Sunday, April 30, 2006

Doctor Who Season 2 Episode 3: School Reunion

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThey keep getting better, there's not much more to say than that about the quality of this episode. Longtime Doctor Who fans like me get treated to a return of Sarah Jane and K9 and everyone gets another action-filled, quick-paced Doctor Who adventure.

Where this episode excels over the past two is the Deus Ex Machina isn't as extreme. That is, there's always a magic bullet fix, but this one was well set up and didn't leave any aftertaste. The story flowed and it was quite interesting to watch the new companion meet the old.

Once again the episode plugs Torchwood and I'm thinking that may be our Bad Wolf of the season. You're left wondering if Sarah Jane is going to be seen on Torchwood. There's nothing on the official site about it, but you the possibility is definitely there.

In summary, great story, great plot devices, great reintroduction of an old character: This ep = A+ (100!).

Saturday, April 29, 2006

United 93

Well, what can I say. We went to the 4 p.m. showing and have been intermittenly bawling ever since about 4:45 p.m. Everything you've read or heard is true. The movie casts no judgements, lays no blame and plays the events as true to life as possible.

And it's an emotional punch in the gut.

I mean, you know what you're getting yourself into when you see this movie. It's not entertaining. It's painful. But, in a way, I felt like it was my duty to see it -- that this is a recharge for a battery. The battery that's powering our national will.

I understand if you can't go see this movie. But I think everyone else should.

Review: Tool - 10,000 Days

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting If you are a Tool fan, then you mostly likely sighed with great relief when their new album 10,000 Days was announced. But, there's always the inevitable questions that both precede and succeed such announcements: "What are they doing?" "Are they breaking up?" "Why did it take so long to make the album?" "Is it going to be worth the wait?"

Well, anyone willing to go check out their website or the quarter of the internet devoted to talking about these guys can find out that the band is well and good. I can't answer the last two questions, I don't know and you'll have the answer the last one for yourself.

I will tell you that if you liked Lateralus this new offering is well worth your time. There are no surprises here. There are plenty of the ambient harmonics and odd polyrythms that Tool are famous for. And, honestly, I'd probably have to listen to this album for a good long time before I can specifically point out the amazing moments because there is so much going on in their music that it takes time to ingest it. I will say that the first four songs on the album will just blow you away.

10,000 Days is another great album. I don't know if I was jonesing for a new Tool fix, but it certainly is nice to have one. Highly recommended.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Because I'm All About the Guitar: Take that Banjo PlayersCat Stranglers

If you don't like this solo, you are teh gay. Or into the banjo. Which is roughly the same thing.

UPDATE: I tried to fix it, but I can't even post new files to Putfile right now. I'm going to have to find a better place to host audio, methinks. I might have to swallow my pride and buy a damn domain.

UPDATE the second and bump: OK, finally got Putfile to post a re-edited, redone file. Please click here for the new file and please let me know if this one works for you.

Oh, and bonus points to anyone who can tell me the name of the artist and song.

Previous installments:
Pt. 26: Because I'm all about the re-post
Part 25: Charvel sucks
Part 24: I'm lazy
Part 23: Rob Zombie's Educated Horses, a review
Part 22.5: An awesome video
Part 22: Fretting over the board
Part 21.4: A shout out;
Part 21: Cop Out;
Part 20: Lenny Kravitz;
Part 19: Is it guitar or is it Korg?;
Part 18: A beautiful guitar;
Part 17: Getting all amped up over the sound;
Part 16: Not quite plug and play;
Part 15.25: Don't let Gibson buy your company;
Part 15: The greatest guitarist you've never heard of;
Part 14: The finish;
Part 13: Vernon Reid;
Part 12: The vibrato tremolo;
Part 11: Jimmy Page;
Part 10: What's in the wood?;
Part 9: Rebuilding a guitar;
Part 8: G3 2005;
Part 7: John Petrucci;
Part 6: Chingon;
Part 5: Home recording on the cheapity cheap;
Part 4.01: Guitar Zen;
Part 4: Full service Friday -- concert going in 1993;
Part 3.5: Gretsch guitars;
Part 3: The Reverend Horton Heat;
Part 2: Back when I thought I could play;
Part 1: Zakk Wylde then and now


Okay, I finally got off my butt and added some links on my roll that I should have done a while ago: IMAO, 'nuff said; Memento Moron, because of superb content, a wealth of links from Pints and he jumped on the plagiarism bandwagon; Mountaineer Musings, because Sarahk shares my passion/disdain for America Idol; and Vultures Row because Vulture 6 also jumped on the plagiarism bandwagon and he's a fellow military man.

Now, go forth and read them if you are among those who don't already.

Plagiarism redux, again

Apparently, I didn't write this post myself. And Kaavya Viswanathan didn't actually write her own book.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'm just trying to be a better person

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMike O'Malley, cousin of our favorite literary/acting blogger, appeared on My Name is Earl tonight, ratcheting up the the cool points of my favorite sitcom considerably.

Money Quote: When you ran, I didn't reach for my gun, I reached for my bowling ball.

Amityville Anthropomorphics

Blog-friend Tracey had a disturbing comment on one of her posts recently. This led to her posting a lengthy response to the commenter. Well, we commenters analyzed and discussed and, like the AD/HD aflicted bunch we all are, we veered the topic to something only schizophrenically connected: Demonic Toys.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingSheila really summed up the sentiment best when she said: "Children’s toys come to life = Lifelong emotional scars." So, what are some of your strongest children's toys are evil and frightening moments? Movies, TV, real life ... let it out, this is your catharsis.

Me, as I mentioned at Tracey's, the clown scene in Poltergeist has left me with both a lifelong fear of clowns and marrionettes.

I mean, I could never watch coach without thinking that every night he was going to sleep on an indian burial ground. Well, that's a lie, but one that sounds funny.

We'll rise again dammit!

Dixie Royal

You are 89% true Southern!

You are pure belle or gentleman! You know your Jones Soda, Nehi and RC colas, your Moon Pies and sweet potato pie; you'd absolutely die without air conditioners in the summer, and you've seen Steel Magnolias and Fried Green Tomatoes (or read the book!). Your grandmother lives in an antebellum home and has a cook who makes the best fried chicken and asparagus casserole and summer squash and everything else in the world. And you know the taste of honeysuckle and the feel of grass between your toes. You are blessed.

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on Southerliness
Link: The Southern-ness Test written by gwennykate on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

h/t Lisa.

Dead heroes go to Van Halen?

