Archive for January, 2008

Webcam Woes

The work webcam has gone offline. Somehow the program got corrupted today and now when it loads, it crashes. This is similar to what happened to the program on two of my other PCs.

I’ve actually been very impressed with the program. The company who created it stopped developing it almost 10 years ago, but it has still worked quite dutifully. That is, until it somehow gets corrupted and stops working.

I’ve tried everything to get it to work again, short of formatting the hard drive and reinstalling Windows. I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled, uninstalled and deleted all known associated files then reinstalled, uninstalled and deleted all traces of the program (including in the registry) then reinstalled, and none of it has worked. If anyone has any ideas besides formatting the hard drive, I’m all ears.

Perhaps the time has come to find a new webcam program. Will anything be able to live up to Webcam32’s record?

UPDATE: I left the computer shut off all night, and when I started it up this morning, the webcam program fired up and worked perfectly. I’m not out of the woods yet, however; this is always how it goes. What comes next is that the program works for a little while before freezing and crashing. I have my fingers crossed that it really is working properly.

Friday Funday CLXXXIII

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

Creative Sculpture With a Twist [del.icio.us]

The extended title of this post is: Creative Sculpture With a Twist: 3 Extraordinary Ways to Carve Art Out of Ordinary Objects and it definitely delivers! The patience and skill it must have taken to create this is fantastic. More pictures of the pencils can be found here.

Living in Three Centuries [del.icio.us]

Over the course of 18 years, photographer Mark Story took photos of centenarians around the world. Some of the pictures are available on this site. Although beautifully shot, many of them are creepy – some of the subject already appear dead. Says the photographer about the project, “the experience of talking with a 110 year-old man whose father stood next to Abraham Lincoln during the Gettysburg Address does not easily lend itself to words. A photograph seemed appropriate.”

Grappa [del.icio.us]

I’m not really sure how to explain this really neat… Um, thing, other than, “painting with strings of light.” It’s damn cool.

Weekend Plans [del.icio.us]

A video about pickup line for married people. No, not like that. This funny video is about getting married, getting older, and, well, the way your life changes.

Expendable [del.icio.us]

David Malki !, the clever guy behind the hilarious webcomic Wondermark, is also the Director and co-writer of this 18 and a half minute short film about henchmen working for an evil corporation. The movie is laugh-out-loud funny, and for a low-budget film, these guys have done a great job. Filmmakers will be particularly interested in reading an interview with David Malki ! wherein he discusses the making of the film.

Old Habits?

It’s been almost a full week since I’ve posted anything; am I falling back into my old habits?

No, I’ve just been really busy. Doing what? Well, last weekend I was out of town, but every day since then I’ve been well distracted by an open-source first person shooter called Sauerbraten. One of the coolest aspects of this game is the level editor, which is built into the game itself. Are you playing a map and want to change some aspect of it? No problem! Just switch into editing mode and make the change!

And that’s really all I have to say, because I’m in the middle of editing a level.

Friday Funday CLXXXII

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

10 Creepiest Old Ads [del.icio.us]

I don’t know about creepiest, but these ads are pretty unsettling. Especially the last one.

Flunked: 14 Signs of a Deficient Intellect [del.icio.us]

It’s signs like these that make me worry about the future of humanity.

Internet Stars are Viral [del.icio.us]

I was surprised at how many people in this video I haven’t heard of.

The 27 Most Hilarious Album Covers Of All Time [del.icio.us]

Unintentionally funny, that is.

ShamWow! [del.icio.us]

You’ll say WOW every time! I honestly have no idea if this product is real or not.

Master’s Degree

Today’s Married to the Sea made me think of Mike. Sorry, Mike.

Great Expectations

With a title like that, you would expect this post to really deliver, right? Actually, that’s what this post is all about.

Morah and I watched two lousy movies over the weekend. We were disappointed by the first and enjoyed the second. So what movies were these? The first was License to Wed, and second was Knocked Up. We knew going into both of them that they would be cheesy, dopey comedies – the kind of movies I always say require you to, “turn off your brain and laugh.”

We knew going into each of them that they wouldn’t be anything special, but we expected the outcome to be the other way around – that is, we thought we would enjoy License to Wed and dislike Knocked Up. So what happened? Why the reversal of our expectations?

It turns out, expectation has everything to do with it. Because License to Wed has Robin Williams in it, I expected the movie to be better simply by virtue of his being in it. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Not only did I hate his character, I didn’t like the way he played it (or perhaps, was directed to play it). I’ve seen Robin Williams play serious-but-funny characters before, which is what I felt this character needed. Instead, we got a performance that reminded of the coked-out Robin Williams I saw on an HBO special from the mid ’80s.

Everything I had heard about Knocked Up was that it was a terrible movie with a few funny lines, so that’s what I expected. For the most part, that’s what it was, but there were more one-liners that I expected, and some of them were so funny, that by the inciting incident, I was enjoying the film. It was still a dopey movie, but it was a dopey movie that I found to be not completely awful.

As Barry Schwartz so aptly put it, the secret to happiness is to have low expectations. When we have high expectations, things tend not to live up to them. On the other hand, when we have low expectations, as soon as something proves itself to be mediocre, we’re already getting more from it than we thought we would, and that makes us happy.

Another case of failure to live up to expectations was when Morah and I went to lunch yesterday. We like to try out new restaurants, and we thought the Herbal Essence Cafe sounded pretty good. The name should have warned us. The décor was disjointed at best. A saltwater fish tank mixed with Asian-inspired table settings, all of which was accented by African masks. The music wasn’t any better. ’60s rock was followed by ’80s pop, and I gave up on listening when Who Let the Dogs Out came on. Seriously. In a café. If they had looked around, they might have noticed that the majority of their patrons were senior citizens, and perhaps someone would have switched the channel over to jazz or something.

All of that should have warned us, but a co-worker recommended the food. In particular, she recommended the chicken Gorgonzola wrap, which, although it isn’t in the name, also has bacon on it. I like chicken, Gorgonzola, and bacon, so that’s what I ordered. Morah ordered one of the specials: Seafood Crêpes. They were a “crab and shrimp mix rolled into two sweetened crêpes, laid in a bed of tomato basil sauce, topped with a garlic aioli sauce and served with a Caesar salad.” Sounds good, right?

The food arrived and was extremely disappointing. My wrap was okay, but the bacon was weak, and I could hardly taste the Gorgonzola (which, if you’ve ever eaten Gorgonzola, you’ll know is odd). There was also some kind of oily liquid that dripped all over my hands. It was pretty gross.

The real disaster was Morah’s meal, however. The crêpes seemed to be prepared by someone who knew what they were doing. I was particularly worried about the them, so when I saw that they were made properly, I was hopeful. Unfortunately, the crab and shrimp mix was a little too salty, and the tomato basil sauce was a train wreck. Seafood and crêpes are both very delicate and subtle foods. The tomato basil sauce tasted like barbecue sauce! It was strong and smoky; two things that the sauce definitely shouldn’t have been.

We pondered over whether or not to send it back, but I my lunch break was running short and Morah had already eaten almost 1 entire crepe. In the end, we simply decided never to eat there again.

In this instance, we wouldn’t have enjoyed the food, even if we would have expected something awful. The difference is that, before we went in, we had high hopes. Unfortunately, the higher the hopes, the longer the fall.

005 – ALLO: It’s Going to be a Big Year

Changing the masthead 2 weeks late was a lousy way to start, though.

Friday Funday CLXXXI

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

David Lynch on iPhone [del.icio.us]

If you’ve spent any time on the internet lately, you’ve probably already seen this, but if not, it’s worth watching. I laughed my ass off when I watched this, not only because he’s absolutely correct, but because he’s David Lynch. By the way, one trillion is a 1 with 12 zeros after it. To put that into a bit of perspective, 1,000,000 x 1,000,000 = 1,000,000,000,000. That’s a lot of years.

Planet of The Arabs [del.icio.us]

Western civilization has disliked the Arabs for a long time. This video is a humorous and somewhat sobering look at how Arabs are treated in Western cinema. From the video’s description: Out of 1,000 films that have Arab & Muslim characters from the year 1896 to 2000, 12 were positive depictions, 52 were even handed, and the rest of the 900 and so were negative.

The last three links share a theme: things that look like (or make you look like) other things.

The Top 25 Men Who Look Like Old Lesbians [del.icio.us]

There are guys on this list who I’ve long thought look like lesbians. Don’t just skim over the pictures; the captions are hilarious and often dead-on.

Cats That Look Like Hitler [del.icio.us]

It’s a bit of a stretch for some of these cats, but others are dead ringers for the Führer.

American Apparel Will Make You Look Like A Fat Hooker [del.icio.us]

I’ve always thought this to be true, and now jezebel.com has proven it. I’ve never liked American Apparel and I constantly wonder what the fuss is about.

JREF Million Dollar Challenge To End

For 10 years, the James Randi Educational Foundation has offered $1 million to anyone who can prove, under controlled, observable conditions, that they have supernatural abilities. Many people have tried to take the test and every one of them has failed.

James Randi has decided that, after 10 years, the test has proven its point: that no one in the world actually has supernatural abilities. It has been decided that making the money would better serve JREF if it were available for other projects.

Delusional Hopeful mystics still have time to apply, however. Although the end of the challenge has been announced, it won’t officially be over until 6 March 2010. Despite the fact that there are still 2 years left to apply, I doubt we’ll see anything that 10 years couldn’t provide. I think the reason for that is simple enough: no one has supernatural abilities.

New Masthead Must Wait

I know I promised that I would have a new masthead done over the weekend, and I did make one, but I don’t think it’s quite what I want, so I’m still trying to work out a better idea. If I can’t think of anything better by this weekend, then I’ll just post what I have.

Any ideas?

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