Monday, December 31, 2007

mystery UFO in the UK


No this is not another "Dorito UFO" that was spotted a month or so ago that I posted about earlier. (And, never heard anything more about so I guess it's another "unsolved" mystery).
This one is from a guy named Harry Hughes where he and his wife saw some strange lights in the sky after their Christmas dinner. The article (here) is in the "Flintshire Standar" and mentions video that was posted on the "Evening Leader"... I went to that website, and oddly enough it's the exact same article, and I could not find any video. It's odd to because the website design is identical as well, so either the Flintshire Standard and Evening Leader are sister publications, or one is stealing from the other :)

Here's a teaser quote:
Harry said: "They had been travelling west, but then they began to change direction one by one and started heading north. They were travelling at a high speed when they began to go north and were slanting upwards.

Note: Do they spell "Travelling" different in the UK?
Another Note: It's unclear if the photo is actually from Harry or from a different sighting earlier this year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

no hope...


I found this post over on boingboing... you either have to laugh at this story or cry.
"Priests brawl at Jesus' birthplace" Link to timesonline.co.uk

2007 clean up

ok, I just completed a little bookmarking cleanup in my firefox browser. It started with just wanting to dump an old link that wasn't active anymore and turned into about an hour of going through a bunch of links that I saved in my "blog" folder. (ie: A whole bunch of blogs I've stumbled upon and saved). First, I made some folders to put them into... they are:
people blogs: this was a hard category, it's basically just blogs like mine with no real "direction" other than peoples thoughts on the web. People like my sister made it into this folder, along with "beautiful butterfly".
art blogs: self explanatory, basically anything having to do with art goes in here.
blogs about blogs: things like blog web design, templates, making money, etc...
environmental: self explanatory again.
food and cooking:
movies:
personal growth: corny name I know, but wasn't sure what else to call it. Things like inspiration blogs, thinking, etc.
politics:
techy make blogs: Most of my blogs fell in this category.

In sorting all of my bookmarks, it meant visiting each one again to see what it was. Ones I had not been to in a long time and forgot what they were. In doing this, I was surprised at how many of the blogs had fallen by the wayside - in that they had not been updated in several months. Sorry, but in a whole intertubes land full of blogs, if you can't update at least once a month, I gotta move on. (Sis is not included in this ;)

A good exercise to do at the end of the year.
I'm curious if YOU have other/better ways to organize all of the blogs you read? Post in the comments if you have any sort of system.

Friday, December 28, 2007

new batteries from Toshiba

Been a while since I posted anything "green" so here's a cool discovery...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22240865/

And it's a short post to make up for my "book" post yesterday.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

great day in the city

Well, on my day off today, I drove into the city to do a little "sightseeing" I guess you could call it. I initially thought I wanted to go to the "Constitution Center" today, but I got off to a bit of a late start, and then had second thoughts about if I wanted to go or not. So, I decided to just do a couple things I've been wanting to do for a while now, and just take my time around the city and take it all in. (I'm talking about Philadelphia too in case you were wondering).
First I went to Pearl Art Supply on South street. It took me about 15 min to find a decent parking space, but after a little persistence I had a space open up. I only put in about 45 minutes worth of quarters thinking that was more than plenty for what I initially wanted to get. (I was looking for a thin brass rod, to make a "blinky bug" at Pearl). I had sort of planned to stop in at a local art gallery too that I had been meaning to get over to see called "lineage", but much to my dismay, when I went to their website today to get the address, I learned that they had closed! Dang I missed out on a lot of good art, and am kicking myself now for not going sooner.
So I parked, and started towards Pearl. Well, First thing I did was find a cool little shop that sold loose tea, but unfortunately it was closed (i guess for the holidays?). Then I passed a shop that has been there for many years, and I always think they have some of the coolest stuff in there. It's hard to describe really, but it's called "Armed and Dangerous" - no it's not a gun store ;) - It's a store that sells nick-knacks and clothing and swords, and jewelry, and stuff. It's like a mix of Goth, Renaissance, and Egyptian chochtkes (sp?) all together. I got a cool stainless steel ring (I'm not a ring person though, so I'll see if I can get used to wearing it). And a small "Eye of Horus" charm.
Next stop... a store I had been to once before but was closed. It was called "Jinxed". They had some of those "urban vinyl" figures I wanted to check out. (got one small one called a "cactus pup"). I asked if he heard about lineage being shut down, and he said they were moving to NYC, and we both had a sense of loss. He did say that he's been talking to them about possibly selling some art through his store (that'd be cool). It was a neat store, but it could be 10times cooler and with more stuff.
Finally I made it to Pearl. Oh it was nice! I SO miss and even forgot what a "real" art supply store offered. In our area we have several "craft stores" but nothing like Pearl anymore. I was on my way to the second floor to get the little metal tube, when I spotted a section of watercolor paints. I stopped to look... OMG! SO EXPENSIVE! I almost fell over when I mis-read the price tag and what I thought was Super expensive at $99, was in fact $199! I almost fell over. At that point, a sales guy must have seen me looking and he came over and I was his new best friend. But, again, it made me really miss having an "art supply" store near me because this guy new a TON of stuff. I think he must have been bored, because he went on to talk to me for well over 15 minutes, all about history of paint, different brands, prices, a coupon, brushes, etc... It was great actually. I thanked him several times for "teaching" me so much. I ended up buying a new brush, and a "tub" of color that I wanted to try out by "Schminke" (huh, weird, they don't seem to have a website). If you are ever in Philly and happen to paint with watercolor, go to Pearl and ask for Gilbert. He's a nice guy and really knows his stuff.
Finally, I got what I needed at Pearl, and was off for my next destination... FOOD!
I wanted to go to Penangs (again no website). It's in Chinatown on tenth St, between 10th, and 9th. It's Malaysian food. I've been there a few times before, and really like their food. I got the Prawn Mee (again) and an appetizer I can't pronounce or remember the name of. It's like a crepe, that you dip in a curry sauce made with beef and potatoes. Really fills you up and a decent price of about $4 for the appetizer, and $6 for the Prawn Mee. The Prawn Mee had shrimp (of course), few slices of Pork, egg noodles, bean sprouts, some sort of green leaf plant that reminded me a little of seaweed but very mild and not as salty. All of this was in a fish stock, with hot chili oil. Yum.
I left there and stopped in a "touristy" Chinese store with WAY over priced stuff. I left there and went into the "real" Chinese market and looked around. I got a really cool looking bowl (hoping it's not lead paint!) and of course, some new tea that I never had before. It's black Lichee tea from China (of course). It is in a really cool tin too.
That was my day... a really good one, and I'm going to make it a point to try and head over into the city on a more frequent basis. (I remember when I visited my Sister in California once, as we were riding the BART (it's a train) we both said we're gonna try to get into the city about once a month (I pretty sure neither one of us has done that). But we both should try more often :)

again, my apologies for such a long post.

