Monday, November 30, 2009

Political poems

A haiku about Larry Craig, the former U.S. senator from Idaho:

Between flights, furtive,
The heart reduced to Morse code --
Feet tap in stalls.

Another about former presidential candidate John Edwards:

Should not have posed for
my weird videographer --
now my hair is mussed.

More "sex scandal haiku" here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sumo wrestling time

I was thinking about sumo, found these clips and wanted to share.

First, a video compilation of 53 straight victories recorded by Chiyonofuji, one of sumo's greatest all time wrestlers. (You can see him dispose of Hawaii-born Konishiki at 3'20" and 4'30". Unfortunately, Konishiki is already in his fat slob phase at the time of these bouts.)

Second, here are some young sumo wrestlers-in-training doing side splits. These men are flexible.

Avatar Machine...

Yet another funny thing linked from Kotaku.

Avatar Machine [LONDON] 2008 from MARC OWENS on Vimeo.

While I found this to be charming and resonant, I couldn't help but think "must... switch... camera... angles!"

Here's the artist's site.

Here's the Kotaku article

The perfect blend of chaos and order.

The world is in balance with this organizational cube

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Taking selling out to new extremes

Tweeting ads to your friends. (Or to your Twitter followers.)

Maybe this bad idea will die before it takes off, as people dump those who tweet ads.

I hope I'm not being too optimistic.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How the iPod Saved America from Being Sad Forever

It's the first iPod commercial ever. Contrast it with the "unplanned" "spontaneous" "expression" of "group enthusiasm" at the Microsoft store. Sure; to be fair, one's a produced advertisement, and the other is a WELL-produced advertisement oooooOOOOOOoooo! ZING!! BURRRN!!!22!

I'm thinking, however, about the success of the iPod product line, and the genesis of that success. Sure, the interface is great--navigating that much content with what is essentially one big button is no small feat. The form factor is simple, almost generic, allowing anyone to integrate the thing into their personal style. The ads emphasize personal freedom and joyful abandon and an unapologetic love of music and dancing to said music (and again with the generic thing).

This has all been discussed over and over, but the one factor I've never heard mentioned when trying to understand the iPod's success is the release date, October 23, 2001. A little over a month after 9/11. Everyone in America was still pretty bummed, if I remember right. We thought nothing would ever be the same; that we'd all have to be vigilant and well-informed and serious for the rest of our lives. We didn't, it turns out. Our culture was still there, and we are who we are, for better or for worse. It didn't take long for reminders of who we are to creep back into daily life, and now here we are. Hello!

Makes me wonder, if the iPod doesn't occupy some special place in the American psyche, because it helped come to a timely rescue. Did these simple, happy, ads stick in our heads; not simply hawking a music player, but as a reminder that there were still good reasons to be consumery, dancey, slightly oblivious Americans? Are we repaying the iPod for helping us not be sad forever?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


How much does Bill Microsoft pay these guys?

Monday, November 16, 2009

D&D Character Sheets

We'd talked about doing this a while back; so I found a nice simple D&D character sheet for each of us to fill out. I mean, anyone who feels like it. We can link it to personal profiles in the sidebar, or something. I don't know.

I started one, and one thing I found difficult was the allocation of ability points. I have no idea how strong I am, but I know I have more dexterity than strength, so maybe if we all decide on a set number of points to allocate (54, say--average) and distribute them among our different abilities, that will be an easier thing to do. It always kind of weirded me out that so much of the game of D&D was decided in those initial rolls, in the same way that Ayn Rand freaks me out.

This is an interesting exercise, and I think it may be best to see this as a résumé, avoiding any modesty, and cataloging our skills. Or maybe it will just be enough to gaze upon the gold standard of D&D CVs, and leave it at that.

Friday, November 13, 2009

For those who, like me, didn't know about AutoTune and Meme...

I thought this was very informative. Thanks Professor Wierd Al!

