On my to-do list this week is a new set of business cards. (Right up there with getting a few pounds of coffee, to keep the home office fully percolated - there are, after all, two of us working here now.)
I spotted this item, a wooden card holder, on Dwell, which ranks among the too-cool things that I really shouldn't pull my credit card out for. It's just over $80 US, to boot, but it certainly would be the conversation piece. And hopefully not a splinter generator.
Andres, my cousin-in-law (if such a thing exists) must be delighted with this: one of the twin Starbucks at Astor Place, a block or two from his place in Manhattan, is closing. (He's not a Starbucks fan, to say the least. Martha and I avoided arriving home with tell-tale white containers.)
Is it just me, or is the forthcoming Nissan Cube ... just weird? Lots of buzz, and now a site hyping the launch next spring in the U.S. I know the boxy look has been popular among car designers, but the Cube is boxalicious. I'm curious to see what young, eco-affinity types make of it in the marketplace.
Today is the first day of October. To mark the shift of one month to the next, here's a clever poem that has been passed along the generations, composed by George Ellis (1753-1815), to describe each of the 12 months:
Later this week, Dickens World will open up, after a few delays. It sounds like Disney World, but no, it's Dickens World - a theme park built around the literary universe conceived by Charles Dickens. I found it amusing to hear the place as being described as being authentic to child-friendly; even a scant reading of Oliver Twist tells you all need to know that mid-Victorian was anything but child friendly. In any event, the company is ready for the criticism it knows it will get. From a recent AP piece:
"You can't Disney-fy Dickens," said managing director Kevin Christie, "because he was better and he was first."
Its recreation of the world of Dickens is decked out in hand-painted, brick-effect plaster fascia and promises to smell just as his world would. It doesn't yet. Solvent aromas fill the nostrils as the building work continues, ahead of the delayed opening at the end of May.
Dickens World is faithful to the London of the period in the same way that Disney's Cinderella Castle is faithful to gothic chateau architecture. Ish.
I doubt I'm the only person in St. John's to wake up each morning in a snit, cursing the ongoing frigid weather we've been having. Saturday, at least, had sunny skies - even if you could feel your flesh harden with frost. It's especially hard when you hear from others in warmer places. Colleagues in Toronto, for instance, were basking in mid-20s sunshine, with one planning his first ride home aboard a motorcycle. Then again, it's bracing to realize others have it worse, as this storm-tossed picture from Maine (as seen, by my wife, on Soule Mama) shows:
I've been cleaning up my desk, etc., lately, and came across this gem from Alice Cooper's visit to St. John's last May. The gent on the left is Mark Cumby, whose voice will be familiar to CBC Radio listeners. Mark is not on air much at the moment - he's working on an archives project - but he shows a healthy habit of adopting, umm, a submissive role while interviewing rock stars.
My wife snapped this a few days ago, of a simple tulip arrangement she had picked up. Sure looks like spring - even the bit of snow in soft-focus in the background. Expats and maybe some others may be curious to know that we've had a big, big melt over the last week or so; there's a large swath of grass to be seen on our front yard. That said, the forecast for tonight is not pleasant:
Sigh. We don't really get spring here in St. John's, anyway, but it's always hard getting through the most disappointing months of the year.
Remember Surge? I barely do. It was a Coke product, intended to put Mountain Dew (a Pepsi product) on notice. Didn't quite work; Coke pulled it off the market a few years ago. It's featured here, on a list called Dead Sodas. I was surprised (but not too much, given what else you'll find online) there's a web community of Surge lovers hoping for a comeback.
I'm not working this week - I'm burning off a couple of days of decaying annual leave, and using up some other time to make a week of it. Will still be blogging, of course ... although I'm really going to try to stay away from my computer. (Yes. Really.)
A Newsweek.com essay looks into the Google-YouTube tangle, with this salient point about the shortcomings of digital rights laws:
The DMCA was designed to bring copyright law into the 21st century. And that clearly hasn’t happened. The notification—and—takedown requirements of the DMCA can’t possibly work effectively for a technology and user base that at YouTube alone is posting 65,000 uploads a day.
Speaking of digital rights management ... BBC's Click poked at the DRM beast with a pointy stick this week. Here's what they found.
If you've seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, you may be familiar with at least a little of Petra, the ancient Near East city in what is now Jordan, which was one of the key locations at the finale. The website built to accompany an American Museum of Natural History exhibition is still up and running; it's well worth spending a few minutes to learn more.
Thanks for the memories: I'll be appearing later today on the Performance Hour on CBC Radio in Newfoundland and Labrador; a number of us CBC types were asked for a Christmas memory and/or the tune that goes with it. I was struck by how listening to Dean Martin, Jack Jones, et al., takes me right back to, say, 1971, and the era of orange pants, purple sweaters and shag carpet. Fortunately, I brought along a much vintage tune to play. The show is on at 11:35 on Radio Two and at 5:35 (a half hour earlier in most of Labrador) on Radio One.
Mix it up: Maybe the iPod isn't as hot a gift as it has been in past years, but I suspect plenty of people will be opening one on Christmas Day. Show them this video to see how well an iPod mixes with a blender.
HRH drops a download: It's not often the Queen shows up on Engadget, is it? News of the Christmas address heading out as a podcast seems inevitable, and pretty smart, to boot.
Were they expecting bouquets? Jon Stewart makes no bones about wearing his liberal heart on his sleeve, although a review of Daily Show jibes shows the show rips both Dems and Republicans to shreds with near-universal consistency.
Get your suds in order: Alan has a story that would make you go cry in your beer - were there beer left to drink. (Chalk up another virtual pint on my order, Alan, to make you feel better.)
Mouse rage: Getting cheesed waiting for sites to load? You're not only not alone ... you've got a fancy diagnosis!
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.