Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Zombies vs. Bean Counters -- Guess Who Wins?

[The third in a series of entries looking at the modern zombie. See why zombies are the perfect enemy for our time and why you shouldn't try to overanalyze zombies -- like I'm going to do here.]

Crunching the Numbers on Zombie Cracking
For the bulk of World War Z, the world is in the throes of a full-fledged, Class 4 zombie apocalypse scenario, where zombies roam the Earth and humanity is under constant assault, hunkered down in a few safe zones. It's essentially a static siege situation.

Now, in the Max Brooks books, zombies freeze solid in the winter (though they thaw in the spring with no ill effects). Additionally, winters are harsher and longer, lasting 8 months out of the year due to a "nuclear autumn" effect, where soot and particulates from burning cities and limited nuclear exchanges block sunlight, causing global cooling. (Where "spring's like winter used to be," p. 320)

It's also established that inhabitants of besieged outposts wait for the zombies to freeze solid, then raid the surrounding areas for supplies to get them through the rest of the year. (p. 190)

Now, ex-infantryman Todd Wainio talks about the liberation of Detroit, where they faced a zombie "moat" of over 1 million zombies (also known by the nickname "Zack," a callback to Vietnam's "Charlie") surrounding the twin forts of Comerica Park and Ford Field (p. 321)

Here's the problem. You're surrounded by a million zombies (who have to pretty much be wall-to-wall: see below). Winter starts, and they freeze solid. So those people who aren't out foraging take their trusty crowbars and start cracking zombie skulls (example, p. 130). So the question then becomes:
How many zacks could a zack-cracker crack if a zack-cracker could crack zacks?
Let's start conservatively: 1 zombie per minute. (I'd originally gone with 2 per minute, but we'll take into account snow, fatigue, illness, travel time, etc. 1 skull cracked per minute is a good start.)

That's 60 zombies per hour. Assuming 8 hours of workable daylight, with rest periods and such, call it just 4 hours a day of actual crowbar-swinging time. That's 240 zombies per person, per day.

With zombies frozen 8 months out of the year, call zombie season 240 days out of the year.

That means, each individual frozen zombie skull-cracker could account for 57,600 zombies per year.

Which means that, in theory, 20 people dedicated solely to zombie-bashing (and not worrying about disposal, maintenance, or anything else) could crack over 1 million zombie-skulls in a single year.

Assuming the "forts" sheltered a few hundred people, there's still plenty of additional zombie-busting capacity if people can't get close to their theoretical maximums.

And that's just by hand.

For More Fun, Just Add Guns

The book also talks about the Battle of Hope (New Mexico) where the military, using massed lines of infantry and a one-shot, one-kill philosophy, fights and wins their first major engagement to retake zombie-occupied America (everything east of the Rockies) -- (p. 273, my favorite part of the book).

The soldiers line up shoulder-to-shoulder in two ranks for uninterrupted firing (one shoots while the other reloads), shooting at a rate of one shot per second in a deliberate attempt to keep a mechanical pace and "Out-G the G." (This is actually a nice David Hackworth reference, though for Hackworth, the G stood for guerrillas in Vietnam, not ghouls. As far as we know.)

Since Brooks' zombies are slow zombies, they'd be converging on the defensive position, slouching and shambling almost shoulder-to-shoulder. 1 primary/secondary shooter pair, killing one zombie per second, gives you 60 zombies per minute (assume just slightly less, since shooters have to switch position every 30 shots or whatever the magazine capacity is); or 3,600 zombies per hour. (In reality, no one could keep up that rate of fire for an extended time -- you'd burn out the barrel of your rifle.)

If you assume a constant rate of killing (at the Battle of Hope, the pace slows down as zombies start piling up), you just need 278 shooter-pair-hours to kill a massed bunch of 1,000,000 zombies. Which means that 556 shooters (and their supporting personnel) could theoretically pulp 1,000,000 zombies in an hour.

