Saturday, January 31, 2009

LACMA with gallery buddy

it was time for me and gallery buddy to do our semi annual gallery trek. this time we headed for the los angeles county museum of art (LACMA).

outside the museum is Chris Burden's Urban Light installation consisting of a crap load of salvaged street lamps. i want to do something sort of like this in my back yard one day, just not with so many. maybe i can look for old street lamps and sprinkle them though out my back yard as little pieces of art as well as having it work functionally as a light source for all those partys i like to throw. each one will be different and unique. i can't wait to start looking for salvage lamps!

There were a couple of photography exhibits including A Story of Photography: The Marjorie and Leonard Vernon Collection and the Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913–2008, but what interested me the most were the paintings this time. i finally got to see this is not a pipe by René Magritte in person. the real thing is much more impressive than the posters and prints i've seen of it, naturally.

my favorites were the two sculptures by Richard Serra, band and sequence. they are two monumental pieces of work made entirely from metal. even moved in segments i have no idea who would take on the equally monumental task of installing these things. i liked sequence much better than band, but that's because you could walk through it.

gallery buddy got lost inside and needed to check the map... no just kidding, he didn't get lost, he manned up and asked for directions. just kidding again. it really just makes a loop, you can't get lost, but it does feel like you are walking a while inside this thing.

after the museum run, we headed for little tokyo for some curry. i usually eat at this shop right across the street from the japanese american national museum and never wandered much farther in the shopping area. there were a group of old japanese men gathered outside my little restraunt drinking beer in the afternoon. it looked so quaint and made me wish i had a place to hang out with old friends on a weekend afternoon and share a few beers and a lot of good stories. frankly, i can't think of a place i could do this at in orange county, not with that kind of small neighboorhood atmosphere. everthing around me is so... commercial.

this time we did wander around the shopping area came across a little place near the center called joy mart restaurant (sounds like "engrish" already doesn't it?). the restaurant serves sushi and has a sake bar. i felt like having some sashimi and a bottle of beer, so in we went. the atmosphere was quite cozy, a good place for a first date or a nice dinner with some buddies. THEY SERVE PLUM WINE!!!!! THEY SERVE PLUM WINE!!! i've been a sucker for plum wine since james introduced me to it. i ordered an entire bottle hoping to get gallery buddy to share some with me, but he just stuck to a single beer because he had to drive. darn, i guess i was going to have to finish the bottle myself. after two plates of salmon sashimi and half a bottle of the wine i was feeling kind of tipsy, so we decided to head home.

i wish there was a quiet place like that close to where i live. i would be there all the time. i'm just not into loud bars and clubs anymore. call me strange, but i like not having to yell at someone three inches away from to in order to have a conversation.

all in all, i had a great day with a great friend, great food, and great conversation. when are we going out again gallery buddy?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Brian and the OCR

a photographer came by today from the orange county register to take pictures of brian. i couldn't help but take pictures of ana venegas taking pictures.

to read the article and see the final picture check out richard chang's article photographer set off little saigon on the orange county register web site.

Skittles Commercial

earlier this month, my friend/cousin tisha sent me this skittles commercial.

the first time i saw it, it was pretty funny, but easily forgotten. tonight, half a month later, i saw it on TV again while watching smallville. i guess it had time to sink in and for me to really "get it" and it's freakin' hilarious to me now. i guess it grew on me.

so i don't know what's funnier, that the two guys (the tailor and the skittles eating reflection) are yelling at each other in two different languages (thai and tagalog), or that the white guy's reflection are three different races (different races, different colors, reflect the rainbow - get it?), or that the skittles eating reflection really was a reflection because he broke the mirror while kicking it. i guess it's all of it. i love it!

here is the english transcript of what was said:

customer (english): wait... i'm not eating skittles.

tailor (thai):
hey, no eating during work time!

reflection (tagalog):
i'm hungry. (eh nagugutom ako eh)

tailor (thai):
i told you not to eat, you crazy person.

reflection (tagalog):
i said i'm hungry so i'm going to eat!(Nagugutom nga ako edi kakain ako)

tailor (thai):
you lazy long back! ("long back" is slang in thai for a lazy person. it means if one is lazy, one is always reclining or laying about, making one's spine or back long.)

reflection (tagalog):
don't do this [to me]. (huwag mo naman gawin ito)

tailor (thai):
indistinguishable yelling

reflection (tagalog):
indistinguishable yelling and then "son of a bitch, i'd like...." (putang ina, gusto...)

okay, all you filipino family members, start correcting my tagalog (it's the best i can make out - randy is asleep, so i can't ask him right now).

