Sep. 1st, 2010 08:34 pm
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- I finally saw "Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World." For about the first half I was gleeful; by the second half I was still gleeful, but I was also distracted by the things that had come out of the story in order to pack six volumes into one film that still felt a tad long. Good: The 8-Bit touches that they kept were great. Kim Pine was PERFECT. Also Wallace, and Gideon--pretty much all of the evil exes were great except the Katayanagi twins, who sucked. I'm sorry, but they did. This is related to the fact that my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SCENE IN ALL OF THE COMICS was cut. That would be the one where Scott fights the Katayanagis' robot (which is of course named Robot-O1) at the Day of the Dead party but all of Scott's friends are so over his crap that the fight takes place almost entirely offstage while they bitch about him. I'm telling you, that should have been in the movie. I guess I'm sort of over Cera, too, which makes me a little sad because it seemed like I was the only person alive who still liked him. I still loved the movie and want to see it again; it's just that adaptations are always a horrible gloppy sad mess and it frustrates me. OH BUT I think I did figure out why I like the comics so much. It's because basically it's a story about my twenties, except that I was never Scott--maybe some amalgamation of Wallace and Young Neil, but playing lots of video games, reading lots of comics, mooning unproductively over various girls and hanging out at clubs listening to bands that seemed all that much better because almost nobody had ever heard of them. And I was hanging out with some people whom I was not exactly friends with, some of whom may have actually despised me, and yet we were all part of this Sphere of Tolerance that created a weird social cohesion. Which is an entirely idiosyncratic reason to enjoy something and I don't expect that most of you will relate to that at all. If you do, I sort of pity you. (Us.)

Today (Cont.):

- I went to the State Fair and saw robots, a gigantic knitted fish, a huge elephant made out of straw, an impressionist Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox that my friend Steve made out of tiny Post-Its, a bag of Tom Thumb mini-donuts for a brief time before they went into my face, Princess Kay of the Milky Way and a butter sculpture of same, my dad (who works at one of the admissions gates), a Native American drummer, a bottomless cup of chocolate milk WHICH I DRANK, an awesome Hmong-craft dragon WHICH I BOUGHT, sheep, chickens, ducks, horses, cows, pigs, and piglets--WHICH I HAVE DECIDED ARE THE MOST PERFECT FORM OF LIFE--at the Miracle of Birth building.

Today (Concluded):

- Is three weeks to the day until I turn 40. I do not normally get much worked up about birthdays--to the point where I often fail to celebrate them at all--but this one feels Big and has caused me some anxiety. Anyway I know that many of you will see it on Facebook when it comes around and leave the ritual wall posting, but I am telling you now because something. I dunno. You could get me something if you wanted, but I think it's more about wanting some sort of weird acknowledgment for being half dead. I don't know what that would be; I suppose you could stab me or something to remind me that I'm still alive. Or perhaps something more convenient for those of you who do not live nearby. If I figure it out I'll let you know.
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The Philadelphia Zoo's two remaining elephants, Kallie and Bette, are being moved to the Pittsburgh Zoo's 724-acre International Conservation Center. Despite the protests, this seems like a good move, or at least a step in the right direction.

Follow-up to the reports of poisoned Sumatran elephants in my last update: the Sumatran government estimates that fifteen elephants have died of cyanide-laced fruit in the past year.

CITES (The International Convention on Trade in Endangered Species) has authorized an increase in the number of elephants Mozambique is allowed to kill annually.

Paleontologist Emmanuel Gheerbrant has discovered a 4-5kg (about the size of a rabbit) elephant ancestor, called Eritherium azzouzorum. It's one of the oldest ungulates (i.e. hoofed mammals) related to elephants. Eritherium lacked a trunk, but it had an enlarged front incisor which presaged the tusks of its modern descendants.
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I'm going to try to be regular about this again. Of course, I'm about to head out traveling for two weeks, so "regular" may be a relative term for a bit.

It appears that Indonesian villagers poisoned four rare Sumatran elephants, probably to protect their palm oil plantations. Last month two male elephants were poisoned with cyanide-laced pineapples in the same area.

Kenya--which is still in the midst of a drought--has seen a wave of elephant killings by poachers, who are also killing other wildlife for food. Also in Kenya, work to excavate a rock quarry in Amboseli Park may cut off wildlife migration corridors for elephants and other animals.

Lastly, some good news from Kenya: a pilot study has found that fences made from wire, wood, and beehives can be an effective deterrent against elephant raids on farms. Seems the elephants recognize the shape and smell of the beehives and steer clear: "The bees aren't likely to be able to sting though an elephant's thick hide. But they can and do sting elephants around the eyes and inside the trunk. It seems that this only has to happen once for an elephant never to forget the experience."
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Who wins? Assume that retreat is not an option.

