September 30, 2013

100 questions

I am aware that it still has a watermark. Shut up...
From Katydid...

1) Sexuality? heterosexual and married

2) If you could meet anyone on this earth, who would it be? no clue...I don't have much desire to meet anybody famous. They aren't automatically any smarter or better or whatever than me.

3) Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, give me line 17. "ll other variables are kept constant, the volume of the gas increases as the" - Chemistry by Wilbraham, Staley, et al
4) What do you think about most? probably about trying to get my school work done

5) What does your latest text message from someone else say? looks like another long stretch then
6) Do you sleep with or without clothes on? shorts

7) What's your strangest talent? no idea...being able to always pick out comma errors, I guess
8) Girls.... (finish the sentence); Boys.... (finish the sentence) Girls and boys can make for a fun pairing.

9) Ever had a poem or song written about you? Not that I know about
10) When is the last time you played the air guitar? I'm not an air guitar guy. I tend to drum around on the dashboard a lot and to air conduct but not to play air guitar.
11) Do you have any strange phobias? Strange, I don't think so. I don't like heights or spiders, but that's about it.

12) Ever stuck a foreign object up your nose? probably...does a pen count?

13) What's your religion? agnostic atheist
14) If you are outside, what are you most likely doing? cutting the grass (duty)...playing frisbee golf (recreational)

15) Do you prefer to be behind the camera or in front of it? behind

16) Simple but extremely complex. Favorite band? long-term - U2, Wilco...current Macklemore

 17) What was the last lie you told? Oh, yeah, I got a lot of stuff done this morning.

18) Do you believe in karma? not really...

19) What does your URL mean? In Deference to My Idols

20) What is your greatest weakness; your greatest strength? weakness - procrastination, unwillingness to focus...strength - intelligence
21) Who is your celebrity crush? dude - Daniel Craig...dudette - Ashley Greene

22) Have you ever gone skinny dipping? nope
23) How do you vent your anger? mostly being crabby
24) Do you have a collection of anything? CDs...mp3s...
25) Do you prefer talking on the phone or video chatting online? never video chatted online
26) Are you happy with the person you've become? for the most part, yes...aspects, no
27) What's a sound you hate; sound you love? hate - styrofoam touching anything, felt tip pens - my snoring dogs

28) What's your biggest "what if"? What if I quit teaching? What would I do instead?
29) Do you believe in ghosts? How about aliens? No...yes (but doubt that they've ever visited us)
30) Stick your right arm out; what do you touch first? Do the same with your left arm. Same answer both ways...piles of papers that I should be grading right now instead of doing this
31) Smell the air. What do you smell? not much of are open...dogs are over there...don't smell either one, though...
32) What's the worst place you have ever been to? House on the Rock was pretty odd, but I don't know that it was worst just weirdest.
33) Choose East Coast or West Coast? midway between
34) Most attractive singer of your opposite gender? can't think of one off hand...Jewel...Katy Perry
35) To you, what is the meaning of life? just passing the time...trying to not cause too much pain, maybe cause some joy
36) Define Art. anything that makes me feel good

37) Do you believe in luck? sure...random things happen all the time...or semi-random things that we can't control
38) What's the weather like right now? sun's fading...nearly clear skies...'bout seventy degrees out...gorgeous, perfect...
39) What time is it? 7:18pm Saturday night
40) Do you drive? If so, have you ever crashed? yes...a couple of times...
41) What was the last book you read? lots of comic books...full book, dunno...
42) Do you like the smell of gasoline? kinda

43) Do you have any nicknames? Leon...Duschbag...
44) What was the last movie you saw? Mystery Men

45) What's the worst injury you've ever had? broke a toe...stepped on a nail...not much else
46) Have you ever caught a butterfly? nope...don't like bugs...I've had a few land on me but never grabbed them
47) Do you have any obsessions right now? not necessarily obsession, maybe the internets
48) What's your sexual orientation? heterosexual...wasn't that the first question, too?
49) Ever had a rumor spread about you? I would assume so, but I don't know what if so.
50) Do you believe in magic? nope
51) Do you tend to hold grudges against people who have done you wrong? not well...more so when they wrong a friend
52) What is your astrological sign? Taurus
53) Do you save money or spend it? spend...but in drips and drabs...
54) What's the last thing you purchased? pumpkin cheesecake wizzard at The Cone this afternoon
55) Love or lust? the latter tends to lead to the former for me
56) In a relationship? married
57) How many relationships have you had? four (romantic ones, that is)
58) Can you touch your nose with your tongue? nope
59) Where were you yesterday? school...Reds game...library...

