Sunday, September 30, 2007

As If The Depression Weren't Bad Enough...

...Now I've got a cold. Blah.


-by Tegan at 8:46 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Banned Books Week

Starts today. Go read a banned book.

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-by Tegan at 7:44 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday, September 28, 2007

Still Down

I'm still not doing well. I'll probably blog very lightly this weekend. Come back on Monday.


-by Tegan at 9:07 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Thursday, September 27, 2007


Note: Boring personal stuff ahead. Fanboys and people looking for links can skip this entry.

So, here's what's been happening.

Yesterday, hubby-Eric and I took his car to his usual auto-shop. Neither of us are particularly good with engines, and we wanted the folks who are familiar with his car to mess with it. Unfortunately, the shop is in Ballard, and we live in Bothell. The shop is about 14 miles away through heavy traffic.

Now, as you may recall from my previous post, the car was dead in our garage. The second tow truck driver assured me that it would go fine once it was jumped, but remember that he also followed me home just to be sure. So Eric and I decided that I'd better follow him in the van, just in case the car needed another jump along the way. As one of the symptoms of the problem was that the car would die unexpectedly at stoplights, Eric was not happy about driving the car that far. I wasn't keen on trying to figure out how to get the van in position to give the car a jump if it died. In short, we were both a wee bit tense and panicky.

So yesterday morning, after a clever parking job with the van, Eric got in his car and I pushed it (yes, me alone) out of the garage into the driveway. We jumped the car using the van, then we were on the way. I followed Eric as closely as possible, through heavy morning traffic and construction zones that seem like they will never be finished. The car drove fine, never dying, but both of us were stressed for the entire drive. Once we got to the shop I couldn't find parking for some time... and eventually parked in a no parking zone that several other cars were parked in.

I was under the mistaken impression that it wouldn't take long to fix the car, while Eric seemed to think it would take a few hours. So, tense and cranky, I suggested we stay in Ballard while Eric wanted to go home. Eventually we found a Starbucks so I could get some hot cocoa and calm down. I don't much like the smell of coffee (which makes me some kind of mutant) but I endured it just to get some chocolate. Eric then talked sense into me, and we went home.

Our next problem was that Eric had to go to work at 4 pm, and the car wasn't ready... and wasn't ready... and wasn't ready... He called in to see if he could stay home, but they really needed him. So I started calling family members to try to get some help. Eventually, we arranged with the shop for me to come out this morning (in a couple of hours, actually) to get the car. But since Eric needed to go to work, I still needed a ride to Ballard. My mom is coming to the rescue (thank you MOM!).

Ok, so that's the car. Let's move over into Frankenhaus.

As you know, this house has some problems. The nervous system (electrical system) is pathetic and needs to be rewired. We desperately need a new stove (the current one flames when I try to broil something... and it's an electric stove). We've had a pest problem (which seems to have been dealt with, thank goodness). And the digestive system (the plumbing) is... well, it's acting up again. In short, the house is constipated. And I need to call a plumber today. I decided to wait a bit until I'd calmed down, but as we're having a party at the house on Saturday, I can't wait long.

So it never rains but it pours. We couldn't afford the new battery (thank you to the person who helped on that, by the way). The credit card is groaning, but it's the only way we can pay for this. And, worse, we really need to make a major renovation in the plumbing system to prevent this problem from occurring in the future, but we can't afford the $2000-5000 to do it.

If I had about $100,000 (HA!) I would totally renovate this house. It's got the best feeling of any house I've lived in, including the house I grew up in. It's a good house for all its faults. It deserves owners who can give it the attention it needs.

Update (about 11am): Got the car. Mostly not painful, except for the payment (about $200). The problem wasn't the battery itself, it was the cable leading to the battery. That got loose, to the point where it wouldn't hold onto the battery anymore. Every bump in the road caused it to jump away from the battery. This lead to the battery "working too hard" to try to connect and failing to recharge. The cable killed the battery. They replaced the cable, then the battery. If Eric experiences power losses, like before, they said to check that the clamps were firmly connected to the battery. The good news is that the battery was near the end of its life anyway, so we would have had to replace it soon regardless.

Now I'm just waiting for the plumbers to call back and tell me when they will most likely make it out here.

Update (about 12:15): About 45 minutes ago I decided to walk down to the library, as I figured the earliest the plumber would show up would be at noon, and it usually takes me about half an hour to go to the library and back. So I loaded up the books we needed to return and headed down. About halfway there, I got a call. The guy could be at my house in a half hour. Part of me wanted to turn around, the rest of me just said "I'll just hurry and it'll be fine." So I hurried. And as I walked up to the house, the Roto Rooter truck pulled into the driveway. He's now in the bathroom, pulling the toilet.

Did you know you can request a Roto Rooter appointment on-line? I was able to specify that I needed someone who not only knows how to pull a toilet, but is able to reinstall it properly (as we've had troubles with that in the past, waves and gushes and little smelly streams of troubles). I was assured when they called to let me know he was on the way that I was getting a guy with plenty of experience.

Update (about 1:20): And... he's done. $300 for the rooting, and a couple of small repairs to the toilet. The plumber they sent agrees with me that we ought to rip out the whole bathroom and start over. Unfortunately, I haven't got the money to do that. I certainly would if I did. I'd love to do right by this house.

So, today we're out $500 in various repairs. Ouch ouch ouch ouch ouch.

And yes, I'm sure that all this has contributed to my most recent bout of depression. Which I'm only now barely recovering from. Such is life. Now I need to go clean up after the plumber (he didn't leave much of a mess, but there's still stuff to be done) then reward myself by going to get the comics.

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-by Tegan at 7:44 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


I think I'm just going to curl up in the corner and not think for awhile.


-by Tegan at 5:17 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No Blog Kind of Day

Too depressed to blog.


-by Tegan at 11:28 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 167

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #244 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #244 (January 1958) - The Copy Cat Creature

A sea monster encased in ice returns to life and becomes Aquaman's pal.

Quotefile: Aquaman, "Ha-ha! You're a friendly cuss, aren't you! And since all your old pals have been gone for centuries, you can be my friend!"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Galloping Typhoons!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman again rides on Topo. Aquaman has a school of flying fish eat the locusts that threaten the farms on shore. He has a group of octopus link tentacles to create a living net for the pilot whose plane Myron destroyed. Aquaman has swordfish cut down burning trees near the shore to prevent the fires from spreading. He then has to call in whales to put out the fire that results when Myron knocks down a burning lighthouse into an oil slick. Aquaman has dolphins pull a stranded ship out of the Sargasso Sea, then has to create a lasso made of eels to pull the sailors to safety when Myron tows an old wreck and swamps the original ship. Aquaman rides a whale to rescue the sailors. Aquaman sends a legion of giant blowfish down to the South Pole, where they inhale the freezing air, then gets some fish to play in a waterfall. As Myron copies the fish, playing in his own waterfall, Aquaman has the blowfish exhale the freezing air, trapping Myron in a new iceberg which he then leaves in an icy sea somewhere.

The most basic premise of this story, "sea monster preserved in ice wakes up and becomes Aquaman's friend," is very similar to Adventure #193, but the structure and events in the stories are completely different. In this tale, Myron the monster doesn't attack ships for no reason. And the solution that Aquaman came up with in the earlier story is completely different to the one he comes up with here.

