Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
1. Rocket Jones has gotten stale and lame.
2. It's been that way for quite a while now.
3. I can't bring myself to bury it completely.
4. Let's call it "temporarily dead", AKA a zomblog.
5. I'll see you around, sometime. Maybe.
Posted by Ted at 3:52 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Woke up and...
1. Cleaned my den
2. Cleaned the kitchen, ran the dishwasher
3. Did four loads of laundry
4. Cleaned the bunny cages
5. Wrapped and put away meat from last night's grocery trip
6. Cleaned out my part of the bedroom closet - bag of "donate", bag of "attic"
7. Vacuumed top floor after Liz gave the dog a badly needed haircut
I think I'm done for the day.
Posted by Ted at 2:37 PM
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Guys, if you're sexually frustrated and you just can't get past your Catholic upbringing to be your own best friend, I'd suggest that you take a Viagra, and then take a roofie 10 minutes later.
Have fun, and I don't want to hear about it.
* Do I *really* need to post a disclaimer? Ok, don't really do this. I'm kidding. Really.
Posted by Ted at 7:37 AM
Monday, October 12, 2009
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Since Liz is out of the house for the day, tradition insists that I make French Onion Soup (which she can't stand). Tradition also insists that after adding the 1/2 cup of red wine to the soup, that I drink the rest straight from the bottle.
Feeling very very good right now.
Look, another weekend post! Yay!
Like the title says, this weekend I've been putzing around the house. Putzing includes painting the living room, which I hate and have been putting off for quite a while. But it needed doing.
It's chilly this morning and the house is completely opened up, every window wide open. Feels good. It's supposed to be clear and beautiful too, so in between painting and laundry I hope to find time to set up my new tent (in the backyard this time) and seam seal it.
That's the plan anyway. Calm, peaceful, but busy in a good way.
Posted by Ted at 7:11 AM
Saturday, October 03, 2009
To prove that the pattern is long running, here are links to my lists from the first quarter and the second quarter.
Without further ado, here's what I watched in July, August and September:
Big Trouble in Little China - one of my all-time favorites
Eddie and the Cruisers - yep, I sometimes go to the dark side
Tobacco Roody - classic hicksploitation
Curse of the Werewolf - Hammer studios and Oliver Reed, one of the best
Phantom of the Opera - 1962 version, pretty good
Paranoiac - Odd and creepy
Southern Comforts - more hicksploitation
C.H.U.D. - classic and much better than it's reputation
The Bird with the Crystal Plumage - Dario Argento giallo
Wife to be Sacrificed - Japanese erotica, very stylized, very twisted
American Pie - did for pastry chefs what Brokeback Mountain did for cowboys
The Gore Gore Girls - a serial killer is stalking strippers in this Herschell Gordon Lewis classic
What Have You Done to Solange? - giallo, moody and atmospheric
Shutter - Thai horror film
Sansho the Bailiff - classic Japanese cinema, an unforgettable ending
A Lizard in Woman's Skin - yet more classic Italian giallo
Blood Sisters of Lesbian Sin - waste of a great title
Kitten in a Cage - pretty damn crappy
The Girl From Pussycat - ditto
Beavis and Butthead Do America - I tried, but I really don't like these guys. Never have.
The Notorious Betty Page - biography of the famous pin-up queen.
The Inconfessable Orgies of Emmanuelle - another entry in the franchise, another waste of a good title
Killing Machine - Japanese. Odd.
Silent Hill - incredibly atmospheric, but in the end it was a mile wide and a half inch deep. Disappointing.
Exorcism - Jess Franco offering, where he plays a demented priest
Cemetery Gates - kids and a Tasmanian Devil, kinda like a cartoon with way more blood and gore
Babes in the Woods - hey, I reviewed this!
Zodiac - story revolving around the serial killer. This happened while I was growing up in the Bay Area.
Beowolf - eh
Crazy Lips - Japanese. Odd. I need to get a stamp made.
Doctor of Doom - Mexican Wrestling Women come to save the day!
The Wrestling Women vs. the Aztec Mummy - ditto
Monique, My Love - slightly sleazy exploitation from the late 60's
Babette - ditto
Well, admitting all that probably cost me my last few readers.
Can you believe that until this morning I had never watched Two Thousand Maniacs? I have now.
Everyone talks about the guy being pulled apart by four horses, but I found the barrel roll to be much more creative and entertaining (if I may use that word).
Friday, October 02, 2009
Some lowlife actually stole my wife's cane.
You may or may not know that Liz is disabled. She uses a cane to hobble around and outside the house mostly uses a wheelchair or scooter. So she's at a fast food place in the mall, and she left her cane leaning against the counter by the soda machine. When she realized it, she scootered back and it was gone. Not turned in to the counter people, not at the mall lost and found, it was just freaking gone.
Words fail me.
Well, words longer than four letters anyway.
Posted by Ted at 5:17 AM
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Does the awesomness that is Bill balance counteract the hideous screeching of the shrew? Or does her angelic voice more than make up for his condensed ham? What do you think? Why haven't we nuked Canada?
Posted by Ted at 7:54 AM
So yesterday my wife and I went out to the fabric store and bought a whole bunch of doo-dads that I needed for some upcoming projects (remember, I will be learning to sew*).
We hit this weird sale where you can use multiple coupons, and we have an entire sheet of them from the newspaper. Wound up saving 40% here, 40% there. In fact, there was only thing we couldn't use a coupon on, and the checkout lady forgot to re-scan a spool of thread which made up for it.**
Got home, and I was very excited. Liz showed me how to do bobbins, then we loaded the thread and watched her uber-expensive machine eat itself dead. Damn. It'll be going into the shop, I'm guessing this is going to be a three-four week delay.
On the bright side, Liz isn't blaming me. I wasn't even touching the machine when it broke. Small favors, I tell ya.
* I am learning to sew for a very manly reason. I'd tell you, but I'm afraid hair might spontaneously sprout on your chest.
** Checkout lady. Very nice. Barely competent. Had to re-scan the entire order after hitting the wrong button at the end of the first try. The total was lower the second time through and I mentioned it, so my conscience is clear.
Posted by Ted at 7:39 AM
Saturday, September 26, 2009
The title is pointless, other than vaguely resembling one of the puzzle categories on Wheel. Of. Fortune.
Over on Facebook, I laughed at the ineptitude of the Washington Redskins football team, who have a realistic chance of losing to the Detroit Lions, who have lost something like 28 in a row. And my nephew piped up and called me a hater. Sorry James, but that was pity. And to help you know the difference here is a small sample of my potential hate.
Q: Who do you root for when the Redskins play the Cowboys?
A: A sniper in the stands.
Which was my go-to football joke until those assholes Malvo and Muhammed fucked that up.
I don't care to check to see if "Muhammed" is spelled correctly. Read it phonetically.
I hate fish, which is relevent only in that I am now taking Fish Oil capsules, which are full of healthy Omega 3's. If I burp fish, I may lose everything. Film at 11.
Our next door neighbor had her babies yesterday. Yep, twins. A boy and a girl. Everyone is fine. If you'd like to leave your congrats in the comments, I'll pass them along. That oughta creep 'em out, eh?
This weekend, I learn to use a sewing machine. I feel special because my wife has an uber-expensive setup that she uses expertly, and the fact that she trusts me enough to touch it - even while closely supervised - tells me that she truly loves me.
More later, I've got a honey-do list a mile long, and it's only half done.
Posted by Ted at 9:46 AM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
If you can't get your kids to eat fruit, offer up dried apples, which are pale and have that spongy, chewy texture. Tell 'em it's human flesh, and zombies adore it.
It worked for my kids.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
"I'm so afraid of the swine flu that I won't even watch The View." -- Larry the Cable Guy
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I'm part of a trend. I too now post on weekends. Rebel, I am.
