Tuesday, August 31, 2004

On the Vote Boat!

I read Daily Candy almost every day, and almost every day I get mad at myself. It's not written for me, I never act on anything they run, and I'm not sure I'd like the people who do, but there we go. Until today's item:

If you've never voted, you're missing out on one of life's great pleasures.

No, not the satisfaction of performing your civic duty. Or the sense of solidarity with your fellow voters. Or the continuity with our nation's roots in freedom, democracy, and self-determination.

We're talking about the smug feeling of self-congratulatory superiority you get from wearing that little "I voted" sticker on your lapel all day.

Hey, Mr. Goateed Coffeehouse Loiterer: I voted. You know it, Mr. Angry Supervisor at Work: I voted. Read 'em and weep, Ms. Waitress Taking My Lunch Order: I voted. Say it, don't spray it, Mr. Toll-Booth Guy: I voted.

Yeah, check me out, honey: I voted.

Because if you don't, you can't lord it over people.

And that's just plain un-American.

Snark aside, I haven't laughed so loudly at the InterWeb since, well, since Suck. Remember Suck? Mmm, Suck. Little surprise Joey Anuff landed at VH-1.

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Free-Range Comic Book Project XL

This is an installment of Media Diet's Free-Range Comic Book Project:

Secret Weapons #17 (Valiant, February 1995). Writer: Jesse Berdinka. Artist: Anthony Castrillo. Location: On a bench seat on the Brooklyn-bound platform of the 3rd Avenue L station.

For more information on this project, please refer to this Media Diet entry.

Among the Literati LVII

Kevin Spenst emailed me today to say that a collection of short stories I edited -- Dan Buck's This Day's Wait -- inspired him to write short, short stories, as well. And Kevin does.

Since last October, Kevin's written a short story a day, publishing them on his Web site. He's also had work featured on CBC Radio 3 and in Scene 360.

Cool stuff. Thanks for touching base, Kevin!

Label Maker

Two record labels have been making me smile, and they're the kind of record labels that encourage you to trust them enough that any record on the imprints will be worth your time. Major labels sure don't have that going for them.

The first is Reiko Kondo's LA-based Eenie Meenie Records, home label to Seksu Roba, DJ Me DJ You, and the High Water Marks. Consider starting with the Cookbook comp. to get a sense of the label's taste.

And then there's Retard Disco, also based in LA, interestingly enough. Comprising "Nintendo punk" and related bands such as Hawnay Troof, 14 Year Old Girls, and Gravy Train, the label has a hyperactive sense of humor and a sexy edge. Scads of MP3's and videos abound, and you can even hear a song some skater kid recorded on their answering machine in 1999 -- and see 14 Year Old Girls live on Tech TV!

Eenie Meenie and Retard Disco, if I could subscribe to your next five releases, sight unseen and sound unheard, I would.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Make Your Own Media III

Jessica Abel recently published an online guide entitled "Making Minicomics." The handy how to outlines how to use a proportion wheel, mocking up the mini, photocopying the final product, collating, and folding. Now that it looks like Jordan Crane's old how-to guide is no longer available, this might be the next best thing.

Dirty Laundry Hamptons

The New York Post's Hamptons Diary column, which I admittedly never read, caught my eye this morning with an item about an established Hamptons magazine snarking about some recent up and comers.

The September issue of Hamptons Cottages and Gardens, slated to go on sale Sept. 1, includes a 24-page insert dubbed Hamptonseen that drubs its competitors as "the magazine that celebrates self-importance."

Curious how much of a hand HC&G managing editor -- and LES blogger -- Lockhart Steele had in the project.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Blogging About Blogging LXXVII

File under: Opportunity lost? Or, say what?

Blogger's new-ish Next Blog and Blog This features are particularly intriguing if the Blogger toolbar persists when folks follow links via blogs (especially if they use Blogger).

Let's say you read Media Diet. Let's say you use Blogger. Let's say you click on a link within Media Diet.

Now... let's say that, if you use Blogger -- and Blogger's toolbar persists -- when you access links external to Media Diet or any other Blogger-fueled blog., you still, well, have the toolbar. If you use Blogger.

The Blogger toolbar, including Next Blog and Blog This, etc., remain. Even the site-specific search could remain. Google could probably do that. I'm just guessing.

Let's further say that Blog This pulls not just the URL in question, but the referring link -- a la a "[via poindexter.com] or some such suffix. Let's further further say that you can do that at the entry level, not just at the blog level.

Does that require frame-based referrals a la About.com? Perhaps. Honestly, I have the proverbial "no idea." But perhaps there's a more elegant solution. And perhaps, just perhaps, it's hella useful.

I think it might be. If the Blogger toolbar persisted as I scarfed the Interweb via my own blog -- or browser, regardless, now that I think about this -- what might be possible?