(The bloodiest human battles, like the Somme or Antietam, don't even begin to approach these numbers -- if you look at the number of killed, not wounded. Zombies always walk -- upright and slowly, they don't dodge, they don't take cover and they don't shoot back. However, they won't stop for anything but a headshot.)

The timeline extends since you have to allow plenty of time for the zombies to walk into firing range, which is a good thing, since you need to rotate shooters to give plenty of rest breaks and allow time to switch out weapons and replace barrels.

Basically, if the humans are able to pick their battle; if they're set up in a good, well-defended position; have enough supplies and enough backup shooters; and nobody panics, it's a foregone conclusion. (Oddly, in the Battle of Hope, they rely on firepower alone, with no barricades, elevated firing platforms, earthworks or trenches to slow down the zombies -- though eventually the massed zombie corpses form their own barricade. This would seem to ignore the lessons of the Battle of Yonkers, where insufficient or irrelevant force protection measures contributed to the debacle).

Wisely, the book also doesn't specify the size of either the human force or the number of zombies killed.

Back to Detroit -- the Summer Scenario (Also with Guns)
So we're back to the Siege of Detroit. It's the summer and there are a million zombies shambling around the streets. Think the Dawn of the Dead remake, where the mall is completely surrounded by a sea of zombies.

This is actually a little problematic -- looking at the satellite map, Comerica Park and Ford Field are in the middle of the city:

There's some open space, but it's not like, say, FedEx field, surrounded by parking lots:

Assuming each zombie requires about 3 square feet of standing room, that's 3 million square feet of zombie; it's a square about a third of a mile on a side, or about 69 acres total.

Anyway, forget that for now. As long as the defenses are good and the zombies can't get in, you can airdrop rifles, a crapload of ammo, and a Special Forces instructor to train shooters, then thin out the zombies at your leisure until winter comes and you can start cracking skulls.

At more realistic rates of fire -- a zombie headshot every 10 seconds, or 6 aimed shots a minute -- that's 360 zombies per hour, or 2,880 zombies per 8-hour day (again, we'll assume two-man teams -- one person shoots while the other rests and reloads), that's 347 shooter-pair-days to kill a million zombies.

If you figure Brooks's zombies are unfrozen 120 days out of the year, 4 shooter teams -- 8 shooters, plus support -- firing constantly, 8 hours a day, every day, could break the siege in a single year (as long as they could keep the ammo supply coming and rifles functioning).

(Also, 6 aimed shots per minute is extremely conservative, considering that a Civil War soldier with a muzzleloading black powder musket could fire 2-3 aimed shots a minute.)

Air Supply
As for the ammo required in the zombie shoot -- figure 30 lbs for a case of 1,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammo. A million rounds is 1,000 cases, or 30,000 lbs, well within the capacity of a C-130 Hercules. Making allowances for the weight of the different parachute delivery systems (I'm not an expert -- whatever would be appropriate for a small landing zone; low speed, low altitude would be okay -- it's not like zombies have anti-aircraft capability), you wouldn't need too many sorties, and the book establishes that the U.S. still has a most of its airlift capacity (p. 170).

It would seem to be an efficient way to help thin out the zombie population. After all, each zombie killed at a static defense spot is one less the army has to deal with, and that's why safe zones were left in occupied territory in the first place -- to serve as bait (p. 109).

So What's the Point of All This?
That's a very good question. Basically, it shows that, as enumerated in the book, once the situation stabilizes after the Great Panic, the zombie threat is best seen as a logistical problem -- an exercise in pest control.

