Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Architecture of Density

Michael Wolf photographs buildings in Hong Kong, with beautiful and stunning results.

I believe that you are Ninja, too.

We live in an age of constant fear- an age where danger can strike at any moment and terror plays among even the most unassuming shadows. We live in the time of the Ninja.

It's a forgone conclusion that most of us will meet our ends at the stealthy hands of a Ninja, and while we can never fully understand the hows and whys of Ninjas, simple interpersonal dialogue may better prepare us for the ultimate showdown. Not that any amount of preparation will save us from the death clasp of the Ninja when he decides to strike...

Some of my favorites:

Omnibus
How do you kill a Ninja?
Ninja Colds
Cartoon Version

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Show

In honor of his 50th "episode," I am finally giving props (did I really just type that?) to internet superhero, Ze Frank and his awesomely great The Show. Way back when, I stumbled upon Ze Frank's site and thought it was very cool, but very weird. I was an idiot then - Ze is a genius who was ahead of his time. In a rare turn of events, time has actually caught up with Ze Frank and he is still weird, but in that really, really good way.

Friday, May 26, 2006

ValleySchwag ahoy!

It's on it's way!

Do they have an army, too?

Who's the better KISS tribute band - Minikiss or Tinykiss? Who the fuck cares? Midgets are scary enough without the makeup. Why did I post this? I don't even like KISS (except for the song Beth, which doesn't count because it's a rock ballad and those are in a class apart from their actual artists) and I am kind of creeped out by midgets little people. Oh yeah - so I could post this picture:



Sometimes the captions just write themselves. You're welcome.

Hmm…

I am seriously contemplating purchasing an XM Pioneer Inno. It's a portable XM receiver and MP3 player in one sexy unit. It can hold up to 50 hours of songs, be they XM content or files from my own collection and apparently has a user-friendly interface. I can't decide if I want it bad enough to fork over the money +monthly subscription, but it is mighty tempting. I remember a couple years back when we had XM in our car I was dreaming of a portable unit like this.

Four Things

It's Friday. What the hell, right? To the 2 people who read this blog, yes, I know the formatting is jacked up. Again, it's Friday - I don't have time to stress over these details.
Four jobs I've had:
1. Waitress at Winstead's in Liberty (now closed)
2. Cashier at Price Chopper
3. Seller of pet supplies
4. You know those bubble sheets some teachers make you fill out for tests? I scanned those.
Four movies I can watch over and over:
1. Auntie Mame
2. The Jerk
3. Pulp Fiction
4. Office Space

Four places I've lived:
1. Kansas City, Missouri (with my parents)
2. Kansas City, Missouri (with my mom)
3. Kansas City, Missouri (by myself)
4. Kansas City, Missouri (with my husband)
Four TV shows I love:
1. House
2. Red Dwarf
3. Strangers With Candy
4. The Sopranos

Four places I've vacationed:
1. Maui, Hawaii
2. Acapulco, Mexico
3. Minneapolis, MN
4. Las Vegas, NV
Four of my favorite dishes:
1. Tuna melt
2. Chicken Tikka Masala
3. Galanga soup
4. Sung Son's chicken with lemongrass (number 33)
Four albums I can't live without:
1. Paul Simon - Graceland
2. David Byrne - Grown Backwards
3. Willaim Shatner - Has Been
4. Ray Charles - Genius and Soul boxed set

Four books I wish I could read again for the first time:
1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
2. The Known World by Edward P. Jones
3. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery
4. Beloved by Toni Morrison

Four vehicles I've owned:
1. 1983 Nissan Pulsar
2. 1987 Pontiac Bonneville
3. 1997 Hyundai Elantra
4. 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Four sites I visit daily:
1. kottke.org
2. boingboing.net
3. google.com
4. wikipedia.org

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. In my house that I have yet to purchase that is signifigantly closer to work than the one I live in now
2. Washington, D.C
3. Paris
4. In a bookstore

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Insanely great.

Here is a short and incomplete list of previously unknown (to me) facts about 1984 that can be derived from this video:

In 1984...

  • Steve Jobs looked exactly like Tucker Carlson.

  • Scrolling text was cool.

  • It was okay to keep beloved family members in a duffle bag.

I’ve always liked orange.

