Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Hurry up and Wait

I can pick anyone I choose, and I choose, Ben Richards.

 So most of my military readers know this concept, "Hurry up and Wait."  We're used to it.  It's in our DNA now; the only release to this is, "Good to go" in which we're then told we no longer have to wait, have been processed at this area/station/DNA-altering-nanoprobe-section, and we can carry-on, only to hurry up again.

I'm doing my part.  Would you like to know more?
  It's hard to not, after a while.  I've met those who even still after 20 years devour their meals like there's no tomorrow, brainwashed from basic training like some starving Doberman Pinscher slamming it's nose into the bowl, eyes glazed in some autonomic response in the same way said dog might hump the leg of a visitor, glazed (in both ways).  A bit sad.

What?  It's a corndog!  So what?  Not a corndong!
  We all got brainwashed a little, there; hopefully some of the good concepts stayed, or at least what we think are good concepts.  Structure and focus are good ones I think.  I had none before I went into the USAF.  I was pretty, "any way the wind blows" and rather uninterested in other people's feelings or opinions (though not completely).  I was a bit evil in that regard; not maliciously so, just ambivalently so.  A hint of Neutral Evil selfish.  I feel bad about it, but I wasn't fully developed then, not quite yet.  The aftermath of my disinterest caused callous wounds on those I knew, and I have mild regret despite my excuse.  Ah, childhood.

Innocense Riki Tiki Tavi mongoose vs. Hindu god Na'ag.

  It's interesting most men don't get their act together until about 30.  We're a bit of a spaz, groinally-focused and whacked-out by phenomenal and lunar control, but then we, as a whole, start to come out of the animistic-trance and catch our breath, look around and the mess we've made and thoughts and good conscious start to coalesce.  Sometimes the damage done can be permanent, but Time heals a lot in many ways, always our ally, always our enemy.

  So we hurry-up and wait, every day, for every thing we do; even so for Life.

Princess Homecoming Queen (tm) enjoys her loops of fruit.

Now enjoy your Fruit Loops, those loops of fruit!

Monday, January 28, 2013

3D is 2D

Double the action, double the terror, double the D's. (original tagline)
  There's been a plethora of "3D" movies out lately.  I remember in the '80s when it was cool to do that for about 6 or 7 years.  Movies in the '80s, such as The Destruction of Jared Syn, Jaws 3, and Nighmare on Elm Street 6, were not that great.  I suspect the hope of producers was that people were dumb and would be delighted with cool 3D effects like a ride at a theme park and ignore the storyline, character development (if any at all, then one-dimensional), plot holes, or basic premise.  Groanfull releases where a few scenes blatantly were there just for the sake of the 3D effects, like holding up a sword or throwing a ball, etc.  Watching these in 2D is laughable even more-so.  So weak are these 3D movies, that they're flat (except for Piranha 3DD, it only looses one number to 2DD) [smirk].

Oooh!  Claws jumping right out at me!
  I'd say the same goes for anything JJ Abrhams vomits up in the sense that "explosions are a plot" argument.  JJ, they are not, but I think mankind has devolved to belive it is so.  Avatar did remarkably well despite a "see how the other half lives" plot rehashed from Dances With Wolves and dozens others and it was a pile of steaming sauerkraut.  Watch it on a small screen in 2D and you'll not be tricked by false imagery.  Like the recent Star Trek film, the plot is empty and ridiculous and the characters are one-minded and one-themed.  Blah.  Oh, for only the days of the exact opposite such as 12 Angry Men.

I know a suspension of disbelief is necessary in movies but.. really?  Do we need this?  Is anyone buying into this?
  I watched The Artist recently and found it lacking in soul.  I wonder if the producers had ever seen anything besides The Great Dictator?  I'm enamoured by the attempt but it's no Dr.Calagari or The Tramp.  It weakly shadows great silent films like some whisper, as if a kid was given crayons to draw a Rembrandt.  Sigh.  It might appeal to those who are unaware of the transformation into talking movies but I found it lacking in heart.  I think America has lost its Mojo finally.

