Archive for May, 2009

Call me cold, but I don’t think they should have gotten the money.

The two San Jose brothers whose friend was fatally mauled on Christmas Day 2007 by a tiger that escaped a closure at the San Francisco Zoo will receive $900,000 as part of a settlement in a civil lawsuit, according to a source.

My take on the incident a year ago, here.

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“I know lots of stupid people who went to Ivy League schools.” Karl Rove.

Yeah, we know.

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Mixed Berry Pie

I like recipes that are really simple. 5 ingredients or less is a good thing. This mixed berry pie is just that. I made an all butter pie crust with a bit of almond flour thrown in for good measure. The filling is 4 cups berries, 1/2 sugar, 1/4 flour and 1/2 tsp cinnamon. That’s it, and it comes out perfect every time.

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Danton went and put himself in my bike bag. There’s a LOL cat in here somewhere, but my lolspeak is a bit rusty.

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Roxy Music: Ladytron

You don’t often hear the oboe in a pop song. This is a great song, but watching Brian Ferry sing it in such a dated way really doesn’t seduce me.

You’ve got me girl on the run around run around
You’ve got me all around town
You’ve got me girl on the run around
And it’s getting me down, getting me down
Lady if you want to find a lover
Then you look no further
For I’m gonna be your only
Searching at the start of the season
And my only reason
Is that I´ll get to you
I´ll find some way of connection
Hiding my intention
Then I´ll move up close to you
I´ll use you and I´ll confuse you
And the I´ll lose you
Still you won’t suspect me

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Here are some of the main points in this must-read article about the future of the Russian Space program. They truly sound light years ahead of the rest of the world.

  1. De-dock the Russian portion of the International Space Station and use that piece as the cornerstone of a new Russian space station as the ISS’s lifespan goes no further than 2020.
  2. Build the components of the new station with the understanding that each component has a lifespan and can and should be replaced. However, this does not mean the entire station should be destroyed. Rather, the parts should be constantly renewed.
  3. Without the Russian portion of ISS, there is nothing physical keeping  the ISS in space. Uh oh, that could get ugly.

And the rest sounds like pure science fiction. And very exciting. I highly recommend reading the article. Via the BBC.

With the first launch of the new Russian spacecraft optimistically set for 2018, it would probably reach the launch pad by the time Nasa ends its support for the ISS.

Unlike the ISS, which was advertised primarily as a platform for scientific research, Russia’s future space station, dubbed the Orbital Piloted Assembly and Experiment Complex (OPSEK), would have the main goal of supporting deep space exploration.

Behind the scenes, Russian engineers have drawn up ambitious plans for orbital stations around the Earth and the Moon, and eventually in the orbit of Mars. These would be linked by re-usable tugs, shuttling between them continuously to support the sustained exploration of the Solar System.

After separation from rest of the ISS, the station’s 20-tonne service module could eventually be replaced by a 40-tonne living quarters launched by a new family of rockets.

In turn, this module could ultimately serve as a construction site and a base for the Martian expedition complex, which could be assembled in Earth orbit in the mid-2030s to carry the first humans to the Red Planet.

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I made this at home with a nice citrusy vinaigrette.

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I just found this great spoof on the high fructose corn syrup commericals starring Jackie Beat. The original commercial is first for those of you who haven’t seen it.

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Northwest Folklife is a huge festival with tens of thousands of people descending upon Seattle Center. Many a year, I have been to Seattle Center and viewed tons and tons of plastic garbage from the bottled tap water that they try to sell you. This year, they had the water stand pictured below so that you can refill your bottles. What a concept! At the end of the day, I did witness a grown man show his son how to point the nossel directly in his mouth. But other than that it was a great idea and much appreciated.

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I was finally able to get a chance to edit some photos, so expect a lot of posts with photos in the near future. I went to Northwest Folklife yesterday and got some good pictures. My favorite is the one below of Rebecca Lomnicky. It was hard to find a tent without a lot of shadows on the performers, but later in the day I was able to grab this. She was by far the best thing I saw.

2. My complete apologies to these buskers in that I didn’t grab their name. They were also performing in a venue but after looking at the complete list of performers I was still unable to identify them.

3. Finally the Northwest Junior Piper Band.

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Since I moved to Ballard, my bicycle commute to work is about twice as long. It went from 3.2 miles to 6.2 miles. And yet, oddly enough my commuting time is roughly the same since I’m taking the Burke Gilman Trail which is a dedicated cycle path that avoids most traffic lights.

This picture from kitophoto on Flickr is a good example of what my commute looks like.

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At the risk of having two opera posts in one week, I found this video of another aria from the character Cherubino in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro. This video translates the very romantic lyrics.

Update: Actually it looks like only the beginning is translated. Here are  the lyrics below.

You who know what love is,
Ladies, see if I have it in my heart.
I’ll tell you what I’m feeling,
It’s new for me, and I understand nothing.
I have a feeling, full of desire,
Which is by turns delightful and miserable.
I freeze and then feel my soul go up in flames,
Then in a moment I turn to ice.
I’m searching for affection outside of myself,
I don’t know how to hold it, nor even what it is!
I sigh and lament without wanting to,
I twitter and tremble without knowing why,
I find peace neither night nor day,
But still I rather enjoy languishing this way.
You who know what love is,
Ladies, see if I have it in my heart.

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This is a beauty. Via ThinkProgress.


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Here’s what I would add.

1. Just about anything from The Graduate.

2. In the Name of the Father, both title track by Gavin Friday and “You Made Me the Thief of Your Heart” by Sinead O’Conner.

3. Interview with the Vampire “Sympathy For the Devil” by Guns N’ Roses. (Practically the only part of the film I liked. It played at the very end and then the closing credits.)

4. The Crying Game “Stand by your Man” performed by Llyle Lovett. I guess I really like Neil Jordan’s choices.

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I noticed this.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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BEDFORD, Ohio — An Ohio man who argued with his grown son over a messy bedroom says he overreacted when he called 911.

Ahhh, memories of my youth. Granted I wasn’t an adult like this guy in the story, but I remember being 16 and having to knock through the kitty door in order to get into my house. I had forgotten my keys, something I always did as a kid. Well my dad took my car keys away from me for good for that infraction. So in protest I threw my clothes all around my room. My dad then called my mom and asked whether or not he could put me in juvenile hall because I had gone “crazy.”

Ahh, it’s so funny now.

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The Marriage of Figaro

I saw The Marriage of Figaro for the first time last night at the Seattle Opera. While I haven’t been the most ardent supporter of opera, I am a big fan of Mozart. I have to say this was by far my favorite opera in the handful or so that I’ve seen.

What a great story. Two common folk in love, two nobles out of love. One young man in love with everything and everyone. It’s all about love and very Shakespearean. I once had a recording on CD, but I’ll need to find it again.

This was my favorite aria of the opera. Cherubino proclaiming his love.

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Actor Stellan Skarsgard says he’s no big fan of Dan Brown’s writing and accepted a role in “Angels & Demons” only after reading the script based on Brown’s book.

“I think Dan Brown is a terribly bad writer, but he has cliffhangers after every chapter which makes you continue reading,” Skarsgard told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

“It’s like eating peanuts at a bar. You don’t like them, but you keep on eating them anyway,” he said.

This looked like the most interesting Stellan Skarsgard clip to post. Anyone seen this movie Kiss Kiss Bang Bang?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Cars, babes and buildings that move. This is a weird video.

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The Implied Observer apologizes for being offline for so many days. I was moving this weekend and then unpacking. Just about the only thing I managed to do that was fun was see the new Star Trek movie. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, then please do not read on. There will be spoilers a plenty.

Overall the movie was a fun two hours plus. I should add the disclaimer that I am not a huge fan of the original series, though I do like The Next Generation. So I should be in no way beholden to the original series like my friend Tom. And yet…..

Spock is not supposed to have emotions, and presumably the fact that he does not makes him a fun character. That’s why everyone loves Spock. And that’s why everyone loved Data in the TNG. So why would you take that one great part of the character and compromise it? Spock has a girlfriend? The girlfriend is Uhura? Again, not beholden to the original but this seems pretty out there and I don’t think it added anything to the film.

There was an utter lack of science fiction in this film. This is an adventure film pure and simple. All of our current technologies are replaced with newer technologies, but somehow those newer technologies don’t seem to change any aspect of human nature or cause people to reflect differently on how things are done. This is futuristic but it is not science fiction.

I think Leonard Nimoy was completely wasted and it was kind of embarrassing to watch.
One thing that was fun was that they appeared to make a conscious effort to cast actors that looked like the original actors. I especially enjoyed the guys they got to play Dr. MacCoy, Chekhov and Scottie. Sadly Sulu was the weakest link. Whether that be because they gave the actor nothing to work with or all his stuff ended up on the cutting room floor, I won’t try to guess. As for Bruce Greenwood as Captain Pike? Fun, but minimal.

So have you seen the new Star Trek? Any thoughts?

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Rahm Emanuel is hot

I’ve already embarrassed myself this week by posting about the nerdy topics of Star Wars and Robotech. Why stop now? This photo gallery on Huffingtonpost tells me I’m not alone in thinking Rham Emanuel is very nice to look at. And did you know he was a dancer and that he won a scholarship to join the Joffrey Ballet?

If you’d like to see more, see Huffingtonpost.

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We demolish newly built homes that are bringing down the property prices of existing homes. What a waste. Think of how many people could have lived in that home were it being sold for a reasonably price. I much more like the idea of cities buying foreclosed homes and then offering them to low-income families. It seems to be a much more, dare I say, reasonable reaction?

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Yesterday I was talking to my friend Tom about the new Star Trek movie. Tom won’t be watching the movie because as he put it, the whole dynamic of the original series has been thrown out the window with story revision. Spock and Kirk did not know each other before working together on the Enterprise. To have them be colleagues in the academy completely changes their entire relationship. Tom went on in incredible detail about all the changes to the story and how the new film is really creating an alternate universe of the series.

Tom, this video is for you.

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This study came out last week. I may be overstating it a bit to call it explosive, but I think it could spark a big change in what type of contraceptives women use.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Young women who use oral contraceptives (OC) may not get as much out of their weight-lifting routine as women who are not on the pill, according to a study released today, which suggests that OC use impairs muscle gains from resistance exercise training in women.

“The factors that explain the differences in the magnitude of the responses to resistance exercise training between individuals are largely unknown,” Chang-Woock Lee, from Texas A&M University in College Station, told Reuters Health.

“The present study is meaningful in that we have identified a potential new factor that may be independently associated with the characteristics and variability of muscle responses to a controlled resistance exercise training program,” the researcher added.

In the study, 73 generally healthy women between 18 and 31 years old participated in whole-body resistance exercises three times per week for 10 weeks. Thirty-four of the women used oral contraceptives and 39 did not. The women were encouraged to eat enough protein to promote muscle growth.

In the article, which I highly recommend, they posit that women taking the pill may not have enough testosterone to build muscle.

Why do I think this is explosive? The pill is most popular with young women. Young women are more likely to care about their appearance and weight in such a way that they would be reluctant to use the pill as their contraceptive if it negatively impacts their workout routine. Think I am painting a vain and petty portrait of young women? Perhaps.

But given that the pill is advertised to women in such a variety of  petty ways, the advertising companies at least believe women would make their contraceptive choices on even flimsier grounds. Like the pill that will help with acne. Or the pill that you take once a month. Or every two months. Or every two weeks. Or every year. How about patch? Or a ring? Or an implant under your arm? It’s just so dang difficult to take a pill everyday. The pharmaceutical companies have taken one drug and turned it into a million different varieties of the same thing thereby creating multiple patents.

Will this lead  to an increase in non-oral contraceptives? More children? More abortions? I think it’s too soon to tell, but I’m interested in following this.

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I have been a huge fan of Robotech ever since I was a kid. It’s actually a bit of an obsession. Today I was having a conversation about Princess Leia’s hair when suddenly I realized that maybe George Lucas inspired Minmay’s haircut. Don’t judge me too harshly for this post.

1. Minmay from Robotech in 1982.

2. Princess Leia from Star Wars 1977.

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