Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2008


loodmila & bud.jpg Originally uploaded by ash966 I can now reveal my super-secret craft project. I made some stupid sock creatures using this book and some socks from Savers. I sewed them by hand since I don't know how to work my sewing machine yet. It wasn't as hard as I feared, though I did mess one up when I put the tail hole on the same side as the mouth hole. Here's some more photos.


I am truly loving the Post Office this year. You all may have known about Click 'N' Ship already, but I just heard about it . No more lines at the Post Office for me! I knew that postal scale and those sheets of label paper would come in handy (sometimes being a packrat is good). I've never had something lost in the mail, but UPS has lost things. Someone sent me something with a slightly wrong address but the right zip code for my birthday, and UPS sent it back. I almost didn't get a Shogatsu present because they needed a signature and all the retired people in my building are either escaping from the building, hiding in their apartments, or watching the contractors like hawks so they don't accidentally break their Hummel figurines. Oh, will this HVAC project never end? With USPS, if they can't deliver it, you can go to the post office. It's not my favorite thing, but at least it's on a bus line. The only problem I have with Amazon is that every now a


Well, it's Shogatsu time again at Casa Jfro, so I'm working on some super-secret craft projects. I can't go into detail, but it involves sewing. Homemade gifts are economical, show a personal touch, and if you are sensible about it, not really very hard at all (Shhh!) I once saw a decorated matchbox at one of those little-gifty stores for 5$. C'mon! Anyone can slap on a picture cut from an old magazine on a matchbook and glue little beads on it, it's not rocket science. Now, I love hipster craft sites and mags like Gothic Martha Stewart , Readymade , Craft and Craftster , but there are certain key words in instructions that always give me pause: 1. Saw : My little secret--I am very bad at straight lines. My little condo does not need to be full of random wood scraps that are only good for firewood. You can have the guy at Ace cut it for you, but that kind of defeats the point of DIY. 2. Solder or weld. I actually learned how to solder in Sculpture class. It


In Giant Robot #54 (sorry, print only), Lynda Barry makes the following statement: When one of my guy friends dated a girl I thought was too straight, I would be a total ass about it. I regret that my own weirdness made me a fascist about people who were not weird. I'm of two minds on this. Of course, it's wrong to judge people based on what they look like, just like judging them on ethnicity or educational attainment. Some of the weirdest people don't dress weird at all--they don't need to. And it's never a good idea to bad-mouth someone's significant other, unless they are hurting them in some way and you have to intervene. Not to mention, depending on one's orientation, it could sound like you're auditioning for the job of new significant other in a particularly whiny and passive-aggressive way, which just poisons a friendship. On the other hand, I've been to get- togethers and such with some horribly mismatched couples (thankfully not so of


Some people have complained that they are not getting their Jfro fix in a timely manner. I tend to suggest that people sign up for an RSS reader like Bloglines , My Yahoo ! or Google Reader , but some are resistant to that idea. I swear, once you start using a feed reader, you won't know how you lived without it! My updates also appear on Friendfeed and Facebook if you are on those services. For those who prefer to receive everything in their email box, I have created a mailing list that will receive a message when updates to Odd Obsession appear. So, if I forgot to send you a message about it, subscribe here . If you don't want to get updates that way, feel free to ignore it, I won't be offended. I myself prefer RSS, but I want to make all my readers happy.


I discovered this article via Name That Film on the top 5 marriageable female characters in movies, so I decided to make my own for male characters: H.I McDunnough, Raising Arizona . He reformed himself from a life of crime and only wanted to do what was best for his wife, too bad it didn't go so well. Willie Mossup, Hobson's Choice . Possibly the only husband in the history of the movies to admit that his wife's bossiness was a good thing. Also, he and his wife are great partners in business as well as life, so they'll always have something in common. Lloyd Dobler, Say Anything . Obvious, I know. Not many 18-year-old males would fly to London for their girlfriend's career. On the other hand, he's got his kickboxing, so you know he's not just a hanger-on. Alfred Kralik, The Shop Around the Corner . When you've found your soul mate, the fact that she's a bit of a bitch shouldn't stop you. Having already aired out both their petty disagreements


