All posts by Jon

The Top 10 Music Inspiring Horror Movies In The Public Domain

While hunting for some free entertainment for Halloween, I discovered that there were a surprising number of horror movies that can be legally and freely downloaded because they have fallen into the public domain. I found cheese-filled creature features like The Giant Gila Monster (1959), Attack of the Giant Leeches (1953), and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die (1962), but I also came across a number of films that I realized have been musically inspirational to some big name bands.

Here are the top 10 musically inspiring horror films in the public domain and what they inspired. The IMDB star rating is included so you can determine what to (or not to) download onto your ipod.

10. The Wasp Woman (1960)

The Wasp Woman The owner of a cosmetic factory becomes the test subject for wasp enzymes that are supposed to make her look younger. The drugs have unintended side effects.

IMDB: 3.4 stars

Musical Inspiration: This movie was said to have inspired the Misfits’ song “Queen Wasp” which appeared on Earth A.D, released in 1983.
Continue reading The Top 10 Music Inspiring Horror Movies In The Public Domain

Replayable Web Game: Gimme Friction Baby

Gimme Friction Baby screenshotGimme Friction Baby: This game is a little slow, but the simplicity of gameplay and the billiards like skills needed had me playing it over and over. The game goes like this: You shoot bubbles out of a cannon and they ricochet around and stop in the playing field. If you hit a bubble three times, it disappears and you get one point. The game ends if a ricocheting bubble bounces back across a dotted line.

The highest I got was 17, which you should be able to take care of without a problem.

Post your high scores in the comments.

The Real Reason Your Blog Needs A Niche

NichemeupI’ve read a million different articles about making money on the web, and they all have one mantra in common: Start with a niche. Start with a niche. Start with a niche. Niche niche niche niche niche.

For personal bloggers, this piece of money making scripture almost seems to guarantee that personal bloggers will never make money from their personal site. Unfortunately, no one ever mentions why.
Continue reading The Real Reason Your Blog Needs A Niche

Replayable Web Game: No Brainer 2

No Brainer 2 screenshotNo Brainer 2: You are a big brain with glasses , and all you have to do is answer simple, rapid-fire questions by moving your mouse up and down for yes or side to side for No. Get three wrong and the game is over.

After a while you will start to recognize the answers, but I guarantee you’ll find yourself making stupid mistakes when the pressure is on.

The best that I could do was 64 correct answers in 2:08 for a score of 67,881.

Post your high scores to the comments…

Replayable Web Game: Line Game

Line Game screenshotLine Game: The aim of the game is to get your mouse through the maze without touching any walls or obstacles. I wouldn’t say that it’s particularly fun for the non-masochist, but it’s replayability is derived from the insane compulsion that will arise from not being able to complete a seemingly simple task in a reasonable amount of time.

I managed to get 10.17 in level A, 15.84 in level B, and 2.91 in level D. The rest I gave up on to keep me from throwing my monitor against the wall. None of the scores were remotely good enough to get me into the top 50, and I’m sure you’ll beat them easily.

Post your high scores to the comments…

9 Ways to Beat Writers Block on a Personal Blog

Sometimes writing a personal blog is like being sent to the supermarket with a note that simply says “Get dinner.” While it’s great to be able to write whatever you want, that ultimate freedom to find the topic du jour can often leave you overloaded and staring at a blank screen.

Instead of giving up and writing another “I’m tired, so no post today” posts, try these ideas to help beat your writer’s block once and for all.

1. Write Daily

“Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it’s so hurtful to think about writing.”
-Heather B. Armstrong

To get better at something, you have to practice, and writing is no exception. If you write every day, you will create momentum that will push you over the potholes that used to bring your writing to a dead stop. If you’re worried about publishing every day, don’t. If at the end of the day your writing doesn’t seem like it’s ready to publish, then put it aside and let it stew. It just might provide a starting point for a great post at some point in the future. Remember: writing every day is the important part, regardless of whether you publish or not.

2. Read Daily

“If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”
-Stephen King

If you’re feeling stuck, forget writing for a while and just read. Odds are that you’ll find something inspiring that will kick you into gear. Reading will not only provide you with new topics to write about, but it will also help to give you stylistic ideas on how to write. If you dedicate as much time to reading as you do to writing, you may find that you have more ideas than time to write them down.

3. Experiment

“My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, and a communist, but he is not a porn star.”
-Grandpa Simpson

Because you’re the writer of a personal blog, you can write about anything, so expand beyond what you think your blog is. You don’t have to tell a hilarious or heartbreaking story in every post. Your blog can be whatever you want it to be. Don’t let your preception of what your readers think your blog is dictate what it will become. Try something new. It may not end up being classic literature, but every post has the possibility to push you in new directions.
Continue reading 9 Ways to Beat Writers Block on a Personal Blog

66+ Free Fonts for Your Halloween Projects

Halloween is bearing down on us fast, and I know you’re going to need some ultra-scary fonts for all that Halloween art. Here are 66 frighteningly free Halloween fonts broken down into categories to help you execute your monstrous masterpieces this season.

