Thursday, July 31, 2008

Virtual Bookworms at!

I just discovered a site that has been around for a while... It is really neat because it appeals both to my OCD as well as my bookworm side.

Finally I have a little place on the interwebs to house a listing of our huge and eclectic book collection. I have always dreamt of finally listing what I own somewhere but never could find the right medium. (Databases would have been good but I like seeing the book covers, and I didn't even want to think of a card catalogue.)

One thing I really like is that you can assign "tags" to your books that help you label and classify each book in your own fashion. For example, I can classify my book of Milton's Paradise Lost as "high falutin'" if I wish.

And there is even a cute little widget I can add to my blog to show off random books in my collection. What can be better than that?

If you love books as much as I do, you should check this site out!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mob calls for head of a man...they're just missing the torches and pitchforks

In San Francisco protestors rage on, demanding a radio station fire talk radio host, Michael Savage, for his off-color and rude remarks about autism. You can read about it here at the San Francisco Chronicle, amongst others.

Instead of taking several approaches, like boycotting the show's sponsors, or heaven forbid, stop listening to the show, they are calling for his head in something that seems more like an angry mob pounding on the door of a ruined tower for the monster to come out.

Personally, I don't agree with the remarks quoted in the various newspapers. I'm not a citizen of California and have never listened to his show. I only have read what the press has quoted him with. He sounds like a very small-minded shock-jockey making his daily wages by exploiting society's perverse interest in crude and offensive personalities. Hell, the common person would also go see the gladiators in a coliseum if it was available.

The point is that as a people we shouldn't be shouting for people to be gagged for saying something that offends someone. If we continue like this, we will not ever be able to speak our minds, because anything spoken at any time could have the potential for hurting someone. Our voices will be neutered and discourse will be dulled by the fear of political correctness.

There are better recourses.

My personal favorite is to turn it off. Don't listen to it. Someone can scream till they are blue in the face, but if they are not given an ear, the message does not go through. People who doggedly listen to someone because they hate the message only give strength to that person (and in the end dollars - sponsors love a good audience). Stop listening and soon the audience will go down, the sponsors will drop out and the man goes away with a puff of smoke and a whisper.

To call for the man's job only makes him more of an interesting prospect for other competitors. Believe me, where ever he will get hired, his audience is assured because they will want to know what he does next. Sponsors will know he will get a good audience and will in the end provide more funding. Every new protest and new politician grabbing for a bit of the limelight in this screaming mob just feeds the thing they hate.

Frankly I don't care what he's saying. I don't even care if he personally thinks that his remarks were valid or if he said them because he knew he would get a rise. All I know is that he's probably got the highest ratings at this point. Good going mob.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New York Censoring Video Games?

According to an Associated Press article, on Tuesday New York Governor David Paterson signed a law that he claims will lead to restrictions on video game violence and increase parental awareness of video game violence and appropriateness.

It's a two-parter (as most censorship laws are) that will first create a "commission" or "authority" to study the effects of violence in video gaming. In this case, it will be an "Advisory Council." The second part of this law will require parental controls on consoles and prominent age ratings on each game by 2010.

This bit of unconstitutional censorship luckily comes with only a small whimper rather than a loud wail like other similar laws. Experts claim that the law itself is so vague that it will hardly be effective, and will most likely be struck down like the others because of its unconstitutionality.

Either way, though...what brings people to think that they need a body of law to judicate what we can see or do? What state believes that they have the ability to restrict one form of media over others? Why not restrict movies or music the same way as video games?

Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart stated in his opinion for Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) that, "I know it when I see it..." What you could take away from the case was that obsenity cannot be determined by a general body of law but as a fluid label that can only be determined by smaller, local principalities who can judge the moral tolerance of their own communities.

So what makes New York think that they can decide what is appropriate in the grand landscape of video games? I believe it is the parent's job to know and be aware of what media their child consumes. It's rather lazy to blame a video game for a child's poor mistakes, especially when a parent has all the chances to govern their own household. If you believe your child cannot determine what is right or wrong, perhaps GTA is not for them. However, just blindly buying a game and not even looking if the rating is appropriate for their age group should put the blame squarely on the shoulders of the parent and the parent alone.

Video games are not made solely for young children. The sooner most people understand that, the sooner the censorship of this industry will go the way of the movie industry. Like the movie industry, video games come with their own rating. This new NY law states that it will make age levels more prominent. How much more prominent do they want the T for Teen rating, or the M for Mature rating? So far, the ESRB already has the game industry make sure they feature the ESRB ratings as much and as prominently as possible.

It all goes back to the parents though. Next time you go to the game store and buy that game for your child, take a look at the rating. Is the content appropriate for your child? Perhaps you know nothing about video games...that's okay. Perhaps you don't care about what one game does over another...that's fine. I'm pretty sure though that you care about your child.

As with anything, do your homework. For the sake of your child, read the back, check out the rating, heck, even ask someone in the aisles. Most gamers would be happy to help out a parent trying to choose wisely for their child.

As for this law, it will be pushed back as all the others have but perhaps those with the power to vote should put down their controllers and take a stand for Free Speech and not elect those who wish to take it from you.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Fear the Internet's Minions, Doc Horrible!

So, the population of the internet, as vast and voracious as it is, has swarmed upon Dr. Horrible, crushing his servers.

Was it really a surprise? Whedon is a cult-icon and paired with a cast full of internet and nerd-culture celebrities the buzz for this Internet event was amazing! The surprise would have been if the servers didn't melt down and it all went smoothly.

I've worked in the wild world of the web and believe me, ALWAYS plan for everything to crash and burn.

I think it shows that the world is waiting for more from Whedon and his ilk. Millions of anonymous, faceless internet minions can't be wrong!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Paging Dr. Horrible

Today is the big day...the start of the great Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog!

You can watch it here (if available):

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

I was lucky enough today to get a chance to watch it at work before everyone else got in and I have to is awesome!

Joss Whedon does it again by creating a story that is compelling, well-written, and populated with interesting characters. I am always impressed with his ability to create a story and setting and then a script that doesn't just help tell the story but fills out the characters so efficiently.

Neil Patrick Harris plays the low-rent villian and main character, Dr. Horrible. He plays it just how I like my low-rent villians who aspire to find their niche in the realm of evil, by being not-quite evil enough. An average super-hero/villian in an average world.

I kinda feel like he's that slightly nerdy and awkward guy next store who is an accountant by day and dreams of being a super-villian at night. At school, he probably sketched out elaborate rube-goldberg machines of destruction in the margins of his lined loose leaf.

The first act is a great hook and introduces the characters perfectly. Nathan Fillion, one of my favorites from Firefly and Serenity (heck they all are my favorites), makes a grand entrance that just fits the character. He hams it up and shines in this so-far hilarious role of do-gooder, Captain Hammer.

Being a nerd myself I love how this story pits the nerd (semi anti-social, brainy, and on the side of villiany) against what looks like the jock/bully of Captain Hammer (the good looking, athletic guy who has a better time with PR). It's an eternal struggle and I look forward to it being played out here.

All in all, it's similar to the premise of the Tick, with its average-joe villian and superhero population struggling with real-life woes...except it's from the viewpoint of the villian and it's a musical...which can only make it great!

Here are a few of my favorite lines pulled from my first watching:

"The status is not quo!"
"Lacy, gently wafting curtains"

If you haven't taken the time to see the almost 14 minute flick, you should. You won't be sorry!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Image randomness!

A friend of mine IM'd me an image today and I thought I should share:

I don't know why, but this makes the words Battle Hardened Beagle come to mind. Actually, on its cute little armor it looks like there might be room for a rider...but what type of rider would look good on a beagle donning what looks to be plate armor?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

...some people juggle geese!

I never thought I'd be qualified to work in the circus...but wow my juggling skills have now achieved legendary status! I am now purple when people hover their little imaginary mice over my head.

In the past month, I have:
  1. Started a new job in a new industry
  2. Started a blog
  3. Almost finished knitting my Doctor Who scarf. (I have only 16 rows, some clean up, and some fringe should be done tonight!)
  4. Got completely obsessed over a silent film star.
  5. Read two major books on Chaplin
  6. Watched around 20 of Chaplin's movies
  7. Pondered the value of capitalism, optimism, and idealism in today's society.
  8. Decided to learn more about McCarthyism. (Though I'm not sure how my blood pressure will take it...that entire period of time makes me ashamed to be American and incensed as a rabid believer of free-speech and thought.)
  9. Started learning how to tailor and sew.
  10. Started playing WoW
  11. Began the first stages of a new book
  12. And took over the cooking and kitchen for the household.

Sure I had to drop a ball here and there. (Yes, I'm still going with the circus/juggling analogy)But I have to say...who knew I had it in me?

Multi-tasking has its pros and cons. Some say that it is an invaluable skill to have; one that fosters efficiency and ulcers. Others say that trying to split your focus on too many things only allows you to do many things poorly.

Of course, the detractors singing their criticism on their soap boxes aren't heard because the multi-taskers are too busy driving their car, eating breakfast, and applying mascara while listening to newsradio and checking their email on Blackberries.

After this whirlwind month, I think I might take a break...perhaps only do six or seven things at a time. You know, enjoy the slow life.

The circus really isn't my clowns are creepy.