What I learned this week, May 21, 2017

Will Bike For Beer: The Five Most Bike-Friendly Bars and Restaurants in Dallas

On a sunny Sunday afternoon — one of those pre-summer days that’s hot but not quite the surface of the sun — cyclists have swarmed Deep Ellum. They may not outnumber the patio-seeking brunch crowd, but there are dozens of them. These are not the typical bikers who are mashing around White Rock Lake as fast as possible in head-to-toe moisture-wicking fabric.

These riders, dressed casually in jeans and peddling leisurely on cruisers, are going somewhere. And more and more, their destinations are Dallas bars and restaurants.

My Xootr Swift folding bike in the cool bike rack in front of the Cold Beer Company
Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas


Guy Sucks At Photoshop, Spends 10 Years Mastering Microsoft Paint To Illustrate His Book

Turns out, sometimes our resistance to learn something new and master a new skill can lead to something pretty amazing. Pat Hines, who couldn’t be bothered to learn Photoshop and illustrated his ebook using good old Microsoft Paint, is the proof. “I suck at Photoshop and other programs, and have worked exclusively in Microsoft Paint for over ten years… I honed my craft working long overnights at a hospital reception desk…,” the guy writes. That’s why when it came to choosing the program to create illustrations for his novel Camp Redblood And The Essential Revenge, he looked no further and just went for something he was already good at.


15 Dallas Hiking Trails You Probably Never Knew About

Umm, I knew about all of these.

Wasps at the Trinity River Audubon Center


Map Shows How Much Land the Government Owns In Every State


10 Valuable Lessons I’ve Learned About Street Photography

After shooting all sorts of things from 2011 to 2012 without ever finding myself and feeling my photography, I discovered my deep passion for street photography in the first month of my 365 project in 2013. Since then, I’ve not only spent almost every single day on the streets of the world to capture wonderful moments, but I’ve also built my life around it.

Vivian Maier


5 Things Cyclists Do You Didn’t Know Are Perfectly Legal

It’s true that city cycling is on the rise in the United States, and that has come with some backlash.  The mere sight of a bicycle can send some motorists into a fury — often due to drivers not knowing the law. This has caused an alarming number of injury accidents that were completely preventable. Odds are, that annoying thing the person on the bike is doing — is completely legal.

Bicycle Drag Racer on the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge


For the world to be interesting, you have to be manipulating it all the time

Acoustic listening devices developed for the Dutch army as part of air defense
systems research between World Wars 1 and 2.

 


 

What I learned this week, May 14, 2017

After 500 years, Leonardo da Vinci’s music machine is brought to life

Rather than plucking the strings, as a harpsichord would, this instrument, called the viola organista, lowers the strings onto spinning wheels which are wrapped in horse hair. This acts as a bow would on a violin. The resulting sound gives the impression of a group of string instruments. The project took Zubrzycki 3 years and 5,000 hours to complete.


The Harlan Ellison Show

The star of the long-running Harlan Ellison show is 82 now. A stroke two years ago slowed him down somewhat, though not nearly enough to stop him from working. What his admirers fear above all is the loss of his voice—sometimes annoying, sometimes sappy, always funny, always insistent, and always arresting. As George Edgar Slusser puts it, “In its ubiquity and insistence, this voice becomes both guardian and guarantor of the stories, projecting a sense that here is not dead but living discourse—words spoken and re-spoken that are worthy of being guided through the years, mediated to other human beings, and reassessed in terms of their relevance again and again.”

It is this voice—Harlan Ellison’s voice—that deserves preservation for generations of readers, of writers, of 12 year olds who dream of other worlds.


What if We Discovered an Alien Civilization Less Advanced Than Our Own?

Fourth, what would we do if we really found rock-solid evidence of a pre-industrial civilization on a planet around another star? We couldn’t communicate with them by any currently known method. Unless physicists make some kind of wildly unanticipated new discovery, there is no practical way that humans could travel there, either. Potentially we could send miniature interstellar probes to examine the planet and learn more about its inhabitants. A project called Breakthrough Starshot is exploring the kind of technology needed to do something like that. Such probes would be so small and speedy that the aliens there would have no idea they were being watched


Oysters, Despite What You’ve Heard, Are Always in Season

The life cycle of a particular species, the temperature and quality of the water in which an oyster grows, and how the mollusk is handled after leaving that water all can affect its health and taste — and your health.

“Essentially if you buy oysters that are grown in healthy waters and they’re handled properly, then there’s no problem with eating them any time of the year,” said Donald Meritt, an aquaculturist at the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.


Saudi Arabia Whines US Has Too Much Control Over World’s Oil

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has asked the U.S. to stop producing so much oil, according to a report Thursday.

OPEC’s report blames the U.S. in particular because hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, has greatly increased American oil production. The new production has led a lengthy period of very low oil prices. OPEC claims raising global oil prices will “require the collective efforts of all oil producers” and should be done “not only for the benefit of the individual countries, but also for the general prosperity of the world economy.”


