Archive for the ‘ general amusement ’ Category

nature photography tips

update: a new obsession

I just totally got schooled by Josh in ping-pong… Arghudljasdhd!!!

That was tremendously disapointing. Ah, but now I have a new mission in life!! I’m coming for you Josh….

a new obsession

Ping-Pong. Wow, what a marvelous game! My company made the poor and unwise decision to invest in a ping-pong table for our third floor “commons” area. It is certainly where I have been spending all of my free time lately.

Now, I grew up with a ping-pong table at my house… and I played a fair bit, but generally against my grandparents, so no true advancement in skill was made in my early years. Over the years I’ve played from time to time, and I’ve gotten quite a bit better. Now, I am certainly nowhere near the skill level of ping-pong extraordinaire Timmy P (and he truly is quite good). Timmy was in Ping-Pong Scouts – had a uniform that he would wear to school all the time. He had these cute little patches that he would sew to the back of his shirt every time he won a tournament. Then in our junior year he decided he wanted to do both Bowling Club and Ping-Pong Scouts, so his ping-pong game started to suffer a bit….. but I digress….

Anyways, so yeah, I’ve been playing a lot of ping-pong lately. I’m mastering my different service styles. I’ve pretty much got my spin under control, and am able to return most spins as well. I need to work on my smash, because that usually goes totally out of control. I’ve been taking on a variety of different people in the building, and am holding my own pretty well. I’m happy to say I’ve been teaching Jon the art of the ping-pong and he is coming along quite nicely… though he needs to learn discretion as to when not to return the ball. 🙂

I want to get an EMI Ping-Pong Tournament going… that’s my goal for the fall.

yayson bourne identity

You need to check this out… seriously…..

bourne again

On Sunday afternoon I finally got to experience the epic conclusion to the Bourne series, The Bourne Ultimatum, an event that has been five years in the making for me. I’ll get in trouble if I call “Bourne” the greatest movies of all time, but they are personal favorites for me… in a Top 6 list, the three movies in the series place within it.

The Bourne movies have been wonderfully constructed, portraying a secret agent in a way that hasn’t been done before – heroic within reason, clever beyond imagination, and tortured by his own capabilities. They are paced ever so well with the perfect balance of storyline, suspense, and action – not too much or too little in any respect.

I was so happy with the way Bourne Ultimatum tied things together: First, the overlay of time / events between Supremacy and Ultimatum was clever, and I hadn’t expected that… I figured it would pick up right where Supremacy left off, but it actually went back in time and filled in events for six weeks prior. The Bourne movies have become known for their car chase scenes – the first movie pushed an old Mini Cooper to it’s limit, and the second absolutely destroyed a Moscow taxi-cab. I like how they did the chases in the third one though – a lot of “foot” chases, with Bourne using clever tactics to elude those who were pursuing him by using his seeminly inborn agent abilities. And towards the end of the movie, seeing him tear up New York City in a cop car was fantastic.

I loved the ending – it was perfect, and I couldn’t have hoped for anything better. It filled in just enough gaps to leave you satisfied, yet at the same time kept you wondering a bit… what’s next? There’s lots of talk about whether or not there will be a 4th movie, and I personally hope there isn’t (from an artistic perspective). It ended dramatically answering the big question of whether or not Bourne was alive or dead, and immediatly went to credits with Moby’s song “Extreme Ways”… but unlike the other movies, Moby did a remix of the song for this movie that seemed to say “this is the end… Bourne is finished now”. Plus the end credits were artistically dramatically different which I felt also indicated a definitive end to the series.

All in all, I am so satisfied and relieved that the directors / producers took such care in executing an artisically brilliant action movie, something that in and of itself rarely happens. The movie I highly recommend (as a theater must-see), and if you’re behind on the series as a whole, now is the time to get up to speed!

Today you should listen to:
Moby “Extreme Ways (Bourne’s Ultimatum)

pyrokinesis (redemption edition)

I’m happy to say, following my July 4th “fireworks”, that I’ve honed my burger grilling skills somewhat. Thanks to Tim for the helpful tips, I followed his advice and made my burgers “thinner than you would think necessary” and added a splash of Gate’s BBQ sauce to “help them hold together”. Of course my traditional spice package included Lawry’s, paprika, and red pepper flakes.

The key to the whole process I found was to keep the burners on as low as they go and to embrace the flames. Grease fire? Bring it on! You won’t terrify me no longer.

So while the end result of the 4th of July was a little to much carbon, the 8th of July were quite likely the most fantastic burgers I have created in quite a long while.

pyrokinetical fiasco

It wouldn’t be the 4th of July without a little bit of fireworks, so in true American fashion Steph and I had Justin and Hannah over for a little pre-evening-celebration hamburger cookout. Steph’s brother, Theo and Joey, are staying with us over the next couple weeks, so we figured we’d go ahead and grill a bunch of hamburgers that they could eat while we’re at work the next couple of days.

