Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I told you I'd do it

Over the weekend, I drove back to Eastern Mass, and visited all the fellas over at IBC . Thom was still on his island getaway vacation dealie, and Bryan was illustrating how he too could do a double flip in his Toyota (under the right conditions).

Independent Fabrications
was putting on a neat museum display type thing with some of their showbikes from the last few years in Boston. The attention to detail really is amazing on these bikes. Plenty of macroshooting opportunities. See all my pics from the event here.

The next day I went on a ride with a bunch of people out of the shop, and who shows up but Mr. Wes "The Western Wind" Furste himself! It was a nice ride, not too cold and not wet, which is all I can ask for in February. Well, all I can expect in February. I ultimately continued with some ill pro IF riders and founds the limits of my training on the crawl home, salty and weary.

It was proper rainy, then proper sleety, and finally, just awful on the way home, but there wasn't much traffic. I use Bosch MicroEdge blades partially because they work really well, but mostly because it sounds like the name of a safety razor.

When I got back to Umass (It's educational), there was much work to be done (I can't really expect to get any work done when I go back to Boston), so I was in the library until 3 in the AM. It's still surreal to walk back to the car when campus is that quiet, cold, and vacant. The fatigue may have made it more surreal than it was though.

Keeping up the surreal theme, this week's video is "The Apple Incident" by animator Kunio Kato. Really gorgeous work. I also highly recommend his series of shorts "The Diary of Tortov Roddle."

Sunday, February 22, 2009

temporary delay

Uri left his USB cable somewhere else and has a stupid heavy workload right now. Juicy blogupdate later this week, I promise.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Can't think of a title..

My saddle's on its last legs, which makes me unhappy, because Selle Italia likes gouging people like nobody's business (though it may just be an Italian thing). Bryan's fightin mad about this exploitation, If anyone has an SLR Gelflow they want to get rid of, holler at your boy.

The ducks are out in good numbers near the campus pond, which is mostly water again, thanks to the warm weather. The squirrels and rabbits are still largely in hiding, but nice weather's coming, I know it. More pictures of duckies here.

This sign's outside the library, and I found it amusing. I've deduced that while most signs warn of a slipping risk with this sort of position, where it looks recoverable, here they've damned the reckless walker to fall directly on their back. I just wish it was this celebratory about it.

While I was meandering about Target, I noticed something curious. One of my favorite Honda side projects was the Honda Kick N' Gos of the 1970s. I had a couple of these, and I've always found them to be quite ingenious. This thing, which not only works like a Kick N' Go, but shares its name, was in one of the back aisles. While it's neat to see the idea reintroduced (perhaps a decade too late, though), I don't like the cheese factor, or the total disregard of Honda's invention of the thing.

Also, a thumbs up to Sennheiser. When I cracked this little piece on the inside of the headband on my HD280s, they sent me the replacement bits free, no questions asked, and even covered postage. Kudos.

For this week's video, some New Order from a 1984 BBC session. Love those shorts.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Relative Heatwave

Today it got up to around 50, so I went out for the first outside ride in some time. It really was nice to get out, I think the trainer miles are making me soft.

Got out for 2 hours and change, and while it was pleasantly brisk, the wind was bludgeoning. With the Soloist's great big aero downtube acting as an effective sail, it took considerable effort to keep from drifting over.

Cleanup of all the roadsaltgrime nastiness is a pain, but it was still worth it.

Picked up some veggieburgers at Target, as well as more MotoGP bikes for my desk. That's Valentino Rossi's Yamaha and Casey Stoner's Ducati. Neat. Bonus points because Desmosedici is so much fun to say.

In animation related tidbits, I saw Coraline (in 2D) with Jerry and it is an incredible treat for the eyes. Several points in the movie seemed impossible in stop-motion. It was also considerably darker than I expected, especially given the PG rating. It's not perfect, as I felt the story had occasional pacing issues, and Dakota Fanning doesn't seem like the best voice for the titular role (similar issue in Bolt), but very good on the whole.

In one more animation related bit, congratulations to the people at Dreamworks Animation/PDI on their sweep of the Annies. While I was surprised to see Wall-E leave empty handed,

1. I expect Pixar to win the Oscar,
2. It wasn't nearly as "cartoony" as Kung Fu Panda, a real consideration given the nature of these particular awards, and
3. KFP is far and away DWA's best movie.

That said, as much as I love Dustin Hoffman, I still say Ian McShane should have won best voice.

Off hand, I don't know how Bryan feels about the matter, but I do know he enjoyed Rick Huseman's Double Tundra flip, so that's this week's video.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

You can wake up sounder if you get analyzed

Getting into the groove of the semester, it hasn't been too bad so far, though with one snow day, and two first-class-of-the-semesters (nothing doing, really), I don't know that I've felt the brunt of it yet.

When one of my professors said most of the case studies and examples in his class were from the automotive and consumer electronic fields, as that was his professional focus, I was just so pleased for the rest of the day.

It's like 40 degrees today, so I was thinking about doing a road ride, but the melting is covering the roads in sludge and grime I really don't feel like cleaning off my drivetrain at this point, so it's trainer again. Maybe I'll ride the trainer outside.

I got the new albums from Ben Folds and Jenny Lewis (new to me at least), and while they're not my favorites from these artists (Songs for Silverman and Rabbit-Fur Coat, respectively), they're all around solid efforts. Ben's album is more of a mixed bag than Jenny's (which at times reminds me of Maria Muldaur), but they're on rotation in my car (along with MSTRKRFT, Uncle Tupelo, and Grandaddy, currently).

On the topic of car audio, I'm still geeking out over the Sony CDX-GT410 I got a while ago on eBay. I know Sony's not the first brand that comes to mind for car audio for most people, but I've really been nothing but pleased with this head unit. The coolest feature is the USB port on the face. Car audio USB ports are the final deathblow to physical formats in my mind, I just toss some mp3s (or WMAs, or AACs) on a flash drive on the way out of the house, and I am set for any trip. No batteries, no burning, no fuss.

Still enamored with the macro mode on my Canon, here's a matchbox Alfa Romeo GTV (on a matchbox flatbed, natch), 1/18 Audi R8 (the panel gaps are the giveaway), and some depth-of-field fun with a crowd on my desk.

Probably more macro to come, it's just so much fun.

To keep up the video trend, today's video is from the 70s, where physics, safety and good reason had no place in a good time. The voice over is especially good.