Friday, November 27, 2009

Holiday was relaxing

Played some games. Ate tooooooo much good food. Still trying to get
the heater fixed. There was burned out fuse, cost $150, now the
igniter is burned out, cost $125. Eventually I hope to have heat in my
house again.
Hope your Thanksgiving was pleasurable.

Apparantly the crew of the CSS Ensemble spent the day playing some
form of alien billiards. I'm not sure I understand all the rules.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thankspinning!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday.
From Major Thunder and Commander Echo and the entire crew of the CSS

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I'm all ears

What's the giant phone for?

The men with super parabolic ears.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sit Toad, said the Door Mouse

Echo: Hey, you can call me the cheddar cat. That is one giant toadstool.
Thunder: Cheddar cat? What are you talking about?
E: You know, that story, Alice in Thunderland. The smiley cat sits on
top of the big mushroom eating cheese.
T: That's a hooka smoking cat-of-pillars. And the story was Echo in
Wonderland. Just don't go eating any of that fungus.
E: Too late Alice... Now what did I do with my pocket watch, Tweedle

The Trials of Horacio Bacon

There were just some things
With which Horacio Bacon
Would not put up
One of which
As a matter of principle
Was the condescending look
On the face of that youngster
Lieutenant Hughes Grant
Recently transferred
From some colonial outpost
Where it could not be expected
That manners and decorum
Would be transmitted
With the requisite vigor
And sacred solemnity
With which it had always been
Applied to the knuckles
And bared backsides
Of deserving young men
Fortunate enough to find themselves
Being raised within the warm embrace
Of institutions of learning
Where discipline is the paramount
Duty and responsibility
Of all members of the august faculty
Within those hallowed halls
Deep within the brave heart
Of proper industry and culture
Which is and always will be
The blessed empire
Long may she persevere
In a world increasingly afflicted
By backwater ignorance
And lazy no good insolence
Like that projected
By the smug countenance
Of Lieutenant Hughes Grant
Upon the undeserving
But decidedly superior
Brow of Horace Bacon
Of whom it must be said
By those who chronicle such things
In these degenerate times
Bore it without complaint
Echoes: Thank you for browsing at Jay Larsen’s Thunder Echo
Fine purveyors of prose and collagery since 2004
And none of that crass bloggery round here

Friday, November 20, 2009


Echo: Survey modules have to be placed in a secure level position.
Thunder: Don't quote regulations at me, Echo.
E: Just raise that strut 1.22 degrees.
T: The meter is in the green already.
E: Missaligned instruments will give faulty readings. We'll have run
all these experiments all over again.
T: God you get bitchy when you are EVA. You sure your CO2 levels are
within parameters?
E: Now who wants to recheck the levels?
T: Very funny, Echo. Very funny.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Such Primitive Art Forms

The natives of this world have such primitive art forms. They put
simple messages on each other's walls, often repeating what others
have left on their walls. Most have to do with mating or images of
themselves, as if to say "here I am" over and over again.
Fear not citizens. I will post more updates later. And the crew and I
look forward to your comments on our mission.

Relations of Reynard

Bottom jaw jutting out like a llama
Teeth protruding like a, well like a llama
Reynard regards regal rectangles
Surrounded by plastic chairs
Retard! He screams at himself
Startling the starlings and crows
Who circle and cry, circle and cry
Complaining of finding themselves
Back on that endless wheel of pain
That torture of endless torment
Which can only be accurately called
By one name, one heartless noun
One subject, one object,
One dreaded event
Inevitable as well as unavoidable


Slowly the crows and starlings
Settle back onto the wires
Staring steely stares
The cousins and uncles
Step mothers and aunts
Shovel green Jell-O
Onto sagging yellow paper plates
Retard! They scream at Reynard
Grab a plate before the ambrosia is all gone
Bottom jaw jutting out like a llama
Teeth protruding like a, well like a llama
Reynard vows never to attend
A reunion again
Echoes: Poem and Collage by Jay Larsen
Jell-O brought to you by family reunions everywhere
Where people are swimming you should shout,
Watch Out, There Are Llamas!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Environmental Control Issues

