Archive for November, 2007

Tis the Season to shred some hot Christmas tunes!

Well, I see I completely slacked off and forgot to do an update during my Thanksgiving break. Oops. Sorry about that. I’m going to try and get better about doing these more often.

Thanksgiving? Delightful. Good food, we got some snow, and the Cowboys won. What else could you ask for?

Time to start looking forward to Christmas! Which, as you all know, is absolutely one of my favorite times of year. Sunday evening, mom and I put the tree up, Trans-Siberian Orchestra in the background. Now, I love Christmas music already. But TSO….they just do it RIGHT. You CANNOT beat their arrangement of O Come All Ye Faithful/O Holy Night. You just can’t. To this day, I maintain that it is the best rendition of those two carols I have ever heard. Period. I do not care WHAT you say, an incredible guitar solo is the ONLY way to perform that song!

But there’s something more immediate to look forward to, specifically, this-weekend-immediate. For this Sunday, the last of my three best friends puts a gun to the head of their bachelorhood and happily pulls the trigger. Chris. Kelley. Married.

Man I can’t believe it’s already here. But you can bet I’ll be down this weekend for it. You know, since I’m a groomsman and all. Plus we have a Bachelor Party to do and all. Mwahaha.

In other news, Mark Cuban doesn’t get it! Go figure.

Mark Cuban believes he has the answer to all of the world’s bandwidth problems: Block all P2P traffic, which mostly comes in the form of BitTorrent. Cuban wants the fastest possible internet and according to him, P2P “Freeloaders” are the worst cause, because they, the content distributors, “want to distribute it on someone else’s bandwidth dime”. Also according to Cuban, the best alternative for P2P video (and strangely enough, also audio, he claims) is Google Video. Quoting, “If you are trying to do distribution of audio or video, why in the world would you use P2P when Google Video will host and distribute it very efficiently and for free?”

Well, lets start with the fact that you can’t really get AUDIO off of a Video hosting service. Let’s move on to the fact that there are plenty of things you can’t get on Google Video that P2P excels at distributing, the most notable being ISOs of your various flavors of Linux. Then there’s the fact that for the end user, a torrent, which builds the end file or files from hundreds of users who have provided the file to have bits pulled from it, is almost ALWAYS faster in the end than a download from one single server.

But the final, most hilarious thing, that completely proves that Cuban DOES NOT get it, is this. It doesn’t matter what the content is. You can have one single video. Lets say you get it via BitTorrent. Then let’s say you get it via Google Video. Lets say you do both twenty times. Guess what? The end amount of bits of data that flew over the internet IS THE SAME either way. Downloading it from one single location doesn’t magically make the file any smaller, and thus take up less bandwidth, Mark. Go take a network architecture class, please.

All right, I’m going off my geek rant for the day. Ya’ll take care.

Rants aplenty.

Don’t you just love media bias? No? That’s okay, I was being sarcastic. I hate it. It’s completely idiotic, and what’s worse, there are a lot of people who believe it with no real thought to challenge it.

Take the so called assumption that video games are inherently linked to violence. You’ve all heard that one, no doubt. There’s been plenty of studies that supposedly link the two, and others that say there is no connection. So why the significant difference?

Dr. Christopher Ferguson has a theory, one he published in Psychiatric Quarterly (which I found out via Ars Technica here), that suggests a combination of nonstandard experimentation, and, yes you guessed it, publication bias is responsible.

Publication bias, for the record, is the tendency of researchers and journals to only publish positive results in experimentation.

Take a look at the article for yourself to see his meta-analysis of the research on the topic. He basically eliminated all studies that did not show or measure actual aggressive behavior (leaving only 17 published studies) and of all of those, not ONE did not show a severe publication bias.

So basically, there does not exist a single study linking violent games and actual violent behavior that is scientifically sound. I love it.

I’ll say it again people. Games only trigger violent behavior in people who were ALREADY PREDISPOSED TO IT anyway. Know your children. Know what they’re playing (and play with them). Teach them the difference between gaming and reality. Take some responsibility. STOP SHIFTING BLAME.

In other news, the RIAA and MPAA have successfully lobbied House Democrats to incorporate a provision into the College Opportunity and Affordability Act that FORCES colleges to provide legal paying alternatives to P2P filesharing, or else they would lose ALL FEDERAL FUNDING. No grants or financial aid if you don’t give your students Napster or some equivalent (source).

