dr_phil_physics: (Default)
In The Time Honored Traditions Of April The Oncest

We give you the April Fool's Collection for 2012:

LocusOnline had two stories:

"Dirtiest Nebula Campaign since 2015," says SFWA President
-- Sunday 1 April 2012 @ 11:20 am PDT by Paoli du Flippi -- DATELINE: Hollywood, March 1, 2018 -- This year's campaigning for the coveted Nebula Award given by the Super Fantastika Writers of America has been marked by "lies, disinformation, nasty tricks, vicious personal slurs, impossible promises, bribes and actual physical assaults," says SFWA President Jennifer Lawrence, in a recent interview conducted during a bit of downtime on the Tinseltown set where she is finishing the filming of The Hunger Games VI: Daughter of Katniss versus the Borg: The Mashup Reboot, based on the polymath star's own novel that earned her admission to SFWA and its presidency in the first place...

Margaret Atwood Launches New SF Magazine
-- Sunday 1 April 2012 @ 11:09 am PDT by L. Ron Creepweans -- Toronto: Today Booker Prize-winning novelist Margaret Atwood announced that she was launching a new science fiction magazine, Loquacious Cephalopod...

And Tor.com had two as well:
Mary Robinette Kowal pens an exhaustive essay
-- Sword and Sensibility: Conan Creator Robert E. Howard's Lesser Known Collaboration...

Covers Revealed for John Scalzi’s Manga Fantasy Trilogy
-- The Shadow War of the Night Dragon series by John Scalzi...
(Truly inspired artwork -- John rhapsodizes here.)

And then there's the British Library:
Unicorn Cookbook Found at the British Library
-- 01 April 2012 A long-lost medieval cookbook, containing recipes for hedgehogs, blackbirds and even unicorns, has been discovered at the British Library. Professor Brian Trump of the British Medieval Cookbook Project described the find as near-miraculous. "We've been hunting for this book for years. The moment I first set my eyes on it was spine-tingling." ...

And other assorted writerly personnel:

My favorite Roman comic artist has an Exciting new project in the works
-- 1st-Apr-2012 01:40 pm Your humble artist fell off the thrice-weekly schedule, and even the sketch-of-the-day updates, because of intense work on a new Great Big Project. All those pages and character designs from Big Project have to be put to some sort of use, and it's such an easy step from the genteel plantations of the south to the humid jungles of South America-just add more water and alligators and/or crocodiles. So those pages are being recycled into a completely genteel story about a young lady explorer of the alternate-steampunk 19th century travelling through monster-infested swampland who encounters a hidden tribe of love-starved octopus-men, as one does. True romance ensues...

Jay Lake goes for A change of direction
-- 2012-04-01 07:46 I'm redirecting my efforts toward something that better reflects the current circumstances of my life, and offers me a greater shot at economic success. From now on, I'm going to be writing nurse romances...

Mary Robinette Kowal is a pen name
-- Sun 1 Apr '12 My actual name is Stephen Harrison. I teach history at Vanderbilt and am getting my PhD, and yes, I am a man. The woman that you have met at some conventions is my sister. I hired her to be "Mary the writer." ...

Diana Rowland is "utterly thrilled to announce that my agent has sold stage rights to Andrew Lloyd Webber for my White Trash Zombie series!"
-- Facebook Yesterday at 6:20am My Life as a White Trash Zombie: The Musical! will be produced and directed by Webber, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, of Wicked fame. Current casting includes Kristin Chenoweth as Angel, Hugh Jackman as Marcus Ivanov, and Tom Wopat as Angel’s dad...

And the March 32nd Review would not be complete without some newfangled can't-live-without-it invention
-- Apr. 1st, 2012 at 11:07 AM As readers of this blog know, I'm a great believer in technological innovation. So great is my belief, in fact, that I dabble in inventions for the betterment of mankind. And now I've found it. The ultimate tool for authors with writer's cramp! Bow down in awe as I introduce: The self-signing book...

And, of course, Google had their piece on the Google Autonomous Driving NASCAR racing car. (snert!)

