shoebox_dw: (bob&ray)
Getting this out of my system early this week, as I've got other stuff to worry about (as in, Oh God I Just Posted All The Fiction Now What?!)

Anyhow, this isn't so much new! and exciting! as housekeeping - I've had these YouTube clips on Favourite for ages, but somehow've never gotten around to linking them here. Which is odd, because they really do deserve it. Besides showcasing B&R at their most personable, it's also a fun little window into the David Letterman phenomenon circa... I'm not sure, really, except it must be the very early stages. There's some background whooping and hollering that suggests Chris Elliott has been newly installed under the seats.

Part One involves intros and a typically unique take on shilling the latest project (the flick in question is Author, Author!, and yes, it's a comedy):


Part Two showcases a couple of skits from their prime (you can tell, because the second opens with a decidedly, albeit good-naturedly, un-PC flourish):

shoebox_dw: (bob&ray)
Just thought I'd note down an interesting article (yes, as distinct from the other seventeen thousand or so I've found. Sheesh) from a Cape Cod local, reprinted as a blog post. Does a really nice job of putting the duo's artistic legacy into perspective - I was particularly charmed by the notion of George Carlin obsessively buying up every recording he could find - besides elaborating a bit further on the new DVD.

It also contains a mini-interview with Bob himself, including a poignant admission that dealing with his partner's death was 'really difficult'. Apparently Ray was on dialysis for a decade or so prior, but 'never complained' and the act continued on without missing a beat for seven-eight of those years. Yikes. I don't know whether to applaud or be completely horrified.
shoebox_dw: (silly intelligent things)
The site says I can now 'wear the title of Cool Nerd proudly!'

And you know what? I kind of do. says I'm a Cool Nerd.  Click here to take the Nerd Test, get geeky images and jokes, and write on the nerd forum!

shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)
Every so often, when I'm in the mood for the sort of satisfying browse through nothing much that may well be the Net's greatest contribution to mankind, I open up the Urban Legends Reference Pages and start hitting the Randomizer button. That most of the whacky facets of human nature contained therein turn out to be products solely of human imagination in no way detracts from the good time. In fact, I'd highly recommend the exercise to anyone with a creative block.

Also collating a bunch of favourite articles turns out to be a great idea for a quick'n'gleeful blog post: - That time Disney murdered dozens of cute little fuzzy animals in search of the perfect shot. No, really. - The day the church furnace exploded in Beatrice, Nebraska...killing exactly nobody from the scheduled choir practice. I don't care what denomination if any you are, this is one severely freaky true story. - No, the 'Anne Hathaway' email isn't true, but the debunking provides a wealth of interesting medieval lore anyway. - Which was the real hoax - that a couple of guys actually convinced hordes of Manhattanites to saw the island in half, or that they convinced so many people to believe they did? - Complete list of people who've died onstage or -screen. - If you ever run across one of the surprising number of people who still believe the 9/11 Pentagon plane crash was all a U.S. government plot, here's a comprehensive debunking guide. - Short version? The 'That oughta hold the little bastards!' legend never happened. Well-nigh exhaustive version? This article. - A second-hand coat bought for a Wizard of Oz character turns out to be startlingly appropriate. - "Yes, this is the psychiatric hospital. Yes, we're all FBI agents. Yes, that'll be twenty large pizzas with everything. What's so hard to grasp here?"

shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)
Musings on Teh Inauguration coming soon, I promise.

But I just remembered, I did do something mildly interesting this past weekend: went to the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) for the first time post-reno. A jewelry-designer friend wanted to see the diamond exhibit, and her membership includes a guest, and I am just generally very good at being the type of person benevolent friends take to the museum.

So...the reno. To be specific, the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal; or to be even more specific, 'that huge ugly blister that's now stuck to that gorgeous old building', as friend's husband put it. Can't really disagree. While the concept is clearly supposed to be 'organic growth fused to city setting', the net result is more like 'explosion at the storm window factory somebody tried to contain with random weatherstripping'. 

Inside the crystal sections, the tone-deafness continues. Where you would expect sharpness and light, an enhancement of the museum's intellectual power, there is instead flat white...drywall? As in, they were so anxious to start making money off this thing they decided against finishing off the walls? Sure looks like it, is all I am saying. Occasionally, you can glance through a haphazard shred of storm window down onto: yet another condo build. This does not discourage mental snarks about pretentious Torontonians.

