October 31, 2005
Halloween 2005

We had a little Halloween get-together at Cruft Manor tonight. Besides the normal events, I tried a few new things.

Mira, Kate and Zoe carved up pumpkins while waiting for the sun to go down.

This year I decided to buy full size Hershey bars to give out rather than deal with the handfuls of cheap candy. My brother Matt was first to try this a few years ago and I wanted to give it a try.

The kids were impressed with the full size candy bars and I think it can be counted as a success. I also wanted to keep track of the various costumes that came to the house. Our friend Monique did a great job of keeping track while I was out trick or treating with the kids. When I got home I took over. We went through over 180 Hershey Bars (5 boxes of 36 each) and had to resort to the back up candy.

# Kids Costume
8 Darth Vader
7 Pirate
5 Jason Voorhees
5 Monster Mask
5 Spiderman
5 Vampire
4 Batman
4 Butterfly
4 Cinderella
4 Scream
3 Black Ninja
3 Detective
3 Leopard
3 Princess
3 Red Power Ranger
3 Snow White
3 Tinkerbell
2 50's Girl
2 Angel
2 Belle
2 Doctor
2 Grim Reaper
2 Red Ninja
2 Solider
2 Stormtrooper
2 Teenager
2 Tiger
2 Wicked Girl
2 Witch
2 Zombie
1 70's Girl
1 80's Girl
1 Alien
1 Anne of Green Gables
1 baby is home sick'
1 Baby Pig
1 Bank Robber
1 Barbie Swan Lake
1 Beautiful Angel
1 Being eaten by shark
1 Big Kahuna
1 Boogieman
1 Bunny
1 Camo Girl
1 Cat
1 Cheerleader
1 Daphne
1 Death
1 Dentist
1 Dinosaur
1 Dorothy Gale
1 Duck
1 Dumb Blonde
1 Evil Jester
1 Fairy
1 Farmer
1 Flower
1 Freddie Kruger
1 Ghost
1 Gothic Fairy
1 Grave Robber
1 Guy w/mask
1 Happy Gilmore
1 Hello Kitty
1 House Burglar
1 Jack Skeleton
1 Japanese Girl
1 Ladybug
1 Little Boy
1 Minnie Mouse
1 Monk
1 Monkey
1 Mouse
1 Mr. Darkness
1 Mulan
1 Neo (Matrix)
1 Padme Amidala
1 Pagan
1 Phantom
1 Pimp
1 Pink Princess
1 Pocahontas
1 Pregnant Boy
1 Robin
1 Spider Witch
1 Sugar Plum Fairy
1 Superman
1 SWAT Girl
1 Sylvester
1 The Only Princess
1 Unicorn
1 Vampire Girl
1 Victim
1 Woody
1 Zorro

That list totals up to 163. We had more than that, but the list is reasonable accurate as to what we saw. Darth Vader is obviously the most popular costume this year. When the kids woudl come to the door, if the costume wasn't clear to me, I'd ask them what they were. I think it was much more interesting to hear the kids explain who they are than simply guess at it.

Posted by michael at 11:43 PM | Comments (6)
October 24, 2005
Podcast is a word

Exactly one year ago, I bet Phil Torrone, one of the Make guys, that the term 'podcast' woudl be gone in a year.

This morning I opened the local paper and this is what I saw.

When traditional newspaper headline writers are incorporating a term like this, I must admit that Phil has won our bet.

I'll be sending out his ten bucks today.

I still think the term is stupid, but it is being surpassed by the stupidity of the recent term, 'vodcast'.

Posted by michael at 07:33 AM | Comments (5)
October 14, 2005
Crossing the Rubicon

At work, I've been describing the recent Apple/Disney deal on providing TV content for the iPod as "crossing the Rubicon" because of how I feel that it changes everything to television not just for Disney, but for the entire industry.

Most bloggers about the deal say 'meh' about the Apple/Disney combo deriding the fact that it doesn't address every single concern about downloadable media.

However, Mark Cuban gets it. In a clear way, he describes how this is truly a turning point in the business of entertainment.

My job just got a lot more interesting.

Posted by michael at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)
October 13, 2005
7 Years


Posted by michael at 12:24 AM | Comments (1)
October 10, 2005
Spoiler Rules

Today at lunch we had a big crowd, nine of us, so the discussion topics were broad and we ended up talking about spoilers. A spoiler is a key bit of plot information that can ruin a movie or book if it is learned in advance.

The discussion was about how long should someone expect others to avoid mentioning spoilers around them. Several of us had seen Serenity and were being careful not to reveal the spoiler. (BTW, you shoudl go and see Serenity. It's a great movie and you won't be disappointed.)

None of us could find the heart to support spoiler queens, but a variety of opinions abound.

Several different viewpoints were mentioned:

No Spoiler Freedom - This silly notion was only supported by one truly strange lunch participant. He believes that spoilers shoudl flow freely and makes no effort to conceal spoilers form others. Obviously a fringe belief.

Once a film is out of theaters - Also mentioned as a 'three month rule'. The concept that people be given a chance to see the movie without worry of spoilers. Once it's no longer in theaters, it's open game for discussion. " I mean, you had your chance, right?" Two people held this as correct.

One month after DVD release - A variation on the out of theater viewpoint. The idea here is that it s understandable to miss a film in the theater, but once it's on DVD, you have a month to buy/rent it before the spoilers rain down upon you. Two people thought this true.

