Tuesday, October 30, 2007

SPC - Food and Me 5

Even though I only did 4 SPCs this month I'm still calling this 5 since it's the 5th Tuesday.

Wow, when October started I didn't think that I would find myself here by the end of the month. I've started a diet. Lately I've been very unsatisfied with my protruding gut when I see it in the shower. For quite a while now I've had a very laissez-faire attitude about what I eat. I have been trying to stay relatively low-fat, and I have done better this year with eating more fruits and vegetables, but I've had some problems with portion control. The percentage of carbs in my diet was also way out of whack. I pretty much ate until I didn't feel hungry, and sometimes past that point. It was starting to show. I know you could see those love handles when I posted that shot of my backside on here (no I'm not linking!).

I'm fed up with having to struggle to button my pants in the morning. I'm fed up with feeling that sense of relief when I untuck my shirt immediately upon getting home from work every day. I'm fed up with using the "fat" belt hole. I've started counting my calories, and based on the numbers that are telling me when to stop it's a wonder that I'm not larger than I am. I've also decided it's time to work a little harder at the exercise I've been doing, and do it more often.

I just started this diet last Wednesday but already I can tell that it's something I think I can stick with. Sometimes you have to wait a little bit after eating before feeling full. I don't have to keep cramming food in my mouth until I'm stuffed, and I'm already getting used to that. I am really enjoying the salads and broccoli these days. It's amazing how sweet baby carrots taste when you don't eat lots of sugar. It's not the end of the world if I feel a little hungry sometimes, it will pass. I can be really stubborn about some things, usually things that involve self-discipline on my part. I'm feeling pretty stubborn about this, so we'll see what happens.

To see what other people have goin' on click here to visit the SPC site.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

La Cucaracha

I received my grade on the research paper that I worked so hard on, and the hard work paid off! So I got that going for me, which is nice. This weekend was a little bit of a break from my studies because as of Friday I caught up with everything that was due. It seems like this semester is pretty light on the workload. I'm not sure if that's because it's the first set of classes that I'm taking since the two in five weeks that nearly killed me (therefore making anything else seem easy) or if the classes are just easy ones. Either way, I'll take it.

My favorite band, Ween, released a new album last week. It's called La Cucaracha. I'm really digging it, although there are a few songs that have taken longer to catch on with me than others. I think there are two that may not catch on at all, but that's not a bad batting average. You can hear some of the songs on their MySpace page. I think it's funny that Dean has said in an interview that he wants Taco Bell to use "Fiesta" in a commercial. He claims to be dead serious too. "Blue Balloon" is classic old-school Ween. "Object" is really creepy, but I really like it. It's creepy because it's written from the point of view of a serial killer. Yeah. But it sounds like Al Green. "My Own Bare Hands" is some classic Deaner-rock. I first heard "Your Party" at the show I went to in Austin back in August. I remember thinking that it was OK but maybe a bit too mellow. It's really starting to grow on me though. I think the lyrics are hilarious. My favorite part is when he's dreaming about throwing his own party. Gener does kind of sound like David Bowie in this song, but there's some other singer from an 80s band that I think he sounds like even more, but I can't quite put my finger on it yet.

I'm disappointed that they included another version of "Friends" on this record, since they just put out an EP in June that had that song on it, and it's a pretty annoying song. Although I do like the lyric "a friend's a friend who knows what being a friend is". I thought it was going to be a completely different version on this album, but it's not very different at all. Not sure why they picked that one to release twice. "Learnin' To Love" is a great ridiculous "hoedown" type of song that would have been right at home on 12 Golden Country Greats. Overall it's a nice solid record. It'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry - what more could you want?


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Get Some Sleep

Work is really kicking my ass lately. Not because work itself is hard. Quite the contrary, it's actually quite boring these days. The commute is getting a bit old, not to mention having to be there at 7:30AM. I have to go to bed so early so I won't be a complete zombie every day, which is really cutting into my Infranet time when you factor in school. Oh well. Gotta pay the bills.

