Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cincinnati Rollergirl Photos

Just found the roller derby photo blog called "I Can Has Lead Jammer." It's a collection of photos from all over that are submitted and captioned by skaters. I ran across it from a search because Roseanne Scarr submitted a few photos taken by Jeff Sevier at one of the Cincinnati Rollergirls' recent bouts. Jeff has some excellent shots and Roseanne's captions are very funny! I especially liked this prayer on the photo of Deep Threat. Now I know who to call for clever derby photo titles.

Jason Bechtel, the other photographer for the Cincinnati Rollergirls, posted his photos from last Saturday's bout between the CRG and the Bloomington Flatliners (the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirl traveling team). See his entire set here. My favorite of Jason's photos is this great action shot of the Flatliner skater X Libris flying through air! That's why he's a professional. Who is the CRG skater in the photo that gave the hit?

Ageratum Flower Progression

While visiting the garden at Michele and John's place, I spent a fair amount of time looking at an Ageratum (by the way -- I only know this because Michele provided the name). One pot had flowers at many different stages of development. I took several shots and settled on these five to catch the life of a blossom. I used them to make the slide show below. You can see a composite of the five images here or look at them individually in the photo set.

Songs in Haiku

This post is a little bit of shameless self promotion.

Our other blog project, Songs in Haiku, is a site where each post summarizes a song's lyrics in a three line verse. It's a cooperative blog with Dianne and Pat. If you haven't been there lately, you should check it out as Songs in Haiku got some enhancement a couple weeks ago. Besides providing a link to the actual song lyrics, Dianne thought it would be good idea to add links for facts about the song and a video. She thought the video would be a nice addition especially if you're not familiar with the song.

I thought it was a good idea, but didn't think we'd find many videos. Boy was I wrong! Isn't the Internet wonderful? Nearly every post has links to facts and to a video for the song. Some of the videos are very interesting and clever. A great example is this video for the song "Mad World" picked by Pat. It's a very creative and well thought out video. Other videos are actual performances videos such as the link in the post for "What a Wonderful World." There are some songs where we couldn't find an official video or a performance, but have found the tune associated with other video. A funny example of that is the video link with the post for "Copacabana."

Finally, thanks to Erika Jean, I requested a review of the Songs blog at the Untwisted Vortex site. Read the review here. The review was actually pretty good. Thanks to RT for taking the time to visit the site and provide the review.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


As Yogi Berra said, you can observe a lot by watching.

On Saturday morning, I spent some time looking around the huge garden at Michele and John's place. There is a lot to see! Many things jump out at a non-gardener right away. But I was amazed at how much I discovered by watching small areas of the garden. There were a couple instances where I was setting up and thinking about how to take a photo and some insect landed right in my shot. By moving more slowly and watching closely, I picked up on a lot of activity around me. It was a lot of fun!

While looking at some pine trees, I noticed some movement on a shrub out of the corner of my eye. This grasshopper very kindly climbed up a branch and perched there nicely, breathing slowly, while I got in position for this shot. Click on the image to go to Flickr to see larger views.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Double Dip of Pain

On Saturday night, Dianne and I were among the 1000+ people at the pair of bouts hosted by the Cincinnati Rollergirls. The first bout was against the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls (Flatliners) from Bloomington, Indiana. The second bout was a re-match against the Gem City Rollergirls from Dayton. Congratulations to the CRG skaters for decisive wins in both bouts!

Black Rose Blocking E=mc^2The first bout was brutal for the Bloomington skaters. They were having a tough time against the experience and strong teamwork of the CRG group. With blocks like the one Black Rose is giving in the photo at the right, there were Flatliners falling all over the place. They are undoubtedly a sore group today. The tough blocking made it very hard for the Flatliner jammers to get through the pack. That led to lots of grand slams for CRG -- so many I lost count. The CRG blockers were also doing well clearing good lines for their jammer teammates. They helped the jammers a lot with whips like the boost Skinnie Minnie is giving Sk8 Crime in the photo here. Getting a WhipEverything came together with speedy skating by Skates with Fists, Candy Kickass, Miss Print, and Sk8 Crime to give a final score of 118 to 44. See all the photos from this bout in my Flickr set here. At the break, I was stretching a bit and walked past Collier Mama sitting in the stands talking strategy with a Bloomington skater. That type of sportsmanship was amazing to see consider Collier was tossing players around right and left just a few minutes earlier.