Commander Echo and I were checking the Environmental Control Unit
(ECU) on our Lander when we were interrupted by an indigenous reptilian
biped of some kind. He let out a terrible roar and fireworks shot out
of his mouth and the ECU exploded like a cardboard box filled with
smoke bombs. Echo and I ran around shouting like idiots until the
lizard man finally wattled away. But now our ECU is broken and we are
using space blankets and emergency heaters to stay warm until SCC
techs can talk us through repair scenarios.
Damn mutant lizards! The radiation he was emitting must have made us act like crazed extras in a bad movie.


Herr Eksen's Sind Brygge

Herr Eksen’s mind often concocts
Images of chorus lines dancing
As he plays dodge the curb
And squints into oncoming headlights
Oh, if his wife only knew
What a brew
What a wonderful stew
That spin the tires round and round
Handling curves of road and mind
While gripping the wheel so tight

Lay off the horn, Herr Eksen
Stay within the lines
The way you drive, Sir
Bends all the rules, Sir
Sind Brygge Lane is not wide

There really is no stopping
Herr Eksen when his mind
Is so thoroughly stewed in brew
Thank god he drives mostly at night
When pedestrians are few
The chorus girls are many
But pedestrians are few
Echoes: Poem and Collage by Jay Larsen
"Sind brygge" = Danish "mind brew"
Sung to the tune of Auld Lang Zinger
And NO, I am not condoning drinking and driving

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Slow Down and Recharge

Even a famous cosmonaut has to slow down and recharge the fuel tanks
once in a while.
Hey, what's that red light indicate Odo?

Monday, November 16, 2009

What it means to be a Cosmonaut

Greetings children of Ironica.

This is Major Thunder reporting from the surface of an alien world some where near [REDACTED BY PSA] over [REDACTED BY PSA] from home.
I have been asked to send a message describing what it means to me to be a cosmonaut and to explore alien worlds on behalf of all the people of Ironica, praise be to our Great Leaders.
I can tell you that being a cosmonaut means spending lots of time alone and very far from home, while always being in constant communications with Space Central Control. Although the [REDACTED BY PSA] delay makes ordinary conversations impossible, I communicate with my support team primarily through sub ether data bursts and [REDACTED BY PSA] and the occasional [REDACTED BY PSA] on special holidays and such. And let me tell you, messages from home are always appreciated.
Even though the crew and I spend a lot of time alone, we know that [REDACTED BY PSA] of dollars and years of work have gone into developing the systems that keep us safe even on an alien planet. Every time I check a pressure gauge or repair a faulty [REDACTED BY PSA] on my suit I am reminded of all the people whose lives and work have gone into supporting me in this enterprise. I am honored to be the representative of Ironica, praise be to our Great Leaders, and its great people.
I know the Planetary Security Agency will not let me talk about specific [REDACTED BY PSA] or scientific information or theories that might allow our enemies to [REDACTED BY PSA]. But we cosmonauts have been supplied with the best equipment our scientists and engineers could provide.
Every day we hope to discover new and useful materials and information to help to better understand the Universe, science, aliens and even [REDACTED BY PSA].

I look forward to sharing our adventures with you all as our [REDACTED BY PSA] mission continues.

With Hope and Praises to our Great Leaders,
Major Thunder
Commander of the [REDACTED BY PSA]


Sunday, November 15, 2009

We brought flags

We claim your shiny dish technology
In the name of Planet Ironica!
But only if you get HBO & Showtime.

