Monday, March 29, 2010

Candle Cove

So, earlier today my friend and I end up talking over coffee about some fond childhood shows. He mentions an old show broadcast for a short time here during the 80s, but originally from the early 70s I think. It was called Candle Cove, and was about a girl who's friends with imaginary pirates (played by puppets) with an incredibly creepy villain. I'm talking the stuff of nightmares, here. Unbelievable what they passed off as kids shows back then, but I digress.

What triggered my curiosity - and nostalgia - was when he mentioned that it gave him strange recurring dreams. I was too young to remember exactly - so maybe it's just a false memory brought up by the conversation - but I'm rather sure the show gave me nightmares as well. The last episode in particular was, well, odd.

I looked into it, and I've never really experienced a comparable level of being both nostalgic and freaked out at the same time.

After scouring the net for a while, I came across a few articles on the show, including the following discussion taken from a forum thread from about four or five years ago:

Candle Cove
NetNostalgia Forum - Television (local)

Subject: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Does anyone remember this kid's show? It was called Candle Cove and I must have been 6 or 7, I never found reference to it anywhere so I think it was on a local station around 1971 or 1972. I lived in Ironton at the time. I don't remember which station, but I do remember it was on at a weird time, like 4:00 PM.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
it seems really familiar to me.....i grew up outside of ashland and was 9 yrs old in 72. candle cov...wasit about pirates? i remember a pirate marionete at the mouth of a cave talking to a little girl

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
YES! Okay I'm not crazy! I remember Pirate Percy. I was always kind of scared of him. He looked like he was built from parts of other dolls, real low-budget. His head was an old porcelain baby doll, looked like an antique that didn't belong on the body. I don't remember what station this was! I don't think it was WTSF though.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Sorry to ressurect this old thread but I know exactly what show you mean, Skyshale. I think Candle Cove ran for only a couple months in '71, not '72. I was 12 and I watched it a few times with my brother. It was channel 58, whatever station that was. My mom would let me switch to it after the news- Let me see what I remember.
It took place in Candle cove, and it was about a little girl who imagined herself to be friends with pirates. The pirate ship was called the Laughingstock, and Pirate Percy wasn't a very good pirate because he got scared too easily. And there was calliope music constantly playing. Don't remember the girl's name. Janice or Jade or something. Think it was Janice.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Thank you Jaren!!! Memories flooded back when you mentioned the Laughingstock and channel 58. I remember the bow of the ship was a wooden smiling face, with the lower jaw submerged. It looked like it was swallowing the sea and it had that awful Ed Wynn voice and laugh. I especially remember how jarring it was when they switched from the wooden/plastic model, to the foam puppet version of the head that talked.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
ha ha i remember now too. :) do you remember this part skyshale: "you go...INSIDE"

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Ugh mike, I got a chill reading that. Yes I remember. That's what the ship always told Percy when there was a spooky place he had to go in, like a cave or a dark room where the treasure was. And the camera would push in on Laughingstock's face with each pause. YOU HAVE... TO GO... INSIDE. With his two eyes askew and that flopping foam jaw and the fishing line that opened and closed it. Ugh. It just looked so cheap and awful.
You guys remember the villain? He had a face that was just a handlebar mustache above really tall, narrow teeth.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
i honestly, honestly thought the villain was pirate percy- i was about 5 when this show was on. nightmare fuel.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
That wasn't the villain, the puppet with the mustache. That was the villain's sidekick, Horace Horrible. He had a monocle too, but it was on top of the mustache. I used to think that meant he had only one eye. But yeah, the villain was another marionette. The Skin-Taker. I can't believe what they let us watch back then.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
jesus h. christ, the skin taker. what kind of a kids show were we watching? i seriously could not look at the screen when the skin taker showed up. he just descended out of nowhere on his strings, just a dirty skeleton wearing that brown top hat and cape. and his glass eyes that were too big for his skull. christ almighty.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Wasn't his top hat and cloak all sewn up crazily? Was that supposed to be children's skin??

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
yeah i think so. rememer his mouth didn't open and close, his jaw just slid back and foth. i remember the little girl said "why does your mouth move like that" and the skin-taker didn't look at the girl but at the camera and said "TO GRIND YOUR SKIN"

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
I'm so relieved that other people remember this terrible show! I used to have this awful memory, a bad dream I had where the opening jingle ended, the show faded in from black, and all the characters were there, but the camera was just cutting to each of their faces, and they were just screaming, and the puppets and marionettes were flailing spastically, and just all screaming, screaming- The girl was just moaning and crying like she had been through hours of this- I woke up many times from that nightmare- I used to wet the bed when I had

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
i don't think that was a dream. i remember that. i remember that was an episode.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
No no no, not possible. There was no plot or anything, I mean literally just standing in place crying and screaming for the whole show.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
maybe i'm manufacturing the memory because you said that, but i swear to god i remember seeing what you described. they just screamed.

Jaren 2005
Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
Oh God. Yes. The little girl, Janice, I remember seeing her shake. And the Skin-Taker screaming through his gnashing teeth, his jaw careening so wildly I thought it would come off its wire hinges. I turned it off and it was the last time I watched. I ran to tell my brother and we didn't have the courage to turn it back on.

Subject: Re: Candle Cove local kid's show?
i visited my mom today at the nursing home. i asked her about when i was littel in the early 70s, when i was 8 or 9 and if she remebered a kid's show, candle cove. she said she was suprised i could remember that and i asked why, and she said "because i used to think it was so strange that you said 'i'm gona go watch candle cove now mom' and then you would tune the tv to static and juts watch dead air for 30 minutes. you had a big imagination with your little pirate show."

Thanks to the wonders of the communication age, I was able to find a couple of episodes online.

Here is the infamous last episode... I told you it was, erm, odd:

Here's another episode from the show... the part where he talks about "to grind your skin" really creeped (creeps) me out:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

An ode to the octopodes

What is the plural of octopus? 'Octopodes', 'octopi', and 'octopuses' get thrown about, but which is most correct?

First of all, 'octopuses' is reached simply by applying the classical rules of English pluralization to the word octopus, rendering it a grammatically - though not traditionally - correct plural form.

'Octopi' originated due to a mistaken assumption that the word octopus is Latin in origin.  This is an easy mistake to make, considering that 'octo' is the Latin word for eight, and the '-us' ending suggests a Latin word suffix of the second declension.  However, it is significant to note that the Latin word 'octo' actually derives from the Greek word 'okto', also meaning eight.

Were octopus a Latin word, it would actually be spelt 'octopes' (falling in the fifth declension), and be pluralized as 'octopedes'.

Arguably, the most correct plural of octopus is 'octopodes'.  The reason for this is because, as hinted at earlier, the word octopus actually derives from the Greek (not Latin) word 'oktopous' which is pluralized in the form 'oktopodes'.  This use is, however, comparatively rare.

Surely a grammar lesson can't be all this post is about, so I'll throw in some amusing octopus-related anecdotes:

I love octopus; it is just the most amazing creature. Once, when I was snorkelling, I happened to notice this lazy bit of weed sprouting, unusually, out of a hole with the hollowed out head of a cray fish attached to it.  As my eye is usually tuned to such things, I decided to get a closer look and, of course, it turned out to be an octopus... fishing!

You see, he was just sitting in his hole, lazily dangling a tentacle out of it, using the crayfish to attract small whiting and other fish stupids to his lair; as soon as they'd come in for a quick feed - BANG! - out he'd shoot, grab 'em, and into his hole he'd go.  I watched him fishing like that for about an hour, and it was truly fascinating the way that little arm swung around in the current, just lolling about with his craftily deployed crayfish head.  Brilliant little buggers.

