Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cuil Runnings. Cuil Hand Luke. Alcuilhol. What's Cuiler Than Being Cuil? ICE CUILD.

Cuil (pronounced "cool") is a new search engine that's been in the news lately. It was created by some people from Google, and has been positioned as competition for the search leader. However, almost all press has been negative, with witty headlines like "Not So Cuil", "Cuil is Cold", etc.

Here is why.

I searched for "phronk" (obviously; the first thing anyone searches for is their own name and/or secret internet identity), and got this:



A few things to note here:

1) AHHH JESUS CHRIST!!! Where the fuck did that scary clown come from?! It's not on any of the search result pages.

2) None of the search results are this blog. Even searching for "phronk.com" does not find this blog. This is the main source of Phronk-related information on the web, so Cuil sorta fails anyone searching for me.

3) Few of the search results are at all relevant. Half are spam, one is someone else's Pownce account, one is my Jaiku account that hasn't been used in a year. I'll grant that my Twitter account is at least somewhat relevant.

4) Most interesting are three links to a song called "Phronk Promises" by someone named Prztz. At least this is something I've never seen in my nightly self-Googling. What could it mean? Did I make someone a promise that I failed to keep, and it hurt them so bad that they made a song about it? The song only costs 20 cents to download, but I'm not about to give my credit card info to sketchy web sites arrived at through a sketchy search engine.

I'm sorry if I hurt you, Prztz. Phronk promises it will never happen again.

Go Cuil yourself and see if you have better luck than I did.


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UPDATE! Listen to "Phronk Promises" here. Warning: It's creepy and kinda terrible.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rogers Home FAIL

A while ago I posted this flyer that Rogers left in my mailbox:



I mocked the fact that these people appear to be getting extremely excited by a telephone. Well, since then, Rogers has continued their barrage of junk mail and spam phonecalls. I literally got three different ads for Rogers Home Phone in my mailbox yesterday. How many trees have died trying to sell me something I will never, ever buy? But instead of complaining, I will do what any good geek should do; continue to mercilessly mock their shitty advertising on my blog.

This came with my last bill:



It appears to be a continuation of their "smiling kid stuck to my face while looking at mundane things" ad campaign. This one is a new low, since it's not even a fancy free phone, but a new design for a bill. The kid is gesturing at the new layout, all like "holy shit mom! There never used to be a box around the account summary! And is that Lucida Sans Serif font I see?!"

Maybe the random stock photography would make more sense if it was something kids these days are actually into...like, oh, I dunno:



And is it just me, or do the lady's hands look freakishly big, and are her arms at such an angle that they would have to be seven feet long for her to be typing like that?

Oh but now I'm just being nitpicky.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Numb3rs



Here are some numbers that I am proud of:

  • Number of Facebook friends: Almost 200. Since my self-worth is defined by the number of Facebook friends acquaintances I have accumulated, I'm quite happy to be close to the 200 mark. I know many of you socialite types have way more, but just let me bask in this for a moment.
  • Number of episodes of Arrested Development I've watched: 53. Yes, I've finally seen the whole series. The last episode was hilarious. I could probably watch this show from the beginning again and enjoy it just as much the second time.
  • Xbox Live Gamerscore: 8765. Since my self-worth is defined by my gamerscore, I can't wait to get to 10000. Then I can do awesome things, like...uh...tell everyone I've spent a lot of time playing video games. I've also played Rock Band on 50 separate days. Check it out at my Xbox's blog.
  • World of Warcraft character level: 47. That's the highest I've ever gotten! I'm still a ways off from my ultimate goal in life, though - having a level 70 character. Then I can finally feel like I have some self worth.
  • Number of unique visits to Phronk.com: 100 590. People have visited here over 100000 times! That's insane and awesome, because my self-worth is directly tied to my blog visits. But while daily visits have been going up, daily comments have been going down. I blame it on already having written about deep controversial stuff and not wanting to repeat myself, and instead writing boring self-indulgent lists of numbers that only a geek would be proud of.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?!?!

