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Links for 15-03-2010

Former CIA Field Officer on assassination. Never realised that assassination teams had to be so big. A Perfectly Framed Assassination (Via Bruce Schneier‘s Crypto-gram.
As I was taught repeatedly: ‘Geology is not an exact science’. Geology Word of the Week: Alluvium.
Oh come on! Just as we get to grips with stopping a hit by an asteroid or comet, the Universe throws a Star at us. Orange Dwarf Star Set to Smash into The Solar System.

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

Send a heartbeat to
The void that cries through you
Relive the pictures that have come to pass
For now we stand alone
The world is lost and blown
And we are flesh and blood disintegrate
With no more to hate [Read more →]

Swine Flu Information

swinefluleafletReview
May 2009, Free

The premise of this story has been done before, many times. A deadly plague spreads around the world bring death and destruction to civilisation. Unusually, unlike many recent apocalypse plague stories, there are no zombies. Instead, this concentrates purely on the human aspect of a epidemic.

The story does take the unusual and experimental style of an information leaflet, showing the panicked response to a pandemic sweeping the world. The style makes for a short, fast paced read. While this experimental style could have been interesting, in execution it falls flat.

All I can say is that it is a good thing that the authors are not writing a real emergency advice leaflet. There is no clear voice, nor a coherent plot. It is not until nearly half way through that it is revealed how the deadly virus is transmitted. Worse, in a failed attempt to increase suspension, it isn’t until the end that the symptoms are revealed. And then there is the climax, where the virus is finally overcome. By washing hands. Is that it? Will civilisation fall because people can not wash hands? Despite the early promise, this fails to entertain or inform.

Really, this story could have benefited from a
more potent and real threat. And Zombies. But then, couldn’t everything?

Not recommended.

babylon 5 intros

Babylon 5 was a five year story line of epic proportions. Although it got a bit managled towards the end, it is still one of the finest (if not the finest) science fiction television series made. This is the complete set of series introductions for the five year run

Series 1 : Jeffrey Sinclair

It was the dawn of the third age of manking
Ten years after the Earth-Minbari war [Read more →]

dead donkeys

This is a weird ditty I remember from when I was a kid. I also, years latter remember reading it in the back of a book. Can’t remember what the book was, but it was an art book, and I vaguely remember the name Ian Miller being associated with it. Anyway, if anyone knows anything about it I would be intrested in knowing.

I went to the theatre tomorrow
I got a front seat at the back
I fell from the floor to the ceiling
And I broke a front bone in my back.

I went round a straight, crooked corner
I saw a dead donkey die
I pulled out my pistol to stab him
And he kicked me in the eye

don’t cry

If we could see tomorrow
What of your plans
No one can live in sorrow
Ask all your friends
Times that you took in stride
They’re back in demand
I was the one who’s washing
Blood of your hands

Don’t you cry tonight
I still love you baby
Don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight, there’s a heaven above you, baby
And don’t you cry tonight

I know the things you wanted
They’re not what you have
With all the people talking
It’s driving you mad
If I was standing by you
How would you feel
Knowing your loves decided
And all love is real

And don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you cry tonight, there’s a heaven above you baby
Don’t you cry tonight

I thought I could live in your world
As years all went by
With all the voices I’ve heard
Something has died
And when you’re in need of someone
My heart won’t deny you
So many seem so lonely
With no one left to cry baby

And don’t you cry tonight
And don’t you cry tonight
And don’t you cry tonight, there’s a heaven above you baby
And don’t you cry tonight
Don’t you ever cry
Don’t you cry tonight
Baby maybe someday
Don’t you cry
Don’t you ever cry
Don’t you cry
Tonight

The very secret diary of Saruman the White

DAY ONE
Am bored. No cable in Isengard. Nothing to do but write rude anonymous letters to Radagast the Brown and Manfred the Slightly Ecru.
Perhaps will have a look at the palantir.

DAY TWO
Have met v. nice guy via palantir. He seems to really like me for me and not just because am most powerful wizard in Middle Earth. Wonder what he looks like.

DAY THREE
Am becoming disenchanted with palantir guy. Refuses to send me photo, except of one v. large eyeball. Says he is shy but I rather suspect he is fat, or perhaps hairy. Have heard some v. bad stories about palantir relationships. Should probably cool it for a while.

DAY SEVEN
Well, wouldn’t you know, palantir guy turned out to be Dark Lord of Mordor. Just my luck. Could have been worse, I guess. Sauron not fat or hairy, just disembodied force of evil. Must go now, have to raise massive demon army to scourge the earth. Also, have manicure appointment. Is no easy task keeping nails pointy.

