Hot Chick Tracts

12/03/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Religion


I must admit, I like this idea. Jack Chick tracts made into video, under the title "Hot Chicks".

Well... I must admit, I only like the idea with the intentions of parody aforethought.

The art of parodying Jack Chick reminds me of the wonderful summoner geeks video based on the Dead Alewives' response to Jack Chick's infamous little horrid tract, Dark Dungeons.

I do so hate Jack Chick tracts. Bad, literalist theology combined with a snuff film version of every ignorant parent's fantasies about what their children could be doing every second they are out from under their parent's crushing, caring thumbs. Did Jack Chick know better? Did he care? Had your Persecution Flakes this morning?

The DVD might be worth $20 for a good parody of hate :)



12/03/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions


I was checking up on how the LED projector revolution was coming along, when I ran across a site that connects exporters and importers. Normally, that wouldn't seem like a very exciting place to look around on, but a great many of the sell offers are accompanied with pictures and descriptions, and there is some truly bizarre stuff available for import.

Not sure how long these links will last, but looking through their LED products, you find things like an LED parking sensor which indicates your distance to things as you're backing up, LED stir sticks (including some with an Islamic logo), and walking sticks with LED flashlights in them.

Continuing to other areas, you find such gems as needle detectors (for your food products or haystacks), silicone garlic peelers, a digital Qur'an, laser tattoo removal systems, camels (no, not the cigarettes, camels!), fake watches (just what I need), electroluminescent Guinness signs and odd PS/1... knockoffs? (complete with gun!).

Tradekey itself is run in Saudi Arabia, so you see a few more things from the middle east on it. Is there anything like this for European or North American markets?

Of course, it's just all fun for browsing. I won't be making a 6000-piece order of silicone garlic peelers anytime soon.


Edo Ichiban

12/02/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Restaurants

We actually went out to vote in the PC party leadership elections today, which made us feel pretty good, actually.

Afterwards, it was time for an extraordinarily late lunch, so we decided to pop into the Edo Ichiban restaurant on 32nd, not too far from the Nando's the other day.

Now Edo's serves up some pretty good rice and noodle dishes in many a food court. We went to the Edo Ichiban which, since the restaurant is in the same typeface, I would assume to be closely affilated with the fast food Edo's. The sign outside had one of Dena's great loves, however: Sushi. So this was to be a treat.

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Mythos, "Eternity"

12/02/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews

"Eternity" from 2002 is a mostly instrumental album from Vancouver's Mythos. Slotted into the vaguaries of the New Age section, it's like a rather more relaxed and less electronic version of Delerium. These are not dance tunes but do borrow a lot of the structure and the instrumentation. Most songs showcase complementary (and complimentary for that matter) piano and acoustic guitar -- typically Spanish -- that're a staple of the Mythos style as well as wailing voices who seem to be singing "waaay waaaay waaay" all the time.

I don't normally comment on the cover art of CDs (it's at the bottom of this post) but I love the rather abstract and fantastic artwork on this one.

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Forum Software

12/02/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Internet, Programming

It's been a while since I've run a forum.

I used to run a gardening forum, a couple of hosts ago. I ran the forum under the fairly popular phpBB forum software. It was pretty easy to install, but some of the features made it hard to maintain. A dearth of anti-spam features, combined with some awkward user management features and the inability to safely prune peoples' posts (there was an add-on someone made, but it had safety caveats)... for example, the spammers'.

It's hard to know exactly what makes for forum software that just works, and that is appropriate for the given audience. Due to my phpBB experiences, administration and anti-spam features are important.

There are a number of pieces of software that look pretty much the same. A lot of them get very busy-looking, with users throwing around avatars and graphics with abandon. Those seem more appropriate to the likes of gaming forums than forums I would run, like cosmology or gardening.

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The sadly short lifetime of game music

12/01/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Copyright, Games


Ian Welsh over at The Agonist has a good run down on the DRM in Microsoft Vista and what it means. It's a good article, but Vista's not what I'm interested in for this discussion.

There's a brief reference to imbedded DRM on purchased downloaded music. Ian name-checks Jeremy Soule. Soule writes music for games including quite a good score for Black Isle's "Icewind Dale" from a few years ago. He then goes on to demonstrate why the DRM restrictions on music penalise those who buy it.

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Odd Web Page Defacement

12/01/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


One of my usual stops is RandsInRepose which is a site dealing with project management issues in the IT domain. It's very much a non-political site and rarely has anything to say outside of that particular focus. It's due to that that I was very surprised that it's been defaced today with a Basque ETA hijack. Given the total lack of commonality, there's no rationale for this other than the hooligan knew how to access the server.

Hopefully Rand will get his usual site back up soon.

Update (06/12/01 12:45 pm): Ah, it's back although with no comment.


Guide to writing a Ph.D. dissertation

12/01/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


I cannot claim to be able to validate this particular article given that I have not, in fact, completed a Ph.D. I do, however have a good friend who has and based on comments over the years, feel the representation is quite accurate. Particularly this bit:

These days, dissertations are produced using word processing programs such as Word or Word Perfect, or computer typesetting systems such as TeX or LaTeX. The former will give you practice in drawing by hand all the symbols that aren't supported, while with the latter you have the opportunity to craft new typesetting definitions to satisfy your university's dissertation policies.

The same author has written other tracts in the same vein of which the one of "How To Write A Scientific Paper" is really quite funny.

(Via Optimuscrime)


Nando's Chicken

12/01/06 | by Nimble | Categories: Reviews, Restaurants

We first encountered Nando's, strangely, in Nairobi. It was at the gas station near the Indaba campsite, with a grocery store and a pizza place. We didn't have the chicken there, but we did have some of their sauces with the pizza we ordered from another counter, courtesy of other folks who were on safari with us who did have the chicken.

We come back, and hardly a month later saw signs for a Nando's coming here, being built on 32nd Ave.

It's been a long wait, and their timing was a bit poor in terms of trying to get staff - everyone is looking for workers, but it finally opened some time over the past few days. So we dropped in on our way back from Staples (picking up more card game supplies)...

It's a little bit confusing up at the front - there's not much signage telling you how things work. It's a little bit older way of doing things - you order at the front and then go sit down, red wood block-on-a-stick in hand.

We had their variety pack for two, which consisted of two sides and three kinds of chicken. Salads for the sides were about 50 cents extra.

The "peri fries" were not terribly exciting. Just fries with seasoning on top, albeit good seasoning. The caesar salad on the side was fresh and quite tasty.

The three kinds of chicken we had were chicken wings, which came on two skewers, four to a skewer, a half chicken, which was very tasty, and unlike Swiss Chalet, conveniently cut up into pieces, and kebabs of roasted chicken breast. The grilling treatment they are subjected to was nice - the chicken was all tasty and still moist - and what made it even nicer were the sauces.

Their peri-peri (a kind of pepper) sauces are just plain tasty, in particular the garlic one. One thing I must say, though, is that compared to the spice level at the Nairobi outlet, the heat level of the spices were tame. Even the hot peri-peri sauce just started to become a tiny bit hot, nothing like the nose-clearing level of even the garlic peri-peri sauce in Nairobi (I did find that odd in Nairobi, though - East African food is extremely mild on the whole)

Good food, about $32 for the both of us, smelled great.

Disappointments (all pretty mild): they don't actually seem to sell those sauces in the same size of bottle as they have at the tables. Could have used more instructional labelling near the front. Didn't know whether soft drink refills were free. Nice ambience, but the ordering-up-front part takes away from it a little bit.

Yum :)


2,000 year-old analogue computer

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology


I heard about this on the CBC this morning and thought "wow". The BBC has a more complete story on the Antikythera Mechanism, but in summary the Greeks built a mechanical gear-based tool for calculating astronomical cycles. This amazes me on two levels: first, there's the incredible scientific and mathematical sophistication of the ancient Greeks; the second is that they were capable of building such complex precision mechanical devices. It's taken since 1902 when the majority of the device was first found to now to try to decide what the parts did; the clincher was a further discovery of parts last year that allowed them create a reassembly of the unit.

From the BBC article:

Writing in Nature, the team says that the mechanism was "technically more complex than any known device for at least a millennium afterwards".
"When you see it your jaw just drops and you think: 'bloody hell, that's clever'. It's a brilliant technical design," said Professor Mike Edmunds.

Update (2006/11/30): Here's the Guardian's take on it.


Not now, dear, I'm blogging

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube


Yup, another YouTube video. This one's by way of Kottke.


Delerium, "Nuages Du Monde"

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Reviews


As of this point, "Nuages Du Monde" is the most recent of the Delerium albums. It's also a good one. And, unlike 2003's "Chimera", it's not copy protected. Yay, Nettwerk! If you've heard one Delerium album, fundamentally you've heard them all: gorgeous female vocals laid over dancefloor/trance rhythms with a strong world beat influence. "Nuages Du Monde" hits all the bases.

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Adam != Ritchie

11/30/06 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, American

Checking through the comment spam this morning I found a rant from one "Emmanuel Goldstein" under the post about the luxury good embargo on North Korea. Now, as much as I appreciate a flame written by a character from Orwell's "1984", I do have to point out that there are in fact two people who regularly post to this blog, and I'm just one of them. Attacking me for something I didn't write simply irritates me. Attacking me under such an obvious pseudonym is even more annoying. Attacking me with a half-assed piece of tripe wherein a clear inability to reason, or even spell, is demonstrated just makes me pity you.

As for what promoted this wonderful diatribe from Emmanuel? Apparently Ritchie posted something on another site that Mr Orwell's protege disliked. Could Mr Goldstein possible be, gasp, a Republican? Apparently.

Anyway, greetings from the Axis of Weasels. Have a nice day.


We have a new winner!

11/29/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Link: the ridiculously huge monitor stakes. Excuse me, I have to go sell a kidney now.


Novel ways to overthrow a foreign country

11/29/06 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Politics


I have to give kudos to the Americans on this one; I don't think I've ever seen an attempt to destabilize a country by refusing to sell it luxury goods. Quote from the piece:

Experts said the effort -- being coordinated under the United Nations -- would be the first ever to curtail a specific category of goods not associated with military buildups or weapons designs, especially one so tailored to annoy a foreign leader.

Frankly, it's a much better idea than invading although I remain to be convinced it'll actually accomplish anything useful.


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