Surreally Seducted: Damn You Salvador Dalí!

One monkey promoting the ceaseless propagation of useless crap on the internets since a long time ago.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Awesome

Bitch PhD took a lead from me and ran with it. Huzzah.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

That's One Crazy Pope

So... I know it's not right to kick a man while he's down, but my issues with Catholocism are reaching a head.

Number one: The pope 'kind of' compares abortion to the holocaust. Abortion. The holocaust. Not nearly equal. One has to do with the attempted, very efficient, mass-extermination of an ethnic group. The other has to do with a woman's choice (a very difficult one at that) to terminate a pregnancy for some reason. It's belittling to Jews. It's belittling to women. I've mentioned how the holocaust is compared to the Stalinist purges. The Pope put them together. That's fine. But don't compare abortion to the holocaust, or to Stalin's purges. Even from a completely removed standpoint, there are only one, two, three, or four people involved in an abortion (the woman, the man, the doctor, and, if you define a fetus as a 'person', the fetus). There were whole societies involved in the holocaust.

Number two: He called homosexuality a "new ideology of evil." Yeah... um... can i call catholocism an "old ideology of evil?" Listen, there's nothing evil about homosexuality. It may be a little odd for some, some might find it inconceivable (sometimes I do), but to call it evil? Why? Because Catholics say that sex is only for creation of progeny. And there is no sex in a homosexual relationship that can create a child. But is that evil? It'll send them to hell according to the Catholics. But to call it evil? I don't think God likes close minded people either.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Well Shit

I was going to write a post about the broadcast flag (yes, I know it's the EFF's page but it has the basic information as well) the FCC wants to force on the US, but then I read closely and realized the D.C. Circuit hasn't issued anything yet. For those of you unfamiliar about the broadcast flag, it's something that will be in hardware to prevent you from recording broadcasts of HDTV programs. Well, this is a bit of a problem if you want to time-shift (record) a program and watch it at a different time. Sure, the cableco's will have video on demand, but you still wouldn't be able to record your shows. I'm going to have to go back over the Betamax case, but we're headed for a very interesting situation. Or at least we were, until today. While they haven't issued a ruling yet, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has said that the FCC overstepped its bounds by issuing this demand. Ed Felten has some interesting posts regarding the broadcast flag, but when the ruling comes out (however it comes out) I'm gonna try and beat him to the punch in analyzing it. Why? Because I want to see if I can, and I want to see if what I say will mesh with what he says without me seeing what he has said first.

More detailed analysis would require looking into exactly what it is the FCC is chartered to do, and while this might be reinventing the wheel, it might be interesting to learn. So in the upcoming weeks, maybe I'll put more of this type of stuff up here, for the Tweedlefamily and Tweedlegirl to read (since few others do).

Like setting a bleeding fish free in shark invested waters...

I made dinner for myself tonight. Pasta with zuchinni and peppers and onions and tomato sauce. It was good. Except when I turned on the TV to watch some Law and Order. That's when I realized there was a slimeball on TV, and it wasn't Jack McCoy. A snaill had somehow made its way to the top of the TV and was leaving little slime trails all over the place. Not a small snail either. Its shell must have been as big as my thumb. Well, I finished dinner, used the pasta box as a trap, walked over to the door, and threw that fucker in the snow. I thought about the karmic implications, but you don't slime the TV and get away with it. Plus, it didn't fly here, so I think it knows how to make it in the snow.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The non-smell of progress

They are tearing down the broken brick buildings
To make room for shiny towers of glass
Forgetting all the memories that were made
And leaving leaving them in a pile of rubble
Between two facades reaching for the sky
And all the cobwebs and all the lessons
Struggle to keep the walls from crumbling

All the nostalgia of someone's childhood
In a cloud of dust comes rushing downwards
Propelled by the gravitational force of progress
The now homeless memories travel to some foreign land
With nothing to remember as home
As the bricks get carted away
Not one-by-one but as fast as possible until...

Nothing remains at all but the water pipe
That stretched to the third floor but now remains
To wash away the faint odor of the past
And to clear the way for a sterile non-smell
Until some eighty years down the line
When the neighbors stretch their limbs higher
And the stench of tomorrow will be what we make today
Then progress will get its due and be replaced
By progress's progress

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Serious Post on TV Copyrights

Last year while taking Ed Felten's Information Technology and the Law course, we discussed briefly the disappearance of the TiVo commercial remover. At the time, Fox's president (IIRC) said something to the effect that "it would infringe our copyright for you to get up during the commercials and go the bathroom; you'd be creating a derivative work." I didn't think of it at the time, but I would like to know why the commercials are considered part of the overall copyrighted show. Does Fox (or any other broadcaster for that matter) hold the copyrights to all of the commercials shown during their shows? I know they have the right to distribute that content, but do they have all the rights to that content, and the whole period of time during which the content is shown? Furthermore, once it is broadcast over public airwaves, don't I obtain certain rights (as though it were a book that I had bought?) that allow me to skip commercials? Furthermore, once it has been broadcast over public airwaves, why would it be illegal for me to download a copy from the internets(sic), if I had been watching something else at that time. I understand that that causes no revenue for whatever broadcaster, but neither does my not watching it at all.

