Friday, November 30, 2007

Some Chasms You Can't Jump


According to Yahoo!news, Evel Knievel, motorcycle daredevil (he jumped
over buses, sharks and Idaho's Snake River Canyon) from the 1970s,
died today at the age of 69. I think I will remember him most for the
1974 attempt to clear the Snake River Canyon in Idaho in a
rocket-powered "Skycycle." as seen on ABC's "Wide World of Sports."

Seems almost naive today to think of a time when a man could make that
much money for jumping over things on a motorcycle and 'sports' on TV
meant WWoS on ABC once a week. Who do little kids think of when they
jump off ramps on a bike now? Are Tony Hawk and his ilk still cool?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Smile for the Birdie

[digital camera]

Next to the impossible-to-find Wii (and don't say eBay or Craig's List), I am going to say the top electronic item on my Christmas List would be a new digital camera.

My trusty Fujifilm FinePix (A210!) has been in the water-bottle slot on the outside of my backpack for going on more than a couple of years at this point, and even though I take the same route to work every day (hello CalTrain!), there is almost aways something or someone to take a picture of. And when I get home, well, don't even ask about the photographic opportunities what with the four cats we share a home with....

The important thing to remember: for most of us photography is a hobby and is supposed to be fun. When it's digital you can experiment to your heart's content (no film costs), both in-camera as well as at home with Photoshop (or the editor of your choice). So get yourself a camera, keep it on hand and be ready to shoot when you see something happen. The most expensive camera is of no use when it is sitting in a drawer because you are too afraid or too scared to use it. If you need do, do what I did: start small and inexpensive, get the feel for what you can do and shoot, shoot, shoot. If I had been worried about my camera I would not have taken it on a walk along the beach at Asilomar and I would not have been able to get this picture of the local wildlife.

So until I get that Nikon D40x for that trip to Italy that we have been planning for going on 2 years now, I'll keep my A210 for my commute. But maybe if Santa is listening, I'll get a nice 9 megapixel Fujifilm A900 and keep that close at hand for when inspiration strikes.

This has been a sponsored post.

Adding Insult to Injury

Mr. Spock on the old Canadian 5
Originally uploaded by caterina
Can Trekkers hoarding the old Canadian dollar be the reason the Canadian dollar is now worth MORE than a US dollar?

In other Science Fiction news: it looks like BBC's Torchwood will be coming to both the UK and the US at roughly the same time - no more having to scrounge episodes from friends and look at the BBCAmerica schedule and think, 'oh yes, that was a good episode.' So hat's off to not treating us like a 'colony' this time!

Plus, WIRED magazine has a whole big article on the return of Futurama! I have been avoiding skipping ahead for the most part but did cheat today and read the first page - just didn't have the mental ability at 6am to read about the Iraq war.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

San Jose Fry's "Customer Service"

Just back from an trip to the Fry's in San Jose to buy a DVD recorder – I have been meaning to get one for some time and yesterday they ran an ad for a Samsung at $79.

Well, as usual, I can never find anything at this Fry's and was about to give up when a nice, helpful clerk showed me where they might be. Only problem was, all the ones on the sales floor were open box / returns. He went to look in the back but there was only one back there, also an open box. I asked for a raincheck and we went to the manager of the department. They could not give me a raincheck because either: a) this was a special sale (ad said nothing about limited #) and then b) they had them 'in stock,' they were just open box. I thought that opened and returned items were different than new but not to Fry's (even though open box items are priced lower).

Store manager also felt they 'had them in stock, I just didn't want the ones they had.' I had to ask if they could check any other local Fry's (this never seemed to dawn on them before I asked). He checked their inventory and found some in other stores, but it was never clear if these were open box items or factory new.

I asked them if they could ship one from a sister-store and I would buy it when it got in and was told they don't ship products over the week-end and by the time it *did* get to San Jose the sale would be over.

I will not be returning to Fry's any time soon, Amazon and BestBuy have never been this unhelpful!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Floor Score and 7 Years Ago

[garage flooring]

OK, it has NOT been 7 years that we have lived in our current house and I am willing to bet the garage is WELL OVER seven years old but how could I pass up such a great post title?

Even before we moved in we thought we should do something about our garage floor. We tried to patch some of the more obvious divots and cracks but concrete patching compound is a tad trickier than butter-cream frosting (and Heaven knows I am no master of that either!) and besides, it did nothing to cover the odd oil-stain, paint spill and rust circle.

