Archive for the ‘theweb’ Category


New Design, New Location

October 19, 2007

Another new page design for the blog on the new site is now up. I expect to be moved to this blog full-time in a day or so. Prepare to update your bookmarks and RSS readers, both of you.

The new look is, uh, really brown. I don’t expect this one to last too long, but at least I’ve gotten this layered-letters look out of my system for a while. Opinions? You know I love them. Give them here.

See the new site here:

Notice, please, that it’s wordstudio.

Music: Andrew Bird, “A Woman’s Life and Love”



October 18, 2007

My first DVD review for CHUD (Cinematic Happenings Under Development) has gone live. This time out, I take a look at the third-season DVD set of NUMB3RS. Do check that out, if you care about such things. At least two more reviews in this vein are coming soon.


One Possible Look

October 17, 2007

Having recently changed hosts for, other things are on the move in its wake. For one thing, I’ll now be hosting The Gist on my own site, with my own (precious, precious) MySQL databases. This means I won’t be hindered by the restrictions of the (still magnificent) free hosting at This also means it’s time to redesign all the sites of the Wordstudio family. re:Paper just got a new look. I spent most of this afternoon cutting and lifting the face of this blog, too. Only, not here.

Check out the rough sketch of the new blog over at the future home of the new blog:

(Note: That’s wordstudio, not wordpress.) Don’t update your bookmarks yet, though, because I’m not settled on that look yet (I’m not sure, but I think I may actually hate it) and might go through a dozen more changes before I settle on something.

Opinions are mandatory. What do you think of the new look?

Music: She Wants Revenge, “First, Love”


re:Paper Anew

October 13, 2007

Whew. After a rush to get it done in time for the fall festivals, I’ve finished the redesign of Sara’s website for re:Paper. (That, you’ll recall, is her hackbooking and photography operation.) The new site has its very own URL (, a newly modified WordPress theme, Etsy widgets, and everything. For the little time I had to spend on it, I think it turned out all right. (Though I still have a lingering commenting problem to sort out.)


Gamer Weirdness: Example #91

August 30, 2007

When you’re able to back up and see gaming discussions from afar, you have a chance to appreciate their magnificent weirdness. Here is a statement from RPGnet’s forums that would probably be alarming in your regular life:

“I will always downplay cannibalism…”

This reminds me: When our good friend Oscar came to work for the company, he sat down to play in a long-running D&D campaign with some of our coworkers. He didn’t know much about the game. During the first session, one of the players, in a panicked moment when the threat against their characters became clear, said this:

“Oh no! That means we’re probably being watched by beholder-kin on the near-ethereal plane!”

Yeah, what the fuck does that mean, right? This kind of immersion in the utterly crazy is part of what’s great about RPGs, isn’t it? At the moment that statement was made, all but one person at the table were intellectually involved in the fictional story and fantasy world that they were able to take in that idea with a sense of actual menace and excitement. “If we are being watched by beholder-kin in the near-ethereal plane, we’d better come up with a plan before they blast us with their magic eye-rays!”

But for Oscar, this was alien speech coming out of the ordinary mouths of his co-workers, not their characters. Take one step back, and it all gets weird.

To me, those people who can’t take steps forward and back — who can’t appreciate the oddity of the game as ludicrous, or who fancy themselves too cool to enjoy their own imaginations — are the ones missing out.


The Zen of Miss South Carolina

August 29, 2007

CNN used the phrase “Internet Sensation” to describe the much-linked-to clip of Miss South Carolina, Lauren Caitlin Upton, responding to a pageant question. I suppose this is accurate. Most Internet Sensations are about celebrating stupidity and pretending to be ironic about it. Certainly Miss Upton is an Internet darling, for now.

You’ve heard of this already, no doubt. Because I have a blog, I am obligated to write about this Internet sensation. Those are the rules.

Rather than give you another YouTube link, I’m offering you a transcript.1 Miss Upton was asked why a fifth of Americans are unable to locate the US on a map of the world. This was her response:

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uhmmm, some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and uh, I believe that our, I, education like such as uh, South Africa, and uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and I believe that they should, uhhh, our education over here in the US should help the US, uh, should help South Africa, it should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so we will be able to build up our future, for us.”

I recognize a lot of the words, but…

Here’s the thing, though. I think this is brilliant. This is a moment of clarity, a petty epiphany. She has become like unto a zen koan. Upon being asked the question, she became the question. And the answer.

Meditate on that, grasshopper.


Roy Batty Has A Posse

June 7, 2007

Yes, yes, Internet, you can has meme. I get it.

Normally this lol stuff doesn’t do much for me. I appreciate how it’s like jazz, with the variations on a theme and the freeform riffing, but usually it’s also formulaic pap. This is the kind of geek humor that makes me embarrassed at conventions: the stuff that just supplies blanks for the user to fill, like Mad Libs for people who wish they were Chandler Bing.[1] This stuff is in the book right after the chapter titled, “How Quoting The Simpsons is the Same as Being A Funny Person Yourself.”

Despite all that, even Language Log is paying semi-serious attention to this stuff.[2] Certainly this lol stuff (see also, Flickr’s philolsopher group) is an interesting display of some kind of pop vernacular sensibility, even when it fails as comedy. It’s like a pop pidgin dialect developing on fast forward. But, and this is important, simply fulfilling the requirements of the grammar still doesn’t result in a successful sentence. Just because you can “can has” whatever doesn’t mean it’s funny.

Formulaic funny doesn’t work.[3] You need a knack for it. When it’s funny, it’s funny, and no matter how stupid I think the gimmick is, I’m still going to laugh. As much as I want to seem above this nonsense, I just cannot stop laughing at some of this stuff,[4] because I’m still such a geek that all my base does belong to whatever.


Music: The Servant, “Cells”

1. That entry on Chandler is so you, Wikipedia.

2. Did you know Geoffrey Chaucer hath a blog?

3. Though monkeys is always funny, and robots are a good bet.

4. Thanks to Chuck for the link.