July 2007 Archives

A Band is Born

There is much exciting imaginary musical news.

For everyone that wished they could be in a cool band but didn't know how to make that happen or couldn't play an instrument, our time has come.

First off, thanks to everyone who submitted names for our new band. There were literally thousands and I'm grateful to all of you who took the time.

In general, I felt the name should be something Sneeze related since that's basically how we all know each other. Beyond that, there were clearly a few names that came up over and over. For a variety of reasons that I'm not going to bore you with (available URLS, available Myspace pages, etc...), I've arrived at a name that I'm feeling pretty great about.

From this point on, our band is offiically...

"The Tree Brains"

This is, as most of you know, in honor of the annual fungus that grows on my tree.

In case you're wondering what kind of music "The Tree Brains" play, it's our own new genre known as "Theoretical Rock."

As mentioned previously, this is a band ANYONE can join whether you can play an instrument or not. What's really important is we have a cool name, cool shirts, and we believe we rock.

In more exciting news, one of my favorite artists, Gary Taxali, is officially on board to design a logo. We are in excellent hands with Gary, and you can check out all his stuff at http://www.garytaxali.com.

Rock on fellow Tree-Brainers. (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, it started here.)

SETI@home Reply!

The other day I had sent the following suggestion to the Director of the SETI@home project. (If you're not familiar with SETI@home, read this first.)

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I'm very interested in the SETI@home project and have been a supporter of it for years. I'm writing because I have an idea that I believe will bring SETI@home to a much wider audience, thereby increasing its scope and efficiency.

The idea is simple: If your computer is the first one to locate extraterrestrial intelligence, you win a valuable prize.

I was thinking First Prize could be something like: Dinner with the Aliens. All expenses paid. This could be either here on Earth or on their home planet. (Assuming. A: Their planet can support human life, and B: They're not hellbent on the cataclysmic destruction of our entire race.) If it is here on Earth, it should probably be someplace nice, but not so upscale that the extraterrestrials think we're all snooty. I STRONGLY suggest The Outback Steakhouse. (But none of this is set in stone.)

Second Prize: 6 free months of DSL

Third Prize: Maybe a phone call from Lou Ferigno.

Please let me know what you think. I'm ready to promote the new SETI@home prizing structure on my website as soon as you as you give me the official go-ahead.

--Steve
thesneeze.com

P.S. I realize my immediate family should probably not be eligible to enter the contest, just to keep things fair.

Here is the terrific reply I received...

Steve:

Those prizes are fine. The Outback is a good choice - something to please every palate (or whatever) and not too pricey.

For a celebrity tie-in, I'd prefer Kristen Johnston to Lou Ferigno.

I read through Best of The Sneeze and greatly enjoyed it; much of it struck a chord since I have a 2-year old and am losing hair, am grossed out by corporate food, etc.

-- David

Thanks, David! You rock. I like the Kristen Johnston, "3rd Rock" alien tie-in. We'll make the 3rd prize: "Maybe a phone call from Kristen Johnston (and possibly Lou Ferigno)."

I explained more about the SETI@home project in the previous post. If you'd like to take part in it, you can use your computer's downtime to help out with SETI@home, along with several other fascinating areas of scientific research at http://boinc.berkeley.edu.

SETI@Home Improvements

I think SETI@home is a very cool project, and I have come up with a simple tweak that will vastly increase their chances for success.

Just to quickly bring you up to speed, "SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is a scientific area whose goal is to detect intelligent life outside Earth. One approach, known as radio SETI, uses radio telescopes to listen for narrow-bandwidth radio signals from space. Such signals are not known to occur naturally, so a detection would provide evidence of extraterrestrial technology."

The SETI@home Project allows people around the world to download a screensaver that will enable their home and office computers to help analyze those radio telescope signals. By harnessing this grid of personal computers across the internet, greater frequency ranges can be covered with more sensitivity.

