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August 31, 2005

Two sides of perversion

While readership for Slavoj Žižek's twisty Lacanian take on The Matrix may be limited his opening paragraph is much more enjoyable than the average academic paper.

When I saw The Matrix at a local theatre in Slovenia, I had the unique opportunity of sitting close to the ideal spectator of the film - namely, to an idiot. A man in the late 20ies at my right was so immersed in the film that he all the time disturbed other spectators with loud exclamations, like "My God, wow, so there is no reality!"... I definitely prefer such naive immersion to the pseudo-sophisticated intellectualist readings which project into the film the refined philosophical or psychoanalytic conceptual distinctions.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Iron Maiden: The Trooper

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance to something suitably grim.

Posted by the Flea at 08:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Grow

Grow is a pleasant diversion from a troubled world.

Posted by the Flea at 08:38 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page

The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual web search engine.

"In this paper, we present Google, a prototype of a large-scale search engine which makes heavy use of the structure present in hypertext."
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

I hope his mom sees it

Quick-thinking commuter, Thao Nguyen was flashed by a creep on the New York Subway. He escaped but not before she used her camera phone to get a full face photo of the culprit.

"I just hope they catch him," Nguyen told the Daily News. "Maybe someone will recognize him. Maybe it will stop other people from doing it," she said. "Maybe other women will use their camera phones to stop crime."
Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 30, 2005

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Max Haymes discusses hoodoo roots in the lyrics of Blind Lemon Jefferson.

While I have always been aware of hoodoo in the blues, via references to ‘mojos’, ‘black cat bones’ etc., I didn’t realize just how many more obscure (or less obvious) allusions existed within the genre. Not until I read Hyatt’s massive works: "Hoodoo-Conjuration-Witchcraft-Rootwork". A lot of blues phrases which seemed ‘muddied’ (to me at any rate) suddenly become crystal clear.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

New Orleans Poem

By Brenda Harrison Bell.

afterwards, lying in the dark,
with the ashtray on her stomach,
she watched him
fumble
to put out the cigarette
with only the ember for light

and thought
how too casual a touch
can lead to
burning
Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stockfleth's Prayer

By Charles Hobson.

(A prayer said at sea
before hanging over the side
in a lightning storm at night
to nail canvas over
a gash in the hull.)
Posted by the Flea at 08:49 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Mitchell Brothers: Excuse My Brother

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

K9

I like Rose. But K9 kicks ass.

"A whole generation fondly remember him as an ever faithful companion and best friend to Tom Baker's Doctor," he said. "I hope the new generation of viewers will fall in love with him in the same way."

Now I need to know how he makes it back from E-Space. With Romana II, please.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

TARDIS

The TARDIS, a brief overview.

TARDIS is the abbreviation for Time And Relative Dimension In Space which in itself is a rough description of what a TARDIS really is (explained later). On Gallifrey itself, they seem to be sometimes referred to as TT Capsules but the name 'TARDIS' seems to become more and more prevalent even there. The term TARDIS would seem to have been originally coined by the grand-daughter (Susan) of a renegade Time Lord called 'The Doctor'.
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 29, 2005

Voodoo doll

New Orleans based, Poppy Z. Brite had decided to weather the hurricane by preference to abandoning twenty-eight critters and a house full of junk food. It was only motherly intervention that convinced her to bug out. This voodoo doll, or at least its proceeds, might have come in handy.

I don't get the urge to make art very often, but today I needed something to put my frustration into, and I think this turned out pretty well. I don't claim that it is an actual voodoo doll, as I'm not at all trained in such matters, but as fake voodoo dolls go, it's a hell of a lot cooler-looking than the ones you get in the French Quarter.
Posted by the Flea at 05:14 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Saffir-Simpson

A Category Five storm is described via the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale.

Posted by the Flea at 05:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Athlete: Tourist

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. And cross our fingers.

Posted by the Flea at 05:10 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hurricane prayer

A prayer for the hurricane season.

The Sea of Galilee obeyed your order and returned to its former quietude; you are still the Master of land and sea. We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control.
Posted by the Flea at 05:09 AM | TrackBack (0)

Young in New Orleans

By Charles Bukowski.

starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the streets for
hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was
Posted by the Flea at 05:06 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Ballad of the Crescent City

From Harper's Weekly, June 14, 1862.

In the City of the Crescent, by red Mississippi's waves,
Dwells the haughty Creole matron with her daughters and her slaves:
Round her throng the rebel knighthood, fierce of word and proud of crest,
Slightly redolent of julep, cocktail, cobbler, and the rest
Of those miscellaneous tipples that the Southern heart impel
To the mighty threats of prowess whose dread (?) fruits we know so well.
Posted by the Flea at 05:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

St. Charles & Napoleon

This New Orleans webcam at the corner of St. Charles & Napoleon was still functioning at the time I write this (EST 6:19 a.m.) (via Instapundit).

Posted by the Flea at 05:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hurricane names

People have been naming hurricanes for some time. Given the choice, I would much rather be swamped by Hurricane Hotlips.

Early naming strategies were informal and individualistic in their approach. For several hundred years in the Caribbean, hurricanes were named after the saints day on which they occurred. For example "Hurricane San Felipe" struck Puerto Rico on 13 September 1876. Later, latitude and longitude were used, but this was found to be complicated and more prone to error.
Posted by the Flea at 05:02 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 27, 2005

Burlesque

Former S Club 7 member, Rachel Stevens posed for some slightly racey photos for Arena Magazine (warning: churlish remarks!) and, presumably after being prompted by someone's corset and garters mental association, said she would like to work with Marilyn Manson.

"I'd love to work with him," she gushed. "His videos are amazing. I still want to keep my young fans but I'd be up for a bit of Marilyn. There's nothing like a bit of swearing now and again."

Well the cad was reportedly quite dismissive of the idea. But given the difference between the two artists one is forced to observe the choice between listening to an edgy, controversial act or listening to mass-produced, commodified pop music like Marilyn Manson. Just don't get him started on Harry Potter. What was that about Dita Von Teese again?

Posted by the Flea at 09:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Eva Stones: L'autel

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 09:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Balloon Bowl

Once you have seen someone skateboard through balloons to that satisfying popping sound you have to wonder why nobody thought of doing it before.

Posted by the Flea at 09:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wang Xingwei

I enjoy the unsettling quality of these paintings by Wang Xingwei. "Death of a Panda" and "Untitled (Penguin)" have a special creepiness (possibly nsfw due to art).

One of the most disconcerting characteristics of Wang Xingwei’s pictorial production is the total lack of an aesthetic norm. When asked about it, he vaguely answered that he “likes best paintings with strong colours”. On the other side his use of colour is very far from the traditional concept of harmony: the chromatic juxtapositions are often daring, or they are previously decided following laws fixed by the artist.

More Wang Xingwei here. I particularly like "X-Ray".

Posted by the Flea at 09:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Hinterland University

Anyone teaching in the United States need only look north to understand what a true Hinterland University looks like. And anyone who can buy an "a beautiful old Italianate with 10-foot ceilings on the National Historic Register" on an adjunct's salary is obviously married to someone doing something better paid.

Posted by the Flea at 09:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 26, 2005

Agent Smith

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The Flea School for Wayward Expats continues a series in rhetoric and oratory. Today's speaker is Agent Smith offering a disturbing insight into the logic of the Death Eaters both foreign and domestic. Though he does have a perverse charm. As James Lileks observed, "The director wants us to fear him – but who wouldn’t want to knock back some cold ones with Agent Smith?"

I'd like to share a revelation that I've had, during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.
Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Paul Van Dyk: Crush

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

The joys of parenthood.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Haunted airplane

Chosun Ilbo reports some chilling tales from a haunted airplane.

One first class crewmember describes his extraordinary experience. "On a long-haul flight, a Buddhist monk and I were the only two in first class. Late at night, long after all the lights were out and things started to quiet down, the monk kept muttering and just couldn't get to sleep. I asked him why he kept chanting sutras, and he told me there were dead people sitting in each of the empty seats. Then he continued chanting."
Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Living doll

Steve Erhardt has transformed himself into a "living Ken doll" and thus achieved another step toward our somewhat alarming shared transhuman future. Though I cannot fathom the point of bicep implants. Not likely to prevent anyone from kicking sand in your face at the beach. Via the divine SondraK whose post has comments better than anything I could come up with.

