Entries for February 2001 (March 2001 »    April 2001 »    May 2001 »    Archives)

 

Some random things from myFEB 28

Some random things from my recent trip, in no particular order:

- People (like my friend Kelly) still go to the library. For some reason, I don't think of people using libraries anymore. Do you still go to the library? What for? Do you use the library less because you have access to the Internet at home? Or do you go to the library to access the Internet? Post your comments here.

- The current "in fashion" thing for teens to do in cold climates is to wear summer clothing. With temperatures hovering around freezing this weekend, I saw teen girls wearing shorts, skirts, sandals, and short-sleeved blouses, while the boys were wearing sandals and t-shirts. There was an occasional sweatshirt or parka, but most were dressed for summer.

- Northwest Airlines uses DIN Mittelschrift (or something very, very close) for the warning labels on the outside of their planes, the same font I use for the titles on this site.

- I walked right past Garrison Keillor's desk. He was not in.

- Some pictures: a completed puzzle, a fleeing kitty, a winter scene, a partially frozen river, and an impassable trail.

Sony's Playstation.com site is usingFEB 27

Sony's Playstation.com site is using Silkscreen all over the place.

Finally, after an agonizing waitFEB 27

Finally, after an agonizing wait on your part (I'm sure), the webcam is finally back up. My appearance on the cam will be a little sporadic, but I'll try and make an appearance a few times a week.

Enjoy the silence.FEB 22

Enjoy the silence.

According to these Internet UsageFEB 21

According to these Internet Usage Stats from January, the average Internet user goes online 28 times a month, spends 30 minutes online per session, but only visits 19 unique sites per month. That seems freakishly low, but it might indicate that once Internet users find the sites that they like to use, they rarely deviate. Or it might be that many users use the Internet just to get to AOL or Yahoo! to chat or IM. What do you think accounts for that low number of site visits per month? Got any proof? How many sites do you visit per month? Post your comments here.

The phrase "crouching tiger, hiddenFEB 21

The phrase "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" is a Cheng Yu, or Chinese idiom. A Cheng Yu is typically comprised of 4 characters and refers to a larger story that has a lesson or moral associated with it, much like the Western phrase "sour grapes" refers to Aesop's fable of The Fox and the Grapes. As for what "crouching tiger, hidden dragon" means, a message board posting reveals the answer:

"The phrase 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' (Wuo hu zhan long) is a chinese idiom in which the words 'Tiger' and 'Dragon' directly refer to people with special hidden talents. This idiom is used to remind people to never underestimate anybody."

Much thanks to Ted for the info.

The origins of "lorem ipsum..."FEB 20

The origins of "lorem ipsum..." explained:

Going through the cites of the word in classical literature, he found one that looked familiar. Aha! Lorem ipsum was part of a passage from Cicero, specifically De finibus bonorum et malorum, a treatise on the theory of ethics written in 45 BC. The original reads, Neque porro quisquam est qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit... ('There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain...').

Stephen King and James LileksFEB 20

Stephen King and James Lileks agree with me on the whole "no young children in the theater during R-rated movies" thing. Thanks to Mark and James for the links.

Several people pointed out thatFEB 19

Several people pointed out that yesterday's "Under Construction" collection was but part of a larger collection:

"I have a great vision that one day this page will actually be finished and complete. Please share in this delusion."

Attention parents: do not takeFEB 19

Attention parents: do not take your young children to R-rated movies. Movie theaters are not daycare centers. In the past week, I've been to two R-rated movies (Hannibal and Traffic) with young children present. In addition to being a disruption for your fellow patrons (nothing ruins drama like "Mommy, I wanna go home now"), it's probably not very good for your kids. Traffic wasn't all that bad, but the gore and violence in Hannibal just isn't something 5 year olds should be watching.

Traffic was excellent, easily the best film up for a Best Picture Oscar. Benico Del Toro completely deserves every award he gets; he's simply one of the 2 or 3 best actors working right now. I'd pay $10 to watch him read the phone book.

I was just rocking outFEB 18

I was just rocking out to Metallica...lip syncing, air guitar, the whole bit. I am both ashamed and happy.