We who are about to evolve

Salute you, Monkey Boy.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blind Devotion

Get out of the kitchen
Turn up the heat
Get out of the kitchen
Vampires can't be beat
by blind faith
or devotional porn
Get out of the kitchen
There's too much red meat

Blind Beat

Blind beat
Alien rhythm
Synthetic Splang

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update Highwire Act

My team at work just finished installing a major update to our biggest customer's system.
Now begins the unsettling period of waiting to see if any unanticipated problems happen.
Unfortunately the customer is 3 hours ahead of me and they don't really test their system until early in the morning. So the most likely scenario if there is a problem, is that I will get an emergency call at 3 or 4 in the morning.... It has happened before.
Hopefully we tested everything well enough and I will get to sleep all night.

Ah, the joys of nocturnal software support anticipation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veterans Day

Mormon Church Backs Salt Lake City's Gay Rights Law

I found the following story on the NPR iPhone App:

Mormon Church Backs Salt Lake City's Gay Rights Law
by The Associated Press

AP - November 11, 2009

The Mormon church for the first time has announced its support of gay rights legislation, an endorsement that helped gain unanimous approval for Salt Lake city laws banning discrimination against gays in housing and employment.

The Utah-based church's support ahead of Tuesday night's vote came despite its steadfast opposition to gay marriage, reflected in the high-profile role it played last year in California's Proposition 8 ballot measure that barred such unions.

"The church supports these ordinances because they are fair and reasonable and do not do violence to the institution of marriage," Michael Otterson, the director of public affairs for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said.

Passage made Salt Lake City the first Utah community to prohibit bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Under the two new ordinances, it is illegal to fire someone from their job or evict someone from their residence because they are lesbian, bisexual, gay or transgender.

Utah lawmakers tend to quickly fall in line when the influential church makes a rare foray into legislative politics. So Tuesday's action could have broad reaching effects in this highly conservative state where more than 80 percent of lawmakers and the governor are church members.

"What happened here tonight I do believe is a historic event," said Brandie Balken, director of the gay rights advocacy group Equality Utah. "I think it establishes that we can stand together on common ground that we don't have to agree on everything, but there are lot of things that we can work on and be allies."

But the church has pointed out an inherent dispute it has with the gay lifestyle. Mormonism considers traditional marriages central to God's plan. Gays are welcome in church, but must remain celibate to retain church callings and full membership.

It's strong support for Proposition 8 in California last year drew a sharp reaction from gay rights supporters nationwide, with many protesting outside temples that singled out Mormons as the key culprits in restricting the rights of gay couples.

Since then, however, Utah's gay community has sought to engage church leaders in quiet conversations to help foster better understanding, said Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center.

"I thought this conversation would never come to be while I was here in Salt Lake City," said Larabee, adding that the discussions have "shifted her perspective of what's possible" and could foreshadow a different relationship between the two sides.

But addressing the council on Tuesday, Otterson said the endorsement is not a shift in the church's position on gay rights and stressed it "remains unequivocally committed to defending the bedrock foundation of marriage between a man and a woman."

Church support for the ordinances is due in part to the way the legislation was drafted to protect those rights. Exceptions in the legislation allow churches to maintain, without penalty, religious principles and religion-based codes of conduct or rules.

"In drafting these ordinances, the city has granted common-sense rights that should be available to everyone, while safeguarding the crucial rights of religious organizations," Otterson said Tuesday .

Previous Utah legislation that sought statewide protections for the gay community did not contain those exceptions.

And although this was the church's first public endorsement of specific legislation, it is not the first time the church has voiced support for some gay rights. In August 2008 the church issued a statement saying it supports gay rights related to hospitalization, medical care, employment, housing or probate as long as they "do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."

Last year, church leaders were silent on a package of gay rights bills known as the Common Ground Initiative, dooming them from the start. Copyright 2009 The Associated Press

To learn more about the NPR iPhone app, go to

As long as it isn't gay marriage, maybe some kind of peace can be made with these religious groups. That may be the best way forward in the short term.
But then again, the Governor of Rhode Island just vetoed a bill that would let gay people plan their dead partner's funeral, and that has nothing to do with marriage.

Jay Larsen
Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

DEVO Doodle

Alright Spuds! One last DEVO post and then I'll leave it alone (maybe).

