Archive for February, 2006

Happy Lupercalia!

Posted in Infectious Agents on February 14, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Okay, so I wimped out, there.  That doesn’t change the facts.

(Thanks to The Anomalist for the link)

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Review: Godland – “Hello, Cosmic!”

Posted in Reviews on February 12, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Like most folks my age, back in the day I read a lot of Silver Age comics.  A particular favourite was the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby run of ‘Fantastic Four‘, with its psychedelic colours and mind-expanding tales of cosmic doings.  As an adult, I’ve often wondered why the cats at Esalen never hooked up with Marvel or DC during this period (this would have also been during the time of DC’s famous cosmic tales of Green Lantern and the Jim Shooter run of Legion of Superheroes, other favourites of mine); the synergetic potential should have been obvious.  I think we missed an evolutionary tipping point, there, and as we know, I’m ALL FOR evolving.  Anything’s got to be better than our current Bilderberg World Order.  But I digress.  My eschatological leanings will get their fair share of display here in future, I’m sure…

Anyway: the basic idea behind the Image comic ‘Godland‘ was to make a new comic in the style of the Silver Age ‘Cosmic’ milieux.  I was pretty dubious of the whole thing when I first saw the comics in the store, so I never looked at it.  However, after a while I began to notice people heaping praise upon it, and I got curious.  “Hello, Cosmic!” is the trade paperback collecting the first six issues of the comic, and I have to say: Yeah, ‘Godland’ delivers it the way we remember it, without all the cornball dialogue.  Creators Joe Casey and Tom Scioli have taken the styles of the Silver Age masters and made a genre out of it, while still leaving room for modern innovations.  I’m giving it a solid A all ’round, and they’re just getting warmed up, so now’s the time to climb aboard, kiddies.  Going UP…

Wine: Charles Shaw 2004 Sauvignon Blanc

Posted in Wine on February 10, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Yes, this is a bottle of the infamous ‘Three-Buck Chuck‘ from Trader Joe’s.  Given my egregious wine snobbery, this is perhaps not the most auspicious bottle to start a category with.  However, I’m not *that* kind of a wine snob.  I’m the other kind.  So there.

Anyway:

It was a bit sharp on the palate at the first, but then you’re suffused with a barrage of fruit flavours.  It was very fruity (not to say sweet).  I found the finish to be quite pleasant, however.

The dish I had it with (braised shrimp in a red curry sauce) was all but overpowered by it (a Reisling would almost certainly have been much better suited), so I’m not sure I can reccommend it with seafood, but for the usual white-wine dishes it ought to make a fine vin-de-table, and it might even work for some of the more robust-flavoured fish.  Besides, the price-to-quality ratio here can’t be beat: it might be three bucks, but it ain’t swill.

Behold – The UberGeek

Posted in teh g33xx0r on February 10, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Okay, I’m a pretty hardcore nerd, alright?  At least, I thought I was one, until this dude came along, with a Babbage Difference Engine, made out of – wait for it – LEGO.  I mean, damn.  If you don’t know why that’s mind-hurtlingly cool – why are you reading this?
(thanks to Slashdot for the link)

Goodbye, Christiania

Posted in PWNED on February 1, 2006 by brokenheadphones

Christiania is one of the coolest places I have ever been to, ever.

In 1971 a group of hippies moved onto an abandoned Danish naval barracks just outside Kobenhavn and, by setting themselves up as an anarchist free state, began one of the greatest social experiments in Western Civilisation.

They established a land trust, meaning every resident owned all of the land, and therefore no-one owned it.  The whole place was run as a co-op.  Early on, people could build on the land, even though they didn’t own it, and this led to a profusion of hand-built dwellings of every imaginable architectural mindset.  An entire city built by artists.  When the Dirtbombs played there in May 2002, Ben and I took a walk around it; it was like some mad homebrew conglomeration of The Shire and Lidsville.  It was beautiful.
The area of the existing barracks became the ‘downtown’ of Christiania.  There were restaurants, art galleries (of course), a bicycle factory, boutiques, a nightclub (the Loppen, where we played, which means ‘flea’ in Danish).  It even had its own radio station.  This place was really cool.

Christiania was not without its downsides, however.  There were two major ones:

Problem #1: Style of Government

You’d think, being an anarchist free state, that government would be a simple affair, yes?  Well, here’s how it worked.  There were volunteer committees for things like sanitation, so that trash pickup got taken care of, and the (beautiful) grounds got kept, but other than that all decisions were made by consensus, which means everything took a unanimous vote: through discussion, everybody  had to agree on whatever choice was made.  Now, crypto-commie symp I may be, but browbeating others until they agree to your point of view is no way to run a government, no matter what Bill O’Reilly would have you believe.

Problem #2: Pusherstreet

‘Pusherstraat’ was an open-air hash market which basically overtook the main thoroughfare of Christiania, becoming a huge outdoor drug mall in the process.  Originally run by cycle gangs, it was taken over by the Russian mafia when the cycle gangs were run out; any time the citizens would try to run them out they would just import more people to shout them down at the decision-making meetings (thus exposing what I see as a critical flaw in consensus government).  Christiania finally managed to close Pusherstraat down in 2004.
Anyhow, it was a good run while it lasted, but it’s finally coming to an end:  The Danish government has announced that they’re coming in and building condos.  With individual ownership, the basic tenet of Christiania life will be destroyed, and this vibrant community of free-thinkers will be gone forever.

Goodbye, Christiania.  I’ll miss you.

Yay Money Grubbing…

Posted in PWNED on February 1, 2006 by brokenheadphones

I was forced to make the decision today to change the price of my MP3s from 50 cents to 75 cents, solely on the grounds that over the long run I can’t afford it, what with PayPal taking 10 cents of every purchase.  On a 50 cent download, that’s 20 percent of the purchase price going to PayPal.

I chose my initial price of 50 cents mainly because I feel that 99 cents is just too much to ask for one song, so 50 cents oughta be good.  When I was  buying 45s as a teenager, they cost $1.50, and I still feel that 75 cents apiece is a fair price for two songs.

In the long run, 65 cents per song will enable me to record a LOT more songs, so I’m sure that’s okay with you, right?