August 23, 2004

What might have been

Many people don't know that at one time Great Britain had a space program that was advanced enough to have placed a satellite into earth orbit. This site talks about the Black Arrow and other advanced British aerospace programs.

Posted by: Ted at 04:56 AM | category: Space Program
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August 22, 2004

Told you I was working on stuff

I needed to build a rocket for a certain size of motor that I fly because everything in the fleet was either too light or too heavy. Besides, I needed to say thanks to some very special ladies.

Hot Jets are go!

Those are the first 'flames' I've ever done and they turned out pretty good. The fade isn't nearly as abrupt as the photo seems to show, but it's still not as smooth as I'd hoped for.

Closeup of the logo

The logo and checkerboard pattern were done on an HP color laser printer. I used Power Point to create them.

Speaking of which:
closeup of the checkerboard

Every Hot Jets cheerleader is included.

Maiden flight is this coming Saturday, on an Aerotech F24 White Lightning motor. Expected altitude is between 1500 - 2000 feet. With a larger motor, she'd easily break a mile. I'm looking forward to having much fun with this one.

Of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't list each of the Hot Jets cheerleaders:
Denita, of Who Tends The Fires!
Jennifer, of Jennifer's History and Stuff!
Cindy, of Squipper!
Lemur Girl, of... uh, Lemur Girl!
Heather, of Angelweave!
Kat, of Mostly Fluff!
Nic, of Shoes, Ships, and Sealing Wax!
Susie, of Practical Penumbra!
Mookie, of MookieRiffic!
Helen, of Everyday Stranger!
Gir, of Your Moosey Fate!
Tink, of Flitting Here and There!
Sarah, of Trying To Grok!
Blogoline, of Blogoline's Journal!
LeeAnn, of The Cheese Stands Alone!
Dawn of Caterwauling!
Big Hair, of Left & Right!
Wegglywoo, of On the Beach at the End of the World!
Stevie, of Caught In The XFire!
Emma, of Miss Apropos!
Lynn S., of Reflections in d minor!

Posted by: Ted at 11:19 AM | category: Rocketry
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Movie Reviews - Courtesy of Mookie

My other posts on cult cinema and B-movies can be found by clicking on "Cult Flicks" at the bottom of this post.

The ladies went on vacation a couple of weeks ago, and while they were gone Mookie picked up a few movies for me that she thought I'd like. She made some excellent choices, and I'll review them in parts.

The House at the Edge of the Park - This is a brutal movie, starring the same guy (David Hess), in the same basic role that he played in The Last House on the Left. Hovering right on the edge between ick and cheesy beyond redemption, the movie starts with a rape and murder, and moves right along from there. When Tony and his mildly-retarded best friend invite themselves to a party, it doesn't take long before Tony is terrorizing the entire gathering with a straight razor. He uses it too, more than once, on more than one guest. These partygoers are what we'd call yuppies today - young, wealthy, and reeking of self-satisfied ego, which pisses Tony off. Tony isn't all that stable anyway. Made in 1980, this movie delivers a heaping helping of disco and the Peter Maxx school of design and fashion, which helps set the scene instead of being the distraction I expected. The storyline is straightforward but far from minimalist, with a fair amount of intricate (if sometimes silly) interaction between characters. There's a fair amount of nudity and some uncomfortably realistic sexual assaults. The acting is only ok, and the direction is better than you usually get in this genre. The fact remains though that no character here is all that likable, so it's hard to root for the good guys or against the bad guys. The Last House on the Left is the better movie, if you have to choose only one.

Don't Look in the Basement - The suspense on this one just keeps building and building. A new nurse arrives at an insane asylum, and slowly realizes just how out of control the situation really is. This one has some blood and violence, but the unexpected plot twists and genuine chills delivered make this one fun to see. The crazies are extremely well done, both in concept and as played by the actors who portray them. Only thing is, the basement has almost nothing to do with this movie. I think they just had a good title and ran with it.

I'll save the rest for a later post. Trust me, they're worth waiting for (and that's not sarcasm). In the meantime, I have a dining room to finish painting. Ciao.

Posted by: Ted at 07:45 AM | category: Cult Flicks
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August 21, 2004

Football begins, and a man's fancy turns to ice

That's right folks, it's time to start gearing up for the second annual

Inter-Munuvian Hockey Whoopass Jamboree!

The rules are simple:

1. If you have a favorite hockey team, place their logo somewhere on your front page.
2. Every time your team plays someone else's team in the Jamboree, the loser must place the winner's logo on their front page for 24 hours.

That's it!

Need an example? Let's say that Victor's Washington Capitals are playing Heather's St. Louis Blues and win (it's an example, not reality *snicker*), then Heather will display the Caps logo prominently for a day or so, and Victor can crow and link to and point out her shame and sudden increase in good blogging taste - yes, trash talking is encouraged.

Last year's line up (I assume you are all participating again):

Victor - Washington Capitals
Heather - St. Louis Blues
Helen - Dallas Stars
Ted - San Jose Sharks (hey, that's me!)

