25 November 2009

Don't call it a comeback

Hey everyone. Anyone? Did my long hiatus leave me completely bereft of readers? Doesn't surprise me. Regardless I'm back now. I miss blogging and I've got a bevvy of shit to talk about now. Not a little bitty bevvy, either. A really big bevvy. I'd love to catch y'all up on everything that's happened since I last posted about four months ago but I don't even remember half of it at this point and if you follow me on Twitter — which you totally should — you'd be all, "Dude. OLD NEWS." So I'll just try to hit the high points.

I haven't been entirely absent from the web, you may well know. Back in August, while on a fairly uneventful business trip to Sacramento, I was asked to write an album review for my favorite local music site, bham.fm. Since then I've written a few more and I'm really liking it. As you are surely aware I absolutely cannot live without music. Being given the chance to write reviews for a site like bham.fm is a great opportunity for me to flex my critiquing muscles while supporting local bands. I'd like it if people commented more on any of the stuff that's posted on bham.fm so if you're ever perusing the site be sure to leave a little love for us. I just wish I had time to write more, honestly. I've got a couple more reviews in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled. The same goes for this blog as well. This hiatus wasn't a planned thing. But I'm kind of glad it happened, even if it costs me part of what little audience I had in the first place.

Other big news. Let's see... I met someone and subsequently lost someone. It was tough. There are very few people who know the whole story and it's not one I intended to share here for the sake of her privacy. It suffices to say that I wish things could've worked out differently but knew well enough that they wouldn't. Denial is a real bitch sometimes.

Now for the real big news. I bought a fucking house! Yeah, crazy right? I know I mentioned before that I was looking well guess what I found one! It's a cozy little 3 bedroom/2 bath really close to downtown Huntsville in the 5 Points area. I closed on it at the end of October and kept my lease on the apartment through the end of November. It's a nice feeling being able to move and take my time with it. Especially since it's only about 15 minutes down the road. Some Very Fantastic Friends and I moved the majority of it this past Saturday. Of course there was drama. A fixture on the waterline that runs to the ice maker on my fridge came loose not 2 hours after we finished unloading the truck so I had to cut the water off to the house... and the power because the leak was right behind an outlet. My heat was also not working because the gas company here sucks at life. So I didn't have running water until yesterday. But, hey, last night I spent my very first night in my Own Damn House! I also started unpacking stuff last night, a process that will no doubt take the entirety of my 30 year mortgage to complete.

Now comes the arduous task of organizing and *gasp* decorating a new place. So you can doubtless expect another entry or two in my "Gotta Keep 'em Decorated" series. Also expect pictures. And foul language. And more blog posts from your favorite rocket scientist and music enthusiast.

16 July 2009

Hville is the new Bham

Hey there. How are you? Good, I hope. I'm doing fine. I've been neglectful of this blog again, but that record is sounding so broken at this point that it's hardly worth mentioning. It's been a couple of weeks. Lots of stuff has happened. The most exciting thing was meeting probably my favorite blogger ever, Colleen Kane. She, her husband, and a friend of theirs drove to Birmingham last weekend to watch Sonic Youth play at Sloss Furnace. Totally. Awesome. People. F'real. They ended up having an extra ticket so I went along with them to the show. For one reason or another I've never listened to much of Sonic Youth's music. After having the opportunity to see them live I've acquired several of their albums and have enjoyed all of them thoroughly. If you've never seen them perform I would totally suggest that you do it when you get the chance. It may even be worth a 6+ hour drive, but you'd have to ask Colleen about that.

The light show was pretty incredible, but not very conducive to pictures.


The weekend before that a friend and I went to Auburn for the 4th of July weekend. It'd been about 6 months since I'd been back and it's amazing what can change in so short a time. It was a good time. I think I'll be trying to go back at least once every couple of months now, especially since my friend is willing to go along and split gas money. There's an awesome video/cd/book store in Auburn called Hastings that I always make a point to stop in when I'm there. Why, you may ask? Because on top of having a rad selection they also have shit like this:

That's Mr. Bacon and M. Tofu to you, bud.

I feel like Mr. Bacon should come with a lady on each arm. Maybe Ms. Cigarette and Ms. Whiskey. And maybe M. Tofu comes with, like, I don't know, Mme. Impotence or something.


I've joined a dating site, which I've been thinking about doing for a while now. I've gotta tell you I was a little put off at first. Honestly I still am. I don't like the idea of paying $27 a month for 6 months. Especially when the first 'compatible profiles' the site returned that were even remotely promising lived no less than 100 miles from Huntsville. If that doesn't tell you what the dating pool here is like then I don't know what does. The latest batch of matching profiles is only slightly better, but still not good enough to justify a $180 commitment. I think I'm going to switch to another site before I just give up and start a credit line with an escort service.


I'm sure you've all heard or at least are tangentially aware of the current troubles that the space program is facing. I mention it regularly on my Twitter stream (that still sounds dirty to me). Basically they are giving even stronger consideration now to canceling the Ares 1 program. Full disclosure: that's the fucking rocket that I happen to be working on. I don't want them to cancel it. Not for the sake of job security, either. I think that if they cancel (or 'redirect' or however they want to spin it) a program that we've spent 4 years and $3 billion on we'll never fully regain the trust of the public. I've got a lot to say about this, so it's probably best that I don't get too far into it right now. Perhaps another blog post. One of these days.


Lastly, I've been on a big new music kick recently. I've discovered several new faves, all of which I hope to someday write at length about. For now, though, I'll just leave you with this music video for "Stillness is the Move" off of the new Dirty Projectors album, Bitte Orca. It's a fantastic listen and I recommend it. A lot. Even though the video is a little awkward and, according to the description on YouTube, features rare llamas.

04 July 2009

They say it's your birthday

This is going to have to be a really quick blog entry because I'm currently pilfering wireless from the video/book store while sequestered away in the kiddie fiction section. I'm in Auburn for the weekend and my gracious hosts didn't have gracious internets, but this place does! So fist off, Happy Birthday America! I like you sometimes, and with this new administration in place it seems that recently it's been more often than not. Though the idiots out there with their TEA parties can fuck right off. Not necessarily all of them, just the ones who are protesting simply for the sake of protesting without having a dime-store clue what they're talking about. So I hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July celebrations and no one is losing fingers or any such thing.

More importantly though we should all wish this here blog a big ol' Happy 1st Birthday! Celebrations!

So what does one get a blog for it's first birthday? Well, I was planning on spending some time today giving my blog a total spa-treatment makeover with new widgets and colors and what-haves, but with my internets situation being less than ideal that'll just have to wait until tomorrow when I get back to Huntsville. Plus, honestly, every time I start fucking with html or xml or anything like that I just feel like a right damn idiot. Does not compute. So anyway I'm going to go because that family over there is starting to give me dirty looks. Maybe I'm a little too close to the Nancy Drew kiosk.

