Point Me

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Nothing makes me tear up more than loving dads on tv in and in movies. Particularly dad-daughter interactions on shows like "Intervention" (guilty pleasure), where they reveal the loving vulnerability under their stern exterior.

This picture is like the opposite of that.

"After 14 months at sea on her majesty's frigate, Whitby, seaman Anthony Bennett meets his baby for the first time."

Monday, April 26, 2010


The original 90 page manuscript that Lewis Carroll gave Alice Liddell:

I always thought the mock turtle part of the story was weird, probably because I found the idea of eating a turtle unfathomable.

This book is 146 years old. Wow!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Adventures in Panoply

As the fundraiser I'm organizing for work gets closer and closer, I'm finding myself going out into the community a lot more often to sell ads and beg for items for the auction.

On Friday, Kerry and I went together to Whiskey Hill Sports, in West Warren (people who live there seem to take the "west" vs. regular Warren thing very seriously, even though they are not geographically or technically distinct). The owner of the store, who likes to go by "Bope" invited us to come by and pick out some things for the event, which was super nice and generous of him.

Oh yeah, I should probably mention that Whiskey Hill sports is primarily a gun store. I was a little intimidated by the whole concept of going there (especially after having a look at certain parts of the store's website), which is why I asked Kerry to come with me. I can honestly say though, that going to this store was a really cool and unexpectedly fun and interesting experience. Bope has more guns and knives than Higgins Armory, and some of them are in considerably better shape. The place was like an antiques store and a bunker mixed together with a auto dealership, and the owner took us on a really sweet guided tour of his wares.

Things you can buy at Whiskey Hill Sports:

- Airsoft guns
-Modern and antique bows and arrows
- The bowie knife from Clint Eastwood's "Unforgiven", Or as Bope put it "That knife he sliced up the whore with." Incidentally, Bope also has a special bowie knife that was personally made for him by the master knife maker who made that one for Eastwood.
-A 6 foot long flint lock gun from the civil war
-Guns from WWI and WWII
-Guns from Vietnam to present
- Antique Leg Irons
- A signed Mickey Mouse collectors plate from the 40's
- 90 year old cast iron toy cars
- Motorcycles
- Tasers
- A Music Box that looks like a German Beer stein and plays "Little Brown Jug"
-Maple Syrup
- Ride-on-lawn Mower
-Antique Chinese Cigarette case
- Incredibly beautiful Stained Glass Wheel Kaleidoscopes
- One of these:
Which Bope let me try on. Badass, beautiful and dangerous!
- Samurai Swords
- Japanese Anti-aircraft guns from WWII
- Antique bullets from every period in gun manufacturing.
- Various fiber-optic light decorations (one shaped like an Eagle!)
- A taxidermy'd chicken
- Watches
- He even had a "ladies" gun department, where he kept tiny, feminine pistols.

Also present but not for sale was a glass grenade style fire extinguisher from the 1950's, tons of pictures from hunting trips and trophies (dead animals.com) and Bope's first teddy bear that he got the day he was born.

There was a ton of other really unique and interesting stuff too. The store is also equipped with a wicked intense surveillance system that films that beeps when cars pull into the driveway. I guess that's fair though, when you've got so many guns around. I've got a soft spot in my heart for these intense wildernessy hunter guys, who love the second amendment and being manly. Though it's not entirely my cup of tea, their primeval survival skills really impress me.

Thanks for the donation Bope, you're the man.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Birds of Pray"

Threadless never disappoints.

A case of mistaken identity

Paul and I rented Inglorius Bastards, using our netflix account to stream it through our Wii. It was pretty cool. The video streamed exceptionally well, and best of all, no commercials!

After waiting for Brad Pitt to show up for about 45 minutes, we eventually realized that we had rented Inglorious Bastards (1978), instead of Inglorious Basterds (2009).

This movie really didn't disappoint though. It too was a WWII-set grindhouse movie with some racial overtones and a saucy commanding officer in a leather bomber jacket. Lots of really good fight scenes. Really, much more exciting and interesting than this poorly made trailer makes it look. I can't believe how much they focused on the train and the gyroscope!

