Apr 192005

I received my WP-FX701 yesterday. Stumbling through the manual’s pictures (it is in Japanese) I managed to figure most of it out, but found an Olympus manual that helped for the other parts. So far I am pretty impressed with the case. It feels very sturdy, and all of the camera controls are functional and easy to reach. It is a bit bigger than I was expecting, so I’m not sure how easily it will work in the dust for Burning Man. Perhaps I will just zip lock the camera and use the case when I know the dust will be bad.

I would love to head to the cove to try it out, but the water temp is 59F. Wee bit too chilly for me, not to mention the visibility this time of year is less than ideal.

I watched I Heart Huckabees last night. A strange film, but I really liked it. It is definitely not for everyone though. You almost need a checklist to see if one would enjoy it. Let me try:

1) you enjoy odd, meandering stories
2) you have a casual interest in determinism vs. existentialism
3) you side with greens more than industry

The third point may seem a bit strange, but I think it was fairly critical to a lot of the humour in the movie. I would try to expand on that a bit more, but I’m just not that smart right now.

Apr 152005

I just bought the WP-FX701 for my Fuji F810:

It is not available in the US, so I had to buy it through Yuzo in Japan. The case and the camera have received good fan reviews from places like Digital Diver, and I would love to try it out at the cove. I’m not expecting the best results – I just snorkel, our water clarity isn’t the greatest, and I won’t carry strobes. However, the macro results with an amazing location and strobes are impressive.

The other reason for buying the case is for dust:

From Wired, Surprises Lurk in Satellite Snaps

I’ve been thinking more and more about Burning Man. Last year we were convinced we were going to take this year off. Too much time and money to invest. But as time passes, I am finding myself leaning more and more towards going back. I think I will be more likely to go if we can figure out a way to do it by plane. Driving 12 or 13 hours just isn’t that fun.

Interesting information about RFID tags and future passports.

Don’t know who gets the blame on this one; Bush didn’t know about new passport rules

Apr 112005

Gorgeous weekend. Nice and sunny.

I’ve been thinking more and more about the PSP. If the keyboard turns out to be legit, and Sony lets people hack it, the PSP could be amazing. Surf the net, message, watch vids, play music, games, write notes, etc. The possibilities are endless. I would definitely buy one.

China + India = US hurting in 5-10.

Music I’ve been listening to
Beck/Guero. Good stuff. He seems to be throwing back to his Odelay days.

Doves/Some Cities. Similar to their last release. If you didn’t like them then, you won’t now. I liked them then, and like this album as well.

Ian Broudie/Tales Told. I knew next to nothing about the guy, but it turns out he has been all over the music world for a long time. His album is different than his other works. Slow and acoustic for the most part, but hard to place in a particular time period or style. Though I guess these days it would fall under the ‘indie’ umbrella. You have to be the right mood, but I like this album a lot.

New Gorillaz video (windows) is up, I can’t wait for the new album.

Moby/Hotel. The big reason I liked his previous stuff was the incredible voice tracks he managed to find. However, in this album it is mostly him on voice. It doesn’t have the same impact. Just OK.

Thievery Corporation/The Outernational Sound/The Cosmic Game. I enjoy all of the corp’s music and sources, so it only makes sense that I like these two.

The Divine Comedy/Absent Friends. I liked Regeneration, and this album is good as well. I have no idea if it is intentional, but the first 1:15 of the second track, Sticks & Stones, is a total rip-off of the 12 Monkeys soundtrack. The violins, bass, organ, and clicks are too close to count as a coincidence.

Apr 082005

I am trying to enjoy the new Doves album. At this point it is more of an attempt to drown out the constant vocalizations of a coworker. This guy does nothing but talk all day. It doesn’t even matter if no one listens, he just talks. Ahhhrgg! Incredibly annoying when you are trying to concentrate. It prompted the following discussion:

Chris: He has no redeeming qualities. Send him to the rendering plant.
Jimmy: He looks a little chewy to me.
Chris: Fine.
Chris: Send him to the gelatin plant.
Jimmy: he looks like hand soap to me
Chris: All that connective tissue would make a mean multilayer Jell-O.
Chris: Definitely enough protein to support pieces of mandarin orange.
Chris: Or pineapple. If you are one of those people.