66 free fonts and two angry dragons

    Scary Band Fonts

  1. Cannibal Corpse (band)
  2. Cramps
  3. Danzing
  4. Amped for Evil (Dystempa)
  5. Misfits
  6. Samdan (Samhain)
  7. Slayer
  8. Scary Movie Fonts

  9. 28 Days Later
  10. Ben Witch Project (Blair Witch Project)
  11. Bewitched
  12. Burton’s Nightmare (Nightmare Before Christmas)
  13. Continue reading 66+ Free Fonts for Your Halloween Projects

Free (As In Beer) E-Mail Subscription Icons

Although e-mail subscriptions are related to RSS feeds, I didn’t like using the standard RSS icon next to my “Get Updates by E-Mail” link. I had trouble finding an icon that matched the standard RSS icon being offered for free, so I created the icon to the left for my own use.

Recently, I noticed that one of my favorite “how to make money” bloggers (Maki from doshdosh.com), was using the standard RSS icon next to his “Get Updates By E-mail” link. Because I take a lot of free information from DoshDosh, I thought I’d offer him the email icon as a small token of my appreciation. He graciously accepted it, and you can see it in action by visiting his site.

If any of you have been looking for a similar icon, I packed eight different sizes of the icon pictured above into a .zip file for you to download and use on your website for free, no strings attached.

Download the free email subscription icon pack here.

If you found this useful, be sure to let me know in the comments.

Replayable Web Game: Rings

Rings screenshotRings: You know that baby toy where the kid has to stack up the colored rings on a stick? This game is like that on crack.

All you have to do is drag the rings into stacks from largest on bottom to smallest on top. Stacking two is worth 250, three is 500, and four is worth 1000. You have to make a certain amount of stacks to pass each round, and the game ends when a you fail to stop a larger ring from landing on top of a smaller ring.

I managed to get 108,250 points in round 11. Post your high scores to the comments…

Make Your Own Kubb Set For Dirt Cheap

Kubb is a fun Swedish yard game for 2-12 players that is similar to horseshoes or bocce. It always attracts a crowd when we play the game on the beach, and I’ve yet to meet a player that doesn’t want a set of their own after a couple of rounds.

my home made kubb set

Warnings

The Kubb set that I am presenting here is not exactly standard, but the Kubb Governance Committee rarely travels all the way to a tiny beach town in Massachusetts to harass me about it. Continue reading Make Your Own Kubb Set For Dirt Cheap

FineTune Friday: Back To The Grind Edition

The mighty fist of revolutionBrothers and sisters! Lay down the tools of your trade and take the red pill! Stop kneeling before your almighty boss. Bite the hand that feeds you. Stand up, walk out of the maze, and face the fact that there never was any cheese.

Understand that you have been conditioned throughout your entire life to do one thing: comply.

Stop submitting to people that don’t deserve it. Stop trading the only thing that matters and the last thing you have left to barter with: your time. Give up the myth that menial tasks matter and that there is a gold watch waiting for you in the end. Stop being treated like a number that can be tossed aside the minute you stop adding up.

Understand that the main reason you need that job is to buy things to replace the happiness that it drains out of you every day. Continue reading FineTune Friday: Back To The Grind Edition

My Favorite Yard Game: How To Play Kubb

Kubb is a fun yard game for 2-12 players that is similar to horseshoes or bocce that I first played while traveling in Sweden. The game can take anywhere from twenty minutes to several hours to play and usually involves a fair amount of taunting no matter what continent you’re on. Having uneven teams does not necessarily offer an advantage, making it a great outdoor game for cookouts or beach parties. Continue reading My Favorite Yard Game: How To Play Kubb

How to Make a Ringtone From Your Favorite Song

Here’s a question: If a song costs you about $.83 to buy on CD, and $.99 from iTunes, how can you justify buying only a fraction of a song as a ringtone for $3 a pop? If your cell phone is capable of playing MP3 ringtones, it makes sense to replace that boring default ringtone with a snippet from your favorite song, but there’s no way that you should have to pay $3 to do it.

Here’s how you can create a ringtone from one of your MP3s for free.
Continue reading How to Make a Ringtone From Your Favorite Song

Ultimate Showdown: Stormtroopers Vs. Ninjas

Stormtroopers Vs. Ninjas

Yesterday, I mentioned that Stormtroopers were way more awesome than ninjas, yet some of you refused to believe it. Since it has somehow turned into Stormtrooper week here at dyers.org, we’re going to have a little 10 point showdown to prove once and for all who reigns supreme: Stormtroopers or Ninjas.

Put your weapons aside and let’s get this showdown started…

Sole Purpose for Existence

Stormtroopers:
To serve the Emperor.

Ninjas:
To cause social chaos in enemy territory to benefit their feudal ruler.

