Video Amusement.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Entertainment,Links | Wednesday 29 April 2009 11:08 am

In leiu of anything of substance, I give you the accumulation of more valueless internet fluff.  Entertaining fluff, at the least.

The Slap Chop/Rap Chop remix:

The JetLev water-propelled jetpack:

Stand By Me – Playing for Change: Peace Through Music

Trailers for The Hunt For Gollum (click-through for the trailers), an unauthorized 45-minute fan-film set in the Lord of the Rings universe.  The story was inspired by an appendix to Lord of the Rings, in which Tolkien explains “what Aragorn and Gollum got up to before the trilogy began.”  The whole thing is being produced for £3000.

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Shameless Plugging Of Much Coolness.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Links,Rambling | Friday 17 April 2009 10:11 am

I stumbled across Martin Whitmore‘s site quite by accident… but isn’t that how the internet works most of the time?  Once there I was hooked, and determined to throw money at him (he does one hell of a pole-dance).

What does he do?  He’s an illustrator who has recently abandoned his day job in order to pursue making a living from his jeebus given talents alone — and those talents are abundant.  I can support that.

He’s in Austin, so that makes him a local artist, and moves him further up my list when I’m choosing things to buy to put on the wall or on me.  I can support that.

He’s got a dark sense of humor, and isn’t afraid to laugh at himself.  I can support that.

He’s got a zombie, and zombie-huntress pinup fetish.  I will support that.

I’ve already picked up the Cephalopocalypse t-shirt (seen worn at Christmas), the Chaos & Order Fairies prints (soon to be coming to a wall near me) and the Cephalopocalypse sticker (soon to be appearing all over town… on the back of my truck).

Go.  Buy his wares, commission original work from him, shower him with moolah.  Not just because he’s trying to make good by supporting himself with his talents, but because his stuff is fucking cool.  Do it now, or I will withhold crawfish from you unwashed heathens… I’ll do it, I swear to Bob!

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When Did I Become Such A Hippie?

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,House,Rambling,Reflection | Friday 20 March 2009 9:00 am

I have two rainbarrels.  I have a compost bin.  I take full advantage of Austin’s new bulk recycling services.  I’m going to be growing herbs, and I have seeds germinating for a vegetable garden.  At this rate it won’t be long before I’m half-baked, listening to the Grateful Dead and Phish, and eating an earth shoe while twisting my hair and beard into matted dreadlocks.

Seriously, I never thought I’d be this into this sort of thing.  For years I’ve wanted to grow an herb garden, but never got the momentum up to do it.  Enter Sweets, who comes from a society and culture, and specifically a family that have maintained a garden and have been growing part of their own groceries for many generations.  Almost every home has a garden space, and yards — even tiny ones — are commonly converted into vegetable gardens.  It’s a sensibility and value that’s passed down through the generations.

The big push for this sort of thing came during World War II, when England was not only diverting all its resources toward the war effort, but also reducing its dependency on outside supplies as supply vessels can easily be (and frequently were) sunk by enemy craft.  We here in the States, while being severely limited by rationing, were never crippled by the imminent threat to our very borders.  Growing vegetable gardens did become a means to supplement our personal food supply, but it wasn’t strictly a necessity — tightening a belt isn’t the same as not being able to get supplies at all.  Come the end of the war, we weren’t picking up the pieces after the Blitz and trying to get our country in order, and the need to grow food rapidly dwindled as the US got back up to speed and entered a new era of prosperity.

Even as the need diminished in the UK, the desire remained.  That sense of accomplishment and self reliance became a part of the DNA of the country as a whole, and gardening is a skill taught from parents and grandparents to children.

Nowadays, there is a renewed movement in the US starting to growing edibles again, and it’s in a small way influenced by a shrinking economy, but mostly it’s the sensibilities of the modern hippies/new-agers/tree-huggers/etc.  A new generation of folks are more environmentally conscious, and they’re making that thoughtfulness into a viable industry – the happy balance between good intentions and profitability, and that’s how you get the most people on board.  Recycling is gaining momentum in a lot of municipalities, folks are repurposing a lot of second-hand items and junk these days and there is a big, big push to take care of one’s own piece of the environment, and that includes growing a garden.

Sweets, interested in starting with an herb garden, suggested that we do so, and it snowballed into moving forward on a small vegetable garden.  We’re going to be growing the herbs in pots, in order to make them movable and reconfigurable.  We have a good spot for the garden proper, but we’re going to start small this year and expand as necessary in the seasons to come.  We’re looking at spring and fall plantings, and Austin climate being what it is, we ought to be able to keep fresh veggies of one sort or another in the house for the better part of the year.

