Monday, September 29, 2008

Seagull You Fly

Since I decided to learn guitar, I've been practicing on this ancient one that my dad has had forever. It looks like this:



For as long as I remember, my dad's had this guitar. I'm pretty sure it's older than me. That little discoloration near the bottom is where a sticker of the Playboy bunny used to be. So while it's got its history and charm, it really doesn't sound very good, and playing it makes my fingers bleed.

So my dad and I went out and got a new guitar. Let me show it off.



It's a Godin Seagull Coastline Cedar Burst etc guitar. Godin is Canadian, so yay for supporting the local economy and such. They make their guitars from solid Canadian trees that are hundreds of years old. Old wood makes it sounds 150% more awesome than most guitars.



One of these dudes helped me out and sold it to me. They're an awesome band and are in the process of making it big. Another member of the band served as a guinea pig in early experiments in hypnotism. I hope making him believe he was covered in spiders didn't do any lasting psychological damage.



Anyway, I love my new guitar. It looks beautiful and sounds great even to my relatively untrained ears. I'll be practicing a whole lot more now, so if you need someone to play a gig for a party or something, give me a call. I take requests for any song, as long as it only consists of two open chords and doesn't require singing.

Friday, September 26, 2008

To-Do List

To-do:

  • Start a career.
  • Find a soul mate.
  • Buy a car.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Write a novel.
  • Make meaningful and lasting contributions to the well-being of life on earth.
  • Eat a bag of circus peanuts in one sitting.
  • Get in a cab and scream "DRIVE!"


Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Reverse-LOLcat

Commenting on the popularity and profitability of LOLcats, Tornwordo asks:

What's the next big stupid idea that can make us rich? There must be something.


I'm glad you asked, Tornwordo. I specialize in stupid ideas. The answer to your question is: pictures of text that is poorly worded or in broken English, with "captions" made up of cats illustrating the text in a humourous manner.

For example:



You have just witnessed the first Reverse-LOLcat. Also known as a CatLOL.

Spread the word. Tell your friends. Make me rich.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In the News


  • Today's top story: LOLcats are awesome. Among the usual stories of politics, business, and school shootings, today's LA Times featured an entire article about I Can Has Cheezburger, the internet's leading provider of pictures of cats with poorly written captions. It's actually an interesting read; I never really considered that people are making a living off of internet fads. The owner of the site also has an awesome name: Ben Huh. Huh? Huh. (I found this via Tony Pierce's Twitter).



  • How to Slow Aging is an article at Canadian Living. Among medically questionable (eating lots of protein, taking vitamin supplements) and trivial (be around stuff that smells good, relax) advice is "get 9 hours of sleep a night." The thing is, if your goal is to slow aging and extend your life, isn't spending an extra hour or two a day unconscious kinda the opposite of that? If most people can happily get by on 7 hours of sleep (and I think most can), is it really worth sleeping more to live longer? Let's do math!

    - Wasting an extra 2 hours out of every 24 means that waking time for each day is reduced by about 8.3%
    - People in Canada live to about 80. To extend that by 8.3% would mean living to almost 87.
    - Can sleeping 9 hours a night extend one's life expectancy to 87? I doubt it. And even if it did, I'd rather be enjoying waking hours while I'm young and virile than while I'm old and fragile. Screw sleep.



  • Gmail has a new feature that warns you when you said you've included an email attachment, but never actually attached the file. I do this all the time so this will save me lots of sorries. It should also cut down on hearing "no I swear to baby Jesus God damn it, I attached the file. There must be something wrong with your email. Or maybe I have a computer virus."




Saturday, September 20, 2008

Confused Spider

There's a little spider on my computer screen. It thinks my mouse pointer is an insect and is trying to leap on it and catch it. I played with it for like 5 minutes, me controlling the mouse pointer controlling the spider. The spider got bored before I did.

I come to write a post about this fascinating story. Now the spider is following the blinking line where I'm typing in the text of this very post. It also has a renewed interest in the cursor.

Let's get more recursive. Here is a video of the spider leaping around this post as it's being created.



The next logical step is the video of the real spider attacking the spider in the video attacking the cursor on top of this post.



