Saturday, October 29, 2005

Not So Quick

The other night I broke my main rule of drawing -- which is to avoid putting much time or effort into it -- and spent a couple of hours on this pencil drawing. But I was enjoying the quiet time and the simple fun of pencil and paper, and even the cats were leaving me alone. Part of the reason I have been spending more time drawing lately is my idea that I need less expensive hobbies, and pencil and paper is about as cheap as it gets. I saw this pose in one of my girlfriend's fashion magazines, and I really liked all the angles in the pose.
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Adding The Personal Touch

My girlfriend: . . . anyway, so I have this book and now I have to get it to Angelina Jolie. [Author's note: oddly enough, this is actually true.]

Me: How are you going to to that?

Girlfriend: I'll FedEx it to so-and-so, who can give it to her.

Me: No, that's a terrible plan.

Girlfriend: Well how would you do it?

Me: I recommend having Angelina come over to our house for dinner, where I would be happy to personally hand her the book.

Girlfriend: Yeah, right. That makes no sense.

Me: But it would be more fun.

Girlfriend: For who?

Me: Uh, for me.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The iPod Audio Tour

While I was in New York I went to MoMA, and I had downloaded into my iPod some of the unofficial audio guides by Art Mobs. The ones I listened to were great, but I was not prepared for how funny they were -- more like stand-up comedy than a traditional museum audio tour. So while looking at Picasso's Les Demoiselles D'Avignon, though everyone else in the room was standing quietly with that "hmm . . . I am in the presence of very famous art" look on their faces, I had my headphones on and was laughing out loud every 10 seconds. I like the idea of people making their own audio guides for things.

My copy of one of Picasso's bulls is above. I had no audio tour commentary for this one, but my girlfriend quipped, "even with his most abstract one, he still makes sure we realize it's a bull." I decided not to take my camera along, but I had a notebook so I made a few sketches.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Renamed by Starbucks

At a Starbucks on Fifth Avenue, NYC, I was in line right behind a foreign woman who was ordering.

Woman: Large latte.

Employee: OK, anything else?

Woman: No.

Employee: OK, what's your name?

Woman: [says something in a foreign language, possibly Russian]

Employee: Your name?

Woman: [says something complicated, obviously not just her name, in a foreign language]

Employee: Your name. So we can call it out when it's ready, what's your name?

Woman: What?

Employee: Look, I'm just going to put down "Natasha."

At this point the employee glances at me, and I start biting my lip to try not to crack up laughing, because I'm thinking of Boris and Natasha from the old Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons. I feel like the guards in Monty Python's Life of Brian who are trying to hold in their laughter so they don't laugh at Caesar. I've heard of people coming to New York and getting a new name, but I didn't realize the procedure happened at Starbucks.

Woman (finally understanding): Oh. It's Maria!

(The picture above is a pencil sketch I did later that night at dinner.)

Bird Flu!

When someone sneezes, instead of saying "Bless you!" say "Bird flu!"

The trick is to say it in the exact same tone of voice you would use to say "bless you" so that if the person isn't paying attention, they might assume you said "bless you."

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hope Solo

While watching the U.S. women's soccer team play against Australia, I became interested in a certain detail of the game. No, it wasn't the relative advantages of the 4-4-2 formation vs. the 4-3-3, it was this nagging question: was U.S. goalkeeper Hope Solo wearing makeup? It's a little hard to tell from this still image, but it looked to me like she was wearing eyeliner and possibly other makeup. A reasonable question might be, what difference does it make? It doesn't really matter, but it interests me that a soccer player, perhaps conscious that the game will be televised, might wear makeup on the field. Or maybe I'm imagining it, and she always looks like that.

Anyway, she made some very good saves to keep Australia from scoring and maintain the U.S. streak of not allowing a goal yet this year.


Bike-a-pult! I like signs that show bad things happening to stick figures. It would be even better if this guy were getting thrown into the open mouth of a waiting alligator or something. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 14, 2005


A recent episode of Alias contained the line, "you'll follow my instructions explicitly." Does this make sense? Someone can give explict instructions, sure, but is it possible to "follow them explicitly?" Maybe if they are naughty instructions . . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Here is a drawing I did recently. I was talking with my dad the other night, and he mentioned how it really took a lot of time to practice the guitar. "Yeah," I said, "that's why my plan is to specialize in things that don't take very much time. My new hobby will be buying things from vending machines."

Drawing is also a good thing, not because I'm any good at it, but because it only takes a few minutes to sketch out something simple. And because I don't expect to be good at it, I don't get frustrated. Oh, that's the other key: low expectations.

I've also gotten hooked on Sudoku, for the same reason that it is not a big time commitment. My mom says Sudoku is more frustrating than crosswords, because with a crossword you can put it down, come back later, and in the intervening time your subconscious will have come up with the answers to some of the clues, but with Sudoku, when you pick it up again you haven't gained anything. I guess that is true. I usually do a Sudoku in one sitting.

Friday, October 07, 2005

H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival

The H. P. Lovecraft Film Festival is this weekend. My ex-coworker Andrew, who is a great guy, runs this festival, and it was really fun last year, so if you are in Portland, go see it!


My latest rant about Lost season 2 is up at Snarkfest.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Attention New Yorkers

My girlfriend and I will be in New York City during the weekend of Oct. 22. She is there on a business trip, I'm just going along. If anyone reading this wants to say hello, meet for coffee, or go to museums, please leave a comment.

Yes, that probably describes about zero people, since mine is not a "famous" blog, but I figure it is free to ask.

Contraction Faction, What's Your Action?

Contraction puzzlers:

1. If I'm is a contraction for I am, why does it sound wrong to say:

I think, therefore I'm.

2. If you've is a contraction for you have, why does it sound wrong to say:

Give me all the money you've.

3. If he'd is a contraction for he would, why does it sound wrong to say:

He'd, but I wouldn't.

4. Why does it sound acceptable to me (West Coast American English speaker) to say:

There's more carrots in the refrigerator.

even though the uncontracted form is clearly ungrammatical:

There is more carrots in the refrigerator.

Obviously, this should be There are more carrots . . . But there're is a very awkward contraction. So there's sounds better even though it is wrong?

Saturday, October 01, 2005

More about Lost

My girlfriend does not share my frustrations with Lost and her theory is that it is a male/female difference. She says men like stories that "get to the point" and women don't mind it as much when stories ramble and go off on tangents.