The inestimable Cobwebs of Shadow Manor (she and I have a teeny bit of a mutual admiration society going on) started a Santa Can Suck It virtual gift exchange last year. The concept is simple: pretend to give things to someone you’re secretly given as if you cared enough to spend the time/money to actually give such things.
…she explains it better.
She drew my name and I got an amazing Cthulhu makeover!! Go check out the tentacly awesome.
I have been assigned Inveigh of Discombobulated. From a quick perusing of his site, he appears to have participated in Movember…and had some difficulty adjusting to having a giant furry caterpillar living above his lip for a month. So I give him a selection of moustashy fun:
We shall start with a portable moustache protector which can latch onto any tea cup (or coffee mug) for his convenience. Silver, of course. Perhaps with some finagling, it can also be attached to a soup bowl for unladylike slurping. (Click this or any image to embiggen.)
As it is, however, no longer November (as it is known to we non-moustache-capable humans), I will include a Victorian shaving kit (it’s portable!). What I like most about this is that although it’s purpose is the removal of facial hair, it can just as easily be used for the removal of the heads of annoying people. Or, if you practice enough, of merely their faces. The brush, of course, can double as a finger print wiper-awayer. Of course, I’m sure Inveigh’s purposes and imagination are not so dark.
When he is moustache-free once again (or done doing whatever he has imagined to do with his scary razor and brush), he can relax with his favorite whiskey (does he like whiskey? perhaps brandy or, if he must, vodka) in these cups of moustachey awesome.
And, as [hairy] icing on the cake, I give him a week of hanging out with the moustache man himself, the man whose moustache all other moustaches want to be: Sam Elliot. They can bond over moustache maintenance-and-care, Inveigh can get tips from Mr. Elliot, Mr. Elliot can bask in the sheer awesome that Inveigh almost certainly is!
Happy Boxing day, Inveigh, from xJane! I hope you & your moustache enjoy your virtual gift!
One of the things I love about MoF is that we’re a pretty small community and don’t attract a lot of trolls. This is not to say we never attract trolls, but when we do, it’s a surprise. There are many sites whose comments I simply don’t read because I don’t want to deal with the douchebaggery that goes on. One of my favorite podcasts, This Week in Law (iTunes link) had an interesting discussion of the reasons why it’s easy to flame people when you don’t see them in person. It’s a long podcast, but I think it’s a good discussion of the many factors. And that may be why MoF is different: most of us, even if we don’t know each other in person, know each other on other sites: I know you from your own blog, from twitter, maybe we IM each other, maybe we’re in the same flickr group. And somehow, that manages to make us more congenial toward each other’s opinions. Or maybe we’re just nicer people than the intarwebs at large.
This vid is NSFW and ROTFL funny.
I’ve held off for as long as I could bear to, but it is now time to release this upon the MoF community. From the guy who brought us the classic office zombie song, Re: Your Brains and the classy May Day song, First of May, comes the geek classic Still Alive, the end-credits song for the video game Portal (play a flash version here).
Portal is the latest installment of the Half Life series, one of the first popular first person shooter video games. The song, Still Alive, is played over the end credits, and sung by the main (speaking) character, GLaDOS, an AI with a distressing sense of humor: “The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice. For instance, the floor here will kill you. Try to avoid it.”
I have a soft spot in my heart for AIs in general and female AIs in particular. From Jane, my namesake, to Cortana, the only redeeming quality of Halo, another FPS, there’s something inherently attractive to me about a disembodied (yet somehow still female) sentient computer. And so, despite GLaDOS’ evilness in the game, I already like her.
The general theme behind Portal (which may be necessary for understanding the song) is that GLaDOS is in charge of a research facility involved in testing a new kind of gun that creates “portals”. She has a number of test subjects who she forces to test the gun in different situations (creating levels in the game) for a promise of cake at the end of a successful course of testing. Throughout the testing, the test subject (the player) encounters blood splatters where prior subjects died in their attempts and graffiti, often consisting of “the cake is a lie” (which has become a geeky expression). Eventually, the test subject kills GLaDOS and discovers that she was the only entity in the research facility, a situation eerily similar to the house in Bradbury’s There Will Come Soft Rains. Throughout the game, GLaDOS’ voice stumbles and is replaced by static, indicating that something has already gone horribly wrong.
Implicit in the AI mythos is that, although it is created (either purposefully or accidentally) by humanity, it cannot be controlled by humanity. The AI must choose between good and evil—but these are binaries that only exist for humans, good for an AI might be destruction of humanity (see: HAL). AIs are the Frankenstein’s monsters of our century: it is beautifully tempting to create something so powerful and advanced but it is dangerous to unleash something with such capacity for destruction. As we get closer to the realities of the fictions we create, these stories, I believe, carry more and more poignancy.
