December 19th, 2013


Ah, Let The Reindeer Games Begin

Mrs. Dr. Phil reported this afternoon that she paid $2.77.9/gal for gas today -- $2.97.9/gal, less 20¢/gal discount slips from the grocery store.

Four hours later, having had to make a dash out to the store again before the freezing rains begin to get more flour (and bananas), she said that the same Family Failure gas station in Allendale has seen fit to jack the price for regular to $3.27.9/gal. What on Earth caused a thirty cent rise in four hours? Could it be that they're just nailing last minute tank toppers before the 2-3 days of freezing rain coming? Makes as much sense as any other reason. Any reason other than economic market forces, because we've well established here over the years that pump prices are pretty much disconnected from any rational explanation.

And to think I paid $3.33.9/gal for premium at the Shell in Wayland on my way home last night. I usually feed the '96 Blazer midgrade 89 octane these days, but went with the premium 93 octane for the ethanol and additives to negate any water or crud built up since I last filled the tank on 25 April.

As for the weather, so far the local radar maps remain clear. To see any precipitation you have to pull back to show a line of stuff crossing the lake and Michigan from Green Bay MI. Or Iowa and Minnesota. Still, they're talking about 1/10th of an inch of ice forming, which could be tough on power lines and driving. Thankfully we had the generator serviced the other week and our propane tank was recently filled. Not saying to "bring it on!", but we have our defences lined up.

Dr. Phil

Under Pressure

The Book

Under Pressure, also known as The Dragon in the Sea, is a 1956 SF novel by Frank Herbert. I ran into a copy when I was working my way through the works of Herbert -- the bonus was the cover on this particular edition showing a heavier-than-water sub tug visualized as an SR-71. Very cool, and given the description in the novel, very apt.

Yes, Virginia, we really do sometimes buy books based on the covers -- this is why real cover art is important and why the artist talent search of Illustrators of the Future is a worthy companion to WOTF.

The book is a real psychological thriller, given that the character is a psychologist put board a sub to either find the spy or figure out why the four-man sub tug crew members go insane. Reminds me of the main character in the 1966 Asimov/film version of Fantastic Voyage.

The Song

Listening to WLAV the last few years, reminded me of the song "Under Pressure". It really has nothing to do with the Frank Herbert novel, but some of the lines are appropriate. If I was doing a modern movie version, I'd do a rewrite of the lyrics -- or screw the rewrite and just play the song over the end credits.

Pretty sure I ran into the song yesterday on my lone trip to Kalamazoo.

But Wait! There's More...

Today on Facebook there was a link to the: Isolated vocal tracks from Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure”.

Freddie Mercury! David Bowie! A cappella!

If you know the song, you can fill in the blanks. The fact that the backstory in the article tells us that this confluence of genius was a happy accident is even more delicious.

Check it out.

And by that I mean the song, the vocal tracks... and the Frank Herbert book. (grin)

Dr. Phil