I've grown bored with the internet. Facebook, blogging, etc. Never did get excited about Twitter. All pretty much *yawn* lately.
I've pared down the blogroll. Removed some folks who no longer post, some folks that I haven't visited in a *long* time (don't take it personally, it's me, not you), and the NSFW links that may or may not have given my PC the virus (bastards).
Read the movie review below (conveniently linked here for my own selfish reasons). If you don't comment there, then movie distributors will quit sending me free movies to review (selfish, selfish, selfish). Do it for me (ibid).
It's pretty obvious that this is all about me, innit.
Posted by Ted at 7:53 AM
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Wow. This one brings back memories. Memories when nudity was fresh and innocent, even at its most naughty (and I use 'naughty' in the old sense, before it became synonymous with 'sleazy').
Babes in the Woods is by no means a classic, but it is so very typical of early 60's nudie cinema that instead of standing out, it represents the genre wonderfully. It's full of sweetness and situations that serve as nothing more than an excuse for the ladies to disrobe, after which they display themselves in various poses to good effect. It's a transition film, between the nudist camp "documentaries" that came before and the later, seamier "roughies".
Let's get the technical stuff out of the way. Babes in the Woods was shot in black and white, and was lost for forty years before Independent International Films rediscovered and restored it. As you'd expect from a film this old, you aren't getting a pristine transfer, but despite the minor scratch lines and jumps the copy is in great shape. Especially considering how cheaply the originals of this type were made and distributed. There was a brief stretch in the middle of the film where the sound/picture synchronization was off.
IIF didn't spend big money on packaging either. There are no extras on the disk. The main DVD menu offers two choices: play the movie (no chapter selection) or look at a few other titles that IIF offers (I do not consider previews like this to be extras). The menu scrolls off the bottom of the TV screen too, but there's (just barely) enough to tell which selection is which. Disappointing and frustrating, a little care towards this would have gone a long way towards making me believe that IIF actually cared about resurrecting a lost movie and was not just looking at the bottom line.
Ok, back to the babes. The storyline is better than you'd expect (yes, there is a story to it), but expect odd little touches and flourishes throughout, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. For instance, one of the girls falls into a puddle. She uses the outhouse around back to clean up, which inside is a fully furnished modern bath. I won't mention the physics involved of the inside being bigger than the outside, because I was distracted by the lovely young lady taking a long luxurious bubble bath. Indoor plumbing is overrated.
The nature photography is beautiful, and sometimes you get inspired scenes such as three naked women washing their clothes in the creek at the base of a beautiful waterfall.
The acting is over the top and exaggerated, this is burlesque, not Broadway. The character of Mrs. Figby, played by Pat Bolin, absolutely steals the show, although the narrator comes in a close second. The narration reminds me of those old nature documentaries we watched as kids, where you'd hear dialog like:
Mr. Beaver has a busy morning planned. He's measuring that tree, it'll be a perfect fit for his new dam.
Oh look, Mrs. Fox has brought her children out to play. She's keeping a close watch on Mr. Beaver because she doesn't trust his building skills.
But Mrs. Fox isn't the only one watching. After a long night awake, Mr. Owl is wondering whether he'll get any sleep at all with all the commotion down below.
Also making a very revealing appearance is Vicki Miles, aka Allison Downe, who made quite a few genre movies and also did a fair amount of directing, make up and screenwriting. Her name is associated with many cult classics of the time. She's also very easy to look at.
As are all the ladies, which is the point. Babes in the Woods is a return to a simpler time, when seeing pretty boobs was enough, and innuendo (what little there was) was played for laughs and not lust. It's all about the attitude, and Babes in the Woods is much closer to sweet and gentle Mayberry than it is to the big, bad city.
I really enjoyed Babes in the Woods, much more than I thought I would. Thanks IIF, for the memories.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I know, Rocket Jones is damn near pining for the fjords. But hey, since you made the trip, enjoy this video. Funniest damn thing I've seen in a long time.
And remember Moms and Dads, if you paid for your kid to get a degree in Journalism, this is the kind of stoopid you can look forward to.
Posted by Ted at 8:25 PM
Friday, September 11, 2009
Please follow this link, a tribute to William Wilson, who died on 9/11.
Posted by Ted at 9:40 AM
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Monday afternoon will be the final game of the season for our Potomac Nationals. They missed the playoffs this year, despite having the best record in the league (I'm pretty sure, need to check that). The league plays a split schedule, and the P-Nats came in second both times to teams who had one hot half, in fact, the first place team from the first half wound up dead last in the second half. So, 21 games above .500 wasn't enough.
Observations: The Washington Nationals farm system is rich in catchers and shortstops. Our catcher from the start of the season was promoted to AA and then AAA quickly, and our backup catcher went to AA soon after. The third string catcher has played well enough to keep the kid in low-A right where he's at, even though he's leading his league in every offensive category.
Same story at short. There is one, maybe two players in AAA and AA who might make the roster for the big club, if there were room for them.
We sat next to a family from England at tonight's game. Incredibly polite kids, and they knew enough about what was going on to appreciate the game.
I think that the manager, Trent Jewett, will probably return. His team was, after all, 20+ games over .500. From what I hear, the players don't like playing for him. From what I see, the team isn't busting butt for him either. It's typical of the Washington Nationals' thinking that you'd bring in someone who spent 20 years in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and expect them to instill a winning atmosphere.
Posted by Ted at 11:20 PM
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Just returned from an excellent weekend away. The plan was to go down to Virginia Beach yesterday for a housewarming party for our daughter Robyn. Plus, we'd get to see younger daughter Rachael and granddaughter Lorelei. Good times.
What happened was that a conspiracy was afoot to throw me a surprise birthday party (I'm turning 50). I was completely unaware, for a couple of reasons. 1. My birthday isn't for better than a week, and 2. I really don't care about my birthdays.
So we get to Virginia Beach, and Liz and I left to do some shopping. When we got back to the house, I walked right past the balloons and banners and ribbons without even noticing. I'm a jerk like that.
But they brought me back out and hollered surprise and I was, really and truly, and then came the gift giving.
I got an Amazon Kindle, a leather case for it, and a heap o' gift card bucks to load that thing with reading material. Sweet!!!
For the birthday/housewarming dinner, we had steak and steamed shrimp, and it was good, and I felt loved. And stuffed.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Ted Kennedy became a passionate advocate for government provided health care when he realized that it would be more efficient than drowning people one at a time.
Posted by Ted at 5:28 AM
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Imagine that you sit down to a fancy meal. You know that it's going to be great, nay, epic, but as the first course is presented you realize that it's a hairball in broth. If you can just manage the hairball, you're going to enjoy an incredible rest of the dinner.
I'm going to get that hairball swallowed first, because once you get past it, Goth Kill is a fun flick.
Now imagine that you're a priest in the time of the Inquisition. You're a devout and sincere priest, and you're horrified to learn that some of your fellow priests have convicted some people to burn at the stake merely to confiscate their property and wealth. When you threaten to expose the corrupt priests, they quickly condemn you to burn with the rest.
So what do you do?
If you answered that as the flames consume you you make a pact with Satan that you will come back to Earth over and over until you murder 100,000 people, and that those souls will be yours to rule over eternally, then you have no gag reflex.
The rest of us, choke that hairball down and let's get on with the rest of the plot.
Set in the modern day, Goth Kill tells the story of that priest, come back yet again to collect a few last souls. This time, he's looking to harvest the members of a New York goth club called the Scorpion Society.
Besides the priest - who steals the show - the principle characters are a pair of young ladies visiting the club for the first time. These three are the only ones you end up caring about, because the Inquisition priests and the club members turn out to be real scumbags. The movie makes fun of the goth and vampire scene, dressing some of the characters up to the point of silly and mocking their behavior.
