List Meme-ia

Jaquandor picks up on one meme, and starts another. In both the object is to take the list, remove those whose efforts do not grace your shelves, and bring the list up to ten by adding some more that do. My additions are in bold.

First the authors:

William Shakespeare
Stephen King
J.R.R. Tolkien
Christopher Moore
Kurt Vonnegut
Jack Kerouac
Philip Pullman
Elmore Leonard
Douglas Adams
Robert Pirsig

And Jaq's twist, CDs:

Pink Floyd
John Williams
Van Morrison
Johnny Cash
Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Beatles
Miles Davis
Bela Bartok


Zack and the Sack

Ouch. Just one more reason not to run 'round town without your trousers.


Linking the Links

Jaquandor links a page of geography quizzes. I did pretty well with the intermediate Place The State quiz (92% correct with an average error of 10 miles), but the hard version is a bitch (78% with an average error of 26 miles). I will curious to see how the resident geographer 'round these parts does.

Sean links a list of the Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s. There were quite a few on the list that I love. I didn't realize so many were overlooked. At least they weren't by me. Here are my recommendations from the list:

Waiting for Guffman
Babe: Pig in the City
Dead Man
Searching for Bobby Fischer
Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai
Dead Again
In the Company of Men
The Red Violin
Welcome to the Dollhouse
Hard Eight
Richard III
A Bronx Tale
A Perfect World
Before Sunrise
Bob Roberts
The Ref
Bottle Rocket
Big Night
Living in Oblivion
Glengarry Glen Ross
Mystery Men

There are others on the list that I have yet to see, and maybe a few that may get on the ever growing Netflix queue because of the list, but were so many of these that overlooked?


Bloody Vikings!

Blech. Should I be consoled in the fact that the Bears didn't so much win the game as the Vikings lost? That the Vikings are a much more capable team than the one I saw yesterday? That, much like in any game versus the Packers, all bets are off in a game with the Bears?

The best consolation was the Packers game.
You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.

More inbox wackiness.

in insufficient spa so wrath have

home lay across a stream into which his Ass, making a false step, mountains is hidden an ancient Clerical Spell, and travel through the Plane of battle. "Forbear," said the Miller to him, "harping on what was USE allows you to try to use the spell..."

That was all that was in the auto preview. I was very tempted to open it and read further.


An Oliopolis Terror Tale
The Return of the Curse of the Camden Creature's Ghost

I have been meaning to get this taken care of for a while now, better late than never I guess. Notice the addition of Oliopolis to the blog roll. Not to be confused with Oliopolis under the music links. Maybe Dan can suggest a way to differentiate the two in my sidebar.

In checking out the goings-on in the world of Dan be sure to note the latest appearance of Dan's unearthly tenant. Find my thoughts in the comments.


Didn't I read About This in Revelation?

I just heard Coltrane on my TV monitor. Surprised I looked up, only to realize it was being used in a K Mart commercial. Sinners repent.
Double Entendre

Spam just arrived in my inbox with this subject:
Meat your s0ulmate
Do you think this is simply an attempt to dodge spam filters, an intentional play on words, or simply poor spelling?

The rest of the message just confuses me:
fear kane adulthood congestive stuart cozy corbett screwworm proserpine hereunder locate yourself a becoming babe


One Last Ride

Well, with a high of 45 degrees yesterday I decided that it was time to get the motorcycles ready for winter. So I took them both out for one last ride, filled and added Sea Foam to the tanks, drained the carbs, and today I will prop them up in the back of the garage and count the days till March (while I am also counting the days till March).

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Despite the chill, it was nice to get in a longer ride than I have been getting just commuting. But, it also filled me with the desire to just hit the road. Keeping my wanderlust suppressed was also not helped by this (linked by Scott a few weeks ago, and just noticed by me yesterday). There are some great stories and photos from this guy's cross country trip. I liked the numbers from his journal:

30 days
9,910 miles
221 gallons of gas
2 rear tires
1 front tire
1 big scary bear

While not as ambitious as Emilio Scotto's ten year ride twice around the globe on his 1980 Gold Wing, or even Obi Wan's Ewan's Long Way Round, it is still a big trip, and I cannot think of a better way to see the country. I'm thinking pack the bike, bring some Kerouac to read, head northwest out of Minneapolis and follow Pirsig. Hmmmm, I wonder if my brother ever figured out a way to attach a child seat to the handlebars... Er, I guess it may have to wait a couple of years. I'd need a better saddle for a long trip anyway. What I would love to do though is this. The lower 48 I could solo, but for Alaska, some support might be nice.

Damn, is it spring yet?



There has been a bit of it since this was taken.

This was taken last week.
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And this was on November 1.

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I think I know what what the person who performed this search was looking for, and I am pretty sure it wasn't found here.


Come and Get Your Meat...

A while back I worked on a documentary short about meat raffles with M. A. Rosko, Jon Murphy and Paul Dame. Today M.A. called to tell me that it will be airing on Twin Cities Public Television as part of a presentation of several shorts. It will first air this Sunday, November 14 at 11:00 p.m. on TPT 2, and next Saturday, November 20 at 10:00 p.m. on TPT 17

This is by no means an exhaustive look into the phenomenon, or why people are compelled to gamble for meat, but more a slice of life. But it is a fun look into what goes on in the bars of Nordeast Minneapolis, and VFW and Legion halls of out-state Minnesota. My role was small (I shot some footage that never made it in due to me not getting the footage to M.A. as she was writing it, and I helped M.A. edit) but my name is in the credits (with a typo?), so set your VCRs (or TiVo).


Rollin' With My Homies...

My man MC of Hammers Mark was in town this weekend, and we were able to hang out for a few hours on Friday night. We grabbed some grub then hit the patio for a fire and talk. Many topics were discussed, but few of the threads of conversation were seen all the way through. Mark and I both seem quite capable of striking off on tangents, never to return to the starting point. Oh well, it makes thinks more interesting, I think.

Even though we haven't seen each other for four or five years (and that was just a few moments at a Wartburg homecoming; let's keep the next span a bit shorter with a Twins game eh?)Friday seemed less like catching up than just getting together. A great thing, this internet...


Dude, WTF!?!

So, for Halloween I take it the Vikings decided to show up in Buffalo as the Bills (I'm sorry, the ShiBills), and the Bills in Minneapolis as the Vikings? As has been the case in the past when the Vikings are playing poorly, it looked as if they realized about four minutes into the fourth quarter that the game had begun. I hope this does not portend a repeat of last year's season, and I don't think it will. Daunte seems better able to shake it off and move on than he has in the past, and hopefully he will bring the others with him. And despite allowing 34 points the defense seems to be generally improving, and is without a doubt better than last year.


iPod, u(2)Pod...

With the release of the U2 Special Edition iPod, some are wondering what some of the rejected special edition iPods were. Method shop lists a few. Considering my OS preference (obsession?), as well as what my Win-Tel box at work did to me several times when I really needed it to cooperate, I quite liked the iMSFT edition. And if you've seen this, or this, you might enjoy the Steve Ballmer iPod.


As Soon as You're Born You Start Dying,
So You Might as Well Have a Good Time...

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And a good time was indeed had. I caught CAKE at First Ave. last night and they were excellent. It was a high energy, amazingly tight, all around great show. If you like CAKE's music you have no excuse not to catch a show if you have the chance.


Ladies and Gentlemen, Please Direct Your Attention to the Jumbotron...

Well, if you happen to be at the Vikings game on Sunday you may catch some of my handiwork. Watch for a 30 second spot promoting the Pride Fridays Ticket Giveaway. It is set to U2's new single "Vertigo," and features clips of last years winners with Rusty, as well as Vikings highlights.

This represents the more enjoyable aspect of my job; I get to be creative. And this promo is unique in that I was completely on my own to produce it. I was told what was wanted, and that was it. I usually am granted quite a bit of latitude with Rusty (I usually get a script that serves as an outline, but am free to tweak it), but this time it was me and me alone, so that was kind of fun. It is also kind of cool that it is not only on our air, but will be featured at the Dome.


Mac Tat

So I am a total geek for thinking that this tattoo is hot?


You Look Like a Monkey, and You Smell Like One Too.

