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Sunday, August 31, 2014

League Assignment: Dinner Party of Five

     a Dinner Party with anyone, real or imagined, famous or not...

     It's a fascinating question, and it took me in a direction that surprised me

     the first guest I would invite would be Warwick Wilson: he is a party almost by himself
 a perfect host like that needs a person of consummate good manners and infinite grace to play off of, and I think Dr Lecter fits that bill
Vann Siegert can bring the drinks- Funny, everything tastes a little of almonds

The fourth guest is Mr Thomas Ripley

to finish off the guest list...Tommy Spinelli

For the sake of honesty- I have to add that this is the whole guest list,- I would not be attending
     but I would film it...and I would watch to see if all five walk out. 

Other members of the league had these guest lists in mind

Sunday, August 24, 2014

the Rules of Drop Club

     The first rule of drop club is that you need a bird and a human. The bird drops, the human fetches what is dropped

     The second rule is...all birds know this game. Some may not play, or some may play it horizontally rather then vertically

     The third rule is: Humans misunderstand this game, they think it is fetch, and the bird fetches for the human. This is entirely backwards.

     The fourth rule is: the bird drops the object, the human picks up the object, so it may be dropped again. Anything else is a misaprehension of the rules

     The fifth rule is: the object MUST hit the floor- catching it as it falls is CHEATING. Putting it back without it hitting the floor, or worse, dropping it yourself is a PERVERSION of all that is right and avian

     The sixth rule is that the game goes on as long as the bird is amused. The human does not have getting bored as an option

Wrecking, Autobot Style

File:Wreckers symbol.png

     About the Wreckers, the TFWiki says: "The Wreckers are a special task force, generally composed of the best and the toughest die-hard fighters around. Its ranks include a veritable who's-who of the obscure; mechs you've never heard much about, mostly because the Wreckers are often called in to fight when the odds of success are slim. Bluntly, they tend to burn through their roster at a frightening rate. The Wreckers are a close-knit group that's more concerned with bursting in, guns-blazing, and doing their Thing, than they are concerned with, say, strategy. Despite their disregard for planning and the bodycount their team mounts, the Wreckers are amazingly successful. If it's a lost cause, the Wreckers will be there, winning the day with sheer guts and determination."

     I love them as a concept, and as a team through their many incarnations- here I have posted mostly g1/generations style, what I have of the team to date. Rest assured, reader, that I am waiting impatiently for the day masterpiece Ultra Magnus joins their ranks; some of them have been featured here before, but here they are again, ready to wreck, to rule and to generally make the Decepticons have a bad day

just an innocent and diverse group of vehicles, don't mind us

Sure, but I have seen more guns mounted on cars
at walmart
color scheme by G1 racing car Lancia Stratos

he looks a little like the tumbler
the old timer

What do you mean your SUV didn't come
with a standard wrecking ball and
battering ram?

just an innocent group of hovercraft, construction equipment and helicopters

he used to transform into just another helicopter
this crazy Dune Buggy/VTOL transformation,
I like it better

he used to be a minibot- this is the movie line
update, but I think he fits in fine

as I believe I have mentioned before...
his guns are tinier men
and Whirl- blue, cyclopean, sociopathic...

ready to tear it up
Bulk and Jack

one if by land, two if by sea
Seaspray and Scoop

I believe they can fly-Whirl and Sandstorm

"Age before beauty, you beryllium bozos"
Kup steals the scene from Roadbuster and Springer

and I helped- mostly by not hindering, and playing "drop"with my
own toy

Saturday, August 23, 2014

League Assignment-Cryptozoology-Finding the Unknown Predators

     Cryptozoology is, at it's core, the search for and study or creatures for which there is no scientific proof they actually exist.  There is an exhaustive list of creatures here, but I choose to focus on...none of them. I write today about animals so secretive, so unknown that the only trace of them is in the pattern recognition of other animals they prey on. Prey animals are smart enough to get out of the way of anything that even remotely looks like the animals that generations of genetic heritage have programmed them to avoid- because animals that did not avoid them did not leave a genetic heritage

so without further delay, here are 


     The Queensland Golden Groundsweeper Viper(vipera scopa)- Characterized by it's long, stiff spine and it's odd movement, swishing back and forth on it's mouth, the Golden Groundsweeper is known to scatter flocks of Australian parakeets at the merest hint of its presence. I include here its more venomous cousin, the Scarlet Groundsweeper for comparison.

