Monday, February 27, 2006

What's going on?
Baby got back - Vida Guerra
As “luck” would have it, I got the apartment, the money, and the girl. Not bad for a Wednesday. - The G Manifesto
Former US President and Nixon pardoner Gerald Ford was famously clumsy, but it is beginning to appear that Preznit Dubya is building himself an (un)enviably comparable track record for general klutziness.

No doubt a multi-billion dollar no-compete contract for the benefit of Halliburton to supply these and these is in the works.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Vader burns one

Saturday, February 25, 2006

It's just your mind that makes it dirty ...

Friday, February 24, 2006

Old and busted: MC Hawking. The new hotness: Some dude (ab)using BT's SMS-text-to-Tom-Baker's-voice service to cover "Video Killed The Radio Star"
When using power tools it is essential to remember to wear safety goggles, hearing protection and gloves. As seen here

Thursday, February 23, 2006

My Team

Not really sure why I haven't posted this before now, nor am I entirely certain why I am posting it right now. It may have something to do with this. Then again, it may not. Anyway, it's probably about time the whole Reprobates crew (you know who you are) knew about the My Team game.

I don't remember who I first learned the game from - probably Ian or Skippy - and I certainly don't remember who claimed to have invented it. So what I'm saying is - these may not be "the" definitive rules, but they're close enough for practical purposes.

Remember back in school, back in PE, when they would choose teams for some nominal game of dodgeball or crab football or whatever? The biggest/fastest/strongest/meanest kids would get picked first, then the middle of the pack, and then ... the dregs would be picked last. Basically, not so much picked, as resignedly "allowed" onto one team or the other. Not that yours truly has any memories of this sort, you understand ...

Anyway, now we're all (mostly) grown up, we can pick our own games, play by our own rules, and most importantly, pick our own teams. Which brings us nicely to - My Team.

You can play My Team with 2 or more players, and you can play any time you encounter someone other than your own little clique. The object of the game is simply to pick the "best" members for your team, and to be the first in your posse to do so, where "best" is basically defined as "most outstanding" as in "someone who stands out in a crowd". It's hard to define exactly what this means, but perhaps a few example characteristics will help get the ball rolling.

The best team members often have an off-kilter dress sense, and/or perhaps a haircut with unusual topography. Unlike in high school, team members can be very heavy, and while extreme bulk can certainly be sufficient cause to draft someone to your team, it is far from necessary. Indeed, some of the best picks I've made were of people who were total beanpoles. In fact, it may only require that someone make a really interesting facial expression, or sufficiently odd gesture, especially if the expression or gesture is out of place, unexpected, or inappropriate for the venue.

The only real rule is - you cannot draft an obviously handicapped (mentally or physically) person to your team. You want to at least be reasonably certain that a team member looks that way as the result of a (at least partially) conscious choice, and not because of an accident of birth.

So is this just a fashion police thing? Certainly not. Is it a "ha! ha! that person doesn't look just like everyone else!" Mmm, no. What it is is more of a slap in the face of the conventions of high-school style jocko-homo team picking.

So how do you play? Quite simply, you and your "krew" are out for a constitutional, when all of a sudden you come upon someone dressed in, let's say, a white headband, bright yellow tinted reflective sunglasses (indoors, at night), luminous yellow turtleneck, matching leggings, and a brown Ultrasuede jacket. Like, say, oh, I dunno, the person I drafted to My Team pictured here (Picture taken with world's crappiest cameraphone, under less-than-ideal conditions, standing in the checkout line at Giant, your mileage may vary). The first person to "call" or "draft" the individual for their team (which you do by announcing "my team!" to the rest of your homies, while subtly indicating the draftee) wins that round. Play continues ... forever. There is no overall winner, or exit strategy. "Winning" the overall game is the kind of thinking that high-school-sports-team-pickers engage in, and they, as we all know, are losers. Yes, you read it here. Winning is for losers.

So, actually, the other thing I'm illustrating here is that you can even play this game alone - all you need is a cameraphone, madd surreptitious camera-usage skills to "draft" the team member, and a place to post your results. Like, say, here. Let the games begin.

Interior design began with the first cave dwellers. Most likely it was a gay caveman who decided to paint pictures of running bison and other frolicking animals on the rough walls and low ceilings of his abode. Not only were these flourishes artistic and decorative, they also served as a way to feel more comfortable while living in a hole in the earth.

