More real than real

“Calling the current U.S. Capitol “inadequate and obsolete,” Congress will relocate to Charlotte or Memphis if its demands for a new, state-of-the-art facility are not met, leaders announced Monday.”

Sound far-fetched? Well, this was reported by the Beijing Evening News on June 3.

According to a Reuters article, what really happened was that the Chinese daily fell for a May 29th article in the Onion. I guess it’s understandable though; these days I’d rather read “America’s Finest News Source” than most of the other stuff on the newsstand. ^_^

(via Jet)



This entry will have no real point other than to link to some nice blogs.

First off (and the action that spurred this entry), I designed a new header graphic for Jet’s new Shanghai Yummy, in which he posts (somewhat) daily observations on being an American in Shanghai. The name is not my fault.

Just for completeness, other sites visited regularly:

That’s about it for now, but only because I’m still a youngling in blog terms.

Rip it all up again

Some site redesign today. Still too constrained, too generic, too much left of the default templates to feel like this is me yet.

Doing design work for someone else is always a bigger job than it seems, if only because it never fails to throw me into fits of dissatisfaction with my own work. Invariably, that leads to fretting and constant redesigning.

Whatever, it’s a new beginning! Long-needed changes in neon epiphany’s look & feel (above what’s been done already) should occur in the next week or so. Unless they don’t.

My problem me as far as websites are concerned has been that I’ve always felt like I’m better at expressing myself graphically than with words. So the temptation I’ll have to avoid is that of tinkering endlessly with layout and design and forgetting completely about adding new “meat” to the site — all while making sure that what’s going in is more like filet mignon and less like offal.

With that, I think it’s time to sleep. Here’s a random but interesting link, since we’re talking meat.

Wide and Wider

I stopped by Matt’s for lunch, and happened upon today’s issue of the Seattle Times. Plastered across the front page:

“Pamela Reichelt, 14, Miss Mill Creek, seems less than enthusiastic as she takes a bite during the “Beauty Queen Hot Dog Eating Championship in Bellevue yesterday. Reichelt was able to eat three-fourths of one hot dog….”

You can see the full blurb w/picture here.

So good to know that in spite of all that distracting, international intrigue, that folks haven’t lost sight of what truly matters!

Shiny on Shiny

The Digital Bits today reposted an article by J. Michael Straczynski on rec.arts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated containing juicy details about a Babylon 5 Season One boxset, to be released this fall. This will mark a milestone to people following DVD news, since B5 is one of the longest-awaited titles for that format. An alternate link includes the delicious information that it’ll be widescreen! Yay!

Am only just getting into the whole Babylon 5 thing; I saw the pilot when it aired back in the Spring of 1993 and then absolutely nothing, until I was forced (by a friend) to watch the Sci-Fi Channel’s most recent full-series runthrough. As anyone familiar with the show can tell you, it’s compelling stuff: a meticulously planned story arc with convincing, evolving characters, political intrigue, and a fascinating mix of science and mysticism. I’m not sure anymore what I ever saw in Star Trek.

Speaking of Star Trek, there’s a review up on Scifi.com of the first soundtrack album for the series Enterprise. Aaron, please call your office.


It’s no iMac…

A mini-PC that’s not much bigger than two discmans (discmen?) stacked on top of each other — cute! Of course, since I’ve pretty much decided that my next machine will be a Mac (thus returning to my roots), it’s a no-go. Snif.

Men With Brooms

Someday I’ll compile a full report on SIFF 2002, but that day is not today. After missing two weekend films for which I’d already bought tickets (Takashi Miike’s Happiness of the Katakuris and the non-Miike May), I made sure to head out early to catch today’s 4:30 showing of Men With Brooms at the Harvard Exit Theater. It’s a Canadian comedy… about curling.

