Feb 27, 2009

There's an app for that.

I think I'm going to try to sketch up a random comic that I want to make. This whole idea is really just and excuse to play around with my new pen tablet more. I've been itching for an excuse to use it lately, and the idea for this comic hit me all at once the other day.

It'll be a mock iPhone commercial, which I'm hoping shouldn't be terribly complex from a drawing standpoint. I've written the script below to share with you what I envision it to be, but also to not forget it later.

I'm not committing to a timeframe for it's completion because a) I don't really draw all that often and may do such a crappy job it'll either take forever or be scrapped altogether, and b) I have other more important things simultaneously going on in my life and those take precedence.

"There's an app for that":

[strip starts with an iPhone being held by a hand, a la the current iPhone commercials]

Voice: The great thing about the iPhone is...

[the hand starts flipping apps, starting up one for a call girl service]

Voice: If you want to find a hooker at 3 AM in, say, Weehawken, New Jersey...

[starts playing with the application]

Voice: There's an app for that.

[goes back to the menu screen, flips with a hand covered in blood to the Body-B-Gone app, leaving faint blood streaks]

Voice: If you need to find a service that will discreetly dispose of the body, no questions asked...

[continues using the application]

Voice: There's an app for that.

[goes back to the menu screen, and navigates to the iExtort app, continuing to leave blood streaks]

Voice: And if you want Apple to keep quiet about this whole thing...

[A second hand appears with a credit card as the user starts up the application]

Voice: There's even an app for that. But you'll have to pay. Dearly.

[Apple logo, end]

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Feb 26, 2009

Atlantis at last

Seems as though Google Maps' efforts in mapping the sea floor have turned up something interesting. This could just be an error in the mapping (human or machine), but it appears that there is a grid pattern on the sea floor somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean. Could it be the remnants of the fabled Atlantis?

No idea, but it's interesting nonetheless.

View Larger Map

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Feb 25, 2009

TF2 Scout pack is out!

Valve really knows how to bring the love to gamers. I am a gamer. Therefore, by the transitive property of love, Valve loves me. It feels good to be loved, you know?

While Team Fortress 2 continues to be one of my favorite PC games ever, admittedly I hadn't been able to get myself back into it. Not because it's bad, but I've had a bajillion other things to do and the gameplay had gotten... a little stale.

Which brings us to today, when the new Scout pack is out for TF2. It comes complete with new unlockable Scout weapons, Scout achievements, and Valve-created and community maps to play it all on. All of which are conspiring to get me reacquainted with the addiction I call TF2. Details of the pack can be found here:


This means that if you're going to play TF2 for the next couple of days you're going to see Scouts. Lots of them. If you're not grinding out your own achievements as the Scout, be prepared. My advice:

  • Engineer's sentries are set to have a field day, and Natasha-equipped (or skilled Sasha-equipped) Heavies should have fun against leetle targets as well.

  • Pyros' and Soldiers' lives have gotten more interesting - Scouts never were a huge problem for them, but now there's just more of them to harass you.

  • For Medics and skilled Snipers, it's still business as usual. For bad Snipers (like myself), your targets just got a lot faster.

  • Demoman and Spies should just take the next week off.
Happy Scouting!

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Feb 24, 2009

Get equipped with Heroes

Heroes is currently one of my favorite shows on the picture box. It's just good old fashion campy superhero drama.

I've come to the conclusion, not too long ago, that perennial bad-guy Sylar is really the new Megaman. He goes around defeating bosses (killing other heroes) and absorbing their abilities (poke around in their brains). Give him a blue suit and a robotic dog, and you've got a copyright infringement lawsuit!

In honor, I've created the following in photoshop:

I don't know, Sylar has like 100 bajillion powers by now and he only seems to use this recently-acquired lie detector power this last half-season. Hopefully the next power he'll acquire is "proper villainy".

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Feb 23, 2009

Mindcipher and Mindtrip

I figure I'd go both ends of the spectrum on this one.

First, there's a cool site that I've been perusing in my rare moments of free time: Mindcipher. It's a site that aims to be a social repository for all brain teasers, logic puzzles, mathemagics and other arcane sorcery. The site seems to have been created recently, as there aren't a huge amount of puzzles available. But it has been steadily growing, with new problems being added daily.