Happy First Birthday Blog!

02 July 2009

What a way to make a livin'

I'm sitting at work without much to do and not doing much. I've got things I should be doing, I'm just not. Know what that's like? It's as though I don't feel compelled to complete the tasks set before me. I've thought about this a lot. I've seriously got a half-dozen things I could be doing right now. Part of me feels like doing them is really pointless, though. As if the tasks are unimportant. How do you get over that feeling? When I say unimportant I mean that I'm fairly confident that at least half of the shit on my to-do list could go undone ad infinitum and no one would notice. Maybe even more than half. I don't really like that feeling, you know? I like my job and I'm certainly glad to have one but there are plenty of times, such as now, when I feel like I'm just doing busy-work. I think it's the only work there is to be done right now, though. In 5 years will someone be looking at the work I've done and say, "I'm glad someone took the time to do that. It's really saved our asses"?

Believe you me, I enjoy getting a paycheck for browsing the damn internet. It's a sweet gig. But I shouldn't be browsing the internet. I should be working on this other shit. I just honestly feel like I'm making just as much of a difference either way. These past two weeks have been keeping me busy. And by that I mean that I've been kept away from the computer. Hence the lack of blogging. But now that I'm back in front of the computer at my desk with no fires to put out here I am blogging again. Go figure. I guess I don't really know why I'm writing all of this shit. Just something to do, I suppose.

29 June 2009

Long hot summer days

The title of this blog* is the song I'm listening to off of Sara Watkins' eponymous debut. She's the fiddle player from Nickle Creek and her first album was produced by Led Zepplin's John Paul Jones. Sound interesting enough for you yet? Here's the track. It's pretty awesome.

I've gotta tell y'all something. I've been running this blog now for almost a year. It'll be exactly a year come the 4th. Yes, that's right kids. My blog was Born of the Fourth of July. But when I started it I didn't have a job. And then when I actually got a job I had a lot of downtime which I used to blog. I figured if I'm gonna spend 8 hours a day in front of a computer with only 2 hours worth of shit to do then I might as well Rock some things in my free time. Well, it's been a while since I Rocked something, ain't it? You know why? Because NASA apparently wants me to do shit on the clock now. How absurd! I've been busier than hell recently. If y'all know me at all you know that it takes some doing to get me to work past the 5 o'clock whistle. I've been at work until 7 PM or so at least 4 times in the last 6 work days. Before that I was at work at 7 AM! What kind of shit is that? But it's okay. I'm just getting adjusted is all. So that's the reason that my blog presence has been somewhat wanting as of late. I know, you've heard it all before. But them's the facts. So, instead of calling it quits, I'm going to have to start blogging on my own time. I shudder to think.

Anyhow so aside from being busy at work it also seems like since the summer started I've not really been home for more than an hour without being asleep (which is also MIA). Anyone else catching some of this action? What's up with that? Seriously, for the last two weeks at least it seems like as soon as I get home from work someone is calling about dinner or a bar or hiking or something. Not a bad problem to have, I think.

I've also met a girl or two in the past month, which should be a great thing. Of course we've all seen how well I deal with women so let's not go picking out drapes or anything. I'm not even sure if they're actually interested. Who saw that one coming? God I'm a schmuck. I'd totally be joining a dating site right now if it weren't for the fact that I'm trying to save money to buy a house. This is turning out to be an ordeal. The house-buying, I mean. And I guess the women thing, too. Natch.

Speaking of relationships, everyone say congratulations to Colleen who just got married! And she met her beau on the nets! So should the day ever come that I have discretionary income again I'll be begging her advice on how to best approach the e-dating situation because she obviously aced that shit. Also, read her blog because she's totally awesome. With any luck I'll be getting to meet her (and The F, er, H) in a couple of weeks when she sees Sonic Youth in Birmingham.

*It's also a perfect way to describe the ridiculous heat wave that we've been experiencing here. OH MY GOD.

19 June 2009

A man in a gorilla suit

I'm gonna go ahead and knock out the last of my Sasquatch! posts. Took me long enough AMIRITE?! I actually just sent an email today to one of the folks we met up there who's asked us to come visit him in Portland. I may take him up on that. I hear good things. Anyway so here are my notes from Monday, May 26th- the last day of Sasquatch! Music Festival.

Horse Feathers:
- All strings = awesome
- Like Great Lake Swimmers
- Kind of repetitive
- Better served in small venues
- Probably not a 'whole CD' band
- Hell yes play the saw! (Gotta love it when folks play the saw, right?)

These folks work hard to sound good.

Bishop Allen:
- Party music
- Good energy
- Catchy
- Good
- Uke!
- Probably better cause I'm drunk (Maybe my favorite note from the whole trip.)
- Harvard grads (Yeah, indie party music from Ivy League grads. Vampire Weekend much?)

Gogol Bordello:
- Fucking packed (It was ridiculous. The rush of people to get in front of the stage was mad.)
- Rock
- Pogo (I was jumping like I was 14 again and watching The Supertones.)
- Crowd loves it
- Awesome hot dancers (Always adds to a show.)
- No talking (My only complaint. They didn't even introduce songs!)
- Lots of sweat
- Lots of it (You pack 300 people into an area the size of a tiny apartment in 98 degree weather and see what happens.)

He hardly stopped moving long enough for photos

It kind of looks like those are my hands and I took this photo with my mind.

Fleet Foxes:
- 20 min late
- Young!
- Start out a capella
- Kind of boring
- Don't sound great
- Mandolin + keyboard = impressive (Playing them simultaneously, that is.)
- Warming up
- Awkward and quiet between songs
- Play well (It ended up being a good show but those guys are the antithesis of rock stars.)

Ahh! It's Sasquatch! Oh, no. It's just Robin Pecknold.

And that's it! Damn if I had realized that I would've just tacked this onto the last post. Heh. Oh well. We left early that day because we had to drive back to Seattle so we could fly out the next morning. So we missed a few acts but no one critical (Ben Harper, meh). As we were leaving:

Check out my sweet armband tan

As always feel free to look at the rest of the photos. You've seriously at least gotta check out the pics from the drive over there. Here's a preview:

So that's it for my trip to the great pacific northwest for Sasquatch! What do y'all think? Seems like a pretty good time, doesn't it? Now who wants to go with me next year?

14 June 2009

He's a large out-of-focus monster

Time for my notes from day two of Sasquatch! Music Festival. Let the record show that this was Sunday May 24th and I am in fact a total lazy-ass for just now getting around to putting this on my blog. Natch.

