Thursday, February 21, 2008



She comes from all directions!!!!

You have been warned....

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Beatles Music in FIlm

Mandy and I watched "Across The Universe" last weekend. If you are a Beatles fan I would recommend seeing it once, just for the music. If not, you could as easily skip it and not miss very much. The most striking thing about the music of The Beatles, is how transcendent it is. The simple melodies and 4/4 rock timing of the majority of their songs is simple, bordering on formulaic, but it's still so good. As an example of how Beatles music can carry even the simplest imagery, here is one of the most toe-curling cute videos I've ever seen, and it's topical.


Monday, February 11, 2008


Some days, I guess, you shouldn’t try to fly. Today is one of those days. It went down thus:

I got a ride out to the airport with my trusty cabbie Pamela (yes, I know her name… I travel a lot). Arrived at DIA around 9:00AM, breezed through the check-in line and security, and with a quick stop off at Einstein Brother’s Bagels, I was on my way to the gate to catch my 10:49 flight to Raleigh. After arriving, eating my bagel and drinking my coffee, I looked up at the digital marquee to notice the flight had been delayed to 11:15. Not terribly unusual. I shrugged, put on the new Hot Chip CD (Rolling Stone gave it 4 stars, by the way), and continued reading a great book by Jimmy Carter.

I didn’t hear the announcement since I had my noise-canceling headphones, so when I looked up and noticed the departure time had changed to the awful, blinking “Plane Being Serviced” message which really means, “You’re Screwed” I pulled my headphones off and asked kindly elder gentleman next to me what was up. He looked over his crossword puzzle at me and, this is true, pulled his spectacles down saying, “The fucking place is fucking delayed until God fucking knows when.” He must have been filling out a naughty crossword, I think to myself. Too startled to respond, I picked up my bag and walked over to the counter to ask the flight attendant what was up. It turns out something was wrong with the plane, and that we would be delayed for another hour.

I chose a seat further away from the man suffering from what had to be Turrets Syndrome, and kept reading my book, but with my headphones off.

“Passengers on flight 802 to Raleigh/Durham. Things are looking up. We’ve secured another plane, and will be departing within the next 30 minutes at Gate B50.” A slight cheer went up and we all shambled one gate over to wait for our plane. I didn’t bother to put on my headphones again and kept reading my book.

Thirty minutes passed before the same flight attendant piped up, “Passengers on flight 802 to Raleigh/Durham…we seem to be missing one of our flight attendants. No one knows where she’s gotten off to, but as soon as she’s on the plane, we’ll begin boarding.”

Another thirty minutes pass and he pipes up, “The flight attendant has been found. We will begin boarding shortly.”

Twenty minutes pass and the flight attended, obviously frustrated, comes back on, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out the GPS on this plane won’t start. We have a decision time of one hour. In one hour we will make a determination about the departure time. Please note, this is not the departure, this is the decision time.”

An hour passes. “Ladies and gentlemen, t he plane has been fixed and is certified to fly. We will begin boarding in twenty minutes.” A louder cheer goes up from the crowd.

Twenty minutes pass. “Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has refused the flight. We are attempting to rectify. We will give more information as it becomes available.” At this point several suit-and-Bluetooth-headset wearing glitterati leap from their seats and crowd the attendant’s desk with shouts of suing, lawyers, and more suing. This, apart from the swearing 70-year-old man, was the most amusing part of the whole ordeal. I put down my book and listened to this alpha-males, now emasculated by this flamboyantly gay flight attendant, puff their chests and pound the desk. It was very reminiscent of the scene from Fear and Loathing where the police chiefs are trying to check into the Flamingo Hotel and gay clerk is messing with them. It was a delight to behold.

Another thirty minutes pass. “Ladies and gentlemen, the a new plane has been found and we will begin boarding in two hours at gate B33.”

So… here I am. In the airport bar eating a burger and drinking a diet coke. If this plane does actually take passengers on, and gets airborn, and lands in one piece, I’ll be as amazed as you.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Rocket Man!!!

My work requires me to travel quite a bit. The traveling is pretty interesting as it affords me the opportunity to see how completely homogeneous the world is. It really is the same everywhere. From the music played on the radio, to the chain stores, to the types of cars. I'm sure this feeling would lessen if I had to fly out to Cambodia and consult on a display system in the middle of the steaming jungle, but so far it's just been Western cities and countries I've visited. So, my view is naturally skewed.

