The Friday Smile -- There Be Whales in Here Edition

It's summer movie season, time for all sorts of blockbusters to hit the screen. From action to drama to romance to comedy, it's time to figure out which ones will hit and which ones will miss.

A lot like the recommendations this week.

Some were gold, and some maybe didn't come off the way we were hoping. Luckily, there's always the European and Asian releases, DVD distribution rights, and video sales to help supplement our income.
What's that? We don't do any of those things?
You guys go check out the weekly wrap up -- I gotta go call my banker.

* Surface computing gets the sarcastic treatment.
* It's here, it's everywhere -- the dramatic chipmunk!
* Ever wonder what that F9 key on your Powerbook was for?
* Fantastic ironic photography from Timothy Allen.
* Google Maps gets fancy for walkers, joggers, and runners.
* Gather up your change and chase the truck -- it's Beer Popsicles!!
* Also everywhere, it's the Dramatic Amy Winehouse!
* Here's what trees look like after the sidewalk ends.
* A virtual taxicab simulator
* A virtual girlfriend simulator.
* Let's sing about Bruce!
* His name was Cy-Kill. ..Get it?
* Fascinating story about the rise and fall of a programming legend.
* Breath mint causes woman to react verbally
(note: none of her expressions matched the chart -- go figure)

My banker told me not to worry about it. He thinks I'm overreacting.
..Or did he say overacting?

Fast Talker

A friend's gf did this. It's cute. However, I kept expecting my friend to lean into the frame and say "call the police!" a la the Ren & Stimpy walrus. (wait for it--starts at 1:43).

Hans Reiser: Coder & Killer?

Writer Josh Davis (his site is here) has written a very engaging and interesting article on Linux visionary Hans Reiser, and the dark convoluted circumstances that ultimately led to his being accused of the murder of his ex-wife.

Simply put, a heck of a read.


Gobots the Movie

I know I probably don't say this enough, but just for the record:
I heart Black 20.

Guyz Nite -- Die Hard

Dudes and Die Hard -- It's a story as old as time itself.

We know it's dreck, we've seen it a zillion times, but make no mistake -- if we're flipping channels and it's on, we're gonna stop. I suppose it's a lot like the way some women watch Steel Magnolias or Garden State over and over -- with the possible exception being that they never went back made 3 more versions of Beaches, each one dumber than the last.

Regardless -- Bruce Willis and the crew are set to bring the franchise back yet again, this time promising stunts that look far more implausible than anything he's done before (I wouldn't be surprised to see a Die Hard 6 released in my lifetime, offering a climactic scene where John McClane jousts to the death against Jesus riding the space shuttle horseback wielding Rudy Guiliani as a weapon).

It's a clear grab for money, a clear milking of an idea that's long run it's course
And I'll be there on opening night
..Singing this song.

A Possible Guide to Female Expressions

Subtle signals.
Body Language.
Nonverbal communication.
Expertly executed silent messages.
The keys to the emerald city.
How to activate the Fifth Element.

News flash ladies
        ...We have no idea.



Use arrow keys, the spacebar, and a random set of letter keys to give your passenger the best cab experience possible. Kind of a one-note joke, but if you've ever wondered what it's like to be behind the wheel instead of asking the guy to turn off the Eagles song because you've had a long day --
Now's your chance.

The Objectivist Tree

Work by TotalFarker joshik72.

Highly Recommended Thing Of Several Moments Ago: Amy Winehouse

Another chapter in the "I-would-feel-really-guilty-if-you-hadn't-heard-because-I-hadn't-told-you" saga.

Amy Winehouse is a soul & R&B singer from the UK that marries a brash, modern attitude with perfectly executed throwback stylings. She's been on the radar of music lovers for a few years, but really busted things wide open with her most recent album. Back to Black is eleven tracks of brazen, unabashed expression in a silky smooth coating of pitch-perfect jazz.

She really is all over the place these days - popular videos on MTV and a BRIT award for best female artist on her shelf. Sometimes, though, those of us who eschew the mainstream can miss the really good stuff that happens to transition there.

To borrow a classic introduction: If you've heard Amy Winehouse, you're a fan. If you haven't, you're about to be.

Aren't you glad I said something?



A chef in Washington DC has started making and selling "Beer Popsicles" to patrons looking for an escape from the summer heat.

Could you imagine the ice cream guy selling those out of the back of his truck?
..Yeah, me too.



This is a pretty standard Google Map mashup, but its utility is undeniable. Find walking and running routes in your area, or map your own.

