Monday, November 16, 2009

Forest Park GIven Dark Sky Honor


The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) holds the mission of preserving and protecting the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies. Their awesomeness is another post.

Today, the IDA has given Galloway Forest Park in Scotland their first "Dark Sky Award" outside the United States, declaring it one of the best places for stargazing in the world. A "Dark-Sky" Park is one where the darkness level reaches it’s lowest point on land, (defined as Bortle 2 on the Bortle scale John E. Bortle created and published in the February 2001 edition of Sky & Telescope. Darkness levels of Bortle 1 are only recorded on the ocean). A sky above Galloway Park can be seen in the above photograph: around 7000 stars are visible from Galloway Forest Park compared to the few hundred one sees from most cities enveloped in light pollution .

You can read more about Galloway Forest's Pitch Black sky and the selection process for the "Dark Sky Award" at the BBC's article, "Forest Park Given Dark Sky Honor," and Guardian article, "Scotland prepares to host Europe's first 'dark sky park'."

The Dark Sky Award selection process involves giving a rating via a sky quality meter, which measures the darkness of the sky overhead. Other Dark Sky Awarded parks are Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah; Cherry Springs State Park, Pennsylvania; Geauga Park, Ohio; and now Galloway Forest Park, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland.

I want to go to there.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Questionable Content


For some absurd readson, its seems I have never given Questionable Content its own post. Not, its not commentary on CandyBuffet. Questionable Content is the brilliantly funny, indie music oriented, slice-of-life web comic by Jeph Jacques. The main characters are sardonic roommates Martin and Fey, their anthropomorphized personal computers and slew of friends with deep and abiding personality dysfunctions. The strip also routinely carries such modern truisms as gay parents, loser jobs, fuck buddies, and alcoholic hallucinations (Keep an eye out for the purple tequila monster).

Also he sells shirts. Enter the "Robot Family Tree" Note the Zentradi/walker pod thingy on bottom left. Buy.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore


As carried by the ever edgy, witty, and ultimately geeky io9, The University of Northampton is pleased to announce Magus: Transdisciplinary Approaches to the Work of Alan Moore. In their own words, "an interdisciplinary conference that will bring together not only appraisals of Moore's comic works, but also his wider cultural manifestations and their significance at the start of the 21st century". Phew. A mouthful.

Potential topics for papers or panels might include, but are not restricted to:

* Comic revisionism and the graphic novel
* Comics and literature
* The political philosophy of Moore's canon
* Moore's relationship to the mainstream comic industry
* Adaptations of Moore's work to screen and other media
* Psychogeography and place in Moore's work
* Magick and spirituality
* Site-specific events
* Pornography and erotica in Moore's work
* Fandom and reception
* The underground press
* Collaborations and networks
* Music and musical collaborations
* Intertextuality and referentiality

Also, the keynote speech will be given by Paul Gravett, lynchpin of the British comics scene and author of Great British Comics, Cult Fiction: Art and Comics, and Graphic Novels: Everything you Need to Know.

The important, interesting, CandyBuffet bit, is that the academic conference is soliciting papers and proposals for potential panels. That means you, average Joe, may submit insights, musings, convergent realizations and what have you as an abstract of no more than 300 words. Accompany submissions with a short biography of less than 100 words and submit to Nathan Wiseman-Trowse of the conference review panel at wiseman-trowse@northampton.ac.uk, by 4th December 2009.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to finish my panel submission, "Hyper-Sexualization of Female Vigilante Costumes: re-interpretation of traditionally oppressive vehicles in an exploration of sexuality, intelligence and capability in the Watchmen. That's copy-written you-know.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Minister's Tree House



Horace Burgess had a vision directing him to build a treehouse. What he created defies description - 10 stories, 10,000 square feet, 80 rooms, and 7 trees. The house is open to the public (no smoking, clearly), and direction can be found here. Crossville is roughly halfway between Nashville and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Who's up for a road trip?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An insouciant little minx


This is just brilliant, combining as it does a Betty Page-esque pin-up, colorforms, and booze. The 2007 Drink'n'Stick by Australian winery Some Young Punks features a plastic sheet of peel off clothes that can be used to customize the bottle.

Outside of Australia, SYP wines are distributed in Austria, Denmark, and Canada. In the US, you can find them at Vine St. Imports in Philadelphia. Otherwise, you may have to do some online sleuthing, or sweet talk your local wine shop into special ordering a case or two for you.




Monday, October 19, 2009

The Electric Birthday Cake


On Sunday, the 10th of October, the Splendid Table carried a very splendid segment about the loose collection of engineers and creative minds that form the Hungry Scientist Society. Never heard of them? Well, in Lynne Rossetto Kasper's words, they are "techie science types that take on cooking". Examples of the activities they've engaged in range from single variable variation in recipe creation, testing the volume limits of a gravy fountain and yes, building an incredible, edible electric cake. A preview of the recipe of said electric cake, involves wrapping licorice sticks in super thin, candy foil called Varakh (available in Indian and Pakistani markets, it's the same stuff that's on silver almonds).

This means you can eat the wiring.

