Archive for November, 2014

Video: Come Sail Away With Paul and Storm on JoCo Cruise Crazy


On JoCo Cruise Crazy 2, Paul from Paul and Storm sang Storm’s signature karaoke song, Come Sail Away by Styx. On JoCo Cruise Crazy 3, Storm sang it. I edited my videos of the two performances together to show Paul and Storm both singing the song at once, because Paul and Storm are so good together.

JoCo Cruise Crazy 5 is coming up, and if you want to sign up for it, it’s best to do so before the end of the month, while the full range of stateroom types is still available.

While editing this, I came to the conclusion that Styx missed an opportunity to rhyme ‘virgin sea’ with ’emergency’. ‘Emergency’ doesn’t have that many single-word polysyllabic rhymes, and it probably gets rhymed with ‘urgency’ far too often and ‘insurgency’ far too rarely, so if you’re going to go to the trouble of making a strange combination of words such as ‘virgin sea’ sound natural, you could at least give ’emergency’ the interesting rhyme it deserves.

This is only my second video made in Final Cut Pro X rather than iMovie. The first was a video of the Space Shuttle Atlantis exhibit at Kennedy Space Center, which only had some of the fancy transitions and titles. In this video, however, there is almost nothing that I could have done in iMovie. I learnt a lot. Here are the main things I learnt, in case anyone else needs to know:

  • Final Cut Pro can do a lot. All the things I wished I could do in iMovie, and more. Consequently, there’s a lot to learn.
  • Using Final Cut Pro, gonna need a lot of keyframes (to the tune of ‘Peaches‘.)
  • If you want to change the position of a clip at a constant speed, which you need to do if you want to move it in sync with changing the cropping of it (which I did to pan over the video of Paul; normally something like this could be done using the Ken Burns effect, but as far as I know that only works when the aspect ratio is the same as for the whole video) all the transform keyframes have to be set to Linear, even when the previous keyframe has the same position. They are Smooth by default. To change them to Linear you have to right-click (okay, two-finger tap; do people still use mouses?) on them in the viewer, and if there are multiple keyframes on the same point, you can only change the topmost one this way, which is the latest one in the timeline. So it’s best to create keyframes in order and set them to Linear as soon as you make them; otherwise you may need to temporarily change the position of a keyframe so that you can right-click on it to change it to Linear.
  • If weird green frames or other green bits appear in your video in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3, you need to delete the render files for that project and then wait for it to render again. Going by the solutions I found on the internet, in older versions of Final Cut Pro X you had to do this manually in the Finder.

I’d like to thank Cayenne for not only supplying the karaoke library used on the cruises, but also helping me figure out which of the two videos had the most accurate length for the song — they were shot with two different cameras at different frame rates, amounting to a four second difference in song length and a lot of trouble synching them up. Also, thanks to Tyler for the second pair of ears when I had trouble captioning a few parts.

In other news, I also put up video of the presentation of the Launch Pad 39 complex from a tour I went on at Kennedy Space Center in 2013, and the Jurassic Park ride at Universal from the same year. These are the kinds of things you can see if stop by Orlando on your way to or from JoCo Cruise Crazy.

I’ve also been reciting a lot of my poetry at Open Phil and Open Mic 2.0. Some day I’ll know enough of it well enough to put on some kind of show of my own. There will probably be an Open Phil on JoCo Cruise Crazy 5 too, because awesome things attract.

On the subject of things with ‘Phil’ in their names, the comet lander Philae did a lot of science, and is now not only probably in a coma, but also comatose. You did well, little lander.

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Hooked onto Philae (Hooked on a Feeling parody)


I wrote this comet landing parody/filk/Philk of ‘Hooked on a Feeling‘ about eight hours ago, and I still like it after sleeping, so here you go:

(If you like the ‘ooga chakas’ of Blue Swede’s version, you can use ‘hook a-chucker’ if you like.)

I can’t stop this Philae
coming down to me.
Earth, you just don’t know yet
what you’ll do to me.

When you touch me
at your landing site
you let Earth know
everything’s all right.

I’m hooked onto Philae.
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

That’s a sweet as landing*.
Now try it two more times.
Earth folk must be reaching
for another cup o’ wine.

Don’t fall in my coma.
Stay awake for me.
You just keep on sending
your telemetry.

I’ll be your rock
when we’re all alone.
I’m your teacher,
your Rosetta stone.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I’ll be your rock
when we’re all alone.
I’m your teacher,
your Rosetta stone.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
No, actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I’m hooked onto Philae;
well not actually, not really.
You’re not harpooned to me.

