31 August 2010

REPOST - but this time with a photo

Got some funny feedback on this post (it's one of my all-time favorites), so I decided to dig into the archives and re-post it in it's entirety here, and also add a photo that captures the overall excellence of the experience.

Photo was taken after I got back from traveling all day. to nowhere. I'm waiting for the cab to take me back to a hotel, where I will sleep for about 2 hours and get up and do it again. In the rundown below, it's between steps 9 and 10.

------------------

gave up urban for the sticks - humid times in Foz de Iguacu


writing to you now from a janky internet connection in the city of Foz de Iguacu. it is in brazil.
new place = new faces and new keyboard. we are all portugese all the time now, so maybe i~ll get used to it. the apostrophe key has swapped with the tilde. so that~s sweet.
here~s a brief rundown of the last 24 hours.
  1. wrap up my last night in BA with my new international friends. we stay out late. i get up early to check out and go to the airport.
  2. i go to the wrong airport.
  3. i pay for another taxi and go to the right airport.
  4. i don~t have a ticket because they canceled my flight.
  5. they re-book my ticket. i get on the plane.
  6. plane hits weather in planned destination. re-routed to nearby airport. after 2.5 hours in the air, we land, disembark.
  7. wait 3 hours in airport so small it feels like we stopped by someone~s house unexepectedly, only to find they have stepped away. but it is an airport.
  8. We fly back to Bs. As. why not? no explanation is offered.
  9. as soon as we land, they tell us they will fly us back to our orig destination if we wish. i say, yeah, lets do it. get my ticket, splash some water on my face, use the bathroom, and the plane LEAVES WITHOUT ME. on the ticket it said it would leave at 1030, it leaves a HALF AN HOUR EARLY. i had no issues throughout the day, but i got very angry at this point. its now midnight. i~ve been doing airport song and dance for 12 hours, and i~m no closer to my destination than i was at the start. i did get to visit posada international airport. i don~t recommend it.
  10. i get a hotel room in BA, but i don~t get there until 1. my wake up call for my early flight is at 5. i get to airport on time, but my morning flight is 2.5 hours late. so i catch some z~s on the bench.
  11. board plane, fly, land in FdI. OUTSTANDING! i need a map. i ask the aggressive tour booking guys if they have any maps. just the one on their desk. of course. so i ask the rental car companies if they have any maps. surely avis provides their customers with a map when the rent them a car? how else would they know WHERE THE HELL THEY ARE GOING? sorry, Avis says. no maps. That was good for a laugh, anyway. thanks, avis. way to try harder and lie to my face.  i ask the hertz guy, he apologizes, says he has only a photocopy, will that do? i say fine thanks, i~ll take it. so he gives it to me. then he says, i forgot we had brochures too. here you go. and he gives me 4 brochures with maps in them. for free. literally, un regalo, a gift. restoring my faith in the human race one good deed at a time. it lasts exactly 12 minutes, which is how long it takes for the cab driver to try and give me the shaft.
  12. cabbie works overtime trying to sell me on a hostel he gets a kickback from. i say, great. i~m going to the hostel i told you about. you might remember it because ITS IN BRAZIL, and the hostel you are trying to sell me on IS IN ARGENTINA. this goes on for about 12 minutes. i say no thank you. no thank you. etc. so the asshole ignores every word i~ve said and tries to pull into the parking lot of the hostel he is selling me. we had a tense moment in the car when i alerted him to the fact that i did not appreciate his sales strategy. and i finally made it.
more info on rural brazil, waterfalls, and the effect of loss of sleep on one's disposition in tomorrows issue. im off to shower so i don~t hit a new pb on the INOASq. [Ed. 'In Need Of A Shower quotient']

-------------------
That concludes a record number of posts for one month. I had a lot of nothing very much to say.
Thanks for reading.

30 August 2010

I guess that's a good enough reason

Headed to Foreign Lands next week.
In getting my stuff together for the trip (read: thinking about getting my stuff together) I was reminded that the original impetus was when I sent Boston Zach a list of the fifty best places to eat (and where to eat them) and said, "let's go". He suggested Spain, because we could leverage our limited knowledge of Spanish and also two of the fifty were in Barcelona. And Spain is cool and neither of us had ever been there. So that's fun. 

