Neil Gaiman Short Stories


Four little short stories by Neil Gaiman at his site. They aren't American Gods or Sandman or anything like that, but they are mostly fun.

If '00 Movies Were Made in Other Decades

What if the script for Matrix Reloaded had been greenlit in the 80's? What if Christopher Nolan's The Dark Night had been made near the turn of the century?

Roll your mouse over the actual posters to see what might have been.


Merry X-mas

Is it because this song shows you how much worse the holidays could be?

Is it Shane MacGowan?

Is it Kirsty MacColl's voice, god rest her soul?

Or is this more your style?


Five Secs

You will spend more than five seconds at Five Second Projects.

The Millenium Falcon Bed

If you're not going to be getting laid, then you might as well go out in style.

btw -- the headlights work (I'm referring to the ones on the bed, pervs).


An Explanation to the Unfortunate Waitress Who Had My Table

Is this real? Honestly, I hope not. I fully admit that I've had some crushingly embarrassing experiences in my pursuit of the fairer sex -- including several waitresses, bartenders, and store employees who I simply couldn't think of the best way to approach or talk to outside of the standard customer/service provider relationship -- but nothing like this.

Read on and count yourself lucky that your epic strikeouts didn't end as ..pointedly as this one did.

(click for a larger version)

Serious props to the guy for staying on target till the bloody end.


Eddie Would Go

A legend in the Hawaiian surfing community, Eddie Aikau (1946 - 1978) was the first ever lifeguard at Waimea Bay, home to some of the largest and most dangerous waves in the world.

He gained fame not only by competing in and winning big wave surf competitions on the North Shore, but for also never losing a life while on duty as a lifesaver. He even died in a successful attempt to rescue boaters who were caught in the dangerous waves and tides at Waimea.

In his memory, a surfing contest was organized.

But not just any surf contest -- one that's only held in conditions where the waves reach a minimum of 20 feet in height.

As such, even though the "The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau" is an event that's listed on the pro tour schedule annually -- it's only actually been held 8 times in the last 25 years, because the surf wasn't big enough.

This year, weather conditions were right -- providing swells ranging from 30 to 50(!) feet in height, enabling 28 surfers (voted on by the surfing community) a chance to compete for this rare and coveted prize. Californian Greg Long barely edged out pro surfing legends Kelly Slater and Sunny Garcia for the win, but as impressive as that is -- it's the unique sanctity of the event that makes it so special.

In a sport that can always use the publicity on a beach that all the big names would surely come to regardless of the conditions -- event organizers stand firm on their principles to only hold it when it's just right.

Which is just how Eddie would have wanted it.


Google Goggles

Recently I took the plunge and got myself a Droid smartphone, touted as Verizon's answer to the iPhone. It's seriously cool, and has a lot of features that are simply jaw-dropping compared to the regular cel phone I had before, which was anything but "smart."

But of course, the thing that comes up most often when people ask about it is if it's better than the iPhone. Never having owned one, I'm not really able to stack them up fairly, but one of the things you immediately notice when you're working with your Android phone is that while there are all sorts of "apps" available for you to download and use -- the variety is severely lacking.

Or to put it another way, when my iPhone-having friends find out that I have access to apps, they all suggest that I download their favorites for my own use, and in many cases they don't seem to be available.

It's a minor hassle, and one that in time I'm sure will disappear as the android market continues to grow -- but as useful as the Droid clearly is capable of being, the number of applications that help you get use from it for the time being aren't as numerous as it's Apple counterpart.

As such, there's a bit of a "cool factor" gap -- at least when it comes to apps. Or at least there was, before this thing came out.

Maybe I'm easily impressed, but the fact that this thing works (I have it on my phone) is endlessly amazing to me. Take a picture of something, wait a second, and then the system recognizes it and searches for related information on that item.

My phone can literally see things and search for them.

It's not a jetpack. But it's pretty frikkin close.


Ninjas Hijacked My Mother

Panda rape, apple juice, and Rush. We're really not that complicated here.


The Photo Argus

I'm not a photographer.

I really enjoy photography, and have always wanted to take cool pictures, but have found myself frequently frustrated by the fact that I cannot always get the camera equipment I have (read: usually my cel phone) to faithfully reproduce what I see with my eyes. As a result, I've always enjoyed checking out the work of artistic photographers, especially on the web.

The problem though with artistic photography is that just about anybody can do it, including loads of "I want to be deep and creative but I'm really just overly emotional and don't know what to do with it"-types, so as a result you frequently have to wade through a bunch of half blurry black and whites of leaves and garbage on the side of a city street before you really get to something worth seeing.

In other words, it's one thing to take a picture. It's quite another to use photography artistically.

The Internet, and it's myriad rabbitholes has long been in love with picture imagery. Whether it's the storehouses like flickr, the human Pokemon card collection elements of social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, Hot or Not, et. al., the squillion bytes of pornography out there, or the artist portfolio sites that you occasionally come across and get lost in -- photographic images are circulatory system that drives interest. Content will always be king, but if your content doesn't have at least one picture included -- a big part of the Internet faithful (for better or for worse) won't come knocking.

