TRON Assault on MCP board game 1981

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Holiday Season with The Flash

Reminding us of the craziness this time of year can bring. Slow down and enjoy time with friends and family.


The Ghosts of Hauntfests Past (my Boo-N-Brew photo galleries)

The Oregon Historic District/Oregon Arts District in Dayton, Ohio has been host to the famous Hauntfest Halloween Party (formerly known as Boo-N-Brew) on the stretch of East Fifth Street between Patterson Boulevard and Wayne Avenue for many years.

Late October weather in Dayton is quite fickle. Hauntfest has seen all kinds of weather. We've lingered in the street sporting costumes with short sleeves and we've wished we had on thermal underwear while watching a KISS tribute band perform in the snow. I can't tell what weather will face us this year, or what my costume will be, yet, but I'll be out and about with my camera, once again recording some of the fun and adventure.

2010 marks the 25th Anniversary of this (in?)famous event. My friends and family have enjoyed many of them, many more than are represented in the photos below.

If you find yourself in any of these images please let me know in the comments here or in their Picasa galleries. Enjoy!

2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - earlier


Internet Disappoints

Recent stories about financial investments by Google and the CIA in a company called Recorded Future have spawned no comparison that I can find, as of this writing, to Hari Seldon's science of psychohistory as described in Isaac Asimov's science fiction novel "Foundation". I'm rather ashamed of you, Internets.


Foodies, you may never see your meals the same way again...


Inside Insides is a small collection fruits and vegetables rendered as black & white animated .gif files created from Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans.

These images are amazing, beautiful, disturbing, and thought provoking.
To me this project seems, in some way, kin to the photographic motion studies of Eadweard Muybridge.

Together, they could be used as a Rorschach test for the 21st century!
The humble tomato becomes nuclear plasma, watermelons are fractal generators, broccoli as migraine optical effects, and more.

Some are hypnotic. A few appear to have been positioned to achieve some small artistic effect. I only wish they'd been assembled in a way that alleviated the little visual jolt at the beginning/end when each animation loops. Despite any alleged "flaws" I may think I perceive, these things are mind-blowing. Do not hesitate to check them out.



"The Truth About Ninjas" from Skinny White Chick's Blog

I have a handful of Google Alerts for a variety of things of personal interest. One alert is for the words "burlesque" and "Dayton" in the hope of finding sexy and humorous events that I might attend in my area.

Naturally, I have to spend some time separating the the useful alerts out of the lot, but I find it worth the trouble. Good alerts are are always welcome, bad alerts get deleted, but the search often turns up odd little gems like this, "The Truth About Ninjas" from Skinny White Chick - Blog

As always, Enjoy!


BonK's Burly-Q Blitzkrieg! A DCA: BotG-G Special


As you may have heard [from me*], Casino O'Fortune Cookie Productions will bring their NYC Burly-Q show "Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go" to Gilly's Jazz Night Club in Dayton, Ohio on May 5th, 2010 for the low, low price of $10.00!

The tour originated in New York City and D-town is the first stop along the way, with the third show in Columbus on Friday night! Check http://www.burlesqueonthegogo.com for details. Video links below!

One detail you may not have encountered... the crew mentioned in the above image will be joined by Miss Champagne Shock!

I thought you'd like a hint of what's in store... Here are some clips from thier previous projects:
Returning "Champion" Clams Casino, and her Go-Go pals, Anita Cookie, GiGi La Femme, Darlinda Just Darlinda, Minnie Tonka, with their guest Champagne Shock!

Clams was here last year on the "Monsters of Burlesque" tour; a short but sweet affair that gave me my first taste of live burlesque. If you'd like to see my photos from that show, check out my Picasa gallery.

I hope to see you at Gilly's on Thursday night at 8 PM for the Dayton stop of "Dangerous Curves Ahead: Burlesque on the Go-Go!" Just $10.00!

Some of my feeds:


Strange but fascinating - Urinal.net

While watching "The Marriage Ref" with my wife I learned of a man who wanted to install a urinal in his home. His wife, predictably, objected.

"The Marriage Ref" is a light-hearted and often very funny show executive-produced by Jerry Seinfeld. The show features arguing couples who set their disagreements up before a celebrity panel. The panel briefly discusses the merits of both parties and chooses a side. Sometimes they find a middle ground and tell the couple to compromise. There are usually four couples/arguments per episode.

