Thursday Sep 27, 2007

Even the Birds can afford more in Austin

 

You should have seen the tiny box these guys lived in back in San Jose!

 

Pau for now...

Wednesday Aug 15, 2007

Aesop in the City

The Shouts & Murmurs section of The New Yorker has been unfunny of late with the last really good piece being Jack Handey's Nature documentary.   This week however was another winner.

Entitled "Aesop in the City," its a one-page piece by screenwriter Yoni Brenner and is made up of eight modern day parables including: "The Hawk and the Mouse," "The Dog and the Magic Hen" and "The Wolf, the Sheep, the H.R. Person, Mayor Bloomberg, Al Sharpton, and Jesse the intern" -- to name three.

To entice you to read the whole piece, here is one of the tales in its entirety:

The Fox and the Goat

A fox is offered free tickets from Cindy in P.R. She drops them off after lunch, and the fox is dismayed to find that they are for an experimental Swedish dance company called Leøtåård. He takes the tickets to the goat in the next cubicle. “Leøtåård?” says the goat. “I’ve never heard of them.” “I saw them last week,” coos the fox. “The Scandinavian Alvin Ailey. I’ll give them to you for ten bucks.” And so, while the goat spends the evening in a dank underground space off Avenue C, the fox goes to Ollie’s and spends the ten dollars on lo mein. Sure enough, the performance is awful and the goat gets a massive strobe-light headache. Still, inexplicably, he puts his name on the e-mail list.

Moral: Always check the Web site.

 

If you liked this, click here for the whole thing. 

Pau for now... 

Tuesday Jul 10, 2007

Jack Handey's Nature Documentary

One of my favorite sections in the New Yorker is "Shouts & Murmurs"  which features short satirical pieces that range from the so-not-funny-Im-not-going-to-bother-finish-reading-this to the hysterical (most fall closer to the latter than the former).   Last week's entry, My Nature Documentary, by Jack Handey definitely fell to the right of the spectrum. 

Jack Handey is probably best known for his "Deep thoughts" pieces that were shown between skits on Saturday Night Live in the 90's.  Heres one of them.

Handey's piece in New Yorker is short and should be read in its entirety but to entice you further here is a snippet (the conceit is someone detailing the set-up and making of a nature documentary focusing on a monkey and giraffe):

Narrator: “The monkey and the giraffe have been separated.”

Show monkey wandering around, injured, lost and alone. Make him trip, using fishing line attached to his leg. (Try to get this on first take, because after that monkey will probably try to bite off fishing line.)

Show giraffe being chased by a lion. If not too expensive, use full-sized, realistic robotic lion, able to run at full speed. Otherwise get a man in a lion suit.

 

Pau for now.. 

Tuesday May 15, 2007

Bytes keep gettin' bigger

If, like myself, you only follow memory prices and disc capacity intermittently, you'll be surprised by what Costco's offering.  In my monthly spam from the giant retailer, amongst featured items such as Hooked on Phonics and the Kidkraft outdoor furniture set, is the Calvary 2TB personal disk array.  Wasnt it not too long ago that two terabytes  was an entire datacenter? (Ok, maybe Im getting old).  

I wonder how long it will be before 2TBs will fit on a thumb drive or the 2 petabyte personal disk array debuts?  And whats beyond "yotta"?


Thursday Apr 26, 2007

Morrissey fan base 2.0: This Charming Hombre

Steven Patrick Morrissey, former Smiths front man, is currently touring the states and will be coming to play Austin next month.  I was listening to a local morning show talking about the event and what I learned was that this former Mancunian now lives in sunny L.A.  More interestingly, I learned that in the mid 90s, when Morrissey's career was at all time low, his popularity began growing with the local Latino population.  In East L.A. there were Smiths and Morrissey-themed club nights as well as a very popular Latino Smiths cover band, the Sweet and Tender Hooligans.

Turns out in fact that it was this new fan base that helped re-kick start Morrissey's career.   At a concert in Santa Barbara in 2002 he told a predominantly Latino crowd, "I just want you to know that without you folks I would be well and truly screwed."  If you want to learn more about this phenomenon check out the Guardian article or the documentary  "Is it Really So Strange?"

Who knew!?

Pau for now...

Thursday Mar 22, 2007

Origami on Steroids

I read a fascinating article the other day in the New Yorker called The Origami Lab, by Susan Orleans.  The article focuses on Robert Lang who oversaw R&D at JDS Uniphase until he left in 2001 "to fold paper full time."  If you're like me and haven't been keeping up with Origami in the last 30 years you'll be blown away by what people are making out of one sheet of paper these days.  Check out some of these creations by Lang and the associated "crease patterns."

You should really read the whole article so to entice you here are a few interesting the tidbits:

  • The creation that put Lang on the international origami map was a life sized origami cuckoo clock which took six months to design and six hours to fold.
  • In the '70's he invented an origami Jimmy Carter, a Darth Vader, a nun, and an inflatable bunny.
  • He is the creator of TreeMaker, origami software available for Mac, GNU/Linux and windows. 
  • Among others, Lang was hired by The Drew Carey Show to create a life-size Drew Carey and by Lawrence Livermore Labs to work on a folding problem for a "telescope with a lens a hundred metres in diameter which had to be packed into a rocket so that it could be sent into space."

A whole world I never knew existed!

Pau for now...

Tuesday Mar 20, 2007

The Other Three are...

In answer to Saturday's Bar Bet, the Patron Saints of Scotland, England and Wales are: Andrew, George and David.

    
 St Patrick - Ireland
 St Andrew - Scotland
 St George - England

St. David - Wales

 

Whats particularly interesting, which my boss Simon (I had to put in this glam shot ;-) turned me on to, is the fact that Union Jack (technically the Union Flag) is actually made up of the flags of the three of the four guys above:

Flag of St George + Flag of St Andrew + Flag of St Patrick = Union Jack

Turns out the reason St David didnt get his flag included is because Wales was a principality and not a kingdom.  Thats a bummer cause I think it would have been totaly cool to have a dragon right in the middle of the Union Jack! 

Pau for now...

Saturday Mar 17, 2007

Bar Bet -- Can you name the other Three?

Well today is Saint Patrick's day, a day for revelry and libations in many locations across the globe.


Now most people know that St. Pat is the patron saint of Ireland, the guy who chased all the snakes out of Eire. (Fun facts to know and tell:  St. Patrick's real name was Maewyn Succat.  Do you think growing up he got teased about his name by the other kids on the playground?)

The question is, can you name the other three patron saints that make up the fab four of Great Britain and Ireland?  That is to say, who are the patron saints of England, Scotland and Wales?

One hint, the patron saint of England is NOT Simon Templar.

Tune in next time for the answers (no fair using Google).

Pau for now... 


Friday Jan 05, 2007

Bring on the Light

A couple weeks ago was one of my favorite days of the year up here in the northern hemisphere, December 21 aka the-shortest-day-of-the-year .  Its one my favorites because from here on out, at least until the other solstice, the days get longer and longer.  Im big into sunlight, not necessarily basking in it, although there are worse things you could do on a summer afternoon, but being able to look out my windows at home, work or in the car and see it.  Basically, I'll have to confess, like the late great John Denver once proclaimed, sunshine on my shoulder, makes me happy (even if it is coming through a window like it is now).

As a result, in past years at this time I have found myself obsessed with weather.com and regularly checking on the widening of the gap between sunrise and sunset.  This year Im a bit distracted, what with the new kids and the upcoming move, but I did manage to log in on the 22nd and check out the amount of daylight at few spots around the world.  I've even thrown in a token Southern Hemisphere locale for reference.   

Here is what I found the day after the solstice (from darkest to lightest). 


  Barrow Reykjavik Edinburgh San Jose
Tokyo Austin Honolulu Capetown
 Daylight
 04hrs   8min6hrs   58min9hrs       35 min
9hrs 45min
10hrs 11min
10hrs 51min
14hrs 25min
 Sunrise NA 11:22 am
8:43 am
7:19 am 6:47 am  7:24 am
 7:05 am
 5:32 am
 Sunset NA3:30 pm
 3:41 pm
 4:54 pm
 4:32 pm
 5:35 pm
 5:56 pm
 7:57 pm

 

Not sure if there is any big a-ha here other than, given the choice, right now I would prefer to be in Capetown rather than Barrow Alaska.  Taking a less dramatic comparison, it is interesting to see that when we move from San Jose to Austin we will be getting almost 45 more minutes of light. 

I hope check back in on these cities in a few months and see how things have changed.

Pau for now...

 

About

I look after Sun's relationships with the various GNU/Linux communities as well as our relationship with the FSF. Last year, my family and I emigrated from Silicon Valley to Austin, TX.

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