June 2010 Blots

BLOT: (19 Jun 2010 - 05:21:52 PM)

Movie Night Recap and the Slime From My Tea

Want to hear something gross? Pull up a seat. Yesterday, I picked up a couple of 20oz bottles of Milo's Famous Sweet Tea from the UAH Bookstore (now under some sort of Barnes & Noble auspice). I was on campus for about 10 hours, and needed both food (a sandwich) and caffeine (the tea) to keep me going. About noon, sat down and ate the sandwich and drink one of the bottles. It seemed fine. That's not the gross part, though, that's coming up.

Ok, after lunch, I'm sitting there at the reference desk and talking to a student. Without looking, I open up the other tea and tell her how to release a print job from the self-service print station. Take a sip and, still explaining mind you, spit this yellow-brown semi-sweet globule of jelly-fish pus back into the bottle. Hopefully without looking too weird. As soon as she walks off, I look down, and it looks like chewed up banana bits. What's more, there are two other marble-sized blobs floating in the tea. No. Clue. What. They. Were. I'm not too worried, it didn't have any of the tell-tale signs of toxicity or severe putresence. It's probably just tea leaf celluose that built up in the vat and came out in one of the bottom bottles. No, I didn't keep drinking it. Yes, I did write Milo's and told them about it. I have consumed dozens, if not hundreds, of those bottles and that's the first time anything like that has happened. I'm not holding it against them, per se, but I do want to see if they will respond with a guess about what was, however shortly, in my mouth.

I did keep the bottle. If I collapse with some unknown infection, be sure to show it to the hospital. Also...avenge me.

BRIEF MOVIE NIGHT RECAP! Allen, Raymond, Nathan, and Mog joined Sarah and myself for In the Mouth of Madness and Death Machine, both from the 94/95 era of horror. The first is about horror's themes and rules and monsters (at least a particular, quasi-Mythosian subset) spilling into the real word, and has some of the more awesome Lovecraft/King shoutouts in film. Highly recommended. The latter is a lower budget, and cheesier, number about a "front-line moral destroy[ing]" robot chasing an executive female type through a large corporate building along with a couple of eco-terrorists: one even sporting the streat-sam face paint from Shadowrun. The movie and/or its transfer to DVD put the dialogue scenes so relatively quiet and the crashing-smashing scenes so relatively loud, that we opted for only hearing a few lines of semi-shouted dialogue. Which was fine. We got to mock it more vigorously that way. I may try watching that movie again with headphones and some normalization feature, just to get what the plot was, but the it seemed to be "Take two plucky side-kick men and a chainsmoking female type, and have them run from Brad Dourif's wild machine as we take potshots at early 90s corporate society". As spotted by Allen, Rachel Weisz shows up briefly in one of her earlier roles.

Next movie night, tentatively July 10th, will feature Stuart Gordon's Lovecraft films.

BLOT: (18 Jun 2010 - 12:08:42 AM)

The June 18, 2010 Horror Movie Night Details [Event]

Ok, just figured I would throw this up and see if anyone else wanted to come. Here we go, the movies I've picked for the first-movie-night-in-awhile are In the Mouth of Madness (just good old 90s horror movie fun), Death Machine (one of the only cyberpunk horrors out there not involving Japanese gonzo splatter), Night of the Creeps (classic horror comedy), and a free agent slot that could be just about anything, assuming I am still awake. I'm going to have a 10 hour or so day on campus, and by the time the event starts, I'll already be a little bleary-eyed. My current leaning for the fourth possible movie is probably C.H.U.D., but it could really be anything.

Starts about 8pm. Will probably finish about 1am. Drinking is possibly set for moderate. BYOB. Snacking is whatever you want to bring. I'll have some popcorn or something. The plan is to eat prior to show. If you want to order pizza or something, that's fine, but Sarah and I will eat before hand and so won't be in on the pizza tally.

