Posted by mac on Mar 31, 2009 in Tech Tuesdays
Watching the above video brings back fond memories of a computer game I used to play in elementary school called “The Incredible Machine.” In those days, it represented the best of consumer-class computer physics simulations. I didn’t have this game for my 286 IBM Compatible at home. Instead, my experiences with it were confined to those all too infrequent moments at school when I had a chance to use our classroom’s one computer workstation–a cutting-edge Macintosh LC.
To put all things in perspective a bit here, we’re talking about a machine that’s running at about 1/40 the processing power of the cellphone in your pocket, and yet the Macintosh LC represented the pinnacle of computer hardware in my life at that time. Of course, I was running at about 2/5 the life experience of what I have today. All that to say, “The Incredible Machine” instantly became the highlight of my day whenever I was allowed to play it. Ahh, those were the days…
While waxing nostalgic, I decided to see if there was perhaps a way to relive some of that childhood magic — a quick googling of “The Incredible Machine” seemed to present only false hope as I discovered a 2007 remake of the game in one click and learned of it’s mid-development cancellation in the next. Bummer.
Not being one to give up after a single googling, I persisted …a virtue that, for me, hasn’t been very rewarding lately (without getting too far off topic, it should suffice to say, I’ve spent far too much time stuck in the infinite regress of our natural gas companies arcane automated telephone system lately). Of course, this being such a trivial endeavor, I met with success! I’m pleased to be able to share with you, that the original “The Incredible Machine” game is indeed going to be re-released after all! … as a cellphone game!
I wonder if it will run 40 times faster….
Posted by shana on Mar 30, 2009 in Monday Product Endorsement
Today I was going to endorse the Chicago Art Institute’s current special exhibit, “Becoming Edvard Munch,” and particularly, I was going to endorse going to see it with a buddy you haven’t hung out with in a while, as I did on Friday.
Munch, one of Oslo’s most renowned artists from the turn of the last century (bonus points to anyone who can name another without wikipedia-ing it), is best known for his famous “The Scream,” a really depressing but really striking representation of, well, existence, I guess. Anyway, I went to the museum dedicated to his work when I was in Oslo a couple summers ago (because besides eating fish and buying little troll figurines, there’s not a lot else to do in that town…), and I was surprised by how much I liked a lot of his stuff. So I was glad when this exhibit came to my new town.
The exhibit featured stunning works by Munch and a few by his contemporaries (Monet, Gaugin, you may have heard of some of them?) and is all about his development as an artist throughout his life. I was disappointed to learn about his unfortunate femme-fatale obsession, like so many of those hopeless late 19th century artists, novelists, poets, etc (Baudelaire, anyone?). Seriously, guys, get over it. But other than that, I was quite pleased with the exhibit and glad I went.
I was further going to endorse getting you butt down to the Art Institute anyway, before they raise their entrance fees again. Ouch. Tough to move anywhere from DC, the city of a million great free museums, but still, tacking on another 50% seems like a lot…
Anyway, all of this was in my head, including that picture of the ad I took downtown so I’d have something visual on the blog (no photography allowed in the exhibit, bummer), when I heard a song coming out of Mac’s office. And then I heard it again. And again…
Apparently, it’s been in his head for weeks, and he apparently does this every now and then – play it over and over – it’s just that this is the first time I’ve been home for it.
The song is: Forever Young
He listens to the (original) Alphaville version, even though it’s Rod Stewart whom you’re most likely to hear singing it on your favorite local light rock station, of course, among many others who’ve covered it as well. Who’s ever heard of Alphaville?
So I decided, what better case for endorsement is there than Mac happily bopping his head and singing along at work all day? And there you have it: Forever Young it is. Happy Monday.
Posted by shana on Mar 29, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 28, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 28, 2009 in Friday Gold Stars!
We blew it off last week without any mention. We were out of town, after all. But this week, Friday has come and Friday has gone, and now here we are, on Saturday, and still no post.
Could it be that Mac and Shana just don’t really like or value anyone enough, even in a kind of goofy way, to spend a couple minutes awarding them an imaginary gold star? What selfish, insular people! Keeping all those imaginary gold stars for themselves!
Of course, this is not the case, as we hope you understand. I think everyone here agrees that imaginary gold stars only bring you joy when you give them away.
Neither has it been a problem of having no one in our lives that we like or value; in fact, the problem is quite the opposite! We think and we think and we just can’t decide!
Gold stars to Megan the wedding cake goddess, for the dreamily delicious cake testing all day Saturday?
Gold stars to everyone who’s helped Megan test cake over the past few weeks?
Gold stars to Thia for being so happy to host us in DC and because it was so good to see her?
Gold stars to Jill for changing her flight back to Austin so she could hang out with us?
