Tuesday, April 29, 2008

4/29/08 Hello Again

I always thought it would be cool to go on the vomit comet. For those who are unfamiliar, the vomit comet is a commercial airplane hollowed out so that passengers can experience zero gravity. The plane goes up and then freefalls (repeat a bunch of times). After seeing it on TV and the fact that there were quite a few passengers going a very short distance, I thought that maybe it would be in the realm of affordable. It's over $4,000. So there goes that idea.


From the "Never say never" files: Not only did I watch "American Idol" tonight, but I DVRed it. Some of you know that I don't think highly of "American Idol". But, when I heard that tonight was going to be Neil Diamond night, I couldn't resist. After watching it, I stick with my original opinion. It's glorified karaoke. Karaoke where the effects and background music make it much more impressive.

But Neil Diamond still rules.


Have you seen Hulu.com? One of the benefits of being around teenagers is that I'm exposed to these things before I read about them on MSN or Fox News two months after they do. Hulu is just full of TV shows and movies. I mean, TV shows the day after they premiere.


As a kid, my brother used to tell stories like The Chris Farley show. He'll be the first to admit it.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

4/26/08 Yippee Ki-Yay

I may be behind the times, but at least I'm 2 weeks ahead of Fox News. They jumped on the Rick Rolling bandwagon, too. Remember the Rick Roll of the Mets I wrote about a couple of weeks ago? Apparently they got 5 million votes for "Never Gonna Give You Up".


In a battle of just awful, awful looking sequels, Speed 3 takes on War Games 2.


From CollegeHumor.com - The Die Hard friendship scale.

Level 1: Holly McClane-Gennaro - My closest, most battle-tested friend. I would walk over broken glass for you- and not in the gay Annie Lennox way, I mean it literally. Fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, I can count on you to punch a douchebag reporter in the teeth when I'm just too exhausted to do it myself.

Level 2: Sgt. Al Powell - When the shit hits the fan, you'll have my back. You're the type of person who is so loyal you'd be able to overcome your fear of using a firearm to save me from a gargantuan German whom I thought I had strangled with a steel chain. There is also the slight chance you've shot a kid.

Level 3: Argyle - The definition of a friendship of convenience. Yeah, we can share some laughs, but when the going gets tough, you're too busy raiding my limo's mini-bar and making your plans for tonight.

Level 4: The Principal from The Breakfast Club (Police Chief Dwayne T. Robinson) - You're a dick. Plain and simple. But, because of your position, I am forced to respect your decisions. That will not stop me from undermining your authority and making fun of your stupid name.

Level 5: Ellis - I try my best to be civil around you, even if you do spend your time hitting on my wife and doing blow, but it wouldn't ruin my night if you were shot in the head by German terrorists.

Level 6: Hans Gruber - You are my sworn enemy. Need this to be any clearer? Let me put it this way- I would consider my night a success if I was the reason you plummeted to your death from the 40th floor of a Los Angeles highrise. Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker.

Level 7: Broken Glass - Fuck you.


No Longer Neighbor Natalie sends a mashup of Joel and Ethan Coen movies. See how many you can recognize.


Gas prices nearest to where I live - 3.93 / 4.05 / 4.17. Sadly, in three years, that'll seem affordable.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

4/20/08 Memory

It becomes abundantly clear that there are not enough updates here when I start getting floods of emails during the week with cool stuff. But, for now, that's just the way it has to be. I'll try and make it up to ya'll somehow. I have no idea what the making up is going to entail - But I can assure you that I'm really swamped lately and just don't have the time.

Google Nicki sends me "An Engineer's Guide to Cats". For the engineers and/or cat lovers out there, enjoy...

This video is just the link/transition/double entendre that's keeping this post glued together. And for those of you who have a thing for Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Poker Jason sends a fascinating article on Building a Better Brain. I was amazed that "By nine months of age, our nerve cells stop dividing, leaving us with about 100 billion to a trillion each". The fact that our "processor" is built by the age of nine really enforces infant nutrition as a factor in brain development. Many times I am in complete awe of the 3 pounds of goo in our skulls. (I can't confirm this stat right now), but I've heard that the number of possible connections that your brain can make is greater than the total number of atoms in the known universe (10^79).

In an effort to reinforce my coffee vice - Studies continue to show that daily caffeine consumption can protect your brain.


Poker Jason also sent me an uplifting article on the likelihood of a massive earthquake in Southern California by the year 2037. It's 99.7%. Then a 5.2 magnitude earthquake hit Illinois... What were the odds of that?


