Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Hmmm...

Last week Scott Adams challenged his blog readers to help him write a hit song made up of random, meaningless lyrics strung together. A German band then took the best ones and came up with a song. Then another reader made this video. It's actually quite fun.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Obama?


Barak Obama is not the first black man to run for President, nor is Hillary Clinton the first woman. They are both, however, the first to have a chance at victory. Wouldn't it be great to be able to tell our children that we were there when the race/gender barrier was finally broken? I like Obama, but I had serious doubts that he could win. Now, after winning two primaries I'm feeling more confident. I don't like Obama because he's black. I like his ideas. His fresh take on things. His apparent disgust with the 'business as usual' state of American government. I would like him no matter the shade of his skin, but that might just make a difference to the millions of minority voters who have felt ignored for two centuries. As for Hillary, I liked the idea of her running for President back when Bill Clinton left office, but then she showed herself to be just as much a part of the establishment as any Washington fat cat, and I grew disillusioned. Then came the 'crying incident'. She was asked how she manages to gather the strength each day to carry on, and in her answer her voice shook and her eyes teared up, but she held it together. I've been around enough actors to spot fake tears, and in my opinion she was showing genuine emotion. As much as I hate to parrot pundits, it humanized her in my eyes. I still think that she is far more a member of the status quo than I'd like, but at least it seems that there is a tiny spark of empathy in her. That's more than I can say for any of the Republican candidates right now.
At this point I'm all for Obama. I have to wonder if this is what it was like for voters back when JFK was running for office. I have never been motivated to care about who got the nomination before, since they've all seemed to be cut from different sections of the same cloth. If the DNC weren't being so pig headed about Florida moving it's primary up I'd have probably changed my registration from Independent to Democrat. But it is nice to be able to say for once that no matter who wins the Democratic nomination; Barak, Hillary, or even John Edwards, I'll be happy to vote for them. That's a very rare feeling in this day and age.

Marius

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Things I Just Don't Get


That anyone pays attention to political ads.
That anyone pays attention to advertisements, period.
People who buy more than one lottery ticket.
People who still think Iraq had anything to do with 9/11.
The appeal of reality television.
Chris Tucker.
Why Conservatives preach less government, then try to legislate morality.
How politicians can tear each other's throats out during the race for nomination, then act like fast friends once the nominee is chosen.
How two men, or two women marrying will invalidate my marriage.
Why are people so willing to give up their self-determination and intelligence in the face of sound bytes and attack ads.
Why are there so many cures for erectile dysfunction, and so few for cancer.


I'm Marius, and I approved this message.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Lovely Service


Today was the memorial service. It would have been a great party if the guest of honor could have been there. It was a packed house filled with friends and family all gathered to celebrate Heather's life. She was certainly a dynamic person, and person after person rose to tell of her effect on their lives. There were tears, and smiles, and the heartfelt hugs of old friends long lost, yet never forgot.

And now it's done.

And now she's gone.

fade to black

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Album Cover Meme

That seemingly endless font of fun ideas, Mdme. Stinkypaw, put this challenge on her blog. This is a way to generate your very own random album cover. It's a bit involved, but actually quite fun. I used IR Fanview, but any photo manipulation program will do. Here are the instructions:

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random
The first article title on the page is the name of your band.

2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3
The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.

3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/
The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together.


Here is mine.




Have fun. :-)

Marius, lead electric kazoo for British Rail Class 21

Dolphins At Play


Dolphin Play Bubble Rings - More bloopers are a click away
This made me smile, hope you like it too.

How To Tell When It's Chilly In Florida


Standby to launch Fred Garvin jokes in 3-2-1...

