John Vanderslice at Rock and Roll Hotel
(23 Sep 2007 at 11:25)
Hey! Sorry for the blogocube silence. I am working on my thesis and everything like such as. I have some posts saved up in my forebrain but this one is timely.
I'm in DC visiting Cortney this weekend and so we went to the Rock and Roll Hotel to see John Vanderslice. (Actually since he has not been in Pittsburgh since I've been a fan, or perhaps ever, this was kinda sorta the reason for the trip.) As a bonus, Bishop Allen was opening. What a good show! The R&R H is kind of way out there, like cab distance, but it has free lollipops and an upstairs with VIP lounges decorated with gothic self-injury themed imagery, and flying guitars, and pool, and the rocking out zone downstairs is just the right size for this kind of concert, and I insinuated my non-view-blocking self up to the front row, at least for the JV part. Me and a few other guys were singing along to all the songs—I guess I listen to these CDs a lot because they're among the few I have in my office. What was particularly nice about the show was the way I was finally able to make sense of some songs I was never into (especially Tablespoon of Codeine, but also e.g. Dear Sarah Shu) but never quite skipped over, via their excellent and somewhat different live versions. Maybe now I will like those better. Anyway, the point of all this is, the concert was recorded for an NPR webcast, so you can listen yourself! I only listened for a second because I heard it already last night, but the quality seems really good. Unfortunately it seems that the excellent first song, Kookaburra, is not present. And who knows if the part where they took their instruments out into the crowd for a "Keep the Dream Alive" campfire sing-along could even be successfully recorded? But there it is for you and you don't even need to leave your bedroom or turn your radio dial from left to right or even look at ads for non-hipster-approved pee pee beer while you're listening.
Theme from Camp Spoonhowopic
(07 Sep 2007 at 09:46)
Tomorrow I'm off for the weekend (with lots of friends) to Camp Spoonhowopic, the non-wedding non-ceremony (it's a "camp") celebrating the union of the Spoonhower and Copic families, thus the eponymous portmanteau. And speaking of eponyms, I was commissioned—by which I mean gently requested without fee—to create an official Camp Spoonhowopic theme song. Since they've had the song up on their blog for a month or so, I figure it's fair game to share it with you guys: camp-spoonhowopic.mp3. Be warned that essentially the whole thing consists of in-jokes, but maybe you will like it anyway.
Two ways to start the day with a positive outlook: listen to ''Final Countdown'' and point out the mistakes of others
(31 Aug 2007 at 10:22)
I finally watched the famed Miss Teen North Carolina video last night. Question: Why do you think that 1/5 of Americans can't locate the United States on a world map? Answer: "I personally believe that U.S. Americans can't do so because some people out there in our nation don't have maps." Good answer, actually! How am I supposed to find the United States on a world map if I don't even have one? Of course, then she rambles on about the Iraq and everywhere like such as. When you've already answered the question, there's no need to expound; at best you'll end up like one of those spelling bee geniuses who is eidetically compelled not only to spell the target word but to give a definition and relevant Bartlett Familiar Quotation, in doing so embarrassing everyone but his gigadoting parents. At worst you will be Miss Teen North Carolina.
Nobody watches Teen Pageants for geographic insight or usage tips, though. Here's a gaffe from a less likely source: The Iowa district court ruling that same-sex couples can marry. CNN quotes it as saying, "... by reason of the fact that both persons compromising such a couple are of the same sex." Usage panel obsessives will recognize the problem word, comprising, which is "supposed" to be used as follows: "The Congress comprises the Senate and the House." (So to some people this is akin to the subject/object reversal in "the sandwich ate me." Just never say comprising if you must simultaneously sound normal and pacify grammar police.) But wait! The word he used was compromising, not comprising, which doesn't mean that at all! It is not easy to pack two recognizable mistakes into the same word, in a quote that makes it into public record and national news. Kudos and everything like such as.
Behold my "Pac Tom" project progress. This last month has been pretty busy as I am trying to finish up my PhD. (The next month or two will also be similarly busy, I expect.) But I have been able to get some running in, because I want a PhD in running too.
I have been continuing my strategy of running the outermost parts of my target area first. Since last time I've finished off Swisshelm Park, Regent Square, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar (the part on this side of the river), Glen Hazel, and most of the East Hills, which are all peripheral neighborhoods. (In the image above I am using my new pittsburgh neighborhood map that I made for Wikipedia but the color contrast is not very good, sorry.) Even though it looks like there are a lot of gaps in the middle of the map, those are mostly neighborhoods with pretty sparse streets (Squirrel Hill) and lots of parks/cemeteries, so I am feeling pretty good about the feasibility of this project now. I am even starting to contemplate beginning on neighborhoods that are transcontinental, although I think I am going to need to be able to run about 25ish miles in one go in order to do the most distant of those. My max is around 16 now. I keep trying.
In other news, I recommend that you check out Harris Grill's homepage, which has a funny section rebutting the blogosphere's (I am still using this word in a purely ironic way, I promise) reports, including what is unmistakably reference to comments you guys left on my entry below, Harris Grill catches fire.
After finishing writing my paper last week, I finally got around to writing up our experience in the 2007 ICFP Contest. It's much longer and more detailed than our previous writeups (2005, 2004, 2002, 2001), I think mostly because I'm really defensive about our totally low score. As we were last year's judges I am kinda embarrassed about this! But, well, we took a gamble on an unorthodox strategy and were bit by some last minute bugs, so there you go. Fun times, for sure. Check out the page for the full story, some images and some movies.