Friday, November 30, 2007

UFO in Britain

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Comcast does it again...

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

National Anthem Fenway Park

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

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

global warming logic

Sunday, November 25, 2007

late night ramblings...

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

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

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

Saturday, November 24, 2007

where does bread come from?

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

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

Friday, November 23, 2007

rip off report

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

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

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Buy Nothing Day!

8 days

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

daft punk - viral

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

Friday, November 16, 2007

Ape Lad

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

surfer dude = genius!

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

You call this art?

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

misc Wednesday

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

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

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

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

Ok, enjoy your Wednesday.

Monday, November 12, 2007


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

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

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Larry Lessig at TED

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

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

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

Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

What is art?

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

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

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

Don't ya love the internet?

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

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

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

Good Stuff - Gotta love the internet!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Planet

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

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

Have a good Wednesday :)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

More Ghost stories

Ok, I know it's after Halloween but I just found this video today. It definitely has some "hoaky" parts in it, but there are a few shots that if real are pretty amazing! I can't say for sure if they are real or not. Without having been there and witnessed some of the details it's impossible for the average viewer to really make a call. BUT... Skip the first segment and "Fastforward" (You can drag the slider once the video loads) to about 5:40. Pretty spooky huh? Is it fake? Could be. It has some things that just don't seem kosher to me. The way the glass moves and buckles the tablecloth doesn't look right. That would mean there would have to be a lot of downward pressure on the glass to make the tablecloth do that.
The next segment again... could be faked. The video quality is pretty poor. I could see the chair and the sheetrock being attached to a fishing line or something like that. Again, if real, pretty impressive.
But now we get to the good one at about 7:55. This next segment has Ed and Loraine Warren. They are well known in the "paranormal world" as being "demonologists." I've never met them, but I know people who have. I can not make a judgment call on their character, but since I know people who will vouch for them, I have to give them the benefit of the doubt.
That part with the kid sitting in the chair is amazing.

I'm not saying anything, I'm just saying :)
You can pretty much skip the rest of the video after that. The rest are things that I personally believe are normal events that can be explained.

Sleep tight :)
Here's the link to the google video.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Impeach Cheney

Well, it's late Monday night, and I keep hearing these rumblings on the internet that Kucinich is about to introduce (or is it RE-introduce) a motion to continue with the impeachment of VP Cheney. I'll be honest... as much as I hope this happens, I'm not going to hold my breath. I've seen the Democrats fold so many times that I've come to expect it now. I wish Kucinich luck, but we shall see what happens tomorrow. We may know more about this by 3pm on Tuesday.
Check this website for more details. One would think, that if a current member of the Senate who is also running for President in '08 that it might make the news that this person is looking for starting an impeachement hearing. But no! I've heard NOTHING about this in the major news outlets. Way to go Mass Media! Whoops strike that... 54 minutes ago, Fox news posted this on their website. My fingers are crossed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Lars and the Real Girl

Saw a good movie tonight. Lars and the Real Girl.
It's late and I've been up since 7am so bear with me here. :)
We went to see this movie on a whim based on a trailer we saw a week or so ago. I think we both did not expect what we saw once we got into the theater. We were both expecting more of a goofy comedy movie, when in fact it was a drama (aka chick-flick). But again, it was a good movie and a unique story (which is rare coming out of Hollywood now-a-days).
I'm not giving anything away here, because it's in the trailer, but the nutshell of the movie is that Lars is a little - shall we say - odd. He's socially awkward. Then one day... he orders a "sex doll" off the internet, but takes to it as if she is a real person. The movie then is about how this effects (or is it affects?) Lar's life, and those around him who care about him. It was a pretty touching movie in spite of its oddball premise. If you're looking for a movie that's off the beaten trail (which are the ones I usually like), then I'd recommend this movie.
I was again impressed with the actor who played Lars... Ryan Gosling. I couldn't think where I had just heard that name recently, turns out I just watched a DVD about a week or two ago with him in it. That movie was "Fracture" and I would have NEVER pinned those two characters as the same actor. Kudo's Ryan.
There was one scene in the movie that I thought was brilliant... Once the word gets out in this small town about Lar's new "girlfriend" we start to see how the various townspeople react. Of course most of them think it's strange, give him/her odd looks etc... Well, there was one scene where Lar's goes into work and his two co-workers are teasing one another... The one guy is a computer geek with lots of action figures set up around his computer, and the girls he's bickering with has a teddy bear by here computer. The girls is getting back at the geek for messing with her bear, so she "hides" some of his action figures. Then it hit me... the writer(s) were making the point that many of us have these "real dolls" that mean something to us. I had to smile once I got the point.

In other news... and I'll try to keep this short, as it may not really be of any interest to most people... I signed up for and went today to a class/workshop to learn about "microcontrolers". Specifically the board we were introduced to is called an "arduino" (made in Italy! Anyone who speaks Italian, know what that may stand for? Sis?). This entire "field" is totally new to me. I never really got into electronics because after a few basics I get totally confused. But I've always enjoyed tinkering. So I said "what the heck" and signed up for the class. Now that it's over, I'm really glad I took it. Even though I had to get up at 7AM on a SATURDAY!!!
I learned a lot (I hope I retain it), and perhaps, I may have started down a new path to a new hobby in electronics. I hope I can stick with it and not get frustrated and move on to something else.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Friday, November 02, 2007

religion vs atheism

I stumbled upon this video link last week sometime and have been trying to find the time and right mindset to watch it since. Well, tonight I was able to (although I was interrupted by the daily show, but that's beside the point).
In this corner... weighing in at 165lbs dressed in a dapper brown suit jacket with graying hair, standing up for all atheists everywhere is Richard Dawkins! [crowd applause]
And in this corner... with a nice politician haircut and his holy baige suit jacket, standing in for all God fearin folks is Alister McGrath! [Crowd applause]
Leetsss get readddyyy to Rummblblleeeee...
Ok, no really this is some heavy duty stuff being debated here by two heavy weights. I've never actually read anything by Richard Dawkins, but I've seen him talk a few times on both the internet and tv. I don't agree with a lot of what he says, but intellectually I respect his viewpoints and do occasionally find some of his questions and points valid.
As to this Alister McGrath... I'm afraid to admit, I've never heard of him (sorry Al). The brief introduction to the video says that he is a Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University, so I'm guessing he knows a thing or two about a thing or two.
It's a bit strange watching this video because it's obvious that it is being filmed on a low budget with what I assume will be edited together for a more compact piece later. (why they didn't spring for two cameramen is beyond me).
It's also FANTASTIC to see a debate on religion held with such civility! I'm so used to reading religious debates online and 99.99% of the time it spirals out of control into name calling on either one or both sides.
I don't think anything was solved here, Richard I'm sure is still an atheist, and Alister is still probably going to go to church this Sunday, but it's good to see a debate like this.
Wouldn't it be great if there were a show on TV that covered this sort of stuff on a regular basis? It wouldn't have to be on nightly, but at least once a month to show two well educated people sitting down (or in this case standing for over an hour!?) and just having a civil discussion/debate? The world needs more of this.
So for those of you with a touch of A.D.D. (I think we all have that), this video comes in at about 1 hour and 10 minutes, but it's really interesting. I highly encourage you to set aside this time, grab a cup of tea, and sit back a listen to this debate.
I won't embed the video, simply click here to go to the open culture website and watch it there. Good stuff.
PS> I couldn't help to giggle to myself as I just pictured both of these guys snapping and just start swinging at each other. Thus the boxing introduction :)