We have been round and round about what to do and with Christmas fast upon us (and no majour gifts on the horizon this year - I blame the continued battle between BluRay and HD DVD), perhaps this year we'll just give ourselves the gift of a clean-looking garage with spotless white floors. After all, if the floor looks like heck, who is going to notice the spiffy cabinets and storage? I bet if we ever sell, this is one home-improvement investment that can truly pay for itself - plus be something we can both enjoy seeing as we both spend quite some time in our garage, seeing as it is not just for car storage but also an exercise room as well as the laundry! Now, thanks to our sponsor Car Guy Garage, we may have the garage we talked about since we moved in!

KFOG's Thanksgiving Music

[Thanksgiving, KFOG]

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without the annual KFOG presentation of Arlo Guthrie's epic, "Alice's Restaurant," at 6am, Noon and again at 6pm. Gather the family around the radio!

In addition, KFOG has a mellow Thankgsgiving music menu all day long Thursday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility


This could be about any phone, but somehow I bet it didn't help matters that this guy was a new iPhone user (and apparently quite proud of it):

We push back, get advised of a ground stop in MEM due to storms in the area. Go to the penalty box and wait. My Captain does the lecture over the PA... not one minute later, we get dinged from the F/A "Some guy with an IPhone says the weather is good, and wants to know what the real reason is for the delay. Is something wrong with the plane?"

The reply from the flight-deck:

"If the passenger with the IPhone would be kind enough to use it to check the weather at our alternate, calculate our fuel burn due to being rerouted around the storms, call the dispatcher to arrange our release, and then make a phone call to the nearest Air Traffic Control center to arrange our timely departure amongst the other aircraft carrying passengers with IPhones, then we will be more than happy to depart. Please ring your call button to advise the Flight Attendant and your fellow passengers when you deem it ready and responsible for this multi-million dollar aircraft and its passengers to safely leave."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Whole Foods Crepe Wholly Disappointing

[Whole Foods]

Last Saturday night we were at our local Whole Foods Market and wanted a light snack. While the gelato (half green tea and half pumpkin-spice) has was wonderful, the crepe I ordered was extremely disappointing - to the point of it still makes me cranky and I have told them so.

In case you are tempted, beware: the 'chocolate syrup' that was used was more a description of it's colour and less of the flavour. Furthermore, the sauce was quite thin to begin with and certainly not helped by becoming even thinner after it hit the warm crepe.

As to the few strawberries used - I suppose part of that is my own fault as this is hardly their season, but I would have thought there would have been more used than (at my estimate) two medium-sized berries.

All in all, a very disappointing experience and one I will not be repeating any time soon.

Martha Kostyra [RIP]


September 16, 1914 - November 16, 2007

Friday, November 16, 2007

Doctor Who: Time Crash!

[BBC, Doctor Who]

Watch as David Tennant and Peter Davison unite for an historic meeting between the Fifth and Tenth Doctors! As well as the scene, filmed especially for Children In Need, there's also an exclusive online peek behind the scenes of Time Crash with Doctor Who Confidential.

FYI: I couldn't get the link to work - the site is probably hammered right now. No doubt this will show up on YouTube but I wanted to see it NOW....

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This is Real and This is Sad

[, ]

Yes, an electric martini shaker. For (almost) $100, you can have a machine that will simplify the making of your martinis. Designed for the most discriminating of drinkers, this device gives you the option of shaken or stirred martinis.

To show you how much I have thought about this I will ask another question: Who makes stirred martinis in a cocktail 'shaker'?. Perhaps the next time I run into Mr. Gatsby I will be sure to ask him, I hear he is living in Qatar these days.

Now it would be funny to buy one of these and then have your butler/manservant/valet use it for your drinks.

What I am Listening to: Penn Masala


Penn Masala (recently featured on NPR's "Weekend Edition - Saturday") mix Western and Eastern music in a fusion of sound a cappella style. The group's members use their voices to imitate the sound of instruments, including drums, guitars and pianos. Penn Masala's fifth album, Pehchaan, features a mix of classic Hindi and English covers, including "Every Breath You Take" by the Police, and Sting's "Desert Rose."