Lots of goofy science here, like blowfish being able to freeze water by bringing cold air from the South Pole. Aquaman himself says that Myron is apparently related to the cat family, because he has a somewhat feline face. It's all pretty typical bad Silver Age science.

Aquaman leaves Myron in another iceberg... but doesn't make sure the iceberg is secured in a climate where it will stay ice. What if Myron floats to warmer climes, like the first time?

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:45 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Choice Links

"Choice Links" just means I'm too lazy to find a bunch of links for you today...

Fake Justice League of America movie trailer:

In an interesting development, a person claiming to be the mother of the child given Eightball #22 as a reading assigment posts a response in The Beat's article on the subject. After a bit more discussion, she posts a followup listing the chain of events. She called the school once, then called police. Yeah, sure, no overreaction there at all.

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-by Tegan at 6:37 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Thank Goodness for AAA

So hubby-Eric and I went out this morning. He noted that his car had been having odd power-loss problems recently, but neither of us thought it was serious enough to worry about. Ha.

While we drove down a long straight road, the car lost power twice. Not huge losses, just ... twitches... Right up until we got to the stoplight at the end of the road. Then the car died. Eric managed to get it going, but halfway into the intersection it died again, and he couldn't get it started. With the help of another driver, I pushed the car out of the intersection, then I got in the driver's seat and kept trying until the car started up again. I got us through the intersection... then into a tiny parking area after the car died again.

We didn't try to go further, we just called AAA.

While we waited, I called a few other people. The only one I got a hold of was my brother, who offered to come and help. I thanked him and let him know that we would call back if AAA stranded us somewhere we needed a ride from.

It took awhile, but we finally got a tow truck. The driver played with the battery and showed us that the cable leading to the battery was loose. He thought that maybe it wasn't getting charged properly, so that was the problem. He used a penny to tighten up the cable, and hopefully that was that.


We left the car running and signed a bit of paperwork (and I called my brother back to let him know we didn't need help), and the tow truck took off for his next call. By the time we got back to the car, it had stopped running. I didn't think anything of it, but Eric was a bit flustered. He tried to start the engine. Nothing. Just that annoying clicking you get when the battery is completely dead.

The tow truck was far enough gone that we couldn't wave him back, so we made a second call to AAA. A short while later the same tow truck called to find out what had happened. Eric explained. The truck was on the way to another call, but he said he'd send a different truck.

We were about 2 miles from home, where the van sat. Rather than sit and stew, I suggested to Eric that he walk home. Then, if I ended up having to be towed, he could come and pick me up at the dealership or autoshop. He finally agreed after I talked him into it for awhile. Thus I got to sit in the car, next to the freeway, waiting for the tow truck.

Hood Up

After a good long wait, the new tow truck arrived. He was perplexed by the problem, but after I described the whole series of events and he used a mobile jump box to start the engine, he told me the battery was not holding a charge anymore. I chose to drive it home, where I could get another jump if needed, and not worry about it. The tow truck followed me home, and I got home just before Eric. As expected, when we tried to start the car again once home, it wouldn't start. The tow truck driver said the battery and its cables need to be replaced.

So we have a dead car in our garage. We're down to only the van working. And Eric's shop for the car is in Ballard, which is a good long drive away. We haven't really got the money to repair the car, but we have no choice. It's always the way, though. You aren't allowed to get ahead, just less further behind.

Someday, when I'm rich, I'm getting a new car. An actual new car, not a used car that's just new to me. Preferably a hybrid or a smartcar or something with great gas mileage that doesn't have too much nasty emissions. Someday. When I'm rich. Yeah.

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-by Tegan at 12:10 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Johnny B's NFL picks. He was right about the Seahawks the first two weeks. I hope he's right this week. And speaking of football, read this article on old football players.

Silver Age Comics links to Dial B For Blog's takedown of Bob Kane. Pretty impressive evidence there.

Fonzie Jumps The Shark:

Ten minute look at DC: The New Frontier. Lots of interviews, some animated scenes. All good.

Can you solve the three way duel problem?

How to make witches jars for Hallowe'en decorations. Some year I may just do this. But not now.

The Pirate Bay files criminal charges against media companies that use MediaDefender. Interesting.

Too fat to be a model, but I wish I was that fat!

Speaking of models, Virgin Mobile Australia failed to get model releases for Creative Commons licensed pictures and now both Virgin and CC are being sued.

Here's a graphical illustration of what will likely happen if we do not get Net Neutrality:

No Neutral Net

I'm interested in this book, and not just because a friend is editing it.

Cute report: stolen bunny found.

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-by Tegan at 8:50 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday, September 21, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 166

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #243 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #243 (December 1957) - Aquaman's Amazing Bets

Kipp, first mate on the Frisco Dawn, keeps winning unlikely bets, even once Aquaman gets involved.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Suffering Sharks!" "Jumpin' Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: Topo helps Aquaman save the crew members from the waterspout. Aquaman summons a whale for the "biggest fish" bet. Aquaman puts his head in a shark's mouth for the "fearful sea creature" bet. Aquaman has giant squid friends bring up a sunken Man-of-War for the "man overboard" bet. Then Aquaman wins that bet by having his swordfish rescue Kipp.

Quotefile: Kipp, thinking, "I'd recognize Aquaman anywhere, even under that thin disguise!"

After Aquaman rescues the sailors from the Frisco Dawn, they tell him about Kipp's bets. He agrees to go undercover and teach Kipp a lesson, but Kipp sees right through his disguise. He may be a scumbag, but Kipp is nobody's fool.

In the story we learn of two bets Kipp made with the crew. He then makes three bets against Aquaman and wins the first two. He tends to win his bets on technicalities and by cheating. The first bet we learn about is his bet that a turtle can win a race with a fish. The fish was a wind-up toy that ran out of juice before the finish line. The second bet he made was that a hurricane would arrive in five minutes. The hurricane was a squadron of hurricane fighter planes. The bets against Aquaman are won in similar fashion.

In the end, Kipp sinks himself by running away with the loot. He didn't want to face the wrath of the crew and Aquaman, but ended up losing the final bet by his action.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:43 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday Afternoon Linkdump

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #121.

ARRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!!! Abadazad has been canceled AGAIN. And while book three is available, it's not going to be released in the United States! ARRRRGGGGGHHH!!! Via CR.

Colleen tells us how NOT to get a job in comics.

The comics blogosphere has been buzzing about the story of a teacher assigning a lewd comic to a student. The book turned out to be Eightball #22, which is generally not considered lewd. I haven't read it, so I can't weigh in.

Stephen Fry has a blog. His one entry there is very very very long. And it's signed. I'm scared.

Some phone numbers on the national Do Not Call list will expire soon, so make sure your numbers are re-upped at You can verify your phone numbers are on the list at the website (mine are good until 2011), or add a phone number to the list. I have gotten VERY few unwanted calls since I put our numbers on the list.

Heavily monitored areas in London are NOT seeing a reduction in crime. Apparently Big Brother is pretty much ineffectual.

A hole in the ocean could be used as a battery.

The definitive truth of what happened in the Betty and Barney Hill Alien Abduction case.


Stephen Colbert on the Simpsons (YouTube).

Animated Savage Chickens.

