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Most subtle Buffy reference ever? [Tuesday 16 Jul 2013 at 07:27 pm]
I took the eight year old and the eleven year old to see Despicable Me Two this afternoon. Between the romantic volcano rocket rescue scene and the wedding scene the fade showed the text "147 dates later."

Looked like latent Spuffyness to me.

Also it turns out the eleven year old, who watched Buffy as a toddler, played a vampire at the school monster pageant last year. She was a fearsome dangerous pink glitter vampire.
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Stuff and Things [Friday 22 Mar 2013 at 10:02 pm]
Here's a good one.

 photo avengers.png

But this is also excellent.Collapse )
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Girls [Thursday 10 May 2012 at 11:46 pm]
Girls (a co-production of HBO and stormfront.org): proof that a show by women, about women, and for women can still only just barely squeak past the Bechdel test in most episodes.
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Buffy In Popular Culture [Tuesday 1 May 2012 at 04:51 am]
So Jordan in Battleground is a Buffy Season Six fan. Just like us! The image of our fandom is improving.


roughly at 17:15
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I wrote about stuff. [Tuesday 24 Apr 2012 at 11:36 pm]
Scabs: I went on a hard backcountry trip of a few days with a girlfriend and we came back exhausted, scarred, cut, and bleeding. It was great. The mountains and the woods are filled with treasures of botany, geology, wild animals, archaeology, and self-knowledge. And scars will heal up. The girlfriend doesn't think I should be so proud of the blood I shed finding a new route across the mountain. I say that's why I carry surgical tape in the pack.

So I told her, minor injuries make you feel alive and scabs are like souvenirs. Plus, chicks dig scars. She wasn't buying it.

I should really be more careful around bears in the future.

Fringe: I was about to drop this show. Then this week we have the crazy flash-forward to 2035 and I remember why I love it. In Season Three, there were something like five episodes in a row where we didn't see the lead playing her character for even a full minute between them because the world had gone bizarre and every bit of it was gold. It reinforced all the themes of the show while treating us to the alternative. This was great like that.

Mad Men: Oh, it's back. And it's still fun. I still enjoy the surreal way they make 1965 look so fresh. The Draper apartment is gorgeous. They treated Howard Johnsons as if it were stylish. I can't help remembering how bad the food was, though.

Does anybody else's culture do a carefully detailed recreation of the recent past? I'd love to see Ireland or Mexico or Japan done in complete 1960 style with 2010s production values.

Midnight in Paris: It didn't feel like the inter-war years to me. Can't say why. A perfectly serviceable Woody film for all the usual reasons, Midnight makes me feel like he enjoys shooting Paris a lot more than he did Barcelona.

Girls on HBO: You know how some shows would rather drag you cringing through awkward and embarrassing moments where you feel bad for the characters instead of just making them worth caring about? I used up my bucket of ewww on the pilot and brought home a new whole new bucketfull from the store. Then I ran out again halfway through the second episode where the girl is sabotaging her job interview by accusing her prospective employer of being a rapist.

Battlefield on Hulu: This is the junior partner to The West Wing that you're looking for.
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FIC: Five Times Buffy Was A Robot (And Once She Wasn't) [Thursday 29 Mar 2012 at 05:25 am]
[Tags|, , ]

Title: Five Times Buffy Was A Robot (And Once She Wasn't)
Spoilers for all of Buffy canon and for the comics through March 2012.
Comments: Loved. Which is your favorite?


Buffy pulled up to open the bedroom window, but it wouldn't budge. Joyce had nailed it shut. "Well, it's official," she said, "this day can't get any worse."

"Beg to differ."

six storiesCollapse )
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No picspam for you! [Sunday 26 Feb 2012 at 11:11 pm]
There's this from yesterday's meme machine,


And this from today's,


Who says the forces of reaction can stand in the way of progress?
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On The Nurturing And Operation Of The Human Female [Monday 13 Feb 2012 at 09:31 pm]
[Tags|, , ]

I've read some Buffy Season Nine comics and come to a clear conclusion about Buffy's pregnancy.

First, I counted the days.

*Buffy's party is day zero.
*She wakes up with naked Willow on day one and later meets Spike and the loan collector.
*On day one or two she is caught by the cops with a stake.
*On that same day she escapes and the next meets up with the Siphon.
*She sleeps over with the Siphon on day two or three.
*She does battle with the Siphon with Dowling, Koh, and Spike's help on day three or four.
*On day three or four, Anaheed and Tumble find her weapons stash.
*Anaheed and Tumble are so eager to talk about her dangerous lifestyle, they harass her in the bathroom soon thereafter. Since it's such a priority to them, I can't imagine they've waited more than 48 hours after they found the weapons, so it's day four to six.
*Buffy is taking a pregnancy test in that bathroom and gets a little blue plus on day four to six.

