Compact Payload Test Range at the European Space Agency’s (ESA) space research and technology center (ESTEC). In this zone of silence metal walls form a ‘Faraday cage’ to block all external signals, isolating the facility from TV and radio broadcasts, aircraft and ship radars, and even mobile calls. EPICALLY AWESOME!!
Also EPICALLY AWESOME…
…This past weekend I was given an EPIC surprise when …things I LOVE! was nominated for the The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness! And how AWESOME is that?! Well, I’m about to tell ya……
The award, as EPIC as it is in its own right, was made even more AWESOMELY EPICALLY AWESOME because it was presented to me by the AWESOME and brilliantly EPIC photographer, and all-around AWESOME sweetheart, Charlie from the EPIC Charles Schnyder Photography. Thank you VERY much Charlie, and anyone who isn’t familiar with Charlie’s work should definitely head over and check out some of his AWESOME photography in EPIC posts such as Budapest, Potpourri of Zürich, and his most recent Pillow Fight Day Zürich 2013 – which looks like an EPICALLY AWESOME lot of fun!
Now, as with any award, The Epically Awesome Award of Epic Awesomeness does come with rules – and also as with any award I will EPICALLY ignore them. According to Charlie I’m suppose to write 10 AWESOME facts about myself, and also pass the award along to 10 AWESOMELY EPIC blogs….hmmm…
…I’m thinking people want to read 10 AWESOME things about me nearly as much as I want to ‘LIKE’ shit on facebook, which is not at all! So instead, I’ll present 10 things which I think to be AWESOMELY EPIC!
1- APOLLO EPIC!!!!
Today being April 11 (my AWESOME nephew’s birthday!), no post on EPIC AWESOMENESS would be complete if failing to mention Apollo 13. Launched April 11, 1970 Apollo 13, the 7th manned mission of the TRULY EPIC Apollo Program and the third intended lunar landing, was commanded by James A. Lovell, with Jack Swigert as Command Module pilot and Fred W. Haise as Lunar Module pilot. The mission’s lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded crippling the service module upon which the Command Module depended. Despite limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of potable water, and the critical need to jury-rig the carbon dioxide removal system, the crew EPICALLY returned safely to Earth on April 17.
2 – STELLAR AWESOME!!!
3 – STELLAR-ENVY EPIC!!!
Proving that size doesn’t matter, our own sun fights back with this EPIC March 21, 2013 M-Class eruption unleashed from Active Region 11692. AND! Our sun has EPICALLY AWESOMELY dramatic back-ground music, and VY Canis Majoris does not!
4- MORE STELLAR EPICNESS!!!
That’s right, I said MORE STELLAR EPICNESS! On yesterday, April 10th, The European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) Very Large Telescope in northern Chile announced that it’s captured what it calls ‘most detailed picture ever taken‘ of the glowing green planetary nebula IC 1295. AWESOME? Without doubt! The image shows the nebula surrounding a dim and dying star located about 3300 light-years away in the constellation of Scutum, and give us an AWESOME glimpse as to what will eventually happen with our own sun. As stars the size of our Sun make the final transition into retirement their atmospheres are blown away into space. For a few tens of thousands of years they are surrounded by spectacular, colorful glowing clouds of ionized gas. EPIC! And thanks to my AWESOME friend, Mark A, in Arizona for bringing this EPICNESS to my attention!
5 – EPIC NERD AWESOMENESS!!!
The ‘ESTEC Shake’ on an actual electrodynamic shaker which is normally used to test spacecraft. Filmed at the EPIC, and aforementioned, European Space Agency’s (ESA) technical center, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the AWESOME Netherlands. Nerdy as fuck? Absolutely. AWESOME? No Doubt!
6 – EPIC UAVSAR!!!
On Mar 17, 2013, NASA’s EPIC Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) acquired synthetic aperture radar data over the Napo River in Ecuador and Peru. The image colors indicate a likelihood of flooding beneath the forest canopy, which is difficult to determine using traditional optical sensors. The image is a 8.7-mile-wide by 5.6-mile-long segment of an image measuring more than 124 miles long. Data from UAVSAR helps scientists assess the effectiveness of using synthetic aperture radar data to study the flooding dynamics of rivers around the world. AWESOME? Hell, YES!!
7 – AWESOME CHANDRA!!!
From EPICALLY AWESOME NASA and its EPIC Chandra X-ray Observatory this video shows a fast moving jet of particles produced by a rapidly rotating neutron star. EPIC! The star of this AWESOME show is the Vela pulsar, a neutron star formed when a massive star collapsed. The Vela pulsar is about 1,000 light years from Earth, spans about 12 miles in diameter, and makes over 11 complete rotations every second. EPIC? Hell, YES!
8 – EPIC SPACE POOP!!!
The AWESOMELY EPIC International Space Station (ISS) commander and Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut EPIC Chris Hadfield giving an AWESOME explanation of how toilets work in space. EPICALLY ewww (TMI!), but AWESOMELY funny.
