Friday, October 31, 2008

A Halloween Flash Adventure

In my continuing series intended to occupy Tim at work, I give you Ghostscape!

It took me about half an hour to finish it. Unfortunately, it took me about ten minutes to guess the reveal. Still, it's very well-done for an amateur production. I hope you all enjoy it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Another October Light Horse Charge

Battle of Beersheba on October 31st, 1917

The Austrians and Turks held a fort and a 800 Aussie Mics rode across 6 kilometers of bare desert in an attempt to capture it.

I love this scene. For starters, I always love it when a filmmaker gets 800 horses together rather than 8000 digitally rendered copies of one guy on a horse

Second I love it when a filmmaker takes the time highlight true historical 'tidbits' that played importantly in the outcome of the battle. In the film they take the time to show the Turks failing to readjust their sights from 1600 meters to something lower when the Aussies got closer. Leaving the sights cranked resulted in the Turks shooting 3 meters over the heads of their targets.

Some people label this 'the last successful cavalry charge in history' while others claim it isn't even a cavalry charge at all.

In military parlance, not everyone who has a horse is cavalry. People who were to ride horses to battle and dismount (Mounted Infantry) weren't cavalry. Of course, that would make things too simple. There were groups that started out as mounted infantry and who later began training for mounted combat, making them 'half cavalry half mounted infantry'

Then there are groups like the Dragoons, who started out as mounted infantry and then developed along the lines of 'half cavalry' but were generally used to counter true heavy cav. Of course, they didn't have the training of true heavy cav, and were burdened by short rifles and ammunition, etc, but not nearly the same amount of armor. Dragoons never measured up vs Heavy Cavalry. Plus there was a big pay difference and social standing difference. In many places, Dragoons retained the name but stepped into the role of heavy or light cavalry...and got the pay and perks that came with it.

Of course the Brits did just the opposite. To cut costs in 1746 the Brits retired their true heavy cavalry and true light cavalry and renamed them as light dragoons and heavy dragoons. Hence even in the 'Charge of the Light Brigade' it wasn't true cavalry who were making the charge, creating a strong parallel between the 'Light Brigade' and the Australian '4th Light Horse Brigade' depicted in this film.

Of course, they stand in opposition because the charge by the 4th Light Horse was planned taking current intelligence reports into account...and it didn't turn into a disastrous failure. (There are some strong parallels between the Oct 25th charge and Gallipoli however)

Plus I like that it is Austria vs Australia.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I never actually knew what day St. Crispin's day was.

It's today. I always thought of October 25 as the anniversary of the Charge of the Light Brigade (as immortalized in verse by Tennyson). That co-incidence makes the following picture (graciously made available to me by the Internet) much funnier. Well, much funnier to me, anyway.

Edit: I forgot to dedicate this post to Tim, as the battle of Agincourt (1415) was a kingmaker.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

30% anything from Microsoft

Not sure what Microsoft is doing, but they are offering rebates on just about anything you buy from using their shopping search. Type "Buy it Now" into's search and click on the Ebay link. 30% off up to $200 on any 1 item (you have to wait 60 days to get your money). Add that to the 10% coupon Ebay is currently offering and you can get a nice deal on those World Series tickets, or the My Little Pony Collectors Edition.


Are any of you reading Neal Stephenson's new book? My brother gave it to me Saturday night and I am now over 100 pages in to the over 900 page book. It has religion, sci-fi and some politics all rolled into one presentation. Perfect for me but I wonder if all of you guys would like it. In it Math equals Catholocism to baseline it; I am thinking of you here Wolf.

So far I am not picking up the normal Stephenson voice. The one that says, "I am badass, you know I am badass, soak in the awe of my badassery." This books says something more like, "Heh, I made this world up between the time my right foot hit the floor and my left foot in the floor when I got up this morning." It is not as good as his other stuff which only means it is six times better than other writer's current works. I can't tell if he has a trigger to pull later in the story or if he is just enjoying telling the story. Is he commenting all along or is he setting up something big?

This Happened.

Neutral Milk Hotel - Engine - 10/18/2008 Brillobox, Pittsburgh PA from Engine on Vimeo.

The clip above is the first time Jeff Mangum has performed a song by Neutral Milk Hotel in a very, very long time. It the video you'll note more than a few heathens gibbering in the background -- their debt will be paid in the depths of Hades, where the only radio station that comes in is Jack FM.