I used to love these kinds of puzzles growing up, and it's good to see that this sort of activity is still carried on by someone. Honestly, those "[CELEBRITY NAME]'S IQ IS 130, WHAT'S YOURS?!" blinking ad banners were a poor substitute at best.

As for the mindtrip:

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Fair Use Law Episode 112 - "I was born watching Golden Girls and I'll die watching Sesame Street"

Once again, the Fair Use Law has put out another fine episode, available for your listening pleasure. There was a bit of a hiccup with the streaming of the episodes on the Fair Use website last week - the reason I didn't plug it - but that seems to be ironed out and those of you who have subscribed to us via iTunes (btw, THANK YOU) should have been getting their regular dose of their favorite 3 disembodied voices.

This and all previous weeks' episodes, as well as show notes and other inanity, is now up for your enjoyment at:


As always, you could subscribe to our podcast out on iTunes:

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Feb 20, 2009

(Spoiler alert) And the winners of the 81st Academy Awards are...

I just found this on reddit literally a few seconds ago. The award winners for the upcoming Academy Awards appear to have been leaked online, in what is either an elaborate hoax or grounds for someone's termination somewhere within the 'ol academy. See for yourself (spoiler alert, obviously):


Mirror'd if original's taken down:

Personally, I really dislike yearly award shows because I like forming my own opinions of what was and wasn't good in the past year, particularly around mediums I'm exposed to on a regular basis (movies and television, most notably). So, if this is real, it's saved me from a few hours of celebrity gawking I probably wasn't going to watch anyway. Huzzah!

Oh, and Heath Ledger's winning best supporting actor in the Dark Knight. I couldn't resist ruining something... why so serious?

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Feb 19, 2009

There must be something in that chocolate...

Cadbury, best known in my neck of the woods as those delightful chocolatiers that make the cream eggs every Easter, apparently keeps all of the really good stuff for themselves. I say this, because there is no way any marketing team is creative enough to churn out some of the ads they have without being on some mind-altering drugs (or, more plausibly, mind-altering chocolate). The type of chocolate they seem to be freebasing manifested itself some time back when they put together an ad involving a gorilla doing his best Phil Collins impression, and another with airline trucks racing down a runway.

Most recently, Cadbury put out a new advertisement centered around two kids and their eyebrows. It's one part sublime comedy, one part whatever that substance is that causes nightmares. See for yourself:

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Feb 18, 2009

On Building a Case for Twitter

Many times previously, I've tried to explain to others the wonder that is Twitter. Twitter, for like maybe the 3 of you out there not in the know, is a service in which you broadcast your thoughts and ideas to everyone who wants to follow (subscribe) to your updates. The catch is, these updates can only be 140 characters in length. It's part social networking, part micro-blog.

But why Twitter? What practical use does one get out of being a part of Twitter? I've heard arguments that people really don't want to be updated on every last detail of a person's goings-on, whether they are going to the gym to going to the bathroom.

There's a simple solution to that: stop following those people not adding value. If you've maintained a good friend list, a large majority of the tweets you receive (80%-90%) should either be entertaining, informative, or about people you do care enough to know all the little details. My friend list, for example, contains:

  • A number of my friends
  • Web comickers whose work I really admire and follow
  • Video game personalities whose opinions I trust
  • Bots (like woot) or official Twitter accounts (like AmericanMensa or BarackObama) that provide me updates
  • Celebrities I find interesting
To me, my feed is valuable and I enjoy getting updates from the 60 or so people I'm currently following.

But I think the most compelling argument for Twitter is the same one that won over masses of people to more mainstream social networking sites: it's reaching a critical mass of its users. I remember a time when I didn't "get" Facebook. I resisted it for a while, not really understanding why people would want to put all of their information out online in some kind of database. But suddenly, all of my friends were on it. This gave me a compelling reason to join (which I did), in that I could connect with people that I know.

Twitter is starting to catch on in the same way. Twitter has an estimated 4-5 million users (not all profiles are public, leading to the estimate), with a growth rate of over 700% over last year's usage. It's growing, and fast. If your friends aren't yet - emphasis on yet - on it, there's plenty of other interesting people/services (besides me, of course) you can subscribe to.

Take this team of doctors for example, who decided to tweet an entire tumor extraction operation: http://edition.cnn.com/2009/TECH/02/17/twitter.surgery/index.html#cnnSTCVideo

Join us, will you?

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Feb 17, 2009

Smile, you're watching bad reality television!

Only the Fox network, the fine upstanding people that brought you Temptation Island, could have dreamed up the reality TV show "Smile... You're Under Arrest!". And though it soundly falls under the category of "train wreck", it's a show so bad you can't help but watch.

The show involves luring unsuspecting people who have outstanding arrest warrants into various scenarios - like being an extra on a set of a movie or a fashion show. Then once there, they mess with them for a while and eventually the gig is up. Turns out all but 4 of the people are really undercover deputy sheriffs, who then place them under arrest.

Part of me is genuinely intrigued by the whole premise, but a larger part of me thinks this show really didn't need to be made. I mean it's one thing to play pranks on others, something I'm a strong advocate for. It's quite another to watch sheriffs - hopefully fine, upstanding public servants you're supposed to look up to - laughing at soon-to-be-inmates while they unwittingly humiliate themselves. And from the one episode I've seen (embedded below), the head actor is kind of a douche.

Take a look for yourself, or watch the rest of the series on Hulu:

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Feb 15, 2009

Her Morning Elegance

I saw this video last week, and it seemed appropriate for Valentine's Day. Of course having missed that boat, I do so now.

The song, "Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Lavie, is just a really happy song/video about a man's deep admiration of the quirky beauty the woman in his life has. That, and it's all done in really well-done, very imaginative stop-motion animation. Really cool video.

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Feb 13, 2009

Photoshop Flailing: Valentines gone wrong

With Valentine's Day coming up and all, I figured it was time I cashed in on the holiday joined in all the fun. So I broke out Photoshop and whipped up a few Valentines that have gone horribly, horribly wrong. I had a few more ideas in mind, but I either couldn't find good source material for it or they came out crappy. C'est la vie.

First, Mola Ram from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom lets you know just how he feels. With visual aids.

Dr. House wants to give you his professional, albeit eccentric, opinion.

They say love conquers all. "They" didn't account for zombies.

Lastly, this is the perfect Valentine to give that certain someone who's given you an ulcer as your Valentine's Day gift.

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Feb 12, 2009

Attention World: Douchebag!

Courtesy of a friend of mine, I was alerted to a recent New Jersey judge's ruling in a libel case brought on by some "hot chicks" and "douchbags" against the Hot Chicks With Douchebags website. The verdict? The word "douchebag" is acceptable so long as it's used for "humorous social commentary". Under those circumstances, "douchebag" is not considered libel or slander making the term perfectly legal. Let's examine how this could get out of hand:

  • When aren't we making social commentary? Everytime we express one's opinion about something we're commenting on it. Direct that criticism towards others or groups of people and it becomes, by definition, social commentary.
  • To complete the libel/slander shield, make sure you have friends around. If you go off calling someone a "douchebag" and it seems inappropriate - LAUGH. Pretend it's meant to be a joke, and therefore intended to be humorous. Suddenly you've just made humorous social commentary.
Bear in mind this ruling happened in New Jersey. It's a state whose biggest export, next to refined fuels, is douchebags. You can see how that state might go lenient on all the douchebaggery, but it still remains to be seen if the nation at large would follow suit.

That said, this has HUGE potential ramifications. I can now potentially say, without penalty, that all politicians are douchebags. I envision a day where Phillup Douchebag no longer has to hide under his gimped moniker. This could even eventually turn the term "douchebag" into a badge of pride for some, like "geek" is now.

Also, in case you hadn't picked up on this yet, this whole post was an excersize in seeing how often I could use the word "douchebag" without seeming like an actual douchebag. Douchebag. (Ha ha ha, get it? No?)

DISCLAIMER: New Jersey isn't all bad. I have many great friends and family members who live there, and there are some really beautiful parts to the state. But the douchebag export thing is 100% true.

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Feb 11, 2009

*Gasp* ninjas! Also, unicorns.

Not content with being your one stop a source for online shenanigans and tomfoolery, The Unwind is now going cram itself with more ninjas and unicorns than you can handle... with your help, that is.

Thanks to the always awesome Felicia Day, I was turned onto ninjafy and cornify. These services allow for the insertion of ninjas and unicors, respectively, into sites that are devoid of such magical, mythical creatures. If you find The Unwind not including as many as you had originally hoped for, please feel free to include as many ninjas and unicorns as you see fit to the page (keep clicking to add more ninjas/unicorns).



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Feb 10, 2009

Odin Sphere

I seem to be something on a 2D kick lately in my video game selection. Perhaps I have an aversion to depth.