9 – AWESOMELY EPIC ALMA!!!
10 – EPIC JOHNSON STYLE!!!
Never to be out-geeked by those guys and gals at the European Space Agency, NASA’s Johnson Space Center turns up the nerd-meter with this EPICALLY AWESOME Gangnam Style parody. Forget K-Pop! We got J-Pop! EPIC!!!
Well, there you have it – 10 EPICALLY AWESOME things I LOVE, and you have to admit they’re much more AWESOME than me telling you 10 facts about myself such as my irrational dislike of cumquats. And to conclude this post, and because it’s grown to EPIC oh-for-fuck’s-sake massiveness already, I’ll now give my shout-outs to 10 TRULY EPICALLY AWESOME fellow bloggers, in no particular orer –
1 – The AWESOMELY and quite EPIC White Lady In The Hood
2 – The EPICALLY AWESOMELY FUNNY Wrong Hands
3 – The AWESOMELY (INSANELY!) EPIC A Window Into The Woods
4 – The EPIC and massively AWESOME Colline’s Blog
5 – The AWESOME EPICALLY MEGA-EPIC Werner Priller
6 – The EPIC and-not-to-mention AWESOME Science Springs
7 – The AWESOMELY EPICALLY EPIC My Beautiful Things
8 – The EPICALLY (squared!) EPIC Silent Astronomer
9 – The AWESOME EPICALLY AWESOME The Future Is Papier Mache
10 – The EPIC and certainly AWESOME Mathematical Mischief
As always, I mention these fellow bloggers simply because they deserve mention, and my mentioning in no way obligates them to accept or pay it forward. And I may even, at some point, get around to mentioning to them that they have been mentioned. Maybe You, however, SHOULD check out their EPIC AWESOMENESS ASAP!!
Once again, EPIC thanks to the AWESOMELY AWESOME CHARLIE!!
(Oh, crap! Do I now have to go back and link all of this!? AND TAG TOO?!!! TOO FREAKING EPIC!)
In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. ~ Lord Alfred Tennyson, Locksley Hall
I’m thinking Tennyson’s words do not only apply to men, and certainly not esclusively ‘young’ men. I think we’ve all experienced that rush of springtime ‘I’m in LOVE!‘ euphoria. There are many different explanations of why this happens in spring. According to Dr Frank Bronson, a biologist from The University of Texas at Austin, in his book Mammalian Reproductive Biology, spring fever in mammals is, in part, regulated by sunlight. (Sound damn romantic, doesn’t it?!) Bronson goes on to say there are both direct and indirect photoperiodic cues which increase the amorous air this time of year. Simply put, the change from winter to spring brings more sunlight, longer days, better moods, (less clothing!), and a better all-around climate for romance in mammals, including humans. The change in season also means plants and insects will begin to do their thing again, which has a positive effect up the food chain and creates an environment suitable for procreation. In us humans the procreation part is, of course, purely optional. (And, in my opinion, highly over-rated.)
So this explains why we do it, and why it seems to happen more often in spring. But, why does it make us feel so freaking amazingly good? For this I turned to the guys at AsapScience, a weekly updated YouTube channel featuring fun, interesting, and informative science on a variety of scientificy topics. Here’s what they had to say on the subject…..
Well, THAT certainly explains a lot! And it, without question, puts a wide smile on my face. What’s more — what science CAN’T explain, Louie Armstrong has no problem at all in doing so!
I agree with Louie, let’s do it! Get out there and fall in love!
The Piano Guys consists of 5 guys from different walks of life who somehow came together to combine music, video, and a appreciation of nature. Individually they are Jon Schmidt (piano), Steven Sharp Nelson (cello), Tel Stewart (videography/editing), Paul Anderson (videography/piano store owner) and Al van der Beek (music producer), combined they are nothing short of spectacular.
Hailing from Utah, The Piano Guys, in addition to their brilliant combination of classic and pop music, have become known through their YouTube channel for presenting striking natural backgrounds fronted by technically and creatively stunning music. The video above, Twinkle Lullaby, features some amazingly beautiful time-lapse astro-photography of Utah’s desert skies taken by Tel Stewart, Paul Anderson, and Shaye Scott as a backdrop to Jon Schmidt, Al van der Beek, and Steven Sharp Nelson’s arrangement of Twinkle Little Star.
‘We love showcasing the beauty of the earth—where people don’t expect to find classical instruments.’ Paul Anderson
All Piano Guys video are shot on location, usually requiring an incredible amount of effort to do so, and most are shot in Utah. The scenery is so breathtakingly beautiful I’m wondering why I am not booking a flight there at this very moment. Please note — I said ‘most’ are shot in Utah. Not all. Some were shot a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….
The above image, brought to us by the very cool folks at Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, is an up-to-date map of our inner solar system. The map displays the orbits of the 4 terrestrial planets in our system, with the Earth’s orbit being highlighted in bright blue — because we think it’s kinda special.
In this image, the small green points mark the location of asteroids which do not approach close to the Earth right now. (This is subject to change.) The yellow objects are Earth approaching asteroids which are called Amors. Amors have orbits which come close to the Earth without actually crossing the Earth’s orbit. Their orbits are, however, close enough that they could potentially be perturbed by the influence of the planets. (There are over 300 known objects on such orbits.)
And the red boxes? These mark the location of the Apollo and Aten asteroids. These asteroids DO cross the Earth’s orbit and are the most directly identifiable astronomical threat for the near future. Keep in mind, this is a current map — updated daily. It shows the estimated position of thousands of known asteroids. Astronomers at Armagh remind us, however, that even conservative estimates would suggest that for every asteroid on a Earth-approaching orbit there are hundreds more which have yet to be discovered. It’s estimated that there are perhaps 100,000 to 1,000,000 undiscovered asteroids on similar Earth crossing orbits.
If NASA never deflects
#2012DA14 and it hits Earth one day, we’ll confirm that humans possess a lethal absence of foresight. - Tweeted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Feb 15, 2013.
And, to help us wash the not entirely uncool taste of asteroid from our mouths, and for anyone who missed this, here’s the first ever space-to-earth musical collaboration! Featuring Canadian Space Agency astronaut, and Expedition 34 flight engineer, Chris Hadfield, Barenaked Ladies, and Canada’s Wexford Gleeks choir, the song is titled I.S.S. (Is Somebody Singing), and is VERY cool! Chris Hadfield, who will become Expedition 35′s commander next month, is quickly becoming a big-time hero in my eyes. If you’re not following him on twitter you’re missing some of the most incredible Earth-from-Space images EVER! Do we really need much more proof than this to know that the Canadians are SO much cooler than us Americans?!
Last Friday I featured a music video from cdza. You know — cdza, also know as Collective Cadenza, that group of highly trained, and amazingly cool, musical virtuosos assembled from prestigious music schools in the New York City area? This Friday, yep — today, I offer another of their experimental music videos, this one set in the streets of New York City. In fact, not only is it set in the streets of NYC, it’s ALL ABOUT the streets of NYC! (See what they did there?) The street names give a clue, a HUGE clue, as to the name of the musicians. Armed with the street signs, how many of the songs can you recognize? How many can you actually name?
If you enjoy cdza, as I obviously do, check our their YouTube channel! Or continue to check here, as I intend to post more of their videos. However you do it — CHECK THEM OUT! If you missed my post last Friday, you can find it here –> Around The World with cdza
Enjoy and have a GREAT weekend!
cdza, which is short for Collective Cadenza, is a group of highly trained musical virtuosos mostly amassed from prestigious music schools in the New York City area. This rather large assembly of insanely talented people got together in May of last year to launch their YouTube channel which features their particular brand of musical video experiments. The videos are smart, clever, often hilarious, and the music is, as one would imagine, good. VERY good!
In October, 2012, cdza preformed at the annual Google Zeitgeist conference held in Paradise Valley, Arizona, where they were asked to perform a global medley for global people. Around the world in 18 songs…and do it in under 5 minutes! If you’re in need of a short ‘around the world’ vacation to kick start your Super Bowl weekend look no further than cdza. Also, check out their YouTube channel, linked above, for more of their great music videos…or stay tuned here, I’ve a feeling I’ll be posting more!
How many songs can YOU name?
I first became aware of this stunning image in a Jan 25 post on EarthSky by Deborah Byrd titled Underwater Fish Tornado Off Baja California. The photograph is the work of photographer and marine biologist Octavio Aburto, captured at the Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico, in the course of studying the courtship behavior of a species of Jack fish. Mr Aburto’s photograph, aptly titled David and Goliath, captures his friend David Castro’s miniscule size in comparison to the gigantic school. For more of Octavio Aburto’s brilliant marine photography visit his website, which can be found here. Also, check out the video below to learn more about the making of David and Goliath.
WOW! And on the subject of ‘WOW’…..there’s this…
My favorite astronomy image of the week was taken by astro-photographer Luis Argerich of Buenos Aires, Argentina. This image titled, Airglow Above Buenos Aires was featured as Earth Science Picture of the Day for Jan 26. The image is a 360-degree stereographic projection showing the entire night sky near Mr Argerich’s location about 60 miles from Buenos Aires. Airglow is a weak light emission stemming from the chemical reactions involving oxygen, nitrogen, sodium and ozone (chemiluminescence) at altitudes between about 50 to 60 miles above the Earth’s surface. According to Mr Argerich, the green color bands, which are obvious to the camera, were not visible to the naked eye and seem to converge because of perspective. In addition to this awesome image, Mr Argerich was also featured this week as Jan 24′s Astronomy Picture of the Day for his photograph called ISS and the Summer Milky Way, featuring starry clouds and nebulae along the southern hemisphere’s summer Milky Way arc above the horizon, and the orbiting International Space Station tracing a long streak through a single, 5 minute, star-tracking exposure. Be sure to visit Luis Argerich’s site for more of his amazingly beautiful work!
