5 O’Clock Shadow

  • Halloween 2007, or NaNoWriMo Eve


    The Red Skull
    I wish I could say that an evening out with ghosts, goblins, superheroes, transforming robots and mystery-solving, snack-gobbling teenagers has cleared all of the cobwebs out of my head and left me fully prepared to begin writing tomorrow, but it turns out that clarity, vision and inspiration aren’t commonly doled out along with Baby Ruth, Kit Kat, Lemonheads and Big Hugs.

    We did get a lot of candy, though. And by “we”, I mean Kyle. Just because I was in costume and holding the bucket doesn’t mean the candy is for me. Well, not all of it.

    I may not be prepared to begin writing tomorrow (which has never stopped me before), but I am prepared for How Not To Grow A Beard Month. The beard is gone and I’ll probably give it a once over again before I go to bed, just to make it nice and official.

    The words will come. Or they won’t. But the hair is inexorable. The hair must grow.

  • 5 O’Clock Shadow – 03 August 2007


    5 O'clock Shadow - 03 August 2007I haven’t done the five o’clock shadow bit for quite a while so I thought I’d have another go at it. This shot was taken at about a quarter to nine while I was waiting for one of the laptops I’ll be testing with tomorrow morning to finish the build process (which takes about 6-8 hours at my desk). It wasn’t done when I left about an hour and a quarter later, but it had gotten past the point where I needed to keep an eye on it. Hurrah!

    Tomorrow (04 August) is my mother’s birthday, which she’s spending in Finland, with my father. Last I heard, they were on or near both a yacht and an island. Yachts and islands aren’t the first things that leap to mind when I think of Finland (that’d be saunas and cell phones), but I certainly hope they’re having a good time.

  • 5 O'clock Shadow: 21 June 2007It’s been a while since I posted a 5 O’clock Shadow picture. This one is from a week ago and it was probably closer to 7 o’clock. Over my right shoulder you can see Optimus Prime rolling southbound on I-271. Over my left shoulder, a minivan cruises north, toward I-90.

    Minivans are neither Autobots nor Decepticons; they — along with station wagons and most mid-size sedans — belong to a separate faction of Transformers known as the Domesticons. Rather than searching for the AllSpark and/or trying to utterly destroy their age-old enemies, the Domesticons concern themselves with making sure the kids get to harp practice, hauling fifteen bags of red mulch home from the WalMart Garden Center, and changing their oil every 3,000 miles.

    When the MVoD transforms, it is into a giant robot named IdiotLight. For a variety of reasons, I have forbidden him to assume robot form. Ever.

  • 5 O’ Clock Shadow: Bonefish Grill


    Bonefish Grill
    Yesterday’s 5 o’ clock shadow picture was taken a little after 9:00 at the Bonefish Grill in Willow Grove, PA. As you can probably tell, I was in a lousy mood after a second less-than-spectacular day at the office. I’ll skip the boring details; it should be sufficient to say that our upgrade did not go as planned.

    In my college Creative Writing class, I learned that ascribing human feelings and/or thoughts to inanimate natural objects is called a pathetic fallacy. This was true when the rain stopped (“its work finished” or something along those lines was what I wrote) after washing Jimmy’s blood off the roof and I suppose it’s true now. The weather in Huntingdon Valley is overcast and rainy, reflecting the general mood here.

    We’ll be wrapping up here shortly and then hopping on a plane back to sunny northeast Ohio. Surely it’s sunny in northeast Ohio.

  • 5 o’ Clock Shadow: Spectacles


    5 o' Clock Shadow - 12 April 2007

    One of the things I like about The Colbert Report is how Stephen Colbert handles his glasses. It’s easy enough to add dramatic emphasis by whipping off one’s glasses and gesticulating angrily, but what I really enjoy is the way Stephen pushes his glasses up on his nose. It’s a simple motion, but Colbert does it very deliberately and with an air of dignity.

    As a spectacle-wearer, I’m all too familiar with the tendency of eyewear to slide down the bridge of the nose. Short of nailing the silicone pads in place, there’s little that can be done to prevent the friction-reducing effects of moisture and skin oils from allowing gravity to dragging my glasses inexorably toward the center of the Earth.

    Over the past twenty (!) years, I’ve developed a technique for pushing my glasses up on my nose, but since The Colbert Report premiered I realized that my method — thumb and forefinger placed on either side of the nose, drawn upward and coming together at the bridge, bringing the glasses up with them — is inelegant, if not downright Cro-Magnon.

    Colbert employs two methods when adjusting his glasses. The first, which I am demonstrating in today’s five o’ clock shadow photo is to grasp the top and bottom of one lens and lift the glasses into their preferred position. This method, done properly, is powerful and effective, exuding confidence, style and class. Executed poorly, it makes you look like the mutant superhero Cyclops (fear my eye beams!), who even the most die-hard X-Men fan will admit is a complete tool.