Polly's Going DownThe second bout against Gem City was full of action as well. Although behind from the start, the GCRG group battled hard the whole match. The GCRG skaters Ruff'n the Passer and Hannah Barbaric were tough jammers and got their share of lead jammer status. But it wasn't enough. Again the CRG team was firing on all cylinders with very tough blocking, excellent teamwork, and speedy jammers that were too much for Gem City to handle. The photo here of Junk N Trunk putting a hit on Polly Rocket is just one example of the hard hits that were exchanged in the pack. The way Junk is leaning and positioned with her skates perpendicular to Polly's, you know Polly went down hard. It was a hard hit right in front of us. I caught quite a few pictures of blocks in the photo set from this bout. Sadistic Sadie ScoringAs usual, it was amazing to watch Sadistic Sadie skating. But the second CRG group rotated quite a few skaters into the jammer position -- including Sk8r-Kinney who started as jammer when the Gem City jammer was in the penalty box. After establishing the jam and when the Gem City skater was about to get out of the penalty box, Kinney passed the jammer star to Sadie. Just another example illustrating how the CRG experience is resulting in good strategy decisions that help them succeed. There were also several grand slams for Cincinnati in the second bout. I think I'm only going to count double grand slams (two laps of the opposing jammer) from now on. The final score of the second bout was 150 to 84.

The least well thought out blocking strategy of the night award goes to Fonda La Boom who put a hard shoulder into Juwana Hurt and knocked her over backwards. Don't get me wrong -- it was a good block. But doing that to Juwana just puts a huge target on your back and you should keep your head on a swivel. Juwana got up quickly and skated full steam to catch the pack. You knew it was payback time for Fonda and sure enough Juwana caught her off guard going full speed. Everyone in the crowd felt Juwana's hit that knocked Fonda down and out of bounds. Ouch!

Me and Juwana HurtIt was another well orchestrated event by the CRG -- although it was pretty toasty in the Gardens. As usual, after the match the skaters stayed to meet the crowd and give autographs. I was able to meet Juwana Hurt and Emolition. Dianne snapped photos of me with each of them. We're certainly lucky to have such a dedicated group of WFTDA skaters here in Cincinnati. It's a lot of fun to watch them skate! It has to be a thrill for them to be such a strong group skating in the Gardens! Me and EmolitionThey're putting a lot of effort into developing their skill as well growing the events with publicity. And thanks to the Rollergirls for the URL listing in the program as well as the mention in the derby love! Quite a surprise.

If you haven't been to a match, check it out. The next CRG event is an interleague bout at the Cincinnati Gardens on September 8th. After that their schedule has the CRG All-Stars against the Burning River team from Cleveland. The question is can the Cincinnati Rollergirls All-Stars go undefeated this season?

Friday, August 24, 2007

Rock The Square

Rockin the SquareAfter work today I drove downtown, met Dianne at her office, and then we walked over to Fountain Square in the heart of downtown Cincinnati to check out the Rock the Square event. It's a concert series held every Friday to showcase local bands and bring folks to the square. The photo at the right shows the group Bad Veins performing on stage with the Carew Tower in the background across the street. There's a nice article about the concert series in the Enquirer.

I told Dianne about the event earlier in the week after reading about it on the Roller Derby Diva's blog. Dianne's been so stressed this week, it kinda went in one ear and out the other. She was very surprised when we arrived and she saw several of the Cincinnati Rollergirls there to generate a buzz for their upcoming bouts. We got to chat with them a bit and the group was kind enough to pose for a photo. In the front are Sadistic Sadie and Sk8 Crime and standing behind are Nik Jagger, The Librarian, Skates with Fists, Gummi Lov, and Miss Print. Good luck on the Double Dip of Pain bouts tomorrow night at the Gardens!