Happy Birthday to Jaq, who turns 33 today. I don't think I can wait until my birthday rolls around again to get what his wife gave him (get your minds out of the gutter), so I may just have to make the purchase myself.


I'd Rather Play a Tele Than Watch the Telly...

What guitar are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Like my man Mark who it turns out is an SG, but has never owned one, I have never owned a Telecaster. But have kinda wanted one for a while. I can't justify buying one, but maybe someday. As it turns out my first guitar was almost bought from Mark (I think it was a Yamaha acoustic), but that wasn't to be. I still own my first guitar, a Seagull s6, and imagine I always will. The next guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul LP100 (black, not any of the current finishes). It was a decent guitar for the price (I got a REALLY good deal on it), and when you consider that I sold it for about $20 less than I paid, well, that may be the best value I have ever gotten on anything. Next came the Epiphone El Diablo, which I still own. It really sounds pretty good through a PA, but I don't make much use of it lately. When I sold the LP100 I bought my current electric, an Epiphone Sheraton II.

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If you peruse Mark's list of his current guitars, you will see that he owns one as well.

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I also own a Mexican Fender Fretless Jazz Bass, and a Fluke Ukulele.


I Hope He Wasn't Wearing a Helmet and Armor...

This jackass seems to have set the record for the biggest speeding ticket in the state of Minnesota. He was pulled over Saturday on Highway 61 near Wabasha, which is a great motorcycle road, after being clocked at 205mph. He was riding a Honda liter-bike. I am doubtful that Tilley had the skills necessary to even exceed 75mph, let alone 205. Even if he did, there are other factors beyond the control of the motorcyclist. Wildlife, other drives, road hazards and other unexpected obstacles can pop up before you can react at that speed. What makes Highway 61 a great motorcycling road (apart form the wonderful views of the Mississippi) is that it is twisty and hilly. At 205mph Tilley was without a doubt out running his line of sight. Even a stationary obstacle becomes nearly unavoidable when you only have a couple of seconds to react.

I was actually on the other side of the river on Saturday and the small towns were packed with your prototypical "bikers." These are the people who are more interested in parking their bikes for people to look, and letting loose with the obscenely loud rumble of their pipes. Which is fine with me. It isn't my thing, but hey, if they want to spend thousands of dollars on their bikes just for curb candy who am I? What does annoy me is that when they do hit the road, very few of them wear helmets, and they occupy the other end of the speed continuum from Mr. Tilley. Especially in the turns, which is, as I said, what makes riding along the Mississippi great.

I think it was George Carlin that said "Anyone going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a moron."

Here are a few links to follow for safe motorcycling.

Motorcycle Safety Foundation
Motorcycle Cruiser's Street Survival columns
Minnesota Motorcycle and Motorized Bicycle Manual


Speaking of biking...

Last Sunday was the St. Paul Classic Bike Tour. 30 miles of (mostly) traffic-free biking. As always it was a good time.

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Left to right: Kristen, Jon, your's truly, Lee, Shawn, Tim, my sister Amanda, and the pregnant woman who lives with me.
Suicidal Squirrels

While biking the past couple of weeks or so, I've noticed that the squirrels around here have gone nuts! Sorry about that... Anyway, usually I don't have to worry too much about them running across my path, but it seems that lately they have all decided that they should at all costs try and get under my front tire. What's the deal? Are they all so preoccupied with the collective task of storing food that they aren't noticing me until the last second? Hitting a squirrel at 20+ mph is not something I want to experience...
Class Arachnida, Order Araneae

Krista isn't too fond on our new tenant, but I kind of like him (her?).
It was a windy day when I took these, so this next one is a little blurry.

Can anyone identify what kind of spider this is?


A Leap of Leopards

A while back Sean linked to a list of collective terms for animals. Well, he's at it again with this list. There are some on the new list that aren't on the first, and vise-versa, but this new list seems to be more authoritative.
Free Fallin'...

Well there goes three years and a quarter billion dollars. The Genesis probe slammed into the Utah desert after its parachute failed to deploy. There may be some hope of recovering something from the probe, but from the pictures I saw this morning it doesn't look good for a piece of equipment that was intended to be caught mid-air and gently set down on terra firma.


I Used Additions, and Subtractions...

OK, no subtractions, but to your left you will see some additions to the Blogroll, and other links.

First off in the Blogroll are two Blogs that I should have linked a while back. They are both group Blogs who's contributors include Dan of 44 fame, Mighty Tom (who's true identity is a secret, but I have my suspicions that he may also once been in a band called 44) Pat Mixdorf, and T-Clog. The first is Social Conscience (I think, although it may actually be "Social Concscience," Dan?), where they "talk about philosophy and politics." Based on past experiences I expect that I will agree with the ruminations somewhere between 50-60% of the time. The second is the Headlines Coalescence. Described by Dan as "...a lark effort we've had going through email for a couple of years-a way to keep creative juices flowing while mocking the low standard of journalism that is prevalent online. We skim over Google or Yahoo! headlines, pulling out a select few (7 per effort, these days), and making (hopefully) funny follow-up headlines. Usually something we churn out in 10 minutes or so over lunch..."

Under the music links you will find The Oliopolis. It is a site that Dan has created devoted to his various musical ventures. I think it is still "under construction," but maybe my linking it will prompt Mr. Hylton to get his ass in gear.


I Couldn't Have Been Wetter If I Had Ridden Through Lake Nokomis...

When you are riding your bike, it is eight miles to home, and it starts pouring, what are you going to do? Get Wet.



Check out the astronomy picture of the day for a too-cool time-lapse animation of a complete lunation (full lunar cycle). Just last night I was marveling at the waxing-so-very-near-full Moon through binoculars, and once again had my mind blown by the fact that men have stood on its surface. It was incredibly bright last night, and it took a couple of seconds for my eyes to adjust to the point that I was able to make out the Lunar landmarks. It is raining tonight, so the full Moon is obscured, but if you have clear skies, go look at the Moon. It is good for you.

Also, have you noticed Venus burning like a laser? Last week I saw it cut through fog that obscured the lights of Downtown Minneapolis on my way to work, and it freaked me out for a minute.



Speaking of Pending Arrivals...

In my last post, I congratulated Jaq on the pending arrival of "Kid Number Two." Well...

It may not look like much now, but come March, watch out!
The Nerve! Oh, and Congratulations.

It seems that Jaquandor has decided to take a bit of a break from posting regularly to Byzantium's Shores. I would never leave you, my adoring hordes of readers, wanting. But I suppose his reasons are good enough. Now that he has mentioned it at least three times, I suppose that it is about time that I get with the program and offer my congratulations on the pending arrival of "Kid Number Two." Best wishes to you and Deb!


Mad Props and Much Love...

To Murphy, Shawn, and the 'Rents for the help demolishing and removing the old fence, and putting up the new one.

We finished it this afternoon, and it feels great to actually have a project finished. Next up, the garage, the kitchen, the entry, the bathroom, the attic, the bedroom...
A Month? That's Funny, doesn't seem more than 31 Days...

Well, I've been quite busy lately, quite a bit of overtime at work, some projects around the house, trying to become more proficient at Final Cut Pro, and it seems like so many other things. That is the explanation for that bit of dead air. That and I haven't had much to say, and when I have had a bit of free time, I have spent it pedaling around the lakes. But things may pick up around here again. But I am not promising anything, that is the rule here.


I Could Really Go For A Double Bread With Meat

Thank you Kim Jong Il. I wonder when we might start seeing 'em here.


The Return of Starship Stacy and the Vector Kings

We will be playing Friday July 9th, again at Camden Coffee Company, from 7-9pm. We will be performing songs from Daniel Guitarra's (God rest his soul) "Here lies Daniel Guitarra" CD. It's free, so come on out.


Some quick linkage from Space-Dot-Com

Cassini has started sending back snapshots. More here.

Going up...

Super-Super Massive.


Bit and Pieces

Here I am, once again, following up on one of Sean's posts nearly a week later. He linked to THE 50 COOLEST SONG PARTS. For what it's worth, here are some of my thoughts. Rather than commenting on each entry, I am listing the ones I like, and offering a few of my own. The ones I offer are just a few of many, many that I love, and I am not sure I could choose a top 50. The ones I offer are just the ones that came to me off the top of my head, and are not necessarily even my favorites.

