Thursday, June 30, 2005
I think part of it was that I was a little baffled as to why she's asking me--I'm not a photoblogger, or at least I don't consider myself one. A photo turns up in my blog now and then and sometimes a bloglike caption may turn up under one of my photos, but that's hardly photoblogging. Also, why those particular photos? I don't consider them all that noteworthy, and I'd select different ones if I were picking photos to publish. In what context will they be used? What will the accompanying text say? It's funny that I should all of the sudden start thinking about this because all of my Flickr pix are published under an attribution/noncommercial/share-alike Creative Commons license, which pretty much tells people they can decoupage my photos to a urinal as long as they credit me and aren't doing it for money. So is it the money thing that's in the way here?
I hate when people act like every effort they make in life should be compensated. It's petty and tiresome when someone won't consider doing something for anyone else unless they get some sort of tangible benefit. I try not to be like that because I think that sort of mindset leads to discontent and mean-spiritedness. I believe it makes people value things and actions for what they're worth monetarily, which makes things they get for free--such as favors and nice gestures--end up having less value. But here I am thinking about money (or more precisely, compensation, which doesn't always have to be money) ...
So is it the fact that this woman has a contract from a major publisher to write the book? Because if someone like Andrew Riddles were to ask if he could use one of my pix for the cover of his next book, I'd let him use it in a heartbeat. But he's his own publisher (and I consider him a pal). Maybe it's because I found out, by visiting this woman's web site, that she regularly sells prints of her photos ... yet she wants to use mine without offering anything, not even a free copy of her finished book. I guess I'm supposed to feel special and excited about seeing my name in print (I got over that years ago when I was a journalist and my byline appeared in the paper every single day). Maybe I'm just in a crabby bitchy mood today and she should have asked me yesterday. Maybe they don't want to offer a free copy of the book because the only people who would buy a book about photoblogging are the people whose photos they use .... oh mee-oww, I think I'm getting catty. Time to go, but I'd love to know what other people think ...
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Periodic Table of Cupcakes
Originally uploaded by Cake Fun.
It's almost Mr. Pants birthday and I don't believe I'm going to get it together enough to make him a cake. The house painting project plus my regular dog-related activities have diverted my attention from the quest to bake something cool and fun. Add to that the fact that all I feel like doing when I have any free time is read--I just read two really great books in the last week: Dry by Augusten Burroughs (He's up with John Waters and David Sedaris on my list of People I Might Actually Enjoy Meeting ... why is it I only have gay men on that list?) and Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl (what the hell, I'll put her on that list, too).
So I'm thinking that perhaps I'll make some cupcakes instead. Not because I want to jump on a trend, but I have a cupcake pan, while I don't have any cake pans. part of what has kept me from baking a cake is that I have nothing to bake it in, and I don't feel like spending a lot of money on cake pans when for all I know I might make horrid cakes.
UPDATE: This is what happens when you put your mind on autopilot and don't check in once in a while: The Augustren Burroughs book I just read is Magical Thinking. I read Dry last year sometime. It was great, too.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
1. "Miyaabele" by Baaba Maal
2. "Orgasmatron" by Albert Kuvezin & Yat-Kha
3. "Man's World" by Natacha Atlas
4. "Don Quijote Marijuana" by Brujeria
5. "Buah" by 7 Notas 7 Colores
6. "Dzungla Na Kaldrmi" by Vlada Divljan
7. "Justo N" by Control Machete
8. "Ganges A Go-go" by Kalyanji & Anandji vs. Automat
9. "Okean" by Veliki Prezir
10. "El Indio" by Charanga Cakewalk
11. "Otpisani" by Boban Markovic Orkestar
12. "El Tambor" by Radio Mundial
13. "Malarae" by Kulisch And Vana-Veli
14. "Livingston Buzz" by Radio Zumbido
15. "Balkan Rumba" by Ognjen I Prijatelji
Oh yeah, BTW, if you can sit through their stupid ads (today's is for the new Comedy Central Show "Stella." Am I the only person in the world who thinks this show looks like it will be anything but funny?), check out Salon's series on Scientology (and that whack job Tom Cruise). Free Katie!
