I Read Stuff!

Hanlon's Razor: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Yea! I'm old!

Today I turn 28. It's not really a very exciting number, since I entered my late twenties last year. Yet, it does feel more distinguished than 27.

For my birthday I bought myself.... Drum roll please.... New Tires!!! Yes, I'm so domesticated that I'm actually excited to get new tires on my old and busted car. The ride is so smooth now....

Before you start pitying me and my new tires, I want to share with you how the extended party is going down. It actually started two weeks ago with a friend's birthday in Manhattan (KS not NY). The next weekend was my wife's sister's birthday. This weekend my family is coming up to party for my birthday. Next weekend is my niece's birthday, after that is my father-in-law's birthday, then a friend is getting married at KU, then another friend is getting married in KC, then it's my nephew's birthday, my wife's birthday is next, followed by my sister's husband's birthday, and we wrap it all up with a friend's daughter's 1st birthday.

Seriously, that's 11 straight weekends of various parties. 3 months! How much cake can one man possibly enjoy?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ahh Vanity

Vanity sizing is such a fun aspect of our culture. How else could be buy things in size 0? Obviously, we have an intrinsic desire to be thinner, and thereby better, than each other.

In the spirit of demanding bone thin people in a country where obesity is the number one killer, I present to you the new HP Camera lineup. HP has introduced a camera feature called the 'slimming effect'. You take a picture, move the little slide bar, and the subject in the photo is squeezed to a more appealing shape.

Thank you HP, for inventing a camera that removes the 10 pounds other cameras are adding.

Monday, September 25, 2006

God vs. Money

NBC is looking for some new children's programming. They took a look at the market and snatched up one of the most successful cartoons currently available, VeggieTales. Everything was going just fine until a couple of weeks before the first episode hit the air. Some network executive made a ground shaking discovery.

VeggieTales has Christian themes.

I've never seen the show, and I knew it's religious based. Their movies have names like "Where's God When I’m S-Scared?", "God Wants Me to Forgive Them!?!", "Jonah" etc. The series tagline is "Remember kids, God made you special and he loves you very much" which concludes every episode. How could this come as a surprise?

NBC's next move wins them the idiot award for the week. (I'm taking a big risk handing it out on Monday) They decided to edit out every reference to God and the Bible. I wonder if there will be anything left for kids to watch? It'll probably be a solid block of commercials capped by the title screen and credits.

NBC needs to suck it up and show the cartoon as intended. If parents don't want their kids watching it, they can choose one of the other 10 thousand cartoons on TV. (Again, I'm taking a big risk assuming parents know what their kids are watching on TV)

"The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits." - Albert Einstein

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kill Your Television

The season premiere of everyone's favorite shows have mostly come to past. Did you watch Grey's Anatomy or CSI? House or CSI: Miami? Heroes or Gilmore Girls? Well regardless, the big winner was Grey's Anatomy. Doing the impossible it unseated CSI to take the top spot in the ratings.

But why do we care? We have the internet, video games, and text messaging. When do we have time to watch TV.

While all that is true, Nielsen is reporting that U.S. households are watching 8 hours and 14 minutes of TV on average each week. That's a record high. We watch more TV now than ever before! 2 to 11 year olds lead the charge with a 4% increase in TV watching from the previous years.

I'm glad we're teaching them young.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Game Reviewers Ignored!

According to a couple of researchers at Susquehanna University (where? Pennsylvania), a game's critical review and it's subsequent commercial response have no correlation. In other words games with good reviews don't sell any better than games with bad ones.

This little piece of news went counter to so many people's 'better' judgment that they ran the study again. Only the second time they expanded the sample from 275 games to 1200. Lo' and behold, their original analysis was confirmed.

Somehow I'm not surprised. First of all, people are stupid. Over 1 million copies of 50 Cent: Bulletproof were sold last year. Q.E.D.

Secondly, take Sword of the Stars. PC Gamer gave it 89% which is an excellent score. Not many games broach the 90 percentile. PC Gamer UK is published by the same company, but obviously distributed in the UK. The Brits rated the game 47% which is abysmal. What is a reader to believe?

