Friday, April 28, 2006

Digital Audio is Awesome

Check out this ad for a CD player from the 80s (click for a bigger view). It seems pretty hilarious from our current perspective, where CDs are becoming obsolete, but if you want to you can get a CD player for $10.00 and one is built into pretty much every other electronic device.

I guess we shouldn't complain that the next big optical technologies, HD DVD & Blu-Ray, will cost over $500 at first. This early CD player cost $590, which would be worth even more in 1983.

I remember when my parents first brought home a CD player. I was unimpressed. I guess they grew on me though, since I don't have many tapes lying around.


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What the Phuck is a Phronk?

A few people have recently asked where my nickname, Phronk, came from. My origin goes all the way back to Grade 9, when I was blasted with gamma radiation from space in gym class lining up to do the pole vault. A few other dudes and I were getting to know each other. One of them forgot my name, and said something like "you...what's your name again? Phronk or something?" Of course, this was quite funny for everyone else, so occasionally they would call me Phronk. The idea for calling me Phronk multiplied and spread like rabbits made of peanut butter, and eventually even my close friends were calling me Phronk (or Phronko). Where did "Phronk" come from? Later questioning revealed that the originator thought I looked French, because I had a little moustache, and Phronk is a French name (?).

There is a certain amount of controversy surrounding this story. It is unknown who originally came up with the name, and I seem to remember arguments between candidates as to who blurted it out first. The spelling is also uncertain. I remember myself and other kids taking turns writing out different ways to spell it on the back chalkboard in the middle of French class (appropriately enough). For example, I could have been "Fronk", "Phraunques", Fphrawnc", etc. I settled on the current spelling when I first got on the internet and had to choose a nickname for something.

There is also a character in the movie Father of the Bride with the same name. However, it is spelled Frank and has nothing to do with me.

Well, this has been a nice self-indulgent post about how I became The Incredible Phronk. You asked for it.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ugly Toilet Cake

My friends and I have a tradition of baking ugly cakes. Often, when there is an event to celebrate such as a birthday, we will bake such a cake to commemorate it. They are all edible, but have something about them which qualifies them as "ugly". Past examples include a cake with a log cabin made of meat on top of it (for a vegetarian), a cake depicting a car crash in the middle of Africa (including meaty bodies and curious animals), a block of cabbage covered in icing (for the same vegetarian when she didn't enjoy the meat cabin), and an egg-shaped cake complete with yolk and a rubber chicken inside (which I thought was real when I first cut into it).

Last night, a friend (who will remain anonymous for soon-to-be-obvious reasons), came home from university for the summer. Over the year, we had gotten word about a curious incident in this friend's life. One day, he and his girlfriend were, um, "giving each other a special hug" in the bathroom, and managed to break a toilet. Thus, when he came back, we celebrated this wonderous expression of love with a beautiful ugly cake:

24-04-06_0020

24-04-06_0018


It's a broken toilet, complete with dirty toilet water! I had no part in the actual construction of the cake, but they did a wonderful job of getting the texture of porcelain right. Plain icing wouldn't do, so I guess they put on a layer of hardened icing sugar. Nice. The water is yellow Jell-O, and the poo is replicated by a wet Oh Henry bar. It was completely edible and actually tasted deliciously delicious.

Here are more pictures:

24-04-06_0019

24-04-06_0021

24-04-06_0022

24-04-06_0023


One day I hope to find pictures of old ugly cakes to share with the interweb. There will also be more in the future, I'm sure.

See also: Other Ugly Cakes.

Wikid

Hey look, I have an entry in Wikipedia!

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be in English. I have no idea what it's about, or if it's a real page, or what. Hmmm.

Friday, April 21, 2006

One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies (#1 - 5)

A while ago, I was lamenting the abundance of horror remakes, and the lack of original ideas. I wrote that I could think of 100 creative ideas for horror movies. Lately, I've been wondering if I was just talking out of my ass, or if I could actually come up with 100 ideas.

I say it's worth a try.

