink coming over to your house to play Pictionary.
Fuck that. The shrill preaching ruined what could have been a damn good movie. If you're big into Halliburton-bashing and the cult of victimhood, then you might enjoy this. I hated it despite the positive aspects.
Next is Zombies Zombies Zombies. A bunch of strippers, hookers, pimps and johns are trapped together in a strip club, trying to survive a zombie outbreak. Very tongue-in-cheek, the acting is barely up to the dialog, which is smart, witty and surprisingly funny in places. There isn't much of a story here, which also hurts.
Zombies Zombies Zombies is worth a rental, if you're into the genre (it's got Tiffany Shepis in a small part too). It's not going onto my to-buy list.
* I thought there were three in all, but damned if I can remember the title of the third flick, if it indeed exists.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
No details yet, but Liz sent a picture of our shiny new granddaughter, Lorelei.
Update: born at 3:58pm, 7 lbs & 8 oz, 20.5 inches long. The first picture I got proves that she's female. Her mouth is open.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
(that's your line)
Lots happening in Ted's Universe, let's run it down.
At work, I was selected to coordinate the fiscal year end process. In essence, I tried to steer four different and self-interested organizations into more or less the same general direction. For extra fun, some of these organizations don't talk to each other, and others are actively hostile to others. This consumed me for a couple of months, but apparently I impressed someone with the semi-organized chaos, because I've been told that I get the project again next year. That, my friends, is the definition of mixed blessing.
Something Weird Video had a big sale at Amazon at the beginning of the month. Being in that kind of mood, I ordered a stack of sleazy Times Square classics and have been enjoying movies with titles like "Scare Their Pants Off" and "Terror at Orgy Castle". Last night it was "Satan's Bed", starring Yoko Ono. For those so interested, she never got naked, spoke maybe six words of English, and got hit by a car at the end.
It's not all sleaze though, because I also picked up a trio of Italian comedies starring the luscious Edwige Fenech. She's one of the most beautiful women ever to grace this world.
A couple of weekends ago we visited daughter Robyn, and I was delighted to discover that she lives a few short blocks from Swisher Pens. I spent a few hours browsing there, doodling around with pens I could never afford (and never want to, my perspective-o-meter is just fine, thank you). There was one beautiful Omas fountain pen that retails for $1200.00, but I could have picked it up on special for, well, lets just say way more than I'd be willing to pay for a pen. The people there were very nice, even though I'd told them up front that the budget allowed for the purchase of a single bottle of ink. I'll be going back on my next visit for a big bottle of highliter ink (cool name: Year of the Golden Pig), which comes with an eyedropper pen.
As an aside, if someone wanted to totally spoil me with a "Happy New Grandfather" gift, I really like the Pelikan M600 fountain pen. Any color suits, because I'm easy like that.
Since daughter Robyn is due any day now, I've started cooking. This morning I made a big pot of Chicken Enchilada soup (one of Robyn's favorites) for Liz to take with her when it's time. I'll also whip up a batch or three of biscotti to take with. I don't know when or if I'll be dropping everything and heading to Virginia Beach when the time comes. It kind of depends on the timing. Plus, the last thing they'll need is another body hanging around and getting in the way. Things will be hectic enough without me being there.
So there it is. Work, movies, cooking and waiting. I expected this to be much more interesting when I started.
Posted by Ted at 10:32 AM
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
God help me, I'm seriously considering doing National Novel Writing Month again this year. Two years ago, I began Zombies of Autumn (still unfinished). Last year, I tried to set up a group anthology about Giant Evil Space Robots (stillborn). This year, I don't have a story in mind - yet - but I've got several pages of notes and vignettes.
Should I share?
Posted by Ted at 7:08 PM
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Rachael is home for the weekend, and brought her new kitten, Tallulah. Eight weeks old, black with a little white, full of personality and the most vocal cat I've ever met. She's a hisser too, giving the full effect to our Trix the dog and Ozzie the rabbit. Trix desperately wants to be friends, so I think that they'll eventually get used to each other.
Tallulah was named for Tallulah Bankhead, legendary actress, who also went to Mary Baldwin College.
Posted by Ted at 10:26 AM
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Dogette has posted some technical information about how comments are handled behind the scenes on her site, Two Nervous Dogs.
1. Your comment first goes into TND’s Moderation Hell, where it is examined by a non-human. It is not “read.” It is “examined” for hatefulness and grammar by a very small yet powerful application using sophisticated logarithms, essentially a series of “if-then” statements. Example: “If” asshole, “then” fuck off.
There is much, much more to read. Way beyond my mad bloggy skillz. She's my hero.
Posted by Ted at 5:03 AM
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I'm speaking, of course, of that special breed of cheesy movie, the Italian Science Fiction flick. Stuffed full of wondrously crappy special effects, dialogue (usually dubbed, badly), and ambitious plot way beyond the skill and budget will allow, these movies are big fun.
Take War of the Robots for example. A good chunk of Earth is going to explode because of a runaway atomic reactor, and the only man who can stop it has been kidnapped by aliens, along with his beautiful assistant. You could tell they were aliens because they all wore metallic jumpsuits and had blond pageboy haircuts.
Luckily, a dashing hero spaceship captain (prone to laughing at inappropriate times) and his intrepid crew give chase. Also luckily, Earth's rocketships are four times faster than the alien saucers. Even luckier, they find a planet to crashland on after their rocket is damaged. Still luckier, the aliens accidentally save the crew from the local inhabitants when they come to collect slaves. That's a helluva lot of luck, paisan.
But wait, there's more! Even still more luckier, it turns out that the aliens have made the professor's beautiful assistant their Empress, making the escape that much
Of course, being Italian, there is much passion in the acting and plot twists in abudanzza. None of it very good, but they try with all their might and fail in spectacular fashion.
C'mon, an alien named General Gonad? Somewhere, a translator was having a giggle over that one. Personally, I have to be in the right mood for these movies. When I am, I enjoy the hell out of them.
It's probably a good thing that the mood required is a rather rare thing.
Or maybe it's the flickering flames in my future.
Thanks to the smoke-free Gaz.
Posted by Ted at 3:58 PM
And it feels like today.
