Thursday, May 29, 2008

twitter and movie

Sorry for the lack of daily posts lately. It has been a combination of two things... 1) Not much to say lately. Just sort of plodding along these past couple days. I've not been following politics as much, as I was getting too frustrated, so I took some time off from that.
B) I've been enjoying twitter lately. It's kinda like a mini-blog (I do believe some officially are calling it "micro-blogging"). Some in fact are trying to pursue an open source micro-bloggin - I'm interested to see what happens with this.
So for the past few days, when I get a quick thought of something to say to the world, I'll twitter it, rather than blog it. You can "follow me" here if you like to sign up, or just look in the side bar to the right and you'll see my last two "tweets".

ok, onto a strange movie review...

So back in 1992 (I only know this date based on IMDB's release date for the movie), I was visiting a local video store that was fairly new. It was Tower Records (are they even in business anymore?) At one time, Tower was cool. Lots of indy stuff (both music, video and zines). So I was wandering through the video rentals and picked up one called "Roadside Prophets" (imdb).
Now, for SOME reason, this movie made an impression on me. Over the years, I would recall this movie, mainly due to one actor. It had a cameo appearance of John Cusack in it, and I'm a fan of John's. John's character was an eye patched character who wore leather gloves, and would order a bunch of food at a diner, then shove it all in his mouth and run out without paying for it. I know - weird.
Well, the other day, the movie popped into my head again, and I thought "I wonder if netflix has this movie yet?" (I'd searched before and no luck - that's how obscure this movie is).
Much to my surprise - they had it!
So the other night I watched it.
OMG! What sort of mindset was I in, in 1992?!
It was a horrible movie by today's standards!
I was amazed at how cheesy the wardrobe was from the 80's (along with some lame soundtrack). The main actor was horrible! (sry John). John Doe (yes, that's his stage name! Birth name is John Duchac). And this is where it starts to get weird too... some of the other co-stars in this movie - again, more of just cameo appearances...
David Carradine (yep, the guy from Kung-Fu)
John Cusack (whic hI mentioned above).
Don Cheadle (with the kookiest 80's "erasertop" haircut) who also was nominated for an Oscar!
Timothy Leary - yes - THE Timothy leary from the the 60's drug culture.
Arlo Guthrie - yes, that arlo also from the 60's culture - Alice's restaurant. Son of Woody Guthrie.
FLEA - HAH! I didn't even recognize him from the movie, I just saw his name in the credits. (He's the famous bass player from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers!)
The co-star of the movie (who I liked his acting) was named "Adam Horovitz" - I didn't recognize him or his name, but then via imdb, I learned who he is... he's one of the Beastie Boys!
Possibly the craziest cast in a movie I've ever seen.
Maybe that's why this movie stuck with me :)
I will end with saying this...
under it all, I do think the storyline of this movie was interesting. I wonder what this movie would be like if it were remade today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News in other countries? what news?

Sorry, the embed code brought up a big error in blogger. So only a link.

Think you know what's going on in the world from mainstream media?

Gotta love the TED talks.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Eagle has landed!

Well, not the "Eagle" but rather the Phoenix! I just watched the landing on both CNN, and live on the web on NASA TV. Oddly enough, there was about a 30-40 second delay from the "live" internet feed in comparison to the CNN feed.
And, what was also cool about this event...
Nasa went all "web 2.0" in providing live Twitter updates too! I just checked the feed and took two screen shots. One of the other persons that I follow on twitter is named "apelad" who is a great cartoonist. His comments in with the twitter feed were pretty funny too :)

Small side note: I've really been enjoying twitter lately. I've found some good people to follow, and it's a neat thing to be able to see what's going on in their lives no matter how mundane - or in the case of nasa - FAR from mundane!

In a few hours we "SHOULD" have new images coming in! Then it's 90 days of science (maybe longer). One of the goals of this mission is to perhaps find ice (aka water) which if anything like earth - where there is water, there is usually life.

If you can't read the above image you can click the image and it should open in a larger window.

