I'd just like to take a second to say that if you've ever tried to do a one handed shuffle while making sure your shot is framed and your camera isn't running out of space and trying to mentally think about what you're saying and indicating with your hands, then you know just how difficult this is. I left in me spraying cards everywhere in so that you can see that while it happens alot at first, it happens less frequently as you get better. I'm pretty good at it, but it still happens to me.
During editing, I found that my verbalizations are neither coherent nor grammatically correct. I feel kind of stupid about saying things George W. Bush says from time to time, but I now understand what causes him to do it. "A little bit more fancier," indeed.
It seems as if Charlotte Church and Wilford Brimley brought along a guest on their recent trip to an unnamed beach. Based on photographic evidence, that guest appears to be Natalie Portman. This photograph, which was taken with the disposable camera Wilford Brimley brought along to document his adventures with Charlotte and Natalie, was given to me by a source that wishes to be unnamed. "Anonymity is the right thing to do," was my sources only reply to my request for permission to name him.
It is unknown whether Natalie was introduced to Wilford by Charlotte, or to Charlotte by Wilford, but one thing is certain: the trio were nearly inseparable throughout the course of the long weekend. Much time was spent in the cabin the three shared, while Cabana boys reported demands for pot after pot of boiling water to be brought to them. The only clue as to the use of the boiling water is perhaps the box of "hot grits" (manufactured by the company Wilford gained most of his public notoriety being the spokesman for) being held by Charlotte as Wilford snapped this photo.
For the next 8 weeks I plan to try something new and exciting -- blatant copyright infringement. But good copyright infringement...
Trey Parker's superb series That's My Bush is sadly still not available commercially (unless you count the fuckers selling bootleg dvds on eBay) and Comedy Central rarely ever airs them. This is a real shame. In addition to being really funny, That's My Bush presents very positive messages and viewpoints on some very controversial subjects. It may seem like just making fun of Dubya, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Sure, George is presented as being dumber than a brick, but this fictional George always learns an important lesson and is better for it.
Whether you like or dislike President Bush, That's My Bush is an enjoyable show with strong moral underpinnings. Well, you have to be able to put up with typical Trey Parker tom-foolery to get the message, but if you've ever gotten the message in an episode of South Park, you'll do just fine.
That's My Bush - Episode 1 - An Aborted Dinner Date 640x480 AVI
UPDATED: The DVD will be out this fall, so I am no longer distributing these files. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Here's an RSS feed that you can subscribe to so that you don't miss any episodes.
Oh, while I'm thinking about it, please don't submit this torrent to any of the big piracy sites, I'd like to be able to get through all 8 episodes before I get sued.
There are a bunch of things I've been meaning to recommend to people, so I figured I'd just post a 'meta-recommendation' here. (note: All links to products are direct linked to the best Froogle result. I don't get any cheesy commission or anything, because I think that is lame.)
Firstly, if you enjoyed Harry Potter, but wish that J.K. Rowling was a little bit less R.L. Stein and a little bit more C.S. Lewis, you should check out Philip Pullman's superbly written and beautifully poignant His Dark Materials trilogy [froogle result]. All three of these books are my favorite.
Next up, if you liked Harry PotterandHis Dark Materials and enjoy listening to audio books for free, you must check out The Pocket and the Pendant by Mark Jeffrey. This was originally posted as a podcast, and us listeners had the story dragged out for what seems like forever. You can subscribe in podcast format at podiobooks.com, but you apparently need to create an account, so it's probably easier just to download each chapter by hand from the link above. This book is also available in print for those of you who don't feel like listening to it for free (which I would highly recommend because all the character voices and music really add to the production), it is available in print [froogle result].
A week or so ago, MadProfessor recommended It's Only Temporary[froogle result], which I purchased (and loved immensely) based on the review he wrote. I can't do it justice, so just click on over to his review.
If you enjoy the work of Stephen King, want some helpful hints on how to write, and are possibly entertaining the idea of writing fiction of your own for fun and profit, you ought to check out On Writing by Stephen King [froogle result]. There's a lot of really great advice in there, and some really entertaining stories regarding the events of Steve's life that shaped the stories he would eventually write. An entertaining read, even for non-writers.
So the first truly useful hack to come from the newfound ability to launch homebrew applications on v2.0 firmare PSPs was released today: An app which downgrades your 2.0 firmare PSP back to v1.50, thus allowing you to run whatever you want. Users with 1.51 and 1.52 firmware can simply upgrade to 2.0, then use the new downgrader to go back to 1.50.
Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.
"My concern is that they have learnt to shoot at divers in wetsuits who have simulated terrorists in exercises. If divers or windsurfers are mistaken for a spy or suicide bomber and if equipped with special harnesses carrying toxic darts, they could fire," he said. "The darts are designed to put the target to sleep so they can be interrogated later, but what happens if the victim is not found for hours?"
1: The navy launched the classified Cetacean Intelligence Mission in San Diego in 1989, where dolphins, fitted with harnesses and small electrodes planted under their skin, were taught to patrol and protect Trident submarines in harbour and stationary warships at sea.
