April, 2009

If I believed in luck, I would believe in bad luck

Feeling: Annoyed

2009/04/30

At the beginning of this week I made an appointment to have my winter tires replaced with my old summer tires this Saturday, only two days from now. Today, during my lunch break, in the rain, I got a flat tire. Lame. While this is better than getting a flat tire the day -after- I had my new tires put on, it's far worse than not getting a flat tire and instead having gum drops fall neatly into a bowl for me to nom on.

All of your favorite heroes are rip-offs.

There are only four of them, but the comics in The Stone Maker Argument are hilarious.


100 days! Who cares?

Feeling: Cynical

2009/04/29

Yes, the first 100 days of Obama are over. That's 10x10 days, which has great meaning... if you use a base-10 system of counting--which Americans do! Actually, 100 days is just as arbitrary as 93 days or 106 days. Nothing special happens at the 100 day mark, no national shift occurs, it's just a meaningless milestone for people to fawn over. Who cares? Pundits, that's who.

Americans are all about torture these days. But the UN, of which we're a member, has a slightly different view on it. Take a look at their views on torture, especially the three points in article 2. The USA signed this document and pledged to adhere to its rules, but I don't think we're doing a very good job.

Still waiting on that new cable modem. Before shipping it to me my Internet provider checked my connection during one of the rare times when it was actually working and decided that it was working fine, so they didn't ship the modem. Then, a couple days later, my modem crapped out on me again. I bitched at them some more and now they're really shipping it this time for real, no joke.

Things used to be tougher back then...

I've update my lyrics database with several more songs, including the lovely work of Hello Saferide. It now has over 2,900 songs.


R.I.P. witty subjects

Feeling: Inept

2009/04/28

About a month ago I was issued a new ATM card to replace my previous one which had expired. Last night, I realized that I was running low on cash, so I stopped at my ATM, opened my wallet, and lo and behold, no ATM card. CRAP! I'm a fairly organized person, so I knew right away that if my card wasn't in my wallet, it was lost. I pulled into a parking spot and searched my car, just to make sure it didn't fall out of my wallet (not really possible since it snaps shut, but no harm in checking). Okay, time to retrace my steps. I thought back to Sunday. All I did then was, get gas, go to several stores in the mall, hit up the art supply store, and eat at two restaurants. CRAP! So, I repeat the day, stopping at each place that I stopped at the night before, feeling more and more like a moron with each stop. I fully expected that if someone were to find an ATM card lying on the ground they would pocket it, try and guess my PIN, fail, and then my card would be lost forever, but I figured that an hour of me looking like a dork was easier than having to order a new card and pay a replacement fee. Well, after hearing, "sorry, but you're S.O.L.", several times, I gave up. CRAP! Today, during my lunch break, I headed to my bank to get a replacement. I walked up to the teller and said, "I lost my ATM card," which translates to, "I'm a irresponsible loser who can't even keep track of a small inanimate piece of plastic," she directed me to a lady who could help me. She asked my name and took my drivers license and punched me up on her computer. "Oh, it's here!" she announced. I was relieved! Someone was nice enough to find my card, and ship it back to my bank! What a wonderful world! She went behind the counter and, after a few second, came back to reunite me with my card. "What happened to it?" I asked. "You left it in the ATM." CRAP!

Swine flu may be killing the masses, but us geeks know how to avoid stuff like that.

Who'd have thunk it? Beating an autistic boy won't actually drive out the demons that make him autistic. If only they had just let the kid get measles, he'd be a genius today, just like Jim Carey.

The Videogame Music Preservation Foundation has been updated once more. PermaLinks have been added to the blog now, a bug in the user settings has been fixed, ads display horizontally for shorter pages, and although you can't yet see it, I've added links for editing and deleting posts in the main blog and archives. I'm almost ready to add blogging for all users.

I'd like to get to the point... Cedar Point, at least twice this year. It's pretty much a guarantee that I'll be going in October, but in order to make sure that I'm not bored of it by then, I'd like to go as early in the year as possible. So, if anyone wants to come with me around the end of May, let me know.


R.I.P. Pontiac

Feeling: Happy

2009/04/27

Looks like in addition to Hummer, Saab, and Saturn, GM will be ditching Pontiac in order to try and stay afloat. That's a big deal to Michigan--we even have a city here named Pontiac. Though, I think it's named after the Indian tribe, as opposed to the car line. Likewise with Cadillac, MI. But not Oldsmobile, MI.

