Friday, March 31, 2006

Sign You're Getting Too Big

From an AP story entitled 'Heavy patients put strain on hospitals':
"At Barnes-Jewish, lift machines help some patients get in and out of bed. Chairs have been made stronger and wider. Lights have been added at floor level because the bodies of extremely obese people can cast a shadow that makes it hard to see the floor.

I'm not a fan of playing "Laugh at the Fatties", but when you get big enough that you block the light from reaching the floor, something is seriously, seriously wrong.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Latest Acquistions

Stopped by the CD Cellar in Arlington after brunch on Sunday. Did a little damage:


I ended up with 9 CDs for 33 bucks, which is not horrible.

From the $1.99 rack:
Depeche Mode, The Singles
Lisa Germano, Lullaby for Liquid Pig
The Shamen, En Tact
Robbie Williams, The Ego Has Landed
Pet Shop Boys, Actually

Then, for the rest:
Dressy Bessy, Sound Go Round
Sigur Ros, Takk
Ivy, In the Clear
Throwing Muses, Limbo

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Mutual fund prospectuses and brokerage account quarterly statements often come in similar envelopes, so one should open and inspect them before tearing them in half.

This occurred as I was cleaning off (what would normally be) my dining room table. There were about 6 months of unread Washington Post Travel and Book Review sections; I tossed the Travel, as I don't think the weekly bargains from November 2005 are going to matter much now.

I still have the book reviews, though.

Conditioner Does Not Lather

Went to the gym tonight. Leg day, which I hate, plus I'm pretty much starting from scratch, and it's 20-rep sets and clean eating (yeah, right) for the next 4-6 weeks.

Anyway, I made it through the weights, with 20 minutes on the Stairmaster for good measure. I thought I was going to keel over. And I was only on level 6 (not including warmup, cooldown, and several donut breaks).

Stumble forward to the shower. Liquid soap, shampoo and conditioner are provided in handy pump dispensers. I was pumped the conditioner a few times and was working it through my hair when I noticed that it was getting kind of... foamy.

Conditioner does not lather.

It was then that I noticed that two of the dispensers were labelled "Conditioner", but only one was the correct color. So I ended up soaping my hair.

It was not my fault.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bar Napkin Notes

Sometimes I wonder if I'm one of those people who spends his life turning up in the background of other people's photos.

I went to Cafe Montmartre for a few quiet drinks after a long week, as I am wont to do.

Nothing complicated: doing the crossword puzzle if the paper is there; watching whatever happens to be on the TV; being around other people while still being with myself.

This was not quite one of those times, though, since I just happened to walk into the tail end of a rehearsal dinner.

I watched over my shoulder as group photos were taken. Little kids learned secret handshakes. George Mason grads moved to the bar to watch the game. Listened to speeches and eavesdropped on conversations.

That's about it.

Monday, March 20, 2006

About Last Week

I'm perpetually in catchup mode. It's supposed to be what Sundays are for, but lately I haven't even been able to get through the A-Section of the Post. I wasn't able to do it today, and that's even with my cable and broadband connection being out for most of the afternoon and evening (remember kids, there's still a reason to hang on to a landline, even in these enlightened times... ).

Oh, and thank you Comcast -- it's not like there was an NCAA Tournament going on or anything.

Friday and Saturday were pretty active for me last week, as contrasted to this weekend which was pretty much a non-starter (well, except for that whole St. Patrick's Day thing. Maybe because of it).

Friday was yet another turn at Clare and Don's Beach Shack in Arlington; you can see my Flickr set, which I have not yet had a chance to label. Suffice it to say, there were shots:




And I can't complete the "s" alliteration. However, there was Nude Male Photo Hunt:


The next morning, went over to Fado for more rugby-watching (Ireland vs. Scotland). Fortunately, it was a 10:30 game (I got there at 11). I metroed in, which was good, because I don't think I have a picture of the vaulted Metro ceilings (It's a rule that anyone who takes pictures in DC has to have a shot of the vaulted Metro ceilings):


I also got my photo of the big Irish Breakfast that I mentioned last time:


There are also a few pics of Adam with stuff on his face.

