Sunday, April 29, 2007

Soyent Green is the Audience!... Robotic Musicans, Etc...

I was fully ready to be disappointed in the clicking the "Used Robots in Georgia" link. But is exactly what it says, a distributor of used industrial robots. I like the before and after pictures of said robots, restored to their former shiny glory. Remind me of a scene in the movie "Dave" where the main character plays with some might big industrial bots.

Even better are musical robots. There's the Crazy J, a guitar playing machine created by the crazy kids at Georgia Tech's mechatronics class. More G-Tech fun is to be had at Innovations @ Georgia Tech :: Robotic Percussionist. Videos from the school's Haile robotic drummer project are pretty amazing, as well.

But what I really want is a total package of mechanical musicians and performers. Because my wife says she's not my monkey, so I got to find someone to do silly dances for me. Say...

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lilburn, GA: Henderson Family Cemetery & Beautiful Stone Temple

Two places in Lilburn, GA that find spirituality and commercialism in the same spaces.

The Henderson Family Cemetery is a small burial plot with nothing but traffic, parking lots and stripmalls surrounding it. Casting its shadow over the graves, a large billboard.

Near the intersection of Lawrenceville Highway and Rockbridge RD, NW this stunning temple is being built. There was no signage to denote what religious group is building this, I would assume one orginating from India. I hope it would be open to anyone to visit, the outside is beautifuly ornate and I expect the interior to be much the same.

The gantry crane looks much like the one at the Alabama Shipyard. I'm assuming it is being used for accurate placement of the temple stones, this style of crane allowing for more accurate placement than more common construction cranes.

Lilburn, GA Temple, originally uploaded by Mr. Kimberly.

This area is being heavily commercially developed and the temple's neighbor is a Walgreen's.

Note the unenforceable "photography prohibited" sign. If that's what they wanted they should have built higher fence.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

ATL Happenings: Mom-n-Pop, Mod Homes & Derby

First, a thanks to Creative Loafing's Bad Habits blog for mentioning me in their Atlanta Blogs Today: PBJ-AJC-WTF post. The spike in visitor traffic was a nice ego boost. And for those who are reading because of CL, don't make it your last visit here.

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Spring is back, making Atlanta particularly enjoyable. Its nice to return to the city in its lovely state, and this coming weekend is providing me with three things of interest.

First: the ATL:MODERN HOME TOUR - April 27-29th - 2007: "The 2007 ATL:Modern Home Tour will focus on showcasing exemplary examples for living modern through lifestyle, architecture, interior design, and landscaping. Homes range from the classic postmodern to the state-of-the-art contemporary."

Yes, I would like to see great architecture that I will never be able to afford. Thanks for letting me past the gate.

Second: my mom and pop are visiting. As snowbirds, they are driving from Florida back to their home in the north. I always look forward to their visits as they actually treat me as a competent adult. They still have the usual parental concerns, but I'm aware that I'm lucky have parents that managed to let go in ways certain parents can't.

Third: Atlanta Roller Girls Rollerderby!

I've missed 3 season games, and this weekend has the local girls playing the Pikes Peak Derby Dames of Colorado Spring, CO. This coincides with my mom and dad arriving. While my mom has a deep dislike of rollerderby and wrestling due to her mom's love of the sports (yes I know some will raise an eyebrow at using the word "sports"... deal). Apparently , Grandma Gates got pretty vocal while watching her favorite forms of televised violence in the family living room. But I hoping dad will join me for the game. He's a people person and enjoys a bit of cultural anthropology.

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DeKalb News, Atlanta News: Rollergirls' Bea Ligerent Hits Hard...

Atlanta Rollergirl Mini-documentary by Scott Crocker

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fried Food Fest: The Vortex's 15th Anniversary

For a place celebrating 15 years of debauchery and decadence, the Saturday night celebration was a little low key. Me and the missus walked to the Peachtree location of the Atlanta bar/local institution to part take in some of the free food offered up. Trays of fried things, including pickles, were up for grabs. And the cake from Publix was pretty damn good. Along with some additional grub that we bought, I picked up an anniversary t-shirt.

After food, we hit the bar's Laughing Skull Lounge and heard the irreverent lounge stylings of King Sized. The lounge cover of a disco song that I forgot was the highlight of the show. But the cruise ship themed keyboard stand had me feeling like I was back at dry dock, in a good way. Again the camera was forgotten.

The Laughing Skull Lounge is home to the Dames Aflame which offers Boozer Doodle, the most interesting figure drawing class I've heard about.

DSCF0075.JPG, originally uploaded by The Vortex Bar & Grill.

How can you go wrong with nude drawing classes at a bar? Hope the kids at local art schools are taking advantage of this education.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Fun In San Fran: Another Return Back From Yet Another Ship

Back to Atlanta from yet another lighting installation on a cruise ship.

This time was 6 nights in San Francisco. While every work night was spent on the ship, our last travel day was spent running around the city. I forgot how much I loved the city and this recap won't do it justice. I didn't hit all the strange places I wanted to visit (The Wave Organ on the bay & the Camera Obscura near Cliff House) but I did manage to hit the badly great Musee Mecanique on Pier 45 (location on My Google Map.) This is now a new favorite place of mine and I'll be singing its praises! Check its link for a more thorough details on this odd museum.

Musee Mecanique, originally uploaded by Octoferret.

Opium Den at Musee Mecanique, originally uploaded by lindn.

