Wednesday, May 30, 2007

What Am I Doing Besides Watching Nature Documentaries?

I've recently had some nagging thoughts at the back of my mind. A lot of random occurrences have all built up into a mild quarter-life crisis.

The first thing that hit me was last weekend when Mark and Robert were in town. I got to hang out with them briefly right before they left. The reason they were here was for their 10 year high school reunion. That forced me to realize that mine is only a couple years off.

Now, I never had very high aspirations. But I kind of always thought I would have done something before my 10 year reunion. Or at least be working towards something.

But unlike many of my friends (pretty much all the ones that left town), I never had a vision for myself. I never set down a plan to put into action. Part of this is because I was afraid I'd miss some grand opportunity if I was dead set on a specific goal. Instead, the opposite happened. I look back on my life and I see a corridor in which all the hallways branching off have been sealed shut from the inside.
I'm not miserable. Occasionally that corridor has been filled with light, friends coming and going, and moments in which I achieved minor personal triumphs. But there's too much clutter and the windows are coming less frequently.
And just to put too fine a point on it: the air in this corridor is stale.

Add to this the fact that seemingly everyone I know is either having a baby (congratulations, Bonnie!), getting married (contrats, Maria!), or getting engaged (Cale, you sly dog!) and it's enough to at least give you the impression that you've done nothing with your life.

Not that I want any of those things for myself at this point in life, but the fact that so many people (and so many of them younger than myself) feel confident to make those decisions for themselves; it just leaves me feeling a bit lacking.

I don't often use the semi-colon conversationally. Did I use it right?

Anyway, I'm not writing this for a pat on the back or helpful advice. In fact, if I hear "everyone moves at their own pace" one more time I'll probably scream.
I'm just trying to assemble my thoughts and let you guys in a little. I'm not good at spinning my life into entertaining yarns for the rest of you to enjoy, like some of you master bloggers. That's not my style. Which is why so much of my blog deals with so many things besides me.

But I don't want you guys worrying. Overall, I've had an incredible year. I've gone to places I never imagined and done things I never thought I'd do. And I am constantly surrounded by amazing people who inspire me (among whom you can all count yourselves). This is not depressed Scott speaking. He, fortunately, has not reared his ugly head in some time.

And just to prove it, here's a video of two otters holding hands:

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Jesus Is A Shark!

Hammerhead sharks can apparently reproduce without having sex.
Christian fundamentalist sharks are going to have a field day with this.

Anyway, the Onion has an interesting perspective.

The Greatest Threat To The
Future Of Shrimp Cocktails

Since you all seem to be enjoying these, here is another marvel of nature:

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Third Greatest Nature Scene Ever

While it doesn't involve sharks or bears, this video does have a three-way ass kicking. Listen carefully for the elderly British woman bemoaning the fate of the buffalo calf. Hopefully this woman was later eaten, and learned to respect the awesomeness of nature's fury.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Golden Compass

I haven't read the book, but this looks very intriguing:

And if the rumors I've heard about this series' overarching plot are true, consider me super-double intrigued.

I have a few concerns about the trailer (unnecessary, shameless callback to LoTR, aside). First, of course, is Nicole Kidman. I'm immediately wary of any movie she's in. She has a tendency, in my opinion, to detract from otherwise excellent movies simply by being in them (Cold Mountain and Moulin Rouge come to mind). Add to that the fact she appears to be playing a villain...well, part of me already wants to punch her when she's playing the heroine. How will it be when she's actively trying to make me dislike her?
The other mild concern is the mish-mash of the movie's world itself. You apparently have an alternate past(future?) Earth, complete with pimped-out zeppelins. Then you've got talking animals, shape-shifting animals, cowboys and prophetic witches. Add to this the promise of an "alternate universe" and it leaves you gasping, "wait, there's more?" Unless that alternate universe turns out to be our world, in which case: *yawn*.
But that cowboy is played by Sam Elliott, and the talking animal is an armor plated polar bear. So it can't be all bad.

Have any of you read the book? I seem to remember Christopher mentioning it.
What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

You've Got To Be Kidding Me...

In the vein of Joe's most recent post, I was just woken up by a critter. Just as I was drifting off to sleep I felt something by my ear. I woke back up, felt around and found nothing. I chalked it up to a trick of the mind while I was falling asleep (like one of those leg spasms).

