Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Representation for My Taxation

Although I've lived here for almost a year, I have remained woefully ignorant of who my local representative in in the Washington state legislature. Until today, when Larry Springer sent me a preview of the 2006 legislative session. I'm glad to see that Mr. Springer's voting record coincides with my wishes for how my representative should vote, and he certainly seems to be fighting the good fight down in Olympia.

Maybe I'll give him a ring and let him know he's doing a good job.

Monday, January 30, 2006

War is Hell

Photographic evidence of the old maxim, from the Battle of Stalingrad.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cell of a Good Time

There are only two phrases, when used together, that would compel me to purchase a new, hardcover book on the day it was released a mere thirty seconds after realizing said book exists:

Stephen King



Gaming With The Girls

Although it's kind of marketing-centric, this article about girl gamers is interesting nonetheless.

My Letter Back To The End

Dear Mr. Manning,

I appreciate your response to my customer feedback regarding the cancellation of DJ Noname and Jennifer White’s morning show on The End. While I certainly understand your motivations for the format change, I’m not sure you understand your morning show audience, as evidenced by two things you mentioned in your email.

You mention that Mr. Carolla’s show, “Loveline,” has enjoyed success at The End, and I’m quite certain that it has given its late timeslot. The only times I’ve had the pleasure of listening to “Loveline” are when I work late, as it is on at a time when I suspect people in my demographic aren’t tuning in to The End, or any other radio station. Therefore, equivocating success with a late evening show to success of a morning show is an error in logic, as I would be willing to bet that your overall listener demographic in the morning is much different than your demographic at 10 at night – and judging by the types of phone calls to the old Morning Alternative show (twentysomethings on their way to work) versus the phone calls to Loveline (thirteen-year-olds seeking sexual advice), there seems to be at lease some circumstantial evidence to support my theory.

Additionally, you mention that “intelligent, engaging on-air presenters” are what I’m looking for in a radio station. You couldn’t be more correct, and frankly, I’m surprised to find anyone using those terms to describe the creator of The Man Show, a program designed to denigrate women and celebrate traditional gender stereotypes (and not necessarily in that order); and the creator of Crank Yankers, which was only mildly funny fifteen years ago when I was 12 and it was called The Jerky Boys. You chose some exceptionally poor words to describe Mr. Carolla’s programming, and again you demonstrate a lack of understanding of your morning show demographic.

Later in the letter, you mention that Mr. Carolla’s show emanates “live from Los Angeles, just like many of the network and cable television shows, and virtually all of the theatrical movie releases that we enjoy,” as if that were a selling point – again demonstrating a complete lack of understanding of your target demographic. While nodding towards the Jerry Bruckheimer set might work in, say, Los Angeles or might play well in the Midwest, Seattle prides itself on its artistic independence.

As one example, I am a member of the Seattle International Film Festival. The SIFF is a monthlong celebration of independent film from all over the world. While the Bruckheimer set will continue to pack the Googleplexes every Friday and Saturday – and I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t among them from time to time – Seattle itself is a fiercely independent artistic community, and we are proud of the local music that is of some of the highest quality in the world. Frankly, if we wanted Los Angeles, we’d move to Los Angeles; the point you seem to be missing, again demonstrating a lack of understanding of your demographic, is that we’re all here in Seattle and we like our city and the art, music, and personalities we produce.

Since penning my last correspondence, I have discussed The End’s new morning format with my wife, my roommate, and several of my friends. We have sadly all stopped listening to The End in the morning, because we all agree that the Adam Carolla show isn’t what we’re looking for. It may be fine for Los Angeles and wherever else its ratings are high, but it certainly seems to be a flop here – among us, at least. Unfortuantely, I have nearly stopped listening to The End altogether. I’ve found that I can enjoy many of the same options The End offered for free on the Internet, without having to cringe at the advertisements for the new morning show.

Sadly, I feel that my words will have little to no affect on the final outcome of The End’s programming decisions. Therefore, I plan to draft a letter to send to every company that advertises on The End during the Adam Carolla show and inform them of their shrinking listener base. Even if nothing comes of it, your advertisers need to know how you have grossly underestimated a demographic they appear to know better than you do.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.


