April 2005

Thursday, April 28, 2005


It’s been pointed out that this faster fast fiction is lacking in new content.

I did read a few days ago that one of my favorite sites is seeking a sponsor. It’s the typing monkeys. They’re still banging out characters, but no one is watching what they’re doing. They stopped posting the recent records at 24 characters.

If anyone out there wants to help with one of the greatest experiments ever, they should look into sponsoring the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 4:12 pm    

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Faster Fast Fiction

I’ve decided to get rid of the Flickr daily zeitgeist and the Buzznet photos over on the left nav area. They were just slowing things down.

Now you can get in, get your regular fix and get out.

If you’re really interested in the photos, have a looksee either from the top listing of my other sites or the left nav listing of other blogs.

We’re efficient like that.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 1:21 pm    

Holy Crap! It’s not Crap!

First of all, I have to state that I like McDonald’s. For certain things anyway. I know, some of my dear readers think that I’m a Prius-driving, vegetarian, whale-hugging econut. That’s not exactly true.

Sure, I like natural fibers and I drive an efficient car. I like to buy fair trade products. But I also like egg mcmuffins (no meat though).

I’ve also enjoyed thousands of cups of McDonald’s coffee over the years. I like their coffee. It’s a little weak, but it’s cheap and as long as you go during peak hours it’s always freshly brewed. I’m not a coffee snob. And I don’t drink “coffee drinks” (the occasional latte, but never flavored or whipped or anything).

Now McDonald’s is offering Premium Roast (in selected areas). And you know what? It’s good. No, really.

First, they’ve changed the cups. McDonald’s used to offer coffee in styro cups, which on top of being noisy always made things taste a little plasticky. They’ve gone to paper cups (and little protective sleeves for delicate fingers). They also abandoned the white plastic lids where you had to open them for sipping. They’ve gone to the standard black grown-up sippy-cup top.

Next, they put good coffee in. I don’t know what they’ve changed, but it’s definitely a stronger brew, with a good full taste to it, not too bitter or burnt. I’ve never really cared for Starbucks. It’s consistent to be sure, but has always tasted like brewed pencil shavings to me. This McDonalds brew tastes the like smell of coffee, which is what I always like. The smell of fresh brewed coffee and the taste to back it up.

My morning cup will still be the stuff I get from the cafe on the lot here, branded Mocha Kiss (Coffee to the Stars!), mostly because of the consistency and convenience. But this is a great plus to my weekly McMuffin (no meat). Not only that, but they’ve got a special going right now, free 12 oz cup with any breakfast sandwich. I usually get a value meal for $3.39 (and don’t eat the hash browns) because it’s cheaper than buying a cup of coffee and sandwich. Now I’m only spending $2.25 and getting EXACTLY what I want. Really, it is a good value.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:44 am    

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Behind the Scenes of your Favorite Sports Feature

Over on Flickr I noticed one of my “buddies” has a cool photo set from the production of a film.

Ever wonder how they get thousands of people in the stands as background for sports scene? Sometimes they don’t, they rent blow up dolls that they dress up and place in the seats. Then they put real people in strategic places to make it look like they’re real people.

Kinda cool, eh? Click on the photo to see 7-how-7’s whole gallery.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:46 am    

Monday, April 18, 2005

Flickr Lives Up

Flickr has delivered on their promise to do better for their users since they were purchased by Yahoo!.

It didn’t take long, they’ve upped the free account monthly throughput from 10 megs to 20 megs and the basic storage to 200 photos. All of my old photos that had fallen off my browse have returned.

If you’re interested in a pro account, they’ve dropped the price to $24.99 a year and doubled the monthly throughput to 2Gigs. I don’t think even I can do 2Gigs unless I upload them wihtout resizing.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:11 pm    

Have you read Sophocles’ latest?

I saw that they’ve found text from the Greeks that might fill in some of the gaps in the known works of Sophocles, Euripides and Hesiod.

I can’t wait!


POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:46 am    

Holy Crap!

I’m not sure this is a good move for consumers in the graphics/web field or not.

Adobe is poised to buy Macromedia.

Now I’m keen on both companies. I own Macromedia’s Contribute and Adobe’s suite of programs like Photoshop, an early version of InDesign and of course Acrobat. I’d sure like flash to be more closely integrated with photoshop, so maybe this is a good move. Or maybe not. I hope that prices for Macromedia products don’t go up. I’ve found them to be a bit more affordable thus far.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:18 am    

Friday, April 15, 2005

Bad Year for Marine Mammals

It’s only April but this is not a good year for marine mammals.

About 80 rough-toothed dolphins beached themselves in Florida, and though these are sometimes through natural causes like disease, this one seems suspiciously timed following naval sonar testing. Of the 80 that beached 26 were rescued and taken to the local Marine Mammal Conservancy. Of those 26, only 11 have survived.

Of course there’s been widespread coverage of the return of the baby seal hunt in Canada. Now check me on this, but when most wildlife experts talk about hunting they approve (or at least go along with) hunting the large “trophy” males. Same goes for fishing. No one says, “hey, we’ve got too many catfish, let’s start taking fry!” So how is it that this particular hunt to reduce the numbers of these seals is specifically aimed at the small ones? Because it’s about their pelts, plain and simple.