My co-worker and I were talking about the trouble with getting to the polls on Election Day, and we came up with the idea of combining Election Day with Veterans Day (I know, it's not original , but we were very impressed with ourselves). My polling place is 1/2 mile from a bus in either direction, in a ritzy neighborhood that believes in having no street lights to keep out the riff-raff, and yes, it is uphill both ways. Since my stupid state requires a reason to vote absentee (lack of transportation is not listed as a valid excuse), there was no way I was going to risk getting challenged this year. This idea would solve two problems-- 1) everyone forgets Veterans Day, schools usually don't close, so vets are not being properly honored, and 2) voter turnout is (usually) rather low. VV Day would honor vets by reminding everyone what they fought for, while giving more people a chance to vote without creating another national holiday. Here's my Facebook group --join the Jfro


Now that the most powerful and influential Randian of our time has somewhat repudiated his views , can we put Objectivism into the dustbin of history along with Communism? I mean, just because you thought that scene of a rebel architect ravishing a socialite on the top of a tall building was hot when you were 20, should you base your whole political belief system on it? Two Girls Fat and Thin was good, though.


Here's my superhero, Badass Jfro, via the HeroMachine . I'm pretty happy with her, although they didn't have a lemur, so I made do with an ermine as my mascot (maybe a fennec would be more appropriate). Nice choice of ninja weaponry, though.


Inspired by this article in Lifehacker, here is my new calling card for social situations. Moo lets you print business-size cards from your Flickr photos. Selections from my " Urban Decay " series are on the other side. I enjoy the contrast between old-school and new-school social networking. I know the thing to do now is call people on their cellphones to give them your number, but that just isn't as cool. What is more suave, taking five minutes to text in an email address, or flashing them a card? I didn't put in all the personal stuff, since acquaintances from Meetup groups or some such don't need to know.


In a somewhat recent New York Review of Books article , Joyce Carol Oates wonders why boxing is no longer so popular. That's obvious, its ass has been beaten in the global marketplace by kung fu. Not that karate, tae kwan do, muay thai, and capoiera aren't also beautiful in their own way, but the Chinese created the martial arts movie and if someone in Hollywood is looking for a martial arts choreographer, it's probably going to be someone from a kung fu background. Kung fu movies led to Hollywood rip-offs, video games, and a whole new sport based on the plot of Enter the Dragon . Nowadays, you almost never see a John-Wayne-style slugfest in a movie. Even all-American Jason Bourne uses martial arts (it looked like krav maga to me). Kung fu has become part of American culture. African-Americans were again ahead of the curve on this, as they found the martial arts movies' themes of self-improvement and struggle against the (Manchu) man congenial. In the days of the


Well, I wanted to do some dancing last Friday, but all my options were sad, sad, sad. Dr S. and I wandered around downtown going from sports bar to horribly-overpriced-dress-to-impress-yuppie-hell to sports bar playing rap or top 40. We thought about seeing this bhangra DJ, but it was $35! I am of the generation that believes that dance music is techno or house. Listening to Groove Radio will give you an idea of what I mean. Industrial or electro is also acceptable. Of hip-hop influenced genres, dancehall, bhangra, reggaeton, or baile funk are also good, but I have to have an assurance that regular, mainstream, top 40 rap will not be mixed in. Sadly, the good stuff is often reserved for weekdays when only young'uns and those in the hospitality industry can attend. I just can't dance to rap music. It does not make my boogie muscle move. The good stuff is great for listening in a car or at home, but not dancing. Well, at least there's still Ground Zero 's Bondage-A-Go. T


The Spiritualized show at First Avenue was awesome. I needed some powerful guitar feedback in my life. Ctrl_S turned to me and said something that would make a perfect title for the singer's biography: Dear God, Please Give Me Some Heroin: The Jason Pierce Story Here's some other imaginary biographies I thought of on the bus: Thanks Jesus, But I'll Take It from Here: The Bono Story I Will Shoot You in the Face: The Dick Cheney Story The New Yorker Turned Down My Poignant Short Story and Now You Will All Have to Pay: The Craig Finn Story If you have any more, please post comments. PS. More Spiritualized pics here . ---------------- Now playing: Mayumi Itsuwa - koibito yo via FoxyTunes