Liz Trotta on FOX NEWS

Way to turn a Fruedian slip into something even worse Liz!

Peer Pressure

(Via OpenCulture)

Indiana jones

How can this happen? Two of the greatest film legends of our time - Steven Spielberg, and George Lucas, team up to revive the Indian Jones Storyline. They should have been embarrassed to attach their names to this, let alone repeat them so often at the beginning of the film credits.
I will admit, I wasn't to keen on seeing this movie in the first place. But, I will watch just about any movie, so it wasn't like I had to have my arm twisted. Of course, I like Harrison Ford, and Shia, but man...
Perhaps my biggest complaint - The effects! I mean this movie is coming from ILM, Speilberg and Lucas!! They should be TOP NOTCH! But no, someone got carried away with the 3d particle generator, and just liked making a bunch of clouds, and dust.
And what ever happened to this little thing known as PHYSICS?
So, one scene, Indiana, is having a fist fight with a guy while on the back of a motorcycle. The bad guy is hanging out the window of his car taking swings at Indy. Indy, gets a good shot on the guy and knocks his hat off - in a normal world, where there is lots of WIND because the car is going fast down the road, but if you watch the hat, it falls straight down, like they were on a sound stage. ugh.
And then the last thing that makes me angry...
The story line of this movie could have been awesome! Ancient cultures, Mayans, archaeological digs, gold, (and one other element that I won't give away here)... I mean, that is some interesting pieces of a great story! But know... no time for spoon feeding us a story, we've got car chases to watch, and fist fight brawling scenes, and giant waterfalls, and jungles, and gun fights, nuclear explosions... c'mon!

Very disappointed, as if you couldn't tell.
The silver lining...
As part of a promotion my local theater was giving out little sample packages of "Chewy Nerds" candy - THEY were awesome! :) sour candy, wrapped around a jelly bean inside. Gotta get me some of them.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

weezer + Internet = cool

Kinda sad how many of these references I am familiar with. Glad to see TWO DaftPunk references ;)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Profits vs prophets

Found this via Wooster Collective.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Fly little Bird

