June 2009 - Posts

 

 I really didn't think that I was going to write about this, because honestly I don't care, but with all of the news out there its pretty hard not to hear some interesting things. I have never considered myself a true fan of Michael Jackson, but I do appreciate his music. I don't own any albums or anything but he was huge, so I think it would be nearly impossible to go through life on this planet, much less the United States, without hearing any of his music. I mean come on, who hasn't seen thriller? It's the only dance I've done at parties since I can remember. Anyway, I really couldn't help but hearing this, so I'm not expecting anyone that's reading this to gain any knowledge when I say that Michael Jackson, ole' Jacko, is dead.

He died early in the day on June 25, 2009 at his house in Holmby Hills. According to The Sun, that claims to have a copy of the autopsy, he died of cardiac arrest. When the medics got there they tried to revive him by giving him CPR but got no pulse. The autopsy said, according to The Sun, that they found nothing but pills in his stomach and track marks on his shoulders, hips, and thighs. He was almost bald and was completely emaciated, weighing 112 pounds.

In all honesty, I don't really care that he's dead. I don't say this because I believe he was a child molester or anything, I just say this because plenty of people die every day and I don't think that one man should be taking up space on every news station. I would have rather heard about a cat in a construction site being saved by some firemen, or really just anything. I find it unbelievably unfair that one person gets the air time of an entire nation's news stations. There's a revolution going on in Iran and we have to hear Thriller over and over and over again? When did a singer, who went through a comical amount of surgery and then got charged with child molestation, become a protagonist of the sort that gets all of the world's attention? Was it when he died? That doesn't make very much sense to me.

The thing is, people idolize this man. People so deeply appreciated his music and what he did to pop that they nearly worshipped him and forgot about the dirt. I find this to be a true reflection of the idiocy of the majority of humans. Now, not being a genius, I can't really wrap my head around why VIRTUALLY EVERY news station in every type of media network would stick to only one seemingly irrelevant (to the world) topic. Are they trying to NOT broadcast something else? Are they keeping us in the dark for a couple of days? I don't care how much I love my favorite band, I hope that they don't get anything more than maybe a quick announcement or a marquee when they die. I really have no idea what the idea is, all I know is that there is no way that everyone is this dumb. I feel like the people higher up on the television and radio "food chain" would be of higher intelligence and would consider this completely obsurd if they didn't have their job titles. It really amazes me how pop-culture works, but I guess we all fall into a trend from time to time. I had a Pog collection.

Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 3:56 PM by cstanton | 2 comment(s)
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A sequel to the 1998 hit, StarCraft, has been awaited for nearly 10 years and finally has an uncomfirmed release date, but at least it is in 2009, which narrows it down within the next 6 months. The original StarCraft was, and still is, the best real time strategy game in my opinion. The reason it gained so much popularity is A) It's got 3 great campaign modes, B) It's got plenty of gore, C) The graphics look great for its time and the game is really aesthetically pleasing, and D) It's a very very well balanced multiplayer RTS.The sequel, StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, is said to be better in every way, which is almost expected after the long wait and the time allowed for development.  StarCraft II is said to have more of a focus on the multiplayer mode and will feature a new matchmaking system that will allow for better ranking lineups between competitors. The BattleNet aspect is supposed to be given a new look for better user compatibility.

The game's still fundamentally the same. It features three different races of characters, just like the first one, that are very well balanced. The Terran race is basically humans, with weapons and technology that could only be imagined to be in the distant future, like the year 2499. The Protoss are an advanced alien race that use things like plasma shields and generate all of their energy with structures called pylons. The Zerg are just really gross alien creatures that produce units by metamorphosis from these little larvae things that hang out around their hive.

StarCraft II is not just going to stop at Wings of Liberty. Blizzard is going to release two more expansion packs titled Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. Not only are each race's campaign going to be in separate releases, but they're all going to have their own style too, according to Blizzard. The first release, Wings of Liberty, is going to feature Jim Raynor from the first StarCraft as the main character. Througout the campaign the player will be doing mercenary jobs for money. The second campaign, Heart of the Swarm, will feature Kerrigan, another orginal character. It will be focused around leveling up her powers. The third campaign, Legacy of the Void, will include a lot of diplomacy that must be negotiated by Zeratul also an original character. 

Watch more videos of StarCraft 2

There are going to be a bunch of new units as well. You can see all of the names of them on the Tech-Tree that's shown on http://www.sc2armory.com/. You can also go ahead and search YouTube for the new units. I've watched a couple of those videos and there are a couple of new units and new features for old units that will bring a lot of interesting new strategy into the game. My favorite is the Protoss Mothership. Unfortunately some of its abilities were considered overpowered and game-changing, so they were removed and it's still up in the air what they will do to replace them. There's quite a bit of mess as to what's going to be in the actual released game, but most of it, if you care to tear through some threads, is available on http://www.sc2armory.com/.

Hopefully, when the game is released, it will have just as much of a hook on me as the first one did. I enjoy sitting down and playing a game at 9 and looking at the clock and seeing that its 5AM when it feels like only an hour has passed.


Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 11:44 AM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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 Surfactant technology developed for the ExoMars mission, set for 2018, may help solve our energy dillemma by allowing us to process unconventional fuels. A surfactant is a material that makes extraction easier. On the Mars mission, they are used to help extract organic material from space rock to help gain a better understanding of the biological standpoint of the environment on Mars. Professor Mark Sephton from Imperial’s Department of Earth Science and Engineering says the surfactant can be used for more. Sephton says that the same surfactant can be used to help recycle the water needed to process tar sand deposits into petroleum because apparently you need a lot.

During the extraction, the water used is seriously contaminated. The surfactant can strip the water clean of the oil residue and make it drinkable again. The surfactant is completely harmless and Sephton even says that it's edible (not that you'd want to). Even after the extraction the fuels need to be upgraded so that they match the standard of the conventional fuels.

I personally do not understand why we are continuing down the path of using more fossil fuels, but I am glad that we have the alternative of unconventional fuels that can be extracted by use of this new technology. According to the article in ScienceDaily, 35% of the energy spent on Earth is coming from crude oil. Not only are the reminants of crude oil and its products bad for the environment, but it is a limited resource that will only cause conflict. What we need to do as a planet is get off fossil fuels all together. It seems like we have the technology.

 Now I don't want to seem like a pot-head or anything, but I really think that the production of carbon-neutral fuel from hemp's biomass is necessary for our survival. There are really many uses for that plant but that's not really what this article is about. All I want to say on this side of the subject of fuel is that hemp has more convertable biomass than wood, so it's better for paper than trees are, and its biomass is easily converted into fuels such as methane, methanol, and gasoline. It's got a maturation of 110 days and can be used as a fuel, food, and numerous other uses (car companies have even begun integrating hemp fibers into car bodies since its 30% lighter and is much cheaper). PLUS the fuel produced is cleaner since it allows for a more complete combustion of hydrocarbons, thus letting off less CO2 into the atmosphere... So, solve world hunger and the oil situation at the same time? Sounds like a good plan.

I haven't been able to read anything on when the surfactant technology will actually be used to process tar sand deposits, but it is exciting to know that we're still developing technology that may prove to get us past our energy dillemma.

Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 1:25 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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Have you ever walked into a Wal-Mart or a KFC or even the mall and muttered under your breath "Wow.... they shouldn't have reproduced,"? I know that I have, and that's why I found this website to be absolutely hilarious. "Whythefuckdoyouhaveakid.com" is dedicated to the worst of the worst. It's a collection of the most hilarious craigslist listings, pictures, videos, or really just anything that shows an example of someone who's ability to procreate should have been snatched from them at their birth, or in some cases those who's own parents should have strongly considered the morning after pill (or maybe they did and that was the problem).

 Whythefuckdoyouhaveakid.com is a user-submitted assortment of pictures, videos, and text all showing great irony stemmed from the should-be responsibility of parenthood and the stupidity of many of today's new parents. The site was started in March of 2009, so it is relatively new. It's updated daily with funny little captions explaining why their poor genetically inferior offspring came to be. Users can post anything they want as long as it isn

The most common posts are women trying to be sexy with their baby sitting right behind them or pregnant group shots. It seems that teen pregnancy really is on the rise, but we do need ditchdiggers I guess. It also provides for some great entertainment. Laughing at other people's expense is always morally taxing but is definitely one of the most satisfying ways to laugh.

Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009 11:30 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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Tim Burton's 3D blockbuster Alice In Wonderland movie doesn't come out til 2010 but we can get a good idea of how it's going to look. Disney has just released a few portraits of some of the actors in full costume. The movie looks like it's going to be great, with a star-studded cast featuring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Anne Hathaway as the White Queen, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen, and Mia Wasikowska as Alice. Other classic characters include the Caterpillar played by Alan Rickman and the Jabberwock which will be played by Christopher Lee.

According to USA Today's interview with the producer, Richard Zanuck, the film has been freshened by writer Linda Woolverton who wrote the screenplay for films Beauty and the Beast, Homeward Bound, and The Lion King. Zanuck says that in this Alice In Wonderland, Alice finds herself about to be proposed to in front of a bunch of socialites and runs away. While she's hiding from the party she follows a rabbit down the rabbit hole and enters Wonderland, a strange, mysterious, and crazy place that she has been before but does not remember.

I'm sure that this movie will be just as great and probably above and beyond Burton's other creepy but intriguing works and I am really looking forward to it. This is Burton's 7th time working with Depp, so I'm sure his role will be perfectly integrated into the surreal feel of "Wonderland."

Here are some of the teaser pictures that have been released:

 

 

 

Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 2:58 PM by cstanton | 5 comment(s)
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I was just looking through a collection of old torrents the other day and I came across this one particular surf video that I had completely forgotten about. I have no idea how I could forget about it because it is probably my favorite surf video of all time. I'm not really big into surfing myself, I mean I've gone out a few times since I live in Florida, but by no means do I call myself a surfer. Even not being a total wave-addict, anyone can appreciate this video. The filmography gives you a great picture of the culture and the surroundings of each of the neat places featured in the video. It's almost a 50/50 split between the actual surf videos and clips of the places, animals, and everyday lives of the people that live in these beautiful surroundings.   

 

Morocco, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Egypt, Japan, Cuba, and Barbados were all captured in their true light throughout the video. This film really shows you the heart of each location since each place was visited not only for a few days, but for nearly two months at a time. This gave the camera's eye enough time to capture the soul of the place, all the little gems left unnoticed in a typical surf-n-scoot film. The beautiful images paired with the, in my opinion, awesome soundtrack really sucks you in and makes you feel the surrounding. It is a really touching, feel-good viewing experience.

The soundtrack is really influential to the video and flows extremely well. It's also filled with a lot of pretty good bands, some I had heard of before, some of who I grew to enjoy because of the video. 

Ian Brown - Happy Ever After
Massive Attack - Angel
Years Around The Sun - Heart Delay
Placebo - Post Blue
The Faint -  The Conductor
Tricky - You Don't
Sizzla & Anthony B - Haunted and Nervous,
UNKLE - In A State
Gelbison - See The World
The Album Leaf - See The World

Heart Delay is a really really catchy song that stuck with me for a week or two when I first saw this video. 

If its not enough that it is literally the most beautiful surf video I have ever seen, its packed with badass championship surfers. Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Benji Weatherly, Bruce Irons, Rizal Tangjung, Andy Irons, and Shane Dorian are among the large group of athletes performing in this film. They really just tear up the waves at every location. There are also a couple of really cool longboarding scenes interjected throughout some of the city scenes.

Overall, I'd say that this film is a MUST-SEE for pretty much everyone, unless you're just a grouch that hates beautiful film, a well-integrated soundtrack, and awe-inspiring waves. 

Check out this clip from the film: 

Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 1:22 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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 Every once in awhile a great show comes up that makes me frustrated that I live in such a small town with no really good venues. Slightly Stoopid, a reggae/blues/rock/rap/punk band from San Diego, is going on tour with Stephen Marley, one of my favorites of the Marley siblings, and the infamous Snoop Dogg. I have seen Slightly Stoopid only three times, which isn't that many considering how many times they've been around Florida. The first time I saw them was at a small show at Floyd's Music Store in Tallahassee. I honestly wasn't impressed at all, but that impression quickly changed when I saw them again in Jacksonville the next year. They're a great band with a great sound, maybe a little repetitive, but still they manage to make some awesome music. I have never seen Snoop Dogg in concert, which is why I really really want to make sure that I get to one of these tour dates. I've been following Snoop's music since Dr. Dre released The Chronic in '92 and he has released some really intense tracks. The only thing that makes me not want to see this tour is that ass clown, Mickey Avalon. He is really just a no-talent baffoon and I am still perplexed as to the way world works and how people give white trash megolomaniacal douchebags like that money. Other than him, it should be a really awesome show.

