Category Archives: Interests

Iron Man: Film Review

Last night was a date night – Imax style. That’s correct – Iron Man on the Imax screen. It was a blast!!

As nerdy as I may be, I’ve never been a comic book fan boy (unless you count Peanuts or Schlock). Iron Man to me was a guy in a metal suit – nothing more. However, I happened upon a Time magazine article about Robert Downey Jr. I was impressed with Downey’s background and his struggles to put his life back together.

At one point in the article it mentioned Iron Man and how hard Downey worked to get the roll of Tony Stark. That sparked my interest in the movie so I asked Em to request it via our Netflick account. That is when I figured out that it wasn’t to be released until May 2nd….

On May 2nd all I heard about from co-workers and online blog/forums was how good the Iron Man movie was. That did it – I was going to go check it out for myself. Hence the date night.[@more@]

The great thing was that the film did not disappoint us – it was great! It had all the right balance of action, character development and humor (not to mention very little “bad” stuff).

If you have the opportunity to see it – go for it!! I would tell you more, but I don’t want to ruin the event. Tongue out

By the way, Marvel Comic / Film Studio have announced that Iron Man 2 will be released on April 30, 2010. That’s right – it was such a hit that they are gearing up for number two (granted they went into Iron Man with the plans to make a sequel if it was received well).

Then it gets better – Marvel is going to make a full blown Avengers film in 2011! Imagine: Iron Man, Hulk, Spider Man, X-Man, Nick Fury and Capitan America in one film. Talk about a blow out!!

Iron Man Trailer:

(for those who haven’t seen or heard of the film)


Balrog – The Conclusion

Yes – the conclusion. We all let our breath out as Irony-chan has discovered the terminal velocity of a balrog!!! This deserves a Nobel Peace Prize!!!

Well… at least read her comics: Dumnestor's Heroes (just started this year) or the completed Get Medieval. Both are really good web-comics!! (just ask E). Wink

Now to the conclusion of the Balrog debate:

If your really into this and want to know the cross selection of a balrog –  click here

Dumnestor's Heroes - by Irony-chan

Dumnestor's Heroes - by Irony-chan

Did you get all that? Undecided

The End

Balrog – Continued

Dumnestor's Heroes - by Irony-chanAnd you thought I forgot – shame on you!! Tongue out

When we last left our faithful Balrog scholar she was making a Balrog model so she might determine it's mass. Using a bucket of water and a teaspoon Irony-chan determined that a full size Balrog has a volume of 43,000 liters.
[full story here]

Now that we have the volume, we can find the mass…. oh – wait, we need it's density first. *sigh*[@more@]

Dumnestor's Heroes - by Irony-chan

[full density post here]

More next week….

By the way, if you haven't check out Irony-chan (our awsome Balrog scholar) newest comic (Dumnestor's Heroes) – you need too!! It's pretty cool.  Laughing   

Blood Diamond

We just finished watching "Blood Diamond"….  For years I have avoided it because I knew it dealt with painful injustice in Africa. That's the thing, you can watch the film as a work of fiction – and walk away just as you came.  

Or you can watch it as it was meant to be watched – as real life. These things happen – are happening – in Africa today as I type. It's a hard bullet to bite….  In a land that has seen peace for 100 years, war and all it's horrors are hard to picture.  There's a huge disconnect.

I liked what the reporter gal in the film said when asked why she keeps going into conflict areas – "Maybe I give a shit".  That's the ticket – once you looked injustice in the face and saw the tears of the Lord, you give a shit. You can't turn back. No matter how tough, how painful or how crazy it may seem – you have to keep moving. Keep caring – keep praying.[@more@]

It seems odd to write these words on a labtop in a nice house in Idaho. Yet I believe they are true. I may have never seen the kind of war or injustice as pictured in Blood Diamond – but I have seen the gulit, the pain, the trauma and the bondage of sin.

We live in a war. All of us. There are no supply officers – we are all on the front lines. We MUST fight.

Yes – there are days when I want to give in and forget the dreams, the passions and the work that God has given me. I look across the fence and wonder if it would be easier to not be a Christian. 

