Monday, December 31, 2007

Viva la buffalo!

This video is absolutely unreal. You just have to watch it.



Here's how Time.com/CNN describes it:

Revenge, Buffalo-Style
Well, reality sure beats the crap out of The Lion King. In an astonishing video shot by a tourist in South Africa's Kruger National Park, a baby Cape buffalo is attacked by several lions and dragged into a watering hole, where a crocodile latches onto the still-struggling prey. The 8-minute video, referred to as "Battle at Kruger," shows the big cats winning this tug-of-war, only to be defeated by dozens of buffalo, one of which flings a lion into the air with its horns. And the kicker? The baby buffalo gets up and returns to the herd.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Free is good advertising

It's true. If you let them try it for free, there's a chance they'll love it and become repeat customers.

That's what Todd Park Mohr and his monsters are hoping to do by giving away half a million copies of their newest album, "All The Love You Need."

Of course, I'd pay for their albums many times over, play them 'til they couldn't play no more, and follow their tour around the country, seeing them play two, three, 10 nights in a row. (Oh wait, I will be doing that next month! So stoked!)

Yes, Radiohead did something similar a few months back, and it sparked a lot discussion among music fans, mainly online. But they only gave away a download of their new album (not a physical CD), and they asked for donations at the fans' discretion -- sounds a lot like busking to me. But, whatever it takes to build your fan base and make a living doing what you love, I guess.

Me, I'll keep giving BHTM free plugs. Visit www.bigheadtodd.com to listen to their music! Go! Do it now! Guaranteed you'll be glad you did, and you'll definitely wanna meet me at one of the nearby shows... or all of 'em. Whatever. :)

(And yes, I'll post pix from those shows in Atlanta, Birmingham, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, etc. Stay tuned.)

Here's what PollStar had to say about Big Head Todd and the Monsters giving away their new CD.

Love, Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Monday, Dec 10, 2007 4:16AM

Hard-touring blues-rockers Big Head Todd & The Monsters, who will hit the road again next month, are spreading the word about their latest release, All The Love You Need, by giving it away.

The band began the giveaway on its web site, where 25,000 fans signed up and were sent the CD, and has grown to include several major radio stations.

KBCO in Denver, the group's hometown, will mail 75,000 CDs to its subscriber list. Other stations like KGSR in Austin, KPRI in San Diego and KTBG in Kansas City, Mo., will do the same.

The album will also be available as a free download in early 2008 through the band's web site.

The band will play a two-night stand December 29-30 at John Ascuaga's Nugget Hotel and Casino, before officially kicking off what is expected to be a 60-city U.S. trek January 10 at House of Blues in New Orleans.

Other stops on the schedule include the Coca-Cola Roxy Theatre in Atlanta (January 12), Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (January 17), NorVa in Norfolk, Va. (January 24), the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. (February 15), Paradise Rock Club in Boston (February 21-22), Bowery Ballroom in New York City (February 27-28), and Mountain Stage in Athens, Ohio (March 3).

Tickets for many shows are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Frontman Todd Park Mohr, who started Big Head Todd & The Monsters in 1986 with high school friends Brian Nevin on drums and Rob Squires on bass, said giving the album away makes perfect sense to the band.

"We see the record as our main marketing tool," Mohr told the Denver Post. "It's no longer a source of income - not that it ever has been for me, given the way major labels work."

Hillary and Todd, sitting in a tree...

Denver's Westword recently posted this article about Hillary Clinton's camp choosing Big Head Todd and the Monsters' "Blue Sky" as its campaign song. This is like Oreos and milk for me -- what a sweet combination! I couldn't be happier to see a great candidate give my all-time favorite band some amazing (and well overdue) exposure.

Of course, there's icing on those Oreos, as this song has taken the place of the original campaign song: some airline jingle by Celine Dion, "You and I." CNN isn't sure if this was a smart move for the campaign -- check out the news clip. But I am. :)

Big Deal for Big Head Todd
The Hillary’s suddenly alive with the sound of good music.

Published: December 13, 2007



After Big Head Todd and the Monsters kicked off Senator Hillary Clinton's appearance at Auraria in October, she added "Blue Sky" — the song that Todd Park Mohr and company had written at the request of members of the Space Shuttle Discovery for their 2005 mission, the first since the Columbia disaster — to her campaign playlist.

And now the former University of Colorado at Boulder boys have really taken off, because "Blue Sky" has replaced "You and I" as the official sound of Hillary. In a much-publicized online vote in June, the people picked that saccharine Celine Dion tune (a former airline jingle) as the campaign's theme, and it was announced during the Clintons' famous Sopranos commercial. But that was then, and Big Head is so now, as an alert ABC reporter blogged in revealing the switch in tuneful allegiances.

Is the Big Head flip-flop a risky move with only a few weeks until the critical Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses? Probably not. Dion hails from Canada, while Mohr and his bandmates still live in Colorado (when they're not touring), and this state will be Democrat Central come August and the party's national convention. In fact, the selection could be a nod to the importance of the Rocky Mountain West in the Democratic game plan. Mining that same vein, Off Limits noticed that Hillary was sporting lovely turquoise earrings and a matching necklace at an appearance last week — a sly way, perhaps, to split some of that all-important New Mexico vote away from presidential rival and current New Mexico governor Bill Richardson.

From here on, it's nothing but "Blue Sky."

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Question of the Day: Socks

Why, oh, why do people wear black socks with white sneakers? Especially when they're wearing shorts, so that their fashion faux pas is glaringly obvious?

Answers I've received so far:
~ They're Canadian or European usually.
~ They're Canadian!
~ No taste.

My answer:
I have no answer. It seems I'm stumped for words today, in general. (Note: I think some people are mistakenly visualizing the slouchy, wool knee socks worn under Teva velcro sandals, the Disney vacation garb found most often on German tourists. That's a topic for another QOD!)

AIDS vaccine backfires!

Why hasn't the media splashed this story all over the place?! Admittedly, I'm not always on top of the news, despite my profession, but I only happened to stumble upon this story near the bottom of a news site. People need to know this!

The Associated Press announced today that a trial AIDS vaccine not only doesn't work but actually INCREASED recipients' chances of contracting HIV.

I'm stunned. No words do this justice. It's frightening that such a huge study, conducted by a very well-financed company, failed so miserably. They've done permanent, serious damage to the lives of the trial participants, and it's a huge setback in the quest to find a vaccine.

The majority of the 3,000 participants were gay men and female sex workers (prostitutes and porn actresses). Why? In my irritation, I can think of only two possibilities:
1) Merck didn't notice that the majority of people contracting HIV these days are in their 30s, and that about half the people who get HIV/AIDS through sexual contact are straight? Shoot, a large number of them are seniors, especially here in Florida -- thanks, Viagra!
2) The study attracted that demographic simply because those folks are more frightened than the rest of us and thus eager to try just about anything to protect themselves. Are the rest of us blind to our risk?

This blog was posted in haste during my very unpleasant reaction to the news story. I don't know much about this trial or what went wrong, so I'm going to read up on it. Perhaps some of you know more and can educate me -- either assuage my fears or anger me further?

Start here: Merck and HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Snowball's got rhythm

This is probably the cutest thing I've seen all day. (And bear in mind that I saw babies dressed as pumpkins and Tootsie Rolls while Halloween costume shopping today.)

Keep an eye out for his lil' green buddy busting a few moves in the cage behind him, and wait for the headbangers' ball at the end.



(Thanks to the cool cats over at the BHTM boards.)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A dog-gone sweet way to trick-or-treat

If you're still looking for something fun to do on Halloween, have I got an idea for you!

Many of you know I'm involved with the Humane Society of Broward County ~ adopting pets, buying treats and cute doggy duds in the shop, enrolling in obedience classes, and organizing my company's team for the annual Walk for the Animals.