The whole point of the show is to get people together that are all on the same plane, that love music and smokable plants. I'm a little dissappointed that there aren't any shows coming closer to me but that's what I get for living in the beautiful city of Tallahassee. I think I am going to have to make the drive to either Elkton or St. Pete to catch this show. Tickets are available on pre-sale now at BlazedAndConfusedTickets.com. The prices depend on the venue, but range from $60 for stadium seating to $380 for floor tickets. A little pricey, but I'm sure it will be well worth it to see the show.

 

July 10: Primm, NV (Star Of the Desert Arena)
July 11: Irvine, CA (Verizon Wireless Amphitheater)
July 12: Santa Barbara, CA (Santa Barbara Bowl)
July 14: Albuquerque, NM (Journal Pavilion)
July 15: Denver, CO (Red Rocks Amphitheatre)
July 17: Portland, OR (Amphitheater at Clark County)
July 18: George, WA (The Gorge Amphitheatre)
July 19: Boise, ID (Idaho Center Amphitheater)
July 20: Salt Lake City, UT (USANA Amphitheatre)
July 22: Vancouver, BC (Pacific Coliseum)
July 24: Mountain View, CA (Shoreline Amphitheatre)
July 25: San Diego, CA (Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre)
July 30: Atlanta, GA (Masquerade Music Park)
July 31: St. Petersburg, FL (Vinoy Park)
Aug 1: Miami, FL (Bicentennial Park)
Aug 2: Elkton, FL (St. Johns County Fair Grounds)
Aug 5: Columbia, MD (Merriweather Post Pavilion)
Aug 6: Holmdel, NJ (PNC Bank Arts Center)
Aug 7: Philadelphia, PA (Festival Pier at Penn's Landing)
Aug 8: Boston, MA (Comcast Center)

 

Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 11:51 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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Aaron Tru is a man. He's not really a buck man, not really a scrappy man, more of a reporter, but is still an average man. Cris "Cyborg" Santos is a woman. A brutally monstrous woman with smashing punches and devastating kicks. Kind of like a T-850.  During an interview, directed by Aaron Tru, with Ms. Cyborg, he asked the ladyfighter what her plans for her next fight with Gina Carano would be. The translator seemed to be doing a pretty good job, giving accurately brutal sounding answers like "I would rather get a knockout, knockouts are the coolest," and "Beauty doesn't win a fight." Then, Tru tests her gangster a little too much and comes out with "so some people think women can't finish submissions, how long would you take?" She smiles really big and BAM "1..2...3.." and he's on the ground. The video is hilarious, and it may be staged, but it really looks like there may have just been an error in translation.

Either way, the little stunt looks terrible for MMA fighters and I'm actually very surprised that she wasn't suspended for doing something as ridiculous as all that. It sets a bad example for any child that has seen it, and gives all fighters a bad name and backs the common belief that fighters are subintelligent brutes.

It should be a great fight. The fight will be on August 15th and will be the first woman MMA fight headlining a night with men on the card. I've got my money on Gina Carano, but after seeing that brutal beast Cyborg, I'm a little doubtful. Call me sexist but I just wanna see the hot one win.... :)

Posted Monday, June 22, 2009 10:50 AM by cstanton | 4 comment(s)
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The people of Finland are a very prideful people. Over the years they have come up with a variety of oddball "sports" that show their true skills and attributes. Anthill Sitting and the Wife-Carry are two great tests of applicable survival skills. You never really know when you will be in the situation where you would be stuck testing the endurance of your buttocks against a bunch of enraged pincer-weilding insects, or the next time you're running from the Antero Vipunen with your wife on your back. These are two real threats in Finland ;) but how often do you think you'll get stuck in the scorching 230 degree (F) weather? Probably never, but you never know when you might get locked in one of the many saunas they have up there.

 

Saunas are everywhere in Finland apparently. Almost every home, school, hospital, community center,  and even the prisons have saunas. If that isn't enough for you to know that they take pride in their saunas, how about the World Sauna Championship? That's right. There is actually a competition, a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP COMPETITION, where men get naked and sit in saunas. I enjoy a nice long sit in a sauna, taking in the smell of poisonous plants and enjoying the cleansing feeling of the hot damp air. These saunas, however, are a totally different animal.