I watched (out of pure fascination) a lot of the CBC’s coverage of curling during the Salt Lake City Olympics (in fact, I first saw commercials for Men With Brooms during these broadcasts), and, well, I came away completely confused. Now that I’ve seen this film, though, I think I finally have an idea of what’s going on. The movie itself was pretty funny as well; sure, the script was rather painful at parts and hit every sports movie cliche in the book, but there were plenty of real laughs peppered liberally throughout. Best of all, the film takes shots at things an outsider might find ridiculous about curling (and indeed, sports in general), but you never get the feeling that writer/director/star Paul Gross has anything but a deep admiration or affection for the sport. I’d give it 7/10 (probably the highest rating I’d give to any post-Naked Gun film starring Leslie Nielsen). Really entertaining.

After the film, kakumei and I went to Delfino’s at University Village for dinner. Still the best Chicago-style pizza I’ve found in the area. The only, in fact.

Random-but-related factoid of the day: The Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien has a painting in its collection by Breughel the Elder entitled “The Hunters in the Snow,” dated 1565. Suspiciously familiar activity in the background?


Cinema overload

Saw three at SIFF today, pretty much using up the entire day (and which involved lots of sitting in traffic, standing in line, etc.). Here’s a mini-report!

Pistol Opera - Seijun Suzuki’s “sequel” (35 years later) of his classic Branded to Kill. Was possibly the most confusing movie I’ve ever seen, though certainly beautiful to look at. It had all of the eccentricities of the earlier film, without any of the coherence, and was shot in brilliant technicolor (Branded was black and white). A nice performance from ESUMI Makiko as the hardboiled assassin-protagonist chica. (5/10)

Monkey Love - an indie romantic comedy, shot in digital. The projection left a little to be desired, with blocky, low resolution NTSC (converted from a PAL master), but after awhile it was easy to tune it out and just enjoy the story. Well-acted, well-written, and very entertaining. matter eater lad, Valerie and Klar all agreed. Afterwards, there was a short Q&A with some of the cast and crew. Particuarly liked Jeremy Renner, whose most significant previous role was Jeffrey Dahmer — go figure! I love SIFF. (8/10)

Hi, Dharma - A fun, fun fish-out-of-water comedy from South Korea, involving a group of gangsters who hide out in a mountain monastery. Most of the film deals with the friction between the monks and the hoodlums, both groups having a hard time dealing with the situation they’ve fallen into. A good natured, hilarious flick (with some action thrown in too). (8/10)

No more movies until Friday. Phew!


The virus

Yet another new blog, this one by an old friend. Ten points if you get the in-joke. The points are redeemable absolutely nowhere.

Fragile… Do not touch…

Hmph. I seem to have broken the archive generation somehow, all the monthly links to the left are currently broken and the entry for June is pointing to January. For now, just go to the main archive index and read the single entries, if for some reason you want to do that. I’ll try to figure out what’s going on in the meantime.

[Addendum: I’ve tracked down and fixed the problem — apparently greymatter doesn’t appreciate having an archive index (e.g. the one in the sidebar) on an archive log page, and bad things happen. Anyways, everything should be fixed now, and all pages should now share a consistent look (which was the goal of all this tinkering around in the first place)]

Typographic lechery


The long, dark night of the soul

Had dinner with Klar and lish (who I haven’t seen since, wow, June of 1996) tonight and ended up hanging out at the U Village for 6+ hours, chatting and being silly. In the process, I missed the SIFF films Dark Water and Killer Tattoo, but it didn’t really matter, ‘cause who cares when you’re among friends? (it helps if they’re moderately insane!)

Among the topics of discussion: Killer abs, Skinny Muffy, roommates, “Once More, With Feeling”, betrayals, college, dirty paintings, breast reduction surgery, exes, pharmaceuticals, Milla Jovovich, high school, polyamory, Vietnamese food, and theater. To name a few.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Whee!


Fashion victim

No more half-hearted redesign attempts! Sometimes you just have to blow everything away in order to see things from a new perspective. Please let me know if the new look tickles your fancy or stimulates your gag reflex (or if it’s just plain broken — I’ve only tested it with IE [6.0], Mozilla [1.0] and lynx).

Eventually I’ll put something in the “icon” area (that circular thing to the left) but I couldn’t think of anything creative today. And hold your horses, there may actually be content on the horizon, too.


