February 27, 2007

on asbestos

“I told them it wasn’t dangerous, but apparently I’m not credible in this hazmat suit. I don’t think it’s fair that they judge me by my clothes.”
– from here

February 24, 2007

think of the children

As Harry Potter has grown in popularity so have the cries that it is luring children into the practice of witchcraft. It seems to me that this is as likely as A Wrinkle in Time resulting in little time travelers, but it’s just a fact that a person’s popularity is proportional to the size of the target on their back. There is absolutely no way J.K. Rowling is advocating witchcraft.

Or so I thought…

Today I came across the book Everything You Know About God Is Wrong, which includes contributions from known heathens Richard Dawkins and Neil Gaiman, and I noticed that Amazon is giving you a discount when you buy this book along with Harry Potter!

Harry Dawkins

Clearly I was wrong, there is at least a strong correlation between Harry Potter and Atheism, and we all know witchcraft is a mere half-step from Atheism.

February 23, 2007

Vector for Excellence

Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote an article about the demise of Studio 60 and voiced several common speculations on why the show didn’t make it.  I felt the need to answer a few of these here.

“It was a drama about a comedy show, but the skits weren’t funny. In fact, much of the show was decidedly unfunny.”

As a general rule, I refuse to watch a television show if it isn’t funny;  this doesn’t mean it has to be a comedy, but clever dialogue is a must.  This show was a treasure-mine for witty dialogue that only Woody Allen in his prime could best.

As for the skits, “Science Schmience”, “Jesus as the Head of Standards and Practices”, and the parody of “To Catch a Predator” with Santa Clause were all excellent, but that’s not the point.  Any real sketch comedy show has its attractors and detractors, and Sorkin was naive to think he would be able to produce a sketch which would be found universally funny.  As such is the case, he should have refrained from showing finished sketches whenever possible as it is irrelevant to the show.  The sketches were shown less frequently as the show progressed, but by then ratings were already dismal.

“The cast was a bad fit. Aside from Matthew Perry (who was a wonderful surprise) and Timothy Busfield (who was underused), not much else worked.”

My counter-argument for this is a blank stare.  I can’t argue that I would like to have seen more of the excellent Timothy Busfield as Cal, but aside from that all I can do is disagree.

“Almost every story line was a dud …”

This is the only part he got right, assuming “dud” means “vector for excellence”.

“Who’s the rooting interest here? Ultimately, it was hard to care. Those who tried to care were Sorkin loyalists, and even they were dropping off at the end. Those who didn’t care at all opted for “Heroes” or something else.”

I originally had an aversion to the show because I saw Sorkin as trendy and pretentious; it was simply the premise of being back stage at an SNL-like show that hooked me.   The premise for “Studio 60” is something that Sorkin probably knows quite a bit about, while The West Wing which seemed more like a way for liberals to feel good about themselves than an hour of entertainment.

As for Heroes, I feel that’s what President of the fictional network NBS Jordan McDeere was referring to when she told her boss Jack Rudolph “I’ve already got a dual masturbation show in active development”.

I don’t pretend to understand how television shows succeed, but I still haven’t spoken to anyone who watched Studio 60 and didn’t find it to be excellent.  I suppose all I can do at this point is buy Sorkin’s Sports Night and wait for the remaining Studio 60 episodes to be released to dvd.

when 92 percent off still isn’t enough

I consider myself a fairly informed consumer and as a bargain hunter, you could say I’m a bit obsessed. So when I find socks for 92% percent off, it’s easy to find myself a bit excited. But when those socks originally cost $500, the deal loses some of its appeal.

Screenshot for posterity:

Prada Socks

February 19, 2007

implementation is for newbs

Next up, factorLargePrimeInPolynomialTime()

You may be wondering “Why Eratosthenes?”

February 16, 2007

way too long: a Wii review

As a family member is considering buying a Wii, I thought I’d write down my thoughts concerning the console. As it turns out, I have far too many thoughts about this piece of electronics equipment. Specifically, I had 1,784 words worth, and that doesn’t include this excerpt. Therefore I can only recommend that you read the following if you consider yourself a veteran of the masochistic arts. (more…)

February 10, 2007

quote of the moment

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say they wouldn’t use Ruby because it lacks automated refactoring tools. Ruby doesn’t actually need them in the way Java does; it’s like refusing to switch to an electric car because there’s no place to put the gasoline. But programmers are a stubborn bunch, and to win them over you have to give them what they think they want.”

