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FFFF Contender? [Aug. 7th, 2014|11:30 pm]
Someone nominated Hazrat for the Fursuit Fracas tourney! This is rather a surprise as I've never asked for anyone to nominate me. I've always stood clear of such popularity contests.

Nevertheless I'm really quite flattered that someone nominated me! So I filled out the form and will officially be part of the tourney this year. We'll see what happens. :)
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Family Vacation Time [Aug. 6th, 2014|09:41 am]
We are doing a late-summer road trip down to CA. We arrived last night at Trey's place in Santa Clara. I've been tweeting some pics as we travel. Once it's done I'll collect some of the better ones here too.

We are down here for a few days. On Friday morning we start the haul back up.
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Rosetta Mission Arrives at Comet [Aug. 6th, 2014|09:37 am]
Rosetta comet rendezvous is a triumph for the European Space Agency

Rosetta has finally arrived and the first images coming back are fantastic!
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TWENTY YEARS! [May. 8th, 2014|10:44 pm]
I've been in the furry fandom for over 20 years now. Wow. Let's indulge in a quick look back for the sake of nostalgia and regretfully cementing my graymuzzle status.

Like many, I feel that I was "furry" before I found the organized community. I grew up on cartoons (TMNT! Like, the first time around, dude.) and found animal characters fascinating. Then in my first year in college I found alt.fan.furry on Usenet in late '93 or early '94. A discussion there got me interested with the costuming aspect. (IIRC, the first posts I saw on costuming were from Flinthoof, Lance, and Robert King.)

I joined the fursuit list run by Robert. This is sometime in spring '94 and when I consider I really "joined" the fandom. I later designed these buttons for the members which were printed and assembled by Cheetah.

Through that group's help, I made my first fursuit, Widge the Rat. This is circa '96.

Here's a photo from my first ever public fursuit outing. It was to a local park. (Which is just down the street from where Trey now lives! It's next to what was nicknamed the Furry Arms apartments.) Did this guerrilla suiting run with Porsupah. I was hooked!

I met Kit, now my wife, while in college. I introduced her to the fandom and we both joined FurryMUCK. Besides being fun roleplaying and meeting a fine pack of wolves (among others), the muck saved us from running up huge long distance phone bills while we were in different states over the summer.

I went on to "write the book" on fursuiting, literally, with support from my friends. Chairo and Dark Fang and Trey in Yippee's Polka Dog got cover spots. It's still available on Amazon. And thanks to Jerry and Davina on the publishing side for making that happen!

Over the years since, I've met so many wonderful folks through furry! Including a number of fellow rodent fans. Here's a little group shot from FC -- I'm Remy, on the right. (Thanks to Madius for organizing that and making the banner.)

A few years back I passed the point where I'd spent more than half my life as part of the furry community. And I'm thankful for all the kind-hearted open-minded and endlessly-creative friends. Folks who aren't afraid to celebrate the wonder of imagination and furry fun.

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Uses for Tennis Balls [May. 5th, 2014|10:16 pm]
Harvest Mouse Homes

Used tennis balls from Wimbledon are being recycled into mouse habitat. These homes are to help preserve the smallest mammal in Britain, the harvest mouse. Besides being an important part of the ecosystem, it's unbelievably cute! The mice can get into the tennis balls through drilled entrance holes which are too small for predators.

BBC coverage with more info

Hat tip to QI elves for the story.
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E.T. Phone Excavation Crew [Apr. 27th, 2014|03:44 pm]
The E.T. video game has long been a legend in the industry. Considered to be one of the worst games made, at least from a major company. It was the late heady days of the early 80's home video game boom. And this was the start of the collapse.

It's long been believed that truckloads of unsold cartridges were buried in a New Mexico landfill in late 1983, covered over by rubbish and concrete. (The game itself was not lost and is available today on emulators. You can find lots of Let's Play videos on YouTube... all of which do back up the assertion that it's a truly terrible game.)

Recently the city granted permission for a crew to dig there and, sure enough, the legends were true...

Old E.T. cartridges are being pulled up, along with other Atari overstock. Amazing!

