Thursday, June 30, 2011

Coffee Break: A coffee cup a day...

Kryptonite cup: Superman's weakness
Rubba Tub Cup
The Siamese Cup

Cheesy Cup
Cupcake Cup
...and the Basic Cup (of course)
To see all 30 cups, click here. Link via Neatorama

Notes to self: Pie(rate) chart

What pirates are made of
Link via Neatorama

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Coffee Break: Gummi bearskin rug

Cocktail Links: Pop Culture

The average faces of women across the world

Craziest wedding cake toppers
Best sites to watch free online movies
The truth behind 5 old wives tales
15 oddities of McCartney, Dylan and the Stones

Rejected food truck names

13 strangest people on the subway

Weekend Strip: Superheroes as flags

Fabian Gonzales turns superheroes into flags. Link via Popped Culture.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Midnight Munchies: Food

Hey, what's this called again?

Marilyn Strawberry Ice Cream and other pop culture popsicle heads from Stoyn.
America's newest food craze: deep fried Kool-Aid balls
Cake-Pops (when cupcakes and lollipops collide) via The Presurfer

Below: Food that you can't eat, but you can play with:

Friday, June 24, 2011

The best from "Overheard in the Newsroom"

Reporter: “Does it make me a bad person if I laugh at a pet crematorium having the same address as a Chinese restaurant?”

On self-promoting parents suggesting story ideas: “It’s like, ‘Hey look, my kid got it all in the toilet bowl! You should do a story on it!’”

Coffee Break: The greatest addiction ever

If you're a coffee lover like me, you'll enjoy this:

via The Presurfer

Notes to self: Yellow Submarine

Some time back, I featured the Yellow Submarine cookie cutter, via the Neatoshop. Now you can collect the whole Beatles set.

Yellow Submarine ice tray
Yellow Submarine lunch box/tote
Yellow Submarine mug

Writer's Block: Pissbook

Like most everyone, I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook. I won't even bother explaining how I ended up joining in the first place.

The thing about Facebook is, it can get you out of mere curiosity but it's like the Hotel California -- you can check in anytime you want, but you can never leave.

Even when you disable your account, if you come back 6 months later -- all your information, including all those godawful photos people tag you in, re-appear when you log in again. I know because my husband tried doing that for a while.

Well just like most folks, there are just certain things that piss me off about Facebook. For me, forget the privacy issues. You share what you want to share, I say. If you chose to tell everybody where you live and that you won't be home for two weeks because you're off on a holiday -- hey, whatever makes you happy. Invite all the sleazy creatures of the underworld in the world to your home while you're away if you like.

What pisses me off aren't glitches -- such as being unable to disable tagging. There's no real way to stop people from tagging you in anything. You need to manually un-tag yourself from every single item you can think of, including some crappy low-res image of someone's breakfast that looks like moldy greenish alien eggs when in fact they were cinnamon rolls.

People can also add you to groups without your consent, and you find yourself trying to find the unsubscribe button on the groups page of "Let's make the Japanese feces burger into a staple" movement.

Why do I still stick around? Well if my friends and former colleagues from around the planet all took to LinkedIn, I'd would opt to leave -- and when I mean leave, I mean painstakingly deleting every single item on it before throwing away the key -- I would. God knows, there's always email. Until it does a Friendster or a MySpace, sadly I guess there's nothing left for me to do but rant and get on with it. There have been reports that people are losing interest in there's still hope.

I prefer my friend Frank's suggestion -- create Enemyster -- a social network to rant about your enemies. Then maybe we can unfriend Facebook.

Mental Notes: The Purple People Greeter

You can't get much more purple than me...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Writer's Block: How much freelance editors should charge

Let's get down to business. The Editorial Freelancers Association updated its freelance editorial rates.

Here's the excerpt:

Common editorial rates —regardless of whether a project is flat rate or hourly— tend to fall within the ranges indicated below. These should be used only as a rough guideline; rates vary considerably depending on the nature of the work, the time frame of the assignment, the degree of special expertise required, and other factors. The industry standard for a manuscript page, however, is a firm 250 words.

