I don't have much to report, other than there being a new place to find information on my various internet television projects.
futv.nyquil.org is where I'll be posting status updates and artwork and anything else I manage to actually create. So far it isn't much, but I'm hoping that having a dedicated place to post stuff will help me get off my butt.
I've been hearing a lot lately about the controversy surrounding the "planet" Pluto and its other Kuiper Belt neighbors. The situation in a nutshell is that there've been recent discoveries of other orbiting bodies in our solar system that are comparitive in size and composition to Pluto that no one wants to classify as planets.
The problem is that we don't really have a concrete definition of what a planet is, and astronomers are hesitant to create one because it might threaten the number of planets we currenly have. One of two things would have to happen: one or more of the other Kuiper Belt objects would need to be classified as planets, or Pluto would have to be declassified as a planet. My question is, what's the big fuckin' deal? Just get together, make a definition and stick with it.
It seems that "respect" is coming in to play here. I've heard several astronomers say that it would be disrespectful to both Pluto and its discoverers for us to downgrade it. So what? This is science we are talking about here right? Either something is a planet or it isn't and it seems like a pretty simple distinction to me, one which "respect" should have no bearing on. I mean, it's not like we'd decide not to create an anti-virus for a hypothetical lab-created virus out of respect for the scientists who worked hard on it. Would we?
Also, the hesitancy behind classifying other Kuiper Belt objects as planets seems to be because they don't want our model of the solar system to change, once again out of respect, but also so as not to have to change all the books and reteach students new information which conflicts with things they had previously learned. I just don't understand this. I've always been taught that one of the perks of science is that finding new information allows us to paint a more accurate picture of our universe, but here we have a situation where scientists have better tools and better information, and have decided to just discard the new things they've learned because it is too difficult to act on the things that the information requires us to.
That sounds more like politics than science to me.
A few days ago I mentioned that I only had one complaint with Battlestar Galactica, but really there are two.
CG cylons piss me off everytime they're on screen.
There was a time when I thought photorealistic computer animation was the coolest thing ever, but I am so over it. These days I would much prefer the "guy in suit" cylons of yesteryear, or even some Harryhausen-esque stop motion animated ones. (Seriously, how cool would that be? The set decor is all like faux retro, what better to accentuate that look than Harryhausen cylons?) Alternately, the human-cylon hybrids are pretty awesome as-is, why the need for fake looking ones?
OH! I just thought of another complaint, kicking the total up to 3. I absolutely hate the little bit they do after the "previously on Battlestar Galactica" stuff where they show rapid fire clips of things that are going to happen in this episode. Seriously guys, stop doing that. I'm watching the episode already, you don't need to "entice" me in any further, just let me watch the damn show in peace. Sure, seeing how any episodes I'll ever watch will have been timeshifted, I'll be able to just skip past it, but that's not the point.
Dear Battlestar Execs,
I should not have to work to avoid spoilers, and the fact that you're putting them in the opening credits is just plain mean.
The following is a public service announcement for other Olympics-challenged individuals such as myself.
Apparently there are now two famous people with the name Sasha Cohen, one spelled with a C, one without.
This is Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen. You may have heard something about her falling on the ice during competition or somesuch. Now if you were me and you heard that, it would have confused the heck out of you, because:
this is Sascha (Baron) Cohen. He is not only not a figure skater, but probably wouldn't pass the mandatory drug testing required to be one. Chances are pretty good that he is tight with those Jamaican bobsledders though and really, he wouldn't have any more room 'round his neck for any additional gold medallions anyway. Check it! Jah.
As an adult male raised both in the relatively puritanical United States and by Hollywood, I find myself thinking frequently of breasts.
(I must say, it's quite tempting to just stop there, but I do have a point so I guess I'll soldier on.)
Anyway, the other day I was thinking of breasts and came up with an ingenius idea that I hope will make me lots and lots of money.
So what's the problem with breast implants? I'd say it's the invasive and destructive method of insertion; you've got this big object outside the breast that you want to move inside the breast, so there's going to be scarring and pain and recovery time. Oh and everyone will notice that yesterday your boobs were much smaller.
So my idea came about by thinking of Luxy, an elderly rat who has a large mammary tumor. She looked for a while very much like she just suddenly sprouted a Dolly Parton sized boob on one side which had a very natural look and feel.
