Closet Theater Volume 1.5

Find a computer with a high speed connection, a closet and some... popcorn and get ready for Closet Theater!
Ice Bomb
Sawstop Demo
The Adventures of Young David Bowie
How to Enjoy Sushi

Edit: You may not be aware, but Mr. Pibb plus Red Vines equals Crazy Delicious.


All the cool bloggers are doing it...

Four jobs I've had:
Hog Farmer
Pokemon League Coordinator
Drug Warehouse Manager
Computer Help Desk Guy

Four Movies I can watch over and over:
Duck Soup
A Mighty Wind

Four Places I've Lived:
Coos Bay, Oregon
Duluth, Minnesota
Greensboro, North Carolina
Boulder, Colorado

Four TV shows I love:
Good Eats
Arrested Development
The Adventures of Pete and Pete

Four places I've vacationed:
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
Aspen, Colorado
Austin, Texas

Four of my favorite dishes:
Grilled Steak
Pizza (any)
Food on a Stick (any)

Four sites I visit daily:
Kingdom of Loathing
Boing Boing
Diesel Sweeties

Four places I would rather be right now:
Uh... Australia?

Four bloggers I'm tagging:
I only know one other blogger, so if you're reading this... get to it!


Sick Day: More leftover links

I'm ill today, so content will be whatever's in my bookmark menu. Ready, set, ready set begin!

The New Adventures of Bobbin is updating again. Also Something Positive never stops updating, but I can't figure out how to get it to show up in Comictastic. I forget to read it.

Fileswap: upload a file (like a picture) and get a random file someone else has uploaded. Fun and addictive, like heroin bubblegum.

Penn Jillette has a podcast. Well, a radio show actually. Back when I was a little boy I used one of Penn's short stories, The Pain Addict, for National Forensic League Speech tournaments in the Dramatic category. One weekend there were only three other people competing in the Humorous category so I was urged by my superiors to enter into that category. "But it's not funny. At all. Not even the tiniest bit", I said. Didn't matter: I'd be guaranteed extra National Forensic League points, which at the time were very desirable. I didn't win the tournament but I came in a strong fourth place. I got very helpful criticism from the judges though, like "you need to bring out the humor more". No one said, "That isn't funny. Not at all. Mostly scary."

How to make a tilt-shift lens.

An awesome mosaic tile installation.


Exploring other blogs

I've been checking random blogs out upon the advice of a post that I haven't written yet. Here's what I turned up:

A Supersoaker filled with lighter fluid.
A manhole cover with happy squids on it.
A bacon cheeseburger with Krispy Kreme doughnuts rather than buns.
A fantastic travel and food photoblog (with a link to a homebuilt Tandoor Oven
Translated Katamari Damachi lyrics
A hedgehog shaped game controller
Nanoreview of Electroplankton (Mad Professor is a great blog, this is a note to remind me to add it to my sidebar)
Four Favorites from syntaxfree.org (and Little Miss Drinkalot)
How to pick out the best pig stomach
Ooh, Hollywood Stock Exchange. It's the sort of game you can forget about for months at a time and come back and you're doing fine
And The Writer's Almanac


The Great White Northern Bean

A few weeks ago, at Terrible's Casino in Osceola, Iowa we saw that the restaurant offered Great White Northern Bean soup which we naturally thought meant "potato". But no, the Great Northern Bean is indeed a bean... and what a bean! They're the largest of the white bean (as the name would imply) and are popular in France for making cassoulets and in the United States for making Boston Baked Beans (not the candy).

Great White Northern Beans can be easily substituted for any of the following lesser beans: navy bean, cannellini, flageolets or dried lima beans.

They're an excellent source of iron, magnesium, and folate as well as a decent source of calcium according to Kroger. Also, Great White Northern Beans haven't been associated with nightclub fires nor did they kill three people in 2005.

Truly a great bean.


What I'm Playing

Kingdom of Loathing (of course)
Animal Crossing: Wild World (again, of course) There was recently a bug that was distributed over the Wi-fi network. Nothing like introducing bugs into a game after it's been released.
Urban Dead A MMO humans vs. zombies RPG with no NPCs: every monster is controlled by a player
Cities Another lo-fi MMORPG that seems a cross between KOL and Urban Dead
Mister Mosquito I mentioned this earlier but haven't played enough to do a whole Used Game Review. After playing the first four levels, I can safely say it's a hoot! However, it's supposed to be a very short game.

