30 April 2007

Catnap: Return of the Vlog

(run time 1:03)

As promised a few weeks ago, we have the return of the vlog. Meet hypnotic Friday, my old roommate's cat.

(Other vlogs of TTaT)

One year ago at TTaT: When spheres unexpectedly collide
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25 April 2007

Slow Seven

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King (4/5)

My favorite book so far this year though I realize my progress has been glacial.

Part memoir, part style-guide or style-preference depending on your outlook. The first half contains vignettes from Stephen King's life that shaped him into the writer he is: I loved these. He describes how he got the idea for Carrie and what it was like to write it among others.

The latter half of On Writing describes his writing habits, grammatical preferences, and editing process. King also provides practical advice for aspiring writers regarding work environment, word count goals, and getting an agent. Lots of useful info in an entertaining volume.

One year ago at TTaT: Oh SciFi, how late you keep me up
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24 April 2007

The best kind of assholes

In the mood for surrealism? Look no further than Vonnegut's Asshole.

Asshole contributor Daphne Gottlieb explains it perfectly:
preexisting vonnegut's death but far more poignant in the wake of it, author eric spitznagel has a blog called "vonnegut's asshole," an homage to vonnegut's "infamous asshole doodle" in breakfast of champions. he asked a small fleet of authors to draw portraits of their own assholes and he was planning on unveiling them this summer. in light of his death, they're now being showcased, i believe a day at a time.
Go check out some assholes, you know you want to.

Two years ago at TTaT: Welcome
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21 April 2007

Trees fight back

More burning today, always good fun. I felt like Hercules when I pulled a dead tree down with my bare hands.

Ok, I was wearing gloves. And there was rope. And my dad helped. Still, after numerous coordinated heaves, it was very satisfying when it thumped to the ground.

Not long after, I sat on a rock a few feet from the fire to take a break. The wind picked up and a stick about 16 inches long and an inch and half in diameter smacked into my shoulder, flipping over to hit my wrist.

"Ow!" I scowled at the stick, picked it up, and threw it into the fire. I turned to the woods and said, "Don't even think about messing with me."

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19 April 2007

Yeah, I watch Smallville

From the moment Christopher Reeve looked right at me from the big screen (at the tender age of 5), I've had a thing for Superman. That's not why I'm writing though.

Lynda Carter, my other superhero idol from those years, is guest-starring on Smallville as Chloe's mom tonight. What a cool casting choice! I'm rather looking forward to it.

As an unrelated aside, I also saw 7, yup SEVEN, pygmy goats this evening. So cute! That's enough to make just about any day a good one.

One year ago at TTaT: Pigs!
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18 April 2007


Sometimes I really hate computers. Now is one of those times. How is it that I can digitize two tapes without incident, and then when I try to do a third, the program no longer recognizes my scratch disk? Maybe I should give iMovie a try. Argh!

I didn't change any settings between the moment of working and not working. I just don't get it, goddammit, and the online manual and help have proved only tremendously irritating thus far. Tomorrow then, I'm too tired to struggle with it anymore now.

In more upbeat news, Jason made my 15,000th hit today. Thanks for dropping by, Jason!

One year ago at TTaT: Ten, What are they thinking?!
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17 April 2007

Asked and answered

Kevin of kapgar asks:

1. From looking at a few of your photos here and there, I've noticed that you are incredibly talented. But what is your favorite photo of all the ones you have taken? Why?
Most kind, thank you. Hmm... First, let me say that I have at least a couple thousand (probably more) photos with no digital representation, so there are myriad shots I haven't seen in a long time. And I know some of them are pretty sweet. So if we just consider what I've been looking at recently, I'd say this one which is currently my desktop:
NV road

I love the blue of the sky- dark to light, the clouds, their shadows on the mountains, the black road receding into the distance and then just at the last moment, veering right to parts unknown. See how the diagonal of the clouds points that way too? That's a bit of awesome.

2. How did you get into blogging?
A few ways I suppose. 7 years ago when I was living in Tallahassee, I started an e-mail newsletter called Tall. Tales (abbreviated as T2s) that I shared with family and friends. Some of my posts are drawn directly or adapted from my T2 archives.

