30 November 2005

Arrested Development was a hero to most...



Man, something's weird at Cartoon Network. First, they start showing completely non-animated movies in the Cartoon Theater segment (made worse in that they're BAD live-action films... stuff like Small Soldiers or Honey, I Shrunk The Kids -- what the hell?), but NOW I hear that despite good ratings and good popularity, they're not going to renew probably my favorite show on the channel (even above the Adult Swim stuff, and just a notch above the brilliant Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends!), Teen Titans. [more]

So, basically, even though I hardly ever do letter-writing campaigns, I'm sending in a letter to Georgia right now. I've written it, and it's sitting under my student loan payment ready to go out. One thing I like about THIS campaign, though, is that the creators realize that online petitions aren't worth the paper they're promised to be printed out upon. They have a template letter to print off and send in, but it seems to me that an actual original letter (I'd say handwritten, but if I were to handwrite a letter, it'd just end up looking like some ancient scrawl, so, you know, for me, it's Futura to the rescue) would be much, much better.

Anyway -- if you haven't seen Teen Titans, check it out. It's a great show -- some have slagged it for its obvious anime influences, but I think it comes squarely in the side of "Homage" on the whole "homage versus rip-off" field. And, hey, from looking at it, FLCL seems to be a great big influence on it, and, well, you can't go wrong with that, as that's one of my favorite series, too. (Seriously -- check it out. Particuarly if you're interested in seeing what Bara no soretsu hath wrought... Well, aside from A Clockwork Orange.) And, if, like me, you're into it, consider writing in to show your support. Just because (and I don't recommend people copy/paste this, since it sort of defeats the purpose of writing an original letter...), this is the letter I sent in:
Dear Sir or Madam:

I was writing to voice my support for your show Teen Titans. I've heard that Cartoon Network has decided not to pick up the show for a sixth season. This news disappoints me greatly, as it's my favorite program on your network. I might not be in the proper demographic, being 25 and all, but I watch the show religiously. I've got a deck of the collectable card game, and the only reason I've been holding off on getting the DVD collections of the show is that I was waiting for season sets -- which are coming, so I will pick those up the day they come out!

I very rarely write a letter to attempt to save a show from cancellation, but I enjoy Teen Titans so much that I don't see how I couldn't attempt to do at least something. After all, when I was at the zoo this summer, in front of the cage for the ravens, a little boy in front of me exclaimed "Ravens! Just like on Teen Titans!" I just had to laugh, because that was exactly what I was thinking, too.

Please reconsider your decision and make more episodes of this excellent program.


Sincerely, &c



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28 November 2005

Mammatus Clouds


mammatus
I had no idea these types of clouds existed. Although I went to school in Nebraska and probably saw "normal looking" examples of these ones a few times, there are some extraordinary ones on Flickr.
So whatever happens, absolutely, positively do NOT miss THIS SHOT. Spectacular.

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paper... scissors... ROCK!

Maaan... I can't believe some of these artworks are made out of plain white paper.

These are apparently the work of one Peter Callesen, from Korea. The first link is to a blog that has posted the pics, which is easier to navigate than the artist's actual site.

(Also, if you scroll way down, you can see the best blog comment I've ever seen: "Mond of the Lord!!! This is fkn awesome, biatches!")

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Prairie Lights Airblown World

Things like this make me so proud to be American.


Prairie Lights Airblown World is a Texas theme park consisting of 700-plus yard "inflatables" and holiday lights that you can pay to drive though. Genius. :D I seriously love this. (Disclaimer... we did just buy our first and probably only yard inflatable this year...)

I hope they put some pics on their website once the place is in full swing. I just can't imagine anything more festive than this:

these one of a kind, lighted displays will feature all of the traditional holiday characters plus Snoopy, Mickey Mouse, Sponge Bob, NCAA mascots, and many more!

(NCAA mascots?)

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27 November 2005

Because it's so much easier than carrying a book



Users can rotate a circumference of the device to display see different information on each tier. They can, for example, choose a book's cover from the top screen and display different parts of its contents on the other two LCDs.


