Attention! (silly music)

Oh, I know it’s silly music memery. Gimme a break, I’m tired and this was fun. 🙂
1. Put your music library on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG TITLE DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!

1) IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
“Cherry Bomb” by Bratmobile

2) WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
“Salvador Dali Teaches Rex Harrison How to Say Butterfly”, a mashup

3) WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
“Angelina” by Ray Charles

4) HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
“Distractions 4” by Roy Hargrove

5) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
“The Roast Beef of Old England” by Potter-Skeeping Broadside Band

6) WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
“A Man Shaves His Balls” by Patton Oswalt

7) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
“Come Down off Your Mountain, Moses” by the Skygreen Lessons

8) WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
“I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But the Blues” by the Duke Ellington Orchestra

9) WHAT IS 2+2?
“Madness” by Prince Buster

10) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
“He’s a Reptile” by the Soft Boys

11) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
“Astral Plane” by the Modern Lovers

12) WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
“American Boy” by Estelle featuring Kanye West

13) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
“Everybody’s Talkin” by Leonard Nimoy

14) WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
“Power Plant” by Don Davis (Matrix score)

15) WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
“Body and Soul” by Freddie Hubbard

16) WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
“Avant garde, My Lovely” by Kazuhisa Uchihashi and Hans Reichel

17) WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
“The Way You Say Goodnight” by Magnetic Fields

18) WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
“Dear Old Greenland” by Andrew Bird

19) WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
“Tropical Flesh Mandala” by Robyn Hitchcock

20) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
“Concerto for Cootie” by Duke Ellington

21) WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
“Attention!” by the Apples

An unexpected sitcom

Soon after The Big Bang Theory first aired, I tried to watch the first episode. It seemed as silly and fake as any other half-hour American comedy, so I quickly gave it a pass. A friend with little tolerance for bog-standard American sitcoms told me that the show was actually quite good. I gave it just a little bit more of a chance and I’m utterly hooked. It’s nice to be watching something that at least occasionally reflects my own life–lolcat spam, trying to find a tank, a new hot girl who’s (gasp) not skinny, arguments that depend on a deep understanding of comic book history. One of the show’s most interesting aspects: it doesn’t draw things out, forcing essentially comic characters into pathos. When there’s a breakup, it by-God gets done so we can move on to the funny. If you’ve got an appreciation for geek culture, I suggest giving the show a try.

We’ve got to stop the War on Saturnalia!

Reposted from an essay a few years back that aired on NPR. Writer is Diane Roberts.

What’s this empire coming to? Now they want us to stop greeting people with “Io Saturnalia!” “We have all these different cultures in Rome,” they tell us. “We shouldn’t offend anyone,” they tell us, “We’ve got to be inclusive.”

We’ve got the barbarians from the north with their tree decorations and their fire rituals. And the weirdos from Gaul, cutting mistletoe with a golden sickle. And the Mithraists, the Zoroastrians, the Isis cults, and, of course, those characters who hang out in the catacombs. “Hail, Winter!” we’re supposed to say. I ask you, what next: we lose the feast? We stop the Solstice parties? No more honoring Ops, goddess of abundance?

I was buying some greenery down by the Forum the other day, and there’s old Macrobius with some Visigoth chick, and she goes, “Gut Jule.” And I go, “Hey! In this country, we say, “Io, Saturnalia! Maybe you should go back to where you came from.” Then Macrobius goes, “She can’t, she’s a slave.”

Whatever.

At this time of year, the Visigoths sacrifice a pig and burn a special log that they dance around, instead of acting like normal people and going to the temple of Saturn.

I swear, I was at this party over at Septima Commodia’s house the other day. She always has a Saturnalia party. Anyway, she decorated the place with prickly green leaves. “It’s holly,” she said, “The latest fashion from Brittania. They all do it in Londinium.”

It gets worse.