I said I’m hooked onto Philae,
but not actually, not really.
It’s not harpooned to me.

If you want to learn more about Philae, I believe the mission control webcast will have a briefing in about three hours. Or you could follow any of the links from the ESA page about it, or from my last post. Really, it’s all over the web; you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding information.

* Sweet as‘ is or other ‘[adjective] as’ expressions are common in New Zealand, meaning ‘[adjective] as anything’ or ‘[adjective] as it could possibly be’. If that doesn’t make sense to you, substitute ‘sweet-ass’ but be sure to put the hyphen in the right place.

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Comet Landing (a Rubber Duckie filk by Chella Quint)


Earlier today Chella Quint mused that she’d like someone to write a filk of ‘Rubber Duckie’ about the Philae lander’s arrival on the rubber-ducky-shaped comet,  67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko:

But soon enough, she wrote her own, and tweeted it in multiple tweets. I wanted it to be preserved somewhere where it could be read more easily than on Twitter, but since she doesn’t have a blog, she said I could blog it instead. So here it is, Comet Landing by Chella Quint (with help from Sarah on the chorus) to the tune of Sesame Street’s ‘Rubber Duckie‘:

#Cometlanding Number 1
Philae lander’s having fun!
Nice one, ESA we’re awfully fond of you

(woh woh, bee doh!)

#Cometlanding joy of joys
Using ESA’s high tech toys
They’re not working but we’ve got some harpoons it’s true

(doo doo doo doooo, doo doo)

CHORUS:
For a decade we
Waited patiently for you
Comet Sixty Seven P Slash C-G We Adore You
(and Churyumov and Gerasimenko)

Rosetta mission you’re so fine
love the selfies you post online
#Cometlanding we’re awfully fond of you

(repeat chorus)

For a decade we
Waited patiently for you
Comet Sixty Seven P Slash C-G We Adore You
(and Churyumov and Gerasimenko)

Philae Lander lots of luck
Touching down on that rubber duck
Hope Agilkia is awfully fond of
you and that the harpoons form a bond cos
#Cometlanding is awfully hard to do

(doo doo, be doo.)

I wrote my own filk about Philae (Philk?) which I will post soon. Meanwhile, you can find out more about Philae and Rosetta at the ESA livestream site, where there will be a press conference at 2p.m. European time, or how about Phil Plait’s post about it. You could also follow the events of the landing through xkcd 1446. which followed the events of the landing. Or just Google Philae; you don’t even have to search for anything, just click on the doodle.

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Shoe Shop Map


A while ago a friend of mine was excited to discover that she could fit the shoes in the children’s section, which were cheaper. Someone else was delighted to discover that she could fit shoes in the ladies’ section, having assumed her feet were too small. This kind of thing happens because shoe shops label sections according to who they are trying to sell to, rather than what is in those sections. So I walked around a few shoe shops in Vienna and made a rough map of the actual contents of each section, so that you can figure out from your shoe size and shoe design priorities where the shoes you’re looking for are most likely to be.

The maps just happen to fit neatly onto two pages, so if you want, you can print them and hang them at the entrance of a shoe shop as a public service (though I do not advise this, as it may be considered littering or vandalism or something like that.) You can click on the image below to get a nice smooth vector pdf.

Okay, here's the summary. Kids: Practical shoes European size 39 and under suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them often cheaper than the shoes in the other sections. Men: Primarily practical shoes size 40 and over suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them. Women: primarily decorative shoes sizes 36 to 42 suitable for anyone who fits them and wants to wear them. Cashier: cashier, and accessories they can upsell.

Note that not all shoe shops contain all of these sections, and some others contain ‘sport’ sections, which I think are reasonably self-explanatory. Also, there are of course exceptions and differences between shops — I found one pair of size-36 boots in a ‘men’s’ section, and there’s usually a small cache of shoes designed primarily for comfort in the ‘women’s’ section, and some shops only go up to size 41 in that section. This map is simply intended to let people know which sections they might find shoes they like in, in case they had missed those sections due to their age and gender and the shops’ inaccurate signage.

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Dinosaurs and Meteors (Arrogant Worms Parody)


Yesterday I read an article about quasicrystals in New Scientist (which I am still several issues behind in) in which Paul Steinhardt is quoted as saying:

It turns out with wealthy people there are two subjects they’re interested in: dinosaurs and meteors. We just had to find the meteorite people.