As such, on boring work days (like this one) where websurfing is an welcome distraction, tumblr photoblogs and photography websites are welcome draws. But like so many other things out there, the results are largely hit or miss -- depending on your tastes, and your individual patience with attempting to navigate what ALWAYS seems to be convoluted website navigational design when you find a portfolio webpage for someone who considers themselves to be a true artiste.

Dear Internet artists -- I want to look at the pictures. Please tell me where the hell they are so I can stop clicking aimlessly on the leaves of an illustration of a tree hoping they'll reveal themselves in one of the 75 pop up windows that your flash-enabled website insisted upon opening, k?.

All of which goes into why today's choice is not just a Highly Recommended Thing of the Moment, but as a constant bookmark. I don't know about you -- but I have a handful of sites I visit when there's really nothing else happening on the web that interests me. Just places full of neat stuff that I can wander around, like a museum or a gallery -- in search of something to inspire my writing or at least interest my attention for a while.

The Photo Argus is one of those places.

It's true purpose is as a tip, trick, and technique resource for photographers of all levels -- but in showing those tips in action, it's also a really cool picturebook for outsiders like me. This is especially true of a regular feature they have called inspiration -- which collects groups of photos centered around a theme, and places them in a long scroll format that lets you browse through them easily and quickly.

Occasionally I drop by and check them out -- almost always resulting in a new desktop background, email forward, or mixtape cover image, and even sometimes formulates the beginning of an idea in my own mind that becomes a story, blog post, or whatever.

Long story short, there's some really cool stuff here -- and you might like it.



Steady Hands

Willard Wigan chisels sculptures out of fabric fibers, using diamond chips. He paints the figures using the hair of a dead fly. He works at night so that traffic vibrations won't affect his work.


Man of Action

This one is a little bit self improvement, a little bit motivation.

Check this little video out- takes about 10 minutes of time and has some interesting stuff in there:


See if it doesn't get you at least a little bit motivated. Unless you are too cool for school...

5 Star Wars Status Updates

Monster actually found this first, but it's so good that I just had to share.

4 others await -- Enjoy!



Maybe it's just my perspective -- but there are few things I find more southern than Flyswatters. Growing up my mom always seem to have one around, and would whisk it this way and that. On the good side, it enabled her to leave everything but the screen door open so she could have that full "Florida Room" experience while reading, but at the same time there was always something buzzing around the house, making dinner seem more like picnics.

It was also her preferred disciplinary implement whenever my brother or I misbehaved (which probably has more to do with why I dislike them than anything else).

Still, for a lot of us it's the last day at work before a holiday -- which means a lot of surfing the web, chewing the fat, and swiping at flies.

Have at it!


Being Thankful

(if the picture doesn't load, refresh the page)

Trailer Park Boys is a Canadian TV show that's now in its seventh season. As such, it's a highly recommended thing of several moments ago. But since I'm a dumb American and just found out aboot it, it's new to me.

The characters are all residents of the same trailer park, and the show centers on their petty crimes, get-rich-quick schemes, and power struggles. Be thankful you don't live in a trailer park.The show can be a bit hit-and-miss, but the magic is in the details: lead character Ricky lives out of a car and stirs his Kool-Aid with a plastic shoehorn. His partner in crime *always* has a mixed drink in his hand, and they're constantly harassed by a disgraced cop/trailer park supervisor with delusions of grandeur.

What's really great about the show is that it's not just a snobby put-down of trailer trash. The characters have a can-do ethic, and survival skills that work for them within the park, even if they don't completely understand how the world outside works.


Moustache-fest 2009 Rages On!

This may be the end all - be all of the great moustache-fest 2009. Please feel free to bribe me and purchase me one of these for my dog.


Lesser-Known Fetishes

Straight from Slabovia, Kierky and Nietzsche are here to tell you that whatever you're into, it's ok.

Super Hard Movie Quote Quiz

Lets play a little game -- here's a clip with a series of famous movie quotes. All you have to do is watch them and see if you can name the Movies they came from.

Be warned, it's kinda tricky

ps - The volume kicks in sorta loud. Controls can be found at the bottom right corner if you need them.


Famous Authors Narrate the Funny Pages

I'm gonna go ahead and say this -- I hate laughing at things in McSweeney's, because when they miss they miss hard, which only serves as a bitter reminder that I've submitted items to them many times that have been shot down, all of which I've felt were funnier than some of the stuff they've decided to post instead.

Then they put out something like this, and I'm forced to shut up.

..Kinda sucks.

Anyways, famous authors retelling the Sunday funnies -- Hemingway in particular cracked me up.


The Monster at the End of This Book

Lovable, furry old Grover in his prime -- before all the booze, snow, and groupies did him in.

Actually, it's a click-thru version of one of my favorite books to have read to me as a child, which became one of my son's favorite books for me to read to him.



Cookie Cup

Hard not to love this -- a coffee mug that you can eat!


Those Darn Czechs

Having finished the excellent Machinarium, I went looking for other excellentness from independent Czechoslovakian studio Amanita Design, the game's maker. Everything they've done is great. Here, give this one a try. S'free, clever, odd, and aesthetically original.