Japan is not only still whaling under the guise of scientific study, but today I saw this article that they’re planning on doubling the number of minke whales they take and adding two new species. Now I understand that the International Whaling Commission is just a formality. Japan doesn’t need to belong to it, they can just do whatever they want. And they’ve slowly been adding to their quotas. And threatening to abandon the IWC altogether and resume factory whaling. The added species would be Humback Whales and Fin Whales. Fin whales are the second largest whale species (just a smidge smaller than the Blue Whale) and of course Humbacks are the songbirds of the sea and commonly seen here in the Santa Barbara Channel (I’m going on a trip next month to see them in the summer feeding grounds).

On another note, go visit the IWC website. The splash page is great and shows the majesty of these great mammals and none of the slaughter. Of course when you go to a beef website it doesn’t show you the slaughterhouse either.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 11:03 am    

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

New Blog!

I started a new blog.

I was at a wedding over the weekend and someone asked me about my blog and I told them about fast fiction. We talked about my philosophy of goals and I said that I was on my way to writing a fifth novel this year, did the marathon, blah, blah. They asked what other goals I had.

I said I want to go to the ALL CANDY EXPO in Chicago someday. There are only three ways to get in. Be a candy manufacturer. Be a candy buyer (wholesale). Be a journalist.

The closest I’m going to get to that is journalist and at the moment I’ve decided to become THE candy blogger. That’s right. I’ve got a blog of candy.

Check it out. I’m still working on the template, but I’ve already got some solid content.


POSTED BY Cybele AT 5:47 pm    

Making the Most of a Free Flickr Account

So I reached my 100th photo on Flickr last week.

I didn’t realize it at first but then noticed that some of my most favorite (and most favorited) photos dropped off. Okay, it was only two of them, I haven’t uploaded anything since. I was debating what to do.

Here’s the thing. I have my own site and hosting (no, I’ve not moved this blog yet, but I will one these days). So I have no problem with file storage. I like the community and want to stay a part of it.

But I don’t want to lose the ability to find and share those photos. There are always new groups to share with. I didn’t even find the ultra cool squared circle until someone commented on one of my photos last week.

So I figured a couple of workarounds (I hesitate to call them hacks) for the 100 visible files and 3 set limit.

Flickr allows anyone to create a group. There are three different kinds of groups.

Private - only members can see it and the only way to become a member is to be invited.

Public invitation only - everyone can see it but only those invited and approved by the admin can join.

Public - anyone can see, everyone can join.

You can use these groups, specifically the private and public/invitation groups to create either an archive or additional sets. If you use the private function, only you can use it, but it’s still plenty handy. You can go into this group after you’ve shared files with it and access all the functions there, like sharing it with another group or adding new tags.

What I’ve done is created a group for myself (Pubic-invitation) and put my 10 oldest photos (so far) in there. I’ve taken a thumbnail of one of the photos and placed it in my profile on Flickr and linked to that group as my archive set.

You can do the same by creating groups where you share in specific set oriented photos and then doing the same thumbnail linking in your profile. May as well create thumbnails for your basic offered sets and it’ll look seamless.

I’m sure someone else has thought of this before, but I was pretty proud of myself and wanted to share it with everyone else.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 2:16 pm    

New Beetles!

No, not the cars.

These newly described and named beetles are Slime-Mold Beetles. The entymologists at Cornell decided to give them peppy names. Names honoring such folks as President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

image copyright cornell university and depicts a closely related, previously discovered slime-mold beetle

I wish their rationale was tongue-in-cheek:

The decision to name three slime-mold beetles after Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, however, didn’t have anything to do with physical features, says Quentin Wheeler, a professor of entomology and of plant biology at Cornell for 24 years until last October, but to pay homage to the U.S. leaders. “We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular,” says Wheeler, who named the beetles and wrote the recently published monograph describing the new slime-mold beetle species while a professor at Cornell.”

Intended or not, there are now species of beetles out there bearing these fellows’ names eating the scum of the earth.

Found via Science Blog.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:53 pm    

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Strange Dream

I had a strange dream on Monday night.

I don’t usually mention them here, but I figure this one is odd enough.

First, I was in some industrial area, and we were watching the Sun. There was a strange eclipse (though not full). Then, as we were looking up in the sky we saw a jetliner that was flying low and was on fire. The fire was coming from the cockpit and a lot of the back end of the fuselage was missing, like it was a convertible or something.

The plane was obviously in distress, but was coming in for a landing to the train yard below us (I think we were up on a wide rail trestle). It would be a bumpy landing, but I guess they could put their front wheel down in the middle of the tracks.

The alarm went off, so I don’t know if the plane made it down or if anyone else on the plane made it.

I know where the plane stuff came from, as Crispin had just left on a red-eye to Pittsburgh that night. What I didn’t know at the time was the upcoming hybrid eclipse tomorrow. I hope none of this means anything, that it’s just regular old stuff being worked through by my subconscious brain.

POSTED BY Cybele AT 12:03 pm    













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During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.