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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in parakkum's LiveJournal:

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
2:04 am
Where I'm writing now, March 2015 edition
It's been years since I last put a couple pointers to my other sites from my LJ. Although I'm just not a very active writer online lately, here are the key places:

alexandershearer.com - My primary blog, where I've written about the occasional scientific article or other interesting idea. The site also has my resume, CV, and academic publication record.

giftsungiven.com - My gaming blog. Relatively inactive, with the last post being almost a year ago. If I ever start writing actively for ChannelFireball again, I'll link to each new CFB article from this site.

my twitter feed - Even here I've been relatively inactive lately, but I have been a reasonably robust twitter user in the recent-enough past.
Tuesday, August 12th, 2008
11:21 am
Where I'm writing
As I use my Livejournal account to post comments but not to actually post, here are some pointers to where I actually do my writing:

Hope is Not a Plan - Geopolitics

Gifts Ungiven - Gaming
Thursday, March 16th, 2006
1:52 pm
Moving on to MT
I've decided to move from Livejournal to a Movable Type blog (as I did earlier with http://www.hopeisnotaplan.com/, which houses my political commentary and such).

My new blog, to which kwc helped me port all my LJ posts, is here:


I'm not quite done going through and making sure the old stuff is tagged and pretty, but the blog itself is good to go. I'll be posting my LJ-ish content there from now on.
Monday, March 13th, 2006
9:23 pm
Joss Whedon - Goners
Not news to any rabid Whedon fans, but Joss is writing and directing a movie titled Goners sometime after he finishes Wonder Woman. Here's an article about it.
11:24 am
What wasn't: Global Frequency
I tend to tune out news that a property has been optioned, as nothing usually comes of it.

In the case of the Warren Ellis title Global Frequency, WB ordered a pilot and then decided not to air the show. If I were really up on this, I'd have known a while ago that this pilot was leaked on BitTorrent.

I don't know that I'd care to watch it, but if you're interested, here's an overview of the pilot.

Global Frequency does seem as if it would make a decent WB-style show in some ways, though the near-complete lack of character development in the concept means that some changes would have to be made to keep it going.
Sunday, March 12th, 2006
10:35 pm
Caught Creatures
I'm slow in writing this up, but hey, I've been busy. :)


Caught Creatures is a clever book by Daniel M. Davis, a graphic designer from Arizona who we met and talked to at WonderCon. Daniel said that he wanted a creative outlet and decided to go ahead and make this book, which is a combination of charming images of creatures and haikus. The book begins by introducing "Dr. Duke Davis" and his Steam Castle. Every entry after that is a matched creature and haiku, with a little map of the Steam Castle and (usually) a star telling you where the creature lives in the castle.

Here are two sample pages, put up with permission (and encouragement) from Daniel Davis:

Rishy, eater of corn dogs (kinda aggressive-cute, isn't he?).


Nemiss, who really ought to be on notebooks, journals and other possessions of schoolgirls everywhere.

Daniel also had posters of each page, and if I'd have more money, I'd have bought some. On that note, Caught Creatures is a great little intro to haiku, including having a friendly little "how-to" page toward the end.

You can read more about Caught Creatures and Daniel at his site, streamcrow.com. Daniel says he'll be at the next Alternative Press Expo on April 8th and 9th -- with t-shirts! APE is cheap to attend (free if you have your badge from the San Diego Comic Con) and full of lots of good stuff, including Daniel this year. Go to APE, talk to Daniel and check out his great creations.

Update: You can also check out a trailer for Caught Creatures.
10:10 pm
Ed Brubaker redeems the Authority
I just finished reading The Authority: Revolution - Book 2, which is the follow-up to The Authority: Revolution - Book 1. This two parter, written by Ed Brubaker with pencils by Dustin Nguyen, tells the story of the Authority deciding to make the world better by taking over the United States, then consequently screwing up royally and eventually trying to recover.

The Authority is a hard book to write. Warren Ellis in his original run basically tried to make a closed series and had a very simple theme of "big action," topping out with the "killing the planet-deity" arc. Millar had a so-so mix; his first arc started with the promising premise of toppling violent regimes and then became a traditional superfolks versus superfolks story. His Earth Inferno story successfully competed in the "big action" theme by pitting the Authority against the Earth. The concept of Under New Management -- the powers-that-be attempting to replace the Authority -- was reasonably good, too -- and a nice switch from the "big action" idea.

Robbie Morrison put me off the Authority after this, with what unfortunately felt like retreads of the earlier "big action" concepts and fairly flat use of the "ultimate badasses" personality tics of the Authority.

I'm a big Brubaker fan, though. When I saw his name on an Authority book, I gave it another chance. I like how he took the "overthrowing a government" idea and ran with it -- with the natural consequence that the Wildstorm universe changed even more. By the end of the book, it's really, definitely not our world with superheroes tacked on, and I appreciate that. I also think Brubaker did a solid job with giving actual personalities to the Authority, letting them show doubt and many other emotions that aren't "sarcastic self confidence."

I don't know if I believe in a successful follow up to this series, but this was a good, just-different-enough take on the Authority. I'd recommend it.
Friday, March 10th, 2006
2:47 pm
Mars lets another probe live
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter managed to successfully insert itself into Martian orbit today with no problems.

The BBC story
Wednesday, March 8th, 2006
5:30 pm
Sick, not sick
I'm sick (cold) right now.

I also received a letter from the Stanford Blood Center letting me know I'm CMV- (that is, I appear to never been infected with the very common cytomegalovirus -- if you went to college, the odds are decent that you are infected). The upshot is that my blood, especially my platelets, can be used for premature infants and the immunocompromised.

