Strange Brouhaha

Thursday, May 31, 2007

These are some lame-ass words, Clyde

This has been in the news a bit, but here's some guy's list of 100 words every high school graduate should know. (Okay, not "some guy," but the editors of the American Heritage Dictionary.) I'm all for words, and in fact I know most of these, but... who would use "moiety" in daily speech? And it's not just "moiety." A lot of these words are just big words for big words' sake.

My biggest complaint? Why in the name of God is "ziggurat" on this list? Are we really that likely to run into some Assyrians who want to go to church?

All in all... this list is a waste of time.

Maybe they can have the meetings in Japan somewhere

Just go read this article on the Monkey's "call" for CO2 emissions reductions. Do I really need to add anything?

I mean, come on! "President Bush, seeking to blunt international criticism of the U.S. record on climate change, on Thursday urged 15 major nations to agree by the end of next year on a global target for reducing greenhouse gases." Uk... with the exception of China and India... those nations have already agreed. Should've ratified Kyoto when you had the chance. Dumbass.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sharpening the pencil

Peep the Script Frenzy logo over on the sidebar. I'm so not ready, but I think I'll be okay. The word count payload is a lot less... but the page count will probably end up being higher; there's a lot of whitespace in a script. This should be fun. THE FRENZY BEGINS.

If you have any good script ideas, shoot me an email.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


I bought a program called ArtRage the other day. I used it to draw this picture of a cloud in the sky. It's a really nice program. Not to be an advertising service, but it's only $20 and if you like to dabble like me... there's really no reason not to buy it.

Yeah, I know I should have stopped before I did, and it ended up being overdone. What do you want for five minutes?

Monday, May 28, 2007

Speaking of Star Wars...

I was watching the show "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed" on the History Channel. I was enjoying it up until they started talking about Han Solo... and they committed The Unpardonable.

Han shot first. Never forget.

Ever hear of the Internet?

The owner of a used bookstore has started burning books because he can't give them away. I realize that the article mentions something on the order of 20,000 books, but I bet that he could get a volunteer to post a list on the Internet, and people would pay a little bit of shipping and handling to grab up an armload of books.

Anything's better than burning them. Isn't it?

Update: Ah... a buck? I smell publicity stunt.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Advance Apologies

As I get used to not typing my blog posts, please excuse any grammar or spelling errors. I need to get used to double-checking the output of the handwriting recognizer.

The Sunday Seven

Today's Sunday Seven asks "Name seven TV character deaths that stand out as being shockers."

Henry Blake on MASH is the obvious first choice.

Eden on "Heroes" was a definite surprise (although it was cool).

Tasha Yar on "Star Trek: TNG" was a shocker. It was actually a great death, serving as a reminder that it's dangerous out there. Of course, it being TNG, they wimped out on it later. (Can't put that all on the crappiness of TNG. Paramount had already ruined Spock's noble sacrifice by the time the puddle of goo killed Tasha.)

Maude Flanders on "The Simpsons."

The chick who fell into the elevator on L.A. Law.

Trip on "Enterprise."

Lt. Tomlinson on "Star Trek," because you just figured that Spock would save him rather than the racist Stiles. My memory may be faulty, though; maybe Tomlinson was already dead.

Happy Anniversary

It's the 30th anniversary of Star Wars. It's a time for celebration, not recrimination. It's a time for happiness, not bitterness.

It's not time, for example, to excoriate George Lucas for turning the Force into a blood condition and ruining it.

Nor is it time to point out that George Lucas took a cool mysterious villain and turned him into a whiny little bitch.

It's not time to complain that Lucas took Obi-Wan and turned him from valuable, wise mentor into lying asshole.

And it's not time to point out that with a single edit, George Lucas took one of the coolest characters in the history of movies and turned him into a sap who lets a scumbag like Greedo get the drop on him.

Instead, it is time to thank George Lucas for creating Star Wars. And for not writing or directing "The Empire Strikes Back." (And by the way... the name of the first movie is "Star Wars.")