Yet, I must continue. Jermiah once said, "There's a fire in my bones! I must keep speaking the words of the Lord."  (my paraphrase)   I've seem too much. Felt too much – been too close. No mater what I must keep preaching the Kingdom of God. It is the ONLY hope in this world.

It is the hope that will bring peace, love, joy, forgiveness, and life. Yes – it may be head. Nay – it WILL be hard. The evil one does not like us – but the Kingdom as come and is coming. We must care on. He is by our side – let us march forth to the battle – crying as one:

Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord Almighty. Who was and is and is to come 

Vexxarr: Infestation

I couldn't help it.. I HAD to post this comic…. it was too funny to pass up.. Tongue out

If you need a backgound, check out Vexxarr on a local computer screen near you. Preferable the same screen you're viewing this at… but, not necessarily. If your neighbor has a screen next to you, use their. Share the wealth. Laughing

Enchanted: A Movie Review

Wow! I never knew there was a movie so cute or mushy in existence! We started the film during supper – which was a bad idea as I almost threw up in the first 5 minutes of flick!

I mean – the producers took EVERY single cute, mushy, girly, romantic, cheesy or other-wise unbelievable Disney and crammed them into the first 15 minutes!!! (don't believe me? check it out here) It was enough to make any guy go stir crazy!!! I wouldn't say that I was a stereotypically guy – come on, I cried Gilpin sacrificed himself in The Dirty Dozen – but Enchanted was way, WAY over the top.

Now remember – this all happened within the first 15 to 20 minutes… of a 107 minute movie!

Despite my repeated threats of leaving to hang sheetrock, I stayed – mostly because Em, who seen the film before (read: "SHE LOVED IT"), said there where some good parts ahead. As it turned out, the "good parts" were a reference to the wicked queen pushing Giselle down a well.

At this point, the film takes a drastic change. No longer is it a 2D cartoon, but a live action film set in New York City. The main point being that only in NYC could someone wonder around in a large white dress or a 1500's princely garb and not getting any strange looks. Well – maybe not any strange looks… but not many.

I can’t even begin to express the horror of the films innocence or the lack of logic that was expressed as the minutes ran on. (I'm so glad we didn't see this movie in the theaters as my sister-in-law wanted to… the terror of that kind of torture is unspeakable!)

[@more@]It was after the happy-go-lucky park song, "That's How You Know" (which was Em's favorite), that I had enough. If I was going to make it through this film, I needed a stiff drink. Badly. And it better be stiff.

After a few sips of Glenlivet, the film got a bit better. A bit, mind you. I was through the love of a women that I continued on my brave quest to salvage the male reputation.

Now before all you women readers start mailing rotten tomatoes to me, please know that I did enjoy certain parts of the film.

The parts with the chipmunk were especially funny. I about DIED laughing as Pip tried to talk or, the best part, when he holds up his belly and steps onto the dragon. That was classic!!! Oh, I'm lucky to be alive after that bit!!! ROFL

Which brings me to a mind bending question: If the evil queen dragon creature had wings, why did it/she fall?



PS> Note to the guys, Enchanted is pure brownie points (if you can get through it) Wink

The Belrog Debate continues..

After many days, it was determined that what was really needed was the terminal velocity of a balrog.

More belrog debate here and here

Dumnestor's Heroes

Seeing that we need the mass of the balrog before we can continue, our brave author buys the only scaled balrog model she can find. The theory being that if she can measure the volume of water the model displaces to calculate the mass of a full size balrog.

This bring ups some interesting thoughts…

  • How tall is a full size balrog?

Toosdoodle says: In the Two Towers Merry and Pippin discuss their exact height when Pippin drinks the special water in Treebeards forest and it makes him get taller. You could determine how tall Gandalf is based on Pippins height and then Compare Gandalf to the balrog to determine the Balrogs height.

  • [@more@] Do you have to build the model before you measure the volume of water displaced?

Anonymous says: Do you really need to build the balrog? Surely if you immerse all his dis-embodied parts it will be equal to the volume of all his parts glued together.