No poll because this is an essay question.


May. 18th, 2009 01:31 pm
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Yeah, I'm against elephants in zoos, but damn if this little girl isn't adorable:

Click on the pic for more. They're supposed to announce her name tomorrow.
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. . . wait. I'm confused.
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1. This dude read Superpowers and liked it a lot. "[I]t's fantastic. In the post- Bryan Singer world, where heroes in other mediums than comics no longer have to wear spandex, this is how individuals with powers in this day and age should be written. I *highly* recommend this one."

2. French scientist surprised that elephants are not water-hole bullies. I don't . . . what?

3. I ended up nuking my Twitter account, because trying to keep up with it was actually stressing me out. I can't keep up with my own daily life, so I guess trying to keep up with everyone else's just isn't going to work.

4. Fuck You, Penguin is perfect for those who like to pretend cute animals don't matter to them. Thanks to Shana for the link.

5. Finally, there is this, which I cannot explain:

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I only have four things. But since I have fancied them up with Roman numerals I expect to hear no complaints.

I. I am informed that my story, "Bear In Contradicting Landscape," will appear in Polyphony 7, which will be out in the fall. W00t! This is a story that I am both proud of and self-conscious of, so I will be interested to see the response.

II. Hayden tagged me for this, and since Hayden is much cooler than me (and I haven't acquired any new music in months), I have no expectations that my list will be as interesting as his. But I do what I'm told. Here's the sitch:

List seven songs you are into right now. No matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're not any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now, shaping your spring. Post these instructions in your blog along with your 7 songs. Then tag 7 other people to see what they're listening to.

Music geekery behind the cut . . . )

I have to tag people? OK. Alice, Celia, Hecubus, Jan, Karen, Meghan, and Richard. Play along if you like.

III. A Norwegian Zoo has put a 24-hour live webfeed in the pen of a lioness who recently had three cubs. WARNING: Cuteness ahead! (Right now they're all sleeping.)

IV. I don't usually subject y'all to political spots, but I like this one, where John Cusack asks if you can tell the difference between McCain and Bush.

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One, my brother Steve is raising money for the Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals. Steve works at the Golden Valley branch of the Humane Society, and they do good work there. Check out his page, and send some cash his way if you're so inclined.

Two, I won't be online much today due to an unexpected road trip. Long story short, if you're in Marshall, Minnesota and are going to see Kelly Link and Alan DeNiro read tonight at SMSU, looks like you may be getting me as well. Should be fun.

Three, I was watching the Discovery Channel yesterday and I found out that people are trying to reverse genegineer dinosaurs from birds. This will be important later, I think. Take notes.
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I want to see this movie, like, right now. Sadly I will have to wait until March.

Yesterday I finished The Stolen Lake, and Holy Crap. I have never read Joan Aiken before, and I am retroactively designating myself an idiot for that. I loved this book. So weird, and funny, and dark, and [ profile] alicek is awesome for loaning it to me and enlightening me on this matter. DUDES I WANT A SPINNING GEOTHERMAL-POWERED HOUSE. Also a flying ship. (Kind of a given, I know.) I'll pass on the long-tailed cats, though, as I am allergic.

Speaking of animals, the promised Animal Overlord Poll:

[Poll #1145298]
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Meet Cinder, the Naked Chimp. Not CHEF! Chimp.

Black bears, with bonus pic of cub-in-a-sock. (Via [ profile] ocvictor.)

The Improbable Octophant. I find this a bit disturbing, I have to admit. (See also the very moving "Squid Can't Win".) (Via Superagent Shana.)

For extra credit, nominate your preferred animal overlord in the comments. Monday there will be a poll. MAKE AN ARGUMENT PEOPLE.
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As you've probably seen elsewhere, a rare white stag has been spotted (and photographed) in the Scottish Highlands. From the article:

In Celtic traditions, white stags represent messengers from the afterlife. Arthurian legend has it that the creature can never be caught -- King Arthur's pursuit of the animal represents mankind's spiritual quest.

It is also said that for those who set eyes on the animal, a momentous moment is near.

"They say their appearance is meant to herald some profound change in life for those who encounter them -- but I am still waiting," said Lockhart.

Her dog, though, stood transfixed for 45 minutes watching the white stag, instead of his usual scampering around.

My parents have a coyote living in their neighborhood, but all the dogs do is bark at it.

In other news of mysterious animals, scientists think a dinosaur found in Mexico (one Velafrons coahuilensis) may have been musically inclined. I mean, what else are you going to do with a resonating chamber on your head?

In the spirit of weird animals, I give you a poll:

[Poll #1137992]


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