Archive for the 'News' Category


Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

I recently got my first Android device and I’ve been finding myself, as far as technology goes, losing interest in the products Apple makes. Last night I was watching the Bears game and two commercials came on, one for Google and one for Apple. The Apple commercial was cold, smug, and insulting to physics aficionados (ever heard of volume and density?).

The Google commercial, on the other hand, was funny, sweet, and entirely about people and their relationships. I thought I was judging the products on their merits, but maybe I’m just falling victim to good advertising.

You be the judge.


The Park Was Angry That Day

Monday, April 5th, 2010
Flying kites, like surfing and sailing, is more exciting and less comfortable when the weather is bad.

Merkle’s Curse – Now Available

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Last year at this time I was not very excited about the Cubs. They found ways to lose games I never even knew existed. And even though they made the playoffs, I never found them very likable.

Today the Cubs came back from a 1-9 deficit to win 10-9. Who are these guys? It’s as if there’s some higher power at work here. How else do you explain Ronny Cedeno batting .300 or Ryan Dempster’s 2.56 ERA?

Is it the new field? The unseasonably cold weather? Bob Brenly’s mustache?

Well, my dad wrote a book called Merkle’s Curse with another possible explanation involving Dracula, the sale of Manhattan, the invention of the paper clip and, I don’t know, gypsies. There are gypsies too. He’s busy making the rounds at local bookstores, sports shows and rotary clubs explaining his complex (and fictional) theories on a curse that dates back to the Holy Roman Empire.

The book’s available on his website and at a few Chicago book stores including The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square.

Dialog Malfunction

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Hey y’all. So Evan asked me to guest blog on his site while he’s building bridges and fighting off wild boars in Guatemala. I’ve never actually blogged before, nor have I ever journaled or diaried (uh, I sure hope “diaried” isn’t a word…nope, it’s not). As a continuation of Evan’s previous post, I was going to talk about another ridiculous game we used to play when we were younger called “Chapters” — which is actually ten times dumber than Football With Socks and Fall Down the Stairs. I’ll save that for another time. Instead, it being Oscar season and all, how about a movie topic?

I happened to be watching Major League the other day, which is one of those movies they show on regular cable about 10 times a week and that, for some reason, I always end up watching whenever it’s on. Of course, it being regular cable, the movie was edited for television. Now, some edited-for-tv movies aren’t too bad. They may have a deleted scene here and there or an overdubbed piece of dialog on occasion. With Major League, though, it’s like they weren’t even trying. Pretty much every great line in the movie was butchered, including “Up your butt, JoBu” (replaced with “Up your bucket…”) and, of course, the Doran/Ricky Vaughn exchange at the end when Doran says, “I only have one thing to say to you. Strike this mother___ out!” (replaced with “Strike this [dead air] guy out.”). I couldn’t find a clip of the edited version, but you can watch the original here (skip to the 2:00 mark). I would almost rather watch this version instead.

I certainly understand the need to edit movies for tv, but it raises the question: Is there a worse edited-for-tv movie than Major League? And when I say “worse,” I mean more frustrating to watch due to bad (hilarious?) overdubbing and missing scenes. A few others come to mind, like Die Hard (“Yippee-kye-ay Mister Falcon”) and Ferris Bueller (“Pardon my French, but you’re an Aardvark!”), and there are some movies, like Robocop, that have no business being on regular tv. But I submit that Major League is the most consistently annoying of them all. That said, I’m prepared to be convinced otherwise…

Might As Well Hang Em Up

Friday, February 1st, 2008

I can’t imagine ever having more fun at a show than I did at Wednesday’s CD release. To everyone who came out, I can’t thank you enough. The crowd totally blew me away. I’m still geeked about it.

It was especially great to play with both of my brothers, Brian and Aric, not to mention all the other very special guests: Jon, Thea, Kelly, Chris, Dan, Matt and Gordon. When it comes to music, I don’t play well with others. I unexpectedly add in extra measures, repeat verses, and leave out choruses. I play songs at different speeds and sometimes stop in the middle to talk about peanut butter. These folks not only navigated my shenanigans, but they sounded fantastic.

It seems I don’t really have a point here. I guess I just want to say thanks. Thanks to my family. Thanks to everyone who came out to the show. Thanks to everyone who bought the CD. Thanks to the people who read this garbage. I don’t expect to make it big as a musician. I don’t even think I’m very good. I just do this because it’s a tremendous amount of fun, and it wouldn’t be without all y’all.

It’s a little self-indulgent for me to post these, but some friends of mine took it upon themselves to write about the show.  And while I’m ridiculously flattered by what they wrote, I’m mostly using this as an excuse to direct my meager audience to websites of three wicked-good writers: Arnie, Lacy, Shama.

