?

Log in

No account? Create an account
Fruneau! [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
xolo

[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Dragon Day! [Jan. 16th, 2018|05:59 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Yes, it's Dragon Day!.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/29745.html
linkpost comment

A Dan Gurney Anecdote [Jan. 16th, 2018|12:31 am]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[mood |nostalgicnostalgic]
[music |Kansas: All the World]

If you've ever seen the movie "Grand Prix" with Jim Garner, it's a fictionalized account of the 1966 F1 season. In the movie, the FIA lost their collective mind, and decided to hold the Italian GP at Monza on the old course, the one with the flyover bridge^1. At any rate, in the film, Dan Gurney's exhaust pipe falls off on the flyover, and causes a fatal (and quite horribly realistic) accident of the sort that used to be so common in the '60s, with a car on fire, and the dead driver hanging from a tree.

There's a story behind that.

In 1966, downforce generators were not yet allowed at Indianapolis. No wings, spoilers, etc. Dan Gurney showed up at the track with an Eagle / Ford with extra-long exhaust pipes angled upward at a 45 degree angle. This, he explained, was for safety, so that drivers behind him (as they surely all would be) did not have to breathe exhaust fumes. For extra safety, he had a wedge-shaped, very rigid piece of metal mounted over the pipes, so that they were strapped onto the underside with steel straps. This, he explained, was also for safety, so there would be no chance of an exhaust pipe falling off and causing a horrible accident. The Speedway were unimpressed, and made him take it off. For years afterward in American racing, any device that was plainly intended to circumvent the rules in some imaginative fashion was referred to as a "Gurney Brace".




^1 Automobile racing in Italy was already on thin ice at the time, after the bloodbath at the '57 Mille Miglia, and the ghastly disaster at Monza in '61 when Count von Trips^2, along with a number of spectators, was killed when his car hit a fence against which many people (most of them children) were leaning as they watched the race. This, also, is referenced in the movie. That entire movie is full of easter eggs for people who know their racing history, which is one of the reason I love it.


^2 - a Reichsgraf - quite possibly the only racing driver ever who was also an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/29652.html
linkpost comment

Dan Gurney [Jan. 15th, 2018|07:23 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Dan Gurney has passed away. He was one 0f the absolute giants of American racing. I just now heard..

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/29404.html
linkpost comment

Stink Bugs! [Jan. 14th, 2018|07:10 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , , , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |calmcalm]

Doctors warn against eating Tide pods. Words fail me. I suppose that if you're a doctor, you're ethically required to say something if you see someone doing such a thing, but in all honesty it might be better in the long run to let natural selection take its course.

When I was about eight or so, Shell chemical came out with something called a "No-Pest Strip", which was a piece of waxy plastic imprenated with some type of insecticide. You folded out a rather neat-looking gold coloured cardboard holder for it, then hung it from the ceiling in a central location. The vapour it gave off sank to the floor and killed insects there.

At any rate, shortly after these came on the market, I recall our teacher Mrs. MacIntyre telling us about a boy who died from eating one of the strips. The explanation given was "he mistook it for cheese" which seemed improbably stupid to me even at the age of eight. The strip looked like an oddly-shaped processed cheese slice, yeah, but those things stank something fierce ^1, plus the texture was nothing like cheese.

*****

For the past five years or so, Ohio has been in the grip of a plague of stink bugs of biblical proportions. Those things are everywhere. It's apparently going to get worse.

*****

There seems to be a great deal of water ice on Mars!

*****

So, the secret Zuma satellite seems to have never uncoupled from its adapter, and consequently rode the sustainer stage back down into the atmosphere. I've no ill-will against Grumman (who built the adapter), but I'm relieved that it wasn't the Falcon 9 that caused the mishap. I really want Space-X to succeed.

What I'm entirely unable to learn is *why* the project is called 'Zuma". I tend to wonder if that was just a name chosen at random. It sounds southwestern American, but it brings to mind Jacob Zuma as well.


^1 And, in looking at old ads for these, they never fail to say "practically odorless", so yeah, they stank.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/29152.html
link4 comments|post comment

And... [Jan. 7th, 2018|10:57 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

In other news, I've just discovered that my cat will eat tomatoes. Didn't see that one coming.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/28902.html
link1 comment|post comment

Zump Bomb! [Jan. 7th, 2018|10:41 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

So, Colman's Mustard is going to be made in Germany now.

*****

It seems poor Steve Bannon has lost his mind. Sad!

*****

Many years ago, the old guy who worked at the service station had a number tattooed on his arm. This is probably the guy who did it.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/28648.html
linkpost comment

The Man with the Communistic Knees [Dec. 31st, 2017|01:39 am]
xolo
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

So, South Korea has siezed a Hong Kong registered ship. Things are rapidly turning interesting.

*****

The real question, I suppose, is whether the war will wait until after the Olympics.

*****

Pro tip: Don't steal copper wire that's carrying 24KV.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/28368.html
link3 comments|post comment

Snow! [Dec. 30th, 2017|12:02 am]
xolo
[Tags|]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Drove home in a snow storm. Stressful driving (although not nearly as bad as I've seen), but when I'm home, and step out of the car... Everything is white, and all the sounds are muffled. It is so lovely outside!

