Say Cheese

Grey's Law

"Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

Brilliant.

(Via Daring Fireball, which was via Merlin Mann)

Posted by Mr. Eff on 07/06/2007 || link

Dramatic Flair

This prairie dog got his start doing free Shakespeare performances in Central Park, before graduating into some lead roles in quirky, but critically acclaimed, off-Broadway productions.

And it's easy to see that he has more dramatic range than many contemporary human actors, like Hayden Christensen. I think this performance will get him his big shot at becoming a star. I'm pulling for him.

UPDATE: It's a prairie dog, not a chipmunk! Sorry about that.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/21/2007 || link

The Alphabet of HORROR!

A plucky artist by the name of Jared Von Hindman has created Head Injury Theater, a website of his artwork and mad ramblings. I'd like to point out the Alphabet of Horror, which is quite fabulous.

I would like you to remember, however, that the Wolfman has nards, not nads.

Yeah, I'm a geek, but the movies of my childhood are sacred, dammit!

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/19/2007 || link

Notice the RSS Feed

Hi folks. I did a little coding over the weekend and added the RSS feed that has been in the works for years. Please let me know if you have trouble with the feed.

Next up comments! I figure it's time to add comments now that no one really visits the site. Of course, I never really update it either.

I'm hoping that changes now that I have a shiny new laptop. It's so choice. You should try one if you ever have the chance.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/17/2007 || link

Laws of Communication

Today, I came across a great set of laws on communication, called Wiio's laws. Its first and most perfect law is, " Communication usually fails, except by accident." That pretty much says it all right there.

Law number 2, "If a message can be interpreted in several ways, it will be interpreted in a manner that maximizes the damage," most often rears its ugly head in email.

I don't think I can express how often that's happened to me without using language that sounds like hyperbole. My first real job had me misstep in that fashion so many times, that in my next job, I was recognized as an expert in writing non-offensive emails. Even after a year and a half of doing that, I'm sure I can still let slip something that will piss someone off.

Heck, it's a law.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/11/2007 || link

Pictures of the Bionic Broken Finger

Here are some more pictures of my bionic broken finger. The first one is pic taken before going off to the hospital for surgery. Now for the fun ones.

One.
Two.

Note that the wrinkles on my skin are from a compression bandage called Coban.

My finger is coming along pretty well. According to my fantastic physical therapist, "All clinical signs are positive." That basically means that my fracture is stable, my flexion is good, and my joints aren't making weird noises. So, yay hooray.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/10/2007 || link

Neato Geek Art

As a good member of the computer geek club, I love me some Sci-Fi inspired artwork. Jeff Victor is rightly getting noticed for his bubble-head cartoon drawings of various characters from pop culture. I haven't found anywhere to buy prints yet, but I'm definitely hoping to have this Tusken Raider on my wall some day.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 06/10/2007 || link

My Bionic Broken Finger

A week and a half ago, I underwent an Open Reduction Internal Fixation procedure on my broken finger. That procedure put a couple of pins through my finger and created a neat little system that actually allows me to move my finger. I need to move my finger in order to keep the soft tissue from atrophying and leaving me with a rigid, useless digit.

So now, instead of a broken finger, I have a bionic broken finger (pics forthcoming).

Posted by Mr. Eff on 05/31/2007 || link

Broken

So, I had a lot of big plans for the summer. I was going to bike, play softball, play basketball, play ultimate frisbee, golf, maybe train for another triathlon...I had plans.

Most of those plans came to an abrupt end Thursday night when I broke my right ring finger in a basketball game. Instead of a summer of fun, I have surgery followed by weeks and weeks of healing and physical therapy. Most likely I'll never make a full fist with my right hand again. As many people have noted, there goes my boxing career.

I could write a long, self-pitying post about how devastated I was when I saw the x-rays and saw how much damage had been done to my finger. I could write about how many fears I have about what I will and won't be able to do in the future because of this injury. I could, but I won't write about all that right now, because typing makes blood rush to my broken finger, which, frankly, causes it to hurt a bit more than usual.

There will be plenty of time during the next two months for me to whine some more in this public space. For now, consider me bummed.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 05/19/2007 || link

And We're Back...

Sorry for the delay in changing web hosts folk(s). I have no excuse other than being very busy lately (read: lazy). I've started a new job, leaving the sinking ship that was my previous employer for much greener pastures. And naturally I am much happier for it. Not happy enough to do this, but pretty dang happy.

Now for something completely different. 2006 was a rather disappointing year for music, in my humble opinion, but 2007 so far has been outstanding. In the coming days, I'll try to highlight my favorites of the new year.

First up is Electrelane's No Shouts, No Calls. I'm having a hard time understanding why I like the album so much. The vocals are odd and not particularly strong. They remind me of The Microphones in that regard. Some of the guitars are reminiscent of "All Hands on the Bad One" era Sleater-Kinney, which is pleasing enough, but not novel in any way.

Of all the tracks on the album, I find myself listening to To the East repeatedly. It seems to perfectly encapsulate why I like this album so much. There is really nothing particularly special about the song. But when you give it a listen and think about the lyrics and let yourself get caught up in the song, you find it tremendously satisfying. Give it a try!

Posted by Mr. Eff on 05/17/2007 || link

More Grammy Gripes

I'll admit that I was happy to see the Dixie Chicks take home some hardware on Sunday night. They've gone through hell for expressing an unpopular opinion (unpopular to their fan base, at least), and it's nice that they were able have some laughs.

