Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meet Daisy "Daises With Wolves" McGais

This is Daisy. She is my dog. She would like to smother you in cuteness.

For those that know me, and know me pretty well, this should come as a surprise. Maybe it's because I've been a cat person since I can remember, or maybe it's because I'm a clean freak, or maybe it's because I told my wife I wouldn't get a dog until we got a house. It turns out, it's very difficult to just go "window shopping" for a dog when you get to reach into the window and hold them. So now I have a cute, sweet, fluffy canine that roams around our condo and shreds paper.

Also, she's a very good excuse to take lots and lots of photos.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's inadequate, and I like it!

If you've hung around me any significant length of time, I've probably either corrected you on an incorrect use of words, or I've asked you to clarify an ambiguous statement. For instance, the statement, "That was a cheap shirt!" can mean A) the shirt was inexpensive, B) the shirt was poorly made, or C) both. If I'm thinking about buying the shirt, I want to know if it's A, B, or C.

However, despite my best efforts to ensure people make clear, correct statements, the English language is fundamentally flawed. It is inadequate as a vehicle for perfectly explicit communication. The crazy thing is: I love it. Here's a stupid joke:

A carrot walks into a bar. The bartender says, "We don't serve food here."

This joke is only possible because English, like any language, has words that are allowed multiple meanings. Or how about this terrible joke:

A string walks into a bar. The bartender says "We don't serve strings here." So the string leaves the bar, and goes crazy: convulsing, twisting, and rubbing himself all over the ground. He then walks back into the bar and asks for a drink. The bartender says "Hey, aren't you that string I just told to get lost?" And the string says, "No, I'm a frayed knot."

This joke works because of those annoying little things we learned about in grade school called "homophones."

Our world would be a dull place without our language's pitfalls of ambiguity, even if it means I still don't know if I should buy that cheap shirt or not.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Missing greatest hits

I have a pet peeve. There's little to nothing I can do about it, but it's there. I hate when an artist has multiple "Greatest Hits" albums, but none of them have all of the hits I want. The latest culprit: Alice Cooper.

The three songs I want together are: "School's Out", "Love's A Loaded Gun", and "Poison." After a long time searching, I found 1 double-disc set that had studio versions of all 3 songs. But guess what? It's from an bootleg Russian label! Doesn't exactly feel right buying it, and as it is, there's only one pricey copy available that I can find.

Sure, one might think "maybe he's got so many hits, you can't fit them all on one CD!" And you'd have a good point, if it weren't for the fact that there's a 4-disc set that has lots of his songs I've never heard of, but completely omits "Love's A Loaded Gun," which was even released as a single.

And then you might counter with, "but perhaps that collection was on a different label than the original album, and they couldn't get the rights." Usually a very valid (but annoying) point, but then why are other songs from the same album (specifically, "Hey Stoopid") on the compilation?

If feels stupid to buy two different "best of" albums to get all 3 songs (hello redundancy!), so if I enjoy the rest of his music enough, I'll likely buy the 3 original albums they came on, or I'll sit this one out (la, la, la, I can't hear you, Mr. Digital Downloads).

To note: For the record, I had a similar issue with Salt N Pepa, and I bought all the albums, and it turns out I really liked all of their stuff. Here's hoping I luck out again.

A life update

A lot has happened in my life that I probably could have blogged about in a more timely manner, but I didn't. Therefore, I'm going to do a terrible job of summarizing the last few months in hopes that it will at least let me feel like I can post about new things. Right now, I feel like I can't update until I post about Thanksgiving.

So let's start there. I got to co-host my very first Thanksgiving! D and I decided to start our own traditions. We love themes, and this year's theme was: "Taste Test." We had two of nearly everything. Two main dishes (traditional turkey VS tofu), two cranberry sauces, two pies, etc. It was great. Next year? Who knows! Maybe my sister will host it in NYC?