The author of Car Living:FEB 18

The author of Car Living: How to Make It a Successful, Sane, Safe Experience also has a Web site on the same topic (the viability of people living in cars). The site gives the author's address as being a P.O. Box somewhere in Illinois; I half expected the make, model, and color of a car, along with a Vehicle Indentification Number to be provided as an address instead. (thanks to Mike for the link)

A strange collection of "UnderFEB 18

A strange collection of "Under Construction" graphics and text:

"The neat thing about construction in the real world areas is that all expectations of functionality and appearance are quickly and quietly dropped. Please bring that same unquestioning and uncritical attitude to my dinky little web page."

It's been about 6 monthsFEB 17

It's been about 6 months since I last remembered any of my dreams, so it was little odd this morning when I awoke having remembered two dreams. The first dream isn't worth relating, so I'll skip right to the second one.

The second dream took place in the 17th century. I was an assistant to the English King's head scientist, helping him with all sorts of amazing experiments. Now, when I say "helping him with all sorts of amazing experiments", I mean that my sole task was the frying of much bacon. At the beginning of the dream, I started out preparing the bacon in a small frying pan, but by the end, I was frying up huge slabs of bacon in a pan the size of a car door.

In addition to the copious amounts of pork in the dream, there was a French prince who was bullying England into letting him marry the English princess (who was quite fetching and whom I, as a lowly bacon fryer, had no shot at whatsoever). At the end of the dream, the French prince storms the castle and is on the verge of abducting the princess when the head scientist discovers that the secret to winning the war has something to do with the bacon grease in my huge pan. Right at this moment, at the climax of the war, I woke up, never to discover what magical secrets that bacon grease of mine held.

Josh S. on drugs and permanence of the webFEB 16

Today's interview is with Josh S., proprietor of Endquote.

Q: You wrote a response to the Letterman on Acid story on {fray} in which you admit to using illegal drugs. Are you concerned that your employer (or possible future employer) will find this post via a Web search at some point in the future and fire you (or, in the case of future employers, not hire you at all)?

A: I'm not terribly concerned about it - though I might not have made the post if I'd thought of that question beforehand, just to avoid the potential hassle. I think many of the people I work with already think I'm a rave-all-night-and-eat-tons-of-drugs sort of person when I'm not at work. They know I'm a fairly visible member of the northwest rave scene due to my involvement in DanceSafe (dancesafe.org) and NWTekno (nwtekno.org). I'm the second-youngest employee out of 200ish, and walk around in phat pants all the time. Drug use is probably almost expected of me.

In reality though, it's a very occasional thing, and it's always been less intense than the time described on the Fray. There's a "substance abuse" section in the employee handbook. The way I read it, I think I'm okay until my use of substances affects my performance at work, and I'm pretty far from that.

As far as future employers go, I'd hope they wouldn't try and dig that deeply into my personal background, and I'm not sure I'd want to work for them if they did. If they're that interested, there's more than enough personal information disclosed in the three years of journal entries on my website, and I'm sure they could find things there that they'd have bigger issues with than a short comment posted to the end of a Fray story. :: end

Thanks, Josh. So, what about the rest of you? Do you worry about the things you write on the Web coming back to bite you in the ass? If so, do you censor yourself? Do you publish under a pseudonym? Post your thoughts here.

Weird Al Yankovic's Amazon WishFEB 16

Weird Al Yankovic's Amazon Wish List. Seriously.

Thanks to all those thatFEB 15

Thanks to all those that submitted an entry to the "Possible New Taglines for Kottke.org Kontest."** Here are the finalists:

- "Not like the good old days"
- "Still going, despite the ever-mounting opposition"
- "Mediocrity you don't understand"
- "The other plastic.com it's OK to like"
- "I'm not gay, but you wish I was"
- "At Toshi Station picking up power converters"
- "Uncovering the whole doppelganger phenomenon"
- "Doesn't just steal links like you-know-who"

- "Average...but with so much more finesse!"

** As you well know, there was actually no such contest. But it made for a nice story, didn't it?

Late breaking news! There is now an actual "Possible New Taglines for Kottke.org Kontest", not like that fake contest mentioned above. What would you choose as a new tagline for kottke.org?

Hannibal was better than IFEB 13

Hannibal was better than I expected. It doesn't live up to its Oscar-winning predecessor, but I was entertained throughout the entire film...and thoroughly disgusted by parts of it.