Thomas Jefferson's Buttock Boils

Did you know John Adams occasionally purged after eating? Or that James Garfield needed rectal feeding? S'true. If you can get past the ca.1998 design on this page (or appreciate the hand-drawn icons for their charm), you can get the health dope on your favorite president.

Statistically speaking, that's Obama, who's 6'2" and 165. Or, after he quits smoking, 265...

Thinking through the consequences.

You get all happy when you see the Pixar logo, don't you? Think about what you're supporting.


What She Said...

This is ridiculous, but brilliant. To quote Lola, friend of HRTotM,

"I totally want to hook up with a guy that needs this. I’m sure I’ll have to buy him a Virgin Mary because he’ll be TEN YEARS OLD."



In the interest of fairness I should probably be on the lookout for an equal and opposite "whack-a-liberal" game, but I'm finding it hard to pull myself away from taking a baseball bat to Glen Beck's skull.


Dusting off a great idea

This one's been burning up the intarwebs, but in case you haven't seen it, there's a new version of Disturbing Auctions called Regretsy. It's the same idea, applied to Etsy. Get there quickly before it achieves No Longer Recommended status.

A Coffee Reality Check

Shortly before I left NYC for Portland, OR, a friend in Brooklyn took me to the newly-opened Stumptown coffee outlet there. It was, indeed, really great coffee. I was inspired to seek it out when I hit town, and sent bags cross-country to several friends.

But a bit of perspective is in order. Stumptown carries the best coffee according to the tastes of the people who run the company. They have great taste, but others do too. There's a bit of backlash here over the company, which is what happens when something local goes nationwide, losing its indie cred (barf).

Anyway, this is an interesting take on the whole high-echelon coffee phenomenon. As someone who never sunk to saying the word "venti" at Starbucks, it was nice to see where all this is leading: a whole supply chain catering to coffee connoisseurs, along with coffee tastings and the trappings of the high-minded wine crowd. Makes me want to drink nothing but Maxwell House for the rest of my life.

Winner comment: "Stumptown’s coffee is delicious. They do not have a monopoly on that, no matter what they say. As a buyer of Stumptown coffee for my cafe I can tell you I am not alone in feeling alienated by a ‘local’ roaster who doesn’t even have a rep to check in with me anymore.

New York City? Get a rope."


Honoring Cthulu and Cupcakes

My contribution is Octostache: a Tumblr devoted to octopi and moustaches. That is all.

Lord Likely's Extra-Ordinary Inter-Active Moustache-O-Rama

In celebration of our own Clicking Girl's mustache thing, here's a fun little something -- an interactive add-your-own-mustache-to-the-guy-in-the-picture flash app thingee.

Think of it as "Rock Out with Your Upper Lip Hidden."

Who knows, maybe we'll just have to have a little HRToTM Battle Royale here. Mustache-themed links at 20 paces. GO!


I might become a cutter just to wear these

My love of the beloved moustache (pronounced mOOstash by me) is well documented (see this previous post for proof: http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-come-highly-recommended.html). And now my love is taken to a whole new level. Behold - moustache bandages!


Accidental Dong

Totally (sorta) safe for work, the Internet finally has what it's always been missing -- a home for photos of all those things out there that unintentionally look like.. wang.

BTW -- not fer nothing, but how this site has not yet discovered the Florida State Capitol Building in Tallahassee, Florida is completely beyond me.


Free Mojo

Holy frijole! All of Mojo Nixon's music is free on Amazon, for about three weeks. As we've mentioned before, Mojo was psychobilly and indie before anyone used those terms. The man is hilarious, brilliant, and blessedly devoid of subtleties (see "Burn Down The Malls"). Go, get edified.


One of champagne's most romantic rituals -- sipping it out of a woman's shoe, gets taken to the next level by Piper Heidsieck and designer Christian Louboutin in this (surely super expensive) gift set.

I'll be honest here -- it's something I've always wanted to do, because it seems like such a mack move, but the opportunity has yet to present itself in the correct combination (by which I mean, I've been around women with sexy shoes but no available champagne, I've been around women with champagne who were not wearing shoes that would accomplish the task, and then sometimes you just sort of think about what it might be like to sip anything out of a friggin' shoe and still try to look all Rico Suave about everything).

So perhaps something like this would help out -- although when you think about it I might find myself ruining the given romantic moment if I were somehow caught trying to sneak in a "stunt shoe" somewhere along the line.



Awkward Yearbook Signatures

The Bronson Maneuver

I really like this, and it looks supremely cool -- but if there was ever proof that stop motion animation is a time-restrictive process, this is it.

Simply put, this "short" is just too darn short.

And yet, if I could edit it in any way to make it better, I'd remove the fly. I know the animators probably felt it was a good way to establish the gag, but honestly -- the whole thing relies so much on references to other scenes that we didn't need that setup, and it kinda stole your thunder.

All that being said, the little "making of" section that follows is a very cool peek into an animation style that's truly a labor of love.

Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2009

Found this kind of interesting -- an interactive Google map highlighting school districts where banned books were challenged, including links to the actual letters challenging those bans.

When I was teaching middle school, several books would tend to "disappear" from the library one year, only to return the next.

The weird part was (at least in the School District I worked in) was that it only took one complaint to get a book banned, but there were multiple hoops that had to be jumped through to get a banned book back off that list.