I'm sure there are others, and I'll update when I run across them. But these have been archived by Yours Truly so that the guilty cannot claim innocence later -- and these are certainly enough to entertain you for now. (grin)

Oh, And Dammit:

My posting on 1 April 2012 is totally legitimate (DW)! There really is a new and proper military SF story up on GigaNotoSaurus for you to read.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (big-mac-meal)
One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

Every year Coke does some sort of holiday packaging of their flagship product. And of course they do lots of holiday advertising -- the iconic Santa Claus of North America is of the classic Coca-Cola image. And polar bears.

So in 2011 they didn't just print a nice design on the 12-pack cardboard, they created a stunning can in white and silver with red lettering.

But here's the problem. Coke cans have been color coded for a long time. Red = Real Coke. Silver = Diet Coke. Gold = Caffeine Free. Black = Coke Zero. And this Xmas 2011 white can? It looks too much like Diet Coke -- even the 2011 Caffeine Free Diet Coke snowflake can.

I guess there've been complaints. "Guys" can't drink Diet Coke. Too close to the pink canned Tab of the 60s and 70s. Which is why the black canned Coke Zero was created to make a more manly Diet Guy Coke.

What you say? People can't confuse the two. One can clearly says Diet Coke while the other has the classic Coca-Cola script. And yet last Sunday morning, when we take a tray and the Sunday paper down to the kitty room, I found a Diet Coke can sitting in my mug. Our recent guests, you see, drink silver and gold Cokes, and the white and silver cans were too similar to Mrs. Dr. Phil, who doesn't drink Coke nor appreciates the finer distinctions. (grin)

Maybe there's something to the "complaints". Pity, because the white can is very pretty. But it ain't right neither...

Dr. Phil

Intentionally Bad

Wednesday, 27 July 2011 18:00
dr_phil_physics: (lifesavers-winslet)
Award Winners! And Not...

The 2011 Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest winners and runners-up and dishonorable mentions have been posted. There are some real howlers here, along with some that try very hard.

They actually have a lot of categories these days, including SF, fantasy, westerns, romance, historical, bad puns, etc. Of course this is all in honor of someone who wasn't trying to be funny...
"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

Cue the writings of that epic novelist, Snoopy. "It was a dark and stormy night. Suddenly a pirate ship appeared on the horizon..."

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (grand-rapids)
As You May Recall

Back in October, Grand Valley State University put out a LipDub video of Styx' Come Sail Away. Now the mad genius of Grand Rapids promotions, Rob Bliss, he of last summer's giant waterslide, has done one for the city of Grand Rapids MI.

I give you, Don Maclean's American Pie:

Newsweek Calls Uncle

The best part? Newsweek had published a piece calling Grand Rapids one of America's dying cities back in January. They are now calling for a truce. (grin)
To the Grand Rapids crowd:

First off, we LOVE your YouTube LipDub. We're big fans, and are inspired by your love of the city you call home.

But so you know what was up with the list you're responding to, we want you to know it was done by a website called mainstreet.com--not by Newsweek (it was unfortunately picked up on the Newsweek web site as part of a content sharing deal)--and it uses a methodology that our current editorial team doesn't endorse and wouldn't have employed. It certainly doesn't reflect our view of Grand Rapids.

Anyway, it's not my favorite version of the song, but the LipDub is great fun -- and look at all those people with guitars!

Dr. Phil

Happy Pi Day

Monday, 14 March 2011 12:04
dr_phil_physics: (tron-legacy)
3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 8...

For some peoples around the world, March 14th is "Pi Day", as they display the month-day as 3/14, or I suppose to be more mathematically correct, 3.14 . (grin) For much of the world, 14 March is 14.3.2011, so it doesn't make a lot of sense. However, no one has ever accused Americans of not being biased about the way they do things.

Above is pi given to 31 decimal places -- 31 3.1 get it? -- which was featured on NPR's Morning Edition with a musical composition based on assigning these digits to both notes and chords. The result is oddly musical:

The link to the story on NPR this morning is here.

By the way, this is not to be confused with "The Pi Song", which is a variation on the song "American Pie" which itself had nothing to do with non-terminating non-repeating irrational numbers. I shan't put a link to that song, because after I viewed one version on YouTube, my system slowed to a crawl and Task Manager report that setup.exe was busy doing something, and I clearly hadn't intended to install anything, so killed it and got my computer back. Stupid bastards.