Others I expect will participate this year:

Daniel - Atlanta Thrashers
Nic - Washington Capitals

Who else? Gir, what moosey club do you follow now that the Jets left town? Any Detroit fans? Who still admits that they kinda like the Rangers?

So everyone, let me know and I'll do the minimal setting of this up (translation: I'll make a list). If anyone needs, I have a source for team logo's if you can't find one.

Despite the name, I see no reason that this can't be open to any and all.

I just hope that there will be a hockey season this year.

(sorry for the cheap shot, Victor)

Posted by: Ted at 07:24 PM | category: Munuvian Daily Tattler
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Picking up after (ancient) peoples

Two recent discoveries that pegged my cool-o-meter:

Archaeologists exploring the bottom of the sea off the island of Capri have found the wrecks of three ancient ships that once plied the Mediterranean between Rome and northern African colonies.

They've identified two cargo ships from the first century, another from the fourth, as well as other wrecks ranging in age from medieval times to World War II.

Also announced was this:

A Viking body, believed to be that of a woman who was buried 1,100 years ago, has been discovered at an undisclosed site north of Dublin, Ireland's National Museum said.

Posted by: Ted at 07:52 AM | category: History
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Mutant Ant Colonies and Badass Cows

No wonder the Aussie's are so freakin' tough.

Posted by: Ted at 06:04 AM | category: Links
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There are speed traps and then there are speed traps

Like they say: if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right...

(in the extended entry) more...

Posted by: Ted at 05:29 AM | category: Square Pegs
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August 20, 2004

As Mookie would say: "Actually requires thought"

I'm reading a weird little book titled "The Planet Mars and It's Inhabitants" by one Eros Urides who supposedly lived on Mars for a time. It's a whackjob book, the kind you find on UFO sites and the like, usually listed as 'true but suppressed important works'. I tried digging up more information on it, but all Googles lead to the sites that present it as non-fiction.

In the book, Eros Urides describes a utopian Mars where spirituality is part of the very fabric of life. Mars is 100% Christian, and much preaching ensueth within. But one passage kind of tweaks at me:

As all property is considered as belonging to the Father, and is held in common by the people of the planet, there exists no incentive for anyone to steal. Each individual has all he requires for his comfort.

Is it still communism if God replaces the State at the top?

Posted by: Ted at 01:20 PM | category: Square Pegs
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Holiday

August 31st is celebrated by most Baltic states as the official end of World War II, because on that date Russia withdrew her troops.

That's August 31, 1994.

Posted by: Ted at 08:12 AM | category: History
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AWOL

That's Alcohol WithOut Liquid.

The user chooses which alcoholic spirit will be used and the alcoholic spirit is loaded into a diffuser capsule in the machine. The oxygen bubbles are then passed through the capsule, absorbing the alcohol, before being inhaled through a tube. The resultant cloudy alcohol vapor is then inhaled from the end of the tube via a device that converts liquid to vapor.

They claim that you can't get very drunk with this method because it takes 20 minutes to 'inhale' a shot. I know people that can get ripped on three drinks in an hour. Another claim they make is "no hangover", which also sounds bogus to me since the alcohol is still getting into your bloodstream, regardless of the path it takes.

Sorry, but this doesn't impress me as anything more than a gimmick. When I drink (rarely), it's because I enjoy the taste. Inhaling a Dewars on the rocks just wouldn't be the same, and if I'm drinking for effect (even more rare), I prefer a little ceremony with my buzz. Tequila, lime and salt please - and the salt is optional, unless I'm lucky enough to be doing body shots.

Oh yeah, they also advertise it as "low calorie and low carb". Jeez I am so sick of that crap.

Posted by: Ted at 06:10 AM | category: Links
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Strange Happenings

We've had the power go out twice now in the last two nights as strong thunderstorms moved through the area. In the last fifteen years, I'd wager that we haven't lost electricity more than twenty times total, which makes this notable.

Our electric co-op NOVEC, is also incredibly efficient at restoring power when it does fail. A typical outtage lasts 10 minutes, and an hour or more is something worthy of neighborhood conversation.

Atta boy NOVEC, even though you've deprived me of a good excuse to sleep in on work days.

Posted by: Ted at 06:04 AM | category: Square Pegs
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How not to launch a rocket

X-prize attempt goes kablooie.

These guys are trying to do this on the cheap, and it shows. Then again, there's no reason why their methods won't work. If it was easy, it'd been done long ago. Good luck and keep trying!

Posted by: Ted at 04:48 AM | category: Space Program
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August 19, 2004

Lynx

My spell checker said the title was ok.*

Three to go onto the blogroll (actually, two new and one who used to be but got taken off when he was supposed to become a Munuvian but he never really moved and what's up with that?):

The Meatriarchy.

Starfighter.

Pogo's World.

Go say hi.

