Archive for the ‘Link’ Category

It’s with great pleasure that I introduce you to Coup De Quill, a new book review blog.

It’s still pretty young, but Quinn is hard at work building up an archive. She doesn’t pull punches, but by and large you can expect her not to waste your time with a book unless she would recommend it. She wont settle for new releases either – if there’s a book you need to read, she will tell you about it, be it five days old or five decades.

Speaking of which, her newest review, The After-Dinner Gardener, was suggested by yours truly. So if you take her advice and pick it up, tell her I sent you!


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On Graphic Design

Having done graphic design, even for a company which respected my opinion far beyond my experience, I have to say that this video is spot on.

I know you can’t please all the people all the time, but thats what you have to try to do. It usually falls short of it’s potential.

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A Little Giggle For You

For those who aren’t familiar with it, 4chan is an English language image board. In short, a bunch of anonymous people posting pictures of anything and everything.

Yeah, it gets a little nasty, and a little rude, but mostly it just lolz.

Here’s a pretty good taste of it.

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About two weeks ago, I was looking for a good goat image to use in Etchstar‘s custom image engraving service. (A gift for a friend, if you were wondering.) Thumbing through Google’s image search, I learned an unsettling truth: many goats are ugly, and those unfortunate goats who aren’t, have ugly pictures taken of them.

Shoot, I thought, maybe I’ll have to get her something else. Or I might even have to draw an image myself.

It was just then that I stumbled across an adorable illustration. Perfect! Now, the practical ethics of tracingĀ  over or drawing over a photo I found might be questionable (when does a derivative work become a work unto itself?), but if I was going to use someone else’s drawing, I knew I aught to ask them. No problem, since this is, after all, the Internet, home of copyfighters, open-source heros, and generally lots of people who are just happy to have someone paying attention to them (like me!). I shot off an e-mail as quickly as I found the “contact” page and went to bed, confident I could place my order in the morning.

Or not.

Instead, I had a sternly worded e-mail explaining to me that the artist had worked very hard and generally starved quite a while to get to the point where she could actually demand payment for her work, and now that she had, she wasn’t going to let people trample on her rights (I’m paraphrasing, of course – she was a little nicer then that actually).

Who exactly had I e-mailed? Back on her site, it wasn’t hard to figure out. Turns out she’s a cartoonist for the New Yorker. Well.

It turned out, there was a slight misunderstanding. She had thought I was Etchstar, asking to use her work (for free) to print and sell lots of engraved notebooks to other people. No small wonder why she said no to that. I would have too. When I explained the truth of the situation (I’m just some dude, making only one, and at no profit) she was more understanding. Ultimately, we worked out an arrangement very similar to the one under which I am showing you the goat below (that is to say, a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License).

An adorable goat, no?

An adorable goat, no?

Of course, I’m grateful that she let me use her work without compensation. She would have been entitled to ask for it, regardless of how I was using her image. Instead, though, she let me off with the promise that I would do what I could to let people know it was hers. Which is what I’m doing.

Her name is Carolita Johnson. You can look at more of her stuff here, buy some of it here, or follow her blog here. So go, look at her stuff, and buy something! Tell her Zack sent you. And thanks again, Carolita!

(A quick note to would be, er, “friendly borrowers”: The arrangement Carolita agreed to with me was a personal favor, and I can’t say she would do the same again with that or any other piece of her work. At most I can tell you that anything on her blog falls under the Creative Commons license above, unless she changes her mind in the future. So if you like her stuff, then buy it, and if you can’t buy it, ask. Politely. )

(Another quick note: I find this whole story pretty hilarious, because really, the internet is so packed with amateurs and hobbyist who would do anything to get linked, looked at, or lauded, that it’s bizarre to remember that anyone successful actually uses this inter-tubes thing. Good lesson for the future though: before you e-mail someone to beg off their work, take five seconds to scan their site and figure out who they are.)

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And I’m back!

Today, I’m here to help spread the word about 350.org. They’re message is simple but also surprisingly hard to get out: We need to reach and maintain an atmospheric carbon dioxide level of 350 parts per million in order to have a healthy and stable planet on which to live. Current, the level is 387 ppm. And rising. So we have some work to do.

They just released a great video to help spread the message. E-mail it, link it, whatever you like. With no text, it reaches pretty well across barriers of language.

And for anyone who is curious, I’m not sure what this means for the site, exactly. I’m feeling like I’ll probably be posting occasionally, but for now I am not committing to a schedule or a topic. If you want an easy way to keep up, we still have RSS and e-mail subscription on the right.


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If you can read this without the translation, you really need to get a life (I almost managed it). Honestly, if you can understand the translation I would worry a little.

Here is a video of an adorably lazy little machine.

A little proof that my choice of “fine arts” isn’t so bad, in the form of (math^pie/graph). (By the way, that site is pretty reliably awesome, including this Billy Joel themed graph.)

In case you were ever wondering how to deal with a bully in a metropolitan subway, we have the answer, straight from… Russia? I’ve seen that video a bunch of times, and I’m still not sure what impresses me more: his reaction time or the laid back way the other riders enjoy the show.

If not for this video, no one would believe this guy’s story. Which is funny, because it’s basically him just being a lucky idiot.

And finally, the definitive guide I’ve always needed for seat-surrendering courtesy on a New York subway.

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Inspired by recent evidence that Cheney has “special friends”, which may be the most silly and also awesome thing I’ve seen in a while, today’s Fun Friday will be alien themed! (Only thing that could make me like that photo better? The Cheney ordered cover-up I expect to follow.)

Not sure if they’re acting with Cheney’s authority, but they appear to be targeting a man in Bosnia.

The aliens are also apparently aiming to take the music world by storm (yes, I know, this made the rounds a LONG time ago).

While not technically an alien, it’s worth noting that, yes, Cthulu can has. Honestly, never thought I’d write that.

And now I am cutting this little misadventure short, because my googling of alien stories and pictures has hit a Rule 34 roadblock. *Shudder*

Two quick points of news. First, as you can see to the right (or here) I have a new T-Shirt design up for review on Threadless. It’s pending review but I expect it to be accepted soon. I hope you’ll vote for me! 5$.

Second, it is with a heavy heart that I pass on the news that Brett Farve is retiring. Even though she is a yooper, Annette Summersett does a good job of summing up the emotions we cheeseheads are feeling. It’s a dark day.

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