Frankly, once the initial setup is done, there is minimal expense involved in maintaining and carrying on from year to year.  You can put as little or as much into as you please — from simple planters on an apartment patio, to serious composting and rain harvesting — or you can take the middle ground like we have.  The City of Austin has an excellent water conservation plan (can you say “drought zone”?), and they are offering rainbarrels at a serious discount.  You place them under your gutter downspouts, and use the collected water for your garden and other non-potable uses (and both of ours filled up after one evening of rain).  Simple and easy, it saves a bit on our water bill, and it means I’m not using treated water for my garden.  We also bought a small compost bin that will let us use yard trimmings, fall leaves and certain kitchen waste to fertilize our garden as well, reducing the expense of fancy fertilizes, and saving our water table from the same.  Frankly, I’m two parts stingy to one part environmentally conscious… you find your motivation where you can.

In the past recycling was never anything I was very vigilant about.  If it was convenient, I did it, if it wasn’t… well, I have never argued that I wasn’t lazy.  In NOLA, we did aluminum cans, and that was about it.  I wasn’t sorting my recyclables, and I didn’t much feel like having to determine what could and couldn’t go in the bin from a very selective list.  Austin started out that way, but about three months back they replaced all the tiny curbside bins with gigantic 90 gallon wheeled cans, and they pretty much take anything, and there is no sorting involved.  That caters to even lazy old me… make it easy, and more people will get on board.

The bottom line is this: gardening is frankly a bit of fun, even at this early stage in the game.  It’s fascinating to take the seeds and watch them sprout — it’s like a magic trick.  The work involved leads to a tremendous sense of satisfaction, and you want to shout “Look what I did!  Me!  The guy who killed a Chiapet in elementary school!”  And then at the end of it all, you have tasty things to enjoy.

Now excuse me, I have a shirt to go tie-dye.

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Snow Down A Little.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Pictures,Rambling,Reflection | Wednesday 10 December 2008 12:15 am

Ok, Son of the South be damned, snow still holds some sort of magical sway over me.  Used to be I’d see it once every 10 years or so in NOLA, and it wasn’t a very overachieving form of snow… small flakes that didn’t softly pile up on the ground, but instead elbowed the flakes below them into “almost sleet”.

Last year in Austin I was witness to a proper snow.  Big fluffy puffballs of pocket lint, gracefully and slowly poking Galileo in the eye by bringing air friction into the mix and gently moseying down to the ground to gather into downy piles.

Tonight I had the strange fortune of driving through that same sort of snow.  The temperature today started at a high of 79 degrees, and plummeted to 32 in a matter of six hours, bringing rain with it.  The rain, ever the ambitious one, moved on to become pea sized hail, then promptly lost its motivation and became rain again.  After picking Sweets up from school the hail started again, then rapidly became little soft blurs in my headlights that I realized was snow.  Big, proper fluffy snow again.  And I was driving it it.  Trying desperately to pay attention to the road because all I wanted to do was focus on the snow as it blew through the arcs of the streetlights.

Ok, so snow is no big deal… to anyone who lives outside of this temperate region of the South.  We have three and a half seasons down here, and none of them include the need for chains on tires (unless you want that extra traction for offroading).  And a snow shovel is used to pick up after the horses in the parades.

It was fun and novel, and I get to feel like a kid again making mud angels (I didn’t say it accumulated much on the ground, now did I… you just get to enjoy it floating through the air).

I leave you with a picture of our mailbox.

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Ca-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-ke!

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Coolness,Pictures | Tuesday 11 November 2008 8:52 pm

New cake in the gallery… a life sized zombie emerging from the ground.  The cake is broken up into two galleries — “Construction” and “Completed Cake”, and there are a lot of pictures.

The torso is “green velvet” cake and was a nasty mossy-black green with gummy bones sprinkled between the layers for a fun texture, iced with a tissue colored buttercream. The hands are green rice treats wrapped around a copper armature, iced with the same buttercream. The head contains a white chocolate “brain pan”, filled with a sweet blood sauce, and the rest of the head is sculpted from green rice treats and iced with the buttercream as well. The teeth are cast white chocolate. The whole thing is covered in fondant, then painted appropriately.

The base is bordered with fondant stones, and the soil is made of a combination of graham crackers, ginger snaps, and chocolate cookie snacks.

Sweets and I had a hell of a lot of fun making this one, even though it was as ton of work.  It is also the first specialty cake we’ve worked on together,

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Non Timetis Messor.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Pictures | Monday 25 February 2008 9:21 pm

I finally had this Paul Kidby print that Sweets gave me for Christmas framed.  It’s of Death from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series of books, and it’s more or less Death’s coat-of-arms, and the print is signed and numbered.  I had it double matted with black and indigo (to match the colors in Death’s cloak), and the frame is antiqued black with a scrolling pattern with the raised areas worn to reveal a dark red/brown color beneath.

The banner up top reads “Tempus Fugit” (Time Flies) and the banner down below reads “Non Timetis Messor” (Don’t Fear the Reaper).

Non Timetis MessorNon Timetis MessorNon Timetis Messor

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You. Book. Buy. Read.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Family,Links | Friday 27 July 2007 1:08 pm

Holy crap!  My brother has self-published a book and it’s available on Amazon.com.  Go buy it.  In doing so you will help him make back his investment, encourage him to write more, generally be a good person, and will die with one less malignant stain on your otherwise putrid soul.

The book can be got HERE

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