(Weirdly enough, the only place the new interior works is the renovated Hall of Dinosaurs, clearly where all the planning budget went. The ancient skeletons really pop against the white and light).

The diamond exhibit was fairly cool. Albeit I had been expecting more romantic history surrounding famously sordid gems and filaments. A similar exhibit on pearls I'd seen some years ago managed to tie their formation, the rarity of their perfection, into a marvellous tour of power and prestige down through the centuries.

With the diamonds - thank you De Beers, I suppose - they jump straight from 'yup, really hard and clear' to Cartier and Harry Winston and carat-encrusted leopards with emerald eyes, all that sort of thing. The diamond as symbol of conspicuous consumption is a powerful story; but it's also, eventually, something of an imaginative dead end. All told I have added three valuable bits to my store of Life Experiences:

1.) Large, flawless pink diamonds do indeed look like 'a deuced drop of pink bubbly'. I read that phrase in a mystery once and have always been charmed by it. Good to have confirmation.

2.) It is possible to get some truly lovely effects with diamonds - picking out a snakeskin pattern, for example, or enhancing the delicate grace of a swirl or ribbon form. Lush forms are not served quite as well, or rather are served too well. And a life-size diamond-encrusted rose is over-the-top to the point of inducing mild nausea.

3.) In medieval portraits, diamonds  - and gosh weren't there a lot! - were invariably painted black, 'with a flash of white along the edge'. I will now not embarrass myself, should I ever run into an art historian. Here I'd been wondering all this time at the medieval nobility's dedication to onyx when there were all those diamonds available.
shoebox_dw: (kitty fabulous)
Jack Black, eat your heart out. A full thirty years before there was a School of Rock, Sesame Street enrolled us all in the School of Funk. In honour of Motown's 50th anniversary, here's Stevie Wonder, rocking the beloved ol'block with Superstition. Yes, really.

(And for those of you wondering - according to the comments, the guitarist in the blue cap, who looks like a young Ray 'Who ya gonna call' Parker Jr., is a young Ray Parker Jr.)

click tracking
shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)
Scene (slightly paraphrased)  from the kitchen the other night, as I was obsessing over my fiction experiments for the umpteenth time:

Shoemom: You just need to write about your life, no matter what. It doesn't take that much - look at Jane Austen, that's all she did, and she got to be one of the greatest writers ever.

Me [trying hard to keep a straight face]: Uh, thanks, Mom, but I think there's a bit more to becoming the next Jane Austen than that.

Shoemom [completely undaunted]: Well, you'll never know until you try, will you?


Meanwhile. Did I mention I've been to the new AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) yet? Because I totally have. A friend who works at the Bank of Montreal is just important enough to score us free tickets to a private post-reno reception (the BMO was the major financial backer). Besides the sneek preview, there was herb-encrusted rack of lamb, mini-buffalo burgers and the most darling little paper cups of new-potato fries. Clearly, getting used to life among the hoi polloi would be much simpler than I imagined.

Anyway. The reno, me likey. It's really gorgeous, in a very inviting, almost casual way. Friend (whose husband works there as a tour supervisor) tells me the sculptural elements were originally supposed to be metal - stainless steel, I think she said - but I much prefer the blond wood used instead. The juxtaposition of stylised and organic speaks perfectly to the dual purposes of housing art and the people who view it.

Shoemom and I, as our print-laden walls testify, are long-time habitues of the AGO (the local nick, pronounced as 'Ay-go'.) She loves art - Impressionism, in wonderful rich examples of which it abounds, is a favourite - and I love showing off my random bits of knowledge about the artists and the history behind their works. So we knock along, the odd Saturday afternoon, in perfect harmony.
This may explain why I'm also seriously impressed with the new arrangement of the galleries - by concept instead of time period or school. It's one of those moderne flourishes that sound horribly precious and contrived on paper; but in practice it's amazing how obvious it is, how emotion and mood draw you in where linear facts might not. The myriad ways a woman can be painted, for instance, or the North in wintertime indoors and out. This may have had something to do with the herb crusts, but by the time the night was out I was even starting to see the possibilities in stuffed raccoons slumped around random mirrored columns.

