Friday, January 28, 2005

Frog Rock

Though the rock isn't especially frog shaped, it satisfies its name from the inside out:
The stone has been hollowed out, and inside is a small, battery operated microprocessor. This processor spends most of its time asleep, but periodically wakes up to reproduce the digitally recorded sounds of insects and amphibians. During the daytime (a light sensor enables it to make this distinction) the Frog Rock periodically reproduces the call of a Pacific Tree Frog.
Though the rock isn't for sale, you can easily make one yourself.

  1. Find a rock. Any size will do, but a boulder would be best.
  2. Roll it into the livingroom, bedroom, or office: wherever you keep your computer.
  3. Click the listen to this species button.
  4. Steps 1-2 are optional, unless you're short on furniture.

Beware of Smiling Plants

I had one of these once. I might have ordered it from the back of a comic book. Or Popular Science. Unlike most gardening, which is inspired by poetry and beauty and the dinnertable, I wanted a Venus Flytrap for killing flies (which, I suppose, is a matter for the dinnertable.) The maws were a hungry red, and the toothed leaves could snap shut in an instant.

Now I know why. (via boingboing)

A Flytrap might make a good prop for Spot the Frog. I'd say character, but since it lacks a face, it can't speak or have thoughts (though if you look at it from a certain perspective, it does have a toothy smile...)

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Here's Something To Give Silent Pause

A sobering discovery:
Monitoring is intended to track the performance of call center operators, but the professional snoops are inadvertently monitoring callers, too. Most callers do not realize that they may be taped even while they are on hold.
I'm thinking of all the times I've spoken politely through grit teeth -- or is that gritted teeth? -- only to vent explosively when I'm put on hold. It's one thing to lose your temper in private. It's another to lose it before an audience.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Winter Strip Fever

It's the latter half of February, comic strip- time, and the winter is starting to grate. One of the odd things about writing a strip where most of the cast hibernates is that you get antsy, spending every day with the same handful of characters. Karl. Spot. Buddy. Wearing winter hats. Building snowmen. Eating snowflakes. I'm missing Bull and diminutive Meg; Lumpy; the sundry walk-on frogs who step in to deliver a punchline. The contrary bugs and snails. So today I wrote strips with a new (non-hibernating) character -- just to expand the opportunities for conversation.

It might be only a brief visit, but for a hermit (I could work from a cave and feel right at home), a little goes a long way.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Snow Report

Spot tests the depth of the snow while standing on Karl's head.