Posted to Peter Nidzgorski's frequently beautiful "This isn't happiness" tumblog today, with the caption "This is our cat Bob. He died today. He was 20 years old." A colleague of mine lost a cat on Christmas Eve who had been a loving four-pawed companion for about that long. Losing a pal like that is a sad thing. (Thanks, Susannah Breslin)
Joshua Fouts, Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, says,
Two very interesting things happened today that you might be interested in -- both unfolded/ing rapidly. While the two are not directly linked, they are illustrative of an evolving use of the social networking world in interesting and dynamic ways.Related BB post: Global Voices' coverage of Gaza Strip Bombings (and how to keep the coverage alive)
1. Since Saturday people in Second Life have been protesting the attacks in the Gaza strip. About 30 people per day, mostly based in Egypt but using Second Life as their voice. We took some photos: Dozens Gather in Second Life to Protest Gaza Attacks.
2. Now here's what I think is really interesting. Just today the Israeli Consulate in NY launched two Twitter accounts and tomorrow (December 30) they'll be hosting a Twitter press conference to respond to questions people might have about Gaza. Summary here: Israeli Consulate to host Twitter Press Conference on Gaza.
The thing that's interesting to me is that this is such a fantastic risk and so ungovernmentlike that it's fun to watch. We'll be participating for sure.
We’re excited to be doing this and are honored to be included with such esteemed bloggers, both the regulars and the guests! We’ll be posting on a diversity of topics, with less sex and hip culture, and more kids’ books, dub music, skulls, jellyfish, and working toward sustainable living (or at least raising chickens and growing lettuce). Bruce is a political blog junkie and techno-gadget geek, while Shawn leans toward crafty blogs and irreverent humor, so be prepared for something like The Huffington Post meets Postcards From Yo Momma and Cool Tools paired with Design Sponge.
To start things off, we’d like to share the best Christmas present we’ve seen this year. Our friends Dave and Jen Sims got stuck in Thailand for an extra week after Thanksgiving due to the protests that closed the Bangkok airport. They finally made it home and just got these T-shirts as a gift:
The background image is a real photo of the protesters who took over the airport in Bangkok. You can read more about their experience here and here. Did you get any special gifts or see any that struck your fancy? Tell us about them in the Comments.
(Flash embed above, downloadable MP4 link here.)
Continuing in our retrospective of favorite Boing Boing tv episodes, we revisit the fun we had checking out TechShop, an open-access public workshop that's kind of like a health club with heavy machinery and sparks instead of treadmills. Tinkerers, inventors, and hackers pay a membership fee, and in turn receive access to professionally-maintained gear, workshops, mentors, and a community of like-minded makers.
Currently there is only one site in Silicon Valley, and it opened in 2006. But founder Jim Newton (a lifetime maker, veteran BattleBots builder and former MythBuster) plans to open a number of locations around the US -- and eventually, the rest of the world.
John Todd, who you'll meet in this episode, wrote this article about the membership-based machine and fabrication shop in a recent edition of Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools zine. Snip:
I've been a member since before TechShop really even started, back when it was just some guys passing out flyers trying to gauge interest. For $100 a month, members can use any tool in the shop on which they've received training. MUCH cheaper than buying your own gear. The list of equipment is pretty extensive, too, and new items are arriving frequently (like a new hot-wire foam cutter).John shares an additional note with BBtv about the company's business model:
TechShop is unusual in the way it's funded - community members are the financial backers. To date, TechShop has been funded by taking loans from members and repaying them at a nominal rate. Typically backers contribute $25k and up, and are then paid back over several years. There is an "A" round being raised now to fund the nationwide expansion, and the first funding source again is going to be the community instead of focusing on traditional VC sources. It's an unusual way to keep members excited about what they do at TechShop, and to keep them focused on making the whole experience better. Jim Newton (CEO) and Mark Hatch (COO) are looking for additional interested people who want to become members and funders - contact TechShop for details.Do watch the second half of this episode. We take a joyride in a three-wheeled electric car, while wearing ridiculously inappropriate shoes. That's the little vehicle, above, with me (helpless passenger) and the guy who invented it (driver, going way too fast for comfort). It was a total blast, and all lulz aside, this guy's invention is pretty badass.
Chelsie Gosk says: I thought you might be interested in Ariel Levy’s review of the new edition of The Joy of Sex as well as the piece’s accompanying slide show (illustrations from the 1972 edition, the new edition, and Our Bodies, Ourselves) and podcast."
[Joy of Sex author Alex] Comfort had a tendency to focus single-mindedly on a given notion or project at the expense of any kind of balance: while he was a student at Highgate School, in London, he became convinced that he could concoct a superior version of gunpowder. He blew off much of his left hand. By the time he was finished with his experiments, his thumb was the only remaining digit. Later in his life, when he was practicing medicine, he said that he found this claw he’d created “very useful for performing uterine inversions.” After he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, his enthusiasms led him to accumulate six degrees, including a doctorate in biochemistry.
The review appears in the January 5, 2009 edition of The New Yorker.
