28 February 2007

More office conversations

B: you're paranoid
R: no i'm not
R: i'm not!
B: thats what the string said

25 February 2007

Funny science jokes

To those of you who don't find the funny, eh...

The Word correction function suggested I replace 'paraphyletic' with 'prophylactic'.

Which works on so many levels.

24 February 2007

Many things: Squid, gigs, scouts and idols

My personality is gone. Broken. Discarded. Like kleenex.

But the blog must go on so here's a new diatribe composed over lunch digestion.

Firstly, thanks to all those who commented on my thought for the day, I particularly valued your input Chris. A subject close to your heart. And Andrew, I guess you as a lesbian explains why you couldn't have a civil union with me - but sounds like the mawwage is still on!!!

So here goes my waffling, i have no idea how the segues are going to work, or indeed if there will be any.
More giant squid in the news, just after I post about the film of one, a colossal squid gets landed in NZ. I'm not ashamed to tell you, I damm near wet myself. Again. Pictures and stuff here. As you are probably gathering, I'm a big fan of giant squids. I think they rock, and weighing in at 450kg? That's cool. From my hazy memory of Steve O'Shea's talks the thinking is they reach adult size in around 2 years. Stop to think about that, from a few cells to 10m long and 450kg in 2 years. It's no wonder when they have relationship issues they go and bash up on whales. Imagine the teenage squids when their squidy hormones are all raging!! Wow!!
I found this interesting and thought provoking. The speed they grow led me to wonder if the cell division control is as rampant as in cancer cells. Although apparently this line of talking is enough to send people to sleep as the brunette started snoring through this line of discussion. Not just glazing off, but snoring. Don't worry dear reader, this didn't stop me. I just kept going and got louder.

Which means I can wear the following badges!

The "talking science" badge.
Required for all members. Assumes the recipient conducts himself/herself in such a manner as to talk science whenever he/she gets the chance. Not easily fazed by looks of disinterest from friends or the act of "zoning out" by well intentioned loved ones.
and the:

The "I blog about science" badge.
and most importantly the one Billy and Svend suspected I might get:

The "have violated the posterior of an animal in the name of science" badge.

Actually I might go through and put a whole post up of what badges I can wear. How cool would that be eh?!

Actually that segue worked well. Go me.

For various reasons, apathy being the biggest, I've watched the last couple of Fri night episodes of American Idol. Aside from the usual cynical you're all fuckwits type comments, I think my main gripe is that Simon holds back too much. He tells them they suck but he doesn't really explain how incredibly bad some of these people are. Another pet peeve is how all of the fuckin women feel the urge to add bad vibrato every fuckin word. But I'm just going to get bitter if I continue exploring my issues with AI so I'm stopping. Now. Right now.

Gigs: Calexico and Phoenix Foundation. Oh God. Better than some sex? Oh yeah baby. True Sam's guitar wasn't a happy camper, and neither was Sam - but PF sounded good. And the new stuff sounds quite rocky, but still wonderful and slightly psychedelic. Choice!!!
Calexico: I was still bitter about missing them last time in Wgtn. Which is why I bought tix months ago. Good thing I did as they sold out sometime ago. Opening with Convict Pool, it just rocked. And mexican-ed. And was beautiful. Damm fine trumpet playing, catchy melodies. For those of you of a certain age, or musically diverse interests, think Herb Alpert but with more rock/alt-country sensibility. And better. Much better.
Happy? Another wash the pants exercise.

Music: I've been listening to a fair amount of Borknagar (prog-metal/black metal) and Dimmu Borgir (apparently symphonic black metal, which does fit) which appears to cheer me up. Odd.
I too was surprised at these two. Normally I'm more a Swedish black metal kinda guy :-) (no seriously, I am).
I like the musical exploration in the two of them, Borknagar in particular. And as a genre that shouldn't work, symphonic black metal, the Dimmu Borgir is great.

Well back to writing, since lunch has gone.

