Archive for the ‘rambling’ Category

Good News!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on June 9th, 2006

Current mood: vindicated

Good news! The earthquake I mentioned the other day came and went, and thankfully it was a very very small one!

The US Geological service has a page about it here:
A microearthquake occurred at 11:08:23 AM (PDT) on Friday, June 9, 2006.
The magnitude 1.0 event occurred 4 km (2 miles) NW of Cabazon, CA.
The hypocentral depth is 18 km (11 miles).

By interesting coincidence, this earthquake occured on the grounds of Morongo Indian Reservation, so since we have now established that I have psychic powers to see the future, I ought to go to their Casino and see if I can clean up on the roulette wheel.

Earthquake Preparedness

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on June 8th, 2006

Current mood: disclairvoyant

According to my calendar, there is an earthquake scheduled for 11:00 pacific time tomorrow, Friday June 9th. I’m not sure where exactly, or whether it will be a big one or a small one, but that is when it is supposed to happen. It is kinda unusual to be given advance warning of these things, but you should definitely take this last minute opportunity to prepare yourself. The Los Angeles Fire Department has a great website about earthquake preparedness.

You know, it is amazing. I had something like five full months of advanced notice about this earthquake, and it is only today, less than 26 hours before the quake that I bother to think about it. I don’t even have a full quake kit at home (although fortunately, I do happen to already own most of the stuff on this list) I guess it is contrary to my nature to pay heed to the oracle.

Here is hoping the damage is minimal!


 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 15th, 2006

Current mood: kittenified

So I got to work this morning, and I was on my way upstairs, and one of my co-workers comes after me saying “Hey! Big James! I need to talk to you!”, And of course I expected a computer question, but instead he says “You like cats?” and he shows me this box with 4 little kittens in it.
I made the mistake of picking one up and holding it and bonding with it, which made it all the more painful that I can’t take it home.

So if any of my friends in southern California needs a small soft fuzzy mewling ball of PURE LOVE, tell me double-quick and I can put you in contact with Fred. Hurry, before they all go to some random stranger in the super-market parking-lot!

From MacArthur Park, down Wilshire, to La Brea

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on May 1st, 2006

Current mood: Patriotic, in fact, for the first time in a long while
Today at work, while I was eating lunch, I checked out the news stories about the immigrant rights protest marches going on today (Monday, May 1st 2006). An article said that approx 100,000 people marched at noon in Downtown L.A. It also said there was another march scheduled for 4:00.
The photos I saw of all those people filling the streets were so exciting that I took the rest of the day off sick, and took the Metro Blue Line up to L.A.
It was easy to figure out which way to go. I just followed this guy:

When I got up out of the metro station at MacArthur Park, this is the scene that greeted me:

It felt like the world’s biggest picnic. The air was full of waving flags, and full of noise. There were car-horns honking everywhere, motorcycle engines revving behind me, and drums playing in several directions. voices all around me, and drums playing ahead of me. Every time a new crowd of people would emerge from the Metro station, everybody would let out a cheer.

I went west, the direction that the crowd was flowing, and pretty soon I was marching down Wilshire with everybody else. Ninety-something percent of the marchers were Latino, and almost all the songs and chants were in Spanish, but I was not made to feel out of place in the least. I know this was a protest, but it had such an amazing positive vibe that it felt more like a celebration. Almost everybody had an American flag, and there were a lot of other flags too. Lots of signs and banners as well, about half-and-half English-and-Spanish. I was delighted to be able to read everything. Although I speak almost no spanish, I guess I read it pretty well.

It was really hard for me to capture just how many people were there using only my little camera-phone. I took a couple video clips, but even those do it no justice. Here try them:
Video Cliplet, from ground-level
Video Cliplet, from the top of some stairs
My phone creates dumb 3g2 files, but I am pretty sure they are just misnamed Quicktime MOV files, so hopefully y’all can view them.
If you Really want to get an idea of the size of this, I hope you were watching the news. There were a ton of helicopters circling the whole time, and I am sure they got better shots than I did ;)
I had a wonderful time, and I must say, that if every protest was as positive, and peaceful and POWERFUL as this one was, the world would be a better place. For all of you that stayed home, you missed out on one of the most wonderful parts of living in a free country.
Now, I am going to bed. I marched three miles today, and jogged two miles back to the metro station. I am exhausted :)
EDIT: And the girl I met on the metro on the way home turned out to be my love

Tiger Piglets

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 25th, 2006

Current mood: Lunching

This morning, a co-worker forwarded me an e-mail which included this photo, along with a heartwarming story about how a Tigress in a zoo, distraught over the loss of her cubs, was brought out of her state of feline depression when clever zookeepers brought her a litter of piglets to raise as a surrogate mother.

Tiger Piglets
I for one, did not believe the story for one minute. This photograph clearly exposes a sinister government plot to genetically engineer a new race of deadly man-eating attack-pigs for military use. Your tax dollars at work.

