16 December 2011

Weekend summary, part the second

Been an interesting week. Meant to post a fun update on the back half of my weekend but I got sidetracked.

Sunday I got up and went for a hike with the girl, then headed up to LA for the KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show. That was really fun. I'm too lazy to look it up but as best I can recall the lineup was:

The Naked and Famous
Foster the People
Cage the Elephant
Noel Gallagher's New Band
Death Cab for Cutie (set unfortunately marred by sound issues)
Florence and the Machine
Mumford and Sons
Black Keys
Jane's Addiction

Not sure why they decided to throw Jane's into that lineup but it was a good chance for most of the crowd to get home earlier than they originally planned for the Sunday. Because they (Jane's Addiction) were awful. Comically bad.

The rest of the bands were fantastic (excepting Death Cab, for reasons that were not of their doing). Mumford and Sons is a favorite of mine so seeing them again was awesome. For my money they were the best band of the night. I think the Black Keys are overrated; there's only so much noise that an overdriven guitar and a drum kit can make. Some people are way into it though. I'm told they are going mainstream now but I don't think their sound has long-term mainstream appeal. But what do I know? People like country music but it all sounds the same to me.

Gallagher's set was forgettable until he played some Oasis tunes. He did his best but I felt badly for him. He didn't mail it in as much he knew that the audience didn't really give a shit about his new band, and that showed.

This and that

Wrote a long post that wasn't even fun for me to read. You have to draw the line somewhere so I deleted it and I'm posting this music instead.

15 December 2011

Hold still, this needs to look good

A while back I was in Big Cheese' wedding. It was great fun to be involved and share with him. I wrote a post about it that someone must have put on fbook or something because it got a lot more views than usual.

Anyway, the photos from that event are now available online and I cribbed my favorites from the 600+ that the photographer uploaded. I forgot that I had to tie my friends tie for the big event.

Not the kind of thing you do every day so I took it seriously, although, as you can see in the photos, not so seriously that I didn't take the opportunity to do my never-not-funny* too-short clown tie gag. Big laughs from Big Cheese and the camera guy when I pulled that move.

You can see in the photo that Big Cheese is indicating where he clown-tie would end on him, and I'm demo-ing that so I can get the lengths right. While that would have been awesome, in deference to his bride-to-be we opted for a more traditional look, so it landed in the middle of his belt buckle.

It was one of my favorite moments from a weekend full of great moments and I'm glad I have some pictures of it.

* I promise it's (almost) always funny. Next time you have a tie on just hike it up to your neck and see what happens.

14 December 2011

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

This has 14+ million views on youtube but it was new to me.
I laughed.

13 December 2011

Let's lighten the tone a little: lolcats = win

This is lifted straight from Alligator Sunglasses (again). I had planned to use it to accompany some pithy commentary about something or other. It'll have to stand alone for now.

Many thanks to whomever put it together in the first place. It's a recent favorite of mine.

If you don't agree I invite you to meditate briefly on the bottom panel for 10 seconds. If you don't laugh then you probably don't like cats and/or the internet.

Closing a chapter

My father and I haven't had any type of relationship for twenty-five years.
Today it came as a surprise to me that I was saddened when I received the news that he had died. He was around 70.

He wasn't the nicest guy, although later accounts from those that knew him before I was born suggest that he was very funny and fun to be around. I never met that guy.

Most (all?) of my memories of my father are related to his abilities as an intellectual or an asshole. Some encapsulate both elements very well, e.g.: Pops was very good at trivia, Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, etc. One of his favorite activities (as near as I can recall) was watching the evening game shows and ridiculing the players because of their intellectual inferiority. He had a particular talent for the Wheel of Fortune puzzles; it didn't extend to personal relationships.

When I knew him Trivial Pursuit was in its Big 80's heyday and we would all gather round together to 'play' together. The teams were always him vs. whoever wanted to read him the questions. You'd figure out who got to go first and then you would do your best until it was Pops turn. Then he would answer every question correctly until he had filled his little pie with those wedge-shaped pieces and you lost.

In retrospect it was a great learning opportunity, and I don't mean about trivia.

Traditionally you're supposed to write something flattering about the recently deceased. I prefer the truth: he was a difficult person that handled our relationship poorly. I forgave him a long time ago so that I could keep the best parts of him (I am also pretty good at Trivial Pursuit) and let go of the rest. If I ever have a child I hope that our relationship is better.

Thanks for reading.

12 December 2011

Weekend update - part numero one

I think it fits pretty well, but I'm not sure about the color
I don't know about you but I'm exhausted. The Girl and I went to a local production of the Nutcracker on Saturday afternoon (more on that shortly), after which we prepared a delicious Crab Feast of lots of full menu redacted - too much detail delicious food. It was so good I wanted to take a picture. Instead I ate until I was vaguely uncomfortable. You care.

In related news, I'm officially not allowed to make unsupervised food or (especially) dessert purchases any more. I overbuy.

