Thursday, December 13, 2007
Last night I went to the awesomest thing ever. It was called Funde Razor, but not just Funde Razor, you have to set it in a heavy metal font and add a heavy metal umlaut over the U in Funde and... Oh, just look at it on their website.
The event was a fund raiser (get it? Funde Razor) for Child's Play, a charity that raises money for sick kids in children's hospitals all across the world. It was held in Denver in a place called The Walnut Room. It has a bar up front and a space with a stage for concerts in the back. Set up on stage was Rock Band, the latest incarnation of music video games featuring vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. So, just to be clear here, you're playing Rock Band, on a stage, with stage lighting and monitor speakers and a sound system and everything, at a bar/music venue, with a cheering audience. I had never played Rock Band before, but I had played its kin, Guitar Hero a couple of times at my friend Isaac's house. That's Isaac in the picture rocking out on the guitar on the right. Even though I had never played before, I took to the stage for three songs as drummer. I figured my actual drumming skills might come in handy. Alas, they did not, as it's not like sitting at a real drum set and laying down a groove. The game tells you to hit very specific drum pads in very specific rhythms, so if you can't sight-read its system on the spot then it's difficult to do exactly what it's telling you to do. But I somewhat successfully hacked my way through the three songs. Not bad for my first time ever playing, in addition to the pressure of playing in front of a live audience in a crowded bar. All the people there were amazing, too. Everyone would get on stage and attempt songs and would support each other, with rounds of cheering whenever someone pulled off a particularly challenging part or made it through a difficult song.
And all the money we raised (mostly the $10 cover to get in) went to help sick kids in hospitals, so double-plus awesome.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
Moveon.org, you should be ashamed of yourselves. If this is the kind of activity you sponsor then I refuse to be any part of it.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
p.s. Getting pelted with rain while descending a mountain on your bicycle at approximately 40 mph really hurts. Not my favorite thing in the whole world.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I am pleased to inform you that the Director, NOAA Corps, has approved your assignment to the following billet:
Billet #0919, Operations Officer, OMAO, Marine Operations Center - Pacific, NOAA Ship FAIRWEATHER, MOP-FA, Seattle, WA.
You are expected to report to this assignment on January 1, 2008. You may expect to complete this assignment on January 1, 2010, if the needs of the service permit.
Permanent change of station orders will be prepared by CPC. Please complete a travel questionnaire (NOAA Form 56-26) and forward it to CPC through your supervisor no later than 120 days from your planned detachment date. A maximum of 30 days leave en route may be approved provided your current duty station is not adversely affected.
If you choose to decline this assignment and the Officer Assignment
Board is unable to identify a suitable replacement, your name shall be forwarded to the Officer Personnel Board for consideration for retirement or separation in accordance with 33 USC 3041.
LCDR John T. Caskey, NOAA
Chief, Assignment Branch
Monday, August 13, 2007
Thursday, August 09, 2007
I just got back from seeing a live taping of Wait Wait. They came to Boulder and taped it at Chatauqua auditorium, and I scored tickets to it the day before the show on Craigslist. If you listen to it this weekend you can hear me cheering in the background. I wasn't doing much clapping because my wrist is sore from falling on my mountain bike yesterday. The panelists were the ever funny and sarcastic Paula Poundstone, he of the comforting voice Tom Bodett, and the lovely Kyrie O'Connor. Peter Sagal looks a lot like David Cross from a distance. And he's every bit as funny in person as he is over the radio. I was impressed by how much the show flows and feels more or less in person like it does when you listen to it on the radio. Going to a live taping of E-town was very different. There it was obvious that they were recording it in pieces and it would be totally repackaged and edited for the air. Here you could almost just record it in one take and air it as such. Almost. There were a few spots where they mispoke and had to start again, or wait until the show as a whole was over to get a clean take, but mostly it went smoothly from beginning to end. You can tell they've all been doing it for a while.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
Late September or Early October: "Familiarization" cruise on Fairweather. This'll be fun as my sole job will be to learn the ship and the people and the systems aboard.
15 October - 9 November: Refresher Training (REFTRA) at King's Point, NY. This is required before a sea tour to renew licenses in things like RADAR and shipboard firefighting.
November - December: ? Might be in Alaska, might still be in Boulder. Vacation time with family and friends.
January - Febraury: Training at Pacific Hydrographic Branch in Seattle, WA. Also, Field Procedures Workshop.