The Walkmen:
-Dude talks like he sings
-Sounds good
-Brought on horns from Calexico
-Triangle rock!
-Like to see 'em again
-Need to listen more often

-Lots of people in this band (7?)
-For some reason I expected them to be Spanish
-Lots of instrument switching
-Tons of energy

The Avett Brothers:
-Look different every time (Probably the fourth time I've seen them and they literally change their look every single time. Beard? Not this time, sucker! Long hair? Other brother, bro!)
-Open with "Laundry Room" (I think this is my new favorite of theirs.)
-So fucking great
-Love different arrangements
-Most I've heard 'em talk (They were pretty chatty this time around. Super humble.)
-Problems with bass
-New song? Title track, new album (They closed with "I and love and you" and it's a great track)

One of my favorite photos from the festival

I took a crapload of pics of the Avett Bros

Murder City Devils:
-Hates mic stands (He was throwing the mic stand around the stage so much I was sure that he was going to hit someone.)
-Cute keyboard player
*We only watched them play 2 or 3 songs because the dude started ranting about "faggots and high school jocks" and we couldn't take it anymore

Zach Galiafinakis:
-Attacks the organizers for adverts (Great way to start a routine, by the way. There were stupid Verizon advertisements all over that beautiful venue.)
-Packed out!
-St. Vincent (She came on stage and sang a song about choo-choo trains. It was great watching all these hipsters sing along with a ridiculous choo-choo train song)

Airborne Toxic Event:
-Don't know much about 'em
-Sounds good
-Love women on fiddle (Seriously. It's a condition or something.)
-Only the Boss can wear headbands

He just can't pull of a bandanna like Springsteen
Nine Inch Nails:
-Sounds great
-Awesome lights
-Sitting up top (I was at the top of the amphitheatre for this performance smoking electronic cigarettes* with a friend of my brother)
-Pretty impressive
-Probably better solo (As in I'd like to see them again when they're headlining)

Er, Trent Reznor is in there somewhere.

Jane's Addiction:
-Knows how to work a crowd
-Awesome lights
-Dave Navarro? (Don't know why I didn't remember he was in this band. In case there was any question the answer is no, he was not wearing a shirt.)
-Shreds (Dude is impressive, for sure)
-This is how the pros do it
-I thought PF quit drinking
-Fed booze to the audience
-Talks about sex a lot
-Made a joke about midget fisting (Seriously. It was his segue into "Ocean size". Don't ask.)

Day two was effing awesome. The Avett Brothers may have been my favorite performance of the whole festival. Jane's Addiction was just impressive as hell to see live despite the fact that I've never really been into their music. They know how to put on a damn show, that's for sure. And Zach Galiafinakis was super funny.
"One thing I've learned is that looking like me it's hard to get a table for one at Chuck E. Cheese. Especially when you have a sketch pad. And ice cream truck music blaring out of your Subaru."
If you want to see more of my photos (there are a ton) the full album can be seen here.

*I'll probably end up buying on of these soon. They're so neat! And it seems like they're better for you being smoke free and all.

11 June 2009

Run! He's fuzzy. Get outta here.

Okay folks, here's the deal. You've heard me say on several occasions now that I've been too busy lately to keep up with my blog. At this point we've all gotta assume it's more than that. I mean I only posted like 4 times last month. How lame is that? But fear not, I'm not insinuating that I'm giving up on blogging but more something along the lines of "I'm gonna stop lying about starting to post more often." I think that would be best for all of us. I still haven't gotten around to posting about awesome Sasquatch! awesome Music Festival!! For Pete's sake! That was going to be a multi-part, massive blogapalooza about music and awesomeness but it's become apparent that I don't have the time/willpower to accomplish that goal. So instead what I'll do is transcribe my notes about each band and let you refer to my awesome pictures below for more proof of the awesomeness. I am really glad that I decided to keep a festival diary, lemmetellya. So here are the notes I took about the bands I saw at Sasquatch Music Festival.

First, let me show you our first impression of the main stage at The Gorge:

Beautiful, right? Does that even do it justice?

Now to the actual notes:

Vince Mira:
-Holy shit! (You like how my first note about the festival is utter amazement? Yeah, read on)
-Sounds like Johnny Cash (No seriously, EXACTLY like Johnny Cash.)
-Opened w/ Big River (Probably my favorite Cash song)
-17 years old (really!)
*Y'all have to watch this video to hear this guy. It's short but awesome. I took it with my phone so forgive the quality.

From Sasquatch Music Festival 05.09

AA Bondy:
-Small sound problems
-These guys rock
-Dig the lyrics
-Loud as fuck
-[Camping neighbors] like 'em
-Country song about vampires? I'm in.
-"I slept in my mom's car the other night. It's cool, she has better drugs than I do." (The singer said this at one point and I thought it deserved a quote!)

-Great venue for arena rock
-They even look like U2 (See photos for proof. Singer with shaved head and large, goofy glasses? Check. Guitar player with military cap and sleek sunglasses? Check.)
-Impressive drummer
-"Kindgom of Rust" (Must've been a song I enjoyed)

M. Ward:
-Elaborate soundcheck!
-Opened w/ "Chinese Translation"
-I love "Rave On"
-Violin player from DeVotchka (He joined for one or two songs)
-He's an awesome guitar player (I was surprised by this)
-All Post War and Hold Time (His two most recent albums)
-Maybe one from End of Amnesia (Another of his albums)
-Finished w/ "Roll over Beethoven" (How cool is that?!)

-It makes the people dance
-Carnival Rock
-He sings into two mics? (I've never seen that before)
-Very pretty music
-Finally some clouds (One of the few times we got shade during the days there.)
-They've sold me (I liked 'em before but their live show was awesome!)

Sun Kil Moon:
-Only know Tiny Cities (Their album of Modest Mouse covers)
-Sounds problems
-Probably enjoyable for big fans
-Lots of old people here

Animal Collective:

The Decemberists:
-Hazards of Love (They played the whole album)
-Goosebumps! (I got 'em)
-Margaret doesn't look like I thought she would.
-Neither does the Forest Queen. (Who completely stole the show, by the way)

*side note: It was during this concert (during "The Wanting Comes in Waves" no less) that two people began doing the no-pants dance on a bluff overlooking the main stage. The crowd and the band got a kick out of it until security busted up their amorous entwine. Nothing like sex in front of 20,000 strangers to get the evening started! Picture!

edit: I found equally blurry/kind of obnoxious video of the ordeal. God bless the internets.

Bon Iver*:
-30 minutes late (apparently they'd had some issues getting an inebriated Mos Def to finish his preceding set)
-Started out w/ "Flume"
-Wish he would play standing up (I was waaay in the back, check the photos)
-Some woman singing with him. Forest Queen? (It was indeed the same woman who'd performed with the Decemberists not 30 minutes prior. She's that awesome.)
-I like it when they play songs different than the album (They're prone to some jamming)
-Crowd participation (singalong!)
-Covering Katherine Edwards
-Tech difficulties so they can't perform certain songs? (It was a truncated set anyway because of the late start)

That was all for Saturday (just the first day!). I'll break the other two days up into separate posts so they're more readable and aren't a billion pages long. So I guess this will end up being a multi-part, massive blogapalooza after all. Though expect those other posts soon. Like maybe even later today.

