Tag Archives: holidays

Get Two Free Christmas Classics from Audible

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This Christmas season the folks at Audible, purveyors of fine audio productions, are bringing in the holiday cheer with not one, but two Christmas classics for free (my favorite price).

Whether or not you have kids, you’ll enjoy How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. The book is voiced by the crumudgeonly, but wonderful Walter Matthau.

The second free book is A Christmas Carol: An Signature Performance by Tim Curry by Charles Dickens. Re-reading Dickens’ immortal Christmas parable each year is one of my favorite traditions. I’m looking forward to hearing how Tim Curry brings Scrooge to life.

Download both of these books now as they aren’t likely to be free much longer.

I’m an unashamed Audiobook “reader” and you should be, too!

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JoCo and JoRo Bring an Early Christmas Present

One Christmas at a Time

Not content with a slot on my Halloween playlist, Jonathan Coulton is obviously angling for a position on my list of classic Christmas albums as well. This holiday season he’s joining forces with John Roderick to release One Chistmas at a Time.

I don’t start getting excited about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, however, thanks to JoCo & JoRo I’m getting into the spirit. The album features ten nine original Christmas songs and one Chanukuah song.

As much as it pains me to admit this, I know that Coulton’s music isn’t for everyone. So, here’s your chance to try before you buy.

The Week Between

2600

If the tracks above tickled your fancey you can pre-order now and download the album DRM-free on November 15th.

Do you know of any other awesome Christmas albums I should be listening to this year? Sound off in the comments below.

Album Art for One Christmas at a Time by Jonathan Coulton & John Roderick via Soundcloud.

Seven Spooktacular Songs for Your Halloween Playlist

So, you’re getting ready for your big Halloween bash, eh? If you want your party to make an impression that’ll last for many All Hallow’s Eves to come you’ll need to make sure you’ve got all the essentials covered.

Sure, you’ve got your age-appropriate costume, party games, food, drinks, and lots (and lots and lots and lots) of candy, but have you given any thought to your Halloween Playlist?

Best O' Boingo
Image via Amazon.

Please, oh please, don’t tell me you were just gonna connect your iPhone to the stereo and put it on shuffle! Do yourself (and your guests a favor). Add these seven songs to your soirée’s soundtrack for a fiendishly good time.

Monster Mash

The Monster Mash sounds just as campy today as when old Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett & The Crypt Kickers recorded it fifty years ago. It’s good fun that tickles everyone’s funny bone.

Werewolves of London

Everyone knows that werewolves are complete party animals and Warren Zevon showed us that those London lupines are no exception.

“Ah-hooo!!!!!”

Dragula

No Halloween playlist would be complete without at least one Rob Zombie song. The man lives everyday like it’s Halloween—I mean just look at the guy! What better song from the Zombie catalog for your evening’s listening pleasure than this little ditty about the Munster’s drag racer?

Rob Zombie: Past, Present and Future
Image via Amazon.

Dead Man's Party

Oingo Boingo’s annual Día de Los Muertos shows were a 1980s LA staple until frontman, Danny Elfman, swapped writing kooky new wave music for writing kooky music for kooky Tim Burton movies. Dead Man’s Party represents the best and most fun music from that period.

Ghostbusters

If it weren’t for the his contribution to the Ghostbusters Soundtrack, I’d have never heard of Ray Parker Jr. and that would have been a shame because this song is as fun as the movie was.

Re Your Brains

I may be late jumping on the JoCo bandwagon, but I’m sure enjoying the ride! Yes, this song is about an email correspondence between two co-workers, one of whom just happens to be a zombie intent on eating the other’s brains. It wouldn’t work nearly as well as it does if it weren’t for the fact that Coulton remains one heck of a musician and vocalist.

Thriller

As classic as Michael Jackson’s Thriller is as a song, it’s an even better music video. Take a page out of the Philipino inmates’ handbook and bust out MJ’s moves for a group number on the dance floor.

While I can’t guarantee your party’s success, I can promise you that at least the music won’t stink if you stick to my suggestions.

What songs made the cut onto your Halloween playlist? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Seven Spectacularly Geeky Fake Holidays

I love holidays as much for their traditions as for the time off from work that accompany many of them. Christmas, Easter, Halloween, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, President’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and even Cinco de Mayo—these are all real holidays.

National Beef Jerky Day and National Flannel Day, not so much.

Here are seven other aweseomely fake holidays that are so geektastic I hope that we’ll be celebrating them for years to come—even if it’s only on the Internet.

Pixar-esque Pirate
Image via AustinDM.

1. September 19

Talk Like a Pirate Day is the first fake holiday I’ll mention, not because it’s first in my heart, but rather because it’s tomorrow. Arr lads!, this be a scurvy holiday to be sure.

2. June 29

I’m not a big fan of unicorns myself, mostly because I’m not an eight year old girl. But, Unicorn Appreciation Day reminds me of J.D. from Scrubs. And any holiday that can make me think about one half of the greatest bromance of all time OK by me.

