two of swords

Well, as predicted in this post, I was unable to weasel out of the second card I'd committed to create for this year's collaborative tarot deck project. So:

(Ceci n'est pas un hommage à Magritte.)



Post deleted.


another candidate for the most awesomest blog post ever

Today I stumbled upon a blog post entitled SLEDGEHAMMER AND WHORE on the blog, I find your lack of faith disturbing. The blog is described as "Another Screenwriter Blog." The blogger is identified only as "Josh."

It's a wonderful post. It's an epic post. I encourage my myriad of readers to go read it in its entirety. I feel (almost) certain that you will not be disappointed. (And while the first third gives the impression that it's all about the TV production business, keep reading.)

Also, while the subject of what motivates one to exercise plays only the smallest part in the narrative, it does offer one motivation that I don't believe I have ever before encountered:
"I know that at different times in this blog I've referred to myself as a fat, lazy fuck. But in truth...who am I kidding. That's exactly what I am. However, in the last year I've become a less fat, less lazy fuck. I've hired a trainer, mostly at the behest of my wife, who doesn't want me to die young and leave my child fatherless. My own motivation for working out is mostly to postpone my death at least until my wife is old enough that she can't remarry anyone that would sexually threaten me when I watch them fucking from Heaven."
Anyway, go read it.

Update: Bonus Coincidence

So after writing this, I went looking for clues about who "Josh" was.

An aside: A few weeks ago, we finally got an upgrade to our DSL connection that resulted in a connection speed somewhat faster than our previous barely-twice-the-rate-of-a-56k baud-modem connection. (We live in the semi-boonies as far as AT&T is concerned.) One result of this is that we can finally take advantage of Netflix's streaming service and get picture quality better than an about-to-fail-from-old-age VHS tape.

While looking for something to test the service, I found the TV series The Sarah Conner Chronicles and decided to watch the first episode. Four days later, I had watched all 31 episodes, up to the point where the series was cancelled at the end of season two.

I know I'm over a year behind the rabid fan community in being outraged by this (I'm sure most of them have reached the stage of acceptance and moved on), but I was seriously bummed. Particularly given that the season ended with a cliffhanger. Talk about lack of closure.

The point? "Josh" turns out to be Josh Friedman, writer and executive producer of The Sarah Conner Chronicles.

Doesn't mean a damn thing, of course. But there you go.


cow clicker!

Back in my post about Echo Bazaar (with, BTW, totally rocks), I claimed that I was, "a person who refuses to go anywhere near any Facebook games." Well, never say never. For I have recently found a Facebook game that truly transends the very category of "Facebook game."

Said game is Cow Clicker, by video game designer and critic Ian Bogost. It's genius. As decribed by Mr. Bogost:
"You get a cow. You can click on it. In six hours, you can click it again. Clicking earns you clicks. You can buy custom "premium" cows through micropayments (the Cow Clicker currency is called "mooney"), and you can buy your way out of the time delay by spending it. You can publish feed stories about clicking your cow, and you can click friends' cow clicks in their feed stories."
If you're on Facebook, you owe it to yourself to check it out. And if you're looking for something to do in those six hours between clicks, you might find this post by Mr. Bogost rather intriguing.


the unicorn consort

(Photo © Baron Wolman. Used by permission.)

This photo by Baron Wolman (rendered sepia by the passing of time) was taken on June 5, 1970 at the wedding of Theresa St. Clair and Jack Rumbaugh in a canyon north of Malibu, California. It appears in a photo story about the wedding in the August, 1970 issue of Rags, a "counter-culture" fashion magazine that was published in San Francisco from mid-1970 to mid-1971. Brilliant San Francisco Chronicle columnist Jon Carroll was a writer for and later editor of Rags. The artist Barbara Kruger is listed on the masthead as one of its art directors.

While I doubt that it's necessary for anyone who knows me in real life, for the benefit of internet friends I'll point out that that's me in the middle, playing soprano recorder. To my left is Charles Fischer, the founder of the consort. I'm sad to say that I no longer remember the name of our then-third member.

Thanks to Cassandra Tondro's blog, Rags Lives!, you can see the entire article here.

