Mary Poppins is totally metal:
Now we need “Chim Chim Cheree” in a similar vein with a few more much-needed pyro effects.
On Wednesday, the PRI radio show Marketplace had a story about how Baltimore sewers are in desperate need of incredibly costly repairs. The sewers will eventually fail without repair/replacement, and the bill for that will be approximately 1 trillion dollars. I thought about repairs I’ve done to my own house and how much I wish I could travel back to whenever a previous owner was about to do something stupid from my point of view (especially involving wiring) and make them do it right. This made me wonder:
When will the cost of replacing or repairing inadequate infrastructure far exceed the cost of building a working time machine?
Much like how my theory that working A.I. will be invented (or caused) by someone trying to make a better spam-bot, I wondered if someone would think it cost-effective to use a method of temporal travel that would let someone “encourage” the Baltimore sewer designers of the past to beef up their blueprints a bit. These odd people with impressive credentials show up, demand specs far in excess of what the engineers of the past think is needed or rational, and use carrot (maybe precious metals?) or stick (knowledge of future events, like the foreman embezzling from the city or something) to make the Baltimore sewer of the future not require a total rehab.
It kind of sounds like a scheme the Doctor might try to break up for fiddling with the timeline. If Mr. Moffat wants to commission me to put together a script, I’m ready to give Peter Capaldi a lot of interesting things to say about humanity’s waste disposal systems, among other things.
Disney says it’s bringing Ducktales back to the airwaves (or whatever you kids use these days) on their Disney XD channel in 2017. M’self, I’d like to see Gargoyles make a return, but continuing on from the final season when the show was a part of The Disney Afternoon and not the trainwreck the show became when it moved to Saturday mornings on ABC.
Not to be outdone, Netflix is looking to pull Inspector Gadget and Dangermouse out of the past, probably via Mr. Peabody’s WABAC machine. If you’re like me (and I know I am), you associate Dangermouse with the days when Nickelodeon was why you begged your parents to get this new “Cable TV” thing. Maybe it’ll lead to a comeback for the spinoff show, Count Duckula, which gave “Star Wars Day” its signature slogan:
I’m afraid to request many more shows I remember liking as a kid due to that whole “positive memory reinforcement” thing which allowed me to love Buck Rogers in the 25th Century without realizing how stiff Gil Gerard was. Maybe I’ll just leave it up to the professionals to decide.
• The image above comes from a search for Portal 2 mods. I screencapped the forum post it came from just in case it ever gets deleted.
• While on the topic of games by Valve, it would appear that at least one headcrab has played a Grand Theft Auto game.
• I’ve seen dice made from many materials, but I can’t help think that depleted uranium dice would impress your fellow gamers the most.
• You kids don’t know how easy you have it these days. Back in 1941, if you wanted to make Superman fan art, you had to make it out of wood.
• Coming soon to movies and/or TV, it’s the Settlers of Catan boardgame. I’m not sure how this will translate to an actual script, and I guess the coveted bad-boy role will be that of the thief. I’m also certain there’ll be a betting pool about how soon in the production a “wood for sheep” joke will appear.
• And finally, if you need to spice up your role-playing campaign, you could do worse than give these clever Monster Pamphlets a try.
There are times I’m really grateful that we live in a time where science and medicine have advanced to where they are. Without going into detail, I’ve had to be away from the blog to help out with an ill spouse. It wasn’t one serious thing, exactly. Without divulging gory details, one minor thing was mis-diagnosed which allowed other things to happen. When those were taken care of, other things decided to come out to play as well, and when those seemed to be getting better, a cold/flu/something was called in because the Powers What Is decided her lungs hadn’t been punished lately, and so on and so on. She was never in peril at any one time, but I figure if we lived in Ye Olde Times Before Yon Penicillinne, things would have become very dire.
But she’s gotten better, finally. I think all that Murphy’s Law can throw at her is a meteor strike, and if that happens, at least we get a free meteor.
