Monday, October 31, 2005

Scarebucks Pumpkin (in the flesh)


[pumpkin] Scarebucks
Well, not as nice as I had hoped but still OK, I guess.
Number 2 in the "Pop Culture Pumpkin" collection.

Someday I guess I will have to post the Barbie™
Shoe pumpkin from last year.

Happy trick or treating tonight!

Assorted Tricks and Treats

A collection of links for the last day of October, 2005:

Extensive notes, MP3s and pictures of the development
of The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, Disneyworld
and the non-US parks.

Art Nouveau / Victorian Bat and Serpent lamp.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Latte Spiced Pumpkin

You know you have been in a meeting too long when you
start drawing pumpkin carving ideas on your notepad.

The funny thing was even though I thought I knew what
the Starbucks 'siren' looked like but when I compared
my sketch to the real thing, I was close but not as close
as you would have thought.

After a trip to the web to find the pattern, and a bit of
the old Photoshop magic, I came up with this rough

Possible Pumpkin Idea

Figure I am not selling anything so I am not fearing any
nastygrams from lawyers in green aprons. I never heard
anything from Mattel about the Barbie® shoe pattern I
did last year!

Anyone know where I can get a coffee-scented candle?

Pushes In, Pushes Up

Not sure if I can watch NBS's "The West Wing" without
thinking of Allison Janney's underwear thanks to seeing
the corset she designed for annual Frederick’s Of
Hollywood Celebrity Lingerie Art Auction over at

Other designers that you may or may not want to picture
in regards to 'foundation garments' include Shannen
Doherty and Alan Cumming (?!)

For the record, Ms. Janney's corset is a 34B and
features "Art Deco-inspired layers of rhinestones
at the bottom and on the straps. Finished with chiffon
cups and a chiffon lace-up back accented with more
rhinestones," and includes a sketch book with signature.

Auction ends November 4th and all proceeds benefit
the TS Alliance– the only national voluntary health
organization dedicated to finding a cure for Tuberous
Sclerosis Complex (TSC) and improving the lives of
those affected. TSC is a multi-system disorder that
causes tumors form in various vital organs, primarily
the brain, heart, eyes, kidneys, lungs and skin.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

The True Cost of Television

[TV iPod TiVO]
Engadget has an interesting look at the economics of "free"
television in the US with an eye to the (now mis-named)
iTunes Music Store, the iPod, TiVO and good ol' fashioned
American laziness.

To paraphrase: An episode of "Desperate Housewives" from
Apple will cost you $1.99. If you calculate the cost of a
30-second ad divided by the total number of viewers you
get 64 cents. Why the discrepancy? In short: Loss-leaders
and bundling (AKA "Must See TV").

Rest in Peas

Elmer "Len" Dresslar Jr., who extolled vegetables to generations
of TV watchers as the most popular of booming voice artists to
bring life to the Jolly Green Giant, has died at the age of 80.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Cheap Ass Primates

From Science Magazine: Tightwad Primates

"When it comes to gift-giving, chimps are chumps. An experiment with captive chimpanzees finds they are not motivated to help others even if it costs them nothing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


And the Beat Goes On


As if I needed a reason to dislike our dear V.P. (secret meeting regarding energy bill, swearing on the Senate floor, etc), now it has been revealed that through U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush administration is seeking to exempt the CIA from anti-torture provisions outlined in a Senate bill.

Last Thursday, Cheney and CIA Director Porter Goss met with the bill's sponsor, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a bid to make the exception for national security reasons, The Washington Post has said.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Outed and Fired

From the 22 October 2005 Sacramento Bee:

"[Wynette Sills,] the mother of a Loretto High School student obtained photographs that exposed a drama teacher [Marie Bain] as a former Planned Parenthood volunteer, a revelation that led to the teacher's firing last week. It wasn't the first time Wynette Sills raised her anti-abortion views on the all-female, private Catholic campus.

Sills, who leads anti-abortion rallies outside Sacramento-area Planned Parenthood offices three times a week, complained to school administrators last year about a classroom presentation on domestic violence, said Gail Erlandson, a theology teacher for 11 years at Loretto.


Sills provided photos of Bain escorting women into the clinic in a September 19 e-mail with a letter stating: "If the identification is verified, clearly this individual cannot be a part of the Loretto staff."

Sills [previously] objected to brochures listing agencies that offer help for women because they included Planned Parenthood, which supports abortion rights. The brochure was later revised.

So, as far as we know, Ms. Bain never mentioned abortion in her class (she's a drama teacher - why would she??) and the hysterical Ms. Sills would rather her daughter and her classmates get incomplete and inaccurate information about what choices are available because some don't fit her narrow viewpoint.

How so very charitable of her.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

[WWW] The Cans of the Year Awards

Somehow I have missed this for the last 5 years, but the 2005 award winners have been announced.

