Capn Design

January 2005

This month I posted 38 entries, watched 6 videos and took 6 photos.

Esref Armagan, A Blind Painter
Waiting III

Another beautiful shot from Heather

I'm Off to Operation Snowball

Posted January 28, 2005

I'm back in Chicago now to staff another Operation Snowball. At it's most basic, it's a substance abuse prevention program, but I think it's more. Their site explains the source of the name simply -- "If I have a positive impact on you, you can have a positive impact on someone else and the effect snowballs."

The weekends from my school district tend to focus more on teaching high school kids to respect themselves and learn to have a good time without any...assistance. Putting people in a comfortable environment allows them to see what it's like to be themselves instead of the persona they put on for those in their everyday lives. The idea is that they'll realize this feeling ain't so bad and start bringing this newfound confidence back with them after the weekend. Hopefully, the increased confidence will help them enjoy life and decrease the need for drinking or smoking.

That's the gist of it. All of this being said, I think there is definitely room for "substance" in life. The key is, like so many lite beer ads say, learning to enjoy it responsibly. Dependence is bad.

I love doing these weekends because it feels good to see so many kids who enjoy the opportunity to let loose and be themselves. This is why I've been involved for over 10 years now. Unfortunately, not too many can sustain that attitude after the weekend. Still, I'd rather give them this weekend, this respite from the drudgeries of everyday life, then leave them be.

So, I'ed Him Last Night

Posted January 28, 2005

The title of this post is a quote from tonight's episode of the OC. It seems that Amazon is really making an effort to push their new-ish search page, Good for them.

The unfortunate thing is that "" is not very easy to turn into a verb. More importantly, I wonder how many people actually knew what Lindsay meant when she said that. I don't think that is all that well known yet. It would be interesting to try and measure the success of the plug.

One thing that definitely makes a9 worth noticing is their new yellow pages. It's a local search that has photos of the actual location. That'll be really helpful when you're visiting unfamiliar territory.

It's nice to know that Amazon is doing their best to please both the geeks and the tweens. Could you imagine being a 12 year-old web geek who watches the O.C.? You'd probably explode.

Lately, Life Imitates Art

Posted January 27, 2005

These things have popped up in the media in the last few weeks and they seem to be pulled directly from tv shows. Are criminals/idiots not as saavy as before or are they just more connected?

If we just take away their TVs then the world would be so much safer.

A Real Homocide Cop Speaks Up on Craigslist

[via gulfstream]

Overshadowed/990000 Video


Ben Lee's Blog

He also has a redesigned site and an RSS feed for news

Top 25 Toughest Questions Asked at Job Interviews

I'm in Boston. Oops.

Posted January 23, 2005

I had been planning to spend this weekend in Boston for a while. I hadn't visited my uncle and aunt here for quite some time. Despite hearing about an oncoming snow storm in advance, I thought I'd head up there anyway.

Oops. If you hadn't heard, Boston got over two feet of snow overnight. And if you live in the desert and have never seen snow, that's a lot. On top of this huge amount of snow, there were monstrous snow drifts. I have some good pictures of this, which I'll upload tomorrow when I get home.

Even though it probably wasn't a great decision to come here with all this snow coming, I'm glad I did it. My uncle's a great cook and we've just been eating a whole lot. Tonight we're having a beef stew, which looks spectacular.

Now, I'm gonna get back to the football game and maybe get a cup of hot chocolate.

Woman Arrested for Erasing Ex-Boyfriend's Saved Game

[via Airbag]

Matt Receives his Mac Mini

He links to some good photos as well

Ta-Da Lists

A new toy from 37 Signals

Cory Questions AA's Decision to Gather Information


Naz Relaunches Weightshift

and introduces Memo

Making The Polar Express Less Scary
Now There is Zero Reason to Watch the Super Bowl

NFL Network to play every ad from Superbowl XXXIX back-to-back [via Davenetics]

Ask Not Why Inaugural Addresses Are So Rotten

[via gulfstream]

My New Yorker is Here Already?

Posted January 19, 2005

I love my job, but I just don't have enough time for it. I mean, how am I supposed to consume magazines, books, weblogs, movies, tv shows, concerts and theater while still going to work? As I get older and my knowledge of interesting artists grows, I find that the amount of media I'd like to consume is just overwhelming. After some thinking, I came up with two potential solutions.

First, I could train myself to sleep less. Currently I sleep about seven hours a night, but I think I could could bring it down to five or six with some training. Still, they say sleep is important and I'd rather not give it up if I don't have to.

