Wednesday, September 4. 2013 | Comments (0)
Donna Lewis was one of a sizable handful of female singers in the mid- to late-90's who hit the airwaves with one or two pop hits and quickly disappeared. That wouldn't be so unusual, except that it really was a veritable flood for a few years. This was arguably the precursor to the "Grrl Power" movement, as it seemed be largely triggered by the success of Melissa Etheridge and other perceived-alternative and independent musicians; a female-centric offshoot of grunge. Lewis stands out not only for the extreme catchyness of "I Love You Always Forever", but for her impressively produced debut album "Now In A Minute". A few of the songs falter due to noticeably resembling each other, a real shame that mars an otherwise outstanding sonic experience. However, the albums other great failure is that it serves as a great cure for insomnia.
America's 50 Countries - Article on National Review about the heterogenic nature of America.
Andrew Branca appeared on a California NPR broadcast a couple of months ago to serve as the token defender of George Zimmerman and Stand Your Ground laws. Havoc ensued when Branca pointed out that 33 states have Stand Your Ground laws like Florida's, and California's is actually the most liberal (in the classic sense).
What, exactly, ARE Jay-Z's 99 Problems? An artist on tumblr is working it out.
Brimstone over Iwo Jima.
"Without Love" is probably the best song on the disc. Sounds truly phenomenal cranked up loud. Amazing mix.
The "Not-as-dark-as-advertised" Ages. An idea that's been covered quite a bit the last few years. Hopefully, the classic idea of the "Dark" Ages will be gone in another decade.
World of Warcraft subscribers down to 7.7 million. I talked about this on Facebook a few weeks back. As many have pointed out, 7.7 million is still the largest subscriber base in America, and it's probably the largest user base as well. Guild Wars 2 is claiming 5 million users, although it's very difficult to compare "users" to "subscribers". However, considering how successful many free-to-play games have been, I still think if WoW trends below 5 million Blizzard starts converting the game to FTP. The next expansion will prove it either way, in my opinion.
Former NBA star Kenny Anderson comes to terms with sexual abuse when he was a child. Another long piece by SBNation. These long-form articles SBN has been doing are excellent reading.
A tear-jerking story about "Animal Crossing". Will make you hate yourself if you've ever thought anything bad about your mother.
For Texans, a short guide to many lost buildings at Fair Park in Dallas.
And, again, while fantastically produced and featuring Donna's excellent voice, this is one of the songs that will put you to sleep.
Something I need to add to my list of things that I say I'll do but never get around to is reviewing a few albums. I know everyone loves hearing the opinions of a music snob. Speaking of which...seriously, who reads Rolling Stone anymore? I didn't even know they were still published.
P.S. Still can't get to sleep? Try this one:
Friday, May 31. 2013 | Comments (3)
Today's video and music theme is Texas Rangers walk-up songs:
1st up, Lance Berkman uses "God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash.
A thing that won't trigger nostalgia: Blockbuster Video.
Top 25 Epoch-Making Anime
The Lord of the Rings Family Tree project. Ambitious, and still not the easiest thing to follow.
7 Pictures of Tom Cruise being tall.
Brad Johnson: The Price of an NFL career.
The much-hated A.J. Pierzynski uses "Bullets" by Creed, "Set It Off" by Audioslave, and included below because it's the most interesting, "AJ Scratch" by Kurtis Blow:
MLB's State-of-the-art Replay System
The Giant Rubber Duck in Hong Kong; coming soon to a major city near you.
Political: The Brickmuppet sums up all of the scandals of the current governmental administration that started breaking the past few weeks.
Political/Cultural: The Part of the World That Shoots Back
And finally (for now) Adrian Beltre's song is "Pa Que Retozen" by Tego Calderon:
A video I really wanted to find, or a recording even, is George Chandler's cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway". Chandler performed the cover for an episode of The Benny Hill Show, and apparently never recorded the song otherwise. Which is a shame, because it was probably the best version of the song ever performed. I have video from the show, but I am somewhat reticent to upload, as Benny Hill related videos seem to be taken down regularly.
