Thursday, December 16, 2004

Quote of the Day: on torpidity

Rudy thought
All good things
Come to those that wait.
But recently
He could see
That it may come
But too late.
Too late
Too late

        - Supertramp, "Rudy"

Louise: You get what you settle for.
        - "Thelma and Louise" written by Callie Khouri

note: I'll fess up. I had to look up synonyms in the thesaurus before coming up with "torpidity". That word wasn't actually in my vocabulary.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A warm and fuzzy story

One of my friends from many years back just sent me an update which included a fantastic article about his wedding. It's quite a sweet story.

I had met his wife, Monika, about six years ago back when they were just dating. As great a guy as Eric is, the conventional wisdom was that he must be a lucky man. Seriously lucky. Thankfully he's finally married the girl. It shouldn't have taken six years to happen, but hey, some of us are slow learners.

Quote of the Day: on shame

"There's no "I" in "team". Similarly there's no "I" in "shame". Think about it."
        - Michael Lent, screenwriter

And while we're on the subject...

Zander: You have no shame.
Cordelia: Oh please, like shame is something to be proud of?
        - from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Earshot"

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Monster Farming - The creepy solution to the stem-cell debate

Slate's William Saletan describes in this article how some conservatives on the President's Council on Bioethics are celebrating a possible method of harvesting embryonic stem cells without destroying a human embryo.

The solution: disrupt mother nature's controls during the pre-embryonic stage such that the embryo has no hope of ever developing into a human being. Rather than dividing and organizing itself into an organism (that word is quite apropos), it would develop specialized cells haphazardly and randomly - forming teeth where the brain stem should be, growing an arm where a liver should be, etc., etc. The result would be a meaningless heap of ill-formed parts. A monster, as Saletan puts it.

In reality this embryo-gone-wrong would never develop beyond a tiny clump of cells. Before specialization could occur the stem cells would be harvested for research purposes.

The conservatives relish the idea: no viable human embryo - and therefore, by their definition, no human life - would have been destroyed. I'm not religious nor conservative by any means, but even I question if it's appropriate to satisfy God by short-circuiting Him.

I once heard a fable about Buddhist monks who believed it was wrong to even pick a piece of fruit off a tree to eat for their own selfish gain. But if that fruit were already lying on the ground, it was fair game. The monks' solution then was to have one shake the tree while the other consumed the now-fallen fruit. The tree-shaker had no intention of eating the fruit while the fruit-eater merely found that fruit on the ground. Both were morally satisfied by the result.

The letter of their belief was followed, but the spirit of it was not.

Same goes here. I don't believe that life begins at conception (a clump of cells is just a clump of cells) but I do think it's inherently creepy to breed monster embryos.

Anyone see Alien Resurrection? Shudder.

Numerous photo gallery updates

The Chicago II gallery is now complete. It's all Caden - only six pics, but worth a look!
NCAA Women's Diving: Arizona vs UCLA is also complete. Diving definitely looks better in motion. Freezing the action seems to rob it of its impact. But their wet hair leaves awesome water drop trails through the air as they whip about. Check it out.
Finally, NCAA Volleyball Tournament Round Two is also complete. Now totalling 60 pics with all properly adjusted brightness levels. A few more v-ball galleries are still in-progress, but they won't be quite as large.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Breaking the 150lb barrier

Since June I've been tracking my weight and body fat percentage (bfp) to measure the effects of my running and improved eating habits (use the navigation tabs at the bottom of the chart to see the different graphs).

Sadly my bfp doesn't seem to be changing much - though the tallies vary so widely that I'm not sure my scale is providing any meaningful data. My rate of bfp change is a paltry -0.0008, meaning that after 100 days I'll only shave 0.08% off my total.

But surprisingly my weight has kept dropping. My rate of change over the last five and a half months is -0.0333, meaning I'm losing 1/3 of a pound every ten days. And this morning - for the first time in about eleven years - I was below 150lbs.

A while ago I had set a goal of 145lbs. I think I can reach it, but I'm going to start spending more time on strength, so I'm guessing ~150lbs will be my steady-state.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

New Gallery: NCAA V-ball Tournament Rnd Two

15th-ranked UCLA defeated Cal State Long Beach in the second round of the NCAA tournament and will be advancing to the Sweet Sixteen next weekend.

I'm continually amazed by the level of play in these games. These girls are awesome. They compete and thrill and inspire without any asteriks - none of this "...for a girl" crap. They're just damn good and damn impressive. Most importantly they have that edge - that look in their eyes that tells you they're deadly serious competitors.

My photographic timing and technique improved enough to finally start capturing some digs. Spikes are actually pretty easy to catch. It's everything else that's tough.

This gallery is still a work-in-progress, but there are quite a number of shots already up (though I'm not happy with the brightness level. Grr. That means re-tweaking in Photoshop).

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Modest cosmetic update to my photo gallery has been slightly tweaked in my never-ending quest for geek perfection. Changes are subtle - things like a mouse over highlight when you point to a particular gallery. And nifty new navigation images to scroll through the newer and older galleries.

The changes may not work in all browsers. Let me know if you happen across any funniness.

Friday, December 03, 2004 still going strong

You've probably already heard about or seen, the site where (as of Dec 2, 2004) over 6,500 people have posted "I'm Sorry" images and notes after Bush's re-election.

What's more interesting are the international posts that say "we accept" or "we forgive you". One post even said something like "this Website is doing more good for American foreign relations than anything the Administration has done."

Apparently now the creators of the site have landed themselves a book deal to collect and reprint the photos. Too bad the images are small 600x400-ish JPEGs - far below print quality. I love the idea of the book, but it's not going to look very good.

Anyway, if you're of a similar mind and would like to make your own contribution to the collection, it isn't too late.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

"The Incredibles" goes 3-for-3 on

If you haven't seen "The Incredibles", do yourself a favor and get to a theater right quick. See it on a digital projector (DLP) if you can.

But don't take my word for it. The three reviewers who saw the flick each rated it a 9/10 (well, one of which is me of course):

Disclosure statement: I've already made my money on Pixar's stock (fools thought Pixar couldn't possibly make six great movies in a row) so I can recommend the flick with a clear, conflict-of-interest-free conscience.

Photo of the Day: Dispelling winter blues

Just Another Day In Santa Monica

An old shot, but a good one. From September of 2003, the week I bought my camera.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

New gallery: NCAA Women's Volleyball: USC vs UCLA

Pics posted from the 11/12/04 UCLA women's v-ball game against USC.

It was the graduating seniors' final chance to beat USC (which they hadn't yet accomplished in their 3+ years). After going down 0-2, UCLA rallied back winning the next two games and pushed it to the final fifth game (play to 15, win by 2). After two deuce points, USC pulled it out 17-16. As close a match as was possible, but UCLA still came up short.

Shot with my Digital Rebel and the marvelous Canon EF 135/2L.

FeedBurner - syndication via RSS

I'm using them to transmit this blog. They will automatically translate the content into whichever standard your reader is expecting - most noteably RSS. This site already transmits via "Atom" but that hasn't reached the same level of acceptance just yet.

Try the links below:

Or for the more hands-on, point your RSS/news reader to:

Terror Alert: Puce

Just a test. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.