     The Canister Constrictors(Morelia spilota lautus cheynei)- An entire family of oddly shaped serpents with a terrifying whining hiss, these reptiles will move back and forth across the ground drawing up anything in their path, wet or dry. They say nature abhors a vacuum, but what it really hates is just the shape it takes

     The Brazilian Verdant Ticking Owlet(viridi ericius horologius culinae)- Mainly an egg predator, this opportunist will also eat smaller parrots if they are unwary. Both nocturnal and diurnal, it makes a distinctive "tiktiktiktiktiktiktikSHHRIIIIING" just before it strikes

     The Amaranthine Beverage Skink(stellio manibus utrem purpuram)- A patient and silent hunter, this creature can wait immobile for endless hours before suddenly sprouting clawed limbs and pouncing on an unwary bird. 

These creatures all resemble household items that my birds are terrified of. Just remember, next time your bird shies away in a cloud of rapidly expanding dust, discarded feathers and a dopplering squawk...there might be a real creature out there that looks like what you just picked up, and your bird is smart enough to get away from it

My Fellow Leaguers have their own encounters:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

League Assignment: Comparrot and Con(ure)trast- Human vs Avian Intelligence     

     Let me say, by way of introduction that the words "compare and contrast" give me a twinge of 30 year old dread from my high school days. I feel like I suck at these types of writing, which is all the more reason to do it. I have been thinking a lot about avian intelligence, lately, both in terms of my housemates and birds I have experienced in stories or on videos

     Human Intelligence has reshaped the world. Where it is too cold to live, we build houses and install furnaces. Where it is too hot, we put in air conditioning...air conditioning- even the name talks about our attitude: we are just making the air tolerable. If where we are going is too far to walk, we learned to ride another creature or build a vehicle with "horsepower". To equalize conflicts with larger creatures, we threw rocks, and then made better and better rock throwers, like guns and bows. Where we want to go, we have laid paths. To tell us what paths to take, we have made maps and GPS units. To tell the time, we have made digital watches. To communicate abstract concepts, we have made an abstract language...lots of them in fact. We cluster together in colonies and Compete with our neighbors for status, better living space and more stuff

     Our intelligence seems to be based on our ability to imagine things that are not real. in some cases it leads us to make real what we imagined, such as a new tool, or a piece of fiction. In some cases it leads us to firmly believe in things for which there is no evidence, like "justice" or "truth" or "the American way". We have evolved to realize the ideal and to idealize the unreal.

     A Parrot or a Corvid is about as smart as a human toddler, as a point of reference. they can learn a large number of sounds, mimic a large number of words, and in many cases have a good grasp of the meaning of those words they have learned. Their play is imaginative, and in some cases seems highly complex. They are in many cases able to use simple tools, and to find efficient and swift methods for breaking our tools, such as de-keying a keyboard or shredding a laptops power cord to turn our attention back from such a device. I know that my bird seems to learn vocabulary like a human child does- repetition, imitation, and figuring out context- Depending on his mood and wants, I might be "daddy", "hey Shawn" or just "HEY!". I have a theory(not backed by any actual science, just anecdotal) that he has precise quartz time measuring equipment in his belly. This is mainly backed by the fact that he always knows mealtimes to the minute, and exactly when one is late.

     My observation tends to support avian intelligence being of a more pragmatic nature. they learn first what they need to survive. Even picking up words, which seems whimsical, is done to focus our attention on them, or to show off for other birds and increase their status. I know my conure trades noises with the neighborhood magpies, and my roommate has observed the magpies leading their young in "cool noise practice". One of the young magpies followed that teaching up by driving off a flock of attacking blackbirds with a hawks cry. To live in hostile environments, Birds can copy the successful strategies other birds that live there, or attach themselves to a flock that is unlike them, either other birds, or in the case of my parrot, to humans(oh, yes, I bought my bird, which is exactly what he planned to have happen). there are multiple reported cases of wild cockatoos adopting themselves into human homes in Australia, for a season at least, in order to have an easy ride and free meals. The biggest problem with pelican rescues is not keeping the injured birds in-it is keeping the uninjured birds out when they get the idea that other birds are getting "three hots and a cot"


     To Conclude, I started this off talking about how I was doing this despite the fact that this type of writing dredges up old fears. Fear is a perfectly rational response, even if it is a fear of irrational things, like essays. As humans, we try to control our fear responses, to belittle them, and sometimes force ourselves onto dangerous ground to prove our courage. Courage is another one of those little Ideals we treat as a real thing. Birds...well birds react to their fear. They flee, or gang up on a predator and chase it off, but they never try to pretend the fear isn't there or that it's something silly.