Sicko


I FINALLY got around to watching Michael Moore's "Sicko" tonight. I don't know why it took me so long... actually, no, I do know why... I was afraid I was going to be depressed after seeing it. I literally just finished it about 5 minutes ago, so there is not much time to process all that, but I think I'll probably be depressed tomorrow. That's the thing about Moore's movies and books... they leave you with a sense of "Somebody should do something about this... 'I' should do something about this!... but where do I start? What can little ol' me possibly do?" And that's when the depression sinks in for me.
I won't go into rehashing the movie, only to say, YOU should watch it.
The other thing I want to say, is that I'm going to take one step further than what I really don't want to do... I prefer to "stay off the grid", but I think I'm going to get a passport soon. No real reason as of this time, but I am starting to think that if I ever want to jump off this sinking ship, I should have this important piece of paper that will let me do it. France is looking pretty good right now. (except I don't speak french)... oh yeah, Britain is looking good too. Canada does too, but I lived up North for a few months and I just can't deal with all that snow. I get cabin fever too easily.
It may be that my passport becomes my greatest "investment" in my future health care.
Michael's website.
Sicko on imdb.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cspan and Cabelas

It was a bit late last night but I had gotten a second wind, so wasn't ready for bed yet. I turned on C-span to see what I would be missing if I canceled my comcast...
turns out there was a really great show on.
I just spent over an hour on C-span's website trying to track down more information on this show... C-span (as much as I love you) you have one of the worst websites to search and navigate.
Is it SO difficult to make a chart of say the last 5 days programing on your website?
I wrote down the names of the people on the panel: George Lakoff, Frank Luntz, Drew Westen, hosted by Andras Szanto. Originally broadcast on 11/7/07 and just shown last night at midnight (well I guess technically that's this morning not last night) on 12.26.07. Do you think I could find it via their search engine?! NO! I finally found it by looking in their video links, and went to click on the "watch now" and was met with a series of blank windows popping up and error codes. ugh.
IF you have a PC maybe you can watch this video easier than I can. If you have a mac, you're probably out of luck (like me).
It was a really interesting show about "propaganda" how political figures can "frame" a question, political ads, etc... it was great because it showed how easily "they" can manipulate the masses.
I guess we'll never see it again online though - which is sad.

Cabelas (http://www.cabelas.com/)
They are similar to L.L. Bean i guess, but I'd say their products differ in that it's MUCH more than just a clothing store (like LL Bean). It's an outdoors store, with tons of stuff for fishing, hunting, camping, etc... Well, since I'm on vacation for this week I thought this would make a good day trip. I left about 1:30pm, and google maps said it would take approx 2 hours to get there. They nailed that. First off, I forgot my map atlas of the US. No big deal I thought, I had google directions printed out. While I was driving, I realized it has been a VERY long time since I've done any sort of highway driving like this. It's stressful. Not knowing exactly where you are going, crazy drivers, and the rain and sleet didn't help much either. I finally got to the store and it's up on the top of a hill and I almost heard angels sing when I saw it. It's HUGE! I spent the next 2.5 hours walking around it. About 35 minutes of that was spent eating dinner in their cafeteria though... it was expensive, but it tasted good (I was starved too, cause I didn't have lunch). It was a 1/2lb buffalo burger, lettuce, onion, jack cheese, and jalapeƱos, plus I got some fries and a iced tea. $10.50!
I found a couple items I wanted, (a gerber leatherman tool, couple bargin hats, and some fishing lures). I left about 6pm. It was dark and it was raining like it did in the days of Noah! I almost missed my turns twice (the kind where you have to cross the white lines), my windshield was blurry with some sort of oil on it, I couldn't see worth a dang, and crazy people where passing at 65-70mph in the pouring rain. I missed my last turn, but luckily knew how to get home from there via a different route. And to top it all off... I was running with my gas gauge touching the "E" mark... Sheesh! It was fun to visit their store, but I'll probably NEVER do that again!
One more thing...
It had been so long since I went on a drive like that, that I forgot that the world is not all stripmalls and stores. There are still farm fields out there, horses, red barns, etc... I gotta get outta my usual ten mile radius of driving more often now.

Sorry for such a long post.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kiva.org

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all found a bit of peace today and enjoyed a bit of the holiday spirit today.

I was just surfing the web and somehow stumbled upon a website that I had discovered some months ago. That is: www.kiva.org. I had bookmarked it with the intent of joining and contributing to but somehow lost track of the link and completely forgot about it - until today.
I find it fitting that I re-discovered it today (Christmas) and am glad to help. Of course that little nagging voice in the back of my head tells me "this could be a scam", "people are probably misusing your intended "loan", etc... But I'm ignoring that voice for now and going ahead with it.
I just "loaned" a small amount to a woman in Uganda so she could build a section or new pig sty.
In a nutshell, the website allows people like me to lend a certain amount of money to entrepreneurs who are in need of money in order to make a better life for themselves and or for their family. It doesn't take a large donation (about $25) and it is technically a loan and not a gift. At some point down the road, the person(s) you lent the money to repays the loan, at which point you can either "cash out" or re-loan the money to someone else.
Pretty cool idea.
Check it out if you like.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Free Rice

Found this link the other day and thought it was a pretty good idea.
It's simple, it's kinda fun, you might learn something, and you "supposedly" help people in the process. The cynic in me doesn't trust the online charity thing but I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.
Anyway, go check out www.freerice.com.
It is a vocabulary test really. It throws out a word, with a multiple choice answer to the correct meaning. As you get answers right (and wrong) they post up advertisements which is how they generate money to buy the rice.
So far my record is around 38!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Random thought...

Still pretty busy around here, but I had to throw this one out there.
So last night, I'm laying in bed and I was thinking about dreams. I had heard (or read) recently that this person (it may have been in the new book I'm reading about Nikola Tesla) was able to trace back his dreams to events that happened earlier in the day. I know it's been documented before too that our brain works while we sleep in trying to figure out problems. A simple example is when people say "I'll sleep on it" when faced with making an important decision... it's now considered a way of "buying time" but in fact it's based in letting the subconscious think it out while we sleep.
Then I wondered how much TV has influenced this fact now. Subconsciously we take in a LOT of input from our world, and proceed to "throw out" those things that we don't need to worry about. I was wondering for example in the process of flipping through all the TV channels on an average nights viewing how this might be effecting our subconscious mind in relation to dreams. I wonder how many less important discoveries there are now that scientists don't wake up in the middle of the night to claim "Eureka!" In my continued thoughts of dumping my cable TV, I'm wondering if my dreams might improve.
Just a random thought.

IF I don't post between now and Christmas (I probably will, who am I kidding)...
HAVE A MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I KNEW IT!!!

So it's been a hectic day here... trying to get a bunch of jobs out before the holiday. I've decided to take a week off - HOORAY! (though without pay, but such is the life of a freelancer).
Anyway, I had a break in the storm and jumped over to see what the latest headlines were on Reddit... Right at the top at number one is this headline:
"New Ohio Voting Report: “The 2004 Election Was Stolen… Finally We Have Irrefutable Confirmation"
It's an unbelieveable discussion with the host of DemocracyNow.org (they have a low budget TV news show on some cable channels - No offense DN, but your production quality could be bumped up a bit). I mean it's just unbelieveable some of the stuff being said here. You can't make this stuff up... unless of course it is ALL made up, but I think not. Really you should read the whole thing, but I'll pull a couple of quotes here...

We documented scores of ways that this election was stolen. And we pointed out a myriad flaws that we saw right in our own neighborhoods, of what was done to keep people of color and young people from voting and to rig the vote count.

We documented scores of ways that this election was stolen. And we pointed out a myriad flaws that we saw right in our own neighborhoods, of what was done to keep people of color and young people from voting and to rig the vote count.

she comes up and says there are very simple ways the 2004 election could have been flipped just like that.

We are guaranteed certain that John Kerry won Ohio in 2004.

They locked down. They kept out the media. Suddenly the ballots disappeared.

So Bob Ney, congressman from Ohio, now in federal prison, says, “OK, everybody has to buy touch-screen voting machines.”


This is unbelievable.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

online chess?

Just thought I'd throw this out there in case someone finds this post while doing a search for "online chess" or some other similar search string.
I've been a big fan of yahoo chess for many years, there for a while I've played a few games during lunch break on an almost daily basis. Well, I don't know if I'm just more tuned in to it now or what but yahoo chess has really gone down hill. There are two things that really drag it down... spammers and bots. For some reason yahoo is incapable of monitoring its chess rooms to weed out the bots. Bots are "users" that have a yahoo id, but in fact they are not users are all but automated programs that usually do one of two things... spam porn sites to the forums, or simply scrape user id's from the chess rooms to that later they can send spam to the user id. I mean all it would take is a yahoo employee to visit one of the chess rooms to find these guys who violate the terms of service. It's really obvious who these spam bots are. I've tried reporting them too all to no avail. Yahoo just doesn't care that a few bad apples can ruin one of there services.
The second thing (which may or may not be connected with another type of spam-bot), are users who start up a table, then just sit there and don't do anything. I spent so much time looking for a game, by dropping into a room, sitting at the table, then waiting to see if there is actually someone there or not. Why can't yahoo put some sort of timer on an empty table to force people to either join a different table, or simply click a button otherwise they get booted from the game. Oh, and again, maybe it's me, but it seems yahoo chess really brings out the worst in people. I've met some REAL JERKS on there on what seems to be a regular basis. It always amazes me too, because I would have assumed that chess attracts people of lets say a certain mindset (It's called the game of kings) but there are some real ignorant people on there. Really frustrating.
So I've been searching for a new home to play online chess. The best one I've found so far (which also has a few downsides) is a place called gameknot.com. It's designed more for people who wish to play long term games via email. They also offer something called "blitz chess" which is for people like myself. We just want to sign on, play a quick game or two then leave. But gameknot has a few flaws... no ratings! No option to set a different time limit, each game is 10 minutes. No option for a rematch (I've met a few players who are nice, and wanted to replay them in a rematch, but there is no option to do that). Perhaps worse of all, no ability to force a draw by the three move rule.
But at this point, I'm enjoying gameknot much more than Yahoo at this point.
But the main reason I'm posting this is to see if anyone out there on the intertubes can leave me a comment for other online chess websites they recommend. Key point... it must be FREE.

[ UPDATE (8/29/08): Someone Anon posted a comment to my post here today (thanks!) about yahoo chess continuing to be a muck of spammers and bots... I thought I should update this post to let others know I've found a MUCH better alternative... Chess.com! It is free to join, though there are paid subscriptions available, so far, I see no need to pay at this point. Their 'blitz chess' is still in beta so some are having problems with disconnects, but (knock on silicon) I've not had one disconnect. I've met a few jerks already, but most of the time, people are either friendly or civil. It looks like a really good website as well. Lots of learning stuff, blogs, news updates in the chess world, videos, tournaments, etc... I have been enjoying the daily 'puzzle' as well. So, if you have not found a place online yet for chess, I highly recommend chess.com.
OH AND... Their chat rooms are MODERATED! ]

AWESOME SOLAR NEWS

Just found this link today (via reddit), and after reading it am thrilled! Yet aonther step closer to a solar future. And the fact that Google is involved is doubly awesome.
Start-Up Sells Solar Panels at Lower-Than-Usual Cost (nytimes)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Christian guy vs Mormon guys


Christian Guy Totally Owns Mormons - Watch more free videos

I stumbled upon this video today.
Interesting stuff, but I found both of their tactics to "discuss" a little antagonistic, but there seems to be some truth laid out here.
I once got in a bit of a debate with some Jehovah's Witness that went something similar to this. Though I admittedly did not know my scripture like this gentleman does.
Here's the link to the video on Break.com (note, break.com is kinda like youtube, in that you never know what is going to pop up in the links around this video.) I've never tried embedding video in my blog from break.com before so we'll see if the code works or not.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I am legend



Movie review time...
My friend and I saw "I Am Legend" (imdb) last night.
I liked it. It was a little long winded at times (In spite of there being very little dialog). But for me, Will Smith carried this movie. I thought his acting was really well done this time. If you're looking for the "goofy, joke making" Will Smith character, this movie is not it. It's pretty intense at times. There was one scene that was really intense because I think it spoke to some sort of basic instinct that makes us afraid of the dark. I'm not going to tell you about it, other than to say, I don't think I breathed much during that scene :)
Now... let me say this too... I knew nothing about this movie other than what I saw in the previews. I think this helped a lot. I managed to stay away from ALL of the reviewers who proceed to tell you the plot of the entire movie.
I also need to say, that my friend did not like it near as much as I did. After we talked about it, I said "Oh, you mean you were thinking during the movie?" He laughed and said "yea, that was my mistake." I on the other hand just liked the story and the monsters. As we talked about certain scenes we found several lapses of logic that didn't seem to make any sense.
So my advice, don't think about it too much, just sit back and enjoy it.

Oh, and the dog was awesome too!

And so it begins again...

Report: Ohio voting machines have 'critical flaws,' could undermine ’08 election...
(the RAW Story)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Hulu = TV 2.0

ok, so you know I've been having trouble with comcast lately. I won't rehash that. But a few days ago, out of the blue, I get an email from hulu.com. I don't even remember where I heard about hulu, or what made me sign up, but I did. I read somewhere that there is a new web 2.0 site coming out called hulu.com. In a nutshell, it's putting TV programs on the internet - think youtube but for network TV shows. I had tried Joost and Democracy TV (which has changed names and is now called Miro). Joost looked pretty, but I found the interface confusing. Joost also required a large download, a custom install, and worst of all, when it finally started working, the video was so jumpy that it became unwatchable on my DSL connection. I gave up. Democracy TV, was a similar experience. You basically download a ginormous video file to your hard drive, and watch it after it finishes downloading, this solved the jumpy bit, but it still took forever to download the show. And then after investing all that time, the file becomes unwatchable after a few days (some sort of copyright protection). Again, I found the interface confusing. (I didn't even bother trying the new version of Miro, perhaps some of these items have been fixed.)
Along comes hulu...
Sign-up for the "private beta" was as simple as putting my name, email and password and birthday in (you can fake your birthday obviously and name). Completely web based, in that there was no extra files or plugins to download, or install. Right on the main page there were TV shows there for me to choose from. All of them were shows I'd heard of before. I just finished watching my first show Kitchen Nightmares with Chef Ramsey. I had missed this show when it aired on TV so it was nice to get a second chance to see it. Unfortunately It did not start with episode 1, I had to start on episode 6, no big deal I guess, hopefully they'll add the other shows later. But the experience was flawless. One small hiccup in the stream, but barely noticeable. There were limited commercials (I think there were 5), but (maybe this will change in the future) they only have ONE sponsor (esurance.com). So after the 3rd time of watching these esurance commercials, I swore I'd never purchase esurance again.
One other side note... hulu.com is a joint venture between NBC and News Corp. Ugh... News Corp is who owns/runs Faux News, and is run by Rupert Murdoch (not exactly my favorite person). But I gotta give credit where it's due... I'm impressed with Hulu and look forward to more content (and more sponsors). I HOPE this does not become a subscription based service.
I encourage you to go enter your email, and try to get in on this "private beta", or just wait around til they get all the bugs worked out and release it to everyone to try out.


Ron Paul on PBS NOW

Don't forget to check out Ron Paul on the PBS TV show called "NOW". Tonight (12/14/07).
If you miss it, according to their website they are going to have the show available on their website.
I also heard something on the web about a fund raiser for Kucinich tomorrow. I've never donated to a political cause before... not sure if I believe in it.
I sent my first political email yesterday... apparently Kucinich was denied entry into the democratic debate from the Des Moines Register. I simply emailed them and said that I hope they change their mind. (I don't think they did). I don't have time to look up the exact reason (in the link above) but K's campain manager apparently worked out of a home office (very common in todays digital world), but the Register said that didn't meet the criteria for not being a "serious" candidate. Ugh. (here's a better explanation on Dennis' website).
Back to Ron Paul... I don't know all the details here either, but apparently a bunch of Ron Paul supporters got together and made a Ron Paul Blimp!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Books vs TV

Ok, I know you are all probably tired of my rants against Comcast, but here's another one...
So a few days ago, I learned that they took away yet another channel from my subscription (3 in total). I also learned from the customer service person that I should also learn to expect more in the future because this was their way of "forcing" people to adopt their digital service. Which in 2009 we're all going to have to switch to anyway (though I'm still confused on this. Just when I think I have it figured out, I hear something new that confuses me. I thought this "all digital" thing was only going to effect people who are still using the rabbit ears, or antenna. The customer service rep told me no, this is not true, that unless you have a "digital tv" you'll need some sort of converter box even for cable.)
Anyway, I called and complained, and said I was planning on switching to Verizon Fios when it becomes available in my apartment complex (which the installer told be would be done at the beginning of December, but here it is middle of December and no word yet.) Comcast offered me a "one year promotion" for $44 a month plus "free" hbo. I should have taken it, but I was so fet up with Comcast, I said I'd think about it.
So that's the back story... fast forward to a few days ago...
I get my bill and low and behold, there is a notice in there that because of ALL the wonderful services that they offer and how GREAT they are, that as of next month (Jan 08), they are raising their rates AGAIN. So now my bill, if I go to the digital box, is going to be close to $60 a month now. ARGH! I just can't bring myself to do this.
So for the past few days, I've been TRYING to force myself into this new mindset to switch to their "basic" cable plan now which will be about $12 a month, but you only get the three major networks and a few other channels. I'll REALLY miss my Daily Show (although I think they are online now for FREE), Colbert Report, Comedy Central in general, not to mention one of my favorites "BattleStar Galactica" on the scifi channel. Along with the various 24 hour cable news shows, c-span, etc... I'm trying to force myself into thinking "you don't need it! It's Crap anyway, with commercials every 5 minutes, etc..."
I think I'm gonna do it. We'll see.
Then again, what would my blog be like if I can't have these long rant sessions about Comcast!?
[ crickets ]

Ya know... Again as V points out, I'm just being silly here... But, I'm actually considering starting up some sort of boycott against Comcast. You know, make up some flyers and post them around town telling everyone to switch to the "basic" plan to fight them from raising the rates. I don't know yet. Heck, if I don't have TV to keep me occupied, what else am I to do then but to stir up trouble like this :)



Monday, December 10, 2007

Flip Flopper

Ok, you heard it hear first... I think I'm a flip flopper. A few days ago I posted about how I had made up my mind on a political candidate for President. I planned on voting for Kucinich. But since then I keep having this nagging thought in the back of my head saying "what about Ron Paul?" Well, I think I'm going to hold off on making any more definite statements on who I'm going to vote for - because I'm not sure anymore. But at this point, I've narrowed it down to 2, Kucinich is still at the top for me, but I'm going to keep my eye on Paul. I just learned that Ron Paul will be featured on NOW on PBS on December 14th. Mark your calendars now and make it a point to tune in.
In the meantime, here's a preview on the PBS.org website.

politics and polls...

So in all of the polling data being thrown around lately, I've been half watching some of the details... I've been hearing how poll data should not be trusted AT ALL! The way the people word the polling question is critical to how they can make the answers come out a certain way. I've also been noticing a total lack of some of the candidates in the choices (such as Paul and Kucinich). So today, I see this headline in my google news... How Huckabee has surged ahead and is TIED (within the margin of error) with Giulliani.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/10/cnn.poll/
You read the article and it sounds like pretty big news huh?
Guess how many people they interviewed... 377! That's it!?
The lead sentence says the dramatic jump is going "nationwide" - you mean to tell me, you only questioned 377 people and you're going to claim that represents a nation of 300 MILLION people!? Cmon CNN!!! Did you not pay your phone bill? You couldn't call maybe, 1000 people?
According to this internet poll of only 13,502 people (and counting), Ron Paul is going to win this thing by a landslide!! I just wonder if all these people who can click a mouse on an internet poll are going to be the same people who go to the voter booths to click a rigged voting machine. We shall see.


random thoughts...

Just a small question to throw out there into the intertubesphere...
How come there has never been an attempt (maybe there was?) to put ratings on books?
Movies have ratings G, PG, PG-13, R, etc... Video Games have ratings, E, M, etc...
Why did it never take hold with books?
I don't know if it's good or bad, I'm just curious. I guess there is almost always a "kids" section in most book stores, but even so.
Anyone have any ideas how the publishing world skirted this issue?


Tech Tags:

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Who said this?

Found this via reddit today... Scary...
"Can you identify who made these statements without googling?"

Every nation has to either be with us, or against us. Those who harbor terrorists, or who finance them, are going to pay a price.
-13 September 2001

In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security. This much is undisputed.

-10 October 2002


Click on the link below for the ...
http://presscue.com/node/25498

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Manna from heaven...

Ok, You probably won't have a clue what all this means, but I'm posting this here more as a reminder to myself that I want to post about this later in more detail.

Manna
Great White Brotherhood
Monoatomic Gold
Magi
Moses
Bread
What is it
Bones

That should be enough to peak your curiosity :)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

intelligence?

So this morning I woke up to my NPR radio and heard them talking about this new study that some scientist from Japan did. It determined that Chimpanzees have an incredible memory and here's the kicker... it's better than our human memory! These chimps out performed human test subjects hands down. The interviewer said he saw the video and was amazed. I found the story here on BBC and I have to say, I too am amazed! (note: I had some problems getting the video to play on my mac, but eventually it worked.)
I've not read the full scientific report, but I have to wonder, how much practice did these chimps have? ie: I've played video games before and with practice you can get pretty good at these things. I wonder if the chimps just got really good at playing this particular game as compared to a human, or if they had equal time to learn. I know I'm grasping for straws aren't I? :)
But then the interviewer asked a question that has had me thinking on it off and on all day... He said something to the effect of "does that mean that chimps are more on an equal playing field with us humans?" In other words (this is my interpretation), lets say that these chimps have superior memory... does that mean we should be treating them better? ie: No dressing them up in funny costumes for entertainment, commercials, movies, circus, etc... What "right" do we as humans have to claim domination over another species? Does it just come down to might = right? I'm skating into dangerous territory here as a meat eater... Just because a cow may have a lousy memory, or limited intelligence, does that mean we can farm these beasts and slaughter them? Yes, I know it's in the Bible, but still. It just doesn't seem right.
Well, that's enough to think about for today. I think I'll have a salad for dinner tonight :)

Monday, December 03, 2007

Philadelphia Prison population

I really should have blogged about this much sooner, but slipped through the cracks of my mind... Maybe about a week ago, I happened to be flipping though the TV channels and I found the Television broadcast of the NPR Radio show with Marty Moss-Coane called "Radio Times."
She was talking about the issue of prison overcrowding and had two guests on. I forget who they were :( But one gentleman said something that really surprised me...
There are currently about 9,000+ prisoners in jail (in the city of Philly). And I don't remember the statistic exactly but it was either 60 or 70% of them are in jail awaiting a trial! These are people who for whatever reason have not posted bail, or were denied bail.
Not only does that statistic boggle my mind, but I was also very surprised that there were that few amount of people in prison. The 2000 Census has the population at 1.5 million people.
No other real comments here just that both statistics really surprised me. I though the prison system held much more than that.
I did find this reference on the web.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Movie Reviews

Two quick movie reviews for this cold, and wet and dreary Sunday in December...

American Gangster (imdb) >
This is a tough one for me to decide upon, but I'm going to have to go with a "yellow light". First the positives... As Always Denzel Washington was great. I also liked Russell Crowe, but his performance wasn't anything special really. Short list of positives...
Negatives... It was a LONG movie! (about 2 hours and 40 min). The editing REALLY bothered me... it used a lot of short edits and cut back and forth between the two main character's story lines. At one point it was almost like I was watching two separate movies at home on my TV by flipping back and forth among two channels. But I think its biggest failure is that it took what I think was an amazing story, and just churnned it into a typical "cops and robbers" movie. In the final moments of the movie there were some typed out updates (like every other movie that is based on real life events) and they were some amazing stats! I think it said that at it's time this bust brought down Two-Thirds of a bunch of corrupt cops in NYC. 2/3!!
I also did not like the whole subject matter of the corrupt cops and really nasty people selling drugs. It is very depressing to me to know that this stuff goes on on a daily basis.
I know I'm sounding kinda harsh on this film, but that's because I think it could have been so much better. I kinda hope Denzel gets an Oscar for this one though.

Can Mr. Smith Get To Washington Anymore? (imdb)>
I just finished watching this documentary this afternoon. I really liked this film. It was about this guy named "Jeff Smith" who in 2004 came outta nowhere and decided to run for congress. It was a real look into how a grassroots campaign gets started, and at the same time it talks a little (well maybe a lot) about Jeff's political views. But really it's a film about the true underdog story... a guy with no political background goes up against a long standing family name who has lots of money. If nothing else, this movie introduced me to a guy who I will now really admire for doing what he did. Jeff seemed to be a really honest and stand-up guy who wasn't afraid to work for what he believed in. It also helped me to understand a little more as to how this political system works. In fact, this movie motivated me to finally take a stand in what I believe in with the upcoming presidential race. I will be supporting Kucinich from now on. I just went to his website and will look into what I can do to help out. I'm going to tread lightly as I am still new to all this political stuff, but when I saw how this guy (Jeff Smith) had a real shot at making a difference and all it takes is for people to not just vote for the same status quo, I will not make that mistake next time at the polls. I'm going to vote for who I believe best represents my views at the moment. He may be a long shot, statistically speaking he probably won't win, but I'm so tired of the status quo that for my peace of mind I'll know I stood up for what I believe and voted accordingly.
The movie is a "red envelope prodution" which means it was produced by NETFLIX. I don't know how they work this, I suspect that means that this dvd is only available for those of use who subscribe to netflix. But if you can find this movie, I highly recommend it.
I'll also keep my eyes and ears open in the future if Jeff Smith ever makes it to a position where he might represent me, I'll vote for him :)
Oh, and it was also very interesting to see how many young people were involved with Jeff's campaign!

"Dorito" UFO followup

Just a small follow up on the UFO spotted in Britain a few days ago... Since the news paper published the first account others are now calling in with similar stories. Interesting stuff... I tried quickly to find some footage or other photos and nothing so far. More are expressandstar.com.


Friday, November 30, 2007

UFO in Britain


I just got an email from my google news watch for UFO's and this one sounds promising... I'm not sure why they are saying that it's a "Dorito" UFO and not just a "Triangle" - has our consumer mindset been tainted that much that we don't think in terms of shapes anymore but rather snacks? ugh. Anyway, it's a small story posted in the "expressandstar.com" that has several witnesses seeing a similar event. Apparently it has taken place in or near Halesowen heading towards Stourbridge. I'll keep my internet ears open for this one.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Comcast does it again...

So for the past few days (5-6) I've had another channel go out on my Comcast cable subscription. This has happened to me in the past and usually in about a week or so, the channel magically turns itself back on. So this time, rather than call and complain and set up an appointment to have a tech come out, I figured I'd just wait about a week and see what happens. So tonight, it's still not on - grr. I bite the bullet and decide to call customer service tonight to see what's going on. Well, much to my surprise, the woman informs me that my area has been effected by another channel change, and that the "Turner Classic Movies" is no longer available to me. Excuse me? Yep, not too long ago, when I lost the C-Span 2 channel, and the Game Show Network (didn't care about the game show network), apparently this is something I should be getting used to. The Customer service woman informed me that Comcast has decided to "slowly" migrate channels over to the digital only network. Isn't that nice. So I can continue to pay the same rate that I have been but over the next year or so I can expect to lose more and more channels until the mandatory 2009 switch.
First of all, the way I had understood it before I didn't think I'd have a problem with this whole analog vs digital problem. I thought that only effected people with the antenna's. But from what they told me on the phone tonight that's not true.
So at this point I've about had it with Comcast. I decided to play my last hand... I told her that my apartment complex is currently installing the FIOS network and that once it's ready, I'll be dropping Comcast. I said is there anything else you are willing to do for me to keep me as a customer... She said she can transfer me to someone else. So I waited on hold another 10 minutes, and spoke with a nice woman. She apologized several times at the fact that I was losing yet another channel. She tried to turn it around on me and say that Comcast is trying to give me a good service - ha! So I mentioned FIOS... After some shuffling of papers she said, yes there is a "promotion" she can offer me, then asked what I wanted. I told her I wanted my old channels back, she laughed and said she can upgrade me to the digital package plus one free year of HBO for approx $44. I currently pay $53. But I said, "is this a limited time thing?" She said yes, only for one year.
So at this point I'm just so disgusted with Comcast I don't even want their promotion. I said I'd think about it and hung up. Again, I give her credit for her patience with me and continuing to remain calm and cordial with me.
So, now I'm not sure what to do. I may try and call back and try to get the promotion for one year (knowing my luck I'll get a customer service person who won't offer it to me). I mean that's the smart thing to do (more channels + cheaper monthly cost), but it just annoys me that I'll have to get another box, and another remote. It would be nice to get C-span 2 back though...
Oh well, I'll think on it for a few days.

National Anthem Fenway Park



I saw this headline for the video over on Reddit.com...
I was actually expecting the worst for this video, but was pleasantly surprised to see how it ended up. Should bring a smile.

I suppose I should give a brief explanation here too...
It was "disability awareness" day at Fenway Park and a man with Autism was picked to sing the national anthem. Well, as he's singing he starts to get a case of the giggles... Then the crowd joins in to help him out :)

global warming logic

Sunday, November 25, 2007

late night ramblings...

It's late here (12:45am) and I probably should just shut this computer off, but one last post before slumber. (what a great word - slumber).

Just got back from a really good movie!
No Country for Old Men. (imdb)
I've learned that the Coen brothers have sometimes let me down (ahem: Ladykillers).
But this one was a hit for me. This had the ring of Fargo to it. Some pretty violent scenes but nothing you haven't seen before. There were some good one-liners in there too, and some really well written dialogs! What nailed it for me was the acting... Tommy Lee (I'm a fan what can I say), Javier Bardem (the bad guy) was awesomely creepy, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson (Glad to see him coming back to film), and another one of my favorites Barry Corbin (from the old Northern Exposure days on TV).
I can't say much more about it so as not to give anything away. If you liked Fargo and can deal with some of the violence then give this one a shot.

Totally unrelated...
I watched a little C-span today. It's been a while since I've seen much of interest on cspan. I sure do miss cspan 2, but I refuse the extra $4 to comcast for a box and remote! Today, they showed a talk by Author and Historian Joseph Ellis. (books here on google).
History is always a hit or miss thing with me. I appreciate now as I get older but sometimes (even now), it bores the he** outta me. Well, Ellis did not bore me. He was pasionate about his topic and that rubs off. He got a little bit into a recent question that has been bothering me... A line I hear a lot from "conservatives" is that America was "founded" on the Christian religion. A quick search on google the other day, and I found websites that both claimed the opposite things. Each with evidence. So I was a bit confused. Ellis touched on this just a little and confirmed what I had thought... it was NOT founded on the Christian religion.
I just now tried to find a link of the video on cspan's website and can not find one single mention of Ellis. Someday, I wish the cspan website to be re-designed with a focus on making things easier to find!
Oh, one of the things Ellis pointed out - we do NOT have a democratic America... it is a "Republic" - The founders did not want a "mob rules" run country (which is what it has become - sort of). The person we elect is supposed to be smarter than us. They are supposed to represent us - even if we don't understand what they are doing. They are supposed to have America and its citizens interest at their heart. What have we become now in 2007?
Well, maybe when my pile of "yet to be read" books dwindles a little I'll try to push through a history book by Ellis. If I liked his talk today so much, I should like his writing right?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

where does bread come from?


Ok, today's post ties in two different topics under one word - pretty clever huh? :)
First...
I made my second loaf of bread last night! And I'm happy to report that it went much better than my first attempt. I used the recipe off the back of the packaging of my whole wheat flour that I got from "King Arthur Flour". I stuck pretty good to the recipe (except I used whole milk). Although, I do not understand why I ended up using so much more flour than the recipe called for. It called for 2.5 Cups of flour and I must of added at LEAST a whole 'nother cup of flour. After mixing all the ingredients, it was just a gooey sticky mess, but I just kept adding more flour and eventually got a decent dough. As you can see from the photo, this loaf actually expanded above my (silicon) bread pan. AND it tasted pretty good too! I think next up, I want to try more sweeter breads or breads with fruit in them (like raisins or banana).

And the second topic... Money (aka bread, dough).
Where does money come from?
Think about it for a second...
Did the image of the government Mint pop into your mind?
Guess what... you're wrong!
It's pretty complicated (I'm not sure I fully understand either), but short answer is: The Banks make money out of thin air. Don't believe me?
Watch this video online...
Money As Debt (about 47 minutes).


Friday, November 23, 2007

rip off report

Well, it's the day after Thanksgiving. I hope you had a great day, ate some good food, and enjoyed whatever it was that you did.
I made my own turkey again this year. I tried a different approach to cooking it this year... I think I've tried a different approach every single year since I started cooking my own turkeys! This year, a friend recommended the way she does it... wrap the turkey in foil, then bake at a high temperature (for a 10lb turkey, bake for about 2 hours and 45 minutes at 450 degrees). For the most part it was successful. The turkey was tender and moist. The only downside was that I didn't know how to get the turkey out of the wrapped foil. It had stuck to the foil at various points so I could just lift it out (I forgot to coat the whole turkey in Pam or oil). And, the lower quarter of the turkey had cooked in all its own juices and was kinda yucky looking. I used a thermometer too so I knew my turkey was done (well, it seemed like everyone has a different temperature when I looked it up online. I found anywhere from 150 to 180, the average I found was about 165-175, so I went with 170.) BUT for some reason the meat in the inner part of the legs (armpit? EWW) seemed like it was undercooked. Maybe it was just a different texture I don't know. I think this might be the last time I try cooking a whole bird like this. I ended up throwing out a lot of meat (well, not a lot compared to the whole bird) but at least one or two good serving sizes due to me not wanting to take a chance. So, mental note.... Try something different again next year! :)

As to the ripping off point of this post.
This has nothing to do with Thanksgiving at all.
The other day I was in my local clubstore (BJ's) and picking up my usual staple that I get about once a month, a case of V8 tomato juice in a 12oz can. I went into the juice aisle and saw something new from V8 (aka Campbells Soup Corp.) It was a 48 pack! Cool, I thought. It was nicely packaged in a shrink wrap. Then I looked at the price. You'd THINK that buying bulk (which is the whole premise of clubstores) would be cheaper right? Guess what... they wanted TWICE as much as the 24pack case! I had to do a double take to make sure I was reading the prices right.
So, we'll see what this means... I am afraid that the clubstore may be phasing out the 12 pack, and that I'll be forced into buying the same item for double the price - In which case I'll really have to think about if I want to continue to drink V8 on a daily basis. Grr.
Just so we understand here...
A 24 pack is $11.89 (approx 50 cents per can).
One would THINK that a 48 pack would then be double that at $23.78 right? Nope... they wanted Approx $47! That's about $1 per can.
Shame on you Campbells (and or BJ's).


