Mike Beversluis

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Knitting for Psychos

This is messed up.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cinnamon

Things That Are Difficult to Say When You Are Drunk.

DIY Pong!



I have a Sega Dreamcast which sits forlornly on a shelf at home. Crazi Taxi is locked and loaded, but I haven't felt like playing in awhile.

None the less, I just ordered this: Classic Video Table Tennis Kit. [via Gizmodo via...] I am going to upgrade the controllers. Stay tuned.

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Bitchin' Camaro


Sorry, I couldn't resist. Now, appropos of nothing, my car list:
  1. DMC-12 Delorean.
  2. Gold 1975 Pontiac Firebird Esprit.
  3. Datsun 240Z.
  4. The usual suspects.
  5. Mach 5.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Book

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert - What appears to be a self-help book is really a book on how our brain wiring affects our memories and how we remember (in reverse) what we want to happen to us down the road. Much like the way the wiring of our eyes and visual processing results in optical illusions, the way our memories work (for example, leaving a lot out and not noticing, or later on making things up to fill in the gaps) causes our expectations and plans to veer far off course when the same mechanisms are used to plan our futures. How we think we will feel in the future, depending on various butterflies flapping and so forth, is often wrong.

The upshot is that we fool ourselves consistently, even if we know about the lies. Because we are good liars. So - do you want to avoid the Charlie Brown reenactment? Read the book.

PS, I don't agree with a lot of Mr. Gilbert's world view, which I think tilts towards the materialistic (in the philosophical sense), but that's more of a question of destination and this is about locomotion.

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People think everything they do is twice as funny as it is.

This explains everything: People think their emails are twice as funny as they really are. Quote:

A trio of business scholars ran an interesting experiment: They took a bunch of people and had them write emails in various tones of voice, including "sarcastic" and "funny". Then they sent them to a handful of recipients. It turns out that the recipients were frequently unable to correctly read the tone that the writer intended: Only 56% were able to accurately figure out that an email was sarcastically phrased.

Things fared even worse with humor. The email writers were asked to compose a funny email, and to rate it on an ascending scale of 1 to 10 -- both in terms of how funny they thought it was, and how funny they predicted their readers would find it. On average, the writers rated their own hilarity level at 8.16, and predicted that readers would find them a laff-a-rific 7.27. In reality, the stone-faced recipients thought the emails were only 3.55 funny.

I mean, this is my whole life. I can't think of anything this doesn't apply to. (Or rather, "To which this does not apply?")(Who cares?)(Whom cares?)(Case-in-point?)

Like, I think this pretend phone conversation about a script for a movie about a "Rapebear"
is pretty funny, but now I'm not so sure.

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Truth in Advertising

  • Mentioned already, but still true, Guys Who Wear "Tool" Shirts.
  • People who buy a Volkswagen Passat because it's an ego-free car are seemingly unaware of irony. The Jetta crash ads are great. Holy Shi.
  • I always want a cigarette after I watch one of those anti-smoking truth.org commericials, which I pretty much believe is intentional. If you were forced to underwrite an advertising campaign against yourself, wouldn't you make it as unappealing as possible? I do think the people involved are very sincere, but are unaware of their negative effect -- if in fact it extends beyond me. Which it might not. BTW, is that Pauley Shore in that one about the made up word for cancer? (Zephyr?) Is there a better anti-anti-smoking guy? He's going to hell for that one.
  • Those Apple Commercials with the Jimmy Fallon guy lording it over the pc guy. (I come in just one box!) Seriously, they suck.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The Maryland Wash Cycle


My colleague up in Hagerstown got seven inches of rain in 24 hours this weekend. The upshot is that, due to an intermittent satellite feed, I had to take two stabs at recording the new Venture Brother premiere last night, but it was totally worth it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Top Gunsky

Summer vacation to do list (someday): Take a MiG-29 up to 70,000 feet at Mach 2.5.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

New Danish Encryption Program

Heh. Your results may vary. [e.g.]

Friday, June 23, 2006

Where's Matt?

Boy, Matt sure gets around...

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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Not so hot Summer releases...


Thom Yorke is British?!
David Thorpe unloads. (Actually, this one on Tool is better, but I just don't like Yorke).

8 feet under


Man, Russians [Turks?] are just so cheerful.
[from here.]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

My Answering Machine

Is not Spock's Answering Machine. [Goldberg]

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This screen is 11 miles wide

I tried paging across. It's silly. Meanwhile, I'm waiting for Dell and Apple to introduce new, 11 mile wide monitors.

