Archive for the 'General' Category

Untitled Bit of Link-Heavy Self-Serving Nonsense

No count has yet been made of the number of movie patrons who went to see The Seventh Veil in fond expectation that it would combine the most salient features of Salome and Minsky. It didn’t, of course: the veil that was lifted concealed only actress Ann Todd‘s innermost thoughts.
A more pertinent estimate made recently, however, indicates what producers have long suspected—that one-fourth of all movie-goers select their entertainment solely on the appeal of a film’s title. High-powered publicity, star casts, critics’ reviews and personal recommendations mean nothing to this phlegmatic 25 per cent. If the title “sounds pretty good”, they will pay their money without further ado.
Any businessman will tell you that 25 per cent is a figure to be treated with respect. In the move industry, it often means the difference between red ink and black. Small wonder that some of Hollywood’s highest-paid brains labor mightily over movie titles—occasionally bringing forth a mouse.
Twentieth Century-Fox had a sad experience when it first released Bob, Son of Battle, from the book of the same name. This was at a time when war stories were fast loving favor and movie-goers mistook it for a picture about the war. The thousands of dollars already spent to publicize the title had to be written off, and the opus—about a dog—relabeled Thunder in the Valley, a phrase which suggested intense conflict in a satisfactorily vague fashion.

Do not adjust your Internet. Yes, this gossip, though interesting, is slightly dated. It may still be somewhat relevant, however…
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Published in: General | on December 1st, 2012 | No Comments »

On the Nomenclature And Design of Tie, Scarf, And, If You Insist, Stick Pins

This is a tie pin:

It’s probably late Georgian or early Victorian – 1830-1850 – and it’s not, alas, mine; it belongs to a friend. (Were it mine, I’d have polished it. Silver’s supposed to shine, y’know.)

Anyway, I enjoy vintage jewelry as much as the next fellow. Actually, I probably enjoy it more than the next fellow, because part of the enjoyment I derive is knowing and understanding how the pieces were made. It’s an invaluable skill, not only because it lets you spot modern reproductions more easily, but because it helps you appreciate the amount of labor and effort that went – goes – into making entirely handmade jewelry.

Anyway, tie pins – which are two to two-and-a-half inches long, pretty much always; anything much longer than that is almost certainly a hat pin – are fun little pieces of history because they’re obsolete, because they’re inexpensive, and because they’re unisex.
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Published in: General | on August 23rd, 2012 | No Comments »

Did You Hear the One About the Goat?

Or, indeed, the other one about the goat?

I figured I’d mention here two recent electronic publications of mine that might be of interest to a couple readers:

At the beginning of April I published a romantic comedy novella called “All The Wrong Reasons”. It’s a tale of awkwardness, misunderstanding, humor, and a goat. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a dangerously genre-savvy young idiot and the woman he desperately wants not to fall in love with. Hijinks ensue, and all that kind of thing.

Just another typical story of mine, really. 🙂

You can get it at Amazon or Kobo or iTunes or Barnes and Noble or at Smashwords in all those formats and more.

Spurred on by a reader’s request (and egged on by my own Imp of the Perverse) I then wrote and published “Midnight’s Tale”, which tells the story of the goat in All The Wrong Reasons. My tenth published ebook, it’s a finely-crafted piece of belles lettres Serious Literature about life, love, and livestock.

It’s available at Amazon and at Smashwords in all the various ereader formats. The one person who’s bought a copy so far found it extremely compelling, apparently. You’d probably like it, too…

Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 25th, 2012 | No Comments »

Reviving Old Raleigh 3-Speed Pedals On the Cheap

One of my relatives recently decided to take up bicycling. While this is good, because exercise is a good thing, blah blah blah, I was tasked with both finding them a suitable bicycle, and ensuring its functionality.

Their criteria was fairly simple: It had to be a diamond frame (i.e. a “men’s bike”), it had to have upright handlebars, and it could have no more than five speeds. (I have no idea why, either. I just do what I’m told.)

My criteria was a bit more complicated: It had to actually fit them, it had to be in decent mechanical shape, it had to not use a buttload of proprietary-sized parts or need obscure proprietary tools to work on, and it had to not be a super attractive theft-magnet, because they are probably only going to use a cable lock, not a u-lock, and we’d both feel bad if it got stolen.

I almost wavered on the last one – there was a gorgeous 1950s BSA three-speed on Craigslist, fully restored, for $150 – but in the end I persevered, and we wound up with…
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Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on May 20th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

Some Things Maybe Shouldn’t Be Recycled

China takes a lot of crap on environmental grounds, and rightly so, but you do have to admire their entrepreneurial spirit when it comes to recycling, especially of electronics. One country’s trash is another country’s treasure.

It doesn’t get talked about a whole lot, but there’s a thriving industry in China that salvages and recycles electronics – and a whole other thriving industry that sells or re-uses the recovered material. Semiconductors are a popular bit of booty. Need some long-obsolete chips? Someone in China probably has a drawer full of ’em, desoldered from junked equipment.

All those cellphone LCDs that Arduino folks and other electronics enthusiasts like to play around with? They’re not spare parts being sold by service centers – a huge number of them are recovered from broken phones.

And that, in a way, brings me to the subject of today’s post: Solar chargers.
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Published in: Geekiness, General | on May 2nd, 2012 | 1 Comment »