Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Review: Inherit the Earth

For a time, I reviewed the movies I would watch. I'd like to do that again, as well as with the books I read. It's as much to augment my own memory as for your benefit, but hopefully it will help you get something good to watch or read as a result, one day. I'll start where I most recently finished.

Inherit the Earth

Author: Brian Stableford
Year: 1998

I had never read a Stableford novel, though I'd come across a short story or two and had a vague idea that I enjoyed his work. And I did. Inherit the Earth is a story about the challenges humanity will face as it ambles toward radical longevity, Stableford's "emortality" (to distinguish it from true immortality).

Although the novel is not political in tone, it does ask some of the most central political questions, most obviously, "Who should inherit the Earth?" Even today, populations are aging, wealth is ever more intensely concentrated, and the disaffected youth of the world grow restless. What will the world be like when the real people in charge, not the politicians but the capitalists, live for centuries instead of decades?

The actual plot centers on Damon Hart, reluctant heir of the man most responsible for remaking the world into a "New Utopia." He is drawn into a web of terrorism, kidnapping, and corporate infighting ultimately centered around finding his father, dead for fifty years. Damon has rejected the fruits of his father's labor, but finds himself drawn right into the middle of the fray.

Stableford does a fine job of technological and sociological worldbuilding, positing nanotechnical "internal technology" to keep people healthy and artificial wombs to compensate for the infertility plagues that have kept the population in check. My only complaint on the science end of this science fiction is that Stableford seems to have been too conservative in his assumed progress. Many of the developments that seem recent in the twenty-second century could happen in as little as fifty years. That there seems to be essentially no experimentation with human genetic engineering (it is mentioned as a future possibility) is the most glaring standout.

What most impresses me about the novel, though, is that Stableford writes an immensely compelling story. I think it is a sign--though not the only one--of good storytelling when you can write chapters in which nothing but a conversation happens and yet the reader still feels compelled to read on. And while Inherit the Earth is not short on action, it is the intrigue and mystery which drives the story forward, the genuine desire to figure out who is pulling the strings and why.

There are several novels set in this universe, and I look forward to reading them in the future.

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Monday, May 30, 2005

How time flies

Sorry I haven't posted much. I've mostly been busy reading. A lot. Online and off. I've also done a bit of writing. Hopefully I will be back in the blogging mood soon.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Darth Tater

Darth Tater Puns
  • "Luke, I am your farmer."
  • "Trust your peelings."
  • "Luke Frywalker."
  • "If only you knew the power of the deep fried."
  • "Luke, I have drained you well."
  • "May the forks be with you."
  • "Use the fork, Luke."
  • "It's your father's light flavor."
  • "Asteroids do not concern me, Admiral. I want that chip, not excuses."
This struck me as far funnier than it should have. A teacher asked his students to come up with puns about "Darth Tater," a Mr. Potatohead dressed as Vader. The above are really the only funny ones, but they're good.

[via BoingBoing]

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Isn't it funny?

Isn't it funny that when Republicans heard that the new Star Wars was about an insane, evil leader who slowly wrested dictatorial power from the democratically-elected Senate by instigating an unjust war under false pretenses the first thing they thought was, "Hey, they must be talking about us!"?


Sunday, May 22, 2005

Desperate for an abortion

I watch Desperate Housewives. There, I said it. Let's move on.

One of the characters, the promiscuous Gabrielle, got pregnant when her husband tampered with her birth control pills. There is some mystery about who the father is--no surprise on a soap opera. She refers to her pregnancy as a "disaster," she repeatedly complains about how she doesn't want the responsibility, she tried to blackmail her husband into doing all of the baby-related housework so she can maintain her lifestyle. But one thing has been conspicuously absent from the whole literal-and-metaphorical affair.

Gabrielle never even considered an abortion.

Not only did she never consider it directly, nobody even mentioned the concept. Nobody asked, "Are you going to have it?" The unanimous reaction from the other titular housewives was the same "that's great/I'm sorry" reaction that accidental pregnancies always receive on prime-time television.

I'm not saying that Gabrielle should have had an abortion. I'm not saying it should have been a big focus of the show. As a theoretical Catholic, it probably wouldn't happen. But in the given situation, I would have expected at the very least a little "will she?" gossip amongst the friends. This is a child whose mother most assuredly doesn't want him/her, and whose father is either a violent criminal or a teenage gardener. If there were ever a situation in which people would for the slightest second think that abortion might be a possibility, this is it.

