Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's French, or Something

Whiteboard Puzzle - Pronouce This Word

Until about a year before I moved, I haddn't realized how difficult it is to pronounce the name of one of the local towns. I guess the French name or something might make it seem like a quaint classy place, until you walk within it's city limits and see the Ghetto-ness for one's self.

So we got on the topic of difficult to pronounce locations in Pennsylvania, and this one came up. I decided to put it to the test. out of the 10-15 or so people within or around the department, Only one person got it correct (apparently, there's a town with the same name in Iowa).

Most people pronouced it [Doo-SHANE], which is a city in Utah. Most of the people who read this blog know how it's pronouced, but if you don't, you can click the picture to get to Carla's whiteboard for the solution.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Trailblazing Flora

This nifty little flower grows about two feet from the front of my porch, as if to challenge me.

Fire Flower

"Yeah, that's right. You didn't plant me, or even water me, but I grow here anyway. Wanna do something about it? I don't think you have the cajones, pal!"

The red and yellow coloring reminds me of one of them Fire Flowers from Super Mario Brothers. That's right, even the sight of nature marching onto my turf reminds me of classic Nintendo games. I'm still a geek, regardless of where I live.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Don't the States Have Something This Sweet?

So, after bouncing around YouTube after watching that Haddaway video from a previous post, I ran into, and rediscovered this Techno-Euro-Pop band: Aqua.

Most of you know them from their One Hit that made them Wonderous, Barbie Girl. But they also put out several other videos where they turned the following all the way up: Camp, Cheese, and Color Staturation (on the Video editing equipment), and generally have the apperance of a vomitorium for rainbows*. Come, and view a sample of the painful awesomeness they have to offer!

First, a pirate adventure called My Oh My. Yar, Har Fidddle dee dee!

Next, a tale of love and adventure in the Depths of the Amazon Jungle, as well as a thinly vieled reference to certain intellectual Property of the same last name. Wake up now, Dr. Jones!

(As silly as it is, I think that it's still more Entertaining than Indy 4.)

Now an epic space opera adventure where... um... I really don't know. But it has candy. And aliens. Here's Lollipop.

Hope they bring smiles. Enjoy!

*PS: Vomiting Rainbows are just one more of the wonderous things that the vastness of the Internets have to offer!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why So Serious?

George Lucas, due to your perversion of your Star Wars Franchise, you've been on the Chopping Block for a while. Now, with the latest steaming pile of cinema excreated from your hindquarters still setting my teeth on edge, I hearby demote you to "Schumacher." We have already found your replacement, and his name is Christopher Nolan.

In addition to directing the wicked cool Memento, He has also delivered My favorite DC Hero out of the land of suckage, into the land of Milk and Honey, first with Batman Begins, then again with The Dark Knight.

The Joker is less Overtly Comical and more Creepy. Not that I minded Overtly Comical; I still think Jack Nicholson did a fantastic job playing the screwball, but Heath did a lot better than I could have hoped for when I first heard that he was cast. He's unquestionably murderous, but he still can pull off a one liner or a physical gag that's amusing enough to make you chuckle, yet seem rather natural to the character.

Christian Bale: He was good in the first one, he's still good in this one. I'm talked about the total package of Bruce Wayne/Batman, here. All of the other actors in the Tim Burton/Captain Suck versions of the film could pull off exactly One aspect of the dichotomy, and do it well (except Clooney, who is two scoops of lameness), but Bale can do it both.

I believe that Kevin Conroy is still the best voice for Batman, as Mark Hamill is for the Joker. If you've never seen the Animated Series, then you have missed out.

The frequent complaint of most superhero movies lately has been the need to fit as many villians into a film as possible, where they crowed each other out. For example, Spiderman 3 was ok, but it Would have been a lot better if they had taken a pair of scissors and cut out anything and everything that is touched by the Sandman, or his backstory. If they're hurting for space, write in more of Harry Oswald's character, and give us a propper Hobgoblin.

But I think Nolan actually managed to do it, and do it right. Two Villans, in the same movie, and while one of them probably could have gotten his own movie and been fleshed out a bit more, the product was satisfactory.