Listen to the entire segment at the Splendid Table's American Public Media page. Or buy their most excellent cook book, "The Hungry Scientist Handbook: Electric Birthday Cakes, Edible Origami, and Other DIY Projects for Techies, Tinkerers, and Foodies." And remember, the super-chilled martinis are not for children.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Washington National Opera Costume Sale


All right. I admit wax|wendy, aka Whit had this up on her Facebook page and I could not resist. Run, don't walk, to this weekends Costume Sale by the Washington National Opera. Everything from accessories to fully formed costumes from the WHO's productions of the Mikado, La Boheme, Madame Butterfly and more will be up for sale in time for Halloween. They've also mentioned historic military and Knights of the Holy Grail costumes. That means (as evidenced by their web-site) pre-distressed vintage party dresses, uniforms, and period garments with accessories starting as low as $2.

To stress the importance of such an undertaking, I have printed out a costume closet necessities list below. Stick all your goodies in a Ikea box under your bed, and you'll be set for holidays to come. (sorry if its a bit female oriented, but I have thought about the lads a little as well).


CandyBuffet's Costume Box Essentials
  • Boots white or black. fits villains and super heroes alike
  • Spectacles antique spectacles of all kinds will turn you into Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or the Baroness
  • Vests westerns, fantasy, Renaissance, Victorians and Edwardians all seem to love this staple. not to mention Dr. Simon Tam
  • Top Hat do I really have to explain? deliciously sexy on women, there is no substitute on men
  • Crinoline hey you can use it when you go square dancing, too
  • Corset
  • Trench Coat film noir and detectives of the Pink and Poirot persuasion, my friends. or is that fiends?
  • Floor length skirt for the gypsy/wench/princess in you
  • Billowy pants for the pirate/ninja/shah in you
  • Puffy Shirt see latter two entries above
  • Cape/cloak
  • Evening gloves elbows for the ladies
  • Hair-piece or Wig boys, you really need one to pull off a respectable pirate
  • Jesus sandals you Greek god/dess, you
  • And don't forget props. Think whips, swords, pistols, feather boas, necklaces, scarves and the like. Go with what speaks to you.

Cash, check and credit cards are being taken (so they say) and full and complete costumes are going from about $50 to $200. And I can tell you, that's just the cost of mid-quality corset on-line or at the Renaissance Fair (so I hear). So, scurry your little legs to the below address, October 17 – 18, 2009, 10:00 AM – to 5:00 PM:

Rehearsal Room C (3rd floor)
WNO Studio
6925 Willow St, N.W.,
Washington, D.C.
(Takoma Park)

Street parking is available or take Metro’s Red Line to Takoma station – turn left onto Carroll St., take a slight right at Eastern Ave, then a right onto Willow St. WNO Studio is on the left.

So go, my children, and remember, I wish I was there.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Hark! A Vagrant






In a recent xkcd entry, it was suggested that if I wanted historical accuracy from my web comics I should be reading Hark! A Vagrant. I'm hooked. It's not history as you know it, but history as it probably happened.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enter the Mind Map


I've loved me some flow chart. Also, I've threatened quite a few conversations with a Venn diagram. And I've cruelly marked up a few cocktail napkins with bifurcation maps, in my day. My new love, the mind map, I barely know but she's a favorite with yogi gurus and scientists alike.

Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas. They beat a stack of notecards sprinkled over my writing desk. And in my book, one step closer to art. Selecting the right tools to symbolize words and ideas is more essential than every in this technological age. And whether you're corralling ideas for your next grand scheme or coordinating the details of your next work week, mind mapping can help you explore ideas quickly, and in-depth while performing as an aid in organization, decision making and problem solving.


As we enter a paradigm shift as great as the industrial age based on information and technology, it can be difficult to maintain clear focus on our princple intentions and problems (mindless google surfing trap, anyone?). Mind maps are becoming popular non-linear, multi-dimensional diagram to classify ideas. Look at innovative tools like Visuwords (graphical dictionary and word concept map), and LivePlasma (explore band influences in a star chart). And now,
Publisher Bloomsbury Academic is introducing a innovative search using mind maps to explore their content in 2010.

Get started with CollegeDegree.com. While sketchy in so many ways, they a very nice list of "99 Mind Mapping Resources, Tools and Tips," that, among other things, will introduce you to mind mapping software. Even more instructive, the Lifehacker recommended "Managing multiple freelance gigs with Mind Maps" from FreelanceSwitch will show you how to use mind maps to organize your week.

Just love information classification as much as I do? Start reading (and have a laugh) Indexed.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Instant conversation starters



Learn Something Every Day is a fanciful new community art project. Submit a fact (truthiness optional), and if selected, the fine folks at Young will render it in poster form. Part of the fun is trying to decide which tidbits of information are real, and which are just made up.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If you only had five words



What would you say while accepting your Webby award?

"Thanks for all the fish."



via

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab


Step away from the department store eau de toilet. Put down the celebrity branded smellum water. In their place, let the heady aroma of a Black Phoenix hand crafted elixir envelop your senses.

