Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A Primer primer


I was walking around the video store on Sunday when I noticed this film on DVD for the first time. I hadn't heard of it, but apparently it won an award at Sundance last year, so I knew that it couldn't be total crap. The box described some sort of time-travel puzzle movie, one that would be discussed, or at least pondered, for some time afterward. I rented it and watched it. And my mind was blown.

Two engineers begin building this machine in their spare time, and when they begin to discover its capabilties, they're seeing dollar signs. Then one of them discovers that it is capable of sending an object back and forth through time along a parabolic curve. But when they try to send some things forward or backward, the items always come back to where they started (the present) - except that the objects have experienced hundreds of cycles of forward and backward time travel within their own context, thus they have aged. So they figure that if they sent a person through a machine, that person could break the cycle whenever they wanted to - start in the present, exit in the past.

That's when things get weird. The plan starts out simple enough: find a stock that's jumped in price in one day, go back to that morning, buy a bunch of that stock on margin, reap the benefits. Then things get complicated, and I can't tell you any more about it without giving anything away. All I can say is that after watching it four times, I still have a hard time keeping tracking of everything in the final third of the film.

Fortunately, there is help. Don't click the next link unless you've either seen the movie or want to, because it has the whole story plotted out in great detail.

Rent or buy this movie if you like intriguing stories that have to be figured out.

2 Talked Back:

At June 30, 2005 at 2:21:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

I have never heard of this movie, but I will have to check it out.


At June 30, 2005 at 6:25:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Make sure you get a five-day rental, so you can watch it again and again.


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And I'm the three jillionth person to blog about it

According to Mike Wiley, a road geek is "a person who is obsessed with anything associated with transport by a road, street or highway." For me, it's been more of an interest than an obsession, so I suppose I would be called an "amateur" road geek, or just a road enthusiast. What's cool is that in the course of my job, which involves research on street addresses, I have had a lot of fun using Google Maps, which speaks directly to that road enthusiast side of me. Cooler still is the Satellite button on that site, which switches the drawn road maps into actual satellite images of the locations I have searched for.

Well, last night I discovered the just-released Google Earth, which has turned that satellite imagery into a 3D landscape. This searchable application is amazing. Not only can you look directly down upon a location, but you can actually tilt the view to any angle between 0 and 90 degrees. The application uses light and shadows in the images to create a 3D topographical map, allowing you to see hills and mountains as they (sort of) actually look. Also, in most major cities, they've found a way to render taller buildings in 3D.

Now this is where I might ramp up to being a full-on road geek. This app allows you to "fly" from one place to another, simply by typing an address or landmark name into the search window. Going from your house in Portland to, say, the St. Louis arch? Just type it in, and you'll zoom out of Portland, pan across half of the country, then zoom back into the Arch.

I haven't tried this part yet, but you can also put in a start and stop point, and the app will give you driving directions and draw the route on the map (just like Google Maps), and you can fly over the route. There are about three jillion categories of overlays you can add to it, too, from street names to active volcanoes to zip code boundaries to restaurants.

It's cool to have all of this functionality, but the images aren't perfect. For example, the Seattle Space Needle is drawn as just a round column. But that only means that future versions of Google Earth should be in greater detail than this first released version.

The best part is that it's free. Just like my advertising it for them.

2 Talked Back:

At June 30, 2005 at 10:20:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

The 3D bulding imagery is rudimentary, at best. I "flew" over to St. Louis last night, and the arch has been rendered as a big, rectangular monolith. I'll have to get a screen shot tonight and post it.


At June 30, 2005 at 8:20:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

it is a big, rectangular monolith with an arch painted on each side, they filled in the middle after a plane flew through it, we thought everyone knew


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Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The nails in my coffin will be painted red

What is it about fingernails that make them so difficult to hear?

Fingernails on a blackboard annoy most people, although most of us in the working world don't have to worry about that anymore. I knew a guy who would go nuts if you scraped your fingernails along the side of a cardboard box. When I clip my own nails, I have to bite my lower lip to keep from grinding my teeth, because of that 'tink' sound. But the worst sound of all, in my opinion, is the sound of long fingernails typing on a computer keyboard.