I immediately read the phrase ‘dinosaurs and meteors’ to the tune of ‘Tylenol and Clearasil’ from The Arrogant Worms’ song ‘The Prescription Drugs Song‘, and I put down the article to start writing a parody. This kind of thing happens to me a lot; I’m halfway through writing another parody inspired by a New Scientist headline I read last week.

I had the chorus written in pretty short order, then had to look up the rest of the lyrics to remember how it went. The verses have a lot of pauses for dramatic effect where I expect there to be more unstressed syllables, and it’s all somewhat irregular due to the way the quoted speech is read. Since I didn’t have the song available to listen to at the time, I just added in the syllables in most cases, making the verses sound a bit more like the chorus. Hopefully you understand how it’s meant to be sung, because as usual, I’m probably not going to sing it. Here are the lyrics:

I ended my first quarter, as broke as broke can be.
I wondered if my customers were twice as broke as me.
So I went to a rich man with the stock I hadn’t sold
hoping that he’d pay each worthless trinket’s weight in gold.

He said, “Fellow dirt-poor fellow, the highness of my birth
means I am far above the things that still are made on Earth.”
He pondered for a minute then he said, “I’ll tell you what,
I’ll give you the Earth for these two things I haven’t got.”
He asked for:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
-ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

I ended my second quarter, half-starved and far in debt,
with dust from Hayabusa that I shot a star to get
and amber-cased mosquitos that had dined on dino blood
and went back to the rich man, gave his door a torpid thud.

He said, “Fellow, dirt-poor fellow, this asteroid is dust.
If you can’t provide the meteor right, the rest I cannot trust
I’ll have to grow a dinosaur before you get your pay.”
He had his lawyer shut the door and tell me, “go away!”
I gave him:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

I came back the third quarter, too poor for skin or bone
to ask if he could pay me for the dino he had grown,
but as I sat there chewing the remainder of my shoes
I faintly heard the rich man deliver his bad news.

He said, “Fellow, dirt-poor fellow, oh, I should have known!
My dinos were wiped out by your infernal deep-space stone!
So I have failed in my travail to ‘teach a man to fish’
but worms have turned and I have learned: be careful what I wish
’cause I got:

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.

Dinosaurs and meteors, not diamond ores or needy orph-
ans taking police academy course to fight crime dressed as bats,
chromatophores, or Apple stores, extant apex carnivores,
or coffee laced with fungal spores that’s pooped by civet cats.”

…and I died and that was that.

Now, you might complain that Hayabusa is an asteroid, not a meteor, but since there’s no way to get a meteor, the rich man should have specified in the first place whether he wanted an asteroid, a meteoroid, or a meteorite. I’m not sure if rich people are particularly interested in chromatophores, but I like the word (and I especially like the rhythm of ‘cephalopod chromatophore‘) so I included it anyway. The other things all seem to be things certain people will pay a lot of money for.

Without planning it, I managed to mention the Arrogant Worms album titles ‘Dirt‘ and ‘Torpid‘ in this song, so I changed the original ‘shooting stone’ to ‘deep-space stone’ in order to mention ‘Space‘. The song this is parodying is on Beige.

On the subject of song parodies, I think I forgot to mention that Glen Raphael recorded a parody of Oasis’s Wonderwall about the van der Waals force, and I contributed some of the lyrics over Twitter.

If you need yet more funny music, James Dempsey has finally released an album of his songs about Cocoa development. I’ve been listening to him since a song he sang at WWDC 2003 was put online. You can see that 2003 Model View Controller song in the background of my music video for A Laptop Like You, at around 2:13, so who knows, perhaps that stealth advertising sent an average of half a viewer his way. Anyway, I saw James Dempsey do another song at WWDC 2004 and asked when he was going to release an album. Last week at NSScotland I even met a conditional Breakpoint (an occasional member of his band) and he said the album was doing really well on the Billboard comedy charts. Anyway, I love the new album and you should listen to if it you’ve ever done software development or if you just like listening to great-sounding funny songs you don’t understand.

Another thing you might want to do if you like geeky comedy is back the Kickstarter for the Full Frontal Nerdity DVD, featuring Helen Arney, Matt Parker and Steve Mould. Oh, and check out my friend Black Pig’s comic, and if you’re in Vienna, come to Open Phil! And I almost forgot, support Arrogant Worm Trevor Strong‘s Patreon. Gosh, there’s really too much cool stuff out there. Don’t worry if there isn’t time and space to do it all.

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