Y'all really should go look at the rest of those pictures though because the scenery out there is just gorgeous. No lie. I love that place.

*I saw Bon Iver play this past weekend in Birmingham with Elvis Perkins making it the second time in less than a month that I've seen both of them play (bragging). The performance in Birmingham was effing awesome and I would definitely recommend that you see them play as soon as you can.

Bonus points to anyone who gets the title reference.

04 June 2009

Shake it like a digital picture

Okay I really have been trying to get a post out about Sasquatch! but I've been swamped, yo. So for right now just have a look at the album I put up. There are about 120 in all. I'll put some of the better ones into the blog entry about the festival. These were all taken with my phone, which has a built-in 5MP camera. As you will see, though, it also has its failures. I've never used Picasa before, but it looks like it's going to work. Please let me know if you have any issues looking at the pictures! Here's a nice slide show:

29 May 2009

In my mach 5

I'm still alive. Promise. I even made it back from Sasquatch! in one piece! It was awesome. I'm about to start writing up the blog entry to end all blog entry about the whole experience, but first a little business to tend to.

True story: When I was probably 5 or 6 years old I told a woman who lived in my neighborhood that I wanted to dress up as a can of English peas for Halloween. That's how much I loved them when I was growing up. I still love them. So, now we know what side of the line I stand on, Aleta! You can keep your gross bananas, I'll keep my delicious canned peas.

My favorite food growing up was my mother's chicken and rice. It was/is incredibly simple to make- just Rice-a-roni Chicken flavored mix (which sounds really gross and unnatural when you say it in your head) and canned chicken, really. I also loved Le Sueur peas, which I thought were called Leisure peas until I was probably 18. Then I discovered that you could mix the two together and it was better than sex. Well, sex with me anyway.

One thing's for sure, though. If you do an image search for Le Sueur peas it turns up some pretty gross looking recipe images. Still probably delicious, though.

20 May 2009

Don't know when I'll be back again

I really don't know why I'm slacking so hard on blogging recently. What's up with me? I don't have any valid excuse. I'm gonna make a real effort to blog more... just as soon as I get back from Sasquatch Music Festival! That's right, folks. The time is here! I'm leaving tomorrow morning from Huntsville to drive to the Birmingham airport and fly to Seattle! I'm excited! Exclamation points!!!!

This is going to be so much fun, guys. I'm going to try to Twitter from the festival, but it'll likely be sparse. I don't foresee any blogging. When I get back? That's a different story. It will be pretty weird going so long without the internets. Be sure to keep everything in order while I'm gone, k? I don't want to miss anything. I can't be missing things like this picture I found when image searching "Sasquatch".

I'm admittedly a little wary of flying, but I'm looking forward to getting a chance to read a hell of a lot of my book while on the plane. More exclamation points!!!!!!

This afternoon I'll be packing, which is my least favorite part of traveling. I realized yesterday that the extent of my 'luggage' is a couple of old leather duffle bags I no doubt stole from my father's closet. I honestly can't remember the last time I packed for a trip lasting more than 2 nights. I imagine it'll be a bitch to get 6 days and 5 nights worth of clothes into a duffle bag. Anyone got any sweet packing tips?

Upon my return from Sasquatch I will begin, in earnest, my search for a house. I've also been considering signing up for an internet dating site so I'll probably look into that, too. Some of you may judge, but others of you have met Very Significant Others online and I count those relationships amongst my arguments for trying it out. We'll see how this turns out.

Now for a short song based around a terrible pun that made me laugh out loud at work. I can't say much for the video, but you can ignore it for all I care. The song is only about 2:30 of the video, though.

Paul and Storm- "Captain's Wife's Lament"

14 May 2009

You said the same thing about the microwave

I'm not going to jump the gun here and talk about the Free the Hops bill passing the Senate. I'm just not going to do it. No jinxes. It ain't law yet. I'll wait...

Instead I'll do what I came here to do, and that's write a list about what I want in a house. I don't think it's a long list. Let's find out together!

- Location: Somewhere close enough to downtown Huntsville (and subsequently my friends) that I don't have to drive far. While it'd be nice to be closer to work it's not as important to me as good times.
- Big kitchen: A very, very close second to location. I hate being cramped when I'm trying to cook. HATE IT.
- At least 2 bathrooms: These first three are really more like absolute requirements. I need me a poopin' bathroom when I have company over.
- Front/back porch: I'd love to have a large back porch for lazy summer afternoons.
- 2 floors: I don't expect I'll get this, but for some reason I've always preferred two story houses.
- Hardwood floors: I guess?
- Large yard: I'm actually torn on this one because one on hand I'd love to have a dog and a big back yard to play about in but on the other hand I am not a fan of mowing grass. A dilemma to be sure.
- Large bathroom - I hate tiny showers. A walk-in shower would be so cool.
- Fireplace: It'd be nice, but I don't actually care that much. I never use the one I have now.
- A hot chicks room:
Upright Citizens Brigade
Hot Chicks Room
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

- Anything that I'm forgetting? Not that y'all would know what I want, but you might have some ideas that haven't crossed my mind yet.

Lastly, Paste Magazine is going through hard times right now. Of course they are, right? Not only does the economy suck, but the entire printed media industry is on the bubble right now. This is one of the first publications that I genuinely care about to be on the verge. So if you've ever considered a subscription now is the time. Or if you love 'em, too, they need some help. I donated what I could and the tracks they provide are pretty awesome. It says a lot about a magazine that artists would donate rare material to them in order to help them stay afloat.

12 May 2009

My glass house

Things have been pretty slow recently at work. I've actually made an art out of web-surfing. I'd love to share some of the better things I find, but I never remember to save them. Plus, if you follow me on Twitter you'll probably see most of those links anyway. That being said, if you don't follow me on Twitter then you damn well oughta.

As I previously mentioned, this past weekend was the First Annual Rocket City Brewfest. I volunteered there Friday night and attended on Saturday. I didn't go to work on Friday because I was feeling sick when I woke up and I wanted to try to get some rest so I wouldn't have to miss my shift at the Brewfest. That's dedication, Holmes. It turned out to be a fun time. I actually think I may have enjoyed pouring beer more than I did attending the next day, although that's mostly because I wasn't feeling well. There was a ton of good food there and loads of great beer. I'm sure next year will be even better.

