January 31, 2009

The rivalry resumes

Just in case you're bored Sunday morning ('round either 3 or 4am Eastern time) and wanted to watch one of the greatest rivalries in tennis history, here's some background reading material:

January 30, 2009

Snow days are awesome

I can't remember which of these Princeton-related videos from YouTube I've posted before, so some could be redundant...some could not be, however...

Sheffield at Rock 4A Cause (this year's event is tomorrow night)

Sheffield's "High Roller" at Rock 4A Cause

More Sheffield at Rock 4A Cause

Jordan Hopgood (football highlights)

Ben & Zoey

Cool Schools: Princeton

this past fall's bonfire

Princeton Pep Rally

from the same Pep Rally

07-08 bball highlights

PHS sophomore basketball awards 2008

January 29, 2009

Put a shirt on, people

In case you hadn't noticed, that left coast artist that I mention from time to time continues her brilliance and is now hoping to supplement her income with a few ducats via the sale of her artwork on shirts.

So, if you've been pining for an angry uterus t-shirt (in ladies cut only, of course), then head over to her shirt site and check things out. I'm leaning toward the space monkey shirt, but I'm still waiting for some of her other genius images to show up.

Seriously, I think I'd buy the synesthesia color explanation chart shirt in a heartbeat.

January 28, 2009

I hate the Girl Scouts

I can come up with a hundred reasons to hate the Girl Scouts, but today I offer just two.

Number one, they've moved their cookie campaign up by almost three weeks, almost exactly swamping PHS's opportunities to collect donations at any Kroger store in the area.

And, exhibit b, they are - for the umpteenth time - decreasing they already pathetic value of their cookies.

January 27, 2009

Today's culinary treat

In honor of this past Sunday's Burns Night, I offer up today's culinary treat: a recipe for haggis. (Crimson: You may want to steer clear as this is a dish for those with carnivorous habits only.) This is a necessity since it's been illegal to import a proper haggis to the US for the last twenty years.

It's been almost exactly fourteen years since I had my at my lone Burns Night supper in Aberdeen, but I do remember enjoying it quite a bit. The mashed tatties were tasty, as well, though the neeps weren't quite in my taste range.
Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy o' a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o' need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn,
they stretch an' strive:
Deil tak the hindmost! on they drive,
Till a' their weel-swall'd kytes belyve,
Are bent lyke drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
"Bethankit!" 'hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi' perfect sconner,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him ower his trash,
As feckless as a wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like taps o' thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o' fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a haggis!
And, in case you're in need of a translation...

January 26, 2009

Nobody cares

Here's the deal, ok: nobody cares about anybody else but themselves.

Or at least, nobody cares nearly as much about anybody else as they do about themselves.

Take, for example, my self-entertaining dressing habits. Earlier this school year, I decided to go a week wearing a combination of black jeans and a Princeton shirt. With four pairs of black jeans in my closet and a half dozen collared Princeton shirts, it was an easy enough challenge. Plus it made the mornings a little more mindless, and it entertained me. Along the way, I was curious as to when during that week one of my students would comment on my repetitive sartorial choices.

Here's the big surprise: nobody ever did.

Its not that my students are any less observant or caring than any other group of people, I'm pretty sure it's just that every one of them was too busy thinking about what everyone else was going to say about themselves to give my dressing habits more than a cursory thought.

Another quick story...a couple of months ago, in discussions about possible Thanksgiving meals, my mom explained something with the reasoning "because you know I don't eat lamb." I replied to her that I didn't know any such thing. Admittedly, I didn't remember her ever eating lamb, but there's a big difference between not eating something because it's an uncommon food and not eating something because you have some sort of stomach-churning revulsion.

I'd lived with this woman for the better part of eighteen years, and I had to admit that I really didn't have any clue as to her eating preferences or habits. Yeah, I remember which meal I always helped Dad make on weekday nights when I was growing up, the first meal that was ever deeded entirely over to me as a teenager - spaghetti with meat sauce. But her preferences? No clue.

So, I have begun to shift a single phrase out of my vocabulary because I think it reflects a sense of narcissism in each of us: you know that I....

I'm trying not to say that because I have come to realize that nobody knows anything about us - or not nearly as much as we would think they do. Nobody is staring at us - noticing that pimple, that your socks don't match today, that you're cutting back on sweets - because they're all too busy thinking that you're staring at them.

Every man is an island.

January 23, 2009

Another new one from across the pond

Just found out that Lily Allen's got a new album finally coming out within the next month or so...first single's out and on YouTube (just in case you're as out of the loop as I am and hadn't seen it yet)...

