Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, New Laptop, New Resolutions

So, my ASUS laptop, which I just got in August, has died. The motherboard is shot, or at least that's what the Geek Squad guy said. On the bright side, I got to trade in for a brand new HP Pavilion. It's been running smoothly so far, but I haven't finished installing things yet. I guess only time will tell if this one works in the long run, but I've got a good feeling about this one.

Changing gears a bit, I figure now is as good a time as any to talk about new year's resolutions. Does anyone remember that little serial sci-fi novel thing I had going a while ago? You know, the one nobody read and nobody cared about? Well, my main resolution this year is to get that project going again. I doubt it'll take off in popularity, but I just miss having something fun to work on in my downtime. So, hopefully this will be a lot more interesting to look at soon.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Free Running

Anyone else think this looks way too cool to work on the wii? Nonetheless, it's got my attention.

Re: Nostalgia

Alright, Schunk, are you happy now? I'm talking about you on the Internet. Jeez...

For those who don't know, while I was at Marist I had, and sort of still have, an arch-rival. He was the Joker to my Batman; the mongoose to my rattlesnake; the obnoxious man-child to my... well, you get the idea. This lovable bane of my existence goes by the name of Matt Schunk.

When it came to WWE videogames, our rivalry was unmatched. Legitimate matches usually degenerated to insults and accusations of cheating from both sides. I'd win through some clever but underhanded move, and he'd call me a cheater. He'd pull the same kind of thing in our next match and celebrate like it was Wrestlemania. Schunk was a sore winner, and he raised trash-talk to the level of an artform. Looking back now, I can't think of anyone else who succeeded at pissing me off quite as much as he did. On one occasion, he actually got me pissed enough that I snapped and attacked him with a hockey stick. I'm not sure where I got a hockey stick, but fortunately I came to my senses when I remembered that, with the shape I was in, he could probably kick my ass blindfolded.

(Still the most viewed video in my YouTube channel)

Honestly, I do miss his antics some days. He always was the life of the party, even if he let it go to his head a little too much. We don't talk much anymore, aside from random updates and favorite wrestlers dying.

(Seriously, Umaga's gone now too? Is there anyone cool left in WWE?)

Still, I get the feeling our rivalry isn't destined to end just yet. Someday, we'll have that big rematch we'd been planning, or at least get together and catch up. In the meantime, I guess I'll have to settle for plotting to kill my roommates instead. Just don't tell them I said that.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Re: Marble Hornets

I don't know if anyone else has been following this series, but I think the fan responses are possibly the best part of the whole affair.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Re: Breast Cancer Awareness

Hey, I love boobs. So, you can understand why I'd be concerned with breast cancer awareness. Well, one of the most breast-friendly sites on the web is having a sort of click drive:

The Breast Cancer Site

If they manage to reach their goal of 5 million clicks, then that's $10,000 more for mammograms. It's a good cause and doesn't cost a thing to participate in, so I'm recommending all my readers (yes, both of you) go to the above site and click on the button. In fact, I would recommend you bookmark the site so you can go back and contribute a click every day.

There are only 17 days left, so get clicking.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Important Update

...I got nothing.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Re: the RNG in BvS

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The RNG is a fickle mistress, but some days she can be oh so sweet.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Re: I'm not dead yet

Just letting you know. I've been pretty sick lately, and on top of that I've been busy with club stuff and school. The weather officially sucks again, so I guess I'll continue being inactive even after I'm over whatever stomach bug I've got.

Anyway, if anybody from Marist is reading this, I miss you guys. We really have to figure out a time to meet and hang out sometime. Maybe in the spring before the new semester starts. I don't have the energy to think about driving anywhere now, but we'll see what happens.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Re: SMBC Theater

Seriously, what the fuck?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

A good tweet? Maybe not.

I was going to post here just as an update, then realized I really have nothing to talk about, so I thought maybe I'd just update my twitter instead, but now this is already getting to be too many characters so I'm just going to post here.

Hey! I'm still here. Who would've thought, right? But it's true. And I've got a mid-semester break coming up, so I'm in good spirits. I need the extra sleep pretty badly right now. In fact, I need any sleep pretty badly right now.

Friday, October 02, 2009

From the Heart

I know it's usually not my style to get too personal here. I mean yeah, I'll complain about problems in my everyday life, but I usually try to do it for an audience. I try to turn my daily drudgery into something mildly amusing for the random readers of the Internet. But tonight I'm in a not-so-rare mood, and I feel I have to get this off my chest. Who knows, maybe I'll feel better afterward. I'm sorry if this isn't my best work, but with any luck someone will understand what I'm talking about.

My biggest problem seems to be life itself. Life ends. I mean, if I were immortal, I probably wouldn't care about wasting my life in this crappy little state school trying to get a stupid degree in a field I barely care about anymore. See, if I had all the time in the world, it wouldn't matter if I took life at a snail's pace. But that's just not the case.

I'm scared to death that I'll die before I ever accomplish anything I set out to do. I have big dreams, you know. I want to write and direct and be a comic, and you know all that, but before even that stuff takes off, I want to undertake a seemingly simple task: start my own webcomic. It didn't have to be anything earth-shatteringly great, and it didn't even have to have a regular update schedule, or even people to read it for that matter. I just wanted to take this screwy story of mine and put it out there.

Here's the thing: I can't draw for shit. I'm not awful, I guess, but any time I try to draw my characters, they come out all wrong. I can draw inanimate objects without trouble, but as soon as I try to draw people I fail miserably. This is a big pain for me, because I had my heart set on drawing this thing myself. I mean, I guess it would be possible to find someone else to draw for me, but I'm afraid the comic will lose a certain personal feel for me. Besides, I know I can't possibly afford to pay anyone well enough to warrant them putting up with my project, especially when there's no guarantee the thing will ever take off.

There's more to it than that, though. Even if the webcomic thing didn't take off, I could probably just write the series like I had been thinking about originally doing. For some reason, though, I've been stricken with this sick compulsion lately to just avoid writing like the plague. Be it writing for this project, for my first novel, for finishing that stupid short story I haven't touched in months, or any of the other things I'd love to finish, I seem to have this deep-seated fear of the whole thing. Somehow, the one thing in the world I'm any good at is the one thing I'm least able to do from day to day.

So, you might wonder to yourself, since Dan hasn't been updating his blog much, what has he been doing with his life? The answer is a whole lot of nothing. And it's making me sick to my stomach. I swear, I'm just completely disgusted with myself. All I do is wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, go to classes (which I'm not even always doing anymore), dick around on the Internet for a while, maybe watch a little tv once in a while, take a nap, go to dinner, come back and spend a while in the bathroom cursing God and whoever does the cooking in the dining hall, then go to bed and toss and turn, wondering what the hell I did all day. That's it.

Okay, so lately I did become the accidental leader of a club on campus, and a tentative member of another club, but these are just minor distractions, and I find I usually can't summon the will to fulfill my duties for the presidency. It's sad to think that I can't handle what is seemingly just the events of everyday life. Other people seem to handle themselves alright. Why can't I do the same? Why can't I go through life without having to grapple with a constant draining sickness in the pit of my heart, like what I'm doing will never matter to anyone ever?

Great, so it finally happened: I've become the pathetic, melodramatic emo-cuss I never wanted to be. Everything I want in life seems to be close at hand, so why can't I just reach out and take it? Why am I afraid of doing things, and talking to people, and just living my damn life?

I can still hear the rain beating on my window, and even if I couldn't, I'm sure that dismal feeling would still be here. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. I try like hell to wind myself up and do things, but it never lasts. Is this all just depression acting up? That's what all the television commercials would lead me to believe, but what can I do? I'm already on two medications, and taking energy supplements just to get through the day, but it's still not enough. I'm still wallowing in a pit of my own self-loathing, and I can't seem to dig myself out no matter how hard I try. For every fleeting moment I get out, I just fall right back in.

Well, here I am again, on the edge of a pit that appeared from nowhere to swallow me up, along with my energy, my dignity, my hopes and dreams, and any semblance of a life I ever had. Honestly, I know this all sounds horrible, but just the fact I've been able to type any of this out means I'm better off than I was all day. I'm still miserable, but I've gotten just far enough out of the pit to start crying for help. I don't want to worry anyone, but if you know or care anything about me, well, you've got reason to worry. Sorry, I wish it weren't the case, but this is as far as I've been able to come on my own, and it may be as far as I go.

