Otter Disaster Designs - Pop Culture Themed T-Shirts

Monday, July 30, 2007

Square Foot Garden: End of July Update

Well, I've harvested most of my beets now, pumpkin vines have all but taken over my traditional (non-SFG) bed, and I should have a regular supply of onions and carrots for the foreseeable future.

The big news, as far as I'm concerned, is the impending supply of fresh tomatoes.

I'll probably pick my first tomato tomorrow, and I have lots of pink all over my vines now.
My other vine crops are really coming along too. I've got some nice cucumbers:

A watermelon with some potential:

And a bunch of pumpkins:

I've got some Anaheim Peppers now, and I'm looking forward to making some salsa, learning to roast them, or both.

Jalapenos, and Bells should be following shortly.

I harvested a cabbage a few days ago, and I'm trying something a friend of my mother-in-law told me about. You harvest the head, leave the rest of the leaves intact, and you should get 3-4 smaller heads to grow. It looks like it's working:

I've got the beginnings of 3 small heads. You then harvest them when the leaves form into a ball (they will be smaller than a regular head) steam them and eat them something like brussel sprouts.

Moving forward, I'm going to be planting some more radishes (especially the icicle), more carrots, and a lot more beets. The spinach I planted in one of my traditional beds went to seed and I just turned those plants under to see if I can get a fall crop out of it.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Finntroll Friday: Humppa, what's Humppa?

As you well know, Finntroll incorporates elements of black metal, joik, and humppa.
Humppa is described by Wikipedia as:

. . . a type of music from Finland. It is related to jazz and very fast foxtrot, played two beats to a bar. Typical speed is about 250 to 280 beats per minute. Humppa is also the name of a few social dances danced to humppa music.

You can hear the humppa elements in this performance of Nattfödd:

Eläkeläiset, based on my Googling, is another popular Finnish humppa band that plays mostly pop/rock covers, like Europe's Final Countdown.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Harry Potter and the Parallel Elements of Goblet of Fire and Deathly Hallows

On Tuesday I reviewed my Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows forecast, pointing out story elements and parallels to Prisoner of Azkaban. I'd mentioned noticing various elements that paralleled Goblet of Fire, as well. These parallels are probably greater in number and more significant to the overall story than the PoA ones.

The first chapter of both books open with Voldemort plotting with his confederates and end with an Avada Kedavra and the death of an outsider.

We see a 'Potter Stinks' Badge in DH when Harry cleans out his trunk.

No Quidditch for Harry in either book.

Viktor Krum and Gabrielle Delacoer (Fleur's sister) appear only in these two books.

Gregorovitch, the wandmaker, is first mentioned in GoF, and plays a rather important role in DH.

Important impersonations with Polyjuice Potion in both books.

The Trio visit the woods where the Quidditch Wold Cup was held, when they are on the run.

Harry and Ron have a falling out in the Autumn of the year stemming from Ron's frustrations with Harry and the task before him. They don't speak for an extended period of time in both novels, then reconcile without much fanfare after Ron sees Harry in jeopardy (The First Task, and the frozen pool in the Silver Doe chapter).

We have a bona fide Death Eater as the Defense Against the Dark Arts Teacher. (Barty Crouch Jr. as Moody, and Amycus Carrow)

Harry gets crucial information in a Pensieve memory just prior to his confrontation with Voldemort.

We have some really interesting parallels to the Three Triwizard Tasks in Deathly Hallows.

Harry has to dive into water to get Gryffindor's Sword. He is rescued by Ron, mirroring Harry's rescue of Ron in the Second Task. The second task is again reflected in the Snitch that Harry receives from Dumbledore. He has to figure out how to open it and decipher it's secret, much like he has to figure out the secret of the Golden Egg in GoF.

The First Task is parallelled in Gringott's when Harry and company have to retrieve an item guarded by a Dragon.

The Third task is reflected in Harry's search for the Ravenclaw Horcrux including the Sphinx-like riddle to get into the Ravenclaw Tower and the search of the maze-like Room of Requirement.