That's the clean version...there's a version, too, if you're into that kind of a thing. And there's an official audio track of the title track of the new album, too.

I'll say that they've certainly given her a much bigger budget for videos this time, though the more electronic bent to the two songs puts me off a bit. I'm sure I'll give the album a listen at some point and give a more thorough opinion, but thought I'd make sure everybody was aware of the new stuff.

Now, if we could just get something new from Kate Nash...

January 22, 2009

The glories of Playmobil

A week or two ago, this image showed up on Neatorama and was mocked as an example of showing the darker side of our current times to our kids. The rest of the text, however, mentioned that the link finder found the rest of the customer reviews hilarious, so I went checking.

Here's what I found over at Amazon...
I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger's shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger's scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said "that's the worst security ever!". But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.
The best thing about this product is that it teaches kids about the realities of living in a high-surveillence society. My son said he wants the Playmobil Neighborhood Surveillence System set for Christmas. I've heard that the CC TV cameras on that thing are pretty worthless in terms of quality and motion detection, so I think I'll get him the Playmobil Abu-Gharib Interogation Set instead (it comes with a cute little memo from George Bush). ~loosenut
Thank you Playmobil for allowing me to teach my 5-year old the importance of recognizing what a failing bureaucracy in a ever growing fascist state looks like. Sometimes it's a hard lesson for kids to learn because not all pigs carry billy clubs and wear body armor. I applaud the people who created this toy for finally being hip to our changing times. Little children need to be aware that not all smiling faces and uniforms are friendly. I noticed that my child is now more interested in current events. Just the other day he asked me why we had to forfeit so much of our liberties and personal freedoms and I had to answer "well, it's because the terrorists have already won". Yes, they have won.

I also highly recommend the Playmobil "farm fencing" so you can take your escorted airline passenger away and fence him behind bars as if he were in Guantanamo Bay. ~ Zampano
I like the basic idea. I applaud Playmobile for attempting to provide us with the tools we need to teach our children to unquestioningly obey the commands of the State Security Apparatus, but unfortunately, this product falls short of doing that. There's no brown figure for little Josh to profile, taser, and detain? Where are all the frightened plastic Heartlanders pointing at the brown figure as they whisper "terrorist?" Where are the hippy couple figures being denied boarding passes? And shouldn't someone be forcing a mother figure to drink her own breast milk? ~ Gen. JC Christian, patriot
It seems like some of the Amazonians are a little bothered by Playmobil's newest playsets. Me, I'm more bothered by the fact that the cost of the TSA checkpoint is over $50 - for three figures and a small playset.

I checked out a few of the other Playmobil sets to see if the prices held true, and I was amazed to find that the Playmobil Police Checkpoint with two figures and minimal accessories was $49.99. Plus it appears that the same group of reviewers has been at work:
This playset is one of the best purchases I have made for my three-year-old. In the past, when we have been stopped at roadblocks, or when during one of Daddy's arrests, he would start crying uncontrollably. Now, after playing with this for the past several months, he is perfectly docile.

As an adjunct to this product, I would also recommend that you purchase the Playmobil Armed Standoff Playset, Fisher-Price Little People Battering Ram, and the Nerf Tear-Gas Canister Deployment Gun.

Bill of Rights sold separately. ~ Christopher Barber "gooseman"
I was pretty pumped to get this model. After my Leviathan teddy-bear burst at the seams and my Guantanamo slip and slide tore into several pieces, I was looking for a petty distraction as durable as state tyranny itself.

Finally, I found the Playmobil Police Checkpoint. It's everything a colorful plastic method of indoctrination should be: mobile, plastic, and filled with red warning signs. I love setting it up outside my house. That way I feel like I have to show papers to get in. I know I own it, but it's cooler if the state lets me in. They know best.

Still, I have a complaint about this darling set. I mean, I'm no curmudgeon, and I hate to nit-pick, especially over such a usefully didactic toy. But I must-

No taser? ~ JohnnyOrlowskawitz "Johnny O."
Seriously, folks, I think you might be taking things a bit too far. Playmobil is just trying to give the kids a glimpse into the world around them. Take, for example, the Playmobil Safe Crackers set which is more reasonably priced at under $20.

Here's what one reviewer had to say about this set:
These guys are absolutely fabulous. They got right to work when we took them out of the box and quickly showed their stuff. They have gotten bored with the supplied safe and I've been having to keep them occupied by buying other kinds of locks and safes to keep them occupied, which has been hard because I seem to be misplacing money. I've even lost a credit card or two, now!