That's it. Pretty much open to anyone who wants to come and watch horror movies.

BLOT: (17 Jun 2010 - 09:34:17 PM)

Philip K. Dick's "The Piper in the Woods" [Free SF Short Story]


Harris pushed the card aside and stared back up at the youth across the desk from him. The young man seemed ill at ease and appeared to be avoiding answering the question Harris had put to him. Harris frowned. Westerburg was a good-looking chap, actually handsome in his Patrol uniform, a shock of blond hair over one eye. He was tall, almost six feet, a fine healthy lad, just two years out of Training, according to the card. Born in Detroit. Had measles when he was nine. Interested in jet engines, tennis, and girls. Twenty-six years old.
"Well, Corporal Westerburg," Doctor Harris said again. "Why do you think you're a plant?"
The Corporal looked up shyly. He cleared his throat. "Sir, I am a plant, I don't just think so. I've been a plant for several days, now."

This story can be read for free at Project Gutenberg.

BLOT: (17 Jun 2010 - 07:10:38 PM)

Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest [Horror Movie]

A Marvel Comics style ret-con of the first two movies, Urban Harvest takes the Galtin massacre back to the 60s and combines it with Red Bear's explanation from Final Harvest about He Who Walks Behind the Rows being some sort of vengeful earth spirit. It also combines it with lots of traditional Catholic horror straight from the 70s with such greatest hits as the upside down cross, the pentagram, and hints about "my Father" with a capital 666. Old Behind the Rows is transformed to something between a Chia pet (Just add water and...ca-ca-ca-CORNY!) and the mother-turned-giant-Sumatran-Rat-Monkey at the end of Brain Dead, with animatronic horrors split between Him and one dude whose head is pulled up until his spine is slowly stretched out of his body. At least He shows up, finally, after three movies and none of that weird clouds in the sky as a mound of dirt chases you down the corn rows stuff. Unless, you know, you like that sort of thing.

The focus this time is on two brothers, who go into adoption after the father "goes missing". I'm not a detective, but I'm thinking that an adult disappearing in Gatlin, Nebraska would be worth an investigation, considering the, you know...children of the corn thing. At any rate, once the boys get to Chicago, they start settling into different cliques. Danny, the older and cuter brother, starts blending in and flirting with the neighbor girl. Eli, the younger, continues to dress quasi-Amish and talk about the paths of righteousness, leading him to get frustrated with Danny (a horror-movie shout out to drifting-from-you older brothers, everywhere). The foster parents, by the way, are split between the boys. The new father may have only started the adoption process to help get a promotion, and takes to Eli but considers Danny a bad seed. The mother, on the other hand, is creeped out by Eli right off the bat but fawns over Danny.

As the movie progresses, and Eli grows his urban crop (both a new set of followers [one of which is Charlize Theron in her first role] and a field of corn he is growing behind an old factory), the supernatural killings pick up with Daniel Licht (back from the second as composer) inserting Latin chants over every little scene. I wish there had been a scene of Eli eating corn flakes so some sort of CEREEEEAL DOMINUUUUSSSS could have accompanied. All coming to the spinal-death mentioned above, a weak scarecrow subplot that is over before it gets going, and the appearance of HWWBTR; though, let's just call this an "artist rendention of the facts". For all of His Lovecraftian shout-out, a putty monster eating Barbie dolls doesn't cut it. Also not cutting it is the "fight" between the two brothers: as one throws fireballs and the other knocks them back using the pentagram-sporting corn-Bible. Though a little slow in places, the strange tense build up of the movie works, only to be dissolved in a videogame sequence at the end. Your mileage may vary.

Like the last one, the main thumbs up is toward early 90s horror nostalgia: as self-awareness, a VHS market, and movies by fans for fans all started coming of age. It takes a couple of thumbs down for shoveling Satanic imagery into the plot and for not realizing the limits of technology. And a bonus thumb down for spitting in the face of the whole 19 years of age thing (once you watch it, you'll get what I mean, but I guess exceptions do exist). Finally, it gets a thumbs neutral for solidifying, even more, the concepts of ostracized children and spoofing the 80s-parent (rich and never there) in the middle of the rest.

