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This is the first actual competitor to the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) that I have seen. Quick background, if you have an iPod you use iTunes to sync your music with it. Ok yes there are other clients out there that will get music on the iPod but the vast majority of iPod users use iTunes. Every piece of music I've purchased over the last 3+ years has been through the iTMS. Why? Because it's simple, convenient and did I mention it's simple? Click a button the music downloads and syncs to my iPod. To quote Steve Jobs "Bam!"

Now I will mention the downside to the iTMS, namely DRM. Until about a year or so ago I burned out all my purchases to CD and then imported them back so I could have MP3 files. I wasn't really worried about losing authorization as I was about my iPod dying and being able to play them on other things. Of course this was not so "Bam!" The reason I stopped doing the burn/rip/import thing was that I finally got my music on a backup schedule. Oh and I got really lazy about popping CDs in and out of my computer.

Enter the Amazon MP3 store. They are offering 256kbs VBR (Variable Bit Rate) MP3 files. Which in layman's terms means that they don't have DRM restrictions and they are about as high quality as MP3s can be. Ok my bad, in true layman's terms you can play them on anything that can handle an MP3 file. If you don't know what an MP3 file is then you are not a layman, maybe a hermit in a cave so what the hell are you doing reading LJ?

I decided to test out their store last night. Going in I knew I had to download a client to get full albums so I did that. Now I was faced with a choice, what album do I want to download? "The Slim Shady"* it is so I click on the link. Then had to double click the file it downloaded. Then I had to click ok to the dialog that asked if I really wanted to open the file with Amazon's download client. To be fair Amazon's instructions describe the last step and it is a security feature of Mac OS X. It still was annoying.

After that though, pure astonishment. The Amazon client imported the MP3 files into my iTunes library which then synced perfectly with my iPod. Files that I don't have to export to CD and then import. Files which will play on any computer I might own. Joy.

While it isn't as seamless as iTMS it's still very good and in many cases cheaper. Mr. Gruber made some good points about pricing and availability of various tracks and albums. The short story is that the iTMS has more total music but Amazon's MP3 Store has some things that iTMS doesn't. From my quick survey Amazon's store is also cheaper, in general, on a per album basis.

Overall I will be looking to download music from Amazon MP3 over iTMS, I just wish they made it easier. Their download client really could, and should, become a HTML music portal just like iTunes. That way on the Mac, PC or Linux they could provide a way to easily search for music and download it to the users preferred location. I like the idea of a general web interface, that means that I can find whatever they have on pretty much anything. But having the option to use a dedicated client, especially one that can transfer individual songs as well as albums into my preferred music manager would be a great bonus.

All in all though a great start. I do have to give some props to Apple and Messer Jobs, if they didn't make the effort to show the RIAA that they knew what they were doing, and then sticking to their guns on pricing and pushing back on DRM, I don't think we would be in this place today. We now have two of the big four music companies selling DRM free music over the intartubes. That is a large step in the right direction.

*I picked this one because my girl has it and I figured I should buy it if I wanted to listen, "guilt free", to the songs. Ok I lie, I just wanted it. The very odd thing was that the "ZOMG explicit" version was cheaper than the censored version. By about a $1.50 if I remember right.
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I had hoped that he would overcome the odds.

Current Mood: morose morose

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Well after my last post I started seeing more of the whinging and moaning about the iPhone price cut. A whole lot more. In one thread I posted this:
To all those that are out side of the 2 week window, refund or rebate, I have one question, "Have you been satisfied with the iPhone before you heard of the price drop?" If yes then it was obviously a good value to you at the price. Complaining about it now is just regret that you didn't wait couple of months to buy one. But if it suited your needs successfully in the interim I just don't see the need for outrage. Any, I mean any, electronics purchase will be fraught with this peril. There is always the danger that a better and/or cheaper model will come out or that there will be a price reduction.

