Sound memories

I’ve always found sense memories to be terribly interesting phenomena.

My most intense sense memory involves the texture and flavor of pancakes with butter and apricot syrup at a Perkins somewhere near what I think was Omaha when I was somewhere around the age of 7ish. I think we were coming home from a funeral for a great uncle and got caught in a plains blizzard on the interstate but in particular the warmth and sweet/tart/sweet/buttery flavor of those pancakes in a warm room at a table with my family is one of my most enduring and cherished memories. I often wonder if that is what I am trying to recreate when I go out with friends and family for dinner as an adult. There is something significant about the feeling of comfort, joy, and connection with my family in that memory that I can almost put into words.

While I have other taste memories (sweetbreads at Cosmos with Lauren) and certainly many visual memories (the synaesthetically “noisy” red backdrop to an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center with Heidi), many of the most emotionally intense sense memories are essentially audio cues centered around music. It’s pretty obvious to me that one of the reasons why music is associated with such strongly emotional memories is that for as long as I can remember I have always used music as a sort of proxy to structure my thoughts.

My brain, like almost anyone else’s as far as I can tell, is a fantastically active place. Thoughts do not occur in isolation so much as they occur in chains and groups alongside other chains and groups and emotion can be a component of those thoughts or sometimes more of a medium that the thoughts are moving through. When it is working well it’s a lot like a big pot of boiling pasta with the varying textures of the vaporizing water and the bobbling pasta shapes dancing around at the top of a startlingly clear medium that siphons off easily and quickly through my hands and mouth and body to manifest in the world. At it’s very worst it seems more like an impenetrable pool of magma that is painful to handle and flows exactly like the fire that it is. Searing and destroying everything in it’s path. Music allows me to sift the particulates in a cloudy medium and settles the roiling boil so that I can actually see what is going on rather than simply having to guess at the contents from the random stew at the surface.

My first music focused sense memory involves sitting in my dad’s car in the parking lot of Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids on a cool fall day with the sort of intense sun that makes it impossible to keep at a comfortable level between baking and chilled. We had just arrived but we were taking a few minutes to finish listening to one of Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos on the radio before MPR had separate classical and news stations. It was one of the remarkably rare times I remember my dad sitting with the car off and the radio on with the volume up. I don’t know why we where there that particular time, though at a guess it was almost certainly to visit one of his parishioners who was in the hospital for one reason or another.

That example aside, it feels like many of the music memories are related to relationships, and romantic relationships more often than not. They Might Be Giant‘s album “Flood“, the song “Birdhouse in your Soul” in particular, for the interminable week it took me to call my first girlfriend up for a first date. Public Image Limited‘s song “Rise” and The Godfather‘s album “Unreal World” punctuates everything about the relationships with old friends during the summer between high school and college and the implicit and explicit transitions that where happening. Enigma‘s album “The Cross of Changes” for the new friends found at college shortly thereafter. Morphine‘s album “Cure for Pain” as the intensely stereotypical soundtrack for the breakup with my girlfriend from college. Midnight Oil‘s song “Been away too long” and the rest of the “Capricornia” album when Betsy left me that also signaled ends and beginnings to so very, very many things.

I think I can count myself lucky that it has happened often enough that I actually come to recognize that the memory is being formed while it is happening. It’s not a conscious effort, it just seems to be something that I do. Since I use music to organize the screaming mess in my head it is a very natural event for me. This has the obvious upside of proving that I have at least a glimmer of self awareness but also has the accompanying stark terror of the absolute unknown since I do not know what will end up being frozen in that crystal of amber when the moment has completed.

Whatever this piece of amber will contain, it’s soundtrack is going to be Sufjan Steven‘s album “Illinois“.

Last Train Home

I think I spent about 10 hours listening to live music yesterday. It might have been 11, but it’s hard to remember precisely at this point. There is one particular good, and one particular not-so-good observation I have from yesterday however.

Good: SPF30 sunscreen, applied early enough, does actually keep me from roasting my skin and repeating last year’s idiocy of getting a burn on my knees bad enough to make walking painful.

Not-so-good: The last run on the LRT from the Nicollet Mall station leaves at 1:18am. I had thought I had seen that the last train was at around 2:30, but it turns out that is the last train heading into town, not out. However cabs seem to be quite plentiful at even that time and are not actually hideously expensive when there is a good driver who doesn’t try any shenanigans and takes you exactly the route you would have told them.

