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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Miscellaneous Debris: Part 9

The Cleveland Okie has a nice post with an interview of Mike Shea, the son of Illuminatus! co-author Robert Shea. The interview mentions the eight appendices reported to have been removed from the original appendices of Illuminatus!, as well as the book 'Bride of Illuminatus' which was an unfinished sequel to the original to be co-written by Shea and Wilson. Oh what might have been. . .

Speaking of Illuminatus! the always cool blog, Damn Interesting, has a nice post on the Assassins.

Via Reason Magazine's Hit and Run Blog:

Will Stephen Colbert's Presidential exploration poach Ron Paul supporters?

And Radley Balko warns that Hillary Clinton may be the best option for Republicans looking to continue the foreign policy of George W. Bush.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Square Foot Garden: The Final Harvest

Denver is looking at freezing temperatures tonight and possibly snow tomorrow, so I picked the last of the veggies from the garden. Here is some of the harvest:

A few ripe tomatoes, the last two cabbages, a good bunch of jalapenos, a few radishes planted for fall harvest, and a really nice pumpkin. I also cut all the remaining tomatoes and left them on bits of vine hoping they will ripen and have a little flavor. Once they ripen, I'll quarter them and dry them in the oven. That is a pretty easy way to preserve them for long term storage while maintaining the flavor.

I still have some beets in the ground that I planted for a late harvest, but they really aren't ready. Friend Paul of the 5K Garden tells me you can cover them and they will winter over for spring, so I'm going to give that a try. Right now I have them covered with some cabbage leaves, but once I get the front yard raked I'll add some leaves to the coverage as well.

Aside from the beets, I've cleared both of the square foot beds and they are pretty well cleaned up for winter. Once I pull in all the pumpkins from my traditional beds I'll clean up the vines and try to get the compost pile ready to go in earnest.

All in all a fairly successful garden, especially considering the adoption of the Square Foot method for the first time, and a work schedule in mid-late summer that led to some neglect of the garden during some of the hottest periods of the year.

I was really pleased with my spinach, carrots, pumpkins, jalapenos, radishes, cabbages and onions. The cucumbers were also fairly successful. I didn't have much success with my green beans, and I think I've made my final attempt at growing green peppers. Year after year I end up with small, tough, and bitter peppers. I might give the green beans one more shot next year.

My attempt to get a second harvest of red radishes, icicle radishes, spinach and carrots was mostly a failure, again due to work pressures that led to late season neglect of the garden. I got a few radishes, pulled today, and the carrots never even sprouted.

My tomatoes were sort of a mixed bag. I didn't seem to have the sheer amount of tomatoes I've had in years past, and the fruit was smaller on average I think. I also had a problem in the SFG beds of large dark spots on the bottom of the fruit. I'd read that can be caused by calcium deficiency in the soil, but I specifically amended the soil for that because of the same issue last year in my traditional beds. It could be that I was overwatering, or there might be some other deficiency in my SFG soil mixture.

As for the Square Foot Gardening method as a whole, I was mostly pleased. It is a very organized way of putting the garden together and it does allow a lot of plants in a limited space. I may have used the wrong combination of compost or something, because while some plants flourished (Cabbages and radishes), others struggled as if they needed something extra (tomatoes, green peppers, beets). I will have to find a good compost, or amend the soil with some nutrients for next year. I'm also going to do a couple of deeper beds using the SFG method, specifically for potatoes, carrots and other root vegetables.

For the complete rundown on my Square Foot Garden for 2007 you can see all my posts on the subject HERE.

Monday, October 15, 2007

New Fall Shows: Cavemen

I finally watched one of the DVR'd episodes of ABC's Cavemen the night before last.

It was truly awful. I gave several segments the 'ol :30 second skip just to ease the pain. Not funny. Not at all. The commercials on which the show is based showed the Cavemen being discriminated against, and that was where a lot of the humor of those spots emerged.