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Miniature Pigeon Cameras [Mar. 16th, 2014|09:15 pm]

Dr. Neubronner’s Miniature Pigeon Cameras

Interesting early work in aerial photography with surprisingly good results. Enough of a curiosity that I had to share. Besides, how often do you get an excuse to use the phrase "miniature pigeon cameras"?
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Computer Code in Movies & TV [Mar. 14th, 2014|04:42 pm]
Movie Code Blog

For those of us that are actually familiar with code and programming, it's sometimes hilarious what gets stuck into shows. This is not the obvious dialog gaffes (e.g. the infamous Jurassic Park "Unix" line) but the visual screen fillers.

I can see how it happens. The director needs something "impressive and technical-looking" and figures no one will really look at it... it just needs to be a bunch of text, ideally in old-school green monospace font. It's not the important part of the show. It has nothing to do with the plot. Yet... some people do care.

Most recent example he's posted:

From "Castle", this is a "virus subroutine". With a comment at the top labeling it as a JavaScript routine for a pop-up dialog and the programming example site they got it from. Maybe there's a savvy effects crew member who knew and just wanted to make programmers who bothered to read it grin? :)

Also, I want that wicked search results dialog box! Way cooler looking than my IDEs ever were.
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Good/Bad Updates [Mar. 12th, 2014|10:49 pm]
A collection of good/bad updates:

Good Movie: Seeing the Lego Movie with Timothy

The weekend before last, I went with Tim to see the Lego movie. It's been a long time since I went to the movies with him -- I think the Muppet Movie was the last trip.

This movie, I have to say, was way better than I expected. Great writing, good performances, and really impressive animation considering everything is rendered in little virtual plastic bricks.

And the title song, "Everything is Awesome," is an amazing earworm. The director has said they deliberately wanted something insipid yet irresistible and wrote that into the script. The music delivers. I'm almost embarrassed to admit it's a lot like the sort of music I often listen to at work. So this has been added to the rotation.

Bad Movie: Laserblast's Hippie

I was rewatching an MST3K episode, "Laserblast," and felt inspired to share this. It always makes me giggle. (This is from the original movie not the added commentary.) It's the only good thing in the movie. Really. This 30 seconds is the only entertaining bit.

This is a cameo character driving around in a Volkswagon microbus that is an amazing stoner hippie stereotype. And he gets the following entirely unmotivated speech. Honestly, the camera cuts to him and a second later he just starts spouting:

There I was, thirty thousand feet straight up, in a field of frozen yo-yos and the string broke. I didn't falter. Just kept on goin', man. I knew. I knew Nirvana was straight around the corner. I turned the corner and ran smack into Betty Crocker. She was runnin' across the sky yelling, "You never outgrow your need for milk!" I looked at her and said, "Baby, you're something else." Far out, man, y'know what I mean?

Words to live by, surely.

Good Cooking: Practicin' my Rat Chef Skills

Been doing a little cooking as time permits. I practiced Sichuan twice-cooked pork belly, a luxurious and delicious (and not overly healthy) dish. The version shown in the pic is mixed with long beans.

I did some more homemade raviolis with Tim, this time with mozarella and romano filling.

I also made a (slightly adapted) recipe from MasterChef AU. These are friands, a sort of light almond muffin. Delicious, not hard to make, and I highly recommend 'em. Give this recipe a try!

Bad Cooking: Christmas "Pudding"

Part of my fascination with food includes a love of old recipes. Fitting in with the SCA, I do like some very old recipes. But I am particularly intrigued by American cuisine in the 40's, 50's, and 60's. It was an amazing transition through scrimping war effort, abundance, mass produced and formulated fads, to a strange foreign-in-name-only genre. Plus aspics and molded salads everywhere. I don't object to a nice sweet fruit mold but... they got weird.

So I love going through sites that detail recipes. Ones with snarky commentary appeal to my MSTie side too.

This is a recipe card I came across recently on the Bad and Ugly of Retro Food blog that deserves special mention. It's Christmas "Pudding". Because when I think about traditional puddings, I don't have to tell you that "vermicelli" is the next word to leap to mind!

If you'd like a more serious take on American food of the 40's, though, I recommend the book Grandma's Wartime Kitchen.
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Maguggling? Juggagic? [Feb. 19th, 2014|09:14 pm]
You may know that I adore both juggling and magic. And it hard to beat when you combine them!

In many ways, juggling is like sleight of hand magic except it's done without hiding half of it. :) So this combination seems natural, at least to my mind. Wonderfully performed.

(Though YouTube videos labeled "must watch!!!" are generally not worth it, I assure you this one is.)
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