Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Oh Ricky You're So Fine


It's a place-holder of a page for now but starting Monday December 5,
The Guardian will host: Ricky Gervais in an exclusive series of
that will "tackle, finally, the big questions: 'Jellyfish -
do we need them'? And: 'Why do you never see an old bloke eating a Twix'?

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Into the Red, Into the Black

[coffee caffeine]

Starbucks 'Red Cup' 2005 (stocking)
I have heard that Coke's switching their soda into the 'contour' bottle
from a generic bottle actually increased sales, so when I read over at
the Idea Sandbox Blog that, "The red cup is a Starbucks tradition... In
fact, each time Starbucks strayed from using the red cup customers
have complained... and for some reason, overall sales for the season
would be soft... So it's been long established that the RED CUP be a
non-negotiable holiday item," I was more than ready to agree.

[RIP] Stan Berenstain


Drawn! The Illustration Blog broke the news that Stan Berenstain
has passed away today.

Stan Berenstain, who along with his wife Jan, created the
Berenstain Bears, a childhood staple of books second only
to Richard Scarry for many a child learning to read.

CNN is now also covering his passing.

Best Quote of the Morning

"Daleks do not do porn," said Tim Hancock, director of the
estate of Dalek creator Terry Nation.

ABDUCTED BY THE DALEKS: A brand new limited edition
release (1000 (numbered) discs). For obvious reasons this
is going to become a very collectible item especailly with the
resurgence in the interest in Dr.Who. The DVDs will be sold
on an incremental basis (eg: Lowest number first). The disc
contains a 56 minute main feature plus a 40 minute
outake/alternative version plus a trailer.

The story centers around three sexy young disco babes who have
met the mysterious Anna. As they journey through the woods they
discuss the legend of The Serial Skinner not knowing that they are
already being observed by a more ambitious and ruthless species
of Alien.... the daleks!!!

The Sun still has NSFW stills from the offending film here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Let it Snow, Let it Snow

While large amounts of snow here in California has yet to arrive
(global warming?), in Boston, there is no shortage of snow, yet
unlike the kind that can make even sidewalk travel
treacherous, the snowflakes that have arrived at the Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute
were designed to be brought inside and cherished.

For the second year in a row, Sarcoma Research at the Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute/The Jimmy Fund is having "Robert's Snow: for
Cancer's Cure," an online auction that benefits the Dana-Farber
Cancer Institute. Some 200 children's book illustrators have
created art on individual snowflake-shaped wooden templates
for auction on eBay.

This project was founded by Grace Lin, a children's book
author/illustrator with her husband, Robert, a two-time cancer survivior.
The first time Robert was diagnosed with cancer, they created the
children's book Robert's Snow as a way of coping with the situation.
When Robert was diagnosed a second time, they decided to use the
book they created as an inspiration for this fund-raiser.

There will be 5 consecutive 8 day E-bay auctions. They began on
November 6, with 1/4th of the snowflake collection at auction for 10
days, ending on Nov. 11. On November 11th, another 1/5th of the
collection went up for auction. They do note that no matter when you
win your snowflake you will not receive it until after Dec. 11,
the last day of the exhibit at the Eric Carle Museum.

I didn't know about this last year when Ian Falconer ("Olivia") had a
snowflake on auction, this year the big name illustrator (in my book)
would have to be Patrick McDonnell ("Mutts"). Act quickly, his
snowflake is already over 200$ at eBay.

Let's Get Small

[ipod humour]
Not to steal a phrase from Steve Martin or anything but at least
with iPods getting smaller is still the next big thing.

In a fit of extrapolation, the fine folk over at McSweeney's have
the trend from iPod to mini to nano and are proud to present
information regarding the iPod Zepto.

"Insert the iTunes starter disk into your computer and then connect
the iPod Zepto using the USB 4.0 cable. The iPod Zepto will
automatically synchronize your music, create genre-specific playlists,
identify songs of interest similar to your current favorites, create a
Myers-Briggs personality profile based on your musical tastes,
and write your New Year's resolutions."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Starbucks Red Cup (Mistletoe)

Call me a sucker for pop-culture advertising but this kissing couple is rather cute, mehtinks.

Best holiday ad campain ever still goes to Nordstroms for their J. otto Seibold's "Olive the other Reindeer," years.

Or Press the Star Key

NPR ran a great story today about how to avoid the
voice-mail systems put in place to 'direct your call,'
and get right to a human.

For example at FedEx, at message say "Representative,"
at Ikea, as soon as you connect, hit "0000000 (hit ""0""
many times fast, if you do it once, or too slow,
it will merely repeat the menu)."

Listen to the NPR stream to hear them argue with the
Apple phone answering system. Hilarious!

All hail Paul English and his band of insider tipsters
for this exhaustive list.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors but Eye Protection Helps, Too

[www, wmv]
How to annoy your neighbors during the holiday season:

A Broadcast from World Control?

