Thursday, February 23, 2006

Goodbye

V and I are going to Cuba on Saturday for slack week. So I probably won't be writing anything here for a week, unless they have cheap internet access. I'll post pictures or something when we get back.

We picked a great time to go, after an Ontario couple was killed on vacation in Mexico a few days ago. If you don't hear from us after a week, it's safe to assume our throats have been slit. Or we got some horrible disease from an ice cube and puked up our intestines.

I'm in a cheery mood today. I guess I do need a vacation.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Octopussy

This web site, phronk.com, has reached the milestone of having over 20 000 unique visits since its upgrade in June of last year. That's a hell of a lot of visits, and I thank anyone reading this for boosting my ego by upping that hit counter.

Of course, the vast majority of the visits are from Google searches for "O RLY" and "Saugeen Stripper". People are still interested in her, apparently.

However, it looks like there's a new player in town. The University of Windsor, jealous of Western's slutty repuation, has come out with its own stripper scandal. Apparently a cheerleader at the school stripped down and got a man-friend to snap some photos. Although they appear innocent enough at first (i.e. she's just showering alone), a closer inspection reveals that she's gone beyond the Saugeen Stripper in explicitness (i.e. gurgling come). Here's the link, pervert: I LIKE STRIPPERS * . It's not safe for work, obviously.

Have a spiffy day everyone. When I get to 50 000 hits, I'll throw a fake internet party for all of the people who read this! Wouldn't that be just delightful!?

P.S. Anyone who can tell me why I put this picture with this post will get a free prize. Answer in the comments below.

* Thanks to Captain Bee again for bringing the University of Windsor Lancer Cheerleader Stripper Scandal (wow, that's a long name for it) to my attention.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Road Trip of Death

Yesterday, a few friends and I went to Toronto to see the Ontario Science Centre's Body Worlds 2 exhibit. This exhibit consists of real dead bodies and organs, preserved by replacing fluids and fat with plastic. It's partly educational, but mostly artistic. I was surprised at how close you could get to the bodies; they are not behind glass, so you can get right up to them. It was extremely interesting to see the insides of the human body...a place that most people will never see except in pictures.

Speaking of pictures, I managed to avoid security and snap a few with my crappy camera phone.

skaters


Here are two "plastinates" figure skating. They were in all sorts of poses, to illustrate different body parts and keep things interesting.

ring man


This is the ring man. He's on the rings, and his flesh is cut into rings! Get it?

dead horse


Not all of the bodies were human. Here's a dead horsie!

kid skeleton


They also weren't all adults. Here's a cute little skeleton of a kid. There was also a controversial dead baby / pregnant mom section. It was cool to see how fast kids grow in the womb. But I feel sorry for women having to pop those things out...damn...

Anyway, I recommend that anyone who can go see this thing do so ASAP. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity, and good practice for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

Gary Busey Isn't Addicted to Oil

In other Gary Busey news, apart from starring in Gingerdead Man, he is in a new Turkish movie about evil American soldiers who kill innocent people and sell their organs on the black market (link). It's the most expensive Turkish movie ever made. Busey (and his co-star, megacelebrity Billy Zane) will probably be criticized for this...but why? It's a fictional movie. There are exaggerated stereotypes of every ethnicity in American movies, so maybe it's about time they stereotype right back. And America does tend to torture prisoners. Not the same as shooting babies, sure, but, it ain't a documentary.

Apparently Gary also starred in the martial arts western Ghost Rock. While the poster pictured here may look like a really bad photoshop job, it is, in fact, a real movie. Wow. Nice teeth.

He's also popped up on Captain Bee's blog. Way to go, Gary!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Movies Worth Seeing

While procrastinating, I've come across some great movie posters which are worth blogging about. First, there's Gingerdead Man, starring Gary Busey. This just looks perfect in every possible way. "Evil never tasted so good", and "Something's in the oven" are also the smartest tag lines I've heard in my life.








Then there are some bad foreign bootleg movie cases, like this one for Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:



Ok, I was wrong. "Engaging lonely between" is actually the best tag line I've ever heard.

Here's the back of this case for "Harry Potter II" :



Um...what? Jackson Pollock? You maybe find a different file? Well, I better go see it quickly.

I find all this very tunny.

More bad bootleg covers can be found here.


Police Quotas

Ever wondered if police have quotas? That is, are they required to hand out a certain number of tickets each month, making them extra likely to catch you as the end of the month grows near?

Here's an article that investigates. The basic answer: they usually do, but don't readily admit it.

