26 October 2007

holy click power, zimdog

I believe I've entered a fractal of what I once knew as reality. As I often do on October 26, 2007 (in the old spacetime), I was reading up on cat history when I double-clicked the name Driscoll (for no reason other than to see it highlighted all-at-once as a distraction from reading the article on cats). Suddenly, I had a new browser up with information about Driscoll, TX. I suppose the browser takes a guess at the context of the word and gives me some information based on that guess--be it a definition, a potential city name, etc.

In most cases, the response (driven by Answers.com) returned valid information, but not in my virgin experience. Double-clicking "Driscoll" gave me weather information for Driscoll, TX, which is wholely irrelevant to Dr. Driscoll, some scientist guy who compared the DNA of wildcats with that of domesticated cats. In later double-clix-perimentation however, I did get a valid definition for "human" and a brief description of what "Neolithic" implies.

So from now on, I dare you to double-click yourself silly all over the Internerd, cuz you never know what might pop up. It could be expected precipitations for a city you've never heard of.

PS edit- Unpon further consideration, I think it is the New York Times online that offers this research tool--and I have not, in fact, strayed from the reality I've known all this life.

20 October 2007

zimdog's z-word series

I was doin' a little web-surfin' (Whoa, dude. Gnarley virus fast-approaching on my nine, homie!) when I learned of the word "Zemblanity" (linked from Cosmopoetica's 10.16.07 entry; use my link if you wanna know what Zemblanity means, because that's not the word I'm focused on over here at the chew toy.)

Well, it got me thinking about z-words. Having a z-name, I've always been interested in the letter "Z." I mean, I have to be interested. Most of my life I've been at the end of lists and last in lines. Only two people in C.D. East High's Class of 1997 got diplomas after me: V. Zorkic and T. Zoellner.

Oh, woe is me and all that. The point is, z-words are cool az, yo. Here's one I like because it was the final word in the dictionary at my parents' house (a.k.a. the dictionary I used all through public school):

zyzzyva [ziz-uh-vuh] - any of various South American weevils of the genus Zyzzyva, often destructive to plants.

Even Wikipedia's entry on zyzzyva mentions it being the last word in many dictionaries. Also in that entry is a link to a starfish (?) Genus Zyzzyzus, which is an even cooler word--because it sounds like a Dr. Seuss creature.

So the idea is to throw a z-word on the ol' chew toy every once in a while. This entry's z-word is zyzzyva (in case you forgot already, or in case I put you to zzzzzzzzzzz...).

17 October 2007

Birthday day (and the day after)

It began with soul food in Harlem: - southern fried chicken (the best I've ever had) - cornbread stuffing (which I've never had before, but I now consider the best kind of stuffing) - mac & cheese - collard greens.

Then, Emily and I went to MOMA, which was cool. We saw a lot of famous stuff (Van Gogh's Starry Night, for instance). And I got to see some Magrittes.

This was one I saw at the NY MOMA:

This one I saw in August at the MOMA in San Francisco:

I like Rene Magritte because he calls it like it isn't:

Yes, Rene. That's not a pipe--and you haven't been smoking it.

Enough spoonfed art though. On to dinner, which came much later in the day--and was perfect. Yuengling's Lord Chesterfield Ale and massive pizza slices from Koronet:

Alex (the guy hiding underneath his slice of pizza) goes to Columbia, so he knew of a cozy dinner spot where we could enjoy these most delicious treats (that were most detrimental to our health).

To liven ourselves up a bit, we went hiking the next morning. Alex and his wife Alana took us pick-a-nicking at Bear Mountain north of the city.

The whole area was beautiful, and no, we didn't see any bears, which makes me wonder what's in a name? Can the name Bear Mountain really do it justice?

Personally, I feel that Nature's gems need not carry such names--for Nature's beauty by any other name ... is the distant cousin of beauty (or something).

Either that, or it's not really a pipe.

16 October 2007

Daily Show déjà vu

The day after hanging with Jon Stewart & Co., Emily was able to score more tickets for yet another day at The Daily Show. I guess the first experience was no once-and-done miracle (as my last post may have suggested; also, my apologies to God for idolizing a receipt.)

On the way to The Daily Show for day dos, I stopped at Colbert's joint long enough to snap this crappy picture. Check out the white van. That's a whole lotta "ing."

The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are recorded very close to each other. From Colbert's studio, we made a left onto West 54th Street, and in doing so, we could already behold hints of this hideous sight two blocks down:

Emily wanted to go down one block and take a right. I ignored her pleas by getting in line for the Daily Show. Turns out we got there earlier than the day before, which means I got an even lower number than the day before.

I LIYKE!!! Does this make me a loser?


Building on what I'd learned the day before, I brainstormed a question for Jon Stewart. When he first comes out, he takes a few questions from the audience. Well, the second go-round, I wanted to be one of the askers--because the day before, people asked really dumb questions. (No lie ... someone asked Jon his birthday.) Therefore, it was up to me to bring an important question that Jon would respect as an artist, but also as an educated man.