DAY NINE
Typical. Gandalf just came waltzing by and he knows I hate drop-ins. Wanted to yap on and on all about the ring he gave his new boyfriend, terrible pervy hobbit-fancier old Gandalf is. Disgrace to the Order. Just wants to show off and remind me that he’s got a hobbit, and I’m just dating an eyeball. Well, Saruman the White does not stand for this treatment. Showed him my Wizard Wrestling Federation moves. Have delivered smackdown. Go me.

DAY THIRTEEN
Am tired of climbing up and down eight million stairs just to taunt Gandalf. Should have imprisoned him in easy-access dungeon where could taunt more effectively, and would not have to wait until after breakfast.

DAY FOURTEEN
All right, who’s been spitting gum down on the orcs? Honestly.

DAY FIFTEEN
Was right in middle of really good taunt and Gandalf escaped. Ah well.
Will save me daily stair climb.

DAY SIXTEEN
Have been watching in palantir. Gandalf faffed off on extending camping trip with four hobbits, a v. buff elf, and rather fanciable human — oh bother, that’s Aragorn son of Arathorn. Once threw him out of Isengard for whinging about not being King yet. Then there’s a shady-looking character and some kind of hairy newt. Or maybe it’s a dwarf.
What a bunch of yobbos.

DAY TWENTY
Have crossed orcs with goblin men in caverns below Isengard. V. tedious experience as orcs and goblin men most reluctant to breed, even with dinner and flowers. Next time will try something easier, such as breeding goblins and cheerleaders to create super-perky army that can travel by day and will not complain about pink uniforms.

DAY TWENTY-TWO
Did not know when decided to make demon army for Sauron that would be so darn messy. Curse my decision to be Saruman the White. Should have decided to be Saruman the Muddy Brown, or Saruman the Faintly Greenish. White just shows all the slime.

DAY TWENTY-FOUR
If keep watching in palantir, perhaps will see Gandalf do pointy hat trick?

DAY TWENTY-FIVE
Gandalf did pointy hat trick! Ringbearer v. impressed. Aragorn obviously fancies trousers off the Ringbearer. Sam will kill him if he tries anything.

DAY TWENTY-SIX
Hairy newt is most definitely dwarf. Caught him playing hide-the-helmet with one of the hobbits. Other human seems to be Boromir of Gondor. Am I only one who has long wanted to ride to Minas Tirith and tell Steward that “Gondor” sounds just like “gonad” and they should find less silly name?
Perhaps it is just me.

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT
Uruk-hai nearly ready to go. Watched Fellowship a bit today. Boromir convinced smallest hobbit to “Blow the Horn of Gondor.” Have not laughed so hard since set Balrog up with Gandalf during Second Age and Gandalf stuck Balrog with restaurant bill. Palantir great. Better than cable.

Part of the ‘Very Secret Diary’ series by Cassandra Claire

The very secret diary of Gandalf the Grey

DAY ONE
In Shire. Stunning vista of innocent and pastoral beauty. Is it me, or was Frodo just hanging around in that field masturbating before I came along?

DAY TWO
Bilbo’s Birthday party improved by substantial amount of hobbit weed.
Everyone sho nice. Bilbo nice too. Lights sho pretty. Frodo not bad either. Hobbits sho cuddly. Whups. Fellover.

DAY THREE
Massive fecking hangover. Off to Minas Tirith for some aspirin.

DAY TWELVE
Went to Saruman for advice about Ring but he had become evil. Nobody tells me anything. Apparently there was a memo. Radagast the Brown probably stealing paper out of my inbox again.

DAY THIRTEEN
Stuck on top of tower. Great view, but constant pelting sleet not good for pointy hat. Am amusing self by spitting gum down on the Orcs.

DAY FOURTEEN
Visited again by Saruman who tried to grab a feel. As if!

DAY SIXTEEN
Am lonely. Saruman maybe not so unattractive after all. If only were not for giantly flaring nostrils and huge clawlike fingernails…okay you’d think I might have figured out he was evil before.

DAY NINETEEN
Escaped. Am in Rivendell. Sam slightly out of control. Keeps giving Frodo baths. Elves all out of strawberry-scented soap now. Elrond getting annoyed.

DAY TWENTY
Elrond has decided to send Frodo away as is tired of never being able to get into the first-floor bathroom. Big folderol about Ring. Have agreed to go with Fellowship in case Sam might decide to give ME a bath. Could use one.

DAY TWENTY-ONE
Aragorn obviously into Frodo. Sam will kill him if he tries anything.
Asked Sam to give me a bath. He said, “Ha ha, Mister Gandalf, you’re not serious.” Useless git.