If you answered no to the question, well then I'm sorry you purchased a device that wasn't up to your expectations or didn't suit your needs.
But then I saw this post thanks to John Gruber of daringfireball.net. There really is something to this argument, "I paid a gagillion-bagillion dollars for this thing to be special and unique and NOW the plebians can all pick one up. Dammit who do I sue?" It really reminds me of my brother getting so mad when Siouxsie and the Banshees became popular with "Peek-a-Boo". Actually mad may be a bit of an understatement, pissed the fuck off is more correct. At the time I didn't understand it, why would you be upset that a band you like is getting popular and actually making more money? Really why? Later on I realized that it wasn't about the bands worth, it was about the fact that a good band was only know to the select few, the in the know, the elite if you will. Now that they were on the Top-40 stations all "street cred" from knowing them back in the day was lost. Oh some could sneer and look down their noses saying "I saw them back in 1845 and bought a burlap t-shirt!" But the exclusivity was largely gone. And so it is now, anyone that can afford to buy an iPod, well the iPod Touch anyway, can get an iPhone instead. Oh the humanity.


Just because I haven't seen it mentioned by anyone other than myself and wanted to call dibs on it, below is what I wrote prior to the quote above.
Anyone else remember the quarterly investor/analyst call Apple had a bit ago? If I recall correctly they spoke of lower margins due to a "product transition". Seems to me the iPod Touch is a pretty major product transition. Not to mention that when you can get the iPod Touch for significantly less than $600 that pretty much meant Apple had to make an aggressive price cut. This is without even taking into account the economics 101 comment I made above. With it, this looks like a pretty well planed product roll out by Apple. It also helps throw into light the lack of a SDK for the iPhone. They didn't have one device but two they were developing that might need it.
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If you have no interest in iPods, Zunes, teh Apples and self justifying behavior then mosey on along then.

I am constantly amused at the lengths people will go to to justify the things they buy and are attached to. Probably because at one point in time I was a big evangelist of the Macintosh computer. In the words of bynkii I was a MacMac. So after viewing the various postings about the Apple Event today I was surprised to come across this blog and comments.

Reading through the post it is pretty fair. The comments for the most part are also pretty low on the noise to signal ratio. Oh there are a couple that are flame bait, but for the most part they are disappointed in the failed potential of the Zune. Quite frankly this had me pretty shocked. So I endured the login process and posted the quoted lines at the end of this post.

And then discovered that it had to be approved by moderators. Oh well. I'm posting this here not to be snarky but to preserve what I said in some form. Plus to provide a bit of context so I don't have to answer things repeatedly.

First of all I do own an iPod. A 4G (i think, that is the last monochrome iPod yes) that I've been very happy with. I've also purchased an orignal iPod Nano and a 5.5G iPod for my fiancee. No not at the same time. I've also helped several people recover from some weird iTunes madness. I salivated over the iPhone when it was first announced however I didn't buy one. Even if price was no object it just didn't solve anything I needed it to. My 4G iPod is fine. Everything else was just extra for $600.

Ok if price was no object I would have bought two and taken one of them apart, but still.

I read the reports on Apple's event today and I have to say I'm a bit more close to buying an iPhone or an iPod Touch. But not enough closer to actually pay for one. The iPod Classic 160GB is tempting... no... must resist!

All this to put the following into context.

Ok apart from one or two people commenting most of you seem to be doing some valid comparisons between the existing Zune and the new iPods.

I'm really trying to figure out what the issue really is with Apple's Media Event today. Yes they announced some very sexy hardware that will be selling today or in the next month. Yes they have a iPod touch that is basically an iPhone without the phone, speaker, Google Maps, Mail, and some other things that I haven't figured out. Oh and now there seems to be one iPhone model, the 8GB for $400 and the 4GB seems to be discontinued once they sell all of them for $300.

My questions are:

Are you happy with your Zune? Does it do what you expected it to when you bought it?

If the answer is yes then what is the problem? If the answer is no then I'm sorry. If the answer is that it doesn't do what you hoped it would do after updates... well I'm sure you can commiserate with some iPhone buyers that are complaining about the price drop.

Beyond that, wishing that Microsoft would do something is about as effective as wishing Apple would do something. Oh we all want a tweak to this or that, but each company is going to do what they want to in the end.

In both cases buying a product from a company for what it might do in the future is pretty damn silly. Buy something for what it does. If you get added features in the future then bonus. Just don't expect them.
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Just because I find this hysterical I will pass it on.

OMFG... the magazine

Thanks to bynkii and mercurialmind for the heads up.
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Ok this is just cool. A Tesla coil that generates music using high voltage sparks? I gotta get me one of these!