Ummmm... yeah. Batteries not included, I'm sure.

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25 November 2005

All I want for Xmas is...



...this CD.

(How has this been out for two years without me knowing about it??)

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24 November 2005

Holographic storage

Wow... Turner Broadcasting is about to invest in a holographic storage system for storing and playing video (movies, commercials, TV shows etc).

The discs hold about 600 GB now, and are supposedly going to be able to hold about 1.6TB each by 2008, and yet cost only $100 each. Holy crap! :D

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21 November 2005

Caution!

Caution! It won't turn on your girlfriend! Do not use it as a drum! The warnings on these products are very specific. Surf around. Use the drop-down menu at the top right and check out some of their other legal admonishments...


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20 November 2005

The Willy Wonka of soap bubbles



Have you ever wondered why soap bubbles are always clear? I hadn't, until I read this article. Apparently, if dye is introduced to soap bubbles, it all just flows down to the bottom, creating a colored dot at the bottom of a still-clear bubble.

A Minnesota toy inventor wondered why he couldn't make colored bubbles, and spent 11 years of his life working on the problem, sometimes with funny results:

Color remained elusive, but his try-anything approach kept plenty of other strange bubbles floating across his kitchen. One exploded with a loud bang. Another gave him chemical burns when it popped. The best one bounced, just like a Super Ball. He thought he could have sold that one, but he couldn't re-create it. He could rarely re-create any of his experiments. "I never wrote anything down," he says. "I'd get too excited as I was doing it. But once I lost that bouncing bubble, I was crushed. I started videotaping myself so that next time I'd know more than ‘It was something on that side of the kitchen.' "
More in the complete post


He finally perfected a colored bubble, but it would leave a permanent colored stain wherever it popped. It would be several more years before he met up with a chemist who understood what was needed: disappearing color.

This is a long article, but REALLY entertaining. The story about his first official "debut" of the bubbles (when they were washable, but the freaked out a bunch of moms when they say their kids turning multi-colored) is hilarious.

My favorite bubbles lately have been catnip bubbles... Kayla goes BANANAS over them. :D They're glycerin-based instead of soap based, I think, because they're harder to blow than soap bubbles, but at least they don't get soap on the cat's face and paws when she pounces on 'em.

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Your Subculture Sountrack/Mixtape Wiki Project

The past month or so, I've been working on a project, which between that and work, means I've been sort of away from everything else online. Of course, the project's not really finished, nor will it ever be (I cannot, you know, do sane projects that actually have an ending point or anything), but it's getting pretty much to the point where it's all ready to be unveiled, so I figure I might as well!

I've been a fan of the Wiki for a long time now (my first exposure was in high school when we set up a wiki on the school's server, and my friends and I all started entering stuff in there, mostly joke entries and whatnot. (Thankfully, it hasn't existed since about 1998, I think.) It was useless, and after a while, I lost interest, but it was fun and I really loved the idea of having all these pages crossreferenced like that.

For some reason, though Everything didn't really click with me; I'm not sure why -- it's a wiki, but a kind of weird flavor of Wiki. Of course, though, when I discovered WikiPedia I was basically overjoyed. I still love to just flip around Wikipedia and follow the links. It's always struck me as about as close as we'll get to a real-live Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (the actual guide, I mean, not the novels which, last I checked, do actually exist in the real world). And I guess that makes sense, because it seems the online guide is awfully close to a wiki-type thing as well. (Strangely, though, I tend to think Wikipedia's a bit better at that sort of thing -- hell, I think Wikipedia's Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster entry is better than the actual guide's.

