Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Special part 1!

Over thanksgiving I learned that...

...Working from home is not easy...

On Wednesday before thanksgiving, I got the opportunity to work from home, this mystical and legendary thing once only thought to exist in the realm of cinema. You know the scene. The overworked father, running from room to room as his three year old destroys the house one panel of sheetrock at a time, drawing on any available surface and screaming battle cries heard only many centuries ago when the great Persian army clashed against Alexander The Great and the mighty Macedonian force upon the fields on Gaugamela. This stressed father, phone in hand, cord wrapped around his body, futilely attempts to chase his toddler around the house while conducting business with important clients around the world. Naturally this all ends in disaster (In a slow motion cut to the child slamming his or her favorite toy on the receiver, cutting short the call and thus the multi-million dollar contract their firm has been working for months to build).

I was naturally concerned (y'know, cuz I believe EVERYTHING I see in the movies...there is no spoon goddamnit...) about my own well-being as I entered this day of work (rolling out of bed and booting up my computer all before putting gym shorts on) worried about toddlers and ruining the future of the company forever...Palms sweaty and brow creased, I logged into my company computer, accessed my company VPN and logged onto my company email, afraid at what I might see there.

And then I had to find something to do because I had a grand total of 4 emails in my inbox, and after answering those, I didn't have much left to do. Finally some more work came down the line and I snatched it up immediately, but then I encountered an entirely new problem...procrastination. I was tasked with reading through a document and editing it lightly for content and grammar. I started off strong, but my will quickly faded. The magnetic pull of the dark screen of my TV, the smooth plastic of my Xbox controller, the warm comfort of my blanket all called me away from my computer, their siren songs echoing in my skull. I quickly recovered momentarily, only to be pulled away from any sort of productivity once again. I wondered how I ever did this in college, only to remember that I was the worst procrastinator UMass Amherst had likely ever seen in the long and varied history of the university. I watched the minutes tick away on the clock until I could finally throw my hands up in the air and declare myself "off the clock".

Finally 3pm rolled around and I shut off my computer, sliding it back into the dark confines of my backpack. And, like a crack addict finding the evidence room at the DEA after a particularly hefty bust, I set upon my xbox with a voracious fury that left my virtual opponents gasping for breath, wondering just what that whirlwind of pwnage that swept through the digital landscape was.

...And that's what I learned today.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

...I need to keep better track of my thoughts...

As the vast majority of you can probably tell, I have a mind that tends to wander quite a bit (just look at my blog post history thus far...). That said, this blog was meant to be a means by which I could share my unique and special (read disturbing and frightening) gift with the world. But there is an inherent problem with this practice.

So thus far we have already established that my mind is quite twisted and tends to flit from subject to subject like a drunk college girl flits from guy to guy at a party, completely ignoring the nice ones and being magnetically attracted straight for that douchebag with the stupid hair and stupid shirt and stupid shit beer and stupid sagged jeans and if she only took the time to get to know me she'd figure out I'm a really awesome person andshewouldn'tendupwithanassholelikehimcuzhe'snogoodforherandhe'sonlydoingthesethingstogetinherpantsandIwouldbesomuchbetterthanhimifshe'donlygivemethechance...

Wait where was I? Oh right, my mind is akin to a kid with severe ADHD on Meth. It wanders away without my expressed permission and ends up going down some strange paths, like wondering how practical it is to duct tape an iPod touch to an iPhone to make a massive pseudo flip phone. Which is great when you have a blog about similarly random and stupid nonsense. It's great because I think up something dumb, and hey, there's a blog topic! Great! I'll post something about that tonight! Now here's the issue. By the time I get a free moment to post something, 90% of the time I have FORGOTTEN WHAT I WAS GOING TO POST ABOUT. Thus is the issue with having a mind like a cheetah on crack cocaine (who also has ADHD).

So what are the obvious ways of dealing with this? Well write it down retard! Obviously that's the answer. And this would be a simple answer, if not for the fact that I typically get these thoughts while in public places. Now I do keep an notebook with me in my backpack, just in case I get something brilliant. But again, this all takes place in public. Every single time I get a good idea, I reach for my notebook (typically on the T, where there is nothing better to do than stare at the person in front of you (their face or their crotch, depending on whether or not you're sitting or standing) or read over the shoulder of the person next to you. So when I reach for that notebook, I always pause and wonder to myself. What are people around you going to think? Or more specifically "Are people going to perceive me as some asshole hipster who is writing stupid song lyrics in their moleskine notebook?" From there, things go downhill, as my mind is wont to do. From there, I imagine someone wondering to themselves, "Hey that guy is writing something in a notebook, maybe its something really cool or profound. Maybe he's figuring out the cure to world hunger, or Faster Than Light travel, or maybe even the answer to our global power crisis!" And then this person leans in and reads over my shoulder, and sees me writing "Why do monkey's fling their poop->evolutionary biological warfare->butts lol". Well whatever perceptions of intelligence, or even genius, this individual held about me are shattered into a million, unrepairable pieces. And if I had to worry about the one person whose opinion I cared about most, it would be some random stranger I met on the train.

So this string of events ends up resulting in my never writing anything in my notebook and a good number of great potential post ideas getting lost in the swirling chaotic static that is my typical thought process.

So in the end, if you ever wonder what it is I post about ad how I get my topics, (or why I'm not posting anything new), you can blame that on hipsters.

