Monthly Archives: June 2013

Hush

Continuing on my quest to watch television shows that I somehow missed when I was younger, I’m watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”.  It’s got a bit of hokeyness to it, but all in all, it’s pretty good.

I just got finished watching Season 4, Episode 10, “Hush”.  The basic premise is that there are these monsters known only as The Gentlemen and they steal people’s voices so they can’t scream and then they do what every good monster would and cut out your heart.  As a result, a lot of the episode is done in complete silence.  It’s really a testimony to how much can be expressed without words.

But that’s not what this post is about.  I want to talk about The Gentlemen.  I don’t think I’ve seen a creepier monster on television or even in movies.  They are tall with mottled grey skin and emaciated, elongated faces.  Their mouths are frozen in a wide clownish grin with lips so wide apart their gums show.  They dress in black suits and ties with white button down shirts and pocket squares.  They float five inches off the ground with arms extended out from the elbow menacingly towards you with hands shaped into claws.  They are perfectly silent.  They will haunt your nightmares.

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Yeagh!

Form Of A Foundation!

The forms are in for the house and they’re ready to pour the concrete!

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Immigration, The Answer To All Of Our Problems!

Hyperbole!  But seriously, immigration reform is critically important to our continued status as a world power.  It is just as important as it always has been.

Unfortunately, one of our two political parties (Hint: It rhymes with Schmupublicans.) is dead set against any type of immigration reform bill that doesn’t make immigrants suffer.  Take Senator Jeff Session (R-AL) for example.  He is dead set against the reform that has been proffered by the most recent Gang Of Whatever.  So what does he do?  He gets the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to score the bill and see what the economic impact would be.  I’m sure Senator Sessions fully expected the CBO to come back and say that all of those Brown people would cost the Real Amurican Taxpayers billions.  But what does the CBO actually say?  Only that the immigration reform bill will save our country $197B over ten years.

Facts, the enemy of Republicans for well nigh eternity.  Hyperbole!  But seriously, elected Republicans do seem to have great aversion to facts these days.

The Golden Age Of Maps

Slate’s Future Tense writer Will Oremus argues that we are in the golden age of maps.  Click through for some mapy goodness.  Obviously, I agree since I was saying something similar just yesterday.

One thing he touches on that is worth pointing out is how much more easily accessible government data is with the mass acceptance of the Internet.  Whereas before it would be a tough slough through reams of paper data, now you can download everything and create a program to tear through gigabytes of information for free and process it any way you’d like to present it.  Given, this is still a lot of effort, but there are a lot of people willing to go through that effort.  And all you have to do is spend a little time on the Internet to see that hard work put to good use.

Bears!

I have no idea how this guy is able to stay silent throughout this.  I’m pretty sure I would be actively dissuading the bear from getting up close and personal.  Guess that’s why I’m not a hunter.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIJGb8mLyOE&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

How Dangerous Is It Where You Live?

Check out these 4 maps of natural disasters.  Fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes.  (Oh my!)

My favorite is the map of the earthquakes.  You can see quite clearly where the tectonic plates meet.  It is amazing how far the continents have traveled from the plates and yet the shape of the continents still fits the lines of the tectonic plates.  Look at how active Europe is and how quiet Africa is.  I have to presume that is more because of the number of seismographs located in Europe than the dearth of earthquakes in Africa.

I think one of the greatest benefits of the Internet is the ability it gives to us not only to create great visualizations like in the above linked maps but to be able to share those visualizations with a huge audience.  These visualizations allow people the chance to see the world around them in different ways.  Ways that wouldn’t even have been thought of prior to the Internet.

The Majesty Of Nature And The Stupidity Of Man

Volcanoes are awesome.  Why are they awesome?  Because this:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ATDHCtaMBs&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

Men are stupid.  Why are they stupid?  Because this:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPagbZ3LmkU&feature=youtube_gdata_player]

I’m somewhat proud of randomly happening to run into two volcano videos on the same date when not even looking for volcano videos.  My web surfing > your web surfing.

Whoah! Double Rainbow!

Ah, memes.  Sometimes they come to life.

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Bonus points for the Willis Tower at the end of the rainbow.

Book Review: Fool Moon By Jim Butcher

Jean-Paul’s rating: 2/5 stars

And I’m done with The Dresden Files (both the books and the TV show).  Jim Butcher is lucky that fanboys (and fangirls) are so easy to please.  That is the only reason I can offer for how popular this series of books is.  With “Fool Moon”, the trick is to throw as many different types of werewolves at the reader as possible to cover up the fact that every single character behaves stupidly and changes motives on a whim just to advance the story.

And, oh look, another murdered naked woman!  Why is she naked?  Either female wizards are required to get naked to perform ritual ceremonies and male wizards are not or Butcher just wanted to add another pointlessly sexualized murder victim to titillate the fanboys.

Let’s see what other stupidities we have going on in this book.  There’s the scene where Dresden is trying to cast a spell at a werewolf that is charging at him only to have Murphy jump between him and the werewolf and points a gun at Dresden and tells him to get down on the ground.  She, a supposedly trained detective, doesn’t hear the werewolf?  Nope.  She, a supposedly trained detective, doesn’t think to just take a step or two to the side and shoot the man running at Dresden from behind?  Nope.  Instead, she shoots right at Dresden.

Oh, and then there’s the FBI agent who actually attempts to shoot Murphy while they are both at a crime scene.  The agent, completely unprovoked and breaking about a billion laws, pulls her gun and shoots at an officer of the law.  That agent is certainly going to jail for a long time, right?  Wrong.  Murphy refuses to even file a report because she doesn’t want there to be bad blood between her and the FBI.  Seriously?

There is also this scene where Marcone is tied up and strung up over a pit as bait for a werewolf while Dresden and his crew are stuck in the pit.  Somehow, defying all physics, Marcone is able to pull a knife from his person (even though he was searched) and cut some magical rope that then falls into the pit and allows Dresden and his crew to climb out of the pit.  Someone please explain to me how that is physically possible?

Of course, the worse thing, as in the first book, is every single interaction between the main characters, Harry Dresden and Karrin Murphy.  For example, Harry and Karrin have a conversation about how Karrin is pissed at Harry for hiding things from her in “Stormfront”.  She makes him promise her that he’ll never lie to her or hide anything from her like that again.  THE VERY NEXT THING Harry does is hide things from her.  In fact, he is hiding things from her as he’s promising her to not hide things from her.  Harry Dresden is either a complete asshole or Jim Butcher is a horrible writer.

Then there’s also the whole thing with Murphy using Harry to investigate every paranormal happening and always coming to the conclusion that Harry must be involved somehow.  Every freaking time two books in a row!  You either don’t trust him or you do.  Pick one.

I did give it two stars and not one so now I’ll say something nice about the book.  Much like the first one, all of the magic and werewolves and ideas are legitimately interesting.  It is fun to read about loupe-garou and Hexenwolves and what the differences are.  Jim Butcher would likely have had a fine career writing a Monster Manual.  Unfortunately, he decided to try to tell a story.  Jim Butcher can not tell a story.

I Own A Hole In The Ground

All of the old house has been torn down and carted away and the excavation for the foundation is underway.  You can not imagine what the combination of mud and clay and water does to shoes.  After taking these pictures, I was wearing platform shoes of mud.

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