Sunday, April 26, 2009
Today's my last lazy Sunday morning in Brunswick. We're moving out of this apartment on Thursday, but that's the subject for a longer, more introspective piece.

Pretty much the whole 'Brunswick Experience' has been quite an error. We're not really that close to Portland, where so much of our life seems to center; I don't want to even think about how many times I've driven up 295 to Brunswick at 8 or 9 at night, only to have to drive back at 7 the next morning.

And I won't even get into how few times I've seen my brother this year; Bridgton is quite a hike from Brunswick.

But I'm trying to stay positive, which brings me back to Sunday mornings.

As much of a pain this whole experience is, I've rather enjoyed Sunday mornings at this apartment.

See, we live right around the corner from the rather picturesque campus of Bowdoin College on the road to Harpswell. Generally it's a busy road, but on Sunday mornings, however, it's quite quiet. On Sunday mornings all that one can hear is the chiming of the bells of the Bowdoin College Chapel.

While I'm not a religious dude at all, it's quite peaceful to have church bells tolling every fifteen minutes. Especially on a Sunday morning. That's pretty much as churchy as I care to get.

Well, actually I like the architecture of churches and chapels, too.

The chapel was designed in the 1840s by architect Richard Upjohn who also built the entrances to Boston Common, Trinity Church in New York City and a whole bunch of the fancy Newport, RI mansions.

Apparently it's one of the earliest examples of the Romanesque Revival in American architecture - which is one of the country's first styles of architecture, and one of my personal favorites.

Hey, don't laugh! Royce Hall at UCLA in Westwood, California and Trinity Church in Boston are each Romanesque Revival, and while before this morning I didn't know what they were called, I rather enjoy both.

See, that's pretty much what I do on Sunday mornings. I wake up early, hours before Liz, and I just old-fashioned surf the web. You know, like we used to do in the mid-1990s, just bounce from page to page without direction or purpose. Find interesting shit.

Today, for example, before I was googling "Romanesque Revival", I found my next road trip. I want to go to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory up the coast of Maine near Fort Knox State Park. Apparently it's the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. Who knew?!

Check out this New York Times article that first piqued my interest, "Sure, the Bridge Is a Marvel, but How About the View?".

How did I find this? The chain is a bit wandering, I guess I started with this article "It's lights on again on Boston's Zakim bridge" and then went to the wikipedia page for the Zakim Bridge, and then the page for the similarly cable-stayed Penobscot Narrows Bridge.

Which sadly, doesn't open until Friday, May 1st, when we won't be living in Brunswick any longer.


What can you do? Things change. In fact, right now the cars are becoming more frequent on the road outside. Someone is leaf-blowing down the street, too. I won't hear the bells ring in a few minutes.

Soon Liz will be awake, and there'll laundry and groceries and life to live.

The last lazy Sunday morning in Brunswick is over.
posted by Josh at 9:55 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, April 25, 2009
20090425_doomsday.pngDid you know that the United States still has a Doomsday Clock?!

And that it's been set to five minutes before midnight since 2007?!

posted by Josh at 8:02 AM | 0 comments
Former Boston Globe / current Yahoo! Sports writer Gordon Edes had a well-written if not completely creepy "What if" story yesterday: "The road not taken: Alex Rodriguez's career with Boston".

Yes, it's exactly what you think it is. Here's a taste of what would have happened in 2004 (and also 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008):

    The tension of Garciaparra brooding at his locker over his contract, or the uncertainty of whether Manny would feel like playing on a given day, was gone. A-Rod basked in the attention, but surrounded by outsized personalities like Ortiz and Damon, Pedro Martinez and Schilling, there was plenty to go around. Ortiz was like a big brother, Millar the constant needler. And when A-Rod approached Schilling about working together on the charity dear to the pitcher's heart, Schill was won over.

    The Yankees, blindsided by the season-ending knee injury third baseman Aaron Boone suffered while playing basketball in his driveway, never recovered. The Red Sox, their offense scoring over 1,000 runs, won the division going away, then ran the table in the postseason, winning their first World Series in 86 years. A-Rod was named MVP. Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, appalled that his team had missed out on both Schilling and A-Rod, fired GM Brian Cashman, who could have had Schilling but didn't want to trade Nick Johnson.

