Archive for May, 2005

Two Pegs, Two Hooks

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 31st, 2005

Current mood: Piratey

So I was killing time, waiting for my ship, and I went into this dockside tavern, and ordered a tankard of grog. Out of the corner of my eye, I catch sight of this salty old sea-dog with two peg legs, two hooks, and an eyepatch. I picked up my grog, and went over and sat next to him.

I’ll bet you have some good stories to tell. I said to him.

Arrrr! says he. That I do.

So I ask, How did you lose your legs and arms?

He lifts his right peg leg, and says; Arrrr! This leg be the first limb I lost. When I was young, I were a whole man, and I sailed with Capt’n Shoat. I remember it well, I do. It were in a fierce sea-battle against Capt’n No-Beard’s frigate. A piece of grape-shot came across the deck, and clipped me leg out from underneath me!

Wow. I said.

The old pirate continued. Arrr. It were seven years later that I lost me hand! He brandished the shiny hook on his left wrist. I was in Madagascar, dueling across the beach man-to-man against the notorious Red Robert Blarg, and me peg leg sunk into the soft sand, and I lost me balance, and Red Robert, he with one deft chop, disarmed me!

Disarmed you, Haha! I get it! I laughed.

But the old pirate scowled, and barked Arrr! It be not funny, lad! I was maimed fer life, i were!

I’m sorry! I thought you wre making a joke. I said, embarrased. Do go on with your story… I said humbly.

Arrr. mumbled the pirate, and he shifted himself in his seat, and then went on. So I thought I would give up piracy, and take up a safer trade instead. So I became a whaler.

A Whaler? I asked.

Aye. said he, A whaler. But one day we encountered the White Whale; Moby Dick! He saw me peg leg, and took me fer Capt’n Ahab, and capsized the long-boat to get at me. Before me mates could pull be back aboard the ship, the White Whale had bitten off me other leg!

Oh… I said solemnly.

Then he raised his other hook, on his right hand. This one was cleverly wedged through the handle of his tankard of rum. This hand, said he, this hand I lost to a woman. Black Flag Betsy, only daughter o’ the corrupt magistrate of the Isle of Blood. A fierce woman was she! A head o hair, red like fire, and a heart full o’ fire as well… I met her in an Ale-house in Bermuda, and well… Let’s us just say she didn’t take lightly to being treated like a wench. I put my hand where I ought not have, and I lost it for my trouble! I’ll say no more of her, for it pains me heart to think of her.

I was silent for a while, sipping on my grog, and thinking about the pirate’s tales. Finally i said One last question: How did you lose your eye?. I pointed at the patch over his left eye.

Arrrr… sighed the pirate. He sounded disappointed. You can tell, can ye? I thought it were so realistic. He reached up with his free hook and popped out his right eye. It rolled across the table. It be made of wood. said he. I lost it last month, right here in this tavern. I was deep in my rum, and I went to scratch me nose, and missed, and gouged out my own eye. Arrr! What a clumsy fool I be!

I was shocked. But… but… What about the other eye! I exclaimed, What about the one under the eye-patch!?

Arrr! said the pirate with a smile. That be me good eye! I wears the patch to protect it while I’m drinking!

Big Bad Wolf Doujinshi

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 29th, 2005

Current mood: Devious

I didn’t know what to write in the speech bubbles. It would look all wrong if it wasn’t in Japanese, and I don’t know Japanese. You can make up your own captions.

Fightin’ Words…

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 28th, 2005

Current mood: Feisty

Now I am not going to name names, but some people have been going around, acting all tough, talking big, and making threats that I don’t think they are prepared to back up.

I don’t usually say stuff like this, so I am just goin’ to say it once, and say it clear; My hamster can kick your hamster’s ass.

Yes he can, and that is not a threat, it is a promise. My hamster is the baddest rodent this side of the cosmetics testing laboratory, and he don’t take no nothing from nobody nohow.

My hamster knows Kung-Fu, Voodoo too; He looks good… without a shirt… and he’s goin’ out west where they’ll apreciate him!

Spoiler Warning!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 25th, 2005

Current mood: Disarmed

So last night I went to see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. I had been disappointed in episodes 1 and 2, but this one excited me in a way that the others failed to. The dialog was a little corny of course, but no worse than in episodes 4,5, and 6. The action sequences were wonderful, both the space battles, with unusual depth and dimension, to the lightsaber battles, with delicious choreography.