Singing Tesla Coil

Current Mood: impressed impressed

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Major spoilers for the season three Doctor Who finale. If you are even remotely interested in this show do not click through. This means you. I mean it.Collapse )

Current Mood: giddy giddy

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First off, I'm going to use the term black instead of "African American" in this post. I've already ranted about my absolute contempt for political correctness but let me just explain my reason for this substitution. "African American" is nothing more than a politically correct meaning for a person who has skin that is noticeably darker than the average U.S. citizen who can trace there ancestry back to Africa at some point. Question for the class, if you are from, or had ancestors from, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Algeria or various other less than black countries in Africa do you get to claim you are an "African American?" If you said anything other than not a fucking chance go stand in the corner.

So on to the point of this rant. It seems an actor was fired from a TV show. Why was he fired you may ask? Well according to him it's because he is black. His great big booming voice made the powers that be quake in their boots. Of course he neglects to mention that he has anger issues. Definitely not that those same anger issues have shown up throughout his career and caused him to denigrate homosexuals. Nope. It's because the booming voice of a black man scares whitey.

The utter hypocrisy of this just astounds me. Apparently he can express his own prejudices however he wants to but still wear the mantle of victim. I don't care that the antics of Jesse "hymie town" Jackson or "Reverend" Al "slander and shout" Sharpton might make someone think that they can always fall back on their skin color, but in the world I like to call reality it doesn't work that way. You screw up, you pay the price. This is what is called the learning process, the thing that should help you to become wiser. Sometimes. But if you continue to blame your mistakes on anyone other than yourself you will be in a world of hurt. Unless you are an outspoken "pillar" of some minority group, then you are on the gravy train.

Ask me again why I hate "political, mealy mouthed correctness?"

Current Mood: pissed off pissed off

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Everything behind a cut because I don't want to beat around the bush. Here there be spoilers, yar!Collapse )
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As most of you probably know Gene Roddenberry was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. What you may not know is that Wil Wheaton was given the honor of presenting the induction. If you have any appreciation for Science Fiction I suggest you give this a look. On the other hand if you think of explosions, lasers and scantily clad women whenever the topic of Science Fiction comes up you really need to read this.

Wil Wheaton's Induction Speech for Gene Roddenberry
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I pretty much am assured that anyone reading this right now has not seen the latest Doctor Who episode. So all I will say is fraking watch it already! I'm literally bursting with the need to discuss it with long time Whovians. Seriously, I might explode. So if you see a mushroom cloud in the North Hollywood area, that's me.

Sorry in advance for raising the threat level to orange. My bad.

Current Mood: ecstatic ecstatic

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I know I'm in danger of being an all Doctor Who poster but bear with me. After watching this episode, and the prior two parter, I remembered this comment I made. I still stand by it, don't get me wrong. But it made me realize that in this third season of Doctor Who the writers have gained the freedom that Ronald Moore and his team had at the beginning of their reboot of Battlestar Galactica.

The writers are pushing the envelope and I'm loving every bit of it. Blink could have been a throwaway episode. Really, in the first season it might have been. Hell in Torchwood it might have been a three parter waste of time. The writers though, well they made an episode that

Spoiler cutCollapse )

I really enjoyed. Not quite as good as Human Nature and Family of Blood but up there. So one happy camper right here.

Current Mood: happy happy

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Just finished watching "Evolution of the Daleks". And prior to that "The Runaway Bride", "Smith and Jones" (yet again), "The Shakespeare Code" and "Daleks in Manhattan."

Now I'm not saying there weren't some awkward points in a few of these episodes but The Doctor is definitely fucking in.

So what the hell was up with "Torchwood"?

Current Mood: geeky geeky

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Stop acting like used car salesmen.

Stop trying to do an end run around a company's hiring practices.

If by some chance you talk to someone outside of the normal chain, don't argue with them when they try to point you back to the proper person.

Oh and lectures about how other companies do it differently are right out.

A little secret I will impart for you. Smaller companies will deflect your calls because you are wasting the time of any developer you talk to and whomever you are pitching will need to go through the normal hiring process anyway. Larger companies will shut you out because you are wasting the time of any developer you talk to and and whomever you are pitching will need to go through the normal hiring process anyway.

Seeing a trend there? Ok probably not based on my experience but I can hope.

