Wednesday, June 29
Geez, that Ron Moore is seriously slacking on his blog about Battlestar Galactica. No updates since April. Hopefully that means the show's going to be really good. :-D
Anyway, scifi blogging update. TVBarn.com was linking to a new press release pimping executive producer David Eick's video blog and has some stats.
- Series premiere "33" has been viewed more than 100,000 times online, legally.
- Moore's podcasts have been downloaded more than 150,000 times
- Moore's blog has had 347,000 visitors for a total of almost 1.5 million visits
Oh and Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part II will be streaming on SciFi.com ahead of the season 2 premiere on July 15. BSG returns to the broadcast network airwaves in just over a week with three episodes airing on NBC on Saturday, July 9. Episodes include the action-packed Hand of God as well as the two-part season finale Kobol's Last Gleaming. These will be in HD where available.
Lots-o-stuff in that press release. Frak yeah!
Thursday, June 23
Once again, the anti-flag burning amendment has passed the U.S. House with a required two-thirds vote. After six previous failed attempts in the Senate, there's the possiblity that the amendment might actually pass this time. If it gets Congressional approval, it goes to the states for approval.
And yet again, I'm puzzled as to what this amendment might actually achieve. That politicians love the American flag? Check. That's pretty obvious.
Is solving flag-desecration a burning issue (sorry for the pun)? Statistics for years have shown most people don't consider flag-burning to be a pressing issue especially when weighed against the First Amendment right to free speech. This amendment does gag free speech -- by only allowing the positive use of the flag as a symbol.
Of course, the proposed amendment gives Congress the ability to draw up rules regarding how Old Glory will be treated. I've always been intrigued how far these restrictions would go.
Let's say they make it illegal to burn a flag. What about a photo of the flag? What about a photo of a photo of a flag? A crudely drawn description of the flag? What about a flag that has only 12 stripes? It's not the American flag ? which has 13 stripes. (BTW, the flag at the top of this post is a 12-striped flag. Please feel free to download and use as you see fit). I call it "Not-the-American Flag" (tm).
When you get down to it, no matter how hard they try to pass these rules, there's going to be serious challenges to enforcing them. Although they're trying to regulate a symbol, people wishing to express themselves through the use of the symbol will find other symbols to use.
The scary thing is -- If people are willing to place restrictions on how we express ourselves with a symbol, would they be willing to place restrictions on how we use a symbol of a symbol? Where does it end?
I poised these questions to my Congressman around 2000, the currently embattled Randy "Duke" Cunningham (who is the amendment's primary sponsor). Sadly, I didn't hear back from the representative or his staff.
Interestingly, President George Bush was photographed during last year's election placing his signature on American flags for the Republican faithful. Surely that would be desecration of the flag, right? After all, what's good for the rabblerousers is surely good for the president, right?
Monday, June 13
I thought I'd let you know that the BBC
is releasing all of Beethoven's symphonies for download as mp3 files.
They're brand spanking-new performances by the BBC Philharmonic performed live on BBC Radio 3. For a week after each performance, they'll be available to download.
The thing is they're only going to be up for a limited time. Already Symphonies 1 and 3 are gone and 2, 4 and 5 will be taken down by late tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. The other four symphonies will be performed live over BBC Radio 3 and then put online later this month.
So I'm sure you can get classical performances elsewhere, but this sounds like a really neat endeavor. I'll probably find Symphonies 1 and 3 somewhere else.
-- From an e-mail I sent to pepband-chat.
Is it time to test my driving skills when I'm hampered by glare from the sun? Driving home, two young men decide to cross against the signal at Ninth Street and Main -- right in front of me. I slow down, but the glare made it really hard to see where they were.
And then, on the same block, someone turning their vehicle onto the organic market parking lot decides to head my direction -- on a one-way street. I brake, because I had no idea what this person was doing. I just shake my head at these infrequent driving hazards.
Once I get home, I decide enough is enough. The glare is pretty bad in part because my windshield wipers were worn. I swapped them out in five minutes and hopefully my drive home later this week will be more pleasant.
Sunday, June 12
I think I figured out what was making my Google rank drop. I had changed the way the archive pages are linked. I started using a pull-down menu instead of straight links. As a result, the pages weren't getting linked at Google and my ranking apparently dropped as those linked pages expired from Google's cache.
I changed it back to straight links primarily so Google can index my pages (thus making that search box on the right side of this blog ever so more useful). It's nice that I'm back to number two, but I guess this also shows how insubstantial that ranking is.
BTW, I swear this is the last time I'll talk about my Google ranking. Well, for a while at least. ;-)
I was quite fortunate to score a pair of tickets to the sold-out Chico Microbrew Fest on Saturday. That was a boon to be around the office Friday night -- being new to the area, I didn't realize that the event sells out.
