Category Archives: silliness

pumpkinhead

This is a picture I took of myself in 2008. I may have shared it before…I don’t remember! It’s hard to keep track of things when you have a pumpkin for a head.

8 simple tips for effective web design

Web design has come a long way in recent years, and the many varied themes and templates can make much of it easier for the casual web designer. But before you get started, it’s still helpful to know a few basics of web design that can lead to a more effective web site.

  1. Clarity: Probably the most important element of web design is clarity. The strands of content should be clearly highlighted, and easy to discern and interpret.
  2. Simplicity: too busy a web design can make it difficult to find the critical content, and visitors may not even know where to land.
  3. Effective use of space: A more effective web design makes better use of space put the content in focus, and make the navigation structure clear.
  4. Integrated designs: Another type of web design is for smaller sites that are integrated into larger sites. This clever design makes use of a small space in a larger layout. Its sparse but elegant lines integrate well into the aesthetic of the larger site.
  5. Background: One simple but important detail of good web design is background color. In this example, the web designer tried to make use of too bright and bold a background, making the important details of the design hard to spot. Designs like this are more likely to draw attention to the web designer herself, rather than the web content, which is a deterrent to most website visitors.
  6. Visual elements: Choosing the right images for your web design is also key. Choosing a unifying theme, repetition of design elements, and subtle use of color can give pleasing harmony to the web design.
  7. Stickiness: One of the main goals of good web design is to get visitors not just to fly through, but to land and stay. This web design may not look like much at first, but its structure has great elements to get visitors to really stick.
  8. Upkeep: One also must not forget to maintain one’s web design. It doesn’t take long for a web site to start to look dated. Even if a web site has compelling visual elements to attract visitors to the site, multiple broken links will guarantee that visitors will take off soon and land on more frequently updated web sites.

When you start out on your own web design, try to keep these points in mind to make your site more effective. Of course, never lose sight of the ultimate goal of web design: to trap visitors and drain them of their bodily fluids.

Gallery of Marvelous Mushrooms

Step right up and behold this wondrous array of freakish specimens of the fungal world!

First up, be amazed by these amazing balls of mushroom! Amazeballs!

And what, pray tell, is this large object? A hat? A chair? A satellite dish? It’s a mushroom, I say!

What’s that strange gray flower, you say? That’s no flower!

These petals are all fungus, my friends!

Gray too dull for you? Need more color in your fungal bouquet? How about a bit of green to brighten you fungal arrangement?

And what’s this emerging from the mulch? Is that a yellow balloon, being inflated from below? Decorations for the mole’s birthday party? Why, no! It’s a mushroom!

What’s up in that tree? Has someone adorned the trunk with a festive flouncing of ruffles? Why no! These lovelies have planted themselves!

And this strange thing poking up through the garden mulch reminds me of something…I can’t quite place it…

And what’s that disk hovering low to the ground, practically glowing in the twilight? Is that a tiny UFO, bringing tiny aliens to earth?

Well, no! Would you believe it’s merely a mushroom?

Watch your head as you exit the gallery, and don’t forget to pay a visit to the gift shop on your way out.

This evening’s presentation was brought to you by the Fans of Fungal Fabulousness, a completely fictitious group of mushroom maniacs. It was also brought to you by an excess of tiredness and a bit too much caffeine late in the day.

the frankenstein of beverage containers

When one purchases a soft drink from a convenience store, one frequently has the choice to buy one in a bottle or in a can.


An ordinary-looking drink can.


An ordinary-looking drink bottle.


What’s this?


I don’t understand this confusing world anymore!

When my cousin and I visited Beijing a couple years ago, we came across this monstrous hybrid of a beverage container while going about our business. Naturally, we were compelled to buy one, and try it out. It turns out that Glinter, the soft drink that comes in the bottle-can/can-bottle (cottle? ban? bancottle? cottleban? Dear-god-what-is-this-world-coming-to-container?) is a fairly ordinary-tasting concoction. I say “ordinary-tasting” because I don’t much remember what it tasted like, though probably something much like Sprite or 7-up, but perhaps (judging by the image on the…packaging) more orangey. (A web search tells me that this soft drink is from Malaysia. I won’t link to it, since it plays music, and I hate when websites play music. But feel free to google it. If you dare.)

This week’s friday foto finder theme is “novelty.” My kids end up getting all sorts of cheap novelties from birthday parties and things, but mostly they are pretty uninteresting. (Can novelties get old? Yup, I think so.) But rather than dig out some plastic doodads, I thought I’d share these photos I had of something I found to be pretty novel.

Speaking of novel, when I asked John what the phrase “the frankenstein of beverage containers” evoked for him, he replied, “you’re talking about the Vessyl, right?” Of course, not knowing what the hell he was talking about, I thought he said “vessel.” But it turns out that the Vessyl is a weird cyber-monstrosity of a beverage holder. It’s a cup that, using advanced technology, tells you what beverage is in it. Or, as ValleyWag puts it, it is “the $200 smart cup that helps dummies remember what they’re drinking.” That is certainly…novel. (I wonder why they didn’t call it the iCup?)

And speaking of novel gadgets that actually are a bit more appealing (at least to me, seeing as I can usually remember what drink I’ve poured), have you seen this pen that can scan objects for color and mix inks to match them? I don’t really have a use for such a thing, but it does sound like it would be fun to play with.