It's nice to know that the people assigned to protect us are also willing to lie to us so they don't look bad.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Movies x 24

I'm so friggin tired. I spent all day yesterday at a friend's semi-annual-ish Movie Day, where we watched movies for 24 hours straight. I made it through most of them, and thus got very little sleep.

So how about I review a bunch of movies? Ok, sounds like fun.

Primer: A very smart science fiction movie about time travel. A little too smart. While it's interesting, it degenerates into an intentionally confusing mess. I like movies that require thought, but this one requires multiple viewings to even begin thinking about it. Still, I enjoyed it, and I do want to see it again, so I can't not recommend it. That last sentence was intentionally confusing too.

Last Days: Artsy fartsy movie about a Kurt Cobain-like rock star's, um, last days. Has its moments, but ends up being really, really boring. Watching the dude from Dawson's Creek eat a bowl of macaroni and cheese isn't riveting, even if he does look a lot like Cobain.

Kung Fu Hustle: Over-the-top kung fu movie. Kinda like a live-action Dragonball Z, or The Matrix on drugs. Not serious in the slightest, this movie is extremely entertaining. Some of the most creative violence I've seen in years. I'm really glad this movie exists.

The 40 Year Old Virgin: While I was somewhat depressed by how much I could identify with the main character, this was a hilarious movie. It also had a bit of realism and emotional weight that I didn't expect. Between this and The Office, Steve Carell is becoming one of my favourite people.

Ok that's enough crappy reviews. Here is some advice for anyone who wants to watch movies for 24 hours: eating an entire Toblerone bar does help keep you awake, and is also very good for your heart. I know this because I'm training to be a doctor. Eat your chocolate, kids!


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Categories

I'm playing with a new web site thingy called Labelr, which allows one to label / categorize posts. There should be a new list of categories on the sidebar to the right, and new posts should now show categories they're filed under. The software is in its early stages, so things might look a little messed up, but it's quite amazing what this thing can do already. It makes up for a big feature that's mysteriously missing from Blogger.

I also got rid of the Guestbook here. It wasn't being used by real people, but lots of evil spammer robots were sending ads to it. Stupid robots. You can still find old guestbook posts if you dig around here, though. In case anyone actually reads anything other than this blog part. Actually...who am I kidding...nobody even reads this part.

24: The Vampire Connection

Monday's episode of 24 raised some interesting issues. Most prominantly, everyone in the show has played a vampire or been associated with vampires at some point. First, Kiefer was obviously a vampire in The Lost Boys. The villain he will probably face this season in 24 (the mysterious guy who sits in the dark) was Nick Knight, the zany Canadian vampire cop in the TV show Forever Knight. In Monday's episode, the bad guys, including the evil man in the yellow tie, encounter a mechanic to help them open a bomb thing. Who was the mechanic? None other than Cash from the short-lived vampire show Kindred: The Embraced. Not only that, but he was Xander's zombie friend in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Speaking of which, the creator of Buffy, Joss Whedon, also created Firefly. Firefly had a recurring character named Badger, played by Mark Sheppard: the man in the yellow tie in 24!

What does this all mean? My prediction is that the nerve gas will be released in 24, but it will have an unexpected effect. Like in 28 Days Later (24...28...both are numbers!), it will turn everyone into violent vampire-zombies. I call them Zompires. Kiefer will have to show them the error of their ways...through torture and political deals!

Man, I can't wait.

.

P.S. Death by stereo!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Holocaust is Hilarious

Update on my previous post, Muhammed is Hilarious: Apparently an Iranian newspaper wants to hold a holocaust cartoon competition, to see if "The West" has the same freedom of speech beliefs about the holocaust as they do about Muhammed. (link).

Umm...Iran...I hate to break this to you, but The West has been making fun of the holocaust for years.

For example, from an episode of South Park:
Jewish Kid: Is anyone else having problems concentrating on this? I just can't seem to concentrate.
Cartman: Maybe we should send you to a concentration camp.

I'm sure a few people were offended, but they didn't go apeshit and burn down Comedy Central. So go ahead and hold the contest; hopefully the cartoons are funnier than the Muhammed ones. We already know the answer, though: We'll still believe in freedom of speech, and if Iran doesn't, then they can stop reading other countries' newspapers and leave them alone.


Transparent Computers

Ok, this is a pretty cool idea. A bunch of people on Flickr have made "transparent screens" by taking a picture of what's behind their computer screens, then setting that as the background. That link will bring you to hundreds of pictures, and some, like this one, get pretty creative.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Muhammed is Hilarious

There's a big stink over the publishing of cartoons in Denmark showing Muhammed/Mohammed, who's some prophet or something. I guess you're not supposed to draw him. Protestors even set fire to a Danish embassy over this.

Two things. 1) These cartoons aren't even funny. Oh look, his turban looks like a bomb! Hilarious! And now I've "published" the cartoon too. Does that mean they'll burn their computers if they see this? Because that'd be neat.

2) This is another example of religion being retarded. I think religion is fine if it's not pushed upon others and doesn't cause harm to others. People can have their beliefs, no matter how irrational, in the comfort of their homes. But when people burn down buildings (or crash into them with airplanes) because of some stupid arbitrary law of their religion, that's not cool. If you believe the cartoonist is going to hell (or wherever), then isn't that his problem? How is burning down his country's embassy going to help anything?

I have beliefs. I think people should put toilet paper in the holder so that it hangs over the top, not the other way where it comes out from the back. But if I heard that my neighbour was doing it the wrong way, I wouldn't go burn his house down. He has his own reasons for believing what he does, and it doesn't affect me.

Even if he published pictures of his crazy toilet paper, I could choose not to look at them. But maybe that's taking the metaphor too far.

Anyway, this is another example of human nature gone stupid. It makes me long for the day when artificial intelligence takes over the world.

More on that later.

Edit: This just in: apparently this has gotten even more out of control. Large protests have erupted, resulting in some deaths. All over a cartoon. This is tragic, but I couldn't help but laugh at the headline below. It brings to mind images of the Smurfs waging war on the Carebears with big cartoon hammers.

cartoon violence


Book Review: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell


I have a reading problem. It's not that I'm illiterate (even though I just had to look up how to spell illiterate), it's that I have trouble finishing books. Whenever I get a new book, I want to start reading it right away. Therefore, all the books I'm currently reading start seeming like a chore to read; just something to get over with so I can start the new book. Usually I give in and start the new book before finishing the old one, so I end up with 20 half-read books lying around.

So it is a big accomplishment for me to have finished reading the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell. I'll start reviewing books here, so I have a nice record of the books I've finished. Maybe it'll motivate me to finish them.

Blink is about what Gladwell calls "thin-slicing": making quick decisions based on very little information (i.e. a "thin slice" of information). He goes through numerous examples of this process in a variety of contexts, such as military operations and the recognition of facial expressions.

The book deals mainly with anecdotal accounts, which makes it an easy and entertaining read. Psychological research is not described in great detail, but the quick and casual descriptions are a nice change from the detailed procedures and statistics I'm used to reading. Gladwell offers a glimpse into areas many people never think about, such as professional food tasting, which is fascinating. It was also kinda cool for me to see Keith Payne mentioned...he gave a great talk at UWO recently.

However, I have several problems with the book. It reads more like a collection of short stories than a cohesive essay. It is sometimes unclear how each chapter relates to the big picture, and some of his points seem to contradict other points. I also noticed a few obvious errors which indicate sloppiness. For example, Limp Bizkit is two words. It's not "Limpbizkit".

My biggest problem, though, is that Gladwell is making up a new term (thin slicing) for a concept that already has too many words to describe it. My favourite term is intuition (since that's what I'm studying myself), but it also goes by insight, implicit learning, automatic thought, etc. These are terms only briefly mentioned in the book, even though he is obviously talking about them. It is as if he is trying to cover up the fact that his ideas are nothing new. In fact, I found one of his specific examples (about a firefighter getting a bad feeling about a building before it collapsed) in a book about intuition. Intuition is already a confusing term, and calling it by other names will just confuse it even more.

Still, I would recommend Blink to both psycholgists and the general reader. It's a fun read, even though it may not be as deep or insightful as geeks like me would like. Also, I'm glad to see this topic getting mainstream attention, because it probably means the government will give me lots of money to do research on it. Mmm, money.

(this was originally posted on my other blog)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Happy Groundhog Day

Is it just me, or are groundhogs the ugliest creatures on the planet? They're fat, buck toothed, and constantly have a stupid dumbfounded look on their face. They're only useful on this day of the year, and even then they really don't know what the hell is going on. There's probably a team of meteorologists down in that hole telling the stupid rodent whether to look at his shadow or not.

God, I hate them. I hate them so much.

Here is a recipe for groundhog meat:

Punxsutawney Raviolis
Capture, kill, skin and debone several groundhogs. (Remember, as with any dead rodent, wear gloves when handling and skinning.) Pass the meat through the fine blade of a meat grinder. Saute it in bacon fat and garlic. Never undercook rodent meat. Add a cup of chopped cooked spinach or watercress. Salt and pepper and use the mixture as a filling for raviolis. Makes about 72 raviolis. Serve with your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce. Source: Dvorak.


groundhog


P.S. I was attacked by a groundhog as a child.