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Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Back from a short trip to Nashville. Had a great time with the relatives, and checked out some interesting sites in Music City. There were three excellent exhibits at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. The three shows were Rubens, Jordaens, Van Dyck and Their Circle: Flemish Master Drawings from the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; Whistler, Sargent, and Steer: Impressionists in London From Tate Collections; and Gloria DeArcangelis: Figures and Portraits.
For a city of around 1.5 million people, I am always impressed with the number of activities available in Nashville. Besides the Frist, we visited Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Museum of Art to see the Helga pictures by Andrew Wyeth, who seems to be finally receiving the recognition he deserves.
There are many good restaurants there as well. It's always a good sign when there are too many choices to pick from when deciding where to dine. We ended having an excellent meal at Bound'ry Restaurant, which serves "global cuisine". As predicted by my brother, the waitress was an aspiring singer/songwriter from Texas.
We wanted to also check out the Bluebird Cafe to hear some upcoming country musicians, but had to settle for a stroll through the County Music Hall of Fame. The intro film presented a good overview of country music that has appeared on tv over the years. With shows like Hee Haw and some of the other lowbrow shows, it's no wonder county music has such a bad reputation. There was good use of technology at some of the exhibits housed in the new building, including an interative selection of video interviews with songwriters who responded to a list of questions about their craft. It was well worth the $15 cost of admission.
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
According to an article on pcworld.com, the oqo handheld computer won't be available until the first half of 2003.
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
It's a sad day for rock with the death of Joe Strummer of the Clash. I've been rediscovering the music of the Clash while converting old LP's to CD over the past few weeks. The Clash were a great band and Strummer was their heart and soul. While generally classified as a punk band, they were so much more than that. Strummer had a great, kick-ass, smart aleck attitude with a sence of humor and what I think is a great voice. Quite a combination.
Strummer's latest project was Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros on Epitaph Records. A while back I tried to order a copy of one of their recordings. As I recall, it was only available in vinyl, so I cancelled the order. Time to check their music, as CD's are obviously now available.
Unfortunately, Joe smoked cigarettes and was probably another tobacco-related casualty.
Article at space.com on the use of satellite imagery to map the Lewis & Clark trail. Also an example of one of the most annoying on-screen ads I've ever seen.
Sunday, December 22, 2002
Yesterday was a mild, sunny first-of-winter day that allowed us to get out and enjoy the snow-free trails on our bikes. Earlier in the day I had taken the BOB trailer to get groceries, and on the way saw a Broad-Winged Hawk dive for a rodent in the grass next to the trail. A while later another broad-wing tried to make a meal of one of the Mourning Doves that comes to our bird feeder in he backyard. They both flew up, grazing a second-floor window, then across the street, the dove escaping from the hawk as they flew away. Witnessing two hawk attacks in one day was a first.
It felt good to exercise bike muscles that have gotten minor use over the past month, what with the snow and rain we've had lately. Starting to enjoy the recumbent much more now that I'm more comfortable with the riding position. And my back feels much better afterwards.
Friday, December 20, 2002
Today is the second anniversary of exhalations (I realize that it's kind of dumb to include a self-referential link, but it seems appropriate somehow). Back in December 2000 I had just discovered Blogger and decided to try keeping an online journal to complement the paper journal I've kept since grad school. Back then I wrote a lot of personal info, but lately feel that people are not that interested in hearing about the minutia of my life. And yet, it's that kind of information that I enjoy reading the most about other people.
My paper journal is now much more graphic, and until I purchase a TabletPC, I will continue with two journal outlets. The nice thing about a Tablet PC and an application like OneNote is the ability to search through older material. It's not easy to find a reference in 20 or 30 paper journals.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Here's a summary of recent Lance stories at the Daily Peleton. Sounds like he is planning to retire after the 2004 season when he'll be 33. This will give him a chance to be the only person in history to win 6 straight Tours.
Armstrong remains more popular and famous in Europe than he does in his own country, but as his Tour de France victories begin to add up and the sense of his invicibility grows, so Europe begins to despair who can defeat him on the open road.
He was also recently named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.
Wednesday, December 18, 2002
Zeldman has written an excellent article on the strength of a good tobacco addiction.
I wish the message about the dangers of smoking and second hand smoke would penetrate a little deeper into the little brains of our youth. As a former smoker, I know how difficult it is to quit, so I try to be understanding of those who can't. Quitting after smoking for a while does strange things to ones psyche. I felt like my whole identity had changed when I quit, an indication of how deeply dependent I had become. It's sad to see how many people smoke in movies these days, knowing how youth are so impressionable.
Someone should also write about the number of Rock and Roll starts who have died from lung cancer caused by smoking. I have a feeling that kids aren't given as much information about the dangers of smoking as we did as kids. I have vivid memories of looking at pictures of the blackened lungs of cigarette smokers.
