Just some random notes about stuff I like.Read More
Things that are awesome (some of which may have been previously mentioned here) in no particular order:
- Sushi + beer + sake + friends = AWESOME
- Live burlesque. Also, The Wife potentially taking burlesque classes. :D
- Absinthe. I'm digging on Kübler, which is locally available now. Admittedly, I talk more people into not trying absinthe than I talk into trying it. It's not for everyone.
- Rock Band. I'm pretty useless on anything except the singing, but it's more fun than Karaoke Revolution because the other people are playing along with you. Drumming is unpossible for me.
- Tiki bars. Especially the Tiki Torch in Edgewater. I know one of the owners, so I'm psyched to give it a shot. I'll be toting The Wife and her mother down this Saturday, I believe. Daddy needs a Mai Tai with a quickness!
- Anita O'Day. Holy crap! How have I never heard of her until now? Best thing to ever happen to me thanks to Plurk. (If you're not already a Twitter user, you might try Plurk instead.) Also loving Sarah Vaughn these days.
- The Silent Years. The Globe comes out soon.
- Going to the doctor to get my first physical in who knows how many years. It seems I'm doing well. (I still have to do blood work, though.)
- Michael Phelps. Yeah... WOW.
- The iPhone 3G. Lots of people gripe about various things, but in general I say it's damned amazing.
- Dark Knight. Saw it on IMAX. It was pretty good.
- Rumbi fish tacos. I'm stunned, but these are currently my favorite fish tacos.
- Knowing one of the guys on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
- Fuelly. All the cool kids are doing it.
- Bumping into an acquaintance and having their first comment be "You look good."
And other stuff, too. That's a pretty good list for now, though.
So, the big push was a fairly resounding success (as much as these things usually are), and I'm happy and relieved. Enough about me, though, really. How have you been?
Some topics for discussion:
- Have you seen the Big Picture blog at Boston.com? It's hot -- both in the "that's sexy" way and that all the cool kids are talking about it.
- Speaking of cool kids, my buddy and former coworker, Rod, got all internet famous last week with his fake script for Indy 4.
- This is totally ghey, but skip to the 3 minute mark and it's a least a little amusing.
- Speaking of ... erm... Yeah. Did you guys see the Turkish wrestling spread in ESPN the Magazine? Yeah, neither did I. I hear it's totally macho, though.
- More macho is Sasuke -- or as it's called on the G4 network, Ninja Warrior. Holy crap that show is awesome! Makoto Nagano is my hero.
- I like plurk a lot. The Interface is light years ahead of Twitter. And if you're into either of those jammies, check out ping.fm -- right this second "letmeping" should work as a beta code.
Other stuff of note:
- My darling Ma has teamed up with some cohorts to start a giant dog rescue. We're talking Danes, Newfies, Mastiffs, Wolfies, and so on. Wow.
- Think I'm gonna ride the motorcycle into work a least a couple days this week. Turn the stress dial back a couple clicks.
- Oh, I am so getting an iPhone 3G in July. OMG!
Granted, he had become almost unwatchable recently - forgoing comedy for the grumpy old hippie shtick. I still love the guy, though. I can't get over the fact that he was only 71. He really seemed older and more tired than that in his more recent appearances. I'll always remember the first couple HBO shows I saw when I was a kid staying up too late to watch the funny guy cuss and talk about how your house is a place for all your stuff. Very formative stuff for this guy.
In memorium: The seven words.
As for me, we have a big push today at work. Assuming it goes reasonably well, I'm going to have a serious period of decompression for the next couple weeks.
This afternoon, I'll be trekking down to Shelf Road for a weekend of camping and rock climbing with my bossmen and a few others. This is rather exciting, as I've done neither of those activities in yonks. It's also a bit depressing as I realize just how many yonks it's been. Based on the evidence, I haven't touched a real rock while wearing a climbing harness in this century. In fact I've only climbed on the indoor fake stuff the once since I've moved to Colorado. Climbing was part of the "why" of moving to Colorado at the time of that decision. Funny how things work out, eh? A large part of it is having people with whom to actually do things. I suppose I didn't realize how lucky I was to have developed the network of like-minded and tolerable people I had back in Massachusetts. Thanks, gang!
Then there the camping. I unpacked my tent to make sure it hadn't dissolved completely over the years and found bits of bark and moss from a camping trip I took in New England with Miracle Ed and Hanh something like ten years ago. Good goddamn!
It's all a bit conflicting, to be honest, because I can't say I've missed it all as much as I would have expected. I've found other things to do at times. Mostly I'm just kind of lazy, I think. Or at least I tend to have a lot of inertia when I'm comfortable. That's a nice way of saying "lazy"...