So a story from what happened to me yesterday...
I was sitting at my desk at work the other day, it was around 12pm or so. I had the radio down low, like I usually do just as background noise, and I'm working on my computer. The back door was open downstairs and one of the windows upstairs was cracked a bit for some fresh air. When I start to hear a bird calling. It was a sound I'd never heard before. Kind of a loud squawk like sound. As I leave my "zone" of working, I start to try and listen to the bird and try to identify it. I can't. Then, I realize there are a bunch of other birds chirping loudly and angrily. Hmm... Odd. So Then I think, maybe it's a hawk or owl, and all the smaller birds are raising a fuss to scare them off (I've seen this with mocking birds chasing a crow, or hawk). Then I hear the squawking again and realize it's a distress call. So, now I have to know what's going on outside in the back yard. I go downstairs and stand at the screen door. We have a bird feeder about 20 feet away that hangs from one of the tree branches. Sure enough, there is a big commotion going on in the trees with the smaller birds all yelling. Then I see the focus of their attention... A larger black bird (which I later looked up and identified as a Grackle [wikipedia]), is sitting on the ground with a wing extended out like it was hurt. I start to feel pity for the thing. It then starts banging it's head into the ground, and flaps it's wing a bit. Odd. I can understand a hurt wing, but why bang it's head into the ground. Something's not right here. So I open the door and go down the steps to see what's going on (I thought maybe there was a cat after the hurt bird?), as I approach, the Grackle see's me but doesn't really fly off, or make an attempt to flee. I take a few more steps closer, and the grackle then hops off... and I see what all the commotion is about! Here, under the Grackle, was a small sparrow. The Grackle was sitting on top of it, and pecking into it's neck area! I had no idea a bird would be that violent! (I later learned that Grackles are Ominvores, and will eat other birds!) So, I shoo the Grackle away, and walk over to the sparrow. I stoop down and see it's still breathing, quickly, but obviously not in good shape. My heart goes out to the poor thing. It probably is in shock, or on it's last leg (so to speak). So, I think, the least I can do is make it comfortable for it's final moments. I go back inside, and get a small cardboard box. I go back out, and take a twig (Birds can carry diseases so I didn't want to touch it, if I didn't have to, plus I saw small amounts of blood). I try to gently push roll the sparrow into the box, as I do, the sparrow wakens breifly long enough to grab the little twig with his one foot. I was amazed at the strength in it's tiny foot. I get the bird into the box, and leave him grabbing the stick.
At this point, I wanted to achieve two things... One, to get this small bird off the ground. I knew it'd be a matter of time until the ants found it, and would start to pick it apart (dead or alive). The second was that I wanted to move it in case the grackle came back looking for it. So I placed the box off to the side, on top of one of the air conditioning units, to get it up off the ground. The sparrow is just laying on its side now.
Well, there is not much I can do for it now other than to let it rest.
A little time goes by, and a few times now I start to come out and check to see how he's doing (I don't know if it was a he or she). The first few times I look, nothing, just laying there breathing. Then I checked again, and was thrilled to see him standing! Still in the box, and just staring at the blank wall, but still, he was UP. My hopes are raised, that maybe he'll make it now?
I go back inside and eat my lunch.
After lunch, I check again... Much to my surprise and delight, I see he's now sitting on the flap of the box! But, then the wind starts to pick up, and I see the flap start to move in the wind, and I see that the sparrow is still a bit wobbly. I am now afraid that because I lifted him up high on the air conditioner, that if he were to fall now, it would be another shock to him. So, I go out, and slowly approach the box. I can see his one eye is almost shut completely, but then I see him blinking at me. There was a moment of panic in it's eye, but I guess he was too tired or weak to respond. So I slowly lift the box, and start to gently lower it to the ground. I get about half way down, when all of a sudden, he takes flight, and flys about 20 feet away! YES!! I could tell, his flight was a struggle, and he didn't go into a tree branch, but just to know that he is able to fly again, is a huge improvement! So I watch him for a little while, and I don't approach him anymore so as not to scare him. Instead, I head back inside feeling like he's on the mend.
About an hour or so goes by, and I look out again... this time... he's gone.
Part of me wonders if he was just under a bush or something, but the larger part of me likes to think that he finally got enough of his strength and wits about him to make a flight to a safer place.
I came inside, glad and happy, that because I responded to a squawk, I gave that little sparrow a second chance in life.
Two comments now since this was a rather long story...
This was probably my best day ever at work.
I've also been pondering ever since... I am amazed that here we have two creatures... one a small tiny flying thing with feathers, the other a large lump of a thing, with skin and hair. These two creatures are SO far apart in their makeup and their thinking. Yet... something about the way that bird squawked that caught my attention. That made my ears perk up, and then realize it was a call of distress. The big lump of a creature could still understand the cries of another creature needing help. Something to think about...
I told this story (in a shorter version) to my mom (who taught me about birds, and who I credit with my enjoyment of birds) and she responded back with this poem. I think is AWESOME!

fly, little bird; fly!
be safe in the sky.
a rest was best
a box; loving care
and off to the air!
fly, little bird; FLY!

Sad Edit: So today (Friday), I leave the office back door, and walk down the steps, and to my surprise and horror... a single wing of a sparrow with fresh blood. :(
It was as if someone left it right there where I was sure to find it.
Obviously, I couldn't tell if it was the same bird or not, but either way, it was not something I wanted to see. Stupid Grackles! Go pick on a crow or something. They just made my list of least favorite bird.

