Wednesday, January 24 gave rise to...

AIM Conversations: The State of the Union

Markus's original response is my away message, which was as follows: "State of the Union is so depressing; the only thing that can cheer me up is this.

And maybe this.

He wants 92,000 more troops."

(1:04:43 AM) Markus: and i heard that the democrats have some sort of draft bill to be passed
(1:15:09 AM) Noah: You mean like to start the draft?
(1:15:36 AM) Markus: yea
(1:15:40 AM) Markus: that's what my friend told me
(1:15:48 AM) Markus: i haven't had a chance to research this tho
(1:15:57 AM) Noah: that's really scary
(1:16:10 AM) Markus: yea especially now that im out of school
(1:16:20 AM) Noah: I turned on the radio at like 9:45 and the first thing I heard was him say he wanted to put 92k more troops out there
(1:16:26 AM) Noah: I almost turned the radio off right then
(1:16:30 AM) Noah: I was so mad
(1:16:37 AM) Markus: how did it go from 20k to 92k
(1:18:04 AM) Noah: I have no clue
(1:18:21 AM) Noah: But I was saying to Useff earlier...I think GW Bush might be the first president ever to be assassinated after he leaves office
(1:18:37 AM) Markus: hahah
(1:18:39 AM) Noah: I think people hate him enough to keep hating him after he's out
(1:18:43 AM) Markus: yea
(1:18:59 AM) Markus: i mean shit... im surprised nobody has shot him yet
(1:19:08 AM) Noah: yeah seriously
(1:19:51 AM) Markus: it's sad bc he almost cost tony blair his election
(1:20:26 AM) Markus: that's like your mom hating you for hanging out with a certain kid at school
(1:20:39 AM) Noah: hahaha, yeah
(1:21:22 AM) Noah: well man, I gotta go to bed, class in the morning. let me know if anything weird happens though
(1:22:26 AM) Markus: allright
(1:22:31 AM) Markus: g'night
(1:25:04 AM) Markus: oh ok nm i just found an article that said that some democrats are in favor of a draft bc of class warfare... bc apparently the poor are fighting the war while the rich stay home
(1:25:08 AM) Markus: i mean yes true
(1:25:31 AM) Markus: but at the same time... then you could make a draft for being cleaning ladies and garbage men i mean shit
(1:25:42 AM) Markus: i don't think you can do something like that
(1:46:46 AM) Noah: I don't think they're making the draft specifically for the rich, because if they create a draft, it will make it so that poor and rich people go, which isn't entirely fair, but it's more equally unfair. It's just like a very hard decision to make, but it might make the rich, which are predominantly republican, feel the effects of the war more clearly
(1:47:00 AM) Noah: It might re-unite the nation, is what I'm saying
(1:47:12 AM) Markus: it might reunite against a draft
(1:47:17 AM) Noah: haha yeah
(1:47:24 AM) Markus: but that's about i think
(1:47:30 AM) Markus: it's still a volunteer army
(1:47:39 AM) Markus: it's not like poor ppl do not have a choice
(1:47:48 AM) Noah: true, but they have fewer choices
(1:48:01 AM) Markus: i mean if if i had the choice between getting shot in the ass and cleaning toilets, guess what im gonna do
(1:48:18 AM) Markus: i don't disagree that tehy have fewer ones, but it's still their choice
(1:48:20 AM) Noah: everyone says that a college education in this country is a must...many poor people cannot pay for a college education, but if you go to the army they pay for your college
(1:48:22 AM) Noah: yeah
(1:48:32 AM) Noah: a lot of them don't realize that it's going to get them killed though
(1:48:41 AM) Markus: well sorry but that's just dumb
(1:48:43 AM) Noah: people think of the american army as a positive thing, not a life-threatening one
(1:48:44 AM) Noah: I agree
(1:48:46 AM) Markus: the not realizing getting shot part
(1:48:52 AM) Noah: yeah, lol
(1:48:55 AM) Markus: the college thing
(1:49:03 AM) Noah: but how smart do you think americans are...?
(1:49:04 AM) Markus: if you're smart you can get into college i believe
(1:49:09 AM) Markus: but you gotta wantt it to
(1:49:15 AM) Markus: yes it's easier forrich ppl
(1:49:21 AM) Markus: but im saying it's not impossible
(1:49:27 AM) Noah: I agree
(1:49:48 AM) Markus: you can't just dick around and then say... i can't get into college bc im poor
(1:50:15 AM) Markus: plus paying for it, if you're really poor but smart and got in you ll get loans and grants, it's not gonna be easy but it's doable
(1:50:36 AM) Markus: i mean shit godfrey's family wasn't very rich i don't think and he is going to princeton for a grand a year
(1:50:51 AM) Markus: yes and exceptional case but im just trying to make a point
(1:51:02 AM) Noah: Yeah
(1:51:09 AM) Noah: I see your point
(1:51:52 AM) Noah: but the kind of abject poverty a lot of these people come from also includes a complete disconnection from accurate information
(1:52:01 AM) Markus: true
(1:52:01 AM) Noah: it's really a culture of ignorance that they come from, a lot of them
(1:52:23 AM) Markus: well.... maybe we should make truth adds about the army
(1:52:30 AM) Noah: LOL
(1:52:45 AM) Markus: "IF you're at war... people WILL SHOOT AT YOU!!!!"
(1:53:05 AM) Markus: im serious... and the gov't has to pay for it
(1:53:29 AM) Markus: just like conglomerated tobacco has to payfor truth adds