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Shore House

yup, it was ShoreHouse night again and as always, we're up to no good.... i wish. nope, i'm old. all we do is sit and eat and have good conversation and i like it just fine, wouldn't want it any other way... okay, a beer would be nice.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

happy new year!!!! today is chinese new year and tết. my family didn't really celebrate chinese new year to the full extent. we prepared a chicken and placed it outside, lit incense, and then gave the little red envelopes. that was my favorite part, the little red envelopes (at least it was while i was receiving them).

now i miss the chickens and how the neighbors would bring them by to our family. there was a time, i swear, we had, like, 8 chickens. i miss the traditions. i miss the neighborhood burning joss papr for ancestors, the smell of incense in the air, the fireworks, and just the festive atmosphere.

the only tradition i keep these days is the red envelope thing. one day i'll pick up the chicken and joss paper thing. like many other rituals to me, it's meant just to keep the spirit of the holiday, like carving a pumpkin and decorating a christmas tree. it's not like i believe a carved pumpkin will scare away evil spirits or that decorating a tree will appease good spirits.

each envelope contained $6, an even number which is good luck as well as implying that the children will have a smooth year because "six" can also mean "smooth." the next year will be $8 to represent wealth and it will alter back and forth between $6 and $8 from year to year.

randy and i are both part chinese, albeit, a very small part. his family doesn't celebrate chinese traditions as much as mine does, but that's because of where my family is from.

this year, i had randy hand out the little red envelopes. the kids knew what they were right away because thuy had given the them little red envelopes yesterday and explained to them what it meant.

although, the amount of money isn't that much, i'm sure the kids appreciate getting any money at all, just as i did when i was younger. i'm sure it means little more to them than just getting a bit of cash, but i hope they understand the meaning and tradition when they grow up, after all, they are about 3% chinese.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Opps - Formatted!

i've finally done that that dreaded thing... i accidently deleted some images files while in the process of backing them up and i, unfortunately, already formatted the CF card. yikes!

i spent hours downloading and testing different image recovery software. after nearly a day of testing, i got the best results from photorescue. it works like a charm, and worth every penny of that $29.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Birthday John

For John's Birthday I took him out to Outback along with Ron. What man doesn't like a good piece of meat?

i love a bowl french onion soup. i dare say it's my favorite soup. apparently ron likes it too. This one was super cheesy!

ron mentioned to the server that it was john's birthday. i was a little afraid they were going to come over and sing, but luckily they didn't. they just brought over a free ice cream and a card signed by, what i assume to be, other members of the staff, and a gift certificate for a bloomin' onion.

so john, when are we going to use that gift certificate?

Brian Doan - Context Matters

there's a new show in the cypress college photography department by brian doan. brian and i were classmates in the photo department years ago. he was an adjunct instructor here for the past few semesters, but is a full time photography instructor at another school now. i am refraining from mentioning where in case there are those who might seek him out to harm him in any way. brian is a sweetheart and brings us moon cakes to eat sometimes. okay, it's mostly me who eats the moon cake, the others don't seem too fond of them. hmmm, maybe it's something you have to grow up with.

the pictures have been up for a few days and the first time i saw them, i didn't think much of them. it wasn't that i didn't think much of the images themselves, i was just used to seeing pictures on the wall; it was another semester and yet another show. they were portraits of vietnamese people and some landscape shots. i walked past them dozens of times, barely taking a second glance, until i started hearing that there was some sort of controversy surrounding them. what controversy? okay, there was one picture with a couple embracing each other on a bed naked. could that be it? it wasn't that bad. it must have been; some people just don't handle nudity in public well. it turns out, that wasn't it.