I notice all the games I'm playing (except for the last one) self-limit the amount of time you can play them each day and still have fun. I've logged 6-8 hour sessions of Grand Theft Auto or The Sims or Morrowind but I can't imagine playing Animal Crossing for more than about an hour, even with the online element. On the other hand, all the self-limiting games are most rewarding when played every day. I'm a fairly serious gamer but I've never played a game every day for more than a year before Kingdom of Loathing. I'm sure most serious gamers could say the same (although many would probably substitute World of Warcraft for Kingdom of Loathing). I wonder if a boardgame or card game could be designed in such a way so that a single player could play for a few minutes a day and have a rewarding experience. Page-a-day choose-your-own-adventure? The crossword puzzle in the paper (and other newspaper games) probably come closest to this idea but I wonder if a boxed game could fit the bill.

As I was thinking I had another idea: instead of a game such as Animal Crossing in which the time of day that you play makes a difference, let's expand on yesterday's post and build a GPS receiver into a DS game in the same manner the rumble pack was built into Metroid Prime Pinball. Then the gameplay could be enhanced by where the game was played. The game is perhaps more difficult if you always play at the same location. You get additional items if you play at certain areas like national (or international) landmarks. Your character gains power for each state capital you visit in real life.

Or, what I'd hope for, different Pokemon can only be caught when traveling. Oddish can now only be found in Nebraska; Charmander is only in Miyagi prefecture, Japan. Catching 'em all would be a real achivement.


New GPS Satellites

New GPS satellites have been put into service with improved signal strength. This means better signals in bigger cities and indoors. I know a lot of geocaches that would benefit from inproved signal strength too. It also means everyone has to buy new GPSs (to use the new signals, old units will still work fine) but because the signals are stronger, devices can be smaller. I want a GPS enabled iPod so I can go Podcaching!

Podcaching is a term I just made up to denote people adding their own soundtrack to physical locations, like audio notes in a sculpture garden, a walking tour of a city or just someone's favorite song in someone's favorite place. I imagine in addition to GPS the hypothetical future iPod would have to have some sort of wireless internet access, but the word is ready, dammit!

(gps info via engadget)


Syncronicity on the 2600

This afternoon Nick and I were talking about rare video games (as I finally found a copy of Mister Mosquito) and what makes them rare. I told him the story of E.T. for the Atari 2600, a game so monumentally non-rare, millions of copies were buried in the desert.

When I get home and catch up on Boing Boing and one of today's items was a music video detailing that very game that crashed the entire videogame industry. And what's more, the video was directed by Keith Schofield, the director behind the brillant One Block Radius and Pi music videos that are in frequent rotation on my iPod. A very happy boy is me.

Also, the aforelinked Wikipedia article mentioned that E.T. was programed by Howard Scott Warshaw, the fine creative mind behind Yar's Revenge.

I'm still considering a Yar's Revenge tattoo. I probably won't get an E.T. tat.


St. Louis Local Commercials

Watching Adult Swim in St. Louis and see a commercial with an animated talking worm advertising grow lights and hydroponic gardening systems. wormsway.com Also, they sell frisbees.

On an unrelated note, why is Kentucky Fried Chicken using the song "Sweet Home Alabama" in their commercials?


Rapid Hardcore in Kingdom of Loathing

Posted this on my Kingdom of Loathing clan's message board and since I spent two hours working on it, I thought I might as well post it here as well. If you're not a Loather, it probably won't interest you.


Got a kmail in response to the skills thread regarding how I run my hardcore runs. With the author's permision, I'll share it:

Wow... That's some nice hardcore that's going on there.

What's the secret? That's faster than most people can do softcore runs... How are you getting it so fast?

Could you give me a brief overview of where you use your turns, what you eat, and what you drink?

