Month: October 2012

From Straight to Bizarre

The trailer for the documentary about Zappa's independent labels. You can get it on Amazon but I'm not convinced it's legit. Seeing as how it refers to itself as a DVD-ROM and is listed under Books. Not sure where you can find a legitimate copy; if anyone does, be sure to let me know and I'll update this post.


It was a busy weekend! I had a friend in from out of town, then had my cousins over for cartoons and games, then had more friends out of town and went drinkin' with them.

Caught a couple movies, too, including ParaNorman at the cheap theater. I liked it!

First of all: it's a kids' movie that does shit you're not supposed to do in a kids' movie. My favorite gag involved the rather gruesome image of the ghost of a dog who had been hit by a car. It's funnier than it sounds.

The flick does some fun things with genre conventions, has the usual kids' movie message that it's okay to be different, adds the rather more complex message that bullying is caused by fear and begets more bullying -- but mostly it's just a damn pretty, weird, creepy, funny, unconventional kids' horror movie, from a couple of directors whose resumés include Flushed Away, Coraline, and Corpse Bride.

Playing: Oh so very many things. This weekend we threw down on Scott Pilgrim, Gears of War, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (purchased used -- my boycott remains unbroken), and most recently Batman: Arkham City, which my cousin loaned me. I was going to buy the PC version to use with my sweet PC graphics card, but on finding out it had SecuROM I decided not to pay for it and just borrow the Xbox version instead -- you listening, Square Enix? Of course you're not.

Forum Musiques

French TV, 1968. Audio cleaned up by uploader TooleMan87. Which may be why he's disabled embedding -- click on over to YouTube to give it a watch and listen. It's got a nice rendition of Teddy Bears' Picnic.

When The Lie's So Big

More Zappa vs. Robertson.

(Perhaps appropriately: there is a small lie in the timestamp of this post. I juuuust missed midnight and, rather than break my streak, I've artificially set this timestamp to 11:59.)

Live at the Fillmore East

John Lennon's birthday was the 9th; he would have been 72. Here he is with Frank, singing Scumbag. Poor quality,'s John Lennon and Frank Zappa.

Shaving Needs

Longtime readers will remember these chilling before-and-after images from some 11 years ago:

Bearded Thad A Clean-Shaven Thad

I can't do that anymore. The beard. My skin's gotten more sensitive, and if I go even a day without shaving now I start to break out.

The rub is, shaving irritates my skin too. Particularly under my chin.

Recently I ran out of cartridges for whatever-the-hell Gillette-or-maybe-it-was-Schick razor with too many blades I was using. And, at the suggestion of Brontoforumgoer Shinra, I tried this new combination:

A safety razor with roughly 9 months' worth of blades and a soap/bowl/brush set. As Shinra notes, it's a bit much to pay upfront (upwards of $65) but it'll pay for itself over time in the rock-bottom prices of safety razors. It's basically the opposite of the standard razor/blade sales model; in this case it's the razor that costs all the money and the blades that they're practically giving away.

It took a bit of getting used to (there are tutorials on the Internet, mostly video but some text -- the gist is, wet the brush thoroughly, run it around the soap in circles until it works up a lather, lather your face, swipe with one side of the razor, swipe the next spot with the other side, rinse, repeat; Geothermal has a more thorough rundown in the thread I just linked) but now I'd say I'm getting at least as good a shave I did with the Five-Blade Monstrosity I was previously using, and less irritation under my chin.

Of the different blades I've tried so far, the ones that have worked best for me have been the Merkur that came with the razor and the Blue bird (sic). The Gillette and Shark, on the other hand, nicked the hell out of my face the first couple of days I used them -- I'm not sure if that's actually the fault of the blades themselves or just that I wasn't used to the safety razor thing yet (and was shaving without my contact lenses in), but at any rate I had much better luck with the pack-in razor and the Blue bird. I mean, I guess if I were to compare things that are likely to rip my face up, I would expect a shark to be much more dangerous than a bluebird in that regard.

Roelof Kiers Documentary, Part 5

El finito. It shouldn't need repeating at this point, but yeah, still NSFW.

He starts off talking about his instinct for visuals matching his music -- as I've noted before, it's always interested me that, as much as he hated MTV, he loved the principle of music videos.

Then there's another bit with Miss Lucy, a song called The Groupie Routine -- and finally a fantastic cover of Happy Together.

Which is actually the single clip that led to me digging up this entire documentary and posting it over the past 5 days.

Hope you enjoyed. Thank you and goodnight, everybody.


It's funny, looking at what cycles into the zeitgeist -- the little bits of culture that come bubbling back up and then suddenly everyone has a different version. Vampires, zombies, fairy tales -- Sherlock Holmes.

I watched the first episode of Elementary. It lacked the fun of Guy Ritchie's Victorian Buddy Cop version, and the sheer genius of the Moffat/Gattiss/Cumberbatch/Freeman version.

Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu were perfectly good as Holmes and Watson. They really didn't have any chemistry to speak of, but that's not their fault, it's the writers'. Watson as drug addict Holmes's handler? Not a good setup, and definitely seems to owe a little too much to that recently-concluded other TV adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, House.

And as for Holmes being a genius, well, it comes across as more that he's the only character who isn't a complete moron. You need the world's greatest mind to tell you that a guy doesn't have the same size foot as the one that kicked in the door? That doesn't make him a genius, it makes you a really terrible forensic detective.

Indeed, there is one brilliant observation that solves the whole case -- and Holmes doesn't make it, Watson does.

All this to say: I don't think I'll be checking out the second episode. I guess if I want my Sherlock fix before next season, I'll just have to go see The Hobbit. Oh darn.

Roelof Kiers Documentary, Part 4

Probably the most NSFW clip yet; features a little song called Penis Dimension.

Some thoughts on politics; as usual Zappa's insights are as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. He discusses Nixon and the buying of elections, and the enthusiasm but questionable efficacy of political protests. And the transformative political power of rock music -- even if just in getting people to loosen up.

Most famously, he observes this: "Progress is not possible without deviation."

And lastly, a good bit with Wild Man Fischer.

I think there's just one clip yet. Tune in tomorrow night for the thrilling conclusion!


If you've ever been laid off, you've probably experienced this: they tell you that your services are no longer required, and then pile a shitload of extra work on you.

The week ending 9/28, I imaged 25 computers and shipped 36. This week I've imaged 42 and shipped 56, and it's only Wednesday. And that's just the upgrades; that doesn't even include the new hires -- because in the immediate aftermath of being told the company can't afford to hire me, of course I am immediately inundated with a bunch of shipping requests for all the new people they're hiring.

Sometimes it's hard to stay motivated. But as I've said before, in the absence of promotion (or even continued work) as an incentive, there's still professional pride and loyalty to the guys I work with. They're not the ones who made the call to lay me off, and they're the ones who are going to have to do my job on top of their own in a couple of weeks. I may as well make that transition as smooth as possible for them.

Plus, if we do huge numbers my last few weeks here and then they suddenly start to fall behind as soon as I'm gone, well, then I've left a handy chart they can show the bean-counters, in the language bean-counters understand best.