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Tuesday, January 16 gave rise to...

Office for Mac FAILS HARD at cross-compatibility

I have an essay due in two days for my winter session art history course. The professor sent us all of the previous PowerPoint presentations yesterday, so that we could look them over if we wanted for the midterm essay.

She uses a Mac. Apparently, Office for Mac tends to compress images into a .tiff format which Office for Windows doesn't understand how to interpret, and the only way you can fix the problem, is to re-insert the pictures on a Mac, but this time without the .tiff compression.

In other words, if I don't have access to a Mac, and Microsoft Office for Mac, I can't see these pictures. I don't have either.

Honestly I don't even see how something like this is possible in this day and age. Isn't the point of having Office For a mac that it will be cross-compatible with Office for Windows? Fuck.

Oh also, for those of you who might be thinking I should try OpenOffice because it is inherently superior to a Microsoft product, shut the fuck up right now because I tried that, and I tend to prefer OpenOffice anyway.

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Added "Snap Preview Anywhere" To Blog.

(edit: I actually removed this for the time being. January 22 2007 -Noah)

It's a free service that allows you to see where a link goes without clicking on it. It might be annoying though.

Let me know what you think.

You can read more about it here.

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Monday, January 8 gave rise to...

Total Recall

Watched this movie last night. I haven't seen it in years. I first saw it when I was 8, I think, which was a little young considering how violent the movie was. But I really didn't remember much of the violence. The violence shocked me this time around. The only thing that really stuck with me from my viewing of it as a child was images like the one above, and the Martian woman with three breasts.

I'd like to repeat that this film is incredibly violent. So many people were killed. Approximately 3 of the characters introduced in the film who had speaking roles survived the movie. Tons of other non-speaking characters died.

Watching this movie some 13 years later was a totally different experience. Very few things were as I remembered them. I had almost completely forgotten the plot. Or maybe I just never picked up on the intricacies as a child. Whatever.

All and all, I have to say that even as a 21-year old, this movie is excellent if you're thinking about it as a 1990 action/science fiction movie, and not as the latest action/science fiction movie.

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Friday, January 5 gave rise to...

"Left Behind: Eternal Forces" is a great video game!!

Actually, it doesn't look so good.

I was going to talk about the recently released real-time strategy (RTS) game, LEFT BEHIND: Eternal Forces, which is based on the Left Behind series of books about the people who are left behind on earth after Judgment Day, and must fight the Anti-Christ or something. It has been reported in the news media that a central theme of the game is killing Muslims and converting people to Christianity. I was going to pose questions about whether such a game should be released because rewarding kids for that kind of stuff could constitute hate speech. Fortunately (unfortunately for this post), according to the game's website, this is not true. So I'll try to make fun of the game without talking about that.