Anyway, have some numbers.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (WWII-woman-aircraft-worker)
Yes, I've Been Very Quiet Here Lately

I just made it back from my third round-trip drive to Greensboro NC, after the ones on Thanksgiving and New Years. This one was less than scheduled, shall we say, but it was necessary. Thankfully I had good driving weather 3 of 4 days there and back. I'm sure I'll post more about my travels, because I took a lot of pictures along the way.

This Was Not Expected

The Lockheed C-130 Hercules is a workhorse. No question. The four-engine military cargo hauler is one tough sonofabitch. I know that they've made carrier landings and take-offs. And...
In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft—after the English Electric Canberra, B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and KC-135 Stratotanker—to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force. The C-130 is also the only military aircraft to remain in continuous production for 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules.

I used to regularly see C-130s flying around Chicago -- along with Navy P2 Orions -- and used to see C-130s taxiing at Chicago's O'Hare field.

But I've never thought about the size of them before, or thought about putting one on a flatbed and driving it around. Good thing I had a 20mm ultra wide angle handy for the Kodak DCS Pro SLR/n so I could get it all in one shot. (grin)

Click on photo for high res.

This was at a rest stop in Ohio on I-75. I was going to drive around in front and get a cockpit on face view -- but I couldn't pull off the exit road because there was no shoulder and I didn't like the one foot hard drop-off. (evil grin)

Now for my idea for a kick-ass RV conversion van...

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (titanic-flare-winslet)
So There I Was, Minding My Own Business

I'd planned on leaving the office around 2pm, but it really became more like 5pm. Amazingly, the rain had stopped and I didn't get wet getting out to the Blazer -- and the 5pm traffic leaving campus and hitting West Main was surprisingly light.

Dark clouds above and to the north, south and east -- bright sun and white clouds off to the west. I stopped by Burger King to grab a small Coke (formerly the medium Coke, which was formerly the large Coke), when looking to the north I spotted quite a bright rainbow. I pointed it out to the girl at the drive-through, figuring that the workers need to spot nice things from time to time, and she was amazed to see that it was a double rainbow -- and quite bright.

So I pulled forward and parked. Grabbed the Sony out of my technology bag and dialed up the mountain icon to force it to focus at a distance despite looking through a windshield:

To the right I could see the double rainbows' other ends -- rolled down the window and shot that side:

The sun had brightened, but as I got out the rain started up again, so I held my hat over the camera as I shot over the roof -- you can never find the end of the rainbow, so naturally it was back over on campus, where I'd just been. (grin)

Or maybe just beyond the mall across M-43/West Main to the north -- such modern age symbolism, methinks. See all those cars? Not a single driver was looking to the side and seeing the wonders of nature. (double-rainbow-grin)

Alas, I'm not about to lug my new Kodak/Nikon digital SLR around with me to work all the time, so I didn't have access to the big lenses -- or the wide angles which could've showed the whole double arch overhead. But I was quite happy to have had any camera with me and confirmation from the little LCD panel that I'd captured the lovely bright true colors of the rainbow spectrum.

And Then The Magic Happened

By the time I got onto US-131 northbound, the rain had started up again -- but there on the entrance ramp, there was my rainbow again. And weirdly I was up high and looking down on the rainbow, which meant I could see the end of the rainbow!

Now I can't tell you what's going on with rainbows -- I mean I can quote the Physics and all but I'm not talking about that -- but I can tell you with some certainty that the end of the rainbow comes from an electrical service box below a high tension power line tower. Well that makes sense!

As I turned off the 4-way flashers and began to signal to leave the shoulder and merge back onto the entrance ramp, I noticed that there was another vehicle pulled over ahead of me. Nicely done, Dr. Phil, got another person to look out their damned windows and appreciate the wonders of nature.

But it didn't end there. My Little Rainbow ended up following me, and though it was raining heavily on top of me right there, the sun was still bright in the west and the rainbow was at first coming out of the drainage ditch past the shoulder, but later it seemed closer and looked almost as if it was coming out of the right side of the hood -- which would be where the alternator was.

