I once received an F on a creative writing assignment because my “scary Halloween story” about kids being killed by the ghosts of fallen soldiers as they crossed an ancient battle field after dark “missed the point of the assignment and the spirit of the subject.” Â Sometimes I think I would have done better in school if my school had been better for me.
These are the things I think about when I consider having a child…
The animation is cool, but this is only part of the talk. Â The full thing is here.
One of the things I enjoy most about Con are the panels.Â Yeah, the costumes and parties are cool and all that, but I also come for the panels.Â In a good, well run panel, you can actually learn quite a bit, participate in discussions and meet people with similar interests.Â In a poorly run panel, the only thing you learn is that there is a reason for having a moderator who actually cares about the subject at hand.
I’m not going to point any fingers and name names, but many of the panels I went to today were not well run at all.Â People asking stupid questions, panelist meandering through unrelated subjects, entire topics being misunderstood and abandoned…Â Not a good day at the con at all.
But then came the drinking and the people watching, which is always fun.
To cap off the night, the wife and I decided to duck into a concert.Â 99% of live performances by bands are not intended for people who like lyrics and don’t already know the songs by heart.Â The music is cranked so loud that the only thing you know for sure about the words is that the song does have lyrics, and sometimes you can make out the tones, but actual phrases are lost beneath the thrumming beat and the wailing guitars.
Oh well… there’s always drinking and people watching…
Thanks to the usual hookup, the wife and I went out to see a sneak preview of Zodiac last night. If you are unfamiliar with the subject, the movie is about the famous Zodiac serial killer of the late 1960’s. Read more about him here.
As for the movie, its a David Fincher film, so given how much I have loved his other movies (Panic Room, Fight Club, The Game, Se7en… even Alien³), I had high expectations for this film. However, it is a telling of factual events with a little fiction thrown in to round out the edges, so I tried to go in with an open mind.
The movie is good. The direction and cinematography are great. The actors each play their roles extremely well, and they portray the frantic and frustration of the case to perfection. And that leads to the downside of this film… in truth, the Zodiac killed was never caught, never brought to justice, so if you are looking for satisfaction and closure, the story of the Zodiac is not where you want to look. This is a story about reporters and police officers desperately trying to figure out a series of crimes and to catch a killer who taunts them with letters where every pieces of evidence leads somewhere but proves nothing. At one point there is a scene of one of the characters frantically sifting through the half dozen or more boxes of files pertaining to just one of the killings illustrating the sheer volume of the mountain of interviews, clues, evidence and suspects.
It is a slow film, almost like watching a documentary with re-enactments, but it is interesting to see people’s lives come together and fall apart all around this case. It is not a great film, its not something I would watch a dozen times, but I enjoyed it, and certainly didn’t think it was a waste of my time. If the Zodiac interests you, go see it. If not… wait to rent it.
There is one thing Michael Crichton has always excelled at, and that is taking a real field of study or research, finding a disturbing way it could be abused, manipulated or get out of control, and then construct a story around it that manages to inform, thrill and scare you all at the same time.
Prey is no different. The subject here is nanotechnology, small molecule sized machines programmed to work together to perform a task. The angle, what happens when the machines are coded with animal behavior logic that is intended to be open-ended and self-optimizing. In other words, the program makes decisions and learns from its mistakes.
The book was a pretty fast read, like most of Crichton’s books, and there is enough technojargon to give the book that science filled feel to it, but it never goes so far as to obscure the story from the read in mumbo jumbo that only learned people in the know would understand.
If you can’t say something intelligent, SHUT UP!
The title is sound advice.
Previously I wrote about playing the Devil’s Advocate, the good and bad of it. Well, now I’m going to hit on another subject that has come forward thanks to an email I received about the website.
Paul Jaschke, firstname.lastname@example.org, writes: This is a terrible website.
You see, I don’t deny that some may find my website terrible. I know I find other people’s sites to be such. But I would never send an email to the site admin about the webpage unless I could point out errors in code, suggestions to help reach his audience, and so on.
Paul here chose instead to do a drive-by “YOU SUCK!” and go about his business, not bothering to offer any insight with his words as to specifics of why the website is terrible.