That same issue also includes an article about the Hamilton Pulsar, described as "the first solid state portable wrist computer in the world." The Pulsar was actually an LED digital watch (the kind where, for battery life reasons, you could only read the time by pressing a tiny button which would light up the display for 1 1/4 seconds). It cost $1500.

And oh yeah, The Cockettes.



(via the ever-inspiring Yimmy's Yayo.)



It's hard to believe that it's been an entire year since last year's collaborative tarot deck project, but apparently it has.

This year, for reasons that I can't quite piece together, I volunteered for three cards. What was I thinking? Luckily, due to a mixup, one of the other members accidentally created one of the cards that had been assigned to me. I was quite relieved to let her keep it. Last weekend, with time running out, I did this:

This was my first attempt at doing coloring in Photoshop, and truth be told, I'm rather pleased with the result.

So far, I've been unsuccessful is my attempts to weasel out of the remaining card, so there may be one more coming this year.


blog quote of the week

From PZ Myers at Pharyngula, in a post discussing an apparent* Twilight-themed sex toy:
"...nobody will ever try to sell you an Eli vibrator. Ever."
(If this makes no sense to you, it's most likely because you have not yet seen the brilliant Swedish film, Let the Right One In. If that's the case, your assignment is to remedy that unfortunate lack immediately. Or at least before the ill-advised American remake arrives. If there were ever a movie that did not need a remake, this is the one.)

* Although I'm not entirely convinced "Twilight" isn't just the description of its color.


media quiz of the day

From what website was the following screen grab made? (I'd provide multiple choice answers, but that would undoubtedly give it away.)

everything you need to know about the financial "regulation" bill

(from the AP via the indispensable Glenn Greenwald)




9000 says:
"Reblog if u care ... Nobody seems to care anymore. We care about LadyGaga zeitgeist of Ignorance, (our constant stimulation has assumed priority) and the FIFA Soccer Cup of Mafia and Corporations (organized crime). www.ustream.tv/pbsnewshour "
Update: For any readers not familiar with Twitter, a bit more insight into the above may be found here.



modern art #2

The Rude Pundit, on Twitter:
Coated in mud at Bonnaroo, I said, "Look at me. I'm a Gulf pelican." Everyone laughed. Then I died.


i feel better

Unfortunately, embedding this video has been disabled, so click the image to watch it at YouTube. (At first blush, you may be wondering why I'm posting this. Keep watching. Trust me.)


uh oh...

While we're on the subject of distraction...

As someone who does not count himself among the admirers of "casual" games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, and the like (to say the very least), but who, for a period a few years ago, lost untold hours to The Kingdom of Loathing, my discovery yesterday of the browser-based game Echo Bazaar raises a red flag. While it is still too soon to tell for sure, this one definitely holds the potential to eat one's life (for a few weeks at least).

It's pretty much impossible to describe the play of Echo Bazaar in a paragraph or two, but, like any self-respecting MMOG, there's a dedicated Wiki that includes a Getting Started guide and a detailed walkthrough of the the first few actions to get you going.

What's really intriguing about Echo Bazaar is the world-building. It takes place in "Fallen London," a vaguely Victorian underground version of actual London with a touch of steampunk, a touch of Lovecraft, and more than a touch of China Mieville (along with a welcome touch of dark humor). It's also fairly non-linear, giving you the freedom simply to explore or to pursue various of the goals that become available as your experience increases. And, unlike many such games (The Kingdom of Loathing excepted), the writing (presented in small, bite-sized chunks) is typically worth reading (and sometimes quite wonderful).

One element that could put some people off is that Echo Bazaar requires a Twitter account to play. But the developers go to great lengths to assure players that there is never any requirement to involve your account if you don't want to. However, if you do choose to take advantage of the Twitter integration, there are definite advantages to cooperating with friends who are also playing (you must be following each other on Twitter to do so). Personally, I find the Twitter requirement totally benign (and I'm a person who refuses to go anywhere near any Facebook games).

That being said, I did create a separate Twitter account specifically for Echo Bazaar. So, if any of my myriad readers do decide to give it a try, come follow Ariel Hawksquill. Once you've found lodging, perhaps we can help each other out (or compare nightmares).