-Steve Yegge on the “Next Big Language

mouse trap was a great game

We recently caught a mouse in our apartment with one of those old school snap traps. The results were less than pleasant, so much so that had I planned on forfeiting the apartment to the next rodent to place a single paw in the door.

But when I when I saw a mousetrap that used an electromagnet and infrared sensors to catch a mouse without harming him AND using entirely excessive technology, I am ready to take up arms again if need be.

February 6, 2007

actually, it’s just a bunch of dots

Anon: god
Anon: i have a problem
Anon: with hubris

Red: me too
Red: specifically,
Red: I had to look that word up

Anon: haha

good to know

Once in a while I get comments on old blog entries. Presumably people somehow end up on a given page through google, and are disoriented enough that they accidentally end up  commenting.

But recently I got a comment that has me puzzled, which is as follows:

3. you suck

Comment by emily — February 1, 2007 @ 3:48 pm

I have a suspicion that this person will be more closely aligned with one of two groups, either people I know or people I do not now (This does not acknowledge people I will come to know in the future as it is currently standard practice in an investigation to rule out the existence of time machines). As far as I can remember, I know exactly two Emilys, and I doubt that either of them are responsible for this. There is a possibility that one of them was offended by the quote containing the slur “overly gay,” but she has a strong sense of humor and I suspect is not the type to get riled up about such things.

The other possibility is that I do NOT know this person, which would further break the possibilities down into: I managed to offend her (perhaps my quote was overly long?), emily enjoys taking others down a notch so that she might feel better about herself (Also known as the Seesaw syndrome), and “other”, where “other” might include “it’s a code informing me that the stock market is going to crash in exactly 37 days”, “I don’t particularly like hot sauces”, “I am fat and sassy”, etc…

Or perhaps I’m just a dick.

February 3, 2007

on nerdage

Anon: it looks fun
Anon: but I’m surprised the universe didn’t explode from that much concentrated nerd

Me: It was quite concentrated
Me: we had victor calculate whether it would be enough nerd to cause the universe to implode before we held the event
Me: you know, for safety reasons

Anon: ha

Me: He figured out that actually calculating the amount of nerd would actually be nerdy enough in itself to decimate the universe, so he just guessed that we’d be cool.

no more wii puns

I’ve never really thrown a party.

Not the paper hat and cake type, but more the beer and conversation oriented type of party. Don’t get me wrong, when I was in LA many a party was thrown in my apartment, but it was never my doing and people were always looking at me with a “who invited this schmuck” type of face. Hardly conducive to an evening of enjoyment and relaxation.

So when we needed to plan a social event for the Linux User Group, I sent out an email that began as follows:

“We haven’t had a social meeting this month and there’s no better way to get engineers together than playing video games on the hot new console, which is why we’re having:

===Wii Doubles Tennis Tournament===

A series of 2 vs. 2 Wii Tennis matches which will determine the participants’ fortune in not just some silly game, but in LIFE ITSELF.”

We ended up with 9 two person teams and had to close down registration because, quite frankly, my apartment isn’t that big. Team T-Shirts were heavily encouraged and those teams that showed team spirit did significantly better than their counterparts, as can be seen from this photo just before the championship match between Team Bohemia and the Rockaholics:

In the end we had 25+ people all packed into my apartment, and it seems like everyone had a really good time, despite the close quarters. I’m looking forward to planning similar events in the (distant) future.

film? film!?!

The number one way to get me interested in something is to describe, in heart-stoppingly dense detail how the technology around it works. I had already been planning on watching the Super Bowl, of course, but this article is the first thing to get me excited about it.

The article details the workings of the yellow first down line, the new super slow motion cameras, the Cablecam, and even the production trucks that will be present at the big game. It’s a downright fascinating read.

The part that surprised me the most, however, is that “NFL Films shoots, as its name suggests, on film. They value the look of 16mm film and shoot more than 25,000 ft of it, making them Kodak’s number one 16mm film stock customer.”

The volume doesn’t surprise me, but I’m as shocked that Kodak still makes film as I am that NFL films buys it. The next thing you know they’re going to be transporting players to the game in covered wagons.

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