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Exit ArchiveArchive for March, 2005

Today on the way in to work—about an hour-and-a-half later than usual—I noticed something odd over the 101. Butterflies. Tons of butterflies! Or, perhaps not tons, but lots. Many.

They were not Monarch-sized or anything, but were cute, smaller little flitty ones. For a few miles along my drive. It was so soothing. I was hoping one would fly into my open sunroof and ride with me to work.

This being L.A., going from rainy and cool to, in the matter of maybe 36 hours, sunny and HOT, is no surprise. But I do not recall ever seeing swarms of butterflies over a freeway before. It truly felt like spring in a place that normally does not get springy much at all.

Okay, so once again my wireless went wonky, and I can not get back into iChat. What is this, Windows? [LATER: It was AOL’s fault, not iChat’s. Ha!]

So with all that plus Ben & Jerry’s closing, I thought I’d post this distracting pic I found online. One of the Mac sites I read (via RSS, thank you very much!) said this iPod Pose contest was being held by a frat/sorority coalition (or whatever the lingo is), and you could go online and vote.

Most of the pics were very lame. But this one wasn’t. So I voted for it, then, like a corrupt election official, absconded with it for personal gain. And now here it is to soothe any tormented, ice-creamless soul. (You can, of course, click on the pic to see it larger in size. Of course. Because you want to.)

Permalink Comments Off on Wither Ben & JerryComments Off on Wither Ben & Jerry By

Last night, a sad but expected thing came to my attention. The Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop near me has closed.

I knew this would happen because Cold Stone Creamery opened up on the same block. Just like Starbuck’s does with smaller coffee shops, I have noticed Cold Stone doing this to Ben & Jerry’s shops. I could tell B&J’s was in trouble when Cold Stone would often be packed while the Scoop Shop would be empty.

I did my part, of course. I ended up boycotting the Cold Stone and going to the Ben & Jerry’s instead. I didn’t go often, but when I was in the mood for a walk and a scoop, I’d head on up and plunk down my moolah. Voting with dollars; that’s all America understands.

So now the shop is closed, and I am sad. Ben & Jerry’s is a good company. (Even though they are now owned by a giant conglomerate, B&J’s has managed to keep to their good business practices, as far as I can tell.)

I don’t hate change or progress. I hate when a good thing goes away.

Permalink Comments Off on Mr. Big VoiceComments Off on Mr. Big Voice By

So I finished this project at work today that was kind of fun. I had to do “announcery” V/O tracks for a presentation this Thursday. The material I got to work with was okay, but the most fun was when I decided, during the walk-out music, that I should just keep talking and talking while people left the room. I just yammered on and it was lots of fun. Then I thought, “Why not put it online for people to hear?”

Why not indeed?

Click here to listen to the wackiness. (Some tidbits, such as “Mr. Big Voice” and repossessing cars and “powers,” are in-jokes from the rest of the V/Os.)

First off, even I don’t know the answer on that one, Steve. I think it’s B.

Speaking of Darth Vader, we were down in Sydney last week, as you know, and the capper of the trip was climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. OK, now, before you start passing judgment, the outfits are not pink.

The climb was pretty amazing. The bridge is 140 meters (440 feet) tall, which, to put it in perspective, is slightly taller than the Tower building. You climb via a series of stairs and ladders, and those are pretty damned scary, especially as you make the transition from one 24-step ladder to the next, which is two feet to the left … with nothing in between each ladder. Yes, you’ve got a safety line the entire time, but that doesn’t seem to help the senses much.

I’m really fortunate to have done the climb. As someone who doesn’t do a lot of “extreme” types of things, it was a real rush, and made me interested in doing some more!

Now, alas, it’s back to work. Just six more weeks … !

Now here’s a fun trivia question from my calendar. Anyone know the answer? Is it being too smug to admit, though no one cares, that I got the answer right?

I’ll post the answer tomorrow.

G’day from Down Under.

I had hoped to be able to do a little ranting/raving/posting from Australia more often, but things have been moving at a pretty brisk clip. We had a big “premiere” of the new trailer here last night, and it went really well — about 500 people came out to see Hayden, and we had a full day of interviews.

Today, we all flew down to Melbourne (just a one hour flight — but a completely different landscape and feel to the place) so he could appear on a live TV show called “Rove Live”, which is Australia’s equivalent of David Letterman. He did great! We’re proud of our guy. 🙂

More interviews in the a.m. and then back to Sydney tomorrow — which is, of course, Wednesday. Heh.