Are you as excited as I am for the Tetris movie?

To be honest, I'd much rather see "Minesweeper: The Movie".

Two random thoughts I need to get out of my head:

1) When the light on my DVR is on (showing that it's recording), I guess what it's recording. I'm right about 90% of the time. On the "how sad am I" bell curve of life, I'm beyond the 90th percentile.

2) I found a long spider web strand in my car yesterday. That didn't make me happy.

Monday, April 14, 2008

4/14/08 Cosmic Gall

In 1995, two professors from the University of California, Irvine won Nobel Prizes. "Frederick Reines, distinguished professor emeritus of physics, received the 1995 Nobel Prize in Physics for the first experimental detection of neutrinos during the 1950s." And "F. Sherwood Rowland, Bren Professor of Chemistry, has received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for atmospheric studies which led to an understanding of how the ozone layer forms and decomposes."

It is my understanding that this is the only time that two Nobel Prizes were awarded to more than one person from the same university in the same year for different accomplishments.

I had the pleasure of taking a brief tour of some of the science and research buildings on the UCI campus last week. (My smarty pants friend is working towards her PhD in Chemistry at the ripe age of 25 and guided my tour). In the foyer of one building, there is a large poster with the accomplishments of Frederick Reines and his work on the neutrino. On that poster, Miss Smarty Pants noticed a poem about neutrinos titled "Cosmic Gall".

In keeping with the poetry tradition (started yesterday), here's another:

Cosmic Gall

-John Updike-

Neutrinos, they are very small.
They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all.
The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass,
Like dustmaids through a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.
They snub the most exquisite gas,
Ignore the most substantial wall,
Cold-shoulder steel and sounding brass,
Insult the stallion in his stall,
And scorning barriers of class,
Infiltrate you and me! Like tall
And painless guillotines, they fall
Down through our heads into the grass.
At night, they enter at Nepal
And pierce the lover and his lass
From underneath the bed-you call
It wonderful; I call it crass.

The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. , 1960


Neutrinos are elusive. A low energy neutrino has some chance of passing through 1000 light-years of lead without interacting.

YOU are now being invaded by about 10^14 neutrinos each second.


Saturday, April 12, 2008

4/12/08 The Giraffe

I accidentally turned on some Ironman Triathlon show on NBC this afternoon. While I consider my general musical tastes somewhat atypical, the background music during the trialthlon made me feel right at home. I mean, we're talking Radiohead's "Weird Fishes", Tool's "The Grudge", some Smashing Pumpkins and Audioslave... I guess what I'm saying is that someone, somewhere, doing audio editing at NBC, would probably be cool to hang out with.
I normally don't talk too personally here. Or anywhere for that matter. But I'm going to sort of open up a bit. Late last week I had a mini freak out. It was mostly based on my recent decisions and new overall life path (Most of you know what this means - sorry for being semi cryptic, but I'm a little online protective). Basically, it became very, very clear to me that I don't think or learn like just about anyone I know. When I read articles, I focus on (what most would consider) random, off-topic aspects. When I organize work plans and strategies, my mental organization automatically builds in ease and flexibility that isn't even comprehensive to me. These all came to a head on Thursday night. At that very moment, I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Normally I deal with being a bit off center and chalk it up to some sort of "unique" trait... You know, the normal things we do to help us sleep at night. Like we blame others for being idiots, rather than taking a more introspective look. But that night last week, I couldn't quite shake the lonely feeling. I felt as if the way in which I perceive the world around me is very narrow and closed minded. The discomfort sunk in kind of deep - I figured a good night's sleep was in order.
That night I had a bunch of crazy dreams. The one I remembered most vividly involved a giraffe. It should come as no surprise that I don't think about zoo animals on any sort of regular basis, nor can I ever remember dreaming about them. I distinctly remember guiding this giraffe back to the party it belonged to (Don't ask about the party details - they don't seem real important... or do they?) I led the giraffe through doors, some of them very low requiring some super giraffe ducking.
The next day I looked up the dream meaning. As some of you know, I've been borderline obsessive about dreams since I was a little kid. According to one dream symbol website:

The ability to see different perspectives, to see things differently than others, or to see both sides of an issue. The ability to easily reach beyond what others can see or do. Dreaming of this animal can represent:
Having too much of one of these qualities, or that you could benefit by being less this way
Not having enough of one of these qualities, or that you could benefit by being more like this
Someone or something in your real life with whom you associate one of these qualities (an event, situation, threat, etc.)
For more clues, pay attention to what the animal was doing or any particular characteristic that stood out.
Coincidence or not, I was floored by the right-on-ed-ness of the meaning.
Speaking of dreams, Mike sent a fantastic poem called A Dream Deferred. Instead of a video today, I'll leave you something a bit more... well... poetic...
A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-- And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

4/10/08 Rick Rolling Along

Quote I never, ever thought I'd hear... A girl I've known for less than two weeks is sitting behind me, sees my beat up football jersey and say, "I LOVED Kordell Stewart". After probably a dozen years of torment for wearing my Kordell jersey, I somehow feel it was all worthwhile.


