Thursday, January 31, 2008

From high to low...

I felt my last post was a little "high brow" and since no one has commented on it, perhaps I should go back to my bread and  butter: low brow humor.  Nothing says low brow quite like a silly animal clip.  This one is both funny and disturbing, a winning combo!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

This is just amazing...

Click on the word above
*Requires FLASH and a broadband connection.

The universe is amazing. Perhaps that's the biggest understatement you've read today, or this year. Do we even know what the universe is? There are questions, in my opinion, that are even more important than that one but it is a very important question and one that we're pursuing with all our scientific might. One way to understand the universe is in terms of scale and apparently Nikon, the optics company, has spent some time thinking about how to visually represent the drastic disparity in scale from the smallest things we understand to the very largest, the universe itself. Play around with this tool and take some time, when you can, to read a bit. If you're anything like me I think you'll find this tool very compelling and informative.


A more geeky, detailed description of UNIVERSCALE:
Universcale is an interactive Flash website by Nikonwhich allows you to play around with the idea of "scales." With a simple click of the mouse, you can see objects of varying sizes, from femtometers (10-15) to lightyears.

Some users prefer other representations such as the alternative which I provided above or here (requires the Sun Java app).

80's Skatboarding tricks

I don't know why I got such a kick out of this, no pun intended, but I did. Sweet socks, check. Short shorts, check. Cheering crowd composed of teenage boys, check. The coolest thing, however, is the fact that his guy just keeps going and going. I didn't watch the whole video, but from what I saw it's one continuous take and he makes NO mistakes.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

President Hinckley 1910-2008

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One of my greatest heroes, the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints, has passed away. Without going into great detail, President Hinckley was a great spiritual and temporal leader. He became the President of the church shortly before I departed to serve my two year mission in Italy and, of course, was the President of the church when I got married and started a family (he served from 1995-2008). Hearing about his death evoked a variety of feelings: I was very saddened yet, simultaneously, I felt that peace that comes with knowing that he, like the rest of us, has simply passed on to the other side and continues his existence beyond this world.

Biographical Sketch:
Born in Salt Lake City on June 23, 1910, Gordon B. Hinckley was prepared from his youth to be a prophet. After graduating from the University of Utah, he was called to serve a mission to Great Britain. After he returned, he embarked on a lifetime of service for the Church. He was employed as the executive secretary of the Church Radio, Publicity, and Literature committee, before he was called to be an Apostle in 1961. He was later called to serve as a counselor to President Kimball, President Benson, and President Hunter. Since becoming Church President on March 12, 1995, he has directed the most intense temple building program in the history of the Church in an effort to extend temple blessings to more members. He has exhibited vitality and energy as he has traveled about the world meeting and speaking to members of the Church. Through television interviews and national press publications, he has increased media attention and improved the public image of the Church. He has counseled Church members to fellowship new converts, befriend members of other faiths, live exemplary lives, and avoid the evils of the world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What the....

So....what are you?

Imagine you're minding your business, walking though a park and suddenly you stumble upon this:

In the words of "Peasant Dave": a llama worm. Perhaps. Personally, I'd rather it remain a mystery.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Changes Aloof

Over the next few days, or weeks, you might notice strange things brewing here at "The Todd Pad" since I'm playing with the layout/template. By the way, I hope you like the new name for the blog which, believe it or not, I'll be sticking with from now on since it's got the whole play words with amphibians and lily pads. Funny thing, toads don't live on pads, as far as I know, but I don't think people are going to analyze it that much...unless they read this post!

Regarding the changes, when you choose to start a blog you select from a number of templates, most of which are actually quite attractive. At any time, however, you can go "behind the scenes" and mess with the software code, in this case HTML, and begin customizing the layout. Right now I'm just beginning to toy with the code. Eventually I'd like to use a 100% customized set of code, but until then I'm going to tinker around with this one and see what I can come up with.

Right now I'm sitting in the computer lab here at the University of Redlands. I'm using an iMac and it's quite nice. Sarah's parents just bought one and now we're considering a Mac when we by our next computer. I better get to class!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

More from the Todd Household

Hello friends and family members! I've gotten a lot of very positive and fun feedback on the blog, so thank you all for stopping in, commenting, and/or sending emails. One of the best things about the internet is the ability to stay in touch with people. Now that google has taken over the world (I just realized my email, blog, and YouTube-all of which I use to create this blog-are owned by google!) it's become a lot easier to share media.

