Point Me

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Goodbye, Goodbye my friend!

Today is kind of a sad day for me. It's the last day that I shall be the official holder of the highly coveted "Moretti Family Award for Academic Expedience." On Memorial Day, I will have to hand over the kickass family trophy to my successor (and now enemy *shakes fist*).

The Moretti Family Award for Academic Expedience was created about 5 years ago by my oldest cousin, Sage. It was started because members of my family have a notoriously poor track record of graduating college in four years, straight our of high school. My dad, for example, attended 4 different colleges before getting a degree. My uncle took an extra 2 years when he changed majors half way though. My other uncle decided to go to North Dakota and wrestle wolves for a few years in lieu of graduating (literally). In fact, the award was invented because my cousin Adrienne was the first person in my family to ever complete the feat of graduating in a timely fashion. I was the second ever recipient (jointly w/ paul.)

Now my cousin Jeff gets it, as an official Cornell graduate, and I have to pass it on. I will miss the trophy a lot. It was cool to have for 2 years though. Paul and I were joking that any future offspring we have will just be a design to get our hands back on the trophy again. Their whole life, upbringing, and education would all be part of our grand plan to regain possession of the cup. Sorry future child!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Caturday XXI - In bloom....

Our yard is sporting some pretty amazing perennials right now. We have rose bushes and gardenias and all sorts of good stuff. It inspired me to get back into my college pastime of floral design.

I was a little nervous about putting the bouquet out on the kitchen table with Roosevelt around. Hammurabi was always really eager to eat up the projects I would bring home.

Guilty conscience? NO.

Much to my surprise though, kitty just likes to sit and smell the flowers. After I put these down, she sniffed them for a little while, then came over and licked my cheek. It's been a few days now too and I see no evidence of nomming.

I think it's because Rose has become obsessed with the idea of going outside. She's discovered that the screens in the bedroom pop out really easily too, so it's become kind of a hassle preventing her escapes and finding her afterward. She's a headstrong little fuzzball. Perhaps she was just glad we brought in some of those smells from outside that she's been lusting after.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Frog Prince - 1971

Jim Henson's "The Frog Prince" was a made for tv movie that Nickelodeon would play every once in awhile when I was little. I was always excited when it would randomly be on. It's got that wicked muppet sense of humor to it (Aunt Taminella always cracks me up), and some really sweet little songs.

The "Sir Robin the Brave" song (2:45) pops into my head every now and then. This show was also the first ever appearance of Sweetums.

EDIT: Not this Brave Sir Robin.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mr. President?

Whilst driving home from work today, I managed to catch a segment about the upcoming Presidential elections in Colombia on NPR. The elections are four days away, and most reputable polling agencies are saying that Juan Manual Santos, the US-backed former Minister of National Defense and will likely win by a great margin. However, the former Mayor of the capital city Bogota, a descendant of Lithuanian immigrants, is really rising in popularity.

I strongly suggest listening to the piece: here

His name is Antanas Mockus, a former collegiate dean and mathematician/philosopher. He is pictured above in his "supercitizen" costume, which he wore while mayor to encourage a more aware and civically engaged populous. As mayor, he also hired over 400 mimes to mock people who committed traffic violations, "because he believed Colombians were more afraid of being ridiculed than fined." He also, as the NPR article mentions, is most notorious for mooning a lecture hall full of rowdy inattentive students during his tenure at the National University. It did get them to shut up....

Even though he's best known for his zany behaviors and gimmicky political initiatives, he actually made a huge difference in the cultural and public life in Bogota. Under his mayorship:
-Water usage dropped 40%
-Clean drinking water became universally available (as opposed to just 79% of households in 1993)
-Homicides dropped 70%
-Traffic fatalities dropped over 50%

Et cetera. He is also a living example of a successful, dynamic leader with Parkinson's Disease. I think it would be really cool to see him become president. He seems to have found just the right mix of weird showmanship and political savvy. Also- Awesome Beard.

