Archive for December, 2006

Friday Funday CXXVII

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Minneapolis Teapot Exploration [del.icio.us]

The amazing story of one man and his teapot.

Flight over Sahara [del.icio.us]

Flight over Sahara is a “motion based” webcam game. I have no idea if it works, but it’s kind of fun to see how long you can fly in a perfectly straight line. I actually made it all the way to the end of the first level once. I guess I should hook up the webcam and try this thing out for real.

Liberated Films [del.icio.us]

Another one of those “post your films for everyone to see” type of sites. Like YouTube, but classier.

The Real Iraq [del.icio.us]

Sure, this video is dated, but it’s still interesting to watch and possibly quite an eye-opener.

Security Webcam Viewing [del.icio.us]

Use Google to “spy” on unsecured webcams. Some cameras even have controls!

Secular Season’s Greetings

Here are a couple of Christmas-related observations:

1) As an Atheist, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say to people who tell me, “Merry Christmas.” I could say, “Happy Holidays,” or “Season’s Greetings,” but they really don’t express an obviously religion-free point of view. After some thought (note, that’s “some thought,” not “much thought”), I decided that “Secular Season’s Greetings” did the job and was pretty funny. I don’t think I’ll actually ever say it to anyone (at least, not seriously).

2) Morah made an interesting observation recently. When you think of Christmas, what type of weather do you associate with it? If you’re like most people I’ve talked to, the weather you think of is snow. Now think about how much of the planet has snow this time of year. Certainly not most places in the Southern Hemisphere where it’s summer (high altitudes and Antarctica don’t count. Especially Antarctica. Those penguins are cheaters). In the Northern Hemisphere, probably about half (perhaps a little more) has snow. So about a third of planet actually has a white Christmas.

White or not, hopefully your Christmas has been great! Secular Season’s Greetings!

Friday Funday CXXVI

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

It’s time for a Christmas theme!

Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out! [del.icio.us]

If you’ve never seen the movie, for goodness sake, see it this year (even if it’s re-enacted by bunnies)! And don’t forget, the house is now a museum! That Cingular spot is also really funny and extremely well done.

Top 11 Best Geek Gifts [del.icio.us]

Yeah, these would be pretty sweet.

Christmas 2.0: Subverting the Holidays With Re-dubbing [del.icio.us]

Technically, this is dubbing, not re-dubbing. Some of these are pretty funny, others are just… Too long.

Make-a-Flake [del.icio.us]

Winter is officially here (especially if you live in Denver). Make your own ePaper snowflakes!

Sleepy Cat [del.icio.us]

I know this has nothing to do with Christmas, but I die laughing every time I watch it, so I thought it would make a pretty good gift.

FOX 28 Versus Time Warner

Because we don’t blog about the place we don’t blog about, I’ll point you to this blog/newspaper article instead, which does a really nice job of explaining why the place we don’t blog about is in the right, and Time Warner is… Well, I usually state my crystal-clear opinions, but this time I’ll let you fill in the blank (it should contain at least one expletive).

Background information can be found here.

For Carl

Today marks the 10th anniversary of Carl Sagan’s death.

When I was fifteen, I was in an airport on holiday with my family. We were headed to Florida to visit my grandmother. While we were waiting around, I glanced up at a television monitor that was tuned to CNN.

We miss you, Carl.

Friday Funday CXXV

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Exploring Google’s Hidden Features [del.icio.us]

This article reveals “hidden features” of Google. I knew about most of these, but the last one was a pleasant surprise.

Anti-Gravity: Open.Source [del.icio.us]

I’m not quite sure what all of these things are, but they’re pretty damn cool.

Facts on Farts [del.icio.us]

Yep. But you know what? It’s actually pretty interesting.

iSketch [del.icio.us]

Pictionary, but with a different name. The cool part is that you get to play with people from all over the world.

33 Names of Things You Never Knew had Names [del.icio.us]

I knew two of these. How many did you know?

Linux != 1337

On Thursday of last week, I received an e-mail from a co-worker that had one of those Animusic videos attached to it. It was a .wmv file that was about 4MB in size. In the e-mail, which was addressed to ten people besides me, he apologised for attaching a file that large.

Since I had featured Animusic in Friday Funday XCIII, I recognised it right away. Instead of just replying to my co-worker to tell him what it was from, I thought that the other people who had received the original e-mail may also be interested to know, so I replied to all with the following:

“That’s from the Animusic series ( http://www.animusic.com/ ). You can see a bunch more of those on Google Video. http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=animusic

This morning, I got a reply from one of the recipients. Here’s what he had to say:

“Nice bit of animation there! Worth the 20 minutes download time on my dial-in connection. I’d go with broadband, but I’m holding off until I know whether I’ll be living elsewhere. Dial-in works anywhere there’s a telephone, and I’m only paying seven dollars per month for it. Yeah, I’m cheap! It was one of the .WMV types I can play in linux too. That’s a plus. There’s a few I have to reboot into Windows to view. Windows is OK to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there.”