Criticism from animal rights groups ensured the use of dolphins became more secretive. But the project gained impetus after the Yemen terror attack on the USS Cole in 2000. Dolphins have also been used to detect mines near an Iraqi port.
1) Making a simple syrup with crushed Fruity Pebbles in place of the sugar does not yield a tasty syrup. (Eventually the reason for doing this will be explained, I just don't want to spoil it yet. There is a method to my madness, I promise.)
There's currently a post on BoingBoing regarding the instructions for doing a one-handed cut and one-handed shuffle recently posted on kuro5hin. The instructions are relatively good, but without having any kind of visual reference (aside from the 2 or 3 photos), it is very difficult to learn. I just edited together a quick little montage of a few of the cuts and the shuffle I can do, in hopes that it will help out some people struggling with learning.
The first one is the cut described in the text, then there's amuch more stylized one, followed eventually by the shuffle described in the instructions. I did make one change to the shuffle though -- I added a "bridge" flourish at the end, which really helps get the idea of shuffling across. I wish I had recorded it with sound so you can hear the telltale shuffling sound, but alas I'm too much of a lazy bastard to do it again.
If there were any kind of demand for a more step-by-step video of how to do this, I would be happy to post one...
UPDATE: Here's the step by step instructional video.
I've been following the "hacking scene" that revolves around the Sony PSP for some time, and things have recently gotten very interesting. Please allow me to give you a rundown to get you up to date on what all has happened.
Sony made this incredible device, which upon release in Japan almost immediately gained a metric crap load of useful applications that were developed by PSP users. Sony had included the ability to download applications -- which they would presumably be selling at some point in the future -- which the hackers took advantage of to load the programs they have written. Some of the popular applications include emulators for nearly every video gaming system in existence, music/video playing applications that support formats that Sony doesn't, ebook readers, text editors, streaming music players, etc. In short, amazingly useful and desirable features.
So what's Sony do? They panic and release a firmware update that patches the hole that people were exploiting to load their own programs. All new PSP games force the user to install the update to play the games, so the problem is effectively solved. Then the PSP releases stateside, and all units came with the new firmware (v1.50) preloaded, making it impossible for anyone in the states to use any of these neat programs. "Boy, I wish that thing would run that stuff," I thought, "if it did, I'd buy one in a second."
Well, it took a few weeks for resourceful hackers both here in the states and over in Japan to finally got around Sony's security, but their methodology was incredibly inventive. The trick they came up with is to make two executables: one that allows the key signature on the application to be valid, and one that contains the program they want to run. The user simply puts one executable on one memory stick and the other on another. You execute the first one, and while it plays the PSP animation before launching, you simply switch memory cards and it loads whatever is on the second one instead. Very clever, but kind of a hassle.
I immediately purchased my PSP, and despite the hassle of having to carry around 2 memory sticks, I immensely enjoyed my newfound PSP freedom. About 3 days later someone came up with an even more inventive hack that doesn't require two memory sticks. Now you simply have two folders: for example, NESEMULATOR and then NESEMULATOR%. They discovered that the PSP operating system doesn't pass the % at the end of the filename to the loader, and so this works in exactly the same way as before, just without having to switch sticks. The loader checks the key signature on the first exe, then pauses, then loads the exe again, only it's NOT THE SAME exe. Slick.
The one drawback to that is, now in your GAME folder on the psp you have all these invalid application icons sitting around, which are ugly and hard to navigate through. Another week or so, and these clever hackers figured out a way around that problem as well. This new hack takes advantage of the VFAT file system the PSP uses. You rename the first folder to be 32 characters long and the second one to the 8 character VFAT 'short filename' version of the same filename and the file manager on the PSP doesn't see the second one. For example, you'd name the folders like this: NESEMULATOR____________________1, and NESEMU~1%, which in VFAT are technically the same file. This tricks both the file manager and the executable loader at the same time. This may sound like a lot of work, but people have made applications which do all this stuff for you; now you simply load the program you want to use in the conversion program on your PC and it generates the necessary folders on the PSP.
In any case, this works great, but Sony has 3 new firmware versions out that patch these holes as well. Like many of the other PSP users, I have decided never to upgrade and also to not purchase any games that force the upgrade. (Although, there IS an application that tricks the PSP into thinking it is already updated and therefore doesn't force you to, I just haven't tried it.)
The new 2.0 version of the firmware adds some features many users have been wanting for a while now; a web browser and the ability to change the wallpaper to whatever you want. Needless to say, most PSP owners immediately upgraded without giving any thought to the capabilities that would be lost. This was actually a pretty good move by Sony; rather than force the users to upgrade, they add features that make it worthwhile.
In any case, people have been working on getting around the security on the new 2.0 version since its release. Yesterday the first real breakthrough was made, and it is even more clever than any that have come before it. This new exploit takes advantage of the new ability to change your wallpaper. A special .TIFF file has been generated that uses up much of the PSP's memory when you set it as wallpaper. Then when you go to the PSP's photo viewer application and select another specially crafted image file it causes a buffer overflow, executing the code that was placed in the second image. This still isn't terribly useful for launching user applications larger than a simple Hello World app, as there isn't currently much room in memory for doing anything fancy, but it is a really clever first step.