From the lovely LeeAnn:
...that next person is going to get their head stuck on a pole, dipped in fruit punch, frozen solid and munched like a popsicle of doom.
I love reading genius like that.
Posted by Ted at 3:54 PM
Monday, October 13, 2008
On the way down to Norfolk, we filled up the tank for $2.99 a gallon. We filled up for the ride back at the Sam's club in Virginia Beach, for $2.81 a gallon.
Posted by Ted at 9:05 AM
We drove down to Virginia Beach for Robyn's birthday this weekend. She wanted to go to a Norfolk Admirals (farm club for the Tampa Bay Lightning) hockey game before her baby is born, and that sounded like a good idea to us. The Admirals are celebrating their 20th season this year, so there's lots of hoopla surrounding the team.
They played the Hershey Bears (farm club of the Washington Capitals), and I recognized several players who've played for the big club on their roster.
The Admirals got off to a quick start, scoring a nice wraparound goal early and decisively winning two fights in the first five minutes. It was rough going from there on. They did have a solid ten minute stretch in the third period, but for the most part the Bears outplayed them. Still, thanks to another soft goal, the score was tied right to the end. As an indication of how the night went, with less than three minutes remaining in the game, one of the Admirals players missed wide on a tap in from in front of the open net.
Once again (this seems to be a habit for us), we saw scoreless overtime and a shootout. Hershey easily put it away during the shootout and the final was 4-3.
Related thoughts and moments:
During the second break, they had a dune buggy come out on the ice with a t-shirt cannon mounted on the back. One of them came right to me, I didn't even have to stand up to get it. Happy Birthday Robyn! (Yeah, I'm cheap like that)
One Zamboni - they have two - had advertising all over it for some tax prep place. I'm sorry, but "We Make Taxes Fun!" is one of the stupidest slogans I've ever heard. Burger-King stupid.
There were babies at the game. I think the youngest we saw, and we asked, was two months old. Liz now has instructions to make a baby jammie set in San Jose Sharks teal.
Posted by Ted at 8:50 AM
Sunday, October 12, 2008
You've seen those family stickers? The little stick figure Daddy and Mommy and kids and pets that people have been decorating their vehicle's back window with.
I want a set where Dad is a stick-figure Frankenstein or Dracula. Mom can be the Mummy or Bride of Frankenstein. Little Billy and Susie can be zombies or little vampires. Spot? Werewolf.
Or a bulk pack. I'd love to put Daddy and Mommy and about seventeen kids. With a bumper sticker from the local Catholic Church. On a sub-compact.
Posted by Ted at 6:35 PM
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
How bad is the economy? Well, the media constantly bombards us with story after story about individuals and families who are having a rough go of it.
This is only half of the picture though. Take me, for example. I'm not in financial trouble. I've gotten steady salary increases for the last several years. My home isn't in danger of being foreclosed. I'm not panicking over my retirement investments because I won't touch them for many years, and there's plenty of time to recover (and the market *always* recovers). Food and gas costs are up, but we had some cushion built in between income and outgo. Enough to be doing ok, and to be able to afford adding insulation to my attic to reduce energy bills.
Taking an informal poll where I work, there are at least fifty people just like me, all riding along more or less unfazed by this rough spot in the economic cycle.
In my neighborhood, there are two homes being auctioned off. There are three hundred that aren't. You might hear about them, but you won't hear about me, or my coworkers, or my neighbors who are doing ok. But we're part of the story too.
Posted by Ted at 5:15 AM
Something I haven't heard mentioned yet about the bailout bill that was passed... Unless Treasury has a few hundred (or thousand) employees lying around doing nothing, a new and probably large bureaucracy will have to be built to administer the bailout. Growing government, the congressional way. You know, heaps of fertilizer.
Posted by Ted at 5:10 AM
Saturday, October 04, 2008
Unless you're very pregnant, according to Robyn's doctor. She's due in less than a month, and is very close to that special "any time now" window. Talking to her the other day, she's complaining of odd pains in odd places, all of which are "normal" for a woman in the late stages of pregnancy.
Boring? You bet, but I really wanted to use that phrase in a post title.
Posted by Ted at 8:06 PM
Friday, October 03, 2008
I think I told this one:
What did the cow say?
"Woof," 'cause he had a dog in his mouth!
For the last month or so I've called my kids a couple of times a week to tell them variations, such as:
What did the cow say?
Nothing, 'cause he had Marcel Marceau in his mouth!
What did the cow say?
"Bless you my son," 'cause he had the Pope in his mouth!
Today I told this one:
What did the cow say?
"EEAAAAGGGGHHH!!!!" 'cause he's a taxpayer and just got raped up the ass by motherfuckin' Congress and their 700 billion dollar "bailout" bill!"
Robyn said she could probably guess where I stood on that decision.
Posted by Ted at 4:24 PM
Thursday, October 02, 2008
I heard a radio commercial for some sort of Botox-ish cream. They promise that it'll remove wrinkles and make you look younger. How much younger? They had "actual" husbands saying things like "My wife looks ten years younger." Oh yeah, *that's* a winning statement to make about your wife, eh? Or how about, "It's like looking at my wife twenty years ago, all over again!"
*rowr* Try it for yourself guys! Just look her in the eye and say in your best "let's go to bed" voice, "I'd love to bang your baby sister."
Yeah, that'll work.
Posted by Ted at 4:22 PM
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Nowadays, the map-impaired call 'em "GPS". I don't have one. I don't want one.
At least I didn't until I saw this page of uploadable personalities for your GPS, specifically the Garmin and Tom Tom. Let's just say that now, I'm not quite so absolutely against them, but I still don't want one.
Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for the pointer.
Posted by Ted at 10:22 AM
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Amazing. Sharpie. Go see, the 360 degree photo is pretty cool, and I'm pretty damn green with envy.
Posted by Ted at 5:12 AM
Monday, September 29, 2008
Heard an ad on the radio this morning about a local demonstration by the Chainsaw Chix. Who?
Here's one, check it out.
Posted by Ted at 5:00 AM
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Attic is cleaned out and 99% reorganized. I still need to get a bale or two of the loose cellulose insulation to put in the gaps next to the support beams, but the attic is 99% insulated.
