thinglets: free socks

At first I thought it was a Social Justice pamphlet to free Johnny "Socks" McNiven from his unjust incarceration for illegal turtle fighting and solicitation for the purposes of shell games. I was shocked to find that apparently men's clothing stores are so far beyond the current market crunch that they're just giving stuff away... now I don't know what I'm gonna do with my closet full of "Free Socks" protest signs. What kind of bothers me is the word NEW is nowhere to be found.

free socks

thinglets: Crazy Robot Sex Doll

Okay, I wish I could claim this was just a wacky title to gain viewers, but alas, my motives are pure. Maybe not so much for this guy or his brother.

"But underneath her wispy auburn hair and peaches and cream complexion is an anatomically correct silicone fembot, easily modified for any number of uses."

What can I say? When winter comes in Canada, some look for comforts wherever they can find them. Domo Arigato Ms. Roboto.

Ms. Roboto

thinglets: UN Human Rights Declaration Turns 60... and so?

Abuses persist as UN rights declaration turns 60 and this blogger wonders if anyone cares, if anyone is listening, if anyone can swat a few world leaders on the nose with a rolled up newspaper and say "NO!"

"In China, where the years since the declaration have seen enormous economic advances but iron-fisted one-party rule, several human rights activists were rounded up and arrested in the days leading up to the anniversary.

Police detained at least four activists after 300 intellectuals, dissidents and writers signed Charter 08, an open letter published online calling for democracy in China and timed to coincide with the celebrations.

In Zimbabwe, black-robed lawyers marched on Parliament and the Supreme Court to protest human rights abuses -- including the kidnapping of activists -- by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's beleaguered regime.

Meanwhile in Greece, young demonstrators rioted for the fifth straight day in protest at the slaying by police of a 15-year-old boy.

Other countries saw lesser violations of the spirit of the 1948 Declaration, such as in Iran, where state agents confiscated rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh's passport to prevent her from flying to Italy to receive an award."

UN Rights

thinglets: Tales From the Beanworld

Quite some time back I was fascinated by a series of comics that presented a surrealistic allegory of society called Tales from the Beanworld. Now enjoying a cult status revival through Dark Horse Comics which currently has a web comic online and through the re-issuing of all previous material in 2009.

If you are familiar with Larry Marder's bizarre creation, you, like me, are probably glad it's back. If not, check out the web comic. You may be a bit lost in the mythology, but there's something refreshing about a comic that's not superhero-based. I encourage people to check it out, with a healthy suspension of reality, and get ready for a CHOW RAID!

The Chow Raid from fashionbuddha on Vimeo.

thinglets: "Neighbours" by Norman McLaren

Canadian Norman McLaren's pacifist satire during the Korean War. Music was done by painting "waves" directly onto the film stock's "soundtrack" strip. Much of his early animation was done the same way (painted frame by frame). Check him out on Youtube. He won an award in 1953 for best Short Form Documentary for this piece. The scenes with the wives and babies was originally pulled by the government which provided the grant for the film and was only reinstated in the 70s. Twisted, poignant, and mildly disturbing.

lovehate: The "i" meets the "mart"

I've never been an Apple fanboy. Sure I kinda liked my Shuffle and I really like my Nano for allowing me to take video podcasts on the go. I do covet the iPod Touch and will probably pick one up within the next couple of weeks. And seeing that it mildly bothers me that iPhones are going to be sold at Walmart, I can only imagine what the Mac fanboys (and girls) must be thinking. Their world of brick-designed polished aluminum and stylized high end merchandise is going to be hocked under the "Have a Nice Day" octogenarian greeters of the uberdiscount leviathan.

Quite simply, Apple has made their continued mark on not only being ahead of the curve in terms of product design, but also on a "cool" factor that created a perceived higher class of gadget and computer buyers. Apple had a group of dedicated apostles willing to pay twice as much for hardware and the same price for music... even while it was held ransom through DRM!

The marriage of the "Holy Grail" product of the "i" prefix with the bargain basement of the "mart" suffix will drive Apple to common highway instead of the toll roads. The first time the acolytes of the Cult of Jobs see an iPhone on sale for 144.44 with the "Always" placard next to it, their hearts will die a little inside.

It's not that I don't understand the marketing angle and the potential cash to be made, but will I ever be able to take the Mac/PC ads in the same vein again? When I think of Justin Long now, will I envision Warren Cheswick in a blue apron making minimum wage?

Okay, look... I know that other Apple products have been available at Walmart for years and the shine hasn't come off the devotees. But along with the Walmart news comes the rumor that iTunes is going DRM-free. After years in the clouds, Apple is coming down to earth. What remains to be seen is if Apple can catch the even larger market of people who would never pay a premium for gadgets. Let's face it, consumers can get cell phones these days for next to nothing and pay as they go. Will bringing the iPhone into suburbia convince the $47.77, no contract buyer to spend $200 with a three year commitment? I'm guessing this is what Apple is banking on.

Maybe the "elite" market is getting tapped out in this economy. Maybe the days of techies paying $3000 for a Macbook that parallels the processing abilities of a $1000 PC laptop. I don't believe Apple is hurting by any means, but I do think they are hedging their bets. My only remaining question is do they have another landmark product on the horizon. We've been seeing a regular pattern over the last few years of Apple rolling out new models of devices that basically do the same thing - kind of like the auto industry... though I don't think an iBailout's in the works.

