Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The physical artifact arrives

The literary production mentioned previously here has not only taken shape in the real world but has negotiated the supply chain issues successfully. And of course Annabel Scheme makes for a good read. But it's not the San Francisco I remember....

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The stage show, the film, and the concert tour

Sequel name: Jesus H. Christ Super-Fricken-Rockstar

The part of Judas 2.0 would be pivotal - he would be a metal android with an autotune voicebox riding in a monster truck.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Monday, November 30, 2009

The upside is their sliminess

Scary movie title: The Giant Tentacled Stomachs That Attacked Japan

Preceeded by an educational short on the proper enjoyment of monster ice cream.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Now we're a two hybrid household

We skipped right over the second generation 'Icon' version of the Prius, now having become early adopters of a 'Classic' 2002 model year and now a new 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

By the numbers

Art movement: Abstract Microrepresentationalism

You just need a good collection of these micrographs, a slide projector, a large canvas, some charcoal to trace the outlines out with, a few cans of acrylic paint, and some time to fill in the regions according to the original.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Monday, November 16, 2009

The dark side

Alternate movie title: The Moon is New


The thing that seems to be missing from the advertising blitz for the film coming out this week is a depiction of the celestial body of the title, which as all skywatchers know would be one off of which the sun's rays fail to reflect. This is the closest I could find.

I am looking forward to analogous images for Eclipse and especially Breaking Dawn.


Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hoss-fightin' hosses and such

Role-playing game handle: Horse de combat

While the illegal sports of dogfighting and cockfighting are better known, the blood sport of horsefighting is also practiced in some parts of the Far East, despite a fair amount of outcry.
Combat by proxy is not limited to vertebrate species. There are enthusiasts of fighting crickets in China

Perhaps one could redirect this interest to virtual depictions of blood sports in the context of video games, so that actual animals would not suffer. There is already a series of Alien vs. Predator games which one could consider to be a variation on this idea, albeit one that is a little easier to market.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Waiting to levitate

Reality program: Hellholes, where contestants on a rapidly diminishing floor compete to see who can be the last one left alive while performing mental and physical challenges

When people say that something "fell between the cracks" my mind rebels. Surely if a floor were cracked in certain places, the best place for something to fall would be in between the cracks, because that way the thing would not fall into a crack itself. One could say something "fell into a crack" or "fell into a space between the parts which are between the cracks."

Poor Poor Thing

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Fun with literal-minded electronica

Song title: (1) Jammed Shredder, (2) Androids Go Diving
Suggested partway through listening to the eleventh track on this album, which was a Magnatune freebie a month back.

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Is it just me?

Spider On The Track
Spider On The Track,
originally uploaded by brentbat.
Or does anyone else look at this picture and think "good heavens man, what have you been drinking?"

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Autumn in upstate New York

Dissertation title: She Was Like a British Romantic: Parallels between the substance inspired writing of Jack Bruce and of Thomas de Quincey

Not Bruce and Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker there on the small stage entertaining the Columbus Day weekend crowd, but an amazing simulacrum. My apologies for the shakiness of the hand held shot, as my cheap digital camera does not have anything resembling image stabilization.

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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cruel bars of gourd

Domain name: punkinheadjack.com

It's quite dark out already but I'm not seeing any trick-or-treat action on our very quiet, rather safe suburban street. So I don't think Jack is in that much danger of violent liberation, out on the porch rail where he is now.

By the light of the silvery moon

Hunter's Moon
Hunter's Moon,
originally uploaded by Suneet Panesar.
honeymoon cottage
we thought it was a
dog's howl

Friday, October 30, 2009

Frightful! Also, there might be a monster

Book name: Neptune's Illegitimate Daughter


Friday music! of a rather peculiar sort!
Perhaps science and technology has progressed to the point that we can settle the controversy about Loch Ness by simply creating an aquatic beast of our own and introducing it to the famous locale. We'll put whoever's responsible for this varmint in charge:

I doubt that it can be much more disruptive to the ecology than the monster-hunting robots and other seekers already clogging up the loch looking for a (presumably rather annoyed) natural sea creature.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Thursday, October 29, 2009

We'd be afraid not to give him an award

Band name: Glenduff Mobile Psyops Brigade

Despite the impressiveness of the armament, I think the best part is how he made the backpack with the "jet ports" out of a broken typewriter.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rembrandt's got nothing on me today

Thoroughbred name: Non-Specular Bid

(Because of this horse)

I was at work the other day in a room with a little-used whiteboard turned to the wall and saw myself in something approaching the ultimate in soft-focus. Perhaps mirrors with the exact right degree of bumpiness could be made, scientifically, in which one sees what others see of oneself when they are completely besotted with tender emotion. Or is puppy (horsey?) love still in style?

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Monday, October 26, 2009

A mania anticipated

Media sensation: Balloon Mobs

Inspired by the hoaxers, a great many lonely Americans construct and take off in color-coded personal helium balloons (presumably wearing breathing apparatus), in search of love and community in the upper troposphere. In the process, beautiful aerial displays drift over the eastern slops of the Rockies, with a few soaring to icy dizzying heights, and a few others falling like overripe fruit down to the unforgiving Earth. Experts speculate on how the phenomenon has grown out of the increasing levels of isolation and narcissism in society coupled with worries over the H1N1 pandemic.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Yeah, you heard me - WISDOM


Traditional end of meal course: Surrealism Cookies


The other day we had to go to the phone store to replace Pam's broken handset, and when we were done we stopped at a local non-Western restaurant named after an inhabitant of the natural world. It was a nice meal, but I was stopped in my tracks when I opened my fortune cookie. It seems to have sustained translation damage in more than one place. But I think it is good when your food makes you stop and think, because that gives you three extra opportunities a day to achieve enlightenment.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

In two decades we'll know what they've done

Educational video line: Baby Eisenstein

The Disney company has had to eat some considerable amount of crow with regard to the Baby Einstein product line they acquired a while back, which seems not to do what it was touted as doing. All this infant video watching might have some other effect however, perhaps inspiring some to craft tightly-written family dramas, others to spectacular documentaries, and still others to agonizing historical montages we can only dream of now. Or they could grow to like CGI the way I have not.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My question is: where did I leave the top of my skull?

Horror movie title: The Previously Dead

I have been served brains before, and enjoyed them, insofar as one can enjoy something so similar to hard-boiled egg whites without benefit of deviled egg filling. This was long before people had worries about BSE or Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and I think I have suffered no ill effect from the experience. Nor any especially potent beneficial effect, along the lines of "the best brain food should be brains," since after all it was a matter of consuming them, not acquiring a transplant or anything.

I notice that it is possible to buy a brain hat but they really should put on a warning that it intended only for those with short or no hair, which would be bound to spoil the effect. It is just the sort of thing one might wear to see a zombie movie hoping to score a reduced price ticket.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Monday, October 19, 2009

I don't know why he's standing there

Album name: Cameleopard vs. Manatee
Spotted by the cafeteria in our office building
Which would win? Or would it even possible to imagine them fighting?

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A surefire vaccine against boredom

Candy name: H1-oween Shots

How cool would it be to give out treats this year in syringes for Halloween? You would even need to carry out the elaborate and somewhat tricky 'spherification' process described in this post, just have the kids line up one by one and direct the concoction straight into their greedy mouths from the nozzle of your needle-less syringe. Maybe better for a party than for trick-or-treaters at the door owing to logistics and trust factors, but we obviously have the technology.
Thanks to Holy Kaw for pointing me to this blog.

Poor Poor Thing

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The terror of (nearly) lost time

SF story: The Aliens Have Arrived and Are About to F*** Up All Our S***

I have been thinking recently about spicing up my photographic activity by perhaps getting into the toy camera scene which relies on the Lomo, Holga, and similar inexpensive plastic cameras to come up with unusual grain and color effects, to the extent of visiting the enormous B&H photo superstore in New York city to see what they had to offer. In the end, however, I decided against picking up any more gadgetry and have turned toward the even more obscure specialty of expired photographic film to come up with a similar kind of weird effect. Conveniently, my badly neglected two decade old Nikon FG-20 was already loaded with a roll of film maybe eight or ten years old that I hadn't gotten around to finish.

Here is an example of the kind of image you get when shooting film going back several years and bring it in for development. The helpful staff at the neighborhood drugstore returned my prints with a note giving tips on how to avoid Poor Color Quality, including a warning about old or outdated film. I had to chuckle -- I could not be more delighted with the trippy retro results in fact, and am looking forward to shooting a couple other unexposed rolls of aged film which have just been laying around deteriorating in some unpredictable fashion.

Poor Poor Thing

Friday, October 16, 2009

Gravity is only a suggestion

Short story title: Experiments in Curved Space

 I think it would make a lovely book cover as well.

Music for Friday: a cover of John Coltrane's Naima

Poor Poor Thing

Green leaves represent

Domain name:  chlorophyllnation.com, vegetationnation.com
I picture a community of users who like to picture what our spaces will look like post-humans as they are returned to a progressively more wild state, focusing on the vegetation more than on the plummeting masonry and rusting automobiles.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Thinking of next spring

Musical piece: Sweet Pea Sweet

I did not do any sweet peas this year, which I think now to have been a mistake, since my soybeans did nothing either. I believe I will plant that whole bed along the driveway in sweet peas next spring for a color shot after the snows melt.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

With this ring I thee hex

I would take this pincushion ring one step further and make the cushion in the shape of a tiny person, thus making it a Voodoo Ring. I would then market it to ladies unlucky in love and with certain hurt feelings to work out. It would be sized appropriately for the ring finger rather than the thumb. Perhaps if the wearer has a diamond engagement ring, the voodoo ring could be made to fit around it with the stone occupying an anatomical region of some importance, thus making the whole thing that much more pointed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

God-cursed brutes

originally uploaded by milkfish.
The illustration of the musculature of a snarl is from a book of gross anatomy of primates (baboons, chmpanzees, and humans) and makes me think about the Beowulf story and the first of the monsters in it, Grendel. From Seamus Heaney's translation:
Suddenly then
the God-cursed brute was creating havoc:
greedy and grim, he grabbed thirty men
from their resting places and rushed to his lair,
flushed up and inflamed from the raid,
blundering back with the butchered corpses.
Lines 120---125
Maybe Grendel could have been an enormous baboon larger than a man, his fangs and claws used to grab and carry off his prey, for some reason impervious to edged weapons but susceptible to Beowulf's might in their one and only fight, at the climax of which he has his arm and hand torn off. I could imagine that. Then Grendel's mother would be an even larger sort of baboon wreaking vengeance on the Danes on account of her loss then retreating to her marshy lair, where she too is confronted by the hero:
Quickly the one who haunted those waters,
who had scavenged and gone her gluttonous rounds
for a hundred seasons, sensed a human
observing her outlandish lair from above.
So she lunged and clutched and managed to catch im
in her brutal grip; but his body, for all that,
remained unscathed: the mesh of the chain-mail
save him on the outside. Her savage talons
failed to rip the web of his warshirt
Lines 1497--1505
So perhaps an amphibious, part-human, part-baboon enormous monster race of super-mandrills or the like, able to wield a knife (line 1546) and adapted to live in frigid northern waters. I think that would make a pretty good spectacle, in a graphic novel format or in CGI video.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Curiously om

Title of the Buddha: The Master of Refreshment

Add in a small DC motor and this prayer wheel could run continuously until the battery runs down.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Friday, October 09, 2009

The power behind the drone

Song name: Aboriginality Is the Art of Concealing Your Power Supply

Music for Friday. The resemblance to the experience of running a drum sander or a router is striking.

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There's a sequel

Hitchcockian novel set in the South of France: Window Derrière

I think the teal lady-silhouette ought to be worried about getting soiled.

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That's one clean android, Og

Story title: Shower stall from the future

Not implying any slight against Skeet's artwork, which I admire greatly, just that I have a hard time getting past our recent bathroom renovation, about which more later.

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Biting bovine band

Folk-metal group: Ox Toxin
The name is kicking around the net, I guess as folk etymology for the hormone oxytocin. It also came to mind a while back when we'd named a server OCTOXEN which is also a decent band name.

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Everyone knows midichlorians are orange

Bad Guy: Darth Gourd (his subordinates would address him as "Lord Gourd")
They probably look even better when they're slightly moldy.
Pretty soon it will be time purchase the raw materials needed for the year's Halloween creation. I always favor interesting shape and texture versus brute size.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Call me smiley face

What would you call a book about a struggle between a driven man and a huge homicidal cetacean, written in cute little 12x12 graphical icons?

I am thinking that if it were my project I might have gone for something like Hello Moby or Sailor Doom.

Posted via email from Poor Poor Thing

Update: Funded, in the last couple of days left to go! Soon the might of the crowdsourced Mechanical Turk will be unleashed.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Funerals were really something back then

This is the figurehead on the funeral carriage that took Lord Nelson's body from where it was lying in state to his resting place at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. The thing is a smidge over a meter long and is supposed to evoke the nautical figureheads on ships of the day. It makes one wonder just why it is that figureheads have vanished off of modern vehicles (even including their miniature cousins, hood ornaments) pretty much everywhere except in Texas, and whether they could be brought back someday. Perhaps it would take the death of a national hero the way Nelson was regarded in his day, migrating downmarket from the funeral pomp into daily life once more starting with luxury vehicles. Soon everybody would have their own personal talisman guiding the way as they thunder down the road. Boats too.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Their first single would be Melty Cheese

Band name: Racklette

The confusion with pop band Roxette is, of course intentional. The temptation to title your music group after a more or less common misspelling would also make me think that one might consider the handle Soul Alyssum as well.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009


The extreme skinniness of the shadow of the rings against Saturn's cloud top settles once and for all the extreme silliness of film depictions of spaceships flying through huge debris fields when passing through planetary rings. You can't even see it in the thumbnail, so thin the region is, so the pilot and navigator would have to be aiming for that razor's edge to be in the right place for it to be a problem.

Plus I'm pretty sure the contents of these ring systems is much smaller than the huge boulders the CGI team likes to toss around.

Roman numeral

Book title: Ten Years of Silk, for a personal memoir of a voyage of personal discovery along the danger-filled roads of central Asia

Posted via web from Poor Poor Thing

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Manipulation for fun and profit

apple core duo
apple core duo,
originally uploaded by sidknee23.
In this story idea of mine, Thomas H. wakes up one morning with a sense of things having changed somehow, which is confirmed by him in the bathroom when he discovers that he now has two navels and can feel two hearts beating side-by-side in his chest, whereas before he can nearly swear there was only one. He goes in to work and sees things that he is accustomed to seeing singly have been doubled: tree trunks, dogs' tails, the suns.

He does some investigation on the side which takes him to some dark places and comes to the conclusion that the maker of the world in which he is a construct had decided on a whim to split things down the middle one night, just to see what would happen. Far from being dismayed by this knowledge, Thomas H. uses it as inspiration to create his own virtual world where random items differ from the world around him by having a four-fold split, including a virtual Thomas H. whose reactions he observes avidly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


my new (and first) tattoo
my new (and first) tattoo,
originally uploaded by megpi.
Good job on counting up the electrons and the ordering of the Bohr atomic shells in this tattoo, but to me the image suggests a valence bond relation, rather than an ionic bond appropriate for a compound of such widely varying electronegativities. That last electron does not want to have anything much to do with the sodium and is firmly in the camp of the chlorine ion.

If I were the wearer, which I'm not, it would bother me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Pride in what one does

Inspired presumably by the native Americans who used every part of the bison.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A written work your actions can affect directly

Another Kickstarter project has caught my fancy, this time along literary lines. And the interesting thing about it is that it is already guaranteed (as near as anything in life is for certain) to come to fruition, though the precise form that will take shape is not settled at this time. Depending on the amount of money that will be raised by the deadline, the form of the physical book that Robin Sloan will write will take various forms. Already at the time time I write this it has passed the point of a routine print on demand volume, and with the remaining time and additional backers it could turn out to be something much niftier. It is an interesting model, not completely unique, I know, for a fiction writer to be engaging the audience during the act of writing itself, and not only on promotional tour only after the work has been put to bed. It is my guess that if it receives much more of a push from its backers it may cause some amount of commotion among those pondering the future of publishing itself.
I will spare you my further opining on complementarity between observer and phenomenon. It's really just a book.
The author has also written the very entertaining short story Mr. Penumbra's Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store featured recently and memorably. at Escape Pod, which I recommend to SF fans.
Update: Funded! Hundreds of percent over! And it seems as if the literary production is keeping pace as well, so it should all culminate in one fine-looking edition soon.
Update II:It is arrived and it is great.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Private to public

sing love
sing love,
originally uploaded by rcameraw.
WQXR, the oldest commercial classical radio station in the US, is going to move over to public radio this 8PM October 8th, moving 9.6 MHz up the FM dial and going from its .com domain to a new .org domain as well. I hope they are able to keep the line-up of announcers: Annie Bergen, Jeff Spurgeon, Elliott Forrest, Bill Jerome, Midge Woolsey, Clayelle Dalferes, and the delightfully named Candice Agree. I will have to listen to the commercial spots between now and then to see if there's anything I'll be missing too.

They'll be swapping frequencies with Univision's reggaeton station La Kalle. Should make for some fun confusion for those not clued in on the shift.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wait till it blooms

originally uploaded by Meatspider Studios.
This picture of a Shoggoth sculpted in polymer clay reminds me of the very nice reading of the Hugo award-winning novelette Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear. Do go listen to it if you like Lovecraft. It's more to the ebon side than the transparent, but the mouth full of teeth is nice, I think.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sounds good to me

Walking by the tubes.
Walking by the tubes.,
originally uploaded by Gabba Gabba Hey!.
A great many people give former Alaska senator Ted Stevens flak for comparing the structure of the Internet to a series of tubes a few years back, and I will not attempt to defend the gentleman's conception of the subject in full. Yet in the resulting furor, I would just like to point out that if I had to choose just one metaphor between "a big truck" and "a series of tubes," the tubes would win decisively. For what is more tubelike than the high-speed Intenet backbone network, the submarine cables, the dedicated satellite links, and the urban microwave trunks that do the heavy work of piping the traffic about, routing around congestion and breakages, rarely caught up in traffic jams, as photons rarely are wont to tarry? And if somewhere the end of a tube is exposed to our feeble senses, raw effluent pouring out in a stomach-churning mix, what can a modern net user do but express his or her wonder at the fluidlike medium that geeks in the know even refer to as a torrent? For something more like the opposite, look at the Netflix distribution scheme which relies on honest to goodness mail trucks to get the content to the consumer.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why blogs are being pushed out by microblogs

I put up a new post on my sadly neglected writing blog Frabjous Times and noticed this odd development on the Feedback area of my admin screen.

One post from last February had 2790 comments on it, all of it flagged as likely spam. It is not that Twitter and Friendfeed and the like are free from spam, as any active user of those will tell you. It is that the spammers have not yet figured out how to crank up their engines of war just yet to trash them utterly. I give them a couple more months before they come up with a way to make those services nearly unusable. And then maybe some people will end up going back to their blogs.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Construction kits for big kids

It's a project to develop an open source hardware standard for builders, hobbyists, and anyone else who needs to create structures with lightweight, sturdy, reconfigurable and extensible metal parts. They are now in the process of raising funds through Kickstarter through October 24th. If that goes well, look for the first production runs to be done before the the year is out.
Update: Funded, with plenty of room to spare! I'm happy to be one of the first backers of what should be a fantastic enterprise.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The world's dullest console game

have an MP3 player by Nextar like the one in this picture, and I like it because it plays MP3s, it doesn't insist on crippling DRM, it is fairly durable, and didn't cost too much. One place that took some getting used to, however, is the operation of the controls. Here, for instance, is the sequence of button presses you need to do if you are listening to a track you are tired of, want to erase it, and start listening to the next track:


where S is the button on the side, L and R are the buttons to advance and go back, and C is the button in the center of the ring. (You don't need to touch the up or down buttons or the A-B button.) Typically I need to execute this maneuver one-handed, while driving, not looking at the screen, and I'm getting pretty good at it. Still, it seems like they could have done away with a prompt or four to simplify what should be a rather common operation.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My God, it's full of floor wax

Glide Path
Glide Path,
originally uploaded by The Devil in the Detail.
Acid colors are so '60s. Here in the real 21st century we know the value of a palette of earth tones.

The dog days of summer

This is a picture of my laptop at work when earlier today it suddenly and silently cut to grey.The two areas on either side looking sort of like shark gills were feeling a lot hotter than electronic equipment usually likes to be, and the underside of the laptop, sitting flat on my desk, was just as bad. So I'm guessing that the problem today, and the intermittent problems I have been having (occasionally when connecting to the office remotely, which I really find inconvenient) could be heat related.

Why don't they make big smokestacks for laptops to carry the heat away and put it as far away from the unit as possible? Or put radiators under the keyboard (which has lots of open space) instead of in a thin strip to the side? That way my fingers would be right where they need to be to know that the unit is feeling a little feverish and I should try to slow things down for a bit.

I have the back feet of the laptop propped up slightly to improve the air circulation somewhat, and those vents feel twenty or thirty degrees Celsius cooler presently. Let's see whether this helps, since I think a replacement is not going to be in the cards for now.

Monday, August 24, 2009


David Pogue has published a new book called The World According to Twitter and my alter ego Grinning Skull has a grand total of three entries included. There is lots of amusing stuff between the covers by my multitudinous co-authors.

Here's a picture of the autographed copy that came in the mail today

From Blogger Pictures
The book is available where books are sold, and is not available where books are not sold.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

For Cognitively Impaired Clown news

I'm still blogging about name ideas here. Band names, book names, song names, and I think one occupational classification name so far, all posted up via ping.fm whenever they bubble up to consciousness.

Update: I set up a Posterous blog for my name ideas instead, to make it a little easier (that is, possible) to see anything other than the most recent five entries.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Weeping because of all the attention

Perhaps we gents ought to give them a little room, if these two headlines from the Telegraph are to be understood in conjunction.

I also wonder how many months a man spends staring at women crying.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The Norse Gods and the Calculus

Integral approximations
Compare and contrast