Sunday, May 27, 2007

Cruisin' Classics

I finally decided to purge my audio tape collection, since I'm pretty sure that's a dying technology. My car still has a tape player, but I don't even listen to tapes there - I usually just listen to the radio (even though the LCD is partially broken so it's difficult to see the station), or, if I'm going on a long trip, I take my iPod and the radio adapter that broadcasts to an unused radio frequency. So, tapes are a thing of the past. Except that my friends made fun mixes for me over the years, and it would be nice to preserve the collection of music, if not the physical tape. So I'm trying to write down the playlists from those mixes with the intent of finding those songs in my library/buying them on iTunes and re-creating the mixes on my iPod. On the other hand, I also have many tapes that were direct recordings of CDs, so these went directly into the trash. It's quite cathartic.

Another set of tapes that I have is the Cruisin' Classics. These were tapes sold by Shell gas stations in 1989 and 1990 for $1.99 (with purchase of 8 gallons of gas). Each one had 10 songs from the 50's, 60's, 70's, and 80's. My sister and I LOVED these tapes. We loved them so much we fought over them (though that's not saying much since we fought quite a bit in our childhood). To circumvent this particular predicament, I made copies of the cassettes by making my read-only "Annie" cassettes into writeable cassettes via the old scotch-tape-over-the-holes-on-the-top-of-the-cassette method (sorry, had to start calling them cassettes due to confusion with adhesive tape...). Well, being the packrat that I am, I still have 2 of the originals and one of the copies from 18 years ago. Yeah, I wasn't kidding about being a packrat.

Turns out it's harder to find information about Cruisin' Classics than you might think. These tapes were pretty popular when they came out, so it seems like someone would have chronicled their history and playlists somewhere on the internet. All I could find was eBay listings with patchy information and bad spelling. So, in case you're wondering and don't want to crawl through the interweb to find this information, here it is (Volumes I-III came out in the summer of 1989 and Volumes IV-VI came out in 1990):

Volume I: 60's & 70's
  • You Can't Hurry Love [The Supremes]
  • Kind Of A Drag [The Buckinghams]
  • I Heard It Through The Grapevine [Marvin Gaye]
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher [Jackie Wilson]
  • Joy To The World [Three Dog Night]
  • Proud Mary [Credence Clearwater Revival]
  • Do You Believe In Magic [Lovin Spoonful]
  • Hot Fun In The Summertime [Sly & The Family Stone]
  • Lady Willpower [Gary Puckett & Union Gap]
  • Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is A Season) [The Byrds]

Volume II: 70's & 80's
  • Uptown Girl [Billy Joel]
  • Rosanna [Toto]
  • Love Train [The O'Jays]
  • Your Mama Don't Dance [Loggins & Messina]
  • Crocodile Rock [Elton John]
  • Don't Stop [Fleetwood Mac]
  • What A Fool Believes [The Doobie Brothers]
  • Sara Smile [Hall & Oates]
  • Rock' n Me [Steve Miller Band]
  • Ramblin' Man [The Allman Brothers Band]

Volume III: 50's & 60's
  • Johnny B.Goode [Chuck Berry]
  • Great Balls Of Fire [Jerry Lee Lewis]
  • All I Have To Do Is Dream [The Everly Brothers]
  • My Girl [The Temptations]
  • Travelin' Man [Rick Nelson]
  • That'll Be The Day [Buddy Holly & the Crickets]
  • Blueberry Hill [Fats Domino]
  • He's So Fine [The Chiffons]
  • Reach Out I'll Be There [The Four Tops]
  • I Get Around [The Beach Boys]

Volume IV: More 60's & 70's
  • Come See About Me [Diana Ross & The Supremes]
  • Beautiful Morning [The Rascals]
  • Midnight Train to Georgia [Gladys Knight & The Pips]
  • Mr. Tambourine Man [The Byrds]
  • Build Me Up Buttercup [The Foundations]
  • Chain of Fools [Aretha Franklin]
  • You Didn't Have to Be So Nice [The Lovin' Spoonful]
  • How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) [Marvin Gaye]
  • My Guy [Mary Wells]
  • Monday, Monday [The Mamas & The Papas]

Volume V: More 70's & 80's
  • Listen To The Music [The Doobie Brothers]
  • It's So Easy [Linda Ronstadt]
  • Ventura Highway [America]
  • Could It Be I'm Falling In Love [The Spinners]
  • Can't Fight This Feeling [REO Speedwagon]
  • The Heat Is On [Glenn Frey]
  • Wake Me Up Before You Go - Go [Wham!]
  • Kiss On My List [Hall & Oates]
  • September [Earth, Wind & Fire]
  • Footloose [Kenny Loggins]