The bottom line here is the more people they have running the software, the more data they can crunch.

I've sent the following email to the Director of the SETI@home project:

Dear Mr. Anderson,

I'm very interested in the SETI@home project and have been a supporter of it for years. I'm writing because I have an idea that I believe will bring SETI@home to a much wider audience, thereby increasing its scope and efficiency.

The idea is simple: If your computer is the first one to locate extraterrestrial intelligence, you win a valuable prize.

I was thinking First Prize could be something like: Dinner with the Aliens. All expenses paid. This could be either here on Earth or on their home planet. (Assuming. A: Their planet can support human life, and B: They're not hellbent on the cataclysmic destruction of our entire race.) If it is here on Earth, it should probably be someplace nice, but not so upscale that the extraterrestrials think we're all snooty. I STRONGLY suggest The Outback Steakhouse. (But none of this is set in stone.)

Second Prize: 6 free months of DSL

Third Prize: Maybe a phone call from Lou Ferigno.

Please let me know what you think. I'm ready to promote the new SETI@home prizing structure on my website as soon as you as you give me the official go-ahead.

--Steve
thesneeze.com

P.S. I realize my immediate family should probably not be eligible to enter the contest, just to keep things fair.

I await his reply.

I Love You All, But...

if you email me any more band names, my brain is going to melt, trickle down my spine and well up in my ass-cheeks. So no more band names, please. (That includes suggestions for "The Brainy Ass-Cheeks.") I got it.

More on the band next week. Thanks!

The Birth of Our Band

Here's the deal: We're starting a band. Me, you -- all of us. It's a giant fake band and we're all going to be in it.

It doesn't matter if you can actually play an instrument because we're not going on tour. BUT, we will have a kick-ass name and a myspace page and cool t-shirts. And we can all tell everyone we're in the band. And those people can be in the band, too.

First things first, we're going to need a name. I have a few names I've been kicking around, but since this is OUR band -- I want to hear your suggestions.

This part's a little tricky because finding a good band name that isn't in use is like finding a URL that hasn't been bought yet. But we'll get a good one.

I thought it might be nice if the name was inspired by something from The Sneeze, like from a good quote or a phrase. But I've also been kicking around some fun names that subtly imply that our band doesn't really exist. But I'm not tied to these. I'm open to anything.

If you have any ideas, email them to me at:

band@thesneeze.com

Once I find a few that:
a) I like
and
b) Aren't already in use by someone else

I'll put them up on the site, we'll vote for one and then go from there.

I hope you're psyched about our new band, because we're gonna rock. Theoretically.

Nicole is a Crocheting Genius

Nicole's creations push my buttons in ways yarn shouldn't. And soon she will knit me a robot with which I will TAKE OVER THE WORLD. (Well, first, Yarntron and I will stay up all night giggling, doing each other's hair and scrapbooking. But in the morning, after pancakes, we will TAKE OVER THE WORLD!)

Her website and store are coming soon. Until then, check out more of her stuff right here.

The Great Inventors Of Our Time

My kids ask a lot of questions. Often these questions don't really have a clear-cut answer. For example, this morning I was asked:

"Who invented breakfast, lunch and dinner?"

I'm thrilled my son is curious about the world, but this is one of those times when I feel it is my right as a father to enjoy the time-honored tradition of making shit up.

For the last few years, when faced with a weird "Who invented..." question, I've stuck with a simple formula:

First Name + Initial J + Name of Item = Inventor

"Dad, who invented shoes?"
That would be Alfred J. Shoe.

"Dad, who invented milk?"
I believe it was Franklin J. Milk.

In the case of: "Who invented breakfast, lunch and dinner?"
I went with, "Oliver J. Meal."

Awhile back my (then-6-year-old) son let me interview him about the latest Cloud Cult album. At the end of the interview I asked him if he had any questions for Craig of Cloud Cult. He did.

Here are Craig's responses to those questions (following the original transcript of the chat with my son).