    Epstein would turn over the roster – Pedro would go, and Damon, Millar and Billy Mueller, and eventually Schilling would retire, but the middle of the lineup remained the same – A-Rod, Ortiz and Magglio. In 2007, A-Rod willingly volunteered to move to third base to make room for Boston's top prospect, shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who tagged along after A-Rod everywhere he went. "This kid will be as good as me,'' A-Rod boasted of his protégé.

posted by Josh at 7:58 AM | 0 comments
Monday, April 20, 2009
20090420_magickingdom.pngSo the last time I was at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom theme park was five years ago today.

That's kind of a long time.

Granted, in that time I've been back to Disneyland and to Disneyland Resort Paris (a place that I never thought I'd ever go).

But still, five years is a long time.
posted by Josh at 5:06 AM | 0 comments
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Hey, here's a fun one! It was seventy-five years ago today that British Surgeon R.K. Wilson allegedly photographed the Loch Ness Monster - the famed "Surgeon's photo".

The photo wasn't dubunked until 1994, when co-conspirator Christian Spurling (shortly before his death at 90 years old) came clean that it was all a hoax. Something about he and his step-father getting revenge for being mocked after finding faked monster tracks on shore.

And that's why you should never hoax someone into thinking the Loch Ness Monster is real, because then they'll go a make a bigger fake that lasts 60 years and just confuses the whole world.
posted by Josh at 6:00 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, April 18, 2009
The only thing that I like more than the Apple vs. Microsoft debate is the Pixar vs. DreamWorks debate.

It appears that this dude here has about the same opinion that I do ...
posted by Josh at 1:54 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I could read articles like this one from BusinessWeek all day: "Mac vs. PC: What You Don't Get for $699".

Money quotes?

    "A PC is no bargain when it doesn't do what you want," Apple spokesman Bill Evans says.

... and the kicker:

    "Rather than running ads that seem clever at first but really aren't, the Windows guys ought to take the hint and just build better computers."
posted by Josh at 8:39 AM | 2 comments
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Did you hear the one about the camel they cloned in Dubai?

No, that's not a setup line to some off-color joke. It's a true story: "Scientist: First cloned camel born in Dubai".

Gee, I wonder how much that cost the government?

Although to be fair, it was born six days ago and took 378 days to gestate, so I bet this whole idea looked a lot better before this whole economic shitstorm that really crippled Dubai.

Makes me think of a story ...


A gleaming modern glass highrise sails out of the desert sands at her base. The parking lot is full of BMWs, Maseratis, Porsches, and camels.



An Arab man in a labcoat-esque dishdash is speaking with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

      "Sheikh Mohammed, we have a great
      idea to clone a camel! Although,
      to be fair, it might be a bit
      pricey ..."

      "Excellent! As this is Dubai,
      money is no worry! Spend as much
      as you like!"
                        JUMP CUT TO:


Gone is the gleaming glass building, it's now replaced by a drab olive army pup tent.

The same Arab Scientist sits outside the tent, in the shadow of a very pregnant camel.


      "Oh man, this seemed like such
      a good idea a year and a half ago ..."

                        END SCENE.

posted by Josh at 3:41 PM | 0 comments
Monday, April 13, 2009
20090316_terriers.pngHappy (late) Easter! Got back from Connecticut late last night, haven't had time to celebrate Boston University's victory on Saturday - we're now the NCAA Division 1 Men's Hockey National Champions!

Here's Dan Shaughnessy's article from the Boston Globe: "They had burning desire to win".

And here's the highlight reel from ESPN:

posted by Josh at 7:03 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, April 11, 2009
20090316_terriers.pngKeeping you up-to-date (sorta) on NCAA Men's Ice Hockey - on Thursday night Boston University beat Vermont 5-4 in the NCAA Frozen Four semifinals.