BLOT: (17 Jun 2010 - 01:35:40 PM)

Ok, there isn't very much actual news in this article about Griffith's not-so-clever attempt to re-direct the oil spill debate by mentioning Big Tobacco, in fact I've more or less just said it all; but I felt the need to post it just to say, one more time, Thank God I did not vote for the man.

In logical terms, that is like being stabbed and taken to a hospital. There, as you bleed, possibly to death, someone starts railing on you about how the flu actually kills people every year and would you please shut up about your fucking knife wound. Red Herrings get used all the time, and most of the time, they are so blatant that I assume the person citing them is actively saying "Yes, you are right, and due to a lack of my own ability to deal with this, here's a picture of a duck with a cookie on its head! SUCKER!"

I'm just upset about this, though, because I don't think anyone is really thinking about the children in Darfur...

BLOT: (17 Jun 2010 - 12:15:28 PM)

[Blog Entry] The water in the pipes...nostalgia and poverty in lower Alabama

EXCERPT: Thinking about yesterday's water noises brought me, the long way around, to the taste of iron in water. More specifically, the way that city-water, as we used to call it down South, lacks that taste. A few of you know that I grew up without an indoor bathroom. It is not that we did not have internal plumbing, we just had a single pipe, which ran to a sink that was ostensibly our "kitchen" sink, but was really the way we got water to anything in the house. Baths were a pot filled with water, heated on the stove, and then added to a small tub with soap. Yep, heated on the stove. We did not have a water heater, either...No pipes brought water to us. We had to get our water from a well in our front yard. No doubt, fifty-years previous, it might have been an actual well. In the 70s, though, it was a well with pump and filter attached and it brought said single line of water to our kitchen sink, where we doled out water to the rest of the house...It was less than ideal. Droughts were a real problem. Trash could easily wash into the well during certain events. We would service it ourselves. And our bathroom duties were partially handled by tub, partially by a mixture of chamber pot and outhouse. Outhouses, by the way, are tolerable only in the Spring in Fall.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE: More about baths and old outhouses, about luckily not hitting the age of thirteen without a shower, about always liking girls but not THAT much, and about the idea of losing convenience in your life...

BLOT: (16 Jun 2010 - 03:36:13 PM)

[Horror Movie] Children of the Corn 2: Final Sacrifice

This movie is a direct sequel to the first, starting out with the surviving kids from the Gatlin massacare being re-fitted into homes in neighboring Hemingford (name-dropped in the first movie as being about 20 miles away), though it changes a bit of the flavor. Rather than be a lone couple fighting against a crazy kid-cult, it is now a much more traditional horror movie with folks being killed off one by one (until the fire scene at the end) in various "clever" ways. We have a house drop, a syringe stabbing, an explosive nose-bleed, a wheel-chair smashed by a truck through a window, a bow-and-arrow attack (as you read this description, guess which character is killed by it), and a person fed into a corn harvester. The father, son, and lovers main quartet with the Indian guide makes a nice little slice of early 90s styled horror nostalgia, and Micah's rural-goth dress is especially notable. Note the haircuts: the semi-pixie, the boy-sweep, the bang pile, the too-straight, or the tight-curled. If you were a teeanger in the 90s, you probably had one of those.

Two hackneyed explanations are given for the events of the first movie, both from the mouth of an American Indian character who starts out making fun of AI movie stereotypes and ends up talking a lot about his people and the spirit of the land (and about ten minutes apart, towards the end). One of his explanations involves psychotropic fungi and the other involves a wounded earth spirit turned feral. As explanations, they have the stink of shovelling the plot into the auspices of horror's strange morality where bad things happen because someone was bad. Between that and his back-and-forth from hollywood-Injun to sarcastic character suggest the possibility of a rewrite or an on-the-set jiggling of lines. The "bad corn" storyline probably would have worked just fine if they had built on it some, rather than introducing it (fully) in the last half hour.

Final tally: thumbs up for being a period horror piece and thumbs down for trying to justify it all. That's pretty much the antithesis of the "Who? What?" of the original horror story. As the DVD liner notes say, this franchise's success [for what it is] is largely found in the disenfranchised semi-goths teen of the early 90s who could both understand the kids ostracized by the adults (with their quasi-pagan trappings), and the victims who usually are just trying to live their lives. The film's full version (including a badly done CG scene where Micah falls into some melting well hole and is "rewritten") is non-extant except as an out-of-print VHS copy of it, while the DVD copies are either bad bootlegs or the UK PAL print that edited the movie to get rid of that scene and to change some of the sounds around.

One final note: genre-fans might be interested to hear that Daniel Licht did the soundtrack. Not only has Licht composed for various sequel soundtracks over the years (including some of the Amityville rehashes and Hellraiser IV: Bloodlines) but recently has gotten some good press for his work on the Dexter series.

BLOT: (14 Jun 2010 - 07:17:10 PM)

[Blog Entry] Setting myself on fire, Xenogears, Torchwood, Time's Arrow, and so forth...

I set myself on fire today. No, not quite. I set my shirt on fire, and my shorts. While wearing them. Not a big fire. I'm not sure how big a fire has to be before you can claim it. Are there flame-based superlatives? Flamiest? Flamier? "Let's camp here for the night!" said the turtle to the salamander. "Oh," replied the salamander, "What a gay old time!"

Anyhow, was cooking pigeon peas for the first time and went to add a little onion powder to the mix. While leaning forward to rearrange the spice shelf just a little, some unknown combination of events occurred which led to my shirt being on fire. Either the front came loose and swung into the eye, or some oil from lunch (I made omelettes) was still on the edge of the eye and caught fire just long enough to spread to my shirt, or...something. I did not notice at first. I did smell something burning which I thought was onion powder somewhat caught on the eye. It wasn't like a blazing inferno burning so hot that it is beyond white, or anything. It was just a good steady burn on my right side. Took out about six-inch by four-inch section of the shirt with the flame, at one point, reaching up to about my elbow. Scorched about a one-square-inch section of my shorts. I did not notice the shorts on fire, or I may have panicked as opposed to just gotten really worried. I was able to bat it down just a little without burning myself severely, and then leaned into the sink and doused the whole shebang. Had it been a bigger fire, well, I may have been screwed. The idea to maybe fill up a pan with water and drench myself did not occur to me for several minutes. About the only reasonable internal dialogue I got was: "1) Do not pull a flaming shirt over your head because it could spread to your hair and 2) If I leave the kitchen, I greatly increase the chance that something flammable will be nearby." That, and: "Hmm, for some reason, it doesn't seem to want to go out, right away..."

It took me a good hour to stop thinking I could smell burning cloth, and to stop patting my arms and shirt to see if anything was still burning. I'm actually about three-tenths to a panic attack insomuch as my brain is all state-preparedness and there is nothing to be prepared for.

[READ MORE about things that don't involve setting myself on fire, unless you mean by burning love for Captain Jack Harness]

View the full article at http://blog.wyrmis.com/0l

BLOT: (14 Jun 2010 - 03:37:14 PM)

Natural Harvest - A Collection of Semen-Based Recipes

From product page on Lulu.com: "Semen is not only nutritious, but it also has a wonderful texture and amazing cooking properties. Like fine wine and cheeses, the taste of semen is complex and dynamic. Semen is inexpensive to produce and is commonly available in many, if not most, homes and restaurants. Despite all of these positive qualities, semen remains neglected as a food. This book hopes to change that. Once you overcome any initial hesitation, you will be surprised to learn how wonderful semen is in the kitchen. Semen is an exciting ingredient that can give every dish you make an interesting twist. If you are a passionate cook and are not afraid to experiment with new ingredients - you will love this cook book!"

