Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Come With Me If You Want To Live

The Times Online published a nifty little list of the 50 Coolest Movie Robots of All Time to coincide with the release the Transformers movie. They weighted each robot on a scale of 1-10 according to plausibility, coolness, dangerousness and comedy (Personally, I think Twikie got shafted, but you decide). Click on the links and you will get entertaining video footage of the robots in question.

For a little extra fun, I decided to score myself on how well I knew their robots, giving myself (1 point) - if I had heard about the robot, (2 points) - If I had chosen to see the movie or television show in which the robot existed and (3 points) - If a had seen the show more than once just to see the robot again. I scored 74 pts out of a possible 150 pts. How did you do?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Ryan Jacobs

Earlier I blogged about Mississippi based Amy C. Evans. Her fantastic blog, Made in Mississippi led me to Ryan Jacobs a quirky artist who mixes silhouettes and watercolors with pop art organics and anatomical correctness. The above painting reminds me of a candied Mandelbrot set.

The simple lines and unspoken violence of this summer bike below (entitled "Accident prone") remind me of the "Menaced Objects" series by Edward Gorey. I'd really love to see more of him. Jacobs art reminds of old lithographs one could come across in a forgotten thrift store on a sunny day. The lithographs feel worn to the eye, their subject remains intriguing and much of the art is heavily influenced by politics and national culture. See for yourself at


Thursday, July 26, 2007


So, I was trolling Wonkette (like I do) and clicked on one of their sidebar thingies after viewing some pretty cool artwork. Enter Gawker Artists, where one can view rotating selections from different new artists' work. It was strangely mind-bending and yet, relaxing. Each artist has a profile and a link to their home page as well.

Some of my favorites included Parskid (whose images will probably make it onto my cellphone sometime soon), the kooky satircal stylings of Kenyon Bajus (above), and the slighty creepy, slighty magical drawings of Dylan Saisson.

Buyer Beware, Gawker Artists can be a bit like walking around DC's Artomatic, there are a lot of artists there, some I just don't dig (read: crap) but that makes finding the intriguing gems all the more gratifying.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Callooh, Callay!

Boing Boing had a link to BadGods, which has a priceless little collection of famous poems turned into limricks (like that above for "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"). They're hysterical. Unfortunately, there aren't very many poems on the site, so I thought I'd try my hand at making one. The result is below:

There once was an adventuresome boy,
Whose sword, a jabberwock, did destroy,
After a snickerty-snack,
He came galumphing back,
To portmanteaux his dad chortled in joy.

(You should try too! Post them in comments!)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I've a Daemon, You've a Daemon...

Any minute now, my new Harry Potter book will arrive. Anyday now, I will see "The Order of the Phoenix" again in the movie theatre. Till either come to pass, I will amuse myself by taking one of the many "Find Your Daemon" quizzes that have popped up all over the internet since the arrival of the "Golden Compass" trailer for the first movie of the remarkable "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Phillip Pullman. Haven't read them? Shame on you! In short, in the main character's world "daemons" (pronouced like "demons") are a person's soul. Never more than a few feet away from you, they are rather like a familiar or an ever present, vocal conscience in the form of an animal.

I've tried a lot of these quizzes (And I mean a lot). With my expertise, I can offer you the following two excellent choices, one superior in form and the other in function:

Quiz one (from Quizilla) is not slick nor pretty (it even has a misspelling in one of the questions) but the questions are thought provoking and insightful and the daemons produced are truly awe inspiring.

Quiz two is everything the first is not and is located at the official movie site for "The Golden Compass". Watch the intro (if you like) then, go to the menu, click on "Daemons" and "Meet your Daemon". The flash engine is raging hot, the flying handles of the alethiometer are messmerizing, even if the daemon choices are limited and their explanations (in my opinion) rather lame. You do get a rocking cool name to go with your daemon, though.

Feel free to leave you results in the comments. Have fun my pretties.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

Was browsing through the Free People catalogue the other day, (by browsing, I mean, of course, drooling and ripping out the pages). Now, no one in there right mind (not at least on my budget) should buy anything (read "full price") from Free People, the "up" brand of Anthropologie. Their catalogue does, however, contain fabulously bohemian styling ideas and "devil-may-care" hairstyles that you can recreate with your own averaged priced Henleys, stockings and copious amounts of bobby pins. I found myself lusting over these items below.