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Here’s a funny voice mail message that is, without a doubt, not a fake. This guy is laughing too honestly.

The explanation that came with the link was this:

The story is that an operations manager for Jack in the Box was late for a meeting and called his boss to tell him he was running late. As he was leaving the voice mail message, he witnessed an accident and went on to provide “play-by-play” of the incident. This is the actual voice mail message. It was forwarded so many times within Jack in the Box, it crashed their voice mail server.

So, yeah, that might not be true, but the voicemail itself is. Thanks to Jason for this one.

Matt sent me to a site with this very fun Flash game. It took him an hour, me an hour fifteen. Regardless of timing, it’s a fun little Goldbergian logic puzzle. I heartily recommend it!

My fucking GOD! I can NOT believe this! How angry can I get at a stupid cell phone game? HOW ANGRY?

A lot, it seems!

I have been smeared dozens of times in a row on my stupid-ass Backgammon game. I have to be very careful not to throw my brand new (and I love it!) Nokia across the room, shattering it into a billion pieces.

Really, are these games programmed with some kind of “luck” feature? Let’s consider a scenario:

There are two pieces on the bar, and three spots open to get back on the board.

If I were in this situation, I would likely not get anything off the bar and back into the game until the second roll, and then I’d only get one piece off, leaving the one I just freed to be slammed back onto the bar, and miraculously the opponent would then fill one of the three open spots, leaving me with only two to escape into. I’m pretty much screwed from then on out.

Now, if the fake opponent were in this same situation, it would get the roll it needed to not only get both of its pieces off the bar and back into the game, but enough to land on two of my single pieces and then leave nothing of its own open for me to attack.

Even taking real, honest-to-goodness luck into account, I would have smashed this son-of-a-beeyotch game by now and been on to the next opponent. (I’m in a tournament, see, and once I smear one opponent, I move on to the next.) But no! I can have all my pieces ready to go, blocking the other guy, and be this close to being ready to put pieces into my home, when some roll will split me up, and boom, with a roll of the dice that can only be rigged, my opponent will render me incapable of winning. And no, there will be no way to do the same to it in return. I will lose.

I am not being a sore loser to say that I really think the game rigs the rolls. That has to be how the difficulty levels are changed. And I’m on NORMAL! I’d hate to see the game on Difficult.

Damn, maybe I should erase the fucking game off my phone. It’s honestly ruining my day!

NOTE: The author of this rant is aware of how pathetic he sounds in letting a cell phone game ruin his day. He is also aware that he’s likely to be made fun of for this.

Everyone is so


I post this out of interest and alarm. I have been using iChat more and more lately, and iChat uses AIM to communicate with non-Mac types. (It has always saddened me that AIM people can not see my “I’m Here/I’m Not” comments.)

It seems the AIM/AOL terms now say this:

Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

Which means they can use anything you say through AIM for their own purpose. It’s quite nearly evil…

Permalink Comments Off on Clearview in MarketingComments Off on Clearview in Marketing By

Well, you will not believe this! I could not bury this coincidence in the comments area of my previous post on the new highway font.

I got an email from a software company that makes a cool little Mac utility called You Control: Fonts. (It puts a WYSIWYG font menu in the menu bar for use in most running apps. In case you’re interested.)

Here’s what they say:

If you’re like us, you look forward to every March. Sure, it’s the start of Spring and the flowers are starting to bloom and trees are getting their leaves back. But wouldn’t you rather be sitting on the couch or driving to an arena to watch some fantastic NCAA College hoops? If you happen to be out on a road trip to catch some games, keep your eyes peeled for a new typeface that has been Federally approved for traffic control devices called Clearview.

As a serious font user, you already know the power that a typeface like Clearview can have on a project. And choosing the right font has never been easier than with You Control: Fonts. Combine customizable WYSIWYG previews, grouping by font family and the ability to set hot keys for individual typefaces so you can set them on the fly to your text and you get a great product that has been recognized by Mac Design magazine and by Macworld magazine as a superb value.

So while the NCAA Tourny hasn’t started quite yet, our March Madness has with a limited time offer to get You Control: Fonts for only $9.95! That leaves you with $20 extra to put in your office NCAA Tourny Pool. But hurry, our Madness won’t last forever.