Is there a future for another portable media device/phone in Apple's future, or is it just model tweaks for the next five years? I have no doubt there is something up the sleeves of the development teams in Cupertino, but the last time there was something completely unknown that was rumored as different and "groundbreaking" Michael Kamen's was pimping It/Ginger - ultimately the Segway. And while the Segway was cool, it certainly wasn't the revolutionary product it was cracked up to be.

The proprietary has met the ordinary. The MOMA has met the dormroom poster sale. The Ferrari's available at Budget Rent-a-car. The "i" has met the "mart"... and the late adopters will carry their new AT&T contract in a plastic basket with a package of Twizzlers, a sweater made in China, and an impulse-buy horoscope scroll.


thinglets: The Procrastination Formulation

Leave it to a Canadian to figure out a mathematical formula for why we leave 'til tomorrow what we could do today.

The equation is U=EV/ID. The 'U' stands for utility, or the desire to complete a given task. It is equal to the product of E, the expectation of success, and V the value of completion, divided by the product of I, the immediacy of the task, and D, the personal sensitivity to delay.

Given the fact that the esteemed Prof. Piers Steel (sounds like a soap opera name) has written an entire book on the formula called The Procrastination Equation: Today's Trouble with Tomorrow, I remain a bit skeptical for a couple of reasons.

While the article says he has spent ten years studying procrastination, I would have much rather heard that he spent nine years thinking about it and then one year actually doing it. That said, his writing of a book on the subject totally invalidates his expertise as an expert in procrastination. In fact, by not writing a book on procrastination, I would say I'm actually a more valid source of procrastinary insight than Steel.

I further intend to prove my procrastination skills by announcing my first novel called Ulysses 2: My Trip to the Jameson Distillery in 1000 pages or More. I expect to be done eventually and dedicate my efforts, or lack thereof, to my good friend, the Chief Eventualist Officer, Mike Vardy at


lovehate: The Pains of Iodine

There was one word that scared the living hell out of everyone who skinned a knee or elbow as a child: iodine. Iodine hurt like hell. It was a combination of pain as well. Most types of pain can be described as searing for a minute and then it's okay, or a long-term irritation that never makes you tear up, but can cause you major discomfort with the occasional wincing. I always remember iodine as a "take no prisoners" new ring of Dante's Inferno.

Now, admittedly, I can't remember many of the details of iodine pain as a child except for the fact that I would have rather hacked my limb off than have iodine applied. Hell, there were plenty of times I may have accepted amputation and cauterizing as long as it was not followed by venom-like sting of iodine.

I can honestly say that the most intense pain I've ever felt in my life was when, in my early 20s, I had minor surgery on my back and, instead of stitching the wound, they advised letting it heal while keeping it bandaged and packed with gauze. Some of you may be feeling faint at the concept of an open wound, yet, those of you who have even a minor experience in surgery at all may know that this method can prevent future infection... anyway... back to my back, and my pain. Before leaving the hospital, as a means of disinfecting, and what I'm guessing was a standard wound dressing practice, they placed an iodine-coated dry strip in the incision.

I cannot describe the plummeting depths of pain that I went through. The only thing I could've imagined as worse was if Rod Stewart had tried to ressurect his career by remaking three CDs full of R&B hits and those songs being the only ones on your iPod, which was stuck in shuffle mode so the pain (like any good torture) was fresh and unexpected each time, while you were stuck on a desert island with the earbuds sutured into your ears, the headphone jack welded into the Shuffle, and the iPod battery on some freaky new solar battery technology, which, due to the island's location, kept the batteries fully charged.

This pain seemed to go on for hours, although it was more like a minute before I was able to convince the nurse to remove the strip and find some other way that wouldn't have me looking for the nearest upper floor window. While I can't claim to be traumatized by the event, it has become the standard by which all other pain is measured... ergo the complete parallel of the Rod Stewart example.

And I bring you through all of my personal hell to introduce the following... (ironically enough) pointed to a story about a Canadian initiative that claimed the deficiency of iodine in food and drink can lead to a 13 point deficiency in IQ. The Micronutrient Initiative has introduced more iodine in the diet of developing countries and gathered evidence to show how IQ has increased. I think that few would be surprised to accept a link between nutrition and intelligence. I daresay that one of the numerous reasons children from lower income socio-economic areas have problems in school is a result of a healthy and consistent diet. I'm not saying iodized salt will solve the world's ills, but it's good to have a long-known piece of the puzzle has another piece of empirical data.

There must, however, be a growing fear in many of these developing countries. Many of people are overworked, underpaid, impoverished and hopeless. Woe to be the government that actually has a growing populace that can start to think of a way out of their positions and consider change. Woe to be the western conglomorate exec. who has a shoe or clothing factory that pays pennies on the dollar for a 12-16 hour day of work when their workforce suddenly feels inspired with thoughts or evolution and revolution. Poverty and malnutrition has always been a more powerful tool than any gun or army in keeping a class subdued. Are governments ready, willing and able to face the full impact and pains of social change that a nutrient as simple as iodine can bring?

And I introduced that just to bring you back to this...

I fully believe that the pain I felt from my iodine hell was in fact the knowledge of the world trying to flood into my limited brain, and that, had I the fortitude to withstand the pain, I would now be the smartest person in the world.

iodized salt