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

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Goodbye Blogger

Hey, I'm cross posting this for now between the new site and the old site because things are still kind of in development as far as getting everything working.

Basically though, we're in the process of moving from the old site to the site. A lot of this is due to Blogger upgrade and just being sick of having everything on someone else's server.

The import from Blogger to this was kind of a pain. Apparently new blogger isn't going to be supported in the WordPress importer until 2.2 but they already have it online at So to get around this, I had to make a temporary blog and 3 temporary users and import to Then I had to export from and import it into

In the end it seems to have worked out though. There are some new features I may be able to add soon (like getting categories working or a search bar) so we'll have to see. All in all I'm impressed by how easy the whole thing was though.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Zombie Show

Unfortunately this post isn't about a show about zombies (which would probably be awesome for at least the first season), it is actually about the television show Day Break that premiered on ABC Fall of last year.

After a few episodes, ABC took the show off due to its surprisingly low ratings. I say surprisingly low because the show was great. You'd think with its Groundhog Day-esque premise that it would be hard to have interesting mysteries and story arcs in each episode but the show and its writers did an excellent job. Each episode would expand as well as clarify some points from the previous ones and get you closer to the concluding 13th episode.

However, ABC promised to start showing new episodes on their website and finally they've made good on it. January 29, ABC put 3 new episodes up and has been adding new episodes as the weeks go on. I think they're up to the 6th new episode now.

Of course they did this with no fanfare. How do you advertise for a show that you've already canceled (but still have to finish making because you've already sold the international distribution rights)? Still, it wasn't until last night that I realized the new episodes were up.

I am sad that I never got to catch any of the episodes in HD. All I can hope is that it'll eventually come out on Blu-ray and that I can see it in that way.

So yeah, if you never watched the show, I believe they have all the episodes so far online. The pilot and the second episode are a great two hours of television that I strongly recommend. Consider it a free movie rental with another 5 free rentals following it. You just have to watch it on your PC.

If they would just support streaming to my TiVo, I'd already be watching this. Maybe then more shows could keep shambling on even when they've been deemed not successful enough for main broadcast slots.

The Craigslist Conundrum

As I mentioned in my post about the new TV, I'm in the process of trying to sell my old one on craigslist. This is only the second time I've listed something on there. The first time, I did it with my apartment and got about 40 emails in 24 hours. That thing was sublet in about 8 hours.

This time, things didn't go quite as well. I listed it on Friday afternoon and over the first two days got about 12 emails about it. Some were people saying they'd just give me half of what I was asking for it while others were asking (legitimate) questions about it. Still about 4 or 5 of them asked for my address and said they'd be over to look at it. Naturally they would never show up.

Then Sunday afternoon I got an email from a guy who gave his cell phone number. I called him with the hope that if someone spoke to me in person they'd feel more obligation to actually coming over and checking it out if he said he'd do that. The guy though, didn't sound too committed to checking it out. He said he worked in the city and that he carpooled and maybe he'd come over the next day.

Later that night I get another email. This guy is interested in it. He tries to haggle the price down 25%. By this point I just want to stop answering emails so I saw if he can give me $80 it's a deal. He says he'll be by Monday at 7PM to pick it up.

Today then I get another email from the guy I'd spoken to on the phone. He says he wants to come check the TV out at 5PM (and hasn't tried to haggle the price at all). So now I'm actually slightly torn as to what would be the morally correct thing to do here.

The guy who wants to come at 5PM did actually contact me earlier and went out of his way to drive into work today. Meanwhile the other guy said he'd buy it before that guy gave me this info. I want to sell the TV but I also want it to be fair (although $20 extra isn't something I would mind either). I think the best thing to do would have been to tell the guy who drove into work today that he could see it tomorrow but since he went to all the trouble of driving in, I don't want to do that.

Plus, there is no way of knowing if the guy who says he's going to buy it tonight may not show up. Maybe he'll find a better one for cheaper or something. I don't know.

Luckily, if neither of these guys works out, a woman I work with who I was telling this story to said she'd buy it if none of these guys do. So at least I can be pretty sure I'll be rid of this TV in the next 2-3 days which puts me that much closer to getting a PS3 and doing some Blu-ray movie watching. I'm just waiting on some Best Buy gift certificates from my rewards credit card now.


