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Best book I haven’t read (yet)

Max, 2009/12/31 

galileos-dream

The winner of every major science fiction award, Kim Stanley Robinson is a novelist who looks ahead with optimism even while acknowledging the steep challenges facing our planet and species: a clear-eyed realist who has not forgotten how to dream. His new novel offers his most audacious dream yet. At the heart of a brilliant narrative that stretches from Renaissance Italy to the moons of Jupiter is one man, the father of modern science: Galileo Galilei.

To the inhabitants of the Jovian moons, Galileo is a revered figure whose actions will influence the subsequent history of the human race. From the summit of their distant future, a charismatic renegade named Ganymede travels to the past to bring Galileo forward in an attempt to alter history and ensure the ascendancy of science over religion. And if that means Galileo must be burned at the stake, so be it.

Yet between his brief and jarring visitations to this future, Galileo must struggle against the ignorance and superstition of his own time. And it is here that Robinson is at his most brilliant, showing Galileo in all his contradictions and complexity. Robinson’s Galileo is a tour de force of imaginative and historical empathy: the shining center around which the novel revolves.

From Galileo’s heresy trial to the politics of far-future Jupiter, from the canals of Venice to frozen, mysterious Europa, Robinson illuminates the parallels between a distant past and an even more remote future—in the process celebrating the human spirit and calling into question the convenient truths of our own moment in time.

Available on Amazon. On its way to me right now.

The tunnels

Cat eyes,  

The tunnels had been busy. Not always a sign of trouble or necessarily disconcerting, but definitely a curious thing. Which of course required some investigation.

Not long before the usual loud, clumsy trampings of tunnel traffic reached The Cat’s ears. This was just an annoyance. Far too loud to be anything interesting. It passed. The Cat sat in sleep mode, knowing that any small disturbance would arouse her into full alertness if needed. Time floated past. The Cat dreamt of the days when hunting was still pure. Not like now when the Destroyers ruled the surface. The most unethical of all beings. No place left for a respectable Cat.

Tickle.

The Cat roused herself.

Tickle.

Now here was the tunnel sound she had been waiting for. Not clumsy. She listened intently. There were four. What kind of beast was this? Half furtive, half intent. Strange gait too. Heavy in the back paws, strong, large, like a . . . like a . . . But the front? The front was alluring. Almost Cat-like. Small, sinuous, quick. The Cat thought. No, there hadn’t been one of those around here in years. Yet, there was the sound. A Chimera? No, no, no. The Cat shook herself. Got to check those protein fungus modules for cross-contamination with the Zen flights. What was this?

Well, it was coming her way. It dawned on her about the same time that she made visual confirmation in the darkness. It was a nearly symbiotic two. Now these were rare indeed. Clearly not a fully formed symbiotic though, the two were clearly not in harmonic synchronization. But they were . . . close. The first two were experienced, determined. Trained? It seemed trained. It passed. Then came the second. It was indeed large and unfortunately loud for the first. Yet, it continued to remind The Cat of something. Something strong and . . . timid? . . . injured? . . . cautious. Yes, cautious. Odd for something of that size, yet there were precedents.

The Cat jumped down from her perch on the hidden ledge in the tunnel ceiling. She listened to see if they had heard. No, no change. She crept up from behind and silently trotted after the symbiotic two. They seemed to have a purpose. Migration? Perhaps. But so few did that now days. Nearly extinct. Perhaps these were some of The Lasters she’d heard of. The thought of Lasters urged The Cat onward. That would explain much. It would have been miniature wolves and Nossies that trained the first, then. Yes, it was looking more and more like these were indeed Lasters. The second was odd. Large, pale, like the great White Bears of the North that fell into the sea. But it was not one. Strong but reluctant like the Great Silver Backs of old.

A sudden rush of excitement and anxiety struck The Cat. Was this one of the Mutants? Smart enough to have escaped its cage, and sentient? That was it! What an exciting find. Not just Lasters, but a first generation Mutant Laster and a Fox kennel graduate traveling together nonetheless. How odd. Were the Powers regrouping? Where could these Lasters be going? This required pursuit.

The Cat had been following for some time. It wasn’t good to stray too far away. And what if the Lasters were migrating? Well, thought The Cat, then there will be more that pass by and she considered returning home. But then there was an abrupt slowing down of the Lasters. One of them had a blipper. Then there would be more Lasters, thought The Cat. There would be no turning back now. What? What was that from the blipper? A River Horse? Impossible.

