Thursday, January 31, 2013

Movin' Blues

I haven't been posting much lately, mainly because I've got the movin' blues.  Not a song, just a condition of life.

Moved my office across the parking lot to a temporary location while the main building had major work done.  Then moved out to have the floors re-done; got moved about 3/4 back in.  Then one of the kids moved stuff back in while taking off on a new career elsewhere.  Holiday Break!  Go on a road trip (pack, unpack, wash, rinse, repeat).  Then moved back to the main office building, and into (yay!) a new and bigger office.... after first moving the previous occupant's crap out of it.  So then I moved in...  Then the other kid over in New Orleans moved across town.  Now I'm back to moving in/unpacking that last 1/4 of the house, but I've got no energy or enthusiasm for it.  But I want to get to my stuff, so it's going to happen over the next month.

I'm not planning on moving again anytime soon.  Operative term is "planning."  The reality may prove to be quite different.  But if I see a U-Haul anywhere near me in the next few months, I may need medicinal help.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

As seen from space.

Or, more likely, a Google-stamped photomapping plane.  Either way, it shows up pretty well in the parking lot.

Monday, January 21, 2013

We don't need any steekin' new Star Wars Movie!

Well, at least not like any of that crap like what Lucas has put out since '99.  What we need is a space opera with some good writing, directing, and acting.  You know, like Firefly had.  Analysis over at Slate.  RTWT.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Garden Start, 2013

Had a couple of nice weather days so it seemed like time to lay out the garden for this year.  Here's how far I've gotten:
The paving bricks had been just laying in a stack since I re-bought the house; I was glad to finally find a use for them.  Used all of the stack but about 15, it was a closely run thing.  Turned over the first few inches of soil to break up the grass, spread out about an inch of compost over that, layered on a plating of corrugated cardboard, mulched over the top with leaves, and finally wet it all down to get things working.  Total area is about 150 square feet, in three 2'x25' strips.  Should give plenty of room to work between rows, and cut down on the pest migration between plants.
What to plant?  Well, that's a month and a half away, but the current plan is for tomatoes, watermelons, peppers, and maybe some cilantro or whatever else random stuff I can find.  Strawberries too, but those will go into a separate off-the-ground pot(s).  Doodlebugs eat the fruit otherwise – or at least, that's what happened last year.
So much more to do: soaker hoses, more-more-more mulch, a short chicken wire fence to keep the rabbits at bay, and of course actually planting.  But the heavy lifting's done, and the rest is all the fun parts.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

WLCY, Undead Edition

So after last week's post about former-great WLCY, I had to see if its successor station WWMI "Radio Disney" could be received in the daytime half a Gulf away.  It took some fiddling with the radio and loop antenna, but there it was, the whiney voice of Miley Cyrus ground waving it across the salt water from St. Pete.  The fading was so bad that it wasn't really listenable – OK, for more than one reason – but nonetheless, there it was in all its disgusting undead glory: Zombie WLCY.

No luck getting WWMI at night via skywave though.  For some reason, the station broadcasts omnidirectionally in the daytime, but fires a beam to the south-southwest at night:
Perhaps it's a dastardly plot to add to the misery of the Cubans. For what it's worth, here's a view of the transmitter site:

NB: this post gets the radio tag, but most definitely does not get the music tag.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Quick Look at 2013's Big Movies

Over at Rotten Tomatoes.  Very brief: a splashy photo, the title, and a one sentence description for each movie.  You can flip through the whole thing in five minutes.  From the looks of it, 2013 will be at least as good as the year just past.

Peace on Earth and goodwill toward men?

Man Jailed for allegedly beating another with a Christmas tree.
Read all about it in The Echo.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Whatever happened to WLCY?