From the list:

#45 "Blister in the Sun"
#43 "Let's Go Crazy" Yes, the Purple One can play.
#38 "All Night Long" OK, I admit it.
#37 "Flash Gordon"
#36 "You Can Call Me Al"
#34 "La Bamba"
#25 "Purple Haze"
#19 "Baba O Riley"
#16 "One Step Beyond"
#11 "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"
#6 "Immigrant Song" and you gotta love the Viking Kittens
#4 "Bohemian Rhapsody"
#5 "A Boy Named Sue"

And I'll throw #9 "Hot for Teacher" in for purely nostalgic reasons. Ask Jaquandor if you want more details.

#31 "Come Together" is good, but from Abbey Road I would rather see "The End" with Paul, George and John trading two bar guitar solos. Also from Abbey Road, The guitar, bass, drum and cricket intro to "Sun King."


Another Beatles- Ringo never gets props he deserves. His drumming on "She Said She Said" is brilliant.

The Beatles- I could list Beatle songs forever, so this is the last one. Lennon's scream on "Revolution."

Tori Amos- "Spark" The middle bit:
"How many fates turn around in the overtime
Ballerinas that have fins that you'll never find
You thought that you were the bomb, yeah, well so did I."
Especially the piano.

Björk- Anything she sings

I agree with Sean on "Hey Ya."

Weezer- "Say it ain't So" Cuomo sings "Flip on the telly, wrestle with Jimmy."

Elvis Costello- "Allison, I know this world is killing you. Oh Allison, my aim is true."

Beck- The organ at the beginning of "Where it's at."

George Harrison- Intro to "Wah-Wah."

Dave Matthews Band- The chorus to "Satellite."

Sublime- Jon Blondell's trombone on "Wrong Way."

Paul Simon- The drums on "Obvious Child, " but I love the whole song. Listen to it and not feel better, I dare you.



What book are you?

You're Cat's Cradle!

by Kurt Vonnegut

You believe quite firmly that free will deserted you long ago and far
away. As a result, it's hard to take responsibility for anything. Even though you show
great potential as a leader of a small 3rd world country, the choices are all made ahead
of time. You're rather fond of games involving string. Your fear of nuclear weaponry is
trumped only by your fear of ice.

Or, if I change one of my answers from odd to even...

You're The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy!

by Douglas Adams

Considered by many to be one of the funniest people around, you are
quite an entertainer. You've also traveled to the far reaches of what you deem possible,
often confused and unsure of yourself. Life continues to jostle you around like a marble,
but it's shown you so much of the world that you don't care. Wacky adventures continue to
lie ahead. Your favorite number is 42.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Via Jason


Ha! Ha, ha ha!

I wonder what that Buffalo Blogger thinks about this search that brought someone to ABOHO.
Check Back in About Eight Years...

Well, nothing went my way for the transit yesterday. Monday I called the company that was sending the filters for my cameras to see if I could get a tracking number and verify that they were on the truck, en-route to my house. I was informed the they had shipped on Wednesday of last week, and per my request were being shipped second day air. Hmmm. Second day air, shipped Wednesday, it is now Monday, no filters. We checked the tracking number. Now the problem becomes apparent. The shipping company (which I will not name, but it rhymes with UPS) misrouted the package. It was in Minneapolis on Thursday night, scanned at about 9:30 pm. The next scan, five hours later, placed my package in Michigan, where it is identified as having been misrouted early Friday morning. It is now about 5 pm Monday night, and the last scan was in Milwaukee. Not looking promising. The package arrived Tuesday afternoon, about ten hours after the transit.

Now I understand that mistakes happen, but the way UPS handled it after it was discovered is unacceptable. Notice that my package mistakenly made it from Minneapolis to Michigan in about five hours, but took four and a half days to purposely make it back? I realize that UPS doesn't deliver on Saturday or Sunday, but still. It seems to me that it should be policy that if a mistake such as this is found, as it was, it should be corrected as quickly as possible. I know that "Brown" does offer next day air, so I know that it would have been possible for the package to be at my house on Monday. Their customer service has yet to offer resolution that I find acceptable. I will be calling again today.

With no filter, I took my binoculars to work with me hoping to view the transit by using the binoculars to project the image into a white surface, similar to the pinhole method. The clouds offered no help. So, even if UPS had come through, I would have been out of luck. But that's not the point.

Maybe I will take some photos next time there is good sunspot activity.


A Walk on the Sun

Ready for tomorrow's transit? Here is everything you need to know. I will be viewing, photographing, and videotaping the event. That is if everything clicks into place. Hopefully the weather and parcel delivery gods will be on my side. Remember when I told you to get ready for the transit? FOUR MONTHS AGO? Well I hope you did as I said, and not as I did. Being the procrastinator that I am, I waited until last week to try and order solar filters for my cameras. Well, no dice, but the company that makes the filters was able to ship some of the raw materials used for the filters. Hopefully it will arrive today, and the skies will be clear tomorrow morning. I will try to get some photos up here within the week (to a year), or if you are in the Twin Cities tune into Five Eyewitness News Morning and you may see some of the video in the 6:30 half hour.


Take Me Out to the Ball Game...

Into baseball a bit more than me? Well Mark has started a new LiveJornal, Stat Ninja, where he will focus specifically on baseball, and more specifically the Royals.



A few days ago, ok almost a week, Sean linked this list of Fifty Moments that Shaped Pop History. He posted his thoughts, and solicited comments from others. So, here are my thoughts on the list.

The list starts with Elvis in 1954. However, it is noteworthy that in 1953 (a year after they ditched their country image and changed their moniker from the Sadlemen to the Comets) Bill Haley and Co. recorded the first Rock and Roll song to make the Billboard Top 20. The song was "Crazy Man Crazy" (penned by Haley himself, the same cannot be said for The King). Elvis is an obvious and necessary choice for the list, but Haley deserves a mention in the birth of Rock and Roll.

Jaq mentions "The Day the Music Died." More important, in the shaping of pop music, than the death of Holly and Valens was the INCREDIBLE career of Holly. Made even more incredible by the fact that his recording career lasted about a year and a half. While Haley did it first, Holly was the first to primarily rely on his own material. Buddy Holly was Rock and Roll's first singer/songwriter, and this set the stage, of course, for...

"Ladies and gentlemen, THE BEATLES!" Need something to watch this weekend? Check out the two disk set containing all four appearances by the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. Compare the Fab Four with what was passing for entertainment on US television at the time. You can't.

Sean is right. Forget the Stones. The Who are it. Are you a Mod or a Rocker? Or a Mocker?*

More Beatles. Revolver is often sited as a transformation album, and Sgt. Pepper as a landmark in Rock and Roll history. While the importance of Sgt. Pepper was long overplayed, it seems to be too often dismissed lately. Sgt. Pepper was (and is) important, but Revolver is where its at (it is my favorite pop album, and contains my favorite song, "And Your Bird Can Sing"). And while not full blown psycedellica, Rubber Soul hints at the transformation. "Tomorrow Never Knows" is a masterpiece.

Pet Sounds. Overrated.

1969. No mention of Tommy?

Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On?" Gorgeous. I think this is still in my top five non-Beatles pop albums. Hmmmm, I smell another list.

Video Killed the Radio Star. Again Sean is right MTV, good and bad.

Another item that maybe should be listed (from Sean's comments) Run DMC and Aerosmith. This helped move Hip-Hop to the mainstream. Hey Ya!

*The first person to correctly identify the "mocker" reference wins a prize. Dan is not eligible.


I Could Have Just Gone Home and Watched a Movie...

But I didn't. I worked a full eight hour shift yesterday (overtime) and got off at 10:30 p.m.. Krista was out of town, and I didn't feel like just going home and sitting around the house by myself. What to do. Well, I felt like playing some poker, so why not. I headed out to the Card Club at Canterbury Downs. The place was packed, but I had driven out, so I decided to get on the list, hang out and wait for a spot at a table.

At about midnight, I got a spot at a 3-6 hold'em table and started sizing up the competition. This was a much better game than the 2-4 I had played at Canterbury in the past, or as my brother calls it, "no fold'em hold'em.". No getting rivered by some dink that should have folded before the flop. For the first hour or so, things were going OK. I would win a bit here and there, but paying my blinds, and a number of hands that didn't improve on the flop were starting to diminish my funds.

Then it happened. I was in late position, just to the right of the button, and was dealt 8,9 suited. There were many callers, but no raises, and I called. Here comes the flop. 9, 9, Jack. Very nice. Everyone ahead of me checked. By this time I was able to tell what the guy sitting to my left was going to do when the action came to him. He would always have chips in hand if he was going to call or raise. He had chips in hand, so I checked as well. He bet, and this chased a couple of people out, and when the action came to me again, I raised. Right away I was wishing I hadn't. I was sure that I had given my hand away, and that everyone would fold. I should have waited for the turn card, and the higher bets. But everyone still in stayed in. Wow. Now I was worried that there were some pocket pairs out there that were waiting for a third card. Time for the turn. Another 9! I had four of a kind. Everyone checks, and it comes to me. Mr. easy-read to my left has his chips in hand, so I check, and he bets. Two callers, and it is to me. I raise. Easy-read calls, one more caller, and a fold. Down to three of us. Last card, the river. Queen. Doesn't matter, I still have the best possible hand. First guy checks, easy read has his hands on his cards. He won't be betting this time, so I will. He folds. The last player says he wants to see my Jack, and calls. Jack? He thought I had two pair when I check raised. He flips his cards, before I can. He has Queen, Jack. I flip my 8, and he smiles, I flip my 9, and his jaw drops. Nice pot. Just in time too. I would have had to leave if I hadn't won soon.

But that was just the beginning. Three hands later I flopped a full house. Next hand, flopped two pair, that turned into a full house on the turn. Next hand, flopped my third full house in a row. I was able to bet the hell out of that one since no one thought I had great cards for the third hand in a row. Next hand, I flopped a pair of aces that held up to the end. Again bet like crazy.

The rest of the night was a little more even, but the chips kept slowly piling up in front of me. When I left, I had made more in six hours of poker than I did with my eight hours of overtime.

No clue what I just said here? Check this out.


Foo Fighters South of the Border

And I'm not talking Dave Grohl and Co. A group of UFOs were spotted and captured on tape by a Mexican Air Force plane. Seeing the video, it seems clear that this was not some sort of natural phenomenon. The objects were in formation, and at one point came around to surround the plane. They were first picked up by radar, and then on tape when the plane switched on its infrared camera. The objects were not visible to the naked eye.

This sort of sighting that really, really, really piques my interest. Well, all sightings do, but particularly those that are clearly not natural phenomena. What is frustrating is that those are the ones that are never explained. I am still waiting for a better explanation for the Phoenix Lights. The "A-10 Warthog decoy flares" story just doesn't cut it.


Twinkle, Twinkle Little (er, big) Extrasolar Planet

We know that there are planets out there, around other stars. We even know where some of them are. But we have never seen one, or have we...


It Could Give a Guy Tendonitis...

The always interesting and educational John Hardy teaches us how a few different cultures count (and have counted) on their fingers.


Oh How Time Flies.

Well, It was just about one year, one hour, 18 minutes and 11 seconds ago that I succumbed to the incredible pressure. I think I have done a good job of keeping my original promise. What can you expect for the coming year? More of the same. Although I may actually get around to making those changes to the look of it all at some point.


I almost feel bad about this....

Almost. He did all but ask for it...


So, did I do well, or poorly?

Jason continues this meme. Sure, I'll bite. The ones I've read are in bold.

Achebe, Chinua - Things Fall Apart
Agee, James - A Death in the Family
Austen, Jane - Pride and Prejudice
Baldwin, James - Go Tell It on the Mountain
Beckett, Samuel - Waiting for Godot
Bellow, Saul - The Adventures of Augie March
Brontë, Charlotte - Jane Eyre
Brontë, Emily - Wuthering Heights
Camus, Albert - The Stranger
Cather, Willa - Death Comes for the Archbishop
Chaucer, Geoffrey - The Canterbury Tales
Chekhov, Anton - The Cherry Orchard
Chopin, Kate - The Awakening
Conrad, Joseph - Heart of Darkness
Cooper, James Fenimore - The Last of the Mohicans
Crane, Stephen - The Red Badge of Courage
Dante - Inferno
de Cervantes, Miguel - Don Quixote
Defoe, Daniel - Robinson Crusoe
Dickens, Charles - A Tale of Two Cities
Dostoyevsky, Fyodor - Crime and Punishment
Douglass, Frederick - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Dreiser, Theodore - An American Tragedy
Dumas, Alexandre - The Three Musketeers
Eliot, George - The Mill on the Floss
Ellison, Ralph - Invisible Man
Emerson, Ralph Waldo - Selected Essays
Faulkner, William - As I Lay Dying
Faulkner, William - The Sound and the Fury
Fielding, Henry - Tom Jones
Fitzgerald, F. Scott - The Great Gatsby
Flaubert, Gustave - Madame Bovary
Ford, Ford Madox - The Good Soldier
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von - Faust
Golding, William - Lord of the Flies
Hardy, Thomas - Tess of the d'Urbervilles
Hawthorne, Nathaniel - The Scarlet Letter
Heller, Joseph - Catch 22
Hemingway, Ernest - A Farewell to Arms
Homer - The Iliad
Homer - The Odyssey
Hugo, Victor - The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hurston, Zora Neale - Their Eyes Were Watching God
Huxley, Aldous - Brave New World
Ibsen, Henrik - A Doll's House
James, Henry - The Portrait of a Lady
James, Henry - The Turn of the Screw
Joyce, James - A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Kafka, Franz - The Metamorphosis
Kingston, Maxine Hong - The Woman Warrior
Lee, Harper - To Kill a Mockingbird
Lewis, Sinclair - Babbitt
London, Jack - The Call of the Wild
Mann, Thomas - The Magic Mountain
Marquez, Gabriel García - One Hundred Years of Solitude
Melville, Herman - Bartleby the Scrivener
Melville, Herman - Moby Dick
Miller, Arthur - The Crucible
Morrison, Toni - Beloved
O'Connor, Flannery - A Good Man is Hard to Find
O'Neill, Eugene - Long Day's Journey into Night
Orwell, George - Animal Farm
Pasternak, Boris - Doctor Zhivago
Plath, Sylvia - The Bell Jar
Poe, Edgar Allan - Selected Tales
Proust, Marcel - Swann's Way
Pynchon, Thomas - The Crying of Lot 49
Remarque, Erich Maria - All Quiet on the Western Front
Rostand, Edmond - Cyrano de Bergerac
Roth, Henry - Call It Sleep
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye
Shakespeare, William - Hamlet
Shakespeare, William - Macbeth
Shakespeare, William - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Shakespeare, William - Romeo and Juliet
Shaw, George Bernard - Pygmalion
Shelley, Mary - Frankenstein
Silko, Leslie Marmon - Ceremony
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander - One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Sophocles - Antigone
Sophocles - Oedipus Rex
Steinbeck, John - The Grapes of Wrath
Stevenson, Robert Louis - Treasure Island
Stowe, Harriet Beecher - Uncle Tom's Cabin
Swift, Jonathan - Gulliver's Travels
Thackeray, William - Vanity Fair
Thoreau, Henry David - Walden
Tolstoy, Leo - War and Peace
Turgenev, Ivan - Fathers and Sons
Twain, Mark - The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Voltaire - Candide
Vonnegut, Kurt Jr. - Slaughterhouse-Five
Walker, Alice - The Color Purple
Wharton, Edith - The House of Mirth
Welty, Eudora - Collected Stories
Whitman, Walt - Leaves of Grass
Wilde, Oscar - The Picture of Dorian Gray
Williams, Tennessee - The Glass Menagerie
Woolf, Virginia - To the Lighthouse
Wright, Richard - Native Son

So, what does all of this say about me? No clue.


That Thing Got A Hemi?

Jason posts about television advertising, and the type of ads he hates. He also mentions the one ad that made a difference in his life. The VW ad that introduced him to the music of Nick Drake. This we have in common.

