Friday, December 19, 2008

My Internets Friends!

(The above title has to be read in your best "Borat" voice...)

Just barely over a year ago, I had quite a bit of fun giving Mike some shit for running off to Columbus for the weekend to hook up with a priest he met on the Internet. (If you think I'm kidding...)

Now here I sit, older and wiser, with some Internet Friends of my own.

Since this is a season for reflecting, and all that standard hogwash, I was sitting and doing a little reflecting the other day when opening a Christmas card I got from my friend Scoob in Scotland. I started thinking about this bigass globe we all live on and how really... it's not all the big at all. In high school I dated Larissa, an exchange student from Germany ("Dear Penthouse..." Just kidding... it wasn't like that at all.) Anyway, when Larissa moved back to Germany, I remember feeling this new sense of "connection" with the world. When I would hear news from Germany, my thoughts always went to Larissa and her family. I was glued to the TV as the wall came down (Yes, I AM that old.) All these years later, news from Germany still makes me think of my old friend Larissa. (I got an email from her a few years ago, and was happy to hear she's doing well and is raising a nice family.)

I'm not the kind of guy who goes trolling the Internet for new friends (shutup, Mike.) so imagine my surprise recently when I suddenly found myself with a small group of Internet pals. I started playing with a cool new iphone picture-sharing app, and the next thing I knew, I was growing genuinely fond of the people I was regularly sharing pictures and commenting with. Umm... this is a good time to mention that they aren't THAT kind of photos. (Shutup, Mike.) And these aren't the kind of people I would normally run into in my regular circle of friends: there's the software designer, the pothead, the college grad (as of today!), the lady who runs a doggy daycare, the bisexual Scotsman, the chef to the rich and famous, the clothing designer... you get the idea. A real eclectic bunch. They're all cool as can be, and fun to hang out with online.

So thus lies one of the great powers of the Internet: drawing us all a little closer together. Just like with my old friend Larissa, when I hear news from Scotland, OKC, Japan, Texas, L.A. or Mexico, I have friends there... and it makes the news more "real"; makes the world a little smaller for me.

So for Erin, Wendella, Vince, Lance, Marko, Scoob, Justine, S.C., BeBe, Sunshine, rO_rmZ0, One_Fine_Artist, DIRTY, Error Malfunction, Trimere, Michelle, Shatoshi, and FRN-jpn (And anyone I left out...)

THANKS. You guys are all cool, and you all make my day a little brighter.

Hopefully someday I get to sit and tip back a beer or two with some of you guys in person.

(And thus ends my one annual sappy, stupid blog entry. Let the silliness resume.)

Reviewing the Logs...

It's amazing what one learns when looking over the visitor's logs from one's website. This morning while perusing the logs, I noted a rather disturbing string of entries under the "search terms" listings. The search terms listing shows me what search strings people have used in order to eventually land on my little corner of cyberspace.

Below is a clear indication that this blog is circling the drain...



And of course further down the list the ever present,



Wow...

If you are one of my regular readers, I'm not sure if I should be flattered or insulted.

Friday, December 12, 2008

He Puts the Lotion on the Skin...

In the category of "Things that Should Make Your Skin Crawl" we have Le Trung, the Canadian software engineer who lives with his parents and made himself an animatronic love doll, Aiko. (In Japanese, "Ai" means "Love" and "Ko" means "child.")

Buffalo Bill... er, I mean, Le Trung even claims on his website:

"Yes, Aiko has sensors in her body including her private parts, and yes even down
there. AND yes Aiko is still a virgin..."
Umm... are you creeped out yet? In Dahmer's, err... damn, there I go again. In Le Trung's defense, he does add:

"AND NO I do not sleep with her."
Uh, huh... and Bill Clinton "did not have sex with that woman... not once."

Still not creeped out? Look how he dresses her:




Look, you'll find no bigger fan of technology and robots than me. I'm all about the future. I'm looking forward to the day when, As Jonathan Coulton says, "the things that make me weak and strange get engineered away." That said, I'm also a HUGE fan of women made of skin. I'm not delusional enough to think that Lovebots aren't in mankind's very near future, but I'm also not depraved enough to applaud their appearance in creepy Canadians bedrooms.

Anyone who STILL disagrees with me, watch the clip below and pay particular attention to 00:40 seconds or so when Le Trung cops a feel on his blowbot:

If the embedded video doesn't show up, you can watch on CNN.com.

Animatronic coolness aside, if this dude doesn't have a girl in a pit, he will soon.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Freecycle!

It's pretty rarely that I use Blootered to plug a product, service, or website. I'm going to have to make an exception...

I'm a friggin' pack rat. My pack rattiness stems entirely from some inner inability to come to terms with the idea of throwing something away that's perfectly good, even if I'll likely never use it again. Computer monitors, computer parts, lawnmowers, old electronic components and gadgets all have a way of accumulating in my garage, attic, basement, and (much to my wife's chagrin) even the dining room and our bedroom at times. I just can't throw something away that's still usable. (I'm pretty sure there's an entry somewhere in the DSM-IV that covers my illness. If not, I'm going to recommend it for inclusion in DSM-V.)

Over the weekend I discovered a really cool service called freecycle. Freecycle is a nationwide effort, with local "chapters" each having their own Yahoo! Group. Users can post items that they no longer want or need, and other users read the listings and think to themselves, "Gee, I could use a broken Commemorative Erik Estrada Novelty Phone" and then send the original member an email to arrange pick up. Additionally, users can post items that they are looking for: "I need a size 56 male bikini brief for my upcoming trip to The Beach Waterpark" ... and people who might have an extra one around can get in touch with the requester and arrange pickup.

I joined Saturday morning at about 8:30 a.m. and by 10:00 I had arranged for pickup of a slightly broken lawnmower and old steel office-style bookshelf that my wife has been begging me to throw away for quite some time.

I do see a potential danger in freecycle: The possibility is there that for someone with a strange obsession with junk, freecycle could turn into a giant swap-meet for pack rats. As I was arranging to get rid of my lawnmower, a message came across offering an almost brand new mini fridge for a bar. It was tempting... but I've made an oath to myself that freecycle will be a strictly one-way trip from my house.

The upside is incredible:


  • People get stuff out of their houses that they don't want or need, free of charge.
  • Other people get stuff that they want or need, free of charge.
  • Perfectly usable stuff doesn't end up in landfills.

The group is quite active; as of this writing, Dayton Freecycle has 12302 members, and there have been 640 messages posted in the last seven days. So the odds are pretty good that someone out there will want the crap that you don't.

Check it out...