Friday, March 25, 2011

Lounge Wear? Try Scrubs Instead of Sweats

Back in college when money was tight, I found creative ways of making each budget item stretch as far as I could. Food was easy enough, mainly because I was the only one who had to witness or taste my Top Ramen chili special every other night. Clothing was another story. Store-bought clothes, at least new ones, were a luxury that usually came twice per year - my birthday and Christmas. My Sister-in-Law sympathized with my plight. She was a nurse and would bring me clean, unused (I hope) scrubs that I'd wear around the house every day. These became my "house clothes," not unlike Hugh Hefner's robes, but without the blonds hanging off each shoulder. I thought about this rather austere time of my life just recently as I stumbled upon a great site for surgical scrubs for sale.
 
Blue Sky Scrubs sells unique scrubs in a variety of styles and colors. Although these won't be coming for free like the ones I used to get from my sister-in-law, if you're looking for wholesale hospital scrubs,  you might just want to check out their site. Plus, as of this writing, they are offering free shipping on orders of $155 or more! Oh, and they also sell Lab Coats, Shirts, Jackets, Accessories, and Hats.
 
So whether you're a starving college student, or like me, looking for some comfortable lounge wear, take a look at scrubs as an alternative to the sweat pants and that T-shirt combo that your spouse has been trying to get you to toss out since the day after your honeymoon. Yeah...you know the one. ;)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Francis Ford Coppola On Art, Copying And File Sharing: We Want You To Take From Us | Techdirt

Paul Tamm points us to a really wonderful interview with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, which touches on a whole variety of different topics, but a couple of quotes are likely to be interesting to folks around here. For example, he’s asked about copying works of other filmmakers and whether or not he tries to “veer away” from the masters of the craft to create his own style, and he responds brilliantly:
I once found a little excerpt from Balzac. He speaks about a young writer who stole some of his prose. The thing that almost made me weep, he said, “I was so happy when this young person took from me.” Because that’s what we want. We want you to take from us. We want you, at first, to steal from us, because you can’t steal. You will take what we give you and you will put it in your own voice and that’s how you will find your voice.

And that’s how you begin. And then one day someone will steal from you. And Balzac said that in his book: It makes me so happy because it makes me immortal because I know that 200 years from now there will be people doing things that somehow I am part of. So the answer to your question is: Don’t worry about whether it’s appropriate to borrow or to take or do something like someone you admire because that’s only the first step and you have to take the first step.
While (of course), I always dislike the incorrect use of the term “stealing,” I found this to be quite an insightful answer from someone who is certainly in a position to pretend otherwise. However, throughout history we’ve heard similar (if much less eloquent) claims from others. Ray Charles famously made similar points about copying his music (shamelessly) from others to create his own unique sound (and invent soul music in the process).

Immediately after this, he’s asked about business models, and he notes:
This idea of Metallica or some rock n’ roll singer being rich, that’s not necessarily going to happen anymore. Because, as we enter into a new age, maybe art will be free. Maybe the students are right. They should be able to download music and movies. I’m going to be shot for saying this. But who said art has to cost money? And therefore, who says artists have to make money?

In the old days, 200 years ago, if you were a composer, the only way you could make money was to travel with the orchestra and be the conductor, because then you’d be paid as a musician. There was no recording. There were no record royalties. So I would say, “Try to disconnect the idea of cinema with the idea of making a living and money.” Because there are ways around it.
While some will misinterpret this to mean that artists shouldn’t make money, that’s not what he’s saying at all. He’s saying it shouldn’t be presumed that they automatically must make money — or that if they are to make money, that it needs to come from the film directly.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Books I Read in 2010



My goal was 12 for the year, and I finished the 15th on December 30th. 


Looking back, the list is a bit sci-fi/thriller-heavy, but they were all a fun in their own way. I'll branch out more in 2011 and pick up a few classics I have always wanted to read, but for which I've never allowed the time.


I'm not going to give my opinions of these books here, but if you have any specific questions on any of them, leave a comment and I'll get right back with you. 



The Bad Place -- Dean Koontz


The Shining -- Stephen King


Time and Again -- Jack Finney


The Lost Symbol -- Dan Brown


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo -- Stieg Larsson


The Girl Who Played With Fire -- Stieg Larsson


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest -- Stieg Larsson


Side Effects -- Woody Allen


Mere Anarchy -- Woody Allen


Getting Even -- woody Allen


Without Feathers -- Woody Allen


The Passage -- Justin Cronin


Physics of the Impossible -- Michio Kaku


Lightning -- Dean Koontz


Odd Thomas -- Dean Koontz

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Long Beach Stories - Launched!


Long Beach Stories is an interactive tour of Long Beach, CA using Google Street View technology. Check it out today at LongBeachStories.com!

Follow LongBeachStories.com on Twitter - www.twitter.com/lbstories

Oh yeah - I can advertise this blog because it's MINE!  :)

Thanks.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The FVC - Family Vacation Center


Back to work after a week’s vacation in Santa Barbara. I’m in an uncharacteristically-quiet mood; not sad, not happy, just. . .mellow, relaxed. Co-workers ask me about my vacation and I tell them it was fantastic, but without my usual enthusiasm. They see me as a tanned, perhaps a little thinner version of the Tom that left ten days ago. I’ll probably return in spirit tomorrow – need to recapture something that’s floating right in front of me, but is yet undefined. I’ll let you know what it is when I find it. 

I lost another five pounds this past eight days, but am feeling healthy – not weak. I’m proud of myself for that, and am encouraged to break past the point in time where most of my attempts at weight loss have failed – the dreaded three week mark. So far, so good – and I’m not going hungry. Sure, it was a challenge to bypass the pizza and desserts last week, but I think the movie popcorn was the hardest. I had ten kernels of popcorn. While it may be true for some snack foods that twice the amount does not equal twice the satisfaction – take, for instance, eating a Snickers bar. Very satisfying – right? Eating two doesn’t double the ecstasy. Well, at least it doesn’t to me. This theory falls apart dismally when applied to popcorn. One kernel is simply not enough. One handful? Not even close. I’m usually not satisfied until I can see the bottom of the container, and even then I’m chomping on the un-popped orphans hoping they’ll give up one last explosive burst of flavor during frenzied mastication. Ten kernels are a tease, a taunt – pure torture. I should have avoided the bag entirely.  So, the lesson here – stay away from popcorn – at least the fat-saturated movie variety, and the kind they sell at Target – same formula, I believe, but one-quarter the price. 

Reflecting on my mood one more time, it occurs to me that I watched a Lawrence Kasdan film last night, Grand Canyon. It’s on my short list of favorite movies, and always makes me a bit self-reflective. The writing in this movie is so delicately crafted that the movie, to me, comes alive and speaks to me on many levels. It’s not a barrel of laughs, and I can certainly see why some people simply don’t “get” the film. It fits me though, like an old, comfortable shirt. Wait – that’s such a mixed metaphor I don’t know where to begin. Perhaps I’ll just stop now instead.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Learning to ride

For months now, my dear daughter has been asking if I could teach her to ride a bike. Last week I finally relented, and told her that Sunday would be the day. Fate lent a gentle push, as Saturday evening we were offered a "like new" girls bicycle from some good friends. This really cemented the deal, as it meant I wouldn't have to don mining gear and crawl deep into our attic to find Nick's old BMX bike. Plus, this girls bike has pretty blue flowers on it! Charming.

I remember teaching Nick, and the long hours of spine-wrenching torture of leaning over and holding him while running. Try leaning at a 35 degree angle and running at full-gait. Yeah, see? Juliana, for whatever reason, was much easier. A couple of passes up and down our block while I held the handelbars and seat, then it was just a matter of supporting her under her arms as she learned the intricacies of steering. By the second day, I could feel her balance was improving to the point where I felt I could let go - with her permission, of course. We tried it, and sure as snuff, she rode for a second or two. A few more minutes of practice and she was riding for ten seconds at a stretch. Then, the inevitable happened. As my heart struggled to pump blood to my legs and my leaden lungs strained to expand, I dropped behind her at one point. Without me to spot her, she panicked, turned sharply to the right, and rode onto a lawn where she promptly laid the bike down with her under it. She was upset - rightfully so. The first crash on your bike is always the worst, regardless of the degree of injury. But beyond that, my repeated promises of "Daddy won't let you crash, so don't worry," came rushing back. Damn heart and lungs! What did I ever do to to you?!?  Oh yeah. . .nothing!

We went out again last night and I ran more than I have since high school. She rode for the longest stretch yet - over 20 seconds. This time I forced myself to keep pace, and this time it was me that collapsed on the lawn, after gliding her slowly to a stop. I recovered without any tears, and she decided to walk with me back to the house. I think she understood, probably better than I, when we'd both had enough for one evening.
Links!



(Per)Posterous - The strangeness just keeps coming.


HiFi Collector - Your one-stop gear geek stop


Facebook - They say this thing will really take off some day! 



Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whew!


August 10th, and it's still cool. As we wait for summer's long, hot exhale, I can't help but worry that it will come with a vengence just as school begins in three weeks. Inevitably, the first week of school is tortuously-hot. I remember sitting in new, unfamiliar classrooms in early September, feeling a mix of meloncholy, remorse, and the kind of profound loss you only get when something dear, like your freedom, has been snatched from you. All this, of course, puntuated by a brutal heat wave that mocks your feeble resolve, and bludgeonds hope. But then, sudden promise. A new girl sitting to my left. Pony tails, green eyes. She too looks hot and miserable. The teacher drones on and I glance at the girl and she glances back, smiles. I hang onto that moment, nurture it, and make it last for days.

Had an encounter with a skunk this morning. I see them occasionally around the neighborhood, but have never gotten this close. I was on my pre-dawn fog walk, and fiddling with my iPod when I heard the sound of claws scratching pavement in front of me. There, not more than six feet away, was the most beautiful skunk I've ever seen. Tail raised high, claws quivering on asphault, alabaster white on licorice black fur -  magnificent! I spurted out six explatives in one breath and darted to the right toward the sidewalk. The skunk stayed put, watched me leave then holstered his tail and snuck under a pickup. I couldn't help but wonder - with a wide, empty road for us to share, why did he feel compelled to confront me? He's got to have better night vision than I, and there's no way he could have mistaken me for a parsnip, cockroach, or other delicacy. Then again. . . naw. Anyway, perfect specimen - I applaud his hygeine routine, whatever that may be.

Teaching my daughter to ride a bike. More on this tomorrow - much more.

Links:

Posterous - Went through a "depression era" photography phase last week, and I can't promise I'm over it, so be warned.

FaceBook - Daily trivia and now caption contests! It's as much fun as going to a bar for trivia night, except I only ask one question per day, don't serve drinks, and we don't give out any prizes. But hey, - NO COVER!

Breathe In Breathe Out - Ema's Cancer Recovery Journal - New entry! Be the first on your block to read it! Great news on the recovery action.