Saturday, December 27, 2008


Since DOA wasn't as bad as I anticipated, I hunted down Oneechanbara, a zombie-fighting movie starring a sword-wielding woman in a bikini, cowboy hat and feather boa. I don't think I need to say more than that!

DOA: Dead or Alive

When DOA: Dead or Alive first came out, it was only at a theater far from where I live. I figured it was an early release and would go general later. Wrong. It never went wide release anywhere near where I live. So this holiday weekend, in the spirit of cheesy martial arts movies I enjoy so much, I watched it.

I don't understand why this movie got yanked so quickly. It's bad, sure. But I've seen far worse (Uwe Boll, I'm looking at you) last a regular theatrical run. Silly, fun, dumb dialogue and even dumber martial arts choreography, but fine for a long weekend afternoon.

Holy Crap

I got my eMusic credits for the coming month, and based on the thirty second samples and some positive reviews, grabbed Mountain Battles by The Breeders. It's the only Breeders album on eMusic, and browsing around, it's not considered their best, but damn! It's pretty damn good.

It feels a lot like Throwing Muses, while being very distinctly it's own sound. I guess it's not too surprising, considering that Kim Deal originally cofounded The Breeders with Tanya Donelly, one-half of the creative heart of Throwing Muses (the other half being Kristin Hersh, who still consistently hits the top of my list).

I seldom grab two albums by the same group, as the ocean of music is quite big, but I might reconsider for The Breeders. Also, Kim Deal was in The Pixies, so I'll probably be picking up Surfer Rosa or Doolittle.


After a few more listens of Mountain Battles, I've concluded that the first half of the album is great. The second half is just okay (sometimes good). Still, a great half-an-album is like a great EP, and the rest is just sorta bonus tracks. It doesn't really hurt to have 'em.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

New Music

Got these two a few days ago:

  • Simple Things - Zero 7

  • Blues Master - Taj Mahal

I find I'm now waiting anxiously for my next eMusic renewal, as there are a couple of albums I've decided sound quite intriguing. I'll let you know once I get them...

Something To Look Forward To

A new 50FOOTWAVE album. Go Kristin Hersh!

P.S. - I just finished listening to the streaming album, and can't wait to buy it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


As I mentioned, work's been quite busy. It let up some over the holiday, which turns out to be a good thing, as Jean needed eye surgery. We've been working with her doctor, Dr. Ma, doing tests over a period of a few weeks, and he finally said she needed a vitrectomy. We had to drive to St. Vincent early Monday morning, when the roads were Hell. In all, most of the day was eaten up.

We drove up again today for a post-op check-up. Roads still sucked, though not quite as bad. He wants us to come up again tomorrow, so I'll still get my shot at a heart attack from stressful driving.

Jean was of course feeling rather under the weather after the surgery. Today she is feeling a little bit better. We have a couple weeks at least of post-surgical hoo-hah. She needs to keep her face pointed at the floor for two weeks, for instance.

Anyway, that's the big news for now. Hope everyone is having a good holiday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Matroska is an open standard [...] primarily used by Free Software-loving hippies [...]

Mark Pilgrim

Cut down to the essential part, since I find MKV files annoying as hell...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Portal: Still Alive

I almost forgot. The pressure cooker has eased up a bit, momentarily, and I have had part of my weekends back. As a result, I grabbed the arcade version of Portal: Still Alive. It's generally pretty flexible on pick-up/put-down, so I managed to traverse it in little spurts. I took most of the Thanksgiving holiday off from work, so I finished it then. The game clocks in at around six hours, but I'm sure I did eight or more, due to my clumsiness and wooden reflexes (there are a few segments requiring quick reaction times).

Like most people reviewing it, I have to say that it was great fun, and felt really original, regardless of predecessors. It's not like I play a huge variety of games, so this felt new to me. What really made it was not just the mechanics of play, but the integration of the humorous 'story', such as it was. I laughed out loud several times. When I completed it, I felt such a sense of accomplishment, that I got a little knot in my throat during the closing song.

No, I didn't try for any of the achievements. That would have ruined my enjoyment. I did try to play through the first few test chambers again with the developer commentary turned on, but after awhile, it got frustrating that the developers would be drowned out by the in-game narration. Seems they thought very carefully about game design, but not about the developer commentary.

All told, I wish there were more clever, fun, short games like this.

Casino Royale

With Quantum of Solace out in the theatre, I had a hankering to revisit the original novel that kicked it all off. Grabbed it a few weeks ago, and I've been reading it evenings before bed since then. Just finished it last night, and it is pretty much as good as I remembered. A bit saccharine in parts, but it's kinda the 'birth' of James Bond. I enjoyed it, and will probably read Live and Let Die before too long.

Oh, and it was amusing to be reminded that Bond's first nemesis organization was SMERSH, a Russian counter-espionage agency which translates to "Death to Spies". And yes, while it had apparently ceased to exist by the era Bond supposedly operated in, it was a real organization.

More Albums

Totally lazy, so find your own links. These were gathered from eMusic over at least a couple months:

  • The Singles Collection - Skinny Puppy

  • LP3 - Ratatat

  • Skalpel - Skalpel

  • Hate - The Delgados

  • Half Asleep - School of Seven Bells

  • Nightlite - Bonobo

  • Dial "M" for Monkey - Bonobo

  • Permutation - Amon Tobin

  • Hey Eugene! - Pink Martini

  • Classics - Aphex Twin

  • Rocky Horror Motion Picture Show (soundtrack)

Plus two songs from the London Roxy version of Rocky Horror...

And miscellaneous Creedence Clearwater Revival tunes.

The Secret Life of Bees

I'm in the eye of the hurricane for now, so I guess I'll catch up on a post or two. First, I found time to go see The Secret Life of Bees with Renee. Totally a chick flick, which is not to say it was not good. I was deeply moved to see at one point that Renee was crying (chick flick!). I felt good that I could be there to share a shoulder.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Very, Very Busy

I actually took this weekend off, but spent most of it hanging with the fam and decompressing (which for me means seeing a movie, Quantum of Solace if you care), so no post until now. So a quick recap...

Wednesday the 5th, my boss' boss asked if I could jump on board on an emergency project. Unfortunately, I had jury duty that Thursday. So all day Thursday was shot, then Friday I started working on the project. And Saturday. And Sunday (twelve hours that day). Most days this last week have been long, with me grabbing a snack in lieu of dinner on a few occasions. By Friday, I had beaten an insidious bug (with the help of a coworker), and I myself was beat.

I expect the cycle to begin again tomorrow, so expect radio silence once more.

To summarize, no fatal accidents or debilitating illnesses, just very, very busy. Thanks for your concern

Saturday, September 27, 2008


  • Groovin' - Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings

  • Soultrane - John Coltrane

  • Stateless - Lene Lovich

And I finally got around to buying the two Radiohead songs I've wanted now that Capitol/EMI has unbundled them:

  • Creep

  • Paranoid Android

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Carla Bruni

I missed mentioning picking up Comme si de rien n'était by Carla Bruni. All French, but still pretty fun to listen to even if I can't speak a lick.

While I'm at it, let me mention a neat album of open-source music by a collection of amateurs composed on their Nintendo DS's, using the Korg DS-10 program. The album is called diplodocus ds10 compo.

Finally, as we speak I'm downloading one of the more poppy and accessible albums by Animal Collective, Strawberry Jam. Grab some of their earlier stuff, and it can become quite abstract. I decided to go for accessible first. Reports later after a listen.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Kumoricon 2008

The photos Renee (mostly) and I (a few) took are now available on Flickr as a photoset. The general rule is, if Renee is in it, I took the photo. Otherwise, with one or two exceptions, she swiped my camera and had a field day!

Saturday, August 30, 2008


Yay! Kaiji will have a second season! This is probably one of my favorite series in a long, long time. I was very pleased that they didn't take the easy way out and just have a happy ending. Instead, it ends with Kaiji realizing that he has been swimming with the sharks and needs to grow some teeth.

Since there were three manga series, and season one of the anime covers the first manga series, maybe I can hope for three whole seasons...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Latest eMusic Purchases

Creeping up on the end of the month, so I just grabbed these:

  • Sad Wings of Destiny - Judas Priest. One of my earliest college vinyl purchases, long since sold to fund early movie outings with my not-yet-wife. Now I own it again! (parenthetically, quite possibly the only complete heavy metal album I've ever owned - I don't count Black Sabbath as they were a genre all their own)

  • Bee Thousand - Guided By Voices. I've had Do the Collapse for years. I found out that many consider that album a departure from Pollard's signature style, and a dissatisfying one at that. So now I'm picking up one of GBV's 'signature' albums from early in their 'low-fi' period. Need a few listens to decide what I think.

  • Round About Midnight - Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Just some tasty if inconsequential jazz.

Glenn Miller Orchestra

Out in the cloud, Ade42 wrote of his success in hunting down a transitional classic on vinyl, Something New - The Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction of Buddy DeFranco, translates The Tijuana Brass Hits. Wow, that's a mouthful! Anyway, he digitized it and put it up for consideration. It's pretty fun.

If that's not enough, Derrick Bostrom wrote of another album from this stage in the band's life, Do You Wanna Dance?, same lineup, same leader, doing songs from the Top 40's of the period. Gave that one a listen too. Again, harmless fun.

Monday, August 11, 2008

And a Two Crawfish Minimum

I forgot to mention that Renee and I walked downtown to do the Tualatin Crawfish Festival earlier Saturday, only to give up. We picked up her friend Jen, walked all the way to the Tualatin park, only to discover that there was a gate fee! It's admittedly been several years since I last took her to this event, but they didn't charge to get in before. You paid for food, including the ubiquitous and finger-damaging baggies of crawfish, but no door charge. I even went back to their web page later in the afternoon, and couldn't find any mention of an entry fee. Dummies.

Well, we turned around and instead spent 'our' money at Mashita Teriyaki, a little mom-and-pop restaurant that I've never been in before. It was clean, the kids seemed to enjoy the food, and the prices were prominently posted!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More Cowbell

Yesterday was Tom's regular monthly gathering of the crew. It was different in a few ways. Firstly, Tom was laid up with a torn Achilles' tendon, garnered during a softball game. He says he's feeling a bit better, but spent the first week living in his basement, reluctant to climb the stairs. He seemed to be pretty mobile, but of course, crutches and medical boot put limits on his movement. I wish him a quick recovery.

Another difference was the presence of two new faces and one face I haven't seen for awhile. Alan introduced me to Pia, his girlfriend. I didn't really talk to her too much, as my usual shyness with new people kicked in, but I'll have to grill Alan about how they got together later. Dustin brought his girlfriend, whose name I did not catch. And finally, sitting quietly as if he was always there, was Jeremy. I haven't seen him for yonks! So I finally asked him what occasion brought him to Oregon. Turns out he is staying over for a little while until he can get organized for a move to Korea, where he hopes to get a job teaching English. Good on him. Enjoy the adventure, Jeremy!

James was back from his foreign travels for Intel. He brought back a film book for me, Red Cliff, recording scenes from John Woo's first film in his historical drama set in the Three Kingdoms period of China. Thanks, James!

Dan was back from the Oshkosh air show. He flew there in the plane he built with his dad (pictured here). More precisely, he and his dad each flew their own planes, nearly identical but one twenty years older than the other. I don't understand all the subtleties, but Dan got an award for craftmanship and artistry for his plane at the show. Really cool.

Lisa took charge of the comestibles since Tom was whining and moaning about not feeling up to grilling at the barbecue station She applied her years of experience preparing okonomiyaki, and fed everybody into a torpor.

Otherwise, there was much merriment, and the usual gang was there. This gathering is usually the high point of my month, and this time around was no exception. Keep it up, guys!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Ghost Towns

Jean has always harbored an interest in artifactual history, especially, I think, where the presence of people is most evident. One way this manifests is that she's always wanted to travel to the real Old West and see the remnants of towns preserved by desert weather, i.e. ghost towns.

I had lunch with one of my former co-workers last week, and Jean heard that his family had vacationed in New Mexico, so she had me ask him if he knew of any ghost towns in the state. As it turns out, he did not, but also vacationed in Colorado, where he has family, and knows of some ghost towns there.

More surprisingly, Oregon apparently has a fairly high incidence of ghost towns.

So I'm expecting at least some weekend trips around Oregon in the next year...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Jason X

I've been sitting on today's banner photo since June 13, which was a Friday. Renee planned and executed a sleep-over with three of her friends, which included staying up most of the night watching scary movies. The photo is of her three friends, sleeping off the debauchery. Sadly, their midnight viewing did not include Jason X, which this photo reminds me of.

'Published' 'Photographer'

I'm using scare quotes for both "published" and "photographer" in this entry's title, because I am not really either. But just for giggles, I accepted an offer to have one of my photos appear in a Portland travel guide. The photo is of the Syun Izakaya sign.

The travel guide is called Schmap!! (complete with the two explanation points). It's online only, and my photo is one of a set of photos by different amateur photographers of the restaurant, found on Flickr!

These guys don't pay anything, so it's more along the lines of those Who's Who in <something> books, where all the revenue was derived from publishing a bunch of peoples' names and then selling the book to 'em. Here, I guess I become the promoter for their travel guide due to having my photo in the pile.

It's even more amusing, since this was a casual shot taken with my point-and-shoot rather than a more considered photo taken with my DSLR. So, not a photographer, and not published, since I don't get paid, except in egoboo.

Phone Number Dead

I tried calling my Dad's Michigan number today, and I got the robot operator saying that the number was out of service or disconnected! Dunno what that's about...

Musical Update

I've been ever so lazy of late (okay, the last two months), so I'll warm up by posting most of my recent musical acquisitions. Since there's a backlog, you'll have to do your own links:

  • Oh Perilous World - Rasputina

  • At the Five Spot, Vol. 1 - Eric Dolphy

  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

  • Brain Salad Surgery - Emerson, Lake & Palmer

  • Bag's Groove - Miles Davis

  • Riverside Profiles - Cannonball Adderley

  • Satanic Panic in the Attic - Of Montreal

  • Telephone Free Landslide Free Victory - Camper Van Beethoven

  • The Anthology - Return to Forever

Also picked up another couple of tunes by Rodrigo y Gabriela: Juan Loco, and Orion.

Finally, I was bemoaning to Tom how I only had two of the Cowboy Bebop albums:

  • Cowboy Bebop O.S.T. 1

  • Blue

Tom, as it turns out, has all seven, and so he loaned me the remainder. I have listened to them all now, including:

  • Cowgirl Ed O.S.T.

  • Ask DNA

  • Future Blues

  • No Disc

  • Vitaminless

My conclusion is that I purchased the two best in the lot. There are a lot of interesting tunes, and some real standouts, in this latter batch, but on the whole, they sound like what they are, incidental music for a quirky anime series. So thanks, Tom, you saved me from having to dump forty or fifty bucks per CD on these albums as imports. I'm happy with what I have.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Music Virus

Happy is the man who infects his friends with superior albums. I turned work buddy Brent onto Cowboy Bebop yesterday, and he and I are shooting notes back and forth in real time as he absorbs the awesomeness that is Yoko Kanno and The Seatbelts!

And yes, you can only hear Tank! for the first time once, but you can enjoy it almost as much on the hundredth listen.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

More Cats for the Internet!

Jean captured a buncha cat pictures, available on my Flickr account. Today's banner is one I took, at her urging. She couldn't figure out how to get the flash to work. Enjoy!

Handyman ... or Handy<em>Capable</em>?

As long as we've owned our current house, the dining area has had this faux candelabra light fixture, with those little fake flame-shaped lightbulbs. The darn thing hung down well below head level, for me and Renee. If I had a nickel for every time I've bumped my head on that thing, I'd certainly be able to afford the bandaids that I had to buy because of it. I've cursed it, but until now, done nothing more about it.

This weekend, Jean determined that we were going to replace it. We went to Home Depot, Jean's idea of the Most Hellish Place On Earth, and bought a fluorescent fixture with a shiny beveled base. I bought a new light-switch, because the existing one was a dimmer, and dimmers on fluorescent fixtures are generally a no-no.

Now normally, I'd put the entire shebang on the shelf and wait until Jean's parents come to visit, since her dad has done a lot of landlordly repair work, and I, well, I have not. I try to avoid all forms of home improvement, as my experience has been uniformly dismal, and frustrating to boot. But I was feeling like I really wanted to get rid of the vampiric chandelier, so I resolved to give it a try.

Jean and Renee both dove in to help, and several breaker switches later, I'd proven I had no idea how to install the new switch-plate such that it would actually transmit current to the light. I put back the dimmer switch, and we moved on to the light fixture.

That turned out to be within our grasp, however sweaty and irritated that grasp was. Soon we were able to turn the new fluorescent fixture on. But not completely off. Turns out that our dimmer has never been installed such that it turns completely off. We just never really noticed, since the incandescent bulbs seemed to be dark.

Not the fluorescent one. It flickered with a ghostly light. Literally! In the middle of the night I got up and walked out into the dining room just for kicks, and it was like watching heat lightning on the distant horizon.

So today I was at Fry's for other reasons, and tried to get a light switch. They didn't have any. The local hardware store in Wilsonville had switches that seemed to have the same mysterious three terminals that had defeated me yesterday, so I moved on. The Tualatin hardware store was closed for Sunday. Finally, at Fred Meyers', I buckled and bought a light switch with three terminals. More breaker switching was had, and what do you know, the new switch worked! And no more ghostly flicker.

I feel the thing is probably installed incorrectly, but it seems to work, so I'm happy. No more bonked heads! At least not on a candelabra. I'm looking at you, oven hood!


On a walk today, Jean and I were discussing the whole affair. I mentioned how over the years I've avoided doing anything about it because home repair is so very, very frustrating for me. But again, over the years, I've gotten bonked on the head by pointy bits of metal pretending to be decorative vine leaves, and that had to accumulate until it eventually overbalanced my aversion to home repair. Jean said I'd reached my Fed-Up Index!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Boogie Stop Shuffle

I still remember the day at Anime Expo that I bought the first Cowboy Bebop album, and listened to it on a portable CD player in my hotel room. I was stunned. Stunned and joyous. This was some of the best, most striking music I'd ever heard. I still have that album, and Blue, both of which I listen to occasionally.

So this morning I'm listening to Mingus Ah Um by Charles Mingus. It's one of my favorite albums from the Jazz 100 website. I've had it for going on six months, and I still can't stop listening to it.

Funny then, that it's taken me this long to write down the correspondence I see between the Cowboy Bebop albums and this one. I've seen it for awhile, but now I just can't resist pointing out the obvious homage. If you know the Cowboy Bebop albums I've mentioned, but not Charles Mingus, then listen to Boogie Stop Shuffle and tell me the connection is not there!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Dr. Kierkegaarde

Hi, Dr. Kierkegaarde!

I had my regular dental checkup today, and my dentist, Dr. Kierkegaarde, told me she had been Googling her name to try to help a patient find her practice's website (yeah, right) and my weblog came up on the first page of Google results! She said it was a sort of strange seeing her name in some unrelated article. So I figured I'd better boost my rating again and enter a post assuring her that I'm not a stalker!

By the way, since I've had reason to look up her practice's website when recommending it to my coworkers, here is the link: Burlingame Dental Arts

and here's my dentist: Dr. Kierkegaarde.

Am I being creepy enough yet?


Amazon's MP3 store was selling Led Zeppelin's Mothership for $5! So naturally, I caved and bought it. It's amazing how many of the tunes on this compilation CD I'm ranking four or five stars.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Birthday Facts

Jean's birthday fell on this week, so we did Juan Colorado for the meal treat. Renee had deep-fried ice cream for dessert! Oof.

Forgot to mention earlier when I gave it to her, but I got Jean an iPod Shuffle, so she could use it when she was working out. She seems to like it, though she finds the earbuds irritating as they continue to slip out of her ears.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Avenging Fist

Lisa lent me this DVD, with the assurance that it was awful, and right up my alley. Right on both counts, Lisa! But with extra emphasis on the awful. Man, was that a klunky 'plot'!

Anyway, thanks for the movie, I'll get it back to you at the next gathering.


Running up on the end of this month's eMusic credits, so I grabbed a bunch in one fell swoop:

  • The Quintet - Charlie Parker

  • These Are Jokes - Dmetri Martin (comedy album)

  • The Great Miles Davis, Volume 1

  • Hanapepe Dream - Taj Mahal

and two more from Rodrigo y Gabriela:

  • Ixtapa

  • Stairway to Heaven

Iron Man

Jean took me and three proto-teenage girls to see Iron Man today. Thanks to Alan, I knew to wait through the complete credits for the Easter egg at the end. Much fun. Thanks, Jean, for the movie. Thanks Alan, for the heads up.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Current Anime

Since Tom wondered if I'd caught any of this season's crop of new anime, here's a list of what I'm watching:

I sampled a number of other items, such as Vampire Knight and Monochrome, but rejected them after a couple of episodes. Others I read a synopsis of and just decided "meh".

I'm still occasionally watching an episode of some of last season's shows as well:

  • Ghost Hound

  • Persona: Trinity Soul

  • Kaiji

  • Akagi (really just an earlier predecessor of Kaiji)

And one live action romantic comedy:

As always, I watch these shows in dribs and drabbles, and reserve the right to lose interest without notice.

Indy IV

Saw the new Indy with Tom and Alan last night. It was a satisfying return to the franchise. The movie ends with a tease of the audience: will the 'crown' be handed on? No! Just kidding folks. And thanks for that!

Afterwards we had dinner at Rose's Deli, and the conversation was fun as always. I learned that Adam, who I see very seldom, as he lives in Washington, is now planning to get married. After I got home, I discovered that he'd sent me an email with that very same news. Needless to say, I'm very happy for him. Good wishes go out to him!

Teh Internetz!

In keeping with Teh Internetz EULA, I post my annual cat picture. This one has actually been sitting in the camera for about a month, so enjoy!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Jean gave me a list of plants that she thought Renee might get her for Mother's Day. So after the movie we drove to the local garden store and ran through the list with a helpful employee. We returned home with a banana plant! Jean was surprised, despite the fact that she'd suggested it herself. Turns out she had been thinking about a dwarf house plant, and we brought home a 'bush' that the garden store employee said should reach eight feet in height. The literature says more like fifteen feet. It is planted out back in Jean's garden now. We'll see how it fares in the summer, and the winter.

Speed Racer

Renee and I went to see Speed Racer, the Wachowski Brothers' live action adaptation of the old anime series, at the local IMAX theater this morning. Even though we went to the first showing of the day on a Sunday, the theater was near 70% full. I've read a couple of reviews, which were not very flattering.

I didn't watch Speed with as much devotion as Astro Boy when I was a wee squirt, but I watched enough to have all the salient plot points down, and to understand the general pattern of the show, it's 'story mechanics', if you will. And from those remote memories, I have to say that the live-action adaptation was pitch-perfect. It was not a slavish imitation. No, that would have worked less well than the current incarnation.

For instance, in the original American adaptation of the Tatsunoko Productions series, American voice actors adopted a frenetic style of delivery to keep up with the rapid Japanese scripts. There is a single scene in the live-action movie where the primary villain delivers a speech to Speed with that headlong machine-gun style, and it works well as a call-out to the original corny series. But the brothers do not attempt to sustain this dialogue style throughout the movie. And that was the right decision.

I won't start enumerating all the little ways in which the series was captured in the movie, or the ways in which the movie struck out on its own, but only observe that they did a great job of fusing the memories of my childhood with the more modern technological and pop culture elements of the world expected by the majority of their audience.

See it. Really.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Last year for my birthday we drove all the way into Hillsboro to eat at Syun Izakaya. This year I decided to stick closer to home, so we ate at Mugi. Sushi again! Boy is that a fun restaurant. Renee and Jean both had cooked meals, but I had the raw fish, and of course, yamaimo. Yum, yum!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Music

Just had a hankering for new, and I mean new music. Straying outside my familiar territory, as it were. Three from eMusic:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Maid Cookies

The banner photo this time around is one of a selection of photos of my souvenir from Tom and Alan's trip to Japan. Click through to my Flickr account for the rest of the snaps, it's a really cute -- and yummy -- gift.

Yes, I was at Tom's place last night, where we had okonomiyaki (thanks to Tom for the raw ingredients, and to Lisa for the chef-ly duties). Tom and Alan had pooled their photos, and pared them down to a hundred or two. They could have had many more, I enjoyed them enough. Definitely makes me wish that I could afford to do a trip to Japan myself.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Let It Bleed

Things truly seem to be changing in the music world. eMusic now has every album by the Rolling Stones from 1964-1970. Dunno how that happened. And I'm a bit peeved at that cutoff date, as Sticky Fingers, one of my all time faves from their ouvre, came out in 1971.

Still, there are a lot of good albums in the given interval, and I picked up Let It Bleed, to which I'm listening now. Good stuff.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rounding Out the Month

An album from 1980, Movies by Holger Czukay.

Three more songs from Rodrigo y Gabriela: Diablo Rojo, Vikingman, Satori.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter 2008

In addition to the banner photo of extreeeeeeme closeup action (okay, maybe not that extreme, but Renee was suitably annoyed), you can go to my Flickr account and view the photo set. Note that Renee is carrying a Halloween pumpkin bucket for collecting eggs. This is particularly ironic as she bowed out of trick-or-treating this year by virtue of being too old for that kid stuff. Yet Easter egg hunting took place some four to five months later. This may be the last egg hunt though, as it was somewhat perfunctory. How the little ones grow!

While there are some strange lighting artifacts in a few of the pictures I took, you can nevertheless still get an impression of our new wood floors. I think they're pretty nice.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Passel O' Jazz (and more)

Creepin' up on the end of the month again, and I have a hankering for some new music to accompany my solo coding at work. So I spent an hour or so in a feverish haze (mild cold at the end of a long week) listening to eMusic samples, and settled on:

As if that weren't enough, I've been looping over another mash-up album by dj BC, who made the excellent mash-up of Wu Tang Clan and New Orleans Dixieland jazz, Wu Orleans. The new album is actually a few years old, but given my recent kick on minimalist classical composers, it seems appropriate. The album is a mash-up of Philip Glass and various rappers, called Glassbreaks.

And finally, I've been listening to the free first volume of Trent Reznor's Ghosts I-IV. And while I haven't gotten the remaining three volumes yet, I'm pretty sure I'll be grabbing them, at the low, LOW price of $5. Sweet deal if the others are as good as the first. In fact, the first was worth $5 by itself.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Still Alive

Just rather busy...

Anyway, I made time to go to Tom's this weekend, and had much fun as usual. He showed a HD (Blu-ray) screening of Appleseed Ex Machina. I'm not fanatical about the world, but have been following it casually since I first started reading the imported manga in Ohio some twenty-odd years ago, when it was published by Eclipse. So it's nice to know I'll be able to watch/read stories from this universe when I'm confined to a wheelchair.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Neutral Milk Hotel

Rafe Colburn linked to two articles celebrating the fact that In The Aeroplane, Over The Sea is now ten years old. I once listened to several samples from the album and decided that though it had a unique voice, it was a little too intense and idiosyncratic even for me, so I gave it a pass.

Based on these two remembrances, though I've decided to use the fact that the entire album is available on eMusic to take the plunge, at relatively low cost. Who knows? Perhaps I will come to consider it one of my favorite albums.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Silly Music Mensch

I was just downloading some new albums from eMusic, and I realized that I hadn't noted a few from earlier this month. They are:

Now for the 'new' albums I've just picked up.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Werewolves of Portland

Yes, we saw the lunar eclipse tonight, Renee and I. Got there a few minutes before the last bright wedge disappeared behind the umbra, and then walked around the neighborhood for a while looking for darker blocks.

Unfortunately, I don't possess camera equipment sensitive enough to capture this in city lights, so memories will have to do.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Offline Again

Just a quick note to observe that Verizon has managed to fumble my home Internet connection again. I'm posting this from work. We lost connectivity sometime Tuesday night, and haven't got it back yet. So...

  • Major outage when they insisted that I had to be switched from Frame Relay to ATM, for "reliability"

  • Outage for several days to replace a DSL modem that I'd had for less than a year.

  • Now an outage which the tech took an hour to diagnose (ending in the winning quote "you don't have Internet access"). To be fair, I think he meant that there was a connection, just no TCP/IP stack, since he could see my DSL modem from his office, and I could see it from my computer, so theoretically there's an end-to-end connection...

Guess Kevin J. Martin is doing his job guaranteeing that the free market gives us the best possible broadband choices.


The "Central Office" called yesterday to say that the problem was fixed. Of course it wasn't. Jean was home yesterday, and she called tech support again, did the hour-long diagnostic two-step, and finally got the answer, "your modem is failing." Again. After it was replaced seven months ago. Maybe if Verizon put a little more quality into their equipment, they wouldn't have to spend so much money on tech support.

Anyway, they're shipping us a replacement, which will probably arrive sometime next week. Only then will we see if the diagnosis is correct this time...

Update Two

And, we're back. Got the new DSL modem, hooked it up, configured it, and encountered the annoying redirect to Verizon portal page. This has happened each time I've had a major problem. Just when I think I'm done, I have to call Verizon tech support again to have them walk me through the secret backdoor to turn off the stupid redirect. I think I know how to do it myself now, but it's just damned annoying that they put hurdle after hurdle in your way for a product you've paid for.

Anyway, hi alls!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Hacker Slobs

I'm not even sure anyone will be able to read this for awhile, but I'll record it for my own amusement.

This morning I was awoken by cats, and the first thing I hear upon getting up is "my keyboard won't work." Jean has been trying to log into her computer in the dining room, but it doesn't seem to want to take input. So I wandered into the dining area, and began tapping on keys. It turns out that the 'escape' key and the caps lock key both work. So I rebooted in 'safe mode' (hold down the shift key while rebooting, to disable non-Apple extensions), and that worked, so I now knew that the shift key worked as well. But I was still unable to use the alphanumeric keys.

Now I decided to unplug every peripheral but the keyboard and the mouse (which coincidentally continued to work throughout the entire ordeal). One of the things I unplugged was Renee's graphics pad. Reboot, and magically, the keyboard began working! Jean guessed that the graphics pad was somehow interfering with the keyboard, and I'm happy to go with that for now.

Second experience, I went to my own computer and started up the web browser, which is set to go directly to Instead it failed to find the page, and Verizon 'helpfully' stepped in with a search page saying terebi2 "does not exist or is not available!", instead of allowing the 404. I tried pinging the URL, and got "PING ( 56 data bytes" with zero throughput. I did a whois, and yes, I still own the domain. I know I am paid up with the ISP who hosts the webpages, so I went to easydns to check. I can log in, and I'm paid up. But, they record that they've been under a Denial of Service (DOS) attack since yesterday.

They claim that they've mostly fixed the problem, but I know from experience that it takes awhile for the name forwarding to propagate again, hence Verizon's claim that this site doesn't exist. I only get to the article posting page because it links directly to the ISP. So I hope that this post will be visible before the weekend is out, otherwise I'll have to play hot potato with Easydns and Verizon as to who is responsible.

Hope you see me soon!


As noted in the first comment to this post, Mark Jeftovic, a techie for easyDNS, actually tracked down my post (I left no help message after figuring out what was happening). He actually left me an email explaining in greater detail what had happened. When I asked how he'd spotted my post, he told me he has a buncha search tools that look for mentions of easyDNS. Pretty neat.

Adam, thanks for confirming visibility. I'll have to log onto the IRC channel soon and catch up with you.

Lisa, you use Windows, right? Interesting to see that similar peripherals can give headaches on that platform and Mac OS X. Anyway, I am back online. Good to get feedback from all of you.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Two Songs

Jean picked out a song specifically for me:

Then, one evening on the way home from work, I heard a song that I was intrigued with, so I hunted it down:

  • I'm All Right - Madeleine Peyroux

I've got a new queue of credits for the month at eMusic, so look for more experiments soon...

Completed Anime

Renee and I completed Zombie Loan. About what you'd expect, Renee and I had fun with it, and are now feeding on the trickle of Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.

For myself, I have finished Kaze no Stigma. I'm not really sure why I stuck with it, as it was pretty pedestrian, but I did. I continue to watch Akagi and Kaiji, dabble in Denno Coil, and truck on with Dragonaut, Ghost Hound and Moyashimon. New series include Shigofumi and Persona. Latest, still pending a decision on how long I'll watch, is Hatenkou Yugi.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Test Post

Just for its amusement value, I thought I'd type a short entry on my new iPod Touch. Don't expect that to happen every day. This one little message has taken a few minutes to hunt and peck on the software keyboard. But we do what we can. Like the time I used my laptop computer and Skype over PDX's wireless network to call home when I had a perfectly good cellphone. Well, this has gone on long enough. Forgive the typoes, and the run-on paragraph. This experiment is over. Goodnight!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Sun Ra

I had seven credits left this month on eMusic, and in my 'to buy' list was an album with seven tracks:

The Solar-Myth Approach Volume 1, by Sun Ra. Listening to it now, and I'm sure tomorrow while coding.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Music and More

Two brief items.

One, I used my Christmas money and some allowance to buy myself an iPod Touch. It's pretty neat.

Two, I found out that Dance Raja Dance is available on Amazon's MP3 store, and bought it. I've had "Aatavu Chanda (Dancing Is Beautiful)" for years, and to finally find the rest of this album available is pretty neat. Funny thing, when I searched for it on eMusic, I couldn't find it, but Googling just now, one of the last links on the first page was to the eMusic offering of same. Guess I'll have to look more carefully in future.


The album is good, though I have to admit that the first song, the one I've had forever and which is available for free from Last.FM, is still the best.

And I forgot to mention the name of my new iPod Touch: Toa

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Two New Albums

In addition to picking up Mink Car by They Might Be Giants (which I've already been listening to on a loaner from Tom, so it's almost not a new acquisition), I picked up two new ones tonight:

The former was on Jamie Zawinski's best of 2005 list (mentioned in his 2007 list since Gram Rabbit shows up with a new album in each of 2005 and 2006 as well).

The latter is just the result of browsing. It's a really short album, about a half hour in four pieces. But it's pretty cool. Looking forward to streaming it at work tomorrow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Fantastic Frank Strozier

I've been living a never-ending stream of hot and cold running They Might Be Giants (thanks, Tom!) lately, so I decided it was time for a new Jazz album. The album Fantastic Frank Strozier was featured on eMusic, so I gave the previews a listen. Sounds nice, methinks, so here we are.

I'll be listening to this and Mink Car, one of the albums by They Might Be Giants that is carried by eMusic and recommended by Tom, tomorrow.


Frank Strozier is indeed a good jazzman. Not gonna see this off-label compilation on anybody's Top 100 list, but it makes for a nice, upbeat bop background when programming.

I also downloaded my own copy of Mink Car, after listening to Tom's copy multiple times. That eMusic queue for January is dwindling, but more soon!