After reviewing the list I realize that I still haven't made it to Fosselmans, an issue I aim to rectify this weekend, and also that the world's best BBQ is available via mail order. Something to look forward to when I get back.

My bbq taste, like my taste in music, is unsophisticated. But the experts agree [ed: article worth the read, so click through if you have time], so at least I know it'll be good.

Long-time readers will wonder what I'm doing eating Texas BBQ when I generally don't eat red meat or pork. I'm making an exception, because if you're only going to eat it once in a while it should be worth it.

WWII edition

I laughed. Thanks to some google for the tip.

Read this: The Once and Future King by T.H. White

Finally finished The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Recommended to me by my friend J. Joliff, who is pretty cool in spite of the fact that he rides a fixed-gear bicycle.

Now I'm recommending it to you, because the book is awesome. I don't know why people suggest that it's for kids, because most of the themes and humor in the book will go right past most kids (and some adults). It's funny, sad, and brilliant.

Highly recommended.

Interntational European Summer of Love Spectacular Tour of Epic Awesomeness and Total Domination is less than two weeks away

Interntational European Summer of Love Spectacular Tour of Epic Awesomeness and Total Domination (IESoLSToEAaTD for short) kicks off in 8 short days. Last time I left the country I had everything packed, sorted, and booked weeks in advance. Lists were made and remade, contents organized, itineraries prepared, etc. This time is a bit different in that it's less than two weeks away and I've, umm, decided what bag I'm going to take. Beyond that, all I know is I'll be in:
  • London from 8-12 September. 
  • Barcelona from 12-? September
  • Somewhere else in Spain ?-?
  • Madrid from ?-22 September

Weather? No idea. Where staying? Enh, with friends in London but not sure yet about Barca/??/Madrid. Is that important? Nah.

What are we doing?
Attending Arsenal v. Bolton on 11 Sept
Maybe catching Atletico Madrid v. Barca in Madrid on 18 Sept
Maybe catching Real Madrid v. Espanyol on 21 Sept
And also watching this in person: http://www.steephill.tv/vuelta-a-espana/
Sightseeing and general touristing (Tate Modern; Museum of Natural History; Picasso Museum; maybe the Dali museum outside Barca; and a couple superb museums in Madrid that I forget the name of)
Carousing

I am pumped to be traveling with Boston Zach, because he sends me emails like this:
----------------------
i love it when i read beach and bar in the same sentence. especially when one appears right after the other as in, "In summer, Barcelona's party scene migrates to its beach bars..."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2009/aug/08/barcelona-beach-bars-clubbing-spain
-------------
Just to be clear: Bar research > lodging info

29 August 2010

Oh, you thought so too?

It's not that the kitten is riding a tortoise. It's that when I picture a kitten riding a tortoise, that's exactly the kind of dump of a place I expect that sort of thing to happen.

26 August 2010

An apple a day reminds you that many apples aren't worth eating

I find the Red 'Delicious' apple exceedingly ill-titled.
Whoever named it must have never actually had to eat one.


That is all. 

A man's reach should always exceed his grasp

Something Halo: Reach something video games something.
Look for it on all consoles on 14 September (I'll be in Barcelona, but whatever).

Oh, by 'all consoles' I mean the xbox360. Suck it, PS3. Bungie is going multi-platform for their next IP. Get pumped for that. In 2013.


Careful

Is it mean to laugh? The kid is fine. Minor bumps and bruises. I get worse treatment at the doctor's office.

25 August 2010

Moar comments on the comments: Belstaff 'Snetterton' jacket

Reader Erik inquires about the heroically awesome jacket I bought last year (pictured, though not on me - only full-face helmets for Case-Sensitive). I ordered mine from urbanrider.co.uk; I'm looking forward to visiting the shop in person when I'm in London in a couple weeks.

Erik writes:
love belstaff!
i live in SCal too and was wondering how hot your jacket gets re: venting etc...
thanks!
 -----------------

Good news and bad news, Erik. The bad news is the jacket has no venting. As in, none. You can open the front zipper a bit, but that's all you get. It's way too hot for summer, but if temps are in the 60's or 70s then it's fine as long as you're not sitting in traffic. Mid-70s is pushing it a bit, but if you're moving the whole time it's okay.

