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.)