The show has one caveman character(Joel) who has a good job as a middle manager type in an IKEA type store, and a really hot girlfriend. He actually convinces his boss to hire Nick, another caveman, to come work at the store when a couple of employees are fired for having intimate relations in the store. Nick gets himself fired for gross incompetence(with unknown assistance from Joel). Not thick-skulled caveman incompetence, but arrogant a-hole incompetence. Once fired Nick cries discrimination and tries to sue, but the true reason for his termination

Saturday, October 13, 2007

VOTE!: Friend Suz Picks Her Candidate

Friend Suz set this email:

This quiz is pretty interesting. My top scorer wasn't who I thought it would be.

Now I have to find out who Dennis Kucinich is...

Don't know who to vote for? Check out this quiz.

This may not be the best way to select your choice for President, but it has one strong reason in its favor: it tells you which candidates support your own opinions, whether you are a Democrat or Republican. No political message here except your own. Of course, Presidential candidates have been known to change their minds after they win elections!

The following is an interesting exercise.... You answer a few questions then click the "find your candidate button" and the program selects the candidate who's position on the issues is most like your own... You may be surprised at what you find...Click the link below....

So I take the quiz and my shocking result was this(my Blogger template doesn't really parse the code for this):

Sam Brownback
Score: 38
Stem-Cell Research
Health Care
Social Security
Line-Item Veto
Death Penalty

-- Take the Quiz! --

My response to Suz about said test:

Interesting test.

My top candidate was Sam Brownback(Score of 38) whom I've actually met and think is a pile of crap!

Ron Paul was my number 2 choice in the test(Score of 33), but far and away my candidate of choice based on lots of issues that were not addressed in the test. My bottom candidates(tied)were Hillary, Edwards and Obama. I think that there were not enough questions to be completely accurate, but I guess my guy was in the top 2 so there must be a certain level of credibility to it.

I did notice that on a lot of the questions where I agreed with Brownback were issues where I put the importance as low(Energy, Line Item, Social Security).

Also it flagged me as agreeing with Brownback on Federal funding of Stem-Cell research(against), but his reasons are generally religious, while mine have more to do with government's role in things of that nature and my belief that private industry is better at that sort of thing anyway.

Plus, I don't like the idea of government essentially picking and choosing what research is valid or important, by granting or not granting funding. I have similar feelings about alternative energy research, but as a matter of national security(and possibly keeping us out of oil wars in the future) I feel energy policy is more in line with the responsibilities of government(general welfare and common defense from the Preamble of the Constitution).

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Battlestar Galactica: Season 4 is Coming Soon!

Galactica's final season is almost here.
Check out the awesome Sci-Fi Channel teaser:

I'm really looking forward to this and hope that the creators can pull off a satisfying conclusion to a really great series.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

New Fall Shows: Chuck

Mrs. Disaster and I watched the first two episodes of NBC's Chuck yesterday. You can catch both eps online here.

Once again Mrs. Disaster was sold quicker than I was. Perhaps I've become jaded after numerous disappointments over the years, but I really need a show to prove itself to me these days. The wife thought it was charming, but she has a certain affinity for geeks(see her pop culture/gardening/metal/politics blogger husband).

The show was pretty funny, and the concept has legs. The lovable loser element, mixed with the super spy genre works well here. Chuck as a character(portrayed by Zachary Levi), is likable, and it's easy to root for him. The supporting cast is fun too, and any show with Adam Baldwin (as the murder minded John Casey) earns cool points in my book. Yvonne Strzechowski as the mysterious female lead/love interest, Sarah, hasn't completely sold me yet, but I don' hate her either. Joshua Gomez plays Chuck's sidekick, Morgan. He's playing an archetype, the even nerdier sidekick to a nerd, and reminds me a bit of the type of characters portrayed by Seth Green. That's not necessarily a bad thing though.

