Monthly Archives: March 2006

The Wilderness and the City

Over the weekend I watched Grizzly Man and I was amazed. It covers the life and death of Timothy Treadwell who spent 13 summers in the Alaskan wilderness living with the Alaskan brown bears. He filmed his last 5 summers there, and the film is made up mostly of his footage, along with interviews of people who knew him (not as compelling as the rest). At times the wilderness is just jaw-dropping. He is close enough to these bears that he can touch them, and he has arctic foxes following him as if they are his pets. He formed a bond with the wild that’s hard not to admire. On the other hand, he has a screw or two loose, and he is more than a bit fanatical and delusioned about his purpose. Even with his environmentalist, anti-establishment ramblings and all-around kookiness, I couldn’t help but watch in amazement at his energy and passion for what he was doing. Maybe his closeness to the bears was misdirected and may have hurt more than helped (getting them too used to human presence), but it was still raw and powerful. And again, the footage he captured was just amazing.

On a different, but somewhat simlar vein, today I followed a link to this site of an autistic guy who has created an entire city through drawings and writings. There is a short video on him online here. He has written history, economics and demographics for the city and the detail in the drawings is remarkable. The cohesive vision and depth of content is what really makes it come to life.

Two passions for very different subjects, from not-quite-normal minds, both impressive and inspiring in their own right.

Stumbling onto a Seattle Crime Scene

I was out for a walk this afternoon, around the extended Capitol Hill neighborhood and I managed to stumble onto the massive crime scene of this multiple murder, and suicide.

Seattle Shooting Crime Scene Seattle Shooting Crime Scene

At first I had no idea what all of the police activity was for, but then I ran into someone I knew. He assumed I knew what had happened since I was in the area with a camera. Little did I know… He filled me in on the details he knew. There was apparently a zombie-themed party (creepily ironic) at Capitol Hill Arts Center on Friday night, and many of the party-goers went to a big after-party at this house afterwards. As all the news stories describe, a guy with a shotgun entered the house and killed 6 people before killing himself when confronted by a police officer.

It doesn’t exactly give you warm-fuzzies about your neighborhood. This was exactly 9 blocks due East from my apartment. The story is on the front page of CNN at the moment. The Stranger is blogging live updates and seems to have the most comprehensive information so far.

Huskies Defeat the Huskies!

Despite numerous turnovers and looking like they had lost it in regulation, the Huskies managed to eke out a victory over the Huskies in overtime. In the final minutes of regulation, the Huskies got a lucky three-point play to cut the Huskies lead. And then in the final seconds, the Huskies sank a three-pointer to tie it with the Huskies. In overtime the Huskies pulled into a small lead, which the Huskies couldn’t quite break. It was an exciting game until the end as the Huskies tried hard to bring it back to a one-shot game, but the Huskies held them off. Go Huskies!

The Egg McToaster

The Egg McToaster This past weekend I decided to liven up my kitchen a bit with the Back to Basics TEM500 Egg & Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher. I think “Egg McToaster” is a little easier to say. The contraption is pretty neat. The toaster itself is straightforward, but the egg compartment is where things get more complex. There are a few plastic pieces, and the cooking “pan” that all fit over the heating element at the bottom. All of the cooking is done by steam, so you pour a bit of water into the heating area and your soon-to-be-cooked food sits above. There’s even an area to put bacon or sausage so that they’re warmed too (pre-cooked meats only). You can do any of the cooking functions independently of each other, which is nice. Just want an egg? No problem. There’s even a plastic cooking tray with large circular holes, where you can put eggs still in the shell, so you can cook them hardboiled. I’ve tried one breakfast sandwich so far and a batch of two hardboiled eggs. Everything came out just right.

So far I only have a few minor complaints. The multiple plastic pieces and lid make for some extra cleaning work, but not too bad. I was also a little surprised at how long the egg cooking took, but in the end it was about the same as firing up the stove, heating a pan, or boiling water. The fact that you can just put an egg or two in the contraption and push a button definitely beats those alternatives (c’mon, we’re all lazy in the morning). Lastly I was a bit confused at first by the measuring cup they give you. The only measurements on the side refer to the # of eggs, style of cooking (poached or hardboiled), and consistency. It makes for a bunch of arbitrary (but well labeled lines), with no actual measuring values. The chart in the book lists ounces too, and it took me a minute to realize I didn’t need a 6oz line on the cup, I just needed the “2 eggs, hardboiled, hard” line.

