Second warning

Tank girls

I couldn’t resist making my own 2048 game, using images from the Girls und Panzer movie. Beware: this can be terribly addictive, and if you have work that must be done, do not click here.

Update: I made another one using images from GATE and a different online game maker.

(If you are unfamiliar with this sort of game, you play it by using the arrow keys on your keyboard to push the tiles around. There are eleven (2,048=2^11) different tiles; revealing the last two is not easy.)

Update II: There are orchids now, too.

Update III: And ballet.

More than enough about me

So lovely

Medieval Otaku thinks I have one lovely blog and has tasked me with the following:

You must thank person who nominated you and include a link to their blog
You must list the rules and display the award
You must add 7 facts about yourself
You must nominate 15 other bloggers

Um, gee, thanks, I think, M.O.

Over the years, I’ve written about myself perhaps more often than is healthy, and it is difficult to find seven fresh facts worth mentioning. I’ll start with a little recycling. In the past, I’ve written

1. this


2. that.

There’s more about me

3. here.

What else? Let’s see….

Continue reading “More than enough about me”

Links in the time of hurricanes

It looks like the Brickmuppet will get a reprieve from Matthew. Down in Orlando, William Luse might not be as lucky. He links back to his posts from 2004, when Charley and friends paid visits to the Florida peninsula.

Update: The Brickmuppet’s luck ran out.

Derek Lowe recently added another post to his “Things I won’t work with” file, this one dealing with a feisty nitrogen compound (“Recall that this is the compound whose cocrystal with TNT is actually less dangerous than the pure starting material itself….”) and anhydrous hydrogen peroxide.

I am told that I barely talked at all until I was nearly four, though when I did start chattering, it was in complete sentences. I was perhaps fortunate that this was back in the dark ages, when autism was a rare and exotic affliction and few people had even heard of Asperger’s.

Working plants

Years ago I grew cacti and other succulents under lights in the kitchen, all of which I started from seed. The collection eventually became too large to maintain, and the plants are long gone. Recently I’ve been considering starting another indoor garden, on a smaller scale and focusing on the more diminutive mammillarias and turbinicarpus and perhaps some mesembs. If I do, I’ll order the seeds from the same source as before, Mesa Garden in New Mexico.

I came across the above interview with Mesa Garden’s Steve Brack earlier today. It’s an amateurish video, hand-held and ending abruptly, and the soft-spoken Brack is often difficult to hear, but it does offer a glimpse of a fascinating place.

Notes from the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies

Various odds and ends:

Fillyjonk linked to an old but not outdated story by Ray Bradbury, “The Murderer.” I found a couple of other favorites, “The Veldt” and “The Pedestrian.”


Perhaps not entirely unrelated to the Bradbury stories:

Having time each day merely to amuse oneself, or just to sit and think, greatly improves one’s life. Yet we’re practically taught to avoid such periods – to stay as busy as possible virtually all the time. The emphasis on work, on “multitasking” (which, as a former expert in the architecture of multitasking operating systems for embedded devices, I can assure you is always an illusion) and on achieving ever more per unit time is using us up in ways we don’t always perceive and even less often appreciate. You’d almost suspect that time spent in introspection had been deemed an offense against the social norms.

(Via Dustbury.)


While Sakurajima is ominously quiet, in the South Indian Ocean Piton de la Fournaise is putting on a modest, colorful show.

Continue reading “Notes from the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies”

Memo to Pope Frankie …

45th parallel

… and others who think that air conditioning is an irresponsible, decadent luxury:

Above is a map of North America and Europe, with the 45th parallel marked in red. That latitude lies halfway between the north pole and the equator. Regions north of the red line are nearer the arctic; regions south, nearer the tropics. Note that most of Europe is above the parallel and that most of the 48 states are below it. Note further that the plains states are remote from any moderating influence of mountains or ocean. It gets hot and stinking humid here in Kansas during summer. Frown and shake your finger all you want, but my air conditioner stays on.

Something about a dragon?

Josh has seen fit to present me with another award. This time it’s the “Dragon’s Loyalty Award.” Gee, thank you, Josh. It’s a great honor, etc., etc., etc. Someday I may forgive you.

Dragon's Loyalty Award

These are the rules:

1. Display the award on your blog.
2. Announce your win with a post and denounce thank the blogger who awarded you.
3. Present 15 deserving bloggers with the award.
4. Link your awardees in the post and let them know of their being awarded.
5. Write seven interesting things about yourself.

These “awards” are a bit too much like chain letters, and I’m not going to pick 15 more suckers. Anyone listed in my blogroll is worthy of an award. If this exercise looks like fun, feel free to participate.

I’m running out of fascinating trivia about myself. ((The most interesting facts about me are none of your business.)) Let’s see, what haven’t I mentioned before?

1. I had piano lessons as a kid, but they didn’t take. When I was around 20, I got tired of being musically illiterate, so I bought an old upright and found a teacher. Later I took a couple of semesters of music theory at the university. I would have taken more, but the theory classes were scheduled for the convenience of freshman music majors, not non-major upperclassmen with jobs and complicated schedules.

2. When I was a kid, I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I still don’t.

3. I deliberately mis-matched my socks during my college years. Similarly, I often wore parti-colored hose when I was active in the SCA.

4. I prefer the fragrance of dianthus to that of roses.

5. I do know how to drive, but I generally don’t.

6. When I was 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, I wandered all over Brigham City, Utah, sometimes with friends, more often alone. Sometimes my friends and I rambled around the lower slopes of the mountain east of town, or we rode our bikes to campgrounds in the canyon to the southeast. I’d pack a lunch and spend entire days at the town park by myself. When I was 11, I explored much of San Francisco north of Golden Gate Park on my bike. I could ride to Baker Beach from home in five minutes, and I’d usually have the sands all to myself. Present-day opponents of free-range parenting would have been aghast.

7. I’ve had fun with depression throughout my life. I rarely mention it because, well, it’s depressing, and others have faced worse and written better about their experiences. I figure it cheated me of about ten years of my youth. Little blue pills have made life a bit easier for me and those who must deal with me. ((This is not a request for advice or inspirational messages. I most likely will never allude to the subject again.))

Memo to NRO


You've got malware


Please clean the damned malware off your site NOW. While you’re at it, undo all the recent “improvements” that have made NRO a tedious, unreadable mess, too.

By the way, don’t call that number. I recommend that everyone stay away from National Review Online until get they their act together.

Update: According to some online diagnostic services, National Review‘s site is clean. A scan of my hard drive found no malware. Nevertheless, I still got redirected to a site that wanted to install a bogus Flash update the last time I visited. I would guess that whatever agency handles the advertising on the NR site is running some tainted ads. It looks like I’m not going to spend much time with Kevin and Jonah for a while.

Update II (April 3): Whatever was hijacking my browsers seems to be gone from the site now. NR is still a pain to navigate, though.



A game to play next time you read a second-tier fantasy novel. (Via J. Greely.)


Some trigger warnings for other literature.

1944, near Naples

Italy, 1944:

88 airplanes were a total loss. Eighty-eight B-25 Mitchells – $25,000,000 [1944 dollars] worth of aircraft

Vesuvius, 1944

Update: More on Vesuvius here.

Anthony Sacramone’s list of the twelve funniest books ever written is better than most such lists, though it’s missing Terry Pratchett, Robert Benchley and a few others. ((I was pleased to see that someone else remembers Will Cuppy.))

“Let us build a fairyland for the people by dint of science!”

North Korean slogan or TED talk tidbit? (Via Jonah Goldberg.)

A large serving of silly nonsense is below the fold.

Continue reading “Link-o-rama”