Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dr. Phronk's Weight Loss Challenge

I'm back. One thing I've recently discovered is that writing on this blog is not a hobby, but rather, a procrastination technique. This is demonstrated by the fact that I only blog when I have other, more productive, things to do, and neglect the blog when I'm sitting on my ass all day.

Which brings me to the main topic today: I'm a lazy fat fuck and I need to lose weight. To the right is a photograph of me at the amusement park yesterday. As you can see, lots of bad food has driven itself into my ass on an insane clown-faced train. Or maybe I've just been forgetting to eat healthy. In any case, I am 20 pounds heavier than I was a few months ago.

Twenty pounds. That's, like, more than the weight of my dog. The me of three months ago could eat my dog whole and be lighter than the me of today.

I don't want to be one of those people who gets chubbier and unhealthier as they get older, because really, I like life, and I want to live as long as humanly possible (if not forever). So that's it, I'm losing this dog-load of weight by going on Weight Watchers. Not real Weight Watchers, mind you, but I'll use their secret forumla to calculate points (calories/50 + fat/12 - fibre/4 [maximum of 1]) and try to stay under my point allowance (about 22/day with 30 extra per week). I even have a nice spreadsheet made to keep track.

I'm only writing about this because it's supposed to be easier to lose weight if you make a public commitment or something. At least that's what it said in the magazine I read while taking a shit in my mom's bathroom. So this is now a boring weight-loss blog that nobody will read. Sorry.

I currently weigh 160 pounds. I know I know, I shouldn't even be complaining, but I'm short and it's more than I should weigh. My goal is 140 pounds. I started my pseudo-diet on Monday. I'll keep you updated on the results.

Update (Aug 31): The formula was wrong before. It's calories/50, not /100. Thanks Jason.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Starfucks

starbucks escher


Here is an interesting article I read recently: Product Sabotage helps consumers. The title is a bit misleading; this "product sabotage" doesn't really help any consumers.

They use Starbucks (mmmm, Starbucks) as an example of what they mean. If you go to Starbucks, there are a lot of things that you can buy that are not on the menu. For example, a "short" cappucino is a tiny little cheap drink. A lot of people would probably only want this Tim Horton's-sized inexpensive drink rather than a larger one, but they don't know it exists, so they buy a bigger one. The small one is still available though, for the people who know about it and buy it because they can't afford the big drinks.

The idea is that people who can afford more expensive items buy them, and the poor bastards who can't will still shop at Starbucks because they're motivated to seek out the poorly advertised deals. So Starbucks gets both of their business.

I don't think this idea is inherently unethical on the surface. People who put the work in to find "deals" will get cheaper drinks. Good for them. The rich people can buy expensive drinks and the poor people can still enjoy the cheap drinks. I fall into the latter category, so I already knew about the Short size (but I don't buy that shit...I need more coffee than that to function normally). Rich people pay the normal price, and poor people can get a discount.

At least, it doesn't seem unethical when you say it that way. But what if you say it this way: Poor people pay the normal price. Rich people get tricked into only ordering off the menu and paying an inflated price.

This is called "framing" in psychology. There are different ways of saying the same thing that will differ in how they are percieved. Another example is getting a 5% discount when paying for something with cash (vs. credit card) at a store. Yay? But what if, at another store, you are charged a 5% fee to use a credit card? It's two ways of saying the same thing, but you'd probably be happier shopping at the former store than the latter (no matter how you're paying).

I guess my point is that you gotta think carefully about "deals", because they can be framed in two ways: paying less for the deal, or paying more for the non-deal. Corporations are intentionally exploiting these quirks in the English language and human reasoning to trick us into buying things for more than we have to. In other words, don't let the man fuck with your mind, man.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Music and Camping

Hello. I am back. I went camping. Here are some observations:
  • How do forest fires start when it's so damn hard just to keep chunks of dry wood burning?
  • Apparently, if you leave garbage out overnight while camping, animals actually will find your campsite and rip it open. It's not a myth.
  • Real snakes are less exciting than the kind that hang out on aero-planes in movies. Yes, I did see Snakes on a Plane, and it fulfilled my unreasonably high expectations. It was enhanced by the fact that I saw it at 10:30pm, when only other hardcore moviegoers were in the theatre. Their fits of inappropriate laughter and random comments (e.g. screaming "SNAKES!" in response to questions from characters in the movie) made it even funner than it would have been otherwise.
  • I like how music - even crappy music - sounds better after you've gone several days without hearing any music whatsoever.

Speaking of music, I've tried putting a new thing in the sidebar there that shows what music I am currently listening to, and/or the last few songs I've listened to. This is from Last.fm, which used to be kinda lame but is now pretty damn cool. It keeps track of what you listen to and can create radio stations for you, or show you people who listen to similar music, and stuff like that.

Here is what the sidebar thing looks like, except more fancy:



Oooo, it worked. Neat. You can even click on it for more info. Now I can pretend that people actually care about what music I'm listening to.