There are also numerous parallels to the run up and final confrontation with Voldemort.

In GoF the final confrontation takes place in the Little Hangleton Graveyard among Voldemort's dead ancestors, while in DH, Harry uses the Resurrection Stone to commune with his dead loved ones and they stay with Harry, giving him strenth. This is also reminiscent of the Priori Incantatem incarnations of James, Lily, Cedric, etc. from GoF.

When Harry confronts Voldemort in GoF and their wands lock up, the effect grows and is described as '...a golden, dome shaped web, a cage of light.' In DH Harry meets Voldemort at the remnants of the great domed web of Aragog the acromantula. In both cases they are surrounded by a ring of Death Eaters.

In GoF Voldemort comes back from his half-life existence more powerful than ever with the ability to touch Harry at last. In DH Harry dies and is reborn more powerful than ever, with the Horcruxes destroyed he is prepared to take on Voldemort for the last time.

During their duels in both books Voldemort is ignorant of some rather important wand information which leads to Harry gaining the upper hand. Both duels come down to Expelliarmus vs. Avada Kedavra with Harry making his escape in the first instance and his ultimate victory in the second.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

You Could Become a Super Hero in the Real World

Neatorama inspired me to look into Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH) with this post, linking to this article. As an on-again/off-again comic book collector, I was fascinated, so I decided to find out more.

Let's suppose you decide to don the mask and tights to fight crime, injustice, or super aggressive men in bars.

First, you'll need a name.
What's your Superhero Name?
Lee's (Useless)Superhero Generator
And for a little more customization try Seventh Sanctum's Super Hero/Villain Name Generator

Once you've got a cool name you might want to register at The World Super Hero Registry. Once there you can find someone to meet, misunderstand, fight with, then team up with to fight the real threat.
Maybe you could even join their superteam.

You'll also need to buy some cool gadgets and gear. Or like Iron Man, Spider-Man or the Eye, you could build your own., is a blog that keeps you up to date on all types of Super Hero quality gadgets and gear.
Gizmodo has some more cool hero gadgets. Personally, I'd like to take a spin in the Tesla Coil Car.

Check out this documentary, titled Real Life Superhero! for more real life heroics. The film's YouTube Page has some cool clips to show you how it's done.

Get yourself an origin, put your undies on the out side and go fight crime!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: The Accuracy of My Forecast


Last week I posted my Deathly Hallows Forecast. Having finished the book yesterday, lets see how I did.

I first suggested that Deathly Hallows would contain numerous parallels to Prisoner of Azkaban based on a pattern seen in books 1 and 5 and books 2 and 6. That pattern did hold true, sometimes in ways that were rather surprising.

Forecast: I suggested we would see Stan Shunpike and take a ride on the Knight Bus.
Actually: Stan appeared shortly after leaving the Dursleys (just like in PoA), but we never saw the Knight Bus.

Forecast: Harry would face a Dementor's Kiss to remove a soul fragment from his scar.
Actually: No kiss, but there were dementors all over the book, and we saw a lot of Patronuses(Patroni?) from various characters. I liked Arthur's weasel Patronus.

Forecast: Harry will leave the Dursley's after his birthday after his final confrontation with Petunia and Vernon, and spend some time at the Leaky Cauldron.
Actually: Harry leaves before his birthday, and only goes to the Leaky Cauldron to get to Diagon Alley much later in the book.

Forecast: We will see another boggart.
Actually: No boggarts.

Forecast: Harry might use the Shrieking Shack as his base of operations in Hogsmeade. If not we will pay at least one visit to the shack.
Actually: Harry didn't use the Shack as a base, but he made a very important trip to the Shack via the Whomping Willow, where he witnessed a very important confrontation, and got some important clues leading to the resolution of the story. Harry's trip to the Shack is probably the strongest parallel element in DH to an element in PoA.

Forecast: Trelawney will make one more true prophecy.
Actually: No prophecy, and Trelawney was seen only once, as a bit of needed comic relief during the Battle for Hogwarts.

