A panel interview with the beautiful and delicious Kari Byron of the MythBusters

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Our very own Dazvsemir and Kari Byron. See how HAPPY he is!

Kari Byron of Mythbusters held a press conference as part of her appearance at the April 2007 26th I-Con at Stony Brook, NY. When Dazvsemir and I entered the small classroom where the conference took place Byron was already sitting at a desk, kicking at the floor with her knee-high boots and chatting about weather and traffic. Although there were few reporters, a good amount of camera equipment was aimed at her. The room was filling up, but people were having trouble finding the right place in the labyrinthine classroom wing of the sports complex.

The first official question aimed at her was about her favorite myth, which turned out to be the myth of the exploding pants (or trousers, if you will) of New Zealand. Turns out the explosions had to do with a herbicide used in the 1930’s which then reacted with the cloth of the farmers who sprayed it all over their pants as well as the ragwort they were trying to eliminate. Byron loves myths with historical origins and generally loves explosions which, by default, made that one a favorite. It was also a myth the myth busters did not expect to be true, but which turned out to be another example of truth being stranger than fiction.

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Get Your Culture On: A review of “Romeo and Juliet” in Central Park

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On Saturday the 23rd of June, ETL & I adventured. It began as our adventures so often do, with me freeloading on her couch to get an early start, in this case, an early start of 5:14am for me, slightly earlier for ETL.

We prepared for the day, gathered our provisions and gear, and drove into Manhattan, arriving slightly past 6am. Amazing, free, legal parking was found and secured on East 79th street, and we headed into Central Park for our chilly 7-hour picnic. We laid out our camp happily near to the head of the line, (ETL estimated about 40 people ahead of us), and settled in to wait. And waaait… And waaaait.

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The Annual Mermaid Parade at Coney Island

I’ve never been to a parade before (barring Mardi Gras, which really should have clued me in) and was pretty excited about it. We saw some mermaids on the 4 train to Brooklyn and followed their progress (as they were ogled and chatted up by leering men) all the way to Coney Island. The crowds were insane and the closer we got to Coney Island, the more colorful the characters who joined us on the train became.

Turns out we should have just stayed up in the train station. The best view of the parade was from the train itself as it pulled into Stillwell Avenue. For the rest of the time, as the photos will mostly show, we were stuck behind a mass of people climbing over each other to get a peek at proceedings.

So, first, we couldn’t see much, and then we couldn’t move much. Somehow baby carriages were smashed through the crowd, and this didn’t help the general feelings of hostility festering in the 90 degree weather. Finally we just muscled our way into the parade itself and followed it along until an escape could be found. This is why so many pictures are taken from the back if they aren’t taken from the sides.

[EDIT: ROCKYOU SLIDESHOWS ARE OBVIOUSLY UNRELIABLE PIECES OF SHIT, SO… if all you see below this is an error message, check the pics out at flikr]

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Completely soaked through with sweat we sought ice cream and a passage back to Manhatten. I’ll admit that being an hour late probably didn’t help with the whole experience, but next year we will probably skip the parade and just go to the Mermaid Ball.

Free Opera—You Get What You Pay For: A review of “La Bohème”

At 6pm on June 20th, Cunningham Park looked ordinary, at first glance. Then the stage erected for tonight’s performance loomed into view, as did the dozens of people already congregated on tarps, lawn chairs, and blankets. A small area in front of the stage was barricaded off and some white lawn chairs were already set up there. A man wearing a bowtie and a tux stood behind the barricade and signed autographs. His incongruity with the rest of the scene drew our attention and I sent out my minion, Dazvsemir, to gather information and possibly a playbill.

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This was our view when we got there

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The New York Tattoo Convention

We entered an unlit hallway made of cardboard and panels, with the first visible thing being a T-shirt stand selling NYC Tattoo Convention T’s. The buzzing of needles was pervasive and soon became white noise. What attracted our attention was the sound of a whip snapping and someone screaming.

The New York Tattoo (and Piercing) Convention occurs every year at the Roseland Ballroom, sometime in May. Despite the mere four annual T-shirts their website sells, they are now in their 10th year. Tattoo and piercing artists and people with general body modification needs father round and take over Roseland for three days.

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Look closely for the guy whose features are hard to discern under ink

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Revisiting Dead Bodies Under Glass

Skin Man

In 2006 I have had the good fortune to stumble over the Body Worlds Exhibition (in no way associated with the subpar Bodies Exhibit currently in New York) while it was in Philadelphia. This article was the result of my visit.
Some years ago I heard about a peculiar German exhibition consisting of human corpses. The most disturbing exhibit was supposedly that of a dead pregnant woman, on display with her eight-month-old fetus still inside her. In my mind I created a morbid image of a woman’s abdomen cut open with skin flaps stretched and pinned away from the body (a la High School frog dissection) with the fetus inside exposed and grimacing at the viewer. This image was not inspired by horror films, at least not horror films alone, but other exhibitions I have gravitated towards in my travels. Continue reading

Moore Humor: A review of A Dirty Job

A Dirty JobSomewhere between Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys and the creators of a grievously short-lived show “Dead Like Me” lies Christopher Moore’s A Dirty Job.

The writing instantly established that it will try too hard to be funny by employing that British trick of using many more words than is necessary. The style does eventually grow on you and evoke that laughter that isn’t “out loud”, but does lighten up an otherwise grim and rainy morning.

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