Here are some more signs you are in a post-apocalyptic movie from the gang at Name That Film : 11. Someone always has an eye-patch. [1] 12. The use of seatbelts is decidedly not in fashion. [2] 13. The sky is a strange colour , usually red. [3] 14. Mode of transport if not # 4 is either futuristic or horse and cart. [3] 15 We only see what happens in America or America is the default saviour of the world. [3] 16. There just happens to be one person who knows how to save mankind. [3] 17. It helps if you ride on top of the bus or just stand up in a convertible. [4] 18. Also, somehow the place to be is the Junkyard/Quarry. [4] 19. Your grooming hasn't suffered as much as one would expect. [5] 20. You feel an uncontrollable urge to beat Kevin Costner to a lifeless pulp. [6] 21. Canned goods have a shelf life of 25 years. [6] 22. Everyone has surprisingly good teeth. [6] 23. Why are we in a desert??? [6] 24. You find an ancie


1. If you are a male, you have a mullet, yet no one is laughing at you. 2. Suddenly all sports and games of chance are "to the death": boxing, basketball, drinking games, motorcycle races, Old Maid. 3. You are surrounded by people with mohawks, face paint and/or tattoos, leather jackets, studded bracelets, and dominatrix outfits, but you aren't at an Exploited concert or 2-for-1 night at the Iron Eagle leather bar. 4. You have a sudden desire to pimp your car/motorcycle/bicycle with one or more of the following items: armor plating, barred windows, guns, spinning rotary blades of death. 5. No one has last names anymore, and badass-sounding one-syllable first names are preferred. Anyone who would introduce themselves as "I'm Clarence Higgenbottom III" has already met an untimely end. 6. Mutants!* 7. If there is a rumored "paradise" or "promised land", you won't find it. It will turn out to be a) a trap b)just as bad as everywhere else


The Shifted Librarian made this awesome READ poster generator , so now you don't need my sweetie's mad Photoshop skillz (or my OK ones) to make your own. Give it a try and add it to the Flickr READ poster pool . I made another one from a photo on the Chunklet blog of some garage rockers reading the Rock Bible . Pre-order yours today for some Jfro words of wisdom. ---------------- Now playing: Groove Radio via FoxyTunes


While perusing the Achewood discussion boards, which actually contain witty and smart people and very few trolls (although some of the avatars are the animated- GIF equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard), I came across the term " weeaboo ", which apparently someone who is unhealthily addicted to anime and manga . Meanwhile, at nearly the very same time, The New York Times was featuring some of the trolls that mock anime fans as weeaboos (also cause epileptic fits, issue death threats, etc.) on the very board in which the term was spawned. Of course, living in a fantastical, anime world all the time is not healthy, just like living in a video game, fantasy baseball league, science-fictional TV series, or (my favorite) the world where 15 th -century Europe was a land of fairies, wizards and non-stop orgies even for people who forget to bathe , all the time is not so good. But then, in the very act of trolling, their critics indicate they have no life as well, or why


Oh happy day! The 2.2 update did it--I can listen to internet radio on the Apple TV without having to stream it from my computer. I'm blasting with the big speakers any music that the vast sea of the Internet can provide. You do have to create a playlist of radio stations on iTunes, since there still isn't searching available for radio like with podcasts and YouTube. Get on it, Apple! And while you're at it, could I have an iPod Touch with 80 GB of storage for less than $300? Especially now that LastFM is available on it . That'd be great, thanks.