BLOT: (14 Jun 2010 - 11:49:33 AM)

It's time to play "What's going on here!?" again!

They've made a lever out of a limb (bravo, by the way), but it doesn't seem to be very effective. What's more, they have a woman pushing it down instead of several people. A boy, possibly her son or young lover, seems to be humping her, and Cousin Eddy from the National Lampoon Vacation movies has the boy in a chokehold while either holding on to the bumper of his truck or reaching for his beer. Could be either one, really.

BLOT: (14 Jun 2010 - 03:18:14 AM)

From the New York Times: "U.S. Identifies Vast Riches of Minerals in Afghanistan"

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials...
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the 'Saudi Arabia of lithium,' a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

BLOT: (13 Jun 2010 - 12:32:10 PM)

Doctor Who: What/Who will be there when the Pandorica opens? My three guesses... (Note: Some [Slight?] Spoilers)

Next week, the current Doctor Who season will begin its two part ending. At the center of this entire season has been a mystery about cracks in space-time, some "silence" that will "descend", and the fable of the Pandorica. Also, something to do with Amy's wedding day. So...what's the big mystery? What's the big whoo-ha inside the Pandorica? I have three guesses, and one fear (listed last). This will possibly spoil things for you, but as long as you avoid the "-1: And My Fear Is..." then you will skip any huge spoilers.

1. A New Enemy! Since Russel T. Davies re-started the show, the majority of the enemies have been either minor or rehashes. There has been the Slitheen, who showed up more in spin-off materials than the main storyline. Same with the Krillitane. I love the Ood, but the little Cthulhu star-spawn that could were de-nemesised about as soon as they were introduced. I guess Cassandra screwed stuff up twice before checking out; and, both the Weeping Angels and River Song have made it to a few episodes, now. Again, though, this is nothing on the scale of giant-evil-empire or rogue Time Lord as a bad guy. Well, not yet (the Cybermen had a one-off feel when they first showed up, as did the Daleks). Still, since the show seems to be drifting through a pond (PUN!) of warm nostalgia, it could be time for something new to be injected, a proper new baddie on scale of Cybermen and Daleks and Sontarans. The big-ending episodes have featured the Daleks three times, the Master, and Cybermen sharing the spot-light with one of the Dalek incursions (maybe I should say that there's a chance that it's going to be Davros? Chances it will be Dalek related have to be around the 10% mark, just because...) Chances this will be it? I'd say less than 10%. Not only would there have been hints before now, most likely, but it just doesn't seem to be in the mission-statement of the new-Who.

2. Omega! The Jesus Christ Time Lord, a being whose sacrifice and resurrection lead to the ability to travel to time, except he's pissed about it because it stranded him in the nega-verse. He has surfaced a couple/three times, usually to great effect. His anti-matter existence might explain the explosion of the Tardis that has been hinted about (but see below) and there has been a strange hint of camaraderie between he and the Doctor (which, in the 7th's era, was explained by hints that the Doctor, in some form, was there during the Supernova that created the Time Lords and "killed" Omega). Chances this will be it? I'd go as high as 25%. I don't know why, I guess the "cracks in space-time" feels like an Omega-event.

3. The Doctor! Some of the hints— things like whoever is in the box is drenched in the blood of millions— seem ripe for Doctor self-hatred. In this season alone, we have one genocide attributed to him as well as an angry "inner-being" come out of him. The Oncoming Storm tends to take a non-violent approach, while at the same time has contributed to the death of systems (often for good reasons). He's bothered by it, sure, but does it kind of often. I guess it's just his conflicting natures. The Tardis has already been shown to explode (or well, hinted at, by the shrapnel found in the crack) and some hints about River Song could be tied into the big revelation at the end. Not to mention, the one thing all those baddies shown in the trailer have in common is the Doctor himself. Chances this will be it? I'd say a good 50%. Maybe even higher.