Friday, May 25, 2007

Keith Olbermann rocks!

Go ahead -- read and/or listen to his awesome Special Comment on The Great Betrayal.

The capitulation is just so sad.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Hair Metal Queen's 3x Thursday

Here's 3x Thursday.

1. What do you think of all-time high gas prices? Do you think it's really due to supply & demand, or more towards Big Oil making money as a direct result of what is going on in the Middle East in general? Why/why not?

2. Do you have a prediction for the outcome of the Iraq War? What is it? Why? If you don't have a prediction, why not?

3. Do you think that music has suffered at the hands of technology? How so/how not?

1. I think it sucks. I mean, I heard that we're nearly at the level (adjusted for inflation) that we were at in the 70s. I don't think it's really due to supply and demand. I fall firmly into the "it's the Monkey's fault" camp. I mean, come on: cui bono? Daddy's oil company friends who got the Chimp appointed President in the first place. Oil prices are based on "stuff might happen" anyway. Not on anything real.

2. Disaster, as Long as the Republicans are in charge. I dunno, I think eventually we'll get. out -- although obviously the capitulating Democrats seem hell-bent on making that impossible. See Keith Olbermann for a superbly scathing assessment of that situation.

3. Others have already said it much better than I could: "All this machinery making modem music can still be open-hearted -- not so coldly charted, it's really just a question of your honesty." In this case, of course, "others" are Rush.

Hey, this is cool!

I wrote this entry by hand, in my own very messy handwriting, on my new TabletPC. My handwriting is translated automatically as I write, and I just insert the translated text into the post.

Now, granted, this has taken longer to write than it would have to type, but it seems like typing is just so... 19th century.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Go! Mam! Bo!

Monday Music Mambo time, baby. It's all about Emergency Medical Services...sort of.

1. Who are some of your favorite hard rock and/or metal artists? I'm partial to Overkill, Nuclear Assault and pre-1991 Metallica. And Rush. That's among many, many others, and I'm glad that they let me have "some" rather than "one." Not that I wouldn't have taken "some" anyway.

2. What are some of your favorite hard rock and/or metal songs? I'll just go along with my list for number 1. Overkill, I'd say "I Hate". Nuclear, "Critical Mass." The Real Metallica, "Damage Inc." Rush...oooh, that's the tough one. "The Body Electric" is up there for me. I also like the last verse of "Manhattan Project": "Imagine a man/where it all began/The pilot of Enola Gay/flying out of the shockwave on that August day."

3. Have you ever been to a show where someone needed Emergency Medical Services? (I suppose huge festivals don't really count because odds are someone will be using such services eventually while attending.) Can't say that I have.

4. Ever been in a mosh pit? Yup. Couple of 'em.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Rush: Snakes and Arrows

I finally remembered that there was a new Rush album, and I picked it up this weekend. After a couple of spins through it, all I can say I just don't like the production; the songs aren't terribly dynamic.

Nor are they interesting or memorable. If I were to go to a concert, there's not one of these tunes about which I would say "I hope they play that!" the way I am about some of their other songs.

Get it for completeness' sake, but much like "Test For Echo," I don't think I'll be listening to it again.

Loaded Questions

It's the Loaded Questions meme for today. Lynda pulls the questions out of a bag.

1. Hypotheticals: If you were to give yourself a creative title for your personal business cards, what would it say? Assuming that these are business cards that I would make up for myself as a private citizen, I'd probably go for something like "Jack of all trades, master of none".

2. Anything Goes: What do you consider the most noble field of medicine? It's all pretty noble, but either oncology or pediatrics would have to be at the top.

3. No-Brainers: What is the biggest advantage of being small? I'm not small, so I don't know. I would imagine that the advantages would include more comfortable travel and easier access to clothing and shoes.

4. Personals: What person have you always wondered whether or not they liked you? I wonder that about pretty much everyone. I had a weird conversation with a girl in my International Relations class in high school once, and I always wondered what the hell she was talking about, so if I have to be specific...her. Actually, I'd settle for knowing what she was talking about.