Beautiful Bike Raffle for a Great Cause

I don't know this guy, but it's a good cause. Have been in a similar situation myself years ago and all the help people gave me makes me want to give back.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

X-Men #1: Covered

There hasn't been any comic covers here in a while, you guys. Here's some inspiration from Covered: Dan Scanlon does X-Men #1

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Aaaand one more...

Sorry, one more YouTube...this one reminded me of Mr. Chang and Frodo: the Museum of Humanity

Lego Howl's Moving Castle

Yeah so this 14 year old kid named Imagine made
Howl's Moving Castle out of Lego. It took him and his mom two weeks to build. It's pretty kick ass. He's part of a Hawaii based Lego users group called
LEAHI. I am part of this group. Imagine made this piece with a castle themed event in mind. This event took place this October at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. I had to sit next to this thing and suck with my weak-ass, no-skill-having, six-hour-build diorama. It was really neat. It's already been blogged on the usual Lego user group site, I just saw it in the blog Mr. Pony reffed for the husband-hunting bra thread! Great job, Imagine! You are officially blowing up!

Lest we forget...

Lizards are bad-ass.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

LEGO Minifig Patent

...And of course you saw this, via the Curated Internet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

An Interview with Mr. James Bowthorpe

James Bowthorpe being interviewed about his successful world record cycling attempt.
I obtained this exclusive interview with James after meeting him by chance at an exhibition detailing the BBC's new inter-planetary condiment delivery system. He has just set the world record for riding a bicycle around the world as quickly as you can. You may remember him from my other posts.

R: Congratulations on cycling round the world, Mr. James Bowthorpe. Have you been on any long bicycle rides before?

J: Not since the mid-nineties, when I did trips over the Himalayas, through a bit of Russia, and from Alaska to LA.

R: When did you decide to cycle around the world and why?

J: May 9th 2008. I did it to raise £1.8 million for Parkinsons disease research at the clinic where I volunteer. I'm really hoping to step up the fundraising now that I'm back...

R: People can donate here, right?

J: Yes. That's amazing, Ruby, I've never heard anyone say something hyperlinked out loud before.

R: Yes I am quite amazing, world record holder James Bowthorpe. What does cycling round the world mean exactly?

J: According to Guinness, it's 18,000 miles of cycling, crossing two antipodal points, with no u-turns. You're allowed to get on planes and boats and things along the way.

R: How do you know when you've cycled round the world?

J: You get back to where you started from; you recognise road signs, city names and eventually you start seeing faces you know.

R: How did you get ready for your trip?

J: By going to the gym and strolling around the place. I read a few books about cycling and also flicked through my diaries from the earlier trips. I also did a fair bit of cycling, but not so much that I was sick of it by the time I was leaving.

R: What did you worry about once you got going?

J: Time, space and where to pitch my tent.

R: What was the longest time you went without going into a building? Is a tent a building?

J: I was probably only a couple of days outwith buildings; buildings are where most food is kept and I ate a lot. A tent isn't a building because you don't build a tent, you pitch it or erect it; some people make camp or "bivvy-down", but no-one builds a tent.

R: I often "bivvy-down." Who did you talk to?

J: I talked to myself, people that I met and the weather.

R: What was the longest time you went without speaking to someone?

J: About a week probably. During that time I did a lot of shrugging, smiling and pointing to get by.

R: When did you eat?

J: Never whilst cycling until I managed to rig up a system whereby I could hang a bag of baby carrots off my handlebars.

R: What kind of amazing things did you eat?

J: Fish balls, special sauerkraut, Mega-Burgers, Vegemite in tiny sealed trays (on a plane).

R: What was the strangest day you had?

J: Flying back in time from New Zealand to Vancouver. It was 6 in the evening on the 15th when I left and I arrived after 11 hours in a plane at 2 in the afternoon on the same day.

R: Did you see any films or TV?

J: I watched Star Trek (the new one) on the ferry between New Zealand's South and North Islands. Apparently its one of the most beautiful ferry crossings in the world, but I was too tired. There were also some occasional motel viewings of Seinfeld.

