This is what amazes me: You could, in theory, sell various lengths of unfinished tree-material to certain preschools for hundreds of dollars per log. There's an industry devoted to taking very simple items made of natural (that is, not plastic) materials for the wee ones to learn skills with, like, for example, logs. Let me state up front that (1) it's great when kiddos get to play with "real" materials. (2) Trees are awesome "real" materials, because they have rings, which you could potentially be the Lord of. (3) I'm beginning to think I could become quite wealthy taking my lathe off camping somewhere and setting up a mail-order business selling whatever halfway-smoothed out chunk of lumber I turned out to either an art gallery or a preschool. Anyway, the kiddos will have a bunch of properly-shortened (via chainsaw) logs to contain a digging area and a few others to climb on. If I hadn't run out of gas, I wanted to try making one of those chain-saw chairs (though not as good as in that clip) I remember occasionally seeing on those "Real Life Lumberjack Sculptor" shows or whatever was on A&E after it stopped showing nothing but Improv and WWII footage 24/7. Upon hearing my semi-lament, I was gifted with a log that I'm supposed to try my power tool artistry on at my leisure (though I suspect the chance to get rid of one more piece of fallen tree for nothing might have encouraged this present). If it turns out halfway-decent, you'll hear about it here. If not, I'll pretend its firewood and my trip to the ER will be a case of doctor-patient confidentiality.
So here's something that probably counts as a "first world problem" some people have. I ran across this cute animal video and made a bet with myself about what one of the top comments would be. I won the bet, as something like "turn the camera sideways" was present and being voted upwards. Maybe an intrepid phone company has already done this, and if they have, good for them, but here would be my request: Make a camera phone that shoots widescreen when you hold it like you naturally do: Vertically. It's not like flip cameras needed to be held sideways, and it's not a mystery how most people grip their phones. Maybe they could even make a digital camera setup that always shot widescreen no matter which way it was held, though I expect that would require either some mechanical bits, more expensive equipment, a loss in quality, or the consultation of a sorcerer.
I'm beginning to wonder if Facebook isn't going to find that it sort of reached critical mass for its usefulness and/or desired function a while back and reality is just now catching up? I'm not a heavy user, and with all the website retooling stuff I've fallen out of checking up on it regularly (I've not even read an article about that "timeline" thing). They had their billions-o-moneys IPO and everything, but online retailers aren't finding FB to be all that great, and it's starting to make me think of those restaurant or retail chains that are halfway decent but then go on an expansion spree that kind of makes them implode. It's almost like they're trying to remake what AOL wanted to be back in the day: The only place you'd ever go with big, shiny buttons, all of your friends, and none of that bothersome "world wide web" malarky to distract you from the next online game. I'm not saying FB is a bad thing or ruining the 'net; I'm just wondering if it hit some kind of sweet spot for social networking functionality a while back and is starting to get topheavy with corporate interests and things being grafted onto it that don't really add much to the experience. Or is it just me?
And I have another idear about new-fangled technology: Sometimes it's great when it's not working properly. This is kind of like what happened many moons ago when the pre-teen version of me found out out that if I balanced the dial on my folks' old TV set between channels 5 and 6 it would get Showtime. The setup for this involves my current PC, which isn't the most awesome box on the planet. It's a cobbled-together homebrew job in a plain case that was made to quickly replace a machine that lost its life in an electrical storm. This stopgap became a permanent fixture, even though it had one slightly irritating feature: The wires that feed the headphone jack are too close to the innards of the computer, as we forgot to run them behind some metal rather than through the spot where hard drives and power cables live. Subsequently, if I'm unable to tune it out, I can "hear" my PC chugging away at whatever it's doing. Recently, when I started recording video, I found it came in handy as I could tell if Fraps (the program used to record video game footage) was running, as it makes a distinctive purr on the edge of my hearing. I can also tell when the hard drives are pulling heavy duty, and even when my browser is experiencing a memory leak and eating up resources it shouldn't. What I'm saying is, I guess, is an app to do this sort of thing would be kind of neat, in a "I feel like a mechanic who can tell you how old your oil is by listening to the engine" kind of way. It only stinks that for me, there's no "off" button at the moment.
I was glad to hear that a good time was had by everyone at Bashcon this year, though my "friends" in attendance saw fit to torture me by sending me photos of what I was missing at the Old Pancake House. I'm beginning to see a certain captain's point about technology, though the threat is my stomach taking my body hostage and forcing it to drive a long distance to satisfy its lusts for powdered sugar atop breakfasty goodness. I mean gaming... yeah, that's it... :)
Just in case I'm absconded with for reasons listed above, I'd better get to the linkin':
- Happy Presidents Day (U.S.)! Here's your 34-foot tower of books about President Abraham Lincoln, and you'll need to read at least 1/3 of them for the report due in two weeks, which is worth half of your grade this semester.
- John Cleese responds to your futile comments & questions left on Monty Python YouTube videos.
- I refuse to try Nutella, not because I think it might be bad, but because I already have enough addictions which probably have already somehow doomed me to a poor end. But my wife's a fan, so I thought I'd pass this concept on.
- Pirates haven't featured here for a while, so here's Black Sails, a turn-based strategy game where you command a fleet of pirate ships to... well, plunder and shoot things with your cannons, pretty much.
- If you ever clawed back your life from the Civilization franchise, you might not want to read about their coming expansion, Gods and Kings. Not only has religion returned to the game, you can now craft your own.
- I've always found airplane graveyards iconic, but tank graveyards are pretty cool, too.
- Maybe alcoholism would decline if there was more a of a challenge to it. Like, say, drinking the world's hottest chili vodka before you could have anything else?
- Forget "hair in a can." Now you can rely on hair in a tattoo gun.
- A cute sci-fi point-n-click is to be had in Alien's Quest. Try to escape the clutches of the men in black at Area 51 with the help of a small pal and lots of useful objects.
- Not-so-cute sci-fi is to be had in the new Mass Effect 3 trailer. That makes two kids (if you include the demo) that have given their virtual lives to make you want to play the game. Also, I think the super-leap at the bad guy cut-away thing is pretty much done, now.
- Actress Judi Dench is going blind due to macular degeneration but doesn't plan to give up acting.
- A Community send-up of Doctor Who is going to become a web series. Now if they can orchestrate a crossover with Doctor Horrible, the internet will have fulfilled its purpose.
- If you're nostalgic for Baulder's Gate, here's how to mod the first game to play "inside" the second one. Like you were going to do anything important, anyway... :)
- And we end with Next, Please. It's a game set in another testing laboratory (I think) and you can turn copies of yourself into blocks so other copies can selfishly make their escape.