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February 28, 2003

New: Wishlist, About, and Links

We're leaving for Hawaii in the morning, and my birthday is in ten days, so I thought I'd put up a link to my Amazon wishlist. I've always used the list to remind myself of the great things that I've seen and would one day like to have, and I decided I might as well share this list, just in case anyone out there is interested in seeing it. I haven't had time to put comments on each of these items, but I have reviewd over the list itself.

I've also added a new About page to the site, and a set of links to the main Songdog.net pages, located just below the banner at the top (including, hint hint, a convenient link to the Oscar Contest). The about page is a work in progress, but it might answer a few basic questions. Let me know what you think of the new links menu, too. I want to do some redesigning around here this spring, but it may be a little while before I get around to it, and your suggestions would be welcomed.

Oh, one more thing - I added the vacation message at the top of the main page, in the individual entry pages, and over in the photoblog. Sorry if it's annoying or distracting, but I don't want any new visitors wondering why I'm ignoring them. Welcome, new visitors! I'll get in touch when we return from Hawaii!

One ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 1 Day Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 27, 2003

Goodbye, Mister Rogers

As you have probably heard, Fred Rogers has died. I remember watching his show (along with "Sesame Street" "The Electric Company", and "3-2-1 Contact") every day after school when I was a little boy, and although I haven't watched it since my memories of the show and its messages are very strong. I am sorry that Rogers won't still be making shows for my own children.

The folks at Metafilter are discussing this and they've offered many kind words, and some wonderful links as well.

Two ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 2 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 26, 2003

The Southern Cross

The famous contellation Crux, The Southern Cross, is far enough south in the celestial hemisphere that it is simply not visible from my part of the world. The only places in the United States where it can be seen are the very southern tips of Florida or Texas and the islands of Hawaii. I've done some research, and during our trip the Southern Cross will be at its highest (6°?) above the horizon at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. I'll definitely be getting up one night to have a look, as this bright grouping of stars is a rare treat for us northerners.

I found a nice detail picture of the Southern Cross from Southern Skies Graphics, and courtesy of APOD here's a stunning photo from Mauna Kea showing the Cross over nearby Mauna Loa, taken by Barney Magrath.

Pioneer 10 Has Gone Quiet

Pioneer 10 has sent its last signal to NASA's Deep Space Network of radio antennas. Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, was designed for a 21-month mission which made it the first manmade device to travel beyond the orbit of the planet Mars. Most famously the probe passed through the asteroid belt and flew by the planet Jupiter, in 1973.

Its mission extended, Pioneer 10 passed the orbit of Pluto in 1983 and reported on the conditions at this great distance from the sun. This mission too was completed in 1997, but the little explorer has continued to send its signals.

Pioneer 10's last report was received on January 22, 2003, from 7.6 billion miles away. It will remain on its two million year course toward the star Aldeberan, a fitting memorial to its own success.

Via MetaFilter.

Three ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 3 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 25, 2003

Fiftieth Photoblog Post

I just posted my fiftieth photoblog item, continuing my current Hawaiian theme.

Four ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 4 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 24, 2003

Photoblog Links

I've started to add links to my favorite photoblogs in the sidebar of my own photoblog. I highly recommend them all! You might also be interested in the published lists of nominees and finalists for the Photobloggies. There are too many terrific sites to list individually (and you'll see why it was so hard to narrow things down!).

Five ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 5 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 23, 2003

Congratulations, Photobloggy Winners!

The Photobloggies

The winners of the Photobloggies have been announced! Go check 'em out! Congratulations to all the very deserving winners, and special congratulations to Dawn Mikulich, whose A Life Uncommon won three awards including Photoblog Of The Year! Also, thanks to Rannie Turingan for putting on the Photobloggies; I can't imagine how much work it took him. Check out his great site, photojunkie!

A Great Concert: Terri Hendrix

I've been down with a miserable cold the last few days, but I'm feeling better now and I wanted to let you know about a really great show that we went to Friday night.

