Monday, August 31, 2009


So it's already (virtually) the end of August. If I post one more thing I will be posting in September.

And I'm writing this in July. So... there's that.

This blog is quickly changing from "Things I think are cool and interesting" to "Things I thought were cool and interesting months ago when I wrote about them".


Time to slow down a little?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

You on You

HP is running a You on You contest, where you make a video about yourself (hiding your identity), and upload it to YouTube.

I made a video, and today is the last day to enter. But, I hadn't finished hiding my face (digitally in post), so I haven't uploaded it yet. I went to a party (I had a really good time and met new interesting people, and I <3 interesting people). Just getting back from the party now, and I still have two hours to hide my face and upload my video.

Or, do I?

The upload buttons are disabled on the site.

A subsequent careful reading of the official rules puts the contest timezone as EAST COAST (although it sure doesn't say that in the part about the deadline, but it is mentioned elsewhere).

So really, the contest ended an hour ago, even though it's still August 30th right now where I am.

Why do I always put things off until the last minute?


A recent Penny Arcade post has brought the card game Quiddler to my attention.

It's a card game, about words. ^_^ I like cards, I like words, I'm probably going to like Quiddler.

The cards are like Scrabble tiles. There are points for each letter, and there are bonuses for whomever makes the longest word or the most words. You have to use all your cards. It's similar to 3-13 in that the first hand starts with three cards, the next, four, and so on. After someone goes out, the remaining players have one last turn to use as many cards in their hand as they can (left over cards count against you).

I can't be the only one who thinks this sounds brilliant, can I? ^_^

Saturday, August 29, 2009

You're already carrying the sphere!

A little Escher-inspired imagery for your enjoyment. It did take me a moment to catch on to what exactly is being held here.

On a mostly unrelated note, what the hell is the quote "You're already carrying the sphere!" from? I titled this post that, because it sort-of fit, but I've seen it in at least two* other places (one of which being a tag-file from the old command-line-interface days, so whatever it is, it has been around for a while).

My powers of Google (other than to find other random repetitions) have failed me in this instance.

(* The other was Slashdot. Also, here's another tag-file with it.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I don't consider myself a nudist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do find that I spend the majority of my time (especially this part of the year) in just my boxer-briefs. There's a reason my Skype webcam isn't set to turn on automatically.

(If you call me and invite me somewhere and I say "OK, I guess I'll put some pants on" that's not just a phrase, it's a course of action)

So, now you know that. And you can't un-know it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I don't know what's going on in this picture

I ... don't even know for what fetish this could possibly be. Maybe a little nsfw? Show/Hide


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


What the hell are we looking at?

This: Show/Hide

CUTE! ^_^

via: =1= =2=

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tandem Boob Press

Awesome, but NSFW? See the rest here.


Sunday, August 23, 2009


I'm posting this picture because it's CUTE. I need NO OTHER REASON.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Trompe L'oeil

The creation Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating Life at the Cafe Trompe L'oeil (now Cafe Espresso) in San Jose, by John Pughs.

In this picture, you can see the split between the real bricks, and the mural.

So, the mural is cool, right. ^_^ But, John Pughs is full of shit.

Check out this page on his website. It's a list of purported 'incidents' regarding his murals.
February 1997 San Jose, California

A complaint was lodged to a manager at Cafe Trompe L'oeil by a male restaurant patron that he had ineffectively attempted to introduce himself to female patron and had received the "silent treatment". He was unaware that woman he was talking to was a painted illusion.
OK, so somehow this unnamed male who is surely real but has no depth perception AND can't distinguish between a painting and reality (even up close and personal). Sure, that's entirely probable. *rolls eyes*

BUT, he then hits on the completely still un-moving un-breathing painting of a woman, and when she doesn't respond he LODGES A COMPLAINT WITH THE MANAGER?

What. The. FUCK‽

You can *DO* that? LOTS of the women I hit on ignore me, and hardly any of them are paintings. From now on, I'm going to start complaining to the managers. I'm not entirely sure what they can do though...

Other Sources: =1= =2=

Friday, August 21, 2009

A News 7 Exclusive!

He took off his skis and put on a hat.

