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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

This space for rent

Cleek has moved...

I'm now over here (

Update your bookmarks and all that.

Monday, April 24, 2006


Since Blogger was dead for most of the morning, I decided to waste some time looking at alternative blogging options. I installed a copy of WordPress on the site I use to hold the images for Cleek, and started to configure it. Looks pretty good. It's definitely more powerful than Blogger, and I like the idea of having the whole application under my control - unchanging unless I change it myself, unlike Blogger and it's constant upgrade/breakage cycle. And, after Blogger's extended downtime today, I like the idea of having it on my own servers, for reliability - I know how important this site is to you, my handful of occasional readers.

But then blogger came back up. And then my other site died - not just my site, but the whole server, and all their other servers, including the one that hosts my business site, and the helpdesk site, and the main page for the hosting company. Poof, gone. That's why all my pictures are gone right now...

So much for that theory.

I still might do the move.

Start Your iPods

This work week, the iPods starts with:

  1. Robyn Hitchcock - Flesh Cartoons
  2. Pink Floyd - Pigs On The Wing (Pt 2)
  3. Pavement - Forklift
  4. Belly - Untogether
  5. Gillian Welch - I Made A Lover's Prayer (four days till MerleFest 06!)
  6. Pavement - Pueblo
  7. Big Star - Mod Lang
  8. Cassandra Wilson - Easy Rider
  9. Rogue Wave - Every Moment
  10. Rogue Wave - "Man - Revolutionary!"

Very nice for a Monday morning (except maybe that first Pavement song - that's a silly little bit of noisy nonsense).

...and if this post ever shows up, it means Blogger is working again.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 18-35mm

Friday, April 21, 2006

The 50 Worst Albums Ever

OMG OMG OMG! A list! A music list!

Respectful Insolence shows us Q Magazine's "The 50 Worst Albums Ever":
    1. Duran Duran - Thank You
    2. Spice Girls - All Their Solo Albums!
    3. Various - Urban Renewal: The Songs Of Phil Collins
    4. Lou Reed - Metal Machine Music
    5. Billy Idol - Cyberpunk
    6. Naomi Campbell - Babywoman
    7. Kevin Rowland - My Beauty
    8. Mick Jagger - Primitive Cool
    9. Westlife - Allow Us To Be Frank
    10. Tim Machine - Tin Machine Ii
    11. Limp Bizkit - Chocolate Starfish And The Hot Dog Flavored Water
    12. Tom Jones - Mr Jones
    13. Bruce Willis - The Return Of Bruno
    14. Terence Trent Diabolical - Neither Fish Nor Flesh
    15. Various - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band - OST
    16. Spice Girls - Forever
    17. Bob Dylan & The Grateful Dead - Dylan And The Dead
    18. Crazy Frog - Crazy Hits
    19. Goldie - Saturnz Return
    20. Mariah Cary - Glitter OST
    21. The Clash - Cut The Crap
    22. Robson & Jerome - Robson & Jerome
    23. Alanis Morissette - Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie
    24. Lauryn Hill - MTV Unpugged 2.0
    25. The Cranberries - To The Faithful Departed
    26. Vanilla Ice - Hard To Swallow
    27. Destiny's Child - Destiny Fulfilled
    28. The Rolling Stones - Dirty Work
    29. Various - Christmas In The Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album
    30. Michael Jackson - Invincible
    31. Stevie Wonder - Woman In Red
    32. Ace Of Bass - The Sign
    33. Billy Ray Cyrus - Some Gave All
    34. Fishspooner - #1
    35. Puff Daddy - Forever
    36. Kula Shaker - Peanuts, Pigs & Astronauts
    37. Shania Twain - Come On Over
    38. Chris Rea - The Road To Hell Pt2
    39. Big Country - Undercover
    40. The Others - The Others
    41. Paul Simon - Songs From The Capeman OST
    42. Babylon Zoo - The Boy With The X-Ray Eyes
    43. The Travelling Wilburys - Vol 3
    44. Kiss - Music From The Elder
    45. William Shatner - The Transformed Man
    46. Oasis - Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants
    47. Ozzy Osbourne - Under Cover
    48. Milli Vanilli - All Or Nothing
    49. Neil Young And The Shocking Pinks - Everybody's Rocking
    50. Beck - Midnight Vultures

I suspect the theme of that is really "Bad albums from otherwise decent big name artists, and some novelties". Obviously, you could find some horrors in the discount bin at any record store that would make anything up there look good.

