Friday, December 22, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Acoustic Shred

Rodgrigo y Gabriela on Letterman

And if you want to shred it up yourself, try to keep up with Mr. Fastfinger in this fun Flash guitar site.

Futurballa will be home for the holidays, so light or no posting until January 2nd. Wishing you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS (take that, Bill O'Reilly) and best wishes for the New Year.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I'm Gumby, Dammit

A few months ago, at the comic book store, I came across a new Gumby comic. They were promoting it pretty heavily, offering a free miniature Gumby with purchase of the #1 issue. I don't usually venture over to the kids comics, sticking to adult titles and superhero books, but I thought I'd give it a try. I was glad I did.

Flaming Carrot creator Bob Burden and artist Rick Geary have done a kid's comic with some very trippy art and storylines. Issue 2 is due out next week.

On a side note, I once met Gumby's creator Art Clokey at a party in Hollywood. This is back in the '80s and people of my generation were gathered around him like he was a rock star.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Have yourself a very scary Christmas

As the holiday season approaches, this old chestnut comes out of the dungeon. It's become a bit of a Futurballa tradition to post this take on the scariest Christmas song ever, and this year via youtube, with visuals.

And here is a whole page of lyrics to Cthullu Carols.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Fool Sells Out

Pal George of the Fool in the Forest Blog has expanded into eCommerce by opening an aStore at His shoppe, These Foolish Things is a small but ecclectic collection of literature and music. Knowing his more middlebrow self, hopefully he will expand into some more popular fair in time.

We're talking Mel Brooks, George!

Check it out for some interesting holiday shopping.

Update: A link to These Foolish Things has been added to the sidebar, so you can do holiday shopping long after the holidays have ended.

Monday, November 27, 2006

How I Did It

The wife and I watched Young Frankenstein over the holiday weekend. Almost as much a tradition as Alice's Restaurant. I was inspired to toss this together.


This must be the ultimate Christmas gift for the film lover in your life. Cheaper than a post graduate degree in film studies (somewhat).

50 Years, 50 Films

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Today in Technology

Couple of interesting items that I've come across lately.

Epson is coming out with the 3800 Pro printer, which based on the specs, seems to offer the best aspects of their previous models along with some new features. I've been using the 2200 for the last couple of years and have had the opportunity to use the 2400 which offers achromatic black and white printing (by using 3 shades of black, you can create Black and White prints without any color cast). The big downside of both of these printers for me was the need to switch photo black and matte black cartridges depending on the paper type used and the small cartridges it used that required frequent changing. The 3800 offers achromatic printing along with two slots for pure black.

I've just replaced my trusty Canon s400 point and shoot. After lots of research I ended up with a Fuji e900. The perfect point and shoot does not exist, as far as I'm concerned. I want RAW files, high res, low noise, manual controls, well laid out menus and good ergonomics. I have all of these things in my Canon SLRs (20D and 5D), but Canon has actually downgraded some of their more advanced P&S cameras in the last couple of years discontinuing the S70 and removing raw from the upgrade to the G6, the G7. Panasonic is doing some great things in terms of controls, ergonomics, great glass, but the word on the street is that their sensors are particularly noisy.

So in the end I chose for the Fuji. Camera is available for under $300, has raw and a 9 megapixel sensor that gets great reviews. Downsides are; no buffer when shooting raw so write times are slow, raw hidden in a menu, not my favorite menu layout and some unusual control methods for manual modes. However, for the image quality and feature set at this price point, if you are looking for a point and shoot, this one is definitely worth consideration.

After I've had a chance to take some images, I'll report back.

Have a happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 17, 2006

I got a fever...

It's been a busy week, but to end it on a bright note, here is one of my all time favorite SNL sketches from youtube.

Friday, November 10, 2006

'cause we done shared all of mine

Grateful Dead - Jack Straw - Europe 1972

A little Friday treat from Jerry and Bob and the boys.

Here are the annotated lyrics from a very useful Dead resource.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Your Media at Work

On a day when America goes to the polls to decide the future direction of our country, this is the headline banner on

Britney files for divorce from Kfed.

You don't need to be Nostrodamus to have seen that one coming. And I'm sure there is something more important going on to put in the breaking news banner.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Stations of the Cross

I pity the Fool who took a trip down the memory hole.

