Dictionary.com Word of the Day

Friday, December 29, 2006

Dude, Seriously, How Do You Confuse Montana with Australia?

I don't know that I would have admitted this.

Pan's Labyrinth

I really must go see this movie. Here is today's New York Times review.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Chelsea beach


Chelsea beach
Originally uploaded by eyecatcher.

This is an excellent photo from one of my favorite Flickr photographers. Flickr RSS feeds are the devil when it comes to time-killers.

Blu-Ray DVD

I understand some of the points made in this blog post, but I get so tired of the elitist DYI attitude that Linux disciples project. Note that I am not a fan of DRM, particularly the way that Microsoft and Sony try to shove it down our collective throat, but if this guy is really that ferociously defensive of his privacy, what the hell is he doing writing a blog?

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Everyone Loves Goals!

Here are Fox Soccer Channel's nominees for soccer goal of the year.

I'm still searching for Paul Scholes' goal in yesterday's game vs. Aston Villa. It was a spectacular goal hit on the volley from about 30 yards out. Alas, it hasn't made its way to YouTube yet.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Less than 2 Months of Pregnancy to Go

I guess I haven't mentioned it yet, dear random reader, but my wife is just over 7 months' pregnant. We are super-excited and ready for the delivery day to get here (Ashley especially). Planning things and thinking about what it will be like to be responsible for bringing a life into this world has been too cool for words. Ashley has had it pretty rough, battling nausea, a kidney infection, and other pregnancy-related afflictions, but she has been a real trooper; I am so proud of her and l look forward to embarking on this next step in our relationship.

Last week some of our friends threw a kick-ass baby shower for our little 'un (oh yeah, we're having a girl and her name is Kennedy Elisabeth). Here are some pictures I took at the party.

Friends' Travel Blog - Tokyo

My friend Amy (really close friend of my wife's) and her fiancé Don are traveling to Tokyo for 19 days. They are renting an apartment that is, get this, 140 square feet. No, that is not a typo--one hundred forty friggin' square feet. But that's just Japan for you. Needless to say, Ashley and I are quite envious, but at least Don is all about the blog; check out Tokyo kara no aisatsu! I have also added the link to my friends' blogs list to the right.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Geotagging, or How to Have Hella-Fun With Flickr

Geotagging in Flickr is pretty damn cool if people will just use it. By doing a search for Little Rock, AR I discovered other Flickr users' work and came across some pretty amazing photography. Yes, a lot of it is like my photography--just documentation of having been some place at a certain time and if some neat photos come out of it, great, but there is an awful lot of quality work out there and this is one cool way of finding it.

Go ahead, see for yourself what is tagged in Little Rock.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Castle Stroud Christmas Party 2006

Here are some pictures I took at last night's party. Great time was had by all, but it was a very odd transition year. People missing (and missed), new location, and feeling more "grown up" all contributed to the feeling. I had a great time, though, conversing, drinking, and cutting up with friends old and new.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Autumn Colors


IMG_0601
Originally uploaded by twd3lr.

This is probably the best picture I took this past autumn. Ashley and I took a walk in the neighborhood and I tried getting some decent shots of leaves changing colors, but I was let down by my deficiencies as a photographer.

Out of Deference...

...to Ken I have changed my template to something else. That way he can continue to feel 'special' or something. ;)

Flickr is Aggravating

I have just about had it with Flickr. If you have had any experience with Google's online album, please let me know. I am tired of uploading sets only for them to not appear. Maybe it is just a latency issue today, but I expect an application to work correctly when I pay an annual fee for it.

UPDATE It appears that there is an issue that they are working to resolve, so I will not despair yet:

http://www.flickr.com/forums/bugs/30786/

Friday, December 15, 2006

Happy Holidays from the George Bushes

This old Christmas picture/card is oh-so-very wrong. Props to Daily Kos for pointing this out.

First off, I had no idea that the Bushes elder had so many children. Yes, I had previously heard of Neil along with the other two more notable nitwits, umm, I mean, sons, but Marvin and Dorothy? What the heck? Secondly, what is up with the ties tossed over the shoulders and where did Dubya's belt go? Man, that grin gives me cold shivers.

Ahh, Verizon

It's hard for me to like them, seeing that I work for a competitor, but they have been getting more clever lately.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Evil Chair

I must have this now! I demand it!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Back in the Saddle

I'm trying this thing again. Lots has happened. For a preview of what will be happening in my life (and my wife's) in a couple of months, check out my Flickr badge on the left side of this page. Also pay attention to the del.icio.us feed over there; links that I think are pretty cool but maybe not post-worthy will be there.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wow!

I just realized I have gone almost an entire month without posting. Sheesh. To those of you wondering what is going on with my life, here are some details, in reverse order...

The weather sucked yesterday, and as a result, our custom-built (by my father-in-law) ginormous solid walnut entertainment center could not be delivered. Which is actually ok since we have a little bit of painting work yet to be completed in the living room. Three days to do it now...

Spam sucks, but I'm glad I have Gmail--over 130 messages in the Spam folder, and all I had to do was delete them permanently.

Last weekend Ashley and I went to Memphis Friday/Saturday for the INXS show at the Orpheum. It was hella-fun and they were better than I had anticipated. I knew the music would be good, but I wasn't so sure that JD's voice was going to hold up through a lengthy tour--I am very happy to say that it has. If any of you fair readers have reason to stay overnight in Memphis and want to splurge on the hotel, I highly recommend The Madison--beautiful architecture and decor and great service. This place is the quirkiest hotel I have seen. Pictures of our hotel room can be found here; I would have taken more photos, but I apparently broke the LCD on the camera and wasn't too sure that it was still working at all. As it turns out, I could have taken the camera into the concert and taken pics with reckless abandon . Must fix camera ASAP.

Three weeks ago I flew out to Charlotte mid-week for a quick business trip. Charlotte traffic sucks, and I mean sucks. I am convinced that I could never live in a big city unless I lived in a developed downtown/uptown and worked there, too. Driving in that kind of traffic would destroy my soul.

Before that Jessica and Ken had a fondue party. I got, well, erm, drunk, but I took some nifty photos.

Other than that, work, work, and, oh, work. I hope to blog more, but I am now a bit more limited about when/how I can post.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Wired News: 30 Years of Apple Products

More Apple Fun from Wired!

Wired: Apple Ad History

Courtesy of Wired comes this neat retrospective of Apple ads throughout their now 30 (!) year history. Even though I am currently not a Mac user I have always admired their innovative turns, even if some were absolute flops (see Newton and G4 Cube) or over-priced new tech (see Lisa). Apple has always been as much about the vibe as it has been the tech, and that's something that simply continues to confound the folks in Redmond; for that alone, I love what Apple has done over the years.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Nine Inch Nails Concert

Tuesday night my wonderful wife and I attended the Nine Inch Nails concert in Little Rock along with our friend Bryan and a friend of his. Before the concert Ashley and I ate dinner at PF Chang's, which I am convinced is operated by the devil--it's been quite some time since I have had consistently good and unique Chinese-style food; I don't care if it's a commercial chain designed to appeal to American palates--they are good at what they do.

On to the NIN show... Saul Williams, a poet and hip-hop historian, opened up the show with his interesting blend of rap and slam-style poetry; his DJ was stellar. Saul seemed very down-to-earth and sensitive. I know that's an odd thing to write about someone who I have not met personally, but he really connected with the majority of the audience by sharing personal stories and thoughts about his travels through the South (he is from New York). The only problem with his performance is that it was too short. Incredible booming beats, too!

Next up, NIN. I have been a fan since the beginning; shortly after Pretty Hate Machine was released in 1989, I was at Wal-Mart purchasing it (back when Wal-Mart would carry a diversity of music, even if an album had "dirty" lyrics). PHM was instrumental in the development of my musical tastes, and I am forever grateful for that. It opened up my mind to accepting music outside of the norm; in that pre-internet era it was difficult to hear non-mainstream music in Hot Springs, AR, so I began buying tapes, sound unheard, based on what I read in Spin magazine and correspondence from friends in other parts of the state. PHM was the first such purchase.

Trent Reznor (the man behind NIN, if you didn't know) is seemingly an eternally dark person, but he has been clean and sober for about four years now, so his demons are a little different now. Sporting a buzz cut and looking like he's been hanging out at the gym a lot over the past few years, Trent took to the stage and immediately controlled it. Our seats were the closest to the stage without being on the floor, and that position allowed us to see behind the curtains that were holding in vast amounts of smoke during the opening songs (Pilgrimage and Love Is Not Enough). Even though he was hidden from the majority of the audience, it was clear from our view that Reznor and his band were focused and ready to perform; they delivered a show with emotion ranging from quiet vulnerability to unbridled fury.

The visuals were completely complimentary to the music; the back of the stage was dominated by LCD screens and LED strips that resembled city skylines, some of which were turned on their heads. The LCD screens displayed a range of images to match the mood of the music. About half of the way through the show, the front curtain dropped again and served as a film screen for some primal images of animal instinct and human destruction. The crowning moment for the crowd was a shot of George and Laura Bush dancing overlayed by the music and lyrics of Eraser:

need you
dream you
find you
taste you
fuck you
use you
scar you
break you
lose me
hate me
smash me
erase me


I can't get over how tight the band was and how strong Trent's vocals and performance were. He had a couple of minor screw-ups with lyrics, but considering how vastly different the set lists are from night to night on this tour, it doesn't surprise me, and they weren't so bad that performance was ruined. I also got quite a kick out of seeing Trent using a tambourine during several songs; he looked like he was having a lot of fun performing and interacting with the audience.

Here is the set list, with my favorite performances marked with asterisks; the album each song is from is in parentheses. Thanks to schwilj for posting this on echoing the sound, a Nine Inch Nails discussion board. The discussion pertaining to this show can be found here.

Pilgrimage (The Fragile)
*Love is Not Enough (With Teeth)
You Know What You Are? (With Teeth)
*Terrible Lie (Pretty Hate Machine)
The Line Begins to Blur (With Teeth)
*March of The Pigs (The Downward Spiral)--an extended version filled with venom
Something I Can Never Have (Pretty Hate Machine)--I did not expect to hear this!
The Big Come Down (The Fragile)
Closer (The Downward Spiral)--this had a different, more mellow feel to it at first, then exploded
Burn (Natural Born Killers soundtrack)--another I did not expect to hear
*Gave Up (Broken)
*Eraser (The Downward Spiral)--simply incredible buildup throughout the song
Right Where It Belongs (With Teeth)
*Beside You In Time (With Teeth)
With Teeth (With Teeth, duh)--with-a teeth-ah
Deep (Tomb Raider soundtrack)--the only song I don't own and don't really like all that much
*Only (With Teeth)
Wish (Broken)--loud, loud, loud
*Every Day is Exactly the Same (With Teeth)
*Hurt (The Downward Spiral)--I had gotten tired of hearing the NIN version, especially with how Johnny Cash turned this into his own song so very well, but the performance was raw and built slowly into the final last twisted chords
*The Hand That Feeds (With Teeth)
*Head Like A Hole (Pretty Hate Machine)--wow! This was an incredible way to end the show and it is great to hear how Trent and co. have rewritten and rearranged classic NIN songs to make them fresh and relevant while remaining true to the original idea of the song.

This was a great show; if I have the chance to see NIN again on this tour I will not hesitate to buy tickets.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The Importance of Math Education

I really hope that this web page is seen by educators and parents. Our country desperately needs more engineers and research scientists, and math is the key to those career paths. Even though I am more right-brained and have a B.A. in English, math was an integral part of my education and has truly served me well in every aspect of my life.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Brick Testament

I'm sure The Brick Testament has been blogged about quite extensively by now, and many of you may have already seen it, but this is just to bizarre not to note on my blog. Frank, if you're reading this, you particularly will enjoy it. If you aren't willing to click the link yet, just let me write these two words:

LEGO
Bible

You do the logic.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Hombre 2006

Last weekend I, along with 12 of my fellow CAWS (Central Arkansas Warhammer Society) members traveled to the unlikely location of Killeen, TX for the Hombre, a Warhammer Indy GT tournament.

These tournaments are really just an excuse to play with little plastic and metal miniatures, ooh and ahh over the painting skills of some people, drink beer, and generally act juvenile. It is quite an interesting sub-culture; it's comprised of varying degrees of gamer geeks. Some of these guys are simply hardcore wargamers, some are enthusiastic modelers/painters, and some come to the game with a lengthy role-playing background. But we all enjoy rolling dice and having fun.

I played six games over the course of the weekend (1 pickup game and 5 tourney games), and went 4-2 (3-2 in the actual tourney). 3-2 continues to be my best showing at an Indy GT, which is getting a little frustrating, but I recently changed armies from Orcs and Goblins to High Elves in order to keep the game fresh and present me with a different set of challenges, both from the gaming and painting standpoints.

Here is a Flickr set of pictures I took during the weekend. I hope it helps explain the tourney scene.

The Future is Now!

Courtesy of Wired News comes this little gem about flushless urinals. I know, I know, odd topic to be posting on my blog (well, maybe not), but the part that really cracked me up was a national plumber union's response:

"We oppose waterless urinals and feel that these fixtures are a step backwards in health," says Mike Arndt, director of training with the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters. "We understand there's a water conservation problem, but there are plenty of other options Â? such as dual-flush toilets or timed flushing devices."


Are you kidding me?!?!? Anyway, go read the article.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Hells Angels in Sweden

I had no idea that the most notorious biker gang ever thrives in Sweden. Nice little scam they have going there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Friday, February 17, 2006

Must See?

I know I will probably be disappointed by Night Watch because of the story problems it supposedly has, but it really appeals to me visually. Any takers, should it hit Little Rock?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Monday, February 13, 2006

IPod on the Tracks - New York Times

This column scared the heck out of me. The $399 spent for my iPod wasn't exactly disposable income, and Beller's column is a solemn reminder of why I spent the extra dough on the extended warranty and a nicely padded leather case with a belt clip. Oh, and it is also why I don't wear coats with holes in the pockets. ;) Thank god I also don't have the opportunity to have to decide whether or not to jump down onto the subway tracks!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

In the Words of Napoleon Dynamite, "Idiot!"

This is a sure sign that some telecom execs are complete morons. Boo-freakin' hoo, someone else is generating revenue from utilizing Verizon's network. When are these guys going to learn that the cable/satellite TV paradigm does not work for the internet? It is pretty apparent that people are willing to pay what they do for internet access because of the sheer volume and diversity of choices available on it, otherwise AOL would be the model everyone else would have followed. Verizon should be more concerned with providing a stable, high-speed network; if they want more of the pie, they should become a content and/or ad provider themselves.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Web 2.0

Over the last few months I have become increasingly obsessed with web 2.0 sites. If you aren't familiar with web 2.0, it is time you get on the bus; you probably are actually already climbing aboard, but may not know it. Do you blog? Do you use RSS? Do you use Ajax pages, such as Google Personalized Home, Microsoft's Start.com, or my favorite, Netvibes.com? Wiki addict? Like Pandora? Are you a Firefox user? Do you know what a tag is? If you answered yes to any of these you are already familiar with some of the advancements that web 2.0 brings. For most of us, web 2.0 is the next step of web-as-platform, giving us wonderful applications that run off the web, usually for little to no cost for us. Oh, and you can thank Google's advancements in web ads for that.

Here are some of my favorite (or need-to-check-out-now) web 2.0 sites, in addition to Netvibes, which totally rocks, by the way.

BillMonk is a site I have not really gotten into yet, but it is sure to appeal to the tightwad in all of us. BillMonk is billed as "making social money painless." Just go look at it.

del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site (the link is to my part of del.icio.us); it is just a site to compile all of your bookmarks, tag them, and access them from wherever you want. Tagging is just a way of grouping bookmarks using single-word tags to describe what the site is about, e.g. foxsoccer.com is tagged with soccer and sports; click the tag within my del.icio.us and you can see what other sites are tagged similarly--think of it as Six Degrees of Separation for the web. The social aspect of it is that your bookmarks are, by default, shared with the rest of the delicious community. Bookmarks also include links for other users who have saved the same bookmark, allowing people to discover the web in this manner. Where delicious really takes off is on the front page of the entire site, which lists the most recent posts, which aren't necessarily standard run-of-the-mill bookmarks, but links to hot topics and sites. Sites similar to del.icio.us include digg.com, which is very tech oriented and not as straight-forward as del.icio.us.

Airset.com is an awesome calendar site. I have my personal calendar, as well as a calendar for an organization I belong to, set up on this site. The flexibility offered by it is mind-boggling, and the folks running it are always working to improve it.

My favorite and the most useful 2.0 site, though, has to be Gmail. Let me know if you need an invite, I've got 100! ;)

Thursday, February 02, 2006

iLounge Blog: Your senator needs an iPod

From a post on one of my favorite iPod-related sites, this is an absolutely brilliant idea. For the sake of all of us who are techheads we need to support ideas like this, not so that lawmakers get a bunch of free swag, but so that we know an effort is being made to educate these people about how tech-related legislation affects us all. It's all about innovation, baby, not protecting outmoded businesses.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Ahh, Eminent Domain Rears its Ugly Head Again

Is this the wrong way to engage in civil protest? Sure, it is radical and, from far away, a bit comedic. However, the fact that this action helps bring the issue further into the spotlight, not allowing it to fade away, is positive. People living in areas bordering commercial properties, in particular, should work to ensure that state legislatures try to do the right thing for everyone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Coffee of the Week...

...for my coffee press at work is Ethiopian Harrar, courtesy (well, not really since I bought it) of River City Coffee and Tea. I made the first pot just after lunch; it was pretty good, definitely the dry-processed variety--pretty dry grounds, very earthy, some chocolate overtones, but not as much as I expected. I think I will chalk that up to the water not being quite hot enough, but I am afraid that the roast is just not dark enough to bring out the best in the coffee. We shall see.

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Quest for Democracy

In tiny Arab state, Web takes on ruling elite | CNET News.com. It is refreshing to see some of the citizens of Bahrain have a go at creating a democratic movement, even in the face of a certain government's hypocrisy.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The RIAA Makes Me Laugh

I was never a Grokster user, but the RIAA's feeble attempt at trying to threaten Grokster users makes me laugh and laugh and laugh some more.

So Wrong It Hurts

Computer Monitor Jacob's Ladder. Good luck with this if you try it.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Wikipedia

Joho has an excellent entry in the discussion regarding how Wikipedia has become the universal dartboard for traditional media in the us vs. them, finger-pointing campaign that some in the traditional media have embarked on lately. It really is sickening; from the reaction to Wikipedia's public statement about self-monitoring and self-correcting and the recent changes it has made to its creation policy, one would think these journalists work for good editors whose publications are monitored by truly honorable ombudsmen. But who are we kidding?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Finally!

I freaking managed to dismantle the thick code that Blogger and Halo Scan conspired to create for my blog and now have everything working. Who cares that the Permalink link is permanently embedded on the page, even the permalinked page itself? Not I, though I could probably obsess about it like I did the Halo Scan commenting not appearing on my Permalinked pages. ARRRGGGGGGGH! I had forgotten how painful it can be to scour through web code. I thank my lucky stars every day that I am not a programmer/architect. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I Love My Coffee...

...but seriously, some people go a bit too far to enjoy a connoisseur's experience. This is just wrong.

Now for some other coffee stuff. Thanks to my wife Ashley for getting me an iPod for Christmas, I have now officially become a podcast addict (I'll have to post on that later), but one of the podcast discoveries I have made is coffeegeek.com's podcast. Mark Prince knows his stuff and is pretty humorous and sarcastic at the same time, even if he is a coffee snob. I am just getting into the accompanying website, so I will let you know, faithful readers, if the snobbery is too much to stand. Right now I am happy with my pre-ground (gasp) Starbucks and my French Press.

Also, another site I will be checking out is coffeereview.com, a self-described "Wine Spectator for coffee lovers". The site is written and edited by Kenneth Davids, one of the pioneers of the specialty coffee industry in North America (I learned that from listening to episode 11 of the Coffee Geek podcast, which contains the first in a three-part series of interviews with Mr. Davids). He is a big proponent of home roasting, which does not really interest me, but the site is really devoted to reviewing different coffees that are commercially available in North America, which does interest me.

Hmm, time to make some coffee!