ArtLung - Fall 2004 - Onward image of Utah121110090807060504030201

August, 2004: 17 posts.

Shocker Toys Responds to ArtLung Dismissal

Back on July 27th I made a comment about Shockinis, to whit:

Shocker Toys: Shockinis appears to be the copycat of another toy — Stikfas — generic toys you can customize into any kind of figure you want.

Geoff Beckett, from ShockerToys, responded via my feeback form just a few days later (yes, people use the feedback page):

I found an error:
“Shocker Toys: Shockinis appears to be the copycat of another toy — Stikfas — generic toys you can customize into any kind of figure you want.”

This we are not! please do not post crap saying we are copying off other product lines. We are a totally different toy then [sic] them!

I invited Geoff to answer a mini-interview (I like doing interviews lately). Here is that mini-interview with Geoff Beckett: 1. What are Shockinis?

Shockinis are a 3 1/4 inch tall mini customizable pre-assembled block figure.

2. What makes Shockinis unique?

The thing that makes the Shockinis unique is that they actually are a block figure. Most companies say they are block figures but have a lot of round parts. We are a true block figure form. Also the ball joints are different on our figures we restricted a small amount of movement so that the limbs don’t fall apart like some others. We use Hinge ball joints “thats a hinge that has two small ball joints in it instead of a pin”. The other figure you say we resemble uses all ball joints no hinge joints of any kind. The Shockinis are not made of ABS but a soft but durable plastic which allows for sanding, carving and takes paint very well. Our Shockinis are also a bit more filled out so you have more to work with, again they are a block figure not a stick figure. Along with the customizable version we use the Shockini body for little licensed robots as well, and we are in the process of making the Shockini into a few comic characters also.

3. Did your product come out before or after Stikfas?

I developed my product with no prior knowledge of the stikfas. I found out about them after I had already sent my stuff to be manufactured. The stikfas did come first but are going of a patent for a stick action figure created in 1930. So the figure created in 1930 is the first it was called Crazy Ikes.

4. How is your product better than Stikfas?

Really there is no one better then the other these two products are the only two on the market and they are different. Which is better an apple or an orange ask different people you will get different answers. There is no other customizable action figures. The two products are better in different ways according to users. Some like ours better because its a softer plastic and some like ours better because its pre-assembled. But I’m sure there are reasons why people like stikfas as well better than our product.

He follows up with:

Our product is the same concept of customizing by the end user but not the same look or feel. In the end you can customize both products they are a blank canvas. But when you first open them they are completely different products.

Geoff Beckett
Shocker Toys LLP

I would like to thank Geoff for answering these questions and clarifying how he sees his product.

I wonder if Stikfas will send me a note next.

WordPress. Blog Volume 2.

So here’s where we start anew. Afresh. We start blogging with WordPress instead of blogger. Enabling such things as trackback and other niceties.

What had God wrought?

Hell freezes over.

Okay. Am i really ready for user comments? I’ve always said I would not.

Paparrazi! – new OS X Web Screenshot tool

Go Johan go! – Paparazzi! Paparazzi! is a small utility for Mac OSX that makes screenshots of webpages.

It’s written in Objective-C using the Cocoa API and the WebKit framework…

It was inspired by webkit2png which is a commandline tool written by Paul Hammond in pyObjC, so all intellectual credit for the basic functionality goes to him 😉

Here goes WordPress

I’m about to import hundreds of entries from my old blogger file into WordPress. Wish me luck.

Blogging Volume 2 Really Begins Now

The ArtLung Blog, which debuted in March 2001, has made a big technology shift today. I expect there will be errors and bugs in these first few days and I check over content to make sure things work.

I love Blogger, and will continue to use it for some purposes. But I’ve migrated into the open source PHP/MySQL solution WordPress. I’ve been so happy with it over at San Diego Blog, I felt it was time to do it here.

One of the things this enables me to do is to have comments on the site. I’ve always been hesitant to allow public comments — and I’m still not convinced it’s such a hot idea. But I quite like the idea of using trackback to conversate with other blogs. I also think sometimes comments allow the conversation to do wonderful, unexpected things.

So, we’ll see how it shakes out. Welcome to the new world of ArtLung Blog.


Linked to. got linked from weblog tools collection yesterday. And today, with the conversion to WordPress, I can use trackback to “talk” at them.

Geeky, to be sure, but interesting.

Our Vapid President

Great old pix of Bruce Sterling and William Gibson

…in this post by Rudy Rucker on boing boing.


Usenix is happening right here in San Diego.

Mitch Wagner, local blogger and Editor of InternetWeek is on the case!

Precipitation in D.C.

My sister’s boyfriend sent me this image of some precipitation from today. Amazing!


Make Me An Offer

Email of the day:

———- Forwarded message ———-
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 10:39:02 +1000
To: joe [AT]

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was wondering if you were interested in selling your domain
I am willing to pay $100.00 for it.

Yours Sincerely,


Holy crap. How long has it been since I posted?

Oh, so much to post. I’ll be updating this as I get to everything.

The Ronny Vardy Fansite has been changed a great deal. I saw her briefly at Comic-Con and perused her new book. Worth a look.

Also, just added a new header — it’s interactive! Well, a little interactive anyway. Header for August 23, 2004

And man oh man, there are some great posts over on San Diego Blog. Really cool stuff.

Yeah, there is personal stuff to talk about. Not right now.

And hey, cool — Leah’s latest painting was featured in an art show the weekend we went to Utah. check it out here.

Strange Days

This website is once again undergoing revisions. I have modified the Stew/The Negro Problem pages, as well as the Voltes 5 pages.

