Sunday, October 21, 2007


Magical Mystery Tour, Part Five

After leaving Susanville and Mount Shasta behind, we found ourselves tempted (well, I found myself tempted, and Miss Tori was kind enough to indulge me) by the Lava Beds National Monument:

Lava Beds = Caves! Remember to cave softly and safely:

We hadn't even made it to the ranger station. We weren't sure what was even around here, so when we saw this cave, I wanted to do a little exploring. What if it was the only cave around? Here is the entrance to Valentine's Cave:

Inside the cave, looking to the right:

. . . and to the left:

The two tubes, right and left, join up again. You can imagine them as forming a ring around that central pillar you see there. Here's a look at the roof:

On the back side of the pillar, it's pretty dark, and creepy. The cave just goes deeper:

When we first got there, people with actual equipment came out. I wonder how far back that cave went. I'd like to go back sometime to find out. Fortunately J.D. Howard got this nice monument put together:

Here's a mushpot, whatever that is:

And here's a pretty flower:

And down among this jumble of rocks is another cave:

The best part of Lava Beds is that it has a campground, and the ranger station has a large supply of flashlights and hard hats available to check out. We didn't have time on this trip, but someday we will. It's out in the middle of nowhere, so it might not get many visitors, but Lava Beds is definitely worth a visit if you're an amateur with an interest in caves.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Live From The Marriott

I'm here at the Marriott, typing on a wireless keyboard, with the TV screen as a monitor. Disneyland. Kind of cool. Don't even need a laptop anymore. More when we get home.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


The Science of Lap Dances

Most female mammals enter a period called estrus, in which they are most fertile. This is also referred to as going into heat. Makes the female want to "do it." I believe that's the technical term. However, human females don't seem to enter into such an obvious condition. It might be presumed that this is one of the advantages in being highly evolved. Maybe the modern woman has better things to do, than to do the modern man.

It turns out that during a woman's regular cycle, there are times when men find her more attractive. So even if she doesn't go into heat and want guys more than she usually does, she goes into something that makes guys want her more than they usually do. It's science. And science is all about the studies:

Exotic dancers make more money during the week or so before they begin menstruating than at any other time of the month. This according to New Mexico psychology professor Geoffrey Miller, who studied the ovulatory cycle of several dancers and found that during estrus, when women are considered most fertile, dancers made roughly $354 per shift -- almost twice what they took home in tips during menstruation and roughly a quarter more than they made during the luteal phase, directly after menstruating.

Is it just me, or did the Budweiser Real American Hero music just kick in? And I always thought geology was the science you got into for the chicks. Studying lap dancers. And I thought it was cool when I heard you could do your master's thesis on Star Trek.

I question Miller's word choice when he uses a word like "leak" in a discussion of menstrual cycles:
Dancers appear more attractive to club patrons just before ovulation because they "signal" or "leak" signs of their peak fertility, Miller writes.

So that's why that girl wanted to do that naughty naughty dance in Superbad!

Just when I'm not sure what to make of this Miller guy, he wins me back with this turgid prose:
Miller describes the dancer-client transaction as one of "subtle behavioral signals that fly below the radar of conscious intention or perception, adaptively hugging the cost-benefit contours of opportunistic infidelity."

Nothing says romance like the cost-benefit contours of opportunistic infidelity. The sexy beast!

If I ever go to New Mexico, I want to party with this guy.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Magical Mystery Tour, Part Four

Leaving Susanville on day two, we took State Highway 139 going north. We pulled over on the slopes of Antelope mountain to look back down the valley from whence we came. This is a little to the left:

And a little to the right:

That faint line running left to right is the road we were just on, minutes before. You may be able to make out the slow motorhome:

Which means we have time for one more quick pic before I jump in the car and we haul it. We did not want to get stuck behind him! Fortunately, Miss Tori was willing to do a lot of driving so I could take pics. Thanks for being so patient honey! Bye Susanville:

I like to think of these as ghost trees. They died who knows how long ago, probably in a fire, and yet they're still standing. How many of you will serve as your own tombstone when you die? Thought so:

Sure, we beat the motorhome, but we still got stuck behind one of the slowest drivers in the vicinity of Eagle Lake:

At Eagle Lake, you stay in pretty houses like this:

then you play on the pretty lake:

Which looks to be good for swimming, and water-skiing, and maybe even fishing:

We stopped at the north end of Lassen County to take a pic, on Hwy 139, possibly at Susanville Road. We left the town of Susanville a long ways back, so how they came up with that name I have no idea. Oh, it's Mount Shasta, by the way:

Not the best picture, but a pretty impressive mountain, all the same:

Another fifty or sixty miles up Hwy 139, I was distracted by a sign for the Lava Beds National Monument. We'll get there next time!

