Friday, June 30, 2006

Google Video features I want

Two random suggestions:
  1. Have you ever tried to watch a long movie on Google Video? It kind of sucks because if you have to leave the webpage or close the browser, there's no easy way to get back to where you left off. My Tivo remembers where I stopped watching each show; why can't Google Video?
  2. Have you ever sent a friend a link to a video and said something like, "The money shot is at 23:15 into the video"? It should be possible to create links to a specific time offset within a video, too.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Playtime: Hyper Frame

You can play for speed, but the untimed "mind" puzzles are where it's at. Some of these are tough! I've done 24 out of 40 so far.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Superman: Illegal immigrant

Just wanted to point that out.

Flag desecration amendment fails.

The flag desecration amendment failed, although by just one vote. It's infuriating that one of my senators spoke in favor of the law. (This twisted logic makes my brain ache: "What could more clearly signal the scope and strength of our freedom of speech than the fact that even protecting our nation’s symbol from desecration requires a Constitutional Amendment?") Don't worry, I wrote her an angry and incoherent email.

This country doesn't need an asterisk on the first amendment.

Sleater-Kinney to break up

Dammit! Sleater-Kinney to go on indefinite hiatus after their summer tour.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Republicans (HEART) Hollywood! Pass it on.

The right has made the phrase "Hollywood liberals" the conventional wisdom. Of course Hollywood and liberals are in bed together, right?

But historically, republicans have been the party that recruits from Hollywood. Look at Wikipedia's list of actor politicians: Ronald Reagan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono, Fred Thompson, Shirley Temple, Gopher from Love Boat--all republicans!

So my theory is that all the republican bravado about liberal Hollywood is just cover for their secret crush. That's why they nominate and elect actors them whenever they can. And it's also why they spend so much energy demonizing Hollywood. They're afraid they might fall for its irresitable charms.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

100 Awesome Music Videos

Pitchfork has a great list of some rare music videos. If you don't watch the following videos, I'm afraid I'm going to have to disown you as a friend.

Blur: "Coffee & TV":
Outkast, "B.O.B."
Prodigy, "Out of Space"
Radiohead, "Just"
The Smiths, "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before"
They Might Be Giants, "Ana Ng"

I'm not hyperlinking to them because I want you to scroll through the whole list!

Note to Joe regarding a previous conversation about the awesomeness of "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome": The reason "Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome" is an awesome movie is because it made the video for "California Love" possible.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Hitler or Coulter

Ann Coulter despises me, and would gladly bash my head in with a baseball bat. She says I hate America. But I like America! I've lived there for a long time, and in case you don't know, it's pretty frickin' sweet.

For a long time, I tried ignoring Coulter's lies about me, thinking and hoping that she would go away. But despite the lack of mention in my blog, she's more popular than ever. Huge numbers of conservatives are buying her books and being influenced by her lies. I can't just dismiss her as a fringe element, because more and more often she is the voice of the conservatives on talks shows and in the media. It's time to respond to Coulter's nonsense.

Here is a quiz that tests if you can tell the difference between Hitler's anti-semitic ranting and Coulter's anti-liberal screeds. Here's a hint: Hitler uses the bigger words.

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Monday, June 19, 2006

Flag Burning Amendment Near Passage

There are plenty of things people do that I think are dumb. But that doesn't mean those things should be against the law. That's what freedom is: Just because you find something distasteful doesn't mean it should be illegal.

But of course that argument is a little nuanced and the ignorant (sometimes willfully ignorant) can't quite grasp it. Thus it seems like we're a hair's breadth away from an anti-flag burning amendment. What a ugly, vulgar, stain against freedom this amendment would be; it's vandalism of the constitution.

Anonymous Liberal has more on what he rightfully calls the Dumbest Law Ever.

Update: Diane Feinstein's editorial IN FAVOR of the amendment. "There is no idea or thought expressed by the burning of the American flag that cannot be expressed equally well in another manner. This Amendment would leave both the flag and free speech safe." That's right, according to her, freedom means you can be punished simply because you could have said the same thing another way.

Senator Feinstein's article is the rebuttal to this USA Today editorial against the amendment. "In fact, what makes the flag so special is this: It stands for a nation that deems individual liberties so important, it tolerates unpopular minority opinion." And when USA Today bests you, you've got problems.

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Excercise your immune system (The danger of being too clean)

When I was in high school, my friend spent months saving up enough money to buy a mini-stereo system, which was pretty much the most 'totally boss' thing you could have at the time. I helped him set the system up, and he popped in his favorite cassette tape. As we waited for the tape to start, he adjusted up the volume. And then the system blasted out a gut-shaking noise approaching the jet-engine level on the decibel scale, probably permanently damaging our hearing before he shut it down.

The question is: why did my friend turn the volume up to such an unreasonable level? He was used to a certain level of background noise from his previous boom box, so as we waited for the tape to start, he kept turning up the volume, waiting for the same background noise. Of course the new system had much better electronics, so he ended up turning the gain to an unreasonable level.

There's some evidence that our immune systems work the same way--when you're first born, your body expects a certain level of background allergens to be present, and if the body doesn't find them, it keeps turning up the gain, becoming more and more sensitive. Unfortunately, this means that when someone is finally exposed to something with allergen potential, like peanuts, the body overreacts with tragic results.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Whitney Music Box

Turn up the sound, then watch and listen to 'a musical realization of the motion graphics of john whitney as described in his book "digital harmony"'.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Natalee Dee Frys an Emu Egg

Disgusting yet hilarious.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Unbounded Growth in my Netflix Queue

Netflix's FAQ has the following entry:

Q: Is there a limit on the number of movies I can have in my Queue?
A: You can add up to 500 movies and never be left without a movie to watch at home!