 

Upon entering these saunas, the temperature of the scorching hot air is already 110 degrees Celsius, hotter than the boiling point of water. When you think about it, the hottest temperature recorded on earth is 136 degrees (F). This sauna stomps that measly temperature out by a good 85 degrees! Medics make sure that they have everyone's medical information beforehand to make sure that they are healthy enough to participate. Even still, they sit by, waiting tentatively for any kind of medical problem.

The way the championship works is six competitors enter the sauna at once. The temperature is roughly 230 degrees (F). One pint of water is thrown on the stones every thirty seconds for the duration of the round. 160 competitors from 24 different countries form tournament style brackets and compete. The champion is determined by who can sit in the sauna for the longest period of time and still be able to leave unassisted. Medics will pull people out if they are unable to sit straight and can not stop moving their hands.

In 2008, Bjarne Hermansson took the championship by roasting in there for 18:15. Leila Kulin was the female champion, with a time of 5:22.

 

Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 2:36 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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If you're a big fan of high intensity action and open-world games, which I'm fairly confident everyone can appreciate, then you need to at the very least rent "Prototype." I haven't been able to play all the way through the story mode, but I got to mess around with it at a friend's house for a little while and it was amazing. The character, Alex Mercer, starts out like a regular human and throughout the course of the game he gains abilities that he uses to wreak havoc on the infected and the military. 

Throughout the course of the game Alex turns into a hybrid of Nightmare from the Soul Calibur series, Leon Belmont from the Castlevania series, Wolverine from Marvel, and that chick from Mirror's Edge sort of. I say Mirror's Edge because of the awesome free-running abilities that he has. He can run up buildings, jump from car to car, and pretty much any other badass tricks you can think of. His pure destruction weapon abilities include a six foot blade that rips through bodies, a long whip that can pop off heads, and Wolverine claws (there's really no other way to describe them). One of the coolest of his not so violent abilities is that he can shapeshift and steal people's clothing to gain entry to places that would be tough to blast through with raw firepower. He can also "shapeshift his biomass" to his fists, to liquidate pretty much anything, and forearms, to get some extra strength for tossing trucks and cars and whatnot.

The game has great replay value as well since it lets you keep all of the upgrades that you have earned when you go back for a second run. The way the attribute system is much like an RPG's, leveling up each attribute point by point,  gives it a real dynamic feel and gives you something to strive for while running through the game. My friend who owned the game said that it took about 10 hours of gameplay to finish it, but he didn't even get close to half of the collectible items in the game the first time through.

 

While playing, you will realize that the engine is very versatile. Not limiting you to your "biomass" as your only forms of attack, the game allows for you to use certain vehicles and use any weapons dropped by any one of the NPCs. This includes tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers, assault rifles, all the way down to pistols. Also, I actually almost forgot, you don't just kill people.. you can FINISH THEM! The game has several finishing moves of equal gory goodness to those of the old school Mortal Kombats. I punched through somebody's chest and it made me feel good. (not my gameplay screenshot below)

 

 

While the graphics on the 360 were not "out of this world," the game was still graphically impressive and gave you some real satisfaction and a reasonably realistic view of what NY would look like if it was crumbling down.

Overall, I give it a 9. I don't get paid to be a critic, but I would consider myself to have a moderate knowledge base and point of comparison.  

 

Posted Friday, June 19, 2009 10:55 AM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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Since 2004, when an outbreak of HIV in the porn industry caused adult film companies to take more precautions, there have been 22 cases of HIV. This is what health officials are saying according to an article in the New York Times. My question is: "Why is that surprising?"

These are people that are in an industry focused on sex. People that take this profession probably love sex. I know when I was growing up, not that I'm 100% grown, that everyone around me, my teachers, my parents, all told me to pick something I loved and try to make a career out of it. That's probably what most of these people did. I feel like that would be a horrible job to have if you didn't like sex. Well i'm meandering around but what I'm trying to get at is when you have sex, you're at risk to get a sexually transmitted disease. You're always at risk to get a sexually transmitted disease when you have sex. "Why can't we rely on tests 100% of the time? Aren't these actors tested all the time?" These are questions answered with "We can," and "Yes," but really what we're not taking into consideration, in my opinion, is the human factor. Humans lie! Especially about sex! It's, in most cases, the most private part of our lives. I know I've lied to keep secrets about my private life. We can test them all we want, but all of these actors and actresses have personal lives too. You'd figure we would just test them before every shoot, but the tests take days to get back and time is money right?

