Known Johnson

February 26, 2005

I suppose it’s actually kind of sad

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:51 am

. . . that it took me two hours after I woke up to realize that it’s my birthday. So I celebrated with a piece of hamburger cake from yesterday at work.

You can’t tell me you’re not jealous that you didn’t get a hamburger cake on your birthday.

Before you ask: 32, but mentally about 10. However, this whole “forgetting it’s my birthday” thing is probably the early onset of Alzheimer’s.

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February 25, 2005

It’s looking a little cramped in there

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 6:24 am

We were lucky again and got another ultrasound in lieu of hearing the heartbeat, as Alissa has something referred to as a “bounding heartbeat,” which is perfectly normal and basically means that because her heart is pushing around so much extra blood, it beats really loudly, washing out the sound of the baby’s heartbeat. We could see the baby’s heart beating very clearly, and “he” (we have to give “it” a gender because it sounds cruel to keep saying “it”) once again kicked for us. The head is at left and I think the face is facing “up,” but we’re not entirely sure if that’s what we are looking at. The spine is the line going slightly down from left to right. We could see the legs and arms more clearly on-screen there, but they just don’t show up in the printout. The baby is just over 2.75 inches long here (which is three times the size it was a month ago.) We were both a little disappointed to not hear the heart, but she said that next time we should definitely be able to hear the heart beat.

The unfortunate thing we found out at the appointment is that Alissa’s doctor is also pregnant and is due exactly a month before she is, and it’s likely that she will not be back to work before Alissa gives birth. It’s a relatively minor problem, as the doctors at this office works on a rotating basis, so we might not have seen her anyway. And really, how upset can you be that your doctor herself will be out with her new baby?

February 24, 2005

Suspended Animation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:17 pm

Fantomas fans rejoice, as their fourth album, Suspended Animation, will find its way to stores in April. And following the tradition of sorts, the album will have a theme – cartoon music, and enough of them that the calendar dates of the month of April are the song titles. (For reference: the first self-titled release presented a musical interpretation of a comic book, the second, The Director’s Cut, was theme music from classic films, and, Delirium Cordia, the third, was a one-hour long single-track dedicated to some horrifying surgical incident.) Aside from ex-Faith No More/Mr. Bungle singer Mike Patton’s lyrics on the second album, each Fantomas piece has been filled with nonsensical examples his incredible vocal dexterity. If there’s a better male vocalist in rock, well, there just isn’t so I don’t have to bother coming up with an ultimatum.

Check out a sample from Suspended Animation here.

February 19, 2005

Buying for baby, vol. 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:57 am

After weeks of hesitance and hemming and hawing, we finally began looking around for “baby stuff” last weekend. And then wished we hadn’t.

It should be pretty simple. A crib, a stroller, a changing table, a car seat, a mattress for the crib, a little baby bathtub, diaper garbage-cans, electric rocker and this and that and four more of this . . . and oh, my God, there’s a million different versions of each one of these, all of them both just similar enough and just different enough that it’s almost impossible to determine why one is better than the other one.

“This stroller’s got rubber tires.”

“Is that good?”

“I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be a softer ride? Here’s one with three big wheels, and it goes off-road!”

“We’re not taking the baby off-road.”

“But look how cool it is! And you never know.”

“We’re not taking the baby off-road.”

And there’s the choice between the ones that have car seats included and ones that don’t. Why would you ever buy one that didn’t have a car seat built into it? But then I started thinking that we have two cars, and we’ll need two car seats. Are they all compatible, or are we going to have to make sure to buy two of the same thing from the same company? And why does this stroller cost $259 and this one is only $109? They look the same. They do the same thing. What is the difference here?!

Of course, they only had one of the off-road strollers . . . the choice is pretty much made for us there . . .

“We’re not taking the baby off-road.”

Baby name suggestions for week 13

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:42 am

Boy: Jello
Girl: Jello

Endless rain, and an endorsement of Firefox

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:25 am

Phoenix has apparently turned into Seattle, as we seem to have had more rainy days than not lately. The evidence is supported by my favorite Firefox extension, ForecastFox*:

That’s 6 days of rain, followed by what will probably be a brief appearance of what is normally an Arizona staple, sunshine. And it rained both yesterday AND Thursday. The state has apparently received double the amount of rain we’re supposed to get by now, and it’s just overwhelming. You’d think we’d be crazy to complain about getting rain, since it’ll be 110 degrees in June, but this is a desert, people – we don’t have the vegetation needed to keep all this water from washing the soil away. It’s a freakin’ mess.