Multi-instrumentalist Fredrik Larsson, 23, plays an incredible acoustic cover of Legend of Zelda's Wind Waker theme. Check the video at Boing Boing Offworld. Wind Waker Unplugged
George Henderson lived, ate and breathed comics - years before it would be popular to do so. A lifelong fan of superhero comics, old adventure strips and science fiction, in the 1960s he parlayed a dead-end writing career into a successful life as a bookseller and retailer. Established in downtown Toronto in 1967, Memory Lane Books became a mecca for generations of comic fans and is considered Canada's first comic book store. In this clip from 1970, Captain George discusses his then young store and the emergent hobby of comic collecting.Adds Joey, "Captain George also did a radio interview with the CBC two years later."
UPDATE:Another awesome CBC video about comic book collecting, this one from 1979. I love the shirtless Frazetta enthusiast!
We're happy to introduce our new guest bloggers to Boing Boing: Shawn Connally and Bruce Stewart! They've been described as a "geek couple tag team" by our friend Gareth Branwyn. Shawn is the managing editor for both MAKE and CRAFT magazines, while Bruce blogs occasionally for GeekDad, is the editor of the Coverleaf blog and the Bright Hub Mac Channel, and does editing and consulting work for several internet companies. They work in unison on raising two boys, two cats and four chickens under some redwood trees in Northern California.
The two met in the college dorms and quickly bonded over marijuana and mathematical analysis. In 1993, Bruce introduced the internet to Shawn over beers in a bowling alley in Marin County. A year later she was working on O’Reilly’s Global Network Navigator, the first commercial website and web portal. Shawn has worked on several other O’Reilly projects, including a weekly online magazine called Web Review and the websites perl.com and xml.com. She’s written for several magazines and newspapers, including the SF Bay Guardian, the Industry Standard, the Marin Independent Journal, and a Vanity Fair equivalent in Singapore. She’s written about everything from yacht racing to T-shirt quilts and communication satellite linking and load balancing. She's also covered three Olympics on the web. From 1991 to 1993, two very fun years, she wrote theater and concert reviews in the Bay Area.
In 1995, Bruce left his job as Director of Telecommunications at the University of San Francisco to write online. His first article was about the hidden Netscape Easter eggs his then 1-year-old son found when slamming on the keyboard. Later, Bruce also found gainful employment at O’Reilly Media, where he served as the editorial director for the O’Reilly Network.
The couple lived in New Zealand during part of 1999 and 2000 and wrote a series of articles for Ziff Davis about living in the first country to hit the new millennium. (There was a very major party.) They’ve been collaborating on articles since the mid-1990s and hope to still be co-authoring stories in the mid-2050s.
Welcome, Shawn and Bruce!
Lisa Rein twittered about Archive.org's new Timothy Leary video archive. It currently has over 80 videos.
The above screenshot is from a documentary called Growing Up In America: Breathing Together, Revolution of the Electric Family, from 1986, which has interviews with Allen Ginsberg, Jerry Rubin, Abbie Hoffman, Fred Hampton, Deborah Johnson, John Sinclair, and Timothy Leary.
Barack Obama Riding A Unicorn (Thanks, Lindsay Tiemeyer!)
Thanks so much for entertaining my stories and opinions over the past couple of weeks. It's such a thrill to get this much instant feedback that I'm having a hard time taking the needle out of my arm.
I've made so many new friends. Thanks especially to Mark Frauenfelder, for grace and endurance as my line editor. And all my love to my partner, Jon Bailiff, for enhancing and abetting my single-minded determination to post, post, post without concern for any other daily affairs!
What's new for me this year? In addition to The Erotic Treasury, I just released my first Kindle ebooks. If you're curious how to enjoy ebooks, or make one, as an author, you'd probably enjoy my "Kindle-Krazy" how-to.
I'm your friendly neighborhood sewing columnist at Craft magazine, and you'll be seeing my Valentine embroidery tips on the newsstands any day now. I'd love to take another sewing workshop with Sandra Betzina this winter, and of course I'll continue to worship at the feet of my fiber-arts guru, Jill Sanders.
Blogging this year should be fun. Obama may have his controversial Inauguration, but I'll be holding my own Sexual State of the Union address!
It's been intriguing for me to see the Twilight explosion this season- how remarkable that the bestselling book of the year was directed toward female adolescent longings. The movie screenings were audience pandemonium, even in my own little town of Santa Cruz. It's kismet, but I just turned in an illustrated erotic-lit anthology to Chronicle Books, coming out next fall, called The Quiver- which is decidedly more Baudelairean than Twilight, but filled with the same gothic perversions that intoxicate American literature at the moment.
Of course I'll be continuing my weekly audio show, In Bed W/Susie Bright, at Audible. This week, I'm sharing a story from Pulitzer-Prize-winning author Robert Olen Butler on The Peril of the Jealous Husband. Please enjoy some free samples!- and here's the cheapest way to subscribe once you become hooked.
Then there's the memoir. Now that I am officially old and in the way (51 this year) I'm completing a memoir for Seal Press, which will be published in 2010.
