Sunday, September 30, 2007

Into the wild

I just got back from the movies tonight.
My friend and I saw "Into the Wild".
Another gamble that paid off.
I knew very little about the movie. I saw the trailer once or twice in the "coming attractions" and made a mental note of it that I would like to see it. Long story in a nutshell... it's about a "kid" (I think they said he was around 23) who after graduation college (with high marks) decides to throw away the "normal" life and go on the road. He hitchikes across America meeting interesting people and doing interesting things. The guy was extreme in his beliefs... For example, he gets stranded in his car, so what does he do? He takes all the cash in his pocket, and burns it, then just starts walking.
For some reason, I'm really drawn to these stories of people going on the road. Leaving everything behind just to see whats out there.
This movie was a tad bit long for me, but at the same time it was really powerful. It was a real story too, which I like in a movie. Sean Penn was the director AND he wrote the screenpplay! Penn is a talented dude :)
The actor, who I don't recall ever seeing before (I have seen him before because I looked up his credits on imdb, I just don't recall him). Emile Hirsch was amazing! Someone mentioned an Oscar on imdb, and I think I'd have to agree.
It's a movie thats not all "fun and games", but something with substance behind it.
AND... it's all based on a true story!
I urge you to check it out. In the theater if possible due to some of the amazing cinematgraphy in it! There was one shot of some wispy type weeds being backlit from the sun that was incedible!
I have ONE large complaint though...
One small scene in the movie, they do a couple of quick edits, and the main character, looks right into the camera with a reaction. This was horrible for me, because it reminded me I was watching a movie. I really wish Sean had cut that one small clip. Very small and nit picky, I know :)
imdb site here.
official website here.

oh and FYI - Emile will probably be a BIG name soon. He's playing the lead character of "Speed" in the upcoming movie "Speed Racer"!

Friday, September 28, 2007

I knew it...

So a few days ago, I hear that our President has asked for yet MORE Money (of which we don't have) to be borrowed against our future to pay for his occupation/war. Only ONE republican refused to approve request for the $$$ (Ron Paul), and a handful of Dems did too. Only Kucinich denied the request as a current presidential candidate on the Democrat side. How can the Dem's continue to fund this thing when we all make it pretty clear that we don't want them to do it? It's like they are all expecting to get booted out at any minute so they are taking as much as they can before it all hits the fan.
I'm sick of it all. The Gov. needs a real cleaning out.

read the article here on

One other quick note... I watched the debate last night on PBS of the Republicans (some of them anyway) giving a talk at Morgan State University hosted by Tavis Smiley. Ron Paul rocks. I don't agree with everything he says, but I'm GLAD hes up there on stage able to speak. It also seemed like the crowd really responded well to him also. Perhaps it was just a loud vocal few.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thou Shalt live like...

Wow, this post popped up and caught my attention.
I remember hearing this guy interviewed on the radio once on his feat of reading the entire set of encyclopedias! He is both really smart, funny, and probably a bit crazy. So his latest adventure? He chose to live according to "ALL" the laws in the Bible. I put the "All" in quotes because he apparently had a hard time with his wife over the "head of the household" rules. That strikes me kinda funny... I'm all for women's rights and all, but there is something funny about this... A man comes home from the office with this new idea to live according to the Word of GOD, and tells his wife about who proceeds to say "Not in MY house your not!" :)
What's even more interesting to me is that the guy is a self proclaimed agnostic too.
I read the comments over on Kevin Kelly's blog - his insights are very interesting also. Kevin is a really neat person too. I have several of his websites bookmarked and his name always pops up where I least expect it. I read his "Cool tools" almost daily (though it amazes me he has so much STUFF that he can post on an almost daily basis!).
So go to Kevin's blog post first, then if you are still interested go to the newsweek article here, then if your STILL intersted, go buy A. J. Jacob's book.


Ok, here it is... don't laugh!
I went back to my watercolor class last night. I decided to not try to figure drawing classes because of all the hassel around them. So instead, I figured I'd let experience be my teacher.
It was a smaller class which is great by my, I just hope they don't decide to cancel it at the school!
We had a model that I remembered from last year. He's a good model because he has a strong face. I even made him a little more "fit" than he actually was, I hope he appreciated that :)
The one that I chose to post here, is the one I am most happy with. I had a really good pencil sketch underneath that for once, I was very happy with, but then as soon as I put the paint to the paper, I feel like I ruined the sketch! :) But with a little luck and maybe [dare i say] skill, I was able to rescue the painting and bring it back from mush. I could have done a few digital corrections but that would be cheating, so these are scans right out of the scanner.
You can see the other 3 paintings I did on my flickr account here.
fyi - yes the "blob" of color coming out of his eye was a "mistake" but to mod a quote from Gandalf the great... A watercolor painter paints exactly what he intends to. :) Also to give you an idea of scale, these are only about 5"x5".

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How does she sound?