Odin Sphere is a 2D action RPG/brawler for the PS2, that I had heard good things about but had not gotten around to playing until recently. I'm a huge action RPG fan, with the Diablo series having been my gateway drug, and the genre elements present in this game are numerous and engaging.

The first and most immediate aspect of this game is the graphics. Though these are 2D sprites, these have to be some of the most detailed and well-animated sprites I've ever seen. As with other good 2D sprite games, screenshots only go so far in showing the beauty of the game - the real magic is in the animation of it. In this respect, Odin Sphere makes these 2D characters come alive in ways I never thought possible. The level of polish applied to the sprites in this game produce a shine that is blinding.

The story is... well, I'm not too sure honestly. I've put in about 8 hours into the game, and I can tell I'm still nowhere near the bottom of this rabbit hole. It's a complex, interlocking story involving several characters from different races and nations. You start off with the story of the Valkyrie princess Gwendolyn, the daughter of King Odin. After being banished from her country for slaying one of the king's generals who was plotting against the king, she ends up married to what was one of the nations enemies, Oswald. Her illegitimate half-sister from a destroyed nation Velvet, whose motives are still unclear, has gone out of her way to really mess with King Odin's plans of obtaining the Crystallization Cauldron, some super weapon.

That's about as far as I've gotten. To put this into perspective, this is just ONE of five interlocking stories that all weave one larger story that keeps building - the struggle to prevent Armageddon.

As far as game mechanics go, leveling up revolves around the use of phozons, which are the souls of slain enemies or are created as a result of alchemy. You can do one of two things with these souls:

  • Absorb them immediately into your weapon, which levels up your abilities and charges your psypher gauge (think "super bar" from any recent Capcom fighter).

  • Use them to grow plants. Most plants yield fruit only after they have consumed the required amount of souls. Consuming food, in addition to providing you health, is the only way to level up your hit points.

Alchemy is another major game mechanic, in that you have to create different potions on the fly as you need them. For example, fighting in a volcano level you start to take damage just standing around in the heat. Then you find the alchemic formula for "Cooler", a potion that prevents this slow drain and you make yourself a brew to protect yourself against the heat. There are potions for just about every purpose, from the offensive (napalm, blizzard, etc.) to the defensive (cooler, warmer, painkiller, healing tonic) and making sure you have the right potion (or the ingredients for the right potion) at hand becomes critical.

Managing all this stuff - your plants, potions and even the souls that come your way - becomes a tricky affair. All throughout, you're making difficult decisions on what you think you'll need going forward. Do you plant the sheep tree now (note: there are plants that grow friggin sheep in this universe), hoping you'll slay enough enemies for their souls to bear sheepy fruit? Or do you charge your weapon with them because you think you'll need your super abilities later? Do you make the healing tonic with your last alchemic material, thinking you'll need the hp boost? Or do you make antidote, because you're in an area where the enemies will poison you often?

One note: this game is difficult. I must confess, I knew of the game's difficulty ahead of time and started my game in easy mode. That isn't to say it's easy, but rather easier. There are times where the gameplay is so frantic that I have died before I realized I needed to heal. This has happened much more than the gamer in me would like to admit - it's just that challenging and engaging. I look forward to playing this game a second time on normal, or if I'm particularly sadistic hard mode.

The only negative thing this game suffers from is the occasional slowdown when there is a lot going on the screen. Thankfully this doesn't happen all that often, but when it does it breaks up the flow of combat a little.

In the end, this game is pure joy to play. It's got gorgeous and beautifully animated 2D sprites, challenging and well-balanced game mechanics, and interlocking stories all wrapped up into an action RPG/brawler game. Do yourself a favor and grab a copy of it. I regret not doing it sooner.

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Fair Use Law Episode 110: "That was in our wedding vows: Never look at me. I do."

Holy crap, it's been a while since I've plugged the podcast on this blog. Fair Use Law has been going strong for quite a while, and we've just recently put out episode 110. Please note this is the tenth episode, and not the 110th episode - that first 1 is solely there for tax purposes.

This and all previous weeks' episodes, as well as show notes and other inanity, is now up for your enjoyment at:


As always, you could subscribe to our podcast out on iTunes:

Click here to continue reading "Fair Use Law Episode 110: "That was in our wedding vows: Never look at me. I do.""

