Merry Christmas from Epic Rap Battles of History!

epic_rap_battlesMy favorite rap/history crossover spoofers are at it again, this time with a rap battle that perfectly captures the spirit of the holidays. Well, sort of. In any case, we have Donald Trump rapping against Ebeneezer Scrooge, a confrontation of curmudgeony capitalists, which then turns into a bit of a tribute to Dicken’s A Christmas Carol.

Hope everyone is having a happy, safe and enjoyable holiday season, with plenty of fun, family, and some decent swag! Enjoy!

Westjet Christmas Miracle: Real-Time Giving

This was not only inspirational from a purely human standpoint, it was also really impressive in terms of the technology used. Basically, customers talked to a Santa impersonator using a real-time telepresence link, told him what they wanted, and then boarded their flights. Then, while they were flying, the Westjet staff went out and bought them what they asked for, everything from socks to LCD TVs.

When the customers arrived, they received their presents on the luggage conveyor. And of course, the entire thing was caught on video and distributed for promotional purposes. Quite the Christmas miracle, isn’t it? Check it out! And curses to Coach Muller for beating me to it 😉

Winter is Here: GOT Paper Snowflakes!

GoTSnowflakes-1024x529-660x340Perhaps taking their cue from Star Wars snowflakes, graphic designer Krystal Higgins has designed a series of eight relatively easy-to-make paper snowflakes based on the sigils of the major houses in Game of Thrones. In addition to being a major GOT fan, Higgins felt inspired by the franchise sigils would present a very cool challenge for people looking to make holiday patterns.

As Higgins told Wired magazine during a recent interview:

The sigil characters inspired me to get creative about how I could abstract animal shapes into a pattern, while still keeping them recognizable. The antlers on the stags, for example, were incredibly tricky, but also ended up looking incredibly cool as part of a whole snowflake. I wanted to create something that would look interesting to folks who don’t watch the show or read the books.

And while these types of designs are outside of Higgins usual repertoire, she embraced them this year as a festive project that would be inclusive for religious and secular friends alike. Seriously, who would find GOT offensive? Unless of course you object to violence or nudity in media… As for what’s next, Higgins expressed interest in animal patterns or possibly dabbling into the Doctor Who genre.

In any case, you can download the patterns for snowflakes for the sigils of house Targaryen, Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy, and Tully, Arryn, and Martell from her website. Merry Christmas and happy holidays! In the meantime, check out this cool video of of the Star Wars snowflakes, or download some of the patterns by clicking here.


Going to Seattle!

Space_Needle002Hi folks. Just a heads up from your humble blogger to say that I will be out of town for the next few days, and therefore quite AFK! In fact, it seems I’ve been away-from-keyboard quite a bit these past few weeks. But it’s been that kind of month. Plenty of drama, tragedies involving old friends, injuries and illnesses, and lots of lots of tiring work.

Naturally, this weekend is expected be a reprieve from most of that. The family, which includes my mother, father, sister and brother-in-law, are all getting together in Seattle to celebrate the birthdays of my darling wife, mother and myself. Ah, perhaps I should explain that better. You see, our three birthdays all fall within a few days of each other. And as my sister lives down in Oregon, we find it is difficult for large-scale family gatherings.

As such, we do our best to convene the six of us whenever we can as close to the days of January 21st to 26th as possible. As usual, there is to be shopping, visits to local places of color and culture, and hopefully a good long walk in the Pike Place Market. Always a good time down there, and this year I wonder if I will run into half as many crazies as last year. I tell ya, within the space of a block, there was a man yelling “I didn’t do it!” at me, a woman handing out pamphlets of how RFID chips were the “Mark of the Devil”, and a Church of Scientology offering free IQ tests. I’ll leave it to you to guess which I found the nuttiest!

Pike Place Market SeattleAnd, assuming I get my way, we shall also be taking a tour of the Pike Place Brewery this year, one of North America’s oldest and most venerated craft breweries! As a beer snob with his own website (check it out here), I always enjoy sampling new and exciting beers and this place has been a very good source of Pacific Northwest brews over the last few years. It, like much else about the Northwestern US, makes me think that a Cascadian Republic could really work. Or failing that, that the great states of Washington and Oregon should be invited to become part of Canada. It’s not so crazy, many people say they are practically the 11th and 12 provinces anyway! 😉

In any case, I look forward to seeing my sister again, as we get so few chances to get together anymore. Hoping to score some decent swag and give my sister the presents she’s been waiting on for the past few birthdays and Christmases as well. I shall be back on Sunday, so whatever editing, writing, and articling I have promised or committed to shall resume by then. Hope you all have a great weekend too, cuz I know we’ve all earned one! I look forward to us all being well-rested, relaxed and alert come Monday!

Happy New Year!

newyearsHappy Holidays folks! I certainly hope everyone is having a nice and relaxing time, although I admit that’s not too likely. When are the holidays EVER relaxing? You’ve got family, travel, last minute shopping, planning, preparations, lots of cooking, the fact that everything’s closed, driving in bad weather, and of course all that concern over the weight you’re putting on!

But in and around all that, I like to think there’s plenty of opportunities for joy and fun, and hopefully some serious swag! Speaking of which, I may have already announced that I got this super new computer! Already, I have given it the litmus test, testing my super-demanding games on it. And they run FAAAAST! I’ve been blowing shit up and firing off guns with the best of them. Next time I play multiplayer, aint nobody gonna be booting me on a count of lag!

And then there’s the little fondue pot I got, which is specifically designed for baking Bries. And some red pepper jelly on top of that, which ought to make for some serious eats! And of course, some much-needed outdoor gear, and some toys for our cat Jasper – who, by the way, hates to travel! And though we love our families very much, we are quite happy to be back in our own place. Jasper is especially happy; he spent the first hour after we got back marking everything. It was as if he were saying “This is mine! And this is mine! And this is mine!”

Also, I’d just like to take this opportunity to rub it in on all those apocalyptic folks. Hey y’all, guess what? The target time and date came and went and do you know what? WE’RE STILL HERE! Seriously, don’t you people get tired of being wrong? Yes, a new year is rolling around is a few days and (God willing!) we can look forward to another year of failed apocalypses.

Hope everyone has something nice planned for the evening of the 31st! See ya’ll in the New Year!