Cincinnati Rollergirls at Fountain Square

We got to hear two of the bands. We listened to a bit of Bad Veins and then walked over to the Cadillac Ranch for dinner (don't get your hopes up if you click on the link for the Ranch). That place was hopping! Couldn't talk Dianne into riding the bull though -- that would have made for a good photo. After dinner, we went back to the square for a bit and listened to the Lions Rampant. Both of the groups were good -- I liked Bad Veins better. Good songs and the creative clipping or modulation of the lead singer's vocals gave them a distinctive sound.

The crowd was much smaller than I expected! I guess the heat kept folks away. While I was driving downtown to meet Dianne, my car thermometer read 102! Yikes! It was hot, but there was a nice breeze and it wasn't too bad in the shade.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

We're #6 and #11!

I'd say a ranking of #6 or #11 out of all cities in America is pretty good -- unless it's on a bad item list. Forbes put out an article a couple weeks ago naming the cities with the most expensive commute and the most unhealthy commute.

Cincinnati ranked #6 in the expense department. What shocked me the most in the Cincinnati summary was the time spent commuting. The summary mentioned a 30 hour delay on average per traveller. Thirty hours! I have a relatively short commute, but I probably waste a day a year waiting in traffic!?! Wow, that's nuts! Well...not really when I think back to my blog rants. Although most like this post, this post, and this post were weather related, there are a lot of other reasons for delays in a commute. And think of the waste of energy due to those delays.

The greater Cincinnati area had a commute that ranked #11 in the health department. Fortunately I don't take that route. I commute in a parallel corridor that's still congested due to the suburban sprawl that's happening.

Thanks to the 'nati life for pointing this out and brightening my day -- not!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Cincinnati Rollergirls Items

Jeff Sevier, one of the photographers for the Cincinnati Rollergirls, posted many photos taken at the away bout in Dayton a couple weeks ago. See his entire set on Flickr. The lighting in the Nutter Center was relatively good and Jeff has some excellent shots! I thought Jeff's photo of Rocky Balrolla (shown at right) was very good. If you want to check out a "Where's Waldo" shot, look at this photo.

Don't forget the home bout this coming Saturday at the Cincinnati Gardens. It's a rematch with the Gem City girls and also a bout with the Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls from Bloomington. The Bloomington team has a skater named Motley Cruel (a rival for Panterrorize?) and a skater named X Libris (is this The Librarian's sister? Seriously, check out her photo in the bio section). Could make for some interesting match ups. X Libris' number is "ML3534" which seems to refer to books that are general histories of rock and roll music. A noisy rocker? She's gonna get shushed by The Librarian.

Should be fun!

Cinematic Geography of L.A.

A group of folks in Los Angeles, led by Blair Erikson, have photographed various locations around L. A. that have appeared in past films. As best they could they tried to get the same angle today as was used in a film. The web site has still photos of locations to let you guess what movie they appeared in.

The group also prepared a YouTube video that strings together many locations. It shows the location on a map, the current view, and then a transition to the scene in the film. Very well done.

Saw this effort on CNN. It's a nice bit of work, but in the grand scheme of things it must have been a slow news day.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wiki Trust

It's no secret I like Wikipedia. I use it all the time to look up stuff. I think it's a good starting point. However, you have to remember it is a grass roots information source. The wisdom of crowds theory isn't always true and there are errors in entries. If you go in with your eyes wide open, I think it's a good tool.

The folks at the UCSC Wiki Lab put together a demonstration that uses coloring to convey the trust of the person that provided information for a given entry in the Wikipedia. It's an interesting idea. My biggest complaint is the color differences are subtle. It's sometimes hard to discern the difference in shading. It kinda reminds me of a cell phone coverage map where it seems they purposely choose the colors to make it difficult to see differences in service. Nevertheless, an interesting idea.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Accent Quiz

Thanks to Heida at the Tales of Seven blog, I found a quiz that assesses your accent. It's short. My results are below. I guess my accent has morphed into that of a Cincinnati native. Have I lived here too long?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The West


North Central

The Inland North

The South


The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Glowing Tomato

This video shows how to make a glowing tomato using some common household items -- well...except for a syringe. Hopefully that's not a common item.