Okay, this is starting to sound a little like a suicide note, so let me just assure you I'm not contemplating killing myself. I'll admit the thought has crossed my mind, but it seems to me that the only way things can get better is if I keep on living, so death just isn't an option right now.

I'll probably go back to bed after this, since I'm spending more and more time there lately. I'm just too tired to think anymore. I want to get out and do things, but I just don't have the physical or mental capability to be active. I don't know how I'll get out of this situation, but I'll think of something. I've decided I'm going to talk to a counselor, and I'll talk to my doctor about changing meds again, and with any luck I'll find a way out of this crappy metaphorical hole I've been sitting and stewing in.

I don't say this often, so pay attention: I can't do this on my own. If anyone, and I mean anyone, can offer any advice for me, a kind word, or even something as simple as an acknowledgment of my existence. I need to know this fight is worth something, because I can't win if I'm just fighting for myself. I need to know somebody's in my corner. If that somebody is you, just give me the good word, okay?

Peace and love, y'all. Look for me among the stars.

Friday, September 25, 2009

PI club, Club /b/, and more MadWorld

So, I have another blog now:


Not a lot going on there yet, but we'll see if anything comes of it.

Also, I joined the on-campus club that was formerly just about getting free pizza, but is now about maintaining the campus imageboard, SUNYIT-chan. Tonight's meeting had all of 4 people including the president. Still, I sense good things about this one. I'll post a link to the board (in case anyone cares) sometime after we get the domain name decided on.

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And I'm still playing MadWorld, even though I probably shouldn't. The game takes 5 hours max to beat, and my save file is on hour 12 or so. Of course that's not counting the time I waste thinking about how the hell to beat the challenges, which aren't required to beat the game but I started doing anyway because I'm obsessive like that. Of course, the last couple challenges are eluding my conquering nature, and it's getting maddening. I usually wouldn't worry so much about it, but for some reason I feel like I'm going to lose my mind if don't beat every single challenge. Maybe I'm still going through Mafia Wars withdrawals...

Alright, I guess that's all for now. Later, all.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Re: Luck

Found this in my BvS newsfeed today:

"You have lost the Easy Money Tournament Robo Fight. The Qualifying score was 315 (you had 311)."

Son of a...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Re: xkcd

This one went over my head. :/ I guess I could just google Locke and Demosthenes, but... meh.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Fresh Hardware

So, after a couple close calls, including a pointless vista update that almost killed it for good, I think I've finally got my new laptop up and running. Here's a picture I took with the built-in webcam:

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I'll have to take a higher quality one later so everyone can see the dorky-cool stickers I put all over the back.

Speaking of pictures, I got to play around with the versus game in the webcam program. I'm not really sure how it works, but I won so I'm not complaining.

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Suck it, Schunk!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A New Post

What? It's after midnight. You weren't expecting creativity out of me, were you?

I've got a new laptop, but I'm not typing on it right now. I didn't get to finish setting it up for SUNYIT's network, so I'll have to do all that tomorrow sometime before the Paranormal Club meeting. Which I'm the president of or some crazy shit like that.

And speaking of crazy shit,

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

So, I'm the leader of a school club

How the hell did that happen? :/

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Re: My Failure

Yeah, so I fail. Sue me.

(The above is in response to this and the discussion revolving around it)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Re: NIMF Nimrods

I was perusing the 'net looking for info about my new favorite obsession, and I stumbled onto this:

NIMF Disappointed with Nintendo

"Hardcore gamers have been anxiously awaiting MadWorld for a long time. But not everyone is happy to see the stylish, kill-happy game arrive. The National Institute on Media and the Family (NIMF) issued a press release this morning complaining that Nintendo has "shed its 'family friendly' reputation with MadWorld's release."

"The release of MadWorld for the Wii brings violent videogames to a once family-friendly platform," said Dr. David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family. "In MadWorld, gamers use the Wii Remote to make the necessary physical actions to chainsaw an opponent in half, impale an enemy with a signpost or decapitate a victim with a golf club. MadWorld is another reminder that parents need to make sure they watch what their kids watch and play what their kids play."

Ha ha. :P MadWorld brings violent games to the platform? What is wrong with these guys? Violence has been a staple of the Wii game library forever. No More Heroes, House of the Dead, all incarnations of Resident Evil, the more recent Deadly Creatures, and of course the shitstorm that was Manhunt 2. Hell, one of the release titles for the Wii was RedSteel! Nintendo may like their casual players and family-friendly games, but the 3rd-party devs still love the hardcore gamers, and Nintendo obviously has no intention of banning these games from their hardware, violent or not.

Whatever. This stuff is still sensitive material. I'm turning 22 in like a week, and I still got carded buying the game. R-rated movies and mature tv shows don't even have that kind of security around them. I really don't see why parents have to point fingers and play scapegoat games when it comes to something as fundamental as raising their kids. You can't blame videogames for your failure of a child. If the kid's under 17, they shouldn't be able to get M-rated games anyway. As for the more important part, before your kids get ahold of violent stuff like this, it's the job of the parents to educate their kids on the differences between fantasy and reality. Hell, you can't even swing a real-life chainsaw around that easily. It's got too much inertia. Don't ask how I know that.

So, rather than continue arguing the same point that's been on the books for years, I'm going to dismiss this as yet another case of powerless peons pointing fingers because they think they have to control absolutely everything their child is every exposed to if they hope to raise anything but a menace to society. A child is the sum of all the love, attention and discipline you put into them. If you're doing your job right to begin with, some bloody games shouldn't be able to shake that. I play plenty of violent games, and I'm not a total antisocial psycho-

Okay, bad example there. But you get my point. Okay, see you around, kiddies. Peace and love. And chainsaws. :)

Michael Pittarelli Raped My Mind

I just got out of one of the most excrutiating lectures of my life. And believe me, that's saying something. I've had some awful teachers before, but this one takes the cake. I can sit through mind-numbingly boring and ineffectual lectures, but most professors I've had, however dull and convoluted their lectures become, usually stop short of being physically painful to listen to. Mike Pittarelli crosses that line running. Seriously, I've had bouts of food poisoning less painful than the experience of listening to this man talk for two hours.

First of all, he takes the full class period, and in fact runs out of time at the end, to discuss maybe 30 minutes of material. This is because he has a very confused, misguidedly casual approach to lecturing. It's never really clear what point he's trying to get across, just that he's trying like hell to make it. You can only hope to guess at what information he's hoping to convey, while he aimlessly circles the point of the story for what feels like hours, occasionally straying close to the point but never really reaching it. It's kind of like watching a bashful young schoolboy trying to work up the courage to ask out the preppy cheerleader.

Then, after ten minutes of ambling about like a late-onset Alzheimer's patient, just when you think he's about to make the point he's been working toward the whole time, he stops and switches to a new topic, wandering off in a completely different direction than you expected. If there is a more perfect living example than this of a functional adult with severe ADD, I have yet to encounter them.

I also don't understand how he can possibly justify jumping back and forth between chapters the way he does. There's a reason the more advanced stuff is saved for 200 pages later in the book: if you present them all together just because they seem related, it makes the whole discussion too confusing for new students to follow. At least, I'm pretty sure the discussion would've been confusing, if I in any way had the ability to continue listening, but by then I had lost all will to go on living, let alone keep listening to him prattle on about decomposing and rejoining database relations.

In short, I don't have a RateMyProfessors account, but this experience made me consider it. Guys like this may have some talent in their given field, but Mike clearly has done too much acid in his heyday to adequately teach his craft to impressionable youngsters like myself, and it's a terrible shame that he's allowed to continue doing it. If anybody else has him, I'd love some tips on how to survive this class, which is a requirement for pretty much every other class in my major.

EDIT: I found his profile on RateMyProfessors:
I guess I'm not the only one who's noticed. Of course, not many raters on the site had him for 350, which I do. I think the only reason people like/pass his class is because he does the same open book/notes tests that Sam Sengupta does, except Mike has a weird grading curve where having 53% on a test can net you a B+ or so. And at least Sam was bearable to listen to in lecture. I learned quite a bit without even reading the book. Mike lost me in a hurry. I think I might be better off just reading the book and sleeping through his lectures.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hey, guess what?

