g r o t t o 1 1

Peeve Farm
Breeding peeves for show, not just to keep as pets
Brian Tiemann
Silicon ValleyNew York-based purveyor of a confusing mixture of Apple punditry, political bile, and sports car rentals.

btman at grotto11 dot com

Read These Too:

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James Lileks
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As the Apple Turns
Entropicana
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Capitalist Lion
Red Letter Day
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Corsair the Rational Pirate
.clue
Ravishing Light
Rosenblog
Cartago Delenda Est



Cars without compromise.





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12/31/2001 -   1/6/2002
12/24/2001 - 12/30/2001
12/17/2001 - 12/23/2001
Sunday, October 29, 2006
22:14 - I am the Blob... the Future Blob...
http://www.retrojunk.com/details_commercial/1184/

(top)
The things you find when Googling random bits of your childhood...



I guess this one worked, because the Future Blob stuck so permanently into my and my brother's psyches. Yeah, part of it was because it was so silly it begged to be made fun of, even by an 8-year-old; but hey, a catchy meme is a catchy meme...


22:03 - This time for sure

(top)
Seems GotFuturama.com is reporting that Futurama is returning to TV—via Comedy Central, with 13 new episodes on contract and all the voice actors returning.

I'll believe it when I see it... but I'll still be looking forward to it.


19:36 - Dadblang it

(top)
Oh, Google Earth. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

... Five hundred thirty-three... five hundred thirty-four... five hundred th—

Aaargh!



All the topographical data north of about 60°23'—just south of Whitehorse, Yukon—is severely low-resolution. This doesn't cause much of a problem over most of North America, where most of the landmass above that latitude is totally flat. But if what you're interested in is Alaska... well, it makes for some goofy-looking mountains, with shadowed crests and edges mapped onto these dull, rounded lumps in the ground.

You can't properly see Tombstone Mountain (north of Dawson City), or the Brooks Range, or the funky barren hills of the Top of the World Highway, or even Denali. The roads and rivers and placemarks are all there, but the shapes on the skyline are all muted and anticlimactic.




... Don't you hate it when some company puts out some amazing new piece of technology (Google Earth, Aperture, Spotlight, etc) that nobody had ever imagined was possible the week before—and then, days later, the blogs and message boards are full of people complaining about how this great new product is full of gaps in functionality and poorly implemented features? This in a technology that had been completely missing from their lives up until just a few days before?

Bah!


18:15 - Custom service

(top)
As I've mentioned before, I like those grocery stores that focus on employing friendly, conscientious checkers rather than replacing them with automated checkout kiosks. I know some people find the automated systems convenient—as do I, when I only have a few items of no particular bulk or odd size, or in places like Home Depot—but for my part, most of the time, I'd rather have that moment of repartée that sometimes crops up when I'm lucky enough to find myself faced with one of those employees who's clearly only there while on their way to something better.

I stood there as she scanned my bag of heirloom tomatoes. She scowled at the oddly shaped, wrinkled fruits vegetablfruiting bodies, and asked me, "Do they have the same kind of texture as regular tomatoes?" I said they did, and that the main thing was a sweeter flavor and cool swirly colors; but she and the other checker manning the counter shared a glance and mentioned that they couldn't stand tomatoes because of the slimy texture of the seeds. "Mushrooms either," she added.

"But what about avocados?" her co-worker ventured. "Oh, I love avocados," my checker beamed. "They're like butter."

It was time for me to weigh in, or endure more impugning of my beloved tomatoes and mushrooms. "I guess there's two kinds of people in the world: mushroom people, and avocado people."

At this, the big, burly, mechanic-looking guy standing behind me in line, with a filthy t-shirt hanging down to his knees and what looked like three days' worth of salt-n-pepper stubble, said, "Hey, there's always your olive people." And he held up his hands and wiggled his fingers, as though there was an olive on each fingertip.

You never know where your daily laughs might come from, do you? At least I know, though, that I won't be getting them from the ITEM REMOVED FROM BAGGING AREA lady in the auto-checkout machine.

Oh, but that wasn't all. The checker gave me my receipt, saying that it comes with a coupon for 10 cents a gallon off gasoline at any Safeway that has a gas station—a phenomenon I'd noticed in Canada last year on the approach to the Alaska Highway. I guess they must be starting to put in such services at stateside Safeways too, now.

But there must have been something weird in my expression as I took the receipt, because she said, "So, you know, you can really save some money if you drive to, oh, I don't know, Alaska or something."

If she thought I had a weird expression before she said, that, she hadn't seen nothin' yet.

Friday, October 27, 2006
14:09 - Sense of humor sighted off the port bow

(top)
Okay, gotta give credit where it's due. This latest entry in MoveOn.org's blitz is actually rather funny:

"Dear" MoveOn member,

I've commandeered the MoveOn email system to deliver an urgent message from the White House: DO NOT go to one of these MoveOn Pre-Halloween phone parties this weekend!

According to my intelligence briefings, MoveOn members will be calling progressive voters in key congressional districts and asking them to vote. That could tip the election!

These insidious phone parties are all over the place. There's even one right near you. So whatever you do, DO NOT follow the link below to find and R.S.V.P. for a phone party this weekend.

http://pol.moveon.org/event/events/index.html?action_id=61&id=9293-396431-JnB4ABnuEEiDCthq5huVbQ&t=5

Heck, nobody loves Halloween more than Dubya and myself. We usually like to sit on the White House stoop and hand out subsidies to neighborhood oil companies. But this year, it's is a different story. This is a Code Red emergency!

If these lunatics get their way, you won't even recognize America: Everyone walking around with guaranteed health care, clean energy as far as the eye can see, and big corporations cruelly denied their right to pick who wins elections. Halliburton is so mad they've threatened to cut off my stipend!

So DON'T go to a Call for Change party this weekend and DON'T make any more calls! In fact, if you even think of going to one these parties, I'll take you quail hunting.

See, at least this is so silly that I have to imagine the guys writing it realize they're having fun and reality isn't actually quite this bad. We've been hearing all these same grim accusations delivered with a sullen glower for so long, just hearing them spoken around a tongue planted in-cheek almost qualifies as a relief.

Thursday, October 26, 2006
03:46 - Adultier Swim

(top)
When did this happen? I just noticed that Adult Swim's disclaimer blurb, which they show at 11:00 and again at 1:00, now says that the block may contain material unsuitable for children under 17, rather than 14 as it was formerly.

That's quite a change. I wonder what new acquisitions spurred it?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006
03:19 - "...And that's why your country is going down the tubes"
http://www.janegalt.net/archives/009523.html

(top)
This is one of the most entertaining posts and comment threads—particularly the latter—ever. Tales of how American culture is perceived by citizens of other countries, particularly Britain and Europe.

My own contribution to the anecdote thread would be the British friend I have who every few weeks pops up in an IM window to express some new form of dismay at some boneheaded things we Americans do. Among which:

• We don't know the word "résumé" because Bush banned French words.

• By all rights we should all be dead because of our terrifying diabolical invention, the four-way traffic stop.

• Once, when his parents were visiting Las Vegas, they were accosted by a "big hulking oil worker" who grabbed them by the forearms and thanked them profusely for England's support of the Iraq war, at which they were too terrified to clarify that they personally didn't support it. (It's anybody's guess how they knew he was an "oil worker", or whether perhaps that was a form of projection that said any big burly grease-monkey type must be an "oil worker" who stands to profit from stealing Iraq's oil.)

Now, I'm under no illusions that I am any less ignorant about life in, say, Oxfordshire. But hey, at least I'll say so, rather than accosting someone who lives there to tell him how insane his country is.

Granted, I'm a bit of a geography/history/world-cultures junkie (a co-worker from Beirut who was watching over my shoulder as I played with Google Earth asked me to zoom in on his hometown, and he was floored when instead of floundering around or asking for directions, I found my way there with a couple of quick mouse drags from the other side of the planet); but even then I know I know nothing about a place unless I've actually lived there, no matter how high-res the satellite photography is.

Via InstaPundit.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
13:00 - O RLY, Al?

(top)
Oh boy. First Stephen King, now Al Gore:

Dear MoveOn members,
If you want to solve the Climate Crisis, if you want accountability for Iraq, if you want to regain our nation's moral authority in the world, I have one request for you—help us win on November 7th.

You can make a difference by supporting candidates who are in neck-and-neck races. Can you contribute $25?

https://pol.moveon.org/give/keyraces6.html?id=9238-396431-QKyanaqKh5Q6n87190eyKA&t=2

After Katrina, after the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians and 2,799 of our own men and women in Iraq, after six years of policy failures, and denial of the climate crisis, it is time to hold the leaders of our nation accountable.

So Gore, champion of Science, seems to be accepting the Lancet numbers that even Iraq Body Count thinks are insane. Way to go, Mr. Ex-President-Elect.


11:20 - You have to work to get this angle
http://www.warrenellis.com/?p=3183

(top)
Here's a view of the Shuttle launch that few people get to see.

Those are some damn cool photos.

Via Chris.

UPDATE: As some have noted, this isn't actually from the ISS, but from a chase plane at 60,000 feet:

http://jwz.livejournal.com/707658.html
http://forum.nasaspaceflight.com/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=4907&mid=78154

Man... if commercial flights were just a little higher, the views would be even cooler, huh?


11:19 - Shame no longer

(top)
It's no secret that Macs have always had an overwhelming presence in movies and (especially) TV commercials, what with your Netflixes and your Carfaxes and so on using PowerBooks and iMacs to show off their products. But up till now, whenever there was a Mac sighting in an ad, it was a matter of noticing the menu bar on the top of the screen, the black-with-white-border mouse pointer, or the telltale widgets of Safari when the camera zooms in for a stylized view of the company's URL. The companies usually made some effort to hide the fact that it was a Mac. Just because the ad agencies are Mac shops doesn't mean they want their client companies giving the impression that they're endorsing Apple products; so you don't see any Apple logos or application names, and they usually airbrush out the glowy logo on the back of the laptop.

Well, now there's a Nissan Sentra ad that shows a woman building her own car using Nissan's web app; and the computer she's using is an iMac. Not just "probably" either; not just a generic computer with a Mac-like body and OS X spliced onto the screen in post. There's beauty shot after beauty shot of the computer shown prominently front and center, the white bar-of-soap mouse, the iSight camera, and the big "iMac" badge on the back. They're not just not making a secret of it; it almost looks like they're going out of their way to call attention to some sort of implicit allegiance.

I guess maybe the iMac, or Apple in general, is gaining pop-culture traction, to the point where a Mac is what you get when you look up "computer" in the dictionary, like in the days of the 1984 Mac.

Monday, October 23, 2006
03:37 - Nature 1, Babel Fish 0
http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1161619927.shtml

(top)
Excellent piece here at Esmay's by Kevin D. on the perplexing persistence of religion in our modern culture.

Funny how I don't see this as such a problem as I once did.


03:34 - Thank you for making the Internet uncool

(top)
Am I the only one who longs to run into someone using one of those Helio things, just so I can get in his face and call it a "phone"?

Call it a phone if I want to, you MySpace-using, gibberish-talking piece of crap.

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© Brian Tiemann