To be fair, I posted a video link the other day about how our "commander in chief" was unable to answer a question posed to him by a young college woman. My frustration in his inability to answer was about a 9.5. So today, I discovered this video online with Nancy Pelosi. I think my frustration to her responses is now at about 9.9! Not so much for her constantly repeating the same soundbite over and over (redeployment), but more for here failure to answer any of Wolf's questions directly. Wolf even called her on it (good job wolf), to say "all you can do now is throw your hands up?" - and Nancy's response is "Of course not! We're going to hold him accountable..."
What!? How!? You mean the way you've held him accountable so far?
It's interviews like this that make me feel disgusted with the entire political affair, and just want to give up. We the masses will never have a say in the political arena.

Chai Ice Cream!

So last night, I get home late (as usual) and didn't feel like cooking much. I had set aside a chicken breast from out of the freezer so I knew if I didn't cook it that night, I'd end up throwing it out which really bothers me. So, I cut it up in small pieces, did a quick stirfry with some cajun spices and seasame seed oil, and then a bit of soy sauce. A sort of asian-cajun mix (now thats a good name for a restaraunt!) It was really good (if I do say so myself). Then later, I was trying to get rid of some recycling and I found a wegmans magazine that had a bunch of recipes in it. I can't remember the last time I made something from a recipe! Well, all that background to tell you about this new recipe I saw on my google homepage... The website is called "simply recipes" and the link is for Chai Ice Cream. MAN! I'm not a big ice-cream kinda person, but that sounds really good to me! I also encourage you to check out the website because she always has the most amazing photographs of her cooking. I probably won't make this ice cream, but who knows.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

New TV Shows...

As my blog-o-friend Valejandras pointed out the other day, yesterday (Mon) was the premier of the New TV show called Heros. Starting its second season after much fanfare on the success of the first season. I've really been looking forward to the new season (almost as much as battlestar galactica!). So I sat down to watch some new TV last night. First, I got to see the show called "Chuck". I had no idea that it was premiering right before Heros, so I kinda lucked out in seeing it. I REALLY Liked it! It had a little bit of everything I'm into... nerds, geeks, hot chicks, computers, conspiracy, Government cover-ups, comedy, etc... It's almost as if someone wrote that show just for me :) While I was watching it, I realized... somewhere along the line, it seems like TV is starting to cater to geeks like me. Perhaps it all started with the X-files, but now it seems Geek's are taking over. Heros (based heavily on a comic book feel), Chuck, IT Crowd, Another new show something about Big Bang theory, and there might be a couple more I'm missing... I don't understand it but I'm also not complaining! :)
Ok, onto Heros...
I don't know, maybe because I was hyped to see? But it felt different. The writing seemed to have changed big time. In the first season, it was VERY character driven. We were introduced to the characters little by little, and discovered them almost as the characters themselves were discovering each other. Last night seemed like they were trying to jam a bunch of loose ends into a storyline. It seemed more "canned" to me. There were a couple good twists, but overall I wasn't impressed - Also if you are going to throw these big twists into the plot they should explain it a little. I HOPE it falls back into the groove it had before. It would be sad to see this show fall to the wayside. I wonder if I can hit up imdb to find out who the writers were from the last season, and see if they changed.

I also half-watched the new show called journeyman. It wasn't bad. I may have to give this another try next week too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Most powerful man in the world?

No really, someone pinch me cause this must be a dream I'm in.
The leader of what is supposedly the most powerful country in the world is stumped by a young woman's question regarding military policy of which he is the "commander in chief"?


This video made an appearance over the weekend over on "laughing Squid" and I just saw it repeated over on boingboing, so I figured that was a sign that I had to post it up too! :)
But really, I'm glad to post this video. This video had a huge impression on me when I saw it LIVE on TV. I remember staying up late one night to watch "saturday night live". This was back when SNL was something you didn't want to miss. I was still pretty young at the time, but I remember this video strongly for some reason. I think most of all, I had NEVER seen a performance like this. I had seen a bunch of videos and band performances, but the two things I remember... the costumes! These yellow jumpsuits that looked like some sort of haz-mat suit gone awry was so cool. Then the way these guys moved! Or rather Didn't move. The one guy who just sort of "twitched" the whole time, and the others who did this sort of robot dance. My memory is not that good to recall whether or not this was the first time I had seen DEVO, but I think I've been a fan ever since. As a quick sidenote: Not too long ago, I rented a DVD of all the early DEVO music videos. Oh MY! I was shocked at how CRUDE these things were. Not to mention how off the wall they were! I have a feeling that if I saw the videos first, I might not have been a devo fan. It's neat to think though, that at the time, these were some of the most creative music videos of their time. I sure do miss music videos.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

are all cartoonists genius?

I vaguely remember posting about this guy before.
I've really got to make more of an effort to read his blog on a regular basis. I think part of the problem is that his posts are kinda long for my ADD internet span. But hey, I've been known to ramble on too.
I read his entry the other day when I saw it posted on reddit.
I must warn you, there is a lot of foul language.
I must warn you, it's dripping with sarcasm.
I'm not going to tell you who the writer is yet.
So read this post first. (I encourage you to read some of the comments too, but seeing as there are over 300, that can get old real quick).
When you're done, check out his follow up post that explains some of the sarcasm.