So I conclude that Buffy is confirmed positive on the pregnancy test somewhere between four and six days after the party.

We've all had this conversation:


Paramour: Owen, I'm pregnant.
Owen: Really? How do you know?
P: It's my cycle. It hasn't started yet.
O: Are you sure?
P: Of course I'm sure! It's my body.
O: I mean, are you sure you're overdue.
P: I think so. I must be. It feels overdue.
O: Have you tried a pregnancy test?
P: Those don't work until you've been pregnant for two weeks.
O: So let's just not worry about it yet.
P: Owen, I can't be pregnant. I'm only [16,17,18,19,21,23,36,39,40] years old, we're not married, my father doesn't like you, and you don't have a job.


I always enjoy that conversation because it's a strong predictor of hot, intense panic sex.

I find that the ladies often just aren't counting right. One partner of mine would panic each and every month because she was sure her cycle should be exactly 28 days. As a rational man I keep my mind like Abed's notebook and I always know the exact day of my girlfriends' cycles and their likely mood swings. It's a survival mechanism. That 28-day girl cycled like clockwork, always 31.25 days. That made for three excellent days of panic sex each month. You might suggest that I should have relieved her of the worry, but would you really try to tell your girlfriend that you knew her cycles better than she did?

It sure beats the alternative conversation:


P: Owen, you need to move out of my house.
O: What? I like it here.
P: It's been four months, you still don't have a job, and I'm pregnant.
O: You're pregnant? That's great, but I definitely need to stay around for the baby.
P: So it can have a daddy lying around on my sofa, drinking my beer, playing video games, and freeloading? I don't think so.
O: That's not all I do.
P: It was great that one week when you organized the recall campaign against our asshole state representative, but that was two months ago and it never got you a paying job. I've only been sleeping with you because of the way you told off my [boss,graduate advisor,father] and how sexy you look on your bike with that leather coat. But the rebel without a cause thing is over. It hardly makes a marriage.
O: But we're having a baby together.
P: I'm having a baby; you're moving out. Pack up your things and call your mother and see if she'll take you in. Again.


I've had that one a few times, too, and it never leads to hot panic sex.

Anyway, the point here is that it takes about two weeks for a pregnancy test to work. Even the sensitive ones your doctor can do don't work in less than a week and a half.

Thus I'm forced into one of two conclusions:

1. Buffy was pregnant before her party. Maybe she and Spike got frisky on the fire escape. Maybe Xander and Buffy got it going on Xander and Dawn's bed and that's why they chatted guiltily before the party and Buffy had to move out so suddenly and that's why Dawn was upset with Xander and wouldn't let Buffy stay over (lots of evidence for this, actually). Maybe it was an immaculate conception. In any case, the baby isn't just a Dark Horse punishment for girls who wear skirts and drink, because it happened before S9 started.

2. The comic writers are boys. The boys in question have never had a serious girlfriend and never inquired into how human females operate. In fact, these boys aren't really interested in women except as giant-breasted icons of inky desire unthreateningly confined to the inanimate page.

Could be either one, really.
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Misc dump [Monday 6 Feb 2012 at 07:28 pm]
The things one finds on the internet.

Let's start with the zombies.


Stormtroopers and The Doctor...Collapse )
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Icon + Confirmed = iConfirmed [Friday 11 Nov 2011 at 06:50 pm]
Well, my icon has finally been proven absolutely right. The rest of you can admire.

As for me, I'm going to celebrate. I'm putting on my highest heels, my shortest skirt, my best device for concealing my penis and I've got everything I need. I've got my body, got my lips, got a pocket full of Hawthornes.
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The Alot Is Better Than You At Everything [Wednesday 26 Oct 2011 at 05:45 pm]
The Alot Is Better Than You At Everything

I liked this article alot and I think you will like it alot, too.
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For green_maia [Sunday 23 Oct 2011 at 08:57 pm]
As a response to green_maia's post, and also thanks for the daisy:

to save your sanityCollapse )
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How Zombies and Superheroes Conquered Highbrow Fiction [Sunday 23 Oct 2011 at 08:53 pm]
How Zombies and Superheroes Conquered Highbrow Fiction from the Atlantic Monthly. I'm a long-time subscriber -- they let you re-up for $10 after the first year -- and I always like The Atlantic. (Except the occasional theme where a successful middle aged lady tries to justify why she's not married; why do you keep putting that story on the cover once a year every year, editors?)


At the farmers' market, there was a couple selling nuts candied in nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. They're good nuts like pecans and almonds; no cheap peanuts. I'm glad I bought only a quarter pound because I can't stop eating them. They taste like Christmas. Is Christmas coming already? It was just Rosh Hashanah!

