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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in A journal not only of sight and sound, but of mind's LiveJournal:

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Monday, January 18th, 2016
11:48 am
CNN, run as always by knee-jerk leftists
So CNN today, for Martin Luther King Jr. day, decided to "debunk" some "myths" about him, including the one that he was a Republican. Did they talk to his niece, who has been credibly and with some authority advancing that narrative for a while now? No, they talked to ThinkProgress, a hard left outfit that would deny that Republicans are even human beings if they could get away with it. Next apparently for CNN: asking Boston Red Sox fans about the New York Yankees, Duke University students about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Cincinnati Bengals fans about the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Fuck you, CNN. There are more left turns at CNN daily than there are in an average NASCAR race.
Friday, January 8th, 2016
11:49 pm
An Al moment
It was somewhat surreal today sitting in a waiting room and hearing within ten minutes of each other two different songs that were both parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic on his most recent album: Royals/Foil and Happy/Tacky.

It's times like this where I really appreciate just how incredibly good Al is at what he does.
Thursday, December 31st, 2015
7:23 pm
Album review: Pink Floyd, The Endless River (2014)
First, if you don't know who Pink Floyd is, this review will be pretty much meaningless to you. Go buy and listen to at a minimum Dark Side of the Moon, and preferably The Wall and Wish You Were Here, and optionally Meddle, Animals, and The Division Bell.

Second, if you're the kind of person that takes albums to chop them up into their constituent tracks to shuffle into your iPod or other music device, this isn't the album for you. Pink Floyd after all is a band that makes albums, not singles. There is one way to separate this album into pieces, but I'll get to that later.

With that out of the way, I was astonished and gobsmacked to find out that Pink Floyd was putting out another studio album after it had been twenty years since The Division Bell. As it turned out, it was released the same day that Foo Fighters released their most recent studio album, Sonic Highways, and if you had told me that one of those albums would have more than twice as many tracks as the other (18 vs. 8), I would have been nearly certain that the Pink Floyd album would have the lesser number of tracks (since they have two albums with a total of 5 tracks and another two with 6), but that is not the case.

However, being Pink Floyd, yes, The Endless River has 18 tracks, but the first 17 are instrumental only, with the final track named Louder Than Words. Again, being Pink Floyd, the tracks all flow together, so separating out the album by its tracks doesn't really work. If you want to listen to it in less than all in one go, it is more or less in four pieces, which just happen to fit the four sides of vinyl that it was also released on. These pieces are tracks 1-3, 4-7, 8-14, and 15-18.

Also, this album wasn't recorded and released for the general public, it was targeted to the band's fans from its nearly half-century of work. You can hear echoes (pardon the pun) of lots of previous Pink Floyd albums on this one: the background voices from Dark Side of the Moon, the horns from Wish You Were Here, Stephen Hawking who was on The Division Bell makes another appearance (Talkin' Hawkin'), even a track named Autumn '68 referencing Summer '68 on Atom Heart Mother. That track in particular makes use of a recording of Richard Wright (who died in 2008) playing the pipe organ in 1969. That's just the kind of band they are, and it's breathtaking hearing them weave all this material together; a large part of it was recorded during the sessions for The Division Bell, for part of an instrumental album planned to be released at the same time, a concept later scrapped.

But it all came together for this album. If you're a fan of Pink Floyd, or a fan of albums in general, you should check this one out. It provides a very nice final bookend to the set of music that Pink Floyd has given us all, and if you already have more than a couple Pink Floyd albums, this one should definitely join them.

Current Mood: zen nostalgia
Tuesday, December 29th, 2015
2:17 am
Monday, December 28th, 2015
10:49 pm
A fortnight after double hernia surgery
The worst part about having double hernia surgery wasn't the surgery itself. Nor was it the time leading up to the surgery where I'm literally pushing my guts back in and being very careful to not make it worse so I don't have to go to the ER. Nor was it the pain after the surgery where movement of anything other than my head or arms caused sharp pain in my gut for a week and a half afterwards. Nor was it the itchy stitches on my stomach, the diet of soup and pudding, not having played my pinball machines since November, or not being able to go to the theater to see the new Star Wars movie.

