Archive for December 2005

29/Dec/2005 — My Five Weird Things   20 comments

My Five Weird Things

Okay, I’ll play along.

Image of a South Park style caricature of myself

Me, if I lived in South Park.

Maayan tagged me to play this game. Then—woh, ho ho—she challenged me to be poetic, too.

First off, here are the rules as I received them:

The 1st player of this “game” starts with the topic ‘5 weird habits of yourself’ and people who get tagged need to write a blog entry about their 5 weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next 5 people to be tagged and list their names.

Now, without further ado, here are my five weird things… Haiku-style:

  1. I can remember
    Movie dialog after
    Hearing it just once
  2. While brushing my teeth
    I do my stomach crunches
    To keep my figure
  3. I like “The Simpsons,”
    Poetry, the arts, travel,
    And science fiction
  4. In my work done well
    I take my due credit, but
    Celebrity? No.
  5. There’s a Scottish kilt
    With my family’s tartan
    That I own and wear

What do you think?

Now, I’m supposed to tag five more people. Instead of doing that, however, I’ll leave it open to anyone who reads this to undertake their own “five weird things” list. How’s that for a cop out?

— Grant

Posted Thursday, December 29, 2005 by Grant in Random

25/Dec/2005 – Haiku   13 comments


   Quiet restlessness
   Through the window, bare-limbed trees
   Scratching the grey sky


Posted Sunday, December 25, 2005 by Grant in Random

22/Dec/2005 – Today’s Honku   17 comments

     Today’s Honku     

See more honku here


I know you are pissed
But, I had the right of way
Retract your finger


Posted Thursday, December 22, 2005 by Grant in Random

16/Dec/2005 — CMOA   23 comments

I am so going to this. Who wants to come with?

— Grant

Posted Friday, December 16, 2005 by Grant in Random

15/Dec/2005 — Inspiration   12 comments


  Imitating good examples

Image of a photographer's reflection in a doorknob.

Reflection in a doorknob

Uploaded to Flicker
on December 7, 2005 by Claudecf

I’m just a big copy cat. I watch what others do and mimic the stuff I like. Yet, in the process of imitating, some of myself gets imprinted on what I am doing and it becomes something original.

Maybe that is what inspiration is or how it works.

At any rate, I like to imitate, especially when I am learning a new skill, like photography. I hang out at Flickr, because some excellent photographers share their work there. I can browse the various photostreams or search on tags and see some great stuff. Further, other photographers may comment on what makes a particular photo good (or not so good.) Again, I am learning from others.

If one wants to get better at tennis, I’ve heard, one should play against opponents who are more skilled than oneself. I think that that approach applies to learning anything. It just makes sense. You can’t learn to do something well from someone whose skill is mediocre.

For myself, often the challenge is being able to identify what makes something good. Sometimes I will see it right away. Other times I won’t. I feel that a little bit of theory can help fine tune one’s radar for indications of quality work. Even a 101-level primer in a subject can be a huge leg up when it comes to this.

But often, especially with artistic pursuits, the evaluation is subjective. It looks good to me, I like it, so I deem it “good.” A more tuned individual might be able to tell me why the photo/poem/painting/etc. that I fell in love with is flawed. But, even that is good, as long as the critique is balanced and reasonable. That insight helps me to peer with greater subtlety, fine-tuning my own radar.

Hence, even in that, I imitate the good examples.

Posted Thursday, December 15, 2005 by Grant in Random

Paris Vacation, Day 7   17 comments

Laundry, Marais Walking Tour, and Dinner
Photo of a street sign for Rue Cler

Rue Cler street sign.

Photo of Lydia with a fountain in the background

A fountain makes for a background behind Lydia.

Photo of detail on a fountain in Place des Vosges

Detail on a fountain in Place des Vosges.

Photo of children playing in a park

Children playing in a park.

Photo of Lydia and Grant reflected in a mirror

Um, the mirror makes me look fat. Yeah, that’s it.

Grant’s Flickr page

Friday, October 21

We ended the previous day with a picnic supper on the bed, a simple yet yummy meal of baguette, cheese, pesto, and wine. We also bought some olive oil at the shop where we picked up the pesto. While we shopped for supper, we had a photo developer burn our two 512 MB (megabyte) memory cards to a couple CDs, since I had filled them with pictures. It took less than twenty minutes—Très rapidement.

As planned, we slept in before breakfast in another (that is, different from yesterday) café. It was on the way to a laundromat, where we were going to give our clothes a well-earned wash. At that moment, the only other thing we had planned was dinner that evening.

While we waited for our laundry, we wrote some postcards and I strolled around the block to take a few pictures. I thought it was interesting that the laundromat had a do-it-yourself dry cleaning machine. One, if they wished, could clean 6 kilograms (about 13 pounds) of clothes for €12… not bad, I thought, a little more than a buck a pound. We didn’t take advantage, however, since we didn’t pack any dry clean only articles. Also during our laundry, we decided that we would take another Rick Steves walking tour. This time we would head to the Marais neighborhood on the Rive Gauche (Right Bank,) across the Seine from Ile Saint Louis.

