Wednesday, April 30, 2014

BBQ Shrimp Recipie

I still don't know why they're called "barbecue shrimp."  I don't see any grill in sight, it's more like "drowned in butter shrimp."  Pfft, they still taste good.  (How can anything drowned in butter not taste good?)  Anyway, here's the link: Making barbecue shrimp in Judy's Kitchen.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Meh, got nothin'

Just not feeling it this week.  Rain, work, whatever.  Following up on last month's Pirate Report, here's a link to a page sporting a pirate shortwave show recording.  So if you're wondering about the state of pirate radio, there you go.
Time to sleep now though.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Garage, Going Up!

Not much to say, if you know the place it'll mean something to you, if you don't, it won't.

That is all.  For now.

That Was The Weekend That Was

Lightning trip to Apalachicola this past weekend: drove Friday evening, in at 1:30am, business in the morning to lunchtime, a nice nap, take care of a few more things, supper at The Owl (had wahoo), a quick stop by The Taproom, bed, then back on the road.  Off to Tallahassee.  On the way I got to listen to a bunch of swing/big band music courtesy of some Tampa-area area radio station (1340 WTAN? 1280 WTMY), including the gem What This Country Needs is Foo (actually, if you know the guy, no, not really).  Brunch with The Darling Daughter at the Paisley Cafe:
Then it was I-10 back to X13 and home, with a few side detours along the way.  More to follow, including beer and movie comments.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

No One is Immune

No one is immune to the allure of the Mustang.  Not teenage boys.  Not red-blooded mountain bikers.  Not the 70-ish lady at the post office who had to tell me all about this article when she saw (heard?) what I was driving.  And now, sadly, it seems that not even Maureen Dowd is immune.

Glad to see that the old club is still up to no good.

CMU Computer Club manages to dig some of Andy Warhol's early digital art off of some aging floppies, as seen at the BBC.
Two thoughts:
(0) I was out the door, graduated and gone a year before these images were even created.  My how time flies.
(1) It would've been worth some style points if they'd reconstructed the images with a DECSYSTEM-20.

Pssst, hey kid, wanna podcast?

There are a zillion youtube videos out there that have something interesting to say but not much to look at.  You know, political rants that show a globe slowly turning in the video, or maybe an author being interviewed about his new book and the "video content" is the book's cover, that sort of thing.  You don't want to be pinned down to the computer for a half-hour, you just want the damn audio track so you can stuff it on your iPod and get down to washing the dishes.

Well, problem solved.  Here's ClipConverter.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Got nothing lately, except a mild obsession to get some calculations going right at work.  Here, have your weekly dose of weirdness courtesy of the BBC.  Spandex?  Really?  And not even with the excuse of bicycling?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Solar Activity

I was discussing solar activity with one of my brothers this past week.  There are so many parts and effects here: the observed eleven year cycle, the problems with predicting what will be going on in the next cycle, how it all affects radio wave propagation, how long we've been seriously observing the sun, etc.  Toward the end of the discussion I mentioned this page on solar physics from NASA.  Now that I've posted the link here, there's not a lot else to say other than (a) click through, (b) it's a short read, (c) with some nice graphics (sample below), (d) near the bottom of the page there are links to two review papers if you really want to know more.  Enjoy!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

More Mustang Madness

Once again, Mustang comes out on top:
Of the Empire State Building, that is.  Article on how it got up there over at the NYT.

Then there's this: CNN slideshow of 50 years of Mustang in 50 pictures.


Movie Review: Get Shorty (1995, long time ago)

Short and sweet: it's a good movie, and I'm a little surprised at myself for taking so long to get around to it.  If you liked Pulp Fiction, here is a second helping of John Travolta doing his gangster act.  He's not playing precisely the same character in both movies, but there is a comfortable resemblance.  The story is wonderfully twisted, without quite the eye-popping turns Tarantino would use; it's still satisfying in its own way.
The story, the plot... it's all key to the movie, but irrelevant to this review.  Just know that there's enough story to carry all of the wisecracks and awkwardly comedic situations.  No need to spell it out past that.
Beyond Gangster Travolta, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo, and James Gandolfini all turn in fine performances.  This was a cast of pros firing on all cylinders, to good result.
Other... released nearly 20 years ago, it holds up well.  The suits and the hair and the sets don't seem particularly dated.  They were designed to be slightly outlandish for 1995, and remain enough so today that it translates well.  The running gag about "the Cadillac of minivans" remains funny, again because it's so improbable.  Perhaps some of the airport hijinks are a little more implausible in a post-9/11 world, but that's about it.  "Timeless"?  Maybe, it's a little too soon to give it that label, but yeah, it's still in the running for the honor.
Bottom line: 3.5 out of 4 stars.

After one review turkey and one movie wave-off this week, it's kind of nice to say a few nice things.  Puts me in a good mood.  Maybe I'll go wash some dishes and pay some bills now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Speaking of the Unwatchable...

Having just made a few useful comments about Werner Herzog's sci-fi mess, let's now turn to this weekend's upcoming sci-fi mess: Transcendence.  Apart from the bordering-on-incoherent plot line and the fact that it is currently getting 19% positive ratings over at Rotten Tomatoes, this is all else that I really need to know about this movie:
(linkey-line was image captured from a scathing review at The Wrap)

There we go, just saved myself and possibly you too about $10 each and a couple of precious leisure hours.  That's us here at CoyoteSwamp, always trying to give you good reason to read and heed.

Now on to the next horror: Somebody's actually going to make a Prometheus 2?  I am stunned and will stop typing for a while.