  Speaking of dictators, I watched The Dictator staring Sacha Cohen, and though Anna Faris did a surprisingly good job with what she was given, the movie was flat, and ended up as a Democratic Party platform equating the Republican Party with a dictatorship (even though the DNC gladly takes away human freedoms such as soda, guns, McDonald's Happy Meals (look it all up) etc. of which the RNC never has ever.  Ironic.  Some non-dictatorship, huh?  Because it's better for us?  Uh huh.)
  I saw The Amazing Spiderman (2012) and found it lacking in nobility, giving props back to Tobey Maguire's first Spiderman film (not the other two), though lost to the four Peter Parker movies of the '70s everyone forgets, which were still better.

  So maybe I'm a curmudgeon now?  Why can't I just enjoy movies?  Well, I do.  I even enjoy fast-food style movies like Joystick or The Green Lantern every now and then.  I'm no movie snob, but I do demand good acting.  Heck, even The Sitter had some good acting in it and a plausible plotline, but I can't deal with all these kids loving Transformers 3, putting it as the movie above all movies. 

  Ugh.  A matter of taste, truly.  I shouldn't be bothered with it.  Sometimes Mac n' Cheese is really good over Steak Tar-Tar.  Sometimes Jack In The Box coffee is better than imported rare beans.  It just feels like America is devolving into a stupiduh, drooooling mass.  George Romero got it right with Dawn of the Dead in the malls.  Sigh.  Half America voted for more decay, and illegal drugs are now legal.  Give them bread and circuses I guess.  Idiocracy here we come.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Life of Pac Man

  I remember when Pac Man came out.  Supposedly it was around in October of 1980, but I don't remember seeing it until early December 1980 at Salem, New Hampshire's "The Rockingham Mall's" video arcade right next to Child World.  Back then, adults played there to the likes of Phoenix, Asteroids, Battlezone, Defender, Galaxian, Missile Command, Night Driver, Moon Cresta, New York New York, Polaris, Rally-X, Star Castle, Tempest, and of course, Space Invaders.  

  Games like Street Fighter were not to come out for seven more years.  Men dumped rolls of quarters into machines while they blew-off some steam from work still wearing sports-jackets, drinking beer or hard-liquor (with kids around in the arcade, laws were realistic and lax back then) and chain-smoking, leaning over such arcade games after a long day "at the office" circa 1980.

  Other games, such as Dig Dug or Sinistar were not to be for another two years, a lifetime to a 10-year-old if you can remember back then.  The mere concept of "A Mall" was pretty new back-then as well, at least in my neck-a'-tha'-woods.  The neon tubing all-the-rage, and Spencer's gift-store was the taboo and cool one with the black-lights and bikini-clad-model posters and card-games like Pass-Out.  Folks still had muscle-cars from the '70s but were rusting-out pretty quickly from the salted roads as GM was using recovered steel that already had rust embedded in it to begin with and paint-jobs on such cars had classic over-spray as they were hand-painted and the assembly lines were too quick to adjust minor errors.  Almost no one was using halogen lights for headlamps yet.


  Having just turned eleven a few months back by December, the concept of "The Arcade" was, of course, mesmerizing.  To an 11-year-old in the drab aftermath of 1970's dreariness, it was a sharp contrast to reality's drab brown silence and "attract-modes" worked on said games well.

  Of course, by now, everyone remembers Pac Man or has at least heard of it, the spherical maze-game where you avoid four opponent "ghosts" while "eating" all the dots on the maze, effectively hitting every part of the maze before continuing on.  Four larger dots marked the corners of the maze where you could pass over them and your opponents were vulnerable for a short time.  A little x=0 / x=255 horizontal "tunnel" existed in the middle on either side of the maze where you could wrap-around to the other.  "Fruits" appeared occasionally in the center of the maze for bonus points, designated per-level.  That's about it.  It spoke to everyone in the world and was wildly popular by the Japanese company, Namco, and that, along with Honda probably pulled Japan from ending up like the other 3rd-world Asian countries are today.

  It was a great honor back when you were a pre-teen to make it to the "9th key" "fruit" in Pac Man, which was about 16 completed mazes into it.  Most people I knew could make it about 4 or 5 levels.  There were no continues.  Some people couldn't make it past the first level "cherry".  These people later voted Obama.

