Monday, 10 July 2006

Found via Slashdot: two videos from the latest shuttle launch. The first is pretty dull until about the 2:45 mark, but don’t skip in or you’ll spoil the surprise.

The second one gets good at about 45 seconds into the video. Keep watching until at least the 3 minute mark, but the whole video is cool.

What are they? The aft and forward cameras on the starboard solid rocket booster. NASA deserves our thanks fro putting videos like these on-line — a tradition they’ve held for years.

Friday, 07 July 2006

I went to dinner with a very good friend last night and, as is our routine, we wandered over to a nearby CD store to poke around. It always strikes me how completely different our shopping styles are.

Mickey pokes around for things that friends have suggested or stuff she likes. She’ll pick up one disc, carry it for a while as she looks around more, then find something else and then put the first one back. She’ll do this with about a half-dozen discs, putting most of them back, and buy just one, maybe two by the time she’s done. I think it’s completely adorable — a fact she will undoubtedly find irritating. Honestly, I admire her self-control.

On the flip side, I do not have that kind of will power and it shows in the way I CD shop. It really comes down to two styles: one for going through the used racks, the other for just looking in general. If I start on the used racks, I have to finish. There’s something Zen-like about flipping through the trays. The rapid click click click as I scan covers each cover in the blink of an eye. But it still takes me a couple hours to finish and I don’t talk, really can’t talk, once I’m in the zone. It’s not unusual for me to go home with 15-20 discs.

Because I’d really like to keep Mickey as a friend, I spare her the torture and skip the used stuff when we’re out together. It’s more fun to wander the store largely with her, making the occasional suggestion and offering advice when requested. But while we’re wandering, I flit about, seemingly at random, as I think of this artist or that album that I want to check out. Along the way I’ll glance at something that catches my eye, sometimes put it back, but usually end up buying it and checking the item off my vague mental list. This typically results in only 4 or 5 discs following me home.

Along the way I was talking about an artist that a different friend had mentioned. Someone with a haunting voice, young, Katie M… I wanted to see if the store had any of her CD’s, but for the life of me couldn’t remember her name. Being such a music dork, it’s the kind of thing that would bother me until I figured it out. I had zero Web access there in the store, or I could have checked my wish list at Amazon. The store has those “Red Dot” stations, but they’re useless to look up people if all you know is their first name.

My eyes lit up as I picked up a Regina Spektor CD (another friend suggestion). The name I had been trying to remember for a good half-hour finally dawned on me! Katie Melua. I made a bee-line to the appropriate rack and picked it up.

Now, how the sight of a Regina Spektor CD made me think of Katie Melua is beyond all reason. Somehow that’s just how my brain works. I’ll come up with the strangest links and there’s no understanding the connections.

Of course I had to buy both the Melua and Spektor discs along with the other 4 I had already picked out. With that much work into it, I couldn’t leave them behind.