P.S. I hope you realized that the dude pictured in that last post isn't actually me. Look at those glasses. They're huge. I wouldn't wear those.



phronko's Profile Page

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blinded With Science

Here is a test of your intelligence:

He-Man and Friends are to the Universe as Phronk is to __________ ?

That's right, I'm a MASTER OF SCIENCE, fuckers.

Now I will leave civilization for a few days. Bye.


P.S. This is a picture of me graduating


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm Obsessed

OK this is the last Snakes on a Plane post for a while...I promise. But you blog reader people need to see this clip from The Daily Show if you haven't already. It's Sam Jackson talking about SoaP. I just love how much fun he seems to have had making the movie, and how nobody seems to take it seriously, which is what makes the whole phenomenon awesome.



Tomorrow will go down in history for two reasons: 1) Phronk will become a MASTER OF SCIENCE; and 2) Snakes on a Plane will be released upon the world at midnight. Yes. YES.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Breaking News: Snakes Poop

In a follow up to yesterday's post, I came across a news story today with a startling revelation: sometimes, snakes poo.

As you'll see if you click, the story is literally just a few words long. It can be summarized as "Snakes poo a lot. Go see Snakes on a Plane!"

Perhaps the marketing for this movie is going a little overboard? Naaaah.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mother Fucking Snakes on a Mother Fucking Plane

I got a phonecall from Samuel L. Jackson the other day. A friend of mine, who I will call Nick, actually got Sam Jackson to call with his special knowledge of the inter-net. Click here, motherfucker, if you want to get a call from him yourself, or send one to your special someone. I sent one to V, and despite Sam's insistence, she still doesn't want to see the movie (OMG IN ONLY 4 DAYS WTFOMG!!!!1!!). Even if you have no friends, it's still fun to play with this thing and hear all the things you can make Sam say. I like how he sounds as if he's so angry that he's fighting the urge to slip a "motherfucker" somewhere in there.

I just noticed that the movie is directed by David Ellis - the same guy who did Final Destination 2 and Cellular. Both were great movies in an over-the-top sort of way, so my confidence in SOAP (haha...soap) is greater than ever.

Four days, motherfuckers.


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Horror of Horrors

Here are some things which I have seen, read, and played lately, and the eerie connections between them:
  • White Zombie (1932): This film is believed by many to be the first to ever deal with zombies. I find it a bit difficult to watch movies this old. Today, the acting seems cheesey, the plot slow-moving, and the special effects terrible. There is no blood or gore. Still, it was neat to see where movie zombies started. Back then, zombies were just mindless drones under the control of a magician, doing menial tasks like carrying stuff around and working in a factory. Far from (and I think far less interesting than) today's Romero-inspired flesh-eating brain-chomping undead. They're even starting to run instead of shuffle in today's movies. Yup, zombies have come a long way. I'm proud of the little buggers.

  • Rob Zombie - Educated Horses: This is the newest album from Rob Zombie, former frontman of White Zombie, the band who drew its name from the movie above. I've only listened to it once, but it seems good so far. Pretty similar to his previous two albums, which I must admit, are some of my most listened-to.

  • Dead Rising (Xbox 360): Still on the zombie theme, this is a game which was clearly inspired by George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead. There's even a sticker on the cover saying "this game is not endorsed by the creators of Dawn of the Dead." In other words, "we totally ripped off the premise of this game, but we didn't get permission." You couldn't ask for a better premise for a game, though - you're a dude stuck in a mall full of zombies, and you have to survive for three days waiting for a helicopter to show up. It's quite awesome. As you can see on my Xbox's blog, I've been playing way too much of it.

  • Beyond Re-Animator: This is the third movie in the Re-Animator series, originally based on a story by H.P. Lovecraft. Like the second movie, this one puts a loose plot in as an excuse to show what creative and gory things can happen when a crazy scientist (Herbert West, played by the best actor of all time, Jeffrey Combs) invents a liquid that can bring living things back to life. So it's sort of a zombie movie, but not like any other zombie movie you've seen. I would say it is definitely worth seeing, if you're into that sort of thing. The best scene happens during the end credits. I won't give it away, but let's just say it involves a severed penis doing things that a severed penis does not normally do. The second best part is the horrible acting, which I really hope is intentionally terrible.

  • H.P. Lovecraft - At the Mountains of Madness: Continuing with the connections between everything I am absorbing lately, I'm also reading this book by the author who inspired the movie above. It's a story of an expedition in the far North, where researchers find evidence of ancient horrible things in the mountains. I've heard that this will be made into a movie sometime soon. Lovecraft has a unique style which takes getting used to. It can seem quite slow, as he goes into minute detail about everything. Well, everything except characters, who he describes only by their name. There isn't even any dialogue. Personally it's a refreshing change to see a world imagined in such detail, and the impersonal tone of it only adds to the isolated atmosphere of the novel. I'm certainly going to read more of Lovecraft after this one.

    You can find the book above, as well as many other Lovecraft books, online here. I don't know how it's legal...maybe because they're so old. I love free stuff. Thanks to Dr. Zombie for the link.