Inside the blogosphere this week there was much to think about, smile about, and out-and-out laugh about. For a brilliant, and hilarious, look at what your brain is doing while you’re at work check out Canadian cartoonist, John Atkinson’s Jan 23rd post on Wrong Hands titled Occupational Preoccupation. While there be sure to check out some of John’s galleries, but be warned, his work is very, VERY, addictive!
Also falling into the category of Things I Love one of my favorite blog writers, White Lady in the Hood, also know as Chica Blanca, treated us this week to a post titled The River Rats. Managing to combine humor and reflectiveness, Chica, has a knack of not only drawing the reader in, but also eerily making us feel as if we are there taking part in the story she’s sharing with us. Her writing is good, very good, but it’s her ability to connect with her readers which shines most brightly. Chica’s an elusive poster, she won’t flood your inbox, but if you enjoy a good read and are anything like me, when you do find one of her posts in your mailbox you’ll be heading right over.
If you haven’t had your mind exercised and excited lately, you might want to pay a visit to Wired Cosmos and check out Jason Carr’s Jan 23 article, Sending Odors and Tastes as an Email Attachment, to read about some of the uses, and potential misuses, of the technology of electronic noses and tongues. Wired Cosmos is a fascinating journal of science, technology, and futurism, and by fascinating I mean mind-blowing. A couple other of Jason’s articles I’ve particularly enjoyed include his Nine Must-Read Dystopian Novels, (Considering I’ve only read 4 of the 9, I’ve some catching up to do! How many have you read?), and his recent emerging technology article Future Computing: Meet the Flexible Paper Computer. Ok, I SO want one of those!
My favorite song of this past week was posted by Xandi from World Music in a post titled, Music from Argentina – Alerta Pachuca, and features the song Nunca Dejes de Bailar (Never Stop Dancing). Alerta Pachuca, formed in 2008, is a Latin fusion group composed of 7 multi-instrumentalists from Buenos Aires. I hope you enjoy!!
Here’s hoping everyone a great week. Keep looking up!!
On Wednesday, January 16, NASA published this animation of the Orion spacecraft’s upcoming (2017) Exploration Mission-1. Did it excite me? Just a bit, a great bit! Exploration Mission-1 will be the first integrated flight test with both the Orion spacecraft and NASA’s new Space Launch System.
In other Orion related news the European Space Agency (ESA) announced this week that, in a collaborative effort, it will be supplying a driving force to the Orion spacecraft in the form of its Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs). The ATV-derived service module will provide propulsion, power, thermal control, as well as supplying water and gas to the astronauts in the habitable module.
”ATV has proven itself on three flawless missions to the Space Station and this agreement is further confirmation that Europe is building advanced, dependable spacecraft,” said Nico Dettmann, Head of ATV’s production program. This collaboration between ESA and NASA continues the spirit of international cooperation that forms the foundation of the ISS.
This awe-inspiring image of spiral galaxy NGC 1309 was by far my favorite astronomy image of the week! Brought to us by the Hubble Legacy Archive, the ESA, NASA, and with processing by Martin Pugh, this stunning galaxy, which lies 100 million light-years away in the constellation of the River (Eridanus), spans about 30,000 light-years making it about one third the size of our own Milky Way galaxy. <– Click link for a jaw-dropping artist’s illustration of what some distant astronomers might likely see if peering back at us from across the expanse! I don’t want to sound all boastful or anything, but WOW, we have one awesome galaxy!!
In the blogosphere this week, I first and foremost have to sincerely thank the brilliant photographer, writer, artist, and all-around Renaissance-dude, J.E. Lattimer, for his very kind mention of Things I Love in his January 14th post, Blog of the Year 2012. The nod is very much appreciated, and many congrats to J.E. on his award. I first mentioned J.E. back in March of last year in my post titled …things I LOVED! Week March 12th through March 18th. Since that time Mr Lattimer has expanded to 3 blogs: Fictional Machines, Arcane Arrangements, and Mysteries of the Wasteland. Check them out, prepare to be amazed!
This week, for me at least, seemed to be dominated by images and the photographers who take them. 3 photographers in particular completely blew me away. Not only am I impressed with their images, but also in how they fully demonstrate how the resulting images, no matter how good the equipment, depend entirely on the artist behind the camera.
In his January 15 post titled Bavarian Forest National Park – Lusen Mt, one of my very favorite astro-photographers, Werner Priller, documents through words and A-MAZ-ING photographs a night spent camping out in -17C temperature just a stone’s throw from the Czech border. This is an incredible effort on the part of a photographer who makes a life’s work out of incredible efforts; the forest, the frozen summit cross (WOW!!), Warner’s camp site, the wolves (!!), all under such a beautiful starry night as to make Van Gogh blush! I don’t think I have to mention again to check out this post …you’re probably already there.