Conclusion:
The Imperial Emperor can shoot lightening from his fingers and you think it’s a better life goal to serve some feudal lord who can do nothing cooler than thoughtfully stroke his bad 70’s mustache? Are you kidding? Do you know what kind of awesome it takes to get lightening to shoot from your fingertips? No? Well, it’s a lot more than just losing your razor, that’s for sure.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Governing Effects

Stormtrooper Effect:
The bad guys are always lousy shots in the movies.

Inverse Ninja Law:
The strength of any one ninja is inversely proportional to the number of Ninjas assisting. One ninja is deadly, but 100 can be easily defeated by one man.

Conclusion
Whether the rule implies that you are a notoriously lousy shot or that you are less powerful in a group, having rules like these named after you is never a good thing.

Winner: Tie
Tie

Training

Stormtroopers:
Clones are removed from the hatchery and delivered to their trainers when they reach five years old. There they are trained as professional soldiers to obey their officers without question or regard to their personal safety.

Ninjas:
Ninjas are not trained as full-time professional soldiers, but they are trained from an early age in martial arts, assassination, and guerrilla warfare. Ninja training is tailored to the individual.

Conclusion
Touchy, feely, sneaky assassination training or genetically engineered, full-time killing machine training? Hmm. Let’s see. That’s a tough choice.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Easily Pwned By

Stormtroopers:
Easily defeated by Ewoks.

Ninjas:
Easily defeated by pirates.

Conclusion:
Getting defeated by someone in a puffy shirt, tight pants, and thigh-high boots is pretty shameful, but if you get defeated by a bunch of two foot tall, jungle teddy bears, you automatically and deservedly lose this category. Jub jub.

Winner: Ninjas
Ninjas Win!

Transportation

Stormtroopers:
AT-AT, speeder bike, Dewback, and any laser toting, light speed capable vehicle the Imperial Empire has at it’s disposal.

Ninjas:
Horses, walking, short distance flying

Conclusion
I will admit that flying onto the rooftops is pretty cool, but its relatively useless when compared to the sheer variety of heavily armed transportation available to the average Stormtrooper. I mean, sure, Ninjas can fly up to the rooftop… assuming a Stormtrooper doesn’t blow it up before they land.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Headgear

Stormtroopers:
The Comtech Series IV Helmet has night vision, polarizing lenses, three phase sonic filtering, a multi-frequency targeting system, a comlink for instant communication with other units, and it filters chemical and biological agents from the air.

Ninjas:
Two three-foot cloths are tied around the head.

Conclusion
Wait did that just say two pieces of cloth? I was on the fence because I thought it said one piece. That extra piece of cotton can make all the difference when your enemies nail you in the squash. The clear winner is nin…

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Clothing

Stormtroopers:
Full body metallic battle armor designed to disperse the energy of a blaster bolt over an insulating, temperature-controlled body suit. The armor contains a built in resonator to open secure doors and the backplate contains twenty minutes of emergency oxygen.

Ninjas:
Black cotton pants, split-toed tabi boots, and a jacket with overlapping lapels and a secret inside pocket.

Conclusion:
Whoa! Secret inside pocket? That’s awesome! I wonder if they can fit their little ninja purses in there.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Stealth

Stormtroopers:
Noisy enough that your deaf grandma can hear their clanking armor from four clicks away.

Ninjas:
Quick! Look behind you! Did you miss him? That’s how silent ninjas are.

Conclusion:
Look, we just got through telling you how awesome all that Stormtrooper armor is, and that awesomeness comes with small price called stealth. So, Ninjas win a category because they’re sneaky little babies. So, what?

Winner: Ninjas
Ninjas Win!

Weapon of Choice

Stormtroopers:
The E-11 blaster is a liquid cooled, 1.4 ft long laser rifle capable of shooting a tightly focused particle beam a maximum of 383 yards. It fires 100 shots without reloading.

Ninjas:
The ninja’s primary weapon is the ninjaken, or short sword. It’s about 20 inches long and so sharp that you can cut tin cans in half and still slice through a tomato. Or so they say.

Conclusion:
So, my choice is a 20 inch range with a knife or almost four football fields with some sort of laser beam? Oh, that’s a tough one.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

Secondary Equipment

Stormtroopers:
High-tension wire, two grappling hooks, four blaster power packs, three ion flares, a concentrated ration bar, a spare comlink, three water packs, two medpacks, two blast energy sinks, a glow rod, and a cylindrical thermal detonator.

Ninjas:
Smoke bombs, firecrackers, nunchucks, throwing stars, hand claws, foot spikes, hidden daggers, grappling hooks, throwing knives, bow and arrow, poison darts, iron spikes, and tridents.