Heard Gerry and Bob1 on KEXP. They said the crowd in Seattle was great. When asked how they can get up the energy for a show like that at their ages, Gerry said: "The crowd made it easy. That was a really whacked crowd!"
They also announced that DEVO is back with Warner Brothers again for their new album. "They have our back catalog," said Gerry. "So, the devil you know...It kind of makes sense."
They played two new tracks: "Step Up" and "Watch Us Work It"
The new music sounded pretty good. You can get "Watch Us Work It" on
They also played a song by Die Alten Maschinen, a German band that Gerry did a song with, "To Be or Not"
No word on the name of the new album yet.
The picture is a doodle I did and altered with my iPhone.
I used to have a DEVO turtle neck sleeveless shirt like that in the 80s.
I used to wear it too....

Monday, November 09, 2009

Listening To: DEVO at the Moore

One of my favorite bands from the late 70’s and early 80’s was DEVO.
I especially liked their first 3 albums, Q: Are We Not Men?, Duty Now for the Future, and Freedom of Choice. DEVO had a homemade punk sensibility with a sarcastic sense of humor. And nobody, I mean nobody, sounded like DEVO in those days. I saw them 5 times from 1979 to 1981 and loved every single show.
Then they traded in their guitars for synthesizers and their punk edge for a cartoony cuteness which wasn’t as appealing to me. I missed the old DEVO. (Now don’t get me wrong, I like synthesizers. I just thought DEVO was at their best when the number of guitars on stage balanced the number of keyboards.)

So I was intrigued when I heard that DEVO was touring their Q: Are We Not Men? and Freedom of Choice albums on a limited tour this year. I mean, they guys are all 10 to 14 years older than me, and I’m not sure I could get up on stage and rock like that. But I thought, maybe Marc and Jerry are thinking that they wanted to get out there and rock it one more time before they qualified for Medicare. My wife bought me tickets and my daughter Chani and I trekked down to Seattle to see if DEVO had devolved beyond recognition or whether they still had some gas in the old tank.

Reggie Watts started the show. He is a mad man with a loop machine and stream of consciousness humor. He has to be seen to be believed:
Reggie kept asking the crowd, “Who is this Steve O guy, anyway?”

Finally, the Spud boys themselves took to the stage. They had gray and thinning hair. There was a bit of pudge on the bellies. But they came out in the classic yellow radiation suits from the 1970s and 3D glasses, strapped on their guitars and started to rock. They played the entire Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are DEVO album in order. They tore off the yellow suits during Jocko Homo and continued the show in black tees, black shorts and knee pads. For an encore they did Smart Patrol/Mister DNA from Duty Now for the Future and Gates of Steel from Freedom of Choice.

The crowd was mostly over 30, well okay 40. But there was a good percentage of younger fans. And Chani is only 14, so she brought the average age down a bit. There was a guy across the isle from me that looked like Santa with a long gray beard dancing in the isle and singing along with all the lyrics. Everyone was on their feet, dancing and having a great time.

Tonight DEVO is performing the Freedom of Choice album, but I can’t afford two concerts in the same week. Tickets were $55 bucks and T-shirts cost $30 more. It was a bit more than the $10 dollars I spent to see them the first time in L.A. But the show was fun and it brought back a lot of good memories.

On their website,, the band says they are working on a new album for 2010 and a full tour for next year. So if you are a DEVO devotee, check them out if they come to your town.

A: We are DEVO, We really are.

The DEVO show at the Moore on Sunday was great.
I was hoping somebody in the crowd got some good video, and I found this:

Here is a LINK for those who can't see the video above (you know who you are).

I'll post some more later, when I get a few minutes.

Friday, November 06, 2009

In the Future

In the future
I will be watching DEVO
In the future
I will post on my blog
In the future
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

WA Election Round Up

Well we had a measly 28% turn out for our off-year election on Tuesday.