Gold stars to Catherine, Amanda, and other Bonnies, because they wanted to hang out with us and we couldn’t and we feel bad?
Gold stars to Southwest airlines, for having such cheap flights in and out of Midway?
Gold stars to Rohn and Ammy for not destroying the house while we were gone?
Gold stars to Mike Ditka, for being so manly?
Gold stars to my boss at work for finally giving me a enough hours so now I won’t be kicked off the health insurance? :-\
Gold stars to my health insurance? To health insurance in general? To health? Ahh! How can you give an imaginary gold star to “health”??
Gold stars to whomever we forgot? Are you offended? Oh no!!!
You see, this week, things have gotten out of control. They say that failure to make a decision is a decision in itself, and it seems that they have hit the nail on the head this week. I guess that makes Mac and me the nails. Mac has actually recommended just giving a black star to ourselves for the crappy job we’ve been doing with gold stars.
But no, let the madness stop! There’s enough depressing news out there, no one wants to hear that on top of it all, Mac and Shana were paralyzed with to hand out any imaginary gold stars this week. And so we’ve made a decision, and the winner is:
Threadless, for having a $5 t-shirt sale. Mac got us each a shirt, just for fun and to make us smile – mine says “being vague is almost as much fun as doing this other thing…” and it’s yellow, and Mac’s is a picture of a cop holding hands with a donut with sprinkles and a cup of coffee, and it says “Crime Sucks.”
The t-shirts have made us both very happy, in an “it’s the little things” sort of way. With this in mind, I encourage you all to consider stimulating this depressing economy by spending up to $5 on something little that makes you smile and laugh. A stack of post-it notes shaped by the first letter of your first name? A Reese’s peanut butter cup? Bubbles? Sleeping in? That’s free!
And if you feel like it, let us know what you got. We love love comments. :)
Posted by shana on Mar 27, 2009 in weather alert
Posted by shana on Mar 26, 2009 in Chicago Thursday
Big news in Chicago this week: apparently, we’re not very manly.
It was actually reported a couple weeks ago, by Combos (yep, those weird stuffed hard pretzel things, and no, I’m not sure why), but apparently it’s taken the RedEye, the Chicago Tribune’s free daily paper, until now to dig it up. And here it is:
We’re ranked 47 out of 50 cities across the country, behind Dayton, behind Milwaukee, behind Buffalo, just barely behind DC, and ahead of NYC, LA, SF, and Portland, Oregon. The article itself is not really worth reading, unless your bus is stuck in traffic and your forgot your book at home… and you’ve already read all the other things there are to read on your phone and checked the weather twice…
Somewhat interesting, however, are the little factoids of information you can gather from the “man-o-meter” rankings… yeah, there was a man-o-meter. Things that worked in our favor? There are obvious ones, like the Sears Tower (though I think we lost some points for the recent “Willis” development) and all of our sports teams… but did you also know that it is a Chicagoan who holds the International Federation of Competitive Eating’s record for hands-free blueberry pie? 9.17 pies in 8 minutes! (Just so we’re clear though, as impressive as this surely is, if I ever bake you a blueberry pie and you consume it in its entirety in less than a minute, “impressed” is not what I’ll be feeling.) The same guy apparently also holds the record for chocolate hearts, corned beef and cabbage, grits, and more… I’d imagine some of the blueberry pie skills cross over to other food types. We also eat a lot of hot dogs – about 100 million Vienna beefs alone are produced and sold in Chicago each year. Apparently – this was one of my favorite tidbits -
“travelers at O’Hare consume six times more hot dogs than Los Angeles International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport combined.”
Thankfully, all of this bodes well for our manliness ratings. All you aspiring manly men, eat up!
Things that ranked against us, however, were our Starbucks-saturation levels (114 in the city), our low numbers of fishing licenses, Hummers, and Harley Davidsons per capita, and our smoking ban.
Of course there are things to be said about gender stereotypes and the impact these have on the health and well being of not only the readers of the RedEye, but the overall subconscious of society and its institutions… honestly though, I would’ve guessed there were more than 114 Starbucks in Chicago. Maybe that’s the really disturbing part…
And just so you all know, Mac totally instantly recognized Mike Ditka in that picture from the RedEye, I definitely didn’t have to explain to him who it was. ;)
Posted by shana on Mar 25, 2009 in Wednesday Bites
(Or, Why You Should Get Married And Have Our Good Friend Megan Bake Your Cake)
I said there were a lot of pictures.
(I said it to someone, might not have been you.)
There are a lot of pictures… though none of them are satisfying my craving for another bite of that wedding cake…
Megan Woods is a wedding cake goddess. Write it down. Goddess.