I ended up selling to the people who came at 5PM. I knew the guy was Chinese but he showed up with his wife and she annoyingly haggled me down to $85. They were trying to get me to throw in the stand I had it sitting on in the pictures and I was like, "No way, that cost me $40 and I was going to use it. If you want it you'll have to give me at least $20 more." They wouldn't bite.

They also wanted some kind of warranty to which I only said, "Look, if it breaks in the next 3 days let me know. I'll give you your money back. I'm not a dick. After that though, you're on your own."

I actually actively tried to convince them not to buy it at some points because they kept asking about how good it was at receiving over the air signals (I said "not good at all ... you have to have an extra antenna") and that they wanted to hook a satellite box and a DVD player up to it (but it only has one set of inputs on the back) but they wouldn't listen to me. So whatever.

I'm just glad to be done with it. Of course I then emailed the 7 o'clock guy to tell him. He didn't respond (not sure if it was because he was annoyed or didn't get the email) which then made me afraid that he was going to show up. I then called his cell to make sure he got the message and he seemed kind of annoyed with me. But whatever, it's all done now.

Now I can get back to watching people freak out because it might snow tomorrow (it was like 40 today so how much can it really stick anyway). People in DC are so stupid about this stuff sometimes.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Mooninites Claim First Victim. Are You Next?

I was reading MSNBC today when I saw this article. Apparently Jim Samples, the head of Cartoon Network, resigned because the city of Boston is insane. I think I'll let AG and UC take responsibility for this one.

I find it interesting that he didn't resign until after it was clear that ratings for the show didn't significantly improve. I think if they'd found that a million more people watched the show because of this then he probably wouldn't have resigned.

I never really understand this kind of thing though. No one really hardly even cares about this story anymore so why have the guy quit? So some marketing was misinterpreted by people not familiar with the show, why do you need to get rid of a guy?

Was this really just standard corporate backstabbing that led to this? Someone looking to take his place or someone who wasn't a fan of some of the Adult Swim content maybe manipulated the Warner Bros. board into pressuring him to resign.

Besides this one incident (that is completely ridiculous), he did a great job with Cartoon Network and now the guy is gone. Who knows how the next head is going to treat Adult Swim. Corporations need to actually do something worthwhile sometimes, like not forcing people into resignations for over-reactions.

Check out the other WRN articles on this if you're interested:
Aqua Teens inspire the nation
Aqua Teens threaten the nation?

The Monolith Has ARRIVED

As I mentioned earlier, I wasted a bunch of money on a new TV a week ago. Yesterday afternoon, the TV finally arrived. I would have posted images earlier but Blogger (and by Blogger I mean mostly Google) is a jerk and was trying to force me to update to the new version.

Anyway, I've got a picture I took below of the TV in all its splendor (as it was searching for channels).

The thing is freaking sweet and if I could get a high-def game console and movie player (Xbox 360 with HD-DVD add on or PS3? -right now, leaning towards PS3) that would be awesome.

The PS2 with S-Video is not really cutting it anymore with a TV of this caliber. Notice also the Shaun of the Dead DVD for reference size and to prove my street cred. You'll also see the Dreamcast that I actually purchased AFTER the PS2 came out. So yeah, it proves how good I am at picking console winners (although I do actually own the Broadband Adapter for the Dreamcast which I hear is quite rare now). Also, there is a Bluetooth Apple keyboard and my TiVo with the Guitar Hero controller hiding carefully under the stand. It's an entertainment smörgåsbord (haha Firefox spellcheck, you crack me up).

BTW, I did watch some HDTV last night, 30 Rock and some CSI and Shark. It is frickin' amazing.

Anyway, click to see a couple more pictures.

And for comparison, the old TV:

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Too Much Genuine Serious Stuff Going On Round Here

And when I find a woman like this, I just may be run over by a bus:

Could Be the Year He Moves Out of His Parents' Basement

Clerk: You know, the adult videos are 'Buy two, get a third free.'
Best girlfriend evar: Really? Honey, go get that one we were looking at.
Boyfriend: What, the one with the two blondes on the cover?
BGE: No, no -- the pirates one.
Boyfriend: Okay, be right back.
BGE, as soon as he's out of earshot: Quick, while he's gone can you box up that Spiderman statue behind you, too?

