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busy, busy, busy

Friday, July 30, 2004

I finally saw Farenheit 9/11 last night. I liked it, but I could have liked it a lot more. Since the whole purpose of his film is to get W the fuck out of the White House, he should have spent more time on what the man has done since 9/11/01 as president rather than going after the Bush/bin Laden family connections. It's good, though. One part made me tear up. Blah blah blah.

The last twenty minutes of the film, however, are worth every penny of the admission price.

I also saw The Village, by M. Night Shymawhoshisname, a few hours ago. Beautiful film. Good story. Yeah.

And check out the rad new music I picked up at the wonderful Love Garden today:

Built to Spill "Ancient Melodies of the Future"
Built to Spill "Ultimate Alternative Wavers"
Man or Astro-man? "Beyond the Black Hole"
Björk "Selmasongs"
TV on the Radio "Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes"
Radiohead "Anyone Can Play Guitar" Australian Tour EP
Bill Hicks "Philosophy: The Best Of..."

I love payday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

"Mowin' my lawn, mowin' my lawn, mowin' my lawn--UH--with a funky-cold mower!"

I'm going to mow the lawn today. I haven't mowed a lawn since I was sixteen. Should be fun. Wish me luck.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Passur AirportMonitor

Watch the traffic at some busy airports from the comfort and safety of your computer screen. It's like a video game over which you have no control.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The typoGenerator. I love it. Peep some other neato designs: eins, zwei, drei, vier.

Kill scientists, says animal rights chief
"Vlasak, who likens animal experimentation to the Nazis' treatment of the Jews, said he stood by his claim that: 'I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think for five lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human lives."

But the Nazis weren't trying to cure cancer, AIDS, or create better laundry detergent. Who's going to take care of those ten million animals? And the dead researchers' families? And the familes of the killers while they rot in prison? Details, details, details--the non-humans will be alive and free!

Call me speciesist*, but shouldn't we as a race worry about ensuring human rights before we ever consider protecting the rights of animals? How do these fools expect humans to care about the vast majority of life on this planet when we, for the most part, don't even care about other humans? When there's no more child labor, slavery, torture, war, etc., then it would be a great time to focus on animals. We'd reach that point a hell of a lot sooner if the animal rights crowd focused their efforts on human rights.

*For a long time I was an animal rights activist. It was bunk like this that drove me away, along with the realization that what humans do to other humans is far worse than what we do to animals.

Bush targets marijuana smokers
"Now President George Bush, who had already promised a more aggressive campaign against substance abuse, has ordered that resources be allocated to fighting so-called 'soft' drugs instead of concentrating on harder forms, such as heroin and cocaine."

This makes perfect sense. Avoid going after the coke and heroin junkies--they put up too much of a fight, and they end up eventually killing themselves and/or each other anyway. The potheads, on the other hand, will be easy to apprehend. Have you ever seen a stoned person run? Me neither.

My plan? Get ten people. Half regularly use marijuana, the other half regularly use heroin, crack, etc. Put them all in one room. Make sure they are all sober, with no drugs available for the duration of the experiment. Then put W in the room with them. He hangs out for the day. When he comes through the door at the end of it, ask him who he'd rather have "on the streets" and who needs to be sent away. To make it really fun, add more people--split between smokers and alcoholics. Who will come out of that looking like model citizens, I wonder?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Music you need to go out and buy right now:

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros "Streetcore"
The Fiery Furnaces "Blueberry Boat"

Music I just bought that I need to go listen to right now:

Morrissey "You Are The Quarry"
Björk "Homogenic" & "Post"

New Details Surface

"After Mr. Cheney successfully delivered the epithet and started to walk away, Mr. Leahy—sotto voce—referred to the Vice-President using a term more often heard in taverns and locker rooms than in the august Senate chamber, a term that refers to a sexual act commonly acknowledged as taboo among all cultures that proscribe incestuous contact between a mother and a son.

Mr. Cheney—apparently hearing Mr. Leahy’s remark—stopped, turned, and invited his colleague from across the aisle to engage in a sexual act that is considered a felony in some states, and which involves oral-genital contact.

Mr. Leahy then suggested that the president of the Senate take his gavel and use it to perform an act that, while not technically impossible in anatomical terms, would certainly be considered both unseemly and unhygienic, and which would require an unusual combination of single-minded ambition and physical relaxation."

Friday, July 16, 2004

I'm having a much better day now. In fact, I now this think this morning's events were hilarious. Roll with the punches, you know...

When I was in grad school, I had to spend an entire semester studying the "field" of psychohistory for a course in historiography. I was supposed to find how the two disciplines (psychology and history) merged to form a coherent field of study and, more specifically, how psychologists use the historical method in their research and vice versa with historians. I had to read a lot of Freud and Erik Erikson. It was the longest semester of my life.

When I presented my findings, they were as such: Psychohistory is not a field of study, it is in fact a waste of time. It answers no questions. It offers no solutions. It makes no sense. It takes two legitimate fields of study and combines them into a barely coherent mishmash that no human being should ever have to experience. It is pure mental masturbation. Finally, it is the most bland and dull academic pursuit I have personally ever had to endure (and I even studied a little soil science for another degree).

Ever since then, I physically cringe when I see something defined as "______history." I get ill. I want to go back to grad school just so I can drop out all over again. So, imagine my disgust when I find an article describing "psychogeography." The thought of my true academic love (my undergrad degrees are in geography and history) being tainted for me in such a way as history had been actually made me angry. But I read the article anyway.

I'm glad I did. Psychogeography is actually quite fascinating. Rather than asking questions that are impossible to answer (and, if one could, why?) simply to have something to do, psychogeographers are active. Instead of being absolutely mind-numbing, it seems invigorating.

"Psychogeography includes just about anything that takes pedestrians off their predictable paths and jolts them into a new awareness of the urban landscape.

A duo of artists from Copenhagen led participants on a tour of the city -- using a map of Copenhagen instead of New York. D. Jean Hester from Los Angeles hung posters and magic markers in public places soliciting answers to questions like "What smell reminds you of home?" and "Where were you the last time you cried?" Another conferee asked his fellows to perform "reverse shoplifting" by placing subtly redesigned products on the shelves of area grocery stores.

Still others practiced "generative psychogeography," or algorithmic walking, pioneered (as far as I can tell) by a Dutch artists' collective called social fiction. Participants walk an algorithm or fixed pattern, such as "first right, second left, first left, repeat." In other words, you head in any direction, take the first right, then go two blocks to the second left, then at one block take a left, and then repeat the pattern as often as you wish. The result is a remarkable style of travel -- neither goal-oriented nor random, structured but always surprising...

Most of us, [Ray] explains, just follow a small set of preprogrammed instructions as we wander through the city: office, day care, grocery store, home. And she's right. If you track your own path through a typical day, you'll soon discover that your journey is habitual, that you're slowly wearing a canyon through the same streets, the same sidewalks, day after day.

Psychogeography encourages us to buck the rut, to follow some new logic that lets us experience our landscape anew, that forces us to truly see what we'd otherwise ignore. 'Chance and randomness,' says Ray, 'are what's exciting.'"

Now that's what I'm all about.

I just had quite the fucked up morning. I'll spare the details, but let's just say if you show up to work at 7AM and have no idea what to do, it's not really a good idea to wait until 8AM to knock on the manager's door for help. Not a good idea at all. It's really best to seek assistance before someone starts throwing kitchen chairs across the room. It's a damned good thing the manager was awake at the time, because he had planned to sleep late because he was taking the goddamned morning off. Fucking think, people.

Just sayin'.

In case you're wondering, this is what I do for a living.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

NASA Watch

"This is not a NASA Website. You might learn something."

Uh, this new Blogger formatting crap is seriously pissing my shit off. I don't like it. Not one bit. It was fine the way it was. Why don't people get off their asses and learn some simple HTML?

We will never forget...