In summary, does a broadcaster hold the copyright for the whole hour during which an hour-long television show is broadcast to the public, including the commercials?

I was walking in here digging

The horizon looks a lot cloudier from here. When I was young, everyone told me I would be king of my own world. I believed them. I didn't learn how to work, didn't learn how to focus (if I could have), didn't learn many things a normal student should have. I have forgotten how to ask the right questions. And while I do well for myself, I wonder where this path is leading. I will eventually have to go back to school. This I am sure of. But to what kind of school I am unsure. I need to gain traction somewhere. I need to keep on learning new things. I feel so far behind the curve right now; I want to get back to where I was well ahead of the curve, and then I went to get even farther ahead than I ever was. I want to achieve the greatness that everyone said I was destined for. But I don't want it to be preordained. I want to work for it.

Food

So far this weekend (including Friday) I've had:
1 Bagel
1 Yogurt
1 Can of Baked Beans

I'm on the flu-no-appetite diet. But I think I might go have something now.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

When all the angels and demons take their breaks

(So I've been sitting here with the flu (or the remnants thereof). I can't concentrate enough to read, but I'm not tired. I also have no appetite (haven't had food since a bagel at midnight, and not because of willpower). )

This is not a story of redemption. This is not a story of happiness. This story might be disturbing.

Light was slipping away. As he sat there in his car in the parking lot of the hospital, he thought of all the things that had gone wrong over the past two days.

She hadn't picked up the phone when he called, and 15 minutes later, she still hadn't. She hadn't been there when he got home, and didn't get home till 9 PM. She came in sobbing, with a black eye. He hadn't given it to her, and wasn't exactly sure what had happened. Had she been seeing someone else? His mind raced. It must have been someone from work. Maybe the burly manager. Or maybe it was the mailroom guy. That made him laugh. The guy was probably 18. Hadn't graduated from college, but someday (and he would never have been able to comprehend this), mailroom boy would become the head of the company. The mailroom guy was smart. He learned all the ins and outs of the operation, made relationships with the right people, and had great job security (you gotta fuck up pretty bad to get fired as the mailroom guy). So maybe she was seeing the mailroom guy.

The door had closed behind the boss. Interestingly, he was usually called in to the boss's office when there was a conversation that needed to be had. Definitely seemed out of the ordinary at the time, but now he understood it completely. He could not have been more blindsided. They were moving him. Demoting him. He'd have to pick up everything (the kids, the furniture) and haul them away to the god forsaken middle of nowhere. They'd live in a smaller house. Sure the commute would be shorter, but so would his corporate ladder. There was nothing that could save him. He was offered the chance to resign, but who would hire a 60 year old? They'd all assume he only had a few years of work left, and that he wouldn't be able to handle the stress (it would turn out he wasn't). And how could he explain leaving the company where he had spent his whole career? It was a lose-lose proposition. If it hadn't been for the kids, he could have retired. But there were all the expenses. College, weddings, honeymoons. They couldn't afford all of that on his wife's salary. He couldn't move them, and he couldn't afford to retire. The boss was still standing there.

Staring catatonically at the red lights in front of him, he inched his way forward. The line squiggled on for what seemed like forever, as if some kid had taken a red marker and tried to draw a line connecting New York to San Francisco and all points inbetween. There was nowhere to go. He pulled off the road into another parking lot.

A strip mall this time. He made a small nick in his palm to make sure he was still alive, and the blood escaped down his finger onto the white lines of the parking lot. Another red splotch on the map of his life. Where was his God now? What kind of life was this that was given to him? He screamed out into the dusk. A few turned, saw a man in a suit screaming, and just continued on their way, as if this was a completely normal occurrence in their lives. But it was a primal scream, not a scream for help. A scream at the frustration with the human condition, the utter futility of life, and only someone who had experienced this sort of utter hopelessness could comprehend his cry. He could tell himself that tomorrow was another day. He could even fake that he believed it. But every conversation, every action, every muscle and nerve in his body, betrayed to him that for a long time tomorrow would be the same as tomorrow's yesterday. Someday things might change, but not today.

Uglification

You may have noticed some uglification since you last visited Cereally Seducted. I know it is ugly. Therefore, I am not style-less, but rather, anti-stylish. I will change these things from time to time. But with all its ugly glory, Cereally Seducted will now hopefully be updated more often, and slightly easier to read.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Dear Flu,

fuck off and die.