Another one that is funny for reasons beyond Science.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Reunion Time!

My GF, knowing that I'm a fan of the Audioslave, sent me an article today about Tom Morello's new self-titled acoustic album he's putting out under his solo name: The Nightwatchman. In it Morello talks about how he is kind of going the Bob Dylan route but backwards.

It's pretty interesting. I'd heard about his Nightwatchman act back during the 2004 campaign some. It sounds interesting and now that he's got an actual album coming out I'll probably have to give it a listen (maybe better than Frank Black's acoustic album?).

However, the thing that they mentioned in it that I had not heard is that Rage Against the Machine is reuniting for a single show at Coachella this year. RATM!!! I was this close to seeing them perform live back in the day (the tour they were supposed to do with the Beastie Boys back in like 2000 I think) but then Mike D or someone was in a motorcycle accident and they canceled the thing.

Now, all I have to do is fly my ass out to Coachella, find a hotel, and buy a ridiculously overpriced ticket and I'd get to see RATM like I'd always wanted to.

I sincerely hope that somehow out of this a permanent RATM reunion happens. Even if you didn't agree with the politics in their music, you have to admit that they actually had a voice, and in the current political climate, it's a voice that I think would resonate with the kids and at least get them more interested in these political issues. Or at least those who remember Rage and how they used to stand and try to fight for things they cared about.

Now That's What I Call Structural Integrity

A couple months ago, I saw a link to photos of an exhibit entitled Animatus for a Korean artist named Hyungkoo Lee at the ARARIO GALLERY and I meant to post about it then, I just never got around to it. Today I was cleaning up some bookmarks and saw it again so I thought I'd actually put something up.

What's interesting is that the exhibit consists entirely of skeletons for famous cartoon characters. The artist uses resin, aluminum sticks, stainless steel wires, springs and oil paint to simulate the bones of the various characters.

It's really cool how he captures the exaggerated features and shapes of some of the most notable characters. The Latin names shown below the images (on the page) are useful for figuring out which character it is supposed to be (if it isn't obvious). The fact that most of the page is in Korean will mean you're kind of on your own for other details. I've included a couple of the skeletons next to their animated character below.

If you have the time though, I'd recommend you check the site out yourself. The images load kind of slowly but are definitely cool.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Steve Jobs Writes Us a Letter

Who here owns an iPod? Who here doesn't own an iPod because they think it's ridiculous that iTunes locks you down to a single brand of MP3 player with its purchased tracks so refuses to use it out of anger?

Well, if you answered 'yes' to either of those questions, a letter Steve Jobs put up on today entitled 'Thoughts on Music' may be of interest to you.

In it, Jobs tries to lay out exactly why the iTunes ecosystem works the way he does. Essentially puts the blame on the record companies and restrictions they had in licensing songs for purchase off of iTunes.

Fundamentally most of his points focus on the fact that the large majority of music that is sold, is purchased via CD. This format contains no encryption, allowing the free copying from the disc to any number of devices.

To back up his claim he trots out some numbers. He says that the average iPod owner has about 22 iTunes purchased tracks on their iPod and that the average iPod contains about 1000 songs and is almost always filled with music. He continues:
[U]nder 3% of the music on the average iPod, is purchased from the iTunes store and protected with a DRM. The remaining 97% of the music is unprotected and playable on any player that can play the open formats. Its hard to believe that just 3% of the music on the average iPod is enough to lock users into buying only iPods in the future. And since 97% of the music on the average iPod was not purchased from the iTunes store, iPod users are clearly not locked into the iTunes store to acquire their music.
Jobs then argues that, were the situation up to him, there would be no DRM on music and that all tracks sold by Apple on the iTunes store would be freely moveable from one portable music player to the next.