When this first came out it was hobbled by too few routes and supporting servers--it froze every time. Looks like they've ironed out some kinks.

Give it a try--and get out of the house!

Challenge: Explain a Complicated Literary Device with Pictures

All of Timothy Allen's photographs are great examples of the art form.

But kudos to him for capturing something he's very aptly titled: Extreme Irony.

And especially for my buddy Hex, I just couldn't resist a small alteration.


Mac vs. PC

It's as if they were advertising directly to me.


Best Five-Second Video on the Internet

Ladies and gentelmen, the dramatic prarie dog chipmunk.

Microsoft Surface Redux

Just because something does neat tricks doesn't mean you can afford it.


The Friday Smile -- Oy, It's Hot Edition

Man, it's like a desert out there. You could cook a chicken on the street if you wanted to. If this was some sort of ice planet it would be a water planet by now, you know?

Luckily the week's over and we can all get in some rest and relaxation. And with weather like this, what better way than to take off your t-shirt, go down by the riverside and hang out with all the ducks and platypus-es (platypi?).

And if people give you crap about it and try to rate your performace, tell those yo-yo's to kiss off.
Besides, It's Friday -- time to smile!
I mean come on -- just because it's summer doesn't mean every day has to be like driving school or something.
Now go out there and have some fun!

Jack Ringca

Sort of a local legend here in Jacksonville, Jack Ringca mixes time between being a drummer in several local bands, as well as performing and competing as a professional yo-yo player.

When I first met him he was working behind a counter at a Camelot Records, but before long I started seeing him on stages all over town. Most recently he was on stage performing his tricks on stage while The Legendary Shack Shakers were playing a set at Jackrabbits. From there he was set to perform with Sepiroth Chorus in a series of shows, including dates on Ozzfest.

Above all, he's one of the nicest guys you could meet, even if he probably could easily kill you with a yo-yo. Click his name above to see him in action -- the video takes a little while to load, but it's definitely worth it.

What's Your Blog Rated?

What's My Blog Rated? From Mingle2 - Online Dating
Best I can tell the ratings are based off the frequency of "bad words" used, which is a relief -- because with all the arrow-shooting cats and ripping out of eyeballs we feature around here, I was worried about the affect a rating might have on our summer box office take from the toddler set.

Hardlined Furry Duck (16 letters, 2 words)

Answer: Militant Platypus. See, it's like a crossword pun.

Sorry, it's early.

The crossword puzzle is great though, just different enough to really retain your interest.



Down By the Riverside

Recommended: Get the crazy little animated folks across the river.

Also recommended: Challenge your co-workers.

Not recommended
: Realize you make less than co-workers who couldn't figure it out and question your sense of purpose.

Have fun!

AT-AT Stroller

Must ..resist ..urge to wrap legs in tow cables.


Robot Chicken Star Wars

For those of you who might have missed it, Adult Swim's stop-action animation station Robot Chicken debuted their Star Wars special the other night. While it was being advertised beforehand I kind of misled myself into thinking it was going to be the story of the movie retold Robot Chicken style, but it turned out to be a collection of their best SW-related clips both old and new. Still funny, and a must-see for those who love their alpha-franchise tie-ins.

The title link takes you to the entire episode itself, but just for starters here's my favorite part of the whole thing.



I promise I meant to recommend Threadless before CNN Money went and wrote a story about them.

The jist is this: submit and/or rate tshirt designs. Those with the best ratings in a given period win and get printed, then you get to buy them.

Aside from yielding some really cool shirts, the site has become a very approachable and friendly design forum - just reading the comments is usually worth the visit.

Plus, you can vote for DJ Yahweh. I would TOTALLY buy this.


The Friday Smile -- Saturday Edition

Ok. I admit it, I screwed up. I missed the Friday Smile on Friday.

What can I tell you, the sun got in my eyes.

Fine, I'll tell you the truth -- I lost track of the time. See, I was watching a movie and there was this guy talking to the screen the whole time, and it got to the point where I just had to cuss him out.
Don't believe me, eh?
Ok truth -- I was playing a crazy game against some guy online, but my computer system and graphics card was so much more advanced than his, it felt more like we were playing some old-school video game or sending chess moves to each other through the mail. He'd get so angry that it was like trying to talk to some sort of monster.

So yeah, I sorta botched it. My bad. But hey, now it's Saturday -- which means you might have a little more time to kill. So with that in mind, here it is --
The Friday Saturday Smile:


Care Packages from Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk -- author of Fight Club and many, many more fantastic novels is quietly infamous for responding to fan mail with care packages filled with all sorts of weird, fun, and wild things. It's something he's done for years, but I find it cool that even after all the success and accolades, it's something he still does personally.