Inspired by a vast range of influences, from the passion and decadence of the Fin de Siecle movement to the ghastliest of Lovecraftian monstrosities, we specialize in eliciting emotional responses through perfume and creating unique, masterfully molded scent environments that capture legends and folklore, poetry, and the stuff of dreams and nightmares.

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab has recently introduced a line inspired by the world of the Old Ones - A Picnic in Arkham. Why smell like JLo or Paris when you can answer the call of Cthulhu? "A creeping, wet, slithering scent, dripping with seaweed, oceanic plants and dark, unfathomable waters."

Ah, the smell of it ...

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Cocktail


I've discussed manly drinks and their undeniable contribution to drinking culture. (Hey, a cabinet stocked with fine whiskey does much to elevate ones social lubrication IQ). But "The Cocktail," written by Jane Rocca, celebrates what is romantic and undeniably feminine about cocktails without the usual syrupy fruitiness and with all the glamour (and gorgeous evening gowns) of old world seduction. Think dark strangers and romantic glimpses. Think glittering champagne in vintage glasses. Think real babe bravado and risky infusions. And when you see the moody, mixed media illustrations by Australian Kat McLeod, you'll think of teasing and conquering and commanding attention as well.

Now you can keep Moet et Chandon in that pretty cabinet as well.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wondermark



Wondermark's "Genre-Fiction Generator 2000" insures I'll never have to outline a story again. I was always a pantser, anyway. Also, start reading Wondermark by David Malki. It's Steampunk, it used to appear in the Onion, and it's so biting you may walk away with tooth marks.

Friday, September 18, 2009

XKCD: Volume 0


XKCD has produced their first book featuring selections from the first 600 comics including artist and fan favorites. (Gee, I seem to have developed tremors in my fingers, directly related to overt anticipation). Assembled from high-resolution scans of the original (some of them confessed to be on the back of school assignments) with the often hilarious and insightful mouseover text is included, volume 0 has the extra bonus of additional doodles, notes, and puzzles by Randall Munroe included in the margins. You can read more about the production of Volume 0 at the xkcd Blag.

Published by BreadPig, a portion of the sales will go to the charity Room to Read, which will help build a school in Laos. And, hey, we're all into reading.

Run, don't walk, and buy xkcd: volume 0 direct from the source, available in the xkcd store.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pig Essence


Fluffy, curvy, wobbly, sqooshy. Rubenesque, gordita, ample-bossomed, pleasantly-plump. I have used so many words in service to the squashier side of humanity (see, I just used another one) but all of them tend to be empty euphemisms skirting around a present state. A state which has been bastardized to indicate sloth, laziness, greediness, unattractiveness with an underlying embarrassment which implies a lack of control or willpower. Very few words, and indeed conversations, discuss the often inevitable state of becoming (shall I say it?) fatter, the fear of becoming fatter and in general the process of adding meat to one's so called bones. Don't know what I'm talking about? Start watching Mad Men and sympathizing with Betty Draper.

Meanwhile, enter pinguescence, for which a mnemonic lies above. It is a rare and nearly out of use word for the process of growing fat. Adding it to conversation lends numerous ways of elucidating your fears of a state demonized throughout female culture, though rarely spoken of openly. For example,

  • Even though the scale has gone up since I've started working out, I know, my pinguescence is deteriorating.
  • French fries are a notorious catalyst of my pinguescent nature.
And my favorite
  • Curse my sudden but inevitable pinguescence!

Take back the language, my friends, take back the language.

Friday, September 11, 2009

No Strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is Cosmic Cannibal


Our nearest, biggest and baddest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy has a dirty secret. It's a big eater. Long considered a suspect as a space predator, early results of the
the Pan-Andromeda Archaeological Survey (PAndAS) have found remnants of stars and smaller galaxies scattered around it like pizza bones after a college kegger. USA Today carries a layman's digest in their article, "No strain for Andromeda: Galaxy is cosmic cannibal," from the original Nature journal article.

Why should you care? Well, not only does cannibalism strip stars, over time re-arranging the night sky, but technically, Andromeda is moving toward us at a rate of 75 miles per second. That's an expected collision in about 2.5 billion years. While you may not need to start packing your bags, like the puppeteers of Larry Niven, plans for a galactic move take a millennia of planning.

Monday, September 7, 2009

"Reading Rainbow" Reaches Its Final Chapter


This Is How the World Ends.

As a result of a Department of Education obsessed with policies that focus on learning fundamentals like phonics and spelling instead of comprehension, the joys of self-discovery and the value of making meaningful choices, neither PBS, nor the Corporation for Public Broadcasting will be renewing Reading Rainbow's broadcasting rights. NPR's report, "Reading Rainbow Reaches Its Final Chapter" details how the Emmy award winning 26-year-old program hosted by Levar Burton is coming to an end.

As a precocious child, I'd polished off the entire Chronicles of Narnia series by the age of eight. Twice. Reactions from my teachers varied from disbelief to outright irritation. With regards to educational programming, I was more interested in Yan Can Cook and Julia Child than the fantasyland of Mr. Rogers or the ridiculous antics of the Electric Company (no disrespect!), which I thought insulted my tender intelligence.