Manufactured Landscapes

I just now finished watching a beautiful and yet disturbing movie.
It was called Manufactured Landscapes (imdb). It is a documentary about the work of a photographer named Edward Burtynsky. (His official website here -warning the browser window will resize).
In a nutshell, Edward photographs man-made landscapes, and industrial settings. From shipyards to cityscapes in China. Some really nice work. At the same time though... the film is disturbing, because you get to see (through the lens of Edward), what sort of destruction WE (humans) can do to the natural landscape. It brings up conflicts in thinking though because on one hand, all those people need a job, and all those people need a place to live, but when conditions are such that these images take place, it can be very horrific and beautiful to look at. One particular shot in the beginning of the film was uterly amazing. It was a slow panning shot of the inside of a factory with workers (mostly standing) along HUGE assembly lines as far as the eye can see. When you think, the camera has panned as far as possible, the building can't be THAT big, it just keeps rolling and rolling. One woman was building some sort of circuit breaker, with about maybe 20 pieces. She was snapping these things together with just a screwdriver. She said she can do about 400 a day! And that she's worked there for 6 years! I just can't imagine.
I can't recommend this movie to everyone, but if you can appreciate the beauty in this then it's worth a rental. If you can stomach the destruction and yet at the same time the creation of product, then also give this movie a rent. Personally, I think every person who has ever thrown away a computer into a landfill, or recycle, should be forced to watch this movie.
I currently have an old computer monitor (that still works) and now a broken microwave sitting by my front door, because I don't want to throw them out. I will be donating the computer monitor to goodwill in the hopes that someone will be able to use it. But the microwave... I fear this is headed into the landfill.
There are times, when I can pull back from it all and I just realize... WE humans are nothing more than a virus on this green and blue earth. We are consuming, destroying our habitat as we go, and we're spreading and multiplying at an ungodly amount. Soon either we will destroy this place called earth, or it will destroy us. Is there such thing as finding a balance, or are we always headed towards this end? Time will tell.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Awesome wheels

A few days ago, I pulled out of my apartment complex onto the highway, and stopped at the light across the median strip was a really awesome looking vehicle. I'm not sure how to describe it because I've never seen anything like it before. It was basically a motorcycle trike, but in REVERSE. It had two tires in the front, and one in the back and it was a bright yellow color. I just did a quick search on the web, and found the image above (via this post). I don't think it's the same vehicle, as this one looks lower to the ground, and the front wheels are showing a lot of chrome, fat racing wheels. The one I saw looked a little more "BMW-ish". Then again, I only had about a 3 second look as I passed it in traffic.
If anyone knows what I might have seen please post in the comments.
Perhaps someone will find this post in the same way that I was going to search for it: Yellow Reverse Trike.

In other news...
The other day my microwave broke. Well, it still technically works, but the keypad buttons stopped working meaning the "start and stop" buttons.
I made the attempt to contact the manufacturer (Sharp), and after several round abouts on the web, and the automated voice mails, I found a local Sharp repair service. I called, and as I expected, he recommended that I just go out and buy another. (I'll spare the "these are the times we live in - a throw away society). So, based upon that this microwave lasted me almost 12 years, I decided to get another Sharp. For what it's worth, it's a R-308JS, and here's the thing... has this for $103.99 and I bought' mine at a local "club store" called BJ's for $75! Sometimes those club stores pay off. I hope this one lasts another 12 years - knock on wood.
What I want to know... why does it seem like a lot of my stuff keeps breaking lately. No such thing as coincidence?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Son of Rambow = stunk

Well, I guess every small independent film that comes out can't all be a great movie. Sadly.

I just got back from seeing "Son of Rambow" and I gotta say, it was borderline painful. As my friend pointed out, "I don't know who that movie was made for". Was it a kids movie? Whatever it was, it wasn't for me. At the beginning there were some scenes that I liked and thought were funny, that I got a chuckle from, but as the movie wore on, it was just to the point where I wanted to leave.
I will say this about it...
Both of the kids who played the lead roles were pretty good actors (Tallulah Evans played "Lee Carter", and Bill Milner played "Will Proudfoot").
The other good thing I can say about it... The music was right up my alley, it was set in the mid 80's and in England so there were groups that I recognized almost all. (The Cure, Siouxsie and Banshees, Depeche Mode (the old DM!)) And it was a scary flashback too that people really dressed like that?! wow.) Warning, I linked the above to some youtube videos... be prepared for a culture shock.
Oh, and for what it's worth - apparently my friend and I are in the minority here with this movie. It's getting good reviews and some people are loving it. Go figure.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement address

Friday, May 16, 2008

What would YOU do?