Mixing prophecy and politics

"For Christian Zionists, the modern state of Israel is the fulfillment of God's covenant with Abraham and the center of His action from now to the Second Coming of Christ and final battle of Armageddon, when the Antichrist will be defeated. But before this can occur, they say, biblical prophecy foretells the return of Jews from other countries; Israel's possession of all the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers; and the rebuilding of the Jewish temple where a Muslim site, Dome of the Rock, now stands.

These beliefs lead to positions that critics say are uncompromising and ignore the fact that most Israelis want peace. "Pressuring the US government away from peace negotiations and toward an annexationist policy, that has a direct negative impact on the potential for change in the Middle East," says Gershom Gorenberg, a senior editor at The Jerusalem Report newsmagazine."

Forget the terorists, these people are the ones who send shivers down my spine.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Celiberal - The Celebrity Whine List

The "Liberal Media" meme. It's one of my personal favorites. Hand-in-hand with it goes the "Persecuted Right/Covervative Opinion" meme. This site covers both, more or less. Lists of "radical" quotes from "whiny celebrity liberals" make up most of the site, which ironically makes it quite a valuable resource for anyone looking for anti-Bush material.

Far more humorous is the list of "Righties," or conservative celebrites; presented because "they are not given as much media coverage as the celiberals," the list includes such universally-ignored personalities as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Paul McCartney, Ronald Reagan, and Tom Clancy. Oh yeah, and some guy named Charlton Heston. In fairness the list does include some celebrities who really don't receive much coverage, like Mike Ditka, The Oak Ridge Boys, Don King, Ric Flair, Yakov Smirnoff, and--wait for it--Creed. So, they may have a point. Maybe.

Of course, the "ignored by the liberal media" list has two big flaws. First, while it does include some actual conservatives, it also includes anyone who has ever said anything remotely favorable about the Bush administration, or has at the very least gone out of their way to say nothing bad (for "proof," most of the entries are accompanied with a link to a news article). I could pick out several examples, but I'll leave it with just two words: Marilyn Manson.

The second and most significant flaw is stated in their introductory disclaimer (which is also included on the liberal list): "For the purposes of this site, we will define celebrity as any famous person who is NOT one of the following: show host, news personality, journalist, columnist, politician, or religious leader. It's not that these types of people are not celebrities, we just choose to not list them on this site." So, a site dedicated to the premise that this country is being ravaged by a "Liberal Media" refuses to list the names of the very conservatives who are presumably being shut out of the national discourse? If the liberal media myth is true, then one would think the best way to prove it would be to compare lists of conservative and liberal media personalites. If they were right, the liberal list would far outweigh that of the conservatives.

The problem is the myth is just not true. It's pretty difficult to feel persecuted, and make others feel the same, with the numbers staring you in the face. Just do away with the names that actually matter--those that are associated with the media--and present some insignificant quotes from some essentially insignificant celebrities, and you have instant oppression. Never mind that the majority of the population doesn't depend on what Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, or Missy Elliot says to shape its worldview; their views are largely transparent and easy to identify, and they have little real and lasting influence when it comes to shaping public opinion. Celebrities, and what they think and what they say, simply don't matter.

As far as the "liberal media" is concerned, make your own list. Who has the influence? Channel surf for an hour, take some time to scroll up and down the radio dial, and flip through some major daily newspapers--odds are all you'll hear are oppressed conservatives howling about the Dreaded Liberal Media.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I've lived in this town for a year and just now discovered this:

Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas. There's even a pretty decent reading list, though it pales in comparison to my favorite, and it's made slightly cheesy since the compiler included his own stuff.

God damn, I really wish I was a student right now.

You're not going to believe this one, folks. Here's some "breaking news" from the Lawrence Journal-World:

Hot weather to continue.

Oh. Shit. What are we going to do? The article says to wear "light clothing," check on children and the elderly, and drink lots of "water." But how many people can do this on such short notice? The human cost of this unexpected heat wave in Kansas during July could be staggering, but a local "meteorologist" has offered up a strange new theory that promises a glimmer of hope:

"Overnight, a cold front will move in to disrupt the hot air mass, bringing a chance for thunderstorms. The temperature will drop overnight, with the low reaching 75 by Wednesday morning."

One can only hope.