Make A GLOWING TOMATO ! - Click here for the most popular videos

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dirty Car Art

Most everyone has seen a dirty car where someone has written the words "wash me" by wiping away some of the dirt. I stumbled across this site that takes that to the extreme. Scott Wade creates works of art on dirty car windows. Here is one example -- the classic dogs playing poker. The site has a nice gallery of work including a progressive series of photos leading to the final image shown here. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Cincinnati Rollergirls vs. Gem City Rollergirls

Final ScoreLast night Dianne and I drove up to Dayton to watch the Cincinnati Rollergirls (CRG) take on the Gem City Rollergirls (GCRG) in the “We Got the Beat (Down)” bout at the Nutter Center. The final score shown at the right says it all. Congratulations to the CRG team on the win! They had a lead of 15-20 points most of the match.

The GCRG group has some good skaters. Ruff’n the Passer, Polly Rocket, Hannah Barbaric, and Toma Hawk all stood out as strong skaters and jammers. The blocking was tough from their whole team. It was no picnic for the CRG skaters to get through the pack. Nevertheless, GCRG got behind after the first couple jams and stayed there the whole match. They kept fighting back the whole time, but just couldn’t put a group together that would let them score a lot of points against Cincinnati. Even when GCRG was able to score a lot in a jam, Cincinnati usually matched them.

Starting the JamThe whole CRG team was in sync and it showed with solid jams from multiple rotation sets of players. Every skater seemed focused and was contributing. Everything came together for the group and it was really fun to watch. The CRG blocking was amazing! There was a lot of coordination in the CRG pack and many hard blocks that made it very tough for the GCRG skaters. There were a couple jams where the GCRG skater couldn’t make it through the pack. We were surrounded by GCRG fans and you could hear the frustration in the tone of their voice. There were a few times where the lead CRG blockers got more than 20 feet from the pack and had to let the jammer through. The GCRG fans behind exclaimed “there she made it through easy!” I don't think they understood the 20 foot rule and that the blockers had to let her through.

Blocking for the JammerThe hard block moment of the night goes to the hit that Juwana Hurt put on Seoul Sister. I don’t know how she does it, but Juwana Hurt gets in position in front of a skater and makes a sharp cut to slow down quickly and lay a hard shoulder block into the opponent. Juwana's hit on Seoul Sister made her fall over backwards and she landed hard. Seoul Sister had to leave the match after that one. I hope she wasn’t seriously hurt, but I’m sure she is sore this morning. The photo here shows Juwana (the blurred #74) doing the same move earlier in the match. Click on the photo to see a larger version. She was putting a lot of hits on opponents. The GCRG fans behind us said they wouldn’t want to be the jammers trying to pass Juwana. Although they didn't like her, they appreciated her blocking ability.

Roseanne Scarr and MeThe CRG jammers were strong as well. The hard CRG blocking and the speedy skating of Roseanne Scarr yielded two grand slams for her (when one jammer laps the opposing jammer). Those jams gave a lot of points to Cincinnati. Dianne got a photo of me with Roseanne after the match. Skates with Fists, Gummi Lov, and Miss Print were jamming and scoring as well. There were two jams where Miss Print was jamming against Ruff’n the Passer. In both of those jams, Passer focused on blocking (in effect becoming another member of the pack) to slow down Miss Print and stop her from scoring. Even that strategy wasn’t entirely effective as the CRG group used blocks, screens, and whips to help jammers through. It was a great performance and the Cincinnati Rollergirls have to be very proud of their victory.

The Nutter Center is a very good location for a roller derby match. I was a bit surprised at the size of the crowd (smaller than I expected) and the lack of crowd intensity. At the start of the first jam, it was so quiet you could practically hear a pin drop! I’m probably biased, but the orchestration of the event wasn’t as elaborate as the matches hosted by Cincinnati. However, one interesting feature the Gem City group had was a wireless microphone on the head referee (Harry Brawls). It was like the NFL head ref mike that’s used to explain a call or a timeout. I found that very nice – the sound quality was good and it was interesting to get the info first hand.