The wife seems to like them, too. She especially likes the little blond one and keeps talking about how he really has a heart of gold. She also points to the rather fancy Playmobil yacht that I'd only recently noticed (odd that, I don't remember buying that one for the kids) and keeps saying she bets he really knows how to "treat a woman like the princess she deserves to be treated as". I'm not sure what that means, exactly, but overall she seems happy, so I'm not complaining. Overall a great toy! ~ RunDown
See, that's much happier.

January 21, 2009

And Obama's Wordle

In the interest of equal time, here's Obama's inaugural address thrown into wordle.net.


I don't exactly see any patterns or differences between the two that really freak me out or that would show anything more than my biases already would suggest.

A few quick thoughts on today's ceremonies - of which I watched from 11:30-12:45 or so - from just before the invocation through the end of the benediction...
  • I was glad to hear afterwards that both John Roberts and Barack Obama were slightly at fault for the oath flub
  • I was surprisingly pleased with Joseph Lowery's benediction, particularly his presentation of the first and only laugh line of the entire day's events right at the close of his part, the final moments of the whole day's main events
  • I found myself impressed whenever Obama would bring back historical quotes, especially those echoing the Bible. I also know that had GWBush made the same - or similar - references to his faith or his background or a Christian heritage of America, I would have been angry or cursing the television. I am horribly biased.
  • Obama's line about our patchwork nation - [w]e are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. - impressed the heck out of me. As someone who doesn't have a religious faith, I often feel that I am forgotten in the political mentions of the major faiths of our nation. I liked the nod to those of us without a religion.
  • Obama's speech certainly set the bar low and the hopes high - reminding us of the hard times and the challenges ahead, ensuring that we knew there would be no quick fixes, no easy remedies but always stating unequivocally that we would solve these problems together.
  • I've said it before, but I am more hopeful for this administration than for any that I have known.

January 20, 2009

Bush's wordle

Those are the 150 most common words in President Bush's 2005 inaugural address - thanks to USA Today for the transcript, by the way.

I pasted the words into Wordle.net, a site that allows you to create a tag cloud, showing the most common words in the text and sizing them according to their frequencies. From there you can adjust all of the attributes - font, color, verticality - and play around until things look right for you.

Kinda fun...

Tomorrow I'll throw Obama's into the hopper and see what comes out.

January 19, 2009

It's far too far 'til summer

I don't care that this doesn't come out until June and that we've got Watchmen and Fanboys on the far more imminent horizon. What matters to me is that ColdNorthGamer mentioned a while back that he didn't watch the YouTube clips I put up because they were always gone by the time he got to them (often because I was posting long in advance for those weekend forays), so I'm throwing this one out there right now.

I want to see this film.

Do yourself a favor and read this summary before checking out the trailer below...
This post modern love story is never what we expect it to be -- It's thorny yet exhilarating, funny and sad, a twisted journey of highs and lows that doesn't quite go where we think it will. When Tom, a hapless greeting card copywriter and hopeless romantic, is blindsided after his girlfriend summer dumps him, he shifts back and forth through various periods of their 500 days "together" to try to figure out where things went wrong. His reflections ultimately lead him to finally rediscover his true passions in life.

But what's with the awful announcer voice? If the film's got two stars of that magnitude (solid B-listers, Zoey bordering on A), then they should be able to get a decent announcer voice.

Free donuts...of choice

Anytime tomorrow, stop by your local Krispy Kreme establishment and get yourself a free doughnut - of your choice.

Personally, I'd go for the jelly-filled, but that has nothing to do with the rest of the story.

Apparently the original announcement from Krispy Kreme read like this (according to a Miami New Times article):
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American's sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies -- just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet 'free' can be.
Seems innocuous enough, but some groups will take any opportunity for free publicity, so the American Life League, an avowed anti-abortion group, responded with the following press release:
The following is a statement from American Life League president, Judie Brown.

"The next time you stare down a conveyor belt of slow-moving, hot, sugary glazed donuts at your local Krispy Kreme you just might be supporting President-elect Barack Obama's radical support for abortion on demand – including his sweeping promise to sign the Freedom of Choice Act as soon as he steps in the Oval Office, Jan. 20.

The doughnut giant released the following statement yesterday:
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Inc. (NYSE: KKD) is honoring American's sense of pride and freedom of choice on Inauguration Day, by offering a free doughnut of choice to every customer on this historic day, Jan. 20. By doing so, participating Krispy Kreme stores nationwide are making an oath to tasty goodies -- just another reminder of how oh-so-sweet "free" can be.
Just an unfortunate choice of words? For the sake of our Wednesday morning doughnut runs, we hope so. The unfortunate reality of a post Roe v. Wade America is that "choice" is synonymous with abortion access and celebration of 'freedom of choice' is a tacit endorsement of abortion rights on demand.