Also I bought lemongrass. I need a bigger sprig; it makes such nice tea and sauces.
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It doesn't take all kinds; we just have all kinds. [Thursday 13 Oct 2011 at 07:27 pm]
My baby sister fell down and bumped her face. She has a distinct bruise across one cheek.

And she has a new report this week. She is getting a lot of new positive attention from men. They all seem kind of skeevy and mean to her but for some reason they are really very interested whenever she's around.
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Thanks, FOX, for saving my time! [Tuesday 4 Oct 2011 at 06:41 pm]
Dear FOX,

I used to watch Fringe on Hulu.com where it ran with ten or more minutes of commercials during each program. Now that you have wisely put Fringe on an eight day delay so that Hulu watchers cannot chat with their friends about the episodes, I have switched to downloading the show online from friendly peer-to-peer services.

The result is that I save those ten minutes of commercials. I can go to the store without commercial jingles popping into my head because I've never heard them. It's liberating. From now on maybe I'll just download all FOX programs online without commercials.

Again, thank you for your far-sighted anticipation of new ways to improve the lives of your customers. I'm amazed how you always know better than I do. Can you imagine that when I first discovered the eight day delay policy I was upset with FOX? Now I know better.

Owen Thurman
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Del.icio.us [Thursday 29 Sep 2011 at 09:50 pm]
Delicious Disaster Lessons From A Complete Failure

Discussion on Hacker News
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At Lake Silencio [Tuesday 27 Sep 2011 at 12:52 am]
I have something in common with some friends of ours who live in a box in the living room.

Several years ago, I went diving in Lake Silencio, Utah. I travelled for a day to get to the scenic Glen Canyon Reservoir where the lake is located. I hired SCUBA kit and headed to a corner of Wahweap canyon, on the opposite side of the canyon from where the Doctor meets his end.

I descended into the clear warm water to the thermocline. It's about ten meters below the surface, a shimmering meniscus with tiny organisms gathering in a thin layer where the colder water underneath meets the summer warmth above. I'm still not sure why they don't mix. Beneath there the warming red rays of the sun fade out and everything looks blue and gray.

I found an old sunken boat hull and quite a lot of fish. The fish are stocked; few natural populations can survive in the drowned waters of Glen Canyon today. Before the reservoir, it was the greenest and liveliest place in the region. I suppose it's a natural metaphor that our long lived friend will pass there like the community of nature passed out of existence in the 1960s as the rising waters drowned it.

And now I wonder if our lurking -- or resting -- friend can see the thermocline. It can be fun to watch as it roils and flows like the surface of two oceans meeting, one above and one below. Better than going crazy bored like a certain broody vampire.
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Spike In San Francisco [Wednesday 21 Sep 2011 at 09:21 pm]
Dark Horse has Buffy and Spike in San Francisco and I'm working on another local color story. This is a good time to repost a link to my Spike (and Buffy) in San Francisco flash fic, Church Street.

Here's the link in memories, and Part One.

Breaking Bad CommentCollapse )
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Phonebook [Tuesday 23 Aug 2011 at 08:04 pm]
I handed the nine-year-old my phone so she could play Angry Birds. It's an Android and has all the idiot buttons Google insisted on instead of following the wise Apple one-button model.

She slipped into one of the buttons and ended up with my phone in phone mode. It was easy enough to put back into her game.

Along the way, however, she paged through my phone book with all my friends' and family's numbers. She zeroed in, among all those names and numbers, on my girlfriend. "Who's _______, Daddy?"

What am I supposed to say to that?


Seen on the internet: Why does Gadhafi think he can succeed in defying the central government in Washington?


98ºF today. Lovely.
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Alternative endings for Harry Potter 7 [Monday 15 Aug 2011 at 07:39 pm]

Warning: spoilers for a book published five years ago.

The seventh Harry Potter book was originally titled Harry Potter And The Book Where Everybody Dies. The title was changed to The Deathly somethings by marketeers. Of course, Harry was supposed to die outright following the path of the chosen warrior in making the ultimate sacrifice.

Ms. Rowling lacked the strength of will to kill off Harry. Instead the weak fabrication is that Harry is only Mostly Dead. He gets the tunnel and the light but then comes back no worse for the wear.

Wouldn't it have been much better if Harry had just risen as a zombie? We could dispense with all the Elder Wand chain of custody nonsense and move straight on to Harry and Pocahontas in their final battle.

With vacant expression Harry would stumble up from behind the Dark Lord; he would surprised but cast an Avada Kedavra with the Elder Wand to conclusively end the fight. Harry, being already dead, would shamble on reaching for the Dark Lord's head. He would scream with pain and terror as Harry climbed his stupid cape and devoured his brains right out of his still-living skull.