I work in cubicle land, and I am literally surrounded by women. Women who dress and present themselves in varying degrees of office-appropriate fashion, some of whom have long fingernails. And there is nothing wrong with that at all. But there is one woman in very close proximity whose nails sound like a horror movie about killer cockroaches. Tickatickatickatickatickatick I just wanna go over there and jam mittens over her hands!

Personally, I have to clip my nails down to near nothing, or else they'll slip all over the place while I'm typing. I imagine that if I had extremely long nails I wouldn't be able to type more than one or two sentences a day. How these women do it, I'll never know.

6 Talked Back:

At June 28, 2005 at 6:04:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

it's kind of like a metal fork and knife rubbing together


At June 28, 2005 at 6:23:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

my dog like to drag the metal garden shovel up and down the concrete driveway, you can hear the neightbors shrieking in the distance


At June 28, 2005 at 7:07:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Hey, Jim, you may have noticed that I linked your blog from my comic strip site as well. But you don't need to reciprocate, as I'm represented twice already... :)


At June 29, 2005 at 2:07:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

it's a little known fact, but Stan is actually responsible for 99.99% of all blogs in existence -- except for your's, mine, and one written by a slightly demented eighty-six year old Haitian woman living in Duluth, Stan pretends he is three million different people and authors blogs in each of their names, he has not slept in four years -- I added the link!


At June 29, 2005 at 10:59:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Gee, if I have three million blogs out there, I suppose I ought to link to your blog from more than just these three places. :)


At June 29, 2005 at 11:37:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jim said...



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Friday, June 24, 2005

I rate this post 3½ out of 7 Thumbs Partially Up

So maybe I'm not the first person to complain about this. I can't read everything about everything. But I am going to complain about this anyway.

Why would any movie critic with half a brain rate films in half-star increments?

This is what I'm talking about: Moe Schmoe, movie critic for the Wherever Times, sees the newest action movie in theaters and rates it 2½ out of 4 stars. For whatever reason, Mr. Schmoe has decided that the film is better than two, but not good enough for three. What's the point of a four-star system if you are going to split them into fractions? Why not just rate the film 5 out of 8 stars? Why not round it up to ten stars? Better yet, why not convert to the "academic" system of A through F? With all the plusses and minuses, you have 13 different levels, or grades, to choose from. Better than B but not A material? It's a B+ or an A-.

Look, all we really want is: Go See It or Don't Go See It.

Which brings me to Siskel and Roeper. Their system should be the simplest of all: either Two Thumbs Up, meaning we both recommend that you see it; One Thumb Up One Thumb Down, meaning it's probably good enough to watch, but you should wait until it's on DVD; or Two Thumbs Down, meaning that you shouldn't waste your money on this steaming pile of cat doo. But even those stalwarts of cinematic judgment break down their own system when they say, "Two Thumbs Up - WAY UP!!" There's only one kind of Up, guys, and that's Up. To add the WAY to your Up means that you have two levels of Up, thus defeating your triune yes-maybe-no system. (You guys can take your system and stick it up where the sun don't shine - way up.)

3 Talked Back:

At June 24, 2005 at 8:49:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

3 1/2 stars -- it's like the people who hit the EXIT signs on the freeway because they simply cannot make the choice of whether or not to exit (so they just hit the sign) -- 3 1/2 stars is like hitting the EXIT sign


At June 25, 2005 at 5:03:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Precisely the reason for those gigantic barrels of water.

"I'll give it 2 1/2 sta---OUCH, Oh, I'm wet now."


At June 27, 2005 at 12:56:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

Stan -- a lightbulb just to annoy you :)


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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

And no, I didn't taste it

A few minutes ago, I went in the lunch room to fill up my water bottle, and this is what I saw sitting upon the countertop:

That's right, it's a big plate o' cheese.

6 Talked Back:

At June 22, 2005 at 11:23:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

yuk, at which gulag do you work?


At June 23, 2005 at 9:59:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

I'm probably not allowed to tell you, but suffice it to say, it isn't a dairy.


At June 23, 2005 at 12:55:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

Boy, doesn't that look good!! Did you save me some? :)



At June 23, 2005 at 2:14:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Yes, it's sitting in the back of my car, waiting for me to give to you when you come to town. You better hurry, because it's sunny...


At June 23, 2005 at 3:20:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

Hey Stan, I have a new schedule, I now work 4 10's. I have Tuesday thru Thursdays off now, so that trip down will probably come pretty soon.



At June 23, 2005 at 4:39:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...



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Monday, June 20, 2005

I'm out of my element here

Right now I'm supposed to be talking on the phone to vendors, just to verify some information and collect information that we don't have. The problem is, I'm terrified of speaking on the phone to people I don't know, mainly because I barely grasp the business I work for. I just don't know that much about accounts payable, and I'm supposed to sound like I know what I'm talking about when I call these vendors. Some of these vendors are individuals who run their own businesses, who have maybe been used once by our company, yet we need to go through the whole process of setting them up as a vendor (aka red tape). I understand it's necessary, but I've already talked to a couple of them, and they either don't understand the reason for the red tape ("What's a W-9 form, and why do I need to send you a copy?") or they think it's ridiculous that I'm calling to ask them for information which we already have. I hate giving the impression that the left hand isn't talking to the right hand around here, because we're a pretty big, well-established company, and they've designated me, a temp who doesn't know much in the first place, as the liaison between said vendor and said large company. Also, there are a lot of more qualified individuals within earshot of my cubicle, who undoubetly have overheard me make a fool of myself while talking to these vendors. Like I need that extra pressure.

So I'm freaked out. Freaked out hard.

4 Talked Back:

At June 20, 2005 at 8:15:00 PM CDT, Blogger Meagan said...

" I'm terrified of speaking on the phone to people I don't know"

I'm terrified of speaking on the phone even to people I do know!

Well, okay, not quite terrified. But it's certainly un-enjoyable.

You could just lie to them. Make the company sound more interesting than it really is.
yay for email.


At June 21, 2005 at 7:36:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

pretend they're naked, it won't make you know more, but it will make you care less


At June 21, 2005 at 8:06:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

Should I imagine that they're about to kiss a squirrel?


At June 22, 2005 at 11:21:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

well, that would be just wierd


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Sloughing off the dead weight

I'm already ready to get rid of the almost-daily doodl blog. When I started, it was daily; now, it's lucky to be weekly. And I even cheated once: I had three images uploaded, and back-filled them into dates I missed. I guess it was a good idea at the time, but in reality, I just can't commit to (almost) daily updates.

I'm also not sure about the Getaway Banjo Music fake news blog. I mean, it's a great way for me to practice writing and all, but it's not practical for me to try to keep it on a schedule, even if it's just six headlines every Sunday and one feature a week. I already took a one-week hiatus because I ran out of headlines. I'll give it another week before deciding what to do with GBM. But I'll dump the doodl page for now.

Update: A compromise! I have simply changed the name of the almost-daily doodl blog to the occasionl doodl.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wait for it...wait for it...okay, NOW!

The news the other day said that 1,000,000 people in America now have AIDS. This was on the front page of the papers (obviously, this was before the Jackson acquittal). Front page news, one million Americans with AIDS. So my question is, why wasn't this front page news when we had 843,324 cases? Or 654,101? Or 712,239?

Nice round number, one million. Were the powers that be just waiting for that morbid odometer to roll over before alerting us?

And here comes Rusty Gordon driving the #29 Mary Kay Cosmetics car

I was watching some NASCAR on Sunday, which I haven't done in a while, and the winner of the race, Carl Edwards, was driving a car which was sponsored by a life insurance company. Now it seems to me that a company that pays a bunch of money to one's family when one dies would be a little hesitant to insure someone who drives 200 miles per hour for a living. What kind of message are they sending? "Go ahead and do whatever extremely dangerous things you want; we've got deep pockets just waiting to spill forth our money to your loved ones."

