family photos

How did people make their friends look dumb before this program?!
Today we got into a little Photoshop war, and instead of writing I thought I’d just post the results – it’ll be more interesting anyway.

It all started when Ben’s dad scanned in some old family photos and sent them to Ben. Ben thought he looked funny in a couple of them, so he forwarded them to Anthony and me. After looking at one picture, I told Ben he looked like devil-spawn because of the evil look on his face. He also looked decidedly evil in another one of the images.



Ben’s bro Dave acted on the evil theme, and crafted up a Photoshop which he sent in an e-mail called “I’m taking control of this town!”

He followed up the morning after with a pretty involved animated version. Not about to let Dave to get all the glory, I came correct with “I’m taking control of this continent!”

Apparently not wanting to be outdone, and most obviously cowering before my PS skillz, Dave fired back with “Benan.”

I countered with “I’m taking control of this movie,” which really doesn’t make that much sense. But the jogging suit was too good to ignore.

That’s it guys. Nothing more for today. I think I’ll go home early and mow the lawn, since I’ve obviously decided that my “work day” will contain no actual work today. Until Monday, Dave out.

PS – Sorry Ben and family if you didn’t want your family photos on the web, I’ll take ’em down if you file suit or something. No really, just say the word.

leave your ostrich with my trained-monkey valet

Here we go again with that island crap...
Made travel arrangements for the February trip to Taipei today. Gone for right around a week, but I do have one weekend day in there with no presentations. Maybe Ben and I can use it to explore some of Taiwan. I’ve been putting out the feelers to see if there are any good concerts in Taipei while we’re there. Well, I mean “good” in a relative sense – like which of the four Deep Purple cover bands playing each night is the best. We’ll go see them. Stinks that I’ll be coming home on Valentine’s Day dead tired from a fifteen-hour flight though, but owell.

Sharaun started back at work today after a six week break. Must be nice to get regular extended breaks like that. It would be ideal if we were both teaches and could align those kinda breaks, although I’m not sure two teachers would make the kind of money needed to do the things I imagine doing if we did have aligned time off.

Oh man, Sharaun took some DVDs we got a couple Christmases ago and never watched to a store that buys them used. She ended up getting me a copy of Castaway on DVD, the collector’s edition no less. Last night her and Melissa were holed up in the living room watching TiVo’d Friends and ER and other junk about bachelors and survivors and all things “real,” so I decided to watch some of the “extra features” disc on the PC in the other room. They had a featurette that dealt with “survival” training, which the screenwriter went through prior to writing the movie. There were these three guys, who’s job titles were like: “Prehistoric Tools and Survival Expert,” and “Human Survival Expert” and such. These guys were hard-core. One of them spent 20 years in some desert, living on whatever was around. He talked about spear-fishing for stingrays with natives and stuff, it was really cool.

Anyway, one of the dudes talked about how basic of a human fantasy the whole “survival” thing is. They went into an interesting discussion about how the people that are here now come from a gene pool that learned to successfully survive in the past, and that those instincts, although forgotten, are still a part of our makeup. It wasn’t too surprising to hear them mention that those who tend to be more fascinated with the survivor-type daydreams are those who work 9-5 desk jobs. Tell me about it, you know how often I’ve walked myself through a typical daydreamed day of being stranded on a desert island? Telling myself that I could make it, imagining what I would do to keep alive. Unfortunately, the survival experts said that the statistics are against those who are stranded somewhere and have to make do, especially those with no training. Those who do last either have some training, or reach down deep inside and pull out a will to make it that won’t let them give up.

Hmm… whatever. I’d be totally Swiss Family Robinson on some island. You’d roll up in your rescue ships to find me drinking homemade coconut beer from my roughly-fashioned still. Riding the ostriches around the beach while smoking a handcrafted pipe full of fresh-grown tobacco, and sleeping in my treefort replete with a gravity tank full of desalinated seawater for drinking and bathing. Yeah… awesome. What’s that? You wanna come over for braised seagull with banana cream sauce and seaweed garnish? Sure, just leave your ostrich with my trained-monkey valet and come on up my newly-built palm-frond escalator. Proper dress required please.

