October 31, 2003

Awful Green Things

Not boogers. Not gray-green blobby things that terrorize movie theaters either. I'm talking about The Awful Green Things From Outer Space!

It's the board game equivalent of watching old SciFi movies after too much Jolt Cola. Yum... I mean, Fun.

Posted by: Ted at 01:50 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Pumpkins revisited

I talked about it here, and checked back today. You should too, because the winners are up in the Extreme Pumpkin Carving Contest. Way cool!

Too many great ones to choose a favorite.

Posted by: Ted at 01:43 PM | category: Links
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Rockets on the Discovery Channel

Starting November 9th, the Discovery Channel will be airing three episodes of Rocket Challenge, titled Wild and Weird Rockets, How High Can You Fly, and Supersonic Speed Demons.

You can find the times and dates of the programs here.

Thanks to RocketForge for the pointer.

Posted by: Ted at 10:23 AM | category: Rocketry
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Happy Halloween

Have a safe and fun day, and if you have a problem with it remember that to most people, Halloween has as much to do with satanism as Christmas does to the birth of Christ.

It's a fun holiday, that's all.

Check out Google. more...

Posted by: Ted at 09:38 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Here's a mouldering pile of bones links to ghost stories and information about haunts and real haunted houses.

Didja notice the tagline over on the right column changed? I do that once in a while ya know.

Here's some spooky quotations for you:

Just like a ghost, you've been a-hauntin' my dreams,
So I'll propose... on Halloween.
Love is kinda crazy with a spooky little girl like you.
--Dennis Yost and the Classics IV, "Spooky"

He's not stupid; he's possessed by a retarded ghost.

If a man harbors any sort of fear, it makes him landlord to a ghost.
--Lloyd Douglas

True love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about but few have seen.


The witches fly
Across the sky,
The owls go, "Who? Who? Who?"
The black cats yowl
And green ghosts howl,
"Scary Halloween to you!"

--Nina Willis Walter

From ghoulies and ghosties and long leggety beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord, deliver us!
--Scottish saying

Eye of newt, and toe of frog, Wool of bat, and tongue of dog, Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, Lizard's leg, and owlet's wing, For a charm of powerful trouble, Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.
--William Shakespeare Witches in Macbeth

There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world.
--Jean Baudrillard

What fearful shapes and shadows beset his path, amidst the dim and ghastly glare of a snowy night! With what wistful look did he eye every trembling ray of light streaming across the waste fields from some distant window! How often was he appalled by some shrub covered with snow, which, like a sheeted spectre, beset his very path! How often did he shrink with curdling awe at the sound of his own steps on the frosty crust beneath his feet; and dread to look over his shoulder, lest he should behold some uncouth being tramping close behind him! and how often was he thrown into complete dismay by some rushing blast, howling among the trees, in the idea that it was the Galloping Hessian on one of his nightly scourings!
--Washington Irving - From "The Legend of Sleep Hollow"

Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble
--William Shakespeare Witches in Macbeth

I got a rock.
--Charlie Brown

Posted by: Ted at 08:02 AM | category: Links
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October 30, 2003

Educated guessing

Flying reptiles known as pterosaurs ruled the skies duing prehistoric times. They've always been portrayed as clumsy gliding beasts, but thanks to the application of modern technology and recent finds of remarkable pterosaur fossils, this view has changed. Some scientists are now suggesting that pterosaurs were more graceful and manuverable than modern birds and bats.

What I want to know is, did they scream like the one on Jonny Quest?

Posted by: Ted at 10:44 PM | category: SciTech
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The Chair

We found this chair at work. More precisely, we noticed it one day. It just kind of appeared, and nobody knows exactly when it arrived or who it belonged to.

It's similar to your standard office chair with dark blue fabric and dusty black plastic frame. We pretty much agree it's what they call a "manager's chair", because it has the high back and arms typical of that style. more...

Posted by: Ted at 09:37 PM | category: Square Pegs
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One bummin' unit

That would be me.

This weekend's rocket launch, BattlePark 2003, in Culpeper, Virginia has been cancelled. The heavy rains of the last week prevented the farmer from getting his crops in on time, so we cannot use the field.

No word on when or if there will be a rain date.

Posted by: Ted at 04:08 AM | category: Rocketry
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October 29, 2003

Numbah ten, Joe

Google search:

"pictures of naked women at Stonehenge"

I'm number ten on the list, and actually got a visit. Druid babes.