But abortion is a bad word. It doesn't even enter into people's minds. Actually, in the world of network television, it doesn't seem to exist.


I don't have anything to say . . .

. . . but it's been three days since I posted anything.

School is almost over. Just three more days, then it's essentially two months of no work before next school year. I am starting teacher certification, and when I check out the job market it looks like there won't be any problem getting one. I can start applying as soon as I finish the first two instructional modules, which will probably be about three weeks from now. We'll have to see.

Luckily, the way the pay schedule works for substitutes is that I'll get paid at the end of May (for April) and then at the end of June (for May) so it will only be July that I won't get a check, assuming that I get a job. And if I don't, it's back to substituting until I do.

We signed up for Netflix, and I plan on using it to its fullest potential with all this off time I'll have. I'm going to write, too, but I'll probably burn out after about 3 hours a day . . . that's about 2 hours more than I've been doing, though!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Revenge of the Sith

The Good

Lightsaber battles. Really outstanding choreography, especially in the final Obi-Wan vs. Anakin bout.

Visual effects. I know this gets said every time there is a new blockbuster, and it will probably be said again, but I think this was truly the first time that there were such extensive visual effects but I never noticed them as effects. The digital people look like real people. The opening battle sequence was incredibly intense. Gorgeous, even.

Loose ends. Pretty much all questions were answered and everything ties together nicely with the original trilogy. Even the set style segues into Episode IV.

Ewan McGregor. He was compelling as Obi-Wan, and perhaps the one actor most responsible for making the story work. His reactions during and after Anakin's transition to the Dark Side were powerful.

The Bad

Dialogue. It was horrible. Beyond bad. B-movie campy. I don't think that the opening-midnight true-fan audience was supposed to snicker at the melodramatic Anakin/Padme scenes, but they sure did. His turning-to-the-Dark-Side scenes, too. Pretty much every time Anakin had something to say, you could expect the worst. The others didn't fare much better. I like Samuel L. Jackson and Natalie Portman, but when they're working with so little, it's hard to. Why, oh why, couldn't Lucas farm the script out to somebody, or at least let someone else punch it up a little?

The Unclear

Some of these I'm sure I just didn't catch, but . . .

What exactly is the connection between the clone army and the stormtroopers? They didn't all talk like Jango Fett in later movies, implying that they aren't the same group. If the stormtroopers aren't clones, why not? And what happened to all of the clones? Are some stormtroopers clones and others new recruits? Or is there just no connection at all, despite the heavy symbolism of the similar costumes?

What was Yoda talking about regarding Qui-Gon? I know that it was probably supposed to explain why he didn't disappear when killed as later Jedi do, but it didn't make sense to me. Qui-Gon learned how to survive death and come back as a ghost. He didn't disappear when he died, so the technique either doesn't make you disappear (which doesn't explain why later Jedi disappeared, defeating the purpose of mentioning it) or it's something the still-conscious "soul" does after death to come back (which also doesn't explain why later Jedi disappeared, again defeating the purpose of mentioning it). The second possibility also seems to not fit with the whole idea of the Force as a kind of Buddhist all-as-one super-entity. The only thing I can figure is that Qui-Gon learned how to come back after he died, and now he can teach Obi-Wan how to do it "automatically" by disappearing . . . but Yoda didn't say that. At least I don't think he did.

Why did they think a good place to hide Anakin's son would be on his own home planet and with his (step-)relatives? And keep his last name Skywalker? Yeah, that's not suspicious . . . I guess that's really a question raised by the other movies, but the events actually happened in this one. It seems like "with his family" is the last place Luke should go.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

The waiting line

It's 9:30 and I just got to the line for Episode III at midnight. Yay. The internet is quite slow when you've got a few hundred geeks with laptops leechng from the same source.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Dear First Response commercial woman:

No, you can't be "a little bit pregnant." Either a zygote has implanted itself into your uterine lining or it hasn't.*

It's like so-called agnostics. You can't just be agnostic, no matter how much you want to get out of calling yourself an atheist because you don't want people to think you worship Satan and eat babies. You're either an agnostic atheist (you don't know if there's a god but you don't believe) or an agnostic theist (you don't know if there's a god but you believe anyway). But either way you have an opinion, and that opinion makes you one or the other. It is impossible to neither have belief nor lack belief. If you're really not sure, well, that's not belief now is it? In other words, you're an atheist. A "weak" atheist, certainly, but an atheist none the less. Calling yourself an agnostic doesn't change that.

Embrace your atheism, join us, help us rule the world. And eat babies. They're totally yum.