I loved the scene in which Benjamin Franklin was confronted by Shaft (Shaft!) and they fight a lightsaber duel, and just when it looks like Shaft has Benjamin Franklin cornered, Franklin busts out his “Lightening-Throwing” skills, and zaps Shaft, but Shaft is like “Oh no you don’t!” and he bounces the lightening off his lightsaber, and it hits Franklin, and you see Franklin’s face kinda melting, and you watch him transform from “Old $100 bill Franklin” to “New $100 bill Franklin” before your very eyes (which explains why he looks like New $100 bill Franklin in episode 6, which always confused me, because the new $100 bills hadn’t been released back in 1983, so i had no idea who he was supposed to be.)

And anyway, then just before Benjamin Franklin dies, D’Artagnan interferes, and is all like “Don’t kill him, He must stand trial!” and Shaft lets his guard down, and then Franklin (who wasn’t quite so wounded as he looked) blasts Shaft out the window, and then D’Artagnan is like “Master, teach me your powers so I can save Marie Antoinette‘s life!”

Oops… I guess I kinda gave away an important scene. Well, I hope you go and see it anyway. it was good…

… and almost completely historically accurate…

I love documentaries.


 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 23rd, 2005

Early saturday morning, my sleep was disturbed by the sound of my roommate taking a shower, very loudly. Why did she have to turn the water on full-blast? I wondered to myself, rolling over and falling back asleep.

A little later, I awoke again, and thought, I didn’t know we had that much water pressure! I never turn the water all the way up when I take a shower.

A little later, I wondered; Has she run out of hot water yet?, but I mentally shrugged it off, and went back to sleep.

A little later, I awoke again, and thought; Geez… I really need to use the bathroom… I hope she finishes soon.

I didn’t quite fall back asleep, but I waited awhile. I heard the sound of water splashing on the floor. What is she doing? I wondered, and I finally got out of bed, hopped down to the floor, and walked down the hall to the bathroom.

Then I stopped, puzzled. The bathroom door was wide open… and the lights were off… and yes, my feet were wet.

Ryda was, of course, not taking a shower at all, but still asleep in her own bed. The loud shower-like noises were coming from above the ceiling. Water was pouring down from the light fixtures– both the one in the bathroom, and the one in the hallway.

crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap I said, and rushed back to my room for my shoes, and then ran upstairs. My upstairs neigbor’s front door was wide open, and I called “Hello!” as I entered. I already had a pretty good idea what was going on. This same neighbor had a leak once before a year ago, which dripped into my bathroom and ruined my light fixture… although this leak seemed a bit more severe…

Water was already spilling out into his living room, soaking the carpet. I waded upstream and found him in his bathroom with a big plastic waste-bin, trying to catch water that was coming out from under his sink. Not just a little leak. This was more along the lines of a firehose. I have seen rivers* that carried more water than this. He was trying to catch the water in the waste-bin and dump it down the tub, but given the volume of water that was blasting out from under the sink, this effort was about as effective as trying to juggle swimming pools.

I hurried back downstairs to call the landlord, and found Ryda awake, and rushing to put plastic over the TV and move the gaming-consoles to high ground.

I will spare you the details, but by that afternoon most of our posessions were packed away in a big pile in a neighboring apartment, and our apartment was a barren soggy empty place with bare carpetless floors, slowing drying in the heat of the day. A few things got water-damaged, but not too many things, and not too badly.

So for a week or so until the new carpet goes in, I will be enjoying the pleasant, but non-internet-connected hospitality of my Aunt and Uncle. Fortunately, I have internet at work, so I can continue to regularly feed my myspace addiction ;)

* That river hyperbole really isn’t saying all that much. Here in semi-arid California, a river is any place where a large amount of water has flowed at some point in recent geological history, say, at least once since the end of the last Ice Age

Oshi Dashi!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 19th, 2005

Current mood: Blurry

I totally drew this Dragon Sumo in high school. I’m not certain, but it was probably in Mr. Helmantoler’s American History class. That was a great class for doodling. I’m not sure why. It wasn’t like it was a boring class, and it wasn’t like I never payed attention to the lecture– I payed close attention, and wrote notes on everything. Mr Helmentoler belived in note taking, to the exclusion of homework, and insisted his students exercise his simple and well-organized form of note-taking, which involved him handing out an “outline” in advance, and us filling in the notes for each topic. It caused me to learn and retain a great deal, and still have enough time to sketch things in the margin.

I am glad that I kept and scanned my doodles.