I love The Rude Pundit

Here's a beautiful eulogy for Jerry Falwell. It's exactly what he deserves.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gee, who'dathunk?

Yes, Paulie, despite your typical neocon reaction ("Well, it's not my fault!") it actually--shockingly!--is unethical to use your influence to get your girlfriend a job.


Monday, May 14, 2007

Let's keep the roll going

I've got weeks of backlog stored up; I'm thinking five or six posts a day for a while. (No I'm not.) Here's Take Me Back Tuesday.

1. What musical formats do you remember (CD, Cassette, LP etc)? 78 RPM record, 33 1/3 RPM LP, 45 RPM single, 12" single record, 8-track tape, reel-to-reel tape, cassette tape, CD, DAT, MiniDisc, SACD, DVD-Audio. And of course we've got MP3, WMA, AAC and Ogg Vorbis. Those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head that I've actually used in some way. There are a lot of other digital formats, but I only ever use them at work.

2. What was your favorite format 5 years ago? 10? What is it now? Ten years ago, five years ago, today...MP3. Not that I'm a Luddite or anything, but I'm familiar with exactly what I'll get with an MP3 at 192 Kbps, and I don't have the desire to sit around and listen to other formats and twiddle knobs until everything is okay. For example, when I tried Ogg Vorbis, I played around with it for a long time and could never come up with anything that sounded as good as an MP3, let alone a CD.

3. What was your first portable music player? What is your current portable music player? My first was probably a transistor radio, but the first one I remember was this bulky portable cassette player. My current player is an iPod.

Monday's a Bitch

What the hell, I have time. It's Monday's a Bitch.

1. What's the strangest thing you've ridden in or on?
2. What's the strangest thing in your home?
3. What's the strangest nickname anyone has ever given you? What's the explanation behind it?
4. Where's the strangest place you've ever slept?
5. Who's your strangest family member?

1. I don't think I've ever ridden anything really strange. My ass down a mudslide? A cardboard box down a grassy hill? Heh--I think airplanes are pretty strange.

2. I have an old Ukelin which when you think about it is pretty strange. It doesn't tune up or anything; it's an objet d'art right now.

3. I don't think I've ever had what you'd call a "strange" nickname, where you define "strange" as a nickname you somehow don't deserve. I've earned 'em all.

4. On an airplane? Actually, I think I fell asleep at a party once. With loud music and everything. Maybe that counts as strange.

5. Woooo...probably me.

Monday Madness

Time for some Monday Madness. This week's questions tickled me.

1. Which web browser do you prefer?
2. Are you a PC user or MAC user?
3. Will your next computer purchase happen within the next year (do you think)?
4. Will you purchase your next computer at a local store or via the internet?
5. Have you had any experience with Windows Vista?
6. What are your feelings about this new operating system (if any)?

1. Firefox. I almost never use Internet Exploder; about the only time I do is when I need to access the Human Resources web site at work, which doesn't work with Firefox. It's just too dangerous to use IE; there are too many security vulnerabilities.

2. PC. I recently explained why I'm never buying another Macintosh. (By the way...what the heck is a MAC?)

3. Doubtful. With the new purchase on its way, our computing needs are taken care of for quite some time.

4. Internet. The only reason a person would have to buy a computer from a local store is if they needed a computer right away, as in TODAY. The only reason I would have to buy a computer from a local store is if I was high.

5. Yes. I've used it professionally. The new ThinkPad will have Vista Business installed on it.

6. My feelings are mixed. User Account Control is a usability nightmare; the Apple commercial where the security guy keeps saying "Cancel or allow?" is not far off the truth. The new Start Menu is an even bigger pain in the ass than the Windows XP one. The Gadget bar or whatever it's called is just as stupid and useless as the Dashboard in OS X. On the plus installs relatively quickly and you can turn off most of the crap.

Who knew?

There were thirteen female pilots who could have qualified for the Mercury program had they been given the shot. Want to know what the biggest obstacle is? Don't worry...the article will tell you.