Sure, you can rationalize it by saying that even my conservative zombie disposal numbers are too high, due to lack of ammo, too much snow, other factors (feral animals and people, disease, etc.) , etc. It's primarily a thought experiment -- one that shows that I've spent way too much time with what's my favorite book right now.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Upcoming Things I Might Do

When: Opens Friday, Sept. 28
What: Movie, The Kingdom
Where: Area theaters
Cost: Whatever movies cost these days -- what, 10 bucks Canadian?
Probability: 40% (probably just wait to buy the DVD)

When: Saturday, Sept. 29, Noon-7pm
What: Clarendon Day
Where: Um, Clarendon
Cost: Pretty much free. Unless you eat, drink, or buy stuff.
Probability: 99% (remember, nothing in life is guaranteed)

When: Saturday, Sept. 29, 10am-5pm
What: National Book Festival
Where: The National Mall
Cost: Free
Probability: 10% -- while it's theoretically possible I could do both the book festival and Clarendon Day, it's unlikely. I'd have to get up early, and anyway, reading is hard.

When: Sunday, Sept. 30, 10am-5pm
What: Crafty Bastards
(oops, stupid cut and paste)
Where: Marie Reed Learning Center, 18th & Wyoming, Adams Morgan
Cost: Pretty much free. Unless you buy stuff. Which is kind of the point of going. Dibs on something zombie.
Probability: 90%

When: Thursday, Oct. 4, 7pm (there's also a Friday show at 1:30pm and a sold-out Saturday 8pm)
What: National Symphony Orchestra performs Beethoven's 9th
Where: Kennedy Center
Cost: $45-$80
Probability: 20% -- Beethoven's 9th is my favorite bit of classical music that's used in movie trailers and ultraviolence, but I don't know.

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Beer and P-Funk

On Saturday, went to the Capitol City Carnival/Beer Festival at Bull Run Park in Centreville (right past the shooting center -- from the parking lot, you could hear the shotguns in the distance).

It was damned hot. Oh, and for 35 bucks a ticket (in advance), you would think that you'd get a 6oz commemorative tasting glass (like every other beer festival I've ever been to).

Instead, pint glasses were 5 bucks extra (2 for $8). If you didn't want a glass, they were serving each 4oz pour in little plastic cups. (Yay, lots and lots of plastic trash!) And if you did use your glass, relatively few brewers had rinse water (And note to those souls who used the water from the handwashing stations next to the port-a-potties: "Non-potable" does not mean "it doesn't move.")

I will have to do a comparison of various beer festival glasses and fill lines later on.

Anyway, the brewers were in a single arc, grouped by region, which was nice, especially since I like to start with beers I'm not familiar.

Some photos from the day -- Left: me, Janine and Lon. Right: Mr. & Mrs. Jerky:

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Left: Procession for Queen of Beer. Right: Ferris Wheel at night:

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At 8:30pm, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic hit the stage. I eventually moved down to around 6 people back from the stage. George tended to step to the front of the stage (out of the light), but I got a few good shots:

George Clinton and P-Funk

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Also making appearances were James Clown, Garry "Star Child" Shider (the diaper man), a dancer who kept climbing the speakers, hoop dancers, random women pulled up onstage, and more. It was a darn good show. (See the rest of the pics here: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at the Capitol City Carnival)

The way I'm going to look at the ticket price was that it was a P-Funk concert with free admission to a beer tasting. And I didn't get to really see any of the sideshow acts or anything, but I did eat funnel cake (which I've managed to avoid for a few years).

Oh, and getting out of the park was pretty smooth sailing, though that may change if this gets more popular in coming years.

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Caught Up in the Halo Hype (The Last One Standing)

Up until now, I've managed to avoid most of the hype around Halo 3 (which should be out... right about now). I'm not much of a gamer -- I have an Xbox (Zero60), and I completed the first Halo (though only on Heroic, not on Legendary), but that's it. I don't even have Xbox Live.

Then, last week, I caught this clip of the Halo theme done on Mario Paint:

It started with that. Now, with all the commercials and the hype, I can't get the Halo theme out of my head.

It Gets Better
Then, today, saw this Halo promo short film on the Discovery Web site: Halo: Last One Standing, which is evidently part 3 of a series set right before the events of Halo 3, with effects done by WETA (the SFX company that did Lord of the Rings, not the public broadcaster).