I kinda wish I had kept and scanned the rest of the notes ;)

“Hujambo” from 5895 meters above sea-level

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 18th, 2005

Current mood: Awe Inspired

I am blogging this on my laptop while looking at the spectacular view of Tanzania from the summit of Uhuru, the highest of the seven peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro, and in fact, the highest point in all Africa. No– I am not an experienced mountain climber. The Uhuru summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro is actually a rather easy climb (in comparison to other mountains anyway) and can be accomplished by any healthy adult with no special climbing training, provided that one at least takes a little time to acclimate oneself to the altitude. The slightly lower Mawensi peak (which I can see from here) is a considerably more difficult climb. if I was twice as athletic, and had twice as much time here, i would attempt it, but I have to be back to work by Monday morning so I’m not going to.

This place is just awesome. It is almost sunset here, and I can see the whole western sky from the wraparound picture window of the Uhura Peak Starbucks. The dry season hasn’t really set in, so the plains are really alive looking, and the greens against the reds and yellows of the sunset is really spectacular. This Starbucks is way better than the run-of-the-mill starbucks you find most places (which is appropriate, for such a spectacular setting). They have live music here all evening. Earlier I was listening to some local Taarab music, which was really cool and unique, and currently there is a Eagles cover band playing. I have never heard Hotel California in Swahili before! This Starbucks also specializes in a few uniquely African blends of Coffee which they don’t serve in the States, and although I normally never touch coffee, I went ahead and settled on a Kenyan blend which I am really enjoying.

The Wi-fi access here is free, and pretty fast, not just here inside the coffee shop, but over the whole peak, and I was actually able to e-mail some pictures to my family while sitting out on the rocks this morning. Unfortunately my T-Mobile Cell Phone is at only one “bar”, and it says “Roaming” on the screen, even though the customer support rep assured me that there were no international roaming charges on my plan. I’m trying to use it as little as possible, but I did have to spend almost an hour this morning walking a co-worker in California through a printer configuration change (Stupid CUPS! why does it have to stop the queue on a USB disconnect with no retry or anything?) So I really hope I don’t get home to find a ridiculously huge bill. Anyway, I digress. This place is beautiful, and I have to get a good night’s sleep for a long day of Hang Gliding

I love y’all, be back Sunday night!

Serpentes Fortis (Luck Dragon)

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 16th, 2005

Current mood: Thoughtful

Serpentes Fortis, commonly known as the Luck Dragon, is an endangered Sentient Reptile, once found scattered throughout south-east Asia. Long extinct in the wild, the only Luck Dragons still alive are a few small populations kept in captivity. Although intelligent, thoughtful, and empathetic creatures, they are most prized for their natural ability to influence random events. In Las Vegas Nevada, in the United States, protests to have the remaining Luck Dragons released from the Casinos that own them, have gone largely ignored for the past decade, but recent pressure from animal rights activists, together with offers by the San Diego Wild Animal Park to set up a breeding program have renewed interest in the eventual re-introduction of the Luck Dragon into its natural habitat.Laboratory Testing
The use of captive Luck Dragons by major gambling establishments has been mildly controversial since the practice began in the early 1940’s, but last week a new controversy broke into the news, which has provoked public outcry that may be the catalyst that finally brings about a change in the treatment and status of Luck Dragons. On May 14 2005, Swiss journalists published shocking photographs and videos documenting the use of Luck Dragons to influence quantum probability distributions in laboratory experiments at CERN. The videos (which are too graphic to reproduce here) show dragons being subjected to a modified form of the Schrodinger’s Cat experiment, which demonstrates the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. In this experiment, a Luck Dragon, instead of a cat is placed into a poison-gas-chamber apparatus which is triggered by the decay of a radioactive isotope. In Shrodinger’s classical version of the experiment, the cat both dies, and does not die, and exists in a quantum superposition of simultaneous deadness and aliveness until the box is opened, and an observer measures whether or not the animal died. When the experiment is performed on a Luck Dragon, the isotope never decays in such a way as to trigger the release of the poison gas, and the dragon always remains completely alive in spite of the absence of an observer’s measurement, this violates quantum indeterminacy, and doubles both the mass and energy present in the molecules in dragon’s body, which in turn simultaneously violates the law of conservation of energy, and causes the dragon’s body to collapse into a microsingularity, which ironically, always kills the dragon.A spokesman for CERN was quoted as saying;

Really, I don’t see what the problem people are having is. The destruction of these dragons is furthering our understanding of quantum physics, and allowing us to explore areas of theory that were previously untestable. The use of Serpentes Fortis will lead to a whole new and exciting field of science, which we are calling “Serpentometrics”, which will allow us to peer into quantum physical processes previously only explorable in mathematical theory

Animal rights protesters have been holding a candle-light vigil outside CERN’s main European offices since Friday night.

