Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “Mythbusters”

No, I didn’t post yesterday. What’s it to ya’?

This is driving me crazy!!  Here it is summertime and I don’t have squat to post because my life seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern because of my ERO/EEOC case and the fact that nothing interesting has happened recently.  I’m also not in the mood to continue my biography at the moment because we’re getting to the parts that were really difficult to live through back then.  I’m not sure I want to bring them up to the surface again now.

I am finding it very interesting looking at the map that shows from where people who read my blog are.  The other day Australia took the lead.  So far today the Irish have a substantial lead over the Americans.  And what people are reading is even funnier.  My reviews of Combat Cash and Mythbusters seem to be the favorites.  Someone clicks on them almost every day.

So, yeah, I’m behind in my posting.  But when it’s hot and sticky outside and it makes the house all hot and sticky, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer in the hottest room of my house and type some drivel that people may or may not read.  I’ve also got an appointment with my therapist today, so who knows what goofy crap will come up that will make for decent topics?

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Still irritated at Mythbusters’ “Swinging Pirates” episode

I know it’s just a minor thing, but I really liked the effect in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie that showed the six pirates swinging in a ball made of bones and climbing their way to the top of the cliff and saving themselves.  The Mythbusters tried to recreate the myth that it could be done and messed it up.  Big time.  In my opinion anyway — I’m not a scientist.

They used metal to create the ball — good idea.  They had openings at the bottom of the ball large enough for them to crawl through — bad idea.  They used two cables to hold the ball above the ground — not accurate since in the movie it’s supposed to be a single vine.  But they did prove that they could climb up the “cliff” by having everyone help climb a cargo net on the side of a building.  They really should have replicated the actual conditions.  The two safety cables impeded the ability for the momentum to increase.

However, on the same episode, the Build Team made a pulse jet and had an expert come and show them an effective way to build one and how it should run.  I wonder how many WWII British survivors watched the episode and had bad memories afterwards?  The one their expert built sounded just like a V-1 flying bomb, also known as a “Buzz Bomb” or “Doodlebug” by the British who listened to them as they flew overhead before crashing and exploding.  And if you’ve never heard of the V-1 — go look it up.  They did lots of damage.

Now I’m going to watch the new episode for this week — any time you make a hot water heater explode on television is awesome.

More Mythbusters tonight

Tonight there will be a rerun of the “Duct Tape Island” episode of Mythbusters on Discovery Channel.  I’ve already written a review of it and it still gets lots of hits every day.  I keep seeing strange questions in the “Search Engine Terms” on my Stats page that refer readers to my blog.

IMPORTANT NOTE — If you’re looking for answers about something in the show but I don’t already have it in the body of the post, feel free to post a question in the Comments section!  Then I’ll let you know if I have any information about it and/or get the answer for you!  I don’t mind answering questions!!

The rerun of the popular episode will be right after the premiere of their “Men vs. Women” episode.  No idea how that one is going to turn out but I’m sure it will be interesting.  And controversial.  I know there’s a lot things considered easier for men that I’m able to do than most of the males I know.  And I know some guys who can do a lot of the “lady-type” things better than me (laundry, housekeeping, etc.).  If the episode is decent, I might post a review tomorrow.

That’s all for today.  It’s been cold and dreary outside so I’ve decided to curl up on the couch (yes, the cursed couch!) and let myself fall asleep.  Hasn’t happened yet.  Will have to change spaces before the shows air tonight.

100th Post!

I’m actually stunned I made it this far.  If this were a television show, they’d have a big cake and a special episode.  If this were a birthday, I’d get a letter from the Governor, Senators, and possibly even the President.  If this were an anniversary, it would be covered on all channels, both cable and network, in one way or another.

On the other hand, I always knew I’d get this far.  Yes, having ADD makes it difficult to keep myself focused and I can always find something else to do instead of sitting here and typing something.  However, also having OCD makes me get up and type at least a little something every day because I can’t stand the thought of having a date without a post.  That just wouldn’t be organized and I’d never forgive myself.  Of course, if the reason were something I couldn’t control — severe illness, natural disaster, death — then I could cope with it but would still be disappointed.

So, what have I done to make this event special?  Nothing, really.  I took a nice nap today.  I did the special effects makeup for my friend again.  I watched tonight’s episode of Mythbusters where they tried square wheels on a truck.  I think they needed a four-wheel drive truck, but no one asked me.  The episode of Unchained Reaction (theme = flight) is boring….again.  I don’t really see the show going for another season, but there’s already worse crap on TV so what do I know?

