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Happy You're Not Funny Day!

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My grandfather was 98 years old – a year and a few months shy of his 100th birthday – when he passed away on Wednesday afternoon.

Think about that for a second.

A century. A century, contained in one single life. An extraordinary life.

This is a lifetime that saw World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Gulf War, the war in Iraq, and the war in Afghanistan.

Seventeen U.S. Presidents have come and gone and an eighteenth is in the middle of his term. Eleven of those Presidents died before Granddad did.

My granddad saw the invention of everything from sonar, modern assembly lines, hearing aids and frozen food to television and talking motion pictures; from the basics of powered flight to the jet engine onward to helicopters, rockets, and honest-to-God space travel. He watched nuclear reactors, microwaves, computers, dishwashers, vacuum cleaners and contact lenses change the way we live.

He saw the discovery of penicillin, the advent of organ transplants, open-heart surgery, laser surgery, polio vaccine, the CAT scan, the eradication of smallpox, and the beginnings of genetic engineering.

He witnessed Pearl Harbor, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression, Prohibition and desegregation, the birth of the atomic bomb, the Holocaust, JFK's assassination, Neil Armstrong's first step on the moon, the creation AND tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and the breakup of the Soviet Union.

All this and more. My granddad started working full time at an age when most kids are riding bikes and talking about girls because he had already lost his mother and father by that time and he had to support his sister and himself. He worked for five decades in factories as a mechanic and machinist, first with Airco, and then with Watson-Stillman, working his way up from janitor and floor sweeper to senior machinist and eventually a division manager supervising hundreds of people. He used to tell me stories of his factory turning out sixteen-inch guns and shells for our battleships in World War II. They also built the first bathysphere, or deep-depth submersible, and a few years ago he remarked offhandedly that they had also created parts for the engines that sent the Saturn V rocket into space. Incredibly, unbelievably epic, and he just mentioned it casually as if it were nothing. Because that's the way he was – for all the amazing things he did or saw, he was remarkably quiet and modest.

I remember a project for my AP History course when I was in high school. We were assigned to create a presentation on a historical figure, an American who had seen and done great things. Most of the students went with predictable, safe figures: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Jackie Robinson. But me, I picked my granddad. I spent hours talking with him about his life. While the other students had standard boilerplate, boring text about people long dead, I brought to life vivid recollections of a living legend, someone who still had gas coupons and mementos from World War II, could tell you what it was like to hear FDR's fireside chats, was deemed "too crucial to the war effort" to be allowed to fight in World War II, and was there in the Polo Grounds when baseball player Bobby Thomson hit his famous “Shot Heard Round the World”. I showed them fifty-year old newspaper clippings he'd kept, related his factory tales and war stories, showed pictures of his first car, the tattered and faded receipt for his first paycheck at Watson-Stillman, and more. The class was enthralled.

His skill with his hands saved my bacon time after time. Granddad helped me fix – or more often fixed himself -- flat tires, broken chairs, faulty toasters, a grandfather clock, and an endless parade of car-related problems. When my first car developed serious engine problems, Granddad, my father and I spent a week rebuilding it pretty much from the ground up. It's not often that you have three generations of the same family working on the same car. And of course, when we got done with it, it ran like a dream. He helped my brother carve and paint an exquisite Pinewood Derby car when Michael was in the Boy Scouts. He was expert with woodworking, machining things, carpentry, tool-and-die work – pretty much anything that required manual dexterity and an encyclopedic knowledge of tools. Machinery just came naturally to him, something I always envied when I watched him effortlessly aligning a sprocket on my bike or swiftly tightening the last nut on a home repair project.

Personality-wise, Granddad was a giant teddy bear, really. He loved hugs – from his family, from friends, from pretty girls. When my girlfriend Leslie and I were home visiting, I used to remark that I had to keep a close eye on him because otherwise he would steal her away from me. It was a joke, of course, but it wasn't far from the truth. Because she loved him too. You couldn't help loving him. He had such a zest for life! Such a warm and friendly spirit.

