Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hello Ganesha

You can get this book to read about the cutest Hindu deities ever.

Or you can see the Japan-cute version of the ultimate evil.

Your call.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Best. Cartoons. Ever.

The industry voted on what the 50 best cartoons of all time were.

And then that link above went and found online video of them all. Awesome.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


After reading this article about princessitude, I experienced a very awesome ad. It's all about princesses who are tough, and fight off mean people.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Good user design is important

My VCR has been replaced.

And the new one has a flaw. The programmers, in their infinite wisdom, were afraid that when choosing the time to record, that I'd put in something like 73:84 AM. Or 36:91 PM. So I can't just press the number buttons: I have to hold down an up or down button, and cycle through the times.

Of course, they trust me to enter the channel with the number buttons.

On the one hand, if Apple computer designed a VCR, it would cost $200. On the other hand, it would make sense. I wouldn't have to solve a Rubik's cube to make it work.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

White and Nerdy

I know the Weird Al video is a few months old, but it's still spectacular.

And I enjoy embedding YouTube videos in my blog, so you don't have to click to another page.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Soviet Santas

A huge parade of Santas was held in Moscow. Why should you care? Because if Putin can hold a vast parade of 20 year old men in Santa costumes, he can also mobilize a vast army of 20 year old men with guns.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

You be goin' to be visited by tree ghosts, mon!

In this Christmas season, I experienced a great joke about Marley's ghost.

Then I remembered A Muppet Christmas Carol, which had two Marleys. And if you pay attention, the brothers were Jacob and Robert. Another form of Bob. I love subtle Muppet humor.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Peacock Lane

Just before I took Katy to the airport to visit her family in Ohio for Christmas, we walked through Peacock Lane, a beautiful Portland tradition.

2 days later, I read all about Peacock Lane, and the article answers several questions I had, and several I didn't have.

It turns out the neighbors donate all the cash from the hot cocoa booth to charity every year. How cool is that?

Also, there's a house for sale on Peacock Lane.

Protein Synthesis

Awesome movie. It is infused with both science education, and the musical and dance aesthetics of the 1970s. Wait through the first 4 minutes, because the tone changes violently.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Mona Lisa Descending A Staircase

Joan Gratz, Portland animator, made an awesome film many years ago: Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase.

God bless the internet for letting us watch it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Congressman is Muslim

One of the new Democrats elected this year is the US Congress' first Muslim representative.

In other news, Virginia reelected a jackass.

On the radio today, they pulled a full-on "he said, she said" version of the story, saying something like: A new Congressman is the first Muslim, and will swear in using a Koran. Some say he should use a Bible.

While technically true, some say he should admit the Earth is flat and the moon landing was a hoax.

Prisoner remake

I'm a huge fan of The Prisoner.

It's a complicated show with many possible interpretations.

And now, it seems that AMC is collaborating on a remake. On one hand, why remake a classic that still has life in it? On the other hand, I enjoyed and found interesting the remake of Willy Wonka. So I look forward to this remake with curiosity.

Day Break Cancelled

Grr. Day Break was clever, fast, interesting, well written and well acted.

So of course no one watched it, so it was canceled.

At least ABC will post the remaining episodes on its website, so me and the 7 other fans can find out how the mystery ends.


At least they pulled last night's episode and instead ran reruns of crappy sitcoms. This is a good thing, because it was the moment my VCR chose to completely fail. So I didn't record the show, but there was no show to record. (Sob).

Fire Good

I get to play with Lycopodium powder at work. Tee hee!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Standup comic with Hitler jokes

Saw some comics tonight. A pretty good bunch. It's a hard week for standup. Christmas right around the corner, everybody's schedule full of plans... The house wasn't full, and so we didn't build the kind of laughter momentum the comics would have preferred. On a Wednesday.

But they were devoted professionals, who pushed through and delivered some quality material. And some gross unfunny stuff. But all comedy is like that.

The best comic of the night told more Hitler jokes than I recall hearing in one night. And one of them was the funniest joke in his set. He was riffing about war protesters, "no blood for oil" causing traffic jams, causing us to burn more oil. And signs comparing George Bush to Hitler. And that's a bad comparison, because Hitler was a skilled public speaker.

