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Monthly Archives: July 2007

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The Geek Squads

Watching the last two weeks of VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture, I’ve come to the realization that I wouldn’t make the cut on that show. Too many recent brain-stumpers. I hate to sound fuddy duddyish, but pop culture from the last 5-6 years is a bit of a blur. Identifying memorable, misogynistic song lyrics of 2006 would stump me (as it did the two guys faced with that category, natch). The show’s producers also seem to favor questions relating to recent dumb comedies such as Zoolander. On the other hand, I would definitely rock the Brady Bunch questions, and surprisingly I could rattle off most of the Melrose Place cast despite never having seen an episode. I’ll be tuning in to Friday’s finale, hoping the snotty trust fund babies of Twisted Misters do not win.

L.A. Weekly coverOther goodness this week — the L.A. Weekly has a nice, long profile of Matt Groening. For some reason reading this brought to mind the first couple of Simpsons seasons, when Groening’s quirky touch was a lot more evident in the character designs. Check out those earlier episodes and occasionally you’ll find a weird looking, Groening-esque dude hanging out in the background (like the beady-eyed black kid in Bart’s class). I miss those days before the show’s look got more streamlined. Anyway, good article. Didn’t know that Groening recently renamed his long-running Life In Hell strip Life Is Swell.

Also, Simon Owens of Bloggasm alerted me to his article on Harriet Klausner, The Publishing Industry’s Secret Weapon — and it’s a worthwhile read on everyone’s favorite nongrammatical speed-reading shill. Mostly I liked hearing that some publishers find Ms. Klausner’s “reviews” neither good nor bad for their business, which is better than totally endorsing her.

Fun with a Porpoise

The excellent Fanboy.com points to a beautiful mosaic Totoro rendered in dishes of paint from Japan. My mosaic is coming along well. The beads have all been painted/stained and now I’m nailing each one in the board. Though the completed bottom six rows look slightly uneven, that and the silver nailheads give it a nice, rustic look perfectly in keeping with the subject matter.

I really, really want to hop on this vintage Ride “Porpy” 10¢ machine:

Porpy

(Cough)

A couple of days ago, I was invited on a special “field trip” organized by Christopher’s workplace to go and see Michael Moore’s Sicko. Good film, even if it didn’t tell me much I didn’t already know — if you’re an ininsured, sick American, you’re screwed. HMOs and phamaceutical comglomerates are greedy bastards who thrive on the suffering of others. Hillary Clinton is a lightning rod for whatever cause she embraces. Michael Moore tones it down a bit more this time and the movie takes on an unexpectedly touching turn towards the end. I loved the group of American expatriots living in Paris, relaxing in a café and feeling a teensy bit guilty that the French government takes so much better care of its citizens. What a cool group of people. I want to live in Paris and not bake in 100+ degree temps.

Now if you excuse me, there’s a hot Barbara Stanwyck festival playing on TCM this Monday …

What a Character

Veteran actor Charles Lane died recently at the age of 102. He survived the San Francisco earthquake of 1906 and was a contract player at Warner Brothers in the early ’30s, among many accomplishments. What an amazing life he lived. I have to check out 42nd Street again to see his little bit as the gossip columnist. More on Lane at Mark Evanier’s News From Me.

Seven Years of Unpigeonholeable Tomfoolery

Here’s to odd-numbered anniversaries: seven years ago this week, I started this weblog. I would’ve never believed it would have lasted this long, but yay for longevity. To mark the occasion, I thought it would be a gas to take a look back at the earlier incarnations of Scrubbles.net.

Scrubbles logo #1

In the summer of 2000, I came across an article on “weblogs” in the defunct online magazine Feed. Intrigued, I dove into finding various examples of this “weblog” phenomenon, most of which were technology-oriented or simple online journals. At the time I was working at The Arizona Republic, mostly designing but also writing the occasional travel piece or music review. Basically I was a marketing guy who didn’t quite fit in the newsroom and I needed an outlet to blow off some writing energies. Why not start a weblog, just for fun? So I signed up with Blogger and cobbled together a simple template with the slipshod Scrabble tile logo seen here. The blog was housed on my own personal server with an inpenetrable URL containing a tilde (~). Gosh, it all seems so innocent now.

Scrubbles logo #2

The very blue design #2 was in service from the Summer of 2001 through December 2002. This was a hot period. I was posting multiple times daily on anything and everything, Boing Boing had me linked on their front page, and people were flooding in. The blogging community as a whole was on the crest of a giant wave. Would it ever crash?

Scrubbles logo #3

Design #3 was my favorite, so excellent that it broke my heart when the Great Movable Type Incident of September 2005 forced me to give it up. But I’m getting ahead of myself here — in retrospect, 2003 was a bad year for me. I was under a lot of stress at work and had to take several breaks from the weblog. Eventually I quit and underwent a major reassessment of everthing in my life. Gradually the scrubbles.net m.o. changed from quickie “look what I found” link-based posts to longer, more thoughtful pieces (well, as thoughtful as 400-word odes to junk food and junkier television shows can get). Not quite as hot and sexy as the latest celebrity gossip, but it suited me better.

Scrubbles logo #4

The current scrubbles.net! At the risk of sounding totally self-serving, I feel like we’re getting better with each passing year. So here’s to more retro-goodness, wherever it comes from. If you yourself have a weblog — thanks for the inspiration. If you’re just stopping by — thanks for the visit. I hereby promise to be as unpigeonholeable as possible for the coming seven years or longer.

Who Needs the Kwik-E-Mart

X-Entertainment visits one of the 7-11 outlets restyled as The Simpsons‘ Kwik-E-Mart. The makeover looks like a fun idea, and an insanely popular one at that, but they did it to only eleven outlets across the country. What kind of Mr. Burns-style exec approved that one? D’Oh! Via Gael at PCJM, who also got to try the admittedly pukey sounding blue vanilla Squishie.