May 31, 2007

Babysitting or Else

Alright... I know this is going to offend someone... too bad. This video is a perfect testament to why parents should keep an eye on their children, especially when out in public. In fact, I think this ought to be mandatory watching for new mommies. Incidentally, I find it freaking hillarious... but that's just me.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 08:41 AM | TrackBack

May 24, 2007

Ideal Locales

Since Jared seems to have a burr in his ass about my criticisms of his ideal locations to erect a domicile, I figured I would come up with a vague list of criterion for good places for the SC to move to. As always, I would encourage all takers to hop in and advocate their favorite points and maybe we can all agree to move somewhere... or something.


I think that we can all agree that we want to end up in an area rich with culture and with access to the finer things in life. And while that doesn't necessitate living within a large city, it does necessitate living at least within striking distance of a large city... and speaking from practical experience in Longview, 2 hours, while workable, is probably further than is profitable... so let's say 1 hour from a major (at least 1 million people) city. It should be noted that, for the time being, I'm reserving judgments on individual cities... with the exception of Cleveland and Newark. Cleveland sucks and yet is heaven by comparison to Newark. Beyond that though, we'll have to come up with some way of discussing the cultural merits of the city of choice.

Level of Freedom

While there is a certain correlation to freedoms accorded to those who live in a state where police activity and federal authority are severely curtailed, I'm afraid that there are members of the SC who don't want to go turning our social organization into a drug cartel... much more's the pity, but there it is. That said, while a certain level of anarchy is charming, we're going to want to end up in a place where the police presence is available and reassuring, but not overbearing. And yes, Wheeler, while London is a wonderful place on a lot of levels, I'm not such a big fan of the Orwellian schtick that they've been playing to in the last 10 years. This includes thousands of monitored cameras in London alone, tracking all vehicle traffick in and out of London, the acquisition of flying spy drones, and God only knows what else... sorry, just say no to totalitarian levels of police monitoring.


To limit ourselves to areas of the world that only speak English would be foolish, insular, and downright detrimental. I mean, after all, if we can't have the option of leaving the US for other places, that would be terrible. At the same time, ending up in an area where five languages are spoken and none of them English would leave us rather high and dry. Thus, while ending up somewhere like Spain where English isn't the primary means of communication would be less than ideal for some of our members, there is enough English spoken for even the meanest gringo to get by initially, and I would expect that the same is true for many of our more ideal destinations.


And lastly, where would we be without stability: both financial and governmental. To put a point on it, governmental coups suck... as do financial crashes. Thus, I refuse to put my ass in harm's way in a country where the economy and the government aren't at least moderately stable. While I'm not demanding exclusively First-World destinations, I am probably excluding (between this and other conditions) most Third-World locations by this demand. And yes, while I'm very sad that I'll probably never get to live in the Sahara as a result of this, I value my bullet-free self a bit more than a nice safari. Ah well... such are the sacrifices we make.

What Now?

Where does this leave us? Well, I would like to think that there are a number of candidates in Europe, North America, and the Tropics that are fair game. There might be a location or two in the countries of South America (read: Brazil and Argentina) and maybe some outliers like Qatar and a couple in East Asia... but for the most part, we ARE talking about First-World Western locations, at least as I read it.

That said, while I may be the most vocal member of the Council, I wouldn't presume to speak for all of it. So I'd love to hear additional considerations and pleadings... but please, leave individual cities out of this for now unless they're so unique that they bear special consideration on their own merits.

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May 23, 2007


I have had an irrational fear of needles for as far back as I can recall. This fear is due, in no small part, to my harassment at the hands of my father and brothers. My earliest recollection of this fear was when I was approaching my 5th birthday and being informed that I would have to get a DPT Booster shot... which my father overdramatized, largely due to his own phobia. My 10th birthday was greeted with a wonderful ditty that I believe either one of my brothers fabricated and all three used to mock me from time to time "Ten.. ten... booster shot again." Now, it sounds silly, but taking an individual with a deathly fear of needles and adding insult to injury is how we develop psychoses... or something like that.

Now, as most of you are aware, about two months ago, I was diagnosed as a diabetic. As of about 6 weeks ago, I started sticking myself with a lancet between 1 and 4 times a day to ascertain my blood sugar so as to make sure that I was within the proscribed limits. As I did this again today and milked the hell out of one of my fingers, I realized that the process really didn't bug me anymore... which is a stark contrast from the near-panic that hit me on the fateful day that my sacred life fluid was tapped and stolen to confirm that my blood sugar was over 500 (mg/dL).

And then, as I was reading about the inane decision on the part of the FDA to refuse gay men the option of donating blood, I said to myself... "You know.. I think I could stomach that." Yes, this is the same guy who dragged his wife (then-girlfriend) with him to get a tetanus shot due to the pure terror it struck in his heart. You know what the best part of all of this is (in terms of irony)? For probably the next year, I'm ineligible to donate due to the impetus of my changed perspective: diabetes... until my doctor says I'm properly in treatment, anyways.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:59 PM | TrackBack

May 18, 2007

Movies and Numbers?

This ought to be fun for the resident film buffs as well as the number nerds. Not to mention those of us who love classic film clips mixed up in unusual ways. The challenge for all of you movie buffs is to bust out a piece of paper (or notepad, in my case) and see how many you can identify in one run through. My personal score is 43... which I'm kinda kicking myself over now that I've checked the list and re-watched it.

