Thursday, September 29, 2005

Fire updates

Photo of the fire:

About as close as I can get to the same view using Google Earth:

Approximate area of fire, esitmated from the previous two views:

If you have Google Earth, you can download the view and fire polygon used to make the above screenshots.

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Box Canyon Fire

Box Canyon Fire.
Fall means that it's fire season here in Southern California, and with today's Santa Ana winds, it's starting off with a blast. My friend Grady took this photo from his front door!

The Ventura Fire Home has some information on this fire, as does The LAFD has a blog, too. The guv'mint makes some large fire tracking information available online, too, although the current fires don't appear on any of them, yet:
Even though the fire is nowhere near my house, my apartment smells like smoke and the power has been flickering all night.

If you find any other good SoCal fire information sites, or links to news stories about this fire, please leave them in the comments!

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Power-leveling services

I suppose it's an obvious development, but I find it fascinating that you can now hire professional services that level your character in most of the big MMORPGs. Heck, check out the sponsored links on a search for "power-leveling".

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Trading war gore pictures for porn.

First, a warning: this is disturbing on many levels. The links are gruesome. From
For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography.
More at Americablog, including this commentary which I agree with:

I worry about all of us who have no clue that war is THIS gruesome. I worry about our government that think this kind of thing should be hidden from the public, and that it's a acceptable cost of going to war.

And maybe it IS an acceptable cost of going to war. But that in and of itself should tell us something. There ARE costs of going to war. Most Americans have yet to fully comprehend what it means to have 2,000 US soldiers dead, and tens of thousands injured, in this war. They have yet to comprehend the level of violence, the level of civilian casualties. They have yet to comprehend what this war is doing to our soldiers, and what it's doing to our own national psyche.
This war is going to be with us for many, many years after we leave Iraq.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Frickin' awesome: ninja dolphins.

"Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico. Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns."

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Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Want to know what the next big disaster is going to be? The smart money's on Avian Flu.

I'm going to watch "H5N1 - Killer Flu", on the PBS series "Wide Angle", tonight (Tuesday); it's getting a good buzz. (Tivo users, click here to record).

Also fascinating: this blog on the outbreak, sent from the future.

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Monday, September 19, 2005


Cool, a new GROW logic puzzle to work thorugh!

The site is intentionally without instructions--you're supposed to figure out what you're supposed to do. I'm going to give a slight, non-spoilerish hint, so stop reading NOW if you're against spoilers. Ok, you've been warned.

There are ten items that can be added to the cube, one at a time. Each time you place an item, it, and any existing items can "grow", as long as certain dependencies are met. You're trying to figure out the correct order to maximize the growth--you want everything to be "Lv. Max". I need to keep notes, myself.

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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Eat a pie

Here's an interesting Java game: Use circular-shaped 'bites' to 'eat' a pie in 15 bites.

It is possible, but you're going to need a plan. You can leave a few pixel-sized crumbs and still win.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Presidential Note: "I think I may need a bathroom break?"

U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York September 14, 2005. World leaders are exploring ways to revitalize the United Nations at a summit on Wednesday but their blueprint falls short of Secretary-General Kofi Annan's vision of freedom from want, persecution and war. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (LINK)

I know, you're thinking "Photoshop", but check the link: it's from the Reuters website.

Nothing says bold leadership like "I think", "I may", and a question mark.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Broken Record

My friend Matt is, among other things, a fantastic comic book artist. He recently posted some pages from his latest work, "Broken Record", on his web site. You really should check it out.

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Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fight the man without putting down your remote.

Do what I just did: Use your TiVo to triple-thumbs-down every program on Fox News. I promise you'll feel much better.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

Download all your manuals in PDF format.

Here's my own "Getting things done"-style lifehack: I've been downloading PDFs of all of the old "owner's manuals" that I've saved over the years. It's way more convenient to have searchable files my computer than hidden away in a filing system I never use.

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Friday, September 09, 2005

Geocaching made more EXTREME!

Geocaching doesn't seem extreme enough for you? Try giving blood an hour before marching off into the hills. Yes, I added another chapter to my growing collection of dumb hiking choices. But I took first time geocachers Joe and Kendrak with me in case I fainted, and they were good sports about my lack of energy. Kendrak put me to shame by spotting two caches I had missed last week.

But I'm really posting as an excuse to test out the nifty geocaching realtime "caches found" status image. How to add your geocaching status badge to your own site.