Dear god, I can only hope.

Current Mood: irritated irritated

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Recently a blogger received harassing comments and death threats. Well it was a month ago or so. Some people took the effort to track down personal information. You know phone numbers, addresses, names that sort of thing. This person felt, rightly so, threatened and posted to their blog that because of this they would not be continuing on-line. Ya know I can understand that. It's not the first time someone has been targeted for what they posted. Actually it's not the first time someone has been targeted randomly according to some asshat's whim.

What I really don't understand is the firestorm that it set off in the "bologsphere" (blogomeh). Ok that's not true, the blogomeh is basically the third, maybe fourth, generation of usenet only accessible by pretty much everyone. I know the "Endless September" advocates out there will say it used to be good back in the day. Bollocks. The flame wars back then were truly astounding in their juvenile behavior.

In this case it was a prominent blogger that was known and well liked by other prominent bloggers. Support and well wishing were offered and I thought that would be it. For being a cynic I'm kinda stupid sometimes. Tim O'reilly (Radar) decided to come out with a bloggers code of conduct. It has been altered at the wiki to be less stupid. Please be aware that "Less Stupid" is a relative term.

Anyone willing to subscribe to this "Code" is already doing so. Anyone who doesn't really couldn't give a fuck. This makes me wonder who this is really for? Ok anyone who participates in the "Civility Enforced" sites can feel safe that their opinions will not be rudely challenged, all arguments will be couched in self effacing terms so as not to offend.

From the "Code" (As of 4/13/2007) We do not allow pseudonymous comments, but will allow anonymous ones.
We require commenters to supply a valid email address or OpenID before they can post, though we allow commenters to identify themselves as anonymous, rather than use their real name, which is the difference between pseudonymous and anonymous. We can always trace someone pseudonym.
(For discussion on this please visit the talk page.)

This one is my favorite. Apparently you now can be anonymous but if you use a pseudonym we will track you down! Oh wait you must have a valid email address. Er even if it's a from random web email provider. Oh but if you say you want to be anonymous you are! Okay. Er no it's not. Here's my deal. This "Code of Conduct" is pretty much a way to say I can do what I want with comments. Oh and be held liable for the comments I let through. Bonus! But it's all good because I will wrap everyone in swaddling clothes so no one has to view the real world.

According to Radar I have to figure out everyone's take, thought or bug up there ass about every thing I might post or comment about. Then be oh so polite about saying that they are oh so wrong and this is the true thing but if you disagree it's ok and I understand why you think that but I think this an oh well that is valid and I can see that you have a point even though I don't buy it for a second but I nod and say that is so true but what if... oh you are angry well then I guess I'm wrong but maybe sometime we can have this discussion again and oh I see well you must be right.


True discussion is not civil. Oh we may pull back and not say truly offensive things depending on the people we are talking with but civil really doesn't enter into into it. Passionate discourse has little to do with civility. Which brings me back to my point. People will disagree with you. People will probably not like you. You can retreat to a haven where everyone agrees, but if you don't, "Get a fucking helmet."* Maybe I'm the only person that liked "The Village" but that movie was a case in point on how walling off the cold hard world isn't a panacea on all problems. Perhaps Radar should get that from NetFlicks and give it a view.

The problem is that, at least in the US, civil discussion seems to equal rational discussion for many people. I would rather have a knock down, drag out, screaming fight with someone who is rational than have a "discussion" with a civil person who couldn't find rational on a map.

People can be mean, stupid, arrogant, nasty, petty, spiteful... Well the list is pretty much endless. So why is it that the general consensus is to try and protect everyone from realizing this? Oh right because to do otherwise means people can't feel like victims when they are called "teh stupid" on the intartubes. Rather than teaching people how to deal with the inanity on the internet we want them to couch everything in mealy mouthed platitudes just so we can avoid offending "someone".

Well fuck that. You might as well ask Buddha for a pony and a plastic rocket.** It's just not going to happen. Rodney King once said "Can't we all just get along?" Looking back through 4000 plus years of history it's pretty self evident that, no, we can't just get along. We can either deal with that or hide under the covers from the scary. I've got a helmet and it's way too hot under them covers so I know what I'm going to do.