And it looks like Ref 71, the Everything But Marriage Bill, will pass with a slim 51+% margin.

Most counties west of the mountains voted for R71.

Most counties east of the mountains voted against R71.

A win is a win. Although the loss of Equal Marriage Rights in Maine was sad.

Tim Eyman's 1033 was solidly rejected with a 55% No vote.

That's good because the state won't have to waste money overturning it in the courts.

In Snohomish County, all the incumbents won. What a surprise!!! Not.

Onward and upward, citizens.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Q: Are We Not Men?

A: We Are DEVO.

My wife loves me. She bought me tickets to see DEVO live at the Moore Theater on Sunday, November 8th.
They will be performing the entire Are We Not Men album.
I have not seen the Spud Boys live since the early 80's.
I hope they have aged better than I have.

Pearl Jam dresses up as DEVO for Halloween

Halloween Show: Pearl Jam does DEVO -- Gotta Love it.

Here is a LINK for those who can't see the video

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Super Powered Language

Don’t take too long
To get to the conflict
You run the risk
Of losing the younger audience

Don’t be afraid
To cut and jump
Like a kangaroo razor
With super powered language

Death takes no holidays
Today is your day
To master the art of
Echoes: Poem and Art Assembly by Jay Larsen
Presented without permission of the 20th century
While attempting to maintain readability
More or less within the range of accepted alphabets

Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad. - Boing Boing

Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad. - Boing Boing: "Secret copyright treaty leaks. It's bad. Very bad.
The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to 'national security' concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:
* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.
* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.
* That the whole world must adopt US-style 'notice-and-takedown' rules that require ISPs to remove any material that is accused -- again, without evidence or trial -- of infringing copyright. This has proved a disaster in the US and other countries, where it provides an easy means of censoring material, just by accusing it of infringing copyright.
* Mandatory prohibitions on breaking DRM, even if doing so for a lawful purpose (e.g., to make a work available to disabled people; for archival preservation; because you own the copyrighted work that is locked up with DRM)"

There is no V in Commercial

Here is an interesting statistic from the NY Times:

"Against almost every expectation, nearly half of all people watching delayed shows are still slouching on their couches watching messages about movies, cars and beer. According to Nielsen, 46 percent of viewers 18 to 49 years old for all four networks taken together are watching the commercials during playback, up slightly from last year."

Almost half the people with DVRs are still watching the commercials while watching shows they have recorded. I am proud to not be in that percentile, but I think I know why.

1. Half the TV watchers are passive couch potatoes. It's too hard to reach for that button.

2. The money spent on ads means their production values are better than the shows most people are watching. A Jack in the Box ad has way better special effects and soundtrack than most "reality" shows.

3. Did I mention it takes effort to reach for that button all the time?

On a similar note: It is election day today and ABC is launching the pilot of a new (old) show, V. What does that say about the expected interest level of Americans? It is a mid term election, so less than 50% of registered voters are expected to vote. That is only about 18% of eligible voters. And I have no idea what percentage of TV viewers are also eligible voters, but it has to be less than 18%. And of that percentage, how many of them will care enough to watch election returns on TV instead of the relaunch of V? How many people will be more interested in governors' races and civil rights and tax issues instead of sexy aliens invading earth?

The fact that V is launching tonight says that election coverage is not considered to be a major factor in getting eyeballs attached to the V pilot. Probably because people like me who will watch election returns also have DVRs and can watch V later (and half of us will skip the commercials).

Life is always entertaining. And the new V has to be better than its 80's ancestor! But that ain't saying much.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Tell Me Something

Tell me something
I can’t possibly know
Conceive a concept
I can’t comprehend
Do something
I can’t possibly do
Amaze me
De jade me
Make my ego die laughing
So that I/Eye am no longer
A thing
Just a node
In the network of
The unknowable concept of no doing

Echoes: Poem and Collage by Jay Larsen

November Dawn

Early morning looking east toward the Cascade Mountains from my front
Jay Larsen
Sent from my iPhone