Conclusion:
While I’m certainly a fan of both firecrackers and nunchucks, can they really compare to a Stormtrooper pack? Say you get lucky one day and capture a ninja. Know what he’ll do? He’ll stick his sword in his gut so you can’t question him. Pretty dramatic stuff, right? And you get all his firecrackers. Know what a Stormtrooper does when you capture him? He clicks that button on his personal thermal detonator and blows up everyone and everything within a few yards… including you. Captor neutralized. It’s all about effective secondary equipment.

Winner: Stormtroopers
Stormtroopers Win!

And The Winner is… Stormtroopers

What a blowout! The Stormtroopers dominated the contest, showing themselves to be far superior to the average Ninja. Maybe it’s time that G4 drops Ninja Warrior and starts up a far superior program called “Stormtrooper Warrior”.

stormtrooper helmet

If you find you have points that I may have missed, kick up the debate in the comments.

The Secret Lives of Stormtroopers

Are Imperial Stormtroopers really the disposable, brain-dead killers that the media makes them out to be? Contrary to popular belief, very few are. For most, Stormtrooping is just a way to pay the rent and keep food on the table. Because of its potential negative impact on the Empire’s ruthless image, this information has always been a tightly guarded secret.

Until now.

Thanks to some recently obtained photos, we now have indisputable proof that when they’re not out crushing the Rebellion, most Imperial Stormtroopers live their lives just like you and I.

What do they do when they’re not on duty? We now know that they…

  1. Go to parties
    Stormtrooper balloon
  2. Take Hawaiian vacations
    Vacation Stormtrooper
  3. Hang with Buddy Christ
    Jesus Stormtrooper
  4. Run marathons
    Stormtrooper runner
  5. Shop for groceries
    Grocery Stormtrooper
  6. Moonlight at Starbucks
    Starbucks Stormtrooper
  7. Cut it up on the wheels of steel
    DJ Stormtrooper
  8. Ride merry-go-rounds
    Merry go round Stormtrooper
  9. Chill with fish mongers
    Fish Stormtrooper
  10. Hang with French maids
    French Maid Stormtrooper
  11. Go to the mall
    Noodle Stormtrooper
  12. Eat noodles
    Haircut Stormtrooper
  13. Get haircuts
    Meeting Stormtrooper
  14. Attend business meetings
    Subway Stormtrooper
  15. Ride the subway
  16. Rock out with Kiss
    Kiss Stormtrooper
  17. Smoke weed
    Tye Die Stormtrooper
  18. Write advertisements
    Nude Stormtrooper
  19. Make some extra cash pole dancing
    Stripper Stormtrooper
  20. Get hassled by the man
    arrested Stormtrooper
  21. Kick around their lawyers
    Beating Stormtroopers
  22. Check their blood pressure
    Blood pressure Stormtrooper
  23. Hula hoop
    Hula hoop Stormtrooper
  24. March in parades
    Parade of Stormtroopers
  25. Ride amusement park rides
    Amusement park Stormtrooper
  26. Harass Spongebob and his stupid square pants
    Spongebob Stormtrooper
  27. Attend VW car shows
    VW Stormtrooper
  28. Check tomatoes for signs of small, penetrable ventilation ducts
    Tomato Stormtrooper
  29. Audition for Reservoir Dogs
    Classy Stormtrooper
  30. Have breakfast
    breakfast Stormtrooper
  31. Eat in cafeterias
    Cafeteria Stormtroopers
  32. Patronize weirdos
    St. Patty Stormtrooper
  33. Sneak a peak at your junk when you’re drunk
    bathroom Stormtroopers
  34. Catch gnarly waves
    surfing Stormtrooper
  35. Pwn N00bs
    video game Stormtroopers
  36. Listen to Van Halen and wonder, “WWDLRD?”
    Van Halen Stormtrooper
  37. Go book shopping
    Book store Stormtrooper
  38. Hang out with their brother the imperial accountant
    lawyer Stormtroopers
  39. Play with Barbies
    naked barbie Stormtrooper
  40. Chill on the porch
    beer Stormtrooper
  41. Drink dark beer
    drinking Stormtrooper
  42. Drain the main vein
    peeing Stormtrooper
  43. Mow the lawn
    mowing Stormtrooper
  44. Celebrate the holidays
    Christmas Stormtrooper
  45. Relax by the lake
    Posing Stormtrooper
  46. Drink Pepsi
    Pepsi Stormtrooper
  47. aaaAAA AAA Afternoon Delight!
    Picnic Stormtroopers
  48. Get in some cardio
    Gym Stormtrooper
  49. Taunt small children
    Tease Stormtrooper
  50. Go to rock concerts
    Rock concert Stormtrooper
  51. Hit the arcade
    arcade Stormtrooper
  52. Hang with pro wrestlers
    Pro wrestling Stormtrooper
  53. Visit Mexico
    Mexican Stormtrooper
  54. Move major keys right under the DEA’s nose
    Pay phone Stormtrooper
  55. Eat ice cream
    ice cream Stormtrooper
  56. Moonlight for Scotland Yard
    detective Stormtrooper
  57. Hang with rock stars
    Slash Stormtrooper
  58. Everybody say, “Breakdance!”
    Breakdance Stormtrooper
  59. Dine in Middleboro
    Stormtrooper goats
  60. Go bowling
    bowling Stormtrooper
  61. Sit on fences
    posing Stormtrooper on a fence
  62. Sit in windows
     posing Stormtrooper in a window
  63. Hide in swamps
    swamp Stormtrooper
  64. Drop Wookies off at the pool
    poop Stormtrooper
  65. Sing like the King
    Elvis Stormtrooper
  66. Ride their Segways
    Segway Stormtrooper
  67. Play football like the ancient Americans
    football Stormtroopers
  68. Get parking tickets
    parking ticket Stormtroopers
  69. Stunt double for Evil Knievel
    Evil Knievel Stormtroopers
  70. Bag groceries
    Grocery Stormtrooper
  71. Play “go fish”
    card playing Stormtrooper
  72. Go swimming
    Bikini Stormtrooper
  73. Babysit
    babysitting Stormtrooper
  74. Have threesomes
    threesome Stormtrooper
  75. Get milked by Jedis
    milked Stormtrooper
  76. Bench press
    bench press Stormtrooper
  77. Watch TV
    TV Stormtrooper
  78. Attend local sporting events
    Baseball Stormtroopers
  79. Hang out with Ronnie McD
    Ronald McDonald Stormtroopers
  80. Intentionally Ignore Bob
    Bob and the Stormtroopers
  81. Celebrate St. Patty’s Day
    St. Patty;s Day Stormtroopers
  82. Drift race
    drift race Stormtrooper
  83. Pimp their rides
    Pimp my ride Stormtrooper
  84. Go broke
    broke Stormtrooper
  85. Really go broke
    Low budget Stormtroopers
  86. Take public transportation
    Street corner Stormtroopers
  87. Get drunk and check random cars for droids
    car stop Stormtroopers
  88. Dress up like Spiderman
    Spiderman Stormtrooper
  89. Harass Best Buy employees
    Best Buy Stormtrooper
  90. Get crushed by a giant Spiderman
    Spiderman kid and the Stormtroopers
  91. Hang with the ladies from church
    Church lady Stormtroopers
  92. Relax in the pool
    Pool Stormtroopers
  93. Fight the Yakuza
    Hong Kong Stormtrooper
  94. Make new friends
    Uh, what? Stormtroopers
  95. Taunt the rebellion
    piss on the rebellion
  96. Get tattoos
    Stormtroopers tattoos
  97. Commit to Hello Kitty in a serious way
    Hello Kitty Stormtrooper tattoo
  98. Aggrivate Gene Simmons
    Kiss Stormtrooper shirt
  99. Take up amateur photography
    Stormtrooper photographing a babe
  100. Take long walks on the beach
    Beach walking Stormtrooper