So my idea is to intentionally cultivate a tumor at a precise location inside of any breasts you want to make bigger; this will allow the breasts to grow "naturally" over time and not require any surgery. Worst case scenario is an injection of a "starter" cell, best case would just be some sort of "Boob Enhancing Ray" that gets waved over the boobs in question.
The only part I haven't been able to figure out yet is how to get them to stop growing. Really though, once you decide you want bigger boobs, do you really think you're going to suddenly be happy with them? No, I think people who get implants want progressively larger ones over time, so this will just save everyone a load of hassle.
At first I was doubtful whether anyone would intentionally put something scary and harmful into their body just to "improve" their appearance, but then I remembered that millions of surprised looking people use Botox. Once you've injected deadly food poisoning into your face, what's a little cancer in your boobs?
Spaced is probably the most brilliant show that you've never seen -- unless of course you live in the UK, then you already know how brilliant it is. Sadly, people fighting over money prevent this from being released here in the States, so you can't see it. Until now that is. (This iscommercially available from amazon.co.uk if you have a region free dvd player. I highly recommend buying it from there.)
The second this series gets a US release date, these files are coming down, so hopefully your appetite has been whetted. Write your congressman.
Here's episode 5 of Spaced:
UPDATE: Sorry, due to potential problems with my host, I'm taking these down. You should purchase it at amazon.co.uk, and if you have a cpable dvd player you can watch it that way. Here's a cheap good one that is region-free after inputting a special code. This player also handles the PAL->NTSC conversion on the fly as well, so you won't need a special TV.
OK. Can you please tell me why black-box voting systems are a good idea?
Putting aside the conspiracy theories as to the motives behind Diebold, and whether or not they "rigged" the election or whether they were "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes for the president next year," can anyone still say that using a system that no one knows anything about is a good thing?
The only way to run an election with this type of machine is to allow anyone and everyone to see how they work, and to be able to handle the errors as they happen -- not 2 years later when it's too late to fix. There should be no secrets, because secrets let information like the fact that over 100,000 voting errors slip through the cracks. It's a real shame that the systems failed, but requiring conspiracy theorists to find out about it is really terrible. I'm convinced that had people known what was going on when it did, there'd be alot more people outraged by this than there are now. As it is now, it's just the tinfoil hat people and me -- who some of you probably consider a tinfoil hat person.
I realize that paper ballots can be manipulated as well, but it takes a hell of a lot more effort and people involved to pull it off. With a black-box system, it really only takes one.
After all this complaining, I actually do have a solution for this problem: let the Amish run our elections in 2008.
In this country, our fearless leaders have pointed out the importance of avoiding human-animal hybrids, sparking controversy ridicule from the left and right alike. It is unclear whether Bat Boy (or his new friend Boy Bat) are the impetus behind this bold declaration, but I suspect he was.
In China on the otherhand, they've decided it is of utmost importance to put an end to human-cartoon hybrids. Hopefully Google gets cracking on "doing the right thing", they need to block all those Chinese search requests for Blue's Clues and pretty much any Disney movie made before 1994 ASAP.
I've been thinking for a while that I wanted a laptop, and used the rationale that it would be far easier to be productive, since I could just do it from bed and whatnot. Then BestBuy convinced me even further by having a big sale on them. I bit the bullet and bought one.
Well, after half a week with it, I'm pleased to say that it has upped my productivity -- assuming you define "productivity" as surfing the net from bed a lot more, and still not working on any of the things I need to.
Also, it feels extremely bizarre to wipe out the shiny new XP installation in favor of my operating system of choice on the first boot. I've never really felt loss at the deletion of Windows before, but this time seemed different. Maybe it's the "Designed for Windows XP" sticker that I've not figured out how to remove safely.
In any case, this puppy is more than powerful enough for me to use all the tools I need to to produce video content, so hopefully it will speed me along down the right track.
Today Travis came up with an ingenius idea: to avoid all that hassle of wiping after doing a #2, simply eat some toilet paper after every meal. He suggests dipping it in nice cool water so that when it comes time to do its job, it will be moist and cool.
See, a sandwich is defined as "something betwixt slices of bread." If you have at least 2 slices of bread, you've got yourself a sandwich. Some fancier sandwiches have 3-4 slices of bread, making them extra sandwichy.
Now an "open face" sandwich on the other hand, has only a single slice of bread, and is therefore not a sandwich at all. Many a time have I fallen victim to this ruse, ordering what seems to be a delicious sandwich, only to find that I have not read the fine print and ended up with some horrible monstrosity which requires silverware to eat.
