1. Serendipity Generates Your Fantasies

    “The hale enchantress poses ‘pon husky columns, her placid covering violet of tincture… crimson oculars flashing with innocence and auditories pricked atop her powerful physique.”

    You think I could have written that?  Ha, fat chance.  No poet of magic-dealing furry slash fiction am I.  In fact, I don’t even know what that last sentence means.

    Posing dashingly on the ruined sludge fields of the internet, Serendipity’s text generators kick holes in your writer’s block with multiple genres of automatic gibberish.  Need a fantasy story plot?  How about: “In this story, witches and merfolk clash with a retired elf stuck in the middle.”  Bam! It’s the next Harry Potter I tell ya.

    Or say you find yourself working a dead-end job as M. Night Shamalon’s assistant and he wants three plot twists by 5 pm.  No problem:

    At this juncture a hungover police officer arrives and serves dinner.
    Suddenly a mysterious boy requests a lift from your protagonist’s mother.
    Suddenly a zookeeper arrives and throws a tantrum.

    And yes, like I said, you can use whatever comes spewing out of this internet idea hole.  As proprietor Mr Manon says:

    Yes, you may use the output of these generators to create your fiction, RPG, etc. That’s what they’re for. If you want to give me credit with a note and/or link, that’s very nice of you and is appreciated, but it’s not required. (N.B.: If the fiction, RPG, etc. in question is based on someone else’s fictional works, the accompanying copyright issues are your own lookout.)

    There’s only so many times your readers will accept a character named Lorem Ipsum. Spend no more time wracking your brains over medieval names, villianesses, online handles and descriptions of magicians.  It’s all ready made at the click of a link at Serendipity.

  2. Master on the Horror of Insanity writer HP Lovecraft on Republicans (Remember to Vote)

    Tomorrow is election day in the United States and yesterday was Halloween. Coincidence? Here’s some political advice from master of cosmic horror and insanity, HP Lovecraft, on Republicans from 1936:

    As for the Republicans — how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical ‘American heritage’…) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.
    — HP Lovecraft, 1936
    Letter to C.L. Moore (August 1936), quoted in “H.P. Lovecraft, a Life” by S.T. Joshi, p. 574

  3. The Studio Apartment in Brooklyn Where HP Lovecraft Lost His Mind

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    In the now fashionable area of Brooklyn Heights where dodging oncoming strollers is the sport of pedestrians lies a first floor studio apartment where horror author HP Lovecraft lost his mind. 169 Clinton Street, on the corner of Clinton and State in Brooklyn, New York to be percise.

    Lovecraft, best known for his “Cthulu Mythos” lived there for several years in the mid 1920’s. What we now call Brooklyn Heights– then part of a larger neighborhood called Red Hook– was the first suburb in the United States and a frequent residential destination for immigrants.

    Lovecraft, desperate for any work took his frustration out on every race, creed, and color including his own. As what happens with many people who move to New York from elsewhere he felt more alone than ever. Even though he was surrounded by millions of people.

    Lovecraft would later return to his native Providence, Rhode Island but the one thing he left here in Brooklyn was part of his sanity.

  4. Time Traveller Caught on Film in Charlie Chaplin movie– or Pareidolia?

    YouTube user yellowfeverbelfast posted a video with a purported-perhaps-maybe-possibly butch or male time traveler in drag holding a mobile phone at a Chinese Theatre debut for a Charlie Chaplin film:

    Service sucks with AT&T when you are in the same time period and next to a tower. Must blow when there are no cell towers and well, they have not been invented yet. Then again, if this is a time traveler he or she may have a iPhone 5G. Going on a journey through space and time? There’s an app for that.

    Or, its pareidolia which as Wikipedia breaks it down: “a psychological phenomenon involving a vague and random stimulus (often an image or sound) being perceived as significant.”

    A few months ago a photo found at a museum was dubbed to be a shot of a time traveler and it was thoroughly debunked on the blog forgetomori.

    Back in the day when people talked to themselves they were not wearing a bluetooth headset: they were crazy. Any old lady yammering on the street today by herself? That goes unnoticed. Even today in New York.

    Besides, if any time traveler visits Charlie Chaplin I expect him have some interesting fashion sense. Possibly a long scarf.

  5. Memegrabber: Interview with Pete Berg of Pie Heaven

    When it comes to entertainment, I am a lazy, lazy man. By the time I’m defeated enough to spend my evening watching YouTube videos of cats eating people food or Eastern European men explaining their kooky hobbies in song, I’m not in the mood to actually go and type in a search box and click on the thingy and do the, uh… sigh.  Luckily, there’s Pie Heaven.  Pete Berg comes through with a deft mouse hand to embed the choicest cuts into a fun little blog that works like a Cliff’s Notes to the neat little videos of the web.  And for that, I could see no better tribute than to immortalize him in the web’s other vernacular: clumsy speed Photoshop.

    I aimed a few questions at the man recently:
    TITLE: How did you get started with this? Was it always more of a public-facing page or more of a compilation for your circle of friends?

    Pete: I bought the domain name pieheaven.net a full year before I did anything with it.  The Jack Handey quote that inspired the domain name has always been one of my favorites…it was even my high school yearbook quote….so I registered it before I had any actual plans for what I would put there.