"The Cans of the Year Awards has championed the cause of the can since 1996, where it made its first appearance alongside Cannex in Maastricht, The Netherlands.

The awards were introduced to celebrate and promote metal packaging. A great deal of innovative, even ground breaking work takes place within the industry each year."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

[cartoon] Fans From Around the World Interview Bill Watterson

In support of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes book, Andrews McMee Publishers posted an interview with Bill Watterson from the fan's perspective.

Q: What led you to resist merchandising Calvin and Hobbes?

A: For starters, I clearly miscalculated how popular it would be to show Calvin urinating on a Ford logo. . . . Actually, I wasn't against all merchandising when I started the strip, but each product I considered seemed to violate the spirit of the strip, contradict its message, and take me away from the work I loved. If my syndicate had let it go at that, the decision would have taken maybe 30 seconds of my life.

Nation Zoo Picks a Panda Name

Panda cupcakes, originally uploaded by my little mochi.

More than 200,000 votes were cast for the following names:

* Hua Sheng ("China Washington" and "magnificent")
* Sheng Hua ("Washington China" and "magnificent")
* Tai Shan ("peaceful mountain")
* Long Shan ("dragon mountain")
* Qiang Qiang ("strong, powerful")

On October 17, when the cub was 100 days old, the winning name was announced: Tai Shan.

Pictures of Tai Shan at:

Also: check out the other cool cupcakes over at Flickr where I found this image.

[celebrity children] Madonna's Bizarre Parenting Technique

From an interview in the November issue of Harpers & Queen, singer and alleged children's book authour Madonna says:

"I'm a disciplinarian. Guy's the spoiler. When Daddy gets home, they're going to get chocolate. I'm more practical; I worry about their teeth and make sure they're getting their schoolwork done."

The woman who made her name as a mass media idol, continues: "My kids don't watch TV. We have televisions but they're not hooked up to anything but movies.

"TV is trash. I was raised without it. We don't have magazines or newspapers in the house either."

While husband Guy Ritchie, who directed the minor works 'Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels' and 'Snatch,' treats the children to pizza and bike rides. "Guy is into doing wild stuff outside, taking them out on bikes," she says.

"He's good cop, I'm bad cop. The kids watch movies every Sunday, so if they're naughty, they get their movie taken away. If they're a little naughty, then no stories before bed."

But the 47 year old Madonna is strictest of all about Lourdes's clothes:

"My daughter has a problem picking things up in her room, so if you leave your clothes on the floor, they're gone when you come home," she explains.

Bad behaviour is repaid by chores. "Lola has to earn all her clothes back by being tidy, making her bed, hanging up her clothes."

As for the family diet: "It's whole grains, eating things by season, staying away from food that's been bioengineered in some way.

"[Our cook] prepares food like sushi or salmon. And vegetables. We don't eat any dairy here."

Is she is trying for shock value (again) as a way to promote her new album or does she honestly not see anything odd about her behaviour? Either way I sure am glad I was not raised by her!

Monday, October 17, 2005

[EFF WWW spytech] Secret Code in Color Printers Lets Government Track You


A research team led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently broke the code behind tiny tracking dots that some color laser printers secretly hide in every document.

The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known.

"We've found that the dots from at least one line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer," said EFF Staff Technologist Seth David Schoen.

You can see the dots on color prints from machines made by Xerox, Canon, and other manufacturers. The dots are yellow, less than one millimeter in diameter, and are typically repeated over each page of a document. In order to see the pattern yourself you'll need a blue light, a magnifying glass or a microscope (for instructions on how to see the dots, see:

[Star Wars Japan] Japanese Lyrics to Star Wars' "Imperial March" theme

Matt (in Japan) blogging over at 'No-sword': "I found out the other day that there exist in Japanese lyrics to Star Wars' "Imperial March" theme. Some claim that they were actually included in very early releases of the film, but most agree that they were simply invented by sci-fi geeks at a convention. Here they are, with hyphens to help you sing along."

帝国はとても強い tei-ko-ku wa totemo tsuyoi
戦艦はとてもデカい se-n-kan wa totemo dekai
 ダースベーダーは黒い Daa-su Bei-daa wa kuroi
 トルーパーは白い toruu-paa wa shiroi
デススターは丸い De-su su-taa wa marui
Or, in English, "The Empire is very strong/ The battleships are very big/ Darth Vader is black/ The [storm]troopers are white/ The Death Star is round."

Thanks DD/OoA!

Friday, October 14, 2005

[WWW iTunes] Automatic Video in iTunes

With offering feeds by filetype and iTunes with full video support, you can load up iTunes with free video files bookmarked and tagged in Read how at LifeHacker.

