It Came in the Mail

Nothing like coming home from work and noticing a 12 inch tall TV action figure known for his focused loyalty to his country as much as for his equal-opportunity torture tactics pointing a gun at you. So we now have Jack Bauer as part of our home security system (which otherwise consists of 2 door locks and a chain and a ton of dust that would disable any perpetrator suffering from allergies - that's you, Austin).

Here are some pictures showing his scale as well as a glamour shot in front of the box he arrived in.

jack bauer in my lap jack bauer with foot

jack bauer glamour shot

24 has been pretty good this season - much better than last season. I like the new characters but there is not enough of Chloe pouting and sneering at her computer sending Jack the immediate information he needs to get the job done.

We are also watching season one of Battlestar Galactica and it is amazing. I was afraid it would be too Star Trek franchisey but it has a great balance of sci-fi, drama and romance - nothing cheesey about it.

We are still enjoying season one of Flight of the Conchords - it can be a bit silly but the songs the two kiwi boys in the band sing every episode are always good and their clueless manager Murray is always entertaining.

Thanksgiving 2008

Quiet day - good for catching up. This is a long one.

I got some good news yesterday. The injury that I sustained during my first Bollywood class and that has prevented me from going to ballet class was not a hip labral tear. This means it is something I can mend using physical therapy rather than surgery. And I now know that an MRI with contrast means a needle is going to be stuck into your thigh and then god knows what happened then to get the dye spread out. All I know is that it went on forever and I whimpered a lot and the students observing had horrified looks on their faces.

I have some pictures collected that I've been meaning to show. These two are from the theater at Towson University where Dana performed last Spring. The lipstick marks are in the stairwell leading from the stage to the dressing rooms. The other is from the dancers warmup class.

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And here are some pictures from the neighborhood

A decoration probably for Diwali outside a local Indian restaurant and the line I stood in for voting (It took 45 minutes)

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Here's some neighborhood graffiti at Howard University Law school and a nearby post office.

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This my office where I have several Graeme Rock originals.


TV show reviews

Mad Men
The design of the sets and costumes is amazing and the story line is so riveting. Every character is just so interesting. Roger Sterling has the best lines. Joan is the best bitchy-on-the-outside/vulnerable-on-the-inside secretary ever. I want to be Peggy (except for the hospital stay part). Don Draper is so cool even when he is a tortured soul.

Chuck: When it ended last season I thought it had lost its charm and seemed to be concentrating more on girl spies in sexy clothes. But this season there is more fun stuff going on with Chuck's co-workers at More Buy and there are fun disguises for the guys and gals.

Fringe: I like it most weeks especially the interaction between the mad scientist and his world weary son. The lead is pretty and tough.

30 Rock: Except for the first episode of the season it rocks!

Samantha Who?: Not anywhere near hilarious or ingenious but I still like it. Sidekick Andrea is the best thing since Patsy on AbFab.

And finally, a little video of a recent video chat. Little T, who seems to have learned a mischievous thing or two from his dad, figured out how to disconnect from the chat at one point.

Flag Day

I did a new modified triathalon on Sunday. We did a 14 mile bike ride in the morning. I did a half mile swim with a little bit of sun bathing mid-day. And then the third triathalon event was Flagtography. We have many emabassies within walking distance. Joe informs me that the area is called International Chancery Center. Anyway it was a nice warm breezy day.

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Ethiopia and Jordan

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State Department and Bangladesh

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Israel and Egypt

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Slovakia and Austria

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Brunei and United Arab Emirates

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Pakistan and Malaysia

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Nigeria with Egypt in the distance and some flags at the University of the District of Columbia

We do not have cable but our building just recently upgraded their antenna so we get many HD and analog channels. It will never be as good as cable especially since many of the stations come and go but Sunday I was very surprised to see ShahRukh Khan on a talk show on my TV.


Stop Action Animation and Dress Forms

Usually when I hear of Eastern European animation or puppets I run screaming in the other direction but I have to say that the animated version of Peter and the Wolf they are showing on PBS is excellent. This version is dark with glimpses of humor and a different ending. It is a Polish-British-Norwegian model stop action animation production, took 5 years to make and won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film this year. Here's a taste:

We're watching the 3rd season of Project Runway on DVD. It is the best reality TV show ever. And in our neighborhood it looks like a fashion academy has opened up. Here's some items featured in their front window. It's hard to see but the man's suit is on a female dress form. It still looks snazzy though.

sewing machine nametags dress forms in window

And here's just some fashionable umbrellas seen a little further up the street:

More Beer reviews

anderson valley ipa anderson ipa beer bottle cap

I like wine from Anderson Valley in Sonoma County, CA so I was interested to see how they do with beer. Although this Hop Ottin' IPA is not my favorite Indian Pale Ale it is still quite good. The flavor is nice but the hops are a little too subtle. I would buy it again.

