Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avatar Makeup

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dandelions and Orchids

From "The Science of Success":
This vulnerability hypothesis, as we can call it, has already changed our conception of many psychic and behavioral problems. It casts them as products not of nature or nurture but of complex "gene-environment interactions." Your genes don't doom you to these disorders. But if you have "bad" versions of certain genes and life treats you ill, you're more prone to them.

...

The Swedes, Ellis and Boyce noted in an essay titled "Biological Sensitivity to Context," have long spoken of "dandelion" children. These dandelion children—equivalent to our "normal" or "healthy" children, with "resilient" genes—do pretty well almost anywhere, whether raised in the equivalent of a sidewalk crack or a well-tended garden. Ellis and Boyce offer that there are also "orchid" children, who will wilt if ignored or maltreated but bloom spectacularly with greenhouse care.

At first glance, this idea, which I'll call the orchid hypothesis, may seem a simple amendment to the vulnerability hypothesis. It merely adds that environment and experience can steer a person up instead of down. Yet it's actually a completely new way to think about genetics and human behavior. Risk becomes possibility; vulnerability becomes plasticity and responsiveness. It's one of those simple ideas with big, spreading implications. Gene variants generally considered misfortunes (poor Jim, he got the "bad" gene) can instead now be understood as highly leveraged evolutionary bets, with both high risks and high potential rewards: gambles that help create a diversified-portfolio approach to survival, with selection favoring parents who happen to invest in both dandelions and orchids.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Antibody for Cancer?

Possibly.

From the paper's abstract:
[T]he present study indicates that mAb F77 defines a unique prostate cancer marker and shows promising potential for diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, especially for androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NORAD Tracks Santa



Follow Santa's progress here.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oll Raigth

If you've ever wondered what American English sounds like to foreigners:



It's gibberish, completely. It's also fantastic.



(Seen at MamaPop first)

Brittany Murphy Dies at Age 32

From the Washington Post article:

Brittany Murphy's family told Los Angeles officials the actress was ill with flu-like symptoms in the days before her death at age 32.

The 32-year-old star of films such as "Clueless" and "8 Mile" died Sunday morning after collapsing at her Hollywood Hills home. Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says they will conduct an autopsy Monday to try to determine what killed the actress. Winter says the reported illness could be a contributing factor to her death, but that it will be weeks before a final determination is made.


It's always extra strange when someone so near my own age dies. I enjoyed Murphy's characters in several films. What a shame.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Geologists Heart Beer

From my own experience, I can completely concur: Geologists really DO love beer. Engineers don't say no much, either.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Always Interrupting Man's Work

From The Onion:
According to recently excavated clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform script, thousands of Sumerians—the first humans to establish systems of writing, agriculture, and government—were working on their sophisticated irrigation systems when the Father of All Creation reached down from the ether and blew the divine spirit of life into their thriving civilization.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Change Blindness


This phenomenon is quite interesting for several reasons, including the roll it plays in magic tricks, and con games.

"Because there are some problems you can't fix with a reparo charm..."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Top 10 quirky science tricks for Christmas parties

Pride & Prejudice and Zombies

From Variety:
Given Natalie Portman's elegant demeanor, a turn in a period Jane Austen adaptation was inevitable. Portman will star in and produce "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," a film that is based on the bestselling book written by Seth Grahame-Smith and Austen. Lionsgate will finance and distribute. Quirk Books published the tome.
...
Described as an expanded version of the Austen classic, the book tells the timeless story of a woman's quest for love and independence amid the outbreak of a deadly virus that turns the undead into vicious killers. Portman will play feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet, who is distracted from her quest to eradicate the zombie menace by the arrival of the arrogant Mr. Darcy.
...
"Natalie and I are longtime passionate fans of Jane Austen's books and this a fresh, fun and thought-provoking way to approach her work," Savitch said. "The idea of zombies running rampant in 19th Century England may sound odd, but it lends a modern sense of urgency to a well known love story."
Woo-hoo!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Star Trek: The Next Generation Redub

What does an episode of ST:TNG look like re-dubbed according to the actor's lip movement?