3. March 14

Pi Day is quite possibly the geekiest holiday on this list. The mathematical wunder-number 3.1415926535897932384626433832795028…, or Π, is abbreviated as 3.14. This works largely because there is a 14th day in the third month of the year. If you needed this explained to you then you don’t deserve to celebrate this special day.

4. August 28

Held on the birthday of Jack “King” Kirby (co-creator of Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and way too many others to list), Read Comics in Public Day lets geeks be geeks by taking pride in doing one of their favorite things.

5. May 25

I’ve written about Towel Day, or Geek Pride Day before. What better way to honor the memory of Douglas Adams and geeks everywhere than to carry a towel around with you all day.

6. June 1

Personally, I think every day should be National Punch a Hipster Day. Unfortunately, it comes but once a year. Apparently, “this is a hipster created hipster hating event … Hipsters are so hipster that they think hipsters are uncool!”

7. December 23

It should come as no surpise that from the best sitcom of all time we get the best fake holiday of all time. “Festivus, for the rest of us!” Legend has it that one winter’s eve the father of George Costanza brought home an aluminum pole, regaled his family members with tales of all the ways they’d disappointed him during the past year, and then challenged them to feats of strength. Which fake holidays do you celebrate? Sound off in the comments below.

A Special Towel Tip for Geek Pride Day

May 25th is here again and you know what that means … you don’t, do you? Well, for the uninitiated, today is recognized by dozens of people all over the world as both Geek Pride Day and Towel Day.

Geek Pride Day
Image courtesy of ThinkGeek.

So, in honor of the festivities that doubtless are going on in at least one geek’s parents’ basement, here is my favorite towel tip.

Sorry if this is too much info, but when I work out I sweat buckets. I keep a towel handy to mop my face, my arms, and to wipe off my gym equipment. It doesn’t take long for the towel to become so icky that I prefer letting the sweat drip off my brow rather than using it to dry my mug.

Midway through a grueling workout you may feel a little hesitant using your nasty gym towel to wipe your sweaty brow.

Don’t Panic!

Towel Tip (Brown Betty)

The best way I’ve found to keep my towel drier and/or more hygienic is to designate one side to be used only with my face. For simplicity’s sake I always look for the tag and then turn over the towel—that side is designated for my face only. The opposite side is for my arms and the flip side is for gym equipment.

This is a simple towel hack, but I’ve found that it keeps things from getting yucky.

Gym rats, Steelers fans, and interstellar hitchhikers the galaxy over can all agree on one thing—the towel is about the most massively useful thing ever invented.

Do you have any geeky tips for today? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Awesome AutoCorrect Prank for April Fools Day

Warning, this post contains immature language.

Don’t let April Fools Day catch you off guard this year—be prepared! I’ve got the perfect prank for you to play on your family, friends, and co-workers.

someecards.com - I plan to spend April Fool's Day remembering all of the pranks I thought of last year but completely forgot to execute this year.

Chances are really good that everyone you know has at least one of the following: an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or PC. I’ve got a prank for you that you can use on all of those devices.

The AutoCorrect or text substitution feature built into OS X, iOS, and Microsoft Office can be an amazing productivity boost. But, it can also be used to freak out your unsuspecting family, friends and co-workers this April Fools Day.

On a Mac

In this example I’m using a Mac running OS X 10.7.3 (Lion), but it should also work on 10.6 (Snow Leopard). First, open the System Preferences app.

Mac OS X System Preferences

Launch the Language & Text Preference Pane.

Select Language and Text Preference Pane

Click on the plus sign (+) to create a new symbol or text substitution.

Text Tab

If I were your victim, you’d want to think of something I type all the time, My Name (where My Name is the persons name or whatever text you want to have AutoCorrect change), for example. Enter that in the Replace column.

Replace "My Name"

Now, here’s the best part—in the With column enter the text you want to be replaced when your prankee types My Name. Because I’m so cool and sophisticated I would go with something like Poop.

Replace with Poop

Be sure to close the System Preferences app to cover your tracks. After you’ve added your entry to AutoCorrect it will be available in most of the apps on the Mac: Mail, iCal, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, Numbers, etc.

Now, imagine the following scenario. I, your hapless target am completing a moving letter in TextEdit and have just typed My Name.

Entering "My Name" in TextEdit

Bang, I’ve just been pranked!

TextEdit Poop

Now, let’s see how to do this on a PC.

In Microsoft Office 2010

For this example I used a PC running Windows 7 and Microsoft Office 2010. To my knowledge it should also work on Windows XP or Vista using Office 2003 or greater.

Go to the File menu in an Office 2010 application, like Excel in this example. Click on Options.

Microsoft Office File Menu

Click on Proofing.

Microsoft Office Options

Then, click on the AutoCorrect Options button.

Microsoft Office Options - Proofing

Similar to what you did on a Mac above, enter the text you want to change in the Replace column and what you want the substitution in the With column.

Microsoft Office Options - AutoCorrect

To keep things consistent we’ll go with My Name and Poop again. Click on OK to save your changes and then close out of the Options window.

AutoCorrect Adding an Entry

Even though you added the AutoCorrect in Excel, it will be accessible on all Office 2010 programs including Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

So, when My Name is typed …

Typing My Name in Word

You get Poop.

AutoCorrect Poop in Word

On an iPad or iPhone

Lastly, let’s see how to add AutoCorrect entries to an iOS device—an iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.

Open the Settings app and tap on General

iOS Settings App

Tap on Keyboard.

Keyboard

Then, tap on Shortcuts.

Shortcuts

To add an entry tap on the plus sign (+) in the upper right hand corner.

Add a Shortcut

Entering AutoCorrect shortcuts is a little different in iOS. First, type in the Phrase or word you want to substitute. Again, we’ll go with our old standby, Poop.

Next, type in the Shortcut you want substituted. Please note that it must be one word only. So instead of My Name you’ll have to just use Name in this example.

Tap Save and close out of the Settings app.

Enter Phrase and Shortcut Text

The next time the recipient of your pranking prowess prepares a message in Mail.app and enters their Name they’ll get, you guessed it, Poop.

Poop Strikes Again

One quirk with iOS devices is that before the AutoCorrect occurs they may actually see a little popup before the text substitution happens. This would give them the option of tapping the little ‘x’ next to the substitution to cancel it. Given the proliferation of humorous AutoCorrect sites on the Internet, it’s a safe bet that your target will fall victim to your prank.

Now you’re all set for April Fools Day. Go forth and prank merrily.

What pranks do you plan on pulling this year? Or what are the best pranks you’ve pulled on April Fools Days past? Sound off in the comments below.

All images are from my flickr, unless otherwise noted.

Seven Christmas Albums to Rock the Holidays

One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is the music. I love it all—from traditional carols about the birth of Jesus to Rock and Pop songs about Santa, snowmen, and mistletoe—I can’t get enough of it.

There’s no better way to get into the season than with a some fantastic seasonal tunes. So, here’s my list of seven sure-fire Christmas albums to rock your holidays.

  1. A Charlie Brown ChristmasVince Guaraldi Trio

    A Charlie Brown Christmas
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    There’s a certain melancholy to the Charlie Brown Christmas cartoon which helps us relate to the titular blockhead. But, the jazzy instrumental takes on familiar staples “Greensleeves” and “O Tannenbaum” make this album a perfect compliment to your holiday party.

  2. Noel – Josh Groban

    Noel
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    Wow! That’s really sums up how I feel about Groban’s take on Christmas music. I was literally blown away the first time I heard this. It’s easily the best Christmas album to come out in the last 20 years. Do yourself a favor and buy this one today.

  3. Christmas with the Beach Boys – The Beach Boys

    Christmas with the Beach Boys
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    This album occupies a special place in my heart. This was probably the third album I remember buying with my own money. I loved The Beach Boys’ harmonies on the old standards, but the most fun was their original tune “Little Saint Nick.”

  4. Have a Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives

    Have a Holly Jolly Christmas
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    I know what you’re thinking—“Isn’t that the Ugly Bug Ball guy?”—and, yes, it is. But, he’s also the snowman in the classic Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer animated special. If you enjoy Holly Jolly as much as I do the rest of this album will be sure to brighten your spirits.

  5. WintersongSarah McLachlan

    Wintersong
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    I’m sure Ms. McLachlan tires of her voice being referred to as ethereal, but it really is. This is a fantastic album with wonderful renditions of “Silent Night” and “Christmas Time Is Here”. The highlight of Wintersong is her cover of Joni Mitchell‘s “River”. At one time or another, we’ve all wished we had river that we could skate away on.

  6. A Very Special Christmas, Vol. 1 – Various Artists

    A Very Special Christmas
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    The first volume in the “A Very Special Christmas” (AVSC) series of albums may sound a trifle dated, but it’s just so much fun! Released in 1987 to benefit the Special Olympics, AVSC features a who’s who of late 80s rock and pop standouts. This album features two songs currently in heavy rotation on my Christmas playlist: “Christmas (Please Come Home Baby)” by U2 and “Christmas in Hollis” by Run-D.M.C.

  7. A Christmas Together – John Denver & the Muppets

    A Christmas Together
    Available on iTunes and Amazon

    It never officially felt like Christmas Time until my parents brought out the John Denver and Muppets Christmas record. With renewed interest in the Muppets, A Christmas Together is a great way to get (re-)acquainted with the world’s greatest performing puppet troupe. The songs range from sweet to silly without ever being condescending to the audience or the source material. This album is great fun regardless of your age.

There are so many great Christmas albums out there, so I know I may not have chosen your favorites. Which christmas albums would have made your list? Sound off in the comments below.

All album art courtesy of Amazon