PetSet, the society's fundraising group of young professionals, hosts a variety of fun benefits throughout the year: a Pajama Jam, a White Party and more.

The Halloween Masquerade Party is exactly how you'd like to spend your Halloween night. Sexy, compassionate and costumed 20- and 30-somethings converge on Las Olas Boulevard to drink, dance and mingle the night away. Isn't that more your speed than your back-up plan: watching scary movies at home, stuffing your face with candy, and answering the door every 3 minutes to *share* that candy with the neighborhood tikes?

Here's what the Humane Society of Broward County's web site has to say about the party:

Join PetSet at their annual Masquerade Party

Wednesday, October 31
7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
River House Restaurant
301 SW 3 rd Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

$30 for PetSetters, Top Dogs & Pick of the Litter members
$35 for Guests
$45 to Join & Attend

Evening includes 2 complimentary spirits & delicious heavy hors d’oeuvres

Attire: Be Anything But Yourself

*Prizes Given to the BEST Costumes*

Save $5 by Pre-Paying (pre-paid tickets will be available until noon on Oct. 31)

For Pre-Paid Tickets contact 954-266-6827

(Limited valet available at The River House- parking will also be available at various public garages downtown)


Hope to see you there! And if you don't live in this area, find a Humane Society or other worthy nonprofit in your area. Guaranteed one of them is planning a spooky soiree that's perfect for you and your friends!

P.S. If you join PetSet at this event, you'll get a discount for every other event for an entire year!

Question of the Day: Halloween

What are you planning to do for Halloween?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Don't know yet.
~ Sitting at home with all the lights out so the kids think no one's home.

My answer:
I'm torn between a Humane Society costume fundraiser and a friend's costume party/scavenger hunt. (I need to come up with a costume! Ah!)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Question of the Day: Dance

You can have a single dance with anyone, to any song. Who is it, and what's the song? (And for those of you who are taken, relax. It's a fantasy.)

Answers I've received so far:
~ Probably my friend who died, and some love song like "Without You" by Motley Crue.
~ Sir Mix-A-Lot's "I Like Big Butts" with Steve Carell.
~ "Wonderful Tonight" with let-me-think-about-it.

My answer:
Today, it'd be "First Time" by Lifehouse with someone special. *sway sway sway*

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Question of the Day: Affairs

Are online affairs really cheating?


My answer:
I prefer to answer on a case-by-case basis, but let me say this: Emotional affairs are more destructive than solely physical ones.

(Post your thoughts as a comment.)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Question of the Day: 6 p.m.

Where exactly were you at 6 p.m. today?

Answers up 'til now:
~ Sitting on Stan's sofa, talking to Phil about Nikki Sixx and his new book.
~ Garage. Putting laundry in dryer.

As for me:
I was just getting home from the post office, prepping for a shower.

(Y tu? Post it here.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Question of the Day: Games

If you could get tickets to a game played by any two teams, what would it be?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Yanks vs. Red Sox in Boston
~ Senators vs. Cardinals

My answer:
In an ideal world, I'd get to see the Dolphins play the Eagles.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Monday, October 01, 2007

An explosion of indie artisans

I am so, so looking forward to Stitch Rock 2007, an indie craft fair, and I'll tell you why.

(Wait. First, get those images of grandma and friends crocheting tissue box holders outta your head. This is different. Really.)

OK, this type of event has become an annual tradition in more counter-culture-friendly places like Austin and Vancouver, thanks to the Craft Mafia and other like-minded groups. It's about time it's come to South Florida!

A variety of young, funky, inspired artists and crafters (think tattooed cuties with brains and talent) will display their wares in the historic gymnasium in downtown Delray Beach this coming Saturday.

You'll find embroidered tees, silver and beaded jewelry, pin-up photography, knitted toys, hand-sewn purses and so on -- stuff you'll just love. I'm sure of it.

Click on the link above for the address, vendors and other details. Be there, or be square!

P.S. If this type of thing is right up your alley but you can't make the event, look to the right ---> for links to Etsy, Craft Mafia and so on.

Question of the Day: Ride

What was your first ride?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Firebird
~ a two-tone green 1952 Chevy convertible with a black top
~ Pontiac Tempest convertible, yellow
~ Ford Ranger

My answer:
I inherited my Grandpop's 1980 Chevy Caprice Classic. It was a boat that could hold up to 11 friends, who called it "the hooptie." Fond memories.

(What about you? Post your answer as a comment.)

Friday, September 28, 2007

Question of the Day: Cash

What's the last thing you bought with cash?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Gas.
~ I can't remember. It's been that long.

My answer:
Two burritos for dinner. Mmm.

(Post your answer as a comment. Let's hear it!)

Some cool music

Here's some music I've enjoyed lately. Perhaps you will, too. Let me know what you think.

Over the Rhine ~ Trouble
(Stripped and sexy. "If you've come to make some trouble, better make it good. Your sexy cocktail hour stubble is doing what it should." Oh.)





Aesop Rock ~ None Shall Pass
(They call this hip hop and compare him -- Ian Bavitz -- to the Beasties. I don't know, but it's irrelevant 'cuz I LOVE this song. And Aesop Rock is just a cool name. Damn, I'm bouncing around in my chair as I type.)





Iron and Wine ~ Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
(Soundtrack: driving, in the middle of the night and with the windows down, to absolutely nowhere along a lonely road lit only by the occasional street light -- so you can think, or, rather, not think at all.)





Flosstradamus
(Hot. Who says spinners aren't artists? I feel an impromptu party coming on. Who's with me? Turntables? Anyone?)





Ryan Adams ~ Everybody Knows
(Sit tight while the French TV host introduces Ryan, who's backed by The Cardinals. It's worth the wait/laugh. And you get a tiny bonus interview at the end!)





Jake Shimabukuro ~ Third Stream
(The uke. Wow. Who knew? Oh, and he's Japanese, lives in Hawaii, and loves George Harrison -- need I say more? And if you enjoy this, watch him play "Crazy G" on YouTube; your wrist will ache in sympathy.)





Medeski, Martin and Wood ~ Uninvisible
(Funk. Period.)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Today's tunes

It's been a while since I shared, so here are some tunes you might enjoy.

Daft Punk ~ Harder Better Faster Stronger
(Here's the song as it's supposed to sound, before Kanye blasphemed. Oh, and this dancing girl is quite entertaining, as well.)


Arcade Fire ~ Rebellion Lies


Coldplay ~ Fix You
...lights will guide you home
and ignite your bones
and I will try to fix you...


Galactic featuring Lyrics Born ~ What You Need


Cary Brothers ~ Who You Are

Question of the Day: Breakfast

What do you most often eat for breakfast?

Answers I've received so far:
~ I almost never eat breakfast.
~ Rice Krispies.
~ Oatmeal, blueberries and skim milk.

My answer:
When I do, it's a Kashi bar or a bagel with an egg on it. But almost every morning I down a gigantic iced java with skim milk.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Question of the Day: Earthquake

An earthquake strikes in the middle of the night. What one item do you grab as you run screaming from the house?

Answers I've received so far:
~ My ass
~ (enter guy's name here)

My answer:
~ I'd say the box containing all my important photographs IF I were organized enough to have such a box.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fighting poverty in very different ways

Thousands of pig tusks hung from the walls, tied up with string salvaged from the rocky coastline below the village of Lavatmagemu.

"The system works," he explained, "from the natural resources we have - the products of the land and the sea. All are valued and converted into our currency. Our aim is to make sure there is no poverty in our communities."


versus:


Finally we met little Nazar.

Her father said he had seven other children to feed and needed the money.

It was clear Harry had a number of children ready to be sold to the highest bidder.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Question of the Day: Jobs

What was your first legal, paid job? (That is, not babysitting or shoveling snow for neighbors.)

