Friday, February 29, 2008

Atomic Horns This Friday at Ray's ESG

And here's a special bonus free plug: Ray's ESG.

All the cool kids will be there - will you?

Friday's Feast - Leap Day Edition

Feast One Hundred & Eighty One

Appetizer - Who was the last person you hugged?

My daughter, Tink, when she got up this morning.

Soup - Share a beauty or grooming trick or tip with us.

Wash your hair. Take baths or showers. Cut your nails. Don't wear clothes that are visibly dirty. Trim your beard (males only). What, you really expect me to know anything special?

Salad - What does the color yellow make you think of?


Main Course - If you were to make your living as a photographer, what subject would your pictures revolve around?

Kids playing, theme parks, kids playing at theme parks...

Dessert - What was the longest book you ever read?

Probably one of the mammoth Stephen King books like "The Stand".

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How to Get Unstuck in Time

Ok, Lost fans. Here's my theory for the time displacement surrounding the island:

Picture the island as a dot on a piece of paper. Picture the boat as another dot on the other end of the same side of the paper. Now draw a line between the two dots - that's the distance in real time and space between the island and the boat:
The chopper takes off from the island around dusk (according to Sayid). It's dusk on the boat, too, because the two areas are actually in real time sync with each other. It's Christmas-ish 2004 in both places. Things are proceeding normally.
Now picture the island existing within a bubble or dome of some sort. Anything that hits this bubble without being on the precise correct heading (sort of a corridor through the bubble) encounters a "warp". This "warp" connects through "subspace" (for want of a better term) and bridges the 40-minute gap. While in that warp, for the people on the chopper a short but indeterminate time has passed, but it's obvious when they finally get through and arrive at the boat, it's the middle of the next day. It's also the middle of the next day on the island. So they've essentially been caught up in that warp for a day, while subjectively to them the time passes much more quickly. Picture it as a layer of jello that, while allowing radio waves to pass through unhindered (they can talk in real-time from the island to the boat and back on the radio) it hinders matter and slows it down. The effect is more or less unnoticed on the chopper by Frank and Sayid (although they experience it as storm turbulence) except for Desmond, who, due to his unique exposure to the hatch electromagnetic radiation, becomes "unstuck" in time.

So the chopper and its passengers leave the island at dusk, run into a thunderhead, and come out of it on the other side in full daylight. To them, only a short time has passed but to the island and the boat it's been a full day.

This accounts for what happened to Daniel's rocket in another way - it was launched from the boat, and supposed to arrive on the island in app. 20 seconds. It takes far longer than that to arrive, and when their clocks are compared, it shows that while "x" minutes have passed for Daniel on the island, "x+31" minutes have passed for the rocket. It was stuck in the barrier for a number of minutes, out of time with the rest of the island.

So picture the barrier as a big bubble of jello, catching objects going in and out and holding them for a particular amount of time that seems short to those coming out and long to those coming in, then releases them to arrive at their destinations. If Frank flew the chopper back to the island and missed the safe corridor, he would probably arrive later than expected again, and to Frank he would've been gone even longer still.

I'm Not Running for President, and Neither Are You

Bloomberg: I'm not running for president
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has squashed the notion of running for president this year, declaring that he will not seek the White House but might put his support behind another candidate who embraces bipartisan governing.
Yeah, well, I'm not running either. So there. I win.

I'm also not running for mayor, County Commission, dogcatcher, or in the New York Marathon. Does that get me an AP Wire story? Probably not...

My New Desk

I just had this great new desk installed in my office:

Yeah, people are looking at me funny, but hey...I've got a model of DS9, 3 Star Wars lego keychain men, Micromachine Trek ships, a Borg cube, the Enterprise NX-01, a stuffed lionfish, The Abominable Snowman from Rudolph, a framed aerial photo of EPCOT and the World's Fair, a print of Prince Eric fighting Malificent, Bill and the Conjunction Junction guy and a working tribble in my office. Who can tell a difference?