You need to go watch this now, if you haven't already. The sooner you do, the sooner you can wash the awful taste of Indiana Jones 4 out of your mouth.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Scatter Shot Post - 07/15/08

  • Today is the nine month anniversary of my Job. Yay!
  • I'm currently rewriting an SQL procedure that was meagerly documented, fragile to begin with, and had patchwork-alterations made to it about 15 times in the past 3 years. This is kinda like major reconstructive surgery on a gnarled mass of scar tissue. We can rebuild it. Make it stronger, faster, less prone to screwing up and gobbling up man-hours to fix...
  • I discovered that Pasta Carbonara leftovers must be microwaved for a longer time at a lower power level, lest you turn it into a mass of scrambled eggs with pasta embedded in it.
  • For reasons that I can't quite explain, I had What is Love by Haddaway stuck in my head this afternoon. Maybe I should put Night at the Roxbury in my Netflix Queue...
  • The fishing trip has left my arms lobster red, as punishment for violating my longstanding agreement with my skin: no more than 60 minutes of direct sunlight per day, with at least a half hour break every 20 minutes.
  • Last weekend, I achieved one of my long incomplete video game goals: I finally blew up that friggin' ion cannon at the end of the Terran campaign in Starcraft. A solid dozen of Battlecruisers For-The-Win. I just wish I had a hotkey that could cue up Flight of the Valkaries, as it would have been especially appropriate.
  • Speaking of Video Games, I found that I don't have the stamina to stare at a screen all day like I used to. I used to be able to do about 8+ hours in front of a screen if my parents would let me (they didn't). Now I'm usually only good for about two hours, or if the game is particularly engrossing, maybe 4 or 5 on a weekend before I have to turn it off for the day. I'll take this as a sign of full recovery from a childhood Nintendo addiction.
  • I know I've already made several of you aware of this, but this blog is the funniest thing I've read in a long time. Read it if you haven't already. Start with the earliest posts.

That's enough for now. Good night, God Bless, and Good Luck!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Grubbin' with Fuzzy: Pasta Carbonara

In one of my Google searches looking for recipies for I-can't-even-remember-what, I found this recipie for Pasta Carbonara. Looked easy, the ingredients were simple, or at least could be substitued for simpler things (I think people would look at me ascant if I asked for pancetta. Oh, and keep your imported spaghetti. I'll stick with Barilla, ThankYouVeryMuch.)

Anyway, I used some generic kinda-smoked-but-not-really-smoked bacon, and I had to fudge the quantites a bit; if CityMama doesn't give an amount, it's probably doesn't have to be escact anyway. Aside from that, I followed the Recipie pretty much exactly.

And all God's people said, "Amen!" which was promptly followed by "Nom Nom Nom..." for indeed, this was pretty good.

If you aren't getting up to put on a pot of water for pasta right now, you should. Go!

Gone Fishin'

Yesterday, I figured it was about time that I did something outdoorsy, seeing how that's the major attraction out here. One of the safety guy's family (Jim W) owns a large patch of land in Robertson and invited one of the Engineers (Jim M) and myself out there to do some fly fishing with him and his son.

River on the Walker Ranch - 1

Now I haven't held a rod since my dad and a friend from church went to the Lake in Cannonsburg PA in the early 90's, and that was lake fishing, which is entirely different. Lake fishing (I won't tell you what Jim W referred to it as) you cast off, sit down, wait and enjoy the peace and quiet. In fly fishing, you hunt down the fishes, find their favorite hiding spot and simulate a fly zipping around the water in the hopes that he'll find it tasty.

I was a little sloppy at first, but I did manage to have a little 2-incher visibly follow my fly for a few feet, nipping at it. I couldn't help but interject with the obligatory "Om nom nom nom!"

You have to perfect the technique a bit, because the fish sorta know when the food doesn't look right. Several times in the day I think fish looked at my fly, saw how unnatural it looked and thought. "Heh. What a n00b!" On the other hand, Jim M has mad fly-skills and caught several of the fish that had me my pegged as a tourist on my first cast.