Anyway, to keep track of the places I've visited and to supply some information on the types of virtual reality displays and what the clients are trying to use them for. There is a new link added to the right-hand nav that says "Matt's Travels." Clicking the link will bring you to a custom Google map that shows all of the displays and, when not prohibited by Federal Law, I've included some information on the displays. I've included the Google API below for a quick view, but click the "View Larger Map" link on the right for a bigger display. Also note, both the map below and the map to the right are interactive. Click on a thumbtack for more info, and click-and-drag the map to look around. Man, I love the Google Map API.

View Larger Map

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Paul Simon and Allen Ginsberg

I love Paul Simon's writing. While a unquestionably talented guitar player, his true strength as a songsmith lies in his writing. He's still cranking out the tunes, and melding his folky, contemplative writing and playing with contemporary luminaries such as Brian Eno. I recently started listening to "The Rhythm of the Saints" the sequel to his every-possible-away-winning album "Graceland." While not as much a critical darling as Graceland, Rhythm showcases some of the most profound lyrics Simon has written.

For your consideration, the lyrics to the climatic song "Cool, Cool River." The song always reminds me of Ginsberg's epic beat poem "Howl."

"Cool, Cool River" by Paul Simon
"Moves like a fist through the traffic
Anger and no one can heal it
Shoves a little bump into the momentum
Its just a little lump
But you feel it
In the creases and the shadows
With a rattling deep emotion
The cool, cool river
Sweeps the wild, white ocean

Yes boss. the government handshake
Yes boss. the crusher of language
Yes boss. mr. stillwater,
The face at the edge of the banquet
The cool, the cool river
The cool, the cool river

I believe in the future
I may live in my car
My radio tuned to
The voice of a star
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edge of a thunderstorm
And these old hopes and fears
Still at my side

Anger and no one can heal it
Slides through the metal detector
Lives like a mole in a motel
A slide in a slide projector
The cool, cool river
Sweeps the wild, white ocean
The rage of love turns inward
To prayers of devotion
And these prayers are
The constant road across the wilderness
These prayers are
These prayers are the memory of god
The memory of god

And I believe in the future
We shall suffer no more
Maybe not in my lifetime
But in yours I feel sure
Song dogs barking at the break of dawn
Lightning pushes the edges of a thunderstorm
And these streets
Quiet as a sleeping army
Send their battered dreams to heaven, to heaven
For the mothers restless son
Who is a witness to, who is a warrior
Who denies his urge to break and run

Who says: hard times?
Im used to them
The speeding planet burns
Im used to that
My lifes so common it disappears
And sometimes even music
Cannot substitute for tears"

Sample of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix;Angel-headed hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection
to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night."

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cheese Pants!

(Nikki (AKA Cheese Pants) after being in her cage for 6 hours)

(Nikki, five minute later. We think she's crazy.)

Monday, February 04, 2008

Sunday dinner...

The last few weeks Matt has been traveling Monday - Thursday, which allows him to be home the entire weekend. We decided at the beginning of January to have Sunday where we could both help make dinner together. This allows us to spend time together as well as have something to look forward to the week as we are apart. It has been going fabulously! (The only difference of yesterday is that he doesn't have to leave this week)

This week we created a new chicken roulade sauce involving: tomatoes with green chilies, a little mayo, ginger and garlic paste, and a smidge of soy. We filled the chicken with green onions, mushrooms, and green peppers. Matt made spatzles (or wormels - ask him if you have questions) and I made crowned cauliflower.


Nothing tops off a great dinner than watching a bit of MythBusters. Although a very relaxing weekend it looks like they are a bit tired, huh?

Friday, February 01, 2008

WinDirStat - Most Useful Windows Space Analyzer

Here is a link to the most useful hard drive space analyzer I have ever come across. While it does make my geek bones tingle, it's not just for computer geeky-types. It's also useful for video editors, graphic designers, and sys-admins. Okay... it is for geek types, but it's so useful I just had to shout it on high from the mountain tops.

What it does is analyze your hard drive and give you a very simple view of your directory structure based on how much data is stored in that director as a percentage of your overall hard drive usage.

The upshot is once you have run it, you can easily tell what files and directories are taking up the most space on your hard drive, and easily drill down to those directories and do some house keeping. It's great for finding out where you can free up some space on your hard drive.

This utility will likely become less and less important as hard drive space increases seem to be out-pacing software space requirements.

Oh, it's also open-source, so you can hack to it your heart's delight and have it do what not with your files. I love it!

The web page for the Util: