Friday, January 02, 2009

Giving Lip

Scrivener asked about the Lips game, and I was really late in getting back to him in the comments, so I thought I'd cheat and make a quick post out of my answer.

I like Lips a whole lot, and one of the really nice things about it is that you can add your own songs (unDRMed MP3s only, I think) to it, but it's not as seamless as you might hope. You don't get any lyrics or pitch targets with your own music. I don't care too much, because I just pop the lyrics up on my laptop, and I don't care too much about the pitch targets. The other downside is that they're releasing new songs every Friday (or thereabouts) which might sound really great, but each song is another purchase. They run about $2/song, but that gets you the song, the video, the lyrics and the pitch targets. I still don't know how I feel about all that, but I've bought several already.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Karaoke is the New Black

So, I got Lips for my Xbox a while back, and while it may not be a great game for solo playing, it's absolutely great for a party. I brought it to the Christmas gathering, and it was hilarious (in a good way). Sister, brother-in-law, brother, sister-in-law and I each sang and even 2/3 of the niece-ing crew did a bang-up rendering of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

Lessons learned:
  • It's possible that Simon LeBon wasn't exactly a talented poet.
  • Each song that you think you know really well has lyrics that you've never heard.
  • There are way too many words in Bust a Move
  • The old videos are so much funier than you remember. Walk like an Egyptian? Painfully funny
  • I know no new music.
It ended up being a fairly video-game-centric holiday. Other winning party games:
  • Burnout Paradise - I learned its fun to crash as long as it is a pretty crash
  • Boom Blox - The neices loved telling us where to throw and counting the points
  • American Idol - better pitch mechanism the Lips, and you get to build your own singer
  • Portal - very very trippy. Puzzles need multiple brains to solve.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

100 Things

Hello? hello? This thing on?

I've been a bit twitter-bound lately. It's kind of nice not being anonymous. Actually being able to say things about what I do and all. Anywhoo, I haven't completely abandoned this poor neglected blog. As a kind of half-assed proof, I give you a meme, which came from luckybuzz:

Bolded the things I've done.
1. Started my own blog - umm... yeah.
2. Slept under the stars - Camping happily and army unhappily
3. Played in a band - When I was very young I played the trumpet, that counts, right?
4. Visited Hawaii - lived there for 2 years even
5. Watched a meteor shower -
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world - and I'll go back, too
8. Climbed a mountain- wandering aimless in Switzerland
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo - A musical theatre... what a misspent childhood.
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris - it's both better and worse that reported
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning - Oh, the Hungarian goulash that brought me low was truly evil...
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty - And I even lived in NYC - Oh, the shame of it all
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France - would I have seen it elsewhere?
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort - ours always got destroyed by Jayfish and the other neighbor kid. Grrr...
25. Held a lamb - we had one, but I never think I picked it up. What an odd question.
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon - twice!
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse - well, I didn't look right at it...
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset - or?
31. Hit a home run - on a video game - hey it didn't specify!
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language - what I know, I did with a whole lot o' help
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied - Satisfaction don't come from money
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke - Yay karaoke!
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance - blasted driver didn't see me on my bike. grrr...
47. Had my portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris - I agree with Luckybuzz, these are very Franco-centric. Where are the questions about visiting Machu Pichu or the Great Barrier Reef?
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater - I think I saw part of a movie from the side of the road where the car broke down, does that count?
55. Been in a movie - Yeah, Powder. I was barely even an extra.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class - hehe - Tai Kwan Do at a library when I was a kid
59. Visited Russia - right after the fall 'o the USSR - spooky.
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies - certainly ate enough of them though
62. Gone whale watching - hooray for Hawaii!
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma. - even got my gallon reward mug. I need to start that up again.
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check - ugh I swear it was financial aid's fault!
68. Flown in a helicopter - thanks to the US taxpayer and the US Army
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle - define speeding
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person -
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper - well, a newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous - hehe - Jeff Goldbloom on the set of Powder! hehe
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Ridden an elephant

Well now, that was fun, wasn't it? :O

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Is that A Peacock Feather in Your Pocket?

It's really interesting to me how people peacock. Git your brain out of the gutter. What I mean is this - I'm in a public library that looks like it's a bit of a funny little silent meat market (I wish I had known, I would have dressed more snazzily). So anything, what's interesting is the way that people are arranging their various goodies on the tables and posturing themselves.

I give you example A: This guy sat down at my table just a little while ago. He didn't take anything out of his bag at all, he just kind of sat down and abided. He is resplendent in his flannel shirt, black Mac and hipster beard-stubble. By the way, how do these guys always have just stubble. I wondered about that Miami Vice guy too. Is it that they can't actually grow a beard, or do they get one of those flowbie things and set it on 'hipster?'

Anyway, he did slowly bring out the stuff - the aforementioned Mac, the blackberry and a couple of books. All the while, he slowly scans the room, and I kid you not, nods with a silent 'how you doin?' to a more than a couple cliques of cuties. Does he know them? Who knows? It is funny though.

It seems that everyone in the place is posing or posturing somehow. Where's a sociologist when I need one.

Oh, and I should mentioned that I very vainly placed my Gruub books (which are exciting-looking and in an exciting-looking language) very visibly next to my cooler-than-yours laptop. And my blackberry. And my Zune. I think the zune probably make me lose cool-points though.

Heh! As I'm typing this up a woman sat down at the table and he just started chatting her up! Then he adjusted his books (Basics of Statistics - see gals, I'm smart and sax-ay) and blackberry.

Ok, I think this post is proof I need to get out of here.

I'm thinking of taking the 365 photos/day challenge again next year, but I may do it under my real name. If you are interested in following, shoot me an email and if I do, I'll set up a site and invite you. Oh, I'm also twittering now, under my real name too, so if you know my xbox handle, that's my twittername. If not, email me and we can be twitterfriends! ('casue you know, Obama's my twitterfriend already, that's how cool I am :P)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Imitating Art

If the internet hasn't already informed you by other means, let me help you to find a massive wonderful source of procrastination and joy:

Google is now indexing the entire Life Magazine photo archive.

So go. Go and love it. If you aren't completely sure what to do, let me start you off with a couple options:

VJ Day
Dorothea Lange

So, yeah, good luck getting out of there in the next few hours.

I've got wallpapers for the rest of my life :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Information Than You Require*

Alright, so the seminar of doom this time around is a theory class in another department. Now, I'm trying to be open-minded about all this theory nonsense, but this sentence probably tells you how effective that 'trying' is. The thing is that I really do see the use of the theory, I really do. I even - heaven forfend!- use it in some of my work! But here's the rub, theory is not what I do. I do Gruub Studies, and theory is a tool - and only one tool - that I use to study, er... Gruubs.

So anyway, I'm trying to address my fear of theory by tackling it head on with this class, and actually, it's going well. I'm learning heaps and gaining a lot of respect for the prof that teaches the class (less so for some of the students). He actually seems to be alright with the idea that I'm only wanting to cherry-pick the stuff that I think is useful to me. All to the good, even though I still have to do all the work for all the theories.

What this means in practical terms is that I'm reading a metric boatload of reeeally dense stuff. This weekend was one of the roughest for reading, but I made it through, took notes, wrote a handfull of thoughtful questions to ask and dutifully headed to class.

It was cancelled.

I now feel like a piece of furniture with a coat of stain but no sealant. How am I possibly going to remember all this junk well enough to be coherant next week. Luckily, I'm not sure I'm ever cohearant. Maybe no one will notice. I'm exhausted and disappointed and happy all at once.

I'm adrift.

Also, tomorrow's a holiday.

I've got more work I could/should be doing, but I'm going to go home and maybe watch some football.

*title is from John Hodgman's book of the same name. I haven't read this one, but I read the last one, or well, listened to it on audiobook and loved it immensely. That is all.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Bruces Know

Have I mentioned that theory gives me a headache?


You know what I love? I love that there are salt and pepper packets at Taco Bell. I love the idea that there is some gourmand out there tucking in to his Mexican pizza, and he's thinking, "Man, this is really good, but what it really needs is just a pinch of pepper. Oh, yeah, now that's what I call a Mexican pizza!"

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Do I attract consumptives? There is a woman in front of me in the starbucks who is seriously coughing up a lung. Yeesh. Maybe that means it's time to go home to read.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Library Notes

  • Note to the person who is coughing loudly and obviously with illness: Dude. At least I hope you are a dude. If you are a dudette, then you've got to be the rockingest sub-contralto that ever contralto'ed. So, anyway, seriously. Go home. You need to be resting and watching home improvement shows and taking in soup or something. If you really have to, check out your books and then go home and read in bed. You are getting your nasty germs all over the place. Also you scare the ever-living bajezus out of me every time you cough. Thanks.
  • Note to the person who wrote in the book I'm reading. First off, I'm fairly anti-library book in writing. You are less evil because you wrote in pencil, so thanks for that. But the thing that's killing me is that you wrote really really tiny with a big blunt pencil. Was it like a carpenter's pencil that you sharpened months ago with a rasp? The result is that I can't read your notes and that's distracting. What's this? "issue garble garble and also not true?" is that what you wrote? Rather than blame myself for being easily distracted, I'll blame you for not writing more clearly. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes We Did!


All We Are Is Just Another Brick in Wolf Blitzer's Wall-Screen

The hologram interview? Pretty pathetic. As was the holographic capital building. And this is coming from a guy who loves almost all technology.

I also love how Family Guy is playing on top of Mr. Blitzer's big wall-screen.

Go Florida Go! I may even forgive you :)

Edit: They have a channel showing the cartoon network on now. Incisive political insight by the Powerpuff Girls, I believe.

Like A Baby Stoat

(title from here)

Wow - it took an hour to get through the line, but I voted. This is a new polling place for me since I moved this summer. It was in an 'assisted living center,' and the weirdest thing was that the line snaked around a window that looked into the cafeteria. So at one point we were there all looking through a window at folks eating their breakfasts. It really felt like we were at a zoo or something. Very freaky. Luckily no one tapped the glass.

Ya know, I still really hate those little ink-puncher thingies we use to mark the ballots. I guess their better than other options (I'm looking at you, chads), but still, eh. I really really want reliable paper-trailing computer terminals. By I guess that's just 'cause I'm a geek.

Also, I live in a state where the presidential choice is very much not in contention, so we haven't been getting the presidential ads on TV. Until yesterday. We got hammered by all sorts of really ugly anti-Obama ads. Gah, thank goodness I don't live in Pennsylvania. I'm not sure I could handle that.

Also, I'm taking today off. I'm going to celebrate voting with a bit of cleaning, and then some reading, then I'm going to follow it all with some obsessive voting returns watching.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Big Mouth Bass, Without the Guitar

I think I mentioned a long time ago that we've got a Gruub Studies Colloquium. The way it works is that every week we invite a professor from a related field - sometimes only tangentially related - to come and present some state of the field stuff. We get to find out what the hot issues are in a whole lot of areas that ordinarily we would have to dig through a heap of 'other' people's journals to get to. So yea! All for the good.

So, I've got a bit of a problem. Those of you who know me already know about this. No, it's not that my hair sticks up all the time. That is a problem but it's not the one I'm thinking of right now. Keep on topic!

I've got a big mouth.

I love talk about all sorts of anything. Especially if it's something someone else is really passionate about. Especially if I know nothing about it. You can see how this colloquium works well for me. Even though I don't always finish all the readings, I'm almost always game to ask questions.

So, since we've got a new clutch of gradfolk this fall, we're trying to get them interested in the colloquium and the whole community that we're trying to nurture. Having a big blabbermouth at the table doesn't really help in getting them involved in the discussion, so last week I decided to sit away from the big table against the wall and force the newer folks to sit up at the adult's table.

I tried so hard to not talk as much, but... but... the topic was really cool! and there were serious problems. Problems that oooonly I could bring up (insert Underdog theme here). Well, obviously that isn't true, but the effect was as one might expect. I talked nearly as much as I always did, but I had to talk over the shoulder of one of the new folks.

Karma bit me in the tuckus, too because they assigned me to lead the discussion this week. Our visiting scholar just happens to be a certifiable gen-i-us (that's better than a regular genius). He's also very exacting. And he's from a field that I know even less than usual about.

I just finished reading all but a couple of pages of the reading.

I've got about maybe 20-30 minutes of questions.

I need to fill two hours.

Here's hoping for a rousing rowdy colloquium! (and a few more questions before we meet tomorrow)

Monday, October 27, 2008

When They Came For Coffee, I Did Nothing

Note to dude on the bus trying to be all sneaky in drinking his forbidden coffee by going all ninja and ducking under the back of the seat to sip:

Smooth. Very smooth. And hilarious too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Handwriting, Wringing

Sorry if the size of those things break your browser. This might warrant a click over to flickr for a more readable size.
This was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Blogstyle writing doesn't seem to enjoy being put into script.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Cooking With A Little BAM!

You know what's appetizing? What's appetizing is when you are making a nice big mug o' smoothie goodness - ya know? With a nice vanilla yogurt base, and yummy farmer's market strawberries, blueberries, grapes and some pineapple for a bit of zing - Oh, it was going to be delicious.

Was going to be, see. 'Cause when I started the blending on with my little smoothie blender, everything was fine, but a couple of minutes into it, I tried to shake it around a bit to chop up that last clump of recalcitrant strawberry, something started to smell, well, electrical-y. And as my dear personal friend Alton Brown might say, that ain't good eats.

Zap pop! and a quick unpluging later, I had a partially smooth smoothie and a mildly aromatic mini-blender. I guess that's what I get for buying cheap, eh?

I have to admit though, it was still pretty yummy. The smoothie, not the blender.