Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Red team flank left

I am currently enjoying the first prong in a three prong attack on Christmas. During this current maneuver our Christmas cheer forces are marching up around the Rocky Mountains in a diversionary manner so that we will be able to crush all resistance to the Grinches with a center thrust through Garden City. The scrooges can't stand up to our highly coordinated yule time plan of action.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hoth no fury


Yesterday we had a pretty big ice storm move through the area and we lost power for awhile (which is becoming a Christmas tradition). There are alot of big branches down everywhere, and we even got a day of finals called off.
Although luckily for me I didn't have any finals yesterday. Why is that lucky? Because now the finals have to be made up on Saturday.

Monday, December 10, 2007

TSO rocks

On Friday I went to the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert in Wichita. It was pretty dang good. If they are playing in your area you should check them out. It will jump start your holiday cheer.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Chronicles of what?

Whenever I hear a sequel is being made to a movie I like I have two reactions; I get very excited to have the chance to see more of a story that I liked, but then I remember that very rarely am I happy with the way things turn out in the follow-up movie.

For example: remember how awesome the Matrix was... remember how much the sequels killed the movies? It also happened with 28 Days later, Underworld, and Battlefield Earth. All good movies that have their prestige tarnished because of sucky sequels. (Just kidding about that Battlefield Earth bit, they took five bad sequels rolled them into one movie and called it Xenu.)

However there are some movies that the sequels make all the difference in how much I like them: The Mummy series, the Back to the Future series, and Star Wars. All three are examples of movies that had great first movies but were made legendary because of the ones that followed. (Well the Mummy Returns helped The Mummy, I think the series is trying it's darnedest to disown the terrible move Scorpion King.)

So here we stand. The Chronicles of Narnia is in my top 20 all time favorite movies, and I would love to see another story set in its world, but I fear the reaper of suck. The only way to ward off that guy is to check the trailer:



So will the Caspian Prince be a worthy sequel to Narinia?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Computers can't lie

There is much recently hubbub about how the BCS selection went down this year. Now I am all for a playoff system, but I need to make one thing clear.

The computers did not pick this match-up, the pollsters did. I have seen many-a-article bash the BCS because a computer that never watched a football game picked the two teams to play. This is rubbish. If we look at the computer rankings we see that it paired Virginia Tech and LSU.

Don't blame the computers for a stupid decision, when it is the people that make a worse decision.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i can has lolcats?

I didn't know that the lolcat had such a large base of people cooking them up, but they have a whole website for it: icanhascheezburger.com

It's a good waster of the hour, here are a few new ones that I found over there.

if it weren't for lol's cats would serve no purpose in the world.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

MCMC Hammer

After working on some personal research related to music, I think I have found a way to better explain the MCMC method. Below is a digram I have made that might just revolutionize the world of music and statistics:
I have so much faith in this that I have opened up a CafePress store for it. Check it out.


(Thanks Nicole for the idea! More about the MCMC method, more about MC Hammer.)

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Build your wealth

One of the keys to building wealth is to buy rather than rent. The idea is that even if it costs more to buy something initially, generally you will same more money in the long run. For example if you want to get a tv it would be a wiser decision to save up the money for it rather than rent it right away, because once you stop paying the rent, the tv and your money is gone. Ok that is over simplifying a bit, but I am going somewhere with this.

If you buy media that has Digital Rights Management (DRM) on it you are not actually purchasing it. You are renting it. If the content owner (don't be fooled by this phrase, even though you "bought" the content you do not own it) decides that you have had enough time with your purchase they can pull the plug and everything you bought from them is gone.

What has DRM on it? Well almost any media purchase that is downloaded over the internet (one big name would be iTunes). If you have doubts that a company would disable something that you bought check out this story:


Background: Beginning in 2003, MLB offered fans the chance to download full games to their computer at $3.95 each. When you attempted to open the media file -- either on your hard drive or after it was burned to a CD -- it connected with a MLB.com webpage to obtain a license. Once the license had been verified, the game would play.
At some point during 2006, MLB deleted that essential webpage. Since then, none of the videos that fans purchased will play.

He contacted the MLB customer service and they said:

"MLB no longer supports the DDS system" that it once used and so any CDs with downloaded games on them "are no good. They will not work with the current system."
I was told there is absolutely nothing MLB can do about these lost games. Plus, they said my purchases were all "one-time sales" and thus "there are no refunds".


So just a warning to put out there, if you "purchase" something with DRM on it, you are at the mercy of who you are renting it from, and your investment can be worth nothing whenever they feel like screwing you.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Cars are not sports.

People on digg.com have been submitting stories about cars under the sports category. Not even racing (which isn't a sport anyways) but stories about new cars. So it looks like the internet needs to be reminded of what it takes to be classified as a sport (as defined by those people in Dickens Room 11, and other enlightened people).

