web analytics

Getting closer

I love this thing. Meet the Venus of Cupertino. Here she is an iPad docking station — and she can be yours for £150. She and a companion are soon to be in the lamp biz. You can follow her adventures by signing up for her newsletter.

The artist is Scott Eaton an anatomist who works mostly in the 3D modeling program ZBrush. He teaches what looks like awesome anatomy classes, online and in IRL, to people like the character developers at Valve software.

I so would like to take his anatomy class. For that matter, I so would love my very own copy of ZBrush. Oh, why are my wants cost so many moneys?

Anyway, you guys don’t have Galaxy chocolate in the States, do you? So you probably haven’t seen this TV ad. Go watch it. I’ll wait. (Assuming it’ll play outside the UK).

We’ve seen this kind of thing before, I know. But this one is eerily good. I assumed, like earlier such, this was cleverly stitched together modern footage and classic film.

Nope. She’s a computer model. Well, she’s an actress with a computer model attached to her face. Eaton sculpted her head and the people at Framestore did the rigging (and all the rest of production). Very worth reading about.

Dead film star resurrection day — that we have been promised for so long — is on hand at last.

September 10, 2013 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 22


I had never seen this before. Had you? It’s a chunk of Hillary’s offical first lady portrait. I love the near randomness of her props. That’s a weenus picture of the White House, a blue glass…candle holder? A copy of It Takes a Village and a chair.

In the annals of royal iconography, that’s…probably not at all what she was looking for. Why not…oh, a paperweight, a gym sock, an onion and a stepladder?

Anyway, I was browsing pictures of Hillary because I noticed in today’s speech photo, she has a new ‘do. Made me wonder if this is her runnin’-for-president look.

I still think her Bond Villain getup is totally the way to go if she wants to be a world leader, but I’m not holding my breath. Hillary has had so many, many different hairs.

Incidentally, I’m all in favor of Kerry’s accidental gaffe/plan to put Russia in charge of taking stock of Syria’s WMD’s. Sure, it’s pointless — but pointless is a big improvement over all the other options. It would put an end to this thing, save face, extricate our military from this slow-motion clusterfuck and put Vlad on the hook if any more brown people get gassed.

I wonder if any of these bozos has the smarts to go for it.

September 9, 2013 — 11:01 pm
Comments: 19

be sure to leave a saucer of milk

This little feller is from the town museum in Pevensey, the one we visited last week. I’m assuming they’re assuming this is was Rowling’s inspiration for Dobby the House Elf.

I confess, I didn’t finish Harry Potter — books or movies. I found them a little hard going, to be honest. Like most fantasy books, they borrow heavily from all the books that came before. Which is fine, except I’ve been reading the genre since I was a wee slip of a weasel, which gives newer entries a real aw, geez, not this shit again sort of ambiance.

Anyway, it’s the weekend. Um, open thread…?

September 6, 2013 — 11:10 pm
Comments: 33


Last one. No, really, this was probably the last really hot day of Summer. Heavy rain tomorrow, then nice enough for the rest of the week, but ten or twenty degrees cooler and windy. That’s it. The end.

The Daily Mail says it was the hottest September day for seven years, but you know. Pff! The Mail. Still, it was pretty toasty.

So we packed a lunch for Bodiam Castle — that’s the really cool ruin with the big moat and the ducks and the steam trains. It’s a pretty easy trek for us (and takes us past our favorite Chinese takeaway), which makes this one of our best options on a hot day. Also, the kiddlets went back to school yesterday, so it was just us dessicated old people. Ahhhhh. Such a quiet, polite bunch.

I love the way the ducks and the fish totally ignore each other.

Oh, also — points to the Brits: I love it that we aren’t forbidden to feed either (throwing food into ponds was aggressively illegal in New England). Does the heart good to see people and nature enjoying each other so much — and so what if sandwich ends are not the optimum diet for any of us?

As for politics — help me out here, folks. I’ve wanted to talk about the Syria thing all week, but I just can’t work out the angles. Obama and Kerry both — especially Kerry — made their names in politics as totally anti war. So what is it about this one stupid bad-guys-versus-bad-guys civil war that’s got those two all revved up to put their whole careers on the line, just to lob a few pointless missiles in a vaguely menacing direction? I can’t make this make sense.

September 5, 2013 — 10:30 pm
Comments: 31

Mystery as Tunbridge Wells bread fairy leaves loaves with cars

That is the actual title of the article. I did not make that up.

Of course, it isn’t a very good story, but it’s the best I could come up with, having spent the day sacked out on the beach eating convenience store sammiches, skimming stones and squishing sand through my toes. It was probably 80° here today, which is pretty good going for us and may well be the last gasp of Summer.

We’re spending every minute we can out rolling about in it before Crap Descends.

So, would you eat a loaf of bread left mysteriously on your windshield, or would you assume a madman had laced it with LSD?

September 4, 2013 — 10:44 pm
Comments: 22


I fell asleep and snored through my usual post composing time tonight, so you get beans. Or, beanz. Specifically, here’s a Mail article about Heinz Beans advertisements through the ages.

It’s hard to overstate what an enormous brand Heinz is over here. I tried to scratch up a country-by-country sales comparison, but the best I could find were these bullet points:

●Heinz employs approximately 2,500 people across the UK and Ireland

●The Kitt Green factory, in Wigan, produces more than 1 billion cans per year of beans, soups and pasta meals and is Heinz’s largest food factory around the world

●The UK is the biggest bean eating nation in the World

●More than 1.5 million cans of Heinz Beanz are sold each day

●Recently recognised as one of the UK’s most loved food and drink brands following consumer research by FreshMinds

Those English people up there? Yes, they are doing what you think they’re doing: they’re making baked bean sammiches. Because, fuck knows. Baked beans are principally a breakfast food here (aiiiiii!), but they’re good for a snack any time because…no, they’re not. They’re runny orange sweet beans, Jesus what is the matter with these people?

I mean, being a Southerner, I grew up on beans. Nice, salty beans, slow cooked with a bit of pork and served with a garnish of raw onion and slice of cornbread.

Honestly, I do not know what these things are supposed to be. Get them away from me.

September 3, 2013 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 50

Forty whacks…well, nearly twenty, anyway

Hey, I bought a Lizzie Borden hatchet! We went to a big nursery today, set in an old Victorian walled garden with beautiful ornate greenhouses. It was part of a gorgeous old estate, now a school. That would have been an awesome thing to post about but, ummm…I forgot to take pictures, so here’s the thing I bought from the antique tool shed.

I used to be a Lizzie Borden aficionado. I’m not usually a fan of (technically) unsolved cases, but you have to love a prim Sunday-school-teaching spinster who wakes up one fine August morning and takes a hatchet to the old folks.

I do think she did it, though she was acquitted. Everyone in Fall River thought she did it, too, which made her later life a misery. Though her father left her rich, she was nicked for shoplifting not long after the murders. And may or may not have had a fling with a famous actress of the day. What’s not to love?

Well, in the end, lots. I lost interest after many years readying when it dawned on me that most of the mystery surrounding the case was due to the extreme incompetence of the police. Even by the standards of the day, they sucked. They didn’t search the house or anybody in it for days, didn’t verify the whereabouts of the principals. The whole business would be a lot more fun if it weren’t full of stupid, unnecessary holes.

Still, the sheer lousiness of the investigation has made the Borden murders a healthy cottage industry for upwards of a hundred and twenty years. I was amazed when I did an images search just now, how much stuff has come to light just since I last looked into it just a few years ago…including an autopsy photo of Andrew Borden. You can search for yourself, if you’ve a mind-ta.

As for the hatchet, it was never proved to be the murder weapon. It was found in the basement, snapped off just below the blade, covered in ashes. Still, I’ve always had a hankering for one like it. And not to bury in any particular skull, neither.

September 2, 2013 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 17

You see, it’s like this…

I suppose there’s no point having a friend in Old Blighty (that would be me) if you can’t get insight into current events out of it. Ummmm…so. A lot of American commentators are saying that Brits soured on the Iraq war after it went off badly.

Not so. They hated the Iraq war from the get-go and never wanted any part of it. Why should they? That it went badly was widely seen as inevitable, as the Brits (under both Labour and Tories) have cut their defense budget to the bone. They feel like they threw their boys into a meat grinder for no good reason.

Blair telling them they had to go to war or Saddam would use weapons of destruction right here in Britain was the kind of stupid scary story you tell kids to make them turn out the light and go to bed. That just added insult to death toll.

Oh, and speaking of insult, Barky started piling it on from “hello.” Forget the little things — the stupid bust of Churchill controversy, Her Maj’s iPod stuffed full of the Speeches of Chairman Obama — what really stings is the lack of support in the Falklands. Oh, and Kerry calling France America’s oldest ally tonight, that didn’t help.

So, without even going into Cameron’s failings, Syria was always going to be a hard sell.

I laugh whenever politicians talk about damaging the Special Relationship, though. They think it has something to do with them, and treaty obligations and shit like that. The Special Relationship is that we’re fundamentally the same people. Until almost the 19th C, we were fellow citizens. Well, subjects. We still watch each other’s TV and read each other’s novels in high school and follow each other’s newspapers.

This really happens: strangers hear my accent and come tell me about the vacation they took in Vegas or Disney Land or their kid who’s studying in Massachusetts. Politicians don’t own the relationship, and I get the feeling that pisses them off.

Right, then. Good weekend, all.

August 30, 2013 — 10:57 pm
Comments: 29


Didja see this? It’s the newest photo of the Loch Ness Monster. Hit the link if you care.

I never thought it was all that outlandish that there might be something big and uncatalogued in a remote Scottish lake. I never thought it was all that interesting, either.

I mean, unless it really is something awesome like a leftover plesiosaur.

But look here at the famous photo of Nessie, in its not so famous uncropped state. That doesn’t look much like a honking big dinosaur, does it?

That photo is known as the surgeon’s photo, because the doctor who took it refused to be identified by name for years.

On a more interesting note, a Google Images search on “surgeon’s photo” turned up a link to the Burns Archive of Historic Photos. From which is derived this CBS News slideshow of cancer images from the 19th C.

Warning: gross. Fascinating, but gross. Medical books always make me feel intensely grateful to my boring functional old bod.

August 29, 2013 — 9:45 pm
Comments: 15

And finally…

The circus. Our semi-official end of Summer.

We’ve been going to this one since before we lived down here, so it’s about as old a tradition as we have together.

This year’s show was excellent. I mean, for a little podunk small town circus. As usual, everybody did multiple acts, and when the jugglers weren’t juggling, they were selling balloons and popcorn.

Every year we hold our breath, waiting to see if the circus comes. The owner (and ringmaster) wants to keep going; the rest of the family is tired and wants to quit. That’ll be a sad year, my friends…

August 28, 2013 — 9:47 pm
Comments: 13