Sunday, November 26, 2006

A few wikis

I like to play around on wikis during my brief moments of free time at work. Besides the big one, there are a few others that I have found that are either of interest, or show potential.

Thelemapedia - About thelema, Crowley, etc. A fair amount of entries, but not very active.
dKosopedia for those interested in US politics.
Archaepedia - an archaeology wiki. Not much there, but has potential.
Fans of Strongbad and the other work of the Brothers Chaps will find all they want on the Homestarruner wiki.
Biocrawler has an excellent biology wiki.
Wikitravel is a good resource (by and large) for travellers.
There's not much on this Science Fiction wiki, but it has potential. Ditto this wiki for the Buffyverse.
The International Nath Order has a fine wiki regarding their lineage and tantric matters.

Any ones you recommend?

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Shanghai Museum artefact

Ignore the date - it was actually last year.

Kasteelberg photo

From the archives - the crew of the 1997 Kasteelberg excavations lead by Professor Andrew Smith, University of Cape Town.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Finishing Victoria blog

In two previous posts I briefly reviewed my two favourite places from my brief Victoria visit. In this entry, I will very briefly do the rest.

We entered Victoria via Port Angeles by ferry. At around $55 for two people and a car, it wasn't a bad trip at all, I don't think. The trip takes about an hour and a half and there is crappy food in a cafeteria if one wants it.

In Victoria we stayed at the Red Lion on Douglas. It was a good basic hotel, but I don't know that I would recommend it to others. Location is fine, rooms are small. Staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Internet access by ethernet rather than wireless, but that is a minor inconvenience. There was an additional $50+ charge to my card when I got home, that I don't know what the hell for. Less than pleased about that.

In addition to the two good pubs that (Irish Times and Swan's Brewpub - both highly recommended), we tried a number of other places. Let's see, there was Syn - which had interesting looking mountains of fries served, but which was kind of boring and plastic, Garrick's Head - more interesting and excellent food, and Periklis - not actually a pub, but a Greek restaurant. We just caught the end of a set by a very sexy bellydancer at the latter, and were most disappointed not to see more of her.

Bookstores - by far the best was The Haunted Bookshop in the nearby town of Sidney. They had many lovely old editions over which I drooled.

And that's all I feel about writing about Victoria for now.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pushing the envelope

One for the collectors of human sexual behaviour outside the generally accepted norm: having sex with a deer carcass. As the Duluth News Tribune reports:
Bryan James Hathaway, 20, of Superior faces a misdemeanor charge of sexual gratification with an animal. He is accused of having sex with a dead deer he saw beside Stinson Avenue on Oct. 11.
But has an actual crime been committed? As this guys lawyer notes, the statute, which falls under the heading “crimes against sexual morality,” was meant to protect animals. That would be unnecessary in the case of a dead animal.
“If you look at the other crimes that are in this subsection, they all protect against something other than simply things we don’t like or things we find disgusting,” he said.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Victoria pubs, cont: Irish Times

Another decent pub to visit if you find yourself in Victoria is the Irish Times. It was busy when we went, but not wall to wall (probably because it was a Sunday night.) The crowd was nice and mixed, and it was pleasant just to chill out (and dry out - we walked through pelting rain to get there) and watch the various patrons.
Food seemed quite excellent too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Swan's in Victoria

'ello 'ello. I'm just back from a long weekend visit to Victoria, British Columbia. I should have some reviews and the like (no photos, alas) in the days to come. But for starters:
The best place to have a beer in Victoria is Swan's Brewpub, I reckon. The Appleton Brown Ale was damn good. And the resident jazz band wasn't bad.
Though it was pissing down with rain that evening (and for most of the weekend), it was pleasant to sit in the glass covered patio area and quaff ale. Good for the spirits.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jon Strongbow

While in Seattle this past weekend, we came across the works of artist Jon Strongbow, and was very impressed with his visionary efforts. He draws tribal and mythical figures among the Seattle streets, showing the hidden world of the spirit. Below is his work 'The Mythological Parade.'