Once again getting my inspiration from FARK, here's a great post at Stuck in the 80s. It's an old debate: Which is the better band - Van Halen or Van Hagar? But the Stuck in the 80s blog is a great forum for the debate.

Personally, I think the author cheesed out by not coming right out and taking sides. He says that he likes both but if you pin him down he'll say old Van Halen. He backs this up in his top 5 VH album picks by only picking one Van Hagar offering.

My vote is for Diamond Dave-era Van Halen. I honestly don't even think of Hagar-era VH as the same band; which is why so many of us call them Van Hagar. A commentor on the 80s blog said that had Dave not left, the band would have broken up. I wonder if that might have been the best idea in the long run.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Idol vindication

Kellie Pickler is gone!!!!

Thank you Jesus.

On the vindication issue -- at the beginning of the episode, Ryan asked the judges if they felt differently tonight than they did last night. And Simon said, "Just one. Katharine, I felt it was a great performance." Sweet, sweet vindication.

A most heroic quest

Three men embark on what may the most heroic quest of the 21st century: finding the worst bar drink.

Here's an excerpt from their first stop:

Ye should be tryin' the Green Chartreuse!" he said. "Tis more terrible than the screech of a Ring Wraith riding its steed down yer throat!" Green Chartreuse is a liqueur that was invented when Satan was tired of peeing in the mouths of the damned with his eight-headed penis. Charlie dusted off the bottle from the nether regions of the bar, and as he opened the bottle I heard the bark of Cerebus, faintly, but distinctly. It didn't pour into the glasses so much as it flowed, its color and consistency an exact match for the mysterious green chemical they use to charge porto-potties. I thanked him, tipped him generously, gathered up the shots and brought them to our table.

Go read the whole thing; funniest thing I've seen in some time.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

And then there were six: Idol liveblog 4/25

UPDATE: Sarah, as she said in my comments, is on a very different page than me this week.

UPDATE 2: Tracey also disagrees with me on many points. Except the main one -- The Pickle sucked.

UPDATE 3: Dean's thoughts are up and he's got Kellie and Paris at the bottom (as does Dial Idol for that matter).

UPDATE 4: Wizbang Pop!, as always, conveys the deeper ramifications of American Idol on the American psyche. Um, OK, not really, they're talking about Katharine's minor wardrobe malfuntion.

All Idols have two phone numbers tonight. Hmm, wonder why that's happening.

Italian superstar Andrea Bocelli is assisting the contestants tonight. Wonder if they'll listen.

BWAHAHAHAHA! The vocal warm up! Bocelli totally pwns and the producer pulls no punches. Fantastic! "Are these the finalists?" the producer asks.

1. Katharine: Singing a song made famous by Whitney (I Have Nothing), written by the producer who's helping them. She sounded bad at first, but it seems like she took their advice to heart. And she sang a really good duet with Bocelli.

Her live performance ... wow, vocally I'm thinking this might be her absolute best performance. Quite good. WOW! At the end she really brings it home, she's doing more than singing -- she's putting herself in the song. Her personality is really coming through. Great job!

Judges: Randy - Thinks the song was too big for her. I really disagree. She was very good. Paula - Also didn't think much, but she doesn't ever think much, does she? Simon - By choosing that song you're saying that you're as good as Whitney, and you're not. Well, I agree that she's not as good as Whitney, but she didn't necessarily sing like her either.

Again, thought it was a very good performance. I mean, if you make a song your own, you don't have to be better than the original performance.

2. Elliot: Resinging his audition song ... I kind of feel like this is Elliot's domain. He should do quite well.

The background scenes this week are quite revealing and I think the producer dude (can't ever catch his name for some reason) is really helping these guys out. I think he gave Elliot some advice that really helped.

Again, like Sheila has mentioned here and elsewhere, Elliot just makes this all seem so effortless. He's so good, on pure vocal talent. He just doesn't sell the song on stage like some of the others. Tonight's a bit better perhaps, his vocals are like honey, with butter, on velvet. I mean, his best vocals ever. These guys are ratcheting it up.

Judges: Randy - Didn't like the arrangement, but I liked your vox. Paula - You know, I can't even follow what the hell she's saying. Really, I've lost it. She sounds like Drew Barrymore, trying to create her own metaphors, only one-eighth as coherent. Simon - Superb vox.

3. The Pickle: Who isn't dreading this?

Hey y'all, I'm single! Hey y'all, I'm singing that Unchained Mel-o-dy song. You know, I'm gonna sing it like LeAnn Rimes like every other song I sing.

Man, they're being nice to her, and aren't saying anything bad about her singing. But they didn't say anything good either.

Her performance: OK, so it hasn't started horribly. OK, so she can sign this, in her sytle. So, I must ask, what the hell's up with the Ed Grimly effing hairdo? Goodness she can't have both -- decent singing and decent wardrobe/hair. Oh well.

As I listen, I mean, I haven't cringed, but it's not fantastic. I've heard karaoke that's just as good or better.

Judges: Randy - Hey dog, dog, you think you butchered it, huh? It was very strange, not the right song. Paula - Um, um, um, I don't, I can't, um, I adore you, but um, where am I? Simon - That deserved tears, but for different reasons (Paula cried at Elliots performance - for those who missed it). There was no oomph.

The judges were right, though maybe a little harsher than needed. She wasn't bad, just not great. Not top six good. But then, we all knew that.

4. Paris: Both Bocelli and the producer dude thought she was fantastic, but they thought she should pull back her vox on the first eight bars or so. I think it's interesting and something I've been thinking she should probably have done on a few of her performances.

Performance: Very good start, whoop, a couple of flubs, but once the tempo picks up a bit, she really gets going ... and then she cuts in with her full vocal push and it was good transition. She's selling the song too. Very good stange presence even though she's camped out behind the mic stand, she's owning the stange. Very, very well done.

Judges: Randy - Yo, dog, yo, I wasn't blown away, but I liked it. Paula - I felt you oversang the song. Simon - Very good vox, but too old fashioned for my taste.

Hmm. She rocked, shut up judges.

5. Taylor: I'm psyched to hear what he's got up his sleeve.

Ah, the producer is David Foster! Finally heard it straight. Anywho, I get the impression that these guys are probably helping the contestants more than anyone else has.

Performance: Oooh, ouch, really pitchy to start (and they said some great things about him in the preview), but he quickly picks himself up starts the groove. It's a good song for him, but he just doesn't seem in it -- until the end, he opens up. Taylor just doesn't seem happy unless he's throwing his voice all the way out there. He doesn't seem very comfortable with the slow and emotional. But, the crowd's eating it up.

Judges: Randy - Completely the wrong song, not good. Paula - Not my favorite song for you. Simon - You looked uptight tonight ... outside of American Idol, you hear this performance at any nightclub or hotel bar.

They were right, but I don't think it was the song. He just wasn't on tonight. I bet Taylor could have eaten this song up on most any other night. Unfortunately, the night that mattered, he couldn't sell it. It wasn't the worst of the night (Kellie), but it wasn't a lot better. And that hurts me to say because he is my favorite performer.

6. Chris: Wonder if he's going to sing a rock ballad?

Hmm. They (Bocelli and Foster) were a little rough on Chris. As they should have been, he's signing a feckin' Bryan Adams song for God's sake.

Performance: Again, a pitchy start. I mean, the power's there and he closes each line stong, but the lyrics to get to those strong, punchy points are a bit warbly. Well, as he warms up to the song, it gets a little bit better. Still, not great, but not horrible. Better than Taylor.

Judges: Randy - Loved it. Paula - Loved it. Simon - Very good choice of song, great performance.

Hmm, I haven't agreed with these guys much tonight. I'm sure I'd feel different about his performance if I was there on the floor, but I'm listening to it here, and I could hear some pitchy issues.

Not a great night for my favorites. And as I listen to the recap, I give The Pickle worse marks than I did above. Man, I was really hoping to effortlessly enjoy myself tonight. It wasn't there. It just wasn't a lot of fun tonight. No one was amazingly good. No one was amazingly bad. It was one long hour of mediocrity.

Bottom 3 (3?): The Pickle was definitely the worst, Taylor may see the bottom three based on his performance, and lastly, I'd say Katharine, because Paris rocked hard and Chris has too many fans.

We'll see. They better step up the tempo next week dammit.

Internalize forever

Following up on Ken's post...

It's a small advance for society, I suppose, that Ms. Viswanathan didn't merely throw it all on the anonymous packager. And she did contribute some original material. She and her publisher have announced that future editions of her novel will offer more of it in place of the stolen bits. In software terms, that means that "Opal Mehta" was a beta version pawned off as a finished product, requiring patches and additional work that the consumer should have gotten in the first place. I was rather hoping that the practice wouldn't catch on elsewhere. (And I should know, since I Ken Nightfly ran a blog carnival that blew up in my Ken's his face some months back. Yes, it was my Ken's his fault.)

It's only Tuesday

Good lord. It's only Tuesday. Have these been the longest days in creation or is it just me? I've been busier than I've been in quite some time, but these days just seem to be dragging ...

Thank goodness for the simple pleasure that is American Idol -- that is, if it's actually pleasurable. I don't even have that assurance.

Well, continuing my good stuff theme from earlier, at least the work day is almost over for us East coasters.

The Good News Post

There is a lot of news hammering away at you every day. Most of it bad. The more I read, the more I get fed up with "so-and-so did this" and all the partisan bickering.

The truth is, I know where I stand politically, but I have lost faith in any politician to truly attempt to acheive that agenda.

So, I'm posting this today to get you folks to comment on some good news. Me, I just doubled my DSL speed -- fantastic!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Doctor Who: Season 2 Ep. 2 - Tooth and Claw

Image hosting by PhotobucketSo, last week I gave The New Earth an A, which in retrospect might have been a high mark. Having watched it again, I might rate it a high B. But that's what you get at the beginning of the season. Big special effects, neat new scenery and the fact that you've waited the better part of a year for one of your favorite shows EVER to come back on the air can artificially raise the quality rating a bit. No worries though, it was still enjoyable.

However, tempered by a twice-watched season opener, I cranked up episode two: Tooth and Claw. The episode has Rose and the Doctor wanting to go to 1979 England but they wind up, shockingly in 1879.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThe plot rotates around a werewolf, the Queen of England, kung fu-practicing monks, and Torchwood. I'll leave plot devices at that, but for those of you staying in the know about such things, Torchwood is the name of an upcoming Doctor Who spinoff show that will star Capt. Jack of season one fame (it's also an anagram of Doctor Who).

This week's episode was a little scary for my younguns (I love that they love Doctor Who), but they still liked it enough. The story, while not captivating, didn't cheese out as much as last week. I give Tooth and Claw a B+.

One part Shakespeare, dash of Python, whole lotta internets

Thou villainous pox-marked apple-john!

Check out the Shakespeare insult generator.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Just for Emily: My Screenshot Friday

Image hosting by Photobucket

I've always found plastic pal who's fun to be with to be a double entendre, you?

Because I'm All About the Guitar Pt. 26: Because I'm all about the re-post

UPDATE: Could someone let me know if the link to the MP3 file works for them? I'm at work and our server is horrible.

I'm reposting Pt. 5 of my BIAAtG for a couple of reasons. First of all, and most importantly, I am lazy. Second, I almost forgot about it all together. Third, Dean posted something about home recording/podcasting a couple of days ago and made me think of this. So here's my repost of Home Recording on the Cheapity Cheap:

Shortly before I deployed to Afghanistan (ed. In late 2002), I got a wild hair about doing some home recording. There is and was a lot of information on the Web about how to do it right and economically. Well, I had issues with them.

First, I couldn’t afford to buy any of the equipment they suggested. I couldn’t afford a new sound card, an external input device or really nice recording software like Acid or Pro Tools. Secondly, not only could I not afford to set up a real cheap home studio, I didn’t really want to either. I wanted to see if I could overcome the obstacles given the equipment I had on hand.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWhat did I have: A computer with the regular accoutrements (a Celeron 400MHz, so no barn burner, though this was 2002), an Ibanez Gi0 guitar, a Dean Playmate bass, a Fender Bullet Reverb practice amp, and Cool Edit Pro multi-track recording software (I also have a Rogue bass amp, but didn’t use it).

So, I had tools. Not great tools, but enough to accomplish the task. For those who are interested in playing around with multi-track recording and don’t have any real experience, Cool Edit is a neat program to use. It’s very user friendly and easy to learn. It’s not very powerful, but it’s cheap (I’m linking to a free download -- may be demo ware -- at the bottom). Cool Edit is now Adobe Audition, but the old 2.1 version is still readily available. But, there are lots of free audio editing programs out there if you go through Tucows or something.Image hosted by

Before I tackled the problem of getting sound into the computer, I decided I needed to find a way to lay down a drum track. It was important to me to get the most realistic sounding drums I could without paying any money for software. I wound up running across a program called DRUMS. I used the demo version (linked at the bottom of the article). It’s a VERY time consuming process to lay down a drum track. BUT, I did discover the ability to copy and paste bars, which sped up the process a bit. If you’re doing a pretty simple song, it’s not that hard. I couldn’t imagine doing something really complex though.

