Friday, January 30, 2009

La Brea means 'The Tar'

I drive practically the full length of La Brea on my way down to my company's offices.

I really like it. It beats sitting on the 405 for an hour and a half. I'd much rather be passing the Simpsons sat on the sidewalk outside the props shop and the shop that just sells tigers or the oil rigs.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A U-Haul Truck has a 30 Gallon Tank

Thanks to the KTLA pundit, who was trying to figure out how far the woman who stole this one might get, for the nugget of information.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Women and Children First

The protocol for evacuation was established during the sinking of HMS Birkenhead, and is also known as The Birkenhead Drill.

The Birkenhead's example is perhaps the most extreme example of the practice. Even after the women and children had been put on the lifeboats, the men were ordered to stand fast while the ship sank for fear that they would overwhelm the boats. They did so almost to a man.

Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about it. I pretty much despise poetry, but this is quite moving:

To take your chance in the thick of a rush, with firing all about,
Is nothing so bad when you've cover to 'and, an' leave an' likin' to shout;
But to stand an' be still to the Birken'ead drill is a damn tough bullet to chew,
An' they done it, the Jollies -- 'Er Majesty's Jollies -- soldier an' sailor too!
Their work was done when it 'adn't begun; they was younger nor me an' you;
Their choice it was plain between drownin' in 'eaps an' bein' mopped by the screw,
So they stood an' was still to the Birken'ead drill, soldier an' sailor too

Monday, January 26, 2009

Religious Education

God is famous. He lives in the sky and if you're naughty, he'll electricity you.

So says my 5 year old who got it from her friend at school.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Oscar voting procedure

The nominations for the Oscars are solicited from the members of the Academy. You nominate within your field - acting, directing, whatever - and also for best picture.

They then send out the shortlisted nominations for voting by the whole academy. You vote on everything including fields like make up which you know nothing about, and sometimes for films you haven't even seen.

The process was explained to my by a posh old ex-pat composer while we waited for our respective wives to get their hair cut.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Alma Mater

Alma mater is Latin for "nourishing mother". (Pron. 'ælmə 'meɪtə(r) in British English; usu. 'ɔlmə 'maːɾər in American English.) It was used in ancient Rome as a title for the mother goddess, and in Mediæval Christianity for the Virgin Mary. In modern times it is used to refer to the university or college a person attended. It also can refer to a song about a college or university similar to a fight song.

I knew what it meant, but not why, so I looked it up.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

He's just not that into you

Is a film based on a self help book based on one fucking line from Sex and the City.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A little light Esperanto

Montris is a game concept from Ironic Sans.

(I call it “Montris” because it combines “mono” and “tetris.” Also, the word “montris” in Esperanto means “to show” in the past tense. That’s not really relevant, but now you know a word in Esperanto.)

Yes I do.

Also the game is quite good too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dead Man's Hand

Just time for one more Deadwood inspired one I think.

The dead man's hand is a two-pair poker hand, namely "aces and eights". The hand gets its name from the legend of it having been the five-card-draw hand held by Wild Bill Hickock at the time of his murder (August 2, 1876).

Friday, January 16, 2009

Deadwood is a real place

While we're talking Deadwood...

Although I'd heard of Wild Bill Hickok, it never occurred to me that anyone else in Deadwood would be based on a real person, or even that the town itself might be real. Turns out they are, and while I'm sure they're wildly fictionalized , Lovejoy, the Sherif and the Mayor are all based on real people and events along with a ton others.

Deadwood started illegally, as its location was at the time in Native American territory. The Treaty of Laramie of 1868 had guaranteed ownership of the Black Hills to the Lakota people. However, in 1874, Colonel George Armstrong Custer led an expedition into the Hills and announced the discovery of gold on French Creek near present-day Custer, South Dakota. Custer's announcement triggered the Black Hills Gold Rush and gave rise to the lawless town of Deadwood, which quickly reached a population of around 5,000.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lovejoy is badass!

We've just started watching Deadwood (we like to let shows build up a while and take a run at them).

Ever since seeing Sky 1's "Run for your fucking life" trailer all those years ago, I've suspected that he might be fucking awesome. Nice to have it confirmed.

