Monday, August 24, 2009

Daily Giz Wiz x 900

I'm a fan of tech gadgets. And although crocheting requires less digital tools than my other artsy pursuits, I still listen to technology podcasts while I work with yarn.

Podcasts are shows that are subscribed to—and shown—over the internet, and my favourite podcast is the Daily Giz Wiz. Each episode focuses on a gadget, but the show's energy comes from the funny banter between the co-hosts. From left to right: Leo Laporte and Dick DeBartolo:

Leo and Dick were preparing to record their 900th podcast episode this month, and I wanted to crochet something for their special show.

The first figure I began to crochet was a mini Leo Laporte. I've been a fan of Leo's down-to-earth approach to tech talk since 2001, and our paths have crossed since then.

Here's a video of when MJ and I called Leo's computer help show in 2005:

And here's a video of Leo viewing some illustrations I sent him a month later:

This video shows my geeky thrill of 2007: being interviewed by Leo about digital illustration:

Finally, here is the crocheted Leo, wearing his headphones, his seldom-seen yellow clog slippers, and sitting on his inflatable exercise ball:

The co-host of the Daily Giz Wiz is Dick DeBartolo, whose nickname is the "Giz Wiz". He is also known as "Mad's Maddest Writer," having written for every issue of MAD magazine since 1966. MJ's favourite magazine is MAD, and she even has two issues autographed by Dick De.

Here is the crocheted Dick De, wearing his MAD t-shirt and sitting on his Giz Wiz Biz logo:

The Daily Giz Wiz podcast occasionally features gadgets that are surprisingly low-tech. In fact, two of their most popular episodes featured a toothpick bird and a spork.

A plastic toothpick bird uses its beak to pick up toothpicks from its base, but this yarn toothpick bird only simulates that pickup action:

A metal spork can be used as a fork and a spoon, though this yarn spork is best kept clear from foodstuff:

Here is the entire Daily Giz Wiz family:

I sent the DGW figures to Leo and Dick for their live recording of episode 900, and here's a video of the surprise gift opening:

Congratulations to Dick and Leo for 900+ episodes of the Daily Giz Wiz! Will I be a geeky fan of their next 900 episodes? As Dick says at the end of each episode: "I'll be here!"


  1. Your creations look amazing...and I had such a laugh watching the clips and the guys trying to work out if you are the same "Howie Woo" that they knew! Awesome post!!

  2. This is super cool!!! Wonderful work as awlays, no wonder they are so thrilled :o)

  3. AWESOME, Howie!! Your guys are fantastic! I would love to see this show regularly too. How would I do that? Is there a particular website for the podcasts?

  4. I'm inspired by Woo! :) Loved the video of you showing how you illustrate. I finally broke down and bought a wacom tablet last Christmas, but got frusterated using it. I never even thought of scanning my drawings then using it as a guide. Very cool.

    The crocheted gifts were awesome! I could tell they were thrilled! :) I also had a fun time watching it when it aired. Great Job! :)

  5. I LOVE the toothpick bird, Howie!! So much fun to watch you on TV!!! You famous you!!!

  6. PaisleyJade: haha Yes, I was also laughing when they were getting the crocheting Howie Woo confused with the doodling Howie Woo! I get the two confused myself sometimes ;D Thanks!

    Sharona R: Thank you :) It's kind of tricky describing a favourite special-interest show, so I'm grateful for your "super cool" approval!

    By the way, Julie Bernstein (the person sitting in the background during DGW #900) took some lovely photos of the gift opening on her flick page!

    Jana: I'm happy to hear you're interested in hearing the show! If you're using itunes, here is the itunes link . The show can also be heard/subscribed from their website. Be careful though: As I know too well, the show inspires impulse online shopping! :D

    Rebekah: Thanks! I hope you give the wacom tablet another try someday :) It took me weeks to get used to the tablet, with hand cramps and shoulder pain during that time. But now the pen tablet is so intuitive to use for drawing/colouring. Your chubby blue bird drawing is the cutest though, no matter how it was drawn!

    It was so cool to watch the live show at the same time with you :D

    TADA's Revolution: hehe Though it hasn't visited me yet, I hope a real toothpick bird finds it way to your adventure-filled world of personality-rich animals

    Even if no one watched The Lab (which, according to Leo, wasn't too far from the truth), I would have been equally thrilled to meet Leo in person. I guess tech geeks have tech geeks for idols haha Thanks for watching the TV interview!

  7. Totally great post..I enjoyed it so much :0)
    As usual I'm always impressed that you can capture 3D objects so well in yarn

  8. sukigirl: I'm glad you liked this post, even though it's kind of a niche topic :) It would take long minutes to explain to friends & family why I was crocheting a Toothpick Bird haha

  9. Excellent work, and I love how thrilled they were with their presents. Although who wouldn't love to receive one of your crocheted works of art?

  10. Homerun yet again!!!Yay Howie!! Fantastic job per usual:)

  11. So awesome. I nearly died laughing when the birds starting falling in love!

  12. I love your creations! They are so fun and inspiring. Keep it up!

  13. You crack me up, as always. It's great to get that kind of feedback isn't it. I'm always very anxious when I make stuff for people, and it's always a relief when they love it. :)
    Well done!
    Have a nice week.

  14. Kitty Ballistic: Thank you, it was such a techy thrill to be able to watch their reactions live over the internet! I sure wish there were cameras running when your dad opened your awesome sausagy creation! :D

    Miss Julep: Merci merci! I was just relieved that Customs didn't confiscate the box past the show date! :)

    Megan: haha yes, the fleeting romance between the Toothpick Birds was a funny surprise to witness. I've heard online rumours that they've reignited their courtship in the TWiT cottage. Who knows with those crazy birds! ;D

    hollesdottir: Thank you! This blog aims to be fun, and I'm honoured if you are inspired by the creations too! Keep up the great work on your all-encompassing blog too :)

    ewushka: Yes, I'm also nervous whem someone opens something I made for them. I'm sure your friends & family treasure all your handmade gifts! I've often heard that crocheters/knitters appreciate handmade yarn items the most because they know the time/effort that goes into them, but I think most people sense when a gift is made with affection. Thanks!

  15. I think that noone truly appreciates crafts more than a fellow craftster, but most people like a gift that has been made exclusively for them. It's the thought behind more than the execution.
    I don't like crafting for people who can make it themselves though. It's either an invitation to critique or a flicked finger in their face, and either way it's no fun.
    Affection is the best. Sorry for the rambling.

  16. Truly fantastic work! I am only about half-way through listening to the episode, but I couldn't tell whether Dick and Leo were doing one of those "Oh, isn't interesting!" things. I have been a fan of both of theirs for many years, so I thought I knew their personalities well enough to know they wouldn't do something like that. I was right! You are a fantastic artist in a stereotyped medium. I can see that you won't be making any doilies any time soon! Keep up the marvelous work!

  17. ewushka: Well said! It can be intimidating, yeah, when you make something for someone who can make the same things haha

    Anonymous: It's great to hear from another DGW fan and I appreciate your inspiring words! Technology and textiles are such fascinating worlds to visit, and it was a thrill when those worlds met at TWiT cottage :D Thanks so much!

  18. I TOTALLY HAVE THAT BIRD TOOTHPICK DISPENSER! Which was the main reason that I chose to comment on this particular post, everything is so awesome, and I can't exactly go around commenting on everything you make, right? *sweatdrop* This is all just fantastic work!

  19. Annie: Your message overwhelmed me with plastic bird envy, and I am now going to look for a toothpick bird on ebay! Thanks :D


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