spaceshipping out the aliens

If you haven't been keeping up with this week's logo story, I don't blame you, but you may be a bit confused at this point (after all, there had been a bit of a hiatus -- until I realized doodling was my only means of job security). I'll give a full explanation tomorrow, along with the proper amount of props to the guy who came up with the idea for deporting the alien (SPOILER: it was Carl).

In the meantime, I thought I'd give you a look at just how anal I am about these logo doodles. Here's a zoomed in snapshot from the Illustrator file. Remember, I didn't try too hard to draw those generic aliens, since I didn't think anyone would see more than 10 pixels worth of them. How dare they deport breadpig. He's not even an alien. Plus, he's delicious.

romantic french polar bears sell vodka, apparently

I found this gem while picking up old boxes from the neighborhood liquor store (I'm moving, not cardboard-obsessed). I can't believe I've never tried this vodka. Man, those French really know how to sell some liquor.

Jacque: "We need something, ehh, bold, for our new vodka brand."

Pierre: "Per'aps we should try polar bears."

Jacque: "No, no, you fool, those are godless creatures with souls as cold as the climate in which they live."

Pierre: "Pizzly bears?"

Jacque: "I would fire you, Pierre, but you know that would be against the law. Instead, let's go get lunch."

[[4 hours later]]

Pierre: "What if the bears were cuddling?"

Jacque: "Clumsily falling over one another like awkward, Balinoff vodka-enriched college co-eds?"

Pierre: "Oui!"

Jacque: "Great. It's already 4pm anyway, let's go 'ome."

-- fin --

8 bonus points to anyone who has actually tried this stuff and can confirm that this vodka lives up to its box's awesomeness -- that's what blog comments are for.

squelching rumors of a cuttlefish-based startup

I was surprised by more than a few inquiries about "my next startup" after it was mentioned in Saturday's entry.

In case you missed it:
I was diligently researching for my next startup last night and came across an entry on The Free Dictionary.
Not that I don't appreciate the wholly undeserved attention on my startup ambitions (I am, after all, an only child) -- I just figured folks would click on the link and appreciate the reference (hint: it was a link to an entry on cuttlefish).

But really, you'd think Valleywag would have at least mentioned it. They'll report anything.

As a preemptive measure against these ruinous rumors, let me be clear: I am not -- nor am I planning on -- doing a cuttefish-based startup.

Nevertheless, I remain a devout supporter of the cuttlefish movement. My activism doesn't stop with promoting the cuttlefish cause; I've also followed the virtuous example of the Marriott Corporation and added a recycle logo to my blog header. It's not because I recycle old blog content.

Hello, world. Prepare to be changed.

judging a book by its cover

I enjoy local bookstores for the obvious reasons: the nerdy patrons, the chance to say that I support local bookstores, and to ogle book covers.

The last one is probably just pseudo-designer part of me that likes quietly judging these illustrations that the old adage demands we ignore.

A week ago, a particular book cover caught my eye: The World Without Us. It even appeared on reddit a few days ago and it's apparently been selling quite well (undoubtedly because of the slick cover). It turned out the stuff inside the book was pretty interesting, too, but I did really like the cover art. In fact, I liked this design so much that I bought a shirt with it about a year ago from Threadless. Well, kinda (mine is orange). Here's what it looks like. And now I'm confused.
What do you think? It could just be a coincidence (in fact, it probably is) and even if it's not, we all need inspiration, right? I just want to see André da Silva Cruz (the designer of the above shirt) get recognized for his labor (or maybe just some "props" for having come up with the general idea first) -- after all, today seems like an appropriate day for it.

Either way, at least now I finally have a matching shirt and book.

UPDATE: My intention was not to start a witch-hunt. I just hoped a few people would buy André's shirt (the aforementioned "props"). And maybe a few others would buy the book, too, since it goes so well with the shirt. Just try to finish the book within a few days or your friends/co-workers will start worrying about your hygiene.

reddit, not rabbit - the problem with randomly changing your logo

I was diligently researching for my next startup last night and came across an entry on The Free Dictionary. The good folks at Farlex, Inc. (who evidently like their company name so much that they include it in the logo?) aggregate a bunch of reference sources from around the web and place their ads next to them.

At the bottom of each entry is the ubiquitous set of icons -- only much bigger. That, and something else is atypical... They had the bad timing of ganking our logo on one of my more creative days (I know, changing the logo is a total Google rip-off, but hey, what I lack in originality, I make up for in quantity and randomness). Granted, reddit still isn't a social bookmarking site, but when I saw that rabid rabbit standing beside the giant Y, I didn't care.
It's particularly amusing considering the distinction we've made in the past between "reddit" and "rabbit." They may sound similar, but they're very different organisms. I even went so far as to create an instructive shirt to enumerate the differences.
A sleeveless shirt with a wide-eyed alien and a bunny on it -- I still can't imagine why it hasn't sold well...


i've been meaning to disqus this

I don't get enough comments on this blog for me to think comments on blogs are worthless. But Joel (and Dave) emphasize an important point about the consequences of anonymous commenting.

Even the most innocent and thoughtful discussions can quickly get derailed, or never even get started (see YouTube commenting). Without accountability, it's easy for me to go around trolling or just hurling random obscenities and LOL!!1!s

Although I've heard this passes for discourse on some sites.

Plus, who's to stop me from flooding every Lisp blog as "spez" with obscenity-and-"LOL!!1!"-laden comments about the lack of widely used and tested Lisp libraries? He already has enough enemies on those blogs. And it'd be especially tragic considering the thoughtful and articulate explanation of Lisp's shortcomings (and strengths) that he already gave on our dev blog.

