Monday, July 31, 2006

Dracula's Riddle

Dracula's Riddle

Man, I'm stuck on number nine. The thing after the tree. Think, Marie, think. Maybe I'll get it tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm laughing right now

This dancing Master Chief widget makes me giggle. I don't really know why.



Konfabulator/Yahoo widget link

Dino Comics: Phrases for the Easily Confused

qwantz.com - dinosaur comics - July 26th 2006

Holy smackerels! The last panel is pure awesomeness!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

This year's winners of the hilarious extremely bad opening sentence to a novel contest: 2006 Results

The winners of Adam Cadre's 2006 "Lyttle Lytton Contest" (focusing on short sentences) can be found here.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A quote and my response

"Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians." by Pat Robertson

I ran across this quote a couple minutes ago. I am amazed at its misogynistic imperiousness and the utter stupidity of this statement. It is also obviously logically flawed; a slippery slope "argument" with no basis in reality. Well, except for the leaving husbands bit; that may have some truth in it as feminism may give a battered woman the confidence to leave her abusive husband. And unless you live with the incorrect belief that all men are infallible and can do no wrong, you would know that a woman saving her own life when a man who swore to God to protect her life is the better person and deserves her freedom.

If there is any truth in the witchcraft thing, it is anachronistic. Perhaps women back in the Dark and Medieval eras were seduced by the thought of having arcane power, but they had little to no power in their daily lives! If a person has no influence in politics, religion, household finances, etc., and lacks even the ability to deny their partner sex, that person would try to find a means of gaining power, even to the extent of deluding him/herself that they have supernatural abilities.

Mothers who kill their children are psychotic, not feminists.

How, pray tell, do feminists go about "destroying capitalism"? Seems to me the only damage done to America's economy is the result of natural phenomena and bad diplomacy.

And as to becoming lesbians, even if you don't believe that homosexuality is a choice and not an intrinsic and immutable trait, I'm sure that a hell of a lot of women would rather live as a lesbian than suffer the idiotic, narrow-minded, self-righteous pompousity of a man like Pat Robertson.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Suttsteve's Video Blogs

Blog 8: April 17, 2006: Fish sticks

Blog 19: April 27, 2006: Breakfast, YouTube dreams, then weather

Blog 83: July 10, 2006: There's nothing to talk about

Why are these so addictive to watch?

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Bullets & Bananas

A live-action Western commercial starring chimps.
Ape Escape 3 videos for the PS2

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Want recs?

Today I joined Bibliophil.org. If you're interested in seeing books that I recommend, you can just click on the li'l button in the sidebar. So far I've only written a few reviews, and the list is nowhere near complete (and primarily sci fi and fantasy), but it's there if you're interested.

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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Things I've run across on the net today

Picture of a frog saving a mouse's life

Phallic Logo Awards

Cats that look like Hitler

Something Awful: The Internet Makes You Stupid

Something Awful: Photoshop Phriday: Soothing Sounds CDs

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

TBF: Racism and Prejudice

Response to The Brian Factor
March 2. Topic: Racism and Prejudice.
In one of my American history classes a couple years ago, our teacher had us do an exercise called a "privilege walk" or something. Strangely, this altered my perspective on my life.

The students stood in a line and the teacher said random things like "step forward one step if your parents took you to see plays, author readings, or musical performances" and "take two steps backward if you have been denied a job because of ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation." Ultimately, those who had been more "privileged" in life would be several paces forward while the "less privileged" would be farther behind.

It surprised me how far back I was. It's not like I was one of the ones farther back, but I had expected to be one of the people in the front due to the fact that I'm white and come from a middle class family. (I'm not being prejudiced; this is the sad reality stemming from our country's close-minded WASP legacy and it sucks.)

What kept me back were the realizations that I had, several times, been a victim of sexual discrimination.

It's not like I'm ignored or talked down to every day because I'm female; it's primarily the fact that I have been sexually harrassed.

The worst episode took place over a month or two when I was 14. I had just been sent to boarding school and hadn't fully adjusted to the transition or made a large network of friends yet. I hung out with a male staff member who was really funny but made me uncomfortable. At first, I didn't realize what he was doing; later I knew something was wrong but couldn't pin down exactly what was making me uncomfortable and why.

One day he pressured me into telling him some rather personal information. Soon after another staff member confronted me about having an "inappropriate conversation with a male staff member" and I was punished by some of the normal school consequences: the only people I was allowed to talk to for at least a month were female staffers and four specific girls, I had to spend all my free time sitting in a desk-chair doing writing assignments, and instead of going to my academic classes I had to work in a field digging up and hauling rocks. Of course, with so many people saying and thinking that the incident was my fault (several students were upset at me for accusing him of harassing me), combined with my naivete, totally shook my self-confidence and I began blaming myself as well.

Perhaps another month later, that staff member was fired or forced to quit because he had had sex with another female student. I never got an apology from anyone. And that's the worst part of the whole ordeal that no one ever apologized for the blame and shame I felt even after he was busted for doing sexual things with at least two students.

And that blame and shame I felt is something that has contributed to my unexpected position at the end of that exercise. After all, each individual has some amount of control as to the extent of the discrimination they are subjected to. After that experience I began noticing other acts of sexism and harassment, and even had the confidence to stand up and expose another male staffer's behavior towards one of my good friends (which prevented her from going through a similar experience as I, as she was as naive of it as I had been) which also resulted in him having to quit.

But what I think is this: prejudice is inevitable; we each are, to some extent, a product of our family and society. Everyone has some illogical preconceptions of different ethnicities, lifestyles, or genders, but what is important is if you consciously agree with these biases and allow them to affect your behavior. For example, I can't control the automatic unease I feel when I see someone who resembles that man, but I can push aside that thought and remind myself that the actions of one man do not represent the opinions and actions of everyone who looks like him. I act normally and reserve judgement until I gain an insight into each individual.

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TBF: Religion

Response to The Brian Factor
May 26. Topic: Religion.
It is my opinion that religions are, for the most part, sets of beliefs which encourage peace, understanding, moral righteousness, and spiritual enlightenment. (I am talking mainly about the three major religions: Christianity, Islam, and Judaism; there are/have been plenty of cults which are/were based upon violence.) Humans, however, are flawed. The teachings of Christ, for example, are awesome, and his life should be emulated. But humanity skews the practice of religion. Would Jesus have endorsed the Crusades, witch hunts, and lynchings? I like to think that he was above that, and cite his actions (forgiveness, mediation, and aiding the ill and ostracized) as recorded in the Bible as evidence.

I do not think that any form of violence should justified by religion. I think that religion should be a positive thing and unite people through shared ethics and morals if not shared beliefs. I simply dislike the fact that religion is an area which causes unrivaled numbers of fanatics of which, thankfully, only a small portion of whom instigate or participate in violence in the form of hate crimes, murders, and jihads.

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TBF response: Gay Marriage

Response to The Brian Factor
February 2. Topic: Gay Marriage.
I guess there are two main arguments against homosexuality: it's "unnatural", and it is verboten by God.

Well, for the first one, same-sex pairings have been found in numerous animal species. And since animals don't have the capabilities of reason and morality, they are simply following their natural instincts. Instincts which could be said to have been given by God. So, it seems like a pretty natural phenomenon to me.

The second argument has the premise that the anti-homosexual statements written in the Bible are the true words of God. My first rebuttal: the Bible was obviously written by humans, divinely inspired or not, and humans are (by definition) imperfect beings. Second: the scriptures have been translated and retranslated over centuries. How can a logical person believe that what the Bible says and means is exactly the same as what it originally said and meant, when the phrase "Polly saw a polliwog" morphs into "Bob likes linguini and balloons" in a game of Telephone?

Thirdly, if God is an all-powerful being, then why does he allow people to be homosexual? Does he just hand out this "affliction" like Lupis, Autism, and big noses? For that matter, why does God allow child molesters to be born and admitted into the clergy? Or allow sociopathic idiots to attain positions of power? Seems to me that genetic, emotional, and personality disorders are too various and random to be doled out by the Hand of God.

I, personally, don't buy the whole religious argument against homosexuality. And, unfortunately, the debate over same-sex marriage cannot remain secular because of the Christian fundies running the government.

