Monday, May 25, 2009

Have a Ball

The Ball family has immersed themselves in glory with this video from their wedding. Upon my first viewing, as he began to lip-sync, I must admit to dreary thoughts, but when the whole wedding party joins in and it's wonderful.

Brian & Eileen's Wedding Music Video. from LOCKDOWN projects on Vimeo.

Here's the direct link:

I found this on the great Attu Sees All, but reposted it here in case you can't go to Attu's site at work (and I wouldn't where they monitor your internet use, some stuff is NSFW).

And I stole the title from myself from a page from my ancient vanity site where I thought I was being cute (and it's NSFW, again). I still thank God that the internets weren't around before I turned 30. When reminiscing, I sometimes find myself embarrassed over the things that could've possibly ended up on the web had it been around when I was a pup.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Greed Kills

As I have been (casually) following the news about the crash of Continental Flight 3407 on Feb. 12, I accepted on face value the general media consensus that it was most likely due to the inexperience of the pilots, and for the most part I think that's correct.

For example, the pilot had not been trained about what to do in a stall and what the signs were in that particular aircraft. The co-pilot apparently hadn't ever seen icing on wings in flight before.

But, when I heard about the pay the co-pilot was getting, the fact that she was sick, AND the circumstances of her employment with the airline, it was clear this was just an accident waiting to happen.

Back when I worked for a puddle-jumper airline, I was shocked when I found out how hard they worked the pilots and how little rest they were allowed between flights. On the amount of sleep they sometimes got - after being on shift for quite a few days on end - you wouldn't want these folks to pop open a twist-off beer for ya, let alone rocket your ass into the frozen, wind-torn sky in a plastic bottle fitted with wings and half-filled with explosive fuel.

When you put someone in that kind of a circumstance, pay them poorly, train them even worse, and expose them to schedules and working conditions that are essentially illegal in the manufacturing sector, it's bound to result in exactly what happened. Someone like an airline pilot should be aggressively groomed and trained, not treated like a temp whose primary duty is filing, where only fingers and a basic grasp of the alphabet are required.

From this article (read the whole thing, it's gripping), here are part of the details of how the co-pilot was paid and what her conditions were:

Shaw, 24, flew 774 hours in her first year at Colgan. Roger Cox, a safety board aviation safety expert, said she earned $21 an hour, meaning that she would have been paid about $16,254 that year. As a result, Shaw worked a second job in a Norfolk, Va., coffee shop when she started at Colgan, safety board witnesses said.

So, after handing folks their freakin' Venti's for a shift or two, she'd sleep on a chair in the pilot's lounge or on a plane, and then grab the controls of a FREAKIN' JET.

Dear God.

There are going to be a lot of corporate executives in hell, methinks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Obligatory Review of the new Star Trek movie

Punchline: I had a grand time, as did my 12-year-old daughter (full disclosure: she's a fan of the original series). A hearty recommendation for fans, and a solid recommendation for newbies or folks who haven't liked any of the TV shows (particularly the latter shows).

Finally finally finally they have realized Star Trek is much better when it has a pair. A big pair. (I half expected the Enterprise to be sporting these, a tacky little trend that hopefully will be a short one.) And some hot green chicks, to boot.

The nicest surprise is that Sulu turns out to be a badass. Fans will recall that from the original show the episode where everyone gets wasted on an alien virus and Sulu ends up darting around the halls shirtless, challenging everyone to a fencing battle. Non-fans will enjoy things a bit more knowing that bit of history, and let's leave it at that.

My daughter's verdict, besides being the best movie she's seen this year (wow, huh?) was that they did a great job of casting. And they did.

Sulu is my favorite casting choice, as they used John Cho from the Harold & Kumar movies, and, as mentioned, he freakin' BRINGS IT. My next two faves are Karl Urban as Bones (he nails it while bringing the character freshness) and of course Simon Pegg as Scotty.

Kirk and Spock are cast wonderfully, too, though a few times you catch Zachary Quinto (Spock) being just a bit too doe-eyed for the Spock we know and love - but then it's actually a plot/character point, so even that works eventually.

J.J. Abrams was handed the keys to the kingdom, and admitted that he was not a trekkie, which was probably a saving grace. He clearly did his homework and was able to come to this without the nostalgic emotional haze original fans had, and so did not try to recreate that. His grokking of the series is so complete, I think he even included Galaxy Quest in his research, because there's a couple tips of the hat to that movie, too.