While not every letter sent his way gets this kind of treatment anymore (a result of the sheer number he receives and perhaps the growing knowledge of this particular habit of responding) -- all reports still say that he assembles, packs, and ships each of these boxes by hand.

There are several photosets floating around flickr depicting the rewards.


Thanks, China!

Beijing-based Mojiti lets you put annotations and drawings directly into videos. Say you want to snark on a YouTube video, but have no special graphics skills. This gets around that.

One word of warning to Hex: If you use this to make LOLcat videos, we're gonna scrap.

When Billboards Looking Back

There's a Canadian startup that's releasing new eye-scanning technology so a billboard can tell when you're looking at it.

If that doesn't creep you out a little, you should re-read what I've typed above.


Human Tetris

Kinda wacky-looking game show fodder from Japan where people are asked to figure out the best way to fit themselves through oddly shaped openings in fast-moving walls that are coming right towards them.

My first thought when seeing this was that this might be the sort of trials James Bond would have to face to save the world if Willy Wonka decided to try his hand at supervilliany, but above everything else -- I can't get past just how much fun it looks.

..Not sure what the deal is with the jiffy-pop jumpsuits is, though.


More Cool Microsoft Stuffs

At risk of starting a competitive game of Highly Recommended poker, I found more nifty MS stuff that warrants its own post.

So Hex, I see your MS Surface and raise you SeeDragon & PhotoSynth.

Prepare for gawking.

Microsoft Surface

Considering all the money I've sent his way despite the myriad problems I've had with his systems, it's sometimes easy to pass on giving Bill Gates and his Microserfs the props they deserve.

In fact, the first time I head about the whole Surface interface thing -- I imagined it to be yet one more technological advance that sounds a lot cooler than it might actually be in day to day use.
Then I saw the bit with the digital camera.

So Long, Mr. Wizard

Don Herbert lost his battle with cancer yesterday. Plenty of people who are more important than I am will talk about how he made science approachable, and how he influenced a generation of today's difference-makers.

So I'll just say this - as a parent, I measure the things I experienced as a kid by how relevant they are to the lives of my children today. Years ago, I spent every morning with Mr. Wizard, watching his household-item experiments while I ate my breakfast cereal. Yesterday, I demonstrated to my two boys that if you stand in a doorway and press your arms out against either side of the jamb, when you step away your hands will rise, seemingly with a will of their own. I learned that, and countless other cool little scientific applications, from Don Herbert. I won't get too schmaltzy about a new generation benefiting from his work even as he died - but I do hope that he had solace about leaving that kind of legacy behind in those final moments.

So Mr. Wizard, thank you. A person only gets so many "wow" moments in their lifetime, and I owe a lot of mine to you.


The Unofficially Official Rules of Calvinball

The things you come across when you're not looking for them...

So today, while Googling for some er.. vitally important business information regarding Rebecca Romin Stamos, I came across this:
A list of specific rules for the game that has no rules -- Calvinball.

Sieg Viral

Sometimes companies get priceless free publicity when a fan makes a popular viral video.

Other times, the ad department guys must feel a little torn. Here's how I imagine the meeting went at Microsoft last week:

Underling: "There's a new viral video on the web that causes us some concern, sir."
MS Ad Exec: "More nay-saying about our gaming platforms or services?"
Underling: "Well, no - in fact, the man in this video actually does an entertaining job of outline the strengths of our platform while calling attention to the weaknesses of our competitors."
MS Ad Exec: "Why does this cause us concern?"
Underling: "The man in the video is Hitler."

(subtitles are nsfw, all the audio is in German)


Monster by Mail

No, this isn't Monster on a bad day. Instead, enterprising artist and podcaster Len will paint you up as a zombie, and mail you the art. He'll put it on a t-shirt, too, if you like.

Send more brains!

The Film Crew

Besides hosting this really bad Kevin Murphy headshot (toupee?), The Film Crew is the latest incarnation of Mystery Science Theater 3000. No Mystery, no Science, and it's not set in the future. Just makin' fun of bad movies.

The Crew is still doing RiffTrax for big budget Hollywood films. This is just a way to make sure the small films still get their due. Give it a whirl.


Swear Jar

Certainly not enough to get me to drink their crappy beer -- but the bit at the copy machine is mountain-brewed, cold filtered gold.