Pal George passed through the Bay Area this weekend and we decided to make the long awaited and often talked about road trip to our alma mater, UC Berkeley. While much has changed in 28 years, I was pleasantly surprised at how much had remained.

The Campanile. It's always good to have a big clock on a university campus. That's how I always new when I was blowing off a class.

Durham Studio Theater is where many of the student productions were performed. I spent many an hour in the scaffolds hanging lights as well as trodding the boards.

The Zellerbach Playhouse is where the larger productions happened. The production of As You Like It is where the aforementioned fool got his name, and also the location of our first meeting, which involved T.S. Eliot. A story for another time.

Sather Gate. Through these portals...

Kip's was the location of most of our drinking. When the barmaid heard that we hadn't been back in almost 30 years she bought us a beer. Life is good.

The Cafe Med is where Benjamin Braddock sat waiting for Elaine to get off of the bus and it is where Pal Ian and I wrote the film treatment for Futurballa, a series of vignettes based on the Futurist Manifestos, which later became his senior project at USC film school. Espresso fueled genius.

While drinking our espressos yesterday we saw the Bubble Lady, Julia Vinograd, who seems to have remained unchanged for the last 30 years and still hawks her poetry along Telegraph.

My old apartment. A studio on southside with a sliver of a bay view and a murphy bed. $160 a month in 1977.

Moe's, along with Shakespeare and Co. is among the last of the great independent bookstores along Telegraph since the demise earlier this year of Cody's.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

We put our arteries on the line and partook of a Top Dog. Still great dogs on the most excellent buns, but they were better at midnight after smoking a bunch of weed. But what isn't?

Monday, October 30, 2006

MOMA Dearest

The wife and I had to be in San Francisco this past Saturday, so we left a bit early for our evening appointment and made a trip to SFMoma with the intention of seeing the Mexico as Muse: Tina Modotti and Edward Weston photography exhibit. It by itself was worth the trip. I was familiar with most of the Weston pieces displayed, but much of the Modotti photographs were new to me. She lacks the formalism of Weston, but in her images of street scenes in Mexico she makes wonderful use of the frame.

Also showing is the ongoing exhibition, Matisse and Beyond: The Painting and Sculpture Collection, which is a survey course in modern art, from the aforementioned Matisse to Picasso, Miro, Duchamp to Rauschenberg.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Apple to the Core

Photos from Apple Hill.

Located in the Sierra Foothills, along Highway 50, just outside of Placerville, Apple Hill is a great day trip. Driving through farms and orchards you can sample apple pastries, fresh apples of many varieties picked yourself or from the farm, visit pumpkin patches, and view great fall color (at least for California).

We were a bit early last weekend for the fall color, which should peak in a few weeks, but there were some lovely splashes of orange and gold to be found.

And there never was an apple, in Adam's opinion, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it.
~Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Psychedelically Speaking

Today is my birthday. 48.

As a gift to you I tracked this down on YouTube. I posted the lyrics to this once before, and it has been one of the most googled postings on this site.

The great Dick Shawn doing Love Power from The Producers. This is the bit that didn't make it into the musical version. Too dated.

"That's our Hitler"

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hey hey, my my, rock and roll will never die

James Wolcott writes a eulogy for the now defunct CBGBs.

As a west coaster, I never went to CBGBs, but I had my own chapter of punk history and this quote from Wolcott struck a (power) chord. "I tended to hang at the back, taking the wide view, but for the second set I'd stand nearer the stage, not wanting to miss a thing. I think I'd knew even then that I'd never be that close to anything that phenomenal again, and that nothing else the night had to offer could compare."

In college, I went to Winterland to see the final Sex Pistols concert. At the time we had no idea that the band was in the middle of a melt down. We made the trek once again from Berkeley to San Francisco to see Elvis Costello's first US tour, back when he was angry.

After leaving Berkeley I lived in LA where there was a thriving punk scene in bars that were once Chinese restaurants, like Madame Wong's and the Hong Kong Cafe. We saw X and Fear and a ton of other local bands whose names are lost in memory. And to once again quote from Wolcott, "I think I'd knew even then that I'd never be that close to anything that phenomenal again."

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When the going gets weird...

Via the Onion AV Club, Ralph Steadman, illustrator and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator has a memoir out, The Joke's Over: Bruised Memories—Gonzo, Hunter S. Thompson And Me. The folks at the AV Club give it only a C+, but as a long time fan of both Thompson and Steadman, I think it will be a must read.