The epilogue could be something like Shaun Of The Dead with Harry stiffly standing in a hug between Ron and Hermione as they survey the damage and count their losses. Ron could say something about his brother and Hermione could talk about the sacrifices they all made. Finally Harry could moan, "brains!" Then they would all laugh.


I'm pretty sure that the movie chose to defame all the Slytherins by removing the stories of the ones who did fight at Hogwarts for the good guys. The Malfoys also lost their parts in the final battle. Aside from the implications for free will, the deprecation of all Slytherin makes the very idea of Hogwarts kind of ugly with one of the founders' houses irredeemably evil right from the sorting.

My alternative is better.
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Seeing The Ess Oh [Sunday 7 Aug 2011 at 10:32 pm]
"What is more harmful than any vice?" read the girlfriend, "sympathy for failure and weakness. Christianity." She's a Christian herself, but always engages with the toughest questions. We travelled for two weeks and she brought along The Antichrist.

Nietzsche says that he writes for a man who "never asks of the truth whether it brings him profit or death. He must have an inclination, born of strength, for questions that no one has the courage for." The girlfriend is brutal that way while being girly in plenty of others. It's one of the things I like best about her.


Quoting Zarathustra on the first date was how she ended up with me in the first place, though I didn't tell her that at the time. You should never tell her exactly what it is you really like about her. I always tell her it was her excellent ass instead.


The girlfriend's family was disturbed where we were going on our international vacation. We headed not just to the safety and security of Mexico City, but also to shady Cuernavaca. "It's full of narcos," warned the girlfriend lowering her voice, "and foreigners."

"Fuera de México," her family says, "todo es Culiacán." I can't wait to tell my friends from Culiacán.


I had a nightmare.

We were in a locally owned organic supermarket in Southern California. The manager was telling me about the details involved in procuring and stocking delicious organic vegetables and selling them to rich yuppies. Then my friend was paying for her order and the clerk added on a surcharge to her bill because she wasn't a rich white yuppie. We called in the LAPD and uncovered systematic corruption and racism in the organic grocery business.

I don't think my description really carries the sense of menace and terror of the nightmare. Someday I'll have to write up the plot better. Suffice it to say I awoke in a chill sweat.


We were at the excellent Fondo de Cultura Económica bookstore on Eje Central. She was looking for a good summer read for her nephews. We'd already tried taking tea at El Pendulo and looking for a good translation of Edgar Allen Poe stories.

Then the girlfriend had a new idea. "Have you ever read B. Traven?" she asked.

"Treasure Of The Sierra Madre B. Traven?" I said, "I love B. Traven. Have you ever read Government?" I rattled off the basic mysteries of his life story.

Another German writer we have in common.

She bought me a copy of her favorite Canasta De Cuentos Mexicanos.


"Sé guisar," she told me. Then she took me to the old family estate in the exotic and mysterious land of the Mexiquenses and showed me. It was delicious. The matriarch butchered a chicken and grand nephews were running around in the shadow of Chiquihuite. Birds were Twittering away. In the time honored way, I sat back and let the ladies do all the work.

They taught me to make horchata. I always loved drinking it but I was very wrong guessing the ingredients.
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Conversations With Girls [Friday 15 Jul 2011 at 02:20 pm]

Conversation With The Six Year Old

Six: Lady Gaga is not a supervillan.
Owen: Are you sure?
Six: She's just a good singer, Dad.
Owen: But have you seen this music video documenting that she has bikini henchmen, she went to a maximum security prison with bikinis and cell phones, and she is a known associate of Beyonce?
Six: That's just a video. I like her songs. She isn't a bad singer like Katy Perry.
Owen: I don't think Katy Perry is cunning enough to be a supervillan.

Conversation With The Nine Year Old

Owen: Are you excited about the Harry Potter premier?
Nine: Daddy, I want to see it right now; it's so hard to wait for midnight.
Owen: You should be sure to get a nap so that you can stay up late enough for the very first show tonight.
Nine: It's too hard to get to sleep, though. It's like Christmas.
Owen: Do you think this time Harry will finally kiss Draco Malfoy?
Nine: Draco Malfoy? Harry loves Ginny, Dad, not Draco.
Owen: Millions of people on the Internet seem to be persuaded otherwise.
Nine: You can't believe it just because it's on the Internet, Dad.

Conversation With The Twenty-Four Year Old

24: That movie was done just right in every way; I wanted to clap when it came up to the end.
Owen: The way I remember it, you were the only one in the theatre who was booing.
24: They put the postscript in, big brother. The awful postscript that ruins the book.
Owen: I thought they might be wise enough to leave that out, like The Cleansing Of The Shire.
24: Don't you see how it robs you of the chance to imagine an open future for them? I agree the dating pool is kind of shallow but do they really all need to be chained to who they were in high school forever?
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Strunk/White [Monday 11 Jul 2011 at 12:04 am]
From XKCD:

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Teen Horniness Is Not A Crime [Sunday 3 Jul 2011 at 08:51 pm]
I saw True Grit 2010. Finally.