     It leaves me a little unsure as to which of us is truly the smarter

for more on birds- 

A few of my Co-leaguers had their own comparisons and contrast
Culturally Significant used the Venn Diagram to show us Pop Culture juggernauts old and new

Pop Rewind Compared Ytv with Nickelodeon with a little side of Canada vs USA

Brian from Cool and Collected compared the old and new of those "Damned, Dirty Apes"- Chuck Heston was not harmed in his post

Retro Robot Review gave us the turtles, through the years, in pictures

The Man who Stares at Toys gives us what I know as Jetfire, but you may call a Veritech Fighter

Kalem Klub touches base with the old Twilight Zone and the New one

Saturday, August 16, 2014

My Guardians of the Galaxy Review


Direct Falsehood

     I had a fascinating experience in Walmart last night, that still has me thinking about it

       First- to set the scene: in the Walmarts in my area, if you walk past the electronics department, they generally have not one, but two direct TV people there to confront you, and try to get you to sign up for their service. They generally start this confrontation with "can I ask you a question?"

     My policy has been, to now, to tell them either (a) that the answer to the question will not make them happy, or (b)to tell them that I know what the question is, and that my answer is that I do not have a TV provider, by choice

     My TV is provided by Hulu, or, or this is the way I like it, and I don't feel an overpowering urge to change that. if I do feel such an urge...I will change it.

     Last night, I was in Walmart. I walked past electronics. The sudden yet inevitable confrontation took place. I issued canned response (b)(see above) and got a response back that surprised me.

"Next time just lie and tell us you have Direct TV."
     I was a little floored- more so because the person who told me this was offended that I suggested that having to adjust my behavior to tell this particular lie was morally questionable.
"Well if you don't want us bothering you, just lie and we will leave you alone"
     I don't know if they do this where you live. I don't know if you go to Walmart, or even if this bothers you like it bothers me. All I know is it bothers me. And I find it amusing that their solution is to lie your way out of it.
     So to this turn of circumstance, I am initiating plan (c), and adding it to my list of responses
Response (c): "I have been instructed by one of your representatives to lie to you and tell you I have Direct TV as my provider"

I will report back on how that one hits

I may also decide to immediately ask for the store manager to let him know I will be avoiding walking by his electronics department in the future. If I'm going to be a jerk, I may as well not keep that warm light hidden from all humanity

Sunday, August 10, 2014

League Assignment: Top 10 G1 Update Figures


  These are from my collection, and my rules: the figure has to improve on the original G1 figure in detail and articulation, while keeping with the spirit of the the Generation 1 Cartoon

WARNING- the might not all be Has/Tak-remember: MY RULES(which are discussed here)

  • 10: Generations Cliffjumper-not so true the the cartoon, but very true to the character, and I love the figure

  • 9: Generations Legends Swerve-no real world analog truck, but he's JUST FUN

  • 8: Generations Legends Cosmos-goofy green flying saucer

  • 7: MP12 Masterpiece Sideswipe- great, but there are characters I love more

  • 6: Reveal the Shield Special Ops Jazz- he's just excellent-he almost manages to be the original Porsche

  • 5: Transformers United Autobot Tracks- the US version hood paint just doesn't cut it

  • 3: Generations Spinger- and yes, hes a triple changer

  • 2: IGear PP05w weapons specialist "Ironhide"- he has every gun in the world

  • 1: MP10 Masterpice Optimus Prime-this is the big guy in all his glory, with Trailer and Roller

other leaguers have their own lists- here are 10 links

Knives Tales gives us her top 10 short stories

Go Play Listen gives us the top 10 DVDs on his shelf, with some great selections

Good Will Hunting 4 geeks gives us his top 10 minifigures of the moment

DI Treasures gives us his top 10 cereals

The Nerd Nook chimes in with his top 10 knick knacks

Awake oh Sleeper stirs us with the top 10 movie monsters

Adam Nori crosses the streams with his top 10 ghostbusters items

Brian from Cool and Collected gives us his top 10 marvel movies

AEIOU and Sometimes Why gives us his top 10 rescores for GOTG-spoiler alert!

and the Man Who Stares at Toys gives a list of 10 great looney tunes classic shorts

check them out along with everyone who posted!