Friday, December 30, 2005

Researcher: iPod earbuds could damage hearing

From this Reuters' story that I saw on this morning: "The ever-popular earbuds used with many iPods and other MP3 players may be more stylish than the bigger and bulkier earmuff-type headphones, but they may also be more damaging to one's hearing, according to a Northwestern professor."

I've always hated the earbud. I never have been able to keep those in my ear well. They always fall out. That's a great frustration I have with iPods. You pay top price for these beauties but then they ship 'em with these cruddy earbuds rather than proper headphones like Starsky's (here at the left).

Apple should ship iPods with noise-canceling headphones of some sort lest iPod enthusiasts should end up like Pete Townshend. This is a post from his website's diary section yesterday explaining his hearing loss & his concerns for the future what with the popularity of iPods, MP3 players, etc. He observes that, "we use earphones at almost every stage of interaction with sound." And it's really slowing him down in the studio working on new material for the next Who project.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Holiday Greetings!

I meant to get these photos up from the Major League Soccer Championship 2005 that I went to with my close friends, Ben, Brandon & Bryan way back in November. But I'm kind of glad that I procrastinated until the holidays. Firstly because I discovered BubbleShare - a worthy challenger to the Flickr Photo Upload & Share phenomenon. It allows for a set of photos to be uploaded easily & quickly without any account info hassles. Even cooler though, you can post your photos with 30-second Audio Captions. What a wonderful thing! I highly recommend you give it a shot (no pun intended). They make posting a set on your blog a cinch as well. I love it.

The holidays are a wonderful/dreadful time. Wonderful in that you get to see people you haven't seen in forever & catch up. Dreadful because you realize just how infrequently you get to see them otherwise. The wife & I have this week between Xmas & New Years' Eve off & it's terrific. But it's been so long since we had any time off that it's a bit overwhelming when you think of all the things that you need to get around to doing in these few days (not to mention the things that you'd like to get to do as well!).

What's everyone doing for New Years' Eve?

Friday, December 09, 2005


Banksy is an English graffiti artist that I read about first in Wired Magazine & then later on in Esquire Magazine. On the whole, graffiti is a nuisance to the public's common interest- but if there should be any in your town, I hope it's as clever & artsy as this. And I hope Banksy inspires your local graffitizen to artistic accomplishment & to work with stencils rather than ego-marking a common wall with some indecipherable squiggle.

Have a look at some of his work. It's impressive. (Banksy - how about hawking some t-shirts from your webpage?)

The Deep Ellum Tunnel comes to mind when I think of some good local graffiti here in Dallas. But that's going away soon apparently. Shame really - hope they find a way to keep some of this homegrown charm in the future Deep Ellum. But I suppose that's the least of Deep Ellum's worries these days.

Anything You Ever Wanted to Know

With the recent passing of Dallas radio presence, Glenn Mitchell, I was reminded this morning on the way into work of his Friday talk shows on KERA 90.1FM. Anything You Ever Wanted to Know shouldn't have been nearly as fun as it was. And that's a testament to Glenn Mitchell's talent as a talk show host & also to his intelligent listenership. Many of you will agree with me when I call what Glenn Mitchell meant to Dallas - he was like a Public Utility. I will miss him terribly. I'm glad to see that KERA is moving forward with his legacy intact.

Here's a nice report from his memorial service from the Dallas Morning News. KERA 90.1 also has posted the audio of the memorial as a podcast here.

Monday, October 31, 2005

The Edge

The Edge
Originally uploaded by ultraviolet1975.
Nothing like a Saturday night concert to welcome U2 back to Dallas. The Dallas Vertigo Tour stop was their 2nd consecutive evening & final stop through Texas. Here's a nice shot of Edge strutting along a plank. (A very nice photo set of the show from the GA section posted on flickr by Crystal from Arlington - thanks, Crystal.)

