Monday, January 29, 2007

If You're Looking to Kill Me

Let it be known that my favorite band of all time, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, will be in Seattle on April 7, and I will be attending the conference concert (typo, see comment). In Seattle? Interested in hearing some of the best southwestern rockabilly-country-salsa-rock you've ever heard? Why don't you join me?

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Rachael Ray Appreciation Station

I typically don't make posts like this, but I feel it is necessary. Rachael Ray is a chef cook celebrity of sorts on the Food Network. Her gig is to be like a younger, hipper Martha Stewart without the baggage. And all the home improvement stuff. So she mostly focuses on cooking.

Then I read this morning on my favorite news aggregator/waste of time a thread titled "Rachael Ray is an annoying idiot." And in this thread the poster stated that "I swear to god i cant buy a box of wheat thins or a microwave pizza anymore without having this goblin scowl back at me with her 8 million teeth. Her stupid fucking face is on pretty much everything at the grocery store."

Goblin? 8 million teeth? Feh, I say to you sir. Feh.

I'll say it: Rachael Ray is hot and the only reason you don't like her is because she's hot and has done well for herself. So screw you.

Now back to your regular Puppet programming.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Valse Triste

At the risk of turning this blog into a video aggregator, I wanted to post a follow up. Stemming from the video of "Diana's Piano" from earlier in the week, I found this: the "Valse Triste" segment from Allegro Non Troppo. Allegro is an Italian animated film that's almost like an anti-Fantasia; most of it is only so-so, but this segment, particularly if you're a cat lover, is emotionally impacting in a way not many cartoons are. The "small screen" doesn't really do the visuals justice, but since this can be pretty hard to find (it was only put up on YouTube yesterday), here ya go.

My Space

Oh yeah, I almost forgot: I got a MySpace. I did it so I can try to get back in touch with some people I've lost track of. So come and be my friend if you want.


So last week Angela and I took in a screening of INLAND EMPIRE, David Lynch's new movie. I've been holding off writing about it because I wasn't sure what I thought yet. I'm still not sure what I think, but I'm going to write about it anyway.

Bottom line: I thought the movie was good, but I'll be the first to recognize that David Lynch movies aren't for everyone. Local bloggers Seattlest didn't care for it that much. As this interview in the Times says, "it's about ideas." And that's exactly what it was about. Ideas. Feelings. Impressions.

Lynch's movies have always been interesting to me, because narrative is often secondary to the "art" of the film. Lynch was trained as a painter and sculptor first, and found film only as a way of experimenting with "moving paintings" or "moving pictures," much as film was originally intended to be used. His earliest short film, from his art school days, was projected in an art exhibit like a painting but with sound. Fair warning: it contains a siren that can be very repetitive.

Moreso than any of Lynch's other feature-length films, INLAND EMPIRE is a member of this group. It's a three-hour-long moving painting. Is there narrative there? Yes, but it's also one of the first real examples of a working "metafilm" that I've seen - as in, it involves things that aren't happening on the screen. It involves the audience. I would go so far as to say that the audience is a character in the film, if not the main character.

EMPIRE is about watching and performing. It's about audience. It's pure voyeurism, and even though it needed an editor, I liked it. It's certainly not going to appeal to everyone - this is probably the very definition of art film - but after thinking a lot about it, I liked it. And I will very likely see it again.

Just to clutter up this post with some more video, here's a new trailer:

In heaven, everything is fine.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Prepare Your Tissues

Here's something a little different: I found an old segment from the animated movie "Garfield's Nine Lives" on YouTube. This particular segment is called "Diana's Piano," and if you're a cat person, you'll probably be crying like a little girl by the time it's over. OK, well, that's what I was doing. Enjoy.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Winter Driving in the Northwest

My readers in the Midwest will get a kick out of this. This video was going around the Seattle blogosphere (yeah, there is such a thing) but it was embedded on King5's website. That is, until someone decided to help humanity by placing it on YouTube. Enjoy! Note: this happened in Portland.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


So I'm experimenting with TV by the episode. I grabbed the first episode of Jericho before I left for Macworld to watch on the plan, and have been grabbing the others off Xbox Live Marketplace since then. I'm digging the show quite a bit; it reminds me a lot of Alas, Babylon.

Between this, BSG, Heroes, Rome... narrative television is back.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Zombie Evolution

Via Jon, a fascinating article about zombie evolutionary epidemiology. It discussed dispersion of fast and slow zombies. Money quote:

Zombies actually evolve towards a very diverse population, with some zombies very fast and some very slow even if the majority is optimal. This might be relevant as the situation changes. If there are many people around the optimal efficiency is lower than 0.5, since each zombie still has plenty of chances of attacking someone. After most people have turned to zombies fast zombies have more fitness (pun not intended) since they are better at getting the few survivors.

Inconvenience and Truths

Fair warning: I am ignoring Leah's advice and writing something not-wacky here.

Yesterday, Liz and I took a Family Circus (ie., wandering and directionless) trip around town after a wonderful breakfast at Alexa's. We ended up at Best Buy (which, I might add, had a whole skid of PlayStation 3s - so if you want one, go grab one. Incidentally, no one wanted one in the half-hour we were in the store.) I grabbed a copy of Idiocracy on DVD, Mike Judge's new movie that was kept out of theaters. Sitting close to it was An Inconvenient Truth, which I had fully intended to get around to buying eventually. So I grabbed it. Liz and I watched it last night.

Upon second viewing, I actually liked it more than I did the first time. The things that annoyed me in the movie theater as far as pacing was concerned, didn't annoy me nearly as much from my couch. But this isn't a film review.

After grabbing the movie and heading to REI to grab a backpacking sleeping bag I got on the cheaps, Liz and I were talking about global warming (or global climate change, if you prefer - potato, potatoe, but climate change is to global warming what complexity theory is to chaos theory, I suppose.) Specifically, Brandon made a post the other day about a school board decision down in Federal Way that requires "an opposing view" on global warming be presented when teachers show An Inconvenient Truth. "Score one for the skeptics," Brandon says (non-Seattleites: Brandon is one of my good friends, and although he tends to be at the opposite end of the political spectrum, we don't really let that get in the way of our friendship, much like me and Bobby or me and Meghan. I also want to make it quite clear that I'm not attacking or upset with my buddy in this post, I'm raging against a guy named Frosty. You'll meet him in a moment.) The AP story, which Brandon quoted in full on his site, is here.

But the story has another chapter. The AP story was really just a blurb, and wasn't local, so I thoguht I'd try to find what the Seattle rags had to say about it. A little Google-fu revealed a Seattle PI story about the decision. The PI story reveals some interesting context around the parent who lead the fight to the school board that lead to this decision, one Frosty Hardison:

After a parent who supports the teaching of creationism and opposes sex education complained about the film, the Federal Way School Board on Tuesday placed what it labeled a moratorium on showing the film. The movie consists largely of a computer presentation by former Vice President Al Gore recounting scientists' findings.

"Condoms don't belong in school, and neither does Al Gore. He's not a schoolteacher," said Frosty Hardison, a parent of seven who also said that he believes the Earth is 14,000 years old. "The information that's being presented is a very cockeyed view of what the truth is. ... The Bible says that in the end times everything will burn up, but that perspective isn't in the DVD."

In case you missed the really important information there, I bolded it for you.

So rather than an actual scientifically sound view "opposing" climate change, what you have is a guy who thinks the Earth is 14,000 years old - and not a scientist or a schoolteacher himself - who has now dictated curriculum for an entire school board. His argument is not based on science, nor is it based on fact. Like creationism and other faith-inspired beliefs - say, for example, Holocaust Denial - there is no evidence for its teaching in schools apart from the Bible. There is no scientific or factual basis to back this up, especially in the case of climate change, as is cited in the PI article above. The scientific consensus is overwhelming: to pull a statistic from the film itself, a study showed zero - nil, goose-egg, null set - peer-reviewed scientific articles that cast doubt that humans were a major contributing cause to global climate change. However, in the news, 53% of stories cast doubt. And people like Frosty Hardison certainly aren't submitting the Bible to peer-reviewed scientific journals.

So I think that pretty much takes care of addressing the real facts behind this case. I have to ask old Frosty though: if it's appropriate to teach the opposing point of view, the view that flies in the fact of scientific consensus simply because it conforms to your own beliefs, in a science classroom - would it then be appropriate to require students to learn about Holocaust denial before watching Schindler's List in History class?

There is no difference. Both are belief systems utterly lacking any kind of factual basis or scientific backing. So where's the requirement to teach that the Holocaust never happened? Perhaps it's floating around on an iceberg the size of Delaware that recently broke off from the Arctic ice shelf in Northern Canada? Oh right, sorry, that's not in the Bible either. My apologies, Frosty. I'll go ride my Brontosaurus to work now.

Back in reality, Brandon's post actually inspired a lengthy and interesting conversation between Liz and myself where we were trying to figure out exactly what the big deal about addressing climate change is among conservatives. To me, it seems like a no-brainer. If we're shitting up our nest, we need to fix it. Even if there is some doubt about whether humans are the cause - which for the sake of argument, I'll allow, even if it does ignore years of scientific research - there's still a chance we're fucking up the Earth, so maybe we should at least address it. Right?

That's what I just don't understand. Many conservative ideals, I can understand - and in some cases, agree with. Abortion - if you believe an unborn fetus is a life, then opposing abortion is not only understandable, it would be a moral requirement. Smaller fiscal government - a sound principle for a free market economy. Even the War in Iraq is understandable on a rational level, as is the drive to put more troops on the ground, as Bush has recently announced. (Is he right? I don't know. I frankly don't know what to think about Iraq anymore, but that's beyond this post.) But global climate change - why?

Will it cost money to implement the changes required to avoid massive climate change? Sure. But if we're wrong, will it cost even more to deal with potentially a billion displaced people and the massive amounts of infrastructure damage that could occur? Absodamnlutely. Is investing in a preventative step now to avoid a far more costly "solution" later worth the investment? I would say it is. Or at the very least, if you don't think human beings are responsible for climate change but it's occuring anyway (after all, it's hard to argue with icebergs the size of some of the original colonies), shouldn't we at least be investing in the kinds of infrastructure changes to deal with a potential rise in ocean levels? But we're doing neither.