Another photographer I’ve mentioned before, the elusive George Weaver of She Kept a Parrot, this week stole my heart right out of my chest (she has a way of doing that!) with her January 16 post titled The Star Wars Cowboy. Ms Weaver is, by far, one of the best story-tellers I’ve ever come across. Though her stunningly honest photography, and her equally honest words, she takes us on a journey which always feels familiar because she is, in fact, reminding us of who we are. And we are human. Thank you George.
Speaking of humans, the 3rd photographer to catch my attention this past week is Richard Guest of The Future Is Paper Mâché. Since May of 2012 Richard has been walking up to complete strangers in the streets and alleys of London, asking if he could take their picture, and the results are entirely interesting! This week, amongst others, I found absolutely intriguing Mr Guest’s January 13th post titled Street Portrait #48 (Pierce), and his January 16th entry Street Portrait #50 (Peter). While you’re there checking out Richard’s street photography be sure to also check out some of his collaborations with other artists, including the above mentioned J.E. Lattimer (Nineteen Eighty-Four).
In closing this week I leave you with an earworm from The Misfits, I Turned Into A Martian, a little shout out to Curiosity who’s about to start drilling up the Martian surface!! Yep, we’re cooking rocks on another planet, and how freaking cool is that!!
Have a GREAT week, and Dare Mighty Things!!
On Friday, January 4th, NASA posted this video on its website of a solar eruption which took place Dec 31, 2012. (And you thought your New Year’s fireworks rocked!) NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this four-hour event in extreme ultraviolet light shown here at a high cadence of an image every 36 seconds. The graceful flow of plasma rises up from the sun driven by magnetic forces, however without enough force to overcome the sun’s gravity much of the plasma then falls back into the sun. To give you an idea as to the scale of this solar event — the length of the eruption extends about 160,000 miles out from the Sun, or about 20 times the diameter of our planet.
Elsewhere this week, in the ‘Cooler Than The Moon’s Dark Craters‘ department, on January 2nd Kim over at Check Your Premises posted this amazing video tribute to Nikola Tesla titled Marco Tempest: The electric rise and fall of Nikola Tesla.
This remarkable video is the work of technoillusionist Marco Tempest and utilizes a digital update on Tanagra Theatre, however instead of mirrors Tempest uses projection mapping combined with a pop-up book to tell the story of Nikola Tesla – called by some ‘the greatest geek who ever lived’. Kim has a knack for finding, and presenting, some of the most amazing stuff…ever! If you’re not subscribed could it be that you just don’t like complete coolness delivered to your inbox on a regular basis?
In addition to the awesomeness in imagery posted on Check Your Premises the opening week of 2013 presented us with absolutely no shortage of images to leave us breathless. (Did I just write ‘awesomeness in imagery’? Wow, I really do need a long vacation.) On Jan 4th photographer Carl Milner at Milners Blog, in a post titled Technicolour Star Trails, treated his readers to a mesmerizing collection of long exposure star trail photography by Australian photographer Lincoln Harrison. If you find yourself running short of ‘awe and wonder’ this week, check out Carl’s blog for a massive-sized dose of both. Be sure to check out Carl’s Dec 30th post titled My 2012 in Pictures. One look at this collection of images had me searching for the Follow button!
Also this past week, in the ‘That’s Just Freaking Funny’ department, two of my long-time favorite bloggers, Suzanne Rogers of A Window Into The Woods, and Smaktakula of Promethean Times, both took a foray into the world of YouTube, and both with hilarious results. Suzanne in her Jan 2nd post titled WE INTERRUPT THIS PROGRAM… alerted us, via YouTube, as to the horrific activities of Cranky-Pants Deer in Diva Town. Check out Suzanne’s post for a link to the video, but I warn you….it’s not pretty! Smak, in his Jan 4th post, On Proper Behavior While At The Theater, tells us how he was banned from a theater…for life. It’s also ‘not pretty’, and yes it does involve a transsexual transvestite. You can find Smak’s video on his post. Thank you Suzanne and Smak for once again proving that brilliance is just a short trip down the road from insanity.
Closing with my favorite music video of the week is Stan from Xandi’s World Music with his Jan 3rd post of Denmark’s Lucas Graham and his incredibly catchy song Drunk In The Morning. Check out World Music for this and other awesome music videos from around the world. I hope you enjoy the song as much as I do, also hoping everyone has a fantastic new week!
…in my back yard!
I woke this morning to the sounds of crashing (and splashing!), looked out my window to find clear, unquestionable, evidence that the Mayans were indeed right, and the world is coming to an end! And this devastation would only be the beginning….
Sure, it doesn’t look so ‘apocalyptic’ from this angle, but large tree limbs don’t just break and fall by themselves!! (Or do they? We may never know.) This is, without question, the result of the gravitational chaos of an approaching planet Nibiru! Don’t even try to deny it, you silly NASA people!
I’ve lived in denial until this morning! I trusted the scientists who said it couldn’t happen, wouldn’t happen! I trusted the skeptics! I trusted reason and sanity! But, after THIS? What more proof do I need?! (Photograph edited ‘slightly’ for dramatic effect.)
Prepare yourselves! OMFG! Skeeter Davis was right!
