Posted by: Mark | November 27, 2014

Pikachu II R.I.P.

It’s been a sad Thanksgiving–Pikachu II was dead in his cage this morning. Hamsters don’t live long but I didn’t think he was that old (although looking back, he was at least two).

This leaves Midnight as our only surviving Syrian hamster, along with Robo hamster, Jack, and the five Siberian dwarf hamsters.

I’m not sure if I’ll replace Pikachu. It would make things easier but Pikachu had such unusual markings that I don’t know if that’s possible.

Posted by: Mark | November 26, 2014

Episodes That Series Forgot

More like “wish they could forget,” episodes that aren’t just bad but screw up continuity and generally make a mess of things. The Simpsons and South Park can actually pull this off but I’ve never seen another show manage it. (Check out this for the comics version of things.)

The Next Generation “speed limit” still makes me mad. It took a half-ass environmental concept, poorly translated it to space with unlikable characters, and arbitrarily made ST space travel even more goofy. I’m hoping J.J. Abrams somehow directly erases it.

Posted by: Mark | November 25, 2014

2014: Another Dumb Year

The resolution:

Read all of the Koran, six more books of the Bible, and three works of Lovecraft that I’ve never read before.

What happened:

Fairly early in the year I worked through the Koran and three stories of Lovecraft, including “Old Bugs” which is probably his weakest. I’m now on my 26th book of the Bible so that went easier than expected.

Will I try again:

I think I’ll repeat Lovecraft but I don’t think I’ll worry about the Bible or Koran. I’m set to finish up the New Testament so next year I’d have to start over with Genesis which is more like hearing a drunken serial killer’s sex fantasy than anything inspirational. I’m glad I completed the Koran but I don’t have an urge to read it again.

Posted by: Mark | November 24, 2014

Quotes to Remember

From a student exercise on quotations (I’m not sure if any are incorrectly attributed):

“Strength doesn’t come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.” Gandhi

“Be like water. Water can flow and it can crash. If you put water in a tea pot, it becomes the tea pot. If you put it into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. Be formless, shapeless, like water.” Bruce Lee

“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Joseph Goldstein

“To give real service, you must add something which can’t be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” Douglas Adams

“It is said, were a samurai to have his head removed, he would still be able to perform one last move.” Hagkure from the Code of the Samurai

 

And a boatload of lines from Frozen.

 

Posted by: Mark | November 24, 2014

Would you like to get the new Krampus book but are too cheap? Here’s a give-away for a free book.

Posted by: Mark | November 23, 2014

2014: Another Dumb Year

I waste a lot of time thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s a reflection on one of my goals for the year:

The resolution:

Either run 26.2 miles or do 50 push ups in one sitting.

What happened:

I struggled with push ups but never came close to getting 50 at once. I did run 26.2 miles twice, once mainly on an elliptical machine and once entirely on an elliptical machine. Real runners just laugh at that.

Will I try again:

I’m going to try again in 2015 but I might split these up. It was much too easy to ignore push ups when it was clear that they were the tougher of the two.

Posted by: Mark | November 22, 2014

2000.4

When I hit 1,900 miles for the year, I gave myself two weeks to make it to 2,000. Two weeks came on November 13 but I wasn’t even close. I ran 26.2 miles (on the elliptical machine) in one day but didn’t get to 2,000 miles until yesterday. I’m going to shoot for 2,100 by December 12 but don’t bet the farm on it.

Posted by: Mark | November 21, 2014

Natasha R.I.P.

Back on October 2, I posted about an unexpected litter of hamsters. The little hamsters soon grew up and started fighting.

Initially we just had one cage for them but Natasha, the future mom, started fighting Boris, the male (but most likely not the dad). I put Boris in a separate cage shortly before the babies were born.

Two cages, six hamsters.

Mother Syrian hamsters often eat their babies but Natasha held back. Her babies weren’t very appreciative–they bit her every chance they got so I moved her to another cage.

Three cages, six hamsters.

One of the babies was a complete bully and bit his siblings so often that I moved him/her to yet another cage.

Four cages, six hamsters.

All went well until yesterday when I was cleaning the cages. Natasha was curled up dead. Hamsters can hibernate but she was definitely singing with the choir invisible.

Three cages, five hamsters.

I’m not sure if it was her age, the abuse she took from her children, or something else. It makes cage-cleaning day easier but I wish I’d been able to help her.

Posted by: Mark | November 19, 2014

More Movies

In most semesters for media analysis, students pick Harry Potter and Transformers. Many did again this time but a few were more inspiring:  Hotel Rwanda, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, and American Horror Story. One student claimed she is writing about Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2. One can only dream.

Posted by: Mark | November 15, 2014

Dagger of the Mind

For the fifth or sixth time, I started watching “Dagger of the Mind” of the first season of the original Star Trek and initially didn’t recognize it. I don’t know why. It’s not a bad episode at all, bringing up questions of bio-ethics that still hold up today.

The show Farscape had a somewhat similar episode, “Nerve,” which introduced the character Scorpius. Scorpius was a much better character than the mad doctor of “Dagger of the Mind” and I don’t think I’ll ever forget Scorpy, but compared to many of the TOS episodes I’ve seen lately, “Dagger of the Mind” shouldn’t be so easily forgotten.

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