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2004apr04. McSweeney’s: The magic of radio.

2004apr04. My first time reading a newspaper in two years. Newspapers smell and are filled with ads. Today, the Family Circus has a one-panel color strip featuring Grandma speaking to the four Family Circus Childrens while a sun sets in the background. “There’s a precious cargo aboard that setting sun. It’s taking a part of each of our lives with it.” Powerful stuff. And then there’s a strip I’ve never heard of, “Pickles,” with this cheery sentiment: also powerful. I remember back in my day, mainstream comics tried to make us laugh – and failed. Now, cartoonists are more interested in the heavy stuff. Like old people, teaching young children about death. We’re all going to die, but we’re going to die first, because we’re older. If you remember one thing, Little Jimmy Jr., it’s that I’m about to croak. But when we die, someone else will take over our horrible comic strip, producing howls of agony from the populace at large. Here comes the death. Any second. I’m turning the pen over to my subordinates who are also not funny ... now.

2004apr04. HOT SOCKS!!!!!111! You mean if I buy the Apacer Disk Steno CP100, chix will be draped all over me like that? “Hey big boy, it looks like you’ve completely solved the problem of your limited CompactFlash® card inventory while on safari by purchasing a portable CD writer without link to PC ... and that makes me all melty.” I will turn away, with my crappy 1978 hair helmet, and smile the smile of the truly contented while I enjoy the fun of the digital technology on the move.

2004apr04. Yucca Motel. Logan New Mexico.

I tried to stay at Western Stars but no one would answer my plaintive rap-tap-tapping.

I liked the sign. There’s a star inside the “O” as well. That’s pretty much my only requirement in the way of motels. Old sign, neon. But fluorescent is so much cheaper! And a sign designed in Helvetica by a 14-year-old is so much cheaper! That’s what America is -- land of the cheapies. And do all your shopping ... AT WAL-MART!

2004apr04. Vending machine. Rest area, somewhere Indiana.

The label for the candy oranges reads “ORANGE SLICES” and right above it in teeny-tiny print “TENDER” ... sell those sugar wedges, Universal Snacks. In small print at the bottom: “TASTEE TREATS” – no expense was spared to make the packaging as enticing as possible. I couldn’t see the back of the label, but I think it said something like “PLEASE TRY TO ENJOY THIS FOOD ITEM” and “THE SUGAR CONTAINED WITHIN THIS CANDY PRODUCT MAY BRIEFLY ELEVATE SEROTONIN LEVELS PRODUCING A SOMEWHAT PLEASANT FEELING” or “SUPPORT YOUR STATE: MOTHER INDIANA REQUIRES IMMEDIATE CONSUMPTION OF ALL UNIVERSAL SNACKS GOODS”

2004apr05. Let’s all go to the Jitterbug with the Night Cabbie. Poor guy.

2004apr05. When I was a little girl, I had a large colored pencil which was really just a container shaped like a pen. It had a place to put a colored pencil nib at the bottom, and jammed inside the container were about thirty different colored nibs lined up like kernels of corn, but different colors, except for the one that was yellow, and also the one that was light orange, and the one that was purple which were the same. As corn. Except smaller. It had a yellow cap on it and it was topped by a smiley face. Oh, it was heaven, and I ate ice cream all day! If someone can find this pencil for me on the net, I promise I will smile on the inside for a whole three hours just for this very special someone. [Found it. Deal’s off. No smiles.]

2004apr05. Cockeyed: Veeeeahhhhgrrrrrrra. \/1AGR/\. VEE AHH GRA. v1aqra. v/agra. \\\\////111////\\\GGG rah! etc, and so on. Did you get all of that? Okay, please make ten million carbon copies and send them to random addresses. I’m sure someone out there will send us some money.

2004apr06. Bienvenido! Quienes somos! Servicios! Ofertas! Taquitos! Todo esto se le lo ofrecemos en Cardhouse ... ˇy ése es cuando estallaremos!

2004apr06. Why doesn’t bloglines highlight their links? I think it is because of that problem programmers have with the UI, the one where they ignore it completely. “It’s coming up,” someone wrote me a month ago.

2004apr06. There are weblogs for everyone. The Coco-Nut Weblog. Contains bits on my favorite island, Nauru, and Dr. Scott’s favorite island, Montserrat. Everyone should have a favorite island. Jack Hitt had a (obviously) excellent piece on Nauru on This American Life sometime ago, but I’m going to let you find that, you little treasure-seeker you. Fetch your granpappy some more of that delicious coco-nut juice while you’re up.