BTW, there's a 30" at work here, and once you get used to it, it doesn't seem that big. So just go ahead and decide you're going to be happy because you can't buy your way there. At least not with monitors.

100+ Megapixel CCD


I realize it's pretty geeky, but this four inch CCD is kinda cool. In five years, this will probably be available for large-format digital cameras.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

SMURFIN' A!

Fictional swear words. (Note, somewhat ironically, this article contains real (non-fictional?) swear words)

Monday, June 19, 2006

PhDillema

So my PhD came in the mail last week, and I framed it, but I'm not sure where to hang it.

How much you flash your credentials says a lot about you, although I'm not sure what it says that I'm worrying so much about what it says... This is getting a little too meta for me to keep track of... The upshot is this - I don't use Dr. in front of my name because it sounds pretentious, and hanging my PhD up in my house seems likewise.

I mentioned this to my sister, and her idea was to hang it in my bathroom, which except for water damage from my shower steam, seems perfect. So she had an even better idea, which was to make a bad photocopy and hang that up instead - perhaps whiting out my name and reapplying it in a mismatched font. I think spoofing authentic credentials is hilarious, and if I had enough job security I would then be happy to hang it up at work. Granted, this does have a total LOOK AT ME dorkwad aspect, but perhaps that's fair. I think it would puzzle people who I can't afford (yet) to puzzle, so it will have to wait. My blog doesn't.

Links for Eric


Um, that is all for now...

One of these Days... One of these Days...

Pow! Right in the kisser. [Video clip of the moon getting hit by a 10" meteoroid at 38 km/s.] (You're a riot Mike. A regular riot. I hope they like those jokes on the moon, 'cause that's where you're going.)

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Seemy Side of Web2.0

Extortr.

Yet more of George Lukas's Meddling Star Wars Revisionism Surfaces


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Hitler Cats

Hitler had a cat, too.

Bass Shaker


A little DIY project here, ineptly photographed for your pleasure.

I bought a pair of AST-2B-04 Pro Bass Shakers for $39 and bolted them to my sofa. I took a Y-adaptor from my LFE output and plugged them into a spare amplifier (a pawn shop/ebay 100W/ch Japanese piece would be perfect), and let the magic fingers do their work.

Musically, "magic fingers" is apt. (APT!) Most music doesn't include such low bass, and the effect itself is detrimental to the listening experience.

Switch to movies, and these are worth $80. You won't think you're down at the multiplex, but neither will your neighbors. Which is perhaps their best point - you can get a tactile sensation without blasting the entire house/apartment complex because you are directly shaking your butt instead of trying to do so acoustically from back in the corner. Movies in the last 10 years have a lot of bass in them, which is basically designed to trigger fear. When they aren't being driven too hard, the effect is present but it is not distracting.

That said, even when turned up all the way, their output isn't amazing. If your looking to bounce across the room, you will have to spend more money. However, $40 isn't too much to begin with.

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Friday, June 16, 2006

[LMS] Tulipany

Tulipany, di Jacek Borcuch (Polonia 2004)

Since the movie programs here in Rochester aren't terribly exciting, I review this Polish movie that I saw at some friends' home.

I did not like it, and let me explain why. In the opening shots a man, approaching his older years, is brought to the hospital because of a heart attack. While he is in the hospital two of his friends and his son have the time and chance to reflect on the relationship among them and between each of them and women.

It appeared to me that the fundamental theme of the movie is that relationships between people are created and grow through shared moments of intense emotion. Ok, let us make an allowance for love between man and woman :-), but in my opinion for what regards friendships we are not quite on spot.

This fundamental idea of the movie is in my opinion seen in many moments, for example in the big laugh the characters have together when the subplot of the car is clarified (I don't tell you what precisely happens in the subplot because I don't want to spoil the movie to much :-)) or also in the wedding scene, and in other moments as well.

It is interesting to note as in one of the dialogues the ailing (and recovering)father complains about loneliness as he sees it as the basic condition of human life. In my opinion there is a link, which I am not able to understand completely and therefore analyze, between this belief and the idea that shared emotions are what keeps human relationships together.

In synthesis the movie goes on with this theme of emotions and relationships, and I do not find any keen interest in it.

