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Do you miss MST3K?

The guy behind MST3K has a new way to make bad movies better, Rifftrax. You can download his commentary and play it on your ipod along with the show.

Read Ed's review of the Rifftrax for the Patrick Swayze classic "Road House."

For your inner three year old


Pee and Poo Shop

(Found at Excess Baggage via TFD Live Journal Feed.)

Sit Back. Relax. Enjoy a Piece.

Snakes on a Cake

Snakes on a Cake

(Found via TFD Live Journal Feed.)

I will take $1,000

My blog is worth $4,516.32.
How much is your blog worth?

The War for America's Boner

A couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on the state of America's Wang (no, not Florida.) Since I can't find anything good anywhere else to link to, I will urge you to read it. As I reread it tonight, I kept looking for a "found at," then realized I had written the damn thing myself. Without further ado, I present:

You had me at "though rare"

I am going to requisition an extra laser printer tomorrow

Click to learn why there are two laser printers in his cube

Click the picture to learn why there are two laser printers in his cube.

More at Toothpaste For Dinner.

This guy can sell anything

billy mays

Billy Mays Mayhem, a fan site for the loud TV pitchman.

(Found in the comments of the digg post that shows the Amnesty International home shopping spoof of arms dealing. It's on the Lord of War DVD. That movie freaked me out. Way too real. I'd almost rather not know. I still think about that little girl with half an arm asking the white man if it will grow back.)

This is just wrong

Pattern Clock is an alarm clock that can not be turned off until the sleeper can repeat back a randomly generated pattern of flashing lights.

The video on that site is just so horrifying. I need the snooze button. My cell phone's alarm clock has an excellent "auto-snooze" feature that goes to snooze mode after a minute of beeping at me. I like that, it is very efficient.

(Found at w00t. Ye Olde Fashioned Link Blogge.)

Napoleon Dynamite was 27

A list of actors who were well past their teenage years when they portrayed high-schoolers on the big and small screens.

(Found at Pop Candy.)

To your health

Three articles of medical interest:

In both first-time and experienced (marmoset) fathers with dependent offspring, the team found structural changes in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain important for planning and memory. In these areas the neurons showed signs of enhancement, with a greater number of connections. They also had more receptor sites for the hormone vasopressin. The number decreases as the infants age, dropping back to normal as the young become independent.

I have always noticed that when one of my male collegues has a child, their behavior changes. I refer to this as "the packet of parenting firing off in their brains." Kind of like that kid in that movie, Doin' Time on Planet Earth, where his brain seems to explode when he finally gets laid. That was a funny movie.

Fatherhood Boosts Male Brains

More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, radiologists reported on Tuesday.

I will admit, I am a big guy, but not like totally huge. When I had my last MRI, my nose was touching the "ceiling" and my arms had to be jammed into my sides. It was not comfortable at all. I can't imagine anyone over 250 pounds even fitting into one of those. It gets me mad when I watch "House" and see them put the patient into the MRI machine and still have room left over for a buick. I want to go to that hospital.

More Americans too fat for X-rays, scans

More than 60% of all processed food in Britain today contains soya in some form, according to food industry estimates. It is in breakfast cereals, cereal bars and biscuits, cheeses, cakes, dairy desserts, gravies, noodles, pastries, soups, sausage casings, sauces and sandwich spreads. Soya, crushed, separated and refined into its different parts, can appear on food labels as soya flour, hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein, vegetable oil (simple, fully, or partially hydrogenated), plant sterols, or the emulsifier lecithin. Its many guises hint at its value to manufacturers.

Soya increases the protein content of processed meat products. It replaces them altogether in vegetarian foods. It stops industrial breads shrinking. It makes cakes hold on to their water. It helps manufacturers mix water into oil. Hydrogenated, its oil is used to deep-fry fast food.

Well, shit. I figured that soy might actually be better for me than eating meat or processed foods. I am oversimplifying and know that certain types of soy are better than others. The article is quite long, but well worth the read. The wholesale eating of soy in the quantities we now ingest doesn't really seem like a good idea. What else you are going to eat, though, if it's in almost everything?

Should we worry about soya in our food?

(All three articles found at digg.)


History of the Relief of Pain and Suffering

(Found at plep.)

Order Now!


Buy this and other out of this world products at Made in Eureka.

Ok, so it's a viral marketing thing for the new Sci-Fi network show, Eureka. I saw the pilot last week and it's pretty good. It's about a small town that is populated by geniuses that build impossible devices. It stars several folks you will recognize, including Joe Morton, Matt Frewer as a crazed Australian and that neck waddle guy from ally mcbeal is the head scientist. I have set up my tivo season pass for it.

If you missed the show last week, the entire commercial-free 84 minute pilot is available for free on the sci-fi website. If you have trouble with that link working, go to their Pulse section and scroll down to where it says "Shows."

If you don't get sci-fi, it also is showing on USA Network.


A tale told in checks

Read more of "Ordeal by cheque" (PDF FILE) and piece together the story.

(Found at Ask Metafilter.)

Speaking of Fedex

Video called "24 hours of Fedex" showing a time lapse view of fedex flight tracking data set to an instrumental of "Going to California." It is cool when there are huge bursts of dots from the Memphis hub.

Hi Ho Hi Ho

Off to work I go. After several months off for the surgery and recovery, I am off the pills and headed back to the office on Monday. The sciatica is pretty much gone. I only get it a little when I drive or when I do the physical therapy exercises. It is very nice to be pain free for hours at a time.

They (meaning my HMO and my HR department) don't really prepare you to return to work, they just seem to expect you to show up and get right back in there. Hopefully, I can handle the 9 hour grind again and not have to bring up the dreaded "work from home" topic. Others at work are allowed to do it, but when I have brought it up in the past, I have been met with a solid "NO!" So it goes.

It's also going to be hard not to be lying down all day! And I will miss my wife during the day - she made this so much easier by being there for me.

Not that I would recommend surgery for everyone with back pain and sciatica, but it looks like it worked this time. I still have a long ways to go, keep doing the exercises, remember to not sit for too long in my cubicle, lose more weight. Oh yeah, being around people again. That's gonna be fun.

