February 26, 2007


The Probability Broach

I've just discovered that L. Neil Smith's The Probability Broach exists online in comic book form. This is nifty. I'd read "The Nagasaki Vector" ages ago (rough memory-indexing, I was maybe 12), and am sad that I seem to have lost my copy in one move or another.

It takes place in the same alternate universe, which just so happened to develop into a libertarian utopia for...some reason or other. There was this little episode in early American history known as the Whiskey Rebellion, and Gallatin sided with the farmers instead of the fledgling U.S., which led to the recognition of the sapience of chimpanzees and other great apes and giving them the right to bear arms. Really cool guns, too, since a libertarian society led to personal sidearm technology that's lightyears ahead of ours. One of the armed gorillas in the Nagasaki Vector had an honest-to-goodness railgun in pistol form. So obviously it's pretty serious stuff.

Don't ask me, dude, I didn't do it. But seriously, chimps with guns. I don't care what your political leanings are, I think chimps with guns is something we can all get behind.

posted by Gar @ 11:59 AM

February 24, 2007


Bible History

Best bible history lecture ever. All of the shorts from this fellow are worthwhile.

I've also discovered Wizard People, Dear Reader, sort of a more-aggressive style of Rifftrax for the first Harry Potter flick. Listening to excerpts has made me readjust netflix queue accordingly to get the full effect in the near future.

posted by Gar @ 9:51 AM

February 12, 2007


That'll do, CPU. That'll do.

Earlier today, I note that my computer seems to be running suspiciously sluggishly just websurfing. A few basic troubleshooting steps later, I end up firing up the motherboard utility program that includes CPU temperature readings.

105 degrees. That's Celsius. That's place a cup of water on the cpu and watch it boil.

After the lunge to turn it off (I think my exact spontaneous quote was "Holy Buddha Jesus Hell!"), I further determine that the filter on the case's front intake was caked with more dust than I'd expected, and turned a vacuum loose on it. I turn everything back on, and it's now running at around 80; this is for all purposes idle, with just desktop-and-browser load on it, and it's still running hotter than the chip's operational parameters call for. (The P4's upper limit is around 78ish.)

All told, it was an exciting discovery that's greatly accelerated my timetable for going to a new PC. I'm still internally debating between going the cheaper route of "get a pile of boxes from Newegg and see how much damage I do by attempting to build" versus the more expensive, but convenient, route of prebuilt premiums. I'm sure I could just get a better cpu fan/cooler of some type, but, no. It needs to be rewarded, not have its existence stretched out longer than strictly necessary.

I remain amazed the cpu was even able to throttle enough to stay operational, and that I didn't just hear a muffled bang from inside the case. When I do get a new PC up and running, I'm going to take the current CPU out and have it framed, perhaps with some sort of inspirational plaque. By all rights it should be dead now, probably should've been dead for some time, and it quietly, without complaint, simply refused to stop. Never give up! Never surrender!

posted by Gar @ 11:36 AM

February 01, 2007


What a tweest!

Brief review of "Lady in the Water":


Namely, it inspired me to, at approximately the one-quarter mark, begin repeatedly snarling "End! END, damn you! END!" at the screen. As the one-quarter mark became halfway became two-thirds became three-quarters became four-fifths became Zeno's Paradox instantiated in a hellish feedback loop of dysfunctional relationship between me and media, these snarls became hollow, empty prayers. Similar to the prayers of millions of paralyzed children to please God just let them walk and run again, these prayers were answered: "No."

To place things in relative perspective, a by-title review of M. Knight Etcetera's output:

The Sixth Sense: an enjoyable feature-length Twilight Zone episode, which received a spasm of admiration far beyond its merits. Still: enjoyable.

Unbreakable: one of the best superhero movies ever made. Also, his best work; this had much to do with M. restraining (or being restrained) from putting himself in front of the camera for no good goddamn reason, and that it's his only film that wasn't a feature-length Twilight Zone episode. An outlier, and I suspect it'll be his only one.

Signs: in some sort of karmic balancing, this received a spasm of negativity that far outsunk its flaws. Also, they're not aliens. Further, an enjoyable feature-length Twilight Zone episode.

The Village: a second-string feature-length Twilight Zone episode. Not a bad way to spend a couple hours relaxing and eating some popcorn.

Lady in the Water: the ultimate problem with...no, it is too much, let me sum up: What. The. Fuck.

posted by Gar @ 8:15 PM

Fifteen-odd years ago, I wrote a deliberately silly little piece of warnography, "A Peanuts Halloween II." It involved time travel and Linus causing a global zombie apocalypse by magickally aligning with the demonic force of the Great Pumpkin. At the time, it got me a brief amount of fan mail from usenet readers from all over. An intended sequel has never occurred, as the stars haven't been right. (The last abortive attempt was going to be an even sillier tale of nanotechnology crashing headlong into quantum mysticism, technomagical reincarnation of Linus into Rerun, and so forth.

The entire body of Peanuts strips is slowly being republished in chronological order, roughly 2 years worth to a book. I've recently been reading through, I think, 1957. (I'm vaguely looking forward to being able to locate the point in time that the strip lost its spirit and became a tired retread; my current rough guess is the mid-late 70's.) And the evidence is piling up that among the many flaws, intentional and unintentional, was that Linus wasn't unnatural enough.

Examples: in the official canon, young Linus has performed the following wonders:

  1. blown up cubical balloons, with which to make constructions. When allowed to suddenly deflate, said cubical balloons do not fly randomly about, but traverse a perfectly square path in the air.
  2. assembled a jigsaw puzzle. Vertically, standing on its edge.
  3. performed increasingly elaborate card-shuffles, culminating with making them orbit laterally around Charlie Brown. The latter clearly experienced some existential horror, forced to be at the epicenter of the violation of laws of nature, clearly foreshadowing the horror that would be visited upon the world later.

Spooky stuff.

posted by Gar @ 8:46 AM

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