Jason had an insightful post on newspapers in the Internet Age on his blog wherein he suggested we donate to keep the watchdogs of the press going. In an aside, he mentioned subscriptions for music: To be honest, it's the same thing with music downloads. I've been screaming for monthly subscriptions for years now, and they're still not here. (At least not on the scale of an iTunes or Amazon.) Of course, I had to respond. Jason: I'm sorry to hear you've been screaming for years--you must be very hoarse. I believe the service you're looking for is called Rhapsody . I don't know what counts as "the same scale", but they have ads on TV. I don't know why anyone would pay $12.99/month to rent music, though. I want to own my music, I don't want some company to be able to take my access away or jack up the price at a whim. Rhapsody's main market must be people who don't own much music, have a lot of electronic devices but no interest in l


I'm not a big Western fan, they tend to be too conservative for a big liberal like me. The strong, silent good guy is the best shot, so he kills the bad guy, saves civilization and marries the schoolmarm ( My Darling Clementine, Gunsmoke ). I tend to prefer the "adult" Westerns of the 50s like Man of the West, The Unforgiven, 3:10 To Yuma, Johnny Guitar and Warlock that acknowledge that there was sex, racial tension and moral ambiguity on the lonesome prairie. Another interesting variation was Western family drama, like Broken Lance, Duel in the Sun , or Giant , where a powerful paterfamilias was respected throughout the county but had trouble with his own family ( Bonanza is a watered-down version). The Big Valley is the closest TV came to the adult Western. Of course it was constrained by censorship compared to the movies, but it was daring at the time to have a main character be an illegitimate son of late paterfamilias who is accepted by the family as one of th


From this discussion in Name That Film : I've learned from bitter experience that any movie that can plausibly be described as "a triumph of the human spirit" is bunk. Hence, I've avoided the following movies like the plague: Life is Beautiful Dances with Wolves Schindler's List Crash (2004) Children of Huang Shi Biko Gandhi Amistad Bravehart Forrest Gump These sort of Oscar-bait movies drop off the best-of lists after a few years anyway, to be remembered only as a historical record of what was considered serious and important in the past. ( Gentleman's Agreement, A Patch of Blue, The Greatest Show on Earth , anyone?) ---------------- Now playing: Globe - What's The Justice? [00:07:59] via FoxyTunes


I never get tired of internet services that define me by my tastes. The reason I got into LastFM was because someone else had the widget on their blog and it looked cool. It filled me with a burning desire to have my favorite songs streaming here on Odd Obsession . It also lets me broadcast my soundtrack on Facebook. I don't really use it for recommendations, though. For that, I'm still a bit old-fashioned in using radio, albeit of the Internet variety (it is handy to have all the tracks listed. Listening to regular radio and having to wait for the DJ to say what they're playing seems so frustrating now, doesn't it?) Another hint from Dr. S is searching for lists of bands under a genre like " Stoner rock " on Wikipedia, then going to SeeqPod or MySpace to listen. Really the only reason for MySpace to exist. Anyway, for those with a lot of time on their hands, LastGraph offers a lovely visual representation of what you're listening to. I was loving the


For pure ego gratification, there's nothing like Flickr Stats . I love checking how many hits I've gotten on which pictures from which web site. Most of the sites are just photo blogs that search certain tags and refresh whenever a new photo with that tag pops up in Flickr, so they don't imply actual choosing due to photographical excellence, but some are from Japan , which is always cool. Note to self: If you want to be big on Japanese blogs, take photos of Neon Genesis Evangelion cosplayers. Other than that, my Flickr photos were linked to two mid-century modern design lovers , a Portuguese crafter who was interested in the Flickr plastic bag group , and the enigmatic Wansmile , who may be a Flickr Name That Film member and enjoyed my still from the Italian cyberpunk film Nirvana . Awesome. ---------------- Now playing: Devil Riding Shotgun - Who Am I via FoxyTunes


Somehow I missed it, but Giant Robot published a " My Perfect Day" story from the Twin Cities a couple of months ago. It's a feature where the writer describes the place they live in the form of a diary entry for a perfect day where they could do all their favorite things in a period of 16 - 20 hours. This one was pretty good, the guy works for the Walker and mentioned most of the cool galleries and museums. It's too bad he apparently never steps further east of the river than Dinkytown, though. Where's the St. Paul love? If I did a perfect day, I'd have to do a Minneapolis one and a St. Paul one, otherwise I'd never fit everything in. Here's my East Metro version, based on certain special days with my sweetie Dr. S : 9 AM: Early for me, but it's a perfect day and I have a lot to do, so Dr. S tickles my toes. I look out my balcony at the Mississippi: it looks like a perfect day. 10:30 AM. We walk along the Mississippi River and look for any new g

10, 000 HITS, BABY!

