Popular Science, the keepers of all things cool, know exactly how to keep the coolest of things - forever. Want to know how to keep a snowflake, intact, for decades? it's rather simple, actually. All you need is some superglue and the patience to catch a snowflake in the first place.
Customs officials were not amused when they found blood-stained swords shipped amongst a number of other sharp and injurous items in an airplane's cargo hold. The owner was called in, who explained they were all props in his "horror magic" act, and since you can't bring sharp objects in your carry-on anymore, where else would he put them?
What happens if everyone drove the speed limit? These jammers decided to find out. It turns out, people go crazy when forced to go the speed limit. However, maintaining a constant speed avoids creating standing waves, the 'rubbernecking effect', as described in great scientific detail on this classic webpage.
I've seen people like these in nearly every town I've been in during the past two months: Libery Tax Service pays schmucks $9/hour to wave at cars, in hopes of attracting drive-by 1040 help. In terms of marketing, however, it's unbelievably successful -- I remembered seeing them, and I'm usually oblivious to the world around me. Compared to people in gorilla outfits, walking celphones, and giant drink cups, I think the success comes from being able to see the actual person in the costume. Oh, and that one fat guy dressed as the statue of liberty -- he stuck in my mind, oh yes he did.
If you want to move to Fargo, the housing market is teetering on cheapness. Overbuilding has created more apartments than there are willing tenants. Since the Fargo Forum requires registration, I can't link to the better stories on this topic, but apartment managers are giving away arms and legs to get people to move in. The new construction is insane -- it's going on right through winter -- leaving sprawling expanses of overpriced single-family homes dotted with enormous monolithic apartment complexes. If beauty is a person's concern, I can tell why they wouldn't want to move out there. If 'not driving twenty minutes to get anyplace' is a concern, even moreso.
Milton Bradley is trying to downplay the rash of decapitations, and is recalling the dangerous "Chicken Limbo" game because it can fall apart unexpectedly. Personally, I would never buy my children a game named after the plane of existence devoted to unbaptized chickens (which, no doubt, is quite populated).
Ask.com has fired Jeeves. Remember when it was 'Ask Jeeves', and he was the first internet icon in the Macy's parade? He was a big pre-internet-bubble icon, and I'm surprised he survived as long into Web 2.0 as he did. It's like looking at a pre-peacock NBC logo and noting how old and quaint it is.
Parents: what do you know about MySpace...and what do you know about your kids on MySpace? Wired has some info for you. In my opinion, their thoughts on kids and MySpace are a bit too unconcerned; MySpace has plenty of ooportunity for predators to meet up with underage kids. Unfortunately, Wired focuses on having big 'friend' lists, which isn't neccessarily how a bad person is going to connect with your kid. Plus, remember: all of the internet is ripe for kids to be exploited, if they are naiive and you are uninformed.
R.I.P. Kolchak, the Night Stalker: Darrin McGavin passed away today. He was 83.
Twenty-odd years later, Jim Henson Co. is producing a sequel to the Dark Crystal. Kick ass, I says, and am reminded that my wife & stepdaughter have never seen the first movie yet. I think I know what we're watching tonight!
I'll forgive her for stealing my bandwidth by hotlinking the "Salad Bar In A Bank Vault" image, because she actually linked to me, and she also happens to be my younger sister. Of special note to Fargoans, check out the kick-ass vintage Fargo North stocking cap she's wearing in her profile photo.
Over at sex-kitten.net, I use big server mojo to secretly replace fresh-ground web images with Folger's obscene images for bandwidth thieves. We even have special ones for the new-daily MySpace jerks (nsfw), and I've been known to create special images for unique situations that require extreme humiliation. My sis won't feel such wrath, because she's cool and all that. Other than her also stealing my content by repeating links I've took the time to track down and lovingly compose into HTML myself. Hey! Wait a minute! My sister sucks! No, that's the lack of caffiene talking. She rocks, and she can steal all she wants from me so long as she links back. It also gets her a spot of honor at "Friendly Sites", in the right-hand column.
I've been through Pequot Lakes MN a bunch. It's on highway 371, one of the major roads through the Lakes Region, and probably what you'd drive to get from Brainerd To Bemidji. It exists in a space-warp for me, because it seems I pass through Pequot Lakes even though I didn't think I was anywhere near it.