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/28035.html
link3 comments|post comment

Onion Time! [Dec. 28th, 2017|03:57 pm]
xolo
[Tags|, , , , , ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]

Christmas Eagle!

*****

I wonder what the actuarial tables have to say about being killed by having a treehouse fall on one?

*****

So, there's this magnolia tree outside the White House that was planted by Andrew Jackson. I'm more interested in politics and history than the average American, by (I suspect) rather a wide margin, but I'd never heard of it. After almost 200 years, it's finally dying, which is sad, but no real surprise. Suddenly, though, after Melania Trump has the gardener cut it back before it drops a limb on someone, it becomes an "iconic" tree, a "beloved" tree, one that, by reading the BBC, you'd pardonably believe that every American considers a symbol of the country.

*****

So, on FurAffinity, if someone decides to take their gallery down, you get this "contents removed by user" message if you try to look at it. However, the pictures are still in the database, and searchable, and as long as you can find a link to one, you can still see all of their content by using the "previous" and "next" buttons. FA's standards of professionalism never fail to amaze me.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/27903.html
link1 comment|post comment

Tales I May Regret Telling, Pt. 3: Black Shuck [Dec. 27th, 2017|01:37 am]
xolo
[Tags|, ]
[Current Location |East Trumpistan]
[mood |calmcalm]
[music |Simon and Garfunkel: I am a Rock]

This was, as best I can place it, sometime between Thanksgiving of 1996 and January of 1997. Christmas lights were up. It was eight or nine at night, on a cold, rainy night, and I was driving home from the stable where I went riding after work. I'd deliberately gone by the backroads as I wanted to see the Christmas lights, which struck me as especially pleasing on such a night. The night was, in fact, one of the sort that my maternal grandmother would have referred to as "blacker'n Shuck" - no moon, no clouds, cold soaking rain relieved only by my headlights and the decorated houses I passed.

A few words about my grandmother may be in order. She, like myself, was not fully grounded in the consensus reality. We both had faith in the evidence of our senses, and in the power of our reason. I don't really accept that there's such a thing as 'the second sight', or 'being an experiencer' (a newer term for the same thing). I think most, if not all, people can see things we're told can't be, but I think most of them sort of edit them out in real-time to make perception conform to expectation. And where she heard of Black Shuck, I never asked, and wish now that I had.

On my way home I went south through a little hamlet of a dozen or so houses, the name of which I've long forgotten. A couple of these were very nicely decorated, and I slowed the better to admire them, but also because at the south end of this wide spot in the road, the road took a very sharp, abrupt left-hand turn, and then 50 feet further on, an equally abrupt right-hand turn to continue its southern course.

I was coming out of that second turn at no more than ten miles an hour, if that, and approaching me was a big ol' car, a Lincoln or a Cadillac, at about the same speed, preparing to negotiate the turns. And just then, with no warning, something ran across the road from left to right, in between our cars. I could see it silhouetted in his headlights, and it ran right through mine, but I couldn't see the least detail. It was dead black, and just drank up the light, with no highlights, not even the wet surface reflections one might expect on such a night.

It was about as tall and long as a calf, but much bulkier. The shape, and the rollicking run, made me think of a fat, clumsy, short-legged puppy chasing his ball. It had exactly that aspect to it. And one more thing - it did not have a head. The short neck just stopped a bit past the shoulder. It crossed the road, and disappeared into the darkness of the pasture to the right, behind a large tree. I did not see how it crossed the fence. It was in sight for fewer than three seconds, maybe only two, but I know exactly what I saw.

I slammed on my brakes, and so did the other car. I could see the elderly couple inside by the glow of my headlights, staring with an absolutely stunned, open-mouthed expression. I'm sure I looked much the same. I thought about rolling down the window and saying something to them, but they almost immediately drove on. I sat there for a bit. I had no doubt at the time that Black Shuck had just crossed my path. I thought about turning around, and proceeding home by a different route, but decided almost immediately that would be foolish and feckless. I had fully intended that road to be my path when he crossed it, and you can't cheat such things.

So, I drove on home, in a very sober mood. Over the next few days, I gave each of my subordinates at work a gift to remember me by, not something purchased, but something that I valued and used - a fountain pen, a pocket knife, a glass paperweight, something which each had admired at some point, things which seemed to me to have something of myself bound up with them. That seemed very important to me. I got my affairs in order, and waited to see what would happen. And a fortnight passed, and I was still alive. And a moon passed, and I was still alive.

It occurred to me belatedly that maybe he was crossing the path of the people in the other car. I wonder too, if it even *was* Shuck, or any bad thing at all. I had no sense of dread or menace from it - it shocked me, but didn't frighten me. Rather the opposite, in fact - it really gave off this impression of playfulness.

And so ends my meandering, and rather inconsequential story of the time when I may have met Black Shuck.

Original posted at https://rain-gryphon.dreamwidth.org/27454.html
link3 comments|post comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]