Email notification to Brandon Starr's blog has been shown to reduce bad cholesterol in two-toed sloths, and has been used as an effective exfoliant.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
(written by yours truly)
How many sculptors does it take to make a bust of George W. Bush?
None. He's already a bust.
Saturday, November 27, 2004
Our son, a little over three and a half, has been showing an interest in spelling lately.
He's been asking how to spell different words. "How do you spell 'sign?'" "How do you spell 'juice?'"
We've been writing down certain words on sticky notes and pasting them on the objects in question: DOOR, FISH, BOOK, WALL, STAR.
The written ones he actually seems to be getting. For instance, he usually remembers 'door' pretty well.
The first word he learned was his name, Declan, followed quickly by mom and dad. Well, a few months ago he spelled "Zoo," but it was kind of by accident. He had a bunch of letter toys in his tub, and Z and O came together, and he recognized "zoo" from a video game he plays. I handed him another O and asked him where it went, and he plopped it down to form the diphthong.
It's fascinating stuff, watching his little mind expand. First came the basic sounds. Then the spoken words. Then numbers and letters. Then recognizing a few words after seeing them a lot in books. Now an interest in spelling.
A lot of times he wants to read, and turns his light back on after we put him to bed. Then we turn it off after a while. Then he turns it back on. It's not an easy thing, to say "don't read" to your kid. So we usually don't. But we do encourage him to sleep, and keep turning the light off. I'm sure from the street his window must look like an aldus lamp.
The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. He hates going to bed early. Both my wife and I are also night-owls by nature. We, too, do a ton of reading. It's not too hard to figure out why I became a reader--my mom's a librarian. My wife turned to reading early, as well, and we do what we can to encourage our son.
Enough writing for now. My son just got out of bed again (it's darn near 10:00 PM) and I want to try to get him to go down to sleep.
It's "Bake your own turkey" weekend at Inventing Situations
Following in the footsteps of 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' you can caption screengrabs with your own humorous ideas, to be immortalized for...well, usually about twenty minutes or so.
Usually it's a hodgepodge of industrial shorts and other old bits no one's heard of.
But each Thanksgiving weekend, they work hard to get rights for movies and shorts used in MST3K itself for fans to caption away at.
If you haven't done it before, it's fun. Check it out. Let 'em know "BStarr13" sent you.
Friday, November 26, 2004
Quick entry on Thanksgiving
Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm fighting a cold.
I'm not sure if it's a genuine illness or just my body telling me to take it easy.
After waking up at 1:30 AM Thursday morning to go to work, I was already tired.
I managed to make it until 6:15 or so, when I got home.
My wife drove us up to my sister's place in Tacoma. Though I almost can't sleep in cars, I managed to snooze most of the way.
We had a great time up there. Good food, nice chats with family, watching my son run around and play. I even got a quick catnap in.
at about 7:00 PM, we headed home. By now, my wife was tired, so I drove the way back.
At about 10:00 PM, we were home. My wife put our son to bed, and I got ready to hit the sack myself.
At 1:30 AM this morning, I got up for work. By 6:00 AM, I was so tired I basically flopped into bed, asking my wife to let me sleep as long as possible. I had a sore throat and that odd sensation I get in my stomach if I haven't had enough sleep.
She was nice enough to call her mom and see if she could take Declan for the morning. So I got a few hours of sleep, and got up at 11:00 AM to go pick him up. The nap really helped; though I don't feel 100% yet, I do feel a lot better.
But I need more sleep soon. I'm hoping the writing goes well, so I can take a nap when my son does.
As tired as I was and am, I wouldn't have traded it for any amount of sleep.
Hope your Thanksgiving was great, too!
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
The History of Magic in the 21st Century
I'm writing a novel, titled "The History of Magic in the 21st Century." (Click here to open it in a new window.) This blog entry is to fill in some details.
What sort of novel is it?
A humorous fantasy novel. The lowdown: magic has existed all along, but has recently "woken up" again, leading to all sorts of changes in society and other sorts of craziness. Think Aldous Huxley meets Douglas Adams meets Stan Lee.
So how does this work?
The unique part is, I'm writing it day-by-day, and putting it up online for anyone to read.
Well, yes. There are lots of blogs with stories, even novels, but they write them ahead of time and just post them in chunks. Here you'll actually be reading it as I write it. So far as I've been able to tell, it's unique.
But will it be any good?
Well, it's going to be a mostly-readable, hopefully-amusing first draft.
Do you really think you can write a novel from start to end?
Most novels aren't written that way. But yes, I think I can. Why? Because I've done it before
. I wrote the linked horror novel bit by bit from story beginning to story end, and gave it to my wife and friends as I did so.
Why blog it online?
1) By making a public declaration that I'll be writing, it'll be a strong incentive for me not to slack off. It's an online version of how I wrote the other novel.
2) By making it public, hopefully I'll get some interest in the novel being published at some point. (The horror novel was completed, but never published.)
But what if it sucks?
I'm willing to take that risk.
No, really, what if it sucks?
I realize that all writing, and especially humor, gets way better after it's polished. But I've been thinking about this novel a long time, and I think I can make even the first draft reasonably interesting and funny. Plus, I'm likely to go over each day's writing at least once before posting it. So first draft or not, it'll have a bit of editing done already.