* Denis Leary
** Yes I shamelessly stole this from "Serenity"

Current Mood: frustrated frustrated

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Thanks to some cool and very insane people I've met since I made the trek to California, I've been getting back into the role playing saddle. After a fifteen year or so hiatus I got sucked in by a game called "Dogs in the Vineyard". The world of that game can pretty much be summed up thusly, gun slinging Mormons in the wild west. With demons. Last summer found me slowly stretching my character development muscles as Thomas rode from town to town with his flawed, cynical and bitter compatriots.

Now I was just a tad nervous when we started playing. After all the people I was playing with had been role playing on a regular basis since, well, forever. Partly I didn't want to make a fool of myself by being completely inept. However my biggest fear was letting the others down if I couldn't hold my own.

Overall I did fairly well. The first game was the hardest of course. Having to create a character, come up with a back story, choose appropriate traits etc. Combine that with dusting off of the RPG cobwebs it was a bit nerve wracking. Over the weeks though I started getting a better idea of who Thomas was and how he would react to things. The one thing I will always remember though is the phrase "Stop or I will end you." I loved using that trait, just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

After a couple months of playing, for a several reasons, it was decided to end Dogs and to start playing something new, "Primetime Adventures". The background with this one is a TV show. The game play is not producing or making it, but the actual story as it would appear on TV. Unfortunately at about the same time my new job started taking up pretty much all of my available time so I couldn't participate in season one. Season two, though, was a whole different matter.

The first night I had a bit of deja-vu to my Dogs indoctrination. Again I would be playing with two veteran RPGers that I had not played with before and I was having a complete mental blank on what I wanted my character to be. Over the night I slowly pieced together a rough frame work to start with. It helped that this was a "preproduction" night that was basically about getting me up to speed on game mechanics and on the story so far as well as making sure everyone was on the same page for the up-coming season.

The first two episodes went fairly well over all. William introduced an interesting element into the story and actually helped to re-vive the languishing plot line of a NPC. However I wasn't really satisfied with what I was doing with the character. Oh I knew how he would respond in most cases but I was smelling the faint oder of Mary Sue.

Episode three however was a bit different. Maybe it was that William was in a lot of scenes and the various interactions gave me ideas. Perhaps things were percolating in the back of my mind. Whatever it was, about halfway through the show, something clicked. I knew where I wanted to take William. Instead of just reacting in the scenes I could start driving the plot in a far more interesting manner. Going home that night I was practically giddy.

Last night was episode four and probably the most fun to date. As each scene progressed I kept seeing little things that gave me potential character directions as the plot unfolds in future episodes. All in all I'm enjoying myself immensely.

The writers of "Lost" really need to play this game. I'm dead serious. I think it's the only thing that would help them come up with an actual plot that isn't completely incoherent.
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When I was a teenage bundle of hormones I used to think that there were certain events that marked the path toward being something I thought of as a grownup. Attending college, moving out of the parent's house, becoming thirty. Those kinds of things. Of course as each stage came and went I didn't feel any different and my official "Grownup" membership card never materialized in the mail. Last night another grownup event occurred, one which I used to believe I would never see pass.

Shortly after midnight I asked divatreasure to marry me. While I'm still not officially a grownup, she said yes so she's stuck with me.

P.S. Would someone please explain to me why the first question everyone asks when they find out you're engaged is "So when is the wedding date?"
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Since we don’t get to go to the movies that often, my girl and I decided to go see one last night. Eragon was our choice. A light fantasy/action adventure movie seemed like a good idea, plus dragons! If you want a quick summary of what I liked about it here goes:
  1. The dragon, Saphira, was really well done. Both the CGI and the voice acting.
  2. It was a relatively short movie.
So what didn’t I like about it?
Cut for spoilersCollapse )
I was going to say that children would probably enjoy this movie the most, but there are some fairly violent scenes (arrows puncturing skulls, swords through chests) and some moments that may be quite scary. So all in all if you really do want to see this movie, rent the DVD or wait for it to be shown on the SciFi channel.

The dragon was really fucking cool though.

Current Mood: indifferent indifferent

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1 + 1 = 3 for large values of 1

I find this hysterical. Whether it's because of my uber geek humor gene or I've been working way to much is up for debate.

Current Mood: giddy giddy

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Picked up from adarkjewel who snagged from pbray

Directions: Go here and look through random quotes until you find five that you think reflect who you are or what you believe. Repost in your journal.

Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth, but supreme beauty - a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.
- Bertrand Russell

The opposite of the religious fanatic is not the fanatical atheist but the gentle cynic who cares not whether there is a god or not.
- Eric Hoffer

Always remember others may hate you but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.
- Richard M. Nixon

Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
- Aldous Huxley

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts.
-Bertrand Russell

Runners up

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable.
- John Kenneth Galbraith

Could you imagine how horrible things would be if we always told others how we felt? Life would be intolerably bearable.
- Randy K. Milholland

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: Shampoo Suicide - Broken Social Scene

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Damn me if that cliche isn't true, the weight I didn't realize was there has been lifted.
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Back in the heady days of junior high, sex was simple. Manage to pilfer a Playboy or Penthouse and you were set. Merely opening the pages pretty much assured an erection and the rest was history. Personally I always preferred Penthouse, the Forum letters added a spice when the airbrushed nakedness failed to excite. Oh who am I kidding I was 14. In the immortal (paraphrased) words of Xander, "Linoleum excited me."

Women actually having bodily functions, gasp, never occurred. Well it didn't until that pesky "Human Sexuality Class" but after that it was mostly period this, pregnancy that, oh crap I'm going to die from testicular cancer. Funny how "Human Sexuality" never really covers snoring. Frankly that is a pretty basic shortcoming. How can anyone expect to sleep with someone, yes sleep as in actually going to sleep, if they aren't prepared for snoring. Or flailing arms. Not to mention the hogging of the covers.

Over the years I was able to experience pretty much all of those. And more but since I'm pretending to be a gentleman I won't go into details. The upside is that it's easy to do anything for a night. Lack of sleep is not a problem over a couple of days. When it's only a couple of days. Or nights. Key to this is LIMITED.

So years pass, ages come and go, and I fall for a Las Vegas girl. One thing leads to another. I go out to meet her, we hit it off and then it happens. The thing that "Human Sexuality" never mentioned, snoring. Now I can sleep pretty much anywhere around anything but the snoring just throws me. After a couple of nights it's not so intrusive. But then I leave and the next time I have to adjust again.

At some point though something changed. I would like to say that it was just me being here full time. Not so much though. I just stopped noticing the snoring. Sleep came and that was pretty much it.

Except when I wake up and don't hear snoring. Then I have to peak around the wall and make sure she is breathing. I'm not really paranoid, it's just that it's usually there so I wonder what is wrong if the sound is missing.

It is there tonight and I hope I never miss it.
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I find this interesting in that several of the items it picked kind of re-inforce each other.

