My flickr pictures

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stingy Jack

My friend threw his 4th annual Jack-o-Lanternpalooza today. As I was taking the shot above (mine is the Pac Man) Anders and I were talking about how in the world the tradition of carving pumpkins would have ever gotten started.

So if you've ever wondered too, then read on:

History of the Jack-o-Lantern

People have been making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.

Source: The History Channel

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Customer Service Winner of the Day

I seriously found this online today while looking for (embarrassingly enough) magazine holders...

You may request a certain color in the comment section of the order form, however we cannot guarantee that we have it, or that you will receive the color you request.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

She Loves Me, She Retails Me Not

Ever shop online and upon checking out see an option to enter a coupon or promotion code? Ever wonder who are the lucky souls that are so fortunate to claim free shipping or receive free lip gloss with orders over $9.99?!

Then make sure to visit before your next online purchase. The site is an open forum where users post coupon/promotional codes for hundreds of online merchants. Run a search for your site, find the code that works best for you, and give it a shot -- you've got nothing to lose. I've used it a few times now and it's beautiful.

It even saved me 10% off my next Amtrak trip!...and I'm not joking. Come November, I'm heading to Chi-city in style. No, really. Yes, Amtrak.

Conet Project Track

Brad pointed out from my previous post that the Conet Project samples didn't play.

So here's a sample à la (make sure to listen for at least a minute and a half):

The Conet Project – The Swedish Rhapsody [G2A]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Get Your Creep On

Looking for some scary "music" for Halloween, yet don't want your average screams, creaks, and howls?

Then check out the Conet Project. I heard about it a few years ago while listening to NPR. The short version of the story is just as eerie as the audio tracks: some guy discovered number stations being broadcast over short wave radio. These number stations typically broadcast some sort of simple lullaby or popular old tune followed by an array of numbers being read by (typically) a female voice. They are believed to have originated in the cold war, and are coded messages that are transmitting some sort of instructions. Think "the cow crows at midnight", or "the red boot shines when lit" nonsense to us, but it means something to someone (i.e. shoot that one dude).

If that's not creepy enough, then imagine finding these short wave signals being broadcast years later, without any sort of explainable source. The founder of the Conet Project has looked, and has had no luck. Some theorize that abandoned computers are sending them out. Others suggest there's some random guy holed up in an underground cave, still believing a nuclear winter is about to hit at any moment and doing his best to keep his spies informed. Whatever the case, these signals are not traceable...nobody knows where they're coming from.

They're broadcast in all sorts of styles and languages. Make sure to listen to a few samples online. And then get ready to really creep out the neighborhood kids...and yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Way Albuquerque Are

Albuquerque is:
  • Dry
  • Rocky
  • Adobe
  • Carne Adovada
  • Green and Red Chiles
  • Obsessed with Balloon Fiesta

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Run Forrest, Run

The Twin Cities Marathon took place today amongst unusual heat and humidity for this time of the year. I ran in the 5k yesterday, and let me tell you, that is still the right distance for me -- it's long enough to feel like you did something, yet short enough that your knees don't feel like they're going to explode.

I love how marathons bring out the best in everyone. If you're a runner, you're pushing your physical limits. If you're a bystander, you're cheering on complete strangers out of pure goodwill and camaraderie

I'm thinking a 10k is next on my list...any recommendations out there?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

That Blackberry is so last year

I had the pleasure of attending MIMA 2007 today in downtown Minneapolis.

It was a great introduction into the world of Interactive Marketing, and I came home energized about all of the exciting opportunities present in the field.

Favorite session: Advergaming: Architecting F-U-N Online, presented by Bret Hummel of Ham in the Fridge.

Favorite speaker: Jason Fried, founder of 37signals. He shared his mantra of Unconventional Collaboration, the subject of his book Getting Real (available to read online for free!). He made some very good and refreshing points that I'd like to summarize in a future blog post, such as: meetings are generally a waste of time, and don't use words like "need" and "easy".

All good stuff. Now if I can only stay focused enough to apply it...