jerry burchfield, an instructor in the department and the gallery director, handed me two newspapers, both the los angeles times. one was from january 10th and the other from January 18. The controversy was over a picture of a vietnamese girl in a red tank top with a star in the middle, resembling the flag of communist vietnam, sitting next to a statue of ho chi minh.

a vietnamese women that works in the building heard about the show. she expressed very firmly how offended she was that the show was up. she even made it a point to let jerry and joyce (the fine arts dean) know how she felt.

what i saw was a girl sitting next to a table. what the vietnamese woman saw was an endorsement of communism. context matters.

signs quickly went up stating that the images in the gallery contained nudity and some may be “politically controversial.” a meeting was held to discuss what would happen if things got out of hand during the reception that's to be held tuesday, feb. 3. would we pull the show? would we censor the images?

earlier this month a show brian was involved in, "F.O.B. II: Art Speaks" at the vietnamese arts & letters association center in santa ana, closed due to community protest. the exhibit, which contains works by over 50 artists, offended some members of vietnamese american community - many of whom endured great struggle due to communism in vietnam. one of brian's images was defaced. apparently, it was spray painted and a red thong was taped to it. to learn more check out the los angeles times or the orange county register, both reported on this issue.

i wonder how many of those protesting knew what the images were about or did they just see the work and react. i heard people saying that the images shouldn't be up. i've heard the argument that this is like putting up images of swastikas and nazis in a community of holocaust victims or pictures of the KKK in a predominately black neighborhood.

several years ago there was another show in the photography department by glen stern. glen takes pictures of graffiti all over the world. this exhibit contained an image of a star of david equated to a swastika. glen spoke to cliff lester, a jewish professor in the department, and explained that there was an image cliff might find offensive. glen explained that he too was jewish and the images were not meant to suggest that he endorsed the messages contained in the images in any way, but it was a documentation of how the people of a certain area felt about the united states, about judaism, among various other topics and how they expressed it through this graffiti. after that cliff was okay with it. context matters.

then, i thought of the museum of tolerance with it's strong focus on the history of the holocaust. should that be closed too because it's insensitive to people that went through it because it happens to show images pertaining to it?

i wonder why those who want the show shut down left vietnam in the first place to come to a place like the united states. was it for the freedom? if the reason they came here was to have those freedoms, why come here only to try to take it away from others?

brian’s family is from south vietnam. his father was imprisoned for 10 years. brian said, "I was imprisoned sometimes at 10 and 15 when I was trying to escape Vietnam with my family." At 15 he spent 11 months in a re-education camp and was beaten regularly. he is not a communist, he is not insensitive to what went on, he lived it.

to hear brian's side of the story, come listen to his talk on Feb 3, 2009 @ 7pm in the cypress college photography department. call 714-484-7244 for more information.

brian, i'm proud of you. i'll buy the moon cakes this time.

Monday, January 19, 2009


ouija boards aren't what they used to be. when i was a kid, it was darker, more sinister looking.

on a recent trip to toys 'r' us i find that it's now all pink and fluffy looking. it gives the impression that's it's great for young girls to ask if a boy likes them or not.

the box says it's a mystifying oracle complete with 72 fun things to ask. it's interesting to see how they have changed the marketing.

thanks to parker brothers many young people have dabbled in the paranormal. randy and i have experienced some pretty unnerving things when we played with ouija boards and neither of us will use one again, no matter how pink and pretty it looks.

sure, many will say it's just a game and i'm sure most of the time the planchette is moved by someone either consciously or unconsciously and not some spirit, but i still won't risk playing with it again.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

John gets a new mattress

john sleeps on a futon. the mattress isn't what it used to be. he says that he sleeps with a metal bar in his side. it was time for a new mattress. off we went to ikea.

randy and i got to try the couch bed we want, we'll probably get it soon.

john headed over to the section with mattresses. he found the cheapest one he was looking for and tried it out, then went on to try the other mattresses (might as well, we were there). for just a little bit more money, john found something he liked. i have never seen a smile on his face as big as when he tried lying on the bed, not even when we found the pumpkin cheesecake.

while john was trying out the new beds, randy tried a few on for size (we still like our mattress better, but for the price, ikea isn't bad).

congrats john, sleep well.