In the next year or so, I stumbled upon a student's LJ when I was working at a university. I made a couple of cool, younger friends and finally started my own LJ in 2003 to keep up with them after I'd left town.

I think it was late summer 2004 when I first came across WWdN (pre-exile days). I read a ton of Wil Wheaton's posts and sort of mistakenly got the idea/hope that blogging could lead to publication. I'm not saying it can't, it's just not a linear, given thing, and it isn't part of what drives me to continue blogging anymore.

In 2005, I over-thought what my blog (TTaT) would need to be for a month or two, and then finally, just started.

3. You are offered $1,000,000 to work for six months as a paparazzo for some sleazy tabloid. They will also cover the cost of any legal wranglings you may encounter as well as any medical bills you may incur in addition to what they are paying you. But they pretty much own your soul and claim rights to all your photography taken during that period. Do you do it?
Ooh... My gut feeling is that I would suck at this sort of photography, so I wouldn't care about them keeping the rights to those shots. It would annoy me that they would have rights to any non-paparazzo shots I might take during that time though. In the owning my soul realm, I assume I'd be on call 24/7. And since my shots would probably suck, I'd probably get yelled at a lot. I don't think I could hack that schedule and/or treatment for 6 months.

I would want to read all the fine print of my contract. What happens if I don't deliver acceptable shots, for example. If I get the money regardless, then maybe. For six months, I could indulge any P.I. fantasies I've ever had and repeatedly face down the fear of missing The Shot. (I've always thought of wedding photography as something I'd find really stressful.)

So... I think I'd want to say yes for a million dollars in 6 months, but realistically, I would be so uncomfortable fighting other paparazzi for a shot, harassing celebrities in public, and trespassing that I think I'd have to say no. 3 months, maybe. ;)

4. Parachuting or Bungee Jumping? You must choose one. Explain your rationale.
Parachuting. I've long been tempted by it, and I think the down/up/down nature of bungee jumping would make me sick.

5. Where is the first place you visit upon logging into the Web each day? What draws you there?
First off, I visit The Hunger Site and the 5 other charitable sites tabbed there to do my once-a-day clicks. Corporate sponsors donate money based on unique clicks received each day. Clicks at these six sites translate to food, basic health services for children, free mammograms, books for kids, preservation of endangered land, and food for rescued animals. Snopes says it's legit, and it takes me maybe a minute to do. I've been clicking most every day for a couple years now; it adds up and that's pretty cool. Even if I'm broke, I can at least do this.

Now, if you'd like to be interviewed by me, just follow the instructions below.

1. Leave me a comment saying, "Bring on the q's!"
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick them, and you have to answer them all.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

One year ago at TTaT: C'mon baby, light my vlog
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A rip in space-time and it could've been him

I had heard about it earlier, but when I first read about the shootings at Tech today, I got chills. Years ago, my brother lived in that dorm, attended classes in that building. So did my sister-in-law. I may be a goddamn Yank, but my blood runs Virginian.

One year ago at TTaT: Good Friday Meets the Twilight Zone (part 2)

15 April 2007

Let the wild rumpus start

AKA, I upgraded my template so now I must regroup from scratch. All because I wanted to put labels in my sidebar. Sigh. Please bear with me.

I'm a few categories short, so if you have any suggestions, I'd like to hear 'em.

One year ago at TTaT: Good Friday Meets the Twilight Zone (part 1)

12 April 2007

It is a sport

Last night, I discovered my latest guilty pleasure. (As I've said before, I don't actually believe there's anything to the guilt in guilty pleasure, but the phrase still has its uses for me.)

Allow me to present:
Cheerleader U
The perfect show to flip over to during commercials.

Oh right, I'm the only person left without TiVo. Anyway, as someone who could barely manage a decent cartwheel as a kid, I'm just completely awed by the athleticism of today's cheerleaders.

One year ago at TTaT: Goofy, but fun
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10 April 2007

A Life I could've had

"Your father and I missed an opportunity with you and your brother," Mom mused over dinner.

"Oh yeah?" I swallowed the last bite of a rather tasty southwestern egg roll dripping with mango sauce. "What opportunity was that?"

"We should've made your middle name 'Trouble.'"

I had to agree: it'd be a setup for a lifetime of awesomeness.

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There's only one sheriff at TTaT


I appreciate civility, but I trust myself to determine what I consider acceptable or not without relying on Tim O'Reilly's Blogging Code of Conduct or anyone else's arbitrary rules. How I deal with incivility on my blog is also up to me. I may respond- and you better believe if a harassing comment is made publicly, so will be my response- or I may delete it, no justification required.

On other people's blogs, I'm free to move on and read something else if I so desire- so are you. Simple.

No civility badge here: it's unnecessary. Nor will there be a goofy 'anything goes' dynamite badge.

How about a call for common sense instead? That, I might get behind.

One year ago at TTaT: Wherein the gutter gets the best of me
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08 April 2007

Hop, hop, hop

Happy Easter! The weather gods seems to have mixed up the holy days: it was warmer on Christmas than it is today, and we're having snow flurries that would've felt more festive in December.

Easter egg huntConsidering some recent posts, you might be wondering what I'm doing out on a farm hunting for eggs in the photo above. Well, I'll pass the buck to my parents on that one. I will say this however, just because I wasn't brought up with religion didn't mean I wasn't down with the Easter bunny, Tooth fairy, and Santa Claus. The Bunny even stopped by today unexpectedly with a few treats which totally brightened my day. (No hunting required- yea!)

Competing with my brother and cousins back in the day to find the most eggs was always a bit more stressful than fun. They were all boys: older, bigger, faster, and collectively determined to beat me in all endeavors. One time I was particularly frustrated and disheartened, my uncle lifted me up onto his shoulders, so I could reach a couple of eggs in the nook of a tree branch that none of us could've reached on our own. That was cool.

One year ago at TTaT: An old tropical storm
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06 April 2007

Just a couple more...

Why do they call it "Good" Friday if that's the day Jesus was crucified? Also, how did we end up with a calendar system based on his birth year? Didn't it take years for the calendar-making powers that be to recognize his significance and hence wouldn't they have had to date things retroactively? The calendar question is pretty intriguing to me, so I'll have to do some reading on that.

Ah, Wikipedia had this to say:
'Anno Domini' dating was first calculated in 525 and began to be adopted in Western Europe during the eighth century.

Since it's been a while, I thought I'd throw in a meme for good measure. I saw this one at Dave's and Kevin's.

You Can Dance With Me: A Meme of Musical Proportions

Of all the bands and artists in your collection, of which one do you own the most albums?
Ani DiFranco

What was the last song you listened to?
A live cut of "Four Leaf Clover" by Abra Moore

What’s in your CD player right now?
A mix of 70s disco, I think.

What are your favorite instruments?
Acoustic guitar, baby grand piano, cello, trumpet, and with the right music- violins and oboes.

Who’s your favorite local artist/band?
I don't have one at the moment.

What was the last show you attended?
LeAnn Rimes of all people. Not my usual fare, but she does have a great voice and it was something to do on the 4th.

What was the greatest show you’ve ever been to?
Hmm... so many criteria by which to judge 'great.' Michelle Shocked blew me away when I saw her years ago at a small venue.

What’s the worst band you’ve ever seen in concert?

Ray Charles. He was THREE hours late, played for less than one and was completely off-key. Didn't help that it was also my first date leaving us with hours of silence to fill, since I don't even think there was an opening act.

What band do you love musically but hate the members of?

I don't like the guy they chose as the new lead singer of INXS, but I don't care for the band post-Michael Hutchence either...

What is the most musically involved you have ever been?
I played alto sax in the band from grade 5 through 12. This meant I was also in the marching band (Memorial day parade and a stray event or two) from 7-12 because our school was so small. In addition, I played in the stage band from 7-11.

In more recent years, I've had stretches where I've written songs for guitar. A few years back, I recorded a souped up version of one with a musician friend.

What show are you looking forward to?
None at the moment. I don't live near any large rock concert venues.

What is your favorite band shirt?
A light grey R.E.M. shirt my brother got me with an orange world on the front. On the back, there is a thin line of text that reads: Understand that change begins with the individual.

What musician would you like to hang out with for a day?

Tegan and Sara. They're twins-I'd have to do a little more research if I could only pick one.

What musician would you like to be in love with you for a day?

Sting- he's still pretty hot, love his voice, and he's got that whole tantric thing going for him. ;)

What was your last musical “phase” before you wised up?
Probably wearing masses of rubber bracelets in the 80s.

Sabbath or solo Ozzy?


Did you know that filling out this meme makes you a music geek?


What was the greatest decade for music?
For music, probably the 20s or 30s.

What is your favorite movie soundtrack?
O Brother, Where art thou?

Who is your favorite artist who is much better live than on a recording?

Tuck & Patti. Don't get me wrong- their recordings are great- but the energy when you see them live takes their music to another level.

Do you have a hidden desire to be a popular musician?

I would settle for no less than rock star.

Have you ever used drugs to enhance the music experience?
No, well aside from whatever was being smoked in my vicinity.

What was the last song you heard that gave you a chill?
Something by Massive Attack probably, "Everywhen" or "Name Taken."

Where would you be without music?
Pylea perhaps, certainly not anywhere I'd want to be for long.

One year ago at TTaT: By-product
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04 April 2007

ii, dos, due, 2, two, deux !!


TTaT is two today. Despite my intermittent posting habits, the entirety of my blog averages out exactly to one post a day over the past two years. Nothing like math to give you a sense of how much you've invested in something. My thanks to everyone who's stopped by to read for a spell.

Cool things are afoot for year three. (By cool, of course I also mean goofy, potentially embarrassing and possibly unbelievable.) I've recently overcome some technical incompatibilities which I believe will render some vintage vlog material in the offing.

Thanks again to my readers. Here's to a groovy year three!

One year ago at TTaT: One, Friends in high places, You'd never know
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03 April 2007

Let it burn

I know I've said it before, but I love burning. It is the only sort of yard work I abide with pleasure.

One year ago at TTaT: Well, at least my brakes work
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02 April 2007

Here comes the sacrilege

You read the title, right? If that sort of thing is going to bother you, please skip along to something else.

A few days ago, we drove past this morbidly eye-catching structure made of plywood. It was painted to resemble a stone with a dark rectangular opening. Another circular piece of wood was in front, as if it had been rolled to the side to reveal the entrance, and across the top it read: He is risen.

In that moment, I realized I'd never thought about Jesus being buried or entombed after his crucifixion. (And no, I'm not going to get all crazy about capitalizing pronouns and such: may as well get the sacrilege rolling.) This lead to some talk about the resurrection, how his body was gone, but he appeared to people.

When I heard that, I was totally thrown. "You mean he wasn't corporeal when people saw him after his death?"

"No, he was the Holy Ghost."

"Oh." I'd never understood the deal with the holy ghost and had never cared enough to find out. With this new knowledge, however, the whole resurrection deal seemed completely misnamed. "It's not resurrection if he wasn't corporeal though. A ghost doesn't qualify as being resurrected."

When I think resurrection, I think clawing your way out of the ground. (Too much Buffy perhaps? Nah, not possible.) Having use of your body again is integral to my understanding of the word's definition. I suppose the big R is christianity's way around that. Still, it's not surprising that resuscitation and revival are the terms generally used in the medical field instead.

One year ago at TTaT: This is no time for faux-pas
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01 April 2007

So much they don't tell you

The more I read about various aspects of the brain, the more I realize how little is really understood about how it works and how much misleading information is out there. All those ads that say depression is caused by a chemical imbalance that can be corrected by taking an SSRI-- unsubstantiated.

This fascinating and eye-opening article explains the flawed logic in the serotonin hypothesis and the FDA's role (or perhaps more accurately, slackfest) in regulating direct-to-consumer-advertising.

From Serotonin and Depression: A Disconnect between the Advertisements and the Scientific Literature by Jeffrey R. Lacasse, Jonathan Leo:
With direct proof of serotonin deficiency in any mental disorder lacking, the claimed efficacy of SSRIs is often cited as indirect support for the serotonin hypothesis. Yet, this ... reasoning “backwards” to make assumptions about disease causation based on the response of the disease to a treatment) is logically problematic—the fact that aspirin cures headaches does not prove that headaches are due to low levels of aspirin in the brain.

...there is no such thing as a scientifically established correct “balance” of serotonin.
The incongruence between the scientific literature and the claims made in FDA-regulated SSRI advertisements is remarkable, and possibly unparalleled.
Thanks to Mind Hacks for leading me to this article.

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