I still need to finish uploading and editing all the photos we took on our recent trip to San Luis Obispo to visit Sarah's brother Jake and his girlfriend Amy, but for now I'll keep posting the camera my mom gave us for Christmas (Canon SD750).

Here's Claire in the bathtub. She loves her baths and if you listen closely, it almost sounds like she says bath:

This video provides a peek at the typical, weekday dinner time routine at the Todd cottage. You'll notice the old fashioned stove which looks almost as old as our home which, by the way, was built in 1959 (the video works despite the fact that there's no preview screen):

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I originally wanted to post amateur movie reviews on a semi-regular basis here on the blog but I never got around to doing so. Well, I've seen a number of films lately and while I won't provide reviews for all of them, there is one that I think I can recommend without reservation and that's Juno. The plot centers around a teenage girl who is impregnated by her hapless, sweet boyfriend. For those of us who believe strongly that teens should not have sex, the basic situation of the plot raises the eyebrows (or eyebrow depending on...well, you know). I think the film, as a whole, however, portrays this decision as something which brings unneeded complication and tragedy into the lives of the main character, her "friend," and her family. As the plot unfolds, I feel that everything is brought together in a way that demonstrates the emotional sophistication and complexity of this difficult situation in a way that is both realistic and, strangely, entertaining. Indeed, this is a film that can't please people who find themselves too far to the right nor the left, something I personally aspire to in my own political views.

Juno is a film which has some flaws (is there a film that doesn't?) such as contrived dialog and over wrought costuming, not to mention the fact that at times the whole scenario is treated in a crass, vulgar way. These issues, however, are far outweighed by the humor and heartwarming theme. At the core of the story one finds a simple theme about friendship and love and although I don't think many people, especially teenagers, will necessarily walk out of the theater with this in mind, I think it does communicate something more human than most romantic comedies do. Indeed, the few young people I've spoken with about the film came away thinking of it as a sort of Napoleon Dynamite-ish film with silly characters and wacky dialog. Yes, Juno shares some elements with N.D., but it is a very different experience with very different aims. Professional critic Carina Chocano of the L.A. Times wrote, "Juno is hilarious and sweet-tempered, perceptive and surprisingly grounded. It's also a gust of fresh air, perspective-wise." I concur.

To read a plethora of reviews on the film that are far better than mine, CLICK HERE.

I kept hearing about this game Peggle which is sort of like a combo between Bust-a-Move and an old pinball machine. If you've ever played Bejeweled or Zuma then you're familiar with the whole put-three-colors-together thing. The game is made by PopCap, a company that's pretty much figured out how to make games with crack cocaine levels of addictiveness. It's primarily pushed on the PC/Mac platform but they've branched to other platforms as well. I just downloaded this for my iPod video for $5 and it was well worth it. This is the first game I've ever purchased from iTunes and it took me a while to figure out how to actually get it from iTunes onto the iPod (the trick is that within the iPod menu in iTunes you have to select "Sync Games" so that iTunes will put the games on the iPod during syncing), but once I got that figured out it was on! In fact, I think the surgeon general should require games of this nature to come with some sort of warning about not installing them on any device after 11PM because I kept saying, "Ok, just one more level!" and "All right, the next time I die..."

You can try a trial version of this for the PC HERE for free. I don't think I'd buy it for my computer necessarily, but if you have an iPod and want something to do while you're riding in the car, waiting, sitting in class, etc. it's perfect.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Injuries Abound

No, we don't beat our children thank you very much, they do it themselves. Ryan and Carter suffered injures in separate incidents. I recently caught up to them and got this short interview:

By the way, in case you don't know, Carter is my son (3), Ryan is my nephew (4), and Ella is my niece (1). Carter once suffered a pretty serious head injury when he was almost two years old so this latest head bump scared us for a second. Fortunately it wasn't serious and he was looking at himself in the mirror after just a few minutes. In fact I think the frozen bag of peas on his head bothered him more than the actual bump.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


*Note: When I embedded the links to the songs, I thought it would provide a streaming audio "box" which would allow you to play the tracks while remaining on this page. This, however, is not the case. Therefore, if you want to hear an excerpt of the song, click on the song's name. It will then take you to where you will then have to click on the little play icon after which you will kindly come pack to my page and keep reading (smile)!

Music, music, music...everyone loves it and it's one of the biggest cliche questions out there. You can just hear the awkward teenager asking, "So, like what's your favorite kind of music?" Of course the right answer is, "Well, I like a little bit of everything...except country."

Ok, so I think I've found a suitable tag for the genre of music you're most likely to find in my favorite playlist on my iPod:

“pseudo-indie contemporary alternative rock”

At least that's what LastFM ( said about my musical taste. In other words, soft alt-rock that's likely not cool enough for the innest of the in crowds, but that's the thing about me, I don't care about being the hippest anymore and besides I was never that hip in the first place. As a matter of fact, I want to go down in history as coining the phrase, "Being cool means not knowing what 'cool' means," or something along those lines. Perhaps, "Being cool means not caring what 'cool' means" but I don't mean you should go so far against the tide of "cool" that you are going "counter culture" because then you've gotten caught up in the fight against cool which is just as bad as trying too hard to be cool. Did I lose you there?

Of course fancy algorithms are not match for the subjective nature of musical taste and my tastes range far and wide with everything from straight up hard rock to soft jazz. A sophisticated musical palette I do not possess, but at least it's unique.

Anyhow, below I'm going to do my best to present clips of some of the music I have spinnin' in my car (Tech geek alert: remember, just like record players spin, so does the little hard-disk in the iPod, so we can say that again...unless you have a solid state HD like those found in the Nano).

The Postal Service: This Place is a Prison
For me, this song reflects the empty nature of living as a socialite with endless, meaningless parties:
The Postal ServiceThis Place Is a Prison

Feist: I Feel it All
The song I really love by Feist right now, however, is "Mushaboom."
FeistI Feel It All

The Barenaked Ladies: Pinch Me
I love the down-to-earth, care free philosophizing in this song. It is both elated and melancholy, one of my favorite combinations:
Barenaked LadiesPinch Me (album version)

Band of Horses: The First Song
Go ahead and take a bath in the sound, it's layered on that thick. Lushes, abundant, plentiful sound.
Band of HorsesThe First Song

The Police (Sting): Englishman In New York
There's just something undeniably cool about this song. I love the way Sting's older stuff is jazzy pop melt.
StingEnglishman in New York

Steel Pulse: Chant a Pslam a Day
A reggae song that straight up fills me with a positive spirit:
Steel PulseChant A Psalm (LP Version)


The Postal Service: Nothing Better
I hesitate to put another Postal Service track in here, but if you don't know this song and you like alt-rock, this is a must.
The Postal ServiceNothing Better

Other songs in my choice playlist:
Katmandu- Cat Stevens
When I listen to this song I'm next to Walden pond in a dark dreamscape. It's early morning and the sky is gray. The fire at my feet is barely burning and I just returned from a dangerous spiritual journey during which I found extreme resolve in my efforts to walk on the straight and narrow path.
This song resides in a special, secret compartment of my heart. It became my own during the tumultuous and often dark years of teenagehood. The lyrics are truly poetic and, I daresay, esoteric and psychedelic.
Matisyahu: King Without a Crown
One again, a positive, upbeat reggae song about spirituality and the fight against the dark side. An orthodox Jewish reggae artist, yep. By the way, the live versions of his songs are generally far superior than the LP versions.

I could go on and on. Of course these songs do not reflect any sort of "all time favorites" because then I would include songs like "Turn on Your Heart Light" by Neil Diamond, Disney songs, etc. and someday perhaps I should make that post and save it for my children to read someday so they can pipe those tunes into my cryogenic chamber.

The night is late and I must retire since I have both "bambinos" tomorrow while Sarah works. She's right, taking care of two kids all day and trying to get much of anything done is a full-time job and one that makes the impending return to work and school seem, well, not so bad.

If you enjoy this post let me know because I'd love to share more music and maybe even do some lyrical analysis of some of your and my favorite songs.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008


This just popped into my mind today while relaxing in a hot, post nap bath (yes, real men bathe...believe it!):

If art is the "imitation of life," then no wonder so much of it centers around the extremes: namely pleasure and pain, and not so much on what is found in between.