Thus convincing proof that rainbows are electrically generated phenomena. Who knew those leprechauns were such electrical engineers?

And To Think...

If I'd left work at 2pm... if a former student hadn't stopped by and told me about his adventures in the last seven years... if my grader hadn't left the Exam 2s in my mailbox downstairs without telling me instead of dropping them off to me directly... if this week wasn't still daylight saving time because of that stupid DST2007 change...

... I'd have missed my rainbow. Go figure.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (miss-michigan-usa)
A Beautiful Weekend For Sliding Down The Streets

After yesterdays post about Day 1 of the 500 foot waterslide down Lyon Street in downtown Grand Rapids, the news reports on Monday talk of 30,000 people showed up with about 10,000 making the slide. And of course there's video, with the obligatory opening commercial and a long interview with a girl in a bikini (snort):

500 waterslide opens

Although the event was free, there was stuff for sale, including tickets to "skip the line".
Fire hoses along Lyon Street NW gushed about 20,000 gallons of water per hour, ACP Entertainment General Manager Ryan Strayhorn said, although all of the water was recycled, thanks to Dykema Excavators.

(Rob) Bliss said he sold about 470 of his 500 T-shirts, priced at $10 each, as well as numerous $30 skip-the-line tickets, although he was unsure of the exact amount.


Bliss said that while most of the day Saturday included starting, stopping and fixing glitches, Sunday was practically seamless.

"Today was how it was supposed to be all weekend. Sunday was what I had been envisioning since I started on this project. (Saturday early afternoon) was very scary, very painful, very difficult. I thought there was the possibility that we'd have to cancel the event," Bliss said.

Overall, Bliss said that it was "absolutely" a successful weekend.

"I think that may be have been the coolest thing I've ever done," he said.

Kind of fun to have something silly like this happen in the dog days of August on a beautiful summer weekend. (grin) And it's probably better than the sliders slid at a modest 10 mph or so, instead of the 40-60 mph which had been predicted. (duh)

Dr. Phil

Updated numbers: 8-26-2010 Th
dr_phil_physics: (rose-after-rescue)
A Madman At Loose In Grand Rapids

So this college student Rob Bliss has managed to stage some giant events just for fun in downtown Grand Rapids. A giant pillow fight. Thousands of paper airplanes thrown from downtown tall buildings. Etc. But he may have outdone himself this time.

The Lyon Street Waterslide

Imagine a 500-foot long inflatable waterslide running down a steep hill in downtown G.R. In August. Yup, it's brilliant. Even made The New York Times.

Did we go? Of course not. I'm in the middle of Grade-a-thon. (grin) And the wait in line was 3-4 hours, though those who slid said it was worth the wait, though maybe you should bring goggles. (grin)

Rob says the vinyl inflatable waterslide, which I believe was made locally in West Michigan, is durable and he hopes to put it out for a weekend every summer -- it might last 20 years.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (avatar)
Thank You, Sue!

Sue Hill from Michigan Tech posted this link on Facebook: My Little Pony for Geeks. There are FIFTY, count 'em, FIFTY My Little Ponies, done up as Stormtroopers, Princess Leia (bikini and white robe), Han Solo in Carbonite, Tron, Edward Scissorshands, Kill Bill, Alien, Spock, Klingons, Freddie Kruger, Borg, Wonder Woman, "Pony Stark" -- just one impressive list of geek standards in art form. Which just happened to be made from My Little Ponies.


Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Finally Seeing The Light Of Day?

Over on Tor.com, Jo Walton has a review of the finally published Harlan Ellison's The Last Dangerous Visions. The history of this anthology is already legend, even if it didn't involve Harlan. Now you can read about the stories and find out what all the fuss is about.

A really "important" review of an "important" work -- and you know I don't use pretentious words like "important" just willy-nilly. The comments are really worth reading, too.

Dr. Phil

April 1st, 2010

Thursday, 1 April 2010 13:37
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
The March 32nd Report -- Yet Again

Who schedules a major test on April 1st? Why Dr. Phil does! As my noon class was struggling with Exam 3, I did a quick check to see if LocusOnline had their news stories up yet. They did!

