Friday, December 31, 2010

In search of the proto-hipster

Back in the June of '59, Mad Magazine nailed the habits of hipsters more than a half century ago. Magic Carpet Burn scanned it.

The menu is particularly funny. Sweet potato fries! What will they come up with next?

Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Ten Gallery Blag Tips

An article I wrote (well, really, a top ten list of snarky half-advice) is up at

Click through so it looks like I'm popular!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Botanists, get on this

A citrus tree where, if you let them keep going, the limes turn into lemons, the lemons turn into oranges and the oranges turn into grapefruits.


Sunday, December 19, 2010

John Boehner, Ooompa Loompa

Boehner's better known for his weeping these days, a trait that will no doubt assume metaphorical proportions in accounts of him after death, but something that's always struck me is just how amazingly fake his tan is.

I live in California now, but I come from the Midwest, specifically Ann Arbor, which might be the locus for fake tanning —a healthy population of East Coast girls whose exile to Michigan won't keep them from looking like Snooki means that you see plenty of orange-ringed Juicy Couture sweatshirts. And while Indiana's a smidge sunnier, there's no way that Boehner's getting his rays there (and even his proposed two-month winter vacation couldn't get him that orange). At least Rex Hamilton comes by his wallet face honestly.

Boehner denies that his tan is faked, saying that he's never used a product nor a tanning bed; he's just naturally so orange he could be sold by highway exits.

It's just weird to me that the Tea Party doesn't get all wound up about the ridiculous, pompous, fake-baked Republicans… If they were just anti-incumbent and anti-elitist, they'd have pitchforks out for this Oompa Loompa already.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Probably just someone stealing art ironically

From my new favorite blog, the LA Art Crime Squad.

Certainly better than Interpol.

Pentax K10d User Manual

I went looking for the Pentax k10d user manual, and it was a pain in the ass to find — the official sites had some sort of error where I was only getting 18k of an (apparently) 5mb file, so I braved the weird Geocities-on-crack file hosters that I saw this file on. It had a 30 or so character numeric string for a file name, so I figured that I'd rename it, upload it to Mediafire, and share it here.

So, Pentax k10d user manual.


Last night, I ran into Bob (NYT) and he gave me a pretty amazing Birthmas present: a Pentax K10D, my first DSLR.

I got to screw around with it last night, but so far, the only way that I've been able to get useable files off of it is by opening files in Preview and resaving them as PSDs, because for some reason, though both ImageReady and Photoshop say they can open DNGs, when I try to open these DNGs I get weird incorrect file type errors. I know that there's probably a way to save the DNGs in the camera as JPG or something, but I haven't been able to find the manual yet (the top links on google are all 404ed for the actual download).

Still, it's got a fast kit lens (18-55) on it, and once I can figure out how to go to manual focus, it'll be a lot of fun. I already took some pictures last night that I think will look pretty nice at a modest size. And I easily took over 36 shots last night, which'd be over $15 to develop and scan. I'm already ahead!

How cheap money and no regulation screwed Simmons

NY Times story on the leveraged buy-out(s) of Simmons mattresses, rapacious profit, and the cheap credit that threw us all into the ditch.

Friday, December 10, 2010

2010 California Marriage Protection Act PSA (#1)

In which I answer surveys for money

Not a lot of money, honestly, but some at least. And it goes directly to pay off student loans. Whee!

This one was a commercial from Keystone, and the first question (after making me watch it twice) was to explain what happened:

Two dudes were playing with their cells at a party, boring the attractive women. The women left. Keith Stone stares at his can, making a Geico Caveman face. He then pulls two sticks out of his butt and begins to whack at the cans, producing a totally implausible steel drum medley (which reminds me to smoke pot, not drink beer). Then some woman riding in a monster truck sees this, decides she has nothing better to do with her life and regards Keith Stone's smoothness, which he apparently demonstrated somewhere else (because it's not in the commercial). Keith Stone drinks his Keystone and then wakes up, alone and despondent (implied).

Apart from the name and the product, what made you realize it was Keystone Light?

Well, there's Keith Stone, who when I first saw him a couple months ago, I thought was a real country star doing endorsement shots for Keystone. It's the sort of thing that mercenary country stars do, sell their reputations for cheap beer because they hold their fans in a fairly fundamental contempt.

But that's about it. Why not just have everyone else get Bitter Beer Face? I mean, that was at least honest about what Keystone is: beer for people who hate the taste of beer, but can't come up with another way to get drunk slowly.

If you had just seen the commercial and were drinking Keystone Light, how would you feel?