So during one of my exciting work days I ran across a couple of articles in the NY Times that I thought were really interesting. I'm fascinated by sleep. You know, the science of it. I think it's amazing that sleep is something that everyone in the world has to do pretty much every night, but we understand so little about it. Scientists still don't know for sure why people sleep. There are theories floating around, but that's all they are - theories. Same goes for dreaming. Nobody knows why we dream. We humans think we're so damn smart and know all there is to know, but we don't. Sleeping and dreaming are so mysterious, and I really like that.

An Active, Purposeful Machine That Comes Out at Night to Play

In the Dreamscape of Nightmares, Clues to Why We Dream at All


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Gogol Bordello

Sunday night I went to see the band Gogol Bordello in concert. They have only recently entered my consciousness. I first heard of them through seeing the movie “Everything Is Illuminated” because their frontman plays Alex in the film and they have some songs on the soundtrack. I don’t even have any of their CDs (soon to be rectified), I had only listened to some of their samples on Amazon. I had also read about them on the message board of another band that I frequent, and this point was made over and over: “You must see them live!” This point was correct.

The band describes their genre as Gypsy-punk, which I would say is as accurate a description as you could probably get. They combine elements of Ukrainian, Gypsy, rock, reggae, and punk music into their sound. The unusual elements for a “punk” band are accordion and fiddle. You can hear some of their songs on their MySpace page. I can see it not being for everyone. You will probably know right away whether their music is something you will like or not after the first few notes. I likes it. They have some videos on the YouTubes too.

I didn’t plan to get to the theater as early as I usually do because I didn’t feel like I wanted to be all the way front and center this time. I heard that things get a little hectic up there at a Gogol Bordello show. This is true. I didn’t really feel up to being in a mosh pit. I’m too old, and it’s really not my bag anyway. I got a good spot off to the side. The theater has a tiered arrangement, so I got at the front of the second tier so that I could hopefully see over anyone in front of me unless they were 8 feet tall.

Speaking of being old, that’s how I felt when the opening act played. It was a band called Dub Trio. I really wasn’t into them at all. I say I felt old because toward the end of their set all I could think of was “this just sounds like noise”. You know, just like some old fart says about “kids and their music today”. I just wanted them to go away. For what it’s worth I don’t think too many of the other people there were into them either. But hey, I gave them a fair shot.

Now to Eugene Hutz. He’s the frontman of the band. He’s one of those people that has “charisma”. He just has that “it” factor where you can’t take your eyes off of him. He could sell ice to an Eskimo. I love his accent. And his energy level is just crazy - I don’t think he stood still for more than 3 seconds at any point during the 2 hour show. You can tell in my photos because most of the ones with him in them have some kind of blur. There wasn’t a lot of banter between songs, Eugene just started strumming his guitar immediately after the end of each song and launched into the next one with the exception of about 3 songs. I looked at their tour schedule and I don’t know how he does it night after night. There’s not much down time there.

The fact that I wasn’t very familiar with their songs in no way kept me from enjoying the experience. The energy in the place was about as frenetic as I’ve ever seen at a concert. There were multiple incidents of crowd surfing, stage diving, and general ruckus raising. Many people pogo-ing like crazy. I saw one of the biggest mohawks I’ve ever seen. I saw people dressed like Gypsies. I was impressed - I honestly didn't think Dallas had it in it. I had the perfect spot off to the side. I could see everything without getting pummeled. But even though it was frenetic it wasn’t an ugly energy. It was people having a good time. I think it was the only natural reaction to the energy that was coming from the stage. It’s never felt more natural to me to clap along with the music. I don’t know, there was just something really cool about seeing this band play their hearts out on stage. Not to be all touchy-feely about it, but you got the feeling that there is nothing that these people would rather be doing than being up there playing their guts out. And that’s really cool. Go read Eugene’s “Intro Word” on their MySpace page to get an idea where he’s coming from.

I would unreservedly recommend going to see Gogol Bordello if you have a chance. The next time they roll through here, God willing, I will be there.

Yep, that's a luchador mask.

OK, for this song Eugene decided to wear a long red wig and some bright red pumps.
Why? I dunno.

Nothing says "party" like a big bass drum.

Eugene plays his fire bucket.

I love this pose.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Concert Update

Here is a small update on the concert I went to. I just finished my paper a couple of hours ago so I didn't have as much time to post today as I thought I would. Anyway, I went to see Gogol Bordello. I don't have time for the full review now, so here's the short version: Holy shit!

