Dozer Online


New big-ass rollercoaster in Ohio?

The Roller Coaster Database reports that a new, 420-foot tall roller coaster may be under construction at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio (It's between Cleveland and Toledo in northern Ohio, for those who aren't familiar with the lay of the land in my old stomping grounds).

This rumored coaster would be over 100 feet taller than the park's current king of the hill, Millennium Force.

If this is true, it would definitely be grounds for another trip to my old hometown...

An important correction

It has been noted that I made a repeated spelling error in my item on the BtVS season premiere.

I repeatedly wrote Sunnyvale when I should have written Sunnydale. I confuse the two names often, since I have a sister in Sunnyvale.

But that is no excuse for grammatical sloppiness. The three regular readers of Dozer Online deserve better, and I do heartily apologize.

In case you haven’t read the blog entry in question, here’s a summary… Buffi and Zander drive Donne to the reconstructed Sunnydale High for the first day of the school year, Willoe is learning magic from Jiles, Ania is having trouble resuming her duties as a vengeance demon, and Spyke has returned to town.


Photo of the week

This thing is hanging from the wall on the second floor of the King Street Blues restaurant in Old Town Alexandria.

King Street Blues


Smallville season premiere... the TV goodness continues

The second season of Smallville starts off with a bang as the tornado-on-steroids from last year’s finale rages through town.

Then Lionel Luthor replaces Whitney in the opening credits. This suits me just fine, as I never found a lot of interest for the quarterback.

The tornado drops a trailer right over dad Jonathan Kent and the reporter Roger Nixon, trapping them underground... that was a bit too much of a plot device. But it did provide a opportunity for them to debate keeping Clark's powers secret, as well as demonstrate the awe in which humans would view Clark's powers. It's too bad that the reporter is portrayed as a ruthless, amoral Pulitzer-chaser. It loaded the debate.

Another nice touch was Clark asking Lex if he or his injured father needed help, even as he is frantic over his own dad's disappearance.

So now daddy Luthor is blind, Lex has blood on his hands, and the spacecraft that brought Clark to Earth is back out in the open. It's not quite as shocking ending as the Buffy premiere, but the status quo has shifted, and I look forward to more.

Hopefully, the writers will do something with Pete Ross, who was next-to-absent in the premiere.


Buffy: the seventh season premiere

Tuesdays once again become Dozer TV night, as new episodes resume for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Smallville.

Dealing with the past seems to be the theme of the seventh Buffy season. This is most readily apparent in the reconstructed Sunnyvale High School, the haunting of its basement by the shades of people whose lives Buffy wasn’t able to save, and a new Big Bad that manifests in the forms of previous Big Bads. But more on that later…

The Scoobies find recovery from last season’s malaise through the past. For Xander and Buffy, this is Sunnyvale High. Xander has earned a promotion to a supervisory role through the reconstruction of the high school. Buffy gets a new stable job as a guidance counselor there. Meanwhile, Willow recovers from her magic addiction by returning to the tutelage of Giles.

Also, Buffy has more properly adjusted to the responsibilities of adulthood and de facto motherhood. She’s taking care of Dawn and teaching her how to defend herself against nasty undead types. But she also suffers a few bouts of mom anxiety, as she is mistaken for Dawn’s mom, rather than her older sister. This hints at the next direction in the “Buffy as metaphor for growing up” theme. She’s adjusted to life without a parental figure, but now she’s starting to feel old.

Dawn’s done some growing up over the summer, both physically and in her ability to cope with danger. Dawn still needs a rescue in this episode, she at least she fends off the baddies until Buffy shows up. She even puts together her own Scooby Gang with a pair of “bad kids.”

Meanwhile, Spike has turned into an addled Justin Timberlake, living in the high school basement.

Let’s see… what else… we have a new character, Principal Robin Good. Xander notes in the construction blueprints of Sunnyvale High that the principal’s office is located where Giles’ library used to be. This, of course, is Ground Zero for the Hellmouth. This seemed like a red herring to me, because it’s almost too obvious in hinting at Principal Good as the season’s Big Bad, or at least a bad. However, on-line speculation has pointed out that the character’s name could be a reference to Robin Goodfellow, the supernatural trickster of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. So is he a demon in lurking, Buffy’s new love interest, the show’s token minority character, or something totally different?

A bigger mystery is the shapechanging evil presence that converses with Spike at the end of the episode. It takes the form of the major Big Bads to date… Warren, Glory, Adam, the Master, Drusilla… and then Buffy (!). This is probably an allusion to the dark nature of the Slayer’s power that was first mentioned by Dracula two years ago. So it seems that we aren’t finished with exploring the dark side of Buffy.

The promo of the next episode looks funny. Buffy as a guidance counselor plays into an enticing fantasy... who wouldn't want to return to high school with power and authority over the cliques who used to torment you?