The setlist offered something for everyone - from new fans to cranky, old fans that long to stay anchored somewhere in 1982. The photo here is of Edge struttin' his stuff (maybe during "Electric Co."?) on the ellipsis stage plank- U2's contribution to arena-rock advancement & evolution. At any given time during the concert - you could be front-row center for the moment of the show. The show displayed a combination of soul, musicianship, sonic power & energy. During "Vertigo", Bono channeled the Ramones & it appeared that somewhere along the elliptical catwalk he stumbled on a live-wire as he belted notes from Patti Smith's "Rock & Roll Nigger" a moment doused in electricity. (Hadn't heard that song since the seventies & was racking my memory to remember the artist!) A highlight early in the show - "Miracle Drug" from the new album How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb . It felt then & there like the band managed to make this basketball & hockey arena lift off the ground & soar. Edge sang a verse all by himself! He's got a fantastic voice, that one.

Bono recalled U2's first stop here in Dallas 25 years ago and thanked the fans for giving them the privileged life they have (very kind of him to say). We were situated in section 124 row W behind the stage. (I think you can make us out a little to the left of Larry Mullen Jr. in one of the Flickr photos.) The rear-of-the-stage vantage point allowed a chance to see Adam Clayton & Larry anchor the band - but they also strutted out a couple of times (albeit a bit tentatively) on the elliptical stage ramp. It must be weird for a drummer to amble out there off his seat into the audience - off the safety of his little drumkit and feel what it's like for the lead singer out there. That's when it occurred to me that I'd never really witnessed anything like that - at a number of points in the show, the band members were equally spread out on the arena floor- rocking the house, yes, but also shrinking the arena considerably from the vantage point of the fans - quite the little magic trick upon reflection - 4 points holding together the music from 50+ yards away of each other. Brilliant!

They played "Miss Sarajevo" & Bono sang Luciano Pavarotti's Italian part beautifully (this, by the way, might be the only way I like to experience opera - in short , minute-long quotations in the middle of a 2+ hour rock show.) But it goes to point out that these guys really do walk the plank - opera during a rock show?! "Dici che il fiume trova la via al mare..." And during "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" - he again stepped out on the vocal high-wire - "Can you hear me when I SING, you're the reason I sing, you're the reason why the opera is in me." These moments were exhilarating in the musical sense, but you're also thinking performance-wise - gosh, if he doesn't hit that note - he's screwed. Yes - he hits the note - but you're breathless until he does so successfully because it's a very steep precipice from which to jump. And yes - we ate it up - just like the pasta that Bono said he'd been at!

Other highlights - the kid they pulled up onstage to play guitar with them during "Angel of Harlem". The show is so carefully orchestrated technically that it was really something to see this kid so nonchalantly get up with them & play & not be completely petrified. We were all up there with him.

Also - we got to kick the soccer ball around outside in the AAC parking lot before & after the show. That was way more fun than it should have been considering it was on concrete & while cars are entering and exiting hastily. But it was a great way to channel some of the pre & post-show energy on a beautiful late-October night in North Texas. (Apologies to the guy with the fancy white Lexus next to us. The dent should pop right out.)

Can't wait to hear what everyone else thought of the concert.

Friday, October 28, 2005

U2's DFW Appearances Listed

Credit George Gimarc & Thor Christensen of the Dallas Morning News for putting together a really nice little retrospective of U2's concert appearances in Dallas. It reminded me of a high school tennis team teammate who said that the Alarm stayed with his family when they came through town (this is Fall 1984). "How cool that the Alarm stayed at your house!" (I remember now as I made that remark, I made a mental note to myself to familiarize myself with the Alarm - as I had no clue as to who they were. Does anyone else remember how back in the 80's, the verdict was still out as to who was a bigger live act- the Alarm or U2?)

Search for U2 & you get 3 query pages worth of U2-related videos submitted by the general public. It's fun to check out the beginning of their Boston show from the perspective of Kate Krackenberger's cell phone camera. You can really taste the excitement in the crowd at the beginning of the show.

