August 2008

2008
Aug
31

My brain may have jumped the shark. I bought a 3-pack of small plastic storage boxes, but they turned out to be too small for anything I wanted to store. So I bought a larger plastic storage box, and the first thing I put in it was… the 3-pack of small plastic storage boxes.

In other news, I have developed a unique skill for making important things that I place on my bedside table fall off the table and directly into my bedside wastebasket, no matter where in relation to the table the wastebasket is. (up to a foot away from the table… farther than that and I end up putting MY foot in the wastebasket when I get out of bed… and no, I can’t put the wastebasket on the other side of the bed; the other side of the bed is against the wall of the Secret WendelLair… I use that arrangement to make sure I don’t get up on the wrong side of the bed – unless I put my foot in the wastebasket when I get up)

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2008
Aug
30

Follow-Oops: Minneapolis

I’m glad I updated The Incredible Truth About Minneapolis before the RNC Convention which claims to be happening there. It’s actually going to be in a North Hollywood soundstage on the same studio lot as the Big Brother house. Unfortunately, Hurricane Gustav doesn’t know that – Gus is building up strength so it can go all the way up the Mississippi River and rain on the Republicans. Payback for the “pray for rain during Obama’s speech”. But the GOP has lied its way out of the path of another disaster. Now a massive earthquake that swallows up the Faux Convention AND the Big Brother house would be nice (especially now that I live 200 miles away). But I shouldn’t wish ill on anybody. Except ex-landlords.

2008
Aug
28

Hodgmaniacal!

In the commercials where John Hodgman portrays a lovable but bumbling and hopelessly uncool PC, he is obviously a PC using Windows XP. Because Vista would’ve been much more accurately played by David Spade. (I honestly don’t know if Hodman/PC has referenced Vista in the ads; I’ve only willingly watched a couple of the spots – remember, bloggers should not be expected to do adequate up-front research; that’s why blogs have comments)

The reason I thought of that popular expert-in-some-areas, computer avatar and nerd archetype is that he is one of the people making entertaining contributions to Twitter. Currently, in response to the umpteen-hundredth invitation to speak to a “Con” he decided at a moment’s notice to do his own:

That graphic is MY creation; if Hodgman wants to use it or a variation thereof for this or future Hodg*Cons, I’m sure we can make a deal. He really should protect the copyright on the things off the top of his head better.

BTW, I was happy to learn while making that graphic that he uses the same shade of orange on his site as I do… simple HEXff9900. Because Orange IS the New Orange.

Anway, here is a selection of Twitterisms from the Con:

All this Con talk makes me want to have my own Con. Today. In my house. Let the cosplay competition begin. 02:00 PM August 26, 2008
I am live twittering from HodgCon 08. I just saw John Hodgman drop off a FedEx package! Nothing else to report. 02:03 PM August 26, 2008
Today is Day 3 of Hodg*Con 08. Today I will be hosting a panel on answering my e-mail. Panel consists of me, e-mail. That is all. about 6 hours ago
At Hodg*Con 08, I am currently signing a book to send to someone I met in Vancouver. about 4 hours ago
Apparently, Hodg*Con 08 needs more FedEx envelopes and black toner. That means another trip to the dealer’s room. about 4 hours ago
Reports of a surprise appearance by novelist Darin Strauss at Hodg*Con 08=exaggerated. He has to stay home with his kids. about 3 hours ago
Coulton and I did have lunch yesterday in what can be described as a “Panel On That New Sushi Place on 14th Street.” about 3 hours ago
To be clear: there is no blogger area at the Hodg*Con 08. That is just my kitchen. about 1 hour ago

When Twitter is used well like this, it makes you feel like you are right there.

Now the only question is: will I steal the idea and host Wen*Con 08.5: The Non-Gathering? Or are there any jokes remaining to be milked from the premise (even from an experienced turnip-vampire like me)? Stay tuned.

Aug
28

Not Over Construction

I’m going to be messing with the CSS and other design elements of the site throughout the day today, which may cause the site to briefly go “all pear-shaped” as they say in the UK. If it looks terribly wrong right now, count to 20 and reload the page; chances are I will have fixed it by then. If not, please leave a comment in the “YOUR TURN” for this post, if you can find it.

Also, there I will be conducting experiments aimed at finding a more colorful but not overwhelming background design for the Me.site, mostly using tiled backgrounds from AbsoluteCross.com which has hundreds of freebies, most of which are colorful and overwhelming. You may be briefly disoriented. I know I am.

Aug
28

The Incredible Truth About Minneapolis

A version of this was originally published, and is incredibly still accessible at epinions.com. Thanks to a link at the perpetually popular “Belgium Doesn’t Exist!” page, I will be required to keep this in a prominent location at every version of my blog until the Internet burns itself out (which should be in the next six months or so – but that’s ANOTHER story). I just did a long-overdue rewrite, so I’ll put it here up front instead of back in the archive.

For those of you who are considering to include Minneapolis, Minnesota in your future “See America” plans, there is something you need to know. But let me first explain how I came to learn it.

It started when I attended a 1998 event at Hollywood’s Museum of Broadcasting saluting “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”. The emcee, Gavin McLeod, announced that all of the show’s original writers were present “except for Allen Burns, who, as you probably know, is so busy with the Minneapolis Project.” There was a scattering of applause, and I, puzzled, asked the sunglasses-wearing-indoors person next to me what the writer/producer was doing in Minneapolis.
“No, man, he’s not doing anything IN Minneapolis, he is DOING Minneapolis.”
And he went on to explain that the metropolitan area of Minneapolis/St. Paul was the totally fictional creation of Hollywood writers, devised to provide a location for the popular ’70s sitcom.
Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.