Here's what I don't understand though... I've never been a fan of this guy's comic. I think some of them are really funny, but overall I can't relate to the strip. Funny, how you can admire and respect a person, even, admire and respect his creation, but then just not like it. To each his own I guess.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Finally! A Bit of Justice!

Now, see, I was just going to post a quick post today, but then I saw this...
MO police officer is fired.
I actually did NOT blog about this police mis-conduct that appeared on the internet a few days ago. I decided to let this one go. Partly because I feel i've been posting too many of these, and partly because I was a little frightened to. When a police officer starts to threaten someone about "making up" a list of offenses that scares me.
But on todays Reddit is a follow-up that the officer in question has apparently been let go. I'm sad to see someone loose their job. But at the same time, based upon what this guy said, and how he reacted, I am glad he is not behind a gun and badge anymore. For what seems like ONCE the guy is held accountable.
Read the news story here.

note: the video has a REALLY annoying ticking noise.


No long winded posts today... Just...
Have a GREAT weekend!

(shortest post ever!)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Follow up to art class...

I'll try and squeeze in a quick post here.

So last night I went to my art class, and it was kind of a bust. Turns out, I think I signed up for the wrong class. I went back today to look at the course descriptions, and they are rather vague and over-lapping. So it's no wonder I picked the wrong course. So, I get to class early (almost 45 minutes) and I get the LAST parking spot in their parking lot. whew. Parking is a mess in that area of the city. I went in early, to get a good seat, and to buy a pad of newsprint from their school store. I go back to the classroom and people are starting to file in now. Turns out the class was totally packed! There were some people that came in, saw that there were no seats and turned around and left. A few "brave" souls actually came in and sat on the floor for 2 hours! I didn't think to count, but there had to be at least 50 people. So the teacher then proceeds to go over the supply list (which I had already bought), and tells us NOT to buy the pack of pastels, because we probably won't get to that. GRRR! Then she goes on to talk a little about the course, and says that we probably won't even have a live model until about 4-6 weeks! (I think there are only 13 classes so that's almost half). So, upon going back to the course descriptions today, I realized I probably should have signed up for the "figure drawing 1" class instead of the "drawing 2" class which covers the introduction to figure drawing.
So we spent all night (2 hours) drawing 3 vases. Not very exciting.
Don't get me wrong, I still actually enjoyed drawing the vases (actually 2 vases, and one bowl). But by the end of the class (again with no real instruction other than the "teacher" setting up the items and saying to draw them.
So, now, I'm faced with the decision... do I return to my watercolor class, or do I try to get into the "figure drawing 1" class. Which that's another debacle... On the website, it says the class if FULL and that they are taking names for a waiting list. So I tried to call the offices and I reach the receptionist. He tells me, I can still go to the class, and that there is no waiting list. Huh?! He said, that notice was put up to discourage people from registering for the class online.
So, now, I don't know if I too will be faced with another FULL class with no seating or what.
I'll have to decide what to do at a later time.
I'm still a little peeved at myself for buying all the supplies first.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Southwest airlines

What is Southwest doing!?
Southwest has been my airline of choice over the past few years on my trips to California. They usually have decent prices, and I've never really had a problem.
Well, things are a changing...
Not too long ago, I went on their website to see what the prices were for a possible mini-vacation. Low and behold... they have discontinued ALL direct flights from Philadelphia to Oakland or SFO. The average flight now went from a 5.5 hour (flighttime) up to anywhere from 8 to 11 hours!! When I called them to question this "policy change" I got a nice run-around. I had to call several times to get a customer service person to agree that this was a policy change, and that they were no longer offering direct flights! Stinks.
Now, today, I found this post over on
One of the things that set Southwest apart from other airlines was their no assigned seats. Depending on when you check-in, you get put in a group of either A,B, or C. A's seat first, etc...
I always try to get on the A list so I can have first choice of seats (I prefer the aisle). One of the things Southwest offered though, was a pre-seating for elderly people, handicapped, or familys with young children. So now, they are getting rid of that. Again, this stinks... As someone who is not used to screaming kids, it worked great. Ususally the pre-seating families would sit up front. This allowed me to pick a seat several rows away so I wasn't near a screaming baby. But now... they could come in and sit down right behind, next to, or in front of me. I'll say it again, that stinks. There is even talk, of offering the "A" list as an added expense. yeah right.
So, I think it's official... southwest has lost me as a customer.
To be honest, I'm not even thrilled with flying anymore. I've heard all these stories of so many delayed flights, the way items are stolen from baggage, and all the hassles with TSA. I hope I can find a better airline for the next time I decided to fly.