Pray for me. ;)

Just saw this commercial for fedex that reminds me so much of work. Maybe I will make it after all.

"Responsibilities" video - PC or Mac.

Things we shed today

As a beatlemaniac since I was 10, I am glad to see photos I had never been exposed to before, including the one shown above.

According to a comment on that picture:

I remember seeing this in Beatles Bubblegum packs - 5 cents in 1964. A horrible flat piece of hard gum came wrapped with baseball card-style trading cards of the Beatles. The caption for this one was something like, "here's what they would look like as normal lads" (again, circa 1964). The trading cards must have lasted until about 1965, since I remember seeing movie stills from Help in that format.

See more beatles photos.

(Found at robot wisdom.)

Update: That commenter was right. A search turned up a place where you can see all of the Beatles Bubblegum cards.

True Crime NYC song list

The PC game True Crime NYC is actually a pretty good game. It is an improvement on the Los Angeles version by far. I am only about five or six hours into it, but I am enjoying myself. One thing that really stands out is the soundtrack. There are over 80 high quality tracks ranging from rap to metal to punk. What is even better is that they just put the songs in the "sounds" directory for the game as .wma files. You don't have to decrypt them out of some obscure format. The fun part is that they are named 6000.wma through 6092.wma. To save you the trouble of figuring out what songs go with which file, I have done the work for you. So, for less than $20, you get a good game and dozens of great songs that you can copy anywhere you want. I present "What I did for the past two days, or The True Crime NYC Song list with wma filenames."

247spyz-Yeah x 3 == 6026.wma
Afrika Bambaataa and Soul Force-Planet Rock == 6055.wma
Agnostic front-Police State == 6015.wma
A Tribe called Quest-scenario == 6060.wma
Bad Brains-I Against I == 6010.wma
Big Daddy Kane-Aint no half steppin == 6040.wma
Big Punisher-Twinz Deep Cover == 6073.wma
Biohazard-Shades of Grey == 6027.wma
Biz markie-Im the biz == 6049.wma
Black Moon-Who got da props == 6074.wma
Black Rob-Woah == 6071.wma
Black sheep-the choice is yours == 6066.wma
Black star-definition == 6046.wma
Blondie-Hangin by the telephone == 6033.wma
Bloodsimple-Blood in Blood out == 6004.wma
Blue oyster cult-Dont fear the reaper == 6089.wma
Bobby Womack-Across 110th street == 6038.wma
Bob Dylan-Knockin on heavens door == 6091.wma
Busta rhymes-Put your hands where my eyes can see == 6057.wma
Camron with jayz-Welcome to NYC == 6069.wma
Danzig-Mother == 6012.wma
De la soul-Thru Ya city == 6068.wma
Digable Planets-Rebirth of slick cool like dat == 6059.wma
Dope-The Life == 6022.wma
Eric B and Rakin-Paid in full == 6054.wma
Gang starr-full clip == 6048.wma
Gorilla Biscuits-New Direction == 6014.wma
Grandmaster Flash-New York New York == 6053.wma
Harleys War-Criminal 4 Life == 6007.wma
Hatebreed-Another Day Another Vendetta == 6000.wma
Helmet-Unsung == 6024.wma
Iggy and the Stooges-Search and Destroy == 6018.wma
Interpol-Slow Hands == 6020.wma
Jeru the Damaja-D. Original == 6075.wma
Jungle Brothers-Straight Out the Jungle == 6062.wma
Kool G Rap DJ Polo-Streets of New York == 6063.wma
Kool moe dee-Wild Wild West == 6072.wma
Kurtis blow-The Breaks == 6065.wma
Leaders of the New School-Case of the PTA == 6044.wma
LL Cool J-I Cant live without my radio == 6050.wma
madball-Pride Times are Changing == 6017.wma
Mandrill-echoes in my mind == 6047.wma
Mark Ronson-bout to get ugly == 6041.wma
Marley Marl-The Symphony == 6067.wma
Misfits-Last Caress == 6011.wma
Mobb Deep Shook ones Part II == 6061.wma
Murphys Law-Crucial Bar b q == 6008.wma
My chemical romance-I Never Told You What I Did For A Living == 6028.wma
NaS-NY State of Mind == 6051.wma
New York Dolls-Subway Train == 6021.wma
Public enemy-Bring The Noise == 6043.wma
Quicksand-East 3rd Street == 6029.wma
Ramones-Beat on the Brat == 6001.wma
redman-rush the security == 6076.wma
redman-true crime == 6077.wma
redman-true crime == 6078.wma
Richard Hell and the Voidoids-Blank Generation == 6003.wma
Run DMC-Sucker MCs == 6064.wma
Sam Scarfo-homicide == 6079.wma
Sick of it all-Potential for a fall == 6016.wma
Slick rick-Childrens story == 6045.wma
Sonic Youth-Kool Thing == 6032.wma
Sugarhill gang-Rappers delight == 6058.wma
Suicide-Ghost rider == 6039.wma
Television-See No Evil == 6036.wma
The AKAs-Shout out loud == 6019.wma
The Bravery-Honest Mistake == 6034.wma
The Casualties-Sounds of the streets death toll == 6030.wma
The Cramps-Wrong Way Ticket == 6025.wma
The Damned-Neat Neat Neat == 6013.wma
The Honorary Title-Bridge and Tunnel == 6006.wma
The Rapture-The Killing == 6092.wma
The Velvet Underground-Im waiting for the man == 6035.wma
Unsane-D Train == 6009.wma
Vision of Disorder-Imprint == 6031.wma
Vordul mega-Neva again == 6052.wma
Walkmen-The Rat == 6037.wma
We are scientists-callbacks == 6090.wma
White Zombie-Thunder Kiss 65 == 6023.wma
Wu Tang Clan-Protect Ya Neck == 6056.wma
X ecutioners-Let me rock == 6070.wma
Yeah Yeah Yeahs-Black Tongue == 6002.wma
Youth of Today-Break down the walls == 6005.wma

Mind explodes, brains everywhere

Suzanne Vega will be performing in Second Life.

The public radio show, The Infinite Mind, with John Hockenberry, has acquired a presence in the online virtual 3D world. In addition to Vega, Kurt Vonnegut will also appear in avatar form!