I won't say which 2 CDs I just bought, for that is a Christmas Secret.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reminder for Advance Screening of Battlestar Galactica - Nov. 12


This was in the mail last night:

The Battlestar Galactica:  Razor Advance Screening Event happens TONIGHT!  Just a reminder that you are registered for the 7:00 pm showing.


1.     Seating is NOT guaranteed, so ARRIVE EARLY
2.     Bring the printed confirmation email with your name on it
3.     Bring your picture ID

Enjoy the show!

Battlestar Galactica Event Registration

We went to dinner before-hand and got there about 15 minutes to showtime, there was no line but we did indeed have to show ID and had our names ticked off on a list. Got a nifty Sharpie® mark on the back of my right hand.

Summary of the night:
  • Way too many ads for 'Mass Effect' (?). X-Box game so can't say I paid too close attention. Some trippy Zune ad that would have been more effective if I hadn't seen so many iPhones in the audience before the lights went down.
  • Show the same Zune ad in the middle of the show: Not smart. People were already grumbling after the ad that ran before it (goodbye suspension of disbelief!), this was just flogging a dead horse.
  • The movie itself: not bad, even though the spot after the movie for the DVD showed much that was cut out that would have helped character development.
  • Classic Cylons flying Classic Raiders! ("By Your Command!" OMG!)
  • The Smart™ FourTwo parked on the curb in front of the theater.

Save Money With Online Coupons

[free, Coupon Codes]

More often then not you can save money when shopping online, but are you saving as much as you can?

Robert H. Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University, calls using coupons an 'economic hurdle' that only some will try and clear, no matter how easy it is to use. Well, given the title of this blog you have probably figured out that I am very willing to clear that hurdle and so should you, especially when it's so easy! Go to The Big List of Online Coupons & Discounts, they have one of the cleanest layouts I have seen for this sort of site and offer daily updates so anyone can always be 'in the know' and save.

Some links to coupons I will be keeping an eye on as Christmas nears:

Try it out today and save some of that money you worked so hard for and big "Thank You" to my Sponsor, Online Coupon Site.

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Comment to The Mercury News


Add (me) to the list of people who do not have a laptop at the breakfast table (or on CalTrain) to read what has been moved to the web for sake of space, cost-cutting, etc.

You are driving away the people who PAY for the paper for the possibility of briefly catching the eyes of someone who can may find (for example) the "missing comics" on the web at your site or may find them at or just as easily.

Oh, and bring back Mutts to the Sunday comics and print the splash panel it comes with as well as long as I have your attention.

Apple Brings Back the Duo (sorta)

So Apple is coming out with a lightweight 'ultra-portable,' that shaves down the weight and size by eliminating the optical drive.

I assume we will get the same arguments (both pro and con) about the 'missing' drive as we had in the days of the PowerBook Duo (one of the first floppy-less portable Macs after the much maligned PowerBook 100).

Having dragged a G4 PowerBook to a meeting on the other side of the country, I can tell you I used the CD/DVD drive a grand total of ZERO times. As log as you can 'Handbreak' a movie to USB thumb-drive (or iPod) size, I say less weight and longer battery are much more important than burning the odd CD. That's what Kinkos and the hotel business center are for.

Perhaps I should start complaining about the price now....

Friday, November 09, 2007

Caution Retreat From Disappointed


Tip of the pen to Brittadotcom for pointing me to the news: Spock's mother is a Vulcan in the upcoming Star Trek film!

From Star
Amanda Grayson:
Born in 2210, Grayson was a schoolteacher from Earth who married the Vulcan diplomat Sarek and gave birth to Spock in 2230. She reunited with her son when she accompanied her husband aboard the Enterprise during the Babel Conference in 2267, and was instrumental in helping Sarek and Spock reconcile some of their differences. An emotional woman, Spock wondered why his father would marry her, to which Sarek replied it seemed like the "logical" thing to do at the time.

But now Star is claiming:
The article states that Ryder will play "the Vulcan mother of Spock," but this error was corrected in the print version of Daily Variety this morning.

This Reminds Me of My Dad


Maybe it reminds everyone of everyone's dad.

"Arlo & Janis" Creator Jimmy Johnson on Charles M. Schulz

[Arlo and Janis, Charles M. Schulz]

On the subject of the new biography of Charles M. Schulz and meeting him at dinner:

Schulz seemed particularly interested in the fact I draw my own panels, the four little black boxes in which the strip exists. He drew on preprinted panels, he said. I'm sure he was grasping for something to say to yet another young cartoonist, but he persisted. He asked me how I did it. I began to explain that I'd draw horizontal lines with a pencil and a T-square, then I'd place a 90-degree triangle on the T-square and rule the vertical panels with a No. 1.0 Rapidograph pen....

About that time, the absurdity of the moment hit me, and I said, "I can't believe I'm telling you how to draw panel rules."

It was the biggest laugh of the evening.

PagePacker : Pocket-sized Books


No computer, Treo or iPhone? No problem!

Cutting and folding pieces of paper into little books is easy now with PagePacker.

Amazing Video Friday

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Who Wants a Daiquiri?


Thousands of bananas lay on the beach on Terschelling island, northern Netherlands, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007. The bananas washed onto the beach of the Dutch island early Wednesday, after a load of containers were swept from the ship Duncan Island and at least one burst open, Coast Guard officials said.

"I think everybody on the island has a bunch now," said Gossen Buren, a shipping official at the local lighthouse.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Crate & Barrel: Up to 50% Off Outlet sale

Down for the Count?


Looks like they still have issues, but now the AT&T comment has disappeared.

Another Improvement I Can Live Without


New and 'improved'.

Also, why the AT&T connection? I don't deal with AT&T....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

World to Live By, Words to Make a Living By

[TV, free, Daily Show]

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart commented on the writer's strike by letting viewers know that we could watch reruns during any strike-related hiatus for free on Comedy Central's fancy new website, a gift made possible by the generosity of advertisers unafraid to throw their money away on a medium likely never to generate enough profits to share with the employees who come up with all those "words" he's fond of reading.

More (and a video clip) over at Defamer.

AirAlert - Spare The Air Tonight - Tuesday November 6

Spare the Air Tonight, Tuesday, November 6, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The air quality tonight is forecast to be unhealthy. The Bay Area Air
District is asking residents to refrain from burning wood in their
fireplaces and woodstoves, and to drive less.

Winter air pollution is mainly caused by small particle pollution, or
particulate matter (PM). The two major winter sources of PM in the Bay
Area are residential wood burning and motor vehicles.

You can help reduce winter air pollution if you:

- Do NOT burn wood tonight.
- Postpone errands and link necessary trips
- Use public transit whenever possible
- Retrofit your fireplace to burn natural gas

Monday, November 05, 2007

Free Music from Recommendations Digest

The Holidays are Here!


Last night we packed up the last of Halloween (saving out the bits that can also be 'Thanksgiving'), took the (moldy) jack o'lanterns out to the curb and started making plans for Thanksgiving out our house this year.

I thought Target already having "Merry Christmas" banners up on Friday (getting the jump on the Bill O'Reilly's and John Gibson's this year?) was a tad early, but seems the city of San José has started stringing up the mistletoe and holly downtown.

Checking email this morning I found Dita Von Teese waiting for me:From Halloween straight into Christmas – something to be Thankful for, indeed.

Remember, Remember the 5th of November


Remember, remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder, treason, and plot.
I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, ’twas his intent
To blow up the King and Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow;
By God’s providence he was catch’d
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o’ cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we’ll say ol’ Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah hoorah!

Friday, November 02, 2007

$28 Worth of Cool


Urban Outfitters, or search the web for other locations.

Joss Whedon Returns to TV

Whedon's new Fox series, called Dollhouse, stars Miss Eliza Dushku, best known as Faith (Buffy the Vampire Slayer). It's been given a seven-episode commitment by Fox.

Fox describes the series:

Echo (Eliza Dushku),  a young woman who is literally everybody's fantasy. She is one of a group of men and women who can be imprinted with personality packages, including memories, skills, language — even muscle memory — for different assignments. The assignments can be romantic, adventurous, outlandish, uplifting, sexual and/or very illegal. When not imprinted with a personality package, Echo and the others are basically mind-wiped, living like children in a futuristic dorm/lab dubbed the Dollhouse, with no memory of their assignments — or of much else. The show revolves around the childlike Echo's burgeoning self-awareness, and her desire to know who she was before, a desire that begins to seep into her various imprinted personalities and puts her in danger both in the field and in the closely monitored confines of the Dollhouse.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Willing Suspension of Disbelief

idogcow. Get yours at

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