The rules: Ideas must be good enough for a movie, but are allowed to be extremely cheesy. "Chopping Mall", seen here, is a real movie, so that level of cheese is allowed. Ideas must also be horror-related, though sub-genres are allowed (comedy-horror, action-horror, erotic horror(?), etc.).

Without further adiue....adiew..er...delay, here are the first five:

  • #1) Slayground: Some children find an ancient scroll in their attic. They read it in the playground, unknowingly trapping the soul of Satan himself in the monkey bars. The jungle gym's killing spree won't stop until every kid at school has fallen off of it and broken their necks (yes, this idea is from my previous post).

  • #2) Fauxmpires: Pronounced "foam-pires". Residents of a small town begin to die unexpectedly. Police find bite marks on their necks. The residents aren't stupid, so they're like "oh snap, vampire problem!" One family in particular is never seen in daylight and are very secretive. The townspeople drag the family's young daughter into sunlight, and she bursts into flames. The twist: The family just has a horrible disease that causes their skin to burn in sunlight. The double-twist: A real vampire put stuff in the family's water that gave them the disease, creating "faux vampires" in order to throw suspicion off himself. Clever vampire!

  • #3) Roll Over...and Die: Really cute puppies are evil and kill people. Features many shots of cute puppies doing horrible things, then being shot and chopped up in self-defense. Very controversial.

    cokebacon
  • #4) Pop Goes the DEATH!: People begin to die in an unusual manner: they disintigrate from the inside out, leaving just a soggy bag of flesh. An intelligent reporter does some research and finds Coca-Cola in all of their fridges. She puts Coke out of business, but then digs deeper and ends up at Pepsi. Turns out that Coke had stolen some ingredients from Pepsi, but they made a mistake: Pepsi had person-melting acid in their warehouses, but they didn't put it in their cola. They used it to melt people, then put the melted people in their cola. IT'S PEOPLE!




    hitch4
  • #5) The Alfreds: Directed by Gus Van Sant, a shot-for-shot remake of "The Birds", except instead of birds, the city is attacked by thousands of tiny naked Alfred Hitchcocks with wings.


That's all for now.

P.S. I was inspired to start writing this by seeing Hostel last night (in addition to being at home sick and having nothing better to do). That was a nice, original, horror movie with enough balls to be disturbing for the sake of being disturbing. I hope Eli Roth continues making movies like Hostel and Cabin Fever and doesn't start putting out crap or going mainstream, like every other "horror" director has done.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

420

I almost forgot, it's April 20th! The day when everybody celebrates marijuana! Hooray for marijuana, and happy 420!

Did you know that the origin of the number 420 being associated with pot comes from a story by H.P. Lovecraft? In Within The Walls of Eryx, he wrote:

"My route must have been far from straight, for it seemed hours before I was free of the mirage-plant's pervasive influence... When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find that the time was only 4:20".


It's true. Check Wikipedia.

P.S. The picture to the right comes from here. It teaches kids how to grow your own pot. Remember to ask an adult for help!


Spiffy Iffy Shitty, Volume 3

  • Spiffy: The sound of chainsaws outside in the morning. For some reason, it's just a nice relaxing summery sound to me. It reminds me of happy things like trees, the smell of freshly cut wood, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I guess the latter is only happy for horror movie fans.

  • Iffy: Phantom cell phone vibrations. (see this link). This happens to me all the time. I'll feel a vibration from my pocket, and my hand will immediately and automatically flick to my waist, like some modern-day gunslinger. But then, there are no more vibrations, and no "missed call" message on the phone. It was all my mind playing tricks on me for absolutely no reason. Stupid mind.

    Phantom rings also happen to me sometimes. The linked article says these start when you hear the first few tones of your ringtone in the environment. This is strange, because my ringtone is Mr. Roboto by Styx. How many times does "domo arigato" come up in the everyday background noise of Canadian life?

  • Shitty: Diarrhea from eating too much chocolate for breakfast. Yes, today's "shitty" is a literal one.

    See also: Volume 1, Volume 2



Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Cats and Dogs

Today was two days after Easter, and that means it's CHEAP CHOCOLATE DAY! I moseyed on over to Zellers, and to my delight all their Easter chocolate was a full 50% off. I loaded up two bags worth of the stuff. It will probably be gone in two days, and I'll be 20 pounds heavier, but it's worth it. This is a once-a-year opportunity.