Well, thanks to recent posts of the new Intermedia Arts mural and the Como Zoo , I have finally achieved my dream of 10,00 hits on Flickr. I would have more, but apparently Name That Film posts don't count (it's technically 18+, but not for reasons of naughtiness). The popular blog Boing Boing mentioned NTF a couple of months ago, so we were swamped for a while. I prefer getting props for my abilities (at least those of being in the right place to capture street art) than because a lot of people are trying to guess what movie my snap is from, anyway.


So, I went to Anime Detour last month and a good time was had by all, although I did put my back out for a week afterwards, hence the lack of posts in April. Apparently, I can no longer sit cross-legged for any length of time because the nerve in my leg starts hurting , making sitting in a chair very painful, which makes it hard to share my wit and wisdom with all the Jfro fans. My dear friend KathySRW let Dr S . and I stay over at her hotel room, which was great and definitely the way to do things. Next time I may spring for a room or split the cost. Kathy's daughter was dressed as Light from Death Note , a 2008 cosplay favorite, along with Bleach, Hellsing , and the ubiquitous Naruto (In my day, ninjas were remorseless killing machines, and that's the way we liked it. Now get off my lawn with your ridiculous orange jumpsuit!) Here's some more pictures from my Flickr account. We got to check out some new shows, of which our favorites were Flag and Witchblade . Flag w


I recently discovered that Encyclopedia Britannica is giving free one-year subscriptions to web publishers, and I guess I am one, because they gave me one. Awesome! Now I can look up all the real people the characters in Rome were based on.

Movies that Are Better than the Comic Book or Graphic Novel

Usually, If I really like the comic book or graphic novel, I don't like the movie quite as much, though I still enjoy it if it doesn't screw things up completely. Examples include: Lone Wolf and Cub , The Crow , Ghost World , V for Vendetta , and American Splendor . Nausicaa and the Valley of the Wind is really close, but I feel the comic book is a little bit better in the world-creation department and the ending was more poignant (of course, they are both by Miyazaki, so that's a special case). Mainstream superhero comics are hard to judge because there are so many different writers and inkers (I don't read them much because of that, though I can enjoy the symbolism and mythos in a movie). There are a few movies that are better than the comic books, though: Ghost in the Shell . It's a good graphic novel, but Shirow gets sidetracked by his love of shiny mecha and cheesy cheesecake (though he does both well). The movie really focuses on the theme without the clutter


I'm too lazy to do any movie reviews, but for your viewing pleasure I have added a feed of my movies of the month on the left-hand side of this blog. Plus, bonus gorgeous movie stills courtesy of VLC . Enjoy! ---------------- Now playing: HALCALI - tandem via FoxyTunes


Here's my report on my Apple TV after having it for one month. I had some trouble setting it up at first, but now it's working just fine. Although it doesn't fulfill my every desire as an on-demand entertainment device and link from Internet-accessible content to my TV, I'm pretty darn happy with it. And no monthly fees. Oh monthly fees, how I hate you! From hell's heart, I stab thee! At first, set up was frustrating because it turned out I needed something called a router to share my DSL internet with my computer and Apple TV. The Radio Shack guy knew what I needed, but they apparently sold me one from the back of the closet all covered with dust, because it was old and didn't work. I found a tip online that told me I had to go into the online maintenance and change one setting for reasons unknown, but I couldn't get online to do it. The router company wanted to charge me money to give me customer support because it was out of warranty, so I marched right