.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

But I Don't Wanna Be a Pirate

A while ago I posted this picture from my trip to Halifax:



Today I got this comment on the post:

Anonymous said...

Hey! There's a picture of us protesting! :D

I am the guy wearing the pirate costume all the way to the left. :)
The one with the black vest and the white puffy shirt! ^___^

Thanks for spreading the word.

Anony Maus

Isn't that fucking incredible? I snap a random vacation picture, post it on my blog, and one of the people in the picture manages to find it. It's made even more incredible by the fact that everyone involved is as anonymous as can be.

And remember kids, Scientology sucks ass. Tolerance for religion is good. Tolerance for a cult that brainwashes people into believing they are alien clams until they die is not.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Power of Cardboard

I finally finished unpacking today. There could be deep psychological reasons for why it took 5 months after moving to unpack. Maybe having everything out and being "settled" in a new place was scary to me on an unconscious level. Maybe that junk in a box was actually a tenuous psychological link to my past, refusing to break until it was good and ready to. Maybe now I have some closure and can move on with my life.

Or maybe I've just been too damn busy / lazy to unpack. Does it really count as being lazy if you're only lazy in one area because you're busy in others? I don't think so. So stop calling me lazy. Gawd.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ugly Global Warming Cake

Jeff doesn't believe in global warming. To teach him the error of his ways, on his birthday we baked him a cake depicting what the world will look and taste like if we don't do something about climate change.



Here it is half finished.



Here is Jard squatting with it in the elevator. It was very heavy because of all the sugar and pretentiousness.



Here is Jeff getting angry and preparing to stab it. Little does he know that global warming is one of the few things that will not go away if you stab it.



Here he is gleefully murdering the cake.



The cake was covered in fondant icing, which is pretty awesome stuff. We tried scorching it around the equator, which tasted like roasted marshmallows. But it started melting instead of scorching, so we had to stop.

See also: Other Ugly Cakes.

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Since I had to unload my cameras, here are some bonus pictures of my life:



Delicious spam filled egg burrito.



Jard's fork sculpture.



Willow being all like "omg im so fkcing trashed".



And Willow being cute and falling asleep on my foot.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies (#43 to 47)

You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you? You didn't think I could do it? Well screw you, I'm back, and almost halfway through. Here are some more original ideas for horror movies (depressing cynical edition):

43). Cell 2: Cellularer: In a fanfic sequel to Stephen King's Cell, a mysterious signal is sent to cell phones, but this time it only affects douchebags who talk on their phones while driving. The signal causes them to lose control and crash their cars. Or maybe there was no signal at all; maybe it was just a combination of ringing cell phones, driving, and douchebaggery that caused them to lose control and crash. In any case, they all die in horrible accidents, the world is a better place, and everyone else lives happily ever after.

44). Just Add Water: A woman wakes up to find a giant boulder sitting in her front yard. She has no idea where it came from or what to do with it. The city tells her she can't keep a giant boulder on her front lawn, so she transports it to the back yard, where the only place to put it is in her swimming pool. As soon as the boulder hits water, it splits open, and out comes a giant alien Sea Monkey ™. At first she is delighted as it swims around her pool in circles, but soon she gets bored with its antics, the pool gets all moldy, and one day the Sea Monkey ™ is just gone. She dumps out the water, and everyone lives happily ever after.

45). Evilution: Every creationist's nightmare comes true, when monkeys begin evolving into humans. Unfortunately, before becoming our equals, they have to go through the awkward angry caveman phase. Beginning to understand how poorly the animal kingdom has been treated, they emerge from the earth's dwindling forests and begin exacting revenge on their supposedly more evolved brethren. Fortunately, just as the (old) human race has nearly been wiped out, whatever caused the apes to evolve catches up to humans, leading us to the next stage in human evolution, which is, naturally, flying space fetuses. Everyone lives happily ever after.