One of the more interesting goodies I got was this: a chocolate dog.

chocolate dog 1


Isn't it cute? Yes. It's too cute. Why would I ever want to tear it apart and consume it? That's just sick. It's even worse if we zoom out:

chocolate dog 2


Pictures of cute real dogs adorn the box. Is this so we can imagine that the chocolate puppy we're tearing apart and stuffing in our mouths is representative of the real thing? And I tend to avoid eating products with dogs on the packaging. It's usually either dog food, or [insert joke about China].

[laugh]

I'll save this chocolate for last, but I'm sure I'll eat it eventually. That's what chocolate addiction does to you...makes you do things you'd never normally do, just for a fix. It ruins lives, man.

In other happy culinary news, I heard that Tom Cruise wanted to eat Katie Holmes' placenta when she gave birth. I had a nice link to a news story about this, complete with the history of placenta-eating and a delicious recipe for cooking placenta, but it seems to have disappeared. No matter, because that news is so yesterday ...TomKat have now officially given birth! It's a baby girl, which they * named TomKitten. Apparently the birth took place in a secret Scientology church, where goat sacrifices were made and Katie was stabbed in the eye with a hot spoon every time she cried out in pain. Scientologists believe that this releases the alien robot ghosts which cause all human suffering. I'm making this up, but when we're talking about a religion based in science fiction, adding more fiction just makes it even funner.

They should make chocolate placentas to celebrate this momentous occasion.



* (the media)

Monday, April 17, 2006

Happy Joy Sunshine

Happy Joy Sunshine


I wrote almost exactly two years ago about how the best weather occurs during the first few warm days of the year, when it's been crappy and cold out, then suddenly warm. Today was one of those days.

I wonder if this principle applies to other areas of life. If we ate crappy food for a month, would Kraft Dinner suddenly be a gourmet meal? If we slept on the floor for a week, would our beds be that much more comfortable? It's better to have loved then lost than never to have loved at all, but is it better to have lost then loved than to have loved all along?

The reverse must also hold true. After turkey and stuffing and beer and relaxation all weekend, going back to tofu and water and school won't be as fun as it once was.

Oh well, at least there are leftovers.

P.S. I got the painting above from Celene, completely without permission. She has some seriously awesome art there.


Thursday, April 13, 2006

Count Chocula & Friends

When most people think of Count Chocula, they think of a sugary kid's cereal with loads of calories that will rot your teeth and make you fat. However, I've uncovered some startling new evidence that may...um, startle you.

Let's look at the Count's nutritional information. In one cup, we've got 120 calories, 1.5 g of fat, 1 g of fibre, and a long list of vitamins and minerals (only 8 are essential though, according to this box).

Let's look at the nutritional information for an "adult" cereal that most would think is pretty healthy: Banana Nut Crunch. In one cup, we have 250 calories, 6.5 g of fat, 4 g of fibre, and only 3 vitamins and minerals.

So which cereal is more scaaaary? The Banana Nut Crunch is the one that will kill you. Count Chocula, on the other hand, will practically "suck" the fat right out of you with its low-calorie, low-fat goodness. It also tastes a lot better. There's really no point in eating anything else, ever.

And look, it comes with this sweet-ass bike spinner! You'll be the most radical kid in the neighbourhood with that on your bike.

General Mills should pay me for this.

Oh and Count Chocula has more friends, too. Nobody even knows what the hell a Banana Nut is, but look at this photographic evidence of the Count out on the town with other hot celebrities:

monster_record


Boo Berry is even stoned. How cool is that?

And let's not forget Chocula's short-lived friend, Yummy Mummy. Her "monster mallows" will surely be missed.

yummy_mummy


Hmm. Were people oblivious to sexual innuendo in the 80's, or did they just not care?

Ok, time for breakfast! BYE!!!


