A blog about the many neat things in life, along with the many other things that are lying around. Categories include: political things, philosophy things, design things, template things, garage things, music things, and lots and lots of other things!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What should be done with the Children of Looters?

Idol Theory:
Watch your television and you will see the scum of the earth wading through water along with their children, to loot Jewry stores, clothing stores and every-other store imaginable, often not for food or water or blankets, but for jewelry, television sets and fancy clothing.

I have written before on other blogs about idol theory, but here it is fresh in its most concise and simplified form.

Republicans have a strong tendancy to create straw men to attack, and then link these unlikable characters with Democrats. Their policies are formed around these characters, and the unending hatred of people like Rush Limbaugh is based around them. Republicans have a whole cast of people they love to hate including welfare dads, promiscuous serial abortionists, and bathhouse-cruising HIV+ child-recruiting homosexuals. These characters are rare, if indeed they exist at all, and yet Republicans shape their policy entirely around such characters.

Conservatives hate welfare and think it should be abolished. When asked why it's so horrible that the government help out people trying to get a new job that pays enough to stay alive, they point to "welfare daddies." These excreable characters get one or more female partners pregnant, then live off the welfare generated by the presence of children without attempting to maintain emplyment. These lazy bastards are the scum of the earth, not worth living, and to avoid their existence, welfare should be abolished entirely.

Nevermind that welfare has a lot of practical benefits. Nevermind that it helps people go to college and maintain their lives while they gain employment to pay off their debts. Ignore the fact that most people on welfare are doing their best and trying to make ends meet. Republicans believe that everyone on welfare must be like these anti-responsibility caricatures; therefor, the policy should be abolished.

What is happening is that Republicans are focusing entirely on the philosophy of a policy, rather than its actual effects. The idea that somebody would take money from the government, live off it for a month while they get things in order, and then not use it again seem patently ludicrous to republicans. If you can get free money, what reason would you have to work? The philosophy of it seems bad, when stared at from the conservative point of view. They never check the results of the policy -- they never see that it actually helps people without creating these so-called "welfare daddies."

Thus, the philosophy of the republican idol -- these straw men representing the flaws in a philosophy are villified endlessly, and the fact that they virtually do not exist is swept under the rug. And now we have a new idol to spew vitriol at -- Katrina looters.

These people should have left, but instead they hung around with their eight kids to loot jewelry stores. These people do not exist -- the people marching into grocery stores to find things they need to survive are doing just that. If anyone is stealing from Best Buy, then it is reprehensible, but it's not a big deal. It looks like The Day After Tomorrow in New Orleans right now, and in such a post-apocolyptic landscape, it must be hard to convince yourself that Wal*Mart really cares about that lousy PS2.

Technorati tags: republican idol, idol theory, katrina

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Wired News: Anime, the Next Generation

Wired News:
For starters, as more U.S. distributors compete for the hottest titles, the costs to license the series from their Japanese creators are increasing. And fans are paying the price -- anime DVDs are some of the most expensive on the market, at an average price of $26 each.

At Otakon this year, they sold out of weekend passes early Saturday morning. There were almost 25,000 anime fans at the convention, from all over the country. Many of the folks I talked to hadn't heard of the classic anime series like Evangelion or Ranma 1/2 -- very few got the Panda reference I was trying to make. Anime has definitely gone mainstream, with shows from Cartoon Network and Fox dominating the pack. I tend to think that, like any other fandom that gets some mainstream lovin', the anime fandom is shallower for it.

Now, don't flame on yet; that's not the end of the world. Things always get watered down when they become trendy. But what happens is that some people are introduced to the darker depths of the fandom because they found it through mainstream channels. Somebody watches Naruto on Cartoon Network, Googles it, and three years later is downloading that last Hellsing episode off IRC. Hey, it could happen, right?

I'm hoping the direction that mainstreaming anime will take is to increase the general population of core anime fans, once the trendy, outside crowd finds something new to do. Hopefully, with an increased population of interested fans, the depth and breadth of the anime kingdom will increase a little bit. Right now anime fans are heavily concentrated towards younger folks (in the 13-23 range), and a large population is dedicated to the livejournal / Gaia-type people. I'm hoping the mainstreaming of anime will help iron out some of those wrinkles, so the fandom can become a little more diverse overall.