Again, just as I was finally getting back to the beginning of sleep, I felt it again, only this time more urgently. My head popped up with a jolt and my eyes snapped open just in time to see a tiny shadow running (for God's sake, bounding!) along the cluster of pillows that run the length of my bed, before disappearing into the darkness of my room. Jesus.

I think there was a mouse in my bed. Not a cute mouse that rides a tiny red Harley, but a real live mouse that plays on my head while I sleep. I feel three different kinds of violated right now.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Everyone, Bow Your Heads
And Pretend To Be Serious

Finally we have a bit of closure to Boston's imaginary bomb scare. (Previous blogs: 1, 2, 3)

Boston is dropping its charges against the two poor schmucks who got offered $300 a piece by a marketing company to place brightly-lit Mooninite pictures around the city.
Unfortunately this news did not come with an apology by Boston officials.

Link to Boing Boing article.

Speaking of Boston, have you heard Mayor Menino speak? He makes George W. Bush sound like Mark Twain. Here's a clip.
"Buh lemme just perfly be clearah..."
Maybe we shouldn't be too hard on him for botching the bomb scare. He may have Down Syndrome.

The clip is from Mumbles Menino.

Kirk Cameron Strikes Again

I recently posted a couple clips from The Way Of The Master, a movement that asserts that God's existence can apparently be proven using flawed logic and silly, broken parables.

Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, Way Of The Master's ringleaders, were recently involved in a controlled debate on ABC against two atheist founders of the Rational Response Squad (which I had not heard of previously). It was apparently the first nationally televised debate about the existence of God. Unfortunately the people on both sides are very weak debaters. ABC really scraped the bottom of the barrel.

First of all, Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort are nothing more than a couple of crackpots. Most of their arguments took the form of overly rehearsed scripted logic traps which you've already seen if you've accidentally tuned into one of their infomercials. Their goal was to prove God's existence scientifically without resorting to the Bible as evidence. Despite this, much of Ray's opening argument is a contemplation on the 10 Commandments. Also, he tries to manipulate what the word "scientific" means by breaking the word down to its Latin roots and ignoring the actual scientific method.

On the other hand you have the two atheists who actually do a very good job of refuting everything Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron say (not a hard thing to do). My only real beef with them is that they allow themselves to get so visibly flustered, and as a result come across overly hostile. But it's easy to see how you could get frustrated when your opponent thinks this image disproves evolution.

The whole thing was presided over by Martin Bashir, a man who became famous for exposing Michael Jackson as a weirdo about 20 years after everybody already knew.

So it leaves one to wonder if anyone involved in this debate was qualified to take part. For such an obvious ploy by ABC to garner some controversial ratings you'd think they'd at least get someone a bit more scholarly.

You can view the debate on ABC's page.

There is also a condensed version on YouTube, in five parts.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Some Items You May Need For
The Road Warrior Apocalypse

First, you'll probably be hungry. So how about some Japanese-engineered rice that cooks itself when you add cold water:

You're also going to need transportation. Which means a lot of time wasted killing a bunch of mutated desert freaks for oil, right? Unless you get one of these sweet cars that runs on compressed air:

But let's assume civilization ends before you're able to get your hands on one of those. When going to battle with enraged desert muties over a couple gallons of oil, you're going to want the best body armor you can steal:

Here's a wonderful montage of his early suits. These were originally designed to ward off bears:

Friday, May 04, 2007

The Second Greatest Nature Scene Ever

Sharks have been sorely underrepresented on this blog. I do apologize.

Spider-Man 3 - Attack Of The Nerds

I went to the midnight showing of Spider-Man 3 last night. Before I chime in with my two cents let me point out a few other reviews. I didn't read any of them in their entirety before watching the movie, but scanned them to get a general consensus. That consensus? Blind, seething nerd rage.
There is no better example of this than the guy who stood up in our theater, just as the final credits began to roll, to vent his frustration with one of the villain's use of pronouns.

"Venom says 'we', not 'I'!"

He raised his hands to incite the glorious nerd revolution that surely would come, but was met with blank stares and sarcastic jeers (I have to admit I took part in the latter).
Oh, did I mention he was wearing a Venom shirt? Did I also mention that when someone else walked into the theater in a Venom shirt prior to the movie, he bragged to his friends that his was more authentic?