In the past two-plus months, I can’t remember a week that didn’t have rain. I haven’t washed either of our cars in weeks, and when I did wash mine, it rained a few days later. Futile. Our yard is chock-full of weeds, but it’s been raining every weekend so I can neither get out tos spray them, nor can I pull them unless I feel like getting soaked. It’s rather annoying, in general.

*What? You’re not using Firefox? Are you crazy? Internet Explorer is like an open invitation for viruses and hackers. Plus, not only does Firefox have really wonderful things like tabbed-browsing (once you start using this you’ll never be able to go back to IE’s multiple-windows approach to browsing,) it also has a loaded butt’s worth of very cool extensions.

What are my favorite extensions? I’m glad you asked! Besides ForecastFox, I regularly use . . .

DictionarySearch – simply highlight a word with your mouse, right-click, and Firefox will open a tab with a dictionary.com page for that word.

AutoCopy – highlight what you want to copy, then paste it with the usual Ctrl-V. I know, a way to skip the Ctrl-C seems lazy, but once you start using this, it’s really quite nice.

AdBlock – As the name says, it blocks ads you don’t want to see. Pitchforkmedia has a really annoying habit of filling their page with ads for the gross SuicideGirls (who I guess are heavily pierced and tattooed “bad girls” with webcams – no thanks) and all I have to do is right-click, choose “AdBlock” and the ad’s gone. Even better, I can modify the setting so that anything from SuicideGirls is blocked simply by using a wild-card (“*”) in place of the specific ad.

What better end to a post about rain and Firefox than pointing out that I have absolutely no idea how to actually end this post with anything particularly witty or meaningful?

February 17, 2005

Gee, mail?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 6:35 am

After what seems like an eternity, I finally found that most coveted of emails in my inbox: the Gmail invite from Google. Yeah, I know, I’m like the last person on earth to get one. Don’t harsh my buzz, dude. (Out of character, I know – I’ve been waiting to use that phrase for quite a while now.) I can now go about my day with the content, golden glow of someone who has been deemed worthy.

Now I just have to think of something to do with it. Email me suggestions at tcj226 (at) gmail.com. That’ll give me an excuse to actually check it when I get home tonight.

February 13, 2005

Save Arrested Development

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 10:20 pm

(Note: this was posted at Blogcritics on Thursday, then the site crashed before I got a chance to post it here. Now it’s here for posterity.)

Fox is apparently at it again, this time in a move that leaves little doubt that Arrested Development’s head is on the chopping block.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Fox Broadcasting Co. plans to shuffle its Sunday comedy lineup in May to make room for the addition of new cartoon “American Dad” on May 1.

As part of the schedule change, the network has opted to reduce the episode order on the Emmy-winning ratings laggard “Arrested Development,” but the specifics still are being worked out.

As of May 1, “American Dad” will slide into “Arrested’s” 8:30 p.m. slot behind “The Simpsons.” For the first three weeks of the month, “Dad” will be followed at 9 p.m. by another original “Simpsons” episode.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Seasons don’t just get shortened – it is almost always the death knell for a series. What can you do to save the best show on TV? Here are some options:

Sign the petition. Anyone know if these things even work? Probably a long shot, but it’s worth a try.

Better yet, send some words . . .

Gail Berman
Fox Broadcasting Entertainment President
Fox Headquarters
10201 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles CA
90035.

or:

Gail Berman, President
Fox Broadcasting Company
P.O. Box 900
Beverly Hills, California
90213

E-mail: gail.berman@fox.com

Extension: 237626

Fox’s Viewer Comment Hotline: 1-800-369-6848

Even better: how about getting everyone you know to watch the show?

UPDATED TO ADD:

I emailed the link above and received this reply:

Dear Arrested Development Fans:

Thank you for your e-mail and your passionate support of Arrested Development. While the show has finished production for its second season, contrary to the rumors you may have heard or read on the internet, it is NOT cancelled.