Aug
28

Stick a Fjork in it…

If you haven’t yet taken advantage of my musical recommendation in the Steely Damn! post, it’s too late. It’s over. “Aja” has returned to its regular price of $6.93 (99 cents per each of 7 tracks) and “The Best of the Beach Boys” is now $7.99 (which for 29 songs plus “Kokomo” is still a pretty good deal). At this moment (1AM PDT on Aug.28th), the Daily Deal is something from Björk, proving quite conclusively that Your Mileage WILL Vary. But hey, if you are Björk-curious, I can suggest “The Björk Song”, a TOTALLY FREE download from the Web’s Legendary Brunching Shuttlecocks primarily featuring Lore Sjöberg, whose “jö” in his name gives him some strange kind of simpatico with the outlandish Icelander, even though the “jö” is pronounced very differently – a “sho” instead of a “yo”, which makes sense since Lore is kind of a Sjö-off, as proven here.
Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.

2008
Aug
26

How Do I Become A?

It’s been so long since I’ve seen a genuine Nigerian Scammail, it surprised me to get one today. The email server where it got through the filters? Yahoo! Mail. (I keep a Yahoo! address to isolate the advertising mailing lists that have something I MIGHT be interested in… don’t want to miss the next Papa Johns online special for Perfect Pan) Yahoo! does serve up some of the most annoying ads in the right sidebar (the cost of being free and not Google), but the one accompanying the Nigerian was just plain weird…

(don’t bother clicking; my copy goes nowhere and does NOTHING)
It’s the selection of expressions used for the various occupations that puzzle me. I’d think the “Social Worker” would be more frustrated than the “Graphic Designer”. And I wouldn’t go near a Pharmacy counter where the Technician looked like THAT. The Teacher is TOO happy, the Psychologist looks totally insincere (many of them are, but they don’t LOOK it), the Criminal Investigator looks like a Pirate, the Health Care Manager looks hopelessly confused (that one may be accurate), and “More” looks like he’d bite me if I clicked on him. The lameness of some web ads discourage me for the Future of Advertising, especially if they’re that way on purpose to fit their target audience.

Aug
26

Steely Damn!

I confess to being semi-addicted to Amazon.com’s MP3 Download Daily Deals (upper left hand corner) at which entire albums I may not already possess in digital form are made available for $1.99 or $2.99 (an excellent MP3 price point for cheapskates and content moochers). I didn’t check it out yesterday, but today when I hit the MP3 Home Page, I saw the Daily Deal was some heavy metal mess for $3.99 but the #1 downloaded artist was Steely Dan. I wondered if they had suddenly released a new album or -ruhroh- if there was some new interest in them because one or both of the duo had just died. Well, the answer was farther down the page when I saw that “Aja” was the top downloaded album and clicking the link saw that it was yesterday’s daily deal for 99 cents (that’s all seven 4-to-8-minute long songs) and they hadn’t put the price back up yet! I have to say, if you don’t already love the Dan and have “Aja”, this is THE best gateway drug to a Steely Dan addiction. They call Alabama the Crimson Tide, call me Deacon Blues.

Also a good deal (from last Friday’s $5 deals but not yet re-upped in price): The Very Best of the Beach Boys. 30 BB tunes for $5 (even if one of them is “Kokomo”) is a good deal, and should provide the right amount of ’60s surf music to anyone’s shuffle mix.

But hurry, both the Dan and the Boys are up past their official expiration time for the special price and I would NOT recommend even “Aja” at 99 cents a song. But if you haven’t checked out the Amazon MP3 Deals Page, it has some free tracks too. And nothing beats free (and LEGAL!).

DISCLAIMER: I am an Amazon Affiliate and I have pimped out all the links (even the heavy metal mess) so that if you use them to buy something I get a kickback. Of course, for a 99-cent-special, that kickback is really really trivial, but as I said before, I believe in Financial Transparency.

UPDATE: It’s too late. It’s over. “Aja” has returned to its regular price of $6.93 (99 cents per each of 7 tracks) and “The Best of the Beach Boys” is now $7.99 (which for 29 songs plus “Kokomo” is still a pretty good deal).

2008
Aug
25

Railing

I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of the of the too-few railroad journeys I have ever experienced (starting with a cross-country trip at the age of 10 when the 1966 Airline Mechanics Strike emptied the skies while my family was visiting relatives in Ohio – although an all-day stopover at a non-air-conditioned Chicago Union Station was one of the most miserable experiences of my life that didn’t result in hospitalization). But I refuse to join the semi-official organization of train passengers and railroad fans. Why? Because the group’s name – NARP – is way too similar to AARP. (And if AARP’s magazine and website are going to have an article about Natalie Cole hitting 50, are they going to do the same for Madonna? I DARE THEM!)

Aug
25

MetaMe and the MetaOthers

There was a post today on MetaFilter’s MetaTalk page questioning the term “users” on the site, as opposed to “members”, or the site-specific slang “MeFites”. (This is the kind of ‘overthinking-a-plate-of-beans’ that makes the MetaTalk fun for me.)

I didn’t discover it until over 150 comments had been made and interest had died out. I thought of a couple tongue-in-cheek terms for MetaFilter users/members, and was pleasantly surprised they had not been suggested in the previous comments.
Is that all? Of course that’s not all! Click Here.