Larger versions of his drawing can be seen at his homepage.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I love this tongue in cheek description of Lovecraft

from the New York Review of Books:
...he was a nerd. He was a nerd on a grand scale, though— a heroic nerd, a pallid, translucent, Mallarméan nerd, a nerd who suffered for his art. His art consisted exclusively of conveying horror, and in this his range was encyclopedic. As a setting for his horror he built a whole world—a whole universe, with a time-span measured in eons...

The rest of the article is pleasingly penetrating and accurate. Years of fine Lovecraftian scholarship from the likes of Joshi, Mosig, Cannon and Faig have paid off.

And the writer's thoughts on Lovecraftian film is spot on:
...there have been around fifty film and television adaptations, although hardly any of these have been more than superficially related to their sources. There is a reason for that superficiality. Lovecraft's work is essentially unfilmable, not because his special effects are too gaudy or too expensive to translate to the screen, but because they are purely literary.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Lunch report

Before going to lunch today, two co-workers asked me why I was going earlier than usual. In answer, I dashed off this amusing little piece of hackwork when I got back.

Mick glanced over at the clock. It was only 11:15 and he was already tired, wishing that the work day was over. Not a good sign. Yesterday, he had read that some scientists had fed fat mice some substance in red wine and that they had lived pretty well because of it. Mick is not a fat mouse, but decided to make this an excuse to drink more wine anyway, a decision he would put in place that very day. But right now, he was stuck in his cube.
Mick sighed, and made the decision to take an early lunch. But first, he had to get rid of the oncall phone. The hated oncall phone. Mick sighed again. Moving to the other side of the room, he successfully palmed it off on his colleague C-, who took it graciously and without fuss. That pleased Mick, but then C- and his fellow bald cubemate B- noticed that Mick was heading to lunch rather early. They began to question him closely, probing him mercilessly. As the walls of reality seemed to decay around Mick, and he began to sense once more the presence of the Old Ones, he fled.
Back at his cube, Mick threw a die to see what he would have for lunch. He did this every day, hoping that it would prove a sop to the cruel Fates, that they may overlook him and lessen his misery. Ah, Fortuna, Mick thought. A fickle mistress art thou! Thus thinking, he headed off to the other building, clutching his pack of instant saag paneer to his chest.
He trudged through the water, perhaps giving a nod here and there to his grey colleagues. Half way across his right foot felt cold and wet from the hole in the heel. Bitterly, he pondered his fate. Nice new shoes were not to be his. Ah, Fortuna.
Inside he microwaved his meal, feeling a little heartened by the warmth and the happy colleagues on their way to strap on their feedbags. Probably the high points of their days, he reflected, such simple, kind people. Finding a newspaper, he munched and read. Then, putting his arms on his hands, he was lulled to sleep by the dimly heard conversations around him. At first he was content, warm and comfortable. But then he heard the familiar far off strains of the idiot flute players that turned his dreams into hellish nightmares. The blind idiot flute players and their dark master Azathoth. As the flutes seemed to come louder, a familiar terror gripped his heart. He longed to wake up and head back to work with C-, B-, and the others but could not. Something unwholesome held him. Chanting seemed to swell up around the cacophony of flutes. He heard the dread names Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathoteph, and chants of "Ia! Ia! Cthulhu f'tgan."
With a great effort, he wrenched himself awake and stumbled blindly back to his cube. Another lunch survived, but only just.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Excavation focusses on Blackbeard's ship

A team has been excavating the pirate Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, in North Carolina. The Yahoo News article ain't great, but it does have this nice quote about Blackbeard:
"With the fuses in his hair and heavily armed, he's a frightening person," says Butler, who added that pirates preferred to take ships without a shot. "There were some psychopathic pirates out there, but Blackbeard was not one of them. We have no evidence that Blackbeard ever murdered anyone or ever tortured anyone.

Stuff I Collect - Militaria

Stuff I Collect - Militaria WW2 WWII First 1st Allied Airborne pin OPA ration token (1 blue) WW1 U.S. Shipyard Voluntee...