...And that's what I learned today.

Monday, November 22, 2010

...weekends are hard to post on...

As such, here (as promised to all of you who actually read/stalk my facebook) is a large summary of what I learned over the weekend. Enjoy.

This weekend I learned that...

...The Toyota Prius is a frightening car...

No I don't just mean in the crunchy granola better-than-thou hippie eco-nut businessman kinda way (because lets be honest, what kind of hippie can actually AFFORD a Prius). I mean just the average person driving it from home to wherever life takes them.

Yes this does mean I got to drive a Prius this weekend. For the record, this Prius comes to us courtesy of my dad's company (as it is a company car). He wanted me to try it out and see what it was like. Well...lemme put it this was NOTHING like my Honda Fit. (You can stop laughing whenever you want. I drive a powder blue honda fit and I'm fucking proud of it) My first impressions of the car were very positive. I loved the keyless start, which I struggled with for a little bit at first (I'm already exhibiting signs of what I lovingly refer to as "Paren-itis" - that is, the degenerative disease that affects all parents' mental capabilities for seemingly simple tasks like programming the goddamn VCR.) After I got the damn thing started, I pulled, carefully, out of the driveway. Mostly because I didn't want to wreck my dad's company car. It was only after pulling out at the next intersection that I realized it wasn't my being careful that made me pull out slowly.

Nope. The car has NO acceleration whatsoever. And that is what is so frightening about this car. Not the death of the gasoline powered car, not the advent of the hippie movement, nothing of the sort. No the pants-shittingly frightening part of the Prius is trying to pull out of an intersection and realizing, "Hey, I have exactly 6 horsepower...and 4 of those horses are crippled and the other two are on their way to the FUCKING GLUE FACTORY. And that giant Ford F150 barreling down the road doesn't show any signs of slowing or stopping. And that massive, chrome-plated redneck grille looks like it's pretty hungry for some Prius...well shit...I'm gonna die in a Prius...spec-fucking-tacular..." Turns out I wasn't being careful pulling out of the driveway, that's just how the car accelerates. I didn't think I would ever refer to my Fit in these words, but I honestly missed the face-melting, eyeball-compressing, slam your head against the head rest speed and acceleration of that car. That's right, my honda fit would tear this thing apart in a drag race. And if that doesn't make me feel Tokyo-Drift cool, I don't know what does.

...Fanboys scare the shit outta me...

So some of you may know that I was at a Ska concert on Sunday. One band that was performing is called the Aquabats. These guys are ridiculous, even by Ska standards. But they know how to put on a good show.

But this post is not about them. This post is about some of their fans...specifically one of their fans who decided the best place to stand was DIRECTLY behind me position in such a way that his voice would funnel PERFECTLY into my fucking EAR.

Now I'm not bashing passion. Hell passion is far preferable to apathy. But there is a line, not even a fine line, but quite a large (think Korean DMZ) line between passion and "fanboy-ism". Anyways, going back to this fucknugget. If you are unfamiliar with the way the Aquabats dress, think light blue underarmor top with their band logo on the chest. Yep this kid was wearing one. Suffice it to say, they accentuated his man-boobs beautifully. This choice of garb contrasted sharply with his gleaming braces. Which naturally only accentuated his sultry high pitched nasal voice and severe lisp.

Ignoring his looks (as one should never judge a book by its cover...unless is trashy romance novels, in which case the repeated images of Fabio in various settings are all you really have to go I'm imagining a romance novel cover featuring Fabio In Space...maybe I should write this...), there are simple rules around concerts. For example, there is a point at which it is appropriate to begin chanting the name of the next band (thus displaying your desire to see them perform). There is no explicit threshold for this, but it is generally accepted that you must wait at least for the prior band to clear the stage, and then even a few minutes after, as the next band begins setting up. In fact, it is usually not a typical practice to chant the band's name until they have set up, and the only thing keeping them from performing is either stage fright or hookers 'n blow (Varying depending on the band's level of experience). Well this courageous hero of rock wouldn't let anything deter him. Breaking down the oppressive barriers of normalcy, he began chanting "Aquabats" as loud as he could, directly into my ear, while holding up the band's prescribed gang sign.

There are 26 letters forming over 250,000 words (according to the Oxford English Dictionary...probably close to 400,000 if you count slang and the various misspellings of the word "definitely"), yet there are no words to describe the hellish cacophony now ringing in my hears. He did not pronounce "Aquabats" like a normal human would. No, he decided to go the Fran Drescher route. (Youtube it if you don't get what I'm talking about). Never before have I wished death upon another human being so strongly. I mean I understand that Ska attracts a nerdier crowd than say, a comparable metal show...but this was too much...Well lets just say that, once the music started going he got a good shove and was lost to the crowd...

And that brings me to a larger point. Fanboys/fangirls, fanatics, they are all just one step away from cult status...I'm sure if the lead singer of the Aquabats had demanded a live sacrifice on stage, this man would have been the first to volunteer, either dragging one of the numerous high school girls up on stage, or offering himself as a virgin sacrifice (because its REALLY not that hard to tell...) I respect him for having the confidence to do whatever he wants and not give a shit about those around him, but please, next time, do it outside of my personal phonebooth of hatred. (because everybody knows I'm actually a really really mean and uncaring person deep down inside).

...And that's what I learned this weekend...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

...Everything is better with a side of Nerd...