On another occasion, I found an octopus at low tide, all holed up.  Ran back to the flats and scooped up a handful of soldier crabs, and returned to the occy hole to drop them, one by one, around his lair.  I've never been more tickled than by seeing this little bugger drop out first one arm for a fat juicy soldier crab, then another, then another, until eventually he had six independent battles going on simultaneously, and still he wouldn't let go of any of them.  Of course, once he'd retreated with his fat cache o' crab, I dropped a little gold coin in the sunshine right out his lair, and he darted out, leaving the real treasure behind, to take a look.  Out he came, and then less than a heartbeat later, about twelve soldier crabs too, very mildly chewed, scattering off over the sands.

If you're ever watching an octopus be sure to have something shiny to lure them around with; they simply can't stand not to possess the shine.  I've had them crawl all over me and follow me for hours just trying to get the gold coins out of the mesh pockets in my snorkel trunks.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A pressing matter

What with Facebook changing their layout into a redundant, buggy mess yet again, some of my friends asked me to write a rant about the situation.  Well, seeing as I don't really care anymore, here's a rant for you:

Write it yourselves if you feel so strongly about it!  Or how about this, stop whining and don't use a service you don't like and are in no way paying for!

However, if you do need my wit to validate your own opinions, then I'm sure you're already aware of the fact that I have addressed this issue in the past.  Sure that article is boring and outdated now, but it's still better than anything you could come up with.

No, today I have decided to tackle a real and serious issue that has been vexing me greatly: Cow farts.

Studies show that cows emit massive amounts of methane through burping and farting.  Methane, of course, is a major contributor to global warming and is 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.  Some experts say that the average dairy cow emits up to 500 liters of methane per day, which is comparable to the average car on the road.  As we know, cars are a major contributing factor to the fact[1] of global warming.

An ongoing study by Welsh scientists is examining whether feeding cows garlic can have an impact on cow flatulence.  Early results suggest that a garlic based diet reduces cow farts by 50%, but result in disgusting milk.

Other efforts include a Fart Tax proposed by the government of New Zealand which was not adopted because it's fucking stupid.

What can be done about the problem?  Personally, I suggest a re-evaluation of the beef industry.  In a world where overpopulation is rife and we don't know what to do with unwanted children, the elderly or the homeless, do we really need to look towards another species as a source of dietary meat?

[1] Not really.  For an intelligent and totally unbiased look at global warming from an unbiased perspective, see this article.  Oh, did I mention it's in no way biased whatsoever?  Because it's not.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Why updates have been scarce

The recent sales on Steam have left me quite a bit less broke than I might have been had I bought a couple of dozen games at their usual prices, but it has left me in complete poverty as far as free time and productivity are concerned.

As you can tell from my Steam screenshot, my preference is generally for strategy, real-time tactics, and role-playing games.  The main culprits thus far have been my favourite MMO Eve Online, and an absolute little gem of an indie platformer called Braid that has managed to make itself one of my favourite games of all time.

I was hoping to make this post a little bit longer and more interesting, but these games aren't going to play themselves, you know...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Polyphasic sleep: A followup

Well, I've been trying dilligently for the past week or so, but - would you believe it - the one week I decide to give this a shot, I actually develop a social life.  A number of  social engagements that crept up on me over the past week have turned out to be difficult, if not impossible, to reschedule.

One of the drawbacks of a polyphasic sleep schedule is the unacceptability of missing just a single nap.  Miss one, and you're thrown off for a day; miss two, and you're completely screwed. After about three or four days of sticking with it faithfully, I began to miss naps and the whole thing fell apart.  Even an impromptu fishing expedition with my brother this morning was more than marginally unpleasant due to accumulated sleep debt.

If even during what is supposedly a holiday I am unable to make time for this sort of thing, I seriously doubt I'll be able to keep it going during normal life.  I can't say I consider it a healthy lifestyle, nor can I say it was fun while it lasted, but, goddamn, if it isn't interesting!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Reddit Secret Santa

Reddit recently ran an ambitious, community-driven Secret Santa project.  Initially it was a niche interest idea from a handful of lunatics, but the idea quickly picked up steam and received strong support from redditors.  It didn't take very long for redditgifts to become the biggest Secret Santa exchange in history.  The story got picked up by the mainstream media who ran with it as a lovely Yuletide story of an online community acting as a force for good, which is quite remarkable as most online communities specialize in ruining lives.

Let me get to the point:  I participated, and I finally received my gift!  The wait is the consequence of international shipping, but it was more than worth it.  I initially signed up with the intention of brightening a stranger's life - which, I am told, is the correct spirit in which these endeavours are to be undertaken - so the fact that I got anything at all, let alone a terrific gift, is just a bonus.

As you can see, my Secret Santa - an obviously intelligent, sophisticated and good looking redditor who goes by the handle ultimatenerd - got me a Pedobear plush from Desu Toys to keep my cat Molly company, and a copy of Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide; a book I've been meaning to read for quite a while now.

I'm thrilled with my gift from the Internet, and I'm already looking forward to 2010's Reddit Secret Santa exchange!

Monday, January 04, 2010

Polyphasic sleep

One of the benefits of working from home - and, from past experience, being unemployed - is that I get to make my own schedule.  A consequence of this is that my sleeping patterns tend to get severely warped.  As much effort as I put into having a healthy sleeping pattern, my aversion to having eight to ten wasted hours per day and my general enjoyment of the various activities with which I occupy myself, I usually end up with my circadian rhythms having me go to sleep at five or six in the morning.

With my sleeping patterns having yet again reached a nadir in productivity, and with the benefit of still technically being on holiday, I've decided finally to give polyphasic sleep a try.  A lot more has been written about it than I could, so I'll try not to rehash too much other than to explain that the system of polyphasic sleep I'll be attempting to adopt involves sleeping six times per day, for twenty to thirty minutes at a time.

Allegedly it takes about a week to adjust to the system, and fortunately my plate for the next week or two is rather manageable - even in the throes of sleep deprivation.  My naps will occur at 02:00, 06:00, 10:00, 14:00, 18:00, and 22:00.  This is quite convenient, as the naps will occur at the same hours on either side of noon.  In total, I'll get roughly three hours of sleep per "day" (my concept of what constitutes a day or a night will need re-evaluation.).  Reportedly this is as much as the human body requires under this system, and most people who have successfully switched - I admit, there aren't many - report feeling more alert, healthy and productive than they ever have before.  With this in mind, it certainly can't hurt to try! (don't quote me on that if I die)  A potential pitfall lies in missing a nap; while delaying a nap for up to an hour in a pinch is acceptable, missing just one scheduled nap can derail the entire system and require a great deal of time and effort for recovery.  Self-discipline and a strict schedule are the order of the day.

If SEALS can make it through Hell Week, then I can make it through a week of sleep deprivation until my body adjusts.

Another  potential problem with polyphasic sleep is that a person eats more - after all, you're awake for longer.  The fact that my diet already consists of six small and carefully planned meals per day meshes well with my new endeavour, so that's the least of my concerns.

Ultimately, there's very little science to back this up and long-term studies on its effects and efficacy are non-existent, so I'm not optimistic of success.  Let's just call it a temporary hobby until my holiday officially ends.

So my question is: What would you do with 30 to 40 extra hours per week?

Friday, January 01, 2010

Irish blasphemy law becomes operational

The new Irish blasphemy law becomes operational in Ireland today.  This type of law is silly, outdated and dangerous.  Are you religious and don't believe me?  Then recall that Jewish high priests had Jesus executed for the "crime" of blasphemy.  Jesus understood the importance of questioning, criticizing and subverting religious belief... and they nailed him to a cross for it.

That's precisely why this type of law is patently absurd.  Blasphemy is an arbitrary accusation that can - and often is - reinterpreted by individuals and groups to fit their particular need.  Even in Christianity, what is considered gospel to one branch is considered blasphemy to the other.

When you have ill defined laws, you have judicial manipulation and eventually end up with tyranny.