It's going to look like we've been foreclosed and evicted on trash day for all the boxes and giant trash bags full o' crap to be tossed. Fortunately we've got the coolest trash company on the planet and they never complain if you *occasionally* have a huge pile to go.
We have another stack o' stuff that will be put up on Craigslist and Freecycle.
Rachael and TJ took a couple of big boxes of books to the used book store for credit. Rachael earned enough to buy twelve volumes of the next series she wants to read, and TJ brought home several books of his own. The books that the store didn't want were dropped off at the library.
We found a bunch of old, old pictures that Liz will spend time scanning. Included in that batch were several photos of oldest daughter Robyn as an infant, wearing dresses that we found and put aside for the upcoming granddaughter.
I have another box of stuff to take to work to shred. Way too much for our little household tree-grinder.
Dang, I'm proud of my kids. They busted their ass this weekend.
Mookie bought an mp3 player from buy.com and now they won't honor their "extended" replacement warranty. This is the second time she's had trouble with these bozo's and their sleazy business practices.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Buy.com rips off children.
Spread the word.
Posted by Ted at 8:37 AM
This 1974 flick is one long (almost two hours) series of surrealist scenes and set pieces that... hell, I don't really know what the point is. If there's a main character, it's a Christ-like man who weaves his way through parts of the story, along with his sidekick - an amputee midget.
Supposedly there's a story being told, but I couldn't follow it, and I read the synopsis from the package beforehand. Mostly, it's scene after scene of striking, shocking, bizarre and/or blasphemous imagery. Some of it will make you laugh. A lot of it will make you uncomfortable. Most of it will make you go "huh?".
This morning I read other reviews of the movie, and many people who claim it to be a masterpiece recommend watching it several times to let the imagery sink in. Screw that. I watched this mostly at double speed, with stretches of eight speed along the way. Since there's almost no dialogue, you don't miss much.
The film is memorable, but I must not be smart enough, or artsy enough to appreciate its genius. Or so I gather.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Our house has a barn-style roof (technically, it's a "gambrel" roof), which means that we've got all kinds of attic space. Long ago, someone put down oak flooring up there in the center, where you can stand upright. They also added a drop down stairway, which is very nice to have. Several years ago my neighbor and I wired the entire attic with electricity - switches, outlets, lights, the whole shebang.
Another thing that's been added are many, many boxes o' stuff. The Christmas decorations are right near the doorway, but the rest of the space was only semi-organized.
One thing that nobody ever added up in the attic was more insulation. There's about three inches of the cellulose fluff, which has settled from the probably original six or so inches.
This weekend's project was the attic. Rachael was summoned home, and her and her brother were both told to bring money for bins. Boxes bad, bins - with labels - good. Since the kids all got my pack-rat gene, I was fairly sure that there was plenty that could be donated or tossed. So the plan was to empty the attic in phases and, while Rachael and Liz went through boxes (ruthless, ever ruthless), TJ and I would lay new insulation up topside.
We actually started last night, emptying perhaps 60% of the attic. Most of it was the kid's stuff, and Rachael did indeed find much to toss. Today around noon we started again, bringing down more boxes and then hauling up rolls of insulation. TJ and I were dressed as you do for insulating jobs; long sleeves, long pants, gloves, respirators, goggles, and we sweated like pigs while we laid out the rolls. We finished half of the attic, and even took some stuff back up that had been looked through and consolidated.
Tomorrow we'll finish up with the last two piles o' boxes and lay the other half of the insulation, and the peasants will rejoice. The HOA won't, because there are eight large black plastic bags of trash out in front of the house, under the overhang to protect them from the intermittent rain. Those are the overflow, because the basement has several more, plus boxes, and there's a huge pile of boxes to go out near the front door too.
Everyone has worked hard this weekend. I love it when a plan comes together.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Tonight, courtesy of Mookie (who is learning to cook), we are dining on quiche.
Posted by Ted at 11:28 AM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I could survive for 1 minute, 9 seconds chained to a bunk bed with a velociraptor
Thanks to Bou for pointing this one out.
Posted by Ted at 3:51 PM
From The Illuminatus Trilogy, by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, about the story's ficticious President.
He was, in fact, characteristic of the best type of dominant male in the world at this time. He was fifty-five years old, tough, shrewd, unburdened by the complicated ethical ambiguities which puzzle intellectuals, and had long ago decided that the world was a mean son-of-a-bitch in which only the most cunning and ruthless can survive. He was also as kind as was possible for one holding that ultra-Darwinian philosophy; and he genuinely loved children and dogs, unless they were on the site of something that had to be bombed in the National Interest. He still retained some sense of humor, despite the burdens of his almost godly office, and, although he had been impotent with his wife for nearly ten years now, he generally achieved orgasm in the mouth of a skilled prostitute within 1.5 minutes. He took amphetamine pep pills to keep going on his grueling twenty-hour day, with the result that his vision of the world was somewhat skewed in a paranoid direction, and he took tranquilizers to keep from worrying too much, with the result that his detachment sometimes bordered on the schizophrenic; but most of the time his innate shrewdness gave him a fingernail grip on reality. In short, he was much like the rulers of Russia and China.
That one made me laugh out loud.
Posted by Ted at 5:14 AM
Sunday, September 21, 2008
In July of 1980 (I was still a single young man at the time) I joined a book club. My "freebies" were a collection of poetry from Byron, Yeats and Shelley, Poor Richards Almanac, The Greatest Story Ever Told, and a four-volume series of history about the English Plantagenet Kings.
I'm just getting around to reading about the Plantagenets, and I do believe that this is a good thing. I love history, and so much of history depends on context and how the events being told fit into the local, regional and world situation at the time. There was a time when I would do this kind of reading with three or four books open on my desk, so I could do quick (or not so quick) lookups of the not-quite-main characters, battles, places and events. Nowadays, the internet (Al Gore, PBUH) is perfect for this kind of auxiliary reading.
I'm barely 50 pages into the first volume and have already stopped twice because I had a page of notes to research. Eleanor of Aquitaine is more than a name dropped occasionally. The reference to unlucky Arthur, captured and never seen again, is now set amongst the players of the day, adding a richness to the background of the story as it unfolds. I'm able to differentiate between Queen Mathilda and Empress Mathilda, two regal contemporaries who maneuvered against each other for years in an effort to gain (and regain) the crown.