Delivery is 90% of comedy. The second comic of the night had excellent timing and mood. The final comic had a rant that culminated in a tumor being biopsied "and I want you to tell me if it's malignant or benign and which one of those is bad". That rant only worked because of the speed and anger with which it was delivered.

Comedy is funny.

A Clean Song

A Dr. Demento classic song, about a mermaid. It's only a dirty sailor song in your mind.

Hear the song, and read the lyrics: A Clean Song, by Oscar Brand.

I should make a cartoon of this song. It would be a great series of fake-out reveals.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Butterfly advertising

From the den of evil that brought us television, scientists have developed the ability to genetically engineer butterfly wings which display any image desired. They can make a butterfly with a corporate logo.

Although the best part is the first image they chose: a butterfly!

"The researchers demonstrated their method by using a laser to stencil the silhouette of a butterfly upon the surface of a butterfly's wing."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

World's tallest man saves dolphin

This story is so awesome. Sick dolphin has stomach full of plastic. World's tallest man to the rescue!

Daybreak continues to unfold

Man, do I continue to like the show Day Break. Just when you think the plot is understood, they show new twists. The basic point is that our actions have consequences. So, after the star (reliving one day over and over again a la Groundhog Day) explores one possibility and how he can tweak its consequences, he makes one change, and suddenly a whole cascade of consequences arrive to be explored.

This week's episode had an awesome montage where he confronts his enemy 6 different ways in 5 minutes, each time the enemy not expecting it, since the day has reset. There is something primally satisfying about bad guys not understanding that the good guy is on to them, and the good guy preemptively punching them in the nose.

Also, one character was on the phone with his mother, complaining about a change in plans, and said "I feel like I'm saying the same thing to you over and over." This scene happened 3 times. I didn't get the joke until the last time.

Surprisingly, although each day the lead character learns more, the show opens with a 2 minute "the show so far" that concisely summarizes the convoluted plot. So awesome.

The Third Floor strikes again

I enjoyed seeing The 3rd Floor sketch comedy show once again. They continue to keep their style of comedy going strong. Kevin Michael-Moore and Jordana Barnes put in especially strong, committed performances, with indescribable characters. The Falcor impression was also a highlight. Absurd humor is the part I enjoyed the most, although the Cary Grant monologue was pretty damn awesome, too.

It's really hard to write about without destroying the surprise that makes some of the humor work. Once the show closes in the new year, I will tell everyone I know about Mr. Michael-Moore's best character.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Elf is surprisingly good

I finally saw Elf this year, and I was surprised how much I liked it. I saw it because Bob Newhart is in it, but it's a really sweet movie. I don't care for Will Ferrell in maximum gross-out comedy mode, but he's really engaging as a flat, cheerful, ignorant, sincere child. Which sounds harsh, but I mean it in a good way. I'm often at my funniest when I play ignorant.

I especially enjoy the performance of Peter Dinklage, who was awesome in The Station Agent. So cool that in a movie all about elves, all the elves are played by average height people with camera effects, and the one dwarf cast plays the most powerful person in the movie. Except Santa.

Everybody else has probably already seen the movie, but I recommend it.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The light is on, and someone is home

High winds tonight cut my power. But as soon as I got candles lit and a big (smoky) fire in my fireplace, and was about to shower with the last of my hot water, the power was restored.

Now all I have to do is reset all my clocks. And my VCR to record the vast quantity of TV I watch.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Brick Testament

Just in time for Christmas, I remind you of the awesomeness of The Brick Testament, a pictorial bible in Legos.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It's about time

After 20 years of staging Portland theater, rich people finally decided to put up enough money to put the name of somebody's mom on the building formerly known as the Portland Center for the Performing Arts.

I am glad it's Mrs. Hatfield, rather than the Ron Tonkin building. And I'm glad I don't work at the Paul Allen Science Center.

Happy Feet makes me happy.