Continue on for the rest of my take

As far as opening FairPlay DRM system to other online music vendors, Jobs states that Apple itself has a difficult time keeping its entire chain protected (and the contracts with the record companies force Apple to fix the encryption any time it is broken or else they can remove their music from the iTunes store) so adding numerous other companies into the mix would increase the likelihood that the software will be cracked and introduce too many weak links in the chain, preventing the seamless updating that goes on now when the FairPlay system is broken.

The letter, if taken at face value, is a nice outline to how Apple would like to be viewed. A champion of music listeners rights and the victim of those big, bad record companies. He tries to label the music labels as hypocrites, saying "So if the music companies are selling over 90 percent of their music DRM-free, what benefits do they get from selling the remaining small percentage of their music encumbered with a DRM system?"

What makes that statement so interesting though, is the fact that it hinges on the fact that the current distribution media is not DRMed. The problem is that you can't argue that just because the previous ecosystem (before the internet and online piracy became a serious issue) doesn't have protection for this issue, that it shouldn't be pursued in the future. Where is the legal/moral argument that DRM and DMCA is inherently flawed? Instead we get weak arguments about the difficulties in applying DRM to a previously open system.

Even though this letter is entirely focused on music, you can see its relevance to video downloads as well. So if you look at the statement above and replace music companies with movie or TV studios, you'll see that his justification for DRM free media isn't really valid. All of the video that is sold today (anything on DVD) is protected by a form of DRM (a completely broken and for all intents and purposes now open system) so should it be sold online with DRM?

There are other points about all DRM systems being breakable that he makes:
Why would the big four music companies agree to let Apple and others distribute their music without using DRM systems to protect it? The simplest answer is because DRMs haven’t worked, and may never work, to halt music piracy. Though the big four music companies require that all their music sold online be protected with DRMs, these same music companies continue to sell billions of CDs a year which contain completely unprotected music. That’s right! No DRM system was ever developed for the CD, so all the music distributed on CDs can be easily uploaded to the Internet, then (illegally) downloaded and played on any computer or player.

I can agree with this poitn but the faulty logic on the other argument makes me question the validity of his other points.

I'm also slightly put off by the fact that he limits the discussion entirely to music. This makes me think he's simply picking a medium in which they have more of a position of influence. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it just shows that they're unwilling to say that they have a strong opinion about how ALL copyrighted media should be distributed digitally.

In the end, I think most people get frustrated by the existence of DRM. It's aggravating when some record company puts a rootkit (bad Sony!) on your CD so that you don't rip it onto your iPod. Still, I have a hard time believing that Apple would really rather sell music that didn't lock you into continually buying iPods.

Realistically, I think this is an easy argument for Jobs to make because he knows that DRM free is not likely to happen. With all the criticism Apple gets for not opening its DRM, this is an opportunity to shift the blame to a third party. The paragraph about not opening FairPlay was a far briefer than the arguments about why DRM is bad and how great things are with CDs.

I am a huge fan of my iPod and would much rather be locked in with a company like Apple that's not trying to license its DRM scheme when compared to others that are actively trying to make money by locking down the system (cough::Microsoft::cough). I just am not quite sure what to make of this letter. If anyone has a better opinion, I'd be glad to hear it.

Modestly Freaked Out

Ok, I've talked about it before, but I listen to a fair amount of internet radio at work (radio.wazee FTW). So I'm sitting here doing work today and there's a song that comes on. As quite often happens, it is a song I don't know. It starts out good with a little ska beat and some guitar then the horns come in and it turns into this crazy ska cover of Modest Mouse.

So I bring up the radio station window to see what ska band is doing Modest Mouse covers now. Only when I get to it, it says it isn't some crazy ska band but actually a Modest Mouse song.

It's apparently the song Dashboard off their new album. Honestly, if the whole thing is going in that direction, I may have to actually buy the album simply because the way this track surprised me (I don't know if Modest Mouse used to have this kind of sound or not. I only heard their previous CD because fulsome has it).

Anyway, if you want to listen to it, you can go to the Modest Mouse website ( You probably won't be as freaked out by it as I was but it's definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard it yet.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Gotta Have Priorities

I mentioned in an earlier comment about the lack of furniture in my apartment. Ever since my old roommate moved into a new apartment and moved his stuff out, my place has been a little empty. And I definitely have plans to acquire replacement furniture at some point. Now, however, is not that time.