I also found it interesting that among the 2 states on this map that didn't list ANY banned books yet (the other being New Mexico) was Utah -- which I'm sure is a very nice place but has a bit of reputation as being slightly close-minded.

Perhaps it's just the case that schools in Utah don't have any books in their school libraries that could land on that list (I have no way to know for sure), but whatever the explanation -- it's just another interesting footnote on a very cool Google map.



Can You Tell Arial from Helvetica?

Lets say you're in need of some eye strain. Perhaps you've not had a good headache in a while. What can you do to remedy this situation? How 'bout taking this quiz -- which gives you 20 images of popular corporate logos that were originally designed using the beloved Helvetica font, recreates them in hated Arial, and then asks the mother of all questions:

Which one is which?

I'm sure there are losers people out there who can do this sight unseen, but I can tell you this -- I am not one of them.

Truth be told, I was sort of hoping for the Arial logos to be wearing an eye patch or rocking one of those "evil twin" goatees.

As a result -- after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out some sort of method to tell them apart, I just started blind clicking.

I scored 15 out of 20.

How? Because I'm friggin' awesome, that's how.

Now if you'll excuse me -- I'm off to go rob a bank. I don't know the combinations to any vaults or safes, but I figure if I was able to fake my way through this, I've got a decent shot of lucking into one.


So yeah, this.

The guys in Monotonix probably think Gogol Bordello is uptight.

One guitarist, one drummer, one crazy-ass singer. I missed the live show, but don't you make that mistake. October 9-10, NYC and BKLN.


Exceptionally Cool

Did Jackson Pollock sneak his name into one of his paintings?

Steak House or Gay Bar?

If you've ever wondered why the "waiter" always looks at you funny whenever you ask to see his choicest cut -- this site may be for you.

On a releated note, if you ever have the chance to accompany me to Boston and it comes time for dinner -- apparently its not a the best idea to let me choose the place.


Down the Nostalgia Rabbit Hole

Abandonia is a clearinghouse for abandonware: software which is no longer sold or supported. These are typically games made for systems which are no longer on the market. But thanks to emulators, they're still playable.

The site is Mecca for old-school computer gamers. All the Infocom games are here for free, for instance.

I'm still looking for a playable copy of Atari's BallBlazer. Lemme know if you find one.


Bill Murray

I'm a writer. I work with words. Sometimes it's an easier working relationship than it is at others, but it's a love affair that has been with me a long time, and will most likely remain for the rest of my days.

I'm a reader. I like seeing people work with ideas, string together poetic lines. I'm a lover of words in action.

And yet, I'm frequently drawn to the
picture-only format of many tumblr blogs.

What I find most interesting about the ones I seem to always visit (well, the ones that don't involve sharks at least) is the way they all seem to be referential. Even when they're personal photo blogs, there's something in them that always seems to be talking to a moment past. Using an image to remind an idea -- something I'm very interested in right now.

Or to put it another way, whether they actually intend it or not I can't say -- but many of the tumblr blogs I browse through are full of stories, even if they rarely have any words on them at all.

Anyways, in looking for a quote that I wanted to either use or reflect upon for a story I'm working on, I stumbled (tumblr-ed?) across this rather evocative site. It's a collection of images, videos, paintings, and even graffiti featuring the face of Bill Murray -- one of the most beloved comic actors of our time who's recent work is much, much, deeper than it seems any academy is willing to admit.

Which is perhaps what makes this site so interesting to me. Obviously I'm a fan of his films, but as a photo essay subject, it's surprising to see just how many stories can be told by just the slightest variation in expression or body language.



How is this different from his current show?

I was trying to think of a title for this post, but then I realized there was no way I could do any better than the first text comment.

Allow or Deny?

The awesomeness is simply too much. The goggles, they do nothing!

-- via the always entertaining Roboto.me


Incremental Measures

Ecofont is a font that has many teeny holes in every letter. Although the holes are invisible to the casual observer, the theory is that is that they reduce the amount of ink needed to create characters.

Right now, it's free.


AutoSafety in the US

Amazing. Although you probably still want the 59 Chevy over the modern Malibu.



Pretty much why I keep my headphones on at work all day long.



Adventures of Power

Either this is the most quirky, brilliant idea ever -- or someone with a 3-picture development deal lucked into a night where they saw Napoleon Dynamite, Zoolander, and Dodgeball back to back and just ran with the results.

But whatever the case, your long unfulfilled dream of watching a movie about ..air drumming has finally come true.

For the record, I love air drumming. I've long said to anyone that will listen that all guitar players secretly wish they were drummers. As a result, we're usually the ones with air drumsets in our cars or at our desks at work.

So as a concept, I'm definitely crushing on this.

My problem is that the trailer only looks sorta meh at best. To think that I'd be ho-hum about a feature that ends with an epic air drum battle to Rush's Tom Sawyer might sound like sacrilege, but when the romantic subplot surfaced in the trailer I immediately found myself wondering if this wouldn't have worked better as a Funny or Die short.

Regardless, it's kinda cool to see Adrian Grenier actually getting some non-Entourage work, and if there was a half decent arthouse theater in this town that I could drag a couple of friends out to see this I bet it would be a good time.

