Archive for category humor

Stuff Magazine: Hickman Mania?


On my way into the office this morning I did something I usually don’t do. I grabbed a copy of Stuff Magazine because on the cover was none other than everybody’s favorite bassist with the stylin’ threads and handlebar mustache, Zachariah Hickman:

zach hickman image

Turns out there’s a section inside about 11 Bostonians with signature looks, and of course he’s featured prominently in it. He calls it: “cowboy suits, seersucker, and general haberdashery.” General haberdashery, indeed. Figured my pickin’ partners would enjoy this.

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Flood: Turkish Datacenter Into the Weeds


This video is pretty awesome in a “glad that’s not me” and “I hope they have offsite backups” kind of way. At around 5:21 watch the plate glass window fail, and then at 6:10 the video switches to a camera in the machine room. Servers and water don’t mix.

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Your junk email, illustrated.


Came across this set of illustrations by Elliott Burford tonight, and I found them too awesome not to share.

Spam: an ongoing project illustrating the titles of emails found in your spam/junk box.

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I’m at the combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell


This may be the next best thing to the bumblebee tuna song. It’s stuck in my head, but it’s wonderful:
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/tracks/11301-combination-pizza-hut-and-taco-bell-wallpaper-remix/
http://www.lala.com/external/flash/SingleSongWidget.swf

MP3:> Das Racist: “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell (Wallpaper. Remix)”

From the above linked review:
Reactions within our staff have ranged from “I’d like to punch these guys in the face” and “this was sent here to destroy my interest in music” to “Harold and Kumar existentialism” (this wasn’t me) and “a critique of commercialism/lack of a leisure culture” (um, this was)

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Gorby Smites Zombie Lenins With Laser-beam Eyes


Dear Lord, this song and music video by Russian rockers ANJ is made of win. It is so full of awesome that it just might blow up your computer and set your entire internet connection ablaze with the heat of a thousand former-soviet ICBMs. And no, I’m not just saying this because I *heart* Mikhail Gorbachev — the first and only president of what we now call the “former Soviet Union,” and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990.

From the creator:
I did this video for a Russian Metal Band called ANJ. It is pretty crazy. When I saw the lyrics it seemed to be an earnest tribute to Mikael Gorbachov (that’s how the Russians spell it), so I was a bit confounded about what the video concept should be, but then I had a brainstorm to take it way over the top and I think it was just the thing. Suffice to say it’s half Russian History allegory as told through an old zombie movie made in the Soviet Union, and half animated Soviet Propaganda posters. It’s in HD, so let it load a bit before you play it and then click the little “four arrows” symbol on the lower right part of the viewer to see it in true HD.


GORBACHOV: THE MUSIC VIDEO – BIGGER AND RUSSIANER from Tom Stern on Vimeo.

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Some New Vocabulary


And now, some phrases that have crept into my vocabulary from either my own life experiences, my work, or my friends. Enjoy these shared bits of english-language awesomeness:

  • Schtonky: In some circumstances, anything that is cool/awesome can be referred to as schtonky. More specifically, schtonk is a measure of some mixture of class, formality, masculinity, and old-timeyness. For example, a fine tobacco pipe carries very high schtonk value, as would any wood-paneled room with a fireplace where leather-bound books are. Snoop-doggy-dog dressed up as a pimp driving around in a ’64 Impala is also quite schtonky, as is anything to do with Frank Sinatra, or the rat pack. Wal-Mart is not schtonky.
  • Janky: Something that is constantly near the boundry of working and being broken is janky. But being janky is more than that. Pretty much every one of the crazy electronic / audio / mechanical projects we built in college was janky. Something that is janky but still working carries with it a certain amount of pride and charm. At MIT, on 2ndwest at east campus, the PTZ Audio Network is decidedly janky — random bits of audio cable strewn between points on the hall tied in with various transformers and ancient audio amplifiers that sometimes work.
  • To have a stew going on / to be preparing a stew: A stew is a nice warm bowl of goodness. Metaphorically, for someone to have a stew on means that they are settling into and/or enjoying a bit of awesomeness. This is somewhat hard to define. An example would be hanging out with friends and enjoying several alcoholic beverages — you would say: “We’re hanging out here, there’s quite a stew going on.” Other activities, such as enjoying a day at the beach, taking a nice vacation, having a gourmet dinner, watching a marathon of your favorite TV show, going clubbing, etc. may also be considered “stew-like.”
  • Torqued up: This one’s fairly easy to understand. Anytime someone is stressed out about something, or getting worked up about anything, it’s like they are twisting themselves and building negative energy. This is much like when you twist a rubber band around itself, or any item that can store torque, so let’s call it being torqued up.
  • Degauss: If you’re torqued up about something, you need to degauss. Back in the day, we used to have CRT monitors with “de-gauss” buttons built in to allow us to somehow release magnetic energy or whatever. It made a satisfying “fwongggggggg!” noise when pressed. People can degauss in several ways. One good way to de-gauss would be to get a stew going (see above).
  • Cleaning the Basement: When you’re spending all sorts of time and energy doing unnecessary preparation work before starting on the thing you really need to be doing, that’s known as “cleaning the basement.” Back when I used to be a home-owner, I would insist on making sure the basement was clean and well-organized before dealing with clean-up projects on the main floor. Ostensibly, this was to make sure that anything that was going to be moved from the main floor down to the basement would go in a reasonable place and not just get thrown in a pile.
  • Bikeshedding / Painting the bike shed: When trying to solve a complex problem or deal with a crisis, it’s important to focus on what’s important. If you’re planning and building your dream estate, or remodeling your home, there’s no reason to waste too much time and energy deciding what color the bike shed is going to be and giving it several magnificent coats of paint. Bikeshedding is a popular activity in groups. When solving a problem, or working on a project, everyone will argue about what color the bike shed should be rather than directing focus on solving the problem at hand.