I've noticed their watertower in passing, red and white like many others, but not striped. And what's with that 50-gallon oildrum topper? Ah, after a couple trips I realized: it's supposed to be a fishing bobber! Minnesota has a tradition of building giant things alongside the road (with Paul Bunyan being the most famous), but this is an innovative alteration for an area whose business revolves around year-round fishing.
If you stop at a gas station in the Minnesota lakes area, bring the kids in: they'll probably be treated to a miniature zoo/petting area. Near the back, or off to the side, will be the minnow live-tanks. They're usually semi-transparent bins, around 3 feet on a side, packed with little tiny fishies around an inch or two long. These are wild fishes, ones designed to swim as fast as they can to keep away from predators, so these tanks will be far more exciting than bettas and goldfish at WalMart. I maybe overstepped the 'petting area' part of this, because you probably don't want to stick your arm into the tank -- if you did, boy, you'd really get to see the fish move. I'm not sure of the legality of raising a shiner of your very own, but I'll bet you could keep it alive at least as long as the average WalMart goldfish. If the satisfaction of rescuing a tiny fish from impaling isn't enough, it could be the start of an exciting career in minnow farming -- boy, who knew stopping in a Minnesota gas station could be so rewarding!
To go with the Garfield Randomizer from a few weeks ago, here's someone who theorized that, since Garfield speaks in inaudible "thought bubbles", an outside observer other than the comic reader would believe Jon was crazy. Theory confirmed.
Some times things don't change: you know how movies do the "Rip Van Winkle" and the character finds the same newsstand or shoeshine boy in the same place a hundred years later? Christopher Rauschenberg visited Paris, and has some deja vu moments over one of his favorite photographers. Eugene Atget photographed Paris in the early 1900s -- and Rauschenberg found many of the settings still exist, so he duplicated Atget's photos in modern times. The similarities are eerily striking - but a beautiful look at how Paris has kepts its charm for so long.
More on News Corp's new network -- it appears to be integrating with MySpace, targeting a young social culture, and will have greater range than just some affiliate-less stations in large markets. Done well, it could be a fine example of convergence.
News Corp owned several TV stations who were dumped by the UPN/WB merger. To fill the void, News Corp is developing new programming under a new network called My Network TV. It's so new that they haven't even got a website yet -- but it's a odd set-up. News Corp owns Fox...but these affiliates won't be Fox affiliates, probably because there's already a Fox presence in the market. The financial viability of a 'small' network in limited markets is no doubt an experiment looking at Digital TV in the future, where over-the-air transmissions will be able to carry many more channels than before. Combine with ClearChannel's demonstration of the financial benefits of covering multiple genres and markets within one region, and you might see what News Corp is watching closely.
A lifeless human shape floated away from the ISS this month, but it wasn't a person -- it was an unused space suit, filled with old clothes, and fitted with a radio transmitter. Suitsat 1 was released as an experiment in how a damaged/inoperable spacesuit performs in the vacuum of space by transmitting its temperature as time passes.
Here's some nice news about Fargo: A St Cloud reporter visited fair Fargo and was impressed with the improvements. The part of me that loves old buildings hates to see them gutted for condos (I was in the Fargoanrecently and winced at their 'improvements'), but I have to admit the article is on the dot: Fargo's Downtown is finally getting the life that the failed 1970s urban renewal lacked.
I've talked about Al Gore's community-created TV, but this story hits closer to home. Last year, Gore's company changed its name from the awkward INdTV to current.tv. Oh noes -- Minnesota Public Radio already broadcasts online as "The Current"! The obvious outcome, of course, is a lawsuit: MPR is suing current.tv over using their name while broadcasting online. Personally, the "TV" extension of the domain name would tell me that it's not a radio website (current.org doesn't seem to suffer the same problem), but MPR says people have been decieved by the similarity. Bonus points: the MPR lawyer is named "Ernest Grumbles." It's nice to see Charles Dickens characters can still find work.