I wonder if they were looking for the movie Untamed Women? The reviews are awful. If you insist on seeing this kind of crap (and I dearly love these B-movies myself), I'd recommend instead Cannibal Women in the Avacado Jungle of Death. Really!

Posted by: Ted at 10:54 PM | category: Square Pegs
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It's never too late to be crappy

"Sure, the Sweat Hogs were all fairly popular in their day, but to think some poor 7 year old kid was wandering the streets dressed up as Gabe Kaplan is a crying shame. If you were really cool, you could wear the mask with a basketball uniform and go as Gabe Kaplan from FASTBREAK, or just go naked with it as Ron Jeremy."

Great commentary and more from this font of inspiration for those who just can't decide what to wear this year.

The Worst Halloween Costumes of All Time

Thanks to Transterrestrial Musings for the link.

Posted by: Ted at 04:54 PM | category: Links
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Rocket Jones' Great Random Google Junket

Hey, it’s been a while since we’ve done a Google Junket, eh? Today’s edition features lovely ladies showing off their vocabulary, because like the Grateful Dead say, “Man Smart, Women Smarter”. And if you remember the words to that song, then you didn’t spend enough time in the parking lot before the show. wink wink, nudge nudge

Ok, first weÂ’ve got Stevie, who rolls up the first bomber with fingerling, curettage, pusillanimous and zucchini. SheÂ’s first.

Next to fire up is Lady TwoDragons, and her suggestions steatopygian, stentorious, propitious, osteomalacia, tintinnabulation and xeriscape. Try saying that without exhaling!

‘eather mellows out with griffin, kinesthetic and barnacle. Good words all.

LeeAnn doesnÂ’t bogart the dictionary and offers up a one-hitter: pulchritude.

Susie passes on extemporaneous. With a big silly smile on her face. Matches mine, IÂ’m sure.

I picture Nic in the corner, contemplating geometry and her place in the universe, hence Triangulation. Then again, she may just be thinking about Taco Bell drive-thru being open late.

I think weÂ’re getting a little too out there with the words. Google searches arenÂ’t finding anything except online dictionaries, medical sites, and good olÂ’ Rocket Jones. While the last is personally satisfying, itÂ’s not a lot of fun for you guys. We should try for more common words I think, although my vocabulary has gotten a lot better!

Whoa. Did I just say that out loud?

Besides the expected fish hatcheries, we get recipe pages for fingerling potatoes and then this:

Ed brings back the reckless fire and primal, raw energy that made rock music the igniting force that changed generations and cultures.


We also find a children’s book by Monica Hughes – Little Fingerling. The synopsis says that "Issun Boshi is a little boy no bigger than your thumb, but he makes up for his small size in courage. He seeks his fortune in the big city of Kyoto, where he becomes the favourite in a merchant's home. He falls in love with Plum Bossom, the merchant's daughter, and dreams hopelessly of marrying her. When he overcomes two evil giants he uses their magic hammer with Plum Blossom's help, gains his wish and becomes a handsome samurai warrior."

Uh huh. We know who else has been smokinÂ’ something tax-free...

pusillanimous + zucchini
Texas Monthly magazine had an article about restaurant food including The Texas Food Manifesto. Site required registration and login, so I didnÂ’t bother.

Very cool word and concept meaning the conservation of water and resources through creative landscaping. The apex of the design would be the in-ground swimming pool, made with reinforced concrete to protect the earth below, and catch and conserve the water above. That was a lot funnier when I first thought of it. Have another hit and read it again.

Griffin + barnacle
GriffinÂ’s Waterfowl, purveyor of fine Barnacle Geese.

Just to shake things up a little bit, letÂ’s try something. WeÂ’ve got the following words left: pulchritude, kinesthetic, extemporaneous, triangulation. steatopygian, stentorious, propitious, osteomalacia and tintinnabulation. Pick a word or two, google it, and post the link to something that catches your fancy on the search results. Put it on your blog and link back here, or leave it in the comments.

Somehow I lack the ambition to continue this junket right now... 'ere.

