Archive for August, 2008

Aug 29 2008

gaming the system

This entry is pretty much a gamer-related link dump because in seven hours I am off to Seattle to see awesome friends and go to PAX (“a game festival for tabletop, videogame, and PC gamers”). I have packed my Nintendo DS and my World of Warcraft priest shirt, and I am ready to geek out to a large degree.

Anyway, link dump while I avoid doing any work today:

Okay, that’s probably it for now. Time to wander around the office some more and stare at the clock.

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Aug 27 2008

the owls are not what they seem

So don’t get me wrong — I’m pretty happy with my life. It’s not spectacular, but it’s mine. However, we all have a dream of things we could’ve should’ve done, and mine is living in New York and writing for magazines. (Which magazines, you may ask? I don’t know.. in my dream I also have a reasonably priced apartment in Manhattan with an elevator and friends who come over on Fridays for roundtable-esque witty banter. Don’t confuse me with the facts.)

I love New York City. I loved it from afar in movies and books, and then when I went to visit a couple of years ago I loved it even more in person. It’s old and huge and every district reaks of culture, both classic and popular. It is the city that never sleeps, the center of all media, and the beautiful and the terrible and the mundane rub shoulders on the street while tourists snap photos from the top of double-decker buses.

Of course, I’m not a freelance author in New York, I’m a technical writer in downtown Vancouver, so in the meantime I suffice with Toby Young books and reading Overheard in New York. One day, though.. you haven’t seen the last of me, NYC.

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What happened to macrame owls? At some point they used to be everywhere, and now you can’t find a single creepy one. Luckily nothing ever goes away on the Internet, so soak up the wall hangings of a forgotten time with the Treasury of Macrame Owls, which delivers exactly what it promises. (Here‘s a pattern for a tiny, pocket sized owl if you feel the need to carry kitch with you at all times.)

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cowboysquirrel the owls are not what they seem

I was going through the photos on an old hard drive tonight, and I came across the image posted above. I was thrilled! I saved it years ago because it was one of the most delightfully WEIRD things I’ve ever seen. I love the triumphant cry of the squirrel on theĀ  horse, made even more awesome by the randomly placed tiny dinosaurs. (A dead squirrel on a horse, sure, but a dead squirrel on a horse in prehistoric times .. well that’s just madness.) After a quick Google search, it turns out this is but a tiny piece of an exhibit in the basement of a funeral home in Madison, Wisconsin.

There are rogue taxidermists (note: some of the pictures are a little disturbing) making art, but give me the simple whacked out joy of stuffed rangling squirrels and their old west dino friends any time.

3 responses so far

Aug 27 2008

make me pretty!

This site is so outstanding, I’m posting it in the middle of my workday.

Kitty Wigs: “They make your kitty feel elegant, modern and quintessentially feline.”

My cats are going to hate me…

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Aug 20 2008

link dump

Who the hell is Lily Allen** and why did she get away with doing a terrible Girl Power cover of Kaiser Chiefs “Oh My God“? The song is just over three years old. I know trends move faster nowadays, but this is getting absurd. Just avert your ears from this mess and go listen to some choice Britpop. (Oh, and the winner of the old Blur vs. Oasis war is.. Pulp. Duh.)

** Okay, so it turns out that Lily Allen is the daughter of Keith Allen, which is actually pretty cool. For those who don’t know, Keith Allen is a British actor and comedian, and partially responsible for the greatest soccer hooligan anthem of all time, Vindaloo. I dare you to listen to it and not want to headbutt someone. And the video makes fun of The Verve! You can’t lose. Anyway, Lily should still find her own songs and lay off mucking up ones I like.

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While you’re on YouTube watching the Vindaloo video, go watch David Sedaris read an essay about a catheter. I still haven’t found my book.. damn you, entropy!

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The DUI Mario Kart Experiment: apparently people are better Kart drivers when they’re under the influence. I could have told them that.

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Is Bill Clinton a reptoid? The answer might surprise you.

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Aug 17 2008

uass!

I have spent a great deal of time over the past three years being the voluntary manager of a voluntary crew, and in that time I have developed a pretty solid management strategy. It’s based on the idea that at the end of the day everyone wants to feel like a Unique And Special Snowflake — they want to know they matter and are appreciated. This strategy has the additional benefit of being shortened to ‘the U-ASS treatment’, which I admit I am not above saying to myself when someone is being particularly fussy.

This applies well to websites too. Amazon rose above its competition back in the day because it created such a personalized shopping environment. People love individual homepages, like iGoogle, or all the ‘look, I am likable!’ features of your average social networking site. We’re ego-driven creatures, we can’t help it, and we like it when whatever we’re looking at reflects ourselves back at us a bit.

All this is a really long winded excuse for spending two hours online yesterday making little personalized icons of myself. It’s human nature, okay? Plus, oh, how I love the self-absorbed satisfaction of pondering which tiny element best represents me — “That hairstyle is pretty close, but it really doesn’t capture my slight insouciant streak or the fact that I care very deeply about the plight of whales.”

spjess uass!But where, you say, can you make little digital versions of yourself?! Face Your Manga will let you make a cartoony version of your head. The features are somewhat limited, but not bad overall. At The Simpsons movie website you can turn yourself into a denzien of Springfield. Not very realistic, but fun. The eLouai Doll Maker site looks and feels like it was translated poorly into English at some point, but if you bash around the interface enough you can make yourself into something resembling a 12 year old Japanese kid ready for MySpace.

All those sites were fun, but at the end of the day I was most satisfied with the South Park character generator. She doesn’t really look like me, but there’s something about the way South Park Jessica is looking at her little Blackberry with trepidation that makes me quite happy.. and at the end of the day, it IS all about me.