Associated video: Show/Hide

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toddlers & Tiaras

Chelsea Lately puts pageant parents in their place. Show/Hide

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Nuclear Discussion

Seen on Slashdot recently:
A stranger was seated next to a little girl on the airplane when the stranger turned to her and said, 'Let's talk. I've heard that flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.'

The little girl, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly and said to the stranger, 'What would you like to talk about?'

'Oh, I don't know,' said the stranger. 'How about nuclear power?' and he smiles.

'OK, ' she said. 'That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff - grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces clumps of dried grass. Why do you suppose that is?'

The stranger, visibly surprised by the little girl's intelligence, thinks about it and says, 'Hmmm, I have no idea.'

To which the little girl replies, 'Do you really feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Superpower?

Was looking at a psych test today and this question caught my eye.
What would you rather have as a superpower?
  1. Flight.
  2. Speed.
  3. Strength.
  4. The ability to make things burst into flame.
Now, these would all be nifty, but you can only choose ONE.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Convenient Power Outage

I accidentally tripped the breaker in my kitchen today (microwave + water boiler = bad idea). Not a big deal, just reset it, but then I have to re-set the time on the stove and the microwave...

Or do I?

This was at noon today. ^_^

I suspected SOME type of oxen...

Phoenix's anagram name is HIP OXEN

Now try your name:

Commercial Monday

The commercials in other countries are better than ours.

Sunday, August 16, 2009



Saturday, August 15, 2009

Friday, August 14, 2009


I recently got around to watching the trip James May (from the incredible Top Gear) took in a U2 spyplane to the edge of space. This one: Show/Hide


Towards the end, he said that if everyone did this, it would change the world, referring to the Overview Effect.

And I wondered: Would I take an opportunity like this?

I'm not sure.

The answer surprises me. I like adventure, I like space, so what's the holdup? I'm afraid of heights. And those are some SERIOUS heights. And the margins on velocity... ridiculously slim (really, look it up and be amazed at the engineering feat of 50 years ago, that the spyplane works at all).

But I'm not sure I would pass it up either. I mean, adventure, guys! ADVENTURE! NEAR SPACE!

Four Weeks

As of today (7/17), I now have a FOUR WEEK post buffer on this blog.

That's just ridiculous.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Press Your Luck

Ran across this interesting documentary on Michael Larson's legendary appearance on Press Your Luck. Never seen it? I wouldn't be surprised. It aired once in 1984, and wasn't shown again for 19 or so years. But, the highlights are part of the documentary.

Here is the first (of eleven) parts: Show/Hide



In yesterday's post, I wrote Parmesan in all lower-case. This is, of course, completely wrong.

Some people think that Parmesan is an Americanization of Parmigiano. Those people are mistaken.

The name Parmesan (literally meaning from Parma, a city in Italy) comes from French. It came from a dialect of Northern Italian, where the word was parmeźan, although the modern Italian word is Parmigiano. But hey, languages can change a bit in 500 years.

So, taking its name from a proper noun, it is a proper noun itself and must be capitalized.

As a former English professional, I'm just mortified to have made this error.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fun with GVoice FINAL

Yesterday's message was:
hey dad it's when you pick up credit problems she's for dinner but i wonder if you get this before you get here i guess whenever you get here okay bye
The answer to yesterday's message: Show/Hide
PHOENIX! Uh, we need you to pick up grated parmesan cheese for dinner but I wonder if you'll get this before you get here. Um, I guess we'll find out when you get here. Okay, bye.

How close were you?

So, what have we learned?

Well despite my mother's concern that computers are monitoring everything we say on the phone, I don't think we have much to worry about in that regard right now. In retrospect, you can see where the computer went wrong sometimes (credit problems she's = grated parmesan cheese). Speech recognition remains one of those HARD PROBLEMS in computer science.

Still, Google Voice is a very cool service. ^_^

The Perseids are coming!

By the time you read this, the best moment to watch the Perseids this year will have already passed. HOW do I keep missing these?

Anyway, one more shot tonight (weather permitting). Tips here.

If it weren't for Google, I would have missed this entirely.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Fun with GVoice 3

Yesterday's message was:
hey it's i missed your call from you know the restaurant scout again hello my name here and i hope this you night here on the way and not like on your way back gimme a call thanks
The answer to yesterday's message: Show/Hide
Hey, I saw I missed two calls from you. Um, the restaurant was kinda loud I guess. I dunno why I didn't hear them. I hope this, you not answering means you're on the way and not, like, on your way back. Gimme a call, thanks.

