Archive for July, 2005

Dog Day

Sunday, July 31st, 2005

Ha! Check this out: It’s a dog smoking a cigarette while driving a horse cart! Bonus points: The blog post also contains a picture of a cute little gerbil!

Check out this picture too: Dogs being transported to doggie day camp. Ha!

Dog-training monks.

In a swimming race from Alcatraz, a dog beats over 400 of his competitors. Good boy!

Music of the Future!

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Click to see this album cover in its full glory.

A couple of years ago I found this record from the 1960’s in my wife’s collection. It’s uncanny how they could see into the future back then and envision exactly what clothes we’d be wearing here in the far-off future, right down to the cybernetic goggle-helmet and the watch with three analog dials (although they forgot the jet pack and two-way wrist TV).

And check out some of those “Hits of Tomorrow”, including the post-Apocalyptic “Flowers on the Wall”, with lyrics that must have seemed absolutely Sci-Fi back then: “Smoking cigarettes and watching Captain Kangaroo/Now don’t tell me/I’ve got nothing to do.”

It’s eerily prophetic.

Day of the (Head) Hunter

Friday, July 29th, 2005

And then the Witch-Doctor, she told me what to do, and she said, Ooh-ee-ooh-ah-ah, ting tang, walla walla bing bang ...Just out of the blue, I got a call from a headhunter today.

No, not one of those Tarzan-movie jungle-native medicine-man headhunters.

At least I don’t think she was.

But even if she was, she was also the executive personnel search kind of headhunter, and for some reason she had in her records (source unknown, but you know that these headhunter types have their ways of getting leads) that I was a production supervisor. It seems she was trying to fill a job in the Tyler/Longview area, and needed someone with a college degree and two years of production experience.

I told her that, no, my supervision experience isn’t in production, and that Tyler is way too far for me to drive for a job.

Even if I were interested in finding employment elsewhere, WHICH I’M NOT.

Then she asked me — you know, just so her records wouldn’t contain any imprecise data, purely in the interest of Truth and Accuracy, just exactly what type of supervisory experience, and works skills, I do have.

Then she asked me — purely out of curiosity this time — what type of distance would not be too far to drive.

And gosh-darn it, she was so polite in asking that I just couldn’t refuse to answer.

Then she asked, purely in the interest of keeping herself up-to-date on corporate goings-on, if I knew the names of any companies within a five or ten mile radius of where I live.

I was able to recollect a few.

But I also seem to recall letting her know, one way or the other, THAT I’M VERY HAPPY IN MY PRESENT JOB, such as it is, AND THAT I HAVE NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER IN SEEKING OTHER EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITES.

Yes, I’m pretty sure I must have gotten that point across, indirectly if not in those exact words.

Anyway, that was pretty much that, and after a civil exchange of email addresses, we said our goodbyes.

It’s for the best, after all, that I’m not interested in her agency’s services, because this way I don’t have to spend the weekend writing a resume for the first time in ten years, and doing other sundry related activities like Googling the word “resume”, or browsing through her company’s website.

Which is good, because I’m a busy man.

Musical Notes

Thursday, July 28th, 2005

I find myself with several musical topics to cover, so let’s get to it:

First off, WELCOME to my new visitors from a post on aworks blog (which was subsequently re-posted on New Music Re-Blog, which aggregates material from other music blogs). The subject of the article was my recent post on the use of the music of Philip Glass on Robert De Niro’s “Tribeca” commercial for American Express (I had found the info I needed on David July’s Mount Sutro blog).

Also: A big huge thanks to Brett that letting me know about the added exposure, and for pointing me to a very informative forum post he wrote last year on Glass’ background.

It’s always good to know there are other Philip Glass-heads out there. I’m the only one I know, personally anyway, who listens to his music; my friends and family have always avoided being converted, usually referring to Glass’ works as “that weird stuff you like to listen to”.