So here's big news: I've decided to buy a house. I got a letter from my apartment complex the other day informing me that they're raising my rent ~$200 a month! I should've seen this coming because they gave me a hella sweet deal on the place when I signed on, but damn it still hurts. I'm not really okay with paying that much for an apartment and I'm also not really interested in renting again so I think it's high time I dove into the wicked world of realty. Luckily I've got family in the realty bidness who can set me on the right track. My problem is that once I make a decision like this I'm super impatient. I don't want to be living in my apartment once my lease ends in two months, but I know that's totally unrealistic. I'll probably end up staying at my apartment and paying the extra rent until I can buy a house.

I'm also really bad about listening to advice on things like this. I'll ask tons of people (y'all included) for any tips and tricks and then likely disregard the majority of what I hear. Laziness and impatience do not behoove a first time home-buyer. But really how hard can it be? Tell me about your first home-buying experience so that I may learn from your collective wisdom.

*I totally won't even mention realty on Twitter because if I do I'll get a billion new realtor-followers and realtor-replies and that's just annoying.

Oh, I went and saw the new Star Trek movie last night. I won't go into much detail but I will say that it's definitely worth seeing, even if you're not a fan of the franchise. If you are a fan of the franchise, even just a little bit, you will absolutely love it. We're all talking about it over at Sarah's place. Join in!

Here's the Swingin' Utters song, "My Glass House"

06 May 2009

Glove compartment

Oh wow it's been a whole week since I've posted. Need to nip that in the bud, folks. Sinec last Wednesday there has been a little bit of excitement here in Rocket Rain City. I got a Roomba! Also, I went and saw Death Cab for Cutie in Nashville. I guess that second one didn't really occur in Huntsville, but that's beside the point.

I'm not even sure if I mentioned it on here when I bought my Roomba off of Woot a couple of weeks ago. It wasn't a total impulse buy, although it was pretty close. It's the Roomba 530 model, which I got for significantly less than that listed price. It's pretty neat, although I wish it used a more efficient cleaning path. Sorry, that's just the engineer speaking. They make some accessory products to that end, which I will likely end up purchasing before too long, but until then I'll just let it vacuum it's inefficient little heart out. I just hope it never develops a taste for blood.

I went to Nashville last Sunday to see Death Cab for Cutie at the Ryman Auditorium. The opening bands were Ra Ra Riot and Matt Costa. Ra Ra Riot was meh but they had a lady cellist who was hot and she rocked the fuck out so more power to 'em. Matt Costa was better than I expected. Considering that all I knew about him before the concert was that he was on John Mayer's record label that didn't take much. I still don't like it when there are 5 people on stage playing music and the only one who gets title credit is the singer. Sure, the other guys in the band were probably just studio musicians hired to play Matt Costa's arrangements, but it's not like Matt Costa could've put on that same show by himself as the billing would have you believe. Death Cab was great. Ben Gibbard is hella skinny now, which is a little weird. He was also very violent with his equipment which lead me to believe he was upset about something. If he was, though, it didn't show in the performance because they sounded awesome. Pictures!

Ra Ra Riot (note hot cellist)

Matt Costa (+4 not-Matt-Costas)

Death Cab for Cutie (notice skinny Benny)

Oh, and the Rocket City Brewfest is this weekend! I'll be volunteering Friday night and attending Saturday. Y'all should all come out and support the breweries and the Free the Hops effort. With any luck by the time the weekend hits we'll have already passed the Free the Hops bill (fingers crossed). There will be a bunch of good music, good food, and good beer! You can't beat that with a stick.

29 April 2009


In the spirit of the my last post, I figured I'd drop a quickie on y'all with a few of the bands I've been listening to this last week or two. I feel like a lot of these bands have been around a while and for some reason have just flown under my radar. Well, I knew about The Swell Season, but only insofar as I knew about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irlgova (because I saw Once, which is an incredible movie). I guess since I have the soundtrack I even technically had The Swell Season's CD without even knowing it. So, here's five songs from five bands I'm digging on presented without comment. Let me know what y'all think! And, more importantly, let me know about more good music to listen to!

Delta Spirit

The Felice Brothers

The Swell Season

Justin Townes Earle

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

I should say that I discovered a couple of these bands through the wonderful folks over at bham.fm and one of them through Rachael. So they deserve some of the credit. Give it to 'em.

And go love on Some New Trend while you're at it.

27 April 2009

We ain't got no place to go

I was trying to post every day last week but, as you probably didn't notice, I had to skip Friday. M'bad. The reason? I had a short work day filled with meetings and then upon leaving (at, like, 2:30) I had to go home and clean up the apartment because I had company coming in town. Yay, company! A friend from Atlanta came in town to visit and to see Against Me! with a bunch of folks. Yes friends, we are getting into concert season and it looks to be a good harvest this year. Here's the menu for the next month or so:

That's all I've got planned so far. I feel like there's even some shows I'm forgetting. This should prove to be an excellent summer for a music fan. Also exciting is the Rocket City Brewfest coming up here in Huntsville on May 7th and 8th. I'll be volunteering on Friday night and drinking for free on Saturday! So, anyone who's planning on being at any of these shows/events should let me know! We'll have a meet-up.

The Against Me! show was awesome. It's been a while since I've been to a punk rock show. I forgot how much fun they can be. Especially when you're there with a bunch of friends and you know all the words. And you don't mind being covered in sweat and beer and jumping around like a fool.

I went to The Avett Brothers on Saturday in Birmingham at Sloss Furnaces. The weather was perfect for an outdoor venue. They played some of their new stuff, including one of my new favorite songs, "Laundry Room". Here's a video of them performing it:

How awesome is that song? Seriously. Those guys never cease to amaze me. "Last night I dreamt the whole night long/ I woke with a head full of songs/ I spent the whole day/ I wrote them down but it's a shame/ Tonight I'll burn the lyrics cause every chorus was your name."

Oh, and here's a couple of pictures I took yesterday evening on the lake behind my apartment. So nice...

^click for larger

So, folks, what concerts are y'all going to during this summer o' shows? Any that I need to be aware of?

*I've previously mentioned how excited I am about this. It is now less than 4 weeks away. ZOMG.

23 April 2009

Apollo Rocks The EP, a trial

A while back I had my first "Apollo Rocks It!" contest to come up with a great theme for a mixtape. Heather won with a kick ass idea. Sarah also had a good one, though, and I told y'all I would come up with an EP for hers. I've been putting it off because I wanted to try out the mixtape.me utility. I think this is going to be a good relationship. So here it is, the first of what I imagine could be a shitload of mixes that I put on the blog. For Sarah: "Apollo Rocks Holy Shit, Get the Fuck Outta Here!" (minus emo and scene music) The limits of their catalogue could be a problem eventually, but I think it'll work smashingly well for EPs. What do ya'll think?

