Month: May 2008

Suburban Illinois

I’m as confused as a baby in a topless bar!”

Kinky is using a feather Perverted is using the whole chicken”

Dip me in honey and throw me to the lesbians!”

All I need is some peace and quiet If I got a piece I’d be quiet!”

DADDY FARTED And We Can’t Get Out!”

Lord Help Me to Be The Person That My Pimp Tells Me to Be”

Do you want to be a Ho? Contact driver for details…”

PRACTICE SAFE SEX GO FUCK YOURSELF

Discourage Inbreeding BAN COUNTRY MUSIC

ZERO TO NAKED IN 6.2 BEERS!”

Can I test drive your vulva?”

Who’s Your Daddy?”

I ♥ HOOTERS

If you don’t believe in oral sex keep your mouth shut”

Help! I farted and can’t roll down my windows!”

I’M NOT IMMATURE you stinky butt poo poo head”

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Substantialiscious”

SubstantialisciousThis word is used in Snickers’ new ad campaign, wherein they plaster these long, awkward neologisms (e.g., “Peanutopolis,” “Hungerectomy,” etc.) on buses and billboards and on their candy bar wrappers themselves.

What struck me about this one is that anybody reading it would promptly assume that it is a fusion of “substantial” and “delicious”; but wouldn’t that produce “substantialicious,” not “-scious”? In fact, the only words that end in “-scious” are “luscious” and the various forms of consciousness. I don’t think they meant to evoke lusciousness, and even if they did, shouldn’t they have coined “Substantialuscious”?

Things got worse when I opened the wrapper:

Substantialiscious \sub-'stan(t)-shu-'li-shus\
(noun). The weight of something when you weigh it with your tongue.

It is, of course, an adjective, a fact that a contributor to Urban Dictionary even tried to point out, albeit incorrectly.

It’s an easy target, I know, but I’m just genuinely surprised that they let something like that get out the door; it’s a fairly clever campaign, and “Hungerectomy” in particular presupposes that the average person is smart enough to know what the suffix “-ectomy” means. And wouldn’t somebody who knows that also know an adjective from a noun? It’s just confusing.

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Scary Go Round Style Changes

Once described as being “pretty much perfect,” Scary Go Round is one of my favorite comics. As is the case with most things, I got into it kinda late, and it’ll probably die in the near future, making my weekday mornings cold and bleak. I wish I could remember where I learned about it.

One of the best things about it is its artwork. The colors are stunning, it’s peppered with painstakingly subtle, winking touches, and there’s a weird juxtaposition of ruler-guided lines and rough, endearingly sloppy details like lettering or rows of windows. But it didn’t used to be that way; it began as a spinoff to John Allison’s previous comic, Bobbins, which shifted from hand-drawn to vector art on January 15, 2001, a distinctly digital style that continued through Scary Go Round’s first couple years.

It was shortly after I started reading, in 2006, that the comic went “permanently” (for now) hand-drawn, which to me is far preferable, allowing for much greater nuance in gestures and expressions, and more equipped to carry John’s sense of humor.

Lamenting the fact that I didn’t get to watch its evolution in realtime, I decided to catalogue notable dates in its history, coupled with context from John’s blog and the Scary Go Round forum, because I am curious and anal.

John begins Scareodeleria, intended as a practice ground “to return Scary Go Round to hand-drawn art.” It’s pretty crude.

Continue reading “Scary Go Round Style Changes”

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foobar2000 Is Dead or Dying: Part 1

Originally written June 30, 2007.

There’s always been a significant faction of foobar2000 users whose primary attraction to the player is its appearance, or rather the level of control given to its users over its appearance. In its infancy, with the standard (and still default) UI, very little was possible — the main window consisted solely of a tabbed playlist and several functional toolbars — but people nevertheless took a lot of pride in making it their own, and some impressive things were done with relatively minimal flexibility. It was in the standard UI that users began experimenting with album-level presentation, choosing not to repeat redundantly the artist and album name on each line of the playlist, but to use the second, third, and sometimes fourth lines to display other info, such as year, label, genre, replaygain info, etc. Each of these customizations was unquestionably unique, but most of the broad details of the interface were consistent and inescapable.

The Columns UI component began as an experiment in allowing for multiple columns within the playlist display, emulating the Windows Explorer “Detail” view (and many other Windows programs), with sortability via clickable column headings. Eventually Columns UI added a sidebar and, later, panels, allowing the whole foobar window to be split up indefinitely into panel-based component displays, the playlist viewer becoming just another one of these. This granted much greater flexibility, allowing users to tailor the interface even more precisely to their needs. You could now display album art as prominently as you wanted, or not at all; your entire library tree could be embedded within the main window, rather than tucked away in a pop-up; and with the trackinfo panel’s exceptionally lax (by that era’s standards) stylizations, the personalization of your foobar became even more addictive, and, more importantly, rewarding.

Many seemed hell-bent on concocting the most garish presentations imaginable: giant gothic blue-on-black custom fonts, deep-red 200-px-tall spectrum analyzers, all, of course, coupled with custom OS “vis.”

While some still preferred the purity and elegance of the standard UI, the personalizations made possible by Columns UI were inarguably functional ones, for the most part. Fonts, colors, distribution of panels, and a rudimentary method of text alignment were really as far as you could go. At the core of all the boasted screenshots was a recognizable structure, all slight variations on the theme of playlist+trackinfo+albumlist+albumart. Outside of displaying album art, there was nothing profoundly new that Columns UI allowed you to do — rather, Columns UI gave you more control over how you did what you needed to do.

Continue reading “foobar2000 Is Dead or Dying: Part 1”

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Windows XP SP3

Microsoft publicly released Windows XP Service Pack 3 yesterday, which means that it should appear in your list of available updates. To grab your own standalone copy of the update, download the EXE or the ISO directly from Microsoft. Lifehacker also has a tutorial on getting SP3 onto a Windows install disc to save yourself loads of trouble later. Read what Ars Technica, Lifehacker, and Wired have to say about the upgrade.

This service pack was rumored in November (by Wired and CNET, among others) to offer a 10% boost in speed, but who knows under what conditions it’ll actually be noticeable. And all this amidst protests against Microsoft’s plan to stop selling XP this summer. Even John Dvorak, whose columns I’ve been reading since adolescence, hates Vista:

You’re not supposed to deliver a new operating system that’s been in development for more than four years yet performs worse than the previous OS. Performance should be at the top, not the bottom, of the to-do list. You get the sense that Microsoft just piles code on top of code and somewhere in the middle of it all is MS-DOS 1.0.

I’ll say.

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