But I digress. The reason I'm bringing this up is that pretty much anybody with enough cash can get their company name emblazoned upon the hood of one of these cars, no matter how ironic or goofy it looks.

So, what other companies would be funny to see represented?

5 Talked Back:

At June 15, 2005 at 12:27:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

Sure to get more boos than Jeff Gordon:
Bob & Ken's Antiques.
Mother's Against Drunk Driving.
The New York Times or Washington Post.
Attends Adult Diapers.


At June 15, 2005 at 10:05:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

I was also thinking Toyota or Nissan might get booed, too.


At June 15, 2005 at 4:04:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

Toyota is already in NASCAR, in the NASCAR Truck series, and I bet Nissan won't be far behind.


At June 17, 2005 at 1:29:00 AM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

the CEO is probably a NASCAR fan, by having his company as a sponsor he gets access to the VIP tents, gets to meet the drivers, gets invitations to private parties, gets luxury box seating...

and, not only is it all deductable but "team sports" get a double deduction for salaries...

he plays, we pay, it's the corporate-America way (not that I'm bitter or anything)


At June 20, 2005 at 10:08:00 AM CDT, Blogger stan said...

And when we watch it, we get bombarded with twelve commercials per second...while the race is on, not just during commercial breaks.


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Monday, June 13, 2005

Pronounced "Aap-poe-tay-kah"

Okay, so it took me a few days to notice this, but there's an article in last Wednesday's Willamette Week about a new bar/restaurant/apothecary named Apotheke, which is owned by my friends Caleb and Melodie McBee. (Melodie is the sister of the late JJ Turner, whom I honor in this blog's very first post.) Up until it first opened three Fridays ago, I had been watching the local papers for any mention of it, but there was nothing. Now, at least one paper's taken notice of the place, and it looks as though it got a favorable review.

If you're in the area, why not stop by. It's located in Portland's Pearl District at 1314 NW Glisan Street, on the second floor, above the Peruvian restaurant Andina and down the hall from RC Gallery. It's very, very white inside. You may need sunglasses.

Friday, June 10, 2005

What is it, then? Touch?

I was shopping in the "healthy" section at Safeway last night, looking for some soy or rice milk to mix with iced chai concentrate, and I saw on the shelf something that concerned me.

Blue Diamond, the almond company (a can a week, that's all they ask), makes a milk-type product entirely out of almonds. They call it Almond Breeze, and proudly displayed on the front of the box is the tagline, "The Taste Alternative".

Now excuse me, but if I am going to drink a beverage that isn't water, my main expectation is that there should be a taste, preferably a delicious one. What possible appeal could there be from a milk-like drink that has no taste?

And what in the world is the alternative?

1 Talked Back:

At June 10, 2005 at 9:05:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

how do you suppose they milk an almond? little fingers or little machines?


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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

But there's no online version of the smell

One of the copy machines at work smells exactly like a Lite Brite.

Remember Lite Brite? It was what we kids used to create "pixelated" art before computers came along. You'd put a black sheet of construction paper over a light box with a honeycomb of little holes. The holes accommodated different colored plastic pegs (which looked like Christmas lights), which you would press through the paper according to the pre-printed patterns on the paper. Then you'd flip the light (Lite) switch, and there was your art, shining bright(Brite)ly.

Now, oddly enough, there's an online version, which, unlike the original, allows you to correct mistakes.

6 Talked Back:

At June 8, 2005 at 5:55:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

Oh man, I remember using my Lite Brite when I was a kid. At the time, I thought it the greatest thing, well that and my Lincoln Logs. I bet kids today don't even know those are. :)



At June 8, 2005 at 6:49:00 PM CDT, Blogger Meagan said...

hmmm. I am home sick today and got really excited about that online version of lite brite. but it is not nearly as fun as the original. oh well.


At June 8, 2005 at 6:50:00 PM CDT, Blogger stan said...

I think they still make Lincoln Logs, though for years they had switched to a plastic variety rather than wood...which is the point, itn't it? How can you call it a Log if it's plastic?

I think that the huge wave of "purist" nostalgia fueled by people in their late 20's through early 40's has produced a new market for the wood Logs to be made again.