6 Reasons You Should Watch Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Before Season Three Premieres


How Alamo Drafthouse Is Changing the Moviegoing Experience

 


I have had a crush on the actress Natalie Dormer, ever since The Tudors. I saw this short “The Brunchers” on ShortsTV and really enjoyed it – even if it isn’t anything more than a bit of fluff. I was glad to find it was available to watch on Netflix.

You’re welcome.

What I learned this week, May 07, 2017

Meet the device that could bring back cassettes

This is the coolest shit thing I’ve seen in a long time.


The Serious Eats Guide to Shopping for Asian Noodles

I have just discovered frozen Udon – a new staple.


Beyond “Sissy” Resilience: On Becoming Antifragile


Solargraphy – Sun Trails and Long Exposures Like You Have NEVER Seen

Pinhole camera photographs with exposure times of several months. Oh yeah!

 


Just in case you haven’t already seen this:

I’ve always wondered what is the ultimate use of the internet. This is it.

They did the whole fracking album. The whole thing.

Now I’m going to have to go listen to Sgt. Peppers a few times.

Goodbye to the Starship Pegasus

“Our opponent is an alien starship packed with atomic bombs,” I said. “We have a protractor.”
—-Neal Stephenson, Anathem

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

Starship Pegasus
Italy, Texas

If you drive down I35 from Dallas to Waco, Austin, and San Antonio, you can’t help but remember the Starship Pegasus, at the exit to Italy. A bilious representation of the famous Starship Enterprise reimagined as a roadside attraction. At one time, it was a greasy spoon restaurant and entertainment venue, but for years it has been a weed-infested patch along the highway with a slowly deteriorating doomed spaceship made of concrete and galvanized sheet eternally earthbound.

A while back, I drove down there to visit the open house at the Monolithic Dome Institute (and realized that the Starship was made with one of their domes), stopped and took a few photos.

Now I read that the thing has been demolished – the plot bought by the McDonalds across the street and served up to the wrecking ball.

‘Starship Pegasus’ roadside attraction along I-35 demolished

It has been a useless eyesore for as long as I can remember – and wasn’t destined to be anything more.

Still, I can’t help but be sad at the loss.

What I learned this week, April, 30, 2017

When Squirrels Were One of America’s Most Popular Pets


Restaurants in my Hood

BigDash Ice Cream & Pastries, 717 Lingco Drive, Richardson. If you’ve never tried Syrian sweets before, your’e in luck; the friendly folks at BigDash will fill you up with pistachio-laden ice cream and gorgeous crepes.

 

Bubba’s Cooks Country, 6617 Hillcrest Ave. It doesn’t get much more laid-back than this. With art deco decor, silky gravy and killer chicken fingers, Bubba’s is a prime date night destination for anyone looking to keep it simple this year.

 

SpicyZest, 13920 Josey Lane, Farmers Branch. DFW’s lone Sri Lankan restaurant is in Farmers Branch, and if your sweetheart loves to spice things up, this fiery fare will do the trick.

 

Desta, 12101 Greenville Ave. Ethiopia’s flavorful fare is well represented in DFW, and for someone who’s never experienced injera before, an Ethiopian meal can be especially fun. Try a beginner-friendly spot like Desta.

 


I link to this site in my sidebar, but I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. When I need a bit of entertainment or inspiration, I go there and click “Random”

But Does It Float


What would happen if we killed all the mosquitoes?


I really enjoy this video, and so should you.

Molten Glass Christmas Tree

One of my favorite events of the Holiday Season is the Cedars Open Studios Tour. The Cedars is a neighborhood of Dallas south of downtown and is an up-and-coming area. It still has some relatively low cost space and a lot of artists use the neighborhood as studio space (we’ll see how long this lasts – gentrification is a bitch).

In November, the studios open up on one evening for the Cedars Open Studios TourFacebook Link. It’s a fun event and a great way to get some unique Christmas Presents. I always do the tour with some friends on a bicycle, but I guess it would be OK to drive a vehicle, park, and walk. Look for it next year.

The final stop is always Bowman Art Glass (a way-cool place). They have a tree-shaped armature out front. After sunset, they do a skit or two, then, in the dark, the workers bring ladles of hot glass out from the ovens inside and pour the molten liquid over the armature. This makes a glass Christmas Tree.

Glass Christmas Tree at Bowman Art Glass, The Cedars, Texas

Glass Christmas Tree at Bowman Art Glass, The Cedars, Texas

There is always some wood and paper in the armature so the hot glass starts fires.

The only problem is that is is almost impossible to take good photos – the darkness and the contrast of the bright hot glass, plus the large crowd gathered around. But it is a blast and fun to watch. Next year… bet there or be square.

Pouring molten glass onto the Christmas Tree

Pouring molten glass onto the Christmas Tree