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May 2005 Archives

May 4, 2005

Another Week

I'm still in California on business, and have had many truly nice opportunities to catch up with friends in the evenings (and over a nice weekend in San Francisco). A smattering of my week...

On Saturday, Bradley and I started our day in Woodside, with the hog-riding accountants that congregate at Alice's Restaurant (which, I discovered, is named after the Arlo Guthrie song, not the other way around.) Here's a tip -- the sausage gravy there is incredible, made from real chunks of what tastes like chicken-apple sausage. Yum.

After Alice's we tooled up Skyline and ended up in San Francisco, enjoying some touristy delights (the Golden Gate's northeast lot for cheesy 'me and the bridge' shots.) North Beach, the murals at Coit Tower, walking the Filbert steps. Caffe Trieste and the Stinking Rose. Much good conversation. It was a great day.

Sunday was spent with my friends Mikol and Sandra, and their adorable son Ezra. (And his impressive collection (15!) of foam-fabricated 'blasters.') After brunch at Park Chow (and some open-faced egg sandwiches that -- no lie -- represent all that is good and true about living in our fine republic) we spent a lazy, fun hour at Bernal Park.

Hitchin' a ride, originally uploaded by soldierant.

Monday was mostly work, but a side-trip to the Yahoo! campus for lunch with a bunch of my old AOL friends. K-Lo, Erin, D-Rob, Lance, and Matt.

That evening I got to see many of the same folks again for craft-night! (My first ever.) Matt led us through paper pop-up cards. I made a cool little elf that springs out of the card. And tonight (Tuesday) was movies with most of the gang again. Hitchhiker's Guide, which I enjoyed -- the designed elements were really well-done, and I thought it was well-paced. It's been enough years since I read the book that I remember almost none of it, so if you're one of those people who don't think the movie lived up to the book? Of course it didn't. Do they ever? I don't wanna hear it..

May 5, 2005

Hitchhiker's Guide

More Hitchhiker: Wired breaks down the delta between the book and the movie:

The studio exaggerated a romance between Dent and Trillian (Zooey Deschanel) to offset the wackiness of the story line. Ugh. But the sequence involving an alien-filled DMV office and an opening number with singing dolphins that thank Earthlings "for all the fishes" - it's all Adams.
I thought Zooey was cute, so I'm glad they buffed her role up.

And in other news, Jamison liked it, with some small misgivings. And that's good enough for me.

Cool Gig

Joel Spolsky describes the dream internship opportunity:

Instead of wasting their talents giving them the usual dull and unimportant tasks of a typical summer internship, we decided to let the interns create a complete new software product, from beginning to end, over the course of one summer. With experienced software developers as mentors, the team will design, program, test, and roll out a complete software product over the course of one hectic summer, going from concept to paying customers in about ten weeks.
Other than interning as chief spray-mister at a Victoria's Secret photo-shoot, I don't know what could be any cooler than this. (This also makes me feel incredibly bad for the giving every intern I've ever supervised 'the usual dull and unimportant tasks of a typical summer internship.')

May 9, 2005

Watch Your Step

Certain company-pitbull-cheerleaders (!) should consider their words carefully on their industry-related blogs:

Suppose, for example, an employee says very negative things about a competitor or publishes an unfair product comparison. If these opinions are stated as facts and they are not true, it could lead to a “trade disparagement” suit.

Jack Bauer, Splinter Cell

I know I'm a week late with this observation (I just watched the taped-yes-taped-no-not-Tivo'd episode last night), but last week's 24 was incredible. That whole bit at the Chinese Embassy was lifted straight outta the first Splinter Cell. (Others have noted this, too.) Climbing over banisters through draped Chinese flag banners, whispered directives in his earpiece. It was good stuff, I kept waiting for Jack to pause and set a Wall Mine.

Update: Chloe rocks this season, cheesy Cisco product placement and all.

May 11, 2005

AIM Blogs

Now this is exciting. My old comrade John Panzer mentions that AOL has opened up their AOL Journals to anyone with an AIM account! I kept an AOL Journal for awhile when I was still on my freebie employee account, and I gotta admit -- it's hard to beat that 'Blog via IM' feature. I may revive my journal with my AIM screenname.

May 13, 2005

Like I Needed Another Reason...

...to avoid Lima.

