Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Not-so-Apple-script

February 28, 2007

Neato way to replace Applescript with Ruby.

read more | digg story

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Nerdiness Ensues

February 13, 2004

My adolescence was shaped profoundly by rap. I listened to Public Enemy, Geto Boys, NWA, Young MC, EPMD, Sir Mixalot, KRS-ONE, the Beastie Boys, and probably a dozen other rappers from about the age of 12 until I was 17. My adoption of Objectivism, my pursuit of intellectual endeavors, and my love of music were all influenced by the gangster and hardcore rap I pumped into my brain. Granted, much of the good stuff in my life was a reaction to the disgusting nature of the lyrics and the love of music leans heavily towards rhythm and speed. Influences are what they are.

Happily, I’ve lately come across a few intellectual rappers that have impressed me considerably. One of them, MC Frontalot, even calls his style “nerdcore hip-hop,” an appellation with which I completely agree and in which I delight. So this entry is about these nerdcore rappers and some of the choice discoveries I’ve found.

  1. MC Frontalot: He’s definitely the best of the bunch. While there’s a couple of his songs that I don’t like, the vast majority are clever, witty, and geeky. Oh, and unabashedly so!
    • Message No. 419: This is probably my favorite of his many works. It’s a rap about those annoying Nigerian scam spams that everyone gets dozens of every week. Favorite line (easily): She’s the LADY MARYAM ABACHA, deposed./These days can’t even get her caps-lock key unfroze
    • Floating Bridge: This rap is a riff off of a PBS special about bridges and features probably the only use of the word “cantilever” in a rap song ever. Favorite line: now I’m stacking little floaters and I’m banding them together,/I could travel in this manner over water to wherever
    • Yellow Lasers: It’s took me something like fifteen listenings before I realized the plot of this song fully. I’ll share it with you so you can appreciate its oddity and cleverness. Girl goes to a Star Wars convention and announces that she wants to make love to someone. Everyone’s agape and Frontalot steps up to the plate. They ascend to her hotel room. Frontalot is shackled, lady gets nude. She positions herself over his face and lets loose a golden shower, the figurative yellow laser beam. Frontalot’s not “overjoyed” as you can imagine. Okay, gross, but that’s a story that you wouldn’t think could be made into a kick-ass song—and you’d be wrong. Favorite lines: she was looking for love?/had to call her bluff, lady you don’t mean how that sounded/(the thousand-pound dude in the ‘no fat chicks’ shirt’s astounded)
    • Which MC Was That: Here Frontalot pays lip service to the traditional hip-hop dissing of other MCs except that he disses non-existent MCs. I envy his wordcraft and geekiness. Favorite lines (for their geekery): and whoever guessed closest wins a nine-sided die/and a gift certificate to fry’s/yo the moniker is MC Frontalot/I got a +1 bag of nerdcore hiphop/and my mail list busted a hundred so I’m famous
    • Indier Than Thou: Frontalot, self-declared as the “world’s 579th-greatest rapper,” skewers hipsters and the indie cult. My favorite slice is when he opens a fan letter and is worried that he might be popular, but is relieved when it turns out to be hate mail. Interesting line: hipsterism is a religion to which you gotta be devout/must be seen as in between unpopular and hated/or else get excommunicated
  2. Tom Chi and Kevin Cheng: These cartoonists made a rap about usability called “We Got It” that is seriously geeky. It could only be geekier if it involved code.
  3. MC Hawking: Imagine the wheelchair-bound astrophysicist Stephen Hawking re-conceived as a gangster rapper and you’ve got MC Hawking. He’s at his funkiest with “What We Need More Of Is Science” but there are some other funny ones like “All My Shootings Be Drive-Bys” and the fact that his CDs are entitled A Brief History of Rhyme and E=MC Hawking. Priceless.
  4. MC:NP: He’s so far released only one single, “Algorithm of Love,” but it’s a good portent.
  5. Honorable mention goes to “Weird Al” Yankovic and his parody of Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins” entitled “It’s All About the Pentiums”, an incredible piece of wordcraft that I would love to think started the whole nerdcore rap scene.