See? Stormtroopers are just like you and me.

Did you have some favorites? Let me know in the comments.

How’s Work Going?

After a moment of reminiscing about the robotic anonymity of my old grey cube, I felt a little guilty that you had to be in that office while I sat out in my beach chair. Although I can’t join you in fluorescence, I thought I’d join you in spirit.

How's Work?

Shadow Boss!

Shadow Boss!

Shadow Boss!

Life is Slipping Away...

I wish I had tacked up a TPS report to the wall of my virtual cube, but I just don’t have the skills.

I Still Look For Your Fingerprints

While #1GF! and I were out looking for houses this past weekend, we came across a house that was priced very low for its size due to foreclosure. We’ve seen foreclosures before, but the house was empty and not nearly as destroyed as some we’ve seen, despite a lot of the fixtures being missing.

After walking through a doorway that had obviously been sealed shut with masking tape, I was faced with giant words like “NOT FAIR” and “COME HOME” written on the walls in magic marker. I didn’t understand the masking tape, but I assumed that the messages were due to the previous owner being upset about the foreclosure. In the next room, I found a girl’s name and two dates written in marker on the inside of a closet with the words “16 years and 53 days”. It started to feel like whoever had been foreclosed on may have also been dealing with the death of a teenager.

The house was incredibly huge, and I was torn between an incredibly good deal and the heavy air of sadness in the house. While I was forcing myself to remember that buying a house that was already foreclosed on was not taking anything further from the previous owner, I came across a tiny note scrawled on the kitchen doorway that convinced me it was time to move on. The note read,

“I still look for your fingerprints.”

Replayable Web Game: Table Tennis Tournament

Ping pong Tournament screenshotTable Tennis Tournament: I’ve never been very fond of ping pong, but there’s something about this game that kept me playing it over and over. Only once did I beat the first opponent, and on that occasion I somehow advanced to the semi- finals. I have no idea how I did it, and I haven’t been able to get past the first opponent since.

The game uses the Z key for low shots and the X key for high shots. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of moving the mouse to where the ball is.

