Mike Beversluis

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lovely

Kathleen Connally's photoblog A Walk Through Durham Township has always been a favorite of mine. She really hit one out of the park with Early Snow #1.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Buy the new DVD's now or wait till Spring?

Futurama's back.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Mother-in-law = Woman Hitler

Internet Anagram Hall of Fame

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Some aphorisms

Modesty is a great virtue. But not when it is practiced on one own tax return.

Thinking ill about other people is a sinful act, but quite often it's a good guess.

Power wears out whoever doesn't have it.

Giulio Andreotti retired italian politician

Please, limit yourself to a maximum of three or four people when you are talking on top of each other, otherwise it is not possible to make sense of anything you are saying.

Aldo Biscardi italian sport journalist, during a hot soccer TV debate

Sunday, November 25, 2007

House Plans






House plans in DC are about as realistic as plans for the Death Star.

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Movies


I watched three movies, and I liked them. My Mom is angry at me for this one, but I liked No Country for Old Men. She has a point, as this is a very brutal movie based on a brutal book . Quite literally, it's Old Testament. Like the Greek tragedies, it's a meditation on the random and not so random violence of the world, its lack of meaning, or at least its arbitrariness, and our revulsion at this state and need for fairness. To quote the sheriff:

…when you encounter certain things in the world, the evidence for certain things, you realize that you have come upon somethin that you may not very well be equal to… When you've said that it's real and not just in your head, I'm not all that sure what it is you have said.
Anyway, the movie is beautifully written, acted, shot, and edited. The West Texas scenery is lovely. The film is a beautiful monster, but it has a kind of total depravity of man, and hence a New Testament implicit in it. It's not saying that things are hopeless, just that it is hopeless on your own.

If you've watched the movie, I have a question: Did what appeared to happen in the house happen? It would seem so, but what follows suggests that it didn't and that Chigurh is being punished. Which would resonate with the overall story, I think. Pardon the cryptic nature of this; you can check out the wikipedia summary of the story if you just want to cut to the chase.

Second, I crawled out from under my rock and watch Ratatouille. Which was great. It is the anti-Secret of Nihm. It's so great that I don't have much to say about it, except that it was a little distracting to hear Patton Oswalt's voice.

Third, I watched Bella on Thanksgiving with the family, which is an indie film about a chef who is trying to convince a pregnant waitress not to get an abortion. It's a message movie and while it tries not to be preachy, the outcome is somewhat telegraphed by the main character's Jesus beard. To be honest, the direction and script are uneven; the mood radically swings, and there are a bunch of plot points that are implausible (like him being sent to jail for four years for an earlier accident; also, the ending doesn't make much sense.) That said, his family is fun and very well cast, but the Eat Drink Man Women ethnic cooking cliche is threadbare.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Deceptively Ironic

I perused 9 Words That Don't Mean What You Think (including perused), when I came to their number one word, deceptive. Go ahead and read it, and I think you'll agree, it's insane. Deceptive's meaning is deeply ambiguous, and well, deceptive. Which means that it is what it means, which it's not. It's a walking paradox. It is anti-ironic.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

From the monkeys who typed Shakespeare comes the stunning sequel!

Scott Adam's Book Blurb Contest

While it's true that none of us is as dumb as all of us, all of us can be pretty funny.

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The Bomb, part 2

Gay Bomb? [def]

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The Bomb

You can forget worrying about whether Iran or North Korea will get nuclear weapons, the real problem is that the British already have them: British Nukes Armed with a Key*. (h/t)

*They say bicycle lock key, but then report that it's only like a bicycle lock key, and I won't go along with that bit of sensationalism. Probably this is even more semantic, because a launch code is a key too, it's just that it's a key design that makes the Dr. Strangelove scenario less likely. But how reassuring is that when the half the people with the launch codes are probably drinking gin out of tea cups, and the other half are jumping up and down about another 1-1 tie football game?

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Friday, November 16, 2007

In which I question my fundamental beliefs


I always wear my seat belt. I don't ride with anybody 'less they wear their seatbelt. It's one of my rules.

Another rule is that I will never buy an RV. Lotsa reasons, but I just don't want to be that RV guy, and particularly, that RV guy whose RV is parked out back where it's been parked for a long while. This tangentially came up when we were discusing buying something fun over coffee, and my colleague said that if he had google money, he would buy a super deluxe RV. I made my usual face, but then he said, what about a double-decker RV. And my mind instantly flashed to the idea of buying a British style double decker bus, and converting it into an RV. All the windows would be left clear in a Johnson house motif. The downstairs would have the living room/dining room/kitchen, and the upstairs would have a bathroom and bedroom, with curtains that would completely disappear during the day. There would be some practical issues, as it looks like their maximum speed is 40 mph, among a list that, even at first blush, goes many many items deep.

