People

Sweetums degrees

Comparison

Sometimes people ask me about my twitter handle @sweetums. It’s not from the muppet, but I did make this connection today: Sweetums was performed by Richard Hunt, who performed Statler, who was named after the Statler Hotel, which was renamed Hotel Pennsylvania, which was where HOPE was held, which was covered by Sweetums for Hack a Day. Woo 5 degrees!

The name actually comes from a one-liner I used once: “I was thinking of calling my motorcycle ‘Sweetums’… or is that too butch?”

It’s just a silly contrast joke, but I throughly enjoy people calling me sweetums. When you introduce yourself as ‘sweetums’, it’s disarming and when people address you as ‘sweetums’, it’s endearing.

UPDATE: Added image based on Frosty’s comment.

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People

Just do it

EPIC GRAIL

Merlin Mann has an excellent/painful post on real advice; it’s not necessarily what you want to hear.

It made me think of some of my favorite distilled advice: Just do it. Many people ask Ze Frank how he is so creative. It’s because he tries to execute on an idea as soon as possible. He puts it into working form instead of mulling about and shaping it into the perfect idea in his head. This is same reason he never really talked about what camera he used or his editing process; he didn’t want people to get hung up equipment when all they should be concerned about is the content of their videos.

I’m still working on pushing out ideas. That’s actually why I use Skitch so much. It’s me shoving a joke out the door instead of just pondering “well that could be funny”. I could get hung up on trying to learn Photoshop and making a perfectly rendered image. Deviating from the original goal: yak shaving (only now realizing I learned that from another Mann column). Instead, I put in the appropriate amount of energy and move on. I get the satisfaction of creating something and hopefully someone gets a chuckle out of it. I may have purchased a domain or two with similar motivation. The majority of these images are hosted in private on Skitch because I never intended them to have the general audience of Flickr.

I hope this gives a little insight into what makes me tick. Apologies if it doesn’t quite make sense; I kinda wanted to get it out there.

Selected Skitch stupidity: CK the broker, Maker Faire Arrakis, arm transplant, twitter bird failure, the Stones, crypto humor, the cup, another word for pirate treasure.

[Thanks to Chris Miller for the original link.]

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People

Ghost votes

My grandmother on my mother’s side passed away today (My grandma Phillips died in April). A recent letter from my mother mentioned that she had helped my grandparents with their absentee ballots on the 21st. Does my grandmother’s vote count? According to this Slate Explainer, the rules, like all election law, vary from state to state. Some allow the votes to stay and some demand they be pulled. I called the county election commissioner and asked what the laws were in Nebraska. She said that if they had the ballot already, it would be in the system and counted. Now this is not a definitive statement on the law, since if there was a law it would be hard to enforce. I’m not going to be an alarmist about dead people voting, but I did find this quote from a 2004 USA TODAY article interesting:

How many of those voters won’t be alive on Election Day? Considering that an average of 455 voting-age people die in Florida every day, and that the 2000 presidential election was decided by a mere 537 votes, dead votes that slip through the cracks could become a meaningful bloc.

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People

GREETINGS FROM THE PHILLIPS OF NEBRASKA – JANUARY, 1958

At long last you are to have a report from the Curtis Phillips family! We wish for each of you the very best in this coming year. We really mean that invitation on the map we designed and are sending: “Won’t you come visit us?” We love company! We’ve had a lot during this first year here and it’s made our move easier, because we’ve seen folks from home often, and new neighbors here have made us feel welcome.
Continue reading

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People, Portfolio

Santa Monica hacker drinkup

I was with a group of random conference attendees eating lunch at LayerOne, when we realized we were all from Santa Monica—it was fairly obvious for how much we were complaining about the temperature in Pasadena. We decided to start meeting up in Santa Monica on the only schedule that ever works: every single week. I pick a bar and post our 8PM Wednesday meetup to Upcoming every week (add me). We don’t do any serious business, besides challenge coin jousting, but it’s nice to have good friends and likeminds get together. We’ve met for 11 straight weeks. It’s good a recluse like me has a regular event like this; at least I know I’ll make it out for one night a week. Next week is Black Hat/Defcon, so we’re taking the week off.

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People

The now

The NowI noticed that every picture of me on the main page has a beard. A glorious beard. Well, that’s not in line with reality, so I have provided the picture above of my daytime habitat.

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People

Cologne

eliot
After our exhausting drive through the German countryside we decided not to do it again, even if it was during the day. I found a train that would leave at 8:30 and get us to Cologne by 6 for 59eu. We didn’t have internet access, but we did have power at the seats. For the majority of the trip we had 5 people sitting at 2 4 person work tables. We had to move occasionally as seats had been reserved for portions of the trip. Lunch on the train was great too. The view was really beautiful when coming up the Rhine with random castles perched on the bluffs. We’re considering doing this hackers on a train thing again. Continue reading

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People

My catacombs, let me show you them

Catacombs
At nearly midnight, a rental car of my cohorts showed up in Leipzig and we left for Vienna, an 8.5 hour trip. The Opel Vectra drove fine (for those that know how to drive a stick) the seats were a little stiff though. The autobahn has a severe lack of road side reflectors which in addition to the lack of sleep made for a very slow (74mph) and uncomfortable trip. Even when the sun was up it was slow going (111mph) because we were so exhausted. Arriving in Vienna at 11am we discovered why we couldn’t look up a street in the navigation system: it didn’t know anything about the city besides the main artery. Luckily we had picked up a map and arrived at Metalab without much trouble (except that whole driving across the courthouse sidewalks thing). Continue reading

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Leipzig

Dan and Me
I got a hold of Frosty’s old roommate Dan and visited him in Leipzig for an afternoon. Despite entering some sort of S-Bahn limbo I got to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Europe’s largest 2 deck train station. It was an hour trip to Leipzig, home of Europe’s largest terminal station. Dan was a great guide and took me by all of the touristy locations. The church where the largest wall protest rallied. The church where Bach directed the boys choir. The bar that Goethe drank at while writing Faust. The East German Secret Police museum, the Stasi, had some neat letter snooping machinery. My favorite though was the Monument to the Battle of the Nations pictured above. At 91m, it’s the largest monument in all of Europe and commemorates them defeating Napolean.

Dan will complete his doctorate in parasitology in September and continue to work in Germany. He’ll be visiting the US in December, but no one will mistake him for american because of the accent he’s picked up.

I’m writing this from Vienna, which I’ll be leaving tomorrow. I’m continuing to add pictures to my set.

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