Was the Peruvian Meteorite actually a missile? Unlikely, but make sure to eliminate all the possibilities.

Hey, "Whatever happened to...?"

Gems from the NYT Archives. Cool!

I sometimes hate Ken Jennings... Hakuna Matata, moonlight sonata, balloona madonna, screaming headache... ah... answers here.

Ah, aluminum is getting more valuable: Metal thieves steal parts of convention centre roof before installation. Can we say, "oops?"

Ah, just in time for Banned Books Week (Sep 29 - Oct 6): The Chocolate War causes an outcry. I admit, I didn't much like that book. But then, most of Cormier's works disturbed me deeply... at least I read them to make sure.

Cory Doctorow on Free Data Sharing and Information Technology.

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-by Tegan at 2:43 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 165

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #242 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #242 (November 1957) - The Amazing Feats of Aqua-Melvin

A blood transfusion gives vaudeville clown Melvin Aquaman's powers, making him Aqua-Melvin!

Aqua-Exclamations: "Diving Dolphins!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Captured/Knocked Out report: While Aquaman isn't captured or knocked out, he is constrained in what he can do by a looming threat.

Quotefile: Doctor, "The effect should wear off in 24 hours, Aquaman -- but you'd better watch him! Melvin is a vaudeville clown -- and quite a jokester!"

Finny Friends Report: On the splash, Aquaman rides Topo while Aqua-Melvin rides a swordfish. Aqua-Melvin gets two eels to make him look like an odd sea-creature. Aquaman and Melvin ride dolphins. Melvin moves to a whale to "rescue" an actor who really doesn't need rescuing. Melvin has a squid draw a caricature of the governor on an iceberg. Aquaman cleans it up with sea sponges while Melvin gets a whale to move the iceberg out of the sea lanes. Melvin spots a boatload of pretty girls and tries to impress them by riding a chain of flying fish into the air. Aquaman repairs the lighthouse on a living ladder of swordfish. Aquaman rides a swordfish. A lantern fish turns out to have helped Aquaman's plot along.

The second of the two clown stories this year. Aqua-Melvin is much more annoying than Wackyman, who at least had some skill. But Aquaman takes advantage of Melvin's timely acquisition of powers to get out from under a dangerous situation.

Paging Polite Scott! Here's one of those blood transfusion stories, which suggests that Aquaman's power is entirely in his blood. Uh, right. Melvin's injury is never described... the doctor says, "my friend was knocked unconscious and needs a blood transfusion at once!" No explanation is given as to why Aquaman must be the donor and not the doctor himself. For that matter, Melvin recovers very quickly after the transfusion, and his clothes are clean... he wasn't bleeding before. Melvin, who "can't swim a stroke", can suddenly swim perfectly and even communicate with sea life. Wow, Aquaman's blood is COOL!

In some ways, this story slightly echoes the recent Sub-Diego story, in which Aquaman's DNA is used to give his ability to survive underwater to normal people. Or am I just reaching on this one?

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:34 PM Seattle time - Permalink

CameraPhone Zen

School Playground Wall


-by Tegan at 11:41 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 164

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #241 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #241 (October 1957) - The Mutiny Against Aquaman

Roger Curtis, Jr will inherit his father's million-dollar circus only if he can train four dangerous fish to do an act in a tank under the big top.

Quotefile: Aquaman, in a punny mood, "This's one mutiny that paid off in plenty of bounty!"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Suffering Sea Cows!"

Glove Color: Yellow.

Finny Friends Report: The splash page shows sea life, including a squid, shark, whale, swordfish, and another small fish, attacking Aquaman. Aquaman rides Topo. A shark attacks Curtis and is chewed out by Aquaman (unfairly, more on that later). Aquaman helps Curtis train a squid, shark, whale and swordfish. Curtis will put his head in the shark's mouth, then box with the squid. The swordfish and Curtis will act out a bullfight, then Curtis will float between the whale's jaws as the whale dances. After being drugged, the shark attacks Aquaman, who creates a whirlpool to make it dizzy and knock it out. The squid then attacks, and Aquaman tangles up its arms. The swordfish plays bullfight, and Aquaman covers its eyes, then knocks out the whale by covering its spout holes.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo, but only in one panel as a silhouette.

Topo in Silhouette

Curtis is trying to capture the dangerous creatures at the beginning of the tale, in order to start training them, but isn't having any luck. He stuns a shark with an electric shock, then aims a spear gun at it. Naturally, it attacks him. Then the shark is chewed out by Aquaman for it, even though the attack was completely justified. Way to support your finny friends, Aquaman!

Curtis' father thought that training sea creatures would interest his son, who loved the sea more than the land, but didn't realize just how difficult the task would prove. If not for Aquaman, Curtis would have lost his inheritance.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 10:13 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Holy Pasta Week, Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"

ARRRR! It's Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Pirate Zen from Boing Boing. Savage Chicken Pirates: Nemesis, Pirate Text Messaging, Message in a Bottle, Pirate Psychology, Pirate Ship Makeover. FilkerTom wrote the official song of Talk Like A Pirate Day. Polite Scott gives us a list of comic book pirates. Lea Hernandez: Curvy Scurvy. Michael Sensei: "Kaizoku no mane o shite hanamashimashou!" Bully's Ten of a Kind: Pirates (rated Arrrr!). Tales of the Black Freighter Reconstruction. Wellington Grey's Pirates vs Ninjas (keep clicking to view the whole thing).

Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!

And for science, here are some of the best Science blogs, imho, who fight ignorance on a daily basis: The Panda's Thumb, Bad Astronomy Blog, Pharyngula, and Respectful Insolence. Also, Making Light points out that creationist filmmakers lie to get real scientists to appear in their propaganda.

Arrrr! Ramen.

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-by Tegan at 8:58 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 163

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #240 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #240 (September 1957) - The Alphabet Book of the Sea

Aquaman helps write the A-B-C of the Sea, but they get stuck on the letter "X".

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: On the splash page, seals are carrying letter-blocks to a giant book. Aquaman rides Topo. A cutlass fish slices through the anchor rope so Aquaman can save Sinker. Whales carry Blackbeard's boat from Madagascar to Christmas Island so Sinker can take a picture of it. Aquaman brings up a catfish and dogfish for Sinker to photograph. Electric Eels spell out their own rhyme. Flying fish pose, as do guppies and kissing fish. Aquaman retrieves a Latimeria (Coelacanth) for Sinker to photograph. Also a manta ray, needle fish, oyster, and porpoise. Starfish pose with eels as an American flag. Viperfish and walking fish fill out the finny friends report.

Quotefile: Sinker, "Thanks for saving my life, Aquaman! I'm J. Oswald Sinker! I write children's books! I'm the author of "The A-B-C of Animals," "The A-B-C of Birds," "The A-B-C of Stars," and others! Now I want to write an "A-B-C of the Sea"! In fact you're my first letter!"

Oh man, this story is FULL of information and fun. And while every letter is not represented, we get a lot of them and quite a few of the awful rhymes as well. While I'm tempted to inflict them on you, I think I'll spare you the worst. Here's one for you, "'C' is for Catfish, with whiskers so slim! Who is the fool who said cats can't swim?"

Aquaman goes to the Tuscarora Trench and uses an infrared camera to take pictures.