Why is this important? Well if you're in journalism, chances are, you aren't being paid a lot. We've all been there. In fact, some of us are still there. Knowing a standard rate can help journalists/editors negotiate in this rapidly evolving market.

Stuff Journalists Like discuss this in further detail. Here's a great excerpt from their piece on NOT writing and editing for free:

People don’t do this with other professions. People don’t ask doctors to perform operations for free or ask firefighters, “Hey, can you put out this brushfire for my niece?”

Sound Trip: Cold Chisel

Jimmy Barnes only gets better and better...

Mental Notes: Twilight Nose

This Pig Nose mug featured on Neatorama just reminded me of this Twilight Zone episode:

Food Porn: Sweet somethings

UK art student Nicola Freeman created these giant sweeties (Love Hearts, Sweetie Watch, Sweetie Necklace, and Lolly Pop) made of plaster and resin. I know it's not edible, but it's so tempting to look at, it makes me want a lick.

Speaking of tempting, here's a website made entirely of chocolate. The Sagres site came up with this brilliant concept of creating the entire "site" from chocolate, photographing it, and turning it into this. What tasty content management.
 And here's how they made it:

Sagres Preta Chocolate from diografic on Vimeo.

Links via Foodiggity and Neatorama, respectively.

Saturday Strip: Some days

No cellphone?
Bad habit
Freaky dreams
Still like unicorns?
How to make $100M
The end of Capt. Crunch

Friday, June 17, 2011

The best from "Overheard in the Newsroom"

More journalists humor from Overheard in the Newsroom:

  • #8094 Managing editor on phone: “Well, Mr. Sanchez, I assure you I’ll have one of our reporters get in touch with you… [hangs up] intern story!”
  • #8093 Print journalist: “We like to work with words.”
    Broadcaster: “We use words too.”
    Print journalist: “You mean when you read words of a story into a camera like they’re your own? I know your tricks.”
  • #8091 Photog 1 to Photog 2 regarding newbie reporter who started crying while covering a candlelight vigil for fire victims: “Your task for the rest of the month is to remove her soul.”
  • #8089 Reporter 1: “I’m missing a word here. I feel like there’s a better word.”
    Reporter 2: “There’s always a better word, you’re just not smart enough.”
  • #8087 Editor about the upcoming Weiner press conference: “I see everyone’s just waiting for Weiner to pop out again.”
  • #8086 Staffer hearing the news of Rep. Weiner’s resignation: “He’s suffering from electile dysfunction.”
  • #8077 Chief Photographer: “You make incompetent look bad.”  

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Writer's Block: Academic Hieroglyphics

Where have I been lately? Well, apart from my day-job, I've decided to take up my Masters Degree in hope that I would learn something useful from this "higher level of learning."

Perhaps it's too soon to say, but in a span of two months, I can't recall having read as much rubbish as I have in my life -- and that includes my teen-boppy high school romance novels that I stopped reading when I turned 15.

I don't believe I am stupid, neither do I believe that I don't have the tenacity or discipline to work on something that isn't being fed to me on a silver platter. I have read millions of books in my life (ok, maybe not millions), and text-heavy documents riddled with legal and economic jargon that I have managed to understand despite my lack of a Law or Economics Degree.

So what is the problem? It's simple, and ironically, not so simple -- it's the use of "academic" English.

Take for instance text from Adam Katz, who wrote this critique on "Postmodern Cultural Studies". Try to read that and multiply that by several thousand pages printed and bound, using size 9 font sizes. Then at the end of it, say whether you understood any of it.

The vague, non-committal, grammatically-correct but terribly wrong sentence construction is to blame. Not only is it boring. It is more importantly self-indulgent gibberish that can be written or trimmed down into a third of the space it occupies.

A simple sentence is not as simple for academics. It has to be written with a load of ifs and buts in between, leading readers off tangent, if only most of those words had a point.

