Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Vacaciones! Una ves mas!

Well, the streak had to break sometime. I'm back to a more normal posting schedule, although a few sentences here and there isn't exactly normal. Still, just wanted to check in and mention once again that I'll be away for the next few days, visiting Goof and taking a little Southern Fried Road Trip. A nice little jaunt from New Orleans to Memphis (and back again) is the plan with lots of time set aside for museums, kitsch, fried pickles, and whatever else we may find whilst travelin' along the ol' Mississip. I'll be sure to take lots o' pictures and, rest assured, I'll be posting every once in a while from the road.

'Course I cain't quite speak Southern yet, so I'm fixin' to have a hard time communicatin', right? Guessin' ah kin jist wear one o' these here t-shirts, and start pointin' t'different thangs. That'll learn 'em, don'tcha thank?

Catch you in a few, folks.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Help Me Hive Mind!

Remember my Ask Metafilter post from a few weeks ago? I'm still addicted as all hell to the thing, but now I've put it to practical use.

Yes, that's my question right there. Look at all the response! Best five dollars I ever spent! (Accounts cost five bucks. Helps pay for the servers and keeps the meanies at bay. No one wants to pay five dollars just to be insulting or a troll.)

You may further deduce, by the nature of the question, that I'm going on another Southern Fried Road Trip soon. Your deduction would be correct. I'll be leaving in the middle of next week, and when I come back, I hope to have more pictures to display - maybe something similar to the Grizzly Burger.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Oceans Ahoy

You know, you can live in a city your entire life and never see all of it. At the very least, you can still find surprises.

Case in point: I drove to South Boston ('Southie' to its locals) this evening to pick up a package at the FedEx depot, and also hit their local library to grab a book that wasn't available at my neighborhood branch. I was a little concerned. This is Southie we're talking about. They don't like outsiders, and I most certainly qualify as one. It matters not that I grew up in a Boston suburb, and currently live within the city borders. Because I'm not a born and bred Southie local, it's OK to treat me with lots of suspicion (although to be fair, I'm grossly exaggerating. The demographics of the region have changed dramatically in recent years as well, with yuppies buying up all sorts of condos and townhouses. The old guard are pissed about it, too, but one of the more delightful consequences of their anger is in their referring to these outsiders as 'DINKS', which stands for "Dual Income, No Kids.")

Anyway, screw the suspicion. I needed both the package and the book, and got both without incident. And, because it was a beautiful summer night, I decided to drive five minutes down Broadway to Castle Island where I could grab some dinner and enjoy the ocean. Castle Island is a wonderful way to while away some time. Back in '01 & '02 when I was unemployed and had nothing better to do, I used to take long brisk walks around it for exercise, and just fell in love with the place. It offers some stunning views of Boston to one side, and the harbor to the other. Logan Airport isn't far away either, and the planes often fly directly overhead offering some magnificent sights. Standing in the middle of the island, however, is Fort Independence, a pre-revolutionary military installation built originally in 1634, but which has been through seven incarnations since. It's a fairly impressive structure if you're into that sort of thing. From the outside, it looks like a very sturdy garrison, and not a whole lot else. I must have walked around the thing a thousand times and never gave it much thought. It was either never open or I never bothered to check, and kind of just always assumed it was boarded up for good.

To my slight amazement, however, it was open tonight (and apparently is open every Thursday night during the summer from 7:00 PM 'til dusk.) I sheepishly walked in and was greeted by all manner of Southie locals warmly welcoming me to the fort. I was too stunned to speak, and the cynic in me immediately thought they were only being this kind because their boss must have just yelled at them and was secretly watching. But, no! They really were that friendly and helpful, and were also chock full of information about the fort. Tidbits such as the various construction dates, the notable events that occurred there, and the odd and amusing stories were readily offered up. (Note: Edgar Allen Poe was stationed there for five months (he was known as Edgar Allen Perry then) and it is believed that his story "The Cask of Amontillado" was influenced by a duel that happened there.)

Anyway, they impose pretty strict limits on where you can actually go within the fort, but you are absolutely allowed to climb the ramparts and see Boston in all its glory. I sound like a broken record, but it really is a magnificent sight, and, there were no heroin addicts to be seen, anywhere. Shocking. On my way out they offered me a donut (a donut!) from the multiple boxes of Dunkin' Donuts purchased for visitors, and handed me a pamphlet with historical details while also telling me to come back on the weekends when they offer free guided tours (from noon until 3:30 - weather permitting), and make the previously off limits areas available to the public. I then went next door to Sullivan's (another hidden gem) and got a delightfully delicious and fatty double cheeseburger, fries and ginger ale, and ate 'em all while watching people fly kites over the harbor.

All in all, a pretty nifty way to spend a summer evening. So much so, that I thought I'd pass it along on the off chance you were looking for some time to kill. Check out the links below for more information, if you're interested. I'll catch you tomorrow.


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Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Happy 4th of July, everyone!

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

I Did It! I Did It!

Well, as of tonight the experiment is over, and I say it was a fairly successful one - successful enough that it'll continue for a little bit.

Yes, indeed. What I didn't mention in the above linked post was that I had a time frame in mind when I started doing this whole "post every day" thing. Although I didn't mention it because I didn't want to jinx myself, my goal was to write a post every day until I hit my birthday, and that day has (thankfully) arrived.

I've enjoyed posting every day, even though some days it was clearly a challenge. I used the "I needed something to post tonight" joke WAYYY too many times. I perhaps relied too much on YouTube clips, and maybe my topics were a bit dry, but I posted something every day for no other reason then I wanted to and I thought it was a good idea.

When you get out of the habit of writing, you, well... get out of the habit of writing. Personally, when I'm not doing in consistently, I can think of any number of things I'd rather do. Part of my posting every day was to see if I could do it (yes), but more importantly to see if I enjoyed doing it (mostly yes.)

So, my attitude now is, why not just continue with it? So, that's what I'll do. And looking at the time now, I have only a few minutes left in today to get this post in under the wire. That's all for now, folks, Catch you tomorrow.


Monday, July 02, 2007

What Do Giraffes Know About Trivia?

Well, I think I've waited long enough. 'Tis time to reveal the answers from Monday's trivia post and award the winner. Yes, I know it's only been two days, but there don't appear to be any more answers forthcoming, and quite frankly, because the answers received were all of such stellar quality, I've decided to pull rank and close up the contest...

Plus, I needed something to post about tonight.

So, here we go. Drum roll, and all that hoo-ha, please....
  1. What type of insect is kept in apiaries? Bees are kept in apiaries, which are places where they build their hives.
  2. Only three American presidential candidates won at least 520 electoral votes in their race for the White House. Who are they and how many votes did they get? Franklin Delano Roosevelt garnered 523 in 1936; Richard Nixon, 520 in 1972; and Ronald Reagan, 525 in 1984. Each of them was running for a second term.
  3. How long have people cooked with chili peppers? Archaeologists have found evidence in northwestern Ecuador that chilies were cultivated and used in cooking 6,000 years ago.
  4. Why should you be concerned if your elderly grandparent suddenly likes rock and roll? According to a recent report by researchers at Italy's National Center for Research and Care of Alzheimer's Disease, sudden changes in musical taste may be an indication that an elderly person is suffering from dementia.
  5. For what activity is baseball player Moe Berg best known? As a player, Moe Berg was only a journeyman infielder/catcher who had a .243 lifetime batting average over his sixteen year career. But, Moe Berg was also a spy for the Americans. Among other things, in 1934, while touring Japan with a team that included Babe Ruth, he took photographs of Tokyo that helped guide American bombers during the war.
If you want to get technical, AK was the winner with a whopping two correct answers. However, what Tim & Jesse lacked in correct answers, they made up for with humor, which counts double. AK was also humorous, but he sacrificed some of it in order to show off and actually be right.

So, from my perspective we have a three way tie. I could be a right jackass here and declare that because of this stalemate, no one gets anything. However, I'm not a jackass. I'm a nice guy. Therefore, everyone gets a prize! Specifically, since I like it so much, they get a copy of the book where these questions came from - Do Giraffes Sleep Standing Up? It's great to just thumb through when you have a few moments, or when you're stuck writing a thesis/dissertation which, as luck would have it, all three of our contestants are smack in the middle of doing. Come to think of it, doesn't it strike you as odd that these three people, who should be hard at work, are the only folks with enough time to bother posting answers? Hmm? Don't let the intellectual elitism fool you, people. These learned friends of ours are busy gettin' advanced degrees in Intarweb surfin!!!

Anyway, yes, a copy of the book it is. Except for Goof (Jesse.) Since she gave me the book in the first place, she gets Mad Libs - Dan Brown edition if they have them. Congratulations to all, and look for an email from me in the coming days to find out where exactly I should send your prize. Toodles until tomorrow!

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Dark Side of iTunes

A little over two years ago, I wrote a post about hidden songs in music and mentioned as a side note this whole business about syncing up Pink Floyd's album, Dark Side of the Moon, with The Wizard of Oz (also known as 'The Wizard of fluid ounces', according to Goof - scroll to the bottom of the linked post for the actual content.)

I want to revisit the topic again - not so much the sync up of the music to the movie as that's been covered ad nauseum, but the album itself. I just read this article on C/Net News. Dark Side has always enjoyed phenomenal success in record sales. It's spent close to 30 years on the Billboard Top 200 (chart of the 200 best selling albums) - a feat I can't even really wrap my mind around given the 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow' aspect of the music industry these days. Now, it's sales are through the roof again - this time on Apple's iTunes (now the 3rd largest distributor of music in the world) where it's enjoying a 270% resurgence.

It's been years since I actually listened to the album in it's entirety, so I just now started playing it in the background, and yes, it's excellent. But, top seller for nearly 30 years, excellent? WHAT is it about this album that does it for so many people? Personally, I always enjoyed Piper At The Gates of Dawn a bit more (their first album - more trippy and fun) but there's no denying that Dark Side is more layered and complex. It's also, I suspect, a much more enjoyable album to get high too, which I can't help think might be the reason for it's success - at least in part. Anyway, something to ruminate over. For now, I'm going to lay back and maybe fall asleep with this album wafting trough the speakers. I'll let you know if I have any revelations in the morning. Night, folks.

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