The Irish won that game. They also won this weekend's game against the English -- it was by all accounts, quite exciting, with a last-minute score to put them over the top. I think I was reaching for my first cup of coffee by then.

I then hoofed it over to Dupont Circle for the running of the first-ever DC Idiotarod; I was a mere spectator -- I took photos and still managed to wear the completely the wrong shoes for it; I will do descriptions and a full blog entry about it later on, since it's, like, late now:


I also still have to treat and post the pics from the Shamrockfest afterparty (also that same night), then eventually post my pics from the Beth Orton show on Tuesday and the DC blogger meetup on Wednesday, and of course St. Patrick's Day on Friday.

Whew. If you didn't know better, it might seem like I actually do stuff. It was an atypically busy week, though.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The True Meaning of St. Patrick's Day

AP story via Newsvine, which I am trying to get into:

St. Patrick's Day Prep

One-Eyed Lizzy's Bar and Grille employees Kacey Doxsey, center, Rusty Colquitt, right, and Justin Krantz team up to mix a four-gallon bucket of green margarita mix Wednesday March 15, 2006 in Savannah, Ga. in preparation for the historic city's St. Patrick's Day celebration. St. Patrick's Day traditionally marks the biggest tourism bonanza of the year in Savannah. With March 17 falling on Friday this year, businesses are counting on the buck of the Irish to fill their cash registers all weekend. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)
Because, of course, nothing says St. Patrick's Day like a four-gallon bucket of green margarita mix.

The commercialism of St. Paddy's Day is distressing and takes people away from the true spirit of the holiday, which as you know commemorates St. Patrick driving the potatoes out of Ireland.

Actually, he drove the snakes out of Ireland. On a plane. Snakes on a Plane. There are snakes on the plane!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ask a Dumb Question

Went to Dr. Dremo's tonight for Psychotronic Movie Night, to catch Ferocious Female Freedom Fighters.

On the way downstairs, I stopped to get a drink at the bar. The $1 beer special was the Redneck Lager. Here is my conversation with the bartender.
Me: How's the Redneck Lager?
Bartender: ...It's a dollar.
You can't argue with that.

So I didn't.

Checked Out

If you get a $30 rebate check for a cable modem and then fail to cash it before it expires, you don't actually save any money.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Conflicts of Interests

I just found out that this year's edition of the Baltimore Kinetic Sculpture Race is on Saturday, May 6.

That would make it the same weekend as the Washington Area Roadskaters Skate DC Weekend.

I've been to the Kinetic Sculpture race 3 times, I think -- I missed last year because of something else.

It's neat -- I've blogged about it before; I could have sworn I had some pictures up online -- probably in my iPhoto library somewhere.

I try to make a skate day out of it, since it's the easiest way to cover a lot of ground. I especially like the stretch near the end, where the kinetic sculptures are going down the streets of Baltimore (past the people watching on their stoops), from Patterson Park, down through the Inner Harbor and past the American Visionary Arts Museum (where it all starts) for the second water entry portion.

So, assuming I get into shape by May, and depending on the weather and the state of my skates (hrm, an excuse to finally get some K2s?), I will probably do Baltimore on Saturday, and try one of the Sunday skates. The Friday night stuff sounds like a lot of fun, but I sincerely doubt I'll be able to do three days in a row.

Guess I'd better start orking on a costume for the Kinetic Sculpture race.

(Here's more information about the race, from

Dramatic Intent

So the other night I was watching one of the incessant reruns of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. One of the guest stars had played Col. Barnfather on Homicide: Life on the Streets, so I looked at his IMDB page and followed it back to the episode.

One of the red herring bad guys near the beginning of the episode also looked kind of familiar -- I found out that it was Ari Fliakos, who was year or two behind me at Duke. I don't know him personally, just the name and the face.

Back then, I had aspirations towards acting, so I hung out with drama types, went to shows, acted in Sprint Scenes (which was a collection of scenes from different plays) and took a couple of courses.

This was before I learned that I didn't have any talent.

Coincidentally, I'd actually also seen Ari in a play in New York -- I'd gone to see Adam Trese, who was starring and whom I'd met on #mindvox.

Ari was the second Duke drama guy that I've seen on TV, the other being Stan Kirsch, who was a year ahead of me and had a six-year run as Richie on the Highlander TV series.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Something That Bears Repeating...

When crumbling dried Thai chiles with your fingers, be sure to wash your hands very, very carefully before touching any mucous membranes (yours or anyone else's).

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sculpture, Dada and More Sculpture

So I finally posted my pics from my cultural excursion on Presidents Day.

(Hey, gimme a break, it's only been two weeks. And it was 187 photos. 192 with a few crops.)

Here's the Flickr set: Sculpture, Dada and More Sculpture. I have to admit, I did a half-assed job on the captions.

I ditched the car and metroed in to the Smithsonian stop, cut across the Mall and headed through the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. It was a beautiful cloudless day -- the sky was very blue.


I didn't have time to dally, since I didn't get there until about 2pm, so I headed over to the National Gallery of Art East Building:


I like the East Building; it's filled with interesting angles and leading lines -- it's a very interesting space. Although I hear that like many I.M. Pei buildings, it's a lot better to look at than to work in.

After passing through the lobby, I headed up to the Dada exhibition. It wasn't really crowded.

Now, it was a "no photography" dealio, so I was civilly disobedient and got a bunch of furtive shots, which explains the poor composition, bad angles, blurriness and generally poor photography:


There was a woman wearing a moustache, presumably to get in the spirit of things. Unfortunately, I didn't get a photo of her.

One of my favorite spots in the East Building is the top of the tower stairs. I couldn't get a clean shot looking down, so I looked up:


This pic has been treated pretty heavily to bring out the walls, but I kind of like it.

Anyway, there are a few interesting pics in the bunch. As noted before, I also like watching how other observers interact with the art and the space:


After Dada, I checked out a few more pieces:

Angel of History

With time running short, I went over to the Hirshhorn Museum. There were some interesting pieces, especially Hiroshi Sugimoto, but I'm not going to recreate my Flickr set here.

Okay, maybe just a few:



Mustn't forget my favorite scuplture at the Hirshhorn; it's
Sculptural Construction of Noise and Speed
, by Giacomo Balla.


Anyway, that's about it. (Oh, and I bought a salt and pepper shaker set in the gift shop, I still need to take a picture of them.) As I was walking back, I had a nice shot of the sunset -- the Smithsonian castle, the Washington Monument, contrails and clouds criss-crossing over the sun... but then my battery died and I didn't have a spare.

Oh well.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

You're So Money and You Don't Even Know It

So I was just reading the Onion A.V. Club's interview with Jon Favreau.

(A hard-won fact I learned many eons ago is that The Onion, which is ostensibly updated on Wednesday, actually publishes its new content Tuesday night. And now you know... the rest of the story.)

In the interview, Mr. Favreau reveals that he has a MySpace account (be my friend, Jon!), and that he will also be doing a 10-Year anniverary reunion for Swingers at the US Comedy Festival in Aspen.

10 years. I feel old. But that's just because I am old. -Er.

I remember when I first saw Swingers; it was in New York, 1996 (hence the 10 years, duh). I was probably back for the holidays (I'd just moved down to DC in March), and went to see it with my sister at the (now-closed) Screening Room, downtown.

It was one of those dinner-and-a-movie places, so I actually did see it in the theater, although I guess it was a second-run place.

Time flies, but it's cool: We're going to be up five-hundy by midnight.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Of All the Nerve (Gas)!

24 was a special 2-hour episode tonight, starting at 8pm.

I did not discover this until 8:20pm or so, as I was preparing to do some cardio.

(Monday is supposed to be legs and shoulders, but my back is still a little sore from Saturday, which was makeup back and bicep day, so I decided to do cardio, which I have been avoiding for a while and thus will probably kill me as I attempt to get back into it. I think that's irony.)

Anyway, it was bad enough that I'm about 2 episodes behind because I've been taping them and letting them stack up, but I had to watch the rest of the 8pm episode (out of order!) so I would know what was happening in the 9pm episode, which I will probably get to, oh, next month.

This irritates me.

Since I'm so far behind, I'm still kind of annoyed at the whole nerve gas thing. Not the "weaponized nerve gas" thing -- I'm over that (though it's still stupid).

Besides, how weaponized can it be -- you only need a respirator, not a full body suit; you can take off your respirator if a little girl needs it, and instead of the whole painful, bloody convulsions thing as your nervous system shuts down, you just bleed a little from the corner of your mouth after you get a lungful.

A good portion of the first few episodes involved the separatist terrorists needing to get special chips and unlock codes to release the nerve gas. This was a source of considerable consternation.

Now, these canisters are metal cylinders about the size of scuba tanks. Assume they're locked -- how would a terrorist intent on dispersing nerve gas go about opening a metal cylinder to which he doesn't have a key?

Let's see, what do terrorists do? Shoot people... nah, probably wouldn't work. Take hostages? Not applicable. Blow stuff up?

Holy shit, that just might work! They could strap bombs to the canisters and detonate them to breach the cylinders and release the gas!

Of course, these terrorists aren't even considering this, probably because they're trying to get their deposit back or something.

Oh, and from the end of the 8pm episode, where the bomb squad is rushing the nerve gas canister, with the clock ticking down, through the crowded hallways of the hospital with the worst evacuation plan ever so they can get it into a containment unit?

Guys, it's not a nuclear bomb, and we've determined that the terrorists aren't going to blow it open because they want their refundable deposit back. Your containment unit is a hermetically sealed glass box. You can carry it towards the guys with the nerve gas canister and meet them halfway.

Games Women Play

A few tidbits pulled from a Wired article on female gamers (Are they still grrls? Can we stop saying that now? Please?), which asks: What do women gamers want?

Obviously, the gaming industry would like to know.

As the question is an refinement of the very fundamental "What do women want?", I have no doubt that the answer will be a variant on "How the hell should we know?"

There are a couple of items from the article that are pretty funny to me out of context, in a casually-misogynistic, "I'm stereotyping women but I'm really being ironic about it (or am I?) way", including:

* Frag Dolls captain Morgan Romine: "Girls are really, really good at sniping."

* Women are better at memorizing the locations of re-spawn points." (also Romine)

Now, I don't play a lot of networked FPS games, but I believe the proper response would be something like:

"OMFGWTFBBQ!!!111ONE!!ELEVEN! sp4\/\/n c4mp1ng b1tc3h3z!!11!11!1"

Lessons From the Virgins From Hell

Finally got my pictures up from Virgins From Hell, the Psychotronic Movie Night pick from two weeks ago; here's the Flickr set:


Here are some lessons from the movie:

  • Good: Shoot the bad guy. Better: Shoot, then kick the bad guy.
  • You can squeeze a lot of blood out of a rat.
  • In the heat of a firefight, it may take a while to remember to use the belt-fed machine guns.
  • Even if you don't have forceps, you can still extract a bullet -- provided you can find a skinny enough snake.

    Mercifully, the movie ended; we retired to the Silo, of which the next batch of photos in that set were taken, including a few attempts to be visually clever by shooting through some stacked and empty (natch) beer glasses:


    I still seem to be going to dark when I am adjusting these photos, despite the fact that I dug up my old 15" monitor at home to connect to my laptop, which I know is very pretty bright.