The Coen brothers follow the Coen aesthetic: everything is detailed, precise, historically and culturally accurate, and controlled down to the mood, lighting, color palette, props, details, and sounds. The 1969 version feels like a half baked student production by comparison. And True Grit 1969 was pushing hard on literal realism for its time.

There is one exception in both versions. Oklahoma doesn't look one bit like Oklahoma. It looks like Arizona or maybe Colorado. Sure, Arizona is a million times better than Oklahoma and a billion times prettier, but there are actual story elements that follow the landscape. Some of them could not happen in Oklahoma. I wonder if the novel contradicted Oklahoma geography also. The 2010 version can at least be paying homage to the 1969 landscapes; they are admirably closely matched without using the same locations.

I can't say 2010 ends more darkly, though the Coens give it their best. It does lay out a difficult but well earned fate for the characters in a harder edged and more final way, but the original was serious, too.

The acting was a technical triumph by all three principals and the supporting cast. I even lost track of Matt Damon the actor as he sublimated himself so deeply into LeBeouf. The performances all deserve a prize.

Everything in the production was outstanding and most all the spirit of the original was maintained. An excellent excursion.


Ripe fresh peas are just like candy.


Why did no one tell me that Southland Tales was amazing? Sure, it's a mess and either the editor or screenwriter was apparently drunk but it's an amazing mess. A collection of good performances by mostly mediocre B-list actors (plus SMG) fills out a dreamy post-apocalyptic Los Angeles. Shards of a twisted self-referential plot entertain us until they come together to raise even more questions in the best post-Modernistic way. The dreamy quality of the effects and clips of storytelling is enthralling.

Okay, yes; it's a mess.

But I was fascinated.

And SMG makes the most hilarious hand gesture ever. Yes, ever better than Hush.


It hit 100 degrees here today for the first time this year. I went out to play at 8 AM when it was only 80 for a long bike ride.

I can hardly believe I used to go out and work hard in the 100+ weather when I was young. How did I do that?

Time for some ice cream.


Chocolate truffles in this weather are gooey and liquidy instead of soft and buttery.


Had a meeting with the ex about the kids. Why did she ever marry me if she felt like that? Oh, yeah--now I remember.


I don't know whom to root for in the Tour de France this year. I like Cadel Evans and the Schleck brothers are cute together. Kloeden and Leipheimer have been fun to watch in the past. Mostly I'm just glad to see Contador in trouble. Even before I knew he was a cheater, I just didn't like the guy.

Maybe both Schleck brothers could pick up their first Tour titles this coming month.


My parents made a surprise visit for my birthday. I hadn't seen them together for fifteen or twenty years. Took them out to my favorite picnic spot in the mountains. It was a lot of fun but surreal, like being four years old again.

They seemed to get along fine. It's amazing how much they can drink, though.

Listening to them talk about family and cultural context makes me think about the distance between generations. People should really have their children just as young as they are able. Each additional year waiting is a barrier between you and the closest part of your family that will persist forever. Being a free spirit is overrated; youth is wasted on the young.


I mostly enjoyed the revival Nine. I have tried a few times but I just cannot warm up to Ten. Maybe it's Tennant or maybe it's RTD being RTD, but I just don't like him.

I loved Three and Four and Five as the Doctors of my youth. And I really like Eleven.

Also, could Rose be any more low and grating? I doubt it.
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Urgent News and Advice from the Centers For Disease Control [Thursday 19 May 2011 at 02:38 pm]
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention have urgent warnings and advice for you today. The CDC is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States Government. The Centers handle epidemics, vaccinations, contagious disease outbreaks, and zombies.

Yes, zombies.

Read the CDC's advice in case of Zombie Apocalypse. Be prepared and trust the government.
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Joss Whedon Articles [Thursday 7 Apr 2011 at 09:01 pm]
Joss and feminism

Another point of view

No Season 8 discussion.
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Vampire podcast [Wednesday 6 Apr 2011 at 09:31 pm]
I listened to an NPR science podcast about vampires and family, love, altruism, and sacrifice. And, of course, kissing. The first two minutes are about asking for money but the rest was very interesting.

From Radiolab, the show is Blood Buddies. (Streaming)
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Black Swan [Monday 4 Apr 2011 at 09:13 pm]
I watched Black Swan on DVD.