Floating townhouses

Okay, show of hands, please: who knew about ResidenSea? I was reading a book of essays by Anthony Bourdain, and one of them is about a "cruise" he takes on The World: a floating apartment building (for lack of a better word) combined with a luxury liner. We're not talking "staterooms," my friends, we are talking about homes with thousands of square feet of living space and no lack of hubris. (I mean..."The World"? Puh-leeeze.)

File it under People Who Are Different From Us, I guess. Honestly, I can't even summon up the energy to express myself.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ha ha, I am stupid!

Lately, I've been dissatisfied with the performance of my old standby office suite on the Mac, NeoOffice. It's gotten really dragged-out and slow and has generally become a pain in the ass to use. It takes forever to start up, forever to save a document, forever to quit.

Every so often when I open it up, it pops up my browser at the same time and tells me that there's a newer version available. Usually I just close the window. Today I actually looked at it. It appears that NeoOffice requires 512MB of RAM, which is more than my poor beleagured laptop has. I wonder when that happened?

I apologize, NeoOffice, for getting frustrated. The fact of the matter's really cool that the dang thing even runs at all!

Initially, this sounds dumb...

...and it really is dumb, to hear that there's some goober out there in Pasadena who is outsourcing local news reporting to India.

On the other hand, there are probably tons of political blogs out there that gather news in much the same way--people watch C-SPAN or CNN and write about what they see. And I'm not talking fly-by-night little nothing-and-nobody operations here, either, unless you think that Kos or Atrios actually go to Senate meetings.

But there's something that just seems fundamentally wrong about this.

Word Beads

Okay, I'm going to bite on the Word beads on Sentence Strings hook this week. The idea is that they post a few words which you need to use in some way. This week's words are: Currency, Pacifist, Clock, Acclimatization and Belong. I envision having some trouble with Pacifist.

Here goes...

Jim shuffled blearily through the sheaf of currency, half yen, half dollars, half some unidentifed scraps that could have been marks, francs, or pounds for all he knew. (That makes three halves, a small voice in his head murmured.) The altitude was wreaking havoc on his system, and he was finding acclimatization difficult--and his body clock was insisting that it was three in the morning, which just added to the pain.

"Sir?" said the kid in the ticket booth. "Are you, uh, sure you belong here?"

Jim cocked an eye at the kid, who paled under his gaze but managed to stammer out "It's just that that t-shirt might not go over well at the International Pacifist Association Conference."

"It's an ironic statement, kid," the grizzled vet said, grinning down at his shirt: Kill 'Em All And Let God Sort 'Em Out.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Guitar Hero II

I just bought Guitar Hero II for the PS2. I've been playing it pretty steadily, and I can say with some confidence that, having completed it on Easy and Medium difficulties, I have pretty much gone as far as I can go. On hard level...well, as they say in "Amadeus," there are too many notes.

Still, it's cool to "play" "YYZ" and "Jessica". And The Youngster likes it.

I'm not sure I'd recommend it, to be honest. It'd probably make a fun party game, or co-op game if you have two guitar controllers, but once you've played all the songs the replay value is kind of limited. I definitely think I've gotten my money's worth, but I'm not sure it's going to be one of my all-time favorite games.

And just in time for Script Frenzy, too

(Script Frenzy begins next month!)

I treated myself to a new computer, a Lenovo ThinkPad X60 Tablet PC. It's small, light, and loaded. I got a great deal on it, thanks to an Internet coupon; the loaded version I got ended up costing less than a coupon-less basic model.

Mmmm...Core 2 Duo.

It's got to go through the build process, but it should get here by the end of the month, in time for me to get it set up the way I like it and start using it for Script Frenzy--a real baptism by fire.

I won't stop using the iBook, of course; it's got my iTunes library, as well as my existing document archive and a few other things. It's just going to move into a role as a Respected Elder Statesman.

The big question, I guess, is why I'm not getting another Macintosh. The answer is...fool me once, shame on you--fool me twice, shame on me. (Didja hear that, Chimpy? Remember it--it's the right version, you stupid jackass.) I've gotten burned twice now by Apple's processor switches, and I'm sick of it. No matter how good OS X is, no matter how superior Notebook is to Microsoft One Note (at least as an outliner), the Macintosh as a platform has nothing to offer me anymore.