[halloween] Monster Wreath

From the good folks over at (the people shared with us the Nintendo Chair) comes a Halloween wreath that looks like a 'Monsters, Inc.' Sully:

"It's made with fun fur, ping pong balls, a paint pen, stuffing, and lots of hot glue (I didn't feel like sewing) It's basically just a wreath-shaped pillow with a ribbon on the back to hang it on the door."

[film] Daniel Craig Confirmed as New James Bond

Actually the BBC headline was *Actor* Daniel Craig.... Now there's a shock, eh? An actor playing a part in a film. Well, I guess it could have been a Muppet or a lump of plasticine.

Says he was the star of 'Layer Cake' - guess we will have to go see that but Corpse Bride (or is that "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride"?) is still on the 'next to see list,' but Cal Football (vs. Oregon) and Kirov Ballet & Orchestra's 'The Sleeping Beauty,' are using up this whole week-end.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

[nerd driving] You May Be A Geek If...

So driving home the other night we came across some road construction in the second of three lanes. CalTrans (or whoever) had one of those trucks with the lights in a grid forming a double-headed arrow to guide you left or right and away from the closed lane. In case you can't picture it, it looked something like:

< ••• >

Honestly the first thought that came to mind was, "Why are they flashing an ethernet symbol?"

Yes, 'the wife' jokes she wonders why she married me at times.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

[War] Smurfs Bombed in Fund-raising Campaign for Ex-Child Soldiers

Belgium have been left reeling by the first adult-only episode of the Smurfs, in which the blue-skinned cartoon characters' village is annihilated by warplanes.

The short but chilling film is the work of Unicef, the United Nations Children's Fund, and is to be broadcast on national television next week as a campaign advertisement and was approved by the family of the Smurfs' late creator, "Peyo".

Unicef and the family company, IMPS, which controls all rights to the Smurfs, have stipulated that it is not to be broadcast before the 9pm.

The short film pulls no punches, opening with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The final frame bears the message: "Don't let war affect the lives of children."

From The Telegraph (UK).

[Politics Scary] Wal-Mart Turns in Student�s Anti-Bush Photo

When you silence the dissenters is it still a democracy?

Selina Jarvis is the chair of the social studies department at Currituck County High School in North Carolina, and she is not used to having the SecretService question her or one of her students.

But that's what happened on September 20.

Jarvis had assigned her senior civics and economics class "to take photographs to illustrate their rights in the Bill of Rights," she says. One student had taken a photo of George Bush out of a magazine and tacked the picture to a wall with a red thumb tack through his head. Then he made a thumb's down sign with his own hand next to the President's picture, and he had a photo taken of that, and he pasted it on aposter.

According to Jarvis, the student, who remains anonymous, was just doing his assignment, illustrating the right to dissent.

But over at the Kitty Hawk Wal-Mart, where the student took his film to be developed, this right is evidently suspect.

An employee in that Wal-Mart photo department called the Kitty Hawk police on the student. And the Kitty Hawk police turned the matter over to the SecretService.

Read the whole story here.

[WWW] Net Rallies to Save Internet Icon

Brought to life by novelist P G Wodehouse in a series of books where the knowledgeable and perceptive valet helped a series of gentlemen cope with life's vagaries, most famously Bertie Wooster, the name 'Jeeves' has almost become synonymous with Valets and Butlers (depending on which side of the continent one identified with).

Following an announcement by Barry Diller that Jeeves was to be phased out during a Goldman Sachs investor conference in late September, a campaign centred around the Save Jeeves weblog hopes to demonstrate to Ask the depth of feeling about the iconic valet character created by illustrator Marcos Sorensen who was responsible for the look of Jeeves throughout the years.

Several variations on the knowledgeable 'butler' can be seen on his website.

Monday, October 10, 2005

[mp3] Yahoo! Does Podcasts

Will be like or will this actually be useful?

I am betting more functionality than their current iteration of Yahoo! 360<&emdash> but less than grabbing podcasts via iTunes Music Store- maybe if you use something else to get mp3s onto your portable music player this might be of greater value to you than I am crediting them with.

Also: Check out the interesting use of the Flickr tagging tool.

[W&G film] Wallace and Gromit History Destroyed

Aardman Animations said a blaze at their warehouse in Bristol, England, was thought to have wiped out its entire history– including models, memorabilia and awards from the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short films.

(via Y! News)
[Crafts] When Iron-ons Are Not Wired Enough

Engadget has news of the Xyron Design Runner fabric printer from Esselte due to hit shelves this December.

This handheld printing press [...] can also write directly to wood, clay, and wallpaper with acid-free ink from Lexmark, but [...] only prints in black and white (i.e. black, although red and green ink cartridges are available separately). A sample disk featuring 40 designs is included in the package, with 12 other disks available for $40 each (it’s unclear whether or not you can print your own designs, though). Your $140 also gets you a docking station, and also rather unfortunately, two non-rechargable 9-volt batteries.