And if there aren't any posts here for a while, you'll know why.


modern art

Q: How many performance artists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: I don’t know, I had to leave after four hours.



Now this is some major league distraction. Made entirely on my iPhone after getting home from work today. Shot with iTimeLapse Pro, edited with ReelDirector, score created with GrooveMaker. On a fucking phone.
(Nice of the weather to cooperate.)


into the moonset

Probably not quite as awesome as attractive young women kissing, but still an effectively distracting option to ranting about infuriating stuff like this and this. Jeeze.


mini quote of the day (right-wing hypocrite edition)

Indiana Republican Rep. Mark Souder, evangelical right-wing hypocrite (is that redundant?) and vocal supporter of "family values" and abstinance-only sex education, announced today that he is retiring. Seems that he has been having an affair with a young woman who he first met when she was a guest host on a Christian radio show in 2004, and who he later hired as a part-time staff member.

Souder, who has been married since 1974 and has three grown children, reportedly met his mistress for sex in various Indiana State Parks. And, in another of those death-of-irony moments, a video has surfaced in which Souder is interviewed by his mistress on the value of abstinance-only sex education (although it now seems to have disappeared from YouTube).

In his resignation speech today, Souder said he would be leaving "the poisonous environment of Washington, D.C." to focus on "...renewing my walk with my lord."

He and his lord will no doubt be walking along the Appalachian Trail.


i can hardly wait

Because we (and by "we," I mean "I") need a break from the constant barrage of disheartening political developments and dispiriting idiocy, that's why. (Probably NSFW.)

(by Ditlev Rosing & Frederik Valentin)


caleb howe: worst fucking person in the world

Last week, Roger Ebert, film critic, vocal liberal, cancer survivor, prolific Twitterer, and general all-around good person, posted a tweet critical of some kids in California who decided to provocatively wear American flag shirts on Cinco de Mayo. In response, right-wing blogger Caleb Howe of the conservative site Red State chose to reply via his own Twitter account with a prime example the insightful and well-reasoned debate the right is so well-known for:

What a sad fucking excuse for a human being.


tweet of the day

And the day isn't even half over yet.
More here.



Obvious? Yeah. So?


born free

Brought to you by the Arizona Office of Tourism. (NSFW)


the very definition of meta

Constantin Film, the German production company responsible for the film Downfall (Der Untergang), the source of the scene of Hitler ranting at the news of his imminent defeat that has become an internet meme with the addition of "new" subtitles, has requested that YouTube remove all of the versions of the scene, claiming that they are an infringement of their copyright. YouTube is apparently complying.

Hitler responds:


the bed

(click the image for the full size version)


i've lost the will to rant


However, given that the coming Supreme Court nomination is likely to be the most important and far-reaching act of the Obama presidency, potentially shaping the very direction of our country for a generation to come, I strongly recommend that you read these two posts by Glenn Greenwald:

The case against Elena Kagan

The long, clear, inspiring record of Diane Wood

And just in case you're concerned that your blood pressure is too low, this should solve that problem.

To quote Greenwald quoting John Cole:
The message is clear- you torture people and then destroy the evidence, and you get off without so much as a sternly worded letter.

If you are a whistle blower outlining criminal behavior by the government, you get prosecuted.
As he notes, I guess there're at least some circumstances in which the Obama DOJ is willing to "look backward" after all.


forward, not back

This photo was taken by the documentary photographer Steve Shapiro. It was taken in 1963.



namir noor-eldeen, 1984-2007

(Reuters file photo)

Just a reminder that it's real individual people we're talking about here.

Update: Almost forgot. Fuck yeah, WikiLeaks!


bonus post!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

bill donahue: it's not really child rape if the child is 12 or 13 years old

Just when you thought that vile fucker Bill Donohue had demonstrated the limits of the vileness of his (rhetorical [as far as we know]) fucking, he proves you wrong.

Tuesday night on the Larry King show, he defended the Catholic Church by claiming that the big, mean old press is being unfair to the poor church by describing pedophile priests' child raping as pedophilia. See, according to Bill, if the rapees are "post-pubescent" (which according to Bill means 12 or 13), then it's not really pedophilia.