The other weird part is how much Peter Hooten, who plays Tony (just Tony) looks like Glen Howerton from It's Always Sunny.

This Tony character also makes the similarity creepier by doing dickish, Dennis-Reynoldsy things. That nurse he's flirting with at 1:20? He started seducing her mere minutes after a different guy declared his interest. Awkward!

Anyways, really good stuff.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Fresh from the magic box

If I were a fortune teller like Richard Malkin, I would predict futures with this sweet set of Lost Tarot Cards. Too Cool.

Claire's is my favorite. I think it's really neat too how the artist used that smoky effect around the edges. Each card holds interesting and well chosen details about the survivors. It is also a quick way to learn how old all the characters are.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Shades

When I was little, I was never a huge fan of sunglasses. I think it was because once I saw a camp counselor of mine with a glaring pink raccoon eye sunburn. Being really fair skinned myself, I got paranoid that that would automatically happen to me when I wore sunglasses when it was sunny out, and that I would look as awkward as they did. I spent many summers squinting.

Recently though, I've realized that sunglasses can be indispensable. Plus, they make you look pretty darn hip. The first pair of sunglasses I fell in love with were a pair of aviators that I found on the ground at UMass. I liked to call them "the best pair of sunglasses that I never paid for."

They were pretty rad. Plus they made pretty much everybody look cool.

My Brother.My cousin Jeff.My Aunt Martha. These were all taken with a disposable camera on a muggy spring night in Cambridge. We went to see a one-man show about the life of Chopin, which was actually really awesome.

At some point though, these shades returned to the wild. Lost, but hopefully found by another person who can appreciate free accessories.

I bought my next pair when they were on super-sale at Newbury Comics in Amherst. The were wayfarers and I loved them.

They were really flattering on my face. I loved them a little too much though, and the lenses got scratched up as I carted them around everywhere in the bottoms of purses.

Last summer, I bought into the oversized sunglasses mania that seemed to be sweeping America. I used to associate big frames with old ladies and the 80's. But the look of these grew on me, and did a really good job of protecting my eyes to boot.

Unfortunately, these guys too bit the dust when one of the arms snapped off. So this year, I find myself again on the quest for good eye wear. I've been thinking about getting some Teashade frames this time. It was a look I totally rocked in 1995.

Sunglasses are a pretty sweet invention. I find it really amazing too that in a few hundred years we've gone from this:

Precursor to modern sunglasses; Inuit sun goggles
To this:

Swedish Astronaut at the International Space Station, 2006

Monday, April 12, 2010

Our New Neighbors

How exciting! My blog is exactly 1 year old today. Happy Birthday Blogz!

Also soon to celebrate a birthday are the baby birds in our car port. I'm pretty sure they are House Finches - Carpodacus Mexicanus. I saw the beautiful red-splashed male hanging around recently.

House Finches were originally indigenous to the west coast. In the 40's, New York city pet shops started selling them as "Hollywood Finches". But, as they are native N. American birds, it makes it illegal to capture and sell them. When word got out, it wasn't long before wild flocks of them started appearing near Long Island.

Now, 70 years later they have established themselves as common species from Michigan to South Carolina. Adaptable, abundant friends!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tentacle City

Octopuses are terrifying geniuses of the deep. It would be horrible if they had an uprising and enslaved the human race. But I wouldn't be totally surprised.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Last 5 Books I Read

The Time Travelers Wife
A lot of people told me how great this book was over the last few years, and I was excited to finally get a chance to read it. I really loved it too, it did not disappoint. It's definitely chick-lit at its most refined. The characters are really dynamic and interesting, and I found myself really rooting for the central relationship. The author takes the time travel concept and really puts it through its paces, playing with lots of different angles and scenarios to the plot device. She also does a really good job at hinting at the tension and darkness lurking around the corner. I recommend it to all, except maybe to boys.

Running with Scissors
I feel like this book got a lot of hype when it first came out, so my expectations were high. I didn't really like this book much though. It's a memoir that takes place right around the corner in Northampton. So it was cool to recognize all the landmarks and towns that get name-dropped. It just felt like a book that was shocking for the sake of shock value, like something the angsty kid in your creative writing class would crank out. There wasn't any depth, and the stories that were supposed to be funny just felt contrived. Of the last 5 books I read, it was my least favorite. No wonder you see so many copies of it at the League of Women Voters book sale.