60) Is there anything pink within 10 feet of you? Lego ice cream scoops, yeah...
61) Are you wearing socks right now? nope...rarely do at home
62) What's your favorite animal? m'dogs
63) What is your secret weapon to get someone to like you? musical taste

64) Where is your best friend? one's shopping for groceries...the other is searching her computer for a document she lost...
65) Not school appropriate

66) What is your heritage? German & English (3/8 each)...Creetan (1/8)...Polish (1/8)
67) What were you doing last night at 12 AM? bed...barely...just home from the Reds game
68) What do you think is Satan's last name? Seriously? don't believe in him, but I'll go with Satan Smith
69) Not school appropriate

70) Are you the kind of friend you would want to have as a friend? Yup...inconsistent contact...I'm good with it.
71) You are walking down the street on your way to work. There is a dog drowning in the canal on the side of the street. Your boss has told you if you are late one more time you get fired. What do you do? probably help the dog and show up to work dripping
72) You are at the doctor’s office and she has just informed you that you have approximately one month to live. a) Do you tell anyone/everyone you are going to die? b) What do you do with your remaining days? c) Would you be afraid? (a) yeah, a very few folks but not even remotely everyone...(b) probably travel with The Girl...take a few days to visit friends (but not the folks I'm visiting)...(c) I'd be disappointed and probably terrified, but I believe the end is just the end. Darkness...done...
73) You can only have one of these things; trust or love. love

74) What's a song that always makes you happy when you hear it? "Girl from the North Country" - Dylan & Cash
75) What are the last four digits in your cell phone number? 2093
76) In your opinion, what makes a great relationship? matching expectations
77) How can I win your heart? good music
78) Can insanity bring on more creativity? sure...but not for long
79) What is the single best decision you have made in your life so far? accepting what comes my way...
80) What size shoes do you wear? 10.5 or 10 depending on width
81) What would you want to be written on your tombstone? no tombstone...cremation..
82) What is your favorite word? knowatI'msayin
83) Give me the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word heart. blood pumping
84) What is a saying you say a lot? Do you understand what I'm saying.
85) What's the last song you listened to? "Intro" by Gorillaz from Demon Dayz
86) Basic question: what's your favorite color/colors? I wear black probably more than any other color. I like red, too.
87) What is your current desktop picture? Mars rover selfie

88) If you could press a button and make anyone in the world instantaneously explode, who would it be? nobody...even the people I'm really angry with, that I wish hateful things toward have loved ones

89) What would be a question you'd be afraid to tell the truth on? Yeah, I'm not answering that.

90) One night you wake up because you heard a noise. You turn on the light to find that you are surrounded by MUMMIES. The mummies aren't really doing anything, they're just standing around your bed. What do you do? probably die - if they were real

91) You accidentally eat some radioactive vegetables. They were good, and what's even cooler is that they endow you with the super-power of your choice! What is that power? super speed or control of time

92) You can re-live any point of time in your life. The time-span can only be a half-hour, though. What half-hour of your past would you like to experience again? awards night Wabash, senior year...maybe...sitting on the beach my last day in Aberdeen
93) You can erase any horrible experience from your past. What will it be? none...they're all part of me...

94) You have the opportunity to sleep with the music-celebrity of your choice. Who would it be? no clue...I've no guarantee that the ones I would find attractive would be compatible with me.

95) You just got a free plane ticket to anywhere. You have to depart right now. Where are you gonna go? Scotland
96) Do you have any relatives in jail? nope...none that I ever know of...
97) Have you ever thrown up in the car? nope...on a boat once
98) Ever been on a plane? lots of times
99) If the whole world were listening to you right now, what would you say? Why would anybody listen to me? I'm saying my things to you folks. The one wish I could make for the world is for people to be more empathetic and far-thinking. I could use that myself, a lot of the time.

