Monday, March 31, 2008

Unicorns, Chocolate Long Johns, and the Bowling Report for March 31st.

We finished the 2007-08 bowling campaign in last place tonight at Mission Bowl. Its official. The other guys showed too much including substitute bowler Paul who pasted us with a 613 series. But nothing can ruin a great sports day here in Kansas City. The Royals won in extra innings (they're undefeated, Jackie) and the Jayhawks are in the Final Four. Next week we bowl again for fun. The standings are finished. The league has a meeting after the matches and prizes are awarded and last season's first place team buys donuts. We'll meet before we bowl if KU is in the finals. No sense missing the action for a couple of chocolate long johns and a five-way split of 50 dollars. I don't bowl for the money, or the donuts, in case you wondered.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Podcasters Take Note

Bob and Ray have the best podcast, especially if you were around the first time they recorded these. I was not, and either was the iPod or Adam Curry for that matter.

Al Jaffe Fold-ins

The New York Times produced an interactive gallery of Mad Magazine fold-ins, created originally by artist Al Jaffee. This concept can be rendered much more efficiently with today's computer design technology, but Jaffee didn't have the luxury of such software. He created his classic fold-in art pieces by hand. It's amazing he did it for all those years. I took it for granted when I bought Mad magazine back in the 70's. Thanks to Evanier for the link.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Rany on the Royals

Rany Jazayerli points out that while the Royals have sucked for a long time, the writers who covered them have not. Very nice.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

KJHK Lore - AM Only

We student broadcasters enjoyed safe harbor during the 1980s. Safe harbor meant language content restrictions were lifted on programming between midnight and 6am. Songs, spoken word performances, and even station IDs were designated "AM Only" if they contained one of the seven dirty words. This is one reason the Monday Night Thrash program was on the air after midnight (lots of hardcore singles featured profanity) and another reason the KJHK MNT jock on duty on April 5th, 1988 felt empowered to go ahead and drop an F-bomb over the air for Mr. Billy Tubbs, following KU's tournament championship victory. But I digress. The "AM Only" honor system worked well for KJHK in the 80's, primarily when the artists did the cursing.

Here's something else nearly as old as profanity: People who make Wizard of Oz jokes when visiting Kansas. What these would-be mirth-makers forget is that Kansas natives won't think your Toto joke is top drawer. We've heard them before, from lots of traveling Travelinas, some better than others. Go ahead, make your funny, but please don't ask me if I've seen Toto or Dorothy. Yesterdays papers.

Today Little Hits posted a fabulous single from the Vancouver Complication, a collection of Canadian punk rock. Head over there and check out The Dishrags doing I Don't Love You. Joey Keithley, also on the compilation as part of D.O.A., helped get this time capsule re-released a few years ago, and long before that, during his first visit to Kansas, recorded this "AM Only" KJHK artist drop, complete with a better-than-average dig on Dorothy and Toto.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ask A College Roommate

Q: Have you seen the HBO mini-series John Adams?

A: HBO? We don't even have cable.

This has been "Ask a college roommate".

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Bowling Report for March 24th

What's worse that seeing Amy Winehouse pose nude? Watching us bowl. We took another face down four game defeat tonight against a tough team. The good news for me: I bowled better every game. The bad news: all three games were under my average. I'd blame the lane conditions if I were a better bowler. Only two weeks left in the season.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


The tournament is on. See you soon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Legendary Gymnasium Tape

The Architectural Dance Society blog posted links to highlights from a rare 1967 Velvet Underground concert. Those of you in the know probably already knew, but for those of us that are a little slow on the uptake these days, enjoy. Visit soon, the mp3s won't be posted forever.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Return to Geekdom

My friend Tony and I ate lunch at the Touch of Asia Indian buffet today. I'm not sure why they call it Touch of Asia, since it's more like Touch of India, but what do I know, I'm a dumb white guy from Kansas. I think the owner is from the Middle East, rather than India or Asia, but it's his joint and he can call it whatever the hell he wants to as long as he keeps puttin' on the grub. Very crowded today but the Korma was fantastic. The restaurant is in the Metcalf 103 shopping center, right next to the cigar store. They sell empty cigar boxes for cheap. Today's post lunch objective was the gaming store around the corner.

It was the first time I visited and they had a lot of cool games in there and a shiteload of miniatures. I'm not a tabletop D&D guy, but if I were, this would be gaming HQ. In fact if I were single and not seeing anybody, I could eat at the buffet, buy some cigars, and pickup some tabletop game gear. I could get an apartment near by and Hooters is across the street. Wait a minute, I got carried away there.