My current video game project, since hitting the level cap in Scarlet Blade (it's been upped since, and a new area added) is to use the free trial of World of Warcraft to level every class with every race to level 20, and to make judgements thereon. So far I've leveled a Warrior for Human, Dwarf, Gnome and Night Elf, and I'm working on Draenei. I won't do Pandas until the end. One thing I can tell you is that the Draenei starting area hasn't been optimized for the free trial. At least one quest chain requires access to mail, which is blocked in the demo. The four original races have all been streamlined to make the level experience to 20 quick and rewarding. In fact, it's probably a little "too" quick, and it's clear (especially in areas that I had previously visited with older characters) that a lot of quests had been cut, even though their resources where sometimes still in the game. This is an improvement in some cases; e.g. a hunting quest chain in Loch Modan has been cut in half at least. Originally you had to "kill 8 xxxxxx's" for four different low-level animals, then four different medium level animals, then four different high-level animals, then a boss animal for each. Each group was located in a different area; the entire quest chain could have you running over the entire area (pre-mount if you're doing it at the appropriate level) and can take hours and hours of work (days for a casual player). However, in some cases Blizzard cut off a quest chain half-way through, leaving a story half-finished, or cut out a quest chain that uses unique resources. A good example is in the human starting area, which cut out the quest chain involving one of the kobold-infested mines, even though the kobolds and mine are still there. Most of the quest chain involving the human bandits is gone, leaving this group of bandits that everyone talks about, but that you never really do anything about. But more about all of this later.
Tuesday, February 5. 2013 | Comments (0)
The issue of Windows 8 sucking came up in another discussion, so to clarify completely, here is a screenshot of Windows 8 running Stardock's Start8 program. Start8 allows you to return to the Windows 7 desktop, start menu and taskbar. I should also probably mention that I never used Windows 7 as a primary operating system, although the rest of the family has been using Win7 for a few years. Unlike apparently most people, Vista always worked for me. So the previous computer ran Vista Pro 64 it's whole life. Oh, except for that day or two I tried the Win8 preview. However, as I've mentioned, (I think) when I went to buy Win7 for the new computer, (because Vista was reaching the point that you had to update it every time you installed something new, just like XP) Microsoft said no. I could have still ordered a DVD, of course, but Microsoft basically begged me to buy Win8. Windows 8 Pro was $40. So, heeding my own advice, I bought Win8 and then installed Stardock's Start8. Click the image for a larger version.
Friday, February 1. 2013 | Comments (0)
When the shuttle fleet was retired and sent 'round the country over the last couple of years, there was a lot of talk about Space Shuttle memories, especially regarding the Enterprise, the Columbia and the Challenger. I have to admit to being surprised, at the time, for all of the talk about Enterprise, but maybe that's not unusual. Having been born in 1974, I missed all of the early talk about the Shuttle program, and I didn't really become a Star Trek fan until the late 80's. The point is, from my point of view, the Columbia was the first Space Shuttle Orbiter. In my mind, it was the Space Shuttle. If you asked me to draw a picture of a space shuttle, I would draw Columbia. And you would know it was Columbia, because Columbia was the most visually distinct of the shuttles.
While Challenger was a tragedy, the loss of Columbia hit me much harder. I was driving at the time, and had to pull onto the side of the road and just sit. We couldn't lose Columbia. Not that one. The other shuttles don't mean anything, but Columbia is #1.
It didn't matter that there would be more shuttle missions. It didn't matter that the entire shuttle program was in many ways a joke and failure. The shuttle program died officially on February 1st, 2003. And it is really hard to convince my brain that space flight as a concept didn't die as well, because that's what the Space Shuttle Columbia was, and had been to my little-boy brain, ever since April 12th, 1981.
Sunday, January 13. 2013 | Comments (0)
After all of the adventures with Wordpress, I decided to stick with Serendipity. If I'm gonna have to program the damn thing myself, might as well stick with a platform I know a bit about already. I made a few upgrades I've been meaning to get to for a while...there is now a comments notifier at the top of a post, for example. The social media bar is a custom bit of code (sort of) that I put together myself. Unfortunately, because I want the bar to connect live each time, the load times are a bit extreme, so the social media bar only appears on the full post page now. The twitter and facebook integration may be complete. I haven't been able to verify travelling comments, yet. All of the rest of it works. I changed the image/portfolio plugin back to flickr, and moved it to the other side. Also, the random input box is back, on the right side below the twitter feed. The RSS/Atom syndication links are back as well, I honestly don't remember deleting that plugin, but I must have.
Atomic motor uses a single atom of Ruthenium as a bearing. Capable of clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation.
Rumors that Intel will finally give cable customers what they want: À la carte programming. Of course subscribing to individual channels most likely will be more expensive, not less. So, are you willing to pay more for more choice?