Love, looking forward to beer, Bgrades and Marin, me xxx

20 February 2007

Thought for the day

Actually it was my thought for yesterday, but eh it should still be ok for today. And it's not like I've had any thoughts for today, so meh...work with it!

Why is it that nutters who yell long rambling things while walking down the street have such poor enunciation?

B xxx

19 February 2007

More Science

From the latest newsy thingy from Nature. First up a medieval scientific instrument, a stripped down astrolabe quadrant - this one could only be used during the day - lets call it the astrolabe nano, rather than the full astrolabe-pod. These things were used for time and latitude telling. This is, apparently, only the 8th one found.

and now, more giant squids!!
I like them ... and today we have video of a giant-ish squid - this species grows up to 2.5m attacking some bait. And it glows!! I want a glowing squid. Please?

Me xx

16 February 2007

Brief music reviews

I've actually made it to a few gigs recently so figure I should mention the highlights (well two) of my social calendar for like, forever dude!

First up was the Handsome Family with support by The Moon Whisperers. Yeah about the support, a 'cello and a guitar/vocalist. Sounded a bit like Black tape for a blue girl meets The Wishing Tree. Without the variety you'd hope for. That is, everything kinda dirged along, song after song. Apparently they have a drummer/bassist etc so they might be better with a full band, and I would, probably, see them again. As long as it was cheap.
Handsome Family: ahhh glorious songs of death, decay, murder and sharks. All the good stuff. Like twisted lyrics? like kinda weird arrangements? like great byplay onstage? yeah go see them. Go buy an album. Great stuff and I'm really pleased i went to see them having heard their stuff on and off for a while now.

Joanna Newsom and Smog. Firstly the support by Smog. I like him, I've got his most recent album but theres something about his songs that irritates at the same time. I think its the predictability of the lyrics and music, you know where he's going structure-wise. In some situations thats a sign of good stuff, but in this, not so much. Worth checking out if you like singer-songerwriters, but I'd start with the library first. Joanna Newsom, harpist, weird ass lyricist, quirky and probably best summed up with the word 'startling'. I'd previously heard bits of her new album (Ys), but this was something great. She sounds like a halfway house between Tori Amos and Kate Bush, but with more happiness than either of those two manage. Lyrically we're talking alt-indie-prog which looks as weird as it sounds, but there's elements of country, indie-pop and at times the bad side of overblown 80s prog lyrics. But ina good way. Make sense? nah? oh well. As I said this was something else and I'm really really pleased I went. I liked her enough that I've bought the album.

Coming up this week, possibly my dream gig: Phoenix Foundation and Calexico - yup pants wettingly good lineup that one
Also: Damo Suzuki from CAN is playing on Thurs if anyone feels like a date...

14 February 2007

PC be dammed

After a particularly long tiring day, I decided to pack it in around 845 this evening. at which point I put down the chapter I was working on, which I think I've sorted, and headed out to my balcony.
On the balcony I had a midsize single malt and a small cigar (panatella) both of which, I am assured by various health bodies, will kill me.
Given the relaxed feeling I had finally sitting down doing 'me time' that seems a little unfair. So bugger the PC crowd. I can still taste the tobacco on my lips and tongue and its quite soporific. Which is odd, cos tobacco shouldn't be.

I then moved inside, and pumped the organ (again!) while finishing the scotch. It's funny how U2 sound on reeds, hell I like them that way. And thats not my usual description of the band.

Chatting to Mr P reminded me that many of the readers haven't seen the organ, so I'll take some pics at some point. I may even try and record it, since it does sound pretty cool.

bed time now!

b xxxx

13 February 2007

Office conversations

R: are you still pumping it
Me: yeah did a bit last night
R: thats good, how is it
Me: relaxing, am hoping to pump for awhile this evening.

Love, me
(idly wondering how many of my blog stalkers will get this)

9 February 2007

Ipods, Green cars and the nanny state

I know I said the next post would be positive. But meh, the following two articles from the World section made me grumpy enough to comment.
New York: crossing the street while listening to your ipod or talking on a mobile could cost you US $100. The draft bill is a response to a few people being killed or knocked over by traffic.