Some Much Needed Levity

Another Toll of the Bell



In light of recent events it seems strange to post about the death of a stranger, but Suzanne Pleshette was such a lovely and talented actress, and the original Bob Newhart Show holds such a warm place in my heart, that I could not ignore her passing. From all accounts she was a wonderful, friendly lady who was more concerned with being a working actor than with being a 'star'. She died Saturday in her home of respiratory failure. She was 70 years old.


ps
I know The Corner has been a bit of a bummer of late, but I promise to get funnier soon. And my most sincere thanks to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. It helps. Really.
Love,
Rick

Friday, January 18, 2008

Heather



I still remember the first time I saw Heather. I couldn't have been more than 19 or 20, and I had just gone back to Gainesville to visit after I left the University of Florida. It had been for an SCA gathering of some kind, though I cannot remember what it was. I had been fighting, and feasting, and playing Boppe the HedgePygge. The revel, as I suppose it was, adjourned from the park to some one's house after dark. Excalibur was on the TV, and I was outside wrapped in a cloak and telling 'no shit, there we were' stories. I noticed a pretty young thing who looked vaguely familiar, though I was sure I'd never seen her before. Upon asking I found that she was the sister of a friend, thus the strange familiarity. I believe I had a bottle or two of liquid courage in me at this time, and I announced that I was going to make a move on her. I strode over, and offered her some warmth within my cloak. Much to my surprise she accepted and allowed me to wrap her within its folds. The night continued on, and we awoke the next morning in each others arms. Such nights were not uncommon in those days, and we parted with fondness, but no promises, since a few hundred miles separated us. We stayed in touch, sought each other out at events, and eventually she moved to South Florida. We had many good times. We saw Blue Oyster Cult in concert together; a first for both of us. She introduced me to my later-to-become sister Aislinn. She turned me on to the works of Roger Zelazny. And on the day I got chlorine in my eye while tending my parent's pool, she rushed me to the doctor, and then cared for me for the next cycloptic twenty-four hours. Unfortunately our relationship coincided with the brief time in my life when I was wanting to sow my wild oats, and as it became clearer she wanted more from me, I drew further and further away, and I fear I may have hurt her more than I knew.

Years passed. Word reached me through the grapevine that she had married, and was a mother. She even visited me with her two girls once, but as this was still pre-internet, and I am one of the worst letter writers in history we lost touch again.
Then, after a particularly vivid and seemingly random dream about her I called Aislinn to see if all was well. I was informed that Heather was diagnosed with breast cancer. I called her, and we rekindled our friendship. One day she had to go to a prominent cancer treatment center in Tampa, and she crashed at our place. Eventually it seemed that the disease went into remission. Her hair grew back, her spirits rose, and she became a fairly regular commenter here using the name Loki. The last time I saw her was last year at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville. I had volunteered to armor up and let folks shoot padded arrows at me. She and her daughter inflicted more than a few bruises upon me, having an uncanny knack for finding those few square inches of unprotected flesh between my body and shoulder armor. She looked great, with all her hair back and a ready smile. It was a brief, but wonderful encounter. I never imagined that would be the last time I'd see her. We kept in touch via email and our respective blogs, and not too long ago the cancer came back with a vengeance in her brain, liver, and lungs. The chemo and radiation was harsher, and took a greater toll this time. She tried to keep her spirits up, and never once seemed to give up. Unfortunately her liver couldn't handle the stress, and earlier this week shut down. I spoke to her sister on Tuesday and was told the doctors gave her two to three weeks. Heather died peacefully in her sleep Thursday night surrounded by her family, and while there is something to be said for an end to her suffering, it is a tragedy when a vibrant, hyper-intelligent woman in her thirties is untimely ripped from this world.

The service will be held Monday afternoon.

Goodbye

Last night Heather left us, and the world is a bit dimmer for her passing.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Prayers, Please




A very dear and old(in years known, not in age) friend is in need of prayers, white light, good thoughts, etc. Loki, who has been known to visit The Corner from time to time, is battling cancer, and needs some reinforcement. Please, if you are the praying type, add her to your prayers. Her first name is Heather.

Thank you, my friends.

Rick

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What I Miss



I wish I could go back in time and make sure to tell myself not to take these moments for granted:

Having everyone I cared about within a few minutes' drive.
Playing D&D with the gang.
Those first terrifying, wonderful weeks with C.
The Tree, and hitting the road.
Lake Worth beach before they closed it at night.
Godzillogies.
Coffee at The Clock with Barb and Lisa.
Poker with the Pope Theatre folks.
The Major's Pub.
Pool at Kelly's.
Karaoke.
Star Trek night at Kim and Todd's.
Rocky Horror.
La Femme Nikita.

I'm not unhappy with my life now, but I can't help but wonder if I fully appreciated the times that seemed like they'd last forever, yet will never come again.

How 'bout you? Any memories of times past that you feel you could have appreciated more at the time?