Like this:



Seriously, this brought me to tears.

WE GOT THAT B ROLL!!

Ever wonder where all that generic commercial footage comes from, now you know:

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Iron Man Improvised

I liked Iron Man well enough-- it didn't touch Dark Knight, but it was a good action flick. Surprisingly, that fun, yet ideologically incoherent film was unscripted!

As an aside, I couldn't read this interview without hearing the Dude's voice in my head. White Russian, anyone?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Local Talent

From Sabrnig's comment, here is a local band, The Nightshade Family:

Also, there is a local alternative news page to boot.

The Maxx Is Coming to DVD

FUCK AND YES!

(From Topless Robot)

Surprised Kitten



Surprised kitten is surprised!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Beatboxing Flautist


So, this guy beatboxes while he plays the flute. While he plays the flute.

Among others out there: Sesame Street Theme and Inspector Gadget Theme (with some "Axel F" (also known as the Beverly Hills Cop Theme) thrown in).

Monday, November 30, 2009

Neil Young's Fresh Prince



Not a fan of Fallon, but I do love me some theme songs.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Bohemian Rhapsody," Muppet Style

It has a few surprising, and very pleasant, lesser used Muppets!


via GeekDad

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Turism Video for the Dagobah System

Why can't it just end clearly?

Hate ambiguous endings?

Find out what happened at the end of four movies and one TV show:


Via Scanners

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Resevoir Turtles

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Lil' Cthulhu



Best cartoon idea ever-- I demand a series!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Explore


Small Worlds has been named the winner in the 6th Casual Gameplay Design Competition hosted, and created, by Jay is Games.

This competition's theme was explore, and that's what Small Worlds is about. You start with your little red guy in mostly darkness and as you move you reveal the world around you, your view of the whole expanding. The story is expressed in six words, five of which appear at the very beginning. There is a goal, but the rest is up to you, how you play and how you interprate the actions you take.

It's an intriguing... game? Piece of art? I'm not sure. All I do know is I wish it had lasted longer.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Gort is My Savior, Who's Yours?

From Scientology Losing Ground To New Fictionology:
Fictionology's central belief, that any imaginary construct can be incorporated into the church's ever-growing set of official doctrines, continues to gain popularity. Believers in Santa Claus, his elves, or the Tooth Fairy are permitted—even encouraged—to view them as deities. Even corporate mascots like the Kool-Aid Man are valid objects of Fictionological worship.

...

Hollywood actor David McSavage, who converted to Fictionology last year, attempted to explain.

"Scientology can only offer data, such as how an Operating Thetan can control matter, energy, space, and time with pure thought alone," McSavage said. "But truly spiritual people don't care about data, especially those seeking an escape from very real physical, mental, or emotional problems."

McSavage added, "As a Fictionologist, I live in a world of pretend. It's liberating."

Chap-Hop



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get Your War On.


Via: Tony on Facebook.

Hyperion to a Satyr

Hyperion to a Satyr is a project blog from Siskoid delving deeply in to Hamlet.

From the introductory post:
This blog will look at Hamlet, scene by scene (or scene fragment, some scenes are just too long for single posts). First, we'll talk about the text itself, what staging and performance problems it poses, what ambiguities have been laid into it by, and so on. Then, the scene will be discussed through the filter of filmed versions of the play. How did each filmmaker or actor address the play's problems and ambiguities? What effect do their choices and cuts have on our understanding of the characters and their world? Now, if you search for Hamlet on IMDB, you'll find more than 70 iterations, and that's just for "exact title matches". I will not be using them all for this project. ... And in addition to movies, you can also expect Hamlet in other media, like comics, music and games.