IGN gave it a 77% while GameSpy handed it a 60%. Incidentally IGN owns GameSpy. Perhaps these companies are attempting to hedge their bets? More probable is that game experiences very so much from person to person that attempting to garner a nugget of truth from a review is futile.

Destination: North Pole

The North Pole, not surprisingly, is a pretty difficult place to visit. For about $9,000 you can fly out there, and receive a certificate declaring you've been to the geographic North Pole! Hazzah!

An alternative route would be to jump on a ship with 20" solid steel bow and a 75,000 horsepower engine. An Icebreaker of that size can plow through 10 feet of ice without much difficulty. However, you'll still need a helicopter to do ice reconnaissance so you don't hit really thick ice and sink.

Of course that's how it use to be. This year, due to global warming, a ship has sailed unhindered by ice from Europe directly to the North Pole.

How do you like that Senator Inhofe?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast ye scoundrels! Raise yer royals and set yer studdings, 'cause it's all ahead full for Talk Like A Pirate Day!!! This year's honorary Pirate Treasure goes to the Pac 10 refs. The filthy bilge rats managed to steal a win from Oklahoma in Saturday's OU/UO game.

Two plays were so brazenly miss called that the Pac 10 suspended the officiating staff and replay officials. The Commish, Tom Hansen issued an apology to the University of Oklahoma for the bold piracy.

So lift yer mugs, down yer grog, and give a loud "Aaaarrrrr" fer Piracy everywhere! Ya' might save us all.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Electricity is Cool



A 500 kV switch being flipped. I guess this is a common occurrence.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

We Cause Scenes

In the days of yore, I was a Best Buy employee. Many life lessons regarding business practices, corporate pressure, and management style were learned in those hallowed halls. A friend dropped me this link of people deciding to mess with the boys in blue and yellow.

They collected 80 people dressed in kakis and a royal blue polo. They then sent the 'agents' into a store with instructions.

Spread out and stand near the end of an aisle, facing away from the merchandise. Don't shop, but don't work either. If a customer comes up to you and asks you a question, be polite and help them if you know the answer. If anyone asks you if you work there, say no. If an employee asks you what you're doing, respond 'I'm waiting for my girlfriend/boyfriend who is shopping elsewhere in the store.'


A little bit of harmless mayhem that lasted about 40 minutes. Needless to say, the managers got pretty worried pretty quickly. The cops were called and odd legal arguments were made by people who aren’t lawyers. You can view the pictures and read the specifics here.

If you found that little bit of fun entertaining, check out their list of roughly 60 other 'missions'. This is a pretty good one on how to get Yankee Stadium to give you a standing ovation.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Danger! Children Walking!

My wife runs a daycare. Everyday she corrals 6 kids between the ages of 9 months and 3 years. According to the state, the county, her clients, and me, she does a very good job.

Yesterday, the health department showed up. A complaint had been filed. An investigation had been started. Apparently, my wife was seen taking the kids for.... a walk! Can you believe her arrogance?!? How dare she take the kids outside for exercise. It flies in the face of everything America stands for, diabetes, obesity, laziness, short attention spans, disdain for nature, even consumerism! Everyone knows that those kids should be in front of a TV eating snacks and being inundated with commercials!

Yeah.

Someone with way too much time on their hands went through the trouble of reporting her for taking the kids on a walk. I would have loved to hear how the phone call went down. The health department is required to follow up on all claims, so they sent out a representative. The rep showed up, saw everything was great, filled out a visitation form, and left. The best part was the rep showed up while they were on a walk to the park.

SPACE!

As you know, I'm a self proclaimed geek and a touch of a environmentalist. I have high hopes for the commercial industry to move into space. It would be especially satisfying if we could get our most polluting operations off of the planet I live on.

We're pretty far away from that kind of operation, but not as far as I had thought. I found this today that brought into focus how common place space has become. I hadn't realized, but the human race is putting satellites and people into space at least once a week. Those are the public launches. I'm sure there are military agencies around the world shooting rockets that aren't reported.

Perhaps a bit of help from some new AI sources, and it will be cost effective to start utilizing resources millions of miles away.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Icebergs

I'm not sure I need to say anything here except I want one.