Feb 9, 2009

Electrodes + Music = OWWW, that's cool.

In what has to be the coolest thing anyone's ever hooked up to their face that didn't ultimately get someone arrested, one man (Daito Manabe) thought it a good idea to hook electrodes up to various parts of his face. Those electrodes, as circumstance has it, are set to go off rhythmically to some music. The whole idea of it is simultaneously awesome and idiotic. In other words, I wish I thought of it first.

The video takes a little bit to really hit its stride, but when it does it almost looks as though the guy's face is attacking itself. I like to imagine it's revolting against the man stupid enough to hook up electrodes to his face and sync it to music. Interestingly enough, the only thing separating him from a Darwin Award is voltage.

As with all science, please do not try this at home... unless you're recording it for my amusement and going to post it on YouTube. Then it's cool (no it's not).

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Feb 6, 2009

Oregon Trail, emulated (brb fording the river)

Holy crap! I was about to post something a bit more substantial, but I hit the motherload. The original Oregon Trail is out on the internets for your enjoyment - as in right now, in your browser. As anyone who grew up in the 80's can attest to, one's proximity to Oregon Trail is inversely proportional to the amount of productive work that gets done.

You can find it and all the other Apple 2e games at: http://www.virtualapple.org/

Oregon Trail:

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego:

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Feb 5, 2009

You spin me right 'round baby, right 'round

I discovered a neat little game aptly titled "Spin the Black Circle".

The game breaks down thus: you spin the world (enclosed in the titular black circle) to move a ball towards a goal. Along the way there are spikes and fires and other nasty sorts of things you need to avoid or you die and you'll need to restart the level. The levels themselves are very well thought out and make good use of the game's physics to give the levels that perfect frustrating-but-not-impossible difficulty - and it's incredibly satisfying to complete a tricky level. Top it all off with some catchy background music, and you're likely to spend more time than you realize on this little gem.


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Feb 4, 2009

Star Wars has been ruined forever

Imagine if you will that Admiral Ackbar, who sounds suspiciously a lot like Nixon, had his own day time television show. For those that can't (or don't want to) imagine, College Humor has done you a solid and created just such an animation for your viewing pleasure.

It's like the Jerry Springer show was set in the Star Wars universe. It's got Force-thrown couches, paternity tests and ewok humping. Needless to say, this is NSFW.

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Feb 3, 2009

Rick Astley Russian Roulette

Traditionally, when two people have equal, legitimate claims to something the issue has been resolved in one of a few ways:

  • Rock, paper, scissors.
  • A court of law.
  • Gladiatorial combat.
  • Political Campaign.
  • Via lengthy debate, where the winner is the one who can more masterfully argue the "c'mon, dude" principle.
These methods may have been all well and good in the past... but this is the 21st century, where the future is yesterday! We need a new method that is true to today's culture - something fast, sexy, definitive, pointlessly competitive and moderately annoying.

Well, all you lazy, technologically adept mediators of the world, I've got your answer: Russian Roulette. Rick Astley Russian Roulette.

I just wanna tell you that you lost the argument at hand.

What you need:

An ipod (with earbuds), a copy of Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up", and 5 other random songs.

  1. Create a playlist on your ipod with Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" and the 5 other songs.
  2. Set the iPod to randomize all songs.
  3. The two parties in the argument each put an earbud in their ear.
  4. One person takes the iPod and navigates to the created playlist, but before even diving into the songs in the playlist, hits "play" when the playlist name is highlighted. This then starts the playlist on a random song.
  5. If Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" (the "bullet") plays, that person loses the argument.
  6. If a song other than Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" plays (an "empty chamber"), the iPod is passed to the other person.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 until someone gets Rick Rolled.

There you have it. A fast, decisive, moderately annoying method of solving any dispute, all tucked nicely into a sleek little iPod. Be warned - while this method is generally less fatal than real Russian Roulette, the loser will probably want to kill himself anyway for having just been Rick Rolled.

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Feb 2, 2009

Undead diving elbow drops for eveyone!

There is no apocalypse more scary to me and more likely to happen than the zombie apocalypse. The scariest of all possible zombie apocalypse is some kind of super virus turning everyone into Macho Man Randy Savage, in which 5-6 billion people begin mindlessly calling out Hulk Hogan and snapping into Slim Jims.

Don't believe me? Check out this mod of Left 4 Dead, where all zombies' voices are replaced with the Macho Man's:

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