Friday, December 30, 2005

Nintendo DS

I'm away for the new year but I had a moment to post. I just bought a Nintendo DS with some Best Buy gift certificates I got for XMas.. It's pretty cool if you are looking for a handheld game system. The dual screens are really cool and the Wi-Fi is pretty cool as well. I reccomend you check it out.. If I find any cool games I promise to let you know...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


I hope everyone is having a great holiday season.. Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwansa all celebrated in a perfet storm of holiday cheer!

I've been overwhealmed with family and the like. Gifts all over the place, stuff to return, stuff to read about.. got lots of books so lots to actually read.. Got an amzing CD set too "The complete Jack Johnson Sessions" by Miles Davis.. amazing stuff..

Bought a Nintendo DS with some gift certificates.. I'll let you know how that is.. I'm psyched.

Anyways, I'm just stopping in to say hi.. I've had too much going on to write but I didn't want you all to think I'd abandoned you.. There are some serious posts in the archives that I urge you all to read while I'm away..

Talk to you after the New Year.. stay safe!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Move voting machine hacking

It is too soon to be using electonic voting machines. We can't even build safe/unhackable operating systems yet. Letting bad software companies try and build voting machines is simply asinine.. The latest report comes after a test on a Diebold machine but it could happen on any of them.

War in the US

If the fact that wiretapping US citizens wasn't enough to rouse you out of your chairs and stampede towards Washington shouting "Impeach", there is an incredible piece in the Washington Post today. Basicly it tells us how in the days after 9/11, W tried to get the authority to Wage War within the US borders! Think about it.. W mobilizing the army to take over buildings that house activist groups.. or maybe military prison camps or tribunals.. who knows.. This guys thought then and thinks now that everyone is an enemy combatant.. He thinks he is a kind and we are all his subjects.. Actually, and there are so many parralells here, the man acts as if he is Saddam. He believes that dissent should be quieted and the military should carry out his will wherever he wishes... this man is sick and has to be removed before more damage is done to our once great nation!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Video Compositing

I was a video editor for 12 years. The thing I loved to do more than anything else was composites. When I did them, I had to do a lot of the work by hand, with 4 video decks running a complicated setup on the switcher, a synchronized effects box and then maybe even more layers on top.. it was incredibly complex work and I loved every second of it. Now a days it's a lot easier with computers and compositing tools.. This demo reel from R!OT Manhattan (a post house specializing in tv spots) shows you the amazing stuff they are doing these days and exposed some of the secrets that you as a regular viewer never even imagined...


Check out this website. It's a web application that manages lists of tasks. It's simple, clean, powerful and simply amazing to me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Netflix Rules!

I've sung the praises of Netflix many times but today they proved that they rule yet again.

Unlike most American companies, Netflix actually cares about keeping their customers so for the second time in 2 years, they have lowered their monthly fee for membership. They could have kept it the same and I would have been happy but nope..I got a nice friendly email telling me they lowered thier pricing and I would automaticly be billed less next month..

You know they could have totally just offered new members a reduced rate and kept us regulars in the dark.. but nope.. they were cool and lowered prices across the board. So, not only do I get amazing service from them, they keep charging less for it.. what more can you ask for from a company?

Now if only Tivo could get thier shit together I'd be in entertainment bliss.

Stop the Presses

I'm not sure what this site is all about, but this is a fun Myst like game.. I've been playing with it for a little bit now and I've gotten past 3 screens.. I wonder where it will take me.. It's really cool..

Ok.. here's an update.. First off, I solved the puzzle and it was a lot of fun.. very cool. The game is called Samorost and there's actually a second one too called (drumroll) "Samorost2".. check them both out.. they rule!

Remember last year how there was this crazy rumor (that turned out true) about the farm where you could hunt hot chicks in bikinis with a paintball gun? Well, they've turned it into an interactive website where you can actually do it online.. live.. in real time.. it's still testing, but the site is up and they are looking for testers.. enjoy...

