Sep 29, 2006
Shaky and the Brick House (with video)
Me neither. At least not until last week when I went to the Recovery Block Party sponsored by a dozen or so local government agencies and NGOs and hosted at Urban Ministries of Durham.
At left, Shaky shows his stuff.
Better yet, click here for a video of Shaky doing it for the Brick House. 1MB and worth it if you like street dancing and/or the Commodores. (It kills me that my knees aren't as good as Shaky's even though I'm younger.)
Sep 28, 2006
MacDonald on Web Programming
"As you can see, a minor typo can wreak a great deal of havoc."
-- Matthew MacDonald in Creating Web Sites: The Missing Manual, 2006, Pogue Press, O'Reilly Media Group.
I'm working on my corporate website these days. It's a learning process. The MacDonald book is very useful.
Sep 27, 2006
Me, Myself and I
Nope, today's blog is not about De La Soul but instead a theme suggested (perhaps unknowingly but not without appreciation) by Barry Cambpell who, in fewer than fifteen lines, quotes both Robert Burns ("To see oursels as others see us.") and his wife.
Which is a long way of getting to the sensitive core of this thing -- I want you to write about me. No wrong answers (just interesting ones sure to elicit some unforeseen emotions). Many thanks in advance. This is a weird blog for me but I'm feeling the need for input these days. That and I'm feeling kind of brave. For me, anyway. For now, anyway.
So here's the format.
"If Phil were a car, he'd be a(n): __________"
A few selected questions appear below. Answer as many as you like. Feel free to make up your own. Feel free to make this a meme :-)
1. If Phil were a car, he'd be _______________.
2. If Phil were a book, he'd be ______________.
3. If Phil were a major or minor religion (or cult), he'd be ____________.
4. If Phil were an appetizer, he'd be ____________.
5. If Phil were a major or minor character from fiction (any media), he'd be __________.
6. If Phil were an illness, he'd be ___________.
7. If Phil were a city, he'd be ___________.
8. If Phil were an attitude, he'd be ___________.
9. If Phil were an article of clothing, he'd be __________.
10. If Phil were a verb, his tense, voice and mood would be __________.
p.s. I learned this Q&A format in a game I played at a birthday party long ago (Jerry, do you remember? I think you were there.) You start with a group of friends (eight to ten is good) where each player knows at least most of the other people reasonably well. Everyone sits in a circle and whoever is Leader for that round secretly picks someone in the circle as his Subject. (Note that the Subject does not know that s/he has been chosen.) People in the circle then take turns asking the Leader diagnostic questions (like the ones above) to see if they can figure out who the Subject is. At any time, any player can stop the game and say, "I know who it is" and take a stab. If the guesser is right, the guesser gets to be Leader for the next round. But if the guesser is WRONG, the guesser has to sit out the rest of the round (and presumably suffer the penalty of realizing, with every subsequent question, how obvious the right answer was, and how hard it is to now stay quiet). Ugh. That was a horrible description of the game. But anyway, I think you get the idea. Try it some time. Especially fun with extended family.
Sep 26, 2006
Orange County Speedway, Rougemont
Sad news -- the Alfa is beyond repair. Or at least, beyond repair at any reasonable cost. Sigh. Somehow I felt better watching several wrecks at the OCS -- an affirmation that there actually is a class of people defined as "guys who like to drive fast and occasionally have to pay the price". I'm not alone.
Sep 25, 2006
Andy Rothschild on Durham
Durham should be like Durham.
-- Andy Rothschild, outgoing chair of Downtown Durham, Inc., 21 Sep 06
Sep 21, 2006
Courtney on Sadness
My friend Courtney, paraphrased: we Americans live in one of the only cultures that considers sadness to be only a bad thing -- something to be ended as soon as possible. Elsewhere they respect sadness for the rich and valuable emotion it is.
And isn't she right? There is inspiration in sadness. And an affirmation, too, that when something good is lost that we should know what it was and that it is missed. And a marking that lets us measure our joys in contrast with the sorrows.
Sep 20, 2006
Michael Pollan on Eating Well
In all your poking around the american food system, what shocked you the most? Being on a feed lot full of cattle. Looking at how we feed animals things that make them sick, and then give them drugs to keep them from getting too sick. Feeding chicken manure to cows and then dead cows back to chickens. The way we treat animals is shocking, and the biggest change in my diet is that I don't eat industrial meat now.
What's your perfect meal? One from the farmers' market, which means the food will be locally grown and not drenched in fossil fuels. If you shop at Whole Foods, the meat comes from New Zealand and the asparagus from Argentina. Food that travels 5,000 miles may be organic, but what does that mean?
-- Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, interviewed in Food & Wine magazine's Sep 2006 article What Does Eating Well Really Mean? <-click link for more quotes from Pollan and a half-dozen others.
pic from michaelpollan.com
Sep 19, 2006
-- Brendan Frye in Brick
Saw this one Sunday night. Really liked it. I know almost nothing about film noir but suspect this was a good introduction. Also, I won't tell you where you've seen the star before -- figure that one out on your own or never mind.
Sep 18, 2006
Pick a Card, Any Card
Better yet, at some point I might find a good, free barcode generator online, print everything on a piece of paper and laminate it for durability. That'll be the best space saver yet. After all, should I want my butt any more lumpy than it has to be?
Sep 15, 2006
Mark Twain on Travel
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain, quoted by Patricia Schultz in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
Sep 14, 2006
Keith Richards on Gram Parsons
I think he was just getting into his stride when he died...we can't know what his full impact could have been. If Buddy Holly hadn't gone on that plane, or Eddie Cochran hadn't turned the wrong corner, think of what stuff we could have looked forward to, and be hearing now. It would be phenomenal.
In a way, it's a matter of lost love. Gram was everything you wanted in a singer and a songwriter. He was fun to be around, great to play with as a musician. And that mother-fucker could make chicks cry. I have never seen another man who could make hardened old waitresses at the Palomino Club in L.A. shed tears the way he did.
It was all in the man. I miss him so.
-- Keith Richards, writing for "The Immortals -- the 100 greatest artists of all time" in Rolling Stone, 21 April 2005.
I skimmed a couple dozen of these entries written about stars and by stars. Richards had the best writing of all. (Please don't read Jewel's entry on Joni Mitchell. Please don't. But go ahead with Liz Phair's on Elvis Costello.) I don't know a thing about Gram Parsons' music other than what Richards wrote -- but now I think I might look out for some.
Sep 13, 2006
Losing (My) Sh*t
Someone hijacked my eBay/PayPal accounts back in March, so I had to get new checking accounts which of course meant I had to change all my direct drafts (like the one at Nationwide auto insurance).
THEN someone swiped my camera and wallet and checkbook in August so I had to do it all again! Well at least the second time I had the benefit of experience, right? So... back to Nationwide.
Visit 1: I brought my debit card thinking that was enough. Nope. Need my checkbook.
Visit 2: Got there late.
Visit 3: Got there on time. Forgot checkbook at home. D'oh.
Home: Got to my desk and remembered that earlier that morning I had increased efficiency and reduced risk of loss by voiding a check, tearing it out of the checkbook, and putting it into my wallet so I wouldn't have to carry my checkbook with me. Ensuant: giddy stupid laughter.
Visit 4: Back to Nationwide. Gave check to agent who pulled up my account and then got a strange look. The check I brought had the same account number as the one already in her computer. Huhn? Had I brought a check from the wrong checkbook -- the one that had just been closed? No. Turns out that the bank had already adjusted for the direct draft (through a complicated set of circumstances I sort of recall but won't detail here). Oh for pity's sake. More ill laughter.
Before I left, the concerned agent said "Take it easy this afternoon. Don't try to do too much." I took her advice.
imaged of Ryan Lowe's new instructional video yoinked from ElmwoodMagic.com.
Sep 12, 2006
"Don't Ask Me 4 Shit"
Click to emphasize.
Pic snapped at 1001 W. Main St., Durham -- former home of Pizza Hut, Subway, Val's Upstairs and the Ivy Room. One of the most desirable pieces of Brightleaf-area real estate sitting around doing nothing. Sigh.
Sep 11, 2006
*** ISO Labor Gigs in Durham ***
Hi folks. My friend Jody* (pictured at right) is looking for work ASAP in the Durham area. I met him at Urban Ministries of Durham where he was highly recommended by several staff when I was asking around for help with moving furniture, car detailing, and the like.
I really appreciated the chance to spend time with Jody and was moved to hear about his past struggles with drugs and several unlucky events that he has tried to move past into a new life. But more relevant to this ad, I also found that Jody works fast and smart and needs minimal supervision. He needs money asap to pay the rent at a halfway house. I'd be so glad if any blog readers can provide an opportunity.
Email me and I'll give you his contact info. And read here for more about Jody.
*not real name but I'll be glad to provide if you'd like!
In theory, it's bad manners to eavesdrop on your neighboring tables' dinner conversation, and worse yet to jump in. And in theory, it's even worse manners to read other travelers' baggage tags to find out where they're from. But sometimes it works out OK.
Two weeks ago in the dining car of a train crossing Canada, the folks and I were talking about sleep apnea and my plans to get a CPAP machine. The gentleman at the next table overheard and mentioned that he used one and would be glad to show it to us. Next thing you know -- we have new friends who have invited us for a stay any time at their spread in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
Last week at an Oakland BART station I noticed that the woman next to me had luggage marked "Bowling Green, Kentucky."
Me: Hey, I don't mean to be rude, but are you from Bowling Green?
Her: Yep! Out here for a bike trip through Napa.
Me: I just met some people from Bowling Green -- Jim and Susan Armstrong. Do you know them? They live out on a...
Her: ...big farm! Yes, I know them! I used to live with one of their friends. They have a great farm.
Me: With a stained glass studio, even.
Her: A stained glass studio?
Me: Yeah, you didn't know? That's Susan's business.
Her: Funny, I was just looking to find someone to make a stained glass window for my front door. Thought I was going to have to look in Lexington or Cincinnati.
Me: Nope. Just call Susan.
Her: Will do.
Me: And and tell her Phil sent you!
Her: Will do.
Me: Tee hee.
And never take advice from Rick Springfield.
Sep 08, 2006
Bowden on Money
Money Is Essential in Every Society
It would be impossible to overstate the importance of money in the operation of any modern economy. The economy simply could not function without money. The market process just naturally happens. But it couldn't happen without money. Money is the medium which permits the market process to function. Truly, money is the lifeblood of the market process.
Exchange, specialization, division of labor, technological development--these are essential for any society which seeks to achieve high standards of living for the people. You know about the gains from specialization and trade. You know that the advantages can't come about without exchange. And you know that the many opportunities for exchange can't be fulfilled without money.
--Elbert V. Bowden in Economics: The Science of Common Sense, 1981.
I had been looking for a basic book on economics and found this one at a yard sale in Victoria, BC. By coincidence, Professor Bowden wrote this book while at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.
Sep 07, 2006
This is Your Dance Captain Speaking
-- Southwest Airlines captain
Just for the record, I am completely tired of flying and training back and forth across North America. Canada and San Francisco were great but it's time to stay put for a while. (At least for a couple of weeks until the next San Francisco wedding.)
Sep 05, 2006
In Prosperity and Poverty
Melissa Boes and Brian Rice, 3 September 2006.
Sometimes the right things happen.
Sep 04, 2006
Dave and Lorraine's Volleyball Clinic - video!
In case you're wondering about the Samsung SGH-d807, it's really cool. I got mine last week after my otherwise excellent Sony Ericsson s710a (which took perfectly fine pix like this low light selection) started dying.
Like the Sony Ericsson, the Samsung has a 1.3MP camera that takes stills and videos. Here's an example from Labor Day at Montara Beach -- a one-take volleyball clinic video with Dave and Lorraine showing them how it's done.
Dave is helping me Bluetooth sync the phone with my calendar, email, and address book. God bless him if he succeeds. He got the Bluetooth to do file transfers without much problem -- but also without much speed. Bleah. Bluetooth file transfer is important because the phone's cable socket cover is much like a fourth-grader's front tooth waiting to fall off. Dangling, it remains connected by one strong thread. But you know it's going to fall off soon, and the wait is excruciating.
Sep 01, 2006
The Barbecue Joint, II
Today at The Barbecue Joint in Chapel Hill, Auntie Nell reminded me that I was fussy eater when she first arrived. "We'd have to say, 'here comes the train, open up the tunnel!'" (Apparently I used to call it a "tynal".)
In any case, today at The Barbecue Joint we both loved everything -- the beans and bacon, the duck confit salad, and the smoked salmon chowder.
I believe that The Barbecue Joint is now five years old. I'm glad they're in it for the long haul. You should be, too.
See here for an earlier review from 2004. Or better yet, just get your (slow cooked barbecued) butt on over for a meal.