But in the end, I'm just not sure a full-length feature on this subject is worth it.

What do you think?


Getting Creeped Out, in Black Tie

Since I'm running the NYC Marathon November 1st, I'm missing out on my favorite holiday. But those of you in the Portland area have a chance to do something truly cool on Halloween night.

The Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood was used for exterior shots in Stanley Kubrick's The Shining (except for the hedge maze). The lodge is replicating the film’s 1920s “fish and goose soiree” on All Hallow’s, complete with in-room screenings. Just don't plan on catching up on your writing.

If Amazon Suggestions Told the Truth

I think it says a lot that on a day where Kanye-upstaging-the-VMA's video remixes and Lil Mama photoshop jokes are running wild on the web, that this little post on the always entertaining Screen Junkies site is what's made me laugh the most all afternoon.


Not Recommended At All

I would imagine clubgoers of the world are getting bombarded by event marketers shilling these. Electronic cigarettes have been in development for a long time, but are now an unfortunate reality.

Even if I still smoked, the technical knowledge required to use these things would seem like a pain in the ass.

Presented purely for your knowledge and disdain. As such, we're introducing the "Not Recommended" tag for this one.

Hot Mess

New episode every Friday. Get on it, folks.

Hot Mess Episode 2 : Party from Hot Mess - A Webseries on Vimeo.

Garfield as Garfield

I'm not sure there's actually words available in the English language to describe just how much this makes me smile.


Joe Wilson is Your Pre-Existing Condition

If you haven't seen this awesome little site that popped up essentially minutes after the South Carolina Representative opened up his piehole and heckled the entire nation by mistaking a joint session speech by the President for an episode of Jerry Springer, you need to do so.

I don't care what your party is, Wilson. Show some friggin' respect.

Also, these folks called it last night.

Also, also (although they've since removed it) this was what his Wikipedia page looked like for the better part of yesterday.

Americans Observing 9/11 by Trying Not to Masturbate


Highly Recommended, PAX Edition

Although Hex and Monster couldn't make it, I joined up with Friend of Highly Recommended Bill in Seattle last weekend for PAX. The video game fan convention, which grew out of love for the Penny Arcade comic strip, now draws about 40,000 fans, and takes up the whole Washington State Convention Center. Six Floors. No lie.

On Friday, after wandering dazed through the expo floor, with game geek cross-mosh of all sorts, we nipped out for some beer tankards and returned refueled. Marketers for Dungeon Siege or Assassin's Elf or some shit had marked Bill as a target, but blood is apparently water-soluble, so no permanent harm was done.

We played about an hour of Halo in the LAN Room of Dreams before getting kicked off.

We started Saturday with a panel of XBox live admins talking about how they deal with griefers. ("And lo didst the griefer cause Os to become 0s, and 3s to become Es, and thus Playername 'Poonhunter' was born. And as Poonhunter didst spread his grief across the network there was much gnashing of teeth in the land.") The Greater Internet Dickwad Theory was mentioned several times.

We also sat in on the Rooster Teeth ("Red vs. Blue") panel, which was good for a few new videos, although the Q&A session was a race to the bottom. E.g.: "I'm the girl who pestered you for an autograph during the signing session. Are you sick of me yet?" Many questioners were booed.

By far the highlight of the convention was Saturday night's concert. Introduced by Wil Wheaton, the show opened with the Penny Arcade guys performing "Are You Really a Woman?" on Rock Band. Then Freezepop took the stage. They were super high energy, and more 80s than any band from the 80s. By the end of their last number, the main camera was shaking from people jumping up and down. Here's a sample:

Comedy music duo Paul and Storm played a solidly hilarious set after that. Their signature piece is a pirate song called "The Captain's Wife's Lament," which lets the crowd cheer ARR! about a billion times. They had to stop several times because of overenthusiastic Arrs. Paul stopped as one person kept Arr-ing and said, as good-naturedly as he could, "Seriously, shut the fuck up." That was great.

Jonathan Coulton went on after 1am. We've already pimped him to death, so just watch as he changes lyrics to his song "My Monkey" Into "Wil Wheaton," with Wheaton there.

The concert lasted until 3am, so Sunday was kind of a blur. We played some Army of Two, complete with wildly inappropriate 9/11 imagery. After that it was off to the train station for the trip home. All in all, a fine, fine weekend. PAX definitely comes highly recommended.


Auto-Tune the News

This series has been around for a while, and depending on how wired in you are to news headlines the results can be either hit or miss despite the idea itself being gold.

But when the hook contains lyrics like "Those geese are f*&%ed!" and "How can you possibly refuse a man with a mullet?" it simply must be shared.

$17? Take my money!

It's been a while since video games caught my eye, but this one is right up my alley.


Sticking it to the Copyright Man

We've been fans of Sita Sings the Blues since we first heard about it last year. The movie itself is seven shades of cool, but it's even more amazing when you realize it was all produced by one woman, without any financial backing. And no, she wasn't rich to begin with.

Even more radical is the fact that she's making money without any major studio distribution for theaters or DVDs. Besides donations and pre-downloaded copies of the DVD (you can d/l it for free if you want), she also has some way-cool merch.