The first Henley is paired with a luscious belt and a sort of New World charm necklace that somehow combines Western ruggedness and hippie free/nature love. It works. The jacket on the right is a funky, bluesy, must have, cowgirl accessory. It also reminds me of the old denim jacket my sister bleach painted the letters L-O-V-E on the back of in high school. That old jacket instantly turned into the hotest accessory commodity that even our friends fought over. I suppose, I will have to hunt down a beautiful thrift jacket to practice my stenciling voodoo on to recreate this look.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

How to Fight Conservatives

I stole this quiz "What Breed of Liberal Are You?" blatantly from FreshSnaps (haven't checked it out? You should!). Not only was it a good bit of fun, but mine was spot on:

My Liberal Breed: Reality-Based Intellectualist

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.
I would love to find out what other people are! You will also find this Quiz in my SweetShop for a while.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Sorcerers and Secretaries

Apparently this new manga, Sorcerers and Secrataries, from Tokyopop was taken from pages of my very own life. An enticingly, unique fantasy story daringly combined with a romance? I'm in. The sweet, feminine fantasy elements are almost (dare I say?) Sailor Moon-esque, but the parallels between life and fantasy remind me of Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic. It’s a diverting manga ride, cleverly written (and I love the art). Also, seriously, the main character might be me in an alternate reality. Her nickname is SNICKERS--just a little too close to Neekers AND Sneakers to be entirely coincidental. Now, don't get me wrong, Secretaries isn't in the "fantastic girl" genre and the main character don't go through magical adventures (yet), but is rather a city love story, with a twist.

You can read the 1st Chapter at Tokyopop's Website.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Ostriches are Bogus!

Today, I have a little mother tongue that comes to me from my brother a (Commander in the US Navy to all of you!). Ostrobogulous, (Os-tra'-bag-u-los) may be a little harder to work into a conversation than other words I have posted, but its meaning is so closely linked to the unlikeliness of its syllable count that it should be managed.

Apparently popular among historical philologists like Martha Barnette (host of A Way With Words) and Erin McKean (chief editor of the Oxford University Press), ostrobogulous is an adjective which means -- Slightly risqué or indecent; bizarre, interesting, or unusual.

I have practiced reciting it under my breath, as if I burped or cursed, when confronted with a particularly titillating work of modern art (or a particularly grotesque one). In fact, the "superfragilisticexpiallidocious" complexity of the word makes it an incredibly tempting new swear word. One reserved for, say, the "two headed cow fetus in a jar" at your next trip to Palace of Wonders. Most people will assume you are swearing in another language, anyway.

Of course, it could also be your new secret name for your cadre of friends, as in "The Ostrobogulous Granfaloon", (which is even more fun to say than it is to write).

"A granfalloon is a proud and meaningless association of human beings."--Kurt Vonnegut

Thursday, July 12, 2007

She Loves the Moon

In middle school (and unrepentantly, often in high school) I was the queen of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I read (and shamefully re-read) dozens of thin novelettes in flimsy paper covers with the romantic settings of riding dragons in Pern, voyaging beneath the ocean, or time traveling to Feudal Japan (that last one was especially hard to survive. Don't go into the garden!). When I saw this story of a kind of Choose Your Own Adventure written on the sidewalks of the Mission District of San Francisco, my interest was piqued.

In an intriguing mash-up of short story and street art, "She Loves the Moon" is a two-person romance told through interactive sidewalk stencils. "Players" can start at two different locations (one for the man and one for the woman) and follow their story through spray painted markers connected by arrows (the streetscape is used as a sort of illustration to accompany each piece of text). By making choices along the way, you determine whether the romance has a happy or tragic ending. There are also two places were the story abruptly ends if player make the wrong choice. His story starts at 16th and Valencia, in front of the Crown Hotel / Limon Restaurant with the text "He Leaves his Lonely Apartment." Her story starts at 21st and Guerrero in front of a Victorian mansion with the text, "She Leaves her Lonely Apartment."

