Holiday Secrets

December 9, 2008 at 9:53 pm (Comics, History, Horror)

Something about the winter holidays makes me think of drafty castles, ancient mysteries, and lost treasures. Does that make me weird?

In any case, I recently came across this article about a real story of, well, drafty castles, ancient mysteries and lost treasures, that I couldn’t pass up posting. For anyone else who likes secret passages, well, Happy Holidays!

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Running Away

October 28, 2008 at 1:11 pm (Horror, Sports)

I meant to do this last year, and forgot. And now, with that most exciting of holidays around the corner, I’m reminded of it, and (of course) can no longer find it online. Apparently, National Geographic Adventure only keeps the last 6-ish issues in its public online archive. Sigh. Read the rest of this entry »

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Not a Baby Post

October 10, 2008 at 11:16 am (Horror, Movies, Writing)

I’m sure everyone is horribly disappointed, too. Don’t worry, I’ll be posting more pictures of my beautiful baby right after this. But, in honor of it being October, and therefore nearly Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year, I thought I’d post this link:

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/videoitem.html?id=4

It links to a short animated video. The text is of a poem called “Mulberry Fields,” and is read by the author, Lucille Clifton. The animation is by a college student somewhere, and is wonderfully spooky. The poem itself is almost certainly NOT intended to be spooky, but instead about the legacy of slavery and racism in some part of the US. That said, with the aforementioned spooky animation in the background, it’s easy to forget that it isn’t about ghosts and ghouls and elder evils…

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Crystal Skulls

May 29, 2008 at 1:37 pm (Dissertation, History, Horror, Movies)

Let me start off by saying that I loved the new Indiana Jones movie. I’ve heard a number of different reviews, good and bad, and as far as I’m concerned, it was absolutely pitch-perfect Indy action and adventure. Of course, archaeologists around the world have been trying to ride Indy’s coattails to the top, with mixed successes. One article that I found very interesting was Archaeology Magazine’s investigation into the actual crystal skulls that inspired the legend that is at the core of the film. It’s a fun read, with some good links. Given my macabre tastes, it shouldn’t surprise either of you that one of my favorite parts of the inset note and photo about the French obsession with skeletal images, either! Now, if only going to see Indiana Jones movies somehow made me work on my dissertation faster…

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Survival of the Poorest

April 20, 2008 at 6:04 pm (Comics, Economics, Education, Environment, History, Horror, Wine)

I was thinking today about what would happen to our society if we ran out of oil, and therefore could not afford to transport food between cities, states and nations the way that we currently do, and it occurred to me that the wealthiest people in the world, those inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere who have embraced the economic promise of cities and the specialization of labor, will be the group most affected, and hardest hit, by said (still hopefully hypothetical) collapse. After all, the bulk of the world’s population is much closer to the land than your average Angelino, and is either capable of, or knows people who are capable of, large-scale agriculture, animal husbandry, and other activities associated with pre-industrial human life. It’s only us city-slickers, who are used to our frozen pizzas and two-dollar lattes, who will find ourselves suddenly without food when the crash comes. Although that’s kind of terrifying, since I am one of those city-slickers, it’s also kind of heartening, since it means that, whatever happens to the population of North America, humanity will almost certainly survive and prosper somewhere else, whether it be Africa, Asia, Australia or elsewhere.
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In Memoriam

March 20, 2008 at 1:59 pm (Books, Comics, History, Horror, Languages, Movies, Travel)

It saddens me greatly to think that we have lost two of the greatest minds in the history of science fiction and fantasy in the last two weeks. On March 4, Gary Gygax passed away, and then, just two days ago, Arthur C. Clarke died in Sri Lanka. Arthur C. Clarke, I must confess, never made that significant of an impact on me, although I recognize his influence on the field of science fiction and, frankly, science. I’ve only actually read one of his books, Rama Revealed (which was an excellent novel, although it will also make you loathe the base nature of the human race), and I’ve only seen 2001: A Space Odyssey once. However, he fell into the brilliant class of authors who wrote what is called “hard science fiction,” that is, sci-fi that is firmly tied into what we know/believe to be possible, and was quite a visionary: For example, he was the first person to suggest the system of communication satellites which currently orbit the Earth. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mad Science

March 10, 2008 at 10:57 am (Comics, Horror)

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of science fiction. But I also love science fact, if only because each new development gets me closer to the fantastic future of which I’ve dreamed since I’m a kid. So, while this little study mentioned today on NPR may not seem like much, I promise you, it’s super-cool. Why, you ask? Because it shows that creatures which can effectively change their shape can still retain memories from their previous form.

Yep, you head me right. “Change their shape.” I like how the article describes the transformation from caterpillar to moth, which “turns their brains and bodies into soup.” But the implications for me go way beyond insects. If insects can do it, why can’t aliens, or humans with advanced technology, or whatever, while still keeping their mind, and therefore their identity, intact? Just yesterday, this was essentially science fiction (at least, to me), but today, it’s science fact. And that’s pretty cool, if you ask me.

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Comics Comics Comics

February 27, 2008 at 11:15 pm (Books, Comics, Family, Horror, Humor)

About a year ago, I went cold turkey and cut down the number of webcomics I was reading by about 80%. I was reading 20 or 30 a week, and could easily drop 45 minutes a night keeping up on all of them. And, frankly, if I’m going to blow 45 minutes a day, every day, I’d really rather I have something to show for it, like maybe MY DISSERTATION. It’s the regular updates that kill you, because you get sucked into the story, and then you have to go back every couple of days to see what else is new! So, I’ve worked really hard to keep my reading list lean, with only the choicest gems of comedy and adventure at my fingertips. Read the rest of this entry »

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Creepy birds are appropriate for “Valentine’s Day,” right? Right?

February 14, 2008 at 11:21 am (Arts, Books, Horror, Humor, Movies)

Bryan over at Infocult clued me in to this particular gem:
Nothing says undying love to me like, well, undying love. Actually, now that I think about it, that undying love thing is a little creepy…

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The Greatest Movie Ever?

January 16, 2008 at 1:54 pm (Horror, Humor, Movies)

Yes, I have now added a new film to my list of “the greatest movies of all time.” But I warn you in advance, it’s no Casablanca. Hot Fuzz, written by and starring Simon Pegg (the guy from Shaun of the Dead), should be on the wish lists of anyone who claims to like mystery, horror, comedy and absurdly-over-the-top action (really, all four are best, but if you score at least three, it’s worth looking into). It is essentially three movies in one: A creepy mystery, a hard-boiled action thriller, and a brilliant comedy that skewers both genres through and through. And surprisingly, it actually manages to succeed at all three. Read the rest of this entry »

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