I’m looking forward to watching the National Geographic special with James Cameron about the Titanic.  Yes, I know it’s the 100th anniversary of the sinking.  Yes, I know the movie was hideously long and all you really needed was the last third of the movie where the ship hits the iceberg and the sinking.  There was a Broadway musical made about Titanic and I’ve never seen it.  I don’t think I will either because I can’t imagine what the songs would be.  “Glub, Glub, Glub!  This water is cold!” or “Are You Getting My SOS?”  Even Cameron said that his pitch for the movie was “Titanic plus Romeo and Juliet.”  I don’t remember teenage suicide in Titanic but  if you’re going to try to cram a love story into a disaster, it’s better to go big or go home.

Time to plant myself in front of the television and become one with the couch.  Let me rephrase that — become one with the loveseat.  The couch has already claimed its first victim of the night.  Better poke Husband so I’ll be able to hear the show without having it turned-up so much that it annoys the neighbors across town.

Discovery’s Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island and Unchained Reaction episode 2

Yeah, I know.  I should have posted my reviews last night but I was really busy and the whole fence thing had me miffed.  Today it wasn’t any better as I found my decorative fencing around my precious morel mushrooms moved (looks like it was kicked), but I digress.

Last night was Discovery Channel’s night for the new season of Mythbusters and for the second episode of Unchained Reaction.  One was slightly impressive while the other was educational but way too hokey to believe.

I’ll start with Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island — a one-hour episode featuring only Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they attempt to survive on a desert island with only duct tape available to them.  I had a feeling the show was going to be silly because the announcer said they had “an endless supply” of it.  So, if you thought that the small pallet of duct tape that “washed-up” on the beach was all they had, think again.  And we all knew that they wouldn’t actually be in danger of starving or dehydrating because they had a camera crew with them.  It’s not like we’re watching Survivorman, y’all.

In the intro to the “story,” they show the outline of an island.  Anyone with basic U.S. geography skills would have immediately recognized the shape as the silhouette of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands.  If you need more information, it’s the island where Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are located.  Oahu is definitely not deserted, but they were able to find a beach resort where they could film their show.

Oh, did I say “resort?”  Why, yes I did — and that’s an important thing to remember while reading the rest of this review (remember “Turtle Bay” and Lost).

So, the guys are “stranded” and have to figure out how to signal for help, find water, find food, make clothing, make a shelter, stay focused, and escape from the island.  Signaling for help was easy.  They created a huge “SOS” sign out of duct tape and rocks on the beach.  The down side to their attempt is that duct tape is gray and doesn’t reflect well when covered with sand, making it harder for someone overhead to see.

When they attempted to find water, they did stage a good explanation of how you can’t drink just any water you find lying around.  Jamie (the brains) and Adam (Captain ADD-man) were each given different tasks to find water.  Jamie used the shrink-wrap that covered the pallet of duct tape to make a solar still in order to collect water.  While it’s a good and scientific idea, a solar still would not make enough water for two people in a reasonable amount of time.  Evaporation and condensation takes a while and it wasn’t a plausible idea for them.  Adam, however, did find running fresh water and made a water-bag out of duct tape so he could return with potable water for them to enjoy.

Both of the guys created unique shoes using duct tape which made walking on the hot sand, grasses, and rocks more bearable.  Adam even made himself a hat since he is very susceptible to the rays of the sun on his fair skin, and so that people who are used to him wearing his Stetson while Jamie has his iconic beret (which was present) could tell them apart.

As for finding food, Jamie was rather ingenious and successful in spear fishing.  He used bamboo and wood shards to create a multi-pronged spear and even added a small duct tape retrieval string and marked the center of balance to make it easier for him to throw.  Once he got off the shore and into the water, he actually speared a small fish.  True, he’d need a lot more than that to feed both of them, but it was successful and fun to watch.  Adam, however, was running around in the jungle after feral chickens.  Realizing that he could not catch one on foot, he first tried a simple snare trap with duct tape “wire” (which didn’t work) and then made a net out of the duct tape with which to catch a passing chicken.  The first chicken “caught” escaped through a hole in the side but the second was successfully captured.  Then, Adam made the announcement that the chicken they would be seen eating in a later scene was store-bought and not the chicken he had just caught.  The part he didn’t explain is that feral chickens are protected as wildlife in Hawaii and cannot be captured without special permits/licenses.  And Jamie didn’t eat the fish he caught either.  Both sat on the beach with their duct tape bag of fried chicken and duct tape platter of raw tuna and discussed how proud they were of their hunting abilities.