-- 2010: News Summary of the Year To Date
Thu 1 Apr 12:01 am Cory Doctorow has had a busy year. First there was his ill-fated attempt to write in real-time on the Internet...
-- Google to Digitize Lost Library of Alexandria
Thu 1 Apr 12:01 am Google Books Exec Dan Clancy: "Google simply had to invent a practical means of time travel, which we can now reveal to the public..."
-- Doctorow and Stross to Write Authorized Sequel to Atlas Shrugged
Thu 1 Apr 12:01 am "We realized that both of us shared one important trait with Ayn Rand: all three of us really, really like money..."
-- Tachyon Publications Announces First Annual Make-a-Genre Contest
Thu 1 Apr 12:01 am Contestants must submit a table of contents and a persuasive essay to be used as their anthology's introduction...

And Speaking Of, Uh, Google

If it's still today, fire up Google. Otherwise, you can always jump to the story.

Also there's this link, to Google Labs latest update to Google Maps, where we learn that "Today our esteemed team of physicists from Google are proud to announce that they have discovered an extra dimension in our universe." And, why Yes, I did have a pair of "cutting-edge red-cyan glasses" in my technology bag. Why wouldn't I? (And they DID work, so there. Pthhhbt!)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (tiger-eye-videogame)
Clarion Classmate Marjorie M. Liu In A New League

Well this is definitely a first for the 2004 Clarion class' world domination through SF/F: Marjorie's first Paranormal Romance novel Tiger Eye is being made into a video game.

Here's the press release -- go to Marjorie's site to get all the links. (grin)
New gaming company, PassionFruit Games, launches with first of its kind romance casual game based on bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu’s Tiger Eye novel.

PassionFruit Games today announced the creation of a new romance-themed casual game, Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, based on the novel Tiger Eye (A Dorchester Love Spell paperback) by New York Times bestselling author Marjorie M. Liu.

Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box also officially marks the launch of PassionFruit Games and represents a unique moment in the history of gaming. Although a market for romance themed video games has existed abroad for years, these games are essentially unknown in the U.S. Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box will be one of the first romance casual games to hit the U.S. market when it goes on-sale in April 2010.

In discussing PassionFruit Games’ decision to launch their company with Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box, Melissa Heidrich, Studio Director, expressed her enthusiasm for reaching out to romance readers: “The majority of casual gamers are women aged 25-65, who report they play casual games mainly to escape. Interestingly, those same attributes apply to romance novel readers – so it’s surprising that there are currently so few romance casual games on the market. That’s why we’re excited to bring Tiger Eye to life as interactive entertainment.”

For Marjorie M. Liu’s fans, it will be a great chance for them to experience a game written by, designed by, and created for women. Mari Tokuda, one of the designers translating Marjorie’s novel into game form, says: “There just aren’t many romance games in today’s market. And, for many women, romance novels are not interactive enough. That’s where we come in - we are giving players a chance to experience the romance through fun gameplay and sensual cut scenes that further the relationship. This game will really appeal to players who want a storyline and those who want to BE the smart, down-to-earth romance novel heroine. And of course, we’ll have a sexy leading man heavily featured in the game. A game like Tiger Eye is one of the most engaging ways for readers to experience characters’ relationships.”

Fans will also be able to experience things that weren’t in the book and to search for hidden objects, play minigames, listen to a film quality soundtrack, and solve puzzles, all the while following the storyline as the main characters’ relationship deepens emotionally and grows in intimacy, though there will not be explicit sex scenes.

PassionFruit Games acknowledges the challenges of turning a popular book into digital entertainment and of adhering closely to the book’s storyline. In their quest to stay true to the novel, all members of the team—from artist to programmer—read Tiger Eye, as well as other novels in the Dirk & Steele universe, to get a feel for the “essence” of the game. The producer and lead designer held regular video conferences with Marjorie to go over the latest design ideas and Marjorie herself wrote the script for the game and is involved with the game every step of the way, giving input on scene art, character design, and voice actor selection.

Says Marjorie, who is well known for her New York Times bestselling Dirk & Steele and Hunter Kiss series and for co-authoring the hugely popular Dark Wolverine Marvel comic book series, about playing the game’s early build: “I was amazed by the beautiful cinematic cut scenes and the way players could actually experience things my characters had done. It’s an incredible feeling to not only see favorite characters brought to life but to experience life through their eyes as you progress through the game.”