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buy Nothing Day!


8 days


I found this great little "mock" motivational poster for Hanukkah over on "evilmadscientist.com" after seeing this project on the Makezine site. I had to laugh when I read because I have the same sentiment right now. I could not fathom that a few stores that I had been in BEFORE Halloween were putting up their Christmas stuff. More than 2 months away and these people are trying to sell Christmas junk. This is really getting outta control. I was watching my new FAVORITE show last night (Chuck) and saw that one of th emajor department stores was BRAGGING that they were going to be open at 4AM! You gotta be kidding me! Why do people fall for this? I can guarantee you that some one will be standing at the door to get in at 3:45am. I just don't understand this mindset. But the stores love it. This holiday is SO commercialized it makes me nauseous.
Oh, I will send Kudo's out to (I hope I'm getting the name right) Nordstroms, I saw yesterday (on the internet) that they are putting up signs saying that they are not selling Christmas stuff until Black Friday, because that's how they roll. Then the sign wished the customer a happy thanksgiving.
Back to the original point of this post...
I went to another electronics class this weekend and had a good time. It was mostly about LED lights. They had two versions of the class, first session was for beginners (me), next session was for advanced. I really struggled with the advanced part, but I learned how to solder my first board and that was really cool (cause it worked when I finished). It amazed how excited I could get about seeing a little light blink on and off. But I'm glad I'm learning this stuff. I hope to stick with it.
IF I don't post between now and Turkey Day, Hope you have a great day, and are able to find a moment in time when you can reflect on all that you are thankful for.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

daft punk - viral





Ok, this post goes out to all you riaa folks, copyright crackdown lawyers, and everyone else who appreciates music...
The other day I stopped over to check out the laughing squid blog and saw this odd video (original squid post here). I watch both of the video's (that I reposted above). Yes... it's incredibly stupid to watch, but at the same time, I couldn't look away. It was a really catchy song, good beat, and really creative videos. Today, I went over to itunes and bought the song. THIS is how it's supposed to work people. I've heard of daft punk before. As a matter of fact, a few weeks ago I rented a movie from them and pretty much hated it. I didn't even really listen to the movie all the way through. So I figured that was that, I'd probably never buy a daft punk song. So then I stumble upon these "viral videos" on youtube, that under "normal" copyright law would (and may yet still) be pulled from the youtube website. But because of these creative bits, I was introduced to another song I'd not heard of and liked it. I have the tech know-how that if I wanted to, I could have recorded the music onto my computer (maybe some have), but I think most people if given a fair, easy way (such as itunes) will go out and BUY the music.
Who knows, maybe someone reading this post, and watching these same videos will feel the same impulse to buy some Daft Punk too. (You're welcome DP).


Friday, November 16, 2007

Ape Lad


I've really been enjoying "ape lad's" (aka Adam Koford) comics that he posts on his flickr account (and his blog). It always amazes me the combined talent of being able to draw comics AND the wit to write single, double, or triple panels.
Thanks Ape for sharing these.
\ | /
- H -
/ | \

Thursday, November 15, 2007

surfer dude = genius!


This post was just up over on the reddit page and it caught my attention...
"Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything"
It's a really cool story - I can see John Cussak staring in the movie version of this! :)
nutshell... This guy who lives the "surfer" lifestyle also has a degree in physics. He's apparently been thinking a lot while waiting to catch a wave, because he has come up with a new "theory of everything". I used to know more about this physics stuff, but it's been a while so I'm a little rusty... As I understand it... Physics have certain laws that nature seems to obey, example: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Light behaves a certain way, etc... Well, since "forever" these scientists have been trying to tie all of these laws into one. Which is pretty tough since we still don't really know what gravity is yet that is a pretty big player.
Garrett Lisi (the surfer dude) has tied it to something that I had never heard of before called the "E8". I'm gonna have to look into this more because it sounds really fascinating!
The above graphic is supposed to represent this E8. Reminds me of a mandala.
Cool stuff going on here!

You call this art?




Well, it's official... I really like my new brushes! (That I blogged about yesterday).
I actually only used one of them (didn't want to ruin that "new in a box" feel to the other one).
I'm thrilled that I got such a good bargain on these things. It's funny, if I had seen this brush in the store for $30 I probably would not have bought it, but because it was marked as 70% off I had to get it. If you've never painted before this will mean nothing (And if you've never painted before, you really should try!)... anyway, the brush does exactly what I had hoped it would do, it has a larger area up near the Hosel (do they use that word in painting or just golf?), this larger area lets you really load up the brush with water/paint. The ability of the brush to hold this amount of water/paint is good because it means you don't have to keep going back to the pallet to get more paint, thus allowing you to get a good long flow on the paper. The other benefit to this brush is that it tapers to a really fine point which allows you to get really detailed if needed. I like to paint these small paintings (5"x5") so the extra detail is needed for me.
In the interest of all the kiddies out there and those who may be at work I won't post the "live pose" which translates to nude. The model was funny, she was "braggin" about how her and this other artist worked on staging this pose about 15 years ago. I thought 'what pose? you're just laying there on your back' - but I get her point :) If you want to see this you'll have to go to my flickr site here.
As I noted on my flickr posts, I have a tendency to paint very lightly, so light, that the scanner that I used to scan these in had a difficult time picking up all the details. Not trying to make excuses for a bad painting, but they look better in person :)
These may be the 2 best paintings I've been most happy with so far.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

misc Wednesday


Been kinda quiet around here. I just haven't had much to say I guess. But in the interest of getting back to bloggin I'll throw out some random thoughts...

I'm looking forward to my watercolor class tonight. Two reasons... I'm looking to deviate from the normal model painting tonight and trying my hand at a landscape painting. Although it hit me this morning that if someone is sitting in the room posing and I'm not paying attention to them or off in my own world is that rude? Is it weird? We'll have to see. The other reason is that I'll be trying out my brand new brushes! I've been wanting to get some "Kolinsky" brushes for some time now, but the price has kept me from doing that. Well, in the last "Jerry's artarama" catalog they had a sale price for the special 175th anniversary edition of two Kolinsky brushes for about $32 each! That's an awesome deal! It's something like 70% off the retail price! So I just got them yesterday and the look nice. We'll see tonight how the "action" is... I'm hoping that they are gonna be like getting a new pair of sneakers that make you run fast... These new brushes will make me paint a masterpiece - yeah right :)
If I'm somewhat successful tonight I'll post the results.