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Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The Daily Show's "Major Disasters of Bush Administration"

From tonight's Daily Show. Ten down, fifteen to go:
  1. Abu Graib
  2. Bin Ladn
  3. Chalabi
  4. Deficit
  5. Enron
  6. Failure to find WMDs
  7. Halliburton
  8. Iraq
  9. John Bolton
  10. Katrina
  11. Locusts
  12. Mars attacks
  13. North Korea
  14. Osama & Jenna
  15. Pregnancy: Osama & Jenna
  16. Queer revolt
  17. Rodents of unusual size
  18. Syrian war
  19. Tigers
  20. Unicyclists, nuclear
  21. Voldemort
  22. WWIII
  23. X-rated tape: Osama & Jenna
  24. Yam shortage
  25. Zero people left on Earth
(They forgot about "G"!)

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AMERICAblog is kicking ass on New Orleans

For the last week, the guys over at AMERICAblog have been blogging New Orleans related news around the clock, and almost every article is spot-on. If you don't already read AMERICAblog, you should probably start.

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Originally uploaded by IvyMike.
On Sunday, I drove into Los Angeles to the Barnsdall Art Park to attend the first annual Arthurfest. I really only went to see the best band in rock, Wolfmother Sleater-Kinney, but I ended up taking in a lot of great new music. It was too bad I could only attend the first day of the two-day festival.

There were some problems, as you might expect for a first-time festival. Some of the venues was a bit crowded, and their were sound problems all 'round. I also missed out on any of the bands playing in the theater, since I didn't want to wait in an hour-long line. And while I remembered my sunglasses, I forgot my regular glasses in the car, so I stumbled around half-blind after the sun set. (I guess I can't really blame the festival for that one.) But those minor problems aside, I would definitely go again next year.

For what it's worth, here's my take on the bands that I did manage to catch:
  • Nora Keys: Man, could she hit those upper registers! I saw the phrase "Edward Gorey-inspired" somewhere when I was looking for information on her; that's just about a perfect description.
  • Wolfmother: I hadn't heard of these guys, and they played pretty early in the day, so I had low expectations. But I was blown away--their live performance was way better than their EP. They play pretty conventional 1970's style rock, but in my book, there's nothing wrong with that.
  • Sunburned Hand of the Man: The crowd seemed to like these guys, but I just wasn't feeling it. Maybe I was distracted because I couldn't figure which of the 12 people on stage were actually in the band. I think it was maybe all of them. They had some sort of shamanistic vibe going on, but the music just wasn't my cup of tea.
  • Winter Flowers: These guys sounded pretty good but their performance was killed by the crappiest sound ever. The bass literally washed out the voice performance.
  • The Black Keys: Blues-rock duo from Ohio. They didn't have a huge range, but what they knew how to do they did well. They played a cover of an R. L. Burnside song as a tribute to him--he died last week. That sucks.
  • Sleater-Kinney: Hells yeah! Corin apologized for having a weak voice, and the sound system wasn't helping, but they still managed to get the crowd moving like no other band out there. Best performance of the day.
  • The Henry Jacobs film, The Fine Art of Goofing Off: The sound system made this incomprehensible to me.
  • Sonic Youth: I'm gonna catch hell for this, know when you go to the state fair, and some band like Foghat is playing? They play a bunch of their songs, maybe even some new stuff, and they give their all, really rockin' their hearts out, but the crowd doesn't really get into it, because they're just waiting for "Slow Ride". And then finally, at the end of the show, Foghat does play "Slow Ride!" and the crowd goes bonkers: "Hell yeah, Foghat's playing Slow Ride! SLOW RIDE!!!" To me, it felt a little like that.
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Sunday, September 04, 2005

DailyKos Diary: Bush won't be there for you.

I just posted my first ever diary on DailyKos: "All their excuses mean one thing: Bush won't be there for you." Go read it, and give me some mojo lovin'.

Friday, September 02, 2005

La Tomatina

I may have a schedule conflict with my "definite" plans to see Burning Man next year, because I forgot: Next year I'm definitely going to Spain for La Tomatina, the world's largest tomato fight. 100 metric tons of overripe tomatoes, here I come.

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Bush can't wait until Trent Lott pimps his crib.

The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before. Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch. (Laughter.)
-- President George W. Bush, earlier today.
Good news everybody--Trent Lott's got a chance to pimp his crib!

And ending with laughter goes beyond the pale.

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New Orleans Mayor Transcript

Read this transcript of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin blasting the federal government for an utter failure to help out.

And America, next time, maybe try voting competence. Why would anyone would appoint the disgraced head of the New Hampshire Arabian Horse Association to run FEMA? Mike Brown is the worst sort of political appointee, and his incompetence has cost us dearly.

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Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hell on earth

God damn. Trapped in the Superdome: Refuge becomes a hellhole.

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