Next two years: Sail around Alaskan waters as a salty sea dog.
It's good to see my 20-year plan is still working out.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
More than eats these pies!
So I replied
More than beats that guy!
And he countered with
Porn defeats the spies!
It went downhill from there.
me: Format 'lites despise!
S.B.: Foreign cheats must die!
me: Mormons greet their wives! (sorry)
S.B.: More phlegm in the fries!
me: Foreman feet belie!
All of which turned out to be way more entertaining than the movie.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
As I mentioned before, the flag of the United States of America is an important symbol of our country, and even of the Constitution on which it was founded and which grants us rights such as free speech. This is why I feel it would be poetically wrong, a fiasco even, to ever ban flag burning.
See, when a flag is worn and no longer suitable for display, one proper way to dispose of it is to burn it. This is in the federal code dealing with proper display and care of the flag. So any law that forbids flag burning would have to differentiate between the proper, reverent type of flag burning used to dispose of worn flags, and any other type of flag burning, such as that done in protest of U.S. policy or actions.
The differentiating factor here is intent. Therefore, any law that bans flag-burning is outlawing intent, and is therefore a form of thought control.
Fewer Americans are showing their colors these days.
A new survey finds 62 percent of Americans display the flag at home, in the office, or on their car. That's down from 75 percent in August 2002, a year after the 9/11 attacks.
It continues with statistics about percentages of republicans and democrats who respond to a survey as saying they are "very patriotic" and concludes with statistics of the percentage of different demographic groups who say they display the flag.
My question; since when has displaying the flag had anything to do with patriotism? Allow me to be disingenuous for a minute. My good friends Merriam and Webster define patriotism as "love for or devotion to one's country." Their definition says nothing of flags.
The flag of the United States of America is, by definition, an important symbol of our nation, and should be treated with respect. The mindless, jingoistic displaying of the flag, such as on an automobile or a lapel pin, only serves to demean the symbol. Likewise the many establishments that fly the flag from their business premises but then fail to properly illuminate it at night.
As I write this I have a copy of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America in my breast pocket. I get it out every once in a while because it is, especially The Declaration, truly inspiring prose. I swore an oath to protect and defend this country and the constitution when I became a commissioned officer. I have a certificate on my wall from the President of the United States that reads "that reposing special trust and confidence in the patriotism, fidelity and abilities of Matthew R. Ringel I do appoint him, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, an Ensign...(emphasis added)". I considered it an honor when I was chosen to raise the flag on NOAA Ship THOMAS JEFFERSON during it's commissioning ceremony as an Ensign serving aboard. But I have never, personally, displayed the flag from my house or car, or any other property personally belonging to me.
So, according to this news article, I am unpatriotic.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
It certainly is gorgeous up there. Click here to see the full set of pictures from the trip. Here's my favorite shot. Or maybe this one.
The picture at right was taken with my Nalgene Camera Mount. I set the Nalgene on top of a cooler and had the camera attached to the Nalgene to give me a stable platform with which to shoot such long exposures. This one is six seconds, with a rear fill flash. The trick was to get the flash setting just right so everything was lit well enough so everything was visible, but not overpowering so that it still looked like we were illuminated by the glow of the fire.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Television's 'Mr. Wizard' dies at 89 - CNN.com
Don Herbert, who played Mr. Wizard in "Mr. Wizard's World" died today. I fondly remember watching the show with my sister in the 80's. In one episode, he showed viewers how to make a sort of green slime that seemed solid if struck, but would ooze through your fingers if interacted with in a more gentle fashion. It was simple to make, consisting mostly of corn starch if I remember correctly. My sister and I immediately decided that we shall make some, right then and there. We searched the kitchen for the corn starch and just as we fished it out of the cupboard there was a knock on the door. It turned out be our neighbor, about my sister's age, who had come over to borrow some corn starch so that she could make this cool slime stuff she had just seen on "Mr. Wizard's World."
This song was on a mix tape that an old friend made for me many, many years ago. It just popped up in an Onion AV club best of list. Oh, the memories.
And I disagree. This should be the best one, not the runner up.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Did pirates really say "arrrr"? - By Christopher Bonanos - Slate Magazine
Turns out no. My favorite line of the article: "On the myth-confirming side, pirates were known to dress in loose clothing, guzzle rum and smash the empty bottles, and chase busty wenches through Caribbean ports."