Jason Mical

Monday, January 23, 2006

The End Responds: A Form Letter

Dear Jason,

Thanks for your thoughts regarding our addition of The Adam Carolla Show, weekday mornings on 107.7 The End. While this is a mass letter being sent to all respondents, we did read every e-mail regarding your thoughts on our decision to air Adam's show.

As you know we've changed our morning approach a few times since late 2003. I cannot stress the importance of providing you with high quality entertainment during the morning. When the opportunity arose to include Adam Carolla's unique show on The End, we were quick to evaluate, and appreciate, Adam's many years of "Loveline" success at the station, as well as his huge popularity with most of our listeners. I'm sure that you agree that intelligent, engaging on-air presenters add to Your listening experience on The End.

There are two main concerns expressed in your e-mails that I'd like to address.

1) The End's Music
Our music will remain largely the same. Our goal is always to introduce new alternative sounds to Seattle and play you the great songs we've enjoyed together on The End the past 14+ years. And we feel we've got the best air staff in Seattle to do just that: Jim Keller, who's been with The End since 1993, 10am-2pm; Dick Rossetti, a living encyclopedia of music, 2pm-6pm; and new music guru harms, 6pm-10pm.

2) Being Local
Adam's show emanates, live from Los Angeles, just like many of the network and cable television shows, and virtually all of the theatrical movie releases that we enjoy. We are equally excited to serve Seattle with local personalities for over eighteen hours each weekday and non-stop during weekends. We'll continue to keep you on top of local concerts and club shows, including End Sessions, Endfest and Deck The Hall Ball, during and after Adam's show. And we'll continue to support the Seattle music scene by playing local bands, presenting local bands live as part of The Young & The Restless Concert Series, and, every Friday at 6pm, bringing in local bands to play live on The End.
Plus The End's commitment to The Vera Project will continue in 2006 raising money and awareness for Seattle's music-arts center run by and for youth.

Your passion for The End is noticeable and appreciated. Thanks for your e-mails.

Phil Manning
Station Manager/Program Director


All of the bolded statements were just like that in the email.

My initial reply:

This means war.

I'll post more later.

The Religion of Gaming

Jon sent me a thoughtful article about video game violence and religion. It's not your usual hand-wringing, censorship-advocating, reponsibility-ducking stuff you typically see about this topic: rather, it asks (but doesn't really answer) a very interesting question: is "virtual sin" a real sin?

A Guide to Trolling

A great New York Times bit on how to troll the Internet. It requires registration, but the NYT is a great site to be able to access. For those too paranoid, here's the best bit:

    THEREFORE let us now post the rules for membership in the Pills of the American Internet Neighborhood Society.

    1. Use the strongest language possible. Calling names is always effective, and four-letter words show that you mean business.

    2. Having a violent opinion of something doesn't require you to actually try it yourself. After all, plenty of people heatedly object to books they haven't read or movies they haven't seen. Heck, you can imagine perfectly well if something is any good.


    6. If you find a sentence early in the article that rubs you the wrong way, you are by no means obligated to finish reading. Stop right where you are--express your anger while it's still good and hot! What are the odds that the writer is going to say anything else relevant to your point later in the piece, anyway?

    7. If the writer responds to your e-mail with evidence that you're wrong (for example, by citing a paragraph that you overlooked), disappear without responding. This is the anonymous Internet; slipping away without consequence or civility is your privilege.

    8. Trolling is making a deliberately inflammatory remark, one that you know perfectly well is baloney, just to get a rise out of other people. Trolling is an art. Trolling works just fine for an audience of one (say, a journalist), but of course the real fun is trolling on public bulletin boards where you can get dozens of people screaming at you simultaneously. Comments on religion, politics or Mac-vs.-Windows are always good bets. The talented troll sits back to enjoy the fireworks with a smirk, and never, ever responds to the responses.
Ah, the age of No Personal Responsibility.