My life's kind of boring. MadWorld, however, is fun. Thus, my time is being divided to allow more for MadWorld than for life. One-A-Day energy supplements don't seem to work for me, but the natural high of vivisecting things still does alright. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll actually find the time/energy/will to get that webcomic/game/video series of mine started. I doubt it'll happen soon, though, since it's something of a daunting task for someone who can't really draw, code, or even write all that well. Plus... vivisections are fun.

Also, Schunk fails.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Back again

So, I'm settling into my new room. So far, so good. The weather is absolute crap, and I spent most of the afternoon being overheated, wet, tired, itchy, and generally pissed off at everyone. On the bright side, my room is mostly pretty nice. The desk is a bit screwed up, since it doesn't have the movable shelves like I had last year. I mean, the shelves are here, but they're disconnected from the desk and there doesn't seem to be any easy way to stick them back in like there used to be. Weird.

Also, my desk has a huge gash in it. I hope there's someplace to report that so I don't end up paying for it.

I did finally get to watch another movie yesterday; Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Thing is, the movie was actually really good, and I somehow feel weird writing a review for a movie that had nothing really bad to rip it a new one for. So, I think I'll just call it a 4/5 and say I'd recommend it.

Well, I'm sure I'll have more to blog about when something actually happens here. In the meantime, I want to spend what's left of my weekend taking it easy. I love you all. Most of the time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Change of (Healthcare) Plans

Double meaning intended for that title.

Yeah, so, my plans for movie blowout week or whatever kind of fell through. I underestimated the amount of stuff I'd be doing this week, and I really haven't had the energy to sit through 2 and 3 hour movies than I'm only mildly interested in, let alone to sit down with a computer typing during the whole thing.

Again, this'll be easier all around when I'm at school and have a good desk to work with; it's a much more conducive writing environment. Plus, I bought some energy supplements to try, so I'm hoping that will help. That, and maybe if I can get a solid, uninterrupted night's sleep a couple times a week. I'm really useless when I don't get a good night's sleep, yet it's almost impossible to get one around here. Some vacation, huh? :P

Anyway, I don't know how many of my readers watch the Daily Show, but I'm guessing all four of you have heard about all this controversy surrounding the proposed healthcare bills currently going through Congress. As often happens, John and his guest's conversation ran long and they couldn't show the whole thing on tv. The parts missed last night are on the website now, and I recommend taking a look. It's pretty interesting stuff:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 1
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Exclusive - Betsy McCaughey Extended Interview Pt. 2
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Movie Review: The Strangers

Sorry about yesterday. The power went out here, so I couldn't watch a movie if I wanted to. Anyway, I've fired up the DVR and am all ready to kick off

Dan Mayer's
End of Summer
Movie Review

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So, since it's going on 6 and I wanted to get 2 movies in today, the first movie I'm doing is the shortest one I could find on my list:
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The Strangers stars my heart-throb Liv Tyler (<3) and some guy, but seriously who gives about him? Liv Tyler!
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In a break from tradition, rather than just writing something afterward, I'm actually typing while I watch to save time (with a few minor edits afterward). So, let's dive right in.

Inspired by true events.
Right off the bat, there's a creepy VO and titles telling us that this movie is based on true events. An opening like that really doesn't bode well for this 2.5 star production, but we'll see. I'll admit, the 911 call was a nice touch. Not sure about the editing, but it doesn't fail to set the mood.

(And I have to pause the movie at this point because I banged my toe on the coffee table badly enough to break the skin. Reason #478 why I'll be glad to have a desk again)

You make me feel beautiful...
The timeline is kind of erratic from the start of this next scene. I get they're trying to set up the scene, but the pacing just feels weird to me. I know people like to Tarantino everything today, but would it kill directors to just let us, the audience, see the events in the same order the characters do? Maybe then I wouldn't be so lost from the get-go.

(Character note: this guy's kind of a puss, man. :P Well, maybe that's just me and my views on marriage. No need to open that can of worms right now)

After the initial clumsiness, the movie seems to find its footing and builds up to a good pace. Suspense is a little thin at first, but the sense of mystery once the girl shows up at the door grows nicely from there. I'm not sure I dig the random eerie violin notes every few seconds, though. The parts with no ambient music seem to work much better. Maybe that's just my personal taste, though.

The visual editing seems okay. Nothing to write home about. Plenty of good shots of Liv in that cute little dress, though. :)

There's someone out there...
I do like this initial scene where the person in the mask slips inside the house. It's very subtle, yet extremely effective. It's more of a less-is-more approach to horror than I'm used to seeing these days, and I appreciate that. I'm still not liking the added background music, though. Silence does far more for this scene than anything else. The sound effects have a lot more punch that way. After the next series of bangs on the door, though, the scene feels a little too familiar. And the broken record player bit is just plain ridiculous.

Don't go out there!
Once again, I'm inclined to dislike this guy playing Liv's loverboy. I will say, though, this actor does a brilliant job of playing the crappy boyfriend (assuming that's what he's trying to do). The masked girl's random disappearing and reappearing are a bit played. Am I really supposed to be scared by the same trick twice in a row?

The rest of this scene with the guy out by the car is okay, though. Again, I like the pacing of it. The camera cuts build a nice kind of paranoid suspense without being too over-the-top. It's not great, but it's not bad.

Just us and them...
I'm a bit confused about why the guy was so slow to accept that maybe these people broke into the home and took her phone. Once he finally accepts that, though, he continues to let us down be revealing that, while he was able to find a gun, he has no clue how to use it. Way to go, buddy.

Here's Johnny...
The axe-in-the-door bit was actually pretty well timed. Once again, I'm fascinated by the pacing of this film. It has a way of slowing down and lulling you in only to kick the action back up as soon as you don't expect it anymore. I like the way they keep us in the moment in the closet.

Hey, it's Mike...
Yet another character I despise. The scene is effective, though. Somehow that shot-to-the-windshield thing never gets old.

Here's a weird one: despite how much I hate this Mike guy, I don't want to see him get shot by his own friend by accident. And yet, I feel it coming... Any minute now...

Called it. Where's that Stephen Colbert graphic? Whatever, I'll find it later.

Yes, it's Mike. Congratulations, you shot your friend you called to give you a ride and get you the fuck out of there. Way to be that guy.

The masked folk are still doing their thing, and doing it well. I love how they go through all this psychological crap without seriously hurting anyone. It's good to see a horror flick that manages to be kind of scary without making it a total bloodbath. In short, it works.

I haven't said much about it up to this point, but I really do like Liv's acting in this role. She really sets the emotional tone for every scene. But I think this is even more true now. Maybe it's the horror-factor of knowing she's all alone now, or maybe it's that her wuss boyfriend was holding her back. Either way, the movie's getting better.

...Help me.
So, she's made it to the shed, and the scary sound effects continue. As before, I think we can do without the background sound here. The sound effects and the crazy broad with the axe do their job well enough on their own without musical punctuation.

I'm a little confused now as to why her injured leg suddenly doesn't slow her down as much. I guess you could chalk it up to adrenaline, since she starts hopping again shortly. Likewise, how did she spontaneously get up the courage to confront the masked girl after she starts looking at the ring on the table?

This movie is starting to take a weird turn. I mean, it didn't altogether make sense to start with, but its really working on my mind now. How do not one, not two, but three people find the time and energy to do crap like this? I'm getting more confused that scared at this point. I think I'd be more genuinely scared if I had any clue at all why this crap was happening. And unfortunately this next line isn't a good enough reason for me.

Because you were home...
And at last, the masks come off. And of course, we have to play it up by not really showing their faces at all to the audience. Bryan Bertino, you shameless cocktease.

And now, I'm sorry, but this ending is so rotten, I think there's no point in not spoiling it now. After all that playing around, the terrible threesome just out-and-out stab both of them with a knife. Not even just that. They knock the two of them out, tie them up, and wait until morning to finish the job. Apparently, and ironically considering her name, Liv's character lived through the ordeal, and is discovered the same day by some random kids.

So, inspired by true events, huh? I have a hard time believing things could have really went down this way. Is there anyone on this planet so cruel and twisted, yet completely ineffectual at torturing and killing people? And moreover, why the hell did this need to be made into a movie?

