Thursday, July 30, 2009

On the Joys of Courting an Intelligent Lady

As it is my fortune to be courting an exceptionally intelligent young lady, I would like to take a moment to share my thoughts on the topic. Indeed, as some so-called gentlemen seem to find intelligence to be a marginal, or even undesirable, trait, I must confess that I find such an opinion caddish at best and repulsive at worse. I do not think that I can change anyone's mind, and I well know that the gentlemen (and ladies) who read this blog are of the same opinion as I, but I nevertheless would like to take a moment to expound on the virtues of an intelligent young lady.

First and foremost I would like to mention the joys of conversation. An articulate young lady with a well-modulated voice and a formidable vocabulary is a delightful partner in discussion. I have, on occasion, paused to marvel at my lady's well-spoken phrases, or to enjoy her beautiful voice and charming diction. There is a satisfaction that can only be found in using the exact right word, and that satisfaction can only be found in the company of an intelligent person.

Next I must speak of the sense of humor that intelligent young ladies possess. While any wench can chortle at a bodily noise or guffaw at a pun, it takes a woman with clarity of thought to appreciate worthwhile humor. Far more importantly, a lackwit wench might stumble to remember a basic joke, while a keen-witted lady is a constant source of original delight.

While some gentlemen might balk at the idea of a woman who corrects their mistakes, I cannot condone such cowardice. Indeed, as everyone is prone to mistakes, I have found that it is very useful to have a sharp-eyed young lady who can catch mistakes before they compound themselves. I should add that anyone who thinks that a sharp-eyed lady must also be sharp-tongued is making a dire mistake!

As we discuss these aspects, let us not forget the likelihood of an undead outbreak. I think that you will find that, when the hungry bodies of the recently deceased start to prowl, only an intelligent young lady will prove a useful ally. Though you may believe that a foolish trollop would be unappetizing to the roaming cadavers, you will soon learn that the undead are driven mad with hunger for the flesh of the living, regardless of how clever the living may be.

Insight, wisdom, and creativity accompany a keen mind and curious disposition. Any man who would pass this up for an empty-headed hussy should be pitied.

Perhaps the most egregious belief among some men on the topic of intelligent young ladies is that a woman can be either beautiful or intelligent, but never both. Anyone who would believe such utter nonsense could take the example of my lady as proof that someone can be brilliant as well as beautiful.

Before I open myself up to criticism, I should add that the reason I address gentlemen on the topic of courting ladies is that this is the area that I have experience in. I understand that my audience is diverse, so if you should find your inclinations differ from mine, I pray that you are not offended by this humble treatise.

I do not pretend to be an expert on the topic by any means, though I look forward to the opportunity to learn more about it. May you all find someone clever and charming to share your days with, and may those of you who have already found such a person never forget how fortunate you are!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Zuko Shot First

Ever since the Last Airbender live-action movie was announced, I've been dreading seeing any news about it. To me, the Avatar television show was so well done that I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to make a live-action version. I even feared that, if the movie was truly terrible, the trauma it caused me would somehow bleed over into the series and make me like it less.

Then I realized something: no matter what sorts of special editions, prequels, TV spinoffs, or live-action versions they make out of things we love, they cannot take away our love for the original, or the feeling we got when we first saw it.

Of course, the ultimate example is Star Wars. First it was the Special Editions with the whole "Han Shot First" controversy. Then came the prequels with "Little Annie" and Jar Jar. Now there's Clone Wars, with its obnoxious mediocrity. But regardless of what Lucas does today, there is no way they can ever take away this:

Similarly, M. Night Shyamalan isn't going to break into my apartment, grab my Avatar DVDs, and replace them with the DVD for The Last Airbender. I will always have Avatar to watch and enjoy.

And every time I hear John Williams' famous chord, I will always become a little kid again, wide-eyed with excitement at seeing laser swords, spaceship fights, and a giant, hairy man-dog named Chewy Chewbacca. (I didn't realize that "Chewy" is a nickname for years.)