I didn't get it.

minor spoilersCollapse )
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Stuff [Friday 1 Apr 2011 at 04:13 pm]
Fringe should be on again tonight. In three of the last four episodes we haven't seen star Anna Torv play our protagonist Olivia. I thought Who Are You was daring and fantastic ("... and featuring Eliza Dushku as Buffy") but Fringe isn't afraid of pushing the edges of things.


I decided March was a good time to drop the rest of the twelve pounds I added between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Egg nog season is over and it's time to get in shape. I weighed in at 180 pounds on 1 March and 170 pounds on 1 April. The key to my plan is to keep eating pizza and ice cream and chocolate and cookies and candy and everything else at the same rate as ever. Then I get out to play in the sun more. Cutting calories just leads to depression, chocolate withdrawl, and abandonment of the regime. I even set a minimum daily sugary junk food quota to ensure I'd stuck with the program; if I hadn't had enough by 11pm, I had to go out and buy cookies or brownies at the corner market and wolf them down. Anything to keep the siren song of calorie restriction at bay.


The sun is out, time to go play.


I've been getting more practice with my molten chocolate cake recipe. It's very sensitive to temperature and cooking time. If I change ingredients or altitudes or even just use a different oven it's likely to not stay perfectly liquidy and cakey at the same time. It's like an intimate little recipe that I can only make at home.


Seasonal Spuffy is on and quinara has started things off with a great first entry.


My favorite éclair shop closed and I've been trying to re-create the recipe at home. The crème pâtissière was made with cognac and good vanilla. The chocolate ganache was rich. The pastry was delicate and buttery. I'll just have to keep practicing until I get it right. I can't claim to be suffering from the work. Yum.


I'm going to see Japan this summer. Disaster or no, I'm still fascinated by the many overseas Japanese I've met and want to get to know the source. Part of that is creativity and resilience and this is a good time to be confident in them. The last time I was in a 6+ earthquake I was having tea with some Japanese friends; the chandliers chimed, the walls shook, plates fell, spoons rattled, they barely even paused to notice.


I've been cooking a snow pea stir fry for years. I originally designed it to please my ex-wife who loves a particular spice that goes well with snow peas. Over time the recipe has gotten more complicated and elaborate. It has about fifteen ingredients sometimes and the order of combination in the skillet and temperature of cooking is carefully arranged to maximize the fond and deepen the flavor of the result.

This last time I switched my usual sauce for an aioli with olive oil left over from making caramelied onions. I whipped it out of garlic, ginger, tamari, and Grand Marnier and cheated with a little egg yolk to bind it. It came out nice; maybe I should try bacon drippings next time in the aioli.

These things get more complicated as you perfect them. My spinach and cheese soufflés keep getting more elaborate, too.
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Television [Saturday 19 Mar 2011 at 11:46 pm]
Watching Skins, I wonder. Do Brits usually leave secondary school at seventeen and attend a special A-levels "college" school for two years? Then do they apply to university for three or four years to pick up a bachelor degree? Is that the only way into university? And do they usually have to pay tuition to these two-year programs?

In The USA, most kids headed for higher education proceed at seventeen or eighteen to university right from free four year high school programs. Very few universities prefer or require achievement or aptitude tests like A-levels, though, and fewer yet take them seriously. The very idea of an important national test is very strange to me.


I watched the Korean production J.S.A. - Joint Security Area (공동경비구역 JSA). I thought it was going to be an action movie, but it wasn't. It was the ultimate bromance flick. Soldiers from the DPRK (North Korea) and RoK (South Korea) who man a closed border post (they're all closed border posts) hang out together smoking and drinking and playing games through long guard shifts out in the DMZ. Awkward political moments crop up pretty often as they must but the magical power of guys just hanging out together overcomes all troubles. Of course it's all purely hetero tough guy stuff with none of that 'subtext' I've heard about on eljay. Finally, as in real Korea life, politics asserts itself and you cry at the end.


Inscrutible foreign lands, Brittanica and Korea. I'd like to visit but it's too much trouble to pick up the languages. What's the difference between peckish, pissed, and knackered again?
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Kick Cameron to the Kerb [Friday 4 Mar 2011 at 12:29 am]
Okay, they just cut my BBC broadcast back to weekly from daily. Is this because you brits couldn't keep your government in the people's hands?

BBC Mundo in Spanish was a great review filled with worldwide accents from reporters in half a dozen countries and lots of news about Spain and Latin America. Now it's available for download only a fifth as often.

I contribute to my local public radio station that puts up free mp3s of the programs for anyone around the world interested. You folks in the North Sea should keep making the programs I like, too.


Chris Nolan's The Prestige is awesome. It's deeper and trickier than Inception, but less flashy. Well, it's still flashy but nothing is as flashy as Inception.


Finally the weather is on the upswing. Spring is so much better than winter.
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Crêpes [Wednesday 23 Feb 2011 at 11:10 pm]
I made crêpe batter yesterday and let it relax overnight in the 'fridge.