Aquaman goes after the letter "I" by taking a picture of the "Island of Atlantis"... and he specifically says, "These will be the first pictures of the sunken island ever taken! Who said Atlantis doesn't exist?" But back in Adventure #224, Aquaman took a picture of Atlantis for the Seven Wonders pictures. That was only a year and a half previous. He's going to reveal Atlantis as a living city in less than two years. That doesn't quite contradict this story, as Atlantis is more than just a city.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 10:52 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Comic Book Creator 2.0

I was offered a chance to preview this software and jumped at it. I'm not an artist and I'm only a mediocre writer, so I gave up on presenting you with a clever finished project along with this review. I will say that I do plan on using this for a couple of ideas I have in mind in the future. Nothing super, but stuff I hope will be pretty cool. So, let's start the review by installing the software...

Anyone who knows me knows I'm picky about what I install on my computer, and I hate programs that don't allow me to customize the installation. This program didn't have much to customize on the install, but at least allowed me the choice of whether or not I wanted quick start and desktop icons. That's a plus.

The documentation is a bit dry and technical. There was no simple guide linked from the readme file. Activation seems to require an online connection, which won't be a problem for most people, but the help is also online and in forum format, which makes it almost useless unless you have a lot of time on your hands. The most useful help is in a series of tutorials also available online. While I was able to figure out much of the basics myself, I eventually turned to the tutorials for more specific help (specifically the placing of speech balloons). I would have preferred to have that help available offline in a standard help file.

The set of basic backgrounds and clip art that comes with the program is fairly weak, but the program can use any image on your harddrive, so you are only limited by how well you can scan/import images to your computer. There are also extra sets of images available on the download page for the program, so you can beef up your graphics choices fairly easily.

Using the program will be intuitive for anyone familiar with comic books. You put in your background, add characters, text boxes, speech ballons. All very simple. You get a choice of layouts, which can help you focus. You can change the size and dimensions of your images in the program, and even call up your standard image editor from within the program, while working on a page.

Here's a sample strip, the result of using only the packaged clip art available on the website and very little thought:

Clip Art Strip

I did note some odd quirks with the program. I got frustrated when the program apparently lost my set of backgrounds... until I figured out how to quickly reset it and realized I'd reset it wrongly myself. The display could use some serious customization, as it doesn't allow me to set it up to show an entire page on my display (1280X800). There are a lot of scrollbars that could be eliminated with a slightly slicker design or just some user options. The comic strip size templates still saved as a full page jpg, leading to lots of pointless white space. Most of the problems were very minor annoyances, but there were enough that it starts to add up.

I didn't even try to get into the options for sound and animation, as I like my comics nice and static and silent. But those options exist for people with those interests.

The upshot is that this is a great program that will help you tie together the elements of a comic book into a series of pages that look pretty darn good. But it won't turn you into an artist or creative genius, it just helps the process along. I think this is a great toy, but could also be a potentially useful tool. If you think you might like it, give it a try, then let me know what you think.

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-by Tegan at 3:53 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Holy Pasta Week, Penultimate Day

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"

Today's Big Science Link: Understanding Evolution.

Hubby-Eric and I celebrated with Spaghetti on Saturday, Ravioli on Sunday, Pasta Shells on Monday, Elbow Macaroni today, and tomorrow we'll have Lasagne.

Gear up, at Ring of Fire's Flying Spaghetti Monster Store. I still want a Jolly Pirate Fish pin for my fanbag.

From Rachel Hartman, the still classic song: The Dino and The Pirate Should Be Friends.

Arrrr! Ramen.

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-by Tegan at 7:20 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 162

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #239 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #239 (August 1957) - The Voyage of the Good Ship Aquaman

Captain Wakely builds a rescue ship which he names "Aquaman", but the ship can't seem to rescue anyone.

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo. Aquaman has started to ride Topo standing up on Topo's tentacles.

Quotefile: Captain Wakely, "I spent every cent I own to fit this ship with electronic devices to save lives as sea. I only hope I do as good a job as my friend, Aquaman!"

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides Topo. Aquaman calls a bunch of whales to create a runway for the plane to get back into the air. He has a swordfish and octopus to rescue victims of a collision, but it's the electric eels that give him the hint to fix the problem. He has two octopus steal Captain Wakely's Aquaman figurehead off his ship.

Wakely's figurehead is an important part of the story. It's a carving of Aquaman hand-carved from a large piece of rock Wakely found on a deserted island. I'm a little confused why he'd make a figurehead out of stone... aren't they usually carved from wood so as to be light? Maybe it was a very lightweight volcanic rock or something.

Wakely's failures: his portable runway shatters with the plane on it. The electronic flame-thrower blasts everything but the iceberg. His giant scoops, designed to get people out of the water, fall apart. Luckily, Aquaman is around for every disaster on this first run of the ship, and is able to help out where Wakely's ship fails.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:04 PM Seattle time - Permalink


I received a copy of Devilish Greetings, as reported on Boing Boing. My only complaint is that I wish the book had a little more text putting the postcards into context. There's some editor's notes at the end of the book alongside the translations of the text, but I wanted just a bit more. Still, it's quite an intriguing book.

It's about to get very hard for me to get through downtown. Luckily, a new traffic light has been installed further up the main road that will allow me to take an alternate route once constriction starts.

Happy Constitution Day.

The Annotated Constitution. If you haven't read the constitution recently, read it again now.

Gah, Colleen has horrified me, with this:
But this morning I nearly had a cardiac arrest when the hipper than thou designer on Dress This Nest gleefully removed the dust jackets from all the books in one client's library because dust jackets are just "protective covering" and books look prettier without them.

I'd have to shoot him.

"Books are awfully decorative, don’t you think?"
Wearing Pink. Two boys stand up to bullies. Via MetaFilter.

Emerald City Comicon has a guest list started, and it's looking good!

Forbidden LEGO. Mmmm, I think I want this book.

Steve Irwin's New Turtle.

Beehive in a Glass Jar.

Distracted Driving. Don't we have laws against driving while distracted? Like "negligent driving" and such? Why do we need new laws? Just punish people to the full extent of the current laws. Sheesh. Why do we have to spell out what people can or cannot do?

Ooh, ooh! I want a solar powered PC.

Robots Play Operation.

Comcast sort of, kind of clarifies what level of use is "extreme". They won't set a hard limit, but they'll kick you off if you hit their unspoken limit.

The Top 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time, from the Museum of Hoaxes.

Ah, the love of a parent (LOLBirds).

Rest in Peace, Robert Jordan.

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-by Tegan at 2:48 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Holy Pasta Week, Midpoint

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"

Today, go hug a science teacher and support the National Center for Science Education.

Jailed creationist abusing the DMCA to shut down critics. Luckily, there is a DIY Counter Notification, so you can use the DMCA to protect your right to free speech.

And, prepping for the final day of HPW: How To Talk Like A Pirate.

Arrrr! Ramen.

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-by Tegan at 9:23 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Linkdump

Happy Birthday, Kurt!

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #120.

Bully's Ten of a Kind: Comic Takeover.

The Power of the Press. Carl Sifakis and Joe Sacco tell us about the Boxer Rebellion.

Johnny B's Fearless NFL Predictions, week 2. I hope he's wrong about the Seahawks.

Doctor Who Church Services and knit Daleks. This has been your Who update for the day.

How to Knit Marzipan. I've only had marzipan once: homemade and fresh. I enjoyed it.

I have to admit, the description of the Giant Palouse Earthworm makes it sound like a mythical beast: "Up to a yard long and known to spit on attackers... The giant worm is the largest and longest-lived earthworm in North America. It is reported to have a peculiar flowery smell, and to be cream-colored or pinkish-white. It has been reported to spit at attackers and move quickly through the soil to escape predators."

Too cool!

The Annotated Constitution.

Student Loan Scandal. Wasting the taxpayers' money by giving lots of cash to banks.

Pug in webcomic.

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-by Tegan at 2:14 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Holy Pasta Week Day 2

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"

Another case of Dihydrogen Monoxide poisoning. It would be very good to teach more critical thinking, and simple reading comprehension, in schools to avoid embarrassments like this one.

Today's regular science link is to Evolution Happens, a simple FAQ about evolution and what it really is, and why some people refuse to understand it.

And start preparing for the final day of Holy Pasta Week, at the Talk Like A Pirate Day UK Headquarters.

Arrrr! Ramen.

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-by Tegan at 10:44 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Happy Holy Pasta Week!

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"

Welcome to the first day of Holy Pasta Week! Unlike many holidays, the origins of Holy Pasta Week are not lost in the midsts of time and memory. In fact, we know EXACTLY how it started. Here's Keith Kisser explaining the dates:
The holiest of holidays for Pastafarians, is of course the birthday of His Most Holy Prophet, Marco Polo (b. sept 15, 1254), who brought the word of his Noodly Appendage back from the East.

As Talk Like A Pirate Day falls on September 19th, this five day period constitutes Holy Pasta Week, during which spaghetti is consumed liberally. With a nice chianti, of course.
All well and good, but who are Pastafarians? And what do Pirates have to do with Pasta? For that, The Wikipedia entry is probably the best overview. Or you can start at the Open Letter to the Kansas School Board that started the whole thing. In short, the whole Pastafarian movement is a reaction against Creationists trying to get their beliefs into science classes. Strange that the same folks who want religion in science classes don't allow science to be taught in church as an alternate "theory" to their beliefs.

And even if they did, it would be silly. There is a time and place for everything. Science belongs in science classes. Religion belongs in church or philosophy classes. If you cannot apply the scientific method to something, it doesn't belong in a science class... and "Intelligent Design" or whatever they are disguising Creationism as this week is all about belief and not about science. And please note: I'm not saying that Intelligent Design or Creationism is, in and of itself "silly". I'm saying that it's silly to teach religion in a science class. I respect people who are able to hold their beliefs without forcing them on children in inappropriate forums.

Thus, in the spirit of the holiday, I present the first of my links for this week: An Introduction to the Scientific Method. Remember: Science expects to get things wrong and alter the theories to fit the facts. This is the strength of science. Any method of learning which alters or ignores facts to fit theories is not science, and should not be taught in a science class.

Arrr! Ramen.

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-by Tegan at 10:33 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday, September 14, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 161

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #238 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #238 (July 1957) - The Floating Doom

Aquaman stops some men from laying mines, only to learn that they are scientists studying ocean currents... or are they?

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Catfish"

Glove Color: Yellow.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: Hilarious splash page with four finny friends sunning themselves on mines: A sea cow that barely fits, a seal, an octopus that appears to have it's "legs" crossed, and a swordfish! Aquaman rides Topo up to the ship laying mines. A whale helps him board the ship. An octopus throws the first mine out of the way of the Santa Anna. Later, a whale, swordfish, octopus, and shark all push mines out of the way. An octopus throws Aquaman onto the ship. The octopus then knocks away the gun of the boss. Aquaman rides a dolphin and lassos the bad guys with a lasso of electric eels. Swordfish punch holes in the ship's hull. And octopus and swordfish round up the bad guys.

Quotefile: Aquaman, "Well... you must admit you certainly looked suspicious -- wearing masks that aren't really masks -- and launching mines that aren't really mines!"

The mines being laid are plastic bubbles containing scientific instruments used to measure the speed of ocean currents. The guys are wearing masks because the instruments use radium, which the masks supposedly protect them from. Uh-huh. The men on the ship convince Aquaman to tell sea captains that the mines are harmless. Of course, as soon as Aquaman leaves the ship, the men start laying some alternate instruments.

Aquaman realizes he's been had when he sees a pieces of metal sticking to one of the "plastic bubbles".

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 11:03 PM Seattle time - Permalink


ComicMix rolling out Phase II.

ACLU does webcomics. Sadly, they mix superheroes into the mix. But the art is good.

Sava draws Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.

RFID Implants linked to tumors in animals. Maybe getting Fido "chipped" isn't such a good idea, after all?

Tree image found in tree!

Sleestaks in the library. BWAH-HA-HA-HA-hA!!!

London cabbies are really smart, or they couldn't find their way.

My worst nightmare: spiders work together to build giant web. Eeeeek.

Scott Adams wants us all to invest in giant penises in the desert.

Six Rainbows Across Norway.

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"
Plan your menus now.

Holy Pasta Week starts TOMORROW!!! I don't think the Italian Pasta Boycott will affect the holiday, but make sure you have this week's pasta handy.

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-by Tegan at 6:12 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 160

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #237 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #237 (June 1957) - The Secret of the Sea King

Magazine Editor Roy Mason sees Aquaman acting strange and decides to expose Aquaman's crimes to the world.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: None.

Finny Friends Report: On the splash page, Aquaman has a whale chained down, a swordfish stuck sword-first in the seabed, and an octopus pegged down. In the story, the same fish are in much the same situation, but the swordfish is stuck into a sunken ship. Aquaman has three whales secretly push a ship clear of some dangerous rocks, even though the captain doesn't want Aquaman's help. On another ship, Aquaman has "a whole squadron of octopi" become the propellers for a ship, getting it away from a storm. In the flashback, Aquaman has two whales and two octopi subdue the maddened whale, octopus, and swordfish.

Quotefile: Roy Mason, "Aquaman! Lucky for that plane's crew that he's around! But why is he wearing that black mask?"

As usual, Aquaman doesn't worry about his reputation. This time it really bites back, though, as ship captains refuse his help. Mason reported seeing Aquaman bury cargo, and so, despite YEARS of contrary evidence, all the ship captains on the water assume Aquaman is a thief. This is yet another example of how fickle and easily led by media the public is in the DCU. We'll avoid talking about how that compares to the real world.

The irate sea captains of the DCU's oceans gather at Lighthouse Island to vote on banning Aquaman from the sea. I wonder just how they planned to enforce their ban?

Among those who believe Mason's story over years of precedent are the members of the Aquaman Fan Club, who change their name to the "Neptune Skin Diving Club". There's no indication that they ever changed back.

As usual, there was a good reason for Aquaman to not explain what he was doing, and in the end it's the Coast Guard that clears Aquaman's name. Let's hope Mason printed a retraction, eh?

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 10:52 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Do The Puyallup

Anyone who grew up in the greater Seattle area has heard of the Puyallup Fair. It's The Fair. The event that everyone ought to go to at least once in life, preferably once each year. I usually don't get to go, it's not cheap. The last time I went, it was for the train layout in Hobby Hall, which was a LEGO layout. I didn't spend a lot of time outside of Hobby Hall that year. So when I got a chance to go to The Fair this year with a small group to see the Weird Al Yankovic concert, I jumped at the chance.

The concert was last night, and I spent a good portion of the day at The Fair with Eric, M, and my sister. We also met up with another sister and her guy at the event, crossing paths a couple of times.

The day actually started with hubby-Eric's dental appointment in the morning. The original plan was to go down to the dentist in Seattle, then just proceed on down to my sister's place. Unfortunately, we forgot the tickets (D'oh!) and had to go back after hitting the dentist. I did get a couple of camera phone shots while I was downtown, though, one of which has already shown up on this blog.

Once we got down to my sister's place (after returning home and getting the tickets), we played on her Wii for a bit. Eric is quite good at the baseball. Then it was down to Puyallup! Once we found parking, an adventure in and of itself, we entered the gates and promptly couldn't figure out what to do. Eric made it clear that he was too hungry to argue, so we went to find food. Not a difficult task. Then my sister and M split off to have their fun while Eric and I did our own thing.

Puyallup Fair 2007

Eric got a Krusty Pup, and I went and go myself a Cow Chip Cookie, the first of my culinary trifecta of "must eats" during The Fair. After wolfing down our foodstuffs, we went into Hobby Hall to see if we could find the train layout. One of the collections was Elmo, another was Eeyore, and there was also a few penguins:

Puyallup Fair 2007

My whole penguin collection, pulled entirely together, would fill maybe one of those shelves. But then, that's not counting my penguin pillows and drapes. So who knows? I might be able to rival that collection.

I asked at the information booth about the train layout and was told that it was the number one most asked question of Hobby Hall this year. Neither group that does the layouts could come up with enough people to staff the layout for the full 17 days, so there was none this year. Much to the disappointment of many many many fairgoers. As I stood there chatting with the information lady, another fairgoer came up and asked about the train layout. It was clearly being missed.

Still, I got some good information from the information lady. Like the location of the best scones at The Fair (under the grandstand). So that's where Eric and I headed next.

Mmmmmmmm, scones. There's nothing quite like the Puyallup Fair scone, eaten hot right from the booth. I wanted to buy the mix, but I know I could never match the taste of those scones, which is part experience. I just know that I need to go back and get me another hot scone some other year.

Puyallup Fair 2007

After having scones, we wandered around the grounds. We visited the Pygmy Goats and ooohed and aaaahed at them with other folks. We checked out the main barn, but didn't stay long.

Puyallup Fair 2007

I found yet more penguins all over the carnival area, as it was a major portion of the prizes being given out. I looked in vain for an Aquaman prize. Lots of Spider-Man, and even a Superman in one booth, but no Aquaman.

Puyallup Fair 2007

I found this sign to be fun.

Puyallup Fair 2007

Eric was apparently in danger from a giant child which planned to eat him on a cone.

After wandering around in the heat for awhile, I entered a contest for a Wii and then decided I needed a good sit-down. We went to the Restaurant building and managed to meet up with Lisa and M, and we all shared an Elephant Ear. Then we went into the main expo building to watch all the live infomercials (and get free samples, was my goal). Eric and I got caught up in a demo for a steam cleaner, which we ended up buying. I may get my kitchen floor clean, yet.

Puyallup Fair 2007

In the expo hall, we found this little pumpkin, grown by somebody in our hometown of Bothell. Eric posed with it.

As we took the steamer back to the car, we passed the Advil booth where they were giving out free samples. I ended up hitting the booth twice, and it got me through the rest of the evening. Thank you, Advil!

Eventually we went into the grandstands for the concert. We had tickets on the floor. The grandstands filled up quickly, and Al sang for a full house.

Puyallup Fair 2007

The concert was spectacular. Eric has promised a review here on this blog if he has the time. For myself: I sang along and shouted until my throat was raw. The concert ran about two hours. While Al didn't sing my favorite of his songs (Dare to be Stupid), it was intense and exciting as all his concerts tend to be.

We got home late, and crashed pretty good. I slept in a long time this morning.

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-by Tegan at 5:33 PM Seattle time - Permalink

CameraPhone Zen



-by Tegan at 12:03 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

No Blog Kind of Day

Sorry. I've nothing to say today.


-by Tegan at 7:03 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

No Blog Today

Just a day to remember.


-by Tegan at 7:47 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 159

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #236 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #236 (May 1957) - The Iceberg of Doom

Aquaman becomes suspicious when a single iceberg hits and sinks three ships owned by the same merchant.

Finny Friends Report: On the splash page, Aquaman clings to a chain of octopi. When the first freighter hits an iceberg, a seal uses the Sea Siren to alert Aquaman. Aquaman rides Topo to the scene of the sinking, then Topo helps rescue the people on the overturned lifeboat. At the second sinking, Aquaman ties old leaky lifeboats to the back of a whale for the rescued sailors to ride to safety on. At the third sinking, Aquaman has sharks, swordfish, and octopi help rescue the cargo and deliver it to port. To save the fourth ship, Aquaman has thousands of sponges fling themselves onto the iceberg to cushion the ship. Electric eels "blast" a path through the iceberg into its core. Flying fishes drop a giant lariat over the iceberg, and whales pull the berg into another iceberg, smashing it. Dolphins rescue the bad guys.

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is captured when he enters the iceberg, and thrown in a crevice on the edge of the iceberg with walls too slippery to climb, and from which he cannot summon his fishy friends (apparently the telepathy is still not quite developed).

Quotefile: Aquaman, "There's something mighty fishy about this "jinx" operating against Porter's line! How can the same iceberg run down just those ships and no others?"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Neptune!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Just an idle thought: Why are some of the sailors that Aquaman rescues from the first freighter wearing suits and ties?

Aquaman faced a very similar problem back in the Golden Age in More Fun Comics #79. Yeah, right at the beginning of his career!

Have you read this story? What do you think?

NOTE: there will be no Ripples Through Time tomorrow

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-by Tegan at 9:21 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Who Wants To Be A Superhero?

I like the show because it's the only reality show I know of that, instead of bringing out the worst in people, strives to bring out the best. It's goofy, cringe-inducing, hilarious at times, embarrassing at others... but even with all the fakery and nonsense it's still trying to show the heart of the people competing.

It'll never be my favorite show, but I can certainly bear to watch it.

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-by Tegan at 7:33 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Yay, it's the return of Johnny B's Fearless NFL Predictions! And I'm watching the Seahawks game tomorrow because it's turned into an impromptu party at my place. Johnny B is calling Seattle over Tampa Bay, and is in fact calling Seattle to have a good season. We'll see.

Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #119.

Comic Book Idol 3 is about to start. Submissions are being accepted.

Another reason to not trust rebates.

I loved Popeye as a kid, and I love this explanation for Bluto vs Brutus. Thanks, Mark Evanier!

Depression leads to worst health... "Depression is a more disabling condition than angina, arthritis, asthma and diabetes..." Yeah, I could've told you that.

It is a virus killing the bees?

Heroes Still Exist.

A teacher on Slashdot asks how to bring science and math into writing class.

The DoJ thinks you should pay extra for your internet if you want content that the cable providers don't want to supply.

The New York Times reports on another possible biofuel source that has a better yield than corn and can be grown on marginal land, and helps keep livestock away from other crops. There are still potential drawbacks, but this one looks very promising.