There is a religious view, but I have a hard time believing that all conservatives (or even anywhere near a majority of them) who doubt climate change are like Frosty the Psychoman and believe that God placed radiocarbon dating in rocks as a means of testing His faithful. It's the religious right's version of snake handling: something that should be resepcted as any belief system should, sure, but isn't exactly representative of a consensus among the party.

So to quote the South Park version of Saddam Hussien: what's the big fucking deal? Even if you're dubious about the results, don't you think it's at least worth our while to try to stop shitting in our nests or at least prepare for what already seems to be starting?

I guess I really don't get it, and that seems kind of inconvenient to me.

Update 1: runs an article about Evangelical Christians and scientists working together to address global warming.
"Whether God created the Earth in a millisecond or whether it evolved over billions of years, the issue we agree on is that it needs to be cared for today," said Rich Cizik, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Evangelicals, which represents 45,000 churches.

I guess not everyone who believes that the Earth is 14,000 years old have their heads planted firmly up their asses. Which frankly makes those who do all the more troubling to me. I still don't get it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Retro TV Awesomeness

If you're cool like me (and in your mid-to-late 20s), then you probably watched the Super Mario Bros. Super Show in your misspent youth younger days. More importantly, you probably watched the Legend of Zelda cartoons they would show every Friday, rather than the lame Mario Bros. cartoons. That's right, I said lame. Lame.

Thanks to TV Links, you can now watch, um, Link do his thing and relive your misspent youth. And thanks to Joystiq for the heads-up.

I recommend viewing these cartoons while eating the Nintendo Cereal System.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Danger Zone

Liz got the idea to start painting the second bathroom today - a waste of perfectly-good goof-off time - so I felt compelled to do something around the house. The first bathroom was getting kind of moldy, so I busted out the Zap, or Zep, or whatever the concentrated bleach nonsense they sell for 8 bucks a pop is called. I put the iPod on random and stepped into the bathroom, ready to do battle.

The first song the iPod decided to play on random was "Highway to the Danger Zone." Somehow, it fit perfectly.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


First, there was snow. Then there was wind. Now, there's more snow!

I'm actually blogging this from my hotel room in San Francisco before I leave Macworld Expo to return home. My plane lands smack-dab in the middle of rush hour, so I can't imagine how awesomely awesome it's going to be to try to get a taxi from the airport to Bothell at 6 PM tonight. And by "awesomely awesome," I mean head-bangingly awful.

Props to an unknown Photoshopper on SA for the image.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


No, really.

MIT, echoing a move made by some other colleges, has released materials for many of their courses online. By the end of 2007, according to the news article about it, "by the end of this year, the contents of all 1,800 courses taught at one of the world's most prestigious universities will be available online to anyone in the world, anywhere in the world. Learners won't have to register for the classes, and everyone is accepted." The OpenCourseWare program is already populated with a lot of awesome stuff: want to learn about Astrophysics? What about history? Anthropology? Forensic science? It's all there, and it's all free.

Viva la education revolution. Via SA.

This (and This, and This) Is The Way The World Will End

Via Digg, a Discovery online article about 20 Ways the World Could End.

They left off the most obvious method: zombie attack. For shame, Discovery online. For shame.

Puppeteers: what is your preferred method for the world to end? Flooding? Alien invasion? Maybe something not on the list, like Cloned Dinosaur Attack? Do tell! The comment button is there for a reason.


One of my favorite music videos ever:

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Waiter? There's Something Red in My Soup

Today, I'm taking ten minutes at work to eat my lunch, catch up on some website monitoring (translate: reading the Something Awful forums), and talking with Brook about tonight's Pirates game. I'm not really paying attention, and I feel a slicing sensation along my upper lip. Turns out the cheap plastic spoon provided by the sandwich shop for my soup has a rough edge. A very rough edge.

A minor setback. I continue eating my soup, when I look down and notice it has taken on a distinctly red tone. Like blood. Like I'm bleeding in my soup. Sometimes, it takes a moose.

So now I'm sitting here with a largish cut on my lip much worse than I thought. I can only imagine it will be a nasty canker sore in a day or two. And the soup? Not all that satisfying.

I finished it, though.

From the "Oh Snap" Department

In the 2006 midterms, Minnesotans elected Keith Ellison to the House of Representatives. Mr. Ellison is a Muslim, and as such wanted to take his oath of office on the Koran. Representative Virgil Goode (ol' boy), Republican from Virginia, opined that

"I believe that the overwhelming majority of voters in my district would prefer the use of the Bible," the Virginia Republican told Fox News, and then went on to warn about what he regards as the dangers of Muslims immigrating to the United States and Muslims gaining elective office.

So how did Ellison respond to Goode's charges? He asked to take his oath on the Koran that Thomas Jefferson once owned. To which Goode had no response.

Via SA.