(Increased Spoiler Alert) -1. My fear is... that somehow it will be Amy Pond. In the last episode, "The Lodger", it showed her having some sort of mental bump when she found the engagement ring, a ring connected to a guy that now no longer ever existed. The date shown as the "Big Bang" is her wedding day, and in "Vincent and the Doctor" it was explained that she is still crying because she knows something is wrong. In "Amy's Choice", she said something about not caring to live in an Universe without Rory. There is the Doctor who said he would be back in 5 minutes and it became however many years, and then went away for another two years, but had an odd look on his face while looking at the read out of a crack at the end. The cracks seem to be following her or the Doctor around. Now, I don't think Amy Pond will be inside the Pandorica, per se, I'm mostly just worried that she will be the cause of the cracks and that Rory will be the impetus. The problem with this is, well, it's Terminator like bollocks.

Any guesses on your part?

BLOT: (13 Jun 2010 - 01:34:45 AM)

Blog Entry: Is "Racism" going to lose any and all meaning as a term?

Note, you can read the full entry at http://blog.wyrmis.com/0j

I do not know much about the Ann Roy Moore case. I do know that people have started saying that it is racism motivating her dismissal. One guy even went so far as to imply the equivalency of a lynch mob (on the other side, we have some of the Tea Party movement implying taxes are somehow just like the Holocaust...maybe public education is failing us?). Presumably getting $100,000 in pay for working half a year in an auxiliary role is the new hanging. Note that this is even before her replacement is picked, a replacement that might be black.

When Mayor Tommy Battle bounced a bottle cap off the dias during a city council meeting, it was less than 24 hours before this comment showed up: "Well, I can just say for me," wrote Walker, "to see an elected authoritative Caucasian male mayor totally lose his cool and have the utter gall to throw something at or near a senior African American male Councilman ... I'm just speaking for me ... very much carries 'racial' overtones."

Helen Thomas was recently poked hard into retirement after saying that Israelites need to get the hell out of Palenstine and go back to the countries they came from. More open in attack than the above two examples, but surely not a purely anti-Semitic opinion in the light of Israel's less than a century age and the long, hard fight that has been accompanying it the whole time.

Go back about a week or two before that, and you had the hooplah over Rand Paul's contention with a specific title of the Civil Rights Act. Namely, he said it was wrong for a government to forbid private businesses from banning certain customers based on things like race. He said he was against businesses actually being racist, but he felt that a private business should have the right.

[READ MORE examples of cries of racism, most taken from the past decade, and decide for yourself if the term is losing meaning or not]

BLOT: (12 Jun 2010 - 11:18:35 PM)

100 Classic Books coming to Nintendo DS

This is a product I have been curious about for ages. At least I mean, curious why it hasn't come out. I don't know, with all the languages coaches and PDA emulation and promises to help you lose weight, walk more/better, and even to stop smoking; Nintendo has definitely staged the DS in the category of the little pocket computer with the potential for Mario-starring games. I kept asking: where's the damned ebooks? The answer is, here:

From Sense and Sensibility to Treasure Island, Moby Dick to Midsummer Night's Dream, 100 Classic Book Collection presents 100 books that everyone should read, all conveniently housed in one single DS game cartridge. 100 Classic Book Collection turns your Nintendo DS into a portable library containing must read novels from iconic authors such as Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, William Shakespeare and many more. Hold the DS like a book and use the touch screen to turn the pages. 100 Classic Book Collection allows various search methods such as searching for a book that suits your mood, or a specific requirement such as a short read. The Nintendo Wi-Fi connection allows you to go online and download 10 additional books as well as being able to rank your favourite books.
  • Contains 100 books
  • Adjust the text size to suit you
  • Search for books by your mood
  • The bookmark function saves your page
  • Nintendo Wi-Fi connection allows you to download 10 additional books

