27 February 2009

Rambleweed, Pt. 1:
the Spud Incident

“My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?”
- Erma Bombeck, American humorist writer (1927-1996)

In 1988-89 (my second year of college) I lived in a apartment complex that we all colloquially referred to as Rambleweed. (Strangely, this complex was directly next to my old high school.) It was predominantly students from Colorado State that lived in the complex, so needless to say it was a bit rowdy, noisy, rude.

I shared an apartment with two friends, one being six-foot-seven, and the other six-foot-five, like myself. It was a tall, loud apartment.

Many, many odd, mysterious and highly amusing occurrences took place over that year... 

the following is but one such instance:

At one point we all decided that our apartment was beginning to smell a bit, shall we say, ripe. Not terrible, but just... less than fresh. We decided we'd better clean the place up some. We spent the weekend vacuuming, dusting, mopping, and sweeping. We cleaned the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, the hallways and our bedrooms. We were very satisfied to have a nice, fresh clean apartment again.

The next morning we woke up and the 'ripe' smell was still there. We made half-hearted attempts to locate the origin of this smell, to no avail.

A few weeks went by, and the smell lingered, evolving into a decided funk. Our apartment was funky, and not in the good way.

We all blamed each other, looked through the refrigerator and cupboards, hoping to find the offending substance. Again, nada.

Finally one Saturday afternoon, our roommate BS decided he'd had enough. He demanded that we all tear the apartment apart until we found what was causing such a rank, malodorous air.

For a few hours we pulled open every cupboard, every drawer, checked the drains, the trash can, everywhere. Finally as I was fiddling around in my room half-heartedly poking through stuff I heard BS say from the hallway,
"Hey did anyone check through the hall closet?" I had thought they had, and they thought I had. BS opened the door and nodded his head, "Yeah, I think it's in here..."

He reached up on a high shelf at the very back of the closet and pulled down a paper grocery bag.

"What's this?" he asked.

Immediately I knew what had been causing our misery. I tried to stop him, but before I could utter a word BS opened the paper bag and stuck his head down deep inside and took a long, deep breath.

His screams echoed off the walls and rattled the windows. He flung himself backwards and dropped the bag, hands clawing at the air and his eyes closed and watering. His face was beet red, his veins were bulging on his neck and he was sweating profusely. He banged into the wall and, with eyes still closed, began running at full speed. He slammed into the closet doors, knocking them off their hinges. Still disoriented and blind he turned slightly and ran full speed into the bathroom, directly into the sliding shower doors, knocking both off their rails and into the tub. Still bellowing, out of his mind and half-blind, he bolted out of the bathroom and down the hall. He flung the door open, flew down the steps and out into the parking lot, taking huge gulps of air and making spastic movements with his arms and legs. It looked like he'd developed a tic. Or that he was having a fit.

Laughing my ass off, I grabbed up the bag and ran after him. I held the bag out at arms-length and opened it and ran toward him. He sprinted into the middle of the street and then stopped and turned around. His eyes blazed and he yelled at full volume, 

I decided that I'd better not mess with an angry, disoriented six-foot-seven, 250-pound behemoth in the throws of a seizure. Still chuckling, I jogged down the street to the garbage bins and threw away the bag of quite rotten, slimy, and horribly moldered potatoes that I had squirreled away in the back of the closet untold weeks ago in order to keep them from going bad too quickly.

Unfortunately, I had promptly forgot all about them. Even the smell in the apartment didn't register. It wasn't until he'd pulled the sack out of the closet that everything had suddenly clicked into place...


KJT - Ft. Collins, CO (1988-89)

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20 February 2009


"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them."
- Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist (1881-1973)

This is a kickass five mintue video by Scottish artist Reza Dolatabadi. Each frame is a separate PAINTING! Pause anywhere in the video and you are looking at an individual painting. Reminds me of some of the Tool videos...

From the artist,
Reza Dolatabadi:
What if you watch a film and whenever you pause it, you face a painting? This idea inspired Reza Dolatabadi to make Khoda. Over 6000 paintings were painstakingly produced during two years to create a five minutes film that would meet high personal standards. Khoda is a psychological thriller; a student project which was seen as a 'mission impossible' by many people but eventually proved possible!