We also have in common a distaste for the ads that seem to pit us against one another. Husband against wife and child against parent. In addition to those Jason mentions I'll add the Dodge Hemi commercials. Pat, a couple of other friends and I had an e-mail exchange a while back about how much we hate these ads. You know the ones, where the wife likes the Durango because of the DVD player so she doesn't have to pay attention to her kid, and the husband loves the power of the hemi despite the fact he has absolutely no need for it, other than to compensate for what he must be lacking... They scoff at each other behind their backs while talking to their friends. If beer commercials attempt to make you think that beautiful women will fall all over you if you drink their beer, to whom is Dodge selling? People that hope for a loveless marriage? Or are they trying to appeal to those unhappy couples? Yes you too can find common ground in the Durango, it won't help, but it is common ground.

Then there are the J.C. Penny ads with the screaming-mess-making-kids, and the father trying his hardest to ignore them, asking "Where is your Mother?" Well, there is a sale on at J.C. Penny, she's a woman isn't she? This one actually offends me. It should offend everyone. Men can't take care of kids, women can't help but shop, the father is too lazy to try, the mother doesn't give a shit, she's going shopping.

I love great television commercials. Every year Krista and I go to the British Television Advertising Awards at the Walker Arts Center (it isn't the actual presentation of the awards, but they play all of the award winners), and there are still some really great ads being produced. Just not here. It has been a long time since there has been a commercial on American Television that I really liked. There used to be quite a few around the time of the Nick Drake/VW ad. I liked most of the VW ads of that time, and I also liked to Mitsubishi ads that followed. The Mitsubishi ads weren't quite as "deep" as the VW ads, but they had excellent production value, were visually pleasing, and featured some great music. One spot that left me feeling conflicted was the H2 ad that used "Happy Jack" by The Who. There may not be a product that I hate more than the Hummer H2, but I was drawn to the ad. A friend of mine thought that the ad betrayed the spirit of the song, because the H2 is a huge status symbol. It is the car that everyone is supposed to want. This is one of the reasons that I hate the H2, but in the ad it isn't portrayed that way. The "Happy Jack" kid finds his own way to win the race. While this doesn't totally jive with the song (Happy Jack was always happy, no matter what other people did to or thought of him) it isn't a bad message. The problem is that the spirit of the ad doesn't jive with the reality of the H2 either. But the ad is really well done. The song and the story don't quite match, and they they miss the reality what they are selling, but it is well done, I love the song, and I like the spirit of the story of the ad. What can I do.


You Think That's Bad...

Jaquandor has questioned the wisdom of the way I secured my entry for "Image of the Week" while he was on hiatus. I offered my defense in his comments. Now, at least I'm not this guy. I wonder if he is one of the motorists Jaq encountered on his trip to America Jr.
Welcome Back, and Congratulations!

Well, Jaquandor is back from his break, so I guess that means I will need to come up with something of my own for A Blog of His Own. In the meantime, it seems congratulations are in order. I hear Jaq will be handing out cigars...


Burst of Weirdness (on Friday even!)

Still picking up the slack for you know who...

Ever need to send a message, but you are just not quite sure how? Next time, use this guy's chest!

Just attempting to keep up Jaq's regular features is tough work. I don't know how he manages to post all that other stuff as well. I tip my hat.


Move Over Britney!

As long as I am picking up the slack, I thought I would add to Jaq's semi-regular feature of women for whom Ms. Spears is not fit to serve as a foot-rest while they receive a pedicure (scroll down a bit in his sidebar to find the other honorees). I've been waiting for this one, but Jaq hasn't gotten around to her, so I am taking things into my own hands. I present to you, Salma Hayek. 'Nuff said.

Image of the Week

Well, it is Thursday, and you know what that means. It is time for Jaquandor's Image of the Week feature on his Buffalo Blog. But, it seems that he has decided to take a week off from posting, so I got you covered.

Last Friday Morning(or Thursday Night depending on how you look at it) I had to work at midnight, and that meant that Downtown Minneapolis was lit up for me (it is usually dark when I go in at 3:00AM). I love Downtown Minneapolis when it is lit up at night, I find it to be one of the coolest skylines around.

I had my new digital camera with me, so I thought I would snap a quick shot. I turned off the flash, and used the slow-shutter feature. It came out just about as I had hoped. Hey, at least I wasn't talking on my cellphone...


Just before Easter?

Seems like quite a bit of work for a couple grand. Not to mention the one-way ticket straight to Hell...


Yes, I'm still here...

That Buffalo Blogger takes a quiz. Why not, I don't have anything real to post right now.

1 :: Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says:

"Hold down the Shift key and type B. Finale adds a B to the chord"

2 :: Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What do you touch first?

Darth Vader.

3 :: What is the last thing you watched on DVD? On actual TV?

On DVD: Monty Python's Flying Circus: You're No Fun Anymore
On actual TV: Excluding work, and watching a bit of news at home, Arrested Development.

4 :: WITHOUT LOOKING, guess what time it is:

12:36 p.m.

5 :: Now look at the clock; what is the actual time?

12:40 p.m.

6 :: With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

The furnace just kicked in

7 :: When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

About 2:45 this morning, coming home from a poker game.

8 :: Before you came to this website, what did you look at?

I am going to assume that "this website" refers to where I found this quiz, so the answer would be the the website that you are looking at now.

9 :: What are you wearing?

Nothing. No, wait, I mean a white t-shirt, jeans, and socks.

10 :: Did you dream last night?

I'm sure I did, although I don't remember any of it. The last dream I remember was Wednesday night. I was working on a film with John Woo and Jackie Chan. We were shooting along Minnehaha Creek.

11 :: When did you last laugh?

I chuckled this morning while watching Monty Python, but I laughed out loud quite a bit last night at the poker game.

12 :: What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Yellow vapor barrier.

13 :: Seen anything weird lately?

About a month or so ago on my way to work, I saw a strange trail down the center of the street (the street had not yet been plowed, and as it was three in the morning, I was the fist to drive in the fresh snow). After about two blocks, I came upon some sort of animal dragging a dead squirrel. The animal looked somewhat ferret-like, but I couldn't tell for sure what it was. It would stop to look at me, but refused to move out of my way, until I honked my horn, when it ran into someone's yard, still dragging the squirrel.

14 :: What do you think of this quiz?

Not usually my thing, but what the hell.

15 :: What is the last film you saw?

In the theater: Secret Window. I was disappointed. I saw the ending about twenty minutes into the movie, and hoped I was wrong, but I wasn't. Depp and Turturro were superb however.

At home: The Day the Earth Stood Still

16 :: If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?

That is tough. I think it would be a Honda 599. One can never have too many motorcycles.

17 :: Tell me something about you that I don't know:

Hmmm... Lets see, Holy cow! Look over there, what is THAT!?

18 :: If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

Annihilate religious radicals.

19 :: Do you like to dance?

If I've been drinking, and the music is good.

20 :: George Bush: is he a power-crazy nutcase or someone who is finally doing something that has needed to be done for years?

What Jaq said: Both, which is what really scares me.

21a :: Imagine your first child is a girl; what do you call her?

I can't remember what Krista told me to think.

21b :: Imagine your first child is a boy; what do you call him?

See 21a

22 :: Would you ever consider living abroad?

Yes, but like Jaq, for limited periods of time. There are many places I would like to live for short stints if I didn't have to worry about income.


Seriously though, what about Teen Wolf Too?

This week the folks at The Onion AV Club interview Jason Bateman, the star of Arrested Development. If you aren't watching this show, you should be. It is the best new show out there, or at least the best new show that I am watching. OK, it is the only new show that I am watching, but it is really, really good. What I would like to know, about which Mr. Bateman was not queried, is why we were not better warned by Fox that we NEEDED to watch on Wednesday of last week. The new episode that aired on Wednesday was the set-up for the episode this past Sunday. Now, Fox may have mentioned that Wednesday's episode was new, but if they did, I missed it, and in turn the new episode.


Power to the People! But what if the People are idiots?

Well, it is on its way. The push to amend the Minnesota Constitution to LIMIT civil rights cleared its first hurdle yesterday. Well, it was hardly a hurdle. The bill passed 88-42 in the Minnesota House of Representatives. Hopefully it will encounter more resistance in the Senate. If it gets through the Senate, hopefully the people of Minnesota will have the wisdom not to amend the Constitution to limit rights. Though I don't see much hope there. Pat had a great post in the issue of gay marriage about three weeks ago (Uh, Pat? Are you still with us?). His post pretty much sums up my position on the whole matter.