So, I had a drum program, the ability to record the drums (if you have the demo version, you have to play the drum track and record it using an audio recorder on your computer; with the full version you can export directly to WAV), so I decided to play around with the program a bit. I found some neat sample drum beats and quickly laid down a simple pattern with repetitive fills. I used it as a click track to play guitar along with it, and decided I should attempt to lay down guitar and bass tracks.

This created a completely new dilemma. The little Fender has an export port. And I tried to run a line from the “External Speakers” jack into the computer’s Aux. Input and Microphone input. However, I can only assume that the amp’s line must act like a pre-amp or something, because I could never get a usable guitar sound going this route. There was either too much feedback or the signal was not loud enough to be usable.

I had to think around this problem. How could I get a signal that sounds as good as the amp (and that little Fender amp does sound good) into the computer? Then I started looking at the computer’s microphone (the standard one that came with the computer). And I had a moment of inspiration. “What if I mic’d the amp?” I thought.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHaving a little bit of an idea of acoustics (not much though), I wound up taking a large box and putting the amp into it. I further put two pillows and a quilt in the box to absorb any echo and put the mic barely in the box at a corner opposite the amp. Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis setup, as white-trash fabulous as it may be, worked quite well. I was able to lay down guitar and bass tracks this way and synch it all up in Cool Edit. Took about an hour to do all this (after the drum track was already done). I am not linking to this experiment because it sucks donkey balls. But it proved to me the process was sound.

Now I was cooking. I might have been cooking with an MRE heater, but it was still a form of cooking. I was at a point where I had to decide what I wanted to record. It had to be something simple (because I can play nothing but), but something I liked also. After a few different ideas, I decided on Some Kind of Hate by The Misfits. I chose the song primarily because the drum track was very easy.

Regardless of ease on the drums, it was still a time-consuming process. The demo version of DRUMS does not allow you to save, so if you commit to it, you have to do the whole song at once. I believe it took me two or three hours to get it down. But once I did, the rest of the process was pretty easy.

I did this all at night, after the wife and kids went to bed … this is an important note for later.

After setting all the equipment up (pretty quick when you leave everything prepped, it took maybe 10 minutes) I recorded the guitar track. It’s important to note that you have to keep track of your input and outputs (via your computer’s audio control panel). ‘Cause if you want to use the drum track as a click track, you cannot have to mute the record portion of that input, which I think would be wave. The mic would be Line In or microphone, depending on what all inputs you have.

Amazingly, I got the bass done in one take and it only took two or three takes to get the guitar down. Simple songs are lovely.

I mixed down the guitars and drums and came up with a good sounding instrumental track. I normalized everything and that was a mistake. The short little solo in the middle lost it’s punch and I had to play around with crap for a while to get it right. I finally got it punched up enough, but it never sounded quite right after that. I also added some Chorus and a little more distortion to the track via Cool Edit’s effects. CE’s chorus effects are awesome. I can think of very little music that can’t benefit from Chorus.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comNow came a new problem … vocals. I have a real Nady mic I was going to try to use, but because of the bad sound card, I could get nothing useable. What I did not think of, and, in retrospect I wish I had, was to run the vox through my practice amp. But, I wound up singing dry directly into the computer mic. This didn’t work out very well. Singing through the amp I could have “heard” myself better, not so this way. Plus, it was about 2 or 3 in the morning and I was trying to keep my voice down. So the vox turned out like crap.

I tried a lot of things to punch up the vox, but regardless of what I did, I couldn’t fix the fact that I was flat and lacked dynamic range because I wasn’t singing at my normal volume. So I turned down the vox in the mix and let it ride.

Here is the finished product. It’s in MP3 format and is about 2MB. If you’re not familiar with the song, it’s punk, but this song’s SFW.

The sad thing is, I did this to prove that I could get a decent-sounding recording given pretty standard equipment that any musician would have. After proving that to myself, I haven’t done any more recording and I wish I would.

Here is the link to the Cool Edit Pro 2.1 I talked about. (It's now called Adobe Audition and I don't even know if this download is good anymore.)

Here’s the link to the Drums! Demo I talked about.

Previous installments:
Part 25: Charvel sucks
Part 24: I'm lazy
Part 23: Rob Zombie's Educated Horses, a review
Part 22.5: An awesome video
Part 22: Fretting over the board
Part 21.4: A shout out;
Part 21: Cop Out;
Part 20: Lenny Kravitz;
Part 19: Is it guitar or is it Korg?;
Part 18: A beautiful guitar;
Part 17: Getting all amped up over the sound;
Part 16: Not quite plug and play;
Part 15.25: Don't let Gibson buy your company;
Part 15: The greatest guitarist you've never heard of;
Part 14: The finish;
Part 13: Vernon Reid;
Part 12: The vibrato tremolo;
Part 11: Jimmy Page;
Part 10: What's in the wood?;
Part 9: Rebuilding a guitar;
Part 8: G3 2005;
Part 7: John Petrucci;
Part 6: Chingon;
Part 5: Home recording on the cheapity cheap;
Part 4.01: Guitar Zen;
Part 4: Full service Friday -- concert going in 1993;
Part 3.5: Gretsch guitars;
Part 3: The Reverend Horton Heat;
Part 2: Back when I thought I could play;
Part 1: Zakk Wylde then and now

The headbutt

I'm telling you, little boys are fun. And they make you contemplate things you never thought you would. My 9-month-old boy had me thinking, this morning, about the headbutt.

The kind of wild abandon with which my little boy approaches life makes me realize that only a boy could have invented the headbutt. Let me explain:

I have, on occasion, seen my girls headbutt. But it has only been because of an accident or because they have exhausted every other option available and to smack someone with their head is their only recourse. In their younger days, they might have lost some neck control or something and accidentally smacked you, but would never do it on purpose. I mean, that crap hurts!

But my boy, God love him, seems to think that the large blunt object sittin on his shoulders is a perfect offensive weapon. When play fighting/tickling with my girls, he will try and get involved and will launch his head at his sisters.

I can only pray for his future.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

An anniversary

This week marks one year that I've lived here in the wonderland of Southwest Georgia. This may not seem like much to many of you, but throughout my entire life I only average living in one place for three years. So, I've been here one-third the time of my standard hitch at any one place.

I bring this up because it's been a particularly difficult hitch.

Every new place has its challenges. There are new people, new experiences, new environments, new cultures, and sometimes, new languages. Here, I had new place, new people, new home life, and starting a brand new job as a DoD civilian. All those kind of things I would normally take in stride, but in addition to coming into a new job working for a new kind of job environment, but it was a very tense one. Good degrees of incompetence with a healthy dose of micromanagement and a dash of politics made for a difficult office in which to work.

There's usually a cycle to the life of most military members. And, with some exceptions unique to each person, it usually fits a pattern similar to this: 1. Unless you are sent to the "Home of the Suck" (Tule, Greenland, for the Air Force; Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, for the Army; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for Marines; many places at sea for the Navy; and there are some other examples) you arrive at your home station thinking great things are going to happen; 2. Great things may very well happen, or not, but at some point in time you realize the transitional nature of military life means your contributions don't mean much; 3. If you haven't all ready done so, you begin to get antsy about getting out of the assingment and brainwash yourself into thinking that any place is better than where you are at; 4. You begin looking at your assignments -- seeing if there's a slot you could get assigned to, or, at least, if there is some school or deployment you can go to; 5. You get orders and begin and think that your next assignment will be the best ... 6. Rinse, repeat.

The old saying maintains its truth: The best assignment is the place you just left or the place you're about to go to.

Anyway, you understand how I think about things when I move somewhere. So, I'll tell you that, primarily due to the office environment here, I went from step 1 to 3/4 in about three weeks. Things are different as a civilian. While a military member has a minimum amount of time he has to spend at a duty station, a civilian has no such requirements (unless you're brand new to the system, like me, then you have to get at least a year in). I began looking around seeing what kind of jobs are out there just to see.

Now that I'm at my one-third mark, I'm having a hard time not applying for these jobs. Honestly, I doubt I'd take any of them, but I think I'd like the idea of knowing that someone else would hire me. That would be, perhaps, psychologically gratifying.

On the other hand, I'm in a position to finish my bachelor's and get my master's degree in a little under two years. And this is really the only place I can do that. So, I'm here at least two more years, which would stick with my average. But, man, it's hard sometimes. Really hard.

DVD release wish list

A fanboy at IGN is whining about some substandard DVDs released in the past. He's compiled a list of his top 25 DVDs he'd like to see treated to better releases.

There are some on the list I can't disagree with and there are some I could care less about. As for #1, I'd also like to see a voucher to go to the director's house and punch him square in the jaw.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Idol capped

You know that thing where the contestant who gets kicked off sings and everyone says, "Well, if he/she had sung like that he/she probably wouldn't be here." Well not tonight.

Ace was so much better Tuesday night.

How about that bottom three though? The fan camps are a-circlin'. I wonder if Chris or Paris' fate depends on what or how well they sing through the rest of the competition.

Um, Bingley...

What the hell are you doing and by God I hope you haven't invited Ken.

Are you a man?

This is an interesting list. 59 things a man should never do after turning 30. Though I will admit that I violate or could, at some time, be in danger of violating numbers 6, 8, 13, 14, 22, 26 (though with guitar), 28, 37, 38, 45 and 51.

I would add, to make the list an even 60:

60. Base his masculinity or lack thereof off a list.

The next list on the page is the funniest. But I must say that Mr. Noodle is a creepy dude.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Idol standards 4/18

UPDATE: Sarah has her thoughts up and they are almost exactly in line with what I would have live blogged had I done so. Her order from best to worst is exactly almost how I rated 'em. I thought Ace was slightly better than Elliot. However, a note to Sarah, every time I try to leave a message on your blog, they never show up ... is there a moderation problem?

UPDATE 2: Tracey puts up her thoughts, but is distracted by the TOMKITTEN.

UPDATE 3: Dean puts up his notes. He is letting his prejudice show in that Paris isn't in his bottom three, but I always like reading his stuff.

Well, I wouldn't have thought that American Standards would have gone over so well, but this was probably the most enjoyable American Idol of the season. I enjoyed it so much that I couldn't pull myself away to live blog. So, here are my opinions overall.

The only performance that I think was just terrible was Kellie's. And, if there is any justice regarding this show, she'll be going home tomorrow. Judging from the other performances, she'll probably be joined in the bottom three by Elliot and Paris. Not that they were bad, just not as good as everyone else.

On that note, I was shocked by Ace. This was a breakout performance by him, I thought. Not that it was great, but I believed him this time. Very good singing. And all the other performances just went up from there.

My favorites of the night: Chris and Katharine. I was blown away by them both. How awesome that you can open and close a show so strongly. Very pleased.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Doctor Who Season 2, Episode 1: The New Earth

Image hosting by PhotobucketYou have no idea how happy I am that Doctor Who is back on the air. Last season was one long Hallelujah Chorus of awesome. But when it ended with a regeneration, I was skeptical. "Only one season," I thought. "How can he only do one season. We love Christopher Eccleston."

But I waited, as patiently as possible, for The Christmas Invasion. And, although it was a one shot, it was good. What little David Tenant was in the episode he shined. He was just not in it enough -- to much focus on Rose. Which is my chief complaint with this new series. However, it's a very small gripe for what has proven to be a wonderful new take on one of my youthful favorites.

Now season two is here and kicks off with The New Earth. I won't go into plot as that can be found on the BBC site or at Outpost Gallifrey. But I will say that the series continues with the same passion and feel that permeated last season. I will further say that this episode benefits from the growth of the first season. The effects are definitely smoother and more lush. The extras were great and the story was fantastic.

The New Earth gets an A (The climax almost ruins it, but they, again, smooth it out and it ends well.)

Am I late to this show?

Earlier today, I followed a link from FARK to a very cool list of FREE/DONORWARE programs called The 180 Most Popular Freeware for Windows. While there is a lot of cool stuff (and some of what I'd consider essential on a WinPC), I'd either seen most (or at least a very similar program) or they didn't seem to be very interesting.

However, there was one program I downloaded just to see what it could do. It's called E-Tuner. What I need to know is, has anyone here used this? Is this old news? 'Cause, I mean, I can't believe I've just stumbled on to something this freaking cool before the rest of the net jumps on it.

What it is, for those who don't know, is an internet TV program. It streams TV stations , Cameras and Radio stations from around the world. I've not yet explored it too much (haven't even opened the radio sites yet), but the TV section alone is mind boggling. There's so much on here.

If you don't know about this, make sure to check it out. If I'm lagging behind and talking like a seeming luddite, please let me know.

The ongoing struggle for new material

I hope you all had a good Easter weekend. Things went well for the family and me. There was much good food and good company. There were many cute things done and said by the children, but all my attempts to recall them have not been fruitful.

Friday, April 14, 2006

SoaP auditions

Just released, Snakes on a Plane audition package:

Because I'm All About the Guitar Pt. 25: Charvel sucks

Image hosting by PhotobucketThere was a time when owning a Charvel guitar was truly something. It was a status symbol. You were on the cutting edge of rock. Sonically, they rang the notes that the world collectively banged their head to. Eddie Van Halen endorsed 'em, man. What more can you say? It's a pretty elite group of manufacturers that can claim that. He really didn't whore himself out like some artists have.

Image hosting by PhotobucketThis is my dream guitar style (not the paint job, though). I love the single pickup, single volume knob, Floyd Rose bridge-style guitar. There are not a lot of really good guitar manufacturers making this style of guitar, so when Charvel came back recently and reintroduced the "1984" style, I was pretty happy.

Until I saw the freakin' sticker price.

I don't understand it. I just don't understand. Not that there aren't very expensive guitars. I mean, if saw a Les Paul going for that, I wouldn't blink twice. But I'd also be getting a hell of a lot more guitar for the money.

Let me explain. You're not getting some awesome, custom shop, hand-carved masterpiece here. You're getting a CNC-routed, single pick-up, non-exotic wood, thick painted guitar. Quality, yes, but the only thing special about this is that EVH has lent his name to it.

By comparison, Kramer has re-issued their "1984" model guitar (Eddie was originally with Kramer before switching to Charvel). $840 vs. nearly $2,500 for essentially the same guitar. And, honestly, you're getting a lot more cool with the Kramer.

Heck, if you want this style guitar and hand-crafted goodness you can pick up a J. Frog for less money than the Charvel. You can see that a comparable J. Frog will run you $1,300. Almost half less than the way less cool Charvel (and you're getting a much better instrument, IMO).

Also, if you scroll down to the bottom of the J. Frog list, you'll see the skull and bones guitar. I'm gonna talk about that guitar next week.

Previous installments:
Part 24: I'm lazy
Part 23: Rob Zombie's Educated Horses, a review
Part 22.5: An awesome video
Part 22: Fretting over the board
Part 21.4: A shout out;
Part 21: Cop Out;
Part 20: Lenny Kravitz;
Part 19: Is it guitar or is it Korg?;
Part 18: A beautiful guitar;
Part 17: Getting all amped up over the sound;
Part 16: Not quite plug and play;
Part 15.25: Don't let Gibson buy your company;
Part 15: The greatest guitarist you've never heard of;
Part 14: The finish;
Part 13: Vernon Reid;
Part 12: The vibrato tremolo;
Part 11: Jimmy Page;
Part 10: What's in the wood?;
Part 9: Rebuilding a guitar;
Part 8: G3 2005;
Part 7: John Petrucci;
Part 6: Chingon;
Part 5: Home recording on the cheapity cheap;
Part 4.01: Guitar Zen;
Part 4: Full service Friday -- concert going in 1993;
Part 3.5: Gretsch guitars;
Part 3: The Reverend Horton Heat;
Part 2: Back when I thought I could play;
Part 1: Zakk Wylde then and now

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wiki Meme

It's been a busy day, but this meme seemed really cool.

The rules, go to Wikipedia and put in your birthday, minus the year. Then list three events or neat facts, two births and one death:


1431 - Joan of Arc is handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon.

1920 - Curse of the Bambino: The Boston Red Sox sell Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees for a sum of $125,000 and a loan of more than $300,000.

2000 - The last "Peanuts" comic strip is created by Charles Schulz.


1892 - J. R. R. Tolkien, British writer and philologist

1929 - Sergio Leone, Italian director


2005 - Will Eisner, American comic book artist (a sad, sad event).

Via Ken.

The gayest comic ever?

In an issue both funny and mildly disturbing, Chris' Invincible Super Blog tackles what might very well be the gayest Superman and Batman comic.

Via slick

Esmay's Idol revenge

Okay, so last week I picked Paris to be in the bottom three, and she was. This week I said Elliot was one of the better performers, but America didn't agree with me. Dean lets me know about it.

Well, I still maintain that, based on performances, Katharine deserved to be in the bottom three last night and that Ace should have gone home. But we all know that Bucky's time was coming sooner or later.

Next week we should hear a couple of good performances and a couple of horrible ones as the crew take on Rod Stewart. For my fellow South Park fans out there, can you look at Rod Stewart anymore and not think, "Poo my pants?"

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Come on Kellie Pickler, kiss me deadly

UPDATE: Tracey has her thoughts up.

UPDATE 2: Our Mounaineer Muser continues her anti-Kellie rant.

UPDATE 3: Dean's thoughts are up. Although he's smoking crack about Elliot.

UPDATE 4: Sheila's got some interesting thoughts on last night's show as well. I won't disagree with anything she says regarding stage presence. I have to agree. But I was definitely affected in different ways than she.

Okay, I lied. I couldn't stop myself after seeing the Pickle. Did she not look like a Lita Ford wannabe?

Anywho, notes so far ...

Bucky: This is probably my favorite Queen song, and I appreciate Bucky's take on it. It's not great, but I'm happy that he's doing it and not murdering it. Not too bad.

Ace: Wow. That sucked. Buhbye Ace. (Note: Once again the daughter says, "Ooh, I love him.")

Pickle: What was up with the '80s uber-rock chick outfit? I almost Closed My Eyes Forever because I expected her performance to be a Shot of Poison. However, she came out Larger Than Life and Playin' With Fire but she's really Gotta Let Go.

Humor aside, it wasn't bad. I just don't like her.

Chris: Guess I'm just not very familiar with the tune. I mean, the dude can sing really well, but that just didn't sound together. It was, I don't know ... the judges are blown away except Simon (says it's not a very good song), but pretty much makes my point. Great vox, bad song.

Katharine Good call changing the song. She should perform this well. Starts well. This is really her A/O. Oooh, um, she's hitting the notes, but she's not keeping them. She's "sliding," as my kid's vocal teacher explained to her the other day. Not too good in my estimation.

Judges: Randy - pitchy, but you're cute so you're good; Paula - I can't hear anymore obviously; Simon - thought there were tune problems but thought the overall was good.

Maybe he's right, but I tell you, sitting off to the side and only watching a portion of it, she was OFF. Her future is in the hands of the folks who follow.

Elliot: Holy S***! Is that the ghost of Freddie? As we were watching the preview, I told the wife that Elliot is probably the closest to Freddie and he's really showing it (except the dropped lyric). Even with that little flub, great performance!