Monday, July 12, 2004

I just read my previous post. I didn't realize I was going for the most-awkward-sentence award with that second "paragraph." Yikes.


An election in November is not a guarantee?

"Q On Ridge's security warnings, can the President today guarantee Americans that no terrorist attack can upset the U.S. elections this November, that they will go ahead as planned?

MR. McCLELLAN: Ann, I don't think anyone can make guarantees. But the full intention is to move forward and hold those elections. I don't know specific information related to election day or any other of the high profile events that we have coming up. What we can guarantee to the American people is that we will continue to take strong steps to make sure that we are doing a better job every day of protecting the homeland and enhancing protective measures in certain areas of the country. And we will continue waging the war on terrorism, on the offensive, to defeat the terrorists. That's what we will continue to do." [italics mine]

No one can make guarantees about when a presidential election occurs? So, that little part in the Constitution that sets presidential elections to be held every fourth year on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November is not a guarantee?

And, if the elections are cancelled in the event of an attack, when will they actually be held? My guess is some time shortly after the public forgets "homeland security" is a fucking sham and we can be scared into submission with such grave threats as gay marriage and the like. Assuming FOX News isn't obliterated in any attack, that really won't take very long.

Do your favorite films offend Jesus and everything his modern-day follwers claim to be persecuted for standing for? If you're curious, take a peek. Lots of films, lots of reviews, lots of laughs.

I guess I'm going to Hell--American Psycho is the most "offensive to God" film ever made, apparently, even more than A Clockwork Orange (which they reviewed only because "teens are starting to like it a lot" or something), which, naturally, didn't fare too well itself.

I do want to know what they think of Donnie Darko, which isn't listed. Probably not too much, I guess. They seem to even come down hard on "End Times" films that don't feature 80s teen sensation Kirk Cameron. Tough crowd.

Rock, Paper, Saddam! Good, clean humor for the whole family, except for a couple variations of "fuck."

Olympics organisers target rival logos
"Spectators attending the Athens Olympics could be forcibly removed from stadiums if they wear clothing bearing "obvious logos of competitive companies to sponsors," according to rules released by games organisers."

I think the organizers should also force the shut-down of any commercial establishment in Greece not sponsoring the games, just so people don't get the wrong idea.

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Can anyone say they didn't see this coming?
US mulls how to postpone vote if terrorists strike
Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge on Friday warned that "al-Qaeda is moving forward with its plans to carry out a large-scale attack in the United States in an effort to disrupt our democratic process," although he admitted US intelligence had no information about any specific plot.
But unnamed counterterrorism officials told Newsweek they were considering a proposal to delay balloting in the event of an attack.
The head of the new US Election Assistance Commission, DeForest Soaries Jr, wrote to Ridge urging him to ask Congress for emergency legislation that would allow his agency to reschedule the election if terrorists were to strike.
"The federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election," Soaries wrote, according to the weekly.
Ridge's office has asked the Justice Department to review the letter and other proposals to determine how the election could legally be postponed, the magazine said.
Fucking brilliant idea. If the "evildoers" really do hate our "freedom," all they have to do is blow something up. We take care of the rest of the work for them. Goodbye superficial democratic republic, hello dictatorship. Maybe now is a good time to start pretending to be a Christian...

Here's the new look. I like it much better. I'm still trying to get the Haloscan comments to work, though.

And, no, I have no idea why this morning's post is dated for this past Wednesday. It could be some unconscious time-travel phenomenon of which I'm not aware quite yet.

[A few minutes later] Comments are working correctly. Praise Jesus.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Maqx battles the Martian spiders

I attended the opening date of Mac Tonnies' Marsapalooza last night, as did an actual Martian*. Needless to say, it was an enlightening evening. Did you know that Sierra Leone once had postage stamps featuring the Face on Mars? It's true.

*Actually, she is a decendent of Martians. Same difference.

I'm going to blog more often. Perhaps daily, even if I say nothing more than "I have nothing to say." I'm also going to change the look of this site, probably today. This one is just not working for me. Ken MacLeod has a nice, simple look to his blog. I think I may steal it.