Wednesday, November 23, 2005

COM: Blogarithmic #61

First let's take a look at blog carnivals of the week:

I and the Bird #11 has made a triumphant entrance at The House and Other Arctic Musings. It continues to grow and has a huge list of excellent posts to peruse. Stop on over at The House.

The third edition of Circus of the Spineless is gearing up over at Urban Dragon Hunters. If you've been blogging about the little critters, be sure and cast a note over to Nannothemis to be included. We're looking for hosts also beginning in late winter. If you're interested in hosting, be sure to give me a shout here.

The Carnival of the Green, dedicated to sustainability and organic products, is already on edition three over at Sustainablog. Give it a look if that's your thing.

And also in the realm of environmental science and my buds in the enviroblog world, Mike Bergin at 10,000 Birds, Charlie Moores at Charlie's Bird Blog, Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis, and Pamela Martin of Thomasburg Walks, have come up with a new blog dedicated to reviews of birding hardware (and software too i suppose). It's the Birding Gear Big Board. By shopping via that route you also help the reviewers cover their blog expenses.

By the way Charlie has a very cool picture of a partial albino Cactus Wren on his site here. For those who are lost in the complexities of albinism and other pigment aberrations, here's my explanation with links to a lot of examples. Unfortunately you'll have to take a look quick -- there are no permalinks on his site -- so scroll down until you find the pictures.

I'm one of those obsessive fools who gets caught up in seeing what search terms people are using when they find my blog. Google searches are the major way in which people find me, except when there's a blog carnival going on. So i've had a lot of fun laughing at what people look for, sometimes being completely creeped out, but nevertheless enjoying the prospecting. I've posted twice on this very thing here and here. I bring this up now because one of the other major ways folks come to visit is by theft of a sort. People, well-versed in writing code, will link to pictures on other sites to avoid having to use their own bandwidth -- this ostensibly saves them money but uses up bandwidth and in the case of a popular picture or site could cost the original posted money as well without them understanding why. The point is that a number of people have linked to pictures on my blog in this manner. It hasn't cost me (yet) but it is somewhat annoying. I'd rather they just took the picture and used it or linked to the post. Oh well. Anyway, there are about five of my pictures (or ones i stole . . .) being linked to out there that send a significant amount of traffic my way (oddly enough, because of how Blogger works, if someone finds the pic on a Google image search and clicks on it they get to my blog but not the particular post with the picture and with no idea how to find it in my archives they may never see it again). The two most popular pictures are of a Black Widow bite, and of Sam the World's Ugliest Dog. My site in fact is the number one rated source for a picture of that dog. I mention it now because overnight there was a huge increase in visitors to see pictures of the dog. I found out today it's probably because the dog died this week.

You'll see i'm finally getting a chance, via the holidays, to do some much needed link updating, and posting on a wide variety of things i've neglected. I have excuses of course -- several days in Corpus for the Texas Thespians Conference, a half dozen days spent doing programs for area schools and museums, nightly rehearsals for Our Town, a bout with an unidentified bodily dysfunction, and engaging in experience-taking which cuts into experience-writing. Well, enough of that. Let's get to the good part.

First, Taylor Faust is coming home for the holidays, and it was particularly heartwarming the last couple of days to see "Welcome Home Taylor" and "We Love You Taylor" signs posted all over town -- from the hurricane fence at the elementary school, to every church marquee in town, and plastered on store windows from one end of Ingram to the other. Welcome home Taylor!

Brittany Parks (front center), one of the stars of The Extra Mile, has a nice bio on the new TapKids website.

Curtis Cummings is getting married this weekend. It's a wedding i have to attend -- Curtis and his family are some of the finest folks i have ever known, but right now there seems to be an awful conspiracy against me making it. Curtis played for me at Tivy, helped lead them to back to back playoff runs, and is just as fine a young man as is possible. In the last couple of weeks i've been posting about the World Scholar-Athlete Games -- Curtis not only attended in 1997, but followed up with a stay at the 1998 Ireland Scholar-Athlete Games.

Heard this week also that Scott Fair, Tivy's first-ever All-District player, and Larry Webb, a fine goalkeeper for Grace Christian School, teamed up this fall to coach their own boys' soccer team. I'm getting old . . . fast.

Old Vista-Bubblians will remember Billy and Cody Carter of the famous Carter clan. Why famous -- well Billy worked here as a wrangler in the 60s. Then he sent his son Cody and daughter Sara here in the 90s -- where they each met their future spouses Kris and Sean. Sara and Sean have already produced Cameron for their Vista third generation. Anyway, Billy and Cody stopped by for a long chat yesterday. Billy's coaching Tennis and teaching in Waxahachie. Cody's still in the Air Froce stationed in Avianno, Italy but has been back for a while. His office is in the old Executive Office Building next to the White House. He had some cool pics from his window.

Three Tivy baseball players, and old students/players/friends have college webpages up: they're Todd Sebek, Kevin Whelan and Jake Rippee.

Football this week looks like this: Texas A&M gets slaughtered by Texas, 11 a.m. Friday at Kyle Field. It's cool though that they'll be honoring Cotton Bowl MVP Bucky Richardson and 12 A&M First-round NFL draft picks: Patrick Bates, Bubba Bean, Reggie Brown, Quentin Coryatt, Curtis Dickey, Jacob Green, Greg Hill, Robert Jackson, Charlie Milstead, Gale Oliver, Kevin Smith and Richmond Webb. P.s. try to find an article about the game on the A&M Sports homepage . . . as of this writing there isn't one.