The Disaster family will definitely be catching episode 3(or at least DVRing it) on Monday. Jury still out, but looking pretty good.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

New Fall Shows: Pushing Daisies

I watched the premier episode of ABC's Pushing Daisies. I liked it, I guess, Mrs. Disaster was a bigger fan. It immediately reminded me of a Tim Burton movie, with the fairy tale narration, supersaturated colors, and of course the grim premise of a man who can bring the dead back to life.

The cast was fine and the writing was sharp and funny. I'm not sure what bothered me about it. Perhaps I'm not sure if the concept can stay interesting over multiple episodes, it almost seems like a better idea for a feature film.

I'll definitely watch again to see if I am right or wrong about the longevity of the show's premise.

No Series Record yet. The jury is still out on this one for me.

Ron Paul Continues to Surprise: Q3 Fundraising

Representative Ron Paul, of Texas, continues to surprise his critics.
He raised $5.08 Million in the 3rd quarter of 2007. That amount nearly doubles his 2nd quarter take. Increased fundraising means a continued campaign and it also means growing support.

Paul remains a long shot contender for the White House, but he still has more money in the bank than "top tier" candidate John McCain(for the second quarter in a row no less).

With the amount of cash he has available he can continue to campaign, staying in the debates and frustrating the hell out of all of his critics. In debate after debate he is the only GOP candidate that truly stands out from the status quo supporting field.

Increased fundraising also means other people(and the press) will pay more attention to his campaign and the message it brings.

Reason Magazine's Hit and Run Blog has a really good roundup of Paul's Q3 fundraising success and what it means for his campaign:

The week's politics including fundraising news for both the Dems and the GOP.

Reactions to Paul's success.

The Five Million Dollar Man.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

New Fall Shows: Geeks Abound

Well, I've had the DVR working overtime to catch as many new shows as I can. This post from a couple weeks back listed some shows I'd read about and was eagerly anticipating.

I have the first 2 episodes of Chuck on the DVR, but have yet to watch. I'll file a report as soon as I watch. Same goes for Bionic Woman (2nd episode airs tonight).

I apparently missed the first episode of Fox's Back To You, and DVR'd the second. It doesn't really matter though, because I doubt I'll watch this show again. Aside from a pretty funny gag about a series of unfortunate goldfish, most of the jokes were pretty flat, and Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton have no real chemistry.

Aliens In America earned a Series Record on the DVR with it's pilot episode last night. I was truly impressed. I have a soft spot for underdog geek stories (I still mourn the loss of Freaks and Geeks), and this one is no exception. If subsequent episodes of this show hold up to the promise of the first episode this could become my favorite new show of the year.

Pushing Daisies premieres tonight, and I'm hoping to catch it as it airs(what a novel concept).

DVR'd Cavemen last night(in the 'to be watched' pile), and caught the pilot episode of Carpoolers. It was a decent single camera comedy with an ensemble cast, and nowhere near as bad as some reviews I've read(unless future episodes begin to suck out loud). Sliders' Jerry O'Connell is probably the show's weakest link among a pretty decent cast. T.J. Miller as Marmaduke Brooker(a character as big and dumb as his name implies)brought a smile to my face every time he lumbered across the screen.

Another show that is not as bad as some have reported is CBS' Big Bang Theory. I read one review calling this the worst new fall show, but it it leaps and bounds more entertaining than Back to You. Not a great sitcom, by any stretch, but it has it's strengths. Jim Parsons as the socially inept and hyper nerdy Sheldon is simply a blast. We're talking Kramer/Fonz level scene stealing here. If the show survives expect big things from Parsons. Johnny Galecki is not as enjoyable as Leonard, and the show's would-be romantic lead. Parson's geekiness is effortless on the part of the actor, while Galecki's performance seems forced. The rest of the cast is OK. We'll see if this one holds up over the season.

CW's Reaper has also earned a Series Record after it's second episode last night.

Past Disasters