Words fail.


From today's New York Times:
ROME — A senior Vatican priest speaking at a Good Friday service compared the uproar over sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church — which have included reports about Pope Benedict XVI’s oversight role in two cases — to the persecution of the Jews, sharply raising the volume in the Vatican’s counterattack.
Because everyone knows that being accused of protecting child-raping priests is exactly like the Holocaust.

beauty is the promise of happiness


lowercase post title

Another in the (apparently never-ending) series of "it'd be funny if it weren't so sad" posts.


rerun (child rapists edition)

From the Guardian UK, in a story headlined, "Pope dismisses 'petty gossip' of sexual abuse allegations":
Pope Benedict, facing the worst crisis of his papacy as a sexual abuse scandal sweeps the Catholic church, declared today he would not be "intimidated" by "petty gossip", angering activists who say he has done too little to stamp out paedophilia.
Of course, activists (and, in fact, every human being with an ounce of humanity) should be angered by a church hierarchy dedicated to protecting child rapists. But being pissed off by that "petty gossip" comment? Hey, if you've been covering up for child rapists for as long as these folks have, one or two more allegations probably would seem pretty much like petty gossip to you. After all, the church is now lead by a man who punished a priest for holding a Mass at a peace demonstration (leading the man to ultimately leave the priesthood), but who couldn't be bothered to take action against hundreds of priests who were raping young children (apart from doing everything possible to make sure that knowledge of their actions didn't become public and "embarrass" the church).

So, in honor of the attention now being given to this "petty gossip," here is a reprise of a video I first posted as part of a longer entry last summer. Back then I saw it as confrontational comedy designed to make Bill Donohue's head explode (always a worthy goal). Now, it's looking more and more like a documentary.

alien vs pooh

Exactly what it says. Alien vs Pooh.


lies we can believe in

From Jon Walker at Firedoglake, after enumerating the long list of ever-changing excuses given for why we couldn't have a public option in HCR:
Occam’s razor teaches us the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Here, the simplest explanation is that, months ago, Obama promised to kill the public option as part of a secret deal with the for-profit hospital lobby, and that for months he lied to the American people about supporting the public option while working behind the scenes to stop it.

So, when exactly does that changing the way Washington works thing start again?
Read the whole thing.


mashup #2

So, in the spirit of that last post, here's something I found somewhere. It, itself, is of course a mashup of other peoples' work and had, no doubt, been posted by someone who may or may not have encountered it on the original mashupper's (could that possibly be a word?) site.

Normally, I'd credit the site where I discovered it, and, if possible, the original artist, but I guess that's so Twentieth Century and Not Digital now. And anyway, unlike David Shields, I don't have a publisher with a staff of lawyers telling me I have to.

(Oh, what the fuck. It's by mofaha via Unpolitically correct.)


Anyone with any interest in art or writing (especially fiction writing) in the brave new world of social media, might do well to read this New York Times article by Michiko Kakutani.

let the finger-pointing begin

From David Frum, former Bush speechwriter, on the Right's HCR "strategy":
We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.
So today’s defeat for free-market economics and Republican values is a huge win for the conservative entertainment industry. Their listeners and viewers will now be even more enraged, even more frustrated, even more disappointed in everybody except the responsibility-free talkers on television and radio. For them, it’s mission accomplished. For the cause they purport to represent, it’s Waterloo all right: ours.
One can only hope. Though I must say, as much as this bill is a sad excuse for actual reform, it's nice to see some Republican heads exploding for a change (metaphorically speaking, of course).


current events

And just in case anyone is assuming that by "us" I mean "them," well, don't.

But yes, it definitely means them as well.




way to the neighbor

As long as we have a vaguely NSFW theme going this weekend, here we have the 1968 German short film, Weg zum Nachbarn, by Lutz Mommartz. Whether you're a fan of bicycling, or are just curious about what may be one of the original inspirations for Beautiful Agony (another being Andy Warhol's 1964 Blow Job), the last minute or so is worth the ride.