I'm sorry, WTF?! Why the hell should legislation be required to prohibit people crossing the road while listening to music? Ok so there have been a few deaths/injuries recently in Wellington for much the same reason. But surely there's this radical Western concept called 'free will'? If you choose to listen to music/talk on your mobile and then stupidly dont look while ambling in front of traffic, it's your fault? Sure its tough on the driver who hits you who wasn't doing anything wrong - and I do feel sorry for them - but at some point in your life you have to take ownership for your actions. And I don't think that walking across a road with your ipod is a huge one to take hold of.
Surely a more useful solution to the problem would be to tax or invoice the dickhead who got hit (if they were in the wrong) for costs to the State? Yeah sure the New York solution is pre-emptive, but its also going to hit a bunch of people who are paying attention while listening to music.

The other nanny state article that isn't quite as bad, is that the EU has decreed that cars need to tell drivers when to change gear, what speed to drive, and when to pump up their tyres. On the surface this sounds a bit more draconian than the ipod example. But in this case I'm more in favour. The better the driving of the car the lower the fuel consumption and less emissions to screw the environment with. And my understanding is that those people who are driving well this won't impact on them. Which sounds a more reasonable approach.

What is interesting is that this will apply to cars made in the Japan and the US, which begs the question - is this the time for the US to actually start making 'green' cars?

Oh well, perhaps the next post will be cheery :-)

I am listening to The Weakerthans 2000 album 'Left and Leaving' - its really good. But then again, I do like the quirky-ness of Canadian music...

Smoochies and stuff, me x

I feel like ranting

My body hurts (hockey), my hand hurts (writing), it's hot, and there are idiots in this world. The one thing that is pissing me off greatly at the moment is recycling.

Now whether or not you believe in global climate change, and don't get me started on that one, surely the concept of a disposable society strikes some chord of concern? Everything we buy comes in packaging which, generally, is just thrown out. Or in many cases, dumped on the ground. Where the fuck do you think it ends up? Some magical rubbish pixie washes it and puts in for the next disposable item to be wrapped in? Dumb fucks. Take glass bottles, it's freakin glass. That can be reused again, so why throw it out in the rubbish??
It's not that tricky to sort recycling vs rubbish. Ok I might go a bit overboard and rinse anything plastic and recycle it. But that did mean last week I threw out 1.5 bags of rubbish (and that included the 2kg of crayfish bodies), and 3 bags of recycling. Think about that for a minute. If I hadn't taken five minutes to sort out the recycling 5 bags of rubbish would be dumped into the landfill. Instead 3 bags of that are being reused. Doesn't that mean anything to you? All that crap you are filling the rubbish bins with could be recycled. Surely thats a start to clearing the world of unnecessary crap?!
I think the one thing that pisses me off the most are beer bottles and cans. They can be so easily rinsed and dumped in for recycling. But how many people do that? Eh. Bastards.

I've had this drunken rant with people in the past. What it seems to come down to is that they feel over whelmed by the magnitude of climate change and dealing with it.

Think of it like make-up, start small. Work up to the big stuff.

I now go shopping for stuff which is in minimal packaging, or packaging which can be recycled (or already has been).
Rather than my ranting, here's some useful websites:
Reduce your Rubbish.
Wellington City Council Recycling site

Love, B (don't worry there's a more positive post coming soon)

8 February 2007

Why dogs and Chocolate don't mix

I've always kinda wondered about this. Why most people tell you that chocolate kills dogs. I remember dog our ate it, and she didn't die. Anyhoo SciAm wrote an article about it:

Scientific American: Fact or Fiction: Chocolate Is Poisonous to Dogs
Chocolate can affect canines in different ways--from the mildly upsetting to the downright dangerous

Me x

7 February 2007

Rocky Balboa

Smackers, Il Diablo and I went to see Rocky Balboa in the weekend. Yes this was a masochistic thing to do. The storyline: Rocky comes back 'one last time' (again?!) as a result of a computer simulation of him vs the current champ.
We went expecting crap. Luckily we weren't disappointed. Stallone tried to act. This led to one of the most painful hours in recent movie watching history. He looks tortured, the audience felt tortured. There's meaningless character development - a love interest that goes no-where. Rocky is still mourning the loss of his wife, we know this as every few minutes we see Rocky sitting next to her grave. He is ACTING. His son isn't a chip off the ol block, instead is some vaguely corporate guy. The love interests son is also involved. All of which is done to show Rocky is A GOOD GUY. I really don't want to shout, but the scripting was, so in the interests of accurate delivery, so am I.