That warm and friendly spirit showed itself in his impish sense of humor, too. My mother loves to tell a story from when she was first dating. A boy had come to pick her up for the evening, and he was waiting for my mother in the kitchen. My grandmother had offered the fellow a piece of pie, one of the last pieces that was left over. The fellow said sure, he'd love a piece....and then out of the depths of the living room came a deep bass rumble from Granddad: “You aren't giving him MY pie, are you?” The poor guy went white and immediately said “No thank you!” Unfortunately, after that, no matter what they said, they couldn't convince him Granddad was just kidding.

And he was loving, too – oh, yes! Married to my grandmother, Gladys, for more than sixty years and I have rarely seen two people as much in love as the day they met. The stereotypical image of two seniors sitting on a couch holding hands – that sums them up rather neatly. They could say more with a smile and a glance at each other than I could say in a week of typing this out. I can't count the times I would watch a baseball game on TV with the two of them, the three of us saying little, but my happiness at being with them positively palpable. It wasn't because I couldn't find the words – it was because words weren't necessary. Their love for each other shone like the sun: steady, bright, and unwavering forevermore.

Granddad's love showed itself in plenty of other ways, too. He worked overnight to finish up a handmade cradle for the baby Me when my mother went into labor sooner than expected. He played catch and frisbee with me and my brother times without number. He taught me to throw a hook when bowling, although I never got anywhere near as good at it as he was. He tried to teach me golf – I think one of his great disappointments was that I never got the love for the sport that he did. He bought me my first bicycle as a present when I was just a kid. Predictably, I wiped out about an hour later. Granddad's reaction when I came crying into the house, bloody and scraped up from the fall? He exploded –- not at me, but at the bicycle that had dared to hurt his beloved grandson. He promptly went outside and was all set to throw it into the dumpster -– “I'm not going to let this thing hurt him any more!” -– before my mother convinced him to let me give it another shot. Fiercely protective, that was my granddad to a T.

He was a loving father, bringing up my mom with care and wisdom. He nurtured her gentle and sunny spirit, encouraged her love for music and for reading, taught her the compassion and friendliness and warmth that is part of her character to this day. No matter how tired he was after work or after whatever he was doing at home, he was never too busy to listen to her, always available to help her out, always ready with encouraging words and loving kindness.

I'm not going to dwell on the sadness of the last few years, when Granddad lost his beloved wife and his aging body began betraying him. I prefer to remember him as he was almost all the time I knew him: hale and hearty, attacking life every day with inexhaustible energy in his movements and a smile on his face. I could always tell when Granddad was up in the mornings because of the crashing of the dishes out in the kitchen. He just couldn't do anything halfway –- everything was damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead, give a hundred and fifty percent whether you're making breakfast or plowing a field or giving your grandson a hug. At the age of 90, he was still beating people a quarter his age on the golf course every week.

I learned so much from Granddad. Wisdom, compassion, respect, love, and the principles of inner strength, pride, and indomitable will. He was a wonderful father, grandparent, friend, and a fine example of what others can and should aspire to. He was and is one of my role models. I would be proud if I could call myself a man even a quarter as great as he was.

I miss him already. I will never stop missing him.

I love you, Granddad. Rest in peace.

William Dolan – July 9th, 1912 – January 19th, 2011

[[Myself, Leslie, and Granddad in happier times, circa 2008.]]
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Just posting a test entry here to make sure crossposting works the way it should.


[[The Oracle would like to know if you've seen any good movies lately.]]
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How to get on my bad side immediately:

-- Contact me with a tech support issue. When I tell you the problem is because you're trying to use the system in a way that it wasn't designed to support, respond, "But it's always worked this way before!"

Your car is also CAPABLE of driving with its handbrake on, but it's not going to work properly if you do! IT'S NOT DESIGNED TO WORK THAT WAY. SHUT UP AND USE THE SYSTEM THE WAY IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE USED.


[[The Oracle would like to know about the last cool piece of technology you bought.]]
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Patrick Farley is trying to relaunch his groundbreaking Electric Sheep Web Comix, which he had to put on the back burner for a long time due to, y'know, having to do other things to make a living. If you were a fan of the old E-Sheep stuff (and I know if you recognize Patrick's name or E-Sheep's name, you were definitely a fan back in the day), then go check out Patrick's post for all the details and a link to the Kickstarter site.


There are 11 days left in the pledge drive and he's at 61%. I would love to see this guy making comics again regularly, so go check it out and contribute what you can. If you're not yet familiar, he's got a compilation video there in that post, plus an Easter Special of sorts at http://pfarley.livejournal.com/108229.html .

