Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Proof That Nickelback Sucks


Ok ok, I kinda like Nickelback. Their music is pretty generic and they sound like idiots in interviews, but they can put on a good show. I saw them a while back, and the dude would friggin strike a power chord while he posed on a raised platform and fireworks and fireballs and shit would explode behind him. Even if the music sucks, there's something awesome about that.

Still, I can't ignore the evidence, and here is pretty definitive proof: Nickelback Sucks Ass.

This will break my friend Nick's heart. He loves Nickelback.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

50 Things To Do To Stop Global Warming

Here is a list of 50 things you can do to not feel guilty about global warming. I think this stuff is pretty important, because seriously, we're going to destroy the Earth. It might be sooner, it might be later, but pumping pollution into the air can't be a good thing, so we should probably stop that.

Most of these are pretty obvious, but it's good to have them all in one place. Some should be obvious but aren't - like not putting your fridge beside your stove. I've never thought of that before, but...duh.

There is one thing they forgot, though:



Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reality Television Secrets

So I TiVo'ed American Idol last night and watched it this morning. I discovered that, if you fast forward through the commercials and useless filler, you can watch a 2 hour episode of Idol in approximately 40 minutes. That means about 66% of the show is skippable. It's not a good sign when you're watching a show in which the majority of its material can be discarded without detracting from it. Why do I bother?

Still, I'm glad that this season there are TWO funny chubby guys. They're always good to watch. And one of them is named "Sundance Head", which is a pretty damn funny name. Though with a last name of "Head", pretty much any first name is funny. If it were my last name, I'd name one of my kids Richard so he could be Dick Head. Another one would be Harold, so he could be Harry Head, which would become ironically hilarious when he inherited my baldness genes.

You know what show has even more filler though? Deal or No Deal. If you skip the crap, it's approximately 30 seconds long (i.e., "I pick case #4! *FAST FORWARD* Ohhh, look, your case contained 2 dollars. Should've made a deal. *FAST FORWARD* Here are shots of all the models *FAST FORWARD* See you next time! I'm Howie Mandel! I'm mentally ill...isn't that funny!?")

I do find the fact that it's popular pretty fascinating. I have a feeling it's getting down to basic psychological principles; like the need to resolve uncertainty (i.e. what's in each case), the reward that results from resolving it (i.e. opening cases), and the fact that people will keep watching what's, basically, a person playing a giant scratch-and-win ticket, just for these little rewards. It's sorta like rats pushing levers over and over if it will sporadically release a reward. In some cases, they'll just keep pushing until they die. Perhaps people aren't exaggerating when they say that reality TV will bring about the end of the world.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Willies and Hoohaas


Wanna see something really stupid?

Apparently, some schools in the Southern U.S.banned a book for using the word "scrotum". Then, in an unrelated story, The Vagina Monologues was renamed "The Hoohaa Monologues" because somebody complained. Seriously.

Both of the articles cite the reason for the bannings is that kids might/did ask what a scrotum/vagina is.

Hey, here's an idea. If a kid sees the name of a body part, and asks what it is, tell them what it is. Since when is curiosity bad? Plus, chances are, if they're old enough to talk, they're just fucking with their parents by asking about it, trying to make them uncomfortable. Maybe if their parents weren't squeamish with the body parts they see in the mirror every morning, their kids wouldn't be such little shits. Then the parents wouldn't feel the need to ruin entertainment for the whole world because of their hangups.

TERMINATE RANT. END TRANSMISSION.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Leatherfacebook


Is it just me, or has Facebook (sort of a Myspace for people over the age of 7) become huge lately? When I first joined, I had no friends, so all I could do was edit my favourite movies over and over; it was not much different than Usless Account. Now, suddenly - and I mean, in the last 2 months or so - it seems like everyone has joined the site. It's reached this tipping point, going from a few geeks who had a profile, who invited a few slightly less geeky friends, and so on, until it has grown exponentionally into something everyone is expected to do.

In addition to actual current friends, I've come across old high school friends who I haven't seen in years on there. That's one of the main points of the site, I guess. But then I've also been added to the "friends" list of people I've never even met (or have forgotten meeting? Oops), professors, and even students who I teach. Weird. Even Barack Obama has a Facebook profile.

Is this explosion in Facebook's popularity just a local thing? Or is this happening for you Toronto and Indianapololis/Indiana (I confess, I don't know what the hell "Indy" is short for) too? (Or anywhere else, but really, the only people who come here are from those two places, for some reason)

P.S. This picture has nothing to do with this post other than the fact that it is a "book".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Nine Inch Nails Kickass "Viral Marketing" Stuff

OK this is pretty cool. A new Nine Inch Nails album is coming out pretty soon, and to promote it, a series of weird-ass web sites have popped up in relation to it, such as this one (click and drag), this one, and this one. There is a whole story emerging out of it, involving terrorism and drugs and corrupt governments and all that good stuff.

An image that recurs on these sites is the following:



A hand reaching down from the sky, or something.

Then, recently, an mp3 file appeared on the internet. Apparently, it was found on an abandoned USB drive in a bathroom at a NIN show. The file contained a brand new NIN track, along with some static at the end. The song can currently be heard here, but who knows for how long.

But the weird, and very cool, thing is that when you run the file through a computer program that allows you to see the "spectrum" of the static, you see this:



The same hand. Creepy.

Obviously this is all a marketing ploy, designed to draw attention to the new album. The web sites are created by a marketing company, and the mp3 wasn't "leaked" at all; it was made to be found. But if an artist wants to draw attention to their work, this is the way to do it. Getting people involved and entertained by using the power of the internet to spread ideas that no individual could figure out (I'd never think to visualize the static like that). This couldn't have happened a few years ago. I didn't even know a new NIN album was on the horizon, but now I'm kinda excited about it, so the ploy is working. Good job, Trent.

As a side note, this isn't the first time a musician has hidden images in sounds. Apparently Aphex Twin did this a while ago:



It's his own face. Obviously. The dude plasters his creepy face on everything he does, even the music itself. It would be annoying if the music wasn't so wonderful.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.

Facial Hair is Awesome

Facial hair is awesome. In weather like this, (most) girls are stuck wearing scarves (or balaclavas), over their faces in order to stay warm (or rob banks). Dudes, however, can just forget to shave for a few days, and their bodies will weave their own built-in clothing all over their faces.

I may look like a homeless person, but I'm warmer than you. Fucker.

Oh, and behold: The 10 Best Five-o-Clock Shadows EVER!

P.S. Oh yeah, it's Valentine's Day, so happy Valentine's Day. At least, happy V-Day for those with significant others. If you're single, it will probably be a day of soul-crushing sorrow, spent alone and hopeless. Fuckers.

P.S.S. Is it just me, or is "facial" a gross word? I dunno why...it just sounds like something horrible or dirty.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Things to See and Do

Hannibal Rising: I saw this movie last night at an advanced screening (you lowly common people can see it when it opens tonight). A lot of people say it ruins a character, especially a villain, when you know too much about their origin. I would say that it's not so much that it ruins them, but it's just not neccesary. OK, so Hannibal had bad things happen to him when he was a kid. A lot of people have bad things happen to them, but they don't all grow up to be cannibals. There is something unique that makes villains what they are, and that's the interesting part that no amount of back story can fully explain.

Hannibal Rising could really have been a standalone movie about a dude who happens to kill and eat people. It has no connections to the other movies in the series other than the character's name - except for cheesy forced connections, like the mask he puts on for no reason other than to echo the mask he wears in Silence of the Lambs. Is this meant to imply that Hannibal is psychic? How else would he know that he'd get caught and forced to wear a mask?

Anyway, it's an alright movie I guess, but not great. I probably wouldn't have been happy if I had to pay to see it, but for a free screening it was an OK way to waste 2 hours.

Colin James: Canadians may remember this dude from the 90's, with songs like Cadillac Baby and Breakin' Up the House. Back when swing was cool again, for a year. I went to see him with my dad the other night. It was a pretty kickass show. The guy can play guitar like a...a...really good guitar player. I suck at analogies. But yeah, it was good.

Survivor: Nondescript Tropic Island: I know everyone's been saying this for years, but this show needs to do something different. It's the same crap every season. The only twists are stupid shit like "instead of a hidden immunity idol, there are now TWO hidden idols! The game is changed forever!" No, no it's not. If they can't have it take place in the arctic or something (since no bikinis=no ratings), they could at least change what happens on the island. How about they have "real survivor", where they're just dropped off on the island with nothing at all. No challenges, no artificial limiting of resources, and just one rule: they have to kick someone off every week. They can figure out who goes however they want. They can still have two tribes, though, so the contestants can go all Stanford Prison Experiment on each other.