Instead, inspired by a recent price drop, I've ordered a new TV (the Sony KDS-60A2000). At 60" diagonal with an integrated digital tuner and a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) engine that can produce images at a beautiful 1080p format (that's 1920x1080 resolution with the 'p' meaning that every line of every frame is updated) I believe my eyeballs will be appropriately massaged in the future. For those of you who are wondering what process led to this eventual decision, keep reading.

I'd been wanting to get a new TV for a while, unfortunately my requirement for a 1080p set with HDMI (an all digital connection that is the wave of the future) and a significant screen size 50+" made this impossible.

Still, I knew the day would come, so I had my HDTV fund sitting there, carefully accumulating more and more dollars. Then, sometime last month, I noticed that the Sony set that I fell in love with last year had started dropping in price.

Continue on for the whole story ...
In fact, the 50" had hit the fabled $2K price I'd set for myself. I went to go check the set out at a couple electronics stores and while it was OK, I actually felt like it was too small (just resume reading when you stop laughing at the ridiculousness of that statement). I saw it sitting next to different 55" and 60" TV's and those really looked like the size I wanted.

So I hit up and the other models were a little bit more than I wanted to spend. Still, after much reflection, I decided I'd just go with the 55" at that price ($2200). Anyone who knows me will be able to describe the AGONIZING process I go through before purchasing anything. However, about a week and a half ago, I was about 90% sure that I was just going to say "screw it" and buy the TV.

Luckily for me this time (and in stark contrast to my purchase of airline tickets) the price actually dropped in the 3 days I was siting there thinking about it. As a result, the 60" that had been far too expensive before was now available for a mere $2180. The amount that I'd mentally prepared myself for paying for the 55".

While this price drop did help cement my intention of buying it wasn't enough to get me to pull the trigger immediately. Instead, I was going to wait until my rapidly approaching next credit card statement so as to minimize the chance I'd have to take money out of my savings account to pay for it (the hassle of setting up the internet-only savings account is a post all on its own that I will get to someday).

Still, another day or two of reflection later, I realized that this pricing may simply be pre-Super Bowl pricing and that waiting another week for the end of my statement period could result in the price actually increasing back to its historical level. I knew if that situation arose, my spendthrift nature would prohibit me from purchasing the TV at the increased price and I'd have to just sit around for X months waiting for it to drop again. All the while unable to enjoy it's 1080p goodness.

So Wednesday of last week I pulled the trigger and placed the order at (using my card--3% back in store credit!) and it's now slowly winding its way here via some strange freight service.

Supposedly, by the end of the week the monolith will have arrived. And on that joyous day there will hopefully be some posting of impressions and info about the TV and much marveling at its crystal clear image and dazzling array of video inputs.

For me, the usual compulsive shipment tracking has returned and I feel the need to check its status regularly. I'm sure when I receive the call to schedule its delivery I will be crying and will probably repeatedly hug the delivery guys when they drop it off.

All that aside, I checked today and the price of the set had increased $120 to $2300 making me feel decidedly better about the choice to drop the money when I did.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Deerhoof'n it up

They bring it every time. Like them or love them but meh is not a plausible response!

1/30/07 @ GAMH in San Francisco, CA

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Aqua Teens threaten the nation?

I got this story e-mailed to me three times today. It is clearly on my readers' minds and I want to take a second and address the issue. As anyone who has ever seen ATHF knows, Boston police were completely correct to realize that Ignignokt and Err are grave threats to humanity.

Everything they do should get them arrested. And here they are flagrantly demonstrating profanity in public places with batteries and wires attached to them. Batteries and wires can easily become a bomb! It's true, I saw it on MacGyver and I think the A-Team did it too. Hopefully, I won't have to testify as one of the few confirmed witnesses to seeing these aliens (illegal, I'm certain!) out in public.

As a pre-emptive PSA I want to make you all aware of this other thing that could otherwise be abused to make unwitting people and security officers think there was a bomb when that is not at all the case.

UPDATE: Winners and still champions.