According to the NWN piece, Hockenberry, who is handicapped, was offered a choice between having his avatar in a wheelchair or to have functional legs. He chose to use a hovercraft instead.

As much as I didn't like making the game totally free with no credit card verification (sign up now!), it has brought in over a hundred thousand new people in record time. This is getting the attention of a lot of mainstream outlets. I have a feeling that one day I will be getting all nostalgic about when "we only had a million people."


"I was a Republican - until they lost their minds." - Charles Barkley

Quote from a Page Six bit on Dan Quayle walking out on a John Mellencamp concert.

Go see A Scanner Darkly - Now!

Here in the US, Scanner should be opening at more screens this weekend. Please go see it as soon as you can. I raved about it last week, and now here's an interview and slideshow with the director, Richard Linklater, to add to the pile. Go see it!

(Found at w00t. Ye Olde Fashioned Link Blogge. The guy is in Australia and can't see it for two months! Go see it for him!)

Only $799!

Radio Shack Car Cell Phone Commercial from 1988.

I really want some hot cocoa right now

Canals of Venice's first video, Marshmallow and me

Good stop motion animation with a catchy tune.

(Found at grow a brain.)

There are over 350 marshmallow related videos at youtube. Knock yourselves out.

This would scare the heck out of our parrots

Follow the only known pair of nesting peregrine falcons in Winnipeg as they make their home on a downtown high rise.

The CBC Manitoba / Shaw Falcon Cam

(Found at w00t. Ye Olde Fashioned Link Blogge. Good to see you back to blogging.)

It's for a good cause

"Can you have a walkathon where no one actually walks? Can you raise money for charity if you're using play money? This weekend, the online world of "Second Life" will host the second annual Second Life: Relay for Life to benefit the American Cancer Society."

If you are a member of digg.com, please digg the following story - It will help raise awareness for the American Cancer Society.

Virtual Walkathon Helps Raise Money For Cancer Research

More info about the Second Life Relay for Life.

Why JACK FM Plays What You Want

I have to admit that I didn't like JACK FM the first time I heard it, but now it is my "backup station" when the independent rock station is playing crap and NPR is just too damn depressing.

'Imitation IPod' Invades Radio

Strange advertising crossover

In the early sixties The folks at Hasbro (makers of Mr Potato Head) got together with Dunkin Donuts and came up with this unique advertising character.

More about Dunkie Donut-Head.

Brian Kane Online has linked to this (Thanks!) and adds some neat memories of other similar Hasbro toys.

A very well written threat

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker aren't happy about the latest Owen Wilson movie, "You, Me and Dupree" and write his brother Luke for redress.


Among other things, it asks for Owen to come to the Irvine concert tonight and apologize for being in a lame movie that stole the title character from their song "Cousin Dupree."

Nice to know Steely Dan still has a twisted sense of humor.

Do you have to use so many cuss words?

I just finished watching 'The Big Lebowski' less than an hour ago, and I come across a link to the 'The Big Lebowski - F_cking Short Version' over at waxy.

Keep the speaker volume low on this one, kids, it uses the 'f' word a whole lot.

More people playing with dolls

We've been catching up on watching 'House MD' on the tivo lately. Great show, we just can't get enough of it.

Doll House MD - Wilson and House

Well, the Doll_House_MD folks are really trying to get as much as they can. As you can see, they've modified barbies, kens and I don't know what all to make some really crazy photo stories.

(Found via TFD LJ Feed.)

Getting back into the real world

I am preparing myself to get back to work with the physical therapy and doing some driving. Wouldn't you know that as soon as I get behing the wheel, I almost get creamed by some idiot in a pickup who was changing lanes and not paying attention. Guy in the mohawk with a black pickup on Jamboree around 2:30pm? You are an asshole. An asshole who is also a barrel racer, listens to My Chemical Romance and promises that "The beatings will continue until morale improves" according to his bumper stickers.

Interesting facts from that wikipedia entry on barrel racers:

It is mostly a "cowgirl" sport and "A cowboy hat is part of the dress code for the event; if the riders hat falls off during a race, a rider will be fined $10-$25. This fine is unique to barrel-racing, though it is falling out of favor and some events even ask that a cowboy hat not be worn." Oh, the controversy!

And, apparently, it isn't horse abuse.

Now, I enjoy watching cars go around in circles, so I am not going to ridicule anyone's sport of choice. But, c'mon, guy with mohawk, girl sport, emo makeup band fan who almost ran me over?

It would have almost been worth it to not have braked and taken you out.

Can you tell I am off the valium?

(don't worry, I will go back to posting pics from the feed, just needed to vent.)

Way more than you ever wanted to know about specialty vehicles

That taxicab is probably an old police car.

Yet another post-surgery update

My surgeon has cleared me to return to work next Monday, the 24th. I started Physical Therapy today and will be going for at least the next two months. I drove for the first time in nearly three months as well.

According to the therapist, I haven't been walking correctly for quite some time. I apparently don't use my hips, but rather my lower back muscles. I didn't understand how that was possible until he started to move my legs to show me the muscles I wasn't using correctly. Holy crap, did that hurt!

I have a whole set of exercises for trunk stabilization, the piriformis and getting my hips to work properly when I walk. During my regular evening stroll, I paid more attention to how I was walking and tried to use the same muscles from the PT session. It was a totally different walk. I don't really know what is up with this, but I will keep doing it.

Coming off of the drugs is a long process - finally down to one dose of valium and darvocet a day (down from a lot of doses.)

Thanks again to those who have posted comments wishing me well. You have helped a lot. Also to the people who keep coming back to read this page. Still amazed that anyone's interested, but well over a thousand people have come through in the last 30 days. It has been very theraputic to know folks are reading.

And now, as a bonus for reading this far, a very funny video of comedian David Armand "signing/miming" to Natalie Imbrulia's song "Torn." If you don't want to go to youtube to see it, his wikipedia page has a link to a downloadable .wmv file. Enjoy.

Original Surgery Post and links to followups.

очень красиво!

Explanation of how this excellent collage was made. Ya ponemayu nimnoga, but I can't really tell you everything that is being said. To you photoshoppers and/or Russian speakers in the house, how hard is it to do something like this?

(Found via TFD Live Journal Feed.)

