Saturday, September 29, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Enjoy your anonymity,
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Posting this for The Wife. She gets all nostalgic and starts telling war stories from when she messengered in Seattle when she sees stuff like this. The video is seriously scary, worth a watch.
Enjoy your working appendages,
[whups, the player won't fit right in my blog -- oh well it will get moved down as I post more]
Enjoy your canine detective work,
When they waffle and get rhetorical and complicated, you know you have a loser. A simple "yes, I will make sure to close Guantanamo and correct the laws that allowed it to be created" will suffice please.
I have a bad feeling only Kucinich will answer yes unequivocally.
If a candidate is pro Guantanamo, you know they are also pro degredation of civil rights, pro concentration of executive power, anti Geneva Convention, pro torture, and anti Habeas Corpus. You will know instantly whether they are on the team of ending democracy and civil liberties in America or willing to stand up to said team.
Now the scary part -- to find out where they all stand.
Enjoy your new research project,
ps/edit/addendum: Well, with some very quick searching I'm finding that Guantanamo seems to divide the Democrats from the Republicans. I'm pleasantly surprised that the Democratic candidates are unified in their promise to close the facility. Very surprised. I'm not surprised that the Republican candidates I've checked are both either for beefing the facility and tactics up, or are equivocating about it.
See comments for some links to evidence.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
In this Discovery news article, a connection between head size and intelligence is posited. This could bode well for me (I wear between a 7 3/4 and 8 hat size, depending on manufacturer). There is also, however, a possible connection between big heads and dementia (which many would say also applies to me).
Enjoy your momentary flights of triumph,
I'll mellow the pace of political talk on the blog soon, but right now this stuff is really in my face and I feel impelled to respond, even in small ways.
Enjoy the small things, especially the ones that work,
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Enjoy your unexpected natural events,
Her name keeps coming up, and I'll probably need to get this read despite being in school.
Thanks to Shocho, from whom I gratuitously lifted this article.
Enjoy your freedoms, and your plans to preserve them,
Monday, September 24, 2007
This footage was taken in Kaziranga National Park, where a tigress was attempting to be darted by rangers after having killed some local cows.
[Technical note: if the embedded video is not loading, just double click on it and it will open the Youtube screen and play just fine]
Enjoy your natural wonders,
School, however, can bring up slightly more difficult feelings. Like, "a full year from now you'll have your BACHELORS DEGREE... whoooopteeedooo, might as well be finishing high school in your 40's." Kind little thoughts like that. And "you'll be almost 40 by the time you start your next career, and you will be taking a pay drop -- what were you thinking again?" But as per my training, I just let those thoughts slide on by, and concentrate on the moment.
The moment now consists of an almost finished plate of breakfast and my PSU schedule. Early one this term, and 5 days a week. Knowing that the study group likes to study til 1-2 a.m. -- this presents some logistical problems. I will be interested to see how the whole thing resolves.
The Wife just came in and said "ooh, it's the first day of schoool. I feel like I should pin a note to your chest 'if lost, return to ____' and send you out with a bag lunch!" Har har.
Ok, time for the next step -- clothing and packing up the backpack.
Here we go.
Enjoy your little life transitions,
Sunday, September 23, 2007
I mean, anyone who knows me knows that I just go for those types of movies. Light human dramadies, witty yet vacuous. Quick but insubstantial. Yeah, it's the movies that are just so gripping they are keeping me up late.
I'm like totally fine.
A day full of work between me and my next term of school. I mean, why worry?
Saturday, September 22, 2007
T. Went to go see this last night, and really enjoyed it. It takes a real movie to catch T.'s attention. Of course, naked burly men help too, which this movie has. His recommendation weighs heavily in this house, we're looking forward to it.
Enjoy cinematic knife fights,
Friday, September 21, 2007
So the family uses Netflix to watch TeeVee. We only watch second-run series on DVD -- that way we can get suggestions from friends, and watch em whenever we want. Upon the suggestion of multiple friends and most recently Uncle Terry, we gave Carnivale a shot last night.