DAY TWENTY-THREE
V. cold on top of Caradhras. Aragorn won fight about who got to carry Frodo up the mountain. Boromir sulking. If Legolas keeps nancing about on top of the snow, may have to hit him with my staff.

DAY TWENTY-FIVE
Do not want to go through Mines of Moria, as suspect Balrog still angry about bad date we went on back in Second Age.

DAY TWENTY-SIX
In Mines of Moria. Yep, Balrog still angry.

DAY TWENTY-SEVEN
Fell into shadow. Balrog such a prat. Had to do some quite unspeakable things before he would let me leave the caverns. Have decided not to tell the rest of Fellowship. Will make up story about having engaged in huge battle instead. Off to see Elrond to get quite unpleasant third degree burns in embarassing places treated. Hope Elrond does not laugh at me. If he does, will tell everyone about his dirty weekend with Sauron. Ha!

Part of the ‘Very Secret Diary’ series by Cassandra Claire

The very secret diary of Meriadoc Brandybuck

DAY ONE
Got in trouble for setting off fireworks at party. Suspect Gandalf not actually all that annoyed and was merely excuse to get us young hobbit boys wet and lathered up. Became even more suspicious when washing dishes punishment followed by polishing Gandalfs staff punishment and massaging Gandalfs feet punishment and nude leapfrog in the cabbage patch punishment, I mean, whos he trying to kid, really? Especially with the foot thing.

DAY TWO
V. promising start to day when discovered carrot that was just right shape. Even more promising when Pippin nabbed six cabbages, two bags potatoes, and three ears corn, although cannot help but think Pippin being slightly over-optimistic. I mean, could probably manage two ears corn, but not before breakfast.
All went downhill though when bumped into Frodo and faithful bit of rough trade, whoops, loyal manservant Sam, in cornfield. Pippin was prevented from extended cuddle with Frodo by Sam, who in v. surprising butch moment tossed Pippin down a cliff. In ensuing scuffle carrot was broken. Am v. sad.

DAY THREE
Cutting across country with Frodo, Sam and Pippin. Are being pursued by overdressed and v. crabby set of riders in outdated black ensembles. As told Gandalf The Gray earlier, monochromatic look is so out. Wonder if Frodo avoiding bad breakup or jealous exes? Have heard hobbit-swapping all the rage up in Hobbiton currently, although would not go in for that sort of thing myself.

DAY FIVE
Everything going from bad to worse. Stop-off in Bree resulted in pick-up of disaffected and unshaven human who is obviously pervy hobbit-fancier, not that anyone listens to me. Insisted we all share bed in his room
instead of going back to own perfectly nice quarters, then hung about all night most likely hoping for mad hobbit foursome under the sheets. Didnt happen, but did have to spend all night hanging on to Pippins belt to prevent him from climbing right over Sam and onto Frodo. Does Pippin have death wish, or what?

DAY SIX
Was woken up most unpleasantly as was being tickled by hobbit-fancying human. Told him to sod off and he said Thats not what you said last night. After moment of confusion realized he thought I was Pippin. Explained. Human slunk away, most embarrassed, after explaining, Im really meant to be King, you know. Sure he is, and Im the Elf Queen of Mirkwood.

DAY SEVEN
In Rivendell. Have been stuck sleeping right next to bathroom. Splashing noises all night long and strawberry soap suds making floors all slippery.
Woke up last night only to discover Elrond had crawled into bed with me.
Extricated himself with much embarrassment after realizing hobbit he was groping under bedsheets was not Pippin. Have decided to invest in name tag.

DAY NINE
Have fixed carrot with special elf glue. Go me!

DAY ELEVEN
Have agreed to go on Quest to keep eye on Pippin. Also curious to see what will happen with Frodo, as Aragorn most obviously fancies him. Sam will of course kill him if he tries anything.
Hope he tries something.

DAY FIFTEEN
Boromir teaching us how to swordfight. Typical human, most unsubtle, always dropping sword down trousers and asking us little ones to come and get it. Boromir had a go at ruffling Frodos hair today and Aragorn almost snicked off his head. Humans so amusing. Caught Pippin eyeing the elf doing his morning exercises today but managed to distract him with an eggplant. Do not know what will do when run out of vegetables.

DAY SIXTEEN
Boromir asked me to go for walk with him. Am not falling for old Horn of Gondor trick. Am not. Am not. Oh, bloody hell. Just this once.

DAY NINETEEN
Am in bad mood. Boromir called me Pippin at most inopportune time. Pointed out to him that I am Merry and that we have been conducting meaningful relationship for three weeks, but he just laughed and patted my head. Realize he actually cannot tell me apart from Pippin either. Am doomed to be Indistinguishable Backup Hobbit forever, even in matters of romance. Am considering dramatic haircut, perhaps mohawk of some sort.

