Sunday, August 29, 2004

And the planets of the universe go their way...

Stevie says it better than I ever could.

The bright light is lying down
The earth and the sea and the sky
Is at rest with the ocean
And the days go by
They go into the seas that have no shores

Haunted by that same closed door
Looking up at skies on fire
Leaving nothing left of us
To discover

Chorus:
And the planets of the universe
Go their way
Not astounded by the sun or the moon
Or by the day
You and I will simply disappear
Out of sight
But I'm afraid soon there'll be
No light

No doubt, no pain
Come ever again, well
Let there be light in this lifetime
In the cool, silent moments of the nighttime

(Chorus)

We will never change again
The way that we are changing
Well, you'll forget the chill of love
But not the strain

Now I know
Well, I was wrong
To live for a dream
If I had my life to live over
I would never dream, no I still wish you gone
And I will live alone
Yes, I will live alone

(Chorus)

You will remember
But I will die a slow death
It's only an overture
To something that was best
And don't condescend to me
Take your leave
Take your leave
Take your leave of me now
Disappear into the air
I wish you gone
And I don't care
I don't care
I don't care
Take your leave of me now

You will never love again
The way you love me
You will never rule again
The way you ruled me
You will never change again
The way you're changing

Friday, August 27, 2004

The New York Times | Tunes, a Hard Drive and (Just Maybe) a Brain

The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > Tunes, a Hard Drive and (Just Maybe) a Brain

A great article on shuffling as it applies to iPods, CD players, etc.

When was the last time you listened to a CD all the way through from beginning to end?

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Sunday night blogging

Not a whole lot of time to blog tonight--I'm bushed from a weekend in Washington. We're dropping the price on our Washington house by 10,000 dollars. We're going to lose our shirts on it, there's no doubt about it. But it beats the crap out of paying a double mortgage for the rest of my life. Hopefully someone will come along now and see it and totally fall in love with it and buy it. I'm serious, I'm going to accept the first reasonable offer that we get.

I finished watching The Weather Underground this weekend. That was one heck of a good documentary. It appealed to a lot of my base interests--post WWII American history, lefty politics, pop culture and plus there was a lot of cool video of the 1970s. It's so weird to see stuff like that--it's a time gone by (thankfully, for the most part) and it's so neat to have been able to capture it on film, unlike say the Civil War or something like that. It's truly a crime that late 20th century history is glossed over so much in school. I daresay that a lot of that stuff is more relevant than the War of 1812. Maybe they need to make some Schoolhouse Rocks about Watergate, Iran-Contra, 60s activism, Vietnam, etc. Hey, it worked for our generation.

Speaking of Schoolhouse Rock, this was a pretty good parody of "Elbow Room" that I stumbled across (probably via Metafilter which has all sorts of cool stuff.) It's called "Shock and Awe." WARNING: Right-wingers and people with no sense of humor should consider themselves duly warned.

Heidi said that it could have benefited from a little bit of subtelty, but it's still pretty damn clever. I especially like the guy (I presume it's the guy who made it) saying so seriously..."Because knowledge is power."

But back to The Weather Underground. Go rent it if you can. There's a reason it was nominated for an Oscar. I think I'm probably going to end up buying it.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Fantastic aerial photography...

...plus you learn a thing or two while you look.

This site (via Metafilter) has some pretty awesome aerial photography. I really had to tear myself away from the computer to get my butt to bed--the pictures are fantastic, plus the captions are so informative. You can search by country (just go to the little pull-down menu at the top left of the page.)

A lot of the pictures are available in wallpaper sizes for your desktop--which is way cool. Unfortunately, not all of them are, and invariably, the ones I really wanted to have for wallpaper, alas, did not have that option.

Oh, and I'm not some guy that lives in the suburbs either so it's not like I idolize them or anything. The picture is cool in a really evil way. Because sprawl is bad.