Randy talks about pitchy problems but I really didn't hear 'em. Paula: Wonka-wonka. Simon heard it too, so I'm probably wrong, but, man, that was good. Damn good.

Taylor: Changes from We Are the Champions to Crazy Little Thing... which I also think is a good thing. Rockin! Personally, I think it's the best Taylor in a few weeks. Funny that he missed kicking the mic stand down. That aside, very solid performance. Not the best vox, but an overall performance to bring down the house.

Judges: Randy - Taylor's back (and I agree); Paula - Wonka-wonka; Simon - Are you drunk, I thought it was ridiculous. Wow. Simon really doesn't like Taylor, I guess.

Best so far, I think.

Paris: If Brian May says you're damn good, you're damn good. And what a good choice of look. She tood the '80s rocker that Pickle was trying to do and made it work with a more modern feel. On the song though, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW, WOW! I really wasn't expecting this from her. I thought we'd be closing the show on a sour note, but she's captured the best performance slot from Taylor. Amazing. Amazing. To think I'd wrote her off. This was great.

Judges: Randy - Don't listen to me, I don't know what I'm saying; Paula - Wonka-wonka; Simon - I have apparently turned into some kind of bobble-headed thing that can't comprehend good performances at the end of my program.

Man, it's weeks like this that keep me watching this show. Very good show. An amazing increase in performance over the last two weeks.

My bottom three (and this is tougher than I thought it'd be): 1st place suck - Ace (I mean, yuck dude); 2nd-place suck - Katharine (a song that should have been a slam dunk for her was a pitchy, slidy nightmare); 3rd-place suck - Bucky (not a bad job on his part, but in comparison to everyone else, too bad Buckster).

Going home = Ace.

No Idol liveblog 4/11

I'm sick. No liveblog tonight. I'll blog about it in the morning. Maybe.

Monday, April 10, 2006

How awesome is this photo

Image hosting by PhotobucketI had to dig through our archives this morning to find some pictures of color guards past and present when I ran across this photo.

This is a shot of our color guard during opening ceremonies at a local arena football game for military appreciation night. The shot just has great ambiance.

Technically, it's a "Official U.S. Marine Corps Photo" but since I know who took this shot, I'll give her the credit. Cpl. Rose Muth took this shot while assigned here. Fantastic work, Rose.

On the state of suckin' at bloggin'

I'm sorry for not having something interesting up this weekend. I'm sorry that, most likely, nothing interesting's going to get up today.

Part of that has to do with there not being much going on here. Part of that has to do with my health. I cannot seem to stay well lately. If its not my back going out, it's my knee. If I haven't come down with some stomach problem, it's something else. This weekend, allergies have knocked the entire family down. It's caused me to get a sinus infection, so I've spent the entire weekend (and today) seeing the world in a teary-eyed haze. Not fun.

The practical upshot of all of this is that my diet and exercise routine has been shot. I should just power through some of this ickyness, but I'm just not in good enough shape to do that. I used to run when I was sick to get all that crap out of my lungs. I just can't do that now.

Ugh. Enough whining. Hope your day is going better than mine.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

On the state of knock-knock jokes

Overheard from my 5-year-old while driving them to our local zoo (remember this is said with conviction and laughed at by herself as though it's the funniest thing on the planet):

Knock-knock (with little girl cute)
Who's there? (with older sister annoyance)
Strawberry (barely stifling giggles>
Strawberry who? (same older sister annoyance)
Strawberry shortcake! (erupting in laughter)

The driver and front seat passenger also laughed for a good long time. We're biased though. Maybe you had to be there.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

By your command

You scored as Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo). You have spent your life trying to life up to and impress your Dad, shame he never seemed to notice. You are a stickler for the rules. But in matters of loyalty and honour you know when they have to be broken.

Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)


CPO Galen Tyrol


President Laura Roslin


Number 6


Dr Gaius Baltar


Commander William Adama


Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)


Col. Saul Tigh


Tom Zarek


Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)


What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with

(via Tainted Bill)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Idol upset 4/5

Wow. Mandisa, Elliot and Paris. Well I feel vindicated in that Paris was in the bottom three. But Mandisa getting voted off was unexpected.

Taylor has a great following to not make the bottom three because he was the worst performer. But this show is getting to be less and less about the performances.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Idol not-quite-liveblog 4/4

UPDATE: Dean's post is up and we vary greatly in our bottom three.

UPDATE 2: Tracey further explores "teh suk" that was last night's Idol.

Country night. Should be interesting what they all decide to do.

Ugh. Ryan's facial hair looks bad. It looks less like someone who's trying to be edgy and more like someone who went on a bender. Maybe he hung out w/Paula over the weekend?

Kenny Rogers looks a bit tired, but the man is awesome. I grew up with his music. Really looking forward to his comments.

Bucky playing guitar seems pretty cool. I heard somewhere that he's in a band back home and isn't the lead singer, but the guitarist. The singer of the band was too old, so everyone in the band who was young enough auditioned. Pretty neat if true.

So Taylor's up first.

Taylor: Kenny says he sounded a bit weak at first ... gotta say that I agree. Started slow, painful in points and just not strong at all.

Randy: No personality. Paula: "You're life and I wan't able to suck your soul tonight." God she looks bad. Simon: Didn't wound rehearsed. I agree with him

Safe. Boring. Lazy. Could be a bottom three week for Taylor.

Mandisa: Doesn't sound good. Just an easy rolling song for her and it doesn't fit her voice. At least it looks like she's having fun. She plays the audience well, but it's not a great vocal performance. Not bad though. Just not great.

Randy: Another intersting night. Beginning wasn't hot -- can't believe I'm agreeing with Randy again. Paula: I can't believe Randy doesn't like her. Why doesn't he drink bleach like me? Simon: Thought it was horrible ... maybe not that bad, but he's pretty on. Randy was the closest voice of reason I think.

Ryan's trying to look like someone out of Desperate Housewives? Not quite.

Maybe not bottom three material, but she needs to watch her step. Depends on what everyone else does.

Elliot: Kenny's wondering if his R&B is going to fit into the country vibe. I'm wondering that also. To start, I don't know. What's up with facial hair this week? Are the guys feeling inadequate when faced with Kenny "The Beard" Rogers? Elliot, I have a beard. I like beards. But please do yourself a favor, shave.

Uninspired song but well performed. Just doesn't come across with any feeling. I think the guy can sing, but he hasn't been conveying emotion lately.

