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This Diner Is Full Of Dark Secrets

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Rest your eyes on this image of a seemingly ordinary diner for a while and you'll start to notice strange and sinister things are afoot in this particular beanery which smack of black magic and the Old Gods. 

Thankfully this illustration by Jeff Lee Johnson is purely fictitious, created for Fantasy Flight Games' illustrated short story collection The Investigators of Arkham Horror, Tales of Adventure and Madness.

But if you notice any of the strange things you see in this image happening in the real world seek out your nearest Mythos investigator so they can battle the squirming forces of chaos before great Cthulhu is awakened...

See full sized image here

-Via HouseBeautiful

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These websites could change your life

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Curse of knowledge

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The best tweets ever (nominated by Kottke readers)



Twitter, in principle, could have been invented at any point in the history of the internet. A big networked message board with an upper limit of 140 characters? It sounds like something a resource-conserving developer would have invented before web browsers existed. A few hundred people would have used it, and it would have been legendary. Maybe a few thousand.

Instead, Twitter happened in the early days of developing for mobile devices (originally, not even phones but pagers), when there were a critical mass of intense and casual users, and mass network graphs were quickly becoming the new hotness for software companies. You could get scale in a hurry, you needed scale after a certain point to survive.

And so we have this bizarre new communication platform-meets-vernacular art form. Which may end up killing us all. But first…

Jason joined Twitter in early 2007 and naturally, wrote about it intelligently and presciently here on Kottke.org. The first mention is in a kinda-sorta-liveblog of Steve Jobs’s legendary iPhone keynote, and makes Twitter sound like a new tech site. This is where I, personally, found out about it, although I didn’t sign up until a little later.

Playing with Twitter reminds me of blogging circa 2000. Back then, all weblogs were personal in nature and most people used them to communicate with their friends and family. If I wanted to know what my friends were up to back then, I read their blogs. Now I follow Twitter (and Flickr and Vox).

The reaction to Twitter mirrors the initial reaction to weblogs…the same tired “this is going to ruin the web” and “who cares what you ate for dinner” arguments…

When one thing (i.e. Twitter) is easier than something else (i.e. blogging) and offers almost the same benefits, people will use it.

I’d completely forgotten about this post, and it’s totally amazing.

[One] way of thinking about how to choose web projects is to take something that everyone does with their friends and make it public and permanent. (Permanent as in permalinked.) Examples:
  • Blogger, 1999. Blog posts = public email messages. Instead of “Dear Bob, Check out this movie.” it’s “Dear People I May or May Not Know Who Are Interested in Film Noir, Check out this movie and if you like it, maybe we can be friends.”
  • Twitter, 2006. Twitter = public IM. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that one of the people responsible for Blogger is also responsible for Twitter.
  • Flickr, 2004. Flickr = public photo sharing. Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake said in a recent interview: “When we started the company, there were dozens of other photosharing companies such as Shutterfly, but on those sites there was no such thing as a public photograph — it didn’t even exist as a concept — so the idea of something ‘public’ changed the whole idea of Flickr.”
  • YouTube, 2005. YouTube = public home videos. Bob Saget was onto something.

Some successful tweets seem predictable given the restrictions on the form — wordplay, pop culture mashups, classic setup-and-punchline jokes. But why are weird little micronarratives so compelling?

And on a platform packed with self-promoting brands, cynical media types, and actual Nazis, why do we love sweet, sincere animals who talk? (Wait, I may have just answered my own question)

Ten years later, I don’t know why Twitter is, but I’m glad that it does.

Tags: Twitter
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The web’s most useful tools and sites

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The World Wide Web isn’t all fun and games. This isn’t television! This isn’t an arcade! This is computing! We’ve got high-powered work machines tuned into this thing! With keyboards and mice and productivity software and everything!

These are the most useful tools and sites on the web, as nominated by the readers of Kottke.org:

Online Etymology Dictionary (three different people suggested this! which suggests to me that y’all are my kind of people)
Green’s Dictionary of Slang
Behind the Name (which is a baby name site I think?)