Sparkzy says: You know, you don't need to assemble the Balrog. Just make sure the hollow pieces are filled in with something waterproof (spackle?), and then dump the pieces in the water. It would be the same as if you chopped up a Balrog, then determined its volume. Should be the same as an intact Balrog.

  • Is a Balrog's terminal velocity slower then a falling Ainu?

Fings says: A rough approximation: Gandalf falls after the Balrog, but catches up with him, so obviously the Balrog's terminal velocity is slower than a falling Ainu (which for purposes of estimation, we will assume equals a falling human). As the terminal velocity of a falling human is around 50m/s on the low end, let us assume that speed for the Balrog.

Furthermore, let us ignore the initial acceleration and assume the Balrog starts at that terminal velocity. Therefore, 50m/s*104s = 5200m, or 5.2km. This is a rough upper bound, as the Balrog may have an even lower terminal velocity, or had its speed reduced from bouncing off walls, etc, plus the fact I ignored the slower than terminal velocity for the first few seconds. So I would say the lake is no more than 5.2km down.

  • Then again, maybe we aren't taking in all the variables?

Steve V. says: To add more complication to all this, let's go back and forget about terminal velocity and realize that there are other things happening if you can accelerate towards the center of the earth for 104 seconds.

In this case gravity is not constant, but is decreasing towards the center. Offhand, that makes a difference of about 2% in the gravitational force at the end of the plunge – mostly negligible. What would happen if it went to the center? Weightlessness. And if the hole goes all the way through? Periodic motion down to the center, up to the other side to zero speed, then reverse and start back all the way through. How many seconds to get to the center? Need to do an integral…

Then another thing is forgotten. The radial velocity – the earth is spinning at the same angular velocity, but the linear velocity varies based on radius. The balrog's sideways motion does not vary with radius (depth) and the vector direction was determined when he started falling, but the hole orientation is rotating with the earth. The balrog would presumably hit the wall when falling far enough. Need to do the complete math here – the real thing is that the balrog is doing a truncated orbit… Have fun.

Dumnestor's Heroes

Nerds & Geeks: Definition PLEASE!!!

Yesterday's post begged a peculiar question: what is the definition of a "nerd" or a "geek"?

Last night my bride informed me that I was more of a "nerd" then she was as I tended to be interested in and research topics outside my normal everyday life (like calculating the terminal velocity of a balrog or researching the definition of 'nerd').

To her, her greatest dream was to become a "computer geek" – ie. someone who knows computers, both programming and hardware. The root premise being that a "geek" was someone who enjoyed and collected wide ranges of gadgets (electronic and computers).

Not wanting to disappoint my glorious gal, I decided to embark on a journey to discover what is the correct definition of a "nerd" or a "geek".  Let the quest begin.

The first stop on our journey is the (online, of course)


  1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
  2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.


  1. a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp. one who is perceived to be overly intellectual.
  2. a computer expert or enthusiast (a term of pride as self-reference, but often considered offensive when used by outsiders.)
  3. a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts, as biting off the head of a live chicken.

Hmm… E bitting the heads of live chickens? Undecided

Onward to our next stop: [a wiki style dictionary for urban slang words and phrases.]

One whose IQ exceeds his weight


The people you pick on in high school and wind up working for as an adult

Well, that didn't help any… Frown

To save this quest, we must go to the Mecca of all nerds and geeks – the great Wikipedia!!


Nerd is a term often bearing a derogatory connotation or stereotype, that refers to a person who passionately pursues intellectual activities, esoteric knowledge, or other obscure interests that are age inappropriate rather than engaging in more social or popular activities. Therefore, a nerd is often excluded from physical activity and considered a loner by peers.

Some nerds show a pronounced interest in subjects which others tend to find dull or complex and difficult to comprehend, or overly mature for their age, especially topics related to science, disambiguation, mathematics and technology. On the opposite end of the spectrum, nerds may show an interest in activities that are viewed by their peers as immature for their age, such as trading cards, comic books, or role playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and other things relating to fantasy and science fiction.


