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Reviews of things other than movies 
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Burning Godzilla
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Flangepart wrote:
Berger: Think you might like this. The song is cool enough, but Bethancourt is a great string player, including the banjo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qIQxV2Bpmg


I LIKE!!!

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 3:51 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Bergerjacques wrote:
Flangepart wrote:
Berger: Think you might like this. The song is cool enough, but Bethancourt is a great string player, including the banjo.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qIQxV2Bpmg


I LIKE!!!


Joe Bethancourt did an entire CD of songs from the "Silver John" stories by Manly Wade Wellman. It's extremely good, worth tracking down, and if you have the B Fest disc with "O Ugly Bird" on it, you've got one song from it already.

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 4:43 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Oh, this guy is great. I got one of his albums at Marcon, and I NEED to get more.

Like this...

http://www.whitetreeaz.com/cd/whofears.htm

and this...
http://www.whitetreeaz.com/cd/nobody.htm
Man, I want that Schofield...

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Thu Aug 11, 2011 10:18 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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"American Mavericks" -- a concert series by the San Francisco Sympnony
The original American Mavericks series was twelve years ago, and was a semi-surprise hit, and it really helped put the SF Symphony on the map, marking them as arguably the world's numba one orchestra for modern and avant-garde types of music. It also made me a total convert to the school of believers in twentieth-century modernist stuff being music, not noise. Now, it's back. And I'm seeing all five concerts, with a friend who dug this stuff before I did.

So far, it's the most fun I've had in a classical concert since the last series. The first night was Copland (in non-populist mode), Lou Harrison, and Charles Ives (who I now have to put up a picture of in my cube at work, seeing as I work for an insurance company), and was just a bunch of fun, stuff to wake the audience up and let them know they're in for a good time. The second night was much more aggressively avant-garde -- it opened with a John Cage thing where a musician was as likely to make noise with a typewriter or a basketball as with an instrument. Even my friend and I kind of groaned inside when we saw what we were in for, but we both ended up getting more out of it than we anticipated.

After a long-ass intermission, necessitated by breaking down all the elaborate set design used for the Cage performance (which included rear-projection screens and neon tubes and kitchen furniture), a thing by Lukas Foss that basically applied a scrambling process to a well-known little piece by Bach. Then a piano concerto by Henry Cowell -- the "tone clusters" guy, which means the pianist is constantly using his fists and forearms instead of his fingertips. It ended with Carl Ruggles' "Sun-Treader", which is aggressively atonal but in this setting counts as a return to safe familiar territory, like the stuff on the first evening.

"Sun-Treader" is apparently the result of Ruggles seeing this pair of words in a poem, and ignoring the poet's intended meaning and just thinking "Sun treader. That sounds badass." And then writing a piece of music with the goal of being badass enough to suit the name. It's a very macho he-man kind of modern music. (Or as my friend prefers to say, very butch.) Listen here.

In a few hours it's time for a work by Harry Partch, a composer so unconventional that his works can only be played by instruments he built himself. Two more next week...

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Sun Mar 11, 2012 5:17 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Mercury Radio Theater Production of "War of the Worlds - I have never heard this famous radio broadcast before, except on a made for TV movie dramatization. But damn if it isn't flat brilliant!
In these days of found footage movies, this could be considered a grandpappy of that style. It works so damn well, even now. There's a scene where a surviving reporter is giving a vivid account of events occurring while he stands upon a rooftop. He describes the aliens entering the city and releasing poisonous black smoke released by one the invading ships into downtown New York City ... it is genuinely chilling.

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Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:12 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Bergerjacques wrote:
Mercury Radio Theater Production of "War of the Worlds - I have never heard this famous radio broadcast before, except on a made for TV movie dramatization. But damn if it isn't flat brilliant!
In these days of found footage movies, this could be considered a grandpappy of that style. It works so damn well, even now. There's a scene where a surviving reporter is giving a vivid account of events occurring while he stands upon a rooftop. He describes the aliens entering the city and releasing poisonous black smoke released by one the invading ships into downtown New York City ... it is genuinely chilling.