The Tiger Eye novel, which Publishers Weekly praised as a “first-rate debut” and “a striking paranormal romance,” tells the story of Dela, a woman with psychic abilities who buys a riddle box in Beijing’s Dirt Market and opens it to find an ancient warrior, Hari, bound to serve as a slave to the person who has opened the box. The action moves between China and the U.S. and PassionFruit Games will mirror this international scope through two games, the first to take place in China and the second in the U.S. PassionFruit games also plans to involve readers in the release of Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box with the chance for a select few fans to be Beta testers and with fan voting on looks for the character, Long Nu.

Order Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box now at holiday e-cards are available at http://www.passionfruitgames.com. The game will be available in both Mac and PC versions.

PassionFruit Games was founded by a group of individuals who had created several critically-acclaimed casual games together before establishing their own independent studio. Their mission is to bring stories and characters to life through lushly-painted interactive environments and captivating cinematics, while providing engaging, entertaining gameplay. The PassionFruit Games team members also worked on the critically acclaimed Nancy Drew Dossier game when they were at Her Interactive; the game was just chosen as the “Best Hidden Object Game of 2009” by Yahoo! Games.

It'd be tacky of me to wonder aloud how one scores in a romance video game, but the pic of Dela above sure is cute. (grin)

Anyway, Dr. Phil does not buy or play video games -- but a video game tie-in to a friend's book? I might have to check this out.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (hello-kitty)
Unbelievably Cute

YouTube video via [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow:

Zero to Smile in under seventeen seconds. And I put (a) a cat (b) YouTube link on the Internet. (grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (rose-after-rescue)
What Does Unemployment Look Like?

It looks like some biowarfare map of an airborne Ebola or just plain ol' H1N1 epidemic. But someone has made an animated map of the US showing the wave of unemployment county by county over the last two years. Note that most of Michigan starts off in the purple-black range.

"Houston, we've lost a country."

Of Course...

10% unemployment also means 90% employment -- though even that feel-good stat doesn't translate any of the subtlety of quality employment, suitable health care coverage, job satisfaction, worker portability or underemployment.

Dammit, reality sucks.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
I Give You, The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

Your moment of Zen for today.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
How Can Simple Stick Figures Be So Realistic?

Yesterday I posted about a brilliant xkcd web comic. Today I was lurking around the Internet and accidentally found this entry from Chris Robertson which contains a video homage to xkcd number 442, which itself is a homage to a Discovery Channel commercial "I Love The World". (whew!)
Noam Raby animates a song by Olga Nunes with images and lyrics from an XKCD strip by Randall Munroe, and the result is awesomeness.

I Love xkcd from NoamR on Vimeo.

This is so meta I can hardly stand it. (huge grin)

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (galadrial-lotr)
I Love xkcd!

I've rhapsodized about the web comic xkcd before -- and I'm sure I will again. But this latest is an elaborate graphical chart, worthy of Edward Tufte's Napoleon's March to Moscow. It's a time-and-place character graph of big movies. Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Star Wars for sure. But Twelve Angry Men? Hilarious. Then another movie I've not heard of, so I guess I miss that joke. (Wikipedia says Primer is a 2004 American science fiction film about the accidental discovery of time travel. I've got it order from Amazon.) (grin)

This is bloody brilliant. Really.

A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far Far Away

My officemate in grad school at Michigan Tech once did a huge chart of all the timelines in the Back to the Future series. It gets really complicated.

You do realize that Michael J. Fox never gets "home" again. Is that "right"? Or not? (grin)

Dr. Phil


Saturday, 31 October 2009 01:51
dr_phil_physics: (Default)
Another Hard Wind A Blowin'

It's very windy out there tonight. Supposed to blow until 6pm or so. Guess the little kids will all be blown away tomorrow afternoon. May get more showers on them, too.

The heavy rains today flooded a lot of the low lying areas again, like last Friday, including that same low spot on Chicago Drive, and some parts of Zeeland, near Holland MI. But for the first time in over a week, it wasn't a cold rain.