And then...well, I'd better stop here. If I don't there will soon be a video of one real spider attacking 100 video spiders attacking each other. (*)

I'm....pretty bored right now.

---------------------------------------------

(*) I CALL IT ATTACK OF THE CLONES LOL

Friday, September 19, 2008

Your Regularly Scheduled Program

This is one of those posts where I'm like "I don't feel like working, so I'll go blog. Oh wait, I don't have anything to blog about. I'll just start writing."

I'm thinking a good way to meet people is to adopt a schedule. Then, if someone has a similar schedule in a similar place, you will see them on a regular basis. You see this in movies all the time, where two people are always at the bus stop every morning, or do their laundry or grocery shopping at the same time, and they get to talking.

You could say movies aren't reality, but that's not entirely true. The best movies take little slices of truth and put them on screen. But they only slice out the most interesting bits, so that rare occurrences are commonplace in movies. It's like, if you look through someone's photo album, or even your own, and think "wow, look at all those good times; this person must have such an exciting life." Sure, but you're only seeing the three times a year that were exciting enough to take pictures of. If a picture album was representative of real life it would be 99 pages of people sitting at computers or hammering nails or driving somewhere or watching TV for every 1 page of partying it up and having a great time.

[Fight Club] You are not the contents of your fucking Facebook album [/Fight Club]

This morning on our walk through the for-est, Willow and I happened upon a bong in its natural habitat:



Oh yeah, I was talking about schedules. The thing with grad school is that I rarely do anything at the same time every day or week. I always put in my works hours - sometimes several in a single day - but not with regularity.

So my new plan for picking up chicks is to force myself to be regular (no scat humour intended). This is now a dating blog. I will come up with new ways to pick up chicks every day, then come back and report on my failures (and occasional successes?), and you will laugh and have a great time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

PICTURE DUMP

This is what I've been up to lately.









There are no nice 5-letter words


Before




After


I hope you have enjoyed the web log resulting from my picture dump.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Advice

Here's the thing with advice: you're always getting it from a biased perspective.

Let's say you want to write a novel. You go out and read the best writing advice that published novelists have to give. They say things like "don't give up" ; "you'll get better with practice" ; "it's all about perseverance" ; "follow your dreams" ; etc.

But these people, they have something in addition to perseverance. Not everyone who tries really hard will succeed; surely there are people who just can't write a novel no matter how much effort they devote to it. Yet you never ask failed novelists, who tried and tried but just didn't have the raw talent, for advice. You go to this biased sample, who say that sticking with it works. Well of course it worked for them; you went to them because they had already succeeded.

This sorta reminds me of when you hear that people who have made some important life decision (e.g., having a certain job, going on some diet) live longer than average. The trick is that "average" includes children, who, sad but true, sometimes die. Thus, anyone who has reached an age where they can make a mature decision (e.g., choosing a job, choosing one's own diet) has already overcome the hurdles of childhood death. Of course the group of people who have made an adult decision live longer (on average) than any similar group that also includes those who died before they were in a position to make that decision. People who watch porn probably live longer than average too.

It may seem like I am being pessimistic, but actually I think this is grounds for a more realistic sort of optimism. This kind of advice is still good, because you will never know if you have the ability to obtain your dreams until you try. It takes perseverance and non-giveuppedness just to discover whether you can do it or not. In other words, these are necessary but not sufficient conditions for success. It's just more realistic to realize that the successful people giving you advice have, by definition, the rest of the sufficient conditions. Conditions you may or may not discover you have by following their advice.

So my advice about advice is to be realistic about advice from people who are already in a position to give you...helpful information.

Monday, September 15, 2008

TV is Garbage

If there's one thing that can distract from recent crappiness, it's the new Fall TV season. Tonight the new season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles starts. Last season was OK, but I wasn't really planning on watching this one. That is, until I heard who was joining the cast.

Shirley fucking Manson! I fell in love with her the moment I first saw the video for Garbage's Queer way back in 1995. She's got that little bit of ugliness that actually enhances her beautifulness, and that heartbreaking singing voice with just a hint of Scottish accent. Ahhhh. I didn't know she could act too; maybe she can't, but I'll be tuning in (*) to find out.