46). Wear Wolf: As the lycanthropy curse spreads across the globe, and the war between werewolves and humans seem inevitable, a young fashion entrepreneur sees an opportunity. All these naked werewolves must feel so awkward, what with their wolf-boobs and wolf-nards flopping all over the place. He begins to create a line of fashion for werewolves. He can't quite get it right without someone to test it on, though, so he becomes friends with a werewolf, and even goes so far as to intentionally curse himself. News of this unlikely alliance spreads, the world realizes that werewolves and humans can live in harmony, and everyone lives happily ever after.



47). Happily Ever After: A virus from Venus causes everyone to love everybody, forget their worries, and be perpetually happy. For several weeks, people frolic in the streets. They cancel every war. Old enemies make up. But then, lacking fear, people frolic off cliffs. They frolic into traffic. Their friends are too happy to mourn. Bodies pile up in the streets, and everybody compliments the wonderful new smells. People are too happy to worry about petty things like eating. Everyone dies happily ever after.

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See also: One Hundred Original Ideas for Horror Movies, #42.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mikey Likes It?

Growing up with the name Mike, and not being very picky about food, I often hear the phrases "give it to Mikey! He'll eat anything!" and "Mikey likes it!"

The thing is, has anybody actually seen the Life Cereal commercial these phrases come from? Look:



Neither phrase is actually spoken in the commercial. Ok, people can be forgiven for saying "Mikey likes it" instead of "he likes it", since the latter only makes sense in the context of the commercial. But as for "he will eat it, he likes everything", it's the complete opposite.

Listen carefully. The kid actually says "he won't eat it. He hates everything." In fact, that's the whole damn point. If Mikey likes everything, then it's no surprise that he likes Life Cereal too, so there's no reason for the kids to go apeshit. But if he hates everything, yet likes Life, then it must be really good. Almost makes you want to go out and buy it, which is, you know, sorta the purpose of a commercial.

Since I really do like everything, it's probably a good idea to feed this Mikey anything that you suspect is good, but want to make sure it's not surprisingly nasty. Because then if I hate it, you can scream "he hates it! Hey Mikey!", and avoid that product. Address available upon request for anyone who wants to send me free food. Get the original Mikey to eat some too, and you have a sort of double dissociation going on. Too bad he died from eating pop rocks and Coke *.


* [citation needed].



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See also: Luke, I am Your Father: 8 Memorable Movie Misquotes

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P.S. I even misquoted the Mikey thing myself, so don't feel so bad for getting it wrong.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Proud Pleasures

People often speak of guilty musical pleasures that they're not really guilty about (eg, eg, eg). So they're really proud pleasures. Here is some shitty music that I am proud to admit to listening to on sunny summer days:



  • Rihanna: She just makes really good pop music. The lyrics may not always be the best (ella, ella, ella, eh, eh, eh), and the message behind them may not be so wholesome (e.g., Breaking Dishes, which says that domestic abuse is awesome if it's Rihanna doing it, and the rest of her songs, which say that Rihanna is really slutty), but it's hard to find better music for working out to.



  • Sugababes: A lot of people around here probably haven't even heard of the Sugababes, which is weird, because apparently they are the most successful all-female act of the 21st century in the UK. Overload was popular when it first came out, and other tracks have been in commercials, but they deserve more radio play here. I can listen to their album Angels With Dirty Faces over and over without getting sick of it. I think there's only one member of the "band" that's been consistent over the years, but she must be the magic member (*), because they've remained awesome.

  • Nickelback: It's common knowledge that Nickelback sucks, and all their songs sound the same. The thing is, I like their one style of song. It's good old fashioned, simple, radio-filler rock 'n roll, and there's nothing wrong with that.



