Flying Saucer live on Ustream!

Sorry (not sorry), it’s not a UFO.  The strange people responsible are not part of the Galactic Federation of Lights and do not come to us from the Andromeda Galaxy.  I can’t confirm that none of them are lizard folk.  Those creeps are sneaky sneaky.

NASA is doing a live stream of its Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator at 9am PDT (11am CDT).

According to Earthsky, the LDSD will undergo a spin-table test:

During the broadcast, the 15-foot-wide, 7,000-pound vehicle is expected to be undergoing a spin-table test.

JPL’s Gay Hill will host the program while LDSD team members will answer questions submitted to the Ustream chat box or via Twitter using the #AskNASA hashtag.

The vehicle is meant to enable large payloads to land on the surface of Mars.

NASA obviously chose the saucer shape so the Martians wouldn’t be frightened by an unfamiliar looking craft.

Tune in to Ustream for the live broadcast.

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In Russia, carrots crater you!

Russian meteorites are endless fun.

The Chelyabinsk meteorite from way back in February 2013 is still a chart topper.

It was well-documented and much speculated upon by people who know nothing about meteorites but an awful lot about lizard folks from Zeta Riticuli.

If you’re the Lizard King, you can do anything.  Even disguise your space cruiser as a meteorite menacing Russia.

The newest fun stuff is about carrots.  Researchers at the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference reported on funnel-shaped “carrots” left in the snow by meteorite fragments.  It’s a pretty nifty effect resulting from the physics of impacts on porous material.

I guess I can see where they got “carrot,” but I would have gone with “meteorite flavoured ice bugles“.  I think it sells better to the youth market.  You can’t tempt them to science with carrots, man.

This has nothing to do with anything, but I couldn’t resist the image of people freezing their carrots in an ice hole in Chelyabinsk City.

 

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Are you feeling lucky, punk?

So, it is one of those days.  A Friday, the thirteenth day of a month.

Tom Savini applies make-up to Ari Lehman, crea...

Tom Savini applies make-up to Ari Lehman, creating his vision of Jason Voorhees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This means you probably have the opportunity to catch at least one movie with Jason Voorhees (or his mother…or some faker!) killing nubile, young folks near a pond.

Not that you care, because you can stream it whenever you want.  Everything is so easy for you now, isn’t it?  If only you could detach yourself from your giant cell phone long enough to be free.  Take the red pill before it’s too late!

Turns out, this year Friday the 13th is pretty lucky.  Today is the second of three such Fridays this year.  We already had one in February and we will have one in November if the end of days doesn’t happen first.  Check out the technical details in this EarthSky article.

This triple threat only happens eleven times in the 21st century.

The 13th goes to 11!

I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON ANYMORE!

Enjoy the weekend kids.  It will be nice in Chicago for once.

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Penny fore you’re naught

“Do you believe the past can return?”

I’m not sure, Ms. Ives.  I’m just not sure.

I know I’m not alone thinking I spend more time waiting around for television shows than I do watching.

I’m also willing to concede that quality can’t be rushed.

The problem for me is that I will just move on.

The emotional entanglement created by a good bit of televised drama is not a permanent spell.  It dissipates.

And so I stumble upon a first look at Penny Dreadful Season 2.

Season 1 ended in June of last year.  Season 2 is slated for late April.

I’m not sure how to feel.  I recall getting into that show.  The memory of those long ago nights is fuzzy.

Our heroine had come to grips with herself.  Sort of.  The tall, hairy American hadn’t.  Not really.  Though we no longer had to wait for his less obvious fangs to come out.  The esteemed gentlemen revealed his weaknesses, but hardened himself and did what must be done.  The vampire satan thing ran away into the night without a bride.  The doctor was fretting over a bride of his own creation.  The creepy painting remained creepy.  The whore with consumption was finally consumed.

A lot of stuff happened, but it felt comfortable.  Even the uncomfortable bits.

Now, I liked the gritty atmosphere of the show’s London.  Eva Green is fun to watch.  Timothy Dalton is smooth to listen to.  Josh Hartnett is the squinting, confused drunk hiding his dark secrets that I am early Saturday morning waiting for a cab home.  We both have the same sketchy looking facial hair and a tendency to growl when irritated.