And before you go to the cheat-sheet, see how many of those movies you can identify. Oh... cheat sheet link is below the cut to encourage you to exercise your minds first for big cheaters like Anna.

The promised cheat-sheet.

I personally missed a coulple of glaring stand-outs like Spinal Tap, The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Among movies that I've only seen once that I missed are Fargo, 12 Angry Men, North by Northwest, and On the Waterfront. I'd just as soon not admit to having ever seen Night of the Living Dead.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 03:51 PM | TrackBack

May 13, 2007

The Hate of Moving

I hate moving. This is a self-realization that I stumbled upon in the 4th grade as I tearfully departed from the only home I had ever really known and loved for the great unknown of New York. This loathing for the process was rekindled upon my return to Cincinnati and then actualized and enshrined in my heart sometime during the nearly two dozen moves I either made myself or partook of during my 4-year stint at LeTourneau.
While I am not a small or feeble man, it should be noted that I've never been a big fan of unnecessary physical exertion. To make matters more unpleasant, I am something of a pack rat and a disorganized slob. These things tend to come together to take moving experiences from the normal loathesome to uncharted depths of "pain in the hind end"... but the simple fact of the matter is, no matter how much of a minimalist any of my friends are, packing up all of their worldly goods into boxes and lugging them from one place to another is just a generally unfulfulling experience.
To paraphrase Chris Rock, however, let's think of the positive side of moving, all of the good things that have been brought into our lives because of moving. In my case, I believe that includes just about every piece of furniture I have ever owned, less a bed and some shelves: I have them because someone else was moving and either didn't have room for the furniture at their new place or simply didn't feel that the furniture in question was worth the labor/expense of moving and would be better replaced than moved. So while my friends, family and self should stop moving, anyone who doesn't want my help or whants to pay me copious sums of money to help them moving should feel free to scurry from place to place like a confused hermit crab.
For those who are curious as to what brought this on: my arms are sore, my hands are blistered, my feet ache and my back is sending the distress signals that could only mean that I must have helped someone move yesterday. And while I'm sure that I owed them for their help moving me into my current digs, I consider the debt more than repaid. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'll be venting the angst and pain from yesterday's experience by writing up a "preparations that you'd best make for moving if you want the Cynic to help and not break your arms."

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 10:23 PM | TrackBack

May 11, 2007

The Heavens Ordain

So it would seem that I am predestined to return to blogging this week, as there are news stories hitting which I simply couldn't conceive of ignoring. The stars have aligned, and the skies have given forth madness. Behold the works of fate and the madness of man:

You're Illegally Not Using Our Product!

Now this is a little bit complicated, so bear with me. When you transmit music or video over the internet in real-time, you use something called a data stream so that people can watch it as it "streams in"... many of you have probably heard of "streaming technology" before. One of the down-sides of this is that, with the correct technology, it's fairly trivial to rip copy protection off of streamed content unless it's encrypted. Of course, the difficulty of getting this software and using it prevents most people from doing that, but it is possible.

Now, this is where Media Rights Technologies comes in. According to them, because their software can be used to encrypt these data streams and people aren't using it, those people aren't doing everything they can to stop copyright infringement and are thus in violation of the DMCA, and MRTA is suing these companies to get them to comply... by buying MRTA's software. The part where this gets really fun is that some of the companies that MRTA is planning to sue include CNN and NPR, who own almost all, if not all of the content they distribute. That's right, MRTA is going to sue these companies for not protecting their own content with MRTA's software.

Showdown at the Pops

In between the first notes of a medley from "Gigi" and the performance by Ben Folds, the unannounced percussion of thrown chairs eminated from an upper balcony at Boston's Symphony Hall, home of the Boston Pops. Conductor Keith Lockhart stopped the performance and the audience looked on as two men brawled, ripping shirts and crashing into chairs as a crowd looked on. Eventually, security made it to the brawling men, they were removed and the concert resumed. No word yet on the response of the performers or of the fate of the nutjobs, who apparently started fighting when one asked the other to quiet down.

Beaver 2.0

And from the far reaches of the high culture, we return to Geek Nirvana, where taxidermy has met with the more modern scientists. Because apparently, bored taxidermist + computer modder + dead beaver = BEAVER WITH A COMPUTER INSIDE. Just wow... really. The only thing crazier than that would be a baby going head-to-head...

Beyond Bizarre

Words fail me... really.

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 11:15 AM | TrackBack

May 09, 2007

Alone in Longview

So... graduation has come and gone. As my wife noted this morning, it's been a week and change since we've actually just spent a night in the house, just the two of us. Not that I'm complaining, mind you... but it does kind of put a damper on my blogging. Not that I really needed help in that respect, but you know how it goes. I'll post some more warped links and transpose an essay from a crinkled up old bulletin and hopefully you'll forgive me. That's how we do these things, right?

Anyways, Randy is in New York, Barbour and Sharpton are at their respective homes in Missouri, Martinez has returned to California, Paige is back in Boerne, Rebecca is back in California for the summer, Gallagher has returned to BFE Nowhere (Greenville), and, until Randy gets back from his little trip to NY (screw you and your pictures that keep showing up in my inbox, Randy) it's just the Wheelers and us in Longview. Damn... that sucks a lot. I mean, you've all abandoned us.... what are we going to do?

Posted by Vengeful Cynic at 09:48 PM | TrackBack