Archive for the 'Diversions' Category

Worth a Couple Thousand Words…

March 3, 2010

What do Johnny Cash and Miley Cyrus have in common?

Not much.

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On The Passing of Gary Gygax

March 6, 2008

I read of the death of Gary Gygax many places, but The Order of the Stick has the best tribute I’ve seen so far.
I’ve been transcribing some old journals and writings of mine recently. Just tonight, I ran across this entry from November 1982, and thought it appropriate for the occasion:

I Know…
I know a dwarf. His name is Ixthos. I know a man. His name is Peldar. I know another man. His name is Ralt Gaither. I know yet another man, but he doesnít have a name. I know a pegasus. His name is Ariel. I know an animated box. His name is Tavtos. I know three horses. They donít have names.
I met all of them once while strolling through a hilly, rolling countryside. There were towns, people, good ale, and warm beds. But not all things were so good. Aye, there were dangers–dragons, orcs, goblins, and worse still.
There were swords, sorcerers, monsters, friendly yet stupid barkeeps, beautiful wenches, blue skies, and projects which needed doing. Yes, projects which needed doing such as killing hydras, riding dragons, finding treasures, and cleaving orc heads.
I met them all on a Sunday at 12:00PM and left them at 5:00PM, promising to be back at the same place at the same time within the next few weeks. Yes, I know them all. They come from the realms of my imagination.

His creations brought me weeks, nay, months of fun during some critical times of my life. RIP.

Addicting Timewaster

February 14, 2008

Found via Utterly Boring:
Chain Factor.

The 3 Laws of Robotics, Revised

January 7, 2008

Warren Ellis has a humorous revision and restatement of the famous three laws of robotics.
Via Gravity Lens.

Christmas Questions

December 12, 2006

Filler for a semi-dormant blog (found via Not Exactly Rocket Science):
1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Hot chocolate.
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Neither. He leaves them, unwrapped, by and on the fireplace and in the stockings.
3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? White on the tree; red-green-white on the house and down the sidewalks.
4. Do you hang mistletoe? Sometimes. Rarely.
5. When do you put your decorations up? The day after Thanksgiving for the tree and house decorations; by the end of Thanksgiving weekend for the outdoor lights (I’ve done them in the rain, in the freezing cold, and this year in the 75+ degree sunlight).
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Jackie’s Chex Mix.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: Any given ski trip in Colorado during Junior High and High School with my church’s youth group.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was a gullible one – fourth or fifth grade. I learned it from an older child in the neighborhood.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Not normally.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? We started with a small Charlie Brown-type tree the first Christmas after we got married just buying one ornament a year for each other. Other friends and family learned and would give us ornaments, and now “Santa” gets an ornament for everyone. Aside from the star, these ornaments are the sole decoration for the tree (which at 9 feet tall is now literally covered with happy memories). My wife plans to give the kids their ornaments when they move out, so they have some “seed” ornaments for their respective trees.
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? Love it. Wish we had more of it here, where the weather’s just ridiculously warm and sunny.
12. Can you ice skate? Barely.
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? This one’s a toss-up. In 1983, my parents got me Enzo Angelucci’s Fourth Edition (1983) of The Rand McNally Encyclopedia Of Military Aircraft, 1914-1980. I still have it, and have made good use of it to research some of the features here on my blog. They also kindly gave me my first keyboard, Christmas 1985, a Korg DW-8000 that is still in decent working order.
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Time with family listening to and singing the traditional music.
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? My mom’s fudge.
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Our Christmas ornament tradition described above.
17. What tops your tree? A sturdy, clear plastic (looks like crystal) star that we got from the Hecht’s in Arlington, VA in Christmas 1991, our first Christmas together.
18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving? Since I got married, and especially after having kids — giving.
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Not just one. For sacred carols, it’s a toss-up between O Come, O Come Emmanuel and Carol of the Bells. For secular carols, I like Nat King Cole’s version of his Christmas Song and Ray Charles’ version of Winter Wonderland.
20. Candy canes: Bleh. I don’t like hard candy much.
21. Favorite Christmas movie? It’s A Wonderful Life.
22. What do you leave for Santa? Chocolate chip cookies or fudge and a glass of milk.
Update: On the off chance they still read here, I think I’ll tag Robbo, Ted, Buckethead, Kyle, and Lynn with this “meme.”

Legacy of Heorot For the Xbox?

August 14, 2006

Saw this at Jerry Pournelle’s place a couple weeks ago: apparently Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle recently had lunch with some folks from Bungie.
If you’re not a gamer AND a science fiction geek, you’re probably wondering about the significance of this. Well, Larry Niven is the SF author who dreamed up and described a “ringworld” in his suitably-named, bestselling, and [Hugo and Nebula] award-winning novel. And Bungie is the software company that developed one of the greatest first-person-shooters of all time, Halo, which takes place on the surface of a ringworld.
What I wouldn’t have given to be a fly on the wall at that lunch. Geek heaven.
The really cool scoop? Pournelle relates that he and Niven were talking about stories of theirs that could be adapted by Bungie for new games, especially The Legacy of Heorot. Back in college, a buddy of mine who was into film (he makes videos for a living now) thought that Heorot was a natural for adaptation to the big screen. I strongly agree. But if it can’t be a movie, I would love to see it come to life in a video game medium. The rich interactivity of a well-designed game brings many more hours of entertainment to me than all but a very few movies and TV shows.
Pournelle touched on this interactivity in Halo with Bungie:

One interesting item: I wondered why, when the Skipper gave the Master Chief his pistol, he said it was unloaded.
They pointed out that I didn’t know gamers. Give the gamer a loaded pistol and he’ll shoot the commander. Give the commander bodyguards, and the gamers will start with the bodyguards. It gets more and more complex; easier to simply make the hero leave the room and close the door behind him before he can find any ammunition. Interesting. But I still don’t find it very realistic that the commander would carry an unloaded pistol. Ah well.

