I just found these photos on my camera, which I'm way behind putting up. If you haven't seen the show yet, get yrself to Roq La Rue—you've got a few more weeks. In addition to these thirty-odd, fully poseable Art Soldiers, you can also see the rest of the cool, Japanesey red-and-silver blobby snow children that are on the cover of the Stranger this week.
... and sorry, this last one's sadly blurry...
Tom and Jill hosted a cookie-frosting holiday hoedown yesterday—and that, of course, involved snark-ass cookie-technology oneupmanship. The Gingerdead Man was my response to Dawson's brilliant Ninjabread Man (sadly, not pictured here):
Heidi had a nice black-light-poster cat and a fine snow princess (you can see her upside down mitten on the right above) and Dalton designed a freaky Keith-Haring-style mutant fish, but Janet took the beauty prize with her cookie-catalog-worthy cookie mitten.
The previous e-mail I received from her said, "When you have a chance would you help me understand the following computer basics? I am trying to enable myself to check finances on the computer. What in the heck is 'standard default settings'? And what is SSL and Java Scripting? My partner here does not seem to know either." Now here's the followup, after I said I didn't even know where to begin, but not to worry about those things and that I'd help when I come to visit at Christmas:
I have had more trouble learning how to use the iMac than the previous one because there is no written manual... and I just haven't had time to stay with the reading of the other guides you sent. You are our end all, be all, when it comes to computers. Wouldn't you think that all of your efforts would have yielded more results? There is by now a patterned behavior between the two of us. I either scream from the computer "Could you come here a minute?" or ask ahead of time "Could you just show me one thing on the computer?" Nearly always, there is a lengthy struggle of trying this and that and your father ends up screaming—yes, it's true... desperately screaming—"I don't know, I don't know!"... to my screaming "But you just did something! What did you do?" It is really either hilarious or pitiful depending on whether or not it is a desperate situation and eating up precious time or not. So, you see, that you make a living using your computer is to me otherworldly. Hope you are doing well. See you soon.
I think that qualifies as not pitiful but, in fact, hilarious. Not to mention cute. Especially if you know my dad and stepmom. I almost don't want to help them if it means I'll miss out on more good stories of computer travails. (And I almost feel bad posting this, but—obviously—I trust that she will never accidentally stumble across it.)
Jill calls down the thunder and threatens a trip to "A Tap Dance Chirstmas Carol":
Brothermine, you were right: Scrooge owns a tap dance company. But I see no mention of Tiny Tim and his Tiny Crutch. My imitation goes something like tap clunk tap tap tappity clunk tap. God tap tap Bless Us tapppity tap tap Every tap Onnnneeeee tappity tap tap tap!
In other pseudonews, I'd like to take this opportunity to plug Achewood's blogs, now that Jill's brother's warnings to not read them (because I wouldn't be able to stop) finally didn't work. Thank you for trying. Something really crazy *is* going on here, and Blightner's right: Maybe Chris Onstad hasn't quite re-invented the idea of narrative—but he's at least re-hashed and re-scrambled it, to serve it up on an entirely different set of plates. The strip is genius to start with, but having blogs by all the characters in the strip, too?
Out of hand. And I wish I hadn't started reading them. That will be my tombstone; "He looked at a lot of cool Web pages." But my God, Ray posting about picking up a waitress: "I got to tell you, this came outta nowhere. I was lovin' this woman like a derrick and all of a sudden she starts showin' teeth...." Our conversation about this ended with Blightner saying, "If only he could get this published somehow..." only to trail off because it's hard to imagine how you could reproduce the gestalt in any sort of conventional way. If you want to see who's pushing 21st century narrative, it's not movies or books delivered by cell phone—it's a comic strip with characters who have blogs.
More pseudonews? Okay. Ummmm.... Hmm. Well, the designated "hot geek girl" (is there any better designation?) from X-Play was at the Penny Arcade/Child's Play auction fund-raiser last week. She was funny, and kind, even when talking to slightly scared-looking fellow nerds holding Spiderman comics:
I meant to post all these things in the last couple days, got stupid-busy with work and holiday crap, and now must quickly post before they lose all relevance. With any luck, timely posts soon on last night's charity auction and tonight's, uh, charity event. There is a theme here.
1. Reason #498 for living in NYC: Cool events like a mock debate (third item down) between the writers from the Onion and writers from the Daily Show. ("The writers discussed the (recently dropped) sexual-harassment suit against Bill O’Reilly, whether there is a mysterious 'gay gene,' future elections on Mars, the Ukrainian election and Kitty Kelley’s claim that Laura Bush once sold dime bags from her college dorm. 'Kitty Kelley is known for her meticulous research,' said Mr. Garden. Mr. Javerbaum countered with his belief that 'given the policies of this administration, if she did, it's mostly seed …. '")
2. Summer "Concerts at the Pier" will now be held at the now-being-refurbished Lake Union park. You know the park. The one over by the (God help me, I thought I'd never have to say this in Seattle) Outback Steakhouse. With this, the streetcar, and the Whole Foods/condo big dig at Denny and Fairview, I really think the twice-defeated Seattle Commons will come creeping back onto the ballot someday. Post-boom, post-stadiums, post-everything-else, I have a hard time imagining the same reactionary fight against the Commons winning again.
3. The adult "mwa-mwa-mwa" voice on Peanuts specials was done with a trombone.
4. New Donkey wrote a nice, short redux addressing the liberal hand-wringing question "Is it appropriate, morally and politically, to hate George W. Bush and the Republican Party?" In semi-related political news, Jonah Goldberg strangely doesn't have anything interesting to add to the Left's embrace of Federalism.
5. If you're trying to "buy Blue," avoid local vintner Chateau Ste. Michelle. If you haven't checked out the ChooseTheBlue site, go back and root around. Buying from companies that contribute to Dems (like getting your gas from Shell) is a simple, easy change that can make a difference.
6. O'Reilly is putting out a cool book about how to hack your brain (neurologically).
8. The University of Nottingham in the UK has a great streaming student radio station.
9. Scientists have hooked up a rat brain to a virtual jet, which represents a huge leap in creating hybrid organic computers. Mark said that this would of course lead to an apocalyptic cyborg Terminator future. I said that maybe this way, the machines won't actually kill us, they'll just incorporate our organic components into their own technologies. It'll be like bizarro Flintsones world, where the giant flying rat robots use us in the robot appliances around their homes. ("I'm picturing my head attached to the top of a robot refrigerator, regulating its temperature and occassionally cracking wise, e.g., 'It's a living....'")
10. The monorail is back! (Almost. In another couple weeks.)
From Slate via Mefi, a great Will Saletan piece on monster farming, the "creepy solution to the stem-cell debate." It's so nice to see so-called morality (my own, or anybody's) followed out to its natural and sometimes weirdly terrifying limits:
Paul McHugh, one of the council's moderates, finds the idea gruesome. He calls the proposed creation a "weird genetic hybrid" that is "very embryolike" and has been engineered to die. Hurlbut replies, coldly but correctly, that according to the technical definition favored by opponents of stem-cell research, the thing can't die because it was never alive. Leon Kass, the council's chairman, agrees, describing the thing as a "re-engineered entity" that is "embryolike" but not "embryonic." Michael Gazzaniga, the council's most liberal member, calls Hurlbut's strategy a perversion of science. Instead of tinkering with language to fit biology, he observes, Hurlbut is tinkering with biology to fit language.
Love that last sentence. Everybody should be allowed to do everything. I mean, nobody should be allowed to do anything. I mean, everything is true and nothing is permitted except to the permitters. (Thanks again, long after the fact, Sr. Rob.)