Go on. Send some $$ if you've got it. This is good stuff, people.


[[The Oracle would like to know what celebrities you currently have a fixation on.]]
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I'm on Verizon and need a new cell phone. Want to make the jump to a decent smartphone. Considering the Android. Anybody got an Android, or want to make recommendations about another phone? The number of choices available is.....bewildering.


[[The Oracle would like to know your favorite movie from the last year.]]
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I saw this link today via a webcomic I read. I thought it was a joke URL but just for the hell of it I went to look. I shouldn't have done that, because now my brain is exploding and blood is shooting out my nose (phrase TM Lewis Black).

I give you: "After the Rapture Pet Care".


Yes, these people are actually attempting to make arrangements for their pets to be taken care of in case the Rapture occurs. Because, you see, being good Christians, they're all going to be caught up by the Rapture, but their pets will be left behind. (I guess because they don't have any souls?) So they're working with non-Christian "volunteers" who have promised to take care of these lost, forlorn, left-behind pets after the Rapture occurs.

........I have no words.


[[The Oracle would like to know your favorite mythical or mythological creature.]]
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Hey Dallas-area people ([livejournal.com profile] flemco, [livejournal.com profile] takhisis and [livejournal.com profile] 9thmoon, I'm lookin' at you) -- Henry Rollins is doing a spoken-word show at the Lakewood Theater in your city on Wednesday, February 24th. I'm thinking about driving up for the show and am wondering if anybody'd be keen to meet up with me, hang out, and go see Rollins. If I'm going to have a six-hour round trip and take the next day off from work, I'd like it to be worthwhile.

Ping me here or email if you might be interested -- philcarter AT gmail .


[[The Oracle would like to know if you believe in magic.]]
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My friend Helly recently remarked to me that I haven't been on here much lately. I do still read everyone daily, I just haven't had a lot to say. The end of the holiday season always makes me sad because I have to leave my family and head back to Texas, where I still really don't know many people. I miss my family and friends.

I refuse to let this devolve into the standard whingeing you see in most Livejournals, though. Instead, I'm going to talk about one of the most GORGEOUS movies I have ever seen (and I'm a film fanatic -- I've seen a lot of 'em).

It's James Cameron's "Avatar".

Yeah, there are some spoilers here. You've been warned. )

So, to sum up: utterly gorgeous film, lush and real. Caricature characters, recycled plot, and sledgehammer messages matter not one whit. This is a truly impressive visual spectacle and I urge you to see it in theaters -- in 3-D if possible -- because it really needs to be watched on a big screen to be properly appreciated. I can't wait to see how this one will look on Blu-ray so I can watch it at my leisure at home.


[[The Oracle would like to know what your favorite Christmas present was.]]
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I has a car again! After several weeks in the shop, my beloved Mustang is back with me again. The Mustang shop I purchased the instrument cluster from had to ship THREE of them -- the first two turned out to be non-working and finally I got fed up and put the repair shop in touch with the Mustang shop, to tell them what to look for before shipping. Apparently the little gears that drive a '98 Mustang's odometer break very easily and the first two both had broken gears, the same as my original odometer.

Now my poor car shows that it's racked up 180K miles because the working instrument cluster had the highest odometer reading of all four involved. Wahhhh! At least the repair shop made a notation of the original mileage and the difference between it and the mileage shown, so I'll have some proof if and when I finally sell the car.

Anyway, it's nice to be mobile again.

How's your week going?


[[The Oracle would like to know what your plans are for the Christmas holiday....if you have any, that is.]]


Dec. 4th, 2009 12:49 pm
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OMG SNOW!!!!!!!
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So I recently pulled the trigger on a newly-built custom PC which would last me for another couple of years. (The last PC, if you're curious, can be read about here; at more than 5 years old, it was time to retire it, although I'd upgraded the video card once).

The new PC was custom built by Puget Systems, and I can't say enough good things about them. Marvelous build quality; excellent website; top-notch components; plenty of testing and benchmarking on the new system; all cables, manuals, and drivers included; speedy response to my frequent questions while configuring the system and learning about the company. Not to mention the fact that their packing of the thing was so extreme that it arrived on my end without so much as a single screw loose.