So that's the high spot this winter so far. At least until we leave for Florida next week. Which reminds me...
shoebox_dw: (ratatouille remy caught)
..So I rustled up a few 'How to Attract More Traffic to Your Blog' articles, and interestingly enough, their advice is the same: Start by taking an active interest in others' blogs, reaching out to those with similar interests, reading their posts and commenting.

Well. Whaddaya know about that.

[blushes slightly]


In other news, och, am I gonna be grateful when this American election mania dies down. It's starting to affect even the funnest, most lightweight 'other blogs' I visit - even the Comics Curmudgeon came down with a bad case the other day, and it still hasn't fully recovered. has been all 'Here're the latest outlandishly stupid rumours an hysterically suspicious populace are taking as gospel' for weeks now. It gets dispiriting.

(If I could persuade myself that the one troll on the CC was putting on an elaborate, Dr. Strangelove-style show, it would make me feel quite a lot better. Alas, my faith is at al all-time low. These people really do hate each other, don't they?)

Thank goodness for blogs emanating from Australia, is all I can say. Specifically, that of LJ-friend lizbee, dedicated Tudors-watcher.

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (ed bunny)
So about midway through the short sabbatical from writing to concentrate on dealing with some other stuff, I check back and realise the cliffhanger's another oddly prophetic comic strip. I am sort of enjoying how the PBS posts have become markers for these little breaks in the seems so appropriately random...but, uh, everything's fine, folks. I just thought the strip was amusingly reminiscent of the way train whistles make me feel sometimes. Really.

Anyway, here I am back in the saddle again, ready to supply all your pointless rambling needs! The long-awaited Mythbusters post - look, I've been away, humour me for a sec, OK? - is in the pipeline, also another edition of the Occasional Christie. I just need to do a little cranial housekeeping first. Two weeks sans snark outlet has left it seriously cluttered up in here...

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (peanuts afraid)
Cool random linkage of the week: From LJ-friend [ profile] rpk  comes this lovely clever little time-waster, riffing off famous fantasy first lines. (In the inevitable guess-the-source game, I made about 75%.)

Speaking of random postings...when I chortled at that PBS strip below, I had no idea it would prove prophetic. I probably should have, given I was about to deal with Bell Canada, but there you are - I'm ever the naiive trusting type when it comes to telecommunications giants who have my Net access in their hands. It's my own personal kryptonite. "Oh, yes, please please please take wads of my money! You need a firstborn? Hey, fork over that list of approved adoption methods!"

The coherent version of this story begins when we recently tried to switch phone carriers while retaining our internet service with Bell. After all, we'd had no complaints...until now. I do not at all wish to denigrate the inhabitants of whatever fine Southeast Asian nation now handles their phone support, so let's just say there is apparently no close translation for "Yes, we are switching phone carriers and would like you to set up a dedicated phone line for our DSL service", let alone (a day or two after this was supposed to have happened) "No, we didn't want to set up a new account, we wanted a new phone line for the old one!"

Anyway, after several phone-hours of runaround, we called the new carrier, all humble-like, and said "Um, can we please have an internet connexion?" and they said "Sure, take this setup CD and expect the guy at 11am tomorrow [Sunday]." And lo, without further fuss or pother, it was so. Thank you, Rogers Communications; you may be an equally uncaring, slipshod monopoly as a cable carrier, but as a Net provider, I have nothing but praise to heap at your feet. P.S. - Shoemom just lurves the new AOL-style customisable browser, too. After I spent an entire evening customising it for her, but still. The 'Mountain' template is "so relaxing!"

My other major excuse for not posting as much as I should this month involves the office situation. No, not The Office situation, although I freely offer myself as a consultant next time they want to explore the depths of the complete and total chaos that results when a six-person admin pool is reduced through various comings, goings and crises to four, then three, then two, Sorry, there is no short version of this one. If I had to suffer through it, you have to read it, capisce?

Read more... )
shoebox_dw: (garfield rabid moth)
So this first weekend of summer has been, in the main, wholly satisfying.

Turns out that a family in our congregation has long-ago connexions to my brother-in-law. As it happens, they're the only family in our congregation, kind of a lonely situation regardless of prickly self-sufficiency. Faced with two sets of young parents and two sets of small boys about the same age and energy levels, Shoemom and I - for whom rushing in where angels fear to tread is a mere recreational diversion - decided to take a chance, mix well and dump into the zoo.