Google Maps has put a small Kansas town...on the map, so to speak. The default "center" of Google Maps is Coffeyville, KS -- more specifically, Kristine Crispel's horse farm, just outside of town. As with anything arbitrarily given iconic value online, it's become a Mecca for the electronically enhanced. GPS-guided netizens make pilgrimages to the 'spot', simply to prove that they're there; I suppose they can stand there, look up, and think to themselves how many monitors they're staring out from, right at that moment.
Those of you with "real" jobs and a tight schedule cannot possibly appreciate the life-schedule that our family has. Often, I'm surprised that it works at all...although 'works' is also a fluid, ever-changing definition that depends on the day. I once worked in a 8-to-4:30 job, while Destiny was dropped off at daycare and picked up from daycare every workday, regardless of school status (that was daycare's problem). The Wifey worries that being removed from this strict rigidity will all but destroy me, but now a few short weeks from the two-year anniversary of my self-employment I can't say it's all bad. The liquid scheduling, however, has removed all of us from the constraints of the space-time continuum that you're all subject to.
Adding to this disconnection is illness: we've all been sick, some more than others. Mine lasted maybe 2 days in serious illness, but has lingered slightly since. D has been ill for what seems like months, and Des spent a long weekend with her mom on the couch with bronchitis and a sinus infection. The long weekend was brought on by a time-shifting event that few of us remember from our childhood: Parent-Teacher Conferences. Wouldn't your work-month be much better if you had some 5-day weekends tossed in there once in a while? And 12 weeks off in the summer? And two weeks for Christmas? School is rigid only 5 or 6 out of every eight weeks, if that.
Destiny's 5-day weekend has moved into it's 6th day, but it's not a surprise considering how she looked the night before. Not throwing up, or even coughing much, but drained and shaky. She tried this morning, got up, got dressed, tried breakfast, but it wouldn't work. Back to bed, I said, and she went without arguement.
D's constant illness has gotten her to actually consider going to the doctor. As a prevention of her backing out, I'll be making the appointment shortly, and informing her of when I'll be dragging her sick butt to the clinic. Some arguing will no doubt occur (despite this being her idea, right ladies?), but in the end she'll tell me how sweet I was to take her, and she'll feel much better after some medical treatment.
So, last night I ran to the grocery store, and noticed the neighbor's garbage cans by the end of the driveway. Were they leaving for the weekend, I wondered, and wanted their trash out in time? Or was it because it was so full, they wanted it out of the garage? It's going to have all the neighborhood cats living in them if they sit there for, what, three days...no...garbage comes on Tuesday, and today is...
Ah, lovely time-dilation. Weeks have passed underneath me, without any real indicators to keep track of where I am on the timepath. It was Monday yesterday, and my neighbors were not crazy. Speaking of which, I better get my garbage out to the curb. It might be weeks before I encounter another indicator of the date - and our garbage cans are getting pretty full.
In other news, Kitschy-Kitschy-Coo is being resurrected, with a less-rigid publishing schedule. Go have a look -- if you're one of our writers, we'll be in touch, or you can email the Kitschy email address and let us know you're still interested in contributing.
Ed Schultz, the Fargo radio personality who has moved towards being a national radio personality, might drop the "Fargo radio personality" altogether and is considering moving his program out of town. Sure, there's probably personality issues (I've heard Ed isn't a very nice guy, but that's entirely anecdotal), but his reasons amount to the unexcusable mass-media shortcomings locally. For a metro area of around 150,000 people, serving a region with hundreds of thousands more, the local radio station drops his show (saying they want more local programming?!), and he can't get a satellite uplink for doing more interviews and other media transfers. We've got Forum Communications strangling one side, ClearChannel strangling the other, and everything in between suffers. We've pumped lots of money into the internet, but other mass communication mediums aren't really any further along than they were in the eighties around here...which is sad, seeing that the internet really doesn't benefit everyone, like newspapers & radio do.
The North Dakota National Guard has offered 540 free trips to students (ten from each state and territories) to visit our fair state, if only they'd write an essay. So far, the ambitious contest has recieved an astronomical 26 entries -- 12 of them from ND students. I'm sure it has nothing to do with the impression that our state is an empty, useless wasteland, and everyone's just a little too busy to write an essay with a militaristic subtext to get something for free. It happens. They still have a week to enter, maybe the National Guard's mailbox in Bismarck will be bursting with 500 entries this week.
