Say Cheese

True, True

Naite kurasu mo issho, waratte kurasu mo issho.
"It is the same life whether we spend it crying or laughing."

Exactly.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/24/2003 || link

I'm No Authority

But I think this photo is incredibly beautiful. I was instantly moved (about 4 feet...backwards) when I saw it.

It's nice to be stunned by beauty every once in a while. It wakes me up a bit.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/24/2003 || link

I Leave and Look What Happens

Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Court smartly ruled that same sex couples are legally entitled to wed under the MA state constitution. Score one for judicial good sense.

But, according to ABC news:

"The Massachusetts question will now return to the Legislature, which already is considering a constitutional amendment that would legally define a marriage as a union between one man and one woman. The state's powerful Speaker of the House, Tom Finneran of Boston, has endorsed this proposal."

I've always heard people talk about my home state as some sort of progressive playground, but amendments like the one above make me question that assessment. If I have time, I may write out an extended piece detailing why the government has no business defining the correct gender combination for a marriage (and why the idea of marriage should be stricken from the government's vocabulary), but for the moment, I want to express my desire to slap Mr. Finneran silly for endorsing such a proposal. I'd quite enjoy hearing his reasoning. If I'm able to find it, I'll let you, my loyal readers, know.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/18/2003 || link

The Greatest Album Covers That Never Were

I just stumbled upon the site for the Greatest Album Covers That Never Were, which is a gallery of album covers designed by famous artists for their favorite groups or musicians.

Many of the designs are cool, some are beautiful and others are just bizarre. Check it out.

Link courtesy of Blogosphere.us.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/17/2003 || link

Try Not To Get Too Depressed

Anyone else feeling like they haven't accomplished much in their life?

This site will most likely make you feel worse.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/13/2003 || link

More Adventures in Spam

I found this piece of spam to be cleverly funny (yes, it doesn't take much to make me laugh):

----------
Hey Bryan,

It's me, Jessica Farlow! Remember me? :) I hope this email address is yours, if I'm not mistaken.

We've not been meeting for awhile and I decided to invite you to watch me naked via a webcam. I know you'll enjoy it! :) Just click the link and come inside:
http://www.bestdates.biz/jessica/index.html

Luv
Jessica

P.S. If you're not Bryan Langley, I must be mistyped the email address. In that case please don't click the link! I don't want strangers to see me naked."
-----------

It's that last line that I find funny. Advertisers of all sorts have been trying to hide the nature of their advertisements online for a while now (Take the banner ads that look like alert boxes for an example), and this bit of bait for the voyeurs of the world is just as sneaky. Does anyone fall for this stuff? Probably the same people that propagated the Anna Kournikova and I Love You virii.

And no, I didn't check out Ms. Farlow's webcam.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/12/2003 || link

American Rhetoric

I was a political science major in college, but I was only a few classes short of being able to major in rhetoric as well. So, needless to say, I have an enormous interest in the art of persuasive speech and effective public speaking. That is why I think the web site, American Rhetoric, is one of the coolest archives I've found online in years.

Yes, the web site is ugly as sin, but it holds an enormous number of audio treasures (I'm currently listening to Reagan's outstanding "Challenger Tragedy" speech).

I'm so giddy right now. Yes, I am a nerd.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/12/2003 || link

I Know What I Hate...

...and I don't hate this.

Some fine folks in the DC area have started the Ban the Ban campaign to fight a move to ban smoking in bars and restaurants in the District.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I detest tobacco in all its forms and would like to see the substance wiped off the face of the Earth. I've never taken a puff and never plan to. Having watched my mother struggle with her addiction to nicotine, I've become a little intolerant of that nasty habit.

With that said, I find the effort to have government tell business owners how they should run their businesses to be the epitome of nanny-statism and a bureaucratic abomination in this supposedly free society. The folks at Ban the Ban make these arguments a little more eloquently than I, so why not take a moment to read what they have to say.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/06/2003 || link

Just In Time

Tyler Cowen wrote an interesting bit about efforts in Ecuador and the U.S. to promote punctuality. In Ecuador, the private sector has labeled tardiness as a large problem, especially with military and public officials. They've started a program to promote punctuality with a number of interesting ideas. Of all their ideas, I really liked this one that Tyler mentioned:

"The program even includes incentives. If you are on time for a meeting, you are greeted with a pleasant sign telling you to come on in. The red flip side of the sign reads: 'Do not enter, the meeting started on time.'"

I like my job, so I'll refrain from naming those people at my organization who are late for every single meeting that they attend, even the ones that they organized (I'm not bitter...much). Needless to say, there have been a number of meetings in the past where I would have relished locking the door and putting up a nasty sign. Ahh, to dream.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/06/2003 || link

NaNoWriMo

Have you ever wanted to write a novel and not yet gotten around to it? What stopped you? Did you not know how to start? Did you not have the time? Were you scared it would suck?

Well, for those of you who finally want to take the plunge and bang out a piece of literary work, there is support for you. NaNoWriMo.org is the site for National Novel Writing Month, where people sign up and then proceed to try and write a novel of at least 175 pages (50,000 words) by the end of November. The site provides a forum where people can gripe, give tips, give support, or just procrastinate.

I've signed up and have begun the process of crafting my own craptacular masterpiece. I have a lot of work to do in the month ahead and I may or may not post snippets of the text here. Regardless of how everything turns out, this should be rather interesting. Wish me luck!

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/05/2003 || link

Brave Sir Robin Ran Away!

"Bravely ran away away! When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled..."

Okay, that's enough of that. I had a lot happen to me this weekend, both mentally and physically, but I'm going to need to relate it, bit by bit. Here's one for you.