2004apr08. Peanuts. These images appear in Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz and are taken from a 1966 View-Master reel and sleeve.

You are looking at a monitor displaying a file of a scan of a page of a file of scan of a sleeve of a slide of a photo of a 3D diorama of a 2D comic strip.

2004apr09. I need a portable CDR that reads Compact Flash cards. There is not that much info about this new technology out there, but it looks like I’ve settled on a particular brand and model. The actual name of the product is (and I’ve mentioned this before) Apacer Disk Steno, and one variant of it is named CRUMPLER Jobo Apacer Disk Steno CP100 Mobile CD Burner. Crumpler Jobo Apacer Disk Steno CP100. Man, that is the stupidest product name ever. I’m going to make a little sticker that reads “Jimmy Jr.” and stick it over their lousy name.

“Hey, whatcha got there, mister?”
“This here is the Jimmy Jr. CDR burner.”
Rolls right off the tongue. Steno. Jobo? Crumpler. Anyway, the Stenographic Job Cobbler is the only fryer that has a battery pack, which is the whole point ... it’s supposed to be a product on the go. Now, standardize the battery pack so it’s rechargeable double-A just like my camera, and I'll be all swoony. Oh yeah, and get rid of the remote control, I’m on the go.

2004apr11. Future technology continues to bottom out.

Andersson said a technology in development called “Ergovision” would customize the vehicle to each driver to provide the safest and most comfortable ride. Drivers would have their bodies scanned at the dealership, and the measurements would be stored on an intelligent key fob that would relay the information to the car when the key is put into the ignition. Electric motors would then reposition the seat, pedals, shoulder seat belt, headrest, steering wheel and mirrors so that the driver has the best possible sight lines.
BRILLIANT! So I’m paying how much again for all of this scanning/key fob crap and each of these motors? Let’s see, there are six of them ... wow, that’s worth the convenience of usually having to manually shift the pedals around after someone else has driven my car. Makin’ up problems and solvin’ ’em – that’s technology! Next year’s Ergovision model will feature a robot that picks you up out of bed, puts you in the car, and then the robot gets in and drives you to work and then goes in and does your job and then drives you home and puts you back into bed.

2004apr12. A snotty employee at Fry’s took me to task for saying that the Roadstor doesn’t have a battery, when in fact it does. I blame the internet. Also -- everybody stop what you’re doing – and marvel at the Fry’s employee who knows what the hell’s going on over there. I’ve never had a problem with the people there because I’ve never had to ask ’em any questions, but every single time I mention Fry’s to someone else the response is automatic: “know what you want before you go.”

2004apr13. The seasons change here in Arizona. I am experiencing them for the first time. New for April: a small black fly that likes to orbit my skull at about six inches out. It’s exciting when there are two or three of them, you feel like an atom.

2004apr13. Maakies: Drinky Crow with a level-headed assessment of strip clubs. My name is Cardhouse Robot and I endorse this message.

2004apr14. I finally made my decision vis-a-vis the Roadstor and Apacer Disk Steno. My decision to purchase the Roadstor is based on two factors. [1] I guess I’m tired of beating my brains against the monitor trying to read the broken English of the Apacer site and finding relevant stats for all three of their units for comparison purposes – the 200 Combo, in particular, gives off this serious vaporunit stench, and I’m sure that’s not true, but one of the distributors hasn’t heard of it and the user manual isn’t on their site. And those photos of the smiling people scare me. I just can’t struggle anymore, I’m the roulette ball falling into the slot. [2] The Roadstor is available at Fry’s, and thus I can purchase it and examine it now instead of getting it two days before I’m scheduled to leave. I mention this because a few people were asking me about this Roadstor/Steno shootout earlier.

2004apr14. Ftrain: Memories of the New Economy.

2004apr14. The Eglu is a well-designed little chicken house. The roosters next door haven’t been crowing that much lately, so I’m not cringing as I read the multitude of warmly-written pages about keeping chickens. I think perhaps the overachieving rooster that would crow at 11pm and 3am and anytime at all has been replaced. It’s disconcerting, the donkeys down the street also did some sort of line-up shuffle. You think to yourself, “there’s so much I wanted to tell you ... but now you’re gone.” [via boingboing]

2004apr14. Two weeks before trip. I’m going to be in various airplanes a total of around 48 hours, so I’m practicing screaming and clawing at my face. I just do what the guidebooks tell me.

2004apr14. Photos from road trip. Tucumcari NM.

