Thursday, December 22, 2011

New Music

I realized I need to catch up on what I've acquired recently. No hotlinks, just Google if you care...

  • Bright and Vivid - Kathryn Calder

  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (Sampler) - Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

  • Another Green World - Brian Eno

  • Before and After Science - Brian Eno

  • Here Come the Warm Jets - Brian Eno

  • Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy) - Brian Eno

Those last four have been on my want list for years (used to own them in LP format in my college years). They are the four classic albums in the 'pop' series by Brian Eno, who has done a lot of cool music in many genres, including inventing a couple on his own. He has also produced albums for such 'formerly famous' groups as Roxy Music and Talking Heads.

The major emusic players all wanted $9.50 for each, and that seemed a little steep for albums from the 70's. But today I got email from Google that they were running a new music store, and when I checked, these were all available for $5 apiece. So I bought them all. Seems that capitalism works in my favor sometimes.

Assuming that Music for Airports is still $5 when I get my next paycheck, I'll grab that one too. That's not from his 'pop' series, but from his 'ambient music' series. I consider him one of the primary inventors of that genre.

While downloading these, I spent the evening browsing Spotify, and discovered that they had the collaboration between Brian Eno and David Byrne (Talking Heads) entitled "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", which is an album of compositions mixed over samples from Southern Evangelical radio shows. It was one of my favorite albums of the period. Unfortunately, it is still 'expensive'. Guess I'll just have to wait for more 'capitalist' competition to bring the price down!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Art in the Burbs

Not this most recent weekend, but the previous Friday, we went to Art in the Burbs, which was a fundraiser for local schools. Area artists displayed their work at Alberta Rider Elementary school, and students had displays there alongside them. Our daughter Renee had five art pieces on the walls, and they are featured in this photoset, with the other art we saw there.

Renee needs more control over the display of her work, since two or three pieces were murky or off-color. Indeed, we were planning to buy one of her self-portraits, but she convinced us otherwise, because the primary colors were the result of the printer running out of a couple color cartridges during printing. Ugh!

We'll try to recover an original for that one, in which case, I'll post the revised image.

Make: Electronics

Okay, Lisa has already found the stash of images at Flickr, but I've been meaning to mention this for awhile. I've been working my way (glacially) through Make: Electronics by Charles Platt. On any given weekend, I may or may not have the time to run one of the experiments from the book, but when I do, I haul everything from the den into the dining room and wire up another experiment from the book. DPST Switch

It's pretty cool, and I've been snapping photos of some of the experiments and inlining comments on Flickr. I'll probably regret that, as Flickr will die an ignominious death one day, and all my careful comments will go down the memory hole with it. In any case, browse if you care.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

New Everything (Renee)

I recently uploaded a bunch of photos Jean snapped of Renee to record her new (glasses|hairstyle|dress). I appended them to the existing Renee's New Glasses photoset, in case you're curious.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Back Catalog Acquisitions

Amazon's September $5 sale includes two albums from my high school years, so I grabbed 'em:

Hunky Dory
Sheer Heart Attack

Hunky Dory is of course due to my tracking down the song Kooks after it was played in the movie Hanna. I still think this album is one of those pivotal works that should appear on every top-X albums of the history of pop/rock.

Sheer Heart Attack is just my nod to Freddie's birthday, which was nicely acknowledged by a Google Doodle recently.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Categorical Statements

In Apple discontinues 99-cent TV rental program they explain the removal of rentals with the following quote:

“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple said in a statement Friday.

That is, quite simply, a categorical crock. The truth is, I've been buying Dr. Who seasons for the last two seasons. But I've also been renting episodes of Leverage. Do I want to own it? No way. Thanks alot, Apple, and whatever network owns Leverage. You used to get a buck an episode from me. Now you get nothing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

<em>Another</em> QOTD

Just once I'd like to ask a question that doesn't have a stupid answer!

The Mercury Men, a lovingly retro web-based sci-fi serial. Diggin' it.

Monday, August 15, 2011


"If the whole thing is a put-on, a bit of Vincent Gallo life-as-theater for the benefit of whoever happens to be sitting next to them, that's no excuse. It's being an asshole about being an asshole."

Steve Albini on Odd Future

Sunday, August 14, 2011


My workplace campus maintains a pretty nice water feature, and it is home to a variety of wildlife. We get lots of ducks and geese, and have a number of nutria waddling about. But over the last few years, we've become a summer home for a handsome Heron. I recently took to parking my car at the far end of the campus from my building, to force myself to walk a bit more at the end of the day. This has had the side benefit that I often see Mr. Heron.

I've begun snapping him when I can, first with the joke camera in my iPod Touch, then with my P&S, which I've started taking to work for just this purpose. He wasn't there this weekend, but I plan to try to grab him with my D70 and my 70-200mm lens some weekend, and I'll add any results to this photo set.

Friday, August 12, 2011

LXD Season 3!

Yay! The Extraordinary 7 kicks off the new season of LXD!

Thursday, July 14, 2011


If you check my Last.FM list, you'll see that instead of getting ready for bed and tomorrow, I've been frittering away the evening playing with the free stream from Spotify, which launched in the US today (Hacker News was full of free invites, and in fact included a Python program to scan for available invites, so I used that).

Like all music services, for sale or streaming, it is incomplete, failing some of my 'acid test' list of hard-to-find musicians and albums, but it nevertheless has an impressive playlist with many 'soundtrack-of-my-life' songs. It won't replace eMusic, or anyway, it won't replace the eMusic I liked before they tried to become iTunes-only-more-expensive-and-less-convenient, but it will let me play in the more popular streams. Still need a good indie/jazz/world/outsider vendor to force me outside of my comfort zone, but this will be fun for more conventional needs.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Photo Finish

Okay, I finally worked through the pile of photos from Paris. The photoset is complete at 248 pics. And while there are many I enjoy (and many I admit are pretty pedestrian), this metro candid and this Montmartre stairwell photo are my favorites. So much for snaps of tourist attractions!