How close were you?

Let's try one last time.

Our final message is from Thomas (and is one of my favorites ^_^):
hey dad it's when you pick up credit problems she's for dinner but i wonder if you get this before you get here i guess whenever you get here okay bye
Answer in tomorrow's post.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Fun with GVoice 2

Yesterday's message was:
hello it's just it's terry spelling call me back
The answer to yesterday's message: Show/Hide
HELLOOO! It's your sister. You should probably call me back.

I have no sisters named Terry Spelling (that I know if; it's a pretty complicated family, so...)

How close were you?

Let's try again.

Today's message is from Emily:
hey it's i missed your call from you know the restaurant scout again hello my name here and i hope this you night here on the way and not like on your way back gimme a call thanks
Answer in tomorrow's post.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fun with GVoice 1

Google Voice (an awesome service, btw) has an interesting feature wherein it attempts to transcribe voice mails into text and send them to you as e-mails.

My mom confessed to me that she's afraid they are using this to listen in on ALL phone calls everyone makes.

So now we're going to play a game. I'll give you one of these transcribed messages, and you get to try and guess the original message.

What Google heard:
hey jane it's irene i was just calling to get directions i'm here in G V my phone number here gimme gimme a call back
What was actually said: Show/Hide
Hey Phoenix, it's Eileen. I was just calling to get directions. I'm here in Cheney. Um, I found your number. Yay me! Uh, gimme a call back.

We'll start off with an easy one. Our first message is from one of my sisters:
hello it's just it's terry spelling call me back
Answer in tomorrow's post.

Kick-Ass clips

Remember when I talked about Kick-Ass a few days ago? Well, some of the Comic-Con clips have leaked on the Internet.

You can see three clips here and four clips here (these all have a 30-second commercial at the start; I just loaded all four and paused after the commercial).

Better hurry, the studio is taking them down.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Father's Day

Today is August 8th, or Father's Day in Taiwan (in Mandarin, Ba Ba means father and 8-8, or August 8).

Ba Ba is also Father in Turkish:

Friday, August 07, 2009

On Copyrights

Thomas Macaulay in a speech to Parliament in 1841, regarding a copyright bill that would extend copyright on books to 60 years after the death of the author.
I will only say this, that if the measure before us should pass, and should produce one-tenth part of the evil which it is calculated to produce, and which I fully expect it to produce, there will soon be a remedy, though of a very objectionable kind. Just as the absurd acts which prohibited the sale of game were virtually repealed by the poacher, just as many absurd revenue acts have been virtually repealed by the smuggler, so will this law be virtually repealed by piratical booksellers. At present the holder of copyright has the public feeling on his side. Those who invade copyright are regarded as knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men. Everybody is well pleased to see them restrained by the law, and compelled to refund their ill-gotten gains. No tradesman of good repute will have anything to do with such disgraceful transactions. Pass this law: and that feeling is at an end. Men very different from the present race of piratical booksellers will soon infringe this intolerable monopoly. Great masses of capital will be constantly employed in the violation of the law. Every art will be employed to evade legal pursuit; and the whole nation will be in the plot. On which side indeed should the public sympathy be when the question is whether some book as popular as Robinson Crusoe, or the Pilgrim's Progress, shall be in every cottage, or whether it shall be confined to the libraries of the rich for the advantage of the great-grandson of a bookseller who, a hundred years before, drove a hard bargain for the copyright with the author when in great distress? Remember too that, when once it ceases to be considered as wrong and discreditable to invade literary property, no person can say where the invasion will stop. The public seldom makes nice distinctions. The wholesome copyright which now exists will share in the disgrace and danger of the new copyright which you are about to create. And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the works of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living.