More dangerous than one bee: two bees with tiny hot pans of food.

Three of those mini-signs advertise weekly meetings at noon. Blanket parties for the unsuspecting tourist, maybe.

Don’t really know where to begin on this one. I'll post the rest of the sign someday that is other than today.

2004apr15. Breaking Thumbs. Tokyo co-op. Also: cow on bicycle milk design.

2004apr15. Taxes.

Parent of a Kidnapped Child.

The parent of a child who is presumed by law enforcement authorities to have been kidnapped by someone who is not a family member may be able to take the child into account in determining his or her eligibility for the head of household or qualifying widow(er) filing status, deduction for dependents, child tax credit, and the earned income credit (EIC). [for more information dial 1-800-829-4477 press “357"]

So if a child is kidnapped by a family member, the parent who lost the child doesn’t get the tax breaks.

2004apr15. I haven’t checked in with Parking Spots for awhile. I love the deadpan text that accompanies some of the pictures. “My Massey Ferguson and the reaper is ready for the haymaking season.” I'll bet it is.

2004apr16. New Yorker: Big Harold Ramis article perfect for whiling away the working day. Coming to you live in teeny-tiny-column-o-vision. “Dammit, it has to look like the magazine! Tighter! TIGHTER!” [via greg.org]

2004apr16. I used to use blogdex. Blogdex has 21 links for its top link today. The Bloglines “most popular links" page has 117 links for the same top link. That’s more than 5x better.

2004apr16. Mail.

i like to know if you sell i watch ,,cheap watch and if you sell you write me your adres state

I could know watch sell cheap state you? I write watch. Watch what I write, you cheap!

2004apr19. Generic Misguided Patriotic Complaint Mail.

I am upset to find that you still make and sell candy cigarettes!!!! It’s absolutely unacceptable in todays society ... ... .Talk about convincing little kids that cigarettes are good for you ... ... ..Shame shame on you,,,, obviously you put more value on how much money is in your account rather than what is really morally responsible to the people of this great country ... .

I’m doing quite well with my candy cigarette business, thank you, and no “morality” is going to stop me or my kind. I am also upset to find that you didn’t include your email address so I could submit it to spammers and porn sites.

2004apr19. Bush, deep as always.

After the second interview with him on Dec. 11, we got up and walked over to one of the doors. There are all of these doors in the Oval Office that lead outside. And he had his hands in his pocket, and I just asked, “Well, how is history likely to judge your Iraq war,”says Woodward.

And he said, “History,” and then he took his hands out of his pocket and kind of shrugged and extended his hands as if this is a way off. And then he said, “History, we don’t know. We'll all be dead.”

2004apr20. Get Your War On: Goo Gah Freedom.

2004apr23. The Lessons of 9/11. [via doc]

2004apr26. The Site of Unimaginative City Names. C'mon everyone, let’s contribute!

2004apr30. JAL airlines features two inflight cameras, one pointing straight forward, and one pointing straight down. So while you’re flying over the ocean, you can see the ocean, 30000 feet down. Past the clouds. And the shadows of the clouds. Or are the shadows actually part of the water? It is not for me to say.

During the flight JAL has done pretty much everything in their power to make you forget you’re flying. Each seat has its own li'l video screen (like JetBlue) and then there’s this mongo remote which allows you to select video stations, musical stations, play videogames, and if you turn it around – ABRA ABRA CADABRA! – it’s an airphone with a credit card slot (USD7.50/minute). Then there are the larger video screens which show important flightal instructions like the “alcohol has more affect in the air” directive animation which featured a guy banging down an aisle, falling on people. As if that wasn’t enough, about halfway through the flight – it’s BINGO! Sponsored by the manufacturers of the mango jelly substance we were given for dessert (“HIGH FLACTOSE CORN SYRUP”), passengers were given free bingo cards and then you watched the accompanying video (and for me and a few other passengers, English-dubbed) and perhaps you won valuable non-valuable prizes if you were not me. Actually, they didn’t look too shabby -- couldn’t really tell what they were, but they appeared to have some bulk/heft to them, it wasn’t like “Here’s a free case of High Flactose Corn Syrup Mango Jelly.”

I am in Narita’s airport, pretending like I know what the hell’s going on here. In front of me is the glass-walled smoking lounge, and after you get off the plane there’s a smoking “station” of sorts that’s like a bar – you hie up to it, start smoking, and powerful venting/suction devices take in the smoke and everyone is happy.

I am actually just here for a layover, I’m on my way to Hong Kong which is a different place entirely.