A Healthy Coat of Flesh

Brother Theodore discussing Foodism on Late Night with David Letterman.

His First Hotrod

My first hot rod. God, I loved this car. When the transmission went on the Grand Prix, a girl who I worked with, had a boyfriend, who new someone, selling a 1973 Camaro. Did you get all of that?

So I went to look at the car. It was sitting outside of a house right off of Commack road in Deer Park. It had a brown door and steel wheels. It looked pitiful and drove worse! The owner assured me that it would run great if I had it tuned up. I was so damn gullible and plain old stupid that I bought it. I think I paid $400 for it. I proceeded to drive it up to Deer Park avenue and get it tuned up at “Precision Tune”. The guy who did the tune ( I later worked with this guy at Jiffy Lube) told me to take it easy with the car, because it was fast. Huh?! Yeah, right, OK. I get in the car and drive up to Montauk Highway and while driving through West Babylon, it starts to drizzle. Immediately after it starts to drizzle, I see a few guys in a late model Monte Carlo SS from school. The all laughed and pointed at me and the car. I was probably rather upset and wanted to get the hell away from them, so I floored it. The transmission kick-down engaged and the skinny bald tires started to spin. I went sideways, almost into on-coming traffic and then swung back towards the guys in the Monte. Finally I got a little bit of traffic and blew past those guys like they were standing still.

It was definitely a sleeper. It had a two barrel Rochester and stock, cast exhaust manifolds! As I drove the car, I found that it MUST have had .411 gears and a shift kit. It wasn’t exactly “fast”,but I raced and beat a Grand National at the time. So that would probably put the car in the mid to low 14 second range.

One day I was putting gas into the car and decided to find out what the tire valve near the gas filler neck was for. Oh! air suspension. Now that the car could be jacked up in the rear, I needed bigger wheels and tires. I went to a tire and wheel place in Lindenhurst and bought a set of Torque-thrust D wheels with tires, however, my friend Smitty liked them and was willing to trade for a set of four Cragar wheels with N-50’s on the back. Sweet.

After plotting and scheming with my friend Donato in 1st period History, we decided that he would put a cam in and do some other things to hop it up. Well, that was the end of that. He knocked the oil pickup off when he put the distributor back in and that turned one of the lobes on that new cam round. The shop that dismantled the motor said that it looked like it had a lot of nice work done to the heads. I parted the car out for like $500. That really sucked!”

Ah, Michigan. See also:

Two Ways to Watch All of Carts Of Darkness

My prayers have been answered. You can now watch the entirety of Carts of Darkness, right now or very soon.

Option 1:

Open Cinema is doing a showing in Victoria, 5:30 tomorrow. The mayor and others will be there to discuss homelessness and such.

Options 2:

The whole thing is now available on nfb.ca. Have I mentioned nfb.ca? Oh right, repeatedly.

Some people might think that putting entire movies on the web for free in high quality might reduce the number of folks who will go watch it in on a big screen. And maybe those people would be right. Then again, even though it is available right here, on this web page, below this text, I’m going to wait 24 hours and pay $10 bucks to watch it in a room with other people tomorrow. So there you go.

Paul Simon and Chevy Chase: You Can Call Me Al

How did I not know that Paul Simon made a video for Call Me Al with Chevy Chase? Why didn’t you tell me?

Pow, here it is:

Paul Simon-You Can Call Me Al Video
by Docbuzz

(Higher-ish quality version available if you press the “HQ” button, although I suppose there is a hard ceiling to the quality of all video from the VHS era.) (Image quality I mean. The video is tremendous.)

Not Liveblogging Victoria

I had assumed that I would be doing a lot of blogging, now that I’m living a relatively self-directed life here in Victoria. That’s not turned out to be true, perhaps because a lot of the time I spend in front of a computer screen is remunerated on an hourly basis, from friends whose money I want to feel like I’ve earned.

So I just want to assure everybody that I am alive and doing fine on the coast, and having some good times. It’s nice here. Always is.

beta.nfb.ca Becomes nfb.ca

I posted earlier regarding beta.nfb.ca, the well-executed online video distribution service from the National Film Board. I subsequently emailed them with some feature requests, and I’ve received an email in reply, in which Matt (“Social Media Manager”) confirmed that the new version of their video player does everything I had hoped it would, and that furthermore they have recently gone into full release mode. The new site is thus simply www.nfb.ca, just as it should be. If you’re a public film institution, your principal online presence should be about getting film into the eyes of the public. Love it.

I’m hoping their next improvement is to implement a suggestion from Paul Coyle, who commented on my first post:

“My only criticism would be that it appears that they’re streaming the videos through Flash Media Server which is slightly restrictive in that it uses Adobe’s proprietary FLV format. I would love to see them post up some MPEG4 versions of the videos for direct download.”


Update — Matt Responds:

I totally agree. The problem with downloads is another rights issue. We were able to acquire the rights to the films (from music, actors unions, etc) for streaming but not downloads.

We’ll be offering paid downloads through iTunes soon and hopefully through the site in phase 2.

Cheers and please keep in touch,

Steve Chu: We Don’t Know What Will Happen

Steven Chu, Obama’s pick for Secretary of Energy, hints at what I think is the most important point about climate change: yes we know it’s going to happen, but we don’t know what is going to happen, and that’s not a good thing.

And he just keeps talking about important stuff. Imagine an America where scientifically grounded ideas are sat down in the same room with capable politics.

Vegetation Self-Patterning Presentation

I gave a presentation of my research on southwestern plant patterning yesterday–this was in fact an “oral dissertation defense”, according to the Masters Project Handbook. Below is a video, and the slides. I’ll hopefully be adding more material to the research page as I get around to it, including a NetLogo implementation of an existing vegetation model and possibly a Google Earth tour of some of the sites and data. First however I have to finish writing the non-oral part of the thesis.

Slides (6mb pdf)

Narrative summary of the talk:

Self-patterning of vegetation has been identified in dryland ecosystems worldwide, such as the “tiger striped” savanna of the African Sahel and the banded shrublands of Australia. In these water-limited systems plants are organized into consistent spatial structures by the facilitation of new growth in the organic shadow of existing plants. These landscapes are theorized to be more efficient at retaining rare rainfall, but are also expected to undergo catastrophic shifts if precipitation drops below difficult-to-predict thresholds.

No such banded systems have been identified in America, but I was curious if more subtle patterning could be happening in southwestern drylands which share many of the same ecosystem characteristics and display threshold response to changes in precipitation. If a form of emergent patterning were occurring in these ecosystems, it would have implications for predicting landscape response to pending changes in climate. Focusing on pinon-juniper woodlands in Arizona and New Mexico, I mapped the shapes of patches of vegetation from aerial photographs and measured their degree of spatial pattern. Estimates of surface water movement and distribution were developed for the same sites from digital elevation models. Testing the spatial correlation of these landscape characteristics indicated strong linkages between vegetation patch shape, vegetation density, and surface water hydrology. In sites in Arizona, these relationships were consistent with theories of self-patterning, suggesting that this previously unidentified phenomenon could be occurring in in an American dryland landscape.

Speaking of Technology

We don’t have anything like this in Canada.

French Hensonian Gangsta Video

My boy Bertrand (of WCBN’s “The French Show”) brings our attention to this video clip:

It’s becoming common for me to link to Hensonian-based video. Jim’s lovingly executed imagery is timeless, as much a joy now as it was when I was a kid. As such, a palette for use and re-use and extension primitive and exquisite and everything in between. Here’s to you Jim. I’m throwing you my gang sign.

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