My answer:
I was a cashier at Kmart! I was incredibly eager to get my first job with a real paycheck, so I applied and interviewed for the job a couple weeks before my 16th birthday. The red smock I was made to wear nearly killed my enthusiasm, but only nearly -- I stayed there about three years. *dork*

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Cardboard journalism

Turns out the buns are cardboard free! (See my earlier post.) Seems some bloggers want to be reporters and some reporters don't know how to be -- What'll we do? I suppose I'll have to try one of those buns when I make it to China then, won't I?

China ethics plea after fake buns
By James Reynolds
BBC News, Beijing


Workers said they added cardboard to buns at the reporter's suggestion
China's propaganda department has called on journalists to strictly adhere to news ethics.

The instructions came in the wake of a case in which a reporter was caught faking a story about buns made from cardboard.

The Chinese Communist Party heavily controls its media, deciding what people can and cannot publish and broadcast.

But it seems that it cannot always stop reporters simply making up stories.

In recent weeks China has been following a series of reports about low food and drug safety standards.

The most captivating story of all came a few days ago.

Zi Beijia, a reporter for Beijing TV, ran a report about a food store that mixed cardboard into its pork buns as a cheap ingredient.

His report showed workers mushing the cardboard into a sludgy mix and then adding it to dough and pork.

Police then raided the store. Workers admitted that they had added the cardboard - but at the suggestion of the reporter, who had apparently grown frustrated that he had found nothing wrong with the store after spending 10 days spying on it.

The reporter is quoted as saying that his aim was to become famous. He succeeded - but he also got arrested.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Cuter sans mustache

Ahh, a freshly shaved Brandon Flowers...



...theatrical eyeliner doesn't hurt, either.

Read My Mind ~ The Killers

The Killers have become one of my all-time favorite bands. (That is, I love just about every single song they make, and we all know how rare it is to find a band like that anymore). "Read My Mind" is one of their newer songs, and the video just so happens to be set in Japan. Oh! Oh! Yeah.



Of course, it is made all the better by a cameo appearance by a capsule hotel (!!) and lyrics such as these: "The stars are shining like rebel diamonds cut out of the sun. Can you read my mind?"

Question of the Day: Procrastination

When it comes to huge, critical projects, or just small, inconsequential tasks, do you prepare in advance or procrastinate?

Answers I've received so far:
~ I get stuff done early so it doesn't hang over my head at the last minute.

My answer:
Both, sorta. I plan plan plan (hey, I'm damn good at it), but then procrastinate when it comes to the actual completion of the project. I've always told myself that the procrastination is OK because I produce better work when under a time crunch. Of course, this is likely a load of crap, but it helps me feel better about my bad habits, and the system's worked so far!

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Friday, July 20, 2007

What could be more perfect?

Yet another great Japanese game show. This time, the contestants watch a video of a man learning English. Anyone who laughs is whipped and then eliminated; the last man standing wins.



"Ten ten ten ten ten ten ten ten ten ten."

Cookie or bath?

Ya gotta love those Japanese game shows.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Question of the Day: Shoes

What pair of shoes did you wear most recently?

Answers I've received so far:
~ red stiletto fuck me pumps
~ black Airwalks

My answer:
My favorite pair of Reef flip flops. I bought them at the local surf shop back in, I think, 10th grade, which was a loooong time ago. They've held up, still look good, and are hands-down the most comfy pair of shoes I own.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Question of the Day: Appliances & Gadgets

If you had to give up a modern appliance or gadget that you really love and use, which would it be?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Television
~ TiVo

My answer:
I recently went without a microwave for a couple of weeks, learning the uncomfortable way that I'd relied on it wayyy too much for my meals. I had to actually reheat pasta and sauce in a pot, on the stove, and it took 20 minutes instead of two. That said, I don't think my choice would be microwave. How about the TV? 'Cuz if I were really desperate, I'd watch my Netflix on the computer!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Japan talks of regulating 'Net

This scary news is brought to you by Global Voices:

While nobody was watching, an interim report drafted by a study group under the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has set down guidelines for regulation of the Internet in Japan which, according to one blogger, would extend as far as personal blogs and homepages. In the report, this “Study group on the legal system for communications and broadcasting”, headed by Professor Emeritus at Hitotsubashi University Horibe Masao, discusses the possibility of applying the existing Broadcast Law [Ja] to the sphere of the Internet to regulate, under government enforcement, what gets on the web. The report also suggests that public comments be sought on the issue [Ja], in response to which the ministry has opened a space on their web page for the public to submit comments [Ja], available in the period between June 20th and July 20th.

Despite the obvious significance of the proposed regulation, neither media nor the majority of bloggers are aware of its existence.

It remains to be seen how stringent the regulations will be. Will this apply to solely news sites, or blogs as well? Either way, as a journalist and a blogger (heck, as a human being), the thought of this angers me. If I wanted to be silenced, I'd move to China or the Middle East.

Question of the Day: Street Food

The cardboard dumpling story (below) got me to thinking...
Do you enjoy any particular food sold by street vendors?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Sabrett hot dogs in NYC that I didn't get to eat while we were there (hint hint)
~ Not really

My answer:
I like the dosa guy at Washington Square Park in Manhattan, of course. He's a micro-celebrity these days; all the local magazines give him rave reviews, and people come from all over the borough for his amazing food. Also, I grew up loving the soft pretzels you buy from vendors while you're stopped at red lights in Philly. They're awesome, especially in the winter when they're steamy and sweating inside the bag. (Mmm, is it lunchtime?)


(Post your answer as a comment.)

A lil' cardboard with your dumpling, sir?



Despite our better judgement, many city dwellers patronize food carts on street corners. The hot dogs, falafels and pretzels somehow taste their best at these places, much like your favorite grilled sandwich does at the greasiest of greasy spoons.

The Associated Press reported today that street vendors in the Chaoyang province of China have lately been using cardboard to make their baozi, buns that are very similar to pot stickers here in the states. While it isn't harmful, it is certainly illegal and, well, kinda gross. Take a look at the recipe, which is 60% cardboard, by the way. Yum.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Question of the Day: Harry Potter

Will you go see the new Harry Potter film? If so, when? And have you seen the others?

My answer:
I have seen all the others several times, and will definitely go see the new one. But I can't go over the next few days as a few parties are taking up whatever time was leftover from school and work. Perhaps I'll go next week; the crowds will be smaller then, anyway!

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Creative sustainability

I found this at COLORS Magazine. How incredible that this community found a way to sustain itself, and likely do the Earth a favor at the same time.

Energy comes from pilgrims’ shit
By editor on Green Pages

Sai Baba was an Indian guru who died in 1918 and is regarded by his Hindu and Muslim followers as a saint. Today his hometown of Shirdi in Southern India, is one of the most popular religious sites in the world —about 40,000 pilgrims arrive every day to pay their respects to Sai Baba. Tourists are a good source of energy. Sulabh International Organization built a biogas generator for the town. It uses waste from the toilets in the pilgrim’s complex to produce enough energy to light the whole surrounding area. Find out more at www.shirdisaitemple.com and www.sulabhinternational.org.

This reminds me of the fellow who invented a merry-go-round that acts as a well pump, benefiting impoverished communities in Africa. Dontcha just love cool people?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

It's 11:48 p.m. Do you know where your browser is?

Places my browser has been this evening:

Looking for a party dress for graduation night.

Checking out the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Reminds me why I love activists and wackos, and makes me miss New York.

Having trouble using the Word of the Day in a sentence.

Gasping at the cost of tickets to Tokyo in the dead of winter.

Finding that they're cheaper if purchased directly from the airline, and Continental's international flights are always great.

Reading BBC's report about Al-Qaeda's threat to the UK since Salman Rushdie's knighting by the Queen.

