Friday, August 29, 2003

Mars Needs Women

Oddly enough, as it happens, I live within walking distance of one of the most powerful telescopes in the midwest. It's at Holcomb Observatory at Butler University, and it's a 38" monster. Now, knowing that Mars is presently zinging past the earth at a distance of mere millions of miles, I figured that now was the time to take advantage of Holcomb and go have a peek through the telescope. Figured I'd head over there Wednesday night, catch the 9 pm planet'arium show and then check out Mars.

Only, when I reached Butler campus and wandered around the Lily music hall toward the Observatory, what did I see but about 500 people standing in line outside the building? The line went all the way down the hill where the Observatory is perched, and part way around the long cement sidewalk that loops below it. Good god, thought I. I could just come back another night.... OR I could stand in line for 2 whole hours to get a look through the scope. Which is what I did, of course. I swear, it was like being at a Dead show--all these folks milling around, kids taking turns rolling down the hill in the grass, people shouting out entertaining Mars facts to one another.... A bunch of dudes from the Astrophysics Dept. there had set up smaller telesecopes on the lawn, and you could go kill some time looking through those while you waited. It was just plain fun, and I didn't mind the standing. (At least til the backache hit, about 18 hours later.) Finally, though, I got into the Observatory, climbed the 3 flights of stairs to the room with the view... And saw it. Mars, triumphant. Polar Ice Caps and all. I'd imagined it showing a little more color, it was pretty much just bright greyish with a faint orange tint. But it was still cool...

And to Sarah, whose attempt to see Mars at the Adler in Chicago was a tragic comedy of errors, I have only these words of sympathy: BWAAA-HAAAAA!!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Gaahhh! It's Got Me!!!

OK, Sitemeter is totally, horribly fascinating in an obsessively self-involved way. Not only does it guilt me into thinking about more frequent posts (a thing which Jeremy has been trying to do for months, without success) but I'm captivated by the occasional totally random visitor to my site. This morning, someone did a google search for the phrase "Ninja Hedge." Cautionary Tale is the FIRST SITE to come up on Google when you search for ninja hedge! Can you believe it? You'd think Ben Edlund would have gobbled up back in the early 90's....

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Thank God the Tiki Bar Was Open...

Musically, it’s been a great week! Non-musically, only so-so. But that’s not the point. Point is, I got to go to a fantastic concert on Saturday night, for only $15. John Hiatt is one of my all-time favorite artists; I’m usually frustrated when he comes to town because his concerts sell out so fast. Anyone who’s ever looked at my CD collection knows I have pretty shallow and eclectic taste in music--II have a lot of different stuff, but seldom more than one or two albums per artist. There are exceptions, of course, and one of them is John Hiatt. He’s from Indianapolis, he’s got a quirky sense of humor and his stuff rides the rail between country (which I hate) and blues rock. He’s written a lot of stuff that other people cover, though I find I usually prefer his original versions anyway. So John was playing this charity blues street festival this weekend, along with Johnny A., who’s also pretty freakin’ amazing if you love the blues. It was a “bring your own chair” event, to which of course I failed to bring a chair. The street was packed for a full block with people who DID bring a chair, and I ended up spending the concert standing in a doorway on Mass. Ave, about 50 feet from the stage, with a great view and great sound. John Hiatt’s set was 2 hours of acoustic solo material, and it was the best $15 I could possibly have spent. Sometimes you get the blues.... and sometimes you just need the blues. I needed some blues in my life, and Saturday delivered for me.

THEN, last night, I finally finally finally got to hear my friend Steve’s band, The Bishops, playing at a local bar. It’s been my curse for months that I either don’t know when Steve’s got a gig until after it happens, or I find out and there’s no way I can go. At last, another dream fulfilled. Steve’s a fantastic guitarist, and once they got the sound mixed so you could actually hear him over the relentless rythym guitar, they sounded pretty good! It’s a cover band; I still aspire to hear his other band, who do original music. But that’ll have to wait, they don’t get gigs as often as the cover band (naturally.) And tomorrow, I’ll have the pleasure of hearing my friend Emily in concert for the first time. She does original stuff, solo acoustic at the moment; reminds me a bit of Indigo Girls style sound, and she’s quite good. I’d link you to her website, but she doesn’t have one at the moment. But if you like that sort of music and want to give her a try, let me know! Her CD’s $10, pretty reasonable really.

And finally, I signed up for the iTunes Store on! The future of music on the internet, legal downloads for $1 apiece. Hell, that’s not so bad, considering the quality of the dl is guaranteed, I don’t have to worry about someone disconnecting while I’m shopping their stuff, and I won’t be prosecuted for doing it. Pirate ship is in drydock, all hail iTunes.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Who Are These Wackos, Anyway?

I've added Sitemeter to my blog. (At least, I think I have.) Either the results will depress me, or will inspire me to post more often. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Hmm, What an Odd Aftertaste....

I finally, FINALLY went out to my garden today to see how bad things had gotten. The answer, of course, was bad. Bad like my cucumber plant had utterly disappeared, dying a lonely death beneath the weeds; bad like my bush beans had been completely decimated by the japanese beetles; bad like my tomato plants had produced so many huge, succulently ripe tomatoes that they had bent their tomato cages beneath their weight and had toppled over into the neighbor's plot in one solid viney mass. Bad like all my basil was flowering. For basil to flourish, you have to pinch off the flowers so that the plant will divert its energy into making more and bigger leaves (so it can make more flowers for you to pinch off. It's cruel, I know.) Bigger leaves means more pesto. So I ignored the weeds and the beans, picked the tomatoes, and then started pinching the flowers off the basil. About halfway around the first plant I found a flower that didn't match; thought to myself, sayyyy.... that's not basil. That's deadly nightshade.

Yep. Nightshade is a fairly common weed in this parts, so it's not too unreasonable it's in my garden--but pretty disconcerting that it's growing right next to my basil. While the flowers and little berries are quite distinctive, the leaf is not entirely unlike lemon basil in both size and shape... And while deadly nightshade isn't really deadly, at least for a healthy adult human, it still probably wouldn't be a great idea to get it mixed in with the pesto. Looks like I've got some more weeding to do...sigh....

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Iwantone Iwantone Iwantone!!

It's "Shark Week" on Discovery, so naturally I had to flip past it while vegging out this evening. Two words, folks: CHUM CANNON. Yes. It's a cannon that fires a mass of fish blood and guts into the water to attract sharks for filming purposes. A cannon! That shoots chum!!!!

I can think of so many uses for this. Most of them involve cruising the strip, firing chum at unsuspecting pedestrians. Think about it! It'd be just like "Carrie"! Only more mobile! Wow.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Unemployment, here I come.

All good things come to an end, and so it is with my job at the Indianapolis Zoo. This is my final week of digging in the dirt, and I have to say I'm going to miss it. I'll miss the people, I'll miss being outdoors all day... and, of course, I'll miss the paycheck. Not that it was a huge paycheck, I've still been surviving with the kind and generous assistance of my parents this summer--but it was something! And it was the first real paycheck I'd had in nearly a year when I started this job in May. Working 40 hours a week after a year of total inactivity was a bit of a shock; waking up at 5:30 to be at work on time at 7 was even more of a shock. But it was a good sort of shock, and it helped counteract the creeping edge of depression that comes from feeling that no one wants to hire you. I know I'm not a worthless pile (unless you're asking Jason, in which case I am a worthless pile) and I know there are lots of jobs out there which I could do with grace, skill, and aplomb. Knowing that is all well and good--but having it confirmed by someone who actually calls you up and says, "We want you, will you take the job?" is something else entirely. Thanks, Indianapolis Zoo, for helping me get my groove back.

So I start back to school next week, and I've got my old job in the Museum Studies office, assuming that my work study gets approved again. I just applied for a job at the Indiana State Museum, and we'll see what comes of that. Hopefully I can keep my momentum going.

And now I've got time to think about my own yard again! I'm contemplating burning bush and bayberry to replace the honeysuckle which forms a crappy-looking privacy hedge along the front of my property. Or maybe a ninja hedge, like in the Tick comic book of yore! I bet I could pick up some surplus ninjas cheap at Lowe's! hedge....