So this morning I sliced the first of the barely-acceptable pre-Spring imported strawberries I found at the market with rum and a touch of sugar. Then I added a banana to the mix and served it as a crêpe filling. Very nice start to the day.

In the evening I still had batter so I shredded and lightly cooked some chard and kale for a deep green mix and added julienned raw onion to sharpen the bitter flavors. With a little sharp cheddar cheese I filled the crepes with my greens and had a delicious dinner.

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I watch the teevee machine [Wednesday 23 Feb 2011 at 09:25 pm]
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I don't know why I bother to watch Chuck. It was fun for the first season and still somewhat fun in the second but now I don't think I even enjoy it anymore. The plots are trite, the world banal, and the characters unpleasant.

I dislike Chuck with his whining and dithering and his impulse to regard everyone around him as nothing more than rubes in the service of his trite little fantasies. The worst though is his casual lying to and cheating on everyone who trusts him, invests in him, and cares about him.

Sarah's entire character in built on the theory that if Liz Lemon were just less funny and had a better haircut, she'd be every man's fantasy girl. No thank you.

Casey and Big Mike and Awesome and Lester are fun to watch, but they don't carry a show.


Speaking of Liz Lemon, "so, did they make your droids wait outside too?" is my new line for meeting girls in bars. I wonder if it'll work better than "hey, nice rack."


Californication is on again. Now there's a show where I really like the main characters.


I notice that Fringe is always just one thing after another. First it's a police procedural. Then Mark Valley stops showing up in hallucinations and we're chasing after mysterious terrorists from ZFT who may have been the good guys after all. Next ZFT disappears and we never know what they were doing but instead we're in the goatee-verse. And then the goatee-verse is just a proxy army fighting for the first people who lived before the dinoausrs and hid a doomsday weapon that the goatee-verse is going to wield against us by knocking up a duplicate of the protagonist.

The current plot is never related to the previous plot sequences, there is never any coherent world building, and whatever happened just before now is already long forgotten.

I like it though. The current season's goatee-verse adventures and Fauxlivia are a lot of fun. I especially like the way Anna Torv seems to love playing her goatee-alternate's personality. She works differently, plays differently, romances differently, and has a whole different attitude while looking the same. Well, actually I enjoy the whole playful tough girl ensemble she dresses in, too.

Yes, I can see why Peter still has a thing for her.

But I know I'm not likely to ever get an explanation for oxygen shortages, the collapse of Northern California, whatever happened in Boston, expensive coffee, the extinction of the sheep, or anything else. That's just not the way this show works.


Castle, like Chuck, has no nutritional value, but at least it's tasty.


I rented Inception and it was awesome. Gunfights on skis, a sneaky sting operation with a big safe, fistfights and explosives in zero-gravity, and a car chase all going on simultaneously in the same story as the clock winds down is four star movie making.
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Good Daze [Wednesday 16 Feb 2011 at 12:23 am]
It was warm again today but on the way home from biking in the mountains the wind really picked up. I had to pedal pretty hard to get down the hill back to my house. (Yes, I had to pedal hard down hill. Road bikers say that hills are like justice and wind is like the legal system.) It's still blowing so the weather that comes into town tomorrow could be anything.

Valentines Day = bleh

The fifteenth of February is a great time to head down to the supermarket and raid the discounted after-valentines chocolates. I wonder if there's a Godiva store around here where they'd have clearance items.
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Springed [Monday 14 Feb 2011 at 03:37 am]
It was the warmest day of the year so far today. There were hundreds of people outside playing and I bicycled across the city and through the hills in my little black shorts and light jersey without a coat or gloves or anything. I know it won't last long. The Ministry of Commerce predicts a storm on Wednesday. For now I'm going to try to get out as much as I can and enjoy the sun as I watch the January snowbanks melt. Lots more snow coming in March so I'll make hay while the sun shines.


Anna Torv sounds just like an American to me. Lena Heady is always just a touch off in the way she speaks. But I can't put my finger on the difference. It must be a really subtle pronunciation or intonation difference.


It's nice to see Marten back again over at QC. We haven't seen him for almost three weeks. Getting slapped for ogling at the bar puts him back about where he was in issue number one, doesn't it?
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Dashing Through The Snow [Monday 7 Feb 2011 at 07:45 pm]
After my nice ride yesterday, I decided to go again today. Twenty-five miles through the mountains. But today a snowstorm came up mid ride.

First it was rain on the initial ascent into the mountains. Rain is no fun at just a few degrees above freezing and moreso when you're riding in a light jersey with short sleeves. Then the rain went away for a bit before turning into heavy snow that arrived with 30mph winds. One nice thing about snowflakes is that they bounce off you instead of soaking in; it's really warmer than rain. It was getting hard to see by the end of the ride and my face got to hurting from snowflakes at high speed.

