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Archive for August 2009

Ramblin’ Ramblin’ Ramblin’

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Snippets of things that have crossed my mind this week… or this year… or my whole life.

Jaycee Lee Duggard

Arrggghhhh… that poor woman who turns up after being abducted 18 years ago. Thank goodness she’s alive, but jeez! Can you imagine what kind of emotional basketcase she must be… not only to have had to endure the physical torments of her abductor, but also being subject to his insane religious crap!! And then, as horrible as it must have been, to have it all, the only life she’s known for a LONG time, ripped away?!?!

I read some of the posts on the guy’s blog… the most “interesting” one being where he discussed how he can control sound with his mind, and how ultimately, he will use it for the salvation of the whole world. Um, no thanks.

Even though I’m not a parent, if this had happened to a child of mine and if I was given the chance to inflict punishment, I would definitely invoke the “eye for an eye” retribution in this case. I’d stick him in a small place in the middle of nowhere, have his only access to another human being when someone is raping him, create enough pain to simulate giving birth to two children, take away his access to drugs (which apparently, he’s done a ton of), and make him listen to something totally antithetical to his belief system blared over loud speakers 24/7. And I’d make sure he had a plentiful supply of sharp razors nearby, just in case he wanted to do us all a favor and rid the world of some trash.

If this were your child, and you had a chance to do anything you wanted to her abductor, what would you do? Read the rest of this entry »


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August 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm

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It’s an Il-LU-sion!

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illusionI started off thinking that I was going to blog about color and light, and how, without light, there is no true “color.” But the more I thought about it and read about it, the more my stream of consciousness took me into some murky backwaters. The thought of trying to explain what I was thinking, and the implications of it all was almost existential. For goodness sake! I don’t want to write that heavy stuff on a Thursday night when the Golden Girls are on, and I’m SURE you don’t want to read it! 🙂

But while I was reading about color theory, I came across a couple of neat optical illusions (and thus the throwback to the creepy Doug “It’s an Il-LU-sion”  Henning from the 70s).


The orange circles are exactly the same color orange. Our perception of their hue is affected by their surroundings.

The first illusion is pretty straightforward and simple, but interesting nonetheless. See the caption for what makes it interesting.

The second one is really cool. I will explain it here, rather than in the caption.

(Well, the animation would not work when I published this. You can go here to see the effect, but you can read what to expect below. Sorry about that!)

There are twelve purple dots, and a every 1/10 of a second or so, a purple dot is replaced with a lilac dot in sequence clockwise around the circle.

If you stare at the cross in the middle of the circle for about 20 seconds, your peripheral vision will see this:

First, the lilac dot will become a gap, moving around the circle.
Then, the gap will appear as a green dot. (This happened quickly for me. I didn’t see the gap but for a second.)
Finally, the dots will disappear as if it’s “Pac Man” eating them up!

How cool is that!

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August 27, 2009 at 7:31 pm

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Somewhere in Nashville

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I sat here for a while, trying to think of something to write about tonight… something profound and moving. However, I believe my brain is running on empty after a day of thinking hard at work. (If only there was a way to turning thinking and problem solving into some sort of caloric activity!)

stairsAnyway, I couldn’t come up with anything, so I’m just sharing a couple of photos I really like, one in an Escher sort of way. These were taken a couple of years ago when I was visiting Nashville with Jane. We went to Union Station, a beautiful building that used to be a train station, now a hotel. I so much admire any architectural element that pays real attention to detail, from the stained glass to the sculpture to the carving in the wood. Granted, sometimes, the details are not seen, not really taken in, and one may wonder… why the effort? But when you look at a place like this, you realize that the details, seen and unseen, work together to make up the whole, and the effect is awe-inspiring. I feel the same way about the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC.

What man-made structure inspires you? unionstation

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August 26, 2009 at 9:34 pm

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It’s Just Around the Corner, BAY-BEE!!!

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Tiger circles the stadium in one of the best pregame shows in college football.

Tiger circles the stadium in one of the best pregame shows in college football.

Can you feel it in the air? When the sun starts setting just a little sooner, the humidity drops almost imperceptibly, and the first leaves take a leap into the great unknown… it means one thing… well, it means two things… autumn is just around the corner, but more importantly, college football is almost here!!!!

