Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Finished My [Chat]ing Thesis

Woo Me. My thesis is done done and turned in. Now I just have to wait for the Graduate College to send me a letter saying they have it and it is on file with the state.

Pages: 85+ Bibliography, Table of Contents
Words: About 25,000

To celebrate i am taking the week off.

I got ball!

Oh boyohboyohboy oh boy.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Zero Punctuation - Turok

Fuck Florida and Michigan

This whole Florida / Michigan do-over rant has been simmering on my back burner of hate for a while now. Even though I can't tell whether or not the thing is undercooked, done or terribly burnt the coverage of this topic seems to have peaked last night so I'm just going to toss the rant out and hope that whatever its developmental state it is palatable.

There is no correct position to maintain on this debate; they're all wrong. It is in no way sensible to remove Florida and Michigan from the process of electing a candidate. It is also, however, not sensible to allow Florida and Michigan to participate in the process after they broke the rules. And while we can bicker about the nature of democracy and the validity or sensibility of the rules by which we pick candidates we are where we are. And when the "spirit of democracy" and "the rules by which democracy occurs" conflict we, this time, err on the side of the rules.

And I'm ok with that. There are plenty of arbitrary rules utilized in maintaining the functionality of the electoral process. Certainly if we focus on any given rule we can find its flaws and argue it to be undemocratic. But when we look at the whole system of rules, the entire structure, it mostly functions. So we stick with it.

What pisses me the fuck off about this particular debate is how delusional asshats grasp onto their favorite candidate's position and vehemently denounce the position of the other; how political fanboys and fangirls ignore the nuance and maintain that their candidate is correct. When, really? Neither is right.

Clinton: Clinton is currently losing and so desires to allow Florida and Michigan to vote so that she has the chance to decrease Obama's lead.
Obama: Obama is currently winning and so does not desire to allow Florida and Michigan to vote so as to limit the possibilities for Clinton to overtake him.



Since the issue itself is fundamentally fucked both candidates, I think, are justified in their selfish stance on this. Clinton can argue for the spirit of democracy while Obama argues for the rules. Each argument is reasonable and rhetorically compelling in its own right. Each argument is based in a candidate's selfish desire to win. Neither Obama nor Clinton is RIGHT; there is no right in this debate. Both candidates are equally selfish, correct, and incorrect. Moreover, both candidates are being inconsistent.

If Clinton argues for the spirit of democracy with regard to Florida and Michigan do-over primaries then Clinton ought also to embrace the spirit of democracy with regard to super delegates. Is it consistent with the spirit of democracy to argue that the super delegates vote for her if Obama has more delegates and wins the popular vote?

If Obama argues for the rules with regard to Florida and Michigan do-over primaries then Obama ought also to embrace the rules with regard to super delegates. Is it consistent with the rules to argue that the super delegates ought to not vote for Clinton if he has more delegates and wins the popular vote?

This issue is a gigantic fucked up mess which is fundamentally flawed and undoubtedly problematic. It brings out the worst in everyone and makes evident the self-serving tendencies of both candidates and their supporters.

So how about instead of being jackasses who rally behind their favorite candidate despite the valid position of the other we all join together and shout with one unified, certain, justified voice:


And then we kick them out of the damned union. Cause we sure as shit don't need either of them if they can't read a fucking calendar.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

DS Guitar Hero Controller

DS Guitar Hero Controller.

Guitar Hero: On Tour will come with a Guitar Grip that plugs into the GBA slot of your DS and allows players to fret along with a song while strumming digital strings on the screen. The Guitar Grip includes a hand strap and a little storage compartment for the specially designed stylus pick.

Follow the link. You have to see this thing.

Michael Cera is Scott Pilgrim

Michael Cera will be taking the lead in Scott Pilgrim's Little Life.


Pokemones! I choose you!

Usually my rants come into being as a result of something pissing me off. Today, though, my rant comes from this article which left me sitting in my chair blinking for the better part of ten minutes:

"The teens call their public orgies 'ponceo'. On a typical Friday afternoon in the Chilean capital of Santiago, hundreds gather in a leafy urban park for a few hours of sexual experimentation."


"They trade partners multiple times—mostly engaging in anonymous rounds of oral sex. When the party is over, no contact information is exchanged. Same-gender interactions are commonplace, as the lines between hetero- and homosexuality are blurred, partly by the alcohol and drugs consumed, but also by shifting social mores held by Chilean youth, in contrast to their conservative parents. "Ponceo is about having fun," says Natalia Fernandez, a 15-year-old with pink hair and a pierced chin. "This time I had seven partners.""

Initially I was worried that Pokemones were somehow attempting to support an idiotic ideology or political position; that their hours of anonymous oral sex were somehow meant to convey a message. But apparently "pokemones do not have a political creed, preferring apathy to engagement."

So, to summarize, Pokemones are apathetic, drug consuming, Chilean, anime watching, teenage boys and girls who on Friday afternoons gather together in public parks to consume drugs, alcohol, and participate in hours of anonymous oral sex.

Again, I'm just sitting here blinking a lot.

The most obvious criticism of Pokemones involves the notion of STDs; hours of anonymous oral sex is probably not the best way to avoid exposure to STDs. Additionally one can invoke a morality argument so stating that one ought to not engaged in hours of random, anonymous oral sex in public parks. Drug use and alcoholism among teenagers is, again, a criticism one might belabor with regard to Pokemones.