Oh, and a pool that would fit it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

40 Years of Trek



We have boldly gone to so many damn planets that the series has exhausted itself. The only hope for trekkies currently lies with Star Trek XI due out in 2008 staring Matt Damon. Nevertheless this series has defined a large part of human culture. It champions science, logic, and tolerance which the whole world could use a lot more of.

Cheers to Star Trek.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tool

Way back in '96 I picked up Tool's Aenima CD. If you recall, the album had some pretty disturbing images that could be animated with the grated jewel case. I distinctly remember my mother finding the case. She picked it up and mulled it over. Then she looks at me and says, "Is this something I should be worried about?"

I remember this event because it was a pivotal moment for me. I was just barely to the age where you start to understand your parents. When she posed the question I remember thinking, "Maybe this IS something we should be worried about."

One of the writers for 4cr is having one of these moments. He printed off a GameFAQs walkthrough for Castlevania, and accidentally mixed a page up in some forms his mother needed to sign. This is the note the concerned mother left for her son.



I still listen to Aenima, and I think Eric will be ok. But thanks for worrying about us anyway.


Games
GameInterestRelease Date
Civilization IV1
C&C 31
Company of Heroes1
Half Life 21
Half Life 2: Episode One1
Supreme Commander1
Call of Duty 22
Darwinia2
Dungeon Runners2
Dungeon Siege II2
Far Cry2
Galactic Civilization II2
Hitman: Blood Money2
Jade Empire2
Neverwinter Nights 22
Prey2
Psychonauts2
Sam & Max: Episode 12
Titan Quest2
Dark Messiah Might and Magic3
Defcon3
Heroes of Might and Magic V3
Indigo Prophecy3
KOTOR II3
LEGO Star Wars3
Marvel Ultimate Alliance3
Space Rangers 2: The Rise of the Dominators3
STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl3
Stubbs the Zombie3
War Front3
Warhammer: Mark of Chaos3
Infernal35/8/2007
Shadowrun25/9/07
Pirates of the Burning SeaM6/1/2007
Enemy Territory: Quake Wars?6/5/2007
Two Worlds?6/26/07
Sins of A Solar Empire?8/1/2007
BioShock18/21/2007
Mass Effect19/7/07
Age of ConanM10/30/07
Crysis1Fall 2007
Elveon?Fall 2007
Half-Life 2: Episode Two1Fall 2007
Portals1Fall 2007
Spore1Fall 2007
Stranglehold?Fall 2007
Tabula RasaMFall 2007
Team Fortress 22Fall 2007
Dragon Age?Winter 2007
Fable 2?Winter 2007
Field Ops?Winter 2007
Halo Wars?Winter 2007
Gods & Heroes: Rome RisingMWinter 2007
Haze?Winter 2007
Hellgate: London1Winter 2007
HuxleyMWinter 2007
Kane & Lynch: Dead Men?Winter 2007
Left 4 Dead?Winter 2007
The AgencyMSpring 2008
Empire Earth III?Spring 2008
Guild Wars 2 MSpring 2008
Jericho?Spring 2008
Sacred 2?Spring 2008
Savage 2?Spring 2008
Time Shift2Spring 2008
Universe at War: Earth Assault3Spring 2008
The Witcher?Spring 2008
CellFactor?2008
Darkest of Days?2008
On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkeness: Episode 122008
Warhammer OnlineM2008
Alliance: The Silent War??
Alone in the Dark??
Assassin's Creed??
BioWare MMO??
The Crossing??
Dungeon Hero??
Fallout 3??
Lego Batman??
Mythos??
Overloard??
Space Seige??
Culdcept SagaPC??
Gears of WarPC??
God of WarPC??
Beautiful KatamariPC??
OkamiPC??
Resistance: Fall of ManPC??
Odin's SpherePC??
Castle CrashersPC??

1 - I will buy it
2 - I'll buy it at discount
3 - Other people think it's good, but I wasn't interested when I first heard about it
M - Mainly Multiplayer. See if friends get interested.
? - Find out more about this game
PC? - Will it be released on the PC?