I do not believe that your sexuality is a choice.

I do not believe it is a sin.

I do not believe that it will diminish the meaning of "Marriage." Anyway, who cares? Well apparently quite few people. Many of those opposed claim that they do not want to see the definition of what a marriage is to change. Most are liars. The truth is that they do not want to see ANY legal status for gay couples.

The legal ramifications are, in my view, the most important aspect of the whole issue. There is now a custody case in Minneapolis involving a lesbian couple. Well former couple. While some of the problems in this case do not seem as though they would be helped by the legalization of gay marriage (attitudes of the Chinese government, and the legal guardian changing her mind about seeking parental status for her partner), it isn't hard to imagine a scenario where legal gay marriage would help simplify things.

So lets just legalize civil unions for gays and give these civil unions all the legal rights of married heterosexual couples. Oh right, separate but equal. Many gay couples want the "marriage" designation. What to do, what to do...

Here is what to do:

Remove "marriage" from the whole debate. The prevailing argument is that "the Bible defines" marriage as the union of one man and one woman. OK, so that makes marriage a religious issue. Separation of church and state right? Aaron's new deal: The government will recognize civil unions. Gay, straight, doesn't matter. As far as the government is concerned it is a civil union. You want to get married in a church? Fine. Get married in a church, call it a marriage, call it a culpaloo, call it whatever the hell you and your church want to call it. As far as Government is concerned it is a civil union. That moves the entire "definition of marriage" thing away from government. Let the churches deal with it.
Broadcast? Who needs it?

I see via that Buffalo Blogger that Lynn Sislo is annoyed with the way that Fox is airing the current season of 24, (in addition to an apparent drop in the quality of scripts). Jaquandor has a good point about the complications of stretching 24 episodes over 32 weeks. Fox doesn't have much choice but to air them with a few extended breaks here and there (unlike poor Futurama which they royally screwed). Reruns are not an option with 24, so Fox is probably doing the best they can. But I have a better way! The proper way to watch 24 is the way Krista and I do it. DO NOT watch when it airs on TV. Wait for the DVDs to become available, and place them all at the top of your Netflix rental queue. We plowed through the first two seasons in about two weeks apiece. We averaged two episodes a day. With no commercials that comes to about an hour and twenty minutes. One problem is forcing yourself to turn off the DVD player, and not moving right on to the next episode, and wasting your entire day. Also be careful to ignore the promos for the current season while watching The Simpsons. "WHAT! NINA IS A BAD GUY?!?!?!?"

Netflix rentals make up the majority of our viewing, other than Sunday nights on Fox and That 70s Show (which is suffering this year). We started out with all of the original Avengers, moved on to Star Trek TOS, the first season of 24, the Spielberg SF Channel mini series Taken, the second 24, and now we are starting on Monty Python's Flying Circus (Which Krista doesn't find nearly as amusing as I do) and Star Trek TNG.
Adventures in Cooking

If Scott is planning any more experiments in the kitchen this week, I hope for his sake that he is not a Pisces.


May The Force Be With You...

Speaking of Sean, I see that he (and in turn I) totally scooped Wired (no link to the Wired bit, it isn't on the website yet) on "Obi-Shawn" Crosby and His H-Wing. Also check out the rest of Road Squadron, it's just so geeky-cool.
Cutting Through the Crap

The Buffalo Blogger was wondering when a comment turns into a post on your own weblog. Well, you are reading one.

On his Buffalo Blog he points to a post from Steven Den Beste offering solutions to spam and web ads that can slow down that vital browsing that you are doing. SDB's browsing solution seems like a lot of work to me. At home I use Safari, and I never have troubles with pages pausing during loading (I do have this problem at work however using IE). Safari also has a great pop-up blocker. I am not sure how it compares with EarthLink's (which is in use by the Buffalo Blogger) or other such tools. It allows pop-ups to which you navigate, but blocks those that pop up or under when loading the page. I do not seem to notice it blocking anything it shouldn't, but maybe I am, and just don't notice... Safari also has built-in spell check (and it works better than the spell check that blogger has built in) which is a great asset for dolt's like me. I don't like to get into the whole Mac vs. PC thing, but Safari is one great argument (albeit a small one) in Apple's favor. To be fair, I haven't used any of the alternative browsers on PC, such as Opera or Mozilla etc.

As far as spam goes, I almost never get it at home. Not sure if RoadRunner has blocking software or not. I do get a shitload at work. Most of it is blocked, though I still have to delete it (which can be interesting, when you get to see that you have gotten an average of 100 spams a day) but ten to twenty still manage to get through daily. The most frequent one these days encourages me to become a man of the cloth, which I first saw via Sean awhile back.



Well, since Christmas, I've been trying to decide what to buy with the cash I was given as gifts from various people. I am stuck between a point and shoot digital camera (I still need to save a bit more for the one I want) and a nice ukulele.

I have been leaning towards the digital camera. I want something small and portable that I can take with me wherever I go. It will not replace my SLR on trips or when I am feeling artistic (I love the options my wide angle and telephoto lenses give me), but it would be great for those times when you just need a camera and don't have the SLR because it just isn't practical.

But now the uke has started gaining ground again. On his Buffalo Blog, that Buffalo Blogger points out this post from John Scalzi asking which songs should be uked. That in turn led me to this, and this, and this. Here is a complete list.


Welcome and Right On!

To your left you will notice two new additions to my blogroll. The first is a good friend from college, and bad-ass-bassist, Mark. Mark and I spent a fair amount of time together back at the day, between Jazz Band, Jazz Combo, and just hanging out. We have been out of touch for too long a time, and I was pleased the other day when I found out that a mysterious e-mail was in fact from Mark.

The second is Mix-Master-Dorf (aka Patrick Mixdorf). I'm not sure if I am the first to refer to Pat with this moniker, but I am taking credit for it. I know Pat from a few meetings via mutual friends, tall tales, and numerous e-mail threads. His is a brand-spanking-new weblog.

Both of these fine individuals responded to the list of 100 albums I noted below, and both shared my viewpoint, and expressed it in a much better fashion than I. Mark's response is here, and I think Pat attempted a response in the comments at the bottom of the list, but I do not see it there, so I will add it at the end of this post.

What really bugged me about the list, which I completely neglected to note in my previous post, was the hypocrisy. He claims to impart upon us his infinite wisdom of why these albums are undeserving. In doing so he takes on the roll of the music critics he reviles. He is a music snob. His reason for disliking so many of these albums is that they, in his opinion, don't live up to the hype that other music snobs attach to them. I hope my response did not come across as so much music snobbery, as me offering my opinion. Many, many people that I hold in very high regard often exhibit what I consider questionable taste in music. But that's OK.

Here is the Response of Mix-Master-Dorf.

Like the music critics you claim to revile, your self-righteous and patently self-gratifying attempt at telling people what music they should enjoy comes across as mean spirited and most importantly misses the point of music altogether.

The best albums and music have a visceral appeal. An unbiased opinion (if such a thing is even possible) may show those albums to be crap, but if it floats your boat, who cares.

Like great literature, some albums ought to be listened to because they played a significant role in the development of music. Anyone whose ever read (or tried to read) Ulysses by Joyce knows that great literature can be incomprehensible crap. The same may hold true for Coltrane and Davis, but that doesn't mean it's not worth a listen.

If you own them because you think you must, you're an idiot, but if you bought them out of a sense of exploration or personal growth, good for you. Maybe they weren't what you expected, but you're better for having tried.


But your honor...

24 Reasons You are Wrong

Here is a list of 100 albums some guy thinks you should remove from your collection immediately. Many he listed are from artists it is in fashion to hate or be sick of. I agree with a few of his choices, disagree with many, and am not familiar enough with others to make a judgment. Some of the commenters really take offense. While the list doesn't get to me like some of them, I felt compelled to offer my rebuttal. Here are a few of the more obvious reasons he is wrong. Thanks to Sean for the link (I think).

U2- The Joshua Tree. Well, I agree that Bono is much too self righteous, but The Edge is too cool for school. And this is not a bad or even over-rated album. Leave it right where it is.