Now, I can’t tell if he’s being serious or sarcastic, but I’m leaning toward the latter. Because I have no idea who he is and because I’m not the one who sent the 4MB .wmv file (which means I don’t feel the least bit of guilt), I’m not going to bother to reply. If I were going to reply, however, this is what I’d say:

“Hey there! I’m glad you thought the video was worth the twenty minutes it took you to download it. I also really enjoyed it even though it only took me three or four minutes to download. I imagine the extra download time helps you appreciate it more. It’s been years since I’ve had to deal with dial-up, but I remember the old days. Downloading your porn must take forever!

“If you really want to join the twenty-first century and get a broadband connection, I’m sure you could sign up for one right now. I have cable internet at home I’m really happy with the speed of the connection. Even though you sound like you’re going to move soon, I’m sure the cable company would be more than happy to get you set up both at your current residence and your future one.

“And wow, Linux? That’s pretty 1337! In fact, you’re obviously so 1337 that you didn’t feel the need to see who sent you the 4MB e-mail and who sent you the 4K one. Perhaps the next time you get snarky at someone, you’ll check the message headers first.

“P.S.: It’s called “dial-up” not “dial-in” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dial-up ).”

Self Versus Society

Today I received an e-mail from someone whose identity I shan’t reveal. She asked me the following:

“What do you do when a catholic person likes you, and you might like him? I CAN NOT do the whole god-fearing-critters thing! Help, please. You said something about the whole catholic thing with [Morah], I thought you might know. I am too rooted in my beliefs to sacritice [sic] my happiness and self. Help, please.”

Here’s my reply:

“Hey there, sounds like quite a quandary!

“The answer is actually quite simple (in my view). You don’t have to sacrifice anything. Compromise, perhaps, but not sacrifice. If he likes you and you like him, and the two of you want to explore a relationship, then let it take its course. Be yourself and never waver. If he can’t accept your beliefs, then it’s bully for him because that’s part of the deal. Likewise, if you come to find that you can’t accept his beliefs, then you had best break it off. I know that you feel quite strongly about your particular brand of faith and no one can tell you what to think or believe. You must make that choice for yourself and I know that you already have. To change or pretend to change just to gain favour with some guy is the absolute wrong thing to do (unless you really are changing because you have a new-found faith, which I know you don’t). To do so would, as you say, sacrifice your happiness. After all, if you’re being disingenuous to yourself and to him, then your relationship will suffer.

“Morah and I are an interesting coupling, because I’m Atheist and she’s Catholic. One might initially assume that problems are likely to crop up, but we’ve talked about it a lot and we both understand not only what the other believes, but why.

“In any relationship, the best thing you can do is to talk. I say this time and time again, but good, frequent, honest communication is the cornerstone to a successful relationship. You’re obviously concerned about religion being an issue, so talk to him about it and find out what he thinks of non-Catholics and people who practise alternate religions.

“And if you guys do end up hooking up and he starts pressuring you to be Catholic or he makes fun of your religion in any way, you need to defend yourself and tell him to knock it off. Remind him that asking you to change what you believe is like asking you to change the colour of your hair. Even if you dyed it black, that wouldn’t be its real colour. By that same token, even if you converted to Catholicism, that doesn’t mean it would change your true beliefs.”

Hopefully that answers her question satisfactorily. What I didn’t mention, and possibly should have (she reads my blog, so hopefully she’ll see this addition to my reply), is that I suggest breaking up or not getting involved in the first place if either of them can’t accept the other’s religious beliefs. This is much easier said than done. I know what it’s like to be enamored with someone who doesn’t treat you the way you should be treated. Even when you know you’re getting the short end of the stick, it hard to admit that to yourself.

They say love is blind and it’s sadly true. When we’re in love, we’re willing to look past those things that would otherwise turn us away. We want so badly for our love not to be in vain and not to go unrequited, that we’re often willing to ignore their faults and attempt to fit ourselves into the mold of their ideal person. We’ll do and say stupid things just to make them happy. We will cease to be true to ourselves if it means pleasing the object of our affections.

I would venture to guess that most people have, at one time or another, done this. Just a moment of weakness and we’ve hastily rewritten our personal manifestos to include what we would have snubbed just days or hours before. But when we succumb to that weakness, we begin to lose a sense of who we are. Our self image loses focus and before too long, we may end up as someone we don’t like. When the relationship inevitably ends (and it will end, if you aren’t being true to yourself), you’ll likely be left with feelings of insecurity.

