Posts from February 2009

Friday, 6 February 2009

Starfish Hitler

The Echinoblog has catalogued a fascinating collection of starfish-based kaiju in Japanese entertainment.  The most entertainingly weird is easily the “Starfish Hitler” from the Kamen-Rider series.  Take a wook:

(via Pink Tentacle)

Categories: Japan, Videos.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

DIY Plumbing == Success!

So a few days ago Carrie noticed that the area beneath the sink was kinda, well, moist.  Upon careful observation we came to realize that there was a link in the nut that connected the left-hand sink drain to the pipes.  Under normal water-usage conditions it didn’t leak at all, but if high volumes of water went either or both drains, then it would get backed up in the U-shaped trap and try to make its way backwards up out of the drains.  This is when a few drops would seep out.


Well, that’s no good. We can’t use a leaky sink! So I made sure that it we wouldn’t use it by accident through absent-mindedness or force of habit.


Turned out the leak was happening because the nut holding the pipe to the drain had a gigantor crack in it.


You probably notice that that last photo of the cracked nut was taken outside.  That’s because I borrowed a big ol’ wrench from Travis, and while it wasn’t big enough to get the actual nut off, I was able to pull the pipe out.  That left kind of a gap in our below-the-sink plumbing.


But not to worry!  A trip to Home Depot with the offending pipe and a quick query to an employee in the plumbing section, and I had a handful of brand-new PVC pipes and washers and nuts.  Our old pipes weren’t a standard lenght or anything, so the pipe had to be cut down by hand.


I used an invisible saw, by which I mean I searched the laundry room thoroughly for it and could not find it despite the fact that it was sitting in plain view the whole time and my wife found it in about three seconds.

Anyway, I attached the vertical pipe extension (which also had to be cut down), then the silicone washers and PVC nuts and it was all ready to go!


After I attached the new pipes to the old drain there was still a problem, though.  The new joint at the drain was perfect; not a leak in sight, and under normal water usage there were no problems.  But with a high volume of water the U-trap would back up and water would drip out of the joint between the old pipes and the new.


I figured this was because the sealing washer in the old pipes just wasn’t cutting the mustard anymore; removing the old pipes probably did it in.  There was no way I could change it without removing the old, metal nut there, though, and no wrench in my house could do that job.

So I sucked it up and drove back to Home Depot and dropped $14 for an actual, real-life 18-inch pipe wrench, the kind that actual, real-life plumbers tote around.  I also dropped a couple of bucks for a brand-new PVC nut and sealing washer.  I came home, removed all the new stuff and re-installed it with the shiny new washer and nut.


And, glory-be, it works perfectly!  There are no more leaks.  I did it entirely myself.  The grand total was around $30 including the pipe wrench, which is now ours to use whenever we see fit, or to loan out to anybody else who ever needs one.  It likely would have cost ten times as much if we’d called in a plumber to do the same job.  And it probably wouldn’t have taken any less time.

I can be pretty handy around the house sometimes.  When I have to be.

Categories: Life, Pictures.

Kung-Fu Panda (2008)

The Fall
(Jack Black Kungs some Fu)

Because so many Dreamworks animated movies that are lead by all-star casts turn out to be horribly, horribly awful, I was fully expecting Kung-Fu Panda not to be a very good movie. I like Jack Black, and I thought he’d probably be funny, but the rest of the movie would be an awful, ugly, schticky mess. I was therefore surprised that I actually liked the movie. It’s an enjoyably light, pleasantly fun, and surprisingly pretty romp… [Read my full review here]

Categories: Movie Reviews.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Three Birthdays and a Concert

This post spans two Fridays and one Saturday. Let’s begin.

Friday, 23 January 2009

This was kind of my Christmas present from Carrie. She had the day off, so in the afternoon after I got off work and we had lunch and all that, we drove up to downtown Seattle and spent an hour or so wandering around the fancy shops near Pacific Place and Westlake Center. Carrie didn’t end up getting anything. I know! Not a durned thing. But I ended up getting a Super Mario Bros. 3 T-shirt at Hot Topic, and some musical birthday cards at Daiso. We heart Daiso.

After that we had dinner reservations at The Dahlia Lounge. It’s a nice place, with dark mood lighting. Every meal includes an amuse-bouche, whatever the cook happens to whip up. For us it was tiny li’l open-faced pastrami sandwiches. They were very tasty, and had lots of complex flavors that opened in sequence. For our meals I got potato/leek ravioli in a smoked onion & sage butter sauce, topped with frisée, which was in turn topped with crème fraîche. Carrie got the crab cakes with cracked green olives and a romesco sauce. Both dishes were excellent, and we switched plates when we were each half-finished. For dessert we got freshly-made doughnut holes that were brought out to the table, then placed in a brown paper bag full of cinnamon and sugar and shaken up right in front of us. Our server then cut the top half off the bag so we wouldn’t have to reach down through all that sugar to get to the holes. They came with a jam and a vanilla mascarpone dipping sauces. I also had a really good cocktail made with blueberry vodka and something else, with a float of sparkling wine. Carrie had a margarita on the rocks. It was good and fancy stuff.

After dinner we walked over to The Moore to see a Jonathan Coulton concert.