So what news of the whole Patreon thing? Well, I’m announcing that starting in March, I’ll be posting one of two things (if not both) for contributors. One is a chapterized stab at a novel. I’ve got loads of decent concepts started, so all that remains is to pick one to
inflict present to you for critique. I’ve also got a concept for a flash-fiction thing which I think is a rather novel concept, making fun of a type of narration common to video games and some horror stories. If it works (that is, if I can make it not sound like poo), it’d touch on just about any fictional setting where someone could make some kind of audio diary. This, too, will be up for critique and/or requests for continuation.
Thanks for sticking around, and I’ll be getting back to the “here’s some weirdness I found on the interwebs” stuff tonight!
Note: My own car has a dent, not quite as big as the one above, but significant, put there by a street sweeper. I’ve had my request to put a similar motto across it vetoed. The slogan “Hulk Smash!” was similarly nixed.
Let’s just cut to the chase: The BBC comedy panel quiz show, Q.I. (Quite Interesting) is coming to BBC America!
I’ve loved this show since the first season. Watch it. You won’t be sorry. When they finally get around to the current shows, you’ll even see Carrie Fisher make a guest appearance!
Oh, and if they haven’t agreed to do it already, the next petition is to get the XL version of the show aired in the U.S. Starting with Series F, Q.I. would repeat with an extra 15 minutes of material, which was often just as good as the other 30 minutes.
If nothing else, you’ll learn a lot more about parts of London and its environs, if only to grok all the zingers about places like Hull and Essex.
Taking several image boards by storm has been the new early-access game, Besiege. At this point, you have a handful of levels where your goal is to build a siege engine of doom and sic it on a structure of some kind. It’s also got a mode that allows you to muck about with the designs to your heart’s content, and the results have been… interesting:
It’s only $7 on Steam at the moment, and if physics, fire, and building things that would seem at home in a Wacky Races cartoon, it’s worth the price of admission. The Monty Python-like trumpets and banners that appear on the sides of the screen are a nice touch, too.
I want this kind of setup for my sidewalks:
And our snow went from powder to runoff in one day because our temperatures went from below freezing to sixty degrees today with seventy degrees in store for tomorrow. I’m almost thinking the weather forecast is starting to read like the descriptions of exoplanets that “aren’t quite where we’d want to live if we could reach them.”
Author’s note: I’ll do an actual update soon with actual site-related news and so forth, but this was too good not to pass on.
Last Friday as I took my kid to his grandmother’s house, I passed a sign that had those two lovely words on it, “Estate Sale.” For those who don’t partake of these, they’re a neat opportunity to pick up some garage sale-ish items (or nicer stuff, if you have the money) as well as see the inside of a house that isn’t your own, hopefully finding at least one or two things that make you feel better about the place you occupy.
It’s also pretty standard that you’re going through the things of someone who is recently deceased, or is close to it, which I believe was the case here. I know some people who find that part of the whole affair distasteful, but there’s the philosophical side that it’s all a part of that great circle of recycling things that we don’t so much “own” as “rent” (in the long run).
Anyway, this particular estate sale screamed “cat lady,” though she appeared to have owned dogs as well. There were lots of pet-oriented items, like an entire set of multicolored dishes with 6 place settings and every dish festooned with the word “SPOILED” in raised ceramic. There were cat-shaped teapots, spoons, and knickknacks. There were shelves of books about cats and dogs, and even some Christmas decorations featuring pets as angels and Santas.
I looked through the things there and saw they had a big iron skillet for sale. I’d forgotten to bring some cash, so I told my wife, Cristi, where the sale was and if she wanted to drop by the next day, getting the skillet would be great. She and my older nephew, Xavier, went by, and later she came home and told me about something I’d missed.
“Did you go into the back room in the basement?” she asked. “The one with all the holiday decorations?”
“Yeah,” I said, remembering. “I poked around in there, but didn’t see anything I wanted.”
“Did you see the boxes up high on the shelf built into the wall?”