Finetune 80's

So I finally got around to putting together another playlist for my finetune website - and made it a permanent fixture in the sidebar of my blog. I stuck with a theme this time... All 80's music! Maybe because that's when I feel like I first discovered music, and a whole new world of "alternative" music opened up to me that it made a huge impression. So many of these songs are "one-hit-wonders" and some are from bands that are still around today and active (U2). At the time, these artists were considered "alternative" These artists were not played on the radio. You could hear them on college radio stations, Mtv (during certain times - back when Mtv was cool), word of mouth, and occasionally a movie soundtrack. Once they gained some popularity almost all of these songs ended up on the pop list of the radio stations.
If you like groups like: U2, depeche mode, the cure, softcell, big country, inxs, etc... you might like my choices. If not? Make your own finetune playlist and let me know in the comments.
PS> I'm impressed with finetunes selection of music.

Art Classes

Well, tonight I start up my art classes again. I'm both hesitant and excited to start up again. I'm hesitant because I signed up for a new class... Drawing II (introduction to figure drawing). I found myself last semester struggling with some of my figure watercolors. So I thought I might get a little refresher course, and hopefully pick up some new info. The way this school works is very unstructured. So if I get to the class tonight and find that they will be covering stuff I already know, then I can always switch over to the watercolor class again. That's my intent anyway, until last night! I went up to my local "arts and crafts" store (no such thing as an art supply store near me anymore - which is REALLY SAD!). But they have all the basics. Anyway, I had a materials list to go by. Little did I know, that most of of the supplies i DON'T have! Here, I was thinking it was figure drawing right? All I need is a pencil and a sketch pad (which I had). But no... I had to get a bunch of charcoal supplies and pastels. I had NO idea that charcoal is so expensive! A little pack of burnt twigs was about $7. Then with some pastels, some pencils of different kinds, and some colored paper made for pastels, I ended up dropping $50! So now I'm committed I guess. I better like this course now. I still need to buy a pad of newsprint, but perhaps I can get that at the school store. So, it's with a little trepidation I'll be going to class tonight. It will be nice to get back into the "art world". I've already started "seeing" again. When you take (or maybe I should say "when I take") an art class, I start to see things that jump out at me as being artistic. Certain colors, patterns, etc... It's nice to get my brain in that mode again.
If I feel I get something good, I'll try posting it to my blog here for the world to see. :)
I just found a watercolor I did last semester as a sort of doodle, but I really like it. It's of a bunny rabbit that one of the classes was using. I saw it in the parking lot, and when I got to class early, I did a quick sketch and painting. Maybe I'll scan and post that later.

Where am I going to class you ask? Here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Peace with Force?

More disturbing video of a person tasered... Again, the situation gets outta hand quickly, so the police resort to violence. It seemed as though it could have been handled much better.
I also just lost all respect for Kerry for not stepping in and saying anything. As the guys is screaming in agony on the floor Kerry, starts to pick up the conversation as if nothing is wrong.
[via boingboing]

I just went back to boingboing to read some of the comments.
I'm going to re-post this comment by "thecynic"

At first glance, this all sounds like good advice. Especially the part about not resisting. But to me, it brings up that pesky word of "rights" and morals... But first, read his comment...

Do not run from the police. Do not resist arrest. Even if you feel you are being arrested improperly, do not resist -- take it up with your lawyer after you have been arrested. If you do not have a lawyer, one will be appointed for you.

It's sad to me to see that the passive resistance techniques of Ghandi are being abandoned by this latest trend in active resistance.

Although it should rarely come to that. If you want to air your issue, make a YouTube video. Rent out a lecture hall and talk all you want. Hand out leaflets. Blog about it. You have a wide variety of ways to air your opinions in such a way that the police cannot hassle you.

Do not invade convention halls, run from the police, disrupt the event and then resist arrest. I split the blame for this scene between the guy and the media: Him for acting like that and the media for encouraging this type of active resistance. Resist the police, get tasered, scream a lot and bam, instant internet celebrity! BB should be ashamed for promoting this behavior.

You'll note that none of these cases ever goes to court. No lawyer will take it up because they don't have a case. You resisted arrest, you assaulted a police officer, you're going to jail.

So, what I'm wondering is... do we have a "right" to resist - ever? IF you see a cop beating someone (like the rodney king episode) do you have a moral responsibility to intervene? Do you wait until AFTER someone is beat to a pulp, or possibly killed, then later depend on the justice system to work? I'm just throwing this out there to think about. It's not really related to the issue. Perhaps, its all too soon after seeing the vigilante movie this weekend :)

Monday, September 17, 2007


Impossible to explain. Just watch.
Website is here.


Ok, one more quick post...
I watched a very little bit of the TV coverage on C-Span today of the September 15th war protest. I did not watch very much TV over the weekend, but I saw NO other coverage of the event. I've not seen ANY mention of it on the web either. [update: it has gotten some coverage, but very little].
I have to question... do these protests do ANY good?
That being said, I'm VERY glad there was a protest, and in the chance that somewhere, somehow, they made a difference in the people's minds that are running this occupation, then that is a good thing. Read more here.