I've found that I can't watch normal network TeeVee shows anymore. The timing and laugh tracks and assumptions made about the audience just don't work for me. It's been too long since I watched broadcast television regularly (almost 20 years) -- I've lost the chip. But HBO series are another matter entirely. They are just stretched out movies or something. Much higher quality. Six Feet Under was the first that showed us what TeeVee could be nowadays. The first season was a huge hit in this house.
But I digress, back to the gloating. We were watching Carnivale last night, and a pretty older lady (HBO is great for casting beautiful older actresses as well) was haunting my memory banks. Finally I realized who it was and blurted out, "she's that lady from The Swamp Thing!" T. and The Wife were incredulous, they made some comment about me being such a freak and laughed.
Turns out I am a freak, because I was RIGHT. It's Adrienne Barbeau, a heart-throb of mine early in my life. Probably very early actually, because there was a family friend who looked just like her.
Another quick digression: A popular story with the parents is that when the Adrienne Barbeau look-alike was visiting us and I was still a toddler, I unceremoniously grabbed her boobies -- one in each hand. Her response was "Ohhh, how cute, he likes older women." At which point she promised to return for my 16th birthday. Even though she hadn't been around for many moons at that point, she did show up for my 16th birthday -- I was thrilled and mortified simultaneously.
Enjoy your media savvy and childhood crushes,
Thursday, September 20, 2007
I cringe when I see decent scientific discoveries presented in the media with buzzwords that cheapen the relevance of the event. In this BBC article, an interesting Hominid fossil discovery in Indonesa is referred to as a "Hobbit." Geez.
The subject matter of the article is informative, despite the use of a ludicrous buzzword, you might want to give it a read.
Enjoy your spun world,
ps: I ate way too much smoked whitefish yesterday -- so good, but so rich.
Enjoy the change of seasons,
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Like a newb I brined em a bit too long (but not much), and used too much smoke. Next time, I'll add some garlic and a bit more molasses to the brine, brine them about 8 less hours, and only use 2 "loads" of chips for smoke. For a first attempt I'm quite pleased though. The fish have a great carmel color on the outside, and look just like the vacume-packed smoked whitefish you can buy in the deli counter at our local New York Style deli.
It was a great breakfast, time to bag em up.
Enjoy your random projects,
Monday, September 17, 2007
I've had this plan, see. The Crooked River has tons of trout, from 3,000 - 4,000 per mile, depending on who you talk to or what year the report you are reading was written in. They are native, and naturally reproducing, and amazingly -- people are allowed to kill them. Only two per person per day, but any native trout to my mind needs to be protected no matter what -- stockers are for killing. That's a different matter though, I digress.
Back to The plan -- Whitefish in the Crooked River are extremely abundant; enormously abundant; rabidly abundant. They outnumber the trout 10:1, and compete with the trout for food. They are natives as well, but not as popular for food so although there is no size or bag limit for them, few are killed by fishermen. The more whitefish removed from the Crooked River, the bigger and healthier the trout will become. I bought myself a smoker (the best way to cook whitefish) and plan to catch and eat as many as I can over the course of my life to help out these lovely little trout. This is wild food, "free" (I know, gas and tackle etc, but you know what I mean), and ecologically sound.
I've had some of my favorite fly fishing experiences on the Crooked river, when fishing catch and release for trout. I can't count the times I've made the drive just to do that type of fishing. This plan takes the same trip and adds bonuses to it, for me and for the river. It's great to use something I enjoy recreationally in this manner. A fly rod is a perfect tool for the selective removal of one fish species while not harming others. Trout caught are released immediately, though there is enough difference in the favored habitats for trout and whitefish that very few, if any, trout are hooked at all. Today, I didn't bring a single trout to hand, but landed probably 14 whitefish (losing so many more I'm loathe to publish an estimate).
I have to go look up a good brine recipe for the fish so I can get them prepped for smoking tomorrow.
Enjoy your systems thinking,
Sunday, September 16, 2007
1. 8:00 Sunday AM found me on the freeway with a fetid goose corpse strapped to the top of the subaru
2. A planet was discovered that has the density of balsa wood
3. The Vanity Fair cover of Nicole Kidman boobs throws me into epistemological conflict
4. There are reports of mahjong-induced epilepsy in China
5. Today I voluntarily sat in a confined space with temperatures exceeding 135 degrees
6. A health expert warned that humans are not fit for human consumption.
7. None of the above statements are false
(Sorry for the sloppy formatting -- the online generated poll I made wouldn't fit. You can vote by making a comment below)
[Thanks to Harper's Magazine "Findings" from October 2007 for some of these gems]
Saturday, September 15, 2007
The Saturday Morning Crazy Stuff Shows (tm) are made by my dear friend Tom. They feature sped up audio/visuals that make he and his children sound like rabid, sugar-hyped squirrels; sometimes beatboxing; consistently cool music selections; sometimes homegrown electronic music; sometimes video game references; cameos by His Wife; and always Tom having fun with his kids.
They crack me up, and I'll admit I'm biased.
Enjoy your fantastic friends,
The change is coming soon. I have one more week in the life of the body before my awareness crawls up into my cranium and spans only from the fingers up for the rest of the winter. Being married to a beautiful woman does mean I will be enticed to travel south occasionally during the school year, but these are brief tropical vacations. My consciousness will return north soon after these exploits, like a suburban commuter driving into their snout-house and closing the garage door behind them before they ever get out of the car.
I'm glad to be learning, but my gut is wrenching just a bit at the thought of it.
Enjoy your life choices,
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Went out last night with Doc Ock and Tony to see Superbad (see trailer here). This was definitely a guy's night out kind of movie, The Wife was a no-go on it. I can say, we laughed our butts off. Yep, it's dumb, but it's funny as hell if you are willing to get back into the headspace of being in high-school. If your high school experience had a lot to do with scoring booze and trying to lose your virginity at least. The subject matter is typical for this genre of movie, because it is so typical for that time. What sets this movie apart is the pitch perfect writing and delivery.
I think Superbad will be the Fast Times at Ridgemont High of its generation, quoted as often as Caddyshack was in my high school locker room. It has a meeelion one liners of note, and is funny throughout the whole playtime of the film.
Hm, I just called it a "film" -- ok that IS a stretch.
Anyway, for those willing to take the ride I give it a solid A. Those unwilling shouldn't even rent it when it hits dvd.
After the movie we went to The Montage for appetizers, coffee and dessert. The service was comfortingly consistent -- diffident, probably drug-addled busgirl throws water toward our drinking glasses, hip waiter hollars our muscle shooter orders toward the kitchen (the mussel shooters are absolutely fantastic), and we were seated in a group table in the corner, elbow to elbow with other patrons even when 75% of the dining room was stark raving empty. And yet, I keep going back. The mussel shooters, coffee, and mud pies should have been explosive once combined, but we all survived it seems. Great night to hang out with some friends before the tidal wave of school pummels all three of us.
Enjoy your friends,
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Enjoy the little things,
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
I will keep things rolling here but don't know how savvy it will be as my "rig" is away.
Enjoy your functional computer,
This film needs to be watched in total to get the connections being made, which is easy since it is only 6 minutes long. It is a promotion for a book, here is an article from The Times about the author and the piece. The central idea is very cogent, and I hope you will give it a moment of your time.
Enjoy your realizations,
[Article grabbed unceremoniously from The Mercury PDX blog, thanks for the find Erik]
Monday, September 10, 2007
The first photo here is of the boxes only of the 3 hives that Woodsman Bill helped me make. There are no lids or bars in the hives, they aren't painted or anything, but it was the first step. Note in the front of the top hive the little entryway and landing pad for the bees.
The simple pine boxes reminded me of old-west coffins. The construction is pretty remedial for anyone who has done woodwork before -- it does take a table saw that can cut on an angle however, so Bill's tools were a great boon to me. He also saved me tons of time and wood and heartache by just knowing what cuts to make and where to bevel them. I'm sure I would have figured it out eventually, but not without some screaming and gnashing of teeth. The website where we got our design info has lots of other info and literature that you can check out regarding top bar bee hives and organic beekeeping.
Here are the same hives with one lid on. The way I'm going to finish off the lids and waterproof them is the next photo. Simple system using corrugated plastic, and putting a bit of a tip to the lid so it drains away from the landing pad. The prototype lid here is Bill's.
Here are two pictures of the top bars themselves. In the first you see how they stack up in a hive, and in the second is a detail of how the bar itself looks underneath. That little strip of extra wood is the part that the bees build their combs on. You prompt them to do this by rubbing beeswax on that strip before you introduce the hive. This is how the bees get to make their combs from scratch, choosing the size of their openings and whatnot to fit their needs. A much more bee-centric system than a standard production hive.
The hives are now out back at my house drying their first coat of primer. The old traditional white color is for a good reason -- to reflect sun and help keep them cool -- so I'm sticking with it.
I'll post more as the project progresses. There will not be bees until Spring, that's the best time to start new hives. Here are a few more pictures of Bill and Anna's place, their pigs and their sheep. They are working hard to live healthy and as much off their land as they can. Doctor Anna is a licensed acupuncturist and certified nutritional therapist. Her practice is called Pearl Acupuncture & Healing Center out in Sandy Oregon (503 668-7631) if there's anyone out that way that needs a health practitioner.
They are wonderful folks and I'm very grateful they spent their weekend with me, feeding me like a prince and helping me get these hives built.
Enjoy the bugs in your life,
Saturday, September 8, 2007
That would be 20 days from today.
Of which 6 are weekend days.
And 3 are vacation days.
And the rest are goofing off days – come in late, take a long lunch, go home early.
Or, to use other metrics: 37 hours of commuting by car, 2 airplane flights, 18 slices of cafeteria pizza, 27 shots of espresso and 9 bagels in the car on the way to work, 9 Dr. Peppers, and 66 cans of unflavored fizzy water.
That would be 20 days 1 hour 24 mins.
But who is counting?
Enjoy your imminent retirement, all of you,
So, the movie. It is Mr. Handsome (Clive Owen) and Ms. Gorgeous and guns, lots of guns. Tons of guns. There is an action sequence in almost every single minute of this movie. [spoiler alert: next sentence] the (obligatory) sex scene is an action sequence. And always with the guns, lots of guns. Very reminiscent of early Hong-Kong action movies, before they got snapped up by Hollywood and lost their soul (Face Off anyone?).
Shoot Em Up reminded me of Grindhouse, in that it took cliche's from the genre and absolutely blew them out of the stratosphere. That is one refreshing thing about Shoot Em Up -- there is never even the remotest attempt at veracity or realism or depth. None -- not one. There is humor, or attempts at humor, and there are guns, and there are plot devices to keep the "story" going. That is all.
I can't say the camera angles were particularly refreshing, or any of the plot points, or the directing. I can say the sound track was pretty dam good, there are some great moments with the movie and the music -- reminded me of (not as good as, but close) the music in the first Matrix movie.
The audience, even though this was a near-opening night for the movie in a normal corporate theatre and not a beer theatre, was openly laughing at the ludicrousness of the movie. Whether they laughed from enjoyment or derision was hard to tell at times. But the audience was lively.
I'd say, get good and boozed up and see it in a beer theatre with a loud audience and a group of raucous friends, it could get into "A" territory. In any other context, it barely holds onto a B- in my book. It's watchable, and refreshingly frank in it's brutal simplicity. Expecting nothing more than lots of gunshots, it is fun.
As Shocho coined the phrase, it is definitely stupidgood.
Friday, September 7, 2007
In case anyone missed this story in the comments section below -- archaeologists have found hella old beehives, which have set them to speculating madly. Very cool find.
In mine own life, bees are becoming prominent as this weekend I'm going over to Farmer Bill's ranchero to build bee hives from scratch. He has been doing a sustainable beekeeping style promoted at biobees.com. We will be building what are called top-bar hives, which give bees a lot more latitude about how to build their combs, letting them do their thing in a way that's healthier than the standard industrial hive setup.
edit/addition: Building two hives for myself, because we're going to start keeping bees this spring. Two hives is safer, because if one goes down you have a backup. I have this winter to study up and get materials. I've waited for 3 years before I took the plunge, we needed to get our garden beds settled, and our chickens properly moved in, before we took on another husbandry project.
I've got to get onto my day, but I'll keep ya'll updated about the hive making etc.
Enjoy your honey-sweetened goodness,
Thursday, September 6, 2007
[remember, click on the picture to make it bigger/readable]
Enjoy you inner geek,
(thanks for reminding me of this strip Bentley)
I was just thinking about Monica Bellucci last night. These thoughts happen to coincide with The Wife being out of town on business til the weekend. Then I saw mention of this movie on Shocho's blog -- what a happy coincidence!
The movie's probably going to suck, but it's an action movie, and has one of my biggest screen crushes in it to boot -- a must see for a bachelor Friday night. Going to call some of the guys and see it opening night.
Enjoy your bizarre justifications,
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Love this song, and the video is so completely random that it deserves props.
Been a long enough day that I figured it better to post an artist than try to be one myself. See you on the 'morrow.
Enjoy your musical taste,
It reminds me of the late 80's - Early 90's California Chardonnays. Oaky Chardonnay was all the rage out of California (even though it's prominent oak notes were a weird modern, left-coast twist on that wine style) and eventually they just kept amping it up and amping it up til the wines were ridiculously overpowered with oak flavor. I think the Pacific NW'er palate has been getting more and more educated about hops and bitterness by our microbrews, but that Inversion has finally taken it too far. I am positive many would disagree but I'd be curious if any readers have tried this beer and what their opinion is. I am the first to admit I'm no beer connoisseur, I don't work at it or anything I just like what I like.
Secondly, a simple review: Snapple Lemonade: Tastes like Pledge sprayed into sugar water. I'm pretty dam sure powdered lemonade mixes taste better than this. Just horrible.
Thirdly, mixing Snapple Lemonade with Inversion IPA to try and fix both (it was a long day) -- drinkable. Barely.
Enjoy your summer beverages,
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
I'm not studied enough in the politics of the situation to know whether the rebels or the government or (most likely) neither group holds any moral high ground in the human element of this story. I do know that war takes money, and gorillas are big precious bags of money to some peoples' eyes, alive or dead. I doubt a rebel force would be promoting eco-tourism so that they can make money without killing or displacing some of the last wild mountain gorillas in the world.
Enjoy and protect your native wild animals,
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Saturday, September 1, 2007
Enjoy the rays of hope,
Mother of The Wife emailed yesterday that she's just loving the blog and would be commenting often if she could figure out how to keep her computer from getting intestinal problems every time she clicked the "comments" link (It's probably a pop-up blocker Mum). My own mother wrote this morning to say that she's sending a link to some friends in So Cal because we share similar interests -- lower environmental footprint, closer to the land, still living urban, etc. I know that there is a 12-year-old eldest-sister of 6 out there who reads this as well, which really worried me at first since I consider this barely a pg-13 publication. I can get a bit paralyzed thinking about who might stumble across these thoughts.
I promise not to get actually paralyzed, or get too vanilla, or lose my humor just because I'm overthinking who may be reading this. I'm positive the father of that 12-year-old knows how to use site blockers should he decide it necessary, and that if I fart onscreen in front of my mother in law she'll just leave the room and come back later. I have no idea who might find the RBT's interesting, or the confessions of an Old Geezer on Campus, even. But thinking about these things isn't my job really, and I just need to remind myself of that sometimes.
So far this morning I've resisted the inevitable batch of Donut Queen donuts that T. hunts and gathers every Saturday morning, drank some hot water to warm my stomach up before Qi Gong practice, and will now proceed to the basement to "kick my own ass." This is what my Qi Gong practice is lovingly referred to by The Wife and T. now, since they know one portion of it involves striking certain acupuncture points. I'll get to that and report back later -- possibly about The Luddites' genius rural business, or some random whiff of science news that comes my way.
Ps: I've also received some kind emails from tea companies asking if I'd like to get some samples and review their products here. I appreciate the kind words, but I have some serious product loyalty when it comes to tea and will be continuing to give a gratuitous monopoly to The Jasmine Pearl Tea Merchants and Black Dragon Teas (writeup to come when the new teas arrive) in this regard, as I love these folks and their teas rock.
Enjoy your internet publications,