I'm still keeping a page of notes to keep straight all the various Henrys, Richards, and Roberts, and who begat who and such. Methinks I missed my calling, and perhaps would've been happy spending my life as a research librarian.
Time to get back to my book.
Posted by Ted at 6:08 PM
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Daughter Robyn is due on October 31, just days before the election. She's already applied for her absentee ballot, just in case.
Posted by Ted at 10:43 PM
Friday, September 19, 2008
Y'all have indulged me with my beloved crappy movies, so now I'm going to treat you to a review of a real classic. It's still offbeat in that Rocket Jones way you've come to
dread know and love, but it's a classic nonetheless.
I've mentioned how much I love Mexican horror movies, and this time we've got a Mexican horror cowboy movie! Give it a chance, amigos. Hang with me a bit longer.
Casa Negra has released The Living Coffin, aka El Grito de la Muerte. It's got everything a good cowboy movie needs. We've got the young, handsome and hyper-competent law officer, accompanied by his trusty sidekick and his horse. This time around, the sidekick is a pudgy coonskin-cap wearing Indian named Crazy Coyote, more aptly named Dozing Narcoleptic. I don't recall ever hearing the law man's name, very Eastwood-esque. His horse, in the best Roy Rogers tradition, is more a partner than mere transportation, being able to perform tricks and tasks based on whistles from the cowboy. Very handy beast to have around in a tight spot, as you'll discover.
We also have the lovely young lady and her dilemma that the handsome stranger gets involved in. This time it's the undead! Specifically, her aunt who's come back to terrorize the area as the Weeping Woman. This is now the fourth movie I've watched that specifically mentions the Weeping Woman, so I'm guessing that this legend is to Mexico as the Boogie Man is to the US.
Meanwhile, back at the hacienda, you've got your bad guys, a mysterious swamp full of quicksand and all the usual cowboy movie fun to go along with the nicely-done horror aspects of the story. You'll recognize the sets from other classic Casa Negra releases. The living room, the courtyard, the crypts and even the village appear in other movies, dressed up enough to not be obvious, but the architectural details are striking enough to be recognizable. Hell, I'd have used them as often as possible too, they're that good. These films are terrifically atmospheric, in large part thanks to the lighting techniques. The lighting is not subtle like American films tend to be, but it's not amateurish. It's distinctive and works very well.
Once again, Casa Negra has released a beautiful and clear print. The sound quality is a little weak, but since I watch these movies with the subtitles on I'm listening more for the musical score than the words. I'm also wondering about the quality of the translation of the english subtitles, since the sidekick is referred to as "Crazy Coyote", yet the box lists him as "Crazy Wolf". A few of the subtitles seemed a little off, but not enough to detract from the story. They're also printed in white text with a blue outline, which I hated at first. As the story progressed I found that this style was very easy to read, regardless of the background. That's the important thing. For you heathens who cannot deal with subtitles, there's a dubbed english track available, and as usual Casa Negra offers all menus in english or spanish. All in all, another wonderful release from Casa Negra.
Bottom line: I grew up with these movies, I love them. I now own several of these classic Casa Negra releases. Try a rental or toss one on top of your Netflix queue and see if they don't float your boat. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
When our President's approval rating is in the low 30's, it's a "failure of leadership" according to Reid and Pelosi. When Congress has an approval rating in the low 20's, it's all because of those darned minority party folks. A failure of followership, if you will.
It'd be funny if it wasn't so goddammed sad.
Posted by Ted at 4:40 AM
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
An electric vehicle runs without burning gas, and emits nothing but water vapor as exhaust.
I thought water vapor was the greatest cause of global warming?
And what chucklehead thought that a car that spews more humidity would be a big winner, especially in the summer? I guess as long as I'm inside my Prius running the freon-seeping air conditioner, the rest of you planet rapists can just kiss my ass.
Posted by Ted at 4:17 PM
More craptacular cinema, courtesy of the Mill Creek release, 50 Chilling Classics. First up, I'm going to link to a hilarious review of Cathy's Curse.
I've watched four of these puppies in the last five days, and Lord help me, I'm gonna keep right on!
Now I talked about The Cold, and it introduced me to a b-movie name I've never heard of before, one Bill Rebane. Bill is a terrible director, and his movies are among the worst I've ever seen. I say that with a joyous heart, because there are not one, not two, but *four* Rebane features in this collection, and I've seen them all.
And you get to hear about them, if you keep reading.
The Legend of Bigfoot is mind-numbingly bad. We're talking tonsillectomy-with-a-melon-baller-through-your-belly-button bad. So bad that it's bad. You know how some movies come right up to the edge of bad and then teeter there, entertaining the hell out of you? This one does a Thelma and Louise right from the get-go.
The Cold, see above and its own little review.
The Demons of Ludlow. If the basic premise of your movie is that demons live inside a piano, then rule number one should be that when people in the movie play the piano, then it shouldn't sound like an organ. Or a harpsichord. Or a three-piece combo, fer God's sake. The story is actually quite... uh, almost said good... I'll say interesting instead. It's the execution that falters badly, as usual. The special effects range from surprisingly fair to abysmal, and pointless comes to mind more than once. My favorite (though not the best by a long shot) is probably when the mayor goes to an old hollow tree looking for something. Stuff that tree full of fireworks and then in post-production add WWII audio files of an artillery barrage, and you have eeeeeirie evil demonic special effects. Uh huh.
Finally, the (oh so flawed) gem of the foursome: The Alpha Incident. Ignore the scenes with the two scientists, one who probably went on to father several global citizens with names like Rainbow and Sequoia, because they basically whine about things they can't change, while proving themselves inept at actually doing anything helpful. Oh yeah, you know the type.