Candid Montmartre Metro Stairs

Monday, June 27, 2011


Before I left for work this morning, I queued up an upload of the first batch of photos from our trip to Paris, which happened last week. The first batch I managed to work through since our return home amounts to around eighty pics. When I'm finished, however long that takes, it should be around 300 photos, some interesting to the general public, some only to me. You can watch the evolving photoset here.

And for the record, I am a bad person. I did not get anybody souvenirs. This is partly because we packed a single carry-on each (even going so far as to hand wash a pair of pants in the hotel tub during the trip). The only 'souvenir' I got myself was a museum shirt so that I had something to wear one day, and I wore it home on the plane.

Sorry friends, I am a bad friend. If I ever go on another trans-continental trip, I'll try to mail things back home...

On a lighter note, I discovered that my stabbing sinus flight malady can be greatly reduced by applying saline nasal sprays every half hour during the trip, and taking a vicodin about an hour before the final descent. This is a single data point, so it may have been just luck, but the landing in Paris was nasty, and the landing in Sea-Tac was merely unpleasant, so I'll be trying that drill again if ever forced aboard another jet.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Funny world. I put up a photoset of Renee's summer haircut (taken at her request), and within hours someone had added several of the photos to their favorites. Said person seems to specialize in hairstyle photos/images...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Back in February, Jean, Renee and I went to an all-day Robotics Tournament at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. I took my P&S camera, and took scads of photos. I finally got around to uploading the better images (mostly in focus), and the banner is a sample.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Twenty-two Years Ago

This time the banner samples a mere twenty-two years ago (February of 1989). I was working at what was then called the NASA Lewis Research Center (it was rechristened the Glenn Research Center in 1999). I really can't recall anymore where this picture was taken. Truth to tell, I look a little stoned, holding my precious lab notebook. Perhaps I'd been working to hard (I was known to take classes and work fulltime in those days).

Odds are this was somewhere in the microgravity research labs, where I worked for Arnon Chait. The dude next to me is Mike Fuller. I have no idea what he went on to do.

Sorry, no long hair this time. I was trying to pass as a normal. Still am...

Friday, April 29, 2011

Hunky Dory (and Hanna)

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Hanna, after reading this interview with the director, Joe Wright, who had previously been known for more arty fare, such as Pride and Prejudice. The conflict between a tense spy action movie and a coming of age drama struck me as intriguing. As it turns out, I enjoyed the movie very much. Saoirse Ronan is striking and has great stage presence. The supporting cast seemed perfect. And, the jumps between action and long, contemplative passages where Hanna revels in the new world, are very appealing.

However! There was one scene which tormented me for the last couple of weeks. In it, Hanna has 'stowed away' in a family's van as they drive across Europe on holiday. The scene is meant to show how she is exposed to the casual love and playfulness of a family, so unlike her own boot camp relationship with her own father, played by Eric Bana. But as the family is playfully mucking about, with Hanna observing from her hiding place in the laundry box at the back of the van, a whimsical tune is playing. I knew I had heard this tune many times, but just could not place it.

Well, I tried to look up the song in the soundtrack credits, but they don't include it. The soundtrack for sale is just all Chemical Brothers (the electronica duo responsible for most of the music). Okay, they are fun, but this was not what I wanted to know. No matter how I rephrased my search in Google, it always turned up Chemical Brothers. Wrong!

I had given up.

So tonight, for some reason, I'm browsing album samples on Amazon MP3. I come across an old David Bowie album, Hunky Dory, which I remember listening to in early college years (it had already been out perhaps five years by then). And what a surprise, Kooks is the damn song I was looking for! Interesting synchronicity there, as the song was written by Bowie for his son, whom I knew for years as Zowie Bowie, but whose full legal name is Duncan Zowie Haywood Jones. He is now a well regarded director, responsible for the lovely scifi film Moon (starring Sam Rockwell), and the more recent scifi puzzle/thriller (echoing Philip K. Dick): Source Code.

Anyway, I'm thrilled to uncover this when the Internet failed me. So I'm logging it here in case anyone else is going through the same struggle I did.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Kaiji Second Season

Thanks to Tom, I was alert to the beginning of the much-delayed second season of Kaiji!

I watched the inaugural episode this weekend, and man, I have no words to express this. Something about Kaiji, the minutes-long internal monologues and the endless tears and angst, just tickle me. So I'm in for the next umpty episodes!


Oops! Forgot the endless revelations of what Kaiji is feeling, his plans, his tricks by the omniscient narrator! Hot damn ain't that special?!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Carrots and Lentils in Olive Oil

I found this recipe via one of my numerous rss feeds (yeah, I know, rss is supposed to be dead, go figure). I cooked it up this weekend, minus the mint, and it was very tasty. Jean agrees, Renee opts out due to her aversion to cooked carrots.

One thing I learned is that one does not need to soak lentils before cooking them. The dish tastes fine, but I'm afraid by the time I finished cooking it, it was more of a porridge than a lentil dish. I'll try adding the lentils (washed but not soaked) later in the recipe, and add less water so it doesn't need to boil down so long.

Note to myself: once I have revised this recipe to suit my tastes, record the differing version here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Post!

...of 2011, that is.

I don't think I'll be posting much this year, just too busy. But I got tired of staring at the banner picture. I mean, the woman is cute, but the guy? Creepin' me out! So I dug this picture out of Easter 2006 (see if your kids are that 'happy' on Easter).

Anyway, I also missed posting about the tenth anniversary of this weblog, which was in October. Given my general absence, it seems appropriate.