Feel free here to share your U2 Dallas moments with everyone.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dallas: U2 Week Begins!

Hello Hello

6 days till the Dallas U2 show. I have to admit - I've not had it in the forefront of my mind. My pals Mo & Mo were going on & on about it the past few days & that made me perk up a bit. Took a peek at the calendar & noticed that my hype-level was woefully underpowered.

So - a quick perusal of my music feeds found this Rolling Stone interview.

Put that in your podcast oven & light 'er up. It's an hour + interview with Bono in the tradition of the classic Rolling Stone interview - the kind I used to read in my high school library - with 5 other guys hovering around looking at me to eagerly finish digestion & pass on the mag to them. (And there were plenty of times when I was of the ones floating around waiting for another dude to finish reading the latest Rolling Stone).

Thursday, June 30, 2005

FC Dallas vs. Chivas USA

This is a collage of photos taken at the June 22nd FC Dallas/Chivas USA match. This was the penultimate match for FC Dallas on the 1994 World Cup pitch of the Cotton Bowl. Bryan, Brandon & Rupert invited me to join them for the occasion. I caught up with them in Section 8 at halftime. Bryan's left for a wedding in Spain this week. So cheers to him & his sister Lynne, brother-in-law Fran, nephew Daniel! We miss you a lot!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Which would you rather fly? Posted by Hello

Your Own Personal Zeppelin

60 Minutes' story on "Flying Cars Ready To Take Off" had a nice PopSci feel to it. But upon reflection, I've had some concerns. Specifically - there was no Danny Deckchair flight of whimsy. Don't get me wrong - the featured inventors are dauntless Field of Dreams types. But the whole transit-made-easy perspective of it fails to inspire me. The flying cars all looked like the noisy helicopters we've lived with for decades now. I've mentioned my complete lack of scientific ability in the previous post, but if I were to fly my own vehicle - I'd like it to hover more effortlessly - say, like a blimp. I'll let the engineers deal with the details like lift, wind shear, & thunderstorms. But before I go flying my own chopper to Tulsa, I'd like the SkYacht folks to create that - a fun personal blimp. That way we could take it out to the park on a pretty spring day & fly like a kite for spell. That should be the way we start - nice & easy. I'm not talking a "Sunshine on my Shoulders" glider either. That's entirely too daring for the rest of us. As they quote on the home page of the Personal Blimp folks, "In an airship, one does not fly, one does not drive, instead one travels in a most beautiful kind of way that gives meaning to the word journey." -- Hugo Eckener

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Skype Call from Scotland, Space Physics & Political Economy - The World is Flat

Happy Birthday, Bryan! Glad to see your team in the finals against Man U for the FA Cup.

My Scottish pal Darren called me using Skype today. The audio fidelity is fantastic - way better than a typical phone call and no transatlantic echo either. And it's FREE. I felt a tad bit like a baseball announcer using the Plantronics PC microphone that I had picked up at Fry's. But it worked splendidly. He also used his WebCam to send live video from his flat in Edinburgh. (I need to buy a WebCam next!)

Went to Houston with the wifey-poo for a friend's mother's funeral. It was a really nice service. The Klein Funeral Homes & Memorial Parks did a fine job. We learned about the origins of "Amazing Grace". The cemetery where she was put to rest is beautiful - a very woodsy area with lots of wind chimes on tree branches. The breeze was just right to get a very nice blend of chimes during the service - very peaceful. The spiritual nature of the occasion was blunted somewhat by the speeding ticket I was dealt on I-45 by Officer Simmons of the Fairfield, TX Police Dept. (85mph in a 70mph speed limit zone). Consider that my contribution to the economic development of rural Texas. (I needed to brush up on my Defensive Driving anyway.)

