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December 2002 Archives

December 1, 2002

"If I May" by Ethan Coen

If you have sensitive thoughts that you want to put in a poem,
Let me tell you something:
Nobody gives a shit.

Chris Ware makes me want to cry...

0375404538.01.TZZZZZZZ.jpg Both for the aching perfection of his talent, and the naked pain that seems to have birthed it.

I Guess it's just the holiday season that always makes me a little maudlin, but I've been reaching again lately for "Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth" - I'm approaching it a little differently this time. In fits and starts, jumping around a lot, trying to re-de-construct the timelines and plot vagaries. It's an amazing book.

If you've read it already, then you understand that it's a book that rewards the close attention you pay it. In spades. If you haven't read it, then please do.

I'm getting a lot of this today

Amazon is Down

I'm having a lot of problems reaching Amazon this morning, as I try to construct my crass (and -- so far -- completely inneffective) commerce links for the last couple of posts. Strangely enough, once I succesfully get to the homepage, I've been able to move around freely on the site. It's just getting to the homepage that is a timing-out nightmare.

Which can't be a good thing, on the first Sunday of the full-on Christmas shopping season. Let's hope pagers are buzzing and Amazon elves are being dispatched...

Resisting to the urge to do a cheesy riff on "Gone in 60 Seconds"

So Nic Cage's marriage to Lisa Marie Presley is headed for the rocks after less than 4 months. Which comes as no surprise.

Fortunately, there're no children to worry about in the all-too-brief union, but don't think for a minute that there haven't been any victims; yes, I'm talking about Cage's various and sundry collectibles. (Most notoriously, his comics, which fetched more than $1 1/2 million.

Read on, as my brother and I correspond and piece the sad tale together, bit by bit (typos lovingly preserved.)

Continue reading "Resisting to the urge to do a cheesy riff on "Gone in 60 Seconds"" »

December 2, 2002

Gott in Himmel!

German schoolgirl Annika Irmler has the world's longest tongue:

"My friends always said I had an incredibly long tongue - I could make lots of money with it one day," said Annika.

December 4, 2002

The world lost a great person today

Hope Mitchell is my wife's grandma. She died this morning. I wish I had put my arm around her when this picture was taken.

December 8, 2002

Thinking about LASIK?

A friend of mine in Atlanta once pointed out that -- evolutionarily speaking -- he and I should have been eaten by beasts or left for dead at an early age. (Due to our exceedingly poor eyesight.) I hated that guy.

If you're considering LASIK surgery (like I perpetually am) then here's a nice before/during and after-LASIK weblog.

I like the fact that she names names and gives prices. Some uppity Starbucks barista was trying to convince me a couple of weeks ago that "No dude, lasik is like... 200 bucks an eye. I swear." to which my only reply was "Yeah -- if you're okay with frequenting an eye surgeon named 'Crazy Larry.'"

Call me a stupid American (specifically that brand of stupid that doesn't think he's getting something worthwhile unless he pays too much for it -- <koff - starbucks>) but I will definitely put a little more in the tip-jar for someone who's got my corneal flap in his hands.

Marian Hope Mitchell

Because the online obituary will probably go away eventually, I am mirroring it here on Soldier Ant.

Continue reading "Marian Hope Mitchell" »

December 10, 2002

Donning my codpiece

In preparation for a swift kick.

I suppose it could be worse. At least we're not being physically assaulted by chupacabras. Yet.

Scripting Illustrator

If you're thinking of trying to script some dynamic data-driven Illustrator graphs, you should probably start with Adobe's own Illustrator scripting guide [.pdf, 2.8Mb] You can also discover the joy of data-driven graphics, although that little sell-piece doesn't really talk about graphs.

If I get anything interesting to work before getting bored with it all, I'll post some examples here on SA.

