29 September 2006

So Long, and Thanks for All the Visits

Unlike some people, I never bothered to download Sitemeter, so I have no idea what my actual traffic numbers were like. But I know from various factors that my traffic was larger than you might guess, so thanks to all of y'all who stopped by. Especially those of you who continued to click during my droughts.

I'm not deleting the blog - for one thing, we need to preserve the complete works of Mickey Spill-seedy - but this is, in all likelihood, the last post ever.

So, on to the questions!

From geoff:
1. I suppose questions concerning leg quantities and the resale value of Jeep Cherokees are out of order.
This wasn't really a question, but I'll answer it anyway. Two, and I have no earthly idea.

From Musli:
2. "Atlantis" always reminds me of "Stargate: Atlantis". I like that show. But as I don't watch TV, I don't watch it. I'll get the DVDs later on.
This was also not a question, and shouldn't "Atlantis" remind you of THE FABLED LOST CIVILIZATION??

But then, the multi-purpose logistic modules are called Raffaello, Michelangelo, and Donatello, and I can't help but think of the Ninja Turtles rather than the artists, so I guess I shouldn't talk.

From RG:
3. Will you please post that one-legged picture of yourself? Crop your head off if you need to, I just want to see that Aggie pose.
Thanks for asking nicely, but no, I won't. It's still in the archives anyway.

From Enas Yorl:
4. Is Muslihoon's observation I like that show. But as I don't watch TV, I don't watch it. the modern equivalent of "One hand clapping" Zen thing?
I was wondering the same thing. Also, what is the sound of one slashfic about Jack and Daniel being written?

(There's a long story behind why I know about the existence of such fics, but suffice to say that's why I've never bothered picking up any of the Stargate shows.)

Actual questions from Dex:
5. These may be more geek than nerd questions, but: Assume a land battle, who would win - a tribe of Fremen or clan of Klingons?
Well, I've never gotten into Dune, but judging from the Wikipedia page on these guys, I think they would win a battle fought on their native planet. However, I would have to give the Klingons the edge at any other location. Assuming TNG Klingons, of course, as TOS Klingons seem to be somewhat less intelligent.
6. Assuming the Skylark is not available, which ship would you prefer to own - Serenity or Moya?
Again, never got into either of those shows, but I'd have to give the preference to Serenity on the grounds that Petey has put me off sentient vessels for good.
7. Your fella picks you up for the big mystery date, telling you only that you're going to "a concert". At the end of the evening, you agree this was the best concert he could have taken you to. What was the venue/who was the musician? Assume a time machine.
I'm not really a big music fan, so instead, I'm going to say that he took me to a production of Hamlet. Specifically, the performance given at the Stratford (Ontario) Festival in 1957.
8. Your new faster-than-light starship is crewed, prepped and ready to depart for a new world which you'll be overseeing the development of. You have a half-million applicants from potential settlers, but only room for five thousand on this trip. Since nothing bad is expected to happen to those left behind and since it's your ship and project, you don't have to be all multi-culti if you don't want to. Or you could. What criteria do you use to select the settlers?
Well, first of all, I need people in certain crucial occupations. The ship's crew, of course, then plenty of engineers, construction experts, computer programmers, doctors, nurses, teachers, veterinarians, botanists, and I suppose an attorney or two. Oh, and religious leaders. With only five thousand crew members, I'd try to get three or four Protestant ministers, a couple of Catholic priests, a couple of rabbis, and maybe one each of other faiths like Buddhism. Islamists would not be not welcome.

There are probably some other important occupations I can't think of off the top of my head, but those are the first that come to mind. After occupation and intelligence, I would screen for physical condition. Married couples in their 20s who don't yet have children and are in excellent health would be my first preference, as we'll have a few years of hard work before we're ready to start popping out the kiddies. And make no mistake - couples would be fully expected to produce plenty of children. We're starting a civilization here and replacement fertility rates won't cut it.

I'm also assuming that settlers have passed a psychological profile before they're even allowed to apply. We can't have any psychopaths (although we will need target practice for the cool new laser beam weapons I fully expect my scientists to produce...hmm...).
9. Is this really quitting blogging or is it like Dave at Garfield Ridge quitting?
I'm not quitting per se, as when I get the itchy fingers, I'll go post something at IB. But I can't blog anywhere near full-time, and don't think it's fair to my handful of readers here to trail off without some sort of explanation/farewell.
10. Are there really girls who would choose Cyclops over Wolverine? 'Cause I could suspend my disbelief about mutant powers and adamantium skeletons, but that just took the comic into the realm of fantasy...
You know, I recently rewatched X1 and was stunned by how rough Wolverine is. He has been softened so much in the last two movies that I'd pick him without reservation. But Wolverine from the first movie, and from the comics, is way too much of a bad boy for my taste.

