HP Computers don’t recognize black people

December 21, 2009

Thanks to Marjorie for the tip.


Fake black dad

June 12, 2009
Is it just me or does that dude's expression remind you of CeilingCat?

One of Toronto’s summer fun guides did an almost-imperceptible Photoshop job: can you spot it above? It’s pretty nuanced, so look closely. Ok, ok, take it easy, I’ll tell you. They pasted a black man’s face over a stock photo depicting an olive-skinned man. Why? Because Toronto is a multicultural mosaic and they wanted to make their cover family more diverse. Now the image represents both interracial marriage and microcephaly. I quite like this, actually. I wonder who BlackDad really is, and if he made royalty fees? A head tax, maybe?

If anyone sees this magazine around town, can you grab me a copy?

Via Torontoist

Invisible Milestones

January 24, 2009

This is a neat story from a video game design team:

A team of videogame developers had spent an entire month of diligent programming, attempting to create the foundation for a complex game. Finally, one day there came a triumphant whoop from the engineering room.

A manager poked her head in, excited to see the progress- surely the team must have achieved something incredible! But all that was on the screen was a black triangle. The manager made a snide comment and walked away shaking her head, but the team was stoked. They knew their humble little triangle represented a major accomplishment. It wasn’t the triangle itself–

“… It was the journey the triangle had taken to get up on the screen. It had passed through our new modeling tools, through two different intermediate converter programs, had been loaded up as a complete database, and been rendered through a fairly complex scene hierarchy, fully textured and lit (though there were no lights, so the triangle came out looking black).

“The black triangle demonstrated that the foundation was finally complete – the core of a fairly complex system was completed, and we were now ready to put it to work doing cool stuff.”

The full black triangle story is here– found it via Kottke.

This story reminded me of a great blog entry about beginning a career in acting, written by Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on NBC’s The Office:

“It will be hard to explain your first milestones to friends and family back home. They are waiting to see you on TV or on the big screen. It is hard to explain how a 2nd callback for a job you didn’t land was the highlight of your month and a very valid reason to celebrate.

“I remember one year my proudest moment was at an audition for a really trashy bar maid on a new TV show. It was written for a Pamela Anderson type. I thought, “I can never pull this off. I just don’t have the sex appeal. I feel stupid. No one is going to take me seriously.” But, I committed to the role and gave the best audition I could.

I didn’t get the job. I didn’t get a callback. But I conquered my rambling, fear-driven brain and went balls out on the audition anyway. That was a huge milestone for me – but hard to explain at Christmas.

“A year later I booked the role of a trashy prostitute in a little indie movie called Employee of the Month. In the past I would have turned down the audition thinking that I would embarrass myself. But after that earlier breakthrough I felt confident. The success is not always in getting the part but in the seed that is planted.”

Fischer’s trashy bar maid audition was what the game developer might call a black triangle:

“Afterwards, we began to refer to certain types of accomplishments as “black triangles.” These are important accomplishments that take a lot of effort to achieve, but upon completion you don’t have much to show for it — only that more work can now proceed.

“It takes someone who really understands the guts of what you’re doing to appreciate a black triangle.”

So next time someone is confused about one of your major life-development milestones, just hold up an index finger, make your best Mister Miyagi face, pause dramatically, and quietly say,

“That moment… was a black triangle.

Or…. a trashy bar maid.”


Here’s a funny post:  how to get a flight attendant to give you a free cocktail.

A Class Divided

December 28, 2008


A Class Divided is a documentary about an exercise invented in 1968 by Jane Elliott, a third-grade teacher in Riceville, Iowa. The night Martin Luther King was assassinated, Elliott decided to teach her eight-year-old students a more concrete lesson about discrimination; so she divided the class by eye colour and began to treat the blues differently from the browns. This video documents the whole thing- from the exercise itself to the children’s reactions the next day and a decade later- and even follows Elliott into a prison to perform the same exercise on adult prison guards.

The exercise is harsh and at times heartbreaking. Mrs. Elliott teaches and enforces the discrimination with a rapid-fire sharpness that reminds me of Stephen Colbert, and the camera catches moments of cruelty and vulnerability from the subjects. Being a member of the “bad” group has a profound effect on the confidence of children and adults alike, and it even has a negative impact on the participants’ scores in academic tests.

It’s also worth considering how ethical it is to treat children like this- and if the fact that society already does treat some children like this makes it acceptable to do the exercise with other kids.

This is a fantastic and thought-provoking documentary. Five-part link will play continuously, for a total running time of about an hour, at this link.

OBAMA: Hope is Taupe

October 18, 2008

Yeah, I couldn’t help myself. I made this Barack Obama poster, an homage to Shepard Fairey‘s original.

Hope is Taupe

Obama: Hope is Taupe

If you like this poster, you should definitely check out my Barack Obama Hallowe’en Costume.

Meg new single Precious!!!

September 16, 2008

Thanks to Jessperson for the tip.