What started in 1987 as a nose job soon became an obsession. Steve went to the same doctor that worked on Michaal Jackson, and intending only to get rhinoplasty, he also ended up getting a cleft chin. From there, Steve went on to get a facelift and lid work and has since added such things as pec implants, bicep implants (he was the first person to ever have that type of work done) and even painful butt implants, one of the most difficult surgeries to perform for both doctor and patient.
Posted by the Flea at 08:39 AM | TrackBack (0)

London Zoo

The London Zoo is reportedly to include humans in an exhibit "to highlight the spread of man as a plague species." Ace of Base HQ comments.

I do love that so many on the left have adopted the nuanced, complex philosophy of Agent Smith from The Matrix.

The problem with the London Zoo is that apparently their biologists do not understand they themselves are animals. But that would not be their real point: humans who are not clever enough to agree with their enlightented views are the plague animals.

"I hate this place, this zoo, this prison, this reality, whatever you want to call it. I can't stand it any longer. It's the smell, if there is such a thing. I feel saturated by it. I can taste your stink, and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it."

The problem with The Matrix, while a fun movie, is the problem with a ruinous strain of gnostic belief systems, a fundamental hatred of all human life (the linked article takes a more specific view). Agent Smith is only repeating what any Earth Firster is proud to call a political philosophy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Stone Age of instant messaging

Being anti-instant messaging in the first place, I am not certain what to make of Ken Fisher's review of the Google Talk beta.

Google Talk is clean and easy to use. It's also absent almost every feature found in other IM clients. Want to send a file? Pshaw! Want to have a group chat? You're too social! Want to view your previous chat sessions easily? Get outta here! Want little emoticons? Skins? Go bug somebody else! Google Talk is Spartan in the way that the Lacedemonians were Spartan: it seems ancient!

I will have a better idea what I think of the product once I have tried to get my mic to work with Google Talk's VOIP capability. My feeling is the product and its competitors are only going to hook people like me once different IM systems are capable of talking to each other.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 25, 2005

Love for Nana

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PS2 have understood their target market well. Instead of playing one of the two punk girls from the popular Cookie magazine comic Nana, you get to play their neighbour. Or rather, you do if you are in Japan where this gem is going to be marketed.

Nana features two main characters, Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu. Both have just arrived to Tokyo in order to make their debut as vocalists in a punk band. The two end up sharing a room, with the game's storyline focusing on their lives.

But you actually don't play as these two. The game puts you in control of a person who lives next to the two Nanas, in room 707. The purpose of the game is two fold. You get to experience the storyline featured between volumes 5 and 8 of the original comic, meeting up with characters like Len, Takumi and, of course, your two next door neighbors. In addition, you also get to experience life in Tokyo, making a schedule, taking on part time jobs, buying clothes and furniture and setting up your own room.

The Love for Nana live adaptation tribute film may be available thanks to the byways of "the internet". Mainichi Daily News is on the case with crucial film details.

Nakashima, who revealed that she is a fan of the original comic, said, "I had fun with the scene in which my Nana was singing because the style of her singing was totally different from mine."

When asked about the part of the movie where Nakashima kisses Miyazaki to cheer her up, "We didn't find that uncomfortable. We were fine about it," the actresses answered in unison after looking at each other.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Raymi and Paris

I wonder if Raymi's dream looked anything like this Paris Hilton ad. Maybe there was a German voice-over and a delivery guy she failed to mention.

last nite i dreamt i was best friends with paris hilton and i drove her jeep all over town and was wearing her clothes ...
Posted by the Flea at 08:22 AM | TrackBack (0)

Armand Van Helden: Hear my name

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance (caution: spanking!). And watch My my my again. You know you want to.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Gothic Victorian Cocktail Bar

Flea Mansions will have one of these installed just as soon as that massive blog revenue starts rolling in.

Posted by the Flea at 08:18 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Hello, Francesca

Hot goth women, including Shim Hye-JinJung from Acacia and Jung Ryeo-Won of Chakra K-pop fame, a luckless otaku type and a gay vampire. Korean television is kicking Canadian tv ass. Now, see, I would give rubies for a subtitled version of Hello, Francesca to be broadcast in this country. But is Canada's commitment to the cultural mosaic going to allow that? I think not.

Romania, 2005. One of the last vampire families on earth decides to disguise themselves and live among humans until "the glory of their empire" revives. They are sent to different places all over the world that are considered safe by their leader.

However, a group of vampires takes the wrong ship and happens to come to Korea. On board, they run into a timid and unlucky man Doo-il. One of the vampires bites him by mistake and he becomes one of them. They promise Doo-il that they will return him into a human on the day when their leader comes to find them. He doesn't have any other choice but to live with them. They are disguised as a family of five and start new lives in Seoul. Can they really go back to their country safely when their leader comes to find them?
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

Get-hits-quick

Iowahawk offers tips for starting bloggers (via Ace of Base HQ).

With the Bloggonetrix™ program, Dave has assembled an encylopedia of powerful blog tips and tricks in one easy-to-follow guide. Put the amazing Bloggonetrix™ system to work, and soon your hit-counter will be spinning like the altimeter on a kamikaze's Zero!
Posted by the Flea at 08:11 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 24, 2005

G Pumidius Dipilus fuit hic

I am pleased to find that, despite two-thousand years and the invention of cable television, plenty of this graffiti from Roman Pompeii is not remotely worksafe.

If anyone does not believe in Venus, they should gaze at my girl friend.

Careful with that line. It's an antique.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Goldfrapp: Pilots

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance as we get ready to board AirFlea.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Puzzlebox case mod

Now I want my own Hellraiser Puzzlebox case mod. Vexed again!

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Kelsey Museum

This Kelsey Museum site should come in handy for all your protective magic needs. Don't miss the Babylonian demon bowl display! Some aggressive magic might also prove useful if your demon bowl is on the blink.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Junichiro Koizumi

Visions of a skeletal metal foot crushing a human skull may not keep you up at night. But then you are probably not the Prime Minister of Japan, Junichiro Koizumi. Though as robot attacks go, Tmsuk's effort is a bit lame.

Posted by the Flea at 08:36 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Yancy Street Memo

Spare a thought for Victor Von Doom, PhD, deposed president and spiritual leader of the Latverian people.

You keep changing the reason for the invasion. First it was the Cosmic Cube, then the Infinity Machine! Now it's women's rights?
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 23, 2005

Odd Einar Dørum

Norwegian Minister of Justice and Police, Odd Einar Dørum is getting into the spirit of things by attending a Tolkien parade. In costume. As a hobbit.

"I like absolutely everything about the Lord of the Rings. I am mostly a hobbit at heart," was Dørum's reaction after seeing Return of the King at its Norwegian premiere.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 22, 2005

And the high heels would not trouble me in the slightest

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Oh for pity's sake. I have sent smoke signals. I have stood on the shed and waved my arms about the place making ham-fisted attempts at semaphore. I have tried astral projection. And none of it. None of it has communicated my intentions toward Nicole Kidman. Perhaps posting to the blog will do the trick.

The screen beauty said she struggled with being on her own, but became stronger after learning she can survive by herself. She explained recently: "I've known so many people who just jump from relationship to relationship but ultimately at some stage you're going to be alone - whether it's when you die, your partner dies, or if your marriage falls apart. "That sounds bleak and it is. There are moments of deep loneliness."

Since her divorce from Tom, who is now engaged to 26-year-old Katie Holmes, Nicole has been linked to a string of men, including rock star Lenny Kravitz, rapper Q-Tip and film producer Steve Bing. Currently single, Nicole has since admitted she is ready for love again and wants the man of her dreams to search her out. She said recently: "For the person meant to come and find me, I would say, 'Come and find me soon.'"
Posted by the Flea at 08:59 AM | TrackBack (0)

Wedding belle

Kylie Minogue is to marry Olivier Martinez next year. The Flea congratulates the happy couple and expresses profound relief at the good news of Kylie's continued recovery.