The only one of those I own is Beck's Midnight Vultures, but I own (or have owned) dozens of records that are far worse than it.

The $30 paragraph

Scot at Izzle! Izzle pfaff! muses about flying to Utah. In the middle, he writes:
    It doesn't help that I'm going to fucking Utah, the boxy state that fails even in its geometric imperative towards Platonic boxiness. This is a state that got out-rhomboided by Wyoming, for Christ's sake. WYOMING! Here's a gerund of a state, which is just pathetic, and yet it eats Utah's Platonic lunch.

Counting the five dollar words, that's a $30 paragraph - in my estimation. Not only that, I fucking love it. I wish I thought myself capable of coming up with a phrase like "a gerund of a state". Damn you Scot. Damn you all to Utah.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The spoonful of oyster sorbet in particular was magical

I thought this, the Tasting Menu from a restaraunt called "The Fat Duck", was a joke. It reads like a Monty Python sketch. Some of the choices:

  • Snail Porridge
  • Salmon Poached with Liquorice
  • Mango and Douglas Fir Puree
  • Smoked Bacon and Egg Ice Cream

Crazy stuff. But, I was wrong; it's a real place. And not only is it a real place...
    The Fat Duck Restaurant in Bray, Berkshire was described by a global panel of 600 chefs, food critics and restaurateurs, as the Best Restaurant on the Planet. (here)

Well then. I should get out more.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Gilbert Gottfried has been declared less sexy than Osama Bin Laden.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The unthinkable

I just punched my iPod.

Two Fridays ago, I accidentally dropped it as I was walking out of my office. It fell on carpet, and when I got it home, it seemed to be working OK, so I thought everything was fine. Then, last week, back at work, while it's playing I noticed little sounds in the background - like little electronic crickets, steadily chirping.

After a few day's worth of poking, I discovered that if I push down on the case a little bit, the noise stops. It's not a grounding issue, because I can get the noise to stop by putting a full coffee cup on top of the iPod, too. I also found that I can get the crickets to stop for a long time if I thump it just right with my finger. So, I'm guessing there's something slightly loose inside the iPod.

Today, I couldn't get the thump to work. So I beat upon my iPod with my fist - just once. It didn't care. And now I hate what I've become - an iPod abuser. Such a long journey from the iPod worshipper I started out as.

Start Your iPods

This work week we start with an uninspiring sampling of 3rd-tier songs:

  1. The Minus 5 - Out There On The Maroon
  2. The Police - Contact
  3. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead... - Days Of Being Wild
  4. Califone - Apple
  5. REM - Sitting Still
  6. John Coltrane - Ogunde (live). *skip* I don't need no screeching free jazz at 9:00am on a Monday
  7. Robyn Hitchcock - We're Gonna Live In The Trees
  8. Sugar - If I Can't Change Your Mind
  9. Moby Grape - Omaha
  10. Mudhoney - Need

... except that REM song - love that one.

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 18-35mm

Friday, April 14, 2006

Origin of Noodleous doubleous

Class, your assignment over the weekend is to read the following paper: "Origin of the Novel Species Noodleous doubleous: Evidence for Intelligent Design", by Thomas D. Schneider, Ph.D.


    Penne Rigate will spontaneously insert itself into Rigatoni (order pasta) under liquid to gas transition conditions of H2O to create the previously unobserved species Noodleous doubleous. The estimated probability of this spontaneous generation event is too low to be explained by thermodynamics and therefore apparently represents intelligent design.

There may be a quiz on Monday.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Ah ha! A Twist!

The Quincunx, in a nutshell:

There are only 30 people in all of England; and no matter how you choose them, in every group of five people, three will know each other, two will be working to kill or rob one of the others, and one will have two names; and it's been that way for a hundred years.

The plot is absurdly complex (and not just because it's tightly bound to the intricacies of 19th C. British estate and inheritance laws and procedure!) ; and every few pages the main characters have to take time out from implementing their idiotic schemes and explain the whole thing to each other - because even they can't keep it straight without periodic recitation. But when they do that, you can be assured that a Big Plot Twist is about to happen ! And that means everything they just explained will need to be revised ! Frankly, I think they probably know that's exactly what will happen and are just helping refresh the reader's memory so he'll know where to put the new information when it arrives.

But after more than 700 extremely dense pages (dense in typeface and in language), the author ends it without answering the Big Question. And I'm all like ... Now you pull out the subtlety? After 700 pages of melodramatic wankery, you decide ambiguity is the way to end this thing? What The Fuck?

