Archive for September, 2006

Why bother seeing the world for real?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 29, 2006 by stephenhuey

Been eating a lot of cake lately because we’ve had 3 birthdays in our office this week, and we always have a vegan cake alongside the other one.  Anyway, I found something interesting to look at while having cake and coffee or anytime you’re needing to pass the time.  

Despite the fact that there are better photos of Machu Picchu out there, it’s kind of fun to go there on Google Maps.  That’s one of the intriguing places you expect to see on there, but an independent website called Google Sightseeing has collected some surprising  discoveries (along with those oooh aaah landmarks we already know to exist), and a few of them are below.  Just click on the photo and zoom in (note that some of these don’t have imagery on the closest zoom level, so the best you can get is the next to closest zoom level).  If you click on each picture, Google Sightseeing has a little blurb about it on the left and a link to some more information (the blurb seems to show up better in Firefox than Internet Explorer). 

For years Dubai, the up-and-coming financial center of the Middle East, has been building the Palm Islands and filling them with houses expected to become homes for various celebrities and dignitaries from around the world.  The resolution is now high enough that you can zoom in to see all the houses.  


An interdimensional portal to the netherworld seems to be hovering over the Netherlands.  Try zooming in and out. 


Mid-air refueling at night.  This photo shows how the satellite images are taken with a high-res black and white photo and merged with a low-res color photo (there must have been a long enough delay in between the two snapshots to create the ghosting effect you see here).  


The submarine USS San Francisco pulled into one of the largest floating dry-docks in the world (off the island of Guam) for emergency repairs in January 2005.  While you’re in the Pacific, go check out Iwo Jima.




A submerged drug dealer’s plane in the Bahamas?  You need to zoom in a bit to see it better.



A warped image of a plane in flight.  Lots of theories to explain it have been put forth in this discussion.  




People have found lots of submarines sitting in dock around the globe, but someone stumbled upon this one plowing through the surface of the sea.  If you zoom out you’ll see it’s between China and North Korea.  



Someone near Abu Dhabi is laughing at us.  Or perhaps they’re about to sneeze because of all the dust from the desert.  


Pink bunnies half the size of a football field are all the rage in the Italian countryside.  

Supposedly these are tourists feeding schools of stingrays near where Steve Irwin (the Crocodile Hunter) recently died from being stung by one of their poisonous barbs.  


Mount Oyama on the Japanese island of Miyakejima.  


This giant alien bug over Germany was not actually flying in between the satellite’s camera and the ground.  It seems to have been hanging out in the scanner used to process the satellite photos.  Click the picture to see it hovering over the countryside. 





Posted in Uncategorized on September 21, 2006 by stephenhuey

The 17 people at my new company know the following languages:

  1. English
  2. Gujarati
  3. Hindi
  4. Italian
  5. Kannada
  6. Mandarin
  7. Russian
  8. Sanskrit
  9. Spanish
  10. Tamil
  11. Telugu
  12. Urdu
  13. Valenciano
  14. Vietnamese

It’s really 13 and a half since the guy who knows Kannada speaks only enough to get into trouble with it.  He actually swore in as a U.S. citizen today after living here for about 16 years.  We have 3 women, one of whom is a single white vegetarian, another is a Russian, and the third is a married American.  Anyway, I’m glad I made the switch (it’s been over a month now), but I felt like making some semblance of a tribute to my last place of work, so here goes…

I snuck in late one night to take some photos of my floor.  This sign was right in front of my row. 

Out of some 200 people on the floor, only about half a dozen people who work at night were around. 


Later I got up the courage to take some pictures during the day…

So I got a shot of my team lead behind me…

As well as a shot of my neighbor.

Here’s my Italian-Brazilian manager with the folks who sit right in front of me.  He just swore in as a citizen, too! 

Trekking through the tunnels on our regular mid-afternoon Tuscany Coffee break.

The nearby Main Street fountains that I frequented for fresh air. 

Random people I don’t know. 

Making the rounds on my last day…

Saying my goodbyes to the smiling faces I’d look up whenever I needed a break.

And this is to reward those of you who’ve stuck with me thus far. 

I’ve decided to put aside my shame and go ahead and share this event with you.

Yes, I made this.  But I was volunteered for the job! 

Let’s just say that the frog toss competition wasn’t the most impressive event this social task force had done.

However, I was surprised at how many people visited us for a break during those 2 hours!

And an intern won the bucket of candy, too.  How’s that for a happy ending? 

Roland keeps the wall of the dearly departed. 

Gators & Art

Posted in Uncategorized on September 19, 2006 by stephenhuey

I’d been planning on taking some city slickers out to Anahuac for the annual Texas Gatorfest, and had been thinking it was coming up in October.  Yesterday I checked the website and was a bit bummed to find out it was this past weekend!!!!  My uncle wrote me and said that the hunters brought in 4 alligators longer than 13 feet, and my cousin got to work the kiddie educational booth with the little live ones.  

