Monday, October 29, 2007

The Highland Games

Last weekend I went with a group of friends to The Highland Games at Stone Mountain Park. It's an annual Scottish festival with lots kilts, bagpipes, and beer.

Some year I am actually going to watch the games. I know there's all kinds of competition, but somehow I never get around to seeing it. I did see one caber toss from a distance this year. That's pretty much where a guy tries to flip a telephone pole (okay, I exaggerate a little) end over end.

I had my first (and probably last) experience eating haggis. It wasn't as bad as the hype, but it still wasn't fantastic. I can do without it.

By the end of the festival, we all decided we would save up for a kilt (well, at $1,000 a pop, maybe not) and go back again next year. Next time I really, REALLY will watch the games. I promise.

Check out some photos here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Star Trek Role Reversal

Recently there has been a good bit of buzz in the sci-fi world about a new Star Trek movie set during the era of the original series. Clearly the original actors can't play the roles at this point, so the characters have been recast. That's right! As sacreligious as it may sound, someone other than William Shatner will play Captain Kirk. And our pointy-eared friend Spock? Well, let's just say Leonard Nimoy can finally rest easy about not being Spock.

A good part of the buzz has revolved around which up and coming actors will play these famous roles. Over the last few months the parts have been doled out to some familiar faces. I have to admit the choices seem pretty good. I am most interested in the casting of Zachary Quinto (of Heroes fame) as Spock.

This afternoon I got to thinking about how strange it is to see these old, familiar roles filled by different actors. Then I wondered what it would be like if the tables were turned. What would it be like if the Star Trek actors took on the roles of the up and coming actors? Here's the result:

Here's William Shatner starring opposite Lindsay Lohan in Just My Luck (in lieu of Chris Pine, our new Captain Kirk). Yeah, that looks awkward to me too.

Watch out! Sinister power-stealing Sylar is now being played by Leonard Nimoy. This is going to be a major upgrade from the Vulcan nerve pinch.

Next up, DeForest Kelley as Eomer from The Lord of the Rings movies. He graciously stepped in to fill Karl Urban's armor. (He's our new McCoy!)

Fan favorite Scotty is slated to be played by English actor Simon Pegg, who was recently in Shaun of the Dean and Hot Fuzz. So naturally James Doohan has been cast as top cop, Nicholas Angel.

What would the bridge of the Enterprise do without our favorite Asian helmsman, Hikaru Sulu? Never fear; the role will be filled by John Cho from Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. I have to say that Kumar's "come hither" stare at Harold makes much more sense now!

Give me an "A"! Give me a "T"! Give me an "L"!

Lately I've been spending a lot of time at Stone Mountain Park. Specifically on the mountain itself as I have been climbing it nearly every day (except this week because I am house sitting... something I am coming to realize is the bane of my fitness).

I've noticed all sorts of things from the U.S. Coast & Geodetic Survey marker that is firmly cemented in place at the peak (which I ritualistically tap with my toe every time I get to the top) to the 20-foot, faded yellow letters that spell "ATLANTA" in front of the building at the summit. Though I have no proof, I assume it was put there in the early days of aviation to guide pilots to the Atlanta airport. Indeed there is also the number "19" and an arrow that points just south of the city, which is where the airport is. I think this is incredibly interesting.

Sadly, this label is deteriorating rapidly and there is likely no record of it ever being there. So, I guess this is my attempt at preserving this information for generations to come. Check out the images to the left. One image shows how I imagine the label must look from the air. I found the image of Stone Mountain on Google Maps and then superimposed the letters on top. The letters themselves are not visible in the aerial photography. Another image shows how the last "A" in Atlanta appears if you are standing at the top of the mountain (it's animated with an outline to help you see it).


Links of Interest

10 Bizarre Ancient Artifacts
Windows Vista Explained
The 10 Most Sublimely Scary Scenes in Cinema
Apollo 11 moon panorama

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Opera at the new Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre

My mom recently got tickets for the opera Turendot and asked me to join her. I am not normally a fan of opera, but one of my favorite pieces of music is a movement from this opera. It's called Nessen Dorma, and was famously sung by Luciano Pavarotti. I gladly accepted.

We stopped off first at Top Spice, one of my favorite Thai restaurants. The mango chicken was just as good as I remembered it!