But speaking as someone who has avoided drugs, STDs, and anonymous oral sex for my entire life I have to say that, really, avoiding these things has not benefited me one god damned bit. Sure, there are "benefits" in the Ned Flandersian sense of the word: I've never impregnated anyone, I'm not addicted to any substances, I don't have any STDs, and the 25 year old version of myself is employed, safe, and soon to be a grad student. But, conversely, the teenage version of myself never had hours of anonymous oral sex with a bunch of apathetic south american anime fangirls.

So weighing the consequences of my past actions against those of the Pokemones I have to say that on this one I'm going to side with the Pokemones. Prudish, healthy, sensible living may contribute to one's longevity and success in the traditional sense of the word. But it's also boring as shit.

And, sure, maybe the lifestyle of the Pokemones will not lead to the highest level of happiness in their futures. Maybe their substance addiction, STDs, and inevitable sense of loneliness and loss will somehow outweight the present thrills they experience. Maybe hedonism is not the most sensible or reasonble position to maintain.

But the grass is always greener on the side of the fence with blowjobs.

According to some Kotaku reader:

There's have to be some kind of misunderstanding, I'm from Chile (not a pokemon) and I have to say "ponceo" had nothing to do with oral sex. What they do in this parties (thursay or fryday, between 4-5PM to 10-11PM, they are all minorage so they cant be out to late at night, alcohol sell is not allowed) is try to kiss in the mouth (not oral sex, that was a particual case, not even pokemoes involved, only 3 highschool students, 14 or 15 years old) as much different people (of the opposite sex) as they can durring the party.

So either Newsweek is incorrect or this person who posts on Kotaku is incorrect.

Arthur C. Clarke died

HAL opens pod bay door; Arthur C. Clarke dies at 90.

Let us all throw our bones into the air and so celebrate his grand legacy of writing excellent books and, with the help of Stanley Kubrick, pretentious art films.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Transcript: 'A more perfect union'

Transcript of Obama's speech on Race.

Read it.

Then join me in wondering why the Clinton campaign is trying so hard to beat this man.
UPDATE: Video is about 40min long


Monday, March 17, 2008

Grad School will be awesome.

So I finally got to talk to a human being at the graduate school. For those of you who went to Hanover picture John Ahrens only less cursing and more irreverent.

I asked him what I need to do between now and when I show up and he said "Well...not really anything. We don't have any money to give you..." and then he bitched for a bit about how the student union organized to get higher wages which meant that they have less positions available.

Apparently I can just show up and schedule classes whenever and they don't have a set curriculum. In the second year they have a test that covers the basical history one need know to teach intro and he said, "Say there's a section on Descartes. That's just going to cover the Meditations. And you can figure that out for yourself."

I love academia. God I love academia. No one knows what is going on and no one really seems to care.

At the end of the call I said, "Well, I know it's the end of the day there so I'll let you go. I'll call back in a few days with questions about the course selection. And I wanted to say thank you for accepting me and rescuing me from Real Life."

He chuckled and said, "Yeah, we'll have to talk about that 'Real Life' thing."

I can't fucking wait. This is going to be so awesome.

"Grind" is Nonsense

Online communities tend to degenerate into effete self-congratulatory circle jerks about three minutes after conception. Really, all communities tend to do this shortly after conception; it's sort of what a community is. And while I would give the reward for biggest, most effete, self-congratulatory circle-jerk to the Penny-Arcade forums I think that the cesspool of jackassery one finds in Kotaku comment threads would come in a very close second.

In this thread about the evolution of World of Warcraft a brief conversation is maintained about grinding and whether or not World of Warcraft is a grind:

"Wow isn't a grind unless your rare/gold farming. You see, a Grind is a game like L2 or EQOA where you log on, form a group, pull the same camp for 4 hours to gain 1/10th a level, then log off, repeat each day without change. Wow doesn't play like that." - mrantimatter

"It does, however, play like 'kill guy A 50 times to get strong enough to kill guy B' etc. It's just that as you progress, it gets more complicated, because you have to either kill guy A more times (a lot more), or juggle your different buffs, debuffs, or whatnot. So, the same basic premise of 'kill the guy' just takes longer, and more key strokes. Combine that with infinity, and...well, it is all one big grind, really. Repetitive, tedious, and frustrating at times." - diablodevil2

In my attempt to discern who is correct, mrantimatter or diablodevil2, I consulted the wikipedia entry for grinding and discovered that 1) there is a wikipedia entry for "grinding" and 2) "grinding" is a nonsense term.

Here is the definition of "grinding" provided by wikipedia:
"Grinding is a term used in computer gaming to describe the process of engaging in repetitive and/or non-entertaining gameplay in order to gain access to other features within the game...To Grind means to do one task the most efficient way possible in a repetitious manner."

The problem is that this definition does not mean anything; it is a faux definition for a vapid term. All games are grinds; gaming itself is a grind. Tetris is a grind. Chess is a grind. God of War is a grind. Hell, life is a grind. Working, writing papers, bathing, eating, these are all activities to which the label "grinding" could be applied.

At the most basic level all video games involve a repetitive user input of data for the purpose of achieving some goal; all human activities can be explained and minimized down to a level of repetition towards some end. Whether or not we focus upon the repetition is a question of whether or not we're enjoying ourselves; whether or not we're having fun.

That is why the term "grinding" is nonsense. Grinding, repetition towards some end, is not unique to any given thing; World of Warcraft is really no more of a grind than Tetris or monogamous sex. When one employs the term "grind" as a form of criticism this does not indicate that the thing is uniquely repetitive but rather that the thing is less enjoyably repetitive for that particular individual.

And "enjoyable" is subjective.

Caleb may very well get a haircut

So, I am thinking about finding some time after work this week to go and get my hair cut.