The bill failed, 45 votes to 38. Macaulay's position, for the most part, became the basis of copyright law in the English speaking world, and remained so until the Disney reform which extends copyright for a truly absurd period of time.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Hand vs Liquid Nitrogen

What would happen to you if you stuck your hand in liquid nitrogen? Watch this video to find out:Show/Hide


Wednesday, August 05, 2009


So, you know that comic book "Kick-Ass"? Yeah, probably not, it's only 6 issues into it. ^_^

But already, it's the greatest superhero book of all time. I know this, because it says so right on the cover:

"Kick-Ass" is about a regular guy who decides to become a super hero. He doesn't have powers or abilities. He isn't particularly strong or fast or agile or smart. He is completely average, except he puts a costume on at night and tries to beat up bad guys.

And they are turning this comic into a movie. ^_^

It's being produced by Matthew Vaughn, whom you know from producing Lock Stock, Snatch, Layer Cake, and Stardust. Right?

But there's a very real chance that you'll never see it.
"Why? There are lots of reasons for this, but let's just come out and state the obvious: there's not a studio in town that's eager to market a film in which an eleven-year-old girl brutally and gleefully kills the shit out of grown men." — Mr. Beaks
Ah, yes.


Hit-Girl is played by Chloe Moretz, whom you'll recognize from ... well... she hasn't really stared in anything yet, although she has had a number of roles. You might recognize her when you see her.

But unless they pick up a distribution deal, you won't be seeing her in this.

Continues Mr. Beaks from his comments above:
"Under any normal circumstances, their reticence would be understandable. But now that I've seen young Chloe Moretz in action as the costumed crimefighter Hit Girl, I can only surmise that the studios must be averse to making a shitload of money in these rough economic times. Because this movie looks like a goddamn blast."
Sources (which are spoilerific, so don't read if you don't want to know major plot twists): =1= =2= =3=

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Japanese Lesson II

A symbol of America is the Eagle. The Japanese word for Eagle is WASHI, the first part of WASHINGTON, our first president! Isn't that INTERESTING?

No, that's just coincidence. :-/

WHAT? This was scheduled to publish YESTERDAY. SEE?

What the hell, Blogger? How can something be SCHEDULED FOR THE PAST?

Monday, August 03, 2009

New Record

With this entry, I now have more posts this year than the past three years COMBINED.

It's not even counting the posts I've already written that are scheduled for the rest of the year (eg, holidays).

That is all.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

What part of a pig is not delicious?

Refer to this handy guide:

(yes it's way old, but BACON!)

Saturday, August 01, 2009

iGoogle aGain

Google has updated the iGoogle page for the UK.

You probably don't remember this, but I first ran into the new iGoogle last year, while trying out Chrome. I hated it right off the bat.

Then that became the standard iGoogle for the US. I really tried to like it (thinking I was stuck with it) but in addition to WASTING SCREEN REAL ESTATE it breaks functionality. Sure, it introduces some new functionality, but it's all for things I don't care about (like being able to send an e-mail from the home page, I'LL JUST USE GMAIL KTHX). [Actually, two of the old functions that were missing from the new iGoogle (dragging gadgets to tabs and minimizing gadgets) have been re-added, but it now takes twice as many clicks to minimize/expand]

I found that if I used the UK iGoogle, it was the older, better version. I changed my homepage to

Well, today the iGoogle crapfection has reached the British isles. Dammit, Google!

Complaining won't work either. There are *THOUSANDS* of complaints in the forums. Google doesn't care. They aren't going to go back.

From the forums:
FINALLY! - I found an official response from Google on the iGoogle Tabs issue!!!
On Oct.22, 2008 : A user asks "Can you respond to the tabs-on-the left issue?"
Google (Paul) answers: With my bold'ing of relevant text.
     Hi there,
     I don't think I've answered this question since last Thursday, but I'm
     happy to again. The left-side navigation is an key part of the support
     for canvas view, and canvas view is an important new feature of
     iGoogle. We're planning on continuing to develop and support the new
     features (as well as add more new features into the area on the left
     in the coming weeks and months), and have no plans to include a toggle
     between tabs-on-top and tabs-on-the-left.

     iGoogle Guide
So, there you have it!
Google's current silence on the request for a Tabs-on-Top option is simply a polite phrasing of f... off.
Well, I guess it is just IMPOSSIBLE to both use canvas view AND not waste screen space. Oh wait: There is a Firefox addon to give me my space back. *THIS* is what Google should have done.

I'm not giving in yet though. I've found that takes me back to the older, better iGoogle (for now).