I'm not surprised at all, but to completely shut down the hype of this story and any panic it may have caused among the few in the porn industry... the article states that there are only 1,500 porn stars employed. Since 2004 I am sure some of them have left the industry and no longer perform. That makes the number even a little higher. That's only 1.5% (rounding up). Washington D.C. has a higher AIDS rate than that at 3%. That makes it more dangerous to have sex with somebody in the capital city than it is to have sex with somebody in the porn industry that probably has had a lot more sexual partners. To put it in perspective with some other countries, Swaziland has an AIDS rate of 33.4%, Botswana at 24.1%, Lesotho at 23.2%, Zimbabwe at 20.1%, and Namibia at 19.6% all have MUCH higher AIDS rates and they're not even getting paid!

 

All I'm saying is that I think we should stop freaking out, and maybe at least wear condoms if we're getting paid to have sex with someone else that's getting paid to have sex.

Here is a link to the original article.  http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2009334074_porn13.html

 This really isn't to say that I am an uncaring person, for I love life in all forms, and I feel for the people that have contracted this virus. 

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 4:11 PM by cstanton | 4 comment(s)
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Modest Mouse
Aug 19, 2009
Wed 7:00 PM
Montreal, QC
Metropolis
  Modest Mouse Aug 21, 2009
Fri 7:00 PM
Toronto, ON
Sound Academ

  Modest Mouse Aug 24, 2009
Mon 7:00 PM
Columbus, OH
Lifestyles Communities ...

  Modest Mouse Aug 25, 2009
Tue 7:00 PM
Chicago, IL
Aragon Ballroom

  Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival Aug 28, 2009
Fri 3:30 AM
San Francisco, CA
Golden Gate Park

  Modest Mouse Sep 1, 2009
Tue 7:00 PM
Salt Lake City, UT
In The Venue

  Modest Mouse Sep 2, 2009
Wed 7:00 PM
Denver, CO
Fillmore Auditorium - C...

  Bumbershoot Sep 5, 2009
Sat 3:30 AM
Seattle, WA
Seattle Cente

 

These are the dates (for the shows in North America) set for the tour that kicks off August 17th in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Modest Mouse will be playing with somebody special, the guitarist from Grandaddy! I am very excited about hearing some of the music they play with Jim Fairchild, as I have enjoyed Grandaddy's music. I think that the two bands' styles are similar, yet different, and will probably go great together. They might want to call it Modesto Mouse, since that's where Grandaddy is from, just kidding. This is kind of a short post, but I'd like to share a Grandaddy video that has brightened up my day

 

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 3:33 PM by cstanton | 1 comment(s)
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 Okay, I'd like to start by saying that I take no responsibility for human error that causes injury or property damage. I am going to guide you through a step by step process to make a colorful smoke bomb. You're going to need a few materials before we get started.

 

  1. KNO3, or Potassium Nitrate, can be found at your local garden store, most hardware stores, or home improvement store as Stump Remover. You may be able to find it at a pharmacy as "saltpeter," or you can purchase it online HERE.
  2. Sugar
  3. Aluminum Foil
  4. Firework fuse
  5. Powdered Organic Dye can be found at a local hobby shop. Orange, Yellow, Red, and Blue seem to work the best.
  6. Stove and pan, or heating plate.
  7. Duct Tape

Once you have all the materials, put your stove on a relatively low heat, 350°F. What you will need to do is then measure out the amount of sugar and KNO3 that you would like to use. You're going to need a 5:3 ratio. It doesn't have to be exact, it could be 2:1, or 3:2, but the more sugar that you have, the slower it will burn. Once you figure that out, put them in the pan that's on the stove top. You're going to want to caramelize the sugar and mix in the KNO3. If the sugar starts to burn then immediately take the pan off and lower the heat and put it back on once it stops. Keep stirring until you have a good paste going, and until all of the sugar and the KNO3 are mixed. Turn off the heat, and mix in the organic dye.

Pour the liquid out onto the aluminum foil. I would suggest cleaning your pan immediately and making sure that none of the mixture gets on anything in your house aside from the aluminum foil. 

This is where you can get a little creative. You can shape the liquid into anything you want before it hardens, the shape does effect the burn pattern though I would suggest a cylinder for your first one.