First of all, since when is it the responsibility of the Federal Government to protect an industry’s failing business model? Secondly, is anyone else worried that universities are going to turn around and apply this cost to the student’s already way-to-freaking-high college costs? “Opportunity and Affordability” indeed. The House Education and Labor Committee aides SAY that these penalties are myths, but the Bill’s language proper indicates otherwise. Would our favorite little media mafia empires support it so heavily otherwise? I doubt it, personally. The bill also provides for “voluntary grants” for schools, in partnership with outside organizations, to develop effective and reasonably priced anti-piracy tools. Given the MPAA and RIAA’s track record, I suspect these so called tools will be used to augment their lawsuit sprees against so called “pirates”. Whatever happened to reasonable expectations of privacy?

Call your House represenative, and get this killed before it ever makes it out of the House. Please. The MPAA and RIAA are out of control with their lawsuits and lobbying to protect their failing content business model and need to be stopped.

Moving on from my political discourses, but not too far away from music, I have to tell you about a new CD I just picked up that is utterly phenomenal from one of my favorite bands of all time. The band in question? Demon Hunter. They’re a recent favorite, yes, but I absolutely love their work.

Their new CD is called “Storm the Gates of Hell”. The title alone should tell you volumes about what to expect. There’s a theme that seems to run across this album, the best way I can think of to describe it is “Live what you believe if you claim to believe in and follow God”. This is not a light album, at all. It aims deep, right to the core. It will make you ask questions about your life, and you may feel some serious conviction as a result. Just a warning, you may have to be prepared to deal with that. I encourage it, because it can only lead to freedom and a better life for ya.

Fortuantely, the album is a continuously enjoyable metal experience as well. It’s hard for me to say if this is album is any better than their others, because so far, not a one of them has not been phenomenal in my eyes. If you’re a fan of metal or Demon Hunter, this one won’t disappoint. Go get it. Hell hath no fury, at all.

I know a lot of you haven’t seen my house here in Fort Worth at all, but those who have know about the Coca-Cola themed decorations. Well, this past weekend, we finally finished purging it all. It’s all gone. We’ve gotten some more modern decorations up on the walls, and painted the one wall that had the “old soda shop-style” striping a dark green. It looks really really good, and I’ll get some pictures up here as soon as I can.

Thanksgiving is coming up. Have a good one, and I’ll see ya’ll before then hopefully. Got some updates on my WoW characters I’d like to post some screenshots of, if nothing else, and I want to talk about BioShock as well, since I finally got my hands on it. For now though, I’m out.

Trading Spaces: Fixing a Stupid Idea

I’ll admit, Trading Spaces used to be a guilty pleasure of mine. I don’t know why, it was just fun to watch.

At least it WAS fun up until they fired the host, Paige Davis, and went to a “host-less” format. Which, in my view, essentially gave the show very little direction or cohesion. I quit watching as much after that, and eventually gave it up altogether.

From what I hear, the production company for the show decided to essentially give the show a “fresh start” and basically went and hired all new designers and carpenters. As often happens when people try to fix what ain’t broken, the ratings were in the tanker. Even my Mom, a huge fan, quit watching.

Well a new production company has apparently bought the rights to the show. And guess what they did right off the bat? Called Paige Davis and asked her to come back, and brought back many of the show’s popular designers.

If it were up to me, I’d be making some advertising promos for this new season called “Trading Spaces: Don’t reinvent the wheel, idiots”. And yes, the “idiots” is very essential.

In other news, GREEN! Our kitchen wall is GREEN! And it looks SWEET.

Happy Veteran’s Day.

Warning: Incoming Veteran’s-Day-Remembrance-slash-Cuteness-Overload.

And I bet you’re wondering exactly how that’s going to be pulled off.

Well, watch!

funny pictures

LOLBUNNY!

Happy Birfday Mom!

First of all, let me say Happy Birthday to my Mom, who turned 1 year older on November 3rd. She got some other great pieces for the living room this past weekend. I swear I’ll get some pictures up soon!

While she was out on a weekend long trip with her friends, I opted to take the opportunity to head down to Waco and visit all my peeps. It was also Homecoming for BU this particular weekend.

Friday night was a blast. We got a big huge group of people at On the Border, and just had a ball in general. Got to see Lindsey and Daniel Cazac again (by the way praise God, the man got a great job in NC before their move later next month), and…I dunno how to describe it, it was just a fun evening. Plus those Chipotle Steak Tacos are delicious.

Saturday Chris and Kelley had a wedding shower at the Bonow’s place. I failed at the quiz game miserably though. Ah well. On Saturday, Rudyard turned 20, and the D-house guys threw him a suprise party. Justin committed arson on our taste buds with his extra spicy enchiladas. Fortunately he also made non-spicy ones, which were delish. We played Russian Tag, which entails going out to a playground and picking 2 people to be “it”. Those 2 people have to keep their eyes closed, but only they can touch the ground. Everyone else must navigate the playground equipment to avoid them, but if they touch the ground or get tagged, they’re out. Last 2 people standing are rewarded with congratulations…and must now be “it” themselves. It’s a LOT of fun, I have to admit. Lee and Angie literally blitzed through one round, tagging people left and right. After that, the nerds among us went back and watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, at Rudyard’s request. It was the two-parter “Year of Hell”. I’ve seen it, it’s a very good episode.

Sunday…Church, lunch with Josh/Angie/Lee/Rudyard/Mindy/Emily/Julie/Megan/a girl named Theresa who I just met/ at Fazoli’s (DANG I missed those breadsticks), and afterwards I went along on a shopping trip with Josh, Angie, and Mindy. The poor girls subjected Josh to a clothes shopping trip, which also turned into a lesson in fashion. Me? I was no help, I sided with Angie. Actually, they found him a very nice brown/blue shirt, and I found one of the same style but in gray and red, so I grabbed that.

Oh yeah, I also hit the comic store and Mardel’s as well. The comic store was completely sold out of the latest issues of Star Wars Legacy, so I couldn’t get those, but I got caught up on KOTOR, Dark Times, and Rebellion (though actually they were missing one issue of Rebellion I don’t have also). I really really am growing fond of Knights of the Old Republic the more I read it. I think there’s a Trade paperback of the first six issues, pick it up and see if you like. It’s based on the video game of the same name, but you don’t have to have played it to enjoy it.

On the recommendation of one Stephen Schleicher of the now-shut down majorspoilers.com, I also picked up volume 1 of Image’s “Invincible”. It’s about a kid who has to deal with all the normal high school teen issues, but in addition, his dad is a powerful superhero and now that puberty’s hitting him, his powers are manifesting as well. Volume 1 is kind of introductory fare, getting the reader set up completely into the world of Invincible, establishing the major characters and relationships, but Volume 2 is apparently where it really picks up, because we find out…well, you know what, go read them for yourself. It’s a new take on classic superhero themes, and there’s a big swerve waiting for you in Volume 2.

Okay, so now we come to today. I’m sure I’ve told most of you who read this thing about the big move that took place this weekend. If not, recap time. Basically, the whole office area where I work is being renovated. New carpet, new cubicles, new furniture, whole nine yards. The plan was to shuffle people around as particular areas were torn down and rebuilt, but the floor is just too full. So they relocated a sizable chunk of the people to another plant (which is just down the road). Unfortunately that sizeable chunk consisted of all of the buyers and many of the supply management specialists/administrators. Including yours truly. So, now we’re at a completely different facility and shoved into some VERY tight quarters. You’ve got 2 people to a cubicle now, and managers sharing with each other or with buyers in some cases. We’ve got a much reduced amount of desk space. The conference room we’ve been allocated is a very small office. The air apparently doesn’t work cause it’s FREAKIN’ HOT!! And we’re gonna be here for about five months. Fun time. Oh well, I reckon somehow, we’ll muddle on through.

Speaking of which, I think I’ve muddled through this entry enough. I’ll catch ya’ll later. Gonna go rock out to Thousand Foot Krutch’s “The Flame in All of Us”.

Music to put the Flesh to Death by

And now for your enjoyment on this Hallow’s Eve, a collection of beautiful lyrics from some of my favorite artists.

“I ascended to the top of the mountain.
I stood in the center of the blaze,
yet I was not consumed”

“One Final Heartbreak, and blinding lights will guide our way
Free us our bloodstains, and they shall call us by our name.
Undying”

“Pull the trigger now, end me.
Mark me for the kill.
Like I marked Your hands,
Your feet, I spilled
all Your Blood flowing deeper
to suffocate the sin.
Til I drown in You
again.
I am so alive, since You took my life
I’m walking dead now, only You remain
I’ll take the life You gave, I’ll walk from the grave
I’m walking dead now, only You remain”

“I’m so sick, infected with
where I live.
Let me live with out this
empty bliss
selfishness
I’m so sick.”

“I give it all to You
Letting go of mine
reaching as I fall,
I know it’s already over, now.
Nothing Left to Lose
Loving You again
I know it’s already over, already over now”

“Lay my head down
Breathe the dream the darkness on it’s way
but I’m not afraid
I’ll put my head down
just believe the scars were worth the pain
cause I’m not afraid”

“Rebirthing now,
I wanna live for love, wanna live for You and me
Breathe for the first time now
I come alive somehow
Rebirthing now,
I wanna live my life, wanna give you everything
Breathe for the first time now
I come alive somehow
Right now.”

“I’m not ready to lay
not ready to fade
I’m not ready to die”

“You are the rock when the billows roll
You are the new, you are the old
When all else changes, You are the same
and when everything passes away, You will remain”

“There is none that can stand against…the power of Fire.”

Enjoy. And see if you can name the artist and song for all 10.