December 12, 2002

Get elevated off the verbal contact

Linguistics professor Sarah Thomason of the University of Michigan considers the question "If humans shoved off this planet for a deep space expedition lasting two centuries, would their descendents be able to speak intelligibly with those left behind?"

Perhaps. Would Snoop Dogg be onboard?

December 13, 2002

Jack, Do You Never Sleep?

"JACK IN THE GREEN (The Hidden One - The Cylenchar) The Woodland spirit who, like the Wood-Wose or Wild Herdsman, guards the greenwood. He appears in many kinds of folk art, as a multi-foliate head peering through the keaves. Like the Sheela na Gig, he was especially portrayed in church decoration, usually as a roof-boss, where he was a constant reminder of earlier beliefs."


"Two years ago, a coven of wiccans in the city had a May Day ritual in which they consumed a punch created by their high priest. This punch, which he called 'Jack in the Green' contained several varieties of alcohol with several varieties of herbal narcotics, including wormwood and valerian. All those who consumed the punch became very ill. Two were taken to hospital when they fell unconscious and could not be wakened."

Tee-hee. Stupid Wiccans.

December 15, 2002

The Mystery Revealed


This concise history of the Australian Cattle Dog starts with the breed's origins in the native Australian dingo population:

"Dogs of this cross were a great improvement on the Smithfield. They were very active and almost silent. Unfortunately they possessed one very bad fault. If they got out of the drover's sight they would chew the calf or beast nearly to pieces, the Dingo instinct coming to the fore when out of control."

This, unfortunately, may explain what happened to our car seat, our couch, our carpet...

December 17, 2002

Do not dare to mock my monocle, you commoners

The New Yorker offers this amusing cartoon of "Tolkien Characters that Never Made It Out of the Author's Notebooks."

Children of the 22nd century, when you read this entry, know that tomorrow was opening day "The Two Towers" ... albeit the old, 2D non-virtual reality version, and we didn't even get to fly our personal helicopters to the theater.

For My Shirt

Funny. This is the exact same reason that I am no longer allowed to visit Malaysia. Small world, eh brad?

One ring

As capably hyped below by Rich, The Two Towers is opening tomorrow. Get your own ring to wear to the premiere.

December 18, 2002

I coined a new term. No, really.

Alright, I may've been wrong about Clooneylicious, but this one is all mine:

Holidalayoffs. The definition should be self-evident.

(Born out of an AIM conversation with C. Tokyo. Oh, and mad props goes out to the genius who recommends 2-fer Quarter Pounders at Mickie-D's as your cure-all tonic for the end-of-year unemployment blues.)

More Graphing Fun With Illustrator

graph2-THUMB.jpg Here's a quick peek at the final iteration of the Illustrator graphs that I posted a couple of weeks ago. (I've blurred the text labels for confidentiality reasons.)

I'm pretty pleased with the results - there's a lot of information crammed in there. (Hopefully still parsable, though.) I'm less pleased with the portability and maintainability of the graphs. I'd hoped to use a combination of Applescript and Adobe's built-in Illustrator data variables to make one template that can just be updated dynamically. In theory it's still possible, but in practice multiple crashes and attempted data recoveries are making me think it just ain't gonna happen. I'll post any more progress, if any more is to be had...

December 22, 2002

Happy Holidays

It'll probably be pretty quiet around the ol' anthill for the next week or so. Holidays. Time with family. You know -- all that stuff we used to do before the Internet. ;-)

December 23, 2002

'Tis the Season

Okay, I'm coming out of Christmas retirement just for this breaking story: Alleged Pubic Hair On Pizza Prompts Lawsuit

"Michael Widrick and Rhonda LaParr got small, wiry hairs stuck in their teeth as they bit into their order last November, according to attorney Eric T. Swartz."

December 27, 2002


I hope that this doesn't come to pass.


Yesterday, (the day after Christmas) I was on a mission: repair or replace the AC adaptor for my wife's iBook. It had become frayed from tension after months of couch-usage. And was shooting out sparks.

Applecare documentation (and ol' sparky) in hand, my first stop was Microcenter. While I live not more than 10 minutes from one of Apple's fine retail stores, I thought Microcenter would be less crowded with easier parking. And I was right!

But they didn't have any replacement power supplies. And they couldn't service an Applecare policy. That has to be handled direct through Apple. (Which makes sense, but since I bought the policy from them at their Santa Clara store, hopefully you can excuse my hopeful ignorance.)

So I would have to face the dreaded post-Christmas crowds at Easton Town Center.

But on the way out, I took the time to rummage through their bargain bin, and you know what? For the first time in a long pathetic history of rummaging through Microcenter Mac bargain bins -- with nothing substantial to ever show for it -- I'll be damned if I didn't finally find something. Something kinda good. And definitely cheap. In fact, I strongly suspect a couple of errant key-strokes in the production of the clearance-price sale tag. I got a MacAlly iStick for $3! Yep -- three damn dollars. Normally 49.00. Score.

Now when the the hell is Halo coming to the Mac?

And the falcon had his own character sheet

I have no idea why this memory just came to me. Omar Khan was the name of my 4th-level Thief in D&D, waaaay back in the day. He had a pet falcon, also trained in the thieving arts. Hardly seems a very noble pursuit for a falcon, eh?

December 28, 2002

No basis for comparison?

Matt D Johnson, Listmania builder and comics lover: Comics are not orgasms. You only think they are, for the following reasons:
- You enjoy both, frequently
- You have only ever enjoyed them alone
- You keep both hidden away from your mother (for which, I am sure, she is eternally grateful)

Seriously Matt D. -- I like your selections. I really do. But Please. Keep a little perspective.

December 30, 2002

Easy Potshots at a Killer Web Wonk

I once worked with a woman whose husband claimed to be the guy who first described 'The World Wide Web' to Dave Siegel: it happened on a CalTrain ride, in the evening hours after some-er-other conference. When they met a year later at the same conference, Siegel was like a man transformed -- thanking him for putting him on such a deeply rewarding path.

The husband claimed this was true. He was not proud of this claim.

It used to crack me up that Siegel's site is (and, as far as I can remember, always has been) full of busted links, horribly counter-intuitive navigation and general laziness of thought and practice.

Now I think it's just pathetic. And to top it all off, he's just slapped a disclaimer on top of the whole mess. (Last updated in 1998.) As if that excuses the fact that the site was crap back in 98, too.

Google image-search fun:
Single pixel gif
Spacer gif (Jackpot!)

And my cousins thought 'phooning' was vulgar...

I just love the idea of phooning: true, some may argue that travelling to the far corners of the world just to photograph your friends 'striking a pose' smacks of imperial elitism, and may be culturally insensitive at best. But I think it's a victimless crime.

I recently discovered an online gallery that phooning fans might also like: it's folks from all walks of life proudly showing their booty. (And it's not what you think -- safe for work-viewing.)

My wife's Aunt is pure evil


She's trying to give us this adorable Siamese kitten. (And another mixed-breed that is just as cute.) So far we're holding out, but those baby-blues could wear us down eventually...

Repeat after me: 'War is bad.'

sgtrock.jpg Fun, to-the-point fan review of Sgt Rock and the men of Easy Company:

"Rock makes a point of collecting the dogtag of each fallen man... and when the general later claims victory for his plan, Rock shakes the dogtags and states, 'This is what it cost!' Which would be a very good point to make.. if we hadn't seen it coming from a long ways away.. or if Sgt. Rock wasn't already stating this dramatic conclusion ON THE COVER!"

December 31, 2002

Even Jesus Hates Creed

This warms my heart, and send me out of 2002 with a small smile on my face. (Link courtesy Scott McCloud.)

About December 2002

This page contains all entries posted to Soldier Ant in December 2002. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2002 is the previous archive.

January 2003 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.


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