Da Hawks

It looks like Seattle's football team, which I'm guessing about 50% of Seattle didn't realize we had until about a month ago, is going to Superbowl XL. Normally we'd be hosting a Superbowl party. I think this year, it calls for a Superbowl bash, complete with Ro-Tel and celebratory fireworks to feed our (my?) Inner Redneck. I'm just glad that I'm not facing the kind of deep existential crises as some of my other friends.

So: Go Hawks!!

And a Funny Story

I almost forgot: last night at Shana's, I was talking to the former director of WizKids' art department. Getting caught up, seeing if she'd found work, and so on.

She thanked me for referring her to a game company, Exile, which is run by my friends Jeff and Melissa.

I say, Jeff Grubb? as he is the only Jeff I'm aware of who this might even somewhat resemble.

No, Jeff and Melissa. They specifically mentioned me, Jason Mical at WizKids. They've known me for nine years, and I'm writing for their new project. And, apparently, I recommended our former art director for this job.


I inform a now-also-confused former art director that I don't know any Jeff or Melissa at Exile, I'm not writing for them, and although I would recommend her in an instant for a job, I hadn't in this case.

We both agree it's strange. But she got the job, and I'm wondering if I'm getting credit for something I'm not writing - and not getting paid for (not) writing.

It's one of those Twin Peaks moments, I guess.

Home Improvement Shenanigans

Yesterday, while cleaning the shower, I noticed that the caulk was coming up, and that under the caulk was a good deal of mold. So, I decided to start peeling the caulk up to clean under it and then re-caulk.

Fast-forward to an hour or so later, when Liz discovers that the glass doors to the shower are not, as we thought, screwed into the tub, but are merely sitting there, and water has been getting under them. Said water has interacted with whatever sticky substance was placed there to keep the shower doors attached, and created a moldy, stinky, gooey mess.

Fast-forward another hour. The shower doors are gone. The tub is caulked. And we've got a very messy bathroom on our hands.

But, I just took a shower in our "new" shower, with shower curtain instead of stupid glass doors, and in addition to no longer stinking and being covered with mold, it now also doesn't leak.

The good news was, last night we got to go into Seattle for some friend-hanging-outage. We stopped at Shana's housewarming party and then drove up to the UD to meet up with Angela and Jon for dinner at a Italian restaurant in Wallingford. This reaffirmed my belief that Italian cuisine is possibly the tastiest on the planet, and that someday I really want to live in Wallingford (you know, when I'm making like three times what I'm making now.)

Oh, and I got a new phone. I'm still learning its ins and outs, so if I've missed your call or I'm hard(er than normal) to get a hold of, it's probably because I'm still learning how to use this thing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Life Means Always Having to Say You're Sorry?

Lately, I feel like I'm bumbling through life apologizing for every thing I do. I inadvertantly manage to piss of my wife, my brother, my boss, and probably some other people I'm not thinking of off the top of my head, all in the space of less than a month.

Is it supposed to be this hard?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why I Like the White Queen

It may not be PC, but I gotta respect a girl who isn't afraid to show a little camel toe.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

They Can't All Be Good

A review of my Crescent City mini-game in Beyond the Storm:

    I’m mostly a roleplaying traditionalist, so there were a couple of these that were simply too unlikely or too unwieldy for me to be willing to try, such as Seth Johnson’s The Quarter (a game with only one stat), or Jason Mical’s Crescent City, which while full of flavor and well-written, totally put me off with its Tarot card resolution mechanics.
Oh well.

From the Department of Interesting Statistics

Letters From Abroad

Some people blog about politics. Others blog about zombies. This guy mails letters to various world leaders and posts the replies online. Hat tip: Seth.

Back From The Road

We spent the weekend in Denver with my family for my grandfather's 80th. It wasn't the most relaxing weekend, but it was probably the most fun I've had with my family in quite a while. No one was too caught up in their own dramas (not too much, anyway), and it was relatively low-key and just great to catch up with everyone. It was strange talking to my cousins, whom I've known since they were infants, as almost-adults. I'm not sure how many of these we're going to have left, so I'm glad we had this one when we did.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

But It's A Dry Heat

I forgot how dry Denver can be. I think my skin is about to peel off, and my eyeballs resemble raisins.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Fan Fiction

At what point does a project cease becoming that most dreaded of authorly labels, Fan Fiction, and start becoming a serious writing project?