And, of course, there're lots of niche wikis. I'm an admin over at the Achewiki (about Achewood); I'm a contributor to the High Weirdness Project (a wiki with a SubGenius bent) and, well, the thing that I've been intending to mention after all this rambling, I'm an admin at Your Subculture Soundtrack. [more]

I got involved when I had the idea for a Mixtape Wiki -- sort of like Art of the Mix only wikified. Since I like to write kind-of indepth liner notes for my mixtapes (or, rather Mix CDs, I guess, if you want to get pedantic), I figure that other people might as well -- and that it'd be really cool to have, like, a depository of all sorts of liner notes! So, if I put the same song on one of my mixes that you put on yours, I could click that link and see both your notes on the song (full of various facts and opinions) and my notes on the song as well (with different facts and opinions), providing a deeper understanding of the song.

So, I go to WikiCities to pitch that idea, and they suggest asking the folks at the Music One to see if that'd be something they'd like to host... so I did, and they did, and so I got that started! Ended up doing a bunch of clean-up stuff and other content adding as well, and got to be an admin there as well! So, now, basically, I've been kicking that into shape as best I can, and carrying over all sorts of content (I moved my Guide To The Residents (originally posted at the High Weirdness Project) over), and it's getting pretty much ready for Prime Time. There's still loads of unfinished (and unstarted!) pages, but I think it's still pretty cool. It's sort of like an encyclopedia of reviews of albums, EPs and what-have-you, along with a collection of Mix CDs (well, a collection of MY Mix CDs for right now, but I'm still holding out hope!) and song notes and an brief-flippin'-through-guide-type-thing of artists.

Anyway, though, after a few months of work, it's still not perfect, but it's much, much more so than it was when we started! And the cool thing about this is that there's always room for expansion. So, hey, check it out, and add stuff! And be sure to spread the word -- stuff like this only works if people know about it! It doesn't do anyone any good if you keep it a secret, so why not tell the world, huh?

(and since I'm an admin, feel free to ask me technical stuff or whatever)

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15 November 2005

Ghostriders

You've all seen them... guys riding sportbikes like the Suzuki GSX-ZQV-Blargh-death Super-Racer 3000. These bikes are amazing feats of speed-oriented tech: They've got carbon fiber exhaust pipes, recessed, shock-absorbed anodized aluminum handlebars, titanium lug nuts, and black, radar-absorbing tennis-balls wedged in between the ceramic disc brakes. A few of these bikes weigh something like 450 lbs and have 180 hp-- literally mind-bending acceleration.

What do these guys do with all this power? As with everything governed by the bell curve, some of these guys can get really, really, really good at riding these machines. The elite call themselves Ghostriders, which means that they're good at two things: One, actually handling these monsterously powerful machines, and two, doing a lot of illegal stuff. If you suspect that the black BBLLUURR that just whizzed past you at over 250 km/h was one of them, you may indeed have seen one of them in action.

(more)

Essentially, ghostriders pick a route, drive it balls out, film it, and don't get caught (those that get caught just may have to abandon their bikes!).

The videos produced by the BEST ghostriders can be amazing (this guy can do wheelies at 180 km/h, and takes it on up to 300 km/h) or even downright F**KING SCARY to watch (look for the TWO TRUCKS in the middle of this one!!), but nothing, and I mean nothing can top the most famous of them all-- Pascal on the Periphique (click on the pic to view it). Holy crap! That's morning rush-hour traffic!! Who IS this guy?

Apparently, it's more like, who WAS this guy? Depending on who you listen to, this driver is/was Pascal Gallant, a guy that some claim died trying to beat his record around the Periphique, the ring road around Paris. Others claim that he's still around, and in fact, says one internet forum poster (previous link), "I talked to him yesterday." This guy is a PROFESSIONAL (actually races professionally) rider. Try this at home and you may as well make a brain omelette! Seriously. (hence, I drive a Vespa, as anyone here that knows me knows my penchant for getting in over my head should definitely NOT extend to motorcycles with THIS much power).

The latest thing now is for these highly-skilled riders to make videos of them doing their thing and selling them as DVD's on the internet.

