Saturday, July 31, 2010

If I Was A Superhero...

You know how it is. Every time you go looking for one thing you find another. The other day I was looking for a VIP (very important paper) and I came across the picture to the right. It was created at (which no longer exists.) A few years back SciFi ran a reality show by that name. Their website had a "superhero generator." You chose from a list of  noses, mouths, weapons, coats etc. This was the best I could come up with. Things had to be pretty bad for me to chose a trashcan lid as a shield.

I don't know nothin' 'bout naming no superheros. So my very uncreative name for this lovely lady was Willow Whip. I have a startling grasp of the obvious don't I? I'm thinking that her super powers have something to do with manual dexterity and eye hand coordination. I will be the first one to admit that the shades make her look like a relative of the X-Men's  Cyclops.

I spent the better part of 14 hours trying to get my printer to talk to my computer the other day so I decided to unwind by looking up superhero generators. I had to do something. Ever since I found that stupid picture of Willow I've had Superhero by Rex Smith running through my head.

There are quite a lot of superhero generators around. The first one I tried was The Hero Factory. It's all fancy and stuff.  Your choices decide the name of the hero and then they do it all up like a comic book cover. Snazzy. Do you think the sword slices through stone or is she an animated stone? Such are the important questions of 4 am.

Do they really pay people to do this for a living?

The next one I tried was The Hero Machine. I kinda like her. The mask is a bit much but I like the rest. Yes, I am stuck on the purple/green color scheme. Of all the color options this is the one I like best. Besides both colors go with the red hair. I'm not about to compromise on the red hair.

I think Ms. Blade could kick some evil doer butt. I'm sure she has some super fast "ninja" moves to go with that big sword. I know I would. Not that she'd be showy. She'd just come in, kick ass and take names and still make it to the spa in time for her bikini wax. A throughly modern woman underneath the latex.

Next came HeroMachine: Pin-Up Girl Edition. I am not making this stuff up. Imagine if Marilyn Monroe had super powers and a secret identity... oh wait... she did...

I'm not completely satisfied with her "costume" in this one. The short hair isn't doing anything for me either. Then there's my failure to figure out how to replace "Model Name" with Katana Blade. Tried numerous times. 

This girl looks like she might have to fit kicking evil butt in between lap dances. Not that there's anything wrong with being an exotic dancer. If those girls don't know what evil looks like who does?

The fourth stop on my superhero tour was HeroMachine: Rock Star Edition. Superhero. Guitar Hero. Hardly any difference. Since she doesn't resort to "KISS" makeup on stage,  she'll need a mask for fighting villains. I see something with sequins...

Her guitar is probably made out of titanium or something so that she can hit people... oh wait.. that's El Kabong's shtick. So no hitting people with musical instruments. Supersonic vocal abilities? She could hit a certain note and render evil doers unconscious. They'd wake up tied up and waiting for the cops.

Now things are just getting silly.

My final stop on the superhero trail was at HeroMachine 2.5. This is an improved version of the generator that created Willow Whip all those years ago.

I think this one turned out a bit better. It looks like she might have the power to manipulate molecules or maybe generate a charge to throw at bad guys.

Not sure about the emblem on her chest. I was looking for another ankh but no such luck. There definitely needs to be some kind of design on her costume. It's pretty visually boring other wise.

You should be grateful I resisted putting a cell phone in her left hand. I don't think texting people to death is a genuine super power. It's just annoying.

I will be the first to admit I don't know  a thing about being a comic book hero. The only superhero comic I ever read was Space Ghost. That was so long ago I don't remember what was going on. 

I know that a lot of people take their superheros seriously. I hope I haven't offended anyone. This was all just a distraction while I decompressed from my computer meltdown. One super power I could really use would be the ability to make any technology work any way I wanted it to. I would be such a happy camper. The Happy Camper. Is that a good superhero name?

PS: According to the Superhero Name Generator, my superhero name is The Illustrious Mariner. I think I might stick to Willow Whip.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Can Haz Tardis!

I love Second Life. You can have just about anything you can imagine there. As long as it's legal. There's a price for everything. Even a tardis. The one on the right is a "low prim" freebie but the maker also makes one with all the bells and whistles for L$250. I'd buy one but I have no room in my home. I'm currently using just about all my prims. Besides, until they build a tardis that actually works as a transporter I have no use for one.

The problem with Second Life is that there is so much to buy. I still haven't figured out what makes one hairstyle worth L$50 and one worth L$250. I know the difference is the amount of prims but are more prims always better?