Finally, someone is actually reading the Bible

Inspired By… The Bible Experience is the most ambitious undertaking in recent recording history. The Bible is brought to life by a collection of distinguished artists and personalities, in a complete and fully dramatized audio recording of all 66 Books of Scripture. The 368 character portrayals are further accentuated by a compelling and inspirational musical soundtrack.

Hyperbole aside, the site has a short video of the production process and every black celebrity you have ever heard of is in this. They all seem very into it and, you know, I think if someone can get Christians to actually pay attention to the "peace and love" parts of Jesus' words, more power to them.

If you look at the cast list, Samuel L. Jackson appears in both the Old and New Testaments. Now I haven't looked at my Bible in a while, but I think that means that SAMUEL L. JACKSON IS GOD! This story about it at USA TODAY says that Blair Underwood is reading the red words.

Irritable Male Syndrome

Male PMS?

Are you a man who is feeling irritable, depressed and bloated? Well, those are symptoms related to a condition called "irritable male syndrome," which may affect millions of men.

Fats and carbohydrates block the body's ability to use testosterone proteins, and eating unprocessed foods can help. Gillespie suggested a diet of approximately 300 to 500 calories about five times a day will keep testosterone and insulin levels smooth.

(Yes, a rerun from 11/2002.)

More info about IMS.

see ipod history, be a sweet transvestite and find out what a honda feels like

The first ipod promotional video.

How to make Frank's Cape.

Honda UK has made a killer commercial that uses a chorus of people to make all of the sounds. It's a flash thing - just click WATCH and you can see the commercial and the rehearsal process. Some really cool stuff. (found at http://hepatica-mel.livejournal.com/)

(Found via the TFD LJ feed. I know it looks like I am just hitting the feed once and posting whatever comes up. Not the case. Do you know how much crap is posted there? After you get through the barfing dog and two headed cat pictures, there is still all the glitter words and the "I am taking a picture of myself in the mirror." images. Seriously, it can take an hour to find something good. Not to say it's not fun or a nice waste of time. Just didn't want you to think I wasn't working hard for you.)

Photos of interest from the LJ Feed

This just reminds me so much of a Bouguereau painting brought to life.

Obsidian Blade - Redcloth Chronicles

I am so bummed the limited edition prints are sold out. (from robot-dino-tree-girl)

I have never seen a building like this except in Second Life.

It's coming right for us!

(All pictures found via the Toothpaste For Dinner Live Journal Picture Feed)

Realized I had never done one of these

From World66 - create your own personalized map of the USA.

Also, Ontario and British Columbia in Canada and Sonora in Mexico.

Let's hear it for the vague blur

It was over two years ago that I posted about the latest Philip K. Dick book to be put to the screen. "A Scanner Darkly" was finally released last week in a limited run. Our local university theater (which has crappy little seats that I can't sit in right now) was showing it. My wife went and said it was great and very little differed from the book. That is awesome because most of the PKD movies are adapatations of short stories (TOTAL RECALL, MINORITY REPORT, PAYCHECK) so they get changed a lot or are from a novel (BLADE RUNNER) but leave out huge chunks of the book.

I get to see it today, as the movie is going a bit more "wide." The limited showings last week brought in the second highest per screen average in the country behind the Pirates movie. They added a bunch of new screens this week, so it's at one of those big theaters with the stadium seats now. I can handle that. I am so excited.

The movie also has a very trippy My Space page.

UPDATE: Just got back - the movie is excellent. It is completely faithful to the book. So you PKD fans can go without fear. For you not familiar with the book, just kick back and enjoy the ride, it's a mindfuck that you will not soon forget.

UPDATE 2: Metafilter has a discussion going on about the film. The main link there allows you to watch the first 24 minutes of the movie online. Go!

Everyone's gone to the movies

Steely Dan is coming to my town next week. My wife and I have lawn tickets, so I get to lay down in the sun for a few hours and listen to some of the greatest music ever written. Michael McDonald is opening. At first, I was all "OH NO! Not the 'Yah Mo Be There' guy. Then I remembered that he was part of Steely Dan on their early albums. It should be a good night.

Happy Birthday, dear blog

7/13/2002 - Four years ago, I started this thing to "distract me from the pain." It has done a good job doing that. A generous mix of random things on the web plus some medical discussion has worked out pretty well - it even spawned a separate sciatica forum that was around for a while. The most important part of the site, though, was the fact that some people stuck around to keep reading, even if it didn't always answer their medical questions. I really appreciate your reading/bookmarking/feedreading/emailing other people this site. For you new folks, please take a look at the right side of the page for the sciatica information and the archives.

I will start this new year with some thank you's to those folks who have been decent enough to have made this blog what it is today.

Thank you's (in alphabetical order, so as not to offend):

b3ta - for constantly providing the animated gifs that make my heart explode with joy. I couldn't find an exploding heart gif, but I have posted this recursive gallery gif from them before:

- for letting me know what I did had a name (it's called "sifting" and it's nothing to be ashamed of.)

boing boing
- for making me amazed, angry and jealous. I have been "boingboing'd" twice - once indirectly when a post I put up made it through the food chain to them and once directly last August.

- for providing such good links over the years. He has actually found a lot of stuff way earlier than I have seen in other places. He should get more credit.

Brian Kane Online
- for being one of the first guys to link to me. We lost touch for a while, but it's great to see he's still going strong and giving me good stuff to read.

- for letting an old guy read some of the best advertising commentary around. I link to them often.

- for making me ROFLMAO consistently. One of my first posts was about his herbalife takedown.

diminished responsibility
- for finding some of the strangest shit on the web. Puppet, you are a master.

Edward Goodwin
- for making an interesting link/personal blog - you need to post more, Ed! Oh, and for introducing me to the insane mind of Zane.

- for being there. Hanan has always provided great links and a helping hand. One of the best sifters in the game.

Humane Society of the US
- for showing me puppies in danger. Sometimes you need a good cry.

- for showing me things I really didn't want to see, but I link to. If I have to see the wacky Japanese people in costumes, so do you!

- for giving me a place to pontificate and link to. Also, I have a great number of best answers on ask mefi!

Mike Daisey
- for answering my email! I never thought that would happen. And for showing that a mix of random pictures and articles is a viable thing.

MoCo Loco
- for introducing me to the coolest design work in the world.

My So-called Penis
- for being an Interesting M****rf****r in his own right. Wil Forbis is a web God and, if I ever get over the fear of my Mom reading the blog, I will link to more of his Penis Friday posts.

Osprey Therian - for being an early fan who is also one of the most gifted members of Second Life.

- for making me part of that big link list on the left side of his page and for providing interesting, inspiring and educational links daily - and also for that brain baby hat thing from the other day. I loved that.

Richard Harter's World
- for making the corniest jokes work and then allowing me to inflict them upon others.

Robot Wisdom
- for coming back! And for being the archetype for all of us who came after. I know I will never be as good, but I can always try.

- for finding the coolest/campiest tunes and films. Matt's site has been mined here frequently.

- Fnord.

tastes like burning...
- Scarce was one of the first people to link here - it looks like he's taken the site down, but will still be putting up pics on flickr.

The Cartoonist
- for sharing his great collection of art (and Basil)

The Wisdom of the Illiterati
- for being early fans who saw that the site had little to do with sciatica, but stayed anyway.

things magazine
- for finding the best things on the web - please put me back on your link list!

toothpaste for dinner
- for showing me that pizza is a trap and putting up the LJ image feed.

Wacky Neighbor
- for being wacky - I still long to be added to the "checking out" list.

- for providing awesome links and for not changing when he became big and famous. I hope I am just as cool when I hit it big :)

I would be remiss if I didn't give tribute to a site that inspired me greatly:

Aaron Hawkins, UppityNegro.com - I do hope you have found a better place.

I may start changing my own oil!

Topside oil changer

I don't like going to the local oil changing franchise. It always seems like a circus and I often wonder if they've really done anything or if my drain plug is going to fall out. I am just not in a condition where I can do it myself. Now it looks like I can, as Cool Tools reports on the Topside Oil Changer.

Penny Lane is in their chains

The City of Liverpool could have renamed Penny Lane because it was named after a slave trader.

Everybody Wang Du tonight

Wang Du Space Time Tunnel

Chinese artist Wang Du's first UK solo exhibition will introduce The Space-TimeTunnel, a large-scale sculptural installation which submerges the visitor into a giddying media flow. Exhibition visitors are invited to journey through a mass of newspapers and magazines combined with more than 66 TV-screens, incessantly broadcasting programmes from global television networks.

Read more about the Space-TimeTunnel at the Business Innovation Insider. They also have a link to a video of someone going through the 35 foot long tunnel. There is a neat surprise at the end!

Not as they appear to be

Rice Krispies - Trickster in a bowl. Be warned, this is not for the weak. Snap, Crackle and Pop will have a whole new meaning when you are done reading that.

Arts and Crafts for the Tacky

baby brain hat

Make a Brain Hat for your baby.

(Found via plep.)

Another minimally invasive spinal procedure going through clinical trials

ABC7 news here in LA reports today about a minimally invasive spinal procedure called the Wallis Stabilization System. It basically is a little spacer that is placed between the spinal processes (those bits that stick out of your vertebrae) and are held there by little straps. It acts almost like a spinal fusion, limiting "bad" movements of the vertebrae and provides a load sharing effect.

It has been used outside the US for a while and now Abbott Spine is running clinical trials in the US.

I don't believe I would have been a candidate for this due to the prior surgery and the state of the disc degeneration indicated on my MRI. However, this might be good news for those of you who might be getting to that point where your doctor is thinking that fusion might be a good option.

I know this is like the 20th time I have posted about the next great procedures, yet the only two I have had are good old fashioned barbaric ones.

Remember to look over at the top right of the page for some more information about sciatica and back pain issues. Also, if you have had anything like this that you want to share, please leave a comment or email me a link.

White. A blank page or canvas. So many possibilities

You know that painting from Ferris Bueller's Day Off? The one that Cameron focused in on really, really hard?

Well, Drawn has a post about a group of folks that did a live recreation of Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. Read the comments there for a link to a recreation of a Renoir work.

Learn even more about the pop culture uses of this painting over at the wikipedia, including the topiary version.

In a world of infinite possibilities

I play Second Life. People ask me what is Second Life? I try to explain how it is a 3D environment where you can build anything and be anything. It is hard to explain. Luckily, several fine folks have made some short films illustrating exactly what Second Life can be.


The Motel

Prepare Yourself

To take a spin in Second Life for yourself - download the free client here. It is on all platforms and is totally free.
(crossposted from the second life forums)

OMG - Maeby's gone goth!

I don't think we're in Newport Beach anymore

Pop Candy has a great post about the new movie starring Alia Shawkat, Maeby from Arrested Development, as well as some other info about a possible AD movie!

Not Like Everyone Else is based on the true story of an Oklahoma teen and her battle with school authorities when she *gasp* brings a book to school about Wicca.

Yes, it is on Lifetime, but it looks like a totally kick ass afterschool special. It's on tonight at 9 and repeated on July 16th.

Rant on Blogging Ethics, Attribution and Digg.com

Now that I have started actively updating the blog again, I have noticed that the state of attribution in the blog world has taken a deep dive. With all of the personal downtime lately due to the surgery, I spend a lot of time randomly surfing a lot of blogs, large and small. I keep seeing the same links posted on several different sites including, sadly, a few that I link to in my sidebar*. There is a common lack of attribution. Some can surely be explained by them having a very popular source (stories from major magazines/newspapers), but some of these are quite obscure and also share another common component - They are all popular links on Digg.com.

For those not familiar with digg.com, it is:

Digg is a user driven social content website. Ok, so what the heck does that mean? Well, everything on digg is submitted by the digg user community (that would be you). After you submit content, other digg users read your submission and digg what they like best. If your story rocks and receives enough diggs, it is promoted to the front page for the millions of digg visitors to see.

Digg is changing what you see on the web, especially on blogs. This is an awesome thing for everyone and allows more content to be shared. However, it is being abused by a lot of bloggers.