He's looking at seven movies/filmed stage performances, two, what he calls, "plays withing plays," two versions done by Classics Illustrated, and a french rock opera. (He describes them all in his second post.)

Reading the blog when he posts -- which feels too slow, but, then, the quality of the posts are always high -- makes me wish I had all the material so I could watch along with him.

I highly recommend checking it out.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Joys of Drunk Ewoks


Sure, it's starts innocently enough, but once the Ewoks start drinking, all bets are off.

Via Topless Robot

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What is this?

I saw this on XKCD:

We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves.
The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus.
This is not the algorithm. This is close.


What is it? I can see that it is very small.

College Quidditch

Did y'all know about this and were keeping it from me?

Apparently, there is Intercollegiate Quidditch, with a World Cup and everything. They run around with brooms between their legs. The snitch is a person, who runs around like crazy trying not to let anyone steal the ball hanging in a sack from his bum.

For real.



Geek sports really do exist, though I guess Warner Bros. is keeping them from turning pro.

Red String

I know that you've been asking yourself, "Where's the online romance comic? The kind where the story is the focus and not the humor? It's all the interblogs are missing!"

Ask no more, I present you with Red String.

From the FAQ:
Your comic isn’t manga!! Why do you draw “manga-style”? Why did you set it in Japan?
Nope, it’s a comic book series. As an American I create comics, not manga. Red String does not claim to be anything else. My art is influenced by many different artists and writers, both American and Japanese. My work reflects those influences. As for why I set my story in Japan, as an author, I find that if something interests me, I want to write about it. I am interested in Japanese culture. I have tried my best to write a tale as accurate as possible to the traditions and nuances of the culture. However, this story was primarily written for an American audience by an American author, so pacing and style will obviously be different from Japanese manga.

Here's where the first chapter starts.

No, I can't translate it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cutest Transformers Ever!



Via Topless Robot

Batman and Sons, Again


Meet Bat-Mom at the wonderful Welcome to Wayne Manor.

Yeah, I've linked to this before, but more people should be checking it out on a regular basis.

Legal System

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whedon's Astonishing X-Men Advert

LOLBAT


Kurtz is doing more LOLBAT! Hooray!

Start the story line!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Graph Addiction

Fuck You Cat



Cats think they're so damn smart. They don't fool me. I'm a human and I'm smarter than any cat.

www.fuckyoucat.com

EDIT:
I was told about another blog, probably the prototype for the preceding blog: www.FUpenguin.com
A BLOG WHERE I TELL CUTE ANIMALS WHAT'S WHAT.


Even Better.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Shatner Twofer



Black Dynamite!



I wanna see it!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Amazing Horse



Watch the following:


http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/Amazing+Horse/


My brain was already broken, and then this virus infected it. Thanks to Erex. Thanks.

whosoever watches longest gains the most.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Legend of Neal


The Legend of Neil is a webseries produced by Atom.com, Effinfunny.com, and Comedy Central. Written by Sandeep Parikh & Tony Janning, this series follows the reluctant adventures of Neil- a gas station attendant from Jersey who gets sucked into 'The Legend of Zelda' and has to fight his way out.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

SNL on Obama

Sad, but too true:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Which is Real?


From Reuters:
Luigi Garlaschelli, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Pavia, reproduced the full-sized [Shroud of Turin] using materials and techniques that were available in the middle ages.

I wish Reuters said how he made it because I want to make one, too.

Edit@2:35

Found it:
They placed a linen sheet flat over a volunteer and then rubbed it with a pigment containing traces of acid. A mask was used for the face.

PIGMENT, BLOODSTAINS AND SCORCHES

The pigment was then artificially aged by heating the cloth in an oven and washing it, a process which removed it from the surface but left a fuzzy, half-tone image similar to that on the Shroud. He believes the pigment on the original Shroud faded naturally over the centuries.

They then added blood stains, burn holes, scorches and water stains to achieve the final effect.

Monday, October 5, 2009

World of WTF?!? Wedding Edition.