Over the weekend I ran a mile each day, drove around town with my top down, got a mild sunburn, visited the mall too often, threw some paint on a couple canvases, got a new watch, stabbed myself in the thumb while adjusting the strap on said watch, lost my Internet connection once again, updated my motherboard's firmware, and slept in nicely.

I also spent a lot of time finishing up the editing on the second draft of The Pocket Debate Book. I've put together a PDF which you can download. There is quite a bit of new stuff added to it, and a lot of the formatting problems from the first draft have been fixed.

New products over the week include: "The Dog Dialed 911" (A book of lists from The Smoking Gun), "Why People Believe Stupid Things" by Michael Shermer, and "To the Bottom of the Sea" by Voltaire.

I've been enjoying the music of Hello Saferide more and more.


R.I.P. GeoCities

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/24

In 1994, a free Web hosting company called GeoCities began. They did something that was very popular for geeks: offered free Web hosting. To make money they placed ads on the side of each of your Web pages, an acceptable trade-off. From that point on, any dork with a rudimentary understanding of HTML and ugly tiled backgrounds could have their own Web site. Well, GeoCities became a huge success--even TheAlmightyGuru got started on GeoCities--but by 1999, Yahoo couldn't take it anymore, and bought them up for a mere 3.5 billion. After acquiring GeoCities, Yahoo decided to alter the format a little by changing the Terms of Service. Basically, they said that any thing uploaded to their servers became their property. Every page, image, sound, whatever... you were basically handing your hard work over to Yahoo. As expected, many of GeoCities users jumped ship and left for competitors like AngleFire and Tripod. Yahoo reverted to the old Terms of Service, but the damage had been done. This coupled with the dot-com bubble being burst (alliteration!) in 2001 kind of made Yahoo look like chumps for spending so much money it. Well, The whole reason I'm writing this is because one of the Internet's original community portals, GeoCities, is officially being shut down. From now on Yahoo will charge $6 a month for Web hosting on its servers, and the GeoCities name will be retired. Good-bye GeoCities I'll forever miss your black backgrounds with neon text, animated GIFs, and flagrant abuse of scrolling marquees.

It turns out the judge in The Pirate Bay trial, Tomas Norstrom, is a member of the Swedish Copyright Association and is on the board of Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property. Apparently, he doesn't feel that this was a conflict of interest. Trial on copyright violation.... judge who works to keep copyrights safe... No, no conflicts there. Obviously, The Pirate Bay lawyers are asking for a retrial.

Some of the biggest hit songs were almost never released.

I just finished re-watching all 178 episodes of Star Trek: The Generation. I started a couple months back, and now I'm done. After finished the last episode, I kind of felt sad, much like when the show first went off the air.

I've remade the preview page in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. It has the proper sidebar, and most images have a descriptive title.


Blarrrg!

Feeling: Blah

2009/04/23

Some cartoon characters have dirty little secrets.

I'm almost through editing the 2nd draft of The Pocket Debate Book. I don't think I'll have it ready by the end of the week, but most likely early next week.

I've been having some bad heartburn come and go for several weeks now. I haven't really shifted my diet very much, as far as I know, and it's really starting to annoy me. Enough that I might even go to the doctor. Scary, right?


Earth-a-licious!

Feeling: Chubby

2009/04/22

Happy Earth Day. I'd go out and pick up trash, but it's cold outside, and there's hail. Maybe I'll pick up trash this weekend when it gets warmer. Yes, I'm a fair-weather environmentalist. Don't hate.

What would happen if they did it to us?

I had a dream that I was chubby with round cheeks, just like I was as a toddler. Creepy. I also dreamed about hiking a lot through rough terrain. Maybe I should do just that so I don't end up as a chub.

My latest obsession song is "Thrash Unreal" by Against Me!

Some children's books are just a little too bizarre, a little too frightening, or a little too grown-up for most kids. These books, on the other hand, will mess your kids up for life!


Sarcasm should never be used because it's not very nice

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/21

Ever wonder what life would be like if you were a vulgar chick who identified with the lesbian culture, had a British husband, and drew comics about farting and wearing strap-ons? Read Dar: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary. It's awesome.

The bulk of the links in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation are now pointing to their new locations properly. Some links that didn't target a game/composer/format still need to be fixed manually, but I'll get to them in good time.

I'm trying to finish up editing the second draft of The Pocket Debate Book. I've been chipping away at it for too long making minor additions and fixes, but not making an actual cut off date. So, one more quick read through, and it's off the the printers.