Now, let's not get into an argument as to whether this is wrong. It is. But to me, there is a thing, and then there is the PORNIFICATION of that thing. There is sex, "sex" as we "mortals" know it, and then PORN sex as it can never really be (and do we want it or could we handle it, anyway?). The same can be said of these Ghostriders, too. We might drive a sport bike, let's say, and enjoy going fast or riding it around occaisonally, but can we really turn the machine inside out like THIS? This is, essentially, motorcycle porn, representing the unattainable pinnacle of what, by and large, everything truly isn't.

Yup. It's dangerous, too. The biggest danger here, IMHO, doesn't come from the elite riders doing this, but comes from the majorly stupid copycats that no doubt see these videos and then head out to inevitably kill a family of four... sad. But somehow, the 0.00000003% chance of my getting killed by one of these guys doesn't turn my anger against the fact that somehow, in some way, these Bladerunners exist.

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14 November 2005

Woody


Woody with wagon
Originally uploaded by lee_3dhighway.
So, I had the coolest experience today. I was driving home on Buford Highway when I spotted this beautiful old station wagon with a SURFBOARD on it, and had to stop to take a pic. (more in the complete post)

The owner came out and asked if I wanted to get soem pics with the hood closed, which I did. We talked about classic cars and such for a while, and learned that his nickname is the same as that of his car- Woody! :)

After we'd talked a bit, he asked if I wanted to see what he was working on now. I said I did, so we went into his backyard...



...where he showed me what is going to be the biggest, baddest riding lawn mower ever. :D It's still a work in progress, as you can see, but Woody says he intends to take it to car shows... towed on a little trailer behind the woody station wagon, of course.

The complete set of pics is here. Also, he has some of hisown pics up on a car show type site here (slightly NSFW, due to scantily-clad gals posing with the car).

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Teddy bears on trucks



I've seen these on trucks around Atlanta, but had no idea they were a "phenomenon." The New York Times has a cool article about stuffed animals tied to the grills of trucks.

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10 November 2005

A couple of movies.

Firstly, The Residents put up the plot outline to Vileness Fats, the movie they were working on in the early-to-mid 1970s, intended as a Quintessential Midnight Movie type-a thing. They ended up abandoning it, due to them shooting it on an early form of video that became obsolete quickly, and finally, in 1984, editing it into a nonsensical videocassette release with a new soundtrack completely overpowering anything on the original tracks, making it thus even harder to follow. Although, strangely, knowing the story now makes me curious to go back and see if I can make heads or tails of it from that 30 minute mess.

Secondly -- last night, Werner Herzog, like Santa Claus, came to town. Unlike, Santa, however, instead of toys, he brought a film and an actor. Comparatively, toys suck. (But only comparatively.)

The Wild Blue Yonder is about, well, ultimately, Herzog's idea that mankind will never find anything interesting in space. Ever. We can't get far enough, and who knows if there's anything actually out there anyway.

He actually used words very close to that (I wish I could have remembered the exact quote). I do disagree with him, and, hey, am interested enough in the trying that I think it's worth it even if Herzog turns out to be right. But that doesn't stop the film from being funny, interesting and beautiful.

One of the films Herzog made back-to-back-to-back-to-back (right after Grizzly Man), the parts with Brad Dourif (the narrator and the only non-himself character) were shot in Southern CA over 6 hours. Dourif played an alien from Andromeda, whose civilization abandoned its planet (The Blue Yonder) because it was dying, and found themselves on Earth as it was the only hospitable planet around (and even that wasn't really "around" -- it took them hundreds of years to get here). There's a little bit of backstory on Dourif's alien race, but the thrust of the story is about Earth scientists and astronauts fearing the Earth's imminent demise (as a result of tiny microbes on the ship that crashed at Roswell), go on a search for a possible secondary planet to colonize.

One of the interesting things about this film is that there's interviews with real mathematicians (including the guys who figured out how to slingshot Gallileo around Venus to Jupiter and Dr. Martin Lo, the researcher who discovered Chaos Transports (real), which the astronauts used to find the Blue Yonder (fake)). Herzog used the real theories and real science (he turned out to be a hardcore math geek during the Q&A, when he spent an extended time talking about various mathematicians; I knew Herzog was brilliant, but I didn't know it was in that realm as well) and nudged them in the direction to talk about the story of the film. Very interesting and lending it a very documentary style.