So we get the big tub of meat – 4lbs of ground beef. And I’m feeling good that this is going to be a great grilling day… I’ve got my Lawrys, I’ve got my parika, I’ve got my red pepper flakes, and I start making some of the most beautiful hamburger patties I’ve ever seen. Got about 14 of them ready to go, fire up the grill, let it warm up for a bit, and then start just stacking on the most wonderful array of meat ever to lay across a 4th of July grill.

Things are going well. I step inside for a bit to talk and…..

* disaster strikes *

Something happened in the 30 seconds I was in the kitchen, because when I looked out the back porch window moments later, my entire grill was engulfed in smoke. The porch area is filling up quickly with toxic fumes, so I run outside, grab the lid of the grill and throw it open. Flames are spewing forth like a flamethrower. Helplessly I grab my BBQ utensils and start shoving meat around. Smoke has clouded up the porch door now – my family and friends are peering out in stark horror. Even the cat is unsettled. I truly don’t know what I’m doing at this point – something has gone terribly wrong. I do the only thing I can think of and start turning off burners. This doesn’t help. The entire inside of the grill is on fire and every time I touch meat more grease drips off and sets off a new wave of smoke, flames, and chaos. I pull Justin outside with me… not because he can necessarily help, but because I want to be in this together with someone, and when the girls start ridiculing me later and I need him on my side.

I start moving burgers around, stacking them on top of the other, sacrificing the bottom burgers to the raging inferno to give the other burgers a chance. There are no grill burners on now – I’ve got a perpetual conflagration of grease that is going to burn these things to a crisp. Somehow I finally get to the point where I am managing mass chaos and get a system going where I am cycling all the burgers through a warm area of the grill to cook while the rest of the fire burns down. Before each one goes through I have to use the sharp edge of my spatula to chip off charred cow in an attempt to get a decently even cooking experience.

Drama I tell you, drama.

The majority of the burgers turned out fine, save two that ended up looking like charcoal lumps that I literally had to pry away from the grill. Happy 4th of July.


I’ve officially crossed the line. I’m an internet nerd. Not only do I casually observe the happenings on the marvelous interwebs, I am now one who actually contributes to this massive chaotic giant of tubes, webs, and bits and bats.

I’m speaking of Wikipedia, my favorite website. I love it for it’s random wealth of information on anything from tube socks to the spiritual culture of the Siberian Yupiks. I’ll spend hours just cruising away, jumping from one topic to the next, in this random and trivial form of pseudo-education. So fascinating.

I’ve been obsessed with Wikipedia for a couple years now, but as I said, I’ve now officially crossed the line. I’m now a Wikipedia Editor, complete with personal profile (boring) and more importantly, my first article contribution. My first edit is kind of boring, but was the only thing I could think of off the top of my head that I had specific knowledge about that no one else had already written on.

So there ya go. A new hobby to fit into my already busy life… and why the heck not.

worn and torn

Stephanie and I went to an artisan festival on Sunday – hundreds of painters, potters, photographers, etc. The highlight for me was a photographer named Jack Stoddart. This guy is as old school as they come. Serious about his art and his method. Jack’s from the Plateau region of Tennessee, east of Nashville, about halfway to Knoxville. Together he and his wife moved to the area about 35 years ago with the intention of creating a “black and white silver gelatin historical documentation” of the area. The silver gelatin process, which I don’t fully understand yet, is a dying art… so much so that the last remaining manufacturer who provided the developing paper needed to reproduce the images recently went out of business, effectively putting Jack out of business. But I won’t pretend to speak with authority on things I know nothing about….

Jack’s pictures speak for themselves. His vintage method of capturing and re-producing life is striking, and as a result of this developing process you are left with an image that reminds you of the worn oval pictures of your great-great-great-grandparents, hanging on your relatives hallway walls. The silver-gelatin and washing process leaves the picture with this aged and rugged feeling, as though you can feel years through the picture itself, yet the photograph jumps out at you with such a vibrancy and life that it just captivates your attention.

Recently Jack has been honored for his work by being accepted into several museums, not the least of which is the Museum Of American History at the Smithsonian. If you have an appreciation for film photography, check out Jack’s online gallery. The resolution online isn’t the best and doesn’t do the film justice, but you may get the general impression:

Online Gallery:

so much to do, so little time

So I’m starting something new… at Jon’s prompting, I’ve begun my list of “101 Things To Do in 1001 Days”. You can check out the list as it takes shape at