  • The Donnas: The Donnas are sort of like what Andrew WK would be like if he was a bunch of chicks (or maybe he's what they would be like if they were one dude). They sing about partying, and...well, more partying, in kickass punk/rock/metal songs. It doesn't get better than that.

  • Meat Loaf: I've loved Meat Loaf since Bat Out of Hell first came out, which is weird since I wasn't even born. He's been doing exactly the same thing since, and it still rules. His voice may be whiny and annoying, but you can feel that he's really feelin' it, and that's what really matters.



  • Katy Perry: Ok maybe I'm a bit guilty about this one. But that song is just so catchy...and the CD was only $6.00 on iTunes Plus...and she's kinda hot...so...fuck, they tricked me into buying it. It's not entirely bad, but I think people will be surprised that the rest of the album resembles Avril Lavigne more than Rihanna. Stupid lyrics and all. Liking this music feels so wrong but feels so right.

    Ain't no big deal it's innoceeeeeeent


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(*) [Insert penis joke.]

Chicchups

I woke up this morning on my couch, sitting upright, my laptop beside me. Later, I opened the laptop and found this written in a text box:


2 4 30 un the mornign

  • Me adn thuing skunk,we have an understadning


    whjere th9=id this chicchups/q

    fwhy rt u theere so many ppl ber tehr:?


The only thing that makes any sense to me is the part about the skunk, because I have a vague memory of happening upon a skunk on the way home, stopping to observe it for a while, and feeling a deep connection with the little guy.

It was three friends' birthdays last night (happy birthday, Jeff, Nancy, and Erin!), so I guess I celebrated three times harder than usual. There was an ugly cake involved, and maybe I'll post pictures of it here later.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Psychology of Ice Cream

In the psychological study of learning, there has been a lot of research on how to reinforce behaviours. Of particular interest is the timing of rewards. If you want someone to keep doing something, do you reward them every time they do it? Or do you reward them only some of the time?

Well, it turns out that if you want somebody (or somerat) to do something a lot, and keep doing it, it's best to reward them only some of the time, and to randomly determine whether they will get rewarded or not. This is called a variable ratio schedule. If you don't believe me, here is a graph with writing and numbers. Graphs do not lie:



This is why gambling is so addictive. You get rewarded for pulling that lever, but randomly and only every so often. It may also be why checking email can be addictive. Clicking that inbox gets rewarded with a message, but only sometimes.

I think this also applies to ice cream. As we all know, the best part of many ice creams is the chunks. Vanilla ice cream is OK on its own, but in a spoonful with a nice big chunk of cookie dough or a brownie bit, it's infinitely more rewarding.

But usually, in a tub of, say, 100 spoonfuls, there can only be, say, 25 spoonfuls that contain yummy chunks. And since the chunks are randomly distributed throughout the tub of ice cream, each spoonful only has about a 25% chance of containing a chunk. If eating a spoonful of ice cream is the behaviour and chunks are the reward, this is what we call a VR4 (variable ratio 4) schedule; reinforcement is random, but on average, every 4th behaviour is rewarded. It's the perfect recipe for making someone eat ice cream quickly, and keep eating it.

This is why I eat so much ice cream. It's friggin' science. And while I often complain that there are not enough chunks in ice cream, it's clear that ice cream manufacturers have outsmarted me. It wouldn't be quite so addictive if every spoonful had a chunk.

It's also why you shouldn't eat right from the tub. With the magic of psychology at work, you would probably eat the entire tub in the time it takes to, say, write a blog post about the psychology of ice cream.

*burp*

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P.S. If you do a Google image search for "Reese ice cream", you will find a surprising number of pictures of Reese Witherspoon eating ice cream. She, too, must be a victim of variable ratio reinforcement.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Reviews

Here is some stuff I've seen and played lately:

Wanted: This movie kicked ass. Sure it's cheesy, but for the first time since The Matrix, I feel like I saw some creativity in action sequences. Just don't expect the philosophical undertones to be as thought provoking or coherent.