Just a small story that ended well, but I have to wonder if I did the right thing...
A long time ago, I was driving home with a friend late at night, when the person in front of me was weaving on the road. We both were pretty sure that he was drunk. So I used my cell phone and called the police. It was rather difficult, because by the time I got the story out as to who I was, why I was calling, and trying to describe where we were (while moving) we ended up crossing township lines, so they had to transfer me. Long story short, they eventually caught up to me and pulled the person over.

So, yesterday, I was driving home from work, and the same thing happened. I noticed a car that was weaving into the shoulder. Ok, once, no big deal, maybe he wasn't paying attention, and just drifted. We've all done that. But after the second time, my "spidey senses" kicked in and I thought, this aint right. So first thing I did, was back off the gas and let the guy get in front of me (rather than next to me, where he could have swerved into me!). Sure enough, as a space opened up next to him, he changed lanes and was now directly in front of me (though with extra space), next thing I know, he drifts over and ALMOST smashed into the concrete barrier separating the lanes of traffic! He jerked the car back at the last minute. So, I've got my hand on my cell phone, but now I'm having a hard time keeping up with him to follow, and other cars are now tailgating ME because I had given extra space between us.
So, I decided at the last minute that I would not call the police. I didn't have the number, (I've since added it to my speed dial - a good tip for everyone). He was pretty far ahead of me now so I wouldn't be able to follow safely and provide directions as to where we were. So I felt bad, but hoped that the near miss with the medium strip would be enough to get him to sober up.
Next thing I know, I seem him change lanes up ahead of me, and he gets off at the same exit that I was. him, now's my chance to catch up to him on the side streets. So I finally get behind him at the next light, but it turns out he's headed into MY parking lot of the apartment complex that I live at. So, it doens't make sense to call the police now, because by the time they get there he might be parked and out of his car. So I follow him, to make sure he's parking and not continuing to drive. Finally, he ends up parked and as I drive past, he's getting out of the car.
So here was my dilemma now... Do I say something to this guy? Do I risk a confrontation with a drunk to let him know what he did was wrong and endangered not only his life but others?!
I decided in that split second moment, that if he's drunk, I wouldn't be able to rationalize with him, so I passed him by.
But now it's still nagging at me, as to wether I did the right thing or not. I think I did, but...
So what would you have done? confront? or make sure he was off the road and continue on.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Skype = confusing and misleading

So, I'm not exactly sure why I chose to do this... well, actually it is because I thought I could save some money.
I don't use my phone that often. No particular reason other than I don't like talking on the phone. I'm much more of an email person.
So when it came time for me to choose a long distance plan, I waded through all the confusing plans, and determined that the best one for me was a one that included a small monthly fee of about $5. Then, all my long distance calls after that are around ¢12 a minute.
Now here's the kicker, to call my sister who lives on the opposite side of the country, it costs me ¢12 a minute... but to call my mom who lives about 15 minutes away, it costs me ¢24 a minute!
What's up with that!?
So, I decided to look into Skype.
I had played around with Skype back when it was free. I liked it, but it felt more like a gimmick, and in all honesty it was easier to pick up the phone, than to fire up the computer, find some headphones, speak into the built in microphone, etc...
Then, like any good drug dealer business plan... Once Skype had people hooked on the free plan, they moved to a subscription based plan. I'm out.
So fast forward a year, maybe even 2 or 3 years, and I'm thinking of getting rid of my long distance plan, and a cheaper way to call my mom.
So, I buy a usb headphone with a built in microphone, and two days ago, signed up for a 3 month subscription plan. It works out to about $1.50 per month for UNLIMITED long distance calls to anyone in the USA. So that part is good!
But then things got complicated...
Through some poorly worded subscription plans, I learn that because I live in the USA, I'm NOT able to get a "skype phone number". Well, technically I can, BUT it costs about $54 per year!!! Now, this isn't a critical part of having skype, If people want to call me, they can still call me on my regular phone. But there are certain benefits to having a skype phone #. One of which is that when I call my mom, her caller ID shows my call as "unavailable", so now she'll not know if she's getting a junk call, or if it's me. Grrr.
So, right now... Skype, you're on NOTICE!
Either get this USA phone number thing straightened out, or you'll lose me (and many others based on your message boards) in about 6 months.