That brings up another question, which folks might already have answered. What if Mozilla, Explorer, Netscape, Opera built smart Blog This options into their... toolbars. For Blogger, Moveable Type, and other tools?

I bet plugins aleady exist. Say it's so. Or, say it's impossible.

Blogging About Blogging LXXVI

I've also recently added the Blogger tool bar, which enables you to explore other recently updated Blogger- and Blogspot-fueled blogs. Just click on Next Blog.

Or don't.

I don't mean to be elitist, but if the most recently updated Blogger- and Blogspot-fueled blogs are any indication of the blogosphere, we're in... interesting shape. Let's just consider the last 10 that I just clicked through, which dip into... yesterday.

Perhaps the quality -- and currency -- will improve as the users of this feature increase, but until then, I'm left with the musings of Elvis on the use of 8-bit color in video games. Which is worth reading, especially given that I can't use the Java-driven Blog This feature on my handheld (which will only last until Friday).

Work in progress, I suppose.

Blogging About Blogging LXXV

Just so you know, I just switched to Blogger's commenting tool, replacing the commenting tool I used previously. Perhaps unjustly.

Why? Because I can now receive email notices when Media Dieticians have something to say on the Interweb. Why? To perhaps help combat wily comment spam. Why? You persist. Erm, because it seems I've now lost all of the old comments made using the YAPPS -- I think that's what it was called -- tool. For that I am eternally -- and externally, it seems -- sorry. [The tool was called YACCS, actually.]

We'll just have to see if it works better.

The Free-Range Comic Book Project XXXIX

This is an installment of Media Diet's Free-Range Comic Book Project:

Superman #115 (DC, September 1996). Writer: Dan Jurgens. Artist: Ron Frenz. Location: On a bench on the Court House Square elevated platform on the 7 line.

For more information on this project, please refer to this Media Diet entry.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Music to My Ears LIX

I've also uploaded an iMix entitled Stephen King: Carrie to the iTunes Music Store. The playlist features songs mentioned and quoted in the novel -- not the movie.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Hiptop Nation VII

I emailed T-Mobile this afternoon requesting that they cancel service to my Sidekick. At the end of the month -- or whenever they actually get around to canceling service -- I will no longer be a member of Hiptop Nation.

Technofetishism L

I love the Sony earphones I use for my iPod. They seem to be a generation before the current w.ear line, and much to my dismay, the black foam coverings to the ear pieces just split on one side. I've had these a couple of years, so it's no surprise, but help me out, Media Dieticians: Where can one obtain replacement parts like this? Hook me up.

Music to My Ears LVIII

I just uploaded a new iMix to iTunes Music Store. Stephen King: The Shining is a collection of songs cited and quoted -- or mentioned by name and in passing -- in the novel. It is not a soundtrack to the movie, and I recommend that you listen to the mix while reading the book.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Books Worth a Look XXI

It's been eight months since my last roundup of book reviews, which I stopped doing because of the time commitment. That said, it's still worthwhile commenting on noteworthy media-related books, and last night, I read a novel that inspired me to break my book review silence.

Jeffrey Frank's The Columnist is a quick-witted fictional memoir of a political writer in Washington, DC. Shades of Neal Pollack, Frank's first-person account is by turns egotistical and fantastic, humble and workaday, as the main character, Brandon Sladder, swims with the sharks in beltway politics, navigating his way up the opinion-leader chain of command by way of his writing -- and his romantic dalliances and social maneuverings.

Throughout, Sladder remains blissfully ignorant of the impact his drive has on his family life, and in the end, his success is largely professional, if that. For, as his ego grows, his common sense shrinks, and he ends up committing to those in his life that he can't really depend on. A funny, inside media read that touches on the role of news writers and columnists, how magazines and newspapers work, and the broader influence such media wield.

Magazine Me LI

In the Daily News today, Paul Colford reports that The Nation's circulation has grown 71% during the Bush presidency. Since the Iraq war began, about 24,000 people have subscribed. While it is largely believed that political magazines thrive when the opposition is in power, conservative mag the Weekly Standard rose 30%. Who knew? Initially, I wondered whether the circ. boom had anything to do with Christopher Hitchens' departure.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Music to My Eyes XXVII

Proof positive that hearing music on the TV can lead to record sales. American Movie Classics has been using a snippet of Sam Phillips' song "All Night" in adverts for its Movies at 8. The sheer infectiousness of the song -- it's been stuck in my head for weeks -- finally inspired me to snag her album "A Boot and a Shoe" today. It's not as neat as hearing Papas Fritas in a Dentyne Ice commercial, but it's pretty darn cool. Musicians, license your music to the TV! TV producers, listen to more new music! You can help each other.