Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas Puzzle

As you kidz all know, Mr. Spanky loves a good puzzle. Something to get the old neurons firing at 110%. Our brains need the exercise after playing Wii video games non-stop for three hours resulting in glazed eyes, slack jaws, twitchy fingers, and the beginnings of drool leaking out the sides of our mouths. First, go to the bathroom and clean up. Then come back and solve this puzzle! Many thanks to alert reader MO for providing this fun.

Mr. Spanky, displaying his generous nature for the season, will send to the first person to email in a complete list of correct answers a worthwhile prize. What is worthwhile? A page of Phunkidz stickers and 10 Moo cards to give away to your friends. It will definitely increase your cool factor around the school or at a minimum get you strange looks.

The following Christmas carols were written by government officials. Can you guess the original titles?
  1. My sole desire for the Yuletide season is receipt of a pair of central incisors
  2. Allow crystalline formations to descend
  3. The antlered quadruped with the cerise proboscis
  4. The event occurred at one minute after 11:49pm with visibility unlimited
  5. Ornament interior passageways with large sprigs of a berry-bearing evergreen
  6. Personal nocturnal hallucinations of an alabaster Dec 25th
  7. Jovial yuletide desired for the second person singular or plural by the first person plural
  8. Testimony of witness to maternal parent's infidelity with Kris Kringle
  9. In a distant bovine diner
  10. Exclamatory remark concerning a diminutive municipality in Judea Southwest of Jerusalem
  11. Are you detecting the same aural sensations that I am?
  12. Clappered inverted cups, electroplated
  13. The diminutive adolescent male who plays a percussive instrument
  14. May the Omnipotent Supreme Being bring respite to you, ecstatic distinguished males
  15. Pastoral woolies nocturnally observed in vigilance by herdsmen
  16. "Commence auditory reception" the announcing cherubs vocalize
  17. Who's that mystery kid?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Apple vs PC and the Mactini

The kidz in my household know that I've given up on PCs: the endless disk defragmenting, spybot cleansing, anti-virus scanning, not to mention the constant software hangs and crashes. As our PCs wear out I'll be replacing them with Macintosh computers. Is it because Mr. Spanky likes the svelte curves and sleek design of these Apple machines? No.

Underneath all that Appley glitter is a plain old Unix operating system. What's Unix? One of the oldest, most stable, and reliable operating systems on the planet. Yup, Mr. Spanky is a pragmatist. He's writing this blog on his MacBook and secretly smiling every time the kidz and wife throw their hands up in frustration because of Windoze. But, he still has to take out the garbage, which in this case means disk defragmenting, spybot cleansing, anti-virus scanning, and rebooting of those PCs. I don't give them more than another 4-6 months before I have to buy new ones...

N.B. Even though Apple has bowed out of being present at Macworld, they still keep on innovating. Witness the latest release of the Mactini, the smallest Mac ever.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Excavating an Ant Colony

Mr. Spanky has a heart for nature and the wonder that it holds. He also has a soft spot for insects mostly because they are otherworldly, inspiring, and gross a lot of people out which is just the sort of sadistic motivator that fills his life with joy.

Witness this short clip from the Science channel where a group of scientists attempt to map out an ant colony. Would they do this with a small camera attached to the head of an ant? Would they use modified endoscopic cameras on the end of a bionic arm? Would they carefully dig and expose the colony bit by bit, take measurements and construct a 3D computer model?

Don't be silly. That's too much work. They simply poured 10 tons of concrete down the holes, left it to dry for a month, and then dug it up. I'm sure the ants didn't mind.


P.S. DAY, no worries, there are no millipedes in this post.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hero Machine

We all love to draw and I know of some kidz with grand artistic ability that can sketch out lifelike masterpieces with a charred stick on damp toilet paper in the dark. Mr. Spanky is not too proud to tell you that he is a ham-fisted ween when it comes to drawing. His hands are more suited to the keyboard and mouse than the quill. But creativity and imagination are oozing from every pore of Mr. Spanky's sweaty brow. Is all lost?

Fortunately, there is the Internet. That same medium that brings you the wise words of Mr. Spanky also contains awesome tools for those of us who are drawing challenged. Enter the folks at UGO and Hero Machine. This is slick Flash-based application that you can use to create and dress up monsters, heroes, and villains to your heart's desire.

Enclosed is a sample of a self-drawing before and after Hero Machine. Note that Mr. Spanky exactly looks like James Bond but with more hair.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Big Buck Bunny

Once again, Mr. Spanky scores a fine catch. This time, it's a free video titled "Big Buck Bunny" available for viewing and download in a variety of formats (including iPhone/iTouch).

BBB is a gentle soul, delighting in the flowers and butterflies until three rodent hoodlums spoil his fun. Something deep, deep inside him snaps and the forest is never the same.

This is an Open Movie project that is trying to promote an Open Source animation engine called Blender and Open Content Creation. The results look very professional!

Big Buck Bunny is (c) copyright Blender Foundation |