Definitely low budget, nevertheless the acting is adaquate for the most part. The direction and camera work is interesting, as is the editing. The soundtrack is fun too.
There are boobs, but not as many as you would expect. The blood is plentiful and the gore is implied.
As for the story, it's surprisingly intelligent and thought provoking. The flashbacks and twists keep things moving, and though it seems to drag at times, before you know it the movie is ending.
About the lead character. The priest is played by a fire performer named Flambeaux, and I'd like to see him in other movies. The guy has charisma and can act, and it'd be nice to see him work with a better supporting cast.
This one gets a Rocket Jones recommendation, for whatever that's worth.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Who would have thought that the same people who claim that "a dog's mouth is cleaner than a human" or "dog licking is like getting a bath" would act all weird because I used the dog's dish as a spoon rest while cooking dinner.
The dish was licked spotlessly clean, I might add.
I supposed I should also add that the dog had been sitting right there the whole time, so I know for a fact that he had licked nothing gross or jealousy-inducing before eating.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Breakfast this morning is a chicken and cheese chimichanga, a couple of jalepeno poppers, and a dish of pinto beans. Yum!
Posted by Ted at 9:11 AM
Friday, July 17, 2009
My wife Liz has been trying the new eCigarettes, and so far seems to be liking them. Instead of burning tobacco, the way these work is when you draw on them, a sensor vaporizes a small amount of liquid containing nicotine and that's what you inhale. You exhale water vapor.
They're not designed to help you quit smoking, and you're not going to save 90% by using them, but you will save a fair amount. Plus, there's no longer any smoke, no messy ashtrays, no smell, and no looking for the designated smoking area (if there is one).
Most work more or less the same way, consisting of a mouthpiece, an atomizer, a cartridge for the fluid (some are refillable, some are pre-filled), and a rechargeable battery to power the whole thing. Most are about the size and shape of a real cigarette.
If you smoke, these are worth looking into. Do some research online, the quality and prices vary quite a bit. I do believe that these will be the wave of the future.
Posted by Ted at 10:18 PM
"1-year-old Trig Palin represents the deepest division of all, between a culture that increasingly sees genetic perfection as an entitlement and a culture still rooted in the belief that human beings are defined not by their capabilities but, instead, by the very fact of their humanity.”
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
This recent painting was inspired by the movie Phantom of the Opera. I was watching England's Hammer Studios version and they used this shot to play the credits over.
To see more of my work as I learn to paint (and write), check out my other site, Quiet Tales.
Our daughter Rachael is 21 today. Put your good wishes into the comments.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Check out this interesting article: 5 Brilliant, Innovative Handgun Designs That Performed As They Were Supposed To, But Sucked Anyway
I like WalMart. Yeah, some of the people who shop there are scary, but I've been a loyal customer since you could only find them in small towns.
My next door neighbor is a Manager for WalMart, and we were discussing something I saw in the paper about how WalMart is slightly upscaling their stores because of the economy.* Seems that higher-income people who used to be firmly in the "I'd never shop at WalMart" camp are now stretching their tight dollars by shopping there. And WalMart is figuring out ways to keep these folks coming back, even after things get better. Which is what successful businesses do,** even if you do think they're the spawn of Satan.
So now (painting with a broad brush here), besides dealing with the usual social misfits and trailer trash who shop there, now I have to put up with yuppie scum and their larvae too. Gee, thanks.
* WalMart accelerated the renovation schedule of their stores three years ago, anticipating current events. These people think way ahead when they plan, and they usually get it right, which is how you get to the top. And stay there.
** Target stores have always been geared more towards trendy goods, sales of which have taken a huge hit. Their response is to vastly increase their food sections. Pricey compared to WalMart, not bad compared to Giant or Safeway.
Posted by Ted at 12:16 AM
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Obama is a boil on the ass of Uncle Sam. And when it comes to a head, it'll have the face of Lenin.
-- Me, tired of the systematic trampling of the Constitution
I think I might become a personal trainer. I understand that it's a non-conventional idea considering the shape I'm in, but think about it. I'd specialize in helping people who are intimidated by the usual hyper-fit trainer.
Me: Ok, on the treadmill for 15 minutes.
Client: Let's see *you* do the treadmill for 15 minutes.
Me: Nice try. You aren't paying me to run the treadmill, so get moving!
Posted by Ted at 5:06 AM
Saturday, July 04, 2009
I’m a Catholic. We’re taught that sex is a dirty, vile, disgusting act — that you save for the one you truly love.
-- Paul Begala
Friday, July 03, 2009
I had to tear out a really invasive plant from my side flower bed. The flowers were pretty, but the dang thing was trying to take over and strangle out everything else. So what is left are my Dragonflowers (a Virginia-native species of Snapdragon) and Phlox.
Looking good. Bonus: every time you open the front door or walk by, you get a nose full of this most heavenly scent.
I thought about becoming a tortured artistic soul, but I tend to excess and worried that I'd wind up waterboarding myself.
So far my artwork is angst-free, for good or bad. Go check it out at Quiet Tales, my artsy-fartsy place.
Posted by Ted at 8:02 AM
A guy I know online has just completed a 700 mile journey to see his dogs. He'd lost his job in Oklahoma several months ago and finally moved to Iowa to look for work, leaving his dogs in the care of friends back home. Iowa was a bust, but things are picking up back in Oklahoma, so he headed back. He doesn't own much of anything because he's sold damn near everything to pay bills, including his truck. So he walked back to Oklahoma, hitchhiking when he could, but he mostly stayed to the smaller back roads and walked most of the way.
700 miles. To see his dogs again.
Me? In a heartbeat.
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Here's what I watched in the first quarter of 2009. Pray for me.
I'll add links to this list soon, and movies marked with a Nathan Hale ("I regret that I have but one ass-to-risk for my country") will link to an original Rocket Jones review.
Maybe you'll look through the list and say "whoa, that sounds cool!" Or not.
So, since April 1, 2009:
Mulberry Street - Not what I expected. An effective low-budget thriller where the horror is never really explained.
The Madmen of Madoras - This seemed very familiar, and then I realized it was a retitled "They Saved Hitler's Brain".
Crowley - Nice premise, but I was bored.
She Freak - Old carnie horror. Better than I expected.
Fido - Sweet and touching zombie flick. No, really!
Sea Hawks - Errol Flynn still rocks.
Flesh for the Beast - This one gets slammed by reviewers, but I like it.
Bare Behind Bars - Brazilian. Women's prison. Actual plot. Occasionally goes hardcore.
Revenge of the Nerds - A fave.
Evil of Frankenstein - Dammit, why don't the peasants understand?
The Incredibles - by far my favorite Pixar.
The 'Burbs - Another all-time favorite.
Kiss of the Vampire
Flyboys - I was entertained, as long as I didn't think about historical accuracy.
Strange Circus - Japanese surreal horror. "Strange" is an understatement.
Flower and Snake II - Intense Japanese S&M thriller. Better story than the original.
Goth Kill - review coming soon
Female Yakuza Tale - supposedly an inspiration for "Kill Bill". I'll have to watch KB, just to see if there are as many sword-wielding Japanese women in it. Did I mention that they're usually naked too?
A Chinese Ghost Story II - Picks up where the first left off. Spooky romance filled with dark humor. Think Stephen King meets "Three's Company". The English subtitles are hilariously bad.
Movie-watching has been light these past three months, what with nice weather and real life and all.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
They say celebs die in threes. leave it to Billy Mays to throw in one extra COMPLETELY FREE!