Ahh, the life of a pirate.
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
i know there is a method to the madness, but it really looks like it is thinking: ok, just, like... GO. and then, like, if you hit something, like... go in SOME OTHER DIRECTION.
and then, when you run out of battery power, go home.
It then occurred to me that this is a pretty good philosophy to live one's life by.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Pause for this to sink in.
Yes, I know I'm a super genius.
I got the idea to make this when I wanted to build something that would let me attach a camera to my bicycle handlebars. I searched DIY sites, but mostly turned up ideas for DIY camera mounts that did not involve bicycles. One such design that turned up was making a camera mount out of a bottle-cap, like one would find on a two-liter bottle. I thought this seemed mildly clever, but mostly useless. When would one need to use a two-liter as a tripod? This would only be useful, I thought, when one was traveling or hiking and needed a clever tripod. But two-liter bottles aren't prevalent when hiking, at least not in my hiking circles. So thus the nalgene camera mount idea was born. It's very simple to make. Here's what you do.
1 1/4 inch x 20 stainless steel bolt, about 1 1/2 inch long
2 1/4 inch stainless steel washers
1 1/4 inch stainless steel locking nut
Drill a quarter inch hole through the nalgene cap. This works perfectly in the small-cap bottles that I prefer. I have not tried this with the wide mouth style cap, but there should presumably be no difficulty with this. Put a washer on each side of the cap and put the screw through the washers and cap. I used a slightly bigger washer on the inside for stability. Then screw down the locking nut on the outside.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
McSweeney's Internet Tendency: I'm Reasonably Confident I Would Beat Ken Jennings in These Jeopardy! Categories.
Inspired by this McSweeny's list, here's my version.
Yo-yos and yo-yo tricks
Good Mexican restaurants in Boulder, Colorado
East Coast Hydrography
Rudiments of drumming
Real-time strategy games for the PC
Band names that begin with "Ozo" and end with "matli"
Friday, May 18, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Stupid SUV. I wish I had my stupid-stick with me. I have a fantasy of carrying around a stupid-stick when I ride my bike so I can smash cars that do stupid things like turn right and run me over without turning their turn signal on.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Our kickball game got canceled last night due to weather. We were winning 6-1 when it finally got bad enough to call. We were actually winning! By a hefty margin! Stupid rain.
The ump had brought an official "World Kickball Association of the World" regulation-sized adult kickball. It was much larger than the normal kickball we've been using. Isaac suggested that we were winning because the large ball suited our style of play, i.e. Slow and Sloppy. Thus a potential new team name was born.
I think I have such a pained look in this photo because, other than the fact that we were getting hailed on, after I handed my camera to the photographer I wiped out in the mud as I ran to go join the picture. I got completely slimed all up and down my "activity pants" and even my underwear had mud on them.
Monday, May 14, 2007
We would have been out enjoying the natural beauty of the place as well, if it hadn't started off as another rainy day. Oh well, the museum has some pretty fantastic works, and we enjoyed the short film they were showing about her life.
p.s. Regarding the temporary exhibit. One of the pieces was called "Antelope Skulls" and consisted of bronze casts of the skull you can see in the photo at right, duplicated about ten times and mounted on the wall. According to one of the security guards there, the artist was at the gallery for the opening and somebody asks her what the meaning was of calling the piece antelope skulls when they were clearly deer skulls. Her reply? "What do I know? I'm from New York."
Saturday, May 12, 2007
We also did some hot tubbin, as evidenced by the picture at right.
Later in the evening we went to a crazy artsy theatrical/dance production called "A Cabaret of Metamorphosis" at this theater space called the Wise Fool. It was super sold-out, but they were letting people pay five bucks for standing room. It had it's moments, but was mostly pretty amateurish. Still, I love traveling to towns and discovering their little underground scene.
Friday, May 11, 2007
It was also our first time experience at the much-heralded Trader Joe's. Anyone who's ever lived by a Trader Joe's talks about it in the hushed tones normally reserved for epic, life-altering experiences. We weren't overly impressed. Sure, I might shop at one if it was close to my house, but it's nothing to get all excited about. The basic idea is that it's a grocery discounter akin to a Sam's club, except that everything they carry is all-natural or organic or recycled or locally-sourced. And they're famous for they're "two-buck chuck", a two-dollar bottle of wine that, if rumors are true, is somewhat quaffable.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Summer cinema bidding farewell : County News : Boulder Daily Camera
The Daily Camera is running a news story today that this will be the last year for Boulder's Outdoor Cinema. The gist of the article is that the outdoor cinema is no longer financially self-sustaining, and the guy who's been doing it out of his own goodwill is throwing in the towel. A big thanks for running it as long as he has.