Man, when I was growing up, if you wanted new music up on the Florida panhandle, WLCY-AM 1380 was the station to tune to.  Mostly Top 40, but there was a lot of innovative music coming from that station too.  And at least in the daytime, when they could run full power and the signal came booming over the Gulf, up from the Tampa Bay area.  Like this:
See why we could get Tampa-area radio so well?  We always thought it "skipped" over the Gulf like CB or something, but in fact it was very much another major radio propagation effect, groundwave.  It may be called "ground," but it works even better over salt water.  Whatever the case, the fun went away at dark when the FCC made daytimer stations like WLCY turn down their power to reduce interference with other stations when the nighttime ionosphere actually did allow something akin to skip (i.e., skywave propagation) at AM broadcast band frequencies.

But I digress off into physics.  What actually became of WLCY?

To make it short, circa 1981 WLCY was sold and re-named WNSI-AM (News, Sports, & Information).  Later this was changed to WRBQ-AM, and finally WWMI.  Which is a.... Radio Disney affiliate.
Does it strike you too that it is just so freekin' wrong that a station that once proudly broadcast stuff by the New York Dolls has been reduced to Disney teeneybopper fare?  Worse yet, there's actual programming aimed at younger children going out through that same transmitter.  Hopefully the tower was sandblasted clean and repainted before programming for the younger set went out through it onto the airwaves.  Remember, this is the station that once ran the promo line "WLCY sticks it in your ear!"  Will somebody think of the children, pleeeze?!?!

OK, back to the history of WLCY, you can read more details about it at Wikipedia and at the labor-of-love site Radio Years.

Oh and one more thing.  This Channel Master could blast it out loud enough to hear WLCY over a howling pressroom:
Amazing what you can do with a handful of transistors and four D batteries if you're not too worried about shredding the speaker cone.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Oh crap, he's right.

Adam Baker: Sell your crap.  Pay your debt.  Do what you love.
Nineteen minutes to freedom.

I remember the first time this happened to me.

I was seventeen, first time really away from home, and living in Pittsburgh.

Well, it wasn't exactly like that.  For one thing, it was in a basement lecture hall, while furiously taking Calc 1 notes.  For another, chalk dust makes me sneeze.

Permalink to SMBC.

Friday, January 11, 2013

10,000 Miles

Turned over to 10,000 miles on the road bike today.  Took four years – that's about nine months longer than it should've – but things have been hectic lately.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Science Gap

Jorge Cham of PhD Comics fame speaks at TEDxUCLA.

Bonus linkage: The Higgs Boson Explained video Cham references in his talk.

Second Saturday, 20th Anniversary Edition

Article over at the Sea Coast Echo.
Wow, I remember the first one.  It was a pretty sedate, slightly dreary affair.  But it's such a great idea, it just wouldn't go away and only a few years later it was huge.  Then there was the one in September 2005.  That was a small, threadbare, defiant act of confidence in, of, and by Bay St. Louis.  Still happened though.  Some things are just good ideas, some social/commercial gatherings are just too strong to die out.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Invisible Driver Prank

Sure, why not?  Here it is.  Some of the related videos are pretty good too.

Haven't seen this kind of fun since Allen Funt stuck a suitcase to a sidewalk with an electromagnet.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hey, January Fourth Ward Cleaver's Up!

Right here.  Enjoy!

Me, Last October

Especially that part down at the bottom.  But in the end it all worked out and was very much worth the hassle.
Permalink at xkcd.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

One More Parting Shot for 2012

An eighteen minute fail compilation.  Everything Chuck Jones could want, in real life.

Ideas for the New Year

Predict the Future!
With Nate Silver's The Signal and the Noise: Why so many Predictions Fail – but Some Don't.

Reprogram Yourself!
With Self-Hypnosis and Subliminal Technology.

Upgrade Your Listening!
Here's the link to WSM.  Hit the "listen live now" tab on the left side, a "pick your poison" window pops up, then hit "Website Radio".  A player window will pop up and start streaming country music straight from Nashville.  Unfortunately it is in stereo and it doesn't have the proper AM radio sound, but I'm sure they're working on a filter to fix that.  In the meantime we'll have to put up with digital perfection.

Hey, I never said any of these were particularly good ideas.  But it is a new year, so what the hell, try something new.