I tried uploading all the pictures here, to the blog, and it was just too many, too much… and your page would’ve taken forever to load, longer than usual, even. And I would’ve been so stressed by the process that I wouldn’t have had the mental energy for clever comments. We can’t have that! So instead, I threw the pictures on facebook, where it’s easier and where I’d also wanted to put them anyway. And you don’t have to be on facebook to see them, you can just click here: Megan Makes Wedding Cake
You know, there are a lot of decisions to make when you’re getting married, even if it’s just a big old family wedding and you don’t care about swarovski crystals or chair dresses that were shipped in from somewhere fancy to coordinate with your napkins. This was an easy one. Mac and I are trying to stay on top of everything else, and we’re doing pretty well… no, we haven’t registered anywhere, we haven’t reserved a block of rooms at a hotel for our out of town guests, and we haven’t looked at wedding rings… we’ll get on that… next week, I think. In all of this, it feels really good to know that our cake is in such good hands.
Think about how great a wedding cake is. Now think about how even much more great it becomes when it’s made by one of your best friends. What makes Megan a wedding cake goddess is not only her culinary genius, but her happiness at opening up her home and her kitchen while she spends seven hours making cake… for five. Next step: cake for 175. We’ll have to dig up a few more pans… and maybe a few more hours…
Shout out to Jill, who was also there to “help” (see photos) and generally share the love, and to Alex, this guy we just met. He’s a friend of Megan’s so he’s a friends of ours. Mostly, a big bravo to Megan, and a big, big thanks. Can’t wait for August.
Posted by shana on Mar 24, 2009 in weather alert
Rules are rules.
Posted by shana on Mar 23, 2009 in Monday Product Endorsement
Today, after just getting back from a lovely weekend in DC, where the weather’s not much warmer than here but warmer enough, and where the sun was sunning, and the flowering trees flowering (my favorite thing in the world)…
… AND with us having crossed that oh-so-certain but sometimes oh-so-far-away line that is March 21, I cannot help but endorse: Spring.
As if we have a choice, right? It’s not like you can choose Spring, so I don’t know that I can technically endorse it, but wow, I’m so ready I don’t even care. Our weekend in DC really got me in the mood – warm weather, birds chirping, daffodils, crocuses, tulips, farmer’s markets and flower stores, heavy coats and scarves left in the back of the car… man oh man, Mac even got a sunburn on the back of his neck Sunday afternoon! Here are some pictures from our completely lovely time at Frager’s Garden Center (those in DC should check it out, if you haven’t already) minus – don’t worry – any kind of photo documenting of the back of Mac’s neck:
Oooooh, you want it, don’t you? It’s sooo pretty. Right down the street from your house, don’t you want it?? Colors! More than just “dead grass green” and “dirty white” and “really dirty white”! Pink! Red! Blue! And that’s just the watering cans!!! Oooh, you can just taste it now, can’t you? Your mouth is watering now, isn’t it? Well, that’s weird of you, because you can’t eat watering cans.
At any rate, back here at home, crossing from March 20 to March 21 means that the days are now longer than the nights, and that we will, for the first time since we moved here in October, get sunlight in our north-facing windows (which far out number our other-ways-facing windows). Once it stops being so cloudy, the cats are going to love it. Cloudy and cold. And rainy. Once it starts actually feeling like Spring…
Here in the Midwest we know to be patient, and we know not to let little set-backs take our eyes off the prize of a yard full of daisies and falling asleep on a picnic blanket while reading a book out by the lake… technically, snowstorms are totally fair game through about the end of April, and technically, we’re not supposed to complain, because that’s what we signed up for when we move to the Midwest (or never moved away).
So I guess if I’m actually endorsing anything endorsable today, it would be hanging in there, though it’s 48 and raining right now, though even next week’s weather forecast – next week where we finally get to see April – only has highs in the low 40’s. Soon enough, soon enough, we’ll be dancing our way through our first farmer’s markets of the season, right here in Chicago, drinking our first iced lattes – outside with no gloves on – and popping our first allergy pills, but not minding one bit. Hang in there, everyone. The flowers are peeking up out of the ground already – grab your umbrella, your parka, and maybe your snow shovel, and see if I’m not right. Soon enough.
For the record, I am secondarily, but still very enthusiastically, endorsing “Frager’s Hardware,” “planting a flowering tree,” and “taking a vacation to a place you love to visit people you love where you’ve all got enough fun, free time to wander around together through a gardening store, reminiscing about all your favorite flowers-coming-up memories.” And allergy pills, I’m also endorsing allergy pills.
More news of our DC trip will be sprinkled throughout this week’s posts, I’m sure… we took a boatload of pictures, as would be expected. For the record, “Spring” and all things associated just barely won out today over the very strong candidate, “having your good friend Megan Woods bake your wedding cake.” Intrigued? That just might pop up on Wednesday… stay tuned.