Thursday, November 29, 2007

Something else I would buy (or at least think about buying) if I could find one

This entry could be considered the 2nd in a series of posts, but given that the first entry was nearly two years ago, the link is perhaps tenuous.

Anyway, I've thought several times lately that I have a car that would comfortably seat four people, and yet usually its just me in there. Like easily 90% of the time. And most of the other people on the road are in the same situation. Shouldn't there be some motor company addressing this issue? What I'm talking about is a one-seater car. Not a motorcycle, because honestly, I don't want to die if I get hit by someone else, and this one-seater car shouldn't have any kind of balance requirements. And because we're still talking about a car here, not a bicycle with an engine.

I mean, honestly, I don't normally need all the space in my car, and it seems like there should be a smaller car that is still roomy for the driver, goes at normal speed, and isn't like a $40,000 sports car. Couldn't somebody come out with something like a "Camry-for-one"? You'd assume that by making the car a little smaller, the gas mileage would be better, and there'd be more space on the road if everyone was commuting in them. Maybe there'd be some kind of Voltron-esque way to have a driver's seat that joins up with the rest of the car when you need to have some passengers, but could separate out into its own vehicle when its just you.

Maybe I'm just being naive and assuming that other people would want something like this. Or maybe the space that my car has right now is no extra cost for the auto makers, so they're just throwing it in for free. I don't know. But if someone was making these, I'd think about getting one.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Watch This Wednesday #10: A cowboy who ostritch

I'm a staunch believer in limiting Christmastime to the space between Thanksgiving and New Years. No Christmas songs right after Halloween, no Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving, etc. That said, the unseasonably warm weather we'd been having didn't really get my into a Christmas spirit either. Luckily, yesterday a snow storm started here in Salt Lake, and this morning everything is covered in white. And I feel perfectly fine about sharing a Christmas movie with you all today.

This clip is from the stop-motion animated Christmas special "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer", which I'm sure everyone is familiar with. This is when our crew of protagonists arrives at the isle of Misfit Toys. I don't love the song, but I've always loved the crazy toys there. "How would you like to be a choo-choo with square wheels on your caboose?" "Or a water pistol that shoots jelly?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Chicago Travelogue, Pt. 4: Morning at the Museum

On my last morning in Chicago, I headed over to the Field Museum of Natural History to check it out for a couple hours before I had to head to the airport.

Window Washers
Some window washers I saw along my walk to the museum

Looking toward downtown
Click on this image to see an autostitched panorama that I took from the museum steps of downtown.

This Tyrannosaurus is named "Sue" after its finder and stands on the main floor of the museum.

I paid a little extra to check out a traveling exhibit on maps that turned out to be pretty cool, at least to me. There were some super old maps, and some that were newer. The ones that stood out to me included a book containing John Snow's Broad Street pump cholera map; a map of the London tube system that set the precedent for pretty much every other subway train map I've seen since (big circles for the stops, brightly colored lines for the different lines); and some hand-drawn maps by Tolkein, including Thorin's map that appears in the front of the Hobbit; and a map of Napoleon's attack on Russia that I'd studied before in a data presentation class. Sadly, photography was not allowed in this area of the museum, as I quickly learned.

Anyway, after checking out that exhibit, I wandered around through a lot of Native American stuff, taking particular interest in all the stuff they had from the Northwest, and up into Canada and Alaska -- lots of totem poles and ceremonial masks and pipes. They also had a lot of ancient American artifacts.

Totem Poles
Totem Poles

Native American Mask

Aztec Sunstone
Replica of an Aztec Sunstone

Once I finished with the human stuff, I wandered through their animal displays, including quite a few dinosaurs and fossils.

In the basement I came across about 4 of these Mold-a-rama machines that I remembered from the Hogle Zoo as a kid.



Fossilized Pregnant Ray
This amazing fossil is of some kind of ray (manta, sting, other) that is pregnant.

Woolly Mammoth
Woolly Mammoth

On my way back to Chris's, I took a few more photos of the downtown skyline.

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Sears Tower

Phew, well that wraps up this Chicago Travelogue. Now I guess I'll have to find something else to blog about.

Chicago Travelogue, Pt 3: John Hancock? Everyone knows its Herbie Hancock

I'm sure by now you're bored to tears of hearing about my trip to Chicago, so I'll keep the chit-chat to a minimum. These next pictures were taken a few hours after our boat tour, when we went up in the Hancock building, which is not quite as tall as the Sears Tower, but is still very tall, and has a nice view of downtown. We timed our visit to allow us to be up there at dusk so we could get some different levels of light. Strangely the observation floor wasn't really set up for great picture taking with lots of lights on behind us to reflect off the glass, and windows that were pretty dirty. I guess there aren't a lot of people who want to be washing windows on the 95th floor. Anyway, here's some pictures:

Its a long way to the top...
The Hancock Building just looks to me like a mean building. Just a big tall black building in the sky. If you jump off the top, there aren't any wider levels to stop you before you hit the ground. Just one long drop.

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See, if you jumped off the Sears Tower, you might not make it all the way to the ground.

