Joss Whedon on Humanism The popular writer and director of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Firefly” fame recently received the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism, previously awarded to people such as writer Salman Rushdie and Greg Graffin of the punk band Bad Religion. The above five-minute snippet comes from his speech which was broadcast on the Cambridge Forum, but sadly their web presence is ridiculously antiquated (they offer cassettes of their programs, so that should give you an idea). A good article on the event (with pictures) is available from the Harvard Humanist(s): Joss Whedon Slays Sold-Out Crowd.
What’s in your box of Kleenex? Greenpeace offers a paper towel, napkin, tissue, and toilet paper buying guide that rates brands and gives data on post-consumer recycled content, overall recycled content, and whether chlorine is used to bleach the pulp. View it online, or download and print. They also have an iPhone app so you can look brands up while shopping.
Yuto Miyazawa plays “Crazy Train” on Ellen Okay, so maybe his pronunciation of the English lyrics is not so impressive, but his guitar playing is pretty good for an nine-year old. Watch for the surprise ending. [5:59 min]
Jake and Amir Okay, I admit it: I can’t help laughing at Jake and Amir. One of my favorite internet shows.
Little Red Riding Hood reinterpreted In a very cool infographic style.
The origin of the “Amen Break” You’ve heard it before, probably millions of times. You just didn’t know it had a name. The “Amen Break” is a six-second drum break from a 1969 B-side by a band you likely never heard of, The Winstons. But you’ve undoubtedly heard this drum beat sampled in everything from songs (like NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”) to DJ mixes to commercials. [18:09 min]
Views from the International Space Station While astronaut Don Pettit was living aboard the International Space Station (ISS), he used some of his off-duty time to make time lapse videos of what he was seeing outside of the ISS window.
“Stand By Me” sung around the world They recorded musicians around the world singing the classic song, and mixed them all together. There’s a CD of songs and a DVD documentary. [5:27 min] Learn more at PlayingForChange.com.
Drink Pussy A strangely named energy drink from Italy. Gotta wonder what it tastes like. Hm...well it’s only €1,99...
Enter Kazoo Man Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” performed on kazoo. [3:17 min] [via Jesse K.]
Some of my loyal readers no doubt know I collect stuff by science fiction’s Grand Master, Robert A. Heinlein (you could hardly miss the fact if you’ve been to our flat). Indeed, we have a great many books in our place, quite aside from my collection of Heinlein stuff.
Sometimes people ask us how many books we own, and we have no idea really. I thought I’d just count the Heinlein stuff first, since it would only take 15 minutes or so : )
As of June 11, 2009
Hardcover books (fiction) by Heinlein: 171 (including 30 leather-bound editions and 19 foreign language editions)
Paperback books (fiction) by Heinlein: 191
Hardcover collections containing fiction by Heinlein: 33
Paperback collections containing fiction by Heinlein: 41
Pulp magazines containing fiction by Heinlein: 120
Nonfiction books, etc. by/containing Heinlein: ~50
“You bastard! You’ve summoned the fail whale!” Hilarious! This is for Velma (and anyone else) who doesn’t get the appeal of Twitter. [4:24 min]
Real-life Twitter lol. [1:20 min]
Stephen Colbert survives a close shave in Iraq “The Colbert Report” was broadcast live from Iraq this week, and the first show kicked off with guest Ray Odierno, Commanding General, Multi-National Force – Iraq. During the interview, President Obama dropped in via satellite and ordered General Odierno to shave Colbert’s head. [23:42 min, 3 commercials]
Food, Inc. [3:31 min]
Facebook Manners and You Lolz, this is brilliant. Mind your Facebook manners or ya might end up in the slammer. [4:14 min]
Watched some videos on Flash Catalyst and Flex at Adobe Labs.
Talked with a recruiter from a talent agency that works exclusively with creatives, ArtisanCreative.com.
Underwent an excessively long interview (4.5 hours) at a company. Had to do a lot of advance preparation too. More about that another time.
Went to the South Bay with Velma to take my mom out for brunch for Mothers’ Day (went to Flea St. Café, which is great), and run some errands. Also picked up a bunch of old SF pulps for a steal of a price, considering their excellent condition.
Watered the garden.
Washed lots of dishes.