1. It is an athletic event.
2. There is an obvious defense involved.

This will clear up alot of confusion. For example all the events in the X-Games are athletic competitions, and not sports, since there is no defense. Most Olympic games are athletic competitions. Poker is a game, since it takes no athleticism, and has no obvious defense. Chess is a game, it has a defense but no athleticism.

As the definition stands ping pong is at the low end of the sport spectrum, and can include things such as rugby and boxing.

Also this gets rid of alot of things people call sports, such as: figure skating, base jumping, car racing, running, weightlifting, chreeleading, bowling, poker, fishing, golf, etc... Although if they do add defense to the events, I will gladly reconsider their classification, and I may even watch it.

It's a win win win.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Jardine Motel

Let me write an ad for the place I stay:


Welcome to the new and improved Jardine Motel! We have recently doubled the amount of motels in the area so there will be a few changes. First let me just point out how nice all those other motels we just built are, if you would like to move to one of them you may do so for a sizable moving fee and twice the current room fee (don't worry, your fee will also increase too!).

The first change that you will notice is that we have stopped all service of your reliable daily (half price) city newspaper. Starting immediately everyone in the Jardine Motel will get a free newspaper. This newspaper is hand copied by us, so is nowhere as good as the daily newspaper, plus it is only delivered half the time. But it's free. Also, to read the newspaper you must wear special glasses that you may not take off once you put them on, of course unless you know the password, which only we do, and we will not tell you it.

Another change is in the way your bill is paid. Instead of checking in at your motel you will now check it at a convent central location in another town. This way everybody the in area has a chance to meet you as you check in each day. Also remember that we have your messages each day there, and if you want to send a message you must go there now too. So that 1 minute errand is now an enjoyable 20 minute trip. Just another new service we offer here at the Jardine Motel.

As in the past you are allowed to have a guest visit while you are staying, but instead of just having your guest visit they must first travel across town to get a permit to be there. And no, you may not pick it up for your guest ahead of time. Also we can only let your guest stay for six hours. Also we will randomly check for guests in the evening just to make sure you don't have any unregistered guests.

As if those changes weren't enough just remember that we still have the features that you know and love about the Jardine Motel experience:

You must still remember when your bill is due because we will not remind you when it is. And if it is even half a day late we will charge you extra and put a freeze on all of your assets (which will take days to get unfrozen). Just a reminder that you will be charged automatically through our network, even though we can not send out any reminder of when a bill is due.

We also still have food detectors in all of the rooms that will beep constantly whenever food is present in your room. You are allowed, and encouraged, to have food, but you will have to live with the noise. It is for your own safety.

Also, you will be able to take free communal showers until we get them upgraded. A disclaimer: if you become more dirty from washing in the showers that is not our fault. We are, after all, building new Jardine Motels. Any damage to self from the water during washing is not our fault. We recommend that you find another place to pay to take a shower if you think that you might get dirty from taking a shower. And please be patient with the other patrons in the shower, do not ask for them to leave if they have been using the shower for over half a day.

Also we have stopped all phone service, all your need destinations are a quick 15 minutes away, and we still offer the smallest rooms in the business. You may not redecorate at all, we will have the cleaning lady come by at any time we choose, and you must clear all modes of transportation through us. We are glad that you chose to stay in Jardine Motels, we will try to find anyway possible to make your experience more annoying.

At Jardine we used to be for families, now we are for brats.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Harry Potter and the Curse of the Orange Traffic Cone

Guess what:plus
plus
equals?


If you guessed a 3 year old with a traffic cone stuck on his head because he was tiring to be like Harry Potter you win! Read the story here.


spoiler alert: it turns out ok.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Downlow.

Alright I'll let you in on a little secret that I have been sitting on for a while now: most things that people want you to buy suck.

Most movies that people want you to go see suck, most music that people say sounds good does not, and most restaurants are not that good.

The problem starts when there are more people trying to make money than there are good ideas. So some ideas that are not that good have to get squeezed so that even the people that do not have a good product can still make money.

And this kicks off a bigger problem, because then some people start believing that the over hyped product is actually better than the actual good product... Paris Hilton anyone? So then the crap that gets the buzz starts to get the bucks and the good stuff starts to lose out because they don't fit the mold of what is "good" (critics walked out on Moulin Rouge... what is one of the best movies ever made). It really should matter how many times an ad for American Dad is appears. Even if you get tricked into watching the show (which I did fall for) after the first 10 minutes you should have an idea if it is worth your time or not (it's not). But I think people think that since it is being sold and hyped it must have some worth.

I mean seriously, how else is Applebee's and Chili's still doing it? They are overpriced, over flavored, and under whelming, while really good places like Rumbi grows slower than molasseses. It is because the general public gets tricked into thinking that they want to go spend their money on the hype -mistaking it for quality. These people mistake a company that has loads of money to blow on ads for a company that has a worth while product.