Terri Hendrix is a multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter from San Antonio, with a fun, charismatic style and a clever sense of humor. She plays a great blend of country, folk, and rock and roll styles, with some jazz thrown in for good measure. I first heard one of her songs ("My Own Place") on NPR a few years ago, but hadn't gotten around to picking up the album. We went to this concert largely on a whim. In spite of my cold, the gamble paid off. We really enjoyed ourselves, and I definitely won't want to miss Terri Hendrix the next time she's in town.

Hendrix was accompanied by Lloyd Maines. Maines sang and played amazingly on dobro, guitars, and mandolin in this show, but I gather that he's best known for his steel guitar work. He's also an accomplished producer, and the father of Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, and he'll be playing with the Dixie Chicks at the Grammy Awards tonight. By the way, Terri Hendrix is up for a Grammy tonight as a songwriter!

In addition to Hendrix's original songs, the two threw in some covers. One of the most surprising of these was LL Cool J's "I Need Love", on mandolin and guitar, with a flawless performance of the fast (and copious) lyrics. They haven't recorded this yet, but I do hope they will.

The evening started off with a great performance by Martha Trachtenberg whose beautiful songs and voice really won over the audience. This concert, by the way, was put on by a volunteer organization called Outpost in the Burbs, which does a lot of good stuff in addition to their terrific concerts.

They did a fine job with the show, including good sound engineering in a small, acoustically complicated room. It was great to see and hear these artists play up close and personal, and to have the chance to meet them without a mob. I'll definitely be going to more concerts in this series!

Six ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 6 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 22, 2003

Seven ...

A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs 7 Days Until Hawaii! A flower icon from one of Songdog's Hawaii photographs

February 21, 2003

US Deports Canadian Citizens To Asia

One Canadian citizen was deported last fall. Another was deported a week ago. Each was a Canadian citizen, with passport. Each was denied access to the services of the Canadian consulate, and was instead shipped immediately off to Asia.

Via BoingBoing.

Songdog's Oscar Contest

As promised, my Oscar contest is now live (courtesy of Yahoo), and you're all invited to join. I'm not especially good at these things, and I've seen relatively few of the nominated movies this year, so you've got a good chance of besting at least one competitor. If you don't think you have any clever insights, guessing is welcome. I hope to see you at the contest! Read on for instructions.

To join, go to Yahoo's contest page. Yahoo will let you know if you need to create an account with them, or let you sign in if you already have one. You'll have to fill out a form to join the Yahoo! Movie Awards Challenge--be careful not to sign up with their sponsor unless you mean to--and then you can start making your picks, which you can change any time until Oscar night. When you're done with your picks, or if you want to hold off on them for now, click on the link to "Join A Private Group". You'll be prompted for the group number, which is 128, and the group password, which is "songdog". Please post a comment below or email me if you have any trouble.

February 20, 2003

Get Out And Vote!

The Photobloggies

The voting for the Photobloggies closes tomorrow, so hie thee hence and cast your votes!

Irony Moderne

Last night I performed in an ironic drama. I wore myself out shovelling away a large plow-packed snowbank, all so that I could go to the gym and work out.

February 15, 2003

More Hawaii Photos

I've gone two days without updating the photoblog, so to make it up to you I've posted three photos today, and all of them are from our Honeymoon trip to Hawaii.

February 13, 2003

So Now I'm Safe

I got into an N/R train at Prince Street, and didn't notice the man in camouflage with the alto sax who boarded from the next car. As soon as the doors closed he began to play, loudly:

[several bars of melody]
[riff repeated in many keys]: do-DWAH, do-DWAH, do-DWAH, do-DWAH, do-DWAH, do-DWAH!
[a few melodic notes]
[different riff, over and over]
[a few more melodic notes]
[arpeggio, arpeggio, arpeggio, arpeggio]
He sounded all right, if occasionally a bit annoying, except when he reached for a lower register where his notes were either lost or turned into an abrasive BLAT!

