boo

they say Condoleezza's Ghost still roams these halls...

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See? It *is* a religion of peace!

"Peace, bro! And uh, I wanna give a shout-out... to my homie Moqtada... You the man, dawg!"

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how very meta

I just read a couple of books by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Threshold and the mostly-sequel Low Red Moon. They're both good: Lovecraftian themes but with believable characters who are there to do more than report and then go insane.

But, one thing that was driving me nuts while reading Threshold was that she kept doing this thing where she'd run words together like "pinkwhite" and "acidsour", and every time she did it, It would stop me, and I'd cringe. It was like it was triggering some autonomic proofreading reflex that I couldn't shake.

Anyway, just a few pages in to the second book, one of the characters is talking about the novel she's working on and says,

"Oh, you mean the way I liked to run words together to make new adjectives? Well, I don't do that anymore. It just kept pissing people off."

And there was much rejoicing!

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Dresden Dolls

This is probably a surprise to nobody, but owning a nightclub tends to suck right out of you any desire to go out to clubs other than your own. Those other clubs all start to look like "work" after a while, except you can't go in back and check your email when you get bored. So, despite that, I dragged my ass out to Du Nord tonight.

An illusion of which I have now been disabused: "Hey, the opening act is a puppet show, that might be entertaining." Unless by "entertaining" you mean "intolerably tedious." The second act was some godawful a capella off-key caterwauling that -- I swear -- might actually have been worse than Apocalypse Theatre.

So I was seriously starting to rethink the wisdom of this "leaving the bunker" plan.

But the headliner, The Dresden Dolls, were absolutely fantastic, and even made it worth suffering through the puppet show. They were two of them (drums and piano+vocals) and they played this agressive cabaret kind of thing. She has a great voice, the music was really complex, and they were very tight; lots of changes within a song and stop-on-a-dime silent bits. Very entertaining lyrics too: "Coin Operated Boy" was especially funny.

They have CDs for sale on their web site; as your attorney in this matter, I advise you to purchase them.

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State of the Onion, and screen savers

The State of the Onion #8: Larry Wall's "State of the Onion" speeches are always really entertaining: they're nominally about the current state of Perl, but really they're about all kinds of things. The latest one was mostly about his recent health problems, but also about community, cognition, and design. This time, instead of slides, he ran screen savers and related the behavior of each to what he was talking about.

[BSOD]
This particular screensaver fools me more often than I care to admit. The problem is that the more computers you've used, the more different kinds of crashes you've seen. And mentally, you classify them all in the "Oh, shit!" category, which is a category the brain is very efficient at processing.

On the other hand, the part of your brain that says "Hey, that's the crash screen for a different operating system, dufus!" -- that part operates at a much slower pace. The brain is chock full of shortcuts, and orthogonality be screwed. Optimizers cheat, and sometimes they get caught cheating. With this screensaver, you can catch your own brain's optimizer cheating.

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dnalounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein you try to control your excitement over recent developments in our plumbing and plumbing-related program activities.
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The Manchurian Remake

The Manchurian Remake:

    This was really a great movie: I was surprised how much I liked it. Normally I avoid remakes, because they're usually just stripped down, pointless, point-missing retreads, especially if the original movie was any good. And the original is absolutely fantastic, so my first thoughts were "how dare they", followed quickly by, "how in the world are they going to make it make any sense post-Cold War?"

    Well, they did it by making it be about Halliburton instead the Chinese and Russians, and borrowing liberally from Jacob's Ladder. It worked. I think the original is a better movie, but this version is definitely worth seeing.

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Alien vs. Predator

Alien vs. Predator:

    First, I note with surprise that there are only 12 hits for "alien vs predator" "slash fiction".

    The effects are good. When Alienses are actually fighting Predators, it's pretty spiffy. Pretty much everything else sucks. They waste 30 minutes introducing you to boring characters who won't ever get another useful thing to say or do for the rest of the movie; the setup is contrived, the ending is stupid. Run towards the camera in slow motion!

    <LJ-CUT text="minor spoilers:">

    • I hate that it took place on Earth. This completely undermines one of the best moments in Aliens: "If just one of those things get down here then that will be all! And all this bullshit that you think is so important, you can kiss all that goodbye!" Oh, but oops, they were here all along and nobody noticed. Way to invalidate Ripley's whole motivation. This pissed me off almost as much as how the killed off Newt before the credits in Alien 3 (AKA "way to invalidate the last half of the second movie.")

    • They fucked up the life cycle: the aliens go from egg to face-hugger to chest-burster to full-grown in literally ten minutes. Not only did that cycle take almost two days in the previous movies, it just drives home the whole question of where the hell did all that mass come from? With a longer life cycle you can guess that maybe there was time for it to, you know, eat something.

    • At the end (and presumably this was some ham-handed sequel bait) they leave an Alien Queen alive on Earth! Oh, but she sank in the Antarctic ocean. Yeah, I'm sure the water will hurt her in a way that hard vaccuum didn't. Again, way to invalidate the setup of Aliens.

    • Moving walls: just plain stupid.

    I haven't read the Alien vs. Predator comics (I could smell the stink on that shit from a mile away) so maybe some of this made more sense there (but I doubt it.)

    I enjoyed it while it was on, because big monsters hitting each other are cool, but it left a really nasty aftertaste. This is no Freddy vs. Jason. Hell, it's not even as good as Alien 3. It's probably better than Predator 2, though.

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CirculaFloor

CirculaFloor:
"Circulation of the floors enables the user to walk in virtual environment while his/her position is maintained. The user can walk in arbitrary direction in virtual environment."
(22 MB MPEG)
Scene missing! A video that used to be embedded in this post has disappeared. If you know of a copy of this video that is still accessible, please mail me so that I can update the link.
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mommy, where do mannequins come from?

The Making of Lauren:
"I am Len Gifford. I work for a company called Rootstein making the original sculptures for display mannequins, like the ones you see in fashion shop windows."


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