Isaiah Zagar

Isaiah Zagar is an amazing artist. I live in the area of the city where you can see his art everywhere. It's in back alleys, on rooftops, it covers walls, it's all over and it's beautiful. The main showpace of Zagar work is his garden at 10th and South. He needs to save it and he can use your help. First, check out this article. Second, donate here and possibly get some cool art.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Electronic Voting Machines

Sorry.. when I start thinking about this topic I get a little crazy.. See, I'm a Software Engineer and I know I could build a damn voting machine that would work perfectly and be secure.. So I find it amazing that these huge corporations can't do it. Then I find it amazing that they aren't tested properly by the counties and states that deploy them!

But I know how government beurocrats think and I know how things go in Wall Street companies.. Nobody cares about quality here, it's all about people keeping thir jobs and keeping the stock price up..

We could do better!

Diebold CEO Resigns

Diebold is an evil, evil company that only cares about making money. I've talked about elections before and Diebold in particular and I've mentioned before about how thier voting machines contain proprietary software that they don't allow anyone (including the counties buying the machines) to see. I've also mentioned the amazing fight that they are doing over at (I donate to them every year).

I didn't point you to this article though I should have:

Previous revelations from the whistleblower have included evidence that Diebold’s upper management and top government officials knew of backdoor software in Diebold’s central tabulator before the 2004 election, but ignored urgent warnings

But the thing that I couldn't stand most was the fact that their CEO, a huge supporter of the Bush campaign promised to deliver Ohio to the president in the last election:

The company was thrust into the center of controversy during the 2004 presidential election campaign, after O'Dell wrote in a Republican Party fundraising letter that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year." The Canton, Ohio-based company is among the nation's biggest suppliers of paperless, touch-screen voting machines.

(from Business Week)

Well, finally he resigned and the world is now a tiny bit better place.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Toyota Tacoma

The agency who has been doing the Toyota Truck commercials deservers more business. I like these spots almost as much as the Burger King spots. My favorite is the Meteor one. This is just so well done. It seems so real.. the funniest part is the "wiki wiki" part at the beginning. There are others.. a bit more rare, but overall the entire campain has been very entertaining. Nice work by these guys.


Found a cool website called petitiononline where you can "sign" online petitions, or set up your own. I signed one to bring "The State" to DVD.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

We can solve the big problems. We just need to try!

The problem in the world is that we don’t try to solve big problems anymore. At least we don’t try to actively solve them with big solutions. I’m talking about big huge solutions filled with resolve…the kind of solutions that don’t seem possible at first. Sure we make little attempts at fixing stuff. We make short term fixes and then wait until we need to address things again. But in essence we don’t solve anything.

As a race, we humans have shied away from the big stuff lately. In our past we have tackled huge problems: language, culture, energy, etc. I think that since we’ve become ‘civilized’, we decided we didn’t need to do anything else. It’s like collectively we became lazy and complacent.

I think we need to get off our asses and start thinking about solutions for big problems. We need to brainstorm. We need to debate about stuff. And not about politics and taxes, we need to start focusing our energies on tacking the big problems.

I’ll give you an example of what I’m talking about. I think I have a way to start us on the road to world peace. I think I can solve all the problems in the Middle East. I may not have it right, but I’ll bet my idea never crossed your mind. I bet you’re going to think I’m an idiot or something. But what I’m proposing here is an idea on how to solve a huge problem that nobody seems to want to solve.

Before I begin, let me just outline what I believe to be true. I don’t have the time right now to look up my facts so I’m simply going to outline a number of items for you. I think that while I may be incorrect on some of my assumptions, overall it’s the concept of the solution that is important to think about.

  1. Most, if not all Middle East problems, including ones that affect us here (like al Qaeda) stem from the fact that the Israelis live in the area given them in 1967 by the League of Nations.

  2. Arabs believe that the land where the Israelis should belong to them because it contains all their holy places.

  3. Jews have few, if any true holy places in their land that they care about

  4. By living where they do, Jews have enemies on all sides of them that want them dead at all times.

Ok, so here it is. The Jews should abandon Israel and move somewhere safer and we in America and in the other free nations should help them. Let Palestine or Syria or whoever have the land. Once this issue is resolved, there will be no more friction in the Middle East. All problems in the Middle East stem from the Jews living in Israel. Solve this issue and everything else falls in line.

Yes, I hear all of your arguments. Let me give you more of my solution. I know that the Jews have a right to the land and they should feel like they should stay. I know that asking them to move is a terrible thing. But sacrifice has to be made to come to a solution here and I mean sacrifice across the board.

The Jews need to leave. Really, is there a better solution? We all know that it’s only a matter of time before Arab nations develop nuclear capabilities and start lobbing bombs at Israel. Or perhaps they carry them into the US or Spain or Germany or wherever. Over the long term, if the Jews stay in Israel, there will never be peace.

So, we move them out. And we don’t just put them up in a Holiday Inn somewhere; we move them to a place that will be better for them across the board. Furthermore, we do it at no cost to them. But where would they go? This is a sovereign nation we are talking about here.

Here is where I’m going to sound really crazy but if you take a moment and think about what I’m about to say, if you allow yourself to dream a little and imagine it as a possibility, you may see that I’m making some sense.

I think that we should offer the Jews one of our cities. And not just as a place to live, but as a piece of land that they can make into their own nation again: New Israel. If we move them to our shores, they will be safe, they will be able to focus on developing themselves (instead of spending a huge amount of resources on national defense) and they will be able to live without fear of terrorism.

I’ve thought a lot about where to offer them land. First I thought about it from the perspective of a resident of the city that was being given away. Would I want to leave? Perhaps I would if I fully understood how important it would be for my country and for the Jews and for the world. That would be a case someone would have to make for me, and make it clearly and concisely.

But I’m not sure if a city filled with wealthy, settled, working people would be happy with the idea no matter how noble. So, I began to think of cities that were primarily filled with people who didn’t care that they lived there, that would gladly move if their situations could be improved. I began to focus on cities that were isolated due to a large number of poor people. Detroit for example.

We can move these people out of the city, buy them some land, build them a house, give them a job of some kind. Would they be amenable? I think they would. This would cost millions of dollars, but I have an idea for that as well which I will get to shortly.

I thought about Detroit for a while and decided against it, New Israel to have a chance to work would need to be settled with access to an ocean. And then it dawned on me. What city, what region in America is near the ocean and is virtually empty and has its residents already moved out? Yup, New Orleans. We should give the city (and the surrounding region) to the Israelis. We could build the levies and clean it up and present it to them. They would have an ocean, and be surrounded by the US. How safe would that be?

So how do we pay for this? How do we move an entire nation across the ocean? How do we pay to prepare New Orleans? How do we pay to move who is left in the area out? Its simple. Think about who benefits from Israel moving out of the Middle East? Almost the entire Civilized World. We could make a case to the world that this helps everyone and so everyone should contribute to making it happen. America shouldn’t have to pay a penny since we are giving up a huge chunk of our nations land and coastline but the EU should pay, Saudi Arabia should pay, Russia should pay, China should pay, Japan should pay. Coming up with the money shouldn’t be a problem.

The problem is convincing people that this crazy idea could work. If you think about it, this is the only barrier to this idea. The only barrier to relative world peace is convincing the world’s people that it is plausible. Think about that. We can have world peace if we just believed we could.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Remote Thermostats

I've got a problem and I've got a solution. The problem is that the heat in my house never works right.. the AC as well. The problem is that the room with the thermostat in it is the only one that has the desired temperature. The rest of the house suffers from the poor design of the delivery method (in the current case, air). I'm sure you have this problem since every house I've ever owned or lived in has had it.

If I owned this house and had the money for it I could put in a 2 zone system so upstairs would run seperately from downstairs, but that's not an option here and it's certinly not an option for most home owners.

