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.