Did you miss out on DangerMouse's Grey Album? Want to get in on the ground floor of the next big mash-up? Dean Gray just got a cease-and-desist order to pull American Edit -

Hello, I'm Dean Gray.

Unfortunately due to a cease and desist order from this hip chick at Warners, the American Edit album has left the building.
Many thanks to all and to all a goodnight.

Say hi to your Mom from me.

I was Dean Gray.

-but you can still stick it to the man ("But, sir, you are the man!")
At 12:01AM on Dean Gray Tuesday, this page will be replaced by a list of sites that will be providing the American Edit album for download in protest to its banning, reportedly by Warner records. In order to prevent server overloads, this page will randomly display only a sub-set of the full list of sites participating in "Dean Gray Tuesday". Each visitor will be shown a different sub-set list of possible sources. By following the links, they will visit the participating site and be able to download American Edit. On 11:50PM that night, this page will cease to function as a "portal" to American Edit sources.

You can download a ~150mb zip file here. Boulevard of Broken Songs is my favorite.

Coincidence?!? yes.

My wife is in Orlando, and I saw Iranian Kendra on the bus tonight. I don't think these things are related.

I ain't saying she a gold digger...

It's Hermano's first bus ride and first day on campus. Does the fear that I'm going to start singing along in public ever go away?

Abandoned PA Turnpike

It's easy to post pictures of an abandoned British asylum and make it seem interesting. An abandoned highway in Pennsylvania? You tell me -
Located approximately midway between Harrisburg and Pittsburg, a 15 mile or so original stretch of the turnpike was rebuilt on a different alignment in the late 1960's to bypass two 2 lane (1 lane by direction) tunnels that did not meet federal highway standards.

Black Friday

Ch-ch-chu-check the time-stamp, yo. Going to the Boston Store for a set of lizuggage.


In other good news, I got unofficial word from the department today that I got the lectureship for Intro to IR next semester!

When can I start coming to the secret meetings?

Shipping estimate for these items: November 23, 2005

Delivery estimate: November 25, 2005

1 "Apple 30 GB iPod with Video Playback White"

The Narrows

I can neither confirm nor deny the existence of this place, but if it's real, (see update 2 below) it's the most gorgeous spot in the whole state of Texas -
The people who own the land call it "the narrows." It's a stretch of the Blanco river that cuts about 20 ft. straight down into the hillside. Maybe somebody well-versed in geology could explain why, but nowhere else in Texas have I seen a formation like this. You just walk up to it and suddenly there's this huge.. cavern or crevace or whatever you'd call it, with vegetation inside (fish too). As you walk and swim down through it, you go through a series of interconnected pools. You can't really tell from the pictures, but some of the pools are about 20-30 feet deep themselves. Water level is important too, so you can only go within a window of maybe a month or so a year that it's been raining enough to be able to swim. Anyway, it's about 20 miles from any hint of civilization, and the only way to get there is to know the owners, which is unfortunate, but it keeps it beautiful, which is worth it.

Well, hey, is there anything googlemaps can't find?
Update 2: The Handbook of Texas Online says it's real, and it's never steered me wrong before
NARROWS (Hays County). The Narrows is a gorge formed by a series of cliffs seventy-five feet high and a quarter mile in length along the Blanco River in southwest Hays County, just upstream from the junction of the Blanco and Little Blanco rivers (at 30°03' N, 98°17' W). The Narrows got its name from the narrow appearance of the gorge from above. The gorge widens at the water's edge; water has eroded potholes into the rocky banks and river bottom. Springs flow from the cliffs and provide moisture for various species of ferns and watercress growing along the banks. The surrounding countryside of the Texas Hill Countryqv is characterized by sloping limestone and is used for pastureland. Live oak, juniper, and mesquite grow in the shallow clay loam. The Narrows was part of the Hermann Schlameus ranch and appeared on local tourist maps from the 1930s through the 1950s, when it was a scenic park. The ranch was sold in the early 1960s, and the Narrows was closed to the public.

CX race report

My race report, in a slightly different format, is up on my racing blog. In it, you'll learn that I'm not state cyclocross champion, but only because I don't qualify. Or I'm not qualified, one of the two.


I'll post a longer race report from yesterday's cyclocross championships later this afternoon, but here's a little preview picture. These guys beat me, and then their moms took them out for corndogs and chocolate milk -

I am very, very happy, so please hit me - I grow back like a starfish

Listening to Antony and the Johnsons is like my heart cheated on my soul, but my soul was in love with something else anyway, and then my heart is sad. Download tracks from 3hive here. If Cripple and the Starfish doesn't give you a chill, you're a robot.