The game store also had a ton of stuff for Warhammer, a franchise I was not hip to, but know now that they are a major player in the miniature D&D style table-top geeky game world. Nice store. I didn't buy anything, but its good to know what they have in case my wife runs off with the milkman.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Bowling Report for March 17th

The luck of the Irish was with us tonight as we won all four games against the competition at Mission Bowl. Anchor Brent bowled a 610 series and super-sub Jay added a 508 series of his own. I failed to distinguish myself among the throng of hot rollers, but four wins is a good thing, baby.

We also got our NIT pool together. That's right, the National Invitational Tournament. It's by invitation only. And it starts tomorrow. Yep, we're hardcore. So we'll see how that pans out. I think New Mexico can go all the way!

The Reluctant Legend

I know its St. Patricks day, but more importantly, today marks the start of three days of tournament anticipation, when brackets pop up in the office printer tray with regularity and scenarios are scrutinized and predictions made, discarded, made again. Kansas fans wonder if this is the year our team goes back to the final four.

KU has won exactly one NCAA basketball championship in the last 56 years. Joe Posnanski wrote a great story today about the man who made it happen 20 years ago.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Counting Chicken Hawks Before They're Matched

What a weekend of Big 12 basketball. Kansas won the tournament and claimed a number one seed in the NCAA tournament. No #1 seed has ever lost to a 16 seed. I'm not even sure if a #1 team has ever failed to make it to the sweet sixteen. If they make it that far then the elite eight is definitely within their reach, after that, anything can happen. Can they beat Georgetown or Wisconsin? I think so. What about North Carolina in the final four? Grudge match! Overtime? Then a close game against UCLA in the finals, but holy cow, they did it, they won the 2008 NCAA Men's basketball championship! Congratulations.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Demo Derby Screen Cap

Every demolition derby car needs an ejection button.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Richard Thompson

It's too late to tell you to go see Richard Thompson in concert tonight at Liberty Hall so I'll tell you about the last time I saw him perform, in fact the only time I ever saw him live. He played Parody Hall, the river market location, in October of 1986. They promoted a bunch of shows that year including David Lindley, Jonathan Richman, Adrian Belew, and Richard T. He did a helluva job and it seemed like he had a massive amount of material to draw from then. It's hard to imagine how much he has tonight in Lawrence, 22 years later.

R.E.M. played Memorial Hall across town that same night. They were in transition between the college venues and the big arenas. Thompson was on a set break if I recall, he played two sets and as I chatted with my old college girlfriend, who turned up unexpectedly, I backed into a guy. I turned around to excuse myself and it was Peter Buck. He and Mike Mills were there to see the man. We spoke for a moment and then he mingled his way across the hall. There was no mob scene or anything, I don't think many people recognized him. I asked Mike Mills when they were coming back to Lawrence and he assured me they'd be back, but their fortunes took them to bigger venues. In meantime, old Richard Thompson kept plugging away, writing, recording and performing, like he is tonight. Rock on.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Better Living Through Chemistry and Other Lies

Hey did you hear about all the medical residue in our drinking water? Well, here's something else to ingest, bad news about sunscreen. While we protect ourselves from the harmful rays of the sun, we're coating our bodies in chemicals, some of which are not so good for us as this article tells explains (scroll down a bit once the page loads, their style sheet took the day off). Have a nice day.

A Right Scotch Cracker

David Cross reports from Shreveport, Louisiana where he's appearing in the Harold Ramis film Year One.

Computer Exercises

Sue Trowbridge works near a computer for a living and writes a nice blog in her spare time. Her latest post links to excellent stretching exercises for people like me who tend to get all hunched over and stiff after many hours at the workstation. Don't be like me, stretch your stuff out.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Bowling Report for March 10th

There is very little good news to report from bowling tonight. We managed a single win against our opponents and came up 26 pins short of a two game victory. Last place is firmly within our grasp. I led the team with a 470 series. Not stellar.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

1986 Demolition Derby Trailer

KJHK entered a car in the 1986 Douglas County Demolition Derby, an annual event at the county fair. Darius Riley of the station drove the vehicle and I was there with my camcorder capturing the event. The raw footage became my first ad hoc video production effort, assembled at Jolliffe hall. It didn't translate into a class project, but it was a good exercise to learn the process and equipment. The trailer runs about a minute.