Did it work? Yea, verily, it reached Seventh Heaven levels of heartwarming. Especially when the yearling snow leopard wandered over to the viewing area and put these enormous foofy paws up on the glass in an apparent effort to come and play with these equally active young human critters. Suddenly I was experiencing fulfilment on a level with the Empire of Oprah...and it all made so much sense...Luckily right about then somebody hit somebody else with a can of Silly String, or who knows what you-all might've been confronted with this entry.

See, as you may have noticed, I've succumbed a step further into the LiveJournal ether and broken out the icons - a few I've made myself, and several others plucked from various fansites. Given that my current  Entry of Actual Importance has run into some...ah...technical difficulties, I figured distraction via random shiny things would be a most excellent route to take both for reader and author this week.

Besides, as I quickly discovered, icons are fun all on their own, as shortcuts. They're able to illuminate odd little corners of my psyche that otherwise would have to be awkwardly shoehorned into larger posts. Besides which...well, c'mon, Pig as the Happiness Fairy from Pearls Before Swine...!

I got so excited at the possibilities, in fact, that once I had the knack of searching I went on a bit of a spree, happily downloading dozens of little clevernesses from random sites...scattering promises to credit hither and, uh, yon. Of course, I didn't do anything sensible like save the site handles in the filenames for later reference, or anything. Thinking is for weekdays!

Thus, let me issue a blanket thank-you to the generous souls responsible for the Pearls, Get Fuzzy, Peanuts and Calvin & Hobbes icons - many of whom congregate @ [profile] comicstripicons  ; you are artists all. The Garfield icons come from this amazing site; I love that this artist contrived to find bits from when the strip was in its prime (yes,it did have one!) and might be back.

Ratatouille and Toy Story will be appearing courtesy [profile] hobbitholes   (who does have the endearing habit of tagging his filenames) and [profile] ushitora_icons   .

Most of the rest are courtesy the comprehensive and well-organised Muses' Realm. The remainder - specifically the ones featuring Bob & Ray (from their TV show), my cat Lucy, Ed the slacker bunny and Holly the pink princess hare - are my own creations (that's Shoemom's hand costarring in those last two, incidentally). One of these days I'm going to master the art of adding dialogue to them, at which point more of my floral pics will also show up.

And a long-overdue shout-out to [personal profile] rj_anderson , who took time out of her insane schedule to create the loverly shoebox graphic that's served as the default around here until now. It's still going to pop up now and zen.

Finally...I understand requests are considered polite LJ-quette, so will just conclude with an appeal at large: if anyone has or knows of anywhere I can get more Pearls icons, please let me know. Meantime, I'll be off plundering the archives. I have a sneaking suspicion that that strip contains every nuance of feeling I may require, around here. 
shoebox_dw: (mythbusters problem)
In re: the call to cease and desist posting for this Friday to make a point to the LiveJournal TPTB...include me out.

As never tires of pointing out when an appeal like this makes the rounds, a one-day-only boycott of anything is basically kind of stupid. (While I'm on, check out their clear and concise rebuttal of internet petitions, as well.)

Essentially, the problem is this: Boycotts work by demonstrating that the consumer is willing to go without the product to make a point, thus depriving the producer of income or similar need. Seeing as how nobody's planning on actually cancelling their LJ accounts (paid or otherwise), or even foregoing posting until their demands are met...well, whatever makes you feel good, I guess, 'cause it sure isn't going to have any demonstrable effect on TPTB.

Note that I'm not saying there isn't a cause to be fought here. If nothing else, the new ownership group has behaved in a fairly ominous fashion, as far as their desire to gain the trust and confidence of the masses is concerned. I'm just saying that I don't fancy a Noble Gesture of Defiance that ends with the tyrants simply sitting by, tapping their foot and glancing at their watch.


Mar. 18th, 2008 11:33 pm
shoebox_dw: (lucy)
Public-service announcement: As you can see, I've decided the 'paid-LJ' option is about all the excitement I can take for the time being. I mean, seeing as how it took me like an entire weekend to convince my accountant - aka Shoemom in full-bore "Fine, then! Just go spend money, you - you money-spender, you!" mode - to let me have the c-card even to that extent.

(Seriously, she's a sweet woman but at even the bare suggestion of parting from a penny does this Jekyll/Hyde thing that makes Scrooge look like a bumbling amateur. And since we as Witnesses don't celebrate Christmas...)