Dig it.

I Hate My Parents

Add this to the list of tumblr blogs that will surely get a book deal before I do -- and yet despite that bitter note I found it hard not to enjoy page after page of these pics of parental humiliation.

Perhaps not a home run on every post the way some other collections have been recently, but filled with some real treasures, if you've got a little time to kill.


The People of Walmart

I saw this a day or two ago, and have been morbidly addicted to it ever since. It's The People of Walmart: a collection of all the creatures that grace us with their presence at Walmart, America's favorite store.

Get in quick, because this site is blowing up everywhere.

Believe me, this is just the tip (or in this case, the crack) of the iceberg.


Nice Muscle!

Once again, thank God for Japan.

If you survived that, you're ready for this (NSFW, mainly because they'll think you're a loon):

Don't say you didn't get your daily dose of WTF today.


Jeff Buckley and Elizabeth Fraser

Jeff Buckley has some beautiful songs and a great cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. But what I was unaware of is he had a relationship with Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins (click on that Cocteau Twins link- between that beat and the melismatic vocal stylings, it is almost as good an aphrodisiac as Barry White).

And they collaborated on a song together, a demo that was eventually leaked:

Which I found fascinating...


The Ballad of GI Joe

It's one thing to have a successful platform to perform and promote your comedic ideas all over the world (even if sometimes they aren't always as hilarious as you'd like them to be). But the thing I'm really more jealous of is the ability the Funny or Die crew apparently has to call up just about anybody you can think of and say, "Hey, want to spend an afternoon dressed as a guy from GI Joe for a movie we're working on?"

Or to put it another way, how cool must this set have been between takes?

If you're interested in keeping score -- the cast includes Zach Galifianakis, Alexis Bledel, Billy Crudup, Julianne Moore, Chuck Liddell, Tony Hale, Vinnie Jones, the actual Sergeant Slaughter, utter crush-object Olivia Wilde as the Baroness, and Henry effing Rollins caught in the middle of the best tough decision a Joe could ever know.

And as I'm sure you've heard many times -- knowing is half the battle.


The Funniest Comedian Alive

There's a rule that says you shouldn't blog something that's had half a million or more hits. Even though Patton Oswalt is moving way beyond "comedian's comedian" status, I'm still going to blog this one. It's had less than 5,000 hits so far anyway, so technically we're still ok.

Basically, I support anything this man does.


Elbow (the band, although the body part is good too)

Neat group from England, got their name from a line in the BBC TV mini-series The Singing Detective; a character (Philip Marlow) says that the word "elbow" is the most sensuous word in the English language, not for its definition, but for how it feels to say it.


First a little something from their album The Seldom Seen Kid:

Then from live with the BBC concert orchestra (give it a chance I know playing with an orchestra is played out, but the lyrics and music build):

And because I like covers: Elbow doing Teardrop by Massive Attack



Pat O'Shea -- one of the funniest comedians I've had the pleasure to meet -- pointed this one out this morning, featuring classic riffage from a bunch of funny people Satorical once met.

Oh, and because I know you're wondering -- Joel Hodgson once appeared on a Young Comedians Special with Rodney Dangerfield, who was in Caddyshack with Chevy Chase, Who was in Spies Like Us with Dan Akroyd, who was in The Blues Brothers with John Belushi, who was in Animal House with Kevin Bacon.

*throws microphone down on the floor*

Yeah, boyee!


James Brown teaching you to dance

I know you need some dance lessons... I've seen you.

And if that wasn't enough, here is one of James Brown's proteges with some tunes so you can practice:



Here's Where Cameron Goes Berserk

News coming on the heels of John Hughes death that the house that provided the setting for Cameron's House in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is up for sale. That's right, the first film nerd (or seriously misguided super villain) willing to cough up a scant $2.3 million gets this very cool looking pad.

They even fixed up the window that the Ferrari crashed through.

C'mon people, buyers market!


Snacks and Shit

Possibly one of the greatest things on the web right now is Snacks and Shit -- a site that pays loving homage to those hidden nuggets of wisdom and intelligence that hide within the lyrics of some of the most popular rap songs out there.

Sure the hooks and the choruses are fantastic, but how many of us will ever forget where we were or what we were doing when we first heard Rick Ross throw down the immortal words, "I fucks pianos."

The title of the page was inspired by a classic Jay-Z line, but don't think it's just a fan of one style of rap hating on another -- because just about everyone out there catches hell from these guys for the lines they think we didn't hear.



A Complete History of G.I. Joe War Crimes

Screen Junkies knocks another one out of the park. Enjoy!


Will Krakatoa Rock the World Again?

The article is interesting, but the photos are nothing short of amazing.

Honestly, over a recent staycation I saw a few movies in the theater, accompanied by what had to be a few dozen total trailers. As a result -- I saw enough computer-generated tidal waves, explosions, quiddich matches, and talking secret-agent guinea pigs to make me believe that if there's at least one thing the big Hollywood studios do well these days (versus the things they can't -- like produce interesting or original scripts), it's imitate nature.

But then you see pics like this, and you realize that no imitation can be as good as the real thing.