It's that getting near that time again...

it's getting near that time again... tax season. aarg.

i've recieved my tax packet from my CPA, eric ferguson (all around great guy). interest statements and w-2 are starting to come in the mail. i don't keep thorough records throughout the year and when it comes close to tax time, i'm always scrambling to find all the info i need. you would think i would learn my lesson.

i hope i get lots of money back this year.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Gentleman Host

i got the following message from my friend craig. it contains a message from his father. i'll do it. you should do it. it's good to help friends. in my case, the father of a friend. in your case, the father of a friend of a chick whose blog you read.

Good Evening All,
As some you know my Dad has recently written a fictional novel. He is attempting to get on the best sellers list and NEEDS YOUR HELP! I've forwarded the following message from him. If you would be so kind as to at least forward this to your contact list so he can get as many sales as possible!

Thanks for your help everyone! Please read his message below.



The time has come to conduct the promotion for my first novel, The Gentleman Host, (formerly known as Splash!) The object is to become an bestseller. To do that, sales of my book have to be in the top 100 for just one hour, any hour! So here's how you can help.

The promotion date and hour is Thursday, January 22nd, between 8:00 and 9:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time. Don't just go and buy a book for yourself during that hour (although that is appreciated too!), but email your data base in advance alerting them to the promotion. That's where the power is--in the promotion. Ask them to go to on January 22nd between 8:00 - 9:00 P.M. PST and buy one of my books for themselves and possibly others. Nobody knows how many sales it takes to become an bestseller. It depends on what else is happening that hour, of course. But to achieve it is huge for marketing. And if everyone mails their database, the effort is multiplied many times over.

Tell them you have a friend, or you know this guy, or whatever our relationship is, and ask them to help out. The book is in the mystery/thriller genre. It's about a serial killer who throws middle-aged women off cruise ships in the middle of the night. Those who have read it seem to like it a lot, so your friends won't be disappointed.

I would suggest emailing your contacts now to let them know of the effort. Then, the day before the promotion a reminder email, or even a phone call to a few select people would be helpful. Remember, that's January 22nd, between 8:00 and 9:00 P.M. Pacific Standard Time. We're gonna swarm and create a whole bunch of sales. I will let everyone know how the promotion turns out, and I will be happy to autograph any book that is presented to me. I will also make personal appearances at book club meetings, schools, or whatever else to show my appreciation.

Please check this over again to make sure you understand the details of what to do, and email me back to give me a thumbs up that you're on board with this promotion.

Thanks for your interest and your help!


A Message to Photo Students

make it a point to understand photography - NOT PHOTOSHOP, the real basics of photography. learn the rules of lighting, exposure, and composition; then utilize photoshop to enhance your images.

learn to use the manual settings on your camera and learn what those settings control. to tell you the truth, i use automatic exposure and automatic focus about 80% of the time, but i understand the limits. what matters is that i know what to do for the other 20% when "auto" fails and that makes all the difference.

learn composition. learn what leads the eye to what you want it to see.

learn lighting. photography is drawing with light. it's important to know how the direction and quality of light can dramatically change what your subject looks like.

photoshop is an amazing tool and using it effectively requires a certain amount of skill on it's own, i will not argue; however, being a great retoucher and a great photographer are not the same thing.

which do you want to be?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Best Job in the World

earlier today john told me about "the best job in the world." he had seen a news report about it earlier this morning.

in an attempt to promote the area tourism queensland in australia is offering the position of "island caretaker" to one deserving individual and applications are open to people from around the world.

the successful candidate will live on hamilton island for six months and explore the islands of the great barrier reef to discover what the area has to offer. they'll then be required to report back on their adventures to tourism queensland headquarters in brisbane (and the rest of the world) via weekly blogs, photo diary, video updates and ongoing media interviews.

to keep you busy, tourism queensland promises to organize a schedule of travel and events on the islands of the great barrier reef. the schedule could include sampling a new luxury spa treatment at qualia on hamilton island, trying out new snorkeling gear on heron island, or bushwalking on hinchinbrook island.

and to top it all off, the job pays about $105,000 US. this really is a dream job.


to learn more about this amazing opportunity and apply for the job, visit hurry up! the job closes on feb. 22, 2009.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hangin' with James

i've known james for 20 years. i met him in the 5th grade; he was the guy with the game boy. he left lindsey after the 6th grade to attend another school and i didn't hear from him again until i got to high school. i had moved to thailand and there he was again, standing in line at assembly. his parents had sent him to school there too. he went back to the US after the 9th grade and i didn't hear from him again until i got back here too. i'm not sure how i found him again, but i know i had found him online. he had told me that he deliberately tried to make it very easy for people to find him.

these days we both have busy lives and rarely get to see to each other. we both make an effort to hang out about every 6 months, it's what we do. we usually eat at macaroni grill or the elephant bar, then head back to his place to see his new toys, play video games, or just show each other the latest cool thing we've found.

this time he showed me he showed me pictures from his latest trip to japan. he really needs to blog about it (hint, hint james). there was a picture of him and his friends at some restaurant and it's interesting enough, but hearing the stories behind the pictures is so much better. apparently it's an all you can drink place. you pay a flat rate in the beginning and for the next hour or hour and a half you can drink all you want: beer, wine, sake, hard alcohol. it's a lush's dream come true.

we then took a look at his latest blue ray collection and watched the new star trek trailer (yes, i watch star trek).

james asked me what i was up to and i told him about the usual work, school, and more work, but i also mentioned that i've been blogging a lot. he looked at my blog and somehow got to talking about web sites. james is going to help me redo my web site. thank goodness. the hardest thing is figuring out content. now that he's going to handle the design end of this, i can concentrate on the content. i still don't know what i want on there.

for many years james has been my personal tech support guy. he helps me with so many projects. if my little mac is sick, he helps me fix it; if i need a new hard drive, he'll recommend one; if i need video editing, he's there for me. yes, james is a very talented film editor. check out his stuff at

it's nice to have a friend that has known you for so long (and still likes you), that enjoys beer as much as you do, and can understand when i talk tech. he knows just what i mean when i say that i want my picture sized to 800 pixels on the longest side. i think he appreciates it when i say pixels and not inches when it comes to screen size and that i'll send him the hexadecimal codes for the color scheme i want rather than say i want it a darker red and black.

james, thanks for putting up with me all these years.

Friday, January 09, 2009

bad news for photogs

earlier today i received this rather disturbing e-mail from pictage founder and CEO Jason Kiefer:
Dear Valued Pictage Partner:

Last week Pictage completed a settlement of a patent infringement lawsuit brought against Pictage and some of our clients by VPS, LLC. Among other things, VPS's patents cover the online display of digital images and sale of products based on those digital images. VPS has licensed these patents extensively and requires that companies (including professional photographers) providing online sales of products based on online digital images pay VPS a license fee or royalty on all such online sales.

As part of the settlement with VPS, Pictage is paying a multi-million dollar fee for a license covering past and future online sales on All of your past sales and those you will make in the future on are covered by the license to Pictage and the fees paid by Pictage. However, it is important to note that any sales that you have made or will make on any other website (including your own) are not covered by the license to Pictage.

The fees that we are paying VPS make it impossible for Pictage to continue to honor our legacy commission rate of 10%. Effective immediately, our commission rate will be 15% of online consumer sales. Those currently at 15% will see no change. In addition, we will now charge a monthly fee of 1.5% (still substantially below the best available credit card processing rates) for all sales made though our Pictage Payment Processing (P3) system.

I thank you again for your ongoing support. If you have any questions, comments or concerns please feel free to contact me.

Best regards,

Jason B. Kiefer
Founder & CEO

this means that VPS, LLC holds the patent to selling images online.

the patent, filed in 1997, lists John H. Jebens, Lowell D. Carlson, and Jeffrey Scott James as the inventors of the data management and order delivery system. the data in question are specifically digital images. these people are either jerks or geniuses, i haven't decided yet.

i have read nearly all of the 30 some odd pages of the patent and it seems that it not only covers the sale of images online, but any system in which digital images are stored, searchable, and distributed. of course, i have no legal training and haven't thoroughly read this document so i may have misunderstood some of the minutiae and there could be a way around this. i haven't found it and apparently neither has pictage's legal team or else they wouldn't have settled.

pictage was not alone in the suit. VPS also went after Edward Fox Photography, Artisan Events, Pret-A-Poser Photography, George Street Productions, Thomas M. Slack Photography, Glen A Bog Photography, and David Wittig Photography, all Illinois based photographers. in 2002 VPS filed a similar lawsuit against Eastman Kodak Company and in 2004 filed a suit against Shutterfly Inc. Jones Day, who represented Kodak claims that they "settled favorably for [their] clients."

i supposed this leaves the door open for litigation against any company that allows people to upload images and then distribute them. these could include flickr, photobucket, stock photo agencies, social networking sites, and a myriad of other outlets if they haven't paid the licensing fees already. there could be other companies out there that VPS has filed a suit against, i just haven't found them.

does this fail the test of non-obviousness, commonly called the "graham factors" (reminds me of graham crackers!)? the court held that obviousness should be determined by looking at:
1. the scope and content of the prior art;
2. the level of ordinary skill in the art;
3. the differences between the claimed invention and the prior art; and
4. objective evidence of nonobviousness.
In addition, the court outlined examples of factors that show "objective evidence of nonobviousness". They are:
1. commercial success;
2. long-felt but unsolved needs; and
3. failure of others.
i'm surprised that these legal teams have not been able to find prior art. people must have been doing this type of thing before VPS filed their patent. maybe?

i wonder if this violates any antitrust laws. perhaps VPS's willingness to license their patent remedies this. is this just a case of a company being a patent troll?

this reminds me of the whole forgent and JPEG fiasco from few years ago that john told me about. for those of you who haven't been keeping up on forgent networks' affairs (the company changed it's name to asure software), the company had generated a fairly decent income since 2002 by suing users of JPEG technology, starting with camera companies and moving on to computer manufacturers, web publishers, and so on. it all came to an end in 2006 when the patent office invalidated key portions of the patent thanks to the Public Patent Foundation. PUBAT, which is a non-profit organization that seeks to limit perceived abuse of the US patent system, had found prior art. PUBPAT, please help us out with this VPS thing!

for those of you who don't know, JPEG is a commonly used method of compression for digital files of photographic images. The name "JPEG" stands for joint photographic experts group, the name of the committee that created the standard.

over the years there have been talks about reforming the patent law and i have mixed feelings about it, but that's a discussion for another day.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Car Insurance Company

our car insurance company sent us a letter asking us to update our information so that they can "maintain competitive rates."

there is a part on the questionnaire that asks us to "tell [them] about other drivers in [our] household."

i know what they're asking. they want to know if anyone else is driving our cars, but i'm so tempted to write:

the other drivers in our household are all just peachy. lei likes to cook and loves to read, thess has a job that requires her to work long hours at night, and rob is having a great time with the kids. the other vehicles are both silver colored.

why can't they just ask us directly what they want? why can't they just write: please list other drivers in the household not included in your policy and list the vehicles each operates. really.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Pearls Before Breakfast

the phrase "pearls before swine" is derived from jesus's sermon on the mount in matthew 7:6. it reads:

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet.

it warns us to not share something of value to those who will not appreciate it. consider now the following story.

A man stood at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that over a thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? I recommend reading Gene Weingarten's April 2007 story pearls before breakfast.

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Guild returns

some time in late 2007 john got me hooked on an online series called the guild. the show follows the life of cyd sherman played by felicia day and the online guild she is involved with. i'd tell you more, but that's why someone invented wikipedia.

the show is even more addicting than red vs blue... it not pink, it's lightish red. that's another series john got me addicted to.

john gets me addicted to quite a few things. so far, i haven't succumbed to his invitation to a 10 day free trial of world of warcraft - i am not a gamer.

anyhow, season one of the guild ended some time in july 2008. i waited and waited for season two to start. i checked nearly every week for nearly two months, but there was nothing. NOTHING. so sad. the web site said they would be making a season two. i waited. eventually, i gave up and went about my life.

krista has been trying to get john and i to watch dr. horrible's sing-along blog for the past few weeks. today, she finally sat john down to watch it. a few minutes into it john ran over and asked if i recognized someone on the show. it was falicia day. oh yeah, now i remember! she was on that. i had stumbled across act I of dr. horrible late last summer while searching for more episodes of the guild.

anyhow, that reminded me to check for the guild and what do you know? season two started in late november and there have already been 6 episodes. oops.

here, for your viewing pleasure is the first episode of the guild. you can watch the rest on (or YouTube).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

i've never been the type of girl who likes shopping for clothes and make up. i never understood how women could spend so much time shopping, but today, i understood.

there are three things in life that i find most painful to shop for: jeans (women, you know what i'm talking about), make up, and bras.

jeans are hard because designers have a very convoluted way of indicating size. some brands i'm a 8 while others i'm a 16. what the heck? men have it so easy 36 inch by blah blah long. why can't they just do that for women too? then you've got to decide which style: straight leg, flaired, hip huggers, the list is endless. they say the average women tries on an average of 10 pairs of jeans for every one they like. i think that's a gross underestimation.

makeup is not easy to shop for either, finding that perfect shade of foundation to match your skin is a near impossible task. you've all seen women who wear foundation three shades lighter than their neck. it's not pretty. i have yet to find a shade of lipstick that looks good on me. some women look great wearing lipstick. i look like a clown.

i've gained a bit of weight and everything about me is a little bit bigger: my arms, my legs, my belly... other parts of me.

enlisting the help of a female friend, i braved the grueling task of bra shopping. 4 hours, $170, and two Antie Ann's pretzels later i managed to leave with 5 bras.

our first stop was victoria secret where i got fitted. apparently, i'm a 34DD. i'm telling you, it's not easy finding a bra in that size.

despite the sale at victoria secret, i still got sticker shock. two bras for $90!!! that's NINETY DOLLARS. i have never bought a bra that cost more than $15 before. ahhh, the price of a well fitting bra. it wasn't long after that the buyer's remorse set in. i contemplated returning the bras and heading to walmart, like i normally do, but i hung on to them.

we hit the fredricks, the macy's, and god knows how many other stores trying on bras. it was not a pleasant experience. finding a bra that fits right is no easy task. that $90 i spent was starting to seem a lot more reasonable. i tried on a bra and it fit like a dream. it was $62! yikes. but it fit like a dream. but it was $62. i just couldn't do it.

i found three more bras, they fit well enough. $20 each. much better.

i hate bra shopping. i really HATE bra shopping.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Movies and Music - the next evolution

it has begun. i had heard some band was doing it, but i hadn't seen it yet. it was inevitable really and i'm rather surprised it hadn't happened soon.

i am not that old, but old enough to remember that my parents had a reel-to-reel music player in our living room. this, of course, was located right next to the record player. lying around the area were several 8-tracks. i don't remember the player, but i assume it must have been there also. what i do remember well are tapes, or audio cassette. i had a few records, but mostly tapes. i remember buying blank tapes and recording songs off the radio by holding up a tape recorder to the speaker (low tech pirating).

then along came the CD. oh wow! i could listen to something over and over and the tape wouldn't degrade. i could skip to the tracks i wanted so easily. no more fast forwarding or rewinding and hoping i got close. this was great.

in 2002 randy got me my first mp3 player, an iPod and it was a 40GB. i spent hours and hours and hours copying my CD collection over to iTunes. there are still some CDs that i haven't even gotten around to doing.

i stopped buying CDs and started downloading music. $0.99 was a fair price to pay because it meant i didn't have to spend $14 on a CD i only wanted for one song.

so here it is, the next evolution to hard copies of music - music on SD cards.

it's not just music you can get, it's now movies on SD cards, just plug into your portable player and here it is. yeah!

even with blue ray, will these circular disks soon be a thing of the past? is there really a need for an optical player anymore? i'm sure it'll happen soon enough.