Volume VI: More 50's and 60's
  • Sherry [The Four Seasons]
  • Blue Moon [The Marcels]
  • Oh, Pretty Woman [Roy Orbison]
  • Why Do Fools Fall In Love? [Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers]
  • Get A Job [The Silhouettes]
  • Runaround Sue [Dion]
  • Do You Want To Dance? [Bobby Freeman]
  • Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On [Jerry Lee Lewis]
  • Yakety Yak [The Coasters]
  • Oh, What A Night [The Dells]

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Canon's take on IS

I had been wondering whether the next DSLR in Canon's Rebel line would have in-camera image stabilization, since some of its main competitors have already implemented this feature (Sony A100, Olympus E510, Pentax K100D and K10D, Samsung Digimax GX-10, and Panasonic L1, though this last one isn't in the same price bracket as the others). So I was somewhat disappointed to see this Canon advertisement extolling the virtues of in-lens image stabilization as opposed to in-camera. Not that I don't believe them that stabilizing the lens is more effective than stabilizing the sensor, but when you're on a budget, it would be nice not to have to slap down the extra money for the IS in the lens. I still plan to get a DSLR sooner or later, and it will most likely be Canon (though the common 4/3 mount that Olympus shares with Panasonic/Leica is tempting, since my dad has the L1 and the accompanying Leica lens... :) ). Depending on how long I wait it will be the XTi or its successor. It will be difficult to go back to a world without IS after using the S2 for so long. But who knows, maybe I'll be making SO much money by then that I can buy some IS lenses too! Or, maybe not. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. :P

Saturday, May 19, 2007

More balcony plant management

Originally uploaded by gecko_12.
Speaking of pests, I learned a few years ago that birds will eat cherries well before they are ripe, so if you want to save any for yourself, you need to put a net over the tree. This worked wonderfully last year and so I have put the net up again this year. If the current cohort of cherries all manage to ripen, it will be quite a bumper crop!

Unfortunately, we had quite a bit of wind today, the result of which was that the net ripped some of the cherries off the tree as it was blowing back and forth. Cherries near the trunk and proximal portions of the branches remained untouched, but I was sad to see bunches of green cherries hanging in the net, helpless.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Field trip day?

This morning on the 16 there were not one, but TWO class field trips using the bus as transportation. The first group looked to be roughly 10 years old, with probably 20-25 kids and several adult chaperones. They took up quite a bit of space despite squishing two little kids into a normal seat. Then we got a second group as we headed south on Stone. Though the group was smaller (maybe 10 kids), the kids were much younger (maybe 4-5) and the bus was quite full by then. Some kind people gave up their seats so the little ones could stay together (I was already standing or I would have done the same). I think both groups were heading to Seattle Center. It was just funny to watch the excitement unfold, though a number of regular bus riders seemed disinterested (and failed to scootch to the back of the bus when the density got higher). It makes you wonder, though - public transportation is a great way to save money for large groups, but I would probably worry about losing a kid or not having enough space on the bus, especially during commuting hours.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Project Ladybug

the good guys and the bad guys
Originally uploaded by gecko_12.
This morning I inspected the ladybugs outside and was pleased to find that there were still a few on my plants. They hadn't quite found the stash of aphid-like bugs yet, so I moved a few over there and they immediately started munching on them. (You can see the culprits on the leaf stalks in this picture... click on it for a larger version.) I didn't see very many this evening, though, so most may have already moved on. I hope a few stick around to keep things tidy out there!

Ladybug gators?

After spotting a few aphid-like bugs (maybe even aphids; I'm not an entomologist) on my balcony plants, I decided to treat them the organic way - with ladybugs. I'd seen some bags of ladybugs for sale at Home Depot the last time I was there, so I stopped by this weekend and picked one up. This evening I let them loose on my plants (the packaging recommends a nighttime jailbreak; maybe they fly less when it's cool and dark?). There were actually quite a few dead ladybugs in the bag (I hope I didn't kill them!) but still plenty of live ones. I then spent a while collecting the ones that had fallen to the ground and encouraging them to crawl onto the plants. (The inside of the packaging has some interesting information about the ladybug life cycle, including the fact that the larvae are called ladybug gators... really?) If there are any "ladies in red" left during the daylight hours I'll try to post a picture. I hope they do their job and find lots of little pests to eat! If not, I suppose I'll be doing the neighbors a favor as the ladybugs will probably migrate to greener pastures, as it were. Either way, for $4, it's a fun experiment!