The word geek is a slang term, noting individuals as "a peculiar or otherwise odd person, especially one who is perceived to be overly obsessed with one or more things including those of intellectuality, electronics, gaming, etc.". Formerly, the term referred to a carnival performer often billed as a wild man whose act usually includes biting the head off a live chicken, bat, snake or bugs. The 1976 edition of the American Heritage Dictionary included only the definition regarding geek shows.

  • A person who is interested in technology, especially computing and new media. Geeks are adept with computers, and treat the term hacker as a term of respect, but not all are hackers themselves.
  • A person who relates academic subjects to the real world outside of academic studies; for example, using multivariate calculus to determine how they should correctly optimize the dimensions of a pan to bake a cake.
  • A person who has chosen concentration rather than conformity; one who pursues skill (especially technical skill) and imagination, not mainstream social acceptance.
  • A person with a devotion to something in a way that places him or her outside the mainstream. This could be due to the intensity, depth, or subject of their interest.

Our quest is now over. We can breath easier knowing that:

a nerd is someone who "passionately pursues intellectual activities, esoteric knowledge, or other obscure interests"


a geek is someone who is "interested in technology, especially computing and new media"

As such, I must admit that my wife was correct and I'm more of a nerd then she is. * sigh*


Have you ever wondered where the term "nerd" came from?  Wonder no more!

The word itself appears to derive from the lines "And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo / And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep and a Proo, / A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker, too!" in the Dr. Seuss book "If I Ran the Zoo" (1950). (The spellings `nurd' and `gnurd' also used to be current at MIT.) How it developed its mainstream meaning is unclear, but sense 1 seems to have entered mass culture in the early 1970s (there are reports that in the mid-1960s it meant roughly "annoying misfit" without the connotation of intelligence).

An IEEE Spectrum article (4/95, page 16) once derived `nerd' in its variant form `knurd' from the word `drunk' backwards, but this bears all the hallmarks of a bogus folk etymology

American Psychological Association (APA):
nerd. (n.d.). Jargon File 4.2.0. Retrieved April 17, 2008, from website

I must be part nerd..

My very nerdy wife sent me a link to a webcomic (Dumnestor’s Heroes) where the author is trying to calucate the aerodynamic properties of balrogs. Yes – Balrogs. As in LOTR balrogs.


Because she’s a nerd who wanted to find out just how far the Balrog and Gandalf falls!!

Using the movies as her reference (leaving out the Jackson LOTR vs Tolkien LOTR debate), it was discovered that Balrog and Gandalf fell for 104 seconds. Knowing that the Middle Earth was an ancient part of this earth, we can say that gravity produces an acceleration of 9.81 meters per second squared. Plugging in the numbers you get a distance of 106 km – which is strange concerning the earth’s crust is only 50 km think!!

Read the full debate here

Dumnestor's Heroes

Now we get the cool part – for us nerds – does a Belrog have wings? ’cause that could heighten the air resistance… [@more@]

Diabhal says: If you want to work out whether the Balrog had wings or not, work at the problem backwards.

Gandalf must have fallen at the same terminal velocity as the balrog, since they stayed together and fought all the way down. We know Gandalf is approximately 6 feet tall and 70kgs, and has the cross-section of a human male, and should therefore have an approximate freefall speed of 120mph (55m/s).

The balrog must have a suitable cross-section to fall at the same speed. You can then compare this to that of the spherical balrog, and if the spherical one falls much faster wings will be necessary to slow it down. I admit to neglecting a magical factor invoked by either one, but since I have no idea how to include that, it’s just going to have to stay neglected.

Of course, the real question isn’t if the belrog had wings or not, but was it an European, or an African balrog??

Dumnestor's Heroes

Who Am I – Casting Crowns

A friend set me this really cool video set to the music of Casting Crown. I would tell you more about the video…but then it would ruin it. Tongue out

Clue: It includes blacklights and white gloves

[@more@]Did you figure out the new cool "spoiler" trick I learned?  Laughing  If not, try highlighting the area after "it includes".