*Okay upon trying to listen to it straight through I noticed that my Thin Lizzy stops playing at ~1:30. I haven't tried to listen to the others all the way yet. Is that happening to anyone else? The whole song is there, I promise. What's the deal mixtape.me?

22 April 2009

Flash bang

For a long time now I've had an interest in fiction writing. Mostly because I am constantly getting little snipets of dialogue or a story stuck in my head. I do the same thing with song lyrics, but for me it's easier to write songs for some reason. So while I've written probably a dozen songs or so over the past 5 years I can't say I've sat down and honestly attempted to write creatively (read: fiction) since I was in highschool. That was a long time ago.

A while back I discovered that a good friend of mine wrote flash fiction. When she told me that my mind went immediately to the gutter, as it is wont to do, with intricate dramas unfolding around college girls who liked to, uhm, show themselves. Upon being slapped corrected, I discovered that the actual definition was just as intriguing but for totally different reasons. It's like a hobby-kit for fiction writing!

I've read a good bit of it now and it's obvious that it takes a whole lot of talent to do well but just a little free time to do poorly. Free time I've got! There are, according to the All Mighty Wikipedia (May He Live Forever), even recognized subsets of flash fiction that are as short as 55 words! I don't necessarily know what it takes to be recognized as a 'subset' of flash fiction other than being published, but that's beside the point. Of course there is a challenge in trying to fit all of the classic story elements into such a short space, but I like challenges. I've even taken a shot today at writing something that fits that bill for Twitter. I didn't post it; it didn't go well. 140 characters is a hell of a limitation. Of course Ernest Hemingway predated all of this with his infamous, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn" which delivers some sort of story in about 33 characters. This kind of stuff is all over the place now. It's perfect for the internet. So I hope to write a little bit of really short fiction, some of which I may share here down the line.

I didn't put it on Twitter, but I likes yous guys so I'll embarrass myself by showing you the "Tweet-fiction" (coined?) I almost posted earlier:

"Z was loved by many, but the woman killed him anyway. His failures overtook his successes in sharp, stabbing steps. Blood poured cleansing."

Yeah, I know. It's a little morbid and not well-phrased. I really hate that last sentence. It's like chorus from a Misfits song. It's hard to convey a point with so little space. I do think that having 'characters' go by one letter is useful, though. So, for the writers amongst you with actual talent how would you go about telling a story in 140 characters or less? Care to share?

21 April 2009

Milk, milk, lemonade

This whole 'blogger awards' thing seems to have taken the internets by storm. Seems like every day I read a blog where someone has received an award from another blog and then passes it along like so much herpes; except more fun! So I realized that about a week ago Heather gave me The Lemonade Award because I commented on her post therein concerned. According to her, it is "an award given to sites which the giver shows either great attitude and/or gratitude." So if I'm reading that right, thank you, Heather, for showing me great attitude and gratitude. Upon accepting this award I am supposed to list 6 unimportant things that make me happy. I'm of the mind that anything that makes me happy is pretty damn important, but I'll give it the ol' college try. Here goes:

1) That first sip of coffee in the morning - Oh. My. God. Is there anything better? It seems like every day at work (and occasionally weekends) starts off with me sitting in my chair, taking a whiff of my fresh-brewed coffee, having a sip, and then melting in happiness. I usually don't reconstitute until after I've drank it all.

2) The blue herons around my apartment - They're simultaneously majestic and a little goofy-looking. I think there are about a half-dozen that live on the lake I walk around for exercise. I smile whenever I see them.

3) Going to the grocery store - Okay so this might not fall under the 'unimportant' category because, as Checker's is wont reminds us, you gotta eat. However, since I always wait until I have absolutely no edible food in the house, it's a great feeling whenever I come home with a trunk chock full of food. I realized recently that I buy mostly breakfast food, but that's a subject for another post.

4) New headphones - Now this is unimportant! I just bought a new pair of earbuds to replace the shitty ones that came with my ubiquitous mp3 player. These guys, actually. It's such a relief to be rid of the old ones. I don't have to worry about these falling out of my ears if I get particularly dance-y while on my walks.

5) Twitter - Yes, I'm addicted now. Damnit.

6) Cheesy Jokes - While I'd hardly argue that these are unimportant, some may. I've amassed quite a number of cheesy jokes over the last 5 or 6 years, all of which I'm too willing to share. Exempli gratia: A spark plug walks in to a bar and the bartender says, "Okay. I'll serve you, but you've gotta promise not to start anything." Or: What'd the fish say when he ran into a wall?? Dam... See what I mean? That's just two! I've got dozens of 'em, all tucked away somewhere in my head. Have you got one? I'd love to hear it. If I'm ever about to take a picture where I should be smiling, I'll typically think of one of these jokes so my smile doesn't look forced.

Okay so that was actually harder than I thought. Not sure if that reflects poorly upon my psychological wellness. The thing about these awards is that you're supposed to pass 'em along. So, here's two folks who have my gratitude: Sarah and LadyGlutter. F'real, though... make with the corny jokes people.

20 April 2009

Complete uninanonomonitity

Hey blog friends! I've been negligent recently in updating. I think I can fix that, though. I'm really glad that I got so many responses to my last post about a vision for Mars. I've spoken to a bunch of my rocket science friends and gotten their opinions on the matter, as well. One guy even drew a very apt comparison to the colonization of the Americas and the corporations which provided the funding. Interesting to think about, anyway.

I fully intended to put up some pictures today but I loaded them all on the computer at home and deleted them from my camera [No, Heather, not pictures of me. Still trying to maintain a little anonymity, here]. When I went walking last Friday I took some pictures on the trip. Kind of a 'step into my (painful) running shoes' idea. One thing I learned is that it's best to stop walking before you take photos, lest they come down with a case of the blurries. Oh well. You'll see 'em soon.

Is it lame that I'm trying to keep this blog a little anonymous? I realize that almost everyone who comments either knows me well or has hung out with me before. My justification is two-fold, really. The most important reason is that I occasionally write about work. There are plenty of people out there who have gotten fired for the things they wrote in their own time on their own website. While I don't think I've ever written anything so scandalous such that would warrant reprimand, I do know that other people might not agree with what I have to say. Which is fine, really. Unless those other people happen to be coworkers or bosses. The best way to avoid that little snafu is for me to keep my name/face off my blog. Sure, I know that there's a significant chance that no one in NASA has ever even heard of this site, or would care that I run it. I'm just being safe. That being said I also love establishing friendships with readers and would love to hear from anyone out there who reads but doesn't comment.

The second reason I keep my name/face off the blog is that I don't want family or (some) friends to know about it. I have my own reasons for that.

I've been thinking about this a lot recently. I think it's best. I wonder if it's not a little cowardly, though.