I don't think I've heard a Mercury broadcast I haven't liked yet. If you like this, I definitely recommend listening to more of their stuff.

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Wed May 01, 2013 5:09 pm
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KO Robb - for your beard scent reviews.

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Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:38 pm
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Thank you, BJ, for servicing all my beard smell'um reviewing needs. :D

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Tue Apr 15, 2014 8:42 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Waaaaaaay out of left field:

I have adapted an Ikea Fredrick desk to be a standup workstations and it works amazingly well. Standup workstations are becoming more accepted in the workplace due to the positive health effects, but you can pay thousands for them. The Fredrik is no longer made, but is easily configured for standup use. I found one on Craigslist for $100.

So now both my home and work desks are standup, and my home desk has a treadmill underneath. Will probably add a treadmill to my work station after getting used to standing most of the day.

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:25 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Charnelhouse wrote:
Waaaaaaay out of left field:

I have adapted an Ikea Fredrick desk to be a standup workstations and it works amazingly well. Standup workstations are becoming more accepted in the workplace due to the positive health effects, but you can pay thousands for them. The Fredrik is no longer made, but is easily configured for standup use. I found one on Craigslist for $100.

So now both my home and work desks are standup, and my home desk has a treadmill underneath. Will probably add a treadmill to my work station after getting used to standing most of the day.


Hook it up to some rechargeable car batteries in your home and you could chance going electrically independent.

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This is an appalling film. And for some of you, well worth your time - SSM

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:38 pm
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For the last fifteen months ago, everybody in the smartphone press has been raving about the wonderful and gorgeous design of one particular phone, the HTC One. (And its siblings, the One Mini (M4) and One Max (T6), and successor the One M8.) Now that I own an original One (M7), I have to say that the design doesn't seem like anything special to me.

First, the edges. They may be pretty finely put together but they don't feel nearly as nice as the semicylinder edges on some Nokia Windows phones. The joints where the glass meets the aluminum ends with the speakers in them are smooth on some corners and rough on others. The cheap bleepy Samsung that this is replacing actually felt better in the hand. It also clearly distinguished the two ends, so you would almost never accidentally pick it up upside down.

Second, it's a size too large to hang onto comfortably, even for a six foot guy with sizeable hands.

Third, the buttons and connectors. They're well made, but I find the placement of the power and volume buttons awkward, and the positioning of the USB jack on the bottom right is distinctly awkward for using the phone in landscape orientation while charging, especially if headphones are in at the same time, because they plug into the opposite end. Another landscape mode issue is that the ambient light sensor is easy to accidentally cover up, thereby dimming the screen. Most indefensibly, the capacitive buttons at the bottom are lacking for no good reason: they include only Home and Back, which means that Tasks and Menu have to be overloaded onto double-clicks and long-clicks of Home, and the latter isn't even set up by default, which means that you have apps constantly reserving an extra virtual button area at the bottom of the screen with just one button in it, until you change that setting. The cheap Gingerbread Samsung wins again. It even had a sliding cover for the USB jack, which this lacks. And this one's USB jack is positioned exactly where the power button is on the other end, which worsens the lack of cues for grabbing it right side up.

And it really was a faux-pas to leave out a microSD slot. That's four for the old Samsung.

Finally, the Sense UI has areas where they seem to have taken extra effort to make things less easy, like how dragging an app from the drawer to the desktop requires first dragging it to the upper left corner, then back down. But the Samsung's "TouchWiz" interface was far worse -- I had to install a third party launcher. The score is four to one.

(The Samsung was also far worse on pre-installed bloatware, which drove me to root it. I might never need to root this one, since they added an off switch for BlinkFeed.)

So design-wise, I think the HTC One is quite overrated.

Functionally, though, it's terrific. A Galaxy S4 feels very noticeably sluggish and laggy next to this, despite having just as much CPU power. There's not a single app the One doesn't handle with perfect smoothness and ease. It's certainly smoother than a Windows desktop box, no matter how fast a CPU the desktop has. It's excellent for playing movies (except in a totally dark room, where you'd be better off with an AMOLED screen). The battery holds up pretty well, though charging is slow. The "ultrapixel" camera is all right. Cell and wifi reception are good and strong, calls are clear, and they say I sound better from the other end. And those dual front-facing speakers really are as much better than other phone speakers as they look like they are.