President-elect Barack Obama promises to be the most virulently pro-abortion president in history. Millions more children will be endangered by his radical abortion agenda.

Celebrating his inauguration with "Freedom of Choice" doughnuts – only two days before the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision to decriminalize abortion – is not only extremely tacky, it's disrespectful and insensitive and makes a mockery of a national tragedy.

A misconstrued concept of "choice" has killed over 50 million preborn children since Jan. 22, 1973. Does Krispy Kreme really want their free doughnuts to celebrate this "freedom.""

As of Thursday morning, Communications Director Brian Little could not be reached for comment. We challenge Krispy Kreme doughnuts to reaffirm their commitment to true freedom – to the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – and to separate themselves and their doughnuts from our great American shame.
And now the Krispy Kreme's announcement reads thusly on this website:
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts’ Inauguration Day promotion on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, is offering one, free doughnut of a customer’s choice at participating Krispy Kreme locations nationwide. No purchase is necessary. The promotion allows customers to commemorate Inauguration Day by selecting one free doughnut of any variety at local participating stores. On Election Day, November 4, 2008, Krispy Kreme ran a promotion that provided customers with one free star-shaped doughnut at stores nationwide. The Inauguration Day promotion is not about any social or political issue.
It does still have the word choice in the announcement, but it does have that final disclaimer in there.

My issue here isn't for or against the right of a woman to have an abortion - that's your business to decide how you feel there - my issue is that I want the debate over this issue (as well as over every other issue) to stick to the actual issue at hand. Don't go looking for conspiracy theories and hidden meanings in every statement that anyone or any corporation makes.

If you see that Consumer Reports says (and I'm making this up here) that the want every consumer armed with the information to make the right choice, don't freak out about them being pro-gun.

If Wired magazine has a note saying that (again, made up by me) they want people to be able to vouch for and trust their information, don't start screaming about their secret agenda to promote school choice.

If someone says "I'm pro choice", scream. It's your business - though I'd rather you engage in a reasoned debate with them instead of calling them a baby killer. But don't go looking for stupid fights where they don't exist.

By the by, my favorite comment on the New Miami Times website:
if they were abortion donuts, i don't think i'd want one. i assume they'd be taking them out of the oven way too early.

January 16, 2009

I don't understand.

Paul is the weenie one.

I can tolerate very few of the Beatles songs that Paul ever wrote and fewer still of the crap he put out with Wings ("Band on the Run" being the only one).

His presence as a solo act in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is yet another reason why that is a laughable institution.

And yet I really enjoyed this new track...

Color me confuddled...

January 15, 2009

We've been baconized

Something seems to be wrong with the PHS website this morning.

I need to figure out how this was done.

January 14, 2009

Two things I love

I love Coach Knight, and I love a shooting guard with no fear.

January 13, 2009

In honor of my 7th bell class

A few years ago, my seventh bell class - maybe...I know it was my first class after lunch that year - asked if they could put a cd in a microwave in class. They argued that it was science so they should be able to do it, and they knew that I had a microwave in my storage room.

Nope, I said, that microwave is food only, used to heat up lunches for the four teachers sharing the storage room's common space. I didn't want to damage it. If they wanted to buy their own microwave, however, I'd let them do it. (As an aside, I knew they'd never get enough money together to buy a microwave, so I was safe...)

...until one of them piped up with "I work at Wal-Mart, and we've got a microwave on sale for $25 right now."

Crap...in like two minutes, they had $20 on the table, and by the next day they'd pooled enough to buy the microwave and a crappy toaster so they could try the strawberry Pop-Tart blowtorches.

In honor of that class, long gone from the halls of Princeton, I present today's awesomness: the MicroManiancs, a website on which the stars microwave various things until they are destroyed...and film it...and let us watch.

I particularly recommend checking out the foam.

January 12, 2009

Somebody's hoping for no earthquakes

At least George Vlosich III has a section of his website that explains how he makes the Etch-a-Sketch artwork permanent.

Otherwise, that would suck.

I can't make it, sadly

If anybody's in The City (somehow, NYC earns the capital letters) the Thursday and Friday before Valentine's Day, might I recommend checking out The Strawberry One Act Festival's Series A one-acts?