*I don't count having a non-implanted zygote floating around in there as "pregnant," since most of them are naturally aborted, but if you do then replace "zygote has implanted in your uterine lining" with "sperm has fertilized one of your eggs," shake well, and enjoy.

Hubble versus the aliens

Prepared Statement of Michael Griffin before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science

NASA Administrator Michael Griffen is looking to service the Hubble Space Telescope, reversing the decision made by his predecessor to crash the satellite to Earth. This alone would be great news, because the HST is one of the most significant pieces of scientific equipment ever invented in the history of science. It has revolutionized our understanding of astronomy and physics and can continue to do so if it can stick around to do it.

But the news is mixed, because funding a Hubble servicing mission means pushing back two other groundbreaking missions, the Space Interferometry Mission and the Terrestrial Planet Finder. These two telescopes will definitively and unequivocally answer the question of how common Earthlike planets are in the galaxy, and go a long way toward characterizing those they find. We would know what the neighborhood looks like, and in many cases even be able to detect the chemical signs of life. They would have been launched in 2011 and 2014, respectively. Now, who knows?

Of course, this is ironically good for science fiction writers, because the longer it is before we know what's really out there, the longer they can keep making up whatever they want!


Monday, May 16, 2005

Good old-fashioned mule fucking

Bizarre Sex Habits of the Extreme Right-Wing

This has already made the rounds throughout the blogosphere, but just for the one or two people who may have missed it, and for my own amusement when I look back at my archives some years hence, here is Alan Colmes and pro-murder pro-lifer Neal Horsley having a frank conversation.
"Is it true?" Colmes asked.

"Hey, Alan, if you want to accuse me of having sex when I was a fool, I did everything that crossed my mind that looked like I..."

AC: "You had sex with animals?"

NH: "Absolutely. I was a fool. When you grow up on a farm in Georgia, your first girlfriend is a mule."

AC: "I'm not so sure that that is so."

NH: "You didn't grow up on a farm in Georgia, did you?"

AC: "Are you suggesting that everybody who grows up on a farm in Georgia has a mule as a girlfriend?"

NH: It has historically been the case. You people are so far removed from the reality... Welcome to domestic life on the farm..."

Colmes said he thought there were a lot of people in the audience who grew up on farms, are living on farms now, raising kids on farms and "and I don't think they are dating Elsie right now. You know what I'm saying?"

Horsley said, "You experiment with anything that moves when you are growing up sexually. You're naive. You know better than that... If it's warm and it's damp and it vibrates you might in fact have sex with it."
Wow. No wonder Horsley never accidentally got a girl pregnant and needed an abortion doctor or something.

[via News Hounds]


Sunday, May 15, 2005


We took a quick trip to Houston this weekend. One of those trips that, had we left a few hours earlier would have been a day trip but only became a two-day trip by virtue of night happening to fall in the middle. But we wanted to see my family sometime this month and figured this weekend was as good a time as any. Didn't get a chance to do anything else while we were there. My mom makes good spaghetti, though.

Random recommended music: Keane - "Bedshaped"

Thursday, May 12, 2005


Having ripped most (but not yet all) of my CDs to my iBook's hard drive, rated most (but not yet all) of the tracks, and set up a series of overlapping smart playlists to get a random mix that favors good music being played more frequently, I am now really enjoying listening to music a lot more often than I used to. I have an automatically-updated playlist of 25 shuffled songs at any given time: five random 5-star songs not played in the last three days, ten random 4-star songs not played in the last week, and ten random 3-star songs not played in the last two weeks. It works remarkably well.

Radiohead's "Morning Bell" is a really great song, both the Kid A and Amnesiac versions. Just though I'd let you know. Carry on.


Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Austin City Limits

Rachel and I just bought tickets to the ACL Music Festival on September 23-25. Among the artists that will be there:
  • Coldplay
  • Oasis
  • Wilco
  • Lucinda Williams
  • Jet
  • Thievery Corporation
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Keane
And 122 others that I've either never heard of or have heard of and don't care about--but I'm sure they will all be awesome anyway. Three days worth.

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Confessions of a Star Trek fan

I grew up watching Star Trek. My dad was a fan of the original series in the '60s, and when The Next Generation started up in 1997, he passed the mantel on to me. I watched pretty much all of Next Generation and Deep Space Nine during their original runs. I never really liked Voyager and for a while it didn't air in Houston, so I didn't see much of that. I watched the first year of Enterprise and bits and pieces after. I own all of the movies on DVD.

I am, in short, a Trekkie. Thankfully, I've never been to a convention and I've never dressed up as a character. I stopped my fanatical obsession over technobabble and nitpicking years ago. But the blessing (curse?) of my memory is such that I could still prove my mettle as a fount of Star Trek trivia if challenged.

I rarely even admitted to my fanhood during my school years for fear of enhancing the nerd aura that already followed me around.

This Friday is the series finale of Enterprise. After that night, for the first time in eighteen years, there will no longer be a Star Trek series in production. There will still be at least one more movie (allegedly a Romulan War film penned by the writer of HBO's Band of Brothers miniseries and not featuring any of the television casts). But beyond that, this could well be the end of Star Trek forever.

I mention this because, while I haven't really been "into" Star Trek for several years now, I owe a shockingly large amount of myself to its influence. As with many in the actual field, Star Trek is almost entirely responsible for sparking my interest in science at a young age. And through my love of science comes my embrace of reason, the foundation of virtually all of my philosophical, political, and (non-)religious choices. Furthermore, through Star Trek I found "real" science fiction, which I read voraciously and now write . . . at least I try to.

It would be impossible to measure the effect that Star Trek has had on my life, but I would certainly be a different person if not for it.

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Monday, May 9, 2005

Deadly serious

Why is it that I've been in a pretty cheerful, happy mood the last few days but my posts read like eulogies?

We saw Crash on Friday night. It was good. I'd recommend it, but I think it works better going in knowing what you're getting. There are a whole bunch on "major" characters, so each gets a pretty brief treatment. Don't expect more than a surface characterization of them. See, the point is to take an honest look at race in America, so they follow a diverse cast throughout a two-day period in which all of their lives overlap. Every character exhibits their own form of racism through outright hatred, paranoia, stereotyping, or simple misunderstanding. It walks the line of heavy-handedness at times but overall is quite effective.

Tickets for Episode III at midnight, May 19 at the Alamo Drafthouse have been purchased. Early reviews are looking good, so I'm hopeful it will make up for the 1.5 previous films that were ass (I count about half of Episode II as being "good"). I have to admit that I have a love-hate relationship with Star Wars. When I'm actually watching the films, I really enjoy them. When I'm not watching the films but I think about them, I find myself dwelling on the negatives, especially the plot holes. But overall, I'd definitely call myself a fan. My anticipation for Episode III is growing.

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Sunday, May 8, 2005

The burden of morality

Have you ever wished you just didn't know better? Wouldn't life be easier if you had never learned certain things that now affect how you live?

Oh, to live in the days before I realized that we had a government that lied to us and an economy that exploited us. If only I could have remained in that adolescent haze where I believed that America was not only a potential but an actual beacon of good and justice in the world. Now there is rarely a day that something in the news about our policies home and abroad doesn't disgust me. The country sits back and lets themselves be raped and plundered by evil men, and it makes me want to scream. I feel outraged not only at the pirates who rule the world but at the peasants who take it without a struggle, who freely give themselves because they think their overlords earned their position fairly--and one day the peasants might as well.

I remember a time when I didn't think every time I went to a restaurant about how the server was being treated by all her other tables and how she deserved far more than she got. I can recall looking at beggars on the side of the road and thinking, get a job, before my parents drove me away in my self-satisfaction. There was a time when I ate animals that had been tortured, drugged, and slaughtered and I loved the flavor. Now I sometimes feel guilty when I eat cheese because even though no animal was killed I know that "organic" dairy cows are still horrifically mistreated and their male offspring are taken away prematurely and often sold as veal, licking the nails in their wooden pens to get enough iron to curb their anemia. The mothers wail for days. But tender veal is delicious, and every time I have a glass of milk I am saying it is OK.

Learning the way the world works has brought me the twin pleasures of anger and guilt; anger at the world for being the way it is and guilt for not doing enough to stop it. It is hard to be good, it takes effort and vigilance. You have to try and try to do the right thing while managing not to beat yourself up when you discover that you are capable of making the same mistakes as everyone else.

But it is worth it.

It is definitely worth it.

And I am an eternal optimist. Despite the feelings I am expressing, I really do believe that people are capable of great good. I have no doubt that, ultimately, the future will be a far better place than the past it overtakes. That's why I don't give up and give in, and while I may not do as much as I could, I do what I do and I think it helps.

At the very least, it helps me sleep at night.