In todays tech world I wonder why the heat and air systems are controled with such archaeic systems. The biggest advancement in thermostat technology happened 20 years ago when they came up with a timer so we could do mutiple temperatures throughout the day.

I say they need to come up with a thermostat that had 5 or so remote temp sensors that you set up around the house. The termostat used them all to get a whole house average before it made its decisions.

Don't tell me it would be expensive to manufacture.. It wouldn't. I'd be first in line to buy one.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

The Constitution

I think this is total bullshit but it's an interesting read nonetheless and a story to keep your eyes on..

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,” Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.”

“Mr. President,” one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.”

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!”

(full story)

The Baltimore Light Pole mystery

So by now you've heard the story of the stolen light poles in Baltimore. I find this story pretty incredible.. First off, to get away with 130 thefts of these huge poles you really have to have your shit together. First of all, you have to disconnect the electicity, secondly you need to have a nice neat way to lower the pole down, also you have to block traffic. I mean there are all kinds of reasons that make this a non average theft. Ususally people steal small valuable stuff that they can get to quick and get away with quick. This theft is nothing like that at all. These are huge fucking heavy poles (like 250 pounds).

All this to sell them off for $80 a pice to scrap metal yards? I don't buy it at all. A guy selling cans maybe, but a 250 pound pole? From what I've read these guys have a truck, cones, and probably uniforms too.. That's a serious investment for $80 a pole. Sure it's $10,000 but the risk/reward doesn't sound right at all.

Then there's the cop side of the equasion. How do you let thieves make out with 130 poles? I can see 10, maybe 20.. but 130? That's a lot of theft going on.. I mean wouldn't the cops know what to look out for?

Somethings really wrong with this picture and I can't figure out what it is..

Marshals on Trains now

Ahh.. so we can look forward to more innocent people being shot...


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Howard and Sirius

First of all, for those of you lost in space, Howard Sterns last radio show is on Friday so you should listen. Sadly I can't since no radio I can find can tune in WYSP. There is some kind of radio dead zone around my house. I've spent 2 weeks trying all kinds of crap with no luck at all.

The good news is that my Sirius is working and I'l be ready in January when Howard hits the air again.

Speaking of Sirius, it's not too late to buy the stock. It's trading a little below 8 right now. Some say that when Howard moves over, the stock will jump up 10-20% because he will bring in a shitload of new subscribers. Actually I don't care, I'm in it for the long haul. Satellite radio is here to stay folks. The XM/Sirius debate will become moot when in a few years all receivers will be able to pick up both services. There is no doubt in my mind that in 5 years most of America will have switched over to satellite radio. All the car companies are installing receivers. I’ve said this before.. how would you like to have 100 shares of NBC or CBS or HBO right now? Sirius and XM will be huge stocks in the coming decades and I pick Sirius since it’s trading at a reasonable amount and I can buy more. I’m in it for the long haul and there is no reason why at less than $10 a trade (scottrade, etc.) you don’t drop some money into it as well..

Don’t let me tell you “I told you so”

the symbol

This has been bugging me for quite a long time now and it's about time I addressed it. After 9/11 our fine leader followed the custom of all "patriots" and began wearing a lapel pin of an American flag.

Now this is a simple argument and it's quite obvious to me and should be to you as well. Everyone in America should be wearing this symbol of America except GWB... And I'll tell you why.. He is the fucking symbol! Think about it for a moment.. Why should the president of this country have to display his patriotism? He is the president!

Also, as an aside, the president (as the Commander and Chief of the armed forces) is not supposed to salute his marine guard and I believe any soldiers for that matter. Yet, he continues to do it.. putz.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

This Aggression Will Not Stand Man!

The music industry sucks ass and we all know it. One of the problems is a huge lack of creativity. Mash-ups aren't new, but their idea is exactly what we need more of. Creative repurposusing is more than just sampling and I'm a hige fan. Of course Danger Mouse and the Grey Album was the perennial break out. ccc did an awsome mash-up of the beatles Revolver ("Revolved"). The creativity is out there, unfortunately it's being stifled by the labels..

Today is "Dean Gray Tuesday" and I urge you to protest with me. See, Dean Gray (an alias) has released a mashup based on the Green Day album "American Idiot" and it's pretty damn good. Obviously the labels have been trying to stop it's release. Today it's being hosted all over the place for download and we the public are being urget to download and distribute it as a protest. The website coordinating this effort can be found here.

Here is their blurb :

Only 10 days after its release, the mash-up album American Edit, which pays tribute to the acclaimed Green Day album American Idiot through some of the best mash-up productions of 2005, was shut down reportedly after received a cease & desist order from Green Day's label, Warner records, despite the fact that it was released as an internet only release with no commercial gain for the team of mash-up artists involved. In fact, the only possible profit to be made from the release was a plea from the creators of the album (known only by the shared alias Dean Gray) for fans who enjoyed the creation to donate to one of three possible charities that Green Day have been known to support. Furthermore, the mash-up versions were such fantastic productions that they were truly a departure from the standard Green Day performances and would not compete for consumptive dollars.

We hope to mobilize the online Mash-Up community by organizing a simple one-day organized event. Participants would be asked to post the American Edit album online for 24 hours only starting on Tuesday, December 13, at 12:00AM. Doing so is not intended to be a mass organization of music piracy but, rather, one single display of the consumptive power of the mash-up and home remix community in the hopes of encouraging the labels, publishers and artists who are curious about the mash-up community to consider giving the high quality productions of "illegitimate" music a legitimate consideration as a promotional avenue for all music.

We also hope to encourage club DJs and radio DJs to air portions of the American Edit release on "Gray" Tuesday and refer to this site by reporting their planned airplay in advance.

I'm a big fan of "Dr. Who on Holiday".. I miss the Daleks..

New Blog

My friend Tyler has begun his first blog. I'm not sure he's going to be able to keep up with it (blogging is kind of a habit you need to nurture), but if he does, I'll bet that he has a lot of cool stuff to say that needs to be read. I ask you, my fellow readers to give his blog a look and maybe comment on his posts, give him some encouragement, etc..

We need more people questioning the world and Tyler has always been one of them, getting that voice out into the ether is one step in the right direction for change.. something I've been fighting for since I stated all this...

Friday, December 09, 2005


I don't have an HDTV yet but I really want one. My problem is that I'm pretty wed to SD Tivo and there really is no HD Tivo that will work as I want it to. Also I have to save up some money since I plan to spend like $6-7k on the monitor. Anyway, this post isn't about mem it's about the millions of people who have purchaced HDTVs.

Apparently 50% of HDTV owners aren't watching HDTV at all and a large group of them actually believe they are watching HD but aren't. This comes from a survey that Scientific Atlanta did reciently. It is outlined here.

"Forrester [Research] predicts just seven million of those households will actually be watching HD programming from their video service provider in that timeframe, suggesting that many consumers are buying HDTVs but then not taking the additional steps required to receive HDTV services."

I liked this finding :

"23% of HDTV owners did not invest in special equipment to watch HDTV channels because a message at the beginning of the programs they watch tells them that those programs are being broadcast in HD."

This gels with what I've seen at peoples houses. Most people I've seen think that becasue their widescreen can stretch their SD signal to fit, that they are watching HD. Not only is the image distorted, but the video quality is generally horrible. Kind of humerous to me that one would spend over a thousand dollars on something and then never use it properly. Crazy

Drive Right Pass Left

Seems someone has taken up my cause. When I was researching starting my own website on this subject, I found this URL taken, it seems they have filled it up with a nice website. Support the cause and buy a bumper sticker from them right now. And then go out and drive on the highway the way you should!

From the intro :

I answer No because "Drive Right, Pass Left" goes beyond speeding and addresses the argument of proper lane usage on our highways. Proper lane usage and common courtesy go hand in hand in helping lower incidents of road rage as well as helps with traffic issues that clog our highways.

RC Helicopter

I've always wanted an RC helecopter. Ever since the day I first heard of one (I must have been like 12) I wanted one. The closest I came over my years was this awesome toy I used to have as a kid (can't remember the name) that had a helicopter attached to a control line and it would go in circles. You had two connected controls to handle rotor speed and pitch.. Was it called Whirly Bird? Man I loved that thing. I used to fly it in circles all day long, picking up the little guy that came with it and dropping it off..

Next was this game (again I can't remember the name) for the Apple I had where you would fly this chopper (side scrolling game) and pick up these people and rescue them then fly back to the base to drop them off.. Shit.. I wish I could remember the name of that game.. Played it for hours.

Anyway, I never bought a real RC chopper since they were so damn expensive and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fly it. I hear they are incredibly hard to fly. I did watch this tv program one year where this guy was building a kit helecopter. That was amazing too.. Just seeing the kit showing up on a truck with all the parts and watching this guy build it and then fly in it.. too cool.. Of course this is a teme today, I can't remember the name.

So, I was in Radio Shack yesterday (hate the store, topic for another post.. or did I post a rant about them in the past?) and I saw for $60 an indoor RC helecopter. How cool is that? I didn't see it fly, it was just sitting there. I turned it on in hopes to fly it, but the remote had no batteries. Though I did get to play with it a little to see it's quality. It's tiny and light and looks well made. I decided to buy one after Christmas.

So I found it on the Radio Shack website today. From the user reviews it seems like it's cool, but not any fun to play with since it only has controls for the tail rotor and the rotor speed. There apparently is no control for rotor pitch so you can only go up/down and spin on axis. There is no forward or backwards control.

Now let me ask you this. Who the hell spends the time and energy to build a model RC chopper that doesn't go forward and backwards? It seems the users found that you could weight the front of the chopper to make it go forward but how much fun is that? It's totally out of control.

So, now it's back to the drawing board for me. I'm going to start looking around for a cheap RC chopper to buy and play with. Until then....

and played with it a while

Thursday, December 08, 2005

R.I.P. Bud Carson

For those of you who are Eagles Fans, one of our greatest modern day coaches died yesterday at 75. Bud was an amazing coach and back in the early 90's he coached what I consider to have been the best defensive group ever in the NFL. That was the great Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons and Mike Pitt front 4 with Wes Hopkins, Eric Allen, Andre Waters and Seth Joyner behind them. I believe it was 1992 or 1991 when they set a record for least yards given up on run and pass and led the league in almost every defensive catagory. Bud died of natural causes.

Wasabi House

Just ahd lunch at Wasabi House II on South Street below 7th and it was really good. If you are looking for good sushi in the area, this is the place. I was really impressed with the freshness, presentation and flavor. I will have to go again to check the consistancy however.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


Now this is a cool idea.. I'm going to do some work on this site when I get a chance. You should too.. It would be amazing to see what kind of laws we all come up with collectively... this could be the start of an actual democracy!

Yup I'm right

check out the video of the news report for Irvins arrest. It turns out that Irvin is a moron and that the law is totally fucked up.

First off, the cops would never have searched his car if he hadn't been pulled over. He was speeding 18 MPH over the limit. I'm no fan of speed limits so I won't really talk about this part. Though I will say that when I'm not activly evading police I never go over 14 MPH over. That seems to be the magic number. Whatever.

The part that makes Irvin a moron is that the search happened when he was arrested for a warrant for a previous unpaid traffic violation! Dude, how much could that previous ticket have cost him to pay? How hard would it have been for him to send a lawyer to take care of it? Moron.

Now on to the law. Notice in the video after the cop finds the pipe and the bag with pot 'residue' he says : "I'm not charging you for the weed, but for the paraphanalia". I'm only guessing here, but I assume having a tiny amount of pot isn't illegal. But having a glass pipe is???? Again I go back to my previous post on this subject.. how is it that having a shaped piece of glass in your possetion is illegal? I just don't get that at all!

