Wednesday, May 30, 2007


So, this morning I got to fulfill a lifelong dream.

I rendered a telemarketer speechless, and actually got them to hang up on me!

The phone rang at the ungodly hour of quarter to eight this morning. (Great idea, guys, getting people out of bed or just on their way out to work is sure to have them in a good mood)

Here’s the complete conversation:

ME : (Assuming the caller is Sunny). “HelllllllllllllooooooooOOOOOooooooOOOO?”

TELEMARKETER : “Ummmm, (Pause) Hi! This is Rachel from (Company name), am I speaking with Mr. Malone?”

ME : (Already embarrassed, so deciding to just go with it) : “You most certainly are, my dear, and what can I do for you on this glorious morning?”

TELEMARKETER : (Sales pitch about burial plots), “So, have you given any thought to your funeral arrangements?”

ME : “Oh, absolutely! I’m going to get stuffed and mounted in my living room, dressed like a Viking and in a pose where I’m suplexing a Puma. It’s going to be Sooooooooo badASS!”


ME : Think about it, my friends come over, all bummed out that I’m dead, then WHAM! There I am in the corner, suplexing a freaking PUMA! A PUMA, dude! They’ll be all like “Dude!” and I’ll be all “Dude, I’m dead but I ROCK!” and they’ll be all “Whoa!” and I’ll be like “Whoa!” and they’ll be like “Dude! Your hat has HORNS!” and stuff.

Tell me that’s not KICK ASS! A freaking PUMA!”

TELEMARKETER: (Silence)….Click.

Yeah, before anyone points it out, I totally stole the “stuffed, suplexing a puma” from Homestarrunner’s Strong Bad, but I’m not claiming to have come up with it, I just used it.

Now accept the “Life, W.T.H.I.G.O.” challenge. Make a telemarketer hang up on you in the funniest or most unusual way you can imagine. Bragging rights go to the funniest.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Ok, this is something that’s honestly beginning the scare me.

Things like the opening of the “Creationism Museum” in Kentucky, where kids can go and learn that the earth is only 6000 years old, that dinosaurs were on the Arc and that the Grand Canyon was created over the space of a week.

It’s not that I have anything against Bible stories, I just don’t like beliefs being represented to young kids as science.

Why does this scare me? Because we’re moving into a world where a kid will go to science class, disagree with his teacher, because he saw a ‘scientific exhibit’ that the world is only 6000 years old…and when the teacher corrects him, he’ll end up getting fired for ‘intolerance of others’ beliefs’.

If you think I’m exaggerating, take the story of the kid who won first place for biology at the Pawley’s Island Christian Academy science fair, for his project entitled “Creation Wins!!!”

The kid suspended a paper towel between two glasses of water mixed with Epsom salts, causing the paper towel to form stalactites.

"Scientists say it takes millions of years to form stalactites," Benson said. "However, in only a couple of hours, I have formed stalactites just by using paper towel and Epsom Salts."

Ok, you can believe whatever you want when it comes to creationism versus evolution, but just about everything about that experiment is wrong. Basically:

1) This has absolutely nothing to do with biology.

2) Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate, stalactites are calcium corbonate.

3) Science has never said stalactites take millions of years to form. Hundreds of thousands, yes…millions, no.

4) Stalactites have never been used to date the Earth’s age.

So, long story short, this kid won first prize, despite the fact his experiment had nothing to do with the subject (This should be geology, not biology), his experiment had nothing to do what he was trying to prove, and even if his method had been 100% correct, the conclusion proves nothing.

Belief’s aside, and giving the kid a little slack for not understanding what’s going on, how can this kid’s parents, his teacher and the judges at the science fair allow this to happen?

This is the equivalent of me using a couple of thumbtacks to attach a 150lb sack of sand to a piece of balsa wood, and when the balsa wood breaks, saying “Wood can’t support the average weight of a grown male when attached by only two nails, therefore, there’s no way Jesus could have been nailed to a cross, therefore he never existed.”

Yup, wrong wood, wrong nails, wrong weight distribution and a conclusion that has nothing to do with the fact I’m trying to prove.

I’ll be completely honest. I just don’t get it. How can any sane person believe a book written over 2000 years ago can have anything to do with science? It’s just what some people wrote down. It wasn’t faxed to Earth from Heaven, and when it comes to creation, it’s just the ideas that some people had when trying to make sense of what’s going on around them.

People born at that time thought mental illness meant you’d been possessed. Hell, we were still bleeding people with leeches a couple hundred years ago, and our best scientists thought that traveling at 40mph on a train would asphyxiate the passengers or cause their heads to explode!

Now, the creationists among you have probably just noticed I’ve said that scientists were wrong back then, and are therefore probably wrong today.

Well, here’s a chart that pretty much explains everything.

Click for a closer look.

I’m not saying science is infallible, or that we have everything figured out. I just mean we have a better understanding today of what makes the world tick than a bunch of guys who died 2000 years ago.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Writer's cock-block.

So I had an idea for a new book to write.

It came to me as I was falling asleep (as most good ideas do), but then, in the cold light of day, I started to notice the problems with the idea…some of which wouldn’t have been problems a few years ago.

I wanted to write a classic zombie novel, but written from the perspective of normal people. More what I’d do if I suddenly found myself in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. No ex-marines, no ‘loose-cannon’ cop or weapons expert. Just people like me, my family and friends. No grizzled veteran shouting “I’m not going to let this happen again!” Before mowing down a parking lot full of zombies.

Then we come to the problems:

How the hell do you end a story like that? Either everyone dies, or the army arrive at the last possible minute and get you out by helicopter. There really seems to be no non-cliché way to end a zombie novel. It’s either the whole world is over-run by zombies which leads to an open ending (which I don’t like)…or it turns out that if the protagonists had just jumped in a car and drove for an hour, they’d be fine…which kinda makes the story a huge let down.

The worst problem, however, is that the main mechanics of the story are controversial as hell. Most of the fun in writing this book would be the McGuyver-esque contraptions the protagonists would use. The question is, how to you believably describe someone turning a hobby-rocket and a few other miscellaneous items into a rocket-launcher?

Parents go nuts because Harry Potter ‘teaches kids witchcraft’…imagine the backlash when I describe someone strapping a flask of nitro-glycerin to the top of an RC car, then driving it into a mass of oncoming zombies!

Screw it, I’m writing it anyway.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Cats are Weird.

We bought Leonard one of those automatic pet-feeders. It's one of those that's just a feed bowl attached to a hopper. As he eats the food, more falls into his bowl. Simple, right?

Well, not for Leonard. Despite the fact his food bowl refills itself, because the hopper is transparent, he can see that there's more food in there than in his the annoying f**ker does everything he can to get into it...including standing on it, trying to get the lid off and knocking the whole damn thing over.

It reminds me of the part in one of Terry Pratchett's novels were a spoiled little kid is surrounded by candy but is bawling his eyes out and not eating, because if he eats a piece of candy he won't be eating everything else.

His bowl's overflowing...but there's even more food in the hopper! He wants the bigger share dammit!

Plus, don't get me started on filling the cat's bowl, only to have Leonard charge into the dog's room when he hears me filling Buddy's bowl...and vice versa.

Anyone wanna adopt a 'special needs class' dog and dimwitted cat?

Didn't think so.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Today’s post is a little weird.

First of all, take a look at the picture of this statue, then answer me this. Do you find it offensive?

Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not really a comic book guy. Loved them as a kid, but as an adult, I can think of other things I’d rather spend my money on. However, while blog-surfing I stumbled across that picture and it turns out that a lot of the comic-book community is going batshit crazy over it.