For You Dodecahedron Nerds Out There

And I happen to know for a fact that there are at least two of you reading this: A Puzzle Finally Makes the 'Cosmic Figures' Fit. (Link from Robot Wisdom.)

Survivor WTF?

How does this official CBS site for Survivor (which turns up first in Google's results for 'survivor') still feature Season 1 programming? I thought it was a put-on. Yeah, we know Rich won. Again, wtf?

Somebody Tell Rich

I'll be damned. There's a chicken in the mints!

May 17, 2005

Bro' Bloggin'

This is awesome. My brother Brian has started a blog. He's a little cracked at times, but Brian's perspective is one that I treasure. It's gonna be fun watching him find his blog-voice. And crackin' jokes at his expense while he does it! Like, for instance, did you know what finally inspired Brian to start his blogspot site? Rosie's Blog. Yep. It's true.

May 19, 2005

Good Old American Know-how

God bless our troops. American soldiers are a living testament to that old adage Neccesity is the mother of invention:

A young private in that platoon has one of those radio-controlled toy cars. When they find unidentifiable debris in the road, E.S. sends out his little RC car and rams it. If it's light enough to be moved or knocked over, it's too light to be a bomb, so we can approach it and get rid of it. If it's heavy, we call EOD. At night, they duct tape a flashlight to the car.
(Link found via Noel Franus.)

May 20, 2005

Happy Trails

We've spent a wonderful week here at the ant-hill with Bradley, who just left an hour or so ago. Updates to his own site have lapsed since the 15th because, he tells me, he enjoyed himself with us too much to bother writing about it.

Isn't that what every host wants to hear?

Many nice meals were had. Many good comic books were read (Braddles and I hit The Laughing Ogre, one of my few must-visit stops on any tour of Columbus.) Much XBox mayhem ensued. Much conversation, some deep, some shallow.

So now he's gone, back on the road, north through Findlay, 23 to 75, up to US-80 and the l-o-n-g haul back to CA (by way of the Oregon coast.) The dogs are a little glum -- they miss their new friend. LeeAnn is a little glum, too. Our little family grew by one this week, and it was rather nice while it lasted.

May 22, 2005

Ryan Seacrest is a great person...

... for me to poop on!

May 23, 2005

Bono on Art

Sez Bono

Our definition of art is putting your head above the parapet, and be ready for the custard pie. I happen to love the taste of it.

May 24, 2005

More Free Icons

More Free Icons

Download in Illustrator format
Download as PDF

May 26, 2005

Handsome devil

Handsome devil, originally uploaded by Bradley Allen.

Oh this is too much. Bradley's posted a whole set of photos of our brat dogs. My man-crush is in full effect.

May 27, 2005

Howdy Neighbor

Wow. A military vet returns from operations in Haiti, goes to school, gets on with the living of life, and finds the enemy has come back with him:

So, let’s get this straight. In 1994, I deployed on an aircraft carrier, sailed 3,000 miles south to the Caribbean, participated in an air assault, seized an airport, and occupied a city just to oust men like Colonel Constant only to find myself living a few blocks away from him ten years later. Why did I put forth all that effort if we were just going to end up as neighbors?

May 29, 2005

A Taste of Scotland

What is it about the desolate Scottish highlands that drives men to such desperate acts? Sawney Bean and his family were a thieving, murdering clan of cannibals that lived along the coast of the county of Galloway.

For more than 25 years, they remained hidden from polite society, sheltered by a low sea-cave that dissappeared with each day's high-tide (the cave is supposedly very difficult to find, to this very day.) The Beans were careful in their murderous crimes: only taking victims by overwhelming numbers; leaving no witnesses alive. The only evidence for their heinous crimes was the occasional discarded limb or cutlet, overflow from their full larder of pickled victim-parts. They finally overreached, and lost a victim, who returned to guide a 400-strong posse from Edinburgh. The hidden sea-cave was hidden no more:

Now the whole body, or as many of them as could went in, and were all so shocked at what they beheld, that they were almost ready to sink into the earth. Legs, arms, thighs, hands and feet of men, women and children, were hung up in rows, like dried beef; a great many limbs laid in pickle, and a great mass of money both gold and silver, with watches, rings, swords, pistols and a large quantity of cloths, both linen and woolen, and an infinite number of other things which they had taken from those they had murdered, were thrown together in heaps or hung up against the sides of the den.

Sawney’s family, at this time, besides himself, consisted of his wife, eight sons, six daughters, eighteen grand-sons, and fourteen grand-daughters, who were all begotten in incest.