I've just recently discovered it. It is vast. It is full of awesome, creepy, and tacky, all with a healthy dose of WTF on top. The above photo? Oh, that's just the "tiny bride" photo trend. Observe this Hello Kitty wedding in Japan - you only need to watch the 1st minute. See the boutonniere on the groom and the bride's necklace?



Holy Sh*t.


"'That was its fate,' he explained."


From the blog of Paul Pope, where you'll find the rest of the page:
I wanted to try applying the lessons learned from the Wednesday Comics experience to a different subject ... I find that with the format of Wednesday Comics ..., one must condense the plot and action to the briefest yet most vivid bursts of information available ... The Wednesday Comics single page format forces the artist to create a story unit which may well be part of a larger storyline, however it still must be able to stand alone.
And no, I don't think there's going to be an awesome Dune comic written and drawn by Mr. Pope, although I wish there were.

Via Blog@Newsarama

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's the reason humans do anything.

Did Early Humans Start Walking for Sex?
The big news in the journal Science tomorrow is the discovery of the oldest human skeleton—a small-brained, 110-pound female of the species Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed “Ardi.” She lived in what is now Ethiopia 4.4 million years ago, which makes her over a million years older than the famous “Lucy” fossil, found in the same region thirty-five years ago.

Buried among the slew of papers about the new find is one about the creature’s sex life. It makes fascinating reading, especially if you like learning why human females don’t know when they are ovulating, and men lack the clacker-sized testicles and bristly penises sported by chimpanzees.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I'm Sorry.

Hey Ladies!

Wondermark by David Malki



wondermark.com
Some sort of anachronistic web comic. Dare i say "Steampunk?" I did see a steam powered helicopter.

I found this while searching for "Styles of Beards". (yes)
That landed me here.

A "Natural"

Get that girl some belly dance lessons!

She has more body knowledge than I've ever seen in a child that age. It's hard for a mom like me to see the overtly sexual movements she's making and not be disturbed just a bit, but her grace and talent are evident.

Always Lookin' for a McRib


An experiment:
Which begs the question: just how far away can you get from our world of generic convenience? And how would you figure that out?

As I hurtled down the highway, a pair of golden arches crept over the horizon, and the proverbial lightbulb smacked me in the forehead. To gauge the creep of cookie-cutter commercialism, there’s no better barometer than McDonald’s – ubiquitous fast food chain and inaugural megacorporate colonizer of small towns nationwide.

So, I set out to determine the farthest point from a Micky Dee’s – in the lower 48 states, at least. This endeavor required information, and the nice folks at AggData were kind enough to provide it to me: a complete list of all 13,000-or-so U.S. restaurants, in CSV format, geolocated for maximum convenience. From there, a bit of software engineering gymnastics, and...
That map above of the contiguous US.

Via GeekDad where they also have this important bit:
Von Worley warned me when I emailed him that the map isn't perfect, however.
"In the interest of full disclosure, please note that the McFarthest Spot is measured as the crow flies, at 107 miles. Also ~145 miles by car, but it's entirely possible that there's another location that's closer as the crow flies, but farther travelling on the roads. Indeed, regarding the latter, there's places in the lower 48 that you can’t even drive to/from with a car - that is, by auto, infinitely distant from MickyDee's."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Starbucks Kills Communities

The article.
"People immediately create their own little private, gated communities. You come in, set up your laptop and put on your headphones," he said yesterday. "You couldn’t be more alone in public if you wanted to be."
Also:
Prof Simon concluded that Starbucks’s success had little to do with the coffee and everything to do with image and identity. "Time and again customers told me they would look at someone carrying a Starbucks cup and assume they were successful and moderately hip," he said.
Seems like people who have worked there have been saying these sorts of things for years.

And one more:
A spokesman for Starbucks said it welcomed all customer feedback.

Melt In Your Mouth...?

I think babies are great, but this picture is CREEPY.