"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palete, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love." ~ Marc Chagall

Happiness is…


  • Jewelry from Sam's Club

  • Bright, full moons

  • Whistlepigs

  • Old Navy pajama bottoms

  • Having a fingernail file available when one is needed

  • Flavored iced teas - especially raspberry

  • Ralphie running when the treat can is shaken

  • Cannoli

  • The snooze button on alarm clocks

  • Red plasitic Solo cups

  • Harry Potter

  • Dreaming of being a poet

  • Brass Slnkys

  • Finding a new, unexpected movie at the video store

  • Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales CD

  • Roy's head-tilt inquizition

  • Reading the newspaper ads on Sundays

Change management.

"We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams, we would be reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralization."
- Petronius Arbiter (210 B.C.E.)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Beautiful Dreamer

This is a drawing of the great Harlem Renaissance poet Langston Hughes by artist Winold Reiss. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Langston Hughes (or even if you are familiar) it's well worth your time to read some of his poetry. The poems appear very simple and uncomplicated on first glance, but as you get deeper into each poem, or have a chance to mull it over even for a couple of moments, you realize that Hughes has a way with language and an eye for culture that boggles the mind and pierces the soul.

Hughes had a writing career that spanned 5 decades, with a body of work including not only poetry, but also plays, prose and translations. On May 22, 1967, Hughes died from complications from prostate cancer.

The Negro Speaks of Rivers
I've known rivers:
I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the
flow of human blood in human veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orelans, and I've seen its muddy
bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I've known rivers:
Ancient, dusky rivers.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

~~~
Theme for English B
The instructor said,

Go home and write
a page tonight.
And let that page come out of you--
Then, it will be true.


I wonder if it's that simple?
I am twenty-two, colored, born in Winston-Salem.
I went to school there, then Durham, then here
to this college on the hill above Harlem.
I am the only colored student in my class.
The steps from the hill lead down into Harlem,
through a park, then I cross St. Nicholas,
Eighth Avenue, Seventh, and I come to the Y,
the Harlem Branch Y, where I take the elevator
up to my room, sit down, and write this page:

It's not easy to know what is true for you or me
at twenty-two, my age. But I guess I'm what
I feel and see and hear, Harlem, I hear you:
hear you, hear me--we two--you, me talk on this page.
(I hear New York, too.) Me--who?
Well, I like to eat, sleep, drink and be in love.
I like to work, read, learn and understand life
I like a pipe for a Christmas present,
or records--Bessie, bop, or Bach.
I guess being colored doesn't make me not like
the same things other folks like who are other races.
So will my page be colored that I write?

Being me, it will not be white.
But it will be
a part of you, instructor.
You are white--
yet a part of me, as I am a part of you.
That's American.
Sometimes perhaps you don't want to be a part of me.
Nor do I often want to be a part of you.
But we are, that's true!
As I learn from you,
I guess you learn from me--
although you are older--and white--
and somewhat more free.

This is my page for English B.

~~~
Night Funeral in Harlem
Night funeral
In Harlem: Where did they get
Them two fine cars?

Insurance man, he did not pay--
His insurance lapsed the other day--
Yet they got a satin box
for his head to lay.
Night funeral
In Harlem:

Who was it sent
That wreath of flowers?

Them flowers came
from that poor boy's friends--
They'll want flowers, too,
When they meet their ends.

Night funeral
in Harlem:

Who preached that
Black boy to his grave?

Old preacher man
Preached that boy away--
Charged Five Dollars
His girl friend had to pay.

Night funeral
In Harlem:

When it was all over
And the lid shut on his head
and the organ had done played
and the last prayers been said
and six pallbearers
Carried him out for dead
And off down Lenox Avenue
That long black hearse done sped,
The street light
At his corner
Shined just like a tear--
That boy that they was mournin'
Was so dear, so dear
To them folks that brought the flowers,
To that girl who paid the preacher man--
It was all their tears that made
That poor boy's
Funeral grand.