There is probably some mathematical formula that describes how out of touch I'm becoming with mainstream anything as a function of time. It's sort of like a y=x^2 parabola (for values of x>0), with some sort of exponential growth of "out-of-touchedness" each year. But I was more in-touch during my teenage years, so that doesn't quite do it. But let's not get caught up in the nitty gritty details here. Let's just say that at the rate I'm going, my infinite "out-of-touch" boundary is hitting an asymptote of about 5 years from now. Which, if my memory of asymptotes serves correct, the out-of-touchedness can come out of nowhere (to the right of the asymptote) on the negative infinity side of "y" and eventually approach zero again. Whatever that function is, that best describes what I'm trying to get at.

That awkward introduction has to do with Rick Rolling. The Rick Rolling phenomenon gained media coverage "By May 2007". Doing the math, 11 months later, I'm appearing more senile than Larry King by talking about it now. On baseball message board, I read "Let's Rick Roll the Mets". The Mets had an online vote for their new 8th inning song. (Cuz I'm even more of a retard, I'm writing this after the voting ended.) The plan was to give a "write in" vote to Rick Astley's 1987 hit "Never Gonna Give You Up". Ok, that's sort of funny. But why "Rick Roll"? For the two of you who missed it the first time, Rick Rolling is sending someone to a YouTube clip of that exact song. It would be like me saying - Hey! Did you see the new trailer for Grand Theft Auto IV? The game looks absolutely amazing. Then you click the link and it's Rick Astley.

Why am I telling you this? I guess there's really no reason I tell you anything. This included. But, if you happen to OFFICIALLY work for a Division I school, you should Rick Roll your fans during a game.


Last time I posted, I mentioned the song "Handlebars". I said that you'd hear it at least 3 times before tax day. So, on Tuesday I had a 10 minute car ride and decided to put my "guarantee" to the test. I turn on the radio. I immediately hear... The other random song I mentioned - "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" by Great White. I can honestly say I haven't heard that song 3 times in the past decade. It's even more horrible than I remembered. That night though, I heard "Handlebars" on the radio. So, for those of you keeping score at home.

Handlebars - 1
Once Bitten, Twice Shy - 1

Sunday, April 06, 2008

4/6/08 I Feel Pretty

I'm now on an Adam Sandler kick, thanks to the Billy Madison reference last week.


I have a soft spot in my heart for smart people with good intentions. This guy seems to fit the bill. He's using Wii technology to make the Wii extra 3D awesome.


You're going to notice a trend today. Everything revolves around video. The lame reason is that I save videos (and articles) periodically with the intention of posting them. But now, since I'm slacking on my duties, they're just piling up like a travel day without a poop. I forget who sent this to me (sorry - you can take credit if I've hurt your feelings), but CBS is offering entire seasons of their old shows online. You can watch MacGyver, the original Star Trek, and The Twilight Zone.

On a similar note, just about every episode of South Park is available for free online.

Unfortunately, there are no re-runs of "Duck Tales" available anywhere I've looked. (Note: I haven't really looked that hard. Or at all.)

In one of my nerdy magazines, there's an article about Free-conomics. How we're entering an economy of free. We're already used to Google's free services - Email with storage, maps, 411, document and spreadsheet software, etc. This also applies to video and the YouTube craze. Your DVR appears to be free (or maybe $20 to install a $250 piece of equipment). Obviously there's a method to the "free" madness. Companies still intend to recover their investments and profit. The above article is worth reading if you have the time.


Oh, Ralphie May...


You know how certain songs just seem to appear EVERYWHERE? Your life was just fine without it, but then, all of the sudden, it's like it follows you around. I don't want to bring it up again, but that's how the Umbrella song was a few months ago. When I was a kid the same thing happened with "Once Bitten, Twice Shy". Well, I have a new one for the week. It's in the same ridiculous league as "Umbrella", but I haven't quite decided how they rank. It's called "Handle Bars" by Flobots. It's everywhere. If you don't know it, I almost guarantee you'll hear it 3 times by tax day.