Oh, and the icing on the cake...
I had to buy a USB hub now for the headphones, and as far as I can tell now, it doesn't work with any of my devices. Thanks Belkin!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Foreign Film - Children of Heaven

Well, cross another country off of my foreign film list.
I'm not making a concentrated effort to find as many films from foreign countries to add to my many movies I've seen.

Children of Heaven (imdb)>
This movie is from Iran. Now that for some reason is a country that would not have been obvious to me for whatever reason. But that is the whole reason for this exercise.
It was a good movie. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars on my netflix. It was a rather simple storyline, which is fine, and the kids were really great. In a nutshell a little girl's brother accidently looses her shoes on the way home the repair shop. They are a poor family (relatively speaking i guess), and rather than risk making their father angry, they work out an elaborate plan of sharing the brother's sneakers. The movie brings up issues of family, peer pressure, social standing, etc...
There was one scene where I realized I was really into the movie where the father is riding his bicycle with Ali on the center bar, as they are going down a hill the brakes give out. I found myself leaning back in my chair trying to slow down! :)
If you can put up with subtitles I really recommend this movie.
There were several items of the film that were new cultural experiences to me. The one that stood out, was some sort of flat bread oven, where there were two people cooking. One person would stretch a thin layer of what reminded me of a pita bread, on some sort of a curved wooden (possibly cloth?) board, about 2 feet long. Then, once smoothed, he (or she?) would grasp the board, and "slap/place" the bread along the inside of a metal wall that appeard to be burried in the ground. This was the oven, that looked like it had a fire in the center. So the bread would stick the inside wall and cook there. Really neat.
Oh, the other weird coincidence, I didn't feel like cooking much, so I had decided to just boil two potatoes for dinner. (plus some garlic and hot peppers for flavor). Ali, was on his way to the market and bought a bag of Potatoes for dinner! See, we're all not that different.
PS> Imdb has this film listed as "Bacha-Ye aseman".

If anyone has any other foreign movie recommendations, please leave a comment. Bonus points for the more obscure countries not known for their movies in America (ie: France = low points, Iran = high points).

Cacao Powder update...

So a few days ago I posted about getting some cacao powder via amazon (original post here). Well they arrived today! Tastes good and all that, BUT... I was thinking "alright! I found a semi good tasting healthy snack food!" Well, it doesn't have all the sugar and all, but I just learned that it still has a lot of FAT! ugh. 1 ounce (which is a lot), has 12 grams of fat = 18% of daily allowance. 7grams of that is saturated fat (no trans so thats good). So, I just had the wind knocked outta my sails on these, but I guess I'll still eat them. I need to figure out now, how to store 2 lbs worth! Freeze i guess? Oh well.

Monday, May 12, 2008


My Kaossilator ARRIVED TODAY! (Thanks thinkgeek for fast shipping).
I've only had an hour or so to play with this new toy, and so far... AWESOME!
I should warn anyone who is thinking about getting one... it's really geared towards electronic/techno music. There are a lot of sound samples, but most are techno oriented.
I can see myself getting lost with this thing for long periods of time.
The only downside... I can see this starting to peak my interest in keyboards, and digital sound. (I used to have a small midi studio, WAY back in the day).
I say this is a downside only for one reason... money! It's an expensive hobby. But, I'm wondering if I can take a cheaper road with what little I know about chiptunes and 8bit music. I'm wondering if I can hobble together something that won't cost an arm and a leg, and yet provide me with some fun ways to make "music".
Once I feel like I've got the hang of this thing (which shouldn't take long), I hope to maybe post a youtube video.

