GirlHacker's Random Log

almost daily since 1999

Zoo Doo Time


It’s getting onto fall in Seattle which means it’s bulk Zoo Doo time at the Woodland Park Zoo. Interested gardeners can send in a postcard for a drawing to purchase large quantities of Zoo Doo or Bedspread (that contains more chips and sawdust and you can shorten it to “B.S.” on the postcard). There’s a poop line for phone questions. You can fill up one pickup truck with an 8×4 bed for $60. If your needs are more modest, the Zoo has buckets of Zoo Doo in its store anytime.

Posted in animals,plants

Typewriters in India


The typewriter age hangs on in India where bureaucracy (meaning paperwork in triplicate) has not moved entirely onto computers. “Sometimes the monkeys steal the affidavits,” says a typist outside the Delhi District Court. Even several Indian governments that have adopted computers still require a manual typing test for jobs. So the typewriter repair stores and typing classes linger on. India’s Godrej & Boyce, the last typewriter factory in the world, shut down its last production line after the financial downturn accelerated the decline of orders. When the electricity goes out, as it often does in India, the bureaucrats keep on typing.

Posted in nostalgia

Space Oddity the illustrated version


Andrew Kolb decided to illustrate David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” and put it into children’s book format. The PDF is freely downloadable from his site (unless some lawyers get to it). The people he put in the control room are nicely diverse in sex and race. But with the bleak ending of the song you might not want to show this to any young kids. (Thanks Robert!)

Posted in craft,culture,space

Careers the board game


My parents still have our old board games. I went through them recently and will be writing about a few. My favorite of the bunch is Careers. That’s our copy above on the left with the masking tape. It never achieved the popularity of Monopoly or Life and very few people I’ve mentioned it to have heard of it. When I went searching for Careers fans on the Internet I found two write-ups, both from players who had discovered it recently. One researched different versions of the game as it was updated through the years. The other, over on ReadyMade, actually got in contact with the daughter of James Cooke Brown, the creator of Careers. Turns out he lived the philosophy of his game in real life. Careers, you see, is aptly pluralized as you move around the board trying different career paths to gather fame, fortune, and happiness points to meet your 60 point Success Formula, the sum of all 3 allocated by your preference. You might go into business and politics and become a movie star. In the different versions of the game you might become a farmer, a teacher, a uranium prospector, an astronaut, and sit on park bench or in the unemployment office. You might enjoy, as I did, getting stuck on the stock market square, buying stock and rolling a die hoping for a big profit (in my memory it was the “gambling career” square). James Cooke Brown had several careers and interests himself. He was a statistician, professor of sociology, wrote science fiction, and invented Loglan. He programmed a university computer to play Careers and analyze the different formulas and he catalogued completed score cards that players sent in for replacements. The goal of Careers is not to stay in one field but to do many things in your life to achieve your own Success Formula.

Posted in nostalgia

Pie Joust


Pie jousting has spread to Burien! What’s pie jousting you ask? Every April 1st at Sully’s Snowgoose Saloon on Phinney Ave. in Seattle a jousting competition is held where competitors ride bicycles and throw cream pies at each other. It’s a lively spectator sport with delightful crowd reactions. Last week in Burien, which is south of Seattle, they held their own pie jousting tournament which included tricycle matches for the little kids. The event raised funds to purchase bike racks for downtown Burien. When visualizing how you might excel at pie jousting, keep in mind that you are riding a bike while holding a pie in one hand. And that your opponent is coming towards you doing the same thing. Here’s the Seattle Times video coverage.

Posted in food,sports

Marimekko Helsinki


The September issue of Dwell takes you behind the scenes at textile company Marimekko. Founded in 1951, the Finnish company’s bold prints received a boost in the U.S. from Jacqueline Kennedy who wore several of their dresses in the 1960 presidential campaign. More recent publicity came from clothing and tablecloth appearances in the TV series “Sex and the City.”  Crate & Barrel’s partnership with Marimekko started in the 1960s and their designs are available on pillows, sheets, and other housewares. Their colorful patterns are silkscreened in up to 12 colors. Dwell’s slideshow runs through 13 patterns and the designers and inspiration behind them. The article describes the design and printing process.

Quoddy Shoes Made in Maine


The fading craft of shoes handmade in the United States, captured in this 4 minute video of a Quoddy craftsman who learned how to sew shoes from his father. “He knew back then it wasn’t a really a good trade to get into because it’d been petering out…but it’s still a good living.”

Quoddy Workshop – Lewiston, Maine from Oliver Wilkins on Vimeo.

Posted in craft

Music Stands Evolve


I mentioned electronic music stand systems a few years ago. Now with the advent of the iPad and similar devices, specialized hardware is less likely to be the common solution for viewing sheet music. The current “state of the art” for gadget friendly musicians are iPads on regular stands, jury-rigged stands/clips, or a specially designed stand like the Peak iPad stand which even rotates 360 degrees. For musicians who have no time to swipe a page turn, there’s the AirTurn which can be set up with a foot pedal. An organists who’s also a computer guy has his hooked up to a bite switch for completely hand and foot-free operation.

Posted in craft

The Freshman Class


They’re still being shaped by the changing world around them, but this year’s incoming freshmen are the next crop of consumers for marketers to prepare for. The characteristics that don’t need research to reveal: these teens are not likely to become cable TV subscribers and would rather lose their wallet than their cell phone. Phone landlines are not even mentioned in the article; perhaps already gone to the graveyard with cassette tapes. A less obvious shift: the new rite of passage into independence isn’t the driver’s license but getting a cell phone. And that happens a lot earlier than the DMV test. Ford Motors has also found that status symbols like luxury cars are not as appealing as they were with the previous generation. Ford is marketing social connection features and fuel efficiency gauges to these younger millenials. The most remarkable statistic: only 5% of the freshman surveyed planned to buy a personal computer. And yet 76% spend more than an hour a day on Facebook. You see why Ford will be making sure its cars have mobile phone connectivity.

Posted in culture

IKEA Photo Sharing


IKEA has jumped on the online community bandwagon with the launch of Share Space. Customers can upload their room photos and tag their IKEA items. It’s not quite IKEA Hackers but it gets the company connected to how their products are being used. There’s also a blog (how modern!). Our IKEA photos would be boring: bookcase, bookcase, bookcase, bookcase, another bookcase, let’s call this one shelves instead. Oh and a Poang chair.

Posted in craft