An open-ended question - discuss.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Is it a Person?

Strengthening the legal argument at a fetus is not a person (as if the fact that we don't assign a fetus a social security number or count its birthday from the date of conception weren't enough), they don't count for carpools either.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Sometimes the best way to respond to a sales flow chart is to follow one of our own.

Freedom = $1.05

"He must not support free speech."

A reader made that comment in response to my post about the law which now makes it illegal to anonymously troll the internet.

That reader went on to observe: "[I]f you don't want to deal with them, don't host comments on your site and don't read the comments elsewhere. Trolls avoided!"

Other readers expressed similar sentiments, wondering how I could be pro-censorship.

So I think my support of this initiative bears a little explanation.

First, I believe that the law is poorly written and most likely violates the Consitution as-is, and should be struck down or overturned.

But the intent behind it, I support.

It is not, in fact, an issue of free speech. It is an issue of responsibility for your freedom of speech.

Allow me to explain.

When I was moderating a certain forum back in the early 2000s, we attracted a particularly vicious anonymous troll. This person masked his or her IP address and never used a real name, so banning the troll from the forum was impossible - plus, we had explicit instructions never to ban anyone from the forum, and to delete posts only when they contained malicious code that could harm a user's computer. Conservative readers might be surprised to find that those directives were issued to us moderators on the michaelmoore.com forum, but that's how us Liberals are: we really do belive in freedom of speech, almost to a fault.

But there is a distinct difference between allowing freedom of speech, and accountability and responsibility for freedom of speech. It is a subtle difference, and one that might not be readily apparant to my dear readers. So bear with me as I explain.

One of the things the above-reference troll used to post regarding me in particular was that I had contracted AIDS from letting my boyfriend fuck my fat black ass every night (I am neither gay nor black, and this troll was responding to my defense of gay rights in a discussion on this forum). This fits the classic definition of trolling: the user was attempting to distrupt discussion on the forum and to upset its participants (in this instance, with a personal attack).

Now I want to imagine that this Internet forum is actually a real-world community, like a small town. People live there and interact with each other - people who often possess different points of view, but have things in common. And for the most part, they are reasonable and get along well with each other.

If someone in this small town were to begin creating flyers at the local copy store that accused a specific resident - let's say, for the sake of argument, me - of contracting AIDS from a homosexual encounter, and then began dropping those flyers in people's mailboxes at night, would I simply have to shrug my shoulders and say "well, golly, that's their freedom of speech! If I don't like it, I should avoid my mailbox!"

According to some of you, dear readers, that's exactly what I should do.

And you are flat-out wrong.

I would take those fliers to the local police, and involve law enforcement in what could be threats against my character. I would have grounds, in court, to sue this individual once he was caught, for defamation in regards to putting these flyers in my nieghbor's mailboxes. And he would be caught. Why? Because in real life, you cannot avoid detection forever (I would argue the same is true online, if you know people with the proper 133t skillz). There are fingerprints. Someone would have seen him going into the copy shop. And I could always sit up and night waiting for him to slip into our neighborhood and start dropping fliers in mailboxes.

So why does this issue suddenly change and become one of freedom of speech when it goes online?

The argument is not against the content of the troll's posts. People can troll quite legally, rile people up without actually causing harm and doing anything illegal. There's no problem with that. And frankly, I could care less if someone called me a fat black fag if he did it with his real name, because it shows a degree of accountability and responsibility for his actions (something the Enron-Haliburton-NoWMD-Osama bin WHO?-Bushies know absolutely nothing about).

If the intent of the law were to outlaw people from making trolling speech, then it would be a freedom of speech issue. But the intent is to remove anonymity and require responsibility - and that, I can certainly support.

There is a long legal precedent for requiring people to be responsible for their words, from newspaper reporters who are forced to show sources when their stories could ruin someone's reputation and career, to it being illegal to shout "fire" in a crowded theater.