I don't think the mainstreaming of anime will ruin the fandom. Though I constantly curse companies like Funimation or ADV for licensing and ruining good shows like One Piece, there is a lot more good anime coming out than licensing corporations can keep up with. The fandom is huge, and hopefully with a mainstream incoming person-flow, it will get a little more interesting to boot.

Technorati tags: anime, mainstream

Monday, August 29, 2005

Do You MySpace? - New York Times

Do You MySpace? - New York Times:
Although many people over 30 have never heard of MySpace, it has about 27 million members, a nearly 400 percent growth since the start of the year. It passed Google in April in hits, the number of pages viewed monthly, according to comScore MediaMetrix, a company that tracks Web traffic. (MySpace members often cycle through dozens of pages each time they log on, checking up on friends' pages.) According to Nielsen/NetRatings, users spend an average of an hour and 43 minutes on the site each month, compared with 34 minutes for facebook.com and 25 minutes for Friendster.

You know, I like social networking, I really do. I like making the web available to everyone with push-button publishing and other tools that have accessable design measures. I'm a fan of Steve Krug. But I seriously dislike MySpace for many of the same reasons I dislike LiveJournal.

The design is not very good - navigation through groups is nearly impossible, and the blogging interface is very counterintuitive. But the thing that really makes it horrid to use is the customization offered on it. Repeating backgrounds that preclude my chances of being able to read the text of someone's web page. Video that's embedded on the front page, locking my browser for precious minutes. Annoying ads and flash bits and noisies that I can't get to shut up for a damn minute. The whole thing is like Geocities, but worse, because it's more popular.

If you're a serious musician, do us all a favor: make a real web site, leave your myspace blank with a link to your site. Make your site not suck: hire a web designer. Just my opinion.

And then there's the truth about myspace. Kudos to drunk report.

Technorati tags: myspace, blogging

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Operation Yellow Elephant

I finally decided to participate in Operation Yellow Elephant, and I think I successfully ticked off the republicans a bit. I went to their callout and spent a few minutes trying to recruit soldiers for Iraq after the meeting; unfortunately, they had a BOUNCER at their callout, who decided to shut me down. I was called insensitive, Michael Moore, and other nasty names.

Watch the video.

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Wired News: Windows Got Ya Down? Try a Remix

Joel Johnson:
There's a lot of extra space on a standard Windows XP CD, especially if the downloadable disc images (the standard format for distributing pirated operating systems) are designed to be burned to DVD. That leaves room to add a whole library of complementary software -- even multiple versions of Windows.

Alright, so I'm a little late getting to this, but with an impending reinstall of XP, this stuff suddenly gained a lot of interest to me. The two most interesting remixed versions of XP seem to be Windows Lite (with all the IE, outlook, MSN Messenger, etc. stripped out), and Windows Nemesis (which does all that, and includes a TON of pirated software). Frankly, I think Microsoft had better get some ideas from this for their release of Windows Vista; real users don't WANT internet exploder, or email with security holes big enough to drive a Hummer through. We want installs that boot fast, don't eat ram, and let us use the programs we want to.

And steal stuff. Hence the DRM hate.

Technorati tags: windows, piracy, remix culture

Friday, August 26, 2005

Political Things

I'm a political person. This blog will have political elements. If you don't like that; well, tough nookies.

We had a great article in our student newspaper today attacking Cindy Sheehan. It was beautiful; I could swear Bill O'Reilly himself wrote it, except that it was more vitriolic, and made less sense than he does (an impressive feat by any standard). I won't retype the whole thing, as I don't think such dreck should be duplicated anywhere. When it comes up on the Exponent's web site, I'll post it. But for now, here's my response.

I love Cindy Sheehan, because whenever conservatives try to attack her, they make no sense. Take the article by "Senior Columnist" David Brunner. He compares a peaceful war protester to BTK, and then says she's worse than car-bombing terrorists. He pretends that Casey Sheehan had 100% Limbaugh-compatable views and makes the dead soldier sound like Jesus and Buddha combined. He says Cindy is attacking "veterans and the country they serve," but has no way to back this up. He pretends that Cindy wanted her son to die to better her protests, ignoring the fact that she was not political until her son died.

He then brags about sending grieving mothers a postcard. Let's make that clear: we have no exit strategy for Iraq, the number of terrorists is growing daily, and you send them a POSTCARD? Whoop-de-freaking-do! Cindy proposes we bring the soldiers home, so other moms don't have to get a call from the Army telling them their son died. And I guess that makes her Satan, Hitler, and Stalin all at once.

