I got an email from a friend I haven't seen in ages telling me that he'll be in town this weekend (!!) to film a video and mini-documentary for Portland band talkdemonic. They're playing Neumos on Friday with Feral Children and Sleepy Eyes of Death (CD Release Party) as well as live on KEXP Saturday (8PM).
Mike, Shawn, Joel and Miki started a band called Absolute Monarchs about a year ago and they're starting to see their hard work pay off. They put out a 4 song EP a couple of months ago and it's become part of the regular rotation on KEXP.
I'm glad I made the trek to work today. I saw so much fun being had (not by the bus drivers, but by all of the kids out of school today!). Snowmen being built, sledding and snowboarding down hills, playing with dogs, and snowball fights. If I'd stayed in, I would have missed it all.
The famed six-toed cats at Ernest Hemingway's home in Key West, Fla., aren't going anywhere. The Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum announced Thursday it reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture government after five years that lets the 50 or so cats continue roaming the grounds. The department had threatened to fine the museum $200 per day per cat -- about $10,000 -- saying it didn't have the proper license and couldn't qualify for one, primarily because the animals weren't enclosed. The museum has installed a fence to keep the animals on the 1-acre property.
I went to California to visit one of my dearest friends this weekend. We took a day trip to the South shore of Lake Tahoe. After a cruise around the lake, we made our way down the beach for dinner. Along the way, I saw this scene unfolding and decided to snap a couple of pictures.
I'll post more photos when I can combine mine with the ones Kim took and select the best. In the meantime, enjoy this series.
July 30 is National Cheesecake Day. You might not care, except for this: To celebrate, Cheesecake Factory is selling slices of the rich, creamy dessert for only $1.50 a slice. That's less than a latte.
Apparently, lots of people dig it. "Cheesecake Factory" is currently the most searched-for term on Google.
For those unfamiliar with the restaurant chains prices, they usually go for about $6. So yes - it's a bargain. It's also what customers first paid per slice when the restaurant opened in 1978.
Littles is quite playful in the morning. I don't often have my computer bag on the bed, but had just finished reorganizing the contents this morning when she took over; using it as her hunting pedestal. I'd just taken my phone out so I could snap some photos...
June 16 , 2008: Sometimes you just can't believe your eyes. This week is one of those times.
On Wednesday night, June 18th, step outside at sunset and look around. You'll see a giant form rising in the east. At first glance it looks like the full Moon. It has craters and seas and the face of a man, but this "moon" is strangely inflated. It's huge!
You've just experienced the Moon Illusion.
Above: The full Moon beams through trees in Manchester, Maryland. Credit: Edmund E. Kasaitis. Copyright 2008; all rights reserved.
There's no better time to see it. The full Moon of June 18th is a "solstice moon", coming only two days before the beginning of northern summer. This is significant because the sun and full Moon are like kids on a see-saw; when one is high, the other is low. This week's high solstice sun gives us a low, horizon-hugging Moon and a strong Moon Illusion.
Sky watchers have known for thousands of years that low-hanging moons look unnaturally big. At first, astronomers thought the atmosphere must be magnifying the Moon near the horizon, but cameras showed that is not the case. Moons on film are the same size regardless of elevation: example. Apparently, only human beings see giant moons.
Are we crazy?
After all these years, scientists still aren't sure. When you look at the Moon, rays of moonlight converge and form an image about 0.15 mm wide on the retina in the back of your eye. High moons and low moons make the same sized spot, yet the brain insists one is bigger than the other. Go figure.
A similar illusion was discovered in 1913 by Mario Ponzo, who drew two identical bars across a pair of converging lines, like the railroad tracks pictured right. The upper yellow bar looks wider because it spans a greater apparent distance between the rails. This is the "Ponzo Illusion."
Right: The Ponzo Illusion. Image credit: Dr. Tony Phillips. [More]
Some researchers believe that the Moon Illusion is Ponzo's Illusion, with trees and houses playing the role of Ponzo's converging lines. Foreground objects trick your brain into thinking the Moon is bigger than it really is.
But there's a problem: Airline pilots flying at very high altitudes sometimes experience the Moon Illusion without any objects in the foreground. What tricks their eyes?
Maybe it's the shape of the sky. Humans perceive the sky as a flattened dome, with the zenith nearby and the horizon far away. It makes sense; birds flying overhead are closer than birds on the horizon. When the moon is near the horizon, your brain, trained by watching birds (and clouds and airplanes), miscalculates the Moon's true distance and size.
There are other explanations, too. It doesn't matter which is correct, though, if all you want to do is see a big beautiful Moon. The best time to look is around moonrise, when the Moon is peeking through trees and houses or over mountain ridges. The table below (scroll down) lists rise times for selected US cities.
A fun activity: Look at the Moon directly and then through a narrow opening of some kind. For example, 'pinch' the moon between your thumb and forefinger or view it through a cardboard tube, which hides the foreground terrain. Can you make the optical illusion vanish?
Stop that! You won't want to miss the Moon Illusion.
The Dirtbombs stopped in Seattle on a lengthy tour promoting their new release We Have You Surrounded. I don't normally get out that late on a weeknight anymore, but I had such a good time the last time I saw them that I didn't want to miss it! After a late but delicious dinner at the Fiddler Inn up in Wedgewood we made our way back to Capitol Hill and eventually to Neumo's in time for their 11:30PM set. The two drummers and two bass players (one referred to as 'fuzzy bass') with Mick Collins on guitar and vocals set up is a powerful mix! Dirtbombs have a loyal following. Their minions were out in force and the showroom was comfortably crowded. They sounded great and kept the crowd dancing and moving the entire time. Well worth the lack of sleep on a weeknight!
I received this text message from Delores last night at 10:35 in reference to Robin Williams. She works as hostess at La Spiga; he came in for dinner after performing his third (and final) sold-out night at the Showbox at the Market. Billed as "Robin Williams - Working on Material", I assume Robin came to Seattle to prepare for his upcoming show in Las Vegas (MGM Grand 5/25).
The Showbox is typically a music venue with room for 1,100 standing. Mike and I caught the first performance on Sunday night. They transformed the place into dinner theater-style with small round tables all over the main floor and nice, tall barstools along all of the leaning areas around the perimeter of the showroom and in the bars. Capacity was probably around 500 and made for an intimate setting for some gut wrenching belly laughs. We found two stools tucked near the sound board with a perfect view of the stage.
Robin performed for an hour and forty minutes before a 10-12 minute encore. I haven't laughed that hard for that long in recent memory. I grew up hearing Robin Williams entertain my parents (specifically the infamous "Live at the Met" from '86 on cassette) and I've kept up with his stand up material ever since. He certainly did not disappoint. He covered everything from the usual crutches of alcohol & drugs, sex, politics, hollywood and some local humor.
When we heard about his dinner plans last night, we considered stopping in to force a face-to-face encounter but ultimately thought better of it. I didn't want to make an ass of myself in front of one of the funniest men alive, so Delores came down the street and met us for a drink while Robin and his entourage dined on Northeast Italian Cuisine.