A friend revealed: "Kylie and Olivier came to Paris with a secret announcement. They're getting married early next year in Oz. Since they're in Paris, they've told Olivier's family and friends the news in person."

The pair decided to get hitched after Kylie was told by doctors she will make a full recovery and, despite intense cancer treatment, would still be able to have children.
Posted by the Flea at 08:58 AM | TrackBack (0)

Groove Armada: Superstylin'

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

What is Scientology™?

I am not Katie anymore!
I am a galactic ambassador!

Posted by the Flea at 08:54 AM | TrackBack (0)

Elf Girl Sim Date RPG

At last something practical from "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Loser auction

Look, while I am reasonably certain a charity auction for the First Amendment Project is a good idea, I cannot imagine bidding for a chance to have my name appear in a novel. Why not just write my own novel and name everyone in it? This bloggy world we live in should have eliminated such pathetic scrambles to be "immortalized" as a bit player buried in someone else's work. That said, I would still give rubies for a cameo on Stargate: Atlantis. That's different. That's television.

Fancy having your name on a gravestone in Neil Gaiman's next novel? Or meeting your end at the hands of a zombie in Stephen King's latest? Or being immortalised as one of Sunny Baudelaire's "utterances"? Here's your chance. As part of a charity venture, 16 authors, from John Grisham to Dave Eggers, are offering readers the opportunity to have their name appear in their forthcoming books.
Posted by the Flea at 08:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

Otaku

The high otaku content of the Flea may make me a hottie in Japan. Sadly, the effect seems to be lost on Canadians (via Ace of Spades SQ).

Though Torii may not know it, he's the type of guy who's apparently all the rage among Japanese women nowadays. Much of the media is currently smitten with the country's booming otaku culture. This has, in turn, led to widespread claims that the geeks, freaks, weirdoes and fatties who, like Torii, are collectively referred to as otaku, a group once largely shunned by women, are now being seen as the country's hottest hunks. Apparently, their appeal lies in the belief that the otaku are up for a purer form of love and are the obsessive types likely to become devoted to the one gal once they've found her.
Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 20, 2005

Ladytron: Playgirl

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with the most awesome woman in the world. I don't know how corporate the site I am linking to might be so don't want to be a bandwidth bandit. So please proceed to Video Vision for the wonder that is Ladytron.

Posted by the Flea at 10:10 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Girls of Comic-Con

So how about these guys here... you like these comic nerds? And more excellent questions (warning: Canadian content).

What compels women to dress up like Princess Leia, Catwoman, Tank Girl, Elasti-Girl, etc. and walk around a convention filled with geeks? Does it matter?
Posted by the Flea at 10:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Saturn's rings

Saturn's rings have their own atmosphere. Who knew? It is said to resemble that of Jupiter's moons Europa and Ganymede.

Posted by the Flea at 10:05 AM | TrackBack (0)

Rent-a-cow

Asahi Shimbun
poetic rent-a-cow scheme
haikuist network.

There is something serene and soothing about the sight of grazing cows. How pleasant it would be if such a scene were common on fallow fields around the nation. Just when I had this thought, my eyes met a cow's innocent stare.

Cow's innocent stare
calls to mind my favourite
bacon cheeseburger.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mini Bet On Soldier

This first person shooter may proove cathartic for people who like enjoy shooting people on a weekend away from the office.

Posted by the Flea at 10:04 AM | TrackBack (0)

Ashford v. Thornton

The BBC seems to think the case of Ashford v. Thornton is remarkable mainly for its establishing the principle of double-jeopardy. I think it more remarkable for putting a finish to trial by combat. While in this instance it appears to have allowed a man guilty of an horrendous crime to go free it still somehow seems a pity to have done away with the practice.

In London, on November 17, 1817, Abraham Thornton, accused of raping and murdering young Mary Ashford the previous May, challenged her brother William to settle the question by the medieval method of "trial by battel," combat with clubs. The public was shocked to learn that English law still gave some defendants the right to demand that their guilt or innocence be decided by armed combat.
Posted by the Flea at 10:03 AM | TrackBack (0)

Shazia Mirza

Shazia Mirza offers useful perspective on the merits of not dying a virgin. What should just be a joke is, in these interesting times, also an act of bravery (via the Jawa Report).

I'm terrified I'll die a virgin. Not because I'm obsessed with sex. I'm not, I don't think it's that big a deal. But I don't want to get to Paradise and have to sleep with one of the suicide bombers.
Posted by the Flea at 10:01 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 19, 2005

Monstrous visions

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Visitors to Toronto from now through September 28 can stop by the Japan Foundation in scenic Yorkville for an exhibition of Japanese movie posters. "Monstrous Visions: Horror and Destruction in Japanese Films" offers a roomful of Godzilla posters collected alongside more contemporary offerings such as Battle Royale and Hellevator which I need to make time to see (hat tip to the Neighbour of the Flea).

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Huckapoo: Crash the Party

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance as part of some terrifying tween brand loyalty rite.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy, Australia looks like an excellent bolt-hole once the Flea has to flee Annexia. Nice opals.

Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Droogle

Droogle is an innovative drinks search engine.

Posted by the Flea at 08:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Trackbacks again...

My trackbacks have been wonky for some time now. It looks as though blogs receive my outgoing trackback pings but the Flea does not register incoming pings. If anyone could tell where to look under the hood it would great if I could get the engine running properly again.

Posted by the Flea at 08:19 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

August 18, 2005

Fez

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One vacant dog blanket equals one happy cat. Just don't tell Misty.

Posted by the Flea at 09:54 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Morcheeba: Wonders Never Cease

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

What you do is easy. What I do is hard.

As parkour migrates to the States so do American stunt ninjas find their way onto "the internet".

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Alternative Intelligent Design theory

Concerned citizen, Bobby Henderson writes an open letter to the Kansas School Board requesting alternate theories of Intelligent Design be included in science classes.

Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.
Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | TrackBack (0)

Binary translator

Adcott's Binary Translator has already come in handy for my binary translation needs.

Posted by the Flea at 08:42 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 17, 2005

Fargate SG-1

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The Flea is thoroughly enjoying Stargate SG-1 season 9 (now with blog). That said, I wish someone had thought to mention fans would effectively be dealing with a new show. Perhaps eight was enough for the SG-1 team we knew and, following an sf Peter's Principle, all the characters were promoted beyond their ability to function as a team. Ben Browder and Claudia Black have made an effortless transition from the hallowed fan limbo of Farscape and, on a personal note, every time Vala speaks I am reminded of ten years of my life I will never have back. So that's a good thing. It is a pleasure to see, I mean seriously a pleasure to see, Lexa Doig (ever so slightly nsfw) make the transition from Andromeda to medical officer at Stargate Command. I expect there is payback coming for all the heartache Michael Shanks' left her with as the Balance Of Judgment.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Mint Royale: Singin' in the Rain

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Da Vinci code revisioned

While the language of this article suggests a certain bias I am also alarmed at the thought of revisions to the plot of the film adaptation of The Da Vinci Code. Not only would this serve to bowdlerize an already thin plot but it seems to me that any Christians likely to be offended by the film will be offended regardless (spoiler warning). I suppose the producers might wish to broaden their audience as widely as possible but "the culture" has made enough concessions to the fragile sensibilities of religious minded folk without diluting the fun bits of a best-seller.

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 16, 2005

Suspension of disbelief

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Zacht Ei finds a critical rhetorical difficulty in Michael Bay's The Island.

Only Mr 'I don't shoot films, just two hour long videoclips' could envisage a world in which we can make an infinite number of copies of Scarlet Johansson, enough for everyone, and still dream up a dystopia.
Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Scrolls of Pythia

Roslin: ... Who is Pythia?
Elosha: One of the oracles, in the sacred scrolls. 3,600 years ago, Pythia wrote about the exile and the rebirth of a human race. And the lords anointed a leader to guide the caravan of the heavens to their new homeland and unto the leader they gave a vision of serpents, numbering two and ten, as a sign of things to come.
Roslin: Pythia wrote that?
Elosha: She also wrote that the leader suffered a wasting disease and would not live to enter the new land. But you're not dying... are you?