No blanket policy - The idea here is that each situation warrants it own spoiler rules. An action film and a who-done-it need different spoiler policies. Three people (including me) felt this to be most reasonable.

That left one person undecided. Our co-worker Jasmin is from Germany and many of our idioms (like spoilers) don't make sense to her. I tried to explain. Here is the rough transcript.

Jasmin: What is the spoiler?
Michael: Well, it's like revealing the secret of a movie before it's time.
Jasmin: Huh?
Michael: It's like finding out that Darth Vader is Luke's father before seeing Empire Strikes back...
Jasmin: Darth Vader is Luke's father?
Michael: You didn't know that?
Jasmin: No...
Others at the table: *gasp*
Michael: But, umm, err. See I just spoiled that for you.

As you can tell, spoilers are a tough thing to deal with in groups. Jasmin's lucky I didn't reveal something important like the fact that soylent green is people...

So loyal Cruft readers, what are the proper spoiler rules in your humble opinon?

Posted by michael at 09:40 PM | Comments (8)

iPod covers are tired. It's all about the Puffapouch! Inhaler streetwear is the new style.

Yes, now me and asthma sufferers everywhere can travel in style with this special cover for my abuterol inhaler.

It's a tough choice between The Camo and The New Black. I may need to order both.

(via Milliondollarhomepage)

Posted by michael at 09:08 PM | Comments (2)
iPod Cult

Just another sign that Apple puts some sort of addictive, reason-sapping chemical into their products.

People are actually buying iPod Nanos, which evidently scratch when exposed to a summer breeze, and then dunking them in soapy water to slide a protective case over them.

Why are people accepting Apple's selling of such an obviously defective product?

Apple's iPods appear to be so fragile that an entire industry has developed to protect them.

Top it off with the fact that if you lose the files you bought from iTunes, Apple won't replace them, because... Well, there's no good reason for them not to replace them since it's bits not atoms, but people accept Apple's answer anyways.

If Microsoft pulled half the crap that Apple did, such as suing bloggers and trying to shutdown sites, the blogosphere would be outraged.

By some nefarious means, Apple has convinced their cultists in the Wisdom of Steve in which they obediently type in their credit card number for whatever new item or upgrade that is foisted upon them.

Posted by michael at 09:09 AM | Comments (12)
October 06, 2005
Turntable & Fiddle

In the mail, I recieved I small package that contained a CD. When I opened it I was surprised to see the a EP from Battlestar America. I wrote about their album last year. For whatever reason, they sent me a free CD with six new songs on it.

Battlestar America is a mix of honky-tonk and rap, mixing turntables with fiddles. When you read about it, it sounds weird. When you hear it, it sounds great. They seem to be calling themselves B Star now. Their old site is still up at Battlestar America, so I'm a little confused as to what exactly is going on.

Give it a listen. I'd recommend Bootleg Dreams, Someone Like Me, and Yellowbelly. You can listen to the whole album on their site.

Trust me, once your hear a few songs, you'll be hooked.

Posted by michael at 10:23 PM | Comments (2)
October 01, 2005
Glo Balls don't glow!

I found myself in 7-Eleven waiting for Michele to finish making her coffee when I spied a package of Hostess Glo Balls. Around various holidays, the usual Sno Balls are replaced with seasonal versions. A while ago I got some Lucky Puffs and examined them.

I brought the Glo Balls home and began to investigate them.

The main thing I wanted to see was the Glo Balls actually glowing. The girls and I gathered the necessary test gear and headed into the Cruft Manor Auxilary Laboratory (the bathroom), pulled the shades and began. First we examined the packaging of the Glo Balls. They had that green luminescent look so we aimed the black light at the package.

No glow at all. We were quite disappointed. I removed the wrapper and looked to see if the Glo Balls themselves would glow.

Again, not a bit of glow at all. Our disappointment grew. Zoe accidentally touched the black light to the Glo Ball. We heard a sizzle and then a pop as the black light bulb blew up. Not a huge explosion, but enough to make everyone jump.

Here you can see the glass part of the filament sticking out the side. Who says science does not involve danger?

Of course, I had extra black light bulbs on hand, the testing continued. What? You don't have spare black lights in the closet? In a final hope for glo-osity, we cut the Glo Balls open and looked to see if the cake or internal "s'cream" filling would glow. As you can see, Hostess let us down yet again.

We turned the lights on in the Laboratory. Here's the insides of the Glo Balls.

I tried the Glo Balls next and was not suprised to find that they taste exactly like Sno Balls. There is no differentiating factor other than the color. This is upsetting to me, since variety is the spice of life.

I gave the Hostess hotline a call and asked a few questions. You can listen to the recording of my call about Glo Balls (1 MB mp3 file). I still don't have phone recording down as a direct science, so I had to mess a bit with the volume levels of the call and use an equalizer to remove line noise. Enjoy.

Posted by michael at 07:03 PM | Comments (7)
Straight Flush

I drew a straight flush in last night's game at Brad's house in a game of Anaconda.

This is my second straight flush at Brad's game. My first was fun and being there for Rich's straight flush was good too. For those non-poker players, a striaght flush is an exceedingly hard hand to make and can only be beaten by a Royal Flush. It even beats Four of a Kind.

It was a lucky night for me and I ended up coming home with a little extra cash in my pocket.

Thanks to Mister P. for doing the driving so I could gape at the Burbank Hills fire and doze off on the ride home.

Posted by michael at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)