Coming Out of Left Field

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Which book are you? (quiz)

Hat tip to phoenixx on Easily Addictive for this quiz:

You're Prufrock and Other Observations!
by T.S. Eliot
Though you are very short and often overshadowed, your voice is poetic and lyrical. Dark and brooding, you see the world as a hopeless effort of people trying
to impress other people. Though you make reference to almost everything, you've really
heard enough about Michelangelo. You measure out your life with coffee spoons.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

So I'm like J. Alfred Prufrock? Hmmm ... well, at least they got the shortness right. Though I wouldn't call myself very short, unless I was standing next to this guy.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Holiday weekend wrapup

Highlights of Turkey Day and the long weekend:

Thursday night - arrived at the airport, got picked up and went looking for someplace to have dinner. As the wife and I feared, we didn't find anything open besides the stray McDonald's, and there was no way we were going to have fast food on Thanksgiving. So we went home, and my dad cooked some potstickers and noodles instead. Not exactly traditional, but they hit the spot.

Friday - Went out for breakfast, did grocery shopping and rented some movies -- "Cold Mountain", "The Incredibles", and the Patrick Stewart version of "A Christmas Carol". Watched "The Incredibles" with the little brother (great fun), took a nap, then went to a family friend's house for dinner, where we had lots of yummy turkey, duck, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, etc. (while being urged not to stop eating), listened to how-people-met stories and looked at cute grandkid pictures.

Saturday - Slept in, had toast and tea, spent a lazy afternoon playing games (me) and checking in with other family members (the wife). Went out for dinner, then watched "A Christmas Carol", and laughed at the over-the-top special effects and equally ludicrous acting. It's been a while since I've read the story, but I'm pretty sure the ending does not have Scrooge falling into his grave, landing on top of his own corpse, and plunging through a black hole. Both the wife and I wondered what made Stewart sign up for the part; the little brother said that he's seen worse cases of good actors in terrible movies, such as Martin Sheen in "Spawn", but that this was pretty bad too.

Sunday - Made French toast for breakfast, packed up and joined the hordes in transit Left the house at 12:30, arrived back home around 8:30-9. Other than not having a direct flight home, it was a fine trip.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Geek Thanksgiving

Signs you're having Thanksgiving dinner with a geek (hat tip to mjfrombuffalo on Easily Addictive:

11. Dark meat is separated from white meat using a light probe.

10. Everyone mentions broadband, Linux or dual-core processors in their "I am thankful for..." speech.

9. A round of Counter-Strike: Source determines who gets to carve the turkey.

8. House decorated with plush microbes to celebrate the pilgrims bringing diseases to the new world.

7. Someone constantly keeps saying "The pilgrims had coffee, didn't they?"

6. Plates have a heatsink attached to them so you don't burn your mouth.

5. The cranberries are caffeinated.

4. Whipped cream for the pumpkin pie made with Dremel.

3. Three words: Lego gravy boat.

2. Pilgrim decorations have red hats instead of black ones.

1. The turkey is given the opportunity for a saving throw before being butchered.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sox stuff

Nothing's official yet, but it looks like Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell might be joining the Red Sox. If the deal with the Marlins goes through, Beckett would be a pretty good acquisition. At 25, he's younger than Matt Clement and Bronson Arroyo, and his win-loss record last year (15-8) was better than Arroyo's (14-10) and comparable to Clement's (13-6). Schilling, Wakefield and Wells (assuming he stays) aren't getting any younger, so it'd be nice to have an under-30 ace on the roster.

I'm not so sure how adding Mike Lowell would help the Sox. Bill Mueller plays a pretty good third base, and though he didn't win the batting-average title last year, he still hit better (.295, 10 HR, 62 RBI to Lowell's .236, 8 HR, 58 RBI). But getting rid of Lowell -- specifically, getting rid of the $9 million he would make each of the next two seasons -- would help the Marlins' bottom line.

Meanwhile, the always hilarious Call of the Green Monster reports that the Red Sox front office staff is already fighting over who deserves credit for the deal.

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Monday, November 21, 2005

Foray into Flickr

Cow up close
Originally uploaded by bostonian71.
I've recently started playing around with Flickr, hoping it'll encourage me to make better use of our digital camera. This pic was actually taken over the summer, but it took me until the other day to get it uploaded.