Why should the Internet not be subject to the same kinds of restrictions? Aside from the "it's teh awesome digital frontierZOR133t OMGOMGROFL and I should be able to download all the kiddie pr0n and MP3zors I want and say whatever comes into my head without fear of consequences!" argument, which holds about as much water as the "slam-dunk" WMDs in Iraq, there isn't any.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A Question of Race

I have long lived under the assumption that Magneto was a Roma (gypsy) victim of Nazi atrocities. Here is a fairly compelling list of (granted circumstantial) evidence that he was, in fact, a Jew.

Not that it matters either way, but it's an interesting debate.

Illegal Trolling

It is now illegal to anonymously troll the Internet.

I have to say, having been a forum administrator/contributor/whatever since the days of the Prodigy network that I actually agree with this Bush-sponsored initiative. Internet trolls have absolutely no value whatsoever, and this might discourage some of them.

Zombie Tags

While out Geocaching last weekend, I stumbled across these two spraypainted signs (within about 200 feet of each other):

I assume it's some graffiti artist's signature, but you never know.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Best News of the Week

It's probably too soon to get my hopes up, but rumors abound that Futurama could be brought back!!

A Meme of Fours

Picked up from Jeff to help fill slow times at the Puppet Show.

Four jobs you've had in your life: Corn De-Tasseler; ESL Tutor; Social Worker; Communications Manager.

Four movies you could watch over and over: Super Troopers; Ghostbusters; Dawn of the Dead; and Terminator 2. Note that these are by no means my favorites, but are simply four movies that I could watch over and over if necessary.

Four places you've lived: Broken Arrow, OK; London, UK; New York, NY; Bellevue, WA.

Four TV shows you love to watch: The Simpsons, Futurama, The Daily Show, and pretty much any Star Trek.

Four places you've been on vacation: Ullapool, Scotland; Venice, Italy; Washington, DC; The Big Island of Hawai'i.

Four websites you visit daily: cnn.com; Something Awful; WizKids' website; and most days, Wikipedia for something or another.

Four of your favorite foods: Lasagna (OK, really anything with meat, noodles, and red sauce); the hardened corners of brownies warm from the oven; pumpkin pie; cold pizza the morning after.

Four places you'd rather be: Home playing Rome Total War; somewhere in Europe with a backpack, a few belongings, and absolutely no responsibilites or cash concerns; in a Buddhist monastery putting my money where my mouth is; and at a cafe with a laptop working on my book, again with no other responsibilites or cash concerns.

Grinning Time

It's news like this that brings warmth into my cold, dead heart. And from my home flyover state, no less:

    OKLAHOMA CITY -- An executive committee member of the Southern Baptist Convention was arrested on a lewdness charge for propositioning a plainclothes policeman outside a hotel, police said.

    Lonnie Latham, senior pastor at South Tulsa Baptist Church, was booked into Oklahoma County Jail Tuesday night on a misdemeanor charge of offering to engage in an act of lewdness, police Capt. Jeffrey Becker said. Latham was released on $500 bail Wednesday afternoon.

    Latham, who has spoken out against homosexuality, asked the officer to join him in his hotel room for oral sex. Latham was arrested and his 2005 Mercedes automobile was impounded, Becker said.
I wish I hadn't resolved to use emoticond in this blog, because frankly, I'm not sure if the words HA FUCKING HA properly convey my delight in watching a piece of human fecal matter get exactly what it deserves.

Maybe he can turn to a gay support group for help when all the sheeple he brainwashed yell homophobic slurs at him, spraypaint his car, set burning crosses on his lawn, and all the other stuff that those paragons of Christian virtue are wont to do.

Of course, I'd like it very much if they proved me wrong by accepting him for who he is - a closeted gay man very likely tormented by his own inner guilt and demons because of a world he himself helped to create - but I sincerely doubt that will happen. Of course, I've been surprised before.

Quote of the Day

Somehow this seems appropriate these days.

    "If I was twice the man I could be, I'd still be half of what you need."
    - Nine Inch Nails
Interpret as you like.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Proud Liberal Blogger

From Daily Kos:

    "Keying off some of Kos's writings, GOpers are trying to turn the phrase "liberal blogger" into a boogeyman phrase -- kind of like "Hillary Clinton" or "Nancy Pelosi" or "Howard Dean." Or what "Tom DeLay" is to Dems in their fundraising appeals."

    But of course Republicans want to turn "liberal bloggers" into a dirty word since that's what they're best at. God forbid they run the country effectively, depriving us of material to use against them. But, rather than trying to figure out how to effectively govern, they do what they do best -- they try and tear down the opposition.
Guess what, Republicans? I refuse to let you frame this language. This language is mine. You may go on the offensive, but all you do is end up being offensive.

I'm a liberal blogger and proud of it.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Yeah but Jar Jar Binks makes the Ewoks look like fuckin' Shaft."

- Overheard

Valentine's Day is Coming Soon

Looking for that perfect way to say I love you this Valentine's Day?

Via Seth.

My Letter to The End Regarding Their New Morning Show

To Whom it May Concern,

Today while commuting in I heard my first broadcast of the Adam Carolla show. While I had my doubts about a syndicated morning show over our local pals DJ Noname and Jennifer White, I was willing to at least give the new format a chance.

Unfortunately, this will be the last time I listen to The End on my morning commute.

I moved to Seattle three years ago, and was happy to find The End and its morning show. The lack of syndication gave it a personal and local flavor that you can never get from a syndicated show, and the greatest thing about it was that the two hosts were not narcisisstic as to make the show about themselves. Noname and Ms. White made the show about the music and the conversation - and better entertainment was the result.

It's truly unfortunate that you decided to cancel their show and go with a syndicated feed. I am not against syndication itself, although I do prefer local flavor if offered a choice. I don't feel that the Adam Carolla Show fits me as a consumer. Mr. Carolla's greatest contributions to our society (as outlined on www.1077theend.com) are a radio show (Loveline) where thirteen-year-old girls try to get affirmation for having sex; a television show (The Man Show) whose most memorable component is the exploitation of women by showing scantily-clad models jumping on trampolines; and another television show (Crank Yankers) aimed at tweens who don't remember The Jerky Boys.

I could go into the whole argument against the corporatization of radio and accuse you of selling out and all that nonsense, but I do understand the financial reasons for making these kinds of decisions - in a competitive world, outsourcing jobs to lesser-qualified people makes sense on the bottom line. However, as soon as Mr. Carolla (or his assistant) hit the prefabricated soundboard this morning to enhance their discussion of coaches being dumped with Gatorade following college football games, I had all the information I needed to make an informed decision.

I'll miss DJ Noname and Jennifer White, and I'll certainly miss a radio station that offered what I, as a consumer, was looking for. Perhaps you thought your demographic was changing, and thus the reason for this switch. I can tell you it will certainly change to match the intended audience of the Adam Carolla show if more folks like me decide to dump The End in the morning in favor of other fare.

Good luck with the new format. I think you'll need it.


Jason Mical

Running With Scissors

Now you can use your car to play your Xbox 360. I mean, actually use the car's components to steer.

I'm kind of glad this is happening in Europe, although I reckon it will drive video game collectors crazy - this may be the most expensive controller ever made!

Monday, January 02, 2006

Me Lately

Not very many updates lately, and I apologize. There hasn't been a whole heck of a lot going on. I worked all week last week, played in a poker game Friday night, and spent most of this weekend relaxing and goofing off. I have a buddy whose girlfriend works at a camping store, and every six months or so they have a huge sale and can get camping stuff really cheap, so I had her grab me a GPS system. So I've been out Geocaching the last couple of days. Basically, you use your GPS to find a hidden container (a "cache") and log your visit, and take a little goodie and drop off a little goodie. It's a really good excuse to get out and walk, and a cool way to find little places that you might not have been able to find otherwise - like the 110-year-old Swedish cemetary we found today.

I'll update more often when my life gets more interesting, I promise.