It also evidently kicks seven types of ass.

Just as an example, there's a scene about halfway through, where a Marine gets jumped by a Brute, tries to scramble away and gets pulped by the Brute and his Gravity Hammer. It's chilling and brutal:

Note the blood spot where the unfortunate Marine got Hank Aaroned into the wall. At least he died with his pistol in his hand.

If the Halo movie looks anything like this short, it's going to rock.

However, in the spirit of sucking out the fun of sci-fi by overanalyzing it, I do want to point out two things that don't make sense:

1. Early on, a Marine grabs a Brute Spike Grenade that's sticking into the wall next to him about to explode, and hurls it into the air, blowing up a Covenant Banshee that's streaking by:

The Banshee he's going to frag is off-screen.

It looks really cool, but leaving aside the fact that it's ludicrous (unless he was just trying to get rid of the grenade and simply got improbably lucky), it's way too short of a throw. The grenade, which is about 2/3rds the length of a baseball bat, barely completes a full rotation and doesn't diminish appreciably in the distance before it hits the conveniently-passing Banshee. For the Banshee to be that close, it would have to be a whole lot bigger.

Yes, I know they applied artistic license to fit everything in frame, but you're already having a guy shoot down the equivalent of, say, an A-10 ground-attack jet by chucking a hand grenade at it -- we're already stretching credulity pretty far.

(Now, if you have the Master Chief do it; sure, why not -- he's a cyborg. But you still have to fix the perspective problem.)

2. The apparent plot of the short is that the Marines need to figure out where the Master Chief is going to land by painting him with a laser designator:

According to the dialog, "Search & Rescue teams are awaiting coordinates," and "That's it, we got it; recovery team has his coordinates."

Of course, needing a guy on the ground to paint a re-entry vehicle makes absolutely no sense. To make sure the guy was within visual range, you'd need to put in him the general vicinity of the landing (and if you knew that, you wouldn't need the guy).

And it's re-entering the atmosphere -- it's not something you can hide. Once they spot it on radar/lidar (or just look out the window of that hovering Pelican dropship and follow the smoke trail), they'll know where it's going to land (the guy on the ground wasn't marking it all the way down, so it's not maneuvering -- it's on a ballistic trajectory).

I suppose it could have been explained away as some back-assward way to do IFF interrogation,if they were trying to sneak the Master Chief's re-entry vehicle in among a cloud of decoys, but the dialog and on-screen action don't indicate this (and there's that whole "guy on ground" problem again).

Anyway, this is an awfully long entry for someone who ostensibly isn't interested in the Halo 3 launch, so I'll just say I hope the movie is good, whenever it comes out.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Zombies: Don't Look Too Close (Or, The Less You Know, the Better)

[Second of a few entries on the modern zombie. See my previous entry about why zombies are the perfect enemy for our time.]

My radioactively-reanimated zombie costume from last Halloween.

When fans are faced with the temptation to overanalyze, quantify, and contextualize fictional elements to see how they would "work" in the real world, the best advice comes from some philosophers who said:

"Just repeat to yourself, 'It's just a show, I should really just relax.'"

On the flip side of this, creators of fictional worlds should resist the temptation to explain too much, because the more complicated things get, the more potential inconsistencies you introduce. And when you go to the well too often (generally to fill screen time), you run the risk of watering down your creations, or otherwise make them look silly.

Two prime examples of this: The Borg were great as inexorable, unstoppable, relentless future cyborg zombie-surrogates, but when they started being the go-to Villain of the Week on Star Trek, when they started getting bogged down by nanoprobes and unimatrices and technobabble, and because they kept getting beaten, they stopped being really scary (thanks a lot, Voyager).

As to explanations making you look silly, one word: Midichlorians.

Zombies Don't Much Care for the Laws of Thermodynamics

The world of Max Brooks' zombies (in the Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z) is especially susceptible to all this, because it's written in documentary-style and aspires to something approaching reality. And the closer you look at the pseudoscience of zombies, the sillier it gets.