Ok, I don't have the cool Han-Solo-in-carbonite-desk, but you know I'd use it if I had it. Buy it for me here and I'll let you sit behind it and pretend you're Princess Leia...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

6th District to get a Merry Christmas this year

(from the live blogging of the County Commission meeting)
District 6, Seat A

Interim Knox County Commission Chairman Thomas "Tank" Strickland drew 6th District, Seat A from the hat.
Strangely enough, there's a little-known Knox County regulation: Tank Strickland is now also required to be the 6th District's "Secret Santa" at the County Commission Christmas party.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Quick Takes on the Traumas of Life

I'm in a big blogging lag, without the will to post much at all. A lot's going on in our life these days and it seems like the more my offline world throws at me, the less I feel like blogging. When things get boring, I'll get back to posting I suppose.

In a nutshell: flu and flu scares, science fairs (Brainyboy 1st place!), Valentine's Day Simple Machine Project, end of basketball and beginning of soccer, church drama, Atomic Horns drama and new opportunities I hope to advertise soon, almost-teenage birthday sleepovers, "Spiderwick Chronicles" quite good, and once again no chips for Lent. No chips, snacks, popcorn, crackers, nothing good. It's starting to make me hallucinate, but I'll get through it. I've lost 7 pounds so far, which is good.

Anything else? Oh yeah, I opted against surgery on the bulging, herniated disk in my neck and will be starting Physical Therapy soon, and will have steroid epidural injections in my neck the first of April. Yeah, there's that little decision that was on me all last week...

One final thought: UT suspended punter Britton Colquitt and revoked his scholarship for his umpteenth DUI and alcohol-related arrest. Critics once again all over coach Fulmer for not keeping control of his players and the program. All I have to say is there's a young man here with a serious, serious substance abuse problem that is nobody's responsibility but his and his family's. That's where the focus should be, getting him into treatment and rehab so he can hopefully live with this addiction. I've seen the tragic, tragic results of alcoholism and the only thing it brings is grief and regret.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cause and Effect

Maybe I'm being totally simplistic about such matters, but after reading this the yesterday:

TVA board will vote on rate increase (Knoxville News Sentinel, 2/12/08)
Tennessee Valley Authority board members will vote Friday on a rate increase that would add between $4 and $7 to monthly bills for residential customers, starting April 1.


"The reason for it is we are going to do these long-term investments and meet new power generation," said TVA spokesman Gil Francis. "It is a combination of gas turbine plants and Watts Bar 2 and it is going to allow us to continue to have the resources to keep the lights on."


TVA is spending $423 million this year to build and buy more gas-fired plants and recently began a $2.5 billion program to finish its second reactor at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant by 2013.
Ok, higher power rates you just have to deal with. If they're for increasing capacity to meet future demands, I'm kinda ok with that - I'm not sure an addition $4-$7/month ($48-$84/year) would be that big of a burden on anybody...

But then I saw this in the paper today:

Drought induces TVA's $17M first-quarter loss (Knoxville News Sentinel, 2/13/08)
TVA reported a loss of $17 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, as the federal utility continues to feel the pinch from a drought that has stretched on for more than a year across the Tennessee Valley.


To make up for the gap between power demand and TVA's generation capacity, the utility is spending $423 million this year to build and buy more gas-fired power plants and is launching a five-year, $2.5 billion project to finish a second reactor at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant.
I'm not trying to make more of this than there is, but the separation of the two stories makes it seems like TVA's increasing our rates to pay for increasing infrastructure, but then the next day it comes out to appear they're only trying to recoup a significant 1st quarter loss that, even allowing for the intensity of the drought, should've been handled to a tune of less than a $17 million loss.

Am I being needlessly suspicious here, that execs are raising rates not just to increase generation capacity but make up for the loss of the bottom line on their paychecks?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Double Play

I love when Amazon comes to visit :)

Courtesy of my brother, I recently took advantage of a nice gift certificate. First up, the long-awaited but trepidation-filled animated Dragonlance movie.

Longtime viewers may remember the "Inn of the Last Home" is a fictional inn from this fantasy book series based on the Dungeons & Dragons series. This has long been a favorite series of mine, and in my opinion much richer, more fun and less pretentious than Lord of the Rings ever thought about being. I'd highly recommend any fantasy fans to give them a try. Meanwhile, the animated adaptation of the first book, "Dragons of Autumn Twilight" awaits.

The other half of Amazon's delivery was the latest Jimmy Buffett album, a live 2-disk CD of his March, 2007 beach-side concert in the Caribbean island of Anguilla:

While any new Buffett is heaven to me, what makes this compilation special isn't just the music but the accompanying DVD showing Jimmy live in concert - both at the Dunes concert venue, but also some acoustic tunes sitting around on the beach with the band. A great DVD.

I'm a happy parrothead :)

Catfish Hunters

Voters boot officials tied to county turmoil
Republicans repudiated the officials directly involved in the year-long political upheaval in Knox County on Tuesday, turning out all but two of those who had opposition in the county primary.

Democrats got in on the rebellion, too, with Amy Henley-Vandergriff thumping George Stooksbury, despite running a shoestring campaign against a seasoned politico in the county clerk's race. Stooksbury has been running the clerk's office since October.

Foster Arnett Jr. attributed his runaway victory over Commission Chairman Scott "Scoobie" Moore and two other opponents in the GOP county clerk's race to anger over the status quo.
The citizenry taking charge of their county combined with the NYT article that said (among other gems):
At curtain’s close, the 12 appointments included the son of one outgoing commissioner, the wife of another outgoing commissioner, the father of a sitting commissioner, a top aide to the politically muscular sheriff, and a businessman who years earlier had come out on the wrong end of a sexual harassment suit. It seems a catfish could have been appointed if properly connected.
The Catfish Hunters have practically hurled a no-hitter.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Best Care Anywhere

One of these days, when we make our long-planned/never-fulfilled West Coast Trip, I'm going here.

Or better yet, someone should just recreate it in their backyard somewhere. How cool would that be?

Monday, February 04, 2008

Best Super Bowl Ad of the Night

What would've made this commercial a true classic, though, if right at the last moment when Charlie Brown was about the snag the Coke Bottle a huge Lucy balloon comes out of nowhere and snatches it away from him...

Maybe next year - a sequel!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Fly Oceanic Air!

Oceanic Air has a new website... Makes me want to fly with them!


Anyway, if you go to that site, you can re-watch the commercial they ran last night (without the interference from this guy). Is it just me or are those flight attendants, while quite attractive, rather creepy?

Also, and this is the true geek in me shining through but I downloaded the source code for the home page and found two "clues":

At the very, very top of the page is printed "<--a warn witness-->" (in HTML code when something is surrounded by "<--" and "-->" means it is commented out, or not intended to be seen actually printed on the website).

A little lower down is, "<--smash moat-->".

Now when they ran the LOST Experience two summers ago there were clues embedded in the webpages, so I'm assuming these are similar. Any ideas what they might mean?

Where's Michael?

No, not this Michael. this Michael.

Harold Perrineau's name was in the opening credits of the season premiere of "Lost" last night, but as far as I could tell was nowhere to be seen in the entire episode. Was a scene with him filmed and cut? Saved for a later episode? Or was he there and we just didn't see him?

  • And that was totally You Know Who sitting in Jacob's chair in the Haunted Cabin. ;)

  • Speaking of the Haunted Cabin, One-eyed guy peeking out at Hurley (and scaring my wife to death)? Mikhail. I need to go back and check his eye color, but I bet that's who it is. The guy in the window had (a) brown eye, and I think it's significant they only showed the left one since Mikhail's right eye is gone. I don't think it was Michael (see above) because the skin tone was too light.

  • Did anyone think, right after Charlie disappeared from talking to Hurley, the woman sitting at the table in the background with the blond hair could have been Libby? Ok, just me.

  • Who is Naomi's sister? Right before she died (again) she told George on the sat phone to "tell her sister she loved her" (Unnngggggh!! *thump*). Who's her sister? Is she significant? I thought at first it could be be Penny (obviously not blood-related), but when Charlie told Penny that Naomi had parachuted to the island, Penny said, "Who's Naomi?" instead of even a momentary recognition of the name. And Desmond would've probably known her, or known of her from before. Maybe Naomi's not her real name, but George knows who she and Penny really are? I can see a plotline develop there.

    I suppose it could also be Nadia, Sayid's erstwhile girlfriend. I don't know if Naomi is Iraqi (I'm assuming Nadia is) but she's the closest match ethnically we've seen on the show that I can think of.