The good part happens when a biochemist and four railroad employees are quarantined at a remote train station because they've been exposed to an unknown but dangerous organism. The biochemist has a gun and he uses it when needed to maintain order because these folks don't much like taking orders from him (or the disembodied "general" on the phone). It turns into a decent psychological thriller as the group tries to survive together, even though they don't much care for each other. Oh, and the kicker is, if they fall asleep they die. Horribly. Great effect for this one too, you've gotta see it to appreciate it. I'll mention here for my own future reference that I thought the lone female of the group was quite cute, and I was very surprised when she showed off an impressive rack. Also, you can enjoy watching Buck Flowers, a true legend in the biz. He's one of those actors you've seen many times without realizing it.
Ok, final score:
1. Alpha Incident - worth renting, if you don't get your hopes too high.
2. Demon's of Ludlow - especially if you don't like piano music.
3. The Cold - hit or MISS.
4. Legend of Bigfoot - dear God no.
Checklists, that is. NASA uses 'em, so do I.
Here's a whole heap o' useful and funny checklists, including the always useful Paper GPS.
Posted by Ted at 5:12 AM
Saturday, September 13, 2008
When you look to spend your hard-earned money on great movie entertainment, so much depends on your definition of "great". For me, there's not much out there that beats the 50 Movie Packs by Mill Creek.
Granted, many of these films are stinkers, and they're all in the public domain. The picture quality may be poor, the sound quality worse, the acting atrocious, the plots non-existant, but dammit, they're fun! Plus, you'll find the unexpected gem when you least expect it.
Not this time though. The Cold, aka The Game, is a descendant of the classic House on Haunted Hill.
Three goofy millionaires invite nine disco-loving losers (but I repeat myself) to a remote island resort. The "game" is that they will undergo scares until they leave. Last loser standing wins a cool million.
I'm going to try a movie producer's trick here, ok? There are four lovely ladies in the group of nine. Two of them show various degrees of nakedness frequently during the first half of the movie. They also run around in and sleep in some rather fetching (and semi-transparent) lingerie. The third of the group looks great in a very revealing one-piece bathing suit. The fourth is gone before she can flash her headlights, so to speak, but I can live with that.
Now that you're totally distracted by the gratuitous nudity, you won't notice that the budget for this entire picture was about twelve dollars. It looks like someone had a friend who had a friend who knew a guy who... you get the idea. Shark fin. Fanged hand puppet. Fake tarantula. A gun (note singular, everyone seemed to own the exact same revolver). Mostly though, there was mist. From one of those mist generators you see around halloween. The mist was scary. Dunno why, but everyone was afraid of it. It was also cold. We know that because every time the mist appeared everyone bitched about how cold it was.
You almost don't notice the not-so-special effects because the dialogue is unbelievably bad, and the pitiful acting doesn't help. Two of the best exchanges:
Shelly (in the sauna): The sign says no physical exertion. We shouldn't do this. It might not be safe.
Joe: Of course it's safe. I had a vasectomy.
Shelly: Well, in that case. (dropping towel)
Joe: Who's gun is this?
John: I don't know, but games aren't played with loaded guns.
Shelly: What are they played with?
(Joe and John just stare at her)
You almost don't notice the terrible script because the story is barely coherent. (Deja vu, eh?) There are some nonsensical plot twists, and we get the dreaded narrator both before and after the movie. The dreaded narrator is never a good sign. At least this one admits that he really doesn't know what the hell is going on either, especially after the movie ends, and then ends again a few minutes later, and then again, and then again. I'm guessing that they had film left that couldn't be returned, so they used it up, shooting multiple endings until they got one they felt was usable. (Homework: "Usable" vs "good". Discuss.) I'm also guessing that they just said the hell with it and left 'em all in, otherwise I shudder to think about what was edited out as too crappy for this flick.
Hey, how about another memorable line?
Joe: There was a smell of death in that room. And cold. Like a December grave.
So this is an ok Saturday afternoon flick to while away some time while fighting off a summer cold (drinking cough syrup with codeine helps too). More importantly, check out the 50 movie packs from Mill Creek, especially if you love cheesy cinema.
A spam showed up in my email today, from Kofi Annan. At least, I assumed it was spam. In my book, *anything* from the UN would be counted as spam, so even if it was legit - not bloody likely - buh-bye.
Next, it'll be Kim Jong Il, offering to help me love her long time thanks to ancient oriental formula.
Hmmmm... what other "celebrity spams" can we come up with? Leave 'em in the comments.
Posted by Ted at 10:15 AM
Posted by Ted at 6:03 AM
Friday, September 12, 2008
Sorry folks, I need to vent.
A lady that I know went on a rant the other day about Sarah Palin. It went on and on, full of overwhelming venom and outright lies. She was unshakably convinced of her superiority because Palin, despite being a strong, independent and successful woman, didn't march in lockstep with the strong, independent and successful women who belong to the feminist cult. Incensed by the fact that Palin and her husband are raising five children because they believe that adults are responsible for the lives they create, my friend spewed horrid and outrageous things, spoken with righteous certainty about a family who she'd didn't know existed two weeks ago. Not one family member was spared.
And I stared at her when she finally wound down. She looked a little surprised at herself as well. Finally, I quietly said, "I would never have guessed that such a vile, twisted soul existed inside you."
I turned around and walked away.
She began, "I was just expressing my..."
I kept right on walking.
Posted by Ted at 5:44 PM
So the hometown Potomac Nationals are playing the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for the League Championship. Best of five, and the first two games were down south. The P-Nats took the first game 15-0, the Pelicans evened it up 6-4, before heading north to continue the series.
Last night, in a back and forth game, the Pelicans were leading 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, the P-Nats combined a walk, a single and a three-run homer to tie the game.
In the bottom of the tenth, the P-Nats loaded the bases and the Pelicans pitcher walked home the winning run!
All told, the P-Nats pitchers struck out 18 Pelicans during the game.
For all that excitement, Liz and I weren't there. She had oral surgery yesterday and wasn't in any shape to enjoy the game. We're not going tonight either. That sucks, but in the grand scheme of things, it's no biggie.
Now, tonight the P-Nats can clinch. Oh yeah.
Posted by Ted at 4:06 PM
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
What the hell, it's more my speed anyway:
Japanese Bug Fights!
According to the site, there are only three rules, one of which is "no outside weapons allowed". Considering most of these beasties have stingers or pincers or are poisonous (or all three), I think that's fair.
Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for the pointer.
Posted by Ted at 5:05 PM
Monday, September 08, 2008
For some reason, this passage struck me. I'm not sure yet what I think about it, I'm going to have to chew this one over a bit.
We shall never know how much genius has been lost to the world by reason of the need to make a living. We willingly provide free board and lodging for lunatics, but recoil before the idea of doing so for first-class minds. -- Clifton Fadiman, on Rene Descartes (born wealthy, and never had to work a day in his life)
Posted by Ted at 6:20 PM
... and a finger up my butt.
Today's my birthday. Da big four-nine! Yay, me!!! Not quite halfway done, to my thinking.
I also scheduled myself for my annual physical today. Dunno why, just did. New doctor, I've only met her once. Seems nice.
Small hands. Damn right I checked.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
My windows machine is having video playback problems. Anything like YouTube, anything like Media Player playback, etc. is pausing every few seconds. I mean literally pausing every 3 or 4 seconds. I've tried a variety of formats and sources - it does this with CD's too - and they all behave exactly the same way.
Secondary problem: No sound. Not from speakers, not from headphones. Front jack, back jack, same silence. Every volume setting I can find is turned up and not muted. I'm stumped.
Posted by Ted at 7:44 PM
The nearest weather recording station is the local middle school, and reported our Hannah rainfall amount as 5.6 inches of rain. In about 18 hours.
Posted by Ted at 7:15 PM
That's not "cutesy" for comic book.
Just like this isn't funny, although it is very educational.
Posted by Ted at 11:54 AM
I just went down to check the basement for flooding. So far, so good.
I also made myself oatmeal for breakfast. In fact, daredevil that I am, I even added a splash of vanilla and a cut-up banana.
Update! We now have a small amount of wet carpet in one corner of the workshop. This is the leaky corner, and we'd already moved things out of the way because we expected this. Towels have been deployed, and we will report further developments as they occur.
Posted by Ted at 10:24 AM
I still have little chores to do around here (like fixing the links to open in a new window, finish adding links to the blogroll, etc.) They're mostly boring repetitive crap, so it's getting done slowly.
I upgraded to the new 3.0 version of Wizz RSS reader, which I really like. But - there's always a "but" - I s'pose there's an "installation notes" for a reason, and all my RSS feeds got lost into the ether. So that's another task on the ol' "to do".
Thrill a minute around here lately, ain't it?
Posted by Ted at 8:50 AM
Friday, September 05, 2008
For those who are bored by three straight baseball playoff posts, I thought I'd throw in a quickie weather report. Hannah is gonna be dumping buckets on us tonight and tomorrow. Not *Florida* buckets, but quite respectably-sized buckets nonetheless.
Posted by Ted at 9:11 PM
Another playoff game, another 1-run victory for the Potomac Nationals. They've swept the Wilmington Blue Rocks three straight, and tonight's score was one-zip. Nail biting excitement, and at least this time they did it in nine innings.
Also, in tonight's episode of "Boomer Watch", Boomer Whiting drove in the only run of the game. Considering he scored the winning run in the first two games and added tonight's game winning hit, I'd give him series MVP honors. I could make a case though, that he should share it with the entire pitching staff, which has been phenomenal this series.
Added Historical Interest Factoid: The original owner of the Blue Rocks was none other than Connie Mack, and their first manager was Chief Bender. If you're a baseball fan, you probably know those names. If not, the links will explain the utter coolness of it.
Posted by Ted at 9:04 PM
Last night was game two of the series between the Potomac Nationals and the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Heading into the series, predictions were for low scoring games since the two clubs had two of the three best ERA's in the league. Not entirely intuitive though, because the teams also rank first and third (I believe) in team batting averages too. Anyway, whoever predicted the pitcher's duels got it dead on.
Once again, last night's game went extra innings. Once again, in the bottom of the 10th, Boomer Whiting scampered home with the winning run. This time he was pinch running for Serano, the Nats catcher, and beat the throw to the plate from center field.
The Blue Rocks are playing very good ball, they're just coming up short on the scoreboard. If I were a Rocks fan, I'd be pretty freakin' depressed right now.
The Potomac Nationals are doing a couple of cool things for these playoffs. Every game has an all-you-can-eat BBQ before and during the game. Hot dogs, burgers, burritos, chips, etc. are free and they don't shut down until the 7th inning. The picnic area is tucked into the right field corner, so you can watch the game while you chow down on your picnic too.
The other cool thing is that they've cleaned out their storerooms with all the leftover freebies from the last several years, and dumped everything into giant boxes. As you enter the stadium, you can grab whatever you want from the boxes. We grabbed a small cooler and big-assed duffle bag on Wednesday, and last night we snagged a couple of nice caps.
Today and tomorrow (if needed), the games are in Delaware, game five (if needed) is back here. Shut 'em down tonight boys, and we'll see you next Thursday in the Championship series.
Posted by Ted at 4:56 AM
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Sounds like a Nature Channel special, eh? Actually, it's the Southern Division playoffs from baseball's Carolina League. Myrtle Beach going against Winston-Salem in a best of five.
In the Northern Division, it's our home-town Potomac Nationals against the Wilmington Blue Rocks. Last night the P-Nats took game one of the series 2-1 in 15 innings, when Boomer Whiting scored from 3rd on a wild pitch.
Boomer's parents and grandmother were in the stands, having travelled from Ohio to see him play. Even though we were up way too late, I'm looking forward to game 2 of the series tonight. I loves me some minor-league baseball.
Posted by Ted at 4:57 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The title is Esperanto for "Oh, Giant Camel Farts!", and you can learn to say that and lots more that shouldn't be spoken in polite company over at How to Talk Dirty in Esperanto. Warning though, "dirty" means extremely dirty.
Thanks to Zoe Brain for the pointer.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Note: this was originally posted over at the old place. I'll be moving the Cult Flicks category over a little at a time and this seemed a good place to start.
Fido is a sweet, funny, heartwarming and nostalgic look at the world back in the 1950's, just after the zombies attacked.
Think of this as a cross between Night of the Living Dead and Leave It To Beaver to get a general feel for the movie. As for the look, it's reminiscent of Edward Scissorhands, although greatly toned down from the pastel hell that Ed was.