- "The Hand of God", Season I, Episode 10

I was having a chat about Battlestar Galactica with the Neighbour of the Flea regarding the end of the show's first season (spoilers follow). The whole adventure has struck me as mind-numbing, fantastic. Visually flawless, internally coherent, faithful to the camp original series and yet the only speculative fiction, arguably the only television drama, to adequately respond to the moral challenges that have become more obvious since September 1, 2001.

And yet I was not happy with the season finale. I could not understand, let alone agree with, Commander Adama's decision to remove President Roslin from power let alone her imprisonment in the brig. The act struck me as unconstitutional, unjustifiable and unwise. Now, the Neighbour of the Flea thought Adama's decision was entirely sound given the President had interfered with a military command decision, was terminally ill, acting under the influence a psychotropic medication and believed herself to be an instrument of prophecy. Given what we know at the end of Season One, or even what may have been revealed in Season Two on the Sci-Fi channel (no spoilers for us foreigners, please), I have only one reply to make.

I affirm my belief in the literal truth of the Scrolls of Pythia.

Pythia was an ancient Colonial oracle, believed to have been one of the writers of the Sacred Scrolls some 3,600 years ago (CT). Her writings are both obscure and yet well-known: obscure, in that her entire writings are not widely studied among modern Colonials, but well-known in that extracts are widely quoted, often out of context such as the following quote:

"All this has happened before. All this will happen again."

Season Two, Episode Three spoiler on the following link: Political Space would call me a "scroll-thumper". So say we all.

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The Eva Stones: Behind

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Letter from Annexia

Letter from Annexia: A Play in One Act.

SCENE: The People's Republic of Annexia, late afternoon. The Flea walks up a street carrying a grocery bag and a pair of Rockport sandals.

ENTER: A York professor on a bicycle.

Flea: Hey, look at that! (looks at bicycle)

York Prof: This is my fifty dollar special. I've had three bikes stolen this year and now I won't pay more than fifty dollars for one.

Flea: Maybe it's your karma. (beat) This is my new form of transportation. (dances) I have decided the barefoot lifestyle is the way to go.

York Prof: It's supposed to be good for you.

Flea: Yes, well these things (shakes sandals by way of indicating footware) are interfering with my chi. By the way, if you run into the Cocktail Expert make sure to tell her you saw me doing this.

York Prof: Oh yes. Is it something she is thinking of getting into?

Flea: She is going to be so jealous.

York Prof: And is that supposed to be good for your chi too? (looks at grocery bag whose only item is a box of Honeycomb cereal)

Flea: Definitely. It's all part of the Cake and Cigarette Diet™.

EXEUNT: York Prof and Flea upon agreeing place and time of drinking the alcoholic beverage.

FIN
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August 15, 2005

All about us

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A second tATu album, "Dangerous & Moving" is due this September. The anticipation! Shots from the James Cox ("Wonderland") directed video and, I hesitate to report, the first single itself are floating about "the internet". If I had heard a ripped copy of "All about us" I would say it was everything I was hoping for and then some. One. Big. Hook. Meantime, a ringtone clip from the single has been released in Japan. Because the future has always already happened there.

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Alcazar: Crying at the Discotheque

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. As always, Alcazar come alarmingly close to the actual Flea dance. Here is a clip from the Chic related orginal for those who thought this sounded familiar. Their Human League cover is also inspired.

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Avoider

Avoider is simple yet far from easy. Keep the little guy from grabbing your cursor.

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Submarine blockade

A small quibble with the Belmont Club and an interesting discussion of IEDs and asymmetric warfare.

The USN presided over the only ultimately triumphant submarine blockade in history against Japan, while the Army Air Corps fielded the Enola Gay over Hiroshima.

Wretchard is forgetting the Falklands.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

JN-25

Australian mathematics lecturer, Peter Donovan has revealed the weakness in Japan's wartime operational code the Allies designated "Japanese Navy 25" or JN-25. Apparently, the system was based on multiples of three or some such thing.

At the peak of activity around 35,000 people were engaged in Allied code breaking. During the Pacific War this involved intercepting Japanese radio waves and using a machine made from old cash register parts in the deciphering process. None of these devices are believed to remain today but Dr Donovan has made a working model.

"It's just wheels turning and being pushed by rods and you win when you've got the right pattern of colours," he said.
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Sorry for the inconvenience

The last time I was inside the Hogwarts-ish Stables up the way from Flea Mansions they were done out as the interior of Isengard. Fun. While the long passage between the Stables and Casa Loma does not quite count as underground Toronto it is still fascinating to learn what the WWII military was up to in the space they had rented from the Kiwanis. Casa Loma was and remains a well known tourist attraction. Just the spot Nazi spies would never suspect as a production site for the anti-submarine sonar ASDIC device (hat tip to the Neighbour of the Flea).

The original production site for the ASDIC device in London, England had been bombed during the blitz. The Canadian production of the device was placed into the hands of William Corman Engineering Company Ltd. Sabotage was a real danger so Corman had to choose and assembly site that would not be suspected by the enemy. The site also had to have high ceilings and ample floor space. Casa Loma which was a well-known tourist attraction presented itself as the perfect spot.
...
Security experts today would have shuddered had they seen the one dollar padlock which was all which stood between the public and the secret operations. Stragglers from Casa Loma tours were kept away from the carriage room by a polite sign which read "Construction in progress. Sorry for the inconvenience."
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August 13, 2005

Transylvania

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When I started in cinema in the 1970s, I didn’t think I would make films about my past, or about my people. I only wanted to get close to beautiful women.
- Tony Gatlif

Gypsy film-maker and winner of the best director Palme d'Or for Exils, Tony Gatlif clearly had a better understanding of the full ramifications of those high school career counselling sessions than I did. Gatlif is set to direct super-goddess Asia Argento in Transylvania. Few details on the project as of yet but any combination of words including "Argento" and "Transylvania" sounds promising.

Gatlif runs his hand through his hair and pauses for a moment, barely containing his rage: ‘Last year in Transylvania an entire village of Gypsies, 40 houses, was burned to the ground. Five people died and the rest took shelter in the forest, living there for a week, before other Gypsies took them away. This came after a dispute with a neighbouring village of non-Gypsies. They burned their houses and chased them into the forest.’

What did the Romanian authorities do? ‘Nothing – why should they? The Gypsies have no political power. To be seen to be helping them would be turned against any government. And not only in Romania, it’s the same everywhere in Eastern Europe. In Romania, in Turkey, in Hungary, there are no human rights for Gypsies. People can do what they want to them.’
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Khia: My neck, my back

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Warning: bikini carwash objectification! Here at the Flea these links are all about the artistic merit. Best to minimize your window and just listen to this one.

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Miller Lite: Catfight

The Flea's continuing series, Object Lessons in Objectification™, uhh, continues. I seem to remember posting a link to the alternate ending Miller Lite ad featuring the Pamela Anderson pillow fight but do not believe I have linked to the uncensored original catfight ad. I find it shocking to imagine how these advertisers think bikini mud wrestling is an appropriate context in which to vend beer. After all, everyone knows "lite" beer is an abomination in the eyes of all that is sacred.

Posted by the Flea at 12:17 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sleestak

Ideofact comments on Deep Impact, the Book of Mormon and the fall of the Sleestaks. At first he thought NASA's comet expedition was a cool thing...

I still do, of course, but I have a vague recollection that this was the kind of thing that caused the Sleestaks to fall from a race of intelligent, cultured reptilians to bow and arrow wielding primitives who were afraid of fire.
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Trump University

The Donald Trump blog. It has a certain gnomic appeal.

My career is a model of tough, fair dealing and fantastic success--without shortcuts, without breaking the law.
Posted by the Flea at 12:12 PM | TrackBack (0)

Australian International University

Opportunities for more better education in Australia. I especially enjoyed the AIU's bullying policy toward Subcontracted Service Providers. My only quibble is to point out the fate of contract-academic staff everywhere is much the same whether your university is public or private or indeed fictional or non-fictional (via Silent Running).