I'm reminded of the opening of the movie, which I decided I had to go back and read again for clarification.

"What you are about to see is inspired by true events. According to the FBI, there are an estimated 1.4 million violent crimes in America each year. On the night of February 11, 2005, Kristen McKay and James Hoyt left a friend's wedding reception and returned to the Hoyt family's summer home. The brutal events that took place there are still not entirely known."

That last line is key. Not entirely known. In other words, they don't know what happened that night. All they know is Kristen and James were found brutally attacked in their home. Everything that happened in the movie before the stabbing bit was basically made up from scratch.

See, that's where this movie falls flat. It's an invented movie concept, but with a real ending. They build you up with all this suspense and stuff throughout, when in the end all that happens is the two of them are tied up and mutilated with a knife. The end. Buh-bye. It's a real-world crime that was dramatized by stretching it out into an hour and a half of "oh my god, what's going on?" See, in movies, when the audience is constantly barraged with that question, the answer has to be pretty fucking good. Not "Because you were home."

Seriously, this movie never needed to be made. It's less than an hour and a half, yet it felt like a lifetime for me. I'm guessing the actual crime was a lot less that this, in fact. Look, real psychopaths would've just snuck in and knocked them both out in a couple minutes. They wouldn't just douche around, standing on the front lawn and right behind them watching for an hour. I'm not a criminal psychologist, but I'm fairly sure that no one who enjoys gutting people for sport also enjoys dragging the whole thing out by scaring the victims witless while simultaneously giving the couple countless chances to defend themselves.

That's the second point where this movie fails. Real people in a dangerous situation like this would eventually start fighting back. If they knew they were in real physical danger, they wouldn't hesitate. There were countless occurrences where I thought, especially about James, "no one can really be this fucking stupid." If someone wanted to kill me, they'd have to do a lot more than scare me. They'd have to do way more than steal my phone and fuck up my car. They'd have to take away my Louisville slugger and every sharp implement in the house, because if this shit was happening to me and I had so much as a pair of toenail clippers left, I'd be cutting some bitches.

In all likelihood, the actual criminals had the victims tied up very quickly. They wouldn't allow them all that time to get weapons and scream for help and everything. The movie premise is just very bad. If things went down the way they did in the movie, the couple or at least one of them should have managed to get away.

Final Verdict:

Skip this one. It had its scary moments, but they don't make up for how far downhill everything went at the end. If you're going to build up all this suspense over the course of the entire movie, you can't just kill off the main characters and drop the audience flat at the end. That kind of ending isn't even scary or exciting; it's a giant letdown, that's all. With all that buildup, the ending has to be exciting and keep my on the edge of my seat. Two people sitting tied to chairs getting sliced up like fresh haddock is not exciting.

As of this moment, writer/director (if you can call him that) Bryan Bertino is on my personal shit list. If I ever get my own TV network, popular website (yeah, this doesn't count), etc. nothing produced by his crappy excuse for writing is every allowed to be advertised. Not on my watch. I have an obligation to protect my audience from crap like this. That's why I do these reviews.

Because I care. I'm like the CBS network, only broke.

Okay, I'm like the CBS network, period.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Open Post to Someone Special

You know that open letter exercise where you write a letter to somebody but don't intend to mail it? Well, this is kind of like that.

I've been following a certain blog for a while now via the Blogger website, and I just got around to reading the past week or so of posts that showed up there. I don't really remember how I know the blogger who writes it, but I recognize a kindred spirit when I see one. And yes, I can see your spirit through the web. I'm cool like that.

Anyway, the person in question has experienced some emotional hardship of late, and while it is out there in the open for everyone to see, part of me feels like it's too personal for me to respond to directly, especially to someone I'm pretty sure I've never talked to.

So, I'm writing kind of an open letter to this person because I just sort of feel like I have to put this out there, because even though I think a direct response doesn't seem appropriate, I feel like I have to say something about this in one form or another. I really don't even intend for the person I'm talking about to read this, but if I put it out in the open and they happen to see it, I'll know it was meant to happen.


To whom it may concern,

I read about your recent troubles with that person who was so important to you, and to whom you were sure you were important, too. I don't know whether that is the case or not. Maybe they told you that you don't really matter, or else made it clear with their actions, but were only trying to cover up how they really feel about you? Or maybe it was all a lie to begin with, as you may suspect already. I'm not in any position to say which I think it is.

I will, however, say this: if you see that person again after reading this, tell them from me that as long as they keep up what they're doing, they aren't going anywhere in life.

When I read your initial description of their behavior, always sitting around feeling bad but doing nothing about it, I immediately thought of myself. But as I continued, I found the similarities stopped there. We all experience hardships, and we all struggle to find meaning in what we do. The crucial difference between myself and the person you thought loved you is they have a different way of finding meaning in their life. They find it in drugs, sex, booze, mind-numbing tv (been there), and testing just how far they can shove their head up their own ass. These kinds of people have no meaning in their life, but they can't stop lying to themselves about it because that would mean acknowledging that their own actions have made them what they are.

In short, this person probably had something good with you. They could have tried to hold onto it, nurture it, and watch it turn into something good, but they didn't, and they were too naive and conceited, too wrapped up in themselves to see how they were hurting you. This story is all too familiar to me. It's the burden of misguided youth all over the world. Drop a penny off the roof of any high school; you'll probably hit somebody who is a victim of the same story.

So, what about me? Well, I guess I'm misguided too. But I'm finding my own way, blazing my own trail, and I'm making a point of never forgetting about the people along the way who help get me there. I don't always pay a kind word to everyone I think I should, and that's been my failing, but I'm trying to do better. I don't have the time and energy to help everyone I meet who is in pain, but I doubt I'll stop wanting to every day of my life.

That's why your posts spoke to me. I heard the familiar pangs of heartache, and wanted to reach out. But I'm still just a stranger, and I know I can't promise to do any better than that person who broke your heart. At least they could talk to you; I'm a thousand miles away, even to those I care about most.

Before this rant of mine gets too long, I'll wrap up by saying this: I admire you, because in spite of everything you still believe there are good people out there. And you're right. I know, because even among the sea of misguided youth, I still see a handful of good souls out there in the world. I happen to think I'm one of them. I don't know that I'm "the right one" for anybody, but then I've always been my own toughest critic. I don't have the conviction to talk to you directly, partially because I don't even know who you are, nor do you have any clue who I am. More than that, though, I think it's because I'm never sure I'm good enough for anyone. So, for now, I'll have to leave that up to you. If you happen to read this, and think maybe I'm worth talking to, if only on a friendly pen-pal basis, you know how to reach me. I don't exactly make a point of leaving the proverbial porch light on, but my door's always open.

Sincerely yours,
Dan Mayer

And on that note, I think I need to go do something immoral now. Maybe I'll fire up the wii and play Mad World for a while. Peace and love, readers.

My DVR, and Movie Review Week

Ever since my family got a DVR toward the end of last semester, I've been putting it to good use. Sometimes I'll record things I have very little intention of watching at all. Even as I cut back on my tv watching lately, the DVR's still there to catch what I might be concerned about missing.

So, with less than a week until I return to college, I realized I should probably cancel some of the future recordings I won't be here to watch, as well as the stuff from the last couple weeks I never got around to. I deleted around 10 hours of programming, and the hard drive is still almost half full.

Anyway, I realized the bulk of space being taken up on there right now (for some reason no one else in the family makes use of this thing but me) is storing a bunch of movies I recorded with the intention of watching later. These all range from classic stuff like In The Line Of Fire and The Fugitive, to more contemporary stuff I got off HBO (The Darjeeling Limited, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, etc). I actually did watch quite a few movies this summer (including those 3 god awful hours of Lawnmower Man that I'll never get back), but there are still a lot left on the machine.

So, in order to save space on the hard drive in case anyone else wants to record something, as well as give me something to do with my last lazy week here besides go to work all morning and space out all afternoon,

(TL;DR? The bottom line starts here:)

I've decided to watch and review as many of those movies as I can manage for the next week. I'm pretty sure I can get at least 10 done by the time I have to leave on Saturday, but we'll see what happens. At least this should make for something fun to do, and hopefully will help get me out of this summer slump and ready for action when classes start.