What do you call it when you're going to get an abortion, but at the last minute you don't? An aborted abortion? A double abortion? An abortion squared? All of those just sound like a super big abortion, like you were going to have fifteen kids but had this massive abortion with fetus parts flying everywhere.


Hyperbole is the BEST THING EVER!!!

Feeling: Blah

2009/04/20

I had a nice weekend. Friday and Saturday were spent enjoying the warm weather with my convertible top down and the wind in my hair. This also led to my first sun burn of the year, but my pasty white skin could use a little color. It rained on Sunday, so I spent much of my time indoors watch back episodes of The Atheist Experience.

Oracle just bought Sun MicroSystems. I'm not really concerned about how this will affect Java, but much more how this will affect MySQL (having just created a MySQL database for my Web site). Oracle is quite proud of their database software, and may not bother with their newly acquired competing free product.

An article about my most hated font actually talks to the creator of Comic Sans.

The algorithm on the search page in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation has been updated considerably. It now uses a tokenizer to break up each individual word so they can be found anywhere in a title and allows searches of entire phrases in quotes similar to Google's. The home page and the archive pages have been given a minor facelift. I've included space for who made the update, and at what time the update was made. The thumbnail links are working again, though I still haven't fixed the redirects in the posts. I've also worked quite a bit on the blog posting page that users will have access to once I've completed it.


When winter hearts turn summer pink

Feeling: Cheery

2009/04/17

It's beautiful out today. Sunny, 20 C, and I have a convertible with really good speakers. I've been driving aggressively, enjoying the wind in my hair, and looking forward to a nice spring and summer.

thepiratebay.org, a Bit Torrent tracker, lost their case against the Swedish government. The four founders must spend one year in prison, and pay a fine of 30 million kronor (about 3.5 million dollars) to the entertainment industry. The Swedish courts ruled that, although thepiratebay.org did not actually provide any illegal material directly, they did knowingly and purposefully provide links to illegal material. This is an important case regarding copyright law (at least in Sweden) because it means that Web masters can not only be held responsible for their own content, but also for the content of every page they link to. Every Web site hosted in Sweden is now potentially a legal target because, due to the nature of the Internet, they most likely link to something illegal, even if it's twelve links away. Also, this "rule" doesn't seem to be well enforced because other online companies, namely Google, get away with not just linking to illegal material, but actually hosting large quantities of illegal material. Google's book search has thousands of copyrighted books, given away for free, with no payment to the copyright holders. Google was even taken to court in the US over the issue, but won. In a bit of twisted irony, the court ruling was leaked to the Internet before the judge even made his official ruling, so it was no surprise to anyone in the courtroom what he was going to say. While the entertainment industry is sitting on their high horse today, this decision won't really do much to curb online pirating, mostly because the many other torrent trackers that exist are still flourishing online, and more trackers are springing up all the time.

All of the original main pages of the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation are now complete. Today I've added the album template, which is currently only used by a single album, but will now scale forward to any new ones that are added. The search page has been updated a bit more as well. It looks cleaner, song searching is possible, and you can now search on any or all topics individually. I'm making strides towards a blog interface where any user will be able to post updates and leave comments.

After only a week of bitching, I finally convinced my cable provider that their cable modem was broken and they're going to send me a new one. It's about freaking time!


How can you stand their bitterness? I'm just used to it I guess.

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/16

Today I heard someone enunciate each individual letter for a ZIP file. They actually asked for a zee-eye-pee file. Classic!

A couple days ago I finished reading "The Story of Mathematics". It was a very nice book that gave a brief overview of the history of mathematics from the earliest forms of counting to modern proofs including the short biographies of mathematicians and the origin of all the common math symbols. The book is fully illustrated so even those who aren't familiar with higher level math can understand it. Take a look.

At long last, the Game template is finished in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. The search page now properly links to the games, as does the alphabetical index, and a re-direct page has been put up for all the old game pages. I'm almost finished converting the site, just a couple more additions and a lot of fixing old links, and it'll be done. Everything after that will be new features.

The cable maintenance -finally- came out to my apartment today and, as expected, told me that the cable is working fine, and they believe the problem to be with the cable modem. Of course, I never received a call back from them, so I'll have to bitch at them again tomorrow.


You were on my mind at least nine-tenths of yesterday

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/15

In case you've been living under a rock for the past decade, here are the most viral of the viral videos.

The Format template is now finished in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation and redirects have been put in place of the old ones. Yesterday's broken links on the Format index and search pages now match up.


Must hold back fist of death!

Feeling: Aggravated

2009/04/14

Today at all of the code that I had been working on for the past week was suddenly borked due to a coworker's code bug. I've made plenty of mistakes coding as well, so I can't really blame him, but it took all of my self-control not to start violently shouting. Luckily, I was able to put together a program to fix the problem, but it took me about an hour to write the fix and implement it when I already had a deadline I was scrambling to meet!

Megaman vs. Metroid? Awesome!

Here are 21 more reasons to hate Apple because here are 21 apps that Apple won't allow on their iPhone. All the of the apps are useful or cool, and all of them have been banned by Apple. Want to be able to copy and paste anywhere? Too bad! Want to be able to ignore telemarketers and stalkers by black listing them? Apple can't let that happen! Sick of those annoying ads in Safari? Wish you could run AdBlock to remove them? Nope, you're stuck looking at them! Wouldn't it be great to use Bluetooth to do some file sharing with friends? It would, but Apple prevents you. It would be awesome if you could play music videos as ring tones, but Apple forbids you. This is the kind of bullshit Apple pulls with all of its products. If you find a cool program for free, they ban it, make their own inferior version, and charge an arm and a leg for it. If you don't like it, there are two things you can do about it: nothing, and like it. Bend over and take it iPhone users, you're being reamed!

Each composer in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation has been converted to the new PHP template. I've also updated the search page and alphabetical index to match the new style. The formats page has been converted as well, but the links on it are currently broken.


Monday the 13th: Far more unlucky than Friday the 13th

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/13

On Sunday, I saw something that I hadn't seen in a long time: a squirrel running across a power line. The cities that I grew up in had a lot of power lines crossing the streets, and I would often see squirrels running across them. However, the majority of the power lines in my city are underground so the squirrels have to brave the hazardous streets.

I love extremely long URLs. For example: peoplewhositinthedisabilityseatswhenimstandingonmycrutches.com.

Dogs themselves don't appreciate being anthropomorphized.

I've been Internetless at home for a couple days. My cable modem has been slowly becoming less reliable, to the point now where it needs a reboot about three times a day. I talked to my provide who is "loaning" the modem out to me and, as expected, they're doing everything in their power to shift the blame elsewhere. They tried the usual, your cord is too long, you're using a splitter, the cable in your building is having problems, etc. I was prepared as well as I could be, lying to them about my short coaxial cable and my lack of a splitter and my perfectly working cable. They're making maintenance check the cable to my building today, but when they say everything is fine, I'm hoping then that the company will cave in and give me a new modem.

I finished watching the TV show Freaks and Geeks over the weekend. It's a really great show, and I'm disappointed I didn't watch it while it was actually on TV. It's funny, thought provoking, and has plenty of great characters. I'm surprised it didn't become more popular.

I've written some more PHP for Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. The alphabetical games and composers lists are now using the MySQL database. They're still a little plain looking, but they automatically block out pages of 30 results each. The navigation bar has been shrunken down now that it's all a single template.


29 and holding

Feeling: Upset

2009/04/10

Breaking news! Cheerleaders are stupid!

It turns out Disney has been tracing the same cartoon over and over again. Who knew?

I'm 29 today. How did that happen? I actually remember my mother wearing a shirt with the entry's topic on it. How did I ever get as old as her? No offense mom!

More progress has been added to the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. The archive pages are now a single PHP template. There is a basic search now, but the links it generates aren't yet active. I'm also working on a way to view the games an alphabetical list as well. It's progressing right along.


I don't want to grow up!

Feeling: Accomplished

2009/04/09

I love the feeling of accomplishment. I've had several pending items to take care of, and they always make me feel anxious. So, last night I did my taxes and finished most of the editing of my debate book, and then today I renewed my license, put new tags on my car, and I can now happily say that my digital audio player is fixed with the new directional pad. Dean does such good work.

My (non-romantic) date went well last night. Stephanie is a fun woman with a familiar sense of humor. She's also attending college with someone whom we both know, which made things... interesting.

Crazy links: I love to FU? Worst Star Wars costume ever. Photographs of 11 extinct animals. Where are they now? Fictional characters edition.

1980s veterans will remember this Zoo commercial. This is from Michigan, but other states used the same commercial with their own zoo names in it.


A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men

Feeling: Excited

2009/04/08

One of the things I like best about the TV show House is that it gives a realistic portrayal of the success rate of the occult--that is, 0%. And it also gives a realistic portrayal of the perceived success rate of people who believe in the occult, even when evidence is there to prove them wrong--about 100%. Episode 5-18, "Here Kitty" is a perfect example.

Tonight I going to hang out with someone I met online and have yet to meet in person. If my corpse turns up tomorrow in a Dumpster in Flint with my left hand cut off and missing, please note that this is merely coincidence and that it is no way related to meeting an Internet stranger.

Firefox has been pissing me off as of late. My home computer takes about 45 seconds to load Firefox into memory. I've completely uninstalled and reinstalled fresh, but it still takes forever, and all my other programs load just fine. My work Firefox has decided to delete my cookies every time I close the browser, despite my settings saying otherwise. These problems aren't from conflicting extensions or plugins, just good old fashioned Firefox errors. I've found plenty of other people online with these problems, but no solutions to fix them. Grr.

The Videogame Music Preservation Foundation conversion is still progressing well. I've finished converting the VFP database into a MySQL database. The home page has been completely rewritten in PHP. I still have about ten more template pages to make, and a bunch of user updating pages, and then it's all set.


"With the first link the chain is forged. The first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." - Aaron Satie

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/07

I did a little surgery on my Gigabeat F40 (digital audio player) last night. The directional pad was getting stuck sometimes so I bought a replacement and installed it myself. It was surprisingly simple and it seems to have fixed the problem (though I won't know for sure until I've used it for a couple of days). The pad was less than $20; much cheaper than $250 for a new player, especially when everything else in it works just fine.

You're doing it wrong! Top 11 signs. Unless you're familiar with Internet memes you probably won't understand most of these, but I assure you they are funny.

I'm in the process of converting my existing databases into MySQL databases for the VGMPF. I'm progressing rapidly since all of the data was already in a database, but not as fast as I could since there isn't an easy way to convert VFP tables into online MySQL tables. Once the conversion is complete I'll be able to write the PHP templates and the site conversion will be complete. Most of the databases are done, but only the FAQ page has a finished template. So, pretty soon I'll be able to start adding new features for those who make accounts. While you're waiting for the update, why not check out some Amiga and Commodore music in MP3 format at paula8364.com and 6581-8580.com.

Michigan was dumped on with snow last Sunday night, and it's snowing again today. We're expecting it to clear up by the end of the week, but seriously, WTF?


"They say that the best blaze burns brightest, when circumstances are at their worst."
"Yeah, but no-one really believes that."

Feeling: Happy

2009/04/06

I had a nice fun weekend with my friend Amber. We watched Howl's Moving Castle, which I really liked.

I got a bit more PHP coding done as well for the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. The additions allow users to add their birthday and now pick from a list of countries. I've also incorporated the ability to ban users, but hopefully that'll never have to happen.

Contributor Mike Stone has found some memory offsets for the NES game The Simpsons: Bart vs. The World.

YouTube user Qualia Soup has several nice videos that go over the basics of science and critical thinking.

Unreality has a lot of cool lists from movies and games.


Cooler than rutabagas since 2009?

Feeling: Sleepy

2009/04/03

Many people may talk about how the anti-vaccine movement has been killing children, but JennyMcCarthyBodyCount.com gives you the actual numbers from the CDC.

As promised, I have the user log in setup in the Videogame Music Preservation Foundation. Pop in there and create yourself an account. You can't do much with it yet, but I'll have something cool coded out before you know it. Honest!


Cooler than cucumbers since 1980

Feeling: Okay

2009/04/02

Texas's Board of Education failed at adding Creationism to their agenda, but just barely. They'll still throw in plenty of weasel words though.

If you don't have thick skin, it's probably best not to throw a tantrum on the Internet.

"The Elements", by Tom Lehrer with animation by TimwiTerby. It's like right out of Animaniacs... only way before Animaniacs.

I should have the PHP / MySQL log in finished tomorrow. I've been spending a lot of time making sure that it is secure. It's certainly not hack-proof, but it does there are a lot of traps to prevent basic hacking.


Does not want!

Feeling: Happy

2009/04/01

Enjoy regional delicacies. Some sound pretty good, some sound all-together horrifying.

Videogame OCD moments? Yeah, I've done the bulk of them.

Several more hours of PHP/MySQL coding have gone into the VGMPF. I should have a proper user account and login system by the end of the week. You won't be able to do anything with it yet, but it'll be there, and that's what counts.

Sorry, no April Fool's Day joke. Get over it.