It's nice to see someone else mess with my kid's head for a bit, instead of me having to do it all. Thanks, Craig!

ME: What would you say to anyone who wasn't sure if they should buy the album?

MY SON: You should! It's such a good album. You should hear Pretty Voice and you should hear Alien Christ. And the rest of the songs. Oh boy, they're great. I just love them.

ME: What is the best song on the album?

MY SON: I think all of them are great. Even the songs on the old albums.

Who is a better band - Cloud Cult or the Wiggles?

Cloud Cult. 'Cuz they have more rockin' songs and crazy instruments.

Who is a better songwriter -- Craig or Raffi?

Who's Raffi?

Exactly.
Okay, what is the meaning of 8?


The Meaning of 8 is the album.

No, I know that. I mean, what do you think the actual meaning of 8 is?

The MEETING of 8 would be people talking about the number 8.

Let's try it this way -- Does the number 8 mean anything special?

Yes -- for a Magic 8 ball. You ask it questions and it will answer them. Questions about your life. And some triangle will pop out and it has the answer. It's a ball that talks to you.

And if you asked the 8 Ball what album you should buy, what would it tell you?

Listen, that's not a question about life.

All right, give me a question about life.

Like -- Will my pen pal ever visit me? Or, let's see... Will I ever go to the beach again?

What if the question was -- Is it a good idea to buy this album?

Yes!

Do you have any questions for Craig?

Yes...

Finally, here are my son's questions and Craig's answers:

THE BOY: Which album would people like to buy more? The new one or the old one?

CRAIG: I think most people are going to like The Meaning of 8 a bit more, but I think there are some people that prefer Advice from the Happy Hippopotamus. Then there are 4 older albums besides that. We change our sound a lot from album to album, so it really depends on what your mood is. My favorite so far is definitely the one that is coming after The Meaning of 8.

Where did you get the lyrics for Alien Christ?

I sat outside under the stars all night, working on the lyrics, and just let the story unfold. The story wrapped up just as the moon was setting. There was actually a totally different version of that song originally, but I decided I didn’t like it, and changed all the lyrics last minute.

What is making that sound that Mommy thinks is an alien guitar in the song Shape of 8?

Your mommy got it right. It is most definitely the voice of an alien.

If you had a Magic 8 Ball, what would you ask it about your life?

When the aliens from The Pleiades come back to pick me up and bring me back home, should I bring lemons with me, or will they already have some there?

What color is your car?

That’s the best question I think anyone has ever asked me. My space car doesn’t have a color, because it’s mostly invisible.

The Meaning of 8 is on sale now and available for immediate download at cloudcult.com.

Go treat yourself. It's good. My kid wouldn't lie. And for the record, he thought Craig's answers were hilarious.

UnDugg

I see the #1 post in the last 24 hours on digg.com is based on pictures swiped from The Sneeze.

Here's my post from last year.

Here's the Digg post.

Kind of annoying. (I do realize it isn't Digg's fault.)

I guess I need to start putting The Sneeze logo on all my pics, like a kid with his name in his underwear.

Cranial Coincidence? - UPDATED

A reader named Thierry has discovered something fascinating on the Neopets website. This familiar looking fellow named "Brain Tree."

I realize this is most likely a coincidence, but the fact that the brain is orange does make me wonder just a little bit. (If there's a mysterious lady in a hat who's always out to get him, something might be up.)

The Sneeze Official Brainwatch 2007 begins in late August.

UPDATE: Leah writes: "I hate to sound like a dork (or burst your conspiracy bubble), but the Brain Tree from Neopets has been around for at least 6-7 years because I used to frequent that website when I first got the high speed internet."

Do keep in mind that we're dealing with a highly-advanced intelligence here. There's no telling what this tree is capable of, or what diabolical plans it had set into motion long before it made itself known in my yard.