Night funeral
In Harlem.

~~~
Madam and the Phone Bill
You say I O.K.ed
LONG DISTANCE?
O.K.ed it when?
My goodness, Central
That was then!

I'm mad and disgusted
With that Negro now.
I don't pay no REVERSED
CHARGES nohow.

You say, I will pay it--
Else you'll take out my phone?
You better let
My phone alone.

I didn't ask him
To telephone me.
Roscoe knows darn well
LONG DISTANCE
Ain't free.

If I ever catch him,
Lawd, have pity!
Calling me up
From Kansas City.

Just to say he loves me!
I knowed that was so.
Why didn't he tell me some'n
I don't know?

For instance, what can
Them other girls do
That Alberta K. Johnson
Can't do--and more, too?

What's that, Central?
You say you don't care
Nothing about my
Private affair?
Well, even less about your
PHONE BILL, does I care!

Un-humm-m! . . . Yes!
You say I gave my O.K.?
Well, that O.K. you may keep--

But I sure ain't gonna pay!

Happiness is…


  • Panera Poppyseed salad dressing

  • George Gershwin songs

  • Surprises from my mom (she leaves random things in my office sometimes when I am out)

  • The song Lovely Day by Bill Withers

  • Roy running circles in the snow

  • Waking up early enough to make breakfast

  • Finding an end spot in a crowded parking lot

  • Smallville

  • The book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Lovely, dark and deep.

This poem reminds me to take time to enjoy the beauty and magic of life, no matter what other things may need to be done. Make time.

Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening
by Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Random Wisdom

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
- Aristotle

"Do not scorn the person who is perpetually happy. He does know something you don't."
- Paul Jones

"A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person."
- Mingnon McLaughlin

"As unnecessary as a well is to a villiage on the banks of a river, so unnecessary as all scriptures to someone who has seen the truth."
- The Bhagavad Gita

"A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner."
- English Proverb

"Become addicted to constant and neverending self-improvement."
- Anthony J. D'Angelo

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

One step closer to Jedi domination

Over the weekend, MacSaber was released. On a MacBook or newer PowerBook with motion sensors enabled, you can effectively turn your laptop into a lightsaber sound machine. I recently got a new iBook, but unfortunately the software isn't compatible with the motion sensor installed in my laptop. I could move the window around to make the sound effects, but that isn't nearly as cool as being able to swing the laptop around and scare the pants out of people afraid of the evil Emperor.

Luckily for the rest of the world, this guy has put the MacSaber program to excellent use by recreating one of the great moments in internet history.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Surreal Life

Kottke.org has intruduced me to the amazing work of Canadian artist Ron Gonsalves, described as part Salvador Dali, part Rene Magritte and part M.C. Escher. One of my favorites is called Written Worlds:


See more of his work here and here. You can also purchase a book of his images from Amazon.

More love for ValleySchwag

So my shipment hasn't arrived yet, but my post singing their praises has ended up on the ValleySchwag blog. I will post copious photos of the phat loots as soon as they appear in my mailbox. That is assuming, of course, that the mail carrier doesn't ninja them first.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Font-tastic

A picture is worth a thousand words.. but what if those words were written in pictures? I just blew your mind there, didn't I?

Check out these themed fonts from typeNow and start telling some mindblowing tales. My personal favorites are the ones for Neverwinter Nights, The Price is Right, and Corpse Bride.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

Ghost by Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls

There’s a letter on the desktop
That I dug out of a drawer
The last truce we ever came to
In our adolescent war
And I start to feel the fever
From the warm air through the screen
You come regular like seasons
Shadowing my dreams

And the Mississippi’s mighty
But it starts in Minnesota
At a place that you could walk across
With five steps down
And I guess that’s how you started
Like a pinprick to my heart
But at this point you rush right through me
And I start to drown

And there’s not enough room
In this world for my pain
Signals cross and love gets lost
And time passed makes it plain
Of all my demon spirits
I need you the most
I’m in love with your ghost
I’m in love with your ghost

Dark and dangerous like a secret
That gets whispered in a hush
(don’t tell a soul)
When I wake the things I dreamt about you
Last night make me blush
(don’t tell a soul)
And you kiss me like a lover
Then you sting me like a viper
I go follow to the river
Play your memory like a piper

And I feel it like a sickness
How this love is killing me
I’d walk into the fingers
Of your fire willingly
And dance the edge of sanity
I’ve never been this close
I’m in love with your ghost

Unknowing captor
You never know how much you
Pierce my spirit
But I can’t touch you
Can you hear it
A cry to be free
Oh I’m forever under lock and key
As you pass through me

Now I see your face before me
I would launch a thousand ships
To bring your heart back to my island
As the sand beneath me slips
As I burn up in your presence
And I know now how it feels
To be weakened like Achilles
With you always at my heels

This bitter pill I swallow
Is the silence that I keep
It poisons me I can’t swim free
The river is too deep
Though I’m baptized by your touch
I am no worse than most
In love with your ghost