That's what I get for having fun in the winter. It's supposed to get colder tomorrow.

How long now until spring springs?
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Super Bowl Sundae [Monday 7 Feb 2011 at 01:11 am]
It's the biggest sporting event in the world for English-speaking people. That makes it a great day to go out and do sports. I went on a thirty mile bike ride up in the mountains. Since I'm in a northern mountain clime of North America today, that means riding on snowy roads amongst the snow banks. It was good, though. The temperature briefly rose above freezing down in the valley so it was warm enough up there, too.

There's a difficulty in that the freezing wind could give you frostbite but I evolve so much energy on the rises that I could comfortably ride naked. I'd like a thick coat and hat for the downhills and I'd prefer short pants and a little jersey for the uphills. I compromise by carrying a light wind jacket in my pannier and wearing a vest. Oh, to dream of rough winds shaking darling buds. Summer's lease hath all too short a date.

I prefer to root for the team representing the nicer place. Or -- this year -- the less unpleasant place. I went out biking in the mountains in subfreezing weather today but Green Bay gives me chills. That leaves Pittsburgh, which I understand is nicer than its reputation. I thought they gave a good performance.

Green Bay's defensive line was amazing. I thought the long hair guy or maybe the really big one was the MVP.

I ate greasy nachoes and drank root beer. I felt so authentic. Tourists should have come by to observe real American ritual event life.
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You Think You're Turning Japanese? [Friday 4 Feb 2011 at 07:50 pm]
I watched Memoirs Of A Geisha. Liked the recreation of pre-war life in a 花街 Japanese red-light district. The exclusively female-run hierarchy within a very patriarchial society is inherently interesting and early modern Japan interests me in particular. The plot is bland but the characters, costumes, and sets were very interesting.

That's not what I'm here to talk about today.

Zhang Ziyi is very pretty as the protagonist and Michelle Yeoh as her mentor is even prettier. Neither one of them looks the least bit Japanese. Zhang mostly looks neotonous and Chinese while Yeoh is obviously Chinese looking.* Do the producers just suppose that everybody non-white looks the same? "Sure," says a studio exec, "have an Egyptian play Ghengis Kahn and then cast him as Che Guevara; nobody will notice!"

On the Hawai'i Five-oh remake, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park's characters are always going on about Japan-this and native-Hawai'ian that. Are we really supposed to not notice that they could be platonic model Koreans? If Michangelo's David had been a Korean girl, he would have needed a piece of marble with Grace Park in it.

Then there's Hoshi Sato.

I've been to Hollywood and I don't believe that they can't find actual Japanese people there (and Japanese-Americans). I'll admit Koreans are very handsome, but also very distinct looking.

What do you think?

* I read on Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, that Zhang learned English starting in her early 20's in just a few years. Good on her; that's not easy.
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Keeping Track Of Reading [Saturday 1 Jan 2011 at 08:05 pm]
I'm tried of reading only on the internet. I want to read more books in 2011. You folks on the flist aren't writing as much BtVS fic as before, so I need to branch out. So I'm keeping track of the books I read to make sure they proliferate.

I checked out Librarything.com and Shelfari.com which both seem like nice places. Does anyone here have a preference? I'd like to pick just one of them to use through the year.

It seems like Librarything has more of the books on my to-read shelf right now, especially the non-English language ones. I'm leaning that way just for the ease of entry but I'm not convinced it's the best way to keep track of reading lists. Shelfari is more list-oriented while Librarything seems aimed at managing a physical collection. I like to return books to the library when I'm done, so I'm not really trying to grow a collection beyond the 800 books I have in my apartment and 1000 more I keep at my parents' house.

I haven't tried goodreads.com yet.

I'd really like to hear what you think about either or both.
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The Trouble With F***book [Saturday 1 Jan 2011 at 01:32 am]
Oh, you messaged me a poem on Facebook. How nice. Who are you, again?

I must have friended you for a reason.

Let's see. Based on this poem, either you're postmodern or you're not a native speaker of English. (What's the difference?) Looks like you're Russian based on those funny letters in your profile. And pretty. Love those eyes.

Okay, but whence do I know you. Wait, was it that dance class three years ago? You've lost weight and you're looking good. If that was you.

Okay, what's in the poem? Best wishes but vaguely salacious. That could just be infelicity with the language, though. I don't remember you being full of double entendres, but it was a long time ago. And we hardly ever spoke English. That's probably why I don't remember much. Let's assume it's just ordinary new year wishes.

I wonder if I'm supposed to respond to this. Would it be impolite to ignore it?

Non sequitur: I really like the new HP printer ad on Hulu with the theatre prop special effects.
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