The Brave One...

Its late, and I'm tired, so I'll keep this short...
Last night, my friend and I wen to see the new Jodie Foster movie called "The Brave One". I'll review it here with a few short comments:
It felt long - It was just a hair over 2 hours, but I think because it had the same "tone" throughout the entire movie it just felt really long.
Great acting - Jodie nailed it again. I don't like Jodie on one aspect... she always plays "the victim". But, I give her credit, because she plays the victim SO WELL. Her Co-actor Terrence Howard also did a really good job. Nicky Katt on the other hand did not do so well. Maybe it was his dialog or something but his lines were horrible. Almost to the point where I had to keep my self from laughing.
Overall, I liked the movie. BUT I did not like the moral LOOP that my mind went into after/during seeing this movie. Nutshell, it was about this woman who turns into a vigilante. So it brings up that whole thing... is it right to take the law into you own hands. The best way my mind can answer that question is using a bit of "maybe logic"... No, it's not right to take the law into your own hands - BUT, I don't fault anyone who does under certain circumstances.
Warning, there are some extremely graphic violent scenes in this movie. One scene made me very uncomfortable.
Good movie.
One small side note... Jodie was really showing her age in this movie. Perhaps it was done intentionally, to make her more "real".

Friday, September 14, 2007

creepy and cool...

This story was on my yahoo news this morning. It's an interesting article (if you like toys and/or robots). I think the photo and story actually is a little creepy though. The idea of a "thing" becoming a friend or part of the family is disturbing. Then again, I probably relate to my computer here more than my friends or family. It's my communication with the world, my entertainment, my source of videos, music, etc... But still, it's just a thing.
I almost wish that these robotocists didn't focus so much on making a humanoid robot. I feel like robots could be SO MUCH COOLER than just something trying to simulate a person. It seems all robotics concentrate on are humanoid figures, faces, or bugs, or animals. Why hasn't anyone made a robotic pineapple that speaks?
Maybe that's why I'm not a robotocist :)
Read the article here on yahoo.

Oh real quick...
When I signed onto blogger tonight to post this, they are introducing a new website that's pretty cool. Basically its a small web app that shows you every photo that is being uploaded to It's a sort of photographic glimpse as to what is going on in the minds of the blog-o-sphere. I watched it for some time, and was mesmerized.
I'm also amazed at how fast they can upload and deliver these images to the web.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Debt is stupid...

I'm certainly not in a position to give anyone money advice. I manage to pay my bills and over the past few years, I've been able to save more than I've ever had. BUT... one of the best decisions I've ever made was to make a concious effort to get out of credit card debt. I was driving a 13 year old pick-up truck (which I LOVED) but it was falling apart. I knew that sometime in the future I'd have to get a new vehicle. So, I made a real effort to stop buying 'toys' and really pay down my debt. In a few years, I cleared all my credit card debt, and (knock on wood) have never gone back in debt since. I've even managed to turn my little bit of savings into actually making money in interest for me. Granted, not a lot, but it's nice to get "free money"!
So, all of that just to say, I found this great post over on the
It talks about some guy who is giving a video presentation, but I just read through the "talking points". I struggle on about a weekly basis to NOT go into debt, so its nice to get a reminder like this every so often.
Check it out here...
My favorite... "According to Larry Burkett (?), we spend the first 5-7 years of our marriage trying to reach the same standard of livings as our parents, only problem being that it took them 35 years to do it."

More peace officer brutality...

Just so you know, I'm not out actively searching for police brutality videos on the web. I frequent some of the same websites everyday, and these things keep popping up. I'm not sure why I feel the need to re-post them on my blog, other than to say THIS is why people should always be wary of authority. I always here the comment "well, if you have done nothing wrong, then you have nothing to be afraid of"... people never stop to think that there may be a handful of peace officers who are abusing the system and or corrupt. This video shows again, how a peaceful situation can quickly go awry. The police did make it clear they wanted the Reverend to leave the line. They did not make it clear as to why? Must a citizen always do what a peace officer says no matter what? No questions asked? I think the answer is becoming clear... yes. Which is scary to me.
I will say that some of the reporting here seems a little off. They say the officers "football tackled" him "without warning".... I don't think that's a fair comment. The Rev. is being ushered out of line (they apparently had their hands upon him, so I don't know if that's considered force?). Then the Rev. Clearly "reacts" by pulling away suddenly. Well, that's the trigger the police officers are waiting for. At this point, they dog pile on him, and proceed to break his leg! The situation was clearly mis-handled. 8 guys men piling on top of another man is not necessary. I often wonder how the words "innocent until proven guilty" relate to a person being arrested. It really seems like force is used way too quickly now.
Obviously, ALL police officers are not like this. I know some who are very nice people, just trying to do their job (which is difficult). But I think there is a real lack of training officers how to handle a situation before it has to turn violent. Be polite. Be respectful. Explain the consequences of what happens if a person does not follow their orders ie: Get on the ground, or we will tackle you with 8 people.
Ok, enough of my blathering. There are a series of links to post here...
Original post on boingboing.
Link to post on that shows the original footage of the event.
Link to blog with an update on the Reverend's condition.
Link to youtube video of a press conference by the Reverend Lennox Yearwood.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

New music thingy...