Tuesday, December 17, 2002
Finally got out and did some cycling the past couple of days. Most of the snow in this area has melted, and the trails were pretty clear. After not riding for over a week, I was a little winded the first few miles. It's amazing how little time it takes to get out of shape. I had been so cooped up the other day that I ran some laps around the house and ended up with a sore back.
Thoroughly enjoying Jim Harrison's memoir, Off to the Side. Each sentence is well-crafted. He has lived his life on his own terms, in some out of the way locations. I remember long ago a friend told me that he had gone salmon fishing with Jim Harrison, and I had only briefly read part of one of his novellas and wasn't impressed and said so; end of conversation. Now I would love the opportunity to have that conversation again to learn more about both people.
Saturday, December 14, 2002
UPI is reporting that there may be a link between environmental chemicals and Parkinson's Disease.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
Newsweek has a good article on Google. It's a sort of "Google for the masses" type of story for those don't use it on a daily basis. I don't know what I would do without it. I probably used it 20 or more times today to look up everything from the address of the W&OD Trail website to an obscure reference in a town council meeting. Don't tell anyone, but I think I would pay for the service if I had to. Actually, I know I would pay for it, it's a matter of how much I would pay for it.
Here's a rather technical review of the new Tablet PC.
It's getting depressing not being able to bike commute. The trails are still ice covered, but if the 50 degree weather continues, they won't be for long. Being basically lazy, it's hard for me to get exercise other than through bike commuting and walking, and when I don't get that exercise I'm tired and grouchy.
Wednesday, December 11, 2002
Will cyclists be wearing motorcycle air bags in the future?
Sunday, December 08, 2002
The first of what will be many communities banning the use of Segway scooters on sidewalks. They might be a great method of transportation in the future, but pedestrians have enough hazards to contend with without motorized scooters zooming by them going 15-20 mph on the sidewalk.
Saturday, December 07, 2002
One of the things I'll miss about vinyl are the occasional message scratched onto the inside of the album. Held in the right light, one can usually find an engraved number. Those more mischievous engineers would sometimes add a short message. On the 3 LP Sandinista! (The Clash) set I found this: IN SPACE... ...NO ONE... ...CAN... ...HEAR... ...YOU... ...CLASH!...
When cleaning up a scratchy LP recording, separating the noise from the music can sometimes be a challenge. Especially on a challenging work like Song X by Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman. It's a recording that is on the edge of what I consider to be elegant, moving music and noise. The beauty of a work like this is that there is so much to be found upon multiple listenings, and with a great work of art, it becomes better with age.
Friday, December 06, 2002
I found a copy of Steve Reich's Music for 18 Musicians a while back and recently converted it from vinyl to digital.The pulsing, acoustic beat is addictive after a while, or terribly annoying, depending on your tolerance for truly alternative music. I first heard the recording on an ECM sampler, no. 6, and was taken by it then. ECM is a great label, producing artists such as Pat Metheny, Paul McCandless, who played with the group Oregon, Keith Jarrett, John McLaughin, to name a few.
The Nexio by Samsung appears to be close to what I'm looking for in a mobile computer. "We think there's a space between where the PDA is and where the notebook is". One of these days the OQO will fill that space, but I'm not holding my breath anymore, as I haven't heard much about it lately. And the flash-heavy OQO website is nearly useless if you're looking for real information about the device.
Thursday, December 05, 2002
We got dumped on with an excellent layer of soft, powdery snow. It was great for cross-country skiing. There's nothing like having the right wax for the snow conditions, letting you glide effortlessly, while holding enough to allow skiing uphill.
Wednesday, December 04, 2002
The leaves are raked, the gutters are clean, and the hole in the roof is patched (sort of); we're ready for the big storm expected to hit tonight. As with many storm predictions in this area, there's a good chance that it will pass us by. The DC area seems to be right on the edge of many storm fronts that are difficult to predict.
Getting a little obsessed over recording and cleaning up old LP's. The fun part is rediscovering some great older music that I haven't heard in years. The downside is trying to find all those skips caused by dust or scratches on the record. They appear as spikes in the soundwave that can easily be corrected manually, but it's a tedious process. Reminds me a lot of when I did computer mapping and had to clean up poorly digitized map data. After a while it becomes a sort of addictive, mindless activity that results in a decent sounding WAV file.
Sunday, December 01, 2002
Megnut is leaving Paris. I've enjoyed her reports from her month-long trip. Staying for a longer visit is really the only way to begin to know a city. Otherwise, most of ones time is spent running from sight to sight and not just hanging out.
I've been riding the Rans recumbent lately and it's starting to grow on me. It takes a while to get the gluteus maximus in shape, since different muscles are involved than those used with an upright. The short wheelbase is also very squirrely, but after a while, riding it becomes much more enjoyable, and it's easier on my back and butt.
First rule of buying a sofa: Don't assume that finding a comfortable piece is the hardest part; wait until you have to choose from about 10,000 fabric designs.