I have a feeling it will be back, but "under new management" so to speak.
Long live the Boulder Outdoor Cinema!
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Recently T and I took a little vacation to Santa Fe. We couldn't decide which bikes to bring so we brought all of them, hoping to get a good road ride in together with our road bikes and the other two bikes for cruising around town and maybe a mountain bike ride when we got sick of each other. I went out and got two more bike carriers for my rooftop rack so we could bring the four bikes.
The drive down featured rain, freezing rain, sleet, and more rain. As we made our way out of Colorado the ice was building up so thick on the bikes that anytime we slowed down it sounded like the sky was falling as big chunks of ice broke off from the bikes and landed on the Jetta's roof. When we stopped for fuel (The Jetta doesn't take gas), I snapped this picture of all the ice that had built up on all the leading edges. Carrying four ice-covered bicycles on the roof absolutely slaughtered the Jetta's fuel economy. I'm used to getting well over 50 mpg highway, but with the fully loaded roof rack I got about 25 mpg on the trip down.
The skies started to clear as we approached Santa Fe. Instead of the cloudy gray rain we had all day, Santa Fe was sunny, warm, and very inviting. In this picture you can see the bikes are now clear of ice but there's still big chunks of ice melting off the rack. On the windshield wiper is a huge chunk that was attached to my mountain bike tire.
We unpacked the car under the waning light of the setting sun. Here you can see the casita we rented for the week; ours was named Casita Chiquita. More pictures of the casita are available in my Flickr account. After unpacking the car we walked downtown to find something to eat. We were hungry, tired, and cranky by the time we found a good eatery called Mucho Gusto. It had one of my favorite food innovations from the entire trip; refried beans made with black beans instead of the more traditional pinto beans! Hallelujah!! Black beans are so infinitely superior to pinto beans, and finally here was a restaurant that saw the light! The salsas were delicious, too! I love me that southwestern food!
Monday, April 16, 2007
Update: The title of this post is a nod to the original snowclone. I'm a big fan those wacky linguists over at Language Log and had to throw it in.
I finally talked to CDR Glang last friday after playing phone tag for a couple of weeks. He's the technical liaison officer to the assignment board for NOAA's National Ocean Service. I believe he was gearing up to sell me on the idea of going to Alaska to be FOO on NOAA Ship Fairweather when I politely interrupted him by saying that I want to go to Alaska. He said it could be a done deal but they're going to have me go through a newly formed official process in which I get vetted by a board of "Senior Hydrographers", in other words, the proverbial smoke-filled room.
NOAA Ship Fairweather is based in Ketchikan, Alaska, a city reachable only by sea or air. Or maybe doglsed. The ship conducts hydrographic surveys all throughout Alaskan waters.
I'm looking forward to my new adventure.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Space storm disrupted GPS, experts say - Yahoo! News
This news article, about how intense solar flares in December were observed to disrupt GPS service, briefly mentions NOAA with regard to our Space Environment Center. I'm now signing autographs.
Edit: The story is now on CNN here with a little more information.
Edit 2: And now listen to the podcast!
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Here's a neat website that shows some of the views from flagstaff.
My kickball team suffered a demoralizing defeat last night. The final score was 18 to 17. The opposition went up by 11 runs in the first inning! We came back to tie it up at 15 each, but then they scored three runs in the top of the last inning and we could only muster two. We fought valiantly and it was an exciting game, but alas the kickball gods were not smiling upon us.
In other news, I might find out soon where I'm going for my next assignment. When I came into the office yesterday I had a message from the liaison officer who deals with hydro assignments. He said he had an assignment that may interest me. So now I'm going nuts wondering what it is. I tried calling him back yesterday but ended up leaving a message for him, and he hasn't called me back yet. I'm pretty sure I'll be going to Alaska on the Fairweather for my next assignment, which I'm honestly pretty excited about. I'm starting to get anxious to go back to sea, even though it means less road biking. When I find out anything I'll post it here.