Adam created a “permanent camp” out of duct tape with hammocks and even a small table and stools with a duct tape chess set (to help them stay focused).  It seemed odd that they’d try to make a “permanent camp” if they were trying to escape from the island, but it’s television and if you try to reason it out too much you’ll just give yourself a headache.  Jamie made himself a surfboard out of duct tape and took it for a quick float in the ocean (he wasn’t able to stand up on it).  Finally, the guys made an outrigger canoe that surprisingly weighed just over 100 pounds from bamboo and duct tape that carried them and their “6-week supply of rations” out into the ocean.  I was impressed that they were able to make it over the breaker waves without the boat twisting or sinking.  Jamie even noted that the only water he was having to bail was what Adam was sloshing into the boat with his poor rowing skills.  Finally, they “found land” and disembarked their canoe, only to find they were back on the same beach as before (cue comedic sound effects and rimshot).

And why wouldn’t they return to the same beach?  They never left it.  Well, except to sleep and eat and get refreshed before continuing the shooting for each of the seven days they were out there.  They did not sleep on their duct tape pads nor in their duct tape hammocks.  They stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort with the rest of the crew and used locations that were utilized in the filming of the show Lost.  That way, they knew where everything was and how easily to get their inventions built and useable.  In one of the outtakes Adam makes a comment that there are too many footprints in the sand for it to be a deserted island.  While it was fun to watch, it was quite disappointing to know that they weren’t really trying to survive at any point.  Sure, they showed how duct tape can work in many ways, but it still took all of the fun out of it.  I’m sure they did it that way because the insurance companies wouldn’t want Discovery losing two of their biggest stars.

And Discovery has used two of their biggest stars to hawk their new show Unchained Reaction.  I’m not sure how much of it really is/isn’t Adam and Jamie’s idea, but having them introduce the theme, pretending to watch the building of the chain-reaction gags, and then coming out to “judge” and announce the winner doesn’t really sell me that it’s their idea.  I wasn’t impressed with the premiere episode, but I thought I’d give the second one a chance.

In the “Fire and Ice” episode, a team of aerospace engineers went up against a team of special effects specialists.  They had to use fire and ice in their contraptions and had to have a minimum of five gags that would continuously set off the next as well as be innovative and entertaining.  Halfway through the build, Adam and Jamie “gave” each team a compact car that they had to incorporate into the middle of their machine and it all had to be completed within five days.

The aerospace engineers did some really neat things with the fire and ice and showing fire making steam and melted ice (water) conducting electricity after salt was added when it was tripped into a tank.  They even got the closest to a Rube Goldberg Machine concept because they stated that they wanted their machine to raise a flag at the end in a miniature moonscape diorama.  Sadly, the beginning of their machine didn’t work as planned but they did get the flag raised in the end, after nearly hitting Adam and Jamie and special guest judge Adam Sadowsky, president of Syyn Labs and creator of the Rube Goldberg machine for the OK Go video, with a rocket that flew across the room into a refrigerator to trigger the flag.

The special effects team didn’t get as technical but were a lot flashier with their contraption.  They used fire and ice in their gags as well as melting a huge block of ice in a cauldron of fire to turn a waterwheel underneath it to trigger another gag.  They had explosive results and it was a lot of fun to watch.  They won the contest because their machine worked and had no issues.

I think what I became the most tired of hearing throughout the show was how they were trying to impress Adam and Jamie.  It was always “Adam and Jamie would want” this and “Adam and Jamie think like” that but Adam and Jamie aren’t really in the show.  I’ll probably watch the next episode to see if the third time’s the charm on getting me to like it.  But at the moment, they could take Adam and Jamie out of it, make it about creating actual Rube Goldberg Machines (that have to complete a specific task) and it would be a lot more fun to watch.

Discovery’s “Unchained Reaction” premiere – Meh…

When I heard that Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were going to “sponsor” a new show on Discovery Channel, I figured that it would be entertaining and educational, just like Mythbusters.  I knew it couldn’t possibly be as good as Mythbusters because the guys weren’t going to be in the show.  They just present the task for the episode and “watch” until it’s time to judge the efforts.