No, the worst part was not having a bowel movement for two full weeks, culminating with sixteen hours yesterday of feeling like I had a cue ball in my ass that Wants To Come Out Right Now but won't budge, instead just expelling some gas and small amounts of liquid and loose solids every hour or two, until finally at nearly 6am this log an inch and a half across and almost six inches long came out.

I still feel like a truck hit me, but on the positive side at least I'm feeling the closest to human that I have in a while. Yesterday was still a shitty day, though (literally; I went through four full rolls of toilet paper), and the Steelers all but playing themselves out of the playoffs sure didn't help any.

Maybe in a few days I can at last check out this Star Wars movie I've heard so much about.

Current Mood: ugh
Saturday, November 21st, 2015
11:47 pm
Thursday, August 20th, 2015
1:11 am
Brigadoon Day 26
It's that time of year again-- point your mud client at muds.toccobrator.com 4201 to connect to TinyMUD Classic.

Classic's homepage: http://www.toccobrator.com/classic.htm
Thursday, December 25th, 2014
12:15 am
100 years ago today: the Christmas truce of World War I
One hundred years ago, World War I was devastating Europe, and the battle lines had already stalemated and turned very bloody. But something happened the night of the 24th of December that year, that became known as the Christmas truce:

The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most enduring images of the truce.
In 2005, after the last survivor of the Christmas truce had died, the New York Times published this article of excerpts of journals and memoirs of those that were there. Some selections:

It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere; and about 7 or 8 in the evening there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches and there were these lights -I don't know what they were. And then they sang "Silent Night" - "Stille Nacht." I shall never forget it, it was one of the highlights of my life. I thought, what a beautiful tune.

Then suddenly lights began to appear along the German parapet, which were evidently make-shift Christmas trees, adorned with lighted candles, which burnt steadily in the still, frosty air! … First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up "O Come, All Ye Faithful" the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing - two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.

I shouted to our enemies that we didn't wish to shoot and that we make a Christmas truce. I said I would come from my side and we could speak with each other. First there was silence, then I shouted once more, invited them, and the British shouted "No shooting!" Then a man came out of the trenches and I on my side did the same and so we came together and we shook hands - a bit cautiously!

We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Xmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans - Fritz and I in the center talking, and Fritz occasionally translating to his friends what I was saying. We stood inside the circle like street corner orators. … What a sight - little groups of Germans and British extending almost the length of our front! Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman's cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs.

Eventually the English brought a soccer ball from their trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as our friends for a time.

Not everyone approved of this, however--

Cpl. Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarians lambasted his comrades for their unmilitary conduct:

Such things should not happen in wartime. Have you Germans no sense of honor left at all?

Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year.

Current Mood: festive
Thursday, November 6th, 2014
11:47 pm
Toy Story and the fourth movie curse
So it's been announced that Toy Story 4 will be released in 2017.

Here's hoping Pixar can break what I've come to call the Fourth Movie Curse: in short, fourth movies of a connected series always suck.

Some examples:

Die Hard, Die Hard 2 (Die Harder), Die Hard 3 (Die Hard With A Vengeance), Die Hard 4 (Live Free Or Die Hard) <-- sucks

Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull <-- sucks

Alien, Aliens, Alien 3, Alien: Resurrection <-- sucks

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, At World's End, On Stranger Tides <-- sucks

The numbering itself doesn't matter. For example, Star Wars: 4, A New Hope; 5, Empire Strikes Back; 6, Return of the Jedi; 1, Phantom Menace <-- sucks hard

But wait, you say. Star Trek 4 was actually pretty good. True. However, Wrath Of Khan was not a sequel to Star Trek 1: The Motionless Picture; it tried to pretend the previous movie never happened, and it wasn't even called Star Trek 2 until they came out with Star Trek 3: The Search For Spock.

