Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Pop Culture Refs

This first one is really only for my friends who knew and enjoyed Firefly. Nathon Fillion played Mal Reynolds in that ill-fated Sci-Fi western. He has landed on his feet and appeared in a number of popular roles. Currently, I'm watching him in a show called Castle, where he plays a mystery writer shadowing a female police detective to learn how it's really done. It's a pretty fun program.

So anyway, they have a Halloween episode this week. Castle is home trying on his costume for a party he's throwing, and it's Mal Reynolds! It's the exact duster, boots, gloves, etc. that make up the typical outfit that Mal wore in Firefly. Castle's daughter asks him, "what are you supposed to be?"

"Space cowboy!" he replies.

"Didn't you wear that like five years ago?" she asks. "Don't you think it's time you got over it?"

Second one is not so geeky, and I'm sure Renee might get a little smile off it as well. The show Numb3rs chose a light 'X-Files' vibe for their Halloween nod. Granger is walking through a hangar in 'Area 51' and asks, "why do I feel like I'm in a Scooby Doo episode?"

At the end of the episode, the quirky Pentagon 'auditor' played by John Michael Higgins says "and they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you pesky kids."

Breakfast Experiment

I'm not much for elaborate breakfasts. I tend to eat raw oatmeal with walnuts and banana chunks half the time, protein bars and some sort of fruit the other half (and skip the odd day out). But Kottke really sold The world's best pancake recipe. It's a buttermilk pancake recipe, and sounded good. He does have a tendency to qualify the hell out of it ("real" buttermilk only, for instance), so any failures will surely be put down to my laziness in not hunting down 'authentic' ingredients.

Still, Renee and I gave it a try this morning. She had maybe one and one half pancakes, and I had two. Jean tried one bite. The consensus? "Eggy". Jean says "too sweet". Overall, it was quite a filling dish, something I could imagine getting served on a farmstead before the long day in the fields. But for a more or less sessile knowledge worker like myself, it was more than necessary.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Shirts from Afar

A couple of weeks ago I got a package from Nami, my onetime penpal. I still hear from her, obviously, but I've moved on to email, and I've failed her as a penpal. She shames me occasionally with a package like this, yet I remain a bad person.

Anyway, as has been my experience, an XL tshirt from Japan is actually a large or medium in America, so I was unable to wear any of the three she sent. Renee, however, is the perfect build for the XL, and she models it in the latest banner. There's a second photo on my Flickr account.

Next time I go to Tom's, I plan to take the remaining two shirts to his place, and see if any of the petite members of his entourage want them.

By the way, Nami, thanks for the shirts. Even if I cannot wear them, it is neat to see shirts "made in Japan". Renee says thanks, also!

eMusic & Amazon MP3 Acquisitions

From eMusic, I picked up the 50th anniversary edition of Time Out by Dave Brubeck. I already have an album called Blue Rondo, and of course the classic Take Five, but this is a seminal album, and includes a number of live performances on the 'second disc', so I grabbed it, duplicates and all.

Amazon MP3 was offering a one-day only freebie, and for a change, it was for an artist I care about. The album was "The Orange Mountain Music Philip Glass Sampler Vol.I". Lots of surprisingly short works on this album. I guess not surprising for a sampler, but I think of Philip Glass as a composer of longer, minimalist works, so it's an interesting variation.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Newest Album

Monk's Dream - Thelonious Monk Quartet

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Night Watch

I woke up at 1:20 a.m. this morning and kept 'hearing' low-frequency sounds, sort of beat-harmonic, like distant, heavy equipment operation. It would manifest for a few minutes, then silence itself. A few minutes later, it would start up again. I began to wonder if I would get to sleep again, which would have been a problem, since I had unrelated problems sleeping the previous night.

Fortunately I drifted off again and got a full night's sleep. But I was really curious, and asked Jean if she had heard it anytime during the night. She says no, but will often sleep through things that wake me up, despite claims that she is a light sleeper.

So this morning I followed my hunches, and found this link, with the key phrase,

In general, work hours will be Monday through Friday nights, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

There is also a section on "nighttime noise", as well as a notice that they're building a new stretch of "soundwall", starting around SW Ponca Ct., which is just South of Umatilla, where we live. Ironically, it may be preparations for this sound-deadening wall that I was hearing last night.

Supposedly this has been going on for months, and only gets suspended in the winter, so I don't know why I didn't hear it before. But I feel this is the source of my mystery sounds.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cutting the Final Tie

It's been years since I attended a meeting of NOVA, preferring instead to visit with the friends I made there at Tom's house when he has a gathering. But a sense of nostalgia kept me subscribed to the mailing list. Occasionally someone like Bob would post an interesting tidbit about the anime world, and it was sort of like revisiting the old haunts.

But I haven't really found any anime series that I want to watch over the last year, so tidbits are kinda out of context. And announcements of the next meeting venue and playlist are rather moot. So this evening, I unsubscribed from the mailing list. Goodbye, NOVA! You were a great experience, and I hope the remaining members get much pleasure for years to come.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

iPods 'Shuffle'

I usually try to wait longer than two years to recycle a gadget, and with rumors that the iPod Touch would eventually get a camera, I thought about waiting at least until next summer, but truth to tell, I've built up such a large music library between twenty-five years of CDs and however long I've been on eMusic, and there's not enough room on my original iPod Touch. So I broke down and got a 64GB one today.

Renee inherited the first one, which was a 16GB G1. She surrendered her nano (also inherited from me), so that I could get the 10% discount. That was my price for giving her my old unit.

One observation I'll make is that while the iPod Touch still doesn't do some of the things I used to use my PalmPilot for, it has come along far enough that I don't use the Palm at all any more. It sits in a drawer in the den.

The other observation I'll make is that I've always had a habit of naming my computers, including PDAs, after anime characters, usually female. I haven't watched an anime show regularly for several months now, so I'm out of options. Instead, I decided to name this one after my penpal Nami. Hi, Nami! We got the shirts you sent, and Renee is going to wear one of them. Surprise, even a Japanese XL is too small for me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lars and the Real Girl

Jean and I watched Lars and the Real Girl this week, and like Kitchen Stories, it crept up on us. Once again, a winter story with much of the acting conveyed by expressive looks. The premise sounds sketchy, but it turned out to be very touching and kinda funny. I recommend it.

Nostalgia Music

Grabbed a best-of album for Electric Light Orchestra, Strange Magic. I've listened to the whole 29 tunes, and while I remember many of them fondly, I just re-listened to Mr. Blue Sky, and gotta say that that's very nearly my fave ELO song of all time. Play It Loud!

Then on a slightly more experimental note, I grabbed the well-known Celtic Punk band Flogging Molly. The album in question is called Swagger, and sounds pretty good so far. I didn't buy these guys in a vacuum, as I've heard some of their stuff in the past, and Renee has two of their songs.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


University of Nottingham hosts a site called Sixty Symbols. I've been meaning to begin viewing them, and will note them here. For your viewing pleasure, here's the one for a solar Eclipse.

P.S. - I should note that in fact this was not the first video I watched. While the solar eclipse video is basically a fun diary-of-an-eclipse, it doesn't have much beyond a couple of neat video shots of the eclipse to recommend it.

On the other hand, the video on the fine structure constant is all hard science and wonder, in one capsule interview with a real live physicist, who clearly digs the magic of physical constants.

Fable of Faubus

I think someone at This American Life got a blanket license on the music of Charles Mingus, or at least to the composition Fable of Faubus. It seems not a week goes by when they don't use a clip from 'Fable' as a bridge in one of their stories. Just googling, I'm unable to find any direct admission, but by gob it's there!

Other Albums I Forgot

  • Happenstance - Rachael Yamagata

  • David Gilmour - David Gilmour

And just recently acquired:

  • Down Another Road - Graham Collier Music

  • Abbey Is Blue - Abbey Lincoln


Oops, I did indeed mention the first two albums, and Jimmy Heath, in this entry. It's just that I forgot to tag that entry 'Music', so my metadata search missed it. Fixed!