Monday, December 05, 2005

The continuing saga of 12 oz. mouse

I'm starting to love this show. I'm not sure if I'm loving it becasue it is slowly revealing itself and making a tiny bit of sense, or if I'm loving it becasue most people I can find on the net are hating it. (see here, here, here, here and here).

A lot of complaints about the quality of the animation and drawing.. Who cares about the drawing, that's actually part of the charm. This show is about story and plot and mystery. People need to be force fed stuff in America, anything that's difficult is deemed crap and that's sad.

This show is probably the most difficult thing I've ever watched, but it is fulfilling. Try it out..

Glass possession should not be illegal.

Yes, I agree Michael Irvin is an idiot. Here is a guy who after a successful career as a football player was able to parley into a job as a highly paid TV analyst on ESPN. This doesn’t happen easily. Think of all the ex-football players that didn’t make it after their careers. So, what does he do? He gets arrested with a crack pipe in his car. Not smart at all. When he was a Cowboy things were different, nobody cares about football players getting in trouble with the law, but a TV personality is totally different. He could have lost his job over this. But I really have no opinion on the matter. I don’t care if he keeps his job or not and I really can’t say if what he did was wrong or right.

What I can complain about is the fact that he was arrested for having a shaped piece of glass in his car. What the fuck is this all about? There were no drugs found, just a pipe. Why is it illegal to have a piece of glass in your car? If it was shaped differently, like say in the shape of a bottle it would have been legal, but since it was shaped like a pipe it was illegal. How does one determine weather a glass object is a drug pipe or not? Is there a detailed analysis done? What if the pipe was for tobacco.. does that have a different shape? How is it that we are making objects illegal now? Isn’t this a little subjective? I could see if there were drugs in the car or if Mr. Irvin was witnessed smoking drugs. In those cases he should have been arrested because there are clear laws against those behaviors. But being in possession of a piece of glass? Crack possession is illegal, glass position should not be. What is wrong here?

Sunday, December 04, 2005

A Penguin life is Fun?

I've been watching a lot of Tivoless tv lately since my girlfriend has been bedridden with a back injury. The key thing is that I've been forced to watch a lot of commercials. What a drag it's been. First off, they need more variety. In little over a week of commercial tv, I've been able to memorize about 75% of them. This isn't cool at all. Each time I see a commercial, it would be cool to see something new. We've now gotten to the point where we mute them when they come on. What makes it interesting is that I can recite thier audio track. Sad..

Anyway, one of the commercials is for the DVD version of "March of the Penguins". I think this was a really great movie and I learned a lot about what the life of the Emporor Penguin is like. The strange thing is that they are trying to position the movie as a feel good Christmas movie and I really don't know why at all. The penguin life is really, really hard as those of you who have seen the film can attest to. The part that is just totally insulting to me (and should be to people who haven't seen the film and buy it becasue of the ad) is that they end the spot with a line like "See how fun it is to be a penguin!".. huh? Did the writer of this spot even see the film? Is huddling together in a mass pile of penguins for 2 months in a blizzard in Antartica with no food fun? Is spending a whole year to have a child and then loosing it because the egg slipped out of your grasp for 30 seconds fun? Huh? I just don't get it.

Its stuff like that that reinforces my hatred for the Hollywood marketing machine. What a bunch of pathetic fucks. Nobody complains though. Some people, like me, see and buy fewer movies than we normally would, but nobody notices. Ah well, what can one person do?

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Don't knock It

I'm going to make a concerted effort to follow this rule: "Don’t knock it until you try it". If you think about it, this rule is huge and really important to all facets of life. Essentially it means that you really shouldn’t have an opinion on something that you’ve never done before. You have to "walk a mile in my shoes" first.

Think of how much better the world would be if we all followed this rule religiously. First off the Abortion debate would not be a debate anymore. Only women who had had one, or who were contemplating one could have an opinion on the matter. Same goes for the war on drugs. Nobody could be anti-drug unless they had tried the drugs they were rallying against. Same for religion, if you aren't of a certain religion you can only have a comment on it if you had been of that religion (atheism counts too) in the past.