Unchained Reaction at first sounded like an awesome idea because everyone enjoys seeing Rube Goldberg machines and even the Mythbusters had created one for the holiday season one year and showed how hard it can be to get it to work correctly.  However, the official definition of a Rube Goldberg machine is that it’s an overly complex invention used to perform a simple operation.  If you’ve ever played the board game Mousetrap, you’ve used a Rube Goldberg machine.  Many cartoons throughout the years have shown Rube Goldberg machines for everything from waking a sleeping person to peeling a banana.  They’re fun to see and even more fun to try to create in your mind.  Youngest Son keeps telling me he wants to make one.  I discourage him only because (1) he doesn’t really have a task for it to perform and (2) I’m afraid of the damage it will cause my house.

The new show, however, doesn’t give the teams a specific task to perform.  There’s a theme for the program — such as heavy-versus-light and fire-and-ice — but no ending operation that has to be completed.  That would make sense on why they don’t refer to the contraptions that are built as Rube Goldberg machines.  The teams are given five days and the same materials with which to make their contraptions.  When I saw the previews, I thought they’d be competing to see which could complete the task in the most inventive way.  They are judged on their inventiveness, but without the common task at the end, it’s just not as thrilling.  Well, it’s not as thrilling to me, anyway.

Rube Goldberg machines have become more and more popular recently.  As mentioned above, the Mythbusters completed a very complex one for their show.  The band OK Go made a music video that incorporated a large Rube Goldberg machine that assisted in playing some of the music and giving the “big finale” at the end.  Some companies are even putting them into their commercials as entertainment and to stimulate consideration of their product, as if they could design one then their product must be just as ingenious.

However, watching two groups trying to sift through a pile of junk to create a “machine” which doesn’t perform an actual operation other than to have one gag trigger another isn’t quite as interesting.  In the premiere episode, they paired-off a group of electrical engineers and a movie set/prop construction team.  Right from the beginning it was obvious who was going to win.  The winning team had the advantage of practical building experience, a firm understanding of what Jamie and Adam wanted to see, and the ability to work together.  (Hope I didn’t spoil it for you if you didn’t see it.)

Maybe the next episode will be better.  But if they can’t get them to have a reason for the machines or at least show more of the building and less talking about what Adam and Jamie are “watching” (it’s SO obvious they’re not “tuning-in” via their laptop), then I don’t know if I’ll be able to watch the whole series.  And that will be quite disappointing.

I’ll give it another shot next week.  For now, I’ll just look forward to the season premier of Mythbusters as they have their “Duct Tape Island” episode.

Sleepover Survivor’s Summary

Last night was hysterical!  Youngest Son had two friends over for his first “group” sleepover.  One of his friends wasn’t able to attend but the other two were more than happy to make up for the missing energy in the room.

Oddly, they wanted to start the evening by watching the DVD we have of this year’s school musical.  Youngest Son and his friend Leonard were both in the show.  Leonard was the lead actor and had not seen the DVD yet (the show was produced in November 2011).  Youngest Son, Leonard, and Sheldon were having a blast watching the show, telling backstage stories, and re-winding the action to see the goof-ups and other silly things going on during the performance.  Sadly, the student they “hired” to make the DVD only filmed one night out of the three productions and had a field day with the zoom button.  Let’s just say that if you get motion-sick easily, you do not want to watch the DVD.

After that we ordered pizza.  I made sure each of the guys brought their own bottle of soda or other suitable beverage because I didn’t want to go out and buy a lot and have a bunch of caffeine-laden sodas (which I don’t drink at all) lying around the house.  Three large deep-dish pizzas lasted a lot longer than I thought they would.  Teenage boys are notorious for scarfing-down anything that’s covered in pepperoni and cheese but there was still some left this morning.  After the pizza-snarf began, they decided that they wanted to watch a real movie.  Leonard had never seen Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope which just completely baffled me since all of the guys are pretty well-versed in nerdy/geeky genre information.

Quick  note here — you may recognize the names of Youngest Son’s friends from a television show.  They call themselves “The Big Bang Club” at school and each kid has a character and they even call themselves by those names.  They even added a female friend of theirs (as Penny) so they’d have the whole core cast.

