Posts from August 2010

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Stephen Fry’s Louisiana Excitement

Stephen Fry, the lovable rapscallion often thought of alongside cohorts Hugh Laurie and/or Rowan Atkinson, has been in Louisiana for a few days doing various bits about life in the N’Orleans area for a project of his. Well, life got very interesting for Mr. Fry very quickly on Sunday afternoon, and because he is such an aficionado of Twitter, we got to see the excitement first-hand.

The day started off pleasantly enough:

Been interviewing some lovely ppl in the bayou south of New O. The shack of a guy called Jeff. AM Aug 22nd via Twitter for iPhone

But at 2:39 in the afternoon he tweeted a rather more ominous message:

Help! A tornado is forming overhead! PM Aug 22nd via Twitter for iPhone

He tweeted again in the next few minutes (titling them simply “Uh-oh” and “Snaking its way down…”). Each tweet was accompanied by a photograph showing the progress of the tornado:

Then Mr. Fry’s tweeting ceased. This caused a bit of a sit in the Twitterverse—had he been swallowed up by the meteorological menace? Eventually, just over a half-hour later, Mr. Fry returned to reassure everyone:

All is well twister-wise. It passed overhead, churning away – don’t think the funnel made it down to earth. Astonishing sight tho.3:16 PM Aug 22nd via Twitter for iPhone

Whew! And here we have another example of what a wondrous future we live in, wherein a man armed only with an iPhone and a Twitter account can give an immediate account of astounding weather phenomena. We don’t have to rely on the hope that someone caught some footage of it that might make it to the local news that evening, which might then possibly be picked up by a national news (or perhaps end up as footage in Mr. Fry’s Louisiana project a while down the road). Instead the connection is instant between the witness and the audience, without need for any pesky middle-men sticking their thumbs in it.

It also helps that I just so happen to have an incredible fascination with tornadoes.

Categories: Celebrities, Future Living, Pictures, Tornadoes.

Friday, 20 August 2010

The Perfect Pilot Baby Dream

I had a very Robotech/Starblazers/Gundam inspired dream a few nights ago.

I was a space fighter pilot in Earth’s space military: Ensign Chris Harris.

The enemy planet had been doing crazy stuff with genetic engineering, and I somehow discovered that they’d genetically engineered the “Perfect Pilot.” Well, an enemy fighter pilot (who was himself a genetically engineered person called a “Protoform” – but nobody from Earth knew what a “Protoform” was yet) decided to defect to Earth’s side and stole the Perfect Pilot, who had just been created and therefore was a newborn baby. A couple of my teammates and I arranged to sneak the Protoform and the baby into Earth territory.

We all met in a small, white room. It looked like it a cross between an airlock, a medical bay, and a locker room. The defector handed the baby over to one of my teammates, a woman, who started checking it over to make sure it was healthy and whatnot.

The defector was completely covered from head to toe, wearing a tight black bodysuit with silver stripes on it and a helmet that looked a lot like a cross between Samus’s helmet (from the Metroid Games) and a motorcycle helmet with a tinted visor, disallowing us from seeing his face. He and I were talking about something—I don’t remember what—when suddenly he said, “Oh. Oh, geez. Whoops!” He flipped up his visor and we watched in amazement as a completely featureless face very rapidly morphed into an exact replica of my face (except without a beard, because I didn’t have a beard in the dream).

The defector explained that he was a “Protoform”: a genetic blank slate of a person. He had accidentally “imprinted” himself with me and became my exact genetic duplicate; He looked and sounded exactly like me.

I got the idea to let the Protoform take my place so that I could raise the Perfect Pilot baby. I forged a new identity for myself as an ace mechanic and forged adoption papers for the baby. But I knew I would need help, and so I got someone to co-sign the adoption papers with me: Ensign Xavia Nova Olson, Earth’s most kick-ass space fighter pilot.

We raised the baby together for five years, at which point someone in the military took a closer look at our situation due to the fact that this five-year-old kid was already a better pilot than ANYONE else. So they discovered what we’d done, but even though they were pretty angry it was too late to really do anything about it since we’d raised the kid from infancy. And the Protoform (as “Chris Harris”) had proven himself to be an invaluable member of Earth’s military. So we only got stern reprimands but no real punishment. They just kinda wagged their fingers and said, “Well, you really shouldn’t have done that.”

That’s around the time that I woke up.

It was an interesting dream, but I could tell my dream people were kinda grasping at straws at various points. A lot of the scenery was taken straight out of Star Wars and the above-mentioned animé series. The term “Protoform” is actually from a couple of different incarnations of The Transformers. It’s what a Transformer is before it has an alternate mode, so it was kinda applicable to the defector’s genetic blank-slate state. And when my dream needed someone to help me raise the baby, my dream people went, “Quick, which one of Chris’s friends has the most science-fiction-sounding name!?” and came up with Xavia Nova Olson, whose name does indeed sound like it coulda come from Gundam Wing.

When I woke up I had the feeling that I was really only maybe halfway through the dream. I had the feeling that in the second half of the dream the enemy planet would have figured out where their Perfect Pilot had disappeared to and would have attacked us to try to get him back, and there would probably have been some big action scene and it would have turned out that one of my superior officers was the traitor who tipped off the enemy planet.

Categories: Dreams.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

What It’s Like to Live in the Future

Yesterday afternoon (as most of you are aware since most of you live/work in the greater Puget Sound area) there were two really loud booms in rapid succession. It honestly sounded quite a lot like when the Atlas foundry blew up a couple of years ago, they were so strong.

What happened was this: Obama was in Seattle. Wherever the president goes there’s very restrictive airspace rules; you can’t fly within a certain radius of him, etc. This is to prevent suicide pilots from crashing into whatever building/vehicle he happens to be in. Well, some doofus who probably didn’t even know that POTUS was in town was putting around in his little pontoon boat and strayed into restricted airspace. Immediately two F-15s were scrambled from the Portland area, and pushed over 800 MPH to intercept the offending airplane. Going that fast makes some gigantic sonic booms, which were heard for a couple hundred miles in every direction (I think the booms actually formed between Olympia and Tacoma).

In the moments immediately after the booms, though, nobody knew what had caused them. I walked outside and saw that everybody else (who was home in the afternoon) was also standing outside their houses. “Any ideas?” I called out to a neighbor.

“Nope,” was the reply.

Carrie got on the laptop and looked at the news websites: King 5, Komo 4, Google News, Tacoma News Tribune, etc. But this had happened only maybe a minute earlier, so there was no actual news yet.

So then I remembered that we live in the future, and I got on the computer and logged into Twitter. I typed “Tacoma” into the search bar and sat there while the tweets started pouring in from every corner of Puget Sound, from Olympia to Seattle and beyond. Immediately the two rumors were (A) some sort of gas explosion and (B) some sort of sonic boom. After a short while tweeters quickly realized that if it were an explosion then someone would have actually witnessed it and tweeted about it, which didn’t happen. So a pair of sonic booms seemed more likely. Eventually re-tweets started coming through about official word from the FAA being sonic booms. And then quickly the real story started taking shape on twitter long before it ever appeared on any news website.

This is what it’s like to live in the future. Instant information about any major event from those who witnessed the event. Sure, you have to sift through the speculation and rumors, but you don’t have to wait around and wonder what happened until the 5:00 news that evening anymore. News comes directly from the witnesses now.

Categories: Future Living, Life.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

What I Made For Din-Dins, or, I ATE JAPAN!

I wanted to make something goooood for din-dins, so here’s what I made:


That’s (counter-clockwise from left) teriyaki salmon, sauteéd spinach with salami and onions, and cucumber sunomono. What’s sunomono, you ask, and how do I know how to make it? EXCELLENT QUESTION! I learned all about it from my good pal’s new Japanese food blog, Cooking Japan.

Here’s the recipe! It’s absurdly simple to make, and it tastes frikkin’ fantastic. It’s light and cool and crisp, perfect for a hot summer day, and it goes great with teriyaki.

I really wanna make the salmon miso-yaki and the salt-broiled salmon.

Categories: Cooking, Japan.

Monday, 2 August 2010

“Of the Month” August 2010

Link of the Month:
Link of the MonthSin Titulo
Sin Titulo (“Without Title”) is a very absorbing and fascinating urban fantasy/horror webcomic by Cameron Stewart. Started in 1997, it is now over 100 pages long, and has still only scratched the surface of its central mystery. Don’t believe me that it’s worth reading? Well, it just won an incredibly prestigious Eisner Award for “Best Digital Comic 2010.” Read it from the beginning; it is very rewarding.

Album of the Month:
Album of the Month Locust Street Taxi – Mr. Brown
This latest release from Locust Street Taxi is by far their most polished album. The production values are fantastic but not in a way that draws attention to itself. Still at the forefront are the jazz/swing/pop/ska rhythms, the flashy brass, and the quirky and often funny lyrics though which Locust Street Taxi has garnered quite a bit of a following. Standout tracks on the album include (but are not limited to) “Stuff,” “Mango,” and “Get Back Home.”

DVD of the Month:
DVD of the Month Look Around You: Season 1
My all-time favorite parody of late-1970s and early-1980s British educational films and school programs. It succeeds because it strikes the perfect balance of being extremely accurate to its influences (right down to the horrible synthesizer music and authentic-looking film stock) as well as being absolute nonsense. I absolutely adore it. This is parody done 100% correctly.

Categories: Comics, Links, Music, Of the Month, Science, TV.