It is as if, simply because it is on digg.com, that the link is fair game and can be treated as one found "in the wild." The part of this that really gets me is that the readers of these blogs, some very popular, will never know. When only 1 out of every 10 posts are marked as "found at" or "via," it makes the blogger look as if they are the ones who are uncovering all of this great stuff. It is a lie. If you read blogs like this one (and most that I link to), know that we rely heavily on the work of others to get our content. Attribution is important to our integrity.

I know I am in the extreme on this. If I post something I can't remember the provenance of, I let you know that. If I see a cool site, but it has been heavily "dugg" already, I will either let you know it's from digg, or just add it to my digg sidebar. Another common and accepted convention is to just admit "This one has been everywhere."

This effect is not restricted to digg.com, aggregating sites like the various meta/monkey/sports-filter.coms, del.icio.us and fark are also mined without mercy by these parasites.

I also know why the other bloggers post without attribution, they need an edge, they need the traffic, they need the impression that they are the place to go for those things you would never find on your own. Well, we "sifting" bloggers have been finally usurped by digg.com. It might not be obvious now, but with digg adding more mainstream categories and it getting a lot more non-geek press, it is only a matter of time before a time strapped user will just go to digg and get their quick web fix. And why not have thousands of users decide what you read and feed it directly to your My Yahoo or other feedreader? When these users see that you are just reposting (and without attribution), they will stop reading your site. Those of us who do this aren't in it for the money (I made about $30 from amazon links this year.) We do it because we like to share what we've found with others. We like the attention.

Where does that leave us sifting bloggers? It means that those of us who have always attributed common things and found unique items will be able to adapt and survive. Those who don't will find themselves losing readers because most things on their blogs aren't new. Admitting you found something somewhere else is not a bad thing. It helps your readers know where they can find other cool stuff. They will come back, because you always have good stuff. Hell, admit that "We read digg, so you don't have to" and just get "thebestofdigg.blogspot.com" and be done with it.

For a great guide on how to attribute on your blog, this article, Ethics and Blogging: Attribution where due, is a must read.

*Why do I still link to the sites I am ranting about? I need the readers. They link to me and send a couple or three folks a week over. Again, it's about the desire to be read that compels. Why won't I tell you who they are? Because then they wouldn't link to me anymore. So much for my integrity...

If any links to here suddenly disappear, I will be glad to spill the beans. However, if you look at the sites, it will be obvious which are the offenders.

The headbutt heard round the world

Without spoiling who won the World Cup for those who might not know yet, Zidane headbutted another player in today's match a few hours ago and someone has already created this mortal kombat graphic remix:

(found via the TFD LJ Feed - the LJ page this was posted on had "objectionable material" and they didn't attribute it either, so I didn't link it.)

(Update: Found the source over in a Metafilter thread - it was one of the crazies over at b3ta.)

F1 Stars moving to NASCAR?

I know NASCAR is really catching on with the whole Ricky Bobby thing happening, but when a former F1 champ like Jacques Villeneuve wants to go around in circles it is just amazing. Considering that the current two-time Cup champion Tony Stewart is also a former IRL champion and stars like Jeff Gordon and Ryan Newman has open wheel backgrounds, the transition has been successfully made before. Paul Tracy, a CART series Champ is currently running in the Busch series, but in an underfunded (read as crappy) car, and just announced a five year contract extension in CART with some Busch/Cup on the side.

I think the biggest adjustment for the F1 guys will be the pay cut. Even the top guys in Cup don't make as much as some mid-level F1 drivers. For example, Ralf Schumacher, who isn't exactly burning up the track in his Toyota, is rumored to get around 16 million dollars a year. Other mediocre drivers make a lot as well. To compare, Stewart "only" made $13 million in his 2005 championship run, an all time record for the Cup series.

On Jacques Villeneuve:

As it grows in stature as a major racing series both domestically and abroad, NASCAR has become more and more attractive to some of the world's top drivers.

Last week, former Formula One champion and Indy 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve – who likely will lose his ride with BMW's F1 team at the end of this season, possibly spelling an end to his F1 career – expressed interest in coming to America and a career in NASCAR.

"Going to NASCAR might not be such a bad career move because it's the most exciting race series in the U.S. and it's a very different discipline to F1," Villeneuve told the Agence France-Presse. "I would not consider it a step down. Would I consider a move to stock cars? I would."

On Juan Pablo Montoya:

Montoya's tenure in F1 has been seen as a disappointment since the very talented driver has never fulfilled his potential of becoming a champion in that series. Because of that, and his reputation for being an overly-aggressive driver, there has been little interest expressed in his services by other F1 teams

In the past few weeks, Montoya's name has been linked to his old boss, Chip Ganassi, who last month told Autosport magazine, "I'd love to have Montoya back. I'd take him in a second," a comment which many had interpreted as having the Colombian take a seat in one of Ganassi's IRL cars.

However, according to sources close to Montoya, what the 31-year-old former CART champion really is interested in is Ganassi's soon-to-be vacant No. 42 Nextel Cup car.

(quotes from a Yahoo Sports article)

Jayski has been told that Montoya has been signed by Ganassi to take over the #42 Dodge in 2007 and will run a few Busch Series races this year. UPDATE: It's official, according to NASCAR.com.

Personally, I would be kinda stoked to see JPM going to the #42 - In addition to pulling for Ryan Newman in the #12 Dodge, I have followed the career of Reed Sorenson, driver of the #41 Target Dodge, since he was 16 and driving in the ASA. As a teammate to Reed, JPM could teach the kid a thing or two, I am sure. Of course, this is the same guy who spun out his current F1 teammate, Kimi, at Indy last week...

When I was a kid, we had this thing called Pinball

Growing up in the 70's, my brother and I loved to go to the arcade at the Valley West Mall (Destroyed now - it was the mall used in Eight Legged Freaks) and play pinball. It was a dark place, but we loved it. Apparently, our parents didn't think it was so swell for kids to be there, but didn't want to deprive us of the game. We got our own real size pinball machine, "Eight Ball."

From the guide to the Simpson's Pinball Machine:

Faces Drop Targets
Mrs Krabappel: "Owwww!"
Mr. Burns:"Owwwww!"
Sherri and Terri "Oww!" The same one as Nelson
Principal Skinner: Does not go "Ow." He goes boing. Don't know why.