Tweedledopey

Tell me all your thoughts on God

My fever is breaking. While I'm awake. Whcih means I can't go to sleep, because I am just too damn hot.

So, a few days ago I talked about the Jesus freaks, and TG commented on how she didn't have any conviction strong enough to do that for. Nor do I, but it got me thinking along a different vein.

Does any sane person believe that if you aren't Christian, haven't accepted Christ, etc. (or any religious variation thereof) that you can't go to heaven (this question assumes that we believe in heaven in the first place)? Is God really that vengeful? Could an atheist who spends all his time helping the less fortunate get sent to Hell simply because he didn't believe in God? Seems like God would have to be mighty childish. A friend of mine works for a non-profit with Christian roots. We were discussing how it didn't seem right to base assisting someone based on whether or not they will change their convictions to be more in line with yours.

The same goes for governments. Governments in the past were simply offshoots of religion manifested in the public sector. But how can we say that there cannot be a good communist country? We have installed "benevolent" dictators in the past, so how can we promote democracy around the world when all we really want is for everyone to be our subservients or allies? Maybe there are some places where at this point in time communism would be better for the people.

Post losing steam... going to try and sleep again...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Go on, be a Tiger

I was his Tiger. Not champ, not kid, but Tiger. Of all the things I remember about him, this sticks out the most. When he died, I realized I was no longer going to hear myself called Tiger. That's when I started crying. It had nothing to do with him dying. I had even asked the prerequisite child questions about death. Had he been sleeping? Had he vomited? Had he felt any pain? Everyone else was quite upset. For myself, I didn't really think about the whole thing for 5 minutes. What else do I remember? He always had a pound of M&M's when he visited. We would play M&M baseball. We didn't visit him all that much, but when we did I remember going to a shack to look at his train set. The train set still exists, in pieces, broken, in the garage. We tried to set it up when we got it, but it was in a state of disrepair. But just to look at it reminded me of the man who called me Tiger.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Til Your Shadows Set You Free

"A man could use his back or use his brain
But some just went stir-crazy lord
Cause nothing ever changed"

Shorter Bill Simmons: "I am a giant asshat."

The funny thing is that after the Super Bowl, I spoke to a member of the NFL, who echoed sentiments that could be heard from Jim Steeg and Paul Tagliabue. This man said that it's time we stop pampering sports writers. These are people who have the very simple job of writing about how tough their job is, and they are complaining that they got stuck in traffic trying to drive less than a mile. They could walk, they could do what normal people do, but then, that would be too easy and too far below their status as sports reporters. I think the NFL should do something similar to the Jacksonville experience every other year. Take the Super Bowl to a small market location. Carolina, Tennessee, Seattle (ok, so the rain might stop that). First, the sports guys will either have to put up with it, or quit (which wouldn't be so bad). Second, I felt like this weekend was really about the common fan. Not the corporations. Yes, the NFL has to make their sponsors happy, but do they need to do that every year?

Jesus Freaks on the Side of the Road

By far the oddest thing this weekend was the man on the side of the road with a bullhorn. "There is one thing certain in this life," said he, "and your time is running out. We're all going to die, and you don't want to be a sinner when that happens." You've got to give the man a hand. He couldn't have picked a worse crowd to try and convert. Ok, he could have gone to Mardi Gras, but that's actually about religion, right? This was a street festival, where the beer flowed like wine (and where wine cooler was on sale for $5). There were more shards of broken beer bottles than there are people in the world, and this man, among others, was trying to convert people with his big sign and his amplified voice. As we walked back, he said something about how homosexuals were demons, and I lost all the respect (none) that I had for him.
There was another one, disciple in tow, carrying only a sign. When asked what his deal was, he said he wasn't of any religion, but that "I follow Jesus Christ." I have nothing wrong with that; I wouldn't have the balls to do it, but at the same time, why are you trying to convert people at a street festival at 2am. At least freak #1 did his work at 4 in the afternoon.
Amazingly, this was the first time I had seen sign holding Jesus Freaks in the deep south. I thought it was something that was reserved for the big cities, and for the Big Easy. Apparently I was wrong. I wonder how many souls they savedlast weekend, and whether anyone who they saved stayed saved for more than the 30 seconds.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

On a Bad Night...

I had a bad night the night before. I called you and scared you, and I don't want to ever hurt you. I wish I had brought you with me, so I could see your smile and laugh with you at all the crazy people. Instead, I hit the open bar over and over again; tripping on my feet when someone touched me. I apologized way too much, and then scared the dickens out of you. I'm afraid to hear your messages; to hear how frightened you were. There were so many crazy people last night, and for once I could look back on my own and laugh; but the laughter was somewhere in the range from shallow to canned.

I want you you you, all I want is you.