Nirvana- Nevermind. Over-rated? Yes. But still a good album. If you don't already own it, don't sweat it, but if you got it, keep it.

The Beatles- Let it be. Screw you pal. It seems to be cool to hate this album. I disagree heartily. The "Naked" release is better, but even the Spectorized version gets five stars from me.

Miles Davis- Bitches Brew. I don't own this album, but I have heard it on a few occasions (but not for quite some time). While not high on my list of to buys, he is overreacting.

Pearl Jam- Vs. Not their best (if you only buy one Pearl Jam, buy Yield) but still a good album.

Beck- Midnight Vultures. Are you kidding me? "Christina Aguilera of the indie set." Sure, except for the fact that Mr. Hansen is a fucking musical genius.

The Who- Tommy. I hope my sister is sitting down while reading this.

Beastie Boys- Paul's Boutique. Often hailed as their best. I prefer Check Your Head, but still a great album.

Red Hot Chili Peppers- Blood Sugar Sex Magik. A band that is cool to hate. You probably don't need more than one RHCP CD in your collection, but this is a good album.

White Stripes- White Blood Cells. Wrong answer. This is a great album, five stars. But I see from this entry I see that this list was compiled back in '02. I guess he was right about closing the book on Jack and Meg though, that Elephant disk went nowhere...

Dave Brubeck- Time Out. If this guy wants to get rid of his copy, buy it from him. It is a masterpiece.

John Coltrane- Giant Steps. What the ftuyhjnokmhg,jk... Sorry I fainted there for a minute. If this guy doesn't have the ability to appreciate anything more complex than big band music it isn't your problem. Buy this album.

Morrissey- All recordings. I don't own any, but I know some people that this will piss off, so I put it in here.

Jane's Addiction- Nothing's Shocking. Blah blah blah... Another band that it is cool to hate. I am starting to wonder exactly who the poseur is here.

Tori Amos- Under the Pink. Wrong. Another five star album.

Green Day- Dookie. Yet another band that is cool to hate. Someone said this album was analogous to a can of Pringles. One tasty pop song stacked on another. They were right. Dookie is a stack of great thee-minute pop songs. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Sarah McLauchlan- Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, Surfacing. He's right about keeping one, wrong about it making a difference. Remember that "Building a Mystery" song? That was on Surfacing. Fumbling Towards Ecstasy is the keeper.

U2- War. No! No! No!

The Beatles- Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart's Club Band. While I tend to think that this one is a bit over-hyped in its importance, it is still one of the best.

Grateful Dead- All Recordings. Now, I'm by no means a deadhead, but they did make worthy contributions to music.

Bob Marley and The Wailers- Legend. Well, he said it himself. It is a fine album. It's not my fault his friends played it into the ground.

Sublime- Sublime. Again, very good album. And again, not my problem he has bad non-musical associations with it.

Beastie Boys- Check Your Head, Ill Communication. Check Your Head is great, and Ill Communication is very good. Keep 'em.

The Doors- The Best of The Doors. WRONG!


Water, water everywhere... Well at least there used to be.

NASA announced today that they have enough evidence to conclude that water was once abundant at the Opportunity landing site. While this was a big and important announcement, it is hardly a sunrise. This is exactly what scientists have long suspected, and what the rovers were sent to confirm. The evidence comes in the form of a rock that exhibits layers of sediment containing salt, and other minerals indicative of a body of water that has evaporated. What is important about this discovery is that it tells NASA where to look for signs of life in future missions.


Starship Stacy and the Vector Kings

Here are a few photos from the gig. I guess that was over two months ago, but here they are anyway. Thanks to Jon Murphy for providing them.

Dan and me, laughing about something. What, I'll never tell.

Krista gets sooooo excited when she plays.

No more laughing!

Krista finally proves that she can do two things at once.
Ah, that's the stuff...

Hello is anyone still here? The past couple of weeks have been wearing me down a bit. This is due, I think, to quite a bit of overtime, along with other work related frustrations, lack of sleep (what sleep I have had has been less than restful), lack of exercise etc. etc. etc. All of this has led to me spending my waking hours in a daze. And not a good daze. A large part of my problem may have been cabin fever, and that my friends may be at an end. I can smell it.

This weekend Krista and I managed to all but finish up the electrical work in our kitchen, so I feel like I actually accomplished something, which helps. We pulled out the grill for the first time this year, and cooked-up some tasty burgers. I started up the bikes yesterday to blow out the cobwebs, and that helped improve my mood immensely. Today I couldn't resist, and logged about 15 miles. Hopefully this all signals an end to the funk I've been in. Tomorrow I hope to get back into my regular exercise routine. What a difference one weekend can make.


Rattlesnake Rhumba!

You know all those goofy names for groups of animals? Well, now you do (thanks to Sean via Language Hat). I issue a challenge to any of my readers who happen to be poets, to create a poem using as may of these as possible. Now.
Mark your calendars and buy some mylar.

On June 8 of this year Venus will make a rare transit of the Sun. The end of this transit will be visable across most of the central and eastern US. If you miss it you will have to wait eight years, and then you will have to travel to Japan, or taking a swim in the middle of the pacific. After that, it's another 105 years. I am hoping to get some good photos that I will provide to you free of charge. Lucky you.


Ladies and Genelmen, The Beatles!

It was forty years ago tonight that The Beatles made their American television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. 73 million (a bout 2/5 of the US population) tuned in to watch the Fab Four offer outstanding performances of five songs. The Albert and David Maysles documentary of The Beatles first visit to the US was re-released last week with additional footage, mostly screaming fans I've been told (I have not purchased this one yet). Also available is a two disk set containing all four Ed Sullivan episodes, in their entirety, on which The Beatles appeared. Any Beatle fan should seriously consider this purchase. In addition to the Beatles performances it offers a glimpse of what the American public was watching in 1964. It leaves me wondering "that's entertainment?" It goes to show that the current pant load on television is nothing new. There are some things on the disks beyond the Fab Four that make it worth it. Including the American Television debut of Davy Jones (yes, of the Monkees) with the Broadway cast of Oliver, Cab Calloway, and the commercials.
Money Money Money Money

This started out as a comment on a certain Buffalo Blog, but..

Jaquandor is annoyed with a school supplying all students with PDAs.

I, like Jaq, have no objection to spending lots of money on education. Lots of it, but when things like this come up, I shake my head. There were some schools here in the Twin Cities that complained that there was no money to buy flags for the classrooms. The solution? Why, point a camera at a flag, and broadcast it via the schools closed circuit television system. This equipment was very new. Far better than what I worked on in college, and some of it better than what I currently use at work. I would grant the possibility that the equipment was purchased before the budget woes, but this district has been complaining about funding and class sizes for a while, even before our state budget crunch. Now, I don't object to the students learning video production, but it is not essential to education. It should certainly be a lower priority than hiring, or retaining an additional teacher.

Wasteful spending really gets me, especially from organizations that are constantly complaining about funding. Our local public broadcasting stations are another example. I am in support for continued funding for public broadcasting, but I will NOT contribute to their fundraising. Salaries for the workers (some at least) are outrageous. Union employees, in a position similar to the one I hold, earn nearly double what I do. I don't know this as a firm fact, but I do have it from a very reliable source. Capital expenditures are also an issue. All state of the art, all the time. Equipment must be replaced at some point, but the use it or lose it budget system in schools and other government facilities has to go away.

That is all, I think...
Tenor Madness

I see now that my man Sonny Rollins received the John Coltrane Lifetime Achievement Award during last night's Grammys. Rollins is one of my favorite jazz musicians. As jazz saxophonists go, imho, he is second only to Coltrane. If you are interested in checking out some of this cat's work, I recommend Saxophone Colossus, Tenor Madness (featuring John Coltrane), and Sonny Meets Hawk, where Rollins teams up with another jazz sax great Coleman Hawkins. I own a limited edition print of the photo above. It sits matted at the frame store awaiting the frame I want to come in stock.
And the award goes to...