And just so everyone's on the same page, here's my ascension record:

I'll begin by saying I'm not going for speed. That is, I'm not going for the speed hardcore recordboards. They're much faster than I am and far more disciplined. To much regimentation and KoL wouldn't be fun for me. I like to think of my runs as "rapid" runs: try to do them as swiftly as possible but drink green beer on Sneaky Pete's day, Trick or Treat on Halloween and have a blast at Crimbo.

Having said that, here's my secrets. First off, I play every day. The only days I've missed in the last year were in November when I had to stay with my brother was in the Children's Hospital for a week and they didn't have wireless internet access. So I never miss a day's worth of food and (path willing) booze. Secondly, the order of hardcore skills kept makes a huge difference. The more skills you have, the faster you go. The last secret is knowing what to do when in a run. But that's really no secret either, it just comes with experience. Experience that I don't mind sharing.

Playing every day is so much easier on the new servers. KolMafia and Greasemonkey scripts are a must. I can run through a day's turns in about 25-40 minutes if I have to pay attention and micromanage. Which is the normal pattern of events. But, as I've mentioned before on the forums, I remodel houses and travel a lot. Last year I drove over forty thousand miles. I've unpacked my laptop at foodcourts, restaurants, bars, hotel lobbies, bookstores, just so I could play my turns. Am I commited player or am I a compulsive player? Who knows, but a player that plays every day is going to have an edge. That player can get full adventures from eating and drinking. That player knows he or she can bank turns for stat days. Don't get me wrong, plenty of casual players enjoy the game and have a great time, but playing every day is the best way to rapid ascensions.

Even playing on my schedule, I muddled through my first couple hardcore runs. They were long and painful and a little boring. I ate a lot of urinal cakes. But as I gained Permenent Skills, the runs got faster, more fun and I got to eat a lot better food. The skills I've kept so far fall into three categories: familar skills, crafting skills and combat skills. Familiar skills are easy: there's only three of them. Amphibian Sympathy should be one of the very first skills a hardcore player keeps. Empathy and Leash can wait a bit, but Sympathy is probably the best skill in the game. I use a Cheshire Bat and that extra five pounds adds up to a lot of free stats. When I can afford to use the other two, the extra 15 pounds gives a whole lot of stats. Crafting skills let you eat and drink decent food regardless of what sign you've chosen. Pastamastery is first, then Saucecrafting and Cocktailcrafting rounds out the set nicely. Reagent dishes and later, chow meins, are among the best foods in the game. The recent upgrade to Disco Bandit drinks is a nice bonus, but the turns and stats gained from food still rule the roost. Armor and Weaponcrafting skils fit in here too. I make furry pants and that's about it. Lastly, the combat skills a player chooses is largely related to their personal combat style. It's hard to beat the LTSynergy combo for pure effectiveness, but a dedicated spellcaster or ranged weapon user may do just fine too. I'm rounding out my LTS skillset and as I add the last few skills I need, I expect my HC runs to get even more rapid.

As far as the day-to-day work in doing a run, here's what I can remember. On the first day, after ascending, I sell at least three of my Pork Elf gems, making a hamethyst necklace and a baconstone bracelet (yes Myst sign for the past 7 runs). With the proceeds I train my Coffee Pixie nine turns in the arena and sub my Bitten in for the last turn, hoping for a Stone. If it's a clover day, I'll try and build a Rock and Roll Legend so I can cast Madrigal and Symphony. If I'm not coming off a Teetotaler run, I'll farm the Knob until the council gives me the larva quest, do that then do the the tavern quest. If I'm feeling ambitious, and I normally am, I'll track down Ratsworth and steal his monocle. I've got Elemental now, so I can skip the entryway and go right to Guano Junction. Set the MCD at four and get the Boss Bat Britches, which I'll wear basically until I ascend. Maybe the Knob opens up the first day, maybe it doesn't. If it does, then I farm a clover and get some reagent ingredients. Day two or three I usually finish out the Knob and help out the Friars. If I'm not a Teetotaler, I start farming the Barrel Full of Barrels for booze. I may be beefy enough the second or third day to take on the island (after Moxie shoring five times - regardless of class), slaughtering hippies for their clothing. Usually at this point I forget that I need to farm pixels, so I set the MCD to eleven and get to work. Day four, take on the Cyrpt, build the Bonerdagon Necklace and Badass Belt and hope that the Trapzor's quest has opened up. Day five, Orc Chasm. Day six, Beanstalk. Day seven, ascend (I was one turn away from having a seven day run last time). Maybe Day eight or nine, ascend. Throughout the run, I try to keep my familiar buffed, the mind control device high and my eyes on what I'm going to need next: Farming the Cove before the Chasm opens up, farming food on non-stat days for stat days, getting a wand for the inevitable wandly uses. Here's some things I stopped doing: farming a chef (or bartender) in a box. Planting mushrooms. Farming flanges. Eating Chow Meins. Just don't see the need for any of those things the way I play.

Although there's a lot here, this is still a very broad overview of my play style. There's a million little tricks a Loather picks up after repeated runs (like adventure in the Heart of the Woods or The Defiled Niche first when you do those areas and hope to get the elemental resistance item). None of them are secrets but there's too many of them for one post. But as a player ascends, future ascensions get faster and faster. Getting the first few out of the way is the tricky part.

Another slack day.

Not me slacking, of course... the mortar for the tiles we set. Spent the whole morning at a tile flooring class and the whole evening setting tiles. The mortar has to slack for ten minutes between mixing and use. And now you know! Yo Joe!

And as long as I'm doing remainder links: file-swap.com is fun! The premise is this: upload a file and then download a file someone else has uploaded. Lots of nice found photography.

NPR station locator (uses Google maps)

Archive of my favorite comic strip: Tom the Dancing Bug. Ah, so many favorites.


Nacho Libre!

Jack Black plus Jared Hess equals Nacho Libre.


I doubt the veracity of that apparel.


Used Game Reviews: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat

I hate to pay fifty bucks for a game that I'm going to play the hell out of for a week and then put on the shelf, so I try to buy a lot of used games. In a store-return store today I found a copy of a game I've been waiting to pick up: Donkey Kong Jungle Beat, a sidescrolling platformer that uses Nintendo's Bongo controllers to move the simian protaganist around. It's one of the three Gamecube games that use the aforementioned Bongo controllers, and any game with bongos is a friend of mine.

To be fair, I've only played the first two levels. I had to stop because I wanted to savor a pure gaming experience: the bongos are fantastic in this setting. They draw you into the game in the way a normal controller simply doesn't. The tactile feel of beating and claping to move Mr Kong draws me right in. Total and complete fun.

And now I have three sets of bongos. I still feel I need one more to really maximize bongo pleasure. I'm a sucker for "gimmick" controllers; I'm writing this sitting next to a pair of Samba de Amigo maracas. I've got to get the Dreamcast running on the projection tv...

Official Lobsterswag!

Couldn't help pocketing a few freebies after dining at Red Lobster tonight.

Gimme some lobster sugar, baby.

Tiny Plastic Lobster Sword

Lobsterita necklace

Our server said that the Lobsterita is pending to be phased out. Why would they ditch a three quart margerita? Insanity. Red Lobster Canada lists the Lobsterita as a Megalobsterita, which makes a good thing sound even better, and also makes note of an exclusive canadian drink:
"Our Famous" Shrimp Caesar
Smirnoff Vodka & Mott's Clamato spiced to perfection & garnished with a cocktail shrimp.

Mmmmm.... next time I'm in Canada...


In which the author sells out

If you've looked to the left pane lately, you might note the addition of Google Advertisements. At least you would if you're not blocking all advertisements in Firefox, as I am. And I tell you, nothing is so frustrating as trying to troubleshoot something that you yourself have prevented from appearing. Anyway, as long as I'm already shilling for Google, I should mention again that Firefox will block ads and apparently I get a dollar for every Windows user I convince to use it. If I'd known that before it'd be... two dollars richer now.

There's a link in the sidebar if you don't have Firefox yet. There ought to be anyway, since I use Firefox I have no way of knowing. Well, get cracking. If it worked.

Firefox with Google... it's firefoxwithgoogleriffic!

I'm done now. I feel so dirty...


Ang Lee's Victory, presented without comment

So we were at the corner bar tonight having some pizza. The Golden Globe awards were on the TV so we were all watching. The sound was muted, but that's ok as the whole purpose of the show is to see how bad or good everyone looks and what they're wearing. Ang Lee had been nominated for best director (Brokeback Mountain) and won. He's onstage collecting his award, tears of joy streaming down his face and a member of our party says, "The chinese guy is crying."

Another member of our party (who shall remain nameless) says, "He probably thinks they're deporting him."

I say, "I don't get it."

Anon: He's worried they're deporting him.

Me: I still don't get it.

Anon: He's probably crying because he thinks they're deporting him.

Me: No... I don't follow you.

Anon: He's chinese and he thinks he's being deported.

Me: But he's an esteemed director, why would they deport him?

Anon: No, he only thinks he's being deported.

Me: But why is that funny?

Anon: I'm making fun of the little minds who would say such things.

Me: But someone said 'the chinese guy is crying' and then you said he was going to be deported.

Anon: I think somebody's had too many beers.

Me: Yeah, I think one of us has.

Aiptek 5100M: a big jumping on quality

Picked up a tiny 5 megapixel/MPEG-4 recorder at Walmart yesterday for $94 that I thought would be fun to mess around with. The Aiptek webpage loves this thing, saying it "...provides a wonderful solution to let us closer to life." The page urges "[d]on’t let the wonderful moment sneak away from your fingers" and promises "You will have the most wonderful experience in your life." The specs on this thing seemed really good: 640x480 video and 2560x1920 still pictures. It's got 16 megs of internal memory and can support Compact Flash cards up to 512 megs.

Not taken with an Aiptek

At least, those are the apparent specs after perusing the back of the box for about 15 seconds. While not completely fabricated, those specs aren't entirely accurate. While it does shoot 640x480 video, it does it at 10 frames a second, which is great for shooting vaudeville-style hurdygurdy men but not exactly DVD quality. In only has a 3 megapixel image sensor and uses software to interpolate the image up to 5 megapixels. In this case "interpolate" means "just blow up bigger". Three of the onboard 16 megs of memory are taken up with the camera software, so only 13 are available for use. It does accept CF cards up to 512 megs, so the back of the box wasn't entirely inaccurate.

Here's a heavily retouched, scaled-down image of a nearby building.

And a link to the original, unretouched image (740k).

An OK picture, after cropping, scaling down and editing but the picture-taking part is supposed to be a bonus to the video. Not only is the low framerate at 640x480 a big deal, the videos are stored in some crazy .asf format that Macintoshes can't edit, rather than some standardized MPEG-4 variant. Why not at least .avi, Aiptek r&d? I'm willing to meet Windows users halfway on video formats here. I can play the .asf and they look like total garbage: all pixelated and awful. Not exactly the "most wonderful experience in my life".

To summerize: The picture it takes are adequate (if not the advertised resolution), the video is awful. The whole unit feels cheap and fragile, like a toy. The menus are serviceable and it comes with all sorts of extra doodads in the box: case and tripod and the like. If I could only have one $94 dollar camera, it wouldn't be this one.

This puppy's going right back to the store.


Do You Have Your Unicard?

In Waxahachie the other day we stopped at the lounge in the basement of the historic Rogers Hotel for a beer. The bartender asked if we had our Unicards with us, explaining that Waxahachie was in a dry county and so every patron had to be a club member. A short form later I was the proud owner of my very own Unicard!

Signature removed, you'll have to get your own Unicard.

It was free, which was nice, and evidently there are some 700 clubs (aka bars, taverns and alcohol-serving restaurants) across Texas that skirt dry laws by using the Unicard to prove membership. Technically speaking, the Unicard itself doesn't provide membership to each club, it just is a means of recordkeeping. In any case, it is convenient to have a unified system to keep track of my many Texas club memberships, even if I use that card about as often as my Winfield, Kansas library card.


Lego Knitting Machine

This is great! I'm going to build my own robotic Lego knitting machine to knit my robot for me. Maybe I could have my friend Soren help me make a mecha to make the robo-knitting robot.

(via robot wisdom weblog)


Was that Carville?

In Wedding Crashers Was it Bill Clinton's political consultant James Carville?

Yes. Yes it was. Mr. Carville is married to Mary Matalin, one time assistant to G. W. Bush. He is not married to Reasonable Doubts star Marlee Matlin, as I originally thought. The names are very similar. Incidentally, Mr. Carville also had a cameo in Old School. James Carville and Will Ferrell are like this (crosses fingers).


Picture from a house fire.

I was going to live here once, but I don't think I have any pictures from before it burned down. I don't plan on living in that particular house anymore.

Full version on flickr.



Since I don't usually have access to cable, it is a virtual buffet of new and interesting shows to me. On the road I caught the premiere of Survivorman on The Discovery Channel and it was fantastic. This is what Survivor should have been: no camera crews, no food from the producers, just surviving. The title role is Les Stroud, who is dropped off in an isolated location with 50 pounds of camera gear and has to survive for a week. He does all the camera work himself in the arctic, desert or what-have-you. The first Discovery Channel episode seemed a little rushed, as it was cut down to a half hour from the original hourlong presentation.

But imagine Survivor this way: just a bunch of people on an island with cameras and nothing else. The person who stays out there the longest wins. The show could take years to finish, depending on the skills of the contestants. I'd watch for sure. Ok, maybe not for years... but the first couple episodes anyway.


I saw a shooting star tonight

Driving home from a little Cantina in Lampasas the other night, we saw a shooting star. Bright as the dickens all the way to the horizon when we lost sight of it. Because Texas has been so dry this year, we both feared the metorite might ignite additional grass fires. However, regarding a large grassfire in Australia in 2000, Jonathan Nally, editor of Sky and Space magazine said this:

"Meteorites tend to be cold, not hot. These things trundle through space at minus 150 degrees Celsius for billions of years.

"When they fall through the atmosphere they get hot on the outside, but only for a couple of seconds. Inside they are still bone cold."

After being slowed by the atmosphere, some 80 kilometres up, the tell-tale glow vanished.

"It is called dark flight. It takes many minutes more to fall to the ground, by which time the crust has cooled. People have been burnt picking up meteorites, not because they are hot, but because they are so cold."

I made a wish anyway.

Actual Towns I Passed Through Today

Evening Shade
Cave City
Shady Grove
Bald Knob
Velvet Ridge

Also, I'm going to be a lot more towns over the next couple days so blogging will be either erratic or sporadic. Or maybe... erotic? No, probably not.


Found Photos

I know I've pimped 10eastern's Foundphotos (can be NSFW, I saw part of a nipple and the inside of a cow this time) time and again on the blog, but I really, really enjoy looking at other people's photographs. I've got a whole photo album of the best pictures I've found in abandoned houses, dumpsters and garage sales. Of course, there are other folks on the net that love this kind of thing too. Boing Boing did a post today on found items, which turned me on to Lost Films, maintained by someone who is able to develop the found film, rather than my style of just dropping it off at Walmart.

Or just scanning the negatives and tweaking the contrast. Nine new found photos on my flickr page from negatives found stuffed in a garage in a tiny Kansas town. Here's something I rarely encounter with finding photos. Here's a picture I found:

And here's I picture I took:

Same house forty, fifty years later? Anyway, one more found picture page: Fotos encontradas.


Head... so hurty...

Head hurts... too much.. to blog coherently...

Including Console Controler Family Tree to fulfil oblogation. Evidently... well enough to coin... new words.


Get your Bonzai straight from Amazon

An actual Bonsai tree shipped right to your door for 30 bucks. And I just placed an order with Amazon (thanks to my previous post reminding me...).

Also today I bought a bunch of tools, Halo 2, and a Power Squid. I wish I had more aquatic themed office equipment.

Oh, and upon Penny Arcade's recommendation, a pair of Nerf Maverick revolvers. The cats, of course, are off limits. Not because I think it would hurt them, I just think it would annoy them. That's reason enough.


What's David Leisure up to?

According to the Internet Movie Database, David Leisure had roles in recent films Welcome to September, Elvis Has Left the Building, and TV's The Rev. He's also provided the voice of Bus Org in TV's Power Rangers Wild Force: Curse of the Wolf. He has a wife named Patricia and a daughter named Maya. He is not to be confused with David R. Leisure, who was executed in Missouri in 1999 for a gangland car bombing. The David Leisure that everyone is familar with is hale and hearty with no connection to organized crime. He enjoys golfing in his off hours.