The real reason the dinosaurs became extinct. (Decidedly NSFW.)


just say neigh

While we're otherwise engaged, how about a reading recommendation from those wonderful folks at Awful Library Books:

And just in case you thought the "naughty horse" description was somehow metaphorical, well, guess again:

I think this book actually extends the existing upper range of the WTF? scale.


the fun never ends

pain rating

(h/t rocket girl for the observation)



In an all too rare media victory for reality-based medicine, Rachael Dunlop (@DrRachie) has won the Shorty Award in the Health category. Suck on that, "Dr." Mercola (no link).



So, a little over 24 hours later, I'm extremely gratified to see that you all took me at my word.



Yes, this is probably all over everywhere by now (it had about 26,000 views this morning and, ten hours later, is now over 300,000). But as a contrast to my previous posts about the rise of CGI (and the no doubt obvious despair of the last two), the pure joy of the low-tech DIY esthetic of this video is, to me at least, absolutely irresistible. Enjoy.

Seriously. Enjoy.


the leading voices of conservatism are hideous people

It's one thing to have a different opinion about the role of govenment in our lives. It's another to be a vile fucker. Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck, and a whole bunch of other "conservative" luminaries show themselevs again and again to be the latter.

Doubtful? Go here. Or just take my word for it.

Vile fuckers.


nothing to say today

Sometimes the idiocy of our national discourse is just overwhelming.

This is one of those times.


procedure 110-montauk

You might (or might not) want to put aside a bit of time and explore the records of The SCP Foundation.

If you're looking to review examples of the SCP Series (as well you should), you might start here (moving up the object classes):

SCP-085 "Cassy" (Safe)

SCP-294 The Coffee Machine (Euclid)

SCP-231 Special Personnel Requirements (Keter)

This last one, the source of the post title, should be accessed with extreme caution only after [DATA EXPUNGED].


what they can do #2

Following on from this post, below is the Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Demo Reel 2009. As you'll see, they do greenscreen work for television shows. While you might have rationalized that previous post as obviously consisting of special effects, and therefore not to be "believed" in any case, not so here.

Anything visual can be a lie. Keep that in mind.


envelope generator

Well, this was quite the interesting experience.

I recently encountered the above graphic while browsing an intriguing flickr stream (more about that in a future post). I'm guessing that most of my readers will most likely see this as an evocative sequence of words. A sequence that invites one to imagine the story that they are perhaps a part of.

Attack. Followed by decay. Then sustain. And, finally, release.

Personally, I was stunned. Over the past 40 years or so, I imagine that I have spoken those words (or their acronymic equivalent, ADSR), in exactly that order, literally hundreds (maybe even thousands) of times. And never once, before seeing that graphic, thought of them together in terms of their primary meanings and their potential stories. And now, thanks to that graphic, I will never fail to see them in those terms again.

Context is, indeed, everything.

(For those curious, my previous context here.)


so let me get this straight...

Not terrorism. (Photo by Jeffery Speck)

A bunch of brown people, outraged at the policies of the US government, fly planes into buildings, killing people, and they are, understandably, labeled terrorists, triggering an apparently never-ending "war on terror™."

A white guy, outraged at the policies of the US government, flies a plane into a building, killing people, and Huffington Post reports that:
Homeland Security is investigating all angles but the incident does not appear to be terrorism.
Just as a reminder, terrorism is defined as, "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes." Like, for example:
I can only hope that the numbers quickly get too big to be white washed and ignored that the American zombies wake up and revolt; it will take nothing less. I would only hope that by striking a nerve that stimulates the inevitable double standard, knee-jerk government reaction that results in more stupid draconian restrictions people wake up and begin to see the pompous political thugs and their mindless minions for what they are. Sadly, though I spent my entire life trying to believe it wasn't so, but violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer.
The dictionary folks must have inadvertently forgotten the "... by other than white people" part.



Life continues to intervene. Back soon.

Update 2/18: Just realized that not only did I forget the attribution link for the photo, but I seem to have either lost or never recorded it. QED.


citizen & rocket girl valentine 2010

(via us)

american valentine 2010

(via Skull Swap)

And if you happen to be out looking for a valentine-for-the-day, remember, protégez-vous: