Friday, March 30, 2007

Used Car

One of my new favorite websites has just posted a "confession" from a used car salesman, with inside "dirt" on how they try to get the most out of your wallet. I don't know how long the Consumerist keeps their archives, so I made sure to print this out (or saved as a pdf file) for my future reference. Buying a car? Be sure to read this first.

Electricity from Air?

Just a quick post - Cause ITS FRIDAY!!!
I just found this link over on the digg site about a new start-up company that claims it can produce small battery chargers that uses the "ambient" energy in the air. There is a much better explanation of it over on the news site, but it sounds almost too good to be true. A little like Steorn (Which I'm still waiting for the big announcement). If this thing is real and it can be marketed successfully it will be awesome. In a nutshell (as I understand it). You plug this small transmitter into the wall, that gathers the ambient energy, then broadcasts it to the small battery which then recharges itself. So no more plugging your cell phone, or portable phone, or ipod into a "dock" now you just have to be in the same room as your transmitter and the device will recharge. Really cool! Man, imagine if this thing could be scaled up... So your new electric car could simply be recharged by sitting outside your house.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

80's music

After my mind numbing post about IRA's here's a quick post a little less numbing...
The other night I had to hit the grocery store. I was wandering through the aisles when I realized I was diggin the song on the loud speaker system. It was some 80's song (can't recall). Then a few aisles later, I was humming along with another song, and I had to stop and think... who sings this!? I know it, but can't place it... (I made it look like I was pondering the spice choices). Then it hit me... It was Siouxsie and the Banshee's. I had to smile and thought how cool is my shoprite to be playin Siouxsie and Banshees on a Tuesday night. (I was just reminded of this, because I just heard "peek-a-boo" also by Siouxsie on the radio!) In addition to this fun song, a little while later there was another "70's classic rock" song playing and a woman walked past me singing along in a quiet voice. The whole store was rockin that night :)
PS> No comments from the peanut gallery to tell me 80's new wave isn't cool anymore. I know that - but what makes it cool, is that I think it's cool anyway even though other people don't so there.

Jesus in the Bank today

What a fun experience I had this morning in the bank [sarcasm].
It's approaching April and tax time. Ugh. So I wanted to get some money into an IRA account. I'm self-employed so I don't get those 401 plans, etc. All I get is what I put aside now. But the good news is that if I put aside a chunk of change now in an IRA account, I don't have to pay any taxes on the income. So... off to the bank I go this morning.
I had already talked to a woman (what to call a bank person who isn't actually a teller?) about 2 weeks ago about my IRA choices. There are a ton of choices... Traditional IRA, Roth IRA, Mutual Fund IRA's, etc... This gets a little mind numbing here so bear with me.
1) Once a year I want to deposit money in my IRA
2) At the end of 30 years +- when I retire, I don't want 30+- IRA accounts.
3) The woman at the bank, told me I should get an "add on" IRA, that way, when my previous IRA matures, I can simply roll it over into the new "add-on" IRA. PERFECT!
Thus begins today's encounter...
I walk in and look all over for Susan (the nice woman who helped me before). No Luck. Susan must be out today. So I get helped by Monika, a nice pudgy woman who has a thick German or Polish accent. (Why do people in Customer Service all have accents?)
I had already talked to Susan, so I knew what I wanted. I told her to sign me up for an Add-on IRA. A bunch of books, papers, and computers start whizing around me now. I need to give her my drivers licence so she can make a copy of it (why? I don't know, but I wasn't in the mood to fight). We go through a bunch of small questions, name, address, how much, etc... Gets to the point where I have to sign on the dotted line... Um... I ask her "I never told you how long I wanted my IRA term for" - Her response... "Jesus Christ!"
I was too shocked really to have any sort of reaction, then I simply said "That's not good, when the bank person says "Jesus Christ". Man, you'd think I told her I was from a distant galaxy because she was totally flustered now. Finally, she speaks to the other woman across the room "What or where is the point when I put in the term" She says "An Add on IRA has a fixed term of 5 years - AND only 1% Interest... WHAT? That's not what Susan told me a week ago! I don't want 1% Interest, I can't believe they could even say that with a straight face. So finally after a bit of impasse, I say "Is it too late to cancel this?" Monika was not happy.
Well, I'll cut out the details other to say, Monika apparently just came from her previous job of working at McDonalds. She couldn't get the computer to work, had to ask 2 different people for help, and finally, couldn't get the forms to print on the computer. I eventually signed a paper she printed on the wrong side of the page.
I was torn to ask for someone else to help me. It wasn't like Monika wasn't trying, she just was having a heck of a time. At one point, the other woman (I assume one of Monika's supervisor) asked me if I had made out ok... I shrugged and said "I hope so".
After all was said and done, I got an 8 month IRA at 5% Interest. At least I hope I did.
So here's a few side comments...
Banker's used to be high society pillars of society. They were the rich upper class who "managed" the town's money. What happened to those days? You walk into any local branch now and depending on the area, you may not even deal with a real live person. Or the person you do deal with is either under 21 years old, or doesn't know how to work the computer.
I'm also torn about weather or not I should write a letter to Commerce Bank about this woman's behavior of saying "Jesus Christ". Is this Bank woman that ignorant that she doesn't know that taking the Lord's name in vain is both one of the commandments and offensive to others?
Should I be worried that the other nice woman Susan is working the banks front desks and is mis-informed about IRA's?
I now have zero confidence in Commerce Bank. What's the interest rate of Zero?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

