Two of my heroes are in today’s Times

    There is a piece on an upcoming retrospective of Lee
Freidlander at MOMA. It is going to be massive, over a 1000 images if I
remember correctly. He started out shooting what became classic images
of jazz musicians and became one of the most influential “street” and
landscape photographers ever. I think that he and I have a similar
approach to photography, we see taking pictures as solving puzzles,
trying to figure out and make sense of what we see. This exhibition may
be what makes me give in to my stepsister Kelly and come visit NY
city…
    In a much lighter vein, a former Ithaca college
friend made the arts and leisure section of the paper. My favorite
memory of Terry Jinn happened at a practice of a band that was trying
to come together. They were a bunch of Communication school students
with disparate ideas of what good music was and with varying degrees of
talent. During one of the many break downs I suggested a cover
the band could play. The result was Terry, about as geeky and
straight-laced looking a Korean guy as you can think of, standing in
the corner hammering out the chords of Black Sabbath’s “NIB” while the
rest of the band argued. He was always a funny guy and has been in the
improv scene in NY city since graduation. On the second page on today’s
NY Times, you can see him impersonating “The Edge” of U2 in a piece of
guerrilla theater. A group of improv guys decided to recreate U2’s
“Where the Streets Have No Name” video several blocks and several hours
away from U2’s concert on a rooftop in NY city. They pulled it off
spectacularly, many thought it was U2, and many others enjoyed it. Art
imitated life down to the police coming and shutting them down. Terry
seems to have escaped without legal repercussions, but the organizers
got slapped with misdemeanor noise violations. I’m so proud of Terry:-)

Isaac  

My new monitor…

… is freaking awsome. It’s nice to have some real estate to work with
on a screen, and with decent resoltion too. It’s also rather nice to be
able to read text well again. I am a bit limited right now by my video
card. While it was state of the art in 1995, it leaves a bit to be
desired right now. It can only render things with 256 colors which
makes photographs look pretty terrible. I’m also excited by the
prospect of a digital connection which should improve the view even
more. I now have lots and lots of space on my desktop, I LOVE IT! I
hope to be able to type more enjoyably now that I don’t have to squint
to see what it is I’m typing and I have a keyoard and mouse worth
using. We’ll see how it goes…

Isaac

Cheap CDs

    I’ve been doing some CD poaching on Half.com. 3 or 4
bucks including shipping is my target price and I’ve gotten a handful
of interesting things. Finally got a copy of “God Fodder” by Ned’s
Atomic Dustbin. “Grey Cell Green” was one of my favorite early 90’s
obscure college radio songs, too bad the rest of the album sucks… The
soundtrack to Pump up the Volume (that awful Christian Slater vehicle)
was bought for a single song. It’s the “surfer mix” of “Wave of
Mutilation” by the Pixes. We used to have this at the place I sold
stereo equipment for some reason, it certainly wasn’t for the sound
quality. There’s a bunch of early “alternative” bands on there
and  it’s not bad background listening. “Zoot Suit Riot” by the
Cherry Poppin Daddies is interesting. It came out during that brief
swing/big band revival in the 90’s and of all of them had the most edge
to it. A lot of the lyrics are a bit much to take, and not suitable for
airplay but the title track is pretty good and makes for good shower
music in the morning. The best thing I’ve gotten is “Hot” by Squirrel
Nut Zippers. It also was put out during the swing fad a while back, but
it has some real musical weight to it. It comes across as a legitimate
blend of jazz with a rocking feel. A bit of a small combo that swings
playing big band feeling stuff. It’s a great switch from the usual
stuff, glad I picked this up.
    If you want to do some poaching of your own, check
out the bargain cds at half.com, everything is 2.99 or less. There is
lots of junk of course, but you might find some of those albums that
you’d try for 3 bucks but not for 15.

Isaac

What timing!

    Well, my new monitor is due to arrive tomorrow!
Problem is that my video card won’t be showing up for a week… Drat. I
thought Dell shipped from the west coast for some reason, nope, they’re
in Pennsylvania. So I’ll have a lovely LCD monitor with no way of using
it for a while. GRRRRR. I also have to figure out how to have them
leave my monitor here. No one will be around to sign for it, I hope
that isn’t an insurmountable problem. I’ll figure it out somehow.

Isaac

So much for self control….

    OK, I know it’s only been a matter of hours since my
last post, but I ordered a new monitor. I know, but it was a deal…
I’m getting a Dell ultrasharp 19″ LCD. There was a coupon for 35% off
and I couldn’t resist, especially while looking at it with my POS
ancient monitor. I got the coupon at cheap stingy bastard
(http://cheap.typepad.com/), what a great name, and what a great site!
Check it out… Anyway, it’s a better price (326 delivered!) than a lot
of the 17″ ones I had been looking at, and I’ve heard nothing but great
things about these particular monitors. I don’t feel too bad about it,
I’ve wanted a new monitor for a while and I’m actually ahead of where I
thought I’d be money-wise, so what the hell:-) I’ll actually enjoy
using my desktop computer at last! I have a real keyboard, a real
mouse, and soon I won’t get a headache from reading onscreen! I’m
pretty excited.