The funny thing is, at that scene in Halo, if you go back and kill the skipper, the Marines will storm the bridge, lock you in and attack you until you die. The Marines become invincible. It’s kind of fun in a twisted way to see how long you can last.
In any case, I hope this project is made. I’m holding off on the purchase of an Xbox 360 until Halo 3 ships, but if this came out before then, I would upgrade in an instant.

59 Things

May 1, 2006

Via fellow Texan, Rightwingsparkle, here are some of the 59 things a man over 30 shouldn’t do. The complete list of 59 is here.
I just recently turned 38, and have bolded the ones that I have, in fact, done:

  • Coin his own nickname.
  • Use a wallet that is fastened with Velcro.
  • Rank his friends in order of best, second best, and so on.
  • Hacky sack.
  • Hang art with tape. (only in the kids’ rooms)
  • Ask a policeman, “You ever shoot anybody with that thing?”
  • Ask a woman, “Hey, you got a license for that ass?”
  • Skip. (with my daughter)
  • Take a camera to a nude beach.
  • Let his father do his taxes.
  • Shout out a response to “Are you ready to rock?” (but only in the privacy of my car)
  • Hold a weekly house meeting with roommates.
  • Name pets after Middle Earth characters.
  • Jokingly flash gang signs while posing for wedding photos.
  • Give shout-outs.
  • Use numbers in place of words or locations, such as “the 411” for information, or “the 313” for Detroit
  • Compare the trajectory of his life with those of the characters in Billy Joel’s “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. (Who hasn’t?)
  • Request extra sprinkles.
  • Air drum. (Who can listen to Tom Sawyer or YYZ and not?)
  • Choose 69 as his jersey number
  • Eat Oreo cookies in stages. (Oh, yeah, baby. And make your own double-and triple stuffs).
  • End a conversation with “later skater.”
  • Hold his lighter up at a concert.
  • Wear Converse All Stars with a tuxedo.
  • Propose via stadium Jumbotron.
  • Decide anything based on the ruminations of Howard Stern.
  • Call “shotgun” before getting in a car. (?)
  • Mist up during Aerosmith’s “Dream On.” (I get the feeling the author of this list likes to sip wine coolers while admiring the new window treatments, if you catch my drift… not that there’s anything wrong with it…)
  • Purchase fireworks.
  • Google the word vagina.
  • Ride a pony.
  • Sport an ironic mustache.
  • Say “two points” every time he throws something in the trash.
  • Buy a novelty postcard in another country of topless women on a beach and write, “Wish you were here” on it
  • Purchase home-brewing paraphernalia.
  • The John Travolta point-to-the-ceiling-point-to-the-floor dance move; also that one from Pulp Fiction.
  • Keep a minuscule amount of marijuana extremely well hidden.
  • Watch the Pink Floyd laser light show at a planetarium.
  • Refer to his girlfriend’s breasts as “the twins.”
  • Own a vanity plate.
  • Say goodbye to anyone by tapping his chest and even so much as whispering, “Peace out.”

Not bad, I guess.

Cool Juggling Routine

March 21, 2006

Check out this very cool video making the rounds on the Internet in which comedian Chris Bliss closes his routine juggling to the strains of the Beatles’ “The End” (one of my favorite Beatles songs):

Here’s the story behind the routine.
Some excerpts to whet your appetite:

First I discover my art, and now I have found my soulmate. Could the signs be any clearer? Oh, sure, a more objective view might be that I’d dropped out of college to be a juggler, and been picked up by a crazy woman in a bar. On dimer night.
….
Within six months the band broke up. I should’ve seen it coming the night the flute player asked me to help tie him off. If the woodwinds are shooting smack, you can imagine the bass player’s problems.
….
The only part of the whole ride not based in delusion was, of all things, my juggling. It turned out I’d stumbled onto a concert promoter’s dream opening act. No set-up or sound check, and if they threw things at the stage, I’d catch them.
I worked with Kenny Loggins, Duran Duran a couple times. I opened for Clapton once. I did an arena tour with the so-called supergroup Asia.
I was even on the Midnight Special on NBC – remember that show, with Wolfman Jack? I still remember the Wolfman’s intro – “Whoever said a picture was worth a thousand words was talking about Chris y’know.”
And then in 1984, unbelievably, I was asked to be the opening act for Michael Jackson and his brothers on the Victory Tour, the most hyped tour of the decade.
Between me and Michael, we sold over 3 million tickets. And when it was over, I’d actually become the world’s most famous juggler.

Funny guy. And I like the musicality of his juggling.

Serenity Legos

January 25, 2006

Two of my favorite things: Legos and the Firefly ‘verse.
Check out this picture of the Serenity’s drive lit from within.

Another Neat Optical Illusion

January 18, 2006

Check out this optical illusion.
I’m always amazed at these tricks, which take advantage of some aspect of the brain’s hard-wiring.
(Hat tip: Jonah Goldberg).