Monday, April 02, 2007
So yeah, I'm an idiot. I installed the bike computer sensor in such a way that turning the handle bars put too much stress on the cord and I severed it on the way up. Then, like an idiot, I didn't really fix it properly for the descent, so I was cruising down a mountain with a wire potentially flopping around right next to my front spokes. I'm lucky I didn't catch it and get ejected down the side of the mountain.
In other news, my kickball team has another game at 9:00 tonight. So far we're 0-2, but we're a young, hungry team. Expect to see great things from us any time now. Yup, any second now we'll do something really cool...
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Yesterday I rode my new road bike up Sunshine again. It was in the afternoon and some clouds were rolling in after what had begun as a typical sunny Boulder day. I sure didn't want to be caught in the rain on a mountain with my roadbike, so I was ready to turn around at a moment's notice should I feel the first hint of a raindrop. I made it to the top as the clouds were getting darker and the temperature was noticably dropping. I could tell it was going to hail soon, or at least rain. I'd never seen as much hail come out of the sky as I did when I first moved to Boulder. It must hail at least 5 times a year here.
The one good thing about being in this position is that it can take an hour to ride up the mountain, but mere minutes to ride down. I took a couple seconds to catch my breath at the top so I wouldn't be shaky on the descent. Being fatigued can make you sloppy, and I sure didn't want to be sloppy on a steep, fast descent in potential rain on a new bike with which I'm not totally familiar.
Minutes later I was sitting at my dining room table talking to my roommate when the hail started outside. The power flickered off for a moment and I relaxed by taking a nice hot shower.
p.s. Sunshine Canyon animal tally '07-2: One deer who startled me by being about 2 feet away when I noticed it; two large brown eyes watching me impassivley as I peddled by.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
My sister brought my attention to this brilliant piece of MadTV satire. I didn't even know this show was still on the air, but this skit is pure genius. By the way, I just now had to have my in-browser spell-checker correct my spelling of genius. I'm a super-genius.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Rode 3/4 of the way up flagstaff today on my lunch break. Wow what a difference having an actual road bike makes! Got passed by three people and passed two. Not bad for my first ride up flagstaff for the year. The road bike geometry is getting more comfortable, but it's still nerve-wracking going down mountains with road bike style brakes. I'm used to mountain bike style v-brakes that let you stop on a dime. I'm pretty sure I've gone down flagstaff faster on my old-school cannondale, but maybe that's because my cannondale weighs a metric ton compared to my scott. Current plan is to mountain bike betasso on thursday, but maybe I'll be too addicted to my shiny new road bike.
Oh, by the way, my new kickball team, which rules, unfortunately lost yesterday. We didn't completely make fools of ourselves, though. I think the final was something like 10 to 6. Um, go Thermo Fisher Scientific!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
So I just got a new road bike yesterday. I've been all talk and no action about getting a road bike for a couple years now. I finally decided to spend part of my federal tax refund on a shiny new road bike. I decided on a Scott Speedster S40. It has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork and Shimano Tiagra components.
I broke it in today with my first ride up Sunshine canyon for the year. Animals seen: 2 female deer shedding their winter coats. The ride kicked my ass since I got a little out of shape over the winter, but I made it up without stopping. My bike has the triple chain ring, which definitely came in handy, as I was in granny gear most of the way up. My goal, whenever I ride up sunshine, is to make it to the top without getting passed by some ironman type on an $8,000 bike, and sure enough I made it to the top without getting passed by anyone. Hopefully, riding up sunshine will be at least a weekly occurrence from here on out. Plus, I need to get in shape for my upcoming vacation to Santa Fe.
Monday, February 05, 2007
If anyone is looking for something to buy me I'd take this.
It would look sweet in my condo. I love this guy's art. I've always had a soft spot for visual art that captures music, and this does it gloriously well, being vibrant and alive. Maybe I should pounce on this before they're all gone. Get it? Pounce? I'm so funny.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I thought of this because it's the middle of winter and I want it to be summer so I can jump in my pool with my cell phone in my pocket (again) and play kickball with my fabulous kickball team. Go away, winter.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Monday, January 01, 2007
I wish her the best in her adventures, work, and self-discovery. Fair winds and following seas, the sailor in me would say.
You can follow her adventures on the blog she has created to detail her experiences in the Peace Corps: www.rebeccahunt.com/peacecorps