maanantai 15. joulukuuta 2008

Stressing Out...

After one year and a quarter I've finally managed to run into problems with my MacBook. Random I/O errors seem to corrupt files and hamper performance, and the problem has spread to crashing some apps (Safari and Skype commit suicide within seconds).

I'm going through the final check-up to see that I've backed up everything useful, I've verified the functionality of iTunes, iPhoto and other backups using a new account just to be sure, and am basically overstressing myself over a simple procedure. The only danger is that my external drive decides to fry itself during this operation, which isn't too likely. Is it? I want to make more backups...

5 minutes from now, I'll be replacing all data on my MacBook hard drive with zeroes in an attempt to correct the issue. If that doesn't work, I'm forced to hand in my 'Book to the geniuses at the local shop. I'm hoping the problem is related to the HD, since if it is, I was promised an extended warranty period that would allow a free replacement HD. The original warranty expired around 3 months ago! Groovy. Of course, in an ideal situation, the format will get rid of the problem and I'll be back to high-speed surfing after hot, steamy po... pointless discussions on the existence of imaginary deities and such.

torstai 4. joulukuuta 2008

Magical Movie Experience: Generic Vampire Ninja Movie

I'm not sure if this movie is really that bad or not, but decided to blog about it anyway. I got on it halfway through and was drawn in by ham-fisted acting, overdone action sequences and an excess of people snarling at each other. I still haven't seen all of it, but took quick screen captures to sum up the movie in a couple of seconds. There are some things I noticed I'd like to address in depth, though. I actually only learned the title of the movie as I was taking these screens. It's "Vampires: The Turning". As in "You will want to turn your TV off" or "You'd better turn away now" or "Turn away from your sins or you will go to Hell where you'll be forced to watch this movie over and over and over again".

I initially jumped right in on the action during a stupidly extended motorcycle chase, around halfway through the movie. From this tour de force of continuity inconsistencies and stupid stunts I learned that if you want to escape a motley crew of vicious vampirous assailants chasing you on motorcycles, just do a 180-degree turn and run your vehicle through the pack without flinching. They're totally not expecting that, that's why it works!

So we get some vampires exploring the vegetarian lifestyle as they dive headfirst into fruit stands at a marketplace as a result of stunts that have painfully obvious set-ups, some bite the road, others an assortment of lumber. Hum-drum chase scene altogether. Until someone had the bright idea to Woo-up the sequence.

"Animals were hurt in the making of this movie"

Towards the end of this chase, in a transparently blatant attempt to inject some Woo into the movie, the makers decided to hide an assistant behind some crates to release a miniature flock of birds to fly across the scene as the motorcycles whizz by at breakneck speed. A classic action movie cliche, perhaps a well-meaning homage. Nothing to write home (or to a blog) about, until someone loses a beak. I'll gracefully sidestep the obvious breakneck pun and simply extend my condolences to the family of Thaddeus H. Twirp the Third. May you rest peacefully in the dank warehouse these idiots probably left you to die in.

Very shortly after the moment of collision (just a few frames) the action cuts to a different room in the warehouse. Why did they leave this disturbing half a second in the movie? The sequence would not have suffered if the collision had been cut out. I actually later fast forwarded to the end of the credits to see if they might have included the token "No animals were harmed during the making of this movie". Luckily, no, since that would have been a blatant lie.

Secrets of Our Sanguinary Friends

Chase scene ends in an exploding vampire as the sun comes up. Good guys hatch up plan to defeat evil dudes, some third party is also involved, backs will potentially be stabbed. Cue the final, climactic action sequence with ridiculous wire-assisted floaty bits. Kick, punch, it's all in the mind. Over-choreographed tripe. I wasn't really paying attention, as I periodically visited the kitchen to check out if the oven was ready for the bread I was making. One stunt just happened to catch my eye as I carelessly took a gander at the on-screen pandemonium.

A random, expendable, evil vampire guy gracefully eats some foot from a good guy exhibiting the traditional "whirling dervish spinaroo" fighting style, and embarks on an exciting journey down a 2 meter deep trench. Thank you for flying Gravity airlines, next stop, Rock Bottom! On his way down he makes a halfway stop at an opening, where he decisively drives his ribs into a sharp corner, effectively pulverizing most of them. Of course, vampires have awesome regenerative powers and a high tolerance for pain, so he'll most likely be okay and back in action in no time. But, what's this! Oh, my...

It all makes sense now! For so long I've wondered why most recent vampire movies contain excessive amount of hand-to-hand and foot-to-face combat! It appears that you can literally knock the vampire out of someone if you hit them hard enough. It appears a hard enough knock can make them pop out their dangerously overgrown fangs. Perhaps an extended beating will get the blood running and even cure their pale complexion. Most of our contemporary vampire hunters should be informed of this, lest they kill any more people who could be saved!

Also, I helpfully highlighted another nifty little detail in the animation above: DO NOT BUY LADDERS FROM THAILAND!

Oookkay, right, so, some kind of horseplay from a group of vampire hunters who start killing the good guys (who are also vampires), then the main character dude uses a dying vampire chick as a grenade to blow the leader of the vampire hunters to smithereens. Finally he finds his kidnapped girlfriend and they're now both vampires and I need to get out more.

This movie, as much I've seen of it, was almost as painful as reading Ray Comfort's blog. On second thought, and in light of the recent content published on said blog, I rescind that statement. This movie only equals being stripped naked, thrown at by an assortment of cacti, having your eyes dug out with a spoon, getting rolled down a rough, steep cliff with razorblades embedded into its face and eventually landing in a wading pool filled with iodine where a clown throws a pie of acid on your face. Comfort's blog is way, way worse.

keskiviikko 28. toukokuuta 2008

Quality Publication Spotted at Local Library

I've been sitting at the library for some hours now, decided to take a pause from writing and have a look at the magazine selection.