A couple months ago The Girl and I were at lunch and I went to review and buy dessert to go. I inquired about her preferences and she said, "surprise me". She knew that I wasn't qualified to make these kinds of decisions on my own and predicted (internally) that I would come back with $30 worth of dessert. For two people. After a lunch. $32 later, I returned with a small coconut cake, apple tart, and small German chocolate cake. (Seems reasonable to me.) So that was her fault. Obviously.

Fast forward to Saturday when I'm trying to figure out how many crabs to buy for the Crab Feast. You have to buy the whole thing; no fractions. So. Guy puts one on the scale. I eye it critically. (It should be pointed out here that an adult Dungeness crab is not small.) Mmm... not sure that's enough. Throw another one on there. Yeahhhh. That looks way better. Much more pleasing to the eye and the palate. Just as the very helpful guy at Santa Monica Seafood was getting ready to ring up my two (enormous) food items The Girl noticed that I was unsupervised and came over to inject some much needed restraint. "I think one is probably enough, don't you?" Me: Uhh, no. Yes? You think?  Her: I think one is probably good. Me: Enh, okay if you say so. Two does seem like kind of a lot. I guess.

We barely finished the one.
I'll do better next time. Probably.

Re: the Ballet - The Nutcracker was sweet. It was a small (by nutcracker standards) local production so although the main parts were very well done there was a precipitous drop off in the quality of dancers after you got past the front line. As a result some of the dances were maybe not as great as they could have been, but I didn't care. It was still fun. Sweet Katie will be pleased to know that we might make a trip up to SF later this month to see the big show. We're looking at dates now so I'll keep you posted.

Photo is from a pile of old pics I scavenged from alligator sunglasses and wanted to re-post.

11 December 2011

Take that!

When I'm not slaying dragons in Skyrim on the dorkbox360 I'm pwning n00bs in Battlefield 3. (No Call of Duty for me. After some uncountable number of hours I am finally tired of that game. BF3 has vehicles and destructible environments and different game types. It makes a difference.)

Anyway, this happened on the PC version of BF3:

That guy wins. Double bonus points for the theme music.


Had one of those weird many-little-things-go-wrong days last week. Some of the stuff was careless, like dropping my ipod touch, picking it up and then dropping it again before I put it in my bag. Dur. Also I had to pay for parking at a place because I was 2 minutes over the allotted time for validation. Silly trivial hassles and inconveniences: late to meetings I didn't know about, early to meetings that were canceled, etc. But there was one standout: when I spilled the cocoa powder.

I make a chocolate or chocolate peanut butter protein shake in the mornings for breakfast. The regular chocolate protein powder (Jem Lean Complex 8, if you must know) is pretty good but it's even better if you put some cocoa powder (0g carbs, lots of flavor) and all natural peanut butter in it (carbs and fat but it tastes good so shut up). Soy milk is a good option if you don't like dairy. Or if you're weird.

In assembling my delicious and nutritious shakebomb I managed to spray the cocoa powder all over the kitchen. It was everywhere: counter, floor, stove, my skin and hair and clothes, the sink (more mess than you would expect), and the dog. What a mess. If you were ever wondering how to get chocolate boogers, well, now you know. It was a spectacle. Took me half an hour to clean it up, not counting the time that I should have spent showering and changing my clothes, which I skipped because I was late from cleaning up the mess I made.

No photos because my phone wasn't immediately handy. Oh well. You kind of had to be there. If you were you wouldn't eat chocolate again any time soon.

10 December 2011

Powerpoint is awful - dance is much better

I grew up using and seeing Powerpoint so I've never been in a workforce that didn't have it. As such, I can't know if presentations were better or worse before its arrival.

I do know that in its current iteration it enables a lot of terrible presentations. The most common mistakes are to put too much information on the slides and then, inevitably, read them out loud. As such, this modest proposal sounds good to me.

09 December 2011

Not sure that's going to be enough

Would have been very handy during my fraternity days
Cleaned out the cellphone photos a while ago and found this little gem. It's from well over a year ago when I visited the Del Taco on 17th street. I wasn't doing any eating, just acting in a supporting capacity. Hit the can when I was there and that's when I found this plunger with the XXL handle.

Of course it was in a Del Taco. How could it be any other way?

Mostly I was bummed I didn't think of doing this first.

08 December 2011

That's a helluva thing

Heard some good covers of this song. A 'good' cover is one that enables you to hear the song in a new way. Or maybe you just like it better. Whatever. Some people think Bob Dylan walks on water. I'm not one of them, but he knows a thing or two about how to write a song. This live version (!!) of Don't Think Twice, It's Alright from Bree Sharp is very strong.
No actual video to speak of. Shrink your browser, turn up the speakers.

See you out there.

07 December 2011

That's a funny angle

But of course...
One photo from Florence I forgot to share was this illicit image of Michelangelo's David.

Photos of the statue are expressly forbidden but the way the local security is positioned enable you to snap a shot from this angle if you're quick about it. You can drift into a little alcove and as long as security isn't on patrol (they do frequent walkarounds) you can take a rest on one of the benches and/or sneak a photograph on your Blackberry (which is what The Girl did, per my request). If you even think about putting your camera to your face in this area you will draw immediate shouts from the patrol. And I mean angry shouts. With finger pointing. And then you'll get kicked out. Ouch.

I usually don't violate those types of rules but I really wanted a shot of this if I could get one. So here it is.

The statue was one of the things that was worth the price of admission. Sometimes stuff you learn about from a distance doesn't make much of an impression in person. You can chalk that up to expectation if you want, but sometimes it maybe isn't all that great after all, expectation or otherwise. The David was the opposite of that. Whatever your expectation, it is awe-inspiring and beautiful. Impossibly, absurdly great.

The Best of the Rest in the /wherever they keep the David - I'm too lazy to look it up/ was mostly unfinished work by Michelangelo. That guy finished projects about as often as he took a shower, which is to say: hardly ever.

06 December 2011

Sometimes I feel like this might happen to me

This is lifted more or less directly from Alligator Sunglasses, which is a tumblr of funny stuff on the web. Most of it is pretty good but anything Sesame Street or Muppet related is near and dear to my heart so I re-post it here.

I love how well put together he looks in the first panel. His papers are organized with that little clippy thing, he's lost some weight. Very professional.

05 December 2011

This didn't work, so here you go again

Tried to embed this in a previous post but it didn't work. Trying again.
Need to figure out how to embed videos better. This format isn't so good. 

Here's the link direct to the video:

04 December 2011

F*ck Yeah Motorcycles

Traditional old-school Honda colors are red, white and blue
Regular readers that aren't into the motorcycles can look away now. 

Got the 600RR bodywork done. (For the record, that's a 2007 Honda CBR600RR.) Painted and customized the race plastics with a headlight and brake lights so that the bike is street legal(ish). Helpful because I don't have a truck and also I intend to sell it some day and it'll be much easier to sell if it's road legal. Don't plan to ride it on the street all that much. It's registered, plated and insured but the plate isn't actually mounted to the bike. I put it in my backpack if I ride it on the mean streets.

Big thanks to the guys at Metric Method in Lake Forest for all the help and good work. They installed the custom headlight and custom fabbed the brake and turn signal indicators in the rear (there aren't any in the front, see prev. comments re: street legal-ish).

I ordered some mirror block-off plates (and handlebar mirrors, for the street) but I haven't had a chance to install either one yet. Hard to start working on the bike when you get home at 10 PM and your roommate (who sleeps directly above the garage) is already in bed. Haven't even put decals or stickers on it yet. I hope to have all that done by this weekend. Hope. I had some custom decals made up. More on that when they're installed. With photos. Get excited.

Check out the HID high-beam headlight. It's crazy bright but at least people can see you coming. I'd rather annoy everyone because they see me than get run over because they didn't. Not a difficult decision, if I'm honest.

Here's a video:

The "Dream" part is because these red/white/blue colors are associated with the Honda Dream racing team. I think that's classic Japanese engrish so I don't describe it in that way, but most people familiar with Honda Racing will recognize it.

See you out there.

03 December 2011

It's a big step I'm not sure I'm ready

Vernazza (Cinque Terre) - Everyone takes this picture; wouldn't you?
I never posted the Italy pictures. Actually I have no recollection of whether or not I posted the Italy pictures but it's a safe bet that I didn't. You care.

Anyway, here's the processed photos of the trip I took to Tuscany and Cinque Terre (not part of Tuscany, apparently). Processed = resized and maybe auto-level colors in photoshop. Otherwise they are not retouched. We visited Pisa, Lucca, Cinque Terre (stayed in Monterrosso), Florence and Siena. The cooking photos are from a cooking class we took outside of Florence. I was in charge of the camera for part of that so I took a lot of pictures. Skip past them if you're over it. 

Italy, 18-28 August 2011

02 December 2011

What the hell just happened?

It's been a month. A MONTH! I started getting concerned calls and emails from friends. Once they established that I wasn't kidnapped and/or seriously hurt they started asking Important Questions. Mostly the same question: What the f are you doing?
Well, lots of things. E.g:
- Playing Battlefield 3 and/or ESV: Skyrim, either one of which will take over your life without you even noticing. I don't know where the time goes when I sit down with those games. It's like taking a nap when you're a little kid: you blink and it's four (or more) hours later.
- Spending time with The Girl. (more on that in a separate post. Due later this weekend, not a month from now, thanks for asking).
- Reading the books. Just finished The Hare with Amber Eyes, which was well-reviewed but I didn't think was very good (boring). Not recommended.
- Goofing around with motorcycles, although not as much as I would like because of all the other items on this list. I'm not home much, and if I am home I'm pwning n00bs or slaying dragons.* 
- Working. A lot. When I get home I don't feel like typing up a summary. Upside is I have a job. Downside is they expect me to do work there. They are funny like that.
- Traveling. I was out of town for Thanksgiving. And also for work.

 I had a lot to say about the Penn State sex abuse scandal but then Charles P. Pierce did it better. He should, since he gets paid. I'll folllow up as the trial moves along and the verdict comes in. The SI piece was particularly disturbing, so I suggest you start there for full summary.

The NBA solved their lockout crisis. Phew! Now I'll have something to ignore until the playoffs start in June.

More updates as I work through the backlog.
Thanks for reading.

* Not a euphemism.