I signed up today for another "electronics" class that deals with LED lights. Again, I'm not sure what I'm getting myself into, but I have an interest in this stuff so I'm hoping that I'll enjoy learning about it.

I got a new book yesterday too... just what I needed! Ugh. But it's very daunting to look at! But again, I have this interest so I'm going to try and persue it. It's about an open source software program called "Processing", that is geared towards artists and designers. The book talks about how the "average" person is either interested in programming OR art, not both. Well, I think I fall mostly in the art category, but I really have in interest in the programming part as well. I've just always had difficulty sticking with trying to learn it. But I've got my mind set on trying to learn more new things (thus the electronics classes and now the self taught programming), I hope I can stick with it.

Ok, enjoy your Wednesday.
Peace

Monday, November 12, 2007

Bread


Well tonight I added another notch to my "cooking" belt. I made bread for the first time. I followed the recipe I found over at the "simple dollar" with one small modification, I used soymilk instead of regular milk. Overall, it turned out well I guess. But for some reason the dough did not rise as much as I thought it should have according to the photos on the simple dollar website. I used a steel mixing bowl, and perhaps it cooled off too fast for when I mixed the yeast? I wasn't sure of the exact amount of water to add either to the original yeast amount.
The crust was tough as a rock! This thing feels like a lead weight! But once I cut a slice it tasted really good. I think I was impatient too and didn't let the oven pre-heat long enough, I had to cook it an extra 20 minutes longer than what they said (30 min). So all in all, this took me about 3-4 hours to make one loaf of bread, I could have driven up to new york city and back in that time! But to be fair, 2 hours of that was spent waiting for the dough to rise. and 50 min spent waiting for it to bake.
I'm not totally discourage, because I think I want to try this again with a different kind of yeast (I used the instant pack), and also I'd like to try a better flour (I used all purpose), I'd like to try a good whole wheat next time.
But for a first try, I'm pretty happy.
Now I've got to hurry up and eat it, cause the website said it'll only last for about 3 days since there are no preservatives in it.
Oh, and I really need to buy myself a serrated knife for next time.

totally unrelated, but worth mentioning, while waiting for all this to take place, I watched a dvd that I had seen in the theater some time ago... the motorcycle diaries. This is an awesome movie! Just a tad bit long, but really good stuff - go rent it!


Saturday, November 10, 2007

Larry Lessig at TED



I stopped over to Larry Lessig's website today and saw that he had posted his talk at the TED conference. Pretty interesting stuff. It's a complicated issue but he does a good job at nutshelling it into a 19min talk. If you have kids, create art, download mp3's, or practice law, this should be of interest.
I also encourage (once again) everyone to check out the TED website. Lots of GREAT "short" videos there. Perhaps someday I might be lucky enough to go (doubt I'll ever be able to afford it though, so the website is as close that I'll get - which is ok too).

Changing gears...
A few small things that I've been into lately...
I just watched "Malcolm X" (imdb) last night on DVD. I ALMOST shut it off after about 15 minutes. I was very corny and the quick edits were really getting on my nerves and very distracting. But (I'm guessing because Denzel) I stuck with it... as it turns out it turned into a really good movie. I knew nothing about Malcolm (wikipedia) other than I thought he was a violent black supremacist... Well, I was wrong (shows how much I know). I won't say that I agree with his thoughts and I do agree there were violent words used, and a certain amount of "hate" but I thought the movie painted a pretty good picture as to the complexity of this man's life and beliefs. I also learned a bit more about Islam and some of what I saw and heard scared me.

I have just scratched the surface of learning about processing.org. I read about it in a new book I got from the Makezine team, called "making things talk". It's not exactly the kind of book I thought it was. It's VERY technical. I think as early as page 33 they are talking about PHP code! But this stuff interests me so I'm trying to slog my way through it.

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What is art?



I think it interesting that twice now within 6 days, I've gotten into a discussion with friends and co-workers about "what is art" and "what makes and artist and artist." It's a surprisingly simple question with possibly a simple answer, but the more you think about it the more complex it becomes. I won't bore you with all the details, but here are two small blips of what I thought about...
What is an artist?
I think an artist is someone who looks at the world around them and sees shapes, colors, patterns, and light.

What is art?
It all is!
I may not like it, I may not understand it, but when I'm honest with myself, I have to say that it's all art.

The above video link I found while surfing over to Juxtapoz's website. I've also learned recently that this type of art is gaining a name (I called it underground art)... People are calling it now "pop surrealism". (I like underground art better). Robert Hardgrave has a great outlook on his art, and I really like some of these pieces.
On a side note... I've been half thinking of trying acrylics, and MAYBE trying my hand at some "pop surrealism." Who knows.


Don't ya love the internet?


I've been meaning to post this for the past couple days but keep forgetting. About a week or so ago, I stumbled upon this link to a blog all about mustaches. At first I thought, here is yet another useless blog cluttering up the intertubes... BUT instead, these are the types of blogs and websites that to me give the intertubes character. (Not trying to sound holier than thou either, I freely admit my blog is leaving its clutter too).
But what I like about this mustache blog is the photography. Where else can you find these great old photos of guys mostly back at what looks like the 1800's. I also give them credit for coming up with the funny/witty headlines for each style of mustache.
I had to laugh too when I read this quote where someone (probably a guy with a beard) was trying to weasel himself into the spotlight...

(lord) franko said...
while i prefer just a mustache, the proper beard can enhance a mustache sometimes, don't you think? sort of like the proper accessory to fine outfit?
October 31, 2007 9:21 AM

A beard to me is like a fine lawn gone to seed for lack of mowing. I do not lament the beard, but rather the mustache it has subsumed.


Good Stuff - Gotta love the internet!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Planet

So the universe is big. No REALLY BIG. And somehow in that vast amount of nothingness, scientists have discovered yet another new planet. Now before you pack your bags and say "get me off of this spinning blue marble" it won't be any time soon that you'll get there. It's 41 light years away! Not to mention is an all gaseous planet. But the scientists say (so far) that this is the closest solar system like ours with 5 planets.

I'm trying to remain positive today, because I just woke up this morning and heard a 2 minute financial report on NPR. It was full of words like "fear, panic, dollar, china, "something - we don't know what - will break" - not exactly words of calm and peace. I wandered over to the financial section on yahoo (of which I know nothing about!) and saw that one US dollar is worth 30,000 Zimbabwean Dollars. Woohoo! I'm moving there so I can be RICH! (I know, it's not really a funny thing to joke about - sry). And Speaking of RICH, my friend pointed out to me this morning that would could have been rich... About 7-8 years ago we were both considering buying some Stock in Apple. It was a measly $15-18 a share. But I said "I have so many other and BETTER uses for $1000 in stock". Well, I'm kicking myself in the head now... Apple Stock is now at $190 a share. If I bought in at $1000 at $18 per share I'd have approx 55 shares, which now would have been worth about $10,000! Dang it.
Say - la - V

Have a good Wednesday :)