Forecast: Werewolves will be important, and Bill Weasley may have to deal with becoming one.
Actually: Fenrir Greyback plays a large part at one point in the book. Lupin also appears at numerous point, but we never see a werewolf in wolf form. Bill only bears the scars of the Greyback attack from HBP, and not the burden of actually becoming a wolf.

Forecast: Buckbeak will have an important part to play at some point.
Actually: Buckbeak is mentioned once during the final battle when he attacks a giant. He had no other role to play.

Forecast: Time will be an issue, but a time-turner will not necessarily be involved.
Actually: Time was indeed an issue, with Voldemort delivering two deadlines, and Harry received a watch for his birthday. There was a nod to the timeturner at the end of the book, when Harry turned the Resurrection Stone 3 times (Like the time-turner in PoA) to activate it's power.

Other elements that were repeated in Deathly Hallows from Prisoner of Azkaban:

Harry lived as a fugitive much like Sirius Black in PoA. Wanted posters of Harry were seen all over the place.

Harry received the anonymous gift of Gryffindor's sword at Christmas, just like he received the Firebolt anonymously in PoA.

The Silver Doe Chapter was evocative of the sight of the Stag Patronus in PoA. A mysterious patronus near a body of water.

Harry is made the Godfather of Teddy Lupin as he discovered he had a Godfather in PoA

Harry received a Sneakoscope for his birthday in both books, from Ron in PoA and Hermione in DH.

Non PoA based predictions and how I did:

Forecast: Hogwarts will be open, but possibly with a limited student body, or maybe only part of the year. Harry will spend significant time at the school.
Actually: Pretty close on the first part, but not at all in the way I thought. Harry spent the entire year away from the school and only showed up at the end of the year for the climax of the story.

Forecast: Luna Lovegood will be vindicated with one of her crazy Quibbler stories. Perhaps we'll see confirmation of the existence of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, possibly something else.
Actually: No Crumple-Horned Snorkack. About as close as we get is, "Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure," which I believe was one of Luna's first significant lines in OotP. That is the phrase engraved on Ravenclaw's diadem.

Forecast: Harry gets a new Patronus, possibly a phoenix, possibly something unique to Harry as he becomes his own man.
Actually: No new patronus. The spirits of his dead loved ones act like a patronus, parting the dementors at the end of the book.

Forecast: Snape is revealed to have been working his own game, playing both sides against the middle(ala Machiavelli's Prince), but will still redeem himself in the end... I think redemption is still possible and highly likely.
Actually: The Snape Loved Lily camp were proven right beyond their wildest dreams. Snape was redeemed at the end of the day, though his treatment of Harry was still reprehensible, and he was NOT a nice man.

Forecast: The final battle/confrontation will involve an underground cave, tunnel, chamber, maze or tomb as it has in every single book.
Actually: Harry travelled through the Whomping Willow Tunnel to the Shrieking Shack, and through the Forbidden Forest.

Forecast: A metamorphmagus will be key to the plot based on Rowling previously established pattern.
Actually: Teddy Lupin was born, and is likely a metamorphmagus, but not really key to the plot. Really missed the boat on this one.

The Body Count

I predicted deaths in the categories of Certain, Likely and Possible.

Forecast as Certain to Die

Hagrid - Missed this one altogether. I did think he was done for at one point, but he survived.

Wormtail - he pays his debt to Harry and is done in by his own magic hand.
Snape - Was in Dumbledore's corner, but his position was too dangerous.
Bellatrix - didn't see her being done in by Molly, but otherwise she was too evil to survive.
Voldemort - probably the easiest call to make.

Forecast as Likely to Die

Draco - Draco redeemed himself essentially when he chose to disarm Dumbledore and not kill him. A key plot point.

Lupin - I was right that no Marauders walked away from this tale.
Numerous Death Eaters and Order of the Phoenix - Moody, Tonks, the younger Crabbe. Not a difficult prediction to make really as it is sort of vague.

Forecast as Possible to Die

Hermione - She did get a wicked Crucio and the threat of being killed by Greyback, but she survived, thus Ron survived.
Neville, Hogwarts Professors - I figured these were possibilities, but not strong ones.