I had to crop down the images to fit the page, so they aren't quite as cool as the full-size versions that come with the article. Check em out -- definitely worth it.

How Guys Think

Look, car washes cost money. Why don't we just fill up the excavator scoop with water and then pour it on the car? It would be a lot faster, and best of all -- It's not gonna cost us a cent!


Summer Fun

It's 105 degrees in Portland right now. The heatwave started yesterday, and is expected to last through the end of the week. This town has a lot of public fountains and other water features to play in, and they've brought out kids and adults alike seeking relief.

This is a pleasant little two-minute interview with a guy who makes a big slip 'n' slide in a local park (called Brooklyn Park, of all things) every summer. He sets it up and keeps an eye on things, and just watches happy kids and their parents all day. There are worse fates.

Brooklyn Park's hot weather solution

Classical Guitar with a metal bent

I'm a sucker for a well played classical guitar. Don't get me wrong I love acoustic steelstrings, and Leo Kottke is a special slice of awesome as is a good Dobro blues player. But I love the sound of nylon strings either played by a master like Segovia or Paco De Lucia.

This however is rocking:

That's right Metallica's Orion on acoustic guitar as a duet. Has nothing on Segovia or De Lucia in terms of phrasing or emoting- but it is fantastic. For more on Rodrigo y Gabriella check their entry on wikipedia.


Supporting Quality

I am highly recommending this movie sight unseen, because Patton Oswalt is God.


You know who would make a bangin' party hostess and bring in all the kids?

The idea of the paid party host or hostess is weird. The apotheosis of the concept is Paris Hilton. The idea is that celebrity-worshipping clubbers will be more likely to pay ridiculous cover charges and drink prices if they can say they "partied with Paris Hilton" or her ilk.

Not all clubs can afford to pay upwards of $100,000 for a b-list starlet, however. So some party proprietors hire lesser known dance-floor luminaries under the guise of theme nights. So you go from Paris Hilton to Mr. Belding. According to his page:

"Bring Dennis to host any of a number of theme nights from Spring Break with Mr. Belding and Summer School with Mr. Belding, to Back to School with, Honor Roll with, Naughtiest Schoolgirl contest, He has hosted Halloween for The Hard Rock in Vegas to overflow crowds and more. You get the idea."

Yeah, we get the idea.

But the concept is still racing to bottom. LAX nightclub (which, like New York New York and the Sphinx, is actually in Las Vegas), has a "Way-Back Wednesday" theme night with past Star magazine fodder like Shannen Doherty. Someone at LAX must have started free associating about anyone who had 15 minutes of fame in the early 90s--preferably those who had scrapes with the law--because they struck party hostess gold. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tonya Harding.

What's great about that promo is that although it doesn't mention her hot mess of a life, there is more space devoted to Freudian analysis than to her actual positive ice skating achievements.

Party on!


I Love New York, New York

In a city so abuzz with life and people, in New York we often don't stop to smell the roses (if we could even smell them over the stink of urine and trash! i kid! i kid!) So isn't it always interesting to have someone help you know what you are surrounded by? This blog (with accompanying interactive map) shows all 468 subway stations in New York City, what you'll see both inside and out. So fun!

How We Get Our Fix

I know we established our Netflix love long ago. But Netflix gave the bloggers at Hacking Netflix a tour of one of its 58 shipping centers, and it's a neat look at what happens between the time you put your red envelope in the mail and the next one arrives. I was sort of surprised that although there are machines that put the departing movies in the mail, people open and sort all the arrivals by hand.


Goin' to the Chapel

I'll say it - I'm a girl and I'm not a fan of weddings, the stupid traditions, wedding showers, white dresses, or bachelorette parties... the whole shebang generally just comes off as super generic and obnoxious... But I am a fan of turning things on their ear and this just made me laugh...

And btw, props to the bride for picking bridesmaid dresses that actually CAN be worn again.


Wishing there were more like this.

The more I watch this show, the more I'm impressed. If you like James Bond movies, and you haven't seen the original I Spy television show from the '60s, you should. Robert Culp and Bill Cosby (in the first lead role for a black man in a prime-time TV series) are super-suave, capable secret agents. The show was shot overseas in exotic locales, has a hip score by Earle Hagen, and throws some worthwhile thinking into Cold War spy biz plots.

The first two seasons are now up on Hulu, so you can blaze through the whole set.

If you watch on DVD, you'll also get commentary from Robert Culp, who had an impressive TV writing career (working for Sam Peckinpah, among others) before the show, and wrote eight episodes for the first season. Listening to his story is inspiring for writers of all stripes, and especially for those working on scripts.


Stevie Ann

I'm a sucker for covers. They demonstrate the strength of the music. I can dig jazz cats taking a pop tune out for a swing. Or the way reggae acts can turn a song around. I like it when artists take a song and put a new twist on it.

So there. If Britney were a singer songwriter...


Because You Must Live it All the Time Episode 2

Remember sweding -- the idea of remaking popular movie scenes, DIY style?

It's been around for a while but caught a bit of buzz (and an official name) around the time that Michael Gondry built a movie called Be Kind, Rewind around it.