Eight Ball Deluxe - the remake of the game mentioned above
TILT! THE ART OF PINBALL - An exhibit of backglass art in Mount Vernon, Illinois from Pinball News.

pinball's-eye-view photography from kevin tiell (from the waxy link below.)

Waxy talks about California Extreme, the awkwardly-named yearly arcade/pinball show

(yes, I am totally using the multipost about one subject format from Grow A Brain. I hope Hanan appreciates the homage.)

Bonus Link:

I can't talk about the 70's without thinking of the song "Afternoon Delight." Thankfully, Will Ferrell was kind enough to make a video remake for his Anchorman movie. In case you are not familiar with the song, it is about daytime lovemaking.

Maybe I don't want to go back to work so soon after all

Image from Serious Burns - http://sb.simpsonscentral.com

In part because of domineering bosses, many workers have come to feel like they need to stay at their desks, instead of stepping away for a few minutes to refocus. Kahn says this leads workers to “keep trying to override those messages that you need to take a break. As the day progresses, it takes more energy to override those messages, and productivity goes down.??

So, the next time the big cheese calls you in for that meeting you’ve been dreading, or when worrying about tomorrow’s deadline is keeping you from finishing today’s project, slip in five extra minutes to step back, take a deep breath, and relax. Your heart -- and very likely your employer -- will end up thanking you.

From the Fast Company article, "Is your boss killing you?"

Fast Company is a great magazine and they are practically giving it away - it's $5 for an entire year. Very dumpworthy.

I'm An Old Cowhand (From The Uckermark)

I was not aware that the Germans had a fascination with the US "Old West."

There is a theme park north of Berlin called "Silver Lake City" and one called "No Name City" in Poing.

The Germans' Infatuation with Cowboys and Indians

Germany's Wild Wild West

Germany’s Cult of the Cowboy

What exactly is the Watermelon doing there?

As I am slowly coming off of the pain meds, I find I can concentrate on an entire movie without drifting off. I tivo'd a whole mess of them for my recovery and am starting to go through them. The first was "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension." I had not seen it since the 80's, so it was new and fun.

I was wondering about some of the wierder plot points, especially the bit with the watermelon in that machine. Luckily, the Buckaroo Banzai FAQ was able to help me out. The Banzai Institute also mentions that there is an Easter Egg on the DVD that goes into the watermelon question in more depth.

surgery recovery update

I might have to change my site name. The sciatica is nearly gone. The fusion seems to be healing up just fine. The back pain is mostly from walking around and it appears to me to be caused by using muscles that haven't been worked in a while and readjusting to the fused L4-L5 vertebrae. The full recovery time for something like this is around eight months, so I know I am not out of the woods yet, it is just nice to be able to look up and see I went more than four hours without taking a pain pill.

I see the surgeon on Monday and hopefully will be cleared for physical therapy and get back to work in a couple of weeks.

I am using an Intelect® IFC Portable Stimulator (Neuroelectrical Muscle Stimulator - NMS) to help rehab the muscles. They are designed for symptomatic relief and management of chronic pain and acute post-surgical or post-trauma pain. The one I have is really small - runs for about 20 minutes on a 9V battery with two sets of leads stuck to my lower back.

My physical therapist has one of these NMS machines, but it is huge and has to be wheeled in. It is so relaxing after a session to get zapped for a while with it. While there are places you can buy the smaller units online without a prescription - you are supposed to have one. Talk to your doctor or PT about getting one - they are around $150 and well worth it. Insurance may even cover part of it. I linked to the manufacturer and not an amazon link on this one because of that. This isn't something one gets on a whim, but if you have back pain and/or sciatica - it is a nice way to get some relief without pills. This has not been any sort of commercial - just letting you know this sort of thing exists.

(Original Surgery Post with followup links)

They changed the balls again!

Boing Boing is running a link to a story about some people who made concrete soccer balls with kick me written near them.

It jogged my memory and I found this old cartoon of a doctor who did the same thing.

Click to see the full size version. I can't remember where I found it, but I had it dated 7/2003.

(For those of you not following the World Cup, they changed the design of the ball this year and not everyone was pleased about it.)

When you are a man, sometimes you wear a big belt buckle

Visit Wes Clark's collection of 70's belt buckles.

Wes has put together a tremendous site that chronicles almost every aspect of his life.

Of particular interest are:

Avocado Memories: Growing up in Burbank, California in the Sixties and Seventies. Photos of his old house while growing up and subsequent revisits.

Burbankia: about the lore, local legends and history of Burbank, California.

Web Noir: A site dedicated to film noir.


Pictures of other people's childhood homes.

Don't let the paparazzi get you down anymore

marginally NSFW, but it's a holiday, so you're probably not at work

Make your lawyer and manager happy by wearing the Black Bar Privacy Specs from stupidiotic. (That link is marginally NSFW, but it's a holiday, so you're probably not at work.)

(Found at defamer.)

Celebrate America by taking acid

This trippy tribute to our country's 200th birthday was funded by a Bicentennial Project Grant and animated by Vincent Collins who made other psychedelic cartoons. This film was produced by the United States Information Agency - the government's propaganda agency.

See the video

I love this kind of thing - those of us who were kids in the 70's got to see some very psychedelic stuff as educational material. This was about average for trippiness for the time.

(Found at mike daisey.)

All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.

Charles Darwin has a posse

This, THE HUXLEY FILE, is addressed to an audience ranging from those who never heard of Thomas Henry Huxley to those who are familiar with him and may even have read some of his work. For specific guidance on the various subjects he wrote about – fields ranging from the design of marine invertebrate structure to the design of a good human society – the cybernaut may refer to any of the 21 guides concluding this preview. Selections in THE HUXLEY FILE that appear only in obscure Victorian magazines or hidden archives will be of interest to those who do know him and may even have studied and published on him.