What if I want to comment?
There are lots of ways on the History of Magic blog. There's a tagboard for general comments, comment areas for each posting if you have something to say specific to that part of the novel, or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with longer or private comments.
What about this, your regular blog?
I still plan on doing daily entries, like always. The multiple-entries-per-day may go away, since I'll be spending more time writing and less surfing the Internet.
And you promise to write every day? EVERY day?
Well, just like my regular blog, I can't write if I'm away from my computer for the day, such as on holidays. If you want, you can sign up for email notification at the History of Magic blog, or just add it to your Favorites to come back occasionally. But yes, every day I plan on posting at least something, come hell or writer's block.
Excellent online site: "Mom's Cancer"
is the cartoonist's story of his family as their mom battles metastasized cancer.
A great story well-told. A strong amount of insight into the disease, his reactions, and the reactions of his family members makes this well worth the time it takes to read.
Like many modern cartoons, this is hardly a comedy-fest. But he does find a surprisingly large number of moments with at least something humorous in them.
But there are even more that are deadly serious.
Check it out.
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
One way to keep Jared slim...
...charge him $28,000 per sandwich: Online casino buys "Virgin Mary" cheese sandwich for $28,000.
The casino is already hawking "Virgin Mary Sandwich" T-shirts.
Hey, at least some good is coming out of all this insanity.
Me, I'm still working on my burn-scraping-technique to form my own "sacred" sammiches.*
(and I still say it looks more like Marlene Dietrich than any "Virgin Mary.")
* I sometimes pronounce "sandwich" the Tom Servo way.
Monday, November 22, 2004
SpaceShipOne named Time's Invention of the Year
SpaceShipOne is Time's Invention of the Year
They were particularly impressed by the foldable wings, which extend out to slow the ship's fall back into the atmosphere. It slows the descent so much that heat tiles are not required, unlike the typical NASA plunge-like-a-rock version.
Nothing like a little competition to create some exciting ideas.
Congrats again to that remarkable device and its even more remarkable inventors and pilots.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
"Hitchhiker's Guide" coming to the big screen
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
in production, principal photography completed.
According to Rotten Tomatoes
, it'll be opening 6/3/05.
"Hitchhiker's Guide" was originally a radio play. Then Douglas Adams (who, sadly, died a few years ago) turned it into the famous series of books. It then became a British television series. They have long tried to turn it into a movie. The last movie deal that fell through would have had Jim Carrey as Zaphod Beeblebrox.
The current production stars no one I recognize in any of the main roles. But that's okay. In fact, sometimes it's better, when someone's playing a role I adore, that it not be someone I already recognize. It certainly worked for the "Lord of the Rings" movies (granted, I had vague familiarity with quite a few of them, but it's not like "Tom Cruise IS Gandalf!").
Not only have I been a fan of the books--I discovered the trilogy as a kid before the fourth book was added--I've always had a soft spot for "Hitchhiker's" as a production since college. You see, I did some theater, and we were going to do the radio version of "HGttG." We got through tryouts and did some other preproduction work. But sadly, at the time at least, the radio rights were basically lost. We weren't able to figure out who had the rights and therefore who we had to pay to do the show. So it never happened.
It may be a clue to my personality that:
1) I was cast as Arthur Dent, and
2) Not only was I considered a shoo-in to be Arthur by others, all the while I was trying out for the part of Ford Prefect!
In a way, I think the person to play Arthur shouldn't realize he actually IS Arthur. Sad, funny, but true. Anyway, the radio play never happened, but at least I got a glimpse into my own mind as a result.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
"The clocks are talkin' to me, man..."
Swiss teens use most marijuana in Europe.
One in three Swiss teens has smoked a bone within the past year. Britain and Spain trailed Switzerland for the lead.
For binge drinking, it was British and Scandinavian teens.
Conversely, the Netherlands, with its legal hash bars, had only average teen marijuana use.
This goes hand-in-hand with the commentary from the "my solutions" blog entry of a couple of days ago. Where drug use is legal, its use is merely average. The teens don't all go crazy and become a bunch of Cheeches and Chongs. When legal, a lot of the thrill, for many, is gone. And in the Netherlands, you won't have to worry about if your marijuana has had PCP or LSD or insecticides added to it. Nor will you have to deal with criminals to get it. Nor will your payment go to the criminal underground.
I've complained about this before, and I will again. This is yet another instance of a story with an important point being ghettoized as an "Oddly Enough" story. Dammit, I see this over and over. You have stories with legitimate points to be made, and instead they make with the yuk-yuks.* Remember the story about "The Tooth Ferry?" It was a big joke story, also under "Oddly Enough." But why were the Brits going to bother to hire a ferry and go over to France? Because their socialized dentistry is so horrible, and they couldn't afford the few private practice British dentists who could do quality work. But no, no important point to be made about socialized medicine there: instead, it was all about the pun in the title.
* I don't think it's too much of a stretch to suggest they may be ghettoized because they have a point of view that some might find distasteful. Today's story, for instance, suggests that legalizing marijuana isn't the most horrible thing in the world. Shocking! So shocking, they decide the only way to put out the story at all is to clown it up.