The good news is that it is the warmest leather jacket I have ever worn; I have ridden it in 45 degree weather with a long-sleeved shirt and a scarf (to keep the wind from blowing down your neck) and been very comfortable. It comes with a removable vest liner but I don't bother with it. The only way air gets in is at the collar. That makes it a 2-ish season jacket in southern CA. Late fall, winter, and early spring. Once the weather warms up you will reach for something that moves the air over your body to keep you cool.

It's still the best looking jacket I've ever seen; people ask me about it every time I wear it. My modern Dainese gear is a bit more comfortable, but not quite as bitchin'. Even people that don't like motorcycles love this jacket.

One last thing: you might know this already, but vents in a leather jacket will help keep you from overheating, but any jacket in temps over about 72 will end up making you sweaty. The vents just cool you off.

Commenting on the comments - boom!

Ben asks in this post: 'The one drinking a beer?'

And the funny part about that is although that's not a beer in the left foreground, the HD guys were passing 'dynamite juice' around amongst themselves when we got to the top of the hill. At 0820. Seriously. They had a water bottle full of the stuff, and they would drink it, then chase it with water or Powerade. Nothing mixes like booze and hot weather and motorcycles(?).

24 August 2010

Tvmbling along in svpply.com

I don't think svpply.com fits the classic definition of a tmblr site, since tmblr processes images from other sites, but it is an interesting way to re-purpose/filter stuff that exists elsewhere on the web.

They've got a wide range of 'recommended' kit, from real guns to nerf guns, bicycles, home furnishings, books, generic stuff from jcrew, expensive vintage stuff from a shop in LA, and reasonably priced bespoke shirts. They had some cute girls clothes. At least, I thought they were cute, but my taste is probably suspect, on account of I'm not a girl.

You can make your own inferences about the members based on their recommendations, but if you're looking for something cool or interesting it's a good start.

http://svpply.com/

23 August 2010

Yay for pictures

Probably you were (not) wondering what I looked like from a distance. That's me on the right, in the white jacket.
Note the contrast in safety gear between me and the Harley rider in left foreground: leather vest and t-shirt and jeans? Sure.

Standard def? I don't even know you

Sent a link to this video to my cohort and the link 'didn't work', which prompted this exchange:

him: wtf
him: it's some halo video
him: dude looking at his armor...
him: commercial
him: then it stops...
me: http://www.gametrailers.com/player/703299.html
me: workie?
him: i guess because i tried high def
me: you failed
him: it just shows a freaking commercial
him: no i did not.
him: why would i click sd
him: like a fucking peasant

You said it.

Two weeks until I start my London / Barcelona / Madrid tour, btw. Get excited.

My roommates' head just exploded

My roommate loves big-80's singalongs. I'm not living in glass houses and throwing stones because my love for them is well-documented, but he loves them way, way harder. As in, he doesn't just love the classics. Or maybe his definition of classic is much more elastic and inclusive than my own. In any case, he's not alone, because someone decided to tap into that powerful magic and make a musical featuring big-hair and similar 80's anthems and they sold out a year's worth of shows on broadway, blah blah blah. The good news is they are coming to a venue near you: http://www.rockofagesmusical.com/tickets-2/us-tour/

See you in Costa Mesa. Or LA.

Tony, do me a favor, will you please? Will you do me a kindness?

Language NSFW.

Special highlight: the battle with the flies at 2:30.

20 August 2010

Tidepools, and also dogs

Back from my trip to the La Jolla tidepools.
Photos were so-so, because there's only so much the crappy cellphone camera can do.
Got a funny picture of the dog though. 

See them here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/34402193@N06/sets/72157624644686709/

Small is the new big

The pen(cil) is mightier than the sword. 

http://www.greendiary.com/entry/dalton-ghetti-creates-amazing-art-on-the-tips-of-used-pencils/

Indisputable

As my friend Zach points out, "I want to do hoodrat stuff with my friend" is very difficult to dispute. What do you say to that?

18 August 2010

My lunch break > your lunch break

I heart the ocean, but some parts of the ocean I heart more than others. For example, when the training group went on a walking lunch to see the seals, I bailed and went my own direction. Partly because I happened to see the seals yesterday, and partly because seals are just dogs with flippers and if you've seen one you've seen them all and I'm not interested (unless it's being eaten by a shark, in which case, oh hell yes).

I happened to arrive at the La Jolla tidepools at low tide, and that's superb, because tidepools are one of my favorite things. Tide was coming in (there's a limit to my luck) but I had plenty of time to see all kinds of crabs, anemones, fish, snails, and quite a lot else. I helped some English kids catch a big (for a tidepool) crab and put it in their bucket for further study. It hung out until they tried to put more water in the bucket and he made a break for freedom. So we caught another (smaller) one. You're not supposed to take the critters away from the pools so I made sure they put them back after a few minutes. I'm environmentally friendly.

Good thing I had on shorts and flip-flops. Work appropriate? Not really. Tidepool appropriate? yessssssss

Baby hedgehog, but gimpy

Baby broken-legged hedgehog = cuteness

Hat tip to Zach for the link. He claims someone sent it to him, but he was probably surfing thefrisky.com (what IS that?) or cuteoverload or something.

17 August 2010

The internet delivers: video

First, a short masterpiece:



And then, a longer study on why you don't mix rock climbing and hangovers. Audio essential, and NSFW, on account of f-bombs. And the part where the guy sh*ts his pants:

Boogie 'til You Poop from Cedar Wright on Vimeo.

Yoga - You can't put a price on awkwardness (unless you can)

Went to my first class at the La Jolla Yoga Center. I expected it to be about as booji a yoga studio as you could find, and I was not disappointed in that regard. I've never taken yoga at a yoga-specific spot, preferring instead to mix my yoga and gym memberships. My gym is sufficiently upscale that the basics of the LJYC were familiar: lots of super hot girls, blocks, blankets, lulu lemon everything. I remembered to bring my own small towel and figured I'd buy a bigger one when I got there. That was a Mistake.

A few things you need to know:
  • I'm a sweaty mess at yoga, even in a mixed vinyasa class. 
  • I don't like to wear a shirt, because they fall all over and are a distraction. I could splash out on pricey yoga-specific shirts but meh, I'm over it. More comfy to just take your shirt off. So I'm that guy. Or, in most classes, one of several of those guys. Never take my shirt off in a new class unless some other guy does it first.

So class is well under way and I don't have the usual complement of towels, my rented mat is a sloppy, sweaty sponge, and I'm struggling a bit. Trying to keep it inwardly focused but also trying not to sweat on the girl adjacent (she was late and set up next to me so that's her bad) and fall down because it's so slippery. I roll onto my back during a stretch and the combination of latissimus dorsi muscle and sweaty mat conspire to make an AUDIBLY LIFELIKE FART SOUND.

GTFOWTFLOLWHYISTHISHAPPENINGTOME????

What to do? Normally you'd say, proceed as usual, no big deal, act like nothing happened. That may work if you had, in fact, farted in yoga class. Except I hadn't. So if I proceeded as usual it would very likely happen again, perhaps repeatedly. With another 15 minutes to go in class this was not acceptable. But if you stop what you're doing you implicitly acknowledge, hey, that was me, can't keep doing that, or else I'll (not) fart again. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

End result was I had to lay on my tiny hand towel for the remainder of the class. It didn't help much with traction but it did prevent me from fake-flatulating further. I spent my entire savasana trying to decide if it would have been better or worse if I had just plain farted instead of had the equipment failure / sound effects. I'm still not sure.

Going back tonight for a level 2/3 class. Bringing a surplus of towels. And maybe picking up one of those pricey yoga shirts. Because I was way more than $80 worth of awkward yesterday.

La Jolla - Day 1 Summary

First day of training was painfully slow. I asked one other reasonably savvy attendee about the pace when I bumped into him on the elevator and he agreed that it was ponderous. The instructor is teaching to the lowest common denominator. And he goes... so... slowwww... zzzzz

The stuff we covered on the first day was so basic that if you can't figure it out on your own then you probably aren't qualified to do the job. These people are supposed to write software user support for a living and they can't navigate basic operations in simple software. dur. So the next time you bump into user support that sucks, it's not necessarily that they farmed it out to India, it's that people are dumb. (And also probably because they farmed it out to India).

Even with all that, there were some highlights:
  • Photo of Becks with some lovelies. Thanks to my friend Sonia (far right) for the pic. I double checked to confirm that he is indeed just as dreamy in person as he in pictures. Apparently he's 'even better in person'. A ha.
  • Guy in front of me is sharp, but new to help. He took notes all day in Corel Draw or MS paint or something, so that whenever the instructor drew a diagram or example he would draw it up and make notes on his canvas. First I was like ??? and then I was like :-o
  • Breakfast Tuesday was a country-style french toast at The Cottage. It was gooooooooood. Except you kind of want to go back to bed when you're done eating it. 
  • Yoga awkwardness. I decided that story gets a post of its own.

16 August 2010

The Truth Hurts

Image credit and copyright  and legal whatever else to xkcd.


Full Disclosure: There's a 100% chance I've used the words "for a given definition of value" during a recent shopping adventure. 

Baby showers are awesome. Ish. Awesome-ish.

This weekends bonus activity was my buddy's baby shower on Sunday (that's him on the right). It presented a series of challenges because a) I wasn't reminded of it until late on Saturday after a long (boozy) day in Newport, and b) I didn't have a gift. Sensing that my prodigious hangover wasn't going to be an appropriate boon I had to visit Pottery Barn Kids first thing, then get over to the breakfast. Being hung over is a drag, but being hung over in Pottery Barn Kids is a vicious cruelty.

I was early and PBK (aka Hell on Earth) wasn't open yet so I took refuge at the bookstore and bought a new book. I'm a soft touch at the bookstore because whenever they ask me if I want to buy a book for disadvantaged kids I always say yes. This time I bought two copies of the SAME book, one for me, and one for some lucky kid. That's how you deliver the win.

It's cool if I still read kids books, right? It is? Good.

Training in La Jolla

Taking a training class in La Jolla this week. It's a combination beginner/advanced course, with beginner stuff running the first day and the advanced stuff coming later in the week. I'm already an expert so the early stuff is not terribly gripping. And by that I mean I have plenty of time to figure out what I'm going to do in La Jolla as soon as my class ends.

The La Jolla Yoga Center is directly across the street, so I checked in at lunch and picked up their 'Transformation Week' package. Typically I practice yoga at my swanky gym. No idea what it's like at the LJYC, but I'm guessing it'll be just as snooty but in a more earthy, eco-friendly way. (I'm eco-friendly in that I like hot girls that are into recycling and yoga.) Lulu Lemon recommended, but not required. Which is good, since I wear boardshorts and cut-off t-shirts. And I'm a sweaty mess. Might have to buy a towel or something.

O for 10

I made some bold predictions about which top 10 cookbooks would round out the top 50 from the Observer. I went a strong 0 for everything.

I'm in La Jolla all week for training. Technical writers tend to be a diverse group. Anything from relatively socially savvy marketing types to the nerdiest nerd you've ever seen. Should have some good nerd examples. Pictures would be amazing but I don't know if I'll be able to work it out. Get excited.

13 August 2010

Your perfect motorcycle

This quiz goes pretty quick but I had to sign in at the end. Gave them a nothing password and a crummy email address to get around that, but the quiz results were not terribly inaccurate. I'm not much of a Ducati guy, but I do ride a bright orange, limited-edition motorcycle. So there's that.

http://www.helloquizzy.com/tests/the-motorcycle-personality-test

My results: 
You scored 5 moxie, 14 zeal, and 6 pomp!

You love riding, simply for the sake of riding. On the way to work, you sometimes find yourself taking the long way. The 50-miles-of-back-roads long way. Your mastery came about as a side effect from your love of the sport, although to be honest, you originally got into it because you thought a motorcycle would make you look cool.

You need a bike that can handle your addiction to the twisties as well as reasonably carry two on a weekend trip through the mountains. Because you are a bit image-conscious and have a touch of ego, your bike is a Ducati. A practical Ducati, but a Ducati nonetheless.

Too much food, let's talk football (no, not that kind)

Ahh, I laughed.
Even if you're not into soccerball it's still funny. Probably.

Who's hungry? (part III)

The Observer (weekend edition of the Guardian) is publishing a list of the fifty greatest cookbooks. They were nice enough to put 11-50 online so I could have a look through.

In my unstudied opinion it's a nice combination of old and new. There are many cuisines, regions, styles and similar subsets of cooking represented here, which I quite liked. What I also liked: nothing about light, cooking light, low fat or similar. I hope not to see any of that ilk in the top 10.

Comments:
  • Surprised to see Mastering the Art of French Cooking at number 21. That book changed the way people thought about food in the US. But I guess it's the 'best cookbooks', not 'most influential'.
  • Pleased to see the Chez Panisse cookbook at number 11.
Predictions to make the top 10:
What does the picture have to do with food and cookbooks? Nothing. But I liked it and wanted a picture for this post, so here we are.

12 August 2010

These guys --------------->

Booked my ticket to London. I used airline miles so it was cripplingly expensive, and by that I mean my out-of-pocket cost for my nonstop flight from LAX to London Heathrow was $2.50. And it cost airline miles, which have no meaningful value outside of using them to buy otherwise-too-expensive one-way tickets to and from major European cities. Which is why I used the rest of my miles to buy a return ticket from Madrid. That was 13x as expensive ($32.80), and it brought my out-of-pocket cost above $35. WTF? These are econo-class seats, but at that price I can't complain (much). Just have to make friends with my fellow travelers.

I'll be staying with my peeps in London. They are pictured, in the hat (Ben) and with arms crossed (Seb). Photo was taken in front of the South Coast Plaza Abercrombie store when they were out here a couple years ago. Why a group pic in front of Abercrombie? Better question is: why NOT a group pic in front of Abercrombie? Hah!

In Spain, not sure what I'm doing, except that I'll be visiting Barcelona, Madrid, and some other as yet undetermined cities. I'll be gone for about 18 days. Pumped.

11 August 2010

Shark Week (locally)

A stand-up paddleboarder shot some good video of sharks giving him the once-over. This is near San Onofre, popular surf spot.

I guess you could get out of the water but if the shark really wanted to eat you, you'd be dead already. So might as well get some video.

He failed in his description when he said the shark 'came out of no where [sic]'. Actually the shark came from the ocean, which is not nowhere, because that's where it lives, and that's where you are. It's not like he was driving down the 5 freeway and it jumped him as he came round the bend.

That would be like me going to Okavango Delta and saying, gee, where did all these lions come from? They came out of nowhere! 

What didn't fail was this comment: double shark all the way across san o.


Me my Shark and I from Chuck Patterson on Vimeo.

motorcycle = win

Friend Sean decided to buy the motorcycle pictured. I'm super pumped on it, because I love motorcycles, I particularly love CB750 cafe racer conversions, and I introduced Sean to the idea of owning this type of bike. 

When we first met he asked about my bike and he said he had always dreamed about owning a Harley someday. I didn't know him very well, but he didn't look like a Harley rider to me. He didn't have a mustache, for starters, and also he is a hipster. I don't see too many guys wearing skinny jeans riding american iron. Mostly they ride vespas, which are acceptable:

  • In urban environments where an adult-sized bike is impractical
  • If someone gave it to you for free
  • If you live in Italy
  • If you already own a real motorcycle
  • If your girlfriend has one
  • If you're on vacation and rent one
  • If you've never heard of a supermoto bike
In the event that any of the above is not true, then they are not acceptable.

As it happens, Sean seemed like the kind of guy that would appreciate classic cafe styling (hipsters having cribbed their skinny jeans and t-shirts look from 60's era rockers anyway). So I sent him some suggestions.

Fast forward some months, and I went with him to review the bike pictured. It's a 77 CB750 cafe conversion, and it needs a lot of work. But it runs, and it was $1900. I can't imagine you can find a bike in that shape for less money, even though you'll have to put some money into it to keep it running. Definitely it's the best coolness value-for-money that I've seen on clist.

Full credit to Sean for stretching himself financially (and it was a stretch) for something he's passionate about. 20 years from now the cost will be long forgotten, but he will remember his first motorcycle forever.

10 August 2010

09 August 2010

What's it like living in Boston? (guest post)

Special guest post / travel update from Friend Zach:
-----------------
driving down the road with the girl in the car the other day. we are stopped at a light and i look over at one of the boston locals waiting at the bus stop. i ask a completely honest question, what is that in her mouth? her response, devoid of irony: i think those are her teeth. ah love it here.

------

05 August 2010

I almost agree. Almost.

You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I'm a huge hit at cocktail parties, mostly because I know a lot of funny stories and can talk about pretty much anything with pretty much anyone. And also because I make sure to clean up after my roommate when he breaks something, like his soul. ZING!!

Anyhoo, one of the many things that makes me a preferred guest at soirees, galas, campfires, mixers, and meet-and-greets (besides my impeccable dress sense and fine table manners) is that I read a lot, and then I can talk about it later. At length.* And I'll read just about anything, depending on the circumstance.

The fun thing about the intarwebs is that you can find much good out there to read, and it's free! But where to begin? Well, a website I enjoy is compiling a list of the 'best magazine articles' as voted on by the reviewers/readers. At the time of this writing I am very pleased to see that my favorite long-form author is doing well in the voting, although he's recently been edged by a famous Gay Talese Sinatra article from 1966, and a wildly overrated (yeah I said it) Hunter S. Thompson  piece on the kentucky derby. For my money, though the Federer article is genius, Wallace's best work is Shipping Out (PDF), though it's only got 3 votes (at present). The full list:

http://www.kk.org/cooltools/the-best-magazi.php

It's a matter of taste, but if you're looking for something good to read, start there.

Highlighting an unexpected favorite, this article about DeBeers and the diamond business will change the way you see the world. Or at the very least it will change the way you see jewelry: Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?

Also, you know what's cool? Cafe racer motorcycles with a kick start. More on that shortly.

Special bonus if you know what movie this is from: "An Irishman must talk to God in order to find his equal in conversation." Brother Spud excepted, on account of it's his favorite movie.

04 August 2010

What happens on Friday? (revisited)

Hate to trot out my nerd credentials but in an idle moment today I thought I'd see how the http://isitfridayyet.org/ website was put together. You know, just take a peek under the hood, see what's what.* The author has a good sense of humor, so maybe they have a little easter egg in there or something. You never know.

Well, now you do, because the comments in the code are funny. To wit:

/Please stop looking at my source code!

/Seriously, by continuing to look at my source, you agree to the following:

/
1) First round is on you
2) You will always say "except for in bed" after reading a fortune cookie
3) Office Space is the greatest movie of all time
/

Seems like a reasonable contract to me.


* This is super easy to do, btw, and you can do it for any page on the web. In Firefox, from the View menu, choose Page Source, et voila!

Thirty-five 'movies' in one minute

If we're honest, it's more like 35 representations of movies in 1 minute. Which makes it even more interesting, because the way they repurposed/conceptualized the movies is pretty cool.

I was able to recognize fewer than one third in my first viewing. Try it for yourself and let me know how you do:






Hat tip to Annie for the video/link.

02 August 2010

I am an international financier, part the VIII

Long time readers will recall that I'm a fan of kiva.org, mostly because your money goes a long way there. Such as when you loan a guy $25 and it funds his loan. So I funded Marco Molina. I think he's good for it. Loan description:

With this loan he wants to buy special machines and tools for wood working. He has experience in this line of work and he knows how to use these machines and tools. He has very good customers and he wants to be more efficient in his work. For this reason he sees the need to modernize his equipment so that he can do the best job possible and earn a better income for his household.

I also prefer the smaller loan amounts. I can't relate to a guy/group that needs $3000 to improve their business. Well, I can, but who doesn't need $3000 to improve their quality of life? So instead I focus on small amounts where the money makes a bigger difference. As with Arlene Matildo:

Arlene Matildo is from the village of Dinas, Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental. She is 39 years old. Arlene is married and has 1 school-aged child. To make a living, Arlene owns & operates a business venture in the agriculture sector raising livestock. While not the only means for generating revenue, the main source of income for the business comes from raising pigs for sale.

I went ahead and funded her entire loan. Heck yes! That's what I call making a (small) difference. And she'll probably give me the money back, so I can give it to someone else. So that's fun. Almost makes up for spending my Saturday at the racetrack, losing money watching horses run in circles.