Also, snakes. ;)
Unrelated: Holy crap! I totally watched The Master back in the day!
Meta: I wanted to add my shared items from Google Reader to the new secondary sidebar, but it didn't work properly. I might keep trying.
You may recall that my dearest mommy got me a big ol' television set for Christmas this past holiday. Well, I've finally got it running at full capacity now that I have a TiVo-HD (got a deal on a refurb from Woot!) and boy is it something.
Of course, the CableCARD install wasn't perfectly smooth, but at least it turned out to just be a bit of an annoyance while the cable guy fiddled with it for an hour or two. It was definitely not the sort of tragedy I had read about on various TiVo forums, etc.
It's funny what HD does to you, though. Two words to illustrate my point: Sunrise Earth. My friends (who were all way ahead of me on the HD curve) all told me about this hypnotic show, and I always pointed at them and laughed. Turns out they were right on the money. It's just mesmerizing. Even beyond that, though, I'll watch a nature show or rock concert in HD before just about any other option now. Good times.
The Wife's favorite bit - aside from when I blew her mind by showing her how we can watch shows from our old TiVo unit on the new one - is the dual tuner action we get from the TiVo-HD. Now "Boy shows" don't automatically trump "Girl shows". Peace reigns supreme at the Lazy 'S' Ranch, though it does give the TiVo twice the opportunity to record one of it's off the wall suggestions...
Or... Y'know... A bulleted list of junk from the internets:
- A couple from my tsrly quotes:
- It's St. Paddy vs. Jesus this year as the Easter Holy Week overlaps St. Patrick's Day. Quite a conundrum for the Irish Catholics, eh? Luckily, my personal beer worship won't be affected.
- The hairstyles of Japanese women might reflect the state of the Japanese economy. Or it might be a coincidence, but people don't bother to mention that.
- Dick Cavett has fond memories of chess genius (and batshit crazy anti-semite) Bobby Fischer
- I'll admit that it makes me a little nervous to even link to this.
- Parents: praise hard work, not natural ability.
- The Wife's reaction to this story, which took place about a mile from our house: "Who the heck robs a Hobby Lobby?!"
- Still unsure if your favorite TV show is coming back after the writer's strike? Here's the 411.
- The Wife is on a comic kick right now, so here's a list of 8 comic books to read before you die, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
That is all.
Here's to having MLK Day off from work! Going for my walk/run today in 15 degree (F) temps wasn't nearly as bad as I was expecting. Until my calf started cramping. That had nothing to do with the cold, though. It was ready to go from the activity earlier in the weekend.
Junk I've run across:
- Parkour and free running are - without a doubt - the best thing to happen to action movies since martial arts. This article focuses on one of the American early adopters.
- Last Friday there was news of a car found in bits (along with the three people who were in it) in nearby Louisville. Turns out the car was doing over 100 miles per hour. It also turns out the folks taking the ride were drinking. At least they were "doing what they loved."
- Leonard Cohen is going on tour after fifteen years off the road. I'm sure he's past his prime, but I might actually go see him. This live disc is absolutely essential, I don't care who you are.
- What does it say about me that I think this thing looks like a lot of fun?
- Brozo's pal and mine, John Croghan, is playing some shows in the near future. I told him he should play "More Than Words" by perennial Boston favorite, Extreme. He said he'd do it if I actually came to the show. I'm gonna do my best, even though it's way past my bed time. ;)
- Another buddy, Wil Herren, has taken off to Dubai, where the rate of construction is only outstripped by the importing of sex workers (or so I hear). Wil's off to a great start on his travel blog, even if he might be misusing the "pages" paradigm. The captions on the pics are gold.
- Brozo has the run down of our send-off for Wil, if you're interested in a bunch of past-their-prime white boys rolling between dive bars in a limo.
- Oh, yeah... Go Pats!
- So, Clinton won Nevada, but Obama got more delegates? WTF? No wonder people don't bother...
- I'm reading The Golden Compass right now. It's actually good fun, IMHO. Not sure if I'm all that interested in the movie, though.
- I grabbed Superbad onto my TiVo via Amazon Unbox, though. That's bound to be just about perfect for one of these nights when the television dial is utterly devoid of worthwhile entertainment.
- Speaking of, anyone have the early word on Breaking Bad? I've got it recorded, but haven't watched it yet.
Random tidbits once again:
- I'm really pleased with the results of my latest slate tile project. Now I'm itching to switch into woodworking mode. I'm super excited about the new episodes of the New Yankee Workshop: Norm is building kitchen cabinets. I plan to eventually build cabinets for the mudroom and perhaps the garage (as practice for the potential "big job" of the actual kitchen). I think I'll go ahead and buy the DVDs.