Also, if you’re reading this blog you probably have noticed that the design is changing. The many many sidebar links to pals, friends, colleagues, news sources, and the like have been moved to the dedicated Links page, to accompany the Semidaily Links. I’m trying to focus on simplifying things a bit.

For a long time I’ve just added and added to this site, without regard to how things fit together. This site has so many pages, and so many that people have no idea existed. I think I need to focus on what I want people to learn about me and do. For example, do I want people think I’m a cool guy? Do I want them to hire me for something? Do I want them to put me on the radio? Just why do I have this personal website?

I mean, I know that for San Diego Blog is there for a reason. I initially thought it was just something that needed to exist. But now I think I understand better the rationale for the site. I want to provide an interesting and useful alternative voice for San Diego, and I would like it to generate revenue. This focus has allowed me to design and edit to that task. It’s not been particularly successful, but those who read the site find it entertaining, and we provide useful information to people who visit from search engines. Also, readership is increasing, and participation from the stable of writers is really great. It’s a grand experiment in metroblogging — though I started it before I had ever heard that word.

So tomorrrow I start a new part time gig with some old friends. I expect it will be simple work. I’m seeking more of that — as school starts next week, and I pray that will go well. What I need right now to meet my goals is steady, non-commission based cashflow,that also does not interfere with schoolwork. I also want it to be short-term, because after this next semester, Leah and I intend to migrate north, to be closer to her kids.

Leah has been writing on her blog about my proposals. In truth, I’m scared to death of marriage. That is why, in fact, Leah and I attend pre-marital counseling, and have done so for several weeks. It’s been very useful to me, to explore my own hangups and fears. Some of you started reading me when my previous marriage was imploding. The pain of that was huge, and terrible.

I’m gunshy precisely because I know how much losing that partnership is. I’m also gunshy because I wonder if I have moved too quickly in this relationship. But in truth, the synchrony Leah and I have is remarkable and wonderful. We’re an excellent team, even when we disagree, and I am in a place where I can be open to her in a way that I’ve never been open to anyone, ever, before. I love her.

So, I suppose at this point I should hit the hay. I have work to do tomorrow.

Today’s Itinerary

So today what Leah and I are doing it heading north to Los Angeles, downtown that is, to see Stew perform free at noon.

We’re taking the train.

Leah’s first time with me on a train. I love trains.

stew plays, joe mulls

So the 50 minute Stew show yesterday was wonderful. Totally worth the train ride and Dash ride and lack of usable WiFi signals at California Plaza.

I even got to take a few minutes to say hey to Stew. I am such a fan. I actually met him in September last year. I’ve posted some more photos at: Stew at Grand Performances Noon Show.

joe and stew

Two new songs worth noting Stew and Heidi played: Black Men Ski and I think the other one was titled Loretta wrote a letter from Baghdad. They also played the first and last pieces of The Drug Suite, I must’ve been high and Arlington Hill.

So glad I went.

Then last night Leah and I went to family dinner and gave some manga to my cousin for his birthday. We were real late but it was cool.

Leah listened to the iPod while on the train and did some freelance anthropology. I wrote some postcards, played with MacStumbler (when are we gonna get onboard Wifi for trains?). Oh, I also did some reading of my local copy of Dive Into Python.

As I type this I’m playing some music, some Suzanne Vega, and now appropriately, some Stew. Love Is Coming Through The Door comes on, and Leah says “I like this one!”

School starts Monday. I’m excited to get back to it. I did some further accounting on my educational career. I have a real shot at getting in as a transfer student. There’s much more there than I realized. Crazy eh? More on that as it develops. UCSD is still my school of choice — but there are some good schools in the L.A. area as well. So — I’m open to how things play out.

Today chilling out. We have a birthday party to go to today. And another next week. And a dinner party tomorrow night. Our social calendar is full.

So I’m doing some mulling and making decisions. Life is pretty darn good.

Back To School Sale

Yesterday I returned to school. San Diego City College otra vez.

I’m taking classes, nominally, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I think the reality is that classes are actually going to be Monday, Wednesday, and an evening class on Thursday.

I’m enrolled in (and paid for! woo hoo!) my Spanish 102 class, and my C++ Programming class. These were yesterday.

The programming class is evenings. That stinks, actually. But I know and like the Professor, so I know what I’m getting into.

The Spanish class is — well — the professor in the schedule is not the professor in the actual classroom. We got baited-and-switched! 3 of my fellow classmates from 101 are in the 102, and when our former instructor failed to show, and we instead got some other, dude, we were not so impressed. He’s a bit like a drill seargeant. The review was Spanish in a rat-a-tat-tat style. No more mellow learning. As soon as I saw we have a replacement I thought of bolting — but actually, I’m up for it. I’m realizing that sometimes a little challenge is just what one needs.

The morning is overcast. Leah is off to work — one of her two jobs — I made us scrambled eggs and tortillas (well, I only heated the tortillas) and a little jack cheese. It was a nice way to begin the day.

By odd circumstances, last night we were at The Top of the Hyatt, perhaps the best view in San Diego, or at least in the top 10. It was a pleasant way to end the day. A friend needed a change of scenery, and Leah went along. I hopped a trolley when I got out of class and showed up, heavy backpack in tow. San Diego really is a beautiful city. I don’t really think of it that way all the time. But it is simply pretty. Twinkling lights overlooking the placid bay. I think I’ll post this paragraph (slightly altered) as my entry today on San Diego Blog. I have a grip of posts that are *nearly* done over there that I need to put into the rotation.

Okay, time to get ready for work.


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