This was indeed a strange menagerie. But then the worst happened. The Lasters took an L topside. They went topside. They went topside. They went topside. No place for a cat. The Lasters might have a virus. They went topside. Horrified, The Cat found a dark recess with a view of the L and slipped back into sleep mode to wait.

Tired from her travels The Cat fell into a deeper sleep. When she awoke and sniffed the air, she realized the Lasters had re-entered the tunnels already and were retracing their earlier path. No migration then. But what was that aroma? Warm things. There was a slight hint of contentment. Very strange. The Cat began following the route Home deeply inhaling the scents. Yes, there it was. The intoxicating aroma of Hope. The Cat was wary of Hope. It was known to be dangerous. It had been used as a chemical weapon in its past. It was dangerous.

Okay, it was also true that sometimes, sometimes, it actually inspired ameliorative behaviors. But there were all the darker implications too. If Hope was in the air, then all the Evils were afoot as well. Hope in the air is a sure sign that there are dangerous things on the loose, thought The Cat. She sneezed trying to clear the contaminants from her nose. A full body cleaning would be in order later. But what were the Lasters doing with Hope. Certainly the Lasters knew the dangers of Hope. They had been beguiled by it before.

Then The Cat reached the turnoff for her sanctuary. She sneezed several more times and did a quick wash. She stored the resultant hair-ball for use as a booby trap for the clumsy ones. Minimally though acceptably cleaned, The Cat darted down the secret passage to Nipland. Then, impulsively, she grabbed a container of pepper and raced back to The Tunnel. Carefully, she seeded a few patches. If these were Lasters, she thought, they might need pepper smelling salts to help them escape the dangers of Hope.

Content that she had done a good deed for the Lasters, The Cat curled into a ball, safe in her dark warm nest. Lasters, indeed, she purred softly to herself.

Gregorius Wins The War.

byronius,  

Sadly, No! and Eschaton have been having a video war. Sadly, No! wins with this lovely entry in a last-minute blitz, which must be watched to be believed. And is that a young Sky Harbor at the keyboards? OMG!!

Me want to stay at NMKY.

Not.

El Kabong: counter-terrorist extraordinaire!…

SkyHarbor,  

Clearly, our Government has become too big, too stupid, too slow and too inept to protect Americans from the threat of quasi-neo-fascist-pseudo-islamic terrorism!

Idiots with rockets in their pockets and bombs in their briefs have held us
(and themselves) in The Grip Of Fear for long enough! It’s time to rise up!
To gladly take our own Righteous Rods of Justice in hand!…
To deny the blundering burka blinders of shapeless fashion faux pas!…
To take off the metaphorical muttonish mittens of mealy mouthed mediocrity!…
And finally to STRIKE BACK!

And I, endowed with the awesome mental powers of Mentok (“the mind taker”)…
I have indeed conceived a solution!
We shall defeat the cells of terror with cels of of cellulose nitrate and camphor!

Al Queda (Al Qaida?) (Al Bundy?) you got NOTHIN’!
I present ‘The Artist Formerly Known As Qweekdraw’

quickdraw

El Kabong!


Chingon: Malagueña Salerosa
(great with guacamole too!)

Since we’re sharing

Cat eyes, 2009/12/30 

Okay, now let me put this in context. I did this work in 2002 using Flash MX on an old Compaq Presario overclocked to 500MHz as my first BIG flash project. This is Actionscript 2.0 not the new 3.0 used in 2008, CS3, and CS4 versions. Sky this may even work okay for you on dialup because I tried to time preloading and streaming to optimize player performance but had a difficult time testing this aspect. ALSO, I think I found most of the files in my archive, but some aspects may not work. Also please do not actually attempt to send emails or online shop from the demo site. The band has since relinquished its website so this on a backdoor to my server. These are friends of mine so while you may not like the music please try to be kind. I designed all the graphics, page layout, font design, verbage, etc. The music is all theirs or snippets sampled for parts of the site but edited, looped, and sampled by me. So again, even though it is nothing great by today’s standards, please try to be kind . . . . .

dreamtrybe_logo

A few staggering steps down ‘memory lapse lane’