We at FOX love Arrested Development and we look forward to having the Bluth family back on FOX in the future – hopefully for many years. You can help make the show a bigger success by getting as many people as possible to start watching the show this Sunday and every Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Sincerely,

Fox Broadcasting Company

Let’s hope this is true.

Grammies . . . yawn redux: barf

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 9:49 pm

The group performance of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” is truly horrendous. I don’t think it’s possible for them to pick a more vocally-disparate group of people. Did they even practice this? I know it’s for charity and all, but holy hell, that was a terrible, awful, very not good performance.

Edited to add: Why am I still watching this crap? Arrested Development’s over (for three weeks!) and there’s simply no other options. It’s shocking what boredom will cause you to do.

Grammies . . . yawn

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tom @ 8:45 pm

The Grammies are just starting on TV right now, and while I’m feeling a particularly aggressive amount of apathy toward them this year, I still feel the need to make some comments on the upcoming proceedings. Really, the only consequential awards I give a damn about this year are in two categories:

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal

Elvis Costello & The Imposters – “Monkey To Man”
Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out”
Green Day – “American Idiot”
The Killers – “Somebody Told Me”
U2 – “Vertigo”

And:

Best Alternative Music Album

Bjork – Medulla
Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her
Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News
Wilco – A Ghost Is Born

Let’s run through these one by one:

Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal

Elvis Costello & The Imposters – “Monkey To Man” – My favorite in this category, and one of my favorite tracks of the year. Elvis’ little yelp that starts this song off is without a doubt one of my favorite musical moments of the year. It’s got a great late-60s garage throwback feel about it and is one of Elvis’ most invigorating performances of the past 15 years.

Franz Ferdinand – “Take Me Out” – O the hype on this band, o the overblown hype. I can think of only one other band whose hype has so outgrown their relative value, and that is Maroon 5. These two bands both bore and annoy me at the same time, a feat that is relatively difficult to induce because the two traits tend to cancel each other out.

Green Day – “American Idiot” – All I can say is, good for Green Day. They’ve stuck it out, shed the overbearing weight of trying to be legit in the punk genre, which is notoriously and hypocritically anti, well, everything related to success. I’m not a fan, but I’d be pleased to see these guys take the award.

The Killers – “Somebody Told Me” – I get it, I just don’t really care. Actually, toss these guys in the “hype outweighs value” category I created above.

U2 – “Vertigo” – This is U2 trying real hard to be rockin’ 25 years after they began. So few bands pull it off, and in this case, U2 just sounds like they’re trying to show they can still bring the rock, when what they really do so well anymore are the rousing mid-tempo ballads. There are other better songs on How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb.

Best Alternative Music Album

Bjork – Medulla – Well, it’s an interesting album, I guess. I was really intrigued by it for a while, then slowly started realizing that I really didn’t like any of the songs on it. I was just intrigued by the concept of “all vocals, no instruments,” but in the end it just bored the living hell out of me.

Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand – See my first reference to them, please.

PJ Harvey – Uh Huh Her – A sersiously underwhelming album, especially when held up against what she’s accomplished in the rest of her career. Taken by itself, it’s mostly just grating. I really don’t know why this was nominated.

Modest Mouse – Good News For People Who Love Bad News – One of the few examples of an album that gets huge, yet the hype doesn’t overpower the actual music. It’s a grower of an album, which are always the best albums, and I’m glad to see it nominated. Surprised, because I can’t imagine that many of the non-indie rock fans are actually listening to the whole album and not just the two big singles, but glad nonetheless.

Wilco – A Ghost Is Born – The most complex and demanding album of the year, yet the most rewarding, which is why it arrived at number one on my list (tied with two others, however.) This is a more challenging, meaningful, and lasting album than Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, but it will unfortunately never match the impact that album had because it’s far too subtle and lacked the power of the long, well publicised struggle of YHF’s birth. I already know it wins, and deservedly so.

And Bill Frisell won the “Best Contemporary Jazz Album” award for his wonderful Unspeakable. I only balk at his winning simply because, while it is a great album, Medeski, Martin, & Wood’s End Of The World Party (Just In Case) was a better jazz album, but I don’t know that I’d list them as “contemporary” – but what are they?

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