Archive for July, 2007

RIP: Ingmar Bergman & Michelangelo Antonioni

Two great directors passed away yesterday: Ingmar Bergman and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Secular Sunday III – Bible Spoiler

Bible Spoiler: Jesus dies on page 681

I saw this recently and couldn’t resist posting it here.

Friday Funday CLVII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Fonejacker – Joovc Doovde Player [del.icio.us]

A hilarious prank call made to an electronics store.

The 10 Most Unlikely Celeb Porn Stars [del.icio.us]

I was surprised to find out that some of these celebs were on the list!

Alanis Morissette “My Humps” video [del.icio.us]

Apparently I’m the only person in the world who hadn’t heard about this, but I laughed out loud when I saw this.

Some Interesting Islands and Lakes [del.icio.us]

What’s the largest island in the world? How about the largest lake? How about the largest island in a lake? The largest lake on an island in a lake? It keeps going like that until you reach the nearly incomprehensible “largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island”. Although, apparently, the largest island on an island on an island is actually one on Glover Island in Newfoundland.

Red Universe [del.icio.us]

Chances are, you’ve already seen this. But in case you haven’t, it’s pretty neat. I’m not really sure how to explain it, but if you happen to be on, look for me. I’m usually in room RED 0 and my screen name is Kurtz.

Friday Funday CLVI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Sorry for the delay; I had a surprisingly busy weekend!

Louis CK’s stupid dog [del.icio.us]

This made me laugh out loud. I love that the dog keeps trying again and again.

Amnesty International: Signature [del.icio.us]

An interesting concept that’s well executed. My favorite is the last one because it reminds me of a picture that I drew once.

Silent Star Wars [del.icio.us]

What if the original Star Wars Trilogy was done in the style of an old silent movie? This video is the answer to that question! This is extremely well done.

The reactable [del.icio.us]

This blew my mind. I could describe what the reactable is, but you’d probably be much more impressed if you saw it yourself. Visit the site and click on media.

Little Irish Girl Prank Calls [del.icio.us]

Here are several recordings of Becky, an 8-year-old girl from Dublin, Ireland making prank phone calls. She’s a sharp kid (although some of the lines are obviously being fed to her), but the best part is how the people she pranking handle the calls. If you like these, be sure to check out page two.

Read more…

Indie is the new techno

I’m listening to The Reminder by Feist and a thought just occurred to me: when it comes to advertising, indie is the new techno.

A few years ago, if you wanted to sell a product, your commercial needed techno music (or some kind of appropriate electronica). Club/rave culture was a strong selling point, despite how many people claimed to eschew the style. These days, indie music sets the tone for popular television commercials, while indie art adorns the pages of magazine adverts.

Here are a few examples of indie music in T.V. spots:

Product: LG Chocolate

Artist: Feist

Song: My Moon My Man

Product: Sony Bravia

Artist: José González

Song: Heartbeats

Product: Honda Civic

Artist: M.I.A.

Song: Galang

Zed vs Zee

I was struck with an interesting thought this morning in the shower (as is often the case).

As you probably know, in the United States, the letter “z” is pronounced “zee”, whereas in most other countries, it’s pronounced “zed”. It occurred to me that, while the latter is more commonly accepted, it totally screws up the alphabet song.

The alphabet song is made up of six lines (as with nearly everything, the version you know may be slightly different based on where you grew up). Those lines are:

A-B-C-D-E-F-G,

H-I-J-K L-M-N-O-P,

Q-R-S T-U-V,

W-X Y and Z.

Now I know my ABCs,

Next time won’t you sing with me?

So the rhymes are gee, pee, vee, zee, sees, and me. But if the letter “z” is pronounced as “zed”, then the song is ruined. That lead me to wonder if the reason we pronounce the letter “z” as “zee” because of the song, or if it’s pronounced “zee” in the song because that’s how we pronounce it.

It’s difficult to make a strong case in either direction. The alphabet song was first copyrighted by Charles Bradlee in Boston in 1835 (the full title of the song, by the way, is, “The A.B.C., a German air with variations for the flute with an easy accompaniment for the piano forte”). Etymologists don’t know for sure when Americans started pronouncing it “zee”, but in 1828, Noah Webster published his American Dictionary of the English Language, wherein he wrote, “Z… It is pronounced zee.” [source]

To further confound the issue, “zed” and “zee” aren’t the only ways to pronounce the letter! As recently as 1983, it has been referred to as “izzard” (although this is highly dialectical). This pronunciation is quite old indeed; Johnson’s 1755 dictionary stated, “Z… [Name] zed, more commonly izzard or uzzard, that is, shard.” [ibid]

It does seem that Noah Webster was probably the strongest influence. He avidly believed that Americans should have their own distinct dialect of English, and his dictionaries changed the spelling of words such as “colour” and “centre” to their now-common, rather uniquely-American counterparts. [source]

At the time of his death in 1843, his work was still relatively unrecognized, it’s clear that he had a significant and lasting impact upon the American lexicon. It’s likely that, as his dictionaries began to gain traction, the letter “z” began to be pronounced as he had desired, further separating Americans from the British (and pretty much the rest of the world).

So which is correct? Well, “zed” of course. But if we didn’t try to do things differently from the rest of the world, that wouldn’t be very American, would it?

An ALLO Birthday!

It is once again time to celebrate the day on which I first started A Life Less Ordinary! Back in 2001, I created a website that would be a photo-diary of my life. Obviously, the thrust of the site has changed somewhat, but ALLO lives on, now six years old! Sometime I’m going to have a big party to celebrate the event. Perhaps when the blog turns 10. How many of you would actually travel from wherever you are to wherever I am to celebrate (all the food would be provided, and I promise that there will be cake)?

Friday Funday CLV

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

50 Dates in 50 States [del.icio.us]

Single? Looking for a date? Bliss and Leary might go out with you! These two girls are going on dates in all fifty states in search of… Um… Well, probably internet fame.

Roxik [del.icio.us]

This website blows my mind. Be sure to play with Missing Link and Pictaps

Sense. This picture makes none. [del.icio.us]

I saw this on DIGG this morning and it made me laugh out loud. What is going on here?

Britain’s Got Talent – A Star is Born [del.icio.us]

Here’s Paul Potts’ audition on Britain’s Got Talent. He sings Nessun Dorma. He went on to win the competition.

Shay – AlterEgo [del.icio.us]

The editing is kind of weird in this video, but the guy does some pretty amazing contact juggling.

2007 Mid-Year Resolution Update

This post is a little later than I had hoped, but July has been a busy month for me. Yes, it’s time once again to review the resolutions I made at the beginning of the year and see how well I’ve kept them.

Eat right – This one has been… Interesting. I would say that, on the whole, I’ve been eating fewer calories. Much of what I’ve been doing over the past year has stuck; I have pretty much the same low-calorie breakfasts and snacks every day. I think the real problem here has been lunches and dinners. Morah and I were talking just yesterday about trying to create meal plans for ourselves that will help control how many calories we eat. I added up my breakfast and snacks and found that I can eat over 1500 calories for lunch and dinner (combined, obviously). That should be pretty simple, especially if we’re being really conscious about it.

Work out more frequently – At the beginning of the year, I said I didn’t want to join a gym. I still don’t, but I’m running low on ideas. You’d think that, living in the Northwest, I’d be outside getting exercise all the time. Too bad where I live doesn’t really contribute to that. I did, however, get a lot of exercise last week (I’m still sore!), and I’ve been trying to do some sort of exercise every day. Morah and I tried to play tennis a couple of months ago, but she rolled her ankle and couldn’t do much of anything for almost a month. Perhaps we’ll try that again soon. I miss playing racquetball. We’ve been trying to think of a place that has free racquetball facilities, and EWU is the only place we can come up with (they haven’t changed the student ID cards since we graduated, so we could still use the courts for free). The only problem is that EWU is way out in Cheney…

Floss my teeth – Yep. Still not really doing this as much as I should. I do it from time to time, but I know I should do it more often. I don’t have a good excuse here.

Do my traction – My back has been feeling better, but I can tell I still need to do my traction. I’ve been bad at work lately and haven’t been sitting on my block and wedge (they’re really rather uncomfortable). I haven’t been doing my traction at home either. I set an alarm on my mobile phone to remind me to do it, but now I don’t even think about why the alarm goes off. I really need to get in the habit of doing it the moment I come home. That way I won’t have a chance to sit down and get comfortable and putting off doing it.

Save money – Wow! Morah and I have been doing a great job of this. Sure, we’ve splurged here and there, but we know our limits and we’ve still managed to save every month. In fact, my entire paycheck goes into our savings account, so we pretty much just pretend like that money doesn’t exist. We’re well on our way to buying a house!

Get caught up & stay caught up – I didn’t make a schedule. To be perfectly honest, I completely forgot about this one until I re-read it just now. Creating a schedule sounds like a great idea, though. We have a huge stack of old magazines that need to be read and tossed, so perhaps while I’m doing my traction every day after work, I can be reading a magazine and working toward getting rid of them all (the pile is literally about three feet tall). I also have three or four books I’d like to read, I want to learn Javascript and Rails, I need to organize the files on my computers, and so on. Last night, Morah and I turned off the TV and did other things. Why can’t we do that every night?

Build my business – It’s been slow-going, but I have had paying clients, so things are moving along. My biggest roadblock right now is selling. I really don’t like the sales aspect of the job, but it’s a necessary evil. I’m also at a loss for who to go after. Most of the people on my prospect sheet are restaurants (because, come on, that’s an easy website to build), but they usually can’t afford anything too grand. I’m also battling the Spokane market insofar as small business owners here just aren’t willing to pay for quality. I hear a lot of, “my friend can do it for free/less money.” Okay, but does your friend know things like grid-based design, coding standards, liquid layouts, usability, accessibility, and so on? Sorry, this is becoming a rant…

Work on my personal websites – When I was at AEA in June, the geeks I met there all agreed with me: web designers don’t have good personal websites. The problem is, we’re usually so busy working on other peoples’ sites that we don’t have time to work on our own. Even if we do have the time, we’ve probably been working on websites all day, so why would we want to come home and work on another website? Since the beginning of the year, I have managed to launch ALLO v5 (and even a second masthead!). I’ve even been blogging a bit more. Thomasandmorah.com v3 went up a while back as well, although I haven’t updated that as much I should. Still, I think I’ve made a good start toward reaching my goal. Here’s hoping I can keep it up.

While this update seems like it has been written for my readers, it’s actually rather self-serving. In writing this, I’ve been reminded of the resolutions I made and can continue to work toward improving myself, my life, and my websites in months ahead.

I know some of you made resolutions. How are those working out for you?

Friday Funday CLIV

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Waterbed Prank [del.icio.us]

Those wacky Germans! I’m surprised at how well everyone reacts. If it were me, I probably would have been pretty upset.

The Soup: iPhone [del.icio.us]

A little late, but it made me laugh.

Japanese Tetris [del.icio.us]

I love Japanese television. I would love to create an American morning show that’s similar to Japanese morning shows.

Orb [del.icio.us]

This game is pretty simple, you just have to convince the little orbs to collide with the blocks. Just be sure you don’t touch the orbs. Or the blocks.

Shuffle [del.icio.us]

Just knock all of the yellow balls off of the board. This game is easy to learn, but tricky to master.