I posted a few pictures from the bout on Flickr. Jeff was there and I’m sure he’ll have some great photos posted soon. The next CRG event is August 25th at the Cincinnati Gardens. One of the bouts at that event is a rematch with GCRG. Don’t miss it!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Money Shot

This week's theme for the Macro Mondays' group on Flickr is green. Instead of taking that too literally, I decided to go with some photos of green backs. Click here to see the entire set of photos. (I couldn't resist putting money shot in the title to this post.)
Stack of Greenbacks

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cute Commercial

I thought this video was really cute. When I saw it, I didn't know the title. I had to watch it again once I got to the end. Thanks to the swissmiss for pointing this out.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Sky at a Glance

Ever look up in the sky and wonder what planet you're looking at or if there are any special astronomy events coming up? I just know some of the simple constellations, but I'm always intrigued by the evening sky.

The Sky and Telescope site has a nice summary called "This Week's Sky at a Glance." It summarizes the major astronomy things to see -- I guess in the Northern Hemisphere. This coming weekend the Perseid meteor shower will be at its peak and there shouldn't be much light interference from the moon. If you're out late, glance up, catch a falling star, and make a wish.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Body Plastination Exhibit

A few years ago Dianne and I went to Los Angeles to see the Body Worlds exhibit. Here's an old post I had on body plastination. It was a great exhibit to see the various body systems displayed in a unique, artistic way using real cadavers. We planned to see the exhibit there so we could see Michelle and also meet Dianne's parents and niece from Hawaii.

I saw an article in last week's Cincinnati Enquirer that a similar exhibit called "Bodies...the Exhibition" is now on display in Columbus and, starting in January, will be at Cincinnati's Museum Center. That's added to our must do list!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Songs in Haiku -- First Request

"We got one!!" That's one of my favorite lines from Ghostbusters -- when Janine the receptionist (played by Annie Potts) hits the alarm when she answers their first call for assistance with a ghost.

"We got one" on our other blog (Songs in Haiku) on Friday! Each entry on that blog is a 3 line poem in Haiku form (5-7-5 syllables) that summarizes the lyrics of a song. We have quite a few posts up now, so you're sure to see something you recognize. But an early visitor left a comment asking if we took requests. We thought that would be a good idea. Dianne did some research last weekend and set up a request form on the sidebar of Songs in Haiku. It emails us the information on the form to request a song or artist.

Michele sent in a request for "Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum. A great song with some lyrics open to interpretation. Since Pat, Dianne, and I have different approaches to summarizing lyrics, we though it would be fun to write three haiku and post them together. Go check out the three versions. Also look at our other posts -- we plan to try and have something new there daily.

Praying Mantis and Spider

With all the macro photos I've been taking of spiders, we've been paying more attention to the webs in the shrubs near our steps. I'm amazed at how many spiders are in the bushes. It doesn't take long for the spiders to remake the webs after a hard rain.

Last night Dianne and I went for a very quick walk around the community. On our way back home, we noticed a couple tall shrubs that were loaded with elaborate webs. We walked over to take a look and noticed a large spider working on a web. Dianne quickly spotted a praying mantis that was near the edge of the web. I can't believe she picked that out of the dried leaves on the bush! I went to get the camera and Dianne had to point out the praying mantus again when I got back. It seemed like it was stalking the spider -- moving around the shrub trying to get in a good position to nab it. When the praying mantus moved closer, the spider stopped working and stayed in a tight bundle near the center of the web. Oh the excitement!

Praying Mantis

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Good in Soup Photos

The observant readers have noticed a lot of food pictures showing up in the Flickr badge in the right sidebar. What's up? Last week I posted photos from a textile project I was doing for the "Macro Mondays" group on Flickr. It was the first week I had participated. Last Monday evening the group's moderator sent me a note to thank me for participating and to ask me to pick next week's theme. I hate coming up with stuff like that, so what did I do? I turned to Dianne. She had several great ideas in about 30 seconds! She's good at that. From the options she tossed out, I picked "Good in Soup." So this week I've been taking macros of various food items you'd use in soup.