But, my how times have changed. Gone is the stereotypical association of gay men with good interior design. Despite the popularity of TV shows like Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, the Internet has shattered the gay style myth forever with its slew of nude amateur self-portraits that clog newsgroup bandwidth from New York to Sydney and back again. These Feng Shui-challenged souls have proven over and over again that male homosexuals can be just as color uncoordinated, sloppy and nastee as their straight bretheren -- and despite the crippling setback from the Discovery Channel's token screaming queen, home decor fluffer Christopher Lowell, the gap between what defines gay and straight is slowly beginning to zipper shut.

For us at the charm of amateur pics has never involved the vulnerability displayed by the model's self-willed nudity. As soon as a JPEG has fully loaded in our browser, we immediately begin to scour the image's background in search of clues and signs that are a thousand times more intriguing than bare butts or engorged genitalia. Interiors are like handwriting, and for those who know how to decipher the mishaps of furniture meeting form, many secrets are revealed. Join us inside, while our snooty panel plumbs the background life of the Net's most audacious and careless interior designers.

Horrifying gay amateur interiors (SFW? Mmm ... not so much)

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

In the beginning, readers of tedious British populist tabloids would write in with facile and trivial "reader's tips". Then, Viz got into the act with their "Top Tips". (Things took a weird but brief detour in 1996 when McDonald's briefly got involved, but no matter)

Then, the web made everything old new again, and a lot of terribly earnest young men and women started posting "life hacks". And then Jason Kottke posted a satirical "popcorn hack".

Soon, everyone was getting in on the act.

Wibble wibble, yip yip.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

We've probably all seen something like this by now - you take an empty 2 litre plastic soda bottle and a bucket of water, you put a piece of perforated foil over the top, cut the botto... ah, no. Wait. Different technique for getting into space. You use a bicycle pump type thing, and make a rocket out of it.

Discovery Channel's best program, Mythbusters, recently made one, and found it to be more powerful than they had anticipated. No shit. Take a look at what they do with them in Japan.

I am so building one of these things.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Although the otherwise-excellent aircraft seat maps at don't show it accurately, the economy-class heads or toilets behind row 26 on United's 777-200 XC consist of a row of three regular aircraft bogs in front, and a second row that contains only two. Of these two, the aft port-side head is gigantic - at least by economy class aircraft standards - and thus eminently suitable for mile-high hijinks.

For those who aren't soon planning a flight on United to Europe however, Mile High Atlanta offers an alternative. Downside: it's a Piper Cherokee, not a plush 777. Upside: you get to use a real bed, not an aircraft bog. And, included in your $299 "ride" - you get to keep the sheets. At least you won't have to worry about those who have, uhh, come before you.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The city as an avatar of itself

It came to me as something of a surprise just how easy it is to mislead someone into thinking they're looking at a photo of a model when they're actually looking at a photo of the real thing.

If you want to spend a lot of money and do this the "right" way, you can buy a tilt/shift lens like this one. When you do so, you can get results like these by Olivo Barbieri (story, more), Marc Räder, Miklos Gaál, or Håmish Gránt.

However, it's a truth generally acknowledged today that any technique that requires pieces of aspherically curved glass can also be done with bits, quicker, safer, cheaper, more repeatably, with more chances to tweak the results, and so on.

So, if you want to make pictures like these but don't want to spend a ton of money doing it, you can actually fake it pretty easily.

How easily? Well, here's my first attempt (before, after) which was OK, but not as convincing as I'd hoped. So then I tried again with a photo from Singapore (before, after) which I tweaked more extensively. Compare, especially, the perspective change between the before and after.

Once I got the technique more or less down, the next two (Harper's Ferry, WV before and after, and Wellington before and after) took only a few minutes each.

If you want to know how I did this, leave a comment.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Funny eBay feedback.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Web 2.0 - or is that twenty? - where the pages turn themselves.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Meet Myranda Didovic. She's here to introduce you to today's vocabulary word (technically, acronym), which is EFRO.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Random violence can be strangely hypnotic. If you don't believe me, try watching it with the sound off.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Old and busted: eXtreme Programming conference. The new hotness: Waterfall 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Ken is great. All hail Ken.

Olbermann, that is.