From the Amazon.co.uk product page for the product

You can also read a title list on the above product page, which contains a good deal more than the Amazon.com product page. You can also see what books are available (or at least a sample colleciton, including the downloadable ones, at the official product page, which includes a graphic of the reading experience (click to see a larger copy of the image):

All in all, looks good, with three "without Doug seeing the final product, yet" caveats. A) Downloadable content is only 10 books, though this could be increased over time. B) The selection is more like 70 books, a dozen plays, and some other shorter works. C) While there is a wide and decent spread of books available, some of the titles feel superflous. Vilette over, say, Frankenstein? No H.G. Wells or in-the-public-domain Virginia Woolf? And while it is good to have Dickens, you could have taken the text of Barnaby Rudge out and put a few important poems in its place. Still, I think this is a good start.

BLOT: (12 Jun 2010 - 06:19:45 PM)

Sarah's much less "FBI's Most Wanted" tennis outfit.

Sarah's tennis outfit

BLOT: (12 Jun 2010 - 04:01:19 PM)

Me and my new "please don't kill me, sun" tennis outfit

Doug wearing sun-glasses and a new cap

BLOT: (11 Jun 2010 - 04:15:36 PM)

NYTimes on the Tricky-Sticky of Boycotting BP Oil...

Advocacy organizations like Public Citizen urge consumers to stay away from BP stations. About 550,000 Facebook users have clicked the Like button on the Boycott BP page. And angry people have picketed at BP stations.
This doesn't send a particularly powerful message to BP, though. After all, the company owns only a handful of the 11,000 stations that bear its brand and is trying to sell the few still on its books. So those who wish to inflict the maximum amount of pain on the company are instead putting much of the hurt on the family businesses who actually own the stations....
Greenpeace has chosen not to call for a boycott. Instead, its representatives pose a different challenge: people who really want to punish BP ought to try getting Beyond Petroleum themselves.

As a personal note: I'm for that last bit. Last year, or was it two years ago, now, when gas prices hit the $4+ per gallon price sticker: as a nation we dropped our consumption by something like 25-33%. Prices came down. Attacking one oil company for doing policies held by all is not as effective as realizing the root cause of things like the oil leak, and going from there. Cut down our use of oil, demand greener energies, take public transporation, whatever. The Deep Horizon Well was merely one of many weak links that was close to breaking, and it broke first. The wider view seems especially relevant in case like this where almost all of our (Huntsville's) local BP stations are run by families with minimal profits from gas as is and if the gas isn't bought by them, our large collection of "seconds" stations will buy it anyhow. It will be some time before BP feels pressure put on local businesses that bear it's stamp.

BLOT: (11 Jun 2010 - 03:19:30 PM)

[BOOK] Martin Amis's Time's Arrow

Only a writer with the overarching vision and prodigal narrative gifts of Marin Amis could give us a novel that not only rethinks history but drastically revises our notion of time itself. For in Time's Arrow the doctor Tod T. Friendly dies and then feels markedly better, breaks up with his lovers as a prelude to seducing them, and mangles his patients before he sends them home. And all the while, Tod's life races backward toward the one appalling moment in modern history when such reversals make sense.

...from back matter of the Vintage edition

BLOT: (11 Jun 2010 - 12:53:05 AM)

New estimate as much as doubles the expected oil leak...

Researchers studying the flow of oil from the blown-out well at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico say as much as twice the amount of oil as previously thought may have been spewing into the sea...U.S. Geological Survey Director Marcia McNutt said Thursday that as many as 50,000 barrels...of oil may have been flowing daily from the Deepwater Horizon well before the riser was cut on June 3 as part of BP's latest containment effort...The government has previously estimated that 12,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil...had been leaking from the well before the riser cut.