If it does all end, I want to end it with hair like Skeeter’s!!!
A few days ago I was approached, via email, by someone I do not know. This, in itself, is not a rare event. I am often electronically approached by a variety of unknown individuals, including many Canadians who are greatly concerned with the health of my sex life.
This particular solicitation, however, had nothing to do with sex. Had it, I would have …well, never mind. I won’t go down that road. What it was, actually, was an invitation to participate in a Birthday Event. Now let me be perfectly clear in stating that I, as a rule, avoid Birthday Events. Sort of in the same way I avoid Facebook ‘Friends’ and Jehovah Witnesses, who, I’m convinced, are the exact same individuals… the sneaky fuckers.
Though I typically ignore socially forced celebrations and their attempts in making the ‘unextraordinary’ extraordinary, the recipient of this particular celebration is someone I choose to not ignore. In fact, he would be very difficult to ignore even if I did choose to.
By now it’s clear I’m referring to El Guapo, of Guapola – The Asylum Within The Asylum. And music! And apparently today is his birthday. Why anyone over the age of 25 would want to be reminded of a birthday is complete FOOLISHNESS, but without question, when it comes to FOOLISHNESS no one does it better then Guapo. Also, in my experience, no one does niceness, cleverness, and sweetness better than Guapo. Besides his abilities as a writer, which he highly under-rates, and his being one of the very first people to make me feel like a part of this twisted, ego stroking, community known as WordPress, I have a great admiration for people completely willing to jump off things, from things, and into things. I also adore anyone with the ability to allow themselves to go totally geek for the things which they love, another category in which Guapo excels. So, without more being said, because really ….how much more needs to be said……
HAPPY BIRTHDAY GUAPO!!!!
Oh, one last thing….I was asked to include a Song of the Day. Here you go Guapo, just for you!! No, not a pony, but better! A unicorn…
I have no idea what the fuck this is. Catchy though…
Though I’ve been FRIGHTFULLY busy I couldn’t let today pass without wishing everyone a very SCARY HALLOWEEN! (One of my FAVORITE holidays!) Here, to help make your freaked-out-ness complete, are a few of my absolute most creepy movie moments of all times…
The Shining, Stanly Kubrick, 1980 – and I’m pretty sure I covered my eyes too….
The Exorcist, William Friedkin, 1973 – The power of Christ compels me to never watch this again. Seriously…
The Blair Witch Project, Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, 1999 – One of THE most freaky endings to a film, EVER.
Night of the Living Dead, George Romero, 1968 – While not one of the scariest scenes ever, it’s completely iconic of the entire zombie genre. I LOVE when other zombie films pay homage to this scene!
Frankenstein, James Whale, 1931 – Classic mad scientist, gotta love this!
I hope everyone has a HOWLING good time tonight! Special thanks to Monty in SA for help in compiling these!
“First I must explain how our quartet used to do its hustling so as to attract an audience. We began by walking down Rampart Street between Perdido and Gravier. The lead singer and tenor walked together in front followed by the baritone and the bass. Singing at random we wandered through the streets until someone called to us to sing a few songs. Afterwards we would pass our hats and at the end of the night we would divvy up.” Louis Armstrong, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans
As long as there’s been a New Orleans there has been New Orleans street musicians. Just as the city absorbs, assimilates, and adopts food, architecture, and culture, puts it all in the same pot, stirs it up, and claims it as it’s own so it does with music. It’s one of the very few places left where a musician can arrive from anywhere with nothing but a horn, a guitar, or a voice, and be warmly welcomed.
Doreen ‘The Clarinet Queen’ Ketchens. After Hurricane Katrina classically trained clarinetist Doreen Ketchens was forced to take her incredible talents to the street in order to feed her family. Something tells me she, and her family, have never been happier.
Grandpa Elliot and Oscar Castro on Toulouse Street perfectly demonstrating that unique blending of culture and sound New Orleans is famous for.
Smoking Time Jazz Club performing in The French Quarter. This group of excellent musicians never know which ‘members’ will show up to play on any given day, nor do they care, the music will go on.
And because he’s such an icon, such a part of New Orleans street culture, here’s Grandpa Elliot once again doing what he does he does best; uniting people, blending sounds, and making people happy.
New Orleans street music – Always free, no cover charge, no drink minimum, no age limit. Always good!
A few days ago I was mentioned in a post titled One Lovely Blog Award Nomination written by the very thoughtful Carina Ragno from L’Amore e Forte Come la Morte. I must thank Carina for this mention, not because it’s in The Rules, which of course it is, but because she has consistently been a supporter and of that I’m very appreciative. Thank you Carina.
Now on to this Award… as with any blog award I do appreciate the mention and will do my best to respond. (There are some awards which came my way during my 3 month break which I’ve not, as yet, gotten to. Please know I’m aware of this!) My approach to these mentions is to attempt to accept gracefully while maintaining a sense of fun and community. In this approach I’m not always successful, though I should point out that I don’t consider failure in any endeavor a reason to no longer, at the very least, try.
