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Posts published in April 2009

Look At This Lovely Hamster

Remember the other day when I was bitching about Tumblr? Well, it’s happened again. This time it’s hamsters.

Look At The Lovely Hamster

Are you kidding? This site is amazing. Way better than the hipster site or the this is why you’re fat site or any of the other ones. I mean, look at the hamsters. Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you fucking kidding me?



Why do I think these disgusting little balls of pee-stink and fluff and teeth are so cute?

Look At This Fucking Hipster

If you’re anything like me, you were sent the new hot shit site of the current internet femtosecond, Look At This Fucking Hipster. It seems like everyone I know who spends their whole day at a computer with web access finds these things within a day or two of each other. The weird part is that they’re not sending them to each other; the sites are encountered randomly. Weird. Of course, it’s another Tumblr site which is great for people setting up random sites that they don’t need to pay for or configure or think about. Tumblr is basically like the ultimate user-curated collection of random internet bullshit, some of it is good, some of it is boring. Look At This Fucking Hipster is pretty funny. I especially like the captions, which betray the fact that the author has quite an in-depth knowledge of the modern Hipster lifestyle.

This one made me laugh aloud.

“Taste this. It’s wine I made out of bugs.”
“Taste this. It’s wine I made out of bugs.”

I don’t know WHY I think it’s so funny. I just do. Deal.

I have a problem with at least one post on the site though. This one. Uh, guys? I’m pretty sure those aren’t hipsters; I’m pretty sure they’re gays. Regardless, they look like they’re having a good time.

Narrative Magazine Spring 09 Short Story Contest

Matt Toder of the inimitable Steve’s Word sent me this today. It’s a short story competition held by Narrative Magazine. I’ve never read or seen Narrative Magazine, and with the current downturn in the print industry, who knows how long it will be around, but a contest is a contest and who am I to turn down the possibility of earning a little money? So I intend to enter. And since the deadline isn’t until July 31, I have time to write a new piece. What the hell, right? I’m going to try for the full 15000 words. I’ve never written anything that long before; I think the challenge will be exciting. I know that when writing for Hunter I thought I was going to have a hard time getting to 20 pages with my idea, but really I ended up having the opposite problem. I think that Julian & Clive suffered because I was trying to shove so much into 20-25 pages. I ended up cutting a bunch of ideas that probably would have made it better, or at least made the plot make more sense, feel less stilted.

Now I just need an idea.

Anyway, Matt Toder you get the seal of approval.


Can you see The Space Pope’s Palace?

Hahaha, just kidding! Any fool knows the Space Pope lives far beyond this pathetic solar system.

Nevertheless, Cassini’s photos of Saturn are incredible. These are from a recent set that NASA received from the satellite as it cruised around Saturn’s outer rings. It’s like a hippy-dippy trip through the mysteries of space and cosmic unknowns. I will never see this with my own eyes, though, hopefully, one day some people will. It really makes me wonder what the hell else is out there in the unfathomably massive universe in which we are but a tiny speck. Further, the scale on these photos is a little mind-boggling. Often they note that the scale is something like 8km per PIXEL. What? Whatever. I’m not even going to try and think about that.

Here are some of my favorites.


Rhea passes in front of Saturn’s larger, hazy moon Titan (which is lit from behind by the sun) in June of 2006. (NASA/JPL/SSI)


Cassini looks toward Rhea’s cratered, icy landscape with the dark line of Saturn’s ringplane and the planet’s murky atmosphere as a background. Rhea is Saturn’s second-largest moon, at 1,528 km (949 mi) across. Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired on July 17, 2007 at a distance of approximately 1.2 million km (770,000 mi) from Rhea. Image scale is 7 km (5 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)


Small, battered Epimetheus before Saturn’s A and F rings, and and smog-enshrouded Titan (5,150 km/3,200 mi wide) beyond. The color information in the colorized view is artificial: it is derived from red, green and blue images taken at nearly the same time and phase angle as the clear filter image. This color information was overlaid onto a previously released clear filter view in order to approximate the scene as it might appear to human eyes. The view was acquired on April 28, 2006, at a distance of approximately 667,000 km (415,000 mi) from Epimetheus and 1.8 million km (1.1 million mi) from Titan. The image scale is 4 km (2 mi) per pixel on Epimetheus and 11 km (7 mi) per pixel on Titan. (NASA/JPL/SSI)


Cassini peers through the fine, smoke-sized ice particles of Saturn’s F ring toward the cratered face of Mimas (396 km/246 mi wide). The F ring’s core is dense enough to completely block the light from Mimas. The image was taken on Nov. 18, 2007 at a distance of approximately 772,000 km (480,000 mi) from Mimas. Image scale is 5 km (3 mi) per pixel on the moon. (NASA/JPL/SSI)


Cassini peers through Saturn’s delicate, translucent inner C ring to see the diffuse yellow-blue limb of Saturn’s atmosphere. The image was taken on April 25, 2008 at a distance of approximately 1.5 million km (913,000 mi) from Saturn. Image scale is 8 km (5 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)


Saturn’s high north is a seething cauldron of activity filled with roiling cloud bands and swirling vortices. A corner of the north polar hexagon is seen at upper left. The image was taken on Aug. 25, 2008 at a distance of approximately 541,000 km (336,000 mi) from Saturn. Image scale is 29 km (18 mi) per pixel. (NASA/JPL/SSI)

Shit, I could post all 24 of these. So just go to the site I stole them from: The Big Picture on

I was wrong.

In the past, I would often comment that I thought baseball would be a much more exciting spot to watch if you prerecorded the whole game and then cut out all the boring waiting parts. You know the bits. The pitcher is shaking his head to tell the catcher he doesn’t want to throw that one. The batter steps out of the box to adjust he crotch. The other players spitting dip and sunflower seeds on the undoubtedly vile floor of the dugout. The game would obviously be much better without all this filler, this nonsense. Who needs it? Just get rid of that stuff and only show the pitching and hitting and subsequent play making. You would cut a game from 3.5 to 4 hours down to about 75 minutes. It makes perfect sense. Baseball is a slow sport and can be boring as all get out.

Get rid of the fluff and you have a pulse-pounding, action-packed extravaganza of the highest order. Right?

But then I learned to love baseball and realized that my earlier estimation was totally wrong. When I miss a game and try to watch the replay on Yes, they do more or less what I described earlier to the games and I find it unbelievably frustrating, almost to the point that I just don’t want to watch the game at all. It feels like a broken, chopped up, ruined experience to see the “exciting” or “significant” parts only. When the telecast jumps from the bottom of the 3rd inning to the top of the 5th, you just aren’t getting the same experience. It’s like watching the Cliff’s Notes version of a baseball game; all the information, but none of the joy and artistry.

It’s those silences in a baseball game that make the exciting parts exciting. Without them you have a highlight reel. Without the silent moments, the waiting, the anticipation, baseball is drained of its tension and drama. There is no way to experience the determination and careful strategizing that takes place in a baseball game without the long, drawn out pauses between pitches. There’s no way to feel the grit in a player without the close up on his face during those in-between moments. There’s no way to fully FEEL a baseball game without the quietest moments to contrast the more active, louder moments. The stillness punctuates the explosions. And, ultimately, the pauses make the game great. You could have wall-to-wall action like a basketball game, the mind-numbing slowness of golf, or the stilted, television-friendly action of football, but only baseball allows you the cool, contemplative leisureliness coupled with moments of incredible action and drama.

So, baseball, I’m sorry. I was wrong. I was so very, very wrong. I love your pauses and your stillness. They make the players’s feats of athleticism so much sweeter.