It's a little long -- footage of the astronauts could have been cut down (though it was rare footage that had never been seen before Herzog found it), but some footage (taken under the ice in antartica (!!)) was just gorgeous. The parts with Brad Dourif as the alien have a bit of a Cory McAbee vibe to them, too. All in all, it's worth seeing... if you can.

Which might be trickier than it sounds. Hopefully it'll come out and be a-OK, however, to date, it's only shown twice -- in the Venice Film Festival (where it apparently did well; Herzog said he wasn't there, but heard that people seemed to like it) and last night at the Seattle Art Museum. The problem -- NASA hasn't seen it yet, and they own a lot of the footage, so they need to sign off on it. Herzog doesn't sound too concerned (he said that he belives that "even large organizations can develop a sense of poetry; I believe even the CIA could develop a sense of poetry!"), but it's still up in the air -- particularly since Herzog's stated point runs just a little bit counter to the whole, you know, NASA raison d'etre and all. But still -- if it comes out, it's definitely worth seeing.


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09 November 2005

Maunsell towers




WHOA!

A friend at work sent me this link to a page about the Maunsell towers, a serires of three "sea forts" (only two remain) off the coast of England, built in WWII. They're named after their designer, Guy Maunsell.

Another on the long list of places I'd love to visit...! LOTS of pics at the first link.

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07 November 2005

Snowman

Weird... I just saw one of these shirts for the first time this weekend, and wondered what it was.



(At least the one I saw was on an adult... it actually reminded me of Mr Hanky from "South Park.")

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Solar Chimney

This is cool. How about a solar chimney that's 2x the size of the Empire State building that can generate 200 megawatts of electricity? It's a Solar Chimney, and it powers a turbine by funnelling hot air up a huge column.

Word on the street is that it's under construction (though, a bit scaled down? Apparently, they CAN be built small). Don't miss the cool video. But there already is one that has been built. That's a link to a picture. This guy has a cool blog devoted entirely to solar energy. Search for "chimney" there and you'll see ones are planned for Spain and China, too (the latter of which surprises me, as China doesn't have a lot of space-- or do they?).

Apparently, they could even grow food underneath the large glass-enclosed collection area. Palm trees? Orange groves?

This concept led me to find out a lot of information about other alternative energy ideas that are shaping up.


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06 November 2005

Iggy Pop, shock rokr!

though I now see there were news items about this all over the web, I wasn't aware before I just caught it on UK TV that Iggy (and others) were to feature in a commercial for the Motorola Rokr iPod-phone.. though I naturally recognised his scrawny torso racing across the screen the second I saw it.

anyway, here's you chance to see the extended version...

http://live.watchmactv.com/?p=103

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05 November 2005

Flap Art

I love this. For those of you who read a book while riding the subwary, why not give someone something to wonder about? Enter "Flap art"-- little jackets for whatever book you're reading that can really throw people off. Some of the ones I liked:

How to Impersonate an Engineer (minimum grade 10 required)

How to Make your Grandmother a Porn Star

How to Murder a Complete Stranger and Get Away With It



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The E-Mail Time Capsule

Oh my... Forbes is giving you a chance to send an email to your future self. Will you do it? (more in the complete post...)
The increments are 1, 3, 5, 10, and 20 years... I'm sending myself a message one year from now, but those longer spans disturb me on several levels. Will I still own this email address 10 or 20 years from now? And of course, the bigger question, will I still be here 10 or 20 years from now to recieve that e-mail from myself?

My one-year message to myself is just a mundane account of what we did today... it's a little unusual in that we mopped out and pressure-washed the camper, so I will probably remember this day when the email arrives next year. If I decided to send the 5, 10, or 20 year messages... I'll have to think about those for a while.

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