New Estimates Put Oil Flow Rate Significantly Higher (via NPR)

BLOT: (10 Jun 2010 - 08:13:47 PM)

Hong Kong skyline

While looking around the net this afternoon/night, I came across this picture of the Hong Kong skyline on the city's Wikipedia entry (click picture to see the original image):

As with any picture like this, one of the best things is zooming in to full size and noting the little details, like this bit from the roughly lower left portion, zoomed in to double size, showing a person standing in the window (looks kind of like their back is turned to it, though):

UPDATE: Neat, look at the full picture by clicking the link, then about the center and across the river. One of the buildings has a Christmas tree display set up. Then, to the left of that is even more.

BLOT: (10 Jun 2010 - 06:22:15 PM)

Sarah + Margarita =

Sarah with margarita in hand...

BLOT: (10 Jun 2010 - 02:48:12 PM)

Um, what the crap NYTimes? Article about BP stocks hitting 13 year low changed to article about stocks rallying...[link + commentary]

There isn't really any controversy here, I just thought this was kind of interesting. When I went to bed last night, I had just bookmarked a link from New York Times online: BP's Shares Hit 13-Year Low, Sees No Reason. There was a quote along the lines of "We do not know why our stocks might be dropping" and then analyst statement to the effect of "They can cover the costs of this". It was a perfect storm for a brief, ineloquent snark. "Ooo, big old BP is confused that people don't like them more, point out that they are still plenty rich!"

However, if you follow the link, you'll notice the article is now called: "U.S. Shares In BP Rebound After Steep Selloff". It is now more about how awesome the stocks did this morning. The quote about "sees no reason" is gone and is replaced only with analysts saying this is a good thing. The closest to a snub is a mention that market prices are uncertain because of the US market.

Ah, the joys of online information...when data can *poof* in a flash.

BLOT: (10 Jun 2010 - 02:30:16 PM)

Call out to GoodReads, blot feed is up and working, possible movie nights

First up, let's talk about Goodreads. The "social site for book lovers" (I made that tag line up, but they are a social site for readers). I have profile on it. One of the only ones to survive the social-site-purge I went through a month ago. I have something like twenty friends on there, only five or so are actual people I know. Figured I would do a call out for anyone who likes to read and might enjoy the experience. If I do start up an online book club this summer, Goodreads is likely to be the spot for it. Just FYI.

READ MORE about me fixing the blot feed and possible upcoming movie nights at http://blog.wyrmis.com/0g

BLOT: (10 June 10 11:52)

For those days when a Ziploc bag just feels tacky, I guess...

How about, a waterproof case for your Kindle?


While, seriously, a good Zip-Loc bag will do all that and more, this is not a bad invention. It has been favorly reviewed on Wired and would be sturdier than the "bag". Also about $79.50 more expensive.

Nature Publishing Group versus the University of California

Along with its letter, the California Digital Library included a fact sheet with systemwide statistics for 2010 about the university's online journal subscriptions. The system subscribes to almost 8,000 journals online, at an average cost of between $3,000 and $7,000 per journal, depending on the publication and the field. The current average cost for the Nature group's journals is $4,465; under the 2011 pricing scheme, that would rise to more than $17,000 per journal, according to the California Digital Library.


BLOT: (09 Jun 10 11:19)

Shuttle Launch: Atlantis's last flight

Shuttle launch with jet in foreground


I've seen some expensive things show up in Amazon's Marketplace, but this is just about taking the piss...

Amazon's entry for the Outer Limits Companion, with a price tag set at near a thousand dollars

06 June 2010. 13:04PM.

Just FYI, if you have any Shrek glasses from McDonald's...

McDonald's is recalling its four "Shrek Forever After" drinking glasses because they were found to contain the toxic metal cadmium, which can pose health risks.

Don't know if it's irony, but I laughed...

Librarians Do Lady Gaga Spoof/Pastiche

Here you go for an inside look into the librarian mind. In other news, Amelia Herring is cute!

Written by Doug Bolden

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