DAY TWENTY
Got mohawk but no one can see it as is v. dark in Mines of Moria. Is difficult to keep eye on Pippin properly. Woke up to discover Legolas sneaking under covers with me. Told him was not Pippin. Legolas said, Not much difference really, eh? In ensuing scuffle broke my carrot again. Gave to Gandalf to fix. Gandalf said, Fool of a Took! I have better things to do than mend your vegetables. Did not correct Gandalf, as am afraid of pointy hat.

DAY TWENTY-TWO
Gandalf fell into shadow. Took carrot with him. Am most miffed. Did best to comfort Pippin, but Pippin far more cheered by Legolas nude rendition of Silmarillion: The Musical. Could not watch myself far too many high kicks.

DAY TWENTY-EIGHT
In Lothlorien. Was visited by no less than fifty elves and a woodchuck last night, all convinced was Pippin. Pippin of course nowhere to be found, probably off with Boromir. Something must be done. Woodchuck awfully persistent. Perhaps.no, certainly not.

DAY THIRTY
Kidnapped by orcs. All according to plan. Have told Pippin will have to shag our way out of captivity. Pippin seeming pleased. Wait till he realizes I meant he will have to shag me to get out of captivity. In addition, orcs have given me brand new carrot as reward for my having painted large yellow target marks on Boromir while he was not looking. All in all a v. good day.

Part of the ‘Very Secret Diary’ series by Cassandra Claire

The very secret diary of Peregrine Took

DAY ONE
Was out pilfering vegetables when bumped into Sam and Frodo. Had a nice little roll around with Frodo in corn before was forcibly removed by Sam.
Must have word with Frodo about letting servants get overly familiar and grabby.
Fell down hill. Merry v. disappointed that he broke his carrot. After he found one that was just the right shape, too.

DAY TWO
V. nice in Rivendell. Sick of rooming with Sam though. Constantly sopping wet and reeking of strawberries. Also tired of elves mistaking me for unusually lifelike lawn ornament.

DAY THREE
Joined Fellowship of Ring for a lark. Everyone v. nice except Legolas seems a bit testy. Yesterday held me upside down over crevasse until I admitted he was the prettiest elf in the Fellowship. Did not feel like pointing out he was only elf in Fellowship, as crevasse was very deep.

DAY SEVEN
Has been twenty-five days since met Aragorn and he has not yet washed his hair. Is really starting to bother me.

DAY NINE
Sam all wrong about Boromir. Really very nice man. Invited me to go for a walk with him tonight and said he would let me blow his Horn of Gondor.
Cant wait.
Later that night
Always thought blowing the Horn of Gondor was supposed to summon armies of the West?
Apparently not.
V. educational, all the same.

DAY ELEVEN
V. dark in mines of Moria. Still sort of a relief as means Boromir cannot corner me and complain how Aragorn is insensitive, stuck up git with hobbit fixation. Pot calling kettle black if you ask me. Aragorn obviously way into Frodo, however. Sam will kill him if he tries anything.

DAY THIRTEEN
Caught Legolas waxing soles of Aragorns boots, thus explaining why Aragorn keeps collapsing into his arms. Tricky elf.
Aragorn still hasnt washed his hair.

DAY FOURTEEN
Gandalf dead. Everyone morose. In attempt to cheer up Fellowship, Legolas took off all his clothes and performed scenes from Silmarillion: The Musical. Everyone still morose. Legolas ponced off to have 3,000-year-old elf prince sulk.

DAY FIFTEEN
Lothlorien v. pretty. Accidentally walked in on Gimli taking a bath. Now understand what Gandalf meant about there being scarier things than Orcs.
And was that Aragorn hiding under all the bubbles? May have nightmares for weeks.

DAY SIXTEEN
Aragorn washed his hair. Hurrah.
Maybe it really was him under all the bubbles.

DAY TWENTY
Boromir wrote me a poem. Merry says I am leading him on. Of course, Merry also says I cry like a girl. Merry a total bastard most of the time, actually. Poem not very good. Did not rhyme. Feel slighted.

DAY THIRTY
Told Boromir I did not feel ready to commit, so he went and got himself shot by Orcs. Honestly. Humans so oversensitive sometimes.
Have been kidnapped by Uruk-hai. Not very friendly types. Merry says we may have to shag our way out of captivity. Suspect Merry looking forward to it, useless wassock. Orcs v. smelly. Suddenly miss Boromir.

Part of the ‘Very Secret Diary’ series by Cassandra Claire

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