This week, Kirstie Alley, Jimmy Fallon, and Sheryl Crow debated the issues. The celebrity panel changes from week to week and is typically made up of people affiliated with NBC. A fifth person, the show's fact-checker, has some background information about the argument and sits with a laptop near the panel, searching the Web for additional information related to the arguments.

I was surprised when Sheryl and Kirstie thought the guy should get his urinal, but Jimmy and show host Tom Papa disagreed. The host gets the final say, no matter how the voting goes, so the guy didn't get his urinal. However, during the discussion they mentioned he's been shopping around for the perfect pot for many years. The fact-checker provided some sidebar info regarding the wide variety of basic urinal choices available to the world at large.

The various styles presented on the show reminded me of some odd pissers I'd seen around the Internet in years past. I did a quick search of my own and found Urinal.net. There are some very odd and truly classic urinals in the world. I'm sure we're all familiar with the trough style found in some arenas and bars,

Once you finish reading this page, Rothesay (including a bit of possible, though unlikely, pop music history), just click the Home button at the bottom of the page to see more of the world's greatest pots to piss in.

Rothesay was found on this list of the Top 10 Most Fascinating Urinals, according to Urinal.net. My personal favorite was their #10 of Number Ones, The Felix. The Top 10 list can be found at the following link. It opens in a pop-up window that, in turn, opens it's links back in your browser. Relax and enjoy.
Urinal.net Top 10


McFarlane Toys ALIEN 3-D Movie Poster light bulb replacement (How To)

I've been a fan of the movie ALIEN since before it came out, thanks to fan mags like Starlog back in the 70's. So, A few years ago my son bought me this pretty sweet ALIEN 3-D Movie Poster made by McFarlane Toys.

McFarlane has a line of these 3-D items, but I think this is the only one that lights up. There's space behind the white text block at the bottom for two AA batteries that power a lightbulb behind the egg. When the light is on there's a nice eerie glow emanating from the cracks in the ALIEN egg. The switch is a protruding push-button on the lower right side of the frame.

McFarlane Toys are known for their attention to detail regarding the iconic items they produce. I frequently find nuisance issues with their products, but McFarlane Toys are so good overall that they're worth a little suffering. This is one such tale of temporary despair.

When my son presented me with this little gem I didn't immediately have a place to display it. I tucked it alongside a shelf near my desk for safekeeping until I could give it proper placement. We had already removed the poster from it's box to get a better look at it and we failed to secure it as it was when purchased, with twist ties running through the back panel. Alas, the poster was stowed in such a manner as to apply sufficient force to the push-button switch that the light was activated. Since the package was facing the side of a shelf the dim green glow was not evident, even in the dark.

When I was ready to display the poster I found the light wouldn't come on. I changed the batteries. No joy. I tried another set of batteries. Phooey. "It must be the light bulb" I thought, and I turned the thing around to try and find an access point for the bulb. I couldn't find any obvious way in. There are a number of screws on the back panel, which I removed, only to determine that the back panel is glued firmly in place, which in turn caused me to wonder why the product has screws at all. Then I tested the egg.

Engineers know that egg shapes are surprisingly resistant to pressure from end to end, and I found that to be the case with this soft plastic ALIEN version. The sides would flex but not the point or base. I believed there might be a lip located at the top and bottom of the egg, clipping it to the frame, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't release those imagined plastic latches. Over the years I've managed to break or ding a few treasures by trying a little too hard to repair them, so I turned to the Internet. After about an hour of searching, which included the McFarlane Toys site, I failed to find any useful information.

I gave up any repair attempts, fearing I might damage the gift from my son. So, now it was late, I was tired and frustrated, and I decided to put the thing away and go to bed, slightly disappointed that I wouldn't have a working display on his next visit.

A few weeks later my son called me up and informed me that he had purchased one of these things for himself too! His light had also burned out, but he, being a brash youth, was more willing to apply force, and found that the egg could be removed by simply pulling it away from the panel on which it was mounted. Hurray!

Now, even when you know how one of these things is built, their materials and details are easily damaged by carelessness. Use gentle force when attempting this repair. Very often with such detail oriented items, I've found that removeable/replaceable features are not as they should be, primarily due to issues regarding the paints. It seems these toys are assembled before the paint is fully dried, creating joints and parts to stick when they should not, or that the paint creates a layer thick enough to interfere with an items design specs.

So here's what we found. Three pins hold the egg in place. One pin near the top seems to be fixed to the egg itself. The other two pins are fixed to the back panel and slide into corresponding holes near the bottom of the egg.