14 April 2009

Neptune city here I come

I've got a question for you sci-fi (not SyFy) fans out there. Actually, scratch that. It's more of a question for fans of space exploration. Are those two mutually exclusive? Whatever. I think it's kind of a question for fans of space exploration and sci-fi. Confused? Me, too. I've told you recently that I finished reading Red Mars and it has got me thinking a lot about Mars exploration. Being part of the whole space exploration effort has given me a sort of new prospective on the whole thing so I'm curious as to what y'all think about this. How important is Mars to your vision of space exploration? How should it be treated? Does anyone besides myself actually think about this stuff?

I suppose it might help to clarify my point. Or my question. Or whatever. One thing you may have picked up from reading my blog or any news source is that space exploration is fucking expensive. Really fucking expensive. Even before the recession the amount of money being spent was staggering. Staggering but, in my opinion, totally worth it. Now, with the recession on and people clamoring for massive cuts in government spending it will only get harder to convince voters that all that money is worth it. Even I have a hard time doing it, and I know about all of the benefits of the space program. So if the problem is funding, what do you do? I've always been a big proponent of doing whatever it takes to get the private space exploration sector off the ground (PUN!). I think that if anything could really get space exploration going it's avarice and greed. The problem comes when you try to turn exploration into a money-making venture. It's not so easy. Sure there plenty of potential breakthroughs that could come from extensive experiments in space, but those don't necessarily have the immediate revenue potential needed to justify the investment.

I feel like I need a shower after writing those last few sentences. Honestly, though, I'm all for unchecked greed if it can get billions of dollars invested in space exploration. I hate unchecked greed when it ruins/costs lives. It could certainly take some of the monetary burden off of NASA (and thus the taxpayer). And maybe some of the public scrutiny, as well. The tallest tree is the first one cut and all that. So, back to Mars. If you believe that Mars is critical to our future (like I do) would you be okay with letting big corporations strip-mine the planet for metals/resources if they were willing to put up the necessary capital to establish a permanent human presence? That was a mouthful. But that's basically the question that I've been chewing over for a few weeks. It's one of the major questions dealt with in Red Mars but the book doesn't deliver much for an answer. I think I'm okay with it. But then I think I need a shower. Is there anything wrong with letting someone else pay the tab this time?

I realize I probably won't get an answer to this question, but it's something to consider. Because at some point, even if you're not a fan of space exploration or sci-fi, your vote will be counted amongst the ones that make the decision. Either by direct vote or by voting for a policy-maker (e.g. a senator who thinks we just can't afford it all).

Then again we could just cut the fucking defense budget in half and double-fund NASA for the next 100 years without ever taking an extra dime from the taxpayer. There. I said it.

13 April 2009

It's got one magic trick

Gah! I've been meaning to update now for, like, 5 days or something. It just seems like every time I get a little bit of free time I blink my eyes and it has disappeared! Who's disappearing my free time? Well, there are a few culprits. First, Jim Dunn over at Raising Jacobzona. He runs a couple of blogs, both rife with the funny. Check him out. F'real! Second, the city of Birmingham. I was there this past weekend and, as is often the case, filled my 'free time' with 'alcohol' and 'friends'. Then there was this other mixtape I had to finish for The Mixtape Club in Birmingham. We really ought to come up with a better name... any suggestions? Anyhow the theme was "Mixtape Suicide Note". As in 'if you were going to kill yourself tomorrow, what songs can you find that would best describe why'? Not the most fun theme to ponder at length, folks. I'd post the tracklist here but then you'd be all like 'what the hell is his deal' and 'of course he'd pick a Danzig song'. Besides, out of all the mixes I've made in the past couple of years I can say I like that one the least. Probably because I wasn't too keen on the subject matter. Also because I was kind of in a hurry to finish it. We exchanged these mixtapes at a friend's 30th birthday party. Let me tell you suicide music does not liven up a party. Actually they weren't all super-depressing, Morrissey-esque ballads extolling the virtues of death. Mine even had some upbeat sounding alt-country! More specifically it had a song called "You Can't Buy a Gun When You're Crying" by Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs. Here it is:

Yes, that's a very British band playing very good country western music. So it really wasn't all that bad, you see. Tonight I'm going to try to go see Jason Webley at a house show in Huntsville. I'm curious as to why he's playing at a house. He seems to have a decent following. I'm sure he could've played at an actual venue. I'm actually a little wary of house shows, to be honest. Houses don't typically have enough room or decent enough acoustics to accomodate more than about 20 people comfortably. At least that's been my experience, anyway. Maybe this'll change my opinion.

08 April 2009

Apollo Rocks Roots and Burial

A couple of weeks ago I had a contest to celebrate my 100th blog post. Heather Rose won and has been ever so patiently waiting for her mixtape. I know, I should actually call it a mix CD, but I don't care what I should call it, I like calling 'em mixtapes. Seems cooler that way to me for some reason. Anyhow, Heather came up with the awesome idea of a Roots and Burial mix. This was intriguing to me because I can think of all sorts of songs about death, but not necessarily burial; family, but not necessarily roots and so on and so forth. So it was challenging and really fun to make. I finally got it done yesterday. I haven't technically delivered it yet, but I did make my own copy which I've been listening to since yesterday to make sure that it all worked the way I wanted it to. It did. Without further ado (and with warning to Heather that if she wants it to be a surprise then turn away now) I present the tracklist for what I hope to be the first of many "Apollo Rocks It mix contests.

1) William Elliott Whitmore - Digging my grave
2) Blind Lemon Jefferson - See that my grave is kept clean
3) Oakley Hall - Bury your burden
4) Great Lake Swimmers - I am Part of a Large Family
5) Eisley - Many Funerals
6) Rancid - Roots radicals
7) Tom Waits - Cold Cold Ground
8) William Elliott Whitmore - Cold and Dead
9) Pine Hill Haints - Don't Wait for Six Strong Men
10) The Ramones - Pet Sematary
11) H2O - Family Tree
12) Modest Mouse - Bury me with it
13) Talking Heads - Pull up the Roots
14) Old Crow Medicine Show - Beech Creek Dirge
15) Tom Waits - Dirt in the Ground
16) Alisdair Roberts - A Lyke-Wake Dirge
17) The Pogues - Worms

I'm still working on the cover design. Since I don't have a printer at home it takes some doing. Once that's done, though, it's all hers. And mine. Cause I'm totally keeping that mix forever. What songs would you have put on this mix if it were yours to make? There were probably six songs that were on the bubble for me but didn't make the cut.

Now I've just got to finish the Suicide mix that I'm supposed to be doing for my Mixtape Club. Yeah. I know. Depressing theme, right? Once that one is done I'll probably post that tracklist here as well.

Do y'all think I should keep doing these? Cause I get a kick out of making mixtapes. I can imagine that Heather won't have a problem trying to win 'em all.