  Pac Man was so popular, Hollywood tried to get in on it.  Unfortunately, like many things, the hype had died down after a year or so.  By 1982, no one was playing Pac Man as there were a ton more games that were more interesting such as Black Widow, Dig Dug, Sinistar, and Donkey Kong Jr.  The game Pac Man sat often alone next to a more-popular maze-changing Ms.PacMan and a one-year-old getting-long-in-the-tooth Galaga.  Video games' popularity lasted about a year or so and then folks sort of moved-on.  In September of 1982, Hanna-Barbera shoved a 2-year-running cartoon on ABC and I remembered how lame that was being two years late and already past it's prime.  In 1983, Geneal Mills Cereals made Pac Man Cereal as well and I was annoyed by it.  It was already irrelevant and unfresh like Andrew "Dice" Clay's aging, un-updated "comedic" material when he complains (recently) about a "blonde" who's land-line phone has "call-waiting" and complains "What does she need that for?"  Um.. Andy?  It's 2013.  Call-waiting was designed for home-use in 1971 and everyone had it in 1979.  His original joke was uttered in 1989.  Very Pac Man Cereal indeed, a decade too late, and though I still have one for fidelity's-sake, land-lines are almost completely dead.  (Everyone knows I refuse to upgrade technology if it's lesser in quality.. except for CDs because my vinyl records scratch on Colorado Springs roads.)  Only the album, Pac Man Fever which came out in 1981 made the train.

  Pac Man stickers and shirts were coming out by 1984 and it became in bad-taste to have anything about it.  The media flooded us with it WAAAY too late and we were all sick of it.  Toys and home-console versions that failed to excel buried the concept utterly.

  I kind of liked Pac Land which was a Mario-like side-scroller arcade game with some interesting twists, and Baby Pac Man pinball was so-so, but face-it, Namco, it's done.

  I sort of feel bad for kids not my age in the 1980's.  It was a magical time.  Many folks I meet missed-out on it.  I think only better would be to be in your early 20s then, because then if you got a girl with all that Duran-Duran makeup you'd know what to do with her (besides hold her hand and maybe buy her a Pepsi).

  Hollywood now tries to jump ahead of the game before things even come-out, learning from its mistakes a little too well it now shoots in the dark, trying to predict the next fickle thing before it's too late, but was Pac Man a fickle craving?  I think not, dear reader.  It was a fun game for a few years, and that's saying a lot in this day and age.  So raise a golden goblet to the memory of Pacus Manus!  May his gobbling never end in our hearts and minds!

Come come...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Time Extension

  Another near-miss from a few Apollids recently between the Moon and the Earth.  Apollids or Apollo Asteroids are those that are near-Earth types, the largest is about 6.5 miles across.  There's a nice simulator here: Impact Simulator (you can put how far you are from the impact location.. Sisyphus is one of the largest Apollo Asteroids at 10km in size of likely dense rock moving nominally at 11km/sec. if you want to input that).  Anyway, a lot of folks aren't that interested in that.  There's a few space programs I'm aware of that funding has been cut (again, thanks to Obama) to solve for possible solutions to these things.  Depending on size, impact, etc., there'll be a lot of damage or at worst, Earth destruction and/or mass-extinction.  Unfortunately, the majority of our radar systems don't go much pass the geosynchronous belt (depending on object size) and certainly not to the Moon or further (it requires a lot of energy to ping back like old-fashioned Doppler-radar, I worked at a 10-story-tall, 10 MEGA-watt receiver at Cavalier, ND which made our car radios pop [yeah, we had to drive in front of it every day to work] and it could only throw raw energy out to around that far [specifics are classified]).

  Instead of focusing on world destruction, space exploration (we found a liquid river on Titan, but we ain't goin' there because all space-exploration funding has, again, been cut and/or diminished for the last 5 years so people can have 'BamaPhone) we're watching a heck of a lot of American Idol with robot-creature Nicki Minaj and talentless (but lucky) others.  Folks in Syria are shooting the frack out of each-other, and as typical, the Middle East as a whole.  Here in the Middle West, rednecks are bemoaning the potential gun control laws looming.  Both of these conflicts I have no opinion of, as it seems trivial.

  A colleague of mine traded me a pound of my Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee for a Marvel Universe encyclopedia, which is kinda cool (but yeah, I know it's not real life) and certainly a flight of fancy as is American Idol and others, but like much media such as Star Trek (TOS) has mirrors of our own civilization to consider.  Take Silver Surfer for instance.  He's dealing with Thanos and Galactus and giant cosmic forces like Chaos, Eternity, The Watchers, etc. etc.  Giant, galactic happenings where Spidey is stopping a crook from stealing a purse, or Kitty Pryde is phasing back into her bedroom from staying out too late from Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (Colossus: "You know, Kitty say..")  Sometimes things that seem so important to us are not so much, and it's important to keep that in perspective.
    I left The 719-Project local band to work on my own music, not a conflict of interests, just that it's hard to add second-guitar to the likes of Jimmi Hendrix or Stevie Ray Vaughn.  In the G3 (Satriani, Vai, Johnson) configuration, there's always a rhythm guitarist in the back, not doing much, and that would have been fine for me 10 years ago, but .. without being to brash, it's not my place now.  The band sounds fine without my additions, and I wish them well.

  One's own life can be considered epic in some way, but everyone needs a frame of reference.  45% of Americans don't realize the Sun "Sol" is a star, but Becky points out that even-so, it is not relevant information compared to how to catch and prepare a fish or plant a successful vegetable garden that will sustain you for a year in a Colorado climate.  This leads me to wonder what is relevant information?  Is it temporal or constant?  I suspect most things are temporal, like knowing the proper card-in procedure with your badge at work, or playing a PS3 game's inventory screen on X-Com: Enemy Unknown.  These things might only be for a few years relevant but eventually abandoned and, if necessary, re-learned later, however unlikely.  We have a lot of this temporal knowledge that's vital at-the-time only to be irrelevant later-on.  How many people remember how to select your flute to stop the snake on Atari 2600's Raiders of the Lost Arc, or what the line-up procedure before going into class in 3rd grade was?  Vital at-the-time, but irrelevant now, except for nostalgia's sake.

  I guess the small get big when it comes to immediate need.  I've seen it in small towns where they marvel at a high-school's football game success with great fanfare, or a County Fair's best-pie cook-off.  Of things I've done and will do, such trivialities seem irrelevant.. to me.  Matters of consequence as illustrated in Le Petit Prince.  It's important not to disvalue these that others hold dear, not to sneer at them, not to condescend, a mistake I tripped-up on my previous marriage.

  So, I suspect once an asteroid gets close enough to cause worry, a percentage of the thinking community will become concerned and step away from whatever smaller consequence of chasing out their destinies in the form of more futile endeavours.  Until then, I guess I'll watch some TV.  When in Rome.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Absence of Heat

Mr. Snow-Miser brings the cold to Colorado
Most people who have at least a 10th grade education know that there's no such thing as something emanating "cold".  The concept of cold does not exist the way we think.  Something cannot give-off "cold".  When you hold an icy pitcher of, say, anteater placenta aloft and you put your hand under it, it feels like it's pouring down cold air.  Actually, this is not true, though it seems like it.  Cold is merely a value of an absence of some heat.  Cold air is more densely-packed, however, so the air molecules that are pushed together like Japanese subway riders rush-out to less dense areas once the doors open. 

Now where did I put that trans-dimensional engine cone?

  Same thing with air and wind.  High-pressure air rushes towards low-pressure areas.  If you have a high-pressure (marked as an "H" on weather maps) in, say, Canada, and a low-pressure area where you are (assuming you're somewhat near Canada) that air (which is undoubtedly cold, being so far north) will rush towards you.  Depending on the difference in pressure, the wind will be more or less.  Expect it to be cold within a day or two (depending on distance, etc.)  Same thing goes if there's an "H" in Mexico and you're somewhat nearby and you're an "L".  Yep, warm weather awaits.

Mr. Heat-Miser

  The universe tries to do this a lot.  Gravity interferes with that process on a galactic level, however, but usually high-pressure things want to space-away from each other until gravity kicks-in with very large things or ions kick-in with very very small things like electrons and quarks.  A good example is a 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew pressurized with carbon-dioxide.  The little bubbles shoved all up in there wanna get out.

  Enough of the Physics 101 lesson, I'm sure you all remember it from when you were 15 and practice it daily whether you realize it or not.  Irregahd'less (Bostonian speak sic.) it seems that this principal can work in several ways that aren't so physics-based.  Consider...