Last night we went to my friend Tom's biannual BBQ for his international students (ESL). I always enjoy the opportunity to meet these bright young minds from countries like China, Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea & Peru. Tom had his Ping-Pong table set up & I got to play the Peruvian Space Physicist (wicked backhand) & the Chinese champ - Wei Lin (the Korean Political Economist kept score!). I lost on both occasions - but with great flair. Tom insisted that the winners sing their countries' national anthems. But we never got around to that. After all, there were some dominoes to be played!

We enjoyed talking to the Chinese students about the recent & ongoing Chinese demonstrations against the Japanese. Unfortunately there were no Japanese students present to spice things up a bit. But BBQ & international incidents don't mix well. The Thai guy brought some Leechy fruits to settle things down a bit.

The wife & I enjoyed speaking with the Peruvian Space Physicist about the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the troposphere, the thermosphere & the exosphere. My complete lack of understanding about the basics of physics didn't stop me from asking about the Hubble Space Telescope. He explained how they would take measurements of the space in the area of the telescope to detect the amount of electrons, the solar waves & magnetic activity. I can't believe he dignified my inquiry with such a detailed response. (Fr. Deeves gave me a D in Physics back in High School.)

It was a very interesting evening. And the Korean Political Economist gave the Peruvian Ping-Pong champ a ride to Club Babalu in Uptown.

This afternoon I got to take advantage of Borders' Bookstore's annual Educator's Discount weekend. I bought the Sneakers DVD & my first audio book - Thomas Friedman's The World is Flat. My brother was going to borrow the book, but this way we can just burn him copies of the cd's & give a set to Dad too.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Spring Cleaning 2005 - Found this artist at an eclectic little shop in Salado, TX a month ago. The wifey-poo & I bought this big Indonesian Flying Frog. The artist's work can be found at I like the sentiment here as the weather warms & people give their dwellings a thorough clean. Here's to "clearing room to dream".  Posted by Hello

Free Mac Mini

I am still trying to put together enough confirmed offers for a Mac Mini. To help me get my Mini Mac & to get you started on getting your own, click this link to join, or copy and paste it into a browser:

If you can't, no biggie. I've got 3 completed offers already & I just
need 7 more.

All you have to do is join, complete an online offer (Blockbuster
Online, USA Today, Wall St. Journal, or some of the others listed),
and, if you wish to get your own Mac, refer friends to do the same.

Here's how the Gratis Network explains it: "Once you have enough
referrals who have joined and completed an offer via your referral
link, and you have completed an offer as well, you will be able to
order your FREE Mini Mac. Make sure to tell everyone you know, but
make sure they join via YOUR REFERRAL LINK. No credit will be given
unless they click through that link and fully sign up. That's the way
we track users, and make sure you get proper credit for your
referrals. You can click "Refer Friends" and send them an email from
our site, or post your referral link online."

For more info, see Kevin Rose's blog:

Stumbled upon the Led Zeppelin page & was pleased to see the neat flash shows with zeppelins. The "News" page reported on Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton & Brian May meeting Queen Elizabeth for a royal tribute to the music industry. Having noticed that she didn't recognize any of the reknowned guitarists, "Guitar god Eric Clapton took no chances and, firmly shaking her hand, introduced himself by name. "Have you been playing a long time?" the queen asked. "It must be 45 years now," replied Clapton, 59."
Posted by Hello

Thursday, January 27, 2005

"A wombat gets a tummy rub." My pal Tom told me there was an interruption of tennis play this year at the Australian Open when a wombat wandered onto the court. If someone can find a photo of this interruption - please let me know. Posted by Hello

Saw this amazing movie with Jen last week. "Riding Giants" - highly recommended. Posted by Hello

Help me get a Mac Mini with this promotion. Use this link to complete an offer & that will also get you started on your way to getting your own free Mac Mini: Posted by Hello

Don Quijote Praying - Thanks, Bryan!

The 400th anniversary of Don Quixote Posted by Hello