SkyHarbor,  

OK, I don’t care what ANYBODY says! This is a truly bitchin’ song!
Written by film composer Dmitri Tiomkin (!) for the 1961 film of the same name (starred Kirk Douglas… place squared-jawed toothy grimace here!)…

Gene Pitney (1941-2006 RIP) was a very talented guy who could really get the girls goin’ with that little catch/groan thing in his voice… I remember a Dutch girlfriend from junior high who was just NUTS over him! (more than me, methinks! ;-})…

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Gene Pitney with “Town Without Pity”

Much later, in Arizona, where we were acquaintances of a little band called “The Beans” who a couple of years on became…

The Tubes live, 1974… A&M demo video…

Now do you begin to see? Does it become clear now how my mind was warped and I got to be the (lovable) raving lunatic that I am today??

I Think You Know What I Mean.

byronius,  

May The Lord Molest You.

byronius,  

Kos

Everything I Need to Know About Life I Learned from Republicans in the Third Quarter of 2009

>> The president is a Kenyan racist who hates white people and white culture.

>> The first Hispanic American to become a Supreme Court Justice is a “reverse-racist.”

>> It’s okay to call the president a liar as he’s saying something true while addressing a joint session of Congress.

>> Making health care more accessible and affordable is a Nazi policy.

>> Death panels led by Barney Frank will convene in the middle of the night to decide if Grandma lives or dies.

>> Government-run healthcare programs are evil…and don’t you dare put the government in charge of my Medicare!

>> The attacks of 9/11 didn’t happen on Bush and Cheney’s watch.

>> Norm Coleman’s senate seat was stolen by Al Franken and John McCain’s presidency was stolen by ACORN.

>> Whoever shouts the loudest and angriest at a town hall meeting is a better American than people who don’t.

>> The biggest environmental threat to the planet is global cooling.

Can’t WAIT for the GOP themes of 2010.

Let’s take a shot — stopping the Killer Asteroid will anger the Alien God? Sarah Palin is a Wise And Deep Thinker? ‘We’ve got lots of poor people — and they taste great! Why not?’ (Grill Here, Grill Now!) Air is bad! Obama secretly serves the Alien God — and that’s bad! (gotta have the glaring contradiction somewhere) Why are we feeding the poor if we’re not going to eat them? It’s Unlogical! White Americans DID NOT descend from Europeans! They’ve always been here! Some guy’s got proof — in his garage!

I’m sure it will be much worse and much more insane than that. Thought I’d take a shot.

Republican God thrives on murderous, insane cruelty. Have another PoorBurger ™ ! Mmmmmm!

How dark is the night?…

SkyHarbor,  


Pretty dark… to judge by this strange early music-video!

This is disturbing on SO many levels that I’m not sure where, or even IF I should begin… ummm… Nope! I think I’ll just let you draw your own conclusions!
(watch and discuss…)

Bobby Vee had a top ten hit in 1963 with “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”, penned by Brill Building regulars Benjamin Weisman, Dorothy Wayne and Marilynn Garrett.

But it’s a really good song… I’ve always liked it. Fortunately I never saw this video as an impressionable kid or I may have become an accountant!

Then, in the outstanding film “Dark City” I was beguiled by the lovely Jennifer Connelly lip-syncing a slow and smoky version of this song…

Jennifer Connelly in Dark City

Sadly, the movie only used one verse of the song… and I wanted more…
So I hunted down the soundtrack…

Here’s British pop chanteuse Anita Kelsey, singing “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes”.

Nice arrangement… and the excellent backing combo gets the mood just right!…

New, wider worlds with uploads

Max, 2009/12/29 
Some very cool dudes

Some very cool dudes

As you can see, I’ve made a couple of changes to the site. I always wanted to expand the width, and it turns out that, due to the CSS stylesheet, this is pretty simple. There is also a file upload interface just above the editing toolbar that was never working due to restrictive permissions on the directory wordpress uses for storing the uploaded files. This is now corrected and anyone with a valid login should be able to upload files without difficulty.

There is a catch, however, which annoys me somewhat. The interface allows you to “crunch” the image to thumbnail, medium, or large size, or to leave it at original size. My preference would be for it to set a default width of 500px since that’s what we now have available, but I haven’t figured out how to change these settings. My suggestion is that for now you use photoshop or some other image editor to first size images to 500px in width and then just leave it at full size when you upload.

Let me know what kind of hassles you run into, or just tell me I’m a super swell dude.

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