I’ve spent a fair bit of time this weekend figuring out how to properly edit audio with Audacity. Which means the first episode of my and Rebecca’s podcast should be out soon!
(What is the correct grammar for collective personal ownership? Rebecca and my’s? Rebecca’s and mine? My education is failing me!)
In the meantime here’s a new shot of one of my other projects, building Lego minifigures of characters from Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts novels. This group shot contains the first glimpse of two new minifigs – Inquisitor Golesh Constantine Pheppos Heldane (who also appears in the Eisenhorn novels) and Lady Ulrike Serepa fon Eyl from Blood Pact. Heldane is one of the oldest minifigs in the project, but I’ve never been 100% happy with him. Lady Eyl is the newest, and isn’t 100% done yet. But I decided to have them join the party anyway.
Ah, depression and having to work for a living are not really conducive to blogging.
Anyway, since I last made an update we’ve had a state election. Schadenfreude is an ignoble emotion, but it was still sweet to watch the Liberals* kicked out of power with a 16% swing. Not that Labor are likely to be much better, but at least it’s a new set of faces screwing us over.
And they won’t (probably) sell off Western Power, and they will (probably) cancel Roe 8, both of which suit me just fine.
Switching subjects wildly in that crazy way you love me for, I’ve noticed lately that salt lamps are making a comeback. You know, the ones made of a big chunk of Himalayan pink rock salt with a light bulb shoved in the middle? I’ve got no problem with people buying these as decoration – they look great, if I could afford the ridiculously inflated prices I’d get one myself – but when people buy them because of the ‘health benefits’ it makes my blood boil in the particular way I reserve for scam artists ripping off the vulnerable.
The supposed health benefits of salt lamps derive from them releasing ‘negative ions’. Now, it is true that if you sufficiently heat up salt it will release negative ions, but the ionic bond between sodium and chlorine in salt is extremely strong. So much so that you need to heat rock salt to a few hundred degrees before you get any more than a tiny trickle of ions out of it.
It should go without saying that if a lamp in the corner of your lounge room is heating up to hundreds of degrees, then the resulting plentiful supply of ions is probably not going to be your chief concern.
On top of this is the fact that there is very little evidence of negative ions having any beneficial effect whatsoever. The idea is based simply on the observation that people (some people anyway) feel ‘energised’ after a thunderstorm. Somewhere along the line someone attributed this to ‘negative ions’ and the pseudoscience industry ran with it. Negative ions may under some circumstances reduce dust but that’s about it.
Finally ‘Himalayan’ rock salt does not come from the Himalayas. Most of it comes from a completely different mountain range located in Pakistan. The remainder actually comes from Poland. So not only are you paying big bucks for completely fictional heath benefits, you’re not even getting the material you think you are!
So yeah, quit it with the rock salt lamps people!
Anyway I’ve been grooving to this Chvrches track lately. Not only is it a great song – I particularly like the contrast between Lauren Mayberry’s and Hayley Williams’ voices – the video clip is a lot of fun too. The toast makes me laugh every time.
Finally as prompted by the always amazing Haiz I’ve been getting into Thrilling Intent of late. This is a massive series of videos where an RPG group has recorded their extremely stupid adventures. The style – mostly audio with icons being moved around a map – takes a bit of getting used to, and I suggest setting the speed to 1.25 for the first few eps, but the characterisation and improvisation are brilliant.
The characters are Markus Velafi – a fast talking, magic using, impulsive Tiefling bullshit artist, Gregor Hartway – a well meaning but idiotically naive fighter, and Aesling (Ash) a magic user of some description who is the only voice of reason in the group (she spends a lot of her time yelling at the others). It’s downright hilarious and highly recommended.
So, that should keep you busy for a while. Have at it!
Both Pauline Hanson and Justin Beiber are in town today. It’s a wonder the earth hasn’t opened up and swallowed the entire city.
Anyway, I have been quite sick this week with a cold. A horrible cold in the middle of summer. Nowhere near as bad as the one I had in Basel, but still not much fun. On the upside the chemists across from the office decided to trust me enough to sell me some cold tablets full of pseudoephedrine which dried up my nose quite nicely and suppressed my appetite to the point that I was plain forgetting to eat – so maybe I’ve lost a bit of weight.
(Talking of the Basel incident I noticed a distinct groove in my toenails today. Doing some quick calculations concerning the average rate of toenail growth there’s a distinct possibility that it coincides with my miserable week trying not to die in a Swiss hotel room – which suggests I was even sicker than I thought!)
If I haven’t lost weight from gulping down amphetamines I’ve probably lost some in sweat from the stupid weather the last few weeks. It’s not just hot, it’s hot and humid. It’s like living in goddam Singapore! Things are meant to cool down a bit this week, so maybe I’ll be able to get some sleep.
Anyway I’ve been spending my time while hiding inside from the heat by pottering around the Internet and have discovered a couple of things worth sharing.
First up, this quite remarkable a cappella version of Oblivion (remember Oblivion?). The lead singer doesn’t quite live up to Susanne Sundfør’s example – but then hardly anyone could. It’s a downright amazing performance!
Ah! There’s a stink bug flying around the apartment! OH GOD PANIC!!!
OK, that’s dealt with.
So the second thing is this first hand account of how a guy solved the disappearance of a German family in Death Valley, 13 years after the event. It’s not a story with a happy ending, but it’s truly fascinating how he figured out where the tourists went and why.
While zooming around Google Earth to track down the locations in the story I ended up drifting south to the shores of the Salton Sea, a truly strange place where the American dream went to… well if not die exactly at least slip into a deep coma. Then while doing some Salton related googling I discovered that the 2004 documentary Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea is available in its entirety on YouTube! It’s only an hour long and well worth a watch if you’re fond of the odd corners of American culture.