King Kong & DVD Extras of the Future Past

Peter Jackson, flush with Lord of the Rings cash, in either a shrewd marketing move for his new movie or a nice homage to an influential movie, filmed two lost scenes from 1933's King Kong. The scenes were cut by the studio after they were deemed too shocking and violent by test audiences. Jackson's recreated scenes will be extras on the special edition King Kong re-release next Tuesday, Nov 22nd.

Stop reading now if you're troubled by claymation violence.

In the first cut scene, a group of men is unable to flee from Kong because there is a dinosaur (!) threatening them on the other end of the lodge bridge -

Jackson owns the model from that dinosaur (which was also used for a brief scene in Son of Kong, the sequel), but its deterioration is so bad that it isn't suitable for filming. To recreate the stop-motion animation for the re-shoot as accurately as possible without harming the original model, Jackson and his crew took x-rays to find out its skeletal structure. Inside the original 1933 model, they found a set of expandable bags that were intended to be connected to a bellows so that the dinosaur could breathe.

The second cut and lost scene happened immediately after the OMG IT'S A DINOSAUR one above - the intrepid jungle-goers are shaken from the bridge by King Kong and are killed and eaten by various creepy-crawlies in the valley below. The shot below, published in the late 1960's in a pulp magazine called Famous Monsters of Filmland, is one of the only stills in existence -

Jackson's crew recreated claymation monsters from the stills, pre-production sketches, and script notes -

These are shots from the reproduced scene, with members of the animation crew standing playing the monster snacks -

Apparently there are some legal issues with the film version of The Hobbit, so Jackson's next project is a WWI zombie movie. Props to SA for the photos and information.

South Park KyleBro

Thanks to the magic of something called "e"mail, it's South Park little-brother-KyleBro -

Being right? Is fun.

Remember after the Brunettes/Shins concert? When I wrote that the Brunettes, with their New Zealand accents, trade-off lead singers, and multi-instrumentation, were going to hit it big? I found this after Missy prompted me to find out what other albums they've made -
Well, the rumours have been doing the rounds ever since the Brunettes label - Lil Chief Records - got their sampler EP distributed by the famous American indie label earlier this year, and now it's official: the Brunettes have signed to Sub Pop Records.

Chief Brunettes Heather and Jonathan are in New York at present, working on their latest album, which is scheduled for release in August 2006.

Mr. Awkward

Remember when you were in college and you saw your teachers getting gas or buying groceries or out jogging? If you're from Carleton and helped your male teachers match their skirts and blouses before coed noncompetitive ultimate frisbee, just stop reading. I was the teacher in the awkwardness for the first time tonight. M.Bro and I were using the buy-one-entree-get-one-free coupon that Pizzaria Uno mailed to us and I was pretty sure one of my students was sitting at the next table. "I'm pretty sure one of my students is sitting at the next table," I said. When she and her friend left 20 minutes later, I was right - she saw me back (or pretended she hadn't already noticed us) and said, "oh, uh, hey!" to which I responded in my best teacher tone (to impress M.Bro), "Emily - how are you?" She was fine, thanks.

Scrapbooking Anarchy

M.Bro just called me to vent about a customer and her son that just left the store, and the story was so good that I'm going to share it with you. Felicia* and her son, Thad*, seemed like normal customers, but underneath the designer clothing was a teeming mass of poor parenting and poor customer-ing. After they'd been in the store for a few minutes, M.Bro took a small tin from Thad that he had been banging on displays and kicking across the floor and let Felicia know that they dented easily. Felicia reply was that, "It's $2.99 - if he dents it, I'm pretty sure I can cover that." M.Bro correctly pointed out (to me - not to Felicity) - "Yeah - but you wouldn't."

A kid playing with a shiny object is pretty normal behavior at the SS, though, and it wasn't what warranted M.Bro's exasperation. Apparently Thad next picked up and was running around the store with an eyelet tool that's used to pierce holes through paper - very sharp, at both ends. One of the other employees took it away from him immediately after they realized what he had. Felicity was still unperturbed - "Look - if he hurts himself, that's my problem, not yours." Unperturbed enough to let tin-smashing, eyeball-piercing Thad drive her cart - drive it right into a display of die-cuts. Knocking down hundreds of die cuts wasn't enough carnage for future-Republican Thad (you know I'm right) - he ran back as the employees were starting to pick them up, jumped on the pile he'd made, and kicked them like leaves in a Peanuts cartoon.