Or maybe it's just me.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Nerd Arguments

Topless Robot ran a contest to find the most shameful nerd argument ever.

I'm still not sure if this is actually a "nerd" argument, but it's my favorite:
I once got in an nerdy argument while eating dinner with my wife´s family. I and my sister-in-law (who isn't a nerd) where discussing what was better - movies based on books or the books that the movies where based on. I was of course speaking for books' superiority, she was advocating the movie medium.
One of her argument where that movies where great because it helped the books publicity. Her example for this was that NO ONE HAD HEARD ABOUT THE OBSCURE BOOK 'LORD OF THE RINGS' BEFORE THE KEWL MOVIES CAME OUT!!!!!! I got so angry that I called her an idiot, said that I couldn't stand being in the same room as her and stormed out in the room. I did this in front of my wife and my mother-in-law. Not a very proud moment.
But man, thinking about it still makes me angry.
Others involve sexy Muppets, Harry Potter's love life, pooping on the holodeck, breasts on the Dragonborn, and Batman vs. Gandalf.

Find the winner here.

Sand Painter on Ukraine's Got Talent.



Amazing.
Minor Bonus: Metalica

This woman has a lot of art to flex. I'd almost call her Goth, but she's in the Ukraine, It's hard not to be goth when you're from a war-torn country bordering Dracula's homeland.

More for later:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yYcEX5O5a4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heMgid4rkzU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zt2bFTSIb90

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Venture Brothers - Wrong Address

If you haven't seen Venture Bros. here is a taste of what you're missing out on. BTW, the adult swim website runs 5 episodes at a time...

Carl Sagan - 'A Glorious Dawn' ft Stephen Hawking

Quite possibly the best use of AutoTune to date:




Lyrics:

[Sagan]
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch
You must first invent the universe

Space is filled with a network of wormholes
You might emerge somewhere else in space
Some when-else in time

The sky calls to us
If we do not destroy ourselves
We will one day venture to the stars

A still more glorious dawn awaits
Not a sunrise, but a galaxy rise
A morning filled with 400 billion suns
The rising of the milky way

The Cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths
Of exquisite interrelationships
Of the awesome machinery of nature

I believe our future depends powerfully
On how well we understand this cosmos
In which we float like a mote of dust
In the morning sky

But the brain does much more than just recollect
It inter-compares, it synthesizes, it analyzes
it generates abstractions

The simplest thought like the concept of the number one
Has an elaborate logical underpinning
The brain has it's own language
For testing the structure and consistency of the world

[Hawking]
For thousands of years
People have wondered about the universe
Did it stretch out forever
Or was there a limit

From the big bang to black holes
From dark matter to a possible big crunch
Our image of the universe today
Is full of strange sounding ideas

[Sagan}
How lucky we are to live in this time
The first moment in human history
When we are in fact visiting other worlds

The surface of the earth is the shore of the cosmic ocean
Recently we've waded a little way out
And the water seems inviting

Be Aware!


Via Wil Wheaton

Cat Piano



Absolutely worth watching!


http://catpianofilm.com/

http://www.thepra.com.au/

Too Creepy!

1 Million Spiders Make Golden Silk for Rare Cloth

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Move your Boogie Body

Too awful not to share:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bearsharktopus!


Boy, Wizards of the Coast is running out of ideas for new D&D monsters. Hmmm...Owlbear versus Bearsharktopus-- who would win?

(Via BoingBoing)

CaveMan Science Fiction

Dresden Codak is one of my favorite online comics, though it is published in a lamentably stochastic fashion.

The latest:
Click for embiggening.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New TMBG

They Might Be Giants droppin' Rudolf Carnap on ya. Is logical positivism the go-to movement for "up with science" pop culture? Here's Carnap's entry in Wikipedia, for the curious.

As for the rest of the song, I can imagine the outrage is already bubbling.