Post your high scores to the comments…

FineTune Friday: Cinematic Character Edition

I started with a simple question: If John Shaft listened to FineTune, what kind of playlist would he put together?

Being a complicated man, John Shaft would need music for several activities like car chases, shoot outs, hassling hustlers, risking his neck for his brother man, and of course, being a sex machine to all the chicks. He would need something funky to properly theme these activities, but his picks would probably lean towards the soul side of the funk spectrum.

I started the list with basic soul/funk heroes like Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, The J.B.’s, The Impressions, The Isley Brothers, The Dramatics, and so on, and ended up finding a ton of bands that I had never knew existed. What started out as a simple 70’s soul/funk list turned into a lesson for me. And that lesson was so much fun that it took me days to complete.

For rap fans, the list contains a large number of tracks that have been sampled in rap and hip hop over the years, some of which you might never have heard in their original form.

They say this Shaft playlist is a bad mutha… Shut yo’ mouth!

Enjoy!

Other FineTune Friday Participants:
Tyler Durden by Geoffry
Buffy & Angel by Michelle
Dirk Diggler by Keidra
Damien by Nikkinana2
The Thing by Nikkinana2

Previous FineTune Fridays:
Mr. Men, Cover songs, ear worms, actors turned singers, the high school years, More cowbell!, and novelty songs

1KBWC: Hours of DIY Fun for Less Than 6 Bucks

1000 Blank White Cards (1KBWC) is a card game for 3-6 people in which the players create all the cards used in the game. It’s so simple and fun to play that I can’t believe I never mentioned it here before.

One of the most common things that people say when I tell them about 1KBWC is that they’ll just make a card that says “infinity points” and win. Because they are thinking linearly in terms of a single winning scenario, they don’t immediately realize that there are a number of ways to creatively trump a seemingly unbeatable number of points in a game with flexible rules. A couple of simple examples are below.


Continue reading 1KBWC: Hours of DIY Fun for Less Than 6 Bucks

Why I Love Small Towns: Kung Fu Gorilla

Every week, #1GF! will sit down and read the police report from our local town newspaper. In the city this would be rather depressing, but in a small town, it often turns up some amusing items. This week, she found this gem:

“11:34 PM: Caller reports a man in a gorilla costume doing Karate moves in the street. She finds this to be very suspicious. Officer detailed reported that suspect found the costume in the basement and was goofing around.”

On a Related Note: Kung Fu Gorilla vs. Aquaman

Now, if that Kung Fu Gorilla was on the scene when the following video took place, Aquaman might have not been victorious. I had to watch this twice just to make sure of what I was seeing, and I am forced to wonder if something is seriously wrong with kids today. Doodleoodleooo AquaMAAAAA HAN!

44 Ways to Enjoy The Super Mario Brothers Theme

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the Super Mario theme, I feel like a big nerd. It’s a theme that any gamer over a certain age can hum off the top of their heads, and when people put their efforts into playing it, I end up grinning like a dope.

And I’m not alone. Below are the results of sifting through hundreds of videos to try to find the theme played on as many instruments as possible. I ended up with 43 decent renditions, covering brass, woodwinds, string and percussion instruments. The top ten is below, and the full 44 is listed at the bottom.

Before you proceed, be warned that I claim no responsibility if the Super Mario Theme is still stuck in your head next Tuesday.

Update 4/16/08: The RC car video was added at #2, pushing “Flute (with beatboxing) out of the top 10. Technically, the list is now 45 ways.

The Top 10 Super Mario Renditions

10. High school band
The odds are extremely high that the only person in this video that was alive to play Super Mario Brothers when it came out was the teacher. And a high school band is obligatory in this type of list, anyway, isn’t it? You know it is.

9. Contrabassoon
There’s something about the sound of the contrabassoon that cracks me up. And Richard plays it for us fabulously, even though he can’t get the camera situated the way he’d like.

8. Two Electric Guitars
Two guitars. One kid. I haven’t seen anything like this since Satan unleashed his metal fury in Rock n Roll Nightmare.

7. 11 String Bass
When I form my world-conquering metal band, The Mighty Fist of Thor, this guy is getting an invite to audition. He will invariably deem the music to be below his abilities, get a PhD in Music History, and die never knowing the gratification that comes with doing twelve chicks from eleven countries at the same time in a tour bus hot tub. At least he made it to evil number six on the list though, right?

6. Balalaika (Russian folk guitar)
While this version isn’t played the most accurately, I have never seen anyone play a folk instrument with such a rock star attitude. And considering he’s playing the Super Mario Theme, I’m guessing the reason is either insanity or nuts the size of Titan. In either case, this guy is also getting an invite to the Mighty Fist of Thor auditions, assuming my agent can find his tiny village in Russia.

5. Alto sax
Notice that this kid is not only in the standard rock star stance, but he plays the song in the style of Lisa Simpson.