-- My friend, Dave Burgess
Monday, June 29, 2009
I'm reading Victor Davis Hanson's "A War Like No Other", which looks at the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. Something that struck me was how incredibly wealthy Athens was at the time. Imagine Toledo, Ohio with a one billion dollar budget surplus, *after* funding everything everyone could think of. I can't quote directly because the book isn't in front of me, but the lasting output of Greek theater and architecture (like the Acropolis), were as much a function of wealth as of dynamic creativity.
Posted by Ted at 5:57 AM
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Gone away from the internet for a few days and all hell breaks loose. Michael Jackson dies. Billy Mays dies. Obama introduces an executive order that continues Bush's policy of infinite detention of terrorists (Hope and Change!). Cap and Tax passes the House. China blocks the sale of Hummer for environmental reasons.
Yep, didn't miss any of it one freakin' bit.
Posted by Ted at 7:26 PM
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Posted by Ted at 5:03 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We hate to see her go, but love to watch her leave.
Trace Adkins - Honky Tonk Badonkadonk
On my way in to work, I heard on the radio that nine had died in yesterday's tragic Metro train collision in DC.
This morning in a meeting, someone told me that the death toll was now only seven, according to the Mayor's office.
Nobody else thought it was funny when I recoiled in horror and whispered "zombies".
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Our season ticket package for the season (Potomac Nationals - single A minor league), had us set up for a game both yesterday and today, but as has happened all season, Mother Nature jumped in and toyed with us.
The P-Nats have had nine rainouts this season, the most for at least 20 years, and the season is now only half over! Double headers have been frequent to make up the games, and there have been times when... well, like this time.
Friday night was supposed to be a double header, but was rained out. Ok, so Saturday would be an evening double header, but the field was still swamped from an early afternoon downpour that they finally called it and scheduled *another* double header for today.
Liz and I knew that they had had some rain on Saturday, so we watched the weather radar and the team website. The notice kept saying "postponed due to field conditions". We called at 6pm and the box office said, "Yep, they're starting the first game now!"
We jumped in the car and got to the stadium but, nope, they'd postponed again. From 6:15 to 7:00 to 7:30. In the meantime, they'd given out t-shirts, baseballs, more t-shirts, had contests and more give-aways and generally kept things going.
Finally, at 8pm they called it, because the outfield was just too sloppy to play on. To make it up to the fans, some of whom had been there since 4pm, everyone with a ticket to the game will get *two* free tickets to a future game. Fireworks were still scheduled, so they let the kids run the bases for a half hour - and gave away more goodies like game used bats - and then did the fireworks. It still wasn't real dark, so the fireworks were different. You could see the smoke from each shell burst, and they'd light up with different colors from the following bursts. It's better in full dark, but this was still pretty cool.
Today we stayed for the first game only. A foul ball ricochetted off the fence by the visitors dugout and zoomed between Liz and I, almost beaning me. Later a high foul popup came our way and the visiting team's third baseman came over the fence and practically into my lap trying to catch it. He was ok, no thanks to the concrete steps that broke his fall.
Later, Liz was selected as the "lucky fan" and if one of the guys had hit a home run in the inning she would have won $100. A grand slam was worth $2800. No such luck. The game ended up 1-0 when they walked the winning run in in the bottom of the ninth. Yay!
Later I talked to my Dad, who's in the hospital. The doctor saw a spot on his lung so they went in to look. It was cancer so they removed about a third of his lung. He's doing fine, breathing on his own and sounding good. We Phipps' are tough, and he'll be going home probably on Wednesday.
How was your Father's Day?
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I obviously haven't been doing much Rocket Jones posting, but I have been keeping busy. Hammer movies, hiking, writing stories and learning to paint watercolors. Wanna see?
Click on it and it gets as big as all outdoors.
Posted by Ted at 9:36 AM
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"There are 10^11 stars in the galaxy. That used to be a huge number. But it’s only a hundred billion. It’s less than the national deficit! We used to call them astronomical numbers. Now we should call them economical numbers."
— Nobel laureate physicist Richard P. Feynman
Monday, June 15, 2009
Well, I work there anyway. Yo.
(My current layout doesn't lend itself to embedded video. I'm going to have to do something about that.)
Posted by Ted at 5:29 AM
Whatever you give a woman, she will make greater.
If you give her sperm, she'll give you a baby.
If you give her a house, she'll give you a home.
If you give her groceries, she'll give you a meal.
If you give her a smile, she'll give you her heart.
She multiplies and enlarges what is given to her.
So, if you give her any crap, be ready to receive a ton of shit.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Earl Leaf, photographer, mid-1950's:
Afterwards I grab a quick cheeseburger at Googie's or gargle a pineapple shake on a high stool at Schwab's Drugstore while listening with one ear to the lament of a strawberry blonde who is trying to climb the ladder of success wrong by wrong.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Today, I made fire. Specifically, I made a Soda Can stove that boiled two cups of water on 1 ounce of Heet gas line anti-freeze as fuel. I'm going to make another one (my third) to try to up the efficiency some more. Bottom line though, the concept works, and works well.
All right, rather than post twenty things all saying "look at this", I'm going to post them all here. The title is a phase that a good friend uses to good effect.
Everything you ever wanted to know about backpacking stoves, including the dreaded Soda Can stove.
This nifty little map, courtesy of Rachel Lucas, lets you drag a map of the US around a map of Europe so you can get an idea of the size of various European countries and their distances to each other. You will be surprised.
I also saw this video at Rachel Lucas, but I'd seen it elsewhere first and forget where. Flash Mob action, and consider this a formal offer to anyone who wants a pair of Hammer Pants, Mookie can do it. If there's any interest, I'll have her work up a price. Just another benefit you get by visiting Rocket Jones.
Magnum P.I. Han Solo. Synchronicity. Via Brian J. Noggle.
Interactive fun, thank LeeAnn for this one.
For those concerned about me playing with fire yet again, I'll have you know that I took all appropriate safety precautions, including informing Liz that if she heard me screaming, she should check with me before calling 911.
Late addition from Hot Air. Fantastic Music Machine. They ain't kidding!
Check out this panorama of Paris. When you first get there, some little red boxes will flash. Click on any of them to see a photo of what's happening there.
Mookie passed along that she's reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. She particularly liked the way he explains TV static and how science knows about the big bang.
Tune your television to any channel it doesn't receive, and about 1 percent of the dancing static you see is accounted for by this ancient remnant of the Big Bang. The next time you complain that there is nothing on, remember that you can always watch the birth of the universe.
You don't need no stinkin' converter box either.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Drunken sailors generally spend cash that they’ve already earned themselves, rather than running up debt to be paid by others. If our politicians started spending like drunken sailors, it would in fact represent a dramatic improvement. -- Glenn Reynolds
Pointed out by Random Nuclear Strikes
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
But I Work There,
And I Don't Want To See You
Posted by Ted at 5:14 AM
More snippets not post-worthy on their own. As if they're post-worthy all lumped together.
We've gotten over a foot of rain in the last five weeks. Rain deficit? Ha!
Daughter Robyn is buying a house. She doesn't want me to help with flower beds because I have an insanely green thumb.
I heard a great commercial on the radio for Six Flag amusement parks. The punch line comes after one person asks if they should go after work: "Nah, I've got plans. How about during work?"
I should know better by now, but this gets old (paraphrased:)
Person: "Abortion is good."
Me: "Some people think abortion is murder."
Person: "You are a religious zealot."
Show me where my opinion was stated? I'm sick of asshats who go straight to personal attacks when their viewpoint isn't embraced immediately. They're fucking children, and unfortunately the kids are running the asylum.
Hmmmm... this is getting dangerously near to a rant. Buh-bye.
Posted by Ted at 5:02 AM
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Once again, this post will disappoint those looking for deep meaning, keen analysis and any kind of point whatsoever.
