Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bumper Sticker of the Month

Don't bitch about it
Start a Revolution

Friday, December 17, 2010

reading review style

I found an interesting series of novels - sort of a noir-wizard-Sam-Spade. On the Brain Candy level. This certainly isn't Raymond Chandler. Pleasant distraction and quick read. Review likely to be coming after finishing my thesis. Uhh ... thesis ... that reminds me of something ... something ... OH! that thing on my desk.

The author has written 13(?12) books in the series about the same character. Do I want to actually read the reviews of any beyond the next one? I really don't want to know that John and Mary wind up romantically involved. Really blew some of the romantic/sexual tension in the book I'm reading right now. Of course, that information was in a review of it. So, when you're writing reviews for Amazon (or whatever) - please don't add in tangential information about the further plot/character development.

I guess I'm over-organized on something. I only read books in the order they're written (chronologically for the story line, not publication date). I read all of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin opus. Once I decided to read all 20 of them ... well, I didn't want to find out what happened in the next one. I already completely enjoyed them, so I never bothered to read the reviews. Admittedly, the existence of other volumes does allow one to draw the conclusion that Our Heroes survive. The trick for a truly good author is to make you forget this when keeping you on the edge of your seat for the book in your hands.

Hennepin County Library - please remind those two people that I'm waiting for #4.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

History, revisited

Kingdom of Heaven was a visually . beautiful movie. Now that Orlando Bloom is no longer riding the LotR / PotC wave, I suppose it might be easier to watch it without seeing Legolas in the Holy Lands. The biggest visual draw-back of the whole movie is Eva Green. Jeeze... can't she ditch the over-done icky eye makeup that's in all her work?

This is the Crusades done to Eyes Without a Face, Billy Idol.
At least the focus on this isn't so bad, as long as you don't make it full-screen.

Yes, this is a simplistic summary of the Crusades. It is also much, much better than the 6th Grade history textbook I looked at a few years ago. At least it mentions
a) that there were more reasons than "for the glory of god"
b) the Children's crusade
c) other consequences of the wars beyond "Europeans got their ass kicked by the Muslims"

and, if you want Kingdom of Heaven on screen - watch in on a big-screen if possible. The big battle scenes and the long shots of Jerusalem/surrounding lands are better big. The costuming and visuals are really impressive. It's Ridley Scott, a.k.a., Gladiator, in his historian (and unfortunately not Alien) mode. Balian's "rise a knight" speech is Hollywood-esque overdone "ain't the little peasant peon really the center of all that is Right and Good, who are the True Good Guys". It's one of those "sort-of-based upon a story we think the scriptwriter once read", but at least they didn't hire a WASP to play Saladin.
sorry, can't figure out how to imbed it from IMdB.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How often did I tell students ...

Well, at least Mr.Gopher married a woman who labels her axes.

and right now, every single one of them is:

y-axis: critical fraction (by-pass/through)
x-axis: charge burden (n)

let's see if this choice makes it past my adviser

Thursday, December 9, 2010

statistics - bizarre indeed

Blogspot has a new tab/function on my page (well, I assume everyone else's too): Stats. I don't know if you can see it, or if it's only available to me. Being inveterately curious, I - of course - looked. It has a graph of page views vs. time. I can't tell if that includes me or not. (update:yes, it does) One tab in Stats provides a list of post titles and number of views for that particular page. The maximum by a looooong way was Scary Hairdos in the Reichstag on Election Day.

It also has a "traffic source", which makes no sense to me. It also leaves me wondering which country/corporation uses .tr This tab lists "Referring URL" and "Referring Sites". Neither one makes sense to me. Given this ... what's the point? I've been interested recently in how statistics is used to further misguide the ignorant/uneducated (which ever you think is less offensive a term, though I really do mean both). If so, these statistics are simply incomprehensible and therefore harmless. I think.

That said, the other function, Audience, is actually interesting, since it's graphic: a world map with countries (and US states) in different colors based upon viewing traffic, a text list of those countries, and pie charts indicating which browser program is used for looking at the page. I realize a large number of the US views might be myself, if the system doesn't consider whether or not I'm the viewer. But the rest of the world? Germany: a couple of friends & in-laws there. France: one in-law there. UK - French resident moved there. But ... Canada, Russia, Netherlands, India, Luxembourg, and Malaysia??

Inveterate curiosity sated: Went to list of how many views per post from today. My viewing is included in the numbers. Therefore the number of views from the US is not really *that* impressive, since a significant - if small - % is mine. I'm not in Turkey or Malaysia, though...