The Joy Luck Club
I enjoyed this book. It was a page-turner, not very dense but full of interesting imagery and moments all the same. The characters were kind of flat, but the vivid setting and expressive storytelling makes you compelled to find out what happens next. As a narrative of the asian immigrant experience, it does come across as a little stale, falling into the same patterns of overbearing chinese mothers and self-loathing daughters who resent the pressures their parents put on them. The little vignettes in every chapter keep it compelling though. A good quick read.

Dune Messiah
When I was in high school, I had a friend who was obsessed with the Dune series. He liked it so much and so vocally, that it drove little contrary high school me to vow never to read it. However, at Paul's urging, I broke my vow and read Dune over the winter. I ended up really loving it, and was excited to read this, the second book of the series. These are great sci-fi books, epic tales of magic societies, political struggle, religious fervor and familial survival. Oh yeah, and drugz... If you like another certain story that takes place in a galaxy far far away, you'll love this preceding series.*coughgeorgelucasisacopycatcough*

Lady Chatterley's Lover
This book was not what I was expecting at all, but in a really good way. Not only is it a scandalous bodice ripper, but also a vivid portrait of England in that time period where is started to get really awkward to be the landed gentry. It hits all sorts of emotional and analytical points; the loneliness of wealth, the emasculating nature of the industrial revolution, the throes of passion, etc... Paul and I actually just started watching Mad Men, and it was crazy that this book got mentioned in one of the first episodes, while I was reading it. As the ladies on the show say, it really does paint a picture of a society where everyone thinks marriage is a joke. Also, it has some really scintillating naughty bits. I don't think most people thought much of it though when I read it in public. Once again recommend it to all, except maybe the boys...

Becoming the Leif Ericson of music

We're lucky to live near a college with an awesome radio station. I recently rediscovered WMUA on a long drive.

I wasn't surprised at all to find that I didn't know any of the music the station was playing. I haven't really bothered with keeping up with the music scene lately (AKA the last 7 years), and certainly haven't gone out of my way much to unearth new bands to like. In fact, I've always found "what kind of music do you listen to?" to be an awkward question, because it's something I don't focus on much.

To my surprise though, I really enjoyed listening to a sampling of bands out of the ether, and hearing things I'd never heard before. It was a pleasure that I hadn't really embraced since high school. It definitely made me more interested in hearing some more new sounds.

My favorite new discovery is "I don't mind" by Slumber Party. When I first heard the song, I thought they were saying "I just want to get drunk." I was a little disappointed to find out that that was not the case.....

Friday, April 2, 2010

He was Joe, I was Mac

A few nights ago, Paul and I played the entirety of and beat "Joe and Mac - Caveman Ninja," an SNES game from 1991. The game is all about being Cavemen, fighting other cavemen and killing dinosaurs. I think that calling the main characters "ninjas" is a slight overstatement, but it does make them seem a little cooler.
At the end of every level, a super-hot cave-lady comes out and gives you kisses. There are also bonus levels where you jump around and eat lots of various meats. The weird part is, in the regular levels, when you kill another caveman, they turn into meat as well...So Joe and Mac are basically cannibals. Yikes.

The boss level where you fight the mammoth is even weirder. You win by ripping off the elephant's trunk. It's terrible!

Paul used his awesome computer wizardry to make it so we hard unlimited lives. It was definitely much more fun that way. I can't imagine having the patience to play through the whole game in earnest. It would take forever and be obnoxious. The levels themselves are pretty short, but littered with a ton of temperamental obstacles. And the boss levels are crazy long.

I enjoyed playing it though. Maybe I'll try "Joe and Mac 2 - Lost in the Tropics" next. That one has a role-playing part to it, where you marry your super-hot cave-lady and buy furniture for your house with your points.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The down home basics!

I learned to read when I was 3 years old. Outside of being read to often by my parents, this is the #1 reason why:

Thanks Same-sound Brown!