April 8, 2007

put on the red light

23:44 <me> Does anyone else have “message in a bottle” stuck in their head?
23:44 <anon> now I do, ass

… 11 minutes pass

23:55 <me> There are quite a few songs about prostitutes.
23:55 <me> Why are so many musicians tight with prostitutes?

23:56 <anon> are you listening to Roxanne?

23:56 <me> NO
23:56 <me> NO I AM NOT

April 7, 2007


“Most people use passwords. Some people use passphrases. Bruce Schneier uses an epic passpoem, detailing the life and works of seven mythical Norse heroes.”
– From here.

This is just one of the many facts I did not know concerning Bruce Schneier

April 6, 2007

image of the moment

cranky atheist

From here.

quote of the moment.

“I know very well that some atheists can get downright annoying in their insistence that they have have objectively demonstrated the nonexistence of God using simple algebra and a household magnifying glass.”
– From here.

April 5, 2007

the “me” decade indeed

I recently ran across a statement Frank Zappa gave to congress in 1985 on censorship among other topics. While the whole statement is certainly worth reading, I found the following particularly interesting:

Many people in this room would gladly support such legislation, but, before they start drafting their bill, I urge them to consider these facts:

(1) There is no conclusive scientific evidence to support the claim that exposure to any form of music will cause the listener to commit a crime or damn his soul to hell.

(2) Masturbation is not illegal. If it is not illegal to do it, why should it be illegal to sing about it?

(3) No medical evidence of hairy palms, warts, or blindness has been linked to masturbation or vaginal arousal, nor has it been proven that hearing references to either topic automatically turns the listener into a social liability.

(4) Enforcement of anti-masturbatory legislation could prove costly and time consuming.

(5) There is not enough prison space to hold all the children who do it.

March 31, 2007

zepost with red

I find it terribly dissapointing that I did not hear about zefrank’s year long project, in which he shared tightly cut 3-5 minute humorous videos with viewers every week day for a year, until it was canceled. It’s damn funny and had quite a wide reach of influence, as can be seen from the fact that Jack Black has a cameo in his second to last broadcast.

I recommend you watch this video followed by this one. Let’s watch the monkey dance…

…then bake me a pie

On the last day of my psychology class we had a career counselor speak to us; One of the first things she did was write the word “career” on the board and ask for the first word that came to our mind upon reading career. Many words concerning the perceived drudgery of work came out initially including stress, repetition, and boredom. I got the conversation swinging the other way by throwing opportunity up on the board.

The only word that really surprised was from a young woman whose first response to the word “career” was “husband”.

March 30, 2007

phrase of the moment

Today I learned:

“To be ‘three sheets to the wind’ is to be drunk. The sheet is the line that controls the sails on a ship. If the line is not secured, the sail flops in the wind, and the ship loses headway and control. If all three sails are loose, the ship is out of control.”

From here.

It doesn’t take an expert on culture to realize this reference is horribly out of date. A recent Gallup poll revealed that no more than 60% of Americans use wind propelled vehicles as their main source of transportation. It’s past time for a new metaphor which dignified peoples may use to divulge their insobriety.

Friend: How you feelin’?
Me: My portfolio’s entirely undeversified.
Friend: I’m sorry?
Me: I’m practicing Dianetics.
Friend: What?!
Me: I’m runnin’ Windows 98 without virus protection.
Friend: Give me your keys.

March 29, 2007

cruel, cruel world

When I registered for this recently completed Winter quarter, I chose to take a general education course which I had no interest in, mainly due to my inexplainable urge to graduate. As such, I decided to take advantage of the “credit/no credit” (CR/NC) option in the interest of putting forth as little effort as possible.

One might be surprised that it is common to hear, “I took class X CR/NC and received an A”; such a result is undesirable and so I went to great lengths to avoid it, using the following methods:

  • I did none of the reading.
  • I failed all of the quizzes (According to the syllabus, this was to be included in our participation grade, which made up a full quarter of our final grade.)
  • Studied 1 hour for the midterm and got a C- (right on track!)
  • For our 5-6 page final, I turned in a 3.5 page document which was barely spell checked.

Above and beyond the tactics listed above, the professor at least feigned dislike for me while in the classroom. It would be difficult to imagine the shock and disdain felt when I received a 92.5% in the class; I received not just an A, but a solid, highest grade I could have possibly gotten, A.

Our world is one without justice.

March 21, 2007

quote of the moment

“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”
– Dave Barry

March 17, 2007

the little engine that could had it right

This article on memory and the minds of experts is intriguing for a number of reasons, and I encourage you to check out the full article here. However, the bit I found most relevant is as follows:

“Thus, motivation appears to be a more important factor than innate ability in the development of expertise.”
– Phillip E. Ross

Of course, there’s a motivation for any person to want to believe that expertise (and Ross is referring to performance, not just “knowledge”) is related to effort and I recommend a healthy dose of cynicism when people come up with conclusions which are in their best interest.

March 14, 2007

quote of the moment

“Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.”
– Stephen Hawking, from this webcast of a talk at UC Berkeley.

March 10, 2007

say attitudinal three times fast

According to some guy on the Internet, Lawyers not only make a #$@%-ton of money, they’re making way more than they did even a year ago, to the tune of around 15k per associate lawyer for one large firm. However, I barely skimmed the article and lawyers making money wasn’t the part I found worthwhile.

What I found fascinating was the problem of partner/associate generational gap. As Mr. MacEwen relates:

From both sides, the attitude of the other is perceived to be highly unattractive:

  • Partners think (and I paraphrase, here as below): “Associates make so much ____’ing money, and they think new matters just fall out of the sky. You ask them to work over the weekend and they say they have plans. I never ‘had plans’ when I was in their position. Who do they think they are?”
  • Associates: “Partners make so much ______’ing money, and they want us to do all the work, particularly the scut-work. I never see clients, I never go to court, I never get any real experience, the work is mind-numbing, and they keep tacking on another 50 hours to their ‘expectations’ almost every year. Besides, everyone knows institutional loyalty died a long time ago; if I don’t manage my own career, and try to have some semblance of a life on the side, the firm sure isn’t going to do it for me.”

I bet several people in the tech industry were nodding along with this. A lot of companies seem to expect what MacEwen terms “institutional loyalty” without supplying the job security which made them worth being loyal to in the first place.

I’ve been lucky enough to secure a job at a company I like doing work I find interesting for good pay and decent benefits, but at the same time I know that the likelihood of being employed at any given company for more than 5-10 years in the tech industry is no better than a 50/50 proposition regardless of skill.

I’m curious what others think about this attitudinal gap. Am I way off base here?

i’ve written the better part of a novel

I’ve been using the phrase “the better part of a ____” recently, it’s an excellent aide for exaggeration, since in most usages you’re just implying that something has been occurring for more than half of a given time period, which can easily be abused.

Example usages:

  • I’ve been going to college for the better part of a decade.
  • My Dad’s been alive for the better part of a century.
  • Dynamic typing is responsible for the better part of the Holocaust.

Do you have any good “Better part of a blank” usages?

quote of the moment

“I’m really not a fan of Sigmund Freud as his theories aren’t testicle.”

Richard Wiseman

March 9, 2007

i’m going to use your head as a tripod

Lauren’s looking into getting a digital SLR camera and a couple decent lenses, so I’ve been reading an article on doing exactly that when I was reminded that I will never be a decent photographer:

“You need to learn how to stick a camera 12 inches from your subject. Remember that the ruder your personality, the better a photojournalist you will make.”

I’m just not that rude or fearless. My hope remains that these are qualities which can be learned.

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

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