That is to say, everything is better with a very nerdy imagination. Now what do I mean by all this? Well every day, people are consumed with boring dreary tasks. In my case, they are things like driving to and from work, or creating graphics from a list of market statistics (*snore*). People try all kinds of things to make these tasks more interesting. Some listen to music, some watch youtube videos, some pretend they are somewhere else. Me? I let my imagination do the heavy lifting.

So lets start with driving to and from work. Nobody likes doing this. There's traffic, there's pedestrians, there's just the sheer amount of time you spend behind the wheel getting from one place to another. So how do I use my imagination? Well lets perform a quick experiment. Imagine you are driving down the highway. Got that thought in your head? Just you. Nobody else in your car. Nobody is calling you and nobody is texting you (WHICH YOU SHOULDN'T BE DOING BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL AND YOU WILL DIE A HORRIBLE BLOODY DEATH AND YOU WILL LIKELY RUIN THE DAYS FOR EVERYONE AROUND YOU AND BRING SHAME TO YOUR FAMILY'S NAME).

Ok you got that firmly in mind? Can you feel your eyelids closing? Can you feel the boredom setting in, its grasp closing ever more tightly around your mind? You there yet? Well can you hurry up? Ok good. Now that you've got that going on in your headspace. Imagine that SAME scenario, only with THIS playing in the background.

Do you feel that now? Do you feel the surge of adrenaline as you bob and weave through cars on the highway, bombing down the road, dodging cars and trucks...erm....TIE fighters and Star Destroyers? Do you see the blaster beams, burning bright against the blackness of space, streaking past you as the imperial fighters swarm your Millennium Falcon? "Faster! Faster!" You think to yourself as the warning indicators on your control panel indicate that your rear deflector shields are failing. "Make the jump to lightspeed!" you scream at your dashboard as you floor the pedal and are promptly pulled over by the state trooper you didn't see and subsequently have a very hard time explaining why you were pushing 100 miles per hour on Route 2...

Here's another great one. How about typing stuff up. Making graphics, fudging with data, deleting exactly 1/5 of a 4000 entry spreadsheet (but making sure you don't delete ANY of the WRONG 1/5 because that would FUCK EVERYTHING UP). Do you feel that boredom creeping up on you again? Your vision blurs, your jaw goes slack and your head does that super awkward (and super uncomfortable looking) roll thing where it looks like your head, in defiance of the rest of the body, has decided it has had enough of your bullshit and is leaving you for good this time. Got it? Now imagine it with THIS playing in the background.

Suddenly you are on Tarsonis, the might of the Terran army is at your command against the evil horde of Zerg not far away. Frantically you click all over the screen. Your fingers are but a blur on the keyboard. Your APM rises as Marines, Marauders, Tanks and Thors all come streaming out of the numerous Barracks and Factories you have build all over your main. Your economy is strong and your numbers are great. It is time to move out. There, in the distance, a mass of Zerglings, Roaches and Hydras await you. Your armies stare each other down and, with a mighty war cry (which startles the cute co-worker that sits across from you) the unstoppable force meets the immovable object. Bullets and acid fly hither and thither as wave after wave of units fall. And when the dust and smoke clear, you are left, victorious, perched atop a mound of dead zerg corpses. You stand and raise your arms in triumph, not realizing that this entire time you have been sitting, hunched at your desk, pounding furiously on your keyboard and muttering about "damn lings" to yourself this entire time.

...But maybe that's just me...

And that's what I learned today.

...Getting stuck in an elevator is kinda freaky...

I'm sorry I missed yesterday's post, so as a way of apologizing, let me tell you how my day has been going so far. (based on a true story)

Everything has been pretty much normal. Woke up at the normal time, ate breakfast (while perusing facebook, because I'm a champ like that), brushed my teeth, changed and headed in to Alewife. The ride on the T was utterly uneventful and the soundtrack for this particular T ride was Black Holes and Revelations by Muse. Getting off the T, I met up with my Co-worker Nick. He and I walked from the T stop into the office building, talking about the various things we were doing over this past week and what we have left. As we entered the lobby, he grabbed an elevator that was pretty near capacity. I decided I didn't want to jam in (as another elevator just opened up and it was empty) so I said I'd grab this one and meet him upstairs.

Well apparently he made the RIGHT choice and I made a very wrong one.

So my 'vator consisted of myself, a woman who worked two floors below me, and a guy (I say guy, he's more like a giant...probably topping out at around 6'4" or 6'5"....shut up I know I'm short....) who works on my floor. So the demon 'vator stops at 5. No problem. Lets the nice lady out and the doors slide shut. Little did we know that that would be the LAST TIME THOSE DOORS WOULD EVER OPEN! (DUN DUN DUNNNNNNNNNNN!!!!!! M. Night Shyamalan couldn't write something this epic...oh wait....)

So the elevator, that deceptive bitch, rides up to the 7th floor and shudders to a halt. Natural instinct took over as I headed for the door, only to be stopped short by...well...a face full of door. Confused and concerned, I checked to see if we had made it to our floor. The light on the button was out, and the number indicator read 7. It took only moments for it to sink in that we were stuck. Thoughts of that youtube video of the guy stuck in an elevator for 36 hours came to mind (as did the preview for the movie Devil <-see? see what I did there? That's clever!) and I realized that my situation was far different. He was stuck in an elevator alone. I was stuck with another dude (A super nice dude who was willing to share his starbucks and dunkins with me should we be stuck om that elevator for any extended period of time, but a dude all the same). "What's the big deal with that?" many of you may be wondering. Well...keeping in mind that I still had that poor bastard who pulled 36 hours in an elevator, my mind naturally began planning out our inevitable extended stay, including picking a corner for lavatory functions. More importantly, I would have to muster up the courage to pee in the corner of an elevator with another guy NOT SIX FEET AWAY FROM ME. Therein lies the rub.