“No. Why? What was in them?”
“We’ll get to that. When I saw them, they were plain, white, square boxes that looked like the ones you’d keep a commemorative plate in.”
Cristi knows this because her mom is among those who purchase family members those Royal Copenhagen blue & white plates with the year on them.
She continued: “They had names written in marker up in one corner, like ‘Michael’ and ‘Sarah.’ We’d seen them on other stuff in the house, so I figured, ‘These must’ve been special Christmas items for her kids or something.’ I took a box down, and it was pretty heavy. Inside was a velvet bag. While I was opening the bag, I felt another plastic bag inside it, like a Ziploc or something. Then I saw the inside of the box lid and yelped, tossing the box to Xavier.”
“Why did you yelp?”
She ignored the question. “Then Xavier saw the inside of the box and saw the printed info for ‘Wayside Waifs.'”
It’s at this point that many Kansas City residents would recognize ‘Wayside Waifs’ as a local animal shelter.
I slowly put two and two together. “So those boxes were full of…”
“Her cremated pets!”
I considered for a moment. “How much did they want for them?”
“I don’t know!”
“You mean you didn’t ask?”
Apparently, you don’t ask these kinds of things. Or at least, she doesn’t. I don’t know where her priorities were, but I can’t bring you what the current market rate is for secondhand pet ashes. I’ll try to do better in future blog posts.
If one experiences as many technology failures as I do, one might start to think one had an annoying EM field as a mutant superpower. My trusty hard drive called “First Foundation” (Asimov lives) recently started to signal it was ending its life-cycle. It did so several times as I valiantly dumped its giant archive of art and other critical files while trying to maintain the comics ’round here.
It’s at this time I want to give a big thank-you to all the people who’ve pledged to my Patreon. I’m coming up with something I think you’ll like getting the first look at, or enjoy telling me to try something else.
Anyway, I’m to the point where I think I need to just buy a huge solid state drive and a cradle I can jam it into and make occasional backups, then store the drive somewhere safe. Which would likely be away from me and whatever anti-electronics curse I seem to tote around.
But speaking of cursed electronics, there have been a few fan-made thingies that are associated with my favorite computerized time-sinks, so let’s start things off with this head-to-head between Skyrim and Fallout:
Can we have Fallout 4 now, Bethesda? Because if you don’t keep making games, other people will make better ones based on your engine. For example, there’s the fine people over at SureAI who make Skyrim overhaul mods, completely changing the game into a brand-new fantasy adventure. If you have Oblivion, you might start with their first total conversion, Nehrim.
Now these final two links contain considerable amounts of non-kid-friendly language, so get your parents’ permission before clicking through, okay? For those not familiar with the hit Machinima series, Freeman’s Mind, cast your mind back to the game Half Life. You played well-armed and totally silent scientist Gordon Freeman. A mad genius played through the game, letting us hear what was going through Gordon’s head at the time, and he recently finished the series (YouTube playlist link) which clocks in at a whopping 68 episodes. Note: As of this writing, episode 68 hasn’t been added to the playlist, so completists will have to go to Accursed Farms’ videos list and watch it separately.
Secondly, there’s another series (with even more words you might not want your kiddos hearing/repeating) based on the Warhammer 40k franchise. If you’re like me, and I know I am, you know that Warhammer is about Space Marines in huge suits of battle armor flying around in gothic ships to fight demons, aliens, and each other in the name of the God Emperor of Mankind, an almost-dead monarch who sits in a perpetual corpse-state on his throne on the planet Terra. From what I gather, imagine Imperial Rome collapsing into a kind of Imperial Holy Roman Empire… only with Orks and loads of sci-fi guns. I think. Anyway, a person calling himself Bruva Alfabusa wondered what would happen if the Emperor could find a way to communicate, and the result was If The Emperor Had A Text-To-Speech Device, the web series. I thought it might strike a chord with a few of the readers here. Enjoy!
Bad Behavior has blocked 2609 access attempts in the last 7 days.