You can watch a documentary about him too:

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's terrible, Doug!

Just when I stopped having nightmares about "BigDog", the anthropomorphic robot from hell, I find out that some brainy jerks in California have managed to make an even more horrible ambulatory monster. "LittleDog" is much smaller than it's creepy predecessor (20 cm high vs. 2.5 feet high), which makes it, somehow, a hundred times more scary. Plus, it's been specifically trained to efficiently plow through rough terrain and obstacles; "The specifications for the project required that the robot should achieve a speed of at least 7.2 cm/s and climb over obstacles up to 10.7cm (for humans, this would correspond to obstacles of 50% body height which are traversed at slow walking speed)." Ugh!

The worst parts are at 0:20 and 0:39, they could basically be scenes from a sci-fi/horror movie about evil robots. I have a really hard time watching this without covering my eyes and yelling about how much I hate it. They should have named the thing Creepzilla instead.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Recycled evocation of the brand tribe

Ok, I'm not sure if I mentioned this already, but Paul and I recently got in to watching Mad Men, and we love it. It's a really beautifully made show.

The other day we watched the season 2 episode "Maidenform", which was a comparatively low-key, but good episode. Everybody got their own little vignettes. I was so pissed about Duck and his dog though, seriously!

This episode pitched the "Two sides of a woman - Marilyn or Jackie" campaign to a bra company.

Appealing to the idea that every woman has her own unique style, and there's no reason to even purchase a product that takes the "one-size-fits-all" approach in their merchandise. Afterall, you are a unique, special flower.

It's impressive to see how seamlessly this marketing strategy has transitioned to the 21st century:

Creepily identical.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


One of the best bands I discovered in college was Tally Hall, a michigan-born band full to the brim with awesomeness. I originally found them through their amazing 'Banana Man' video:

From there, I found their whole first album "Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum." Their music spans a bunch of different genres; folk, rap, calypso, and straight up rock and roll. It's hard to pin them down to one descriptor, but they self-describe as "wonky rock."

I've seen them twice in Northampton. They put on a really fun show. The first time I got to meet Ross (Gray Tie/Drummer), who got incredibly awkward when I told him they were one of my favorite bands, and Joe (Red Tie/ Guitar), who I got incredibly awkward in front of when he tried to have a normal conversation with me. The second time, they played the best cover of "Freebird" I've ever ever heard.

More recently, the band made a series of really surreal and awesome "Internet Shows", which showed off their ability to be funny, in addition to musically fantastical. I wish I could embed the video, but I can't. Here's a link to my favorite one...you should really click it!

They're getting ready to release their sophomore album, 'Good and Evil' this year and I'm really excited. Can't wait.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Caturday XX

Another favorite from the good old days of Sesame Street. Apparently, the doll house in this clip was built by Jim Henson for his daughters. The song is also a good example of how cats often are the worst, and ruin everything.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Twisting a Sentiment

I managed to catch last week's truly excellent episode of Saturday Night Live, starring the lovely Betty White. To see the genuine enthusiasm that everybody had to see her hosting made me really happy for her. She's a real classy lady. I've watched SNL off and on since forever, and I can honestly say that it was the all-around funniest episode they'd had in a long time. So good job tv!

I have to say though that I was pretty annoyed with the musical guest, Jay-z. I love 99 Problems.
Ghetto Anthem was the first rap song I really liked, but it lured me in by borrowing from a musical I loved, and I admit I never listened to carefully to the words back then. For the first time, I noticed that the rapper compares himself to "Che Guevara with bling on" in his song "PSA", which is really really stupid and inaccurate on dozens of levels.

Then, in the second act, he back with his new song "Young Forever." I know he ripped the hook from Alphaville, but I can't help but associate the song with Rod Stewart's "Forever Young." They're pretty darn similar.