I just finished making lunches for the next workweek, featuring the dreaded musubi. For those not up with current Rocket Jones trends, musubi is Japanese styled rice, compressed into a block like sushi and mated with a slice of spam. That's the traditional Hawaiian version anyway. What I did today was use the musubi mold to make thin hamburger patties, which were fried up. Then I mated the burgers to the rice with a slice of American cheese, the idea being that the cheese would melt into the rice and glue it to the hamburger. For seasoning, I used Montreal Steak Seasoning, so these should be good. We shall see.
By the way, if your musubi is meatless, it's more or less an onigiri. Except an onigiri has a spoonful of filling tucked inside.
Musubi is pronounced moo-soo-BEE. I'm not sure how to pronounce onigiri, but I say it sorta like on-NEE-gear-ee and you say gear-ee really fast.
Speaking Japanese is easy because you just say everything really fast. Much like English is more understandable if you speak it loudly and slowly at foreigners.
Last night at the ballgame (double header, split), in between games they introduced some guy who did police work involving internet crime (it was "Internet Safety" night for the kids). Instead of talking about that, he mentioned that his Dad had been in Normandy on D-Day and asked for a moment of silence. Afterwards, the stadium erupted in cheers when he finished up with "God Bless America!"
During the fireworks show after the games, I had about 20 kids around me ("Internet Safety" night, remember?), all oohing and ahhing (and why is "oohing" a word but the spell checker flags "ahhing"?) at each burst. Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A. was rocking the house, and all these young kids were dancing and singing loudly right along with the music.
There you have it. Living up to my promises, if not my potential.
Posted by Ted at 12:05 PM
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Classic Trashy Movie Titles
I talked about movie stars appearing in less-than-memorable movies, and now I'll list some wonderfully crappy movie titles. Once again these are courtesy of Video Hound's Cult Flicks & Trash Pics.
Also, titles preceded with an asterisk are ones I've seen. I love these kinds of movies, although, to quote the hound: "An inspired title doesn't necessarily ensure an inspired movie."
* Assault of the Killer Bimbos
Attack of the Killer Refrigerator
Avenging Disco Godfather
The Beautiful, the Bloody and the Bare
* Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
* Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death
* Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
* Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters
Gore-Met Zombie Chef from Hell
* Hillbillys in a Haunted House
Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
* I Dismember Momma
* I Spit on Your Grave
* Mars Needs Women
Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars
Please Don't Eat My Mother
Rat Pfink a Boo-Boo
The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!
* Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
* Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama
Three on a Meathook
So how about an update?
* Assault of the Killer Bimbos
Attack of the Killer Refrigerator
Avenging Disco Godfather
** The Beautiful, the Bloody and the Bare
* Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens
* Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death
* Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things
* Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters
Gore-Met Zombie Chef from Hell
* Hillbillys in a Haunted House
** Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers
* I Dismember Momma
* I Spit on Your Grave
* Mars Needs Women
Oversexed Rugsuckers from Mars
Please Don't Eat My Mother
** Rabid Grannies
** Rat Pfink a Boo-Boo
** The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!
* Santa Claus Conquers the Martians
** Satan's Cheerleaders
* Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-A-Rama
Three on a Meathook
The '**' means I've seen it since the original post. If it's in bold, then I own it.
Hmmmm, I need to add some things to my Netflix queue.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Links courtesy of the Rocket Dungeon.
What the heck is an Ekranoplan? To oversimplify, it's a boat that flies by taking advantage of the wing-in-ground effect. Clear as mud, eh? Ok, how about this:
...when an airplane is about to land, it almost wants to "float" on air, moments before touchdown. The compressed air between the wing and the ground becomes a "cushion" that gives the plane smooth gliding ability. Over the sea surface this effect is even more noticeable.
So it's a vehicle that can travel many time faster than a boat and carry many times more weight than an aircraft. Some designs could even "fly" over dry ground.
No matter what, they usually look weird (click komrade, for glorious Soviet-size).
For lots more
From page 413 of the Kama Sutra:
Cho Kyo Chicken. Tie rope around genitals, now around neck. Have fun.
It's now coming out that David Carradine may have died from self-asphyxiation while masturbating. Guys will do some pretty crazy things for sex, but c'mon, what's the appeal here? I just don't get it. If you need to strangle yourself to get off, then here's a little hint: You aren't doing it right.
Note: "Cho Kyo Chicken" came from my long-time blogging bud Tuning Spork.
Posted by Ted at 4:48 AM
Thursday, June 04, 2009
Q: What do you do in case of fallout?
A: Re-insert and shorten your stroke.
Posted by Ted at 11:29 AM
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
If someone wanted to get me one of these, I'd be very very surprised and pleased.
Posted by Ted at 5:56 PM
Monday, June 01, 2009
Newly graduated Mookie is already in Colorado for her Summer gig. Conditions there are chilly and old, as in the house she's staying at is circa 1880's. She's also found herself in a casino town, with gambling and scenery and not much else. I've worked up dry-mix recipes of my Baked Potato Soup and Chicken Enchilada Soup and have a couple of batches of each ready to send her way, along with an overloaded dehydrator full of fruit merrily desiccating away. The soup mixes don't quite match up to the originals (natch), but they're good enough to share with friends.
No real point here, I just wanted to post something.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
AKA: "God, I love this street!"
This morning, as I pulled into the street on my way to work, I noticed a flurry of flapping in the air in front of the car. It was early for our feathered friends - 5am and pitch dark is too gung ho for even the most enthusiastic early birds - so I suspected moths.
I was sorta right. I drove through a small cloud of bats, no doubt chasing some sort of edible before heading for the ol' belfrey.
Posted by Ted at 10:47 AM
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Monday, May 25, 2009
Dogette was kind enough to ask, "where are the happy little trees?"
I've posted some more recent painting efforts over at Quiet Tales, my story - and now watercolor painting - blog.
Go. Look. Laugh.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Mookie, on why West Side Story makes no sense:
Do you really believe that you can run through Spanish Harlem shouting "Maria!" and only one girl is going to answer?
Posted by Ted at 10:21 AM
The Americans in uniform are the obvious reason for having the best military the world has ever seen. But toys like this can only help:
Thanks to Brian J for the pointer.
Friday, May 22, 2009
This morning I headed out to the National Park for another hike. I've done all the short-ish loops around the visitor center, but still found a hidden gem. While I'm walking along, mildly annoyed because the interstate is within hearing range of this particular trail, I come across a marker in the middle of a fork. The marker explains that the left branch was an old road that was finally abandoned in the 1930's, but had been used for hundreds of years before that, first by the local indians, then the settlers. The road was used by George Washington and his troops as they marched north to Valley Forge.
As I stood there, I could almost see the rows of colonists silently march by, warily watching for ambushes in the woods. It seemed somehow appropriate that I should find that bit of crossroad this weekend, so I saluted them in thanks and moved on.
I've also decided that my trusty, dependable work boots (which I've had forever and have held up spectacularly well), are too dadgum heavy. I need some new hiking boots.
Tomorrow I head to the far end of the park for a trail loop where old farmland has been reclaimed by the woods.
Posted by Ted at 8:09 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Nazisploitation. In the realm of exploitation cinema, lovers of this subgenre surely occupy their own special place in hell. I'm not sure I'll be joining them, but they better save me a place, just in case.
Despite the exploitative elements here, Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 succeeds on levels beyond the base foundation. If you're expecting things like naked women, cruelty, torture, domination and abuse, then you're going to find some of that. But there's more. This flick is long on dialog and character development, and there is a lot of story going on.
Ok, plot: WWII is winding down and the Kommandant of Stalag 69 is running amok, to the point that his chain of command is asking questions. The prisoners have figured out that before the camp is captured by the Allies, the Kommandant plans to kill all witnesses. They desperately look for the chance to activate their escape plans while the Kommandant, equally desperate, schemes and stalls for time before his superiors end his reign of terror.