My thoughts on Smallville will follow when I get the time…


NASA scientists examine Bolivian crater for celestial traces

As an aspiring writer-type, I like collecting articles that subjects that could easily inspire an interesting short story (or even a night's role-playing adventure).

This is a good example... Scientists from my place of employment are braving the Bolivian jungles to examine a 5-mile crater for traces of an asteroid or comet impact.

In a Baltimore Sun article, geophysicist Jim Garvin says that "if this can be proved to be an impact, then it is probably one of the most recent of the bigger impacts in the Earth's history, probably as young as the last 10,000 years."

This article's description of the expedition makes it sound like something out of an Indiana Jones movie:

"The expedition hired Araona bearers for $5 each a day - twice the going rate... From Riberalta, they flew 130 miles to the village of Puerto Araona. There, they boarded dugout canoes and motored down river to Palmasola, a Brazil-nut camp.

"Plunging into the forest from there, the team hacked an 11-mile trail with machetes, guided toward Iturralde crater by signals from Global Positioning System satellites. They moved less than a mile a day through the jungle."

Once they get there, the scientists will analyze rock and soil samples, as well as fly a magnetometer over the crater to map its magnetic properties.

The Iturralde Crater was only recently discovered in the mid-1980s through satellite imagery.

Stuck on the Red Line

I tried taking the Metro last night to meet up with a group and see the Recent Tragic Events theater show at the DC Jewish Community Center.

A problem on the Red Metro line slowed down the rush hour transit considerably, as trains headed in both directions had to share a single rail.

Frantically, I tried to figure out the best way to reach my destination. I didn't want to be late because, since I organized the group outing in the first place, I had everyone's tickets.

After some hasty mathematics and time estimating, I decided my best bet was to double back, reconnect with the Green Line, get back to my car, and proceed by road. All the while, I grew increasingly flustered, cursing the fates for taking away my easy trip to be on time for my own get-together.

If I were a calmer, more level-headed person, I would have recognized the irony of getting so worked up over seeing a play about 9/11, and remembered that things could be so much damn worse. Sigh...

Anyway, the play was good. I'll post some more thoughts after a good night's rest.


Medium-sized black holes

The Hubble Space Telescope, which happens to be operated out of my place of employment, has detected medium-sized black holes for the first time.

Located in the middle of galaxies, these discoveries suggest that star clusters may form around black holes.

A dream I just had

I just woke up from a dream about a movie. It was a Western starring Mel Gibson and Clint Howard.

The movie was about a retired legendary gunfighter who was being harrangued by a local townsperson for not defending himself against bandits.

Interestingly, Clint Howard played the gunfighter.


To my office you will admit me, yes...

CrookDimwit has had a picture of Yoda pasted to his work ID for the past few days. So far, security hasn't called him on it...

This beats the crap out of my "Sneak through security disguised as a pizza delivery person" idea.


Slugfest over the next Superman movie

The New Yorks Times published an article on Warner Brothers' endlessly changing plans for the next Superman movie.

The last I heard about this, plans were to focus the revival of the film franchise on a clash between Supes and the Dark Knight himself, Batman. I wondered if this script would be adapted from the seminal comic book story The Dark Knight Returns.

The story ended in a conflict between the two characters, and it revived the popularity of the Batman character enough to help kick off the Tim Burton-Joel Schumacher series of movies.

But now, the Warners movie studio is opting for a "more epic and hope-filled" script from the creator of the TV shows Felicity and Alias.

I personally would've preferred the Batman Vs. Superman concept because this has never been portrayed in film before. Plus, the "who'd win?" speculation that this movie would have inspired appeals to the fanboy in me.

But as long as it doesn't get warped by any further movie studio politics (or the appalling air of suckiness that choked the Batman and Robin movie), I look forward to any new Superman movie.


Picture of the week: Gravelly Point Park

Here's a picture of Gravelly Point Park, which is located next to the Ronald Reagan National Airport. I took it during a potluck a few weeks ago. This shows exactly how low the planes get before they touch down on the runway.


Give me pop or give me death

I just cast my vote in the great Pop Vs. Soda election. So far, pop is just barely beating soda. Remember, every vote counts!

And for the record: yes, I am a blog lemming.


"Dark electric folk" performance at Kennedy Center

On Wednesday, September 25, I'm going to see Garmarna give a free performance at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

This group combines medieval Skandinavian folk music, guitars, and programmed beats into an entrancing performance.

If this sounds like something you'd like to check out, let me know.

Which Jimmy Fallon character am I?

This is for you, Liv.

I'm Weekend Update Jimmy!

Take the Jimmy Fallon recurring SNL character quiz here.

created by stomps.

First Cousin busted with crack

Noelle Bush, daugher of Florida Governor Jeb Bush, was caught with crack cocaine during her court-ordered drug rehabilitation.

"The road to recovery is a rocky one for a lot of people that have this kind of problem," explained Gov. Bush.

True, but addicts who aren't the child of a governor have to deal with their problem in jail.

Some consistency would be nice here. If you insist on treating drug addiction as a crime rather than a sickness, at least have the decency to apply the law fairly and equally. Hell, even the much-reviled Bill Clinton held his brother accountable under the same drug laws as everyone else.

Christopher Reeve shows therapy progress

According to this Washington Post article, Christopher Reeve has regained the ability to feel physical sensation and move his limbs slightly.

The progress began after three years of an experimental regimen in which intense electrical current stimulated his muscles and nerves.

It also involves "body movements to 'reeducate' the few surviving spinal nerve cells, teaching them to make new connections."

I can't help but root for the guy, as I still have fond memories of Superman 2 (one of my favorite childhood movies).

Plus, this could be a promising new therapy for the public (or at least the public with money to afford the treatment).


Casting call

CrookDimwit is looking for cast members to fill out his application for ABC's upcoming show about a real family's real life.

If you are a smart-aleck housekeeper or an alien puppet, you can apply here.

Upcoming REM album

Michael Stipe of REM calls their upcoming album ”primitive and howling.”

Baby makes three

My friends Lisa and Mike have just given birth to Henry Solomon Stringer, the boy who has inspired lullabies about epidurals and 2-gig drives.

See Henry here.

Wedding photos from Thailand

No, they’re not my wedding photos, but pics from Kevin the Atomic Lurker. They’re quite striking; see exotic temples, a giant scorpion, a blind elephant, and more here.


One year ago

For days after the September 11th attacks, I tried writing down my thoughts and feelings, until I found them crystalized in, of all places, an article on the satirical Web site The Onion: "God Angrily Clarifies 'Don't Kill' Rule".


Waiting on Harry Potter

Phil Kloer, a staff writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reports on the wait for the next Harry Potter book, as well as possible explanations for the delay.


Funny stuff: List-less

Just as I have started writing a "100 things about me" list, this meme has been amusingly skewered by Wading in the Velvet Sea:

"Normally I am all for jumping on the current bandwagon and ceasing to be original, but this particular trend violates a major premise of this website, which is 'Damnit Mcgee, they could care less about YOU, give them witty banter and food for thought, you hussy'".

Following this is “100 Completely False Things About Me". An example:

46) I think “Back That Ass Up” should be the final song played at every prom, but people still have to slow dance to it.

Dozer stuff: Blog is fixed

Jil asked why there were broken image links in my blog sidebar.

The reason is that Blogger has a tendency to delete URL and image links from my template. I think it happens when I update my template using a Mac.

It's happened before, and each time I've fixed everything except the broken image links at the bottom of the blog sidebar. One is supposed to be a Blogger button. Perhaps you can understand why I'm not in a rush to replace this link...

Anyway, hopefully soon I'll make the time to transfer to Movable Type.


Picture of the week: Pow Wow

Here's a photo of the annual midnight movie shown at the Pow Wow 2002 outdoor festival.


Weird stuff: New hypothesis of the Tunguska explosion

Here's a new theory on one of my favorite unexplained events: the infamous Tunguska explosion of 1908 was caused by the expulsion of a fluid jet from the Earth's interior, says a geologist from the Siberian Research Institute of Geology.

The mysterious explosion in the remote forests of Siberia had a destructive force estimated to be equal to a 50-megaton H-bomb. It has been attributed to everything from a fallen meteorite to a crashed UFO.

Celebrity stuff: Buffy the bride

Ever since Kristi Yamaguchi, my pre-eminent celebrity crush, got married in 2000, I've tried to designate an official heir. This is because of one of my prerequisites for official celebrity crush is single status. I'm old-fashioned that way.

I've had a number of close candidates, but so far I haven't been able to commit. Now, Sarah Michelle Gellar, one of the leading prospective heirs, just tied the knot and removed herself from contention.

Sarah was the main competition for official celebrity crush to the three sisters in the Corrs band.

Since I don't particularly care for their music (not distinctive enough for my tastes), the Corrs' main selling point is that there are three of them. So as a unit, they have built-in redundancy insurance in case any of them get married.

Which is good, because Caroline Corr just got married last month. This leaves two Corrs siblings for me to infatuate over (three if their brother Jim ever gets a sex-change operation).

NOTE: The Official Dozer Celebrity Crush competition is strictly for entertainment purposes only. No gambling or restraining orders, please.

Funny stuff: What is my cyborg name?

This would actually be a good new name for the weblog...

Device Optimized for Zealous Exploration and Repair

Link via In the Shadows.


Funny stuff: Harry Potter parody

In a new story line from the cartoon strip Sluggy Freelance, one of the main characters has been invited to enroll in a certain school of wizardry. Unfortunately, he got the invitation thirteen years late.

Torg Potter and the Sorcerer's Nuts begins here.

Dozer stuff: I'm back

Dozer Online had been enduring a blogging dry spell. Last week I was simply slacking off. As for this past holiday weekend, I was enjoying a visit from Liv the illustrious librarian.

But now I'm back, and there's plenty to write about. More to follow soon...