Monday, September 21, 2009

You Guys

You are just so great:
Rep. Kevin Brady asked for an explanation of why the government-run subway system didn’t, in his view, adequately prepare for this past weekend’s rally to protest government spending and government services.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

In a World Without Inflection...


Tired of people misinterpreting your blog posts and twitters?
Want people to only get more upset at the things you meant them to?
Need to present everything you write at face value?

Why not use the backward italics?

Good for all your written sarcasm needs.

via Scanners

What did John Hodgman say?

Oh, yeah, NEEEEEEERD!

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

"Politians Are Like Diapers"*



(*Misspelling intentional... on my part, anyway.)

RIP, Patrick Swayze



Patrick Swayze died on Monday at the age of 57.

News reports are going on and on about Dirty Dancing and Ghost, but I think his most remarkable professional achievement was being the only good part about having to sit through Donnie Darko.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The TRUTH!


Click it for the rest, if you want.

When Where is When


Siskoid explains the Prophets:
In a nutshell, it is this: The Prophets perceive time as simultaneous the same way we perceive space. With one look, they see all of time much as you can look at the entire room you're in. This is a useful metaphor to understand just what is going on inside that Wormhole.

...

Here's a question: When did they send the Orbs to Bajor that gave them their colorful monicker? Answer: It's a "when" for us, but it's a "where" for them. Think of the world of the Prophets (the Wormhole and areas of space they can survey from it) as a continually updating reality. ... If we could be made aware of the timeline as a single room, we would see that they put the Orb on a certain shelf. As linear beings, we call that shelf the past though the information comes from another corner of the room which we call the present or future.

And there's plenty more at the link.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sense Memory

James Franco teaches his brother how to act:


(Video 1 of 4. This first one is the funniest, in my estimation.)

Clooney is a Class Act

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sand Animation: 1945

Here is some background on what it means.

Totally an illegal cheermigrant.

Chris Sims, "the Internet’s foremost Bringitologist," reviews Bring it On: Fight to the Finish.

He includes frames like this:

And sentences like this:
I’d try to figure out the mechanics, but I was more worried about the fact that Avery’s villain motivation seems to be based entirely on the fact that Lina is dating her brother (a guy who struck me as the love child of Jason Bateman and Jimmy Olsen), which mostly plays out in a scene where she hassles him at the pool in her bikini and at a party where she tries to distract him from wooing Lina by slutting up the dance floor.
His love for Bring it On is well established.

My favorite:

Click the picture to read it.

Topless Robot Shows Why The Muppet Show is Awesome

The Muppet Show's 10 Weirdest Moments
7) Miss Piggy Sexually Harasses Rudolf Nureyev

The first big celebrity coup for the show was celebrated ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev -- after he went on, they started getting more stars willing to come on. But you'd think they would've stayed away after seeing a towel-clad Nureyev get hit on by an equally nearly naked Miss Piggy. And, since Nureyev was never the best actor, his creepy revulsion was almost certainly genuine.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Dark Cristal Rap

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Julia Nunes

Lightening Zaps Ash Cloud


This and more, not all with lightening, found here.

Via here.

Stay at Home Dad

Thursday, August 27, 2009

That's what I'd click.


Click it for biggers.

Also, it's from Lore Sjöberg's comic strip, Bad Gods.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Internet=Awesome (Today, Anyway...)

Okay, so I found this on Dooce today, which means the entire English-speaking, internet-connected world already knows about it, but it is just so lovely that I had to share. This is a FAN animated video, not the official one for the song. This guy made this for the love of the music, and it's incredible.

Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear from Gabe Askew on Vimeo.

Monday, August 24, 2009

For those of us who still care...

The newest Wheel of Time book, The Gathering Storm, will be released, in the US and Canada, on October 27 this year.

Also, there's a review of the book up over at Dragonmount, with minor, very minor, spoilers.

Oh, and Brandon Sanderson understands your frustration.