If THH is known at all, it is as "Darwin’s bulldog." This self-imposed nickname recognizes the collegiate defense–and enthusiastic offense–he undertook in support of the theory of evolution. In November of 1859, after reading the newly-published Origin of Species, he warned Charles Darwin that there would be mischief from anti-evolutionists, and that he himself, T. H. Huxley, was sharpening up his claws preparing to annihilate these creationist critics. He devoted himself for most of his career defending Darwinism and related notorious subversive subjects

"Darwinism" was defined in the Victorian period and is defined today not only as Darwin's theory of natural selection, but as a comprehensive network that includes a philosophical view of the ethical as well as practical significance of scientific investigation; as a type of materialism; as agnosticism; as an assault on the historical validity of scripture; and as a model for the design of a political and economic community. To all of these, THH contributed, so significantly that though we are not aware of it, much of what educated free people think today of deity, or religion, of science, of their values, and of their own origin and future traces back to Huxley as originator, as he was the inventor of the word "agnostic" itself.

Sorry about the big cut and paste job there, but I was just doing some random googling and came upon this amazing site. I have mentioned Darwin's Posse before, but it looks like I've found an actual member! Sounds like a fascinating fellow - some of his aphorisms are very true:

We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain duty of each of us is to try to make the little corner he can influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was before he entered it.

It is not to be forgotten that what we call rational rounds for our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our instincts.

If a man cannot do brain work without stimulants of any kind, he had better turn to hand work–it is an indication on Nature's part that she did not mean him to be a head worker.

While I am sure that as I read more about this man, I will find things I agree with and disagree with, he does seem to be worth some of my time. I hope you will find he is worth some of yours.

He's traveled the world and the seven seas

Guilin, Li River, Limestone Peaks

The Intrepid Berkeley Explorer site showcases a whole bunch of international travel videos. They are pretty good quality .wmv files and stream through a popup in IE - firefox didn't seem to want to stream them so they are just downloading. I am currently enjoying the latest one from Japan.

The Intrepid Berkeley Explorer is played by David Mundstock. David Mundstock's personal site (warning: audio) has a ton of great pics and information about his television program.

Why are we so willing to watch these on the web, but when a friend/family wants us to see their travel vids, we don't seem so enthused?

Hit the target, win a prize - Carny tricks

It is summer again and that means it's time for the county fair. I won't be able to attend this year due to being unable to walk for more than a few minutes at a time, but I did want to share this entry I wrote last year about seeing a guy fleeced at the midway.

From July, 2005:

We recently went to the Orange County Fair and saw all of the "Games of Skill" on the midway. After seeing what looked like an intelligent man drop $18 on the basketball toss game (and not even get the $10 stuffed animal,) I decided to check on the legitimacy of these games.

According to a Contact 4 investigation by KRON-TV, the games aren't rigged, just really hard and not worth the money.

An expose of different types of carnival fraud, including how that dart and balloon game works:

A dart-the-balloon game has some very desirable prizes on display. To win, you're told you have to throw a dart, burst a balloon, and the tag under the balloon tells which prize you've won. What you don't know is that no tags show the desirable prizes. They all show the cheap prizes, called slum. You spend a dollar for three darts and you walk away with a plastic comb that cost the game operator less than a nickel.

The basketball scam has even pissed off Christians.

10 things not to do at a carnival, including playing the games.

Fun with custom luggage labels

There will be no management meeting today

While I am sure I won't get away with that image, KLM is offering to create and mail to you custom luggage tags with your own images on them!

A mindbending puzzle from a crazy man

Enter the nine dimensional hypercube called the starmaze.

I tried the puzzle and after many false starts made it look like this:

I read the whole thing and still don't know if I achieved the goal.

(Found at plep.)

Getting your doctor to recognize your pain

There is an awesome post over at metafilter by a doctor who says, "Doctors and patients agree - doctors are lousy when it comes to recognizing, diagnosing and treating pain." He continues to tell about a new continuing education program that all doctors in California must take to help them with this. You can read the free online program and a very good discussion there as well. My comments to the post are reproduced below.

I have experienced a huge difference in pain management depending on the hospital.

My first back surgery in 2000 was a partial discectomy and, while I got a morphine shot upon initial recovery, the rest of the three days in the hospital was agony. I was watching the clock waiting for the darcovet to come in pill form.

I just had a spinal fusion with a different surgeon and hosptial and was given IV morphine the entire first day then switched to IV dilaudid for the next three days. I was much more comfortable that time around.

Both were with the same insurance company and after both I have been given ample amounts of darvocet (up to 2 every four hours). So, I don't know if the reason for the different treatments were due to the facility, the surgeon or the insurance company.

The doctors I have seen here in California do some pain assessment by moving bits of me around and watching me scream and jump. In a couple of cases, it didn't seem horribly scientific, but since we both agreed I was in pain, we were able to move on to pain management. I do feel like I have been lucky, as I used to run a sciatica forum and heard horror stories of folks with doctors who refused to recognize their conditions due to the fact that it "couldn't be measured." The other stories posted above seem to bear this out as well.

I am glad to see that my doctor will be getting more education on the subject.

So that's why you have sciatica!

Here is a recent news article about back pain and sciatica entitled Spinal stenosis can be very painful.

After reading so many books and online articles about back and leg pain, I sometimes forget there are folks that are coming across this for the first time. So, I will forgive the obviousness of the article title.

If you are having any of the serious symptoms (numbness/extreme pain) described in the article, please see a doctor immediately. If you have any bowel or bladder "issues," get to a hospital as soon as possible. It might be embarassing to admit you have those "issues" but it is a sign of cauda equina. You have very little time to get attention at that point as the long term effects can be just plain awful. I cannot stress this enough.

In praise of newer bottles

New pill bottle at Target

Dennis Bullock recently discovered the new prescription drug bottles that Target Pharmacies use. I'd talk about it more, but I left comments on his site that you can read.

I have had back surgeries and this site helps to distract me from the pain. When I am finding cool sites and ranting, I feel better.

Would acupuncture help with the symptoms of sciatica or would any other complementary medical solutions be worth considering?

I have found it helpful to do the stretching exercises my physical therapist recommends. Do some core strengthening exercises, such as the ones highlighted at The Mayo Clinic. By keeping your core strong, your back won't put itself in a position to cause that sciatica pain you are having.

This book, Back Pain: What You Need to Know (Johns Hopkins), is very good and inexpensive; regardless of what the review on amazon says.

Good luck and try to stay off the pills (unless you really, really need them!)

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"... I was walking home one night and a guy hammering on a roof called me a paranoid little weirdo... in morse code..."