Wait, I thought there were 100 of these...apparently not...

September 28, 2013

Wait, I forgot...who the hell is pregnant?

September 25, 2013

Update: Update: The Grammy Curse

So last week I posted the long-thought-to-be-lost, primary source documents for the 'is there a Grammy new artist curse?' question.

Smamy went ahead and commented the following...

That's a pretty strong statement there - not the autocorrect, the thing about Mariah Carey.

Let's see if Smamy is correct.

I know that numbers aren't exactly the best way to judge the quality of a musical artist, but numbers can be a bit of a way to measure the popularity of an artist, something that is certainly relevant to judging the type of career an artist has had.

So, to the numbers for Mariah...thanks, wikipedia and wikipedia (all stats are on US charts and via RIAA)
  • 18 US #1 singles, totaling 79 weeks in the #1 slot (a record)
  • 27 top-ten songs (5th most all-time)
  • 6 #1 albums, 16 top-ten albums (including live and compilations)
  • 14 studio albums, 14 platinum, 2 diamond-certified
  • more than 100 million albums sold world wide
  • 3rd best-selling female artist in US history (64 million US-sold albums)
CSN(&Y)...thanks, Wikipedia
  • 0 #1 singles
  • 2 top-ten singles
  • 3 #1 albums, 6 top-ten albums (including live and compilations)
  • 18 total albums, 7 platinum
The Beatles...thanks, Wikipedia
  • 18 #1 singles
  • 29 top-ten singles
  • 15 #1 albums, 26 top-ten albums (including live and compilations)
  • 43 platinum albums (many of which are compilations)
Is Mariah Carey the equal to the Beatles? No, she isn't. No artist outside, maybe of Elvis Presley is, however. The Beatles have had a whole lot of decades to put out compilations, though. I'm going to definitively say that Mariah Carey belongs in the Huge career category. That's an impressive quantitative resume.

And she's no where near the equal of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young).

. . . . .

I will readily admit that I have no inkling of Maria Carey commercially. I went through a whole bunch of her videos on YouTube and found that I didn't know almost any of her songs and knew absolutely none of them by name. She's made pretty much no impact on my musical radar.

The one song that I remember and think fondly of is "Fantasy"...

...and I have to admit that her vocal range is impressive...

...but it doesn't do much for me.

Is she a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer in three years when she's eligible?

She's not rock and roll. It would be almost impossible to put her in that category unless we broaden  the definition of rock and roll to a point where it is pointless.

I'm going to say she is a Hall of Famer, though not on the first ballot.

September 23, 2013

That's it...we're's over...

Today's 8tracks playlist is the end of things between us.

These are the breakup songs.

September 21, 2013

Plus a Saturday link dump...

September 20, 2013

It's raining 8tracks playlists

I miss those two up there. LeRoy was our first dog and Ayla our first and last cat. THey were both spectacular.

In their honor, today's playlist is about cats and dogs.

September 18, 2013

Love gone wrong

Today's 8tracks playlist isn't about the opening, first blushes of love.

This is a playlist of sad, angry songs when love leaves.

No happiness here - but luckily some bouncy songs along the way to the pits of lost loves.

September 17, 2013

Update: The Grammy Curse

In a post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that Calen and I had a conversation over the summer about the alleged Grammy Curse but that I had lost the original discussion records.

But they have been found...

We broke the various winners for Grammy's Best New Artist and lumped them into categories of very-much-arbitrary career value: Huge, Solid, Minor, or One-Hit-Wonder. At the time we found the following breakdown:
  • Huge - 3
  • Solid - 16
  • Minor - 19
  • One-Hit Wonder - 13
That's not necessarily a major curse, though it's clearly not evidence of perfect long-term choices.

September 14, 2013

I wanna tell you 'bout a know, she'

September 13, 2013

I think I threw up in my mouth a little...

Calen sent me a link to a recipe that she got sent her from Epicurious: feta-stuffed watermelon blocks.

It would be tough for a recipe to contain ingredients that I found more repulsive, but let's see what we can do to change that.

Let's take the basil and replace it with anise seed, maybe some tarragon.

Now, chop up some olives and mix 'em in with the feta, then restuff the watermelon cubes.

I challenge anybody to come up with a recipe that has more stuff I find gross. Here's a working list...
  • olives
  • feta cheese
  • watermelon
  • in fact, most tropical fruit flavors (papaya, mango, coconut)
  • and most melons (cantaloupe, honeydew)
  • cucumbers
  • anise & licorice
  • broccoli
  • cauliflower
And saying "an olive-feta-watermelon-papaya-mango-coconut-cantaloupe-honeydew-cucumber-anise-broccoli-cauliflower smoothie" doesn't count.

September 11, 2013

My summer project

I didn't accomplish a lot from my to-do list this summer.

Admittedly, I did teach four weeks of material science summer camps around the country (U of Indy, BYU, U of Alabama, and U of Houston Downtown). I - and The Girl - also went camping for a few days in Pennsylvania. We also got a new dog and had a rough week where we lost an old dog and our cat.

But...through all of that, I did accomplish one thing on the to-do list: make Lego minifigure display cases.

Take a look...and, I offer a big thanks to Toki, whose instructions were invaluable.

The first display case has my collectible minifigure sets, series 1-9.

They're in order from series 1 up top to series 9 at the bottom. As you can see, the latter series (5-9) are entirely complete. Series 4 is missing one figure (Hazmat Guy) who is being shipped to me from Spain right now in trade. Series 3 is missing two figures (Baseball Player and Elf with bow). Series 2 has a few more gaps: skier, pharaoh, vampire, and spartan. Series 1 is largely incomplete, still needing cowboy, Robin Hood, astronaut, ninja, nurse, wrestler, robot, skateboarder, zombie, clown, cheerleader, and Indian with bow.

Here's a closer look at the woefully incomplete upper levels.

The next case has series 10 and - since I got the full series last week - will have series 11 once I get around to sticking the new guys down.

The final case may be a bit of a struggle to follow my organization.

Top row - soccer players
Second row - NBA players and Viking chess figures
Third row - Chima and police figures (I need to replace one that I had to cannibalize for trade parts)
Fourth row - city folk
Fifth row - ninjas, self-cast minifigures, more city folk
Sixth row - more ninja/Asian figures, pirates, birthday boy, bride and groom
Seventh row - superheros and villains
Eight row - space figures
Ninth row - more space, Harry Potter, LotR, and ghosts
Tenth row - islanders and forestmen
Eleventh row - court figures and knights
Twelfth row - expansion space

I'm particularly proud of that fifth row because that contains figures that very few other people in the world would have.

The first five (blue, green, white, yellow, and red) are made from IASCO's EuroCast and were cast around the country this summerin the workshops. The sixth is made from tin and was cast in Calen's classroom last spring.

I do need to figure out how to get those guys to sit more upright, but I'm still really frickin' proud of them.

September 9, 2013

Fall movies...

I have a subscription to Entertainment Weekly. It's really a stupid magazine to subscribe to because pretty much all of the information in the magazine is available on their website, but the subscription was 'free' (I redeemed some frequent flyer miles that were going to expire). Luckily the subscription will run out in the next few issues.

Every now and again, though, there is something mildly interesting. Recently we got the fall movie preview issue with - as the cover so boldly proclaims - 'all the buzz on 106 new films'.

My thoughts, mostly in chronological order...with my level of excitement out of 10.
  • Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - (9 out of 10) - The first is a remarkably rewatchable comedy classic. It's going to be tough to top the original, but if anybody can do it, I have faith in the Channel 4 News Team.
  • Rush - (4) - meh...1970's period piece about Formula 1 racing...Olivia Wilde is attractive. There is that.
  • Thanks for Sharing (6) - This one looks at least a bit intriguing, but the idea of a sex addict dealing with life and falling in love is at least interesting.
  • Metallica Through the Never - (3) - I liked the Metallica album, but I don't have any interest in seeing a full movie of their performances, no matter how much 'action heavy narrative' they include.
  • The Family - (6) - I'd watch DeNiro and Pfeiffer in most anything, and the idea of a fish-out-of-water family in US witness protection landing in France could make for some fun times.
  • Don Jon - (8) - I'll watch Joseph Gordon-Levitt in just about anything at this point. He has full faith and credit with me after his run of films (Dark Knight Rises, Brick, Lincoln, Looper, Premium Rush, Inception, 50/50, (500) Days of Summer). Scarlett Johansson is an atrocious actress, but she's nice to look at.
  • Baggage Claim - (3) - blech
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 - (5) -Didn't see the first one, but the trailer looks funny.