Another Weasley - Fred was killed in the Battle for Hogwarts. I just knew Harry couldn't save them all.

The death of Dobby was one I never considered one way or another, I guess I just never thought he'd be in any sort of jeopardy. His funeral was one of the most touching and memorable parts of the book for me.

Deathly Hallows contained a lot of parallels to the plot of Goblet of Fire as well, and I may post about those in a few days. One thing DH had in common was GoF was including important elements of ALL the preceding books, but it also had GoF specific parallels all over the place. It's really a testament to Rowling's writing that she pulled this off.

I was also impressed with how much the speculators/theoriticians figured out about DH just based on careful reading of the clues JK had given in the earlier books. Granted, there were so many people working on those clues that it was likely someone was bound to be right and for every theory that proved correct there were probably ten that were wrong. The introduction of the Hallows proved to be the wild card that nobody could have correctly predicted and that has always been the great things about the books. There was always that new element that surprised us and the characters to keep us guessing and reading.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Finntroll Friday: Jaktens Tid and Joik

Jaktens Tid is Finntroll's 2001 release.
Here is and interview with from 2001 detailing the creative process, recording and release of Finntrolls second release.

Here is a kid rocking out to the title track:

The rhythmic chanting at the beginning of the song is called yoik or joik. It is a traditional form of singing of the Sami people, sometimes also called Laplanders.

Here is a brief example of a more traditional Sami joik:
(I'm not sure why the image is rotated)

Joik is incorporated into other forms of popular music as well:

Yoik 'N' Roll
Reinsdyr joik

And nothing beats a metal band featuring a sinister looking dude holding an accordian. Here's Korpiklaani doing Tuli Kokko(which means: Came the Eagle, according to one commenter), and it features some joik.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ron Paul: History Shows Low Poll Numbers Not Insurmountable. has a story that shows how Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, and others were polling (1%-3% range)at around this same time in their respective election cycles:

A recent Gallup poll finds Paul at the head of the so-called second-tier candidates (i.e., the candidates the establishment hasn’t anointed), though still with a ways to go. Yet Justin Ptak recently made the important point that at this stage in the election cycle, national polls reflect only name recognition, not respondents’ assessments of the candidates. Consider the statistics, drawn from the blog:

In early 1975, Jimmy Carter was polling at 1% (he went on to win the presidency).
In early 1987, Michael Dukakis was polling at 1% (he went on to win the Democratic nomination).
In early 1991, Bill Clinton was at 2% (he went on to win the presidency).
In the spring of 1999, John McCain was polling at 3% (he went on to win the New Hampshire primary).
In early 2003, Joe Lieberman was leading the field for the Democratic presidential nomination (he failed to win any primary).

So Paul is doing well and reaching more and more people. But just as interesting is the recent news that fully 50 percent of all the money donated to Republican candidates in the second quarter by employees of the United States military went to – wait for it – Ron Paul!

So while Paul is still a longshot, there is some historical evidence that it is possible to make up lot of ground before all is said and done (and maybe even get the nomination). The rest of the article discusses Paul's blowback comments concerning 9/11 and the Giuliani confrontation at the 2nd Republican Debate.

More historical perspective at the Lew Rockwell site compares the current GOP climate to that of 1964 and the campaign of Barry Goldwater. I details how Goldwater rose up with grassroots support and remade the GOP. That election had a Romney in it as well, Mitt's father, George.

This Ron Paul article started off normally enough, but veers into his astrological chart at the back end. I can't really decipher it, but it's at least a different perspective.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Harry Potter Book 7: My Forecast, NO SPOILERS

THIS POST CONTAINS NO SPOILERS only speculation and guesses!
Now that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has been leaked online, I decided I'd put my forecast for the book out there before I hear details through an accidental glimpse at a web site or the slip of the tongue of some overzealous fan.