One curious aspect of the film (don't worry, no spoilers) was the amount of product placement. There were rather prominent appearances of Pepsi (& Mountain Dew), NetZero, Microsoft (in the form of Internet Explorer), Verizon, Gucci (twice!), and Dean & Deluca. Given the film's pedigree, one would have thought that much in-film advertising inappropriate, but I guess there is no such thing as too much advertising these days.

As a big fan ofFEB 12

As a big fan of The Simpsons for quite a long while, it pains me to say that I agree with the assessment of Seth Stevenson that The Simpsons must go:

"Jokes often fall flat. Timing isn't as razor sharp. Punch lines are overexplained, and the show's light touch is gone. Where before there were hilarious grace notes — clever tidbits caught in passing — now everything's a ba-dump-bump: setup followed by laugh line."

The Simpsons used to have the best writing on television, but lately it seems like you can find better dialogue on the Steve Harvey Show. In the words of the bee guy: "no es bueno."

A new phrase entering theFEB 12

A new phrase entering the lexicon: TiVo bomb - n. When the TiVo records several episodes of the same show in a short period of time, deleting all previous recordings and hampering the owner's ability to record anything else until all those shows are watched or deleted. Sample usage: "No, I didn't watch last week's West Wing; a TiVo bomb got me and deleted it, taping the entire 8-hour Behind the Music marathon instead."

I'm not a bigFEB 11

jimmy corrigan: the smartest kid on earth

I'm not a big fan of comics, partially because they are typically for kids (a gross over-generalization on my part) and partially because I associate comics with comic books featuring grotesquely muscled superheros, a genre which slipped into self parody and a non-creative state a long while ago.

However, I cannot say enough about Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth, a graphic novel (a term meaning "comics for grownups") about a man, his life, his family, his loneliness, his despair, and his small place in this big, big world. The book was funny, creative, poignant, deeply personal, and so meticulously constructed (and meticulous is perhaps too weak a word for how detailed it is) that I couldn't put it down. In a time when many believe they are invincible, extending their personas so far beyond the normal people they really are, perhaps Jimmy is the perfect anti-superhero role model.

An interview with Michael SippeyFEB 09

I'm debuting a new kottke.org feature today: the mini interview. Basically, I ask someone a question, they answer with a couple of paragraphs, and then I post the results for you to read here. Michael Sippey is my first victim.

Q: How do you feel about me openly stealing your "Just One Question" feature from Stating the Obvious?

A: Hey, Jason![1]

I couldn't be happier than to have you openly steal the "Just One Question" format.[2] There's really no better home for J1Q[3] than kottke.org.[4] I'm really looking forward to all the interesting Q&A that will happen as a result of the additional programming -- it will be another reason to visit you daily! There's already the insightful commentary, the previously undiscovered links, and peeks behind the brand that is Jason; but now this? It's almost too much[5]. (You really should set up some sort of Paypal thing -- I'm sure you'd make quite a fortune![6])

[1] You see, Jason and I have been "friends" for a few years now, mostly thanks to a "top-secret" email discussion list that I (half-heartedly) moderate. The list used to be one of those "in-the-know" type things, back when personal narrative was king, and the words "The Cabal" meant what the words "A-List" do today. Now it's just another low-traffic list suffering from benign neglect, and everyone blogs in public what they used to post in private.

[2] Especially since openly I stole the format (but not the title) from G. Beato's Soundbitten, and his one question interviews. Oh, and also since The Industry Standard not-so-openly stole the format and the title for the front of their book.

[3] Oooh, neat abbreviation! Note to self (N2S!) -- do that more often.

[4] Astute readers will note that output at theobvious.com has declined significantly over the past two years. Even more astute readers will note that I last ran a J1Q on March 24, 2000, in which Jeff Veen convinced a bunch of people that Tivo was worth the few hundred bucks (another note to self -- always use affiliate links, you idiot). Honestly, I'm just happy to know someone that remembers the glory days of essay-based personal publishing, and is nice enough to ask what I think about having my (OK, Beato's) idea swiped.

[5] Hey, since I'm laying it on real thick here, maybe you could link over to sippey.com? I'm trying something new (in between late night feedings and emptying the diaper genie) and could stand the traffic.