Now take that idea and apply it to this site called "Star Wars: Uncut" -- wherein they take a pretty cool concept, namely breaking the entire original Star Wars film into 15-second clips that people could "claim," remake -- and then submit back to the site, at which point sort of a patchwork Frankenstein version would emerge, surely to be filled with all the love that only the fans of this franchise can offer.

Because if there's one thing you can always count on, it's that Star Wars fans will always come through with dignity and class.


Car-Baked Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hows that summer heat treating you? Pretty brutal, eh? You know what you need to fix all this?


Who doesn't love cookies? But who has the time to make them when they've got to drive all over the place running errands or have to park their car and sit in an office all day?

Problem solved.

Step-by-step instructions on how to bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies on the dashboard of your car.

Takes a couple of hours to finish, but c'mon. Friggin' Cookies!


101 Muppets of Sesame Street

In celebration of Sesame Street's 40th Anniversary -- the National Post has put up this very cool interactive photo showing 101 of the Muppets who have been featured on the show over the years.

It's cool to see some of the favorites that I remember, but to be honest -- it's been a while since I've watched it. As a result, there are a bunch of characters on here that I don't really know, including

Oscar the Grouch's Girlfriend!?

When the heck did this happen?

Look ladies, if even the kids shows out there are advertising the fact that women go for jerks, then stop telling me that what you really want is a sense of humor.

Fozzie Bear = Single
Oscar the Grouch = Tapping that ass.

I can just hear the Count over there yukking it up.

"You -- Zero!"
"The douchebag who lives in a garbage can and treats everyone like crap -- One. Count them, One!! Ha Ha Ha Ha!"


Cool Bossa Nova Samba da Minha Terra

You'll probably need this if it is hot where you are. I recommend pairing with a cold lager or maybe a Caipirinha.

Joao Gilberto

Part of the Brazillian jazz greats like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto (his wife), check out their stylings.


Because You Must Live it All the Time

I will admit, these are kinda cool-looking. But there's no way that I could imagine taking it to this level in real life.



Not only is it one of the most underrated good times a person can have at a beach (I love my surfboard, but nothing compares to a really good body-to-body romp with the ocean) but it's the source material for this really awesome photoblog chock full of images of people doing the things that we all wish we could be doing right now.


Llamas with Hats

..How could you not know that?


The Return of Sick, Sad World?

Although we've certainly heard this before (still waiting on those DVD's of The State to hit the shelves..) It appears I'm still gullible enough to be excited about this short but very sweet message:


Don Bluth and Ralph Bakshi Discuss Animation

Fascinating old-school late-night talk show discussion about animation featuring Ralph Bakshi, Don Bluth (who looks nothing like I thought he would), and a guy who worked on Tron -- back when that was sort of of the leading edge of computer animation. (btw -- they are currently shooting the remake, which is probably a bad idea.. but I will probably watch anyways just for the crash and burn factor). Another interesting facet is that one of the hosts of the discussion is the recently deceased Studs Terkel.

Talk shows aren't like this anymore, and I suspect most animators aren't either.

Takes some time to watch and digest, but very worth it.


Rob's Transformers 2 F.A.Q.s

I know I'm giving this crappy movie too much attention, but honestly -- I wanted to like it. My kid thinks he liked it, but in a few years when he figures it out I am thinking he's gonna be mad at me for taking him to see such a shitty flick, so I need to be ready to defend myself.

As a result, I give you this hilarious attempt by a movie reviewer to explain the movie to himself.

It should be mentioned that this review/article is ALL SPOILERS, so if you don't want to know the plot, the twists, or the ending to Transformers 2, don't read this.

However, if you're like me and you saw it and still don't quite grasp how all of the so-called plot, twists, or ending fit together or even begin to make sense -- you need to read this NOW.


Flip HD

Usually I don't recommend gadgets, but this is super cool:

Mino HD camera from Flip- 200 bucks does about an hour of HD. Then you can roll it off to your PC/MAC.

Mino HD from Flip

Simple and great. The downside is no image stabilization, so if you have a shaky hand, you'll have a shaky hand IN HD!!!

Tokyo Destroyed

A giant ro-beast appears from our of the sea, raining death and destruction upon unsuspecting citizens and architecture before anyone has a chance to react. The next morning, as a shaken people pick through the rubble and start the slow process of rebuilding, many wonder where the hero who had protected them so many times was when disaster struck.

Only to discover the truth:

Pipeline was going off. Can you blame him?


Saving You Money and Frustration, the HRToTM Way

If you haven't yet had the chance to see this week's juggernaut box office blockbuster Transformers 2, or even if you have and found yourself (as I did) wondering what the heck you just watched -- please don't spend the $12 to see it and try to figure it out.

It's all right here, and it takes less than a minute to watch.



Look at This Fucking Hipster

Been too busy to post lately (which I suspect is the case with the rest of the gang as well), but this one's just too good to sit on any longer. It's a simple photo collection of the modern day tragically hip in their natural environment. I don't really get the joke about the Beans!! guy (well, I get it -- but I'm not 100% why it's supposed to be funny) but there are some classics hiding in here.

ps -- If all this Internet technology is too much for you to handle, just hold on. The guy who runs the site recently signed a book deal for all of this.

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