Hurray for Lincoln Logs! And Tinker Toys! And Erector Sets!


At June 8, 2005 at 6:51:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

thanks for the link to the online version, I can hardly wait for the weekend!


At June 8, 2005 at 7:38:00 PM CDT, Anonymous Tommy Weber said...

My little Brother is 11 and he never heard of Lite Bright, but he also thinks Nirvanna is Classic Rock !!!


At June 8, 2005 at 7:56:00 PM CDT, Blogger Scott said...

Nirvana a classic? Man, I feel OLD!



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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

They must do yoga

The wording of my last post (" eyes ran across...") reminded me of a funny line from a 1980's song, "The Warrior," by Scandal:

You talk, talk, talk to me
Your eyes touch me physically...

Those are some limber eyes!

1 Talked Back:

At June 7, 2005 at 5:28:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

"on a clear day, you can see forever"


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Goes good with Jamaica Peanut Butter

I was at the little deli market across the street from work today, looking in the fridge for a beverage to go with my freshly made deli sandwich (although I was holding a bottle of water, I still wanted to see), when my eyes ran across yet another specialty flavor of soda: Sprite Remix, Aruba Jam flavor. Aruba Jam? What kind of flavor is that? No specific fruits are listed - at least, I would assume it's fruit, because what else are you gonna mix with Sprite, meat? We don't even get the vague Citrus or Berry Blend. It's Aruba Jam. Makes me think of a tropical sandwich of some sort.

Bring back Crystal Pepsi!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Getaway Banjo Music tops Popular list at

Okay, so it's not a huge deal. As of this writing, it had a mere 10 clicks to put it at the top. But still, it's cool that new readers are showing up from some other source than me saying, "Hey, I just posted another new fake news story, won't you check it out?"

Although I have to wonder what is taking Blogarama so long to list GBM in their For Laughs section. I submitted the info more than two weeks contrast, ORblogs had it up in a couple of hours.

I plan on listing GBM on other directories soon. It takes a bit of time for each one, what with my aversion to "paperwork" and the like. It's just bothersome to keep typing, over and over.

I promised more pictures, but I haven't gotten around to them yet. Honestly, most of them feature the was just me trying to finish off the roll before taking it to Costco. But I'll find a couple of good ones to put up. It'll have to be after the weekend now.

I'm going camping at Pine Hollow Resort tonight, near Wamic, Oregon. (Where's Wamic? Too hard to explain. Better Google it.) I'm meeting Mom and Con there, and a bunch of folks they play music with. I don't really know what to expect - hopefully, I won't be bored. Oh, I haven't packed Item One for this thing, so it'll be a late, late arrival tonight. Should be fun.

I'd better go. There's a little more work to do before signing off.

GBM headlines might be late on Sunday.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pictures from Monday

Here are a few pictures from Monday (they open in a new window):

The first two are of the electrical fire, the third one's from behind Silver Falls (more to come!) and the last one's of Henry, our cat, jumping up to swipe at something.

Fire 1

Fire 2

Silver Falls


I'm gettin' kind of tired tonight, but probably tomorrow I'll work on another bunch of shots to post here.

1 Talked Back:

At June 2, 2005 at 4:08:00 PM CDT, Blogger Jim said...

Henry buddy, you need a better agent! Two pictures of what may or may not be a fire, plus what he claims is a waterfall, and then you come fourth. You're the cutie, you should get top billing. /s/Rooty the Dog


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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

¿Quién es Jimenez?

I think my favorite Hispanic last name has to be Jimenez.

Don't know why; it just sounds cool.

Betcha can't eat just one (pound)

My newest favorite potato chip is Kettle Foods' Krinkle Cut Chips, Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper flavor.

But sometimes I get obsessed about "new favorite" things: Yesterday, at Costco (home of the gallon jug o' mayonnaise), I bought an enourmous, two-pound bag of them. (Actually, the bag feels more like five pounds.) Fortunately, I have roommates to share them with, because left to my own devices, I could probably just keep munching and munching on them until the bag is empty.

Or at least until I throw up.