Monday, September 22, 2008

Star Wars Holiday Special

Wow. Where to begin?


Somehow I managed to acquire a copy of this...masterpiece...on DVD. It's a transfer from someone's VHS copy, but unfortunately it lacks the commercials, making for less of a time capsule but more of a study in the art of pain.


I mean, I knew this thing was bad, but I didn't realize how bad it really is until watching it.

It aired once in 1978, but that was enough to warrant a cult following. We get to see Chewbacca's family, which includes his son, Lumpy, and his father, Itchy, who has an intimidating underbite.


I could go on and on about this, but there is a lot of material out there already. I mean, Tony an Golden Globe winner Diahann Carroll as a holographic prostitute? Check. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Harvey Korman as a robotic, multi-armed cooking instructor (among three roles)? Check. Jefferson Starship as a holographic, uh, Jefferson Starship giving off purple energy waves and singing into a short lightsaber? Check. Bea Arthur even makes an appearance singing and dancing with Greedo! Wait - it couldn't be Greedo, as Han shot first. It must be some other Rodian. Upon further painful review, it seems like she is calling the Rodian "Ludlow."

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Is there anything positive we can draw from this trainwreck? Yes! It marked the first appearance of Boba Fett!


If you can find a copy, pick it up! It's better if you can get one with the commercials, just for the late-Seventies references.

This thing is painful to watch, but at least one viewing should be necessary for Star Wars fans, completists or purists. I haven't shown my kids yet, as I just found my copy, but I'd be interested in what they thought, as they love anything even tangentially related to Star Wars, and Wookie Humor should get them going.

!! I forgot to add that there is a Rifftrax for the Star Wars Holiday Special. If you like Mystery Science Theater 3000, get it here. !!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Security: FAIL

At work we have these "secure document" shredding bins, where you drop stuff - dark, personal secret stuff, or technical documents - and it gets shredded so nobody can get to it.

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It needs to be cleaned out, eventually, and presumably shredded.


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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hurricane Ike

Recently Hurricane Ike hit Texas and we, outside of Austin, were in line to be part of the blast according to the news and the hurricane trackers. Then, Ike turned a little more and we thought we would get some good rain. Then a little rain. Then we were totally missed.

My friend Kelvin, on the other hand, had a somewhat closer encounter. Here is a great image from him:

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Check the link for his account. Glad y'all are in one piece! Wait - two pieces. You know what I mean.

Monday, September 15, 2008

7,413,359: Method and apparatus for printing

My second US patent has been granted!

I'm not sure how it got through with that unfortunate name, but my idea was to have an Automatic Document Feeder that could double as a print duplexer.


I still haven't received my plaque from the first one, but maybe I'll get two in one shot at the next meeting.

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Most Humiliating Spam.

So here I am, just minding my business when I notice some mail in my Junk/Spam folder. I try to scan them since the filter can be a little aggressive in shielding me from email it thinks is spam.

Most of the time it is pretty good. The emails follow spam trends (how many Nigerian princes are there really?), but this is one that I hadn't seen before.


Ouch! Is this supposed to shame me into getting a prescription, or turn me away from using it at all?

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Windows Live Writer, finally!

I begrudgingly tried Windows Live Writer while at SIGGRAPH. Think of Writer as a word processor that uploads to your blog. Before trying it, I was fine going online to my blog, writing updates and uploading pictures. If I couldn't get online, I just didn't blog. Connection taking too long? I got frustrated and didn't blog.

I didn't know what I was missing!

What I like: offline post creation, WYSIWYG, easy tags and formatting.

So far the only thing I don't like is that there seems to be a bug that un-centers images when I upload a post. I have to redownload the post, center the images again, and reupload.


I wasn't sure I could do this, but I just Alt-PrntScrn'ed the window and pasted it into the body text. Nice! I figured it would, but nice to know it works like expected.

I'm using it exclusively for blogging moving forward.

Thanks Dave!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

SIGGRAPH miscellaneous

Here is a smattering of stuff I saw at SIGGRAPH that I thought was interesting, in no particular order.


This is an "ultra-efficient" BRAMMO Motorsports Enertia Electric Motorcycle at the AMD / BOXX booth. It was a prize for the "Creativity for a Greener World" contest.



This is just a badass motorcycle! Tim Cameron is an artist as well as motorcycle rider, and this is his V-Rex creation, which was spawned from his Dreambike. Here is more information about him.


I started taking some pictures in the Art area before I was politely asked for my press pass. Whoops! I need to make cards for my blog! Pictures were for press only, but I got away with a nice shot of these mathematical sculptures from Bathsheba Sculpture. Very beautiful pieces!


I didn't think I'd get one but I was able to stand in the longest line at SIGGRAPH to get a wind-up walking teapot from Pixar's booth. This is my first, and it is number 58, whatever that means. Well, I know what it means...but not what it MEANS. This year the teapot celebrates Renderman's 20th anniversary. Here is an article from 2006 describing the differences between teapots from the Pixar booth and the teapots for the user group. Apparently someone is selling their Renderman teapot on craigslist...for $75! Good luck with that!

Rhythm & Hues & sushi

On Saturday David hooked us up with a former ILM guy who now is at Rhythm & Hues.


We got a great tour, and the workspaces had a nice creative vibe that reminded me of school. I brought back some good ideas to help my poor cube back home.

Thanks, Ari!

After the studio we drove over to Marina Del Rey, I believe and had some outdoor sushi from sugarFISH. A little pricier than what I'm used to, but tasty and packaged in a nice box reminiscent of bento boxes, where everything is compartmentalized. The waiter said that the box helps keep the rice from getting soggy if you took it home with you.

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We finally started home...back to San Francisco, I mean....


Whoops! No music! Slight detour to a couple of stores looking for blank CDs and then we are on our way. I had David's laptop in my, uh, lap, and thanks to him syncing up his MP3s I was able to burn them to CDs for the trip back.

Highlights? How about Terrorizing Telemarketers by Jim Florentine. Here is his site. I'm a big fan of prank phone calls, and David introduced me to The Jerky Boys as well. Great stuff!