On the other hand...I guess it's back to virus scanners and spyware detectors and all of the inevitable trappings of Windows life. But damn it, I'm excited about my new box, excited about being able to hand-write notes and have them saved on the computer without needing to transcribe them, excited about going back to writing things longhand. YAY!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great Sci-fi

I was going along with Entertainment Weekly's list of the greatest sci-fi of the last 25 years for a while. I don't think "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is necessarily science fiction; I think it falls more into the magical realism camp, and thus it really has no place on the list...but that didn't really bug me. Yeah, it bugged me that Star Trek: The Next Generation made the list, but I have to acknowledge that people liked it. That doesn't make it great, but, you know, whatever. (Ugh, and I'm also tired of the undeserved lauding of ham actor Patrick Stewart.)

In general, this is a good list. I was REALLY pissed that Star Trek wasn't on it, until I realized that Star Trek is a little bit older than 25 years. I definitely applaud them for having the guts to include "Starship Troopers," which is a risky move given the definite lack of support it has among most science fiction fans. (I liked it.)

Thing is, there are things that I would take off the list, but I'm not sure what I'd replace them with. I'd split Terminator and Terminator 2 and put T2 significantly higher on the list. I'd put STII:TWOK higher as well, certainly above the new Battlestar Galactica. But what else could possibly go on the list? "Pi," maybe. Especially if "Eternal Sunshine" is there. "Heroes" should be higher.

(It's starting to bother me more that "Eternal Sunshine" is there. I'd rather see something like "The Jacket" on the list--and if you haven't seen "The Jacket," I recommend it, especially if you can watch it on a home theater system with good sound and the lights turned down. Some of the scenes are brilliantly claustrophobic.)

The PopWatch blog has a good group of comments that answer the "what would you replace them with" question. Yeah...where's Red Dwarf?

Awesome picture of Saturn

Certain School-Age Persons have been Very Interested in outer space recently, and we've been reading books about the planets and learning many interesting facts. I wanted to hit up NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day for some of their incredible photos so that we could look through them, and I came across a truly stunning photo of Saturn. It's an absolutely gorgeous exaggerated-color image of Saturn eclipsing the sun.

Oh...NOW you're concerned about the Constitution

Deny them the right to travel? Hey, them's the breaks.

Tap their phones in a blatant disregard for both civil liberties and the law? No problem!

Throw 'em in a black hole with no charges and no lawyer? Great!

Don't allow 'em to buy guns? Wellll, now hold on a second.

Pay special attention to these paragraphs:

In a letter this week to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, NRA executive director Chris Cox said the bill, offered last week by Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, "would allow arbitrary denial of Second Amendment rights based on mere 'suspicions' of a terrorist threat."

"As many of our friends in law enforcement have rightly pointed out, the word 'suspect' has no legal meaning, particularly when it comes to denying constitutional liberties," Cox wrote.

Do I really need to say anything more?

As Nelson Munz would say: "HA ha!"

You know, if a talentless whore* HAS to be in the news, it might as well be because she got sentenced to jail. Right there is your dictionary definition of schadenfreude.

*Among the greatest things Wil Wheaton has ever written: "In this business, a talentless whore who gets fucked in grainy night vision is more valuable to the networks than a talented actress who has spent years studying and honing her craft."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

R.I.P. Wally Schirra

I'm not sure why I'm writing an R.I.P. for Wally Schirra; he was the only one of the Mercury 7 I could never remember--which, paradoxically, means that I never forgot him. (Really, whenever I'd think of the Mercury astronauts, I'd say "Uhhh...Slayton, Cooper, Grissom, Glenn, Carpenter, Shepard, and the guy I can never remember." Then someone would say "Which guy?" And I would say "Wally Schirra.")

Anyway, astronauts are cool and space is awesome.

Seven-year-old boy mode off.