We took—get this—the Metro (I know, you’re shocked) from Ecole Militaire station all the way to Bastille station, a big, u-shaped trip. We could have transferred, instead, to another line and saved two stops, but we were interested in seeing the stations along the way. In fact, the trip as we took it may have been faster anyway, when you factor in the time it takes to transfer from one line to another at some of the stations.

Our walking tour started at the site of the Bastille. This is the Bastille Day bastille, the 1789 French Revolution bastille. This is the bastille that symbolizes the beginning of the end of the French aristocracy and nobility and the beginning of the modern nation of France.

It’s not here, though.

Rick Steves calls the Bastille Paris’s most famous non-site. Yes, the building has been long demolished, but the events of that day are etched into the French psyche.

Along our walk, we stopped in at the Victor Hugo museum in the apartment where he lived in Paris. It overlooks a beautiful park in the square, Place des Vosges (formerly called Place Royal when built by Henry IV in 1605.) All four fountains in the park, unlike those at Versailles, were a-squirt.

I love that children play here. It bestows the city with a vibrant, living personality. It is this single characteristic, over all others, that draws me to the city, that makes Paris a place in which I could live.

We then made a jaunt over to the Musée Carnavalet. This museum chronicles the history of Paris from royalty to revolution to modern times. Our visit there just about topped up my “museum meter.” From the museum, we ambled over to the Jewish Quarter for falafel sandwiches and an Israeli beer, called “Maccabees.” Interestingly, Jews and Muslims live together peacefully in this neighborhood. It was nice to see that it can be done.

After our snack, we finished the walking tour by the Pompidou Center, which is an exoskeleton building (as is Notre Dame Cathedral, actually.) By putting all of its structural, electrical, and mechanical bits around the outside of the building, designers have left a large, unbroken space for the modern art inside. The container compliments the content.

We didn’t want to pay the admission and our museum passes had expired, so we just pressed our noses to the windows and moved on. As such, we have an excuse to return to Paris, not that I needed one.

There was an Internet café nearby (€1.50 for ½ hour.) We took advantage to get caught up as best we could struggling with the French version of Windows and Internet Explorer as well as a maddening french keyboard (yes, the layout is different from a U.S. English one.) Being pooped (and having had no nap, if you can believe it,) we commuted back to our hotel to freshen up for dinner.

Dinner was at L’Affriolé, a place that Martine had recommended to us, and it was fabulous. I started with a Heineken beer as an aperitif and an appetizer of minced salmon with dill. My main course was whitefish on a mashed potato foundation paired with a superb white wine. Then came dessert, a murderous chocolate soufflé, followed by an herbal (peppermint) tea. The pace was slow and the food was dreamy. The bill came to €114, all tolled, for both of us. Certainly not an everyday meal, but one must have such a meal on one’s Paris vacation and I was not disappointed that this had been ours.

The experience had got me thinking that I might openly sob the next time I ate a meal back in the States. I didn’t, though.

A little Paris drizzle accompanied us back to the hotel, where we settled in to retire.

Read more about day 7 on Lydia’s blog.

< Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 >

Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 by Grant in Myself, Travel

Tagged with ,

10/Dec/2005 — Personality   10 comments

Personality Profile Quizzes

I find these interesting not because I like to get pegged into a particular hole, or that I even think that that is possible, nor because I think the results will reveal a secret about myself that I previously had not known, nor because I feel that, in asking a few questions, anyone can get to the heart and soul of another person.

Why, then, do I like these quizzes?

I don’t know. But, maybe there is a quiz I can take that will tell me.

Your #1 Match: ISFJ

The Nurturer
You have a strong need to belong, and you very loyal. A good listener, you excell at helping others in practical ways. In your spare time, you enjoy engaging your senses through art, cooking, and music. You find it easy to be devoted to one person, for whom you do special things. You would make a good interior designer, chef, or child psychologist.

Your #2 Match: ISFP

The Artist
You are a gifted artist or musician (though your talents may be dormant right now). You enjoy spending your free time in nature, and you are good with animals and children. Simply put, you enjoy beauty in all its forms and live for the simple pleasures in life. Gentle, sensitive, and compassionate — you are good at recognizing people’s unspoken needs. You would make a good veterinarian, pediatrician, or composer.

Your #3 Match: ISTJ

The Duty Fulfiller
You are responsible, reliable, and hardworking — you get the job done. You prefer productive hobbies, like woodworking or knittings. Quiet and serious, you are well prepared for whatever life hands you. Conservative and down-to-earth, you hardly ever do anything crazy. You would make a great business executive, accountant, or lawyer.

Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005 by Grant in Random