Photo by Gordon Wright

The CD is Done!

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Hooray, “One Pair of Shoes” is finally complete after who knows how long. If I hear those songs one more time I’m just going to lose it. Here’s hoping y’all don’t feel the same way.

See that CD cover on the right? The one that says “Click here to buy it now?” Yeah. Do that.

Update: You can now buy songs online at Digstation.


Saturday, December 8th, 2007

The album’s done and will be on sale soon, but in the meantime I’ve posted some tunes on the new “songs page.” I wanted to do something a little more interesting than just playing the song, so I decided to borrow an idea from the Astronaut project I liked so much.

Images based on the lyrics are pulled from Flickr and shown as each song plays. When it’s working as intended, apt photos are displayed in time with the music. When it works as unintended, some pretty weird photos can show up. Either way, I’m down.

Since the photos are somewhat random and people are constantly uploading new photos to Flickr, the videos should change every time you watch them.

I only have a couple of the songs up for now, but I’ll get them all posted in the next couple days.

For Developers:
I’m posting the source code here in case anyone else wants to use it. Like many projects I work on, I start out writing well-organized, elegant code, but as the night wears on the cutting of corners tends to increase. In other words, I apologize if it’s hard to work with.

You will need a Flickr API Key and your own stinking songs.
Download 20kb .zip: FlickrTunes_0.6


FlickrTunes 0.6
I made the search a little more flexible so it works with full text searches now.

If you put a “~” before the search term, it does a full text search.
{s:”~raised glasses”, t:”0:05″}
If you put a “+” before a search term, it must match ALL of the comma-separated tags.
{s:”+friends,hug”, t:”0:42″}
Otherwise it tries to match ANY of the comma-separated tags.
{s:”friends,hug”, t:”0:42″}

Keeping Kosher (for Passover) Blues

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

Last Friday we had cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B’s brought into the office for the founder of the company’s birthday. Sweet Mandy B’s is the best bakery I’ve ever been to.  So many bakeries try to get all fancy with their fruits and nuts, but Sweet Mandy B’s just make really fresh, tasty treats with hella butter and M&M’s and crap that you actually want to eat.  The cupcakes are ridiculous-good, but, alas, quite leavened, and thus a no-go during Passover.

Passover ends tonight, and last I checked there was one cupcake left. Let’s hope it lasts until tomorrow morning!


[Update: It's gone.]

‘Cause Baby It’s Cold Outside

Friday, April 6th, 2007

Everything that can be invented has been invented, right? I’m sure someone’s come up with this idea, but it occurred to me again this week when it was freezing outside after several beautiful days.

Unless you have air conditioning, the most power-hungry appliance in your home is probably your refrigerator. Mostly because the refrigerator needs to be running constantly. Otherwise it would kind of beat the point, right?

But in Chicago, it’s freezing outside for half of the year. What if there were a vent to the outside (like a dryer) that could be opened and closed with a thermostat and a little fan. If it was cold enough outside, that cold air would be used to cool your food. If not, the compressor would run as normal.

If it’s cold enough to use the outside air 4 months of the year (and in Chicago it’s probably more) and your fridge is using 75 watts an hour on average… That’s 216kWH/year… which comes out to about $18 a year. Hmm. That’s not that much. And then there’s the matter of the freezer… and that you might not want outside stink-air in your fridge.

Okay, then. Forget it. It probably makes a lot more sense to just get an efficient fridge.

I’m 30 Years Old, Dammit!

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

When I first got a TiVo, for a long time it thought I was an 11 year old. Well, that’s not entirely true. There were a couple months where it thought I was a 6 year old girl. I swear, you ask a machine to record 3-2-1 Contact and The Adventures of Pete and Pete and it jumps to all sorts of crazy conclusions.

Recently I was looking through some old stuff and I found the poster I made for my first show. It was drawn in crayon. Despite how it looks, I wasn’t 11 when I made it. (Nor was I a 6 year old girl.) I was 23.


Excuse me, I need to take this.

Friday, March 9th, 2007

I love playing live shows. I’ve been to hear a lot of musicians play and it seems like most of them manage to make it through shows with minimal fuss. I’ll chalk a lot of that up to musicianship and professionalism. Those are two things I manage to make do without, but it seems to work out okay.

Case in point: at Uncommon Ground last week, I was careful to set my phone on vibrate so it wouldn’t ring during the show. Let’s just say I learned that the hard way. What I forgot, however, is that cell phones can interfere with audio equipment, and when that audio equipment involves high-powered amplifiers, it can be quite pronounced.

