September 30, 2005
A Haiku for This Morning
Awake sleepy eyed,
No milk for my cereal.
Time to go to work.
August 12, 2005
So I have returned safe and sound and none too worse from the wear from Jolly Ol' Japan save a nasty cold which I seem to have received via proxy from my friend Jesse's Buddhist middle school aged campers in Kyoto--the little petry dishes.
I wish I could have said that my computer was as in good of health but I returned to find the hard disk making clicking and nashing sounds and completely unusable and apparently unrecoverable. Looks like death of the nastiest sort. I have to admit I did well in backing up everything before I left. I had a feeling something bad was going to happen...
The downside of course is that I haven't been able to get my photo-of-the-day blog rolling again because I need to get all of the software reinstalled on my system first. Hopefully I will be ready to go by Monday. I still have quite the queue lined up!
June 9, 2005
Sorry about the outage today. A major storm riped through the Minneapolis area last night. I lost power here at the house around 5:00am and it was out until just before I got home tonight around midnight. I heard on the radio the nearly 100,000 Minnesotans lost their power.
Since the server is hosted at the house my bits had no way to get to get out to the world. Total bummer.
June 7, 2005
The Hold Steady at First Avenue
I saw The Hold Steady last night with my brother at First Avenue last night. I guess I am not hip enough to say that I had heard of them first or that I knew the lead singer and lyricist Craig Finn from his days fronting Liftr Pullr or kicking around the mean streets of Edina. In fact, I had only heard them for the first time perhaps a month or so ago on one of our local indie-friendly radio stations, 89.3 The Current.
The Hold Steady put me in a unique place. I can say that I thoroughly enjoy listening to them anytime I am engaged enough to listen to lyrics. The turns of phrase and mutli-layered allegoric imagery often reaches me. It speaks to experiences I've never had but am vaguely aware of. I think I know Your Little Hoodrat Friend; she's the one that worked at The Wedge, right?
For however entertained I am by the lyrics, no matter how colorful, apropos or nostalgic the observations are I cannot stand the classic rock "stylings" of the backing band for very long. It's the very curious juxtaposition of indie meets uncle-joe-with-a-beer-can that simply doesn't work for long haul listening session. I think my brother put it best when he called the band "the best pocket rockers in New York."
Last night marks the first time for my brother and I where we actually left a venue mid-set in order to grab a slice of pizza up at Pizza Lucé and then returned to catch their encore with fresh ears. Bless the magic of the smoking ban which inadvertantly added hand stamping and re-entry to First Ave!
The Bowery show was as ambitious as the album. Recorded over 28 days instead of the six spent on last year's debut, "The Hold Steady Almost Killed Me," its dueling guitars and piano and organ melodies sound more geared to geezer-rock station KQRS (92.5 FM) than college outlet Radio K (770 AM).
Dave Gardner, the former Selby Tiger who co-produced the album, said: "Those guys made me listen to the first Billy Joel record before I came out. I was like, 'You're kidding me.' "
An excellent bit of commentary from heartonastick reveals:
The instruments play pure comfort food. Anyone who grew up listening to big-market classic rock radio is going to recognize every note, even if they can't exactly place them. There's a good chunk of E-Street sound—the over-mic'd snares, the piano pounding over rich Hammond whole notes, the low-register horn blasts. Guitar theatrics tend toward simple meat and potato riffs. Sometimes there's room on the side for a Bruce Hornsby solo. It's déjà vu on repeat.
Against that, vocalist Finn whines and barks and wheezes out stories of punks and pushers and hope and redemption. The words are relentlessly quotable and often rhythmically palatable, but the frontman’s nasal speak-singing can be abrasive. He sounds a little like a cross between Greg Proops and Rex Harrison, or your high school shop teacher and Eminem[...]The more you listen, the more it works: For some reason, it sounds like the most natural odd combo since Kerouac [shrieked] along with Steve Allen.
But then goes on to admit:
The loud-soft-loud Your Little Hoodrat Friend, with revved-up riffage, female back-up vocals and lyrics that are actually sung, may score the band some play, but it comes too early on the album. While there are memorable lines sprinkled throughout the CD, the tempo and tone remain too consistent and the music too anonymous to shake things up.
If they only would add some more dynamics to their instrumentation I think they would really have something amazing. The highlight of the evening for me was when Craig Finn actually did a hip-hop number with his opening act, P.O.S. of Doomtree. All of the lyrical magic with a beat I can groove. It kept me feeling special.
May 19, 2005
Sorry about the website outage for awhile. It seems I was the victum of some sort of exploit against one of the services running on my server system. I have since removed the system and I've got my fingers crossed that everything will remain up!
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith
I saw the new Star Wars movie tonight at the 12:00am showing. My friend Amy was nice enough to run across from her place of work in downtown Minneapolis to the nearby Block E theater to get us advance tickets to the show. Thanks Amy and thank you Kevin for putting up with sitting next to my brother and me!
I am not going to review the movie because a hoard of paid professionals have done that for us already. I will say that I did agree with A.O. Scott's review in the N.Y. Times which states that this isn't a great film but it certainly is a good Star Wars flick and certainly it is light years better than the previous two. Indeed the point of Scott's review that stuck with me the most was, "Mr. Lucas, who wrote the script...is not one to imply a theme if he can stuff it into a character's mouth."
Did I hear anybody yell, "edit!" out there?
All the same it was great to see all of the fans there. Their youthful enthusiam is great to see! The theater was packed. People, including my brother and his friends (first picture at right, above) where in costume. The guy with the expensive looking polycarbonate light-saber was really impressive and a very nice guy for letting me take so many pictures of him as was the gentlemen wearing the Sith robe his mother made him. I've got to give you guys points for playing! Well done!
When we left the theater everybody seemed properly pleased. That was, until we had to endure the hour long wait to exit the parking ramp. They should get traffic control on these things!
Ally Watches the Final Dual
The wait gave us plenty of time to create some talking points for the movie:
- We learned that, as opposed to the previous Star Wars films, the light side and the dark side aren't so different after all but instead all lead to George Lucas growing in power.
- Padme is with Annakin because she loves him. Thanks! It's clear now!
- General Grievous won his real ticking heart from the Wizard of Oz. He is fighting for the Sith because Count Dooku promised that he would be made into a real boy.
- The Sith, most certainly, are Republicans. The Jedi represent America's thriving and active "Warrior Monk" party. WM in '08 baby!
May 5, 2005
Not bad accuracy for comedy:
"You're probably one of those people who still thinks that getting a blowjob is not an impeachable offense." Are You A Republican?
May 4, 2005
Birthday Thanks, Big Wienies, and Mai Village
We had a small gathering for my mother's birthday last week. As I said at the table, if somebody would have told me that for my & my mother's 25th and 52nd birthdays that we would have all been sitting around the same table, sharing food we've made and wine we've stored having a plesant conversation I probably would have fallen over dead. There is nobody I would have rather dined with last week than you guys. It was fabulous!
Thank you too dad for coming into town!
A big "thank you!" is also in order to all of my friends that came to my birthday party last Saturday. It was fabulous to see so many of the people I love and admire in one room!
An even bigger "thank you!!" is in order for the people that organized the party. Aimee, Will & Jane, Mom: thank you so very much! I had a great time!
The party was held at Marquette Place, Will & Jane's apartment building, downtown in the party room at the top of the building. The view from the top was amazing. One of the best views of the Minneapolis skyline I had ever seen. I'm sure I'll post at least one of the images in my Photoblog soon.
It was a lovely time, I was able to eat vast quantities of my favorite food (Malaysian curry chicken with potatoes [M1] from K-Wok restaurant on the U of MN campus), drink, and dance. A bucket was passed around labelled "donate to Jordan's save the whale pods fund" which was used to purchase a brand new 30GB iPod photo for my birthday. Thank you all very much again!
It's true, the iPod's are a great product. They might not have fancy visualizations or OLED screens or play OGG files, but they are well constructed, stylish, sound great, and have a decent battery life.
My only complaint so far is that I have had some initial problems getting the device to syncronize properly with iTunes on my computer that only supports USB 1.1. I've heard from friends and read elsewhere that this is a somewhat common problem. I think I'll be getting a FireWire interface for my PC soon. Yes, I am now officially another wieny with an iPod.
Speaking of wienies, my friend Ms. Amy Williams had a rather interesting experience with a rather large wieny in the parking lot of Rudolph's restaurant:
...my smile must have signaled something to you, nicely dressed, white male with drunken smile because after you pulled out of the lot and we just happened to be going the same way as you, you stuck something huge and flesh colored out of the passenger side window. I thought it was your arm and you were waving a friendly hello in your drunken stupor.
Then, my friend who was driving screamed, "OH MY GOD IS THAT A DILDO?!" And why yes, yes it was not your arm bending and swaying in the breeze, but a huge floppy dildo.
Amy, I hope you receive an answer to life's persistent questions.
Summary: 7.5 / 10
Last night I ate with Aimee and Jeremy at Mai Village restaurant. In short, it was good. As others have mentioned, it wasn't good in the down-home simple and cheap eats department as other restaurants such as Quang, Pho 79, or Jasmine Deli but I would still go back and give it another shot.
They obviously spent a lot of money sprucing up the place to attract a higher echelon of customers than what is typically seen driving through the 'hood. There are real orchids, dark wood carved furniture, and even a water fall leading to a koi pond that you pass over while being led into the dining area. This atmosphere obviously comes at a cost: I didn't see a lot of southeast asian neighborhood locals dining there which initially made me suspicious of the food. Too many white people in one spot is generally a bad indication for me when it comes to eating at certain venues.
This suspicion was in part confirmed when I saw the menu listed pages and pages of American Chinese favorites such as "Chicken Almond Ding." I steered away from those dishes as if they were depth charges on sonar. It seemed all the things I was interested, the house specials, were listed on the first page and the last page.
I wanted to order the 7 courses of beef (Mon Bo), but changed to the cook-it-yourself sliced seasoned beef with vegetables and rice paper wrappers when I was informed that if ordering the Mon Bo 7 yourself you actually only get 6 courses for the same price.
The beef was fresh and well seasoned. The plate of vegetables were fresh and clean, but nothing to write home about. The pineapple given for the wraps was obviously from a can.
The little grill the bring to your table is a lot of fun. sadly, the grill had to be turned down because it began to smoke...I wanted to achieve real browning but had to settle simply for cooking until done.
The ginger sauce served along with wraps was fresh-tasting and delicious. Warm tones of ginger bit at me gently while a chorus of asian flavors such as soy and sesame played in the background. I could have drunk that sauce with a straw.
For the three of us to eat it was roughly $80. An expensive weekday night out for certain but not a bad experience. We'll be going back probably to try the 7 course beef dinner when there are more of us there to order beef.
April 27, 2005
Twenty Five Ain't Bad to Be Alive
I woke up with these words in my head, somehow I've remembered them until now:
Today is going to be a good day
celebrating a quarter-century of sideral success
allegorical alitteration passing the lyrical litmus test.
Today is my birthday.
Somehow today I've managed to kill my laptop dead, wipe out my work INBOX of all of my saved messages, and spill salad dressing all over my favorite shirt.
I am about to board an airplane. I hope to end the badness streak before then. Wish me luck!
April 24, 2005
Iron Man, or Bronze Boy?
This morning I joined my co-worker and friend Dick and his wife Meg for the Iron Man Bike Ride in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis. This ride is often the first of the year for many people and often the weather is crappy so I hear it has a reputation for being rather nasty.
The weather was very nice today, if not a little cold. It was in the upper thirties when Dick and Meg picked me up from the house but I was prepared with a stocking-cap under my helmet, gloves, and a neck-warmer. The cold was no deterrent to the number of participants; people really seemed to take advantage of the clear weather and showed up in force. I heard there were as many as 5,000 riders riding one of the three routes.
We had set off to do the 30 mi. route, new for this year to attract a greater set of riders. I am far to wimpy and undertrained to pickup the 60 mi. or 100 mi. option in April but it was still grueling. I don't know how they managed to do it, but the route planners seemed to have either a climb or a head-wind for the duration of the route.
It was still a lot of fun, however, and we finished about 34 mi. in 2:11:00. I got pretty beat up on the last steady incline. It was five miles of 15-20 m.p.r. head winds for about 5 mi. It felt great to finish and they gave me Gatorade and a cookie. That made all the difference.
On an aside note, I'm sorry for any connectivity issues you may have been having to the site. It seems my nameserver took this past day. I'll have to try and see if I can get a back-up setup off site somewhere. Would anybody like to do a peering DNS exchange with me? I'll be your backup if you'll be mine!
Write me an e-mail or leave a comment if your interested.