I understand, yes they are smart and well-read -- but apparently not smart or well read enough to realize they should have read (and applied) Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" to their writing.

But then again, I may be wrong. Maybe their main point is to NOT be understood, and to keep students constantly trying to decipher academic hieroglyphics instead of actually gaining knowledge.

In my frustration, I decided to look for a tutorial on academic English and came across this 2006 article instead, ironically written in plain English by an academic (then again, maybe editors of "The Guardian" re-wrote it).

Here's an excerpt of what it was about:

The broadcaster James Naughtie said recently on the BBC's Today programme, during a discussion about grammar, that academic prose frequently contained "pieces of English which are frightful. They may adhere to rules, but they're unreadable." We can be sure that Naughtie is not alone in this perception that academics often abuse the language. What can it be that he perceives as bad?

But there are things academics love to do that are less common in other types of writing. Using the passive voice is one.

I shall leave the rest for you to read. Now back to deciphering hieroglyphics.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Coffee Break: Drunk walking and bicycle lanes

A couple of videos my husband showed me the other day:

Food Porn: Don't mind if I do...

Have a break, have a giant KitKat
Before I posted this, I swear I was just scratching my head over a Facebook entry about a giant pizza. Everyone seems to be obsessed with creating the biggest this or that, I was just telling myself -- until I saw this. What can I say? It's chocolate. The bigger, the better.

If you're on a diet though, you may not want to have a piece. This one is worth a whopping 45,888 calories -- way above the recommended 2,000 a day calorie count.

This KitKat bar is nearly 2kg, measures 2 feet in length, and took about 6 days to make.

Want to make one of your own? Here's all you need:
  • 30 x Sainsbury’s or Lindt Luxury Belgian Milk Chocolate
  • 3 x ScotBlok Chocolate Flavour Cake Covering
  • 6 x Loacker Quadratini Chocolate Wafers
  • 1 x Wallpaper Dipping Through
  • 1 x Sticky Backed Vinyl Floor Tile
via BitRebels

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mental Notes: Nope, it aint blood...

Raw-meat-300x192Nearly all blood is removed from meat during slaughter, which is also why you don’t see blood in raw “white meat”; only an extremely small amount of blood remains within the muscle tissue when you get it from the store.

Coffee Break Poem: Street Kid

The window opens to a field of sagebrush—
California country northeast of San Francisco.
The sun burns into the hill.
This night is his first taste
of a new ache in the adam's apple,
the hard, dry knot,
a fresh loneliness.
Twilight whirrs with meadowlarks
and insects crawling down the glass
between the bars, and he,
apart from the other boys,
the cool toughs playing ping pong
before lockup, hears his heart stop
the tear before it leaves the eye.
Injun Joe, the nickname given him
by the brothers, the blacks, the chicanos,
is not afraid of the heart of darkness,
but of his own soul beating like a fist
against the wall.

by Duane McGinnis
from American Indian Prose and Poetry
published by Longman Canada Limited,
Toronto, 1974

Dane Ault's 'Muppet Busters'

More art from Dane Ault.  Link via Popped Culture

Coffee Break: Elvis and his pets

At the age of two, little Elvis Presley cried for two days when his pet rooster died. Elvis always had a fondness for animals, even stuffed ones, including his beloved teddy bear, which he named “Mabel.” Elvis had a huge collection of teddy bears in the early days of his career; they were sent to him by swooning girls by the score.

More from Neatorama

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Strip: Dane Ault's Superheroes

More of Dane Ault's awesome art via ComicsAlliance

Coffee Break: Father's Day Brews

Sure, it's not Dad's day yet, but here's a nice prep. Maybe you can get a Homer Jay instead of San Miguel.

Link via Popped Culture

Writer's Block: Chess-boxing

The first time I heard about this uhm, "sport" was in 2005 or 2006 when I was working with a wire agency. The article popped up in our "Oddly Enough" feeds, leaving the editorial team in stitches.

So what the heck is chess-boxing?

Scientific American features this hybrid sport in this blog that can tell you more about it.