I'm sure it won't be much longer before they get more significant progress made, but I think this is just incredibly neat. I'm not upgrading to 2.0 or anything yet, but I'll be excitedly following the development as it progresses.
For the last several years, Mt. St. Helens has been increasingly more active; steam frequently vents in a somewhat dramatic fashion and magma can be seen at night via one of the online webcams. Experts have used their expertise to expertly report that one of two things will happen: a) nothing at all, or b) a really big explosion. It seems as if a is a pretty safe scenario, but b could cause all sorts of problems.
The eruption in '80 caused massive destruction in the immediate areas around the volcano, incited chaos and confusion on roadways for hundreds of miles around, and caused a disruption of the quality programming our viewers expected to see on television by live news coverage. We are still feeling the health effects of that much ash in the environment, which is slightly less of a concern than being sick to death of seeing every little steam burp on the nightly news.
Remedying this situation has taken up the forefront of my mind for nearly a year now; with the help of a few people in the local Cacophony Society, I think I've finally come up with a solution to the problem.
Know how the bomb squad uses controlled explosions to prevent much larger accidental ones? My plan is based on that principle, but the execution is much simpler. We will use a scientific process to 'diffuse' the eruption capability of Mt. St. Helens using household chemicals.
First off, we simply need to fill 10% of the volcano's caldera with ordinary baking soda. That's a roughly 1 square mile area that we'd need to cover to a depth of 400 feet or so. Multiplying that out gives us 1.338 trillion cups baking soda, a requirement which shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
Let's move ahead shall we? The next ingredient we need is roughly 81.2 billion gallons of vinegar, which we'll store in nearby Spirit Lake until time to cause our eruption.
Our last ingredient isn't really necessary, but will add a nice flourish: 8 billion 1oz. bottles of red food coloring. These should be added to the vinegar in Spirit Lake. Stir.
Once we are ready to activate the volcano, all we need to do is to pump the colored vinegar from Spirit Lake up into the caldera. Because of the time required to pump that much vinegar, the reaction will start out relatively slowly, only building in power as more vinegar is added. The escaping gas will demolish the lava dome a little at a time, allowing all the pressure to slowly escape -- thus diffusing the explosive power. Once the reaction is complete, there will be a gaping maw where once a lava dome resided. Mt. St. Helens will never interrupt our regularly scheduled broadcast again, and the Pacific Northwest will finally see Hawaiian-style red 'lava' flowing down the sides of our volcano.
My plan is to coincide the end of the diffusing process with the last day of my nephew's Science Fair, where he'll win the largest First Place ribbon ever recorded.
When I was growing up, my household spent quite a lot of time with the creations of Jim Henson, including the lovable citizens of Fraggle Rock. Many of the characters had some sort of strange appeal to me, a feeling I never really got from The Muppet Show or other Henson creations. I'll try to recall the most interesting for you now.
First off, there's the Doozers (pictured at right). I always felt a bit sorry for those poor little guys, what with the crazy fraggles running around eating the plastic structures that so much time and energy was spent to create and maintain. How did the Doozers create the plastic? What kind of nourishment could be gotten from plastic anyway?
Then there's the Trash Heap* (pictured at left). That thing creeped me the fuck out. I seem to remember it talking like either Bea Arthur from the Golden Girls, or the Judge from My Two Dads. The 80's frickin' ruled, man.
Also, there's the bizarre creatures that lived above the well; some sort of King and Queen with a Gargamel-esque imbecile son (pictured at right) who was always chasing fraggles, then getting in trouble for his supidity. Upon googling for pictures, I have learned these creatures are called Gorgs.
Then of course there's Sprocket, the muppet dog of the very real Kind Old Man (pictured at left) whose house seemed to house the entire fraggle world. I suppose this was recycling the same Gargamel role; Sprocket sees fraggles but the Kind Old Man -- who for some reason seems to be filed under Henry in my memories -- doesn't believe him
This brings me to my very favorite Fraggle Rock character: Uncle Travelin' Matt (pictured at right). Travelin' Matt wandered the world of the "Silly People" (who of course are us, non-muppets), sending letters to his nephew Gobo, who would then read them and imagine the details so that we could see them. His segment was always the most entertaining to me, but his place in my heart is warm for a different reason.
It appears that I will be stuck with a Sidekick2 for sometime longer. The next best alternative is a Blackberry, and as I've been playing with the newfangledest freakin' expensive Blackberry all evening, I now know that Blackberries suck ass.
One really awesome feature I need to mention though. The charger/power adapter is actually just a connector that allows you to plug a standard USB cable into the wall. Seriously.
This means you can charge your phone from any USB cable that happens to be plugged into a computer, or simply plug any existing USB cable you have around into the little wall adapter. Brilliant.
Other than that, the Blackberry seriously sucks. It is slow, AIM/YIM/ICQ won't connect most of the time, when they do connect messages rarely show up (and count against your text message plan when they do, which is la-haaaame.)
I guess it's back to the Sidekick2, or try out the Treo, which I already know I can't justify paying for.