From the website:

"Contrary to misinformation on the web, this game does not include references to any other religion. Also, there is NO killing in the name of God, and NO convert or die missions. All content has been reviewed and approved by Tyndale House Publishers prior to publication."
Bummer. What am I going to talk about now?

Oh wait, here we go:
  • Conduct warfare using the power of PRAYER and WORSHIP as more powerful weapons than guns.
  • Recover ancient scriptures and witness spectacular Angelic and Demonic activity as a direct consequence of your choices.
  • Control more than 30 units types - from Prayer Warrior and Worship Leaders to Spies, Special Forces and Battle Tanks!
And then we have this screenshot (click for enlarged image):

Tell me why this isn't just like any other RTS game. Show me how it doesn't look like there's a bunch of magic and shit on this screen right now. Oh sure, it goes by the label prayer, but come on; this is no different from Warcraft. I almost expect the soldiers to say "My life for the horde!" when they're clicked.

If this game was in the bargain bin, I'd buy it. Unfortunately, it's still $30 on Amazon.

I don't have $30 to spend on a pratical joke.

Oh, and check out the comments at Amazon. Apparently Christians and fans of the series don't even like this game.

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G-Unit Book Imprint Kicks Off With 50 Cent Book Signing At Borders. Wait, What?

From the New York Magazine website

50 Cent
Borders Books, Music and Movies at Time Warner Center
10 Columbus Cir., 2nd fl, New York, NY 10019
near 58th St.

Taking a page from the Diddy Book of Entrepreneurialism, Queens native 50 Cent has penned a series of gritty hip-hop novellas to go along with his forays into rap, movies, clothing design, video games, and, of course, vitamin water. The controversial rapper marks the launch of his G Unit line of books by signing copies of the first three editions—Death Before Dishonor, Baby Brother, and The Ski Mask Way.

Is he serious?

Yeah, he's serious. The following quote and above picture are from Crunk + Disorderly.
"Last year, my memoirs, From Pieces to Weight, marked the beginning. Now, I'm rounding up some of the top writers, same way I rounded up some of the top rappers in the game, to form G-Unit and take this series to the top of the literary world. The stories in the G-Unit series are the kinds of dramas me and my crew have been dealing with our whole lives: death, deceit, double-crosses, ultimate loyalty, and total betrayal. It's about our life on the streets and no one knows it better than us. Not to mention, when it comes to delivering authentic gritty urban stories of the high and low life, our audience expects the best."
From the product page for The Ski Mask Way:
Book Description



Back in New York City, Seven was the seventh child. But here in Charlotte he's number one on every ladies' list. Even behind bars, he managed to sex a female corrections officer, who lost her job and found herself pregnant. Now Seven is out of the pen and back on the streets. A small-time dealer with big-time dreams, he's ready to take care of business -- for his baby, his baby's mother, his slammin' girlfriend, and his empty wallet. But first, he's got to play the game with the biggest pushers in town. He'll be a soldier for The Man. Then he'll rob the suckers blind before they figure out what's going down. Sure, it could get him killed. But Seven knows there are things in life worth living for -- and things worth dying for. And sometimes you can't tell the difference.

The Ski Mask Way

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Music companies make how much per song? and sue for how much per song?

some questions answered here

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Thoughts on "Afro Samurai"

Is this post hypocritical, given that just a few days ago I was extolling the virtues of not watching TV?


I caught the 12:30am showing at the behest of a friend who saw it earlier and told me it was cool. I muted the television and walked away during most commercials. Watching what looked like a full trailer for a new Mark Wahlberg/Danny Glover action movie while muted was absolutely riveting. Actually, it was just kind of weird.

The show. Let me tell you what I know about it. We'll start with the stuff I learned from Wikipedia!

Luckily, it's only five episodes long, so if I do get into it, I'll only be watching it for a short while. Shows that don't run indefinitely are a great thing, in my opinion. It's sad to see a show that is "milked" long after all of the creative ideas are gone, just because people have grown to like the characters and it makes a lot of money.

This show is based on a Japanese manga of the same name. The animation is being done by a Japanese animation studio called GONZO. The actual script of the show appears to be done specifically for an American audience, which makes sense given the high-profile American voice actors like Ron Perlman (Hellboy; I didn't see this, but I read a lot of the comics recently and it's a great comic if you like the occult or any kind of world mythology. He's done a LOT of voice acting work, though.) and Samuel L. Jackson (are you joking?) that were cast for the show. More on that later. It's good that Americans didn't try and fuck with Japanese-style animation, because that usually ends very poorly. The show uses low levels of light and a drab color scheme that includes many shades of gray. These...effects are used to evoke the feeling that Afro walks around in a cold and unfriendly world, and that he is totally disaffected and numb. This isn't to say that the show is entirely devoid of humor. I laughed heartily a few times. More on that later.

The action sequences in the first episode were very well done. Lots of stylized violence, which is typical of the genre. For example, in the process of dispatching twenty heavily-armed men who have surrounded him, Afro slices a bullet that was fired at him, and the shrapnel kills four of the men. What more is there to say? The action was just straight up entertaining to watch, and I have a feeling that it's the action that's going to keep people from picking up their remotes and changing the channel.

In the first episode, the show has set up some really good stuff that will come into play in later episodes. There were some mysterious and intriguing characters introduced, most of whom, I would guess, are potential villains. I'm guessing that they're villains based on how they were sitting in a circle in almost complete darkness and plotting shit, and they each of them looked like they had some kind of weird and unique power.

Oh, and then there's Afro's sidekick.

Both Afro and his sidekick are voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. This is just fucking great. These characters each display one of the two main things Jackson is known for. For the majority of this first episode, the only character who seems important is Afro, who is totally serious about everything, speaks very curtly, and cuts things. Five minutes before the end of the episode, we're abruptly introduced to his sidekick, Ninja Ninja. This guy embodies the hilarious, loudmouthed qualities of Jackson. "Afro! Don't fight this fucker! He's got arrows and grenades and shit!" (Quote taken from the Afro Samurai homepage). This was great for me, because I enjoy few things more than hearing Samuel L. Jackson go off about something at length. Just really excellent color-commentary juxtaposed with the serious side of him, but two totally different characters are used to display the two sides of the actor.

It's a good show, and I'd recommend it if you have ever liked Anime or Samuel L. Jackson at any point. It takes the really entertaining parts of both of these entities, and centers around them. And remember, it's only five episodes long, for crying out loud.

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Thursday, January 4 gave rise to...

Ethics Shitstorm Brewing

Just check the news and look for stories about a girl who will remain a girl.

Ethics shitstorm.

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Wednesday, January 3 gave rise to...

Question About Editing Blog Posts. Chime In, Please!

So lately, my posts are becoming longer. With this added length, there is more content for me to review and subsequently edit for clarity, added information, or humorous quips. I first published the article right before this around 10pm last night. Here I am now, 20 hours later, still changing things around in it. Some of these changes add content to the post, others are just small edits, mostly for clarity. I worry that readers don't get to see these changes.

Basically, my question to you, if you publish content online, is how do you deal with edits? Do you just do everything in a word processor first, make sure it's "right," publish it, and then forget about it? If you do edit it after publishing, would you say that it's a bad idea to make significant changes? Does my RSS feed update and notice that the content is different, and re-display the post as a new and unread item? This last question is something I have wondered about; sometimes my RSS reader picks up posts again as new and I can't really figure out why. I think other readers I've used in the past have done this too. If this is the case, I've never paid any attention to possible changes in the posts that re-appeared.

Is there a good way to deal with this? I wonder if maybe someday someone will create a RSS reader that's smart enough to see changes made in individual posts, and highlight the stuff that's different.

