December 28, 2006


I had some 9 hours with the SkyMall catalog yesterday and the Computerless E-mail Printer from the crapmeisters at Hammacher Schlemmer was a standout.

It's for folks who are scared of computers but who still would like to receive email. So instead of getting an email account, why not get a printer that connects via a phone-line to an email service. Then the email you receive will simply be spewed out into your house throughout the day.

Basically, it's the technological equivalent of a service that would take phonecalls and transcode them into telegrams for people afraid of Alexander Graham Bell's infernal machine. I'm guessing that existed at some point.

The promo material makes it pretty clear that it's for old folks whose kids don't wanna mess with getting them online. I like the fact that this product is targeted at a dying off demographic was not a concern to the people at HS. And I guess having stupid products condescendingly foisted upon you by your adult children is just another indignity of growing old.

Of course, there are two great kickers. First, in addition to the $150 price tag, you need to pay a $10 month subscription fee. And why not! Email is free so crappy, one-way print-o-mail should cost $120 a year.

Second, consider the case where little Jimmy has gone away to college, has a new email address and once a semester may take a break from his quest to build the perfect gravity bong to drop a kindly note to his loving Nana. Assuming he didn't accidently forward a Nigerian email scam to his grandma, Nana would first need to add Jimmy's new address to her account. And how do you do that? Through the website of course. Time to break out the needlepoint-to-HTTP converter, granny!

December 27, 2006

For future reference

To clean a bathtub full of rotting shit you will need:

  1. a mop you will never use again
  2. enough bleach to dissolve the enamel off porcelain
  3. the ability to suppress the feeling that you're being moistened with human waste the next time you shower
I'm working on the last part.

December 21, 2006

Gone Plaid

Pete announces on Buzz that the new version of Blogger is out of beta! I'm psyched that everyone (me included) will shortly be getting access to all the new stuff.

I'm not able to move over just yet and I'm guessing that's partly because my account is in some hyper-edge case of super cornerdom. But that's cool - with all this rush to get the new hotness, folks forget that there's a special honor in being one of the last to move off the old version.

And it's kinda sad to see the old version ride off into the sunset. As Pete notes, it's not dead but "it would like to retire for a little while... maybe go to Hawaii or play World of Warcraft all day?" Sounds kinda nice.

December 17, 2006

Lost signal

iChat captured the precise moment when the Flacks' cats disconnected the ethernet while fighting under the desk. The last thing I heard Mary say was "Stop! You fucking ca -"

Fortunately, the connection was restored and Eugene and I worked out our outfits for next year's comic convention. We're going as the Wonder Twins and if Mary wants to come she's gonna have to be the bucket that holds my 'form of water.'

December 15, 2006


The last couple weeks, Twitter's been getting the lion's share of my web-based observations of life and status updates of same. So, what have I been doing in the month of December?

Let's just say I'm wondering whether Blizzard Entertainment may be liable for the twinge of RSI I've developed in my right thumb. Hey Blue! I will accept settlement in the form of a complete tier 3 set for my druid.

Good thing I'm headed out of town for the remainder of the year starting on Monday: Palm Springs, Aruba then Vegas for New Year's. Time for a change.

December 05, 2006

The Kangaroo Who Wasn't There

The Coen brothers next full-length movie is No Country for Old Men, an adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel. The only McCarthy book I've read is his most recent novel, The Road, and I highly recommend it. It's an amazingly sparse tale of post-apocalyptic survival; the phrase "gray twilight" pops up so much that my memory of reading the book is like floating through some cloud of whirling ash. But in a very enjoyable way.

That being said, I strongly believe that the Coens next-next movie should be an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem's book, Gun, with Occassional Music. First off, it's a Raymond Chandler detective story and the Coens have done great stuff with the noir genre. Even better, it's set in a dystopic future where self-medicating with addictive memory-removal drugs is not just legal, it's considered civic minded. It's the Long Goodbye by Philip Dick - how can this not be a Coen brothers movie?

But the better reason is that under the structural and stylistic parts of the book there's some really great stuff going on with the power of language and the control it affords. In Gun's reality, only licensed "inquisitors" are able to ask questions, to the point where all but the most dissident members of society have lost the ability to have the kind of rapid-fire, question-answer dialogue that is the hallmark of hard-boiled noir. This post-modern slant seems very much in line with some of the stuff that makes The Big Lebowski more interesting beyond just being hilarious ... and I guess that's a reason why they maybe wouldn't wanna revisit the same territory. But there's nothing wrong with going back to the well sometimes. Especially when, you know, your most recent stuff wasn't so good.

As a vision of the future it's also timely in its comment on our reality (see above re: the role of authority in asking questions). But it does so within the context of a fully-realized and completely compelling world of its own; one filled with rapidly-evolved, intelligent animals and a centralized system of karmic accounting. In other words, it's science fiction at its best. And I'd like very much to see it in theaters in late 2007. If at all possible. Thanks.