December 30, 2008

We Tigers

We tigers we tigers whoop!
I'm like this you're like this
I'm like this you're like this
We tigers we tigers woop!

For anyone interested, I've started a series of Picasa albums chronicling some sports (and non-sports related) photos of my first month-and-a-half of working on the paper. Any input on taking better pictures would be greatly appreciated.

The Waynesville Tigers album is here, hence the name. Also included are some shots from the other basketball teams I cover (one and two) and some non-sports shots of stuff around town (right here).


PS, We, as in Tony and I, are sort of working on a thing about our respective Waynes' Worlds. But we've been busy so it's not done yet. But it's a treat.

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December 28, 2008

Bicycle races are coming your way

She got a new helmet and the temperature hit 71, so we went for a ride.

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December 27, 2008

A funny Facebook group


OK. Moving on.

I only lived there three months, but I can't help but be a defender and a spokesperson for Detroit. I still follow The Detroit News as much as any newspaper. So I was intrigued by a Weekly Standard article about the big bad city. It's probably my zest for Detroit that mucks up my reading of the article, but I'm having trouble deciding if I like it; if I think it's fair and accurate or revelatory in any way. I do think it puffs up one DetNews reporter a bit too much ... my hero will always be Josar.

+ Strange Maps is super great at combining quirky wonderment with more heady ideas. Most recently: pareidolia: perceiving significance in stimuli that have none. Especially in maps.

+ The best mug shots of the year. Follow the links to see more odd mugs and the story of a man arrested 1,000+ times.

+ I'm on the street fashion blog bandwagon now. This NYTimes article is a helpful guide to finding a few good ones. ... not sure why they're so fun to scroll through ...

+ Not sure how I've never seen this before: article on highest Scrabble score ever

+ I once thought indie rock was important, but now I'm too old. Facebook group, might actually be funny.

+ Two new blogs I'm working with: Street Juggling and Valley Pulse.

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December 23, 2008

The year 2008 in photographs

The Big Picture photo blog through the Boston Globe is awesome.

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December 19, 2008

What's in a name?

A story.

My friend's roommate, Kim, volunteers at a school in downtown Hillsdale. Most of her work involves helping kids study in an after-school program. She's not the only volunteer, a couple of students and even some community members are there as well.

Now Kim is kind of shy, so if she's unsure of something she'll usually just let it go and learn the hard way, avoiding asking questions, etc. Such was the case with one of her co-workers, whose first name is spelled La-a.

How would you pronounce that?


Well Kim finally worked up the courage to approach La-a the other day. The students were instructed to get up from their desks and sit in a circle for the day's final announcement. During the hustle and bustle of moving, Kim edged up to La-a:

"So do you pronounce your name "Lah-Ah?"

The girl turned to Kim. Kim said she had a slightly offended look across her face.

"No girl, it's "Ladasha!" The dash ain't silent!"

La-a = Ladasha



An imposter (but we're still #1 on Google)
A comic and its review

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December 17, 2008

Shameless Self-Promoting

I hate to be a nag, but I'm starting a little mini-series on my writing blog (linked to your left).

[Aside: an asian gentleman just walked into my apt. complex lobby to use the wifi, like me, and he sneezed. The sneeze sounded asian. That's wonderful.]

Anyway, I'll post short little vinettes, if you will, titled as "sketches" over the next few works, or months, or however long it lasts. I've already posted the first. Do please read them, they are very short, and leave your comments. Let me stress that I'm not looking for literary criticism. Just your impressions. And I do confess I am looking for a little more than "good. I like it." But still not looking for "the use of second person past tense is especially inspiring in the second paragraph." Just let me know what readers out there are thinking of my style, similies, and word choices. And the general impression of my writing. By the way, each little sketch is quite intentional and has its own, if I can use the "m" word, meaning, in a way. They are meant to be character sketches. Please tell me what you think if you have the time. Give me some feedback.

Christmas music sucks. Generic Christmas music, that is. It's something like misjudging distance and bumping a glass full of water against your front tooth when all you want is a sweet little sip.
And whatever happened to the voice that is pleased to bring you the feature presentation? I really, really miss him.

December 15, 2008

in the background, in brown

Other than metal bands, Waynesboro has these kids:

Actually, some were just visiting, but they were messing around near my house at a place where skaters tend to mess around. I'm in their video.

Maybe someday I will feature them in the paper, but on Thanksgiving day I just took some photos.

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Making sure

I just wanted to make sure we had this on file. Goodtimes.

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December 13, 2008

Beyond GoogleReader

"... if we want to learn about something tactilely, we must make a move. We must rub the fabric, pet the cat, squeeze the Charmin" ... “To have your cellphone buzzing as opposed to ringing turned out to have a lot of advantages in some situations, and the question is, where else can vibrotactile cues be applied?” The NYT on touch

In Iraq: "for all the money spent and promises made, the rebuilding effort never did much more than restore what was destroyed during the invasion and the convulsive looting that followed." The government, via NYT, on rebuilding Iraq

+ Not sure how this technology is helpful, but here's to video searching

+ Models made out of books, as employed by Born Ruffians

+ Mexico drug war with a kickass map

+ One and two corruption reports.

Perhaps in light of my own recent psuedo-obituaries and reports dealing with death, I have grown even more interested in obituary writing. Here are three I find interesting:
1: Richard Topus, military pigeon trainer
2: Infield fly rule analogy writer
3: Legendary thief of baseball signs

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December 11, 2008

Gmail tweaks galore

Check out the "Labs" tab under "Settings".

They just added Tasks and SMS/text messaging, and they've apparently had Superstars (analogous to "flags" in Outlook), Canned Responses, a Forgotten Attachment Detector, and a Vacation Time auto-responder for a while.

This is also where you can find the famous "Mail Goggles" gadget, which aims to prevent drunken emails by forcing the sender to solve a few simple math problems depending on the time of night.

I'd been wanting a Tasks gadget for a while, and my phone's per-message text fees are highway robbery, so I might test drive the SMS gadget too.

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December 10, 2008

Featherless Chickens

I recently learned that Bernard Vonnegut, brother of Kurt Vonnegut, spent a good portion of his life researching wind and chickens.

When tornadoes slid across the Midwestern United States, into farmhouses and communities, sometimes chickens would get sucked into the vortex, flung far from their original homes, and would walk around for the next few days naked. No feathers.

So the wind ripped the feathers out.

It caused a stir, and a few people were interested in the phenomena. One man even loaded a chicken into a cannon to test how fast it had to move through the air before it lost all its feathers. But it blew up. The chicken, not the cannon.

So Bernard wrote a paper. The paper raked in an Ig Nobel Prize, which is funny. It's funny because Ig Nobel Prizes go to people for their outstanding improbable work. You can look at their Web site here.

His paper was titled, "Chicken Plucking as Measure of Tornado Wind Speed."

While that was undoubtedly a major piece of research, Bernard was best known for discovering that silver iodide could be used for cloud seeding, the process of artificially stimulating rain. He never got an astroid named after him for his research, but people still talk about him sometimes.

He passed away, another victim of cancer, in 1997. But you can read about that at Wikipedia.

I'm interested in the new movie Doubt:
---+ Interview on Fresh Air
---+ Official trailer
+ Beard bird
+ Library architecture
+ Daniel Silliman, and some words on journalism.
+ Radical knitting

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December 5, 2008

"I gotta stay fl-y-y-y-y-yyy-y-y-y, until I die-ie-ie-ie-ie..."

The Hives just need to lose all the pretensions and become a hip-hop and soul cover band. Also, they're a main player in a great PopMatters essay on Post-Ironic Swedish Rock.

Finally, I'm particularly proud of the picture that goes along with this article. Just don't pay any attention to the actual article, since there are about 10 typos in it. That was a bad night to be my own copy editor, I'll say that much...

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December 4, 2008

sewing machine world

We might never know if Sewing Machine World actually did any work on Katie's machine, but even if they did fix the presser foot, it was Katie's genius that made this shirt project.

We started with an oversized In the Spin juggling shirt. Then we played with pins and thread. Then we found the mix of stretchy shirt and semi-rubbery, friction-filled graphic to be a great clog in the machine.

Enter Sewing Machine World and frustration.

Ultimately, Katie suggested covering the graphic in paper to allow the project to slide easier. I sewed through it, tore the paper away, and ended up with a shirt. A juggling shirt.

It's for Purdy!

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Bats in the Head

Our press guy writes a weekly column. Some of them kind of remind me of one Mr. Perry Rowland Coralsby's misanthropic musings on life. Maybe if Perry were a little less harsh with his criticisms and maybe a bit less foul-mouthed (although one can't really fault him that, this is the world of mainstream print journalism, after all...) But still, I see some similarities. Like this one about cell phones. Or the one about new shoes. My favorite is the one on how columnists (aka shit shovelers) get to become shit shovelers in the first place. Maybe it's funnier if you know the guy. But still. I like it.

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