My only non-design issue is that sometimes apps are inexplicably slow to recognize when the orientation has been changed. You might have to, like, start the app, wait several seconds, and then turn the phone. Oddly, this seems to be improving over time.

The new M8 model looks even better; unfortunately it's also even huger. I'd really like to see them come out with a new "Mini" model which has the same performance as the full sized version. (The previous Mini, the M4, had sharply reduced specs compared to the M7 and still wasn't very small.)

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Tue Apr 29, 2014 5:50 pm
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So.... beard oils.

As I mentioned in the purchasing thread, I decided to grow out my beard a bit, and in order to condition said beard (avoiding the dreaded BEARD DANDRUFF), I found three Mom & Pop shops on Etsy (Simply Great Beard Oil, Beardology, and Dream Beard), bought a sampler pack from each, and gave all their varieties of ingredients and scents a one week tryout.

First and foremost, I have to note that what kind of scent you may find pleasing is a very subjective thing, so I don't want to make too strong a suggestion for one brand or another based on that. But I will say that the fragrances that you might find "in nature" (i.e. - taken from 'essential oils' of existing plants and woods, rather then man-made) were much more hit or miss. I found the 'Whiskey' and 'Coffee' scents from Simply Great Beard Oil kind of off putting, while the 'Sexy' scent was one of my wife's favorites.

So on to the oils themselves. The Simply Great Beard Oils all contain Olive Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Almond Oil, Rosemary Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Fragrance, and Vitamin E. The Beardology products all contain Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba oil, and Vitamin E. The Dream Beard folks actually use a combo of the other two company's ingredients, using virgin olive oil, vitamin E, and jojoba along with assorted fragrances.

In the end, it all came down to viscosity. I like a thicker oil, and the Beardology and Dream Beard products provided that. I'm assumming the jojoba oil was the decided factor in that department. As for my favorite smells, I really liked Beardology's Sandalwood (they used essential sandalwood and vanilla oils for that one) and their Barber Shop ("Bergamot and basil leaf complimented by earthy notes of Oakmoss and white patchouli: was their description), while Dream Beard's Mechanic (a musky fragrance that they describe as 'Manly Sweet') and Lumberjack (a piney, outdoorsy smell) also rated well with the wife. Both brands had a great thickness to the oil that dried nicely, started out strong in smell, but quickly disapaited. I suggest all bearded BMMBers to check them out on Etsy.

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When 'Celebrity Deathmatch' just isn't nuanced enough for you @ The KO Picture Show "Reviewing the best (and worst) in Pugilistic Pictures!"

"I've always imagined you as Tom Servo, in my head." - Ed the IX paying me one helluva nice (if unintended) compliment.

"Hoots, Sister Morag. I can no' find pleasure in haggis anymore." - Beggar So's Hat

"I'm back, and I'm more evil than before! HAW HAW HEE!" - Mr. Mind, feelin' it


Tue May 13, 2014 6:10 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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KO Rob wrote:
So.... beard oils.

As I mentioned in the purchasing thread, I decided to grow out my beard a bit, and in order to condition said beard (avoiding the dreaded BEARD DANDRUFF), I found three Mom & Pop shops on Etsy (Simply Great Beard Oil, Beardology, and Dream Beard), bought a sampler pack from each, and gave all their varieties of ingredients and scents a one week tryout.

First and foremost, I have to note that what kind of scent you may find pleasing is a very subjective thing, so I don't want to make too strong a suggestion for one brand or another based on that. But I will say that the fragrances that you might find "in nature" (i.e. - taken from 'essential oils' of existing plants and woods) were much more on target than the hit or miss quality of the 'man-made' fragrances. I found the 'Whiskey' and 'Coffee' scents from Simply Great Beard Oil kind of off putting, while the 'Sexy' scent was one of my wife's favorites.