Lost: I still like this show a lot. But I'm getting the feeling that it's doomed to start sucking and/or get cancelled. This weird scheduling of the episodes and changing the time to 10:00 are bad signs. I just hope it can pick up the pace enough to keep people interested enough that it doesn't go bye-bye before the story is finished.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Useless Account


I just created an account at the awesomest new web site, Useless Account. After you create an account, you can log in, edit your account, forget your password, and, uh, edit your account. It's great. Sign up now!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Food Logic Volume 3: Butter + Coffee

Premise 1: Butter goes good with toast.
Premise 2: Toast goes along with coffee.

Conclusion: Butter goes good in coffee.



I wrote a while ago about an experiment in which I tried peanut butter in some coffee. It turned out pretty well. I've since tried it with all-natural peanut butter, with similar results (I still haven't solved the sludge- on- the- bottom problem though). So I figure, why not get rid of the peanuts and try it with pure butter? Note: I usually think of things like this when V is at work, and thus not around to tell me not to do stupid things.

I Googled "butter in coffee" first, to see if this is commonly done and/or if any poisonous chemical reactions would take place. I found this dude, who was apparently emboldened to try peanut butter in his coffee after seeing my last experiment's post. He liked it too. Nice. But apparently butter, minus the peanut, is not commonly put in coffee (though I found one recipe, linked below).

Being brave and manly, I went on and did it anyway. I put just a bit of butter - I'd say a teaspoon or so - in a mug, added sweetener (wouldn't want to drink anything unhealthy!), poured some hot chocolate-tinted coffee over it, then added cream. It took a moment to melt, then left a bit of an oily film on the coffee. Weird.

How did it taste? Good, of course. The butter gave the beverage an added richness. With the chocolate also in the coffee, I would describe it like drinking a chocolate chip cookie. With coffee. In fact, I'll call this recipe "chocolate chip cookie coffee". That's copyright 2007, me, so if you use it you have to pay me lots of money. Thanks.

I'll let you have a free trial though, and I do recommend trying it. Unlike the peanut butter coffee, there is no gross sludge to worry about, and it seriously does taste good. And come on, a teaspoon of butter won't clog your arteries too much.

See also: Food Logic Volume 2: Peanut butter coffee.

Also see also: Hot buttered Jamaican coffee.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Skeptiko

A new podcast, called Skeptiko, has just started releasing episodes. It's about controversial scientific issues, and the scientific method. I've enjoyed the two episodes so far, so if you're interested in this sort of thing, you can download the shows from the official site or the usual way through iTunes.

The reason I mention this is to follow up my review of Dean Radin's book below. He was just on Skeptiko talking about the book and more. What I found quite cool is that the interviewer gave Radin several opportunities to put down "skeptical" critics - for example, by accusing them of fiddling with statistics in order to support their own agenda - but Radin did not go for it. Instead, he (rightly) pointed out that it's a double-edged sword. Every scientist, consciously or not, is going to focus on the results and methods that support their hypothesis, which is why it's good that there are proponents of both sides of the issue to bring balance.

Apparently Dr. Radin is now working on some research involving one of my favourite things in the world: chocolate. This place is where he gets the chocolate. I wish it was possible to taste things through a computer screen. If this research works out, I just might have to change my PhD dissertation to a replication of it. Of course, it will require constant sampling of the chocolate to make sure it's still good. For science.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Terror Hair



These guys are my heroes. They're the ones who got arrested for putting LED signs up around Boston. People thought the lite-brite-like signs looked like bombs, so suddenly putting up signs becomes a "prank", and you can go to jail for it. The above video is a press conference in which their lawyer told them not to talk about the case. So instead, they talk about...well, watch it and see. It's hilarious because the media has no idea what to do. And they're heroes because they expose this whole situation as the ridiculous mess that it is.

As I said to Chris earlier...I wonder what would happen if someone called the Boston police and said "I think I found a bomb. Yeah, it's got lights on it and wires coming out of it. It's in the shape of two yellow arches. And the worst part is, it's right outside a crowded McDonalds."