Okay, so let me get this straight, these factors are self-evident in non-quantum physics, right?

  • There is no Darkness there is only the absence of Light
  • There is no Evil there is only the absence of Good
  • There is no Hate there is only the absence of Love
  • There is no Pop Music there is only the absence of Guitars
  • There is no Silence there is only the absence of Music
  • There is no Ugly there is only the absence of Cute
  • There is no Ketchup there is only the absence of Good Cheeseburgers
  • There is no Chocolate Cake there is only the absence of Chocolate Cake
  • There is no Scrawny, Gross, Bony-Chick there is only the absence of Chippy-munky.

Enjoy the physics-to-philosophy lesson, kids!  Remember to hug a Chippy-munky-girl today!  They like that a lot and make cute  warble sounds when you do.

No absence of Chippy-munky here.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Night Sky

  It's that time of year when here in Colorado I get a tease of the Southern Constellations.  Only around now are they visible.  By reference, below the very familiar-to-all constellation of Orion...

  The little center star in his "sword" is actually the Orion Nebula, which is pretty neet, and through binoculars or an okay telescope looks like this:

  and then more fully, with a better telescope at about 50x looks like this:

   I get to see Lepus the Rabbit (as in the movie starring DeForest Kelley, Night of the Lepus).

  Very faintly, on the horizon, below Lepus is Columba "the Dove".  At the horizon it's expanded so its size is about thumb-to-pinky if extending your arm outwards.

  It's really hard to see anything below Columba, and there's not too interesting constellations besides; only Pictor and Caelum are the below it at a maximum horizon-view, and they're boring, 3-star constellations (barely a constellation, truly).  To the left of  the star SIRIUS, aka "The Dog Star" Sirius and down is Puppis.."The deck of the ship".

.. and even tonite, a little further down, Vela "The sails of the ship".. and a hint of Carina "The keel of the ship".

  It's all upside-down though, as they're southern constellations and would appear backwards in the southern hemisphere.  Orion would be upside-down as well, as shown here:

  If you like this, there's a free program you can download here:

You'll have to enter your location as it defaults to France but it's really cool.  Enjoy that.

  Still, it's a shame I can't see the southern constellations myself.  I almost got to see Crux "The Southern Cross" but humidity and low-horizonal cloud-cover prevented me from it in February in Barbados near Venezuela.  It is my quest to see it someday, as well as Alpha Centauri to the left of it.  To me, the deepest space-mysteries lie in the southern hemipshere, such as the Magellanic Clouds and other naughty space-things that suggest intergalactic civilizations.  The southern hemisphere has about twice as many starry things.  Shame the Aussies hoard it, and the Argentinians don't know what to do with it, though viewing in their mountains suggest very clear night-skies.  JEALOUS!!!

Until tomorrow, happy star-hunting!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ponycorn Adventure

For 2013, the DoD is laying off a 70k to 90k jobs, thanks to .. OBAMA!  YAY!  Don't worry though, Colorado allows the use of marijuana so you'll think everything is okay.  Wait, did my grandpa marry my 16 year-old cousin?  Yep, gay-marriage to a first-cousin is okay too, and the legal age to wed in Colorado with parental consent is, you guessed it, SIXTEEN!  YAY!  Everything is great!  The Great US weapons-ban has just started!  We're following Soviet Russia's governmental technique from the late 1950s!  This is so great!

  Even Neil Peart or Rush was duped by the "Free Health Care" bill in the US.  A lot of folks thought that the bill would give free health-care to those who needed it.  Not so.  It's actually mandatory purchase of health-care for all US citizens and their children, even if it takes up half your paycheck to buy.  Those who receive government aid have that portion removed from their paychecks to pay for their "free" health-care.  Those collecting unemployment benefits have their unemployment checks garnished as well.  It was a trick.  In the end, we'll all pay for it, and there's no limit to what insurance-companies can charge for standard (and mandatory) service.  None.  They can charge anything they want on a case-by-case basis, and you have to pay.  Enjoy, suckers.

This is what we get when teenagers vote.  DOOOOOOM!!!!!

Welcome to Crazy World.

While we're waiting for God to smite us utterly, you should play Ponycorn Adventure, a game written by a 5 year-old.