So: 2, Wrath Of Khan; 3, Search For Spock; 4, The Voyage Home; 5, The Final Frontier <-- sucks amazingly hard

Here's hoping Pixar has better luck.

Current Mood: dubious
Tuesday, November 4th, 2014
1:29 am
Election time, aka end of the silly season
Hat tip to Moe Lane for this one. Cracked.com has an article up titled Five Things You Won't Believe Can Brainwash You on Election Day, though I agree with Moe that the effects are likely overrated.

Why's that there? Oh, no particular reason.
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014
9:31 pm
Death Valley's moving rocks
The mystery of the 'slithering stones' of Death Valley appears to have been solved-- they got it on video, even:

According to [Richard] Norris, a geological oceanographer and paleontologist, Death Valley’s rocks move under a delicate mix of water, ice, sun, and wind. Norris and his cousin were able to document the rock movements by inserting GPS tags into chunks of limestone and syncing their movements with readings taken from a custom-built weather station.

Unlike one of the previous explanations, which had thick ice capturing the rocks and carrying them along like a miniature glacier, Norris said their evidence shows that thin ice floes break up and pile against the rocks. This creates enough friction to cause the rocks to skim across the muddy surface of a temporary pond. If you were there to see it, the rocks would look like ice-breaker ships plowing through sea ice—though in this instance, it’s the ice that’s moving the ships.
National Geographic has the full story.
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
12:15 am
Brigadoon Day 25: now with ssh access
Twenty-five years ago, a "weekend hack that got out of hand" called TinyMUD opened to the world, and here we are 25 years later. Point your mud clients at muds.toccobrator.com 4201 if you have a client; if you don't, then there is now ssh access available-- get the login and password at TinyMUD Classic's homepage: http://toccobrator.com/classic.html

Spread the word! Classic will be up through Labor Day.
Monday, August 11th, 2014
10:34 pm
Sunday, July 6th, 2014
2:52 pm
New Pink Floyd album.
Four words none of us ever expected to hear put together again without a negation (such as "there will never be another"):

It’s been 20 years since the last Pink Floyd album came out, and now frontman Dave Gilmour is ready to knock the dust off and get the band rolling again. Gilmour’s wife, Polly Samson, announced via Twitter that Pink Floyd would be releasing a new album, ‘The Endless River,’ in October of this year.


Man, I hope it doesn't suck.

Current Mood: boggled
Sunday, March 16th, 2014
9:51 pm
2014 NCAA men's college basketball tournament, flat-ASCII brackets
Flat-ASCII NCAA brackets for 2014:

            2nd Round  3rd Round   Regionals            1st Round  Dayton
                March 20-23       March 27-30              March 18-19
 1. Florida -------\_________                          Albany -----------\_16S
16. _______________/      (1)|_________                Mount St. Mary's -/ Tue
 8. Colorado ------\_________|         |             North Carolina State\_12MW
 9. Pittsburgh ----/                   |_________      Xavier -----------/ Tue
 5. Virginia Commonwealth____          |         |
12. Stephen F. Austin     (5)|_________|         |           Final Four
 4. UCLA ----------\_________|         Thu/Sat   |           April 5, 7
13. Tulsa ---------/                    South    |_________
 6. Ohio State ----\_________          Memphis   |         |
11. Dayton --------/      (2)|_________          |         |
 3. Syracuse ------\_________|         |         |         |
14. Western Michigan                   |_________|         |
 7. New Mexico ----\_________          |                   |
10. Stanford ------/      (6)|_________|                   |
 2. Kansas --------\_________|                             |
15. Eastern Kentucky                                       |_________
 1. Virginia ------\_________                              |         |
16. Coastal Carolina      (7)|_________                    |         |
 8. Memphis -------\_________|         |                   |         |
 9. George Washington                  |_________          |         |
 5. Cincinnati ----\_________          |         |         |         |
12. Harvard -------/      (3)|_________|         |         |         |
 4. Michigan State \_________|         Fri/Sun   |         |         |
13. Delaware ------/                     East    |_________|         |
 6. North Carolina \_________          New York  |                   |
11. Providence ----/      (8)|_________          |  Thu/Sat          |
 3. Iowa State ----\_________|         |         | (1) Orlando       |
14. North Carolina Central             |_________| (2) Buffalo       |
 7. Connecticut ---\_________          |           (3) Spokane       |
10. St. Joseph's --/      (2)|_________|           (4) Milwaukee     |
 2. Villanova -----\_________|                                       |
15. Milwaukee -----/                                      Arlington  |_________
 1. Arizona -------\_________                                        |   2014
16. Weber State ---/      (5)|_________             Fri/Sun          | Champion
 8. Gonzaga -------\_________|         |           (5) San Diego     |
 9. Oklahoma State /                   |_________  (6) St. Louis     |
 5. Oklahoma ------\_________          |         | (7) Raleigh       |
12. North Dakota State    (3)|_________|         | (8) San Antonio   |
 4. San Diego State\_________|         Thu/Sat   |                   |
13. New Mexico State                     West    |_________          |
 6. Baylor --------\_________          Anaheim   |         |         |
11. Nebraska ------/      (8)|_________          |         |         |
 3. Creighton -----\_________|         |         |         |         |
14. Louisiana-Lafayette                |_________|         |         |
 7. Oregon --------\_________          |                   |         |
10. Brigham Young -/      (4)|_________|                   |         |
 2. Wisconsin -----\_________|                             |         |
15. American ------/                                       |_________|
 1. Wichita State -\_________                              |
16. _______________/      (6)|_________                    |
 8. Kentucky ------\_________|         |                   |
 9. Kansas State --/                   |_________          |
 5. St. Louis -----\_________          |         |         |
12. _______________/      (1)|_________|         |         |
 4. Louisville ----\_________|         Fri/Sun   |         |
13. Manhattan -----/                   Midwest   |_________|
 6. Massachusetts -\_________       Indianapolis |
11. _______________/      (7)|_________          |
 3. Duke ----------\_________|         |         |      1st Round  Dayton
14. Mercer --------/                   |_________|         March 18-19
 7. Texas ---------\_________          |           California Polytechnic\_16MW
10. Arizona State -/      (4)|_________|               Texas Southern ---/ Wed
 2. Michigan ------\_________|                         Iowa -------------\_11MW
15. Wofford -------/                                   Tennessee --------/ Wed
Friday, December 13th, 2013
3:57 am
Hobbit 2

Smaug is awesome.

That is all.
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
1:15 am
(EVIL!)Mud is back
For those of you that care about such things: (EVIL!)Mud is back up, at evil.xibo.com 4201.

Current Mood: don't look now but here comes 1990
Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
12:03 am
Upon reaching 45, my geeky side notes that it's the lowest standard vinyl rpm that's also a whole number, while my twisted side notes that it's the only vinyl rpm speed that has a non-standard spindle hole.

Current Mood: year++
Tuesday, August 20th, 2013
12:37 am
Brigadoon Day 24 (yikes, that's a large number)
Brigadoon Day 24 is here! For anyone that was on TinyMUD, or its descendents Muck, Mush, Muse, Moo, or any of the rest, TinyMUD Classic was the ancestor of all of them. It's up for its 24th anniversary; if you weren't at last year's Brigadoon Day, note that your password has been reset to 'password'; see http://toccobrator.com/classic.html for all the gory details. Otherwise point your client at muds.toccobrator.com 4201 and catch up with people you haven't seen in a while.

Current Mood: retro
Sunday, July 7th, 2013
9:21 pm
Can anyone identify this Bach fugue?
Many years ago, a friend of mine identified the high score music in my Swords of Fury pinball machine as a Bach fugue, but he never specified which one it was. So can anyone identify which one it is? The youtube link is about a minute long and is just the audio of it. Thanks in advance!

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