The best example of that was this one beastly sized fish that broke off Jim W's hook in it's mouth. After a few futile attempts by JW to lure him back out, JM decied to try a fly called a "rooster tail" and cast off once. Chomp. We only got a glimpes of this thing before it broke away, but it was quite large.

Yes, this story does include "The One That Got Away."

Ever present in these outdoors adventures, was the threat of being run down by an ornery moose. There was a Mama with her calf stalking around the area, so I stayed nearby Brock (Jim W's son) the whole time in case he had to scare them off with .38 calibur of "Go away." Note, this weapon was only for fireing a warning shot, because this side arm wasn't "take something down" sized, but only "piss it off real bad" size. the other used of it, was incase there was an opportunity to get the bever that was damming up the river and causing a bit of flooding.

We'll proably do it again sometime, so I might invest in a fly rod and waders or something. I was using a borrowed rod from Jim M, and he's only here for a few months before he moves to the Laramie Office. Also, sunscreen, insect repelent, and means of hydration. Very important.

My Catch

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Movies and Hack Writers

Check this one out when you have a chance, if you haven't already, and thanks for reading this and indulging me in this little exercise!

I guess I probably should have warned you about spoilers or something, but as I said above, hacks don't really care, and don't have much respect for their audiences.

It's not an easy thing, to do either. Dirty Harry (A.K.A. John Nolte) once wrote (in a post I'm too lazy to find and link to directly) that you have to keep one step ahead of your audience. once they catch up, you've become predictable. Two steps ahead, and you've lost them, and they are confused. It's a thin line to walk for two hours.

It's the kind of thing M. Night Shamalan got a lot of attention for when he was doing stuff like The Sixth Sense ("Wait a minute, he's dead?!?"), and not junk like The Happening ("Teh trees are killing us because mankind have abused mother Gaia for far too long!"). The surprise ending is absolute GOLD when you can pull it off, but an eye-roller if you don't execute it perfectly.

It's unique because of the execution of that device. The audience is fooled by a "spoiler" within 60 seconds of the title screen, causing them to believe they can predict the theme and direction of the rest of the film. These predictions are dashed to bits at about the halfway mark. "OMG! He killed Kenny! You bastard!"

People talk about this nifty cinematic device at great lenghts, but that mechanic isn't what makes the movie unique. Heck, I remember that an episode of Seinfeld did this exact same thing in the mid 90's, predating this by six or seven years.

I'm writing this post in a similar fashion in order to more closely illustrate that effect. I'm sure this was all the rage during the movie's theatrical release in 2001, but I write like a total hack, and I'm not above doing it again. Like most hacks, I don't let substance get in the way of style, even when the style is lacking as well as the substance! For the last shall be first and the first shall be last!

Continuing my series of posts regarding movies that were cutting edge over 5 years ago, I'm going to talk about Memento, the latest gem on DVD that arrived via Netflix. As most of you probably already know, all the scenes in this movie are played in reverse order from beginning to end.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Local History

I took a local field trip over to Fort Bridger on July 4th in order to take in a little local history. The Ultra Condensed version is this:

First it was a Mormon camp on the way to Utah, Then it was a frontier trading post (run by Judge William Alexander Carter), then they attached a Fort to it. This all happened between 1840 - 1890. Eventually, most of the buildings were sold and hauled off, but a few hung around and became tourist traps.

Officer's Quarters

Here's the pictures. Enjoy!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Independence Day

Hope you're all having a happy 4th. I'll have a major Flickr Update later, but here's a teaser.

Fort Bridger

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Mormon Slang!

Word of the Day:
Trunky (Trun' - kee) adj.

Origins: LDS Missionaires started using this word to describe the state or quality of being exhausted or weary by constant travel and carrying their belongings in a trunk for a year.

"I've been catching business flights for the past two weeks, and I'm feeling rather trunky."

And now you know, and knowing is half the battle!
(the other half is violence.)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Phone Book

Phone Book

When a person needs to express girth or unwieldiness of a document you might hear that person utter something akin to "It was as thick as a phone book!

I'm not impressed.

Very Thin