This year is going to be interesting. It’s been a long time since I’ve been close to someone who loves college ball as much as I do. And I’m sure that the relationship will be “tested” since we are about as far apart as you can get on the rivalry spectrum… she’s a huge Alabama fan, while I prefer to cast my lot with the righteous and pull for Auburn.

We’ve already had quite a bit of back and forth and trash talking. She calls our new coach “Cheese Nip.” (His name is Chizik), and I call Alabama’s coach “Satan.” Not original, mind you, but perhaps more apropos. (For you Alabama fans, that means more “fitting.” :))

Anyway, I’m sure Auburn will have a rebuilding year with the new coach and not having much depth, while Alabama’s fortunes seem to be rising. BUT, at the end of the year, during the Iron Bowl, all the stats go out the window, and only heart and guts remain. And in that vein, we made a bet… If Auburn wins, I get to buy an Auburn sticker/decal of my choice, and she has to keep it on her car for a whole year. Of course, on the off chance that Alabama wins, I have to do the same with some vile piece of crap that she chooses.

But beyond the rivalry, I’m looking forward to Saturdays full of games and friends, food and fun. It doesn’t get much better than that!!

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August 25, 2009 at 9:00 pm

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Missing Dan

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loveintimesmIt’s been almost two years since Dan Fogelberg died, succumbing to prostate cancer at 56 years old. While I’ve never been one to fawn over celebrities, his death hit me hard, as I related here.

His wife, Jean, just released a new album of his music that he finished in 2006 while fighting the cancer, then put them away. He asked her to release the album after his death.

The digital files were available on Aug.13, what would have been his 58th birthday. I downloaded the files today, and honestly, it was so classic Fogelberg and so wonderful and so sad and so evocative of so many memories, that I actually teared up.

Remarkably, the songs do not seem introspective for a man who knows he’s dying. When I heard that a posthumous album would be released, I presumed Dan would look at the process he was enduring and bleed it into his music… like he’d done with struggling with his fame, new love, lost love, divorce, the state of the world, the environment, etc. Instead, he seems focused mostly on the present and his wife.

From what I’ve read, some of the songs were projects he’d started a while back, and after he became sick, he wanted to finish what he’d started. Perhaps he was just too sick to start navel gazing.

Anyway, the only song that falls into a “goodbye” category is the last song, Birds. While Dan wrote all of the songs except two, this one was penned by Neil Young. Doesn’t matter, I think it was his message to his wife, to us his fans, and to life.

The thing that made me tear up is the very last, sustained chord of Birds, the last song on his last album… it’s the same chord that starts his first album, the first song To the Morning… my favorite as I mentioned in my previous post. What a perfect circle. Thanks, Dan and Jean.

“In a spiral never-ending are we drawn toward the source,
Spinning at the mercy of an unrelenting force.
So we stare into the emptiness and fall beneath the weight
Circling the Nexus in a fevered dance with fate.
Wealthy the spirit that knows its own flight
Stealthy the hunter who slays his own fright
Blessed the traveler who journeys the length of the light”

From the song, “Nexus” by Dan Fogelberg

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August 21, 2009 at 6:50 pm

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Squirrels Just Wanna Have Fun

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For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, there’s a funny story about a squirrel that jumped in front of the camera of these two folks  vacationing in Banff. Seems they had taken a series of shots using a remote device for the camera, so they never had to approach the camera to reset it between shots. The squirrel heard the noise of the shutter release and was fascinated by it. Then suddenly, he jumps into the shot!

Of course, now, he’s showing up in shots everywhere! See Jeanne Moos’s funny segment about it

And wouldn’t you know it, when I took a photo of Sandee and me at the lake, that camera hog jumped right in!!


(You can squirrelize your own photo here.  Note: It has to be on a host server. Can’t do it off your personal computer. Sorry. )

Of course, as wildly popular as this squirrel is, it’s hard to beat the dramatic prairie dog, as mentioned in Jeanne’s clip!

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August 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm

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Favorite Quotes (and Stuff)

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quotation marksHere are three of my favorite quotes. I’d love to hear some of yours!

Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Do not sacrifice what you want most for what you want right now.
–can’t find author, although I’ve heard it attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt

I saw an angel in the marble, and I carved until I set it free.
–Michelangelo Read the rest of this entry »

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August 19, 2009 at 6:55 pm

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