Scanned a bunch of old prints and added as much meta data to them as I could, including asking a couple people if they knew the names of people in some of the pictures.
Read a bunch of articles on design, UX, technology, etc.
Cleaned mold out of the coffee maker since someone forgot to take the filter and used grounds out of it last time it was put away, several months ago (we normally use a single-cup funnel, generally only breaking out the bigger machine when we have party or the like).
Went on a five-day trip with Velma and Bob Merritt to Sequoia & Kings Canyon, with a 2.5-day backpacking/camping trip (a moderate one to test out whether I could carry a full backpack a year-plus after my broken clavicle).
Downloaded some podcasts of radio shows I’d missed.
Reviewed wireframes, did some industry research, and sketched some logo ideas for a potential new client project.
Put our DVDs back in order after someone mixed them all up.
Went to a meeting with a former co-worker who wanted some design help.
Had coffee with former co-worker Anne M.
Had lunch with Peter Drekmeier.
Went to a meeting with another former co-worker about a project.
Went to see Star Trek at an early show on a weekday.
Gave some quick design advice to a former co-worker on a postcard she designed for her business.
Took my mom, with Velma, out to dinner for her birthday, at the Beach Chalet in San Francisco.
Last night of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” I haven’t watched Leno for years, and he was never my favorite, as I preferred the wacky ’80s and early ’90s era of Letterman, but Leno’s not bad at all. Last week was his final night on “The Tonight Show” before Conan takes over the reins in L.A., so I decided to watch it for history’s sake. They did about ten minutes of “Jaywalking,” the man-on-the street comedy segment where he just asks simple questions of normal, everyday Americans on the streets of L.A. (assuming there is such a thing in L.A., I suppose), such as “Who was the first president of the United States?”. This segment has always struck me as funny and excrutiatingly painful at the same time, as it shows just how terribly stupid Americans are. Worse yet, on this last show Jay tells us that they don’t even have to work hard to compile the funniest/dumbest moments after each outing. They only go out for about an hour, he says, they talk to a dozen or so people, and they use nine or so. That means over half the citizens of the republic are so retarded they can’t tell you which countries border on the U.S. or name any of the Founding Fathers. Oh, cry for our future! [43:29, 5 commercials]
First night of “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” Meanwhile, across town at the Universal Studios lot, the finishing touches have been put on a new studio for Conan, who took over the reins from Leno the very next week. Andy Richter returns as the show announcer, Max Weinberg and the band now get to call themselves The Tonight Show Band, and Conan was in fine form for his first time hosting the legendary show that’s been around since 1954. Musical Guest was Pearl Jam. [43:31, 5 commmercials]
Schwarzenegger answers real people’s questions The member communities of CNN.com’s iReport and Digg Dialogg teamed up to interview CA Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger on May 27. In an unusual example of democracy, the Republican actor-turned-guv answers questions posed by and voted on by the Digg and iReport users. Showing a little more moxie than even the traditional press can sometimes muster, there were a few hard-charging queries, leading off with “Do you support same-sex marriage and do you think the GOP should become more gay-friendly?” Of course, there were some softies too, like “Does the term ‘Governator’ bother you?” All questions and video here [30:31 min].
BART swingers Apparently a few weeks ago somebody surreptitiously installed swings on a BART train. And thus the fun did ensue. More pics...
New Yorker cover created on an iPhone Artist Jorge Colombo painted the cover illustration using the Brushes app on his iPhone.
Beatles come to Rock Band Apparently Microsoft has been able to make inroads where Apple hasn’t, since the two remaining Beatles and the widows of the other two members joined various tech and gaming notables to announce that the Beatles are coming to Rock Band this fall. The animation sequence at the beginning is cool enough to merit watching in HD, but the rest of the long presentation isn’t probably interesting to you unless you’re into gaming. I watched the whole thing, though, and as a non-gamer I’m always impressed at the continually-improving, nearly-cinematic quality of the visuals in today’s games. In fact, if you’re really into seeing where the entertainment and social media technology is going in the next few years, there are some pretty amazing things unveiled in the last 25 minutes or so; look for Steven Spielberg’s appearance to tip you off.
“We Didn’t Start the Flame War” Warning: nsfw. Gotta hand it to the CollegeHumor folks, they nail the ridiculousness of the internets (including self-satire) in this one. [2:44 min]