Sometimes billed as "the only Nazisploitation film ever filmed entirely on Long Island", the entire budget for the movie was about $10,000. In a couple scenes some WWII reenactors are employed, so you're seeing authentic era uniforms on the Germans.
The Russian woman Natasha (played by Tatiana Kot) absolutely steals the show. Beyond that, the acting is uniformly enthusiastic, if somewhat uneven. Considering the subject matter, there are moments on screen where the scene is delivered with a giant wink.
Blitzkrieg runs over two hours, and besides the movie itself, the DVD is jam packed with extras. You can play the movie with commentary by Writer/Director Keith Crocker, the production designer and Ms. Kot. There's a 'making of' featurette, a long Q&A with the cast at the New York City premier, bloopers, deleted scenes, production stills and more.
Bottom line: not a great movie, and by most measures, not even a good one. Still, Blitzkrieg - Escape from Stalag 69 is an interesting effort that attempts to move beyond its legacy even while paying homage to its 70's predecessors. Unsophisticated fans of exploitation may be disappointed because of all the story interfering with the sleaze, but I enjoyed it.
Too bad the gorilla footage ended up on the cutting room floor, and the Japanese General could've used a little more screen time too.
Personally, none of these really float my boat, but I can see where some might like 'em.
Remember when I posted my very first watercolor painting?
Well, here's one of my more recent ones. I've been practicing, as you can tell.
Click and it gets much much bigger.
Posted by Ted at 1:44 PM
At work, we don't get any vacation from now until Spring 2010, but we can take a few days off here and there. I looked at the calendar and decided to take my few days sandwiched around the long weekend, so I've got six glorious days off. Imminent burnout averted.
This morning I slept in and then headed down to Prince William Forest National Park, which is a quick six miles down the road. The goal this year is to hike all of their trails, roads and paths, and so I did their little nature trail loop to warm up. I stopped in at the ranger station and signed up as a volunteer for National Trails Day on June 6th. We're going to be renovating one of the more popular trails at the park.
That done, I headed out again for another trail loop. Prince William Forest is the largest contiguous chunk of piedmont forest left in the US, 17,000 acres of oak, beech and poplar trees encompassing much of the Quantico Creek watershed, which eventually empties into the Potomac river. I found myself paralleling one of the creeks that flow through, and spent a relaxing few minutes sitting by a small series of waterfalls, just enjoying the sound. I also came across a tree that had been gnawed on by a beaver. You know how they look in cartoons? Yep, just like that for real.
Finishing up my hike (about 4 miles, altogether), I drove the scenic route out of the park, making note of the various parking areas and trailheads.
Home by noon, and I will be going back tomorrow morning, and possibly a time or two more this break.
I have to admit, I did think about work once during the morning. Remember those waterfalls? I was sooooo tempted to call work just to say "neener neener".
Posted by Ted at 12:41 PM
In the New York Times (you know, the one with five pages of Obama merchandise for sale in it's online store):
President Obama told human rights advocates at the White House on Wednesday that he was mulling the need for a 'preventive detention' system that would establish a legal basis for the United States to incarcerate terrorism suspects who are deemed a threat to national security but cannot be tried, two participants in the private session said.
In other words, going beyond anything the Bush administration ever proposed. Don't forget that government report suggesting that veterans and churchgoers were potential terrorist threats.
No wonder there's a surge in firearm sales.
Thanks to Hot Air for the pointer.
Posted by Ted at 12:30 PM
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Dear Mr. Mercedes Benz Driver,
I wasn't amused when you cut me off as you weaved in and out of traffic in your oh-so-important way. I suspect the other drivers you cut off weren't amused either. What was amusing was your reaction when the blue lights popped on back in the crowd you slalomed through. You immediately pulled into the far right lane, trying to blend in with the line of slower moving cars.
Guess you forgot about that bike racked up on the roof, eh? You stood out like a punker with a mohawk at a bald men's convention. That attempted bit of camoflage amused me, as did the cop's reaction.
Enjoy the ticket, asshole.
Posted by Ted at 4:57 AM
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Posted by Ted at 10:49 AM
Yesterday was the 2009 Team America Rocketry Challenge. 100 teams of students from all over the US (43 states had teams entered and 36 states were represented in the finals) competed for scholarship money, educational prizes and more.
A high school from Madison, Wisconsin took top honors. Twice, in fact. They had three teams make the finals. One team won the flight competition and another team won the presentation award. Kick ass, and their teacher was a justifiably proud man.
Here's a brief recap for those reading about this for the first time. Teams of students (middle school, high school, 4H, Boy Scouts, Explorers, home schoolers, etc) are given a task and must design, build and fly a rocket to do successfully do that task. Adults can mentor and advise, but the kids do all the actual work. Teams make official entry flights and send the results in, and the 100 best scores are selected for the finals. A one-day flyoff determines the winners.
Seven years ago, the first TARC was held to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brothers first flight. The aerospace industry saw it as a chance to get kids interested in math, science and technology, because the industry is rapidly aging and new blood is needed. Some 13% of all aerospace workers are now eligible for retirement! Remember, the big catalyst for these guys was Sputnik and Apollo.
After batting around ideas about radio controlled airplanes and such, the organizers of the event, the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) decided to ask the National Association of Rocketry (NAR) to help out. And TARC was born.
It was so successful that it has grown to be an annual event, and the payoffs are starting to roll in. Companies are hiring the college graduates who participated in TARC as high schoolers. They're taking it that seriously.
How seriously? Last year our keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was Secretary of Defense Gates. This year it was the Secretary of the Air Force. We've had the Director of NASA. Buzz Aldrin has attended, as have many other astronauts.
So this year the challenge was to design, build and fly a rocket that would fly as close as possible to 750 feet and spend as close to 45 seconds as possible in the air from first motion to landing on the ground. The payload was a raw egg and it had to be carried sideways inside the rocket and be returned unbroken.
The prizes get better every year. Besides the scholarship money, telescopes were awarded, as were seminars and workshops for teachers. The winning team is going to the Paris airshow, courtesy of Raytheon, who also flew out the winning team from the UK to participate in our finals in the second "Transatlantic Championship". The kids from Great Britain won for the second year in a row.
So it was a long, satisfying day. My job again this year was access control to the team prep area. When we say that the kids have to do the work, we mean it. Adults are not allowed into the areas where the kids prep their rockets, or on the field where the kids set 'em up and launch them. The kids have to go through the safety check alone, and they have to know what's going on to pass that. I mostly spent the day answering questions from nervous parents and teachers who, for the first time, couldn't hover around the kids while they did their rocketry.
I spent quite a bit of time talking to the adults with the British team. We were laughing about the bureaucracy that exists in both countries. His daughter is 14 years old and has her explosives permit from the London police department. She also has a government license to handle explosives, both required in England to fly high-power rockets. She can legally purchase over 100 lbs of black powder. Yet because she's not 18, she can't buy fireworks, even though she's better qualified than the people selling them. Bizarre.
I also learned a bit about Mr. Arundel (pronounced Aaron-dell, not a-RUN-dell), who founded the Great Meadow foundation, the field we fly on. When he found out that developers wanted to buy that land and slap 200 homes on it, he bought it instead and turned it into the most beautiful equestrian park, and made it available to the public for all kinds of events. Like rocket launches. Mr. Arundel is one of those quiet heroes you never hear about.
Another long (at the field before 6am, home around 8pm), tiring, yet oh-so-rewarding day.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Liz wears a wrist brace at night to help stave off the dreaded carpel tunnel.
Me: Where's your brace?
Liz: The palm tore and the little metal part is sticking out.
Me: So be a guy and duct tape it, or be a girl and go buy a new one.