Randy: I love it. I'm finally myself again. Paula: Do me now, you have that ... that ... abandon ... my room # is ... Simon: Good song choice, not a great vocal. A little hesitant, like you were nervous. Best so far.

Simon nails it for Elliot. He's safe though.

I'm now eating ice cream. Updates sporadic.

Paris: Oh God, she's doing that damn Con Air song. And it's not sounding good in the preview.

Flat to start. Did she raid Kellie's closet (her clothes, ugh!)? God, the whole thing is flat. Bad, bad, bad. Her climb to the sur-viiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive was terrible! Both times. Not good at all. This is bottom three material here. If she doesn't get by on cutes.

Randy: Can tell this is a tough song for you. Hmm. Wonder why? Paula: You have a powerhouse, I see Joy -- she's my dealer, oops did I say that out loud? You don't own that stage. Simon: Is smoking crack.

Well, even Simon is very wrong now and then.

Ace: Kenny says he matched with the song. We'll see. "Ooh look. You can see my belt buckle. This is my cowboy outfit!"

More flat notes. But not as bad as last week. He's definitely better this week than last. But God in heaven, please, please, please, could he do a song and not do any falsetto?

Randy: Once again, hard songs to sing if you suck! Paula: I disagree, Randy. He wouldn't suck ... that's his signa, singan, signature. Simon: You chose the right song tonight.

Ryan: Ladies he's officially single. Wink. Wink.

My ice cream's getting melty.

Ooh, they're asking Pickler if she's a big ol' fake. She says it's the real her on the show. Fake ass beyotch.

Kellie: This is her world, so I have no doubts she'll do well tonight. The producers must really like her. She's doing a good job, oops I spoke to soon. She missed a couple of low notes. Definitely not in her register. With the wealth of country songs out there, why did she choose this?

Oh, well, given the lyrics, I kind of get it.

Wow, who's been teaching her eyebrow acting, Hermione? Goodness her eyebrows are far more interesting than her singing.

Randy: Blah, blah, you did good. Paula: Blah, blah, good night. Simon: Would be a shocker if you didn't do well tonight.

Well, not great, but she's safe.

Chris: I hope he shines tonight. Starting out pretty well ... it's good. But, I don't know, just not interesting. It's not his fault, it's not a very interesting song. Great vox, just uninteresting.

Randy: Check it, yo, yo, you sang it, yo. Paula: Nothing I say has any value. Simon: You chose a boring song. All of you.

And I must, again agree with Simon.

Katharine: Trying to find a bluesy country song. Hmm. If you can't meet the genre, make the genre meet you. Well, she's damn well singing better than last week. In fact, this is the best performance tonight. She's not quite at home on stage, but she's bouncy cute and that makes up for a lot.

Missed what the three talking heads had to say because of a phone call. I stand by what I said though. Very good performance.

Closing the show is our current country king:
Bucky: A real challenging song for him given the fact that there are a lot of comfortable songs he could have chosen. However, he's not doing it very well. Flat more than not. Which is sad 'cause he should have been rocking solid this week. Poor song choice for him.

Randy: Good song choice. Paula: You and Kellie shined. Simon: Not an expert on country but it sounded okay.

You know what song I didn't hear tonight? That's My Job by Conway Twitty, the best damn country song ever made. You can't sing about a good daddy and not have it be touching. Why didn't any of the guys know this. Damn good song. Bastards.

Well, this weeks bottom three is kind of tough. It's not hard to pick out who the worst three were, it's just hard to type it. The worst performers, my bottom three: Taylor, definitely; Bucky, probably; Paris, probably. My wildcard -- Ace.

Another suck week. Man, this season is turning into a suck-o-rama. If these guys can't start choosing some damn decent songs, someone needs to get in there and start choosing for them.

The memories are a floodin'

UPDATE: Photo added.

Image hosting by Photobucket
Here's the only pic I could find. Desmond T. Doss is hugging a retired Army Major General (was there during the Battle of Okinawa, but I can't remember who he is) during a ceremony at Torii Station, Okinawa. This is officially a "U.S. Army Photo" but I did take this one. There are a couple of others around here somewhere but I can't find them.
THS posted this story at Swilling about Medal of Honor recipient Desmond T. Doss -- the only conscientious objector to receive an MoH.

I have some very personal stories about Mr. Doss. I met him 50 years after he saved his fellow soldiers and earned the MoH. During the 50th Commemoration of the Battle of Okinawa, held in May 1995, I was a young private (E-2) and had only arrived at my first duty station the month prior.

To write these stories and to be a part of such a huge event was truly baptism by fire. And, of course, I screwed it up. There were issues with ranks and proper names. I was really out of my depth and I didn't have very good leadership looking over my shoulder.

But I'll never forget those couple of weeks in May 1995 where I met some of the greatest men in America's history. Actors and other artists get remembered because they're in the public eye. Scientists and engineers get remembered because they leave their imprint on the world. These heroes should be remembered because they ensured we were able to do all of those things.

Please check out THS's post and the links she has there. Desmond Doss was truly a one-of-a-kind man.

I said in the comments there that I'm going to post some pics later if I can find them. Watch here for updates when I get home in a couple of hours.

It must be supercomputer week for me

Los Alamos scientists ask supercomputer how best to stop bird flu. Computer says, "42."

From the article:
Catherine Macken of Los Alamos said the computer model used in the study provided a surprising finding — using a weak vaccine in many people would be better than trying to vaccinate a smaller number of people with a more effective dose.

This is, of course, that the flu actually makes it here in as virulent a strain as is currently being seen. I have my doubts.

Monday, April 03, 2006

How I'm going to die

Well, it's nice to know now.
While marching in a local parade, you trip and stumble over a pothole. You are
immediately crushed under the wheels of a fire engine full of clowns.

Well, that explains why I've never liked clowns.

Learn about your demise.

Via Matt.

We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!

The Brits are up to some supercomputing. The article states:

When it is built in 2007, the high spec number cruncher will be faster than any
in Europe.

The High-End Computing Terascale Resource, or Hector as it is
known, will be owned by the Research Councils of the UK.

The machine will calculate results, but will further explain that you're not going to like the answer.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

A worthwhile pop punk band

I am not a fan of pop punk. I don't like Green Day. I can't stand Blink 182. Don't even get me started on Avril Howeveryouspellherlastname.

But, I guess there are always exceptions to every rule. Here's one band I can back. Check out their video, Bush Was Right.

h/t Ace.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Guilty confession of the day

If I don't know you, most of the time I evaluate your worth as a human being based on how quickly you accelerate once the light turns green.