And I notice there is also a foreward by Kurt Vonnegut. That alone should up it to a B- at least. Buy it here.

Friday, October 06, 2006


Via Kevin Drum, 60 Minutes reports on names not to have. Common names that have found their way on to the terrorist watchlist. "Gary Smith, John Williams and Robert Johnson are some of those names."

I don't know why Gary and John made the list, but Robert is obvious. The man sold his soul to the devil.

And for those of you unfamiliar with the tale of Robert Johnson heading down to Rosedale and meeting old man Scratch at the crossroads, here is an interesting version of the story.

Friday, September 29, 2006

I Am Iron Man

No, not Ozzy. This guy.

CNN reports that Robert Downey Jr. has been picked to play Iron Man in the film adaptation of the Marvel Comic hero.

My first thought was Robert Downey as a superhero. Odd. My second thought was Robert Downey as the babe chasing, alcoholic millionaire industrialist, Tony Stark.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Save the Liver

I recently attended a "knife skills" class at a local Sur La Table. Sadly the focus of the class was on safety and not on lightening fast mincing and chopping.

Some useful things I did learn:

  • How to peel a melon. Family members will actually eat them if they are cut up into bite size pieces in the fridge.

  • The most useless cut in the world is a brunoise, which is a mince producing bits of carrot or potato the size of small grains of rice. Good only for a Vichyssoise.

  • If you are slicing onions thinly, slice from the side of the onion. Much more visually appealing results.

  • Always dry your herbs in a salad spinner before mincing. This avoids that molten mush of green slime that collects on your knife and cutting board.

  • And finally, always remember to tuck your fingers under when holding the vegetables and choke up on the knife.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stephen, you ignorant slut

From the Daily Show's Ten F*cking Years, two guys who have faded into obscurity.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Dog Heaven

Today is the seventh wedding anniversary. The wife and I spent Saturday in Carmel by the Sea. Carmel is one of our favorite day trips. We honeymooned in nearby Pacific Grove and we manage to get down there a few times a year. It is only a bit more than an hour south of San Jose and the drive (depending on which route you choose) takes you through Salinas (birthplace of John Steinbeck), Castroville (the Artichoke Capital of the world), Monterey, the aforementioned Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach and the famous 17 mile drive.

Since Pepper has joined our family about 18 months ago, Carmel has become even more of a must do outing. Carmel by the Sea is the most dog-friendly town in all of California. The local beach allows dogs off leash, and shops welcome you to browse with your dog and often have a bowl of water and free milkbones available. And one of our favorite restaurants, The Forge in the Forest has an outdoor seating area especially for customers who bring their canines and a doggie menu. Pepper likes the Quarter Hounder.

Here are a couple of pix of Pepper enjoying the beach and a shot along the beach towards Pebble Beach.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Family Foto Friday

I was visiting my sister over the holiday weekend and we spent part of the time scanning some family picutres. The girl standing in the back is my Grandmother Luba and the bearded gent and the woman sitting next to him are my Great Grandparents.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Oh, these Modern Times

Bob Dylan has a new album out, Modern Times and there is a live video of Bob doing Cold Irons Bound. From the bits I've heard, if you liked Love and Theft and Time Out of Mind, you'll like this one too.

I try not to delve too much into politics and religion at futurballa blog, but here is an intersection of the two that caught my interest. Jackie Mason is suing Jews for Jesus for using his image in a brochure. What is the old saying? When you lie down with dogs...

Good Evening godless sodomites. Here is the high point of last Sunday's Emmy awards.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I rarely use it myself, sir. It promotes rust.

Via the Onion AV Club, a list of the 14 best movies featuring Theremin Music.

Some entries that qualify for the whodathunkit award. The Ten Commandments and The Delicate Delinquent.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Fun, fun, fun

I've always been desirous of a little British roadster, a'la an MGB or Triumph Spitfire, but lacking any mechanical inclination whatsoever and not having deep enough pockets to have a mechanic on personal retainer, I have wisely resisted. Recently, a family member who buys and sells cars gave me an opportunity to pick up a high mileage, but well running Miata. These cars definitely have the look and feel of a classic roadster and are tons of fun to drive. At the price I picked it up, I figure I can get my money's worth no matter what happens.