Maybe a few beers will help.


They did me.

;-)

Marius
Ok, this is a few days late, but it's been a bit of a bumpy week. Here is the first batch of pics from the film build/shoot. These shots are the 'ejaculation booths', or as I like to call it, The Spankatorium. The first is what they look like from the outside. The next one is the interior as a couple of students were putting the final touches on the paint. Next is the lights they set up. Notice the doors? All they are is some molding and a doorknob stapled to the wall. The Magic of Illusion™!






These photos are the set for an evangelical preacher who is railing against the evils of gay marriage. It will appear on screen for less than three seconds, but it took a couple of days to build and paint. And the lighting for it is even more involved than the Spankatorium. You can see the other side of the jack booths in the third pic. I kinda like the juxtaposition of the whackin' hut and the preacher's living room. (yeah, it's impossible to build a set of ejaculation booths and not get all puerile about it)





And finally here are a couple of shots of the barely controlled chaos that was the shoot itself. I'm afraid you won't see any pics of the actors as that is frowned upon, and I don't think Ed Asner is involved anymore, but it's still a pretty wierd world.




Yesterday was a shot of a dance performance complete with 100 or so extras in the 'audience'. It was supposed to start around 1pm and be done by 6. I got home at Midnight. But, I did get on camera twice. Once to carry a ladder across the back of the stage during the 'rehearsal' scene, and once to hand programs to two of the principal actors as they entered the 'performance'. I am currently in negotiations for an 'also starring' credit.
;-)

And thank you to all of you for your advise on our problem child. Unfortunately most of them were things we have already tried including the IEP at school, but I am trying to modify my own anger issues. I have never dealt with frustration well, but I am trying. In any case, thanks to you all.

More on the build of the kitchen and living rooms sets next week.

Peace be with you,
Marius

Friday, January 11, 2008

Little Help?

Please forgive the serious air of today's post. I promise to get silly again soon. I could use some advise, should any of you have any ideas, on how to deal with our daughter. Shortly after she started first grade she was diagnosed with ADD. She takes medication, which helps, but last year in third grade a new problem arose that we just can't seem to get past. She won't write. It's not that she can't. She won't. She is not intellectually stunted, and now reads well beyond her grade level, but when it comes time to put anything on paper she will sit and stare at the paper for hours and do nothing. Or, when she does put anything down she will write over the same words until they are illegible. Last night she was supposed to read a chapter from a book and write a one page summary. After three hours, and me shouting myself hoarse, she had written only two sentences. She is seeing a psychiatrist, who doesn't seem to be doing much, but I don't know what to do. In fourth grade she has to take the FCAT(the FL version of the No Child Left Behind foolishness) and we have told her that writing is a major part of it, and that she will not pass if she won't write, but I might as well be explaining it to the cats. We are about at our wits' end. Have any of you heard of anything like this? Or maybe heard of a solution? Anything?

Thanks,
Marius

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Oh The Pain...



I really, really, REALLY hope the writers' strike ends soon. I just finished watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report from last night. Both shows have gone back into production without their writers, and while Stewart gave it a valiant effort, it was almost painful to watch. Colbert did better, but he has a character to hide behind. Stewart tried to be funny, and succeeded many times, but it was so clear that the writers are the backbone of the funny on both shows. I side with the writers on this strike, but I also support any show that goes back on the air so that the people whose livelihoods depend on production can feed their families.

And that's all I have to say tonight. Pray forgive any incoherency as we had our first day of shooting today, and I'm barely conscious. I'll post some pics of the filming tomorrow.

Good night, y'all.
Marius the Sleepy

Stay Tuned



There will be blog tonight!!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The Circle Is Now Complete