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Arrrrgh! I missed this year’s Vancouver Zombie Walk too. Judging by the photos everyone looked awesome.

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Aug 10 2008

mmrm mhhmrm mmm!

Adrian was painting again! When I saw the finished work I clapped my hands with glee and demanded that he hang it in a prominent spot. He looked up at me from his easel, laughed, and said, “You’re not like most girls, you know.” He might be right — who knows? who cares? — but if you can’t enjoy giant pop flamethrower art then you’re no friend of mine.

pyro mmrm mhhmrm mmm!

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Aug 10 2008

in which i sell out to the man with glee

For the past seven and a half years I have basically worked for start-ups. They were all at slightly different stages, but all still had that start-up idealism, free beer on Fridays, and an oft-recited nativity story that involved two guys in a garage with a good idea. (Why is it that companies always seem to grow from two guys in a garage? This might explain why, as a habitual apartment-dweller, I have yet to find entrepreneurial success. You don’t hear about companies being started by a girl, a bitey cat, and a small stall on the fifth floor of the parkade.)

Initially I enjoyed the energy of a start-up, particularly with my first one. It was fresh! It was new! We few bright-eyed folks were going to shape the face of a company and we weren’t going to let those staid fat cats tell us how it was done! My previous business experience had been running a cash register, but there I was creating bonus structures and designing marketing campaigns. And it was really good for a few years until one day someone woke up and realized that there was probably a reason all those businesses out there were run by business people.

(There are so many, many stories I could put here about my first real job. I take solace from the fact that one day there will be a great book out of it. Okay, just a taste: one of my fellow middle managers and I actually had a pretty good evacuation plan in place just in case our boss showed up to work one day with a gun. Actually, there were three of us who ended up being the first line of management. Of the three, one had to leave suddenly because she got hooked on crack, and then the other had to leave suddenly because he got hooked on prescription painkillers. I escaped with merely a predilection for weird ice cream dinners and cigarettes.)

Anyway, after a few of these types of jobs I started to yearn for something where I didn’t have to make up my own job title. I wanted to be a merry cog in the corporate machine. And as of last week, I am! It is exactly like a Dilbert comic, and I am full of zen bliss. The copy room — well, let’s start at the beginning.. there IS a copy room. And it has copiers! Many, many different copiers and printers. There are company coffee mugs and giant cubicle walls and something called a “fun committee” which sounds a little bit ominous but hey, I bet they’re not on crack! It’s so structured, it makes my toes curl. I even already have business cards and a little sign on my cube with my name.

There will be some adjustments — I am an independent cuss sometimes, and I don’t always bond really well with traditional office workers. They didn’t blink when I showed up on my first day with the burgundy art hair, though, so I think in the long run we are going to get along just fine.

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An entire album of covers of Axel F from Beverly Hills Cop? Done in 8-bit sound? For free legal download? (third album down) This is why the internet is still great.

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Aug 02 2008

lost and hopefully found

I lost a David Sedaris book, and it’s causing quite a bit of consternation.

(Does something cause consternation or give consternation? Next week I start a new job as a Technical Writer — eeeeek! — and these small issues of grammar have become irrationally important to me. I’m even including “(sp)” in my instant messages to indicate that while I can’t spell things correctly, at least I KNOW it’s misspelled.. And if I learned anything from my childhood, it’s that knowing is half the battle.)

Anyway, I was coincidentally shopping for books online a couple of months ago and noticed that the latest David Sedaris was coming out soon so I pre-ordered it. It arrived about a week later along with a couple of graphic novels, and I set it aside for the moment. See, if I’m really enjoying a book I tend to devour it as much as read it. I can’t stop, I take it with me everywhere, I won’t even sleep or eat if I can avoid it until the whole thing is done. I didn’t have time to really get into it, so I put the book down somewhere.

Cut to today. It’s a long weekend, and it’s time. I go to the main bookshelf, and… nothing. It’s not on the second bookshelf, or the third. The book is gone, and it’s driving me to distraction. I have lost keys, purses, shoes, retainers, scarves, envelopes full of cash, cats, best friends, boyfriends, and once even a roast chicken, but never a book. It is somewhere now in my apartment, mocking me silently from behind the couch or where ever. I will find you, David Sedaris book. You will be read.

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Friday was my last day at my old job. I finally took the advice I’ve given everyone else over the years and found a new job while still holding down the old one. I was hoping to leave early yesterday, but I was asked to stick around until 4pm for some ‘goodbye event’.

At about 3:45pm my boss came up to me, holding a card. “I just got a call, and I have to go,” he said. “We were going to give you a little goodbye ceremony, but if I can’t be here I don’t want to do it. Are you done now? Let’s go. Oh, and only half the office signed your card.” He then handed me the card, a bucket of flowers, and escorted me to the door.

And so I hung out in the parking lot with my flowers and half-signed card for about 45 minutes until my ride home arrived. My last job lived as it died: half-assed and kind of weird. I found it all very heartening, to be honest. It was a downright poetic ending.

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I think I promised some links at some point:

Cool Mini or Not?: One of my friends is really into painting those Warhammer 40k figures (or, as we call them, “tiny mans”). I admit I started out being rather mystified by this behavior, but after painting one myself for fun I realized it’s just another creative outlet, albeit one with plague demons and chainsaw hands. I think of it as Boy Embroidery, and I think it’s nice to see guys doing crafts too. Plus, this model of 40k’s Saint Celestine made me suddenly appreciate the existence of cloak cherubs. Cloak cherubs! Man, I could use a couple of those. I don’t even have a cloak, but if I obtained some cherubs you can be damned sure I’d get a really big shiny one.

Gnomes are over. Get a Garden Zombie. (Thanks for the link, person who knows who you are!)

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