A good friend who has been driving classic sports cars for years had this suggestion. Upgrade your AAA membership to plus(100 mile towing radius), don't take it out if you absolutely must be somewhere on time, and if you end up on the side of the road waiting for a tow, keep a good attitude about it. With that in mind, I took the plunge and have been having a blast ever since.

If you are a would be Miata owner, be sure to look in on Great resource.

My 1995 Black and Tan

Thursday, August 17, 2006


My name is Rick and I'm a Marvelholic...

47 years old and I still read comic books (enjoy fart jokes too). But I would like to come to the defense of comic books. There are some pretty amazing writers and artists around these days and some of the old heroes like Captain America and Thor and Daredevil are getting a postmodern face lift at the hands of authors like Ed Brubaker, Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Millar.

A few favorite series.

This last year or so of Cap under the helm of Ed Brubaker has reintroduced the red, white and blue eyed hero as a stranger in a world he doesn't understand, where all of his old compatriots are either dead or have betrayed him. The first arc of Brubaker's Captain America run are available in trades. Winter Soldier, volumes 1 & 2.

Bendis is probably the biggest name in Comics today. He has even been immortalized in a Simpsons episode, in which Comic Book Guys says, "Big Ethel kills Moose to get Jughead's attention? Oh, Brian Michael Bendis, you've done it again!" His work on The Avengers and New Avengers has been superlative. In Avengers Disassembled he tore apart Jack Kirby's most famous team.

Perhaps the most interesting series around today is Mark Millar's The Ultimates, which take a twist on the Avengers team in which Cap is a bit of a self righteous prig, Thor is a new age hippie whose divinity is brought into question and Giant Man is an abusive husband.

Along with these journeyman, a perusal of the shelves at your local comic book store, if you can get over the stigma and enter your local comic book store, you'll find series by Buffy's Joss Whedon (Astonishing X-Men), scifi author Orson Scott Card (Ultimate Iron Man) and Neil Gaiman (Sandman, American Gods) has returned to monthly comics having resurrected Kirby's The Eternals with artist John Romita Jr.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Space Vampires and Metaphysicians

Michael Blowhard offers this short post on the English author Colin Wilson. Michael links to this Guardian piece on the 50th anniversary of Wilson's debut.

I have been a fan of Wilson for many years. He is an odd duck to say the least. His early career was probably best defined as a sort of poor man's Sartre and author of the treatise The Outsider. Later, he probably became best known for writing books on true crimes and the occult.

However, it is his fiction that always hooked me. A weird combination of occult, sci fi, sex and murder, interspersed with bits and pieces of philosophy. A prime example of fiction of this sort would be the provacatively titled Sex Diary of a Metaphysician, which is, as many of his books are, sadly out of print. Perhaps his most famous novel, if one could call it that, is The Space Vampires, which became the source of the Tobe Hooper movie, Lifeforce. A fun sci fi film that features copious nudity by actress Mathilda May (IMDB lists her character as Space Girl). The movie also features Steve Railsback, Peter Firth and Patrick Stewart.

Friday, August 11, 2006

All that is New is Old again

New look, new feel,new purpose. Yes futurballa blog has returned to a standard blog form. Look for more written postings along with the usual photos. And in proper blogger tradition, we'll start off with a couple of Elsewhere links.

Via Kevin Drum we discovered, an archive of the world's libraries. Plug in an author or title and it will point you to where it can be found. Even things like college film projects. George Wallace directs.

The above mentioned Mr. Wallace, aka Friend Fool, laments or celebrates (you decide) major changes in direction at Bonny Doon vineyards.

This is already pretty viral, but I had to share.
Chad Vader - Day Shift Manager (episode 1)

And finally, here is a reflective image from the Grand Tetons.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A leaf of all colors plays a golden-string fiddle

I'm considering going back to actual blogging. Of course we would still include pictures, but maybe actually write something (hopefully) of interest from time to time. What think you, gentle readers, who I have culled to a lonely few?

Monday, July 24, 2006


Patterns and Colors. I smell purple.

Thermal features from Yellowstone National Park.

Friday, July 14, 2006

We're going to Jackson

Near Jackson Hole, Wyoming this is one of the views that photographers flock to. The old barns along Mormon Row with the view of the Grand Tetons behind them. One of the most interesting was the one on the end of the row that was in the process of collapsing, but by the time I got to Jackson Hole, the collapse was complete. Alas.