First let me say that I've read a lot of speculation about the Harry Potter Books and some theories I really like and some are really silly (Snape is Nagini). The theories that I like have really influenced my thoughts about Deathly Hallows and my forecasts for the book are pulled largely from other sites that have presented strong evidence pointing toward likely story elements. I will link to those pages that strongly influenced my thoughts.

I am a subscriber to the theory that books 1 and 2 are parallel books to 5 and 6, and that 3 will be a parallel to book 7, with book 4 being the fulcrum on which the series swings. The basic idea is that plot elements are repeated between the parallel books. The Red Hen lays out that theory along with examples here.

With that in mind, I think there are some Prisoner of Azkaban elements we can expect to see in Deathly Hallows:

Stan Shunpike will be released from Azkaban due to Harry's actions (Maybe Scrimgeour, facilitates this as an act of good faith toward Harry and his cause) and I think we'll take another ride on the Knight Bus.

Harry will face a dementor's kiss once again. Possibly to remove Voldemort's soul fragment from his scar.

Harry will leave the Dursley's after his birthday (possibly on the Knight Bus) after his final confrontation with Petunia and Vernon, and spend some time at the Leaky Cauldron.

We will see at least one more boggart.

Harry might use the Shrieking Shack as his base of operations in Hogsmeade. If not we will pay at least one visit to the shack.

Trelawney will make one more true prophecy.

Werewolves will be important, and Bill Weasley may have to deal with becoming one. (Another possible use of the Shrieking Shack?)

Buckbeak will have an important part to play at some point.

Time will be an issue, but a time-turner will not necessarily be involved.

Check out the Red Hen page for more speculation on Azkaban parallels.

Based on another pattern that Rowling has incorporated into the novels is the notion of introducing a magical concept and it becomes paramount two books later.

In book one we meet our first Animagus, and Azkaban was ALL about Animagi and the possibilities inherent. Book 2 showed us how a Pensieve worked via the Diary, then we see the Pensieve proper in Book 4 and Book 6 was full of Pensieve usage. This also makes me wonder if we didn't see a Horcrux in Book 4, but nobody has realized it, or theorized about what is is(that I know of). I personally don't have any ideas on this other than the relevant pattern. Book 3 showed us our first prophecy and Book 5's plot pretty much hinged on the quest to retrieve Harry's Prophecy.

Book 5 introduced us to Tonks the Metamorphmagus. This concept has yet to be fully explored and I think metamorphmagi will play a part similar to the animagi in Azkaban. Someone we know is either not what they appear and never has been, or someone we know is really someone else, hiding in plain sight (Regulus Black?)

Other Things I think we can expect to see:

Hogwarts will be open, but possibly with a limited student body, or maybe only part of the year. Harry will spend significant time at the school.

Luna Lovegood will be vindicated with one of her crazy Quibbler stories. Perhaps we'll confirmation of the existence of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack, possibly something else.

Harry gets a new Patronus, possibly a phoenix, possibly something unique to Harry as he becomes his own man.

Snape is revealed to have been working his own game, playing both sides against the middle(ala Machiavelli's Prince), but will still redeem himself in the end. The theory presented on the Hogwarts Professor page is almost too overwhelming to ignore. That site thinks the evidence points to Snape being all evil, but I think redemption is still possible and highly likely.

The final battle/confrontation will involve an underground cave, tunnel, chamber, maze or tomb as it has in every single book.

Deathly Hallows will have a body count. Among the dead will be the following in categories of Certain, Likely, and Possible.

Hagrid - All of Harry's father figures pay with their lives, Sirius, Dumbledore and finally Hagrid.
Wormtail/Peter Pettigrew - He'll pay his life debt, but will not survive.
Snape - Even if he's good, he is in such a precarious position that survival is unlikely.
Bellatrix Lestrange - Neville gets to avenge his parents.
Voldemort - He dies, he has to die to complete the story.

Draco - In a position similar to Snape, but with better chance of survival, as he hasn't actually killed anyone, but that could do him in on the Voldemort side of things.
Remus Lupin - I just don't get the feeling that any of the Marauders walk away from this story. He may get killed by his fellow werewolves.
Numerous Death Eaters and Order of the Phoenix - Some of the named members of these groups will buy the farm adding gravity to the war. MacNair, Crabbe, Goyle, Shacklebot, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle, etc.