If you're reading and don't get the significance. Jeff Mangum is the former lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel -- the band that recorded one of the best records of the past twenty years. Soon after Mangum freaked out, walked away. We'd pretty much all given up on the idea of him ever gracing us his music again. But the way things are going we may hear more yet.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Blind Pony Books

This guy has an interesting eye

Friday, October 17, 2008

One More Thing

Well, the last debate is over, but if you needed just a little bit more from the candidates to make your decision, these might do the trick.  Senators Obama and McCain were at the same dinner Thursday night and spoke back to back, making fun of each other and themselves.  Both are worth watching; these are not stump speeches, and they are funny and a little moving at times.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Why Don't I Get A Banana Sticker?

I fell a little bit in love with Metalocolypse this week. Then, with preternatural timing, a blog post from Jen about her new job at Best Buy and the distribution of stickers reminded me of a particular episode I'd just seen.

Here's the best part. Turns out you can just go out and buy psychological validation.

Those who give us stickers may go away from our lives, but their impact on us lives on. Dethklok wrote a song about it.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Movie With Chimp Curse Has Been Broken!

And not just because Christina Ricci plays Trixie. *blush* The intro is one of the best EVAR for this type of movie; it does it's job amazingly well. The brothers Wachowski use every cliche in movie history but almost make them new again. And they do it visually instead of with writing. You have to watch it to understand.

They do lean a bit too much on one thing from the cartoon but it works and doesn't take away from the experience. (it is a better scene transition than any of the ones in the apocryphal Star Wars films)

This will be one of the movies I wont mind my boys playing over and over. Hmmm, Transformers or Speed Racer? I will have to get back to you on that one.

Eight out of eight 'childhood inducing memories of a thrill ride shared with your girl and the next generation of dorks' cylnders for this film.

Monday, October 13, 2008

I, For One, Welcome Our...

Ars Technica is running a three part series on a topic of interest to me: self-driving vehicles.  The second in the series was posted today and attempts to predict what societal changes might occur after the widespread adoption of autonomous cars.  Good science fiction-y stuff that can't happen soon enough for me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Am I being detained?

Look, I am all for securing our borders, but Law Enforcement needs a reason to stop you. Simply mass-checking people on the road inside the US but NEAR a border is not acceptable.

You need to have some reason to suspect the people are in the vehicle are breaking the law. Simply having dark skin or a high burrito diet is not sufficient.

Still, I wonder the skin color of the videographer. I certainly didn't detect a Spanish accent. I wonder how much longer someone with a Spanish accent would have had to continue that banter before being either let go or illegally yanked from the cab and beaten.

I note how she says "I am required to ask you" not "You are required to tell me"

You got to have a pair of balls to pull that one off, and I am sure a camera helped.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What Has Two Thumbs and Is Passing Multivariable Calculus?

This guy.

He couldn't make the same claim at any point last year.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


I love the New York Times' slideshows -- the ones with audio, kinda like a miniature NPR radio piece. So liberal, yeah? This one is pretty interesting, it's about guys in Ft. Meyers code enforcement trying to mow all the lawns of abandoned houses to prevent crime.

Ding! (The Bad Kind)

Looks like Netflix is dinging Blu-Ray early adopters for an extra buck a month. Sucks when the ratio in your queue is 50 DVDs for every one Blu-ray.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

BUSTED: The Citizen's Guide to Surviving Police Encounters

45 minutes but definately worth it

The Upside of 'Twilight"

Thanks, no doubt, to the wild sucess of certain series of vampire novels, we're getting the chance to see one of the year's most acclaimed international horror pictures without the requisite twenty-month wait.

Let The Right One In opens at the Lagoon on November 14th. From what I've heard this isn't one to miss.

Here's the trailer:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Get Lamp

Infocom lovers unite.

Get Lamp

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tiernan Dinged Four Today

Azeroth is saved!

If you see a NE Warrior named Teeman running around lend a hand and please refrain from naughty chat. Mail him some money or gear so he can see how that part of the game works. He is on our RP server and is larping a mute as far as he knows. I am also doing right by teaching him HotKeys and not mousing. It still hasn't 'clicked' in his brain that he is now in a 3D world. He is used to side view flash games. I can't wait to see the new brain connections form and him get his in game bearings.

A proud day for papa and a great day for son. After his one hour session he said, "This is fun."

He then donned his IRL armor and is now out chasing squirrels with a wooden battle axe (5-9 damage 2.20) and plastic sword (1-3 damage 1.9).

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