So on to the oils themselves. The Simply Great Beard Oils all contain Olive Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Almond Oil, Rosemary Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Fragrance, and Vitamin E. The Beardology products all contain Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba oil, and Vitamin E. The Dream Beard folks actually use a combo of the other two company's ingredients, using virgin olive oil, vitamin E, and jojoba along with assorted fragrances.

In the end, it all came down to viscosity. I like a thicker oil, and the Beardology and Dream Beard products provided that. I'm assumming the jojoba oil was the decided factor in that department. As for my favorite smells, I really liked Beardology's Sandalwood (they used essential sandalwood and vanilla oils for that one) and their Barber Shop ("Bergamot and basil leaf complimented by earthy notes of Oakmoss and white patchouli: was their description), while Dream Beard's Mechanic (a musky fragrance that they describe as 'Manly Sweet') and Lumberjack (a piney, outdoorsy smell) also rated well with the wife. Both brands had a great thickness to the oil that dried nicely, started out strong in smell, but quickly disapaited. I suggest all bearded BMMBers to check them out on Etsy.

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When 'Celebrity Deathmatch' just isn't nuanced enough for you @ The KO Picture Show "Reviewing the best (and worst) in Pugilistic Pictures!"

"I've always imagined you as Tom Servo, in my head." - Ed the IX paying me one helluva nice (if unintended) compliment.

"Hoots, Sister Morag. I can no' find pleasure in haggis anymore." - Beggar So's Hat

"I'm back, and I'm more evil than before! HAW HAW HEE!" - Mr. Mind, feelin' it


Tue May 13, 2014 6:11 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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KO Rob wrote:
So.... beard oils.

As I mentioned in the purchasing thread, I decided to grow out my beard a bit, and in order to condition said beard (avoiding the dreaded BEARD DANDRUFF), I found three Mom & Pop shops on Etsy (Simply Great Beard Oil, Beardology, and Dream Beard), bought a sampler pack from each, and gave all their varieties of ingredients and scents a one week tryout.

First and foremost, I have to note that what kind of scent you may find pleasing is a very subjective thing, so I don't want to make too strong a suggestion for one brand or another based on that. But I will say that the fragrances that you might find "in nature" (i.e. - taken from 'essential oils' of existing plants and woods) were much more on target than the hit or miss quality of the 'man-made' fragrances. I found the 'Whiskey' and 'Coffee' scents from Simply Great Beard Oil kind of off putting, while the 'Sexy' scent was one of my wife's favorites.

So on to the oils themselves. The Simply Great Beard Oils all contain Olive Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Almond Oil, Rosemary Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Fragrance, and Vitamin E. The Beardology products all contain Argan Oil, Avocado Oil, Jojoba oil, and Vitamin E. The Dream Beard folks actually use a combo of the other two company's ingredients, using virgin olive oil, vitamin E, and jojoba along with assorted fragrances.

In the end, it all came down to viscosity. I like a thicker oil, and the Beardology and Dream Beard products provided that. I'm assumming the jojoba oil was the decided factor in that department. As for my favorite smells, I really liked Beardology's Sandalwood (they used essential sandalwood and vanilla oils for that one) and their Barber Shop ("Bergamot and basil leaf complimented by earthy notes of Oakmoss and white patchouli: was their description), while Dream Beard's Mechanic (a musky fragrance that they describe as 'Manly Sweet') and Lumberjack (a piney, outdoorsy smell) also rated well with the wife. Both brands had a great thickness to the oil that dried nicely, started out strong in smell, but quickly disapaited. I suggest all bearded BMMBers to check them out on Etsy.


How did they do in terms of beard softness. I have avoided growing a beard of any description because my wife complains of mouth burn against the coarse hair. Did the application of oils have a good effect?

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Oh yeah, down here, I am considered the apotheosis of cool - Sewer Urchin

This is an appalling film. And for some of you, well worth your time - SSM

I like the way this board thinks


Tue May 13, 2014 11:43 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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KO Rob wrote:
(avoiding the dreaded BEARD DANDRUFF)


This is a thing!? :shock:

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Wed May 14, 2014 1:37 am
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