So there you go...everything I do is unintentionally connected through zombies and H. P. Lovecraft. I don't really know why I'm blogging about this. I guess I just thought it was kind of weird. Move along now.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Everyday Mistakes

If there's one thing I strive to do on this here blog, it's to educate people about the English language. I'm not picky about proper spelling and grammar myself, usualy, but there are certain common mistakes that bug me.

One of those things is squishing two words together when they should remain two words. An example of this I have seen a lot of recently is "everyday". Now before you start yelling at your screen, I realize that "everday" is a real word. However, "everday" is an adjective used to describe a noun. It is not an adverb used to describe the frequency with which an action occurs. So you use "everday" to describe things. "Every day", on the other hand, is used to describe actions.

It is correct to say "everyday people", or "dwarf tossing is an everyday occurrence in Canada". It is not correct to say "I toss dwarves everyday", or "some people shower almost everyday".

A tricky example is a sign in front of a restaurant saying something like "hamburgers, $1.99, everyday". I think this is wrong too, because it implies that hamburgers are that price every day. "Everyday" does not describe the price itself, but the state of the burgers being that price. Although I can't judge the store's sign manager's intentions, I think the lack of grammatical sensitivity is clear enough that they will be destroyed in the upcoming grammar apocalypse.

Now go think of some examples of correct usages of "everday" and "every day", and get back to me tomorrow. This will count toward your final grade.

P.S. Anyone who tells me why the album cover above is there will get a fake internet cookie!

The_More_You_Know



Thursday, August 10, 2006

T.U.R.T.L.E. Power

tmnt-20060727021737344


Hell yeah. This new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie looks kickass.

I think you can tell a lot about a person and the progression of their life by what Ninja Turtle is their favourite at any given time. When I was very young, I used to be a Michelangelo fan. He was borderline retarded, but liked pizza and provided comic relief. At this point in my life, I hated Raphael. I used to draw detailed pictures of Raphael stabbing himself in the head with one of his sai. However, as I grew older and more angsty, Raphael's angry, sarcastic, anti-hero ways grew on me until he had become my favourite.

Unfortunately, I have lost touch with the Ninja Turtle universe since my Raphael stage. However, if I was still into them, I bet Donatello would be up there. While I still dig Raphael's rebelliousness, Donatello is the nerd of the group (he "does machines", as the unabashed theme song says), and as anybody reading this knows, I am pure nerd.

Oh and Leonardo? He's the obligatory but boring leader with all the responsibility. Meh. Maybe I'll be into him when I'm an old man with grandchildren, who will probably still watch the show and love it when Michelangelo eats the futurey genetically modified pizza and reads comics on his 20th generation iPod.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Thesis

Have you ever noticed that you can rearrange the letters in "thesis" to spell the word "shites"? That's Scottish for shit or something. Quite the coincidence. Quite.

Anyway, I'm finally done writing my thesis. Here is a picture of a vampire, because it came up when I searched Google Images for "thesis." Maybe somebody out there did their thesis on vampires, which would make me quite jealous, because my thesis is actually not about vampires.

I might as well tell you guys what it is about. Bascially, I studied the relationships between three things: Creativity, Intelligence, and Intuition.

When you hear highly creative people, such as novelists and physicists, talk about the source of their creativity, they often speak of intuition. Their ideas seem to come out of nowhere. They reach their conclusions with little or no conscious, deliberate effort - which is the conception of intuition that I adopted. Past empirical research (though very little had been done) backed this up by finding a relationship between creativity and intuition.

We also know, however, that intelligence plays some role in creativity. Going back to highly creative people, they talk about exploring and refining their ideas after intuitively generating them. This requires conscious, deliberate effort, and the ability to solve problems, make good choices, and consciously manipulate information. Things that highly intelligent people tend to be good at.

Intuition_razor-thumb
So I figure that intuition generates potentially creative ideas, and intelligence manipulates them into truly creative ideas. If you measure someone's level of intuition, and their level of intelligence, you should be able to predict their level of creativity with some accuracy. This is not an entirely novel hypothesis, but as far as I can tell, it had never been tested scientifically before.

So what did I find? Well, not so much what I expected. There was some support for the idea above, but not as much as I would have hoped for. However, what I did find is that you can predict someone's intelligence from their creativity and intuition. Nobody had really thought of that before. Going back in the literature, though, it makes some amount of sense; people who are flexible and able to evaluate the appropriateness of ideas (i.e. creative), as well as able to quickly come to conclusions without slow conscious deliberation (i.e. intuitive) should do well on IQ tests.

This relationship between creativity, intelligence, and intuition, though not exactly what I expected, is pretty neat. Perhaps a practical application that you, dear readers, can put to use is this: Don't be afraid to be different, and don't be afraid to rely on your gut feelings. At least to a certain extent, being both creative and intuitive can be the best way to make intelligent decisions.

I am simplifying things here; intuition, especially, is a tricky concept that needs more room to fully explore. A full description of the research would take, oh, about 100 pages containing 25 000 words. But there ya go...that's what's been occupying my life for the last 2 years or so. In two weeks I do my oral defense (hahahahahah "oral"), then become a MASTER OF SCIENCE. Muahahahahahahhahahah