Exceedingly miscellaneous

In the 1970s, Jack Thompson bought a tract of land in the Royal Gardens subdivision on the island of Hawaii and began building a cedar home there. He finished it in 1983. As he installed the second-story windows, he noticed a orange glow on the panes. The light came from the lava fountains that heralded the eruption of Kilauea, which continues to this day. Over the years, lava flows took out all his neighbors’ homes, one by one, until only Thompson’s was left. This month, a vigorous flow found his house, leaving little beyond a satellite dish embedded in six feet of basalt.

Continue reading “Exceedingly miscellaneous”

Yoctometers, yottameters and ponies

Two weeks’ worth of random stuff.

Of all the mysteries in Mouretsu Pirates, the most puzzling, and the least likely to be satisfactorily explained, are the Sailor Moon shout-outs. This Princess Serenity is anything but a ditzy airhead.

By the way, it is impossible to watch just one episode of Shingu.

Continue reading “Yoctometers, yottameters and ponies”

Hot stuff in Sicily

Etna is doing her thing again. You can watch the show though numerous webcams, such as this or those here. You can listen to the explosions here as well as see them when the camera is working and the server isn’t overburdened.

Update: the show is over. You can see pictures here and some videos of the eruption here. If you’re lucky, you’ll also see a cheesy Italian commercial.

Sunday morning miscellany

Suppose the translators responsible for The New American Bible took on Shakespeare:

Existence or its opposite? That’s what I am asking myself.
Whether it be more or less dignified to put up with
The barbs and darts of brash Luck, or to use weapons
Against distress’s oceans, to stop them from happening.

More Shakespeare, sorta: What is the connection between Interstella 5555 and the House of Percy?

There supposedly is a genre of iyashikei, or “healing,” anime, such as Aria or Ikoku Meiro no Croisee. I find most such productions irritatingly bland, rather than soothing or refreshing. ((The only example of the genre I find rewatchable is Someday’s Dreamers, which has a serious story underlying all the niceness.)) If you seek therapeutic anime, the works of Tatsuo Sato are much more effective:

A rewatch of Nadesico helped me get through the first few days of living with a broken arm, and Shingu was good for a flu and high fever.

Update: I just watched the second episode of Mouretsu Pirates. It looks like it’s going to be at least as good as Nadesico. Whether it approaches the level of Shingu remains to be seen.

“You don’t have to rely on a healthy body image or self-respect any more”:

Fotoshop by Adobé from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.

Hmm. I have Adobé, but I’m as ugly as ever.

You’d think it’s obvious that creativity requires solitude, but evidentally the fact periodically needs to be restated.

Nyamulagira continues to challenge Etna for the title of The Greatest Show on Earth:

Cooking with gas is passé. Let’s cook with lava. ((Hey, Erik.)) Here’s a recipe for pahoehoe game hen. Prefer a steak?

I don’t know if you can “cook a tasty chicken on lava”, but I know you can cook a steak of meat on an Hawaiian lava flow! I did it! You just lay a sheet of aluminium on the lava; you spread some some oil on the steak, possibly with some herbs. Then, you put the steak on the aluminium sheet and let it broil a few tens of seconds on each side. I can assure you it is delicious, all the more with a glass of Californian wine! I’m French; I know what good cooking means!!

See this for the Icelandic version.


I’m not a biker, and I quit watching George Lucas after The Empire Strikes Out, but I have to say that these motorcycle leathers are kinda cool. Utterly ridiculous, but in a cool way.


Not your ususal Swiss army knife:

This is an excellent tool, but you need to be aware that the time jump utility (tool #713, first control panel on the right when leaving the French restaurant on level 3 through the rear exit) is somewhat limited. I spoke with the telephone support, and they told me that recent models are unable to travel back in time past their manufacturing date. Apparently, they overlooked one aspect of the time travel equations in the early models, and some owners are now stuck in previous ages, unable to return because their knives cannot generate enough power to overcome the energy gradient to the present. If you’re looking to buy one of these knives for its time travel capability, you may be better off considering a different model.


Planning to vacation in the Ukraine?

A friendly hint, when arrested, put on your most unintelligent tourist expression, just talk a lot in a friendly manner in any language except Russian, after a while they understand that they you will not give them you hard earned cash. They might though beat you up and just take it, but that rarely happens unless you go into the suburbs.

Oh, and “[t]he ‘Dong’ in the side of the car is just the Ukrainian way of greeting tourists.”


The Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar.


10 Myths About Introverts.” A useful companion article to the classic “Caring for Your Introvert.”


Some of these via the Rat, AoSHQ and the Anchoress.

Alternative animation

Ubu on $369.98 ($498.98 retail):

I refuse to apologize for bittorrenting any longer, and I refuse to feel guilty, and I refuse to buy any series from anyone, anywhere at that price. Burn in hell, Japan.

If that is indeed what purveyors of anime have planned for us, and if they do finally succeed in eliminating torrents and downloads, then anime will be dead outside of Japan. However, there are other places where good animation can be found. France, for instance. Recently I made the mistake of browsing amazon.com and found both The Triplets of Belleville and Persepolis for $7 each.