As a fan of the 1970 film, "The Forbin Project ," today I thought I
would see if anyone had registered the domain

They had but clearly have a sense of humour as the only thing on
the page is one of the quotables from the movie.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Google as Wal-Mart, not Microsoft

"Sam Walton Taught Google More About How to Dominate the
Internet Than Microsoft Ever Did"
By Robert X. Cringely

There will be startups and little guys, but no medium-sized companies.
ISPs, which we've thought of as a threatened species, won't be touched,
but then their profit margins are so low they aren't worth touching.
After all,
Wal-Mart doesn't try to own the roads its goods are carried over. And
final result is that Web 2.0 IS Google.

Microsoft can't compete. Yahoo probably can't compete. Sun and IBM are
like remora, along for the ride. And what does it all cost, maybe $1
That's less than Microsoft spends on legal settlements each year.

Game over.

Frank Zappa Did Not Live in Vain

In 'The Diamond Age' this is what the cover of Ship Arriving Too Late
To Save A Drowning Witch would look like.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

We Have the Axe

We Have the Axe, originally uploaded by jsnell.

Wasn't sure Cal would win this much less beat the 4 point spread
the papers were predicting but Stanford never could get their act
together beyond their one field goal.

Makes the 6 points they put on the board last year seem better by

Also: not sure if this was a compliment or at best a back-handed one
but quite often the blue and gold clad fans were heard to be
yelling, "U-C-Davis!"

Go Ags, er, Cal!

Big Game week-end arrives in Palo Alto this year
with Cal a 4 point favourite over rival Stanford.
Will the Golden Bears continue the streak,
we'll find out starting at 4 PM, Pacific.

Harry Potter will have to keep, besides, who hasn't
read the book by now. Plus, this way we can beat the
crowds that always flock to opening day(s).

Still haven't seen 'Pride and Predjudice,' either.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Life Imitates (Retail) Art

Borders Birds, originally uploaded by idogcow.

Did you hear on NPR that people are hanging their Christmas trees upside down this year because they saw them that way in shops? Seems the only reason it was done at the retail level was to maximize floor-space!

That being said, I want to try and duplicate this for our house this Christmas, probably on a smaller scale of course!

Google Print and the 'Competition'

[books, www]
Found an interesting comparison between Google Print, the Open
Library and Project Gutenberg over at 'Dreams of a Rarebit Fiend'

Questions regarding how illustrations, searching and printing are
handled by these 3 services are covered with some nice examples.

I don't think I am ruining anything by giving away 'the ending:'
"...We Are In The Infancy."

The Red Cup

[coffee, www]

While searching for who and how many different illustrations Starbucks has on the red cups this holiday season I came across The Red Cup - seems Starbucks has set up a website at with games, puzzles, and recipes for the holiday season, all in the style of their 2005 seasonal artwork.

Guess it went live on November 1st, but you can go back in time and see what you have missed.

In case you have not seen any of their cups this year, the illustrations
look vaguely like Edward Gorey only with not so much a Gothic feel.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The $690,000 Poster

A poster from Fritz Lang's classic German 1920s film "Metropolis"
has been sold at auction in London for a world record $690,000US
to an American private collector reports Reuters.

The sepia-coloured art deco poster designed by Heinz
Schulz-Neudamm is one of only four known copies in existence.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York and Berlin's Film Museum
have one each while another is in a private collection.

The previous record price for a movie poster was set in 1997
by a poster for the 1932 film "The Mummy," going for of $453,500US.

No doubt both posters made more money than Cameron Crowe's
Elizabethtown did at the box office.

Borders Coupon Time Again

Take 15% off any regular priced item (10% on electronics and video
with this coupon. Valid in US until 12/31/05!


[internet, tv]
AOL has plans to begin a free online TV service soon under the
name, "In2TV," featuring old shows from sister corporation
Warner Brothers.

3,400 hours of shows (including "Welcome Back Kotter") organized
over six channels with ads before and after each show as well as
within the show itself.

Monday, November 14, 2005

King [Kong] Queen

New Zealand has created a co-branded One Dollar (NZ) coin
with Queen Elizabeth on one side and Peter Jackson's version
of King Kong on the other.

From their order page:

For a list of the over 160 movie tie-ins, see:

Friday, November 11, 2005

Say Cheese(y)

Say kids, look – a whole selection of backdrops for your parents to choose from at your local Sears Portrait Photography outlet.

Which one will you be least ashamed of in 2025?

Department of God-land Security

[politics, religion]
I know I am giving Pat Robertson more attention than he deserves
but how can you now want to shout from this from the rooftops
when he, "warned residents of a rural Pennsylvania town Thursday
that disaster may strike there because they "voted God out of your
city" by ousting school board members who favored teaching
intelligent design."

"I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover: If there is a disaster
your area, don't turn to God. You just rejected him from your city,"
he espoused on his show, "The 700 Club."

Seems all eight Dover, Pa., school board members up for re-election
were defeated Tuesday after trying to introduce "intelligent design"
as an alternative to the theory of evolution.

Stay tuned for reports of frogs, plagues or other Old Testament-like
behavior in or around Dover.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Disappearing Small Farms

Was watching Veronica Mars last night and was shocked to
see an ad highlighting the struggles of small-scale family
farming and how the US loses 300 farms a week to large
agribusiness and the need for more houses.

At the end you see the message was sponsored by
Ben & Jerry's which makes sense - they have
been trying to help small dairies and farmers for
quite some time now.

What was refreshing was the thought that maybe
finally more people are stopping to think about what
we are doing to this planet and the people of America
with the way we have been behaving. I somehow think
not all that long ago getting this spot to run on network
TV would have been a hard sell. Is this a benefit of a
post-Katrina USA?

And just so you know, Ben & Jerry's is asking viewers to log on to to find timely action steps to
take on behalf of small and mid-sized family farms. Consumers
can ask Congress to further national farmer-friendly legislation,
through vehicles such as the 2007 Farm Bill, to protect small and
mid-sized farms while slowing the expansion of industrial farming.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Space Mountain 2005 Sim

We went to Disneyland for their 50th but unfortunately went before the
reopening of the (new) Space Mountain. Now thanks to this Google Video
file, you can experience a virtual ride-through. (Made with Roller
Coaster Tycoon 3). (via BoingBoing)

Galactica Spectacula Brick-tacula

[BSG, Lego]
While I will concede that the above sounds like something
the "Neighborhood of Make-Believe" Lady Elaine Fairchilde
might say, you will forgive me after you take a look at these
great home-brew Lego Mini models of 3 of the most
recognizable ships from Battlestar Galactica.

Since the basic design of the ships has changed little from
the original series to the latest incantation running on the
SciFi Network, you are free to choose the Starbuck or
Apollo you want to pretend to be!

Kudos to Christopher Deck!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

WiFi "Marauder's Map" at MIT

In Cambridge MA, maps displaying names and locations of users
on MIT's wireless network were unveiled this week - projected
onto large Plexiglas rectangles that hang from the ceiling.
They are also available online to network users, the data
time-stamped and saved for up to 12 hours.

Red splotches on one map show the highest concentration
of wireless users on campus. On another map, yellow dots
with names written above them identify individual users,
who pop up in different places depending where they're logged in.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Is 15% Enough?

A new report on the physics of cow tipping
by the zoologists from the University of
British Columbia concluded, "that a cow
standing with its legs straight would
require five people to exert
the required force to bowl it over.

A cow of 1.45 metres in height pushed
at an angle of 23.4 degrees relative to
the ground would require 2,910 Newtons of force,
equivalent to 4.43 people."

The whole report with diagrams and
calculations is here at The Times online (UK).

When Bad Things Happen

A short guide to nine big things to worry about—and what you
can do about them courtesy of New York Magazine.

Some are NYC specific but worth reading. As a bonus you
can make up fun captions for the illustrations, ie: Cow Surfing!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Hummer Overfloweth

Seems a certain Hummer dealer in Southern California is
apparently having trouble moving his merchandise:

Behind a hotel (the 'off-site lot') were about 150 Hummers
- about 80 in one row alone - almost all H3s, along with
eight or ten original H1s.

Apparently the H2s were "at another lot."

See all the pictures and read the story over at
The Mess that Greenspan Made.

Ideal Gas Law

[physics, chemistry]
For some odd reason, PV=nRT came up today at work.
After some head scratching the majority decided that
n was the # of moles.

A quick trip to the web gave us:
Let P be the pressure of a gas, V the volume it occupies,
and T its temperature (which must be in absolute temperature
units, i.e., in Kelvin), [and] where n is the number of moles of
gas present and R is the universal gas constant.

All For a Quarter

[retro games]
Back in 1982, two friends, a Sony stereo walkman recorder
and who knows how many tokens adds up to all kinds of
recorded stuff, including the sounds of the arcade
'Just Fun' in Ithaca, NY.

Recordings run from 1982 until 1988 and ended up as fourteen
audio tapes of video game sounds and arcade ambience from
a variety of locations in the US. Most of the recordings are from
Ithaca, NY, Albany, NY and Ocean City, MD.

Never Write: Pen Is Stuck

if you don't know how to kern properly.
(Do a web-search this if you don't know this
old net.joke).

If you want a free Sharpie®, just beat four
rounds of Breakout @

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Show Me the Way to Go Home

Yahoo! Maps taking a bold step in the continued war with Google as
Yahoo! Maps Beta goes live.

Check out this merging of Maps and Flickr: and Maps get together at MasUpcoming:

Edinburgh Cinema Transformation

[film, potter]
"rats and spiders will be there throughout the screening"
We don't usually go to the cinema when 'on holiday' but for this I
would have changed my mind: "Cinema Transformed Hogwarts and All For
Bank's Potter Show"

idogcow. Get yours at

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