Iron Man: There was a while there when superhero movies were getting shittier with every passing year, but I think that's changing. One of the greatest things about the character of Iron Man is that Tony Stark is just as interesting out of costume as in, and Robert Downey Jr. makes sure that's true in the movie as well. Highly recommended.

The Incredible Hulk: There was something just "off" about Ang Lee's Hulk. This one is a huge improvement. We finally get to see The Hulk being an asshole and smashing stuff, and that's what he's all about. Without giving too much away, another awesome thing about both Hulk and Iron Man is that they seem to be embracing the overall Marvel universe more than ever. You finally get a hint all these characters exist in the same world. Maybe the DC movies will follow suit.

The Dark Knight: I totally want to see this.

Zardoz: Ok this movie is old, but I put it on my Ziplist after Deadrobot said he thought I'd 'get' it. Well he was partly right. There are some good sci-fi ideas in there about the consequences of immortality for things like science, sex, reproduction, law enforcement, and happiness. However, they're wrapped up in a weird trippy package where you never really know what's going on until the characters decide to actually talk to each other instead of wandering around like they're in a daze or getting naked for no reason. I still don't know what the hell that crystal is. I'm glad I watched it, but I can't see many people enjoying it without the aid of drugs.

Alone in the Dark: I rented the Xbox 360 version of this because it takes its name from one of my favourite games of all time. The original Alone in the Dark scared the crap out of me when I was 12. Even though the graphics were chunky and the controls clunky, there was something about the fixed camera angles, the sounds, the music, etc., that gave the game a lonely, frightening atmosphere. It was like an interactive H. P. Lovecraft story. And when that goofy looking monster crashed through the window near the beginning, who didn't shit themselves?

This sequel/update improves on the graphics, but maintains the frustrating controls and ditches the atmosphere. It takes place in a New York that is being destroyed by some vague supernatural force, thus veering away from the small-scale haunted house feel that made the first one so scary. This is more like an action movie than a horror game. Actually, more like an action TV show - one of the cool things, that I hope future games copy, is that it's got DVD-like features. You can fast forward or rewind to any episode or scene in the game, and when you first start playing, you get a nice "previously, on Alone in the Dark" recap of the plot. This, along with some other neat innovations, makes the game worth playing, but don't expect it to live up to the first game in the series, or to be a great game overall.

My Life: It's been pretty good lately for the most part. Maybe I'll tell you about it sometime later.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

He'll Never Call

Here is another flyer I got in my mail:



I've already written about my feelings toward Rogers Home Phone advertising ([SPOILER ALERT] it sucks). Now look what they put in my mailbox. Why are these people so happy about a phone? From their faces, they're like OMFG A PHONE!!! OUR LIVES WERE SHIT BUT THIS PHONE REALLY EASES THE PAIN!!! MAYBE DADDY WILL CALL SOMEDAY!!!

Unless they're from 1850, phones are everyday objects. Even a free one is not worth getting ecstatically excited over. Do they laugh in uncontrollable glee every time the dentist gives them a free toothbrush?



Well, maybe, seeing as how their entire job revolves around showing as much tooth as possible.

Oh well, at least they're not those damn Rogers "we communicate through Facebook while we're within 3 feet of each other" kids.

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This is the 2nd in an unintentional series of posts about crappy flyers in my mail. See also: Batpizza.

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Bonus! More awesome advertising, this time from Future Shop:



That sale can't last long.

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Bonus #2!