For all I know, that email actually came from the tree. But thanks for writing, Leah. Or should I say... TREE-AH?!!

Morning Moon

This morning I opened my eyes to find my son standing on my bed, exposing his bare ass in my face.

Before he ran off laughing he said, "You gotta love the classics!"

This was followed by yet another talk from my wife that went along the lines of, "Yes, that was very funny, but you know you can't do that kind of stuff outside of the house, right? It's only funny if you do it to Daddy."

Important Tree Brain Discovery

Tree Brain Season is rapidly approaching. That's the time of year when we eagerly await the annual hideous growth on the tree in my yard. Think of it as the fungal Great Pumpkin. (Except this one actually shows up and doesn't leave you looking like a jackass in front of Charlie Brown's little sister.)

Mellors from Australia wrote to me with a startling discovery from Tree Brain 2006 that somehow went unnoticed until now...

Steve,

I was looking at one of your last pictures of the brain, and I noticed.. your last brain had a FACE!

I circled the face in the picture for you, just tilt your head slightly to the right and you should see it ;D

I hope it's not too late and irrelevant. I can't wait for new installments of it, only a couple of months to go!!

I can't believe none of us have spotted that until now. This might be the most important face finding since the Face on Mars and the significantly lamer Smiley Face on Mars.

Here's a closer look:

It's important to remain rational and scientific when presented with findings such as this. If you take into account the position of the sun and the camera angle at the time the photo was taken, I think there is only one logical conclusion we can make: the tree brain was trying to reveal the identity of the Tree Brain Bandit. The heartless little lady who stole Tree Brain 2005.

I think we'll all be paying extra attention for such clues when Brain Watch 2007 begins.

(Everything you could possibly want to know about the annual Tree Brain can be found right here. Thanks, Mellors!)

Hobo Soup for the Soul

Hobos rock. They're like homeless guys you can feel good about.

Someone recently sent me a link to Hobo Soup suggesting it as a possible Steve, Don't Eat It -- which actually wouldn't work out that well because I have since tried the soup and it tastes great.

But right now, we really need to talk about the can...

Would you look at this can? LOOK AT IT! It's beautiful. It's magnificent. It's tickling my balls as I type. Forget about the soup, I want to eat the can. Whoever designed it should be in charge of designing everything, everywhere.

It's like a Wacky Packages sticker, except it's the actual product. (I'm pretty sure if you tried to create a Wacky Pack for this soup, the universe would implode.)

They sell the soup on the site by the case of 24 for $50, which might be a little more soup than you'd be interested in. (Especially if you're an actual hobo.) But that's what brings us to the Hobo Soup T-shirt.

I haven't decided for sure yet, but I might need to be buried in this shirt. And it was only $16.50, including delivery!

Jim at Hobo Soup was very nice on the phone, but I think he runs a very small operation. (In my mind, he's the guy on the can, but I'm an idiot.) He was pleasantly old school, had never heard of PayPal and I don't think he takes credit cards either. I'm not even positive email makes it there, so my advice is to make it easy on everyone and just blast out a check in the mail to the address on the site. (If you do speak to Jim, please be extra nice. That's how we roll at The Sneeze.)

Finally, here's the Hobo Soup story from the can:

Hobo Soup was "born" in the restless, creative mind of Lem Kaercher, a small-town newspaper publisher from Ortonville, Minn. In 1953, Lem went into the "Jungles" of Ortonville in search of a feature story on Mr. Hobo, long an American legend. At conclusion of his visit, Lem was treated with some old-fashioned original, homemade Hobo Soup. A Hobo himself as a young man, Lem felt the world should share in this fine cuisine. For years, a proper Canner was sought, and finally in 1960, Lem and son, Jim, finally saw a dream come true... Hobo Soup on the Grocer's shelf - "A Jungle Recipe, Fit For A King!"

Let's keep the dream alive. The official Hobo Soup website is right here.

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2007 listed from newest to oldest.

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