Below is a slide show of the photo set. You can also go to the Flickr photoset here. I have a couple more to upload, but the slide show should update automatically. Enjoy and let me know your favorites. I have to narrow it down to a few to post. Click on the photo to read the description and click near the top of the window to control the slide show.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Slice of Red Onion

I've been playing around with some food photos for another macro photo project. I was happy with the way this photo of a slice of red onion turned out. I cut the onion very thin and put it on a thin, opaque piece of plastic that folks use to make stencils. I like it because it looks a lot like a plastic cutting board. The stencil is supported on a thin piece of glass. That lets me put a flash unit underneath so most of the light for the image is coming through the onion rather than being reflected from the surface. It's an interesting effect for semi-transparent subjects.

Red Onion Slice

Friday Flashback

Every Friday, Erika Jean does a Friday Flashback post where she describes something from her past. This week she challenged her readers to post a flashback of their own. Here's my attempt. The hot summer days we're having brought these memories to mind.

There were several summers when I was young where my mother would drive us down to Southern Minnesota to spend a few days with my aunt Diane and uncle Jerry. My cousin Brenda came along too at least once. I just did a Google map check and the trip is only about 2 1/2 hours, but it seemed to take forever! Are we there yet?!? My mother packed an ice cream pail full of little toys and games to keep me occupied on the trip (way before the era of video games and in car TVs or DVD players). About halfway there we'd always stop at an A&W root beer stand to have lunch. That was so tasty after the long ride!

I have several unrelated memories of my aunt and uncle's place. I do remember it being hot. I recall Brenda and I spending the hot part of the afternoon in the cool basement playing Yahtzee. We'd watch TV -- I remember they had an antenna rotator to get better reception. I also remember listening to music. My aunt is a big Johnny Cash fan and they had lots of his albums.

I remember going to some local hangout where we'd eat and the grown-ups would have a beer. The only good thing about the beer was putting little bits of salt in it to watch the fizz come off the crystals. Actually, that's about all that beer is good for to this day! That spot also had a raised table bowling game I remember playing. It looked something like the game in this picture. The pins would fold up when you hit them with the ball. That was fun to play!

We also went to see stock car racing in the evening in a neighboring town. It was exciting to watch them racing around the dirt track. One summer the track gave away a chopper style mini-bike as a door prize. Surprisingly, I had the winning ticket! What are the chances? I didn't ride it too much -- mostly when visiting aunt Ruby and uncle Roger's farm (Brenda's parents). It was still pretty cool to have won it.

Otherwise it was just fun hanging out and chatting, riding bikes, or going places around their town. It's funny how certain things stick in your mind. I'm sure the Minnesota readers will have other memories of these trips.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cincinnati USA Best Blogs

Several local organizations, in cooperation with the Cincinnati Regional Chamber of Commerce, sponsored a Cincinnati USA Best Blog competition. The competition was open for nominations last week. Judges made a list of the top 10 local blogs from the 60+ that were nominated. Yesterday they announced the top 10 local blog list from which they’ll select two winners later this week. Check out the list (I’m not on it, but I saw a visit from the Chamber site on Monday – likely a judge). I follow one of these blogs, but the others were new to me. My personal favorite from the list is the Freckle Photoblog.

In my Earl World myopia, I didn’t even know about the contest until late last week when I received a call at work that started out something like this: “You’re going to think this is a strange question, but are you the author of Earl World?” That was a surprise that made me laugh! Turns out the caller was Bex Pistol, one of the Cincinnati Rollergirls, who works at the same place I do. Apparently she had done some detective work to track me down in order to get some information needed for the blog nomination. It was very kind of her to make the effort for the nomination – especially since she’s due any day and probably has other things on her mind. One thing I forgot to ask her when we were chatting was how many Earls she had to call before stumbling on me. I hope not too many because her opening line probably got some strange responses!