Because Mary Jane Watson doing Spider-man’s laundry is demeaning and offensive to women.

The only reason I’m posting this is because (at least in my opinion) the people going nuts don’t really understand the ‘context’ of the statue…but mostly because I thought “This is what you choose to get offended about?”

Ok, let me explain the context first.

For me, the main attraction to Spider-man is that he isn’t the stereotypical “Truth, Justice and the American Way” hero. He’s a normal kid with all the same problems, faults and worries as you and me. Sure, he swings around NYC kicking the crap out of badguys, but as Peter Parker, he’s a shy geek who has trouble standing up for himself.

In many ways he’s the opposite of Superman. I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone said that with Superman, Clark Kent is the ‘act’. Kent is the disguise Superman wears to fit in with the general populace. He’s a super-hero who pretends to be normal.

Spider-man is the opposite. He’s a normal kid who pretends to be a Superhero. He wasn’t born with his powers, and if it wasn’t for the hard-learned lesson from Uncle Ben, he probably wouldn’t be Spiderman.

So that’s what I mean about the context of this statue. It’s not relegating Mary Jane to ‘housewife’ duties…It’s more about the fact that even though Spider-man is more than capable of defeating Doc Oc or Mysterio, but as Peter Parker, he needs help with his laundry.

Remember the part in Spiderman 2 where he accidentally dyes his laundry red and blue because he put the spidey suit in with his load? Same idea.

Secondly, though, I was just surprised that this is what people chose to get offended about. Take a look at this pic:

What’s a practical superhero outfit? I know, a chainmail bra and thong!

It seems that rather than a dastardly super-villain, the things female super-heroes have to worry about the most is pneumonia from their total lack of clothes, and lower back problems from their gigantic boobies…and this is pretty much representative of the whole genre

Now this is just comic books, so many people (including myself most of the time) are just “Who cares?”

I just find it really amusing that in a media where women are almost exclusively represented as pre-pubescent wet-dreams and teenage fantasies, a superhero’s girlfriend doing his laundry is what people choose to get bent out of shape about.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Draw Circle. Bang Head Here

What follows is an actual conversation I had with someone yesterday while out shopping:

I was standing in the local Gamestop, trying to think of a way I could classify “Rogue Squadron 3” as groceries so I could talk Sunny into letting me buy it. I’d got as far as describing the graphics as ‘eye-candy’, and therefore food when someone taps me on the shoulder.

I turn around to see a woman in maybe her mid-40’s, looking extremely lost and somewhat confused.

“Excuse me.” She said. “Do you work here?”

“No, I don’t. Sorry.” I replied.

She looked around for a moment to see if an assistant was nearby, and not seeing one, said:

“Do you know anything about computers? I just need to know if this will work on my son’s computer.”

In her hand she had a Playstation 2 game. However, knowing that plenty of people call games consoles ‘computers’, I didn’t say no right away.

“Well, what type of computer is it? Is it a computer or a games console?”

She looked at me like I’d grown an extra head.

“Ok,” I said, “does it have a keyboard and mouse? Or a control pad like that one.” I pointed to one of the 360 controllers on the rack.

“Ah!” She said. “It has something that looks like that, so will this work?”

“Well, there’s different types of games consoles.” I said. “Do you know if it’s a Playstation? Xbox? Nintendo?”

“Xbox rings a bell.” She said.

“Well, we’re getting closer.” I laughed. “Is it an original Xbox, or a 360?”

She just looked confused. I started to feel a little sorry for her.

“Ok, is it a big black thing with a green circle on it, or is it slimmer and more of a cream color?”

She thought for a few moments. “It’s the black one.” She replied.

“Ok, then, well you have an Xbox, and that’s a Playstation game. The Xbox games are over there.” I said, pointing her to the correct section.

“Great! Thanks for your help!” She said.

She wondered off and I heard her say “These will work with your computer.”

I looked over to see she had a kid with her, he looked to be about 5 or 6 at the oldest. Because people watching is just plain fun, I watched the kid look over the games while I picked up a copy of Guild Wars and started trying to figure out a way to classify it as a ‘Utility’, so I could convince Sunny into letting me buy it.

Suddenly, I hear the kid pipe up: “Oh Coooooool! I want this one!”

She grabbed the game off the shelf, and approached me again.

“Sorry to bother you again.” She said, looking embarrassed.

“Oh, no worries.” I replied. “We were all new at this once.”

“Will this one work on my son’s Xbox?”

Ok, at this point, I had three thoughts:

One, apparently the words “Xbox” in big green letters isn’t enough to convince this woman it was an Xbox game.

Two, it was Doom 3, probably one of the goriest, scariest games ever released for the Xbox.

Three, She’d somehow also missed the info box that takes up about 1/5th the front of the box that says “M for Mature. 17 years or older”…as well as the back which explains the ratings system, as well as a rundown of the game’s contents. (Graphic violence, blood, gore, satanic images, etc.)

So, I took a deep breath.

“Yeah, it’ll work fine, but is that your son over there?” (Who knows, she may have been buying it for an older son and brought her younger kid with her for ‘advice’)

She looked at me kinda oddly and said “Yes, why?”

“Well, I wouldn’t recommend that particular game for a kid that young. It’s really violent and kinda scary.”

I got the ‘three heads’ look again, and started to wonder if I had the words ‘mental patient’ stenciled on my forehead.

“Oh, it’s just a game.” She said. “It’ can’t be that bad.”

I pointed to the ratings info on the box.

“See?” I said. “Not recommended for people under the age of 17. Just like on movies.”

She just looked at me again, so before she could speak, I continued: “I’ll be completely honest with you, I’ve played that game myself and it made me jump a few times and I’m 26! It’ll probably give him nightmares. I doubt you’d let him watch and R-Rated movie and that’s just as bad.”

“But it’s just a game.” She said again.

“Why not pick out one of the racing ones?” I said, as I noticed her kid was wearing a Nascar baseball cap.

“No, he said he wants this one.” She replied, firmly.

Funny, I thought, Maybe I should give my mum a call when I get home and explain she had it backwards…apparently the kids make the decisions and parents just go along with it.

I showed her the screenshots on the back of the box in an attempt to explain why a game featuring very realistic alien/zombie/demons that you can hack up with a chainsaw might not be suitable for a seven year old. She was having none of it.

In the end I just shrugged and said. “If you wanna buy it, buy it…but I’d suggest you sit and watch him play it for half an hour when you get home, that might change your mind.”

At this point, I saw that I was irrevocably pidgeon-holed as a ‘Crazy Person’™. She thanked me for my help and made a swift exit to the register. A few moments later I saw Sunny walking towards the car, so headed for the exit.

On my way out I heard the guy at the register trying to explain the same thing I’d tried to tell her. The last thing I heard as I left was her saying:

“Look, just ring it up and give it to me. This is the one he wants!”

Ok, I’m not going to go through the same arguments I’ve been through a million times, but this is exactly what’s wrong with the whole ‘violent video-game’ thing.

Here was a parent who obviously still thinks games are stuck in 1988 when the original Nintendo was the gaming system of choice. They’re stuck with the idea that games are solely for young kids, so if it’s a game, it must be fine for little Timmy to play. The same parents who will keep close tabs on the TV shows or movies they let their kids watch, but completely ignore the games.

I told this woman that the game was age-inappropriate. I showed her the packaging which stated the game was age-inappropriate. Then the sales guy told her the same thing…but in her mind it was “just a game”.

What really bugged me is that this wasn’t just ignorance, it was forced ignorance. If you don’t know a damn thing about games, it’d be easy to walk out with the wrong game for a young kid. Back in the 8-bit days, it was common for a game to have violent or scary box art…and the game was a side-scrolling platformer that was about as scary as a pink balloon.

However, this woman chose to ignore the warnings on the box, and the advice of two different people. All because it was ‘just a game’ and probably because little Timmy would throw a tantrum if he didn’t get his way.

The problem is that these are the same parents who will try to sue the second the game they just insisted on buying for their kid is featured on the news as the ‘next big threat’.

The ESRB (The video game ratings people) aren’t controlled by the government or forced to do anything. Those ratings are there voluntarily to stop kids playing games they shouldn’t.

The problem is that you can make it illegal to sell age-inappropriate games, you can put all the government control you like on them, but it’s not going to do a damn bit of good when the parents of these kids completely and totally ignore all the advice and warnings they receive.

In other words, a ‘responsible adult’ buys a game that says right on the box that it’s unsuitable for anyone under the age of 17, and contains violence, blood, graphic language, drug use, drug references etc.

Then something breaks on the news, or the parent actual sees the game in action and they start looking for someone to blame and/or sue. For what? For not physically intervening and forcing them to read the box?

Look, let me set this straight once and for all:

The day some kid finds a sex-scene in “Barbie Horse Adventures”, you have a case and someone to blame. When you, as an adult, buy a game that is clearly marked unsuitable for anyone under the age of 17 for your 8 year old…the only person accountable is you. The warnings already cover about 20% of the overall packaging, and states clearly what the game contains. That you choose not to read it, or choose to ignore it is not the creator or retailer’s fault.

Even if the crazies are right, and the games companies and ESRB are evil and trying to market sex and violence to kids, we could stop all kids from playing violent games or watching violent movies, if those kids’ parents would simply read the frigging box!

When little Timmy hands you a copy of GTA or Doom, you look at the box in the corner, and if it’s not rated E for Everyone, or you just don’t like the look of it, you say “No.”

Sure, he might throw a tantrum…but that’s called parenting.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Presidents and Sith Lords

It appears that George Dubya has put forth a proposal that would give him 'emergency powers' that would give him total control over the entire Federal Government during a catastrophic attack.

Is this sounding familiar to anyone?

When asked for Comment, President Bush commented: "Are you threatening me, Master Jedi?" before contacting the Secret Service over his radio, instructing them to "Execute Order 66".

Opposition leaders later said "I've got a bad feeling about this." before commiserating that "Many Bothans died to bring us this information."

Monday, May 21, 2007

Bloody Cats.

There’s only one animal in the whole animal kingdom that can be classified as truly evil, and it’s the common house cat.

Not only that, they’re the only animals in the world that can be considered devious, duplicitous and selfish.

Take my cat, for example.

If I fill his food bowl, he’ll start to eat until the very second he hears me start to fill the dog’s bowl, then he charges in there and tries to bury himself in the dog’s food. At first, I just assumed he liked the dog’s food more than his own…but as we ran out of cat food this week, I filled his bowl with some of the dog’s food. Exactly the same thing happened. Same food, he just wanted to eat the dog’s first.

However, if you really want to see a house-cat’s evilness is action, watch them when they catch a mouse.

Every other animal in the world kills for one of three reasons. Food, territory or dominance…and even then, a Tiger or wild dog will happily watch a challenger limp away rather than go for the kill. An outsider will encroach on a Lion’s territory and it’ll chase it off. A young lion will challenge the Alpha Male’s authority, and the Alpha Male will give the upstart a bloody good kicking, but not tear its throat out.

Watch a cat with a mouse. They toy with them. They’re not killing through necessity…they’re killing because they bloody love it.

Recently, Leonard managed to catch a mouse. He started juggling with it. Seriously, the first I knew about the mouse was when I walked into the hallway and saw it sail through the air at my eye-level.

He’d throw it up in the air, then he’d leave it alone until the poor thing tried to make a break for it, only to slam it with his paw and start juggling with it again.

Then we come to the worst part. When it was finally dead, it wasn’t interesting any more, so he walked away and left it.

Seriously, how many animals can you name that hunt just for the sheer fun of killing?

Watch a tiger or lion hunting a zebra. They chase it down, grab its throat until it suffocates and then eat it. Do they grab one, pull it to the ground…then let it get up, run a few more feet and knock it down again? Nope…because they’re hunting for food. If you stuck a pile of fresh meat next to a zebra, it’s doubtful the Lion’s would kill it at all.

Then we come to Leonard’s daily tormenting of the dog.

Buddy will be happily asleep on the floor, and if Leonard doesn’t want to use him as a mattress, he’ll sneak up, whack Buddy around the face as many times as he can and run away. Or wait for him to walk past, latch onto his leg and just keep biting.

He’s just lucky that Buddy’s been around cats since he was a puppy and knows he not allowed to get too rough with them. Sometimes, Buddy will just stand there, with the cat going to town on his legs or tail…and look at me like “Dude, can you please do something about this fucker?”

Finally, last night I was trying to sleep and Leonard decided my face was a really comfortable looking place to sleep.

After being thrown off the bed three times, I felt him jump back up, and he crept up next to me…stayed perfectly still for a couple of minutes…before he whacked me on the nose before hauling ass out of the bedroom.

…and the little fucker wonders why I use the laser pointer to run him into walls.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Geeks and Geekery

[Author’s note : I wrote this a while ago and completely forgot about it. As you can probably tell, I was in a bad mood and went a little over the top. However, I still believe in a lot of the things I’ve said here…and if nothing else, it’s kinda funny. Enjoy! – Paulius]

I’m a geek, and to be honest, I’m a little bit bitter.

First of all I have to define exactly what a Geek is. You see, there are plenty of people today who will call themselves Geeks, but are actually far from it. In the same way that wearing baggy pants and playing “Tony Hawk” on a console doesn’t make you a skater…wearing a T-shirt that says “ ” on the front doesn’t make you a Geek.

There are lots of ‘Geeky’ interests. Computers, tabletop roleplaying games, comics etc. But the mark of a true Geek is that you liked these things before they were cool.

Anyone can buy an iPod, a laptop and an oh so clever T-shirt and call themselves a ‘Geek’, but the thing is that today it’s become fashionable to be a Geek. Back in the day being a Geek was a ‘Bad Thing’…but then the internet exploded and people with ‘Geek Skills’ suddenly found themselves in demand.

In other words, the Jock might look good on your prom picture, but the geek could show you how to get free music on the internet, or show you how cut and paste could get that paper written in minutes.

In the blink of an eye, we entered ‘The Age Of The Geek’.

Here’s the deal, I wasn’t just a Geek in school, I was a Nerd as well. I was a fully fledged Gnerd.

I was fat, wore big thick glasses in the cheap tortoise-shell plastic frames and thanks to moving at an early age, I had a distinctive accent that was completely different to everyone else I went to school with.

I might as well have walked into school on my first day with a big target strapped to my back.

This was pre-internet, home computers where the exception and not the rule…hell, it was even pre-compact discs. I hated sports (and was never invited to play anyway), so I went deep into the realm of Geekiness. While everyone else was playing football…I was writing short stories, programming text-adventures on my Commodore 64, and had a deep love of science and technology.

What most non-geeks never realize is that being a Geek follows you. You only get one chance at a first impression, and when you’re just a kid and have no idea about the social ‘rules’ that society follows, you don’t understand that reading a book during break makes you a target to all the other kids you go to school with…and once you’ve made that impression, it’s too late.

It doesn’t matter if you completely change your look and your habits, you’re a geek until you leave school and aren’t surrounded by the same people who know you as a Geek. Sure, you can come into school on ‘wear your own clothes day’ in the latest fashions…but that doesn’t stop you being an outsider… it makes you a pretender. You’re a geek pretending to be cool…something that in the schoolyard hierarchy is even more hated than a true Geek.

A Geek turning up at school one day trying to be cool is about as convincing as George W. Bush wearing a backwards baseball cap and trying to be ‘street’. You’re trying to be Snoop Dog, but just not even managing Vanilla Ice. No matter what you do, you’re just a geek in unconvincing camouflage.

The best way I can describe what it’s like being a geek in those circumstances, is to imagine the internet doesn’t exist, but the technology for the Internet exists…but no matter how hard you try, you just can’t explain why that’s cool, what it’s good for or convince anyone that creating it would be a good idea…and every time you bring it up, you get laughed at.

It’s like trying to explain the concept of DVD’s to someone in the 1970s. You mention 1’s and 0’s, and data being read by a laser…and you get laughed at and told not to read so much sci-fi. Here’s a real world example of this:

When I was about 7, I typed a paragraph sized report for school on my C64 and printed it on my dot matrix printer. When my teacher asked why I used a typewriter I proudly told her I’d done it on my computer, expecting an ‘atta boy’. Instead I was made to do it again by hand during break-time because my teacher got the idea that the computer somehow wrote the report for me. This is what it’s like being a true geek. You find a better way to do something, in a way that requires specialist knowledge…and the people around you act as if you’ve done something wrong. I was 7 years old using an (ultra) simple ‘word processor’ I’d coded myself in basic…but obviously I was stupid for trying to ‘get one over’ on the teacher by ‘telling’ my computer to write a report for me.

I also got sent to see the Headmaster (Principal) because I wrote the following on one of the schools BBCB Microcomputers:

10 Print “Computers are great”

20 Goto 10


If you have no idea what that does, it just puts “Computer are great” on the screen over and over. Why was I sent to the Headmaster? Because I was lucky I didn’t ‘break the computer’. Really, running an ultra simple bit of BASIC code on a computer with no hard-drive that resets to factory every time you turn it off. This was the first time I realized I was in trouble for being more intelligent than my teachers.

Being a Geek is being ahead of your time…and getting punished for it.

Then, when I first heard about modems and networks, I remember trying to explain to someone how cool it would be. “Imagine, you could connect a camera to a computer and talk to someone on a screen like on Star Trek!” (This was long before the internet, never mind video conferencing)

Know what my usual response was?

“Stop Dreaming”.

Why send letters through a computer when you can just mail one? You don’t need a thousand dollar computer; you just need a 25 cent stamp! Why talk to someone through a computer when you can just pick up the phone?

I spent a lot of my childhood being told to ‘stop wasting time’ with computers and to ‘do something productive/constructive’. It seems kinda strange that the same people who laughed at me and made fun of me as a kid for ‘messing about with computers’ are the same people demanding it be taught in schools today… and calling me for tech support.

Then things changed. BBS’s became the Arpanet became the Internet. Computers went from the sole realm of geeks and computer enthusiasts, to people who don’t even know what a modem does or what RAM is. Computers went from a handful of houses to pretty much every home. Geeks like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs became Rock Stars. The same friends and family members who used to complain I was ‘wasting time’ and should be outside playing football became the people who started calling for advice on which computer to buy, how to set it up and how to work this ‘Internet thing’.

I suddenly went from social pariah to Mr. Popular because I could fix people’s computers and show them how to install Napster.

For the true geeks of the world, it was our turn in the sun.

But then we get back to Geeks becoming fashionable. This gave birth to the geek-poser.

These are the people who think because they’ve got Limewire on their computer, they’re a 133t H4xx0r. They use 133t Sp34k, but have no idea where it came from or why it was used. (Or realize that using it makes them look like complete tools). They’re the ones you see in computer stores bragging about how many ‘gigs’ or ‘frames per second’ their computer has. They’re the ones who’ve never played a game of D&D in their life but wear T-shirts that say “This T-Shirt gives me +5 sexiness.” The don’t actually get the joke, but HTML or D&D references on T-shirts are today just the same as getting a Chinese symbol tattooed on you somewhere. For all you know, your Tat means “Egg fried rice with chicken and cashew nuts”…but damn it looks cool and everyone has one.

If you think you’re a Geek because you ‘haxxored’ free music off Kazaa and Limewire, go talk to someone who used to share warez through BBS’s with a 2600 baud modem using phone phreaking techniques so they didn’t have to pay for the call.

Basically, these people aren’t Geeks, they’re just people using technology that was invented by geeks. Of course, they have no idea how any of it actually works, but that doesn’t matter…as long as they can sit behind their Macbook in Starbucks while listening to their iPods and feel superior.

Ok, I’m just going to say it:

Look, you’re the people who made fun of the people like me at school. I’m sorry that the fact you were Prom King or MVP of your school football team didn’t count in that job interview. I’m sorry that your highschool popularity didn’t spill over into real life. I’m sorry that the kid you bullied is now CEO of the corporation that you work at as a janitor. I’m extremely sorry if you were Bill Gates’ bully.

However, the title of ‘Geek’ is OURS and you can’t have it.

Being a Geek is something you are, not something you ‘wear’ because it’s fashionable. If you think buying a laptop and a wireless router makes you one of us, you’re just plain wrong. You spent all your time making fun of Geeks and now you’re suddenly one of us because it’s become cool? You’re kidding yourself…and true Geeks can spot a poser a mile away.

If you’re over 25 and didn’t cut your teeth on a Sinclair ZX, VIC-20 or earlier you’re not a Geek. If you’ve never used a DOS prompt in your life, you’re not a geek. If you were never made fun of for doing the ‘Geek’ things you like today, you just haven’t earned it.

Basically, not too long ago, the word ‘Geek’ was an insult and not the ‘badge of honor’ it’s become today. We were Geeks when it wasn’t cool, and we were Geeks because we loved it, not because it was fashionable or ‘the latest thing’.

True Geeks made Geek cool. We earned it, and you can’t have it.

So, take off your ‘Think Geek’ shirt, stop using ‘133t 5p34k’ and stop proudly calling yourself a ‘Geek’.

Sure, you might have made our lives hell at school…but we can hack your shit.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Growing up?

May 15th was our 3rd wedding anniversary.

Because we had a little extra money, we decided to buy ourselves a present to celebrate. I said I wanted a bread maker. Sunny wanted a new crockpot with removable stoneware. So we hopped in the car and went to Walmart. By sheer chance, the prices in store where a low lower than the listed prices on the website, so we could afford both.

However, it was only when I we where back in the parking lot, loading our new kitched appliances into the trunk of the car that I had one of those real ‘What the fuck and I doing?’ moments.

Seriously. We had some free money and instead of buying a video game, or a nice shiny gadget with lots of lights and buttons…I’d bought a kitchen appliance. What was worse was I was actually a little excited about it.

I mean, seriously! When did I grow up?

Twice last week I found myself walking around the garden section at Lowes, out of choice! I found myself looking at fountains, planters and rose bushes, thinking grown up thoughts like “Hmm, that would really brighten up our front porch.”

It seems like only yesterday that my parents would be dragging me around the garden center, while I asked how much longer they were going to be about every 15 seconds.

This started me thinking about just how much I’ve changed, and even though I’m sure the change was gradual, I only noticed it recently, so it feels like I went from kid to ‘grown-up’ over night.

Ok, to all my fellow geeks. Remember what it was like when you’d borrow a NES or Sega game from a friend at school, and it felt like the school day lasted forever because you just couldn’t wait to get home and play ‘Mike Tyson’s Punch Out’ or ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’?

Remember when you’d wake up at about 5am on a Sunday morning and fire up the console with a brother or sister to play ‘Double Dragon’? (Oh, and when you’d be fighting the last boss your mother would walk in, shout at you for being up so early and making so much noise and turn the damn thing off).

“Oh, and off topic, but for nostalgia’s sake for the true geeks, remember being called away from your Commodore 64 for dinner, just after you’d spent three hours typing out the BASIC code for a game from a magazine…only to return after dinner to discover it had been turned off before you could save it to a tape?”

When did that enthusiasm and excitement stop? Is it because we just don’t like gaming as much as when we were kids? Are we growing up? Or is it just because as adults we can set our own schedule and not have to rush home to get an hour of gaming in before we’re forced to go to bed or go somewhere?

Has the fact that I can play a video game whenever I want somehow removed a little of the shine from it?

To be honest, I don’t really know.

All I know is that within minutes of getting home the bread maker was on, and I was watching the dough getting kneaded on a nice Italian herb and cheese loaf. I haven’t done that with anything since stepping though my front door after school and racing upstairs to try out the copy of Excitebike I’d borrowed from someone that morning.

That breadmaker had become that NES cartridge that would be burning a hole in my school bag all day.

Am I growing up? I have no idea.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go play Sonic.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Scientology has been in the news a lot recently. Mostly down to their alleged ‘brainwashing’ tactics and campaigns of fear and intimidation against anyone who tries to discredit them. Like the BBC news reporter who received death threats and had his hotel room broken into while filming a “Scientology Expose”.

Ok, so what’s Scientology all about?

Well, here’s the scoop. L. Ron Hubbard, a science fiction writer created this ‘religion’. What’s funniest is that he was quoted as saying “The real way to make money is by founding a religion.” In the pre-scientology days.

Here’s the ‘story’ of ‘Scientology’:

An alien Overlord named ‘Lord Xenu’ was in charge of most of the planets in this part of the galaxy, including Earth. Unfortunately, these planets where massively over-crowded, having on average about 180 billion people per planet.

So, with the help of psychiatrists, Xenu called in billions of people for a fake ‘income tax’ review, and injected all the people with a mixture of alcohol and glycol to paralyse them. He then flew all these paralysed people to Earth, stacked them around volcanoes by their hundreds of billions and set of H-bombs inside the volcanoes.

Unfortunately, this left billions of souls flying around (called ‘thetans’ by scientologists). So Xenu captured them all with electronic beams. The Thetans where then packed up in boxes and taken to big 3D cinemas and shown movies that tricked them into thinking they where God, Christ and the Devil.

Then, the souls left the cinema, and started to stick together because they’d all seen the same film and thought they were the same person. Because there where only a few living bodies left, the clustered together and inhabited these bodies.

Finally, Xenu was overthrown and locked away in a mountain on one of the planets behind a force field with an eternal battery. He’s still alive today.

Oh, and the only way we can be a ‘free soul’ is by joining Scientology and paying huge amounts of money to have our Thetans removed. The only reason Christianity exists is because the Thetans living on our bodies all saw that film 75 million years ago.

(Deep Breath).

Ok, I swear I’m not making this shit up. This is exactly what scientologist believe. I could argue with that story all day (Why do people believe things other than Christianity? Where some ‘Thetans’ shown a different movie?)…but the beauty of this is that it’s so ridiculously absurd, I don’t have to.

I’ve got to say I love that story though. The beauty of becoming a recognized religion is you don’t have to pay tax…and the two things this story demonizes is income tax, and the people who are most likely to point out this whole idea is insane.

However, I want to go on a different tack.

People are happy to make fun of Scientology, because it’s just so freaking weird. A religion founded by a science-fiction writer who said it all ‘just came to him’? It’s a ‘religion’ based on a really bad science fiction story, written by a really bad science fiction writer.

Now, while I in no way consider scientology to be a ‘real’ religion, and I’m not defending it in any way…is mainstream religion any more believable? Let’s see.

Once upon a time, there was this guy called God who created himself. He then created the universe out of nothing in 6 days, and despite his obvious power, he needed a nap on the seventh day.

Then he created a guy in his own image…despite the fact that a being who can create the universe in 6 days is really unlikely to have or need arms and legs. Then, the guy he created got bored, so God took one of the guy’s ribs and made a woman out of it, and let them live in paradise forever. (That was either a really tiny woman, or God worked some more of his magic…which makes us wonder why he needed the rib in the first place. He can make the universe from nothing, but needs a rib to make a woman…just sounds like a shallow way to ensure women’s subservience to me)

Then, the woman was tempted by a snake to eat an apple from the tree of knowledge, which made her realize she was nude and asked God for some clothes. Then, despite the fact that God is all knowing, and should have known about the fruit larceny already, he threw a major shit-fit and chucked the guy and the girl out of the Garden for eternity.

So, despite the fact “God is Love” and has infinite mercy and forgiveness, he banishes his own creations from the Garden of Eden for ‘scrumping’. The irony that he created this woman, and her temptation is essentially a design fault, completely escapes him.

Later on, God sends the Holy Spirit, who’s really God in disguise, but also a separate entity to impregnate a woman and give birth to his son. God’s son walks the Earth, tells everyone to be really nice to each other, so he gets nailed to a big piece of wood and dies.

So God gave up his only son to die for our sins (Why, I don’t really get. What did it do?), but it would have been a much grander gesture for God himself to do it, instead of making his own son do it. But then again, Jesus rose from the dead and went up to heaven on a cloud, so it all worked out well in the end.

See? Isn’t that just as weird and fantastical? One story has an alien trapping souls with laser beams, another has a powerful being making women out of guys’ ribs.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Original link here

"Plans to vaccinate young girls against the sexually-transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer have been blocked in several US states by conservative groups, who say that doing so would encourage promiscuity."

I honestly am too freaking angry to write much about this, except to say that it appears cancer is more acceptable to these people than teen sex.

Absolute fucking morons.

Monday, May 14, 2007


Browsing through some of my favorite news sites today, I stumbled upon this snippet from The Guardian, a British Newspaper:

“Many British Asians see a society that hardly inspires them to integrate. Indeed, they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear. Not for the first time, I found myself thinking that it is mainstream Britain which needs to integrate more with the British Asian way of life, not the other way around.”

As an immigrant myself, I think I’m qualified to say this:

This kind of thinking has to stop. Not just in England or America, but in every country around the world.

Here’s the thing. I try to be open minded and not prejudiced towards any race, religion or social group, but I’m tired of people jumping on the bandwagon and demanding that natural born citizens from any country need to change their ways to make immigrants feel more at home.

Look, I’m British and I moved to America. What right do I have to demand that Americans change their own customs and culture to make me feel better?

Put it this way, I personally despise country music, but I live in the South. Should I be calling radio stations demanding they play more Beatles and less Garth Brooks? It’d probably piss off every American Citizen in the state, but it would sure make me feel more at home…and I’m an immigrant minority, right? According to ‘Politically Correct’ thinking, doesn’t that make me noble and downtrodden and more important than everyone else?

Can I just make that clear? The idea is that we should piss off an entire country by putting an end to that country’s customs in order to please the tiny immigrant minorities…minorities who most of the time don’t care one way or another.

I’m a Brit living in a country where on July 4th they celebrate winning a war and gaining their independence from my country. Do I find this offensive? Do I think that Americans should be politically correct and not celebrate Independence Day, or rename it to something like “Misunderstanding with the Brits who we think are just Super!” Day?

No, I don’t. The truth is, if America made me that uncomfortable and I really wanted to feel ‘at home’, there’s a place I can go. It’s called England.

This is the part where I have to be totally clear before I get branded a racist.

I’m not suggesting taking away any of the freedoms that natural-born citizens have from immigrants. I’m not demanding that the specific culture and customs of an immigrant should be suppressed. In America and England we have this wonderful thing called freedom…and that freedom is for everybody.

I’m talking about way of life and customs. If an immigrant is openly made a target for harassment, racial slurs or is singled out and mistreated in any way…that’s just plain wrong.

However, when it becomes the norm for any country to start suppressing their own way of life to make immigrants feel ‘comfortable’ (which is what’s slowly happening), something is very, very wrong.

If I want to wish someone Merry Christmas, I’m going to wish them Merry Christmas, not ‘Happy Holidays’ or (shudder) “Happy Chirstmahannukwanzakah”. I also think that other cultures should be free to wish people a happy Kwanza, Hanukah or whatever.

Personally, I blame most ill feeling on Political Correctness. It’s being jammed down our throats that we’re all ‘the same’, when quite frankly, we’re all extremely different. We look different, we act different and we have different religions and customs.

The only time ‘difference’ actually becomes a problem is when we judge one group to be better than another. Stand me next to a black guy, and asian guy and an arab guy, and I could spend all day pointing out our differences. Sure, we’ll probably also have lots of things in common…my point is we’re not the same…but that doesn’t mean I judge myself to be any better or worse than them.

My overall point is that if you’re an immigrant to a particular country, it’s completely wrong and unfair to expect that country to change in order to suit you. If you find a particular country’s way of life and customs to be offensive, why move there in the first place?

When you emigrate somewhere, you’re essentially a guest of that country. When you go to a friend’s house for dinner, you don’t demand they change their décor, put on music you like and only serve your favorite foods. Why is moving to a new country any different?

As the above article said: “…they see aspects of modern Britain which are a threat to the values they hold dear.” The problem is that those ‘aspects of modern Britain’ are probably values that natural born British Citizens hold dear.

In other words, “Our values are more important than your values.” And “You should change to suit us.”

You can’t move to a whole new country with a whole different culture and expect it to be exactly like your country of origin, and you can’t expect every citizen of that country to change their own way of life and traditions in order to make you feel more at home.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Hype and Expectations

I’m probably about to be disowned by every geek I know, but I have to say it…

I thought the Star Wars Prequels were kinda good.

Ok, Episode I had the whole Jar-Jar thing, but you gotta give George Lucas a little bit of credit. Episode IV came out in the seventies, and it was such a phenomenal hit that you could guarantee that pretty much everyone aged 25 or over was going to see this movie.

Jar-Jar was just a failed attempt to pull in the kiddies, ok? You gotta appeal to the Shrek generation with a non R-Rated movie for it to do well at the box office.

Then, Episodes II and III. Well, they got a load of flak over Hayden Christensen. Sure, he came across more whiney and spoiled than evil, and pretty much phoned in his performance in Episode III…but then again, this guy had to play Darth-freaking-Vader. Who can measure up to that?

I’m just gonna say two words. Leonardo DiCaprio. Christensen suddenly doesn’t seem so bad, does he?

Then, of course, you have to understand that the scripts weren’t pre-written. Lucas basically had to squeeze a lot of what was then vague back-story into three movies. I’ve always felt the movies would have been a lot better if the story had been spread over 4 movies instead of three. Anakin turned to the dark side far too quickly and easily. There’s really a whole movie’s worth of material that was just shoehorned in. Anakin growing up, showing his bond with Obi-wan and Palpatine’s slow and deliberate manipulation…instead of:

Anakin: “Hey! I’m a good guy, I just saved a bunch of people.”

Palpatine : “But I know the Dark Side and can save your missus from this vague premonition of danger you’re having.”

Anakin : “Well, despite the fact everyone’s told me the future is really hard to read and can never be known for certain, and despite the fact that you’ve openly admitted to being evil, which everything I’ve been taught my entire life means you’re lying anyway… I’ll go kill a bunch of kids with my Lightsaber to save Padme! Woot! Vader me up, beehotches!”

Really, we needed a movie between Episodes II and III. One where General Grievous was introduced and his character fleshed out, More exposition of the Jedi getting more suspicious of Palpatine. Palpatine subtly manipulating and encouraging Anakin over to the dark side and more of Anakin actually growing up and bonding with Obi-Wan. We also needed another actor for Anakin between Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen…we saw him as a kid and as an adult…what about a cock teenager undergoing his Jedi training and getting more and more frustrated and angry?

Basically, Lucas had painted himself into a corner through dialogue in the original trilogy and by calling the first movie Episode IV. When you consider what he was up against, you can forgive the odd plot hole and ‘artistic license’

(Seriously, we know Yoda was supposed to have trained Obi-Wan, but imagine replacing him in the movie with Yoda…who was still a puppet at that time.)

Anyway, this is a very round about way to make a point.

My point is that the prequels where, in the grand scheme of things, good movies. They weren’t great, and can’t hold a candle to the original trilogy…but they were no where near as bad as everyone said they where.

Seriously, how the hell do you follow Star Wars? It was a movie that was groundbreaking in pretty much every way, and was released at exactly the right time.

So here’s my point. Hype kills movies.

The Matrix was one of the best movies ever made. Reloaded and Revolutions had no chance of matching up. Despite the fact they were good (not great, good), people still said they were terrible.

Take Spiderman 3 for example. I’ve read two types of reviews for this movie. It was either the best thing ever, or it sucked.

However, and as you’ve probably guessed what I’m going to say by now, Spiderman 3 is a victim of its own hype.

Spider-man 1, at least for me, was one of, if not the best Superhero movie made. They stayed true enough to the comic book to keep hardcore fans happy, but weren’t afraid to mix some things up (Organic webs instead of webshooters being one…and as Stan Lee said in an interview “If I knew about genetics when I first wrote Spiderman, that’s the way I’d have gone. I wish I’d thought of it”).

Then, they did the unthinkable, and created a sequel that actually improved upon the original.

So with Spider-man 3, we have a movie that everyone gets so hyped up about, anything but a ‘perfect’ movie is going to be a let down.

So I’m going to end with a piece of advice that I heard recently, which I think is a really good idea.

When you want to go see a movie, before going, read every negative review you possibly can. This lowers your expectations enough to where the movie is going to be a good experience, even if it doesn’t live up to the hype.

Learning New Things About The Missus

Sometimes you learn new things about your significant other in the most unexpected ways.

Sunny likes roleplaying games. Well, that’s wrong, she likes the idea of roleplaying games, because up until yesterday, she’d never played one.

So, glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to try and teach her to play Oblivion, in my opinion the best role playing game ever created. This is where things started to get a little weird.

“Ok.” I said as I sat her down in front of the computer. “You have to start by creating a character. All you do at this point is pick your race, so go through them, think what you want your character to be like, weigh the pros and cons and pick the one that feels right. This is important because whatever you pick now, you’re stuck with for the entire game.”

Now, if you’ve never played an RPG, let me explain that this is important. All the races have different attributes. You might have one that’s pre-disposed to magic and stealth, but will absolutely suck at hand to hand and sword fighting. In other words, if you pick a race, then later decide that you want to be a rogue/thief type character…you’re screwed if you’re playing as an Orc.

I explain this to Sunny, and she flips through and decides to play as a Nord female…because that character looks the prettiest. Then she spends longer on picking a hairstyle than she did on picking her race.

So then she plays through the first part of the tutorial and gets to the part where she picks her star-sign and class. Again, this is a big decision because this is where you pick your major and minor skills and the ‘power’ assigned by your star-sign. In RPG’s you really do have to specialize.

So, she browses for a while, then sighs.

At this point, I should point out one of Sunny’s favorite things to say is: “But I’m a delicate flower!”…usually said when she’s faced with something she doesn’t want to do, and wants me to do it for her.

So, you can imagine my reaction when she says: “Which one do I pick if I just wanna whack people with swords?”

My wife…the ‘Delicate Flower’, ultimate girly-girl is all “I don’t wanna do this crap! When do I get to hurt people???”

Then I started to realize that Sunny was probably not the best person to entrust the future of Cyrodil to. Not that she’s not capable, but because she’s really, really easily distracted.

You see, at that point in the story, the Emperor Uriel Septim has just been assassinated along with all of his sons. The Emperor, with his dying breath, tells Sunny’s character that he has another son, and gives her the Amulet of Kings…which she has to take to Jauffre, the former head of the Blades in order to give to his son.

Unless a member of the Septim Bloodline is coronated and uses the Amulet of Kings to light the Dragon-fires…the magial barriers between Cyrodil and the demonic realm of Oblivion will fall.

In other words, unless she gets the Amulet to Jauffre immediately, the entire world is in deep, deep shit.

Now…try explaining that to Sunny.

She’s off on her quest, running along the road towards Weynon Priory, all shining armor and purpose…and then suddenly goes “Oooooh WOW!!!!!” and heads off in completely the opposite direction because she’s spotted a deer or butterfly. “Oooohhh, PuuuuuRRRTY!”

Then I’d hear “Hey, what’s this thing? What am I meant to do with it?” Then walk over to the computer to see her getting slowly eaten by some vicious creature. It took a while to convince her that if something attacks her on sight, she can assume it’s not friendly and should probably kill it.

I can imagine the Headline in ‘The Black Horse Courier’, Cyrodil’s newspaper.

Imperial City Over-run by Daedra! Hero Nowhere to be Found!

- “I saw purdy butterflies!” says Hero, after being discovered in the Jeral Moutains, trying to pet a rabid mountain wolf. “Ooooh, where did you get your shoes???”

Friday, May 11, 2007

Draw Circle. Bang Head Here.

Ever heard the saying ‘Rules where meant to be broken’?

This is actually true to a degree. Who was it who said “Rules are there to make you stop and think before you break them”?

…and last in this quote-a-rama. “They’re not rules, they’re more sort of…guidelines, than rules.”

Barbosa had it right.

Ok, by now, you’re probably wondering what I’m blabbering on about, and more than likely, wondering what I’m smoking.

Well, here it is.

In Twin Falls, Idaho, two canoeists saw a woman jump off the Perrine bridge. Seeing a fellow human in trouble, they attempted to rescue her. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to get to her in time, and ended up paddling her body to the shore.

Sounds like a tragedy already, right? A perfect ‘end of the news’ moment. Two heroic canoeist risk their lives to save a stranger, but despite their best efforts, ultimately fail. Truly tragic.

However, What happened next was much more of a tragedy.

The canoeists get the body to the shore, people are crying and are visibly upset, when up strolls a police officer.

Did he offer assistance? Try to comfort the group?

Nope, he pulled out his pad and gave both canoeists an $85 dollar fine for not wearing life jackets. Let me be perfectly clear on this. Dead girl on the shore. People standing around crying. Two canoeists who paddled out in the water in an attempt to save the girl’s life trying to get their breath back.

Enter Dumbass cop with a citation pad, stage left.

Ok, we all know rules are there for a reason. However, it seems the people who enforce them don’t. Rules are there to protect us, but common sense says that you can disregard a rule when breaking it can save someone’s life.

If I run into the road to pull a kid out the way of an oncoming car, I shouldn’t have to worry about getting a ticket for jay-walking when I get back to the curb. If a psycho is pointing a gun at an innocent bystander, and I disarm the psycho by sneaking up behind him and hitting him over the head with whatever’s handy, I shouldn’t have to worry about assault charges…and if I jump in a river to save a drowning person’s life, I shouldn’t receive a ticket for not wearing a life jacket.

Here’s the part I don’t get. There’s a girl in the water who’s going to drown and die unless someone does something. Then the people who attempt to rescue her get an $85 fine for attempting to save her life, because they weren’t wearing the proper safety equipment.

I can’t over state this enough. The whole point of this rule is to protect people from drowning. Then two people get fined for disobeying this law in order to stop from happening exactly what that law is in place to prevent.

“Hey, don’t go in there without a lifejacket, you might drown!” “Yeah, but someone is definitely going to drown if we don’t.” ”Sorry, them’s the rules!”

In other words, according to the letter of the law, these two people should have just stayed on the shore and watched this girl drown.

It makes me wonder what happened to the days when people who risked their own lives to save a stranger were held up as heroes…not punished for not following the letter of the law during their rescue attempt.

You know the worst thing?

Ok, even if the cop wanted to be a ‘jobsworth’ asshole and give the canoeists a citation…wouldn’t it have been a good idea to wait a little bit, rather than hand over a citation right then and there?

If you really think about this, what if those canoeists didn’t have lifejackets? What if they’d just bought the canoes and were taking them home when they saw the girl jump in the water?

Were they supposed to say “Look someone’s drowning! Too bad we don’t have life-jackets or we could attempt to save her life! Oh well…keep driving.”? The funny thing is, this is exactly how that cop thinks.

Sometimes you have to forget the rules and actually think about why they were made in the first place.

There can’t be a rule for every situation. It’s impossible to think of everything that’s possible to happen and make a rule about it.

The ‘spirit’ of this law is to save lives. So isn’t saving a life the perfect situation to disregard it? Obviously, the person who made that law intended it to save lives, and obviously didn’t think there’d ever be a situation where saying “You must wear a life jacket’ could result in someone’s death.

In the end, we’re all thinking human beings. Do we really have to put “Unless the situation is really extreme and disregarding this law could save someone’s life” on the end of every law?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Go Wesley!

It’s time for me to become a broken record again, but I just read something that’s too good not to pass on and comment on.

Remember Will Wheaton? The kid from “Stand By Me”, “Toy Soldiers”, and perhaps most famously Wesley Crusher from Star Trek : The Next Generation?

A quick word on Wil… at first, I honestly couldn’t stand him. He came across as the stereotypically bitter ex-child actor. One who blamed his failing career on everyone and everything around him. His blog seemed to be filled with self-righteous and self-indulgent posts where he’d go off because someone recognized him as Wesley from Star Trek instead of recognizing him from the off-off Broadway play he was currently in.

Then, he sort of mellowed. Apparently, he had an epiphany at the Star Trek Experience in Vegas, and just lost his bitterness…and I’m glad he did.

Anyway, getting back off that tangent, he recently posted an article on parents, kids and technology that I think is just put perfectly. Here’s the excerpt I’m talking about:

“I've recently concluded that there is, in fact, an entire generation of parents, about my age or just a little older, who are substituting technology for parenting. As a result, there's an entire generation of children who are overstimulated and undersocialized, and in some cases heavily medicated, because their damn parents would rather distract them with a DVD or video game than, you know, interact with them.”

He goes on to say:

“There's a car commercial running right now that is an unintentionally powerful and disturbing commentary on how many people in this generation of parents are raising their kids. It starts in a school lunch room, filled with kids who are jumping and running around, throwing food, and generally raging out of control. A teacher tries to get them to settle down, and is ignored, so he flips down a little display, like you'd see in a car-based DVD player, and the entire room instantly turns into slackjawed, television watching zombies. What's the message here? "If you can't get your kids to listen to you, don't worry, all it takes is a little DVD action to do it for you, so you can get back to the peace and quiet you inexplicably thought you'd enjoy when you had seven fucking kids."

All I can say is “Fuck yeah! Right on, Wesley…I mean Wil.”