Anuhuac is just past Baytown, so it’s not very far away, and you get the genuine smalltown treatment out there.  It’s just like a fair with funnel cakes and bands playing, and you can get some gator on a stick.  They time it right at the end of the short alligator hunting season (which is necessary because of an overpopulation–when the alligator season was reinstated, there were more gators than people in that county).  All the meat and skins are sold and sent off for processing, so nothing is wasted.  Also, they have to be caught on a hook first so that you don’t end up doing things like shooting alligators out in the water and then losing them if they sink or something like that. 

So maybe next year, eh?  In the meantime, I’m going to make sure we don’t forget about another upcoming event and give you a full 2 months’ notice about the Houston Art Crawl.  I was impressed by the number of participating art galleries and design studios last year, and I think you’ll like it!  

Posted in Uncategorized on September 14, 2006 by stephenhuey

I just stepped on a crack with my left foot, so now I have to step on a crack with the right one.  Ugh, I landed on the crack a little farther forward than I had with the left one, so now I have to balance it out and use my right foot again, but step more lightly and a little less far……….man, even though the second right step was lighter, the two right steps still outweighed the total pressure of the one left step, so I need to use a light left step to make up for the difference.  Aaaaagh!  It’s probably going to take me twenty steps to get this worked out. 

That happened to me all the time when I was a kid!  I don’t really know why, but if I brushed up against a wall with my forearm, I’d have to turn around and brush against it with the other forearm and try to match the same pressure and corresponding location used the first time.  And it wasn’t just cracks and walls–it happened with all sorts of touches.  I felt like I was nuts, and I literally remember wondering if I’d ever get over it.  I probably didn’t waste much energy on this after the age of nine or ten, but it definitely bugged me for quite a few years.  Even now, on rare occasions such thoughts still crop up ever so slightly, and it drives me crazy to realize that such irrational compulsions could ever affect me. 

My reaction at this age is to quickly balk at the absurdity and wonder at its origin.  The experience is very similar to what happens in dreamland when some frustrating compulsive action is being repeated, or there’s just something going on that I don’t like, and the welcome epiphany that it’s a dream and I don’t have to put up with it affords me a sigh of relief. 

Where does this come from?  The idea of going completely insane is scary, and even the threat of developing some sort of mental instability is pretty unsettling.  Both happen, and you have to wonder why.  Oh sure, somebody can rattle off an explanation about some receptors going on the fritz inside my head, but when it really comes down to it, you want to know how something so irrational is possible when we’re generally able to reason so well.  Or is the notion that we generally reason things out sensibly an illusion half the time?  Maybe my past struggle with those physical compulsions is just a primitive example of the myriad complex ways in which we can slip into thinking insensibly, and usually they’re so subtle we don’t even notice. 

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2006 by stephenhuey

There’s a big spider under my chair, and he says hello there.  Quiet I say, or else someone might hear you and want to squish you and then what kind of friend would you be?  I used to cough, but now I’ve pretty much stopped.  The sunlight made me feel so cozy on the way to lunch that I wanted to keep walking forever, just walk and walk and walk until I laid down in a nice grassy field with leetle yellow flowers.  And bees.  Or maybe like the wind in the willows next to that little house on the prairie.  Prairie dogs galore!  Yippeeeeeee!!!!!!!  I wonder if carnitas means prairie dogs.  That burrito sure did TASTE like prairie dogs.  When can I take another benadryl?  Bennie, you’ve changed EVERYTHING, made the whole world so fresh and nice and new. But mostly cozy.  And I love dreaming with you.  Much better than looking at this ValuationGenerator code.  But I shall remember you neverzebes…neverledess…neverdeless…let’s change valuateFlowCharges to valueBenniePills in honor of you.  Spider, spider, look what I did!    

Posted in Uncategorized on September 8, 2006 by stephenhuey

AAAAAAAAAAAGGGH!!!!!!!!!!  Mariah Carey is tanning herself with 24K gold dust for every concert!!!!!! 

Back in 2000, one of my apt-mates was a computer engineering grad student at Rice and he LOVED Mariah.  So when she announced her first concert in ages he sat down with his and his officemate’s computers and tried to log into the website with both at once as soon as the sale began.  Soooooooo many people were hitting the site that each page loaded at a crawl, and despite the blazing fast internet connection at his disposal, all the tickets were sold out within 15 minutes and he still hadn’t landed one.  eBay came to the rescue, and after he went behind the other bidders’ backs and offered the seller a few hundred dollars, he bought a plane ticket and was off to Madison Square Garden where he had quite a lovely time listening to her live.  Damian is so hardcore.  He tried to get onto Fear Factor once by filming himself eating a living beetle.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 3, 2006 by stephenhuey

Intersection cameras started snapping photos of cars running red lights on Friday, so I suppose that means there’ll be some 437,939 citations issued in the next couple of weeks.

Among other major happenings, Gmail blessed me with the funny quote of the day:
“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.”  – Bill Vaughan

And I’m gonna see Body Worlds before the Labor Day weekend is over…get your tickets soon if you haven’t already, because it’ll be gone after Monday!  It’s open 24 hours this weekend, so if you don’t get creeped out by skinned dead people during the witching hours, you might try beating the crowds by going after midnight…

This Wikipedia article covers some of the controversial aspects, and the Guardian has some more photos, but then so does Google Images

Just finished off the night with the last of some French goat feta.  I’ve been having a little every other day or so, and it’s highly recommended.