Compare and contrast:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Cornflakes and Graham crackers were conceived as aids in preventing masturbation

It seems kind of lazy to just repost a front page story from Reddit, but this is astonishing.

[The Graham Cracker] was originally conceived of as a health food as part of the Graham Diet, a regimen to suppress what he considered unhealthy carnal urges, the source of many maladies according to Graham. Reverend Graham would often lecture about the adverse effects of masturbation or "self-abuse" as he called it. One of his many theories was that one could curb their sexual appetite by eating bland foods. Another man who held this belief was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the inventor of the corn flakes cereal.

Monday, January 12, 2009

HAL would be 12 today

I am a HAL 9000 computer, Production Number 3. I became operational at the HAL Plant in Urbana, Illinois, on January 12, 1997

Friday, January 09, 2009

The Hyperion Bungalow

Hyperion Bungalow
Originally uploaded by andy castro
The Hyperion Bungalow on the Disney lot in Burbank is an original building from, and named after the location of the original Disney Studios in Hollywood - 2719 Hyperion Ave.

The Publicity and Comic Strips Building, which was actually a small wood frame bungalow, was moved to Burbank where it was long the Studio Mail Room, and has since been moved again and renovated as two conference/meeting spaces, known as the Hyperion Bungalow and the Silver Lake Room (Silverlake is the neighborhood where the Hyperion Studio was located).

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I am surrounded by Superbad

Superbad Desktop Wallpaper 800 x 600The school scenes were shot near my company's office.

The liquor store is a few miles from my house.

Also I am McLovin.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


California has uses the same acronym for two extremely similar concepts:

California Redemption Value (CRV) is a deposit paid on purchases of certain recyclable beverage containers in California. The consumer pays CRV on the purchase of beverages with aluminum, plastic, glass, and bimetal containers and can be reimbursed if the containers are brought to a recycling center.
California Redemption Value is easily confused with California Refund Value, which is the amount recycling centers pay to consumers in exchange for empty bottles and cans. This discrepancy is usually unimportant because the redemption (or deposit) value is usually the same as the refund value, although they are different at times. The acronym "CRV" is often used to denote either.

It would be confusing if it wasn't so inconsequential.

Monday, January 05, 2009

John Travolta can park his plane like you'd park your car.

The very layout of his new house is testament to Travolta's love of flying. It's located immediately off the main airstrip, and is designed so his jets can taxi right up to two outbuildings connected to the main structure, which is shaped like a squat air-control tower. Travolta literally can walk out his door, under a canopied walkway and into the cockpit, open the long mechanized gate and be airborne in a matter of minutes.

I knew he was a pilot, and of commercial jets to boot, but that's crazyness.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

How hurricanes are made.

My five year old asked me if I knew how you make hurricanes. When I told her that I didn't she kindly informed me that they happen when hot air and cold air chase each other round and round.

Then she asked "Do you know how I know?" I admitted that I didn't.

"Because I saw it in a movie" she said, "and I believe everything I see in movies".

So that's alright then.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The tallest building in the world is not the tallest structure in the world

Because the tallest structure is not yet occupied.

While determining the world's tallest structure has generally been straightforward, the definition of the world's tallest building or the world's tallest tower is less clear. The disputes generally centre on what should be counted as a building or a tower, and what is being measured.
In terms of absolute height, the tallest structure is currently the Burj Dubai, although it does not currently hold the official title of "Tallest Building in the World" until its construction is completed and the building is officially opened. The current official holder of the "Tallest Building in the World" is held by Taipei 101.

Who knew it could be so complicated?

Friday, January 02, 2009

GI stands for "Government Issue"

This information will not stay in my brain so I looked it up.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

Manually inserting adsense into new Blogger templates

New blogger templates won't take the code that adsense generates with a simple copy and paste. You need to delete the html comment that are suppoed to hide the script from non-script aware browsers.

In this day and age who even needs that? And in any case, if they can't see your ads, fuck em :)

<script type="text/javascript"><!--
google_ad_client = "[NUMBER]";
/* Top Banner */
google_ad_slot = "2629384811";
google_ad_width = 728;
google_ad_height = 90;