Effectively, I've just spent $20 of my brother in law's money by posting this


T-Shirt

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Scott Adams Breaks Things with his Mind

Don't invite Scott Adams over to your house. No kidding:

When I worked at Pacific Bell, all of my computers crashed and fried on a regular basis. One time my assignment was to build an electronic bulletin board – essentially a souped up PC with special circuit boards. I ordered all of the components, including the several special boards. But I couldn’t get it to work. It took about two months to determine, through trial and error, that every single component I ordered was defective. Everything from the mother board to the specialty boards, to the monitor, to the keyboard. What were the odds of that? For me, it was routine.


More.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Red Shoe Blue Shoe

Here's a very short political test to see what color you happen to bleed, in case you've never been cut and don't know. Note that of the 7+ million times that the test has been taken, ~33% score libertarian. The message here isn't that many Americans are libertarians, because they aren't. Rather, people who use the internet are anomalous and of minor consequence.

Weird Al's Record Deal

Weird Al Yankovic Says Digital Is a Raw Deal For Some Artists. I never worried about record company collusion over the increased price of CD's relative to tapes, nor do I think the current system needs to be burned to the ground. A little more transparency would go a long way, though, to make me feel better about myself as a wise consumer. As a side benefit, it might help artists and companies too. Same thing for sports - which happen to get a lot of money from governments via stadiums.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Cool Capitals

Cool Capitals. Flash doesn't always suck.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Car Design Aesthetics


I'm leery of car magazine design critiques - it's too subjective to break down with authority. But this is fugly. Please buy it, take it out behind a barn, and put it out of its misery.

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Not only does Beer Make You Smarter...

Beer ingredient may fight prostate cancer

CORVALLIS, Ore. - A main ingredient in beer may help prevent prostate cancer and enlargement, according to a new study. But researchers say don't rush out to stock the refrigerator because the ingredient is present in such small amounts that a person would have to drink more than 17 beers to benefit.
17 is not a crazy amount. Sure, you'd have to drink during work. I am not surprized this comes from Corvallis at all. They like beer there. I expect results from Munich any day now.

(nonalcohol beer results here)(from Japan)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

If you don't believe that, then you should check out these Best of David Hasselhoff Amazon reviews... (991! and counting).

Virtual Reality

If you've ever felt bad about not looking like a celibrity, well, they don't look like themselves either... I realize that doesn't make literal sense, but click on the portfolio and take a look at the before/after section. The upshot is that if that a portrait looks too smooth, too wrinkle and pore-free, and has no shiny highlights or stray hairs, then it is a photoshop.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

L'Hoptial's Rule works in politics

You don't really have to like either side in a political fight to still root for one over the other - witness GM's response to the NYTimes... [via]

Natural Selection

Not since Grizzly Bear Guy have the staff at the Darwin Awards been on such high alert: Meet the Guy who wants to shoot himself 20 miles up with a giant cross-bow.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Monkey Chow Diaries

Angryman went and ate Monkey Chow for a week (+website). I went and skiped right ahead to day 7 - is he crying?

Plus, from his list of things that make him angry:

Ski Masks
Since it's been 30 years since anyone wore a ski mask to go skiing, can we finally face the facts? If you see someone in a ski mask, he's not a Winter Olympian, he's a goddammed burgler. Don't congratulate him on his finish at Lillehammer - knock him the hell out. I'm not sure you could walk into a ski lodge wearing a ski mask without getting gunned down by the police. If not the real police, at least the fashion police - there may be no dumber looking piece of clothing than the ski mask. Why do they even sell ski masks anymore? They wouldn't if we called them robber masks. If your store sells robber masks, you deserve to be robbed at least once a week. I think ski masks are about the dumbest thing in the world, and will do my best to ruin the ski mask industry.
I agree.

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The Tritare will save Rock'n'roll

On second thought - no it won't.

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Thursday, June 08, 2006

George Washington

Here is a slightly revisionist, very off-color, and frickin' hillarious tribute to George Washington. Probably not safe for work, definitately not safe for Mom, Mom.

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The UN

Wretchard is normally pretty temperate, but not today: "The reason our historic achievements aren't obvious is because they're secret. Yes, it's true. While all of you are asleep, we hold up the sky."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I take it no one lives near Cleveland



The Cleveland Volcano, located in the Alaska Aleutians, erupted and the first person to notice was in earth orbit.

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Statistics Galore

StateMaster has more statistics than you can shake a stick at... 35% more, in fact.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Death Hunt


You might think that a movie that stars Charles Bronson, Lee Marvin, and Carl Weathers and is based on the true story of a mad man trapper running amok in the frozen tundra sounds good. Then again, you might not. You would be right.