The kicker to the story is not that Felicia spent $4 (which is true, but not the kicker), but that as they were leaving, she told Thad - "We're going to have to get you a treat for being so good, aren't we?" Felicia needs to get M.Bro a treat for not asking her politely to leave and not come back. There are some customers that just aren't worth keeping.

*Names changed to protect the annoying. Plus I don't know their real names.

It is a pity

From FixedGearGallery:
From London, Ontario, Canada
Rafal had ticket #8, and at 6:15EST Wednesday, November 16th, Mojo drew Rafal's number.
Mojo and the crew at The Big Fix want to thank you all so much - we raised $1,700.00 for the Histiocytosis Association. Stay tuned for some pics later this winter as Jonny and Rafal work out the construction details and Jonny builds up R's frame.

South Park Bros

I was afraid I'd just look like Grrrbear as a South Park character, but Spice showed me the arrow buttons (well, pushed the arrow buttons for me) and opened up a brave new world of options! I present to you, J. and M.Bro - the South Park characters

On being French

Is "being French" a skill, much less an obsolete skill? I'm not sure I agree with the definitions this quick is using -
France Modern (trois fleurs-de-lis)
You are 'French'. In the nineteenth century, it
was the international language of diplomacy.
It is a 'beautiful' language, meaning that it
is really just a low-fidelity copy of Latin.

You know the importance of communicating
'diplomatically', which for you means both
being polite and friendly when necessary and
using sophisticated, vicious sarcasm when
appropriate. Your life is guided by either
existentialism or nihilism, depending on the
weather. You have a certain appreciation for
the finer things in life, which is a diplomatic
way of saying that you are a disgusting
hedonist. Your problem is that French has been
obsolete for a long time.

What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
oh my god it's snowing and my head is snowy

Sheboygan Falls CX

Look at what I missed by skipping the cyclocross race on Saturday! I'm racing the state championships next weekend (to qualify, I had to prove my skillz by writing a check for $15), which starts and finishes with a lap around the auto racing track in Sun Prairie, but I hope there are also stairs and sand pits to negotiate.

That'll be a dime, but you'll get change

Since early September, M.Bro has been trying to get her store to increase its per-transaction average. The owner agreed to give all the employees a bonus if they can increase it by $3.00 per sale by next Monday, and they're very, very close. Obnoxiously, though, she found out at the meeting last night that one of the employees has been regularly making color photocopies for herself and paying for them one at a time. One day last week, for example, she rang up six nine-cent sales for herself. Even more obnoxiously, when M.Bro asked her about it exasperatedly at the store meeting last night, her response was, "It's just a few little sales - I don't see why it matters!"

A Visual Analysis of Hiposity

Poor, homeless L.C.

Remember the wildly incompetent and unqualified lecturer that I TAd for last semester? Two semesters ago, he lectured the course that I'm lecturing now, and I've secretly wondered whether we both applied for this semester. Thanks to a fortuitous run-in at Target this morning, I'm pretty sure the answer is yes, that he didn't know that I got the job, and that he's less than happy about it. It went a little like this -

L.C. - "Well, hello there, Mr. .bro - how is your semester going?"

Me - "Pretty well - I'm lecturing International Law and still plugging away at my dissertation. How about you?"

L.C. - (Eyes get squinty and forehead gets wrinkly) "International Law, huh? I'm, uh, just finishing up my book on the war in Afghanistan."

Me - "Hmh - interesting. Well, I should get going - got a lot of work to do, re-teaching the students you ruined!"

The last part may have just been in my head.


F*ck you, Fox. And f*ck you too, TV-watchers of America, for watching Stacked. Jason hate Nielson households!

Update: Still pissed. If you're feeling testing, Fox's Viewer Comment line is (310) 369-3066. David Cross was right -
I got an idea for what you can do...why don't you fucking fire your complete marketing team, alright? Get a new one in there that knows how to market a show that won five motherfucking Emmys, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Writers Guild Awards, Directors Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards, Critics' Top Ten lists. You know, if you can't market that kind of show and get better ratings, then maybe the problem doesn't lie here [on the set]. Maybe it lies with marketing.

Update: Found it - the most appropriate screencap ever

Can I post animated gifs?

Update: Apparently not. Here's the second slide - the animation was just these two alternating -

Update: They're trapped behind your screen and trying to get out. The guy on the right - his right arm moves back and forth and it looks like he's making the folds. See?


Now that's a spiicay taco! Spicer titanium frame ($1500 for the frame only), singlespeed drivetrain, rigid titanium fork, eccentric bottom bracket - mmmmmm.....