Video/TV Update

I have been busy working on a very short graphic for Dana's dance performance - lots of hours for 15 seconds of video but that's how these things work. It's a process. Here's the shortened version:

A recent video chat shot:

Video Snapshot of Lynda Rock 6

I have been mostly underwhelmed by the new Fall TV shoes. Let's go through them:

* Pushing Daisies - This had a lot going for it. The creator of Wonderfalls and Dead Like Me worked on this but it seems like the network was not interested in "edgy", only "whimsy". And the narrator spoon feeds the plot points. He does not allow you to really analyze what's going on for yourself.

* Big Shots - Just more men behaving badly and not very well.

*** Dirty Sexy Money - A nice guy replaces his father as the lawyer for a very rich family. He takes the job because he suspects someone in this large dysfunctional family knows something about his father's suspicious death. Somewhat interesting but I am not sure if it's interesting enough.

** Chuck - It's not bad but there was way too much hype for something that's not so original

** Bionic Woman -ditto.

** Journeyman - It's OK.

* Moonlight - It's OK.

** Cane - It's OK. Powerful Hispanic family in the sugar cane industry battling a non-Hispanic family in the sugar cane industry. It is nice to see Nestor Carbonell who played Bat Manuel on the Tick get good work but I don't think I'll be tuning in regularly.

*** The Reaper - A 21 year old kid finds out his parents sold his soul to the devil before he was born and now he has to do the devil's work, which involves sending escapees from hell back to hell. I like it!

**** Aliens In America - A family takes in an exchange student because the mom thinks a young Scandinavian teenager will help her son be popular at school. But instead of a boy from Norway they get a devout but funny Pakistani boy. We've seen only one episode but it looks promising.

*** Life - A cop spends time in jail for a crime he did not commit. He gets out of jail, gets a hefty settlement and gets his job back. The show is nothing new but is a bit fun and quirky.


Unboxing is a geek activity. It used to be only photos but these days it can involve video. I still prefer photos, mainly because the quality of most youtube videos sucks. Most unboxings I have seen involve Apple products but there is no limit to what can be unboxed. Case in point:


New Fall 2007 TV shows

Here's what I plan to check out:
Chuck - geeks and spies
Journeyman - time travel
Reaper - could be Buffy-like
Bionic Woman - a old idea but seem ass-kickin'
Dirty Sexy Money - Dynasty meets Wall Street,
Life - another police drama but seems a bit different
Big Shots - Good looking men with money, seems to be a theme this season.
Moonlight - another vampire detective. I am there!

Long Time Gone

A new entry is long overdue. I have been a little busy with christmas shopping which I do mostly online but it's the management of all the alliances I have built with my sisters and brothers for gift buying that takes time. It is so complicated I have to keep a spreadsheet and this year Austin is organized enough to join in on the alliances and my aunt Zita wants in too because she hasn't travelled much this year, her usual source for presents, so it's even more intensive. But most of my shopping is done!

And then there is the Christmas contest. It's coming along. I have found that working on black velvet requires daylight.

And I have also been working on images and little movies that will be used in my friend Dana's dance performance in March. I am enjoying doing the research and video-taping and video-editing but I am now starting to think of the hundreds of people including dance critics from major newspapers who will see the performance. I am now wishing I had gone for that BA in Art instead of that BA in Astronomy.

Here are two pictures I took recently.

our new antenna local parade queen
This is a cool looking antenna we got recently to use to get some stations that are not part of our building's antenna (we do not have cable). I took this last month when nearby University of the District of Columbia held a parade that passed by our street.

Some more movie/DVD reviews
Mystic River
Excellent story, very engaging, beautifully filmed, great acting. My only complaint was the last scene that seemed tacked on and unnecessary. It should have ended with the Sean Penn character walking down the middle of the street away from the Kevin Bacon character.

Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
After the inital 15 minutes where the vulgar to funny ratio was a bit high I really started to enjoy the movie. I really like Jay's ramblings in this movie as I did in Clerks and the silly plot was actually interesting.

Spring and Cherry Blossoms

There has been some new art work up on the 3rd floor that I enjoy as I walk to my parking space. First it was tulips and then yesterday the Easter-themed art went up.
tulips on the door a bunny welcomes

Last weekend Lenore and Paula visited from Chicagoland. They saw the cherry blossoms without me because it is just too much walking for my sprained ankle. We did all go to Eastern Market together though and to the National Cathedral.

Lyla, Tracy and my parents recently took a trip to Egypt and brought me back some great gifts - beads, jewelry, a beautiful Egyptian cotton towel and a small statue of the god Horus. Here is a little movie (Quicktime 3.7MB) of Horus in action:

TV Season Update
Sons & Daughters: This new show is as quirky as Arrested Development but a bit more real. It is a totally dysfunctional extended family comedy dealing with teenage isolation, stepparents, inter-faith marriage, single-motherhood, parents dabbling in community theater, marriage problems and fun loser ex-husbands. The dialogue is sometimes improvised which I did not think I would like but it fits with the comedy. The young 3 and 4 year olds have some of the funniest lines and the characters are all great. I am sure it will be canceled soon.