Two stops up the line he stopped playing and said: "Thank you all very much. If you can make any donation to support live music, it would be appreciated. God bless you all, and keep you safe from terrorist attacks". Then he walked to the other end of the car making his collection. When he got there, he took us all into the Twilight Zone ("doo-dee-doo-BLAT, doo-dee-doo-GRONK, doo-dee-doo-URNK, etc.") and said "Now you're all stuck in the Twilight Zone until the next time you hear me play. While you're in the Twilight Zone, no terrorists can get you."

Ringing Cell Phones Banned in New York Theaters

Thanks, language hat, for letting me know about this. It's about time they passed a law. It's going to be tough to enforce, but maybe it will help a bit. Read on for my proposal on how to fix this.

Actually, I've been wishing they'd just jam the signals completely, but that's probably too severe. Doctors, for instance, need to be reachable, and still deserve to have personal lives. Here's my proposal: cell phones should be required to respond to a noise suppression directive from short-range transmitters in theaters, restaurants, and public transportation vehicles. This wouldn't work for old phones, but many people replace theirs regularly enough that this would clear things up quickly.

The NY Times story on the new law has some great anecdotes about actors stopping the show, not to mention the "Miss Saigon" chorus member with a vibrating cell phone in her bikini. Sheesh.

February 12, 2003

Beautiful Flood Photo

Car in Flooded Street, Buenos Aires, February 11, 2003
Reuters photographer Enrique Marcarian took this beautiful photograph of a flooded Buenos Aires street on February 11, 2003 (click for larger version).

Mirror Project Photo #2

My second Mirror Project submission has been accepted!

February 11, 2003

In Other Competition

The Oscar nominations have been announced (as have those for the Razzies). Watch this space for my Oscar-picking contest, coming soon.

February 10, 2003

Get Out And Vote!

The finalists for the Photobloggies have been announced, and the winners will be chosen based on your votes. You have until Friday, February 21, so go have a look at the excellent sites that have made the finals!

February 09, 2003

Photo Stuff

Twenty-nine more days of being twenty-nine ;)

I said I'd add some Hawaii pictures on the Photoblog and I have begun to do so, with this picture taken near where we'll be staying:

Kona Colors

We're really looking forward to going back!

In other news, my first submission to The Mirror Project has been posted, with a few more in the works.

February 08, 2003

Coming Events

I'm twenty-nine years old, and in thirty days I'll be thirty! Over the last year I've gone back and forth on whether leaving my twenties behind bothers me, but at the moment I've pretty much decided that it doesn't. A lot of terrific stuff happened in my twenties, but I'll be starting my thirties with some big advantages, such as having college and graduate degrees, not to mention being very happily married!

To celebrate, we're doing something outrageous. We're going back to Hawaii, where we honeymooned several years ago! My wife was born eight days before me and our trip will span both birthdays. We leave three weeks from today! We'll be on the Big Island the whole time this trip, as most of our favorite Hawaiian places were there. I'll be sharing some Hawaiian stuff with you between now and then, and more when we get back.

Incidently, forty days from now this blog will be one year old!

Judging is Hard

Man, oh man. I just completed a round of judging for the Photobloggies. I had six categories to go through, with maybe a hundred and fifty sites to consider. The bonus for me was being led to some great sites, and after the prizes have been awarded I'll start linking to some of my discoveries.

February 03, 2003

Groundhog Day

Well, today is Groundhog Day, and it looks like ... just kidding.

February 02, 2003

Groundhog Day

Well, today is Groundhog Day, and it looks like we're getting another six weeks of winter! I hope that's what everyone wanted.

February 01, 2003


The Space Shuttle Columbia has been lost. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the crew.

NPR and Metafilter are both providing rapid and generally rational coverage of this tragedy.