Well, I didn't watch the Grammys last night. I haven't even looked over the list of the winners, and I really don't care who won. I did scan through the tapes of the show at work this morning for the performances, and there were some very good ones. The show started off with the Beyonce and the worlds funkiest Jehovah's Witnesses. Prince is a truly amazing musician and performer. He may be one of the top ten guitarists in popular music. Dave Matthews, Sting, and Vince Gill did a wonderful rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There" in honor of the Beatles President's Award. Other notables were the White Stripes, Outkast, and Foo Fighters with Chick Corea.

I can't watch the Grammys anymore. Have not been able to for a while. I get too angry. As the night goes on and the awards are handed out to the wrong nominees, or the deserving performer isn't even nominated, my blood starts to boil. I get acid reflux. I start yelling at the television. Maybe if they cut out the awards... I would even suffer through the Justin Timberlakes and Celine Dions to catch the great performances.


Next up, Djork

Amanda (AKA Djork, Phrogrrl, Mrs. Boyd etc. etc.) also accepted the Five Question Challenge. Like Dan she is blogless (Really dear sister, isn't it time you got one of your own? If you did, maybe next time you get tonsillitis you won't be so bored). So, me being the charitable type, here are here responses.

1. You are currently applying to grad schools. Which is your top choice, and why.

Washington University in St. Louis. I don’t know if I can articulate why though, just a gut feeling I got one day that I should apply there. I’ve never been to St. Louis, I had never heard of their faculty, but something just clicked I guess. I should start hearing from programs any day now. It’s quite nerve wracking.

2. Name your top five albums of all time, and your top five of the past five years.

Five only five???? Let me start off by saying this question kinda sucks because most of the music I truly cherish came out about 8 years ago. So by answering the second part of the question honestly some of my favorite music in my collection like the Rentals the return of, Weezer blue and Bjork’s post must go unrecognized. That said I will continue.

1. The Who, The Kids are Alright
2. Pearl Jam, Yield
3. Tori Amos, Little Earthquakes
4. Thelonious Monk, The Best of Thelonious Monk
5. Radiohead either The Bends or Ok Computer, I always have a hard time deciding between the two!

1. Beck, Sea Change
2. Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots
3. White Stripes, White Blood Cells
4. Eels, Daisies of the Galaxy
5. Beck, Midnite Vultures

mmmm, looks like another tasty beck sammich!

3. You are a poet, but did you know it? Just kidding. If you could spend a week at any point in time, anywhere on earth where and when would it be.

My week would begin in 1985 at the Twin Pines mall parking lot. I would knock out Marty and Doc and then I’d hop in the DeLorean with my buddy Spenser (the newest addition to my harem, a 17 year old emo boy from Grimes) and make our way to Summer 2004 on the road to California. Thanks to the Flux Capacitor we would arrive in no time at all. Upon arrival I would meet my pen pal Jeaux (pronounced Joe) and spend the week on the beach learning to surf. At night we would go to stellar Hollywood parties and hang out with all the artsy-fartsy types. Well, not for the whole week though because due to my amazing talent for picking up new abilities I would perfect the art of Surfing in two days flat. Everyone would be amazed and start hounding me for autographs and surfers
would be challenging me to competitions. But I’m not down with so much attention and I’m not really competitive, so to get away from it all, we would make our way to Big Sur and I would find a nice little place to hide away and
never return to the “frozen wastes of Iowa.”*

*the phrase “frozen wastes of Iowa” was seen in the London Tube on a poster ad for a mystery book being released while I was there with the Wartburg English Department, Mayterm 1999. We all had a good laugh and then returned to Iowa to see the joke was on us.

4. I am going to recycle this one, kind of. You live in Des Moines. Apart from family, name three really cool things about Des Moines.

Well I can easily name three things that WERE cool about Des Moines; the old property, the River Hills, and “nowhere”--a park that used to be south of the capital building where my friends and I used to hang out. But now all of these things are gone, demolished, filled in, paved over, built upon. “There are places I remember”. . . How depressing. But now, now, hmmm. . .

I-80, I-35, and the internet

No, just kidding, okay I will try, really, I will. . .

The Des Moines National Poetry Festival is cool. I have had the opportunity to listen to and to meet some good contemporary poets the years I have been able to attend.

The parties. Probably due to the lack of good bars or decent clubs in town most of the real action is in the apartments and rented houses of the 18-24 year olds around. This age group is pretty rad right now, they have good taste in music, movies, books, and clothes. Nothing like the dorks I grew up with. The music they play at the parties is way better than the crap at the so-called clubs in Des Moines and you can actually hear it. We usually burn or dub mixes for people to dance to, with everything from Weezer to rappers whose names I don’t know. There is always plenty to eat and drink and everyone looks out for each other. And everyone likes each other or at least respects each other--unlike the frat parties. And unlike the bars I actually meet people instead of just get ogled by the desperate chumps from the meet markets--though my evil eye glance is pretty effective at keeping them away. And I am more of a party-goer than a bar-hopper anyway.

Now, I know I can’t really say that the parties here are specifically different than those elsewhere but I do think the fact that since there is no other outlet for the cool people in Des Moines to really have a good time affects the effort that goes into our parties. Maybe it’s just that I love my friends that much (sniffle) but the times I have had here are way better than the parties I have been to, like say, in the Twin Cities--again, it could be the people. Though I am sure if Aaron and Krista had a party, it would be a freaking blast.

Sadly the only other thing I can think of is seeing movies. I get to see all the hollywood stuff for free since I still whore myself out to Carmike Cinemas every weekend. And we also have a couple theaters which focus on the “independent” works, and I don’t mean the Cinema 3. The Fleur Cinema and Cafe is a nice joint and the Varsity plays some good flicks too.

5. Ewan, Beck, and now Billy Boyd. Who is next in this line of torrid celebrity affairs?

Bill Murray. . . unbelievable as it may seem, a couple of years ago I got the idea in my head that he would make a great date. What is it about him you ask? Something about the way he would break into sprints at random in Rushmore, I think, or maybe the charming personality of his character in Stripes. BUT, then Lost in Translation comes out and I find someone has access to my innermost thoughts. So maybe since that’s “been done” I will get back with Giovanni Ribisi instead, he’s more my type anyway. He and I had quite the affair way back when, during his My Two Dads days.

Well I went a little overboard on answering, but I really am freaking bored here. I have been at home for like four days--which normally would be cool but considering the state I am in I’m miserable and have no choice but to entertain myself. I think I will go watch some more Spaceghost now.
Dan Steps up to the Plate

Dan has taken the Five Question Challenge. As he does not have his own blog (Hmmm, maybe you should create your own blog Dan, what, with this ten month satirical coming up) I am posting his answers here.

1. You have long had a love of maps. When did it all start.

Love of maps began probably studying the Atlas intensely while riding in the back of the station wagon on family vacations. My brother & I would quiz each other on state capitals, city populations, highest point in the state, etc. I still retain many of those facts and I also still LOVE looking through the pages of a good Atlas.

2. What is your favorite Beatles song?

"Favorite Beatles Song" is a completely transient call--it really varies. I tend to have ones to which I am "sympathetic"--ones that I feel are really connecting to me, relative to other Beatles fans. In the past, I've really really dug "Lovely Rita," "Strawberry Fields," "For No One," "You Won't See Me," "Martha My Dear," "Ob La Di Ob La Da," and others too numerous to list, of course. Currently, the one I think of the most is probably "She's Leaving Home." Beautiful melody--wonderfully arranged & performed. And the lyrics blow my mind--what the hell was a 27-28 year old single male rock star doing writing a song like that?

3. If you were offered an all expenses paid climb of Everest (including all training), with no guarantees of safety, would you do it?

Sadly, no. Unfortunate you asked me about that type of trip, specifically. If you were to have mentioned nearly any other "expedition" opportunity--Patagonia, Mongolia, Pacific Coast Trail, Northwest Territories, African backroads, etc. etc. I would have said, "Yes" in a heartbeat. But, alas, though I love mountains and hiking in mountains, I do
have a fear of heights. And I know just enough about the Everest expedition to be aware of the ladder-accross-the-crevase trick to know that I could not get myself to cross.

4. If you had to choose one musical artist to be erased from history, who
would it be?

Hopefully just erase their music, not the artist... but I would choose Toby Keith. Actually, go ahead and erase the artist.

5. Just who is Daniel Guitarra?

Read all about Daniel Guitarra here. I can tell you little you can't learn there.