April 25, 2007

Man in comfortable shoes

I got the thumbs up for my drag design and results from my advisor. There's still some things that need to be investigated, but overall we can consider the design a success. And that feels good. Really good. So good that my blood sugars have ceased to be mind-numbingly erratic for the past couple of days. The path to the end is still a considerable journey, and I won't be able to submit my thesis while I'm here in Urbana (I just don't have the time to get data and write it), but the path is clear and well defined. And that feels good.

Seeing as Katie will only be working at Heel to Toe for a couple of weeks, I ordered a pair of nice Footprints (one of the Birkenstock spinoff companies) a couple of weeks ago to take advantage of the family discount while we still have it. They came in yesterday, and they are [begin French accent] very nice [end French accent]. This, combined with getting approval from my advisor the day before, put me in a pretty good mood.

So on my way home from the shoe store, I stopped by a used music store. Perusing through the various sections, I found a couple cds that I just had to get. The first is Medicine Music by Bobby McFerrin, an album that we used to listen to all the time. The second is Down the Road by Andy Narell, a steel drum virtuoso whose love of the music and people of Trinidad, the Caribbean, and the West Indies is always first and foremost in his music. I've been looking for music to play with Elsa, and these two will do nicely. I've also been jones-ing for a couple of stories called How the Camel Got its Hump and How the Rhinoceros Got its Skin, narrated by Jack Nicholson with music and sound effects by Bobby McFerrin. We had them on LP, and while they made a VHS of the stories, they haven't been released on cd at all. We'll have to dub our old LPs if Elsa wants to get a taste of these delicacies. I love these kind of stories more than anything else, stories of origins, explanations of natural processes, because it provides such a sense of cultural identity, brings the subject to life and gives it character, describes complex processes with such elegance, and encourages an inquisitive view of the world where "What is that? Why is it that way?" are the two questions always on your mind.

I just thought of a The Onion headline: "Omniscient God Faces Charges of Insider Trading."

April 18, 2007

The simple things

Katie and I "purchased" a painting at a fundraiser a couple of days ago. It's called "Painting for a White Wall #2 (The Bird)", and it was painted by Eleanor Hutchens in 1978. It's an abstract painting of a bird with amorphous shapes representing (remember, abstractly) various physical characteristics in red, blue, yellow, leaf green, and hunter green that swirl around, more or less, a bird's eye. At first glance, it's a nice, interesting painting, but when I look at it for more than 2 seconds, I lose myself in it. No kidding. My first impression was that the quality of the painting was in the hobbyist realm, but once I got past those first two seconds, I realized I was looking at something much more significant. Not only that, but simple brush strokes that initially appeared simple or even incongruous revealed themselves to be something else entirely. And this happens every time I look at it. It's kind of like when I sit in either of the two blue chairs we have in our living room: every time I sit down in them, it's a special treat. Really, I get goosebumps. I kid you not.

I'll take a picture and post it soon.

April 11, 2007

"Beware, O people of Baha, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds."

I think there are some moments in life that require a moment of silence and reflection. One of those moments happened five minutes ago. The profundity, though, was not due to some existential or esoteric context; instead, I was holding the reality of my decisions in my hands. I was watching Why We Fight which is a movie examining the steady (and at times not so steady) build up of American military technology and infrastructure. There's a section in the beginning of the film when they introduce a few of the major corporations that receive the bulk of defense contracts: Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, Haliburton, KBR, Raytheon, and Boeing, which is no news to me being an aerospace student. At the very instant they transitioned to another segment in the movie, THE very instant, the doorbell rang. It was FedEx delivering my new Boeing company credit card.

April 8, 2007

Look what I... I mean, Liza, can do.

Suspended 2, originally uploaded by nathanbe.

I've finally uploaded some pictures from our camera. It's been since the summer that I've even transfered pictures onto the computer. The above picture is in a set of pictures that Liza took using our camera early last spring in Michigan. Pretty sweet, but now I no longer have the ability to blame the camera when a picture doesn't come out right.

And speaking of things being suspended, Katie and I rented the Illusionist, and it was great. One of the best parts was how the special lighting effects brought out the atmosphere, and the acting was really well done. I dig magic, too, and even though most was computer generated, the subtle tricks they snuck in were tres cool.

April 7, 2007

Blades of Awesomeness

Katie and I went to go check out Blades of Glory last night, and it was glorious. Everything you want in a good bad movie. Will Ferrel, John Heder, Will Arndt, AmyPoehler, and Jenna Fischer. What more could you ask for? And what could make a better good bad movie subject than figure skating? I ask you, good people.

On the other side of things, Katie and I also went to a video rental store and saw this title: "Flight of Fury", the tag line: "A Flight Plan to Freedom." and starring... wait for it... Steven Seagal. I got chills just looking at it. This is an example of a bad bad movie, and I don't need to see it to tell you that. And neither should you.

April 4, 2007

Success... in the future!

Don't get excited. I still have virtually all of my thesis to write still, and I still don't have any data. But I do have a job officially, and Katie and I are going to get going with the relocation process. Now if only I could get going with this thesis... How about now? Yeah, now's good.