Isaac

Sometimes God speaks clearly and directly…

    Well, I went to the Apple store today to get my
bluetooth keyboard and mouse. No problems there but I did manage to
tempt myself again. I fooled around with the Mac Mini and the Emac.
They are pretty speedy running OS 10.4… I went to CompUSA to get the
monitor/tv I wanted to buy. Every time I go to this store I am reminded
what a terrible place it is. In addition to not being able to find
anyone to help, the place looked like hell. I really didn’t have the
money for the TV, but it was only $350 and I wanted it now! Well, I
should have taken the hint when I walked in and couldn’t find anyone or
the monitor. I pressed my luck and flagged someone down. I had to wait
until another guy stopped ogling some woman’s ass before my guy
deceided that he could perhaps use another terminal to check out the
inventory. “Nope don’t have that, haven’t had it for months.” And that
was it, he walked away. Keep in mind that he probably could have sold
me something else, I was ready to buy.
    Oh well, my approach has now changed back to a
longer term one. I will get another monitor, but I’ll save up for it
(there’s a novel concept) and I might even get a Mac mini after a while
too. I can add a tv tuner to the mini and not to my FrankenMac (I’ll
spare you the gory technical details) for around $150. I think that
this is the best idea long term. In the meantime, I really like my new
keyboard and mouse. I also love getting that noisy, cluttered rat’s
nest of a computer box off my desk. The video card I ordered should
come in sometime this week. That ought to improve the quality of the
current display considerably. I only have 700 MB left on the 5GB(!)
hard drive in the FrankenMac, I’ll have to find a cheep 40 gig around
somewhere. I’m hoping that that’ll be the last of the improvements to
the old one. In a month or two I should have the money saved up for a
decent 19″ LCD monitor. We’ll see how it goes, that might be it
computer-wise, but you never know whan Apple will release somthing I
have to have…

Isaac

OK, I’m a little crazy…

…but I’m not nuts. Despite what I’ve been saying here on my blog, I
have been thinking about getting the mac mini. After looking at what it
would actually cost to get the one I’d want, I’ve decided that 800
bucks is just a bit rich for me. I do still want to clear some space
from my desk though, so this is what I’m going to do. I am going to get
a new LCD monitor and a bluetooth keyboard and mouse for the
FrankenMac. I have already ordered the new video card (around 60 bucks)
and will start looking for a cheapish, smallish LCD tomorrow. Once I
get the bluetooth dongle, I’ll be able to get the machine off my desk
and still be able to use the keyboard and mouse. It’ll still be louder
than I’d like, but I can’t really afford the quieter machine. In the
meantime, I’ll have much more room on my desk and I hope I’ll be a bit
more productive. Using the desktop machine right now isn’t really very
much fun. The current monitor is old and the “personality card” that is
running it really isn’t up to the task. The result is a dim, not so
sharp view while working on the computer. In addition, the cable on my
USB mouse isn’t really long enough so it is a bit of a pain to use the
machine… I’m going to put the computer inderneath my desk off to the
right and just have the drives on the desk itself. No, it’s not a new
computer, but I’m excited about changing what I have anyway…

Isaac

There is one benefit of living in the DC area…

    Rick has been buying things from a vendor outside of
his building for years. He’s an Egyptian and Rick mentioned to him that
I am going to Cairo next year. Well, that got him all excited and by
the time he was done, he had promised Rick that I could call his
brother in Cairo, would have some books for me to read, and who knows
what else. That’s pretty exciting, maybe I should talk to this guy:-)
Where else in the US could this have happened? Anyway, if I play my
cards right, I hope I can score a ride from the airport in cairo,
that’s actually my biggest worry right now.
    I’ve started to look at some beginning Arabic books.
The ones that look the most useful to me are the conversational ones.
The textbooks don’t look as though they’ll help much outside of a
classroom. I think I’ll start with “Your first 100 words in Arabic” or
something like that so that I can get used to hearing, speaking, and
writing simple things. I wonder if I’ll ever get used to reading from
right to left….

Isaac   

The good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Well, I went to the Nats/Cubs game today and saw
Greg Maddux pitch. For those of you not in the know, Maddux is a sure
future first ballot hall of famer, it was a thrill to see him pitch in
person. The bad thing was that the Cubs lost. Maddux pitched OK, and
they scored early but couldn’t pull it out. The ugly part was split
between the Cubs defense (3 errors in the game) and the ride home. The
metro stations were a mob scene of course, but then a train broke down.
They were single tracking the trains between capital south and Rossyln.
It took two hourse to get home on an absolutley packed train. Oh
well….
    We had really nice seats, about twenty rows back
along the first base line. It was a pretty laid back atmosphere too.
The park is old, in facrt it had a bit of a minor league feel about it.
I don’t mean that in a bad way either. We were close to the field, the
park was old, and everyone was having a good time. I think I’m going to
try to see a couple of more games this summer. I think I’m going to
enjoy this team more than I anticipated…

Isaac

Feeling better

    Today was the first day in two weeks that I felt
well enough to exercise. My cough is mostly gone now, it only shows up
after a prolonged bout of talking. Not a lot going on…. I’m going to
the Cubs/Nationals game this sunday assuming that it doesn’t get rained
out. Richard (an Englishman who works with me) will be coming along. He
went with me the last time I took in a game in Baltimore. It’s fun to
try to explain baseball to someone, it’s really quite a bit more
complicated than you think. The concepts of foul balls, force plays,
balks, etc involve quite a bit of minutiae. Anyway, I hope it doesn’t
rain this sunday, the initial forcast says there’s a chance for some
thunderstorms. Hmmm, it rained when Richard and I went to the Orioles
game last year…. It’s probably his fault!

Isaac