Anyhoo, apologies for the abrupt switches in mood and tone here since, but the butterfly layout only comes in so many colours, and the sheer foofiness of the previous one was really starting to bug. As a buyer commented re: a pair of similarly lavender slacks today: 'You might as well have flames running up the sides, because there is no way in hell anybody's gonna take those seriously."

Otherwise, not much to report. Ooh, except that the Agony Booth finally got around to reviewing Battlefield Earth, which is pretty much made of win. Lovers of snark everywhere, this is one experience you should not miss. If you've got the stomach (and the few hours) for it, the best way to get the full effect is to follow this review of Travolta's Folly up with Ken Begg's at Jabootu, to catch some precious little stupidities the novices on this Team Booth missed. I don't really blame them though; there are so many...

Also, I just wanna take a sec to mention that the new Hershey's Kisses - well, new to me anyway - with 'cheesecake-flavoured truffle filling' are way yummier than their name deserves. Almost makes up for the fact that here it is just days before Easter and I can't find those little mini-Mars bar or Dove caramel eggs anywhere. It's just, like, Cadbury-o-rama, and frankly I'm not all that crazy about Cadbury chocolate, it's way too rich and heavy.

Of course, I am resigned to all this, because a lifetime of experience has taught me that whatever commercial foodstuff I happen to take a special shine to is automatically added to some sort of cosmic Too Much Fun list and disappears from shelves pronto. Sometimes within weeks. Sorry about that, fellow Stouffer's Roasted Red Pepper Rotini lovers. You may want to stock up on the Thai Ginger Beef now, and avoid the rush.

Anyway, speaking of Easter, or more accurately why I don't speak of it...yeah, meme article coming soon, promise. Possibly tomorrow. For now, as you may have gathered, I need sleep
shoebox_dw: (garfield well-informed)

I wasn't going to blog anymore this weekend, but a couple things came up:

--I need - I mean, physically, I need - to help [personal profile] tree_and_leaf share what is possibly the most gloriously, insanely epic literary project ever in the history of the Internet. Look, I don't have time to explain, I'm busy reading William Blake in haxx0r. Just go visit this link right now, 'kay? (Unless of course you already have, which is a good chance since Dr Who probably factors in there someway, in which case you can just chuckle indulgently at my newbie enthusiasm.)

--I'm thinking about transferring this journal over to my own domain. Of which I will be master. Hah! (That gag is still funny, right? *makes mental note to watch at least one TV series made after 1995*)
Seriously, though. I know this comes off like I just woke up bored today and decided I'd like to have my own website, but...uh, well, so how is that not a valid reason, anyway? Besides, all those bizarre 3D icon ads are starting to wear on the only nerve not currently occupied keeping the cats out of the mini African violets I picked up at Canada Blooms last night.

So I messed about a bit with the LJ paid signup page, ran into some difficulty, and while waiting for an answer to my support email started idly browsing other options. Turns out there's a bewildering variety of hosts out there, many of which do not have a monthly payment plan, which dampened my zeal a bit. Apparently it's either buy the cute spring trench or convince myself this blog is worth that much in maintenance fees, and while writing is of course my true passion, spending another spring trying to look hip in an Old Navy hoody is my true nightmare. would be kinda fun to be able to have my very own Net sandbox to play in, so I'm kicking it around a bit. Any suggestions/cautions/ideas welcome, of course.
shoebox_dw: (quill)
Public service announcement: Bully the little stuffed blogging bull, whose ongoing attempt to catalogue the entire PG Wodehouse canon stands as as a source of inspiration to online-journal-keepers everywhere (primarily because being left in the dust by a fuzzy toy would be pretty damn embarrassing) has finally got round to one of the finest comic novels in the English language.

Be it known that we at Shoe Central are seriously considering putting failure to chortle within two seconds after clicking through that link on our personal shortlist of Reasons Not to Trust Anyone Who Doesn't. Or at least looking at them kind of funny.

Anyway. It's Day One of life after sinus infection, and yours truly is finally starting to sit up and take notice. Quips have been exchanged with friends; online fiction has been perused, the iPod has been refreshed with new audiobooks. The dancing-girl illusion has been stared at right up until I realised I was trying to coolly analyze why it kept coming out 'right-brained', which on account of I'm pretty slow on the Net-gag uptake took awhile. The creative juices are, beyond a doubt, well and truly stirring.


shoebox_dw: (Default)

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