The Rod Stewart Song was one of the big songs of my childhood. I would always be really excited when it came on the radio. Something about the thumping beats and the theatrical synth part really appealed to me, and still does in a nostalgic way.

I just find it sad that Rod Stewart took this theme and sang a song about wishing for all the best things in the world for your child, and Jay-Z took this it and rapped about himself, and the same old rapper tropes; being better than you, drugs, booze, ladies and cars. He talks about how he'll be young forever through his own legacy.

It's a comparison of pure selfless wishes to pure selfish braggart bull. Then at the end of it all, he dedicated the song to Betty White. Yeah, I'm sure that she really appreciates the dedication of a song about how you are going to be famous forever.

I dunno.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bird Report

Today I saw a bird in the yard that I'd never seen before. About a foot long, spotted all over, with a red crest on the back of it's head, and a black one on its chest.

I'm almost positive it was a Northern Flicker, the misfit woodpecker. Instead of rapping trees like its cousins, it spends 95% of the time foraging for insects on the ground. It's a veritable anteater, devouring more ants than any other type of bird, and complete with a long flicking tongue.

I watched it hop around the side of my house for a solid 10 minutes with my binoculars, waiting for it to fly off so I could see the bright yellow undersides of their wings. I hope my neighbors don't think I'm a creepy perv, trying to peek in their windows.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


"108 Objects from Flight 815" - A t-shirt I would own, if I didn't think that owning two Lost t-shirts was overkill...

Monday, May 10, 2010

Science + Art = Fashion

Over the weekend, Paul and I went to the Twist Fair in Northampton. It's this really cool craft fair that features artisans from all over. We did our mother's day shopping there, and there was no shortage of really cool and hip stuff to choose from. I found something that I wanted to take home at almost every table. One of my faves was the "Transit Authority Figures", who make imagined subway posters for unlikely places.

I'm like 90% sure that I'm going to buy the "Amherst - Northampton" one from their website eventually! Too cool. There would probably be a stop right by my house if that yellow line did exist....

The other stand out artist, for me, was "Nervous System". They're jewelery designers that use computers to create procedurally generated accessories that are inspired by biology:

"Nervous System was commissioned...to create one of a kind jewelry pieces for...an exhibition highlighting the possibilities of rapid prototyping. Using computational design tools we wrote for our cell cycle line, designers at DHUB created 14 unique bracelets and rings. This unprecedented form of collaboration demonstrates some of the new potential afforded by computational design and digital fabrication."

It's such a unique combination of computer science, jewelry making, and inspiration from the natural world. I think my favorite series is "Radiolaria"- inspired by eukaryotes, pictured first.

Too Cool Too.

The Twist Fair was wicked fun, and I do think I'll try to go again when they have it in November. The only con to the whole thing was the cost. I had never been to a craft fair before where they charged admission (a modest one, but still...), and the items for sale there were, on the whole a little pricey.

Still sweet though!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Knitting for Mom / Caturday XIX

It's been awhile since I posted anything knitting related. I got caught at kind of an impasse, trying to expand my yarn manipulation skills into the realm of crochet. It didn't go so hot...but I'll write more about that another time.

I jumped back into working with two sticks by whipping together this little guy for mothers day. I had tons of leftover sparkly white yarn from christmas projects, so I decided to make a twilight themed teddy bear for Paul's mom. An Eddy Bear, I guess.

It came out looking less cute and more creepy than I was hoping, but he's supposed to be a terrible undead vampire, right?

I stuffed him with catnip, making it not just a twilight themed toy, but a twilight themed cat toy!

Speaking of cat toys, Roosevelt has gotten some pretty good ones lately.

1. This little puff of fake fur.

It makes her think she actually caught a mouse. It makes me think I'm on the starship enterprise.

An uncanny likeness really...I hope it doesn't start multiplying like crazy!