I don’t normally enjoy forwarded

February 6, 2004

I don’t normally enjoy forwarded emails or humor-cloaked misandry, but the list below did highlight some of the differences between men and women:

  1. What do you expect from such simple creatures!?
  2. Your last name stays put.
  3. The garage is all yours.
  4. Wedding plans take care of themselves.
  5. Chocolate is just another snack.
  6. You can be president.
  7. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  8. You can wear NO T-shirt to a water park.
  9. Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  10. The world is your urinal.
  11. You never have to drive to another gas station because “this one’s just too icky.”
  12. You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  13. Same work, more pay.
  14. Wrinkles add character.
  15. Wedding dress – $5000; tux rental – $100.
  16. People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
  17. The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
  18. New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  19. One mood, ALL the time.
  20. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  21. You know stuff about tanks.
  22. A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
  23. You can open all your own jars.
  24. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  25. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  26. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
  27. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough. (one black pair two sports pair)
  28. You almost never have strap problems in public.
  29. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  30. Everything on your face stays its original color.
  31. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
  32. You only have to shave your face and neck.
  33. You can play with toys all your life.
  34. Your belly usually hides your big hips.
  35. One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
  36. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
  37. You can “do” your nails with a pocket knife.
  38. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
  39. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 45 minutes.

Okay, so it’s pretty stereotypical but there’s a lot of truth in there. Well, it made me chuckle at least.

Where I’ve Been

February 2, 2004

Since everyone’s been doing it lately, here’s the places I’ve been (in red):
If you think that Alabama was an aberration, you’d be right. I “visited” there when I was about 12 to attend Space Camp. I’ve also “visited” Washington and Atlanta in the sense that I’ve been in their airports.

Apple’s Market Share

January 31, 2004

This month’s MacWorld contains a tribute to the Macintosh for its twentieth anniversary and I found a fantastic quote from Roger Ebert with a unique perspective on Apple’s low market share:

Apple’s market share does provide us with an accurate reading of the percentage of reasonable people in our society.

GM Goodness

January 28, 2004

This is so innovative and amazing. Stuff it, genetic engineering bashers!

Amazon Referral Fees Update

January 28, 2004

Thanks to all of you who ordered stuff that I recommended using my Amazon Associates ID! I just got my quarterly report and it was a gangbuster quarter:

  • Total Purchases: $88.17
  • Total Referral Fees: $7.81

Add all of this to my previous to-date fees and I’ve broken the $10 mark!! Only $89.93 to go before I’ll get a check. Hot damn!

Orkut: It’s Not the Risk Country You Could Never Pronounce

January 24, 2004

Google has recently launched its Friendster-killer, Orkut. It’s very similar to Friendster except that it’s invitation-only, lightweight, and not crashy. There has been quite a furor over its elitism, but I got invited.

It looks like a really neat service. If you weren’t invited and you would like to be, drop me a line and I’ll invite you if I know you.

Political Re-Education, American Style

January 21, 2004

Under Communism, political re-education meant torture and brainwashing. In America, it meant Hayek and consumer goods. The contrast is delicious.

Squaw Peak Soon?

January 21, 2004

Apparently, the state legislature is just as unhappy about the political renaming of Squaw Peak as many residents are. They’re working on enacting a law that insulates the state naming board from gubernatorial meddling and that should result in the re-renaming of Piestewa Peak back to Squaw Peak.

For those of you unfamiliar with the controversy (and who don’t feel like clicking on the previous links), our glorious governor, Janet Napolitano, tried to make some political hay out of the death of Private Lori Piestewa in Iraq by renaming a prominent Phoenix mountain and nearby freeway after her. The mountain in question has come under fire repeatedly in the last decade because Indians (or the AIM activists and graduate students among them) found the term “squaw” offensive. This contention is poppycock, of course, and serves to whip people into a frenzy of righteous indignation and (presumably) donation.

The death of Lori Piestewa is unfortunate. I lament the loss of a mother and soldier. Piestewa was in the same Army group as Jessica Lynch and was one of those killed in an ambush. She should definitely be memorialized in an Iraq War monument or at the monument that stands in front of the Arizona capitol building with the names of Arizona war dead. To name an entire mountain and freeway after her in a city that is as far removed from the Indian reservation on which she lived as can be is unfathomable.

There are rules about naming mountains designed to prevent such political machinations by preventing the naming of them until five years after the person’s death. That seems like a reasonable rule to me. Napolitano strong-armed members of the board into sidestepping that rule and generally threw her weight around in a most clumsy manner—though perfectly fitting with Arizona’s gubernatorial history.

I am not racist. If the mountain’s name were truly offensive, then I think it would be fine to rename it. There are many examples of natural landmarks with the word “nigger” in their names and they have been renamed. Squaw is not offensive, except in a very manufactured sense. Let the name stand and move on to the business of balancing the state budget (or even reducing it, can you imagine!).