But that makes me wonder if my intense revulsion to RV's can be overlaid with some aesthetic spackle. What if it was one of those Art-Deco GM trucks of tomorrow? What if it was just an Airstream? So I had to wonder over to the Airstream website, where I came across their special "Design Within Reach" vintage trailer model and this bit of design nerd speak:


San Francisco-based Design Within Reach (DWR), a retailer of well-designed furnishings and accessories commissioned longtime Airstream collaborator Chris Deam to come up with a holistic model for an Airstream that would perfectly telegraph the DWR core values of authorship and curated authority in design.

The DWR Airstream travel trailer is a tribute to classic modern design, but it's not only a potential museum piece, it's designed to be part of your life. Hitch up and drive wherever you want to go—the middle of nowhere (Joshua Tree? Canyonlands?), or the middle of Manhattan, where you can now see a vintage Airstream in the Museum of Modern Art. Drive all night, or unhitch and linger: the DWR Airstream is designed for both.
Needless to say, my long dark night of uncertainty has passed.

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I have charts and graphs to prove that you should love me


At last, it is scientifically quantified: Chart Tells When to Marry. Aristotle had a theory that the perfect marriage was between a 37 year old man and an 18 year old woman. Do I need to mention that he married at 37 to an 18 year old woman? (She died relatively soon, and he left Athens and never got married again).

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Links of mild frivolity

*pedantic nerd note, but this is the wrong unit to be impressive since we don't know how long he needs it. Lots of lasers put out pulses with terawatt irradiances, but plug into the wall, ya' know? 1.21 Gigajoules has an ohshit connotation.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The economy is just really tough now

... is the business version of I think we should just be friends.

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No Greater Love

The examined life and death of Mark Daily:

A Death in the Family

by Christopher Hitchens November 2007

I was having an oppressively normal morning a few months ago, flicking through the banality of quotidian e-mail traffic, when I idly clicked on a message from a friend headed "Seen This?" The attached item turned out to be a very well-written story by Teresa Watanabe of the Los Angeles Times. It described the death, in Mosul, Iraq, of a young soldier from Irvine, California, named Mark Jennings Daily, and the unusual degree of emotion that his community was undergoing as a consequence. The emotion derived from a very moving statement that the boy had left behind, stating his reasons for having become a volunteer and bravely facing the prospect that his words might have to be read posthumously. In a way, the story was almost too perfect: this handsome lad had been born on the Fourth of July, was a registered Democrat and self-described agnostic, a U.C.L.A. honors graduate, and during his college days had fairly decided reservations about the war in Iraq. I read on, and actually printed the story out, and was turning a page when I saw the following:

"Somewhere along the way, he changed his mind. His family says there was no epiphany. Writings by author and columnist Christopher Hitchens on the moral case for war deeply influenced him … "

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Roll your own nuggets

For Laura: Homemade Chicken McNuggets. McDonald's has a funny aftertaste, but you don't have to clean all the oil off your stovetop either.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Ejected

This seems entirely stupid-headed:

Major League Baseball's DRM change strikes out with fans

Some hardcore baseball fans have been left stranded on third base by Major League Baseball after it decided to change DRM systems. As a result, game footage purchased under the old DRM scheme are no longer viewable, leaving fans with unwatchable footage—and no refunds.

Diehard (and recently ecstatic) Red Sox fan Allan Wood has blogged about his bad experience with MLB's Digital Download service. In 2003, he began downloading games at $3.95 a pop and burning them to CD-R. In anticipation of the Red Sox debut of Daisuke Matsuzaka last spring, Wood decided to watch some 2006 footage of him pitching in the World Baseball Championships for Japan.

Instead of seeing Dice-K toeing the bump for the Land of the Rising Sun, Wood was told he needed to obtain a license to watch the video. He was then directed to a DRM "phone-home" page at MLB.com to verify that he was indeed licensed to watch the footage. One problem: the page was gone. Since the DRM scheme couldn't verify that he was allowed to watch the videos he had purchased, he was out of luck.


Assuming that's all true, if MLB is going to end one DRM service, it seems like they should just switch over the account for the new service, or set some bit to readable, or whatever. The PR fallout of this, for both the league and for DRM services all around, seems like it would be bad enough to make them offer some sort of refund, but maybe not. Of course, this is minor league compared to what would happen if iTunes disappeared.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of the women.

Ah, yes, that is good. And now a blast from the non-PS2 past:
etc. Be the bain of your family holidays and body slam grandma when you beat her at Boggle.

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Friday, November 02, 2007

Plumbing the Depths


Again, I can't help myself, but the hi-fi dumbo parade continues. Not content with magic marker CD stabilizers, $8000 speaker cables, babinga wood speaker cable supports, etc, there are now amplifiers with wooden heat sinks. You'd think thermal conductivity would be important for a heat sink, but that's just for the masses. I'm guessing they tried vinyl first, but that they had to switch because they kept melting off.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Which is worse?

Star Trek Coffin or Enterprise Putter? Answer: They are both terrible. If you use the putter, you should be put in the coffin, and if you buy the coffin, you should pay someone to hit you with the putter.

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