Friday, October 05, 2007


Magical Mystery Tour Part Three

Moving on from Honey lake, we soon found ourselves in Susanville. It's a cute little town, with a cute little name. And some dude driving this hot rod mobile:

We didn't quite find old town Susanville, but we did come across a couple of large paintings on the side of a building that seem to reproduce old photographs. The first shows Main and Lassen streets, in 1918:

This one is Main and Gay streets, in 1935:

Pretty cool stuff. When you roll through these dinky towns, you start to notice that many of them have these sorts of murals. Makes me wonder if some guy just spends his career rolling through small towns, proposing public arts projects like these. Who are you, itinerant artist?

Here we are at the Susanville Trailhead of the Bizz Johnson Trail. Nice sign:

You may have noticed the rails at the bottom of that pic. The trail follows train tracks for a little ways. here's a pic looking over some intervening trees and brush to some rooftops beyond:

Here's a nice dedication plaque for the Lassen Street bridge:

Which is kinda long for a semi-wobbly, fleixbly-timbered foot bridge, but perhaps not quite as long as it looks in this pic:

Here are a couple of water shots, looking south. Closer view:

And a longer view. I still get pleasantly surprised at how non-awful some of these are:

And here's the other side, sort of north-eastish:

What the? Freaking anarchists in Susanville? I didn't even know they had taken a position on the WTO:

Or is that the symbol of the Satanists? I'm always getting them confused.

Elevation 4220, by the way:

Remember those train tracks? That was foreshadowing. Union Pacific is pulling for you, America:

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


Whatever Happened To "The Last Days Of Disco?"

Instapundit notes here that a small, rather obscure film is going for the rather unsmall price of $118.94 on Amazon. How can this be?

One possibility, from Wikipedia:
As of May 2006, the DVD of The Last Days of Disco has been out of print for a couple of years (since 2000 or 2001), and is selling for $100 to $270 online.

Ok, but then there's the fact that the first film in the trilogy, Metropolitan (1990) is available from the Criterion Collection for $35.99, and Barcelona (1994), chronologically the third film, is available for $17.99, both in (apparently unlimited) stock. Last Days of Disco (1998) only has 17 copies available. Seems a little strange.

Maybe the producers can help us out. I tried to look up Castle Rock Entertainment, but all I get is a website several years out of date whose links all go to the Pokemon 3 movie. Why not try Wikipedia again?

The worldwide home video and European theatrical rights to all Castle Rock films up to 1994 (with the exception of co-productions with Columbia such as In the Line of Fire and A Few Good Men) are now owned by MGM (having inherited some holdings from Nelson Entertainment), while the remaining rights as well as post-1994 Castle Rock films (except the US rights to The Story of Us and The Last Days of Disco, along with the international rights to The American President, all of which are held by Universal) are now part of WB's library.

Out of all that, I think I see that Universal holds the US rights to The Last Days of Disco. We're not talking about an authentic, signed-by-Elvis copy of Hound Dog. It's a freaking DVD of a not even ten year old movie. I could probably make copies, by myself, on my own computer, one at a time, and sell them for five bucks and still make a profit. You're telling me that a company with the production abilities the Universal has available can't run another printing of this movie that people are apparently willing to pay upwards of a hundred bucks to get their hands on?

To me, this feels like a movie that got lost in the shuffle of multiple ownership changes. The second Wiki link indicates that Warner Brothers may also have some sort of stake in Castle Rock films. I'll drop them both an email and see what develops.

Stay Tuned.

Or not: Hells bells.

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