In particular I would suggest making sure to see Fan-Boys. Here's what I know about the play - in case you needed some convincing:
  • It's about comic book fan-boys.
  • The author interviewed me as she was writing the play. So I have the smallest bit of pride in seeing the thing finally performed.
  • I taught the author everything that she knows...about chemistry.
  • The author suffered the worst injury ever in any of my chemistry classes with a really nasty burn from grabbing a very hot ring stand, so she deserves your sympathy.
Sadly I will not be able to make it as I'll be in Cincy the first night and Gatlinburg the second.

January 11, 2009

January 9, 2009

A Slow Friday Night

The Girl went to a friend's house for a girls' night last Friday, so I took advantage and hung out at Barnes & Noble...'cause I'm awesome...I'm going to go with general impressions, not always fully fleshed out details...

Red Hulk
  • fun read
  • entertaining gags like Rulk hitting a Watcher
  • after World War Hulk kind of anticlimactic...seems to power down the Hulk himself to a far weaker version than WWH had
  • does continue to show Hulk as force of nature, someone that nearly every Marvel character has to be afraid of and plan for
  • the new Red Hulk character is interesting, a calculating Hulk willing to use stealth as well as brute strength, destruction of Hellicarrier without even seeing Red Hulk is an interesting but unsatisfying take
  • kind of a mystery story in terms of who the Red Hulk is - clear hints but no revelation in this volume
  • but in the end, it's ultimately unsatisfying because the Hulk just beats the Red Hulk in the end but doesn't kill him...meh
Justice League of America: Injustice League
  • neat intro scenes mimicking Superman, Batman, WW with Luthor, Joker, Cheetah
  • seriously? Cheetah is your token female villain to run the thing? weak
  • overall dumb story with a few interesting scenes here and there
  • the whole "we're just making Superman mad" bit from Luthor is lame
  • why not just kill a superhero instead of beating the crap out of them to make him mad - wouldn't killing one of them make him even madder?
  • the idea of kryptonite paint from Joker being sprayed into Superman's face is kind of fun
  • the villains lose...again...no shock there...
  • the touch of having Amanda Waller show up to arrest the villains and send them to Salvation Run which was epicly boring and bad
  • see the full Injustice League lineup here
  • spot-on review over at Collected Editions
Ultimate X-Men: Absolute Power
  • I'm predisposed to love just about any Marvel Ultimate book
  • reading them in the episodic format of trade paperbacks only does make it tough to remember which X-group (Earth-616 or Ultimate) is doing what
  • fascinating to see where each character is taken in the Ultimate world - sometimes in similar ways and with similar story tropes but going in totally different directions as what Earth-616 did
  • the Colossus-Northstar relationship is interesting
  • tertiary mutations and the Alpha Flight team also interesting
  • allegory to steroid usage a bit forced
  • I dig the interconnectedness of the whole Ultimate universe - heroes constantly discussing each other...seems like a much smaller world
  • the origins of the banshee drug from Logan/Wolverine bring us that much closer to Ultimatum which has me kinda excited
  • the Phoenix turn is being dragged out much longer than the original saga did, and it's very hard to follow just what's happening in the Ultimate world versus in Jean's head
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
  • I'm furious that I mistakenly picked up and listened to the abridged version of this one - gotta pay more attention to things in the future
  • enjoyed what I got to listen to
  • wondered why the story seemed so jumpy, but that explains a lot of it
  • still annoyed that I got the abridged version
  • love the sense of family that develops throughout the book
  • the parallels to real comic book history - Siegel & Shuster, Jack Kirby - are fascinating for somebody who knows at least some of that history
  • makes me want to get all of Chabon's books and work through each of them
Superman/Batman: The Search for Kryptonite
  • this is why I love DC comics...great ongoing series
  • haven't read Torment yet, so Supes's comment about being drugged by Scarecrow surprised me
  • love the continuing use of the new Toyman and his obsession with Power Girl
  • don't know how I feel about Lana Lang's part here - seems to go fully against everything that we know about her...saw an interview with the writers that they're going to explain that, and they'd better
  • final page of Batman kind of undermines what we'd gotten to along the way, but it fits with the character
  • great artwork, great characterization (love the Batman scene in the volcano)
  • absolutely worth buying
Batman & the Outsiders: The Chrysalis
  • sucks
  • no, really...this sucks
  • I thought Batman was back into the mode of working with others, trusting people...this one flies entirely in the face of that development
  • I've seen this a half dozen times - Batman doesn't trust the people he has working for him, thinks he's better than them, knows more than them - leads to distrust
  • reuniting Geo-Force, Metamorpho, Black Lightning, Katana is a nice nod to the old fans like me
  • Katana looks like a stupid tramp in this one...keeps running around in a bustier