That seemed pretty funny when I first signed up--500 movies seemed absurd and unreachable. Now that I just passed 300 movies in my queue, I'm getting a little worried.

Every week, the movie industry churns out maybe two movies that are worth watching--less in the summer, but more during the run-up to the awards shows. Add to that the various HBO shows that I would like to see, and the classic "Great Movies" I'm trying to catch up on, and I'm adding movies faster than I can delete them.

I guess I need to raise my standards a bit, since I do have some pretty lame movies scheduled in the later part of the queue.

LAX Luggage Blockage

Q: What happens when the luggage carousel at LAX gets blocked up?
A: The resulting obstruction causes a bulge and the ceiling tiles break. Also, you have to wait a really, really long time for your luggage.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Stan's Doughnuts HAS A POSSE

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Hybrid VW Beetle

The Hybrid VW Beetle. (Of course it's a hybrid. It's got two different types of engines, doesn't it?)

06.06.06 Stone Verical Epic

Hells bells! I forgot to mention that yesterday was 6/6/06, Satan's birthday.

But the real reason to care is that Stone Brewing shipped the 06.06.06 entry in their Vertical Epic series of beers. They release one entry each year (the first on 2/2/02, the second on 3/3/03, etc.) and claim that they'll all be perfectly mature on 12/12/12.

Yeah, it's a gimmick, but it's the exact kind of gimmick that I fall for. The 02.02.02 edition, with only 300 cases made, is one of the rarest beers in the world. Fortunately, Stone also releases homebrew recipes for each beer, so you can make your own. (And heck, maybe I'll just buy a kit!)


Tuesday, June 06, 2006


When my brother turned 30, I called him up and told he was going to have to face the hard facts: it was too late to "earn his first $1 millon by 30". He laughed, and said that he also had to face the fact that he was probably never going to be able to run up to a wall and flip.

Joe, I just read screwgravity's wall-flip tutorial, and I think if you apply yourself, you can still do it! Let me know how it goes.

P.S. No lawsuits, please.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Linux, gentoo, amd64, and 802.11g wireless: Ugh.

I'm building a MythTV box, using the Gentoo distribution running the 64 bit AMD kernel (aka amd64, aka x86_64). Everything has gone pretty well so far, except for getting the wireless connection working. I'm posting this so that some other poor soul searching google can benefit from my experience.

It's not Linux's fault; most wireless device manufacturers simply don't bother with any sort of Linux support. Lazy bums.

A lot of 802.11b devices have homebrew device drivers that work under Linux, but I want to use an 802.11g device. It's a faster protocol, but since it's newer, the drivers typically aren't as mature, or are early in development.

It doesn't help that I want to use a 64 bit kernel: drivers aren't as well tested in that environment. Also, I can't cheat and use ndiswrapper to just run the existing Windows drivers--almost no Windows wireless devices have 64 bit drivers.

Also ugly is the fact that network companies obsolete their products quickly, so web posts listing "supported cards" are quickly obsoleted--none of the products listed are available anymore! (Even worse: many manufacturers change which chipset (and thus driver) they use in their device without changing the product number. Bastards.)

However, not all is lost--although most devices are big trouble, if you carefully choose which card you buy, you can save yourself a lot of pain. The wireless chipset manufacturer Atheros does support Linux (by giving source code to the madwifi project). All I had to do was find a card that uses the Atheros chipset. I bought the D-Link DWL-G520, and am in fact posting this using my new wireless connection.

"A Recent Surge In Violence..."

How many "recent surges in violence" do we go through before we admit it's really just a steady increase in violence? Because in the past three years, we've gone through over 40 "recent surges in violence" in Iraq.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I'm sort of the Michael Jordan of manual shifting

I'm not very good at driving manual transmission. With just two months practice, it might be more accurate to say that I still suck. But when I'm on a road that requires a lot of concentration, I stick my tongue out.

Shrimp Ceviche

Last week when I was in Fresno visiting my sister, we ended up at a little Mexican restaurant where I had shrimp ceviche for the first time. Then a few days later, this easy recipe for shrimp ceviche was on the most popular list, so I had to try making it on my own. It was excellent.

The recipe wimps out a little bit by instructing you to precook the shrimp. Don't be a wuss. Skip that step, and let the acid from the lime "cook" the shrimp instead.

RIAA hates viral video sharing

The RIAA, concerned with lower and lower music sales each year, has decided that what it needs to do is prevent you from accidentally hearing music in a free video. A lot of people are up in arms about this, but honestly, the RIAA's short-sighted view on this makes me happy because it will only hasten their demise.

But their infinite greed has given me an idea for an invention, designed to stop the millions of Americans who pirate music... by listening to the radio while a passenger in someone else's car! For shame, America, for shame.

Satellite radio has already gotten us used to the pay-for-music sales model, advanced airbag sensors can already detect the presense of passengers in the car, and On*Star provides a way for the car to report how many people were in the car during each song. Wire 'em all together, and you've got the solution. Each driver will receive a bill at the end of the month with an itemized list of songs and the number of passengers present. What could be more fair than that?

While I am joking, I fully expect this system to be proposed by the RIAA in the next few years.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Get thee behind me, blogging blahs!

Aight, I haven't been blogging in a while, but hopefully I can get back on the wagon in the near future. I think I may stop tagging everything in Technorati; even though it's just one little step, I'm pretty lazy.

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