Wondering how long it will take to download this trial version of Macromedia's Creative Suite.

Love Song

I'm preparing for 311's live show next week by listening to one of my favorite tunes, "Love Song." Of course, the original was recorded by one of my other favorite bands, The Cure. Take a listen to the original and then the newer version, and see which you prefer. I think both are amazing.

Question of the Day: Red

Look around. What's the first red thing you see?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Dart board
~ My bra

My answer:
The Wendy's cup that my Diet Coke is diluting in.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Monday, July 09, 2007

Question of the Day: Age

When it comes to dating, how much of an age difference is too much?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Um, maybe a chick over 40 would be too old. (Note: This guy is in his early 20s.)
~ 20 years
~ So long as he has a job, a home and his teeth, and he knows how to treat me, I don't much care if he's older or younger.
~ 25 years

My answer:
It all depends on the people involved. That said, I think one generation is a safe age gap, but not much more. Why I'm using generations instead of years: I think a relationship's dynamic depends upon things like (1) having similar upbringings (e.g., someone who graduated high school in 1960 might not have the same values as someone who did in 1969. Think Bandstand vs. Woodstock.), and (2) being able to "get" each other's pop culture references. If one of the two people is under the age of 25, the gap really shouldn't be more than, say, 5 years. The reason for this goes beyond the dynamic; it's about maturity and mindset. Of course, all of this is a generalization, as some of the most enviable couples I know have quite a big age gap. Perhaps their success is not in spite of the age difference, but because of it?

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Question of the Day: Sleepwear

What do you sleep in?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Socks.
~ Boxers.
(Both people emphasized that they wear one but not the other: boxers but no socks, and socks but no undies. Funny people!)

My answer:
A tank top and skivvies. Sometimes with yoga pants if it's chilly.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Things that make you go, "Aww!"

She's right. Perhaps there is hope for the rest of us.

(Thanks, Melissa.)

Tonight's tune

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Current conundrums

Things that are currently on my mind:

~ Trapezius muscle is all kinds of kinked up on the right side. The spasms come and go, but sitting at the computer, with my arms outstretched while plying the keyboard, seems to exacerbate it. Is it worth unplugging myself? Not yet.

~ Find a new dress (et al) for friend's wedding this Saturday OR find new shoes/bag/etc. to freshen the new-ish cocktail dress that I wore to our mutual friend's recent wedding. Time and money are factors, but more important is the desire to look snazzy, as almost everyone I know will be there. Hmm... Did someone say, "Entirely new ensemble"?!

~ Will I have time to clean the house in preparation for my best friend's visit from out of state for said wedding? Actually, since she's the best friend, perhaps just a quick tidy & spiff, nothing major. If there were no stacks of books and magazines alongside the bed and sofa, she'd think she was in the wrong house.

~ I must must must narrow the focus of my web project so that I can really dive into research and material gathering ASAP. (By chance, does anyone have video they shot while living in Japan?! *she asks hopefully*) Where will I find the time... Oh, I know, I just won't sleep!

~ I'm also concerned that my machine (which is pretty and smart and reliable, just like her momma!) won't approve of the new software I need to complete that project. Chanting: I wanna new MacBook, I wanna new MacBook, I wanna new MacBook. Santa, Mommy, secret admirer, anyone: I've been a good girl; really I have.

~ A variety of love woes. I'll leave it at that.

~ Planning to update my To Read list. I love when it grows, because it means someone out there is still churning out great writing. But I'm sad that it never seems to get any shorter these days, not even a little bit, because I have almost zero time for pleasure reading. August 10: graduation. August 11: tackle To Read list. :) (Check out the updated version to the right. --->)

~ Above conundrum reminded me that I've had the same three Netflix DVDs sitting on top of my TV for about a month or so, and I haven't turned that TV on in about two weeks. So, not only am I not reading my books or magazines, or watching my movies, or buying new music. It's also been months and months since I had everyone over for a movie night or game night. We could all use the relaxation (and drinks); perhaps at the end of this month... Stay tuned, folks!

You can relate, can't you?

Things That Are Difficult To Say When You're Drunk

Cinnamon
Indubitably
Innovative
Preliminary
Proliferation

Things That Are VERY Difficult To Say When You're Drunk

British Constitution
Loquacious Transubstantiate
Passive-aggressive disorder
Specificity

Things That Are Downright IMPOSSIBLE To Say When You're Drunk

Thanks, but I don't want to have sex.
Nope, no more alcohol for me.
Sorry, but you're not really my type.
Good evening officer, isn't it lovely out tonight?
Oh, I just couldn't. No one wants to hear me sing.
You're right, I can't jump over that table!

This came from Stargazer's Realm (really not worth visiting) via Clipmarks (worth a look).

Gas around the globe

Guess I ought to be thankful I only paid $3.05 for a gallon of regular yesterday.




(Courtesy of The West Virginia Surf Report, though I'm not exactly sure what that is.)

You have to see it to get it.



(Thanks, LauraK.)

Question of the Day: Overseas

If you were going to live overseas, which country would you choose?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Holland or Australia
~ Iraq!
~ I'd alternate between Ireland and Italy.

My answer:
Japan, of course! Though Ireland or the UK would be a close second.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

I have no words

Ridiculously sick.



Also ridiculously sick. (Funny how that description can mean so many things.)



And the sick hits just keep coming, though I would call this friggin' sick.



This, well, this is the pièce de résistance. They call it an effin short version of an effin great movie - so apropros. (What's with all the French?!)



This site has thoroughly entertained me while the weather was too lousy to play outside. A new fave.

Question of the Day: Fireworks

Would you rather watch a professional fireworks display or set them off yourself with family and friends? (And what are your plans for tonight?)

Answers I've received so far:
~ Watch them. I like having ten fingers! (I'll be with you tonight!)
~ Go see them, so I can spend my time drinking. (We're going to the beach for the fireworks. Or did you forget?!)
~ We spend like $1,000 on fireworks for our own show every year. Yeah! (Not sure yet._
~ Neither. I hate fireworks. (I'd rather stay home and read.)

My answer:
I like to do both. Often we spend the day at the beach or the park, then watch the fireworks at the beach. Afterwards, we come back to someone's house and set them off while the party continues. (Though this year, after we come back from the fireworks display at the beach, there will be nothing more than sparklers at our house. I so love sparklers, but will really miss my Roman candles. Tee hee!)

This photo was not taken in my town, but it gives you an idea of what our beach looks like every Fourth of July. The difference is that we have such an amazing display, we aren't allowed to sit that close to the pier anymore, and we have so many people you just can't see the sand. It's really a blast (pun intended).



(Post your answer as a comment.)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Question of the Day: Rainy days

What do you like to do on a rainy day?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Have sex
~ Fuck!
~ Read.
~ Craft
~ Shop
(Note: Punctuation is that of the responder.)

My answer:
Curl up on the sofa and watch Netflix or really, really bad TV. Sometimes that leads to reading. Other times it leads to cuddling. ;)

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Question of the Day: Vacations

(Saturday's post about amusement parks got me to reminiscing about family vacations from my childhood. Hence today's question.)

Which childhood vacation do you best remember?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Disney when I was 8.
~ Disney. The only other option was the Keys, but I was 14 then and don't consider that childhood.
(Can you tell these people grew up in Florida?)

My answer:
This surely was not my best childhood vacation, nor is it probably the one I remember the best, but it is the one I thought of first while typing up today's question. I remember going to Maine to visit a friend of my mother when I was about 5 or so. A snowstorm stranded us in the airport there overnight. I clearly remember sitting on the floor of a long hallway with my mom and our luggage, among what seemed like hundreds of other stranded passengers. We ate junk food and stayed up all night, and hey, when you're 5, that makes anything fun. Unfortunately, other than lots and lots and lots of pine trees, I don't remember much more about Maine, and I wish I did. I'll just have to go back!

(Post your answer as a comment.)

An affinity for asterisks

After answering a few silly questions, mostly about your social life and interests, this goofy quiz site will tell you which punctuation point you most resemble. This piqued the interest of the uber-nerdy part of my brain, so I spent the five minutes to take the quiz. Although the *asterisk* has always been my preferred mark of punctuation, it seems that I am an exclamation point (!!!). I have no problem with being the life of the punctuation party, and I can absolutely see the parallel to my actual life, but am I really called to action so often that it requires a comparison of me with a Chicago street hooker? (And why not Queens or Burbank or Plainfield, CT, for gosh sakes?)



You scored 69% Sociability and 41% Sophistication!

Yes, you are fine around others. Fine. But you wish you could have just a *little* more alone time. Okay, well, a lot more alone time. In fact, you'd be happier if you didn't have to go out nearly as much. You get along very well with the period, who tries mightily to take up as much of the load as he can. But fools will not listen. You want to scream, "Cut it out, for the love of Safire!" But, all of that notwithstanding, you do your duty. And, if sometimes you feel like a Chicago street hooker, you also remember that you really do have an important role to play. Your soul remains pure. Hold your head high!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Today's tunes

My ears are happy tonight 'cuz of these tunes:

Pieces of the Sun ~ Test Your Reflex





Lay Your Head Down ~ Keren Ann

Savior ~ Monster in the Machine

Drift and Die ~ Puddle of Mudd
(Of course, this video is improved by the appearance of skateboarders, muscle cars and choppers, oh my!)

She's Mine ~ Brett Dennen

Question of the Day: Anticipation

What are you most looking forward to?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Being debt free.
~ It's Sunday, so I'm already counting the days 'til next weekend.

My answer:
Finally graduating on August 10. Woo hoo!

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Killer carnival rides

A 20-something girl was killed last night on the Mind Scrambler at a county amusement park just north of NYC - apparently the fourth death at that park in as many years. This is exactly why I often avoid anything remotely dangerous at amusement parks, particularly traveling carnival rides, which are taken apart so often that riders can see loose screws and smell wet glue while they're holding on for dear life.

MSNBC reports:

The indoor attraction spins riders around in a darkened tent with flashing lights. It was the scene of another deadly accident on May 22, 2004. Stephanie Dieudonne, 7, wriggled free of the restraining bar on one of the cars, knelt on the seat and fell soon after the ride started, according to investigators.

The amusement park was not cited for any violations or required to make improvements to the ride after the girl’s death, but officials announced plans to add seat belts, more lighting and a second attendant at the Mind Scrambler.

Friday’s accident marked the fourth fatality within as many years at the county-owned Playland, a National Historic Landmark that opened in 1928. After the Mind Scrambler accident in 2004, a 7-year-old boy was killed the next year when he climbed out of his boat ride and fell, according to investigators. A 43-year-old man drowned after wading into a lake at the park on July 4, 2006.


And if the rides don't kill you, there's still a chance you might not walk away. There was a gory accident at Six Flags in Louisville, KY, last week:

A 13-year-old girl's feet were severed just above the ankles Thursday as she rode the Superman Tower of Power ride, park officials said. The ride lifts passengers 177 feet straight up, then drops 154 feet, reaching a speed of 54 mph, according to the park's Web site.


I've always gone on rides at Disney World, though, banking on the assumption that any efforts to sweep an accident under the rug would quickly make me a wealthy woman (and if I croaked, my family owning a nice chunk of central Florida). Either way, at least there'd be a silver lining, right? *smirk*)

But these reports just legitimize any misgivings I've long had about rides in general, so I'm just not sure how I feel now. It makes you wonder if those urban legends we grew up with (you know, like the man being decapitated on Space Mountain at Disney World) were really true.

Question of the Day: Tonight

What are your plans for tonight?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Not sure yet. Waiting on you!
~ Drinking the blues away. Wanna come?
~ Hoping to hook up. That would be, like, ahhh.
~ I wanna go to a movie, even though I'm exhausted.

My answer:
Was supposed to go on a pub crawl with some of the girls, but the weather is looking prohibitive. Perhaps we'll find just one place to plant our rears for the night.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

1 among 1001

1000 Journals was an artistic and social experiment carried out by Someguy (actually what this random dude from California calls himself). He allowed people to sign up to receive any one of 1000 journals that he mailed out around the country. After each person contributed to the journal she'd received (by writing, drawing, doodling, pasting random scraps of paper and doing whatever in it), she sent it off to the next person on the list. When the last person on the list was finished, it was sent back to Someguy, who then scanned the pages and posted them online for all to see. He eventually ended up creating an exhibit - and then a book - of journal pages, exposing the hopes, fears, creativity and insanity of people around the globe. A documentary is in the making.



It was an amazing project, with even more incredible results. Its successor, 1001 Journals, works a bit differently. This time around, there is an unlimited number of journals, because they are created by individuals. Those folks each purchase a journal and sign it up online. They allow people from around the world to sign up to receive it (much like we did with the original project), and it is sent to each person on that list (generally moving from one person to the next each week or two). Again, when it's completed, it's sent back to the founder, who then scans it and posts it online to share with the world. The other method is for someone to create a journal and leave it someplace public, such as a coffeehouse or bar, where people can seek it out after learning about it online or simply dive in after stumbling upon it while getting their caffeine (or Jack & Coke) fix.

Of course, I had to participate in this exercise. It is so beyond up my alley (that is, if I had an alley, it would be). So, please, sign up (all you need is a user name and email addy) to contribute your maniacal meanderings to my journal. :) It's very freeform, meaning you can do whatever you want with it, in it and on it - your blundering thoughts, scribbles, doodles, drawings, photographs, clippings, scraps, gumwrappers, art, brilliance and insanity. (One rule: nothing hateful.) If all goes well, I will do another, and another...

I love this bit on the 1000 Journals Web site:

Rediscover Your Creativity:
If you ask a kindergarten class how many of them are artists, they'll all raise their hands. Ask the same question of 6th graders, and maybe one third will respond. Ask high school grads, and few will admit to it. What happens to us growing up? We begin to fear criticism, and tend to keep our creativity to ourselves. Many people keep journals, of writing or sketching, but not many share them with people. (when was the last time a friend invited you to read their diary?) You will not be judged here. And you will have company. This is for you. For everyone.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Overheard on a Starbucks patio

From one stranger (middle-aged, sun-weathered man in Dickies) to another (20-something, red-headed girl in Chucks):

"Are your parents well?"

"Um, yeah, they are, but they're getting up there. Ya know."

"My mother died in New Jersey, and my dad died here."

"Wow. Hm."

Deviant Art

If you appreciate aesthetically pleasing things - photos, drawings, comics and such - poke around the Deviant Art site. There's so much amazing stuff that you won't notice the hours passing.

The work of Netherflux (aka Nich Angell in the UK) is sometimes melancholy, sexy, funny or dark, but always beautiful. Check it out. You won't be disappointed.




While you're there, check out the work of Angelreich, a Polish photographer and another of my favorites.


Question of the Day: Reading

What's the last thing you read?

Answers I've received so far:
~ "A Blessing on the Moon" by Joseph Skibell. Review: "Very good."
~ "Son of a Witch" by Gregory Maguire. Review: "Not as good as 'Wicked.'"
~ "The Photographer's Guide to Setting Up a Web Site" by Martyn Moore. Review: "Helpful."

My answer:
I'm slowly making my way through "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser and "Living Abroad in Japan" by Ruth Kanagy. Both are very good, but it's slow going with work and school taking up much of my time. Review of former: I haven't seen the film, but I hear it has a different focus than does the book, which goes into depth about the effect fast food has had on society (e.g., income, suburban sprawl, education, immigration, the job market, health, etc.) and the exportation of that culture. Review of latter: It is by far the best book I have found about living as an expat in Japan; it covers everything you might think of, from neighborhood descriptions and language variations to instructions on setting up your Internet service and properly pouring your beer (hint: you never pour your own beer).

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Question of the Day: Toys

If you could own today just one toy from your childhood, which would you choose?

Answers I've already received:
~ My stuffed Ernie doll
~ The original Bruce Lee action figure
~ I'm too old to remember my childhood toys
~ Chinese jump rope
~ Teddy Ruxpin, Glow-Worms, Popples and my Big Wheel

My answer:
Maybe my Dukes of Hazzard Matchbox car or Lite-Brite.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

A proper motto

I think I'll adopt this as my own:

"Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be always part of unanimity."

~ Christopher Morley

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Buzz still does it for me after all these years

Not too many things, and even fewer people, have been able to keep me happy for years on end. But Buzz 103.1 here in Palm Beach County has been doing it for me since I was about 13 years old, and some of you are able to do the math and figure out that's been a nice, long while.

Back in the day, the station was barely better than those underground and student-run stations you could only pull in while driving in a certain part of town, down a particular street, with your left turn signal on and all your windows down. For whatever reason, that's the only way you could get the signal, and it was all right by you because the music - and the attitude with which it was presented - was well worth it.

The station brought the best acts to town, often in the form of multi-act shows, and always at a price that even we broke-but-music-nutty adolescents could afford. The shows were the kind you'd beg your parents to drive you and a carload of friends to, the kind whose flyers sported those three priceless words, "All Ages Show." Yesss! The kind of shows you'd vividly remember later in life, say in your twenties, when, really, everything about music feels the same - your passion for finding great new bands, the excitement when you do, how it takes you away from all the shite and makes it all OK for a few glorious moments, its all-encompassing effect on your life.

The Buzz still organizes those shows, still plays that new music from bands that are signed with labels big and small and indie. The best is Sunday nights when they play tunes from those still-unsigned bands from right here in South Florida, the guys you can actually go see play at the local pub next weekend if you like what you hear.

Anyway, back to why the station still does it for me after all these years and all the changes made to its ownership, on-air staff, etc. Yeah, there's another rock station here. It plays the stuff that's found on the charts, and sometimes that's OK. (Hey, it's definitely better than the ever-present booty music, endless easy listening stations, and French Creole chat piped in from the islands.)
~ But, it never fails that what that station calls a "new" song is something I heard on The Buzz months ago.
~ Not to mention that The Buzz frequently throws in what they call "recycled" music (tunes from the 80s and 90s that we long-time listeners who are now well out of high school still love to hear once in a while).
~ And if I listen to that other station for a few hours at a time, I can start to count how many times I hear the same song over and over and over again.
~ The Buzz will ease you out your hangover with lighter tunes on Sunday mornings, and another night will help you decide whether to buy a new album by playing it on the air in its entirety.
~ Plus, this summer alone they've planned a slew of concerts: Flyleaf with Skillet and Dropping Daylight, Sister Hazel, Fiction Plane with The Police, Morrissey, 311 with Matisyahu and The English Beat, Candlebox, Reel Big Fish with Less Than Jake, Marilyn Manson with Slayer, The Projekt Revolution Tour, The Family Values Tour, Incubus with The Bravery, Ozzfest, G. Love & Special Sauce with Slightly Stoopid...
~ For me, at this time in my cubicle-restrained life, the best thing the station offers is live streaming online. I can plug my earbuds into the Mac and ignore my team while I crank out my work. Yay! In fact, I'm doing that right now at home -- the last few songs have been Say This Sooner by The Almost, Two Sisters by Fiction Plane, New Year's Day by U2, Supermassive Black Hole by Muse and Jambi by Tool.

Anyway, I could go on and on, and I won't. But I felt it necessary to profess my (truly) undying love for the radio station with which I've grown up, the station that has not sold out nor kicked me to the curb simply because my age no longer starts with a 1.

Thank you, music gods (and CBS Radio). To show my respects, I'll go lay flowers in front of the shrine on which I've placed my 311 tickets... 20 days 'til the show. Woo hoo! :)

Fecund

fee-kuhnd, -kuhnd, fek-uhnd, -uhnd

adjective
1. producing or capable of producing offspring, fruit, vegetation, etc., in abundance; prolific; fruitful: fecund parents; fecund farmland.
2. very productive or creative intellectually: the fecund years of the Italian Renaissance.

Dogpile search result:
A blog called Vie de Malchance. Its subhead reads, "Just a man living in a world where men are no longer necessary." If I can get past the pretty foul URL (www.fecundstench.com/wordpress), I'll check out the content.

Question of the Day: Build

Have you ever built anything?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Forts
~ An airplane for my brother, but I gave it to my Dad.
~ Yeah, but out of Legos: houses, a penis, a space ship, and maybe a gas station, too.
~ I pitched a tent once!

(P.S. I do not make up these answers!)

My answer:
The first two things that come to mind are a hutch for my pet rabbits when I was in middle school and a desk last month (though that was less involved than it sounds).

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Me, in a 126-question nutshell?

Despite my crazy day, I became bored within the first 45 minutes of being home. (No wonder I can never just relax!) Anyway, my Twitter friend Jonk posted his results after taking the Advanced Global Personality Test. I was surprised that mine were fairly accurate, considering he says his were less so. Those of you who know me personally, what do you think? The rest of you, go and check it out for yourself when you have a few minutes. (It's free, no worries.)

Stability results were high which suggests you are very relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were high which suggests you are overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense too often of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.

Extraversion results were very high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

Trait Snapshot:
clean, likes large parties, outgoing, makes friends easily, optimistic, positive, social, high self control, traditional, assertive, rarely irritated, self revealing, open, finisher, high self concept, controlling, rarely worries, tough, likes to stand out, does not like to be alone, semi neat freak, fearless, dominant, trusting, organized, resolute, strong, practical, craves attention, adventurous, hard working, respects authority, brutally honest, realist, altruistic

Still love this song

And now that I've stumbled upon the video, I dig that, too. Enjoy.

What I'm listening to

It's been a while since I last posted some music recommendations. Here are a few songs I've been listening to incessantly.

The Way I Are ~ Timbaland

Take It Away ~ The Used

Flathead ~ The Fratellis

New Slang ~ The Shins

Everything ~ Michael Buble

Toca's Miracle ~ Fragma

Wow, this list is really all over the place, isn't it? Heh, that's me, I guess!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Question of the Day: Vacations

Where did you go on your last vacation?

Answers I've received so far:
~ California and Nevada.
~ NY, you dumbass.
~ Hell.

My answer:
Orlando, FL. Specifically, the night clubs, theme parks, etc., in and around Disney World.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Monday, June 25, 2007

Question of the Day: New music

I was out of town for a few days, but you can rest easy knowing that the QOD has returned. *whew*

What band or singer did you most recently discover and love?

Answers I've received so far:
~ Matisyahu He's the last one I found that I really, really love.
~ TV on the Radio, thanks to you!

My answer:
Peter Bjorn and John, a happy-go-lucky Swedish trio. I love their lilting vocals, whistling, bongo drums and comfy strumming. Then I found the "skateboard version" of their "Young Folks" video, and had to share it with you - so cute!



Come on, people! Step right up! Fill out your comment cards! (Post your answer as a comment.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Question of the Day: Pets

What is your pet of choice?

Answers I've received already:
~ Dog, of course.
~ Cats, only cats, and never anything other than cats.
~ Snakes, particularly large ones that scare girls.

My answer:
If I must choose only one, dogs for sure. Aren't my lil' buddies adorable?




(Post your answer as a comment.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I can't count to 1 million

I'm telling you, I couldn't. No, no, it's never going to happen, and don't try to convince me otherwise. It initially sounds like an easy task.

But just watch this guy. He's laying on his sofa and counting out loud in his southern twang. Today, Day Four, he's counted between 37,001 and almost 53,000 (as of my posting).

Honest! Who would make this up?! Go, take a look, and tell me you don't quickly lose faith in your own ability to lounge about, neglect your life and otherwise make an ass of yourself on the interwebs. Yeah, naw, I'm thinking I'd sooner claim the inability to count, like, at all - not even to 10.

I say this, of course, because it would be, for me, a lesser embarrassment than completing, or even attempting, this project. Now that I look at his site more closely, I realize the man has sponsors' banners draped around his living room and is selling T-shirts bearing his smirking mug and the beaming-with-pride phrase, "I helped this idiot count to 1 million." This means that not only does he have entirely too much time on his hands and a skewed picture of what might entertain people (you know, normal people, not bloggers like me). He also has high hopes, BIG dreams. This man is an entrepreneur.

Take that, critics. You and I work much, much harder for our money. Shame on us, and God speed to him.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Question of the Day: SCUBA

Have you ever been SCUBA diving?

Post your answer as a comment.
(Bonus points if you know what the acronym stands for.)

Answers I've received already:
~ No, but I've been snorkeling.
~ No, dern it! But I want to. Does that count?
~ No, I like to breathe. Thanks.
~ Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes! Oh, wait. SCUBA? I thought you said muff. OK, nevermind.

My answer:
Nope, snorkeling is more my speed.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Question of the Day: Socks

Where do you buy your socks?

Post your answer as a comment.

Answers I've received so far:
~ Athlete's Foot
~ Target (this was a popular one)
~ Who the eff knows? I don't remember the last time I bought socks.

My answer:
Target, usually (big surprise).

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Author to be knighted (if he isn't bombed first)

Salman Rushdie has accepted the offer of knighthood from the Queen of England. But BBC and NPR report that this announcement led Mohammed Ijaz ul-Haq, Pakistan's religious affairs minister, to basically call suicide bombers to action. According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, he said, "The west is accusing Muslims of extremism and terrorism. If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British government apologizes and withdraws the 'sir' title."

For a bit of background: Rushdie is an accomplished author, whose novel "Midnight Children" won him the prestigious Booker Prize in 1981. He was accused by his fellow Muslims of making blasphemous statements in his 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses," and the Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwah (or call for assassination) against him. So, he lived pretty much in hiding for the next 10 years, until the fatwah was called off. Since then, he has been living the life of a much-loved and -respected author: book tours, speaking engagements and other intellectual pursuits.

The U.K.'s "knight committee" (I don't know its official name or if it even has one) is made up mostly of artistic types who then pass their list of candidates onto Tony Blair to "rubber stamp" before it makes its way to the Queen. When they placed Rushdie on their list of 2007 candidates, they say it didn't occur to them that it might spark international controversy or threats of violence; they say they figured "The Satanic Verses" issue was water under the bridge. Today, Duncan Campbell, senior correspondent for The Guardian, reported on NPR that Rushdie is celebrating his 60th birthday in London with his family and friends. What will come of this remains to be seen.

Barrie Hardymon wrote this on NPR's Blog of the Nation:

With all the hubbub, fatwas, and attractive chefs surrounding him, it's easy to forget that Salman Rushdie is a wonderful writer. Before he wrote a little book called The Satanic Verses in 1988, he had already won the Booker Prize (for one of my favorites, Midnight's Children... though I can't recommend his children's book Haroun and the Sea of Stories highly enough). Well, more hubbub, I'm afraid. Saturday's announcement that the Indian-born (but still British) writer is to be knighted in the UK has enraged Iran and Pakistan all over again. To some, it's an honor richly deserved; but the long held belief that The Satanic Verses contains blasphemous references to Islam, makes the politics of the knighthood pretty tricky. However, Rushdie may not care; my favorite quote of his (about poets, but you can read artists in general) is this: "A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." Here's hoping we (with your help) can do all of that here at NPR as well: start arguments... shape the world.


I, too, love that quote by Rushdie and wonder if it isn't an answer to the issue. In the end, we all should feel free to write anything we want without fear of reprisal, let alone death.

What do you think?

Video is international

YouTube has just been launched in nine other countries, and you can bet I'm on the lookout for cool stuff. But on my very first visit, I found this video about Cupid looking for a love of his own in Ireland.



Who knew Cupid had it in him?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Question of the Day: Cartoons

What's the last cartoon you watched?

Post your answer as a comment.

Some answers I've already received:
~ Smurfs
~ Dragonball Z
~ A war propaganda cartoon featuring Donald Duck as a Nazi
~ Invader Zim
~ Samurai Champloo
(Seems my friends are quite diverse. Yay!)

My answer:
Shin Chan
(definitely not for the little ones)

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Flagpole Sitta

These folks totally improved upon this already great Harvey Danger song. If only everyone's cubemates were so cool!

Get a free HIV test

The CDC says that between 180,000 and 280,000 people have HIV but don't know it yet. There are many reasons people don't get tested, fear and inconvenience among them. The usually prohibitive cost will not be a reason on National HIV Testing Day (June 27), when many health centers will offer free HIV tests. Once someone knows he has HIV, he can take the steps to maintain a high quality of life and prevent spreading it to others.

Here in South Florida, Planned Parenthood is offering free rapid HIV tests from 1 to 5 p.m. at its five centers in Broward and Palm Beach counties, which rank among the top 3 Florida counties in number of HIV/AIDS cases. The agency claims to have identified five HIV-positive people at these centers on last year's National HIV Testing Day. For locations, visit Planned Parenthood of South Palm Beach & Broward Counties, Inc. at www.lovecarefully.org.

To find a free HIV testing site in another area, visit HIV Test.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Question of the Day: Wakey wakey!

What time did you wake up today?

Post your answer as a comment.

Answers I've received already:
~ 10:30 a.m.
~ 8 a.m.
~ 2 (ish) p.m.

My answer:
I was up at 8 a.m. but went back to bed for a couple hours. (Hey, don't judge me! Sunday's my only day off!)

Some yogurt with your beetles, sir?

Vegans wouldn't eat yogurt, of course, but perhaps vegetarians should stay away from yogurt, too -- especially the strawberry kind. Apparently, the yummy pink stuff gets its color from crushed female cochineal beetles and their eggs.

See a crushed beetle, and the resulting red liquid, below. Yum.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Question of the Day: Tattoos

How many tattoos do you have?

Post your answer as a comment.

Answers I've already received:
~ None yet
~ Three
~ Eight (this was a popular number)

My answer:
One so far.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Swear Jar

I have a jar like this every Lent. Unfortunately, you really try not to curse when the money's going to charity instead of something more fun.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Question of the Day: Sheets

What color are your sheets?

Post your answer as a comment.

Answers I've received so far:
~ Leopard
~ Sky blue
~ I don't have any 'cuz I sleep on the sofa.

My answer:
Light peach.

(Post your answer as a comment.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

Have a look

Locals find respite from the scorching heat of Amritsar, India. Thank God for air conditioning. Really. (BBC)

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Children play in the rubble of demolished homes in Shanghai. What imaginations they must have to find fun in such a place. Yet rich American kids live their lives forever "booooored." (BBC, again)

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Main Street in Concord, NH, feels electric sans the neon. Ben McLeod's Flickr.com

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Word of the day

in·fin·i·tes·i·mal
[in-fin-i-tes-uh-muhl]

adjective
1. indefinitely or exceedingly small; minute: infinitesimal vessels in the circulatory system.
2. immeasurably small; less than an assignable quantity: to an infinitesimal degree.
3. of, pertaining to, or involving infinitesimals.

noun
4. an infinitesimal quantity.
5. Mathematics. a variable having zero as a limit.

"Infintesimal gradations" is one of the many suggested solutions-to-any-problem provided by the deck of cards known as Oblique Strategies. Others suggest, "Use filters," ""Go slowly all the way round the outside," and, one of my personal favorites, "Trust in the you of now." Hmm, fairly deep for a deck of cards, no?

Just Like Honey

A raw goodbye.

Set in Tokyo, to the tune "Just Like Honey" by Jesus and Mary Chain, in one of my favorite films, "Lost in Translation."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio:

Rich and full, but not obtuse.
Complex and thoughtful, but easily absorbed.
The lyrics and videos are honest-to-goodness art.
The guys are bright, socially aware and innately funky - everything one really wants a band to be, no?

Well, my words won't do the music or the band justice.
So, nevermind all you've read. Just listen.

Rock. For real.
"Staring at the Sun"



Mellow and contemplative.
"Province"


P.S. David Bowie, Peter Murphy of Bauhaus, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and others are involved in one way or another - big endorsement. Oh, and they're from Brooklyn. 'Nuff said.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Prettier in person

Don't look directly at it.

Bait and tackle

Crazy random: a tiny, silver fish laying dead in a suburban office building's parking lot.
Thinking of opening a bait and tackle shop.

Clogged pipes

Even the cleanest public restrooms are lacking.
Here, someone decided the drain was 'lacking' a stopper and added one quickly.
No paper towels for the rest of us!

Bring back love!

Hand-written sign says, 'Bring back love!'
Downtown Boca Raton isn't exactly a haven for revolutionaries (or even deep thinkers for that matter), so this sight was worth capturing.

Tune of the Day

Sondre Lerche's spunky Norwegian pop with groovy guitar melodies is my latest find. Score!


Phantom Punch

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(checkered Vans = icing)

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Could you write a novel in one month?

Some industrious fools, er, artists challenge themselves to write entire novels in a single month. Others try to create a script, draw 30 pages of a comic, or complete 10 works of art during those four weeks.

Why? As part of The Office of Letters and Light's National Novel Writing Month and its sister projects. What, you haven't heard of it? (Of course you haven't. Neither had I.) Well, according to Wikipedia:

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a creative writing project originating in the United States in which each participant attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Despite the name, the project is now international in scope. Nearly 80,000 participants registered in 2006, with almost 13,000 winners verifying their novels as meeting the goal. The cumulative word total for all participants in 2006 was 982,564,701.

When I was a reporter, I cranked out at least one story per day, and I'm not sure I reached 10,000 words a month, let alone the required 50,000. Makes me wonder if most of the participants are freelancers (that is, work for themselves from home) and thus have the time to pursue such a challenge.

I don't know how other writers might feel, but I find the idea of this project intimidating for yet another reason: I often fall into the mindset (a.k.a. trap) that I can only write when inspiration strikes, only when that "flow of consciousness" (a.k.a. creative vomiting) allows me to.

But working as a reporter forced me to look at writing as something one can do on cue. To this day, even after years of writing on cue for professors and editors, I doubt my abilities. I scowl at the final product, comparing it to some imaginary piece of work I would have created if I'd simply not been put under pressure. Truth is, perhaps I only look at those essays and news stories that way because they don't really fall under the "Writing Topics I Chose Myself" umbrella.

In the end, it's all subjective: the writing itself, the place it comes from, and the way we judge and absorb it. So, I remind myself everyday to not hesitate, to just let it flow, spit it out, puke it up, let it go, and maybe, someplace in the rubble that is my copious notes, I'll find something worthwhile, a clause or even an entire paragraph that speaks to me, to you or to somebody out there, where ever "there" is -- seems that's exactly my target market anyhow.

Regardless, it's an inspiring thought, the idea of making yourself just sit down and get on with it already. Here I was, thinking I barely had time to eat dinner, do a load of wash, and post a blog or two this evening. I better get cracking...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fantastical

"Poof Kisslets" by Klar, who does beautiful, fantastical drawings.

This shall be added to my collection of kissing images (that is, images of kisses, not images that kiss one another, though that could be interesting).


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"Don't be a douche. Stop piracy."

That's one of my favorite lines from this short film, which is ridiculous, funny, and all the better because it's Irish (if I do say so myself).

Another is, "Oh, I'll walk your plank!"



Monday, May 28, 2007

Gay flamingos adopt a chick

Carlos and Fernando, a gay flamingo couple in England, have adopted their first chick. CNN reports on the new, and quite adorable, family:



I'm listening to...

"Lazy Eye" ~ Silversun Pickups

"Words" ~ Lucinda Williams

"Flathead" ~ The Fratellis

"Split Needles" ~ The Shins

"Wait and Bleed" ~ Slipknot

"Mojo" ~ Peeping Tom

"Simmer Down" ~ Mighty Mighty Bosstones

"Waiting Room" ~ Fugazi


And you should, too!

"Prophecy" ~ Remy Zero

Strange video, but great song.
Flashback to the '90s!
Most importantly, it's on "The Last Kiss" soundtrack, which Zach Braff produced, so you know it's golden.



Tweet me, baby

To keep up with what I'm doing and thinking (cuz God knows you just HAVE to), go to Twitter.com/MetroOwl, create a username, and make sure it's connected to your cell. Then befriend me (I'm now on Twitter as "MetroOwl" to make it easier for everyone to find me). I figured it out, so it's pretty simple.

Now, everytime you send a text to 40404, I (and all your other Twitter friends) will get the text. And everytime any of us sends out a tweet, you'll get it, too. Pretty rad, eh? Course, it is quite ridiculous, and a big drag on our attention spans and efficiency. But who the hell cares. Tech rocks.

Here's what Slate.com has to say about it:


What Are You Doing?
The allure of Twitter, the latest Web sensation.

By Michael Agger
Posted Tuesday, April 10, 2007, at 4:15 PM ET


Twitter is the newest assault on your attention span. Once you've signed in, the Twitter site immediately prompts you with a question in bold type: "What are you doing?" Below, there's a blinking cursor and a blank white space where you have 140 characters with which to answer. That's basically it. Here are some twitter messages, known as "tweets," culled this morning:

limburger2001 watching csi, and preparing for our work meeting tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. Thank god for coffee ! ...

jeremias listening to Curious George in the background while drinking terroir coffee whose headquarters happen to be 5 minutes away

tiroriro Che! Me voy a cocinar

nikomiとなりの801ちゃん(本)で"「そううけほん」でぐぐれ"とか書いてるのに当の801ちゃんのblogがトップでヒットすんのは絶対罠だ

Geewiz Just recovered from a night of playing WoW.

These messages are culled from Twitter's "public timeline." Most tweets are viewable by all. They join a stream of tweets from around the globe—a ticker tape of quotidian detail. The tweets you write are also sent to designated friends via text message, e-mail, or instant message. Finally, strangers can elect to "follow" you and receive your updates. According to tracking site Twitterholic, the top 10 twitterers have thousands of people following them—a literal cult of personality. Paul Terry Walhus, a gray-haired Austin coffee-shop blogger who has 8,789 friends and 1,722 followers, is currently the most popular person on the site. His latest tweet: "5:33 am cst L:78704 starting work week ... full plate today ... toast, mango yogurt and coffee w half and half."

Drive-through

(drīv'thrōō')

adjective:
Relating to or conducting exchanges with clients who drive up to a window and remain in their automobiles: drive-thru banking.
drive-through Performed or provided quickly and routinely: a drive-through delivery in a hospital.

noun:
A drive-through establishment, especially a restaurant.
A window at such an establishment, from which business is conducted.

In a recent tweet on Twitter:
"They actually don't let you walk through a drive-thru?"