Of course a cold front is coming through and the low tonight in Allendale is supposed to be 45°F. The high tomorrow is supposed to be... 45°F. I suppose one can't fault consistency.

If It Was Only "Just" Money

How often do you get to take 100 grand out of the bank? I did today. Made a deposit and then walked out with a 100 Grand -- the Fun Size of the Nestle bar. What? It's Halloween, even at the bank. What did you think I meant? (grin)

Of course I remember when they came out in '68 -- tickling my father's sweet tooth -- and for the first seventeen years they were called $100,000 Bars. Never thought that 100 Grand Bar sounded as good. Plus it lacks that mystical $-dollar sign.

Not Everything Is Halloween

Though there are a number of horror and monster movies on late on Friday night, I did notice that TNT was showing The Fugitive with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones, and Bravo was showing Sleepless In Seattle with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

Me? I got grading to do tomorrow.

Dr. Phil
dr_phil_physics: (7of9voyager)
In A Small Town In Western Upstate New York

Back in the 60s -- the real 60s and not the caricature of the 60s of TV and the movies -- Halloween was a class party of cookies or cupcakes in school, followed by a night of trick-or-treat in the neighborhood. Including whether to go up to one of the scary houses with the little old people that we didn't know because we weren't family and they never came out much. It was almost always a night of compromises. Commercial costumes for kids consisted of a thin plastic face mask whose edges chafed the skin, with an elastic band which broke too easily, and sometimes a cheesy cloth or plastic printed "outfit". We generally did not get those, but were expected to make our own costumes.

Of course, October 31st was likely to end up pouring rain or, more likely, be the first significant snowfall. This meant that costumes had to be redone at the last minute to include heavy coats and/or snow suits, ruining the effect of any costume. And the eye holes on masks were too small to see easily in the dark.

Yeah, it was perfect in a weird can't-we-go-now slash I-don't-want-to-do-this sort of thing.

At ten, we traveled on a Mohawk Airlines BAC-One-Eleven flight back home after visiting our new house in White Plains NY. The stewardesses thought it was fun to have two kids on the flight and allowed up "trick-or-treat" in the air. Halloween was tougher in the city -- eggs, broken lights, smashed pumpkins. Never was the same. And we were older.

Tuesday Evening

On the way to Jim Hine's reading at Schuler's, as I made the left turn light into the shopping center from Alpine Avenue, I saw the lot was FULL. Even well over towards Schuler's. It'd be nice to think that maybe Jim had inspired a huge turnout, but I already knew that theory was full of holes. Coming straight in the ex-Linens And Things storefront had brightly lit colored letters spelling out Halloween City or something like that.

These stores spring up every year. I started noticing them some years ago, whenever there were vacant storefronts in malls, or now vacant box stores in various shopping centers. There was a stream of families going in and coming out with big bags of things. And the TV ads -- Walmart is running a huge series of Halloween ads, as is something called Party City which has sets, costumed dancers and a variation of the Thriller soundtrack.

When Did Halloween Become Such A Big Deal?

Myself, I blame the bad economy. It's something for the kids before winter sets in, and satisfies some of the kid which hasn't been burnt out of adults. But besides the obvious packaged candy and cheap masks, there's a whole industry of costumes and accessories. No doubt in some areas there are high end Halloween stores, but most of this is cheap junk as near as I can tell. Lots of money spent for one day.

We Don't Get Much Traffic Out Here In The Country

I have something of a tradition of bringing cookies or some such snacks to exams, but given the New Rules for flu, the university suggested not putting out shared foods. So I skipped the snacks for Exam 1 and planned on buying some bags of packaged candy for Exam 2 -- the leftovers we've got in a bowl for tomorrow night, if anyone comes.

Mrs. Dr. Phil found some bags of boxes of Dots -- the "Bats" boxes are blood orange flavor, pretty good, but the candies are quite black and turn your mouth and teeth black temporarily. (evil grin)

One Good Thing

Hard rains falling today. Should eliminate any riff-raff who thinks that they can invent a Beggar's Night or Devil's Night for mischief or extra candy tonight. (evil grin)

Dr. Phil


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April 2016

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