All of this meanders through with more acting, more unexplored character development (none of these characters actually do anything in the movie). Until we get to the fight buildup once Rocky has signed on to fight the champ.

Woohoo, we get a montage (cue either Rocky music, or Team America song, your call). Yes its a predicatble montage, but its a montage. It has thumping music. Go Rocky.
The fight itself is good. Ok nowhere near as good as Raging Bull, but then again comparing Scorsese/deNiro to Stallone isn't a wise move.
The first section is crap. The fight section is great. Wait for DVD and skip to the montage :-)
Rating: 2/5 - this is a bit generous, but the fight is good (full ESPN stuff), it has a cameo by Mike Tyson, and there *is* a montage.


4 February 2007

Stock, Crayfish, the freezer and gadgets

For those of you thinking of visiting my place today, you might want to think twice. It smells of crayfish. Roast crayfish in fact, as I'm making some crayfish stock using the shells I'd kept in the freezer for this very purpose. Recipe can be found here.

So coffee is on, Active's jazz show is tinkling away in the background, shells are roasting and I'm about to deglaze the vege's...well that's done. A short simmer, then the shells are dumped in for 3 hours. Go my life!!

I should make some muffins now, I'm on a mission to clean up my freezer which is why the 2kg of cray shells are going, and why I've been baking lots of banana muffins - as there's lots of frozen bananas in there. I have found some plums too, and alcohol (now that was exciting!).

I had a fun conversation with someone called Catherine (I think, I *may* have been drinking) about the stupidity of people who can't write. As much as arguments are fun, it is occasionally nice to have a discussion with someone who agrees with you. The brunette bit was sighing a bit apparently some of my criticisms on the use of semi-colons may have struck home :-) tee hee hee hell we even ended up talking about Lynn Truss. Ahhhh nice.

Second batch of muffins in now, and the stock smells great. Admittedly the whole house smells of the stock, but eh...

And one of my not so secret shames is back on TV, 'the Steel Mill' where lots of more 'extreme' metal vids are played - woohoo!

I've just sieved the stock, which reminded me that for some reason the thought of a guy in the kitchen always seems to imply he's a gadget freak. I'm so not. To prove this my two favourite kitchen gadgets are: an electric wok (aside from its general usefulness, its also marvellous for making jams and marmalades in), and a microplane.
I've taken a couple of pictures of a) the stock pre-sieving and b) the sieve arrangement (bowl: the warehouse; chux cloth: under my sink; pegs: from the washing basket).

me xxx

3 February 2007

Man Breasts - the excuse!

In the exciting world of ready-made science excuses for man titties...

For those of you who can't be bothered reading the Reuters report, lavender and tea tree oil have been found to induce breast development in boys. Lavender and tea tree oil are common ingredients in soaps, shampoos, hair gels and body lotions. The researchers were alerted when a young lad started to have a disturbing growth spurt (this would be termed 'pleasing' in the XX ones) when his well-meaning mother was rubbing (?!?!) a homeopathic healing oil on to him. When she stopped, so did his bra size, oops I mean breasts.

The oils are thought to have anti-androgen effects and slightly increase oestrogen production.

What I find interesting about this are the implications. Are these affects long-term? Although the breasts decrease, has the anti-androgens affected brain developement, secondary sexual characteristics, behaviour? And what about during pregnancy? If a pregnant woman rubs lavender over herself, or soaks in lavender oil bath, does this effect the embryo? Could this affect sexual differentiation? sexual orientation?