Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Blog Performance Anxiety and Procrastinating Your Way to Immortality

My blog drafts pile has been building up, while my actual blogging has been going down. I can only blame Twitter and posting in other blogs to a limited extent.

The actual mechanism goes something like this:

* Gather blog material into drafts.
* Procrastinate, delay, obfuscate.
* Despair at evergrowing pile of drafts, whose short half-lives are rapidly aging into irrelevance.
* Horde drafts, in the hope that events will come around that will provide hook with which to revive draft.
* Take perverse comfort in completely specious rationalization that I can't die with unfinished business, even though I know it happens all the time.

How's that working out? I'm reminded of an old Bloom County cartoon (I took the liberty of scanning it, possibly from my copy of Bloom County Classics of Western Literature):

Binkley: Ya know, Voltaire once said that there's a certain inevitable futility in indecision.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sunday Geek Comics Preview

A sneak peek at two geek-oriented comics in tomorrow's Sunday funnies, which gets delivered early. (See, there are some advantages to subscribing to a print newspaper.)

First, Bill Amend's Foxtrot takes on four staples of the current geek canon, hitting Penny Arcade, Player vs. Player, XKCD, and Joy of Tech:

I'm three for four, in that I don't read PvP

Next, Stephan Pastis deflates the self-importance of bloggers (again) in Pearls Before Swine:

The wide-eyed Rat is the best part.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Today's My Birthday!

It being my birthday today, it's also the most appropriate time to post this comic:

Yay! (Though PBF is on semi-hiatus, boo.)

Since I did my celebrating on Saturday (still haven't posted the pictures), tonight I'll be tearing things up at RFD, where I'll be, um, learning about using SharePoint for a Web CMS at the March Web Content Mavens Meetup. (Though I might swing through Arlington on the way back.)

I'm headed out that way now -- I just had to get out of the office and make a coffee, food, and blogging stop. So I'm at Jammin' Java in Vienna, which I figured was better than, say, Panera.

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Triumphant Return of the Turnip Twaddler

Here's a sneak preview of tomorrow's Opus, which features the triumphant return of the Turnip Twaddler:


When last we saw the turnip twaddler, it was just a bonus gift with the purchase of a Tomato Musher, so it seems to have moved up in stature, as the recommended use for the upcoming economic stimulation.

In a bit of synchronicity, the Turnip Twaddler also gets a mention in a recent Democrat[ic] Underground thread in a discussion about consumers and the state of the economy.

The Turnip Twaddler -- get yours today! Operators in an offshore call center are standing by to take your order.


Monday, January 21, 2008

I Am Incubating My Brains Out

Of all the Dilbert characters, the one I've least associated myself with is Wally. Until today yesterday:

Wally: "To the observer, it looks as if I am doing nothing, but on the inside, I am incubating my brains out."

To that end, I'm trying to think big thoughts about online community and social media, and talking big talk whenever I get the chance. More on that as it happens.

Meanwhile, a few interesting items from yesterday's NYT (culled from my slushpile of topics on del.icio.us):

* Battlefield: Second Life? - EA announced that their Battlefield: Heroes game will be a free download, with users having the option to buy virtual goods (like customizable uniform bits or weapons) and power-ups. Furthermore, it'll be a "fun cartoon-style shooter which caters to players of all skill levels."

From my outsider perspective, it looks like it's taking a page from Team Fortress 2, and not just because of the cartoony graphics that forgo strict photorealism -- but to make it more accessible to people who aren't amped-up 14-year-olds with twitch reflexes, allowing them to still play meaningful roles.

The virtual goods angle is also interesting -- someone can probably tell me where this is already happening, but we seem to be headed to a convergence, through the introduction of persistent, purchasable (or unlockable) virtual goods in traditional shoot-em-up games, and the introduction of competitive or goal-directed behaviors in virtual worlds (like Second Life, where one criticism is that it's kind of... pointless, outside of socialization or acquiring virtual goods for their own sake).

Being somewhere in the middle, MMOs should be already be there, but something still seems lacking. I guess I don't have a strong enough grasp of what's happening in the games space to really articulate what I'm trying to get at. Hence the whole incubation thing.