He doesn't need any more angry letters or death threats -- I'm the one who opens his mail.

It's with this in mind that I finally upgraded my Blogger template last night (oh boy, 2.0!) and installed Disqus for all future posts. It's a means for universal discussion across blogs and website in general.

Your identity (and reputation) follow you around and you've got a nice aggregation of all past conversations. If it gets the mass adoption they're aiming for, I suspect it would go a long way toward solving Joel's (and Dave's) problem.

Now let's get meta and discuss Disqus in the new Disqus comments.

wow? wow...

I walked away from World of Warcraft shortly after hitting 60. I'm only human. That, and I was actually a human paladin, which should explain why the game stopped being fun.

I'll never forget when I finally discontinued my subscription, because a benign questionnaire asked me my reason for quiting. In this country, we put a lot of emphasis on not quitting. I think this makes us try harder to come up with a good excuse to quit -- hence the multitude of options for why I'd be canceling my WoW subscription.

I don't remember the exact wording, but after passing up "Financial difficulties" and "Military service," I settled on "Addiction."

Make no mistake, I wasn't addicted, but it seemed like a good answer. Certainly better than "Finally got a girlfriend."

Anyway, after submitting the form, I was comforted with an apologetic message from Blizzard telling me that they sympathized with my problem. And they offered -- only when I was ready to balance my "WoW life" with my "real life" -- to gladly take me back as a member. Sweet.

That was over a year ago. Imagine my surprise when I found this in the mail last week:

I never did get to play Burning Crusade... ride a flying mount... hit 70...

Oh Blizzard, you're good -- too good.

an nfl story that's not about michael vick

I was born into a football (American) household, so please allow me this philistine indulgence. No matter how hard I try to carry around books, like technology, and use the word philistine -- I'll always succumb to gameday Sundays.

Through chance, I became a fan of the Washington DC team with an unfortunate name, because it was the only NFL team near the town where I grew up. It was my dad's favorite team and thus it became mine. Football was a bonding thing, and it still is today (to give you an idea, upgrading dad's nosebleed season tickets was the first thing I did last Halloween).

I caught a preseason game two weekends ago and was reminded by a fellow fan of a sad fact: "In 1961, the Redskins were the only team in professional football without a black player."

The team's owner, George Preston Marshall, was an avid bigot. Incidentally, he'd also been the man who changed the team's name from the Braves to the Redskins. Integrating the franchise of our nation's capital turned out to be quite an ordeal, as the above ESPN article details.

Sitting there, watching the starters take the field, I couldn't help but wonder what the team would look like if ol' Marshall had his way. So as part of this thought exercise, I thought I'd list the starting lineups as they are and as they would be without black players.

Needless to say, it be pretty hard to fill a roster these days with such narrow guidelines (although it could be done, the team wouldn't likely be going to many Super Bowls). On that note, fans would be quick to point out that Washington was also the first team with a black quarterback (Doug Williams) to start the Super Bowl (they won, by the way -- Williams was named MVP). Ironic, no?

Granted, coaching staffs are still remarkably homogeneous on most teams, but even this is finally starting to change as we get blatant reminders about how immaterial race is to winning (see Tony Dungy). Everyone from the owners to the fans just want to win. Except Eagles fans. I think they actually enjoy losing.

Now if only we could divert all this attention (and money) we spend following football to something more productive or meaningful...

pics or it didn't happen

Because I really want folks to see this photo from Chris & Kristen's wedding (congrats again, you two) here's a copy of today's entry from our dev blog.
As most of you know, Chris (KeyserSosa) Slowe got married this past weekend.

A few of you remain skeptical. To prove that not only did Chris say "I mod up," but that all 4 of us were in fact there, I've been asked to provide a photo.

OK, a photo can't really prove he said "I mod up" (it was a Greek Orthodox ceremony after all, so he could have said anything) but he is on a honeymoon right now with Kristen, so it's safe to say he answered in the affirmative. Anyway, here's the pic.

photo credit: Liz
You'll notice we're even standing in the proper left-to-right order of our alien manifestations in the above logo.

Oh, and before the bride and groom's first dance we did in fact hear the opening of the Star Wars theme. It was pretty fantastic.

As a service to you all who couldn't make it, here's the MIDI to help you experience the wonderful event like we did.

Now just click play, close your eyes, and imagine you're stuffing your face with beer and cake.

save our earth... and drink fiji bottled water?

This was a curious juxtaposition in my Marriott bathroom.

The offer they make to not wash towels is a solid appeal to anyone's inner treehugger, but sitting next to that imported bottle of H2O it feels a bit hollow.

I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought if I hadn't seen this article on reddit a while back: "1 liter Bottled Water uses 26 Liters Water + 1 Kg Fossil Fuel + 1 Pound CO2."

Yikes. I won't bother summarizing; you pretty much get the gist of it from the headline.

I'm a big fan of what I call "passive activism," because it makes me feel slightly less guilty about all the negative repercussions of my existence with a minimal amount of effort.

So when I'm given the chance to "help conserve the Earth's vital resources," I'm happy to oblige -- I just wonder if the Fiji Water company knows it's paying for ironic product placement.

According to my friends in Williamsburg, irony is very in right now. Maybe they even paid a premium for it.

UPDATE: Alexis still prefers drinking his Brooklyn tap water (through the filtered water pitcher in his fridge). If the Brooklyn Water Management, Co. would like to reach Mr. Ohanian for a product endorsement, please contact him via email (