Monday, February 27, 2006

Surprising VOD content

So I was browsing through the free VOD content on cable at home...and lookie here, they had both The Corporation and Control Room on VOD.

I'm must say I'm pretty surprised to see such "subversive" content served up - for free no less.

If memory serves, I think I've seen the End of Suburbia in there before, too.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Death Star

The guys over at linked to this video of Star Wars remixed with some rap. Pretty entertaining - to me, anyway. If you can understand all of what they are saying (not very easy - the mix is a little heavy on the music), I'm sure it's news to some of the folks in this country, thanks to a complicit or sleeping media.

It'd be funny if someone jammed the Fox News signal for a while with this looping - probably blow a few dittoheads' minds. :)

HD Boycott

Saw this yesterday...the HD boycott is probably ultimately doomed, but the direction HD might take isn't looking good. I'm happy I didn't join all the early-adopter lemmings. In any case, until I can walk down to the library and get the HD equivalent of DVD, I'm just not interested. Cable doesn't offer HD content I'm really interested in as far as movies go, and I don't watch sports, so that's a non-starter for interesting me.

When you read some of the industry press, and read between the lines, you can see they are pretty annoyed that the American "consumers" aren't doing what they are told to fast enough for their tastes.

Every time I walk into Costco, I see giant displays facing the door screaming "HDTV"! Of course I take a look at them. To be honest, I'm underwhelmed. I guess I'm not doing my patriotic duty to buy up all the crap that I can afford. Don't get me wrong, I make a lot of money and have no debt (except for my house payment)...I could probably pay for some of these sets without even putting it on credit. I just don't want to.

I'm also starting to wonder if owning lots of stuff doesn't end up owning you, anyway, even if you aren't going into debt over it. I've certainly been trying to cut down on my time in front of the tube.

(Deeply) Weird Science

Okay, this is deeply weird...let me get this straight - the quantum computer works better when it is shut off?

I guess that quote by Niels Bohr applies here:

"And anyone who thinks they can talk about quantum theory without feeling dizzy hasn't yet understood the first word about it."

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Values voters

After 2004's election, we kept being deluged with this meaningless, Orwellian term: "values voters". Often heard in sentences like this: "Well, the values voters have spoken, and Bush is their man..."

Any thinking hairless ape will wonder just what that term is supposed to mean. After all, doesn't EVERYONE have values? Oh, you mean so-called "family values", AKA so-called "Christian values" (or for the semi-politically correct, "Judeo-Christian values")? LOL! Do those "values" typically include lying, cheating, and stealing to achieve your agenda? Cf: Bush, Abramoff, Frist, Delay...etc.

Oh, yeah, I forgot: there are still people who think that morality can only be found via one Abrahamic cult or another, usually their own particular brand of it. Last I checked, I think there are over 3000 registered religions in can you be sure that by virtue of birth/social conditioning/imprinting that you have arrived at the correct one, with the one and true set of "values"?

Go Back to Sleep, America...Nothing to See Here

So I'm reflecting on the documentary End of Suburbia, and looking at the blog Powering Down, and I see a reference to a book that might actually have some suggestions of some things to do, Superbia...might have to check that one out. After the soul-crushing that the movie delivers, it might be nice to see what I can do...

It's pretty discouraging to realize just how little Americans know or care about this sort of thing...they'd rather just continue in their escapism. Confronting problems isn't all doom and gloom, it's supposed to be what mature and responsible adults do. Sorry to crash your little party, but the soccer mom lifestyle with sprawl and SUVs ain't a long term plan.

In any case, it really sickens me to reflect on how we got here. I'll be interested to see what Bush's recent meek utterings on this will amount to. My guess is squat. There has been no attempts at REAL leadership in the realm of energy policy since Carter's days. To hear that Reagan actually had the solar panels and woodstoves removed from the White House is just mind numbing. What. An. Asshole. From Powering Down:

Any politician who attempts to tell the American people the truth about our energy situation will be voted out of office. Just ask Jimmy Carter. In 1979 with the country in the grips of an oil crisis, President Carter delivered a speech in which he tried to bring our energy situation into the forefront of discussion in this country. The address was entitled "Energy and the National Goals - A Crisis of Confidence”. It has been nicknamed “The Road Not Taken Speech" because Americans did not like what they heard and chose not to listen to his warning. He was not reelected in 1980. Maybe it was his pessimistic tone as he sat in a sweater and urged the American people to turn down their thermostats. Ronald Regan thought so and removed the solar panels from the roof of the White House and the woodstove from its living quarters. With them went the political will to speak with honesty to the American people about the future of our nation and its energy issues. Will we ever get a leader with the strength of character necessary to tell us the truth and lead this nation through the coming peak oil crisis? More importantly will we be ready to listen?