R: Did you see any Star Wars or Lego products along the way?

J: I don't remember but it seems unlikely that there wouldn't have been any at all. I saw someone playing Lego Star Wars on Playstation, does that count?

R: Yes, of course it counts, it's both Star Wars yet Lego! Why didn't you cycle across Hawaii?

J: Too hilly.

R: What was it like when you got home?

J: Frikking Awesome.

If you enjoyed this interview, you might also like Britisher saint Bowthorpe has embellish the fastest Negro to tone around the globe. Mr. Pony, is this written by one of your pet robots?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nunchuks are useful.

Normally I think it's kind of uncool to use dead celebrities to hawk stuff in TV commercials (like that DirecTV ad with Chris Farley), but in this case I'll make an exception for my #1 favorite bad ass mofo Bruce Lee. Wa pow!

Mishandling nuclear fuel

Mr. and Mrs. Pony and I were discussing nuclear power the other day, and a 1999 nuclear chain reaction at an experimental facility in Japan came up. The idiocy of those involved made many wonder if the nuclear power industry could be trusted to deliver electricity safely.

The accident began when workers were converting enriched uranium into oxide powder for use in preparing fuel for the Joyo experimental fast breeder reactor...

An inadvertent nuclear chain reaction, or so-called “criticality accident,” began at 10:35 AM local time on Thursday, September 30 at the JCO Co. Ltd. Conversion Test Building at Tokai-mura, Japan, about 75 miles northeast of Tokyo. The chain reaction, which gave off intense heat and radiation, could not be stopped until 18 hours later....

It appears that workers deliberately circumvented safety measures to save time. A solution of uranyl nitrate was transferred into a large-volume precipitation tank, rather than the smaller, cylindrical container required by regulations. According to JCO Inc. official Yutaka Tatsuta, one of the injured workers reported that some 16 kilograms of uranium solution had been poured into the precipitation tank, nearly eight times more than its criticality safety limit of 2.4 kilograms.

Workers reported seeing a blue flash and then started to feel ill. According to one report, “the area was wrapped in a haze of blue smoke.” Workers told plant staff that “they saw a blue flame rising from the fuel.” Kenji Sumida, a member of Japanese government’s Nuclear Safety Commission, concluded, “I know this is difficult to believe, but I think that we have no choice but to recognize this accident as having been critical.” The criticality continued for about 18 hours until the water that was moderating the flow of neutrons and allowing the chain reaction to continue was drained and the tank was flooded with boron, a neutron absorber.

Tokyo Electric Power, Japan's largest utility, made people even more nervous when it was found to have falsified its nuclear plant repair reports for 15 years.

Maybe the anti-nuclear power sentiment is fading though, as 8 new nuclear plants opened last year from Hokkaido to Kyushu.

I still don't think I'd be comfortable living next to a nuclear power plant, even if it gave off less greenhouse gases than a fossil fuel plant. Then again there are 18 nuclear-powered submarines at Pearl Harbor just a few miles from Honolulu. Each has a mini nuclear power plant on board.

Giant French Automatons invade Berlin! Story at ten.

Much as I hate 4-on-the-floor techno...

Closet Tale

"I saw you-right before you went to outer space." Lord British vs. Martha

Heisted from i09, or Kotaku, or something Gawker-y.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Tauren Halloween Costume

Speaking of Halloween, check out this sweet costume our old friend Earl made (Your old friend, my new friend). He was a Tauren last year, but this year he resolved to be like, a better, higher-level Tauren with badder-ass armor and gear. Here are some notes on how he made it:

I made the armor mainly with craft foam, sealed with mod podge and painted with black latex house paint and dry brushed with metallic silver acrylic paint .. the giant rivets are ping pong balls cut in ½ ... And the chest piece base is made from a rubber maid tote and a laundry basket … I plan on making a rough tutorial and posting it online with pics to help others interested making this kind of stuff… when I was researching all I could find was elf armor and Halo armor.