The most striking event happened last evening, as I walked home from my friend's house after watching Identity. I took a shortcut through a well lit alley that connects my street and hers, which is slightly dodgy looking, but safe enough. The alley cuts between an apartment complex, a grade school, an empty lot and a bunch of houses. I was carrying a bag containing a pint of ice cream (cookies and cream...yum) and a bottle of Snapple lemonade. If anyone wanted to mess with me, they'd have to mess with my swinging bag of justice! Anyway, I was about halfway down this alley, when a car pulled into it up ahead of me. Cars use that alley when they want to bypass Connecticut Avenue to look for parking in the neighborhood, so I was not surprised by the car. I was surprised when the driver floored the gas pedal to rapidly speed through the alley and directly at me, since I was still in the way, although I quickly moved to the side. The driver never slowed down, never seemed to care that there was someone else in the road, and needless to say, I took exception to his lack of care. So as he drove by, I exclaimed (not too loudly, but firmly), "you bastard!"

SCREEEEEEEEEECH!

I guess he had a window open on his beat up old, beast of a car. I saw his bright, white reverse lights go on, heard the tires start to spin against the gravel, and found myself faced with a choice.

Naturally, I waited for the car to come back, where I saw the disheveled, drunken man's irate face. He said, "Hey fuck you, fuckface!" So, I broke his mirror with my foot, and told him I could do the same to his ugly mug.

No, wait, umm, actually, I sprinted out of the alley. I didn't know what he might do. I didn't know if he had a gun. I didn't know anything about him, except that he was a bastard. So, I didn't look back for at least 30 seconds, and found that he had tired of the game...or was going to drive around and come back. Either way, I was almost home.

That was a strange little event though. I never got to use my swinging bag of justice! Then again, I didn't get into a fight with some bastard in an alley either, which is an experience I can live without.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/03/2003 || link

Boo!

Retrocrush has listed their top 100 scariest movie moments of all time.

I read through that last night and was surprised at how many movies I hadn't seen on their list. However, they did have the movie that gave me my first real fright: Salem's Lot, a movie directed by Tobe Hooper of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fame and based on a Stephen King novel. I don't remember how young I was, but I do remember TV 38 in Boston played it a least a few times while I was growing up.

That was the movie that made me sleep with the covers pulled up to my chin for years and years, in the firm belief that if I didn't leave my neck exposed a vampire wouldn't be able to bite me. That movie caused me to have nightmares for three nights straight as I replayed one particular scene over and over again in my mind.

A man walked into a room to see another man sitting in a rocking chair, with pale skin, sunken cheeks, and yellow eyes. As the pale man rocked back and forth, he opened his mouth and gave a long hiss while showing off his long incisors.

In my nightmares, I dreamed of a long hallway, with nice woodwork and filled with more doors than I had time to count. I was frantically trying to escape from something, and I opened each and every door I found. Each room held that man, sitting in the chair and hissing. Each time I entered a room, I ran screaming from it only to find all of the other rooms filled with the same frightening image.

I woke up for three nights straight, sweating, clutching my stuffed Chewbacca doll and the torn piece of an old pajama top that served as my security blanket. I then spent much of the next 20 years looking for another fright like that one. I also developed a fascination with vampires.

Funny how that works.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 10/30/2003 || link

Christmas Shopping

I think I may have found a Christmas gift for everyone I love.

The Bill Of Rights: Security Edition.

Penn Jillette is a big fan. These inspirational, little metal plates were created by the guy who played Chainsaw in the movie Summer School (funny actor, funny movie...good times). Go check it out.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 10/27/2003 || link

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I leave for Boston tomorrow for no other reason than to go home and see family and friends. They all wanted me home for my birthday, but I couldn't swing a visit until this weekend. So, tomorrow I fly up there to be bombarded with the million-dollar question: "When are you moving back to Boston?" Sigh.

During my trip, I hope to see a lot of friends, but I really really really really want to see my grandfather. Don't ask me why I feel an overwhelming desire to see him all of the sudden. I love him, always have, always will, but I was just struck recently by the fact that he won't be with us forever.

I hope to also get out of my funk. You'll notice I haven't written much on here lately, right? Basically, I am hoping to avoid whiney, mopey rants and they are at the forefront of my brain right now. Grr.

Oh, Doug, the man, the myth, the legend who also happens to be my friend...he has a new site. Check him out. He's more interesting than I am by a long shot. Although, if you are a woman reading this, don't check him out. You'll just fall in love with him. I'm not kidding about that. You will.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 10/23/2003 || link

Thanks for the Warning

Some of you may remember that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) tried to sue over 200 people for breaking copyright laws about a month ago. Well, as you would guess, when a huge organization sues a 12-year old kid, there tends to be a bit of a public backlash.

So, the RIAA had to deal with a lot of bad publicity. What they decided to do to try and avoid this public scrutiny is nothing short of brilliant. In a move designed to make them appear softer and gentler, the RIAA is now sending out warning letters to suspected law-breakers telling them that unless they comply with the letter, they will be sued. Nice of them, eh?

Take another look at this. The only difference between bringing a lawsuit immediately or after sending a warning letter is the level of public scrutiny. A lawsuit goes into the public record, a warning letter does not. They also give themselves a chance to screen their targets, which allows them to avoid another publicity nightmare.

Brilliant. It was a very simple and subtle move, but they've pretty much taken the media out of the loop, while being able to continue with their strong arm tactics. They are scary, nasty bastards, but that's still a brilliant move.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 10/22/2003 || link

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For the moment...

Book: Deep Blues, by Robert Palmer

CD: Brothers, by The Black Keys

Song: "Oh My God," by Ida Maria

Link: Shut Up & Sit Down

Ramble: Just An Idea