That being said, Cyclops is a prick.
11. If things work out with the new fella, where would you register for the oscilloscopes?
Fry's, of course. On one of our dates, we wanted to go to Fry's, but they were closed. So we went back to my place and made out instead, which I guess was better.

From HayZeus:
12. What is the make and model of your car. You know, the one that's worth more now than it was when you drove it off the lot?
I'd rather not say here, as I am paranoid, but if you really want to know, just email me. And no, it is not a Jeep Cherokee.

13. Do you think that Osama has joined the choir invisibile or is he still with us?
I'm inclined to suspect he's living in a cave eating shit.

14. If so, does it matter?
He's been reduced to meaninglessness, so I don't think it matters. But the thought of his dying from typhoid gives me a warm fuzzy feeling.

15. Assume Dr. Pepper and its knockoffs such as Mr. Pibb, Dr. Thunder, etc. don't exist. What then is your favorite soft drink, if any?
I would NOT drink a knockoff of Dr. Pepper under ANY circumstances. That being said, I do like ginger ale, and Pepsi is ok. Coke is also drinkable, but needs rum. I don't like 7up or Sprite at all.

16. The XB-70 Valkyrie supersonic bomber: baddest-ass plane ever to be built or merely an interesting prototype?
I'd have to go with the latter, as I think the F-22A Raptor is more bad-ass. I outsourced this question to an expert but haven't received a reply from him yet. In the event that I do, I'll share it with you.

17. Since the tables are turned, what are your reasons for not blogging about your relationship? :P
Anyone can read this blog. I like to keep private things private. Also, I would hate to be blogged about in that context myself, and I am nothing if not intellectually honest.

18. Granite countertops: worth the $70-80-odd dollars a square foot?
I'm not an expert on countertops, but I would have to say no on principle. The principle of being cheap, that is.

19. Do you have a favorite linux distro and if so which one?
No. I figure switching to linux is inevitable, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

From Michael, after the deadline:
20. Do you still have a room at your parents [sic] house?
Yes. Right now I am making just enough to live on, so I've opted to stay in their house until I have enough for a down payment on a house of my own (I think an apartment is a total waste of money). I have a promotion coming in January and should be able to clock more overtime in February and June, in addition to the tutoring job I just took, so I'm thinking of starting my house hunt early next summer. I wish I could get an apartment in the meantime, but I can't afford to stay anyplace around here and still be able to save for the down payment. Unfortunately, all of my non-married female friends have cats (to which I am allergic) or severe disagreements with me regarding appropriate thermostat settings, or both, so roommates aren't an option.

21. Have they changed it?
No, but I did. You should have seen how much crap I threw out after graduation. I finally accepted that I didn't need to keep my old tests from Engineering 111, and cleared out all that garbage. It was liberating.

22. How long do you think parents should wait after graduation before they take their kids [sic] shit down and repossess their room[sic]?
Wouldn't the kid take all his stuff with him when he leaves? I'm sure as hell not leaving anything here. Even my Star Trek action figures are coming with me, and I'll have a heck of a time finding them. They're buried in the attic somewhere (and will undoubtedly go straight in the attic at my new house, but oh well).


Well, thanks, everyone. It was a fun ride while it lasted, and I wouldn't mind being able to blog full-time like Ace can. But unfortunately, that's not an option for me. Luckily, I have Innocent Bystanders for when I get the urge.

Well, until Michael notices I mocked his lack of punctuation and subject-verb agreement, that is. Then I might just find myself no longer welcome over there.

21 September 2006

Congratulations Atlantis!

STS-115 is accomplished, and Atlantis and her crew are safely home. Congratulations!

Also, I got up early this morning to see the ISS go overhead. It's much too high to resolve into anything more than a dot with the naked eye, of course, but it was still cool. (Here is the sightings opportunities page for anyone who might like to look up his area. Select your country from the dropdown box on the left.)