* Twitter Campaign Reporting: Also from the Times, this is a roundup piece talking about the influence of Twitter on politics and microjournalism. I still haven't drunk fully from the Twitter kool-aid, so I'm still trying to decide what I think. As with other forms of media, we're seeing how the early adopters and first movers are having a disproportionate impact on right now -- as the technology diffuses, its impact will become broader, yet shallower (barring co-opting or concentration by older brands and media).

* Newspaper Survival Strategy: Pander to Boomers: -- It seems a little hard to believe (and I'm not sure that I do), but this Business section article credits an uptick in Newsday.com's readership, in part, to a crappy flash "Born to Be Wild" song parody about baby boomers.

I like cartoonist's Walt Handelsman's editorial cartoons (seen in print and also on that blog), but this is a horrible, horrible animation. But baby boomers are famously self-important, so maybe it did go viral. I wouldn't know -- I'm outside of their intended audience (who knows, maybe it's a Smothers Brothers flashback or something).

Since pandering to Baby Boomers isn't a long-term solution, is the lesson for newspapers to find more key audiences to pander to -- say, the folks who actually forward the e-mails that are featured on My Right-Wing Dad, or people who think Larry the Cable Guy (or Dane Cook, for that matter) are funny?

Perhaps there are fates worse than death for a newspaper.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Annotated Proof: Rhymes With Orange Is Horribly Drawn

Previously, I mentioned how I have an intense, almost irrational, dislike of the comic Rhymes With Orange due to its horrible art.

A commenter (sorry, Conor, throwing you under the bus on this one) pointed me to the November 15th comic as a classic example of its humor, though I'll use it as an example of why I think it sucks:

"It's not you -- it's a timing thing. I just really need to focus on my cats."

For starters, the joke is kinda "meh." But what gets me is the art. (Not how the people are drawn -- I'm not even going to get into that.)

Look, the action is taking place inside a bistro, right? See #1, where the "BISTRO" lettering in the window is reversed?

So if they're inside the bistro, why do we see the outside corner of the building (#2)? And then why are they on what appears to be a sidewalk?

I don't usually care about nitpicky mistakes like that. But combined with the lukewarm joke and the bad art -- it just bugs me.

There are plenty of comics that have, shall we say, nontraditional drawing styles. That is, they're not great art, but they get the job done. I'm thinking Agnes, for one. Even Dilbert.

And other comics have art conventions just are just weird. Like how people's eyeglasses in Doonesbury are always below their noses, or how the dad's nose in Baby Blues is bigger than his head.

But Rhymes With Orange just bugs me.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Little Billy Is a White Supremacist and More Notes From Sunday's Comics

Uh-oh, it's on now -- the Washington Post rolled out their changes to the comics page. Expect fist-waving and angry letters from the assisted living facility that houses the 5 remaining Wizard of Id fans.

Other winners and losers:

* Pickles moves up to the front page. Sunday's comic features a joke about migrating birds -- it uses geese, but I've always heard it using ducks.

* Opus: Goes from half the front page (above the fold), shrinky-dinked down to a regular placement on page 3. Took a big hit, considering it's distributed by the Washington Post Writers Group.

* Rhymes With Orange: I dislike this comic intensely. It's rarely funny, but that would be forgiveable, or at least ignorable. It's just that the drawing style is so damned ugly. It makes my skin crawl.

* Lastly, check out today's Family Circus (full comic here), wherein young Billy reveals possible white supremacist sympathies:


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Friday, November 30, 2007

Today Are Crazy Sex Day, Plus 35 Is NOT Middle-Aged and Racewalking From Samurai

* Grammar Nazis and Crazy Sex Day: From today's Sinfest comic:

Sinfest's Slick: "If I was president every day would be Crazy Sex Day."

While I am something of grammar and spelling purist, I don't consider myself a "Grammar Nazi" -- I'm more of a, um, "Grammar Youth." Possibly a Grammar Detective -- part of the Grammar Police, only undercover: observing, gathering evidence, building a case.

* 35 Is Not "Middle-Aged." (Dammit): A news item of no particular consequence about a 35-year-old guy who allegedly blackmailed a 20-year-old MySpace friend into having sex (after she revealed that she'd had a three-way -- well, it just says she engaged in sexual acts with them, so I will believe what I want to believe -- with two college hockey players that she thought might have been videotaped).