The Robinson's are the only family on their block that don't own their own zombie, and status-conscious Mrs. Robinson is bound and determined to do something about that. When she finally orders one, Timmy and the zombie (whom he names Fido) become fast friends.
Of course, even the most domesticated zombie can still be dangerous, and that's where the problems begin. Through it all, we're treated to a family becoming closer than ever thanks to love, acceptance and the undead.
Ok, that's enough dancing around the plot. Despite the fact that in a very real way this is a family movie, Fido also features some blood and mild gore. It is, after all, a movie about zombies. There are disturbing scenes and some parts of these people's lives that are genuinely scary, but it's perfectly balanced by some of the most delightful situations and funniest writing I've experienced in a long time. We actually had to stop the movie once because we were laughing our asses off.
Believe it or not, actor Billy Connolly manages to give Fido a full range of emotions and motivations, making you care for him despite the fact that he never falls out of his zombie persona.
If you've ever wanted to introduce someone to horror movies, this is about the most gentle way I can imagine. It's what the Donna Reed Show would've been like if they added all the classic horror elements, and that, my friends, is excellence. Good enough to go straight to the top of my "to buy" list.
Fido. See it. Seriously.
Over at Q&O, my new pick for best comment ever, in regards to new Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin:
Posted by Ted at 4:42 PM
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Daughter Robyn is due on Halloween. Little girl, her name will be Lorelei.
In honor of this auspicious occasion, I've put a poll up at the top of the sidebar. Choose what my future "grandfather" name shall be. Vote early. Vote often. 'Tis the season.
I'm going to be a grandfather.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Here's what the news story says:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Hurricane Gustav grew rapidly as it closed in on impoverished Haiti on Tuesday, and sent global oil prices soaring on fears it could become "extremely dangerous" in the Gulf of Mexico.Here's what the news story means:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Hurricane Gustav grew rapidly as it closed in on impoverished Haiti on Tuesday, and sent global oil prices soaring on [the chance that] it could become "extremely dangerous" in the Gulf of Mexico.
Not "fears". On "expectations", or "speculations", or even "hopes" for sure, but certainly not because of fear.
Economics 101, way over the head of Journalism 101.
Posted by Ted at 11:16 AM
Monday, August 25, 2008
Your result for The Hockey Role Test...
20% Playmaker, 40% Goal-scorer, 30% Stay-at-home, 30% Rusher and 70% Goalie!
Jose Theodore is certainly a goalie. (So is Evgeni Nabokov, Bucko! -- Ted)
Thanks to Nic for the pointer!
Posted by Ted at 6:16 PM
Blogger really does suck. Change the template, start from scratch. But, and this is huge to me at the moment, I have seen zero spam here. I can deal for now.
Even the links in previous posts are toast. Jeez. Oops, looks like this template defaulted to have the links look completely like ordinary text... that will be changed toot sweet.
Posted by Ted at 3:46 PM
Pretty damn cool:
Thanks to Mike Wilson for the pointer.
By the way, this marks the first time ever that I've embedded a video on Rocket Jones. Not because I'm stupid, but because I'm stubborn. Principled doesn't always mean right.
Check it out, looks like a Jeep dealership has one too.
Courtesy of Random Nuclear Strikes, this link to the wikipedia entry for Caminito del Rey (the king's little pathway), which is pretty cool by itself, but you'll freak at the video this guy took as he walked the path (at the first link above).
Since I'm up at this unholy hour of 3am (stomach bug, you don't want details)(and yes, it's 3am despite what blogspot claims, their clock function is whack), I've updated the blogroll somewhat. It's still a completely automated pain in the ass to do this, so if you're not there, don't worry, you will make it eventually. Unless I read your blog by clicking through on another site or read you on my aggregator (Wizz RSS - I like it), in which case I might not think to add you. But I probably will, eventually. Depends on the workload and whether I'm sundownning or not I suppose.
Posted by Ted at 2:31 AM
Sunday, August 24, 2008
One: My son TJ attended a gaming convention of some sort a couple of weeks ago (Indianapolis maybe?). Anyway, there was someone there at a table full of B-movies and horror goodies. As my family has been conditioned to do, TJ automatically stopped to look over the display and got into a conversation with the proprietor. TJ mentioned that I watched a lot of cult cinema and wrote reviews about them online, and when he told the guy about "Rocket Jones", the response was "Wow, your dad is Rocket Jones?!?!?!"
Oh yeah, I rock.
Two: There are several ladies at Mary Baldwin College who "religiously" read Rocket Jones every day. Note the quotes. I won't go so far as to say that Rocket Jones is the official blog of that woman's college... Oh, who am I kidding? Of course I'm going to claim that!
So there you have it. Name drop "Rocket Jones" in any social circle and you will get adulation from the guys, and religious-like devotion from college-age women. Just another service I provide.
Posted by Ted at 5:54 PM
On Friday Night, Rachael and I went to the ballgame - it was "hat night", Yay Hats! - and as we entered the ballpark we were singing:
Dad: I love the ballgames.In case you're not in on the giggles, check it out here.
Rachael: I love the home runs.
Dad: I love the hot dogs.
Rachael: I love to watch the butts.
Together: Boom da-yada, boom da-yada, boom da-yada...
The Lake Elsinore Storm* have one of the coolest hats in baseball, and when you visit their webstore to decide which one you want, you just keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling...
*California League, Class A, in a division with Rancho Cucamonga, High Desert, Inland Empire, and boring ol' Lancaster.
Friday, August 22, 2008
A recipe, on how to infuse your bourbon with the taste of good, smoky bacon.
I thought of this great concept to introduce a whole new generation of fans to horror movies.
Yes, my photoshop skills suck big sweaty donkey balls, and no, I don't care enough to try harder. Stop being so hyper-critical and enjoy it anyway. Sheesh.
One of the things that the new Blogger does is automate everything. Good for the newbie or the person who doesn't want to deal with the nuts 'n' bolts of the website, but bad for those of us who do occasionally tinker under the hood.
My gripe o' the moment is that I can't just import my old link list. There's a handy template generator that lets you do them quick and easy. One. At. A. Time.