Movie Review: Werner Herzog's The Wild Blue Yonder

Wow, was this ever bad.  A bunch of jumbled together footage from STS-34, a made-up fairytale plot line, more jumbled footage from some under-ice dives, some otherworldly orchestration, and Brad Dourif as The Man From Andromeda.  If that seems to make no sense whatsoever, then you are correct.  However the movie makes even less sense.  While it initially seems that it might be from the same band of hacks who brought us travesties such as Prometheus, Herzog's motivation here seem more pure: simple incompetence.

We now interrupt this blog post for two messages to the movie industry at large:
1: Obscure does not equal Profound.
2: If it has no story line, then we do not care.
Thank you.  We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog post.

My advice is do not watch, this is not worth your time.  If you absolutely feel compelled to learn more: Wikipedia article and Rotten Tomatoes reviews.  One star out of four, but only for the pretty pictures and bizarro music.

ps: Usually Herzog puts out a decent movie, so – being stuck at home sick and all – I clicked through to the special features part of the disk, hoping for Werner to blame the whole mess on a bad batch of acid or something.  But no, the man actually admitted that he knew nothing about science fiction beyond watching Kubrick's 2001 (which he thought was very good) and a few episodes of Star Trek (which he graded as terribly silly).  *sigh*  Do not waste your time on this one, people.  And will somebody please hand that poor guy a copy of Double Star or sit him down to watch Contact so that he can see what real science fiction is about.

Head Cold Holiday

Yeah, I know, no posts lately.  Cold is about all better now, will have something witty to say – or at least something to say – anytime now.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Driving Notes

I know my audience, and I know myself as well.  Time to put these driving notes into a short list:

When changing lanes: check all three mirrors, get your head on a swivel, and flip on the corresponding turn signal ahead of time.  Yes, I realize that using a turn signal in New Orleans is a signal for other drivers to cut you off.  Do it all anyway.

Snow is for cones.  Ice is for tea.  Neither is for driving.  We are all Southerners here, and have no business out and about when that awful white stuff begins falling.

Before any trip of more than a half-hours' duration, check a weather map.  When red box conditions prevail, the trip can usually wait.

On the topic of texting, fumbling with the stereo, hunting for the beer bottle opener in the back seat, etc. while attempting to pilot a car: covered last month.

Do not rely on the other driver's good judgement, he may have none.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that this is usually the case.  Prime exhibit: last week's Rat Brain Minivan Incident.

There, all done.  Here, have a little music about cars.  Sort of.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Music: St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Good sound, but it's kind of unbelievable to watch.  Take a look at the links and see what I mean:

The singer... it's as if Al Green and Drew Carey had a a love child and gave it to John Belushi to raise.  Man, but he can sing!  Hmmm, think I'll pull their album off iTunes and go have a listen in the living room.

Rat Brain Minivan

Every couple of years it seems, some robotics researchers wire up one animal brain or another to a mechanical device: here a few neurons from a rat brain in a cart, there a monkey brain to a robot arm, here's another money-robot amalgam, the list goes on.

So I was driving back from Apalach last weekend, and was at a stoplight in what is more-or-less the automotive heart of Panama City, the junction of Hwy 98, Harrison Ave, and Hwy 231, which naturally has a railroad track running through the middle of it just for added hilarity.  (Tally-Ho Corner, if you're local.)  Naturally a text message came in, and I was about to reach for it (being stopped and all), but the light was getting ready to turn, so I only glanced in its direction then put my eyes back on the road.  As if on cue and right in front of me, a minivan came scampering up Harrison out of downtown, through the yellow-changing-red light, did a U-turn, and scampered back down the way from which it came.  "Scamper" is the exact word for what that van was doing because it had a comical wobbling motion to it the entire way through this maneuver, almost exactly like that rat brain-controled robot cart in the first video.  To the best of my knowledge, nothing was hit by this careening collection of four wheels of trouble, but when it started going the other way I got out of the area fast.

I know, long story.  But it was both funny and slightly alarming to watch.  Can't be too careful on the road out there, folks

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great News: More Beer, Less Cancer!

As seen in this video article over at Fox.  It turns out, marinating meat in beer – the darker, the better – before grilling it dramatically reduces formation of several cancer-causing compounds.  At least, according to this one study.  That's some all-round good news to start a Monday.

Insert your own beer-and-meat joke, I'm worn out from the weekend.  Oddly, I don't have an appropriate tag for this post.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

An All-Robot Band: I suppose it had to eventually happen.

Here's the article over at NPR.  I suspect we'll be seeing more and more of this in coming years.

Opening of The Shop

Just a picture dump.  If you know the place, it'll mean something.  If you don't, it won't matter.  Enjoy!

Good sangria, but the crowd didn't get too rowdy.

Full house!

Cool shelf that I had to get.  Too bad it won't fit in the back of the Mustang, guess I'll have to make the next trip in the F150.

Still a little more work to do on the backside of the building, however.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another Beautiful, Shiny Object

1973 Mach 1 convertible, 351 Cleveland (carb and any upgrades unknown), auto, fully restored, $21k.

Here are the specs for that year.  H or Q model (177 & 266 hp, respectively), or something upgraded since then?  Dunno.  But it is a very beautiful car either way.  It's on display at the Ford dealership here in town, if you just have to.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

And if Pirate Shortwave Isn't Strange Enough...

... then take a listen to this zoo of Shortwave Oddities.  Spy stations, various radars, jammers, etc. – all mysterious signals of largely unknown origin.

What a wonderfully weird world we live in.