Two more songs not to wake up to

| Dec. 20, 2007

I don’t want to say it’s entirely the song’s fault, but each of these said to me things I don’t want to think about first thing in the bleary-eyed morning.

Hotel California
Choice lyrics: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

I imagine this line is particularly poignant for The Eagles when they play their hit for the Aleph-null time on their googolth reunion tour. (Sorry, I’m not good at hyperbole.)

Bohemian Rhapsody
Choice lyrics: Is this the real life,
Is this just fantasy?
Caught in a landslide
No escape from reality
Open your eyes
Look up to the skies and see
I’m just a poor boy
I need no sympathy
Because I’m easy come, easy go,
Little high, little low
Any way the wind blows
Doesn’t really matter
To me

Little high, little low is right.

Stop and photograph the roses

| Dec. 18, 2007

It was one of those “JAPAN IS SO CRAZY LOL!!” stories from the otherday where mourners at a funeral were asked to please refrain from taking pictures of the deceased on your cellphone.

I had to ask myself why a photo? Why then? A death in the family used to be an important enough event that you didn’t have to commemorate it with a photograph to grasp the significance of it. You say your grandma died? Yeah, well, I’ve still got work on Monday.

When faced with a deluge of disparate, disjointed moments throughout life, it’s hard to keep track of what happened when, or whether it even happened at all. I’m pretty sure I went to Toronto, but I don’t feel any different as a result. Did I really go? I completely forgot that my girlfriend last October made me a cake for my 30th birthday. Without photographic proof, did either of these things really happen?

Maybe we take photos so at the end of our lives, we can go back and sift through all the moments we didn’t stop to appreciate at the time, a snapshot reminding us of a moment we were supposed save in our hearts, saved instead on a memory card. An experience that we were so busy capturing we forgot to, y’know, experience it.

(Incidentally, I can’t find the original camera phone story on Reuters… am I remembering it, or just making it up?)

Work Haiku

Work | Dec. 17, 2007

Some Haiku I wrote during this afternoon’s meeting to describe what I do at work:

I fix L.S.D.
work on Reader Management
and sleep through meetings.

“Where are the listings
on laweekly.com?!”

That’s my handiwork!

Come in after 10:00
rewrite that thing with no spec
then leave around 5:00

Listmaster’s a mess
Reader Management is too —
Look how things have changed!

theotherday

| Dec. 12, 2007

the•oth•er•day (n): referring to an event from the deliberately indistinct past, as recently as yesterday.

Tim: Remember that conversation we had theotherday?

Hapless friend: You mean yesterday?

Tim: Sure, whenever.

Puma Man & Dan Danger T-Shirts!

Cartoons | Dec. 10, 2007

Some time ago, I had the brainstorm of making a T-shirt featuring the Puma Man of MST3K fame. I’m proud to say it was received with great enthusiasm! And zero sales. Big surprise. In fact, the only feedback was when a friend posted a link on A Special Thing and got back, “Neat shirt, too bad it’s on CafePress.” Yikes, I guess my one sale’s dog got run over by Baron Von Cafepress when he was a kid. But looking back at the shirts, I did have one legitimate design gripe:

I needed to make the logo bigger.

Enter Printfection. Though it has the look and feel of a beta of Windows Explorer, Printfection handles the nuts and bolts of creating merchandise better than CafePress: lower prices, multiple pricing levels for items, better image management tools, the ability to sell multiple designs for each clothing item. And yes, you can make the logo bigger (up to 4.67″ high)! All Printfection needs to do is fix their clunky and occasionally unclear interface.

But the most important question is: how do the shirts look? I took a chance on Printfection’s $2 t-shirt offer and printed up a quick Puma Man shirt for myself. Printfection doesn’t seem to handle solid, non-web-safe colors especially well,Puma Man printed image which resulted in a shade of yellow something like the one here. But switching to the similar #FFCC00 for the color of the text seemed to fix that problem.

The PUMA MAN tee is perfect for wearing to the gym, as if to say to the world, “I’m out of shape and a huge nerd!”

Puma Man!

And there’s a shirt depicting the cold-war kid’s drawing Dan Danger, available in special commie red:

Dan Danger!