Legend tells that the whole family met their justice in Edinburgh: with no need for a trial (their acts being widely regarded as crimes against humanity itself) the Beans were executed in a manner befitting their nature. The men, dismembered and left to bleed to death. The women forced to watch, before being burned alive in a pile.

I should note that this 'legend' may be just that -- a legend only. Critics point to the utter lack of historical record surrounding the events, and it should also be noted that the legend may have originated in England (and charges of cannibalism are common when trying to dehumanize another group for easier subjugation.)

An earlier Scottish cannibal seems somewhat more sympathetic. At a time of famine, Andrew Christie was a butcher from Perth who arrived seized upon a desperate idea:

At Christie’s side a woman ceased to groan. The thought struck him that the woman may be dead and he put a hand over her mouth to confirm the fact. She was no more. The dead body was a talisman in the temple of misery – in a short time that body was gone. A prejudice overcome is an acquisition of liberty, though it may be for evil, and the death of this one woman had saved the lives of them all.
And that death led to many others. Christie's preferred method of hunting was "a large iron hook fixed to the end of a pole, an invention of Christie’s which afterwards gave him the dreadful name by which he became known." Christie-cleek.

Unlike Sawney Bean, when Christie's inquisitors finally came, Christie himself escaped their punishment. Christie-Cleek became a bogeyman, whispered to children to hush their boisterous ways. Including his own children, the daughters (dochtors) of David Maxwell, a prominent merchant of Dumfries, who - on his death bed - revealed his terrible secret.

Mork and Mindy House

Mork and Mindy House, originally uploaded by soldierant.

After my whine about missing the Mork and Mindy house, Dan Pacheco just sent me this picture-phone snap of the house!

May 30, 2005

Another Morsel

Yesterday's post about Scotland's cannibalistic past kept me thinking. I'm rather inclined to believe that these tales, if true at all, are highly exagerated. Consider the source: Sawney Bean, at least, is a tale with English origins:

While the tale undoubtedly had currency around Ayrshire as a bogeyman type tale, the story first appears in print in pamphlets printed in Eighteenth Century England. This was the time of the Jacobite risings and Scots were regularly portrayed in a bad light in the English press at this time, either ridiculing them or giving a sinister edge to the Scottish character.
Hardly the most authoritative source one could ask for, given the circumstances.

Historically, crying 'Cannibal!' has been one of the easiest and most-effective ways to dehumanize and demonize an opponent (also popular is 'Godless.)' The Vietnamese claim it against the Cambodians (as some US troops have claimed against the Viet Cong.) As it turns out, it's' probably a damn hard claim to refute, or deny. Of course, societal anomalies exist, and cannibalism does occur to this day (for a truly disgusting read on modern-day psychopath cannibals, follow this link. Or don't - I recommend don't.)

Even Disney is getting in on the act. The sequel to 2003's Pirates of the Carribean is currently in production and is rumored to prominently feature Carib Indian cannibals. A fact that does not make current Carib descendants very happy at all. They are supported in their protest by many scholars, who doubt the validity of the cannibal claims:

In the historical record, one finds a letter from a Dr. Chanca, who accompanied Christopher Columbus during his second voyage to the Caribbean. Chanca speculated that some young men held prisoners by a Carib group were being fattened to the slaughter for feasting.

Neither the wanton killing and rape by Spanish colonists of the first group of Caribs encountered - recorded during the same trip by others on the ship - nor the Caribs' fierce, valiant defense of their territories and people are apparently proper subjects for a Disney movie.

My 1st Wikipedia Entry

I have long admired the ambition and scope of the Wikipedia effort, and I've been meaning to get involved for quite some time. Today, I got off my duff and wrote a simple stub entry for something that was previously (to me), a glaring ommission: King Solomon's magical Shamir.

Update 6/02: It's cool to watch the wikipedia machine at work. Within 24 hours of my article's initial authoring, the article has been edited 5 times already! For stylistic reasons (failing to bold the subject term in the body text), typographic reasons (a stray apostrophe) and semantic reasons (categorizing my 'stub' entry as a 'Judaism-related ' stub, and further disambiguating one of my internal links to point specifically to 'Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon' instead of the more general 'Nebuchadnezzar.')

About May 2005

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in May 2005. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2005 is the previous archive.

June 2005 is the next archive.

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