4. Ballpoint Pen
While not yet accepted as a standard orchestral instrument, the ballpoint pen takes slot number 3. I think my favorite part of this is the “This is just an ordinary pen” move at the beginning, as if he’s about to do some sort of remarkable magic trick with it.

3. Beer Bottles
“Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.” Oh no? Well, it gets you famous on YouTube, now doesn’t it? Yes, and it gets you the number two slot on this list.

2. RC Car and Bottles
Take a lot of bottles, a radio controlled car, an underground garage, and the Japanese and throw them in a blender and you know that something awesome is going to be unleashed. This was a late addition that knocked “flute (with beatboxing)” off the top ten list, debuting at #2.

1. Tesla Coil
These guys jack it up to 88 miles an hour and play the Super Mario Theme with 1.21 gigawatts of power. Seriously. How can you beat that? 1.21 gigawatts!? 1.21 gigawatts!? Great Scott! the only power source capable of generating 1.21 gigawatts of electricity is… Mario.

If you haven’t gotten enough, yet, continue on. I take no responsibility for any further damage you do to your nerdy little synapses…

Top 44 Super Mario Themes, Listed By Instrument

Accordion
Acoustic Guitar
Alto Horns
Alto Sax, see #5
Ballpoint Pen, see #4

Banjo and guitar
Beer Bottles, see #3
Balalaika (Russian folk guitar), see #6

Brass Quartet
Cello
Church organ
Clarinet Quartet
Contrabassoon, see #9
Cornet
Drums
Electric Guitar
Electric Guitar x2, see #8
Electric Bass
11 String Electric Bass, see #7
Erhu (Chinese Violin)
Euphonium and Saxhorn
Flute (with Beatboxing)
Flute and Clarinet
Harmonica
High School Band, see #10
Mandolin
Marching Band
Mouth Harp
Orchestra
Piano
Radio Controlled Car with Beer Bottles, see #2
Rock Band
Ruler and Table
Saxomophone
Stage Production
Tesla Coil, see #1
Trombones
Trumpet
Tuba
Ukulele
Upright Bass
Violin
Viola
Vocals (A capella)
Xylophones

Did I miss your favorite instrument? Drop it in the comments.

FineTune Friday: Mr. Men Edition

It’s the first Friday of the month, so you know what that means: It’s FineTune Friday! If you want to get in on the action, sign up for a free Finetune account and check back here mid-month for the theme. The next edition will be held on August 3rd.

This month the chosen theme was the Mr. Men series of children’s books. Because I’m (Mr.) greedy, I took two.

Mr Daydream

“While being bored by his history teacher, a little boy named Jack looked out the window. There he met Mr. Daydream, who invited him to fly around from adventure to adventure on the back of a giant bird. He flew around all day only to wake up and realize that he was merely baked and listening to Stoner Rock in his parents’ basement. He didn’t learn enough to stop smoking pot, but he no longer trusts talking blue clouds.”

Mr. Lazy

“Mr. Lazy lives in Sleepyland, where there are only four hours a day, instead of 24. Because of limited time and copious amounts of partying with Mr. Daydream, he just slapped a list together with all song titles containing ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mister’ to meet his deadline.”

Other Participants

Because this is a group effort, be sure to check out the Mr. Men stations from the following creative folks:

Mr. Noisy by Tony
Mr. Snow by Brian
Mr. Wrong by Keidra
Mr. Busy by Michelle
Mr. ?? by Tankboy

Previous FineTune Fridays:
Cover songs, ear worms, actors turned singers, and the high school years

One of Pete’s Last Posts

Last week, while I was standing around talking to Sneezy P, a coworker called him over to his desk. The coworker saw him approaching and turned away to face his monitor. Pete walked up behind him, cracked open the guy’s brand new vitamin water and took a long swig of it. I think I actually saw a glimmer of pride cross his face after the initial swig, because the guy still hadn’t even noticed. He then made the fatal mistake of looking over at a coworker and me who had been watching the whole scenario.

My jaw must’ve been on the floor, because when he caught my expression, he burst out laughing and spit the drink all over the place, erupting into a high pitched laugh that disturbed all conference calls within thirty feet.

The real beauty of the situation was that the guy who owned the drink barely even turned around while saying, “I do not want that back.”

Unless I take up the suggestions of “babysitting” or “volunteering with old people”, I can’t see situations like this ever recurring in my professional life.

And that, my friends, is a damned shame.

Finetune Friday: Actors Turned Singers

Can you believe that it’s been over a year since the Megalist of Actors Turned Singers? Neither can I!

Instead of only being able to look at the album covers, did you ever wish that you could hear some of those actors in all their craptastic glory? Neither did I!

But who cares what we want? This is the interwebs, bitches! It’s all about what the kids want, and the kids want Hasselhoff slow jams to make out to. And I’m not here to argue, I’m here to deliver the goods.

I added all the artists from the megalist that I could find. If I there are more that you know of, I’m really not sure you should tell anyone.