I’ve been meaning to finish writing about NY, but keep getting bogged down in other stuff. Might get to it later today.

This is a great idea, sightseeing with google maps.

Apr 042005

My sister in law opened up yesterday’s paper and said “Someone Pope’ed all over the paper”. I laughed and am going to hell.

A whitey like me doesn’t have much ceremony in life, so it is good to live in a hispanic neighborhood. After the pope died, mini shrines of candles, flowers, and a chalk messages popped up around 25th street. It was a nice gesture and reminded me how much John Paul II meant to some people.

Apr 042005

New York Trip Part 1 (Part 2)

Photos for this trip can be found here.

March 26th

We took a red eye from San Diego Friday night and didn’t get much sleep for our arrival at 6am to New York. The middle seat really sucks for trying to sleep, you always end up with a sore neck. We grabbed the skytrain from JFK and headed into NYC on the subway. If you are in NY for more than 4 days, I highly recommend getting the 7day metro pass for $24. I used mine for 6 days and would have spent around 50 bucks if I used a cash card.

We stayed at the Hilton in Midtown (53rd St & 6th Ave). It was not our choice (it was the conference hotel for Anna), but the Hilton was once again confirmed as a crap hotel. As we dropped our bags off I was once again puzzled. How do they actually get people to pay for this place? Horrible service, ridiculous prices. A sample from the room service menu: Half a grapefruit, $5. Eggs and bacon, $18.96.

We were hungry so we went around to corner to Maison Brasserie instead. I had a smoked ham & gruyere crepe, not too shabby. Then they brought over fresh, hot, custardy beignets. Mmmm.

We were looking to do some touring, so we walked over to the Roosevelt Island Tramway. Two dollars gets you a nice tram ride over to Roosevelt island. The tram ride is fun and you get to see a good bit of the NY sky-line. Once there you can take a 25c bus ride for a mini tour of the island.

The last time our hair was cut was in Lima, Peru. I was looking a bit shaggy and Anna wanted a change. We took the subway down to Greenwich Village to get haircuts at Astor Place Hair. I wish I got some photos of this place, I loved it. It was a madhouse mix of old barbers and NY color. I had my hair cut by an older gent named Giovanni. Talked more italian than cut my hair – while looking the other way. Somehow he managed and I got a great cut for 13 bucks.

We wandered around the village some more, checked out the wine store, the bag store, and window shopped. We found a street fair/flea market, so we had to check that out. I bought myself a small sweet potato pie and dug in.

From there it was off to the west side docks on 14th and the Nomadic Museum. Interesting art, cooler building. The building is made of shipping containers and is designed to be able to pack itself up and move somewhere else. The art was photographs and video from Gregory Colbert. His work is mostly shots with animals at peace or cooperating with humans. Interesting style of prints – sepia tone, but almost a water color reproduction of the photographs.

I had wanted to try out The Spice Market for its take on asian street food (durian ice cream? I gotta try that), but it seems too be too popular – it was completely booked the entire time we were there. So we continued the asian theme and walked to Mooncake Foods. I highly recommend it. Very casual and unpretentious. We tried out the vietnamese summer rolls, miso salmon, lychee tea, and wonton soup. All of it was great.

After that we ran out of juice and headed back to the hotel. Not a bad day for running on 2 hours of sleep.

March 27th
We woke up, grabbed some bagels, and headed over to the Easter Parade on 5th. It is not the kind of parade you expect. There is no bands, floats, or structure. It is just a bunch of people that made easter hats (or dressed in their best) parading around. It had it all. Super hats, possible nut-jobs, and fancy pants. It reminded me of Burning Man ; it had an unscripted exposition/expression/whatever vibe.

After a dirty water dog we walked over to the new MoMA. Last time we were here I saw the small Queens exhibit, so I was excited to check out the new building and the full collection. It is expensive ($20), but the new building is beautiful and I really enjoyed most of the art. That night we headed over to the UCB Theatre to see ASSSSCAT 3000, an improv show. Horatio Sanz and Owen Burke hosted and put on a good show.