I was always amazed that the people most upset by their comments were the people that would consider themselves the most red, white and blue. Yet, those people didn't seem to be fans of that patriotic notion of free expression and fierce, rugged individualism that this red, white and blue country is so well known for. Funny that.

The idea, however, that the Chicks were vindicated in any way on Sunday night is rather ridiculous. The voters were mostly people that agreed with the Dixie Chicks from the beginning. That awards show was in Hollywood, not Nashville. And those five awards were just another critical volley from the blue staters to the red staters.

I honestly don't think those red staters feel any better about the Dixie Chicks, though. I'm sure the grammy voters feel good about themselves...umm... hooray?

bah!

Posted by Mr. Eff on 02/13/2007 || link

I could rant about the Grammys...

I could rant. I really could. Between Mary J. Blige's endless thank yous to Jesus and James Blunt playing that freaking song of his, there was plenty to ridicule. But I'll just say this:

"My Humps," by the Black Eyed Peas won Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

I don't think there is much left to say.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 02/12/2007 || link

Lite Brite Bombs in Boston

By now, most everyone has heard about the "bomb scare" that crippled Boston last week. After finding out that I was the only person in my entire family that knew who the "Mooninites" were, I can understand people being confused by the LED-based signs that were placed all around Boston and nine other cities two weeks before. What I can't understand is why these signs ended up causing the police to shut down major portions of the city for an extended period of time. Reportedly, there was something that looked like an actual pipe bomb at New England Medical Center, which supposedly triggered the dramatic response from the Boston police force. Even given that more authentic bomb scare, we learned a few things about Boston's first response force.

The Boston police did not show the ability to distinguish between an authentic threat and a non-threat. There are plenty of people who have said, "Well if the signs ended up being bombs, you would have crucified the cops if they didn't take the response that they did."

These people ignore that we should not celebrate a false positive response from our threat detection system. Especially when that false positive costs the city millions of dollars. Boston's public officials have spent a good deal of time blaming Turner Broadcasting and the marketing firm responsible for the signs for the disturbance to the city. They should, however, be wondering why these lite brite installations were:

1) Mistaken for possible bombs. 2) Mistaken for possible bombs two weeks after they were installed.

So the threat detection system was not only defective in detecting an actual threat, it was tardy in detecting anything.

This becomes a problem when a situation occurs with multiple non-threats and multiple threats. If the police force can't distinguish between a clear non-threat (and I really challenge anyone to look at the actual signs and say they resemble bombs in any way) and a credible threat, they put themselves in a position where they could be easily used to not only stop traffic in the city, but also concentrate large amounts of people into small spaces (think subway stations) where a real threat could do even more damage.

Now, I'll grant that someone could create authentic looking decoys to create the same situation, but I'd feel a bit better if our enemies at least needed to create a decoy that looks like it might be an explosive device. Why would we want our first response units to jump at shadows? And if I hear one more person say, "this is a different world post-9/11," I will scream.

This world isn't different than it was on 9/10/2001, except in one way: We now use that event to justify making irrational arguments about the proper way to deal with threats against our country and the people in it. Arresting people without cause, spying on an entire populace, passing draconian legislation, and wildly overreacting to non-existent threats will not make anyone safer. Those things will waste a lot of time and money, though.

For more reading about this event and other security related matters, please check out Bruce Schneier's excellent blog.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 02/04/2007 || link

What's that smell?

Like many North American Homo-sapiens, I took part in the winter ritual of signing up for a gym membership. I swore that this time, I'd actually use that membership. I'd be committed. I'd do more than just piss money away every month.

So far, so good.

I even, believe it or not, like my gym. It's clean. It's never been too crowded, even during this intense period of new year resolution setting. It seems to have plenty of everything, even personal TVs for all of the cardio machines. The music they play is awful, but my new headphones allow me to seal that out.

One thing I can't seal out, though, is the smell. Now, I'm not saying that I smell like roses, especially after sweating profusely for an hour. On Sunday, I got a whiff of the funkiest man at the gym.

I was working in the free weights, trying to rehab my shoulder, when some guy came slowly shuffling by. Once he passed, I swear my nose caught the scent of an odiferous French cheese coated in the feces of a dog that's eaten a pound of fudge. I was initially pretty upset, because obviously the passing gentleman had broken wind in my area.

But when he came back my way, I realized, to my horror and amusement, that he just smelled that way...naturally. Either that or he was carrying a bit of a load in his shorts.

So, if you are a man who goes to one of the gyms in the suburbs of Boston, please ask a friend that you trust to tell you, really and truly, whether you smell like the porta-potty at a chilli cook-off. Pretty please?

Posted by Mr. Eff on 01/30/2007 || link

What the 2006 Election Taught Us

1) Most incumbants had nothing to worry about. No, it didn't even matter whether they were Democrats or Republicans. Good thing we've used campaign finance reform to make these elections more competitive.

2) Electronic voting was an absolute failure. Even if the most perfect system was designed, it would still be a complete failure...and none of the systems designed so far have been perfect in any way. In fact, they've been complete disasters. I love computers and technology as much, if not more, than the next person, but they cannot be used to annonymously record votes. They can help make the election process better, but we need to re-imagine how they can best be used.

3) Republicans can screw up their campaigns with scandals and shoddy strategy too. All the Democrats had to do was sit back, say that the Republicans were smelly, war-mongering, child-molesting evil-doers, and the voters said, "You're right! You must be better by comparison!"

4) We're a long way from 1994. I'm hoping this was the death-knell of neo-conservatism, the worst ideology to make it's way into the 21st century. Here's hoping that the Republicans remember some of their roots.

Posted by Mr. Eff on 11/14/2006 || 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