    On March 14, 2008 (“Pi Day”), I was daydreaming about delicious pie, when I realized that it would be the perfect day to launch some sort of website on pieheaven.net…. because what better day to launch a pie themed site than on Pi Day?  I set up a blog and posted a few funny videos, not really expecting it to turn into anything serious.  But then I kept on updating it day after day, and I never really stopped.

    Pie Heaven started as something among my group of friends.  I have always been the type that shares funny videos with my buddies, so I figured rather than send them links to videos by web chat or email all the time, I’d post them on the blog.  The site has gradually spread to a much wider audience.  I decided that I would let my friends contribute as well (and there are a handful of people who post stuff on occasion), but I was always the main contributor.

    It’s really nothing special, and there are a ton of other websites just like Pie Heaven, but I enjoy it.  It’s a fun hobby.

    TITLE: Any favorites from your two and a half years of video blogging?

    Pete: Yeah, this is a list of my favorite videos from the first year of Pie Heaven: http://www.pieheaven.net/2008/12/31/the-top-15-viral-videos-of-2008/

    One video that Pie Heaven singlehandedly made popular was “Dog running in its sleep” where a dog runs into a wall: http://www.pieheaven.net/2009/02/27/dog-running-in-his-sleep/ I found that video on YouTube when it had just 200 or so views, and posted it…it then went viral via my website and ended up getting more than 18 million views.  Pretty crazy how the Internet jumps on certain videos like that and they become instant classics.

    Also, my buddy Tim and I have been assembling the world’s greatest collection of Jet Pack videos.  It’s one of Pie Heaven’s specialties: http://www.pieheaven.net/category/videos/jetpacks/

    TITLE: What percentage of the total Internet would you say is cat videos?

    Pete: Approximately, 70% of the entire internet.  Not nearly enough.

    TITLE: What did we all do with our time before YouTube?

    Pete: Well, I guarantee you that humanity was a whole lot more productive.  But dang, what was the point of life before we could see thousands of videos of cats walking on treadmills?

    Thanks Pete!

  6. Worst. Disclosure. Ever.

    Yeah yeah, white spots over Manhattan, let’s all get loopy and waste my damn time.  If that’s all the show-stopping “save yourselves before it’s too late” power the ETs can muster, I’ll wait around for the Vulcans to come snooping around.

    Seriously.  Why can’t it ever be like it is for Nic Cage?

    If anyone needs me I’ll be in the basement making a warp drive out of an Arduino, a whippet and a female condom.

    via wtfjapanseriously

  7. Friendly Reminder: Worldwide UFO Sightings Tomorrow

    Update: Looks like the aliens took a wrong turn at Saturn. They were a no show yesterday October 13, 2010.

    Just a friendly reminder: tomorrow October 13, 2010 we’ll know for certain there are extraterrestrials among us! So make sure that fits in with dinner plans tomorrow.

    That is according to former NORAD officer Stanley A. Fulham. He claims tomorrow has “a massive UFO display over the world’s principal cities” in store for us. Not excited? Not pumped? It’s probably because you are sane and may have thought you heard about disclosure about UFOs and extraterrestials before.

    Here’s a hint to those promising UFO disclosure: don’t be precise on your dates. You don’t want you kookiness to have a shelf date.

    Fulham’s website for Challenges of Change, the 352 book outlining what will go down tomorrow, October 10, 2010 has an olde-tyme Geocities feel. You’ll swear you’re back in 1997 catching up on episodes of The X-Files.

    The truth is out there. Tomorrow. Keep watching the skies…

  8. Air Safety Cards are Pretty/Make a Water Landing Seem Plausibly Survivable

    While typically the law-abiding sort, I am only a human, meaning that I am a twitching bundle of nerves and idea juice that leaps and shivers in reaction to the stimulation that comes beaming in my sensory portholes.  As such, I find myself unable to be anything less than a criminal when confronted with an airline safety card.  Something about their bland universalism, firm guiding arrows and t-square born graphic design makes my palms itch, my hairline sweat and my zipper lower.  On my in-flight carry-on, that is.

    In accordance with it’s primary purpose, the internet is there to let me know that I’m not alone in my criminal deviation.  Even outside of the aviation memorabilia/ex-pilot nostalgia parts of town, there’s plenty of straight up freaks for airline safety cards.

    • All Safety Cards has about 30 safety cards from European and Russian airlines.  Some good variety in the design there but certain universal elements (blank stares at disaster, a minimum of decoration or detail) remain.  The scans are a little small so don’t expect to be able to read the text or use these for your dirty little Photoshopping binges.
    • Cabin Safety International actually makes the cards and offers collectors the opportunity to buy them legitimately.  They have a pretty extensive sample section on their site and a request page for ordering.
    • Planespotter’s archive has over 16,000 scans in their collection with contributors worldwide keeping it current.  However, the scans seem to be mostly small and of medium quality, giving you the look and feel but none of that close up daily drama of burning plane land.
    • If you’re looking for a big ball of analog safety card pleasures, can’t go wrong with Design for Impact: Fifty Years of Airline Safety Cards, a look at the design elements of the genre in a standard art book format.  Currently selling for as little as six bucks used over at Amazon.
    • And there’s the obligatory Yahoo group for airline card collectors.  You’ve got to join to see any of the good stuff, unfortunately.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention something about Airtoons, a webcomic that tacks the necessary captions on to the graphics we know and love.