Saturday, March 26, 2011

Joke du jour

There is a doctor in my village who hands out body parts. He gives me the willies.

Word of the day

Sargasm: Writing something so witty, reading it makes you climax.

Film of downtown San Francisco 4 days before the 1906 quake, and after

This is a 9-minute 35mm film of Market Street heading east towards the ferry terminal building shot from the front of a cable car.

These are the comments from the poster on YouTube.

Dir...Miles Brothers.

This film, was originally thought to be from 1905 until David Kiehn with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum figured out exactly when it was shot. From New York trade papers announcing the film showing, to the wet streets from recent heavy rainfall & shadows indicating time of year & actual weather and conditions on historical record, even when the cars were registered (he knows who owned them and when the plates were issued).. It was filmed only four days before the quake and shipped by train to NY for processing. Amazing but true! Copied from

Additional comments from the person who sent me this link:

This film was "lost" for many years. It was the first 35mm film ever that has come to light. It was taken by a camera mounted on the front of a cable car as it`s traveling down the street. You feel as if you're really there, standing at the front looking down the street, an amazing piece of historic film. The number of automobiles is staggering for 1906. Absolutely amazing! The clock tower at the end of Market Street at the Embarcadero wharf is still there. How many street-cleaning people were employed to pick up after the horses? Talk about going green!
Great historical film!

No wonder there had to be laws created to regulate driving habits. This is insane. Good thing they couldn't go very fast. This is a fascinating movie. A camera on the front of a street car 105 years ago. Look at the hats the ladies were wearing and the long dresses. Some of the cars had the steering wheels on the right side, I wonder when they standardized on the left? Sure were still a lot of horse drawn vehicles in use. Mass transit looked like the way to get around. Looks like everybody had the right of way! And the >people in San Francisco were already jaywalking!

This next one is the same film, but it's been cleaned up. There is additional footage at the end that's worth seeing, even if the music is not half so good as the previous clip.

A trip down Market Street. The original version of which can be downloaded at suffered badly from "Film Roll" at the beginning and end, this version however has had those faults corrected and shows a lot more detail particularly at the end were the film froze and skipped frames.

Finally, the footage from four days before the quake has been displayed side-by-side with footage of the same trip, but right after the quake and fire.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Repost: IKEA was here before the Druids and before Stonehenge

Okay, it's always been IKEA that was the social meme behind everything. Go look; the instructions are very clear about this.

Addendum: Sarah Day pointed me to a song about IKEA that says it's been here before the Gods. :)


Why you won't get into Heaven

Very interesting video by someone who had a lot of time to pick up some interesting comments in the Bible about why you, me, and nobody any of us know anywhere at any time is going to go to Heaven according to the rules dictated by Jesus.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Absurd video games

I got turned on to a truly absurd video game. It's a version of "Waiting for Godot" done in Atari 8-bit game format. Here's the one player version of the game:

There's a two-player version, too. Oy veh!!

It captures the absurdity of the play beautifully.

Okay, I thought that this was really cool and I laughed watching the two-player version. And then I thought that this was it.

Au contraire!

New friends Gavin & Sophia told me about a video game version of "The Great Gatsby." NO! I said. Yes, really; it's from Nintendo and can be found here. This is ostensibly the whole game and looks like all classic early Nintendo games. (How they handle Gatsby getting shot, I don't know.)

While I was talking to them, I started thinking evil literary thoughts, and evil thoughts invariably involve doing horrible things with Jane Austen, so I googled, and lo! I found this lovely nugget from last April about a company that thought that Jane Austen was a great idea for a game series. Note how many games they sold and also the punchline at the very end of the article. :) (BTW, the link to the original article is in the title so you can see the original if you wish.)
Jane Austen Inspired Video Game Company Declares Bankruptcy

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – The Jane Austen inspired company that devoted itself to developing, “World class” video games based around the novels of Jane Austen declared bankruptcy after three years of business and having sold less than fourteen copies of their games.

“We simply overestimated the interest for Jane Austen video game porting,” said Cal Witherington, the CEO of the now bankrupt corporation.

The company released three video game titles, “Sense and Sensibilities", “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma". Despite, an aggressive ad campaign, the games hardly sold at all. Developed for the PS3, Wii and XBox 360, the games were given high scores for video and look, but dismal scores for actual game play.

“It looks wonderful! The animation is down right perfect,” noted Adam Jones of IGN. “The problem was, there was no action in the games at all. One goal was to just walk around slowly, while talking. One mission included going on a long walk in the rain. That mission took two hours to finish!”

Some implementation of the game didn’t work too well either. In order to playing on the PS3 or Xbox 360, the player needed to press one button to act nice, another button to act proper. “In the end, the game became more of a button smasher,” according the IGN review. Players playing on the Wii really just needed to jerk the nunchuck and waggle to Wii Remote to get the same affect. The faster they shook, the better the score.

IGN went on to note, “One potential benefit of the game for ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was that you could play as many of the characters, including Mr. Darcy, though you needed to unlock that by scoring over 200 points in the dancing portion of the game, a hard feat. But in the end, it became nothing more than a waggle fest to brood.”

The company lost more than $20 million since they started three years ago and were forced to shut their doors. It remains unknown whether anyone will pick up their latest project, and first to move off from Jane Austen, “Little Women".

Yes, they did one of "Little Women," too. What are they going to do when Beth dies? Or can you possibly save her? I don't know....

Apparently, though, not to be deterred by the potential lack of action suitable to video games in Jane Austen novels, or the almost total non-intersection on the Venn diagram of the two sets: "Jane Austen" and "video gamers," a company has developed a composite of several Jane Austen novels to create (drum roll) Matches and Matrimony. You can romp around the website and see screen shots and get an idea of the game.

Oy veh....

Addendum, March 24, 2011: It's been pointed out to me by Daniel Reitman that there's also a RPG for The Drones Club.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Great flyers!!

Seven of the most brilliantly pointless street flyers.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Back from South by Southwest

I got back from South by Southwest a few days ago. It was as good as the last one, though in a completely different way. I got to see several old friends, notably Brenda Huettner, speaker and co-author extraordinaire, and made any number of new friends.

Also, thanks to Phylise Banner, I ended up hearing the Discovery astronauts speaking the day after they got back, meeting them, and getting their autographs on a couple of t-shirts for The Babe. We then got a 3-hour private tour of Houston Mission Control and even got to sit in the space shuttle training simulator. I'll point you to photos of that some point soon.

Mostly, what I wanted to say in this post was that the the cool giveaways at SxSW in the dealer room were:
  • 1gb and 2gb flash drives. Between all the different vendors giving them away, I snagged 7 or 8 of them. Y'can't have too many free flash drives.
  • A color flashbook: they'd film you for 6 seconds doing whatever, then print it out in color in a pocket flipbook. The Babe instantly identified that I was doing a Michigan J. Frog sorta thing. It was very silly.
  • Pint jars of hot salsa from a company named Salsa.
  • Urinal mats.  (Women, if you're not familiar with these, urinal mats are a male piece of gear. They're plastic mats with holes or slots or baffles that go in the bottom of a urinal so there aren't splashes when the pee hits the porcelain and you also have somewhere specific to aim, which seems to be a male preoccupation). Why would we want a urinal mat, you may wonder? It's certainly not something one carries from place to place. Well, this one has a picture of Charlie Sheen's face. It was a fun idea. In fact, I saw this item actually in use at a sports bar near the convention center before I even knew it was a giveaway. I approved.