Thursday, August 26

Lothlórien is as a paradise, spied only in dreams, felt only in that grey place where reality turns to shadow, and to magic...

Here is a fan's recitation of Galadriel's Lament, a lay (poem/song) spoken by Galadriel and whose complete text is laid out in the Lord of the Rings. This is remarkable for a few reasons:

First of all, Cate Blanchett apparently recited the entire lay but her performance later ended up on the cutting room floor, even in the extended editions, due to time constraints. Too bad :(

Secondly, as the character of Galadriel is one of the Noldor, or elder elves (unlike, say Legolas, who though a prince, is but a wood elf), she recites her lament in Quenya, an older and grander precursor to the Sindarin tongue often heard spoken by Arwen, Aragorn, Elrond, and other elves and learned beings in the movie (and book). In fact it is one of only a handful of full recitations in Quenya in all of of Tolkien's writings, published and unpublished.

And JRR Tolkien's itself:

For those who must know everything... Tengwar script, Latinate script, and English translation:

And just a bit about Lothlórien in general...

My "moniker" of sorts... in some games and areas of cyber-life... is Lórien or Irmo, one of the Valar. This is only peripherally related to Lothlórien and its inhabitants, but I thought I'd mention it... My "wife" therefore would be Estë, and it is said of 'me'...

"Irmo, Lord of Dreams and Visions, is one of the Fëanturi, and as such he wields no hammer like Aulë, no spear like Oromë, for his dominion is the souls of those that dwell in Ëa. Unlike his brother Nàmo he does not pass judgement on the disembodied spirits in Arda nor does he offer prophecies or words of Fate.

His pastures are solace, his house is peace; and the groves of Lórien where Valar and Maiar, and Iluvatar’s Firstborn go to ease the burden of Arda, are dreamlike in their harmony.

    By the trees and flowers in the gardens of Dream and Vision, Melian lifted her voice and enchanted both Ainur and Quendi, touching their hearts with the wonder of her song.

    Irmo’s name does not appear in the tales of Arda and the Eldar do not mention him in song, for he does not work in the open - his power is unseen and his influence is subtle even to the Wise. Yet if one wishes to understand the ways of the serene Dreamlord, they are reflected through Olórin (also known as Gandalf, ed.), wisest of all Maiar, who dwelled in Irmo’s abode. For he was sent forth from Lórien to lift the hearts of the Free Peoples in Arda and to convey Wisdom and Compassion and most importantly, Hope.

    Also Lothlórien, the fabled home of Celeborn and Galadriel in Middle-Earth thrived and (by its beauty) paid homage to the original home of Irmo.

    Seek not Irmo in scenes of strife, or woe where conflict or physical power prevail. Seek him in Inspiration, in Desire, in Hope, and in the heart of the slumbering Hero before his day of great deeds..."

Therefore it is unsurprising that my moniker or avatar in nearly other game or online group is Mithrandir, Gandalf, Olórin, or other names of Irmo's vassal. Besides Meta(matician), Mith(randir) is my most commonly used name online, any many virtual friends know me primarily or only by this name.

Don't forget my musical friends below... they shaped my life.

Even if you have different taste in music than I do, broaden your mind before you judge. I'm always rediscovering bands I wrote off as an arrogant youngster, feeling they had nothing to say. But how wrong I was, in so many cases.

To those older than I, the harsher or darker sound than the music you "grew up with" is just how it had to be in context. There was a Cold War, recessions, riots, pessimism, a general revulsion by the minority toward the growing laissez-fair of a materialist majority. There needed to be passion in the music to wake up huge nations of people doped out on Western success and Disco oblivion. Harsh, angsty bands - punk, grunge - needed to happen or we'd all be living in some Aldous Huxley reality taking our Soma every day. It doesn't invalidate the great bands of the past, it adds to them, just for a different crowd and in a different time.

To those younger than I, a lot of music today sucks and you don't even know it, but then that has always been the case. Don't go for fads unless you just don't care, which to me seems the saddest philosophy of all. If that's true, listen to fucking country music or something else to pass your empty years. Otherwise, recognize how great artists set the stage for the artists of today, and why there is a reason almost all bands worth anything cite the same small set of bands as seminal influences growing up. I won't even list them because by now you know my tastes.

Don't take art - or life, which art reflects in its sometimes capricious mirror - for granted. And think for yourself. And care.