  • too many heroes being added then subtracted, too many bad guys jumping in and out - no coherence, no characterization
  • back to the bastard Batman, which I don't enjoy
Ultimate Spider Man: And His Amazing Friends
  • This should be required reading for every teen trying to find their way in the world - gorgeous depiction of teens solving problems and talking their way through them - and the problems are always worse than real life ones
  • revelation of another of Peter's friends as a mutant - the first three issues of this collection - is marvelously well done
  • the whole five issues explore the community of friends that Spidey has built up around him at the school that he attends
  • there might not be a better choice for entry-level comic readers (especially teens) than this series
  • the final issue (the worst day in Peter Parker's life is also surprisingly moving
  • the series balances teen angst and humor brilliantly
Ultimate Iron Man II
  • the freaky bit about Tony Stark regenerating like a lizard is very weird but it works for me
  • Obadiah Stane is a very weird kid
  • I wish I'd read this one sooner after reading the first one
  • love the computer-aided artwork
  • Tony's life is amazingly messed up, and the main villain in the book (once eventually revealed) had fingers in a whole lot of Tony-related pies
  • I enjoy not having Tony as a part of SHIELD/Civil War again
  • the nanites that Tony uses in this volume are a bit of a cure-all / magic for him...kinda neat
  • I hope they continue this series from time to time
  • I like the idea of treating comic series like seasons on a tv show...tell your story, get out...done
X-Men: Messiah Complex
  • finally, an X-Men story that I can mostly follow
  • interesting that Astonishing isn't a part of the cross-over - wonder if that's because of the various delays on that title
  • there's a whole lot of history behind this story, but I think I actually get a fair bit of it - having read Astonishing actually helped that a lot
  • the X-Men's penchant for time travel - to the alternate future that might or might not happen - tends to leave me cold, but this one kind of held together
  • the entirety of the cross-over seems written by one author rather than outlined and then filled in by the authors on each series
  • the various artwork from different artists, however, was very different but was okay - the main series' better than the Young X-Men artwork, however
  • there are a whole lot of players in this play...be sure you can keep track of them
  • as the X-Men stories become more and more involved, more and move self-contained, I would imagine that regular Marvel readers have to sort of decide whether they're following the Marvel-616 universe or whether they're following the X-Men...more and more rarely do the two interact even though they're supposedly in the same world
  • I prefer the Ultimate Marvel world where everybody clearly is in the same world
Tell Tale Signs
  • one cd for free on NPR, two cds for $18.99, three cds for $129.99 - wow...just...wow
  • continuing the Bootleg Series now on eight volumes and about a dozen discs
  • great review at ew.com
  • the liner notes are hilariously overblown and way too self-important - including one point where a song is praised by saying "here's a prime example of how an artist's first instincts are usually correct" and the next song by saying that "it's always wonderful to hear early takes and see how a song evolves under Dylan's tutelage" - for all future music writers out there, at least wait a few lines before contradicting yourself
  • all songs focused on the time since (and including) Oh Mercy - surprisingly fertile times for Dylan in his late career
  • very interesting to get demo-ish versions of songs like "Dignity", "Most of the Time", "Series of Dreams", "Mississippi"
  • I'm currently downloading the torrent of the third disc because the library (appropriately) didn't buy the three-disc version
  • I'll be making a bootleg copy of that third disc and sending it to The Mother when I'm all done - she's kinda a big fan of Jack Frost
  • too many reviews point out that Dylan was the first artist to be widely bootleged via the Great White Wonders
  • EW's comparison of the Beatles' Anthology where the boys were always looking for the perfect version of each song versus Dylan's Bootleg Series where Dylan is showing that there are dozens of different versions of every song - all of which are equally good/valid/worthwhile - is an interesting and very much spot-on comparison
  • this one's for the completistst, but I do very much enjoy it...one of the most enjoyable Bootleg Series entries since the first three-disc one

January 8, 2009

Brown Dyed Hotel

Ah, yet another game with no instructions.

To begin, head to Brown Dyed Hotel and click on "the puzzle" (it's the fish on the left). That'll take you to the beginning, and you're on your own from there.

I successfully got down to level six without cheating and made it all the way to the ripped paper puzzle (which seems to be the end) by finding this walkthru.

January 7, 2009


Found while searching

For last week's musings on my shifting musical tastes, I was searching for an image - which turned out to be too elusive for that post - of the wooden 96-cd holder that I'd had while I was in college and stumbled upon this cd holder which I really like and just might end up buying.