quick tuesday

(I think I may have beaten this cold, but I'm not dropping my guard yet)

So this morning on NPR I heard someone mention the "troop surge"... Why ave we not heard anything about the Prez's plan and if it is working or not? What's it been a few months?

A little trade vent...
I use Adobe products in my line of work. I just saw this post that has more details on the new updates coming soon (maybe by the end of April). First off, I just bought all these programs in January, so I'm curious if I'll get any sort of discount on the updates only 4 months later. I doubt it. But... my biggest rant... WHY does Adobe make their software names SO confusing! It used to be: Adobe Photoshop Version 3, 4, 5, etc... Now it's Adobe Creative Suite that has several various package deals under different names, like "master, professional, design, print, extended, limited," and the list goes on and on. What a mess they have made.
And in the biggest news, they've officially dumped GoLive (which not many people used anyway) after buying out Macromedia. Lets see if they made Macromedia better or worse.
Adobe should follow Google's corporate moto: Don't be Evil.
All that said though, and I'll be forced to buy all these updates since there is no competition anymore.

Monday, March 26, 2007


It's Monday. Yuck. I think I'm catching a cold. Yuck. Had a bit of a scratchy throat last night so I took a cold-eze and woke up today just feeling sluggish. (well, I always wake up feeling that way, this was more like a slug in the antarctic). But as I was wondering what I wanted to blog about today, I realized I've been thinking a lot in anticipation of a new toy I bought online. I bought a dunny. What's a dunny? I'm not sure how to describe it. It's a (usually) small 3" tall vinyl toy that has quite a huge following now in the art community. What makes these toys popular is that they are painted by artists and designers. These are not really for kids (though they can be). I bought my first dunny when I visited San Francisco. I've been trying to resist the pull of becoming a collector of yet another "thing". I have too many things. But I broke last week. In a moment of weakness I bought a plain dunny. A small all white dunny, with the idea that you paint or decorate it anyway you want. Well, the pressure is killin me now. I hate that feeling of staring at a blank canvas. Whenever I get a new sketchbook, or watercolor tablet, I always skip the first page, because that's too much pressure. So now that I'm waiting for UPS to deliver my first generic dunny, I wish now that I bought a second one to relieve that pressure. Ugh. I also bought a second vinyl collectible called a "fat cap", I'll try to take a photo and post it. You can check out this awesome store online called KidRobot.

I'll post this thought too just because... I've been hearing a lot (on the interweb circles that I hang out on) about a new TV show on Showtime called "This American Life". Apparently it's a radio program, that's now a podcast, thats now a TV show. I'd never heard of it. Well, I was just over on one of my web haunts called and saw this link to a flash animation. It's a cute little video but with a slightly disturbing outcome. I'm going to have to look for the podcast now cause I'm not going to subscribe to Showtime to see what all the hoopla is about.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

movie and politics

First off some movie talk.
My friend and I went to see "Shooter" last night. (I had wanted to see Zodiac, but apparently they are pushing that out of the theater already - I'll wait for dvd). So, I saw that this movie had gotten some mixed reviews on yahoo. (I don't generally like to read reviews before a movie, but I will check yahoo's overall critic and user grades, it gives me a general idea without reading specifics). But, as I said to my friend, "Marky Mark hasn't let us down yet". He's probably gonna kick my butt for calling him Marky Mark. Anyway, we took the gamble and for me I was very glad we did. My friend didn't enjoy it as much as I, because of some of the plot holes and "Hollywood coincidences" - I agree with him, the level of "suspension of disbelief" gets stretched pretty thin. But, I kinda liked this movie because of the way it was spoonfed to us. I usually complain about this, but I guess I just wasn't in a thinking mood last night. I was entertained, it was a fast past movie, gun fights, chases, etc... I also have to admit, several of the topics of this movie was right up my alley... snipers, conspiracy theories, shadow governments, and a wild west morality to clean up the trash. The scene where Swagger goes to visit the old dude who knows all about "sniper stuff" was classic. I also like all of the acting, Mark Wahlberg I think can hold his own, but then to see Glover and Ned Beatty, that was just icing on the cake. (And Kate Mara was easy on the eyes too ;)
So, maybe not the movie for everyone, but if you can suspend your disbelief for a show like 24, which I'm starting to dislike now after 5 seasons on dvd, then I think this movie will pass. OH... The other reason liked it... there were some political statements made in the movie, which I tend to agree with. If you don't like those statements it might ruin the film.
Whew, sorry I went on so long about this one.

Finally a bit of politics. I have been seeing brief clips on TV of the recent debate or hearing in which Al Gore went before a bunch of Senators to face questions about Global Warming issues.
As I type this, it's still being played on C-span now, but thanks to C-span I got to see some of the more controversial parts (unedited). Of particular interest is the interview with Rep. Senator James Inhofe. I've seen Inhofe interviewed before on the Glenn Beck show and he's one of the leading cheerleaders for "anti-global warming". So to see Inhofe in the same room with gore was a bit like watching oil and water in a boiling pot.
If you go to, you should be able to find the video (realplayer - yuck) pretty easily - look for "Former V.P. Al Gore at Senate Environment & Public works Cmte. Climate Change Hearing (3/21/2007)". Here's the times of the "juicy parts" - fast forward to 51:58, then skip to 53:23 to see Inhofe try to "trap" Gore in a bogus Pledge. Then continue on to 54:54 for a rather rude outburst on Inhofe's part to say that Gore can't respond to his questions, at which point (56:40) Sen. Barbara Boxer stops the debate, and pulls little Jimmy aside and smacks his wrists. It was such a motherly moment of trying to correct a little brat from misbehaving in a supermarket! :)
I don't know if this debate helped or hindered the GW efforts. It was a bit of a dog an pony show. But I hope there will be some positive things that came from this debate.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where's my cape?

I know most people who read this won't understand this post but I'm posting it anyway.
There's a webcomic that comes out every M, W, F that is geared towards geeks. It's called xkcd (I've yet to look up where or why it's called that). It's simply drawn stick figures, but they have a certain style about them. What sets this webcomic apart is that it's almost always well written. Well todays was pretty funny, and now after reading it, I want a cape and goggles! Check it out if you want:

Wish I had more but it's Fri and I'm just trying to get through to the weekend.
One thing...
I keep seeing and hearing about this dvd called "the secret" - It came up in my Amazon list of top selling dvd's. It's some sort of new-age positive thinking hoodoo guru stuff, but I have to admit I'm curious. I saw it last night for $28! Sounds like a scam, but I'm still curious. What surprises me is that the film maker also did another dvd that I and probably only about 12 other people in the country have ever seen, about physics. I think the title was called "what the bleep to we know" (I'm too lazy to go look it up). Anybody have this book/dvd/audiotape of "the secret"? Wanna share what it's all about? Leave a comment.
Ha... I just realized, that's a marketing genius there... call something "a secret" and sell it to people for a high price, then at the end, tell people to not talk about about it - cause it's a secret.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Rats and art

First off an interesting post I read over on the make blog yesterday. Turns out some guy gets paid to study laughing rats. Which is more interesting... that rats laugh, or that this guy gets paid to tickle them? All in the name of science I suppose. Anyway, it's a pretty interesting discovery though. The article starts off with a quote from Aristotle that says humans are the only animals that laugh. Well, I think Jaak the rat tickler has proved him wrong. check out the link, then click on the movie to watch the video. Makes it a little harder to kill the little buggers now doesn't it? Speaking of rodents, I was awoken today by the return of the squirrels in my attic. They have made an appearance on and off throughout the winter, but never seemed to take up residence (thankfully), I hope this one is not looking for a place to make a spring nest. I've determined though... it's worse dealing with my apartment maintenance people than it is the squirrels. So I'm going to give it a shot of living with them.
Finally a quick post about my art class... things didn't seem to click the other night. I struggled to find that groove I had last week. I did finally sort of give up and tried to just have a little fun. The painting turned out pretty cool (if I do say so myself). Totally different than what I was doing before. Maybe I'll try to scan and post it here. We also hung some of our artwork in the student show, so this will be the second time I've had a piece of art hanging in an art gallery ;) I almost put a price tag of $1,000,000 but figured that a bit steep. The teacher chose which of my paintings to hang, which I thought kinda odd, but I went along with it.
A funny little art fopa (sp?) on my part too... the teacher came in and made an announcement that the library was selling some books to clear space for cheap. $1 - $10... $1 a book? I gotta check that out. Well, turns out many of them were not worth that much. They were like student art history books. Entire books about art with not one photo or picture. Something wrong with that. But I did find a small book with some renaissance type art that struck me and it was only a $1. So I bought it, and went back to class. The teacher then was making her rounds looking at our work, when she saw my book... "Ah, how did I miss that one", she said. Michael Angelo. I looked at her with a blank stare - what? Then I read the title which was in Italian or something, and the last words were Miguel Angel. So here I got a world famous art history book, and I didn't even recognize his name :) I just liked the pictures which is what counts in my book :)
Well, this rambled on a bit longer than I thought, sorry bout that. Enjoy your Thursday, only one more day until the weekend.
Hey! Go make some art yourself. Take a photo, or paint a picture, or doodle a character with a pen on a post it... it's all art.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Faux News

It's been a while since I've posted a faux news rant so here's one for today. I've actually stopped watching faux for about a week now. About a week ago, (I can't recall if I mentioned this on my blog, I think I did) wait, let me back up... I've been in an email debate with a friend of mine about Global Warming. He would probably fall in the conservative republican category and he is a big fan of the Glenn Beck Show (both on TV, radio, and he pays to subscribe to his website). Our emails about GW (global warming) have been going back and forth, but I noticed a trend... I would send him a quote or factoid about GW and I'd provide the link for the source where I got the info. He would send me quotes from either Glenn Beck himself, or to articles written by people who have been discredited online. Finally, he sent me a link about how PETA is quoting a recent UN paper that says that the livestock industry, contributes more to GW than all of transportation, so they were saying that Al Gore should become a vegetarian if he really cares about the planet. This was the straw that broke my back. Somehow, I wasn't arguing the "facts" about GW, but I was trying to defend the ex-vice president in that he likes to eat a hamburger. I also became frustrated because I realized no mater what link I sent, or quote, I would never prove my point. So I gave up. This all happened when I was feeling stressed about other things and so I gave up watching Glenn Beck on TV to eliminate stress. I also eliminated Faux news too for the same reason. I think there is a marked change in faux news' programing where they are not trying to hide their bias anymore. And fyi, my stress levels dropped.
SO... all of that huge back story to point you to this link about Bill O'reilly. Apparently B.O.R. lost it while interviewing Salt Lake City's Mayor Rocky Anderson. From what I read on this blog post it sounds like Mr. Anderson handled himself well in the BOR crossfire.
I really think something legally has to be done about faux news. They need to put some sort of a disclaimer on their "news" to say "for entertainment purposes only".

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lowes Customer Service

So I've decided to attempt another robot build. My first attempt at what is called a beambot was a failure. I found the instructions confusing and must have either mixed it up, or fried something because not matter how many times I re-wire the little bot, it just don't work.
But I've got a new project in the works... It's called a mousebot. Similar to a beambot in several ways, but a little more bulky. So I found that I needed some wire (22 gauge single strand, and 22 gauge braided). It used to be that I'd head over to my local RadioShack, but they pretty much only sell cellphones, crappy radios, and crappy tv's. Where can one go to get wire? So I thought I'd head to Home Depot. On my way, I realized I was going to pass a Lowes. I thought, I might as well stop in to see if they have it, because I had looked a while ago at HomeDepot and nothing jumped at me that they would have this specific wire.
I went to the information desk...
Can I help you?
Sure... I'm getting ready to work on a small electronics project and I need some wire - 22 gauge to be specific.
Blank stare. You want wire?
Yes, but not like to wire a house, it's small wire like for soldering.
(She looks over to her supervisor, who apparently heard me)
Well, if we have it, it should be in with all the other wire (I assumed he meant the housing wire). I think it's in Aisle 18, I'll have them page someone because it's on big rolls, and they'll need to cut it for you.
(I was going to re-iterate that I wanted this for a small project, but I figured this was the best I was going to get. I wondered to myself, don't you guy's have computers that you can type in "22 gauge wire" and see what comes up?)
So I head off to Aisle 18. I get there and guess what... It's all wood. Ok, I start back tracking.
Finally I find it in Aisle 14. I look at all the various wire and I don't see anything close to what I need. I start to think, maybe I should just wing it, and get some speaker wire, or something. But no... I want 22 guage wire. So I see two Lowes employees standing by a computer talking about some forms they had. After a few minutes, the guy looks up at me standing there and says "can I help you?"
I ask if there is anyone around who can help me with the wire. (The original information desk never paged him). So the woman gets on the phone and pages Drew - Call extension xxxx. So I wait.... and wait... and then I start wandering around the aisle. Finally after about 10 minutes, I say, this is ridiculous. I go back to the desk where they were still talking about the forms.
Excuse me, is there a RadioShack near here?
Yes, there's one just a few stores down. (She seemed to be so happy to have given me an answer that she knew).
I say thank you and start to walk away.
It hits the woman... Drew never called or showed up.
She asks me, Did Drew ever show up?
I turned and said... nope, and proceeded to walk away.
And guess what... RadioShack had it! I probably paid 3x the amount I could have gotten it for online, but I got it and I'm happy.
Shame on you Lowes. You lost this customer, and next time I'll go either straight to RadioShack, or HomeDepot (or the internet).

On a totally unrelated note... I found this post online yesterday about some sort of miracle cure for a sore throat! (I'm not a doctor! Consult with a real doctor if you're looking for medical advice). This home remedy said to gargle with warm water with a teaspoon of Cayanne Pepper (Salt optional). I'll have to try it as this guy had phenomenal results.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

300 the movie

Mini movie review...
I just saw the movie 300 last night. Overall, I was entertained. But as a movie it had it's short comings. As always though, I will cut any movie a break when it's based upon a comic book. I keep hearing critics talk about the historical accuracy... it's a comic book! The other thing I keep hearing is the violence... yes, it is VIOLENT! Anytime you do a movie about 300 warriors vs 1 million warriors it's gonna get ugly. ( I heard one of my friends took his 11 year old son to see this... um, I'd call that a lapse of judgment. This is not for kids!) There were sex scenes, beheadings, and untold countless death by impalement. BUT putting all that aside, I liked the movie as an art form, the effects were amazing considering most of it was shot on green screen. I saw something the other day that said the movie was shot in 60 days, and then over a year to add all the effects. It was like seeing the pages of a comic book come to life. This movie is not for everyone, but if you know who Frank Miller is, then I'd say it's a must see.
I had to joke afterwards... apparently all the men in Sparta shout and are angry all the time, because that's what most of the dialog was, it got a little comical for me.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Human Beat Box

So the other day over on boingboing they posted about this guy who did a human beat box performance for some sort of "American idol" show (I think it was in France?). It was a pretty amazing feat, but nothing really struck me as wow.
So today they did a follow up post of this impromptu "concert" on a subway train ( I think in Paris). It's a tad long to watch, but Oh MY are these guys good! Performances like these give me the chills for some reason - whenever I see someone so filled with passion. The dude with his earphones (with his back to the performers the whole time) cracked me up too... as did one of the comments just below the video... "He didn't feel it" :)
I can't embed the video so you'll have to click this link to see it. Amazing!

FYI> For those of you "socially hip challenged" a human beat box is simply making drum and music noises with mostly your mouth (occasionally clapping, or body slapping is used too).

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Son of a B

I'm working on limited sleep today so short post. I find that after my art class my mind is spinning and working overtime and it takes me a while to unwind. I also figured that since I was "awake" I'd finish a book (always a rare occasion worth celebrating) called a "Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. I enjoyed it a lot. His hiking friend Katz was a funny guy. One thing that bothered me... throughout the book, Bill makes a big deal about running into a bear in the wild. Without giving too much away, he does finally encounter a bear... yet, at the end of the book he says "I wish I saw a bear" - maybe I mis-read it but I thought this very odd.
Anyway, the title of this post is "Son of a B" - we just had a day here yesterday on the east coast that was 79 degrees! A real taste of spring! Only to find out that tomorrow we're scheduled for another snow storm. The temps have been dropping steadily today and we're supposed to have a high of 39 tomorrow. In the voice of one of my favorite comedians "Lewis Black" - Son of a B!
Oh no... I just realized... now that I finished a book, I need to make that tough decision as to which one to finish next! I've got a few started...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


So the above picture is a lesson for me (and possibly you)... Over the last few days now I've been carrying my camera with me everywhere. It's a pain. It's not a big camera, but with the carrying case (to prevent it from getting dirty or scratched) it's bulky enough to fill my coat pocket (and with warm weather approaching, I need to figure out if I want to wear another item on my belt). BUT... If it were not for my decision to do this, I would have never gotten the above photo. I was pulling up to the curb just as this guy was putting his helmet on to take off. I scrambled the camera out of the case, turned it on, and got out of my truck. I raised the camera to him, pointed in "sign language" and asked if it was ok... the guy gave me a huge smile and gave me the "thumbs up" sign language. So I snapped this shot. I WISH I got a close up of his face, he was an "elderly" (anybody with predominant white hair (beard, mustache, or hair) is elderly) black man and just had that look like he was a nice guy who you feel like you've always known. Then as he drove away, I snapped another (turned out blurry because I was rushing). So now I'm going to feel compelled to carry my camera with me now everywhere for fear of missing another shot. And who says artists don't suffer. Ever since I was a kid, I saw a guy riding a trike, and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

PS> Happy PI day... 3.14

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So, I'm all for the open source movement. To take away some of the monopoly of these big software companies I think is a good thing. But I'm wondering today, why there can't be a happy medium. I find myself using several "Free" resources on the internet such as gmail, this blogger thing (also owned by google), flickr (which I pay for), and email (which I pay for). It started Sunday, when my email was going buggy on me. It would work, then it would go down for about an hour. It's not worth complaining or calling tech support, I've found... usually if you have enough patience, it's better to just wait out the glitches, because chances are there are other people having the same problem, and they have called the company to complain and the company is fixing it. So sure enough, by Sunday night my email was back to normal. Today, I tried signing onto my flickr account... it was so slow, and many of the photos would not load, no matter how many times I hit the refresh button. So again, I figured I'd wait it out. By about 4:30 it seemed to be working again. NOW, for the past hour or so, my gmail is not working, and it says they're trying to fix it.
The other day, while surfing, I stumbled upon a small post that said that godaddy (one of the largest web hosting company) was hit by a DNS attack (Denial of service). This basically brings their servers down to a crawl. So that probably explains my email bug, but now I have to wonder if these other bugs are tied to this DNS attack as well.
Regardless, It is a bit of an eye opener as to how much I depend on these companies for my entertainment and communication. It's great when they're working, but a pain when there are glitches.
Hmm. I'm just realizing now I don't really have a point to all this. Sorry to take you down this dead end road.

Quick follow up on the dried anchovies... I dove in last night! I opened the bag, and was immediately hit in the face with the smell of fish food! Yep, it smelled exactly like when you feed your goldfish those little fish flakes. Guess what... cause it's the same thing. (something bizzare about humans feeding pet fish other ground up dried fish!) Then I picked one of the little anchovies, looked at it for a second (mistake) and popped it in my mouth. It was fishy no doubt. But it wasn't that bad. The next one, I looked at even more closely... it really is gross looking... the one had the top of it's head pealed away and I saw his little dried brain... I picked it out, it was about the size of a sesame seed (I threw it out). But once I told my mind not to think about what I was eating, I was able to push on and enjoy these little fishys. I found a recipe today for them, that is probably better than eating them like potato chips... It was a bean sprout soup. Sounded good actually, I might try to make it. One of the things it said after boiling the dried fish, was to scoop them out and throw them out. Um... I hope these things aren't poisonous or anything. If you don't hear from me on my blog in a few days... it was nice knowing you all. So long and Thanks for all the fish (a Douglas Adams book!)

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Flat tire and anchovies

So Friday I went outside and saw that my driver's side front tire was almost flat. I had suspected something was wrong, because about 2 weeks ago, I stopped to fill it up with air cause it looked low. I thought it was due to the cold weather. Then for the past few days, I thought I had heard an unusual sound coming from the same tire. But it was one of those things where you're not quite sure, and it tended to come and go. But when I saw how low it was the other day, I knew things were not right. I don't know where it was leaking from, but it did not have a nail in it. So Saturday I began my quest. I was torn as to purchase one tire of the same make and model, or take the hit to my checking account and purchase all 4 new tires. If I had my choice I'd probably go with all 4 and switch to the tires I used to put on my other truck–BF Goodrich All Terrains. These are a nice skinny but rugged tire with a good tread. They've always been good to me (except a little slippery on wet roads). The tires on my truck now are called Toyo's. I'd never heard of that make before. With a little diggin on the web, I see they are a canadian tire company, but they have a new plant in the southern US. A little more diggin and I found a local Tire place that sold them. I made the phone call, and lucky me, they had them in stock. So I decided to just go with the one new tire.
As a bonus... The tire place was across the street from a place I've been trying to get back to, but could never seem to find the time... The Asian food market. What a fantastic place. I know it sounds wierd, to talk about how great this supermarket is. Afterall, I'm sure there are many people who shop there as their everyday food market. If someone called MY local grocery store "fantastic" I'd think they were a little touched in the head. But for me, who has had very little exposure to other cultures, I'm like a kid in a candy store, all wide-eyed (sorry maybe a bad pun there) at all the sights, sounds and smells. I'm amazed at how many things there I just have no clue as to what they are. I specifically went there to pick up another tea strainer. I got one there a while back, and it's a really nice one. A fine mesh, small bamboo handle, fits nicely in a mug. But while wandering the store, I came across an item I saw before... dried anchovies. It's a beautiful sight... these small silver items in a clear bag that looks like a bag of pure silver, until you look at it closely and see the little fish eyes staring back at you. But I had to buy a bag. If anyone knows a good recipe for dried anchovies, please post in the comments! :)
I also bought a HUGE bag of Kim Chee (I don't know what possessed me to get such a large bag, but I'm lovin it). I got some nice brown rice and a few utensils... a japanese style soup spoon, and two little "dipping dishes" with the coolest graphic of a squid on them.
So, a good weekend for me. It went by way too fast though.
Oh, and I had fun with yet another photogamer contest. Even managed to get another mention on the website (again). Check it out over at

Thursday, March 08, 2007

TED Talks

So I've had this blog going for over a year now and I'm just now realizing a problem with running a blog for so long... I can't remember what I've posted about already. Sometimes I think "I should post about this topic" only to put it on the back burner for later. But now I realize it's more and more difficult to remember what "story" I may have posted about. Well, I suppose I could do a search on my own blog, but instead, I think I'm going to roll with it. If I can't remember, then that must mean I feel the need to say it twice. So if you've heard me repeat myself, feel free to surf on, otherwise sit still and listen :)
I have found a real gem of a website on the internet. Every now an then while going to the movies you find that one movie that really speaks to you. It's usually a small independent film, that would easily get lost in the big Hollywood blockbusters, and probably only last at the local "artsy" theater for about 2 weeks, but you happened to be the lucky one to see it. And you feel special because you know that the average joe schmoe will not see it. Even if you go around and tell everybody how great the movie is, chances are they won't listen to you. They won't remember the name of the movie next time they are in the local video store. They'll be sidetracked by some other movie they've heard of. So it seems like you stumbled upon a real gem in the art world. I feel like this website is the same thing on the internet.
I found this website by going to which in itself is a fantastic website (I still wish they had forums, but no one responded to my email about this). I have to admit, I've not gotten past chapter two on the book with the same title. But I haven't forgotten the book. I will someday return to it. Anyway, while on the site, I saw a big banner ad that said: Our sponsor: Worldchanging presented in association with TED (in BIG red letters). Well, I can't resist the pull of red letters... A simple enough url to remember... I know I still have a lot more to explore on this website, but one of the things I stumbled upon is this podcast/video/audio page. It is some of their presentations posted so that little ol' me can hear what these "big wigs" get the privilege of hearing. Before I finish, I should mention what TED stands for: Technology Entertainment Design - cool huh? So in this list of presentations are some really good... I'm not even sure what to call them. Life lessons? Motivational speakers? Edutainment? Whatever... you should go check them out. Don't listen to them all, just scroll down the list and find one that appeals to you. I just watched this one with Anna Deveare-Smith... She was incredible to watch.
Thank you TED for sharing these words of wisdom with this joe schmoe.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Faux News

Well, I have to admit, I have not been following the "Scooter" Libby trial that closely. It was really a bit of a moot point for me in that I knew he was the fall guy. I think Cheney and Rove were behind the leak, but you can't touch those guys, so Libby had to take the fall. (I obviously don't know, so this opinion is strictly "from the gut"). Anyway, I don't even really watch the main stream media corporation news or newspapers. I get all the news I need from the internet, and while surfing channels on the TV. Well, last night was a bit of a slow TV night so I found myself watching Faux News. Both Bill O'reilly and Hannity and Colmes had apparently the same speech writer. They went on and on about how Scooter was really "not guilt of anything" because the original case didn't go forward. So their reasoning was... Because Valerie Plame has not officially been "outed" as a CIA operative, then there was no crime committed. So let me get this straight... Let's say there is a murder that I witness (God Forbid!), the police come knocking on my door, to ask me who I saw do it, and I say (under oath) that mickey mouse did it. Well, that's gonna throw the investigation for a loop won't it? Now after a bit of time, the case for the murder falls through and it was just an accident. Shouldn't I still be held accountable for saying Mickey Mouse did it? (Don't sue me Disney - this is just hypothetical).
So most of Faux News was down playing the whole Libby thing, and throwing a lot of fluff and doubt out there that I couldn't take it anymore. I shut it off.
I was over on one of my new favorite websites this morning called I really like the idea of a "social network" news website. Idiotic things like Anna Nicole, or Britney Spears hair-style never makes it to the front page because most people don't care. I have my doubts though as to how newscloud is being run, but that's another story. Anyway, someone posted a comment that made me think... Can a "news agency" be held "accountable" in some sort of a legal way for reporting the news incorrectly? Can a talk show be classified as a news show? Is there anything that can be done to strip away this idea that Faux news is a "legitimet" news channel? I don't mean the entire channel obviously, but certain parts of it. OH well...
On an unrelated note...
There's been all sorts of buzz on the internet about the impeachment of the Prez started by some grassroots in Vermont. I'm going to be following this (if possible) to see what it's all about. I never really felt the impeachment idea was the best way to handle things, but if it happened I wouldn't be too upset... unless... the next in charge gets to hold office... Cheney... now that might be a bigger problem.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Book Mobile

So I surfed on over to a website that I had not checked out in a long time – Kevin Kelly's Street Use. KK also has a neat section on his website called cool tools. So today I see the photo above, and read the blurb. I am SO SPOILED here in America and thanks to These people have to wait for a man with a camel to come to their neighborhood before they can buy a book. Whereas I simply fire up my computer, click a few buttons with my mouse, and boom it's in the mail and delivered to me in a truck in about 2 days. Well, Truck vs Camel... not that big of a difference I guess. By the way... Amazon sure has hooked me into financial ruin. A while back I signed up for their "Prime" membership. It was a carrot that Amazon dangled in front of me... sign up for FREE for 3 months. Man, I fell for it. Their 2 day FREE shipping is so nice. Of course it's not really free... I paid Amazon $80 for this "feature". But, the way I figure it, the average charge I would pay for amazon was about $7-9 and that was for a 7-9 day Ground delivery. So If I just round it up to $10, then all I'd have to do is order about 8-10 packages a year to have this service break even. I think I ordered 8-10 packages just this week! (not really). And with Amazon branching out to items beyond books, I think of Amazon first whenever I get the urge to purchase something. And just for the cherry-on-top... I have the amazon credit card, so I get points for each purchase. Ugh.

