Archive for December, 2008

Drama! Intrigue! Carpeting!

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

I discovered this new Empire Carpeting website where they’re posting all of their old ads… like this one:

As Eddie says, “These are bringing back memories of pretending to be sick and staying home from school, only to be bored to death by 60′s reruns.”

I found one commercial where I’m sure he says “brand name CRAPeting” instead of carpeting, but when I went to find it again, it was removed from the site.  Are they just realizing 20 years later that maybe they should have shot a second take of that one?

UPDATE: A ha!  YouTube’s on the case.  What do you think?

Man Tian Dou Shi Xiao Xing Xing

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

planetarium

Shama’s wanted to go to First Fridays at The Planetarium for months now, and we finally got around to going last week in 10 degree weather.  The walk from the train station to The Planetarium was ridiculously cold, but it’s worth it for the view of the skyline from Solidarity Drive.

With admission you can attend unlimited sky shows, which is great unless you get stuck in One Sky: Big Bird’s Adventure for a half-hour.  Can Big Bird sing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in Chinese any slower?

Teach A Man To Fish And He’ll Fix Cars For A Lifetime

Monday, December 15th, 2008

I’ve been having lots of car troubles lately.  Nothing big (i.e. nothing covered by the warranty) just a new battery, a tire, oil change, broken window, coolant sensor, and what not.

So when my windshield wiper broke over the weekend I was kinda put-out.  Another $100?  Really?  

As I tried to drive home in the rain last night I realized that windshield wipers are pretty useful, so this morning I took the car in… again.  I decided to try a new place that’s right near where I work and explained the problem.  

Mechanic: Let’s go take a look.

I showed him the problem.

Mechanic: Do you have tools?
Evan: Tools?
Mechanic: Yeah, a socket wrench or crescent wrench?
Evan: Yeah.
Mechanic: Honestly, we’ll need to charge you $50 to fix this, but there’s a nut holding the windshield wiper on and it’s probably just loose.  Try tightening that before you bring it in.

He then pried off the cover on the nut and showed me where to tighten it.

So I tightened it… and it worked.  I charged myself $50 and I’m gonna get myself some more tools, yo!

They Call It That Old Mountain Dew

Tuesday, December 9th, 2008

The day after the show in North Carolina we found a bag hanging on my parents’ gate.  This is the type of peculiar, wonderful thing that makes life there so attractive.  It turns out my parents’ friend Pat decided to stop by and leave us a present.  It contained walnuts, molassas, some music she thought I’d like (I did), honey moonshine and cherry moonshine.  

I’m not much of a drinker, but sweet fancy Moses, that moonshine was a smack in the face!

Why It’s Good To Sing In Foreign Languages

Monday, December 8th, 2008

My parents booked a show for Aric and I in the town of Marshall, North Carolina the day after Thanksgiving.  I was a bit nervous for two reasons: a) half of the audience would be made up of my family and b) the other half would be made up of people from the town.  It turns out I didn’t have anything to worry about in either regard.  Both my family and the Marshallians were as wonderful an audience as you could ask for.

After the first set, my cousins Marty, Ben and Josh all sang some songs as well.  Josh lived in Nepal for many years starting and running an education center.  While he was there, he recorded some songs and became something of a pop sensation.  In North Carolina, Josh sang a Nepali drinking song.  It went over great, but afterwards he confessed that he forgot some of the words at the end and just made stuff up.  No one noticed.

Want to see one of Josh’s Nepali videos?

Read More »

Don’t Worry, We’re Eating Turkey Today

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

My parents have semi-retired to North Carolina.  At first they started going there on vacation; then they bought some land; then they built a cabin; now they’re there a lot.  

Our whole extended family was there for Thanksgiving this year.  On Thursday morning, anticipating overeating, I went jogging in the hills around the cabin.  

I learned that running in the mountains of North Carolina is much more tiring than running in Chicago.  I also learned that it’s kind of scary when you’re running and you encounter a herd of cows.  Those mofos are huge.  I also learned that when you run through said herd, you are very likely to step in a large pile of their leavings.

That was the only morning I went running in North Carolina.

RenderDaaaaammmnn

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

I’ve been taking some classes in 3D computer programming for the last year or so.  It’s something that’s always interested me, and something I always felt was missing from my computer science expertise.  For a project in one of my classes, my partner and I were given the assignment of rendering a set from the play Mr. Roberts using Pixar’s RenderMan format.  Here’s what we came up with:

While it came out better than I expected, it really makes you appreciate what goes into rendering an image like this:

I love the lighting.  The main characters are bright and vivid even though the scene, like mine, is seemingly lit only from moonlight.  And while the moon creates stark shadows from the characters, distracting shadows from the window are conveniently omitted.  That’s the nice thing about computers.  You don’t have to deal with pesky physics.