October 2008 Archives

Intro To Jury Duty

Tomorrow I need to take time out of my artificially busy day to do my civic duty.  No, not to vote.  I mean I have to go to jury duty.  It's not so bad though, I almost welcome the opportunity because it has a legitimate potential for fun.  If it had come at a time in my life that wasn't as busy I wouldn't mind at all.

Still, I probably won't get picked, just because I tend think everyone is guilty as charged and it probably shows through in my mannerisms like a wallpaper pattern through paint.  I guess I'm too suggestable.

I filled out the questionnaire ahead of time, just as requested.  Some of the questions seem like they should be irrelevant and perhaps even inappropriate.  Race, education, religious preference ?  These answers would seem to allow a jury selection that is not an accurate cross-section of the general populace.

I go to court

It's possible that my answers will be received with mild skepticism.  I didn't write caucasian for my race because I'm not from the region of Caucasus.  I don't know why white people are collectively referred to as caucasians anyway.  It's like calling Native Americans by the label Indians, even though they are not from India.

I also accurately listed my religion as Pastafarian.  If anyone actually looks at this answer, it could go a couple of different ways.  Most would probably read it as Rastafarian and move on.  Others might reject it as an illegitimate religion based on relative obscurity.  Either mistake would be unfortunate.

Because you're feigning interest right now, I'll let you know how the day goes.

Wassup 2008

Remember that old "True" Budweiser advertisement from the year 2000 ?  The one where the five guys were on the phone gratuitously and rhetorically asking each other what was happening at the time ? 

Well, the original cast from that commercial reunited to create an unofficial spot for the Obama campaign, in the same theme as the original commercial but adjusted to be relevant to today's economic and social climate.  It's somber yet inspiring, kind of like Obama's message to the American people.

I don't mean to impose myself on you here, but I very strongly encourage you to vote in this presidential election--and I equally strongly suggest you vote for Barack Obama.  Early voting is available now in many states (including Texas), and if you vote early you get to pick the polling place you want to go to, you can avoid the lines on November 4, and you'll have it out of the way just in case you get too busy that day.

Having said that, I'm not actually voting for Obama myself.  Neither of the forerunners are remotely qualified for the job, but one of them has to win and Obama is by far the lesser of the two evils.

My vote is going to be more idealistic.  I would really like to vote for the Libertarian Party, but the nominee this year is Bob Barr, who is (oddly) in many ways the antithesis to Libertarianism.  Given that, my only other choice remaining (although still a poor one) is to vote for Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party.  At least he supports many of the same ideals as myself, and is supported by the most qualified (former) candidate Ron Paul.

So do I vote for a party that I believe in that is fronting someone I don't like, or for a party I don't agree with that is fronting someone I moderately do like ?

Bright Ideas Come To Us at Night

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To all of you smug people with early schedules that give me crap for sleeping through the mornings, as if simply getting up early is some kind of an accomplishment, I give you this study:

EARLY to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise, so goes the old proverb. But it seems the advice holds little truth.  Research now suggests that if you want to be the wisest, you really need to stay up - well, until 10.04pm at least.

The findings echo an Italian study in 2006 that found those who stay up late have the most original ideas.

Yep, that's right.  You early-birds are uncreative and dull.  Now go get ready for bed, you have an unproductive day ahead of you tomorrow.

Domo-Kun Sells Out to Target

When you find an obscure something that's fun or interesting, or just entertaining in a bizarre way, you kind of start to own it.  It's like your own little diamond that you find in the rough and you don't want to share it with the world.  Then, if it is as great as you think it is, it inevitably gets discovered and becomes popular, and you're left feeling a loss because your own personal affection has become diluted.

I think fans of music performers suffer this effect more than any.  A band has a core group of supporters ("groupies," if you will) that get to say "Yeah, but I liked them before they were popular!"  The most interesting example I have noticed is with fans of Death Cab for Cutie.  Absolutely everyone I hear talk about that band claims to have been a fan before they were popular.  But then their iPod goes back on repeat of the 2008 song "I Will Possess Your Heart."

domokun.jpgI had one of these obscure fascinations that recently hit mainstream, but it wasn't about music.  It was for Domo-Kun, the lovable mascot of Japan's NHK television station.  It's impossible to look at this stout creature and deny his awesomeness.

One of my friends used to refer to him as the Angry Poop Monster.  I don't really see the similarity, other than the brown color.  And maybe the shape, but only if your butt happens to be square-shaped (if so, please consider altering your bedroom activities). 

By using an image of Domo on my phone background and as my IM avatar, I've had a regular influx of questions about him, such as "what is that thing" and "why is that on your phone" and "are you taking your medication?"

So in all of his obscurity, imagine my surprise when on a recent trip to Target for toilet paper and cheese cubes, I strolled into the retail giant's Halloween section and discovered posters and cardboard cutouts of my furry little friend, Domo. There he was, licensed out as a mascot to sell pumpkin pails, piñatas and candy corn.  Shoppers everywhere must be scratching their heads in bewilderment.

I can't say I approve of the merchandising, but I do welcome Domo to this country with open arms (and an open mouth).  And he was even effective at getting me to buy some candy--I left with a small bag of store-brand peach rings.

Mike Judge Could See the Future

It turns out that Mike Judge has been writing about the 2008 Republican nominees in his TV show King of the Hill for years.

The similarities are amazing:  an angry and intolerant war vet and a foolish woman with delusions of knowledge and self-importance.  Peggy would probably give a shout-out to a 3rd grade class during a debate, too.

Source: Hopeless Geek

The Mail Goggles--They Do Something

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Leave it to Google to keep the useful new GMail features coming.  Such as this one, the Mail Goggles.  You can enable a basic math test that requires correct answers before you are allowed to send email between a predefined set of hours (like, say, hours on the weekend that you're likely to be drinking too much booze).

mail_goggles.pngI thought it was a joke, but I checked my Gmail account, and sure enough it was there.

Unfortunately this test does not apply well to all audiences.  As an engineer, I am very familiar with mathematics and I'm pretty sure I could solve these expressions no matter how trashed I might be.

So for Mail Goggles 2, I suggest they include an engineer option that replaces the problems with differential equations.  Or on second thought, maybe not.  Then it would seem too much like work and I wouldn't send any email at all.

Statement Fail

Anybody know what this is ?  I saw this window sticker on a car in front of me earlier today.

lOve.jpgI'm going to guess that it is meant to be ironic, much in the same way that the term Religion of Peace is ironic.  Or maybe it's a message of tough love:  We care for you until you screw up, and then we're taking you out.  Or it could be a statement about the wars the United States is currently engaged in, and this particular driver is unsupportive of the Chinese magnetic
yellow ribbon manufacturing industry.

I also had the idea that it was a pop culture reference, but the Google hasn't given me any leads.  I'm still leaving open the possibility that a small-time band uses this graphic in their promotional material.

I may never know the truth.

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