A group of kids decide to organize locker-room boxing matches, complete with rules and referees. Not content to beat the crap out of each other for fun, they videotaped the proceedings and posted them online. Guess who found the videos, and are horrified -- HORRIFIED -- to find large groups of kids unsupervised on school property causing injury to each other? The rules of Fight Club are there for a reason, kids -- Tyler Durden is turning over in his grave.
A woman finds a heart-shaped potato while making dinner, and makes the obvious leap of logic and auctions it to benefit her favorite charity. Unfortunately it did not depict a religious icon, and was overlooked by the insane casino, so it only netted $5. While this doesn't seem all that great, at least it's enough to afford a second bag of potatoes. Or get 5 Wendy's baked potatoes.
For the Trollwood set who reads my blog (my guess is that totals one reader): Matt Thibedeau, actor/singer/dancer who dominated Trollwood Performing Arts School's shows in the early 90s, is back in Fargo and suffering from cystic fibrosis. It hasn't stopped him from performing, though: he was cast in NDSU's A Chorus Line, being performed now.
A couple old guys with lots of guns hear an internet rumor about how a loaf of bread will stop a hollowpoint round. So, they went all MythBusters on the bread's ass. Hilarity ensued. The rest of their site is pretty cool, too, if you like to see the effects of everyday items on bullet penetration. Summary: There's ammunition available at WalMart that will go through almost anything, like an ex-wife through your life savings.
Yes, V-Day is over, but a puppy who can say "Ry Ruv Rooo" is cute any time of year. From Salon.com, whose embedded player sucks ass.
Rogers Cadenhead, one time journalist and longtime blogger, has briefly returned to journalism. The freelancing has made him consider the difference between blogging and "real" journalism. It makes me consider, in this world where the difference between blogging and journalism is less distinct than ever, the importance of journalistic controls for either side as news and blogs try harder to look like each other. Journalists under editorial control seem to report more conjecture/rumours because blogs too often beat them to the punch, and blogs get more investigative as they clamor for credibility despite lack of editors and content review.
North of Nowhere appears to be an enclave of film enthusiasts here in Fargo, focusing their efforts on documenting the local music scene. I found out about them in the High Plains Reader, and what little more I know is through the pain-in-the-ass MySpace environment that I have no interest in learning how to use. Still, they look like they're producing something cool, so therefore cool they are defined as now. In terms of connections, NoN has done a video for Les Dirty Frenchmen, of whom a member is Phil Hunt, who did the first ever interview I did about the Receipt Site over at Yahtzeen, and who's also behind the Odyssey 'zine linked on the right, down there a ways.
I started this article as a 'quick link,' but it got long, and I've got a cold so I'm a bit loopy -- so I present to you, the most amazing restaurant in Redfield, SD:
Salad Bar In A Bank Vault
Sadly, when I passed through Redfield, I did not have a chance to patronage Leo's. I wonder what a salad bar in a bank vault is like: Is there treasure to be found in unclaimed safety-deposit drawers? Is the attendant able to open the safe, unlike my local gas station? Does it require the combination to get croutons? Many questions, so few answers. The safe used to belong to the First National Bank, who, no doubt, did not allow eating to occur in the vault. Times change, yes they do.
Just a plug for a site we're hosting, to help them get indexed by search engines: Fargo North 1976 is a site/blog created with the purpose of organizing their 30th reunion. It looks like they will be posting pics and notes about where people are, who's missing, and what's up. Mr. Lileks was their class president, from what I understand. As a modern-media buff, I'd like to see them do some articles about high-school memories, reprint news/school papers of the time, and talk to alumni -- then blog the reunion. What'll be left is a large hypermedia document dedicated to their class, suitable for burning to CD or viewing online as long as I'm in the hosting business.
A woman wisely called ahead to make sure it was available, then showed up to make her $3 marijuana purchase. Unwisely, she had called the police station, and was offered pot from the evidence locker. Guess who else is locked up tonight? Presumably, it's more for her own safety than due to illegal activity; she sounds like she lacks the sense to look both ways before crossing the street.
You, dear readers, are a trasured few: hardly any blogs, percentage-wise, get any traffic worth mentioning. I get around 120 hits a day, somewhat respectable for a personal blog that's only updated sporadically, but nothing to quit my day job over and devote my life to creating websites. Oh, wait...