Reading Rainbow was one of the only children's shows I adored, especially because it was one of the precious few that treated children with dignity. Here were kids acting as tiny hosts: they liked books and they spoke on a face-to-face level about the ideas they had fostered within themselves. The cancellation of a show that openly addresses adolescent escapism seems oddly draconian.

By the time I was in the fifth grade (and making my first run at the Lord of the Rings) my elementary school had put me aside to help teach other children how to read. Even at age ten I realized you can not teach someone how to read if they don't love to read, and Reading Rainbow demonstrates that learning fundamentals (suck it NCLB!) is best accomplished by instilling a deep love of reading in children.

To this day, I can not make it through the unreasonably emotion-jerking theme song without bursting into tears. It calls to mind an age before the internet when I thought I could learn how to do anything, to be anything, or go anywhere by simply going to the library. And when the snarky teachers punished me because they couldn't believe I read the whole thing in just a couple of hours, I could just open up another book and hang out with people who were just like me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's August (September), They're Coming For You


Yes, it's September already. And yes, even though CandyBuffet is international, and I don't want anyone to get the wrong idea (I love you all!), it's funny, it's dangerously accurate and oh, so true. In light of the season and the recently published, "Host or Hostage, A Guide to Surving Houseguests," by Darlene Dennis, the New York Times article "It's August, They're Coming For You," is perfectly applicable all year round whenever house guests pop in. And if you're planning on doing some popping, make sure to read, "Confessions of a Horrible Houseguest," from the Nest for guilty revelations of unsportsmanlike behavior.

More of a visual learner are you? Well, just enjoy a hilarious viewing of, "The Man Who Came to Dinner."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

This is an ex-parrot.


Wired's GeekDad has compiled a list of 100 essential skills for geeks.  I'm hopelessly lacking in the technical / technology department, but I know where my towel is and I do actually own a cricket bat.  So at least I'm prepared for the zombiepocalypse.  How many can you claim?

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan


I've often headed down to Wendy McClure's blog, the excellently named, Candyboots, when in need of a good laughed based on the hopelessly ridiculous struggle of restricting one's caloric diet (I'm looking at you Weight Watchers!). Not that restricting your diet is ridiculous (after all, Double Dubya was the first institution to teach me that portion control existed) but you can't help but lean back and laugh when you realize you plan to eat one-fourth of your cheeseburger in front of you friends in order to save up enough calories for another cocktail.

Anyhoots, after puttering around in her mother's basement, McClure stumbled upon some utterly fantastic and equally horrifying Weight Watcher's cards from the 70's. "Slender Quenchers" and "Cabbage Casserole Czarina" are some of the recipes that will help you eat (and look) like Weight Watcher's royalty. As long as you can ignore the wayward weenie sculpture and zany photo props (sadly, somewhere all those ceramic animals would have been put out to pasture).

Enjoy watching attempts at making some of the recipes (and some shocking finished products) on Flickr Group, "Make the Mackerel!" Internet down? Saving electricity so you can attend more WW meetings? Don't despair, these hysterical cards are also published in McClure's table book, "The Amazing Mackerel Pudding Plan". Which after purchasing, you can visit whenever you like, in the privacy of your own home.

I'm ashamed to file these under edible. But I guess, with a great deal of focus, they can be eaten.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You can't spell 'badass' without 'MLIS'


Regular listeners of Weekend Edition will be familiar with the names Mary Glendinning and Kee Malesky.  They're two of the reference librarians who provide invaluable information support to NPR's writers and reporters.  These and other masters of the stacks take you behind the scenes with As a Matter of Fact:

As A Matter of Fact is a blog by and for the audio-loving, fact-finding, truth-seeking, pop-culture-fiending, news-addicted librarians of the world. Of course, you don't need to be a librarian to read it. But we're pretty sure you may secretly want to be one after you do.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

How Fail Went from a Verb to an Interjection


Uberfail, full of fail, made of fail, epic fail. When you're writing an e-mail, your spellcheck may never be the same. Ever wonder how "Fail" moved from a verb to a noun?" The New York Times article, "How Fail Went from a Verb to and Interjection," may shed some light on the etymology of a quickly grown grammar trend. Little surprise that they think it has roots in Japanese gaming where fractured English reigns king (but only if you shine ultimately) and the popularity of the Fail Blog whose snark quipping, web surfing fascination lies along the same lines as I Can Has Cheezburger and Photoshop Disasters.

Since we know "win" is traveling the same path, anyone want to brainstorm what the next verb will be to leave the ranks of verb virginity? Post in comments my friends.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who says nerds can't be chic?



Nerd Boyfriend is an austerely simple but endlessly entertaining site.  It starts with a distinctive fashion point of reference, and then offers suggestions for recreating the look.  With a few clicks and a credit card you too can be as impossibly cool as Lee "Scratch" Perry, Alain Delon, or Sir Alec Guinness.  