New Order. "True Faith"

New Order. "Leave Me Alone" (Sumner, Hooke)

Clash - Cover of "I Fought The Law" (original by Curtis and the Crickets)

"Ghetto Defendant" (Strummer, Jones, Simonon, ft. Allen Ginsburg)

"Straight to Hell" (Stummer/Jones)

Straight to Hell.

If you can play on the fiddle
How's about a British jig and reel?
Speaking King's English in quotations
As railhead towns feel the steel mills rust
Water froze
In the generation
Clear as winter ice
This is your paradise

There ain't no need for ya
Go straight to hell boys

Y'wanna join in a chorus
Of the Amerasian blues?
When it's Christmas out in Ho Chi Minh City
Kiddie say papa papa papa papa-san take me home
See me got photo photo
Photograph of you
Mamma Mamma Mamma-san
Of you and Mamma Mamma Mamma-san.

Lemme tell ya 'bout your blood bamboo kid-
It ain't Coca-Cola, it's rice.

Straight to hell

Oh Papa-san
Please take me home
Oh Papa-san
Everybody they wanna go home
So Mamma-san says

You wanna play mind-crazed banjo
On the druggy-drag ragtime U.S.A.?
In Parkland International
Hah! Junkiedom U.S.A.
Where procaine proves the purest rock man groove
and rat poison
The volatile Molatov says-

Straight to hell

Can you cough it up loud and strong?
The immigrants
They wanna sing all night long
It could be anywhere
Most likely could be any frontier
Any hemisphere
In no-man's land

There ain't no asylum here
King Solomon he never lived round here

Go straight to hell boys

Saturday, August 21

This cracks me up. I watch scallop videos at least once a year just for a laugh.

Desert island discs, meta-plane style.

In Britain they have a radio show called Desert Island Discs in which guests are asked which 8 'discs' (originally Gramophone) they would want with them were they to be stranded on an island (for a long time, it's implied). I think that means individual songs or pieces of classical music (the show has been running for ages). But I'm going to update it slightly to entire albums, but cut the number back to 5. So.... which 5 would YOU choose? Let's say they're on an iPod which never runs out of power and with the best headphones or speakers ever, which never wear out. You get the idea.

Think carefully... you should pick albums that hold up well over countless listenings, maybe a variety amongst the five in the type of music, and albums which are strong throughout and don't have bum tracks (or hardly a one). That may be a slightly different list than "My all time top 5 favorite albums."

Also - the show is quite quirky - you are given the complete works of Shakespeare and the Bible (or appropriate religious text, if you desire one) for some reason, and get to select one more book to take with. I think this is unduly harsh, so I'll broaden it to 5 books as well, though you'll have to use those 5 choices on your own mix of fiction/nonfiction. Let's also update their Shakespeare gift and allow you unfettered access to the Oxford English Dictionary, a constantly up-to-date set of encyclopedias (something like Wikipedia in a set of bound volumes which magically stays current), and other pure reference works.

But NO computer, therefore NO internet, therefore NO email/Googling. That would defeat the whole idea. And no movies or television series either, unless you guys rage in the comments section and demand to have those included. It's up to you, I'm just following the radio program format.

And the last quirk is they allow you to bring a single "luxury" item. I guess all your food and drinks are magically provided for, and you live in simple comfort, but something like a musical instrument, say, would be a luxury, because it's not needed to survive, just a real bonus (if you enjoy playing it, of course).

So to sum up, please list:
1. 5 albums to take with you.
2. 5 books to take with you.
3. 1 luxury item to take with you.

If there are any questions, just ask. Have fun! I'll play too, once others have started. And before you ask, the albums must be official releases, not home compilations or 200-song mp3 discs! Whatever the band put out - even greatest hits or box sets - are fine, but you can't make up products that don't exist, like "All of Elvis Presley's music in a collection." That doesn't exist as a single product you can buy, that I know of.

Friday, August 20


Okay, fess up. Assuming you're not allergic to nuts or don't like them for some other reason, which are your favorite? I won't have you rank or rate them or vote for them or anything silly, just leave in the comments which ones you particularly enjoy. Just the nut itself please - salted or unsalted doesn't matter - but no chocolate dipped monstrosities if you please! As usual I will chime in with my own 3-5 favorites, either in order, or if that proves to be too difficult, than maybe which are my favorites different contexts. Or something...


Tuesday, August 17

Monday, August 16

Awards for the Mini-Quiz winners.

An Gabhar Ban got a perfect score on the "Ancient Egyptian Women" mini-quiz. For that, she gets... a bust of Nefertiti, wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton and stepmother of King Tut!