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Austin smoking ban approved

I didn't vote in the local elections today, which kind of makes me feel like a jackass, but to be honest I wasn't up on the candidates and the issues and my vote would have been pretty random anyway.

It's worth noting that the voters approved a ban on smoking in bars and clubs. We already had a no smoking policy in restaurants. I'm actually very torn on the issue. I can honestly say that I don't know if I am in favor or against such smoking bans.

One the one hand, I think there is obviously a public health motivation behind the ban. When people drink in a bar, the alcohol doesn't go into other people's livers. You're not allowed to harm someone in a club by punching them in the face, so why should you be allowed to harm them by blowing carcinogens into their lungs? Smoking is not a constitutionally protected right, it can be legally be prohibited in some places, though it would clearly be wrong to ban it everywhere. But, to continue analogies, we don't allow public drunkenness because it could be dangerous, so it only makes sense to not allow smoking in enclosed areas because it could be dangerous, too. And smokers can always light up on balconies, patios, street corners, their homes, cars, and anywhere else that nonsmokers aren't exposed against their will.

But on the other hand, are nonsmokers really exposed against their will? You go to a bar or club with a reasonable expectation of certain things. If you don't want loud music, don't go to a bar. If you don't want sweaty, dancing bodies, don't go to a club. I think that it is perfectly logical to expect smoking at a bar or a club, and if a person doesn't want smoke around, they shouldn't go to such a place. That these establishments could voluntarily ban smoking and chose not to do so strongly suggests that smoking is an expected part of the experience.

So I really don't know. As a nonsmoker, it isn't going to really affect me at all. But it is a pretty significant issue. I am all for people being allowed to do with their own bodies what they see fit, but should people be allowed to do things which may affect others at any time? And we nonsmokers already had a perfectly valid way to avoid the risks by simply not patronizing those establishments, but that would require that the majority not have access to an entire class of activities for the free exercise of a minority's addiction.

It's hard.

The great contradiction

We have political democracy. We demand that our representatives answer to us and reflect our goals and desires. If we had no say in decisions being made about our lives, we would revolt and overthrow the government.

We did just that 229 years ago.

We have economic totalitarianism. Our bosses demand that we answer to them and reflect their goals and desires. We have no say in decisions being made about our lives, but we do not revolt and overthrow the management.

What is the difference between government and economics? Why is democracy desirable for politics but totalitarianism "desirable" for economics? Anyone who truly supports democracy would recognize that democracy in the workplace is just as important as democracy in the government. We want government of, for, and by the people, but for some reason we reject an economy of, for, and by the people. Instead, we accept an economy ruled by people who were appointed for their roles, not elected. Power is distributed from above, not below.

The economy plays as large a role in our lives as government, and yet it is treated as if it is something entirely distinct. It would be "wrong" to require workplace democracy because that would "interfere" with "private" matters. But the idea of a "private sector" is utterly bogus, because all companies employ the public and sell to the public. The actions of companies are inextricably linked to the economy as a whole and everyone who participates in it.

The simplest means of enacting some modicum of economic democracy would be granting the political right of recall to employees. If bosses are not acting in the best interests of the people they manage, they should be able to be fired by those people, rather than only by whoever is superior to them on the basis of the profit they make for the company. In a truly democratic economy, the employees would select their bosses, either from their own ranks or through consultation in hiring.

I don't expect to see either of these occur in my lifetime, outside of a handful of individual progressive companies.


Engineered negligible senescence

Long Live the Mammals

Radical longevity? Life-extension? Immortality?

Call it what you want, it's one step closer to reality today. Aging (real aging, not superficial wrinkles and sagging fat) is likely caused by a number of factors, one of which is oxidation.

You've seen the commercials for various supplements or foods with antioxidants in them to stop free radicals. Well, that's actually real stuff; free radicals are caused by oxidation and go on to damage cells. You see, the energy to run your body comes from mitochondria, remarkable machines that unfortunately wear down due to damage from these free radicals.

Peter S. Rabinovich of the University of Washington genetically modified mice to overproduce an antioxidant called catalase. In some of the mice, the catalase was also diverted to the mitochondria, rather than it's normal location. Remarkably, these mice lived 20% longer than unmodified mice with no detected side effects. They didn't only live longer, the normal "age-related" diseases such as cataracts and heart disease didn't appear until later in life as well. As with other longevity research, there doesn't appear to be any reason the same effect couldn't be achieved in humans, either through genetic modification or, more likely in the short term, drugs. In other words, this single factor could raise life expectancy from 80 years to 95 years.

As someone who believes that there is no existence beyond that which we are all living now, I support any research that might one day prolong our time here. The trick is to make sure it's safe and available to all who want it. The idea that because death is natural it is desirable is simply alien me. Except in cases of extreme pain, for which I strongly support voluntary euthanasia, I think existence for me would always be preferable to nonexistence. Immortality is impossible, of course. There will always be accidents, murder, and suicide. But I firmly believe that disease and aging are not inevitable, and it is not inconceivable that people living today--perhaps only children now--could live well beyond their projected 80 years, beyond their "natural" 120 years, and maybe to see the dawn of the next millennium, if they're careful.

Or maybe it won't happen. Maybe there will be incremental advances but no big breakthroughs. Maybe interest will wane and research will not be pursued for decades. Maybe longevity will be seen as a threat to God's plan and banned. Maybe it will work, but only the rich will use it and rule the rest of us as a privileged class of immortal warlords. Who knows? Nobody will if we don't continue to push the boundaries of the possible.

Friday, May 6, 2005

Are commies good tippers?

I went to Sonic yesterday and, as I rarely have occasion to do, paid with cash. I almost always use my check card, and since Sonic doesn't print any sort of gratuity line on their receipts I am unable to give the carhop a tip. Well, yesterday I had cash and so she got $1.00 for her trouble.

I am pretty sure that Sonic carhops are paid at least minimum wage and not the $2.13 an hour that tip-dependent workers in Texas get. That the minimum wage is a joke and at least $7.00 less an hour than one would need to make the so-called "living wage" is a discussion for another time, but the point is they aren't in the same category as a server at a restaurant. I don't think, technically, you are "supposed" to tip them, or else there would be that option when you pay by card.

I realized that I give them tips because I am a socialist.

Rather, I am a socialist for the same reason that I give them tips. I care about people even if I've never met them. And I've realized that there is no true connection between work and income and property: it is all a fiction, so we may as well make it a fair fiction.

I don't make more money than a carhop because I am special, I make more money because of a series of random factors outside my control - genes that made me fairly intelligent, socioeconomic background that put me in decent schools, luck that I have a wife to motivate me to do things. I shouldn't be rewarded for these things, I should be rewarded for the things that I can control: effort and sacrifice.

The CEO of a corporation might very well put in more effort and sacrifice things like family to get ahead. But I don't think there is a CEO alive who works a hundred times harder than their employees, yet there are CEOs who get well more than a hundred times their employee's wages. People that are uneducated get paid far less than educated people because they can't get jobs requiring education, but rarely is education related to anything they can control. Family problems, economic poverty, discrimination, even bad genes are not things that people can always overcome.

So I don't mind giving a little bit extra here and there, even when I have little to give.

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Thursday, May 5, 2005

Unheard-of music

Luke, acting as my emissary into the world of good music I would otherwise never hear, turned me on to some MP3 blogs a while back, and I've heard some good stuff as a result. In the last few days it's been particularly good, at least to my ears. For example:

Common - Political rap from an artist who is apparently at fame's doorstep but not quite inside, with some help from Scarface and Mos Def. I'd like to hear more rap like this. Rap needs to be the new punk, a place where people can fight the system. I know underground hip hop has been doing it for years, but everybody's still caught up in the gangsta and rap-pop fever of the '90s when it comes to the mainstream. [via aurgasm]

PINE*am - I would never think I could particularly like Japanese pop, but something about this song just works really well. It's addicting. I think it's like audio crack. [via music (for robots)]

Imogen Heap - Come on, everybody likes that Frou Frou song from the Garden State soundtrack. This is some of the singer's solo work, and it's a little less slick and produced but equally nice on the ears. Her voice seems to be somewhere between Fiona Apple and Shirley Manson, which is good if you ask me. [via Womenfolk]

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Ridiculous nomenclature

Have you ever found yourself making up ludicrous nicknames for people/pets and then wondering just how you got there? For example, we have a cat named Sammy. Yet I sometimes call him "Rhombus."

I know, I know. Rhombus? How did that come about? Well, it happened like this:


So I guess it makes perfect sense after all. If you're insane.


Monday, May 2, 2005

Weekend in review

Traveled to Denton/Dallas for the Frobots and to visit Rachel's family. We had a jolly fine time there.

Saw The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was funny and entertaining. Not the best movie I've ever seen, but worth two hours.

Watched the season premiere of Family Guy. Yes, they've still got it. Best part: the pre-credits teaser listing every failed Fox series since Family Guy was cancelled.