I can't say "my only quibble" because I don't really have one, if you follow Ebert's old rule of reviewing the movie you saw, not the one you wanted to see. If we step out of that restriction, my one wish is that Chris Pine (Kirk) had just once found a way to do Shatner's famous verbal tick when he was trying to remember a line where he would ... pause … before … rushing out the rest of the line. Maybe he's saving that for the next one.

And, oh yes, there will be a next one. They do manage to reboot the series in a way where they can do new adventures without having to betray anything that occurred in the original.

Saturday, May 09, 2009


So who were the marketing geniuses in each studio who felt is was a good idea to release their big sci-fi film at the same time everyone else did. And on mother's day weekend no less?

This weekend we have the new "X-men", "Terminator", and "Star Trek" all opening, and there's "Angels & Demons" plus the sequel to "Night at the Museum." In the age where movies stay in the theatres for two weeks, tops.

Da fork?

Turns out, I wasn't looking at the DATES of the ticket sales. When I went to the site I have for a while to find out movie times (because if you call the theatre for them, you're in for a 15 minute ride through menus before you know a movie time, and that's if you get the options right), I did not realize that you can now buy tickets for movies weeks in advance. And, the date of the show is listen in parenthesis, so it's easy to miss it's for a couple weeks out.
Fri (5/22) ( 11:50 ) ( 2:00 ) 4:40 7:30 10:20

See the date in there? Well, I didn't when I was in a hurry and was skating past all the other crap they put in your way on commercial sites.

So, the only movie I did care about seeing was the only one playing.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

You can't make this stuff up...

Flaming Lips song 'Do You Realize??' name Oklahoma state song despite controversy over T-shirt

Why do Republicans have such a hard time with the whole freedom of speech thing? Unless of course it's used to justify the utter BS that Faux News spews.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

We haven't bashed in a while

[For those of you who haven't encountered a post like this, I read where things spontaneously "said" on IRC chat are gathered and voted on so the cream goes to the top, and then I put my favorites here for a quick and lazy post.]

ipatchphd: i knew someone named april may
IUErothyme: hahahahahaha
ipatchphd: and when her mom was angry shed say

ditte: my parents had a girl about my age
ditte: omg

kaber: My buddy just got a divorce. they had 4 kids. she met some new guy and she thinks she'll have it better with him
kaber: so the women leave thinking it's greener on the other side and what not.. and they usually end up getting shafted even more
tomalak: kaber: I think that's the point.

Spiff-Johnson: So i bought a shirt from express men.. does that make me gay?
cool4dude: no, the fact that you have sex with men makes you gay
cool4dude: the shirt just makes you a stereotype

Dun fck wit meh: when muslim women come to my door i talk to them through the mail slot, see how they like it

rizerz: A Japanese doctor said, 'Medicine in my country is so advanced that we
rizerz: can take a kidney out of one man, put it in another, and have him
rizerz: looking for work in six weeks.'
rizerz: A German doctor said, 'That's nothing, we can take a lung out of one
rizerz: person, put it in another, and have him looking for work in four weeks.'
rizerz: A British doctor said, 'In my country, medicine is so advanced that we
rizerz: can take half of a heart out of one person, put it in another, and have
rizerz: them both looking for work in two weeks.'
rizerz: A Texas doctor, not to be outdone said, 'You guys are way behind. We
rizerz: took a man with no brains out of Texas , put him in the White House, and
rizerz: now half the country is looking for work.

PROTOtype2k6: Hey Fel you know the difference between Michael phelps and Hitler?
Felathan: no clue proto.
PROTOtype2k6: At least Michael Phelps could finish a race.

[Note: this last one makes me cringe it's so evil, but I did laugh. It joins the pantheon of the other joke I won't tell at a party unless I totally warn everyone first, thus kneecapping the joke.]

Friday, May 01, 2009

6 Writers Who Accidentally Crapped Out Masterpieces
(Not my title, read on...)

I've pointed to a lot, because they're one of the funniest sites on the web, according to me.

I think they've produced another personal best:
6 Writers Who Accidentally Crapped Out Masterpieces

The entry on Clockwork Orange is my fave.

Ephemera, May Day 2009

One of the things I've noticed about blogging is that you rather constantly have a little daemon in the back of your mind collecting things for the blog.

The following are bits and pieces of planned posts that I never got around to writing, and thus only the highlights remain in my brain. Which is actually a good thing, because you're getting the "good parts" version (with a tip of the cursor to the great William Goldman).

I recently went to a conference and noted many things that I intended to report, but only two have stuck:

- I saw a paraplegic in a wheelchair wearing a t-shirt that said "Stimulus Package" followed by a large arrow pointing at his crotch. So, I wondered if he was being ironic or not...

- The elevators had big, prominent signs (which were just standard 8 1/2 by 11" typewriter paper printed from a laserprinter) by the buttons that stated a capacity of 8 people, warning that the elevators would get stuck if that was exceeded. Inside, the elevators had professionally manufactured signs stating a capacity of 10, and without the dire warning of getting stuck. So, one day I'm getting on the elevator, and one attendee who was VERY OUT was riding down, and I asked him, "why do you suppose the limit signs outside say 8 and the ones in here say 10?" And he said in that cliché effeminate gay accent, "Because everyone's gotten so fat!" The response was funny in and of itself, but the delivery is what really sold the line. I laughed for half the day on that one.

My wife and I watched the final episode of ER (a few weeks ago, now) and were sadly appalled that the show had gotten even worse since the time we abandoned it. We barely made it to the end. They did a little retrospective show before the episode, and it wasn't obvious to someone who hadn't been watching for a while, but nearly all the snippets they played were from the first few seasons, and when the show proper started, the contrast was so stark I was embarrassed for those who now ran the show.

I actually had an index card filled out with all the subplots, and I was gonna lay them out here to expose their patheticness (patheticality?).

Anyway, in a nutshell, the overall theme was every patient who was part of a family lost a member of that family in particularly harsh ways (mom dies during delivery, old man unexpectedly and suddenly loses his wife to old age, etc.), with the sole exception being the (obligatory) gay couple.

A gay guy comes in because he feels weird and they discover he has a brain tumor. When his boyfriend/husband shows up, there's this overly sweet scene where they talk about what a wonderful life they've had and how they'll enjoy the last year or so they have with each other until he finally is taken out by the tumor (effusive lens filters are used, palette tones warm, violins swell). We also discover that he was one of the original patients diagnosed with AIDs and has managed to live all this time. Short version: gay = good happy life; anyone else = you're fucked, cope.

Good riddance to that show. (Though it looks as though they put an equally overwrought police show in its place; and they took care to announce it was created and produced by the same team that has brought us ER the last few years. I do appreciate that told us it would suck so I didn't have to waste my time checking it out.)

Read this book on Christianity called The Blue Parakeet, which I picked up blindly. A few pages in I was groaning inwardly because he was dividing us all up into bible-believing Christians and liberal Christians. Then he started talking to his fundie brethren about how they were not living up to the letter of the Bible no matter how much they thought they were, spends a few chapters proving that (which were kinda fun), and then talks about how they need to use Discernment and realize that they need to apply the Bible and its story to our age rather than try to pretend to live in a different Christian era. To which anyone who's not a fundie would answer: well, duh.

So, while it was mostly just entertainment for me (meaning I didn't really learn anything or get detect a point of view I wasn't aware of) watching someone fundie come to the realization that it's about love and the message is contained in the narrative (what he labeled as "the story") rather than viewing the Bible like a bunch of Chinese cookie fortunes that you can apply at will and out of context to whatever situation, the main impression I came away with was the author was a phenomenal asshole. It just bleeds out of his writing style and various attempts at humor. Even the back cover photo fills one with mild, free-floating loathing. I haven't had many experiences outside of reading some wingnut polemic where you could just feel what a creep the author (perhaps) is. (I hope the author never does a vanity search and lands here. If so, my apologies.)

Update: Sorry if this comes off a little harsh. I was apparently in a mood when I wrote this.

Speaking of assholes...

I rarely write about work, particularly in a negative sense, because typically it's not wise. Just hunt up "dooced" on the internets.

But I'm so amused with my little joke I just have to share.

One of the folks we work with is an utter SOB. Every single interaction with said SOB is unpleasant. I would posit that if you were to sum up the total amount of time people talk about what this person has done lately and basically conjugating on what a bastard s/he is, you'd have a solid 8 hours. I've read several books on how to make your organization one of the bestest, shiniest, efficient and overall wonderful places to work, and all of them say identify these people and show them the door. In this case, it will never happen. (It's a long story, and I'd have to give away too many details.)

Anyway, one of the code/secret references I've invented for describing events and interactions with this lovely human being is: "A Sleeping Beauty Moment."

It came about like this: I was talking to someone about a recent run-in and I said, "Afterwards, I had the exact same thought pass through my mind that went through Sleeping Beauty's as she fell into her hundred-year sleep ... 'Wow, what a prick!'"

This is going around the emails.

My little four-year-old, upon hearing the term over and over as we watched the news, asked, "Daddy, what's the whine flu?"