The image was posted on Geekologie, a blog that looks like something I want to look back through because it has daily posts about neatly designed things like bubble wrap simulators and a push pin lamp. Here's to hoping that the blog is up to date, because both of those posts are a year and a half old.

And because it posted this embedded video - with the simple comment that "And this, my friends, is why you don't home school your children."

Which is right...

Spelling Bee Winner

I was also lucky enough to stumble upon a Wabash blog posting in which profs and classes were being photographed to get some updated images for college publicity and webwork and the like. The main post shows prof Jeremy Hartnett, a once roommate and good friend of mine. The three associated photo albums are neat to see in that the college profs look so very casual.

Dig it, Little Giants.

January 6, 2009

It's really not porn

It's certainly not porn, but it is stair porn, a series of photos of staircases.

I do warn you that it does have an architectural bent, so there are a number of white background photos.

Today's school-related news

Remains found in Glendale field

Notice the line near the end "[i]t is across the street from Princeton High School."

Good times...

good times...

January 5, 2009


Want one...can't figure out how to order one from their site...

Uggly boots

I'll admit that I have absolutely no fashion sense. If I'm lucky, my shoes match my belt when I'm dressed for school.

So I obviously have no business ranting and slagging someone else's fashion choices.

No business at all.

So here goes...

I hate Ugg boots.

January 2, 2009

Really? You think this is a good idea?

To quote the very simple profile from Jeffery C's Music Channel on YouTube...
I'm Jeffery C Jordan. I'm 36 and I'm a college graduate. My number if you need ANYTHING is:317-319-0608

I was abused as a child and I want to find a way to help people that have been abused. I also am interested in helping women that have been abused.

I give to charities. I sell T-Shirts to try to raise money to fight abuse. I'm the kinda person that would give my life to help someone in need.

Some people just need someone to sit and listen to their problems and let them know they understand and that they aren't alone and that it ISN'T their fault.

I sing songs on the internet and use that as a means to cheer people up. Some people laugh with me and others laugh at me, but the point is that they are laughing. And laughter is the key to happiness.

I'm single. I believe in God. I Have made some really great friends online and met some really important people and had the chance to affect so many people.
Is anybody else leery that this guy gave out his phone number (which happens to be in the Indianapolis area, in case you were curious) and offers to "help women who have been abused"?

Or is it weirder that all of his videos are of him singing along to songs on his cd player - often while driving his car?

Or that there are seven hundred such videos?

I have no idea if the rest are like this - I've watched two of them and may just have lost half my brain cells in the process - but, wow...um...just, wow...

January 1, 2009

My shifting musical tastes

At the moment, I'm working my way through the 4346 unrated songs on my iTunes (new computer a couple of months ago, iTunes copied via portable harddrive from three friends) and listening to Leonard Cohen's "Sister's of Mercy", a beautiful song sung by a man without a beautiful voice, and it got me to thinking how far my musical tastes have shifted over my three decades on the planet.

My first musical crush was on Boxcar Willie picked up somewhere along the way of seeing commercials for his greatest hits on cassette back when I was about five years old (the opening of the '80's, in case you were wondering). I don't know if it was the simplicity of a man named Boxcar or of a man whose "tales of travel and freedom of the rails tell of a time gone by" (from his website), but I must've been so loco for the locomotive man that my parents had to hide from me the fact that Boxcar came to my hometown for a show that year. Apparently they were afraid that I'd drive them nuts enough begging to go that they'd actually break down and take me.

From there, I shifted to Kenny Rogers and the first cassette that I ever owned - Kenny Rogers' Greatest Hits - and certainly the first one that I played nearly to the breaking point. I remember carrying around my portable cassette player (kinda like the one in the image there) from home to my grandparent's house if I was staying there for the afternoon or night so I wouldn't be without my Kenny Rogers. Heck, I remember a friend of mine in elementary school chasing me around the playground with a bit of an electric guitar that he had at home - his dad's probably - as he yelled about rock and roll and I told him how much I loved my Kenny Rogers tape.

I'll stand by "The Gambler" as a great song. From there, well...

Somewhere along the way, however, that friend of mine - Brian Tanksley - helped me shift my musical tastes over to the old 95.7 WQMF and 102.3 WLRS in Louisville, my first classic rock stations and the rockier 80's tunes. From there it was fully into rock - "My Sharona", "Freezeframe", REO Speedwagon, Queen, and a lineup of music that wouldn't sound too different from what's playing any day on 92.5 here in the Cincinnati area.

I remember a brief dalliance with softer 80s music - owning cassettes of Phil Collins' No Jacket Required, Lionel Richie's Dancing on the Ceiling, Janet Jackson's Control.

But from there I threw myself fully into classic rock, embracing the shift to cd's to buy Jethro Tull's greatest hits, the Band's The Last Waltz, the best of Jimmy Buffet, and enough Queen cd's - initially just News of the World - that my collection eventually outgrew the Diadora box that I'd been carrying them all around in. Those first cd's were bought often with the idea that they would make up the bulk of my music programming when I was lucky enough to get a shift - or a dozen shifts if I could manage things right - on WNAS 88.1 FM, my high school radio station. (You can listen to the home of the Bulldogs here anytime.)

We weren't supposed to bring in our own music, and I know that it wasn't until after I'd played both "Mr Brownstone" and "Who Are You?" on air that I learned why we weren't supposed to bring in our own music. Thanks, forever, to Derek Barnes for pointing out the inappropriate lyrics while the song was playing on the air.

As I headed from high school to college, the cd collection had stretched to breaking out of the ninety-six cd cases that I'd moved up to, and the music tastes were shifting again with the influx of new friends and fraternity brothers - plus there was the influence of The Girl who was never a real classic rock kinda Girl.

The college years are a bit of a blur musically - Bob Marley and Live playing from the frat balcony on a summer day, debating whether Eric Clapton was endorsing drug use in the song "Cocaine", adding in celtic music from my junior year spent in Aberdeen, coming back to the folk music of my mother's misspent youth, dropping in Lyle Lovett and the Beastie Boys from The Girl's musical collection - and in the decade and change since I left Wabash, things have only expanded to the point where if someone ever asks me what kind of music I like, I find myself stumped to ever narrow it down to a genre or two.

Current favorites, in case you're curious now or later...Ryan Adams (with the Cardinals over without)...Wilco (in a big, big way)...Richard Thompson...the Beastie Boys...Bob Dylan...Chris Isaak...Lyle Lovett...Mountain Goats...Randy Newman...U2...Yonder Mountain String Band...

I guess if I had to look at those and find a common thread, I apparently like music made by white guys.

Rock it, crackers!

And in honor of today's music musings...

the return of the Friday random ten...not just from my collection but all from my iTunes...
  1. "The Knife Edge" by The Hokey Pokey Strings - an instrumental cover, the opener of a Richard Thompson tribute album, all string (unsurprisingly), four stars
  2. "Bartering Lines" by Ryan Adams (solo) - another four star tune, good banjo tune with more around it, very spare, tales of woe from a man who can write great ones
  3. "Ruby" by Yonder Mountain String Band - live YMSB, it rambles a bit in the middle as YMSB are wont to do in concert, three stars
  4. "My Three Sons" by Nelson Riddle - ah lounge a little known love of mine, from the estimable Ultra Lounge series - the Tiki Sampler in particular, cutesy take on the tv theme song, three stars
  5. "Only If..." by Enya - this must have come from Lakes' iTunes as my only Enya is the Watermark album, one that connects so strongly to LA Story for me that I think of it as one of the touchstone soundtracks to my relationship with The Girl, much of Enya's music feels too similar and cold to me - this one's a bland two star thing and will likely be deleted
  6. "War Child" by the Cranberries - my senior year roommate (and now Wabash prof Jeremy Hartnett) played the first Crabnerries album absolutely to death - everyone on the floor hated him for it, but somehow that album weened its way into my brain and got me to by their later album To the Faithful Departed - a great album, this one's a four star song
  7. "Happy Together" by The Turtles - oldies but goldies, our first five-star song here, great tune that I would hope most of you would know - right up there with the "Sloop John-B" as oldies for me
  8. "End of the Line" by the Traveling Wilburys - another five star effort from one of the most criminally underrated albums of the 90's, the light feel and fun that the Wilburys are clearly having on the entire album is probably best summed up in this tune on which they trade verses back and forth with a whim, so much good feeling here that it's practically bursting from the speakers
  9. "Paw Paw Tree" by The Fiery Furnaces - freaky, freaky band - like a weird symphony in every track, this album's hard for me to pin down because there are times when I crave it but lots more where it's just too dissonant and discordant for my ears, I dig it but not all the time, three stars here for one of the middling tracks on the album
  10. "Fatal Wound" by Uncle Tupelo - they became Wilco and this one's an early Jeff Tweedy lead vocal, not their strongest effort, but you can clearly see where he was headed if he hadn't pushed off from Jay Farrar - into great, heart-wrenching country rock/folk/rock tunes, three stars