Distant peals

We had a thunderstorm last night. I only mention this because it happens so rarely out here in the northwest, and a good thunderstorm is the type of event that I miss from my childhood. I can probably count on one hand the number of real thunderstorms we’ve gotten here in Seattle since I moved here (five years ago). That’s pretty much one a year, which is not nearly enough, and usually makes a storm something of a special occasion for me — you know, a sitting-on-the-porch-with-beverage-of-choice kind of thing. Usually I try to take pictures of lightning but it was a little too dark this time to get anything interesting.

I love rain. Mind you, I don’t particularly enjoy driving in it (this may have more to do with how other people drive when it’s raining), nor do I enjoy getting my clothing wet — yuck! Water? Never much cared for it at all.

What I do appreciate is the aural aspect; how it sounds when it hits a roof, a deck, an umbrella. I like good, heavy rain, where drops strike wood with a definite sense of authority. We don’t get enough of around here, however odd-sounding that is for a Seattleite to say. What usually passes for precipitation around here is at best white noise. Weak, on-and-off drizzles; one might as well turn on the faucet and just leave it running. Boring. The sound of a solid rainfall, on the other hand, is a beautiful, fascinating thing; at once soothing and exciting, something to which I can just as easily fall asleep or stay up listening.

I think I’d buy a recording of nothing but falling rain (or better yet, a storm) if (a) something like that existed (not too surprised if one does), and (b) if I could survive the embarrassing experience of presenting such a thing to the cashier.


By the way: GO KOREA! WOO-HOO!


See also:

By the way, I’ve set up neonepiphany to ping weblogs.com whenever I post an entry here. If you happen to be one of the two readers I have, then perhaps you’ll find that useful (in conjunction with a tracking tool like Dan S’s blogtracker or blo.gs).


Every which way but north

So I was driving to work today and started thinking about maps. As an amusing exercise, and to explain why I was thinking about them, here’s a small peek into my brain’s inner workings.

My train of thought was pretty much spurred by a casual mention from the traffic reporter on the radio that there was a slowdown on I-5 heading into city center (that’s basically what we call “downtown” here; don’t know if it’s a west coast thing but it extends to B.C. too).

That brought to mind the layout of Manhattan, home of what is probably the most famous downtown area in the world. Pretty much anywhere you go on the island, it’s a given that “downtown” and “south” are interchangeable concepts, and likewise for “uptown” and “north.”

Whatever causes this association in the case of NYC, it’s pretty clear from looking at any map that we have an ingrained idea that “north” and “up,” at least in the visual realm, are more or less equivalent. You can come up with any number of logical explanations, including European cultural dominance during the golden age of cartography, or celestial navigation, but that’s not really the point of my story.

Anyways, I’ve decided that what I need to make my life complete (at least for today) is an upside-down world map. Not a normal map turned upside-down, mind you — still want to be able to read all the text. Hopefully, tastefully designed as well (after all, this would be for the living room). Eternal love and kisses to whoever points me in the right direction first!

P.S. The real reason I find this idea fascinating was only obvious after I started picturing upside-down countries in my head. Sure, who cares what an inverted Mongolia would look like, but how about a topsy-turvy Canada licking the bottom of the map with Ellesmere Island? Am I the only one who’s always thought Ellesmere Island looked like an upside-down tongue? Surely reason enough to get a map!
P.P.S. I suppose Italy wouldn’t be so intriguingly boot-like upside-down. At least, not without a tinge of mutant weirdness. On the other hand, the cognitive dissonance when trying to parse “Upper Egypt” and “Lower Egypt” would be history. Huzzah!



Someone got _______!!


Symphony of light


The entire flight back from New York City featured spectacular cloudscapes, but the most fantastic was during the final approach to Seattle. In the rays of the setting sun, the cottony puffs gathering above the city became glorious halos of yellow light surrounding deep violet and grey bodies. I know it was probably a trick of complementary colors, but it was almost the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.

A bit of a tense moment when, as we approached the runway, the plane suddenly veered left and started heading due west. Nervousness mounted for a couple of minutes, until the PA sputtered to life:

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the flight deck. Just to let you know what’s going on: they turned us in way too early to make that landing safely. We’re going to turn around and make the approach again.