Oh Cruel Rate Change!

Pft. Last Postal Rate Case cycle I was at the top of the gain. I followed the Governor's Board recommendations. I evaluated likelihood of adoption of each subpart. Postal clerks asked me for the skinny on the new rates. But this Rate Case cycle, this Rate Case cycle is different. This time the Post Office just emails me the new rates. "They go into effect next Monday", they say and I lap it up like a consumer. It hurts to be on the trailing edge of a postal rate change. At least I can still explain the nonmachinable surcharge.


Day Three: Let the slumming begin!

I've been meaning to clean out my bookmarks menu forever and I need to blog, so why not combine the two into a fantastic whole!

Creating Passionate Users - Just found this one today (via Boing Boing, of course). Metacognition, baby.

Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools - Yes, it's in the side bar. But the stuff here is so great I bookmarked LED Maglight replacement parts (also I want this) and Behind Bars by Jeffrey Ian Ross and Pro Digital Photographer's Handbook by Michael Freeman.

Found Photos isn't coming out of my bookmarks, but the last few batches have been particularly fascinating.

I've been downloading gigabytes of vintage educational films from The Internet Archive forever, but there's petabytes of live music too. Petabytes may be an exaggeration.

How Ligers are made.

I was thinking about buying a Dell handheld. I probably won't.

Homebrew Atari vibrator

Losing the War by Lee Sandlin. Very very worthwhile read on war.

When does meat become taxable?

Calculate your own death by caffeine

KLF's How to Have a Number One the Easy Way

World of Sand (ooh, Hell of Sand is even better)

USB retro NES controllers

Trade 175 good CDs for a 60 gig iPod.

Use an Xbox controller under XP (as an aside, the stock Xbox 360 controller works great under XP and comes with a standard USB port. But I haven't found a good wireless PC joypad solution. My Media Portal PC project has been giving me the fits.)

Ah, bookmarks menu back down to one screen. Thanks for indulging me.


New year's resolution spoiled already.

Well, poo.
My idea was to kick my blogging ass into gear and have three hundred and sixty five little posts lined up day by day by day on pikamac.com until just about this time next year. But to my eyes yesterday's post-new year's eve post posted pre-new year's eve. At least the content of my post indicates that it was posted after midnight, at least on the east coast. So I'm covered there.


We were at Dollar General today looking for a PCI video card and an outside firepit (struck out on both counts) and I picked up a nifty little remote control NASCAR racer.

Here's a picture of an equivalent model on the eBay.

This thing is awesome. First of all, it's the size of a Matchbox car. Tiny. It's insanely detailed with what the packaging assures me is licensed NASCAR logos and glyphs. The engine, while lilliputian, moves like the proverbial bat out of hell. The tires are the circumference of a pencil eraser and the motor spins them like a rental, fishtailing around the kitchen. The battery charges in about a minute and then it's five minutes of alternately having the cats ignore the tiny driver and attacking it fiercely. And this freakin' thing cost five bucks! I tried to figure what something like that would have cost when I was a kid and it would have had to have been multi-hundreds. Unreal. I feel like a geezer more and more.


Happy New Yeats (I mean Burns)

And so, rather than explore the local bars on this last night of 2005, we opted to stay home drink beer and play with the cats. And rather than marking the new year by watching the clock on the oven, we opted to watch the ball drop in Times Square on tv. Of course, living in the central time zone, everone in New York had already gone to bed when we see the ball drop but we watch, secure in the knowledge that if something had gone horribly wrong, like the ball got stuck or Dick Clark was mauled by a loose polar bear, they would have already mentioned it.

After the ball drops for the second time as it makes its way across the country, no part of Fox's New Year's Eve Live is true. It's New Year's Day on a tape delay. But what killed me is this: as far as I could tell in my hops induced haze the powers that be in Times Square played New York, New York rather than the traditional Auld Lang Syne. Doubleyou tee eff? Is New York, New York that much easier to sing? Is it more upbeat? Come on, these people are already in New York, you don't need to keep selling them on it. Or perhaps I missed it, everyone sang Auld Lang Syne and went into Sinatra right after. In any case:

...we'll tak a right guid-willie waught,
For auld lang syne