The show also has the always-awesome and sometimes-attractive Summer Glau in it.



And yeah, I know, for a busy grad student, I watch too much TV. But must I remind you that part of my research is studying reactions to media like TV and movies? It's all for science.



(*)I like how "tuning in" is still used even though television hasn't required tuning of any kind in decades.

----------------

Correction: It premiered last week but I missed it. If only the technology was available to somehow get, like, a torrent of the bits that make up the show, so I can catch up and continue to watch it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Feeling is Just Another F-Word

Your favourite blogger is not doing well. On top of other things, my stupid fragile heart has been broken. Or more like shattered, suddenly and unpredictably, in one swift motion. My brain has taken a beating too, in the sense that I have no idea why this even happened.

The confusion feeds the heartbreak and the heartbreak feeds the confusion.

It hurts like hell.

I'll be OK, I know that, but I think I need to allow myself some pain for a while. It allows me to understand what it's like to be this down, so I can empathize with others who are, and do my best to never cause others to feel this way. I know, that's life, and it's gonna happen no matter what, but I still wonder if other people feel like I do. I wonder if she understands and has this kind of empathy.

I should probably be angry, but that's just not an emotion I tend to feel in a time like this. What's the point?

I do feel guilty for ruminating about this when there are much more important things to worry about.

Sorry for going all emo. I don't know why the hell I'd write this down here... I guess I'm just an expressive sort of person. Maybe that's part of my downfall.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Book Review: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis


Bret Easton Ellis's American Psycho describes a few years in the life of Patrick Bateman, a successful investor and psychopath. That's about all there is to it.

American Psycho is not so much a story, but a drawn out snapshot of the nightmare world of yuppies in late 80s New York. This setting is as much of a character as Patrick Bateman is (the first third of the book is purely about his everyday life in this world, and we only later get a glimpse into the "psycho" part of it). I think that it's not so much that this world created the monster that is Patrick Bateman (the only description of his father is something like "there is something wrong with his eyes", implying that his psychosis has pretty deep roots), but that this world allows him to exist. Everyone is so self-centered and focused on superficial crap that they don't notice the serial killer in front of their noses. In a way, many of the characters in the book are as inhuman as Bateman is.

This is not a straightforward novel; it is very much open to interpretation in both its narrative and its message. Both the matter-of-factly described scenes of brutal violence and the overly detailed descriptions of fashion and music often had me wondering why the hell I kept reading it. But I did keep reading, and while it may not be an entertaining novel in the traditional sense, it did make me think. And it made me want to go out to a cheap restaurant where I don't need a reservation and make real connections with people, because dude, the world depicted in American Psycho is a shitty place that should be avoided at all costs.

I have to go return some videotapes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

LHC

I love Google's title image for today:



It's a nice mix of recognizing an extremely important scientific accomplishment with just a pinch of end-of-the-world paranoia.

The truth is that the world has about the same chance of ending today as it did yesterday. But I think the dimwitted people protesting the large hadron collider aren't all bad. It's seriously nice to be reminded that the world could end at any moment. All of human history is just a brief blip in time on a cosmic scale; it could end right now and the universe would barely notice. But the thing is, in a universe with a past almost completely devoid of our existence, and a future that could very easily be the same, all we've got are our short little lives here in the present.

The fact that the universe is vast, cold, and uncaring does not make our lives meaningless. It's the opposite; it shows that we are the exception rather than the rule, so we damn well better take advantage of this fleeting gift and make our lives mean something. It also makes it all the more incredible that we are on our way to understanding this vast, cold, and uncaring universe with technology like the LHC. Even if it did end human existence, at least we went out trying to understand our place in the universe. And with a good excuse to have sex.



Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Fa Fa Fa, FaFaFa Fa Fa

Oh Apple. I love you, but why do you disappoint me so? All I want is a new iPod that holds more than my old iPod and does more cool stuff. The only thing that does that is the new iPod classic, which barely got a mention at today's Apple event, was actually downgraded from 160 gigs to 120, and is hardly different from my 2 year old 5G one. And what is their obsession with thinness? iPods have been smaller than my wallet for years, and wallets fit in my pocket just fine. I like my iPods like I like my people...I'd rather have an obese one that does fun things than an anorexic one that only looks pretty.