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My Eyes Hurt

there is a scary picture here

Random things to say:
  • I grew some new facial hair. It's a goatee (according to this guide). V hates it but I like it and so do some other people. So I'll keep it until V complains some more and I go back to the stubble and/or line-beard look.

  • I thought I ran the last participant of my Masters today, so I celebrated by eating Pad Thai and getting fat. Then I found out that they extended the deadline and I can run more people. Now I'll need to celebrate twice. It's horrible.

  • I had a dream last night where our dog Willard got shot, because I was Jack Bauer and she was coming along with me in an episode of 24. She only got shot in the leg though, and if I've learned anything from TV, it's that being shot in the leg is nothing. You can get shot in the leg and be walking a few hours later. Being shot in the stomach is more serious, but you'll only die from it if you're not a main character. Otherwise, you can pluck that bullet out and be doing situps in no time. Anyway, it was a sad dream.


Monday, April 10, 2006

Inside the Mind

One of the things I do "for a living" is run participants in psychology experiments. For my own research, one of the things I have the participants do is a creativity task in which they come up with as many ideas as they can based on a sentence or drawing (e.g. think of as many unusual uses for tin cans as you "can" ). Today, one of my participants, after having been read the instructions and told they can begin, just sat there. He didn't write anything; rather, he chose to just stare off into space.

It's not like it's a hard task or that it reveals sensitive information. I think it'd be pretty fun to do. Even if it wasn't fun, it's gotta beat sitting in a chair doing absolutely nothing. This made me realize that I have no idea what was going through this guy's mind. I will never understand what it's like to be him. We're both human beings, but when put in a situation like my experiment, he would choose to sit and do nothing, while I can't even fathom why anyone would do that.

This realization was kinda cool, because it means that my branch of psychology (personality: examining differences between people rather than similarities) is worthwhile. It may seem obvious that people differ in important ways, but when you read countless articles describing how humans, in general, work, you start to think that everyone is pretty much the same.

mimi
A few weeks ago another participant told me I look like a movie star. "The one where they go in his head", said the participant. Damn...he meant John Malkovich. I like Malkovich as an actor 'n all, but he's not the most attractive guy.

I think that if someone looks like a celebrity, you should only point out the resemblence if the celebrity is considered attractive. No matter how much a girl looks like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show (see left), you should not tell her that. You'd probably make her cry.

I don't think I look like John Malkovich too much. I mean, we're both going bald, but the resemblence ends there. Or does it? Here is a test: is this photograph of me or of John Malkovich?

Hint: I've never posed like that in my life.

Stupid participant.


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Bob Ross Video Game

I'm undecided about whether I'll buy a Playstation 3. It will probably be pretty powerful, and will play Blu-Ray movies. However, it will be expensive and nobody knows if Blu-Ray will be the replacement for DVD or not.

I used to be undecided about Nintendo's next console, currently codenamed Revolution. But then I saw news today that a game based on Bob Ross's Joy of Painting will be coming to the system. Now I'm saving up my money and preordering that sucker as soon as possible.

Bob Ross is the coolest man on Earth. Whenever I see his show on, I can't stop watching, as if it's put me in a trance. There's always mystery in what's going to happen next. You see him splotch a line of paint across the beautiful mountain he just painted and scream "GOD DAMMIT BOB, YOU JUST FUCKED UP THE ENTIRE PAINTING" at the TV...but then Bob does his magic and turns the splotch into a beautiful tree, all the while babbling in his calming voice, and the world makes sense. It's a shame that all his shows are, and forever will be, reruns.

Perhaps the final paintings aren't always the best "art"...but he does them in less than an hour, and he's not looking at photographs or landscapes as he paints, that stuff is just popping right out of his head.

I don't know how a video game based on the show would work (I imagine it will use Revolution's weird-ass controller like a paint brush), but I'm so glad it's being made. There need to be more innovative games like this, rather than more sequels to games where you shoot stuff over and over.

Yay.