For example: The zombie virus ("Solanum") is bloodborne and 100% communicable at even the most minute levels ["...even one organism is enough to begin the cycle", ZSG. p. 4]. It's also 100% effective (that is, you're guaranteed to be killed and reanimated as a zombie -- additionally, if you eat zombie-virus infected flesh, it's 100% lethal, though at least you die and stay dead).

Because it's so transmissible, the entire human population would probably be zombified simply due to mosquito bites. To prevent this, in Brooks' world, parasites which might otherwise act as disease vectors instinctively "know" not to attack the infected.

Forget sniffer dogs to screen refugees -- you could check people by having them stick their arms in boxes of mosquitoes.

(Incidentally, the Zombie Survival Guide mentions that there are no documented cases of people having sex with a zombie, so it's left unclear as to whether the zombie virus can be sexually transmitted. It's likewise unclear if an infected carrier can spread the virus via sexual intercourse, though the other dictates of the universe suggest so.)

As to the rest of it: To his credit, Brooks' characters readily admit they don't know why zombies are able to do what they do. Brooks' zombies resist bacteria, so they don't really decay -- they abrade. They freeze solid in winter, but revive when thawed. They're immune to high pressures at the bottom of the ocean. They eat freshly-killed flesh, but they don't get sustenance from it -- they just do it because they are jerks.

Given that last bit, Brooks' zombies also don't care much for the laws of physics, since they are perpetual motion machines -- they produce work without requiring fuel. Put them on one of these power-generating walkways, and you have cheap, sustainable, non-greenhouse-gas-emitting undead energy.

The Point of All This?

As with many elements in popular fiction (especially science fiction), so to with zombies: It's best not to ask too many questions -- just suspend disbelief, and no matter how implausible the plot mechanisms might be, as long as they're internally consistent, you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

(I'll save the Reaver implausibility discussion for some other time.)

Next time: Crunching the Zombie numbers.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Condom Stuck in Virginia

This "condom stuck in" referrer meme is like a self-reinforcing, self-fulfilling prophecy. And not a particularly welcome one, at that.

It's a vicious circle, which features prophylactics of various types getting stuck in various places:

CPE-[redacted].vic.bigpond.net.au (Telstrainternet44) [Label IP Address]

Victoria, Melbourne, Australia, 0 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
18th September 200712:37:14www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=condom stuck in virginia&meta=
18th September 200712:37:42www.google.com.au/search?hl=en&q=condom stuck in virginia&meta=

Then again, I could be mistaken: Virginia might be Aussie slang for girl-parts. Or, Virginia might refer to a particular person.

If this is the case, I apologize to you, Ms. Virginia, wish you luck, and bid you a speedy trip to the GP or OB/GYN of your choosing.

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Monday, September 17, 2007

The Onion's Take on Northern Virginia

The Onion main page today (the "National News Highlights" rollover) features a reference to Arlington:

"ARLINGTON, VA -- Nate Martin was so happy to drive home from Washington, D.C. without hitting a traffic jam that he briefly forgot how much he hated his house, job, and life in northern Virginia."
Hey, it's not that bad. As a northern Virginian, that would be my expected viewpoint, though my biases point in different directions, since:
  1. I live in Reston, and thus look enviously upon Arlington.

