Category Archives: misc

What do you see?

Television commercials have scripts right? The decisions are made by more than one person right? How then is it possible that a commercial can be so mind numbingly bad as to contain the following dialog?
Announcer: “What do you see when you look at [blah blah car]?
Woman: “I see a man who knows where he’s going in the world.”
Man: “I see a woman who can make seats disappear.”

Dollars and Common Sense

This $200 note is blatantly fake, but I’ve known plenty of people, since elementary school, that think $500 and $1000 notes exist in the United States. Of course they’re correct. There are $500 and $1000 notes around, but they tend to be in museums. The Treasury does not currently produce anything higher than the $100 note.
There are some political considerations behind the size of a country’s largest note. I always assumed that the &#8364500 note was produced to make things easier for cultures that tend to pay with cash, but Eric Schlosser points out that, “The Supremacy of the dollar in the global underground has proven a boon to the American economy. . . . The new 500-euro note is perfect for black market activity. It has roughly five times the value of a $100 bill, allowing drug dealers and smugglers to lighten their suitcases. Portugal has banned the 500-euro note for those reasons, and its acceptance in other foreign undergrounds is not yet certain.” (page 6 of Reefer Madness)
I don’t know which I find more amusing, the fact that someone accepted the $200 George W. Bush note (see SG link above), or the fact that the US Treasury is often asked “Did the Treasury Department ever produce a $1 million currency note? I have one that I want to know about.” (see faq) I suppose I would want to know about it too.

How to Hold a Nintendo Controller

Speaking of Nintendo controllers, it has been brought to my attention that I have been holding the controller the wrong way for all these years. I was grasping the controller with both hands and using my thumbs to operate the buttons. Silly me. It appears from the picture on the back of the box that you are supposed to gently cradle the control and forget about trying to press the red buttons – they will only slow you down.

Nintendo Phone

Cell phone design has come a long way since those big Zach Morris style boxes. They have all sorts of crazy smooth angles now, but as they get smaller and sleeker, the keypad and screen get needlessly complicated. How about going back to a design classic: the 8-bit Nintendo controller? It’s just the right size to fit in your hand. It’s simple, clean, and durable (remember all those times you threw the controller at the wall after Mario fell in the lava?). Plus, it’s retro. You’ll be at least as cool as the guy with the Atari shirt. The charger could be that Nintendo robot that came with the earliest sets. Here’s what it might look like:

New Instant Messaging Technology: Letter Sending

I got this credit card ad yesterday that purports to be an “instant message”. The envelope has a graphic of an IM window containing a rather boring correspondence. I’ve heard of spammers using IM to advertise, but this credit card company seems to have missed the memo on how IM works: it’s supposed to be instant! The journey from South Dakota to Massachusetts in this case was anything but instant. The sender no doubt took advantage of the postal service’s discount bulk rate, which is even slower than the regular mail (and infinitely more expensive than IM).
Internet technology is not cool because of the interface, it is cool because it is innovative. Applying a modern standard interface (ie a browser) to old technology (ie letters or television ads) just looks ridiculous – especially when the interface is designed to be functional, but the functionality is removed. For example, I’ve seen a car commercial where a mouse is clicking though different menu options and showing the car at different angles. The advertisers have reproduced a functional interface (the website with click-activated links) and removed the functionality (the ability to choose what to look at). The result: another car ad that’s almost painful to watch.
Too many times have I seen MTV-style camera zooms to computer monitors while dance-music plays in the background. Computers just aren’t like that! It’s not that technology is not exciting, but its not exciting because it’s fast and bouncy. It’s exciting because it’s innovative and interesting. You don’t see fast zooms and dance music when the image is someone reading a book on the front porch, so why do advertisers think that sitting in front of a computer requires a slamming house beat.
Supposing that I didn’t get annoyed at my latest credit card ad. Let’s say, I was impressed by how it “really knows where I’m coming from”. Maybe I’ll check out the website after all… oh no wait! I can apply by phone or email only – no online application:

Death Centipedes: Identified!

It turns out that animal I refer to as “Rare African Death Centipede” has actually been scientifically identified as a House Centepede (warning: the link contains a picture of horrible creature). Apparently they’re not (a) rare, (b) African, (c) harmful, or (d) oh no wait, they are still centipedes. Nevertheless, the title stays. Native Americans are not Indian’s by any stretch of the imagination, but did that stop Congress from legally defining them as such? Nope. So I carry on with the inaccurate name, mostly because “house centipede” sounds all cute like an inch worm or something. These beasts of nature come straight from the depths of bug hell.
Thanks to Doyle for pointing this out.

Return of the Bat

For the third year in a row, an unwelcome bat has entered my abode. I’m getting calmer about the situation, but it’s still rather annoying to have a bat flying in a figure-8 around the room when you’re trying to, you know, sit around and stuff.
Currently the bat is atop a high bookshelf. See Figure 8 at left. Please excuse the poor quality of this photo. It was taken in the field under intense conditions. Though the bat is not actually visible, I assure you that he is hiding behind the little wooden man. Funny that the man is making a “toro toro” motion (a “murciélago murciélago” motion?).

The Same People Everywhere

I added some pictures to the entry page of law school discussion about a month ago. I think pictures are a great way to make a website feel more human (if there are actual humans behind it). Those pictures are actual law students who have posted on the board – so the pictures are legit.
You may have noticed, however, that the same people seem to pop up on the web, in magazines, and even in subway ads. I keep seeing the same people everywhere. Often they’re standing in a perfectly white room with nothing more than a shadow and some huge text, and they’re usually looking up (because hey – things are looking up) with giant torsos and tiny feet. It was pretty hard to dig up examples because I couldn’t remember where I’d seen these people, but I found a couple:

This guy advocates building without barriers (oh – so that’s what
I’ve been doing wrong) at
Meanwhile, his twin brother is looking for something to fit his top-heavy
body, and nothing fits better than a Kaplan shirt!
Kaplan was a big help to this guy… but he already had an in – he works for the Law School Admissions Council… He deserves to go to a good school though. Since birth he has had a rare
condition that causes giant molecules to come out of his hands!

How does one get to be one of these people? I want to be that guy on the Kaplan subway ad that’s making a “boo-yah” motion (presumably in celebration of his great LSAT score). Imagine – every time the train stops, there you are… “Oh Yeeeaah!” acing the test, and teaching English as a foreign language. I want to build without borders, and I want to open a free-checking account that is convenient to my busy schedule. Boo-Yah!
To advance my clip-art modeling career, I have created the following image to advertise your project.

$30 Clicks!

Back in November I reported on my findings that people were paying a whopping $8 for search engine clicks for the term “data recovery”. I did a little checking around today and found the most expensive clicks I can comprehend: $30! So if you type this particular word into an Overture affiliated search engine (and most of them are – not Google though), and click the first couple of results, you will cause someone to pay $30 to someone else. Who is paying this much? Tort lawyers.
And now… the word: mesothelioma