Hermione Granger - She's on the borderline between possible and likely. She's made a few powerful enemies (Umbridge and Skeeter) and offended two categories of magical creature (Centaurs, House Elves). She's often broken rules where it suits her and has yet to pay a price for any of it. If she doesn't get killed she will get a comeuppance from some or all of these offences.

Ron Weasley - possible only because of the symbolic sacrifice in the wizard's chess game in Sorcerer's Stone. I think if Hemione dies, so does Ron. If she lives, he lives.

Another Weasley - A Weasley has been in mortal danger in every single book. They may not dodge the bullet a seventh time. On the other hand they represent the 'good' purebloods. Every pureblood family that holds the Malfoy/Black pureblood supremacy view has been essentially decimated in the books, so the Weasley's with their more progressive views might well be spared.

Neville Longbottom - He will do battle with Bellatrix and may not survive, and I believe he will be present at the final battle putting him in jeopardy. He is also a pureblood of the progressive bent and may be spared. These progressive types might be spared because they will have to rebuild the Wizarding World after Voldemort's defeat.

A Hogwarts Professor (Other than Hagrid) - I think McGonangall, Flitwick or Slughorn could be killed. Again to establish the gravity of the war.

Harry will definitely survive.

That's about all I have to say on this, and we'll have all the answers we want on Saturday.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Super Friends

I came across this video today. A Friends/Superfriends mashup. I love Robin as Rachel:

Friday, July 13, 2007

Finntroll Friday: as Drawn by Deviants

I was looking for Finntroll inspired art and found lots of it at the very cool Deviant Art.

There were several renditions of the band:

by Wickerchild
by FrostedGhost
by *Invader-zero
and by =Illaria

Finntroll also inspires a lot of troll art goodness:

Logo with Troll by trolette
Kick Ass Troll Army by Traitorfish
Orc Berserker by Rither
and a recreation of from the Nattfodd cd booklet by sina7

And, as always, Trollhammaren!

by nehrist
and by Nee-Chee

Here's one I did in about a half hour:

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My Heavy Metal Heritage: The Jacket

I was a high school headbanger. I had the long hair/mullet, the black, metal band t-shirts(lots of Maiden and AC/DC), and of course I had this totally bad ass denim jacket:

(Click all photos to enlarge)

I got the jacket from my sister Traci in 1989, early in my junior year. She found it on the back of a chair in a bar, and nobody claimed it. Not that she tried very hard to find the owner. I think she gave it to me because she was afraid someone would see her wearing it, and find out she took it.
Anyway, it was really broken in and a little big on me, but I immediately had a vision for this jacket. It would be my heavy metal canvas. When someone saw me walking down the street they would be forced to acknowledge, "That kid is fucking metal!"

I bought an Iron Maiden back patch with the Trooper scene on it:

This back patch epitomized the coolness that my jacket could be. I also stumbled across a small Iron Maiden Piece of Mind patch that adorned the lower waist band of the jacket. You can kind of make it out in the photo above. Maiden was my absolute favorite band at the time. Once the patches were in place, the Sharpie came out. I adorned the jacket with logos from the bands I truly loved then. I know I added the Saxon, AC/DC, and Zeppelin logos right away, hence their prominent positions on the sleeves:

Saxon (Click to enlarge)


Led Zeppelin

I also added the JP logo from Jimmy Page's Outrider solo record, and logos for the Who, Tesla, and the Doors:

The Prong trident, DRI's logo and the Cult logo from Electric and the Jimi Hendrix Experience logo from Are You Experienced, were also drawn on throughout my senior year.

Here is a Metallica logo that I had painted on a ratty pair of jeans. When the jeans wore out, the logo was salvaged to adorn my jacket:

In addition to the logos, I also had any number of pins attached to the jacket:

I think many of the pins in the picture are from college or later, but you get the idea. A couple of pins that were on the jacket from my high school years were my National Honor Society pin and a pin depicting the DCHS (Decatur Community High School) Red Devil inside the letter D.:

A metalhead with school pride. I was an enigma.

I wore the jacket every day. In the 100 degree plus days of August in Kansas or under my winter coat in the dead of winter, I wore it. It had really good makeshift pockets on the inside that would hold 4 cassette tapes on each side so I was always armed with several hours of metal, should an emergency arise. No less than two Maiden albums lived in those pockets at any given time.

I continued to wear the jacket even after I went to college, which was about the time metal was falling out of favor and the whole grunge scene was exploding. I kept my metal mullet until the spring of my sophomore year of college when I cut it all off, but I still occasionally wore the jacket. I wore it less and less as college wore on, but it always hung in a place of prominence.
After graduating college and getting my first professional TV gig I had less cause to wear the jacket and it was pretty much retired.
I pull it out every now and then, and I wore in on Halloween of 2000 or 2001, along with a vintage Tesla concert shirt, and long curly wig. When asked what I was supposed to be, I said, "Myself, ten years ago."

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Square Foot Garden: Big Update

It's been a while since I've posted about my square foot garden.

My radishes, the red and the icicle, have all been harvested. The icicles are really good, with a very tender root. They have a slow burn though, and are quite hot. Today I pulled the last red radish, as it was going to seed:

(All photos can be clicked to enlarge)

I have two square feet of spinach plantings, and may get a couple of meals out of them, but they really aren't liking the heat of July in Colorado. My green beans are also limping along with the heat and some persistent grasshoppers stunting their progress. I am hoping the early plantings will produce something worth eating.

Here are my square foot beds as they were first thing this morning:

My cabbages are coming along nicely and since spraying them for bugs, they are looking a lot better. My peppers are definitely behind where they should be at this time of year. They have grown quite a bit in the last couple weeks though, and have flowers now, so they will hopefully be producing soon.

I harvested my first few beets this morning as well, and will probably have them for lunch:

I have two square feet of beets planted, and am a little disappointed that the roots are not bigger. I'm not sure what I need to do to achieve that, and I'll need to do some research for next year. I had a similar problem with my icicle radishes. There were a few plants with huge leaves, but tiny little roots that were tough and inedible.

One benefit of the heat has been the rapid growth of my vine plants. Cucumbers, pumpkins and my watermelon vines have all exploded in the last two weeks, and I'm really looking forward to fresh cucumbers in the next month:

Last, but certainly not least, my tomatoes are starting to bear fruit. Fresh tomatoes are the reason I started gardening in the first place. In two weeks I will start harvesting tomatoes, and should be able to eat 2 or 3 fresh tomatoes every day until September or even early October.
Here is my first and biggest tomato:

He's pretty small right now, but I bet he's the first one I get to eat, and I really can't wait. The flavor of home grown tomatoes is so completely superior to anything you can buy at the grocery store that I rarely even buy tomatoes at the store anymore. I might get some in the dead of winter for sandwiches or something, but in general grocery store tomatoes are utterly flavorless and always disappointing.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

iPhone Nano?

I work with an Apple nut. He left work on the day of the iPhone's release to pick up his much coveted, much talked about phone. I joked with another co-worker that I was waiting for the iPhone Nano, now it turns out my joke might be closer to reality than I thought.

Or maybe I'll just get one of these.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ron Paul now in Third Place (Cash on Hand Edition)

I blogged about rumors of Ron Paul's surging campaign contributions last month.
With the latest round of finance reporting it turns out he is only behind Romney and Giuliani in terms of funds in the bank.
He even has more than 'front runner' John McCain. He's still $10 million behind 2nd place Romney, but for a campaign that many have said has no chance, this is pretty huge news.

Friday, July 6, 2007

You can't spell 'color' with a 'U'. I'm changing it!

Wikipedia has a page dedicated to hostilities that break out over commas, letters, and Daffy Duck's lineage.

