Sunday, December 10, 2006
See the magic:
The entire dinner was amazing, as is the tradition over at Brie's. The tarts came out great, too, and had many happy customers.
Some things I learned from this recipe:
- Vegetable peelers are perfect for making decorative curls of white chocolate
- DO NOT grease the sides of your pie pan.
- Some recipes take a long time. This one contains the word "overnight" twice.
- Crust is delicious
If you click through to the flickr, you can read all of the photo descriptions as well.
The recipe comes from epicurious.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
They played a great set, including a heavy dose of my favorite album, Wet From Birth. We heard my favorite song, Desperate Guys, as well as Paranoia Attack.
Thanks, Kayla for turning me on to this great band! I got you a sticker. Remid me to bring it home to you at Christmas.
I apologize for the sub-par picture. The Showbox had a no-photos policy, which I ignored, and a staff member threatened to confiscate my camera after I took a few snaps. Trust me, though, the show was beautiful. We were also front and center, thoguh we retreated a few rows of people to reach slightly safer ground. There was some pretty violent dancing going on up front. To get a really good idea of what a show looks like, check out Kayla's pictures.
At the risk of overdosing on YouTube embeds, here is the projection video from Paranoia, posted by The Faint themselves on their YouTube channel.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Now imagine a locomotive...
Now picture a generator the size of a locomotive.
That is what is sitting outside my building, about 75 feet below window right now. It sounds like a freight train and smells like a schoolbus tailpipe. Why is there a locomotive-sized generator outside my window? That's how you restore power to a 25-story apartment tower! Harbor Steps had a catastrophic power failure yesterday, affecting my entire tower.
Last night turned out to be a glorious respite from electricity. I lit some candles. I cozied up with my a new novel and read for an hour. Then, I changed into some soft, extra-warm clothes, nestled snugly under my comforter, sleeping soundly in my pleasingly brisk room.
This cacophony will prevent such a peaceful slumber this night.
According to our concierge, we should be back on grid power by Tuesday.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Hugo and I went to Ozzie's last night with Stephen, Eliot, Julie and Daniel. This was the first time I had been. Guess what they have at Ozzies....
If you guessed Karaoke 7 nights a week, and double karaoke (upstairs and downstairs) every Friday and Saturday, then you would be correct. Welcome to the Jungle indeed.
At one of the downstairs bars in Ozzie's (there are several), their music mix included both Lover I Don't Have to Love by Bright Eyes and The Hurricane by Bob Dylan.
Because I am lazy, I waited until yesterday to buy my tickets for The Faint. They are sold out already. We are going to try to buy some scalped tickets the day of the show.
In other news,
Thursday, November 23, 2006
With my new monitor, I know I am out of the mainstream as far as pixels go. For those of you reading on a 1024-pixel display, how does it look? do you have a horizonal scroolbar?
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Walking down stairs is an autopilot activity. You don’t have to think about it. But if you were to break down how it works, it is something like this:
1. You kind of pay attention while you take the first few steps. This lets you get the feeling for the rhythm of the stairs.
2. You put one foot in front of the other and descend down the stairs.
Normally, the story ends here. You do whatever it is you planned to do at the bottom of the stairs. However, Monday night was tragically different.
1. Starts out innocent enough…
2. And then… an unexpected twist
In case you weren’t paying attention, here was the key difference
Who designed this? Isn’t there some kind of law that says that stairs must have a consistent slope? Why, yes, there is. A quick search for “seattle building code stairs” brings up the Seattle Housing and Building Maintenance Code as the first result.
A. Stair and Stairway Construction.
1. All stairs, except stairs to inaccessible service areas, exterior stairs on grade and winding, circular or spiral stairs shall have a minimum run of nine inches (9") and a maximum rise of eight inches (8") and a minimum width of thirty inches (30") from wall to wall. The rise and run may vary no more than one-half inch (½") in any flight of stairs. [emphasis mine]
When I fell, I didn’t even realize it until a split second after impact. My body was overcome with pain. I looked around to see if anyone had seen me fall, and no one nearby seemed to notice. On the way down, I hit my tailbone directly on the edge of a stair. It hurt immensely.
I called the 24-hour nurse line shortly after the show. The nurse asked me a series of questions to determine how bad the injury was: “Can you feel your toes?” Yes. “Are there shooting pains in your thighs and groin?” No. “Is there blood when you go to the bathroom?” No. Thank god, it could have been a lot worse. She told me how to do the ice/heat therapy, and that the course of treatment would be the same regardless of whether it was a break or a bruise. I would not need to see the doctor unless it felt equally bad or worse after four days, or if answer changed to any one of the previous questions.
Today it is almost one week later. I definitely feel better than last week, but it still hurts to sit. Has anyone else had any annoying injuries?
Sunday, November 12, 2006
If it weren't tough enough to watch Texas get burned by the Kansas State Wildcats, for some reason I could not get this image out of my head. Thanks to the magic of paint, now it can be stuck in your head too.
You have to give Kansas State credit. They played as smart and aggressively all game. They exploited our inconsistent secondary and capitalized on turnovers.
If the 'Horns want to be considered among the college football elite, we have to win games like this one. We have to be strong enough as a team to overcome the loss of our starting quarterback.
The truth is, we've been sneaking away with comebacks for a long time now. The recent Oklahoma State games, the last two times we've played at Nebraska, both Rose Bowls, 4th and 18…
That Kansas game in 2004 was one of those games we probably deserved to lose, but won anyway. If there is any karmic balance in the college football universe, Saturday's game was a tip back toward equilibrium.
By the way, if you're not familiar with the reference here, it is a rehash of this cliché which has been getting lots of recent
attention on boingboing. Photo credit goes to Charlie Riedel of the AP. I found it from ESPN.com.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Photo courtesy of Kayla. She took this sweet shot of The Faint playing at Stubbs back in the Summer of '05.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I am writing this blog post using voice recognition in Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Word 2007. I briefly trained the computer to recognize my voice using the well-designed voice tutorial and training wizard. My intention is to publish this entire post without touching my keyboard or mouse.
I am still getting the hang of using voice recognition. I have not yet memorized the basic commands, but most of them are pretty intuitive and I get it right anyway. The best thing though is that the dictation is extremely accurate. I began with about 10 minutes of training and the system learns to better recognize my voice the more use this feature.
The next thing I would like to learn is how to use voice recognition to insert characters such as quotation marks. It is very easy to use punctuation like periods, commas, exclamation points! And question marks? It is surprising that the voice recognition system is able to use the inflection of my voice to determine whether I mean to dictate the name of the punctuation mark or to insert the punctuation mark itself.
Friday, November 03, 2006
Thursday, November 02, 2006
MyHeritage.com has some neat facial recognition technology, which is exhibited in this tempting little celebrity look-alike app. I'd like to see this kind of stuff used to recognize my friends in my own pictures to expedite tagging on Flickr and in Vista.
Chen Kaige (Simplified Chinese: 陈凯歌; Traditional Chinese: 陳凱歌; pinyin: Chén
Kǎigē; Wade-Giles: Ch'en K'ai-ko) (born August 12, 1952 in Beijing, China) is a
famous Chinese American film director. Although he holds an American passport,
most of his films were shot and shown in China.
Inspired by Erin's post on this topic, encouraged by Jackie, for the betterment of humanity, and partly as a hedge the subject matter of my next post, here's a rundown of my charitable contributions for next year. American Civil Liberties Union – This is my most passionate cause. The free exchange of information is the foundation of a democratic society. We cannot trust the government to protect our cherished liberties. It is the very nature of power to crave more power, which is clearly evident by the actions of our present administration and Congress. This contribution helps protect our right to speak and publish ideas, our right to criticize our own government, and our right to be left alone in our own homes.
Planned Parenthood of Western Washington – Unplanned pregnancies lead to unplanned children. These children are disproportionately likely to grow up in poverty. The futures of the mothers can be irreversibly derailed, schooling may be cut short, they may have to enter the workforce earlier than planned, and they may be facing these challenges without the help of a loving husband.
I unabashedly support full reproductive education in public schools, including birth control methods, abstinence, emergency contraception, and abortion options. I also support the wide availability of reproductive healthcare, including abortion services.
United Way – The United Way is my way of helping out my community in a broad and less-targeted way. This money is also multiplied twice: once by Microsoft, and again by the Gates Challenge.
Humane Society – Pets make people happy, and our friends need to be protected when the going gets rough.
Conservation Northwest – Keeping our homeland green, beautiful, and habitable for people and animals.
KUOW – Our local public radio station and NPR affiliate. Public radio is one direct way to support the free exchange of information. The corporate media can usually say whatever they want, but their stream of information is filtered and distorted by the interests of their conglomerate owners.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Tonight I sang Strawberry Fields Forever to a nearly-empty Irish Emigrant. What happened to this place? It used to be so packed. Strawberry Fields Forever modulates downward on the word "down". I couldn't actually remember how the song went until I got on stage and heard the first few strains of the intro. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was stuck in my head. The other song I sang was Panama by Van Halen. Does anybody remember that Drew Carey episode ...?
It was Eric's last night for Trivia tonight. We were one point away from second place. I got a question right which was totally a wild guess. The category was "Haloween Traditions." The question was something like "... this tradition used to be used to suggest who would be the next to be married, similar to the throwing of the bouquet ...". Leave a comment if you think you know the answer. Brie wore her glasses tonight.
I am listening to Barack Obama's audiobook version of The Audacity of Hope. I like his thought process. I prefer Senator Obama to Senator Clinton. Obama vs. McCain ... could I only dream of such good options.
I am rediscovering my Dave Matthews albums. Spoon in spoon, stirring my coffee.
If you can find Jennifer's Windows Live Space, you can find a picture of my Halloween costume. I'll post it myself after actual Halloween has passed.
I want to make a blog post about my plans for a room without a desk. But I'm hung up on mocking up a composite picture of what it will look like. The actual project is hung up on me cleaning my room. I will not buy new stuff until my room is clean.
Before I make a blog post about buying stuff for myself, I feel like I should make a blog post about my 2007 charitable contributions. Like Erin's. But do I really want to talk about that? Does anyone care who I give money to?
Sunday, Hugo, Jennifer and I ate at Kingfish, a soul food restaurant up on Capitol Hill halfway to Madison Park. It was tasty, but incredibly heavy. I felt it all day. I did not realize until I was halfway done eating that I had ordered a comically stereotypical meal: a waffle, with fried chicken, served with watermelon.
The rain yesterday was beautiful; contrasted with bolts of bold sunlight. Today I shivered while trying to buy Haloweeen candy. The sun set at 4:55.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
No, I'm not kidding. Even jokingly, I don't think I could come up with something this lame. Apparently, if I could, I would be $200,000 richer. This is the product of too many years of encouraging people to think outside the box. Furthermore, embracing something simply because it is innovative, irrespective of whether it is actually good. Someone needs to put whoever came up with this back into the box, and tape it shut.
Here are my free suggestions, all of which are measurably better than "Metronatural".
"Seattle: Come fall in love"
"Seattle: My mom likes it"
"Seattle: I live here voluntarily"
"Seattle: Experience multiple shades of green" (This could do double duty for tourism and the chamber of commerce)
"Seattle: Yeah, it's just like this for 6 months out of the year"
And now some of the niche slogans:
"Seattle: Liberal heaven"
"Seattle: Jesus who?"
"Seattle: Free Wi-Fi!"
"Seattle: Not as hot as Texas"
"Seattle: Well-off hipster-geeks" [link]
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Sometimes in a song there is a word, one word that really stands out. It usually has to do with how that word fits in to the rhythm of the particular phrase. Two examples stuck out today, and I think it might have to do with the fact that they are both long words:
From Welcome to the Jungle by Guns 'n' Roses
If you got a hunger for what you see
You take it eventually
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me
From The Dark of the Matinee by Franz Ferdinand
I time every journey to bump into you, accidentally
I charm you and tell you of the boys I hate
All the girls I hate
All the words I hate...
Now I'm wondering if the fact that these are both adverbs has anything to do with it.
My Senators are:
Maria Cantwell, Democrat incumbent, up
for re-election this year against Republican Mike McGavick.
Patty Murray, Democrat incumbent, in the
middle of her term.
My representative is:
Jim McDermott, Democrat Incumbent of the 7th District of Washington. He has an excellent record on protecting my civil liberties. Thanks Jim! By the way, Representative McDermott is unchallenged this November. Seriouly Republicans? Nobody?
So, congresspersons, you better be on your best behavior. I'm watching you.
If you're interested in researching your candidates, the New York Times 2006 Election Guide is a great place to start.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
If you were to open my cereal cupboard, as I did Monday morning, you would find:
Kashi Go LeanI like the healthy stuff, but it was definitely a Cinnamon Toast Crunch morning. Yeah, yummy stuff, I know. Most mornings, I am not in the mood for anything big, and this day was no different. In fact I usually don't even have a bowl of cereal. I prefer a Slim Fast shake.
O Organics Oat Bran Flakes
Northern Gold Raspberry & Blueberry Granola
Northern Gold Raspberry & Blueberry Granola (backup box)
Cinnamon Toast Crunch
But Monday, as I kept looking back and forth between the CTC and the pyramid of SlmFast containers, I got an idea. Then I backed off the idea because it seemed too childish. Then I came to my senses and remembered that I can do whatever the hell I want because I'm an adult.
Laughing at how silly I had been for attempting to govern myself, I pulled down a rock glass and poured half a glass of milk. Added half a scoop of vanilla Slim Fast. Stirred it up. Then fill up the glass with Cinnamon Toast Crunch.
Voila. (If I were composing this post in Microsoft Office Word 2007, instead of Blogger's shitty online editor, that word would have the correct accent marks.)
In related news, Slim Fast must have been on my mind the other night, because I actually quoted to someone the famous Tommy LaSorda tagline, "If I can do it, you can do it." But in that context, it had to do with crawling out from under tables at the Irish Emigrant.
Speaking of the Irish Emigrant, Monday night I sang Sunday Morning by No Doubt. I couldn't resist the challenge of trying to sing Gwen Stefani. It came out all right... above average. Not quite as good as my Axl Rose.
Speaking of Axl Rose, "Axl Rose" is an angram for "Oral sex". Thanks Wikipedia! What would I do without you!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
These are extremely easy to make. I used-
Granola, homemade :)
Peaches, prepared with brown sugar and honey, to make them burnt orange.
Actually, that wasn't the real reason. The peaches are almost out of season, so they needed a little help to be tasty.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
SEATTLE - A man who was assaulted by a stranger in front of Westlake Center in Seattle pulled out a gun and shot his attacker once, killing him.
And lesson here? Don't try to beat up a stranger. They can legally kill you.
Investigators said the man who was killed approached the other and out of the blue started assaulting him. The man who was being hit fired one round from his own weapon, which police say was legally registered.
Police said the man will likely not face charges.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
According to this CNN article, Saudi Arabia is planning to "build a fence along its entire 560-mile (900-kilometer) border with Iraq to prevent terrorists from entering the kingdom from the chaotic north."
Seriously, a fence? Did anyone think that a fence between the US and Mexico would actually work to keep out Mexican immigrants, who, for the most part, are peaceful and only seeking gainful employment?
Iraqi terrorists, by definition, will be much more malicious and much more likely to be equipped with the kind of tools necessary to, say, cut a hole in the fence, or maybe even blow a huge hole in it.
I guess it's a good time to be in the fence-building business.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sage: it is the only chore i really abhor
Amanda: yay rhyming
Sage: i'd rather be mopping, or maybe go shopping
Sage: vacuum my carpet and ...
Sage: then roll around on that same carpet
Sage: wipe down the counter and maybe encounter a germ or spot or stain
Sage: then spray them with tilex and laugh as I flex and wipe them away with disdain
Sage: ok, that's enough
Amanda: all right
Amanda: i'm going to go to sleep
Sage: i'm going to post that rhyme in my blog
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Don't Stop Me Now by Queen is my new favorite song. I first heard it on the Queen Greatest Hits CD that my parents got me, but it somehow slipped under my radar, or it went unnoticed among the other songs.
Last Friday, I was listening to my Killer Queeen Radio station on Pandora, and it played this song. It was like discovering it all over again. I listened to it in my car a few times on the way home, and now it is firlmy stuck in my head.
Then on Saturday, I printed out the lyrics and practiced singing it a few times when Hugo wasn't around. I wonder what the neighbors think ...
I am going to sing this at Karaoke if they have it.
In other news, I finished Lolita. It was amazing. Definitely the most entertaining use of the English Language I've ever experienced.
Now that I am immune from spoilers, I decided to read the Wikipedia article about Lolita (I won't link to it lest I make it too tempting to spoil yourself before reading the book).
As you would probably guess, but not until the two subjects were proximate enough in your mind to snap together by their own magnetism, Don't Stand So Close To Me by the Police is referring to Lolita in the line "Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov."
Following the hyperlinks which are so delightfully inherent to Wikipedia, one discovers that the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing reuses the chords from "Don't stand so/Don't stand so/Don't stand so close to me" in "I want my/I want my/I want my MTV".
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Ron Suskind - The One Percent Doctrine
Whereas previously, I only hypothesized that the President routinely eschewed reason and made decisions based on pre-concieved ideology, now I have some substantiation.
Vladimir Nabokov - Lolita
Gautam was right. "You want to lick the words right off of the page." Nabokov is an absolute artist with the English language. This book is funny, absurd, arousing, tragic, amusing, and incredibly hard to put down.
Books I have read recently
Gary C. Schroen - First In
Schroen is a CIA commander who airlifts into Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 to secure the allegiance of several Northern Alliance warlords. He writes with a good voice, and the topic is interesting. ****
Barbara Ehrenreich - Nickled and Dimed
Ehrenrenreich is a journalist who goes "undercover" to work and survive on low-wage jobs. This book was good enough to make it to the end, but not a must-read by any account. It's a good read if you want to gain perspective into the life of a person who is working poor, without actually diving into such an unpleasant experiment yourself. ***
Ian Kerner - She Comes First
Don't take my word for it. Read this book, and then ask your girlfriend for the review. ****
Al Franken - Lies and the Lying Liras Who Tell Them
Franken is AWESOME. Hilarious and pointed. *****
Kurt Vonnegut - A Man Without a Country
An unususal non-fiction offering by Vonnegut. Kind of a loose retrospective. I read it on the plane coming back from Texas. Nothing special. Read Breakfast of Champions instead. *
Eric Schlosser - Reefer Madness
Fascinating and engaging stories; extremely well researched. This book is 3 essays on vices which have a thriving black market in America - Marijuana, Porn, and Immigrant Labor. I have recommended this book countless times. ****
James Whyte - Crimes Against Logic
Routine treatise on logical argument. Pretty dry. Reasonably short. **
Eric Schlosser - Fast Food Nation
You have to love reading Eric Schlosser. This book gives a great history of fast food chains in the U.S., traces the plants, animals, and chemicals that become fast food, and tells some personal stories of fast food workers. I liked it a lot. Especially interesing is his discussion of artificial flavor. ****
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner - Freakonomics
This book is popular for a reason. Lots of well-reasoned analysis of mondern day life and human behavior. Good voice. ****
Books I have started and not finished
Various - Twilight of Empire: Response to Occupation
This book is pretty depressing. I don't any reinforcement to think that the Iraq war is a misguided, mismanaged fiasco.
John McCain - Character is Destiny
I oredered this from Amazon after seeing McCain on The Daily Show. Why did I actually think I wanted to read this book?
Jim Hightower - Thieves in High Places
Next to Franken, this is less funny and more flimsy. Read Franken instead.
Virginia Postrel - The Substance of Style
The subject matter is interesting, but about half-way through the book, I could no longer stand the author's writing style. Let's play a game: How many times repeat the same idea in one poorly organized chapter? Hmm, even tthat's a waste of time. Let's read a book that's well written.
George Riley Scott - The History of Prostitution
This book is hilariosly unsubstantiated. The author makes sweeping generalizations on almost every page and uses them to build an argument. I might come back to this one because it is so amusingly uneducational.
Barry Schwartz - The Paradox of Choice
The Paradox of Choice is one of those books you can judge by the cover. I absorbed the entire thesis of the book by reading the jacket. I'm not even really sure why it takes so many pages to make the point.
Sam Harris - The End of Faith
Harris is unashamed in criticizing religion. But I am not really engaged. This book for me is like preaching to the chior, only the opposite of that. After the first few chapters, I was not biting.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
The latest thing everyone should know about is my new flickr photo site. Two weeks ago, I began uploading the 4000+of digital pics I've taken since I bought my camera in 2004. Soon I will begin uploading the archive of film photos dating back through my freshman year of college, and some earlier. Thanks, Kayla, for scanning those!
Since Brette has been gone, I've been reading a lot more, and sleeping -- sometimes 8 hours a night! I've also returned to my ProClub routine. The frequency of eating out has also returned to pre-summer levels. I guess that's a good thing and a bad thing.
With some of my newly discovered free time, I've been frequenting a variety of Seattle's famous and not-so-famous coffee shops to relax and read. Another planned coffeshop activity is continuing the tagging of my flickr photos ... an easy, but repetetive task.
Some random summer notes:
- Brette was here. It was fantastic. See the photos -- they tell the story pretty well.
- I skipped Karaoke this week. That broke an 8-week stretch of
self-amusement at the Emigrant.
- Speaking of Karaoke and Brette, this summer we sang two of the cheesiest duets in the history of recorded music: Don't Go Breaking My Heart, by Elton John and Kiki Dee, and I've Had the Time of My Life, from Dirty Dancing.
- Some fun solo flights included Welcome to the Jungle, Take on Me, and Power of Love ... featuring the drunk girl jumping on my back while I was singing.
- We discovered Byzantion, the best restaurant int the universe.
- I went Kayaking around Lake Union with my coworkers. My arms were sore for 4 days.
- I'm thinking about getting a new car. I test drove 4 last Saturday: Audi A3, Audi A4, Lexus IS250 and Acura TSX. Of the set, the Acura wins. I am waiting for them to release the 2007 models in the Fall.
And the last last tidbit for this late coffee-prolonged post: how I unexpectedly found a photo of myself while looking for a photo of someone else. The person who took the photo does not know me, but she might after I IM her to tell her this story, and ask for a copy of the full-sized picture. I'll use initials below for the people who may not want to be public online.
Earlier tonight, whileI was also not sleeping because I had too much coffee today I thought to myself, "Remember Kayla's friend KH? From Softball? She was cute. I wonder what she's up to; where she went to school. I bet she's on Facebook. After remembering how to spell her name, I found a girl that was probably her. As is the case with people on Facebook who are not your friends or in your network, you cannot click thorugh to their profile.
So, yeah, that's probably her. Hmm, wonder if she has a blog. A Google search to that effect finds a different person, KA, who uses KH's full name in a post on her. Interesting, KA went to high school in my district. Even more interesting, KA has a photo sharing site. Let's see what she shares.
Hey - even though she goes to a different school, she's clearly a Texas Longhorns fan. She even has some game photos. Cool! UT vs. A&M 2004 -- I was at that game (yeah, I know, I was at every game for five years)... but what is this? A close-up of the Senior T on the field? Yes it is. Good picture, KA! That's me 4 steps inside the 10, with Brendan to my right and Sarah to my left. Hook 'em baby.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
|You are a |
You are best described as a:
Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test
Monday, April 10, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
But don't take my word for it, travel to the distand land of Brittleactica and listen to the crimson-clad Grand Dame of Pmstonia tell her story.
Pmstonia is a volitile and ever-changing region of Brittleactica. Pmstonians are known for their harsh legal system. Even practical jokes are against the law in every of Pmstonia. The punishment for such a crime is the dreaded evil eye.
The discovery of the Micacle Elixir even applies to our inhabitants of PMStonia. We now have a reason to believe that consumption of the White Wonder Tonic may also reduce the symptoms of PMS. This is of particular significance for you husbands of PMSTonia.
I guess the fact that I am telling you this is a sign that this is a pretty effective ad campaign. I'll leave you all to go play around in Brittleactica while I go eat some Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I think I will pour too much milk in the bowl on purpose, so I'll have to drink the cinnamon-y excess.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
What I sing? Thanks for asking.
- Elvis Costello - Alison
- I got this out of my system while it was still early and the place was mostly empty. Gautam's tip: sing louder.
- Ides of March - Vehicle
- No problem singing louder. I absolutely love this song. And I'd like to take this space to point out that this song is not by Blood, Sweat and Tears. It's an easy mistake to make, though, it sounds almost exactly like them. When I downloaded the mp3 for the first time (using original Napster in 2000, baby), it was mislabeled.
- Huey Lewis and the News - The Heart of Rock 'n' Roll
- Detroit! (bop bop)... (da da do wop) Ugh! Heart of Rock 'n' Roll
- Queen - Bohemian Rapshody
- We had to do something that would get all of the guys on stage, and the entire bar singing along. Any way the wind blows...
Annnnnnd tomorrow, I have a 10am conference call. Sweet. Better get some sleep.
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
I've been reading a lot about this online game Second Life, and I felt compelled to check it out. I have barely scratched the surface of the game world (I haven't left "Orientation Island"), but I did spend about two hours customizing my avatar. What do you think? Does it look like me? Their character is extremely flexible, allowing you to change practically every physical attribute, including earlobe attachedness.
I now wonder- what does it say about someone who creates an avatar in their own image? Does this demonstrate my self confidence, and my firm connection to reality? Or is it a sign of narcissism or a lack of creativity?
If you got to design your own avatar, would you make it look like you, or would you make up some fantasy character?
Thursday, March 02, 2006
The Federal Emergency Management Agency-contracted cruise ships still occupied by emergency staff in New Orleans and Mississippi will be vacated by 7 p.m. today.Let's run some quick numbers here. $236 million / six months = 1,311,111 per night; divided by an average of, say, 2000 relief workers = $655 a night.
As of Monday, there were still 1,428 emergency response personnel in New Orleans on two Carnival cruise ships...
The $236 million contract between FEMA and Carnival cruise lines only lasted for six months. Originally there were about 2,400 police officers, firefighters and EMS workers on the ships in New Orleans. link [dailytexanonline.com]
By comparison, you can stay at the Waldorf in New York for $549 a night. This is a pretty bad deal, FEMA.
As I was looking for pictures of cruise ships docked in New Orleans, I found the Honolulu Advertiser's take on this whole debacle.
To critics, the price is exorbitant. If the ships were at capacity, with 7,116 evacuees, for six months, the price per evacuee would total $1,275 a week, according to calculations by aides to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. A seven-day western Caribbean cruise out of Galveston can be had for $599 a person.
"When the federal government would actually save millions of dollars by forgoing the status quo and actually sending evacuees on a luxurious six-month cruise, it is time to rethink how we are conducting oversight. A short-term temporary solution has turned into a long-term, grossly overpriced sweetheart deal for a cruise line," said Coburn and Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in a joint statement yesterday calling for a chief financial officer to oversee Katrina spending.
Friday, February 03, 2006
In other news, the White House is stonewalling congress [nytimes.com]. The Senate Intelligence comittee wants to know how the Bush Administration justifies the legality of the domestic surveillance program. The administration wrote a "whitepaper" about the decision, but refuses to share the memos in which the lawyers actually gave the advice.
I know that in the civil arena, we have attourney-client privilege, but this is different. This is the pertinent subcomittee of the Senate exercising it's oversight duty.
Behind all the spin, you have to wonder what is in those legal opinions. If they supported the warrantless domestic wiretapping as it is being done, we would have seen them a long time ago. But what is much more likely is that the several memos contain the legal advice that the program is in fact illegal, or at best tenuously legal, which the adminstration then ignored.
On top of this, Republicans are trying to play watch-the-birdie by claiming [nytimes.com] that
I'm glad they cleared that up! The real problem is not what they did, but how they got caught. This is disgusting.
"...the most serious issue was the unauthorized leak of sensitive information on intelligence."
Don't feel like making a free login for nytimes.com? Neither did I. Borrow one from BugMeNot.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
In case you haven't heard, Internet Explorerer 7 Beta 2 Preview is available for download. I've been using early builds of IE 7 for about six months now, and it's hard to go back. Many of the things I like about the new IE are the reasons why I have been a Firefox user since ... since it was called Phoneix.
Here is what I like about the new IE, grouped by "in Firefox" and "actually cooler than firefox"
Tabs. Glorious tabs.
Search box in the north-east corener
RSS feed support
Actually cooler than Firefox:
Full page zoom... seriously. No more fonts refusing to resize.
Be heard! Please send feedback. It will make the product better. Link is also available from the help menu.
The views expressed in this blog are the personal views of Sage Kitamorn.
Monday, January 30, 2006
I'm not done ripping yet, but I'm pretty far along. I think I've ripped in the neighborhood of 160 discs so far, and I have about 30 left. I had ripped many of my CDs before, but they were in a mix of formats, most of them in OGG Vorbis. I'm all for open source and stuff, but deciding to rip 100 CDs into OGG Vorbis is like painting yourself into a corner and then painting your feet as well, out of frustration.
This time I'm playing for keeps. I do not want to do this again. Here's my strategy:
1. Rip everything as lossless audio (FLAC)
2. Use a program to batch-convert all of the FLACs to MP3
The benefits are great:
1. If I ever change my mind about what lossy format or bitrate I want my music to be in, I can do step 2 again with minimal effort
2. At home, I get to listen to the FLAC files, which sound exactly like the original CDs.
In order to live up to my slogan, I brought down the Media Center PC so I could rip with both hands. As a result, I had FLACs and MP3s spread across 2 computers. The solution was a nifty free program from Microsoft, SyncToy. SyncToy is perfect. It is a versitle and easy-to-use app to intelligently move files from one folder to another, or to synchronize the contents of two folders with one another. I highly suggest it.
The next step now is to go buy an MP3 player. I have never seriously thought about getting an iPod (or other player) to this point, because I knew all my music was in an incompatible format. Now that I'm past that block, the shopping may begin. What should I get?
Saturday, January 28, 2006
[1-10 added by sage for how much I agree ... 10= strongly agree, 1 = bullshit]
You are sensitive and indecisive at times.  You are a freedom lover and a strong person. [8 why are these in the same sentence?] You are shy and reserved.  If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. You are very tidy person.  There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. [1 This sentence makes no sense] Your life is always full of changes. [Like sobering up... this profile is a real buzz kill ]
You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. [If A then A!] You love excitement and create it wherever you go. [back to the rating scheme ... 1] You have a strong personality and you like to command, influence and control people. 
You are not a romantic person by nature. [-1] It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. [I agree that it is safe... safe to dance] You don't think much about yourself. [Or do I not think about myself much? 0]
Draw you own house and stick it on Liz's street. My street is so exclusive, it doesn't exist. Take that!
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
As I lifted each set out of it's box, I recalled how old I was when I got it, how I got it, or who got it for me. It was a feast of nostalgia.
One Christmas when I was probably about nine, I got $50 spending money. We were in Cleveland, at Yia Yia and Papou's just like any year back then. After Christmas, I went to the local K-Mart or Odd Lots with my Mom specifically to go Lego shopping. That is the day I bought my the fire station.
Mom and Dad got me the pirate ship as a reward for being chosen into the "SES" gifted and talented program in elementary school. They clearly thought it was a bigger deal than I did. That program allowed for the participating students to come early one day a week for a special elective class of their choosing. I chose computers. The computers we had in the North Park Elementary computer lab were Apple IIe's with two 5.25" floppy drives. One was for the operating system. The other was for the program you wanted to run. (Did you ever wonder why your computer skips B:\ when assigning drive letters?)
The hospital was one of the first big sets I ever got. I vaguely remember discovering it peeking out from the top shelf of my parent's closet a few weeks prior to Christmas. I don't remember if I ever told my mom. I probably acted surprised anyway. It remains one of my coolest sets.
Every set has a story, and each one is like a little bookmark into my past. Thinking about it now, it makes me miss being a kid, even though I don't really want to go back. I do realize now that my childhood was very pleasant. If there were anything I would want to modify about being a kid, though, it would be to make myself more busy. And to have the internet ten years sooner. The only thing ... well, not the only thing... the only unpleasant feelings I remember about being that young are 1. being frustrated at not knowing things, or keeping the same open questions for months or years and 2. being frustrated at how time moved so slowly. I can say, with confidence, that both of these are no longer a problem. The internet allows me to answer nearly any (nominally trivial) question instantly. And the rate at which I experience time has been increasing as long I have been alive.
Which brings me to the original intent of this post. It has been almost one year since I moved to Seattle. It just hit me before I came downstairs that it was probably one year ago to the day that I last played with the Legos, so pulled up the photo gallery which contains the picture in this post. Sure enough, Brette, Brendan, and I played with the Legos on January 24, 2005.
I can't really explain this, but I always have two seemingly contradictory feelings about the passage of time. It seems like it goes by quickly. And at the same time, if you think back to a specific event, it feels like a such a long time has passed.
Did this year go by quickly for you? What did you do on January 24, 2005? Food for thought.
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I also upgraded my dawn simulator setup. My dawn simulator is a little box (it's next to my alarm clock in the picture) that i plug my lamps in to. It has a clock and a timer. I set it for when I want to wake up, and it gradually turns on my lights over the course of 45 minutes. Previously, I only had it hooked up to my torcheire lamp (right of nightstand) and my ambient IKEA lamp, at the foot of my bed. That worked pretty well. When I bought the dawn simulator, the woman at the store told me that the lights have to be bright and direct. My existing lamps were neither.
Enter the grow lights. I found these lamps at Home Depot for $15 a piece, bulbs included. They are awesome. This morning I tested them out, and then mounted them nicely with some wire hiders. My goal is for my waking experience to be akin to sleeping outside, and experienceing a real sun rise.
Speaking of sun, what is that foreign stripe of photons across my bed? Could it be? Yes, it can. The rain finally let up. Fuck the record, I say. Give me sun. I'll drink it up.
The soundtrack of the weekend has been my new Rockin' Blues station on Pandora. Check it out.
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Do you remember these? I used to eat them all the time when I was a kid. And then one day, I woke up, and they were gone! Ripped from my grasp! For half of my life, I wandered the freezer isles of H-E-B, longing for my lost confection. My quest came to it's end today in the Bellevue Safeway. God be praised.
The best part of a Jell-O Puddin' Pop is the way that they develop an icy layer around the outside of the pop. If you've ever had one, you know what I mean. I love to use my tongue to gently lift the ice off the pop, and eat it separately. It's almost like unwrapping a Christmas present. A present wrapped in delicious pudding-vapor ice.
BTW1: It rained today. 23.
BTW2: Jeff, nice to hear from you! Glad to see you found the site!
Monday, January 09, 2006
I live in Seattle. It rains in Seattle. A lot. Until this winter, I thought the whole rain business was a myth, constructed to keep out all the potential transplants. I even came back and told everyone that it doesn't really rain in Seattle. Well I was wrong. Last spring was exceptionally nice. The summers here are always nice. Fall was gray, and kinda rainy. But this since December, IT HAS NOT STOPPED RAINING. In fact, it has rained for 22 consecutive days. It has rained every day in Seattle since a week before I left for Texas. Fuck! And guess what the five day forecast looks like.
The rain isn't really that bad by itself. But the lack of sunlight is really depressing. I had no idea how much I loved the sun until it was gone. I want a grow lamp. Right on top of my head.
On the bright side, I really don't spend that much time in the rain. I park underground at home and at work, and I'm inside a building or my car the rest of the time. I have very few occasions when I every have to use my umbrella.
I just realized that I started the last paragraph with an inadvertent pun. That is even more depressing.
Saturday, January 07, 2006
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Test your knowledge -- how well do you know Texas football?
- What is the best part of the Texas Texas Yee Haw cheer?
- What big change came for Texas Pom in 2003?
- Who choked in the 2001 Big XII Championship game against Colorado?
- What is the significance of 4th and 18?
- What is OU's hand sign?
Monday, January 02, 2006
So tonight is my last night in Austin. I've been here since before Christmas, and it has been a long, relaxing, and eventful trip.
Here is the play-by-play of the vacation.
Friday 12/23 : I flew out of Seattle on the redeye. Jackie agreed to drop me off at the airport after I bribed her with some bread pudding. The Austin pavement was soaked with sunlight when Kayla picked me up at 9am. We met Jared at campus Kerby to catch up and eat Obligatory Austin Meal #1: Kerby Migas with the rice and beans substituted for homefries. Kayla and I visited the Rennisance market off the drag and picked up some marble creatures and found-object art.
As soon as I got home, Dad and I put together the Media Center from the parts that I had shipped to the house. We had everything up and running in about 2 hours, sans obsessive configuration. To date, the media center has become a member of the family, and I'm sure I'll get a phone call if it ever gets sick.
Later that evening, the family went down to the Alamo Drafthouse to see The Mr. Sinus Christmas Show. Everyone thought it was hilarious except for dad. He doesn't appreciate the profanity and fart jokes as much as the rest of us.
Saturday 12/24: Christmas eve day. I can't remember actually doing anything. I think I watched
Sunday 12/25: Christmas day. We woke up early to open presents. I got some great Texas-themed wall-hangy objects. One is a framed replica of the last letter that William Travis wrote from the Alamo. It's the one where he says 'So we're surrounded, and they're shooting at us. We know we're doomed, but we're going to suck it up and fight it out. Please send some bakckup.' Every time I read it, I am amazed at how brave these men were. I also got a round, wrought iron lone star emblem, emblazoned with an unmistakable T-E-X-A-S. Once I put these up in the apartment, with my burnt orange couch and six-foot mounted longhorns, there will no longer be any confusion over where we are from.
We went to dim sum for lunch at Tien Hong. Mom hated everything, and sent it all back. She doesn't really like dim sum, or Tien Hong, but came for the sake of family, and since Dad loves it. Thanks, Mom. Truthfully, I thought the dim sum on Christmas was average at best. Many of our dishes were cold or tepid, and nothing was particularly tasty. Ate it anyway.
The rest of the afternoon was spent playing with our new webcams. The idea is that we can keep in touch using audio/video conferencing with MSN or Skype. I wonder if there is enough novelty in video make it worth it. We'll see.
Monday 12/26: Stephen came in to town Monday night. We hung out with the family for a while, and then we headed over to Chris's for a while. We talked tech and polotics and then headed over to Taco C. Chris tried to order flaquitos, which do not exist. The cashier girl, who was a bitch, eventually sold Chris some flautas. I took the opportunity to fulfill Obligatory Austin Meal #2, Taco C Grilled Chicken Cabana Bowl with plenty of orange salsa.
Tuesday 12/27: Mom and I went to H.E.B., and I got all the goodies necessary for my family dinner. I got a chance give Mom a night off from cooking, and stoke my cooking habit. Chris and Justin joined us, and brought a delicious Spanish wine, which they picked out especially to match the meal. The menu was an homage to the meal that Jackie, Eliot and I cooked in early December. The feast included:
- Chilean black winter grapes
- Whole wheat pita and garlic hummus
- Spinach salad
- Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Honey and Apricots
- Whole wheat cous cous with red peppers and garlic
- Brown sugar baked carrots
- Bread pudding for dessert
Thursday 12/29: This afternoon, I had the pleasure of a lunch date with Amanda. Together, we satisfied Obligatory Austin Meal #3, The Two-Meat plate at Pok-E-Jo's, with a gigantic Sweet Tea. We took my dad's shiny Z, and we went the long way, via 2222 and 360. Amanda sat indian-style in the front seat as we zipped through the twists of the mountain-hugging road. After lunch, we walked over to Barnes and Noble. Amanda was kind enough to pose for some photos. I bought a new book by Kurt Vonnegut, which I have not begun to read yet.
This brief encounter was enough to renew my impossible crush on Amanda, which I will probably never get over.
I went over to Chris's to watch the Alamo Bowl. Leslie joined us, and later Brendan arrived from Houston. We watched OU drop the Big XII hammer on Oregon, and teased Leslie with the vibrating lumbar pillow. Later, Jessalee called, and we headed over to Possee. Not too many people were there, and Jess was tired, so we took off.
Friday 12/30: Brendan and I met up with Jess at her apartment at noon, and we went to Zen Japanese Fast Food for lunch. Jessalee had enough faith to let me take pictures, either that or she just grew tired of protesting. We sat and talked for a long time after we finished our food. Brendan and Jess had a chopstick fight, and we made a tower out of our utensils. We got kicked out of the restaurant for making religiously insensitive comments and napkin drawings*. Later we went back to Jess's place, and Brendan tried to knit. On AIM, Jess professed her desire to handcuff and do nasty things with Chris M**. We sat around until Jessalee had to go to the pre-Rose Bowl rehearsal, and then Brendan and I went back to Round Rock to see my family and eat dinner.
* Not really, but that's what we told Jessalee after we snuck out while she was in the bathroom.
** Not really, but that's what Chris M. thought becasue I typed the messages to him using Jessalee's screen name.
I stopped by the rehearsal for the last bit, and was able to catch a few other friends while they were in town. After that, I jetted over to Chris's, and we went downtown to catch the Scabs concert with Brendan and Irene. We braved the line even after being told that it was "pretty much sold out." Most people gave up, and we eventually made it in. The Scabs were their usual amazing selves. Charles "Razor" Reiser, (the guitar player that isn't slowpoke) was not there for some reason. Bob said it had something to do with a sex change operation. Unfortunately, the sound was so loud that it was distorted. I left a little early in order to take Chris home. I didn't mind, because my ears were ringing so loudly, I could hardly comprehend the music by that point anyway .
Saturday 12/31: New Year's Eve. Chris, Brendan , and I went down to the "Frist Night Austin" festival downtown. This was the first time Austin had ever put on such an event. There was a parade, which was pretty tame, and then some artsy dancing stuff out in front of the new city hall. We retreated under the cover of the tepid family fireworks finale, and we got in line at Katz's. Chris jetted home to retrieve his wallet and watch, the absence of which was causing him intolerable discomfort all evening. I the interim, Brendan and I detoured over to Book People.
Katz's hosted Obligatory Austin Meal #4, the Katz's Pick 3, including the best fruit salad ever. By the time we sat down to dinner, I was feeling pretty bad. By the time we were done, all I wanted to do was lie down. So while the rest of the world was ringing in the New Year, I was asleep in Chris's guest bedroom, under a merciful dose of NyQuil. I woke up in 2006, and drove myself home.
Sunday 1/1: New Year's Day: High for the Holidays. I met up with Chris, Brendan, and special guest Brock down at the Alamo for a screening of Harold and Kumar go to White Castle with all-you-can-eat mini hamburgers. The movie was awesome, and it was great to catch up with Brock. I have a feeling that the Alamo Drafthouse will become one of the future items on the Obligatory Austin itinerary.
Monay 1/2: Today we watched some football and went shopping. Ohio State made us look good by whipping the Irish. Texas Tech blew it at the end agains Alabama, but committed enough penalties to lose the game by a lot more than they did. Props to their QB for leading the tying touchdown drive in the 4th on leg that was practically broken. He had to be helped off the field after throwing the TD. The afternoon was Sage-Kay day. I went with Kayla all around town on a shoe shopping extravaganza. We went to about 11 shoe stores, looking for nothing in particular. We found nothing in particular, except for two Starbucks frappuccinos, one vanilla and one mocha.
I head back to seattle tomorrow afternoon, and back to work on Wednesday. This vacation has really been a blast. I saw nearly all of the friends I intended to see, and I am thoroughly relaxed. The notable absences were Brette and Natalie. Brette was in Ohio the entire time, and flew directly to California for the Rose Bowl. Natalie was confined to Lubbock, and will not return until after I am long gone. I miss you both.
If you were curious about the title of this post (as I'm sure you were...,) I finally got a chance to listen to my new Grateful Dead CD this break. For some reason, it will not play in my car CD player, but it will play just fine in my portable one and in my dad's car. The first four-or-five songs are awesome.
Good night, Austin, Texas.