The key to fixing this is simple. When something is not worth spending money on, don't buy it, and warn others. Music that is uninspired and not true to itself (the third John Mayer CD for starters) should not be bought. Don't go to restaurants where it takes forever to decide what to get because everything sounds bad. Don't watch TV shows that are crap, just for something to do. And don't say that movies are OK, when in fact you think that they sucked. It doesn't do anybody any favors to keep things in business which are subpar. Because the answer most companies have for slumping sales is to advertise more, not to fix their product... well except for movies and music, they think they can fix slumping sales by calling their customers thieves... The quicker that we all are true to ourselves and realize that we should expect something good for our money the quicker companies will start to offer it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lemon Jelly - Nice Weather For Ducks

I found a music video from one of may favorite bands, Lemon Jelly. It looks to be a bit drug induced, but still rocks hard:

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Colbert '08?



Seriously, if you had a chance to vote for Colbert for president, would you?

My answer is in the the comments.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Fun

I know what you want to get done today; alot. And I also know how much motivation you have; none. Let these powers combine to form "the great time waste of Friday." To help you along a bit I have found an update to an old favorite, called Bubbles 2.

The point of the game is to make your bubble get as large as possible without getting popped. There are power ups along the way to making things a bit more spicy. The arrow keys move the bubble, and all the other keys on your keyboard cheer you on.

It sounds simple, it sounds easy, don't be fooled, it will consume you. Or something like that... click to play. My high score is 1501.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

waffles and custard

In my search for a blogging topic I looked up on Google what I had for dinner last night- waffles and custard. It returned only three hits, so I guess this wonderful food pairing isn't as prevalent as I thought it was. So if you haven't heard of waffles and custard then you need to give it a try. Just make some Bisquick waffles (if you have a waffle iron that isn't a Belgian waffle iron it is better), and a batch of soft custard recipe (see below, because the internet also fails when it comes to a good soft custard recipe) and then you will have a awesome breakfast style diner -also cook some eggs and bacon and make some orange juice to finish off the meal.

Soft Custard (because the internet doesn't know how to make it... yet)
Ingredients:
3 eggs
3/4c sugar
4Tbs cornstarch
pinch of salt
4 1/2c milk
1tsp vanilla

Mix the eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a pan, add 1/2c of milk and stir until mixed. Heat under med-low heat. From now on you must stir the custard until it is done, if you don't you will make scrambled eggs. While the pan mixture is heating up you should microwave 2 cups of milk until very warm but not boiling (nuke for 2 minutes or so). Add the milk to the pan, then microwave 2 more cups of milk and add that to the pan as well.
Now that all the ingredients are added except the vanilla it is just a matter of stirring until it gets thick, you may turn the heat up to medium, but the higher the heat the faster you have to stir, so heat according to how much you want to work. When the custard starts to get thick... a little less thick than pudding, you can turn off the heat and add the vanilla (error on the side of too runny rather than too thick... if it gets too thick that means it is getting to hot which means the eggs might clump together). Let the custard stand for about 5 or 10 minutes to thicken up more and then serve on the waffles that someone was making while you were making the custard... you did have somebody make waffles while you were making the custard right?

Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Lines of Skates

The skates that were in a pile are now in many, many lines. There are about three times as many skates in the background as there is in the foreground.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Liquid Bread -Hays, KS


It took over an hour to get our food. Luckily we met up with a friend there so we had someone new to talk too. Also they make their own root beer, which was pretty good.

But still, an hour to get food is just too long.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hotcorn

For some reason popping bubble wrap is really fun. Similarly popping kernels of corn with a sun is also really fun. The object of Hotcorn is to pop as many kernels as required in a given amount of time. When I explain it it sounds like it would be boring, but when I explain popping bubble wrap also doesn't sell it. This is one of those games that you just have to play to see why it is fun.

(So far I have got to level 34 with a high score of 30897.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Why America is Worse Off: Part 2- Sue Happy Lawyers

I am sure that we have all seem them. The ads that seem to be in the middle of the night where James B. Sucakalove says that since you tired some diet pill or if you are reported as a 'contract worker' you deserve money. Yeah, those guys are killing America.

These are the same guys that made us have labels on all of our coffee cups that say that the contents may be hot. These are the guys that have scared schools into not allowing kids play tag during recess. These guys are the people that make car commercials say "closed course with professional driver, do not attempt" when it is just a car driving in a city. These guys are single handedly killing America.

I'm not saying that all suits are not important. There are cases when people do have a right to compensation because of the actions of others. But should you get money because you broke into a house and got hurt? Should you get money for not obeying rules? Should you get money for eating something that is clearly something not meant to be ate? No, no you shouldn't.

