Archive for March, 2009

worst game ever?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

Probably not, but tetris in HD just isn’t as much fun as the real thing. It’s kind of hypnotic though.

youtube music

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

My brother David sent me this a couple of days ago, and it’s fantastic. It’s by someone (who I would guess has plenty time on his hands) who took samples from YouTube videos and mashed them up into really decent songs. The whole collection can be found at thru-you.com, and there’s some background info at mashable.com. I just think it’s a wonderful testament to the creativity of humans – the people in the videos, the guy who did the mixing, and the technology behind it. Here’s one of the songs – enjoy:

sexy people

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

I’m not sure I’m 100% comfortable with the ethics of the sexy people blog – it’s a list of portraits which probably seemed like a good idea at the time. I think that a lot of them were sent in by the subjects of the photos, but some of them are just plain strange. Scrolling through the archives, I think that this page gave me the most laughs.

the ‘news’

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I tend to take a look at the BBC news pages every day or so, but over the last few months they’ve been getting really annoying, mostly because of the extreme over-use of quotation marks. Here’s an ‘example’ from today:

Quotation marks on the BBC

Quotation marks on the BBC

See what I mean? And most of the time, there’s absolutely no need for them – it’s not like they’re direct quotes. Anyone have any ideas why they seem to feel the ‘need’ to do this? If you read the ‘blog’ of ‘unnecessary’ quotation marks, you’ll see their idea that unnecessary quotes often make words look really sarcastic, and if you read the BBC’s ‘headlines’ that way, it does sound a bit more amusing.

ten glorious years

Friday, March 6th, 2009

Today it’s ten years since I arrived in these United States (specifically, this particular one – the Great State of Minnesota (whenever politicians refer to a state, it’s always a “great state”)).

I can’t quite believe I’ve been here this long, but I’m pretty happy about it. When I got on the plane in 1999 I had never been to America before, and to be honest I’m not sure what I was thinking apart from that it would be something of an adventure, and it would be good for me to see if I could do it – live in a different country. It was quite a culture shock when I arrived – much more than I expected. I had visited a couple of friends shortly before I moved here, one in Berlin and one in Tokyo, and while they found the culture differences quite challenging I think that they expected it more than I did. My take was that people speak English here, so how hard could it be? Well some things weren’t too bad, but as most people know there are a lot of differences between American and British English, but actually more than you would expect. Apart from the words themselves, there are a lot of subtleties, word ordering in sentences, idioms, turns of phrase and even body language. Also I had never really lived in a suburb before – certainly not one without obvious public transport. It took quite a while to make friends beyond my initial circle of expat buddies (and thank goodness for them!) and sometimes I would go a whole weekend without really speaking to anyone. But you know, that was actually OK, and it was probably good for me to have that time.

Anyway, still here, and at a quick reckoning here’s what I’ve done in the last ten years:

Lived in a couple of different apartments
Bought a house in a great neighborhood
Joined a great choir, of which I am a section leader and also choir president
Made some wonderful friends
Built up some decent retirement savings (even with recent stock market disasters)
Learned to barbecue a fantastic steak
Traveled to several states in the US, plus Canada
Traveled to India a few times, and to Bermuda
Got married
Got my green card, and now my US citizenship
Progressed in my career in a way I really wanted to, got a bunch of great opportunities, and have learned a ton
Put on a few pounds, but not as much as I deserve to
Gained tons of confidence by doing pretty much all of the above through a combination of good fortune and hard work
Had two wonderful kids

Speaking of those kids, I also just put up some new pics here – hope you enjoy them

not so elegant

Friday, March 6th, 2009

A great page on Wired today – 12 elegant examples of evolution. Some totally cool stuff, until you scroll down the page and read the completely non-evolved comments of the ridiculous and ignorant evolution deniers who seem to feel the need to trumpet their nonsense without any kind of knowledge or humility. I was all inspired by wonders of nature and of science and of human ingenuity, and now I’m feeling a bit deflated. Oh well. It’s worth a look, just don’t read as far as the comments.