So a little while back, I went to an Adobe sponsored event. During the presentation, the presenter mentioned (and demo'd) a website called "". It took me a while, but I finally made it over there to check it out. Its pretty cool. I found the navigation a bit confusing and clunky, but eventually I figured it out. In a nutshell, you can either listen to other people's playlists, listen to the "staff playlist" Updated frequently, and/or create your own playlists! They put a few strings on the playlist you create (which I understand, I'm amazed they can do what they do). It's totally legal. Some of the audio sounds a bit compressed, but for internet streaming it's not bad.
I'm going to try to embed my first playlist in the sidebar later, but for now, I'll try to embed my playlist in this single post. A brief explanation :) I didn't realize they put a 3 song limit per artist. I wanted to create a "techno/electronic" playlist for myself. But since the genre is a bit new to me, I quickly ran out of artists names! I then reverted back to throwing some 80's techno songs in. Then I threw in plain-ol' 80's songs. Then I just threw whatever popped into my head, because I just wanted to finish the list! (Apparently you can't listen to your playlist unless you have ALL 45 songs. Me no likey this.) So forgive for having the genre's jump all over the place, but hey, makes things interesting right?
I will say thatI found they had a good selection of artists, but I totally thought their "top picks" for that particular artist needs a good whack. For example, I typed in Depech Mode, and got a few odd ball songs.
IF you decide to try out your own playlist, be sure to leave a comment so I can check it out.
Now, sit back, put your headphones on or turn up your speakers and prepare to chill. :)

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bug sounds

Found a really neat website thanks to "geekdad". Ever sit around on a nice fall evening and listen to all those crickets chirping? Ever wonder what kind of cricket it is? Or was it possible a tree frog? I have :) this website has some nice photos, and even better, recorded sounds of the bug in question. I learned that the cicada that I am so used to hearing since I was a kid is actually called a swamp cicada. I didn't even know there were different types of cicadas!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Weekend update...

Wow... I think I had a busy weekend! It has flown by! Busy = good, but flying by is not so much.
Saturday I went with my friend to see "Shoot 'em up". I wasn't too sure about this but my friend wanted to see it. It wasn't like he had to twist my arm either, I mean it has one of my favorite actors in it - Paul Giamatti. I also like Clive Owen too. Monica Belluci? Eh... nice to look at, but I've only seen her in the Matrix and some foreign film which was way too twisted for me to even watch in its entirety called "Irréversible".
I will say some good things about the movie... there were some really nice shots. Occasionally the cinematography had a real nice style to it. Since it was a sort of "campy" film there were a lot of comedy bits thrown in. Some of those bits made me chuckle. The other thing that held my attention was Paul Giamatti. He played an excellent bad guy. See, thats how talented I think he is. If you look at Paul, he's kinda heavy-set, kinda nerd-ish, but he's such a good actor that he pulled off a really "bad-a$$" character that I was amazed. Again, Monica was almost annoying to me. He Italian accent was thick and I had a feeling she was struggling to get the english words out. Very distracting to me. Not to be cruel either, but some of the shots portrayed her looking a little dare I say... old. Just not flattering in the photography I think.
As far as story, etc... eh. It didn't cut it for me. Too much action, and over-the-top scenarios for me. Can't recommend this one. (I guess I should point out though.. my friend liked it so there ya go :)

Moving on...
I got home late Sat night and checked my mail. Much to my surprise... I have been picked to serve Jury duty! Petite Jury to be specific (whatever that means) - I am by all means not petite :) So In October, I'm going to get to (maybe) see what this is all about. I have really mixed feelings about it. I've ALWAYS heard how people hate jury duty and always try to figure out ways to get out of it. So, I don't know why people hate it so much. I'm also concerned from a moral standpoint. I don't want to be responsible for sending someone to jail. I'm wrestling with this. If tables were turned, and someone committed a crime against me, I'd probably want that person to serve his full "justice" - but I'm not sure I'm willing to be the one to "dish it out". From a religious point of view also, I'm not sure it fits with my beliefs.
So, I of course will go along with it all and see what the experience is like. I will actually be a little shocked if they choose me, because I have a beard and long hair. I will dress nice (have to, that's on the summons!) but I kinda doubt a lawyer would want some old hippy sitting on the jury.
If anyone has positive or negative experiences with jury duty, please post in the comments. I'm curious to know what it's all about.