The Rules: According to Carina there are 5 rules associated with the One Lovely Blog Award.
Rule 1: Thank the person presenting the mention and link back to their blog. Again, thank you Carina!
Rule 2: List 7 random facts about yourself. This, The Random Self-Facts, seems to be a common theme of these awards. Apparently the fact that blogs tend to be ALL about ourselves is not enough of a dive into egocentrism and we should delve even further. Since I’m quite certain the existence of anyone actually reading this would not be complete without knowing 7 MORE interesting tidbits about me, I’ll capitulate:
- Random Fact # 1 – I completely dislike listing Random Facts about myself. I’m much more into specifics…
- Random Fact # 2 – I think 7 is an insanely HUGE number of Random Facts to list about one’s self.
- Random Fact # 3 – I think the words ‘What kind of fuckery is this?’ to be the most brilliant opening to any song …ever. (Thank you Amy Winehouse!)
- Random Fact # 4 – I have a secret crush on Sam Harris. (I’m not sure if this qualifies as a Random Fact. Actually, I’m not even sure if it’s a fact at all. It could all be in my mind.)
- Random Fact # 5 – I wake at 4am. Most days… not EVERY day! Some days I’ll sleep right through to like 5 or 6am. Shocking, but true.
- Random Fact # 6 – Vegans greatly reduce my dining pleasure. Not that I’m against eating a vegan diet at times, I’m not. I think it healthy. It’s the vegan, himself, I’m opposed to. Really? This is what you eat daily yet it still takes 3 hours to decide on a restaurant, and I’m to then sit patiently as you interrogate the waiter for half an hour as to the ‘humaneness’ of the House Salad. Are you shitting me?
- Random Fact # 7 – I’ve never had a One Night Stand. Not that I’m opposed, I did actually try once with a Canadian I met in a bar. It didn’t work because he then kept coming back and inviting me to dinner and stuff. I tried to explain the rules, but he wasn’t getting it. I think I should have tried with an Italian instead…
Rules 3 and 4: Nominate 15 bloggers for this award and notify them as to their mention. 15!!?? Madness. I can not, and will not, do this. It’s this aspect of these blog awards which make them so unappetizing for so many; sure the mention is nice, but in doing so we also pass a huge responsibility to others. Either play along or be considered an ungrateful ass with no sense of community. Fuckery, indeed. Though I choose to play along, I certainly do not wish to force this on others or in any way make others feel obligated. So, to this, I now nominate everyone on my Blog Roll! I attest to the ‘Loveliness’ of each and every one of you. As for the notification; if you’re reading this, consider yourself notified. If you’re not reading this …lol… well, fuck you! See if I ever nominate you again!
Rule 5: Post the lovely ‘Lovely Award’ logo on your blog. Done!
WHAT A VOICE!!
Get out and enjoy tonight’s Blue Moon, enjoy your 3 day weekend, and Happy Labor Day!
…why they will ALWAYS be cooler than us Americans.
Not only do the Canadians bring us Americans some mighty awesome SPAM, they also brought us, and the rest of the world, the green plastic garbage bag, five-pin bowling, and unsurprisingly the goalie mask. This said, let’s not forget such Canadian extreme coolness as the Anti-G Suit and the Electron Microscope. And yes, the Germans may argue as to the electron microscope, but they didn’t bring us the cooler-than-water ice-on-Enceladus Jill Barber so we’ll deal with the Germans later in another post. : )
Nova Scotia native Jill Barber is coolness redefined. Don’t let the retro black and white look of this video fool you, it was filmed in Toronto is 2009 and features Never Quit Loving You from Jill’s 2008 album titled Chances. And sure…it’s a stalker song, but somehow coming from the Canadians it seems very non-threatening…
Previous related posts:
…why they will ALWAYS be happier than us Americans.
Remember when you were a kid riding your bike down a steep hill and, if you were coordinated enough, you’d release your grip on the handle bars, hold your arms out….and you’d fly! Remember that feeling? That freedom? And that absolute knowledge that nothing else mattered except this fucking moment. Then…the next day, the very next day, you woke and you were an adult. You woke with bills, work, obligation, and responsibility…and you lost the ability to fly.
For anyone who does not speak Portuguese (and shame on you if you don’t!) ‘voa’ means ‘fly’. Voa tells the tale of someone who is unloved, but still loves, someone who doesn’t spend a moment focusing on unhappiness and as a result finds happiness everywhere, someone who gratefully accepts the moment for just what it is, someone who accepts the people in his life for exactly who they are, someone who’s never lost the ability to fly….no matter what.
I feel so light, I can not believe….fly! Fly! Fly!
The choice to be happy…is ours. The choice to focus on the things we love, and not spend a second focusing on anything else… is ours. The choice to simply let go of anything which stops us from flying…is ours.