Expect my first review post Monday or Tuesday this week. By the way, if there are any movies on TV this week that anyone wants me to watch for/with them, let me know here or email me. I love the attention. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Still not dead yet

Just so you know. School starts in about a week. I'll probably blog about that. Also, started work on my webcomic, though I'm still struggling with the fact that I can't draw my way out of a paper bag, yet am too much of a perfectionist to trust the project with anyone else. More on this later, plus, could the breakfast cereal you've been eating to get more fiber actually kill you? Find out tonight at 11.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

A Bill for Congress: Rough Draft

I had a thought today (just one?!) regarding the way Congress operates. You know, it seems to me like folks in politics tend to either get too bogged down on little details to see the big picture, or too swept up in the big picture to see the little details. Those groups are probably Republicans and Democrats respectively. Or Liberals and Conservatives. Or Conservatives and Liberals. Or Sharks and Jets. Pair it however you want.

Now, here's the thing: there's nothing wrong with having people with different viewpoints. In fact, it's a good thing. A group of people with differing viewpoints, when working together, are able to achieve better results than any one of them working alone. The trouble is, people often get caught up in their differences. In practice, a roomful of people with different viewpoints may find themselves unable to come to an agreement, or at least unable to agree in a reasonable amount of time.

So, I had this thought: Bills that go through Congress are huge, and have so many little points to them, it becomes easy to get stuck. I think what they need is a way to sum up bills more clearly and concisely. This could work as a shortcut for discussion to help get decisions made more quickly.

Anyway, it's still a work in progress, but I've decided I want to propose this idea to Congress and see if it can't help them work more efficiently. If it can, great. If not, at least I can say I tried to help. I'm not really sure how to go about submitting a bill to Capitol Hill, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.


Untitled Bill

Purpose: To help streamline the way legislators consider new legislation.

From now on, all proposed legislation documents should include on the first page a brief (one paragraph or less) and concise description of what the intended purpose of the legislation is. This description should make clear what goal(s) the originating party had intended.

Many bills that pass before Congress and other legislative bodies are extremely long. Although this may be necessary to fully describe the content of the bill, this may lead to legislators spending an inordinate amount of time discussing the finer points of the issue without addressing the actual reason the bill was made.

If all bills included a short statement of purpose, it would help to accelerate the discussion of the bill. If all the legislators present can agree first that they would not like to see the goal of the bill achieved, then they can reject it without having to spend a lot of time on the details.

If they decide they do want to achieve the goal, then they can address the next logical concern: do the contents of the bill actually work to achieve that goal? If so, then the bill may be passed. If not, legislators may deliberate on changes they would like to see made. Throughout discussion of possible changes, legislators should always consider whether a proposed change would serve the intended goal of the bill. In general, if a particular change to the bill does not serve its initial goal, then it should not be applied.


Again, this is just a rough draft, but I think I could be on to something here. People can't always see the forest for the trees (even I'm still not sure what that phrase means), so a direct change to how government operates could be a good idea. After all, the advent of the Powerpoint presentations and bullet-points helped to reshape how business meetings work. Why shouldn't the business of government be improved in the same way?

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

New Blog Idea

Remember when I posted this video with the dancing vampire guy? I think this concept deserves its own blog. If anyone wants to do me a favor, go and see if there's already a blog called "Scary Things with Innappropriate Music." I foresee more of that guy, plus scenes from Friday the 13th and Halloween movies with the Benny Hill theme playing, remixed horror movie trailers, and you know, other things you might expect.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Re: Facebook Animal Activists

Warning: Sad Images of Animal Cruelty Ahead

Now, I'll be the first to tell you, a lot of good can be done with Facebook. There are numerous apps that donate their advertising proceeds to worthwhile causes. Similarly, I think the Causes app is a nice way to recruit people to a crisis or crises that are important to you. What I have a problem with is "activists" who make causes just for the sake of having more causes. Case in point, the cause above.

Okay, I get it. Soldiers in other countries don't love dogs as much as you do. Considering there are a lot of soldiers the world over that treat people just as badly, you'll have to forgive me if I'm not shedding more tears for the poor pooch. I know animal cruelty is horrible, and I'd be happy to help stop it if I could. But how does crap like this help? It even says on the Cause page that donations go toward the Massachusetts SPCA. How exactly do donations to a New-England-based MSPCA have any effect on dogs living in fucking South America?

See, this is what I hate. Every time something bad happens to an animal anywhere on the planet, somebody decides they have to show their outrage by making a big stink about it. Right, because not pestering everyone you know with this story somehow means you're a dog hater.

Hey, I've bought into this crap before. When that one petition started circulating to press authorities to give that chick who threw her friend's kitten in the oven the maximum penalty, I was on board. I signed, I joined the cause, and I forwarded the petition to more people than I care to remember. Did my 'action' have any positive effect? Hell if I know; I have yet to hear any news updates on this. Considering Causes is a social network app that's basically designed for sharing with others, the people behind that cause sure do a lousy job of sharing information on this story. Makes you wonder what they were really trying to accomplish, huh?

Look folks, if you want to make a positive impact in the world, good for you, but causes like this don't do much of anything besides generate more outrage. As a proponent of world peace, I can't encourage anything that spreads even more hate and anger. We all know there are a lot of atrocities in the world. Shoving each and every one down my throat isn't making a positive difference, it's just giving you a pathetic sense of false achievement to prop up your ego and convince you that you're doing something that matters with your life.

Hey, activists: you wanna help the SPCA? Great. Go volunteer at your local animal shelter, or donate money. Hell, you can even ask me to do the same once in a while if you like. But don't use garbage like this to guilt me into helping. I already feel guilty enough about the kinds of people I share this big spinning rock with. I don't need any more misery added on my plate right now. I promise, once I strike it rich, I'll make sure to use my influence to help those in need, but in the meantime I'd like not to have the worst segments of the news shoved in my face all the time. I haven't had a good night's sleep in months, and I'd like to break that chain. The picture of the strung-up dog being shot at doesn't help with that.

Bolivia Bans Military Abuse of Animals

Oh, goody. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, I suppose. So, maybe sharing information can sometimes help influence things. However, it's safe to say the above decision was made as a result of other groups' actions, such as loud-mouthed PETA people making Bolivia look bad in the public eye. There is, however, still a problem with trying to make waves on Facebook with this stuff. Can you guess what it is? Well?

Okay, here it is: that article was posted on April 1st of this year. I got invited to the Bolivian Soldiers Hate group today. Yes, I'm now being harassed with causes that I not only can't help with, but causes that were already resolved months earlier.

"Oh, but Peru hasn't supported the ban yet!" you might say. "Well," I might respond, "Let me know when some headway was made on that." I say 'was', because considering it's August now, there have likely been a lot of updates on this.

Well, there's one more for you: If you want to be an activist, at least be an informed activist. I don't need any more old news from the outraged and the ignorant.

It's funny how those who know the least about an issue seem to argue the loudest, huh? Yeah, so funny I nearly laughed myself into a fit of insanity. All the intelligent and well-learned people we have left on the world, and yet these obnoxious activists are the people who get a voice in today's society? God, I weep for our grandchildren.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I don't know if anyone's noticed, but I've been adding a lot to my greeting line thing on the top of the page. Right now, there are 41 random greetings you can get. Seen them all yet? Of course not, because odds are you're Jordan and you like to disable javascript with browser add-ons, you friggin' spoil-sport you.

By the way, I'm working on an idea I had for an online browser-based game. The main obstacle right now is that I don't have a dedicated web server to use. At least, not one with enough bandwidth and whatnot. If anyone can suggest a good solution for this problem, I'm all ears.

More on this story as it develops, or fails to do so.

P.S. Random post tags are random.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Imponderable Equation

Maybe I'm just crazy, seeing patterns where there are none but random coincidence, but I feel like there's something strange hidden in the music of George Michael that has some kind of connection to modern hard rock.

Okay, so here's how it starts: Seether recently did a remake of Careless Whisper, originally by George Michael (and/or WHAM). Okay, so that's one song. If it stopped there, I wouldn't give it a second though.

But there's more. While looking up the lyrics to the song, I found the original George Michael song listed under an album by George Michael called Ladies and Gentlemen. Wait... Ladies and Gentlemen? That's the title of a hit single Saliva released a year or so ago.

What's going on here? Do the connections run even deeper than this? Am I just completely out of my mind?!
(Likely answers to the above questions, in order: Probably; No; Yes)

Whatever. If you see any other obvious connections, let me know. I'm done trying to research this craziness.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Re: A little higher...

EDIT: I realized a day after posting that I had linked to the wrong video. The first link now goes to the video I had meant to put here in the first place. The one I did link to yesterday is still here, now labelled 'Review'.

Just an update on this post. (You can follow the link, or just scroll down) There are a couple things on YouTube that seem to work as well. Two that work very well are:

  • The Surefire Pen Demo - I kind of wonder why this needed to be made. It's not really a product that needs to be demonstrated. Are we all that simple that we can't figure out how to operate a pen on our own? I'm not mad, though. Instead, I've got this weird kind of feeling again...

  • The Surefire Pen Review - A much longer video, but at least it's somewhat more informative. Still seems to give me that weird feeling...

  • SureFire Flashlight Demo - About the same feeling as before. It's a video that never needed to be made, yet watching it brings me joy. Inexplicable, but the serenity is undeniable.

Again, if anyone knows what the hell I'm talking about and can clue me in to what's happening, please let me know.

I have no idea what's going on

I think my brain esploded.

Seriously, I'll have a good update for this thing soon. Assuming I've recovered from this... logical anomaly.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Re: Email from Ronald Sarner

This day just keeps getting better and better...

"...We have several personnel changes in the department.

Professor Rosemary Mullick returns to full-time teaching after a four-year stint as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs. We welcome her back, and are pleased that she has agreed to develop a new course in Computer-Human Interaction for this semester.

Professor Geethapriya Thamilarasu joins us as an assistant professor, having just completed a Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering at SUNY-Buffalo. She previously interned at Deutsche Telekom Laboratories in Berlin, developing an intrusion detection system for wireless sensor networks. Her particular area of interest is wireless network security, and she will be developing a wireless sensor lab and using it for courses in both computer science and in telecommunications. For the fall semester she will be teaching both disciplines and her computer science course will be Software Engineering.

Professor Henry Wu also joins us as an assistant professor coming from the CIS department at Cal State Polytech in Pomona, California. He has more than a decade of experience as a telecommunications engineer and holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Oklahoma State. His teaching assignments this semester will be in telecommunications.

Professor Michael deMare has left SUNYIT and we extend our best wishes to him in his future endeavors....,"


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Oh, god. Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I mean, come on, this is DeMare we're talking about! I told everyone in the class that I would get him fired if it was the last thing I ever do. How can I not gloat? :D


I know it's very crazy for me to be making 3 posts in one day, but...

Holy crap!

Blog-to-Blog: Fundulus schmundulus

I just found this post from Kelly Weinersmith enlightening, and thought I'd pass it on to you. Of course, if you're one of my regular readers, you probably already read SMBC, and by extension have been linked to Kelly's blog. But, just in case you're the other reader, here's a link for you:

Fundulus schmundulus: My Beef With Bottled Water

A little higher... Yeah, right there...

Okay, this is likely going to seem like it's coming from out of the clear blue sky, but it's not. This has been going on for as long as I can remember; I'm just now finally writing about it. In my life, I've never heard of this kind of thing happening to anyone else, so if it sounds familiar to you, tell me what you know.

There is something happening to me that has been bugging me for some time now. Once in a while, I get this strange sensation that I can't explain. It's a little like a cold shiver on the back of my head and neck, but it's not really cold. In fact, it's kind of pleasant; like being petted by some invisible hand with chilly fingers. It's very relaxing, but usually quite fleeting since I have no idea where it comes from or how to get it to stay longer. On occasion I've gotten goosebumps on my skin as if I really were cold, but otherwise there is no obvious physical effect.

So, I've been trying like hell to figure out what this sensation is for years, but have come up with very little. The trouble is I don't know exactly what triggers it. I have noticed that a few specific things tend to trigger the sensation, but not always. The most common ones are:

  • Going to the chiropractor (the sensation comes on immediately afterward)

  • Goofy porno dialogue

  • Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "Blaze of Glory"

  • This (although not always)

  • Some children's tv shows

There may be others, but I can't think of them at the moment. If any readers know what the hell I'm talking about, please fill me in. Until then, I'll keep up my own 'research.'

Peace and love, y'all.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Re:Re: Chrome

Update on my experience with the new browser. Aside from the lack of customization and zero support for third-party extensions, it's been pretty good to me so far. There seem to be some little bugs cropping up, though. Among them:

  • The 'find in page' box will randomly disappear when you switch tabs

  • Radio buttons for polls sometimes won't load properly. This just started today, and I really don't get it. The radio buttons are still there and can be clicked on, but they're invisible. Wtf?

  • Similarly, the arrow on drop-down boxes sometimes doesn't appear. Weird.

  • Some pages designed by marketing idiots still don't recognize Chrome. They'll give you a "This page isn't compatible with Netscape" message or something. Granted, that's mostly the page designers' fault, but still...

More on this story and others as they develop.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


This is Dan.

...I got nothing.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Just a preemptive Happy F@#k-The-British Day. If I had my way, that name would always be used in place of Independence Day. I have nothing in particular against England. I just like offensive holiday names.

Anyway, I'm writing this on Friday since I'm guessing I won't get around to it tomorrow. As you read this, I'm likely still absorbed in the Twilight Zone marathon. So, I'll just direct you to a special little 4th of July present I got from Tosh.0

EMBED-Hot Girl Pulls Off Insane Golf Trick Shot - Watch more free videos

Friday, July 03, 2009

Re: Chrome - Ooh, shiny...

So, as some of you know, I'm a long-time user and lover of Firefox. It's not perfect, and the memory leaks have wreaked hell on my laptop, but I've just always loved the sheer range of customization it allows. From simple themes to all manner of add-ons, it's always been good to me.

However, after a while tinkering with it, I think I finally managed to break my Firefox installation. Aside from the increasingly frequent crashes, I somehow broke FF's ability to save cookies after closing. So, while I still love my Firefox and will probably keep using it if only for the downloader/converter app, I decided it's finally time to look into getting a new full-time browser.

I've heard enough by now about this Google Chrome thing. I've enjoyed Google's various sites and services for sometime now. I know a lot of people were freaked when Google bought out YouTube, but to me all it means is I get to log in to both at the same time. And while AdSense hasn't exactly made me rich, it's comforting to have around just in case I achieve Internet notoriety someday.

So, I finally broke down and installed Chrome. I'm typing up this post now, after having had it on my computer for less than 12 hours. I'll probably have a fuller review later, but right now I already have a few first-impressions to talk about.

For starters, I think it's safe to say that any long-time Windows users will be thrown for a loop by Chrome's layout. The interface is very minimalist; the main menu bar I'm used to seeing at the top of every window outright doesn't exist. But still, Chrome provides just about all the tools I could want in a browser, just not in the places I remember them.

There are a number of cool features, some of which I haven't even had a chance to use yet. For one, there is tabbed browsing, which is pretty much a browser must-have these days. Hell, even IE has tabs now. But Chrome has a new way of doing tabs. Instead of just a blank page, it loads up a shortlist of pages you've visited before as suggestions. If you ever forget the URL of a page you were at recently and neglected to bookmark it, this can be quite handy.

Speaking of bookmarks, Chrome boasts that it can not only bookmark your pages, but save pages into apps for you so you can access them again quickly and easily. I haven't tried this one yet, but I'll let you know what I think.

Of course, being a product of Google, Chrome has integrated Google search functionality and navigation error suggestions right into the address bar. And on the off chance you somehow dislike Google's search capabilities, you can choose a different default search engine as well.

Chrome also has a lot of nice behind-the-scenes stuff built in. It uses this DNS pre-fetching thing to help pages load and reload faster, comes with its won pop-up blocking app, and has numerous other security features to protect against known threatss. Today, for instance, I was visiting a site which used automated ads (as many do), and when an ad from a suspicious domain name appeared, before I even saw it on the screen, Chrome immediately stopped loading the page and warned me about the ad before continuing. Pretty sweet, Chrome.