2. This Bee is a laser pointer - it shoots lasers out its mouth!

How scary would that be in real life? VERY.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Marking up

Getting a tattoo is something that I toy with pretty seriously now and then. I like the idea of it a lot,and I'm not sure why. I guess I am kind of enchanted by the idea of an indelible mark of identity for the world to see. And there are definitely a few things that I've considered getting that I know I wouldn't regret:

1. Dinosaurs - I've written before about my devotion to the prehistoric extinct lizard. I think some ink of a saurus would be pretty awesome. As something that has become so culturally iconic, its hard to imaging a tyrannosaurus or a pterodactyl ever going out of style.

2. 42 - The great answer to life, the universe, and everything. I think that a tattoo of this simple number could encompass a lot of things. First, my love of the late great Douglas Adams, who wrote the surrealist manifest that is "A Hitchhikers Guide." Second my love of "Lost", whose notorious numbers include and complete with the number 42. Third, and somewhat more seriously, my point of view on religion and life. I was raised protestant, but now see my self more as a quantumist, believing more in science and technology as an answer to life, the universe and everything. Much like the "hyper-intelligent pan-dimensional beings" who appealed for an answer from the great computer "Deep thought."

3. Illuminations - My love of books has drawn me to the idea of getting an illuminated letter, in the style of old manuscripts on me. However, I'm not entirely sure what letter would best suit this idea....

Perhaps a B for Barba?

On the other hard though, I have some pretty strong mental inclinations against getting a tattoo too. Whenever I see a poorly done tattoo, it makes me wince a little for the unfortunate-ness of it. I also tend to turn toward my negative, judgmental side when I see faded, poorly aged tattoos too..

Not to mention the fact that all my parents, in law or otherwise, have been very anti tattoo as long as I've known them. "Thank god you never got a tattoo" is a phrase that has passed their lips. I almost hate to disappoint them now!

Plus, and perhaps more pressingly, I am very, very afraid of needles...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The doctor knew just what to do....

Where I work, lunch is a team effort. Almost always, all the ladies in the office at QVCDC sit down for lunch together. Compared to my last job, where I always ate alone, it's an interesting and fun. Today. Kerry, our sassy receptionist told us all a great story.

A few days ago, her husband went upstairs to check on their 5 year old daughter, who was playing quietly in her room. He walked in to find her in the yogic "child's pose"-

with her shirt lifted up, and her pants around her ankles. She was also rubbing her rear with one hand. Understandably, he was a little freaked out. When he asked her what she was doing, she gave some distracted kid answer that really didn't explain the behavior.

Kerry's husband told her about it later than night, and they spent the longest time trying to figure out what might be going on with with their kid. They didn't want to keep bringing it up and pressing her on it, because 5 year olds aren't always the most straightforward about giving an explanation about things, and they didn't want to encourage fabrication.

Fortunately the mystery was solved at approximately 0:25:

Monday, May 3, 2010

Something for the Kids

So baseball season is in full swing, and we've been watching a lot of the games. Way more than usual, for two reasons.

1. For the first time in like 2 years we actually have NESN on our tv.

2. Paul is in a fantasy baseball league. It's been interesting to watch him be involved with it, because it makes the sport feel a lot broader. Instead of just following the Red Sox, Paul is keeping tabs on players all across the sport. It's pretty cool, it makes easier to respect the visiting team, and see the sport as individual competitors instead of simply the opposition.

As we were looking through some of the players, we came across Milton Bradley. I remember a few years back we saw him playing at Fenway. People were shouting things like "Hey Milton Bradley, Guess who!" and "You sunk my Battleship!" and "Where are the Parker Bros.?" and stuff like that. He actually came out of the dugout and started yelling back at people.

As we tried to recall the hilarious board game taunts those guys were hurling, we came across the full list of milton bradley products.

The most disturbing? A Colombian game called "El tigre crucificado" --- "The crucified Tiger". A board game that the internet has no record of. What could this game have possibly entailed?????????