Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Anemone Is Not Your Enemy

My lovely wife, Dr Desert Flower, used to say to me "The anemone is not your enemy"... but anemones can pack a painful sting, and do eat things that are smaller than themselves.  Not your enemy, if you're bigger than a crab and are smart enough to stay far enough away from them to not get stung. Ok.

The Headlands tide pools at Dana Point have no shortage of anemones,  Big ones, little ones, all sorts of sizes and shapes.   I've seen them in the water, as well as exposed to the air at low tide.   Fascinating creatures.

No (R)egrets, No Longer

On Friday, after a 60 hour work week, I checked the tide time tables, packed up my Camelback backpack, and headed on down to Dana Point on my bike to parkour across the rocks, look in the tide pools, get closer to nature, and try and decompress.  My first 50 feet into the boulder hopping, I saw this stunning egret, and I paused to take a few photos. (not far from the star fish I saw here)
While the egret might not look too large, keep in mind that each one of those rocks ranges in size from "as big as your head" to "as big as a 1960's wooden framed RCA television".  I tried to stay a good 15 to 20 feet away from the hunting egret, but the bird was rather skittish.
And kept flying westward as I tried to parkour past it.  Not far from where I first sighted the egret was a female rufous hummingbird snatching gnats out of the air, flitting about, chir-chir-chirping in rapid stacco as I approached a mass of rotting seaweed that was host to 100s of gnats and flies.  I've seen egrets before (in SC, AZ [near the Roosevelt canals], and in CA) but never this close, and never this tolerant of my presence and photography.
It was very cool to see, and an experience I will not soon forget.

I am not sure exactly what the egret was hunting, as I've never seen any fish of an appreciable size in the tide pools.  Yes, there's all sorts of fry, and tiny immature fish, and no shortage of barnacles, hermit crabs, seaweed, and mussels, but actual fish that would satisfy an egret?  I've not seen them.  I don't have visual acuity as keen as an egret's though  =)  ...and if it was larger crab that the egret was patiently hunting, then I am sure that at high tide that was a happy hunting ground, as violently as the surf was crashing onto the rocks.

Gotta Hand It To Nikolaj

If you're a follower of Game Of Thrones, and you did not watch last week's episode "Walk of Punishment", then STOP READING THIS NOW, and come back after you have had a chance to catch up on your DVR-ing or DVD-ing.

If you have watched last week's episode, and you enjoyed the end of it as much as I did, then perhaps you'll enjoy this post.  Il faut voir.

So you see, in the world of the fictitious Game of Thrones, there's "Seven Noble Houses" who are vying for control of the world.  The Lannisters, who most people love to hate, are the insanely wealthy 0.01% of the top 1%, but even they have been borrowing from over-seas to pay for the running of the kingdom.  Their poster child of wealthy arrogance, is Jaime Lannister, played by Danish actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.  Straight women and many gay men swoon over Jaime Lannister, and I frankly never understood the appeal, but I am as far to the right of the Kinsey scale on heterosexuality as a person can be perhaps.  I've just never been a fan of the pretty boy who gets everything he wants, never having had worked a hard day's labor in his life, and who everyone thinks is the most awesome, most amazing, most desirable human specimen ever.  His little brother Tyrion, played by the little person Peter Dinklage is far more interesting, intelligent, cunning, and likable.

So when the men of House Tully make sure that Jaime can never become "the hand of the king" (so to speak) I thought it was a great ending of the episode.
And immediately after this 'truncated' scene ends, the credits roll with a Loud playing by "The Hold Steady" of the folk song "The Bear and the Maiden Fair", which earlier in the episode, the Tully men were singing on horseback as they rode through the woods.  I found this to be a fitting ending, as Karma can be quite rough sometimes.  It'll be hard to handle a sword with just his left hand, in future episodes.

No Squared or Quartic Options?

On the fridge in the house we're renting, there's these options on the freezer door:

No Squared button, nor Quartic button?  I've never had a freezer door water / ice dispenser before, growing up or as an adult, so this new technology confuses this modern Neanderthal.

