All posts by Joe Helfrich

…kicks John Sununu’s ass.

More about it here.

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen her actually ask questions instead of bob her head while people bullshit, either.  It’s so incredibly refreshing. Also sad that it’s all it takes for people to stand up and cheer for modern journalism, but still, nice to see.  Maybe I need to start watching CNN’s morning show again before blocking the channel….

So someone once told me that a web page I had made looked like it was “from the 1980’s school of web design.”

“There wasn’t a web in the 80’s,” I said.

“That’s my point.”

OK, it hurt, but looking at the page I had to admit she was right. It wouldn’t have been pulled out of the GeoCities archive for mocking or anything, but there were probably lots of pages that looked like it in there.

Since then, I’d stuck with tinkering with WordPress themes, but after the lovely wife came up with a couple website ideas, I’ve revisited HTML and learned a bit of programming (and then a different bit of programming as I realized the first plan wasn’t the best one, and then more as the technology changed underneath me….) One of the frustrations I’ve run into is that a lot of stuff assumes a level of skill that isn’t quite there yet for me; I’m at that point where I can look at examples and follow along, even spot errors in production code, but when I try to write something from scratch, I stare at the editor screen, with no real idea of where to start. It feels like the difference between being able to read a language, or flip through a phrasebook without too many embarrassing pronunciation errors, and actually being able to speak it. Continue Reading

My phone beeped. The text message read “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE,” so I knew my brother had gotten his mail.

I had been planning to build a bed for my stepdaughter. I had plans drawn up and everything. Trying to save money, I asked my wife to look for a mattress online. Instead, she found a bed that almost exactly matched my plans, for about what the wood was going to cost me.

So we went to the used furniture store to look at the bed. And sure enough, it was just what we were looking for–a twin bed resting on top of a desk on one end, a set of shelves and drawers on the other. But on one of the shelves, there was something that made me recoil in horror.

A pair of speckled blue ceramic ducks

While these should offend the senses of anyone looking at them, I was horrified to learn that there were more of them.

They were just sitting there, waiting for me. As they taunted me silently from the shelf, I wondered, were they a warning? A sign from some great horror beneath the waves that the bed was cursed? Or had the ducks placed themselves there deliberately, knowing that I was coming, and that I would be their way out of an eternity gathering dust in a junk shop?

If you’re confused, you should understand that my family has a bit of a history with blue ducks.

These had a mark on the bottom, that declared them to be Enesco products. It appears that these were once in some way a “thing,” mass produced for people to buy, and not some horrible one-off experiment passed on at a party. Thankfully I could find no trace of them on the current site, so apparently someone has come to their senses.

Still, the company that now owns Gund once made these things. It makes me weep a little.

Regardless, we bought the bed, and almost against my will, the ducks. But there was only one thing I could do with them.

A box containing two ducks, and several warnings.

The sealed and addressed box.


Happy birthday little brother!


Sadly, I may have created a monster. Armed with the knowledge that there are more of them out there, he’s gone looking. He’s already found one for sale on the web. I can only pray to the elder gods that the item was sold before he found it.


When I was a kid, there was Star Blazers.  I never wanted to miss Star Blazers.  It was, as far as I was concerned, amazing, even if there were some cheesy bits.  I rewatched it recently on Netflix, and while the cheesy bits were even worse than I remembered, and it was badly in need of a continuity editor, it was still amazing.  “How did they get this on American television” amazing in places.  Star Blazers of course, was originally Space Battleship Yamato when it was released in Japan.  I’ve never seen that version, so I’m not sure how many of the problems were due to the localization.

I found today that the series is being remade, as Space Battleship Yamato 2199.  It’s about halfway through its run, and looks good; there are reportedly English captioned versions floating around.  But as cool as that is, it is not the Daily Awesome.

A year or two ago, I saw a trailer for a live action Space Batttleship Yamato.  But I didn’t hear anything else about it, and decided it was fan work or something.

It wasn’t.

The movie was amazing.  It chopped a lot of stuff out, of course, but a lot of it needed to go.  The story line of the original series is there, intact.  There was just enough fan service in it (listen carefully to the voice of his PDA) without it being overbearing.  Not only were the characters properly developed, but there was more than one woman on the ship and they actually get to do things. (The love interest is even a kick-ass fighter pilot.)

How do I know this?

You can watch the whole thing here, or you can [amazon_link id=”B005CMGKTG” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]buy it from Amazon[/amazon_link]. If for some reason you need convincing, jump ahead to the twenty minute mark, and once that scene ends and you’ve picked your jaw up off the floor, go back to the beginning, because you’ve already missed some amazing stuff.

You’re welcome.