"Standing Tall", indeed.

All sports broadcasts will proceed as normal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

A Scanner Darkly

So I download the Democracy Player, and I see that on VideoBomb channel, the Scanner Darkly trailer is out. The PKD book of the same name was such a cool head-warping read, and I hope this movie lives up to the promise of the trailer.

Now they just need to get working on the Ubik & Three Stigmata of Eldritch Palmer movies. ;)

Democracy Player

This Democracy Player is a very, very cool application. It's Internet TV made easy. Open source, and uses a lot of technology laid down and proven by others (BitTorrent, RSS).

I cannot believe how intuitive and natural the interface feels, too. These guys did good work.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Vanishing

Okay, a few days ago I posted about this movie The Vanishing, and what a complete abortion the American version turned out to be.

Anyway, so I'm catching up on old Phil Hendrie shows (I have a backstage pass) and he talks about the EXACT SAME THING. I think he said "don't waste your time watching the American version...etc." And said something like "if the original script was a baby, it was like they fed it through a wood chipper in the remake". LOL. This was on Dec 15th, 2005 show, BTW.

Nice to see that I'm not a fan for naught...I pay special attention to his discusson of certain movies, especially ones I haven't seen, since he seems to be a real fan of movies as well - and he refers to the whole array of movies, not just what was released last week.

Amazon + Denver Greasemonkey script for books, CDs & DVDs

I had to update the most recent script a bit in order to check if the item is a CD or DVD first as some apparently have very ISBN-like ASIN numbers. Also it was sometimes not getting the title properly for the search.

Anyway, here's some screenshots:

Denver has both, BTW. :)

Monday, February 20, 2006


I heard about a certification process on the Java Posse podcast called The Java Black Belt. Sounds pretty good to me, plus the price is right.

I especially like this bit of opinion:

Most of a Java Developer's knowledge is neither measured, nor recognized.

IMHO, so true, especially if expanded to "developer", and not just "Java Developer".

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Stephen Colbert, Sufi Master

I was amused by Bush's little dance on science, but I just about laughed so hard I cried when it didn't get by one of Comedy Central's Sufi masters: Stephen Colbert. On "Eureka", the show totally nails it.

Ahhh, it's so good to see politicians and pundits get a total skewering - I think there is more "truth" in 30 minutes of The Daily Show or The Colbert Report than there is in any of the corporate news shows. Maybe what we need to really shed light and pierce the veil of bullshit is a 24/7 "fake" news network.

Bush: The Delicious Irony

It's been a few weeks now, but imagine my amusement and delight when I read/heard about Bush's pronouncements to up the science ante. Doesn't this guy have any sense of irony at all? This guy has some real brass clankers to say that when it's his party that is actively waging war against science.

I guess he and his handlers have been using their party's terms for far too long to understand what's going on in the realm of science. If "balanced" to them means when a truth is given the same weight as a lie, then no wonder this party looks so stupid.

Again, I urge those who have not read it to read The Republican War on Science.

Friday, February 17, 2006

CD + DVD Search

I made a remixed version of my Denver-Prospector-Worldcat Greasemonkey script. Besides just searching when looking at an item that is a book, it will now look to see if the item is a CD or DVD.

If it's one of those, it will put a link under the title to search within Denver Library by the title of the item.

You can find all of my Amazon-library scripts over here.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Amusing Trailer Remixes

These trailer remixes over at ifilm are really good. The Abramoff one has around for a while, but I finally got around to watching it (making fun of that guy is like shooting fish in a barrel, I guess). The Brokeback From the Future was good for a grin.

Why Hollywood Can Really Suck

I think I've found one of the prime examples where Hollywood can totally botch things up. The Vanishing. Now, if you haven't seen this movie (the Dutch original-Spoorloos), and you are a horror/suspense fan, please, please, please, go to your library, NetFlix, or whatever and get it, and watch it.

To be fair, I've never seen the entire remake...but I was watching TV at work and saw that "The Vanishing" was on. Hm, this cannot be the same movie, because it looks much newer than that, and Kiefer Sutherland is in it. So I look in IMDB, and it is the same movie - but the American remake. Since I didn't think to set up my DVR at work to record, I thought I'd read the spoilers to see what the ending was. But now I don't really WANT to see it.