Musée Mécanique, originally uploaded by SRLrobot.

can-can | musee mecanique, sf, originally uploaded by solsken.

All the pix are from different flickr people because I forgot my camera. Also on the tour of San Fran's greatest hits was walking from the pier to Coit Tour to Lombard St. to China town before I got to meet up with a friend.

While waiting for her in front of City Light's Bookstore, I got to witness the disturbing criminal act/street theater of a cracked-out pimp messing with his equally cracked-out prostitute. They argued in the street, got into a headlock on the sidewalk and generally freaked out the people nearby. Fortunately Kelly soon picked me up and took me on the second most crooked street in the city and later that night to the St. Francis Fountain, a nice soda fountain

St. Francis Fountain, originally uploaded by Telstar Logistics.

Kelly was a great tour guide, took me to the airport and she promised in the future to point out spelling errors/typos on my site, which she reads on a regular basis. What else could I ask for? So, Kelly, thanks for a great end to a long week.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Things that Make Me Happy/Sad


Oh, hell yes! Looking like a post-Easter peep left in the sun, this dancing blob of joy is a thing of beauty. Since I don't dance, I want this one to do it for me.


Oh, Comcast and HealthCare of Atlanta, your spellcheck has failed you.

Being married to an english prof. means that when I hear a sigh of disappointment often a proofreader has not done their job. She has pointed out so many public misspellings on businesses, ads, etc. This televised mistake is a particularly bad example.

Misspellings and typos are also the reason she won't read my blog, once the corrections start when would they stop? I try to be good, but I can't blame her for not taking on the task of correcting the whole blog.

Maybe the dancing blob will make her happier.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cover Tunes; My Love of Musical Blasphemy

A good cover of a song usually finds something new in an original song. Everyone and their mom seemed to cover Radiohead, and often with good results...

Paranoid Android - UMASS Drum Line: gorgeous instrumental
Just - Mark Ronson: Funked up beauty
Radiodread - Reggae covers, I especially like "Karma Police"
and Hard N Phirm's ''Rodeohead" - Blue-grass medley, funny! Audio hosted by a fan, strange interface, worth the listen.

Long ago I grabbed the "Skeet Spirit: The Krunk Tribute to Radiohead" and now it's nowhere to be found. Worth hunting.

A greatly bad cover is all the better in my book. Rod Stewart's "Do You Think I'm Sexy" took a hit from the Revolting Cocks and Those Damn Accordions. Accordian make everything better from The Dead Kennedys (Duckmandu) to Pink Floyd (Polka Floyd).

Copy, Right? has been favorite of mine for introducing me to covers I never would have heard. Most recently found on that site the Monsieur Blumenberg cover of "Can't Get you Out of My Head" by Kylie Minogue. The occasional pop trash makes me all the happier, and this strange loungey/electro cover works fine for me.

And that's what I have to say about covers.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Travel (In-State), Travel (To San Francisco), and Travel (Hypothetical)

Did you know that The Peach State has a grape-themed highway. The Georgia Wine Highway is just that highway, and last week me and the missus hit a couple of the vineyards in the northern part of the state. A late start meant only getting to visit two places, but the vino-loving better half enjoyed the free wine from Frogtown Cellars and BlackStock Vineyards and Winery.

BlackStock Vineyards also had the added benefit of having small animals nearby. Goats are strange with their sideways eyes. Weird, I tell you!

In a few short days, I will be heading to San Francisco for another cruiseship job . I like the city but doubt I will see much of it at all. Hopefully a meal at Mel's if I have the time.

Finally, we are starting to discuss the merits of different places to visit. I say Hong Kong for the inexpensive hand-tailored men's suits. Suggestions, recommendations, horrifying tales of unending fear. Do tell. In the mean time, enjoy this website from Vice magazine

VICE: The Vice Guide to Travel

Places visited include:
The Gun Markets of Pakistan
Aryans in Paraguay
The Congo (for dinosaur hunting!)
The Slums of Rio...

(Hosted by this very white guy in a suit, while attending a party thrown by druglords!)

...and many, many more!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Itching for a Trip: The West, Abroad, and Chicago

Me and the missus are wanting to do some travel. The cruiseship work is bringing in some decent bank so a trip may be happening after school ends. The discussion ranges from "The Great American Road-Trip, Part 2" or in an aeroplane over the sea (Everywhere else in the World.)

I'd love another trip to the strange American West to see places like...

The Cabinet National Library in Cabinetlandia, Luna County, NM

Cabinetlandia National Library
Originally uploaded by Sean F.

"Cabinetlandia is located 10 miles east of the town of Deming in Luna County, New Mexico, off Interstate 10 heading east." - Cabinet Magazine Online -

Official Center of the World, Felicity, California, Felicity, AZ

Center Of The World - 010
Originally uploaded by Homer-Dog.

Center Of The World 2007 - a photoset on Flickr

Salvation Mountain, Niland, California, near the Salton Sea

Salvation Mountain
Originally uploaded by CharlieChu.

As for global travel, as long as being white Americans doesn't mean immanent danger anything goes. Spain, South-East Asia, India, Croatia, Black Sea, etc. Chances are a cheap airfare to someplace will determine where we go.

As for Chicago, well that's a long shot. But The Boring Store would be destination #1.

The Boring Store
Originally uploaded by ScanTheVan.

The store is a combination spy-shop/after-school education program founded by novelist Dave Eggers who also started McSweeney's Magazine. Read this article for pictures and commentary on what may be the coolest place that "is not a spy store."