Posted by: Ted at 03:55 PM | category: Google Junket
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Ripple Fire*

Our T1’s are back this morning. After running the usual batch of Wednesday morning jobs, I kicked off a little monster that’s going to give me plenty of time to catch up on email and do a little blogging. I wrote it Monday morning and it ran for 3½ hours before coming up with nada. That’s ok, because the null result told me something all by itself. A little tweaking, and she’s off and running again this morning. It’s pretty cool, because we have our own mainframe to play on when I need to run some brute-force number crunching.

I have this cooking pot that I absolutely love. It’s huge, non-stick, and shaped like a cross between a wok and a frying pan. It also has a nice glass lid that I hate with a passion. Monday night while cooking, I lifted the lid – away from me to avoid the scalding steam – and the condensation trapped in the steam vents went pouring down over my hand. Since it’s a glass lid, I couldn’t throw it (although I wanted to), I had to find a place to set it down before doing the ouchie dance. Minor burns, and just one blister on my ring finger. Naturally, when I lanced the blister, it squirted like a grapefruit and got me right in the eye. Yuk.

Jennifer answered questions submitted by folks, graciously hosted by Daniel. Since I work at McDonalds have a liberal arts degree with a minor in psychology, I must say that her answers are very revealing. She reminds me of my mom in that she has that straightforward Iowa attitude. Watch the first part of The Music Man (the Robert Preston version please), and youÂ’ll see what I mean. (disclaimer: it's a joke. I don't have a liberal arts degree.)

The new Disintegrator at work is tres cool! ItÂ’s like the 7-11 Big Gulp of shredders, except it handles metal too. The biggest problem theyÂ’ve had was feeding it telephones, because while it was chewing up the metal and circuit boards inside, it was melting the plastic cases, which dripped down into works and gummed things up. It eats hard drives all day long. Tim Allen would love this thing.

Writing is hard work for me. I so envy those people whoÂ’s words just seem to flow effortlessly. I hated English in school, and my first jobs didnÂ’t require writing skills. Once I gained a couple of stripes in the Air Force and became a supervisor, I had to learn how to write and I worked hard to improve. Writing for the military is unlike any other in the world, the style and conventions are downright alien at times. My next phase of learning to write was technical writing as a programmer/analyst. Once again, this isnÂ’t a whole lot like what ordinary people write like. Finally, once I got out of the military, I had to learn to write 'government'. Most of my consulting jobs since then have been with various Departments and Agencies, and they have their own ideas of what constitutes acceptable writing. Throw in my own natural tendency to write like I speak, including incomplete sentences, slang and intentional odd spellings, and you can see why I suck. At least IÂ’m good at spelling.

I just started playing StarCraft about a year ago, thanks to Mookie. She regularly kicks my butt, but not easily. I usually play the Terrans. Before that, the last computer game I played with any regularity was SimTower, and before that SimLife, and before that SimCity, and before that SimAnt. See the trend?

Spork invited people to tell about their personal boycotts and I went off a bit in his comments about a few peeves of mine. Although not quite in the same category, I’m also sick and tired of commercials telling me that I should donate my car, house, boat, airplane, inheritance property (seriously!), etc. to such-and-such charity. The most annoying in this area is Melwood Academy for ‘special’ kids. I’m sure they do fine work, but quit using the kids to guilt people into donating. And as for donating inherited property and such – get real. I have a friend who tried to donate a car to a charity, and they wouldn’t take it unless it was less than a few years old and in perfect shape. Screw ‘em. When we have something for charity, it goes to the veterans.

Not to be totally ornery this morning (I did sleep good after all), but if someone says they want to 'axe' me anything, they're inviting personal injury as I go into self-defense mode. Hearing that particular mispronunciation is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

And to end on a happier note, Mookie made the Carnival of the Vanities.

* ‘Ripple Fire’ is a mode whereas multiple military rockets are launched at a (usually ground) target in rapid sequence. It’s similar to machine-gun fire, but with big booms at the receiving end.
I use the title for disjointed snippets and thoughts too short for their own posts.

Posted by: Ted at 12:44 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Perfection interupted

Last night was one of those perfect sleeping nights. The window was wide open to hear the slow steady rain. The temperature was chilly enough to appreciate the pile of blankets on the bed, plus the wife cuddled up beside me, not to mention the small fuzzy blanket stealer snuggled in behind my knees. But not so cold as to go into thermal shock when I had to crawl out from under the covers. It was one of those nights when you sleep so well that you feel really good when the alarm goes off, and you don't have any trouble getting up, although you'd really rather stay in bed for another four hours.

Too, too rare.