They're going to the NCAA championship game tonight against Miami (Ohio) University.

How about that?!

If you have the cable TV, you can check it out at 7 pm on ESPN. Or if you live near the Washington, DC Verizon Center (not to be confused with Manchester, NH's Verizon Wireless Arena) run over and check it out in person.

Go Terriers!
posted by Josh at 8:42 AM | 0 comments
Friday, April 10, 2009
Forget the hype about "the Apple Tax". Here's an article that gets it right,'s Dan Miller calls it "The Microsoft Discount".

The best parts:

    "Hardware specs are fine, but they reflect a relatively minor part of the computing experience. For example, I spend maybe five minutes a month dealing with the ports on my Macbook (primarily to plug and unplug things when I take it home or on the road). Otherwise, I don't touch them, and they work just fine.

    But I spend 8+ hours a day dealing with the operating system. OS X is, to me, pretty much the entire reason to use a Mac.

    OS X is a really well- designed tool. It makes it easier for me to do virtually everything I do on a computer. By comparison, I find Windows clunky: Configuring and troubleshooting it are painful, the security thing is a pain, and it's crashy. To me, it just doesn't work as well as OS X.

    It's not that I pay an "Apple Tax." I think Windows buyers get a "Microsoft Discount." The deal: We'll charge you less for this computer, but you've got to put up with Windows. To me, Windows is like the People Express of operating systems.

And the kicker:

    It's not that I don't know Windows. I just don't like it.

Amen, brother. Amen.
posted by Josh at 4:26 PM | 0 comments
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Fifty years ago today NASA announced its selection of seven military pilots to become the first U.S. astronauts - the Mercury Seven.

20090409_mercury 7.jpg

The requirements? All had to be test pilots, have college degrees, could be no taller than 5' 11" and weigh no more than 180 pounds.

Yep, I have exactly one of the four qualifications.

Bet you didn't know I was a test pilot in the late 1990s ...
posted by Josh at 6:52 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
My buddy KC in Auburn just sent this article from the UK's The Independent over. It's lengthy, but damn if it isn't spot on: "The Dark Side of Dubai".
posted by Josh at 10:38 AM | 0 comments
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Actor Kal Penn is quitting acting and going to work at the White House?



How 'bout that.
posted by Josh at 1:03 PM | 0 comments
Huh. I haven't seen the new Clive Owen and Julia Roberts movie Duplicity yet, but I just read on a semi-famous Dubai blog (that's not my own) that the flick starts in Dubai, at a barbeque.

In July.

For the Fourth of July.

At the US Embassy in Dubai.

For the record, the average high temperature for July (as reported by the meteorological office at the airport) is 106 degrees F. That's not prime for doing anything outside.

Nevermind the fact that the US Embassy is in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE.

Dubai has a Consulate.

Although knowing Dubai is in it (even if factually iffy) does make me want to see the movie a little bit more.
posted by Josh at 7:13 AM | 0 comments
Monday, April 06, 2009
New recipe alert! Yesterday at the laundromat I was exceedingly bored, and found myself reading Family Circle. Yes, you might laugh, but in the May of 2008 issue I found a new bad-ass recipe for Thai Coconut Chicken.

Don't worry, it's not very spicy at all, just a nice blend of coconut, veggies and green curry paste.

Although I wasn't sure how many teaspoons of dried basil would equal twelve leaves, so I used something like six or seven.

It seemed to work.
posted by Josh at 7:08 AM | 2 comments




Which is your favorite?
posted by Josh at 7:08 AM | 0 comments
Saturday, April 04, 2009
20090404_kirin.gifSo waitaminute, Coca-Cola of Northern New England is owned by Kirin Holdings Company, Ltd of Japan?!?

As in Kirin Beer?!

posted by Josh at 6:22 PM | 0 comments
Wow, how did I miss this Daily Show clip about Halliburton moving to Dubai?

Oh, it's from March 12, 2007.

I was in Dubai.

With the White Rhinos.

posted by Josh at 5:42 PM | 0 comments
Shoot - I just saw this - on Thursday the NBA announced the name on the new Portland-based D-League team - Maine Red Claws.