If any of you have tips on how to run a daily blog and write a memoir at the same time while raising a family- send your advice to my address. Seriously, though, I'd love to hear from you anytime, especially if you have questions or suggestions about the memoir-writing adventure.
See you around... and I'll always be at BoingBoing, faithful reader that I am, sipping coffee in the Comments.
Photo: Susie and her darling, "practically-perfect-in-every-way" daughter, Aretha.
Note from Mark: Thanks, Susie for your wonderful, enlightening, and entertaining guest blog entries. We are looking forward to have you join us again very soon!
Your (parent, sibling, soon-to-be-ex) is batshit crazy. No satiric holiday movie comes close to the horrors you've witnessed. The Griswolds have nothing on your clan.
And then... you have the late, great Kris Kovick. Kris was a cartoonist, activist, author of "What I Love About Lesbian Politics Is Arguing with People I Agree With"- and a singular performing storyteller.
Her home-for-the-holidays classic recording is called Hair Pillow:"Each person in my family is a different religion. It's like Belfast meets Beirut. There are Jews, Serbs, Catholics, red-neck Christian snake handlers, quietists, and noise-makers of all beliefs. My sister was recently married and her people were Portuguese. We were Serbian-Texans- guess how many guns I have? It made for great potluck, but very careful politics."
You can hear all of Hair Pillow at InsideStories, a site devoted to San Francisco oral history, including audio walking tours of Harvey Milk's San Francisco, and the Presidio Pet Cemetery.
Kris was one of the first cartoonists I met when I first got involved with queer-underground-journalism in my early twenties. But she reminded me we'd been introduced on a previous occasion. When I was 14 years old, she and my dad... were both dating the same woman. My father, in his great liberal fashion, calmly introduced me to both of them. I remember being fascinated by Kris because of a silver band she wore on her wedding finger dating from the days of her first great love. On the inside, engraved in perfect Edwardian script, was one word: "Bitch."
Alison Bechdel, Eisner-award-winning author of Fun Home, has some great cartoon memories of Kris. "Kris scared the living shit out of me. She kissed her dog on the mouth and had a dildo in a harness hanging from a doorknob in the living room. I was planning to rent a car to drive to Santa Barbara, but she insisted I drive her vintage 1956 pick-up."
The end of Kris's life came too soon (age 50) and was marked by the fact that she and her mother were both dying of breast cancer at the same time, not knowing who was going to go first. How is that funny? Well, Kris may have created the original Hospice Stand-up.
At one point in their terminal saga, Kris was the more able-bodied of the two and her mother was exhausted with living, helplessly tied up in tubes at the hospital:
Thanks to InsideStories producer Paul VanDeCarr, Alison Bechdel, Luke Browne, and Ray Hellmann for helping me put together this homage.
It's never too late for latkes. You can eat potato pancakes all year round!
Is there a perfect recipe?
Potato pancakes inspire controversy because of family traditions...
everyone longs for their childhood memory. My recipe may not bring your
great-grandmother to life, but I dare say you'll look upon me as a
It takes forever to grate all those potatoes and cry over the onions- I want to devour my latkes, pain-free, NOW!
Immediate gratification is all about using the right tools. Use a 7-cup Cuisinart with the "grater attachment" to cut up the pototoes and onions, presto!
My latkes always turn out limp and bland; what am I doing wrong?
The key to tasty latkes is to get the water out of the potatoes before you fry them in hot oil. But potatoes don't like to give up their water.
The miracle answer to a labor-intensive problem is an old-fashioned potato ricer. Don't ask me what else you do with this thing: I only know it as a latke-enabler!
Put a handful of the sopping potato gratings in the ricer's mouth. Press the handles together, and all the water is expressed through the sieve side- in one second! You don't even have to use two hands. You leverage one arm of the ricer against the other by propping it over the sink-top and pressing down. You only do it once- there's no other effort required.
Any other must-have tools?
Yes, a cast iron skillet. Cast iron is the most precise and uniform conductor of heat, and when you fire up your frying oil, you want that "almost smoking" level of hotness in your pan, unwavering. That's what gives you the satisfying crunch!
Can I use flour, or some other gluten instead of matzo meal for my binding agent?
No! The matzo gives the texture you crave.
Can I make a lower-calorie, lower-fat latke that tastes just as yummy?
The fiber content of potatoes are good for you. You could increase that with by combining other gratings of even higher-fiber candidates, like sweet potatoes, zucchini, carrots- a different kick, but equally tasty. Remember, squeeze the water out of all of them!
There is no getting around the oil/butter/fry part, not if you want the "eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head" satisfaction. There is only one corner you can cut without detection: Use egg whites, lose the yolks- or at least cut down the yolks by half.
The secret to staying slim while you dance the latke fantastic is strategic fiber consciousness and portion control. Move away from the stove and serve yourself a couple of pancakes on a small plate with a huge helping of applesauce. Before you dig in, treat yourself to a fantastic butter lettuce salad with balsamic vinegar, or maybe a sweet tangerine. Afterward, turn up the Eartha Kitt really loud, to dance and sing your heart out!