Thank you, SeaTac Air Traffic Control.

On the bright side, the change in course allowed a final, glorious glimpse of the top of Mount Rainier poking through layers of coulds awash in orange and pink light. Just above its peak was the enormous full moon. I made a quick sketch of it, perhaps I’ll scan & post it if I get the chance.

Aside from the little ATC snafu, a perfect ending to a wonderful weekend.


Rewrite those trivia questions now.

According to this article in the Guardian, the US congress passed a resolution recognizing Italian immigrant Antonio Meucci as the real inventor of the telephone. I hadn’t heard of this 125-year old dispute before, but if it’s all true, then hooray for congress (and boo to Bell)!

At least the Italians have had something to cheer about lately (even if they’re being sore losers about the whole Ahn thing).

Sore legs, but dodges sterility.

A couple friend-related items:

Last night, I found out that stud was visiting Seattle and had actually been crashing with Klar all weekend. stud’s about 1,000 miles into an approximately 11,000 mile bike trip around the country. You can find all the details, plus photos, at his tour-de-dude Yahoo Group. Of the pix, my favorite (and his as well) is this one, of… Well, you kind of have to see it to get the whole effect. Got to see the machine as well. That’s one tricked-out bike.

I have to say, I’d be dead meat even thinking about making such a trip, but it’s inspiring to see something like this in action. Go stud!

In other news, Vince has set up his new blog, articulate.babble. Not much there yet, but there’s sure to be good stuff there soon.


Passing it along.

A slow day at work means random news items for you! Don’t you feel special?

Tomorrow, Jet arrives from Shanghai. Saturday, a wedding (not mine!). Should mean more interesting adventures to relate.


Sect-change operation

Well, I finally did it. I moved everything over to Movable Type last night, a bigger job than I was expecting. Anyways, not all the kinks are worked out yet, so expect things to change around here a little bit. Also, please let me know if you’re not digging the new comment interface — I’m kind of on the fence about it.



Your dose of extreme weirdness for the day is… Domopers! (thanks starkeymonster)

[note: if you want more insight into what that thing is, here’s an online primer.]


Reunions and unions

Dinner last night was a lovely little crêperie called Bouchée, just opened on Fremont Ave (a block or so north of the bridge), where lish, Klar, Jet and I reminisced and had a little bit too much fun with glo-stick haloes. Everything about the restaurant was adorable; for example, the dijon that accompanied K’s caramelized-onion-and-gruyere dinner crêpe came in a tiny little ceramic stein with a minute wooden spoon for scooping (all of this was about one-inch in scale). The decor, very French, very Moulin Rouge, was supplied by hard-working folks from Annex Theatre.

Helped lish set up her new domain and blog using Movable Type. Leave her a comment, she’s been waiting for this for awhile!

Tomorrow is the wedding of Nonours and Elaine, up in Vancouver. Somehow I was appointed de facto “official” film photographer, so I need to buy some equipment and brush up my technique, which is v. rusty. Hopefully it’ll be sunny tomorrow (today’s not making that look likely). This will be the first time I’ll be going up to Canada since last winter’s misfortune (losing my passport a second time), but here’s hoping everything goes smoothly. B.’s flying in tonight for the occasion; expect good times to be had by all.

By the way, stalking planes is fun!

Toying with the idea of driving to Washington’s coast on Sunday. Possible that with tomorrow’s festivities I’ll be way too worn out for it to be doable, but there’s an unwritten rule that every time Jet visits something insane involving a car has to happen. Past exploits include:

  • A daytrip around the entire Cascade Loop (400 mi), back in time for incoherent bowling.
  • Mount Rainier and Vancouver in the same day.
  • Trip to Portland for pizza.
  • &c., which I can’t remember right now.

We had an aborted attempt yesterday, which ended when Jet fell asleep (still lagged and somewhat on Shanghai time) heading over Snoqualmie Pass. No idea what we would have done east of the mountains anyways, so no big loss.

Whatever happens, I’m sure I’ll have more to report after the wedding. See you then!

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