Take a listen for yourself:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

I don’t want to point any fingers at who might have so unfortunately interrupted my brilliant performance (ahem, Shama) but… THANK YOU! That song was going terribly. It’s a song my brothers and I wrote for my grandparents’ 55th anniversary and it makes no sense to those outside of our family and it was originally a song about puppies and I don’t remember the chords or the lyrics so well. If anything, the loud, obnoxious buzzing only made it better!

By the way, I mentioned in an earlier post, that cell phone interference sounds like the opening to the Bel Biv Devoe song “Poison.” Now you can listen and decide for yourself.

You Don’t Know Jack is Back

Tuesday, March 6th, 2007

The company I work for, Jellyvision, has released a web-based version for You Don’t Know Jack. There’s going to be a new episode every week, so that’s fun, right? Let me answer for you: yes. Yes it is fun.


A Vat of Boiling Oil Sounds Pretty Nice About Now

Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Everyone’s grumpy about the weather. It doesn’t really bother me — probably because I don’t have much of a commute and I wear long underwears.

Then again, it might be because I agree with Colonel Sanders, who said, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just different kinds of good weather.” That always stuck with me because I’m a sap. Also I like those biscuits. (I’m working on becoming more of a cynic. Any pointers?)

But right now Corbin, Kentucky is a balmy 26°, and the mercury in Chicago is hovering around 1°, so what does Colonel Sanders know about bad weather?

Besides, he’s not really a colonel, you know.

Around The World

Monday, February 5th, 2007

I stayed up until two in the morning watching Michel Gondry videos.

Read More »

Bel Biv Devoe is Mentioned Here. I Promise.

Sunday, January 21st, 2007

I used to poo-poo blogs all the time, but my computer started smelling funny. Also, I read Crabbydad’s blog. Now I like them. Actually, I only like a couple of them. Crabbydad you know. I also like A Year of Working and Liberty Valence.

Crabbydad stuck me with some sort of chain mail thing. It involves answering the following questions and then passing it on to three other blogs. I don’t know that many people… but I’ll deal with that later. First, the questions.

Three people/things that make me laugh
A big guy playing a tiny drum set, that time Chris fell on the treadmill, and my grandma playing Dance Dance Revolution.

Three things that scare me
The possibility of street-signs flying off their posts on a windy day and decapitating me, The Dark Crystal, and the playground in Genoa City, Wisconsin that was all rusty and overgrown with vines.

Three things I love
Pancakes, movies about extra-curricular activities, and great crowds.

Three things I hate
Nuts in brownies, nuts in cookies and mushrooms (nature’s nuts.)

Three things I don’t understand
Right before a cell phone rings, the signal interferes with speakers and headphones creating a buzzing noise. You’ve probably heard it. I understand why that happens. What I don’t understand is why the interference sounds like “Poison” by Bel Biv Devoe. Also, why was the Mars Bar discontinued? And why wasn’t the Chunky discontinued?

Three things on my desk
The soundtrack to The Muppet Movie, the original drawing that spawned The Shapes, and a ukulele pitch pipe.

Three things I want to do before I die
Play one great guitar solo live, like the one at the end of “Goodybe Stranger.” I’d also like to beat my brother in ping pong. And is it too much to want to go to space? I mean, I’d like to go to space.

Three things I can do
Make pie crust from scratch, organize gatherings, and coil cables into perfect circles.

Three things I would like to learn:
How to sing harmonies, basic automotive maintenance, and just a little itty bit of fashion sense.

Three favorite foods
Can I use pancakes again? OK. Then pancakes. Pancakes, cupcakes and cake doughnuts. But not wedding cakes. I’ve had, maybe, one good wedding cake in my life. Why does fancy food taste so nasty?

Three beverages I drink regularly
Root Beer. Let’s just go with 3 root beers.

Three TV shows/Books I watched/read as a kid
There was this one book I remember loving called Tootle. It was about a train that didn’t like running on the tracks so he’d go off and prance in the fields. A couple years ago I got a chance to read Tootle again… and it sucks! In the end he learns that life is better if you stay on the tracks. That’s the moral of the story: don’t go smell the flowers, stay on the tracks and do your job and be miserable. What kind of stupid moral is that for kids? Good thing I was too big an idiot to remember that. I guess I just liked the trains. All the stuff I liked as a kid is terrible. My brother an I used to wake up on Saturday mornings to watch The Mighty Orbots. I still remember the theme song. Even now we talk about how great that show was. At least we did until I had a chance to watch it recently. TERRIBLE! I did get a chance to see 3-2-1 Contact again, though, and that was pretty good. In fact, setting TiVo to record it is one of the reasons my TiVo now thinks I’m an 8 year old girl.

And that about wraps it up. Now, three people to send it to? How about Innis, Shama-la-di-da, and CNN.