Oh well, at least I can save some money. FOR A NEW MACBOOK?!?!

I also like that the ads for the new Nano highlight some great modern music:



(listen:)

Fa-Fa-Fa - Datarock

But also some not-so-great, not-so-modern music:



James Blunt? WTF?

Also, re: this video



That wasn't very nice. Even though Noel Gallagher has a reputation for being a dick, there's no reason to randomly assault him. Now their show here in London is postponed. I wasn't gonna go, but I'm sure I would've felt their presence in the city, man. Like a champaign supernova in the sky.

I don't know what the hell that means.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Land of the Living Commercial People


Hey, remember when I first wrote about people who appear in multiple commercials and their connection with zombies? Remember I wrote about hot dog-food-girl, who is also Kit-Kat-girl?

Then later, I wrote about Natalie Brown, the Bailey's/ketchup girl, who got her own show, Sophie? And was also in a zombie movie?

IT COMES FULL CIRCLE. It has come to my attention that dog-food-girl is also known as Amy Lalonde. More importantly, she co-stars with Natalie Brown in Sophie! That's two former commercial people in one show.

Oh, but now you're asking, you're all like, "but what is her connection with zombies?!?" Settle down and I'll tell you. Amy Lalonde starred in George A. Romero's latest movie, Diary of the Dead.

My research on this breed of person is almost complete. The life cycle of the semi-successful Canadian celebrity goes as follows: 1) Be in lots of TV ads; 2) Be in a zombie movie; 3) Get your own show. There are no exceptions.

I'm also pretty sure that Sarah is destined to run into all these people at some point in her life.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In the Loop

There have been quite a few instances in which this blog has enhanced my life. The following is not one of them.

My Google Talk notifier recently popped up, letting me know I just got an email from someone named Sara Smith; it showed the first few lines of the message:

I find your blog very interesting to read. Your way of writing can magnet and lure a lot of visitors/readers. Would you be able to write about our product after visiting our site?

I got a little excited. I'd just recently seen that Jenn #3 was sent a whole bunch of free stuff just for agreeing to mention it on her blog. I left a comment lamenting the fact that nobody offers me free stuff because I'm a dude (see, I have to blame it on sexism to hide the horrible truth that my blog just isn't as cool as hers). So I thought, maybe one of these marketing companies checked back on her blog, saw my comment, and took pity on me. Soon I would be bathing in giant cartons of free cell phones and tooth whitening product.

Then I clicked on the link to their site.



Crap. Ok, nothing wrong with fancy cock rings...I can't be choosy with my free stuff. BUT:

1) I don't need a cock ring. If anything, how about something that gets rid of inconvenient boners?

2) The site is blatant in its pseudoscience. It's got almost all the red flags: magnets, ions, "all natural", bad spelling and grammar, sweeping claims about how it will solve any and all penis-related problems, celebrity endorsements (of magnets in general, not even magnetic cock rings specifically), clearly fake name of the founder of the company ("Omar Long"), etc. And not a single link to real research supporting any of it.

3) They never actually offered it for free. It was more like "buy this, then write about it!" Ummm...no.

So I think I'll pass. Thanks but no thanks.

At least the web site is entertaining. Here are some choice excerpts:

Should I wear peloop™ all the time?
The more you wear peloop™, the more it improves the blood inside your penis. So while you don't have to wear it all the time, you should try to keep it on most of the time, except for times when you go to shower or pass through airport metal detectors..etc.

Hah...yeah. That would be a little awkward. "Sir, you have a metal object in your pocket." "Er...let me just go to the bathroom for a sec." "I don't think so sir. Just remove the object from your pants." "No I swear, it's not a weapon, it's...it's just my magic cock ring."

Then they quote Einstein:

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not simpler!"
-- Albert Einstein.

But I'm pretty sure he wasn't talking about magic cock rings when he said that.

Well Sara Smith, since you're such a big fan of my blog, you'll probably see this. Thanks for the "offer", and at least your creative personalized spamming got some attention on my blog. Probably not the kind you wanted, but hey, nice try.

Look how nice I am about reviewing products! Now someone send me free stuff for reals.