The opening act was a comedy/musical duo called Paul and Storm. They were very likable geeks, and I thought they did a good job of being funny. My favorite bits were the commercial jingles and the conditional impressions. By that I mean they did impressions of musicians who influenced them growing up, but then they added arbitrary conditions, like “Bob Dylan… in a well” or “James Taylor… on fire.” You could tell that they were honestly awed by the size and intensity of the crowd. It sure seemed like it was the largest audience they’d ever played in front of, and they were very excited. They completely underestimated the Seattle audience, though. Watch as they try to get through a very simple song:

Then it was time for Jonathan Coulton to perform. He did a bunch of songs solo and a bunch of songs with Paul & Storm as backup, as well as Molly, who is famous on teh intarwebs as SweetAfton23. I took all the videos I could find on YouTube of this show and made a handy playlist for you to enjoy. So enjoy:

Molly got to do a solo number, and she did a cover of Britney Spears’s “Toxic” on the ukulele, which I, as a fellow ukulele-player, appreciated a whole bunches.

At the show we ran into Jack, aka “John Hippogriff” from Under the Mailbox Theater. Hadn’t seen him in years, and he looks exactly the same. He came and saw Fools Play the very next day, so it was cool to hang out with him.

Friday, 30 January 2009

This was the day of the triple-birthday party for (using their internet names) HeartFeltRobots, TeezyWeezy, and Jeff the Fish. They were all born in the span of the same week, so they decided to make it easy on all of us and have their birthday parties at the same time and place.

Now, I couldn’t go to their party without bringing them presents, could I? COULD I? I… think… NOT. So I made HeartFeltRobots and TeezyWeezy necklaces. TeezyWeezy likes ghosts, so I made her a Ghostie pendant:

Ghostie is a happy ghost!

I dangled a teardrop black bead from the bottom of the pendant and strung it on black cording.

For HeartFeltRobots I made a double-sided pendant so she could wear it with any outfit.  On one side: TAKO!


And on the other side: IKA!


Tako being, of course, the Japanese word for “octopus,” and ika being the Japanese word for “squid.”  Anyhoo, I strung this double-sided pendant on black cord as well, but couldn’t find a bead I liked amongst Carrie’s copious collection.  So I went down to The Bead Factory to get one and, man, that place was hoppin’!  Being a nice guy, I let everyone checkout before I made my $2.10 purchase.  I found a small lampwork bead with dots all over it that looked kinda like a sliced-up tentacle with suckers on it.  Poifect!

For Jeff the Fish I made a plush narwhal.  I don’t have any pictures of it because I’m an IDIOT and forgot to take any.  I’m bugging Jeff the Fish to take a photo and upload it to his site or something.  When he does that I’ll add it to this post as kind of a retcon.

Saturday, 31 January 2009

This was TeezyWeezy’s ACTUAL, REAL-LIFE birthday, and at Fools Play we always do a special format whenever a Fool’s birthday lands on a performance date: “Fools Play Birthday Party!”

This format includes a part where the other Fools give the birthday person some funny presents that somehow lead to a funny bit or are introduced by a funny bit or something like that.  I’d already given TeezyWeezy that awesome pendant on Friday, so I decided to do something simple.  It, of course, didn’t end up being simple.

There were two parts to my present.  First, since I know she gets lonely way out there in Wenatchee, and I know she likes ghosts, I made her a ghost finger puppet to keep her company.  But wouldn’t it be better if you couldn’t not only see the ghost, but also TALK WITH the ghost?  So I recorded myself saying a whole bunch of random things in a ghostly voice, with enough space in between so that one could have a “conversation” with the ghostly voice.  I then chopped up each phrase into its own MP3 file, which I burned onto an audio CD so that she could put it on shuffle and it’d be like having a new conversation EVERY TIME!  There ended up being over seven minutes total of ghostly phrases.  Here are a couple of examples:

  1. taishas-ghost-08
  2. taishas-ghost-18
  3. taishas-ghost-28

leiapico came to Fools Play, which was awexome.  I hadn’t seen her in months because now she’s a big-wig science teacher and is too important to hang out with lowly improvisers like me.  *sniff*

Anyway, that’s my story of three birthdays and a concert.  I enjoyed it much more than Four Weddings and a Funeral, mainly because I didn’t have to sit through an Andie MacDowell performance.  Yech.

Categories: Arts & Crafts, Concerts/Shows, Fools Play, Life, Links, Music, Restaurants, Round-up, Shopping, Videos.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

“Of the Month” February 2009

Link of the Month:
Gunnerkrigg Court
A fascinating webcomic about a strange school in a vast, mostly-abandoned industrial complex with a mysterious history.  The main characters have an amusingly blasé attitude towards the bizarre scientific and supernatural things they encounter almost constantly.  The comic steadily builds an intriguing mythology, and the art style thankfully matures with the characters.  Good to sit and read several chapters at a time.  Also available in graphic novel format!

DVD of the Month:
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
A great, magical movie. I told a lot of people to go see it, and they’d often say, “I never saw Hellboy I.” I’d then always reply, “That’s okay; it wasn’t that good. This one is way, way better.” I’d tell you to read my full review of it over in my Movie Reviews section, but I haven’t actually written it yet. What’s wrong with me? I’m so behind.

Game of the Month:
Animal Crossing: City Folk
I’m kinda shocked it took me this long to make Animal Crossing: City Folk on my “Of the Month” list, considering that Carrie & I got the game back in late November and have played it pretty much every day since then.

Categories: Comics, Movies, Of the Month, Video Games.