Lounging on the Virtual Serengeti|
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
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|Friday, March 21st, 2008|
|Soon it will be upon us...
For those highly evolved Americans who have embraced the obvious glory of Eurovision, the last nations have now chosen finalists and we are breathlessly waiting for the grand finale. I haven't managed to find all the finalists on Youtube yet, but thus far there are a few obvious favorites. Also pirates. How can you not love pirates?
With a Hi Hi Ho and a Hi Hi Hey, I give you the Wolves of the Sea:( more after the cutCollapse )
|Wednesday, September 19th, 2007|
NephGnu, the Shark
NephGnu, the Intrepid Explorer
|Sunday, September 16th, 2007|
Quote of the day, from NYT:
"Sweden, of course, has a surplus that the deficit-ridden United States can only envy, as well as a knack for staying out of wars that borders on the obscene. It’s that reasonable, semi-socialist, Volvo-driving, super-taxed Nordic place that gave the world Ikea’s cheap furniture and Bergman’s dissection of marriage."
|Saturday, September 15th, 2007|
Since I haven't posted in about two months, I think I'll simply ignore that like nothing has happened.
Vacation in Europe, playing with the nephew, buying a Condo, getting a new car, going to a conference and enjoying the muggy heat of Florida, how can that compare to the revelation that Iceland is withdrawing its soldier in Iraq? http://icelandreview.com/icelandreview/search/news/Default.asp?ew_0_a_id=288872
Yeah, that's "soldier", singular. And after two years, he is cutting and running. Admittedly, with 9.1% of Iceland's army stationed in Iraq for so long, I can understand they were worried about being over-extended. What if they are attacked by Tonga, who withdrew THEIR soldier earlier this year, possibly in preparation for an hostile takeover of a country that won't sink into the sea anytime soon? Or what if Tuvalu goes on an expansionistic streak? What if, Odin forbid, Tuvalu and Tonga combines into a super-miniature island empire? How would Iceland's "fight one, contain one" doctrine work then, with 9.1% of their forces stationed halfway across the world?!
So good luck, Ingibjörg Gísladóttir. Your nation needs your steadfast leadership to ride out these turbulent times. Also, please try to send funnier contestants to next years Eurovision.
P.S. - yeah, I know, New Zealand also has a one-man contingent in Iraq. But he's a ringwraith, and that's GOT to be worth at least a regular battalion.
|Saturday, May 12th, 2007|
The Ukrainian contribution
was one of the best Eurovision songs of all time - catchy, bizarre, wonderfully whimisical and really must be seen to be belived. The French
(Watch them run) and Greek
songs were outstanding as well, with Sweden
(Glitter! Nipples! She-males! Chest hair!) and possibly Spain
(Boy Candy!!!) as followups. Even though the Ukrainian contribution was amazing, Greece should have won - the song was an ultimate Eurovision song, catchy and airy with a chorus one could join in on halfway through the song. Also a brief moment of improvised Morris Dancing.
Sadly, the voting was dominated by the ~138 former east block countries who seriously has no frikkin idea what Eurovision is all about. Very sad, and I hope the voting system will be overhauled in the future to avoid turning it into yet another bland Top40 event. Admittedly, the Ukraine did get second place, but I think that was due to a combination of bloc voting and western Europe voting in true Eurovision spirit.
|Saturday, April 28th, 2007|
The print version of USA Today sported a review of the latest LoTR game with the headline "Get in a Hobbit".
Apparently I wasn't the only one who enjoyed this, as the online version has been renamed "Middle-earth is worth exploring". For shame, for shame.
|Today in "Minor things that annoy me"
A month or so ago I noticed a book in Circe's bookshelf called "The essential Foucault" and I asked, somewhat surprised, why she has a book about a physicist. Great confusion ensued, until it was finally revealed that the Foucault in question was not THE Foucault, merely A Foucault. "THE Foucault" is of course Jean Foucault, the inventor of the Foucault Pendulum, while this particular Foucault was Michael Foucault, some philosopher dude.
In this instance I can understand it, since M. Foucault apparently wrote the book himself, and hell, I'd try to be "THE Gnu" too, if I could. But he's not the only one, apparently, and I don't know if this is a growing trend or I've just started noticing it. It really bugs me when it tricks me into clicking on news headlines - yesterday MSNBC sported the headline "Stewart apologizes for NASCAR remarks", and I thought "Holy fucking pachyderm - what on earth did Jon Stewart do that warrants an apology? I have to read this!" As it turns out, it was not Jon Stewart, it was some NASCAR guy. Now, admittedly, maybe Jon Stewart doesn't have THE Stewart status right now (Martha Stewart? Or is the British royal line still around?), but I do know that it's not some NASCAR guy. And when i click on a link called "Bush drafted", I expect a story on the president being sent off to Iraq, not one about some football player. As must as i dislike the guy, there is only one Bush right now. Not even his father qualifies at this point.
And this goes for music and movies as well. There is only one song called "One", and that is Metallicas. U2's "One" is "U2's One". Sorry, Bono - when a song has been numbero uno on the singles chart for several weeks, the name is taken, no matter how much you want to use it. On the good side, you are definitively "THE Bono". Not that I expect much competition, but still.
So, could we all please be more specific? Or Jesus* will cry.
*Jesus Alejandro, the mariachi player.
|Friday, March 16th, 2007|
I saw '300' yesterday, and the horrid, wooden dialog is still ringing in my ears. SPAAAAAAARTAAAAAAAAAAAA... The desire to desperately search for a mute button faded next to the creepy slaughter of history, however.