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Tuesday, January 2 gave rise to...

Man Buys Television After 32 Years Without One, I Bitch About Television

A man bought a TV after spending 32 years without one in his home. Here's the article.

The article resonated with me, for as some of you who know me in real life are aware, I do not watch TV. I do this in spite of the four televisions in my home. Sure, I do other things on the TVs here, like watch movies and play games, but I don't watch TV. I feel like I'm a better person for it. By not watching TV, I am free to do other things. I do not see a lot of commercials for products I'm not interested in, and I am not bound to the television at certain time slots so that I can watch my favorite programs.

Before I go any further, I should mention that I am not totally detached from the world of television. I've been known to watch TV when I'm with other people, to pass the time. I've seen (and enjoyed!) a few TV shows on DVD and via my computer, too. But, I simply cannot bear to sit in front of a broadcast-receiving television. In this post, I'll try to explain and justify my reasons.

Damn, how long has it been since I stopped watching TV? I'd say at least a year, closer to a year and a half.

Some time back then, when I actually made the conscious decision to let it go, I realized that I wasn't really getting anything from the TV that I couldn't get from the Internet. Some may wonder what makes television and the Internet so different to me. Allow me to try to explain what bothers me so much about television.

When you sit in front of the TV, you can change channels, and that's really all the input you have. Everything that goes on is just fed to you; there's nothing active about consuming television media. This might not sound bad; hey, you get to sit around and just absorb the things you like without any work involved. But consider the commercials you're bombarded with day and night. You absorb the stuff you like, but every 10 to 15 minutes, you have to sit through a commercial that is trying to influence you to do something that, chances are, you would have no intention of doing, had you not seen that commercial.

If you have a TiVo, this probably doesn't apply to you for all of your television viewing. But let's assume you don't have one, for the sake of my argument.

We'll use television news as an example. If you're like the average American who watches four hours of TV a day, though, you're not watching news all of those four hours. You're probably watching CSI. But anyway yeah, news! News is good. It lets us know what's going on in our communities and the world, right? Sure, but if you're watching the news, you're only getting to learn about what some people at ABC News, Fox News (heh), or CNN decided is important for you to see. When you read news online, you can read whatever you want, from a variety of sources around the world, at any time you want. This can be a source as reputable as CNN, or as weird as some crackpot journalist who claims that reptiles are running our government. The news information can be of local scope, like your own town or city's local news...or the local news in Bangkok. And then again, maybe you don't want regular news. Maybe you want to know what's going on in the hilarious world of celebrities and pop culture. The important thing is that you make the choice. Furthermore, there are no advertisements for weird pharmaceutical products, new cars, fast food restaurants, or other things that you really don't need.

An active medium like the internet also has the advantage of having a finite amount of content per web page. This is nice, because once you are done reading something, YOU choose what content you want to read/access next. If you were watching TV, sure, you might be able to sit in front of it for hours and hours and not see the same thing program twice...but what are the chances that what you're watching is actually something you want to see? Like I said, all of the content is chosen by someone in an office somewhere. Along with the finite content per web page, there is a near infinite amount of content in the entirety of the constantly-expanding web. The Internet is so vast that the content cannot be controlled on a large scale; sure, everything you read at might be very much controlled by some dude you don't know, and that might annoy you, but you can always go to another web site; there are...a lot of them out there.

Lastly, what might be my biggest gripe about television content is that the vast majority of it is chosen not by the viewers, but instead, it is indirectly chosen by the advertisers. Who do you think pays for the programs you see? In America, you do not pay for it. There seems to be a curious cycle related to the homogenization of the television content that airs here. I believe that it goes kinda like this:

  • Viewers watch what they like best, and they choose this from a pool of programs that come on at different times and different channels. There are other independent variables like availability of the viewer, but when a viewer becomes a regular viewer of a television program, they tend to make time for the program instead of doing other things. (Unless they have a Tivo or some other similar device.)

  • Advertisers want to get the products they sell/represent on TV so that they can reach audiences who they think will buy their products. Their best chance of doing this is usually to advertise to the largest possible audience.

  • Advertisers pay for spots on television programs that they think will reach an audience that will buy the product they are selling; the price is decided by how many viewers the show has, which gives advertisers a rough idea of how many people will see their commercial. This gives the content providers a weird measure of worth for a television show; a show is only worth airing if it has a large number of viewers.

  • When deciding on new shows to air for a season, content providers are cautious about trying new things that don't really fit in their formula, because they might not be able to get advertiser support, or people may not like the program at first.
Because of this, we end up with a system that produces fewer and fewer programs with original ideas, and more and more versions of CSI. The pool of available television content becomes increasingly homogenized, because no one wants to take a chance on something that might challenge this tried and true method.

The Internet is different because anyone can publish content if they know how to; this has become easier in recent years with free hosts like Blogger, that makes it really easy to get a website up and running even if you have no prior experience with any aspect of web publishing. If you want to produce content for the medium of television, you'd better be prepared with a huge sack of money and the patience to deal with a lot of red tape. Another great thing about the Internet is that there's no finite size for the pool of available content, nor are their time restraints on when you can watch something (these time restraints are only just starting to be broken with home recording devices like TiVo, and a lot of people in TV Land are unhappy about this). Lastly, like I said before, browsing the Internet, like reading, is active, because the content does not present itself to you; you must access it. Active consumption is good, because it gives YOU control; not some guy who works on the top floor of a huge building, wears a tailored suit, and doesn't really care about your wants.

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The Cell Phone of Tomorrow (Literally)

Cell phones - I really don't care about what they do aside from voice and text messaging.

All those other "features" we find on our cell phones suck, or are really average. I'll be impressed when I can take great pictures and video on my decent form factor phone, use it as a GPS, and a portable media player. Right now, the picture quality isn't that good, and the video is terrible. Features like these make phones bigger, uglier, and more expensive. The last time I went into a Cingular store, it was impossible to get a phone that was just a phone. So, in lieu of that, I purchased a phone that was a lot more than a phone, and I don't use any of the other features. This phone was $400.

Oh, and does anyone who isn't making 100k a year ever use the internet on their phones?

My next cell phone is going to be a phone. It's going to have excellent battery life and it's going to be slim as hell. It's going to have great voice quality. It's not going to take pictures or video, and I won't be able to listen to my favorite songs on it. But it's going to be cheap.

It's called the MOTOFONE. Last I heard, it's being deployed in developing countries right now, and hopefully we'll be able to get them here in the states this year.

Details on the MOTOFONE straight from the source

This guy agrees with me on the topic of cell phones

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Foo Dogs

Foo Dogs, originally uploaded by nchase.

All of my foo dogs.

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Monday, January 1 gave rise to...

How To Add Google Reader Clips To Your Blogger Blog:

This was slightly confusing for me, but I figured it out.

  1. Click "Add a page element" on the page elements tab under the template section in Blogger.
  2. Click "Add to blog" under HTML/Javascript.
  3. Make yourself a title, and paste the code Google Reader gave you into the content section.
  4. Save changes, and you're done.

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1969 by The Stooges. Helping me to ring in the New Year...

Or something.

If you change the year to 2007, this song is pretty much dead on for me (I mean shit, I turned 21 last year, and I'm turning 22 this year. How cool/uncommon/relevant to the lyrics I copied and pasted below is that?!?!?!?!!) and how I feel right now.

Lyrics to 1969 (From the album The Stooges, released in 1969 and pictured above.)

Well its 1969 ok all across the USA
Its another year for me and you
Another year with nothing to do
Last year I was 21 I didn't have a lot of fun
And now I'm gonna be 22 I say oh my and a boo-hoo
Its 1969 ok all across the USA
Its another year for me and you
Another year with nothing to do
Another year with nothing to do
Its 1969
1969 1969 1969 1969 baby
And its 1969 bayyyyyyybee

The Stooges - 1969 on SendSpace

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