The Friday Smile -- I Wish I Knew How to Quit You Edition

There comes a point in everyone's life when they find themselves on the side of a mountain fending off the advances of Heath Ledger.

Sure, it might seem like a good way to pass the time at first, but sometimes you have to take a step back, wake up, check your spelling, get your head out of the clouds, stop making those really weird noises with your mouth, and realize that even if he seemed likable in A Knight's Tale, it's the same song and dance he gives every cowboy that comes up here with him.

It's the same with any addiction. You've got to put out the fire, ask the tough questions, transform your perceptions -- start thinking outside the box!

Just because something is cute doesn't necessarily mean that it's good for you. You have to be able to separate the dreams from the reality, and the truth from the lies.
But above all you need to know when to let go.
I know it's hard -- I've had to deal with this sort of thing myself recently. You get so deep into a habit that you can't see just how much it's taking over your day to day life.

Which is why I'm making a pledge right here to try and avoid posting any more LOLcat-type links on this site if I can possibly help it. It's not going to be easy, but with your help I think I'll finally be able to beat this thing.
After all, I don't want to end up like this.

Big Ass Badgers

While I still believe that if there's a movie idea out there that can't be screwed up -- Michael Bay hasn't found it yet, I have to admit that I'm still utterly jazzed to see the Transformers movie when it comes out.

But that doesn't mean we can't have a little fun along the way. With that in mind -- here's Weebl, rockin' the classics.

Jeff Victor -- Wicked Crispy

This one's everywhere today, but the exposure is well deserved -- freelance illustrator Jeff Victor's ultra-cute bubblehead Star Wars characters (and more) from his blog Wicked Crispy.

You have to sift through the archives to find them all, but it's well worth the time.

BIlly Reid's Greatest Hits

Billy Reid of VeryTasteful.com has been hard at work populating YouTube with extremely entertaining short music videos. His work calls to mind early Weird Al original stuff - and anytime I'm reminded of Weird Al, that's a good time.


Dance Dance Immolation

Looking for a challenging video game that can test your skills?

Try this one on for size -- when you do well, the computer shoots big propane blasts up into the air. When you do poorly, it shoots you in the face with flamethrowers.

Yes, you, as in your actual corporeal body. And yes, flamethrowers, like the kind that are on fire.

Ironic Sans

Talk to anyone who knows me and you'll hear about a few of my extremely intense pet peeves. They're actually more like attack dog peeves, or maybe pet infuriants (sometimes one has to create a word to properly describe one's hate for something).

One of these idiosyncrasies is my rabid hatred for the font known as "Comic Sans". So when I happened across David Freidman's blog titled "Ironic Sans" (after getting linked to this game, I was immediately intrigued.

The font itself has yet to be authored, but David's blog is one part editorial page, one part idea depository, and one part self-published anthology. There's something refreshing about a creative person who is 1) prolific, 2) honest about his capability, and 3) trusting enough to spew ideas and half-notions out into the blogosphere to see what becomes of them.

And seriously, who doesn't want to see what comes next from the mind that had the idea to map the Kotter Family Tree?


Highly Recommend Us This Moment

Show some lovage while expediting your trip over here by adding one of these boss new banners to your website, guitar case, or refrigerator. Not quite as effective when put between bicycle spokes as you might like, but we appreciate the thought.

Right click on the banner of your choice to save.


Very cool, almost instantly addictive game where your know-it-all-ness is put to the test. One becomes two, two becomes four, and suddenly you lose half an hour. I'd write more, but I'm going back to mess with it some more.

Powered by Answers.com:
free online dictionary and more


Schrodinger's lolcat

Yeah I know -- but this one's a little smarter than the average bear.

The 20 Best "That Guys" of All Time

What is a "That Guy?" He's a B-list character actor who's just talented enough to secure bit parts in a handful of movies every year, but not quite talented enough to become a brand-name star. Some specialize in playing villains and others in having freaky-enormous chest tattoos, but combined -- these brave, barely handsome men have appeared in every single movie produced in the last decade.

Highly Recommended Thing of Several Moments Ago - Flight of the Conchords

I had a dream last night wherein I'm hanging out with a bunch of friends and somebody puts in a movie. As it happens, this is a Tim Burton film (starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bohnam Carter, of course) that I had never seen. This is an interesting turn of events in and of itself, but then I realize that this is a ZOMBIE MOVIE.

A Tim Burton zombie movie that I have never seen.

In dream land, I start yelling at my friends... "Why didn't any of you TELL me about this?!?"

And they shout - "We thought you knew!!"

