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, January 19, 2007

Aqua Teens inspire the nation

Recently, while out on the quest for San Francisco's best hamburger, I stumbled upon one of the niftier street art installations I've seen. These were both on MUNI poles and over 10 ft. off the ground.

The only thing I have to add is, "Er, your buttocks are so square and small it barely reads as a moon."

Monday, January 15, 2007

One More Swing at Mr. Carlson

We have an exciting, breaking update. Bloggers conquer news media. Everyone complains bloggers just comment on news and never do anything on their own. Now, you can examine, in all its glory, what happens when a blogger tries to actually report the [entertainment?] news.

UPDATE: WRN exclusive! We have word that The great and powerful Chuckles may be appearing on radio shows across the country. Stay tuned for more information and/or misinformation as the situation develops.
Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson Tucker Carlson

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another Guitar Hero?

[Sorry about all the posts, but when it rains, it pours!]
While I still have yet to beat Guitar Hero II on expert—hey, I have movies and TiVo to watch—it turns out that there will be yet ANOTHER Guitar Hero game coming out if this joystiq post is to be believed. And in just a couple months no less.

I'd assume that once they got most of the stuff for GH2 done, they said, "This version is perfect, lets just cover more songs and create new venues/skins and watch the money roll in."

This time we're are going to be lucky enough to get Guitar Hero: 1980's Edition and it will be coming out in "3-4 months." Perhaps the same time the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II is released (which looks amazing by the way and is rumored to have an extra plug on the guitar for a potential distortion pedal attachment).

There isn't any information available yet about the possible track list. I'd assume that as more of these come out, they'll start having the same track on multiple games. Heck, I wish they had all the tracks from GH1 on GH2, there are so many good ones there.

While I don't own an Xbox 360 (and really am leaning towards just getting a PS3 whenever I get an HDTV) I am definitely drawn to the hotness of the game in high res and the possibility of downloading additional songs.

Really, I'm just hoping that I don't need to buy all new guitar controllers if I get the PS3. Some kind of adapter would be fine for me.

A Tale of Two Zombies

In a recent Dinosaur Comic, T-Rex put forth a theory that basically stated the conundrical nature of zombie infections. Essentially, as he states it, zombies really want to EAT you. And when they catch you they will try to devour you entire body (ignoring bones I suppose) and are particularly enticed by your brain.

The problem with that is that if they do eat their victims brain, there is no way that the victim would become a zombie. It's an established fact that zombie infection is centered in the brain, thus the only way additional zombies are created are by being bitten but not killed and keeping their brain intact. Also, zombies are reliant on existing muscle tissue and structure, so if someone was even partially eaten there is a great chance that it would at least partially immobilize them. Still this sets the requirement for the zombie population to expand, zombies must be ineffective hunters.

That poses more problems though. By being ineffective hunters, it makes it much less likely for someone to be bitten by a zombie without first spotting it. In this case, after an initial outbreak (being caught of guard and not understanding the nature of the infection), it would probably not be that difficult to eventually exterminate the ineffective zombies.

If they were effective, you would only have a couple zombies who killed lots of people but the infection would not spread rapidly enough to lead to zombie apocalypse.

Anders Sandberg further addresses this issue with his post Zombie Evolutionary Epidemiology. This article basically addresses the evolution of the zombie 'virus.' First, he says, T-Rex is setting black and white (effective/ineffective) cases for the zombie. Sandberg argues that even an ineffective zombie can occasionally be effective and even an effective zombie can occasionally be ineffective, thus you can't create absolutes like T-Rex does.

Second, he posits that there may be evolutionary pressure on the zombies, consequently making certain qualities of the virus heritable. He reasons:
Assuming zombieness is in some sense heritable (why not? nothing about zombies makes sense anyway), there would be an evolution towards reduced virulence (i.e. biting, not killing as often).
Assuming zombieness is in some sense heritable ..., there would be an evolution towards reduced virulence (i.e. biting, not killing as often). This is just as how many non-vector transmitted diseases evolve towards more benign forms where the host is not killed (diseases transmitted by vectors on the other hand have a weaker incentive to become less virulent). So the initial zombies would evolve towards an optimal speed to injure enough people to keep the spreading high, but not be too efficient.
He then models how he thinks either population would fare (effective vs. ineffective). The graph below is also from his article.

This model basically says ineffective zombies start out at near zero and effective zombies at nearly one. Zombie efficiency is essentially the likelyhood that a person will be attacked in such a way that it prevents them from becoming a zombie. For this model Sandberg assumed that each 'child' zombie would have a normally distributed change with standard deviation 0.1 efficiency from its 'parent.'

As you can see from the graph, both populations tend toward a 50% effective rate. It's difficult to tell from the second graph which population is which but either way, humanity is totally screwed.

There is further supposition about how the zombie population may change in response to the availability of its prey. It becomes a question about the evolutionary benefits of shuffling vs. fast zombies. It's in this area that I think the analysis gets a little bogged down. I kind of get the feeling that he's saying that fast zombies are more effective than shambling zombies. I'm not sure this is the case (certainly in zombie movies, they both seem equally effective).

Either way it was an interesting article and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of zombies.

Thanks to Chuckles for the Zombie Survival Guide for helping me to think about the zombie menace in more scientific terms.

Blades of Glory

The trailer showed up on MySpace apparently and it looks great.

Original MySpace link.

You will see this, it is your destiny.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Power of Blogger

As I'm sure everyone here already knows, our intrepid collaborator Chuckles, also proprietor of that fine establishment to his own ego, Freelance Genius, has just had a brush with political hack Tucker Carlson.

The details of the saga and the run down of the original report are available here. Pinko Punko has seemingly dedicated himself to keeping score here. Plover, as usual, provides a magnificent retelling that wikipedia might approve (nudge, nudge).

I don't have a whole lot of real merit to add yet. It is a hilarious story to tell, although it is saddening to realize no one knows him at all. I hope Tucker Carlson realizes all anyone knows is that he is "the idiot who wears the bow tie." Which apparently is no longer even true. Oh, and he did Dancing with the Stars so he also has no shame. If you hadn't already realized that.

Personally, as long as this page exists, I don't see how anything Chuckles does really compares.

Also, check out the awesome wikipedia page!

That Whole Tucker Carlson Thing

Well, Blogger, bravo. ::slow clap:: you managed to crap out just when we needed you most. Seriously, Chuckles somehow ends up on Wonkette (was PP responsible for that?) and you promptly decide it's time for a scheduled service outage. Then to add insult to injury, instead of going for the scheduled 2 hours, it ends up taking 2 MORE hours to get everything sorted out.

This whole thing seemed to blow up pretty fast. I'm just kind of sitting here on the side watching the whole thing unfold. It's kind of like watching a car wreck happen ... only one of the cars has a bow tie.

The whole process was kind of ridiculous. It was a one-off post about somebody Chuckles saw at the video store. Chuckles blogs about it. Guy googles his name and finds it. Guy confronts him in person. Chuckles takes post down. Guy gets Chuckles fired. Chuckles puts post up plus new post detailing said firing. Wonkette links to Chuckles' site. 2.5 nanoseconds later, Chuckles site goes down. Now, it's finally back up and working.

I don't know if this story has legs or not, either way though, this ended up being a crazy day just for me ... which means I can only imagine what it has been like for Chuckles. He's been taking it all in stride though and we'll just have to see what happens down the road.

Hopefully his newfound internet attention will not go to his head and Chuckles will still be coming to hang out some time this weekend. There are definitely a goal to watch some movies, play some GHII, and perhaps hit up the fish and chippery for some delicious treats.

If this doesn't end up happening this glorious 3 day break, I will make a post that consists entirely of 1,000 frowny faces. And that is my promise to you.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Highly Incapable Music Post

I was inspired by the posts over at 3 Bulls (A, B, C, Infinity, Infinity +1) to write a small music post. I say inspired but really I mean that I am ripping them off. I checked out this video because it was linked and Pinko Punko and the Uncanny Canadian, who always reminds me of the X-Men and thus why I hate Brett Ratner, and they said it was slightly more interesting than the song, but that the song wasn't so bad either. I think that is what they said about it, but I read the post this morning and have had more than a bit of coffee since then and no small amount of food since then, so my brain is processing information in a slightly more obtuse way than usual. Just one of those benefits from the homolithic lifestyle I lead due to my unusual upbringing. I swear sometimes my brain is completely metamorphic. Perhaps in the spirit of the music I was originally writing about, that should be spelled meh-tamorphic but that is an attempt to squeeze more than two jokes into one word. That usually can't be done without a lot of heat and pressure.

Anywho. There was a link to a video that I checked out. It was here by some band called The Knife. I was watching and listening and I realized that these guys sound like Art of Noise. They will be kind of all right for a year or so, but I know that if I buy an album or even download a song, it will sit on my shelf for years gathering dust until some misbegotten sedimentary spawn of mine shoulders his way through my collection looking for rock.

An incidental result of this video viewing was the supposedly related videos that were listed in the sidebar on YouTube which I will now display:

There was another by the same group of fanboys/fangirls, but it wasn't as cool as these - sorry, wasn't as blatantly fangirlish/fanboyish or all that funny, either.

Monday, January 01, 2007

I Love 'High-Concept' Comedies

This past weekend I was going through and rating more movies for my Blockbuster Online service and trying to find ones to add to my queue (Side note: I rented 3:10 to Yuma and that movie was friggin' great!). I've now rated 457 movies. I know there are more in there to rate but man their website is more trouble than necessary sometimes.

Anyway, while looking for movies, I decided to check out Will Ferrell's filmography to see if there was something that I hadn't yet seen him in (besides Night at the Roxbury). It was during this that I came across the synopsis for an upcoming movie of Jon Heder, Will Arnett (GOB from Arrested Development), and his called Blades of Glory:
Will Ferrell, John Heder, and Will Arnett headline this high concept comedy concerning two male figure skating rivals aching to compete despite having been banned from the sport as a result of a nasty row at the 2002 Winter Olympics. When they discover a loophole that will allow them to perform together in the pairs figure skating category, they determine to put their differences aside for the sake or their gold medal aspirations.
After reading that description, I know exactly how this movie is going to go (and it will be awesome!). But it also made me wonder about high-concept comedies. How well do they work when you already know the joke? How long will his humor going to be able to support projects like this? Is Will Ferrell going to end up like Jim Carrey? Eventually you just start avoiding his movies because they're all the same (like, say, Adam Sandler) or will he take a break and try to do 'serious' movies to get that Oscar?

Furthermore, how do you take a high concept story like Dodgeball, Anchorman, or any other movie in that vein and manage to make the actual presentation humorous. I'd imagine it would be on one level presenting the viewer with what they're expecting (show the bits from the trailer dammit!) and then on another level surprising them with things subtle or unexpected jokes (add something in the end that you didn't show in the trailer!).

I'm sure the new interaction between Will Arnett and Will Ferrell will be great and I'm hoping Heder can put up a reasonable presence, but it's kind of like just partnering Bruce Willis with different people. Eventually there are only so many ways he can respond. I'm already imaging that Will Ferrell's character will be similar to that of 'Mugatu' as portrayed in Zoolander.

Still, I guess I'll have to mark this one on the calendar. If it's any good you know it'll be opening in late July. If it gets pushed to September then you'll know they somehow managed to screw it up and you should probably just stay home. And if it's coming out in November ... it could be Oscar material.

[BONUS extra]
The IMDb page for Blades of Glory lists Craig T. Nelson as the character named 'Coach', that William Fichtner is in the movie, and that at some point someone gets taken hostage.