Maybe I would be less confused/cynical if I hadn't just paid L$1200 for a top of the line set of female genitals. That was my second most expensive purchase so far, after my bedroom suite (L$3000) which doesn't all fit in my "starter" home (damn those prims). It's a good thing L$1 = $.01 USD. It's also a good thing that Linden Labs pays premium members L$300 a week. I can save up for something really special. Like my own piece of land...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Hawk Has Left The Building

Day 2 of the puppy cuddling convention.  Got to spend time with a 15 month old yellow lab named Jenga.  I didn't think to get a picture before she left so I had to make up for it by taking NUMEROUS pictures of the 9 week old Hawk.  You can watch a short video of him and his litter mates here.

Everything was really quiet at first, we had Jenga and Jolie, some other advanced training dogs and  a couple of working dogs. There were a few people around. Without warning Hawk entered and the crowd went nuts. He was just one ginormous people magnet. It was crazy for a while. Who can resist puppies? Hawk just left his mom on Friday. He handled all the people like a trooper. He even fell asleep while someone was petting him. I had to go and get a cuddle with him at the end. He's heavy. Close to 20 pounds I'd bet. He's going to be huge when he grows up. Just check out the size of his paws.

Some people came back again and again to get cuddles. I loved the people who were trying to pretend that they weren't coming over for cuddling. Like there was some other reason for them to be in that corner of the place. One guy looked a lot like Mark McGrath from Sugar Ray. He overheard me talking about the people trying to pretend they weren't coming for the puppies and he blushed a little. So cute.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Better Day All Around

I spent most of the day at the Vancouver Convention Centre. PADS is the charity of choice for this year's MPI convention. I tried to get a puppy for the weekend but the EPE puppies all have kennel cough so they can't come out and play. I would have taken one of the advanced dogs but I don't have a kennel big enough and there was no way for them to bring one to me. I was a bit disappointed.

The puppies were a big hit. We had three of different ages in the morning and four in the afternoon. The little girl catching some Zs above is Olympia. She's 12 weeks old and one of the calmest puppies I've ever seen. She took all the attention in stride.

Tomorrow some of the 9 week old puppies that were featured on the news last week are going to be there. They're all cute as buttons so it should be a big draw. Everybody loves the dogs. People were walking away from the cuddling area with big smiles on their faces. I think it's a lovely thing to have at a convention. Everyone needs some down time. Jaguar (Jag) at the left was more than happy to have people come over and pet him. He's 15 months old and in advanced training. Handsome boy!

I talked to a lot of people about the puppies I've raised. I managed to find a picture of Quincy in a news clipping in one of the PADS binders. I also managed to connect to Facebook to show a few pictures from my photo collection. Of course there were plenty of other people who could whip out photos of their darlings to be fussed over. You gotta love dog people.

"Yesterday Was Your Birthday" Doesn't Have The Same Ring

Yesterday was my 46th birthday. I call for a do over. I don't mind getting older. I am truly looking forward to my "Crone" years. Aside from having to have strange conversations with my doctor about what happens during perimenopause, I'm cool with the aging thing.

What made yesterday so bad was a huge technologically malfunction. The problem started about 10 pm July 21st.  I as doing a routine clean up of my hard drive. You know the thing under "properties" that gathers up all the useless files and lets you get rid of them? So I did that and then a "defrag" then a "dialog box" told me I should run an error check. The machine had to reboot. I let it do it's thing. Unfortunately something went wrong and the error check didn't start and neither did Windows.

I ended up having to re-install Windows. It wouldn't let me do that unless I reformatted the disc. No problem I thought. The only things I keep on my C drive are program files that I either have discs for or can download from the internet. I knew I'd have to download new drivers for everything but a while back I got a driver scanner program that found the proper drivers and installed them. I figured it wasn't such a big deal.

Things were not finished going wrong. Windows didn't install properly. So I had to do it again. Worse that that my D drive, where I do keep all my important stuff, was totally screwed up. It read as unformatted and 100% full when I know it's only 40% full. I was able to tell that my files (all my writing and pictures not one the internet) were still there I just couldn't access them.

To top that all off the driver scanner program would not work. I managed to hunt a round and find a video driver. I couldn't find an audio driver and finally gave up around 4 am and went to bed. At 7:30 am the restoration work going on around my building started up with a jackhammer. SIGH.

I spent a few more hours trying to fix my computer and around 1:30 pm I decided to give up and go out and do something fun. I had a coupon for a chocolate shop called CocoaNymph so I hopped on a bus. Turns out the place is not your average chocolate shop like Purdy's or Rocky Mountain Chocolate (does anyone else find the picture on the front page just a little bit disturbing?) CocoaNymph serves coffee, lattes etc. They also have live music every now and then. The place is very small. It's been around since 2008 so I guess that's a good sign.