Second, I could quit my job and try and find something that would let me consume media all day. I wouldn't expect to be able to do everything I'd like, but even if I could knock off, say, weblogs and magazines then that would help a lot. Unfortunately, this doesn't seem very realistic. I suppose I could start a website focused on reviews but it's highly unlikely I'd be able to live off of it.

Thus, I am unable to enjoy everything I'd like. It seems the only solution is to come to peace with my inability to listen, read and watch everything I'd like, but that's a bit pessimistic. And so I'm stuck. My only hope now is that I'm able to live until I'm about 200 so I can catch up on all the old New Yorkers I have.

iPod Jewelry

Fabulous idea [via gizmodo]

I'm Interviewing Brendan Benson

Posted January 18, 2005

On Friday, I'll be interviewing Brendan Benson for twenty/forty. Any questions you'd like me to ask him?

Accordian Guy Discovers a Crispin Glover Movie Trailer

Totally insane, but I will be happy to watch and chuckle

Accept All Returns

Posted January 15, 2005

This is the story of how B&N lost $160 worth of sales and Borders picked it up. Without giving away the ending, I'll tell you that Borders is doing smart business, and the other guy ain't.

For my last birthday, my grandparents got me this Hitchcock box set. It was a great idea, but I had a couple of the movies already and it included some serious stinkers (Topaz, Family Plot). Alas, I didn't return it in time. Still, I was determined to return this somewhere and get some stuff I wanted.

Knowing that B&N has pretty high prices and tends to accept returns without receipts, I tried there first. I talked to a sales clerk when arrived, who said that I could exchange it for products right now or get a credit mailed to me in 2-3 weeks. Wanting instant gratification, I opted to pick out some stuff right away. She told me the box set was worth $161.39, to which I went, "Guuuuuuh," as my eyebrows rose six inches above my head.

For an hour, I picked out a bunch of books, a few magazines and a couple albums. I went back to check out and a new lady was there. I told her the deal and she punched some numbers in her system. "Oh. It looks like I can give you $39.99 for that." "Uh, what?!?" Apparently B&N has to give the lowest price they offer through any of there venues. So, instead of giving $160 worth of revenue to B&N, I decided to just leave. Screw 'em.

The next day, I called Borders and they said they'd happily accept the return and would be give me a store card. I went in, and that's exactly what happened. Including tax, I got about $144. The store was kind of small, so I could only find a couple books and a few magazines. Thankfully, their cards also work online. Aftet dropping about $60 in the store, I spent another $100 on their website.

The Borders folks probably knew I didn't buy the DVD set there, but they picked up a piece of inventory they already sell and allowed me to turn the revenue around for something I wanted. They added some revenue to their bottom line and they made my life easier. As a result, I'll do my best to shop at their store.

It seems that there are very few chain stores that value customer experience, probably because margins are so low. Personally, I'd think low margins and strong competition would encourage better customer service, but not everyone seems to get that.

Harvey Danger Studio Blog

Awesome, new ablum! [via]

JPG Magazine: Issue 1

It's out!

Apple's Tipping Point

excellent infographic by nixlog (also see his mac mini stacks)

Mooning Football Players and FCC Indecency

Posted January 9, 2005

Today, Randy Moss mock-mooned the fans in Green Bay after he caught a touchdown for the Vikings. Immediately, the announcers were calling him out, saying that was "disgusting." Give me a break. He didn't actually moon them, he was just having some fun. What's the big deal?

I can't stand how sports pundits expect players to act like they're proper gentlemen. This is football, not polo. Let the players show some emotion. I don't care and I'm pretty sure that most folks watching grown men knock the shit out of each other don't care if someone has a goofy touchdown celebration.

I'm sick of all this mock concern for morality and decency. According to this article from Mediaweek, there were just below 1.1 million complaints about indecency to the FCC in 2004 up until October 1st. 540,000 were made in regards to the nipple slip at the Super Bowl. Of the remaining 500,000 or so, 99.9% were from one group, the Parent's Television Council (PTC). In 2003, 99.98% of all complaints were made by the same group. If you take those away, 500 complaints were made by other folks over a nine month period in 2004. That's it.

With that being said, I hope you too can endorse Randy Moss's mock-mooning. I just hope those folks over at PTC can cool their freakin' jets so I don't have to listen to people up in arms over a mock-mooning. Sheesh.

Here's a Minivan I'd Buy

Nice one, Ford

Saturn Aura Concept Car

It's based on the Pontiac G6, but it's way sexier

Camera Mail

Send a camera in the mail, tell postal workers to take photos, develop, repeat

Tons of Hot CES Products

Check out Gizmodo too.

Tops of 2004: Movies

Posted January 6, 2005

As you can see, it took me a while to settle on my favorite movies of the year. I saw more new films this year than I had in any previous year. By my count, I saw 59 new films this year. Of those, I narrowed it down to ten and I've got several more I couldn't help but mention, even if I didn't give them a ranking. Here goes.

1. The Incredibles
I was swept away by this Pixar/Brad Bird classic. I have always appreciated Pixar's ability to make fun and beautiful movies, but this one has so much more. Kudos for treating this as a feature film, not an animated feature film.

2. Sideways
It's the most underrated/overrated film this year, apparently. Whatever those crazy critics say, I loved this movie. It was touching and biting, which is a fun combination.

3. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Charlie Kaufman and Michael Gondry try collaborating a second time, and it really works. I saw this one twice and I enjoyed it even more the second time. (Note: their first collaboration is Human Nature)

4. Bad Education
This film is slightly weaker than Talk to Her, which means it's fantastic instead of amazing. Pedro Almodovar is officially one of my favorite directors.

5. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster
Here's my "surprise" pick. Going into the movie I couldn't stand Metallica; When I left I still disliked them, but I understood them. This is my favorite non-concert music documentary. Another contender is Plaster Caster.

6. Kill Bill: Volume Two
Yes, it was over the top, but I loved this film. It could have been number one if both volumes had been edited into one film. They can stand on their own, but they're much, much better together.

7. Touching the Void
The true story of two men who get stuck in the Peruvian Andes. One breaks his leg, and they both manage to make it down alive. I had heard of the book, and a few recommendations by blogs made me give it a shot. Once I started watching I couldn't stop. It was incredibly gripping.

8. I Heart Huckabees
David O. Russell is freakin' crazy. Thank God.

9. Million Dollar Baby
Despite being a bit cliché at times, I loved the story. Hilary Swank was terrific as well.

10. Before Sunset
I still haven't seen the first first film, but I thought Linklater's newest film was very refreshing. The dialogue was spectacular.

The Rest:
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Motorcycle Diaries, Anchorman, Born Into Brothels, Dawn of the Dead, Garden State, Goodbye, Lenin!, Hero, Mean Girls, Riding Giants, Saved!, Shaun of the Dead, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie

Dawn of the Dead was the best horror movie I saw and Shaun of the Dead has the best genre (zom rom com). The rest of those listed above were great films, but didn't quite make the cut.

Six Apart Acquires LiveJournal: Formal Announcement
Six Apart to Buy Livejournal?!?

That''ll shake things up. (confirmed by eWeek) [via waxy]

A Year of Ticket Stubs

Posted January 4, 2005

Million Dollar Baby
Million Dollar Baby, originally uploaded by capndesign.

Throughout the year, and hopefully beyond, I'll be scanning ticket stubs for every event I go to and posting a little story or review along with the stub.

I used to collect stubs but they would end up all over the place and eventually fade. This way, I'll have a permanent record and can share them with everyone else. You can follow along throughout the year via this flickr photoset.

The Pitchfork Effect

Posted January 3, 2005

Today, the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about the effect of Pitchfork on small albums. Their prime example is Arcade Fire's Funeral, an album that the notoriously stingy Pitchfork absolutely loved. After giving it a 9.7 out of 10, Arcade Fire's record label, Touch and Go, couldn't "keep stock in the building, stores were [sold] out. We were re-pressing them as fast as we could, but the demand was so great that we couldn't keep up." They've now sold around 28,000 copies, which is pretty amazing.

Personally, it seems the reason this can happen is because Pitchfork is one of the only places online for reputable record reviews. The only other two sites that seem to have any real cred are Tiny Mix Tapes and Pop Matters (If you know others, please share in the comments). On top of having only two competitors, TMT showed up well after Pitchfork became successful and Pop Matters doesn't appeal to quite the same audience. So, it's fairly obvious why Pitchfork wields so much power -- they have no real competitors.

Instead of asking why Pitchfork has such power we should ask why there aren't more music sites that command the same amount of respect. One could argue that Pitchfork's reviews are incredibly well-written, but I have a few dozen friends who would quickly disagree.

I don't have the answer, but would guess it has something to do with their ability to post highly regularly and that they're still around after ten years (according to their advertising page). Can you figure out why they're so dominant?

How to Wrap a Burrito

[via A Full Belly]


An excellent cool t-shirt blog [via boing boing]

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