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Looking North up the lake shore.

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Looking South down the lake shore.

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Looking North with some lights coming on now.

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Looking south at dusk

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With more lights on

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Looking westward

Monday, November 26, 2007

Chicago Travelogue, Pt. 2: Boat Tour

On my second day with Chris, we headed out for a drive, and swung down south to check out the University of Chicago campus where Chris goes to law school, and then headed up north to see some of northside Chicago, including Wrigley Field.

Driving into town
Driving north into downtown

Its a simple question...
Harry Carey

Wrigley Field
Wrigley Field

After that, we headed back to Chris's place, and then took a walk up Michigan Avenue to the river where we bought our tickets for a boat tour of the architecture along the river. As the boat was about to embark, we only had 4 people signed up for the tour. 4 more showed up at the last minute to bring the group up to a whopping 8. It was cool to be able to wander around the top of the boat looking at whatever we wanted without having to worry about being in people's way.

The tour was perhaps the highlight of my trip. It was just so neat to be able to look up at all the amazing buildings along the river.

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Corncob-looking condo buildings

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Sears Tower on the left

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Our private boat

Scrap Metal Barge
A scrap metal barge that came by

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Me and the City

Summer of George
Great name for a boat, right?

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Looking back into town from the edge of Lake Michigan

Navy Pier
Navy Pier

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chicago Travelogue

I realize I haven't been doing much writing on here lately, and I have to think some of thats tied up in the fact that I've got a lot of writing I need to be doing for school, and if I'm writing here instead of there, I feel a little guilty. Kind of like when I have a lot to read for school, its hard for me to read for fun.

Anyway, today, I'm doing laundry and cleaning up my room a bit, and figured I could take a second to show off some of my Chicago photos, for those of you who haven't already seen them on Flickr, and maybe give a bit more information about what I did.

I went to Chicago for the Fall Symposium of the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), a conference that ran for parts of 5 days. During the conference, I spent most of my time at the hotel where the conference was held, and the only fun we had was going out to dinner at night. So most of the pictures I took during that time were at night.

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This one I took just outside the hotel on the riverwalk during the day. In the middle is the Trump building going up, which you might remember from the first season of "The Apprentice". The inaugural winner chose to work on the development of this building.

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This is the Wrigley Building (Wrigley gum, Wrigley field), and it was located pretty near to where we were staying.

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I took this one at night on a walk I went for, down by the lake.

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This the old water tower, one of the oldest remaining buildings from this part of town.

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I really like this shot looking out across the river from the Michigan Avenue bridge.

After the conference ended, my buddy Chris picked me up at the hotel and took me to his place, not too far south of downtown, and we headed out to see Millennium Park that night. Here's some of those photos:

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In the summertime these screens have fountains of water placed so that the water appears to come out of the mouths of the faces that rotate across these screens.

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They've got an ice skating rink there, and in the background you can see the "bean" or I think its official name is "Cloud Gate". More of that to come.

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Later that night, Chris and I walked over to a bridge near his place that had a nice view of downtown, including the Sears tower, and Chris showed me how to adjust the exposure settings on my camera so I could get a decent shot.

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I guess I'll leave off here for now, but I've still got a bunch more to show and tell from my trip.

Watch this Wednesday #9: You have selected...Agent Zero

This week I bring you a favorite Seinfeld moment of mine. In this episode, Kramer get a phone number that used to be the moviefone number, and people keep calling him to ask about showtimes. Rather than explain the number has changed, he starts doing the moviefone service himself.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Back in town

I'm back from Chicago, and had a great time there. I'll try to write (thanks, CJ) up some of the highlights later this week, but for now, here a link to where I've put some of the photos up, and will be putting more up in the next couple days.

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(Click on the picture.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Watch this Wednesday #8: Sweet Home Chicago

I'm still in Chicago for my conference, but I did find this video to share with you from a classic Chicago movie, "The Blues Brothers". One of the best parts of the films is the concert that they put on to raise the money they need to save the orphanage, including the song "Sweet Home Chicago". Enjoy.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go...

I'm leaving for Chicago in the morning, and then I'm sure I'll have some pictures and stories to share when I get back. I've never been to Chicago before, and as always I'm grateful for my funding and the amazing places I've been able to visit since I started grad school: Indianapolis (okay, they weren't all amazing), San Francisco, Washington D.C. (x3), Nashville, San Diego, Palo Alto, Germany/Austria, and now Chicago. This might be my last trip as a grad student -- we can only hope, right?-- and I'm super excited to get to spend a couple days with my old roommate Chris who is now in law school at the University of Chicago.

Hopefully the weather isn't too gloomy...looks like some rain in the forecast, but hopefully thats while I'm stuck inside anyway. And if not, so be it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Watch This Wednesday #7: You Remind Me of the Babe

This week, I'm throwing you a little clip from the bizarro film Labyrinth. There's definitely a lot of weirdness in this film, but you can't deny that David Bowie really throws himself into the role of the Goblin King Jareth (and also throws himself into those wacky outfits).