Bigger logos, smaller prices. These as well as womens’ styles and other apparel are available all at a reduced price at my Printfection store!

Awesome Evening Checklist

| Dec. 7, 2007

Buy cool new Samsung HTIB.
Check.

Locate component video inputs on Samsung.
Fail.

Return crappy Samsung HTIB.
Check.

Buy groceries.
Check.

Get Scion’s rear bumper caved in a hit and run in Ralphs parking lot.
Check.

More songs not to wake up to

| Dec. 5, 2007

I don’t know how JACK FM picks its morning playlist, but I’m almost convinced their morning DJ hates me personally. So here are more songs not to wake up to:

I Wanna be Sedated
Choice lyrics: “Nothing to do, nowhere to go / I wanna be sedated”

Dust in the Wind
Choice lyrics: “and all your money won’t another minute buy”
(have a good day at work!)

It was a tough choice picking just one line from Dust in the Wind, since the entire song is depressing beyond all comprehension.

However, I did sit at the end of my bed with my head in my hands for the entire duration of Your Own Private Idaho, so it’s possible JACK FM may not be the problem.

Harnessing alien technology… mostly

| Dec. 5, 2007

I was watching UFO Files on the History Channel and they gave a list of the miracle technology from the last half of the century that’s the result of aliens: kevlar, nightvision, stealth technology, the transistor, fiber optics, lasers. All this amazing technology UFO believers will say is the result of reverse-engineered technology found from a crashed UFO in Roswell, New Mexico.

And yet this argument glosses over one minor missing piece of technology… the whole “intergalactic space travel” thing.

Intuitively Counter-redacting Fair Game

| Dec. 3, 2007

Before 2001 I didn’t even know the meaning of the word redacted, and now here I am using it in a sentence. While at the local Borders & Noble, I spotted a copy of Valerie Plame’s book Fair Game: My Life as * **** ** ******** ** *** ***** *****. I had to look up the name of the book on Amazon, but thanks to some embittered prick in Washington, I could recall her name with little effort. What was that book called? Oh darn it, I forgot the name, but it’s by former CIA operative Valerie Plame.

When plugging her book, Plame would point out that large swaths of her autobiography were redacted by the CIA, because they involved classified information. I thought chapter eight on Iraq’s WMDs would make for some extremely light reading, and guess what? Like the WMDs in question, much of Valerie’s chapter couldn’t be found either:

What caught my eye, though, was the one orphan towards the bottom of the left page, standing alone in its own paragraph. What was this one brief word that Valerie wanted to emphasize so badly? My guess:

“None.”

So consider my completely unscientific stab in the dark. It was probably that or penis.

And thanks to all the mentions of the CIA, Valerie Plame, redacting things, Iraq, WMD, and so forth, I would like to say hello to the CIA operative reading my blog. Now stop screwing around on the internet and get back to work transmitting radio messages into my fillings.

Toronto karaoke DJs: the worst people in the world?

Blog | Dec. 3, 2007

MobiFestI had a great time in Toronto at this year’s Mobifest. Toronto’s a wonderful city and I would definitely go back. Sorry it took me roughly three weeks to say that. I met some great people, made some connections and got to see some fun videos and animation, but more than that, I learned one important thing: that guy running karaoke at the Holiday Inn was a huge asshole.

I enjoyed the Mobifest show itself (up until the awards part anyway) and I could see in each short what made it stand out to the judges. And it’s true, you do learn a bit about what works and what doesn’t from watching your video with an audience… like sometimes you can be too clever for your own good. I’m not saying that to sound arrogant, I mean that trying too hard to reinvent a tired story, or abstracting something to the point of obscurity, or just having too many things going on at once, you may just trip over your own feet. From that, here are a few things I learned about producing mobile content:

  1. Be iconic. Have a solid, easily-recognizable style, color palette, design.
  2. Don’t rely too heavily on audio; cellphones aren’t known for their sound quality. They’re known for having tiny, tinny speakers.
  3. You’re on a small screen, so don’t rely on a lot of subtle detail. A whole joke can be lost by a compression artifact or dropped frame.
  4. Don’t rush every joke — there’s this thing called ‘pacing’; you don’t have to write like your viewers have ADD.
  5. That guy running karaoke at the Holiday Inn can go suck a dick.

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