All-in-all it seems like a great kitchen gadget, and I look forward to many more breakfast sandwiches, eggs benedict, and hardboiled eggs.

ColdK is Lame

ColdK is Lame I was rather disappointed when I saw this faded ColdK ghost last weekend. It was on a brick wall of a beautiful old building on Capitol Hill, around 10th and Roy. I’m sure any more aggressive cleaning of the tag would begin to damage the brick. Some street art can be beautiful, but ColdK’s prolific ghost tags have long since become an eyesore around Seattle. I think there’s some distinction between tagging and street art, and it’s mostly subjective. Who’s to say what the intent is, except maybe the artist himself. Unfortunately, the defense and explanation of his work doesn’t exactly inspire. My advice? Exercise a bit more restraint and tact in your urban doodling. Some of the most memorable street art I’ve seen, I’ve only noticed once or twice in obscure locations, not necessarily dozens of times on everything including shop signage, garage doors, air conditioners, and windows. It sure is a lot of practice you’ve been doing, and so far I haven’t seen any improvement. Take it back to the sketchbook, please.

The Uber Google Bombs

Google bombing has been a fun pasttime for troublemakers and pranksters trying to get certain search words or phrases to return humorous and ironic results on Google. I’ve been involved with one wildly successful campaign, and have gotten some good laughs at others. I started wondering what some of the most highly-linked phrases on the web must be.

Celebrity names, news items or events are all too obvious…  How about, “click here“?  5 billion results on Google.  Top results include a Currency Calculator for some reason, and then the expected ones: Adobe Acrobat Reader download, Netscape, Quicktime, and Macromedia Flash.  Think about all of those links around the web, where somebody points to one of those utility downloads with with phrase “click here”.  There are a few perfect 10 Google pageranks in there.  (It’s rather odd that eBay is the only sponsored link and it takes you straight to an eBay search for “click here”.)

What others might be up there?  Plain ‘ol “here” returns 8 billion results, and Realplayer tops this list.  Other big ones are “get it” and “get it now”.  And with 14 billion results, “home” is a clear winner in this non-comprehensive roundup.  A huge percentage of sites on the internet have tons of internal “home” links.  The site that beats them all out: www.nasa.gov.  Incredibly deep content, good internal linking, good external linking to boost your rank even more and a perfect 10.  Easy lessons to learn.  I’m sure that .gov domain doesn’t hurt much either

Moving and Cleaning in Lists

Things I’m happpy about having in my new apartment after spending a whole Saturday cleaning the old…

  • Hardwood floors
  • Smaller bathroom
  • Free-standing bathtub (no tile, no shower doors)
  • Fewer mirrors and windows

Things I’ll miss…

  • Dishwasher
  • Washer/Dryer
  • Splitting bills
  • Andy’s Xbox 360

Sunset from the Roof

Seattle Sunset Panorama from the Roof

Moved into my new place and internet is finally set up, so I give you a panorama taken from the roof of my building last night. I can’t wait to spend some summer evenings up there. Here are the large and larger sizes on Flickr. (the true original is 9600×2200)

Idea: Bookmark Reminders

When I find something particularly interesting while surfing the web, I often del.icio.us it, or bookmark it in my browswer. The problem is that I’m really bad about referring back to these two places. If I’ve just bookmarked a new weblog or news site that will continue to have interesting content in the future, I rarely find myself returning. It’d be nice if either built into the browser’s bookmarks, or del.icio.us had an option to be reminded about a bookmark. Maybe it sends you a quick e-mail a month from now, mentioning the site again. Or your web browser could just open a tab with the site, on that day in the future.

It’s almost like an intermediate step before adding the site to a feed reader or a start page. I don’t have that much invested in the site yet, I just want to remember to come back and take a look in the future and reevaluate. If it’s still developing, I could reset the reminder. Or if I like it, I can add it to my regular browsing routine or feed reader.

Or maybe I just need to work on some more structured browsing/bookmarking habits and organize all these scattered bits. Nah, that’ll never work.