After the great time I had on Friday, I was excited to get back downtown and I arrived in time to see the Apple Valley High School Jazz Ensemble 1 who seemed to be a pretty decent high school big band, but was not quite what I was looking for at that point in the day so as soon as I heard the main stage start up I headed down there and was quite glad that I did. Bill Crutcher and Work In Progress had started their set and played a great mix of stuff. I have to say that I have a weakness for good vibraphone playing and despite the only good seating available at this time being the acres of baking concrete in the hot early afternoon sun it was great to hear someone of his caliber playing. The rest of the band was also very good and it’s too bad they didn’t have a slightly better position on the schedule.

I stuck around for the MITY performance and was fairly impressed with a fair amount of it. In particular one of their pianists sounds like he might have a promising future, and already has a distinctive image with a wild mane of long curly hair. I popped back to the Dakota Foundation stage for the last half of the Kelly Rossum Quartet who is always good. I had managed to remember to get cash, so I got two of his CDs for a bargain price as well.

Then it was dinner at Masa on the street. I had the Puerco Veracruzana and a Mayan Margarita. The salsas served with the chips are exceptional, and the pork was very good, but the Mayan Margarita was very slightly disappointing in that I had been hoping for something a bit more understated and delicate than the seize-my-mouth-with-both-hands experience that I got. Toned down a bit I think it would be a great drink but as it stands it’s just too much. Or maybe I’m just pining for the only really truly amazing margarita I’ve ever had, at Chapultepec in Chicago a couple of years ago. Next time I’ll try the Sangria Blanca instead since that was the other option I had been thinking off. (While I’m talking about Masa, it is both great and a little strange to see a restaurant of that caliber with a To-Go menu on their website. Yet another reason to miss working downtown.)

Finished dinner in perfect time to get a good seat for Paul Stubblefield, who I felt kind of bad for. He’s obviously a pretty good entertainer, but the crowd just didn’t seem to be working for him. Though maybe my use of the word “Entertainer” is kind of telling since he did come across as a classic Las Vegas lounge act. That does have it’s place, but maybe not at a Jazz Festival at prime time. He did have a split set with 19 year old sax phenom Alex Han and I can’t help thinking that I’m not the only one who might have rather seen a full set from Alex in the first place. He’s intensity and improvisation skill had some of the crowd on their feet a couple of times and with Taylor Tanner, Gordy Johnson, and Kevin Washington playing rhythm they were a shoe-in for an encore that was fantastic.

After that it was a fairly quick setup for Charmaine Neville to come out and top it all off the right way. I had not known she could do that sort of Louis Armstrong impersonation, and she used it to pretty good effect. Not quite enough to make it a gimmick but enough to show what sort of range she’s got. Her band was absolutely stellar too, and I’m really glad that she has them warm up the crowd with a song before she gets on stage.

After that it was a quick walk up to the Dakota where I caught the end of Willie West and the festival jam session over an order of the really tasty french fries, which the Dakota serves with an excellent Bearnaise sauce. It was pretty obvious that people were thinking along the same lines I had been when the last combo on the stage included both Grace Kelly and Alex Han. After trading solos with the rest of the band for the first 20min, Kevin Washington finally goaded them into doing an improvisation duet that was exactly the kind of music I had been hoping to hear staying up for the jam. Trading licks like they did was a great end to the evening and the right note to go home on.

My armchair observation: Grace Kelly needs the polish that Alex Han has developed over the 5 years that he’s been playing to be a great musician, but Alex needs to work on the stage presence that Grace has already gotten to be a great entertainer. I’m fairly certain that All Grace needs is time to develop the polish, but I wonder if Alex will ever look really comfortable speaking to the crowd on stage.

Off to day 3, which should be full of really great latin jazz on the main stage.

Swing the night away

This weekend is the final half of the Twin Cities Hot Summer Jazz Festival, which has quite a few local and national jazz acts performing on mostly free stages in and around Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. I have been to at least some portion of each of the last four festivals and have been looking forward to this year’s event. I was a little disappointed to note that the festival is a fair bit smaller than it has been in the past, with only a single free stage on Friday night in Peavey Plaza, and two free stages Saturday and Sunday. In comparison, two years ago I remember there being five stages running all day on Saturday and Sunday.

For the most part I have been going to the parts of the festival that I have been able to get to by myself but this year I was fortunate enough to remember to invite my dad early enough that he might not have fully booked his schedule yet, and so he and I had a grand evening last night enjoying the festival and each other’s company.

The day started out somewhat mixed when I ended up having significant car trouble from what has turned out to be a bad tank of fuel. I had stopped at a new Biodiesel pump on the southeast corner of 66th St and Portland Ave in Richfield on Thursday afternoon and not driven much after filling most of the tank. Friday morning on the way into work I noticed that the car was performing very sluggishly and the exhaust was both extremely thick and smelled quite intensely of burning something and the nice people at West Side VW where quite surprised that the engine was able to do much with whatever had been sold to me as fuel. Still, emptying the entire system, clearing the lines, a new fuel filter, and at least some cleaning of the fuel pump will hopefully get things running fine sometime today.

In any case, this did change plans somewhat as I would not be able to meet my dad at my house as had been planned, but it was not a huge deal for him to pick me up at work, and from there were went to my place and took the LRT into downtown for the festival, only an hour later than we had hoped and unfortunately having missed Ginger Commodore. Neither of us had managed to have dinner yet so when we arrived were quite hungry and while it might have been interesting to stay for Dan Kusz‘s set on the main stage, the song they were performing wasn’t nearly as interesting as the possibility of food so we popped into Brit’s for a good meal.

Well sated, and having had a chance to talk, we were lucky enough to came out just in time to see the third act for the night, Grace Kelly. Being 15 she definitely lacked some of the polish and long experience that I often see on the main stage, but she made up for all of that and more with raw talent and vivacious dedication to her sax playing, as well as her singing, and even managed to surprise with a couple of tunes she had composed herself.

The last main stage set was the one that I had been looking forward to and Barbara Morrison was even more fun this year than last. Getting to hear her is such a treat with her fabulous stage presence and wicked humor between songs it makes for a great way to end the night. The dancers tend to come out of the woodwork during her set as well and getting to watch some great swing dancers bopping along to the music just made it even more fun.

While somewhat tempted to stay out for the jam session at the Dakota, we decided we had better start heading home since there was still an hour before the jam would even start and it had been a pretty full day. On the way home we did decide to take a slight detour and stopped for adult malts at the Town Talk Diner. Dad had the Mint Condition, my usual favorite, while I tried the Silly Rabbit. I don’t know that I would have it twice, but I can say that it was the living embodiment of an alcohol infused version of the bottom of a bowl of Trix cereal on a Saturday morning watching cartoons. That particularly sweet, sticky, creamy, but slightly grainy flavor and texture are iconic enough to bring back memories though I’m pretty sure it was Kix in my family instead of the extra-sugared Trix.

Looking forward to today’s line-up and I going to stay up for the jam session tonight. I’m always looking for friendly faces so give me a ring if you’re in the area.

Update: Thoughts from day 2 here.

Comic Thoughts: Iron Man Disassembled

A friend recently bought the Iron Man Disassembled tpb and I mentioned how I had thought it was one of the worst Iron Man stories in quite awhile. Unfortunately when challenged for specifics I actually couldn’t quite remember why, but I did remember the story leaving a bad taste in my mouth that was only fixed four issues into Warren Ellis rebooting the series not too long afterwards. So I borrowed her copy and figured out what I thought the problems were.

I think I should preface this by saying a few things about what I think about Iron Man. As some people who know me already know, I have a deep and abiding enjoyment of Marvel’s team book, The Avengers. I got hooked with issue #31 of West Coast Avengers (I should really write something someday about that particular issue) and have since managed to assemble (heh) a great majority of a full run of issues of the main Avengers and probably close to 98% of the spin-offs and related titles. But the solo books for a lot of the characters have not really been nearly as interesting to me. I think it mostly has to do with enjoying the interplay between multiple important characters in a story rather than focusing on a primary hero and their entourage. That said I have significant runs of both Captain America and Iron Man and at various times have even been a regular reader of both series but it has always been easy for me to drop the titles when they get stupid. Just to pull out a random example: I have never, ever, ever seen an Iron Man story involving time travel to the middle ages that was not entirely stupid.

So, about the Disassembled storyline. The tpb collects issues 84-89 of Vol 3 which contains two rather distinct stories. The first one “Prologue” is written by John Jackson Miller and the second, “The Singularity”, written by Mark Ricketts.

“Prologue” was published as a, well, prologue to the Avengers Disassembled event and is by far the better of the two stories in the book. It has excellent characterization, a decent plot (for a super hero fight comic), and a decent core idea about conflict of interest that is explored in a very appropriate context, in this case Tony Stark’s dual role as U.S. Secretary of State and member of the Avengers which at the time was a United Nations sponsored organization. The dual role theme is explored further, if lightly, in reference to the Avengers as a United Nations organization on U.S. soil as well as the Avenger’s Mansion originally being a family home for the Stark’s back in the mists of time, and finally circling back to the classic superhero problem of maintaining a dual identity. In this case Tony Stark is public about his identity as Iron Man but still finds the demands on his two very different jobs/persona’s as businessman and hero to be in conflict. The story is handled well in two issues with a well executed split between the talky first half and the more action oriented (though still somewhat talky) resolution in the second half. The art is good, if not exceptional. In particular I really enjoy the use of lots of other characters to flesh out the world. Little conversations with all sorts of people who exist in this over the top world are what make the Marvel Universe alive and compelling to read for me. The snatches of dialog with the protesters, or Jarvis getting help setting the table for formal dinner are what make the Marvel Universe worth reading and John Jackson Miller understands this and does it well. It however not without it’s flaws: Finding a forgotten cold war doomsday machine in the Avengers basement is about as hackneyed as you can get, but handling it as a macguffin to frame the conflict of interest theme works reasonably well.

With “The Singularity” we have an almost diametrically opposite example of a comic. To begin with, I find the jaundiced color scheme to be off-putting at best and just plain ugly. While I’m glad that someone is taking chances with the art in a comic book, it’s so sad that it has to fail so spectacularly. Yes, red and gold are the classic Iron Man colors, we get it already. Now please try not to make one of the pages look like the regurgitated results of last night’s bender. The story is a frightful example of not one, but two of my most hated comic plots: The Ham-Handed RetCon and the Tie Up Loose Ends So We Can Reboot Faux Epic. As far as I can tell, the assignment was handed out with the following instructions:

  • Revert all character development that has happened in the past 4 years
  • Do not make more than vague references to the events in the other books
  • Find a way to incorporate Happy and Pepper back into Tony’s life, but don’t bother thinking about it too much
  • Make sure the U.S. Military Iron Man units can not be used anymore
  • Clean up any other hanging plot hooks that may be laying around
  • Oh yeah, and spread it all across four issues

What results is, unsurprisingly, a dreadful mess. The mild attempts to interject the same kind of local color that was so successful in Prologue comes off as both trite and overdone. The story ends up being one cold and lifeless scene after another especially when any attempt to convey any real emotion is attempted. In the eight panels across two pages near the end of issue 87 where Tony’s latest ex-love interest is killed I felt nothing. This is a character that I have followed for a large portion of my life (as scary as that is) and a major character in his recent story is killed off and I barely even noticed. I, a guy who tears up reliably near the end of even the most mediocre romantic comedy, is unaffected by what is, in theory, a major event. Is it the art, the story, the plot, the characterization, or a combination of any or all of the above that is preventing me from taking this at all seriously? I’m not sure but the rest of it is about the same: big fight, reveal of the villain, miraculous intervention by the entourage, moody aftermath, more moody aftermath, yet more moody aftermath, and still more moody aftermath with a side of faint glimmer of sunlight, finally the big reveal of the real villain for no good reason. After all of which you put the book down and forget all of it in the next five minutes, if you’re lucky. It is dull, bland, emotionless drivel from beginning to interminably late end. No wonder a reboot was needed if this is how they go out with a bang.

When I made the comment that I linked to back at the beginning of this post I had not realized that “Prologue” had been included in the collection and can almost see picking getting this collection just for that story except for people who actually care you can probably source the actual issues for less money and you won’t be left with two thirds of your purchase being essentially unreadable.

Thank goodness there were other stories in the Avengers Disassembled event that were worth reading with Thor Disassembled being my personal favorite and really worth the purchase. It also suffers from a lack of coherence with the rest of the Disassembled stories but it really stands by itself very well.

At the other end of the spectrum there are actually worse things put out in the same event with a really tough call between Spectacular Spider-Man Disassembled and Captain America and The Falcon Disassembled being the worst. Spectacular Spider-Man starts out with a good lead by using a character who is not an Avenger and having absolutely no discernible link not only to any of the other Disassembled stories but also to any of the rest of the earlier, concurrent, or following Spider-Man continuity but is quickly equaled in Cap & Falcon by incredibly bad art, ludicrous plot, and dialog most likely plagiarized from an emo 13 year old’s fanfic project for something like Liberty Meadows or Strangers in Paradise.

Clovers where you least expect them

In the last two weeks I’ve run into something a little different at two places that I’ve been for dinner. It appears that both the new Chatterbox Pub location in Highland Park and Signature Cafe in Prospect Park are serving sodas from The Shamrock Group. So far, the cola and the root beer flavors that I have tried are pretty decent, though nothing stellar. It will be interesting to see if I seem them showing up elsewhere around town, I know the original Chatterbox Pub near my home still has Weinhart’s for their root beer.

And while I’m thinking about it, do give the Signature Cafe a try if you have the chance. It’s got a very interesting and varied menu and a staff that is… well, friendly doesn’t begin to describe it.

L-Space Login Quotes

The following is the contents of the login quote file from L-Space:

vaxjo:

this is a test!

Mainsail:

Oh dear..It’s the brain again…Will someone kindly beat me senseless?

Glyph:

And then there was…. well, something resembling a great big mess.

Mainsail:

BBC Reporter talking about the Middle East conflict: “The Lesban..Libbanese…Lesbian Millitant….Oh damn…Lebanese Millitant Group …. “

Laughing Buddha:

I don’t care if it’s free, I want a letter of apology written in blood!

DreamCat:

If I have to read the word “embodiment” one more time I’m going to have to kill someone.

kallisti:

climb troll. er, wait. wrong universe.

curious:

If I could drag myself away from the computer, I’d wonder how wide mine is…

Aeliona:

I have powedered history all across the front of my pink shirt.

Phage:

This would work alot better if I would stop running into walls.

Corwin:

Do you really want a Troll doing a body-cavity search? Think about that.

kal:

You think they’re not going to recognize us when we’re moisturized?

Wil Wheaton:

It sure was strange to see something on Usenet about me that didn’t involve Klingon gang rape.

Kallisti:

You can’t eat a solitaire game. Trust me, I’ve tried.

Glyph:

I can also do many things with my feet that I can do with with my hands.

1880’s Tobogganing Etiquette Printed in a St Paul paper for the Winter Carnival:

6. When steering it is unadvisable to seek to get extra purchase by planting your unemployed foot in the small of the back of the lady in front of you.

Mainsail:

There’s nothing like a nice cup of hot, strong tea, with just a dab of cream and a lump or two of sugar…especially when it gets dumped into your lap.

MPR disc jockey John Zech:

For more on passive-agressive monarchs, and their enabling composers…

bash.org:

I beat the internet. The end guy was hard.

Mousie:

I have your laptop and a full bladder…

hypochrismutreefuzz:

I ran out of gluons and fell apart

poi:

well, you start out reading those innocent little piers anthony books. then before you know it you have a collection of water-proof erotica.

Mainsail:

Also, some words of advice: never put words into Google you aren’t prepared to see results for.

kallisti:

i need either a vacation or a chainsaw. oh, decisions decisions…

Mainsail:

It’s time for the adventures of Lars Mitsuison; North Woods Ninja: Off of 35W North, outside of Brainerd, lies the mysterious Falling Lotus Petal Temple and Coffee Shop, secret home of the Moose Clan: a sect of Ninja dedicated to the principals of Honor, Justice, and Ice Fishing. The temple founded by Tokuzo Minowara-san, who meditated long and attained enlightenment on the Eternal Question: ‘Cold enough for you?’ Tokuzo had trained in the ancient art of the Ninja, but got a job as a fry-chef in a diner in Minnesota We join Lars, a young acolyte of the temple, who sits in meditation after the lunch-rush

Dara Moskowitz [CityPages.com, Dish article from 3/12/2003]:

Failed! The way an entire year’s worth of Harvey Wallbangers have failed to erase the memory of that unfortunate incident in Karachi with the fan dancer and the locomotive. Failed!

Macaw:

Immortality doesn’t disturb me any more than flying pink unicorns with pez dispensers for horns do.

from System Performance Tuning, by O’Reilly:

If a process tries to write to a shared page, it incurs a copy-on-write fault.[5]
5. Often called a COW fault; not to be confused with a ruminant falling into a chasm.

mainsail and jenx:

‘Um, but what if I’m a helicopter? Or a tea pot?’ ‘It means you’re short and stout, here is your handle, here is your spout. It also means that you’ll be experiencing continuous light to moderate chop from FL280 to FL410 for the next 300 miles.’

kallisti, watching yet another depressurization scene in Total Recall:

What, is the dome made out the of saran wrap?

LT:

People are not good food. People are not good food. Eating smokers is bad for you. People are not good food. People are not good food. Eating smokers is bad for you. People are not good food. People are not good food. Eating smokers is bad for you.

Dara Moskiwitz, referring to the Minneapolis neighborhood:

If Seward had the nation’s largest per-capita consumption of hemp soap, no one would be at all surprised.

Mainsail:

Such a beautiful day…not a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining…the frozen thump of the birds falling out of the trees and shattering on the sidewalk…

Asher:

This is where cultivating a sharp elbow and an unerring sense of rib comes in handy.

LT:

I’m not sure if that was a meeting or an experience of listening to someone recite the results of MadLibs using only technical terms.

Broog, Alien Film critic:

The mighty cinematic edifice which is the human Jackson’s rendering of Tolkien’s classic novel grinds to its imperial conclusion in the third film, “Lord of the Rings: The Fat Jolly Hobbit Saves Middle Earth And Everyone Is Nice To His Whiny Friend”.

Laughing Buddha:

no more perogis before bed.

Mainsail:

We’ve always had this skill back into the mists of time in my family. It can be a burden sometimes. Like when I dreamt that I was stranded on a tropical island with the Olympic Naughty Pleasuring Team, and sure enough, the very next day I found an unopened jar of guava jelly in the fridge.

One Windswept Rose:

The problem with being IS and saying “we don’t have time/resources to do this” is that people will do it anyway.

Pretend, for a moment, that the database and server resources you should be using is the I94 bridge over the Mississippi – many lanes, fast speed limit, well monitored and patrolled. A truckload of widgets goes across easily and smoothly, usually.

Now, take away the truck & the bridge, but they still want to move the widgets. They’ll take what they can find “Oh, hey, there’s this cable across the river in front of the dam no one is using – if we train a hundred monkey’s to carry a widget each and put them in relays running up and down the river bank carrying widgets across for us, we can do the whole project w/o needing any IS funding. Cool!”

The problems now are:
1) Dead monkeys and widgets blocking the hydroelectric intake.
2) Barge captains running into the lock doors because they got distracted by BoBo.
3) Riverbank erosion and plant damage from widget laden monkeys
4) Large monkey breeding farms smell bad
5) We’ve already upgraded from small monkeys to large (Gorilla), monkeys are still not as good as trucks for carrying widgets

Pryderi:

What ensued was probably the kitty version of the 4th ring to Hell (the 7th being an underwater dog park)…

Mainsail:

If I call in air support, and they send me penguins, and those penguins hit what I really need them to, I will buy those penguins a drink. I will not quibble.

Goodle:

Bush takes XTC, goes to rave
New York Times – 12 hours ago
“He was jumping around, blowing a whistle, and kept asking me if I had any chewy,” says Alison, 19, who danced with the President and his team of advisors at an unnamed club until 4am. “Rumsfeld gave me a kick-ass back rub.”

Sedna Information Page:

We use a 172 Megapixel camera mounted on a robotic telescope to find these things.

One Windswept Rose:

Well, actually, it’s a work-safe splash-screen right now, you need to click through to get to anything Janet Jacksonesque.

Zannd:

I have a soft spot for Land Yachts. I used to drive my mom’s 1970 Chrystler New Yorker (affectionately named “Tank”)…it could easily fit at least 6, plus trunk space sufficient to garage a small car. Definitely a rolling livingroom. And fun to drive. In an Abrams sort of way.

Pryderi:

There are only so many directions I wanna see my naked white ass from.

kallisti:

feet are like cleavage, only… er, wait, no. they’re not.

dieselsweeties.com:

Bacon is a vegetable.

LT:

I have a trebuchet budget?!?! What great news!

Weird Al Yankovic, “Nature Trail To Hell” from the album “In 3-D”:

If you love the 6 o’clock news
then you’ll love
Nature Trail To Hell!
Nature Trail To Hell!
Nature Trail To Hell!
In 3-D!

Wired:

You programmer. Me writer.

Two Lumps as posted by Asher:

I AM TE CAPTAIN OF THE CARPET SHIP!

Wired:

I vote we go lick their babies.

Zannd:

It wouldn’t be so boring if you took my advice and lowered it, threw some fatties on it, dual dump pipes, neons, fake blower and brake scoops, and a honkin bigass spoiler. And did an 80% tint on the windshield, and added a megabass sound system. Sure, it would handle like a pregnant water buffalo on a lowered skateboard with fatties, but hey, it wouldn’t be so boring.

Mainsail:

No, ‘The Madness of King George III’ is not a sequal.

Pied Piper:

You loved the adventure of “The Madness of King George”!!
You couldn’t get enough of “The Madness of King George – Part II”!!
Now, Miramax brings the thrills, the mayham, the excitement that is:

The Madness of King George III

Just when you thought he was down for the Count,
he’s back…and badder than ever…

(cue music: Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack)

He’s out for justice…he’s out for revenge…
he’s ready to fight for his honor, his crown,
and his rule over the Americas…

He’ll risk everything, even his sanity, to get what he wants…
It’s the Return of the King as you’ve never seen him before…

The Action…the Intrigue…the Romance…

Don’t Miss the Thrilling Saga of King George

in

The Madness of King George III

Rated R
Under 17 not admitted without parrots
Void where inhibited

Asher:

Nothing says teh sexay like being covered in jet black velvet… oh, and lots of multi-hued cat fur.

xat:

taking personal responsibility for my orgasms so often leads to being pursued through the jungle by a t-rex. *sigh* ah the perils of modern life.

xat:

That’s the thing that gets me. Saying that dinosaurs walked the earth 6,000 years ago is such an eyeblink in the REAL LIVE ACTUAL timeframe of evolution that it is the same as saying, look out, over there, it’s a velocoraptor crossing Rockefeller Plaza. Oops. There goes Katie Couric. Pity.

kallisti:

beaners might be in love, but chelsea might be in the kind of love that a person has for their dinner.

Gryphon:

While I was growing up, Velveeta was the unapproachable father figure – elusive, and absent. Softer than it looked, it definitely had it’s “yin” side. But it was never to be found. So I grew up without proper guidance, and got into a lot of troubles with a bunch of Kraft American Singles.

Okay, this is the last time I take a daily poll at quarter to three in the morning.

Mainsail:

Great Moments from The Evolution of the Orgasm #327: ‘Thag go all funny there for moment.’

http://www.goats.com:

Theoretically how much porn could you store on a fish?

elsie:

had i known, i could have given crap by proxy!

elsie:

cause nothing says christmas like shaving a dwarf.

kallisti:

what, all that work and jesus gets to be a bellhop?

from RFC4041: Requirements for Morality Sections in Routing Area Drafts:

The key words “SHALT”, “SHALT NOT”, “SMITE”, and “PILLAR OF SALT” in this document are to be interpreted as expected.

Car Talk Listener:

Driving a Mustang ranks right up there with sleeping in a double bed.

Pryderi:

That’s like saying you didn’t invent the plague, you just spread it.

Chilly Willy:

Wait until you see the telescoping crucifix with blinking colored lights… you’ll be hooked!

-anon:

Oh dear God, they’ve discovered random punctuation to go with random lettering. Any minute now, they’re going to bust out the umlauts and I’ve going to go into hiding.

MousiePants!:

Vanna White is getting her star on the Walk of Fame next week. What I wanna know is, will it light up when people touch it?

To the universe, with thanks

With the house pretty much clean, the roast in the oven, and everything else out of my hands for dinner this afternoon it’s nice to take a few minutes to rest and think.

There has been a fairly common tradition with the American holiday of Thanksgiving to talk about all of the things that one is thankful for in their lives.

Normally I don’t participate in this tradition since it so often seems like a way to pander to those you want to show off to, and an easy way to screw-up by not mentioning someone that you should have. There is also somewhat of a fallacy that one has to be thankful _to_ some higher being in order for this all to work properly. This year I’m going to make a small exception to that lack of participation because this is a really good opportunity for me to express something that I do not express nearly often enough and I am going to express that to the people who I am most thankful to.

As all, or at least most, of you know this past year has not been an easy one for me but despite that I am thankful that it has been as good as it has. There are so many ways that it could have been so much worse that it really does bring to the front exactly how good my life is, and for that I am thankful as well.

My life would not be as full of ease, joy, happiness, and contentment as it is without everyone that I have ever interacted with, even when that interaction was challenging or even unpleasant. But the interactions with my friends and those who have cared enough to try and be there for me even when I thought I didn’t need it are the ones that I truly treasure, and the ones that I am most thankful for as I sit here at the keyboard and try to express what I think and feel so strongly.

To all of those who have helped me at any time,
To all of those who have been honest and forthright,
To all of those who have helped me to be what and who I am,
I have not and may never be able to express just how much I appreciate you for who you are and what you have done for me.

Thanks.

On that note, be safe and enjoy your day however it comes to you.

So I went and saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast IM…

So I went and saw Disney’s Beauty and the Beast IMAX Special Edition last night at the Minnesota Zoo last night. Mostly it was as good as I remember it. There were several things that translated really well to the really-big screen, and a few that didn’t enough to almost be distracting.

For example, there are some wonderful scenes when the father wanders into the the Beast’s castle that are these zooming pans of the enormous gothic architecture. I remember thinking it looked huge on a normal movie screen when I saw it the first time as a kid, but putting it on an IMAX screen made the scale really blow your mind. Many of the lovely impressionistic landscapes also showed well for much the same reason.

On the other hand, we have the character close-ups and the ballroom CGI. For some reason we spend a lot of time looking very closely at Belle’s face. There wouldn’t be so much of a problem with this except that it seems to have been drawn with really large lines. When her eyebrows move around, they loose all sense of grace that they might once have had, and instead look like largish blocky lines flailing about. Possibly this effect was intentional, possibly to highlight the characters simplicity by drawing her with as few lines, and as simple lines as possible, but somehow I think it’s just the effect of the enormous magnification that is happening.

For much the same reason, the ballroom scenes are similarly, well, bad on the really big screen. When the movie was originally released 10 years ago these scenes were held up as the epitome of state of the art with reflective surfaces, intricate architecture, and pretty amazing detail. The problem is that 10 years ago, those scenes were rendered to be displayed on a screen that had a lot lower resolution. Someone obviously saw the problem, but instead of re-rendering the entire scene (which admittedly probably would have cost a fair amount of money just to get transfered to new film, though I’m pretty sure they still have the render models and processor time is a heck of a lot cheaper these days) just threw on a digital masking effect that made the whole mess blurry to get rid of what were probably fairly atrocious “jaggies”. What used to be crisp and clean now looks like someone put too much vasaline on the lens for a close-up and then accidentally put more on for the panorama shot instead of getting a new lens. Ick.

For those of you who don’t know much about this re-release, they have done a bit to the actual movie besides put it on really big film to make it salable when it gets to regular movie theaters later this year. They added in an entire scene and musical number right in the middle of the movie. “featuring an all-new musical sequence with the original song, ‘Human Again.'” is how the press materials read, and it was quite a bit of fun. If you liked the “Be Our Guest” sequence in the original, you’ll be a big fan of the new sequence. My only real problem with it was that it came hot on the heels of that already really large scene. So we see the end of the dinner and there’s a little bit of camera play, we get the snowball fight between Belle and the Beast, and then it’s action time once again after barely 5 minutes. It was almost too much.

Anyway, I did have a very good time, and it was good company to boot. If you have a chance to see it in this format, don’t miss it. It’s well worth the ticket price.