Enjoy yourselves, partake in all things green…and have one for me! : )
I LOVE Mardi Gras! To the rest of the world today is Tuesday…down in New Orleans it’s Fat Tuesday…Mardi Gras Day! It’s the one day of the year when I get ‘homesick’. This year it also serves to remind me that I haven’t been ‘home’ in 6 years, and my last Mardi Gras was the one immediately following hurricane Katrina. Since Mardi Gras is a completely free party estimating attendance is particularly difficult. The success of a Carnival Season is based on how much garbage is picked up in the streets. The trash is stored on a barge floating on the Mississippi River, then after Mardi Gras it’s weighed. (Roughly about 8,000 tons of trash.) Pre-Katrina attendance was usually estimated right around 1 million. (Yes, 1 million! Can you imagine throwing a party and having a million people turn up?!) Post Katrina attendance is quickly catching up to this number with estimates ranging between 750,000 to 850,000….still a shit-load of people!
A check of the weather today in New Orleans shows it’s partly cloudy with a high of 73 degrees. The weather is irrelevant though, the party would go on, and has gone on, regardless. To those of you who’ve been I don’t need to explain what happens to the city at this time of year…to those of you who haven’t been, well…there is no explaining. From The French Quarter where the party on Bourbon Street never stops, to up-town where Zulu, Rex, and the truck parades will roll today along St. Charles Avenue….to out in the small Cajun towns like Eunice and Mamou it’s Carnival time!
And if you’re wondering what’s going on today in the more traditional celebrations of small town Louisiana…check these out! To me this is FAR more interesting!
HAPPY MARDI GRAS!!!!!
I LOVE…..Stalker Songs! With the sweet taste of Valentine’s Day still in our mouths, and my sympathies to any guys out there who didn’t quite spend enough on balloons, chocolate, and flowers to completely validate their honey’s fragile egos, lets now turn our attention to the darker, and far more interesting, side of love…..obsession. Particularly, the Stalker Song….
The Stalker Song comes in a couple of forms. It may be a song which on first listen seems like a sweet ode and exclamation of undying love and admiration…’undying’ being the key word. Or it could be just flat out creepy, no matter how many times one listens to it.
My first Stalker Song selection is a song which has….well, special meaning in my heart. I once came home to find a seemingly blank music CD tacked to my door…yes, a large tack placed through the hole in the CD and then driven into my door. Strange enough on its own, yes? However under the CD was also tacked a black and white photo of….me. The pic had been taken, without my knowledge, at an outdoor music festival I had attended the previous weekend. It was not a crowd shot, but a close up of me….at the festival…in black and white. There was no note or anything written on the CD. Creepy? Well….kinda, yes. There was only one song on the CD….and this was it….
My first thought, as I’m sure would be anyone’s, was…..’Fuck, Kim Deal plays the HELL out of that bass!’ And no, I never found out who this person was, obviously he lost interest shortly thereafter….or, as a friend suggested, I possibly started dating him without realizing him to be the ‘Door CD Tacker’. Whoever he was…he had GREAT taste in music (not to mention women!), and was a damn fine photographer.
My second Stalker Song selection comes from one of my favorite songwriters of all times, Elvis Costello. No one quite spits out the bitterness of cold, unrequited love as eloquently and venomously as Costello. This song actually causes the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. It’s cool, creepy, chilling and completely delicious.
My third Stalker Song selection is Don’t Say A Word by Sonata Arctica. Yes, it’s quite long, and yes, it’s also quite demented and disturbing….and yes, I do now feel I need a shower….
This post was unintentionally inspired by a comment made by sinnercycling on my Happy Valentine’s Day post of yesterday…who I’m quite sure is thrilled with being linked to Stalker Songs. Great blog though…cycling, sinning, skiing…check it out!
…why they will ALWAYS be sexier than us Americans.
This post was stolen from, I mean INSPIRED by, a recent post on I MADE YOU A MIXTAPE . Check it out!!
I LOVE…Louis Armstrong! Satchmo….the father of New Orleans jazz, the iconic and unmistakable sound of his trumpet and cornet, his instantly identifiable voice. Hearing him play I can’t help but smile. His complete virtuosity with either instrument, trumpet and cornet, absolutely testifies of someone totally in love with what he’s doing, in love with the music, and in love with which ever song he’s performing. He takes each song and owns it, makes it his. There is a joyousness in his solos, a relaxed easy-going feeling of someone who completely accepts things as they are and is happy with whatever that is. I adore his creatively, his style of always pushing his playing to the edge of his abilities, and his way of presenting standards in his own unmistakable way.
But even more than his horn playing, I love his voice. He sang just as he played, with creativity and improvisation, pushing his vocals to the edge, using his voice as an instrument. There is a warmth in his voice which, to me, feels like a warm cup of rich, sweet coffee on a cold and rainy day. There is a ‘feel’ to his vocal style, just as with his playing, it’s a feel of acceptance. When listening to him, I can almost picture a man determined and happy to be himself, no matter what. A man content to walk down any road and to do so happily. His voice reminds me of the guy who at the end of the day shrugs, throws his jacket over his shoulder, and walks away with a smile on his face knowing….there must be a way.