I just got back from seeing the final movie on my holiday 'want to see' list. But first, a disclaimer: If you didn't care for the first AVP movie, or if character development is more important to you than action, then you need not read any further. If, however, you revel in the spectacle of cosmic smack-down peppered with stereotypical, disposable people have I got a flick for you. AVP: Requiem picks up where the first movie left off. The last surviving Predator that was rescued from the Arctic gives birth to an Alien that, in the first really well done example of this, is Predatoroid. It causes the ship to crash in the woods outside a small Colorado town, and then proceeds to be fruitful and multiply. On the Predator homeworld a rescue mission is launched consisting of a single Predator, who then proceeds to act like a homicidal Man in Black , getting rid of every alien it can catch, as well as the human bodies...well, at least the human bodies it doesn't kill itself. I'll admit the plot is thin, and the human characters mere sketches, but the action is non-stop and the effects nearly flawless. What little CGI there is is excellent and seamless, and the fights between the two alien species are spectacular. There is even a nifty tag at the end that connects the two AVP films to the future Alien movies. So with all the above caveats firmly in mind, I recommend this movie as a fun popcorn muncher of the highest grade. Enjoy.
Marius

Friday, January 04, 2008

And Now...




Hi, folks. I've been trying to come up with a unifying theme for today, but the search has been as fruitless as a physicist with a Heisenberg complex, so this will just be a bouillabaisse of randomness. Hope you don't mind.(yeah, I know that doesn't make any sense, but that also seems oddly appropriate)


OK, movies. Whenever the COA goes to visit her dad in Mississippi we get to go to the movies, and this holiday break has been no different. I have already told you about the blood-bath that is Sweeney Todd, but the other flick we've seen in the actual cinema is I Am Legend. I've actually seen it twice, and I can recommend it as a good watch. Earth shattering blockbuster? No. Well done, for the most part, and well acted? Yes. Will Smith is a damn fine thespian when he decides to play a character instead of himself. The premise is this: a seeming miracle cure for cancer either kills outright, or turns people into photo phobic zombies. Smith is the sole survivor in New York, and his portrayal of a scientist's decent into solitude induced insanity is quite moving. There are many powerful scenes, including one where yours truly nearly started bawling both times, and some pretty good CGI. I would have liked to have seen a bit more emphasis on Smith's character's lack of empathy for the infected people, but overall it is definitely worth seeing.

On the rental front The Simpson's Movie is hilarious. If you like The Simpsons you'll love the movie. Superbad, on the other hand, is simply awful. Both Mrs. Marius and I have been told that Superbad was hilarious, and while it didn't seem to be my regular cup of celluloid, we figured we'd give it a gander. Firstly it is painfully obvious that the film's makers, and stars by the way, revere Kevin Smith far more than is healthy. Secondly they proved my thesis that Kevin Smith can get away with things on screen that no one else can. My wife has a tolerance for crap cinema that is many orders of magnitude greater than my own, and even she didn't put up a fight when, after about 10 minutes of excruciatingly stupid and gross dialogue, I suggested we watch something else. Consider yourselves warned.


Food. My Mother-In-Law gave me a huge skillet for Christmas, and I couldn't be happier. As I have mentioned before, I am chief cook and bottle washer here at Castle Marius, and I am getting bored with the rotation of Shake-N-Bake chicken, pork, and burgers. I actually read the label on the grated Parmesan and found a nice recipe for a skillet dish with bow tie pasta and ricotta(the most wonderful cheese ever). I jazzed it up with some extra stuff, but it overflowed our small skillet. Now I can, and did, make a boatload of the stuff. In fact, I'm eating some of it now for breakfast. Mmmmmm. So, do any of you have any recipes you'd care to share? I am getting bolder as I discover that I actually have a flair for cooking, and after my rousing success with Stinkypaw's tourtierres I'd love to see what else I can do.



Weather. I apologize to those of you who live in places where it really does get cold for my whining yesterday. All I can say is that even though it does get chilly in the winters down here, an actual freeze is rare. There is one side effect of the cold, however, that I can bitch about. I am a swamp creature, and with the cooler temperatures comes drastically reduced humidity. Most would rejoice in this, but my gills dry out, and I must constantly fear bleeding out through my nose. I once spent a week in Las Vegas, and found the only relief I could get would be to run the shower in my hotel room at its hottest and just sit in the closed bathroom and inhale as much steam as I could.


And lastly, work. Today we start in earnest. An independent film has contracted to shoot on our campus, so I'm building the interior sets on our stage. There will, supposedly, be some 'names' in the film, but the only one I know for sure is Ed Asner(although I'm kinda stoked about that). I'll keep you posted on the ins and outs of the process. I haven't read the script, but it has to do with a gay couple who want to have a baby(sound familiar K?) and the hoops they must jump through to make it happen. Today we begin construction on a pair of 'ejaculation booths' for the sperm bank scene. Sometimes I really love the surreality of my work. :-) If it is permitted I'll post pics.