Mandula got 5/5 on the Cat ID Quiz, but her answer on the Egyptian Mau was a little shaky, so she shares the top prize with Hans (4/5), who should know his cats! They win... a statuette of Bastet, the Cat Goddess!

Thanks to everyone who participated! We'll have another quiz soon. :)

Maybe a goat quiz? Hmm....

Sunday, August 15

Mini Quiz #2: Cat Breeds

Identify the following cat breeds. Since some breeds have a lot of diversity of colors and may look very similar to other breeds, I've give you six chances to get five points. That is, the maximum score is still 5/5, but you get six guesses and I'll take the best five of them.

What official breeds are these cats?

Oh, in case there are multiple contestants who get 5/5, the sixth answer will count, as the tiebreaker. If multiple people get 6/6, they all win!

Don't worry dog lovers, I'll get to you soon. Maybe even birds and reptiles, too...

This never stops being funny.

Mini Quiz!

Mini quizzes consist of 5 items of a related theme, and a set of five statements about those items. You have to match the statement to the item. It's a multiple choice quiz, in other words. Shouldn't take you more than 5 minutes!

Here's the first...

Ancient Egyptian Women

1. Nefertiti
2. Hatshepsut
3. Nefertari
4. Cleopatra
5. Meryt-Neith

a. First female ruler of Egypt
b. Macedonian queen of Egypt
c. Wife of Ramses II
d. Wife of Akhenaton
e. Only female 'king' of Egypt

Good luck!

Friday, August 13


“Now My Heart Is Full”

There's gonna be some trouble
A whole house will need re-building
And everyone I love in the house
Will recline on an analyst's couch quite soon

Your father cracks a joke
And in the usual way
Empties the room

Tell all of my friends
I don't have too many
Just some rain-coated lovers' puny brothers

Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt
Rush to danger, wind up nowhere
Patric Doonan, raised to wait
I'm tired again, I tried again, and

Now my heart is full
Now my heart is full
And I just can't explain
So I won't even try to

Dallow, Spicer, Pinkie, Cubitt
Every jammy Stressford poet
Loafing oafs in all-night chemists
Loafing oafs in all-night chemists

Underact, express depression
Ah, but Bunnie I loved you
I was tired again
I tried again, and

Now my heart is full
Now my heart is full
And I just can't explain
So I won't even try to

Could you pass by? Could you pass by?
Could you pass by? Could you pass by?
Could you pass by? Oh

Now my heart is full
Now my heart is full
And I just can't explain
So... so... so... so....


“Rubber Ring”

A sad fact widely known
The most impassionate song
To a lonely soul
Is so easily outgrown
But don't forget the songs
That made you smile
And the songs that made you cry
When you lay in awe
On the bedroom floor
And said : "Go on, smother me Mother..."

Rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring

The passing of time
And all of its crimes
Is making me sad again
The passing of time
And all of its sickening crimes
Is making me sad again
But don't forget the songs
That made you cry
And the songs that saved your life
Yes, you're older now
And you're a clever swine
But they were the only ones who ever stood by you

The passing of time leaves empty lives
Waiting to be filled
The passing of time
Leaves empty lives
Waiting to be filled
I'm here with the cause
I'm holding the torch
In the corner of your room
Can you hear me?
And when you're dancing and laughing
And finally living
Hear my voice in your head
And think of me kindly

Rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring, rubber ring

Do you love me like you used to?

You're clever
Everybody's clever nowadays
You're clever
Everybody's clever nowadays

You are sleeping
You do not want to believe
You are sleeping
You do not want to believe
You are sleeping
You do not want to believe
You are sleeping


Saturday, August 7

Whoa... nice photo. Taken near Banff, Alberta.

Moraine Lake Panorama by "dewey2999"

Tech: 9-shot bracketing, 6-frame panorama, totaling 54 exposures. Combined in Photomatix and then merged in Adobe Photoshop CS5. Final color corrections in Adobe Lightroom 3 and sharpening and resizing in CS5 with the Kenko Polarizing filter.

Nikon D300s, AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED at 17mm and ISO 100. Velbon tripod, Manfrotto head.


It figures. I've been waiting since 1998 for Brendan Perry's second solo album, Ark, which finally came out this year, though as a ridiculous $25 import if you live in the USA. I downloaded it, but I WILL buy it once it's a reasonable price and I have the money, because he's a brilliant, independent artist and he deserves it.