Next up, I went on my first cruise. 8 days in the Caribbean! Seriously amazing. I had a great time getting to see a part of the world I've never been near. Just me and my girlfriend's entire family.

That reminds me, I also got myself engaged. The girlfriend in the previous paragraph? Now she's my fiancee! Honestly, I never realized just how crazy our courting rituals are until I had to propose. The whole ordeal was fun, scary, and completely nuts. But in the end, every bit of nerves, and every penny spent, was all completely worth it. I love you, D.

Now I get to plan for a wedding.

I know I've left out a lot, and I'm a little sorry I did, but less sorry than trying to write 6 post-dated blog posts, or never starting this blog back up. Thanks for playing catch-up with me. See you next post.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The fine art of calligraphy

I've always enjoyed typography. It's been something I've been enamored with since I was a teen. There's something about the order placed on the chaotic curves and strokes of our alphabet that I find attractive.

Recently, I took a beginner's calligraphy course. Although it's admittedly tedious work, I don't know the last time I enjoyed a class this much! Getting to not only learn the strokes, but being able to actually create beautiful letter-forms on my own was truly exciting! My years of looking at typefaces and trying to eke out what pen strokes were needed to create it were finally validated. I got to see first-hand how it all worked together.

The knowledge I've gained has inspired me to work harder on my lettering and learn new scripts and, of course, share this joy with others (get ready for fancy birthday cards, everybody!).

There are few better feelings than the feeling of learning about something you love. I would highly recommend finding a community education course that excites you. You never know what sort of wonderful experiences you might have.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

"Oh that's what he meant! Stars above!"

Last night Debra and I took a rambling road trip up north to try to see The Perseids. After about 45 minutes of trying to find nowhere, I finally pulled off onto the side roads and found a nice dirt driveway to park in. We only spotted two meteors, but there was just so much more to the evening than flaming bits of rock.

In my effort to find a dark location relatively close to downtown, I started taking a critical look at what is known as "light pollution." Sure, I'd seen abnormally bright patches of night sky near sports fields before, and I understand what light pollution is, but it's never really seemed like problem. However, attempting to really see all that can be seen in the night sky suddenly becomes a problem when every couple of miles there's another town, another overly-bright gas station, more billboards, more and more civilization. Making the trip really gave me a reason to appreciate the stars we did manage to see.

And what seeing we did. Even knowing that there was so much to the sky that we were missing, there's something really magical about all the little points of light hanging up there in the blue-black sky. It's easy to get lost in the stars just taking a peek upwards. Staring off into the depths of space is something most city dwellers, and even most suburb dwellers don't get to do very often.

I encourage everyone to go out and appreciate the vast wonders of our night sky. You might suddenly feel a little connection to the grand stories from eons ago. I know I did.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Striking a busy balance

For a long time, I've wanted to have a schedule that was filled with fun things to do. I always envied people who seemed to know all these exciting people, and had exciting events to go to.

Recently, I've become (to a certain, nerdy degree) one of those people. I've got a great group of friends, and I'm keeping myself involved in the local art community. I love going to gallery openings and trying new restaurants with friends. It's pretty much all it's cracked up to be.

Until, like the mighty bamboo, things start overgrowing the boundaries of my calendar. Suddenly, I've got a friend's birthday, and a trip, and an event, and it's all at the same time. And being able to plan a weekend? I'm booked for months.

I know a balance must be struck, but I enjoy all the individual events. What is a busy boy to do?

I call upon the blagonet! Tell me, what do you do when life gets too exciting to do everything?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I keep forgetting I'm living in the future

I love to keep up with tech news, and one of the most exciting things about it is reading all of the up-coming release dates for fun, new products. However, recently I've been finding that the release dates seem very far off in the future. Years off. And then I realize that the year 2010 is next year. Heck, it's only a few months away.

I think I need a sign at the foot of my bed that tells me I'm living in the future, so every morning I'll remember.