July 26, 2007

"Buttons" from Sia

Like many folks, I was introduced to Sia by "Breathe Me," the utterly transcendent song that was the backdrop to the final montage for the Six Feet Under finale.

She's back, with a new song, album and a promo video that manages to be creative, quirky and a wee bit disturbing. I dig the tune. I'm not sure about the clothespins.

Homer guest hosts

Even the Tonight Show has been Simpsonized. I rather like the GE poke, courtesy of Lisa's comments to her dad.

July 24, 2007

A humpback ride?

Credit: Lori Mazzuca, Kauai, Hawaii, USA


July 17, 2007

BigDog Quadruped Robot: I don't want to pick up after this one

I'm not afraid to say that this thing scares the s--t out of me, even while I think it's really quite amazing at the same time. Bruce Sterling (easily one of my all-time favorite sci-fi writers) wrote about his impressions a bit more eloquently:

Yeah, yeah, I know -- some boondoggle Pentagon robot. Where's the zillion-dollar spare parts? But look at the insane way this lurching mongrel picks its way through mud, sharp rocks, and snow. And those horrible little hooves it has, and its bandage-wrapped black-zombie legs... and that irritating whining noise it makes. I don't see it "running and jumping," but it's so cheap-looking and pig-ugly that it looks entirely convincing -- twenty years from now, tech-savvy global-guerrilla marauders will be strapping IEDs and AK47s onto these things and unleashing them on remote mountain villages.


July 12, 2007

Oh no! The Internet Crashed! All Data Lost!

Thank you, Onion. Just when I think you can't get any funnier, you go and do...


Breaking News: All Online Data Lost After Internet Crash

July 8, 2007

Rattouille & Brunch at Wimbledon

If I'm watching any television on Sunday morning, it tends to be Meet the Press, Face the Nation or other Sunday morning gabfests. Watching NPR commentators Juan Williams and Maura Liasson square off with Barnes and Kristol from the Weekly Standard under the watchful eye of Britt Hume on Fox News, however, was a new and not entirely unwelcome addition to the weekly spincycle.

It floors me to note that how long I stayed on Fox News -- but there it is.

Much better, however, was the epic and superlative battle between Nadal and Federer this morning. A 5-set championship battle between the two best players in the world? A++ tennis? Spellbing. Federer is, more or less, the kind of tennis player I dreamed of being growing up, before the small issues of talent and coordination kicked up. I'll always love the game but the sorts of shots he's able to make, looping around the net or located in the only four square inches over the net that would escape his opponent's racket is just mindboggling. The grace that he approaches hitting each shot with is extraordinary, reminding me of the swing of Tiger or Ted or MJ's jumpshot. Beauty.

The unexpected tennis-fest follows on a brilliant Saturday. I caught up with the remainder of the spring cleaning left by a departing housemate, primarily organizing, doing laundry & dishes, gardening, stowing gear from the sojourn to Maine and generally getting settled in again. I shaved three weeks worth of beard -- always rejuvenating for me -- and celebrated with a walk around Fresh Pond, dinner on the patio at Jose's, a fantastic local Mexican restaurant with expertly executed authentic dishes, followed by G&Ts on the back porch. I was lucky to find spectacularly good company for my summer evening, a stroke of random luck that's still sinking in.

We caught the late show of Ratatouille at Fresh Pond, walking through Dennehy Park on what can only be described as sultry summer evening.

Pixar recaptured and rekindled the same spirit that drew me in with Toy Story, raising the bar yet again for digital detail and dazzling with whirling, twirling shots that left me a bit breathless. I loved it. I loved the reflection of the streetlights in the textured granite sidewalk, the bright copper showing in the scratches on the patina of the well-used pans in the kitchen and the fur of the rats themselves, a marvel of autonomous fibers animated in an utterly realistic way. It took an artist's eye to raise my appreciation of all of those elements to another level -- I was a fortunate soul to have one next to me. Two of 'em, in fact.

Ben Bird's characteristic flair for sweet, universal humor was on display throughout.

For this cook and foodie, the theme of the movie itself was probably the biggest treat. I'm looking forward to attempting that presentation of ratatouille myself sometime soon, though the smoker and grill are calling to me more than anything else these days.

I'm about to bike out to Walden and swim, hoping to escape the load of the 90+ degree humid blanket of hot air that is suffocating Cambridge.

Ah, summer.

SUCH a happy camper this morning.

July 6, 2007

Meebo widget madness

Ok, it's not exactly madness. I did decide, however, after observing the coolness of the embedded chat widget on a bunny-loving friend's blog, that I wanted to jump on the Meebo bandwagon.

Geeky covetousness, I am your huckleberry.

So far, I like it.

If anyone wants to chat me up, go for it. I hope you have something inspirational or revelatory to impart, though that's probably asking for a lot.

This is why David Pogue remains my favorite geek reviewer

July 5, 2007

Just in from Springfield...

I've been a Simpsons fan since the first moment I saw them on the Tracey Ullman show, so it's no shock to anyone that the upcoming movie has me a bit excited.

I just had a bit of fun over at the Simpsons movie site creating this "avatar." Pure goofy pleasure.

Placeholding, in the absence of my favorite places

If you're not careful, life can spiral into all sorts of places that don't get properly documented.

Trips to NYC to see old friends get married that blend into epic efforts to race the dawn and tide back to the southwest coast of Massachusetts, only to fall asleep on the beach and become dreadfully burned.

A two-week sojourn in Maine, poorly initiated by a bout of bronchitis but culminating in an all day fest of smoking ribs over applewood, sea kayaking and log home caulking.

Cavorting with porpoises and seals in between, while marveling at how many books I seem to read in the absence of a high-speed Internet connection.

Fishing and porch sitting in NH, gazing out at the White Mountains while dreaming up all new ways not to catch trout. And removing ticks. Lovely, that.

Unexpectedly losing a housemate. And now, perhaps, gaining a new one, similarly interested in outdoorsy pursuits and much better versed in biological study.

Unaccountably taking very few pictures of the places that instill in me a sense of deep, visceral contentment in Maine and New Hampshire, though to be fair I have hundreds of the very same vistas from the past decade.

It was surreal to be back in Boston after a few weeks away north, bearded amidst the unshaven (instead of the inverse at the beginning of the trip), surrounded by friends instead of family, buildings and bridges instead of trees and ocean, digital diaries replacing analog scribblings.

If I wasn't sure of how happy I was to be back before, however, two nights of seeing old friends wiped away any reticence, as we moved from a patio BBQ to a rooftop high above Back Bay to cheer and sing as the fireworks exploded above our heads in a moment that seemed to stretch on forever, a 22-minute limbo that left me hoarse, dazzled and exhilarated.

I'm running out to see the Transformers soon, or I'd offer more context on all of the above. Seeing Live Free or Die Hard at the Criterion Theater in Bar Harbor has left me well-primed for more blockbustery goodness. And robots. Lots of wonderful, transforming, spectacularly-animated robots.