To see what other novelties have been shared this week, or to share photos of your own novelties, pay a visit to the fff blog.
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Welcome Back, Pants


The Pants Institute is pleased as pants to present: The Classic Pants TV Lineup!¹

From the conservative black & white pinstriped pants of the 50s to the colorful polyster prints of the 60s and 70s bellbottoms and on through the high-waisted peg-legs of the 80s, this look back at the golden era of Pants TV will bring a smile to your pants.

  • I Love Pants: This classic show from the 1950s features a young married woman’s antics, which frequently involve trying to sneak around in her husband’s pants.
  • Growing Pants: A family learn that as the kids get older, they must wear larger sizes of pants, or be increasingly uncomfortable.
  • All in the Pants: A 70s show about the life and family of a middle-aged middle-class white man who struggles to adjust to changing societal norms for who wears the pants in the family.
  • I Dream of Pants: An astronaut happens across a pair of magic harem pants that can fulfill his wishes, but only if he wears them in secret.
  • Three’s Pants: In this madcap 70s comedy, 3 single young adults sharing an apartment are always getting their pants mixed up in the laundry.
  • The Pants Boat: Each weak, different styles of pants are paraded on the decks of the Pantsific Princess, a cruise ship that promises to pair up pairs of pants.
  • Pantasy Island: Each week visitors arrive on a tropical island to act out their wildest fantasies of wearing different pants.
  • Diff’rent Pants: 2 young boys from Harlem must trade in their worn-out jeans for new fancy pants when adopted by a man with millions of pants.
  • The Facts of Pants: A group of teenage girls in a boarding school learn about love, life and pants.
  • The Golden Pants: 4 older women live together in the 80s and wear 4 distinct styles of pants.
  • The Pants Bunch: When 2 families merge their wardrobes, how will they ever fit all their 70s polyester pants into one dresser?
  • Welcome Back, Pants: A high school teacher and his students teach each other lessons about changing pants fashions and returning classic pants styles.

This post is for Mary, who requested a pants post when I asked for suggestions on things to post about. This post is also dedicated to my dear friend Elizabeth, who first introduced me to the comedic power of pants, and who should have been wearing her birthday pants today. I still miss her every day.

Can’t get enough pants? Try these on for size:


¹ I had just about finished this post when I had a nagging memory that my blogging buddy Painted Maypole had years ago done a pants-TV-themed post, as part of a challenge to write a post in the style of another blogger. (She chose me!) Happily, there is only a wee bit of overlapping in the pants shows. And these are rerun pants, anyhow…

old thyme photos (friday foto finder: herbs)

It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that I am not capable of talking about thyme without making puns.

This week’s friday foto finder challenge is “herbs.” Well, actually, it’s “HERBS.” So maybe I should have tried to finds some Herbs, not herbs. I don’t actually know any Herbs. I did learn that there is a slang meaning of herb (with the h pronounced) that means, more-or-less, “dork.” I don’t know if admitting that I learned that on Urban Dictionary makes me a herb. Let’s pretend not.

Anyhow, I seem to have gotten sidetracked by herbs (h pronounced) while looking for herbs (silent h). I did find some herbs, but not much in the way of an interesting photo. I did remember that I’d gotten some thyme as part of my experience belonging to a CSA in 2007, and tracked down this old photo, which features some thyme hanging out with some veggies. So, we have an old photo of thyme.

Then I vaguely remembered having bought some fresh herbs to use in preparing my Thanksgiving feast. Remarkably, the package of thyme has held up quite well in my refrigerator. I was amused to see that the label says “Infinite.” No wonder it has lasted so well, being infinite thyme. (I never realized I was someone with infinite thyme on my hands. Or in my vegetable drawer.)

But wait! It gets older! When I was checking to see if there was anything interesting of the herbal variety in my spice cabinet, I found this bottle of “Organic Lemon Thyme,” which someone long ago had lovingly labeled with masking tape and bubble letters. This is not actually thyme that I have used, and I didn’t really mean to save it. I liked the bottle, which had been in an apartment I lived in when I was an undergraduate. That was over 20 years ago.

This, my friends, is some old thyme.

To see what other herbs have been dug up, pay a visit to the fff blog. Have some herbs you want to share? There’s still time to play along!

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Bidding Winter goodbye

Tomorrow is the official first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Unfortunately, in the particular part of the Northern Hemisphere where I live, Winter seems not to have gotten that message.

I’ve gone into Boston for meetings the last couple of days, and the snow is all but gone there. Roofs, roads, and ground are free of snow and ice, save for the occasional fist-sized stubborn lump of ice remaining from what once have been a mighty mound.

Not so in my neck of the woods. Here is my front yard:

This is the mound of snow and ice resulting from shoveling out the top of the driveway. This was this morning. It was 20 degrees out.

It’s true that I have really enjoyed looking at and taking pictures of many of the ice and snow formations.

I have many, many photos of ice and snow. Icicles, frost, falling snow. Snow flakes, snow men, snow caves. Sparkling ice in the morning sun. Smooth frozen puddles with embedded bubbles and cracks. Fluffy untrampled snow, and interesting patterns of tracks in the snow. Quite honestly, I am about ready to move on to another subject matter.

Soon, I hope to fill up my phone with images of green shoots and early blooms. Unfortunately , this is where our first crocuses tend to emerge:

There are many things that I like about Winter. One of them is that it eventually ends and gives way to Spring. So, here’s wishing a fond farewell to Winter. (And here’s hoping that Winter gets the message and departs. Before I have to file a restraining order against it.)