House Speaker John Boehner randomly tells Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to go f*** himself. Seriously. Not that Reid doesn't deserve such an insult, today, tomorrow and yesterday...but it was just such an out-of-context event...
Showing pictures of starving children in Africa isn't doing the trick anymore. Could have told you that a few years ago. People get desensitized to such things. They can also have different reactions than what is expected. My wife says the ASPCA "Angel" commercials don't bother her anymore. They still bother me. Unfortunately, while I am a huge supporter of the ASPCA, the "Angel" commercials have angered me from the beginning. Of course I have the expected response as well; the commercials are very hard for me to watch. But such an obvious attempt to manipulate people on a raw emotional level triggers my self preservation instinct, and I get very angry. At the ASPCA. I've written letters, but it's pretty obvious that the commercials must be successful, as they're still going.
The masked monkeys of Indonesia. WTF???
Obama accomplishments chart. Political, but not partisan. Seriously. Nothing but facts.
How to sell anything ONCE by Sarah Hoyt. About how the comic book industry increasingly sells issues with shock value. Change a known character using race, sexual orientation or death to sell an issue or two. The problem is that the comics publishers seem to think they can maintain audience doing this. The problem, obviously, is that no one cares the SECOND time you kill a superhero. Going straight after you go gay isn't significant; just as changing race *again*(except back to Caucasian) isn't a big deal. The last two might create a few political stories, but after you've cycled a few times, even that won't matter anymore. Here's the article she is referencing.
I finally watched Girls und Panzer. Obviously set in the future, although I have a hard time accepting the setting. Apparently all schools in the future will be located on giant (GIANT) aircraft-carrier-like ships. These schools will educate a few hundred students, and will be supported by a small city of shops. The schools are nominally run by the student council. Sure, I know in anime the student council is always portrayed as being ridiculously powerful, but really? You're going to put three 15-17 year-old girls in charge of a floating city? I guess you just have to keep in mind that despite the show's real-world historical ties, it really is a fantasy.
I could go into how "tank arts" is "the sport of girls"...but I won't do that.
By "tank arts" (or in the Crunchyroll subs, "tankery") I mean the complete operation of World War II era tanks in mock battles, using live, if underpowered, ammunition. Maintenance is mentioned, but it also seems to get handed off to the "Auto Club" more often than not. So, Girls und Panzer is another anime based on the idea of "come up with a bizarre idea for a school club, then create a setting that allows for the club". However, as derivative as the idea is, the production team manages a good balance between the fanciful setting, interesting characters (although it gets a bit extreme toward the end) and awesome tanks. And really, that's why you would want to watch the series; the tank animation and information is fabulous. Unfortunately, the final episodes of the series have been delayed until March, due to undisclosed "production problems". There is some discussion that such a severe delay actually means the production run of the series is effectively over. However, there was already enough interest in the series for a sequel to be in planning stages, so I imagine there will eventually be more Girls und Panzer. Unfortunately, what is generally considered to be one of the best parts of the anime was left out of the Crunchyroll release because of copyright issues:
What is Katyusha?
I've also been watching Chuunibyou Demo Koi ga Shitai!, my own (very poor, I'm sure) translation of which is "Despite Chuunibyou, Love is Wanted"...or to use the translation on Wikipedia, "Even (chuunibyou) want to experience love." Chuunibyou is a Japanese slang term which translates to "Middle School 2nd Year" syndrome. We might express the idea in America as "Junior High Syndrome", characterizing the crossover period from childhood to adulthood. The concept is used to describe both young children who act older than they are and look down on their peers as "children"; as well as middle-school and older children who act as if they are magical, supernatural or powerful beings. I'm not sure if the term applies only to those who literally "role-play" their lives in such a manner, or if it also applies to older children who still engage in fanciful, imaginative play.
Anyway, enough of that. The set-up for the series is another "think of a bizarre idea for school club" story, although that tiring cliche is only briefly introduced. Thankfully, the focus is much more on the characters. Wonderduck has written a bit on the series, and suspect may have more to say in the future. I don't really have much to add that isn't brought up by Wonderduck, although I have really been taken by the idea that the series is a kind of "anti-Haruhi". However, my primary interest along those lines is in Yuta as an "anti-Kyon".
Thursday, December 20. 2012 | Comments (0)
New computer pics...