Look, government guys, I understand that because of the benefits that legal marriage provides there should be some limitations. A guy shouldn't be able to marry a sheep for the purpose of insurance or inheritance. (Not that that makes any sense, unless the sheep is financially independent, but whatever.) (And what the hell is up with Mormon polygamy? How do their benefits work?) But I can't understand why two people, regardless of gender, shouldn't be able to make a legal commitment for their mutual benefit. Especially if they are monogamous and committed.

If you want to focus on the problems of secular marriage, why not focus your efforts on the phenomenon of serial monogamy? From what I've learned, it seems like kids whose parents have divorced and remarried numerous times are a lot more screwed up than kids who have been raised in a stable two-parent household, regardless of hetero- or homosexual parents.

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TBF response: Censorship

Response to The Brian Factor
January 19. Topic: Censorship.
It irks me that this country is in another Falwellian conservative Christian phase. The "Moral Majority"- don't make me laugh. Just another WASP attempt to maintain control and accumulate power.

One of the few things I can't stand is dogmatism. Of course, the other end of that spectrum is blanket relativism which is also stupid. I prefer people who stay in the middle, between blind obedience to an ideology and an uber-hippie endorsement for people to just do "whatever rocks their boat." I mean, c'mon people, you can't say that the infanticide of baby girls is okay because it's part of their culture; there have to be some universal morals, or we wouldn't be civilized human beings.

Here's where the - quoting Todd Snider- "Conservative Christian right-wing Republican straight white American males" come in. They're dogmatists, but what's worse is that they actually have the power and means to Christianize our government- executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Don't get me wrong, Christianity can be a good thing and encourage virtues including charity, acceptance, education and just plain ol' neighborliness (though the "acceptance" bit seems to be faltering in the issue of homosexuality). But Christians have a looong history of enforcing their ideology on the unwilling: the Crusades, Junipero Serra, Born-Again Christians. (Speaking of which, our current president falls into that category. One of my college history profs told us that Daddy Bush had Billy Graham personally convert Junior while he was in jail for a DUI.)

But these WASPs running the government (all three houses) are of the category colloquially referred to as "close-minded fuddy-duddies." Abortion is wrong, sex is wrong (except for the purpose of procreation within a hetero marriage), drugs are wrong (hypocrisy); exploitative free trade is to be encouraged, as is the death penalty, de facto segregation (I wouldn't be too surprised if the Repubs attempt to resurrect de jure segregation in a few years), de-gayification (because homos are just perverts that can be "helped"), privatized health care (to allow the lowest classes to die of simple neglect), and other stupid shit.

We've only had one Catholic president (who was assassinated) because nobody likes the idea that the President of the United States could be a puppet of the Pope. But the ideas of conservative Christianity, in my humble opinion, coincide with those of the Catholic Church- the only difference is that in Protestantism anyone can interpret the writings in the Bible and preach his message without getting beaten with the gilded staffs of the Papal hierarchy. Our government is on the path of becoming a theocracy, and the only difference I see between the Pope and Pat Robertson is that the Pope (at least the late John Paul II) is more educated and in favor of peace.

With the these Christian Republicans having the majority of power in the government, does censorship of American media really come as a shock? These are all rich guys who own substantial shares of international corporations and media conglomerates. They are the owners of the forces of production and they'll pacify the Liberals with Will & Grace as long as they'll sell more deodorant and vacuum cleaners. They are going to make decisions that benefit their stock portfolios. (e.g. Halliburton (and Cheney) benefiting from the U.S. occupation of Iraq.)

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Richard Simmons on "Who's Line?"

Very funny, but the homoerotic und- overtones are rather disturbing. Worth watching anyway. :)

YouTube - Funniest "Who's Line" ever

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Hard Gay Social Improvement 4

YouTube - [Bakafish] Hard Gay Social Improvement 4 English Subtitles

Another difference between the United States and Japan: If some guy dressed like that went up to a little kid and his mom and thrusted his hips right there on the street here in the US, she would have a completely different reaction.

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Summer is fun!

Been vegging out this past week. Watching movies, reading, playing video games. Played through Halo and started Halo 2. Also been playing Tomb Raider Legend and Voodoo Vince. I began playing Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, but haven't really gotten into it yet.

Saw Superman Returns on Friday. I'm glad that we didn't see it at an IMAX because the swooping camera shots and CGI would have been a little too much for me.

On the Fourth we went to the block party that Anna's family participates in. Seven barbeques were going (three manned by her parents and uncles) and there were tons of meat: ribs, tri-tip, hot dogs, burgers, oysters, etc. I ate more meat that afternoon than I usually eat in several days, and (despite the carcinogens) it was yummy.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

TBF: Abortion

My friend Brian has been doing this column he calls "The Brian Factor" where he writes a long essay on a controversial topic, posts it on his MySpace blog and emails it to a bunch of his friends and other interested parties. Every other Friday he does this, and every installment is followed the next week by "Echoes of the Factor" in which he compiles the responses he received on the previous topic.

I responded frequently and at length. While I don't have his permission to post his words, I decided to post my responses (mainly so I don't lose track of editorials/rants I've written) and anyone is welcome to read and comment.

Since TBF is distributed to young adults in the San Fran Bay Area, my writing will tend be informal and my rants less objective than I usually try to be. Some of the more personal things I wrote I took out of this post because they are things I'd rather not share with the general public.

June 15. Topic: Abortion.
What really pisses me off about this issue is the people who argue on the pro-life side. Sure, most of them are normal and intelligent people, but it's the most politically and religiously powerful and the violently demonstrative people who get the most air time. These people are all either insane, ignorant, or untrustworthy. Some, of course, are all three.

First of all: most of the anti-abortion protestors who bomb clinics and threaten the lives of doctors are male. Hypocrites. Being pro-life and trying to kill and hurt people is a contradiction. It's irrational, *you* are irrational and, therefore, insane.

The rich and conservative white men (who have an ungodly and unconstitutional amount of political power) are misogynist bastards too. Sure, you guys can have an opinion, but it should carry less weight than those of women in the matter of women's rights and health. You can have equal influence on these issues once you grow ovaries and a uterus. This applies not only to abortion but to birth control, cervical cancer, and other female health issues. Like those men who justify the deaths of 300,000 women per year from vaccine-preventable HPV because "a drug that prevents a STD just encourages women to have sex." That's bullshit. You men are the ones who have the more unmanageable sex drives. If you men could control yourselves, get your tubes tied, or get mental help for that sex addiction, then rape and the resulting abortions would no longer be a problem. And you want to prolong your obsession with sex! *Viagra* causes more sex than the availability of birth control pills! You old guys need to figure out and accept that there's more to being human and a man than your virility. Seems you want to have the virility of male rabbits. Is being like a rabbit the most important achievement?

The powerful men seem to have an aversion to consistency. A fetus has a right to live. A young man has a duty to die in a war. The "rights" of a tadpole with human DNA takes precedence over a woman who already five kids, no husband, and three minimum wage jobs. If human life is so important, then shouldn't you be encouraging social programs that protect and enrich lives? If you conservative Washington fat-cats really had intelligence and integrity you would be sponsoring post-natal health care, school programs, free lunches, the raising of minimum wage, social security, welfare, free clinics, etc.

They are obviously not pro-life. Instead they are perpetuating sexism, racism, and classism. It's single women and immigrants and the chronically unemployed who suffer the most.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

He shot a puppy! With an arrow!

MSN - News - Former 'Survivor' Winner Arrested

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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Enjoyed your weekend? I did.

Went with Curtis and Cristie to see Urinetown the Musical last night at the San Jose Stage Co. Despite the name, it is an intelligent and witty script that addresses the issues of social class, capitalism, lobbying, revolution, water conservation, and the right to pee for free. Kevin Blackton, an actor I've seen in a few other SJSC plays, was great as Officer Lockstock. My favorite song was "Don't Be the Bunny." :)

Also ran across Fresh Baked Video Games: Medieval Weapon, an Everquest Machinima about buddy cops, "one can't wait 'til retirement day and the other likes to f***ing kill people."

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