For goodness sake, Jefferson, stop moving around!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 5th, 2006

Current mood: numismanic

I was at the grocery store buying milk and bananas, and when I payed, the nice little robot that helps the cashier dispense the change gave me some coins. One of them caught my eye immediately. It was different. I immediately singled it out, and started babbling about it to the cashier, (delaying the line of people behind me) and nearly left without taking my groceries with me. Jefferson’s face had moved to a different place on the Nickel!

Now pretty much exactly the same thing happened months ago at a different grocery store, last time Jefferson moved.I tell you, this guy on the Nickel was a great founding father and all, but he is dead! Dead presidents should have the common decency to stop moving! It is spooking me out!

Besides being a little bit scary to see this face moving around the coin, I feel like it weakens the coin. I know the State Quarters were a big hit, but that was the backs of the coins, not the fronts. Now you could counterfit any slug of metal, and as long as you got the size right, it would not matter what picture you put on it, I would be willing to believe it was a legit coin.

I guess they don’t really care about coin counterfitting. Our currency has inflated enough that coins aren’t worth much of anything anymore. It would cost far more to fake tham than what they are worth. You know pennies are not made of copper anymore, right? Copper is way too valuable for that. Copper is extremely important for microchips and for wiring, and for all sorts of other important industrial uses– and there is a fixed amount of it available on earth. There will be no increase in the available global copper supply until after asteroid mining becomes feasable.

Perhaps that is why Abe Lincoln has been holding still. He is Thinking about the Future!

I am a space nerd

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on February 5th, 2006

Current mood: dissemantic

EDIT: I wrote this post before “Xena” got its official name: Eris

I am a space nerd. Even before I started kindergarten, I had memorized the names of all the planets in the solar system. I was very excited back then about the idea of a 10th planet.

Depending on how you count, there are already 10 planets… or more… or less. The trouble is, once we got good at looking for small objects beyond Pluto, it started to become clear that the word “Planet” was becoming ambiguous. There is currently a debate in the space-nerd community over whether Pluto should lose “Planet” status, or whether a whole bunch of other big-balls-of-rock-and-ice should be added to the list of planets. Personally, I don’t care one way or the other, but the debate did get me wondering about exactly how big these objects are in a way that I can actually relate to the size. So I grabbed a screen-shot from google maps and made this diagram of how big the moon, Pluto and Xena would be if you placed them on the Earth’s surface.

I got the diameter approximation for Xena from this BBC news article. Note that Xena is not the “official” name. This This particular planet.. planetoid… planety-thing has not yet been given an official name. I don’t put much stock in official naming schemes. People who obsess about officially correct naming misunderstand an important thing about names. A name is not intended to be a universal truth. A name does not need to be unique, it does not need to be consistent, it does not even need to be agreed-upon. A name is just a word that is associated with a particular thing in a particular context.
Our most sincere apologies to the citizens of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Columbia, Jamaica, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Suriname, French Guiana, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Siera Leone, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, The Gambia, and Cape Verde, who were all crushed in the making of this illustration. I am very sorry. Our sympathy also goes out to the countless millions in other parts of the word who were killed by the ensuing mega-tidal-waves.EDIT: It has been brought to my attention that I am also a geography nerd ;)

Googling is the new Remembering

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on December 14th, 2005

Current mood: Coughing

Remembering is something that people used to do in the old days before the internet. It was slightly faster, but a lot less reliable. Most people still actually do have the ability to remember, but it is a lost art which is not practical to use it for general purposes. Modern remembering hobbyists find it most useful for copying things off google and taking them along on trips to primitive caves and rain forests and places. Remembering doesn’t take any electricity or special equipment, but nobody can remember why that matters.

Family Photo

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on November 5th, 2005

Here is a photo of myself with my new little family on the porch of our new house in San Pedro.

From left to right;
Ryda – Jennifer – Mike – Danielle – Me

Altar to the god of Gasoline

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on October 20th, 2005

Current mood: Crisp

I was in my art class yesterday, and while waiting for my sculpture to dry a little bit, I wandered across the hall into the painting class. I enjoy looking over artist’s shoulders while they work. In the middle of the room one woman was working on a painting of a freeway interchange. She was painting it in bright pastel colors. I remember a smurf-blue overpass across the top right of the canvas. The shapes were a little stylized, but I immediately recognized it.

“The 110 – 105 interchange, right?” I asked.

She finished her brush stroke, and then glanced at me and smiled. “Yes” she said.

For those of you who don’t live in the area, the 110 Freeway runs north and south, from Pasadena to San Pedro, passing close on the west side of downtown Los Angeles. The 105 freeway run east and west, terminating on the west end at the LAX airport.

This picture does not really do it justice, this is just the best I could find on Google Images. To really experience the beauty of this concrete monument to transportation, you must be closer to it, under it, looking up at it all around you. I have always felt that it looks best from the southbound side.

I imagine that 1000 years from now, post apocalyptic historians will look at the 110/105 interchange and wonder who built this towering temple, and what deities it honors.

Those of us who live today know perfectly well that nothing appeases these particular gods better than a sacrifice of fresh gasoline.