The AIU recognises that bullying is an increasing phenomenon in Australian universities. The reason that most bullying occurs is due to a negative attitude on the part of an SSP (Subcontracted Service Provider, otherwise known as an academic). The Australian International University will act firmly and decisively to congratulate and protect any member of management staff who is accused of bullying academic staff. We recognise that bullying is often necessary to maintain performance standards among a group of people (SSP's) whose attitude to excellence in service provision often leaves something to be desired.

SSP's are usually people who are not sufficiently competent to work in real-world occupations such as banking, finance, marketing and management. Their lack of real-world competence often means that they require extra incentives to perform at a level that is consistent with the AIU’s approach to service provision and customer focus. The AIU has a strong commitment to incentivation and believes that bullying is an excellent means of incentivating our SSP's to work harder and faster.
Posted by the Flea at 12:11 PM | TrackBack (0)

Eco-puritans

President Bush's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% has been agreed to by the governments of China, India, Japan, South Korea and Australia. But the green lobby is still disgruntled because the plan calls for a technological solution saying such an approach is like "a peace plan that allows guns to be fired."* For greens, the answer is not to do things better or more efficiently but not to do them in the first place.

That is what they say; what they mean, of course, is that we shouldn’t just cut down on these things but stop doing them altogether. Sell the car, take the bus. Better still, walk. Stop going on holiday to easyJetland, stay in a tent. In Wales. In the rain. Forget our civilisation and all the benefits it has brought us, forget any idea of progress and go back to keeping goats.

Because greenhouse gas emissions, the phantom of "global warming" and all the rest has nothing to do with the environment and everything to do with puritanism in rationalist clothing. For too many environmentalists, human interaction with the environment is not an economic or technological challenge but a moral one.

*Peace plans often require that guns be fired, btw.

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August 12, 2005

Poisoning the well

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The new Battlestar Galactica is probably the greatest science fiction television ever made. The show is worth watching for Starbuck's ass-kickery alone. But Stargate: Atlantis is like crack for me. I am love it. This snippet from season one, episode seven, "Poisoning the Well" seems timely (spoiler warning on that last link).

Dr Weir: You do understand the Geneva Convention prohibits using prisoners for scientific experiments?

Major Sheppard: No offense Doc, but had the Wraith attended the Geneva Convention, they would have tried to feed on everyone.

This is a Sci-Fi channel show produced in Canada, starring Canadians and featuring a cranky, sympathetic Canadian character in a lead role. But thanks to Canadian trade-barriers it has yet to air on Canadian television. Remind me again what original programming Canada's CRTC sheltered Space: the Imagination Station has produced? How many times can we be expected to watch decade old repeats of Seaquest DSV in defense of "Canadian culture"? If they had the wisdom to rebroadcast Starlost or some such epic crap I could almost see the point but as it stands CanCon rules, and the businesses they shelter, are a joke.

I tried making this case to a left-leaning friend. She said, half-joking, "I know you are speaking Canadian but I can't understand any of the words." I am reminded every day of my former communication studies undergrads who would argue for Canadian content rules (I am told these represent "regulation" and not "censorship") and, with no change of expression, cheerfully explain they never watch Canadian television because it is uniformly awful. Such is the naked truth of ideology.

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Once upon a time

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was forgotten by absolutely everyone (even the postman). Just goth enough for a rainy Friday. Lovely.

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Banarama: Move in my direction

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Just a gigalo

Your Friday Yoda. Crank those speakers.

Posted by the Flea at 08:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Defence of Britain

The Defence of Britain Project involved 600 volunteers who documented nearly twenty-thousand 20th-century military sites around the United Kingdom.

The Project scope in its original form encompassed all 20th Century military structures up to the Cold War (circa. 1983). From September 1998, the principal focus was on WW2 anti-invasion defences. The stated aim of the Defence of Britain Project, as revised in 1998, was to:

Establish and maintain a standardised database of 20th century defensive sites within the UK, with a particular focus on Second World War anti-invasion defences, to inform conservation strategies, encourage further research and stimulate public interest in the subject.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Robin Cook

I confess I was struggling to find the right words to express my feeling at the passing of Robin Cook. It is the same feeling I always have in those times when a common courtesy is to say pleasant things about public figures we have never met and with whom we disagreed while they were still on the scene. Fortunately, Harry Hutton found the words I could not.

I was sorry to hear that Robin Cook croaked. When he was alive I wanted to toss him into a vat of hot tar, to make him howl; but now he’s a stiff I realise what a loss he is to our nation. A droning Scot in favour of ID cards- we shall not look upon his like again.

And from the comments is a gem of a Clarence Darrow quote. Better yet a link to his obituary.

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure."

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August 11, 2005

Gorillaz: Feel Good Inc.

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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Musco Morpha

Musco Morpha is a maggot in distress. Strangely evocative of office life of a Thursday morning.

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Marlin 1 : Sport fishing guy 0

Fishing is not always a relaxing way to spend the day.

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PowerPoint

I loathe PowerPoint. The technology is rather more likely to be the cause of suicide than to make sense of one (via Silent Running).

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 10, 2005

J.D. Fortune

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Canadian and boring do not have to rhyme. It is a slightly tipsy, off-kilter but compelling day as the Flea Presents Great Canadians™ recognizes the achievements of J.D. Fortune on Mark Burnett's Rock Star INXS. Tattoos! Kick ass!

Despite being only 31 years old, J.D. Fortune has already experienced enough for a lifetime's worth of song lyrics. From fronting a rock band to joining the Army, performing before stadium crowds to living in his car, even making a living as an Elvis impersonator, J.D. has lived a real-life roller-coaster ride that may be about to reach its highest peak yet.

I am getting my own wings. Seriously. I need to start a Flea tattoo fund-raiser.

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Subyou

At last, powdered alcohol! But they had to call it Subyou.

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Geri Halliwell: Desire

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

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American popular culture

The American History Center hosts a number of fascinating snippets of Americana. I found the site in a search for music of the 1920s only to find a recording by an eyewitness to Gettysburg. Recordings of interviews with former slaves are moving and surreal, almost impossible. Astonishing stuff.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

The Sandbox of God

The Sandbox of God is difficult to disguise at work unless you can claim you are running an historical simulation or possibly researching intelligent design. More important, I have not come anywhere near to developing nuclear weapons (hat tip to Bound by Gravity).

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The toilet seat thing is an evolutionary quirk too if you think about it

I hesitate to link to this post at ABC News story for reasons which will become obvious. But if it is true that men have a good reason for having difficulty listening to women I believe the truth should out no matter the consequences (via Ace of Spades HQ).

Men who are accused of never listening by women now have an excuse - women's voices are more difficult for men to listen to than other men's. Reports say researchers at Sheffield University in northern England have discovered startling differences in the way the brain responds to male and female sounds. The research shows men decipher female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engage a simpler mechanism.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 09, 2005

Scenes of Atlantean life

An entirely innocent quest for information about ancient Egypt's origins in Atlantis/alien colonialists lead me to these scenes from Altantean life.

For a couple weeks in the desert, the Troupe of the Traditional Burning Man Opera boldly recreated life as it was lived thousands of years ago, during the visit of the Pleiadians to our planet.

I gather Atlantis was big on naked tai chi. Also, I quite like the sound of an Atlantean Folk Song linked through the Pyramid Initiations information (warning: naked people!). I gather it celebrates the Atlantean virtues of "High Desire, Pure Love, Flow and Transparency", all of which are celebrated each and every day here at the Flea. More music from the event is thoughtfully provided at soundsliketree.

Posted by the Flea at 08:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tou Tou: Hoshi Uranai no Uta

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance to the Gacha Gachapon! end-theme. I gather the lyrics are astrology related. In related news, I want that Tou Tou studio diorama.