I imagine some guy at the You Software offices (a coffee house in Seattle, perhaps?) somehow running into my post here (through the magic of happenstance), looking up my name to see that I’d already paid full price for the software (though Uncle Walt reimbursed me), found another tidbit somewhere that I could give a flying hoo-ha about anything the NCAA does (though I don’t hate sports so much as I tell people I do), and wrote this little mail just for me to tick me off.

But, of course, I flatter myself. And I like the app. And coincidences. I’m all a-twitter over this!

Permalink Comments Off on Privatize THIS, Dickwad!Comments Off on Privatize THIS, Dickwad! By

Yes, it’s time to post something political. The Social Security thing is starting to rankle me. Well, I mean, it was already rankling me, but I’m just getting ranklier and ranklier that our dumb-ass president can continue to lie to everyone and get away with it. He’s a monster, a liar, and a dickwad.

Yes, George, you are a dickwad!

Please take a moment to read this speech by our lovely senator, Barbara Boxer, who I am begining to like more and more as she stands up to this dickwad administration.

Who in their right minds can think that privatizing Social Security is any good? You’d have to take Security out of the name. But as Madame Boxer says, it is in fact the goal of these dickwads to get rid of Social Security altogether. Yes, what a splend idea!

They have no intention of “fixing” it. They hate it. They want it gone. Because they are rich and could care less about anyone but themselves. Gosh, what dickwads.

Ooooooo! Even my rankles have rankles!

Another plus to owning a camera phone: Surprises!

I was at a Disney warehouse yesterday picking up some of our gear from Orlando when what should I discover but this lonely little car. It was sitting next to some unused furniture of some kind. Though it&mdashhe, actually—looks dirty, that is, in fact, mostly movie fakery. Tea stains or shoe polish or some such Hollywood magic.

This is the Herbie from the new movie, so don’t get too excited. Herbie Fully Loaded. Yes, I know. Somehow that’s considered a family-friendly title. And yes, he did get to have Lindsay Lohan’s butt on his seat, but that’s not quite the same thing as having Brad Pitt’s butt on your… on your… Well, on your anything, really.

How bizarre is it when someone you went to high school with ends up in prison for having sex with a minor? Pretty bizarre. Kevin was always kinda rowdy but a fun guy.

Man, what a weird fate.

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I see baiting no longer works…

Only a type geek like me would appreciate the following: The government has approved a new typeface to be used on road signs. Read a story about it here. [Actually, that link no longer works. What kind of website deletes old content? Sheesh! —Ed.]

I find this very sad. I love the font used on highway signs. The fact that it has started being overused in ads and elsewhere is upsetting, but road signs are forever, while the whims of advertisers are flighty. The highway sign font would endure.

Well, that is now no longer the case. Looking over the PDF proposing using the Clearview font vs. the FHWA Series E font (what a sexy name!), I agree that the new font is more legible. But it has no style. It is characterless and dull. While FHWA Series E is pretty uninteresting at first glance, once you really look at it, it’s got some class. Those angled ascenders and descenders are neat. The font weight is meaty and nice to look at. It’s lovable.

Funny that I always thought it was wonderfully legible and brilliantly designed. Guess I was wrong!

What also gets me is that untold scads of moolah were probably spent researching and designing this font. And what does it look like? The English road sign font. That curve in the lower-case L, the curved lower-case G and Y… very British!

I agree that safety comes before design, but it’s too bad in this case they can’t co-exist together. At least they didn’t go with Verdana! (If you get that in-joke, you deserve a smiley: :)) [NOTE: The Wren Forum is no longer designed using Verdana, which was the in-joke. Though if your computer does not have Myriad or Trebuchet, Verdana will resurface. Thought you’d want to know. —Ed.]

I have no time for this, but why not take a break?

After almost a year and a half, I finally got the cell phone I’ve been wanting. (Blame the U.S. cell phone companies.)

I snapped this little pic in my room just a while ago—my maid got creative with the washcloths. Then I came back to the ballroom in which I’ve been kept prisoner for a week, and, thanks to Bluetooth and my Mac, I could grab this file off the phone (while it was still in my pocket!), and post it here.

If I weren’t overwhelmed with fatigue, I’d be overwhelmed with gadgetitis.

And now … haiku:

Japan loves the snow
Plus Darth Vader and Artoo
So, why not combine?