The [Ninja Turtles] henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady have hijacked the musical genres for us just like the Lone Ranger hijacked the William Tell Overture for our parents.

- xkcd

Friday, September 29, 2006

Don't Forget the Children

[UPDATE] The Mark Foley story blew up right after I posted this. I'm not going to bother to link to new stories about it though. I'm sure you can find those on your own.

Lost in all of this talk of who is or who really is destroying America is the topic of our children. Children our most precious renewable resource (and next to hydrogen are our greatest hope to removing the gasoline powered car) and need to be protected.

Thankfully, in addition to passing laws that will redefine how the president can screw over people our elected members of congress find time to communicate with the children.

How exactly they do this can take many forms. Consider this picture of Senator Kerry taking a break from milking the ketchup cow (hmm, I just realized that is sounds disturbingly sexual ... too late to take it out now!) to do a little meet and greet in Iowa.

Or perhaps we should consider the less innocent communications. Like those of Representative Mark Foley. Who as detailed in a report by ABC had sent creepy messages to a minor.

Like this one:
I am in North Carolina..and it was 100 in New that's really hot...well do you miss DC...Its raining here but 68 degrees so who can argue..did you have fun at your conference....what do you want for your birthday coming up...what stuff do you like to do
or perhaps this:
how are you weathering the hurricane...are you safe....send me an email pic of you as well....
While nothing too terribly overt here, they are all just SLIGHTLY creepy. This makes it more surprising though when we learn that Rep. Mark Foley resigned today.

Maybe this guy should get a job in a secret prison somewhere. If he's half as good at torturing prisoners as he is the written language we'll get a lot of good intel out of them.

Cobagitation for Effect

Secret tribunals for secret suspects that we might not even know we have...or ever know we killed. For some reason, this really gets me upset. So, how to cobagitate against this properly? Add to it the degree of difficulty that I already live in the SF Bay Area where most people are in concurrence. So, I have a three part plan for this otherwise boring Friday afternoon.

1) Give money to people running against the bastards (I chose Tester, MT senate and the guy trying to replace DeLay). I'm hoping dEn can deal with the Webb front.
2) e-mails to and for not covering the story effectively
3) Drinking heavily!

OK, so I think all of those ideas are an anathema to cobagitation but I seem to have lost all motivation for humorous imagination today. Luckily, dEn hasn't.

However, consider this a bleg(!- what a dumb internet word for beg, I though the internet was going to reduce letter usage -!) for other ways I can do my small part to give these cobags their due.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Making Unfunny Comics Funny

A while back I had a post about a site that made reading Garfield bearable. While that site is no longer updated regularly, I have found a new blog that makes yet another perennially unfunny comic enjoyable--Marmaduke Explained.

I know this isn't as interesting as the Federalist Papers discussed below but, hey, I'm not an academic ... I just enjoy making fun of stuff.

I've included a sample post from Marmaduke Explained below just to take up space.

Marmaduke's owner-girl thinks he has the lawn mower confused with the vacuum cleaner. In reality, Marmaduke has the lawn mower confused with a serial rapist.

A word I never want to hear again


This has to be the worst word ever and it has been so ridiculously overused these last five years. I mean seriously. What the hell is wrong with encouraged? Or energize or reassure? This is one of those words that is best left to literature. See:

"In the meantime I will go to Ithaca, to put heart into Ulysses' son Telemachus; I will embolden him to call the Achaeans in assembly, and speak out to the suitors of his mother Penelope, who persist in eating up any number of his sheep and oxen; I will also conduct him to Sparta and to Pylos, to see if he can hear anything about the return of his dear father--for this will make people speak well of him." The Odyssey by Homer.


"The loss of a week, a day, an hour, may sometimes be fatal. If it should be observed, that a discretionary power, with a view to such contingencies, might be occasionally conferred upon the President, it may be answered in the first place, that it is questionable, whether, in a limited Constitution, that power could be delegated by law; and in the second place, that it would generally be impolitic beforehand to take any step which might hold out the prospect of impunity. A proceeding of this kind, out of the usual course, would be likely to be construed into an argument of timidity or of weakness, and would have a tendency to embolden guilt." The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton

That second quote is pretty interesting actually. It comes from Federalist Paper No. 74. It seems really quite relevant to maybe authorizing torture or responding to threats. In fact, it relates to pardoning people. The last sentence, as I read it, states that you want the power of pardoning to be in one person so that they would have the courage to do what is right. Here, what is right is having one person grant clemency to people who might be rammed through the system.

Let me try that from one more angle. I think I can interpret the last sentence to say that we must show mercy when it is deserved (for the greater good) because otherwise we embolden the guilty who believe there is no point in altering their activity. It, instead, provides additional incentives for the guilty to succeed because they know there is no other way forward.

I'm sure, if you think long enough and hard enough, you might find some kind of parallels to the events in today's world. In case our activities and motives in Iraq aren't hazy enough here is another simple motivation. If the Americans arrest you, you are going to Gitmo. (or worse!) You might as well deserve it.

Is this realistic? I certainly don't know. But it is bad. It is beyond bad. It is horrifying and unthinkable that this is our course of action. Yet it is the operating principle of American government today. That is the guilt I have to live with for the rest of my life.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Awesomest Controller Ever

So, this afternoon I was randomly searching for some cheap PS2 accessories on when I came across what I can only describe as the ugliest controller I've ever seen.

These controllers, made by MadCatz (it ends with a Z because it's X-TREME!), are supposed to allow you to support your favorite team. The first one I came across was for the New York Mets. As I kept looking though I realized they had one for every MLB team.

It got better though, I decided to start searching for other professional sports. I found controllers for both the NBA and the NFL. Perhaps to prove how little anyone cares about hockey, there were no NHL controllers. There also were not NCAA or MLS controllers either and I seriously doubt that there are any other sports that they would even consider making controllers for (perhaps PGA or tennis?).

Still, some of these controllers are absolutely hideous. I'm going to include my few favorite ugly ones in the full post. Wow, these are totally awesome!

Full Post >>

Chicago Cubs

Miami Dolphins

Los Angeles Lakers

Detroit Lions

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Sorry for My Loss

Ah, it's story time here at WRN. Today, we're going to start with the story about how my company in the midst of some financial difficulties decided to trim 25% of the employees. I survived fine, but the whole process was kind of shocking.

Basically, they called company meeting and split us into two groups. Group A stayed and Group B was gone. Waaah waaah, some people get fired ... it shook me up at first, but you know that's business in the US I guess. What for me was one of the most shocking parts was that while they were in the meeting getting fired, our IT changed all of their passwords so they could no longer log into their PC's.

One guy who, like me, has a company laptop and had been using it as his primary computer got really pissed and ended up buying the laptop from my company just so he could get his data and stuff (pornography?) off of it.

This made me realize that I really needed to get a flash memory drive and move my personal data over to it. That way if I ever got locked out of my laptop or whatever I'd still have all my data where I could take it with me easily.

So that weekend I went and picked up a 2GB flash drive and moved all my stuff over to it. The process went well and I was happy in my new information security.

Life was cruising along fine until this past week. Somehow I've managed to lose my little thumb drive. I have no idea where it is. I've scoured my apartment, my office, my car, every piece of clothing and every bag I have and no luck.

I can't decide if it was stolen or lost (although I'd lean towards me just losing it). Either way though, my data is all gone now. "But, dEn," you say, "didn't you back it up?" Short answer, "No." Long answer, also "No."

So now I'm missing all of my freaking non-work related data. It's really frustrating. I'm about 98% done with a web design that I'm doing for a family member but now I no longer have the Photoshop source for the website. Any changes I make will have to be using the slices I made for the site.

The same with this site and a redesign I was doing for my own website. Add in a bunch of personal photos and archived software projects and icons and designs I've done for applications and I've lost hundreds of hours of work.

All because I'm retarded and didn't back up my data.

It's so frustrating and I'm so angry but I don't even know who to be angry at. Myself I guess but it's just the kind of thing that makes you want to through a laptop through a window (there goes the rest of my data!).

The worst part is that I'll probably find the stupid flash drive in about 4 years when everything that was on it is absolutely useless to me.

So yeah, just thought I'd share. Hope you enjoyed the story.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


So, as I mentioned earlier, my TiVo had a busy day yesterday. SciFi had 11 episodes of Firefly in a row. I've seen Serenity and watched a couple of episodes of Firefly last year when they were on SciFi on Fridays, but I never had a chance to watch the entire Firefly run.

It also recorded a new episode of Prison Break. I think I was required to be a fan because many of the earlier scenes were filmed in Chicago. This season that's not the case as much but I still find myself enjoying it (although like Lost it's ridiculously serial in nature).

Plus, new episodes of the Daily Show and Colbert Report continue with former President making an appearance on TDS last night.

Still, though, the show that I was most excited about my TiVo recording last night had to be the series premier of Aaron Sorkin's new wordy comedy/drama, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. I think that we kind of already know who the people are that are going to watch Sorkin TV shows. They're kind of like fans of other TV show writers/creators (like Joss Whedon or Ron Moore) who once they've found a style of show they like they keep coming back.

This time though, NBC has a show that seems intent on skewering them and SNL. The pilot starts the show off well and really showcases some of the great talent Studio 60 has. Nate Corddry, D.L. Hughely, Amanda Peet, Matthew Perry, Bradly Whitford, Steven Weber among others make the Sorkin dialog move along and the premise of an SNL variety show allows for plenty of celebrity cameos that may help keep things interesting.

The only question I have for the show is what kind of format will an episode usually be? The first episode took place only over a couple of hours. Will future episodes cover an entire week, a single day, what? I'm curious exactly how it'll work.

Still, of all the new shows this season, this is the only one that really seems like it'll be getting my attention. If you aren't a fan of other Sorkin shows though, you may not like it. It's good enough that I'd still recommend you give it a try at least.

I know I'd rather be recording this than reruns of Futurama (plus, Futurama will get re-run at 2AM again anyway).


I just realized that has the pilot episode of Studio 60 streaming from their website. If you missed it earlier this week and have 45 minutes you'd like to spend sitting in front of your computer watching streaming video, check it out!

Day of Days

Sorry to have been scarce in the posting department lately. The past couple weeks have been hectic with stuff--that's as specific as I'll get for now.

As many of you may know, there is a cause which receives special attention each year on this day ... on International Talk Like A Pirate Day. What started out as just a few concerned individuals, upset about the dwindling numbers of Pirate-talkers has grown into a world wide event. Something that truly spans Pirate/Non-Pirate divide.

However, some think that talking like a pirate is not enough. We need more actual pirates. And that is what I'm going to talk about today.

You see, piracy is a way of life. Something that's being forgotten in this world of interconnected tubes we live in. In the simpler times of trucks or even ships conveying information and goods, being a pirate was a straightforward task. See something you want and take it. Follow that up with, lots of drinking and bad singing (all the while making sure you don't bathe) and piracy has basically been achieved in a couple easy steps (although this also sounds somewhat like what Asia mafia also do ...).

Nowadays though, traditional piracy has been mostly eliminated. Those that do want to participate in piracy have to do it on one of the internets. It's this familiarity that has helped lead to the perpetuation of Talk Like a Pirate Day, and the importance it has on the general online world.

So, in this most piratey of days, I encourage you to not simply talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Pirate something (perhaps packets of salt or ketchup? a car maybe?) perhaps download a movie or watch something copyrighted on YouTube. The important thing is that you help keep the culture of Piracy alive!

// I think there could be a joke about manifest destiny being what hurt the general success of pirates but I couldn't figure out how to make it. I know it's there somewhere though!

Also, thar be much cavorting and carousing to be had today, so ye best be leavin' the office early an' drinkin' a mighty mug o' grog lest ye end up like that thar person sittin' next to ye'. That's no life fer a pirate!



Last weekend was the second time I have been to a music store in the last year and the second time I have been told that they don't have the band I wanted. Fluxblog had a song by The God Damn Doo Wop Band a while back and now I want to hear more of their stuff. Well, it appears I can just go fuck myself because they don't even have a single flipping album out. That is great. Just fucking classic. Who do I have to kill to not give a shit about music again?

I am warning all of you now. When I assault San Francisco next month, the streets will run red with indie rock blood! YOU WILL RUE THE DAY! and rue it hard.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday Morning Musing

Why is ECW on the SciFi Channel? It is neither science nor fict-ok, it is fiction.
Why is Halo 2 considered the best FPS ever? It is neither innovative or distinguished.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zach Braff Unveils Plot Outlines for Next Five Movies

In a move that has stunned Hollywood and the independent film communities, Zach Braff has released the plot outlines of his next five movies. Braff, generally well regarded as kind of a nice guy, says that this is not a stunt and that he just likes talking about his life and work and stuff. Braff's next movie is untitled as yet, but revolves around a 30ish man stumbling through work and family and trying to figure out what life is all about.

"Really, though, that is what it is all about, man. The question of the meaning of life is just so important to me and I want to share that with others," Braff said in an interview with Staff Reporter Chuckles earlier this week. Braff is currently planning on writing, directing and starring in all five movies and will probably get his pal Peter Sarsgaard to slum it in these movies as well.

The next movie, currently in pre-production, stars Zach Braff as a 35ish man from Rhode Island wondering why he is here on Earth and what his goals are. The following movie is about a 40ish man living in Arizona and trying to ascertain the answers to life's deepest and most troubling questions. The third movie, which is not related to either of the previous and currently in pre-pre-production, stars a 50ish Braff asking pretty much the same things as the other two but with more prescription medication and some children and set in Idaho.

The fourth movie in the non-series details the trials and tribulations of a 60ish man trying to get his children and possibly precocious grandchildren to ask the same questions in their lives that he has been trying to answer throughout his life while living in Missouri. Expect some deep melodrama and Coccoon symbolism as this aging gent realizes that the best things in life are free but you have to work hard to pay the upkeep.

The fifth movie is slightly more vague, but expect something pretty similar but with a slightly older Zach Braff playing the male lead. It is not certian yet if Natalie Portman will costar in any of these projects. Braff would like to stress that these movies are in no way related to each other.

Braff also says that his plans for these movies will not interfere with Scrubs until he has truly replaced Alan Alda as TV's most enduring dramatic comedian doctor.

UPDATE: It appears that I have an ally in the War on Braff.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

That Crazy Technology

Ok, you guys probably don't even care about this (it's not like it's a huge deal or anything) but sometimes a mundane new piece of technology gets released that makes you take a step back and look at the crazy progress that technology. The cause for this action today though is the introduction of the 24" iMac.

I don't own an iMac, and I never have. I did however survive its original introduction. That was back in the dark days for Apple. They were trying to recover from years of missteps and mistakes. Steve Jobs had somehow managed to maneuver his way back into the CEO position.

One of the first results of his return was the creation of the all-in-one aqua/teal computer known as the iMac. I was on the PC side of the supposed Mac vs. PC debate. I was young and didn't yet realize that you don't really have to pick a side. It's just a computer and it's there to serve a purpose.

On with the rambling ...

Anyway, CompUSA was one of the few places selling Macs still (we had them shoved in a tiny dark corner and one guy who had actually used one) and I was working there at the time. We had this big hoopla about its introduction and I couldn't understand why anyone would buy one--it didn't even have a floppy drive!

Still, people came out and bought them in droves. Then when they introduced the multiple colors people kept buying them. They introduced a 'flower power' model ... and well people stopped buying them for a little bit ... but then they moved to just the graphite color and people started buying them again.

As time passed, the iMac has evolved. Gaining the flat panel, the Pixar lamp inspired neck for a brief time, and now back to a one-piece shape. Recently it's gotten wireless internet, bluetooth, a remote control, a built-in camera, and now the humongoid screen.

This computer is practically better than my home entertainment center. I'm imagining kids in college taking a break from updating their facebook or myspace pages to watch television shows (or more likely: pornography ... those kids!) they copied from others on the campus network on their gigantic ass monitor using their fancy remote control. maybe pausing the video to have a few beers or perhaps tip over a garbage can ... hey they're in college, they enjoy doing that kind of thing.

Anyway to get back on topic, how did this happen? Who is the jackass who decided that all that crazy sci-fi stuff actually needed to happen? This is an outrage and it makes all of the stuff I own seem old and sucky. Now I need to go buy one of these newfangled "color tv's" or perhaps see one of those talkies I've been hearing about. Damn you steady march of progress! DAMN YOU!!!!