The two video cards are my two old GTS 250s. I thought one of them was burned out, but at least not sufficiently to prevent booting. I never strenuously tested, however. I used the two nVidia cards in order to work out cable routing for the two Radeon HD 6870s that are in now. The two GTS 250s are about as powerful, together, as one 6870. Unfortunately, I did not ascertain that either the 6870 that was currently in my old computer, or the new 6870, came with a Crossfire bridge. I had to order one.
Razer Blackwidow Ultimate. Mechanical keyboard, like IBM used to make. I love this thing.
Razer Naga Epic. Not 100% comfortable with it, yet. And not sure if I'm going to like all those buttons for the thumb. OTOH, I can tell you now that you DON'T click them accidentally.
Front view of the tower.
Tuesday, December 11. 2012 | Comments (0)
Music for the week...yes and no...
This guy (the guy who makes these videos) has apparently been around a while...in fact when I showed some of these to my wife, she explained to me that she had seen most of them a long time ago. So shoot me. It helps if you're familiar with World of Warcraft; there is a lot of material that references the game as much as the contents of the songs.
An essay on John Kennedy and the Cold War. There isn't much in there new if you study history beyond your high school or college textbooks, but if you don't...
Is green energy a fad that has run it's course? (In the long run, no...but the artificial stimulation of the green energy market may be in trouble.)
Sarah Hoyt on "Ungovernable" Americans.
The book of moe dictators.
Animated gif of the refit of the Enterprise from the TV series version to the movie version. The article the gif is taken from, about whether the Enterprise was updated, or was in fact an entirely new starship.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Kennedy Assassination. (Cynics view, although plenty of time is given to discussing conspiracy.)
Are you worried about all of the horrible things that can happen if you take a cruise? If you aren't, you will be.
I had mentioned when I built my current computer that the namesake, Saya, was from Blood: The Last Vampire. Although, technically, it was the version of Saya from Blood +. Because it's a dual-processor system, you see. In Blood +, Saya is a twin of Diva. Clever? Maybe not. I'm now working on the next computer, which will be named Sena. Because I'm using a 90-degree-rotated case, everything's up top. And while it won't be dual-processor, I will be Crossfiring two Radeon 6870's, so the computer will still have two big ones.
Ok, I'm done being childish. The character is cute, I like the color scheme, and while the...attributes...stack (snerk) up nicely, how can you resist this smile?
Sunday, December 2. 2012 | Comments (0)
But not to start with.
Some links to do with the song and artist:
The artist of this rendition is The Southern Sons Quartet, the song is Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.
Did you know China is building a Stargate? If it was Japan or South Korea, I would be worried. Don't they know what could come through that thing? But it's China, so I'm kinda assuming it will just fall down.
The two big (inherent) problems with Star Wars video games are 1) Everyone is a Jedi 2) Like in other video games with "moral" sides, there is no consequence for being evil. Oh, excuse me, DARK. They aren't evil, just different. They choose the path less traveled. They eat jawas, but it's ok.
The Namib Beetle, which previously inspired the creation of Moisture Vaporators (that's mentioned in the article as well) has now inspired the Stillsuit. What's a Stillsuit?
Also on Wired.com, this short article about the U.S.S. Enterprise, the Big E, the CVN-65, the FIRST CVN, has been decommissioned. This is a very sad thing, although the third ship of the Ford-class supercarrier, the CVN-80 will be the next Enterprise. On the other hand, the Enterprise CVN-80 won't enter service until 2027. Odds that we ever see it in the water? I give it 65 against, 35 for.
Final voting trends from the 2012 election. I.E., which states voted more Republican than 2008, and which voted more Democrat than 2012. The numbers say this past Presidential election will be one for the history books. In essence, it is truly amazing that Barack Obama won re-election. How Obama managed to hang on, and/or how Romney managed to blow this chance will make for a ton of scholorship.
Back to Star Trek; how NASA could build a warp drive. Of course, that title is a bit misleading. NASA couldn't and wouldn't. But maybe it COULD be done, in general.
Things you thought you knew about Star Trek that aren't actually true.
Restoration of the original Enterprise prop by the National Air and Space Museum.
Monday, November 26. 2012 | Comments (0)
Been trying to post something for the past two weeks and keep getting busy or thinking I had an article or review to put up. Consequently I never marked any videos for inclusion.
WWII color photos of working women. You don't think about the lack of color in pictures before the 60's until you see older color photos.
CBS runs story about Hatusune Miku being the world's "fakest" pop star, thousands of otaku take offense.
