Saturday, October 21, 2006

Tejas Bugout

This huge katydid is from the Houston Natural History Museum. HUGE!

We saw the little preying mantis stick buggy thing on Bull Creek trail in Austin. He was just giving us directions. I'd never seen a brown preying mantis before.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Cool News Usage Visual Aggregator

Ever wonder what people in India are paying attention to in the news? newsmap is a Flash-based interface that takes Google News aggregator information and represents it as an image map. You can choose your country of interest (or all) and the news stories of interest show up with size of the box representing amount of news around it.

The site's been around since 2004, so it's nothing new, but definitely makes the news prettier than it's looked to me for a while.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Way You Act a Fool Son You Can't Erase

So for those of you who have real jobs, you may not know this. I may be performing a public service right now. Here goes: Spike TV has been showing old episodes of The Equalizer in the mornings. You may be saying to yourself, "Boy, he's making the most of his time at school." Actually, I was using it as background to writing a paper on a personal information management software tool.

Anyway, let's just say that The Equalizer sucks. The music by Stewart Copeland? Awful. The acting? Gawd. The plots? Puhleaze. Edward Woodward? Actually the best part of the show, though that's not saying much. The thing that makes it so awesome is that it is so awful, and this particular episode featured the nascent acting talents of the Beastie Boys' Adrock, a.k.a. Adam Horovitz. He went on to star in Lost Angels and Roadside Prophets, but neither comes close to attaining the suckitude of his performance as the titular "Mama's Boy" Ronald Baines.

So, to you Equalizer, I raise my glass in tribute. 1985 was a fine year.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Muppets via India

For some reason my friend Josef, who is in India right now on business, is spending lots of time watching my favorite song from the Muppet Show. While this confuses me, I am eternally grateful for the chance to link to this beautiful song.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

NOLA Rising

I snapped a picture of this street art in the warehouse district of New Orleans in early September. It was the first time we had been back since Katrina, and we had an excellent time doing things that we don't normally do in the Crescent City.

First, no, we didn't go driving around the 9th Ward to take a look. There is that part of me that wanted to--to be a witness to what happened as a result of the storm and what hasn't happened since. There are even tours that you can take. In the end it didn't feel right.

Our favorite hotel, the Lamothe House, wasn't open for this trip, so we stayed at a place way up in the Garden District, the Avenue Inn. Very nice change, though with the St. Charles streetcar still offline it was a little more challenging to get around. We did get to explore the GD a little more than we had in the past, so it was well worth it.

It happened to be Southern Decadence while we were there. It was a lot more interesting walking around the Quarter with that scene unfolding around us. Gay community parties are always so much more entertaining, though we could have done without seeing so many hairy asses. I guess it added to the fun.

So, for those of you unsure about visiting, NOLA's French Quarter and Garden District are alive and well and everyone seemed to really appreciate having tourists back adding to the economy.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mummy Mania

So, I was flipping around the channels on a Saturday night, stuck in the house with my wife who had nasal surgery a week ago and is still on the mend, when I discover a show with one of the best titles ever: Mummy Autopsy. It was all about scientists figuring out how (mostly) ancient peoples managed to die and be mummified. One of the scientists helping the MIs (Mummy Investigators, how ridiculously awesome is that?) had the title of Osteoanthropologist, which I thought was pretty cool.

Trying to find the show's website on the Discovery Channel supersite, I came upon a minisite called Mummy Mania. I will surmise that they are trying to do for mummies what they successfully were able to do for sharks. While I LOVE mummies, I think it will be difficult to drum up the same frenzy that you get for great whites.

The Pelvis

Contrary to what you might surmise from my eating habits documented in my previous post, I do have to often wear belts. I love this belt buckle. It was given to me by my friend Julie in 2000. Unfortunately, I don't wear it often for a couple of reasons. First, is that Meg White of the White Stripes was photographed wearing one very similar to it soon after it was given to me. I didn't want anyone to compare my body with Meg White's, for sure. The other reason is that, if you can't tell, the bottom part is kind of sharp, so this belt wasn't made for sittin' as it pokes into my pubic bone if I sit for too long.

The thing that's funny about this picture is it shows me that my camera takes pictures backwards. No, I do not love SIVLE. Though I might if there were a SIVLE to love.

The Morality of the Stomach

Would you eat this? I can barely look at it. Still, this is what I ate last week--a pile of meat with mustard drizzle. My only excuse, beyond the pathetic "I live alone" argument--is that my classes are at such weird times that I don't really have a chance to be hungry enough to eat. Thus, at the last second I am scrambling to find something simple that will allow me to get through class before I can come home and eat properly.

Scary but true.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Last Minute Project Runway

I haven't blogged about Project Runway at all this season. Don't confuse this with any loss of interest on my part. This season was rife with characters from day one. Unfortunately, my favorite vampire, Malan (above), was cut on the second show. Luckily, we had the insanity that is Jeffrey and the hick gaudy chic that was Kayne to keep the show flavorful to the end.

But who is going to win next week's show? I thought Michael was a shoo-in (just as I thought Kara Saun and Daniel V. were gonna take it all), but the preview pieces in EW looked a little too hootchie. It's gotta be Jeffrey, right? Right?

But who can really resist a designer with the same name as the Knight Rider?

My Life as an Underdog

The Howard Stern show has been in a kind of flashback mode for the past couple of days. First Pat Cooper was on, who really doesn't do much for me, but a nice blast from the past. Today, though, the show featured Suzanne Muldowney a.k.a. the Underdog woman. She called in to talk about a documentary on her life called My Life as an Underdog, which looks absolutely bizarre. The phone call was a hilarious trainwreck and ended with Suzanne hanging up after getting her plug in and avoiding talking about her sex life and breast implants. Or at least talking about them much. In any case, it was great to catch up with the real Underdog.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Iggy's Fun House

The Smoking Gun has a copy of the current iteration of Iggy & the Stooges' concert rider, and let me tell you it should come with its own drummer to provide rim shots...hilarious! A sampling of the classic moments:

Referring to bass hero Mike Watt as an "internet Pepys or Boswell, except without the gout or the syphyllis."

On the request for an English speaking monitor tech: " Santiago de Compostela, in Northern Spain, they appear to think - if they just ignore riders like this, then supply a fat, bearded hippy with a digital monitor desk (doh!) who doesn't know shit about eq'ing...And that if they deny that their gear is no good, that it will suddenly, mysteriously become good."

"For the sidefills, can we have to great big enormous things please, of the type that might be venerated as gods by the inhabitants of Easter Island, capable of reaching volumes that would make Beelzebub soil his underpants..."

And that's just the third page! There are like 18 pages of the roadie Schecky Green show. Good to see that music isn't all about turning the fans upside down and shaking them until all the change falls out of their pockets.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

DIY Ringtones

So I have always hated the fact that I have to buy ringtones of songs that I already own. This is really true when the ringtone just isn't right. You know what I mean, you preview it on the mobile phone website and either the volume is off or the clip was so lazily made that it doesn't even get the best part of the song.

A while back I had searched for ways to make your own ringtones and came up empty. First you have the problem of making the tone, which is easily overcome if you have a tool like SoundForge or some other editing software for MP3s. But then you need to get it to your phone. That was a puzzler for me.

So I finally did another search the other day, thinking that maybe someone had solved the problem. Sure enough, there were a whole slew of products--all of them fairly inexpensive or freeware. I chose AudioGizmo because I am a sucker for reputation reviews. As you can see from the pic, AudioGizmo is pretty straight forward if you've done any sort of audio editing. It has the basic tools you'll need to take an MP3, snip out the part you want, create a fade in and out, and adjust the amplification to make it loud enough. Then you just press the upload button and it sends it to their servers while sending an SMS message to your phone so you can retrieve it.

The main drawbacks are with transparency on the phone side. I got a lot of errors about incorrect file type or that the download stalled. Frustrating because these often came with hefty bytes transferred, and since most cell plans put you on a budget of megabytes per month this could be a problem. An additional problem is in the fact that cell phones are still limited in the amount of hard drive space they carry, so you have to be careful about how large the file is and weigh that against the quality of the file. Compression becomes a real issue. Since the phone company has a vested interest in you purchasing your tones from them they are definitely not going to make it easy for you to make your own.

On the plus side, after some futzing with the file I was able to upload the exact ringtone that I wanted--The Mummies singing "Stronger Than Dirt"--a tone that I would have never been able to get off of the Cingular site. Just the way I like it.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Keywords are Fun

These are my favorite keywords that have brought people to my blog recently:

celebrityskin, green bud sf, othar turner blog, and the dreaded hipster beard.

My favorite by far, however, is mosquito wristband sores. I only wish the picture that I took lived up to such a beautiful search query.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chocolate Leche

Anyone who knows me really well...and that is a select group, a tortured select group...knows that I had a revelation when I moved to Houston. It was there that I ate my first piece of Tres Leches cake. There is nothing like good Tres Leches.

For my birthday last year Sara gave me the best present...she made me her version of Tres Leches, and I loved it. In fact, she left me 3/4 of the cake when she drove home. I ate as much of it as I could. If you haven't had the joy of tasting this baked finery, it is some of the richest, sweetest, sensuous desserts you can imagine.

You can imagine how I felt when I heard that a Houston restaurant, Ruggles, was serving a chocolate Tres Leches cake. I forced Sara to take me there right when I arrived last week. While it was delicious, the chocolate flavor overwhelmed the sweet milky goodness and fruit garnish. I did think is was delicious, but next time I will try their standard version. I am certain it is going to curl my toes.

Unsolved Again

Another mysteriously dead body on my walking route. This time it had a partner about 10 feet away. It was just laying on the path to the library at my school. Sticky blood trickle on the ground and no one cared. It was right by a classroom and the professor actually glared at me as I stopped to check out the body. I guess death is an unwanted diversion.

This one may have an explanation, though. Big window with an bright, open class behind it. Bodies about three feet from the window. Obviously the professor is the murderer. Lucky I got out of there when I did...I could have been next.