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Nonetheless, on Friday night I gamely accompanied Mr. Pants to the theater (full of young children and a couple of squalling babies, of course--where are the flesh-eating zombies when you need them?) to watch George Romero's latest, which Mr. Pants had assured me had gotten a stellar review in the NY Times. It was alright--entertaining but no masterpiece. I thought its backstory offered up a lot of great possibilities for a far more interesting film than the one that got made.
LOTD is set in a world that's been mostly taken over by the zombies. The living are crammed into an urban compound that resembles New York, surrounded by miles of electrified fencing to keep the zombies at bay. Supplies are obtained by sending heavily armed raiding parties out into the zombiefied towns of the hinterland to scavenge whatever can be scavenged. The opening scene is during one such raid when our main protagonist, a nice-looking but bland guy named Riley (Simon Baker), observes that one zombie, sensing the presence of the the living, seems to be communicating with the other zombies. This, of course, represents a significant breakthrough in zombie evolution, like the zombie equivalent of some homo erectus discovering that he could dramatize his stories by drawing on the walls of his cave, perhaps.
Anyway, so the main storyline is that now the living have to deal with this new breed of "smart" zombie in place of the dumb old zombies who shamble about devouring whatever crosses their paths but otherwise don't have a care in the world. So not only are the zombies starting to think, but it seems as if they are developing both class consciousness and revolutionary leadership, demonstrated by the "main" zombie, Big Daddy (Eugene Clark), who becomes so enraged by the carnage wrought upon his people that he leads them on an exodus toward the city of the living. (OK, I'm exaggerating ... I don't know what he thought because his "dialogue" consists of grunts and a few screams of rage that sounded vaguely vengeful).
Meanwhile, the city of the living is pretty much a class war powderkeg waiting for a match. The masses are hovering around the level of barbarism while the wealthy, personified by mogul/mob boss Kaufman (Dennis Hopper), enjoy their gourmet meals in a gleaming Trump Tower-like citadel called Fiddler's Green. This is the life to which Cholo (John Leguizamo) aspires--he's been working with the zombie-fightin' supply raiders and as a personal goon to Kaufman long enough to acquire a nest egg, and now he wants to buy a place in Fiddler's Green. Kaufman shoots that down pretty quickly because Cholo's not exactly the Fiddler's Green type, providing us with our subplot: Cholo wants a lot of money or he's going to blow Fiddler's Green off the map ...
So anyway, there are all these characters who we don't really give a damn about (except maybe Cholo--I liked him) because there's not much character development going on, facing imminent dismemberment by the army of smart zombies on their way to the city. The zombies' leader, Big Daddy, evokes almost as much sympathy as the living protagonists--in fact we like him a lot more than Kaufman (much of the pleasure in the movie comes from hoping for Kaufman's eventual end as zombie chow. Or at least maybe we'll get to see him staring down the barrel of Cholo's gun ...)
But all this was way less interesting to me than the story of the city itself, especially the incipient class struggle that was brewing. Some guy (I think the character's name was Mulligan) was trying to organize the underclass masses in a revolt against Kaufman, and he tries to get our bland hero Riley to join. Nosiree, Riley wants to head off to Canada, which has apparently become unclaimed wilderness, to just try to make it on his own. So instead of siding with the struggle of The People against The Man, which would have been interesting, we're expected to identify with this self-centered prick who's just interested in saving his own ass. (Oh yeah, he's taking along a friend he saved from a fire and a chick he saved from certain zombie death ... )
Anyway, so a lot of zombies get mowed down, and a lot of the living get disemboweled and devoured, yada yada yada ... but the big payoff I was hoping for (SPOILER ALERT!!) didn't really come. No, even though by rights Kaufman should be dismembered and consumed by a zombie, he gets a relatively comfy death by explosion. What a letdown.