All of these suits are making people too scared to do anything. Schools used to have camping trips -not any more. Houses used to be able to have trampolines in their backyards -not any more. Cities used to freeze over ponds to skate on -not any more. Everyone has gotten too scared to do anything fun, and all this can be traced back to one group of people, the sue happy lawyers. (Well actually first to insurance companies, but then to the lawyers that made insurance costs so high, but that is another post.)

So what is the solution? First is to make it harder to file frivolous lawsuits. Second I think that there needs to be some limits placed on when someone can sue... if you are being a dork you can't sue someone else. Finally we need to set up some boundaries about what the suits mean to everybody else. If one kid gets hurt playing tag somewhere it really shouldn't hurt every school in America because of a spike in insurance costs if they allow tag.

Really though these sue happy lawyers are underscoring a problem that we have in society. They are enabling people who have some problem to place all blame on someone else, and not take responsibility themselves. Be stupid and get paid, the winning combination.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Hierarchy of Capital G's

While many people spend their time debating Iraq or the values of dramatic play I prefer to spend my time being a bit more innovative. For example I have come up with the Hierarchy or Capital G's. Be sure you write this date down, as your children will want to know when this order was established.


Low: This G is the poor man's G. When this G is used it is something that isn't that important. Maybe it appears on a list or on a note, not an important note mind you, this G would never be found on a wedding invitation. This G probably does more work than all the other G's but it never gets the recognition that it deserves. Our world is a better place because of this G.

Low Middle: This is the first G that I learned how to write. And for that I will always be thankful. Every once in a while I still write my G's like this, but anymore it looks like I am trying too hard when I make a G like this one. So this one gets passed up for the lower class G above it. Really this G is a staple of Capital G's and could really be thought of as the middle class of G's. It has money, but also a mortgage on its home.

Middle: The first time that I learned how to read this G was during Christmas in my younger years. My grandma wrote in cursive so I learned that this twisty letter was, in fact, a G. Soon afterwards I learned how to write this letter in elementary school. When I figured out how to draw this G I though it was the cat's pajamas. But know I know better, this G looks fancy but it is all show, it can't back itself up. Don't be tricked when you see this G, it may look really neat, but most likely it was drawn by a 5th grader... or my grandma.

Upper Middle: When someone wants to start drawing a fancy looking G this is the one that is used the most. The proper term for this kind of G is the "Arrow G", because the G forms a rudimentary arrow. This G demands more attention than other capital G's, but it still will party with the other G's. It remembers its roots and shares it's wealth. Many people think of this G as the "rich uncle" of the capital G's. And this analogy is not too far from the truth.

Upper: Finally we have this G. This G is used in the fanciest of all the cases. It can stand up to the pressure of being alone as a company logo or used together as a monogram. There are many variations of this kind of G depending on it's heritage, but all if this kind of G can be identified by the long vertical 'tail' line. If God were to write his name in English letters, this is the G that he would use. A warning: be very careful when you use this G many commoners can not handle its power. It is suggested that you use the "Arrow G" for at least five years before you move on to this G.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Why America is Worse Off: Part 1- The Stock Market

Sometimes when I feel like posting on my blog but I don't know what to talk about I just open up a new post and start typing about the first thing that pops into my mind. That is how my last post about 50 things that make America worse off came about. Now after letting the post stew for a couple of days I think that the items that I listed would make good set of topics to post about. So I present to you the first post in a 50 part series called Why America is Worse Off.

1. The Stock Market.
I don't think that the stock market itself is a bad concept. I think that companies that need to get capital are using a viable option when they offer public stocks. I also don't think that it is bad for people to buy stocks. Personally I have a couple of mutual funds. And I bet overall mutual funds make a major component of trading in the stock markets.

The problem I have with the stock market is what happens to a publicly traded company. For the most part people that own stock in a company really don't care personally about the company, besides the fact that it will make money. If it makes burritos or party hats or burrito party hats it doesn't matter. As long as the company continues to grow at a good pace it doesn't really matter what it does. However when there are troubled waters on the horizon the ugly face of the public stocks rears it's head. And a conflict grows.

On one hand the people that run the company want to stay true to their products and their customers, on the other are the shareholders that want to make money. And when push comes to "the stock price is falling" the shareholders win. This means that the company will be forced to cut its workforce, cut corners, and cut ties with their loyal base. The product suffers, the customers who had made the company seem so promising get fed up and the devil does a little jig. The only winners are the shareholders who made the changes that would level off the stock prices enough to be able to jump ship without risk... well I guess the devil wins too, if he like to do jigs.

So what is the solution? I don't think that there is a good and simple one. I guess companies should be very careful when they go public, and shareholders should care about more things than their own bottom line. But that being said I personally would like to see my mutual funds to continue to grow, and if that means that Huffy has to switch to a cheaper brand of bolts, well so be it. I don't really care about what Huffy makes anyway.