Well, at the very least you can dress like them.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Make Butter in Under Five Minutes


Lifehacker featured this post, "How to Make Butter in Under 5 Minutes," from the blog, Over the Hill and On a Roll about how to make fresh Homemade butter with nothing but Cream, salt and a stand mixer. The apocalyptic fanatic in me believes such a skill is fundamental, while the alchemist wannabe thinks it would be fun. Let me know of your own results in comments!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You lookin' at me? Taxi Gourmet



It's such a simple idea, and I'm bittertoast with sad jam that I didn't think of it first.  Each week writer Layne Mosler hops in a cab and asks the driver to take her to their favorite restaurant.  She shares her experiences on her blog, Taxi Gourmet.  It's a true insiders take on the best eats in NYC.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

DIY: d20 Handbag of Holding


Some things are so nice you have to post them twice - such as this fabulous bit of handcraftery.


When I was in 7th grade, a couple of my guy friends tried to teach me how to play D+D.  Surprisingly, it didn't appeal to me and I never got into it.   Things might have been different though, had they presented the game in a way that better spoke to me.  I am fluent in accessorese.  

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories has detailed instructions for d20 and d12 bags, with patterns and pre-cut kits in the works.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'll Go Crazy, If I Don't Go Crazy


Today, U2's "I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight," for their new album, No Line On the Horizon, will be released by Mercury records as a new single. Earlier this year on Candy Buffet we talked about David O'Reilly, the Irish animator whose animated short film, "Please Say Something" took home the 2009 Golden Bear award at Berlinale and whose stripped down animated style has been featured in movies like "the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Well, U2 asked this modern animation genius to design and execute the video and Boing, Boing is carrying the complete masterpiece on their website. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars but go directly there to feel a little more human. Well, go on.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Superior firepower is the other half of the battle


Save your money. Watch this. The casting and costuming are better, and the story is more compelling. Not to mention this one has Lady Jaye!



Christopher Eccleston and nanothingies? This is how it's done.



If you simply must spend your coin, let me recommend this DVD collection from Shout! Factory. Your childhood will thank you. GO JOE!


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Lollyphile


There's a good reason why lollipops permeate our society on all levels from wall-leaning cool kids to tootsie center chomping lawyers and even (or especially) sexual inuendo. Also, lollies taste good. Enter the queen of internet lolly fantasies, Lollyphile, a San Fransisco company with a huge sweet tooth who professes their hand-made lollipops are bigger, better, ship faster and have a longer shelf life then other candy competitors. It's hard to argue with them when you can buy flavors like absinthe, wasabi-giner, or maple and bacon from their website. And even though Lollyphile only offers five flavors (get excited, because they're working on a queue of other cool flavors!), they offer a service called Candyphile, a monthly club which sends delicious underground candies from miracle making confectioners all over the world, straight to your door and ready for you own gastronomical adventure.

So come on, admit it, candy IS all you think about.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

We will know the place for the first time


Ze Frank has been entertaining the online faithful for nearly a decade.    In 2001 he unwittingly created one of the first viral videos when a birthday invitation meant for 17 friends was forwarded to millions.  And in this way, a generation learned how to dance properly.  

He's turning his talents to more thoughtful matters with a series of videos for Time.com called "That makes me think of ... "  In these 3 minutes pieces he takes on the day's topics in a stream of consciousness style that can start with stoned wallabies and end with Robert MacNamara.

His personal site, Zefrank.com, offers hours - hours - of videos, interactive toys, games, and articles.  The memory game is seriously addictive.

You can also follow him on twitter - @zefrank.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

10 of London's best secret supper clubs



The Times of London is bringing underground supper clubs out into the light.  Think of them as speakeasies that serve gourmet food instead of bathtub gin.  Often hosted in private homes by talented amateur chefs, it's a dinner party full of friends you've never met.

The direct link to the Times Online article is mysteriously no longer working.  Clearly someone realized that a place isn't secret if everyone on the interwebs can find it.  But we know you need to eat.  Check out these links and start working on your secret handshake.



Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Yoshitomo Nara



If you were watching Stage 18 of the recent Tour de France you likely noticed a wide eyed little girl riding along with Lance Armstrong.  His time trial bike was designed by Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara, and featured one of Nara's signature manga inspired tots.

His name may not be familiar, but his work is instantly recognizable.  

Yoshitomo Nara's paintings and sculpture of stylized cartoon children and animals evoke a range of memories from childhood, "both sad and fantastic."  [His] work is influenced by Japanese comic books (manga) but he is unique in the contemporary art scene here for bedeviling his typically cute and vulnerable figures with a horror like image ... Nara's work really instills the viewer with a juxtaposition of the innocence of children and the evil nature of humanity, or the fall from grace.  -- via

Enjoy more examples of his work at the Stephen Friedman Gallery and Zink Galerie sites.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Arlington Rap


Comedian Remy Munasifi was hailed on an ABC interview with "Weird Al" Yankovic as a successor to the parody Czar. After you watch his absolutely brilliant rap, "Arlington" (praising the thug atmosphere of the Washington, DC suburb), you might be inclined to think the same.