- I'm gradually building up my home entertainment system to match the new TV. I've gotten a fancy HDMI-switching receiver and a fairly cool iPod dock thingy. Next on my list is a TiVo HD. Then some surround speakers of some sort (I'm still living in stereo, folks...). And then maybe an Xbox 360, finally. (Still holding out for GTA4 on that one.)
- On the fitness front, my weight dipped below 200 pounds for the first time in a while yesterday. It's back above today, but we'll assume that's temporary. I'm going to join a climbing gym soon, I think. A great new motivator I have is the Garmin Forerunner 205 I got for Xmas. It's not as sexy as the new 405 everyone is drooling over, but it's pretty darned cool. Of course, now I'm obsessed with tracking the slightest walk / jog / jaunt to the mail box. When The Wife teased me about it I quipped, "Are you kidding? I'm gonna track my trips to the bathroom from now on!"
- Lots of interesting gossip about former coworkers and new coworkers. That's about all I'll say about that, I suppose.
- I'm still an Obama cheerleader, though I don't generally like to air my politics on this site. I like the look of things right now.
- Trent Reznor isn't exactly excited by the results of the Niggy Tardust experiment.
- TV sucks almighty ass right now. I know there's a writer's strike going, but why aren't networks taking better advantage by replaying some of the good stuff we might have missed previously? Example: AMC's Mad Men? (Ooh! There's an encore starting Jan 21. Nice.) At least I always have books to read.
So yeah... What's new with you?
Some random crap: My mommy got me a 40" Sony LCD HDTV for Xmas. I was planning to get something in the 46" range later in 2008, but 40" turns out to be plenty big (plus, it's free, yo!). That mother of mine is pretty cool. Even if she does have a thundering herd of Great Danes at her house (including this one and this one, who will make you cry).
Did you hear the Lakota have decided to secede from the US? I figure this is roughly equivalent to them going on strike. They're grabbing some attention and might get some sort fo concession from the US government, but in the end it will amount to nothing. Though, Brozo and I think it'd be fun if they started tolling traffic on I-90 and formed an army. How long do you think it would take for them to be labeled "terrorists" if they did that?
Did you hear that monkeys are as good at mental mathematics as college kids?
"We had them do math on the fly," Cantlon said.
The task was to mentally add two sets of dots that were briefly flashed on a computer screen. The teams were asked to pick the correct answer from two choices on a different screen.
The humans were not allowed to count or verbalize as they worked, and they were told to answer as quickly as possible. Both monkeys and humans typically answered within 1 second.
And both groups fared about the same.
Great. Just great.
Maybe they can help economists decide whether there's going to be a recession or not.
"A lot of the underlying resilience of the U.S. economy seems a bit unappreciated," says Citigroup economist Steven Wieting. "It's not clear that this is so large a burden that we can't muddle through this."
That's the best this guy could come up with? Muddle through?
Just a couple quick hits worth noting:
- This morning I gave Radiohead two British pounds for the digital download of their new album, In Rainbows. They let you pick your own price. I put mine on the low side because I'm only a marginal Radiohead fan (and the album web site is a pain in the ass). It's still more than five times the $0.74 per CD music artists supposedly get from the labels (if they're lucky).
- Say what you will about the French, they sure have talented news anchors (careful, boobies!).
But now, eight years later, Amazonâ€™s finally done what was clearly the right solution in 1999. Music in the format that people actually want it in, with a Web-based experience thatâ€™s simple and works with any device. I bought tracks from Amazon (Kevin Drew and No Age), downloaded them, syncâ€™d them to my new iPod Nano, and had them playing in my home audio system (Control 4) in less than five minutes. PRAISE JESUS. It only took 8 years.
8 years. How much opportunity have we lost in those 8 years? How much naivety and hubris did we have when we said, â€œif we build it they will comeâ€?? What did we spend? And what did we gain? We certainly didnâ€™t gain mass user adoption or trust, two prerequisites to success on the Internet.
I'm also still a big fan of Amazon Unbox with its $4 "rentals" that download straight to my TiVo.
That's sexy, too.
Well, really there's not much to report. The drive to Vegas went quickly and easily. We literally did nothing in Vegas -- In fact, we we most excited by the fact that the Luxor has two Starbucks. Party animals we are not.
The second leg of the drive into Los Feliz also went without a hitch. From then on it was just the usual sort of "hang out with Chris, Kate, and Chowda" sort of scene. Highlights as I remember them:
- Best of all, we got lots of quality time with Scot & Matt. We love those kids. You might recognize Scot. Thanks to both him and Kate, I have a Bacon Number of 3!
