Saturday, April 30, 2005

Where Are All The Fat Elves?

Elves: tall, lean, adventure machines. Just look at them, on the left side of this picture. But where are all the fat Elves? World of Warcraft lets you customize your character's face, but not the body. Maybe I'd like to make a round, fat Elf with a big beer belly, one who'd let himself go, with all his time spent reading magical tomes instead of working out. Maybe he's been hitting the Lembas pretty hard lately. But I can't have one, because officially there are no fat Elves.

I have a theory about this, though. Physically, biologically, there must be fat Elves. You just don't see them. Probably Elven culture makes most Elves extremely vain and body-conscious, kind of like Venezuelans. The fat Elves stay at home, out of public view, to avoid ridicule, while they walk on enchanted treadmills and work their Elven Thighmasters.

(To the tune of "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?")

Where have all the fat Elves gone?
Long time passing
Where have all the fat Elves gone?
Long time ago
Where have all the fat Elves gone?
Liposuctioned every one
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Posted by Hello


Sideways is a funny movie, and the wine jokes are great, but it also felt a bit strange to watch a movie where the guys are such pathetic losers. I wonder if this is how women feel when they watch a movie where the only female characters are drug-addicted hookers. At first I thought this was going to be sort of a male version of Thelma & Louise, but it wasn't. Come to think of it, maybe these guys should have driven off a cliff at the end, just to give the story a little kick.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Massively Multiplayer Online Pong

Massively Multiplayer Online Pong is the ultimate combination of old-school skill based video gaming with multiplayer internet competition! This screen shot shows a 9-on-9 Player Vs. Player skirmish, but MMOP-Net can support epic battles of up to 256 players, 128 per side. MMOP will have a global ranking system updated daily, with the opportunity to earn titles and unlock special power-ups. High level players may even earn colored paddles that will instantly identify them as 'leet, uber Masters of the Pongiverse. Minimum system requirements are low, but those with high end graphics cards will enjoy astounding frame rates, and a broadband internet connection is recommended. (After a 10-day free trial, you will need to activate your MMOP subscription fee of only $9.95 per month.)

[Author's note: this post is a joke, it is just a crazy idea I thought up, and I mocked up a screen shot to go with it. But now people come here searching for multiplayer online pong. I see how it might be taken seriously, though, since things weirder than this actually exist. And for all I know, it is possible that there is a multiplayer online pong out there somewhere, but I don't actually know of one. If there isn't, there should be, since there seems to be interest in it.]
Posted by Hello

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Fun Podcasts

I've been listening to podcasts lately. They are just mp3 files, so you can listen to them on any mp3 player, you don't have to have an iPod. I use a MuVo. Podcasts cover a wide spectrum, from material that sounds like a professional radio show all the way to "some guy ranting into a two-dollar microphone." Here is a brief guide to some of my recent discoveries.

IT Conversations has a lot of interviews about technology. Try the one about real money in virtual economies.

Coverville is a music show about cover tunes. There is one episode that is all about Madonna covers.

The Sci Fi Channel has a great series of Battlestar Galactica podcasts that go along with the new series. Each podcast actually syncs up with a specific episode of the show, so you can listen to them while watching the show, kind of like a DVD "commentary track." This is such a great idea, I wish more shows would do this.

WC Radio has a series of shows about the game World of Warcraft. You can listen to these live or get the archives.

Gadling has a bunch of podcasts about travel, including interesting interviews.

Dawn and Drew are a married couple who do a quirky podcast together. In this episode, Dawn decides to try to boost the ratings for their podcast by having sex with Drew on the show. Things don't go entirely as planned, with humorous results. Warning: this one is adult content and not for the easily offended.

Cinecast is all about movies.

There are also some podcast directories you can use to find podcasts of interest, such as Podcast Alley,, PodcastPickle, and

Monday, April 25, 2005


Michelle says:

"[. . . ]weight shouldn't be the only thing we consider as far as health. Fitness is a far more important issue, yet it is the thing that most people try to ignore.

It is far easier to buy carb-smart ice cream, or lowfat cookies than to get yourself to the gym every morning, but it is the exercise that is going to improve your health, not artificial sweeteners and the artificial fats."