I give you:

Wikipedia:Lamest edit wars

Via Neatorama

Finntroll Friday: MySpace

Finntroll has a MySpace page. Listen to Korpens saga from their new record, Ur Jordens Djup (translated as From the Depths of the Earth). See the video for NEDGÅNG from that record as well.

Alternative Energy Update: Orbo vs the Hot Lights

The Orbo 'free energy' machine apparently malfunctions under hot lights. The demonstration has been cancelled 'until a future date.'

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Miscellaneous Debris Part 5: Cars, Alternative Energy, & Harry Potter


Here are a couple of really cool 'Green' sports cars.
Check out the all electric Tesla Roadster, write a check for $50K and reserve yours now.

FuelVapor Technologies describes their 3 wheeled “alé” thusly:

The car’s key innovation's are the fuel vapor system and it's light weight aerodynamic body. This fuel vapor technology (which is in the patent pending process) allows the engine to run on “fuel vapors” rather than liquid fuel. The majority of gas engines today run 14.7:1 – (14.7 parts air to 1 part gasoline). This proprietary fuel vapor system allows the “alé” to run on a ratio of over 20:1 without compromising performance. According to the textbooks, this ratio is impossible, as a standard engine would not start or run on a air/fuel ratio this low. With a 10 gallon gas tank found on most vehicles, the “alé” can travel from Vancouver BC to San Francisco CA on one tank. Over 15 hours of driving without filling up.

The “alé” reminds me of a 21st century version of Buckminster Fuller's three wheeled Dymaxion Car.

Fuller and Tesla are two of my favorite figures in American History.

Alternative Energy

Steorn is a company that is currently demonstrating in London what it claims is a 'free energy' machine. I'm skeptical.

Something like THIS is probably more realistic. And if it only costs $700 it is alternative energy that would be accessible to almost any homeowner. Of course these are being made in Australia, and something like that on my roof would give my HOA heart palpitations.

Space Based Solar power could provide a large scale solution if access to space could be made less expensive. Perhaps a space elevator.
Space Solar Power is a blog dedicated to the notion.

Harry Potter

Many Harry Potter fans have constructed elaborate inferred histories of the Wizarding World based on hints, innuendo, and scraps of facts from the novels.

The Red Hen has volumes of material containing inferred history as well as numerous theories about character relationships & motivations, reconstructions of behind the scenes events not explicitly laid out in the novels (i.e. Rita Skeeter's motivations and who might be pulling her strings). You will also find lots of speculation about Book 7.

Here is a fascinating essay that explains the way the Wizarding World works, and it has really affected my current reading of the series in preparation for Deathly Hallows. The essay describes a patron-client network:

the system works by otherwise unprotected wizards attaching themselves to a powerful "patron" and becoming his "clients." The patron will smooth over any problems his client might have with the Ministry of Magic, and use his money and connections to help him out of his difficulties, and keep him out of Azkaban – as Dumbledore did with Mundungus Fletcher. In return, the client himself becomes a part of the patron's entourage and connections. The patron ends up with a large body of wizards dependent on him whom he can rely on (a private army, in other words) which effectively puts him above the law, because the wizarding world doesn't actually have armies, at least in the Muggle sense of the word. Some patrons may well have an even more powerful patron of their own, and a wizard at the top of a patronage tree is a very powerful figure indeed: such are Dumbledore, and Lucius Malfoy, to whom wizards like Crabbe and Goyle defer. Their sons in turn attend on Draco, as bodyguard and entourage; this makes them part of the same patronage network, because Draco's patron is his father.

Death Eaters, The Ministry of Magic, the Order of the Phoenix, and even Dumbledore's Army all represent examples of such a network. These networks have overlapping members each exerting influence on the others in their own ways. Dumbledore's Army could be described as a client-patron network with Harry as patron, but also as a sub-network of Dumbledore's, because Harry is a client of Dumbledore's.

This Essay by swythyv details the importance of Nicolas Flamel, and how his decision to let go of life at the end of Sorcerer's Stone led to much of Dumbledore's political troubles starting with Malfoy's influence over the school governors in Chamber of Secrets.

Past Disasters