Madonna remixes

I am in love with a new site that I stumbled across where Madonna fans can trade UNOFFICIAL remixes with each other. It's called MadonnaTribe and it's just the coolest thing. That's one of the biggest things I miss about the Napster/Audiogalaxy days--the unofficial remixes that you're not able to find anywhere else. I remember when I was in college and forking over some pretty incredible bucks for Madonna bootleg CDs, be they remixes or live concerts. Now, thanks to the power of the internet and file-sharing, all that stuff is available pretty much for free. (Of course, having broadband does help, which isn't free, but there ya go.)

Pretty much the only people losing out are the bootleggers, and I don't feel too sorry for them. They've been gouging fans for years with CDs of (at best) variable quality. It's nice to be able to get all that stuff again without having to spend loads of cash.

And the really cool thing about sites like that is that the stuff is unofficial, so there's really no worry about copyright issues. Well, I suppose there is because the original recording is still copyrighted, but it seems to agree with my conscience a little bit better when it's stuff I would have had to buy from a bootleg CD store. Not that you can find those anymore anyway.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Uniquely Iowa

We went down to the Iowa State Fair tonight--which, incidentally is celebrating its sesquicentennial. 150 years of the fair is pretty cool. The thing you have to realize about the Iowa State Fair is that it is the state fair to rival all others. Other states look at Iowa's fair and just turn green with envy. There is nothing more uniquely Iowan than the fair. And I'm so glad I get to experience it.

The funny thing about the fair is how predictable it is. I mean, even the midway rides were in the same place as they were last year. Of course, this did not matter to Anna who just wanted to ride rides until she passed out from pure exhaustion. The only trouble is you can hardly ride the midway rides unless you're independently wealthy or just don't want to eat for the next week. Although after you've eaten fair food, you may not have to eat for a week, so maybe I'm on to something there.

Fair food is not what you would call healthy. Pretty much any kind of food they can put on a stick they will. In fact, this comes from the Iowa State Fair's trivia page.
Approximately how many types of food can be purchased "on-a-stick" at the Fair? More than 20. The list includes pork chops, dill pickles, corn dogs,
cheese, Cajun chicken, caramel apples, German sausages, beef, cotton candy,
veggie corn dogs, turkey drumsticks, nutty bars, chocolate cheesecake, hot
bologna, chocolate covered bananas, taffy, fried pickles, honey, wonder bars and
deep fried Twinkies. New in 2004, meatballs-on-a-stick!

We had a deep fried Milky Way on a stick (also known as heart attack on a stick) but it was quite yummy and totally worth it. Last year I sampled the deep fried Oreo cookies which were good, but not as exciting as you might have thought. The yummiest thing you can buy on a stick though is pork chop on a stick--they sold 60,000 of these suckers in the 10 days of the fair last summer! And technically, they're not really on a stick--the "stick" is just a conveniently cut out bone--but dang they were good.

But perhaps the oddest thing about the fair this year was the weather. Granted it was just opening day, but it just didn't fit expectations. Here in Iowa, we have what we call "State Fair weather" which everyone knows is the hottest, stickiest, muggiest possible weather you can imagine and then multiply it by 100. When we went last year, it was definitely State Fair weather--you can tell because you're seriously tempted to go naked rather than have to deal with any layer of clothing. This year, I not only wore jeans, but Heidi and Anna were both wearing sweaters by the end of the night. That's right--it was 69 degrees in Des Moines today. While it was a welcome change, it was simply bizarre. There's just no other word for it.

The Iowa State Fair--it made the book of 1000 places to see before you die. Don't you think it's time you showed up?

Stuck On You

Normally, I don't like Matt Damon, but I have to admit, after watching The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and most recently Stuck On You, the guy is starting to grow on me. I watched Stuck On You last night--you know, the one where Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins. I remember just laughing myself silly to the teaser trailer which featured "Academy Award Winner Matt Damon, Academy Award Nominee Greg Kinnear, Academy Award Winner Cher and 4-time Academy Award Watchers the Farrelly Brothers."

Of course, I was mostly sucked in by the Cher factor. And for the little bit of time that Cher was actually in the movie, she sure camped it up. That's the thing I just love about Cher--she just refuses to take herself all that seriously. It was definitely a goofy turn--she played herself stuck in a contract for a TV show called "Honey & The Beaze" where Cher is a lawyer and Greg Kinnear is her partner. Perhaps the funniest line of the entire film was during a scene from the TV show where Cher is being held captive and the kidnappers demand the "smegma from that dead hooker's perineum." It was one of those things that went by so fast you almost missed it if you weren't paying attention.

So yeah, Stuck on You was a fun little comedy. Endearing and it's always fun to see movies about brothers.

Oh, and hearing Cher use the word "buttplug" in one of the deleted scenes was definitely worth the price of admission. :)

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Inclement weather in New Canaan, CT

Watched The Ice Storm last night on DVD. It was on sale at Borders for 8 bucks or something like that so I bought it a few weeks back and just got around to watching it again. That's a movie that really defies easy definition and description. It's cool for a lot of reasons. One, it takes place in 1973 and the trouble the filmmakers went to to recreate the time period is just astonishing. They have a reference to The Crying Indian ad, Watergate, macrame vests as well as all the free love and sex that seemed to be creeping into the suburbs during that time period. Cripes, it's probably the only movie I know that has a key party in it.

I think one of the things that really made me think last night was the idea that The Ice Storm really is a period piece. Usually, you think of period pieces being movies that take place in Victorian England or during the Revolutionary War, but the simple fact of the matter is that 1973 was 30 years ago! And a movie made today about that time period qualifies as a period piece as much as anything else. But what struck me is the difference between a movie like The Ice Storm which was made in the late 90s looking back on a time in history vs. movies like Taxi Driver and Saturday Night Fever, which are movies that really are slices of the time during which they are set--the difference being that the latter movies were actually made during that time period. How do they differ? How are they the same?

For one thing, I think that movies that look back on a time period are always going to overdo it a little bit. Saturday Night Fever effortlessly captured Brooklyn during the disco era whether that's what it set out to do or not. The Ice Storm deliberately sets out to recreate an era, and in so doing, goes a little bit over the top. I can forgive this of the movie--it's still a great re-creation of an era, but it's still only that; a re-creation. And ultimately, there's something false about it.

You have to hand it to Christina Ricci in the movie though. She is, without a doubt, one of the most talented young actresses we have. She'll always have a little bit of Wednesday Addams in her for me, and of course, she'll always be my sister Wendy's celebrity double, but she's a very good actress who plays a wide variety of roles quite well.

I love the history of the late 20th century (mostly 1960 on) and this movie appeals to me on that level. Definitely worth a watch if you get a chance, but the book, of course, is better.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Meet The Fockers

Admittedly, I wasn't a big fan of Meet The Parents. I thought the jokes were lame and I really am not all that crazy about Ben Stiller. But Jeff told me about the trailer that he saw for Meet The Fockers which comes out in December and said I had to go see it. Maybe you have to have followed Barbra Streisand's career like I have to truly appreciate it, but I laughed my ass off.

Watch it here. I never thought we'd see Barbra in a movie that wasn't written, produced and directed by her as well. And she's cutting loose, if just a little bit.

Monday, August 02, 2004

More Bush/Republican insanity

Hmmm...let's see, since Bush has already passed three extremely irresponsible tax cuts what else does the Republican party have to say about taxes? Why, let's eliminate income tax altogether! Granted, the link is from Drudge, but it just speaks to the complete and utter alternate universe the neo-cons and their following are living in. Although they propose a national sales tax or a value added tax. I'm no economist, but this just seems totally ridiculous.

It likely won't happen, but the fact that it's even being entertained is just insanity.