I need to poke around a little more and find all the trapdoors to the dungeon. This happy, helpful and friendly crap is gonna aggravate the hell outta me.
Posted by Ted at 3:07 PM
During WWII, a little known place called Fort Hunt was heavily involved in the effort to help American POW's escape from the Germans. Much of this effort was done via "care" packages.
The baseballs, pipes and cribbage boards inside the packages had been crafted atSeveral POW's managed to successfully escape with the assistance of these care packages. And there was some serious assistance included.
Fort Hunt. They contained hidden compartments.
"Put into these special
packages under these fake foundations were compasses, saws, escape maps, other
items such as pairs of wire cutters," LaClair says."
The cribbage board — as you moved the pieces you could listen to the channels ofSomehow, the Germans never caught on to just how big an operation this was. It wasn't a one-way effort either, because a code was developed for passing intelligence *both ways* via letters "to home".
the BBC. The deck of playing cards, if you steamed the pieces apart, in between
each card would be a little piece of a silk escape map," says Bies.
"I remember growing up in the 1960s, my father loved [the TV show] Hogan's
Heroes," says Peter Bedini, whose father Silvio served at Fort Hunt. "Especially
when they were hiding radios in coffee pots and things like that. He used to
say, 'You know, that's not too far off from what really happened.'"
Hogan's Heroes as documentary. Heh.
I've had many pets over the years. Dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, you name it. Had a roommate once with a pet tarantula. But of all the critters I've shared accomodations with, none have been so ferociously vicious as rabbits.
Rabbits are Lagomorphs, but we call them cutesy names like "bunnies" to conceal their true nature, that of fanged bloodlusting devils. They pretend to be meek and mild, but put two of them together and look out, you're liable to have blood splattered walls in short order.
We have three house rabbits. Fred and Java are a bonded pair, and Ozzie is an unattached buck. We tried several times to bond Oz, but in each case beligerence soon won out over romance, and bunnies hold a grudge!
Pet a bunny and they feel so soft and cuddly, but if you look and feel carefully, you'll find scars from old battles, and ragged flesh along the edges of ears, where chunks were torn free. Faces get bitten, as do asses, and they have razor sharp teeth and aren't afraid to use them.
For all that, I love my bunnies. I've been bitten once, lightly breaking the skin, while breaking up a fight. Ozzie has let me feel his teeth a couple of times, letting me know that he could've bitten me if he'd wanted. Both times, I reminded him about manners by flicking him firmly on the nose. He got the message, and headed for under the bed, where he could plot my eventual doom.
Mostly though, we get snuggles and cuddles and love from them. But I'm wary, because that "vorpal bunny" joke from Monty Python's Grail? It wasn't far from the actual truth.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I'm gonna be messing with the template. This one sucks big time.
Posted by Ted at 5:29 PM
I suspect there will be more of the same nonsense you used to get at the other three iterations of Rocket Jones. Classic horror and cult flicks, rocketry, rabbits, links to stuff that amuses me, surreal humor, vegan recipes, puppies and rainbows, unicorns and enema bags.
For some reason, the spammers have anti-eroded my online attitude. Instead of being smoothed by the gentle currents of flowing water, they've uncovered the jagged little edges and made me prickly and less willing to always be Mr. Optimism.
One more thing. I expect comments. Lots and lots of comments. I don't mind lurkers and looky-loos, but I'm not counting page hits or visits, so if you don't at least let us know that you're here, then you're not contributing. I'm not here for myself, Rocket Jones (hopefully) supplies the inspiration (or instigation), and you all supply the conversation and tard baiting and poking with a stick.
Posted by Ted at 5:12 PM
I may have misspelt both words in the title (and one earlier in this sentence but that one was intentional), but oh well. I meant that to mean "cri-seeees", as in plural.
Today at work an email came through informing everyone that a co-worker... well, you have to see it in its entirety:
".... called and he will be today."
There was much pondering as to what he would be tomorrow. The followup email trying to correct the original was only slightly more coherent.
Meanwhile, back on the arigula ranch, there's a new blog out there. No, really!
Michele Obama's Suicide Watch
Gotta love shit like this:
"THE GLOOM AND ANGER VOICED BY THE ASPIRING FIRST LADY AS SHE SURVEYS THE ROTTING, MISERABLE HELL THAT IS AMERICA HAVE REACHED ALARMING DEPTHS"
Not deep enough as far as I'm concerned. I can still hear her whiney voice from the deepest pits at the bottom of her rotten stinking soul. And not one word of thanks for the package of single-edge razor blades I sent her either. Bitch.
Thanks to Brian J. for the pointer.
Posted by Ted at 4:58 PM
I tell ya, it's freakin' liberating to surf from blog to blog, dropping the occasional comment and never once worrying about what to post at your own place. It just dawned on me a few minutes ago that I once again have that responsibility.
Ok, how's about a Quote of the Day, being defined as "whenever the hell I feel like it"? I like it. Here goes:
"Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box. Religion is the smile on a dog." -- Edie Brickell
Yeah, I think I like this Quote of the Day crap.
Posted by Ted at 4:52 PM
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Remember that guy that lived down the street in your old neighborhood? He'd lived there for as long as you could remember, but was still an outsider. He mostly kept to himself except for that time when your parents were having a yard sale and he showed up and talked to them for an unprecedented hour before buying an ugly old lamp. You only ever saw him in his rattletrap car, driving away in a cloud of blue smoke or pulling into his oil-stained driveway. On Halloween he gave out full-size candy bars. The good ones. He always bought raffle tickets or whatever you were hawking for fundraising. And you wondered what the rest of the inside of his house looked like, beyond the bit of room you could see from his front doorway.
And then one day, a "For Sale" sign went up. And surprisingly quickly, "SOLD" appeared. And you came home from school one day and he was gone.
But then on Saturday, you saw his car driving by. And wonder of wonders, he pulled into a driveway up the street. That old place that had been empty for a long, long time. He got out, walked up to the door and went inside just like he lived there. Son of a bitch! He bought another house just a few doors away from where he used to live. Who the fuck does that? Weird.
Heh. I'm back.
Posted by Ted at 5:35 PM