Here are the specs:

Motherboard: Asus P7P55D Pro
CPU: Intel Core i7 QUAD CORE 860 (Lynnfield) 2.8GHz 8MB 95W (Socket 1156 45nm)
RAM: 4 x Kingston ValueRAM DDR3-1333 2048MB, 8 GB total
Video card: EVGA nVidia GeForce GTX 295 1792MB CO-OP Edition, dual GPU
Hard drive: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
CD / DVD: Pioneer 22X DVD-RW SATA (black), DVR-218L model with LabelFlash
Case: Antec P183 (Gunmetal Finish with Window)
Power Supply: Corsair HX 1000W
CPU cooling: Cooler Master V8
Additional cooling: Tuniq TX-2 Thermal Compound
Case mods: Case Mod Package - Blue Cabling w/ Blue Lights
OS: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit OEM

I've bought the following locally to finish up the package:
Monitor: Samsung SyncMaster 2494 24" widescreen, 1920x1080 native resolution
Keyboard: Logitech Illuminated Keyboard (razor-thin, backlit, laptop-style keys)
Mouse: another Microsoft Intellimouse Optical

Pics of the beast are here on this set at Flickr. They include a batch that the folks at Puget Systems took for me as a preview before shipping the system, plus pics I took myself once it arrived.

This thing SCREAMS. Looking forward to keeping it for a long time.


[[The Oracle would like to know if you had a good Thanksgiving.]]
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Well, that's nice. I took my '98 Mustang in to the shop on Saturday to see if they could repair the odometer (which has mysteriously stopped working). The techs advised that the instrument cluster itself was at fault, and that it would have to be completely replaced (they quoted me a price of $450 for the part alone, which was fun). The problem? They've been checking around all day and Ford no longer makes, supports, or offers that part for the '98 Mustang. I am pretty much out of luck unless I can find the instrument cluster in a junkyard somewhere, at which point I can get the shop to replace it.

GAH! This will certainly interfere with my ability to sell the car when it finally gives out on me. Maybe I should write this off as a loss and just continue to drive the thing until it completely falls apart, then junk it instead of trying to sell (I imagine that most dealers would frown on a non-working odometer in a trade-in).

Time to start making phone calls to junkyards.....

edit: Thank you, Internets...with a quick Google search, I found a Mustang specialist not far from where I used to live in Atlanta who has three, count 'em, three instrument clusters for a '98 GT. And they wanted $160 total, including shipping directly to the repair shop. Now isn't THAT a nice surprise. I guess it's a good thing to have a popular and frequently-modded car!


[[The Oracle would like to know if you believe in spooks.]]
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It's time to start shopping. My main PC, originally purchased back in 2004, is simply not cutting it anymore -- choking on the newest games, stuttering, locking up frequently, and generally giving signs that it's time to find an upgrade. So I'm now researching the hell out of PC hardware, looking for the latest and greatest, getting up to speed again. Dual Core this, quad-SLI video cards, 1100 watt power supplies, Windows 7 64-bit Ultimate Edition....things have clearly advanced quite a bit since I went shopping for the Hattori Hanzo box in 2004. Still, to have gotten more than five years out of the PC is not bad, I suppose.

Who makes the best gaming PCs nowadays? Alienware has always been overrated, but Hypersonic, VoodooPC and Falcon NW always got good reviews. They're just damned expensive. Maybe I should get the component listings from one of the hyper-builders and then get a local shop to build it for me. I prefer small stores anyway.

*sigh* I guess this means the home theater speaker upgrade I was looking to make soon will have to wait a while longer.......


[[The Oracle would like to know what you're doing this weekend.]]
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I tend to repost this piece every year on Veteran's Day. And so, because today is Veteran's Day, here it is.

No cut tags.



Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg -- or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet?

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She -- or he -- is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another -- or didn't come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat -- but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other's backs.

He is the parade-riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb of the Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket -- palsied now and aggravatingly slow -- who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being -- a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say "Thank You." That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".


This piece has been attributed variously to "Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, USMC", "Warner Anderson MD", and other names. In the absence of consensus, all I can say is that the author is not definitively known.