  2. I moved down here from New York City, and thus I consider everything outside New York "the suburbs," anyway.*
*Granted, I was only there a couple of years -- growing up in NJ doesn't count -- and that was a long time ago. I also don't actually feel this way -- I just trot out that line whenever I hear DC-dwellers looking down on the northern Virginia suburbs.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Upcoming Shows (to Which I Might Go)

When: Tuesday, 9/18/2007, 7:30PM
Who: Suzanne Vega
Where: Birchmere
Cost: $35
Probability: 70%

When: Wednesday, 9/19/07
Who: The Apples in Stereo
9:30 Club
Cost: $15
Probability: 95% (Also the night of the DC Blogger Meetup Group)

When: Thursday 10/25/2007 and Friday 10/26/2007
Who: Cowboy Junkies
Where: Birchmere
Cost: $45
Probability: 99% (at least one show)

When: Sunday 10/28/2007
Who: Over The Rhine
Where: Birchmere
Cost: $19.50
Probability: 95%

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Friends Are a Bunch of Useless Drunks

And yet, Tuesday night, I still managed to eke out a win at "JOTTpardy," a flavor of Jeopardy at Jimmy's Old Town Tavern where crowd participation is not only allowed, it's encouraged. Without a single correct answer from my compatriots.

I got there late during the qualifying rounds, so I was thoughtfully volunteered to go up, but I made up for it in the tiebreaker (movie quotes -- easy ones, too: The "census taker" bit from Silence of the Lambs and the "mad as hell" bit from Network).

Now, going in, I had pretty low expectations. In high school, I was on an "Academic Challenge" quiz show team. We were smart. We practiced. We got stomped.

(Just like in the Voight-Kampff test, reaction time is a factor.)

I did OK in Heroes (song titles) and Spam Trivia, got blown out in Canadian Provinces (spelling) Carls, and, um . I managed to steal enough points that I was in second place going into Final Jeopardy, which was Bush Cabinet members.

I bet it all (less one), and as it turns out, got it right (I mean, really -- the Secretary of which Cabinet Department would you expect to make an appearance on Jeopardy?).

It would have been all for naught, though, since the guy in first place got it right, too... except he forgot to answer in the form of a question.

Hey, I'll take what I can get:

Jimmy's Old Town Tavern Gift Certificate

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/13/99: Never Forget - Moonbase Alpha

Reminder: September 13 marks the anniversary of the Moonbase Alpha disaster, when a nuclear chain reaction knocked the moon out of orbit and into deep space:

9/13/99 Never Forget Picture

Never Forget:
Space: 1999 9/13/99 Never Forget Animated Badge

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

After-Action Report: Weekend Social Calendar (in Photos)

So let's see if the weekend turned out as predicted:

Went to blogger happy hour. There was a brass band at Dupont Circle. Didn't mingle as much as I should have. Carried an empanada around for the better part of an hour. Took photos of random hugging people on the Metro:

Saturday: Went to the Dulles Day Plane Pull. Saw planes. Saw people pulling planes:

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There was also a B-25J Mitchell:

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I also did manage to go to Ragtime afterwards.

Sunday: Made it out to the Adams Morgan Day Festival. There was steak in a sac and a cop on a Segway:

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There was street food (I had the pulled pork, myself) and street scenes:

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I saw baskets, and I shook the hand of DC Mayor Adrian Fenty:

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It was a pretty good weekend, even if I didn't save room for a falafel:


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Friday, September 07, 2007

Weekend Social Calendar

Tonight: Blogger Happy Hour at the Mad Hatter. I haven't been to one of these in a long time.

Saturday: The Annual Plane Pull at Dulles -- I've been here for 11 years and I still haven't made it to one of these; I'd like to watch at least for a little bit (I'm pretty sure I saw one of the planes that's going to be on display flying in yesterday -- a DC-3, I think.)

Also, the US faces off against Great Britain in the Rugby World Cup. Slaughter is anticipated. If I watch, it would be with the Irish somewhere -- though schadenfreude is a German concept, they've embraced it pretty heartily.

At night, there's the Blisspop thing at the 9:30 Club. This is an outside possibility, as I fear I am too old and too square.

I also just heard that my friend Scott's band, One Ton Wonton, will be playing Ragtime, too.

Then again, there's always the chance I might just stay in and watch UFC 75 (free!)