Windows 7 official iso download. Of course, you still need the license key.
How to modify your Windows 7 iso to install any version.
the Windows 7 DVD/USB tool.
Sci-fi and Fantasy author Sarah Hoyt surprised a lot of fans and friends when she outed herself following the election: she's a conservative libertarian.
Ten common misconceptions about global warming.
Bizarre muppet-like beast discovered. Probably fake, but Sesame Street does need to replace Elmo.
My wife has mentioned a website where they post pictures of comic book women (and I assume other illustrations) that are drawn in freakish and occasionally impossible positions (or with like bodies in general). In other words, the way Rob Liefeld draws. Here's a new figure of Queen's Blade's Cattleya that probably should go on the list.
Sunday, November 11. 2012 | Comments (0)
Klaus Nomi for the win. All of them. Klaus Nomi pwns every musical argument.
The next two paragraphs are political.
Well, the argument over immigration reform started up right away. Unfortunately, it's already gone balls-up. Moderate and liberal GOP'ers are calling for passing an "amnesty" bill, -any- "amnesty" bill, just to get it off the table. A side argument is "whatever we support, it has to give immediate citizenship for every illegal immigrant currently in the U.S., and we -must- market it as an amnesty to non-whites, whether it is or not." I'm not opposed to the immediate citizenship, but without a legalization process and fixes to the immigration process itself, nothing would actually be repaired or improved. As for making sure non-white immigrants of any legal status are told this is an amnesty program; I think that's incredibly cynical, as well as misunderstanding what illegal and legal immigrants want, much less non-white populations in the U.S. in general. Unfortunately, the voices on the right, GOP-affiliated or not, are getting caught up in arguing against this bullshit rather than advocating for actual immigration reform and border security. Meanwhile, the only response from the Democrats is that immigration, is indeed, an issue.
Meanwhile, those that jumped up and started talking about Obama's -overwhelming- win...yeah, not so much. While it does look like Obama definitely won the electoral college, Romney may actually win the popular vote. Did you wonder why the news stopped talking about the numbers almost immediately? (Well, except to keep saying it was -huge- for Obama.) Obama lost 8-9 million votes from 2008. Romney received about 1.5 million less than John McCain, and those numbers are still changing. Obama lost votes from every demographic except under-30s. That makes me feel better. On top of all that, the vote fraud investigations are starting up. I love how the Democrats and media maintain a narrative that the Republican Party instigates massive programs of voter intimidation and vote fraud in every election, when every investigation that ever results in convictions is of Democrats. St. Lucie County is currently reporting 247,000 votes cast in a district of 175,000 registered voters. This is in a district heavily targeted by Democrats in order to oust incumbent Representative Allen West. The Democrats, who have spent the last twenty years insisting that every vote must be counted, re-counted, and when possible, changed to match a guessed-at intent in order to accurately express the will of the voters and DAMN the rules, are arguing that the deadline for recounts is past. How people keep voting Democrat on grounds of honesty and integrity is beyond me.
OK, politics is over.
Is "Gangnam Style" the joke that changed music forever?
H.M.S. Bounty replica sinks off of North Carolina coast.
Grand Theft Auto 5 scheduled for next spring. The series will return to Southern California and feature a larger world than, allegedly, San Andreas and GTA 4 combined. You will also be able to pick one of three protagonists, although none are female (which is upsetting a few people). There will also -not- be a PC version at launch (which has upset a few more people).
The Franz Ferdinand "death" car. Yeah, -that- Franz Ferdinand.
Evelyn McHale - The Most Beautiful Suicide. Immortalized by Andy Warhol, the original amateur photo is amazing.
How much would it cost to build the Death Star? (Original Death Star, and assuming it's made of steel.) Hat-tip to Hellinahandbasket.net.
I completely forgot to link Mark's Six Weeks of Halloween at Kaedrin this year. However, he found some good links this week, which I'll share below. And go back and read his Six Weeks of Halloween posts; they're always worth it!
Michael Myers tweeted his adventures on Halloween night.
Who would win a mass knife-fight among all 44 Presidents? I mostly agree with the conclusions, although I really have to call them on Lincoln. There is a huge Lincoln fad at the moment which seems to be boosting him to some kind of superhero status, which is probably to blame. And pairing him with Andrew Jackson would be a mistake; Lincoln would probably be the first President Jackson cut. Teddy Roosevelt would be much more likely to team up with Lincoln than his distant cousin, IMO.