Saturday, July 16, 2005

Something Tells Me It's All Happening At The Zoo


I defy you to not enjoy a yawning otter.
More to come later

Friday, July 15, 2005

I Wore The Hat

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a Ravenclaw!

via Phantom Scribbler

I remember taking this (or a similar one) a while ago and being a Gryffindor. I've obviously changed :)

Second Critique

Just got done with the second photography critique. It went better than expected, but I feel like I've cheated the fates somehow. I feel like everyone just didn't see the gaping problems. They did however, point out some problems I hadn't thought of, so that's good. I'll try to get this one online somehow so you can see the depths of my failure.

Anyone Know A Good Witch?

grrrrr… I think I tempted the fates by saying I was happy.

I ordered a camera toy last week. It was supposed to be here last Thursday, then last Friday. Then it was supposed to be here yesterday. The UPS guy put a note on the door saying he couldn’t leave it without a signature and that he would be back tomorrow, so I signed the back of the card and put it back on the door.

I just checked online and the package hasn’t been delivered because there wasn’t anyone there able to sign for it.

The only thing I can think of is that maybe the evil realtor people took the little signature card down. If they did, I will most certainly hex them with a nasty hex that uses blood and chicken feet and a newt.

Speaking of newts, a guy walks into a bar with a newt on his shoulder. The bartender says, “Wow, that’s a cool little thing. What is it?” and the guy says, “He’s a newt. His name is Tiny.” The bartender says, “Why’d you name him Tiny?” The guy says, “Because he’s my newt.”

You might want to read it out loud.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

I Smile, Is That Bad?

Here’s another odd thing. Prof Article asked me why I’m always so happy. It was almost accusatory. It’s not the first time I’ve been asked this. I get asked it all the time. It’s starting to make me wonder. Today was a new one though - she asked if I was on anti-depressants. Why am I more conspicuously happy than other folks? It seems that people see me as being too happy. I admit it, I’m happy.

It’s not like I don’t have problems: financial, personal, physical, academic, you name it, and I’ve probably got related problems, but I’m not going to put them out in front of everyone that I see every day.

Now I’m becoming self conscious about it. Am I coming across as manically happy? Is being happy a bad thing in academe? Should I wear my stress and angst on my face so that everyone will see that I am properly suffering as a grad student should? Frankly, I’m not sure I could do that.


10.99km – 1:05’57”

whew. that hurt.

I was going to just do 3 loops, but then I thought, Aw, what the hell, let's do 4! That’s what testosterone will do for you, kiddies. Just don’t do it. Another argument against running? Nipple burn. No kidding, I mean ouch. (now let's see how many google searches lock onto that phrase)

Still, it’s kinda cool, right?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

A Snapshot Artist

My father was a photographer. He was a serious photographer with a great deal of talent and skill. The house I grew up in even had a darkroom. I remember playing with the lights and the huge sinks as a child. It was a place that we weren’t really supposed to be, I guess, but at the same time, I don’t remember ever seeing it being used so I probably didn’t think it mattered.

My father had cameras of all kinds. When he was younger, he entered his photos in contests and at least one traveled around the world in an exhibition. The odd thing is that I don’t remember him taking pictures. I remember him taking snapshots with simple cameras, the film to be developed at a regular photo shop, but never photographs. By the time that I became inquisitive about photography, that part of his life seemed to be already over.

What I do remember is the photographs themselves. They were all taken well before my memory, and most likely well before me. I remember the one that traveled in the exhibition. It’s a photo of my brother, looking slightly tired, posed leaning over a Mother Goose book. I remember a study he did of a giraffe that hung on the walls for a long time. It was done in harsh black and white, with the giraffe’s spots and neck in sharp contrast.

I don’t think it would be too far from the truth to say that my dad and I weren’t that close. It wasn’t that we didn’t like each other; I just don’t think we ever really got to know each other. I was always a bit dismissive of what he did with his life and his skills. When I would feel lazy or feel like I could just make do with what I already had, I would think about my dad, because I always thought that that’s what he did, and I had trained myself to think that I needed to do ‘better’ than that. So, by thinking of my dad, I could scare myself enough to work harder. It’s really a very cruel thing to use as motivation, but it has been effective.

Last week though, I went to the darkroom to develop my first roll of black and white. Ilford 100. I tried not to think about it as a way of communing with my dad, but that’s the way my brain works, and the more I tried not to think of it, the more settled it became in my mind. After awhile, I gave in. I tried to imagine him in his darkroom. In my mind, this image of him was of long before I came along, and he was just a guy trying to put his image in his mind on paper. The scene was there. A lanky man bent over the sinks, then pinning prints to a line with clothespins. But I didn’t have a frame of reference for him in this mode, so he seemed undefined. As I got deeper into the process of developing the prints, my mind wandered elsewhere.