06 April 2009

A rocket's not an easy thing to make

Well these last two weeks were pretty busy for yours truly. This past week was especially so because not only was work pretty hectic but I also had some friends in town from Wednesday to Saturday. This, of course, was occasion to drink. A lot. And I also got a girl's number on Friday night who I've kinda been crushin' on for a bit. Good times! Things should settle back down this week, though. That should give me more time to attend to my bloggin'. I'm almost done with Heather's awesome mix. It's been a fun challenge and it's pretty dern good if I do say so myself. I'm hoping to have the tracklist up here for y'all tomorrow.

Okay so I don't know how many of you have been following the trials and tribulations of NASA's Ares program. I'm pretty sure I've blogged about this before but it's starting to come up in the news again so I thought I should revisit it. Ares is the name of the rocket that's meant to replace the Space Shuttle for the U.S.'s future human space exploration. The Space Shuttle is (as of now) retiring late next year. It's been used now for almost 30 years and is getting a little too risky to operate without major, expensive upkeep and changes. So NASA decided about 5 years ago to go with a design that looks like this:

The Ares I is on the right in that picture and is meant to be used primarily for human transport to the moon and, eventually, Mars. Hence the name. The one on the left is the Ares V and is being designed as a 'heavy lifter'. In other words it'll be taking on the Space Shuttle's cargo-carrying duties. The main reason the Space Shuttle is still in use today is that nothing else available can carry large cargo (like Colbert, the new module for the International Space Station). I'm working on a part of the Ares I project that keeps it steady during launch and ascent.

There has been a lot of to-do about the problems and delays with the Ares I program. It is, per NASA's own schedule, already at least a year and a half past it's initial launch target of 2014. Some people are saying that it's more like 3 years behind schedule. It's hard for me to say. It's such a massive undertaking that trying to make it adhere to some schedule seems to me like a fool's errand. Lot's of people are calling for a complete cancellation of the Ares I program. That, to me, seems like throwing the baby out with the bath water. Yes, there are lots of problems with the Ares program, but so much time and money has been invested in its development that it would be a travesty just to abandon it. And it would probably completely kill NASA in the court of public opinion. That is the absolute last thing we need. I'm saying this not as an aerospace engineer but rather as a person who has watched science, mathematics, and engineering take a backseat in this nation's mind and its education systems. LadyGlutter recently spoke to this on her blog. It's all a big mess. To be honest I've never really been a fan of the Ares I design. It seemed too derivative of the Apollo program to me. I don't think it's a design that spurs a lot of innovation. That being said I will stick behind this design because it's the one that we've been working so diligently on. I'm not really worried about my job security, though maybe I should be. I just think that backing out of the Ares program this far into development would be devastating to the U.S. space program. Plus, without going into a lot of detail, most of the proposed alternatives aren't so hot themselves.

I hope I'm making my point clear. It's hard for me to elucidate how I feel about the current direction of the space program because I'm embroiled in it. That's kind of why I started this blog entry -- to clear up in my head what I think about all of this. Feel free to ask me any questions you have about this whole mess. It may even help me understand. I think this song (by one of my favorite bands EVER) may well sum it up:

In other news, SPACE ROBOTS.

31 March 2009

Teenagers from Mars and we don't care

First let me say that Heather Rose totally had the best mixtape idea- Roots and Burial. I'll be making a sweet mix for her real soon-like. As for the other ideas- Sarah's "Holy Shit, Get the Fuck Out of Here" (minus emo music) mix I think I'll put together a quick list of awesome escape/getaway music here soon, too. And dear LadyGlutter wants some good road music. To that I say please get yourself a copy of the soundtrack from Motorcycle Diaries. Absolutely awesome for roadtrips. Lots of classical guitar. Good thinking music. Thanks for all the ideas, y'all! I'll probably do this again sometime. I like it! I only wish I had the time to make 'em all.

I just finished reading Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson. It's the first book I bought and read on my Kindle, by the way, and that's totally awesome. As a matter of fact when I finished reading it I was in the midst of a meeting that I knew was going to last a few hours more so I went ahead and bought the second book in the series and started reading it. How cool is that? Anyhow, back to the book- it was really good. It is a science fiction novel about the beginning of human colonization of Mars. It focuses specifically on 'the first 100', the group of scientists and engineers that were sent to set the foundations of the colony. I don't know much about Robinson but I discerned this much - the guy knows his stuff about the science. He discusses at length everything from the health effects of zero-g environments, the geography of Mars (a lot of this), to the physics of the voyage from Earth. If you're not science-minded it may even be a little heavy.

Don't let that deter you from reading it, though. I found that I could kind of skim some of the more overscienced parts without losing any of the heart of the story. And boy is the story compelling. It deals primarily with the relationships between the scientists and the work they do. There is a lot of politicking going on, as can be expected. The story is divided into about ten different parts. Each part deals with a new phase in the development of the colonies on Mars. The whole book is written in the third-person but each segment focuses on a different person in the 'first 100'. This, in effect, eliminates the standard 'protagonist/antagonist' storytelling mode which makes for an interesting reading experience. No matter whether or not you like a character in the story you are probably going to be made to see things from their perspective before it's all said and done.

It may also challenge what a lot of people consider to be "science fiction". There are no three-boobed aliens a la Total Recall (rats!). No laser-pistols. No warp drives. It's really a story about struggling to live amongst a small colony in a truly harsh, alien environment. It could draw a lot of comparisons to the popular frontier literature of the 1800s. I would definitely suggest this book to people who get a little tingly when thinking about space exploration. It accomplishes the amazing task of delivering a great human drama while simultaneously making me all wistful for another life. On Mars.

25 March 2009

You shouldn't have!

This is my 100th blog post! Yaaaaay! Wait... where's the confetti and balloons? And isn't there supposed to be cake or something? No presents?! What kind of celebration is this? Well you know what? I didn't want any cake or presents anyway. That's right. Yeah. Who needs 'em? Not me, that's for sure. Cake is bad for you. And I've got plenty of stuff so I don't need no more stupid presents. I could hardly fit anymore stuff in my apartment because it's so full of cool stuff.

This blog hasn't been nothing but trouble any how. I mean, sure I've gotten some cool new friends. Yeah, maybe I have used it to sort out a few issues. I've even challenged myself to write a dumb music review or two for it... Well, maybe on second thought it ain't been so bad. I guess it's actually pretty cool! Okay well I guess I'll be going now. I'll come back tomorrow if I've got the time.

Oh, you know what? I've got an idea. In honor of my 100th blog post I'll post a kick ass play list for the person who comes up with the best mix-tape theme. If you're awesome enough (and I have time) I might even make the damn thing and mail it to you. How does that sound? I'll decide at the end of the week. And if no one posts any ideas I'll just make one up.

There's cake at 1000, right?