On the other hand, LOTD was way better than A Day Without a Mexican, which Mr. P and I rented Saturday night. I don't think I've ever seen such a promising idea for a movie turned into such utterly unwatchable crap. We couldn't finish it--we went out to watch the paint dry instead.
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
So the housepainting is progressing apace. Actually, not very quickly at all. I'm a slow painter. And Mr. Pants, in his scraping/sanding duties, found a rotten bit of soffit (or maybe it was fascia, I can't remember) that was apparently caused by a bit of sloppiness on the part of the roofer who fixed the house after the big ice storm a few years ago. So the painting prep stopped while he replaced some wood and caulked a place that should have been caulked before. But sooner or later the house is going to look so cool.
Tonight I've got to prepare a picnic, because a couple of Flickerati are stopping in town Wednesday on their road trip across the US. They only have an hour before they have to get back on the road (they hope to be in Asheville by 10 pm), so I told them I'd have a nice picnic waiting for them in Trinity Park. So, picnic with Striatic and Emily Ann from 5 to 6 pm Wednesday at the Trinity Park gazebo. If you want to come bring some nosh or drinks and join us.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Chicago was also a great place to bike. When I met Mr. Pants, his bicycle and the CTA were his only modes of transportation. He had never bothered to learn to drive because he didn't need to. Chicago was transportation heaven.
So now Mr. Pants has started to ride his bike to work. Until recently he was working a couple of counties away--way too far to bike. Too far to drive, even. But now that he's actually working in the same city in which he lives, he's decided to try and curtail his car use. It's admirable, but around here it's a little bit crazy. Drivers have no idea how to react to a cyclist. Roads are often too narrow with dangerous gravel shoulders as the only escape from the clueless and/or asshole drivers. He has ended up planning a route that puts him on a lot of sidewalks, which is safer for him but illegal and perpetuates the misguided belief among all the local fat-ass SUV drivers that bicycles don't belong on the road.
But today I got an e-mail that reminded me of the fact that even though Durham has a reputation as a "progressive" place and North Carolina is making great strides toward civilization, there are still some troglodytic, Deliverance-worthy asshole morons running around who know they can run down your pinko bicycle-riding ass and get away with it. I don't know the actual identity of the guy who wrote the e-mail (it was forwarded to me), so I don't have actual permission to run it, but oh well:
I was biking down to Pittsboro yesterday ... I went through Chapel Hill and down Smith Level to 15-501. I wouldn’t normally ride on 15-501 at all, but I figured that south of Smith Level Road at 8am on a Saturday it wouldn’t be too bad. In fact, traffic wasn’t bad and usually there was a bit of a shoulder to ride on.
I was coming around a gentle curve . . . I think between Taylor Road and Andrews Store Rd . . . when the car coming the other way gunned its engines, crossed over the yellow lines, and headed straight for me.
My thought for a second was, “Surely, this guy (I say guy generically, because I didn’t notice anything about the driver) is just trying to scare me and will swerve back. By the time I realized that no, he wasn’t, there wasn’t a whole lot to do. His left wheels were already on the dirt and he was coming straight at me. I was still thinking, “This isn’t really happening,” but I did start to swerve to the right to try to get out of his way. 25mph + maybe 5mph didn’t give me much time. I thought perhaps I was going to make it.
The very left front corner of his car hit my left ankle, which was at the top part of the stroke. It shredded everything over the top of that big round bone on the outside of my ankle and broke a little bone in the side of my foot. They pulled plastic shards of the turn signal light housing out of my ankle at the hospital. However many milliseconds later, probably simultaneously, my left thigh sheared off the guy’s driver side mirror AND the front of his car smashed through the back of my bike, ripping the seat stays and chain stays off the down tube and tearing the wheel out of the frame.
I landed in the dirt, and before anything else, looked to see him skidding back onto the road, touching his brakes a bit, and then heading off towards Chapel Hill. Then I looked down at my leg. My cycling shorts were torn away and through a perhaps 8 or 10-inch gash in my thigh a big fist of thigh muscle was bulging up into the air. My left shoe had been torn off and there was bloody grass underneath my ankle.
Though several cars did drive by, despite my frantic waving, two eventually did stop and the people in them were very helpful. I grabbed my cell phone out of my backpack and called 911, where it took several rounds of clarification before the operator understood that I had been on a bike (“Sir, are you still in your car?”), was now not, and that I was looking at the inside of my leg. I didn’t know very well how to describe my location on 15-501, but eventually assorted fire, ambulance, and state police arrived. Nice people got me to UNC’s E.R. and I received excellent care there. I asked the surgeons how they got my thigh back together and
apparently a med student shoved the muscle back down into my leg, another doctor/resident pulled the skin together, and a third doctor winched the skin back together with some very heavy gauge wire.
I have to talk to the State Police again tomorrow, but they generally don’t seem interested at all. All he has written on the report for the other person is “unknown,” when in fact he had the mirror, color, and probable make of the car (sand/brown colored 4 door American sedan . . . he thought, based on the mirror, perhaps a Ford . . . I though Buick or Oldsmobile). I’m not sure he got in contact with any county sheriff’s departments or local police or did anything to try to move forward with the task of figuring out who this hit-and-run asshole was. There’s not much of a police report (yet) to turn into a news snippet.
MY POINT: I’m not sure. I can’t be positive that this was done on purpose. I don’t have many clues. My thigh and ankle are pretty screwed, though not permanently. Probably 6-8 weeks before they come out of their assorted braces/casts/etc. and I can start some physical therapy. I’m incredibly grateful for the few inches that saved my leg and perhaps my life, especially with a wonderful wife and a baby due in 2+ months. I wonder if riding in pairs is always safer? Be careful out there, because there are whackos who will not only yell at you and thrown *$#& out the window at you, but will actually try to end your life.
Now I'm kinda thinking maybe I'd rather have Mr. Pants burning up nasty petroleum and contributing to global warming ...
UPDATE: There are articles in today's Herald-Sun and today's N&O (registration may be required).
Friday, June 17, 2005
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
I went with my pal Lia (and her beau Steve) to the Sunflowers on Peace St. in Raleigh today. It's in what used to be a fast food place--I think it was a Hardee's. We anticipated that it would get crowded quickly, so we aimed our arrival time to be close to 11:30 am. Sure enough, minutes after we came in the line became insanely long. It looks like a popular place for the "ladies who lunch" crowd dressed in Cameron Village chic. I vowed not to hold it against the place.
Sunflowers is just a sandwich joint, or as I prefer, a "sammich" joint. The cool thing is that there are tons of vegetarian selections--one side of the menu is all vegetarian. I was torn between the Avocado Pesto Melt, The Veggie Club and the Vegetarian Focaccia. I chose the Avocado Pesto melt, which is basically a grilled cheese with avocadoes, tomatoes, onions and--allegedly--some pesto mayonnaise. I didn't taste even a hint of pesto. It was kind of a bland sandwich. But it was on good bread, and they got the grilling part perfect (I'm a Certified Grilled Cheese Expert, so I know what I'm talking about), so I give them a few points. But it wasn't the kind of sandwich that made me think "Oh my god I've just got to get back to Sunflowers and have that sandwich again." It was more like "Meh, that was lunch and it cost me $6.28 without a drink."
In comparison, on Monday I went to Harris Teeter and bought a bag of bagels, some Rondelé cheese and some alfalfa/radish sprouts for a little over $5, and it provided me with really delicious lunches for four days (it would have been 5 days but I decided to go out with Lia today, so I'll take the leftovers home). What a deal! And listen, you should try a nice poppyseed bagel with some Rondelé and sprouts. It's fantastic.
As for Sunflowers, they still have several veggie items on the menu that sound promising, so I'll have to eat there again. The really cool thing is that they are using the old fast food drive-thru window for call-in orders, so you can zip by and get your food in a jiffy--useful for most days when I only take a half-hour lunch.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
I saw this sign this morning and I though "Darn, I missed the circus from Mexico" (shhh, they're really based in Texas, but it's close to the border). But then I was listening to La Ley ("LA QUE MANDA LAS CAROLINAS") at lunchtime and I heard them announce that Circo Garcia would be at the fairgrounds this weekend as well (I checked the NC State fairgrounds calendar and sure enough, it's true). I looked at the Circo Garcia web site and it doesn't appear that they have any elephants to feel sorry for, which is what usually keeps me away from the circus. (But they do have The Mighty King Kongo, a "a giant gorila robot almost 40 ft. tall"--who doesn't want to see that?). I wonder if, given that Mr. Pants and I will be painting the house in the heat all weekend, he would be up to going? Anyone else interested?
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
But I do disagree with him on one point: Sure all religions are bullshit, but I believe that Scientology is even more fucked-up than other religions, although I can't decide who's more of a nut job, Tom Cruise or Mel Gibson ...
Oh, different subject: If you're one of the three people who listen to my radio show on purpose, you may be wondering if I will be on the air tonight from 8-10. No, I won't, because Mr. Gomez has his music lesson, I mean agility class. Jason! has graciously offered to cover the shift for me, so you should listen to him, 88.7 if you're local, wxdu.org if you're not. In fact, I won't be back at my regular time until sometime around July 6, although you can hear me on Mondo Mundo this Saturday from 1-3 pm.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Yesterday I got up early to do some "lure chasing" with Lucy at PBH. Lure chasing is sort of like lure coursing except that it's not a competition--just a fun thing to do with a dog--and any breed can do it if they get jazzed up by something moving away from them that may or may not resemble a critter. Sarah and Georg were there with Jane and Thirteen, and Sarah's account is here. (You can also see Sarah and Jane here) I was happy they came out and very happy to see Jane having fun chasing the lure. Lucy loves it--she just goes nuts when it's running for some other dog and she has to sit there waiting her turn. When it's her turn she just takes off and runs, looking deliriously happy. I let her do three runs--I would have let her do a fourth if it hadn't been so hot out.
After that I had to come home and help Mr. Pants with the house. He's been scraping and sanding all the flappy bits of old paint for the past few weeks, and now at least the front can be primed and painted. Before we could prime we had to clean the part we were working on, and we were going to use a rented pressure washer that our neighbors had used the day before, but it had decided to conk out in the morning. So we just used a cleaning solution (allegedly non-toxic and biodegradeable ... I hope so because you have to use a lot of it) and a really high-pressure hose nozzle. It seemed to work pretty well, but it took a while. It turned out the be a great day for working outside--not too humid, and not as hot as we expected. After the fun we had some pizza and beer out on the patio of Satisfaction at Brightleaf Square. It was very pleasant but the atmosphere seemed to lack something ... Mr. Pants and I decided that the missing ingredient is roaming mariachis. We should write a letter to the Brightleaf management suggesting they invest in some mariachis.
So today we painted. First primer--we splurged on the high-falutin' premium Kilz because if we're going to make ourselves miserable doing all this work ourselves (and saving thousands of dollars in the process), we want it to last. Then when we had a decent section primed, we wanted to test our color, which I had thought should be one called melon. We had bought a quart of it so we could see it on the house before we bought a big giganto tub of it ... and I'm very glad we did because it turned out to be a bit more shocking than I had intended. I mean, I want a house that says "HI THERE, YOU'RE NOT IN CARY" to everyone who passes, but I don't want it to induce seizures. So after our little test I decided that I would get the next shade darker on the paint card, which is called "Autumn Orange." It will still be nice and bright, rest assured. Unfortunately, our house currently looks very bizarre, with a combination of the previous blue-gray on most of the house and primer white on the porch punctuated by a swath of very bright tropical orange. We'll try to make it slightly less bizarre tomorrow evening. Unfortunately, our stupid day jobs will make the painting process seem to take forever, and I'm going to be sick of it in ... well I already am.
Friday, June 10, 2005
dividing liriope (good name for a band), xdu wrrld music, quarkxpress runtime error, disturbance in the force, kim son durham (Good restaurant--I recommend the #40), working in a restaurant, origin phrase, men's feet, fun with dogs, chilled air, bunch of pants, lactivists, anka smells like, psycho_girl, breast feeding, myrtle beach thong, trailer hitch scrotum, milkshake busters, barbara walters and lactivists, backwater bunch, barbara walters lies breastfeeding, cheesecake pants, rock swings sucks
Well that didn't take long. Now what? It's Friday. I bet I won't get an answer to my question today. Maybe I'll go make some tea.
I read a fun book last week: The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs. It was, well like I said, fun. Jacobs decides he's going to read the entire Encyclopaedia Britannica. Why? Well, duh, so he can write a book about the experience, of course. So the thought that was going through my head the whole time was "Shit, I could write a damn book." OK, that's been going through my mind since before I read Jacobs book. But I need a topic that requires very little research, seeing as how I've got this fucking day-job thing going on. See, this is where shit like broken families, alcoholism, molestation and impoverished childhoods come in handy--you can turn that stuff into a memoir. Me, I got nothin'. But I'm desperate to write about it.
Hey, I could even be outlining it right now while I'm waiting to hear back on the 18" x 24" thing ...
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
it's blueberry season in NC!
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
To atone for the awful mental images of babies spitting up breast milk that I gave you yesterday, I've brought you some blueberries, fresh from the farmers' market. A co-worker is working on a publication that could use a blueberry photo or two, and she said she wished she could got to the farmers' market and take some pictures. I mentioned that we have a very nice Nikon digital that our employers thoughtfully bought us for just such occasions, but she hemmed and hawed ... then I offered to go to the market and take some blueberry photos for her. She brightened up and said "Would you? I know they would be good ones!" Well that was so sweet of her to say that of course I had to do it. Plus, as it was a work-related excursion, I got to do it on work time.
The above photo was posed at home with some berries I bought, however. Blueberries get much more relaxed when you get them out of the market. See how serene they look in their little basket?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
It's not the breasts that are gross, it's the breast milk. The very idea of it grosses me out. The babies gross me out, too. They're little spit-up machines, and the thought that a baby near me could be spitting up breast milk really, really grosses me out. Spit-up and breast milk are two of the many, many reasons why I never wanted kids. How it is that someone else's right to whip her booby out and suckle her kid 'till he spews trumps my right not to be grossed out when I want to sit down and enjoy a nice dinner or a movie?
How appropriate: I'm thinking about food and today is National Hunger Awareness Day. Well, I think about food most days. But today, I bought some food at the farmer's Market in honot of National Hunger Awareness Day. String beans, squash, strawberries and blueberries. I was at the Farmer's Market because my place of employment sponsored a thing called "The Great Potato Drop," where two dump truck loads of donated sweet potatoes were bagged for distribution to poor folks by hot and sweaty volunteers like me. I only went because it was something different to do--I get sick of being in the office all the time. It was miserable--hot, muggy and messy. I'm glad it only happens once a year.
Monday, June 06, 2005
UPDATE: Van Halen's "Jump" and Nirvana's "Smells like Teen Spirit really work, too. Spandau Ballet's "True" doesn't fare too poorly either. "Blackhole Sun" sucks just as badly as the original, and the Anka treatment makes "Lovecats" sound rather anemic. Lionel Ritchie's "Hello" ... yecchh. But that song was just wrong, wrong, wrong to begin with. At least Anka didn't try to cover "Total Eclipse of The Heart" ...
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Friday, June 03, 2005
Did I ever talk about the time I got to see blood spew out of a robed klansman's nose because a guy I know was punching him in the face? Good times ...
Thursday, June 02, 2005
OK, maybe it's like so five years ago and everyone in the world has already had their fun with Gizoogle, but I was guffawing at stuff like this: "Smizzay shawty Lucy saved us a few times by figur'n out wizzle I meant despite whizzat I did. She deserves a hustla playa." Or the link to the other Lisa's blog: Anotha P-to-tha-izzink World.
Oh but wait, it's even funner if you try it on the prayers to St. Anthony page.