Wanna know more? Check out the Washington Post Express interview, "From the School of Starbucks," or Remy's other offerings at Munasifi's hompage Goremy.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sweet showers of deliciousness


Please ignore the logo, and just enjoy the beautiful cascades of candy.



via

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ain't That A Shame


Author Justine Larbalestier writes Young Adult fiction and has written a letter to her fans regarding the outcry over the cover of her latest novel, "Liar". You see, the novel's protaganist, Micah, is a young black girl with nappy hair, while the the cover features a young white girl with straight hair.

Justine explains that, "Authors do not get final say on covers. Often they get no say at all." but goes on to lambast her puplisher, bloomsbury for whaite-washing its covers. Moreover, the book is about a pathological liar, and a cover with a girl looking nothing like how the protaganist describes herself, the meaning and truthfulness of the story is called into question.

You can read Larbalestier's entire response at her website, Justine Larbalestier: writing, reading, eating, drinking, sport.

Ursula Le Guin complained over the same white-washing of her covers in (one of my personal favorite responses to this kind of thing), "A Whitewashed Earthsea: How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books" on The Slate, where she describes publishing the orginal Earthsea trilogy thirty years ago:

I had endless trouble with cover art. Not on the great cover of the first edition—a strong, red-brown profile of Ged—or with Margaret Chodos Irvine's four fine paintings on the Atheneum hardcover set, but all too often. The first British Wizard was this pallid, droopy, lily-like guy—I screamed at sight of him.

Gradually I got a little more clout, a little more say-so about covers. And very, very, very gradually publishers may be beginning to lose their blind fear of putting a nonwhite face on the cover of a book. "Hurts sales, hurts sales" is the mantra. Yeah, so? On my books, Ged with a white face is a lie, a betrayal—a betrayal of the book, and of the potential reader.

I remember reading the trilogy in middle school and when I realized Ged was not white I scrutinized the cover fitfully. Ged was so small, I could have hardly been able to tell if he were purple.

Finally, I encourage you to take the time to read, "Shame," a short essay from Pam Noles about growing up black and loving science fiction and fantasy, while being black. One of my favorite tidbits is condensed below while she talks about Star Wars.
Then "Star Wars" came out. I was 11...I spazzed all the way through the screening, my first science fiction movie on the big screen and with everything so huge, it made a big difference...Han Solo had this ship that he flew upside down! Darth Vader even breathed scary!! And there were robots!!! And Luke had to fly into the canyon on the Death Star with the other ships shooting at him and he had to get the bomb into a tiny hole and then he turned off the machine thing and he prayed to Obi Wan and bomb went in. And then they got medals. Also there was a giant teddy bear with stringy hair and a gun.

He said it sounded as if I liked it. I said I mostly thought it was absolutely great. And it was, really. Don't get me wrong. But it was like most of the other stuff I had seen. I explained to him about the planet where Luke came from, a desert with two suns? And how here, where we only one sun, in the desert the people are black. I told him how there wasn't even one black person in the whole movie, even in the background, and I had looked.
Just reminding movie producers, book publishers and video game marketers that we are want our stories as stories. And we are watching, all of us, the black, white, yellow, female, male, straight, gay, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, martian all of us. And we don't like everyone in our heads to be white and male. Even the white males don't like it. So you got a lot of catching up to do. Bozos.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Giant Steps Are What You Take



40 years ago, with computing technology that could barely run a gameboy today, Neil Armstrong, Michael Collins, and Buzz Aldrin strapped themselves into a tin can and turned their eyes to heaven.

We Choose the Moon is a very cool interactive site that recreates the launch and mission through digital graphics, stills, and archival audio from mission control.

NPR has the story of the search for the original footage of the moonwalk - footage which NASA most likely TAPED OVER sometime in the 80's. As a librarian, I'm dying a little inside. But all was not lost, as you can see from the restored clips here.

UPDATE!  The National Geographic Society's library has compiled an exhaustive list of Apollo 11 links, articles, and blogs.  It's one stop shopping for all your lunar needs.  You know we bring you nothing but the finest time wasters.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Sars and Wing Chung are Places to Go


Hey, sometimes wax|wendy and I overlap, basically because Whit and I share a brain. After spending s few hours on forums housed in UK sites it makes me long for the herculean moderation of sites like Television Without Pity. Even after they sold out to corporate skunks, their forums are still one of the best places to go on the web to discuss your favorite shows without the community descending into boring flamewars. My favorite places to (not) lurk? The Dr. Who and True Blood forums. (How I miss musing about Cylon religion! So long Battlestar Galatica forum!). And don't just peruse the community, several of TWoP's recappers run rockin' blogs of their own including Sars's Tomato Nation, currently in the middle of a serious cereal smackdown, and Wing Chung's Tara Ariano, where you can get links to her hilarious recaps of popular movies including Twilight and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Of Art and Laundry


Jessica Dimmock for The New York Times

The lights of New York's newly opened High Line Park point directly at Patty Heffley's apartment.  What would be an annoyance to most became for her a source of inspiration. Together with singer Elizabeth Soychak, they have created the Renegade Cabaret.  Open nightly when the party lights are on.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Cost Conundrum


In Atul Gawande's article, "The Cost Conundrum," for the New Yorker, Gawande examines the peculiarities of McAllen,Texas a small border town just outside of El Paso which also happens to have the most expensive health care costs in the United States (sans Miami, a thriving, population gobbling metropolis). Kickbacks, pay days for more expensive tests, unnecessary procedures, unessential operations, anti-collaboration culture, all contribute to worsening health care in this example of the broken foundations in America's "health insurance" culture.

Gawande likens the current conventions of the industry to constructing a house with an independent electrician, plumber and carpenter, each paid by how many (respectively) outlets, faucets, and cabinets he puts in. Without a contractor to pull a team together and keep them coordinated, the house would be filled with unnecessary bits and pieces all unrelated to the house general well-being. Getting the country’s best electrician isn’t going to help, neither will changing the person who writes him the check (as certain members of congress would lead us to believe).

Hey, the last time I asked for a copy of my records from my endocrinologist the first thing she asked me was, "Is this to go to another doctor? Because there is a forty dollar fee." The "copying fee" mysteriously evaporated when I explained the GYN who recommended me never received a copy. The two doctors, by the way, have practices in the same medical office building, but have never spoken to each other. My GYN, in fact relies on me to relay information from the Endocrinologist.

NPR also covered the story in a broadcast, "Spend More Get Less, the Health Care Conundrum."

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The speed of change - 140 characters


Photo by Getty Images

Twitter has been around since 2006, allowing users to update the mundanity of life 140 characters at a time. 2009 may well mark the point at which it went from a toy to a powerful communication tool. Trendhunter has put together a list of 13 ways Twitter enables activism - whether it's fans trying to save their favorite TV show, or voters in Iran struggling to preserve their rights and make their voices heard. Tweet, tweet.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Be a Villain


Well, birthday time is coming (as it inevitability does) and with it comes cupcakes stickers (thank, goodness, because my laptop was looking quite forlorn). Gifted with the cupcake stickers came a canary yellow book called "How to be a Villain," by Neil Zawacki. Somewhere between the warmly hilarious machinations of Austin Grossman's "Soon I Will Be Invincible," and the self-esteem building practicality of Marjorie Hillis's "Live Alone and Like It," Zawacki creates an entertaining, annotated, illustrated guide outlining the ways to develop your inner darkness, all the while reassuring us that "there is an aspect of evil that is right for you,". Read now and laugh. Laugh, your evil laugh.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The King is Dead


Who can but watch numbly for hours the media frenzy that ensued after Michael Jackson's death. It seems that even this is but fodder for their gossip mills. Thank goodness for Boing Boing. I direct you to, "The King is Dead: Lefsetz on the passing of Michael Jackson," their article by music industry writer, Bob Lefsetz, showing the sympathetic side of a man who'd been on the world's center stage since the age of five.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Arcobelleno Farfalle


My nature is prone to obsession, and rarely has that been so true or so quickly accomplished as when I caught sight of this picture of arcobelleno farfalle (rainbow, bowtie pasta) on FoodStories last Friday.

Hard to find, expensive, (around 19 American dollars a pound), I feel like I've been given a quest, not lightly undertaken and never forsaken.

Now, I just need to choose a magic user and a thief...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Readers of Boing Boing interview Michael Moorcock


What else needs to be said about the awesomeness of this concept. Tachyon Publications recently coordinated an interview on their blog, "Saving the World, One Good Book at a Time", where "The Readers of Boing Boing Interview Michael Moorcock". Who best to explore the angsty, bedeviled history of the creator of Elric of Melnibone, now the fiery-eyed, white-haired, quintessential symbol of fiction's antihero. Such gems discussed are how Moorcock based Elric on himself as a teenager and the connection between fantasy and science fiction genres and heavy metal.

And if you don't know who Michael Moorcock or Elric is, I..just. can't. uh. What? I just don't know who you are anymore.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Look Around You


I was first introduced to "Look Around You," at a random birthday party. The series consists of eight, ten-minute shorts parodying British school films from the 70s and 80s. Apparently, every country is subjected to learning films of ridiculous nature in their youth. I laughed so hard I wept. You can catch most of the episodes on You Tube, including my favorite, "Maths".

The Cartoon Network's, "Adult Swim" showed the entire series back in January (you can check "Look Around You" section to find out when they'll be back. Also, the BBC has a follow along site with bonus materials like bogus quizzes, text books and even a periodic table (check out the atomic mass of "wood").

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Splitter - Fun with Physics



Here at Candy Buffett we do enjoy smart, engaging time wasters. Designers Eugene Karataev and Artem Popov have come up with a winner called Splitter. Your goal is to get the smiley guy to the exit using physics and judicious slices. Levels get progressively harder, and you can restart a level as many times as you need to. Get stuck, and you can either click on 'Levels' and jump to the next screen, or take a peek at the solution. Both are thoughtful options to keep players from chucking their laptops across the room in frustration.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The heady scent of childhood



Release both your inner artist and inner fashionista with these fantastic Crayon rings by Timothy Liles.  Available for sale at The Future Perfect, they're a little spendy at $50 a set, even if they do come in a cool wooden box.   I might have to get in touch with my inner DIY, and try my hand at casting a set of my own.  Imagine the possibilities. 

Friday, June 5, 2009

Semi-Civillized


Just finished reading Sheri Tepper's "The Margarets" (Oh Sheri, why must your magnificent morality tales always peter out at the end) where future Earthians aren't passing muster as an intelligent or civilized species under the guidelines of interstellar trade organizations that classify newly discovered organisms, thusly in order to conserve the limited amount of habitable planets:

  • Civilized - Those who know, care about and protect their living environment to sustainability
  • Semi-civilized - Those who know and care about their living environment but are prevented (by public apathy, commercial interference, religious opposition, governmental corruption and the like) from protecting their living environments
  • Barbarians - Those who know but don't care about their environment (<-- Ann Coulter)
  • Animals - Those who do not know

It got me thinking (in a powerfully ruthless than mildy disconsolate sort of manner, thanks science-fiction, that I am wont to do), about all polices rooted in our regular life that we don't agree with but feel powerless about and therefore make ourselves powerless about (semi-civilized), or numbly pretend we can't do anything about until we no longer care (barbarian).

Thanks to Boing Boing, I found Skin Deep which is a non-profit database listing all the toxic ingredients in your cosmetics and personal care products (Hey start at the bottom, work your way up). Skin Deep is non-profit because the FDA doesn't require companies to test their products for safety (Barbarian? Semi-civilized?). Use their database, like I am, to horrify yourself on a daily basis, or perhaps to find out what you are allergic to in Maybelline's Great Lash. Now start composting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You expect me to believe that?




Tomas Mankovsky has created a fantastic, inventive stop-motion film entitled "Sorry I'm Late".  It's similar in spirit to another Candy Buffet favorite, "Her Morning Elegance".  Playing with perspective and found items from around the house, Tomas reminds us that it's the journey, not the destination that matters.

Check out the making of page for animation tests, story boards, and behind the scenes stills showing how they put it all together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bad Astronomy


Phil Plait's "Bad Astronomy" Page is dedicated to pointing out popular misconceptions about our night sky why satisfying the common man's curiosity in the general workings of our universe. Check out the blog (hosted by Discover magazine) for current events gems, visit the "Misconceptions" page (bad idioms!) for nitpickin' goodness or hang out in the "Movies" section (um, try not to focus on the science in the new Star Trek movie) for hours of reading fun.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

... leaves its impress upon the soul of man


Herbert Glacier

I've spent the last week in Juneau, Alaska, and it is an immensely beautiful place. According to this recent New York Times article, global warming is affecting the area in an unusual way.

Relieved of billions of tons of glacial weight, the land has risen much as a cushion regains its shape after someone gets up from a couch. The land is ascending so fast that the rising seas — a ubiquitous byproduct of global warming — cannot keep pace. As a result, the relative sea level is falling, at a rate “among the highest ever recorded,” according to a 2007 report by a panel of experts convened by Mayor Bruce Botelho of Juneau.

Kristin White, a 28-year-old schoolteacher who grew up in Haines, a town north of here, is from another family in the area whose real estate grew as land rose. But for Ms. White, who has vivid memories of visiting the Mendenhall glacier as a child, the gain in acreage has been bittersweet. Seeing the glacier retreat, she said, is “as if you lived in the Smoky Mountains and you were used to seeing certain peaks — and they disappeared. It’s just totally, totally sad.”

Monday, May 25, 2009

Andy's Poem Planet



Ha! You thought I only put my own sundry poems up here. Well, Andy's Poem Planet is a friend of mine and its a little bit Dr. Suess, a little bit Mother Goose, and a little bit screw loose. Enjoy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hulu Set for September UK Launch


It's a little late since I purchased the last two episodes of the "Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles" from itunes, but better late than never. Hulu is flinging the barn doors open and giving international access in September 2009, according to the Telegraph's, "Hulu set for September UK launch".

Are you listening, music companies? I've always had the impression that not hooking international audiences on your shows to guarantee DVD sales was a huge miss for the networks, and I hope this means that they agree with me. Divided for just three weeks from my television, I was beginning to forget why I needed one in the first place. Oh well, back to the glass teat.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Why Anthony Hopkins May Be Playing Charles Nesson in Ten Years


Doesn't he just look like like your cute, crocthety granpa? Harvard Law Professor Charles Nesson is set to argue on behalf of grad student and alleged file-sharing user Joel Tenenbaum. His defense alleges that file-sharing is within the bounds of fair use and that even when a file-sharer is convicted, statutory damages should be equivalent to actual damages and the statutory damages in such cases amount to zero because there is no provable harm caused by non-commercial file-sharing.

Even more worrying for record labels, Nesson plans to argue that non-commercial file-sharing satisfies the “four factors test” of fair use legislation on intellectual copyright. And, as zmogo reports in the article, "To the Rescue of File-Sharing Tenenbaum", the band and music innovators, Radiohead, are preparing to speak on Tenenbaum's behalf that file-sharing can be an asset to members of the music industry.

Geek.com has the in-depth story, "Harvard professor to testify P2P file sharing is legal under “Fair Use”" including Rick Hodgin's scintillating opinion. But as far as I'm concerned, its a thrilling David and Goliath story. Go, David, Go!