Can't you see yourself in this, hopping around on one foot? As seen here. A T-shirt, indeed, for fans of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Speaking almost of which, I came across this howler from a Newsweek interview with Clay Aiken, who is about to join the Spamalot cast on Broadway, and who apparently is not that bright: "I thought Monty Python was a person until three months ago." This bodes well!)
I brightened a friend's day recently, telling her that while Lowell George (one of her favourites) may not be making new music - he died, after all, in 1979 - but his daughter is. To wit: Inara George, and Bird and the Bee's sorta-hit from last year, Again and Again:
Since becoming a dad, I've had to figure out ways to express my dismay, disappointment, disgust ... disses of all kinds, but without resorting to naughtier words. I talk out loud at work to myself all the time, as my coworkers probably know. This shirt, with Biz Markie in mind (it's been almost 20 years - yeesh), made me smile. As seen here.
[Surf's Up, as publishedin the St. John's Telegram on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008. Click here to read more columns.]
A while back, I recommended an e-mail service called Hasslebot, which fires off reminders at random times, prompting you to go to the gym, call your mom, water the lawn … whatever you want, roughly (e.g., every day or three) when you want it.
But what about precise nudges, timed to arrive just when you need them?
The other day, I was talking with a friend who said he would send himself an e-mail, to remind himself to make a phone call the next day. I’ve done that all the time myself, but the problem is obvious: it arrives not tomorrow, but today, and by tomorrow morning, it’s already pretty far down my In box.
So, as I told my friend, I offer a solution that gets right to the heart of the matter … and beats the clock, too.
Sandy Sandy is dubbed “your free personal e-mail assistant,” which is fairly accurate. It’s also almost too easy to use. You register (it’s free) and within seconds you’re given an e-mail address for “Sandy.” You send a note with a line that says, “Remind me to call Dan on Friday at 4 p.m.”
Fifteen minutes before that appointment on Friday – Sandy reads your computer’s clock to know what time it is where you are – you get the nudge.
Obviously, it only takes a couple of these before you see the advantages of Sandy. I use a portable datebook to keep track of things (I migrated from my once-loved Palm Pilot more than a year ago, although I still keep tons of stuff streamed through my computers), but I like having Sandy available to throw those little reminders at me, right on time.
There are other options: you can copy notes to Sandy to friends and colleagues, who will in turn receive the same reminders. As well, you can send a note to someone else and copy that e-mail to Sandy, with a sentence like, “Sandy, remind me on Jan. 21 to confirm my dinner reservation.” (That said, I haven’t had the interest in doing this myself.)
Another key element: you can send e-mails to yourself from the website, should you be online but not able to use your e-mail program (or just too busy to be bothered to fire it up).
Check it out. It’s worth it.
Elsewhere this week
How Many Five Year Olds Could You Take in a Fight? Remember the episode from Seinfeld (it’s called The Foundation, if you happen to have the DVD set) in which Kramer takes martial arts classes … with children. Things turn south when he gets outfoxed, and outnumbered, by the kids. “Those tiny little fists of fury!” Kramer exclaimed, in one of my favourite lines in the show. This amusing quiz puts some moral questions to you: how many five-year-olds could you take in a fight? You’re graded on your physical shape … and, um, your moral compass.
Streamick There are countless video streams on the web. Streamick collects a bunch of them, via a portal that favours international broadcasters. In a matter of minutes, you can watch NBC highlights, MTV, SkyNews, and so on.
Sleeveface pics Sleeveface is a group on Facebook, in which members take album covers (vinyl period, to be precise) and match faces and such to their own bodies. The results are fascinating. You can see a bunch (featuring everyone from Prince and Iggy Pop to Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa) right here.
I had been trying - pretty hard - to jot a short playlist every Saturday of some of the songs I've been listening to lately. Easier said than done; with the boy's activities, chores, shopping and the rest of it, there just hasn't been as much free time on Saturday to do even such as short job. Sooo ... the weekend playlist is born. And I continue to be very grateful to the suggestions that friends have sent in, and for the gems they've suggested.
The National: Fake Empire. In a more just world, The National's latest album, Boxer, would have made a bigger splash last year, other than some well-deserved critical applause. Click here to see The National perform Fake Empire last summer on David Letterman.
Michael Cera & Ellen Page: Anyone Else But You: We went to see Juno earlier this month, and loved it. I made a beeline for the music store to get a copy of the soundtrack, and learned it had been backordered up the wazoo. I downloaded a copy from iTunes, and have been playing it all a lot. This is the performance that closes the film: sweet, but not saccharine.
Black Kids: I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You. I made a note in November about how I had been playing this song repeatedly; I still play it a lot. I was struck to learn this Florida outfit only formed a couple of years ago. It still sounds like a 45 from a quarter-century ago that just got dusted off.
Eilen Jewell: High Shelf Booze. I picked up this tune by the Boston chanteuse on a Word magazine compilation. Replaying it lately reminds me to go find more.
XTC: Living Through Another Cuba. From Black Sea, a reggae-infused bounce of international-relations paranoia. Which never goes out of style ... the paranoia, that is. Maybe the reggae, too...
I hadn't seen Spike Jonez's video for Praise You in a while ... and had never seen the opening seconds, in which "the Torrance Community Dance Group" can be heard congratulating themselves for their hard work. And yes, that is Norman Cook (aka Fatboy Slim, the moniker that seems to have stuck) poking his head in at the end; the screengrab above shows him at the far right, as Jones yammers on in character.
The The, aka Matt Johnson, from a 1983 TV appearance in the UK, singing This is The Day, which is getting a reworking thanks to a recent M&M commercial. Soul Mining remains one of my best-loved albums, and always raises the spirits, even though Johnson's lyrics were often so wonderfully downbeat.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.