I've also been waiting since 2000 for StarCraft II and since 1998 for Diablo III. That's 10+ years folks, and the previous installments are still among the best-selling and most revered computer games of all time. You'd think they'd get sequels out quickly, right? Nope. This is Blizzard we're talking about, they of the "We'll release it when it's ready" timeframe. Granted, they always come through with the most polished, playtested, balanced, awesome games, so it's worth the wait, but 10 and 12 years??

Lastly, I haven't been waiting for Civilization V for that long since it sort of took everyone by surprise when it was announced, but I've played the hell out of Civs I through IV, and so getting and playing V into the ground is a given.

So, why does it sound like I'm complaining? Because 1) ALL three games are coming out in the next couple MONTHS, all at once, all of a sudden after all this time (StarCraft II is already out actually, and all my Facebook buddies are playing it and keep inviting me to join in). I can't NOT play them, they're far too awesome for that. 2) I have no money with which to purchase any one of these games, never mind all three. And 3) My video card bites and I'd need to spend $200-$300 to get one that's rad enough to play these games at decent settings and smooth framerates on my monitor. (The rest of my PC kicks butt.)

So basically, nothing was happening for a long, long, long time (something like a Biblical day), then all of a sudden I need $400 to get a video card and three epic games that could tide me over another 5+ years if they actually deliver (and Blizzard and Firaxis almost always do). Plus I still have to "pay Brendan back" for his CD which I couldn't afford but couldn't stand not being able to listen to.

All I can think is I'll keep selling stuff on eBay, namely my bike and maybe even my Nikon camera and lenses, wet suit, baseball gloves, tennis racquets, headphones, books... and with a few grand from sales, I can keep $500 of it or something for the above items, and use the rest to pay off debts, pay back my parents a couple drops in the big bucket of money they've hoisted my way over the years, or just start a savings or something; whatever is the most prudent and responsible thing to do, according to my royal advisers.

Or I'll have to face the unthinkable: Not getting any of the game sequels of my three most-loved franchises (well, 3 of the 5, maybe).......  Excuse me while I sob like a baby.

P.S. I've given up on getting an iPad, which starts at $499 for the lame model and that's without a case or any purchased apps or tax. Bah. I'll wait a few generations until they operate by thought or something, then maybe I'll be working again and can get whatever the hell I want. Ah, that would be so nice! I understand why I'm in the situation I'm in and I accept it, but that doesn't mean being bipolar and having panic disorder doesn't suck the huge one. It's frustrating, just by itself of course, but also the restrictions it imposes on one's life. For example just staying within computers and not even talking about a girlfriend/wife, a house, furniture, proper grown-up dishware and appliances, and so on, I'd also like a Mac at some point more than a PC, because I'm sick of all my PCs breaking down at some point.

I guess I'm supposed to be wise enough to realize that material things don't make us happy. It's doing good deeds and controlling negative thoughts that satisfy the soul more than anything one can purchase ever could.

Now back to sobbing.

These games are gonna rock SO hard

Nuclear Tests 1945-1998.

This is a trip o.O

Friday, August 6

The Solar System Quiz - at last!

Look, you can see Hurricane Katrina!

This is based on the 'new' 8-planet solar system (which excludes Pluto).

  1. Name the planets in order from closest to the sun to farthest.
  2. Which planet is the smallest?
  3. Which is the largest?
  4. Which has the most moons?
  5. Which two have no known moons?
  6. How many planets have rings?
  7. How many have a solid, rocky surface?
  8. Which planet rotates the fastest (has the shortest day)?
  9. The slowest (its day is actually longer than its year)?
  10. Which orbits the sun in the least amount of time?
  11. Which takes the longest to circle the sun?
  12. Earth's axis is tilted 23° from vertical (which gives us our seasons). Which planet has the most extremely tilted axis?
  13. Which planet has the largest moon for its size? (i.e., as a proportion of its own size.)
  14. Which planet has the largest moon, period? (Extra point for getting the moon's name.)
  15. Which moon is the only one known to have an atmosphere?
  16. Which is the only body besides earth known to have lakes (in a liquid state) on its surface? (Extra point: What are these lakes made from?)
  17. What planet is the brightest from Earth's vantage point?
  18. Which planet would float in a bathtub full of water, if one big enough could be made?
  19. Which is the hottest planet at its surface?
  20. Which planet's moons may have subsurface liquid water oceans?
  21. Which is the most volcanic body in the solar system?
  22. What is the largest object in the solar system?
  23. Which is the closest planet to the earth (in terms of distance)?
  24. Which bodies in the solar system have man-made craft landed on? (Name as many as you can, I'll be generous).
  25. What is the largest storm in the solar system and where is it?
  26. Which is the only planet in the solar system whose name does NOT derive from Greek/Roman mythology?
  27. Which planet besides Earth certainly had liquid water on its surface in the past?
  28. How many worlds in the solar system are known for sure to harbor life?
  29. Which two planets does the Asteroid Belt lie between?
  30. Which planet has both the largest known volcano and most extensive canyon system in the solar system?