Now's the time to choose. Do you go back and reread the series? Do you just reread the last one? Do you buy the new one and go with it? Or do you just say fuck it and read the spoilers a week after the release?

Me? I'll be starting Eye of the World when I get to my apartment this evening, but I'm a masochist when it comes to books I've enjoyed.

For Future Reference

Click for embiggening.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Essential Information for Office Workers

Over at Information is Beautiful, David McCandless has plotted common food and drink items along two critical axes, calories and caffeine content:

The Buzz vs the Bulge

I have a few quibbles with the presentation, namely the axes don't cross at 0, and the figures to the right are under-explained. Nonetheless, this visualization is pretty useful and stylish.

(X-posted at Johnny Logic)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Must Read for Star Wars Geeks

John Scalzi's Guide to the Most Epic FAILs in Star Wars Design.

Bless Scalzi's geeky heart; who among us has not had similar thoughts or conversations?

Whisker Watch Alert!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A The Guild Music Video

True Blood Paper Dolls!



So far there's Pam and Lafayette (above) paper dolls, but the artist says he'll be doing a new one each week until the end of the second season.

via Robot 6

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Take the Pledge...

Make Better Movies! (And TV!)

Jim Emerson, of the great Scanners blog, introduces Dogme 09.8:
Dogme 09.8 has the expressed goal of countering "certain tendencies" in the cinema today. In the spirit of Lars Von Trier's "The Five Obstructions," it acknowledges a fundamental truth -- that new constructive discipline is needed in filmmaking.
The idea comes from Dogme 95's list, but is better, in my opinion, because Dogme 09.8 recognizes that films are illusion and that truth can be found in fantasy.

My favorites from the list:
1. Get a tripod. Learn how to use it. Human beings do not feel their heads bobbling around all the time. If they did, they'd throw up a lot more. The hand-held camera, once a legitimate tool, has been overused to death. It is beyond a cliché, beyond a "certain tendency" -- it has become the most obtrusive, commonplace annoyance in modern films, a hallmark of visual illiteracy. Audiences should throw things at the screen every time they notice handheld camerawork.
I can argue that there are times when hand held works well, but only when it's actually important to the story. When it doesn't help the story, all it is is a distraction. Directors, if you want freedom of movement, get a steady cam. They're not perfect, but they don't interfere nearly as much.
4. No more than three consecutive shots should last less than one second apiece. Nothing undermines confidence and interest in a movie more transparently than a film that is too timid and skittish to allow itself to be seen. Hyperactivity is self-defeating.
I've always been a fan of lingering cameras. That's why I'm cool with all of Kevin Smith's two-shots.
5. If you can tell it's CGI, don't use it. If nobody will notice, go right ahead. If your monster or your spaceship or your location or your decapitation can't be created in camera or with analog effects (like matte paintings), don't assume you can fix it with CGI. If it violates the reality of the film -- no matter what it is -- don't show it.
Really, this one boils down to the last sentence, so I'm going to write it again, "If it violates the reality of the film -- no matter what it is -- don't show it."

It also should go for any special effects, not just CGI stuff.
7. Don't scramble chronology just to make dull material less linear. It doesn't help.
It can make things worse and it's a cheap way to try to build tension.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Night Off

What do the Joes and Cobra do on their night off?

Just listen to the song to find out.

I knew I had to watch when I saw the abbreviated cast list:
  • Alexis Bledel as Lady Jaye
  • Billy Crudup as Zartan
  • Zach Galifiankais as Snow Job
  • Tony Hale as Dr. Mindbender
  • Vinnie Jones as Destro
  • Joey Kern as Tomax and Xamot
  • Chuck Liddell as Gung Ho
  • Julianne Moore as Scarlett
  • Henry Rollins as Duke
  • Alan Tudyk as Shipwreck
  • Olivia Wilde as The Baroness
via Topless Robot

Monday, August 10, 2009

Kirby FTW

A live performance for Seattle's Marrowstone in the City program. The music was arranged by the genius Lennart Jansson (Link) and myself (Ash Ketchum). I choreographed all the extra bits behind us as we play as well as sang the Halo theme, of course. The Tetris bit is a tribute to the old a capella group that did game themes. Lennart is playing an ocarina there, and I'm drumming the top of my violin. Hope you enjoy.