Wash Your Hands After Touching the Gummy-Dinosaur Candy Sculpture!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 15th, 2005

Current mood: Only very slightly sore

Last night (read: hella early this morning) I got back from the Ninja Penguin art show. I enjoyed it. It was something halfway between an art show and a party.

The front room was the gallery, and it had a cheezy life-size styrofoam ninja temple on the right wall (I mean the Ninja’s were life size and styrofoam, not the temple) and on the left wall and in various other places were the art displays. Stepping in the door, I practically ran into Bernyce of Le Menagerie, who was wearing, what was by far the coolest Ninja costume of anyone present. You see; guests were encouraged to come in costumes on the themes of Ninjas or Pirates, and many did. There were also a few guys in drag, an assortment of goth costumes, and a couple of 17 year old hoochies (I presume they might have been intended to be “Pirate Wenches”, but my extensive study of Pirate history informs me that it is very unlikely that any real pirate wenches wore florescent-orange hot-pants)

Anyway. Back to the art. This was a “Tangible” art show, which means that you are not only allowed, but encouraged to touch the artwork (Fun art-gallery side-note: If you are ever in the Babylonian sculpture room of the British Museum in London, do not under any circumstance attempt to touch the 3500 year old bas-relief stone murals, for example, to point out an interesting sculptural feature to your sister. Your finger will set of the alarms and summon the guards even several centimeters away from the surface of the stone) But yes! This art you could touch or even pick up. Many pieces employed texture, such as ninja-silhouetted in sandpaper on wood, or a giant pirate skull sculpture with cool sticky-spiderweb eyes, or a ball-and-paddle game with ninja poetry and artwork painted on the paddle, and of course you could actually pick it up and play it. Bernyce’s piece entitled “Sista Ninja” was a mixed-media watercolor, including tinfoil ninja stars, and a ‘Fro made from real human hair. My favorite piece was probably the Julie Keene’s Bunny vs. Squirrel Box … actually that was Ninja Bunny vs. Pirate Squirrel, in keeping with the theme of the show. It was a panel-comic painted on the surfaces of an ordinary corrugated cardboard box, which doesn’t sound like much, but overall shape and layout of the panels combined with Julie’s soft-high-contrast art style made it look remarkably cool. I also was both amused and alarmed by the sculpture that appeared to be constructed entirely of gummy-dinosaurs (you know, like gummy bears except dinosaur themed… at least I think they were dinosaurs. They were so mashed together, they could have been gummy-spongebob‘s for all I know.)

Moving on, the back room was the dance floor. They had a small bar, and DJ’s from Ninja Skillz were playing (technotrancehouse-ish stuff). It had a small party atmosphere that would have disappointed a serious clubber; consequently I greatly enjoyed it. I don’t much like to go to crowded clubs anymore, as there is seldom room to actually have any fun, so this small informal mini-club was exactly what I needed. I had a great time.

Also, I knew from the flier that there were supposed to be martial-arts demonstrations, but I did not expect to actually participate in one. At one point I was sitting there, and listening to these two guys discussing board-breaking (there was a pile of boards on the corner of the ninja temple for that purpose). Apparently one guy intended to break a board, and he wanted the other guy to hold it for him, but the other guy wasn’t feelin’ it. So he says, “How about that guy, up there?” and points up on me (I was at that moment, sitting way up on a ledge where I was probably not actually supposed to be) And so I agreed, after some safety instructions, how to hold the board for him to break it, which involved bracing myself, and holding the sturdy-feeling board up more or less in in front of my face, while he punched through it from the other side. All went smoothly, and nobody was injured.

I don’t have any idea if Penguin Palace plans to host any more such events, or if it was a one-time thing, but if they do, I would be delighted to go again.

Thousand Lotus Blossom Death-Beak Strike!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 13th, 2005

Current mood: Optimistic

Tomorrow night, I am going to go to the Ninja Penguin tangible art show. I am hoping it is the sort of art show likely to degenerate into a party. I will write later about whether or not it was spiffy, and if so, how spiffy.