I was developing shots that I had taken downtown. A shot of a jazz musician. A shot of people walking purposefully down the sidewalk. Then two shots of children. As I looked through the magnifier to check the grain before I exposed the paper, I realized I could make out features of the little girl, even at the grain-level. The image was entirely gone, completely reduced to the piece of an eye that I could see. The image of my father changed. He was looking at a photo of his daughter. My sister.

I’d like to say that I felt a little closer to him at that time, but I’m not sure I did. I’m not even sure that that is something I want. I certainly don’t presume to say that I know him better today than I did before, and I’m not sure that that is what I want either. But I can say that while I was looking at the grain on the face of that little girl, I remembered the picture that, of all his pictures I’ve seen, is my favorite. It’s a picture of the whole family. My mom, my brother, my sister and me. And my dad. We’re all sitting on a fence in the back yard of the home where I grew up. It’s a snapshot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Link Dump De Jour

I’m heading home, but before I do, I have another few links, for those of you looking for other ways to avoid work.

First, and this one is a little ugly, is a magical machine to tell if you are a woman or man, based on your writing! I should warn you, I randomly threw a few blog entries into it’s maw, and I’m sorry to report that many of you in the blogosphere who are masquerading as women have a lot of explaining to do to your husbands. Luckily, it defended my masculinity. Otherwise, I would have to throw my laptop across the room and rage in a testosterone fury. The whole thing smells a bit to me, maybe someone out there can debunk it.

Number two is a little bit like the Postsecret site that I have over on the sidebar, but this one is a bit more popular, so some of you have probably already been there. Anyway, it’s the Found Magazine’s Find of the Week list. Some very interesting notes are apparently being found by intrepid dog-walkers.

Number three: I LOVE album art. These people obviously do too.

Number four is particularly scary. Here you can make our fearless leader say what you’ve always wanted him to say. I recommend you load some of the ones that other people have built. Reminds me of this old gem (movie). I should warn you that if you haven’t watched that second link, it will make you laugh so hard, you will pee your pants or cry. Or both. Fair warning. Seriously.

Ok, last one for now – This is a site for folks coming to study in the US. It’s got some interesting information about how to deal with customs and social norms in the US. Alright, granted, this one isn't as amusing. Tough.

Alright, I’m going home. There’s more work there waiting for me

Loop Da Loop

11.15km – 1:05’38”


I ran my campus route today. It’s a nice out loop and back run. Each loop is a touch over 2k, so if you feel like a little more, you can just run another loop. The last couple of times I’ve run it, I’ve felt that I could probably do another loop, but decided against it.

Today, I did 2 loops, and then this guy flew by my on a straight level part of the trail. I figure, wow, he’s fast, and boom, he’s out of sight. The funny thing is that when I turn the bend, there he is, not 50 meters in front of me, running at a pretty leisurely pace. Hmmm… Well, ok, maybe he’s doing fartleks (go ahead and click on it, it’s a running thing. It’s not dirty all), but no, he keeps that pace up until he glances back and sees me making up the distance between us. Then he pours it on again. So for the next two laps, he’s glancing back and trying to keep ahead of me.

It actually made the run kind of interesting. I wasn’t really interested in catching him, but the last lap, after he had run off into the woods somewhere, was a bit dull. Except for the panting sweating and muscle ache. Yeah, except that.

Ok, well, I have to admit that the length of the run was really inspired by Profgrrrrl, who just ran a 7-miler yesterday. I haven’t run even a 10k in about two years (I think - I’d need to check my t-shirt collection to be sure).

So thanks today to Profgrrrrl, and fair warning that I will curse your name when the endorphins wear off and my legs start screaming at me.

And finally, because my dearest sister, mother of the two most perfectest girls on the planet, enjoys a graph, here ya go:


Edited to add that I just checked the distance. 11.15km is 6.9282887908 miles. Ack! Profgrrrrl ran further than I did! I am unmanned!

WTB: Cardboard Box

Ugh. I need a new home. I knew this has been brewing for a long time now, but I’ve been covering my ears and singing ‘la-la-la-la.’ Unfortunately, and contrary to my expectations, this hasn’t been effective.

My landlord-ish folks are selling their condo. It’s a great place in a great location. It’s close to everywhere I need to be and yet far enough away from the big U that it isn’t strewn with vomiting kids at night – Although we still do get some early morning ‘walk-of-shame’ers, but they’re more amusing than irritating.

In any case, the keys were handed to the realtors last weekend, and while we all (two renters and landlord hubby and wife) still live there, they are giving walkthrough tours. They are supposed to give fair warning notice, but since I’m in and out at strange hours all the time, I’ll never get a heads-up. So now I get twitchy early in the morning and feel I have to be out of the house earlier than I’d normally wake up, just in case someone comes by to take a look. I don’t feel at home there anymore, and so I’m not going to be able to rest and relax there like I need to.

Looking for a new place, however, is just another stress-bucket dumped on my head. Added to that, I’m leaving the country in a month for my two week tour of wonderland, which makes finding another place even more difficult.

Maybe I can just string up a hammock in the office…

Monday, July 11, 2005

What W., Worry?

I’ve been a fan of Keith Olbermann for quite awhile now, back from when he was on Sportscenter. I liked him then and now for his intelligence, humor and clarity of thought. I don’t watch his show much now but I enjoy his blog quite a bit. I don’t agree with him on many things, but I think his take on the recent Rove-gate is well worth reading.

Also, along these lines, McClellan got hit hard in the press gaggle today. To quote Scriviner, "Holy cow! You'd think some of the reporter's in this morning's White House press briefing were actually, you know, journalists." I recommend heading over to Scriviner's place, Talking Points Memo or their cafe. Here's a more complete transcript from the WaPo.

This is going to get ugly. We've got one, probably two SC Justice seats needing to be filled, folks calling for Rove's head on a pike, and luckily, Rebulicans are fighting the fights they feel are important. I'll just give the headline for this one:

Republicans blast Sen. Clinton on Bush attack; she had compared him to Alfred E. Neuman

Pop Goes The World

Oh, yeah. One more thing. I'm very deangerous to any kind of electronic or high-tech thing that gets anywhere near me. Pity, too, 'cause I'm more than a wee bit geeky.

So, I'm getting off of my bike on the ride in this morning, and the wire for my earphones catches on the bicycle seat. Pop! The wire just snapped! So I stood there with a stupid lok on my face, one wire hangning loosly from my ear. I don't know why, but I just thought that was hilarious. And for those of a safety-first mindset, I only wear one earphone when I bike. I know, it's still not good, but at least it's better than wearing both.

At least I had a good excuse to go get a brand spankin' new pair of headphones. I'll probably break them tonight on the ride home.

You Load 16 Tons, What Do You Get?

I feel pretty useful today. I was able to get a couple more ‘X’es ready to work on last night, so I’m able to dive into that this evening. Honestly, I’m not sure how much of this data I need to accumulate before I turn to analysis full-time. I really love the technical work on this stuff, so I think I’m going to be tempted to just keep doing that instead of moving on to the analysis. Also, there’s really not much work out there in doing what I’m doing, so I feel like the technical work might as or more useful to other folks out there in the field.

Well, in any case, tonight is blocked off. I’ll figure out what I’m doing tomorrow tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Futile Four

Well, I knew the fish would out me on this one.

I saw the Fantastic Four at a matinee (not full price, but I bought M&Ms, so it all evens out).

Now first, let me make sure this is really clear up front. This is a really really bad movie. I’m serious. The writing is marginal, the plot is help together with duct tape and a basement full of children clapping because they think it will save tinkerbell. The characters are thinner than the paper on which their alter egos are printed.

The special effects are… I’m not sure if I can put this well. Let’s just say that if you are going to spend a lot of money making a film that involves characters who are able to perform superhuman feats, we can safely assume that it’s pretty important that they look… ok. I’m not even hoping for believability here. I don’t expect to be wondering how they did it. I’ll supply a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief, but hey, you’ve got to meet me half way, here.

The only superpower that looked remotely good was the one you can’t see! That’s a bad sign. Oh, yeah, and I think something better than orange Styrofoam would be a good thing for the Thing – just one man’s opinion. The Human Torch effects were less repulsive, but I didn’t really like how they tried to make his body visible through the flames. I mean, do we need to see his hair? I know that seems pretty petty, but it bothered me a bit. As for Mr. Fantastic, well, when he stretched, it looked like some kind of fan art from our very interwebs. Bad. Bad. Bad.

Oh, yeah one more thing to knock. Can we as a nation decide here and now that we will not put actors who cannot do a respectable accent into roles that require it? Dr. Doom wasn’t as bad as Robin Hood, but the oddly sort of British accent (all evil folks have to be European, right?) wove in and out of scenes like Billy Joel trying to drive a straight line (I really like Billy Joel's music, but maybe it's time for a driver). Better yet, don't even try the accent. To recap: Ben Kingsley – sure, go for it. Kevin Costner – no, please, no.

Ok. All that said, I liked it. 5/10

Here’s the key, again. Really low expectations. The trailer alone for this movie let me know it wasn’t going to be anything great. All I wanted to see was superheroes flying around beating each other up and the occasional explosion. I actually do enjoy seeing some of my childhood comic book heroes being put on the screen, even when they’re in a bad movie. I’m pretty much the target audience for this film, I guess. I feel bad that this movie gets the same amount of my money that better films get, but I got a couple hours’ worth of fun, so I’m not complaining.

Or maybe I’m justifying paying to see such dreck.

Revenge of the Sloth

5k - 27:14

no runs last week... bad bad lazy me, but I snuck a run in today, so the week isn't a total wash, right?