A couple of notes. This trailer was part of my original project that summer. Lucky me, I simply added the titles at the end for today's post. The whole thing was recorded over a VHS copy of The Third Man, one of my favorite movies. That doesn't make sense does it? Why record over one of my film faves? VHS tapes were like gold back in 1986! Right. Apologies to Orson Welles, Anton Karas, and Carol Reed. I'll post more of the Derby video later. Right.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Prufrock, Paris, and English in the Gym

I had English, aka, Composition II, I think it was called, in the gymnasium building in the spring of 1984 at KU. They had an entire wing of classrooms next to the indoor pool and the handball courts. Our instructor was a hip dude, a grad student; wish I could remember his name. We read and discussed our X.J. Kennedy compilation of prose and poetry. This was the Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock class. I heard the term Existentialism for the first time. We wrote papers. I sat next to cute girls. I learned an academic save from a sophomore. Why he was in Freshman English I don't know but one day the teacher couldn't find his term paper despite the fact this guy maintained that he turned it in. The teacher finally ruled in the student's favor when the dude produced a xerox copy of his term paper. This was in the day before word processing and I photocopied all my papers before turning them in after that.

One of those cute girls in class, Anika Paris, became a singer/songwriter. I saw her on the Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn about 10 years ago. I wouldn't expect her to remember me but we sat next to each other. It was a small classroom. I think everyone should have Composition II in the gymnasium with the Existentialists and the cute girls.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

R.I.P. Gary Gygax

Gary Gygax died yesterday. He was 69 years old. He was the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons back in the 70s. I played Dungeons and Dragons for the first time in 1979 when I was 14 and I liked it. I thought it was an original concept. Greg Wegst and Joel Carlton, two of my Pawnee Lane neighbors, were fans of the concept too. Greg served as the first dungeon master. We purchased game booklets, graph paper and special dice at the hobby store on Johnson Drive and conducted forays into the dungeon at my dining room table.

D&D fans brag of marathon games that last for many sessions. I never became a serious D&D gamer. Our interest was casual. We played it for a couple of hours at a time like any other game. Greg wasn't always available and I invested in the accessories. I also remember receiving a D&D adventure booklet as a birthday gift. That must have been 1980. I described the D&D concept in a vivid exchange with my summer camp counselor that year, and he said, "We'll have to play Dungeons & Dragons next year," when I boarded the camp bus for home. Neither of us went back to camp. Oh wasted youth! Or perhaps more accurately, oh wasted opportunity to waste more youth!

I left D&D behind when I got back from camp, but I kept an eye on developments. Many new adventures and supplemental manuals were released like the monster guide (who could forget the gelatinous cube?) and the dungeon master's guide. My little brother played it for a time and so the eight and ten-sided dice found a new home with him.

Dad purchased a PC in 1986 and I bought The Bard's Tale soon after, not an official D&D product, but a worthy RPG. I spent more than a few weekends slaying zombies and orcs with Markus' FrostHorn while Mom did my laundry. Whoa! I was a nerd. But let me say in the strongest possible terms that I never purchased, painted, or collected the figurines. I was too busy bird-doggin' chicks in my sports car. Whew! There's a saving throw.

Cast dis-believe! Okay, so it wasn't a sports car, it was a Japanese pick-up truck, and I never had a tiny velvet drawstring pouch for my dice either.

There's a free flash-based D&D style dungeon adventure called Monster's Den that I recommend for new players and experienced gamers alike. You'll find it, along with many other free games, at Seize this opportunity to slay Storm Drakes, Guardians, and Vampires, especially if you've got somebody to do your laundry.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hippy Club Cleanup #1, 1986

More experimentation with the remote start/stop on the camcorder from the summer of 1986. It's fairly pointless, but a harmless diversion anyway.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Bowling Report for March 3rd

The first place team spanked our asses tonight at Mission Bowl. We rolled a 3000 team series on the nose but that won't win against first place power featuring the top three bowlers across the league. The countdown to season's end begins. Only five weeks left until summer break.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

No Baby on Board

Baby In Trunk (Coming Soon)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Hippy Club Montage 1986

Let's go back to 1986 for two minutes of household montage at The Hippy Club. Those guys had a lot of albums and this pad was cozy. I felt comfortable surrounded by music, posters, photos, and kitsch. I wish I lived there longer than eight weeks. At least I got to visit that summer.

I was on the cusp of a chapter change in my life. My longtime college girlfriend and I broke-up for good. I worked my first paying radio job on the weekends at KHUM in Ottawa, KS. I attended summer school and made an acquaintance in class (Roger Keys) who had a major impact on my life later in a way he (or I) didn't fathom at the time. But all that was days or even a couple weeks away.

This moment, captured on Memorial Day, 1986, was done with in-camera editing for the most part. I added a couple of dissolve transitions and removed a few shots where I lost control track. Note to video tape archivers, my tape is 22 years old and some of the edits made by the camcorder have eroded, and I'm not talking about those that happened when I powered down the rig. A few edits done in-camera failed after this time. I should have laid down a control track before I filmed. At least the sucker had auto white balance.