He did help me out though. I was having a semi-rough night at work and I saw his email and nearly pissed in my pants laughing. What can I say? Morons make me laugh.
I will be emailing Paul later when I can read his email without laughing anymore so that I can write a clear and thoughtful responce.
Or maybe I’ll just respond with:
This is a terrible email.
Someone, anyone… if you read this page, email me (email@example.com) and help me out.
How can you tell if a girl is interested?
I have a blind spot when it comes to women, most nice guys do. If you are not attracted to a girl, then you know right away when she is flirting with you, but if you do like her, she could be hitting you in the head with a baseball bat screaming “I LOVE YOU!!” and you still would notice.
I never notice, so tell me… how can I tell?
Please… I’m begging you… help me.
Okay… enough of the pitiful whining, on with the rest of the .plan.
I wrote a list of topics on my mind a while back (October 15th .plan) and decided to actually do another one of the list… Swearing: the power of words.
I actually wrote a paper for an essay class in college on this subject. It all stems from the fact that people swear… alot. Me too, I’m not exempt from this. Sometimes I swear like a sailor, but occationally I try to make a concious effort to stop, or at least slow down.
You see, the power of a swear comes from its infrequency of use. If you say ‘fuck’ and ‘shit’ and all the rest all the time, people will come to expect it.. and they won’t people able to know when you really are mad.
Think about it. When some friend who swears all the time starts swearing, you’ll just think “This is normal.” But if someone you have never heard utter a swear word yells out “FUCK!!” you’ll be stunned because… well, you’ve never heard them swear.
My first experience with this came many years ago back in the days of dial-up Bulletin Board Systems. People generally didn’t swear (except on the hacker BBSs) so no one was used to it. As usual people got into an argument… people being me and someone else. And when he didn’t have a leg to stand on, he went for the usual personal digs. Making fun of me but still not swearing.
Hold on… pause. I need to cover something else real quick about how I feel. Insults. When it comes to insults they usually don’t bother me much. You can sit and insult me all day long and I’ll either match you insult for insult, or I’ll ignore you. In my opinion, this can often be just standing up to someone. They are right there in front of you and they can defend themselves. But as a matter of honor, you never ever insult a man’s family when they aren’t present to defend themselves. If its all joking, like ‘Your momma’ jokes, that’s fine, but you never make a serious insult about a man’s family. You never go beyond your target and strike his home.
That said… the first swear word used in the argument came from the other guy. He called my mother an ‘overflowing cum sack’. As a result, at the next face-to-face party, three of my friends and myself were waiting for him to show up so we could kick the crap out of him. A bit of an overreaction to be sure… but he insulted my mother AND used a swear word.
Later, I would run into the same wall myself, when on another BBS during an argument, to emphasize a point of an already heated debate, I used the word ‘fuck’. Because no one was used to hearing that strong a word, everyone joined into the argument. I got alot of flames for using the word, and some people threatened to beat me up. But in the end it actually served its purpose: what had been 3 guys talking about a subject was now about 50.
Some people feel that swear word should have their taboo removed, after all, they are just words. You hear kids and even grown ups filling the air around them with these forbidden words. But I think they need to be more taboo, if you get overheard saying one, everyone should stare at you in shock. This way, swear words can once again have the shock value they once did, and be useful.
The worst thing about mistakes is that you have to make them before you can see them for what they are.
It really is a shame that people can’t be precognizant and see their mistakes before they make them. But then I suppose the world would be different. You would have nothing to really learn from, because unless you were some kind of masocist, you would avoid all of your mistakes and everything would be great.
This could be a really long and deep update, but that’s about all I have to say on the subject. I have now seen the mistakes that I have made for what they are. I can only hope that I get a second chance.
Theater Review: I saw the new Star Wars trailer on the big screen last night. And… damn. This movie is going to be so cool. I didn’t stay to watch Wing Commander (I didn’t pay) and I heard I should be glad.
Today’s Song: What Do I Have To Do by Stabbing Westward. Sums up how I feel these days alot of the time.