Okay, maybe there's some particular consequence here (*furiously taking notes*). But the Fark headline from which this story comes reads:
"If you're a middle-aged fat guy looking to pick up college chicks, this local paper has a step-by-step guide... if you don't mind the ensuing jailarity. (with mugshot goodness)"
Besides the usual snark, there's a sidebar discussion in the comments as to what constitutes "middle age," with a lot of vociferous protestations and denial from fellow mid-30s oldsters.

As I'm going to live forever (also, I'm going to learn how to fly -- high!), I must also add my note of protest.

* Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run (Samurai Edition): Lastly, here's a video (via BoingBoing) that asks and answers the question: When chased by sword-wielding samurai, would a champion racewalker walk or run?

Bonus: Remember this video the next time you sit in a massage chair.

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Noose Humor -- Too Soon?

Given the recent spike in anti-noose sentiment due to the Jena Six incident (not that there's really a pro-noose lobby, though the War on Nooses did impact a few Halloween displays this year), I was a little surprised to see a noose-themed joke in today's Loose Parts comic, excerpted here:

"You and that fool knittin'! I've said for 30 years, what could you possibly knit that will do any good?"

It's kind of a lame joke, and it's bound to raise the ire of a vociferous, rabble-rousing, and disproportionately powerful minority.

I am, of course, talking about the "kn-word": knitters.

In other comic news, today's Pearls Before Swine features yet another blog-theme -- Goat is prevailing on his blog's readers (and it's good to see he's apparently building his audience) to not be petty when posting comments to his blog:

You can guess what the joke in the third panel is.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Frozen Water Is Going to Fall From the Sky. And We're All Gonna Die.

However, the two events will hopefully be unrelated.

I have a lot of catchup blogging to do, mostly from the We Media Miami conference that I attended last week. In Miami.

You know, when I left, it was 80 degrees. In Miami. That being where I was. Miami, that is.

It's kind of an odd place. When you look at a pretty girl, she will, many times, smile back at you. It's unsettling.

Also, the weatherwomyn on channel 7 is named Elita Loresca. She is kind of hot and has an enormous grasp of meteorological phenomena:

Channel 7 Weatherwoman Elita Loresca

I don't remember what the forecast was. It was probably in the 70s and sunny. Because it was Miami. Also, evidently, I like to take pictures of large-breasted women on the TV.

In case you didn't think Ms. Loresca was also a serious weather forecaster, she did a photo shoot for FMH.

Other things:
  • Been playing around with the new camera. I like it. Still getting used to it.

  • The Best DC Blog: Don't understand it. Don't much care to. I am kind of surprised about the number of votes I got, considering I know of only one person who tried to stuff the ballot box, and I didn't even vote for myself. But thanks.

  • I got an extremely long and very animated comment from someone who was apparently paranoid schizophrenic tonight. (Well, I got it tonight -- I can only assume this person is a paranoid schizophrenic all the time. Dangling modifiers are fun.) I deleted it, but I will cherish the memory.

  • My heat pump gave me a scare on Sunday. Maybe it was karmic payback because I made fun of custom-decorated heat pumps recently. I am hoping some preventative maintenance will help things out.

  • Brought 50 Dunkin Donuts Munchkins to the office today. Couldn't hardly give them away. It was very odd. I ate a lot of them.
Finally, in case you missed it, here's this Sunday's Candorville. It's bittersweet and describe kind of how I feel about this entry, and others like it:

Darrin Bell's Candorville, 2/11/07

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

FoxTrot Goes to Sunday-Only. In Spanish.

I guess I missed this a few weeks ago, but the GoComics blog reports that FoxTrot (one of my favorite strips) will be going Sunday-only starting next week.

Also, judging from today's comic online, it will be switching to a Spanish-language format:

Dec 24 Foxtrot Comic, in Spanish

On his site, Bill Amend says the syndicate screwed up, and since it's over a long holiday weekend, no one's around to fix it.

FoxTrot always had lots of geeky humor (mostly courtesy of Jason Fox and his friend Marcus), so I'm going to miss it.

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