There were 35 breweries and a winery there. There were the "greats" including Sierra Nevada, Stone, Gordon Bierch. There were some local brewmasters there that I didn't know existed. A ton of food was on hand for sampling too. All for the price of a $30 ticket that I got gratis (I gave the other ticket to a co-worker to give to a friend).
It was nice sampling all the different beers (I made it to about 17 of the total 36). I definitely liked the reds and pilsners that were being offered. I definitely enjoyed the pear cider from Fox Barrel.
I paced myself through the afternoon, taking a break for food or diet cola after every four or five samples. In the end, it worked out and I cruised to the bowling alley knock down some pins.
During the clean-up drawing to give away the prizes that hadn't been picked up, I heard my number being called for the ultimate prize -- 3-day use of a dumpster from Waste Management. Woot!
Well, all the event proceeds go to the Soroptimists so it's a worthy cause.
I don't actively seek out anime programs to watch, but [adult swim] has a funny way of introducing me to new shows. After I get my fill of animated absurdity from their comedy block, there's always some weird anime show. That's how I got hooked on the Big O and now I find myself attracted to the mystery of Paranoia Agent.
I'm not a huge anime fan, so I can't impress you with trivia about how this show is from the guy who did this other supposedly great series or whatever. Further, this show doesn't have big robots or big-eyed children running around with swords. Paranoia Agent is a deliciously twisted take on people's insecurities and fears and the extents that people go to resolve their conflicts. The show's presentation is mostly realistic but there are out-of-sync elements.
The premise of the story is that there's a mysterious young man on gold in-line skates that goes around bashing people in the head with a golden bat. The thing is, while the attacks are brutal, most of the victims are somewhat relieved by their encounter with the boy, known as "Li'l Slugger."
While that in itself may seem weird, there are two detectives who are running around trying to catch Li'l Slugger and find a connection between the attacks. Each episode so far is a standalone take on one of the character's issues and how they're resolved. There are some things connecting everything together -- the detectives and Lil Slugger for starters. Additionally, there's some mysterious old infirm guy (who I think is the real Li'l Slugger) and some weird purple puppet named Marumi which somehow seems connected to it all.
The thing that brought me into this show was the main credits -- everyone is laughing through a series of shots of weird settings while some insidious J-pop anthem plays in the background. Why are they laughing? Why are they standing on a table, in a ruined building, on a mountain top or on a microwave tower with a mushroom cloud in the background?
There's so many little mysteries about the show that I just wait to see how they unfold.
Paranoia Agent airs Saturday nights at midnight and 3 a.m. on [adult swim]
Monday, June 6
At 10:28 a.m., the next phase of Macintosh development officially began -- toward Intel-based systems. Steve Jobs made his announcment this morning at Apple's WorldWide Developers Conference in San Francisco.
Two more years of PowerPC and then we've got Intel-inside. Still don't know if Intel's going to be creating a unique chip for Apple or if Apple is going to use the x86 architecture. The later sounds most likely given Jobs' unsurprising admission that Mac OS X development has been on both PowerPC and x86 for years.
I'm kinda concerned about what's going to happen next. I know it's silly, but when I think of Intel-based computers, I think of beige boxes or clunky hardware designs. Hopefully, Apple will retain its design crown as we move forward.
Yeah, I'm mixing a lot of different analogies with my headline, but today may be the moment of truth for Apple. There's been a ton of speculation that Apple may announce that it's getting into bed with Intel. This MacNN article sums things up.
For me, it's possible for the newest Macs to come with the "Intel Inside" badge. Apple's done a lot of unexpected things over the years, some of it good and some downright debacles (like not allowing clones, and then allowing clones when it was too late). I, like many other commentators, don't see what strong advantages switching to Intel has to offer -- especially if switching to the Pentium-line puts the Mac OS X in direct competition against Microsoft Windows. There may be some cost or development advantages, but is it worth eliminating the relatively closed hardware environment of the Mac?
I don't know. We may have some answers in a few hours.
Saturday, June 4
Visited the Visited States Web site. It's a pretty interesting way of graphically listing all the places I've visited. Don't let the map fool you though -- I've only driven through a lot of those states. Still, I'm impressed that I've managed to touch 40 states (gosh, I've been to 22 of them in the past year too). And Ontario.
create your own visited states map
Notice anything missing? Yeah, the Keweenaw Peninsula is missing ... again. I'm perplexed about how I look at two maps today (this and the Weather Service site) the Keweenaw is missing from _both_ maps. Me thinks I've finally got a project to go into my "Other" section.