[6] On second thought, maybe not. After all, you've condescended to running this self-important hyper-aware Eggers-ripoff blather. :: end

Mental note for future reference:FEB 08

Mental note for future reference: failing to rinse the shampoo from your hair in the shower will result in looking like you have dandruff even when you do not, in fact, have dandruff.

This picture of a 10-week-oldFEB 08

This picture of a 10-week-old polar bear has to be in the running for the cutest baby picture ever.

Note to Lance - today'sFEB 07

Note to Lance - today's meme is a holdover from yesterday (since it didn't get much use): "Lacquer is the way forward."

Sidewalk Typo - a photographicFEB 07

Sidewalk Typo - a photographic collection of errors in the street names pressed into the cement of sidewalks here in SF.

It's about time I gotFEB 06

It's about time I got some spam that can be of use to me:

More fun with my newFEB 05

More fun with my new camera: here's a little Quicktime movie I took of the MUNI pulling into the Montgomery Street station.

By the way, if you're ever shopping for a digital camera, I highly recommend checking out Digital Photography Review. They have in-depth reviews of cameras (the review for the 990 totals 19 pages of detailed text with photo samples and everything), buying guides, excellent side-by-side comparisions, and more. DPR is one of the best sites on the Web, bar none.

I've added a new sectionFEB 03

I've added a new section to the front page called "Media for a Quiet Afternoon". It's a collection of non-Web things that I'm currently interested in or obsessed with, including books, music, movies, television programming, and the like.

Apparently, there is a wholeFEB 02

Apparently, there is a whole group of people out there (called "casters") that like to, for whatever reason, dress up in casts, see people in splints, walk with crutches, and engage in fantasy/roleplaying with casts, gauze, bandages, and other similar medical supplies:

"Slowly undoing the roll of the bandage, I slowly went up the foot and across the ankle, finishing just below the start of the calf. The thrill was indescribable and I wanted more. She enjoyed too, loving the attention I gave when the wrapping was complete. I doted on her and pandered her, like I was her caretaker when she needed me the most. She was injured in a figure skating fall, practicing for the Olympics, and I was her soother."

The Web site states that it contains no adult material, but you know that somewhere out there, there's a treasure trove of porno with people wearing casts and bandages...somewhat like this picture, only with less clothing.

I keep forgetting just howFEB 02

I keep forgetting just how good Office Space is. If you work for any sort of largish company (especially if it's a tech company) and dislike the experience even slightly, you need to rent or buy this movie, pronto! Do not let the fact that Jennifer Aniston is in it deter you from your task...she's actually good in it and it's not one of those films.

I feel a special kinship with Milton (the guy with the thick glasses) from Office Space. At work, I have a small desk that's kinda wedged into the corner, people are always bumping into my monitor while I'm working, other people's stuff (like telephones) is making its way onto my already limited desk space, there's nowhere to put any posters or items, and I feel as though I could come into work one day and find my desk in a completely different spot. All Milton wanted was to have a place to call his own, the right to listen to the radio at a reasonable volume, and his stapler. Is that so wrong?

I wasn't going to postFEB 01

I wasn't going to post anything today, but I got this email that so perfectly explains why I wasn't going to post today that I just had to post it:

Date: 1 Feb 2001 02:20:22 -0000
To: jason@kottke.org
From: jason@kottke.org (jason@kottke.org)**
Subject: hate your site

used to love your site now i fuckin hate it, I just can't stand your fuckin snobish ways anymore. I can tell that you used to love writing the daily posts, but now you only write them because you have readers (hits) who you think love you, but your writing everyday is becoming a struggle because you are busy at work. You don't even have time to set up the web cam properly. If its becoming such a task to write for the site then why continue when we all know that your writing is shit to begin with, and even more so when you only give it half assed effort.
what the fuck is up with you? You don't do your own site properly, and writing everyday must mean that you aint doing your job properly because your hand isn't fucked up enough from using a mouse to be too tired to play games on kottke.org.
You are starting to make me sick, so start being honest and give it up for a while, just leave a day blank, I mean really who gives a fuck. concentrate on what you are good at, which is power point.

At least they liked my PowerPoint slide.

** Note: In case you're wondering why this email is from me, it looks like whomever sent it to me fakemailed it.

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