Thursday, April 06, 2006

FTL

I got a rather unusual email/comment a few days ago. It was in response to a previous post of mine about faster than light space travel. At first I thought it was some strange spam, but in reality it's from a scientist who is the author of a paper on FTL travel, M. Mansouryar. Here is what he wrote:

Hello,

Probably my releasd paper about the schematic design of a practical spacewarp can be considered as one of your favorites. That's placed on: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0511086
The aim of this email to you is providing the possibility of introducing it to more numbers of people which I believe that's in favor of improving the science and a service to the mankind. However, your personal opinion on my work is important to me too. I guess you might be able and/or interested to help me at least via making a link of the above address within your page(s) or presenting it to more media. So, please give a clear answer to my request.

Best Regards
M. Mansouryar
www.mansouryar.com

P.S.: A simplified description of my work is viewable on:

http://www.centauri-dreams.org/?p=561

http://www.americanantigravity.com/articles/455/1/Iranian-Einstein%3F

http://extremetechnology.blogspot.com/2006/03/macroscopic-tranversable-spacewarp.html


I skimmed the actual article and summaries, and it's fascinating stuff. The article is very technical and I don't know a whole lot about theoretical physics, but he certainly seems to know what he's doing (though it's clear that English is not his first language). The only way that technology is going to advance is if people like Mansouryar challenge conventional assumptions about physics. Thus, I am happy to promote the article and encourage people to check it out.

Maybe one day we'll be Star Trekking all over the universe thanks to Mr. Mansouryar.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Childhood Trauma Tuesday Wednesday

TooBusyLivingLife suggested that bloggers start revealing their childhood traumas every Tuesday. At first I thought to myself "nah, I had my problems as a kid, but overall my childhood was pretty good compared to other people's." Especially compared to TooBusyLivingLife's.

But then I started trying to come up with events that could be considered 'trauma'. I searched for 'pain' and 'suffering' in the Google of my brain, and the search results were somewhat surprising: Frogs. Frogs frogs frogs. Frogs all the way down.

I used to love hanging out in ponds and swamps. One day, I went to the local pond with a nice red bucket, hoping to catch me some wildlife. I came across a puddle full of hundreds of little tadpoles. Perfect! I could get a bucketfull of tadpoles, bring them home, and watch as they grew into pet frogs. I'd finally have some friends!

I brought them home, watched them grow for a while, then got bored and went to watch Thundercats or something. The next morning, I stepped outside to witness the horror in the bucket; hundreds of dead tadpoles. Cut down in their youth, before they could even grow legs, and it was all my fault. I've blocked out what they looked like, but I still remember the smell of stale pond water filled with bloated rotting pre-frogs. I will always associate that smell with death. Funeral homes remind me of buckets, ponds, and that smell.

I didn't learn my lesson, though. I remember bringing a giant bullfrog home and putting it in a big metal bucket. To keep it from getting away, I put a screen over the top of the bucket. The next day, the frog's face was mangled. Red and white with blood and infection and pus. It had tried escaping, hopping its face against the screen over and over until its nose was gone.

The worst frogtrauma happened a few years later. During recess at school, I came across a couple of aquaintances squatting over something at the edge of a forest. I went in for a closer look just in time to see a lit firecracker in a tiny frog's mouth. I still remember with crystal clarity one of the guys saying "look, he's smoking" and the rest of them laughing. I turned away before hearing the pop.

There was an assembly * after recess, and I avoided sitting near the kids who murdered that frog. I was shaking with anger, wondering how anyone could laugh while they killed an innocent living thing. My anger was directed at the kids, but maybe subconsciously I was also a little angry at myself for all the pain I'd caused frogs in my lifetime.

This post is dedicated to the familes of all those tadpoles I killed long ago. Keep on hopping.

* Remember assemblies? Do they have those any more, or do they just send the kids an email with news and motivational messages?

P.S. Above is a picture of a dead frog found in someone's bag of frozen peas. There's a trauma for someone to blog about.


Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Not Dead

I'm still alive. I've managed to get myself horribly addicted to a stupid video game. I'm going to work through this, maybe get myself on some therapy and medication, and I'll be back to blogging in no time. I do want to get in on this Childhood Trauma Tuesday action, so perhaps I'll be back later today. I have a collection of traumas to share, all with a common theme.

This post was useless.