And speaking of which, BoingBoing recently did a write-up on Glassbreaks, a new mashup of several of the composer’s songs with various hip hop artists. The links they have result in a “Bandwidth Exceeded” message (yeah, getting linked by BoingBoing tends to do that to a site), but I found the music on BitTorrent. What I’ve listened to so far is very interesting — but then it is still rap, so it gets real old real quick. Still, worth a listen.

I did a post in May (on my other blog) about Music Thing’s salute to “tiny music” — those little pieces of music, only a few seconds long, that serve as sonic logos to companies; think the Intel chimes and the Windows startup sounds (composed by Brian Eno!).

Today on NPR’s All Things Considered, they had a story on how the American Music Center has commissioned several composers to devise hold music for their in-house switchboard system.

Some of the resultant works are artsy garbage, but some are really pretty innovative and enjoyable; go to the site and listen for yourself.

The project was sponsored by the estate of Eric Siday, the composer of the old Maxwell House percolator music (yeah, you know the one I’m talking about), as well as other musical signatures, which he liked to call “identitones“.

These melodic little trademarks are so common we don’t give them any thought, but a lot of work and resources goes into creating these things. Hearing stories like this one on NPR make you stop and think about these things that go almost unnoticed in our everyday life.

Bits & Pieces Night …

Wednesday, July 27th, 2005

… in celebration of the little things:

We had a significant cool snap this morning, bringing a nice little downpour which our lawn really needed; more importantly, though, it means that we’re able to slide open the patio door without feeling like we’ve opened a pizza oven. It’ll be hot again by Saturday, but for now we’re loving it.

Wearing my sleeve on my sleeve ... For my part, I’m wearing long-sleeved shirts to work, just because I can. A month or so ago I found five really cool long-sleeved shirts on deep discount, since you can’t get a price break on something you actually need at the time, so I loaded up, even though I couldn’t wear them for a while.

Today, when the overnight temperature was in the low 70’s, I jumped at the chance to wear one of them, pictured here in cuff form. Pretty neat, huh? (Good thing I’m secure enough in my masculinity to wear something with pink stripes.)

Foxtrot has an interesting plotline this week: Jason, the young computer geek, has made a new friend in his online “World of Warquest” game, someone named “Sgt. Neelie” who is a level 50 rogue and “totally cool”.

Seeing as “Sgt.” anything sounds out of place in a game where there orcs and ogres, I started thinking that something was going on, and here’s my theory.

See, Jason has this classmate named Eileen, who kind of likes Jason, even though he’s totally obnoxious and has a typical 10-year-old boy’s irrational fear of the nuclear cooties given off by all girls. Her attraction to him bugs him even more because she’s at least his equal in all things geekie, from science to computers to “Lord of the Rings” trivia knowledge.

Therefore, here’s my theory: Jason will find out, probably in the Friday or Saturday strips, that Sgt. Neelie is actually Eileen (Eileen = Neelie spelled backwards, see?).

I wonder if the strip’s other fans are figuring that out …

Another small blessing for which to be thankful: One (and maybe both) of our Big Bosses are going to be out of town for almost two weeks.

Today seemed like Friday.

I practiced on my guitar again today, from songs in my Paul McCartney songbook, and now my fingertips are in fiery pain. I should have kept practicing all those years to main my callouses, if not my skills.

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Okay, that’s enough, stop back by tomorrow.

The Wayback Machine

Tuesday, July 26th, 2005

I saw a cool show tonight for the first time: MTV’s 70’s House. I thought it was going to be like PBS’ 1890 House — except, you know, not as serious, since it’s MTV — but it’s more like a role-playing version of Real World and Big Brother.

It’s still pretty good: The “kids” have to dress in gaudy, stereotypical Seventies clothes (I know I never wore anything like that … well okay, maybe the shoes), and competing in Seventies challenges (like a disco contest). They’re even penalized for not “talking the talk”: In the two people evictin challenge were singled out for talking too much 21st century slang and topics (like how P. Diddy is “keeping it real”), or not saying things like “groovy” enough.