And, if you're really feeling rowdy, you can also play IT-guru and do some amateur debugging with Chrome's built-in task manager application. I can't vouch for how well it works, though. I haven't really had cause to use it yet. According to my system, Chrome runs on around an average of 30 MB of memory, which is less than half what my broken Firefox did on good days. For my little-laptop-that-could, this is a very welcome upgrade.

Now, for downsides: as I said, it takes a bit to get used to the layout, and if you're not very technically inclined, you might be pretty lost the first time you start up. Also, I'm not digging the default blue and white color scheme. There's probably a way to customize the skin/colors, but as I said these options are not immediately obvious or simple to access. At least, not to a new user.

Similarly, while Chrome was very helpful in letting me carry over all my Firefox settings, saved pages and passwords, and even my Realplayer plugin, it doesn't have all the custom add-ons I know and love from my Firefox. I don't know yet if Chrome has an equivalent add-ons and widgets network, but I'm still looking into it.

So, I'm liking Google Chrome thus far. It took a few minutes to get used to the UI, but it's serving me quite well so far. It seems to be somewhat lacking in customization options, but that may yet change. At the least, this seems like a nice stable browser for everyday use, which is just what I needed. I'm not ready to call it love at first sight, but I'll keep updating on it as I go. Check back for more later.

Peace and love, you techy nerds. And ff you love/hate Google Chrome, don't hesitate to sound off in the comments.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Re: America, F@#k yeah!

On my last rant post, I talked about moving to another country. I know that's probably not something that should be thrown around too lightly. To tell you the truth, I was in a pretty rotten mood that day to begin with.

Anyway, the way President Obama has been responding to criticism of the US approach to Iran and the healthcare reform plan the last few days, I think maybe we're going to be okay. Maybe it's silly, but it puts my mind at ease to know the most powerful man in our government has America's future at heart. The fundamentals of the economy might not be perfect, but the fundamentals of the American spirit haven't been shaken. I guess I was just a little too short-sighted to feel that way; national pride never was a big thing for me anyway. But then, pride in general never was. I'm kind of a pessimist, if you hadn't noticed.

To sum up, I guess I won't be buying that one-way ticket anytime soon. I'll probably bitch and moan quite a bit, but nothing so drastic as that. I know some people aren't fond of anti-America talk, but if anything it shows I'm still an American at heart. I don't sit back and accept crap from my government. They're supposed to represent me; I expect them all to take their jobs seriously. Right now, I trust Obama to take us in the right direction. Now, if our senators and governors would just follow suit...

Social Theory, and Beating People with Sticks

No, the two topics are not related.

I have two kind of random things to talk about tonight. Firstly, while discussing this healthcare business with my family, I became very frustrated. Things were especially weird toward the beginning of President Obama's televised discussion group thingy that was on ABC around 10 o'clock. The way we discussed it during the first commercial break, it felt like my mom and I were talking about two different pieces of video.

I realized this kind of thing happens a lot, so I thought, hey, could there be something to this? Or is my mom just as dumb as a post? I'd like to think she's not, so to explore this business, I started a little theoretical research project for myself (and Hubpages, since I haven't posted there in a while), regarding the subjectivity of reality:

Is reality subjective?

If anyone has an opinion, or better yet some evidence or personal experience to help me with this project, please let me know. You can post a comment here, answer at Hubpages, message me on Facebook, or email me. To anyone interested in helping out, thanks in advance.

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Okay, second: I was thinking, our generation really needs a new sport. I'm not really a sports guy, per-se. I've played some golf, and I was a madman at bowling in high school, but I don't really have a sport to love and call my own. So, I thought, what kinds of things do I like to do that don't involve physical activity, but could? Well, how about pwning the crap out of some noobs?

That's when I got this idea. People like to play fantasy fighting games on videogame consoles and the Internet, but the experience is still kind of artificial. To really get the blood flowing, why not make a real-world equivalent? I'd be kind of like LARPing, but without all the nerdy crap.

The original inspiration for this came a long time ago. A friend of mine from high-school once invited me to join this game of capture the flag with him and his friends. What made this game cool was that we all were equipped with wooden swords and hockey sticks and the like. When encountering members of the opposite team, an exciting battle took place. The first to get hit lost the fray; if you were on opposing turf, you had to go back to your home base to "respawn," and losers on their own turf would have to kneel for 20 seconds before rejoining the game. Good fun and excitement to be had, but no serious danger involved. Okay, I did kind of get my kidney crushed when one guy did this epic leap over me to escape certain doom, but otherwise it was a lot of fun.

So, deriving from what made that game awesome, here's my idea: a new sport of fantasy fighting with artificial weapons. Everyone plays quick and fierce like a real fight, but no one gets seriously injured. Although I'd plan many different kinds of matches, the main event would be simple one-on-one fights. Players score points by getting a successful hit on their opponent. Then, of course, we'd have variants of that; ie, first to 5 points wins, most points in 60 seconds wins, etc.

I figure we could take it further than that, too. We could divide it up into beginner, intermediate and expert ranks (with cooler names than that, of course. The expert rank would probably be called Elite or Master or something). For beginners, all weapons would be light plastic or foam, and points would only be awarded for hits on the torso or arms (to make things less vicious), and you couldn't hit someone while they're down like in boxing. For the experts, wooden weapons would be allowed, and all manner of crazy tactics like leg sweeps and down attacks would be permitted. Groin shots? Not encouraged, but they'll still count, so if you want to join the expert ranks, wear a cup. And of course the intermediate rank(s) would fall somewhere in between kiddie-time and anything-goes.

Those are just some of the preliminary notes. I'm thinking that once I've got a working plan, I'll set up a fun tournament or something and host it at Indian Meadows Park down the way from my house. That way the BHBL alumni can come have some fun on summer break. If that's successful (and even if it's not really) I'll bring the concept to SUNYIT in the fall. I don't know exactly how much interest there is for this, but I'm better if I provide some of my own weaponry, people will show up. Come on, it's an excuse to hit people with sticks!

Again, if this business tickles your fancy, please drop me an email, message me on Facebook or comment here. I'll get back to you, we can discuss particulars, and maybe set up some kind of event to try it out.

That's about it for now. Stay cool, readers.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Does anyone know what this song in the Howard Johnson commercial is called or where it came from? I get some kind of weird contact high whenever I hear it. Some people say it has subliminal messages in it or something. I'm not sure that's true, but I wouldn't rule it out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Re: the Government

Now that I think of it, that post about the Obama action figure was probably a little late coming. Obamania isn't exactly what it used to be. I think I kind of missed the boat on that one.

My parents seem to outright dislike Obama. I agree that his handling of the economy has been less than excellent. I think he's got some good ideas, but bailing out those failing companies was all wrong. Helping the guys who helped get us into this mess really won't make things any better. We need more work programs to create jobs and improve our cities' infrastructures.

Oh, and it wouldn't kill us to put a little more effort into this 'clean, renewable energy source' that sci-fi writers have been dangling over our heads since before I was born. Have we completely given up on solar, wind or even nuclear power? We've got state-of-the-art military weapon systems that can execute a surgical strike and wipe an enemy stronghold off the map from 3000 miles away without even messing up the lawns in the surrounding civilian areas, yet we still can't generate electricity without burning fossil fuels.

We have the capability of bringing about the energy revolution. I don't understand why this crap is allowed to continue. I mean, is everyone in charge of this stuff really that dense? Or are we just too set in our ways to do anything good for mankind?

You know, this is a rotten time in my life, because it's seriously hard to tell how my depression is doing. I can't tell if I'm miserable because of a medical condition or because the world is falling apart all around me, could easily be fixed with a little time and effort, and everyone who has the ability to do anything about it is too god damn stupid to get their priorities straight.

By the way, since I haven't mentioned it in a while, I'm still working on my plans to take over the world. I might as well; humanity is too stupid to take of itself. If I controlled the world under a single government, at least we'd have half a chance in hell of surviving as a species. With the people we've got running things now, we're screwed. Obama's a decent leader, but congress is still full of idiots, and state governments are like a 3-ring circus, especially here in New York.

Seriously, do Senators these days give a shit about anything but politics anymore? We're in serious need of more jobs, more money, better regulation in just about everything, but all these idiots care about is whose party gets to have the majority. Who gives a shit? Do what you were elected to do and support your constituents. I've seen high school mock senates who worked better. You're supposed to be working for your state, for your district, for your people. You're not there to push your own agenda and the agenda of whatever party you identify with. The position of senator is supposed to be a position worthy of courtesy and respect. Act like it, you babies!

Alright, I'm through. As soon as I'm able, I'm moving to Sweden. Or Finland. Or Mars if the option becomes available. The further I get away from people and government, the happier I'll be.

Unless, of course, I do manage to take over the world. At least then I'll be able to sleep at night. The world might still be going to hell, but I'll finally be in a position to do something about it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

\m/ - Fucillo Freakout - \m/

For those who don't know, Billy Fucillo is a car dealer operating in the central New York area. Apparently he's pretty well off, since he can afford to buy a lot of air time. He comes out with a new crappy home-made commercial every week. Originally, he always did his ads with his spokesman buddy Tom Parks. Tom's usually kind of dry to listen to, but it turns out he can rock a guitar.

The commercials are bad, but at least Tom makes an effort to keep things professional. When Billy goes to town on his own, it's a scary affair.

His latest gimmick is to use his new employee Caroline as a glorified car model. She's in the commercials, but has few or no lines, and pretty much always wears something low-cut. I'm not saying it's on purpose, but it's safe to say when the commercial comes on, you won't be fixing your eyes on Billy's greasy forehead.

Now me, I miss Tom. Some of Fucillo's best ads featured enjoyable (albeit badly improvised) banter between Tom and Billy, Tom playing guitar, or just Tom by himself. In fact, the less we have to see of Billy in these commercials the better.

He has his own what?!

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Really? We're so stricken with Obamania now that the dude gets his own action figure? I don't see too many other presidents who can boast that, let alone boast it less than six months into their first term.

...Okay, seriously, I have to have one of these. :D

Thursday, June 11, 2009

You're gonna love my nuts

Sorry, couldn't help it.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The North River Lodge

I've started this little project for my buddies at UDPB, but I'm inviting everyone to join in.

The North River Lodge

What is this, you ask? Basically, it's a forum-based role-playing game. Players will be in the roles of contestants competing in a dangerous game to win tens of millions of dollars. It's going to be full of unexpected surprises, and in all likelihood most characters won't live to see the end of the game.

If this sounds interesting to you, head over to the UDPB forum, then sign up by responding to the above thread in the RP board. If possible, give a nice description and back-story for your character, and choose what skills if any they'll have. (You can do this later if you prefer)

So, what do you say? Have the nerve for it?

Friday, June 05, 2009

This made me happy

I don't know how I missed this episode the first time around. God bless the YouTube.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I have yellow teeth, and I'm fine with it

For some reason, lately whenever I open my hotmail inbox, I see not one, not two, but three ads on the same page advertising teeth whitening products. My initial thought was, how in the hell do they know me so well? If you've ever spent enough time around my mouth, and I know you wish you had, ladies, you'd find that, aside from my slightly crooked bottom teeth, and the most intense case of chronic bad breath you've ever seen, I have yellow teeth.

For the sake of preserving what's left of your opinion of me, I'd like to point out that my teeth coloration is not for lack of oral hygiene. I brush an average of twice a day, floss whenever I remember to, and I've never had a cavity in my life. However, ever since I was little, I've loved apple juice. Where most kids loved soda, I drank apple juice nearly every day of my childhood. I still do, in fact, but in somewhat lighter quantities. The trouble is, all that acidic juice leaves an impact on teeth. Aside from mild erosion of enamel, over 20 years of juice has left a light bronzy stain on my teeth, similar to what some daily coffee drinkers get. The result: my teeth are healthy enough, but permanently tainted with a yellow hue.

Now that I've gotten that out, one might pose the question, "Dan, why not try some of these fine whitening products being advertised?" Well, the simple answer is this: I don't give a fuck about having white teeth. What do I need white teeth for? To light up my winning smile? This is me we're talking about. In my entire life, my parents have acquired maybe half a dozen pictures where I actually smiled, and only one where I showed any teeth. Why?

For one, I'm a miserable fuck who'd rather scowl than smile. I've gotten to the point where even if I'm actually happy, I'm more likely to flash an evil-looking smirk than a genuine smile. Of course, I'm usually happy at someone else's expense, so that's usually quite appropriate.

For another thing, that recent picture of me smiling enlightened people to what I already knew: I have a very creepy-looking smile. There's no way around it. I'm a creepy dude, and smiling just makes it worse. I don't know why. I was an adorably cute little kid. My smile was a sparkling example of youthful joy. My parents took me to professional photographers all the time just to capture that vibrant smile in celluloid form.

And then I got older. And God only knows what happened, but now I'm just a hopelessly creepy little goblin. I'm not totally sure why I don't smile more often. Maybe it's because I'm actually a little ashamed of the fact that I'm a letcherous goon with deep-seated resentment for myself and the entire human race. Maybe it's because I have yellow teeth.

Well, call me nuts, but I'm going with the former. I've had yellow teeth a long time, and I've been a depressing creep for just as long. There's no sense in trying to change that about myself now. Even if I do one day become self-actualized enough to be happy with myself, I really don't care enough to have white teeth. Aside from the general vanity of it, my teeth are a reminder to me of the kind of person I am, and the kind of person I no longer want to be. On the off chance that someday I finally blossom into a respectable human being, I don't want to forget where I came from.

I'm not saying I want to carry all those skeletons with me for the rest of my life, but who I am and who I aspire to be are not things I take lightly, and wherever I go in life, I never want to forget what I left behind me. Once those skeletons are out of the closet, they're going in a display case to commemorate the fact that I overcame them. I'm kind of vain like that. Just not vain enough to get my teeth whitened. Maybe I should do like Mitch Hedberg said and just get a tan.

Incidentally, I noticed that when I get a tan, perhaps as a result of all the fruit juice I drink, my skin suddenly smells sweet. Seriously. Come here and smell me.

Okay, I guess that's enough for tonight. Goodnight, readers. Peace and love.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Re: Re: Craig Ferguson's Snake Cup

Okay, apparently I've angered a great many people with what I said a little while ago about Craig's new cup. Look, to clarify, I'm not against the cup itself. Honestly, I do wish I had one of my own. But then, I have a black chalice with diamonds on it, so it's hard to get exceedingly envious of others' drinking containers.

Anyway, just to clear the air, I want everyone to know that I accept and in fact have come to like the rattlesnake cup. My only real qualm was with the amount of time spent talking about it. I mean, sure, it's unusual for a talk show host to have a cup like that, but is that really the most remarkable thing guests encounter when visiting Craig on the set? Wouldn't you think the Salvador Dali picture and dancing monkeys would be the more surprising features of this program?

Well, I just hope everyone can set their minds at ease now about this whole fiasco. Frankly, I'm amazed people comment on this blog at all. I mean, come on. You're writing comments here? Why, so they can be read by all 3 people who follow this thing? You'd accomplish basically the same effect by writing an angry letter and throwing it in the garbage. Of course, that approach has the advantage of not making you sound like a psycho on the Internet. I'm not judging you, I'm just saying...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Well, let's start the insanity

I'm officially out of school now. And sick with some kind of stomach virus. Not the best way to start a vacation, huh?

Anyway, I haven't been on the Internet much since I got back. Today is my first real day checking my email. That's when I was directed to this. 100 hubs in 30 days? Do I have the balls to go for it?

For those of you who haven't heard, I've been writing stuff on this site known as HubPages. It's kind of like what I do here, except people actually read it, and I'm making money. Granted, it's like $2 a week thus far, but whatever.

This challenge is something else, though. As an experiment to see just how effective this site is, international man of mystery Ryan Hupfer is encouraging people to take the pledge to write 30 hubs in 30 days, or go all the way and take the 100 hub challenge.

Well, I'm not sure if I really have that much to write about, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pass up a good writing challenge. Besides, I could use the money, and I get the feeling this whole responsible college student thing isn't going to work out anyway.

I honestly don't know whether I'll be able to keep up a good enough pace to manage 100. I'm going to start by shooting for the 30-hubs challenge and see where we go from there. I made 22 hubs in my first month of membership, so it'll be enough of a challenge to see if I can crack that. If I do, I'll take the plunge and go for the full 100.