So when he started taking questions, I raised my hand. Unfortunately, he made the mistake of calling on someone behind me. I don't remember her question, but it was probably a bold inquiry about his favorite color.

I wasn't worried though. Day one, not many people asked questions so I thought for sure I'd get my chance. Each time he sought a new question, I raised my hand, and each time I looked more like a pathetic loser for not getting called on. The rub-in lie in God making me sit there and listen to the other attempts at clever inquiry. Eventually, Jon Stewart grew weary of participating in "dumbass time," so he got things rolling. Thus concludes the sad story of how I didn't get to ask my question.

The show was fun that night. Day two's audience had more energy than day one's. Also, John Oliver did a hilarious correspondence report "live" from Dickensian England.

After the show, Emily and I went to the House of Brews (our usual spot after a taping of the Daily Show). Our second night there, 'twas an Oktoberfest special in effect, so we got these two magnum mugs for uber-cheap (by NYC standards) and we gave cheers for another successful day as audience members.

Quite the birthday eve.

Yes? Oh, alright, alright. I'll tell you what my question was for Jon Stewart. While other people's questions were stupid-boring, I was aiming more for stupid-humorous. Personally, I think Jon would've chuckled a bit.

Me: Yes, Jon. I was here yesterday for your interview with Ted Koppel.

Jon: Oh, okay, yes?

Me: Well, during the interview, I realized you had interviewed Ted Koppel several times before, but I was curious about something. Have you ever interviewed Ted Koppel ... on weed?


Me: And two quick follow-ups. What shit was Koppel smokin', and where can I score some?


Good Lord, I'm funny.

03 October 2007

The Daily Show day

Emily checked the Daily Show site for ticket info. Miraculously, tickets became available, so we skipped on our plans to see MOMA. Instead, we had a delicious Italian lunch near the Daily Show studio, and got in line for the best fake news show out there (so far).

Here's me in line with a miracle ticket stuck to my forehead:

After two hours in line, Emily and I took our seats as two of only 239 audience members. A miracle!

Later in the day, we found out why this miracle blessed us. The proof lie at the bottom of our bar tab:

Take a closer look and you'll see that it was the work of jesus (in the humble lower case).

No, thank you, jesus. You're our lord and savior.

Being at a taping of The Daily Show was awesome. The only thing I didn't care for was all the fake behind-the-scenes stuff where they got us pumped up and told us over and over how loud we had to cheer (because the studio was so big, and because Stewart and guests are given a greater share of the overall mic level). They didn't need to tell me though. That show makes me laugh enough at home. You better believe I'm gonna laugh louder when I'm there for a taping.

And this preliminary fakeness was by no means the domineering part of the experience. There were many more reasons it was neat to be at the taping. Numero uno was being privvy to inside jokes that don't make it on the air. For instance, we got to see an error that required some editing by re-entering an in-studio discussion with correspondent Rob Riggle. As Riggle was building toward a punchline, the teleprompter stopped working, forcing him to try "riggling" his way out of the technological difficulties with improv, but to very little avail. Jon Stewart thought it was hilarious, and so did we (the audience). So not only did we get to see the edit, but we also had an inside perspective regarding Ted Koppel's later joke about how the show is edited for mistakes. Yep, Emily and I were in on the inside jokes of news greats Koppel and Stewart. You might even say the two of them are our peeps now.

Other interesting aspects of being at a taping:
- Jon Stewart is shorter than one might think
- fun to see a show with the naughty words not cut out
- Emily noticed Jon Stewart swishes sips of water in his mouth before swallowing them (just like the zimdog!)
- seeing Jon Stewart's reactions to pre-taped segments on the screen; that day it was a John Oliver segment about partisan politics in children's books... hilarious.

John Oliver came out and waved to the audience after the show "went to commercial." Very humble guy; he had barely waved before he got himself back out of the audience's sight.

I will never watch The Daily Show the same way again. 'Twas very much the familiar revisited.

Gone West-siyyde - MONDAY

A quick stop at the SFMOMA. Saw some famous paintings: Frida Kahlo's self-portrait, Jasper John's American flag with 48 stars, a couple of Warhols, and a bunch of other awesome paintings, including one by my personal favorite, Rene Magritte.

The only thing I could snag a pic of was an interactive work called You & Me, Horizontal. It was projected light forms in a dark, fog-filled room.

You could walk all around it and through it, and the light forms drew a gradually-changing sine curve on the wall. Awesome.

From SFMOMA, we went to Alcatraz for a temporary incarceration.

We weren't alone, as masses made the mindless march with us up the hill and through the gates.

Here's us with San Francisco in the background (and one of its lesser known bridges, the Bay Bridge to Oakland on the left):

Here's a solitary cell, where the zimdog probably would've ended up:

Em pulls prison off better than I could--even when she's caught droppin' a deuce.

