Friday, November 30, 2007

Animator vs. Animation

This is a cool thing by Alan Becker of

Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART

h/t Kem Meyer of Less Clutter & Noise

Too stupid to lean Left

I have been observing the fallout from the CNN-moderated Republican debate with great amusement. As it happened, I was able to watch most of the debate itself from the Atlanta airport where we were holed up for several hours on Monday evening. The debate was entertaining enough (Ron Paul is definitely the Republican's Dennis Kucinich, minus the UFO sightings and the child-bride), but it is funny to me what has happened since.

As you've probably heard, CNN didn't bother to check the backgrounds of any of the video question submitters and, lo and behold, roughly 1/3 of them have direct, current, and public ties to various Democratic party nominees and/or organizations. Heh.

There are a plethora of links available, but here is a quickie summary:

CNN is squirmining because their only choices in response are to say, in some form:

1) "We didn't know." Which is true and makes them look really stupid.
2) "Hey, that's not true!" Which is false and makes them look really, really stupid.
3) "Uhm, we don't think it matters." Which, if true, makes them look biased and really, really stupid.

And, while the story is being generously covered in a lot of other media outlets, CNN's own coverage of the controversy goes something like, "And now, to Wolf Blitzer covering that raging grass fire outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma...".

I may start watching Fox News again.

I stole this Perryhead from James Lileks. If he wants it back all he has to do is ask politely.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Japanese Road Music

From the BBC Music Magazine,
Nov. 11, 2007:

Japanese researchers have come up with a novel alternative to the car radio, with the invention of a musical road surface. ‘Melody roads’ have specially-placed grooves cut into the asphalt, which lead to musical notes being heard inside the car when it drives over them. By calculating the exact distances needed between grooves to give different notes, the Hokkaido Industrial Research Institute has worked out how to transform rumbling road noise into recognisable melodies. With each one lasting for around 30 seconds, melodies can be heard on three sections of road in northern Japan.

This quirky musical invention came about after a bulldozer driver accidentally scraped notches into a road, drove over them, and heard a series of notes. Engineers at the research institute in Sapporo acted on his discovery, creating several test roads in Japan. Large coloured notes painted onto the road warn drivers of the upcoming blast of music. 28mph is reported to be the optimum listening speed, with the tempos being affected by different driving speeds.

‘You need to keep the car windows closed to hear well,’ The Guardian reports one Japanese blogger as saying. ‘Driving too fast will sound like playing fast forward, while driving around 12mph has a slow-motion effect, making you almost car sick.'

I think that is so cool.

Lemmings and the Luftwaffe

Some friendly online political banter with a good buddy of mine who, inexplicably, manages to vote incorrectly in every possible election reminded me of one of my favorite computer video games from yesteryear.

Yes, it was Lemmings. Go check out the link...some very interesting trivia about game design and stuff.

Another game that I truly, truly loved in the early days of computer games was Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, from LucasArts. I used to get up an hour early in the morning so that I could play this game before making breakfast for the family and going to work. It was a multi-faceted and challenging flight simulator, basically, that enabled you to fight WWII's air war over Europe. My favorite fighter plane was the P-51 Mustang, very closely followed by the P-38 Lightning which could rain an unbelievable torrent of death and destruction on the Nazis. The most difficult was the B-17 Bomber. Spectacularly rendered, it actually let you toggle amongst the pilot seat, various gunner turrets, and the bombardier's station to conduct battle. Flying one of those deep into Germany, doing some damage, and then flying all the way across Europe to land back on British soil was no easy task, even in the virtual realm. It was a difficult game to win and highly addictive.

If I had either of these today, I would get nothing done, I'm sure.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Flurry of Activity

We have snow flurries this morning. It doesn't really seem cold enough, but it is certainly noteworthy, nonetheless.

I am working on a project today that is about to eat my lunch. I have to finish and FedEx a presentation in order to complete my qualification requirements as a "Certified Church Consultant". I've had the lengthy written test done for some time, but I have procrastinated on writing the thesis, knowing that it would be time-consuming and challenging.

Why do we do that? Well, I know some of us don't, but a lot of us do routinely put off difficult or unpleasant tasks until the very last minute. As if delaying the inevitable somehow makes it more, uhm...evitable. In fact, as all of us procrastinators know, this type of temporary denial of reality makes our lives not easier, but rather more stressful and unnecessarily frustrating.

And yet, here I am writing on my blog about procrastination instead of doing the work that needs to be done. I wonder how late FedEx is open...

UPDATE: It's nearly 5:30 EST. I may make it...I've got about another hour-and-a-half to finish, 30 minutes to spruce it up a little, and then high-tail it to the FedEx office. It could happen.

UPDATE: Yeah, I got it done. Dropped it off at FedEx at 7:50, a full 10 minutes before closing. Because I'm not one of those guys that waits until the last minute. Yeesh, how lame would that be?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We are winning the Anti-Anti-War War

I don't rant often, but I wrote a snarling bit of prose not long ago about how I hoped that Hollywood would shrivel up and die as a result of their despicable efforts to wring profit from the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not possible then and is still not possible for me to understate my complete disgust with the actors, actresses, producers, directors, writers, et al, who have made and released this year's batch of anti-American, anti-military movies.

This report and the accompanying comments, one of several such floating around in cyberspace, is based on box-office numbers, and bears out that most of the rest of America feels the same way.

Robert Redford, this guy wants to kick your treasonous ass to Texas and back.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Blog Are Pretty Smart...

...according to this:

cash advance

Get a Cash Advance

Actually, though, if my blog is communicating at the "College (undergrad)" level, what this probably means is that my blog is not really that smart, but it thinks it knows darn near everything. Oh, and please send money.

h/t to The PapaGolf Chronicles for this momentarily amusing amusement.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Rube Goldberg

More solid proof that mankind is not just another mammal. We are special.

This short video shows an amazingly creative bent and I think you will all be satisfactorily amused.

I have always loved this kind of thing. When I was a kid I used to make things like this, although certainly not on this level of genius and complexity.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Drive-by Blog Entry

Just checking in... some scattershot thoughts, notes, and activities.

First, it's freakin' winter here today. No snow, yet, but it is 25 degrees, counting the wind chill. And it is gusting at 40mph. Time to yank the A/C window units and actually do that weatherstripping project I've been thinking about for the last month.

My brother has a blog. It is in this cool community site that his church has launched. It is sort of like a Facebook-style social networking thing. When I get time, I'm going to learn more about it and see if it might work at our church, too. I jointed their community yesterday so that I could post snide comments and random jibes, and I really like the vibe and feel of it. Check him out and read about his self-diagnosed obsessive-compulsive approach to writing (or not-writing). Heh.

Today I am neck deep in putting together a training presentation on A/V systems for worship that I will be conducting at a local church this evening. I'm looking forward to it. I used to do this kind of thing a lot, some 10 years ago or so. Training volunteers in this area of ministry is very satisfying. It is a balance of 50% basic audio technical info and 50% relational servant/leadership info.

At church this past weekend, my son Jordan, with our worship team, led a song during the offertory called "The Blessing", by John Waller. The response of the congregation was astounding and inexplicable. He did do a great job, playing piano and singing, and it is an effective, powerful song, expertly arranged by our worship director. But the outpouring of emotion surprised us all. Jordan has played on our teams for years and is a very gifted musician, but this is the first time he sang the lead as a soloist. That was really the only difference this week and, still, that doesn't explain the weeping, the effusive affirmations, the hugs from strangers, the people calling us at 7:15 AM the next day just to tell us how moved they were by that song. Nancy, who works at our church, said staff and congregants alike were all still talking about it on Monday.

The funny thing is, JP actually didn't even know for sure that he was singing that song until last Friday, the day before the first service. Also, Nancy and I have always known he could sing and play, so we just assumed that he would give it his best shot and that he'd probably do well. He does have a knack for that. Sure, we were proud of him but, honestly, for us, it was kind of routine. As a family, that's kind of what we do and have always done...we go, we play and sing, we worship. And then we do it again next week.

But there was something different this time. The Kid was at the nexus of some kind of spiritual watershed event, I think. I don't have the answers, but I am intensely curious about what God is doing and what He is planning, both in the life of my son and in the life of our church.

I hope to have a video clip in a couple of days and, if I can figure out how, I'll post it.