On a side note: I got a new package today in the mail from B&H photo for my camera. I got a small polarizer filter (should be fun to play with that to see what/how it will effect my shots.) I really admire the tones of the Canon photos, and a friend of mine told me a polarizer will simulate that tone that I like. We shall see. In addition to that filter, I bought 10+ Macro dipoter so I can hopefullt take some better macro photos. I plan on going to the Flower Show this Friday so it came just in time. Stay tuned to my flickr photos after friday for hopefully some nice photos of some unusual plants and flowers.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Tax Time

Ugh. It's that time of year again... Tax time is quickly approaching. I have my meeting with my accountant tomorrow, so guess when I started (and finished) getting all my papers and numbers in order? Tonight! I'm such a procrastinator! But, I hope to have my taxes done early so that balances things out doesn't it? I should be ok again this year. I made a bit less than I did last year :( But that will help in that I shouldn't have to pay any extra in taxes, and I might/should get a small refund back - we'll see. The other reason I don't like this time of year... it makes me so thoughtful of money. I don't like money. Don't get me wrong... I like to HAVE and GET Money, but I don't like to think about it. Well, part of life I guess.

I had a very non-productive weekend (well except for getting my taxes ready). Spent a lot of time playing video games, and had a brief/small adventure last night while trying to get some photos for Have I posted about that yet? I don't think so...
Photogamer is a sort of photographic scavenger hunt on flickr. I was invited by a "friend" Bre Pettis (we've never actually met, but I follow his fantastic work as the media guy for Make Magazine). He's got a blog and flickr account so I feel like I know him and would call him a friend. Anywho... The site just started, and it's grown a lot in just 3 short weeks. It's run by Bre and his "girlfriend" Hilary (I think they're an item, but they could be just friends). They come up with a list of about 5-6 topics (usually connected in some way) then we the "gamers" have to go out and take photos of the topics. The group is a highly creative group and it's fun to see how different people "solve" the different challenges. Usually I get the challenge topics on Saturday so it's a scramble to get the photos before the end of Sunday night. All in all, it's fun to grab a camera and go take photos. Today, I brought my smaller camera with me to the grocery store to meet a few of the challenges. It was an odd feeling. I felt like I was doing something wrong by taking photos of the oranges. I kept wondering what the other people must have been thinking. I kept (and dodged a few times) store employees just so I wouldn't have to answer any questions. But it all went off without a hitch, and no one questioned me. It was a bit liberating too once I left the store. I might start trying to carry my camera with me everywhere, but it might be a difficult thing to do. I'll think about it.
In the meantime: This week's challenge all had something to do with food. Scroll down to the bottom right on this blog to see my flickr photos, and you can see the latest shots there. Or head on over to and see who they picked as the "super winners" (I was one last week! woohoo). And if you already have a flickr account and are up for a challenge go ahead and join in!
Oh, and last night's adventure.... I was supposed to take a photo of someone eating in public. I was hungry and didn't have dinner so I decided to head out to the local diner (and try and sneal some photos of people eating). It was strange how I was able to take a handful of photos in a diner and not have anyone notice. I felt like a ninja! :) I posted my favorite shot of the whole event above.

Friday, March 02, 2007

New Music - Regina Spektor

So I guess it was last week sometime, I was up a little earlier than usual, so I turned the tv on while checking my email. I had somehow ended up on VH1. Low and behold, I was surprised to see something called "music videos"! I had thought these videos were a dead media format ever since Mtv turned to crap programing shows. So, It was some sort of count down show of the top videos. (top what? I don't know). Anyway, I heard this woman come on and her voice made me stop what I was doing on the computer and turn and focus on the video. It was something I couldn't turn away from. Not only was her voice incredible, but the video was so creative. The song's lyrics stuck in my head immediately but I didn't know who the artist was. So the next day while driving, I heard the same song on the radio. Again, I was impressed with the lyrics and voice. So the other day I made the effort to find out who this artist is. I ended up finding the video listed on VH1's website and found out the the artist was Regina Spektor. So off to itunes I go and I bought a special bonus album that had 19 songs for $12.99 vs 10 songs for $9.99. I lucked out because I like most of the songs (a few grate on my nerves). So I found her website and she has her videos online too. I encourage you to check them out. The two that I love are in the video section called: Fidelity and On the Radio.
A word of warning though... her song's have a real "pop" sound and I find myself with the tunes and lyrics STUCK in my head when I first wake up in the morning! It's infectious.