She had this statue of some goddess from Ultima Thule or somewhere, name of Frigga, sitting right there on the dining room mensa. I mean, this is darned near blasphemous. I’d be scared about what the lares and penates would do if I put that thing in my house. But Septima Commodia just said, “Oh get over it! We’re cosmopolitan around here.” Cosmopolitan. That’s what they call it. Well by Jupiter, I live in Latium. I’m a Roman. And this empire was founded on the principle that the gods, our gods, must be honored at the appropriate time and in the appropriate way. None of this foreign heretical nonsense or these strange customs from Germania or Hibernia or Palestine. I say, “Io, Saturnalia!” and if you don’t like it, you can leave.

— Diane Roberts

You must be Germanically precise

This is a peeve of mine with customers. (It’d probably be a peeve of mine with computer users in general, but it doesn’t usually come up). If you tell me in conversation that your e-mail address is, for instance, “Rutherford B. Hayes at gmail” I can work out what that means. I have deductive and inductive capabilities and have life experience that can translate those words into “rutherfordbhayes@gmail.com.”

Most computer software can’t do that at all. Sure, search engines like Google can use some heuristic analysis to make sense out of misspellings, things left out, characters in the wrong order, etc. But if you need to send an e-mail to rutherfordbhayes@gmail.com and you instead type rutherfordnhayes@gmail.com, that mail will never go through. You have to tell the computer exactly what website to go to, exactly which addresses to e-mail, exactly which password to submit. Maybe it’s because I came up in a command line environment, but this is something I’ve felt like I always understood about computers. To end this post on a less grumpy note, I’ll leave you with my favorite tribute to the command console, MC Frontalot’s “It Is Pitch Dark.”

Volatile brain chemistry

I ran out of St. John’s Wort last night. Being out of that, I realized this morning that I also didn’t take any Melatonin or Valerian, two supplements that I normally have every night without fail. I’m feeling very awake today, and not at all like I’ve been at work for 8 hours. But I’m a little edgy, a little distractible, very frustrated at being unable to buy Christmas presents. I’m not on any heavy psychoactive medications, but I’m a different person on those herbs than I am off of them. When I stop, I often feel better for a day or two, but those in the know around me inevitably notice my temper and mood swings, pleading with me to go back on again. My odd feelings today weren’t helped by a brief, polite message rejecting a Facebook friend request because of my past. I’m a simultaneously cheery, haunted, caffeinated, scattered, frustrated, and energetic little frog.

Tibet, China, and history

There’s something about China’s attitude toward Tibet that eludes me, and it’s been bugging me lately. As Western awareness of and support for Tibet grows, China insists more vociferously that Tibet has always been part of China, that China has always reserved the right to name important lamas, that Tibetans are much better off under Chinese rule. I guess what I wonder is . . . do the Chinese not think that people can check up on these things? Tibet was nominally a Chinese province for centuries, except for the part where Tibet didn’t send any taxes or tribute and the Chinese left everything but foreign affairs mostly up to local leaders. In other words, it was a province on the edge of an empire like any other province on the edge of any other empire–under more control when central government was strong, but practically independent for most of the time. We all know that China’s in charge of Tibet now; in imperial terms, they’ve got the “Mandate of Heaven.” And as in the past, how do you know when the Mandate is lost? When someone stronger can wrest power away, of course. China’s a great power looking to assert its authority, but the presence of PRC troops and money doesn’t make history just go away. And that right to name lamas just sounds absurd coming from a secular state–imagine the French president demanding the right to name the Archbishop of Paris. I can’t help but feel that the public relations efforts of the PRC is a futile, ultimately silly attempt to convince the world of an obvious falsehood.

The best mouse in the history of mouses

steampunky mouse

I would love, love, love to use a mouse like this. I would find uses for all those extra mousie buttons outside the confines of complex videogames. I love that the creator said “My first though was to use the two sides of a bottom jawbone of some rodent I had lying around . . . ” Who has rodent jawbones lying around? Ah well, the whole story is here: