Thursday, April 30, 2009

Quote Of The Whenever I Feel Like It

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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Moving Beyond The Blogroll

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.

Suckage Defined

E ticket in Haight-Ashbury, for sure.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1:10 Scale Saturn V

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.

Make Your Very Own "Quotes Of The Whenever You Feel Like It"

Stolen from LeeAnn:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Still Not Impressed

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.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Towards Development Of Thick Skin (updated! as if you care)

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, 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

Movie Review - Hard Candy

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.

Logical Assault

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.

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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rocket's Red Glare, Amen

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.

Universally Correct Reply

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

New Technology

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

Photos from Medea

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.

Speak Slowly And Louder

Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau on his rookie goalie, Simeon Varlamov:

"He's played in the finals of the Russian elite league, which to him is probably like our Stanley Cup," Boudreau said. "He's played in the world championship, and the fact that he doesn't understand a word we're saying probably really helps him."

Monday, April 20, 2009

Holy Cow

It starts with an Estes kit flying on A or B motors, and before you know it, you're pushing the envelope.

Check out this video of "The Cow" taking off. That's 450lbs of rocket being lifted by a P10,000 motor.


Oh, and while we're lusting after admiring awesome rocket projects, this Saturday, April 25, is the scheduled launch of the 1/10 scale Saturn V in Price, Maryland.

See Dick's Rocket Dungeon for more information on both of these rockets.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Neighbors

A family moved in two doors down this weekend. So far, they've endeared themselves to no one.

One little boy, maybe 6, sat in their car for about an hour with the windows down and the stereo blasting rap music.

Another little boy, maybe 4, abandons his kiddie trike at random intervals and it stays wherever he drops it. Like directly in front of our next door neighbor's front gate.

Their little girl is one of those annoying kids who's response to everything is an ear-piercing screech.

All three run into and ride in the street without thinking to look for traffic. Mom and Dad are nowhere to be seen. Ever.

We have reserved parking slots for a reason, and "I'm only gonna be a minute" is not an acceptable excuse for taking mine. Move the fucking car now, moron.

Tomorrow all cars are supposed to be moved from our end of the street for paving. Towing at owners expense begins at 7am. It's entirely possible that these clowns have so pissed off everyone that nobody has told them about it.

I hope.

'Spose I Should Post Something

I'm plum tuckered out from this weekend. Yesterday's baseball game was fun and the fireworks were, as usual, spectacular. This may be minor league baseball, but their Saturday shows put to shame most town's July 4th celebrations.

By working steadily all day yesterday, I finished up my weekend honey-do list and was able to relax today. Relaxing consisted of sitting out on the back patio with a cold beer, a good book, and the smoker going to town. I did a roast beef and pork loin, then did some BBQ chicken wings on the grill. My fridge looks like an Atkin's Diet wet dream.

I've also started sketching again, and there's a real possibility that I'll pick up the ol' paintbrush soon. That isn't much of a stretch, because I've ordered some watercolors and waterbrushes which should arrive this week. It's been a long time since I've painted, so the initial attempts should be painful.

Over on the right is a block showing that I've got eight followers. If you haven't already, do sign up. I have no idea what good it does you, but I imagine they send you free viagra or that one simple weight loss rule or something.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

History On Ice

A little bit o' ice hockey history while the playoffs are on.

Alex Delvecchio is a name that not many hockey fans recognize, yet he's the greatest star that the NHL has ever ignored. He played for 24 years in the shadow of Gordie Howe on the Detroit Red Wings, and in 1,529 games he scored 456 goals, 825 points, and won three Lady Byng Trophies for gentlemanly play. Also in that span of time, he was selected for the All-Star game *once*. As an alternate.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Cultural Interlude

Last weekend, Liz and I went to Staunton, Virginia to see the Mary Baldwin College production of Medea. This show was Rachael's second senior project, the first being last year's evening of one-act plays that she directed.* For Medea, Rachael designed and created all the costumes and was in charge of the hairstyling and makeup.

First, a little bit about the play. Medea is the re-telling of a common folk story by the Greek playwright Euripides. The title character is the granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and she's been wronged by her ex-husband Jason (of "the Argonauts" fame). The play is pure tragedy, and there's not much in the way of relief from the unrelenting rage, doom and despair. Interestingly, when Euripides first wrote Medea, it was universally hated. In every previous version, Medea's children die, but Euripides was the first to add the twist that Medea murders her own children as part of her revenge.

The play is powerful, intense, and relentless. You might not enjoy it, but you will be moved.

Rachael worked for several months on the costumes for this play. All total, there were (I believe) three male characters, the two kids, two servants, eight chorus members (remember, this is Greek theater), and of course, Medea. After coming up with the proposed concepts, she had to render them as figures and select fabric samples for each. Every step of the way, the director has to approve. One of the interesting things Rachael said was that the key thing was that even if her concepts were poor, as long as the final costumes looked like her original designs then it was a good thing. Her original designs were not poor, and the final results were stunning.

I'm still waiting for actual photographs from Rachael, but for now, here's the original rendering of Medea's costume.

Note the fabric swatches up top. The wraparound panel skirt is bordered by alternating squares of red and black, and embroidered suns were added in gold. The midriff was crocheted of metallic gold thread and was amazing to behold (done by Rachael's roomie, Shea). The back of the bodice was fastened by leather laces. In all, the costume consisted of 80 different pieces of fabric, done completely by Rachael.

Rachael had several stitchers helping with the construction of the rest of the costumes. The chorus members were in gowns of blues and greens, and the servants were in earth tones. Men and the children wore cream and royal purple. Like I mentioned, I'm waiting for Rachael to send pictures. (hint, hint)

From what I hear, there were two different Q&A sessions after performances, where she got applause for her costumes. She's also been asked to give a lecture to one professor's class about the costumes and the process she went through from concept to final result.

To quote one of her professors, Rachael went out with a bang.

* Two majors, two senior projects. She did last year's senior project as a junior and got distinction, meaning she did professional quality work.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mom, He Hit Me Back!

After the US returned a few pirates to room temperature, we hear this?

Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding the Greek ship anchored in the Somali town of Gaan, said: "Every country will be treated the way it treats us. In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying," he told The Associated Press. "We will retaliate (for) the killings of our men."

Jamac Habeb, a 30-year-old self-proclaimed pirate, told the AP from one of Somalia's piracy hubs, Eyl, that: "From now on, if we capture foreign ships and their respective countries try to attack us, we will kill them (the hostages)."

"Now they became our number one enemy," Habeb said of U.S. forces.

They want to play the victim, but hopefully that's not gonna happen. In fact, I'd prefer a little "Eye for an Eye". From now on, every small boat off the coast of Somalia should be treated as a pirate boat and should be sunk on sight. Lose enough fishing boats and see if a little self-policing doesn't start to happen.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame

Liz and I have season tickets again to Carolina League champions Potomac Nationals (single A minor league baseball). Their first home game is Friday night, and their first promotion is replica championship rings. I just hope the diamonds are small enough to be tasteful.

We'll also be there on Saturday for their first kick-ass fireworks show of the season.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lego Jesus

A church in Sweden has unveiled a six foot tall reproduction of the statue "Christus" made entirely of Lego.

World's Largest Dead Snake (On Film)

Happy Easter

So for Easter we got all Noah-like. Trix the dog got a haircut and bath, then he and all three rabbits got their nails trimmed.

Despite minor amounts of blood spilled (Trix, Ozzie and myself), there are no hard feelings thanks to dog biscuits and raisins.

For Mookie: Clockwork Couture

Dress Up.

Thanks to the Flea for the pointer.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

King's Firecrackers

As Jimbo would say, these young ladies are farookin' amazing!

Quote of the Whenever I Feel Like It

Nothing particularly significant, except that it made me laugh.

You can't spell amusement without semen.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Angles On High

Not a misspelling.

Follow this link to print out your own business card sized tool that can help you estimate heights and distances.

Cthulhu Says: Children First!

Thanks to Ace for the pointer to My Little Cthulhu. The link also has a couple of downloadable pdf files that you can print, cut out and make your very own huggable Older God.

LSD Would Be Redundant

An actual commercial that aired in Japan, for Kikkoman soy sauce.

There's also a version with English subtitles. It doesn't make it any less surreal.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Drivin' That Train, High On Cocaine...

I'm toying with the idea of taking all my post titles from Grateful Dead lyrics.

From Paleo-Future, some history about the U.S. Senate Monorail.

Really and truly, I love stuff like this.

...Casey Jones you better watch your speed...