The hot Smithson Valley Rangers take on Laredo United, 2 p.m. Friday at Smithson Valley; and the undefeated, blisteringly hot 2nd-ranked Highland Park Scots take on Ennis, 1 p.m. Friday at Texas Stadium.

The last couple of days, Clifton Fifer and i did programs at Nimitz Elementary and Peterson Middle School, and at Tivy High School last week. Now i do regular programs at Talley Elementary, but these other schools haven't been on my radar for a few years. The best part of course was being able to see some folks i haven't seen in a long, long time. I know i'll forget some folks because i saw so many, but it was great seeing and talking to Melody Baskin, Heather Engstrom, Wade Ivy, Steve Peters, Chana Johnson, Molly Waldrop, Curtis Foos, Randy Sibley, Cherry Rippee, Mary Lou Miller with word of Nathan, Steve Rippee, Pilar Gregory, Gwen Fikes, Bessie Fifer, Jacob Gold, Durrell Grisebaum, and some others i know i'm forgetting. I'll come back and fill in when i remember.

Speaking of Tivy, we were scheduled for a program there at midday for all the students at their lunches. It was Veterans Day and the afternoon of Tivy's first round playoff game. They'd built a semicircle of haybales for the kids to sit on and dug a pit and built a campfire. It was a very nice setup. Except that they put up a PA system across the way from us for the kids to dance to and it was so loud we couldn't even hear ourselves, so we ended up sitting on the bales for about four hours talking to kids and teachers we knew. We had a great time, but it didn't follow the master plan. A couple of days later i felt a stinging sensation on my forehead and put my hand there to discover a blister, a huge blister. I looked in the mirror and the center of my forehead had half-moon shaped blister on it. Those who know me personally know i wear a baseball cap backwards almost all the time. Well the temps had hit 85 that day, aside from the fire, and i guess i was facing the sun all afternoon. My forehead is still peeling, and i have an awkward shaped tanline.

Speaking of temperature -- it hit 87 here today. I'd call that a bit useasonably warm. It was a very pleasant 87 though. Normally 87 here, like in the spring, can be downright hot, but with a sun already low in the sky it was really nice. We had one overnight freeze a couple of weeks ago, and last week we had about seven days straight where the night temps hovered around freezing, but generally it's been quite mild. I broke out a jacket for the first time last Thursday. Funny thing is it was colder in Corpus than here -- mostly because there was a 25 mile an hour wind blowing all weekend. Yet, we've not had a single day of truly nasty weather. In an average year Thanksgiving weekend is when the first really ugly front hits. I used to measure it by football and soccer season, but it's always been Thanksgiving week. So it's no surprise that this weekend we have thunderstorms predicted in front of a cold wave. So far, it doesn't look like the big one -- they're not predicting any freezing nights at all -- but the combination of rain and cold is never welcomed by me.

I've got some reviews coming up for Volcano, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and Walk the Line; and a review of the Thespians Conference and various pieces i saw performed there. One of my recent projects has been to duplicate all my reviews on a blog site devoted just to those. It's at milkriverreviews.

The Cailloux Theater is producing The Nutcracker on Saturday the 26th at 2 and 7:30. And A Christmas Carol opens at the Point on December 1st. STAGE auditions for Feather of the Eagle are also on tap this next weekend.

Some losses: i am late in finding out that, though he survived the initial onslaught of Hurricane Katrina, Clarence Gatemouth Brown did not survive the upheaval. He was one of the truly great blues musicians of the so-called second wave, and a personal favorite. Also passing away this week was Link Wray. Link has always been a sort of rock and roll enigma. He was a taste of Jimi Hendrix before Jimi wandered onto the scene, and yet Link has never gotten the public credit for his innovations. He's now considered the father of both the power chord and the fuzzbox. As young folks will be completely oblivious to the history of their generations favorites, so was i completely ignorant of Link Wray until he came to CS for a concert. I worked the follow spot for his concert and was completely blown away. Not only did i not know his history, but at that point i'd never even heard his name -- i though he was some second-rate act brought in to quiet the college masses. I learned different after that night. Of course, by then he was a kind of footnote already, and has hardly been heard from since. And i'd let him slip from my own consciousness until reading of his death last night. I'll be posting obits of both these guys tonight.

Mongolia seems to have one for our MiC and little Georgie seems to be sweet on Mongolia, so i was hoping he'd call home, ala Michael Jackson, and tell us he's decided to stay there, and then we can get on with reclaiming the constitution and trying to make our democracy whole again. He really ought to feel right at home over there.

The cool stuff from the web this week:

Pharyngula's PZ Myers gets profiled in the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages. Very cool dude.

Arianna Huffington has 15 questions for Bob Woodward.

You know you've always wanted a big plush doll of the Black Death microbe. Get yours, or another vile germplasm here.

If you thought that The Complete works of Willm Shakespeare (Abridged) was short and sweet, check out Romeo & Juliet rendered entirely in emoticons.

e-Naturalist links to us in their online unit about bird migration.

Some time ago i posted here an email version of a list-serv parody of a light-bulb group. Here's a slight variation on the joke posted online.

Well, if you ask me he really is kind of shallow, but Scott Adams, who pens/crayons Dilbert, asked for people to tell him why he's stupid, and then shot down their arguments by claiming they weren't really arguments, and then ran a lengthy post telling people how to make arguments that aren't really arguments. Get it? Well here. Here's a better rendition of the same . . . argument.

This is a two-year-old story, but it seems to making the rounds now: Herring communicate by passing gas.

And finally, at critic they take us on a tour of the M-i-Cs Asian whistletop and dissect the behind the wall photo ops. Who knew?

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