We were in Wisconsin this weekend; not a bad drive (after getting through the first 100 miles of blowing snow and icy roads). Upon arriving, however, the set of brake pads that I was unable to change (because I broke off a tire lug) were starting to crunch and scrape. Well, I figured, since they've got less snow there, and I had most of the tools I'd need in the van, I'd just change the pads there.
Two rounded-off lug nuts later, and I was frustrated. To Firestone we went, and had all 20 lugnuts replaced. D considered this insurance: if we spent this much money to make sure we could get the lug nuts off later, then we won't ever have a lugnut problem again. We can only hope.
Across the Firestone parking lot was McDonald's, whose sign advertised:
"Try Hot Soup Drive Thru"
We couldn't see the drive-thru window from Firestone, but we envisioned a large hose protruding from the side of the building, sufficient for spraying broccoli-n-cheese soup at cars driving by. HOT broccoli-n-cheese soup. We decided not to eat there.
FON is a service that faciliates free Wi-Fi internet access, thanks to broadband and WiFi proliferation. If you've got broadband and a WiFi router, you can either share your service for free, or make a little money leasing out your bandwidth. IW has more information about how it works - methinks that the biggest winners will be downtown businesses that already use WiFi adding FON to their network to sell bandwidth to nearby laptop users. As WiFi gains in range, the potential for having gap-free wireless access in cities is closer -- without the expense of significantly adding to the infrastructure.
Fargo wants the Vikings - at least, for the preseason. The current Vikings training camp in Minnesota is closing its doors, leaving an opening that Fargo officials will push to move here. This issue could also spark a North v. South debate: Sioux Falls, SD is in the unofficial lead for the training camp location.
Sorry, ladies, he's taken: Bill Nye (the Science Guy) was married today, spur-of-the-moment, at a media industry conference. Yo-Yo Ma and a guy from MIT's Media Lab performed the wedding march, in front of an audience of media gurus and icons. You know he'd have to have a cool-ass wedding -- he's Bill Nye for cripes' sakes!
Heather Havrilesky, former Suckster and Rabbit Blog-ger, has some excellent tips for becoming a freelance writer. I'm sure there's some general freelancing tips in there, but most have an insight that you won't find in the "how to become a writer" pamphlets -- specifically, numbers 4, 5, and 6.
On March 1st, the Fargo Theatre, in Fargo, will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the movie Fargo by projecting the Oscar-winning film on the north side of the Fargo Radisson. The Fargo Forum (who requires registration, otherwise would get many more links from me) says the projection equipment can project through a raging snowstorm....which, for the start of March, isn't all that unheard of. D's first reaction was about how cold it would be to sit and watch it...but, being a household only a little north of Downtown, we might be able to see it from home if we can get above the trees. It's more of a gimmick than anything, but I gotta give them credit for coming up with a bigger-than-life gimmick. They're hoping to get Fargo castmembers to attend. No doubt Fargo native Kristin RudRud will be able to attend, and the paper said William Macy might make it.
Just a little west of the Radisson, and a couple blocks south of the Fargo Theatre, I waited to pick up my mom on the first floor of the Black Building. It took longer than I expected, but with my cameraphone I occupied a couple minutes with some photography:
Later, I remembered Lileks' photos of the Black Building Lobby. Aside from the 'B' over the building tenant list, it seems I stood in the footsteps of Lileks for each photo. Well, his footsteps, and the footsteps of the Qwest service person, and the Muslim woman looking for the dentist, and the shifty-looking guy who deseperately wanted to use the payphone but without me standing nearby, and a handful of other people who were milling about in the lobby just after 9 in the morning on a Friday.
Our first big-name book is out! The Suburban Diva: From The Real Side Of The Picket Fence became available at Barnes & Noble on Friday (Amazon will be soon), and has rocketed up the daily sales chart -- it's #20 of today's Top 100 sellers -- just below The DaVinci Code and A Million Little Pieces. Hooray!
Get ready for one of the hugest geek collisions ever: StarWars.com interviews ILM-alumni, the MythBusters crew. Remembers, MB is on Wednesdays (that's tonight -- set your VCR, if you're still using such an antiquated piece of junk)