Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Proposed Facebook Changes for the New Year (2012)

Hi, I'm Mark Duckernerd, the dark lord of the Internet.

Just as a heads up: over the next few weeks, I shall be rolling out some changes to "You-Know-What" that some might find upsetting. These changes will greatly affect the way you interact with friends and loved ones, and, more importantly, the way you buy and sell things on the Internet.

As the Apocalypse draws nearer, it is of utmost importance that I make as much money as possible from its great whore, a creature more commonly known as FACEBOOK.

I have billions of dollars, but it is imperative that I make trillions more at the risk of severing countless friendships with silly drama and sucking all of you into a mind-numbing, addictive rut. What is more insulting, the facts explicated in the last sentence or the strongly implied assumption that I know what's best for you? Yes, despite your initial whines and protests, you will yield to and eventually love everything I do.

But it's all the same in the end. Of course I know what's best for you -- after all, I went to Harvard for a year. What's best for you is what's best for me: instant gratification at the risk of losing your soul.

tl;dr? No problem! I understand you're very busy. Enjoy this list of awesome fb changes!

1. Auto-Comment
Great news! Now you don't have to think about writing anything anymore! Facebook will use its AMAZING algorithm to scan your "friends'" statuses for content, and will auto-reply with the appropriate stock comment!

Somebody's birthday? No need to go through the GRUELING procedure of "walling an hb!" Facebook auto-comment will do it for you! Someone's loved one died? Facebook will scan for the words and phrases "passed away," "RIP," or "died" and will auto-comment "I'm sorry for your loss" or one of five similar messages on your behalf.

Facebook will also scan for jokes and profound quotes! If a mutual friend comments "lol," "haha" or "you're absolutely right" in response to a friend's status, Facebook will slap on a similar message in your name!

2. Facebook Storefront
We've noticed how much you enjoy logging in to your Facebook account before commenting on news stories and blogs around the Web. All of your friends are interested in all the same news stories that you are and want to read everything you have to say about all of them, with all anonymity removed! Taking that logic one step further, it will soon be impossible to buy or sell anything online before logging into your Facebook. After making a purchase, the item you bought will be displayed on your wall and your friends' feeds! That way, they can share in your shopping pleasure with the option to purchase an identical item!

3. Facebook Wingman
Men: Facebook got your back! Whenever one of your unattached lady friends posts a cheesecake photo of herself, Facebook will scan the photo and compare it to your past girlfriends' body types to see if it suits your tastes. If it does, the machine will "like" it and auto-comment a stock compliment! Don't worry about drama; Facebook will first check whether you're gay, in a relationship or married before "liking." Or maybe not...its capricious like that.

Check out how Facebook Wingman aids Mallard Failmore as he courts young Downy Duckbottom:

4. "Peek-a-Boo" Chat
Imagine: everyone on your friends list can join the party as you engage in a private conversation with one of your pals. We plan to implement this feature randomly, when you least expect it. It gives us the element of surprise.

As you can see in the lower right hand corner, Mallard can enjoy Downy and Marshy's little virtual catfight, all thanks to "Peek-a-Boo" chat.

...So them's the changes, folks! I know your little mouths are agape, your heads shaking vigorously at the creepiness of it all. I also know you'll grow to love it -- just like you've acquired a taste for the budget beer that features so prominently in your photo galleries. I love how you all contrive situations and moments with the ultimate goal of posting them on Facebook and getting loads of little red notifications in the upper left hand corner. By all means, don't enjoy the simple pleasures of that party, concert or trip in real time as you had in years gone by.

Sometimes I sit back in my cubicle throne and chuckle at your exhibitionism. Sheep, think I. Then I get distracted and tab over to YouTube for a bit.

Remember: this is Duckernerd talking, I have temporarily taken control of Chrissy's blog.

tl;dr? Awesome! Hope you like the changes, honey!

"Thanks For the Great Changes, Facebook" a meme by Chrissy Spallone

ETA: Oh yeah, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

In Which Chrissy Makes a Halloween Pumpkin

So I made a pumpkin for Halloween. People seemed to like it, so I'll show you how I made it!

After painting on a design with India ink (above, left) I eviscerated the pumpkin with an ordinary utility knife (left). This wasn't so easy, and some specialized jigsaw-type blade probably would have facilitated the process. In the end, however, the utility knife did what I needed it to do... unlike this blog editor. It's like, I get it perfect in the editor, then I view my actual blog and the formatting is completely different and horrible. I'm sure it looks different and worse on different browsers and screen sizes, too, but what am I supposed to do. This is why I like to work with my hands and actual artifacts. Bear with me; the content is worthwhile.

I didn't hack out all the pumpkin's features. Instead, I opted to carve some details in relief so the light would shine through them in varying intensities.
I hoped to purchase some linoleum cutters for this purpose, but I couldn't find them at the hardware store, nor did I feel like trekking all the way to Dick Blick in Philly, where I know they carry sets of cutters at jacked up art supply store prices. Linoleum cutters, by the way, are those speedball pens with interchangeable curved blades used to carve out designs for linoleum stamps. I had a hard time describing them to the Ace Hardware employee, so try a Google Image search if you're confused.

Anyway, I ended up removing the erasers from some pencils and cutting the metal tips into curved blades. I then used the ghetto lino cutters to scrape away at my pumpkin (right).

The lino cutters couldn't get into the real fine details, so I used kebab sticks to pierce clean holes in the eyes and scratch at various other spots (below, left). Those kebab sticks did double duty later on (below, right). Those staked gourds might look a little precarious, but it's all an illusion.

I'm a gruesome guy, you know. I love that old "Tales from the Crypt" gore and decay and don't see much of it around these days. In the interest of being repulsive, I carved small pockets into the pumpkin's sides, using a potato peeler, and inserted pimento olives to act as bloody, gangrenous boils.

Because the larger pumpkin would be eating tiny gourds, I constructed arms for him so he could lift the unfortunate midgets into his mouth. To do this, I bent a wire coat hanger into an arm shape, pushed it into the pumpkin's side and covered it with paper mache (above, right), which I later painted orange to match his skin. This paper mache is an approximate 50/50 mix of white flour and water. Were this a permanent project, I would worry about mold and such. But it's a Jack O'Lantern.

I surrounded the main pumpkin with smaller gourds and apples which I either carved with an X-acto knife or painted with India Ink. Ignoring the possibility of fire hazard (ehh...I had an extinguisher nearby), I placed the display in a bed of autumn leaves and lit everything up. 

Check out the gummy worms, the tiny gourd inside the pumpkin's mouth and the antique colored twinkle lights. Twinkle lights, by the way, were used on Christmas Trees before electric light strands came out. Talk about a fire hazard!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the Christmas music.