Belleville was as good as I remembered, though I had forgotten just how fat the Americans were. Here are a couple of excerpts showing the eponymous triplets in their prime and in the movie’s present.

Madame Souza, who plays the bicycle wheel in the second clip, is one of the great heroic animated characters. She would have been serious competition for Balsa in the current poll had The Triplets of Belleville been a Japanese movie.

Persepolis is a girl’s-eye view of the Iranian revolution, with a sojourn in France. Despite its subject matter, it’s often quite funny.

I highly recommend both movies.

Other bargains I spotted include Chicken Run and The Corpse Bride, each for $5. I also found a two-disc edition of Coraline for $7 at the grocery store. It includes two pairs of red/green 3D viewers.


Looking for Christmas presents for youngsters? Petite Princess Yucie is on sale at RightStuf for $10. This is an excellent price for a very good series. (Here’s Steven’s review, with which I concur.)

Princess Tutu is on sale for $15, also a good price for a very interesting story, though not as suitable for young viewers.


Both Jonathan Tappan and J. Greely have been posting pictures of their recent trips to Japan. Visit their weblogs and see.


Newt Gingrich has an idea for enhancing American defenses.


Hot stuff:

What really happened to Gollum and the ring in Mt. Doom?

A spectacular recent video of Kilauea in action.

Jeepers creepers

Two weeks’ accumulation of curiosities and silliness.

I recently discovered that Tex Avery’s documentation of the big, bad wolf’s remarkable courtship behavior is available at the Internet Archive.

[flowplayer src=’http://www.archive.org/download/RedHotRidingHood_557/BannedCartoons—texAvery-RedHotRidingHood1943.mp4′ width=640 height=480]

More of Avery’s research can be found here.

Continue reading “Jeepers creepers”

Miscellaneous notes

I discovered this downtown this past weekend. I’m not sure what it is, but because it is big, prominent and ugly, it’s probably art.

Some perhaps not-unrelated art news.


Chinese science education might not be quite as rigorous as thought.


… Studio 4C has taught me that, if it’s pretty enough, I won’t mind if it’s nonsense


Election notes:

I like his attitude.

End post-mortem discrimination.


For guitar aficionados, a proposition from a thread on Roy Buchanan and Danny Gatton:

Roy’s playing: like a funeral. Danny’s playing: like a carnival.

If Buchanan’s playing is funereal, it’s one hell of a service.

Bonus video: a twelve-year-old Joe Bonamassa plays Gatton’s telecaster.


The idea of a maid café is a bit creepy, but this one might be worth visiting for its name.

(Via dotclue.)


A couple of notes for volcano watchers:

There’s a natural jacuzzi near El Hierro in the Canary Islands.

Nyamuragira in the Congo is putting on a nice display of lava fountains.


Good grief

I made trip out to Virginia last summer. While there, I experienced my first earthquake since my year in San Francisco decades ago, and my first hurricane since Agnes in 1972. A few minutes ago the house shook for 30 to 45 seconds. It wasn’t as strong as the Virginia quake, where I was near the epicenter, but it was unquestionably an earthquake, the first I ever felt in Kansas. Should I expect a hurricane here in the near future?

Update (Sunday evening): I just felt an aftershock. This one was weaker than Saturday’s and only lasted perhaps ten seconds.

More hot stuff

Robert Stacy McCain is angling for the ambassadorship to Vanuatu. Charles G. Hill mentions a few facts about the islands, but omits why I hope someday to visit them: there are numerous active volcanoes, including Yasur and Ambrym. The former has exhibited constant strombolian and vulcanian activity for hundreds of years, and is considered to be perhaps the most approachable of erupting volcanoes. The latter is one of the very few places on earth where you can find active lava lakes. ((The others are Kilauea in Hawaii, Villarica in Chile, Erta Ale in Ethiopia, Nyiragongo in the Congo and Erebus in Antarctica. To my knowledge, there are no lava lakes in Indonesia, Japan or Kamchatka, despite the intense vulcanism of those regions, or in North America.)) There are many videos on YouTube of the violently churning lake in Marum crater in the Ambrym caldera; they put me in mind of Mt. Doom immediately after Gollum returned the ring to its source.

32 words of storage and other words

Computer science in 1958.

Godzilla: The Musical.

Via the author of the preceeding, a “live”-action realization of Edward Gorey’s The Gashleycrumb Tinies.

One of Gorey’s other works is The Inanimate Tragedy. Here’s an inanimate horror story in one photograph.


Life continues to be insane. ((A special award goes to the TSA agents who, mindful of the deadly threat posed by frail octogenarians, patted down my parents on our flight out here last week.)) Perhaps by October things will return to what passes for normal, but don’t count on it. Activity at this weblog will continue light and spasmodic.

The wrong place

Yu Muroga was a Japanese delivery man. He was doing his round when the earthquake occurred on March 11th 2011. Like most people in the area, he did not feel under the threat of the tsunami as he was driving far from the coast. That’s why he kept on driving and doing his job.
The HD video camera on his dashboard did not only film the tremors but also the moments after the earthquake when several drivers were trapped by the tsunami waters.
The video camera was recently found by the police next to the passenger’s body.

Click on the quote above to see the video.

(Via a comment at Eruptions.)