Nerdy bonus questions (each worth two points)
  1. What does 'albedo' mean? Which planet has the highest albedo?
  2. What is the densest planet in the solar system?
  3. Pluto is a dwarf planet which resides, along with hundreds or even thousands of other small, icy worlds in a part of the solar system called the _____ Belt.
  4. Comets occasionally visit us in the inner solar system. Where do most of them come from? (Hint: it's a very faraway spherical shell that's home to literally millions of these 'dirty snowballs'.) The _____ Cloud.
  5. Which is the nearest star to us?
  6. About how long ago did the solar system form?
  7. How about the universe?
  8. Which of Saturn's moons looks uncannily like the Death Star from Star Wars?
  9. What year did humans first set foot on the moon?
  10. What year did humans LAST set foot on the moon (so far)?

Wooo! That was a long one. And that was about 1/4 of my original questions - I just decided enough was enough. :)

There are 50 possible points (1 for each of the main 30 questions and 2 each for the bonus questions). Just do your best and don't worry. The fun thing is reading the answers later and learning!

Leave your answers in the comments area, don't cheat, good luck, etc.

If you don't like this song, you're probably not cool.


Click Here to Listen

Thursday, August 5

Tuesday, August 3



What do you call a hippo that swears?



Sunday, August 1

Feels good.

Things to do that feel good.

  • Eat 3-4 small meals daily, lots of green leafy veggies, some lean meat or beans.
  • Ease up on the simple sugars and other carbohydrates.
  • Drink lots of water. Take a quality multivitamin and fish oil supplement daily.
  • Get exercise every day if possible, but at least every other day - 30 minutes minimum.
  • Learn to meditate for relaxation and stress reduction. Actually do it.
  • Do less in your life, but do what you do excellently. Don't do 'just enough.'
  • Follow up on promises, meet deadlines, arrive on time for appointments.
  • Keep a clean, organized living space. It can still look cozy and not sterile - be creative.
  • Read books - it keeps the mind active. Take a local class for fun. Garden.
  • Try new things that scare you a bit - kayaking, caving, surfing, diving.
  • Climb a mountain of any size and eat lunch at the peak, drinking in the scenery.
  • Learn more about endangered animal species, and help in any way you can.
  • Donate 5% of your income to a charity of your choice. Visit folks in convalescent homes.
  • Get some sun, but not too much. Lift weights if you want to feel toned and tough.
  • Play games! Not necessarily computer games, but board games or outdoor games.
  • Own cats or dogs, or other non-exotic pets. Don't put birds in cages, though.
  • Practice Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, Karate, Kung Fu, or any other martial art.
  • Learn to dance, play chess, or something that gets you to mingle away from home.
  • Have dinner parties! Cook for a few friends, and socialize afterward.
  • Don't drink, do illegal drugs, or smoke. Keep vices to bits of dessert or caffeine.
  • Take in a daytime baseball game at least once each summer. Bring your glove!
  • Consider being a docent (volunteer) at a zoo, museum, or anywhere that interests you.
  • Make sure you're registered to vote and that your organs will be donated if you die.
  • Keep your car well cared for - change the oil and fluids on schedule, and keep it clean.
  • Install a nice stereo system in your car. Your commute will become fun suddenly!
  • Try lots of music and keep an open mind. Watch foreign and independent films.
  • Learn a foreign language. Get a pen-pal. Visit another country. Read about their history.
  • Write letters by hand occasionally to surprise people. Postcards can be fun, too.
  • Sell things you don't need on eBay and use the money to pay down your debts.
  • Pay for things with money you actually have in the bank, even if you use a credit card.
  • Keep an up-to-date contacts file and emergency numbers. Keep a simple, handy calendar.
  • Get involved in an inexpensive hobby. Get a rock hammer or a metal detector.
  • Never stop learning.
Can you add to these? Ideas encouraged!

I definitely don't do most of these things, but I know I should do more of them, and that they make me feel good when I do.

    Archived Posts

    Search The Meta-Plane