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Tiny House


Here’s a blast from the recent past. One of my favorite commercials ever.

“This is kinda awesome…”
“I just want to make an omelet!”

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Playmobil Security Checkpoint


From the depths of not-recently-blogging, comes this bit of awesomeness, pointed out to me by a co-worker. The Playmobil Security Checkpoint. Be sure to read all of the comments/reviews.

Some gems:

  • This is great learning too for young brownshirts.
    I am waiting for a few accessories though, kids size jackboots and a toy Taser. Think how much fun that will be for your young Martin Bormann types. I envision a low voltage say 5KV instead of 50kv to give a realistic but non-hazardous jolt.
    Next we can have a nice Nerf Nightstick and little Heinrich can have great start getting ready for his future job with the TSA, local police force or the new STASI ( Secure Transportation And Safety Inititive)
    Be the first on your block.
    I also look forward to the upcoming Halliburton Play detention center real simulated barbed wire.
  • I was a little disappointed when I first bought this item, because the functionality is limited. My 5 year old son pointed out that the passenger’s shoes cannot be removed. Then, we placed a deadly fingernail file underneath the passenger’s scarf, and neither the detector doorway nor the security wand picked it up. My son said “that’s the worst security ever!”. But it turned out to be okay, because when the passenger got on the Playmobil B757 and tried to hijack it, she was mobbed by a couple of other heroic passengers, who only sustained minor injuries in the scuffle, which were treated at the Playmobil Hospital.
    The best thing about this product is that it teaches kids about the realities of living in a high-surveillence society. My son said he wants the Playmobil Neighborhood Surveillence System set for Christmas. I’ve heard that the CC TV cameras on that thing are pretty worthless in terms of quality and motion detection, so I think I’ll get him the Playmobil Abu-Gharib Interogation Set instead (it comes with a cute little memo from George Bush).

Also, check out the “People who Bought Items Like This Also Bought…” rig. Dianetics? WTF?

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Crank Dat RMS


And here we have the founder of the free software movement, creator of GNU, emacs, etc, etc, legendary crusader Richard M. Stallman, cranking it on the “dot” at MIT — thus contributing to one of the most annoying youtube/internet memes of all time.

Wow.

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The Future: A Retrospective


O’Reilly book author, Leonard Richardson, has written an awesomely hilarious analysis of the book “Future Stuff.” The book was published back in 1989, and had all sorts of predictions about 250 consumer products that should have been available by the year 2000. While the book does succeed in making a few valid predictions (Flat TV, HDTV, Memory Card Camera), and several near misses (Virtual World, Smart TV, Digital Audiotapes, Movies delivered over the telephone), it’s even more interesting to see where it completely misses the boat.

Apparently back in 1989, even though we had computers, nobody could foresee that they could become general purpose devices. One of the biggest themes running through the list of future predictions is that they all end up requiring separate doo-dads and black boxes that would plug into your TV or telephone. So, yes it turns out that now we can have movies delivered electronically to us on demand, as the book predicts, but instead of over the phone line to a “special box plugged into your tv”, we can do it over this thing we call the internet, and can use the computers that we all already have. Same goes for something called the “voice activated typewriter” or something they refer to as an “electronic newspaper.”

Another amusing item is something called the “Smart TV.” It appears to be similar to a tivo, but runs on a jukebox of VHS tapes. Awesome! And remember VCR Plus+? These days it’s built into VCRs (who still has a VCR?), but back in the day, it was actually a separate box that controlled your VCR tuner and recording commands via an IR blaster.

So go and check it out. While you’re there, also read the comments on predicted items such as “The Intelligent Toilet“, “The More Intelligent Toilet“, and of course, “The Most Intelligent Toilet.”

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