Public Service Announcement

If you like the rocking White Stripes songs (as opposed to, y'know, the ones that don't rock so much), the Black Keys (download some samples at 3hive - I strongly recommend "All Hands Against His Own", but they all rock harder than any 2-man band has any right to), or Soledad Brothers ("Cage That Tiger" also available at 3hive), then you'll love the 22-20s. You're welcome.

Jonny Cycles and The Big Fix

A local framebuilder (the guy who builds the frames also works at Yellow Jersey on State St for you locals) is donating a custom-built fixed gear frame for The Big Fix (a fundraiser for a type of cancer called Langerhan’s Cell Histiocytosis) to raffle off - $20.05 for a 1/150 chance. As of today, there were 128 tickets sold (129 when I buy mine in a few minutes). It's not rational, since 1/150th of the $1350 it costs to order a frame is only $9.00, but (1) it's for a good cause and (2) it would be years before I could actually afford to have a custom frame built.

One of my favorite parts is that you don't just get the frame, you get pictures of the entire process of its construction. Here's a sample, from concept sketches to the final product -

Some perspective

"Mars or Bust!", my hinder - the scale of our solar system makes that like me saying "Walk Across the Street to Pedro's or Bust!" or "Roll My Office Chair Back From the Computer or Bust!" Check out this scale representation (where 1 pixel = 1000 km - scroll up for the links to the planets, or you'll never find them), or these pictures, or this from Carl Sagan -
If our Sun is on home plate at Shea Stadium in New York City -
Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars are all between home plate and the pitcher's mound,
Jupiter is on second base,
Saturn is in the outfield,
Uranus is on the outfield wall,
Neptune is in the bleachers,
Pluto is in the parking lot,
Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our sun, is in San Francisco.

Cherry Knowle, Sunderland, Britain

If you enjoy abandoned urban photography for its creep-out factor, what could beat an abandoned British asylum?
A new hospital has been built on the grounds, but the Victorian-era asylum was left standing for its architectural value.

And happy Guy Fawkes Day to you, creepy abandoned asylum!

Type "puzzle" eight times and tell me it's not a stupid-looking word

I can't say I entirely understand how it works, but I want to put together a PuzzleBoat team.
The Puzzle Boat is an online puzzle extravaganza, similar to the MIT Mystery Hunt or Microsoft Puzzle Hunts. It can be solved entirely online.

Puzzles (red links on the map) are in PDF format (with one exception). Puzzle types include cryptograms, crosswords, and visual puzzles. Some puzzles are traditional, others are unconventional, others defy categorization. The use of outside references are acceptable, and absolutely necessary in some cases.

As you solve puzzles, new puzzles will become available. Some puzzles require solutions to other puzzles. Solving these meta-puzzles will give you the names of several individuals on the island. Finding all of these individuals will allow you to complete the extravaganza.

You can solve the Puzzle Boat with others. To register a team, click Register above and enter a team name, password, and team members. Others on your team can use this name and password to access puzzles, and see how far the team has progressed. You can also solve on your own, but it's not as much fun...for most.

You Carleton nerds love this kinda crap, right? Post a comment, join the team, and I'll register us early next week.

Leavin' on a jetplane

Missy's first sentence when she called me just now - "Man - Newark is a craphole". She's there for the EK Design Team kick-off meeting, which doesn't start until tomorrow morning, so she and her roommate are going to Manhattan.

My blog: Your #1 Source for Crazy Vintage Cyclocross Photos

Why doesn't anyone sing songs about Wisconsin?

I got out-indied by Spice after class tonight - I said that I liked Phantom Planet, and noted that Jason Schwartzman (of Rushmore and other good films) was the drummer. Spice one-upped me - apparently Schwartzman left after their first album! Oh no!

Everyone loves 17th Century Polish mathematicians!

My paternal great-grandparents emigrated from Poland in the early 20th Century, started farming, and built the house that my parents still live in. I wonder if they fled Poland because of it was so hard to live up people's expectations of ol' Jan's heirs?

How can I find out whether I'm really related?

Varosha - abandoned beachside suburb

Vorosha, on the Turkish side of the island of Cyprus, was not so much abandoned by choice as it was abandoned by politics -
In 1974 the Turkish military invaded and carved up the island. Greek Cypriots in the north were forced to move south side of the line. Turkish Cypriots from the south were forced to move north. Greek Cypriot citizens in Varosha fled the Turkish invasion in terror. They expected to return to their homes within days. Instead, the Turks seized the empty city and wrapped it in fencing and wire. They forbid anyone from entering it to this day.