However, I fear one of two things in April.

The first being that the show will recognize that we forgot about it and shacked up with another while it was doing a year abroad.  To this end, the season will start slowly.  Trying to draw us back in.  Enticing us with sweets, but refusing to deliver.  Wearing on our patience.

The second is a cannonball into the frozen pond.  An attempt to shock our love back into being.

I’m not sure which is worse.  I could rewatch the first season to get in the swing of things. I won’t.  Probably.  The marathon showings that precede a new season are like quicksand.  Beware, lest you lose an entire day to the infinite void.  I’ve heard that some people never find the way back.

Maybe it will just be fun and I’ll fall back into the show like I never left.  I doubt it.  I’m not that person.

But the call is strong.  After all, nothing is on.  Nothing is ever on.  The Netflix menu is the best thing on lately.

Any port in a storm.

Hell, I’ll likely forget about all of this wordsmithing by April 2nd and be pleasantly surprised to find Penny Dreadful is about to start a new season.  Surely I can find something else to rant about between now and then.

The trailer certainly tried to pull me into its embrace.  I should go take a warm Bathory.

 

 

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Choose wisely

I finally found a use for Twitter besides ranting about sports.

Some fellow by the name of Terence Eden created a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story using Twitter.  It starts here.

Run or hide? What ever will you do?

Good luck, you’ll need it.

I’ve already died in a number of gruesome ways.  I’m sure I will die of dysentery any click now.

The creator wrote about the mechanics of creating such a thing.

I feel like I should do something like this.  You should too.

Sadly, I’m quite busy not finishing a short story I am in the middle of and watching Naked & Afraid.  If there are two things I love, it’s procrastination and watching egotistical jackasses argue about the proper way to erect a shelter out of leaves while the sun sets and the storm clouds roll in.

The only thing that would make Naked & Afraid better would be more dysentery.

 

 

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Rising, setting, been trying to get into the sun

Noel Keating has been trying to get this shot.  He finally did.

It’s short, but cool.  It was worth it, Noel.

He had this to say about it (via EarthSky)

As the plane got closer to the sun, I couldn’t see it any more so I just viewed it through the Camera LCD display … boy, was I happy when it passed by the solar disc with all the sunspots in clear view.

Chemtrails have never been so exciting!

OK, settle down, I’m just kidding.  They told me not to make jokes about that anymore – or else.

Just let it go.  Relax.  Take a ride on the railroad.

Things are changing for the better, now I’m not afraid…

 

 

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Terror and Wonder at The British Library

I don’t think I’ll make it over to London by January 20th, but this looks pretty cool if you happen to be nearby.

Two hundred rare objects trace 250 years of the Gothic tradition, exploring our enduring fascination with the mysterious, the terrifying and the macabre – See more

From Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick and Alexander McQueen, via posters, books, films – and even a vampire-slaying kit – experience the dark shadow the Gothic imagination has cast across film, art, music, fashion, architecture and our daily lives.

I love gothic lit.  I’ve been reading M.R. James lately and was reading some of Brian Lumley‘s Titus Crow work last week.  People have panned Lumley’s Crow for the pace and writing style.  That is exactly how it entertained me.

The history of Gothic style in genre work is extensive and worth getting a taste of.  Sheridan Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” and H.R. Haggard’s “She” can be good to you, if you let them…

 

 

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Chernobyl – surviving in the glowing stone age

Voices from Chernobyl in The Paris Review.  Good words; check it out.

Really interesting personal accounts.  Various perspectives; all human.

 

English: Pripyat, Ukraine abandoned city near ...

English: Pripyat, Ukraine abandoned city near Chernobyl. Italiano: Uno scorcio di Pripyat, città abbandonata in Ucraina vicino a Chernobyl. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s this abandoned house. It’s closed. There’s a cat on the windowsill. I think: Must be a clay cat. I come over, and it’s a real cat. He ate all the flowers in the house. Geraniums. How’d he get in? Or did they leave him there?

There’s a note on the door: Dear kind person, please don’t look for valuables here. We never had any. Use whatever you want, but don’t trash the place. We’ll be back. I saw signs on other houses in different colors—Dear house, forgive us! People said goodbye to their homes like they were people. Or they’d written: We’re leaving in the morning, or, We’re leaving at night, and they’d put the date and even the time. There were notes written on school notebook paper: Don’t beat the cat. Otherwise the rats will eat everything. And then in a child’s handwriting: Don’t kill our Zhulka. She’s a good cat.

⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛

This one reporter said we didn’t just return home, we went back a hundred years. We use a hammer for reaping, and a sickle for mowing. We flail wheat right on the asphalt.

⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛   ⚛

We turned off the radio right away. We don’t know any of the news, but life is peaceful. We don’t get upset. People come, they tell us the stories—there’s war everywhere. And like that, socialism is finished and we live under capitalism. And the czar is coming back. Is that true?

 

 

 

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Of Hell and High Water – Cthulhu, with a side of Mariana

We’ve got to go deeper.

University of Aberdeen scientists have discovered a fish deeper than ever before (a snailfish at 8,145 meters deep).  Five hundred meters deeper than the deepest previously observed fish, which was also their discovery back in 2008.

Along with the snailfish, we get to see a few supergiant amphipods.  Supergiant amphipods are surely denizens in the suburbs of R’lyeh.  You can’t convince me otherwise.  I read a book about it once.

Do you think Hadal Ecosystems Studies Program is called HADES by accident?

For the University of Aberdeen, this has been a major success. This trip was their 14th expedition to the deep trenches where they managed to amass the greatest volume of video ever taken at these depths, 105 hours in total. Aside from the new deepest fish record and supergiant observations, they filmed many other species of fish, setting new depth records for three other fish families.

They also successfully reached the bottom of the Sirena deep at 10,545m, solidifying their deep-sea lander, known as the ‘Hadal-Lander’ as the UKs deepest diving vehicle.

I’m sure there was footage of mermen in there, but until they sign the proper forms – in triplicate, the footage of mermen riding megalodons and walking their amphipods in the kelp forest park will remain unseen.

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Grýla Killa

What’s red and dances all around?❄

The answer is not Grýla, but she would surely take an interest.

Krampus came and went, but that doesn’t mean we are safe from Christmas related devilry.

Grýla is another one of those awesome bits of Yule time folklore.  She comes to us from Iceland, where children in the long long ago were told of this mythical giantess (I wouldn’t call her an ogre to her face) who lived in the mountains.

180 px

180 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The cave-dwelling Grýla didn’t realize how her special skills fit with Christmas until the 17th century.  By that time, she had birthed a bunch of brats called the Yule Lads.  The Yule Lads are a group of Icelandic Santas.  There are thirteen official Yule Lads.  I gather you get to be official when you’ve been so annoying at one thing you get a reputation for it.  Individual Yule Lads are each known for their preferred perversion – harassing sheep, snatching sausages, an affinity for that special yogurt stuff called skyr, slamming doors – real sick stuff.

What else would we expect from the sons of Grýla.  Her main talent is the ability to detect misbehaving children, which turns out to be her favorite snack.  She never passes up a good naughty kid stew.

With that kind of diet, it’s no wonder she’s been married three times.  Or perhaps it’s her 15 tails.  Or three heads.  She is, by all accounts, a hideous beast of a mother.

She is said to have eaten her first husband, had a few spawn with her second (reports of his demise are unconfirmed) and now lives in a cave with her third, Leppalúði, with whom she had 20 offspring and a Yule Cat.  I suspect those 7 other kids may have gotten eaten.  The Ombudsman for Children’s Rights in Iceland may want to check into that.

If you don’t wear that new Christmas sweater, the Yule Cat will most likely eat you.  Don’t risk it.  The Yule Cat is deadly serious about new outfits.

So, put on your new outfit, go take a photo with the gruesome couple and start marinating your children.  You and I both know they are hellions and Grýla is coming for them.

❄ A baby on a bbq!

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