1) Carefully grip the sides of the egg (don't squeeze too much, you might damage the matte finish on the back panel or cause the egg's materials to separate or the paint to flake).

2) Pull the egg away from the back panel. Some folks may find that a little tiny bit of wiggling helps, but avoid as much side-to-side or top-to-bottom pressure as you can because you might snap one or more of the pins.

3) Once you've replaced the bulb the egg should simply slide right back into it's secure place.

a) The protruding side-mounted push-button light switch is a design flaw, but was probably the most cost effective choice for McFarlane Toys. The poster has a single hole in the back for a hanger, meaning that turning the light off and on is liable to cause it to move and require straightening. If this matte black frame rubs too much against a light colored wall, it WILL leave a mark. Consider applying tiny felt sticky pads to the back of the poster near the corners.
b) I've considered replacing the cheap incadescent bulb with an LED, but I don't honestly feel I'm up to the project at this time.
c) Please use rechargeable batteries whenever possible. I've had a set of four Panasonic AA's for my digital camera since Autumn of 2003 and haven't experienced any noticeable decline in performance in those nearly seven years.

Good luck if you find yourself needing this page. Please let me know if you've found the information useful.

Image text reproduced here for easier searching:
How many fanboys does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to burn it out, and the other to put his collectible at risk. Repairing your McFarlane ALIEN 3-D Movie Poster. Pin Hole 2 Pins Light Bulb


Learning while Building with Toys

When I was a little kid I wanted to be an architect. At that time, all I knew about architects was that they made cool buildings, and that's what I wanted to do. I always had a thing for places and spaces and I do still, but it goes deeper, because it has to. There's no point in places without We the People to occupy them.

What's the coolest place? The Batcave, without a doubt, but it's a cave; a space, not a work of architecture. By association, Wayne Manor might then be the coolest place, but no. Wayne Manor is a stuffy old manse built primarily to impress. Even it's primary occupant, Bruce Wayne, remarks on the stodgy and overblown nature of the place, while dining with Vicki Vale in Tim Burton's "Batman". How cool would Batman be if he was a minimum wage employee who's HQ was a basement, garage, or a shed in the back yard? Cool places for cool people; that was my childhood thinking.

Childlike thoughts or not, I knew that structures are designed to serve human needs. Wayne Manor's design serves the need of vanity; displaying it's owner's wealth as a symbol of success, power, and influence. It's form serves it's function. The Batcave however, is a predetermined space. It's function is a result of it's form; A secret, hidden place, configured by, and to serve the needs of, the Dark Knight.

But, that's enough of the comic-book geekery. Batman's and other heroes' headquarters are likely largely responsible for my interest in structures and design. However, I always had a tendency to ponder the purpose and layout of more mundane locations, my childhood home in particular. I don't really know where my design-related leanings were spawned, but I do know they were encouraged by my playthings.

Lego bricks were an endless wonder, but the older versions could be frustrating. They were made of a different stuff than today's Legos, and had a tendency to fit too well for little kid hands to pull apart. I remember using my teeth as clamps often, sometimes causing injury to my gums and/or lips in the process, and very sore fingers in cases when teeth weren't quite required. Oh, also, blood blisters, from getting pinched between bricks. For the record, none of the aforementioned problems seem to exist with today's Lego bricks.

My brother and I also had Lincoln Logs, Erector Sets, and, while I don't remember owning any, I know we played with Tinkertoys somewhere along the line. Perhaps some of these toys weren't architectural, per se, but they did require some forethought. Re-designs were common upon learning that a certain structure wouldn't serve it's intended purpose. These early engineering experiments gave me a useful grasp of concepts I still use today,* more often than I realize, until I spend time, as I am now, thinking about it.

The point of all this blather is that I've found a site all about Architectural Toys. The man who runs the site must be some sort of kindred spirit. It's an amazing effort. If you're inclined to check it out, I'm sure you'll find many things you remember and some more that you have forgotten. Enjoy the site!

Check out Architoys - Jackie Britton's Home Page and look for the A-Z listing of Architectural Toys.

*Some of my best engineering and design lessons were learned from a toy line not mentioned on the ArchiToys site, but Hot Wheels aren't architectural in nature. Even so, the building and rebuilding of tracks to achieve faster races, farther jumps, and longer runs was some of the most educational free time I spent as a kid. Bonus: Cool cars!


(not actually) A Picture A Day - December 2009

Collecting some of my photos from December 2009, featuring Santa Pub Crawl. Enjoy!