If you need to be perked up after that, may I recommend the Hipster T-shirt Generator? My other car is Ohio!

Question #3 - On Trousers

In addition to answering the two questions below, if you see me on campus today, could you tell me whether the new pants I'm wearing are too hipsterish to lecture in? Not that I can change if they are, but I suppose I could stay behind the lectern or something.

Job prospects

I need your advice, o people of the internet - should I apply to be a lecturer again next semester? Since my field doesn't have enough faculty to have any real research money available, the alternative is to TA for a course. There are two lectureships that I'm qualified to teach - the same International Law class that I'm lecturing this semester, and Intro to International Relations. Here's my thought process so far (although the whole decision is based on the possibly-wrong assumption that there are so few applicants that I'd get whichever course I wanted) -

1. On Lecturing vs. TAing -
The first question is whether I should lecture at all - or just ask for a TA position.
1a. On pay -
TAs, since they're part of the union, are paid a higher salary than lecturers, which are not part of the union. Lecturers also have to pay health insurance premiums (~$30/month) and do not receive a tuition waiver (~$800/semester for three dissertator credits). However, lecturing makes for a much stronger CV, leading to better job prospects in a year - an investment in increased future income, in you will, which is really kind of what the entire grad school experience is.

1b. On time -
TAing would probably take more time during the semester than lecturing, but would require no planning between now and January. Lecturing is a smaller time commitment during the semester (since I would only have to prepare and give two lectures vs. attending two lectures, preparing for four discussion sections, and doing all the grading), but a substantial amount of preparatory work before the semester begins (writing a syllabus, choosing a textbook, finding supplemental readings, etc). The amount of time required is important, since more time spent on teaching means less time spent writing my dissertation. That said, though, is a dissertation that takes a little longer to finish or one that isn't a thorough or good offset by teaching experience?

1c. On future grad school funding -
The department guarantees funding (though TAships or research) through five years - which will be up for me at the end of next semester. After my guaranteed funding period is up, I drop from the very top of the TAship-preference totem pole to the bottom rung (which could mean no TAship at all if there are none left over after the students with guaranteed funding are covered). Lectureships, however, aren't part of this guaranteed-funding scheme. The question is whether I should take advantage of my last semester on top of the TA totem pole to get a TAship I really want (and then hope to get a lectureship again in the fall of '06) or lecture now so that I have two lectureships under my CV for the year I don't have guaranteed funding.

2. On International Law vs. Intro to International Relations
If I decide to lecture, then the question is which course -
2a. On time -
Since I have a syllabus and course reader already, the time commitment to prepare for International Law would be minimal. There are some revisions I'd make based on feedback from this semester, but it wouldn't involve designing a course from the ground up. The Intro course would involve quite a bit more preparation, although I would have a wide variety of old syllabi to pull readings from and I'd use a textbook (although it's not clear that the time required to choose a good textbook is any less than the time required to choose an entire semester's worth of readings).

2b. On gaining future employment -
When I apply for a real job in a year, does it behoove me to be able to say that I lectured the same course twice as much as being able to say that I not only prepared for two courses, but courses at very different educational levels? For the type of liberal arts colleges I'd like to apply for, it seems like a wide variety of teaching experience would be valuable. At the same time, however, I'm sure that my course evaluations from my very first lecturing attempt wouldn't be as good as those from my second effort at the same course and material. I've learned quite a bit about how to lecture well, particularly how to present this semester's material well, which would probably mean higher evaluations if I did the same course again next semester.

A late addition -
2c. On my first year outside graduate school
As the ever-wise A.Cav pointed out to me in the hallway just now, I should not only be thinking about getting a job, but about what happens after I get that job. Lecturing International Law gives me more time to work on my dissertation now, but lecturing Intro would give me a fully-prepared course to teach my first year at a new job - freeing up all kinds of time for post-dissertation work (such as turning it into a book for publication) then. Since any program in the country is going to have some version of Intro to IR and it's likely they'd stick the new guy with teaching it, having a syllabus and experience is an appealing prospect. On question #3 above, A.Cav approves of the trousers.

Day 1: The Stage is Set

Today marks the opening volley of the Grand Battle of the Sinuses, in which the allied powers (Me, Amoxicillin prescription) wage war on the Axis of Eeeevil (Sinus Infection, Postnasal Drip, and Sinus Headache). Amoxicillin prescription and I do not expect this to be a quick war, nor one that will be won without sacrifice, but in the end, we shall prevail over the forces of mucus!