Now I must get to work. Hope you all have a smooth transition back into the non-holiday reality of every day.


Ramen.


Marius

Thursday, January 03, 2008

But...But...This is Florida!


It's 30 frikken degrees outside! Pound sand, Al Gore!!!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Lexigiggles


Here are some words that make me giggle.
Spleen
Ointment
Underpants
Expunge
Wank Pot
Scrod
That is all.

Technospective


Howdy, howdy, howdy! Welcome to the first post of 2008, dear blends. I know it's traditional to look back on the year that was as we move into this most arbitrary of orbital demarcations, but just as the husband of Mdme. Stinkypaw said, I'm glad to see 2007 in my metaphorical rear view, and would just as soon let it fade into the mists of semi-memory. Instead, as I drove home from my all-too brief visit to the homeland, I found myself musing on the technological innovations that I have witnessed over the past 40+ years. I have, in the past, lamented the lack of futuristic conveniences such as flying cars or personal R2 units, but truth be told we are living in a world that is rife with the realizations of Science Fiction of yore. Don't think so? Just wander out into your living room some night when all are asleep and count the glowing LEDs. Anyway, on to the observations. Let's start with music. The year I was born was also the year that the cassette tape was introduced in the US. This allowed people to take music with them to some extent but the players were still large and not really that portable. Over the next 20 years or so record and tape players became smaller, but it wasn't until the Walkman took the country by storm in the late 70's that music music became really portable. I still remember taking my bicycle radio, a bulky, orange plastic thing that mounted on my handlebars, and trying to listen to it with the cheap earphone that had all the fidelity of a tin can 'telephone'. Since then we've replaced our tons of vinyl with pounds of cassettes, and then ounces of Cd's. Now we have MP3 players that weigh less than a pair of headphones, yet hold more music than half the Library of Congress.
Then there is the television. The first TV I recall was the size of a small sofa, and required a large clicking box on the top that turned the antenna on the roof. Terms like UHF and VHF, and channel numbers that matched what the dial said have been lost to the mists of time. Phrases like 'in living color' no longer have any meaning to people who cannot imagine why black and white television ever existed. The cathode ray tube has shrunk to a remarkably small size, and liquid crystal and plasma displays are set to consign the electron gun to the scrap heap of history. And the tinny, tiny speakers of TVs past are now replaced with stereo surround sound.
When I was 7 or 8 I remember playing with my grandfather's new calculator. It was the size of a waffle iron, with big red numbers, and cost over $100. My first calculator for school was so large and expensive that I kept it in a special plastic case to keep it safe. The C got a Commodore 64 computer. It was so cool, with its 10" floppy discs. It took nearly 20 minutes to load the mostly text based games that were its main function, although you could use it as a calculator. It spoke BASIC, and if you were 'in the know' you could program it to repeat a sequence of obscenities. Ah, youth. These days my watch has more memory, and high end PCs have more computing power than the entire Space Shuttle fleet. And the limits to speed and memory capacity is still far off.
Life is so much easier today than it was not so long ago thanks to science, but there is a danger to all this innovation. It used to be that if I couldn't get my car to start all I had to do was stick something into the butterfly valve of my carburetor, or squirt some flammable carcinogen into the air intake. Now it could be anything from a clogged injector to some bad code in the on-board computer. Televisions used to be repairable by swapping out a few tubes, but now it takes millions of dollars worth of test equipment used by highly trained technicians to diagnose problems. Power plants are now more automated than any TV starship, and just as complex. I fear that some of the predictions of Issac Asimov might just come true as our technologies become so complex that only an elite class of people understand them. We must assure that the technicians of today do not become the high priests of tomorrow. I fear that as technology makes life easier and easier, an understanding of that technology will become increasingly scarce. We must make a concerted effort to keep ourselves educated not just about what the next Big New Thing&#153 is, but why and how as well. Otherwise the predictions of Orwell and Huxley might just become reality.
Happy new year!
Marius

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ah, Puddy! We Hardly Knew Ye!

I miss you already. And that should teach you to leave your personal info on someone else's computer! rubbing hands together, cackling wickedly and slinking on out