*Yeah, I'm recycling old old old titles from my Blogspot days. Next I'm gonna go out and hug a tree. It balances out, because of all the ozone I destroyed this afternoon spray painting a new rocket.

Posted by: Ted at 06:38 PM | category: Links
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Saddam who?

We keep hearing about Allawi and Sadr and foreign "insurgents", but nobody talks about that irrelevent old man anymore.

Except when the subject of the death penalty comes up.

Posted by: Ted at 04:15 PM | category: Square Pegs
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#%*&! technology

I'm sitting there, trying to use our universal remote to turn the volume up on the TV, and managing to do everything but. My wife is greatly amused, and I finally hand her the remote and tell her to deal with it. She does, with about four seemingly random button presses (and a dozen silent spells I'm sure).

She smiles and says, "it's not rocket science."

"Exactly, which is why I can't figure it out!"

I get up and leave the room. TV. Who needs it?

Posted by: Ted at 06:03 AM | category: Square Pegs
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You do watch Angry Kid, don't you?

Second season here!

Posted by: Ted at 05:55 AM | category: Links
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August 18, 2004

They tries to play trickses on usssss

Spotted on a Yahoo group today:

This is an FYI for anyone who might not have noticed the new feature in Yahoo's targeted marketing strategies....as Yahoo has not gone yodeling in the valley -- let alone on mountaintops -- about this software. I am neither condemning nor condoning this feature. You must decide for yourself whether you want to participate in this type of data snagging.

Yahoo updated its Privacy Policy to include a gimmick known as "web beacons." They're used to compile marketing information by tracking Yahoo users around Yahoo and the web. From their description, it's an updated/intrusive expansion of cookies. Yahoo's explanation: << Yahoo! uses web beacons to access Yahoo! cookies inside and outside our network of web sites and in connection with Yahoo! products and services. >>

If you don't want Yahoo to track your web surfing habits and log your mail reading habits, you can deny them the right to use web beacons.

TO TURN OFF WEB BEACONS:

View Yahoo's updated privacy statement.

Roughly halfway down the page, in the section titled "Outside the Yahoo! Network," there's a blue hyperlink marked, "click here" -- which brings you to a page acknowledging that you successfully opted out for that browser.

CRITICAL: You must opt out for EACH browser you use. In other words, if you opt out for -- say -- Internet Explorer, but you also use AOL, Opera, Netscape, and Safari, then you must also opt out for AOL, Opera, Netscape and Safari by going to the opt-out hyperlink while using each of those browsers.

Also, there's a vague remark about opting out on each computer you use. If you use separate computers to log into Yahoo (e.g., work and home, or home and laptop), opt out for each browser installed while logged into your various computers. Yes, this doubles your work (possibly triples it, depending on how many computers you use), but unless you follow through, you're leaving the door open for them to track your surfing and mail reading habits, in conjunction with Yahoo cookies, for Yahoo products and services.

After you click the "opt out" hyperlink, pay careful attention to the "Success" message on the next page. There's a "Cancel Opt-out" button. If clicked, you will UNDO your opt-out.


If you use Yahoo, give 'em a swift kick in the Marketing Department and Just Say No!

Posted by: Ted at 08:14 PM | category: Links
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'ere, listen to this

Traffic was outrageously cooperative this morning, I made the Dale City to Rosslyn run in 20 minutes. The only time I had to slow was going through the Springfield mixing bowl, and slowing down meant 60mph. On top of that, it's a beautiful cool morning, so I put the windows down and cranked up the stereo.

It turned out that this morning's randomly-selected CD was perfect for the drive. Check out this lineup:

Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water
Deep Purple - Woman From Tokyo
Foghat - Fool For The City
Foghat - I Just Want To Make Love To You
Foghat - Slow Ride
Gary Wright - Dream Weaver
Gary Wright - Love Is Alive
Little Feat - Rock & Roll Doctor
Little Feat - Spanish Moon
Styx - Lady
Styx - Renegade
Uriah Heep - Sweet Loraine
Uriah Heep - The Wizard
Steely Dan - Do It Again
Steely Dan - Reelin' In The Years
Santana - Samba Pa Ti
Santana - Black Magic Woman
Santana - Oye Como Va

Now, I obviously didn't hear them all this morning. In fact, as I was pulling into the parking garage the first Gary Wright song was just coming on, which made me think of something. That disk is basically a 70's era stoner soundtrack*. I can just see it: someone scores a bag and a few friends gather 'round the bong, getting high and listening to some tunes.

I am so gonna jam on the drive home.

*For the record: I didn't smoke dope in high school, I was always the straight-but-cool friend. I keep telling y'all, I'm boring.

Posted by: Ted at 06:15 AM | category: Square Pegs
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Olympics fun

Light a torch and run around your front yard.

Posted by: Ted at 05:56 AM | category: Links
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August 17, 2004

Wisdom

"Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have ... The course of history shows that as a government grows, liberty decreases." -- Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Ted at 09:19 PM | category: History
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