If you commit murder, don't use it as the plot for your bestselling book, especially if you've left other clues around.

Pugs in cars for the in-laws.

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"
Plan your menus now.

Hubby-Eric and I have finished planning our menu out for the week, and are simply adding finishing touches to it now. I'm also planning the usual science blogging for that week. I hope I can find enough good links...

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-by Tegan at 11:55 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Rest In Peace, Madeleine L'Engle

As they say on MetaFilter:


Here are some thoughts from Tammy and Diane Duane.


-by Tegan at 10:34 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Saturday, September 08, 2007

CameraPhone Zen

Bears in the Library


-by Tegan at 6:04 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 158

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #235 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #235 (April 1957) - The Show-Off of the Sea

While performing historical re-enactments for a TV show, Aquaman can't seem to resist having his finny friends save him instead of sticking to the script.

Captured/Knocked Out report: As Aquaman approaches the pirate ship prop, he is nearly blown up by a floating mine. He is apparently undamaged.

Quotefile: Mr Stone, "Aquaman, this is the second time you've ruined a show, just to prove how cleverly you've trained your fish!" Aquaman, "All I can say is, I'm sorry! I... uh... just couldn't resist the temptation to put on my own act!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo (misindentified as "Toco").

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides up on Topo (Toco). A swordfish frees Aquaman during the Captain Kidd sequence. In the Count of Monte Cristo scene, an octopus unties Aquaman then throws him to the deck of the ship. The whale pushes him out of danger during the Moby Dick sequence.

Only nine months previous to this there was a story called "The Showoff of the Seven Seas". Like in that story, Aquaman has a secret. And, again, he doesn't care what people think about him... he does what needs to be done. Other than that, the two stories have nothing in common.

Aquaman last appeared on live TV over ten years previously. That wasn't a planned show, though. The opening text box says, "The famed Aquaman has always lent his expert assistance to TV shows wishing to film sea stories." That may be so, but we haven't really seen much.

This story also brings to mind Adventure #217. Only in this one, Aquaman keeps the problem secret. Well, mostly secret. Captain Wood, another consultant on the set, figures out what Aquaman is hiding, and why.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:48 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Congrats, Elayne!

A big hallo and congrats to my Blog-Mamma Elayne Riggs for reaching 5 years with her blog.

As my blog was directly inspired by hers, that means that I'm also reaching 5 years on this blog in a month or two. Yikes.

Anyway, read Elayne's thoughts on five years and what blogging means.

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-by Tegan at 7:18 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 157

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #234 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #234 (March 1957) - The Super-Aquarium

Aquaman is collected for an alien Aquarium.

Quotefile: Alien, "We have gathered the most amazing creatures of the seas on all the planets -- and you are the one we have chosen to represent Earth!"

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Sailfish"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: none. Although octopi show up in this story, Aquaman never calls any one Topo or rides one of them.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman is attacked by a swordfish with two swords, an octopus that has elastic tentacles, and a flying whale. He shows the aliens a Bahamian Scallop, but they aren't impressed. He also shows them a Giant Bat Fish. Finally he shows off a "tank fish", an armored fish with electrified feelers, multiple tentacles, and a sword. The aliens take the tank fish, but the electric eels, the octopi, and swordfish that were filling the shell drop away before the ship takes off.

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is captured by a giant pincer and put in a holding tank. He talks his way out of the tank, but has to trick the aliens into letting him out of the pincer.

There just isn't a lot to say about this one. If my rule about the Silver Age starting just a few months previous to this story, then this is the first "alien visitors" story of Aquaman's Silver Age. There have been three space stories so far, in Adventure #196, Adventure #216, and Adventure #222. Aquaman is running 50/50 with aliens so far. The first ones he met were friendly, the next were invading. The third was also friendly, but these ones are hostile.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:11 PM Seattle time - Permalink

More Links

Cover to Heroes Hardcover by Alex Ross. I want the book, but I'd prefer a softcover.

Get a free snack from Kashi.

The tale of the glowing tomb. And here's some nice Tombstone Humor to go with it.

Morgan tells us about an unexpected Disney movie. And then he links to it: Disney's The Story of Menstruation (YouTube).

DRM vendors push the impossible. "Ye canna break the laws of physics!"

I love this article for this quote: "Experts in petroglyphs generally don't dive, so we're running into a little bit of a stumbling block there."

An ancient, cosmic collision may have killed the dinosaurs and still affects us today.

Google Earth has a flight simulator. Slashdot links to the instructions. Make sure you are on the latest version of Google Earth, and remember that the controls are REALLY sensitive. I've crashed repeatedly.

The Melting Arctic Sea:

Arctic Ice

Worse, it's happening much faster than scientists expected it to happen. Better build an ark.

The Dorothy Counts Story. On Sept. 4th, 1957, a 15-year-old girl named Dorothy Counts took a walk that changed Charlotte. Fifty years later, Charlotte remembers.

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"
Plan your menus now.

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-by Tegan at 7:47 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 156

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #233 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #233 (February 1957) - The Sea Clown

Wackyman uses mechanical fish to duplicate Aquaman's feats in his comedy act.

Glove Color: Yellow.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides Topo throughout the story. A signal fish sends a special signal. Swordfish, eels, and a whale pretend to attack Aquaman. Topo disarms the crooks.

Quotefile: Wackyman, "*gulp* I--I never dreamed that my mechanical fish would someday be used for crime!"

I am not a big clown fan, thus I'm a bit creeped out by the character. Worse, this is only the first of TWO clown stories this year. Wackyman dresses exactly like Aquaman, except he has clown makeup on his face, a bald cap, and a big red nose. At the very end of the story he removes the fake nose.

Wackyman's comedy act includes dancing on an octopus, riding a swordfish that hits a target (and falling off the swordfish), writing his name with electric eels, and sitting on a whale's spout. The replica fish are good enough that Aquaman can't tell them from the real thing while they are in action.

Aquaman isn't a big clown fan either. At the end of the story he asks Wackyman to tone down the act.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:43 PM Seattle time - Permalink

A Bunch of Links

Care Bears vs Darkseid.

New Groo Preview.

Lorendiac's "Character Aliases That Marvel and DC Have Both Used" (2nd Draft).

The Simpsons: Star Wars (YouTube).

Self Portraits (click to go to the generators):

Laura as M&M Laura as LEGO Minifig

What good are internet filters? Not very good if a teenager can break an $84 million filter in a half hour. Instead of relying on technology, parents should be... well... parenting.

Holy Water is too dangerous for planes.

Woman Visits Her Own Heart.

Boys ruin school for girls. Simply by being boys. I think gender segregation might be a good idea to some extent, but I do wonder about the tongue-in-cheek writing in this article.

Self-checkout can be frustrating.

More studies are being done on tidal power, a source of energy I have great hopes for.

Caffeine comparison list at Boing Boing. I'd like to see a more comprehensive list with easy to compare units... one that includes foods like chocolate along with beverages. The closest to that list I could find was from a link in the comments to energy fiend. Be sure to check out energy fiend's Death by Caffeine meter to see how much of your favorite caffeine bearing food or drink will kill you. For me: 12626.25 Hershey's Kisses.

The Difficulty of Debunking. Why people continue to believe hoaxes and urban legends long after they've been disproved.