Friday, May 11, 2007

QFC! QFC! QFC at lunch!

Update on the QFC at Mercer and Taylor just West of 99: it's been open since Wednesday a week ago! I stopped in there today, and it looks great. The store has a very similar feel to the new Whole Foods, with an emphasis on prepared foods (but perhaps not quite as much as WF has). There was lots of beautiful produce, and a Starbucks kiosk inside (making it officially the closest Starbucks to my lab!). I didn't have time to wander all the way into the back, but I'm really looking forward to having a nice grocery store so close to work. It's even on my route to walk from the bus stop, meaning I'll probably go there most days to pick up breakfast on my way to work.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Draft done

Originally uploaded by gecko_12.
After weeks of lots and lots of reading and writing and such, I finally finished a draft of my thesis! I finished proofreading yesterday and printed it up without too much hassle. Then I decided that since I'd printed it double-sided, it would be best if I had it spiral-bound, so as to make it easier for my committee to read. I took it to the UW hospital duplicating office, since the Rotunda copy shop is closed (for how long? indefinitely?). Seems like it would have been a simple job, but when I picked up the bound copies, the pages were out of order and flipped the wrong way. So I had to have them punch new holes and rebind the document - except that now there were holes on the outside edge of some of the pages. This seemed fixable by cutting off that edge, but the guy somehow managed to mangle that too. Instead of cutting the whole document, he only cut the pages with the extra holes. So then I had to have him cut the rest of the pages, which resulted in the document edge being somewhat ragged. In the end I still got 5 copies bound and in the right order, but one copy had margins of about half an inch (instead of the 1.25" I'd started out with) and another copy somehow had some pages ripped. I saved that one for my adviser, figuring he was the least likely to care that some pages were taped back together.

If I'd been on time with all this and finished a draft last Wednesday (when it was technically supposed to be done), then I could have gone back to work, reprinted the document, and gotten it bound again. But I was in such a hurry to get it into my committee's hands that I pushed forward with what I had.

Oh, and then my GSR's office is under construction, so I had to trek all around the south campus trying to find him. And it was kind of hot. And I was flustered from the whole binding thing. So it was a bit of a wacky day.

But at the end of it all, I am done with my draft, and that's a pretty good feeling. Now I just have to work on my presentation, read piles of papers, continue to work on experiments for my manuscript, and clean my apartment before my dad arrives in two weeks!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

John Krasinski

Nyanko and I are huge fans of The Office, and my favoritest character is Jim Halpert, played by John Krasinski. I even have a claim to fame - we went to the same college and overlapped by two years (though I can't say I ever met him). Anyway, he apparently stopped by our alma mater last week to talk to the students. You can read a recap of his speech here.

Green and blue

Anyone know why the Space Needle was green and blue last night?

Friday, May 04, 2007

Awesome sign

Apropos of Wednesday's water main break/sinkhole event, this sign was spotted at the Eastlake Bar and Grill: "Sink hole de Mayo!/We're open." (Apologies for the crappy camera phone image quality.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Tutta Bella

A new branch of Tutta Bella pizzeria will be gracing the Denny/Westlake Whole Foods complex. I noticed the "coming soon" sign while there foraging for lunch earlier this week. I've only been to the one in Wallingford once, but it was pretty good! I'll have to check this one out when it opens.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oops!... I did it again

Seattle suffers its second water main break in a week - this time on Eastlake, causing a sinkhole to form, but NOT the fault of construction workers. The University Bridge is closed, wreaking havoc on the traffic in the U-district for the foreseeable future. Luckily, our traffic problems are probably not quite as bad as the Bay Area's. (Photo via P.I.)

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Diet Coke Plus

A few days ago I spotted this new Coke product at Safeway. Diet Coke Plus - with vitamins and minerals? It just sounds so weird. I mean, sodas are the epitome of unhealthiness, so does this somehow make them better? Do the vitamins and minerals counteract the phosphoric acid and other chemicals? (Not that those qualities keep me from drinking sodas fairly frequently, but they really aren't great for you). (Ooops, just checked my own facts and discovered that the claims about Coke's nastiness are largely false). I wonder if this will go the way of Crystal Pepsi and New Coke, or if it will catch on and be the newest health craze... only time will tell. I personally can't stand artificial sweeteners (except for whatever they use in Fresca), so I won't be trying it anytime soon. If you're a Diet Coke drinker and feel brave enough to try it, please report back on taste and/or other benefits! :P