Happy Feet is an awesome movie. I had the fortune to see it at work, showing on our giant Imax screen. In addition to infectious music and Robin Williams' genius comic timing, the story is very strong. It has several themes, from powerful environmentalism to cultural diversity. I continue to be struck by the ending. There's a very natural ending point 3/4 of the way through. But the movie would be very different. So I keep wondering whether I'd prefer the darker, more angry movie that leaves plot tendrils unresolved, or the movie as it is, with everything wrapped up and delivered in a tidy, unmessy happy package.

Movies don't have to have happy endings. You can arrive at the end with everything destroyed, characters transformed into ashes due to their own folly. But tragedy doesn't sell. So movies become like TV.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Stupid government

There was a recently "public" event announcing the White House privacy commission. But they only announced the members, refused to let reporters participate in the public comment period, and generally declared how great it is that the government is reading our email and listening to our phone calls.

At least you need a warrant to point an infra-red camera at my house.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Daybreak: clever = ambiguous

I really enjoyed this week's episode, because it is very ambiguous. Two characters are shown as possibly being aware of Hopper's time travel. But maybe it's just a coincidence. Or they're crazy. Other information is hinted at, slowly being leaked out into our awareness, but not spelled out for us. We know less than the characters, and have to pay attention. I like TV respecting me like that. I look forward to the story continuing to unfold.

It's really quite amazing television, using violence to remind us in an extreme way, that what we do every day matters. Our choices have consequences. Throw our choices into a Greek tragedy, and the stakes of those choices are higher. But our actions can play out in many different ways.

It's really quite amazing how much information they pack into 44 minutes. 3 "days" worth of story.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Spaceship comparisons

This page is nerdtastic. Comparing the relative sizes of dozens of different spaceships, real and (mostly) fictional.

Friday, December 8, 2006

Rock, Paper, Scissors

Rock paper scissors is a great way to determine trivial things.

But I didn't know it could determine the course of history.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Nerds vs. Geeks

I have shared this often before, but it keeps coming up.

How to tell the difference between nerds, geeks, and dorks.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

Ads suck

Apparently I'm a leader in avoiding advertising.

This article mentions an expensive study that the number of people who record shows and skip the ads has tripled in the last 2 years. I was just watching my tape of last night's Daily Show this morning, and noticing just how stupid the ads think I am.

Ironically, before you can read the article I linked to, you have to get past an ad.

Monday, December 4, 2006

Ambiguous scenes - clever

I like clever.

This week's Desperate Housewives was a rerun. (November is over, after all.) But a rerun of the episode in which we thought we saw Orson Hodge, DDS, kill his wife. We see her panicking, trying to leave the house without his knowledge. We see her neighbor lady visit, and witness Dr. Hodge cleaning the house with rubber gloves, and Mrs. Hodge's parrot saying "Orson, no! Orson, no! No, Orson!" over and over. And we see an empty bird cage put out by the trash.

And the neighbor lady returns later to warn that Mrs. Hodge is dead. But while we were lead to believe that, this ambiguous scene didn't actually mean that.

Like The Sixth Sense, only different. Taking months to unwrap instead of hours.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Daybreak is so awesome!!

This week's episode of Day Break was even yet more confusing. Like the grammar of that sentence. I particularly enjoyed the actors readings of lines that have double meanings. Characters not understanding the time travel plot, saying ordinary things that have extraordinary meaning.

And the rules of the show changed this week: the day that keeps repeating over and over changed. Weird. It's all an interesting metaphor for our ordinary lives. If one man's actions have consequences, and we explore all the possible uses of one day, we imagine the many possible days we each can have every day.

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Studio 60 not dead yet

I was pleasantly surprised to read that Studio 60 will last the entire season.

I like the show very much, but its obscurity and lack of relevance to people who aren't actors, writers or copyright lawyers is apparent to me.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Remixed trailers

I hope you've already seen the brilliant, inspiring remixed trailer for The Shining.

This blog has a great compendium of examples of remixed trailers.
My favorites include West Side Story and

And now, I present to you someone else's work: Office Space as a horror movie.

Editing has so much power.