But, at least I got to learn that there was a brisk trade in human flesh (from stolen corpses. for meat.) in mid-1800's London.

(And, you should really read the link I stuffed up there. It brings a whole new dimension to bad writing ! )

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Sprague Lake, CO

Nikon N80, 28-80mm, Fuji Superia 400, Grayscaled


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Rolling Rice Krispies

news from me has a link to a video of a Rice Krispies commercial from 1964, the music for which was written and recorded by the Rolling stones.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Caesar demands a building permit

The Pensacola News Journal has a story:
    It may have been built with heavenly intentions, but a judge has ruled that the creationism theme park known as Dinosaur Adventure Land still must obey earthly laws.

    Escambia County authorities this week locked up a museum building at the theme park on North Palafox Street in Pensacola after Circuit Judge Michael Allen ruled the owners were in contempt of court.

    Owners of the park, which shows how dinosaurs may have roamed the Earth just a few thousand years ago, did not obtain a building permit before constructing the building in 2002. They have argued in and out of court that it violates their "deeply held" religious beliefs, and that the church-run facility does not have to obtain permits.

    After almost four years of litigation, the judge disagreed and said the county has the authority to close the building until the owners comply with regulations.

    The judge also fined two church leaders $500 each per day for every day the building is used or occupied. If church officials continue to refuse to comply with local ordinances, the judge may decide that the building can be razed, Allen's ruling said.

    County commissioners showed no sympathy to members of the Creation Science Evangelism ministry who spoke out Thursday night at a commission meeting about the county's actions.

    "Scripture also says 'Render unto Caesar what Caesar demands.' And right now, Caesar demands a building permit," County Commission Chairman Mike Whitehead said.

tee hee.

(via The Panda's Thumb

Start Your iPods

The iPod starts the work week with:

  1. Wilhelm Kempff - Kalviersonate #23 op 57 no 2. A little of the old Ludwig Von to start the week. Ahh.
  2. Stephen Malkmus - Ramp of Death. "Ramp" is one of my favorite words.
  3. Grandaddy - So You'll Aim Towards The Sky
  4. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead... - How Near, How Far
  5. The Minus 5 - Original Luke
  6. Codeine - New Year's
  7. REM - Moral Kiosk
  8. Led Zeppelin - Trampled Under Foot
  9. Elliot Smith - Pictures of Me
  10. David Bowie - Fashion. Oooh bop.
  11. Bonus : Wilhelm Kempff - Kalviersonate #14 op 27 no 2. a.k.a. the "Moonlight" sonata. While these Beethoven sonatas (and more) have been on the iPod for a year, today is the first day any has appeared on my Monday list. And to get two of them! Ah yummy.

And off we go...

Ah, rational discourse

Digby's sidekick, tristero, wrote a little post where he says:

    If this country so much as opens the question to serious consideration "whether first-strike nukes are justified in the present world," then we are already halfway down the path to a nuclear holocaust. All it will take to tip it over is one more major terrorist attack, and Bush will guarantee the nukes will fall. And if you don't think there will be another major terrorist attack in America, either a real one or one faked by this administration, you have not been paying attention to what has been going on.

(my emphasis)

I thought this was a bit of a stretch. It's one thing to think BushCo is corrupt, dishonest and criminal - it's quite another to think they'd be complicit in a "major terrorist attack in America". Of course, that was enough to bring out the "Bush was involved in 9/11!" gang, guns a-blazing: "explosives in the towers!", "the alleged hijackers are still alive!" Now, nobody seems to have any actual evidence that BushCo was involved in 9/11 - all they can point to are coincidences or things that are not completely understood; and those places, they claim, are where we find The Hand of Bush in action! Like Intelligent Design, with Bush as the designer, things are just too perfect for them to have happened without the hand of their favorite supernaturally-clever designer. And so Bush is both the evil mastermind and the incompetent boob - he's genius enough to have brought down the WTC while making it look, to most of the world, like the work of a handful of angry young Middle-Easterners (and evil enough to have done it at all) - he's even got Bin Laden and the rest of Al-Q playing along with the charade. And now Bush is supposedly going to start a war with Iran which will end up a horrible mess because, ya know, he's an incompetent boob - as proved by how he's handled everything else during his Presidency.

The designer invents the vast complex web of Life On Earth, and for kicks, arranges the Universe to make it look like it's billions of years old when it's really only 6,000 - but he can't come up with a reasonable human immune system or a digestive tract that can handle beans.

You just have to have faith that he's behind it all.

And for doubting that Bush is both a supernatural genius and a bumbling idiot at the same time, I get the following comment:
    Cleek. Listen closely. You'll be the first one clubbed and left hanging from the lamppost.

Now, I can't tell if that's a death threat towards me or not. If it is, I guess that means death threats aren't just for right-wing wackos, the leftiest lefties are more than happy to get down in the gutter, too. If it's some kind of warning that I'll "be the first one clubbed" because I don't see the grand conspiracy, then... well, OK - if you say so.

Either way, what a fucking crazy world...

Monday Cat Blogging

Nikon D100, 18-35mm

I'm trying to fucking sleep!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fish out of water

Wife's in Vegas at a bachelorette party (oy). So, I was over at some friend's house last night. They had just come back from Panama (while we were in Japan) and they hd some rum that was made for sipping, not for mixing. Here I thought I was a man of the world, and I never even considered that rum was something anyone would ever drink in the absence of some sort of whipped fruit mixture. "So, you just... sip it?" I forget exactly what the rum was called (Payrat?) , but it was absolutely delicious. It was as good as the tequila I had in Tokyo. Among other things, we talked about fish - my expereince wish raw fish in Japan and their's with fried in Panama. They told me I should go to the fish market at the farmer's market in Raleigh, for the freshest fish around. So, I went there.

It took a bit of wandering and driving to find it. I took a stroll through the Nahunta Pork Center, where I got to see all the kinds of pork parts people eat - hearts? But I finally found found the seafood place. It was a smallish building, across the street from the farmer's market proper, with a gigantic counter full of whole fresh fish. They had fillets of cod, whiting and tilapia (which confused me cause I though tilapia was a south american fish), but 80% of it was. I was the only white person in the place. I puzzled that over for a bit: is it only white people who like their fish filleted ? Are whole Croakers and Rockfish something boring ol' white America hasn't caught onto yet? Why can't I find whiting at Whole Foods ? So many tough questions... Before I left, I was this close to buying a chunk of cod, even though I don't think cod has anything to do with the NC coast, when I remembered: when the wife is out of town, and you don't have to work in the morning, it's time for ribeye and alcohol! And so it was written, and so it was done, medium rare. Tomorrow I'll eat a stupid fish.

So, off to the fancy supermarket to find a nice steak. On the way I listened to the Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party and the Libertines - all relatively new British bands. Before I'd heard any of them, I'd heard on various blogs there's some controversy about who's more "authentic": the Libertines or the Arctic Monkeys. I considered myself lucky to not know WTF the discussion was about, at the time. Now, I'm happy to be able to appreciate them on their own merits, completely outside the context of British popularized opinion. I don't have a favorite of the three - they all have their individual strengths and weaknesses. They're all good with the top down and nothing specific to do.

So, I bought a monster ribeye, a bottle of wine and a potato, and had myself a feast - watching VH1 Classic and FUSE (which I guess is MTV for angry young men). They had a full half hour of White Stripes! Now, I like the White Stripes, but I had no idea they were actually really popular with the "kids". And I had no idea that they had a dozen videos - I'd only ever seen one, and that came with the iTunes download of their latest album. I don't even know where you'd find a video these days, MTV is all game shows. But, Jack White talked and talked between 15-second clips of the videos, and made himself sound a little flakey, while Meg White sat there like a lump. I guess there's a whole philsophy behind the red/white/black colro scheme and the "third man" name and all this other junk - yadayadayayda. But, I don't buy their records for their interview skills. They do a great job of stripping away all the fuiller and getting down to the guts. It's a totally different scene from what was going on the channel above (which filled-in during commerical) - the BlingBling rap channel, I think. So, I was a bit surprised to find that the Strips were popular enough to warrant a whole half-hour special.

I guess I should get out more... ?

On the other hand, we went to a club a few weeks ago (pre-Japan), where they have a jukebox that can download songs off the internet - so you can get almost anything you want. My party hogged the jukebox, played mostly speed metal and classic punk for hours. I played The New Pornographers, Pixies, White Stripes and the Arctic Monkeys and they were met with a general shrug. During the 20 minute live vesion f Inna Gada Davida (no shit, the guy who played the Misfits and Metallica played that thing) some 20 year old girl came up to me and asked when we'd be done so she could to play some "classic 80's hair metal".

Can't keep up I Can't keep up
I Can't keep up I Can't keep up
I'm Out of step, with the world.

(yeah, I finally bought some Minor Threat of my own)

Love that wine

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.