This is the environment in which I watched this movie. And I thoroughly enjoyed the hell out of it. Spider-Man 3 is at least as good as its predecessors. Anyone who says otherwise is suffering from a severe case of Star Wars Syndrome, a brain fluctuation that raises the quality of previous films to such legendary heights that any sequel (or prequel) is doomed to be a let down. My comparison ends there, however, because the Spider-Man movies are far superior to anything in the Star Wars prequels. My point is that many of the fans are walking into this movie with the misconception that the first two were perfect gems. Let's not forget that they were riddled with groan-inducing dialog and (dare I say it?) obvious CGI animation. That didn't stop them from being highly entertaining and engrossing. Because despite their flaws both movies felt like real portrayals of Spider-Man.
Spider-Man 3, to me, is no different. The action is amped up, as is the tension between Peter, MJ, and Harry.

Parts of this movie were astounding to me (mild, obvious spoilers): Harry's betrayal of Peter, Peter's subsequent betrayal of MJ, Peter's dark side, everything with Topher Grace and Venom. There are other, smaller details and scenes that are also very excellent.

Parts of this movie were cheesy and heavy handed: Peter's strutting sequence (which is funny but would have serviced the movie better if it had been cut in half), Harry's fatherly butler providing some much needed exposition that leaves you wondering why the hell he didn't speak up sooner, some mild contrivances. Although, if you can't handle a few contrivances in a movie about a man with spider powers and a giant made out of sand...well, I don't know what to tell you. It also seems that Sam Raimi wants to turn MJ into the next Minmei. And if you don't know what I'm talking about than you are out of your league, young nerdling.

All I can say is, if you liked the first two movies then you'll like this one. Provided you don't go into it with your nerdometer turned up to eleven.

Final comments: Um...nerd.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Decisions, Decisions...

This rant is only marginally related to Zhubin's latest post. Or rather, it's a continuation of the comment I left on that post.

I've noticed a disturbing inability of many adults to make the smallest of decisions for themselves. It seems that much of the time these people would much rather be led by the hand like a child than make up their own damn mind about anything. This is something I've noticed in particular at my work, a certain coffee shop at a certain mall. I couldn't tell you how many people have come to my window and prefaced their order with, "I don't know what I want." This was even more infuriating when I worked at the movie theater. I was dumbfounded by the number of people who would walk in the place without having the slightest idea what movies were even showing, let alone what they were going to see.
My instinct in both these instances is to ask, "What are you doing here? Do you even like coffee/movies? Do you know where you are?"
Often these people expect me to decide for them.

This stupid customer came in a week or two ago and asked Bone which was the best type of cookie. This happens a lot, people want to know what the best flavor of Freezer is, or (for some reason) which is the most popular. As if they'll be accepted into some exclusive club for ordering it.

So this guy asks Bone what the best cookie is, and Bone's response is along the lines of a hesitant, "Well, it depends..."
I use this response myself, because it does depend. I have no idea whether you prefer chocolate over caramel, or some other thing. If you have no preference, than it doesn't make any difference which cookie/Freezer/latte you order, because (imagine this) they're all good.

But this response wasn't good enough for the idiot customer, who begins backing away with his arms up saying, "None of them? None of them are good? Okay..." in this smug, passive aggressive way that seems to say, "Well, I guess you don't want my business."

So I chime in, "I like the peanut butter," good salesman that I am.
The customer comes back toward the counter and eyes the peanut butter cookie.

Bone says, "They're all good." Again, a valid statement. But one that would lose us the customer, who suddenly had his selection of cookies knocked back up from one to eight.

And he walked out.

I was absolutely pissed. Not because we lost his money (really, I could give a shit). But I felt personally insulted by this man's inability to decide which type of cookie he wanted. An indecision that ran so deep it not only hinged on someone else's opinion, but apparently a unanimous decision by everyone who happened to be on staff at that moment.

So how does this relate to Zhubin's post? Well, it's more of a stream-of-consciousness, synaptic connection more than anything. Something about cultures that stress the importance of following orders blindly, actually encouraging people to emulate sheep and children. Plus, I just like the cut of Zhubin's jib.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Dragonforce - "Operation Ground And Pound"

My vocal juries are tomorrow, and I'm am a bundle of nerves. So, I'm posting this to blow off some steam:

Be warned: This might be too much rock for some of you. The guitar player apparently stole his hands from the Robot Devil.