Then we were off to the opera. Cobb county's new performing arts center (or as they spell it, "centre") is the new home of the Atlanta opera, and is a fantastic building. My mother later shared with me that one of our old church members was the architect and wanted to know what we thought. Well, simply put, it was fantastic. I was greatly impressed by the use of some type of stone that was back lit. It reminded me of the alabaster from Egypt that vendors would shine a light through to show that it was genuine. Very beautiful.

The show itself was much like I expected an opera to be. There really isn't much action on the stage. It's more just a bunch of folks singing, which just doesn't hold my attention. (Hey I'm from the internet generation. Having a short attention span is pretty much an epidemic at this point.) However, the fantastic costumes, sets, and lighting did catch my attention. They were fantastic! What really saved me in this opera were the projected translations. Thanks goodness for the translations, or I would have been lost. Then came the precious Nessen Dorma, the wonderful Tenor solo I was looking forward to. It was great, but it seemed so short compared to the rest of the opera. It was over before I really had begun to enjoy it.

All in all it was a good night. As we left I got my mom to take this jokey picture of me holding a "light saber". It is really just one of the lamps on the sidewalk in front of the center.


Links of Interest

Internet People - An animated compilation of wacky stuff from the internet.
Wilhelm Scream Compilation - Hollywood's most famous stock-audio scream and all its uses.
Lunation - One photo of the moon every day during the lunar month - notice the "wobble" called libration. Source
25 Reasons You Might Be A Hardcore Graphic/Web Designer - This is so true it's not funny.

Nana & Dindaddy's 60th Wedding Annivarsary

A few weeks ago I joined my grandparents and a few other family members on a trip to Augusta for a trip down memory lane. My grandparents were celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and my mom thought it would be great to revisit a few of those years. My grandparents live in August in the late forties and into the fifties before moving to the Atlanta area because of a job transfer.

We visited their old, small house, their church, my grandfather's Tri-State Tractor office (which is now a church), the home of my mom's childhood piano teacher, and one of their favorite restaurant destinations; Luigi's. It seems Luigi's had changed quite a bit over the years. While the food was good, apparently it used to be GREAT! I heard them remark so many times about how much times had changed. They remarked on how Augusta used to be a pretty good place for opportunity, but is now a rather depressed area.

I did find out that my grandmother was a rather feisty young lady in those days. She explained how my grandfather's coworker kept telling her that one of the office secretaries was putting the moves on my grandfather. She became jealous and even walked a few miles to confront her in person about it. Fortunately the secretary wasn't there because my grandmother said she was going to berate her so bad my grandfather might have lost his job. As it turns out, the secretary was not flirting with my grandfather. She was messing around with my grandfather's coworker though... the one who was getting my grandmother all riled up in the first place. Turns out he was trying to get some of the guilt/pressure off of himself.

We also visited the grave sites of two of my uncles. One of them, Michael, died in infancy in the 50's, and the other, Joe, passed away in 1995 in a car accident.

Sadly we were unable to locate Michael's marker and were afraid it was lost. However, this is a "perpetual care" cemetery (something I had never heard of) and these sorts of things are not supposed to happen in a perpetual care cemetery. My grandfather, my uncle Ronnie and I went to the office and asked the undertaker about it. He sifted through a file and found the original sales slip for the marker, confirming that it was supposed to me there.

We all headed back out to the plot where the marker was supposed to be. The undertaker surveyed the site for a few moments with a rather perplexed look on his face before pulling a ball point pen from his pocked. He stabbed the ground with it repeatedly. After a few stabs we all heard a metallic "clink". He found the marker, which was buried beneath two or three inches of sandy soil.

The undertaker claimed that the marker was originally placed on a cement slab, which over time disintegrated and sank into the ground. I think that's a bit fishy, but my grandfather decided to upgrade to a granite slab anyhow to prevent this type of thing from happening again. None of the other markers that were placed on granite seemed to be sinking, so perhaps there's some truth to his story.

Anyway, it was good to spend time with my grandparents and hear their stories. Some of them I had heard before, but it was great to hear them in context, at the places where they actually happened.


Links of Interest

California fires from the space shuttle
American Consumption - An artist's visual representation of our wastefulness
God's email inbox
Harvard goes Halo - Reminds me of the R2-D2 prank someone did at MIT in 1999.
Stephen Colbert Announces Run for White House! - I can't wait to see how this turns out!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ann Coulter... HACKED!

Bwa hahahahahahaha. How funny. Someone hacked Ann Coulter's website yesterday and posted this article. Priceless! Though it's sad that it isn't true. Click the image for a larger version.