Flatten out the paste into a square on the aluminum foil and cut off the excess. Put the firework fuse in the middle, half on and half off, and then roll up the aluminum foil into a cylinder around the fuse. This will make the paste form kind of a spiral and will make it burn for awhile.... if you want a faster more explosive burn, then you may want to stuff the paste down into a cardboard tube, like a toilet paper tube, make a hole with a pencil in the middle, and stick the fuse down in there.

Now what you're going to want to do is wrap everything up in duct tape, letting only the fuse hang out.

Light and enjoy a big cloud of colorful smoke! Please be careful where you light it!

 


Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2:15 PM by cstanton | with no comments
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If you weren't worried about Japan building huge manned robots and taking over the world, then maybe you will be now! Odaiba Shiokaze park has had a huge makeover, and now, standing right in the middle of it, a "life-sized" Gundam stands towering over everything like an attentive prison warden.

Bandai, a toy company that has been around since the 50s, has been building the robot for the last few months and now it is nearly, if not fully, complete. The official unveiling is scheduled for July 11th, but it is hard to keep a giant humanoid robot covered up. The huge robot was built as a monument to the 30th anniversary of Mobile Suit Gundam, an anime TV show in Japan. The show has featured monsterous bipedal robots equipped with rocket launchers, lasers, and jetpacks. As you can imagine, the technology hungry country of Japan has MILLIONS of fans... enough fans to build a huge monument.

 

The Gundam is designed to look like a model RX-78, one of the original robots from the show. It stands at 18 meters or 60 feet tall, dwarfing everything around it. Its colorful armored plating is well lit and is complimented by mist machines. Not only is it a statue, it is actually a robot! Its head can move in all directions, making it seem a little more all-seeing. It stands tall, appearing to watch over the city.

This isn't the first monument to the Gundams though, there has been a much smaller gundam that stands about 4 meters tall at Shinjuku’s Kamiigusa train station. Numerous japanese companies have used Gundams in their advertisements and even a poster designed by the actual japanese fire department features a Gundam shooting water at a flaming building. I guess the japanese love their mythic metal gunslinging warriors a bit.

There are some more pictures on Pink Tentacle

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 1:09 PM by cstanton | 3 comment(s)
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I am not what you would call a "Gun Enthusiast" by any means, but I am very enthused and amused by guns of all kinds. There's something about the clean feel of the trigger pull of an unloaded double action revolver that calms one down and there is something about the recoil of a shot fired that releases stress. A friend of mine just bought a pistol that I had been wanting to shoot since I had first heard its very appropriate, or I guess it could be ironic, name: "The Judge." He sounded extremely excited for me to head over there so that he could show it off. As soon as I saw it I could see why. This model was the 4410 Tracker. It sported a 5 round revolving cylinder, a 4" barrel, fiber-optic sight, a very comfortable rubber grip, an extremely good safety system (if you care to use it) including a transfer bar and a key-lock system, and wore a beautiful blue steel finish. Aside from the comfort and the aesthetics of the gun, the real perk was that not only did this weapon fire .45 caliber cartridges, it also fired .410 shotshell! 


 

We first set targets, or car doors, up at 20 and 30 feet. From 20 feet the rounds stayed almost exactly at the point of aim and were in a VERY tight group. From 30 feet the rounds stayed at the point of aim and were just in a very tight group, without the caps. The pistol is both double action and single action, so we released 10 rounds at each target. It was great to shoot in both modes, though I prefer the double action. The rubber grip absorbed almost all of the shock and the recoil was pretty easy to control. We then set up a couple of paper targets at 10 feet. We loaded the 5 chamber cylinder with some number 6 .410 shotshells and blasted away. The spread was surprisingly wide but from that range would still be effective. The reason that the spread was so wide at such a short range is that the barrel is rifled, unlike a shotgun's, allowing for a quicker and wider spread.

 For protection, I would personally prefer the .45 caliber cartridge simply because of the ridiculous amount of stopping power, at 20 and 30 feet just devestating the car doors we had set up as targets, but I could understand why it may be practical to use shot at close range or if you do not want to deliver deadly force. What's really crazy is that you could even mix it up if you wanted! .410, .45, maybe another .410 in there, .45, .45.... just a thought.

In my opinion this really is the perfect gun for home and personal protection. Plus, The Judge is really great to look at, has an amazing feel, the action is so smooth its addicting, and if any problems arise it will be able to do its part in shortening them considerably.

Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 11:12 AM by cstanton | with no comments
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