graffiti festival

Video from the "Cans Festival London". I wish the video didn't have so many fast cuts, but I guess in order to see so many pieces it was necessary. Anything like this in the states?


via laughing squid

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Cool to see the costumes, and how it was built and all, but overall the movie felt a bit forced for me. And really, to have a scene with a fist fight between two robots? cmon. Please, any hollywood directors out there... send me a copy of this rule in some handbook, that says the good guy and the bad guy have to have a fist fight?
Robert Downy was good, but I don't think it was his best work. I noticed too for the first time that he has a strange sort of limp. I don't know if he did this for his character or not.
moving on...

So the other day I'm flipping through the TV channels and I see a show about music (VH1), I see a show about interior design, I see a show about movies, I've seen shows about books, but I've never seen a show about art?! Sure, I've seen shows that might be about a particular artist (usually on PBS), but why are there not more shows that are about fine art? Doesn't everyone appreciate art? Don't most people have a painting hanging somewhere in their house?
It just hit me, and I thought it was weird.

Happy Mother's Day Mom!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bird in California

One of the days of my vacation, we took a really neat trip to visit the Charles Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa. First off, the museum was really nice. I felt like I grew up with Mr. Schulz (in a way I did), as I was a big fan of the Peanuts as a kid. For some reason, I can vividly remember one of my first drawings that I was proud of was a copy of Snoopy. So the visit brought back lots of good fun with those Peanuts characters. In addition it was neat to learn a little more about Schulz of which I knew very little. To see some of his original artwork up close like that was awesome. To see how his linework could emote the subtle nuances of attitude - wow. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention... the architecture of the museum was fantastic. I have been noticing architecture more and more and this one I really liked. Modern museum feel to it, yet it also had a lived in, homey feeling to it. A Nice blend.
(I also enjoyed hearing my sister giggling in the near empty museum as she read some of the comics ;)

So after visiting the ice rink and small cafe, we were just getting into the car, when I caught the movement of some birds in the tree. I tried to take a mental picture of it so I could later identify it. When I got back to Sis's home, I looked it up. At the time, I was 90% sure I had ID'd it as an Island Scrub Jay. I was pretty sure that it wasn't a Western Scrub Jay.
But just now, I was looking up some of the info on wikipedia and now I'm not so sure. Apparently the reason why it's called an "Island" scrub Jay, is because it only lives on Santa Cruz Island. But at the time, I would have sworn it was an Island Jay. Oh well, I'll stick to it for now, but unless someone from Santa Rosa can confirm that they too have seen these Island Jay's then it's probably a western scrub jay. (note: the photo I pulled from wikipedia and is of the Island Scrub Jay).

I saw a few more California native birds, but I've not unpacked my moleskin notebook yet, so I'll try to post those later.

Friday, May 09, 2008


My First attempt at a Stencil. First person I showed it too, didn't recognize the mashup though. I thought it was pretty obvious. Thoughts?

Spending like a drunken Enron exec...

Wow, I gotta get back control of my credit card here.
So, I get back from a week's vacation, to discover my truck won't start. ugh.
It wasn't the battery, and after many attempts it did finally turn over and run.
I drove it up to the Toyota dealership, to have them look at it.
Well, that's a long story too, because the very next day, the dealership was going to be closed because they are going through a buyout by another local dealer. (They'll still be a toyota dealership, just different owners). So the guy told me that he has no idea when they'll re-open.
So, one day to look at my truck and fix whatever they think is wrong with it.
Long story short... $400 to clean things up. New sparkplugs, cleaned fuel injectors, and one other thing I can't recall at the moment. And basically, this may not have fixed the problem at all, since it was starting fine when the mechanic was looking at it. I'm sure it just had some gunk in it that settled, but the $400 was spent on normal maintenance so I'm sure it's not wasted. BUT the downside is that they found an additional two problems that I wasn't prepared for. A leak in my "power steering rack" and a loose and "seized tie rods" - ugh. All I heard was a $1268 estimate on the work. So, I've got that to look forward to.