Enjoy!

Actors Who Tried to Sing: The Playlist

(on a side note, I will be joining several other music nerds in putting out monthly FineTune themed playlists. The first round of these is themed “High School Years” and is slated to be released next Friday, June 1. If you’d like to join in, get a free FineTune account and start building your list. Make sure to drop me a line to let me know you’re in, so that we can all cross link you up.)

Resignation II: Electric Boogaloo

Since I announced my resignation, I’ve been pretty surprised by the number of people who seem disappointed that I’m leaving or that have offered to help place me in their groups. Some congratulate me like I’m being paroled. Some asked for a job when I land. Others echo my feelings of having no possibility of advancement.

In general, most seem to be shocked that I’m leaving, and even a little dismayed when they find out that even though there isn’t a person with my particular skill set available in the entire company, there hasn’t been any real attempt to retain me. There are stunned silences or head shakes, which shouldn’t feel good, but do.

That’s not to say that I’m the least bit bitter, though. I resigned in a good space. I liked both my job and the people that I had the opportunity to work with. I worked in the same tight knit area for ten years, which is unheard of in today’s job market. Somehow I’ve been lucky enough to work with bright, hard-working folks who do more with less every day, and I would recommend them in a second. I want them all to succeed, but the opportunity just hasn’t been there for any of us. The guys with the ties get the prize, while the people who work for a living usually end up with more work.

I’m not a class warrior, and I don’t have that “they’ll fail without me” attitude. I’m doing the best I can to ensure that they can absorb my responsibilities because I want them all to succeed after I’m gone. Hell, I hope management throws money and promotions at them to stem the outgoing tide because I think they all deserve it for all the years of unsung effort and inspired solutions that they’ve come up with to keep things secure and running smoothly.

Unfortunately, as much as I will root for the underdog, I just don’t think that there’s a very large chance of that happening.

I’m the fourth person in the last month or so to leave my group, and the word on the street is that I won’t be the last. When considering the talent and high caliber of people that I have had the opportunity to work with, I find myself feeling bad that they can’t all join me on the beach this summer. And I feel worse that any of them should feel the need to leave at all.

Even though I’m excited to move on, I’m finding that there is a little more to leaving behind a group of people that I’ve seen every day for over a decade.

End of an Era

Over the last decade, I built and ran a virus protection system for nearly 20,000 servers and desktops on a global scale for my company. Unfortunately, I just got to the point where no matter how perfect or expansive I made the system, no one cared. And that’s motivationally crippling.

So, I resigned.

Coincidentally, it was also Mr. T’s birthday.

My resignation has been a pretty big shock to everyone, and in two days I’ve gotten two unprompted recommendations, two job offers in foreign countries, and a lot of people worldwide who seem to genuinely think it’s a loss for the company.

And the people here are the reason that I’m going to miss this place.

My favorite quotes in the last couple of days have been:

“You’ll be surprised at how much time doing nothing takes up.”

“Who am I going to race to work now?”

“They should offer you anything you want to get you to stay.”

“Don’t do this to me.”

“Congratulations. Do you have a job for me?”

“You don’t have a full time job lined up? You’re a nut. You did it kamakaze style, and I wouldn’t expect anything less.”

“You’re like Jerry Macguire. Inside everyone’s giving you the slow clap, but no one is going with you. You’re just going to walk out of here with your goldfish.”

“Call me and tell me if Vista runs on Nantasket.”

Dimmu Burger

dimmu burger

I understand that very few of you are going to get this, so here goes:

Metalocalypse is a cartoon about a death metal band named Dethklok. In episode 13, the lead singer, Nathan Explosion, has a dream that the rest of his band is pecked to death by birds. Because he is too stupid to do anything else, Nathan is forced to go to work at a fast food restaurant.

The restaurant is called Dimmu Burger.

Dimmu Borgir is a melodic black metal band from Norway.

I really have no use for Dimmu Borgir, but I found it funny enough to throw the logo together to put on a T-shirt.

I also included a copy in scalable vector graphics (SVG) format (right click, Save As…) for resizing in your favorite art program for those so inclined.

FineTune Friday: Covers Edition

So, I’ve been promising DigitalDarryl a Covers CD for quite some time, but I figured that it would be more flexible if I just created a station on FineTune. It’s not as metal as I’d like it to be, but I weighted the choices more toward originality than metalosity.

I came up with almost 90 songs, including some real gems from William Shatner and Hayseed Dixie, and a super creepy version of “Black Sabbath” by Type O Negative. If you want to beat me at my own game, start digging over at The Covers Project and then throw your finds up on FineTune so we can bask in your glory. Otherwise, feel free to drop any worthy additions in the comments.

FineTune: My Best of the Covers Station:

Update: They’ve taken up the crusade and added a cover station over at Cynically Optimistic & Optimistically Bitter. Check out QuietlyGoingMad’s “Not By The Original Artist” playlist.