Homeopatia - Suomen Homeopaatit ry - 1/2008

Yay, it's a homeopathy publication! And even better:

HIV Infections and Homeopathy

They're helping in fighting HIV in Africa! They even provide plenty proof that it actually WORKS! One anecdote siding with homeopathic remedies and over a page of talking how homeopathy is superior to allopathy with no references to any research are proof plenty. Bite that, evil Allopathianists!(?)

tiistai 29. huhtikuuta 2008

Photo for Week 17

Along this spring I've been helping with running a parkour club for youngsters. This week we had this season's penultimate training session and decided to get out of the gymnasium and hit the pavement.

I happened to be lugging my camera around with me that day, resulting in snapshots such as this.

The motion being performed would be called a tic-tac to a cat-leap in PK parlance.

perjantai 18. huhtikuuta 2008

Stupid Movie of the Year, Courtesy of Religious Nutjobs

Expelled Exposed

Ben Stein is my new hero. Discussing the question on the origin of life on Glenn Beck's show [link] he says:

"They ["Darwinists"] have an answer but it's a BS answer. It's an answer that wouldn't make sense to a small child."

If it doesn't make sense to a child, it doesn't make sense to Ben Stein. Makes sense.

Ray Comfort Pleases His Master the Way Only He Can

I've been a fan of Ray Comfort for years. Lately, I occasionally drift back to read his blog to see what he and his cronies are up to. This is the story of my latest posts on Ray's blog.

April 6th, Ray posted an article he titled "Science Fiction". In this post he shows to his readers how stupid the evolutionary scientists are, by sharing snippets from a book called "The Wild World of the Future". This book introduces creatures from a hypothesized future world (based on scientific principles) hundreds of millions of years after our time.

As per usual, Ray didn't really say much that is worth commenting on, but he ended the article with this brief paragraph:

By the way. In case you think that this is a book for children. Not so. It is the "Companion book to the Discovery Channel series: The Future is Wild" (page 96).

Ray supplied his readers some pictures he had taken of the book, and glimpsing over them I suddenly got this tingle between my ears that only a Ray Comfort article can elicit. I surfed around the 'net for a couple of minutes, and posted something along the lines of this on Ray's blog:

Sure looks like a children's book to me. But maybe I should cut Ray some slack. Surely, he can't be confused about something like this.

(2 minutes later)

From Barnes & Noble online bookstore:

"Claire Pye is an author and editor of non-fiction books for children and adults covering subjects as diverse as healthy eating, computers, sharks and dinosaurs. Before writing The Wild World of the Future for children, she edited the adult version of the book, entitled The Future is Wild."


Unfortunately, my original post was censored by Ray and nobody ever saw it, so I'm working from memory here and the above might not be verbatim to what I wrote. After seeing that I got censored I tried posting again, just to see my words disappear in another puff of virtual smoke.

I'm used to being censored by Ray, but it's strange how it often follows a certain pattern. If my comment gets censored, Ray follows through with an edit of his original post. Maybe I'm giving myself too much credit here, but soon after I posted my first comment on that thread, Ray removed his original last paragraph, and inserted a new one with his revised view on the book:

Obviously, this book was written for children, and it is billed as the "Companion book to the Discovery Channel series: The Future is Wild" (page 96).

I tried posting a third time, rather frustrated at Ray's antics, and actually got through. Still, it was another lesson in futility, as Ray doesn't answer questions he doesn't like to answer.

I'm intrigued: did Ray Comfort really, honestly in all sincerity think that this was a book aimed at mature audiences? If so, it could serve as some sort of hint as to what kind of literature creationist kooks surround themselves with.

I love you Ray. Don't ever change.

torstai 13. maaliskuuta 2008

Memories of Minesweeping

keskiviikko 12. maaliskuuta 2008

Toilet Etiquette Weekly, ep. 1

Once upon a time ran into a photo of a college dorm hallway on the Something Awful forums. I didn't preserve the photo, but traced a vector image from the salient element in it: an instructional plaque next to a bathroom door. The image haunted me from time to time, as I browsed past it in my images folder:

It always caused my mind to silently scream out a barrage of WH words, but I ignored the impulse to look into the matter.


I recently finished Pekka Virkamäki's book, Arka ja ahdas ismi (roughly translated: A Timid and Constricted Ism). Virkamäki was involved in the Hare Krishna movement for almost 15 years, vascillating between almost leaving the cult and ending up in high ranking positions. The book is his account on how he came into his faith, relished it, but eventually felt estranged, constrained, and left it behind. It's an excellent read presented in a respectable manner: the gloves are off, but there's really no vitriol, just observational and self-reflective explication.

The high point in the book for me was to be able to connect the above picture into a sensible context. Devout Hare Krishnas aim to lead an extremely ascetic life, abstaining from all earthly indulgences and comforts. Lush mattressess: evil. Recliners: evil. Toilet bowls: not that evil but you might want to emulate evacuating your bowels into a hole in the ground to feel better about yourself. This also prepares the Hare Krishnas for their inevitable visits to India and temples therein, where the invading western style toilet bowls have not yet replaced the indigenous population.

The dorm the plaque was in had probably accommodated Hare Krishnas sometime in its lifespan. The ultimate reason for its emergence remains unknown. Were the caretakers complaining about exceptionally grimy toilet seats? Was it a health risk, perhaps someone cracked their skull open as the misused bowl exacted revenge? Some mysteries will remain sans answer...


Religion does make people do strange things. In a quest to push the envelope, I actually happen to have a new religion in the works, just so that I can begin posting this variation of the instructional plaque all around Finland, and eventually, the world:

maanantai 25. helmikuuta 2008

Spycat sees your typing

Solar system?


"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it."