You Can Call Me Girly-Man But I Still Want One

I want this Barbie.

This Barbie is for the birds! Actually, this Barbie from The Birds is for you! Celebrating Alfred Hitchcock's classic film, this incredible collector's doll features our heroine being attacked by a trio of fine feathered foes, just like in the movie. Will these plastic birds damage her delightful handbag or her carefully styled hair? We certainly hope not! Be sure to let Barbie into your home and pray that the birds don't come in with her! Stands about 11 1/2-inches tall.


Like Watching My Own Car Wreck

Last night I watched Drainiac, a goofy little horror flick from Shock-O-Rama that Netflix delivered. Looking through the extras on the disk, I found a list of trailers of their other offerings. I'm embarrassed to admit that from their catalog I actually own Bite Me!, Chainsaw Sally, Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon, Prison-A-Go-Go, and Shock-O-Rama.

Not that it kept me from sharing.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Now Capitals Coach Budreau Can Feel Old

The son of one of the notorious Hanson brothers from the movie "Slap Shot" scored his first NHL goal for the Toronto Maple Leafs in a game against the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday night.

No word on whether he brought his fucking toys with him on the road trip.

Movie Review: The Bloody Ape

There was a time when all the movie monsters that people needed were jungle critters, and gorillas ruled that particular roost. They thrilled us in movies like The Ape, Nabonga, Bride of the Gorilla, The Hairy Ape, Gorilla at Large, Konga, The Killer Ape, The White Gorilla, Zanga and countless more. Even Bela Lugosi met a Brooklyn Gorilla, and don't forget King Kong and Mighty Joe Young. Besides Bela (more that once!), Boris Karloff shared the silver screen with an ape, as did the Ritz Brothers, Johnny Weissmuller, Maureen O'Sullivan, William Bendix, Gabby Hayes (!), and of course, Fay Wray. I'm link lazy at the moment, check out IMDB or google for details on these bananafests.

So yeah, Gorillas have been the focus of many a flick, and part of their appeal is their relative naivety. Apes behave very much like children, and like kids, the unscrupulous can easily take advantage of them. How many times has the ape wound up as the bad guy because some ass of a human being figured out a way to exploit him? Poor, dumb animal... now destroy him!

This roundabout introduction to The Bloody Ape serves to remind that there's a cinematic history behind gorilla movies. Keith Crocker certainly kept it in mind and paid loving tribute to the tradition while making this movie.

Crocker... hmmmm, where have we heard that name before? Oh yeah, he's the guy behind Cinefear, an awesome resource for hard-to-find cult flicks. I also quoted him way back (October 2004) on an earlier incarnation of Rocket Jones in Mucho Queso Gracias.

The Bloody Ape is loosely based on Poe's "Murders in the Rue Morgue", except that Poe never had this many naked women in his stories. Aside from that, here we have unrequited love, carny trash, a bigot who makes Archie Bunker look like Mother Teresa, the aforementioned naked women, cops, scapegoats, and the gorilla. Lots of violence, gore, mayhem, and another first for me: ape rape. Quite different from gorilla bangs blow-up doll, which I have seen in a movie. Shut up.

The Bloody Ape is only 77 minutes long, which didn't surprise me because independent movies often run a bit shorter than what we're used to. Shot entirely on Super 8, the sound and lighting are uneven in spots, and sometimes the acting is... er, independent. You know what? It's intentional. This movie was made in 1997, and Crocker deliberately set out to make a flick that looked like it was made twenty five years earlier. Tarantino and Rodriguez did the exact same thing ten years later with Grindhouse, but with much (much much much) bigger budgets.

This is definitely not mainstream, but for lovers of independent cinema, exploitation movies, or members of the Cheetah fan club, it's a fun way to spend an evening. Especially with a large pitcher of banana daiquiris. And Jane. Or other swingers.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Sort Of Self-Help You Don't Get Just Anywhere

A little maturity please, after all, they're just cartoon boobs. Self-bondage, Japanese style. Click to embiggen for details, grasshopper.

Kinda blows Victoria's Secret out the window now, doesn't it?

You're welcome.

Why I Love Gardening

Thanks to Random Nuclear Strikes for the pointer.

