Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tunesday, Vol XV: Deftones, Deadsy,Emery, more...

Monday, February 21, 2011

SoundBoard Selections

At the request of my good friend Lianne, I'm posting the musical selections played during the first two SoundBoard parties. The way the attendance has worked out, the same three people played music for the first two sessions. I certainly hope future sessions yield more variety, here's what we've heard so far:
I've liked them all so far, and I'm looking forward to the next party!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Searching for Trouble

Not so long ago I was chatting with a friend on Facebook that I hadn't spoken with in quite some time. (I know, I know, that never happens, but please try and suspend your disbelief for a moment.) In the course of the conversation, my once-broken arm came up and my friend wanted to hear all about it. I had told this story about 20 billion times and the thought of retelling it kind of made my eyes glaze over... but I had an idea. I had totally blathered about it all over Twitter and Facebook for months. I could just make an elegantly constructed search query and then find most - if not all - of the entries I made regarding the incident. This would not only help out with the current conversation, but all future ones as well. Not a bad plan, right?

One problem: you can't do that. Neither Twitter or Facebook allow you to search backward in time through your own entries; as far as I can tell, Facebook doesn't allow you to search for news feed posts at all. I find that to be a glaring omission. Both services could very easily not only be a source of news and communication, but have great potential to serve as digital scrapbooks. Users of both services have amassed a treasure trove of information about past deeds - births, deaths, triumphs, failures, and events across the the spectrum of significance - that, as it stands, lay just out of reach.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Nice Ads

After about a week of trying to make sense of Gawker's very strange new layout, I've come to the conclusion that the audience it serves best is those that advertise on the site. Not only are there 3 gigantic banner ads in this one shot, two of them are ill-positioned over content. I rest my case.

(Note: This is mostly satire. Mostly.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

It's Not a War on Cars

First thing's first. It's not a war at all. Can't we come up with a better rhetorical flourish than declaring war on something? George Carlin called us out on that 20 years ago and we're still doing it.

But it's not about taking your cars away from you. Honestly, it isn't.
It's about this:
And this:
And about this:
And this:
And also this:
And this, too:
Even more importantly, it's about giving the people like this:
And like this:
And like this:
The ability to do things like this:
And go do this:
And maybe even once in a while do this:
Just like you do. And, hey, there's something in it for you, too, y'know.
You. (Probably.)
You see, the real goal here is to give everyone - everyone - choice. When you walk out your front door, to go do whatever it is you're going to do, you should have the choice to get there like this:
Or using this:
Or taking this:
Or riding this:
Or, yes, even getting in this:
That's all it's about. Now what's so wrong with that?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Math is Hard

In what has been - and is sure to continue to be - a difficult, lifelong quest for health, fitness, and confidence, I have found services like FitClick to be invaluable. If you're curious as to my reasoning, I go into why I find a data-driven program to be necessary for success in this post (one of my first in this blog, incidentally).

However valuable their service, they're not perfect. I, of course, don't expect them to be, but, as a math major, I can't help ribbing them about this one. This is the diet score card, which I find to be one of the most important parts of their site.

As you can see, it's a sort of dashboard for your daily dietary intake. You can track pretty much any nutrient you want (through use of the "More" button you see in the lower right), the three macronutrients in particular; I'm sure you've noticed the percentages below each of them, clearly intended to give you an idea of how well you're maintaining your chosen balance. Nice, huh?

The problem is that they don't make any gods damned sense. 37g of fat is not 34% of either 42 or 51. Nor is it 34% of the combined total of the macronutrients. Nor is it 34% of my overall nutrition intake by weight. At least they add up to 100%, which wasn't always the case, so, y'know... thank the gods for small miracles.

Saturday, February 5, 2011


Today I bought nutritional supplements for the first time since... well, I don't think I've ever bought them for myself at all.
We're here to help.
I've talked myself into staying away from vitamins for years with reasons that I'm sure are sound and scientific, but the truth of the matter is that it's mostly unsubstantiated pride along with having been turned off of the practice at an early age. You see, my mother was a bit on the overprotective side. I suppose I can't blame her; I had (and still have) a pretty severe case of asthma and was (and still am) allergic to seemingly anything green or brown. And I was (and still am) vegetarian to boot - and who the hell knew if that was healthy? I was her little broken boy - and she was going to make me well.

As one might imagine, she overcompensated just a little. I don't actually know how many pills she made me take each morning and each night, but let's go with about 200 million - from a 7-year-old me perspective, that sounds about right. E's and B's and D's and C's and letters that I hadn't even learned in school yet were put in a cup on the sink before I brushed my teeth. I might as well have been told to eat a cup of pebbles. (Actually, for a 7-year-old boy, that probably would've sounded a lot more fun.) Every other weekend when I was with my father I'd have dozens of little baggies filled with dozens of vitamins weighing down my backpack. From what I remember my dad more-or-less balked at the task of filling his kid with these magical little rocks; he was down with the mulitvitamin and the C, but kind of left the rest up to me and just tried to make sure I was eating healthily.

As time went on I really grew to hate The Vitamin Time. At about the time I was beginning to learn that you didn't have to do what you were told if you really didn't want to, The Vitamin Time ritual had become routine enough that I was frequently left to complete it unsupervised - so I started dumping them in the trash can in the bathroom. That rouse didn't last long - as soon as the trash was taken out, the multicolored, marbled bottom of the bag gave away my hiding place. And so I was supervised again, but the cycle inevitably and invariably repeated. Every time she caught me she wouldn't just get mad, she'd get furious. It's like I wasn't just betraying her trust, I was killing myself. Didn't I understand? (Aside: No, she never actually used those words as a tactic.) Unfortunately for her, instead of teaching me not to do it again, it simply taught me to find better hiding places: down the toilet; under the grate in my room; in the schoolyard a la The Shawshank Redemption.

Needless to say, I never willingly took a dietary supplement again, short of some vitamin C drops when I felt sniffly. But you know what? Loathe as I am to admit it, I'm grown up now. Mom over did it, but she probably had the right idea. We don't always have time to eat right - especially since our ridiculous industrial food system seems to make it more and more impossible to figure out what eating right even means - and I can see the humble multivitamin as a nice bit of insurance against that. (And the vitamin D? That's insurance against living in Seattle.)

So I'll take my vitamins now. Live and learn.