    The second method Colbert uses—pushing directly on the bridge with his middle finger, his index finger curled toward his palm but his ring and little fingers splayed apart. This method is more emphatic and deliberate than the first, but positioning hand and wrist in front of the face makes it somewhat less dignified. This method works best during a dramatic pause, while the frame-adjust method can be executed at any time.

    Regardless of the method, I admire Colbert’s ability to inject drama and even gravitas into the simplest of activities, and use it to enhance the character he has created for The Colbert Report. Don’t ever switch to contacts, Stephen.

  • Geekstuff: Orc Warrior


    Orc WarriorWhen I began taking pictures of myself every(ish) weekday at five o’ clock I had no idea of the potential consequences. Case in point, the orc warrior drawn by Natalie (The Fuzzy Slug) and inspired by the picture from 28 March.

    The orc is as yet unnamed, but Natalie has suggested Kronk the Jubilant and Sam Chupp has suggested that he is clearly “Warrior Ootj’k, of the G’nprah Clan, which is part of the Yekn’m Tribe. Either way, kudos to Natalie for taking a goofy picture and turning it into excellent (if still goofy) art!

  • 5 O’Clock Shadow – 09 April 2007


    5 O'Clock Shadow - 09 April 2007If this works, I may love Flickr forever. After uploading today’s 5 o’clock shadow picture, I noticed the “Blog This” button above the image (yeah, I’m not always this quick on the uptake). I clicked it, configured my blog settings and preferences (there’s a direct hook into the WordPress API, sweet!) and here I am, writing a post directly from Flickr. I imagine I’ll have to go into WordPress to tweak the tags and possibly the category (honestly, I’m all but ignoring categories in favor of tags these days, which is probably not the best practice).

    I was using the Flickr Photo Album plugin to import photos into blog posts, but I deactivated the plugin when I discovered it was rewriting my tag links to point to non-existent Flickr photo albums. Perhaps that’s the preferred method for those whose WordPress blog is a photo album in disguise, but I put those tags there for a reason and not every post is a photo post, so I want the tags to link to a list of related posts.

    At any rate, today’s five o’clock shadow is brought to you by Flickr’s integrated blogging function and by Miscellaneous G™, who bought me a fez once upon a yesterday.

  • Photostuff: Flickr


    5 O'Clock Shadow - 06 April 2007I decided to give Flickr a shot, so I signed up for an account and uploaded all of my five o’clock shadow pictures. I also installed the Flickr Photo Gallery plugin from Silas Partners. The plugin includes a version of Lightbox, which makes me a little nervous as I’ve gotten to like Slightbox over the past couple of months. I’ll have to poke into the code and see if there’s any way to make the photo gallery work with Slightbox.

    [Edited to include a more friendly URL for my Flickr album.]

  • 5 O’Clock Shadow – 05 April 2007


    5 O’Clock Shadow - 05 April 2007
    Rockbox , the “open source jukebox firmware”, on my iPod. Unfortunately, Rockbox isn’t quite ready for primetime on fourth generation iPods and after two days of frequent lockups I decided to revert back to Apple’s original firmware.

    Thanks to firmware juggling and not quite unrelated iTunes juggling, I kind of lost track of the podcasts I was listening to and stopped downloading new episodes. Thankfully, I had a backlog of about 400 episodes from 40-50 different podcasts on my iPod. This afternoon, I queued up Black Jack Justice, a hard-boiled detective series from Decoder Ring Theater done in the style of old-time radio dramas. It’s good stuff, and Season One is available at Podiobooks.com. Also available at Podiobooks is Season One of The Adventures of the Red Panda, an homage to The Shadow and The Green Hornet.

    Decoder Ring Theater just wrapped up Season Two of Black Jack Justice and has begun a new season of The Adventures of the Red Panda, so I need to get on the stick and start downloading podcasts again soon.

  • 5 O’Clock Shadow – 04 April 2007


    5 O’Clock Shadow - 04 April 2007
    Where did I go wrong? I’ve explained this to you countless times and it seems that I must do so yet again. Perhaps this time I’ll get through to you; perhaps this time you’ll understand.

    Do you see these hands? These are the hands that built the box. These are the hands that wielded the saw and the plane, the hammer and the chisel. These are the hands that built the box; not out of spite or hatred, not out of vanity or pride, but out of love. These are the hands that labored ceaselessly, that bled and ached. These are my hands.

    Look at these hands. Look at the scars and the callouses. Understand that I do not begrudge you the wounds; they are badges of honor, testaments of devotion, symbols of love. The scars you see are merely the memories of past pain. The torment I feel now cannot be seen; the wounds you inflict cut me deeper than any splinter could pierce.

    I do not begrudge you the sacrifices I have made, nor the wounds that I have suffered. I ask little in return for these sacrifices, for my devotion, for my love. I ask only that you respect me, that you try to understand what I have done for you.

    I ask only that you stay in the box.