[[The Oracle would like to know if you know someone who is a veteran or is serving currently.]]
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So [livejournal.com profile] datalopez has a taste for extremely bad movies -- that is, movies that are so bad they make your teeth hurt. For the past couple of months Netflix has been sending her cheesy 80s sci-fi/fantasy films and we've been viewing questionable entertainment like "Krull", "Conan the Barbarian", "Dragonslayer" and other such trash. This weekend, though, we were treated to a pair of films that were so incredibly bad that they inverted and came out the other end to be utterly fantastic.

The movies in question starred Lou Ferrigno in his turn at playing Hercules: "Hercules" and its sequel "The Adventures of Hercules". Produced by the legendary (in bad movie circles) Golan/Globus team over at the Cannon Group, these films are just.....they.....I can't find the words. The acting is terrible, the effects are cheesy, and the stories are just something out of the fevered dreams of a drug addict.


-- The bemuscled Lou Ferrigno (who, admittedly, LOOKS fantastic as Hercules) struggling valiantly to change facial expression even once!

-- Hercules throwing a bear into space! (Yes, I said INTO SPACE. This is how we got Ursa Major, didn't you know?).

-- Women in amazingly skimpy outfits! (This is, of course, a good thing for us red-blooded males).

-- Robot dragons and centaurs! That shoot lasers!

-- A chariot soaring through space!

-- "Amazon" fighters who are clearly men with not even an ATTEMPT to make them look realistically female!

-- The legend of the universe being created by Pandora's urn!........Wait, what?

-- Recycled footage from 1933's King Kong rotoscoped with neon animation! For that matter, recycled footage from the first movie reused in the second one!

-- Myths and legends that bear no relation whatsoever to their original tellings! (Daedalus as a female God, Tartarus as a trident-wielding knight in a forest of spirits, King Minos as a madman obsessed with pure science and reason, Clotho and Lachesis as fairies ("The Little People") instead of the Fates, the Hydra turned into a robot, and oh so much more).

-- Trippy spacelike arcadey sound effects and visual effects!

-- Dialogue so bad that when a single line is actually thought-provoking and interesting, it shocks you out of a daze!

I cannot recommend these movies highly enough. They're available from Netflix, or on a single DVD from Amazon that you can get used for about three bucks. These are the best bad movies that I've seen in a long time.


[[The Oracle would like to know your favorite bad movie or movie series.]]
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[[Edited 10:30 AM Eastern time: as of this morning, [livejournal.com profile] deza has posted that the goal has been reached. Original story below, but she's no longer in desperate need of funds.]]

I've been mostly silent this month, because I haven't really had that much to say. Breaking silence here to pass on some news, not good, about an old friend who's in trouble and needs help.

[livejournal.com profile] deza, in her own words:

I am a disabled military wife and mother of two elementary-aged kids. Due to a delay in processing transfer orders, my husband's move to his next base isn't lining up with the end of our lease. This means we are having to pay for our move out-of-pocket, with the military reimbursing it later. My husband is currently with his ship in another state, so all details of handling the move fall to me.

We had planned to borrow the money for this from my mother. She has always been slightly mentally disturbed; tonight, this hit new levels. In the past two days, she's attempted to kidnap my kids and threatened to kill my mobility dog. She deliberately chose the time when I would be sickest from my low-dose chemo treatments to do this. I severely doubt she plans to honor her promise to pay for the movers tomorrow.

The movers are going to cost roughly $1300. If you can help, please send money to my paypal account, marna.m [AT] gmail.com. Please indicate if this is a gift or a loan; we will begin paying back loan amounts as soon as we can. Thank you.

Now my words:

[livejournal.com profile] deza is somebody who has stubbornly refused to break under all the crap that life throws at her. She is a loving wife and mother, a talented writer, and a sweet and giving person. Whatever you can give to help her out would be most welcome. Pass the word. Spread it far and wide. Help her get her kids to a more stable and safe place. Give her something to get her back on her feet. All of us have been there before but most of us have had someone to help bail us out. [livejournal.com profile] deza has nobody right now -- as you saw, her mother, who you would think would be the first person to help out, is instead the biggest danger to [livejournal.com profile] deza and her kids right now.

She's got no one to help out except me and the rest of her friends. And any kind-natured strangers who feel like helping. So drop her a couple of bucks if you can spare 'em. Pay that shit forward.


[[The Oracle would like to know your favorite holiday.]]
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Currently reading: White Gold Wielder, the final book of the Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. Rereading this series for the first time in probably five years and I had forgotten what a great exercise it is for the vocabulary. It's hellishly depressing, too, but that's neither here nor there.

Next up:
-- No Shortcuts to the Top: Climbing the World's 14 Highest Peaks, by Ed Viesturs, the elite American climber and athlete. Viesturs is one of the most highly-regarded mountaineers ever and I'm looking forward to reading his stories.

-- The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World, by Alex Roy. Alex is famous (or infamous) for his brushes with the law. He's participated in the Bullrun, the Gumball 3000 Rally numerous times, and plenty of other rallies. He also holds the record for the Los Angeles to New York cross-country run at 31 hours, 4 minutes. See http://www.teampolizeihq.com for more information about him. This book is about his experiences during the Gumball 3000 and Bullrun rallies over the years -- the Team Polizei story from the inside. Looking forward to this one as well.

-- Fool Moon and Grave Peril by Jim Butcher. Two good friends recently turned me on to the Dresden Files series. Having already read the first book and picked up several others in the lengthy series at the local used bookstores, I finally ran them out of copies before I could find the 2nd and 3rd books I needed to continue. So I added these to the list and they showed up in yesterday's shipment from Amazon. Now I can keep going and when I get to the 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th books in the series, I've already got those used. :)

Currently listening: Darwin's Radio: Template for a Generation. [livejournal.com profile] kevinjdog was right about this group -- they are indeed strongly reminiscent of Glass Hammer, of whom I'm a longtime fan. Vocals are higher-pitched but the song structures and the epic prog-rock feel are very similar. Great keyboards.

Next up in today's playlist:

-- Vanden Plas: Far Off Grace. This is still their best album, I think.

-- Tribe of Gypsies -- Tribe of Gypsies III. A recent acquisition. This is guitar / studio wizard Roy Z's Latin-metal project. I wish I could find the first album anywhere for less than $50, though.

-- Firewater -- The Golden Hour. Another recent acquisition. No idea what this will be like. Recommended by [livejournal.com profile] fairgoldberry.

-- Matisyahu -- Shake Off The Dust....Arise. This album entertains me immensely. Jewish reggae, how can you not dig that?

-- Circus Maximus -- Isolate. One of the best prog-metal albums I've heard in the past decade.

-- Genesis -- .....And Then There Were Three. Another recent acquisition, recommended by [livejournal.com profile] kevinjdog some time ago. Still working through the Genesis back catalog.

-- Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble -- Texas Flood. The classic just keeps getting better with age. I miss SRV.

New acquisitions on Blu-Ray:

-- Band of Brothers. The best TV series I've ever seen, bar none. Can't wait to see how this looks in high-def as I've already had it on DVD for years.

-- House of Flying Daggers. One of my favorite wuxia films. Looking forward to this one too.

-- Watchmen: Director's Cut. I am REALLY looking forward to this one, especially to see what else was added in the director's cut.

-- Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. Minimalist Blu-Ray with almost no extras, but all I'm concerned with is the high-def picture and sound. This movie was a feast for the senses and that's all I care about.

-- Troy: Director's Cut. Curious about the director's cut, but more interested in the picture and sound. This is, after all, an epic film, even if somewhat poorly executed.

-- Sin City: Recut, Extended Edition. Rodriguez's masterpiece imagining of Miller's work. This one is said to have incredible picture and sound, a real demo disc for your system. Looking forward to seeing the improvements over the DVD.

How are things with you today? What're you reading, listening to, watching?


[[The Oracle would like to know what you're doing for Halloween]].
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Haven't done one of these in a while..........

Recommend some music to me. Artists, albums, your top five, just a few you've been listening to, or whatever. Rock, metal, classical, new age, prog metal, pop, rap, blues, R&B, soundtrack -- whatever you want. Describe it and tell me why you like it. There's always room for more good music.


[[The Oracle would like to know whether you believe in lucky numbers.]]
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This is awesome with a side of awesomesauce. Cecilia Siqueira and Fernando Lima (Duo Siqueira Lima) performing TICO TICO NO FUBA (Zequinha de Abreu) during the Brazilian Music Institute in Gainesville, FL. Yes, that's two people playing the same guitar at the same time.

Most excellent.


[[The Oracle would like to know what you're doing this weekend.]]
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