Hong Kong Fix

If you're looking for a HK movie, I'd recommend Expect the Unexpected. (nb, it's a violent cop movie). Also, John's thinking to himself that he saw this recommendation avocado. Ha! Didn't see that one coming, though.

Also, the Dryden's showing Blazing Saddles on Saturday and The Birds on the 24th, so their film selections aren't all bad. They should run their series on Peter Bogdanovich's Movie of the Week again.

Shakespeare - what a hack

Speaking of writers to emulate, how about Shakespeare? Consider this introduction to a list of quotes from The Shakespeare Book of Lists:


The old joke goes something like this: A guys walks out of the theater after seeing Hamlet for the first time. “I don’t know why everybody thinks Hamlet is such a well-written play,” he says. “It is full of clichés."


I don't have my OED on me to verify that old Bacon-bits originated each of these phrases, or popularized them, or whatever. For that matter, I don't even have an OED.

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Bad Drivers and my navel

When it comes to driving, the Northwest is bueno, the Northeast, not so much. I started out in #2 and ended up in #50. Like Rainman, I think I'm a good driver - nay, an excellent driver, but what does this say about my self-selection? I think it's osmosis. That, or driving manners have nothing to do with where I live.

Monday, June 05, 2006

[Something about] Once upon a time in China

Once upon a time in China, by Tsui Hark (Hong-Kong 1991)

The offer in the movie theaters in Rochester has not attracted me a lot lately, so I turned to watching again this movie in its DVD version.

It is a bit naive as a movie, with the good guys, the bad guys and so on, but let me tell you how and why I liked it, with a proviso: if you do not like this one, you will never like any movie based on kung-fu.

To the point, the kung-fu is extraordinary: in one of the final scenes (the one on the ladders, for those who have seen it) one realizes that space is *really* three dimensional and that we use only about two and a half of the dimensions in everyday life.

Apart these athletico-geometrical considerations I wish to comment on another theme in the movie: the relationship between tradition and innovation, especially the innovations that come from outside one's world. One of the most interesting aspects from this point of view is developed through the character of Master Yim (one of the antagonists of the hero, the hero's name is Wong Fei Hung): the passion for one's own traditions without attention to the surrounding world is a self-destructive frame of mind.

I could actually be forcing this interpretation on the movie, but the blindness of Yim comes out above all in the scene in which he applies a wisdom dictum ("Virtue is often found among the lowly") without realizing that the context is not suited for applying the dictum he is relying on; and this after he has been using kung-fu (the tradition) in order to entertain a group of people that were just interested in mocking him. This could be seen also as a naive theme, but I don't see it that way.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

So, I was thinking about my blog

"Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

Oscar Wilde, De Profundis, 1905

I'm trying to remember, unsuccesfully, where P. J. O'Rourke wrote that his stint at National Lampoon was very good writing training because he had to write parodies of all of the great authors. Location aside, his point was that aping Milton requires a good understanding of the nuts and bolts of Milton's writing. If I were to teach an English class, I'd make them do so too. They would have parody three authors - one they love, one they like, and one they hate. The best three would win $100. A few of them would learn a lot. The others would cheat. I also would be fired half way through the school year. For drinking.

If you are unscrupulous (enough), you could set them all to scribling Faulkner, Hemingway, and Bulwer-Lytton tracts, so that you could steal the best of their work and submit it to the various annual contests. I'm not sure that's lucrative enough to bother, so just toss those guys in for fun. Personally, I'd try for P.G. Wodehouse, but plotting was a key element for him, and that might be tough to emulate.

Emulation isn't just a way to learn things, though. It's also easier than doing something new. Particularly, something new that is good.

Nick Cage loves Pachinko

Now you know. Wow. It's like a 20 second Wild in Translation.

Make Me Watch TV

Make Me Watch TV. Great idea (people are buying him DVD's and he's listed on Yahoo! Picks); Better execution (n a hipster wise-acre check-out-my-birth-control-glasses way).

Off topic, but I think there should be a default way to signal sarcasm in text. Email sarcasm is often misinterpreted becasue there are no rolled eyes/goofy voice/sotto voce to signal your ironic intent. Italicizing? Underlining? Italic Underlining? I say they aren't subtle enough. "How about quoting yourself?" .Perhaps we could take a page from Spanish and lead with a disclaimer punctuation. I am unhappy with these ideas, so please toss your suggestions into the ring.

Back on topic, I cleaned out my Season Pass's yesterday, and I no longer record the Simpsons. This is like a college-guy Bar Mitzvah, except that my dad didn't hire 50 cent to play at my house.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Greenpeace MadLibs

heh.