You see, get this: They gave it a Hollywood ending. Yep. The Dutch classic that freaked a lot of people out in its day was given a Hollywood ending. I don't want to give any spoilers for those who have not seen the original, but trust me, it doesn't have a Hollywood ending.

Dictionary of Republicanisms

I just finished the Dictionary of Republicanisms...I read it over my lunch hour at work, so obviously it's a short book. I had to move out of cubicle-land to an area away from those who are working because I kept laughing out loud. It's a set of definitions, A-Z, that define what Republicans really mean when they use certain words and slogans. Some examples are: (lifted from an Amazon review)

Abstinence-Only Sex Education = ignorance-only sex education.

Alarmist = any respected scientist who understands the threat of global warming.

Baby Tax = the $25,000 in national debt dumped on every newborn baby.

Clarify = to repeat the same lie over and over again.

Fox News = faux news; White House Press Office.

God = senior presidential adviser.

Incompetence = requirement for promotion in the Bush administration.

Job Growth = increased number of jobs an American has to take after losing earlier high-paying job.

Junk Science = any theory based on data, research, experimentation and rigorous testing rather than on religious texts; any science that interferes with corporate profitability.

Pro-Life = valuing human life up until birth.

Staying the Course = saying and doing the same stupid thing over and over, regardless of the result.

Water = arsenic storage device.

The ones that had me laughing were:

Laziness: When poor people don't work.
Leisure Time: When rich people don't work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hubba Hubba

A friend sent me this link to a video put together of a French anchorette (Melissa Theuriau). Yikes.

If news == entertainment, might as well deliver it with a pretty face, I guess.

Makes me want to move to France...get decent vacation time for once, get a different perspective on the world, and have an anchor like this to watch. ;)

Friday, February 10, 2006


I was checking out and seeing what it did to translate my page. A few posts ago had a section that got translated like so:

Chomsky harps on this a lot wizzle he says, "These thugz is NOT conservatizzles in various ways from tha streets of tha L-B-C. Wizzy I fiznirst heard Chomsky say/write this over n over `bout tha Reagizzles I was pretty incredulous fo gettin yo pimp on. B-to-tha-izzut, again, wizzy you look at whizzat they DO, not whizzat they SAY, thiznat becomes apparent really quickly with my forty-fo' mag.

The IT Crowd

The IT Crowd over on BBC shows promise. Unfortunately it has a laugh track - who needs that, anyway?

Also, BBC doesn't let those outside of UK grab it, but it looks like it's on BitTorrent. Maybe someday there will be a region 1 DVD release, too...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Remember When Republicans Were Conservative? Those Were the Days.

I saw this comment on some bulletin board or another. I don't even remember what they were commenting on, but it hit home with me. I don't even know that the average Republican even knows what they stand for. Even the ideologues seem to be championing ideas that have little to do with conservatism as it has been defined in the past. For instance, foreign intervention is most certainly NOT a conservative thing. The neo-cons love it, though.

Chomsky harps on this a lot when he says, "These people are NOT conservatives" in various ways. When I first heard Chomsky say/write this over and over about the Reaganites[0] I was pretty incredulous. But, again, when you look at what they DO, not what they SAY, that becomes apparent really quickly.

In fact, this same thing could be applied to the Democrats, too: "Remember when Democrats were liberal? Those were the days." When both parties champion "neo-liberal" trade policies (in fact, "neo-cons" seem to be the biggest champions of "neo-liberal" ideas - how weird is that?) and both parties have almost the same outcome in foreign policy (again, what they DO, not what they SAY) I think the common complaint that these two parties are really one and the same party is not far from the truth.

Democrat/Republican, it seems to be a distinction without a real difference. Of course, the Republicans seem to be gleefully dismantling social programs with more vigor than the Democrats, but that's all I can really see.

Even the Republicans with their current control of virtually everything in Washington don't have the guts to attack one of their base's biggest things: abortion. At least not directly - that'd be a third rail for them, and they know it. Instead, they will meekly try to bring it in the back door via the Supreme Court. Again, they SAY they are against abortion to get into office, but really don't want to do much about it, at least not via legislation.

[0] And now the Bushites, pretty much the same set of people - really pretty incredible when you think about it. It's like a dynasty that skipped eight years, and then picked up where they left off.

Microsoft Feels Your Pain

This video of Microsoft's new program to "feel your pain" is good stuff, indeed.

C64 emulator online

This is just insane! This site has a C64 games you can play online, without downloading anything.