Frantically, I began slapping my badge and hitting buttons like a caged animal. I needed to get out of there, to avoid the hell that that poor poor man went through in that elevator. (Or perhaps to avoid the hell that M Night Shyamalan puts his characters through in the upcoming thriller DEVIL) The elevator gave a few more halfhearted shudders and shakes, as I moved from just hitting the 7 button to trying 4, 5, 6, thinking "fuck it, if this elevator goes down to 5, I'll just fucking walk up. I don't care at this point."

Finally, after hours (read minutes...) of tension, the doors open and I burst out into the elevator lobby on my floor. I fell to my knees and wept, as I breathed that cool, sweet, free air (naturally this got some strange looks, but I didn't care). And then I went to my desk to recount my harrowing ordeal to my co-workers, who were naturally concerned for my well being, as I had been gone for nearly a month at this point. Overjoyed at my return, we instantly slaughtered a pig and roasted it in the pod to celebrate my heroic return as the mead flowed freely and we drank from golden goblets.

And then I got back to work....


And that's what I learned today.

(Some parts of this MAY have been exaggerated a little bit...but I did actually get stuck in an elevator for a little while today.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

...If Work was more like School...

...People probably wouldn't complain nearly as much as they do.

Now I'm not talking about school like High School where everything sucked, your life was miserable, and you hated everything about everything and everyone. (yes you thought that, just like I thought that, just like EVERYONE thought that. Why do you think Linkin Park even exists as a band? They are walking proof of this fact) I'm talking about school where Play-Doh, Smelly Markers and nap times were a mandatory part of your day. Seriously though, who wouldn't love to work at a place that provided dry erase markers that smelled like fake watermelon?

Don't get me wrong, I love my job, and I love all the people I work with. But what work place wouldn't be enhanced by the accouterments that came with elementary school nonsense? Instead of just getting performance reports, you could get that SAME performance report...but with a scratch 'n sniff sticker that says "Great!" on it. That way you can feel good about how you did that quarter AND scratch a smiley face sticker and have your desk smell of grapes. If there was one thing I learned in college over anything else, it was that I missed being a kid, and college was a second chance at that. (An alcohol fueled, debauchery filled, and drama studded second chance, but a second chance nonetheless). Why should the so called super serious working world be any different?

More importantly, how has nobody seen this significant gap in the market? We're not just talking about office supplies here, we're talking about super awesome scented office supplies. Post-its that smell like green apple, highlighters that smell like bubble gum, envelopes that smell like chocolate, the list just goes on and on and on! Now granted there are some serious concerns around this, such as all the smells mixing together in your drawer and unleashing a hellish mix of odors (that can likely only be replicated by mixing every single Bath and Body Works product together, blended with Pixy Stix and snorted) every single time you open the drawer just to get a pen, but such are the prices you pay for awesome. Sacrifices must be made to make this dream a reality.

So this is my official appeal to whoever makes the smelly markers. Please please PLEASE find a way to make office supplies. I can guarantee you that every single office worker in my generation (those that had a childhood as sweet as mine anyways) will buy you're product, and continue to buy your product until they retire.

As for me, I plan on making my office a more childish place every single day, starting by putting forward an action item for and end of week deliverable that states that we should build a massive couch/pillow fort in the middle of our office, inside of which we should make a fake campfire out of tissue paper and a flashlight. From there, I will suggest that all of our team meetings should be held there from here on out and that, prior to speaking, each and every attending member must begin with "Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story..." and only from there are they allowed to bring up a new topic for discussion.

I cannot see how any of this could go wrong.

And that is what I learned today.

PS Holy fucking shit I think I managed to write an ENTIRE blog post without swearing once! Fuck yeah!

Monday, November 15, 2010

...Language is both amazing and terrifying...

The power of the written and spoken word is without equal. Words can build cities, destroy civilizations, craft beautiful pieces of art or be used to tear a person down one cell at a time. Words have as much power to create as they do to destroy. And that is fascinating.

I find myself constantly challenged by language. And no not in the "hurr durr I dunno wat to say" kind of way. I'm talking about things like regional dialects, slang, entire microcosms of linguistics that not only do I not understand, but that I don't even know exist right now. A word, in one region the country, can hold a far different meaning in other parts of the country. Perfect example, a Bostonian could tell you that something is "wicked pissah" and you'd probably have an idea what they're talking about. Bring that phrase even as far south as Virginia, and I can guarantee you they would have no fucking clue. (Bring it too far south where the crucifixes outnumber the college degrees and whoever or whatever you're referring to as "wicked" will likely be burned at the stake on grounds of witchcraft eg. Harry Potter, hispanics, any band that ISN'T Lynyrd Skynyrd and any beer that isn't Bud Light. That's right I went there).