I took lots and lots of photos. Here are a few for now:


Friday, October 19, 2007

Research Paper Blues

All this week I've been working on a research paper that is due this Monday night. It's for my preservation class and I'm writing about deacidification of older papers. Yeah, fascinating I'm sure. I'm not too far from being done. The paper length is OK, but some sections need a little bit more cohesion. I'm really getting kind of tired of messing with it, hopefully I can finish it up soon. I'm not quite at the "I'll turn in anything" stage yet, though.

The temperature actually got down into the 40's last night. That's probably the first time since, oh I don't know, March? It was really nice.

I'm going to a concert Sunday night that I'm pretty excited about. I really hope I get to bring my camera! Stay tuned.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

SPC - Food and Me 3

This month's theme at Self Portrait Challenge is "Food and Me". For this week's photo I have decided to highlight one of my current snack obsessions - the humble saltine cracker. I mostly like to eat them just as they are. I like them with peanut butter, cheese or a little butter sometimes, but most of the time I just eat them plain. The reason that I say they are a "current" snack obsession is because eventually I will get tired of them and I may not eat one for a year or more. So it goes with other snacks, like pretzels or popcorn. I probably should try to cut back since they are mostly just carbs.

If you want to know more about saltine crackers, you can read about them here. I like that it says that they offer "little to no[thing] in the way of nutrition"! Damn skippy.

To see what other people are doing with or to food, click here to visit the SPC website.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

School on a Saturday?

Yesterday I had to go to school for the second lab in my preservation class. Unfortunately my very cute prof is still married. Oh well. I think this may be the first prof I have ever had that is younger than me. Kinda makes me feel old.

Yesterday we did 2 encapsulations (sealing an object in polyester for protection), repaired pages that have been removed from a book (two different ways), replaced a book spine, and archivally matted an object. We each got a book to tear pages out of and then put them back in so they will stay (I need more practice on that part), and also to replace the spine material. I still like this hands-on stuff.

I have a research paper due a week from tomorrow, so I'll be putting in lots of work on that. I'm writing about paper deacidification. I'm sure that just sounds incredibly exciting to all y'all!

On a different note, the Big O Blog has a download of one of the Tom Waits shows from the tour last summer. I listened to it this afternoon, and it sounds great! And pg, I don't know if you can download from the road, but they also have a download of a "lost" album from The Band.

Ugh, they're saying it's going to be raining during rush hour tomorrow morning. It's going to take me 2 hours to get to work. Lord help us all.

Polyester encapsulation

Polyester encapsulation

Matted drawing

A look at the interior. It's held in place with Japanese paper and rice starch paste.

We removed the spines from our books and replaced them with the orange buckram that you can see in this photo. The outer part of the original spine is then pasted to the outside of the buckram.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Odds and Ends

I downloaded the new Radiohead album today. I've only listened to it about 1 and half times (OK 2 since I wrote this post) so far, so I haven't had time to really absorb it yet. I have to listen to something 5 or 6 times before I really start to bond with certain songs. I really like the songs on it, but I am disappointed in the sound quality. The mp3 tracks are only 160Kbps, which is on the low end of mp3 quality. And I can tell. I really wish that they would have noted this bit rate somewhere on the page that gave the details of the download. At best this download serves as a good teaser for the CD release. In my opinion you shouldn't pay a lot of money for the download, because buying the CD is pretty much a necessity if you are at all concerned about sound quality. If you only listen to music using the earbuds on your ipod while you are doing other things you may be OK with this, but if you ever listen to music at home on your computer or stereo (especially with headphones) you will want the CD (or vinyl for you analog folks).

Did you see that Esquire named Charlize Theron the sexiest woman alive? It's hard to argue with this:

Speaking of gross stuff, I have a pretty gnarly photo. I don't want people who aren't into gross stuff to be subjected to this, so you'll have to click on a link to view it. Don't say I didn't warn you. It's a picture of one of my chigger bites. Click here if you dare. Imagine my shock yesterday when I pulled my sock down to see this monstrosity. I've never had a bug bite that produced this kind of reaction. I noticed it at about 1PM yesterday while I was at work. I didn't know what would happen if I popped it so I had to live with this thing for 4 hours until I was at home. I put a band-aid on it after I lanced it. It looks better today but there's still a lump in there. I hope it gets better soon.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

SPC - Food and Me 2

This is the second week of the Self Portrait Challenge theme for October - "Food and Me". I don't have any artistic pretensions with this week's shot. This is me slicing an onion while wearing my snorkeling mask. I hate how irritated my eyes get when cutting onions, so wearing the mask is a good way to avoid that. I've tried all the other tricks - chilling the onion first, slicing the non-root end first, yada, yada, yada, and none of them seem to work so there you have it.

In addition to eating things completely from a box, like last week's shot, I also sometimes eat things that require a little more prep work. In this case I was actually slicing up some veggies to add to a boxed jambalaya mix. I like to add onion, tomato, bell pepper, and garlic (although when I made this I added a little too much garlic). It makes things taste a lot better, and it's a good way to consume more fresh veggies.

The end product

To see what other people are doing with food, click here to visit the Self Portrait Challenge website.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Son of a Itch!

Late Sunday afternoon I decided to go take some photos of some flowers close to my house that I have been wanting to photograph for a while. And, you know, since it was 91 degrees I decided to wear shorts. “You’ll get chiggers (warning:informative text but potentially scary pic)” I thought to myself. “Shut up, I hate insect repellant, it smells, it probably gives you cancer, buzz off self!” Um, self was right. I’m currently pretty much a Club Med for chiggers (some people call them redbugs). And of course the Chigarid that I’m applying like crazy will probably give me cancer, but at this point I don’t care. I’m itching all over, including some places that you don't want to know about. Just when one area stops itching, I’ll accidently touch another spot or my clothes will rub against some other area and then that starts itching. I was actually awakened this morning by itching. I need to be dipped or something. Curse you, chiggers!

There were wasps all over these yellow flowers.

I have no idea what these are, but they look cool!

I've had one suggestion of "pineapple moose trees"

Grasshopper, when you can snatch the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

There were some non-stinging insects too.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Nothing to Say

I'm not really feeling all that inspired at the moment, so I don't really have anything to write about. But I figured I'd post a couple of pics so people know I'm still alive.

I believe this is a katydid of some sort. I always thought that was a really unstable name for a bug - katydid.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Drive? Me Crazy

I love rain. I think that's because it's a fairly infrequent occurrence around here. If I lived in Portland I might get tired of it after a while, but since it doesn't happen every day it can be a welcome change of pace. I don't even mind driving in rain. EXCEPT...when it rains during my commute to or from work. Like this morning. Even when there is isn't a wreck - you can pretty much instantly double the time it takes to make the commute. I don't get it. I mean, I know that you are supposed to drive more slowly in the rain since it takes longer to stop yada, yada, yada. OK, but why does everyone all of a sudden become these model drivers when it rains, but on every other day they drive like brainless morons? It doesn't make sense. Watching the weather report last night did me no good either. They said it would all be north of here. So imagine my surprise and dread when I heard it raining shortly after I got up this morning. When I get my "real" job I've gotta live closer to work. Sheesh.

In other news, I don't know if any of you are Radiohead fans, but if you are did you hear about their new album? You can get it via download next Wednesday from this site (you can preorder now). The interesting part? You can pay whatever you want for it! I don't know if they are performing an experiment on human nature or what. I guess if you feel that artists deserve to make a living from their product you can pony up. What if it's all a trick and it's just Thom Yorke reading the phonebook? I guess that's the chance you take...

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

SPC - Food and Me 1

This month's theme at Self Portrait Challenge is (you're going to like this one, Anna) "Food and Me".

This photo actually ties in nicely with the meme that I just did. This is a photo of me getting ready to prepare some good ol' boxed macaroni & cheese. I don't like that I eat this stuff. I think it represents a lot of things that are wrong with what many of us eat today. It's mass-produced crap of marginal nutritional value that probably shouldn't be eaten by anyone over the age of 10. So why do I eat it? It's convenient and it's cheap. The convenience factor makes this a frequent Monday night meal. There's nothing that most people want to do less after getting home from a long day of turning big rocks into little rocks than cook dinner. I'm no exception, and something easy like this helps me ease into the work week. For what it's worth I did pair this with a salad, and had some strawberries for dessert.

To see what others are eating, visit the SPC site.

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