Over at the Chunklet Blog , they're making a little list : We're coming up with a list called "Dear Rock Star" for the next issue which is a list in question form asking an artist/band why they did one stupid thing or another. Here's a few examples: "Dear REM , Why did it take you 14 years to figure out that people wanted you to shut up and rock?" "Dear Bob Mould , why do you insist on DJing without a shirt on? You have ex-fat guy skinny guy belly." "Dear Juno Soundtrack , why did you make the world a place where I can't escape the childish out-of-tune ramblings of the Moldy Peaches?" Of course, I had to weigh in: Dear Robert Pollard , I love you, but why the English accent? Have some Midwestern pride, for chrissakes! Your "A's" should be as flat as the Ohio Valley and your "R's" should be hit as hard as a punch in the face from William Howard Taft. Dear Stephen Malkmus and Lou Barlow , Why do you pla


For improved "branding", this blog's URL is now As that is my "street name ", I was determined that no one else should have this precious domain, especially when I found this article via Librarian in Black and discovered I could have it for only $10 a month. So, update your bookmarks, but it should still redirect from For those of you who don't know the story of my street name, it all started with a woman Dr. S and I saw on the bus. She was wearing a trucker hat over unruly long red hair, a satin baseball jacket, and a t-shirt with the word "Princess" on it in big, glittery, cursive letters. She was sitting in the nutjob seat (across from the driver) monologuing about various issues, when she said, "My name is ___, but my street name is Princess." After she got off the bus, a man in a dapper brown 70s-style three-piece suit, hat, and cane sat down in her seat. He then complained loudly for 10


This is from yet another Name That Film discussion . When it comes to movies, I am full of . . . opinions. American Beauty : A re-hash of warmed-over 60s ideas. Suburbs bad! Teenagers good! Military men insane! About as deep as "Pleasant Valley Sunday". I also hated Lost in Translation , but it could be just watching people who are miserable because they got a free trip to Japan burns my ass. Anything by the British Art School club: Sally Potter, Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman, and Ken Russell (except for Lair of the White Worm ). These movies would be OK for 10 minutes at a time in an art gallery, but not for 2 hours. Caravaggio was just agonizing. Oh look, the Pope has a digital watch! That must symbolize something! Betty Blue, Breaking the Waves, King of Hearts , and any other arty mental-illness-exploitation movie. If it doesn't resemble any mental illness anyone has ever seen outside of a movie, it isn't any good. This goes for terminal illnesses as well. The M


The Hives Originally uploaded by britrockatthetop I remember back in the late 80's some proto-grunge guy from the college radio station mocked me for going to see the Godfathers . "They wear matching suits!" he scoffed. That was before Urge Overkill made it cool again. I like a band that wears matching outfits, it shows that they are making an effort to entertain me. It doesn't make a crappy band sound good, and it doesn't fit every band -- Guided By Voices' whole thing was "we're regular guys", so they wore regular-guy clothes, but they still busted their asses for the ticket-buying public. The Hives are like that--they did everything possible to get the crowd going last Thursday at First Avenue. They reminded me a lot of the Godfathers, what with the suits and the 60s-style garage rock. The main dig against them is that they aren't original, but if, like me, you can't resist the primal lure of garage rock, originality doesn't r


“ You Won’t See Me Coming” — Jean Jacques Brunel ( Gankutsuou:The Count of Monte Cristo ) A dark but energetic techno tune with sinister vocals by former Stranglers bassist Jean-Jacques Brunel that foreshadows the many machinations of the mysterious Count. “ Hikari To Kage O Dakishimeta Mama” --Naomi Tamura ( Magic Knight Rayearth ) I’m not too into magical-girls shows, but I love this song. It’s like a lost 70’s bubblegum hit you can’t get out of your head. “ Tandem” --HALCALI ( Mr. Stain on Junk Alley) Another song that really sticks in your ear, this hip-pop song with a Latin/Ska beat makes me want to dance every time I hear it. “ Ready Steady Go” --L'Arc-en-Ciel ( Fullmetal Alchemist) This anthemic pop-punk song perfectly represents the innocent but determined spirit of the show’s Elric Brothers. “ Tank!” --The Seatbelts ( Cowboy Bebop ) A jazzy 60’s –style instrumental is perfect for this