The eviction challenge each week is a tacky 70’s game show format, with questions about 70’s pop culture (could they tell a fake Captain from Captain and Tenille from the real thing>).

Some of the show is lame, but for the most part it’s worth it to watch these 20-somethings react to this alien culture of 30 years ago …

And speaking of alien culture, the second season of Tripping the Rift starts tomorrow on Sci-Fi Network. In case you’re not familiar, it’s a 3D animated series about a bizarre collection of aliens.

Note to self: Check this out, since I missed the first season.

And speaking of technology from different time periods, I also checked out part of the History Channel’s Wild West Tech, which explores the role of technology in the American West of the 1800’s, including advances in weapons, transporation, communication, and science.

David Carridine is the host, but there’s not mention of that century’s advances in Shaolin Kung Fu technologies …

And that brings us back around to 70’s TV: James Best (Sheriff Rosco on the Dukes of Hazzard TV series) turns 79 today, just ahead of the release of the remade-for-a-new-century Dukes of Hazzard movie.

Monday Night Grab Bag

Monday, July 25th, 2005

Iman — is she still married to David Bowie? — turned the Big Five-Oh today.

Tanks for the memories. This is too funny: If World War II were an online strategy game.

Here’s a sample:

Churchill: lol no more france for u hitler
Hitler[AoE]: tojo help me!
T0J0: wtf u want me to do, im on the other side of the world retard
Hitler[AoE]: fine ill clear you a path
Stalin: WTF u arsshoel! WE HAD A ****** TRUCE
Hitler[AoE]: i changed my mind lol
benny-tow: haha
benny-tow: hey ur losing ur guys in africa im gonna need help in italy soon sum1
T0J0: o **** i cant help u i got my hands full
Hitler[AoE]: im 2 busy 2 help
Roosevelt: yah thats right ***** im comin for ya
Stalin: church help me
Churchill: like u helped me before? sure ill just sit here
Stalin: dont be an arss
Churchill: dont be a commie. oops too late
Eisenhower: LOL

(Via Zfilter.)

Speaking of Russia, Validimir Putin’s dog has written a book. Or had someone write it for him, I’m not quite sure how these things work.

Speaking of groundbreaking literary works, I’ve discovered a massive collection of Lara Croft erotic fan fiction. Do I dare check out some of the stories?

Do you?

I’m testing out my new “clover bullet” today, you’ve probably noticed. On blogger, I could just use the line item tags to make bullet points; on Word Press, it’s all forked up, putting in line spaces where I don’t want them, and not showing line spaces where I put them in.

Oh well: Life is handing me lemons, so I’m making soup: I figured this is a good opportunity to make the bullet points more distinctive.

We’ll see how this looks in the long run.

Sunday Night Bits

Sunday, July 24th, 2005

Check this out: Evil Abe’s Army on Ebay — an evil penny that’s conspiring to take over the world. Scroll down and look at all the “updates” and developments, including the recruitment of four President statuettes to help fight the malevolent coin.

(Via Presurfer.)

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Check this out as well: No Zildars! “Zildars may once may have been Humans, or at least are Humanoid replacements for actual Humans who have may be taken by Aracleon forces. […] Examples of Known Zildars of past and present includes Former American President Gerald Ford, Xfiles Creator Chris Carter, Wonder Woman Lynda Carter, Scientist Stephen Jay Gould, Athlete Peggy Fleming, Author Louie L’Amour, Former First Lady Ladybird Johnson … Actor Mel Gibson, Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs, Celebrity Courtney Love, Business Tycoon Donald Trump, Talk Show Host Joan Rivers, and most professional hockey teams including the coaches.”

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Thursday was the 3rd annual Pee Wee Herman Day in San Francisco — and I missed it.

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Continuing Flickr addiction update: I uploaded pictures of: Our backyard thermometer showing 118F (it wasn’t that hot, the thermometer malfunctions), a frosty bottle of Iceland Spring (Iceland!) water, and Buddy Holly’s grave. The latter was a photo I snapped in 1993 when my cousins from Austin were in Lubbock and wanted to see where Holly was buried.

Yet Even More Catching Up

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

This is for The Wife: The Hair Search Engine, which includes such categories as aniston hair jennifer style and hair in loss woman

Here’s a new political blog I might actually get into: Donkelephant. The publisher is a professed liberal, but, like me, he feels that the high-power goons at both parties are ruining this country, which is probably why his views are surprisingly balanced. So check it out.

Next topic, please: For months, I’ve been seeing Robert De Niro’s American Express commercial, and trying to find confirmation that the music is really Philip Glass (as opposed to an imitation), and I finally found it. It turns out that the piece is String Quartet No.3 (Mishima) 1957. It also happens that I’ve got the MP3 on one of my hard drives, among about a hundred or so other Glass pieces.

No wonder it sounded familiar.

Well, that plus the fact that a lot of his music sounds the same … I’m just sayin’ …

Now, check this out: The Top 100 Underground Computer Technol0gy Websites, including Dark Assassins, Spywire.net, and The Hacking Library.

It’s kinda scary.

And on the more personal, who-cares front: It got darn hot today — DARN hot! — or at least it felt like it (the high was probably 99F), so I succumbed to temptation for the second week in a row and had the yard crew that works on our neighbor’s lawn to do ours as well. They charged only 20 dollars to do our whole yard, front and back — mowing, edging, trimming, even evening up the hedges. That’s way too cheap — I feel like I put a gun to their heads and robbed them.

They finished in about 15 minutes, about the time that it would have taken us to get the mower, edger and trimmer around front, and they put an edge on the yard that you can set your watch to.

Best twenty bucks I ever spent.

Also today: I hate going to Walmart, but I had to get some ink for The Wife’s printer. I also got the oil changed in my car, swung by GNC to snag some Mega Men vitamins, picked up some hamburger at the meat market, and cooked up some taco meat.

Then The Wife gave me a haircut; I was way overdue.

Tonight I continuted my Flickr obsession, combing through thousands of pictures, uploading a few, and preparing others for upload at the proper time. My current Flickr archive: 64 pictures, and I’ve only just begun.

I also watched Iron Chef America, where tonight the theme ingredient was ground beef.

Now see, I respect the original Japanese Iron Chef very much, seeing as it was the original and all … but there’s just something about live eel that makes me want to skip a visual account of its preparation as culinary dishes.

The excitement never ends here at the Brykmantra Life-Experience Research Kitchens.

Catching up …

Thursday, July 21st, 2005

Oh, man, between my late discovery of the wild joys of uploading pictures to Flickr (including the one seen here), and Scotty dying, I’ve had zero time to work on posts, so here are some things I’ve been meaning to type about:

What’s killing Hollywood? Hint: It ain’t piracy. It’s a combination of forces, really: Theatre-sized TVs are a part of the problem, then there’s a fact that the movie-buying public now owns all their favorite movies of the past, so DVD sales are settling down to mainly just new releases; that’s not enough to keep the mega-stars’ salaries afloat.

Check this out: Cardboard records and other playable oddities. Back at my mom’s house, I’ve still got a floppy vinyl record of transmissions from the Apollo 11 moon landing; it came in a copy of National Geographic. I need to bring that back next time I go.

(Via Presurfer.)

But enough about all these non-Flickr topics: Web designer Dan Phiffer has posted a year’s worth of daily self-portraits for a full year on Flickr. Between June 2004 and June 2005, he took his own picture every day, and miraculously stayed at the same spot in each photo. The background is different every day (and are sometimes in different areas of the country, including the Sierra Mountains, and Lubbock), and you can watch his hair go from buzz-cut to shaggy to back again. I recommend doing a slideshow view with one-second timing.

Man, I need to make notes during the day when I think up stuff to post …