Good, better than the "Maine Lighthouses" or whatever the other choices were. Now let's just hope the logo is cool.

And while they haven't announced the NBA team affiliation, I bet you a trillion dollars the Boston Celtics will be in there somewhere.

Which brings me to my next concern, that the team colors are going to be Celtics Green and Lobster Red.

Mmmm, festive.
posted by Josh at 3:29 PM | 0 comments
Friday, April 03, 2009
20090318_redsox.pngBoston Magazine has a good article about Red Sox secondbaseman, 2008 American League MVP and 2007 AL Rookie of the Year Dustin Pedroia over on their website: "Dustin Pedroia Comes Out Swinging".

He just sounds like such a good guy, the perfect player for what we're all now all solemnly calling the Post-Steroid Era.

The article also takes a few good shots at the Yankees and Fox Sports, too.
posted by Josh at 11:15 AM | 0 comments
I didn't see this article in our recent Time magazine, maybe it was web-only, or in the international edition?

Either way, check out "Dumping on Dubai: Have Hard Times Hit the Emirates?"
posted by Josh at 9:37 AM | 0 comments
Oh this is awesome!

Boston's NBC affiliate WHDH has decided not to air the new 10 pm Jay Leno Show this fall: "NBC's Boston affiliate says no to primetime Leno".

Now if only they'd do something about the even less funny Jimmy Fallon, we might be onto something ...
posted by Josh at 9:26 AM | 0 comments
So you know I'm a fan of Portland's own Shipyard beer. Well weather-be-damned, those crazy brewmasters have decided it's summer, because Shipyard Summer Ale had its release party last night!

Granted I didn't go; 38 degrees, rainy and foggy is not my idea of summer, and let's face it, Summer Ale is good, but it's no Pumpkinhead Ale. But still, I wanted to mention it here in hopes to kickstart the weather, and also mention their new label design:


You might remember it used to look something like this:


Either way, I still have a few Blue Fin Stouts to finish before I go in for the mellow, malted wheat flavor of Summer Ale.
posted by Josh at 6:34 AM | 0 comments
Thursday, April 02, 2009
20090318_redsox.pngWait, Doug Mientkiewicz, first baseman for the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox, the guy who got the last out of Game 4, the guy who kept the ball and caused an uproar, is now playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers?

When the hell did this happen?!

Although I shouldn't really be surprised, they always love to hire former Red Sox out there in Mannywood.

But still, Mientkiewicz? Really?
posted by Josh at 8:13 AM | 0 comments
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
20090401_apple.pngOh yeah, today's the 33rd birthday of Apple Inc. (formerly Apple Computer Inc.).

The company was established in Cupertino, California on April 1, 1976. The first computer, the Apple I, went on sale that July for $666.66.

Happy Birthday Apple!
posted by Josh at 2:39 PM | 0 comments
Oh, yesterday was just the tip of the April Fools' iceberg from Google. Check out Gmail AutopilotTM.

    Gmail AutopilotTM

    Email will never be a thing of the past, but actually reading and writing messages is about to be. Gmail Autopilot automatically manages your inbox better than you can, with zero effort from you.

    Keep in touch
    Brand-new CADIE technology enables Autopilot to scan every one of your incoming messages and automatically send the perfect reply.

    Manage relationships
    Impress everyone with your prompt and insightful responses to everything from urgent notes from your boss to cute messages from your significant other.

    Match your style
    Autopilot calibrates for tone, typos and preferred punctuation. It's just like you, but automated.

I chuckled a few times reading their websites for this, even laughed out loud once or twice.


    What happens if a sender and recipient both have Autopilot on?

    Two Gmail accounts can happily converse with each other for up to three messages each. Beyond that, our experiments have shown a significant decline in the quality ranking of Autopilot's responses and further messages may commit you to dinner parties or baby namings in which you have no interest.

Or even:

    Sample Autopilot responses

    Respond to business proposals

posted by Josh at 9:09 AM | 0 comments