Basically what I am trying to say is:

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Requiem for an iPod

Alternate titles to today's blog post:
The End of an iPod
All Good iPods Must Come to an End

Above: A boy and his iPod

My iPod was a gift from some college friends. One of them had a brother with an iPod that had been dropped and wasn't working. Her brother had another iPod, so he had no use for this one. She asked around to see if anyone else could make use of the discount Apple offers on a new iPod if you exchange a broken one. So I took her up on the offer, and she sent me the iPod.

I took it to an Apple store to get the replacement. They asked how long it had been since I had charged it. "A while,"I stammered, fearing that if they found out about the switcharoo, they'd refuse the discount. They said that sometimes charging it from a computer wasn't enough, and you have to plug the iPod directly into a power socket. They asked if I had a wall charger, and I said no, I didn't even have the charging cord.

Meanwhile, they stuck my iPod into one of the docks where they demonstrate the machines, and this scraped, scuffed, and dented machine looked pretty hilarious surrounded by the pristine show models. I was convinced that nothing would happen, but I went along with it all so that I could get my discount. Then the Apple logo came up. I was sure the device wouldn't actually play music, so I started trying to bring up a song. I must have looked pretty hilarious, trying to use this device that was supposedly mine, when I didn't even realize that you don't have to actually push down on the scroll wheel for it to work.

The Apple employee ignored the fact that I had clearly never used an iPod before in my life and took over, helping me start a song. As she scrolled through the list of artists, I suspected that either my friend had her own music on the iPod or her brother had a rather feminine taste in music1. She ended up at an Enya song, as I thought to myself, "Yep, I sure do love me some Enya." She started the song and I unplugged some headphones from a display model and plugged them into the machine. Amazingly, music came through. The employee told me to let it charge for a while, then take it home.

I dutifully waited there, listening to my Enya, then when it had charged for a while I bought a wall charger (and a cord that it turned out I didn't need, because the wall charger box contained one). I went home. iPod acquired.

At first, it seemed to work perfectly. But then, starting from the first time I fully charged it from my computer rather than plugging it directly into a power strip, it started to pick up some odd quirks. These included:
  • An odd "stutter" that would move randomly through the menus or crank the volume up and down manically, depending on which screen I was on.
  • Freezing randomly, including stopping all audio. Sometimes this lasted until the batteries gave out.
  • Pretending that it hadn't just been plugged into a computer when clearly it had. It only ever did this with computers other than my own. Maybe it was shy?
  • Going silent in the right stereo channel (right ear bud) unless pressure was applied to the headphone jack
  • And, just recently, going silent in both stereo channels unless that pressure was applied, and even then sometimes only coming back in one channel.
I plan on continuing to use the iPod until it breaks completely, and then I don't know if I'll be buying another one. Maybe I'll look into less name-brand mp3 players. But this one's certainly on its last legs, and now I have to decide when its psychoses will become too much for me to put up with any longer.

1 Come to think of it, this brother may have been the same one that apparently liked Twilight. Maybe it really was his music!

The Coolest Video Game Box Art of All Time

First, start with a giant robot. When a lot of people think of MechWarrior, they think of the Timber Wolf, also known as the "Mad Cat." It looks awesome:

Then, you make it even cooler. But how can you improve on a design like that?

I guess it would look cooler if it were, you know, on fire or had a giant explosion behind it or something. Wait, that's not a bad idea:

And there you have it. You don't know how often I stood in the video game aisle at Sam's Club and stared at this game, wishing I were cool enough to play MechWarrior 2.

Incidentally, the second coolest video game box of all time is a game we did end up getting, but that's a story for another day!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Giant Robots

What's the difference between a 'mech and a mecha? They're both types of giant robots piloted by people in fictional future universes. Personally, I've always believed that 'mechs are chunky military weapons armed with cannons, missiles, and lasers, planet-bound, and often found in video games. Mecha are more slick and human-shaped, often have swords as well as ridiculous energy weapons, sometimes can fly and/or operate in space, and are often found in anime.

I prefer 'mechs. Maybe I dig that they're piloted by grim soldiers rather than whiny teenagers. Maybe I like how real they feel. And maybe I just love things like this:

I never played the other MechWarrior games. Apparently MechWarrior 2 was amazing, though. Maybe it's time I invested in a good joystick....

In other news, there is no way my computer would be able to handle the new game. I'm not likely to upgrade soon, either, since I honestly haven't been playing enough video games lately to justify the expense. Could I be... growing up? Now there's a scary thought. I think I'll watch some giant robots shooting each other again now to put it out of my mind.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Final NIN Dates

This is it, folks. The end of NIN. I cannot remember a time when the "NIN" logo wasn't cool. I still remember seeing it on the boxes of nailgun ammo in Quake and knowing, without ever having heard the band, that Nine Inch Nails is awesome.

I saw them live during the "Lights in the Sky Over North America" tour, but I gave "NIN|JA" a miss. From the sound of it, LitSONA was the better tour. Even Trent sounds a bit disappointed by NIN|JA.

Anyway, enough about that. Go read what Trent has to say here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts on a Weird Worm/Pupa/Thing I Found on My Pants Yesterday

How strange that what I had thought was a bit of toothpaste, or a piece of plant matter, or the result of a sneeze I didn't remember sneezing, would turn out to be a living thing! And how odd that something that had seemed at first to be decapitated would, in fact, had strangely soft mouth-parts that looked like torn flesh.

And how did it get on my pants? Either it hitched a ride the night before when I was out walking, and calmly dozed the night away, unseen, only to surprise me in the morning, or it crawled, wriggled, or flopped there overnight from some unknown lair in my apartment. Do its fellows wait in some hidden corner, white and writhing, waiting to pupate into who-knows-what?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

White Wedding: Literal Version

I found out about this thanks to Wil Wheaton recently linking the literal Take on Me video. Personally, I prefer the White Wedding video:

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth of July, Everybody!

A Little Disconcerting

So there I was, wasting my morning on Apple Trailers to see what movies are coming out. I saw the trailer for Ponyo and decided to check it out. I'd been looking forward to this movie for a while, being a huge fan of Hayao Miyazaki since seeing Princess Mononoke back in college, but I still hadn't seen the trailer. I realized that Apple would have the dubbed version, but I was okay with that. I had originally seen Princess Mononoke dubbed, and I was mostly wondering about Ponyo's storyline and animation.

Here's the Youtube version of the trailer:

As it went along, I thought I recognized a familiar voice. Sure enough, Liam Neeson was listed at the top of the screen as one of the voice actors. Awesome, I thought. Qui-Gon is going to be in this! But then I saw, further toward the front of the list, the name "Frankie Jonas." Hm, I thought, Jonas. I'd been seeing that name a lot lately. Surely this couldn't be one of the famous Jonas Brothers?

Well.... here's Frankie Jonas on IMDB.

Yeah, it figures.

Since I'd never heard a Jonas Brothers song in my life, I decided maybe it wasn't that bad. I'd check them out on Youtube. This is the video I ended up watching:

The video's actually not that bad. I kind of like the idea of doing a tribute to spy movies, buddy cop shows, and kung fu movies. True, all the actors have "Disney Channel hair," but what do you want from kids these days?

But the song... the song!

I can still hear it... I can still hear it in my head...

Is Ponyo still going to rock? Probably. And there's always the subtitled version. For all I know, Young Master Jonas may actually be a good voice actor. But couldn't they have picked someone else?

(While on the topic of anime, I should add that I still haven't seen the teaser trailer for The Last Airbender. I'm sure my curiosity will overwhelm my revulsion someday and I will watch that trailer in a moment of weakness. I am just as sure that feelings of regret and self-loathing will immediately follow.)