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Singing magnet (“You Are My Sunshine”) June 21, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Kitchen & Bath, Smiley, Video.
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Singing magnet (“You Are My Sunshine”). From my personal collection.

Not exactly sure where I picked this up, but I love it. When I’m in the kitchen making dinner — or breakfast, or just grabbing a snack — I like to push the “nose” on this thing. Yeah, the music is tinny and electronic and maybe a little grating, but it’s such a happy song! Makes me smile, every time. šŸ™‚


OSS 117: Lost in Rio April 23, 2012

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Movies, Smiley, Video.
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Title screen from the DVD of OSS 117: Lost in Rio.

A week or so ago, my wife brought home two French movies on DVD,Ā OSS 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies and its sequel,Ā OSS 117: Lost in Rio. They’re spy spoofs, a kind of French Austin Powers series, starring the delightful Jean Dujardin (he won this year’s Best Actor Oscar for The Artist) as the hopelessly out of touch, (almost) hilariously bigoted French spy OSS 117.

The original film is set in the 1950s, but the sequel — which is slightly less funny but is better paced, less manic, and so probably a better film overall — is set firmly in the mid-1960s. The ridiculously old-fashioned OSS 117 must now have to deal with women’s lib, the sexual revolution, and hippies. Yes, hippies. Which is why, if you look closely on the DVD’s title screen above, you can see — almost dead center on the screen — thatĀ indispensableĀ icon of `60s hippie culture: the smiley face!

Et, voila! Il est la!

And if that’s not enough to get you grinning, go ahead and watch the movies, because they truly are hilarious.

Here’s a trailer for the second movie:

Bouncy ball bowling ball video game! December 1, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Toys, Video.
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You’re reading this post’s title right: I’m writing about a bouncy ball, which functions as a bowling ball, inside a video game.

That is just layers of awesome!

The other day, I was poking around Apple’s Mac App store for free games to try out on my MacBook, and I found this bolwing game called Gutterball — Golden PinĀ Bowling. I tend to stick to card games (solitaire, blackjack) and word games (TextTwist, Scrabble, crosswords) for simple leisure games on my computers, but something about this bowling game made me think of my old Ten Pin Alley game on my now-antique PS1. The games aren’t at all the same, really, but I did remember how much I enjoyed blowing hours and hours playing computer bowling, so I figured I’d give this game a shot.

Turns out, this isn’t a standard bowling game. It can be, if you play it straight, but the designers give you all sorts of fun options to jazz up the game, including a “steering wheel” to direct your ball down the lanes, bombs that produce exploding strikes, and wild custom balls you can buy by collecting “golden pins” during game play. I skipped to the end of the custom balls list just to see what the priciest options were (a fireball, a disco ball, the earth), and then I worked my way back through the list.

Which is when I discovered the smiley face bowling ball.

My smiley face bowling ball, which serves as my player icon, is in the upper left corner of the load screen.

Here's a close-up of my bowling ball.

The smiley face is only on one side of the ball and faces you when you place the ball on the lane to begin bowling:

Here's my bowling ball on the lane, ready to strike!

A close-up of my bowling ball on the lane.

But here’s the best part: the smiley face bowling ball is also a giant bouncy ball! Seriously — this thing is jumpy, bounding down the lanes and, if you throw it right,Ā ricocheting around inside the pin housing after a strike!

When you win the game (which I always do, because right now I’m playing solo), the game shows the winner’s ball rotating across the score screen, which gives me my best view of my giant smiley face bouncy ball bowling ball!

Every winner deserves a smiley face!

BONUS: The Daily Show August 16, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Simulacra, Smiley, Video, Web smileys.
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I was watching The Daily Show last night and was delighted to find a reference to a smiley simulacrum!

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James Schmool:Ā  “You see the smile? That’s what you need to do.”

Samantha Bee:Ā  “Did you just look at a scan of your brain and see a smiley face?”

It happens around the 3-minute mark.

Hope you enjoy! šŸ™‚

BONUS: Lisa Simpson on happy pills July 19, 2011

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Smiley, Video, Web smileys.
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Because I’ve been overseas the last few years and haven’t hooked up our tv since returning to the States, I’m a bit behind on The Simpsons. But a friend of mine pointed me to this fantastic clip of Lisa in a pill-induced hallucinatory fantasyland of smiley faces:

There’s something not quite funny about this, but in true Simpsons fashion, that somehow just makes it funnier. And I love a good paradox.

The good news: here on the blog, you can see smiley faces like this without the drugs! šŸ™‚

BONUS: My Christmas present December 26, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Holidays, Movies, Smiley, Video.
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DVD release of Smiley Face (2007). The newest addition to my personal collection.

When I first heard about this film, I knew I had to own it.Ā  No idea if it’s any good, though if the “official selection” designations from various film festivals is any indication it must at least be indie-chic.Ā  But with a title and a cover like this, I’m sure I’ll enjoy it regardless!Ā  (Maybe I’ll post a review here after I’ve watched it.)

Merry Christmas, happy readers.

Reader-submitted video October 13, 2010

Posted by Samuel Snoek-Brown in Reader submission, Smiley, Toys, Video.
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My friend Beth D. sent me this happy guy hopping across her laptop.Ā  Thanks, Beth!