Here's the extravagant "exercise yard" of Alcatraz:

I call this one "American phallus" in the spirit of the US prison system.

Here I got all artsy-fartsy with the view:

Despite a lot of ugliness, Alcatraz has some beauty as well:

Still, it felt good to get back to the city. When we returned city-side, Emily humored me with a trip to City Lights, a book store famous for the Beat Generation icons that frequented it: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady, Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, et al. I didn't take any pictures of the store, but I did buy a copy of Howl, some Beat poetry classic I've never read that helped make the place famous.


Now I'm back home in Florida, hating the heat and loving the desire to move somewhere like San Fran.

Gone West-siyyde - SUNDAY

Emily put in a quick appearance at APA, so she could present her poster.

We spent the rest of the day hanging out with Leif, Sharilyn, and two of their friends, Aaron and Diane. We had dim sum in town, then cruised an hour south to the wild mountains of La Honda where redwoods abound. We relaxed our gorgeous Sunday away at some cool mountaintop bar called Apple Jacks. No pictures of the establishment, but here's some of the Drunken Battle for La Honda. Aaron's the kung fu kid, and Leif's the brawny brawler.

I like, in this one, how Aaron appears to be pulling Nature's concentrated energy out of the tree. Treeeeeeee!

Gone West-siyyde - SATURDAY

We went briefly to APA, to see Dr. Bandura, the guy on the left:

It's a poor picture, but apparently, he's famous for doing some psychological study with an inflatable Bobo doll. If you want to see what he looks like, Google him, for Christ's sake.

The highlight of the day was a show our friend got us tickets for. Leif (pronounced "life") works for Ticketmaster, and was able to score us some comp tickets for Rock the Bells (a sweet compilation tour goin' round). Here's us in the "Beer Garden" (which was more like a holding pen for beer drinkers).

I guess they had to keep us away from the minors, and so the concert planners thought the best way to do this was to fence us all in together, charge us $8 for plastic cups of Heineken (yuck), and keep us as far away from the port-o-potties as possible. Thanks, concert planners.

From the beer garden, we heard the last few songs in The Roots' set. Public Enemy came on next, playing "Bring the Noise" with the guitarist from Anthrax. Cypress Hill (awesome) followed them, and then Wu-Tang Clan. Finally, Rage Against the Machine was the headliner topping off the evening. And as you can imagine, all I could smell all day was the reefer. Mmmmm. Public reefer.

Gone West-siyyde - FRIDAY

One thing we wanted to do during our stay was a wine tour, so we rented a car and drove north across the Golden Gate.

Funny (not really), but because the Golden Gate is known for its suicides, Emily snapped a quick pic of one of the "Don't Do It!" phones.

We had no intentions of becoming statistics though, so we drove on toward California's wine Mecca. This is the only winery we stopped at in Sonoma...

Later, we wished we'd hung out more in Sonoma. True, there are more Napa wineries and they are closer together than the Sonoma sites, but some of the tasting rooms in Napa are by appointment only (snobby), and seemed less personal somehow.

Also, the road was a fucking mess most of the day. At one point, it took us 30 or so minutes to go a mile.

Because of the traffic, we never made it to the one winery Emily really wanted to see. We still tried some nice wines though. My favorites, for taste and feel, were Milat and Arger-Martucci.

When the tasting rooms started closing for the day, we drove back to San Francisco. Tthe Golden Gate...

...and Alcatraz...

...let us know we had arrived. Before we returned the car though, we had one more thing to do:

After a drive down Lombard Street, we met Leif and his fiancee Sharilyn (our gracious San Fran hosts) for drinks at a bar called Zeitgeist. I highly recommend this place for drinkers visiting San Francisco. If you can't find directions online, e-mail me and I can get you its street intersection.

Gone West-siyyde - THURSDAY

The first day of sight-seeing: Emily and I went to the Palace for the Arts.

At the Palace, there was somethang called the Exploratorium, which is one of those hands-on science education centers. We didn't take many pictures inside, because we were mesmerized by all the fun gadgets and stuff for learning about magnets, electricity, light, sound, etc. Cool shit everywhere. Far too much to explain here. One of my favorites though, for example, were these ear muff things shaped like deer ears so you could hear like a deer. They also had a pair with tubes that redirected sounds from your left side into your right ear and vice versa. Hearing in reverse messes with the brain.

Emily took this picture after a science dude put some of my cheek cells under the microscope at 1000x magnification.

After a pause at the snack bar (which Emily referred to as "the taste exhibit"), I took this picture of a piece of the interior. Everything there was cool.

Really, the only downside was the excess of impatient school kids interrupting while I was trying to use the darned gadgetry. Gosh! Frickin' idiots.

When the Exploratorium closed, we walked across the street to a beach overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Here's the bridge in my sunglass lens (not the broken one), and that's the Exploratorium behind me.

Here's the zimdog with bridge behind, an omen of the day to follow: