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kaasirpent: (Good Idea)
Saturday, April 15th, 2017 01:29 am
So it turns out a lot of people — well, I hope it's a lot of people, because I believe that decent people vastly outnumber the others — are abandoning LiveJournal in droves thanks to the new Terms of Service they enacted sometime in the last few days. They claim that people with paid accounts (like me) aren't affected, but do I really trust the Russians at this point? ("Hello, this is the 80s calling. Are you folks really still going on about Russians?")

No. I do not. I suspect no one will be "safe" from reprisals if anyone does anything Putin's goons find objectionable. And I will not give any more money to people who lock innocent people up in a prison camp for something they can't help, and for doing absolutely nothing. Nor will I censor myself. It made me feel dirty to have to "agree" to their POS TOS in order to access my account just to move it and then delete it.

So, here I am on DreamWidth, waiting for my LiveJournal account to be imported. I have over 3000 posts over there. So it's likely to take a couple of days at least.

I think only three of my friends have made the switcheroo so far. I look forward to seeing more.
kaasirpent: (Skeptic)
Friday, July 13th, 2012 06:00 am
Some of you may know, but this weekend I'm in Las Vegas attending TAM 2012. Follow that logo up/over there to find out more.

Last night (Thursday) was opening night, and there was a welcome party / reception. Last year, I didn't go because I wasn't feeling particularly social and the prospect of having to navigate a room full of people I don't know was . . . daunting.

This year, I said to myself, "Self,"—for I always address myself in that manner—"Self, this is ridiculous. Just go! Talk to someone random. What's the worst that can happen?" (Answer: They walk away in the middle of a conversation while I'm talking.)

So . . . I did just that. I was chatting with two very random guys who were both waiting in line at the cash bar with me.1 After obtaining our imbibements, we exchanged names and pleasantries and were attempting to hear each other over the awful din of everyone else doing the same thing. And then the questions of what we each do for a living came up.

One guy works in a lab doing research where he does genetic studies on plants, and they're working on getting full genomes of plants like we've done with many animal species. I asked if there had been any surprises, and he said, "Not yet," but that plant genomes are surprisingly "strange." He studied in Switzerland for several years and is apparently employed at a research lab in California. We talked about that for a while.

The other guy works with a team in Texas designing and simulating semi-conductors to help design faster, smaller computer chips for the computers of the future. He told us that the software they use—some of which he helped write—can actually simulate running software on the chips they design virtually, so if he wanted to, he could simulate running Unix on a simulated chip design, one instruction at a time. We talked about that for a while.

And then Randi walked by and we all dispersed, trying to get a picture with him. So I didn't have to find a way to make "I program computers for a Big Healthcare company" interesting. I was fine with that. :)

I next encountered a woman who turned out to be president of a skeptics and free-thinkers group in Arkansas. In just the 15 minutes or so that we talked, she made me realize that I could be participating in our local Atlanta group a lot more. As in, at all. Some of the stuff her group has done sounds really interesting, and made me think quite a bit. She then toddled off to find the people she'd come with.

I also talked briefly with Richard Saunders, host of the Australian podcast The Skeptic Zone and president of the Australian skeptics; and George Hrab, host of the Geologic podcast, who remembered me from when we met in Atlanta last year during Dragon*Con. I tried unsuccessfully to meet Jay Novella of the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast (he was regaling a small group with a story) and James Randi, the reason TAM exists at all. Randi was understandably popular. :)

Earlier in the day, I met and briefly talked with Ross and Carrie of the podcast "Oh No, It's Ross and Carrie."

What I've learned about myself is this: I suck at small talk. I have to work really hard at it because I simply do not have the gift of gab. I'd like to remedy this, but I honestly don't know how to go about it.

I'm currently awake at almost 6 AM because I've been up all night with acid reflux, the bane of my existence, at least for today. You'd think the Prilosec I'm taking would help with that, but apparently not. I blame the flat, non-foam bed (my bed at home is a foam mattress and the head is raised 6 inches) and the tasty, tasty canapés at the reception. And maybe the nasty Pepsi product that was the only soft drink they had, and/or the lime wedge I added to kill the nasty Pepsi taste. Luckily, the Coronado Café sold me four pieces of dry, white toast at 4 AM to help me past the worst of the acid.

  1. As a side note, these people at the cash bar had every beer, wine, and hard liquor known to man, yet only had Pepsi products if one wanted a soft drink! What . . . heathens! I mean . . . really? Pepsi?
kaasirpent: (Movies)
Friday, June 15th, 2012 05:41 pm
I'll admit it. When I heard that Prometheus was coming soon, I did a little geek dance of joy. It was inside my mind, but dance, I did.

The Alien franchise + Ridley Scott (the director of the original movie) = a sea of awesomesauce.

Or it should.

I've been hearing troubling reviews. I tried to ignore them. But I heard this one today that clinches it: I'm not going to waste my money. Maybe when it comes out on NetFlix, I'll watch the streaming one, if I can swallow my bile long enough.

See, this is a science fiction film. Let me say that again, with emphasis. This is a science fiction film. And although the second word of that is "fiction," the first word should take precedence.

It sounds to me like the writer(s) of this could easily have fixed all the problems if he/they had taken maybe two hours to—I don't know, RESEARCH?—some of the, you know . . . science. Or how scientists act.

I had such high hopes for this film, too.

Ah, well. <punt> Maybe Parcheesi: The Motion Picture will be as good as the hype.

Disclaimer: To my knowledge, Parcheesi: The Motion Picture is not a real thing. Let us fervently hope that it remains a joke.

Here is the review. It is an audio review, and takes up the first 31 minutes (it's a very detailed review) of episode 267 of George Hrab's Geologic Podcast. You might find the rest of the podcast amusing as well. Or you might not. I think that about covers it, really. :)

[Edit: WARNING: Foul language included. Not egregious, but . . . some people don't even like 'heck' and 'darn,' and George uses 'fuck' a few times. So . . . now you're warned.]
kaasirpent: (Movies)
Monday, August 17th, 2009 12:38 pm
The guys who created and wrote Mystery Science Theater 3000 have continued doing what they do so well under the name RiffTrax.

Did you ever find yourself wanting them to do recent movies on MST3K? Well, they couldn't, because they had to buy the rights, and it would have cost a quadrillion bucks to get rights to a first-run movie.

That would still be true but for one thing: they can produce an MP3 of their comments (the "riff track," if you will) that you play instead of the movie's audio track, and it's like you're watching The Matrix or Twilight or whatever as if it were done by MST3K. Watch your own (or a rented) DVD, but play their audio file. Instant MST3Kification.

Well, they've gone one more step.

Those of you who are science fiction fans will no doubt know of Plan 9 from Outer Space. It's widely considered to be one of if not the campiest, most unintentionally funny science fiction films of all time.

The guys from MST3K/RiffTrax are taking it on...LIVE.

Yep, live. On Thursday, August 20, 2009 (that's this Thursday night!) at 8:00 (EDT), they are performing that thing they do so well on Plan 9 from Outer Space, and it's being simultaneously broadcast in theaters around the country.

There's probably a theater local to you that's joining in the fun. Just search for "Rifftrax Live" in your theaters' schedule for Thursday night. There's also going to be other stuff, such as music from Jonathan Coulton and a riffed short, as well.

It promises to be a blast. I'll be there (at Discover Mills). Will you?
kaasirpent: (Money)
Thursday, October 23rd, 2008 10:09 am
[livejournal.com profile] vulcan_rc has written a wonderful post on his site, Occam's Razor, that does a very nice job of explaining the whole economic crisis we find ourselves in at the moment. Explaining it, that is, to the generation whose children will be paying for it.

I give to you Ike's Sub-Prime Primer.

(If you like it, Digg or StumbleUpon or Reddit or otherwise spread it far and wide. Writing this good deserves to be read.)
kaasirpent: (Weird)
Wednesday, October 8th, 2008 08:53 am
Y'know...I've heard some strange and wondrous stories in my time. And I've also seen some horrible stories that turn my stomach.

But I don't think I've ever been more baffled by a story.

The headline is: Kansas Police: Woman Pried from Boyfriend's Toilet After Sitting on it for 2 Years

Now, make no mistake: this is a real story, and that is not a typo. The article is here or you can read the text behind the cut. )

However, this story doesn't stop here. Oh, no. No, indeed. You see, it seems that the ever-lovin' boyfriend who mysteriously left his girlfriend sitting on the toilet for two years has won the lottery not once, but twice, this year. As before, the article is here or you can read the text behind the cut. )

Clearly, most of us are doing something wrong in our lives. I mean, besides my not playing the lottery, I mean. :) Maybe I could win it twice if I, you know...bought tickets, like, ever. :)

But it just seems like the Universe is out there laughing right now. Just to prove some cosmic point.

And it also goes to show writers that no matter how bizarre you think some plot you've dreamed up is, it can't hold a candle to the real world when it comes to sheer, baffling weirdness. If I had written those stories, none of you would have believed them. "That's preposterous!" you would have cried. And rightly. Because they are.
kaasirpent: (Bizarre)
Friday, August 11th, 2006 12:00 pm
I've said it before, and I'll no doubt say it again: The Burger King king mascot creeps me right the hell out. I gather he's supposed to. Well, great job, BK!

But this...this just goes over the top: The King's MySpace Blog. If you click on the link, you'll get about 30 cookies (or not if you're like me and block them), but then you'll see that the "king" has almost 96000 MySpace "friends."

I saw an article about how MySpace allows corporate entities to create MySpace profiles for fictional characters (for a fee, and with higher quotas for content than a regular account). "Ricky Bobby" is a very popular one, as is "John Tucker," and even the Yaris, the new, obnoxiously cute little car from Toyota. Frankly, I think that's going too far, but at least it's not LiveJournal doing it. Yet.

But the King? Oy. Too far. Just too fucking far.1

Incidentally, I must agree with the author of the article I read that this has the potential of backfiring hugely. For instance, the actor who plays John Tucker in the movie "John Tucker Must Die" (Jesse Metcalfe of "Desperate Housewives" fame) has a veritable legion of squealing, misty-eyed fangirls that idolize the ground he floats ever-so-majestically above (from their POV)...and "he" is friended by many of them on MySpace. Many of them who want him, Jesse Metcalfe, to make a personal comment on their blog.

And if he doesn't? Methinks that someone at the studio and Jesse's publicist didn't think this through. He has the potential of pissing off thousands of his staunchest fans, without whom he'd be just another handsome face. And if he does? Does "he" (or the dozens of grunts hired to do it) comment to them all? Just a select few? What would "he" say?

Can of worms.

Let us fervently hope that LiveJournal doesn't give in to this kind of pandering.
1  I have my own reasons to despise MySpace that have nothing whatsoever to do with their public image (teenaged twits with the intelligence of retarded earthworms) or this nonsense. On three separate occasions, someone has created a MySpace account for themselves using my yahoo email account as "their" email, so I get all the shit that MySpace floods you with when you're a member. Three times I've gotten the password from them, three times I've trashed and then deleted the accounts, and three times I've sent carefully worded nastygrams to their customer service department about not verifying emails before allowing someone to use one as "their" account. They finally have a policy that if you change your email address, it sends email to the original one for confirmation before allowing it, but I don't know if they took my advice about a two-step registration process. Only time will tell, I guess. Fuckers.

Note: A funny: When I was typing this, I put two non-breaking spaces after the bolded "1" for the end-note before the small text. I always do. But this time, instead of &nbsp;, I typed &nabp;.

You're thinking right now, "Why is that even remotely amusing?" Well, NABP is the abbreviation for National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which is a very common ETLA where I work...and I've typed it so much over the last couple of weeks, I didn't even see what was wrong with the page for a while.

Okay, maybe it's not funny to anyone but me. :)
kaasirpent: (Politics)
Thursday, October 14th, 2004 07:45 pm
I haven't watched any of the debates. I'll just get that out of the way up front. I'm not interested in blah-blah about how horrible a person this makes me, so keep it to yourselves.

That having been said, I've found it amusing to read other peoples' critiques of what went on during the debates. You know, who won them, how well each candidate came across, etc.

And what I'm completely unsurprised at is that those of you who already liked Bush before the debates think he won at least 2 of the 3 debates, that he came across as a "regular guy," that he acquitted himself well, that he is clearly the right man for another four years of the job, and that Kerry is none of those things, and may in fact be a liar, a cheater, and a card-carrying flip-flopper.

And another thing I'm completely unsurprised at is that those of you who already liked Kerry before the debates think he won at least 2 of the 3 debates, that he came across as "more presidential" than Bush, that he answered the questions well, that he is clearly the better man for the next four years, and that Bush is a blathering idiot, and may in fact be a criminal, a liar, and a card-carrying antichrist.

The third thing I'm not at all surprised at is that those of you who were convinced that neither candidate is worth the DNA he's blueprinted by are still convinced of this fact. Those of you who fall in this camp are most closely allied with my own views, and you seem to see (as I do) that neither side is capable of telling/representing the complete truth because it's all spin. The truth (if such a thing can even exist) lies somewhere between what Bush & Company are saying and what Kerry and Company are saying. Who you believe is telling the truth pretty much depends on your outlook.

I only wish some of you could read the reviews back-to-back like I have been. First a right-winger talking about how Bush clearly won the debate, with points listed to support both that thesis and the corresponding antithesis (that Kerry is an idiot), followed closely by a left-winger talking about how Kerry clearly won the debate, with points listed to support both that thesis and the corresponding antithesis (that Bush is an idiot). Occasionally followed by a centrist who says "They both suck." :)

It makes me chuckle.