Sounds like technology 'solving' a problem I didn't know I had.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

[Martha Halloween] Row vs. Wade

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Worried Martha Stewart fans can relax -- the
ex-convict lifestyle guru will be rowing a giant 600 lb (270 kg)
decorated pumpkin across a Canadian lake this weekend after all.

[mp3] Raiding the 20th Century's Music

A 60-minute MP3 of a British radio broadcast called "DJ Food - Raiding the 20th Century" that attempts to sum up the entire cut-up/remix/mash up music movement. I recognized about half of the tracks, probably too old or too young for the others.

Makes me wonder whatever happened to Pop Will Eat Itself - I always thought they could be the next Sputnik....

Get the track via this torrent.

[Potter BBC] He's Not the Only Gay in the Village

Reuters reports of a British cleric turned top-selling author of supernatural children's novels was thrown out of a school where he was delivering a talk after he told pupils that Harry Potter was "gay."

Reverend Graham Taylor, who penned the novel "Shadowmancer" which, like the tales of the famous boy wizard created by J.K. Rowling, centers on witchcraft and battling evil, got his marching orders after teachers accused him of homophobia.

"As for Harry Potter, well, he's not the only gay in the village," the former Anglican priest told children at Penair School in Truro, southwest England, referring to a catchphrase from the popular British comedy TV show "Little Britain."

He also described the villains in Rowling's blockbuster series as "wimps" and called TV "crap" compared to books.
I have never been a fan of Little Britain but do have say it is a catchy phrase and have said it many times myself.

As for the Shadowmancer books I might just have to start reading them!

[Disney MP3] Disney Battles Apple iPod Shuffle

While I am sure more people would favor a Disney-branded Apple iPod (think of the possibilities with the scroll-wheel), the Wall StreetJournal and Yahoo! have reported that it would start selling a $49.99 portable music MP3 players for kids.

Calling them "Disney Mix Sticks," and sized at about the size of a pack of gum, the are said to hold about 60 songs on a teeny-tiny internal 128 megabyte storage card but can hold additional 1-gigabyte memorycards. They also can play songs sold on small memory cards.

Disney said its players, in four styles including Chrome, Forever Princess and Sassy Pixie, would be available at Target, Sears, Limited Too and at Disney's online store in mid-October for parents, kids with their own allowances and Hipsters everywhere.

[Video TMJ] Bush's Odd Twitch

Harry Shearer over at the Huffington Post has a very odd video of Mr. Bush and his frequent jaw clenching.

Drug use or shame seems to be the most common speculation.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

[iPod] And Now For Something Completely Different
Can this be the video iPod so many people are talking about?

Or is the iTMS finally going to start selling movies and videos?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

[TV] Arrested Development on FOX

Still the funniest show on TV, why aren't you watching Arrested Development? I hope FOX is counting on people slowly finding this or selling a TON of box-sets over the years. I think I read DVD sales are a larger percentage of network profit than broadcast now.

Kitchen Confidential is so-so in my book. Not sure if women will find this funny, not sure if I found it funny for the most part, either. I was a big fan of the book and of Tony Bourdain's philosophy as espoused on his own TV shows (why go somewhere if you are going to do/ see/ eat the same thing you would at home??) but this just seemed a bit off. Perhaps our TV on Monday 8:30 PM will be tuned to the show starring the *other* Buffy alum.

Tobias' combination of Analyst and Therapist.

Monday, October 03, 2005

[MP3] George W. Bush covers "White Lines"

Amazingly good rendition of White Lines by The Party Party- can't even imagine all the cutting and pasting this required!

Be sure to check out 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' as well.

[Halloween Art] Creepy Changing Pictures

Haunted Memories has some very cool (but pricey) changing portraits that you have to see to appreciate.

At $60-100 each (unframed) means these will have to stay on this
C.A.B.'s 'would be nice list,' but maybe you have more discretionary
spending money than I?

[Odd] Starbucks Free Zone

Just back from a business trip to Minnesota and had a layover in Denver (DEN). Was looking for food and/or drink and noticed:

**The Denver Airport has not a single Starbucks Coffee location.**

How long has this been the case and has Seattle been notified?

Follow-up questions: are there other airports where one can not heed the call of the Siren?

[WWW] Google Maps+ Real Estate Mashup

From the site description:

Trulia is an independent and unbiased residential real estate search engine that gives you free and open access to real estate information.

Trulia helps you search homes for sale and other residential real estate property information directly from hundreds of thousands of real estate Web sites. As an independent information source, Trulia offers you tools and unbiased information to compare properties and locations.

idogcow. Get yours at

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