Neat. I may have to set aside a couple hours for platelet donation in the future. Once I'm not sick. :)
Monday, March 6th, 2006
3:19 pm
Inspiring confidence
This is from a post from the Collaboration forum at Digital Webbing, where people try to find like-minded creators to work together on comics and other projects:

So i blatantly know theyre must be a million people out there who want theyre stories to be published or want to make their own comic. But they suck.

Im looking into making an idea of mine into a comic and two friends of mine both said this was the place to start. Im a writer currently doing a screenwriting course with ambitions to be a writer/director.

Makes you just want to leap up and say, "Pick me! Pick me!"

Note the matched misspellings of "there" and "their," followed by the correct spelling of "their." Bizarre.
Thursday, March 2nd, 2006
1:56 pm
Updating tag info
I just finished updating the bunnies' contact info at Home Again. Yes, the bunnies are RFID tagged.

In addition to needing to update the addresses, there were a few errors. They had Pearl listed as a male (she's a girl) and Stormy and Beau listed as dogs.

I refer you to this picture:


Not dogs. Though Stormy is the most doglike of the four.
1:10 pm
Free Ars Magica
Found by the watchful eye of cataptromancer:

Download Ars Magica fourth edition for free at RPGnow.com.
Monday, February 27th, 2006
9:37 am
Batman! Factory!
I totally missed this on my first pass through the Lego site:



Six days until release, apparently.

I also missed the Lego factory, where you can custom-design a Lego creation, then order the pieces you'd need to build it.

...and Star Wars Episode 2 in Lego.

...and, something that is more or less Indiana Jones.
9:29 am
A weak lawsuit
The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail are suing Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown for copyright infringement.

From the article:

Mr Baigent and Mr Leigh's non-fiction best-seller The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail was also published by Random House.

It dealt with theories that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and that their blood line continued to the present day.

Their lawyer Jonathan James told the court: "Dan Brown copied from The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and therefore the publication of the result by the defendant is in infringement of the copyright of my client in the United Kingdom."

So, if I were to read a book of historical conjecture about, say, World War II, and wrote a novel based on it, that'd be copyright infringement? After all, the authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail are selling their work as nonfiction.
Sunday, February 26th, 2006
10:10 pm
Lego: Vikings and Anime
A quick stop by the Lego store last week updated me on their product line. We now have Lego anime under the name Exo-Force, featuring robots versus humans, with both sides piloting giant robots. Not to be confused with Exosquad, which featured humans versus humanoid slave species, with both sides piloting giant robots.

Much more exciting to me are the Lego Vikings, which includes such great sets as Viking Warrior challenges the Fenris Wolf, Viking Boat against the Wyvern Dragon and Viking Ship challenges the Midgard Serpent.

The Vikings inspire me with Lego lust, again. Unlike the the Republic Cruiser, this one is affordable.
Friday, February 24th, 2006
8:57 am
Shin Jae-in
Director Shin Jae-in sounds like a fascinating person, based on this article in the English edition of Chosun Ilbo. She also reminds me a bit of Littlestar, though perhaps not the last sentence:

Before the Chosun Ilbo reporter could steer the conversation round to food, Shin proffered the rice rolled in dried laver with tuna, pecan-flavored milk and a ham and cheese sandwich she was balancing with both hands. It would be too early to draw any conclusions, but she explains, “It just so happens that I chose a story about eating among plenty of stories in my mind. By the way, the movie I’m working on right now is about eating as well. This time, it’s about zombies eating human flesh.”
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006
11:49 pm
How Gold is your medal?
Littlestar suggested this:

Gold medals per capita, as of today:

Estonia 0.00000225

Austria 0.000000977
Switzerland 0.000000534
Sweden 0.000000444
Norway 0.000000435
Croatia 0.000000222
Canada 0.000000152
Netherlands 0.000000122
Germany 0.000000109

South Korea 0.0000000826
Italy 0.0000000688
Australia 0.0000000498
France 0.0000000495
Russia 0.0000000488
United States 0.0000000237

China 0.000000000766

You go, Estonia.
2:16 pm
Trying to remember that one Lego set?
The Pause Magazine Lego Reference Guide covers most of the Lego sets with which I'm familiar, with pictures.
12:27 am
Figure snarking
I have to call hatefulness on the figure skating commentator team of Dick Button, Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton for taking something beautiful and converting it into an opportunity to sound like a bunch of grumpy old people tearing apart young athletes who have committed the sin of being the best in the world, yet still less than perfect.

Can I get an audio feed with just the sound from the arena and no extraneous and vicious commentary?


After some searching, I found the contact page for NBC, which has the email address for sending feedback on the Olympics:


...and sent them this email:

I'm writing to let you know that your commentator trio of Dick Button, Sandra Bezic and Scott Hamilton is detracting severely from my figure skating viewing experience. It's obnoxious to have three people talking over what is an otherwise beautiful event, criticizing constantly and acting generally like they all woke up permanently on the wrong side of the bed.
I would love to be able to just watch the event with the audio from the arena, listening to the music, the cut of the skates on the ice and the cheers and applause from the crowd.

Who knows. Maybe they'll listen. I'm sick of having a beautiful thing ruined by three washed-up former athletes.
Tuesday, February 14th, 2006
11:37 am
Phil Brown, 1916-2006
Phil Brown, whose acting CV included the role of Luke's uncle Owen in Star Wars died on the ninth.

The CNN story
His IMDB page
His Wikipedia page

Phil began his acting career in the States but moved to the UK after being blacklisted based on his founding association with the Actor's Laboratory.
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