Time and Date
Weather Underground
ABC 13 Southeast Texas Weather (from a reader who lives in Houston)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (this site is very cool)

Baseball Reference
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Wikimedia Commons
Old Maps Online
Internet Archive/Wayback Machine

Kottke (you’re already here)
Can I Stream It?
TV Muse

Stack Overflow
Cool Tools
0 to 255
Random Password Generator
Google Fusion Tables

FutureMe.org (write a letter to yourself in the future)

This to That (Glue Advice)
Soapcalc (Making soap)
waifu2x (Anime character generator)
Random Oblique Strategies Online

Shut Up (hides comments)
OneTab (collapses all your browser tabs into a sortable, exportable list)

Google, Craigslist, DuckDuckGo, the usual crap

A lot of you seem like you have really cool jobs.

(A special thank you to Google Forms for making this possible.)

Tags: tools
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leo.org is way better than Linguee. Like not even in the same universe better.

50 States of McMansion Hell: Boone County, Indiana

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Hello Friends! If you, like me, are currently enrolled in higher education, I’m sure you are probably in what is known as academic hell, AKA the last few weeks of April. I hope that this post cheers you up as you are undoubtedly procrastinating doing something extremely important and also time-sensitive because you are so physically exhausted that you have entered a state of nihilism you did not think possible until this very moment. 

But hey, it could be worse - you could be this:

This house, built in 2000, boasts a whopping 5 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms - which can be yours for the low price of $1.1 million dollars. Onward!


This is an A) really cramped and B) really confusing cathedral of wasted space. I know that architectural symbolism tells me that I go out of the door with the bits of mass-produced art glass around it, but what if I’m feeling defiant? What will I walk into? (It’s probably coats.)

gr8 r00m

I know there’s no such thing as absolute proportions, but Blondel was kind of right when he said that letting up on the rules would invite architectural chaos. It just took like, a few centuries. 

not so gr8 room

I knew a lot of people growing up who were not allowed to eat Thin Mints because god forbid they get a little chubby when they went to college - oh how then will they ever seduce a wealthy doctor/lawyer/financier to marry them only to buy a huge house and get divorced ten years later? Ah, the cyclical family traditions of the Southern Nouveau Riche™~

Dining Room

“Mom, I’m not taking your dumb china. Bryce and I are moving into a tiny house.” 


What do you mean Rem Koolhaas didn’t write Junkspace about kitchen end cabinet displays? (I’m real into Rem jokes these days. Must be the season.)

Master Bedroom

OK, I spelled gingham correctly this time do not yell at me in emails anymore. Also, don’t yell at me in emails about dumb B- political jokes because I mercilessly laugh at said emails with my friends over drinks. Mercilessly. 

Master Bath

woo, I’m on a roll also those lights are in fact upside down

Bedroom 2

Ah, it’s always fun times when McMansion Hell and Actual Hell converge.

Bedroom 3

yeah, this was a little dark. Also can we all lol @ the idea that adult coloring books are supposed to be zen and chill but in reality you end up spending an hour meticulously planning your color scheme and fretting over coloring tiny repetitive bits the wrong color???? Or is this just me?

Bedroom 4

The saddest thing ever is people telling boys they’re not allowed to feel. The other saddest thing ever is this room. 


god it really is exam season if the jokes are this dark. Almost as dark as that brown carpet.

Rec Room

team booze kitchen


(resists urge to make PBS funding joke because it kills me inside)

Finally, our favorite part:

Rear Exterior

Ah my fun new article for [clickbait]: You and your siblings reimagined as bay window layouts on a garbage tract home (Number 3 is sooo true!)

Well, friends that does it for this particularly cruel iteration of the 50 States! Stay tuned next week for an Iowan McMansion, and for Sunday where I don’t get distracted by chocolate this time and post about dead guys who argue about architecture. Have a great rest of your week!

If you like this post, and want to see more like it, consider supporting me on Patreon! Not into small donations and sick bonus content? Check out the McMansion Hell Store - 100% goes to charity.

This month, McMansion Hell donated $100 to DoCoMoMo US, to help aid in the fight to preserve important icons of Modernist architecture. 

Copyright Disclaimer: All photographs in this post are from real estate aggregate Zillow.com and are used in this post for the purposes of education, satire, and parody, consistent with 17 USC §107. Manipulated photos are considered derivative work and are Copyright © 2017 McMansion Hell. Please email kate@mcmansionhell.com before using these images on another site. (am v chill about this)

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