I woke up convicted. I'll never let that kind of thing happen to my friends, no way. In that spirit, I bring you the first of what will surely be sporadic chapters of:

Highly Recommended Thing of Several Moments Ago.

Just in case you haven't seen any really funny Outback commercials or incredibly charming movie trailers lately, there's a comedy folk duo from New Zealand out there that makes people laugh with gusto and frequency.

They're called "Flight of the Conchords", and here's a clip from their HBO special (which is not to be confused with their upcoming HBO series). It's a little languagey, so probably nsfw. Especially if your workplace frowns on snorty laughter.

For more, check out www.whatthefolk.net.

Aren't you glad I said something?


Free Running/Parkour

Yeah, you've seen it. If so, move on. If not, here's eight minutes of rad.

When Snoozing is a Problem

Meet Clocky.

Clocky is super cool right now, but I suspect that's because it's not 6:30 and I'm not in my bedroom.


Girls and Sound Effects

Yet another great clip from our friends over at Black20 --this time helping to illustrate some timeless words of wisdom from earthly oracle of wisdom and one-time Star Search comedy champion Sinbad -- who enlightened us all when he said,
"Women be different than men?"

Mostly safe for work - save for one quick (and probably appropriate) f-bomb.

Name That Toon

Name that Toon 2!

Score: 100% (15 out of 15)

Pub quiz round for cartoon geeks like me.


No Serrefine Needed, This Ain't Heart Surgery

This photo was taken at the 2007 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee.

The recommendation? Spell checker. At the spelling bee.


The Friday Smile - Flavor Saver Edition

Another week comes and goes, which means it's time to bring out our three HRTOTM iron chefs to see what they've prepared for us to sample and judge.

First up is Chef Satorical, who begins with a light and fluffy Asshole Lit appetizer, followed quickly with a Thomas Dolby palette cleanser so that your system won't be too shocked when he takes you to Sugartown. For the main course, you'll be served the planet Mars, and gum Arabic, (which pairs nicely with Coca-Cola, apparently).

Next we have Chef Monster, who has chosen to feature quality taste over quantity of items (this week). Enjoy if you will Fame a la cartoon video, with a Russian treat -- The Red Elvises for desert.

Finally we have Chef Hexacorde, who has gone with the risky strategy of starting off with jokes about vaginas, beer, what appears to be yet another star wars casserole, possibly filled with pipe cleaners, and for dessert, um ..one doughnut.

Please eat all you like. We cooked, so you have to do the dishes.
And no, that's not a hair in your soup -- it's just the Friday Smile.

Get it? Got it? Good.

National Doughnut Day

Just in case you need it, today is National Doughnut Day -- which means if you go to any participating Krispy Kreme store you can get a free doughnut of your choice (make sure you wait until they turn on the neon sign that lets you know they just finished making a fresh batch).
No word if this offer extends to after last
call, which is when I always want one of those.

Dancing Pipe Cleaner

Simple type as you go fun. Works a lot better if you have a group of friends around you shouting
"Go pipe cleaner, it's your birthday!"

Your Favorite Band!

Just to prove that I really do fit in around here, I thought I'd recommend a band I saw live last night. The Red Elvises are a group comprised (mostly) of Russian musicians whose sound is an oddly cohesive mix of rockabilly, lounge, and traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk music. Add psychedelic costumes and an overall stage presence that would rival the hey-day of the B52's and you get what can only be described as a rollicking good time.

Founded by Russian refugees Igor Yuzov and Oleg Bernov in Southern California, they capitalize and pleasantly exploit the close relationship that's always existed between ethnic melodies and surf rock. Elena Shemankova, another Moscow-bred member, rocks the keyboards with disturbing (yet oddly familiar) sensuality. The two American elements do the group proud - Adam Gust, a massive blond Norwegian-looking dude from Minnesota wails on the drums (including, during last night's show, a 7 minute drum solo while the rest of the band went to the bar); and Beth Garner, a Texas gal, wails on a Stratocaster and occasional banjo while keeping up a trashy Russian girl act that has no discernible blemish. All-in-all, they fully own a self-deprecating kind of humor that is so flawlessly presented it can come across as mild disdain born from some sort of evangelical dedication to the music.

So if you see a poster on a light post with an ambiguously communist looking guy telling you to prepare for the ROCKENROL REVOLUTION - clear your calendar. Do your best to pretend that you're back in the Motherland where Rock 'n Roll is stifled as political heresy, and strap in for a night of rip-roaring, bloc-rocking subversion.

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