Seriously, what kind of jackass sits around, thinking "hmm... 300 men held off an army in the hundreds of thousands, all dying in the end, to protect their home. Possibly the most epic event in human history. But you know what would really make that interesting? Rhinos! Oh, oh, oh! Better yet!!!! MUTANTS!!!!!!"? Yes, the courageous Spartans fight, over the course of the movie, a rhino, a couple of elephants, a chained mutant giant, several hundred Immortals dressed as kabuki players (who turns out to be mutants), and, at the very end, a 7-foot tall Xerxes. Also, while they don't actually fight, Xerxes has a harem of, yes, yes indeed - sexy mutants. Why was any of that necessary?
I'm guessing the same jackass (or jackasses - what does one call a multitude of jackasses? "a frat of jackasses"?) was responsible for Titanic. "hey, we're thinking of making a movie about one of the most moving events in recent history. It has drama, heroism, criminal stupidity, massive hubris, class struggle, simply staggering stoicism. I know what you are thinking - LOVE STORY! Hey, how about including a giant diamond? Oooooooh, I LIKE it!"
Don't get me wrong. I don't mind minor discrepancies. I was even OK with the welsh in "King Arthur" turning into picts, for no apparent reason. But inserting crap just to "make it more interesting", when it is already interesting enough by itself? Jeeeeebus.
At this point, I'm assuming that I can look forward to a remake of Apollo 13 featuring space vampires. "The heat shields are failing!! What the - who brought a fucking bat?! Aaaaaaaargh... "
|Thursday, March 15th, 2007|
|Friday, March 9th, 2007|
Since Jet Blue doesn't serve food on their flights, isn't extra cruel of them to carry "the Food Network"?
|Wednesday, October 4th, 2006|
|Monday, September 25th, 2006|
Dear Mother Nature,
I go hiking once, maybe twice per year. That leaves you ~360 days you could pick to give me an infected wisdom tooth. But no, you had to choose that one evening when I'm a six hour hike away from the nearest ranger station, on a moonless night to boot.
You know, I was going to get you something nice for your birthday. Maybe a tree or something. Instead, I think I'm just gonna go out and dump some kerosene on the lawn. Happy now?
Apart from the pain and the fever, the hike was great. We drove up to Yosemite friday night, hiked to a small glacier lake saturday, camped, hung out for a few hours sunday morning, then hiked back. Beautiful and refreshing. ( Some random pictures after the cut.Collapse )
|Wednesday, August 16th, 2006|
|Thursday, August 10th, 2006|
Yet another proud day for the "investigative journalists" at the New York Times...
"Big Hurdles Remain in Detecting Liquid Explosives"http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/10/world/europe/10cnd-threat.htmlDespite knowing for years that liquid explosives posed a threat to airline safety, security agencies have made little progress in deploying technology that could help defend against such attacks, security experts say.
Yeah? You know why? Because the distinction "liquid explosives" is completely meaningless. You might as well say "Big hurdles remain in detecting salmon-colored explosives". Liquid is just a property, and has nothing to do with anything, really.
However, explosives can be divided into two major groups, nitro-based compounds and peroxy-based. The vast majority of explosives, and all commercial, are nitro-based. We can detect those quite well - if you've ever gone through security and they swabbed you with a piece of paper, that's what they were looking for.
The peroxy-based explosives we can't look for, though, as the end products are acetone, and the volatility of the starting material is too low. These
are the explosives the airlines are freaking out about.
Oh well. It's only the New York Times. I don't know why I keep expecting them to actually fact-check their headlines...
|Saturday, June 10th, 2006|
So I was planning on visiting a friend in London for a few days at the end of June (25 - 28). Already bought the tickets and the hotel room, all non-refundable. Unfortunately, her online bf is coming into town exactly that week, so she won't have any time for me...
Now, I really really hate traveling alone. I usually end up reading at a coffeeshop instead of touristing. So the question is - do you guys happen to know any Londoners who'd be interesting in spending some time with a wayward swede? Touristing, visiting British Museum, randomly wandering in London, dinner, drinks, I'm open for suggestions. Any or all days, I'm not picky.
|Monday, June 5th, 2006|
|Open letter to Jaqueline Carrey
Dear Ms. Carrey,
I've recently finished the first hundred pages of Kushiels Dart
, and I have a small request. Enough with the damned foreshadowing already, OK? In my humble opinion, foreshadowing is the literary equivalent of defecating on the kitchen table. Once you've started, it really doesn't matter how good the food is, it's all just gonna smell like crap.
|Monday, May 8th, 2006|
|A revival of an old tradition...
In a throwback to my first year as a postdoc, I'm now enjoying the "It's monday morning and the Gnu's face is falling off" experience.
The weekend was spent skiing in Mammoth Mountains, which was absolutely awesome. Perfect weather, between 40 and 60 F temperature depending on altitude, still plenty of snow and almost no people. Unfortunately, 11,000 feet of altitude and a deep blue sky does not make a good combination with the fair skin of the Scandinavian Gnu (Connochaetes Scandi
). Right now I have a beautiful red/white border on my forehead where the bandanna was, in addition to the sunshade-induced racoon eyes in an otherwise beet-red face. The peeling will commence shortly.
Some pictures after ( the cutCollapse )
Heeee - Dinosaur Adventure Land shut down for lack of building permit County commissioners showed no sympathy to members of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry who spoke out Thursday night at a commission meeting about the county's actions.
"Scripture also says 'Render unto Caesar what Caesar demands.' And right now, Caesar demands a building permit," County Commission Chairman Mike Whitehead said.
Ah, I do enjoy a good biblical smack-down.
|Monday, April 10th, 2006|