Booms Are Funny

Remember when I posted the funny story about "Bonding with the Boys"? (hint: big-ass fireworks)

Here's a great story about a boy, a bow and arrow and a mile-wide streak of pyromania scientifically inclined mind.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

A Plea

Or call it begging if that makes you feel superior.

I've been getting lucky with the free screener copies lately, and I dutifully watch and post reviews here and then... nothing.

Peeps, I need comments. They're not going to send me movies to review if'n y'all don't leave feedback! Look at that, I'm so upset I'm writing with a southern accent.

Now, there will be reviews coming up in the near future. I don't need fawning, but just a word to show that someone actually reads my movie drivel will help ensure that I keep getting these wondrously crappy movies for you to avoid. See? It's win-win!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Dear God, (updated)

This isn't funny anymore.

Obama visits the Queen of England, and gives her an iPod?

Arsenio reenacts my reaction.

PS. OMG, can it really get dumber?!?!?! Oh yes indeedy, children. The iPod contains copies of Obama speechifying!

Where's when you need it?

It just occurred to me, Obama presented Britain's Prime Minister with DVD's, and Gordon Brown is losing his eyesight, and now the iPod for the Queen. Because nothing is better for an elderly lady than looking at photos of herself on a 2" screen.


What I Watched - First Quarter 2009 (updated)

Updated: I'm adding links now, plus movies marked with a Nathan Hale ("I regret that I have but one ass-to-risk for my country") link to an original Rocket Jones review.

What the hell, maybe someone will look through it and say "whoa, that sounds cool!" Then again, someone might look through it and call Child Protection Services. Which would be futile, since my kids are grown.

So far in 2009:

Hot Fuzz
Shaun of the Dead
Miss Congeniality - yes, and I enjoyed it too
Vampire Strangler - Misty Mundae - hardcore!
Satanico Pandemonium
Sister Emmanuelle - disappointing entry in the franchise
Alucarda - bit of a nunsploitation kick going on
Evil Unleashed: The Mummy - boredom unleashed, along with some very shitty 3D
Blood Sisters
Bloody Tease
Brides of Dracula
Night of Bloody Horror
*Black Candles - with the goat, in the barn... yep, that one
*Night of the Living Dorks - my all-time favorite German zombie movie
White Slaves of Chinatown - one of the Olga franchise
A Virgin Among the Living Dead - Jess Franco directed, beautiful but very odd
42nd Street Forever - classic trailers... yawn
Bare Behind Bars - women in prison, yay!
House II
Zombie 2 - classic Fulci, very gruesome
Stephen King's It - letdown
Central Park Drifter - vampire in New York, I liked it
Fiancee of Dracula
El Ataud Del Vampiro (The Vampire's Coffin) - The Mexicans did some very nice horror
Creature from the Hillbilly Lagoon - almost as bad as it sounds... almost
Real Genius - one of my guilty pleasures
Silent Night, Deadly Night - Santa with an axe, who couldn't love that?
The Shining - Stephen King done right
Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood
Chainsaw Sally - goofy fun
*Lust for a Vampire - second installment in Hammer's Carmilla trilogy
Flesh and Lace
Death Proof - Kurt Russell's most memorable character since Snake Pliskin
Planet Terror - gross, cheesy, fun. Who sez you can only pick two?
Two Orphan Vampires - interesting French movie
Passion in Hot Hollows - Z-grade flick but a very good Z-grade flick
Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer - eh, ok
The Pom Pom Girls - mindless drivel, maybe you saw it at the drive in
The Baby Sitter
Weekend with the Baby Sitter
The Pink Angels - gay biker gang
Blood Mania
God Told Me Too
Late Bloomer - reviewed here
Tobacco Roody - hixploitation
Southern Comforts - ditto
Sweeny Todd - damn, this was gooooood
Blitzkrieg: Escape from Stalag 69 - nazisploitation, with all that implies
The Bloody Ape
Jurassic Park - am I wrong for rooting for the raptors?
Spider Baby - an all-time fave
Maynard Ferguson Tribute - two disks of brassy awesome
The Machine Girl - if comic book violence is worth doing, it's worth doing to excess
Throne of Blood
The Man From Earth - I love this thought-provoking flick
Airheads - enough thinking, let's rock!
Smokey and the Bandit - still fun

I also watched the complete Monty Python's Flying Circus collection, just for something completely different. I'll probably get around to adding links to these, especially the ones I've reviewed before on Rocket Jones.