Dead Robot's remix of the Roger's ad will keep you glued to your seat.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

I'm Not Here to Make Friends

How to identify someone who is willing to be an asshole on television:



It's sad that I have seen most of these shows. :(

Monday, July 07, 2008

More Search Terms Used To Find Phronk.com

I need to focus on school today, so no blogging. Instead, here is a collection of some delightful search terms used to find this blog lately:

balki bartokomous rick roll
growing pains, episode guide, boner for president

horror drawrings
penis cheesegrater horror movie
lumps of flesh excreting from vagina
older vagina
fish vagina porn
real fish porn videos
people fucking fish porn
pictures of giraffe rape
eight legged giraffe
are pornstars afraid of aids
whorecraft video

what should alex poohead do?
uungh photos
activa is gross yogurt
it sucks that

gay clicking ear
bob ross your a homo
giada de laurentiis bitch
how much does giada de laurentiis weigh
david patchell evans and girlfriend
bruce lee psychologist

stupid ipod listening starbucks drinking croc wearing
spring girls breasts uwo
cheap whores london ontario
zombies neighborhood watch london ontario

Friday, July 04, 2008

Shrouded in Darkness. Cloaked in Pepperoni.

I got this flyer in my mailbox yesterday:



I understand that movie tie-ins are an integral part of fast food. What I don't understand is why they couldn't come up with a better Batman-themed pizza. Sure, Batman is cloaked in darkness. He is cloaked in a cape. But he is not cloaked in pepperoni. I would never look at a pizza with extra toppings and say "wow, look at that pizza, it's CLOAKED in toppings! It totally reminds me of Batman!"

I can think of several pizzas off the top of my head that would be more Batman-y than extra pepperoni.

  • A pizza shaped like a bat. Cloak it in pepperoni if you must, but dye the pepperoni black, so it at least looks like leathery bat stuff.
  • Penguin and Robin meat toppings.
  • Mr. Freeze's "Ice To See You" Special, with vegetables still frozen.
  • The Two-Face: Half cheese, half nasty meat.
  • The Joker: purple cabbage, green peppers, topped with white cheddar, and splattered with acidic hot sauce.

Maybe not great ideas, but better than "shrouded in pepperoni". Jesus fucking Christ.

Also of note on this flyer: "YOU GOT A LARGE PIZZA CLOAKED IN PEPPERONI". Umm, no, I didn't get it. I don't plan on getting it. Is using the past tense, as if I've already bought the pizza, supposed to be some subtle psychological manipulation? "Oh, I'm supposed to already have it, so I better go get it."

Hey, how about, "oh, I got a pizza already? I don't remember that. Oh god, did the batman pizza give me Alzheimer's? AHHH...what do I do!? Oh god...I gotta write this down so I don't forget again: NEVER GO TO DOMINO'S. IT GIVES YOU ALZHEIMER'S."

Thursday, July 03, 2008

London

I've written about Montreal , British Columbia, Halifax, and Toronto. But I can't forget about the place that's most important to me; good old London Ontario.

People complain about London for different reasons. People from smaller towns think it tries too hard to be a big city. People from big cities think it's too small and boring. Personally, I think it's a nice compromise between a big city and a small town. We avoid the problems of a bigger city, like higher crime, taking two hours to get across town, and paying $1000 a month for a closet-sized apartment. At the same time, there is usually plenty to do - some big-ass concerts have happened at the John Labatt Centre, and smaller acts have plenty of places to go too. There's a nice variety of restaurants. Sunfest is this weekend, and Beerfest is in a few weeks, so there is no shortage of fests.

And you know, after having been all over Canada, I can honestly say that London has the highest proportion of beautiful girls. Since I'm a shallow bastard, that's pretty important. And I don't just mean bleach blond makeup-caked Western students (which there are thankfully less of around in the summer), but girls who are actually attractive.

Most importantly, though, London is where my family and friends are, so that makes it my favourite travel destination. Where else can we spend the evening looking for strangely-shaped peanuts?





And then arranging them in beautiful patterns on a glass of coke?



Hmmm...ok, maybe there really isn't enough to do in London.

At least there are fireworks!

video

Although this one could easily be the military firing missiles at a giant monster. You can't really tell from the video that it's only fireworks.

video

I think it would be exciting if a giant monster attacked London every Canada Day. But even though that doesn't happen, London is still a pretty great place to be.