Posted by Ted at 4:41 AM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Over at my other place, new stories. I won't always announce them here, so if you're at all interested, just drop on by for a quick look.
Posted by Ted at 7:17 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sykes = hero. This guy = naughty. What a surprise.
"From my own experience visiting the troops in the Middle East, I can tell you this though," Feherty wrote toward the end of his column. "Despite how the conflict has been portrayed by our glorious media, if you gave any U.S. soldier a gun with two bullets in it, and he found himself in an elevator with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Osama bin Laden, there’s a good chance that Nancy Pelosi would get shot twice, and Harry Reid and bin Laden would be strangled to death."
Thanks to Ace for the pointer.
Posted by Ted at 5:12 AM
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Thanks to Elisson for pointing this out:
Anna, who used to write at Primal Purge, now Twitters under the name - you guessed it - primalpurge, where she is as razor-sharp as ever. And since she no longer blogs, I’ll take what I can get. An example:Can't find Hallmark’s ‘Thanks For Not Strapping Me In a Car Seat and Driving Me Into a Lake’ card for Mother’s Day.
It's almost, but not quite enough to make me become a Twit.
Posted by Ted at 7:09 PM
Knives Infinity has a nice selection of multi-tools, axes, accessories and other goodies at decent prices. Knives too, but you kinda already knew that from the name of the place, eh? Victor especially will enjoy the Swiss Army offerings.
I've said it many times, *everyone* should carry a knife. It one of the most useful tools you can have handy.
Check 'em out and tell 'em Rocket Jones sent you.
Posted by Ted at 6:16 PM
Actually, it's a carryover from a previous incarnation of Rocket Jones. I'm speaking about "Lifetoys", a series about little things I've found that make life simpler and/or more rewarding.
I've already covered PocketMods, Pilot G2 pens, Fisher Space Pens, and old fashioned writing actual letters on actual paper, and a software app called Evernote.
Stay tuned for additional goodies.
Albert Einstein, describing radio.
You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
Posted by Ted at 1:01 PM
Saturday, May 09, 2009
Today's major chore was cleaning the gutter on the back of the house. Since we have a gambrel roof on our townhouse, you can look down into the gutters from the top floor. So there I am, high above the back patio, hanging out the window and using a high pressure blast from the hose to clean out the crud and leaves, when I happened to glance over to my right. There on the shingles of the roof is a spider, one of those hairy jumping types, making gestures at me. He's a beautiful silver-gray color that matches the shingles, and then I see his little brother nearby, also doing his thing. They were both rearing up on some legs and waving the others in the air at me, and I'm sure they were shouting little spider insults at me in their attempt to frighten me away.
I was out there for about ten minutes, and those two worked hard for most of that time to scare me off. I finally gave in (the gutter was clean) and retreated back inside.
They've got a story to tell tonight at the spider bar.
Posted by Ted at 7:38 PM
It's not raining at the moment. That's a good thing.
I'm sitting here at my desk, looking out the window into our backyard. Actually, I'm looking out over our backyard, because in the back our townhouse is three stories. So technically, I'm looking out into the middle of several very large trees in our backyards (including the neighbors on either side).
And there are two cardinals - a male and female, ahhhh, symmetry - flitting around about six feet from the window, seemingly oblivious to me despite the open window. Cardinals are the poodles of the bird world. Jumpy, nervous and hyper, so this is kind of a treat because you seldom get to watch them from so close.
I have things to do today, so I supposed I should Carpe Diem.
Posted by Ted at 7:29 AM
I've posted a new story over at Quiet Tales. It's not so much... anything... like the first two.
Posted by Ted at 7:18 AM
Friday, May 08, 2009
Some doubt my mental stability, regular readers already know that I'm a few degrees off true. I've started a new site called Quiet Tales, where I'll be posting original stories.
Posted by Ted at 11:18 AM
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Thanks to LeeAnn for pointing this one out. It's the 2009 Pole Dancing Championships, and yes, it's safe for work.
Posted by Ted at 3:23 PM
Deadites has been commenting here for quite a while, and I even signed up with blogger to follow her blog, Dead Space. And then I promptly forgot her and never visited nor put her on my blogroll.
That has now been corrected.
Posted by Ted at 10:26 AM
The Washington Capitals have been a big topic at work. Yesterday:
Boss: Ted, I see you're not wearing a "playoff beard".
Ted: I am, you just can't see it when I'm wearing my work clothes.
Posted by Ted at 4:59 AM
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
I always thought that Anaheim Ducks' player Chris Pronger was the biggest whiner in the league, but Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby now undisputably owns that crown.
Earlier this season, Crosby whined about Ovechkin being too enthusiastic when he celebrated goals. Ovie laughed him off.
In the playoff game the other night, Crosby asked the ref to make an announcement telling fans to stop throwing hats onto the ice after Ovechkin's hat trick. Long tradition be damned, Crosby was *upset*.
Now Crosby is whining about Ovechkin's "illegal" stick. Not that he's actually got the balls to challenge it on the ice. Big surprise there.
To be fair, Sidney Crosby is an amazing talent on the ice, but - and you knew that was coming - he needs to put on his big boy pants and stop the pissing and moaning every time something doesn't go his way.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".
In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.
In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where! more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as
replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vordskontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru...
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
Posted by Ted at 6:56 PM
Caps 4, Pens 3. Ovechkin and Crosby both score hat tricks! Epic.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Just heard from Rachael. She's just returned from her defense, and has been awarded "Distinction" for her costume design work for Medea. She also aced her final semester - 4.0 - which was enough to give her Magna Cum Laude.
A box o' Amazon goodies showed up today. Inside was a copy of my favorite (and long-lost) book from childhood, "The Mad Scientists' Club" by Bertrand Brinley. Excellent stuff, especially if you have a young man in your life. This will be devoured immediately and then placed on my new "grandkids" bookshelf.
Also in the box was Victor Davis Hanson's "A War Like No Other", a look at the Peloponnesian War. Perfect for a history buff like moi.
I'll mention in passing how disappointed I am in Blogger that "Peloponnesian" is flagged as misspelled. Heathens.
Sunday, May 03, 2009
Liz and I enjoyed a nice evening of baseball last night. Rain threatened, but the umbrellas were only out during pre-game activities. Our guys won rather convincingly, and used quite a few tools to do it. In the eighth, a walk, stolen base, sacrifice bunt and suicide squeeze scored one run, followed up by a towering homer. Little ball and big ball. Big fun.
The folks sitting next to me came down from Frederick (we were playing the Keys, a Baltimore Oriole farm club), and it was cool to talk to them. They're just as committed to "their boys" as the regulars are for our guys. One of the Keys coaches came by before the game and shook hands and said hello, he recognized them from the dugout. I love minor league baseball for things like that.
The night before last, the Washington National's closer was assigned to Potomac to pitch an inning as rehab before being activated from the disabled list. He came in, threw nothing but fastballs and was rocked for five runs in one inning. By single-A players. The Keys went through the whole lineup on him. He'll probably be back with the parent team tomorrow.
The folks who sit behind us have had season tickets for years and years. They host a couple of players each year in their home and have all the inside news. One of the pitchers was released (a 12.something ERA isn't going to cut it at any level). He was a Canadian kid and headed home immediately to find a job. As soon as he got home, he signed with the Toronto organization and did a u-turn back to the Florida instructional league. Good for him, I wish him luck. Honestly though, by next year he'll probably be out of baseball for good, unless he hooks up with a college as a coach somewhere.
Last year's manager was Randy Knorr and he was friendly and outgoing. This year it's Trent Jewett and he's the exact opposite. Maybe he'll lighten up as the season progresses.
Posted by Ted at 1:08 PM
Friday, May 01, 2009
The Potomac Nationals minor league baseball team has a new manager this year. His 16-year record as a minor league manager was 999-999 and they had a double header thanks to a previous rainout. They split the double header, so now he's 1000-1000.