This is why I get so worked up about the whole ‘violence in video games’ issue. Don’t want your kids playing violent games? Watching violent movies? Spending all their time in chatrooms?

Try not buying them violent games and movies. Don’t let them spend too much time on the computer. Get involved and be a parent.

Long story short, as Wil states, too many kids are substituting technology for parenting, then going so far as to demand that the government step in and essentially ‘parent’ the technology that they themselves are using as a parenting substitute.

Essentially, the argument for censorship is bad parents saying “I can’t be bothered parenting my kids, and the technology I’m palming my parenting responsibilities off on is teaching my kids bad values.”

In the end, you can try and regulate the media to keep it as ‘kid friendly’ as possible. However, the only truly kid friendly media is one that a good parent has direct control over.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Guitar Hero

Yesterday, Sunny and I went to Walmart.

The reason for our visit was that Sunny wanted new underwear, and as every male knows, it’s against the law for a man to be in the women’s underwear section. All the guys out there know why. You get the feeling the assistants are looking at the sex-offender register behind the counter and are just trying to match up your picture.

Then, of course, we come to shopping equivalent of swallowing a dozen live hand grenades while sitting on top of a nuclear bomb that’s about to go off in a two million megaton blast of pure, white-hot embarrassment…the part where your significant other hands you a few pieces of lingerie to hold, along with her purse, before mysteriously vanishing for a few minutes.

Despite the fact that the most obvious explanation to anyone around you is that you’re simply shopping with your wife/girlfriend…you can’t help but shake the feeling that you need to explicitly explain to everyone that, no, the panties aren’t for your own personal use, will not be worn (or worse, sniffed) by you, and that purse doesn’t actually belong to you, nor do any of it’s contents…and red lace isn’t really your thing anyway.

So, standing in the aisle in front of the lingerie section (the internationally agreed ‘de-militarized zone’ of the underwear shopping experience), I said “Meet you at the checkout” and went to look at something a little more manly.

As will probably come as no surprise to the people that know me, I found myself in the electronics section.

Slightly off topic, but have you been to the PC Games section in Walmart recently? Apparently the only games PC gamers are interested in are MMO’s or ‘Tycoon’ games. What’s up with that?

Well, as I was walking around, I saw they had Guitar Hero for the PS2 set up on one of the display machines.

Yep, I was one of the few people left alive who had never played Guitar Hero. (My defense is that I can actually play the guitar, to me, Guitar Hero just seems to be a ‘Simon Says’ game on steroids). If I want the rock star experience, I’ll play a guitar, not just press a colored button on a fake guitar when the screen tells me to.

(Before I get blasted by the Guitar Hero fans, I’m not saying it’s a bad game, it looks like a hell of a lot of fun actually.)

Now, I think any real guitar player has the same reaction when seeing Guitar Hero. You assume that, because you can play the guitar, you’re going to be awesome at it.

Heh, I can do a Bar-chord B sharp like that! How hard can it be to press a freaking button and strum in time to the music? Hand me that guitar shaped object peon, and let me show you how it’s done!

You’d think that…and… you’d be wrong.

Suffice to say, I sucked. In fact, I didn’t just suck, I sucked so much that the nearest black hole shifted its gaze towards Earth, and with millennia-old contempt thought: “Damn, dude…you suck

The thing was…it’s, well, tough, and takes some getting used to.

I made the mistake of picking a song I knew how to play, and despite the screen was telling me to press the blue button, and strum the widget thingy…every synapse in my head was screaming at me to play the actual chord, and hit the strings that didn’t actually exist.

The only way I can describe it is trying to drive a car with all the controls reversed. You turn the wheel left, it goes right, you push the gas and the brakes come on.

This lead me to think…what if this goes both ways?

What if an accomplished guitar played buys Guitar Hero, gets used to it…and at their next performance starts looking for buttons instead of frets.

Eric Clapton : How Guitar Hero Ruined My Career

“I just kept reaching for the buttons and found myself looking for the screen!” Said Clapton today. “All I could think was ‘where have all these damn strings come from?’”

I look forward to hearing about the lawsuits.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Plants are Weird

So my Basil, Oregano and Parsley have sprouted. The Mint and Chives are still curiously MIA.

Walking past today I noticed that they where at a 90 degree angle, pointing towards the front door, the only natural light-source in the room they're in.

Here's the thing, as far as I know, plants do not have a brain, a will, sensory organs or muscles of any kind, so how:

a) Do they point towards the light?
b) Know the light is there?
c) Know that pointing towards the light is advantageous?

I mean, seriously. How come there's never one plant that gets it wrong and does everything it can to avoid the solar scareball and die?

Personally, I think it's all a big conspiracy by vegetarians...who are actually all part of a 10,000 year old secret sect who's mission is to rid the world of plants, which are actually the most advanced life-form on Earth, and we're all just unwitting pawns in their quest for world domination.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Ummm, good luck with that...

In October of last year, I published this post.

If you can't be bothered reading, it was just a throwaway post on my job search and how every new person I meet wants to spend 15 minutes talking about my accent, where I'm from and what England's like.

Well, this morning, I got this in the comments:

We will have every Hizbollah women fucked by dogs.
We will send Phallus of ours into ass of All priests moslems.
We will have Khamenei and Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad and Khatami and Akbar Ganji fucked by a great penis Of donkey and whale .
We will fuck all foreign government which help mullah.
کیر سگ تو کس ننه سید اولاد پیغمبر و کس ننه خود پیامبر اسلام.
کیر خوک تو کس ننه امام حسین.
کیر خر تو کس ننه شیعیان.
صلوات: الله و کیر خر تو کس ننه محمد و آل محمد.
This is a beautiful cultural message for you.

Couple points here:

First, dude, you're obviously a crazy person, and to be completely honest I'm not sure if I'm meant to be offended by this or be "Yeah, right on, brother!"

Secondly, if you want to make some weird-ass statement, it might be an idea to actually read the post. Sure, I know I mentioned Osama Bin Laden, but only to make the point that my greencard has so many security holograms on it that its hard to see my name or picture.

Thirdly, if you're going to swear or try and be offensive in English, actually learn to speak and write it. I supposed to actually care if any of those dudes "get fucked by a great penis of donkey and whale"? I know one of them is the Iranian president, but isn't Akbar Ganji the fish-looking dude from star wars? I can't even read 'khatami' with singing the 'Katamari Damacy' theme in my head. Do you like that tune? It's catchy. (na nana na na naaa na na naaa katamari da-ma-ceeeeeee!!!)

Finally, I've got to say congratulations. I'm guessing I'm supposed to be scared/offended/upset by this, but all you've done is make yourself look like a fucking idiot and injected a little humor into my Monday morning.

It's well thought out political commentary like this that gives me hope for the future. Stuff like this is why most of the West thinks the middle east consists entirely of guys dressed as genies firing automatic weapons into the air while making that indian 'whooping' noise.

Good look with 'sending every phallus of yours into the ass of every priest moslem'...only I'm unsure what you expect to achieve by anally raping the Muslim priesthood's donkeys. Maybe they'll enjoy it....maybe you'll enjoy it. Oh, and I know you think you've probably made some shocking and upsetting political statement here...but all I can really gather from your ramblings is that:

a) You're gay (Not that there's anything wrong with that).
b) You're freakishly into bestiality! Seriously dude, fucked by dogs and donkeys and whales?

Make sure you tape it, you could make some serious money by selling that shit on the internet. "Farmyard Frolics' is popular among that crowd, but I'm pretty certain it doesn't have fucking whales! Dude, you're going to clean the fuck up!

Finally "We will fuck all foreign government that help mullah"?

Dude, let me explain something. I'll be as clear as I can:

We're just not scared of you.