For laughs, I made this my desktop picture. Every time I look at it, I can't help thinking of Sandra Boynton's Cows:

We're remarkable cows
And wherever we go
it's a fabulous show
Oh, you know we are cows."

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Friday, November 18, 2005

Ironic quote of the day

"Phil is a champion, a true champion, for family values and for everything I think America and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has stood for."

Massachusetts Family Institute president Kris Mineau, speaking of state representative Philip Travis, one of the main opponents of same-sex marriage rights in Massachusetts. Travis recently announced that he will not seek relection next year.

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Film is done (again) ...

... but only after a series of mishaps that don't have me wanting to go back to school anytime soon:

-- I'd booked the sound transfer room from 3 to 4 p.m. Someone else had also booked it for the same time, but according to Film Production Services he was using the mixing board, not the mag transfer machine. When I went up to the room, I found they were wrong. The guy was nice and promised to be done in 15-20 minutes, but in reality, he didn't leave until 3:45 p.m. I loaded the machine and promptly got the mag tape all snarled, forcing me to waste more time untangling it.

-- The first Steenbeck I tried did not have working sound.

-- The second Steenbeck did have sound, so I was able to do my second soundtrack. It did not, however, have a working footage counter, which I needed to compile the mixing log.

-- The third Steenbeck did have a working footage counter, but was in another room halfway down the hall.

I'm sure there are good things about learning filmmaking the non-digital way. I just can't think of any at the moment.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

This is sooooo wrong ...

... or, rather, ThsIsSoWrng:

Beep. It's from Hamlet. 2B? NT2B?=???

Ugh. Give me the old-fashioned English any day -- and on paper.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

Penetrating portraits

The wife and I, as part of her birthday celebration (happy b-day, sweetie!), went to the MFA the other night to watch a film program. All three were portraits of women who'd worked for change:

-- "An Indomitable Woman", about Helen Suzman, who as a member of the South African parliament spoke out against apartheid

-- "Sister Rose's Passion", about Sister Rose Thering, who investigated anti-Semitism in Catholic textbooks (and continues to fight anti-Semitism)

-- "Poumy," about Andrée “Poumy” Moreuil, who as a young Jewish woman was part of the French resistance

We found all three films very informative, but most enjoyed "Sister Rose's Passion" and "Poumy", which gave a lot of insight into the individuals as well as the issues. Both Sister Rose and Poumy came across as smart, capable, independent, and funny. At one point, Poumy recalled how she was sent to deliver some information to an advance unit of the U.S. army. As she approached them, she could smell the coffee they had brewing, and told them she wouldn't say a word until she got a cup. As for Sister Rose, she related how she had been told it was OK to continue her research, but was instructed, "Don't hang dirty laundry." She added, in the same breath, "I hung it."

A grand-niece of Poumy said she found herself wondering if, put in the same situation, she would have been brave enough to risk her life as Poumy had. As we left the MFA, we wondered the same thing -- and hoped that we would.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

"Just when I thought that I was out ..."

Today's post is brought to you by the letter R (as in "Aaaaarrrrrrggggggghhhhhhh...")

My film project, which I had thought was complete when I did the last slice-and-splice last week, is not in fact finished. The problem isn't with the tracks I did submit, it's with the one I didn't submit -- a second soundtrack that can be mixed with the first one to eliminate any gaps.

My advisor, who is much more forebearing than I deserve, gave me the choice of either being graded on what I have right now, or of doing a second track. Though it would be a pain to go back to school, I'll feel better if I properly finish things.

Erg. Completing final Production I project, take two.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

The West Wing: "The Debate"

The wife and I enjoyed watching this episode, probably because we're Democrats, and the Democratic candidate came off much better in the debate. Santos appeared smart and confident and willing to try new ideas, while Vinick -- who earlier in his campaign had seemed intelligent and independent -- reverted to Republican type with all his talk of tax cuts and shrinking government. I wondered momentarily how Vinick managed to get elected in California. Then the wife reminded me, considering who's governor there now, Vinick wouldn't have been that much of a stretch.

It was also fun seeing cameramen moving around and knowing that the show was going on live. After a while, though, I realized something was missing. It wasn't debate about the issues (there was plenty of that). It wasn't the challenges and thinly veiled jabs (there were plenty of those too). I couldn't put my finger on it until someone on the West Wing Tribe mentioned it would've been nice to see Josh's reaction when Santos agreed to drop the debate rules. Then I remembered that I love seeing the behind-the-scenes stuff -- negotiations, confrontations between Josh and Santos/Louise/Donna, crises of conscience, etc. -- that go along with the public events. Not that I expected any of it, given that it's hard to film anything live, but I did miss it.

Other notes:

-- Belated "Yay!" for Donna's return. Now if Josh would only get over himself long enough to listen to her.
-- Ellen DeGeneres gets another "Yay!" The commercials were a bit lame, but she's cute in that appealingly dorky way.
-- Interesting that the credits showed a lot of people who weren't actually in the episode. Is this how Richard Schiff is going to get his 11 appearances?
-- The next new episode isn't until Dec. 4. It's going to be a looooonnnng month.

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

Silly spells

Came across a fun time-waster yesterday, courtesy of phoenixx on Easily Addictive:

Seventh Sanctum -- "tools for writers, gamers, and artists; randomly assembling names, concepts, and more for when you need inspiration, or just a bit of amusement."

I played around with the Grimoire of Questionable Spells generator, and got a list of invocations straight out of Pratchett:

Amazing Curse of Vinegar
Bolt of Nymphomania
Concealment from Yarn Devil
Create Warts in Lounge Singers
Dark Wall of Tinsel
Destroy Accountant
Detergent Puddle
Divine Sausage Storm
Foot Odor Disc
Heal Baldness
Invoke Arrogance
Sorcerous Cotton Assault
Tickle Haberdasher
Unbelievable Pool of Stomach Upset
Wall of Back Pain

The eighth spell on the list reminds me of "Cut Me Own Throat" Dibbler. So does the next to last one, come to think of it.


Friday, November 04, 2005

Fantasy foolishness

Being in two fantasy baseball leagues meant a lot of attention during the regular season, and a big void when it ended -- a void that isn't filled by fantasy football, since the Easily Addictive league is a pick'em, not a daily rotisserie game.

So in my Sox-fueled depression, I committed an act of insanity. I signed up for, of all things, a fantasy NBA league. Hockey, I would've understood -- even though I was ticked off at the lockout, I follow the sport a little. But basketball? A sport I rarely read about, let alone watch? (I did play for a few seconds in high school, but given my lack of height or talent it wasn't going to go any farther than that.)

Oh, well, it should be entertaining at least. And since I'm currently last in the football pick'em, I can't do any worse with basketball. After all, I don't have to rely on my own predictions to score any points -- I've got Iverson, Hamilton, et. al to do that for me.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Book humor

Specifically, book group humor:

Cartoon credit: William Haefeli, appearing in this week's New Yorker.

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Weekend wrapup

A scattered and overdue summary of last weekend's activities:

-- The wife and I did some rug shopping last Saturday, and thus had firsthand experience with the first snowfall of the season. On the way back, we kept singing "I'm dreaming of a white Halloween" and other variants.

-- Sunday night we watched "The West Wing" (a great episode, with both candidates trying to walk a thin line between speaking one's mind and alienating voters) and did some pumpkin carving.

-- Monday I spent all day at school and finally finished my film. No word yet from the professor on a grade, so I can do nothing but wait (and wear holes in the new rugs). Then that night Rogue Slayer and her wife came over for Thai food and a movie, the fabulous and hilarious "Young Frankenstein". We were periodically interrupted by trick-or-treaters, but still had more than enough candy left over. Good thing there's a "Chocolate Decadence" Swingtime dance on Saturday!

The rest of the week has been spent dealing with the backlog from work and other stuff. With this post, I am officially caught up. :)

Update: Right after I posted this, I got a whole bunch of work dumped on me. That'll teach me to say stuff out loud.


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Say it ain't so, Theo

Epstein walks away from Red Sox

Wonder if Larry Lucchino will take a page out of Steinbrenner's book and start behaving like a co-GM. If he hasn't begun already, that is.

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