Posted by Ted at 5:01 AM
Thursday, April 30, 2009
I can sympathize, but I still laughed.
Oh and ladies, just so you know, one day that lower back tattoo you all seem to have is going to be known as the “old lady tattoo.” Not so sexy, is it?
Found by following links over at Dustbury.
Posted by Ted at 10:15 AM
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
It's now been upgraded to become my... uh... Linkroll? ...ick... Placelist? Damn, that sucks... "bookmarks" already taken...
Over on the right, a whole bunch of places I regularly visit on the internet.
Posted by Ted at 5:04 PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
All systems were go, and the launch last weekend was beautiful!
Check out this page for photos.
A few details: Altitude 4,441', max velocity 450mph, 7 G's, something like 181,000Ns? and about 187lbs of propellant. That was a P motor surrounded by eight N motors, making for a total thrust equivalent to an R!
Thanks to the Rocket Dungeon for the pointers. Check out his blog for more photos and links.
Stolen from LeeAnn:
Monday, April 27, 2009
IBM has concocted a supercomputer and software that they think might be ready to take on real people on Jeopardy. They're not fully confident though, because of things like this:
The complexity of the challenge is underscored by the subtlety involved in capturing the exact meaning of a spoken sentence. For example, the sentence “I never said she stole my money” can have seven different meanings depending on which word is stressed.
When they invent a computer that thinks like a woman, *then* I'll be impressed.
Posted by Ted at 10:39 AM
Sunday, April 26, 2009
All right, I mentioned that I was going to start painting again after a 20 year break.
Here's my very first attempt using watercolor.
Forgive the scan, it's small and fuzzy, but good enough for this. I'll tell you what I'm happy with. The treeline in the middle ground came out nicely and although you can't easily see it, the water and reflections also turned out well. The trunk of the tall pine is also pretty good. Other than that, it shows that I have a lot of very relaxing practice to do.
Bored yet? The paper is plain ol' 3.5"x5" Strathmore sketchbook stock. Made with recycled content, it's heavy enough for light watercolor work, barely. The paints are tube watercolors I got from Dick Blick, and I used the medium waterbrush from this set. I've never done any serious watercolor work before and the waterbrushes are also a first for me, so every bit of this is brand new and experimental.
One reason that I decided to start painting again is because I thought it would be cool to do some painting while out hiking and camping. That's why I decided on small sketchbooks, waterbrushes and watercolors. How portable is it? Check this out (photos courtesy of Instructables.com, which I used as a model)!
That's right, my paint pallet is an Altoids mint tin. Here's the entire basic setup (once again, mine is very similar).
So there you go, extremely portable and light enough to toss into your bag or daypack. I'm going to have fun with this.
Update: As much for my memory as for your entertainment, my pallet contains Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Phthalo Green, Hooker's Green Dark, Phthalo Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Alizarin Crimson, and Payne's Gray.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Hard Candy starts with an online conversation. Your unease grows as it becomes apparent that the two sides are an adult man and an underage girl. They agree to meet.
At the coffee shop, we first meet the two main characters. Hayley is indeed underage, she's a very precocious 14 years old. The guy is Jeff, a nice guy in his 30's who makes a good living doing fashion photography.
Eventually they wind up back at his house, and he breaks out the vodka and orange juice, and Hayley has "talked" Jeff into photographing her. Just when you think the uncomfortable-meter has been pegged, you get this kick in the gut:
Hayley: They teach kids our age not to accept drinks unless you watch it being mixed.
Jeff: That's good advice.
Hayley: Everyone should follow it. Even adults.
Jeff has been drugged and wakes up tied to a chair. From here, the movie goes into high simmer. The tension is thick and doesn't let up. Sometimes Hayley has the upper hand and sometimes Jeff manages to turn the tables on her. It's strictly one-on-one because neither want the police involved.
There's no gore and very little blood (a few cuts and scrapes), but there is one long, drawn-out sequence that will curdle your blood.
What's memorable about this movie is that both main characters are fully three dimensional. Jeff isn't "just" a perv trolling the net, he's truly likable and you do occasionally find yourself sympathizing with the pedophile. Hayley isn't "just" a hyper-competent kid, there's a frighteningly psychotic side to that mentally agile mind. They both have pasts and deep emotions that the other picks at and manipulates, trying to survive to the outcome they each want.
The acting is outstanding. There's no nudity, and despite the premise there's no sexual contact other than (if I remember correctly) a peckish kiss. There are a few curse words scattered about, but not many.
Hard Candy is not light entertainment, but I do highly recommend this one.
A co-worker and I were walking down the street when we were confronted by a guy with a clipboard. He was earnestly collecting signatures for something or other having to do with stopping climate change.
(spiel ends with request to sign his clipboard)
Me: Earth's climate is always changing.
Him: Dude, if we don't stop it, the whole ecosystem could collapse!
Me: So you want to alter the natural process to save the ecosystem.
Him: There's nothing natural about it. There's too many people. Changing the climate.
Me: If you really cared about the planet, you'd step off this curb right in front of a bus.
Coworker: That would really screw up traffic.
Me: -you'd walk a few blocks and jump off the bridge. You know, to save the planet.
Him: Dude, you're crazy!
Me: What a coincidence.
Posted by Ted at 9:38 AM
Friday, April 24, 2009
So Hillary Clinton doesn't think that VP Dick Cheney is a credible source?
After spending eight years in the White House with Al Gore as VP, I'd probably feel the same way.
Posted by Ted at 5:00 AM
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Check out this video.
In a bizarre but long-cherished local tradition to celebrate the Orthodox Easter holiday, two churches in the town of Vrodandos fire rockets at each other's churches - while services are held.
Thanks to Dick's Rocket Dungeon for the pointer.
So I'm on the phone with daughter Robyn (mother of granddaughter Lorelei).
Me: What's yellow, smooth and deadly?
Robyn: Lorelei's poop.
Me: No. Shark-infested custard.
Robyn: *giggles* (because I'm a funny guy)
Me: What's green and dangerous?
Robyn: Lorelei's poop.
Me. No. A frog with a hand grenade.
Robyn: *giggles* (juvenile, but funny)
Me: But thinking about it, your answers were correct too.
Robyn: You got that right.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
You can only pre-order this new Light For Life flashlight because it's due out in June. It's expensive, and I'm not sure that the price will drop much in the next few years because the military and law enforcement will be buying these things by the thousands.
So what's so great about it? Instead of batteries, it uses a new kind of capacitor. Putting out 90 lumens (pretty doggone bright) for 90 minutes, then the electronics throttle it back twice over the next 45 minutes before it goes dark. There's a strobe feature too.
It recharges in 90 seconds.
Unlike rechargeable batteries, which are good for maybe 500 or so cycles, the capacitor is good for 50,000 cycles. Put another way, you can recharge this thing every day for 130 years!
This technology isn't brand spanking new, but we're starting to see it in more and more consumer products. As it improves, it could all but replace batteries.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Rachael finally sent photos of her costumes from Medea. You can read the original post here if you don't know what I'm talking about.
This one's gonna be photo intensive, so be patient and let it load. The first few will be her concept sketch, followed by the actual costume. Then I'll just load some photos of her other costumes.
Medea, granddaughter to the Sun God, Helios
This character was a solid mass of burning rage. No smiles for you!
One of the chorus. The eight unique costumes were all cookie-cutter variations of color, style, sleeve, etc.
Another chorus member.
Servant and Teacher, in earth tones.
Jason, one of the kids (pre-room temperature) and more chorus members.
You can see in the chorus costumes how they share common elements, rearranged and done in different colors.
So that's it. Proud Papa signing off.