The music:
  • The Legend of Zelda
  • Pokemon
  • Halo
  • Tetris
  • Kirby
  • Pong
  • Super Mario Bros.
  • Super Mario World

"When Cameron was in Egypt's land..."


Cliff Chiang's tribute to the great, but late, John Hughes.

Via Blog@Newsarama

TV Tropes

I've been looking through TV Tropes for a while now and just assumed that I found it because one of the others posted it here. Couldn't find it when I searched, though. Enjoy.

From the first page:
What is this about? This wiki is a catalog of the tricks of the trade for writing fiction. We dip into the cauldron of story, whistle up a hearty spoonful and splosh it in front of you to devour to your heart's content.

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members' minds and expectations. On the whole, tropes are not clichés. The word clichéd means "stereotyped and trite". In other words, dull and uninteresting. We are not looking for dull and uninteresting entries. We are here to recognize tropes and play with them, not to make fun of them.

Some entries I've enjoyed:
Straw Vulcan
Dan Browned
Mac Guffin
No Such Thing As Wizard Jesus

Thursday, August 6, 2009

1-800-DINGOES

Because most pregnancy/parenthood-related websites assume that you lost your sense of humor upon seeing that positive pregnancy test, I give you Let's Panic!

I strongly recommend scrolling down to look at their "sponsors."

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Cool TED Demo: Making Filthy Water Drinkable

This is some worthy engineering:

Too much of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Engineer Michael Pritchard did something about it -- inventing the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds.

Some KIds Rock

In case you weren't feeling old and untalented enough, here are two kids performing songs they wrote:



Monday, August 3, 2009

Literally?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Talkin' Wild Things

Sendak and Jonze talk about Where the Wild Things Are



Via GeekDad

Monday, July 27, 2009

Good Transcripts

An obsessive, and possibly crazy, person has been writing transcripts for the greatest cooking show yet produced, Good Eats. (To get to them you have to go to the episode page and then the transcript page. Cricket Christ, I hate the frames.)

Despite the crappy web design, the transcripts are fun. Right now I'm reading "True Grits" and soon will be deep into "Eat This Rock!," followed by "Dill-icious." (Yeah, I'm sort of in a pickling mood today.)

Comics at a Comic Con?

Valerie D'Orazio thinks about the place of comic book retailers at the big comic conventions:
I don't really see girls who like "Twilight" as the reason the convention is being "stolen" away. Really, the bigger issue is this: media conglomerates have taken comic book culture and "Andy Warholized" it, presenting us with mass-market, mass-produced, highly vetted versions of that culture's icons. But not only that, the conglomerates have appropriated the comic book/"fan" community's mechanism of promotion & dissemination of information: the convention. So that's the Icons and the Mechanism being appropriated.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Calling BS on Mediums

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why Didn't We Think of That?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Are Parents Again!


Mom and baby girl, Rowan Kysa Taylor, are happy and healthy!

Stats:
  • Born at 2:57 PM PCT
  • 8lbs 10oz
  • 20 1/8 inches long
  • Adorable
That is all for now.
UPDATE: Now with photo!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trailer

Where the Wild Things Are trailer

They're not allowing embedding and I really don't want to go searching for an embeddable version.

1984

Oh, the beautiful irony!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Like Braile on the Internet?

There is something both wonderful and absurd about the fact that this exists. I haven't listened to any, but I've heard that they are not exactly... uh... sexy, shall we say? Now I'm fully distracted by speculating whether this is a service that is actually interesting to blind people or if there is some other subset of humans for whom this is titillating.