I think I am going to head to the Exponent callout. I wonder if that newspaper has any way to publish articles that have a point, or make sense, or don't suck? I feel like I should try.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Google Blog

Google Blog:
"It's called Google Talk — a small program that lets you call and IM other Google Talk friends over the Internet for free. We're releasing it in beta today for all Gmail users (once you sign on, you can start inviting any of your friends to try it too)."

Okay, so there's a lot of buzz going on about Google Talk. A bit of viral marketing here, some rumour there, and the big G brandname, and all of a sudden it's the Next Big Thing. Well, being on a mac, I am not impressed. Why no mac client? It runs Jabber, and there are scads of open-source Jabber clients for mac. For a company with as much know-how as Google, I have a hard time accepting that macs are so hard to develop for that they can never release these things in tandem. I mean, I'm still waiting on Google Earth.

Google, boo for helping the Windows monopoly.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Flickr Magazine Maker

Somebody came out with a flickr magazine maker app, and I just had to make a pirates magazine. So far as I can tell, I am only the second person to do it, though I am blown away by the fact that we used damn near the same photo for it. I would add mine to the group, except I am out of bandwidth for Flickr for this month. I might buy a pro account at that rate.

Also, I decided to publicize my Otakon pics. If anyone wants their pic removed, feel free to email me.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Otakon 2005: Full Disclosure

As I said in my bio, I go to anime conventions. Conventions are a great little distraction; a vacation far from the ordinary. They are a chance for me to meet and socialize with my fellow nerds, and a space far from those who would not understand our obscure Japanese sense of humor, geeky references, and our obsession with computers and video games. It's a chance to dress up like your favorite anime character, just for the fun of it. It's an opportunity to let loose and be as oddball as you like, because it's expected there. It's a good place to hug a stranger. It's that kind of atmosphere.

The rest of this is just personal diary kinda stuff, so skip that if you're not interested.

I got to the con Friday morning and hung out with some people I didn't know. Shuichi, Miroku, and gang, you guys were awesome! I hit the dealer's room without buying anything, grabbed some lunch, and then got the call from my group. They arrived a few hours after me, so I headed up to the room and met one of the girls I hang out with in Maryland. Dascha, you're cool, too! She and I went to the dealer's room again, where I found some ultra-rare doll she had been looking for forever, and ended up spotting her the cash for it. She paid me back quickly. Next step was unloading my stuff into the room, followed by hanging out for a bit. I went fursuiting in my panda outfit for a while. Very few of the anime fans realized the panda was supposed to be Genma Saotome from Ranma 1/2 -- I need to spruce up the outift for next time. I de-sweated and cooled off, and then we headed out for Sushi. There were some reservations problems, so I ended up walking back to the hotel and picking up some kabobs with my homie the Pimp Moogle. She liked them, too - Baltimore has very good kabobs.

Got back, grabbed some cola, and headed to the rave. I met up with a character I had seen at the Nation a few nights previous, whose name always seems to escape me. He was doing some awesome lightstick dancing in the middle of a circle of fun-loving ravers. See here for Jesus raving. I don't know if that's blasphemous or not. probably a little, but the guy was not playing an alternative Jesus or anything. He didn't say anything that struck me as over the line, and we know Jesus enjoyed the music of his time. Didn't He make rave music, too?

After the rave I hung out with Mark, who I met right after the DJ's stopped spinning. Mark, you're a cool kid. He was a lot of fun to talk to; we discussed everything from Stepmania to yaoi to what-have-you. I eventually went back to the room, hung out with the guys, and went to bed.

Next day was full of fun stuff. Got up, nabbed some leftover sushi Tim brought me for breakfast, and went to check out the Red Octane booth. Mark had informed me that Inspector K was there, and being totally starstruck, I had to go meet him. I hope I didn't act like a hopeless fanboy, and I wish I could have had a conversation as just two guys, but he was kinda busy and on 'public mode,' and I was just another customer. I bought the game with free t-shirt and got Smiley to sign both. It was awesome. Following that, I looked for people, and tried to catch my sister for lunch. Failing that, I grabbed some more sushi and decided to head out in panda costume with the Pimp Moogle and her ho. We got seperated pretty quickly, but I got at least one good picture. I marched around and got photos for an hour or so, then headed back for de-sweating. I grabbed my dj gear and looked for an opportune spot, but didn't find one. I hung out with the guys and accompanied them to listen to Mitch do karaoke - he did great. Met up with Miroku again, whom it was good to see.

After that, it was time for dinner and raves. Joe Kopasek was spinning, and damn was he awesome. I missed Tony, but met him on the dance floor. I wasn't around for Jeremy Sin (I needed a lot of water - pizza and coke ruined my ability to retain it) and I missed Scott Henry to hang out with my group. I got to watch some of the girls from our crew do some break-down lesbian dirty dancing, and then headed back for a night shower. I DJ'd for our group while they got drunk. Played a whole Jet Set Radio set, and then went through some basic trance stuff, which they were trashed enough to really enjoy. It was fun.

After that, I packed up my stuff and got ready for the long drive to Indiana. It was a long haul, but I didn't have as hard a time seperating from the parents as I did last year. I'm glad the transition was easier - it was pretty rough the first year I went to college.

I guess that's it. It was an awesome Otakon, and I got some great pics. I'm still deciding whether or not to put them on public display; after all, I hardly had model releases handy. But it all went well.

Good night!


Originally uploaded by versatil.

Booyah! I made it onto Flickr. My heart is glad.

Full con report soon to come, but for the moment, I have to start class.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Otaku Things

Alrighty! I'm gonna be at Otkaon this weekend. If you drop by, give me a holler. I'll be in the catboy outfit. ^.^

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Vacation Things

Alrighty, my vacation pictures from Los Angeles are up! Check out the photoset -- some of those pics are boss!

Technical Things

Alright, I figure a bad way to start this blog would be by posting an angsty rant about how much my life sucks (it doesn't) and how much I hate my parents (I don't) and how nobody really knows what "goth" is (?). I'm definitely not doing that.

Instead, I'll say something that might be interesting about the design of this site. As the icon in the lower-right says (and the navbar I left in above indicates), I'm using Blogger. I had been using Six Apart's Livejournal for a while, as the purpose of my blogging was more social, and less demanding of quality and features. Frankly, I really and truly hate Livejournal, as it is a black hole of angst from which http packets can only barely escape. Plus, the templates are ugly, W3C-noncompliant (I know, I'm no gem there either, but that's because of the plugins I chose to install), and hard to navigate. And LJ's interface is one of the worst I've ever seen. I switched to Blogger for two major reasons.

One was that it allows you to alter the HTML template for page publishing. If you know xHTML, CSS, and even the tiniest smidgen of Perl, it's easy as pie. And while I'm not saying this site should win any awards, I do think it's much prettier than the flat, boring, low-end page I had back on LJ. And, if at any point I change my mind on that, I can tweak it.

The other major reason to switch to Blogger was the integration it offers. With customizing the CSS & HTML comes a whole host of possibilities. On the right side of the page is a Technorati search engine, which I found here, and altered to suit my colour scheme. I also added a Flickr expose and a latest links feed from del.icio.us. Both, I think, help me convey the information that I want to have on my web page: where I'm at in life and online. They also provide additional points of contact and conversation to those of you reading this -- feel free to send me some links on del.icio.us or comment on any of my Flickr pics.

I'm also planning on adding a Feedburner feed for enclosure, FOAF, and geotagging support, and possibly a few other technologies as well. I can tinker with this; using LJ, that was never an option.

I guess that's all the technical things for the moment. I'll definitely post updates as I try to keep this site near the cutting edge of blogging and media distribution. Hope it works for you!

About this blogger!

Care Bear

This is a picture of me. There are more pictures of me on my Flickr and my Facebook. Sorry, no hot nudie shots!

This is my blog. It has a lot of things on it - many of them neat things (hence the blog name). Click here to see the latest posts. Keep reading to find out more about me.

These are a bunch of lists with information relating to me.


  • Age: 22
  • Gender: Male
  • Height: 5'5"
  • Eyes: Brown
  • Hair: Brown (now with highlights!)
  • Ethnicity: Caucasian
  • University: Purdue
  • Orientation: Gay
  • Status: Single

Fav. Anime

  • Get Backers
  • Naruto
  • Bleach
  • Loveless
  • One Piece

Fav. Movies

Fav. Music

Fav. Books

Fav. Video Games

Fav. Food/Drinks

  • Sushi
  • Pizza
  • Any Mountain Dew
  • Bawls


  • Chemical analyst intern at NIST
  • Web Developer / php coder at IDC
  • Freelance web guy at Archmagus.us