It certainly has unique way of displaying it's wares. On the top of the piano is a sample of each of the Baker's Dozen (13) chocolates. Not a lot of choice but since I'm usually complaining about too many choices I shouldn't complain about this. They also sell chocolate bars and handmade marshmallows.

Before I continue, I'm going to admit that I'm not much of a chocolate person. Often I can't tell the difference between really good chocolate and the kind you get in your Nestle chocolate bars. I prefer milk chocolate to dark. Don't be hating!  After tasting CoacoNymph's wares I've found I'm very picky about my chocolate. I realize that they are trying to be different. Standing out in a chocolate crowd is hard. I'm sure real chocolate fanatics will love the place.

I ended up buying (with my coupon) a box of 8 and a decaf latte. I had a bit of trouble picking 8. I would read the list and like a chocolate only to find one ingredient I can't stand. I know it's anti-Canadian but I hate maple. I don't want anything maple flavored. This shop seems to love putting maple in or on things. Yuck! There was one that I liked called Barnabas the Tortoise which sounded really good ( soft caramel and milk chocolate center, lightly flavored with brandy) until it was topped off with a maple glazed pecan. If that pecan had been honey glazed I would have bought 8 of those.

I was looking forward to tasting one kind of chocolate that I had heard about called the Elphaba. When I first heard of CocoaNymph I was reading Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba is the WW of th W's first name. The chocolate is white chocolate and pistachio ganache. I love pistachios and I'd never even considered putting them together with chocolate. Too bad the dark chocolate coating is mixed with cardamom. It tasted weird. Sort of like mint (which I hate) but not quite.

Then there was the Illa (dark chocolate ganache and caramel) which was great until I hit the crystals of salt on the top. I hate salt. I don't mind a little bit in things but I can't stand getting a raw hit of it covering something. Blech! There was one I really liked called the Melissa (Honey Crunch) which was hazelnut milk chocolate mixed with crispy biscuit flakes and honey. It was good. I should have gotten 8 of those.

When I got home I ate 3 pieces before thinking I should have taken a photo. The 5 survivors at the right look pretty good. I call your attention to the two in the bottom row. The one on the right is the Illa with the offending salt crystals. The other one is "The Liz" which is described as "a rich, white chocolate and vanilla centre, enrobed  in dark chocolate and garnished with gold" - ignoring the grammatical errors in that sentence - I call your attention to the picture. See that little light spot in the middle? That's the gold. One tiny little fleck. Hardly worth mentioning to my way of thinking.

I'm not going to say much about the burnt flavor of the latte. I dumped it in the trash on the corner. I will admit I was in a bad mood. And I'm not a big fan of chocolate. I just get a craving for it every once in a while and I was really looking forward to trying out this new (to me anyway) place. I did like the shiny silver box the chocolates came in. If you're more into chocolate than I am I urge you to try CocoaNymph out for yourself. What's that? You don't live in Vancouver? No worries. They will ship. Anyone can buy. Yes, even people in Ireland Miss C. :-)

After picking up my chocolate I did some shopping in a dollar store and got a bunch of stuff I needed and a container of purple glitter and a glue stick. Don't know what I'm going to do with them yet but I'm sure I'll think of something.

When I got home I went right back to work on the computer. Some how, in the few hours I was gone my video driver disappeared. I was finally able to down load an audio driver which I am thankful for because it allowed me to talk to a friend on Google Talk until almost 4 am. I am most grateful for that pleasant conversation and I'm glad he had the patience to "talk me down" from my computer agro.

Being a masochist, I went back to work on fixing my computer until 5:30 am. When I couldn't keep my eyes open I called it a day. I'm hoping to catch up on missed sleep sometime this weekend but I'm not holding my breath. It's already 1 am and I'm not tired. I have to be up at 8 am. SIGH.

Next year I'm skipping July 22nd altogether.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


I'd never heard of Wikileaks then I got an email directing me to the TED talk above. Now I'm hooked. I think it's a great idea. I think there should be somewhere for people to "leak" documents that could lead to positive social change. I think secrets are inherently bad. A lot of shit goes on behind closed doors that if the "people" new about it they'd do something to stop it. Shining a light is never a bad thing.

Sure there's room for abuse and/or manipulation. That's where the verification process comes in. If they can't verify it they say so. Just by putting it up they get the needed verification when the author of the document complains. Not a perfect system but it works. 

The shame is that they are victims of their own success. They're getting so many documents they don't have the manpower or the money to get them out in a timely fashion. They need help. They need money. When "regular" news organizations can't/won't present the whole story there has to be some outlet for "secret" documents. I'm crossing my fingers that Wikileaks goes on for a long, long time.
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