Back to the story.  Since I’m also a huge Star Wars geek (seen the original trilogy movies over 1000+ times each), I asked if they wanted to see the awful 1990’s “remakes” with “added special effects,” the original theatrical version (my favorite), or the latest Blu-Ray release for the 30th Anniversary.  I was impressed that they picked the theatrical release.  So, I popped-in the DVD for them and waited for them to be amazed with the movie.

That didn’t take long.  Not the being amazed part.  The being interested part.  I forgot that teenage boys also have a short attention span and when it came to watching the entire movie, that wasn’t going to happen.  Youngest Son and Sheldon wanted to prank-call Penny because Leonard is upset he broke-up with her and they wanted to leave a message on her voicemail about it.  (No, I’m not kidding.  “Leonard” and “Penny” really were “dating” and have broken-up now.)  Then they each wanted to play with their Nintendo DS units.  Then they saw Youngest Son’s Chess 4 set and wanted to play that.  All of this while the movie is still playing in the background.  Husband agreed to be the fourth so they could play Chess 4 — a game designed, you guessed it, so four people could play chess against each other at the same time.  Sheldon said he knew he was going to be slaughtered because he and Youngest Son play chess at school all the time and Youngest Son beats him easily.  And he did again on this version — he wiped-out the other three players in almost no time.

After that they talked and laughed and watched the last minutes of the movie before the credits started to roll.  Once the movie was officially over, they decided to play games on our PlayStation 3.  We have some that are for up-to four players, so they each grabbed a controller and started playing.  After they tired of one they’d put in another.  Soon they wanted to play Lego Star Wars and took turns trying to play in co-op mode when only Youngest Son knew how the game worked.

Finally, around 11:30 p.m., I told them they needed to get off the PS3 and get their sleeping bags out.  They didn’t necessarily have to go to sleep, but I was going to bed and wanted to be sure that they got some rest since Leonard’s parents would be by early to pick him up for church.  Husband had already fallen asleep, so I went to bed to read while listening to make sure the guys were okay.  A pillow fight broke out between them.  Actually, to hear them tell it, it was a “pillows versus ‘bag of wet cement’ fight” since Leonard’s pillow was a lot firmer than the other two’s.  Soon they teamed-up and it became a pillow ambush.  They finally decided to watch Star Wars: Episode VI, Return of the Jedi because Leonard had never seen that one either and wanted to know why everyone thinks the “It’s a trap!” jokes are funny.  He stayed awake long enough to hear “It’s a trap!” in the movie and then drifted-off.  Sheldon fell asleep and then woke up and went back to sleep after the movie was over.  Youngest Son stayed-up for the whole thing and turned off the TV and DVD player when it was over.  I had already passed-out in bed after the beginning scenes had played.

I got up at 5 a.m. like I do every morning to take my medication and let the dogs out for “walkies.”  I could tell the boys had tired themselves out because there wasn’t a peep coming from the living room floor.  Either that or Cat had slept on their faces and killed them, but I was pretty sure that hadn’t happened.  Usually there’s a little snoring out of Youngest Son, but he was too tired to do so.  After going back to bed and getting up a couple of hours later, Leonard was awake and playing on his DS; Youngest Son was just starting to awaken; and Sheldon was still crashed-out on the floor.  I ordered them up and to get ready so that we could go out for breakfast at the worldwide-franchised evil clown fast food restaurant just a couple of blocks away.  While the kids ate, Husband, Celeste and I sat and had some breakfast as well while waiting to return the boys to their parents (who were to meet us there).  Husband said his coffee was McCrappy and realized why he never goes there for breakfast anymore.  Ever.  Once the parents had retrieved their offspring, we returned home.

Fortunately the guys didn’t mess-up the house and things were easily put back in order.  We thought about taking Celeste to the self-service dog wash a few towns over but they’re closed on Sundays.  So, I went and took a nap.

I remember the days of sleepovers at my house and going to parties at friends’ houses.  Everyone believed they could stay up all night and not have to sleep and sometimes punished those who did by dunking their bra in water and putting it in the freezer.  At least the guys didn’t do silly things like that at our house — although one admitted they wanted to try the “hand in the bowl of warm water” trick.  The only reason they didn’t was because Mythbusters had already proven it didn’t work.  Lucky for them.  If they’d tried it or if it had worked on my hardwood floors, there would be three “geeks” learning to sand, stain, and seal 79-year-old wood with their toothbrushes.  And I don’t believe there’s an app for that.

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