September 7, 2013

I'm gonna just start the point, go from there.

Go Stanislas!

September 6, 2013

A man after my heart...and my art skills...

I wandered into the Math With Bad Drawings blog via a post at Neatorama pointing out a joking post about math experts splitting a check at a restaurant. The jokes are mostly about stereotypes of how engineers, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, and economists use math.

The joke is accompanied by his white board drawings of the various professionals and their thoughts about the check. I appreciate that his drawing skills with the white board markers are about the equivalent of mine.

After having read through every one of his posts (he only has about thirty or so, having started in April of this year and not having posted too frequently), I can safely say that I appreciate this Oakland, CA math teacher's blog for a lot of other reasons.

I appreciate it for his beautiful explanation (and his wife's and his father's) of why you can't divide by zero.

I appreciate it for his openness in relating a time when he, too, struggled at math - as he knows his students do.

I appreciate his exploration of the failures and successes of teaching - how bad the former feels and how good the latter.

 And I appreciate him telling me how to play ultimate tic-tac-toe.

September 4, 2013


The Cincy Library (aka the best library in the world) has been a partner with Freegal for a couple of years now, and they just added the opportunity to stream movies for free. (I think that link'll work. You might have to click to the library's homepage then click through, but I don't know.) Let's take a look at their offerings...
  • Airborne - the real gem here is the only ice hockey/roller blading, high school, fish-out-of-water movie I know of that's set in Cincinnati. It's a gem, and I can't possibly recommend it highly enough. The sheer 90's of it all is just outstanding.
  • Barbarella - This one's a camp classic with Jane Fonda saving the universe by having sex with anything that moves. Heck, she even destroys a sex machine because she's so good at sex. Seriously. Worth seeing for all the chuckles and the miasma. Also notable for the origin of the band name Duran Duran.
  • Harold and Maude - An odd, odd love story between a young man and a very much older woman. Strange but beautiful film that is certainly a product of its era.
  • The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh - I've had this on the to-watch-someday list for a long, long time. Another product of its era. Dr J leads a rag-tag team of basketball misfits (all born under the sign Pisces) in - I can only assume - almost winning a championship.
  • The Evil Dead - I am embarrassed to admit that I've never seen this one. Maybe I'll give it a try this weekend.
  • To Catch a Thief - Okay, finally, a real, actually great film. Cary Grant and Grace Kelly at their absolute wittiest. This is a wonderfully snappy love story between two characters who are determined not to fall in love but are destined from the film's first scene. Old school charm at its finest...
Yup...that's about it. The rest of the movies are a weird combination of films that I remember from days long gone trolling the VHS rental (or check-out) racks.

Here's to hoping that they add more movies. The service did just start up recently. I'll be happy if I finally get to watch Cube someday.

September 2, 2013

SubZero was so cool!

On one of my many travels this summer, I was lucky enough to get to visit SubZero, an ice cream store that makes their ice cream to-order with big squirts of liquid nitrogen.

The menu was a bit daunting with options on top of options:
  • 5 six cream bases (premium, lowfat, custard, yogurt, non-dairy, soy/rice)
  • 47 flavors (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla...citric acid, watermelon, Mt Dew, cotton candy...)
  • 33 mix-ins (berries, chocolate flakes, Andes mints, mangoes, bubblegum...)
  • various consistencies from soft serve to hard frozen
 ...but I managed to make a few choices and get to the sweet treat. Turns out the quick-freezing action of liquid nitrogen makes for a very smooth ice cream because the ice crystals never have a chance to grow large and make for grainy ice cream. The on-demand production lets them have all the options for everybody to order.

And it turns out it makes outstanding ice cream...with a show.

It's a blast. Give it a try if you're ever in the area. The closest to me (where I am in Cincinnati) is in downtown Cincinnati.

 Plus they do some pretty cool-looking educational outreach...