You are shadowing my dreams
(in love with your ghost)
(in love with your ghost)
(in love with your ghost)

Generalizations

"Be who you are and say what you feel. The people who matter don't mind, and the people who mind don't matter."
- Dr. Seuss

"To generalize is to be an idiot."
- William Blake

Great men of some consequence

This poem reminds me of dancing on my father's feet and sitting on the tall shoulders of my uncle Jeff.

My Papa's Waltz
by Theodore Roethke

The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.

We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.

You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

On Religion

"The hands that help are far better than the lips that pray."
- Robert G. Ingersoll

"Beware the man of one book."
- St. Thomas Aquinas

Monday, May 8, 2006

Merry-Go-Round by Langston Hughes

COLORED CHILD AT A CARNIVAL

Where is the Jim Crow section
On this merry-go-round,
Mister, cause I want to ride?
Down South where I come from
White and colored
Can't sit side by side.
Down South on the train
There's a Jim Crow car.
On the bus we're put in the back—
But there ain't no back
To a merry-go-round!
Where's the horse
For a kid that's black?

Politics by William Butler Yeats

`In our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in
political terms' - Thomas Mann

HOW can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics?
Yet here's a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there's a politician
That has read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war's alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms!

Change.

"They must often change, who would be constant in happiness or wisdom."
- Confucius

"If you don't like something, change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
- Mary Engelbreit

"Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine."
- Robert C. Gallagher

"The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them."
- George Bernard Shaw

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
- Mahatma Gandhi

More things that make me happy

Roy after a bath.

Learning to appreciate wine.

Macaroni Grill on Metcalf.

Finding perfect new eyeglasses.

Malt-O-Meal made with chocolate Silk.

Watching and enjoying "Red Dwarf" on BBC America.

Knowing I get to spend the rest of my life with the man I love most in the world.

Funeral Blues by W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

From “The Master Speed” by Robert Frost

Two such as you with such a master speed
Cannot be parted nor be swept away
From one another once you are agreed
That life is only life forevermore
Together wing to wing and oar to oar.

Wisdom, advice and a toast.

A toast to your coffin.
May it be made of 100 year old oak.
And may we plant the tree together tomorrow.
- Anonymous

"To keep the fire burning brightly there's one easy rule: keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart - about a finger's breadth - for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule."
- Marnie Reed Crowell

"Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."
- Erich Fromm

Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Overheard

While eating lunch today at Sung Son, I overheard snippets of the conversation from the table behind me. I believe they were all from KCPT.

Man 1: What do the Boomers like to watch? We could pull Lawrence Welk...
Man 2: The audience for Welk is dying at a rate of 10,000 a day.
Man 3: Yeah, all the World War II people.
Man 1: Boomers like travel and cooking shows.
Man 2: And shows about environmental issues, but we can't put too many shows about the environment on or we will be seen as too Liberal, and we don't want that.
Man 1: It's not right, but it's a fact that environmental shows come across as Liberal.

So that's the state of public television, my friends. Take from it what you will.

Personally, I'd like to see less sewing and painting and gardening shows and more musicals, documentaries and Dr. Who reruns. And Red Dwarf. For fuck's sake, PBS - give me my Red Dwarf.

Collecting sadness.

A new website has popped up in which visitors can post images of and stories about the saddest objects they own. It's an interesting idea, really, to catalogue physical representations of people's sadness. Much like PostSecret, The Saddest Thing I Own reminds me that I am not alone in my experiences, connections, relationships, complications, loss, etc. It also reminds me that I am blessed to be surrounded by love and happiness most of the time, and that this love and happiness makes the inevitable sadness endurable.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

The End of the Rainbow

When I was a kid, I would leave the big city every few weekends to visit my dad, stepmom and sister in Albany, Missouri. Albany is one of those Norman Rockwell towns, where everyone knows everyone else. There is one movie theater with one screen on the town square that hosts the county courthouse. Every summer, Albany celebrates Frontier Days with street fairs and bullfrog races, every Thanksgiving they welcome Santa Claus as he arrives in town on a fire truck to turn on the Christmas lights.

One summer I helped my dad and stepmom deliver Meals on Wheels to some of the elderly residents of Albany. The meals were prepared at the community center in McFall, about 10 miles down the road. Delivering the meals was a lesson in charity, humility, why I should take care of my body while I have the chance, the importance of keeping in good favor with your family, and not visibily wincing when some of the people opened the door to their homes and the smell of old newspapers and Ben-Gay about knocked me over.

I was reminded of McFall today, when I came across a webpage with photographs of a rainbow that appeared there in February, 2006. Idyllic, indeed.