But onto the FUN things!
While are the Maker Faire, I stopped briefly at a booth run by Scharffenberger Chocolate! I didn't learn much because it was crowded with people, but I saw they had a few bowls out of "cocoa nibs" - basically these are pure chocolate, they are roasted pieces from the cocoa beans (wiki). The beans grow on a Cacao Tree (wiki). So I reached threw the crowd and took a small spoonful of the samples. Wow! I liked it! A little bitter, but they tasted good. These are also MUCH better for you than eating chocolate which has a ton of sugar and fat mixed in. I didn't have time to see how I could possibly order some of these "nibs". Well, to the rescue. I just ordered some last night. 2 1lb bags of them! I've never heard of the brand before (Navitas - amazon order page) but it's all natural and organic so that's good. I look forward to getting these to snack on. Oh, and there is some interesting stuff about the cocoa on the wikipedia page, about how good it is for you. (lowers cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, etc...)
More info here too from Scharffenberger on what nibs are and how to eat and use them.

I woke this morning, and got an email update from ThinkGeek!
They have the Kaossilator in stock!! I've been wanting one of these gadgets for a long time now! So I quickly hoped online and placed my order. To refresh your memory of what this machine does... it's a loop/beat creator with a finger trackpad. This mixed with my KP3, and I should be able to create some cool music now. Fingers crossed!
To see what the Kaossilator can do here's a youtube video.

So, enough spending on "fun" things for me for a while. I've gotta start saving for some new tie rods.

Sidenote: I just had a positive experience with my apartment maintenance people. So nice when things go the way they're supposed to! They told me between 9am and 10am that someone would be out here, but I've learned in the past that it's a good thing to call the morning of to confirm that they're still coming. So about 9:20 I called and they said, yes, I'm still scheduled. Well at 9:30 George showed up. Seemed like a nice guy. By 10:15 he was done! Brand new garbage disposal, some new pipes under the sink, and I'm back in business. And it didn't cost me anything! (well if you don't include monthly rent!). So nice to have a positive experience for once with these guys. I think they have made some personnel changes recently, so MAYBE they are running a tighter ship now.
Next to fix...
Refrigerator (makes loud diesel engine noise!)
railing for steps
cracked window
guitar (not apartment related ;)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

now that's beautiful...

Ok, going to jump back into the blog-o-sphere lightly after my week long vacation. I'm still trying to settle in here and not quite ready to send out some large blog posts :)
So, this just to say...
I just saw one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time on the Steven Colbert Show. His guest tonight was George Johnson (official website, wikipedia), who has written a new book called "The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments". During the interview, he had two small experiments on electricity. One of which generated a small spark. Let's just say that it is a known scientific fact, that all men will touch a small spark to see how it feels... Stephen included.
It is too soon for me to find a youtube link, or official link on the but I'll try to update this page if I do find a link.
UPDATE: Here is the link to the May 7th show on the comedy central website. I can't link directly to the interview (some weird flash navigation) but you can click on the interview with George towards the bottom. The part that I'm referring to is near the end of the interview.
Link is here.

(note: While at the Maker Faire this past weekend, I stopped by the wikipedia booth! One of the guys there took the time to show me how to edit a wiki page. So tonight, I just posted my first ever wikipedia edit, and added the fact that Mr. Johnson appeared on the Colbert Show tonight. I'm curious if the edit will "stick" because I'm not sure what all the rules are for wikipedia yet.)
Update to the wikipedia part... I just checked my "work" on the wikipedia page, and saw that someone edited my content and added a bunch of obscenities! For the record, that wasn't me! So, I re-edited the page again, and removed the offending words. I wonder if someone will add them back? Funny, I tried to find an official rule for wikipedia on the use of obscenties and had a heck of a time. Not to mention that the person who changed my edit, tried to tell the story which is not funny at all. oh well, welcome to the internet I guess.