Sunday: The Adams Morgan Day Festival

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Note to Self on Time-Shifting, Appointment TV and Self-Control

Dear Dumbass,

With the abundance of TV time-shifting technologies available to you, both digital (which you, inexplicably, don't have) and analog (which you do), and given that the entire series is now available on DVD, I put forth that, just because SpikeTV shows Star Trek: Deep Space 9 reruns, does not mean you need to watch them at that particular moment in time.

Especially if those particular moments are between 2 and 3 AM.

Even if they just started in on Season 4, which is a full season after when the show really hit its stride, Worf joins the cast, and the Dominion War draws near.

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On the Plus Side, It'll Keep the Office Gossips Wondering

Can you imagine? You're in Investor Relations or whatever and you go check out your company's profile on Google Finance:


...and in the related Blog Posts, up comes some random idiot blogger's entry about one of your approximately 3,829 employees (or at least, someone using the office network) who got a piece of a condom stuck in her cooch a very private area (and who can't even spell "vagina" correctly, at that):

gw.insightns.com (Insight Communications Company L.p)
Kentucky, Louisville, United States, 0 returning visits
Date Time WebPage
5th September 200712:51:23finance.google.com/finance?cid=8460311

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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Last.fm Artists I PWN

A little while back, I was listening to my iTunes at work, which is hooked into Last.fm (as expected of any social media type -- remember, anything worth doing is worth sharing, right?)

Here's my profile. I haven't really spent much time with the social discovery aspects of Last.fm (or put much effort into the tagging/rating/metadata bits of it), which is why I noticed with a start that I showed up as a top listener of The Positions:

Joelogon outed on Last.fm as a top listener of The Positions

(For a little bit, I thought the band photo was one of my Clarendon Day shots, but it's not.)

So, over time, I've been keeping an eye to see when I come up as a top listener (I assume there's an app or a search or a feed somewhere that'll show this, but my methodology was just looking up when I hit a more obscure track).

Here's what I see so far:

* Steve Coleman and Metrics ("I put so many kids to sleep, my specialty is pediatrics.") -- I got this after I heard it in a Tower Records listening station. Go figure. I remember when Hutch was driving us to a show, and this CD came on. We were both shocked that someone else knew the group.

* Tallulah -- I got this one from CDBaby after hearing a song of theirs ("Untied") as bumper music for a This American Life episode. They have a song about bacon, too. It's good.

* Clang and Zen Cowboys -- Both of these were acquisitions from the 88-cent clearance bin at Sounds on St. Marks back in the 90s. (The Maps of Google says it's still around, which is surprising, yet pleasing, to me.) Took a flyer on Clang since the album was named "Pol Pot Pie" and it has a track named "Shroud of Urine," which is not great, but the rest of the album is good. The Zen Cowboys album is really good, though (and I don't even like... whatever genre it is they are).

Now, looking at my Top Artists chart shows it to be a little skewed, since I don't have my entire CD collection ripped and it's not catching any of my home or laptop stuff. (And how can Kaiser Chiefs be #5 already with 115 plays? I only picked up the albums last week! Probably left it looping overnight or something.)

That raises the question -- do people try to game Last.fm so they show up as top listeners? Kind of pathetic, but I wouldn't put it past people -- recognition is recognition, right?

Anyway, last trip to my parents' house, I unearthed a bag of CDs. (I'd given them to my sister way back, thinking she could trade them in, but with the stipulation that she had to listen to each one at least once before doing it. Guess she never got around to it.) It's got all sorts of obscure, 88-cent bin goodness, so maybe I'll...

Nah, that would be silly.

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Madam, You're Looking for Help in the Wrong Place

More referrer phun. Is this something I want to be associated with? Not in the slightest:

[redacted].dhcp.insightbb.com (Insight Communications Company L.p)
Kentucky, Louisville, United States, 0 returning visits

Date Time WebPage
4th September 200715:32:08www.google.com/search?q=i have a piece of a condom stuck in my vaginia&hl=en

Also, maybe it's just me, but wouldn't the fact that the condom is in pieces be of slightly greater importance?