But all horrible stereotypic misrepresentations of Southerners aside (I'm not racist, I have a friend who's southern!) language never ceases to amaze me. The number of words (that contextually mean something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT) will never cease to amaze and confuse me. Slang has left me befuddled, inappropriately offended, and has probably nearly gotten my ass kicked (on facebook...I'd never get my ass kicked in real life. Cuz you know...I'm all hardcore like that...and shit...).

All of this does beg the same question again and again however. Who decided that THAT word was actually going to mean any given thing? Who decided that the word "fuck" was going to offend, shock and upset people all over the English speaking world? Why those four letters? Why not "Blarg" or "Meep"? Who are you oh mysterious scholar? Possessor of such worldly knowledge that you may imbue phonemes with such great power?

Chances are, (at least in the case of "wicked pissah") it was some fuckhead named Bud who was drunk off his ass at a bar somewhere, referred to the urinal as a "wicked pissah" was misheard by his friends, and the phrase caught on, much like the way herpes, or that Numa Numa video, has a way of "catching on". (Yes the numa numa guy makes it burn when I pee). More likely than not, these individuals did not realize the impact their drunken shenanigans would have on the world at large. (That's another one....who the fuck thought up "shenanigans").

And that's what I learned today.

(Fun activity for my readers not bored to death: With some words, the more you say them, the less sense they make. Go on try it. Pick a word, and just repeat it in your head. Keep thinking of the sounds that comprise the word and the word itself will begin to lose meaning. Eventually you will all likely come to the same conclusion of "how the hell did that word ever come into existence. And if you're feeling REALLY excited about this stupid exercise, you can post what words make the least sense to you in the comments!)


Well if you're still reading this, you are either a masochist, or you really genuinely care about what I have to say, regardless of how depressing it is...and I'm not sure which is better :P But if you feel as though you have the will and fortitude to keep going, I won't stop you.

You still have time to turn back you's not too late... you sure? Well ok then...

What I've written above pokes fun at the strange and fascinating genesis of words we use colloquially as if they were second nature. And while the English language (retarded though it may be) never ceases to amaze and confuse me. The use of it at present never ceases to sadden and disturb me. Shakespeare created words and phrases that we use every single day without thought, yet who can we point to today that has had such a great influence on language? (No! No matter how many times I listen to that song, or how much I enjoy it, I will NEVER use the word Slizzard unironically). Gone are the days of meaningful songs and here is the reign of mindless, repetitive lyrical logorrhoea. And no matter what I do or say, nothing will change that. Oh well...Rah rah rah ah ah...Romma Romma ga ooh lala...want your bad romance...

(PPS I actually do like some poppy music, I just tend not to think about what I'm saying all that much :P)

Friday, November 12, 2010

...The Future Can't Come Soon Enough...

First and foremost, get your mind out of the gutter.

Ok now that we've gotten past that, the subtitle for this post should be "I am a MASSIVE Dorky McNerdface" (as if you didn't already know that from my two video game posts and one pokemon post...) But many of you may be wondering exactly what I mean when I say, the future. No I don't necessarily mean floating cars or space travel, nor do I mean that stupid dystopian mind control nonsense either. I'm talking simpler stuff, stuff that technically already exists...but that I don't have in my living room yet.

So here's the rundown.

What I want is simple, a fully integrated, fully networked, gesture based user interface program.

I'll wait for your head to stop spinning for a moment. All set? Good. In layman's terms, I want that fucking badass supercomputer thing that Tom Cruise uses at the beginning of Minority Report...if it had sex with Tony Stark's computer....
( <-----This thing having sex with this thing-------->

"But isn't that what the kinect is supposed to be?" You might be wondering. Well...yes...and no...The kinect is a fair start at mass production, but ultimately the kinect's detection system does NOT NEARLY have the resolution to detect the movements of individual digits. The kinect system also relies on the bouncing of infrared light off of your body and then detecting said reflected light. This means there is a pretty significant lag time between when you make that gesture and when the digital action you want to happen is actually performed. As it is right now, the kinect is but a mere shadow of what could actually be. And what's worse? It does actually already fact, it existed before the kinect and did it better than the kinect.

This system is called g-speak, and it was created by John Underkoffler. Now without going into too much detail, g-speak is a combination of the Minority Report super-future-awesome-glass-computery-thing AND the super-awesome-dragging-computery-thing that Tony Stark used in the first Ironman movie.

So simply put, IT ALL EXISTS! But, since I'm a selfish piece of ass, I say it doesn't yet exist because I DON'T HAVE ONE YET. So consider this a letter informing you, John Underkoffler, that you have an EPIC product, an AWESOME last name, and that I WANT ONE. I don't think its too much to ask to be able to point at a video file on my desktop, select it by touching my thumb to my forefinger, and then dragging it to my television across my John, lets hurry up and make this happen sooner than later yeah?

Also for those of you I haven't yet bored to death with technical bullshit yet, just imagine being able play games (Starcraft, League of Legends, Team Fortress 2, Diablo) by using YOUR HANDS. And having the game respond INSTANTLY and ACCURATELY.

HOW CAN YOU NOT WANT THIS?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!??!?!?!??!????!

And that's what I learned today.

PS: For those of you still actually interested, here is John Underkoffler's speech from TED 2010

It is super cool and totally worth watching.

PPS: Sorry this post isn't terribly funny...I just think this stuff is fucking cool. But what do you want? I can't be funny all the time...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

...Ash Ketchum is the worst Pokemon trainer in history...


I want to be the very best, like no one ever was. To catch them was my real test, to train them is my cause.

These words defined my childhood, as I'm sure they did for the vast majority of my readership. I knew that I had a heart so true, and that my courage would pull us through. So when I found out there was a TV show, I knew that the main character would be someone I could look up to. Someone like me. A pokemon master in the making. Enter Ash Ketchum.

He was like me. A boy of 10 or 11, setting out for the first time on what was sure to be an epic adventure, armed only with the single pokemon endowed upon him by the enigmatic Professor Oak. He, like me, set out from Pallet Town, fighting, catching and befriending his way across the land, winning bout after bout and raking in the stakes at every turn.

Years later (read as TODAY), I return to that universe, to see how my animated analog is doing. Turns out....not so well.

So enough with the flowery writing, lets get down to it. I want you all to think of the catch phrase for pokemon. Go ahead. I'll wait.


Did everyone get "gotta catch 'em all?" Good. If not, you probably shouldn't be reading this. It won't start to make any more sense.

Those three and a half simple words (because "em" is not a goddamn word) defined a generation. A generation that revered that scrappy young boy from Pallet Town. And while my friends and I all raced to catch them all first, we always looked to Ash as our role model. Well as it turns out, he fucking sucks at his own life. Yes you heard me. Ash never caught 'em all. In fact, HE NEVER EVEN GOT CLOSE. In point of fact, he was the WORST POKEMON TRAINER IN EXISTENCE. Lets look at the stats shall we?

According to (yes such a fucking thing exists) Ash has logged a whopping 49 pokemon (that could technically count as having been "caught"). "But Eric!" You think to yourself, "That's almost 1/3 of the way through all the pokemon...that's not bad at all!". Well you see, that's where you'd be WRONG. He has logged 49 "caught" pokemon ACROSS EVERY SINGLE SEASON TO DATE. That means he has registered 49 out of 649 POKEMON IN TOTAL. That is not EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE. And bearing in mind that of these 49 pokemon, he only managed to RETAIN 29 of them! He released 3, traded 2, GAVE AWAY 1 (I didn't even know that was POSSIBLE), 11 of them he didn't technically catch, but he gave them orders (which would probably trick the pokedex) and 3 apparently straight up just DON'T COUNT. So given that as it stands, he only has 29 in his possession, that means he has caught a WHOPPING 4.5% of all pokemon in existence.

For a game/show whose tagline is "Gotta catch 'em all" the protagonist did a FUCKING TERRIBLE JOB!

In summary, if you ONLY played the first game and managed to catch 7 GODDAMN POKEMON, you will have managed to beat Ash's Career Caught/Uncaught ratio. So all in all, YOU are a better pokemon trainer than ASH GODDAMN KETCHUM. YOU are a fucking BADASS.

And that's what I learned today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

...Call of Duty: Black Ops is....


So if you know anything about me, you should know that I love me some Call O' Duty. I've been a reasonably loyal buyer over the years ever since I first played the original Call of Duty (Wayyyy back in WWII) on PC. Well now that the series has progressed all the way to modern day (and made more money that JESUS) we come to Black Ops.

Here's some background for those of you not in the know.

The original Call of Duty (hereafter referred to as CoD) was produced by a teensy tiny studio called Infinity Ward. The game was eventually picked up by production company Activision (of Pitfall, Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero fame) and won game of the year. Naturally, milking that cow for all it was worth, Infinity Ward ground out CoD 2: Patriotic Subtitle Here...Once that got its huge release as well, Activision began milking ever more furiously. Soon expansions came out (CoD: United Offensive and CoD 2:Big Red One <-I hope they fired whoever the fuck came up with that one....) followed by more games. But tiny little Infinity Ward couldn't produce milk as fast as Activision was yanking, so they brought on a second studio to make games for the CoD series. This studio was called Treyarch, and was presumably staffed by a bunch of Infinity Ward wannabes. Lemme put it this way...Infinity Ward is to J.K. Rowling as Treyarch is to those creepy people who write Harry/Ron/Voldemort slash fics in their basements.

Throughout time, the Treyarch games have NEVER been as good as the Infinity Ward games, and Black Ops is no different. Everything about Black Ops is lacking in some way. For example, the sprint mechanic feels fake, as if your character model is simply swinging its arms and gliding forwards at a slightly faster than normal pace. Or when a building blew up early in the campaign and I saw I-beams (that would have probably weighed upwards of 400 pounds) spinning and skidding across the ground as if they weighed nothing. The hands holding the plastic-y looking gun seem like they were modeled after early era Malibu Ken dolls that could never quite get their shit together. And in the end, it all adds up to this somewhat uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw once described this feeling as having some stranger, thinly disguised as your best friend coming by your house, and all you can do is sit there and uncomfortably wonder if he is going to leave or disembowl you and use your guts as a jumprope (paraphrased...terribly...). The point is, there is a sense of familiarity that surrounds Black Ops, but each of its TINY little mistakes adds up to an altogether less than wonderful experience.

Bearing in mind that the game is all of 24 HOURS OLD and naturally since I have a job and pretend to be a USEFUL member of society for upwards of 12 hours a day, I don't have all that much time to play. Maybe it will get better and the beginning is just shit...Maybe the multiplayer will end up being the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST that gamers have been looking for (read as an EVEN BETTER goldeneye)....Maybe Zombies will be the saving grace of this otherwise pedestrian shooter....then again, maybe the disk will jump out of the tray and begin blowing me. In the end, I'm not holding my breath.

All in all, the hype worked against it in my opinion. The game feels anything but spectacular. If you have the money to spend, then do it. But there are better games out there if you ask me.

And that's what I learned today.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

...So called "Healthy" snack bars are a scam...

So you've seen the commercials on TV. The promises of losing two jean sizes in a week, cutting fat, getting healthier blah blah blah. But of course in order to do so, you have to use their products. Because remember (says the super skinny lady on TV that you either want to be or have sex with depending on if you're a girl or a guy) it's easy if you just buy ALL of our branded products. It's a system that you NEED to follow if you want to be/do someone like me! Naturally these products aren't cheap. In fact...they cost a shitload of money....BUT beauty/casual sex with hot women isn't cheap! And naturally if you break the system....well presumably God destroys every cute creature on the planet, the universe explodes and you die fat and lonely, miles away from ever looking like/having sex with that spokes-model.

Well after spending WAY too much time at the grocery store today, I have come to one conclusion. All of that is BULLSHIT. Lets look specifically at Special K 90 calorie bars. YAY THEY'RE ONLY 90 CALORIES PER BAR! HOLY SHIT THAT'S LOW you may be thinking to yourself at this point. But even a mild perusal of ANY OF THE NUMBERS on the box gives away their secret. Lets compare these super healthy low calorie bars to say...I don't know....Honey Nut Cheerios Milk and Cereal Bars. You know those super sweet bars doused in sugar with that substance they so questionably call "milk" in the middle? Those cereal bars that you always wanted to get as a kid but your mom never bought them because she said they would give you SUPER diabetes, Herpes AND your eyes would fall out? Yeah those super unhealthy things. Well lets compare some of the numbers here....

I'm doing this from memory so my numbers might not pass academic rigor...but fuck it, you get what you pay for...

So each Special K bar weighed about .8 ounces. That is there are .8 ounces of STUFF that you will be consuming. Each Milk/Cereal bar was about 1.4 ounces. Each Special K bar was...well...90 calories...duh...Each Milk/Cereal bar? About 140. Now bearing in mind, the milk and cereal bars are larger than the special k bars, the caloric content is JUST about the same per ounce. But ERIC! I hear you cry. They said those special k bars are healthier! But what you're telling me is that the super-terrible-for-me-gives-me-herpes-and-makes-my-eyes-fall-out bar is....just for me?

Short answer? Yes. Better in fact. Those super sugary milk and cereal bars actually had MORE vitamins and minerals ACROSS THE BOARD when compared to the Special K bars. ("AH but the Special K bars are SMALLER so naturally they have LESS vitamins!" you protest. Well no.....see because 1.6 multiplied by ZERO is still ZERO dipshit).

So in the end, all granola bars are JUST about as healthy as one another when push comes to shove. It doesn't matter if it has fruits and nuts, condensed milk or sashimi bison inside of it. As long as you do some SIMPLE MATH, you'll see that nothing is really any more or less healthy than anything else. (as far as granola bars go....pop tarts are just plain fucking bad for you...)

And that's what I learned today.

Monday, November 8, 2010

...I'm no longer sure how I feel about Daylight Savings...

I'm fairly certain I know how most people feel about the Daylight Savings adjustment that we go through every late fall. For the vast majority of people, they're glad to have that one extra hour of sleep on Sunday. Everyone essentially jumps for joy to be able to sleep an extra hour on a day that even god rested on. I mean come on! You get an extra hour of sleep on a day when YOU CAN SLEEP IN AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE! And for that, what do you get in return? When you leave work every single day, it will be DARK. Yes I know that the days naturally shorten through the winter, but as I sit here at my desk, the Monday after daylight savings hit, I wonder to myself, is it really worth it? Is it really?

Because the weather outside is shit, and the sun has been setting behind those disgusting overcast clouds for the past several hours, and it is making it hard to work. It makes the hours feel that much longer and makes them feel like they are dragging worse and worse. Don't get me wrong, i love my job, but not when its this dark and dreary out. And what's worst? This gets to keep happening for the next SEVERAL MONTHS.

I think what boggles my mind the most about all this is just how much contention there was over this stuff back in the day. I wanted to find a list of countries that follow Daylight Savings time, and wikipedia told me WAY more than I wanted to know (as wikipedia typically does). Apparently this shitshow was started back in 1895 by G.V. Hudson, an Entomologist from New Zealand (A country which people here lovingly refer to as "that place where Lord of the Rings was filmed"). The dude basically wanted some extra daytime after he got off work (which he spent designing STAINED GLASS WINDOWS) to go out and chase bugs around the forest. His original proposal was for TWO FREAKING HOURS CHANGEOVER. I just want you to think that over for a moment. Instead of the sun setting at 4-5 pm most of the winter, the sun would be setting as early as 3. FUCK THAT. I occasionally wake up at 2pm. The last thing I need in my winter life is to wake up one weekend to a beautiful SUNSET. Well after quite a bit of arguing and a Schroedinger's-Cat/Brett-Favre's-Career style existence, it was eventually voted into law...some places...and not even universally in the US at the start....and still not even necessarily followed today...fucking Arizona....

And that's what I learned today.

PS: Take a look at this goddamn map....there are countries in South America that observe Daylight Savings Time while other countries IN THE SAME GODDAMN TIME ZONE don't. Time travel: Easy as piss in South America (All you gotta do is cross a border apparently)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

...Gamers were not designed to function vertically...

So for those of you not in the know, the Xbox 360 Kinect came out recently. And for those of you who really don't know, it is a motion sensor that connects to your 360 which detects the movements of your actual body via about a billion points of infrared light scattered across the room. Think of it as a Wii, but you flail your body instead of a small white plastic dildo. Well, I said that, unlike its Nintendo counterpart, the Kinect was far more unlikely to cause serious bodily harm to the players or to their property. Well leave it up to the gaming community to prove me wrong within hours. We have already had our first few documented cases of grievous bodily harm AND massive property damage, both from Kinect use. In one instance, a man (playing volleyball, or rather KINECT VOLLYBALL EXTREME MASTERS CHALLENGE 4000: SUPER SHOVELWARE TEABAG EDITION...or whatever the fuck it's actually called) actually managed to "spike" the chain dangling from his ceiling fan into the face of his super nice, super expensive, super breakable, and now super fucking useless, TV.

Seriously gamers? There isn't even a faulty strap to blame this time. You've nobody to blame but yourself. I'm just waiting for the fighting game to really catch on. Because then some idiot is going to put his FOOT through his TV. Now imagine when 3D gaming catches on (because you know it will, fucking everything is going into 3D these days...movies, TV, books, porn, hell even real life is now in 3D!). 3D gaming+Kinect+The average pasty gamer's uncoordinated hamhandedness=Huge upshot in sales for new LCD TVs. I can't wait to hear about little Johnny McNofriends (whose gamertag is inevitably M4sTeRChI3FRULEZxXxXxXx) putting his fist through his television exclaiming with delight "It's like I'm REALLY HITTING SOMETHING!".

Lets face it, come up with some wonderful new technology that is going to change the face of gaming as we know it, and some moron will figure out how to break something expensive with it. I'm just waiting for the inevitable, "holy shit I tore my ACL playing Kinect" story to pop up (that's an awkward doctor's visit...but probably still less awkward than the one that person had a week before when he got a marble stuck up his nose). You know it will. Ultimately, gaming and movement just don't work together. We didn't get stupid good at Halo because real sports that require real coordination were just TOO EASY. We play video games to sit on our ass, blow virtual shit up and wipe more radioactive Cheetos-dust on our sofas, not to move around or be active.

And that's what I learned today.

Friday, November 5, 2010

...Blog URLs are hard to register...

I tried everything. Every service, every site, every possible combination of URLs that hit on the theme for this new blog. And I got NOTHING in return. What bugs me most about this is that blog URLs like todayilearnedthat or any permutation thereof were all already TAKEN. Perturbed and curious about what other worldly genius could have thought of my idea before me, I went to these sites, just to see whether or not my beautiful and wonderful idea had already been taken. Well guess what? It hadn't. In fact, all of these sites had absolutely NO CONTENT! Don't get me wrong, I am not a creative person by any means, but seriously?!

The whole thing begs the question, should internet real estate really cost as much as it does? I was talking to my mom about what I have labelled "one-off sites". You know the kind of site I'm talking about. The site whose URL is a question, and the entire site design is simply a one word answer. Perfect example is doescreedsuck dot com. My mom thought that was dumb because it was a waste of a perfectly good URL. Who the hell else is going to register doescreedsuck dot com?! It then occurred to me that companies paid millions, perhaps even billions of dollars for the url mail dot com or weather dot com. At the same time, the entire concept behind internet real estate weirds me out. Actual real estate, that is real actual land, has a limit. There is a finite quantity of land on this planet (until we start colonizing the shit outta space, a project that will undoubtedly be headed by Nathan Fillion or some project in his name should he not have been awoken from a state of cryogenic stasis yet). But on the internet, realistically, there are infinite number of sites. There is no end to the internet. As long as people keep providing the storage space for these sites, we could see an infinite number of websites pop up. a dot com would be different from aa dot com would be different from aaa dot com and on and on and on.

Even the universe has a finite edge. So there you have it, the internet is bigger than the universe.

(and yes I know that the more obvious a URL is the more searchable it is blah blah blah, you don't have to tell me that)

ANYWAYS, the point of this post, before going off on a HUGE tangent, was to introduce the blog. Basically there are a ton of people out there who blog about their lives and have millions of followers and get all kinds of fame, fortune and attention they don't really deserve (see Perez Hilton). Well this is my halfhearted attempt at grabbing a slice of that dingy, dirty, self-deprecating pie. Why might you ask? Because I want my voice to be heard and my opinion matters. That's what my second grade teacher told me and that's what I'm sticking with. As for what kind of nonsense I'll be posting, the rule is it has to be something I learned on the day of posting. Chances are the shit I post will not be useful in ANY way to you, the reader, unless you attend a particularly Eric-centric trivia night at Chili's on tuesday nights...which I hope doesn't exist, because that means they owe me a fuckton of royalties for using my name a life story.

ANYWAYS, I'll be posting stuff on work, life, video games (which are my life), and whatever else I feel like. There will also probably be many typos, grammatical errors and plenty of profanity, so caveat emptor. And feel free to correct me on any of this stuff. Just know that when I successfully invent a way to punch people in the balls over the internet, you will be first on my list.

And that's what I learned today.