LJ Interests meme results

  1. btvs:
    For those that don't know this stands for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." While my interest is more for the tv series I also enjoyed the movie, Paul Reubens' death scene had me in hysterics. When the series first started as a mid-season replacement the name Joss Whedon meant nothing to me. Now of course I am one of his loyal minions who is ready to take over the world at his say so. What drew me into this show was the characterization, writing and humor. Oh the humor, it's fits me perfectly. How this show did not win one Emmy I don't know. From each season I can pick out two or three episodes that would have been perfect candidates.
  2. conspiracies:
    Conspiracy theories are like ghost stories to me. I love to delve into them and get a good shiver but I don't really believe them. I think that is why I fell in love with the X-Files so quickly, a show that combined both. Sometime in high school I read the "Illuminatus!" trilogy and that sparked the interest in ancient secret societies, mysterious relics, aliens among us and the like.
  3. fire:
    Whether camping or in a fireplace I revel in the sight, sound and smell of a wood fire. I don't know if it's due to some ancient ancestor curled up next to a fire in some primordial era for protection but it just projects safety and comfort to me. The way it lights up a room, the color it gives everything, just seems right. I also enjoy candle flame. I usually have one or two candles around for when the moment strikes me.
  4. intelligence:
    This one is straight forward. I find intelligent people interesting and basically have it as a requirement for people I consider friends. On a side note I find epistemology fascinating.
  5. mexican food:
    I like Mexican food. Well I guess it's more of tex-mex than true Mexican food, you know relanos, tacos, fajitas, etc. Since I live in Colorado this is a good thing. I spent a number of years working in a local Mexican restraunt as a bus boy when I was in high school and met several of my friends there.
  6. penny arcade:
    I've been reading this comic for a while and I like it's geeky humor. Plus the sarcasm, one can never have too much sarcasm.
  7. science:
    Growing up I liked the idea that we can figure out how things work. What started to happen as I took science class over the years, especially the astronomy and physics classes in college, was that I started to see the absolutely amazing way in they way our universe is built. When I hear people say they think science is cold or that it takes the beauty and mystery out of life I don't know quite what to say. Because I know why the sky is blue or why sunsets are orange doesn't make me appreciate them less. Quite the opposite, it makes me wondrous that they exist at all.
  8. space:
    I had a large poster of the Space Shuttle on the wall by the side of my bed since I was 11. At least. My young imagination was captured by the possibilities described in the science fiction books I read. Living on other worlds, cities in space, travel between planets for the Everyman. Later this interest would grow to include what is out there, what are the planets made of, the sun, how does it work. I think a part of me knew that I wouldn't get there myself but that I could bring a part of it to me by learning about it. Come to think if it, it's an additional reason for the science interest above.
  9. thrillers:
    I love being held in suspense, to be spooked, to have to continually re-evaluate what is going on. When they are done right there is usually this moment when everything falls together and the gong goes off in my brain. Aside from being kept on the edge of my seat, that little mental click is why I love thrillers. I don't know if it's endorphins mixing with the adrenalin or what but that moment is marvelous. On the down side that only happens the first time I see or read something for obvious reasons.
  10. x-files:
    I think I answered most of this under conspiracy and thrillers up above. But to elaborate a bit on the "ghost story" side of it, I like being spooked. To fell a shiver run down my spine. I prefer subtlety over slasher. For example "The Changeling" is far creepier to me than say "Friday the 13th." The X-Files hit one out of the park with the first episode I saw "Stretch". When I first heard about the show I thought it was a paranormal documentary type of thing. Not sure how I got that impression but there it is. I was home one Friday night, shocker I know, so I turned it on figuring I could at least rip on it in my boredom. I did not expect to have the heebee jeebies scared out of me. When I got to the arc episodes about the alien conspiracy I was hooked. By the end the series had clearly jumped the shark but they still managed to turn out some creepy episodes. Oh and I will never watch the episode "Home" ever again. Once was enough. Why I can watch a tumor man regrowing himself but not in-bred killers I don't know but "Home" made me feel ill.

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If you are sick to death of hearing about the cartoon riots just scroll right on by.

Still with me? Ok. So we are all on the same page I'm going to describe what I understand has happened. At the end of last September a large, Danish, newspaper printed an article about the journalistic self-censorship as it applies to Muslims and the pressure from Muslim groups to not violate their religious beliefs. The paper had asked artists to create cartoons that deliberately would be blasphemous in nature to Muslims since they depicted the Prophet Muhammad. About three weeks later various Muslim ambassadors complain to the Danish Primer Minister. Around the middle of January a Norwegian paper printed the cartoons. Near the end of that month the EU's office in Gaza was attacked by gunmen in order to demand an apology. Shortly thereafter the newspaper did indeed apologize. Then papers in several other European countries re-printed the cartoons and several days after that the shit hit the fan. If I've messed any of this up please let me know.

So first things first, what were these cartoons? Will with the help of Google I found a Brussles blog that had them posted, you will have to scroll down to the end of the post. I also found a BBC article that describes them but does not display them. If you go to look at the cartoons I suggest you give the BBC one a quick read as it translates all of the text and gives some background on a couple that require knowledge of Denmark politics and slang.

Now from a non-Muslim complete outsiders perspective I can see that four, maybe five, for them would probably tick Muslims off. A couple of those seem to associated Muslims with terrorism, two more take a pokes at the treatment of women (although one of those is a bizarre doodle accompanied by a poem) and the last from the ambiguous position of the crescent over his head. Five of them are clearly satyrical about the situation, one of them bringing up the point that no one even knows what he looks like. Of the remaining two we have a man in the desert and a faced superimposed on a star and crescent.

Frankly I've seen far worse depiction of Muslims in various editorial cartoons over the years than I see here. So I'm left with the fact that it is the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad that has kicked off the wave of violence across the globe. I understand they might be offended, especially without the accompanying article. As an aside I have not been able to find an english translation of that article so if anyone can send me a link that would be great. As far as I can tell only the group of cartoons made the rounds in the Muslim world along with three more bogus cartoons (far more offensive) that some helpful person decided needed to be included.

These cartoons seem to not only be seen as blasphemous but as a coordinated attack on the religion of Islam in general and the Muslim people in particular. This take has inspired many to protest and demand many things among them, Denmark to apologize and the EU to create a law prohibiting the depiction of Muhammad. Obviously not all of these protests are peaceful and there have been deaths and wanton destruction in many of them. Some of the more violent protesters have proclaimed that they will not stop until their demands are met.

In response to this all I have to say is tough noogies.

If you can't tell, I'm done being polite. There is a fundamental disconnect about the west that it seems a large part of the Muslim world shares. The first thing the jumped out at me were the calls to have Denmark, not the newspaper but Denmark, apologize. Denmark has not one fucking thing to apologize for. Well maybe they do, the never codified into law every religious no-no in existence. The bastards. What has me curious is this, is there really this idea that our governments control what the news organizations say? That is a monumental problem if it's true. Whatever the case here is my deal, I don't even think the newspaper needed to apologize. The whole point of the article was that people went out of their way to not offend the sensibilities of Muslims out of fear of a violent response. Gee I wonder why?

The pain in the ass thing about freedom of speech, it lets people say things that will piss you off. Yup that's right. It's what I think of as the right to offend and to be offended. Iran's reaction to this is almost comical. This quote is my favorite
"The serious question for Muslims is whether the West extends freedom of expression to the crimes committed by the United States and Israel, or an event such as the Holocaust, or is its freedom only for insulting religious sanctities?"
Someone clearly has never seen the editorial page of our newspapers. That same someone apparently doesn't realize that there are numerous anti-semitic groups in this country that would suit him to a tee. It's a fact of life in the U.S., and I assume the rest of the "Western" countries, that you will get offended. Deal with it. Don't throw a temper tantrum and try to extort another government to make it against the law to piss you off.

To all those rioting and finding new and interesting things to burn: If you want to perpetuate the image that Muslims are barely contained bundles of violence just waiting to explode, keep it up. I keep hearing people say the Islam is a religion of peace and toleration. It very well may be, but if so they need to find better people to represent their religion to the world. When I see people destroying things to send a message it doesn't make me feel sympathetic. I'm not inclined to support anti-abortion groups when they bomb a clinic so why would I do it for Muslims? The sad fact of the matter is that I don't think a majority of Muslims are involved in these acts but you don't make the news bitching to your neighbor. But think about this, what if the Danish Muslim group that worked so hard to spread the cartoons around the Muslim world had instead applied the same energy to working within the law bring a suit against the newspaper for defamation? I don't know if it would have prevented what has happened but it would have set a precedent that there just might be another way to handle things.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed

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I've had these foisted off on me so now it's my duty to share the pain. First a couple of groaner jokes:
A group of friars lived in a monastery. As with many monasteries, the friars found it necessary to run a small business to support themselves. They ran a floral shop. One day one of the friars brought in an exquisite find: a Venus fly trap. It was such a cute thing, they couldn't bear to sell it, so they just kept it on display. But after a while, it grew so big that flies were no longer enough to satisfy it. It ate cockroaches, but it kept growing. It ate mice, but it still kept growing. It ate chipmunks, squirrels, cats, then raccoons and dogs and ponies. Finally the villagers got wise to this and attempted to put a stop to it. But try as they might, no one could. One way or another, the friars outsmarted the townsfolk and raided their farms of large animals. Finally the villagers pooled their money and hired a professional named Hugh to come in and capture the friars. Hugh stormed the monastery, destroyed the fly trap, captured the friars, and turned them over to the police. The moral of this story is: Only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

Mahatma Gandhi was a peculiar person. He walked barefoot everywhere, to the point that his feet became quite thick and hard. He often went on hunger strikes, and even when he wasn't on a hunger strike, he did not eat much and became quite thin and frail. He also was a very spiritual person. Finally, because he didn't eat much and when he did his diet was peculiar, he developed very bad breath. He became known as a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.
And finally Pac Man as you've never seen him before and probably won't ever want to again.
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