Anyway, in celebration of the successful completion of the mission, I am pleased to introduce an unprecedented opportunity. For the first time ever, it is Ask Mrs. Peel Week! Feel free to pose any questions you like in the comments section. Questions will be accepted until midnight CDT next Thursday.


Update: By the way, this is kind of a last hurrah for this blog. I doubt I'll post here again after answering y'all's questions, as I simply haven't got the time. I do still have time for occasional comments at AOSHQ and IB, of course.

11 September 2006

Never forget

I had a lot of dead time at work today. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have spent it watching CNN and Fox News and reading 9/11 remembrances.

But we need to be reminded of why we fight.

I've been thinking about the United 93 film a lot lately, and remembering how powerful it was. There are several visual images that linger, like the hitchhiker, somber and dark, pausing for a moment in front of a garish advertisement.

But what I remember most about that film is the moment when I rose to leave, my path illuminated by the light of the credits, silence resounding in my ears, and turned to see three freshmen cadets similarly departing. The third lingered half a second behind his companions, furtively ducking his head to wipe his eyes roughly with his sleeve, and it struck me that he would have been just fourteen on that day.

I'm appalled to think back on how little 9/11 affected me at the time. I could not grasp the enormity of what had occurred, and it was not until several years later that I fully understood the atrocity that had been committed, and the nature of our enemy. I didn't even watch the news reports as events unfolded.

But what of this cadet? I imagine him sitting in social studies or algebra, laughing and joking with his friends, casting the occasional glance at a pretty girl across the way; until, by some osmosis, the news spreads through the classroom, and the teacher switches on the television. What did he think when he watched the reports, saw the towers fall, heard the wailing of alarms? Had he ever heard of bin Laden or al-Qaeda? Did those moments of horror immediately force the same painful clarity I took years to attain upon him?

He was just fourteen. He spent his high school years knowing - knowing - that our enemy is fully prepared to slaughter every one of us. What shadow must that knowledge have cast over the last of his childhood?

The vast majority of A&M's cadets have committed to serve after graduation. I am sure that for many of them, the memory of sitting frozen in horror on that bright September morning played a significant role in that decision. To them, and to all the other men and women who defend freedom:

Thank you.

24 August 2006

For you Pluto supporters

Please provide a scientific definition of the term "planet" that encompasses Pluto but does not include Ceres, 2003UB313/Xena, Sedna, Quaoar, etc.

Also, please explain how Charon fits into your definition.


Update: I have been vindicated, and it feels good.

18 August 2006

Review: Snakes on a Plane

I shouldn't have read Ace's first, because now I just don't see the point of bothering to write my own.

So I just have a handful of comments.
  1. One particular scene gives a new meaning to the term "trouser-snake." 'Nuff said.
  2. Could have done without a couple of the scenes. You know which ones I mean.
  3. Snakes + microwave = crazy delicious.
  4. Red and yella, kill a fella; red and black, venom lack. Hello?
  5. When you toss a giant stuffed snake in your date's lap after the movie, she might be laughing, but she doesn't really think it's funny.*
Seriously, I think this movie is all we expected, and more. Samuel L. Jackson's famous line is sheer brilliance. I couldn't help cheering when he delivered it. So, for those of you who have been waiting for this movie: go see it, right away! Those of you who hear the title and a brief description of the premise and think, "Why the hell would anyone want to see that?" probably shouldn't bother.


*Full disclosure: I actually did think it was funny.

13 August 2006

This morning's service

Now that I'm graduated and settled down, I need to find a new church home. So I've been church-shopping with a friend this summer. We're different denominations, but we're both Protestant and not all that picky about which denomination we attend as long as the preachin' and singin' are good. This morning is my friend's last Sunday here before she heads back to school, so she decided to go to her denomination's church, and I went off to try out a new church (in my denomination) by my lonesome.

I really enjoyed the service. I had a bad feeling at first when I saw the pastors and choir weren't wearing the traditional robes, because I hate contemporary worship, and dislike the loosening of attire restrictions I've been seeing in the various churches I've visited. I guess I see where the churches are coming from: if butts are in the pews, does it really matter what's covering 'em? But at the same time, I think it's disrespectful to not dress properly for church. The pastors were wearing suits, so that's ok, but I saw a couple people in the congregation wearing jeans or even shorts, and they weren't all young, either. (Jeans don't bother me that much if they are clean, well-tailored, and accompanied by appropriate shirts and shoes. But shorts? In a church? Dude, not cool.) So that gave me a bad feeling.