In order to get to that point, I have to assume an epic rager, in which not only have I been drinking for hours, but that it's past the time when anyone could go out and get more beers. So, here we are with that case of Keystone somebody brought and then left (regifted, likely) and I'm drinking Keystone, because what the hell, I'm eight beers in and won't taste it. Then the commercial comes on, and I look at the beer in my hand and realize just then it's a Keystone, because I thought it was Milwaulkee's Best or something, and think, Well, not a single woman I know would go for that greasy hobo, so thank God everyone's so drunk that nobody will remember me drinking this swill.

What does the slogan "Keystone Light: Always Smooth" mean to you, based on the commercial?

Cheap beer. "Smooth" isn't really something to be celebrated in beer, except ironically. You've almost got the irony down with the Keith Stone guy, but you should take it up a notch and use Smoov B from the Onion. It'd be making fun of the "smoothness," turning a detriment into an asset. Instead, it's sort of a fratty generic ad with no actual smoothness. Also, why does Keith Stone have a Spanish accent for only one of his lines? What's that about?

You've answered: Keith Stone is 'not at all smooth.' What makes him 'not at all smooth'?

The lack of positive smoothness.

And then after all that, I get a stupid message about how high volume won't let them process my replies, but that I've already responded. Ah well, at least it's here so random Keystone googlers can find it.

John Hodgman - Hobo Matters

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Attacked by weasels?

I was finally changing the tires on my bike yesterday, and while trying to unstick the rear wheel from that bent fork I've got, the handlebars turned and the bike tipped, raking the gears down my leg. My first impulse, of course, was to take pictures.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Two Wikileaks revelations worth highlighting

Most of what I've seen through Wikileaks has just been confirmations of things we already knew: Google hacked by the Chinese government; US diplomats using both the carrot and the stick with foreign countries to empty Guantanamo; that Arab Sunnis really don't like Persian Shiites.

But two things were new to me, and deserve more consideration than the media firestorm about whether or not Assange is guilty of the amusingly-named "Sex by surprise."

The first is that US contractors in Afghanistan hired child prostitutes and that the Afghan and US authorities sought to have that story quashed. It's pretty interesting, and pretty deplorable.

The second is that The US knew about the Honduran coup and dithered publicly in tacit support of the coup. Given the US's history in Latin America (death squads, holla!), you'd think we'd be a little bit better about condemning coups, especially military coups to oust reformers.

But, you know, Monroe doctrine, and military dictatorships are easy to deal with — you accept their natural resources at bargain basement prices, and in exchange, ignore human rights violations. Win-win.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Just in time to be late for Hannukah

After hearing good things about RedBubble from a friend of mine, I decided to toss a bunch of recent images up there. I'll be adding more as time goes on, and I've yet to see anything thing RedBubble has printed in person, but at the very least these can be some snazzy, vaguely depressing holiday cards! And who doesn't want a laminated print of a burned stump in their living room?

What should I buy with my $100?

So, Google keeps sending me this:

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I don't make any money off of this blog — I only put adwords on it because for a long time, having small, never noticed GoogleAds was the only way to get Analytics, and I masturbate to graphs of the twelve pageviews I get each day. So aside from bringing in some new, confused readers to spam my comments with Chinese characters that lead to incomprehensible virus-laden linkfarms, there's no real benefit.

But $100!

Obviously, I should buy "mesothelioma," since that's the SEO hotness, right? What else? "Brobdinagian"? "Fart-huffer"? "Steichmann," on the off chance anyone ever searches for it? "Costume jewery"? Can I be the number one search result for "lickspittle"? "Analog hug machine"? "Bullshit"?

I am the bad roommate, sorry

Bitter Mensch's "Roommating Rituals".

His post-college comics are way better, so don't bother scrolling down too far.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

I'll have a short stack and an Ow-mlette.

The Paincakes (whose hilarious Danzig X-mas cover was in that previous Suburban Sprawl post, are worth taking a listen to if you like grindy punk rawk. Which I do.

(One lesson I learned from being a rock writer: Always remember to say in clear terms if you like something. The number of times I had to say, "But that was a compliment!")

Hush that fuss!

Fifty-five years ago, Rosa Parks stayed on the bus.

She might not have liked the song, but I do. Shame about the comments, where some lunatic is all het up about Rosa Parks being a communist instigator.

Should Superman request a change of venue?

The Law and the Multiverse is a comics blog that addresses the burning legal questions of our age: Is Batman a state actor? Could mutants really be forced to register? Are Earth-616 decisions binding in the Negaverse?

No word yet on the complications of Luthor's unitary executive theory.

Christmas… Christmas time…

I've loved Suburban Sprawl for a long time now, and one of my facebook pals (hi Sara!) just linked to their massive trove of X-mas music. My favorite comp is still the Ze Records one which I have as a murky dub of overplayed vinyl (that somehow makes the Suicide track just that much more crushing), but I'm really digging SubSounds' eight years of collected fun. The High Strung are particularly good this year, and there's a pretty great Wendy and Carl track down the page further.