I think it's time some action be taken to rid this land of the scourge known as "open face" sandwiches...
I'd like to thank everyone who has contacted me with words of support regarding the actions the JREF has taken. Some of you have expressed that while previously interested in participating in the JREF's efforts, the way they've handled things has changed that and you no longer wish to be a part of the work they do.
I'd like to suggest that you think about joining the JREF anyway. The work they do is very important, and the fact that you disagree with the way they've handled something really shouldn't affect that. As a donating member of the JREF (or simply someone purchasing merchandise from them), you will be putting yourself into a position of influence. During any transaction with them you can point out where you feel they've gone wrong and increase the likelihood that they pay you any attention. As someone who chooses not to have anything to do with them, you won't have any influence.
I'm confident that this situation will eventually get straightened out. It seems pretty obvious that since James Randi has been incapacitated due to surgery since before any action was taken, that he was uninvolved in what the JREF has done. It is very likely that the threatening letter sent to me was the result of an overzealous staff member looking out for what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the JREF.
I ask that you at least reserve judgement until I can get a statement from JREF regarding the stance they're going to take before you write them off completely. I'd really like to stress how important the work the JREF does is, and how much your membership and contribution can benefit us all.
A couple of days ago, Tim asked me the following theological question:
"Do you think Jesus whistled?"
Being somewhat of a theologian, I have spent a large part of my life pondering the many aspects of our Lord and Savior (for instance, I know that "Lord", "Savior" and "Jesus" all refer to the same guy. This is what us theologians call the "Holy Trinity") so I had what I think is a very well reasoned answer for him.
"Of course He did," I began, "most definitely after His resurrection anyway. See, Jesus was most well known for his dynamic public speaking, at which He was quite adept. During the telling of particularly elaborate parables, the wind generated by his wild gesturing would pass over the holes in his hands, generating a pleasant, almost hypnotic whistling sound. So yes, I think Jesus whistled."
After we both laughed at the quickness of my wit and the depth of my theological knowledge (hey, this is my blog, I'll write it they way I want to it happened) we discussed whether or not Jesus went around whistling and singing. We decided that it was likely that he did, and I postulated that many of the hymns we know and love today are just adapted from songs He Himself sang back then.
Songs such as: (these are best imagined in yellow text that crawls up your screen)
"I Love The Little Children"
"All Things In Me"
"Closer To Me"
"I Am Risen"
"My Grace Is Sufficient For Thee"
"Thou Heard The Voice Of Me Say"
And many more...
Operators are standing by.
While researching these time-honored and beloved hymns, I discovered the following two things:
1) There are many hymns that a pervert might twist the meaning of without needing to change any words. (Eg. "Christ Recieveth Sinful Men", "Fill Me Now", "Hiding In Thee", "Hold Fast Until I Come", etc.)
The last couple days have been pretty shitty for me, what with the threatening letters from the lawyers of someone I look up to, people that I have to deal with who treat me like crap and make me want to punch them, cute little rodents getting themselves stuck in my washing machine, etc, which has really gotten me thinking about things.
I've got a few questions for those of you who consider yourself "creative types" which will hopefully either affirm or debunk a theory I've been operating under.
Would you say that you are:
a) never depressed
b) sometimes depressed
c) most times depressed
d) nearly always depressed?
I'm sure it's not much of a surprise to most of you that I fall somewhere between c and d on that scale. There's so many things that I'm passionate about yet powerless to change, so many things that work me up and piss me off, make me cry, etc, that I am nearly always completely overwhelmed by the things I feel. Add to that mix the fact that I'm extremely empathatic to the plights of others, and you've got yourself a dangerous mix. Remember when Lloyd and Harry are sobbing on the couch to that oil company commercial? That's me more frequently than I'd like to admit.
Remember the time I passed out just reading about people who were convinced by a friend to drill a hole in his skull? That is a prime example of how the feelings of others can affect me. The account was written from the point of view of one of the drillers, and he described very well what he was going through during the process. It wasn't the hole drilling that made me sick, it was the empathy of the fear and insanity that had to be coursing through the drillers at the time, after eventually being pursuaded into doing it by the drillee.
In any case, if you (or people who care about you) would say that you're creative, where would you (or people who care about you) rate yourself on the above mood status meter? The real question here is: Do you find that you're at your most creative during times of depression or times of non-depression?
Feel free to just email me so that everyone doesn't have to see how depressed you are all the time, if that thought would.. you know, depress you.