But we started out with "Standing on the Promises," a hymn I like that I hadn't heard in a while, and that pleased me. We then followed that up with an excellent affirmation of faith and the Gloria Patri. During the offertory, four guys from the choir sang a quartet, which I really enjoyed, and then we sang the Doxology I like best and "Trust and Obey," another hymn I like that my school church hadn't used in a while.

(My parents' church sings a goofy Doxology that I don't like, and they say the Lord's Prayer with different words, which confuses me. I already had enough trouble switching from German to English (long story); I don't need people trying to get me to switch to different words. Similarly, they have been doing a series of sermons on the 23rd Psalm, so they've asked the congregation to say it together at each service; but their translation isn't the one I know by heart. My parents' church also doesn't do affirmations of faith or the Gloria Patri. All in all, a very unsatisfying spiritual experience over there.)

The sermon was pretty good. It was about putting your failures of the past behind you and continuing to strive toward the goal of being like Christ. The pastor's key points were that failures of the past can imprison us through failure to forgive (yourself as well as others) and feelings of regret; that the failures of the past can rob us of hope because they can cause us to surrender to the status quo and become resentful; and that we should forget the past (he didn't mean "forget" so much as "stop punishing yourself for") and press on to the goal. I'd actually been thinking along these lines lately, because I never forgive myself for the various bad stuff I do, and I'm not particularly good at forgiving others, either. So, that fact and the giant hunk o' gold on the pastor's right hand were clues that I was in the right place. (In Texas, a giant hunk of gold on someone's right hand is almost always an Aggie ring.)

We finished up with "Here I Am, Lord," which is one of my favorite hymns because the first time I heard it was during the same service as a truly memorable sermon, and it was closely linked to the message of that sermon. (That hymn will also play a part in the book that's been fermenting in my head for a couple years. I think I'm going to let it stew a little longer, but I'm getting close to putting pen on paper.)

So, all in all, a pleasant experience, and I'll go back next week, and quite possibly join that church. Which makes me happy, because I've been looking for a couple months, and it's frustrating to not get food for your spirit.

12 August 2006

*blink*

Look at this comment over at Gutfeld's post on fear. I added some space to make it more readable, but left all spelling and grammar as seen in the original.
You left out fear of being called anti-semitic.

But really, is being called anti-semitic a valid fear in America?

Do white people who believe it's unsafe to drive thru Watts in Los Angeles at night, really fear Blacks?

Do people who think Karl Rove is an evil person, really fear fat white men?

Do blacks who have the Confederate flag waved in their face, really fear everybody in the South?

American Jews pretend to fear anti-Semitism is a mental disease, although they have difficulty explaining how 60 million Germans or 300 million Arabs, and now tens of millions of Americans came to have that very same quirk of brain chemistry. The real truth is more frightening to Jews. Fact is Americans never had the underlying motive for Jew-hatred (which is the jealousy that fragile and endangered peoples bear against the Jews for their so called "Biblical immortality"), because prior to George W. Bush we have always kept a firm seperation of church and state. Religion was never factored into the democracy formula, until the Christian Conservatives and American Jews skewed the equation.

"The presentiment of ethnic death does not haunt new nations composed of immigrants who left the fey imaginings of their ancestors behind at the far shore." (Franz Rosenzweig)

Because we oppose being brainwashed by our medias, you need not fear us as being anti-semitic.

Because we oppose the military aggression of Israel to take land, you need not fear us as being anti-semitic.

Because we oppose our governments one sided backing of a nation (Israel) that freely invades and kills it's neighbors, you need not fear us as being anti-semitic.

By: NCCarboys on August 07, 2006 at 01:55pm
What...the...

So...George W. Bush's evil Christian conservative government supports Israel, but hates the Jews because they're the chosen people, so they're supporting Israel because...uh...blood for (olive) oil? Or, wait, I might have it now. The Jews, who are, of course, a monolithically Republican vote, colluded with George W. to establish a Christian theocracy that supports Israel, and the rest of America hates the Jews because...no wait, the underlying cause of Jew-hatred is the Bible, and only Christians believe in that, and the Christians colluded with the Jews that they hate to "select" Bush because...er...

I'm sorry, I can't make any sense out of this. Someone else want to give it a shot?