I went to my MAKEPHILLY meeting today! Many thanks to "J" for allowing me to... I felt horrible... I had gotten a phone call from my dad and I offered to take he and "J" out for her dinner celebration. The following day, I had remembered that I had my MAKEPHILLY meeting! Doh! So I asked, and she "allowed" me to postpone it a week so I could still make the meeting. I hope she forgives me :) Happy Birthday J! :)
That being said... it was a GREAT meeting! We had a guest speaker that was very interesting!
It was Slavko Milekic, M.D., PhD. He gave a really great talk about "eye tracking". He's an associate professor of Cognitive Science and Digital Design at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. I unfortunately missed the beginning of his lecture, I could not find a parking spot anywhere! So I was 15 min late. But I did catch most of it, and it was really fascinating. I hope we continue to have guest speakers!
Then, like all of our other MakePhilly meetings, we have a "maker challenge" for the second half. This time, we did what is called an "exquisite corpse" (which I've never heard of) but apparently it's something they do in the literary world, where you have a person or group, start a word, sentence, or paragraph, then the story gets passed to another group to continue the story. So, what we did, was break off into about 5 or 6 groups, and each group had a platform about 11" x 17" of wood. There was an "input" and an "output" instruction. For example, my team had the last platform. We had an input of "tumble" with the final output of "raising a flag". The platform that connected to ours, had the output of "push" so their "push" motion had to trigger our "tumble" motion. When all the platforms were set and put together, we had a giant "rube goldberg" device! It was awesome! I've always wanted to build or help build one of these contraptions and finally had my chance. With a few rocky starts, and minor tweaks, we finally had a totally unassisted succesful "launch" from start to finish! There was a great cheer at the end! I brought my video camera, and lent it out to a fellow maker to tape, while I was working on my platform with my team members. So I hope he is a good videogrpaher! :) I hope to edit it together sometime this week, and post on youtube!
We also had "royalty" in the audience too!!! We had Bre Pettis show up from! He's there video guy (and more) and all around creative person! I'd like to think we are "e-friends" as we have shared emails, and I've taken part in a group he created called photogamer (which sadly has fizzled out). So it was great to meet him again (I met him briefly at the maker faire, but just long enough to shake hands.) I got to speak to him a little more at the end of the meeting, and he really is a nice guy. From the looks of it, he too had a good time at the event. If he posts anything about the event, I'll be sure to update it here too.
The above video is one I found on youtube just as an example of what a rube goldberg device is. It's NOT the one we made :)

Good weekend!
Hope yours was as well!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Arrested in the park...

I don't know if their claims about putting wheat-paster posters up is true or not. I find it kinda hard to believe that it would be allowed to put these posters up. Wheat-paste is a biodegradable mixture of wheat flour and water mixed to create a sticky paste. Eventually it will wash away, but it still leaves the paper to decompose on the traffic box. As much as I am for the message they are trying to get out, I do think they were in the wrong here. As always... I'm just a joe-schmoe sitting here in front of a computer so I could be wrong. If anyone knows, please post in comments. I do know that wheat-paste posters are what most of the local bands put their posters up around the city with.
I think the officers could have handled things a little better too. Not that they really did anything wrong here (though the man-handling of the woman and snatching her bucket away is questionable). The use of the horse to burst into the middle of the crowd strikes me as a bit over-the-top too, but thankfully no one was hurt.
I'll be curious if the protest gets coverage on C-span. I've heard of A.N.S.W.E.R. before from C-span.

Things are getting scary...

I don't like sounding like an alarmist. I REALLY hope I'm wrong about posting this... but some scary things have been coming into alignment recently and I don't like it.

1) Last week, I saw several headlines that said that Cheney had sent a message to the major news outlets (Faux News was one mentioned) to start beating the war drums, in order to get people behind attacking Iran. I didn't even bother to read them, because I don't think it could ever be verified and was probably just a rumor. Read this on

2) I read something about troops being ordered to our nations capital "for protection". Found the story mentioned here on WLBT 3. While trying to find this news story, I found it via another person on "yahoo answers" putting together similar "facts". Read comments here.

3) Nuclear Weapons were "mistakenly" loaded on a B52 bomber and flown over the US.

4) and now todays link (that triggered this post) that sums all of this up (especially in the comments)... this was the number one spot on digg just now... About how Sept 14th the air force will be grounding ALL flights. What!? Someone in the comments says that this was done one other time... Sept. 11th. I have no idea if that's true or not.

5) Supposed release of new Bin Laden Video (A long time ago, I had heard that he died of natural causes, but it was a story that quickly disappeared, don't know if it was ever confirmed.)

6) ALL of this is happening at the same time that the Bush Admin is supposed to release a report on whether or not the surge is working.

7) Ramadan begins on the 13th. Possibly no connection what so ever, but still.

I'm going to take a deep breath now, and won't be letting it out until Sept. 15th.

The lobbyists win - this time...

Well, I was thrilled to post the other day about a win for "the people" regarding a judge slapping down part of the Patriot act. But today, I learned that we lost a small battle to a judge. I'm sure the BIG cable and phone companies lobbyists did their part on this. It is regarding the whole "Net Neutrality" issue. The Judge ruled on the side of the big corps, giving the ISP's the ability to either "limit" data streams they don't like, AND/OR charging more to us customers to access certain parts of the internet.
If you read through the "excuse" the judge states for his decision, it smacks of propaganda on behalf of the corporations. Read the full clip here from AP. Listen to this quote:

The agency said providing different levels of service is common, efficient and could satisfy consumers. As an example, it cited that the U.S. Postal Service charges customers different guarantees and speeds for package delivery, ranging from bulk mail to overnight delivery.

I think that's a horrible analogy.
Here's my attempt at a better analogy...
Lets say you have a friend that works at company XYZ. It turns out that the USPS also has a contract with the company XYZ. So, when you mail a letter to your friend, the letter zips through in one day. Now lets say you have another friend who works at company RRR... But the RRR company is a rival of the USPS. So guess what happens to your letter... it gets pushed to a slower system that now takes 5 days to deliver. Of course if it HAD to be there in one day, you could pay extra if you like.
See... It stinks.
these ISP's are going to exploit this now, and WE the consumers are going to get stuck with either paying extra, or putting up with slower speeds. Grrr.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Update to "All Hail who"

Quick update to my "all hail who" post...
I brought my camera to work with me yesterday (Wed) to snap a photo of the offending graffiti on the "hail Mary full of grace" billboard. It looks like I was too late. On Tuesday, the graffiti was still there. By Wed morning there was a new billboard in its place. (It was one of those printed vinyl sheets).
So... I'll be interested to see if the vandal/Jesus promoter comes back again to leave a mark.
I've been thinking of this still and came up with a new thought... I was questioning wether or not it would be considered "moral" to break a law (such as graffiti) to change a message about God or religion. Then it hit me... that's the root of many problems in this world isn't it. Including war. The fact that there are different religions and beliefs, changes what people deem "moral". I'm sure this person who spray painted on the poster felt "morally justified" to do this. I'm sure the people who paid for the billboard were "morally outraged" that someone would deface their religious icon like this. Taking it one step further, if these two people met in person, I'm sure name calling would probably ensue, then a fist fights, then... well you get the idea. So, I've come to realize that this idea of "God's law" (whichever God you chose) being more "important" than "Man's law" can be a real problem.
I'm going to struggle to think about this more, so my opinions may change :)


Score one for the people! I just heard on NPR (while it was in the background, so I may get the details wrong)... A Judge has just ruled against some of the features in "the patriot act". The reason? Does not allow for "checks and balances" provided by the constitution. Huh... imagine that... Bush admin not following the constitution. NPR later went on to point out that this was a challenge brought to the courts by the ACLU. Woot! I joined the ACLU about a year ago. I am not passionate enough (or rich enough) to make monthly donations (like they ask), but for a one time fee to join of around $20 or 25, I feel like I was part of the group now that helped US get some of our rights back. I encourage you to join the ACLU - if for no other reason that it would piss-off Bill O'reilly :)
This story is only about 40 minutes old, so not many press or links I can point to. I did find this little snippet though on AHN.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

News headlines...

Just a few random thoughts on todays headlines showing up on the Google news page...

Mattel has announced EVEN MORE recalls of some 800,000 toys that have Lead based paint!
You know, with all the hoopla over these recalls, I've yet to hear anyone question WHY is lead still being used in paint today?! I do hold Mattel accountable, but why have we not heard the name(s) of the paint companies supplying Mattel with this toxic paint!?

Yahoo just bought "bell lithium" for 300 MILLION - get this - in CASH! Apparently they are an advertising agency. Cash? Why is a deal like this done with cash? I wouldn't even buy my pick-up truck using cash. Do they make "million-dollar bills"? otherwise, thats a wheel-barrel load of cash to cart around!

CBS - Kid Nation... the show has not even aired yet and already its under scrutiny. Some are claiming all sorts of "fouls" from "child-labor" practices to child-endangerment. Rats... I was kinda looking forward to this reality show. I think it's a great sociological experiment.

Not really a post...

Been taking a couple days off from posting. I've got a couple things brewing though so stay tuned :) I will also say that my new computer game (wow) is consuming MUCH of my downtime. I am enjoying it a lot. It is interesting to me too to see how the game developers have made it addicting. They start off with small "quests" where you are awarded small prizes when you complete them. Then gradually they get harder and harder. Always dangling that next bigger and better prize in front of you. It's really clever of them. I'm also impressed with having met some of the other players online - most (which shocks me) seem to be polite and helpful. Some have been ignorant and of course some are spamming, but that was to be expected.

I've got a new music website to post about soon too... kinda cool.

I signed up for art classes again. I will be taking figure drawing (as a refresher course), watercolor again, and I signed up for three "lectures" on anatomy. I'm looking forward to it all in about 2 weeks.

I may blog about a few geeky issues I've had with transferring domain names, and setting up a new website. (I'm ever so slightly thinking of starting a domain just for this ol' blog, but we'll see.)

In the meantime, enjoy your "hump day" of this short week. Hope you had a relaxing 3 day weekend.