Posted by: Ted at 10:29 AM | category: Boring Stories
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October 28, 2003

TFZ indeed! *

I'm glad I tossed those two posts out there this morning, because our T1 lines at work are down, rendering every PC in the building nothing more than a standalone. It's frustrating and when you're entire functionality depends on the mainframe computer at another site, well, let's just say that I was bored to tears today. I spent time cleaning up my hard drive, and... uh, that's about it. No word on when the T1's would be working again, or even what the problem is. So for an undetermined length of time, I'll have no mainframe access, no intranet, no internet and no outside email.

*sigh* Tomorrow I'm taking a book with me.

* TFZ (for Technology Free Zone) courtesy of the lovely Susie.

Posted by: Ted at 10:56 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Rod Roddy, Come on down!

Er, come on up! At least I hope so.

The long-time announcer for television's The Price is Right died yesterday after a long bout with cancer. Nuetered animals across the country were heard to mutter "wrong guy, dammit".

Posted by: Ted at 09:56 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Someone's in the kitchen with Dinahhhhh!

Last night I was making my wife some chicken fried rice for dinner, which she really likes. I don't like fried rice at all, so I decided to experiment a little. This is the result.

Simple Chicken Stew

1 large boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-size pieces
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
1 large potato, chopped
1 cup frozen peas
4 cups chicken broth (1 box of Swansons stock)
1 chicken boullion cube
2 cups water
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
dash cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 cup cornstarch disolved into 1 cup cold water

Put the chicken broth, 2 cups water and boullion into a large pot. Chop the veggies - except the peas - and add to the stock before you turn on the heat (medium). Add the rosemary, parsley, basil and pepper, and stir occasionally as it heats.

Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the chicken. Cook until it turns white, about 3 minutes. It doesn't have to be completely cooked through. Add it to the stock and veggies.

Once the stock reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered about an hour or until potatoes are tender. Add the peas for about the last 10 minutes. Fish out the rosemary stems.

Turn the heat back up. Whisk the cornstarch in the cold water until well blended, then slowly pour it into the stock while stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often as it thickens.

Go light on the ceyanne pepper, because it will sneak up on you. You won't need to add salt, the boullion cube does that for you.

Rachael really liked this. It's easy to make, basically just chopping and heating, and full of good-for-you stuff. You could probably add some white wine to the stock as it simmers for flavor, or even a jar of chicken gravy for added body. I'll be making this again.

Posted by: Ted at 02:24 AM | category: Recipes
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October 27, 2003

This weekend invitation

Reposted from early September.

The fall BattlePark 2003 Rocket Launch is scheduled for the weekend of November 1-2. Located in Culpeper, Virginia, this is one of the premier events in the east, with rocketeers attending from all over the eastern U.S. and Canada. I'll be there both days, and Mookie usually makes at least one if not both. This launch features some of the most interesting projects and flights around. As usual, spectators are free, kids fly their rockets for free, and you'll never meet a friendlier group of people. Come on out, walk around, talk to folks, ask questions, and be prepared to say 'wow'. Oh yeah, they've already obtained an FAA waiver for flights to 15,000 feet.

You are invited and welcome. Contact me if you have any questions.

Victor and Nic, are you going to be able to make it? How about you Don, any interest?

Posted by: Ted at 10:53 PM | category: Rocketry
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Expand your horizons.

Posted by: Ted at 05:45 PM | category: Links
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Calling all Bruce Campbell fans

Bubba Ho-Tep is in the house!

Thanks to Bad State of Gruntledness for the pointers. See him for trailers.

Posted by: Ted at 04:54 PM | category: Cult Flicks
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Volksmarching (literally people's walk) is a popular German pastime where folks take a stroll through the scenic countryside. The routes are marked, and there are checkpoints along the way where you get your route card stamped. At the end you get a trinket of some sort (pin or patch or similar item) and your milage and event cards get updated so you have a record of how many you've done and how far you've walked. It's a nice way to spend a day.

If you want information about volksmarching in your area, do a Google search. They've pretty much spread worldwide, and you can probably find one reasonably local to you.

The German word for large is 'gross'.

Professor Hall talks a little bit about the motorcyclists version called an Iron Butt Rally, and the troubles you can have on the road.

So what do all these tidbits of information have in common? Keep reading... more...

Posted by: Ted at 04:08 PM | category: Links
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