- Casa Bianca has the best sausage pizza I have ever consumed. I am curious as to whether it's the sausage or the pizza. I cheese pie trial needs to happen someday.
- The Museum of Jurassic Technology is supremely weird. A must see if you're in LA (and like weirdness).
- Friday poker: In spite of playing like an idiot (and in doing so, pissing Scot off a bit when I rivered and ace to beat his pocket kings), I managed to finish in second place. I had a chance to do better than that, but Matt's crazy enough that I shouldn't have tried to scare him out of a pot by going all-in with ace-high.
- Saturday was Chris' birthday cookout/party in which Chris ended up doing all the cooking... *shrug* Staggering amounts of Guinness were consumed, and I got to see some of my favorite people.
- The Wife and I hiked up to Griffith Observatory a couple times. It's a steep little hill, let me tell you!
- Lots of dining out, but not as disastrous as usual. Though, we totally had to hit Tito's Tacos.
The drive back was fairly ordinary except for a crazy huge moon we saw rising over the Utah desert.
Today, when I came back into work, I found a strange Japanese swan phallus thingy on my desk. Thanks to Miracle Ed, I now get the reference, but nobody here has owned up to actually putting it on my desk...
Random, unrelated crap follows ...
In sporting news, the Red Sox managed to hold off the Yankees and will face the Angels in the ALDS, the Rockies are actually trying to get in the playoffs, the Broncos finally got the trouncing they've deserved after stealing their first two wins, and hockey season is about to get fired up.
On the booze-review tip: If you enjoy a good shiraz (I like to say "shih-RAZZ" because it's Australian, after all.) you should give the 2006 Mollydooker "The Boxer" a go. It's one of those uber-hip Stelvin cap jobbies, so no cork-screw needed. Also, it seems mollydooker is Aussie for left-handed, though as of yet, I've been unable to confirm it...
Have I mentioned my man-crush on Henry Rollins? I have, haven't I?
When you hear a Stooges track or a Buzzcocks track or a Ramones track or a track by the Fall, or what have you, in a car ad, some people, whenever that happens, I get a letter saying "What a sellout." And I say "no man, we've arrived." The person making that ad grew up on that music. You're no longer confined to interstitial, instrumental music, you're gonna get Iggy Pop and the Teddy Bears singing I'm a punk rocker to sell a car. What would you rather hear? Some wanky keyboard or Iggy and the Teddy Bears? I know which one I'd rather hear, and I just hope they get paid quickly and double scale, because it's about time.
Executive Summary: The Simpsons Movie was immensely enjoyable. You should go see it, even if you don't watch the TV show anymore. (Some of the stuff I talk about after the jump could be considered spoilers, I guess...)
The Wife, the Mother-in-Law, and I saw the Simpsons Movie yesterday. It's definitely worth a peek. I think it absolutely succeeds in breathing new life into the franchise, which has to be the best you can expect. It's really interesting how a little nudity and some cursing can punch up a TV cartoon. ;^)
It's also kind of interesting to me how the secondary characters were used in the movie. Flanders got a lot of play, but Mr. Burns barely graced the screen, and Willie never even had a line. Makes you wonder how the next one (you have to assume there will be another one -- Maggie says so) will use the people of Springfield differently. The one was focused more closely on the Simpson clan than the show usually is, so one might expect the next movie to spread out a bit. Or not.
Either way, I'll be there.
Last year I got super obsessed with the Survivorman series, which features a somewhat whiny, absolutely Canadian, but ever-resourceful Les Stroud in the seemingly unlikely role of lone survivor. And he really seems to be alone, too. At least he makes a big deal about carrying his cameras and such. Good TV, I tell you. (Wikipedia) Then along came Bear Grylls on Man vs. Wild with his somewhat curious good looks, British accent, and willingness to get buck naked on TV. Yep. I love that one, too. Lots. I don't care if he has a camera crew or even if it's partly fake. Nowhere else will you see someone jump into a Scottish peet bog over his head wearing nowt but a pair of blue boxers. He's also the only person I've ever seen drink pee on basic cable. (Wikipedia)
Now I've seen all of the reruns of both shows, and I'm wanting more. I wonder if this is one of those passing things like my FoodTV obsession.
OK, so who the heck knows what's going on in John from Cincinnati -- forget it. Instead, I say you spend your time soaking in the comedic joy that is Flight of the Conchords, featuring that really annoying guy from the Outback Steakhouse commercials. (He's actually funny outside of the Outback context.) The NYTimes says it well:
â€œFlight of the Conchordsâ€? is cockeyed and a lot of fun. To say much more might ruin it.
Check the video samples, yo. The "Most Beautiful Girl" clip will give you a proper taste.