A great example is of a girl I knew when I was a Sophomore in college. When I met her, she gave everyone the impression that she was the “wealthy socialite” type (this is pre-Paris Hilton). She joined a sorority and hung out with the “hot chicks” (she herself was hot). Eventually, she couldn’t keep up the act anymore. Much to my surprise, she wasn’t a wealthy, outgoing, sorority girl type of person. Instead, she was much more reserved and not particularly concerned with the vanity she had paraded just months before. I actually liked her a lot better after the transition, although she never seemed to be happy. She ended up dating and eventually getting engaged to a guy who didn’t respect her very much. I’m not sure how things ended up between them, but I hope she’s doing better now.

The point is, she had the attention of nearly every guy in the dorm. Even after her “fall from grace,” she could probably have dated any number of guys. She didn’t lose her hotness, but she did lose her self-esteem, which I suspect lead her to date the hick who chose the $49 engagement ring (sans diamond) over the $249 engagement ring (with a modest diamond), even though he could afford the better ring.

Another friend of mine (who shall again remain nameless) struggled with his identity in high school. I did what I could to support him and the decisions he made, but it wasn’t until he got into college that he realised he’s his own person. He’s allowed to make the choices that he wants to make and he’s allowed to be the person he wants to be. And now he is, and he’s much happier for it.

Being yourself isn’t always easy. Especially in the case of my friend from high school, sometimes society just doesn’t want to accept you. But even in his case, everyone I know who has stood up and declared themselves to be who they truly are is happier for it. It’s kind of like when you lie about something, but then eventually tell the truth. Even if there are some negative consequences, you always feel better about not having to carry the burden of the truth anymore.

Well, now is the time to declare yourself. Are you an Atheist? Are you gay? Are you straight? Do you hate Zydeco (bonus points for naming the reference)? Stop living a lie! Stop keeping yourself hidden from the world! Just because you’re different, doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person. Your true friends will accept you no matter who you are, and if someone doesn’t accept you, then you probably don’t want them as a friend anyway. And yes, there will be people who don’t accept you; possibly many people. But who cares? Who are you trying to impress? Why shouldn’t you be allowed to live the life you want to live?

It’s interesting that we (in general) have such a hard time being honest with one another. Nearly every conflict in sitcoms revolves around someone trying to keep something hidden from somebody else. We think that’s funny because we can relate to the situation. Doesn’t that seem wrong to you? That everyone understands what it’s like to feel compelled to lie?

Perhaps we should take sitcoms a little more seriously. At the end of pretty much every episode of a sitcom, the secret is revealed and everything ends up working out. Even when something bad comes as a result, the cloud has a silver lining.

Some people who read this post will realise that I’m being hypocritical. Yes, there are truths about myself that I choose not to reveal. But my secrets are my cross to bear. I often think about who I am versus who I want to be, and look forward on my future with the knowledge that someday, even if I’m not accepted, at least I’ll be proud.

Friday Funday CXXIV

Friday Funday brings you some fun and interesting links from my travels around the internet. Funday links will open in a new window.

Distraction Game [del.icio.us]

This game seems easy enough, right? Well, it quickly gets quite difficult! How many points can you score?

Boohbah Zone [del.icio.us]

They’re like the Teletubbies on acid.

Richard Simmons’ Exploding Steamer [del.icio.us]

Normally when I see a clip making fun of Richard Simmons, I think, “Come on, this is such a boring joke now.” This clip easily surpasses most others I’ve seen as Simmons plays both victim and perpetrator. It’s probably second only to this clip.

Cat Stuck in Tree on News [del.icio.us]

Worst. Tease. Evar.

What code DOESN’T do in real life [del.icio.us]

What code DOESN’T do in real life (that it does in the movies). This made me laugh really hard.

Finally On The New Server

Well, I think I’ve finally made it to the new server. It took a lot of switching back and forth for me to get everything I needed, but as far as I can tell, I’m done. Most everything should work just as it did before. If something fails or seems weird, let me know and I’ll take a look at it.

Since I’m working on a new design for the site, I’m not going to work too terribly hard to perfect this one. Hopefully I’ll be able to start using the new design early next year. 1 January would be fantastic, but is unlikely. It looks really slick, though. It will be a vast improvement over what’s here now.

There’s a small chance that I’ll have to switch back to the old server one or two more times, but like I said, the chance is small. I’m pretty sure I have everything I need.

So, without further ado, here comes this week’s Friday Funday!

UPDATE: The webcams will be down for a bit longer while I get them set up for the new server.

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