The song, which is used as the ending tune for Fuji TV's educational program "Gacha Gachapon!" gained attention after Takashi Saito, 44, a professor at Meiji University, announced that the momentary viewer rating for the song among junior high school students was 100 percent. The song includes the first and 12th-ranked star signs for the week in the lyrics.
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Donuts TV

Beyond my Shogun-acquired vocabulary I do not speak a word of Japanese. I still think I should be some kind of correspondent for Donuts TV.

Posted by the Flea at 08:51 AM | TrackBack (0)

Boredoom

A young man in his 20s dropped dead from an exhaustion-induced heart attack after playing Starcraft and the like for fifty hours straight at an "internet café" in Bokhyeon-dong, Buk-gu. I imagine I would have expired from boredom well before that point.

Lee had been playing games like Starcraft for some 50 hours without sleep from about 9:00 p.m. Wednesday until the moment he died on Friday. "I tried to persuade him to go home, but he kept saying, 'Just one more game' and wouldn't budge from his seat,'" the former colleague said. The Internet café's proprietor said Lee hardly ate. "I asked him to at least take a nap in my room, but it was no use."
Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 08, 2005

Suicide Girls

Frightfully sorry to do this to all you chaps (and so inclined chapettes) at work on a Monday morning but this Suicide Girls: The First Tour dvd trailer cannot wait. Not to worry, it should still be here later. My only worry is that I somehow missed their burlesque tour. Must do something about that.

Suicide Girls has redefined the pin-up girl with an eye towards the punk and goth crowd. Now they're strutting that stuff in their first-ever tour.
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Ladytron: Destroy Everything You Touch

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with the perfection that is Ladytron.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | TrackBack (0)

Steve Robinson

Astronaut Steve Robinson took some time out from removing gap-fillers to take a self-portrait. The high-resolution image linked further down the page is something to see. Nice Canadarm, btw.

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

Deep-level shelters

At the end of October 1939, the British government decided to build a system of deep-level air-raid shelters under London linked to existing London Underground stations. Ten were planned and eight were built with five opened to the public in 1944 as Nazi air-raids intensified. The original plan allowed for their conversion into east-west and north-south high-speed Underground lines following the War though they have thus far met with varied fates. The Chancery Lane shelter, used as a communications centre during the war, was taken over as the now largely defunct Kingsway telephone exchange.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | TrackBack (0)

Military citidels under London

In September, 1940, it was decided that "the cabinet would remain in Whitehall until it was bombed out or communications broke down." The Flea's curiousity about all things in underground London leaves me with a burning desire to visit various military citidels and air raid shelters built under London in response to this decision.

The initial plan was to relocate the core of the machinery of government to the suburbs of north and northwest London. The War Cabinet would use a bombproof citadel known as PADDOCK at Dollis Hill with supporting bunkers at Cricklewood and Harrow. PADDOCK was built 40 feet underground and had some 22 rooms centred on a Map Room. The bulk of the supporting civil servants would be accommodated in neighbouring schools and colleges left empty by evacuation.

But before the war started, the plan was changed. Now, the core or seat of government would remain in London for as long as possible and protected accommodation was developed for it. The most famous was the bunker under the New Public Buildings that was partly occupied by the Central War Room, later to became known as the Cabinet War Room. Work had begun on this in 1938 by reinforcing the building’s basement and equipping it with air conditioning, communications gear and some basic domestic facilities. It could house 400 staff and its activities centred on the Map Room, which collected information relating to the war effort and collated daily reports.

By 1943, ten thousand civil servants could be housed in "citadels" (purpose built bunkers) and "fortresses" (steel framed buildings) under Crossbow Conditions. I have, of course, taken the opportunity to visit the Cabinet War Rooms. It was a foggy late-autumn night outside and I had the place entirely to myself. Spooky. Spookier yet would be a view from one of the loopholes at the Admiralty Citadel. All too easy to imagine the sight had things gone differently and with the Hun rampaging through London. It is a reasonably obvious building despite its ivy facade though I had never noticed the air vent placed by a public loo. It is a bit hillarious and disconcerting think this is all situated under the ICA.

Q-Whitehall is an unofficial name for another part of what seems to be a vast, interconnected underground complex though I prefer the more sinister "Post Office scheme 2845", a new contender name for the Flea's hypothetical electroclash band of the future. I assume "post office scheme" was a nice cover given the rest of the Royal Mail's activity under London. The Flea's crime-fighting technology could usefully be supplemented by a Flea-portable mail rail device especially since the cads shut it down. An engineer offers another excellent idea for a rail-line that is far too much fun to mothball.

"It is really very sad because it has been such great fun to work on, like a big boy’s plaything,” he said. “But it is the only way to get a bag of mail from one side of London to the other in under 30 minutes. It really deserves a good future. If I was in charge I would set it up as a white-knuckle ride, but I’m sure it will find a more practical use."

Despite (too much) time in Marcham Street I had somehow never noticed the Rotundas lost in the Brazil-like shadow of those now (thankfully) vanished DoE towers. One would think the Rotundas would be hard to miss given they were designed to withstand a hit by a 500lb bomb while housing "several thousand Government officials in complete safety from enemy attack for up to three months." Other yet more obscure facilities include the No. 4 Central Buildings in Matthew Parker Street, the Faraday Citadel Building (the "citadel of the City") and Curzon Street House reportedly in use today by MI5. There are also various suburban bunkers including the PADDOCK facility at Dollis Hill (the "other Cabinet War Room") the Admiralty Citidel Oxgate, now used to store carpets, while the Air Ministry had Station Z in Harrow, reportedly still in use as a communications centre. The Army Citadel at Kneller Hall in Twickenham was never built.

Outside London, but of interest, is the UK Government Emergency War Headquarters bunker facility at Corsham, Wiltshire built in a WWII-era underground factory. "This is the bunker where the UK Prime Minister would have issued the order for nuclear retaliation."

It is thought to have been replaced by a definite Flea-destination, the Montague House bunker, known as PINDAR. As the reported home of the Defence Communications Centre the facility is not open to the public so I am unlikely to visit any time soon no matter how nosey I may be. I would settle for learning what the acronym stands for... in my past (and future) life as loose brains for British ministries the clever-acronym-which-nobody-could-remember-what-it-stood-for (CAWNCRWISF) was a favourite bugaboo.

More underground goodness in Manchester. Just remember: no tresspassing!

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 06, 2005

An hour and a half sounds an optimistic figure to me but then I have not been taking my vitamin supplements

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Jessica Simpson has announced her commitment to fluffy film roles as part of her mission to make people happy. Bless.

"I'm gonna stick to romantic comedies. I'm all about people enjoying that hour and a half, and walking out with a smile. I'm not going for an Oscar!"
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Mirror Mask

The trailer for Dave McKean and Neil Gaimen's Mirror Mask is now on-line (hat tip to Varenius).

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Massive Attack: Atta Boy

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance with Jet Li.

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Fear, War and The Scream

The Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery hosts images from future ex-wife of the Flea, Tracey Emin's Fear, War and The Scream collection of 2004. I consider these artworks and am possessed with an urge to market my collected doodles for lots of money and retire to a home in the Cotswolds. I could keep one or two pieces to frame and hang in the kitchen where people would marvel at them and wonder how many I had to sell to pay for the place. Also, I would have wellies.

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Gothic bathing suit

I would be all in favour of this gothic bathing suit if I thought it was appropriate for goths to be anywhere near the beach (hat tip to SondraK).

Bring the club to the beach or the beach to this club. The Street Couture Bathing Suit is a dark and versatile statement. The classic lines are beautiful yet edgy. The flattering look has a cabaret meets Goth Girl meets blade runner feel.

That said, I did see a rather fetching young women yesterday whose gothic lolita response to our oppressively warm weather was a hot pants and parasol combination. The garter may have been an afterthought but I felt it demonstrated a generous disposition.

Posted by the Flea at 10:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Denial

"Maybe this time, denial can be made to work" is one of the most moving posts I have read in ages. You can find it at Classical Values. And Ray Kurzweil writes the utter nonsense, btw.

Posted by the Flea at 10:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

August 05, 2005

Torri Higginson

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It is a canconorama at Stargate: Atlantis as the Flea Presents Great Canadians™ honours the hotness that is Torri Higginson as Dr. Elizabeth Weir.

I'm like a ragamuffin in real life. I don't wear makeup, I don't brush my hair. I'm a bit of a scrubmuffin.

Flea-readers wondering just where the Pegasus galaxy might be when it is at home should consult a useful map of our galactic neighbourhood.* In related Canadian spelling are the words colour and centre!

*Sorry to hotlink that image. I could not find a link to it from B.J.'s Stuff except from the directory. It really is an extraordinarily useful visualization of where we are in the Milky Way in relation to the rest of the locals.

Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Nerd phone sex

I don't know which is more sad: that I can't remember if I have already posted this or that I like it so much I am posting it again anyway. Lawful neutral druidic monks really do it for me. Paris Hilton explains (she would make an excellent Who companion, btw). I want to do something logical to you, baby!

Posted by the Flea at 07:48 AM | TrackBack (0)

Zlad!: I am the Antipope

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance. More on Molvania's Eurovision 2005 entry!

Posted by the Flea at 07:43 AM | TrackBack (0)

Blue Security

Does anyone have thoughts about the Blue Security anti-spam community? It seems like a reasonable approach but there is always the concern about sending anyeone an email address only to be added to more spam lists.

Posted by the Flea at 07:41 AM | TrackBack (0)

My Freshman Year

Anthropologist, "Rebekah Nathan" went back to school for a year to understand her undergrad students. Poor soul.

All the spectacular quotes that the RAs affixed to dorm walls ("The world is but a canvas to the imagination"; "It takes two to speak truth—one to speak, and another to hear") were a little absurd, given the displays outside of kids' rooms— bosomy girls in bathing suits, holding forties. Understanding the enormous gap between student and faculty values has prompted Nathan to be more inventive about the way she presents things in class. "I would have preferred less noise, drama, throwing up, but it made me a better professor," she says. "If kids have to sleep through lectures, I understand. At this point, it'd be pretty hard for me to feel alienated."
Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Sub judice

Scotland Yard says that despite the recurring unsanctioned release of security information shared with American police forces it continues "to liaise closely with the Americans." Perhaps it is time they do not.

This is the fourth time that information has appeared in the US before it has done so in Britain. The first was when it was reported that British intelligence had made an assessment before July 7 that there was no group capable of carrying out a serious attack.
Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 04, 2005

Lady Miss Kier

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How to you say deee-groovy? Some might dismiss Deee-Lite as a one hit wonder, but I would would never dismiss the appeal of Lady Miss Kier. Sadly, I see no forthcoming Toronto tour date. Lickerish Radio will have to do me until I am living in the right city.

Posted by the Flea at 08:47 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

British Whale: This Town Aint Big Enough

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:46 AM | TrackBack (0)

Trackbacks again

Yay, trackbacks! They have been on the blink since my hosting provider did some tinkering to address wonky space-eating rebuilds of the site last month. I would appreciate any advice on where to look under the hood to get them working again.

Posted by the Flea at 08:45 AM | TrackBack (0)

Extreme Farm Simulator

I found defending cattle from aliens to be too stress inducing. The aliens seem to have no interest in abducting the skunks or racoons of Annexia so it is difficult to relate.

Posted by the Flea at 08:41 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Pallid Fingers

When I talk to myself at Flea Towers I sound just like Scribblyhead and Oddface in this Pallid Fingers short. I can't explain Red Robin.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Divination

If you ask me, divination is a very woolly discipline. Ancient runes: now there is a fascinating subject. Even so, Gay Orbit still asks an excellent astrology question. Use your inner eye to see the future!

Tens of millions of Americans believe in it. So, why are we not teaching it in schools?

I should confess I always add an astrology component to my introductory lectures on Marx. The latter is a subject most students know nothing and care even less about but know is to be taken seriously while the former is something with which they are all familiar but know does not count as proper knowledge. I have always found this to be a peculiar distinction.

Posted by the Flea at 08:33 AM | TrackBack (0)

Melon's scented panties

While the Flea is all in favour of equal-opportunity marketing I cannot say I have much use for either of these product ideas.

Ladies, are we moving forward? Looking at those TV commercials for Kotex Ultra Thin from a while back, the answer is: No.
Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

News Bunny

What with everything going on in London it is high time someone brough the L!VE TV News Bunny out of retirement. In fact, time to bring back L!VE. I imagine it would do much better now more people have cable (reruns of the news in Norwegian hardly count).

Former Playboy Play mate Anna Nicole Smith (38DD) bungee-jumping, the weather in Norwegian (way ahead of The Fast Show's Channel 9 that one), pro-celebrity dwarf-trampolining (the pro-celebrity bit is a lie), Tiffany the stripping stock -market tipster or (serious bit here) the L!ve live coverage of the Canary Wharf bomb ('no news bunny for these bulletins everyone!') during which a camera was bravely pointed out of a window into the darkness where, many storeys below, a blue light or two flashed in the gloom - all of these you and I have never seen, but many we have heard about.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 03, 2005

Lady Rachel Cawdor

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The United States of America is gone. Welcome to Deathlands.

I have endured some horrendous viewing in my ongoing devotion to the speculative fiction career of Traci Elizabeth Lords. Deathlands: Homeward Bound, based on fifth in the voluminous Deathlands series, was the most extreme. Though it is true her portrayal of Lady Rachel Cawdor did not disappoint. Within sixty seconds of her screen appearance Lords' character had a drug induced orgasm, pronounced it to be "better than sex" and proceeded to make out with her son in front of the court of the Ville. Well pardon my fromage but that's what I call television.

Adapted from Deathlands: Homeward Bound — the fifth in a series of more than 50 books — the movie finds Ryan returning to the village of Sherville in what used to be Virginia. There, 20 years earlier, his brother Harvey (Alan C. Peterson) and their young stepmother Rachel (First Wave and Profiler star Traci Elizabeth Lords) conspired to kill the boys' father, the local baron. Harvey ran a sword through Ryan's eye, and left a slash on his brother's cheek. Ryan escaped — and as with Shakespeare's Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth, there will be both tragedy and nobility … both brotherhood and bloodshed.
Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Zombies

They call it zombie larping. I called it high school.

You know those nerdy Cegep kids who run around on the mountain during Tam Tams fighting with duct tape weapons? We're trying to recruit an army of slow, dumb annoying zombies to go and attack them, just to see what happens.
Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Lemon Jelly: Shouty Track

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 08:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Off License

This Off License game tests your shopping skills. It is just disturbing enough to be inappropriate for most work contexts.

Posted by the Flea at 08:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Iron Chef America

Iron Chef has totally ripped off my traditional family pizza recipe.

Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Doing the apocalypso

The Left Behind apocalypse-as-entertainment machine grinds on with the forthcoming introduction of a video game based on the series.

This unrecognizable, heterodox puree includes chunks of John's apocalypse, mixed together willy-nilly with the stranger bits of Daniel, Ezekiel and the minor prophets and slices of St. Paul's meditations on death and Christ's warnings of judgment. It also includes lots of other things, like numerology, an aversion to historical context and whole passages apparently taken from the AD&D Monster Manual.

Considering how many folks claim to believe this snuff porn is based on Scripture I imagine we can expect a further bastardization of our culture's most sacred texts with games based on the drowning of the world, the massacre of the firstborn of Egypt and the conquest of Canaan. Because, hey, it's fun to think about those countless billions you (claim to) believe will suffer and die as you are taken to your just reward. Rapture me aboard, Scotty!

"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" is a real-time strategy game set in New York during the End of Days, which will allow gamers to choose between the angelic Tribulation Forces and the demonic Global Community Peacekeepers in a multiplayer online mode. The game is set to ship before Easter.

Left Behind CEO Troy Lyndon said the books have a diverse loyal reader base of more than 10 million parents, single adults, teens and kids. He said the company, which was founded in October 2001, will invest more money and resources into its first game than any Christian game has ever seen. Lyndon also said his games will be sold at Wal-Mart, which accounts for about 25% of all game sales.

Update: I have been reading through the Slacktivist take on Left Behind. This passage stood out.

When Jenkins has to write about Buck's journey from Waukegan to New York, he becomes strangely careful and meticulous. He stops writing to look up the distance in air miles. This never happens when he's writing about that nuclear war, or the disappearance of billions of children. He rattles off those sections without a second thought, any concern for detail, or the slightest apparent curiosity about what such things might actually be like.

This is bad writing, but it's also more than that. Jenkins and LaHaye read the Bible through the same skewed lens. This same obsessive elevation of irrelevant detail shapes their interpretation of the scripture. Thus they read Jesus' sermon on the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25 and ignore everything it says about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and caring for the least of these. Instead they latch onto the introductory bit about the Son of Man sitting on "his throne in heavenly glory" and speculate what that throne is made of, and where it its, and how big it is, and how many air miles there might be from that seat of judgment to Waukegan.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Deferred success

Everybody wins, and all must have prizes! Another reason it is less and less possible to actually teach people anything (via SondraK).

The word "fail" should be banned from use in British classrooms and replaced with the phrase "deferred success" to avoid demoralising pupils, a group of teachers has proposed. Members of the Professional Association of Teachers (PAT) argue that telling pupils they have failed can put them off learning for life.

A spokesman for the group said it wanted to avoid labelling children. "We recognise that children do not necessarily achieve success first time," he said. "But I recognise that we can't just strike a word from the dictionary," he said.
Posted by the Flea at 08:17 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 02, 2005

Potterheads

I suppose Harry Potter conventions were always going to be an inevitable byproduct of the success of the series. First, the American Nimbus Convention, then Canada's Convention Alley and now the Potterheads make their way to Accio! in Reading. Quidditch sans flying brooms is a sad prospect. Sadder still is the idea this might be a great way to meet that hypothetical nerd goddess I keep writing about. But I digress.

My first lecture is an Amnesty International take on house elves, the oppressed underclass of the wizarding world. In Potterland, these small, gnarled creatures, resembling miniature Vladimir Putins, are forced by the selfish wizard community to do all the dusting. Today, their advocate is Joanna Lipinska from the institute of ethnology and cultural anthropology at the University of Warsaw. Tall, slender and shining, she puts one in mind of a slightly cross kitchen knife.

"The enslavement of house elves goes back centuries," she says. "They are forced to wear tea towels instead of garments and they do not have the right of freedom of expression." Lipinska shakes her head in anguish. "I believe," she says, "that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should be applied to the wizarding community."
Posted by the Flea at 07:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Goldfrapp: Ooh La La

Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.

Posted by the Flea at 07:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Stella

While I do not enjoy Stella Artois I do love their ads.

Beware of the beer that turns you into an ostrich. Budgen channels Murnau and early Buñuel for Stella.
Posted by the Flea at 07:31 AM | TrackBack (0)

Dan-D-Pak wasabi cashews

So much. Wasabi. Tongue. Burning. Dan-D-Pak. So. Good.

Dan On first came to Canada some 20 years ago, with just $10 in his pocket and a desire to succeed in his new homeland. Today, he is President of Dan-D Foods Ltd., which employs 60 people at a 5,500 square metre facility in Richmond, British Columbia. The company also has a manufacturing plant in Binh Duong Province—the heart of Vietnam’s cashew growing region—where kernels are purchased from local growers, then graded, roasted and packaged for export to independent retail stores and food chains throughout North America.
Posted by the Flea at 07:29 AM | TrackBack (0)

Mars-Oz

Mars Society Australia has released plans for a "Mars-Oz" research station to be built in the Flinders Ranges.

"It's not just the location and the heat, it's the geology and the biology," he said. "This is the type of biology that they think, if it exists on other planets, that's what it would look like. There are a lot of fossils billions of years old." The region is known for its radioactive thermal springs, gibber plains, fossils and extinct lakes, which are considered to have "astrobiological significance".
Posted by the Flea at 07:23 AM | TrackBack (0)

Iceland Defense Force

There is talk of a change in command of the Iceland Defense Force from the US Navy to the US Air Force. In related news, the Flea had no concept that the Iceland Defense Force was under the command of the US Navy. That must have lead to some awkwardness during the Cod Wars.

Posted by the Flea at 07:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

August 01, 2005

Too sexy for this avatar

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When I found this Watch Me Change virtual stripper program I did what any normal person would do. I made a virtual me and took it all off, baby! My only quibble is that in any actual striptease I would, of course, remove my socks before my trousers.

Posted by the Flea at 08:43 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Cumming: the fragrance

Now there is no point in introducing that Flea cologne I was planning. Alan Cumming has kicked my ass on my hypothetical marketing strategy.

Posted by the Flea at 08:37 AM | TrackBack (0)

Getting Dressed

Lynx offers another ad with a peculiar, intense insight into life (SondraK feels the lurv too!).

Posted by the Flea at 08:35 AM | TrackBack (0)

Setesdal Handknitted

How annoying this this guy? A pox on study Norwegian traditional sweater models! Not that I have anything against Norwegian knitted goods. Time to work on my stubble before winter comes again.

Posted by the Flea at 08:34 AM | TrackBack (0)

Never say never again, again

Barring an offer he can't refuse, Sean Connery has retired citing "idiots" in Hollywood. One counterfactual Connery career highlight stands out.

Sometimes not even the lure of a huge cheque has been enough to tempt him back into the movie-making business. Connery reveals he has no regrets about turning down a role in one of the biggest money-earning film series ever - as Gandalf the wizard in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Not because the pay on offer was too low, however. "Yeah, well, I never understood it," he said. "I read the book. I read the script. I saw the movie. I still don't understand it."
Posted by the Flea at 08:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Chaos Theory

Chaos Theory is a compulsive time-waster. But then it's Monday.

Posted by the Flea at 08:27 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

The Emperor

This comparison of different Star Wars releases compares the old-look and new-look Emperors from The Empire Strikes Back. I had wondered about the eyes. Think of the Star Wars themed cocktail party conversation this knowledge will provide!

The Special Edition Emperor looks identical to the original release of the film, albeit with some minor differences in contrast. He still looks nothing like his Return of the Jedi appearance, and this is because the Emperor in this film is played by a woman! In order to give the Emperor a more unsettling appearance, chimpanzee eyes were superimposed over the eyes of the actress. The Emperor was voiced by Clive Revell.
Posted by the Flea at 08:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Potterianerin

While the official translation will take ten weeks to appear, a wiki-ish group translation (that last link regards the book five translation) of the new Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince novel into German only took a day or so with each volunteer tranlations taking responsibility for a page.

Of course the most extensive exchange gets going when someone starts pondering the best translation for typical HP vocabulary like "squib" (for non-initiated HP readers, that’s someone whose parents are wizards but hasn’t inherited any of the powers) and "extendable ears" (they are what they seem, but conveying that in German is apparently not so easy). And the verdict is still out on how to translate "crumple-horned Snorkack."

Harry Potter's German publisher is not pleased.

Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Harry Potter and the Half-Wit Prigs

Tim Worstall offers a suggestion that has often crossed my mind. Too bad it will remain forever a fantasy. But then I think business majors could usefully be asked to take a cultural studies course (via Instapundit).

I have to admit that my own seven volume, 3,000 page magnum opus is still mouldering in the slush piles of various publishers in London. Everyone agrees that the basic idea is sound, even desirable: that there should be a school where environmentalists go to learn economics. But no one is quite willing to believe that there is sufficient magic in the world to make it actually work. My premise is, therefore, not sufficiently believable.
Posted by the Flea at 08:24 AM | TrackBack (0)

Blog depression

The sooner we learn about blog depression the sooner we can take action (via INDC Journal).

we here at the nonist have spoken before about the “blog life crisis" which is a natural part of any blog’s life-span. what we turn our attention to now, however, is the more insidious, prolonged strain of dissatisfaction which stays with a blogger, right below the surface, throughout a blog’s lifetime. the diligent and self aware blogger can resist this destructive undercurrent, make changes, adapt, rationalize, but for many, untreated, it can cause much needless suffering in the form of full fledged blog depression.
Posted by the Flea at 08:23 AM | TrackBack (0)