There's also no "slow ice" button, so whether I am in a hurry, or taking it at a leisurely pace, crushed, cubic or "quick ice" are the 3 available options.  Ironically, the "cubic" are actually rounded secant segments from the ice maker, and are in no way, shape, or form, cubic in shape.  Unless the fridge manufacturer was trying to differentiate it from hexagonal ice structure and instead make sure it was crystalline "cubic ice"... but I Highly doubt this is the case.  At least it is not Ice Nine.  =)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Comedy Central: A Hit, and a Miss, and a eh, sorta hit

This programming season (whatever the hell that is, now that there's no longer a Spring, Fall or any other TV season), Comedy Central put out three new shows.   The Jeselnick Offensive.  The Ben Show. And Nathan For You.   Jeselnick is abrasive, offensive, harsh, insulting, similar to "The Burn", but more caustic in a sense that Don Rickels would be proud.  Jeselnick is VERY cocky - "Welcome to another perfect show".  And he thinks he's better than he is, but he is very funny.

The Ben Show, is just dumb.  It's random, and has people read things off of papers handed to them out of the blue.   It has stupid rap liaisons and vignettes that appeal to those who like Workaholics and other inane shows.  Dr Desert Flower and I tried to watch it, and were annoyed.   We will not be watching it again and wasting another minute of our lives.  We are not the target audience, obviously, and I hope The Ben Show goes away quickly.

Nathan For You is a mixed bag.  Partly funny, partly painful, he sometimes beats a dead horse way more than SNL could ever beat a dead horse.  I don't think painful comedy is funny, I just see it as painful and hard to watch.  When Nathan is on his game, he's very funny.   When he's pummeling a premise and painfully trying to guide someone he is "helping" it is more than cringe-worthy, it is just wrong and painful.

So Viacom has a mixed bag.  One very funny, very caustic, very intelligent show - The Jeselnick Offensive.  One dud aimed at duds - The Ben Show.  One mixed bag - Nathan For You.

From the Comedy Central commercials I was forced to watch in the gym this evening, without a DVR, I see that Gabriel Inglaises (Fluffy) is coming back, and he is very very funny.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Frozen Seat 29F, 757-200

I flew 4 hours on Tuesday afternoon, in row 29, seat F, in a 757-200.  It was a Delta aircraft.  Well, I cannot recommend anyone sit in seat 29F who are not Heat Miser, or who have both their legs and feet.  If you're Heat Miser, you'll do fine.  Lemme explain.

On a Delta 757-200 rows 27 and 28 are the exit rows.  Row 26 and 27 have limited recline, and I had HOPED that row 28 would also have limited recline, but the enormous caucasian man who sat in 28F insisted on Fully Reclining his Exit Row seat to impinge upon my much more limited space - but that's fine.   Not everyone can be a good person and be respectful of others' space around them.  So I was somewhat 'crammed in' with the seat in front of me fully reclined into my space.  I opened my "Philosophy of Stephen Colbert" book and read quietly, through loading, taxi, and take off.

After we reached 30,000+ feet, I noticed my feet getting very cold.  No matter what position I placed my feet under the 28F chair, they were freezing cold.  I could see the edge of the emergency exit door even with the arm rest of 28F, but that was Not where the cold was originating.   The cold was coming form under the floor.  When we began our approach to land, and the main landing gear was extended, I could hear and Feel it move under the floor beneath my feet.  The land gear doors must not have been sealed well, and the -20F to -40F air at 30,000 feet conveniently refrigerated my feet.

How cold were they?  Well, 2 hours after landing, walking, and driving, and walking some more, I was just above to start feeling my big toes again.

So if you are Heat Miser, or you suffer from Chronic Near Flammable Feet Syndrome, then seat 29F on a 757-200 is The Seat for you.   As we were disembarking, I asked the man sitting in 29A if his feet were cold, he was shocked, and said "Yes! freezing!" - nature loves symmetry (as does Boeing).