Waterfall 2006

This site on "Waterfall 2006" was mentioned at Scott Davis' presentation last night at DJUG. Maybe I've been developing too many years, but this sure hits my funnybone.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006


Okay, so I used Firefox 99.9% of the time, but I found something I think is pretty annoying about it. If you want to be able to link to local files on your network like so:


Firefox does nothing when you click on it. Turns out that IE is fine with it. FF is also okay if you copy the link and put it in the address entry and hit return. Odd, says I.

After some creative searching, I came up with this answer. Turns out the FF crew thinks this is a security problem.

It's nice to know there's a workaround, but I'd think this would be pretty annoying for corporate users during use of the corporate intranet or internal wikis or the like.

Monday, February 06, 2006

What Would Bill Hicks Say? (or: We-eeell, looks like we got ahselves ah reeeeder!)

I keep getting a recommendation from Amazon for What Would Bill Hicks Say whenever I'm browsing other stuff. Unfortunately, the libraries close to me do not carry it. I think I just might buy it once I finish my other stack of reading I have on my list.

It's so tragic the man died so early in life. There are just so many things that Bill Hicks can summarize in poignant and funny ways. I love his summation of gays in the military. You can check out some of his quotations in Wikipedia.

They missed some of the better ones, though. Here's a few more:

Ever noticed that people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?

"My god I love everything! The heavens part, God reigned down gifts of forgiveness onto my being. Healing me on every level. Both psychically, mentally and emotionally. And I realised that our true natural spirit is not the body. That we are eternal beings, and God's love is unconditional. That there is nothing we ever do to change that. It is only our illusion that we are separate from God. Or that we are alone! In fact the reality is that we are one with God and he loves us." "Now if that isn't a danger to this country, I don't know what is. How are we going to keep building nuclear weapons? What's gonna happen to the arms industry, when we realise we are all one!? That's gonna fuck-up the economy. The economy that's fake anyway! Which would be a real bummer.. Yeah!"

"See why the governments are cracking-down on the idea of experiencing unconditional love!?"

Set top cop

Saw this over on Boing Boing. Sounds interesting, but living out in Denver is going to make attending problematic.

Oh well, maybe it's for the best I'm out in Denver. Over at Denver Java User's Group, Booch will be giving a talk that same night.

I've seen him speak before at DJUG. Booch is one hell of a speaker. If you are in software development, I'd definitely check it out if he speaks in your area.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Expanding square footage == expanding waistline?

Over on consumerist, they had this article on people's sizes trending with their house sizes. While not exactly scientific, it does make you wonder...

By the way, I cannot recommend Consumerist's like Consumer Reports with some zazz.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Excuse me, ghidorah?

I mentioned the "excuse me, ghidorah podcast" before, but wrote that it's been quiet for a while...well, it looks like there is activity again!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Poker Without Cards

I just finished this book, and I have got to say that this is one of the most interesting reads I've had in a while. I think right now it's in my top 10 list of books. That's saying a lot, you see, because I read a lot.

It's really hard to summarize the book, but it's clear that he's heavily influenced by RAW. Lots of Buckminster Fuller discussed in there, memetics, New Age-y sorts of things, general thinking about thinking, and thinking about media influence and the everyday matrix built by the media.

At one point, I was thinking, "this is almost a modern-day Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance," when the book actually then discussed Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance! How weird is that? Given the topics touched on in this book, very very weird.

I also keep a list of books I've read since 2004. This book happened to be #93. I'm not one for numerology, but you folks familiar with Crowley (which this book also mentions in passing) may find that pretty amusing.

Anyway, if you have a taste for some new ideas, or ideas you may already be familiar with but presented in a new way, I'd say rush right out and buy it. I happened to hear the author talk about the book on a Gpod Radio podcast, BTW.

What do you have to hide?

The argument typically heard for spying on citizens, is that "if you don't have something to hide, why should you care?"

Well, I won't go into just how fundamentally stupid and naive that is, but let's take it for what it is, and turn the tables. If any one group needs to be monitored, it's those at the very top, for what they do can have the most impact on people. So if the Bush administration wants to be able to spy on us without any restraint, how about if we go for full transparency in our government for once?

This administration isn't the first secretive administration, but they seem to have carried it to a new level. For one, he asked to limit the 9/11 investigation.

And now, they refuse to cooperate in digging up pictures of Abramoff.

Now, I ask you, what do Bush and his cronies have to hide? They shouldn't have to have all this privacy if they didn't have some skeletons in the closet. I know what you're thinking...these are issues of "national security". Yeah, right.

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