I suspect that these fun little stencils may start popping up all over cities across the world (Much like those damnable Chicago cows). And I am sorely tempted to write one for DC. (midnight spray painters unite!).

This sight on Flicker shows some of the stencils like the one above (don't worry, they don't give away the ending).

A Pepper in Every Pot

Candy Buffet has a longtime obsession with more than just electronic candy. She loves peppers!

Now the U.S. Botanic Gardens (in conjunction with the United States Agriculture Research Service, ARS) has a new exhibit exploring the diversity of the pod-type pepper genus (Capsicum), including recently introduced varieties. The most popular (and is commercially available) is called the Black Pearl (pictured above). With deep black leaves, the shiny, black fruit is robust and remarkably adaptable, drought-tolerant and resists attacks from many insects and fungi. It ripens to a bright scarlet and can be used as a hot pepper in the kitchen. (I found seeds and plants on E-bay and Amazon).

Among the other new pepper varieties that ARS is developing are Tangerine Dream (a sweet, edible ornamental pepper that produces small, orange, banana-shaped fruit) and one new pepper with spreading black foliage and colorful upright peppers with a spicy flavor that can be used as ground cover (left) making it perfect for smaller urban gardens.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

King City

Heh. I saw this tidbit (where else, but the Express) and had to look it up, because it looked so much like an alternate reality Sean (complete with deadly cat weapon). The main character, Joe is a spy/rebel/slacker/cat master (Hee--cat master). Yes, the cat is a weapon. Even so, that's not the weirdest thing about this manga (maybe the Russian, ex-astronaut sasquatch who runs Joe's apartment is). The inhabitants of King City (as according to the editor of the series) are the weird and twisted characters that could have been plucked from a child's dream. Even so the story never sacrifices substance or soul for style.

Check it out at Tokyopop's Website - King City

The Washington Post, Express article about the series is pretty good too. Read it here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Amy C. Evans

I first heard about this artist in "Eating Around" a quick little foodie and restaurant freak column in Thursday's Express. I visited her website on a whim. Evans's art is whimsical, colorful and food-based, like a gastronomical Griffin and Sabine cover. Her Blog, Made in Mississippi is even better with clever side trips into print making, adventurers in home gardening, yummy foodstuffs and quirky photography. She even has a painting of the week similar to my pin-up of the week (but of course her painting are original and gastronomically titillating). Cashion's (in Adams Morgan) has at least two of her paintings and now Johnny's Half Shell (of Dupont Circle fame, but now alas near union Station) has acquired one. A little food worship never hurts.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Best Geek Vacation

Wired has compiled this list of the Best Geek Vacations in the World. I have to admit, at first I was nonplussed. But then I squeed after reading hot spot number 5, the Keck Observatory at Mauna Kea, legendary among astronomers for probably the best seeing in the world. It also reminded me of a story one of my college Astronomy professors recounted about the effects of the high altitude of Mauna Kea telescopes. After being acclimatized for a couple of days and warned about the high-altitude sickness, he began his night with the telescope (which has one of the most expensive telescope rates in the world), but he could see no stars. After recalibrating his instruments a few times, wasting an hour, he realized he had left the eyepiece cap on.

And I have to mention, some of our best friends have taken number 7, the Lord of the Rings Tour of New Zealand. (Shout out to Keith and Chrissy!).

Monday, July 2, 2007

Video Games Live!

Video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall are hosting and conducting "Video Games Live" a wildly successful multimedia symphonic tour. I was salivating to see it at the Kennedy Center last weekend, but alas the $25 dollar concert and pre-show was sold-out. "Video Games Live" brings the music from games like "Halo" (which would require a full chorus), "Zelda", "Myst" and even Pong. Some of the highlights include a costume contest, a gaming contest (top scorer wins a Ferrari laptop), audience participation during the show (the orchestra brings a person on stage to play a game while the orchestra plays the music in real time, changing it on the fly) and in the case of the Kennedy Center, a meet and greet with god of turn-based electronica, Sid Meier, after the Saturday show. VGL is going all over the world. Upcoming cities on the tour include, Tokyo, Japan; Chicago, IL; and Salt Lake City, Utah (not naming any names). Look for your city at:


You can also read the Washington Post article here.