Director and art director: Reza Dolatabadi
Written by Reza Dolatabadi & Mark Szalos Farkas
Animation by Adam Thomson
Music by Hamed Mafakheri
Winner of the Best Animation Canary Wharf Film Festival (London) Aug, 2008
Winner of the Best Student Animation Flip Festival (Birmingham) 2008
Winner of the Best Student Animation, Royal Television Society Award, Scotland (rts) 2009
Official selection for the "Best Short Film Program" at Waterford Film Festival (Ireland) November 2008
Official Selections
Marbella International Film Festival (Spain) Oct 2008
Encounter Film Festival (Bristol, UK) Nov 2008
Exposures Film Festival (Manchester, UK) Nov 2008
Renderyard Short Film Festival (London)
Flip Animation Festival (Birmingham) Nov, 2008
Animated Dreams (Tallinn) Nov, 2008
Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival (Toronto) Nov, 2008


KJT - Seattle (2009)

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18 February 2009

To Snip, or Not To Snip?

Male circumcision is the removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut").

So that's the debate we're having around the house these days. Do we have Sennet circumcised or not? (He's not due till June).

Neither one of us has terribly strong feelings either one way or another, so I thought I'd get some opinions.

Right now I'm probably leaning toward not having it done, since it's natural to have it (the foreskin), so why remove it. 

I've done a little bit of research, including speaking with our OB-GYN, and it's no longer considered a medical necessity. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), global estimates are that 30% of males world-wide are circumcised. Seems the prevalence of 'the snip' varies mostly with religion and sometimes with culture. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention give evidence that male circumcision significantly reduces the risk of HIV acquisition, but still only provides partial protection and is not a replacement for other disease prevention techniques. Duh.

The American Medical Association states, from 1999: "Virtually all current policy statements from specialty societies and medical organizations do not recommend routine neonatal circumcision, and support the provision of accurate and unbiased information to parents to inform their choice."

So there's my question to you:

Mothers: if you have a son, or have had the discussion, what do you think, yes or no?

Fathers: which decision did you make for your son? Or would if you had a son?

Ladies: have you been with "both kinds"? Any opinions on performance, presentation, grooming, friendliness?

Guys: Do you have strong feelings of your own either way? Why?

Please leave any and all opinions in the comments section, and thanks.

KJT - Seattle (2009) (Picture photoshopped this morning...)

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15 February 2009

Through Paris, Quickly

“Secrets travel fast in Paris.”
- Napoléon Bonaparte, military & political leader of France, later Emporer (1769-1821)

From 1988 to 1995 I went to college at Colorado State and eventually graduated with a bachelor's degree in technical journalism (and a history minor). In one of my various electronic field production classes our professor showed us the above movie (along with The Red Balloon). It impressed the hell out of me, but over time I had forgotten it completely.

Recently a blog I follow posted it, and it brought back a flood of memories. It was great to see it again, because when I originally viewed it back in maybe 1992 or 93, I hadn't been to Paris. Now that I've been four times and recognize some of the scenery it is even cooler.

Here is the background behind the movie, from
Hollywood Elsewhere:
"On an August morning in 1978," the story goes, "French director Claude Lelouch mounted a gyro-stabilized camera to the bumper of a Ferrari 275 GTB and had a friend, a professional Formula 1 racer, drive at breakneck speed through the heart of Paris.

"The film was limited for technical reasons to 10 minutes. The driver barrel-assed all the way from Porte Dauphine (on the city's western edge, adjacent to the Bois de Bologne) to the Basilica Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.

"No streets were closed, for Lelouch was unable to obtain a permit. The driver completed the course in about 9 minutes, reaching nearly 140 mph (or was it kph?) in some stretches. The footage reveals him running real red lights, nearly hitting real pedestrians, and driving the wrong way up several one-way streets.

"Upon showing the film in public for the first time, Lelouch was arrested. He has never revealed the identity of the driver, and the film went underground until a DVD release a few years ago."

That kicks ass.

Tip of the hat to
Cajun Boy, I basically stole his post.

KJT - Seattle (2009)

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11 February 2009

Panama Canal, Quickly

"Scientists investigate that which already is;
Engineers create that which has never been.''
-Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist (1879-1955)

This is a great video showing the time-lapse passage of a cruise ship through the 48-mile long Panama Canal in under two minutes. A typical passage of a cargo ship takes between eight and ten hours. The canal consists of man-made and natural lakes and canals and three sets of locks.

I've never been to the canal, or to Panama, but would love to go sometime. I'm impressed and amazed at the engineering marvel that trimmed the ocean-going trip from San Francisco to New York from 14,000 miles (south around Cape Horn) to just 6,000 through the canal. Mind-boggling feat, which unfortunately cost over 27,000 lives to complete. The canal opened in 1914.

Tolls for the canal are based on the type of vessel, the size, and what it is carrying. The most expensive toll to date was charged to the cruiser liner "Disney Magic" on May 16, 2008: $331,200! The least expensive toll was $0.36 to American adventurer Richard Halliburton, who swam the canal in 1928. The average toll is around $54,000.

Tip for the video from
Andrew Sullivan.

KJT - Seattle (2009)

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08 February 2009

χταπόδι των Κυκλάδων

"The Greek earth opens before me like the Book of Revelations. I never knew that the earth contains so much; I had walked blindfolded, with faltering steps... The light of Greece opened my eyes, penetrated my pores, expanded my whole being."
- Henry Miller, "The Colossus of Maroussi" (1941)

We took a ferry from the mainland. Deck passage. Threw our bags down in a heap, threw ourselves on top of them and hunkered in for the long, slow voyage. The Cyclades were the island group we were heading for, out of Athens via the commercial port of Piraeus. Our specific destination, the small island of Ios. Only 11 miles long and six miles wide with a population of about 1,500 - a hilly, arid island rising out of the sapphire of the Aegean Sea.

It was a foggy journey, small islands and rock outcroppings appearing suddenly off to the side or almost in front of us. Nervously, we trusted the Greek sailors who had been plying these waters since antiquity to see us through. We sat out on the bow cross-legged and shared a bag of pistachios. The fog muted the sounds and our senses. We napped.

Eventually we pulled into the small harbor on Ios, disembarked, and made our way up the twisting staircases to the main village of Chora - no vehicles here, just stairs, narrow walkways, and donkey paths. We checked into a small room at a cheap, but decent hostel, and set out to explore the village. It was a beautiful town of whitewashed stone houses with bright blue painted doors and windows. We felt like we were walking through a fairy tale - everything clean and bright and perfect.

One evening we stumbled across a small cafe, set at the very top of the village overlooking the houses and the bay. No one was around and we wondered if it was open. We poked around a bit and eventually a wild-haired man with a twisted beard, a tank top, and short short cut-off jeans appeared and asked if we wanted to eat. We asked if the cafe was really open, and he laughed and bade us to sit down. We took a table out on the small deck - the view was spectacular and the sun was just beginning to set. We could see a ferry down below in the harbor.

He had no menus so we asked if he had Greek salad and calamari. His eyes lit up and he explained that he went diving every morning for fish and calamari and he had some that were caught just hours ago. We both ordered a big plate of the calamari and Greek salads to start with. Also a bottle of the fantastic Greek resinated wine, Retsina.

Soon the salads arrived and we were in heaven. Such fresh produce, such thick ornery squares of fresh, handmade feta, locally pressed olive oil. The tomatoes and peppers were ripe to bursting with wholesome flavor and the romaine, onions, and cucumbers had a fresh crunch that was unequalled. The warm homemade pita bread pushed it over the top. Eventually the calamari arrived and we were treated to one of the best meals in my lifetime. We marveled at the juicy texture and light coating on the octopus. We were both fans of calamari, but neither of us had ever experienced anything like this. A squeeze of lemon and we were in heaven.

Crazyman cleared our plates and asked if we needed anything else. We looked at each other and I knew RJ was thinking the same thing as I was - how often would ever find ourselves in a position like this again? The setting, the warm breeze off the bay in the twilight, and the amazing food - we had to do it. We both ordered an exact repeat performance: another two Greek salads and another two orders of calamari. The man laughed and jumped around and ran off to start them. He brought us back some Ouzo and three glasses to which we all splashed a bit of water and lifted our glasses to each others health. The bitter anise-flavored liquor warmed our bellies and was a perfect apéritif to begin our second dinner as the stars began to burn in the night skies.

We stayed on the island almost a week, most days lounging on the beaches, swimming, snorkeling, hiking through the hills, and reading under the shade of the olive trees. The nights were a bit more hedonistic - the island a magnet for young travelers from across the globe. A few nights RJ didn't make it back to the room at all.

So enamored was I of the beauty of the Greek salads, that one day before we left I had one for breakfast, one for lunch, and one for dinner - that was all I ate all day, just Greek salads. It was bliss. Pure bliss.

KJT - Ios, Greece (1998)
(translation: Octopus of the Cyclades)

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