Dave out.

thiickkeenn your maan11y swordd

i do not know this man.
Holy crap. This weekend I finished the wall. I mean finished for real. I tapered the corners into the fence, and nearly completed the backfill. I’m gonna call the dirt guys this week and see about getting rid of the million yards of dirt I have left, and then it’s on to sprinklers. I’m so pumped that it’s done, I just stand in front of the window and look at it, imagining grass and a patio and pretty plants and flowers.

Sometimes you gotta wonder why spam exists at all. I mean, who the crap responds to this stuff? Obviously, spam sells products – or else we wouldn’t see it. So someone somewhere out there is actually clicking on and reading these things, and spending money as a result. Seems crazy to me, especially considering some of the spam I get. To me, this stuff is some of the least effective marketing I’ve ever seen. I mean, check it out… here’s a capture of my Hotmail “Junk Mail” box:

Let’s take them one by one, shall we?

Christmas Shopping for Record Collectors made…
OK great. See, here’s some good marketing. I might actually read this one. It’s in english, it’s target-advertising to me about something that I am really into. Good job, it’s for this reason that I’ve actually used your site to purchase some rare Radiohead singles.

vvnn |?|-| arm .4 cy hh
Oh yeah, this is what I’m talking about. What on earth is this even? I mean, this guy, khwemah haliniak, isn’t even using real words in his subject. Not only that, there are periods and pipes and all sorts of random punctuation in there too. What is it selling? How can this possibly entice me to look inside? The only thing I can think is that maybe my curiosity to see if it’s a coded message from some alien intelligence might persuade me to check it out. Otherwise, I don’t see the logic.

HLZO Doc (fill in your name) htn
Hey, I wonder if hamidou huwzawie and khwemah haliniak are from the same country? Maybe Randomania or something? This one is almost in English. However, here we see a good example of cheap spam. These spammers didn’t bother paying for whatever that software is that actually inserts my name into the subject and lends creedance to their message. Nay, these spammers simply ask me to personalize the spam for them. Nice. I also don’t know what “HLZO” means, but my brain seems to want to read it as “hello.” That means I read this as: “Hello Doc David htn.” Hmm… still not very effective if you ask me.

Hi;, v1brat0rs!->> 1NTERNEET SSPPEC11^L! oii…
Sal wants to sell me vibrators. But he’s too leet to just come out and ask like a normal person. Here we see another common spam practice: making readable or recognizable words out of numbers and characters that don’t belong. Also, Sal is very redundant with his punctuation. With the use of both the semicolon and comma, there is no question as to whether or not I should pause after reading “Hi.” We also see a lot of letter-doubling. Again, who buys from someone who writes a sales pitch like this?

yblm Thiickkeenn your maan11y swordd vq
Ahh, now this speaks right to me. If we ignore the random opening and closing non-words, we can see that xueyan sebanc (estranged cousin to hamidou and khwemah) wants to “thicken” my “manly sword.” Let’s consider I’m a grandma with a Hotmail account. If, by some stroke of luck, I’m able to decipher the double-letter, number sprinkled, coded subject line – you think the statement “thicken your manly sword” will mean a damn thing to me? Here’s my wallet, take what you need.

ALERT: $10 Coupon Valid in ALL Stores**
DAVID, We Miss You

OK OK OK, here goes some decent spam. I’ve bought from on several occasions. Here they send me a coupon, and what’s better – they tell me exactly that, in English no less, right in the subject. I see who it’s from, I see what it is, I understand this spam. Also, BMG misses me. I dunno if that’s an attempt to guilt me into rejoining their music club or what. Yes, I have, at one point, been a member of both Columbia House and BMG. Under several different names no less. I’ll tell you the scam: Join under whatever name you want, take your 15 free cds, wait a few months and send them a typed letter telling them you’ve joined the Navy and will be on a carrier at sea for the next 24 months. You will be absolved of your commitment to buy more cds with no questions asked, every time. I used to be joined under two or three different names at each address, and we’d all go in the Navy or Army or French Foreign Legion eventually. Built the makings of my cd collection that way.

Almost vacation time. Today and tomorrow and then I’m off, can’t wait. Last night I messed around with some morphing software, and also learned how to DivX compress a video. I’m gonna take all the huge videos currently on my site and DivX compress them, since it shrinks them to much more manageable sizes (especially for the dialup dinosaurs out there). Morphing is cool, I’m gonna start morphing all kinds of stuff I think.

Dave out.