LebowskiFest 7:11

Originally uploaded by invisoteeth
We attended the 7th Annual LebowskiFest July 11-12 in the Bluegrass State. That's a picture of me as "The Dude" with another character from the movie. Can you figure it out?

Here is here full account of the weekend: http://chroniccatastrophe.blogspot.com/2008/07/lebowskifest-2008.html


Into The Wild

Atom's Facial Hair Experiment
Originally uploaded by akkleis
I decided to turn my plans to attend the 2009 World Beard and Moustache Championships (WBMC) in Anchorage, Alaska into a fundraiser, dubbed "Shock's Beard Quest". My goal is to raise $2k to cover transportation, lodging and any beard-related activities. Beard Team USA is busy putting the logistics together for the trip. But it's up to the individual participants to pony up the cash. Hence the need for a fundraiser. Shock's Beard Quest has it's own blog http://shocksalaskanbeardquest.blogspot.com/. All the details including how to donate are on that site. All donations will be acknowledged on the blog and at the WBMC.

The Beard Quest coinsides with the "Facial Hair Art" exhibition at Touchstone Gallery in DC July 9 - August 2. Click on the pic for details. The exhibition is a series of pics of my different facial hair. It's the collaboration with photag artist Angela Kleis that i've blogged about extensively. It's finally time for the unveiling. Is the world ready?

Hair on Display!

After a year and a half of collaboration, the "Facial Hair Art" is going to be on display. Angela Kleis has decided to put the "Atom" series on display for the world to see. Well...the DC area anyway. Please come out and support the arts!

July 9- August 2, 2008

“MY SPACE on 7th”

Opening Reception and Wine Tasting
courtesy of Washington Wine Academy

Friday, July 11, 6-8:30 pm

My Space on 7th, a new tradition (second year) at Touchstone Gallery fulfills two perpetual needs: that of artists for exhibition space, and that of collectors for work they don’t yet know, often at bargain prices. The beginning artist has the chance to be discovered, while the established artist has the opportunity to go in a totally new direction.

Opening July 7th, this explosion of art will fill the main gallery. Building on the success of last year’s show, three-dimensional works will be included this year as well.

Due to an overwhelming response all wall spaces sold out within the first half hour of registration, which was by e-mail only, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Bill Abel, Cynthia Angeles, William Atkins, Karen Baker, Marilyn Banner, Andre Barnett, Sophie Bethune, Thor Berglie, Harmon Biddle, Sharon Burton, Alexander Feshenko, Olga Weiss,Tom Drymon, Larkin Goff, Philip J. Gross, Kurt Godwin, Alexandra Goldschmidt, Nathaniel Hester, Sandra D. Humphrey, Leslie Johnson, Angela Kleis, Lauren Shea Little, Mila Kagan, Peter Karp, Kay Layne, Emery Lewis, Priscilla De Lima, Mary Mallia, Karen Mazzarella, Laurie Mertens, Marcellus D. McIntosh, Elba Molina. Newton More, Bob Morrison, Jonathan Ottke, Wendy Plotkin-Mates, Haydeh Raskin, Paivi Salonen, Heather M. Schmaedeke, Jenny Singleton, Brendan Smith, Carole Lyles Shaw, Janathel Shaw, Laurie Tylec, Jaqueline Unanhue, Jon Wassom, Crystal V. Whitfield, Jack Whitsitt, Kelly Young and Gwenn Zaberer.

Beard Index

For those of you who are not versed in the facial hair lingo, here is a chart to help you out.


How Did It All Begin?

I was at a friends art show, when I was inspired to make art of my own. I had been growing out a beard at the time and friends had compared my look to Fidel Castro. I began to imagine all the different looks I could create with my facial hair. I brought up the idea to my friend Angela, who is a photographer. I told her that I would like to grow out my facial hair into different styles and have her take photos of these works of art. She thought it was a brilliant idea, and even agreed to put the pictures in a show once we were done with the series. The"facial hair art" collaboration began.

It turns out the pictures have had themes. Check out what the collaboration has produced -http://www.flickr.com/photos/angelakleis/sets/72157601595879753/

In the midst of all this, I read an article about the World Beard and Moustache Championships and Beard Team USA. I thought to myself "what a coincidence. Here I am working on a facial hair art exhibit and there is a competition out there for facial hair. I must find out more." Well I did, and now you are looking at the newest member of Beard Team USA. The next championship is May 23, 2009 in Alaska. That's plenty of time to grow something curly and crazy for the competition. For more details on the World Beard and Moustache Championships and Beard Team USA visit http://www.beardteamusa.org/.


Rage Against the Machine, pt. 1

I hate technology. That's right, you heard me. In our quest to streamline our expenses and make our financial lives more efficient, we've had some big wins and a spectacular loss. Technology is to blame for the loss. Before I get into the loss, let me tell you about our wins. It started last fall when we refinanced Chronic's car loan. That saved us $80 a month. Then I got rid of my car. Total savings $850 a month. I tweaked the car insurance. Total savings $40 a month. Chronic and I got a family cellphone plan where we share minutes. Total savings around $20 a month. The wife's gym membership expired, finally :0). Total savings $50 a month. Then we got greedy.

We became like Icarus. We flew too close to the sun. I had this brillant idea to drop cable tv. It is not our intention to stop watching television cold turkey just stop paying for the cable monopoly. I have a 50" plasma and intend to use it. Most shows are available on the internet or on DVD, so we wouldn't be missing anything. My idea was to buy a home theatre computer (HTPC) and an indoor antenna. My cousin successfully controls his home entertainment center with a HTPC. And he doesn't have cable. The HTPC i bought was an HP Pavilion Elite fully loaded with a high end AMD chip, 32bit Vista Home Premium which includes Windows Media Center that has a DVR, plus the computer had a high end graphics card, video card, audio card, huge harddrive, Blu-Ray DVD drive and a TV card. The up front cost was large, but the HTPC would pay for itself in a few months because we'd be saving $90 a month without cable tv. The indoor antenna can pick up the free over-the-air channels (NBC, CBS, ABC, FOX) in high def. My hopes were high. I found a website all about HTPCs called missingremote.com. Armed with the knowledge I had gotten from missingremote.com and my cousins success story, I went at it like a bat out of hell. But I ran into some frustrating bugs. The XM Radio plugin for Media Center didn't work. No music played. I could listen to XM Online with no problem over the internet. I couldn't find a resolution on the internet. Then my music library would lock up during playback. All my music is on a networked harddrive, and I never had problems listening to music on our other computers. Then when we went to play our first Blu-Ray disc, it errored. I researched the error on the HP website and found that you can't playback Blu-Ray discs with an HDMI connection. It only works with a DVI connection. Well, my tv only has HDMI connections. And I didn't have a DVI to HDMI adapter. But I don't understand why Blu-Ray doesn't playback through HDMI on a computer. HDMI carrys a video and audio signal, where as DVI only carries the video signal. But the signal is the same. So it should work. There was no explanation as to why it works the way it does. My frustration reached the boiling point so I returned the computer.

I didn't want to be defeated by technology, so I scheduled a rematch. I ordered a new HTPC with an Intel chip (I read a couple of reviews where users had loads of trouble with an AMD Vista machine, but no trouble with an Intel Vista machine). I purchased a DVI to HDMI adapter. I downgraded the firmware on my network USB hub that my external harddrive plugs into. The recent firmware upgrade caused issues on Chronic's AMD Vista laptop. The downgrade fixed the issue. I hope it fixes the issue with the HTPC. The new machine is currently being built. Part 2 of this rant will be my experience with the Intel machine.