Beware, my friends, of that which is easy to measure, for it will assume irrational importance. Weight is easy to measure, fitness is harder, so we obsess over pounds. Age is easy to measure, so we require a minimum age to drink alcohol, not a minimum level of common sense. Tests with multiple choice questions are easy to score, so they multiply. Size is easy to measure, so . . . well, just look at half the spam in your inbox. Speed is easy to measure, so the police set up speed traps, not "driving like an idiot traps."

So beware of what is easy to measure. Of course, there is something even worse than that. Beware of that which you want to be true, because you will tend to believe it even when it is false.

Saturday, April 23, 2005


I've grown cardoon in my garden for a few years now, but I have never eaten it. Tonight I had a cardoon gratin at a restaurant and it was delicious. It has the texture of celery but the flavor of artichoke hearts. Now that I know how good this is I will have to try to make it at home. But make sure you really want this before you plant it, because it spreads very quickly.


A few days ago, Clara penned (OK, typed) the classic line: "I suffer for my art . . . others should too." This reminds me of the saying: "If it was difficult to write, it should be difficult to read."

Friday, April 22, 2005


There are people who will stop liking something once it becomes too popular. It is like reverse peer pressure. It seems strange, though, kind of like saying, "oh I used to like the taste of chocolate, but then I found out that millions of people like it, so now I don't like it any more. In fact, now I only eat pickled rabbit noses, because they're not trendy."

What if your favorite band became really popular, but you didn't realize it? Then would you still like them? If a band sells out in the forest, and nobody is around to hear, would their fans make a sound?

What if something were really popular, but nobody knew it? This sounds like a contradiction at first, but it could happen. A web page without a hit counter could become secretly popular. Or if the hit counter were broken and always reported a very low number, every visitor might be fooled into thinking they were among the "lucky few" to have discovered the page.

Monday, April 18, 2005


Lilac in my garden. I should really get more of these.Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Friday, April 15, 2005

Where Did The Static Go?

I seem to remember being "zapped" by static electricity fairly often as a child. But it doesn't happen much at all any more. Why not? Is there something different in today's materials that leads to less static electricity build up? Is it all the anti-static-cling fabric softener? Or are adults somehow less conductive?

Saturday, April 09, 2005


I want to compose a symphony where the crash cymbal plays on every quarter note throughout the entire piece. Then I want to go to a performance of that and see how long it takes the audience to get up and leave. I will call it Symphony No. 1, "Aggravation."

I will also include some soft, lyrical, beautiful flute and oboe melodic lines, that would be really perfect and touching if it weren't for those constant clanging cymbals drowning them out. Critics will say that it represents the struggle of man to express himself in an ever-accelerating technological world. And the piece will end with the conductor shooting the cymbal player. He will use blanks, of course, but they will make it look convincing, with stage blood and everything. The cymbal player will look up from the floor with an anguished expression, crying out "Why? Why? It was all in the score . . . I was just doing my job, you know that . . . we rehearsed it this way . . . arrrgggh."

And the few people in the audience who have stayed this long will be horrified at first, then awed. They will give the performance a standing ovation. But the one thing they will not say is "encore!"

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Not Covered

My car insurance company sent me an amendment to my policy that excludes coverage of damage caused by fungi or nuclear weapons. It reads in part (all caps in original):


I'm glad they cleared that up. Because in the immediate aftermath of a nuclear strike, I'm sure I would otherwise be thinking, "Wow, rough morning, but I'm sure glad it's all covered by my car insurance!"

Saturday, April 02, 2005


If there are ghostwriters, will there inevitably be ghostbloggers? How many celebrity blogs will turn out to have been written by someone else?

I expect to see ads like this:

Do you want to blog, but just can't find the time? Does writing about your life make you realize just how boring it really is? Ghostbloggers has the answer. For just $14.95 per month, our professional staff of writers will create a new blog entry for you every day that will make you sound witty and fascinating. Select the level of embellishment that's right for you, from "based on a true story" to "extreme eBlarney (TM)." Join now and get the first week free!

Friday, April 01, 2005

How to Lie in Bed

Imagine a bed in a room, where the top/bottom of the bed is against a wall, and neither side of the bed is against the wall. Which way would you lie down in this bed? It seems to feel right to lie down so that your head is nearest the wall, and it seems backwards or weird to lie down with your feet close to the wall and your head out towards the middle of the room. Why is this?