Just think about it for a minute. Lets go back to the drug thing. Say there is a guy you see on the street who is a crack head. They wake up, look for money, maybe steal it, maybe sell their body, they get their crack, find a crack house, smoke up and then tune out for a few hours until its time to smoke again. Now, can you honestly say that your life is better than theirs? I've never done crack but I bet that it is an amazing way to tune out of "normal" society. Who’s to say that these people when they are on the drug aren't connecting with the universe in some spiritual way that you and I aren't aware of? I would imagine the argument would work even better if we were to apply it to pot or heroin or something...

The point is that we can’t judge people without knowing what their life is like. We can't judge experiences or beliefs unless we are in the same situation as those we are judging. I have friends who love the gym and look at me funny when I say I like to sit home after work and watch TV all evening. Who is right? Both of us? To each his own right?

Don’t knock it until you try it!

Friday, December 02, 2005

It sucks being a consumer these days

I’ve got two pet peeves I’d like to discuss for a moment. They’ve been rattling around in my mind for quite some time and I don’t know why I haven’t written about them yet.

Ok.. Let’s start with the easy one. Almost every store that has been built since about 1975 has two front glass doors. If you look, you will see this to be true. I ask you a simple question. If you have two doors, why is that inevitably one of them is locked tight? This is the case almost everywhere I go and it doesn’t make me happy at all.

First of all, if you were only going to use one door, why did you spend the money to have a second one? Secondly, if you are running a business your primary goal is to have happy customers and let me tell you something, having them struggle with doors does not make the best first impression.

Let’s think about the logic of having two doors. And here is probably where I get most angry. In America we have this unaccepted rule when walking and driving that we always stay to the right in two way traffic situations. This comes into play when walking on the sidewalk, driving your car on a two lane road, using a shopping cart, when you are a waiter going into a kitchen, essentially it happens everywhere. It’s a rule and if you don’t follow it, you are an ignorant idiot in my book. So, that takes us to the door deal. When you walk into a store with two doors, you would naturally use the door to the right, same goes for your way out. That would mean that both doors should be operational. In this case, all shoppers would be able to use the portal with no hassle or stress. But of course that’s not the case at all when one door is locked. Not only will you choose the incorrect door 50% of the time, but if there is traffic coming the other way you will have to take the time to work out who should go through first and that’s simply a waste of time.

There is simply no reason why a store should keep one door locked other than pure laziness. I can’t imagine more heat or air conditioning would be let out/in. I can’t imagine any reason at all that would mandate this waste. So, I complain about it every time I go into or out of a store and it’s getting to be a total pain in the ass. If you own a store or work in one that has 2 doors, open them both please.

So my second peeve is a complex one to describe since there are so many variations of the problem. I will instead describe the problem and leave the examples to you as an exercise.

A while ago someone thought of a really cool idea. They thought that at the point of sale, it would be really smart to allow people to swipe their credit/debit card in a reader so they could enter their pin or sign while the cashier is bagging or ringing stuff up, or whatever. The idea was to speed up the check out process and make the user experience more fluid and painless. Well, leave it to us to fuck that up.

Can you tell me the accepted system for these machines? Every one at every store is different. Not to mention that a small number of them simply don’t work and have tape covering them up with hand written signs on them that say “please hand card to cashier”. At Best Buy you run your card through the machine and then hand it to the cashier for them to type in your info -- this one is odd since it apparently adds work for the consumer with no gain at all. Some machines only do debit, some only credit, some you have to wait until everything is added up, some you can do before the cashier even begins.

My problem is that because of this fragmentation, the user experience is actually worse than if there was no machine at all. Every store I go to, I need to conduct a short Q and A with the cashier about the usage of the machine and the local customs. Fuck it, just rip the damn things out and let me hand you my card already. What a fuck up!

out the examples