First female Beefeater begins her duties. Cool.

Pug for the in-laws.

Holy Pasta Week
Sep 15-19 is "Holy Pasta Week"
Plan your menus now.

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-by Tegan at 2:12 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 155

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #232 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #232 (January 1957) - Aquaman Joins The Navy!

Aquaman temporarily joins the US Navy as part of recruitment drive, but doesn't tell his immediate superior officer who he is.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides Topo to the Navy fleet. A bunch of octopuses help swab the decks. Whales rinse them. Eels create a chute for the dishes to slide into the water, and sponges wipe the dishes clean. Octopuses toss the dishes back aboard... and other octopuses safely catch and stack the dishes. Swordfish punch holes in the dangerous wreck to sink it. Aquaman rides Topo again to direct whales to create a breakwater on all sides of the destroyer.

Quotefile: Sailor, "This is sure one for the books! Say, who are you anyway -- Aquaman?" Aquaman, "Do I look like Aquaman?"

Aqua-Exclamations: Freems: "Great Seahorses!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo.

Aquaman is assigned by Admiral Hanley to the USS Clay, a destroyer. Aquaman serves under Chief Petty Officer Freems, who isn't informed that his new recruit is Aquaman. Admiral Hanley has a "secret signal" to reach Aquaman, three rocket flares shot at different levels.

Topo is identified in the second panel: "...Aquaman patrols the waters aboard his trusted sea steed, Topo the Octopus..."

Note: Aquaman is a recipient of the Navy Cross in the Golden Age, and has always worked closely with the Navy and the Coast Guard.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:21 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Monday, September 03, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 154

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #231 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #231 (December 1956) - Three Fates For Aquaman

A computer predicts that Aquaman will die at the hands of a fish.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo

Quotefile: The Think Machine's predictions: "You will soon be 1,000 feet high in the air... you will sink a ship... and dying at the hands of a fish will be your final fate tomorrow!"

Finny Friends Report: On the splash page, Aquaman is menaced by a swordfish, octopus, whale, and shark. He rides his "pet octopus". Sea eagles lift Aquaman above the action so he can attack from the unexpected direction. Sponge fish block up the cracks in the ship, making it water-tight, and whales pull it out of the way of the typhoon underwater. Aquaman dodges a swordfish trying to deliver a message to him, then avoids a shark, whale, ray fish, and octopus on his way to the event. An octopus is using dye to write the words "Welcome Aquaman" in the water.

The computer is never referred to as a "computer" in the story. It's a "Think Machine". Like all good Silver Age computers, it has dials and knobs and lights and switches and a white-shirted balding scientist working the controls. It is apparently voice-activated, and also responds vocally with the predictions. Aquaman laughs off the predictions... until the first two come true.

The computer seems like a fairly logical tool. You feed it the "essential facts" and it responds with information about what will happen in the next 12 hours. I can see computers being used to model the weather, and assist with routes and such. But all Aquaman says is, "I'll be patrolling the East Coast, then I'm to be guest of honor at a seamen's benefit fair..." and he gets the detailed, if slightly misunderstood, prediction. Of the three predictions, the computer might have been able to make the last two if it had enough data about the weather conditions and what was planned for Aquaman at the fair. But the first prediction involved a hijacking, and unless whoever programmed the computer was in on it, that data shouldn't have been available. It's a magical computer.

Like in The Ocean Restaurant, Aquaman pulls a ship underwater to protect it from a typhoon.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:12 PM Seattle time - Permalink

New Doctor Who WHEN???

It's the big Who news going around the internet today: There will be a fifth season of the new Doctor Who — but not until 2010. The show is basically taking a year off so that David Tennant can do some other stuff, especially Hamlet for the Royal Shakespeare Company. But we will not be entirely Who free in 2009! The BBC is going to make three Doctor Who specials that year. If that's what it takes to keep Tennant in the title role, I'll take it, thanks!

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-by Eric at 2:12 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Sunday, September 02, 2007

CameraPhone Zen

Bailey and Denise


-by Tegan at 3:28 PM Seattle time - Permalink

Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards have been announced...
  • Best Novel: Rainbows End by Vernor Vinge [Tor, 2006]
  • Best Novella: "A Billion Eves" by Robert Reed [Asimov's Oct/Nov 2006]
  • Best Novelette: "The Djinn's Wife" by Ian McDonald [Asimov's July 2006]
  • Best Short Story: "Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt [Asimov's July 2006]
  • Best Related Non-Fiction Book: James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B Sheldon by Julie Phillips [St. Martin's Press, 2006]
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Pan's Labyrinth (2006) Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro. Directed by Guillermo del Toro [Picturehouse]
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Doctor Who - "Girl in the Fireplace" (2006) Written by Steven Moffat. Directed by Euros Lyn [BBC Wales/BBC1]
  • Best Editor, Long Form: Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Best Editor, Short Form: Gordon Van Gelder
  • Best Professional Artist: Donato Giancola
  • Best Semiprozine: Locus ed. by Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong and Liza Groen Trombi
  • Best Fanzine: Science-Fiction Five-Yearly ed. by Lee Hoffman, Geri Sullivan, and Randy Byers
  • Best Fan Writer: Dave Langford
  • Best Fan Artist: Frank Wu
The winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines and administered on their behalf by the World Science Fiction Society, is:
  • Naomi Novik


-by Tegan at 10:44 AM Seattle time - Permalink

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Ripples Through Time - 153

I'm reading every Aquaman solo adventure in publication order. After I read each story I will post the cover/splash page and a few thoughts on the story.

Adventure #230 Aquaman Splash Page
Adventure #230 (November 1956) - The Tom Thumb Aquaman

While chasing smugglers, Aquaman is shrunk to the size of a doll.

Finny Friends Report: Aquaman rides the octopus (still not named) at the beginning of the tale.

Captured/Knocked Out report: Aquaman is shrunk by the boss of the smugglers and nearly stepped on. The remainder of the story is about his efforts to get to normal size by reaching the shrink ray equipment.

Aqua-Exclamations: "Great Catfish!"

Glove Color: Green.

Regular Supporting Cast: Topo

Quotefile: Aquaman, thinking, "...I'll have to find liquids on the way, since I can't live out of water too long!"

This is the first ever story that makes the claim that Aquaman cannot live out of the ocean for very long. That statement is contradicted many times before in the Golden Age, with Aquaman even visiting a desert to get away from water in one story. This is just another data point that strengthens the argument that this is the Silver Age Aquaman, instead of the Golden Age version.

Please note that there is no actual amount of time indicated, but Aquaman goes from one liquid to another as quickly as possible so as to stay immersed as much as possible. His travels take him from a tropical fish tank, to the drinks in a mobile hot dog stand, to the milk a milkman is carrying, into a blast from a water hose, then up the gutters of the house in the rain.

This is the second time Aquaman is shrunk, as we saw that theme before in Adventure #212. In that story he thought he might have been dreaming. In this story he's not only well aware what happened, but he even knows about the shrinking ray having been stolen. And he demonstrates it for the coast guard officers who arrive to help him by making the ship full size in a suburban backyard. It obviously wasn't a secret shrinking ray.

Have you read this story? What do you think?

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-by Tegan at 9:09 AM Seattle time - Permalink