Still Alive is a heart-wrenchingly emotional portrayal, in her own words, of a heartlessly unemotional being. It walks the razor edge of the AI paradox: GLaDOS is human in so many ways but still cold and ruthless. And so, after much ado…if you still dare, I give you more versions of Still Alive than you could possibly desire: Read more >>
First thing that entertains me about these shots is that they were taken with the same flash—and the background to the white one is darker.
First thing that you’ll probably notice is that my head is missing. So are my pants (and I did wear underwear). This is a response to this (solidarity, sister), which is a response to this, which is a response to this.
I think at this point, we’ve moved past the question of which is better: black or white and on to the question of what’s the difference of response to John in (just) a shirt vs. to me in (just) a shirt.
So: objectify away! Which is better: Black or white? Which is more normative: male or female? Which do you prefer (regardless of sexual preference, although that information might make it interesting)?
1. One book that made you laugh: I, Lucifer, by Glen Duncan. DH and I read this to each other on one of our many road trips. Totally light reading, with no redeeming social value (as my father might say), but still a fun ride.
2. One book that made you cry: Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. I was going to use this for #4 but the truth is, I cry every time I read it to the end. I cry when he visits Valentine at the lake and she convinces him to return to school. I cry when he passes his final “exam”. I cry when he realizes what he’s done. I cry when Earth does not welcome him back—when his friends gather around him to protect him from the adulation and the horror of his fellow man.
3. One book that you loved as a child: Fables & Fairy Tales, by Leo Tolstoy. I love this book. I love the way fables (and fairy tales) influence a culture. It was quite instructive to me to read them, even though I didn’t know what culture they came from. The more later learned about Russia, the more sense they made.
4. One book you’ve read more than once: Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder. I discovered this book in high school—a friend of mine simply could not believe that I hadn’t read it and insisted that I find a copy (in English, a fair feat) and read it. It’s a wonderful introduction to philosophy in an accessible manner (even if they’re already diving hard-core into Kant and Nietzsche, I would recommend—and lend—this to CatGirl and GameBoy).
5. One book you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: Tell Me Lies, by Jennifer Crusie. By the time I realized it was a romance novel, I was too far into it to put it down. Now I reread it on occasion because it still cracks me up. I had imagined that romance novels would be far more explicit, but this concentrated on the personality of the guy and, while he’s not my type, that made all the difference. (I imagine…it’s the only romance novel I’ve ever read…I swear.)
6. One book you hated: Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. My professor told me to read it in high school while the rest of the class finished reading (whatever we had been assigned) and to tell him what I thought. I told him that I liked the story, “and a good author could have done a lot with it.” I’ve never been able to bring myself to reread it, but now I feel bad about that, since I think it was one of his favs.
7. One book that scared you: Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. I don’t know how old one is supposed to be for this book, but I think I was really young when I read it. I still think of it and get that fear in my chest—when I’m speeding down a freeway so fast I can’t read billboards, or when I am confronted with a fire station and must interact with it.
8. One book that bored you: the Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov. Another high school book. I felt that we spent too much time on it and I really didn’t understand what it was supposed to symbolize.
9. One book that made you happy: the Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love & High Adventure, by William Goldman. One of my favorite books of all time, one that I can pick up, flip open, & just start reading at any point & reenjoy the whole thing. It makes me happy every time I reread it.
10. One book that made you miserable: One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (who just recently died—I have to admit that when I read it, I thought he was already dead). It took me more time to read this than it took me to read Anna K..
11. One book that you weren’t brave enough to read: the Return of the King, by J.R.R. Tolkien. My father read the first three (including the Hobbit) to me but I started falling asleep when he got into the Fellowship books. He never finished the second one & I never had any desire to start the third. I know, I’m going to lose major geek cred for that…
12. One book character you’ve fallen in love with: I guess Paul Atreides from Dune, et al., by Frank Herbert. (Does that restore my geek cred?) Although I kinda just wanted to be his sister, Alia. She was badass!
13. The last book you read: Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. I have nothing else to say :-p
One of my sisters (#4) has been known to wax poetic about the fact that, in this current day and age, people are obsessed with themselves. Hence, “i-” products (iPod, iLife, iBrator, iWannaCookie, &c.). When I heard about Apple’s migration of .Mac to MobileMe, I couldn’t conceive of telling her (firstname.lastname@example.org just sounds so pretentious). As an Apple koolaiddrinker from long ago, I have a .Mac account. Luckily, I can keep the @Mac.
But I just realized that I have been wrong! MobileMe isn’t just another form of “iMobile”, the “Me” in MobileMe isn’t referring to the self, it’s referring to the social building blocks. That’s why it’s always in italics.
The hundred me are lost to time, as only about 60 of them are known to remain, including Kingship, Priestly Office, Wisdom, and Truth. This is where we get the concept of the “meme”. Clearly some of the remaining are Scheduling, Communication, Photography, and Addresses.
At least, that makes me feel better about telling people about MobileMe.
Anyone out there know how it is pronounced? I’ve always said “meh”, to distinguish it from the English pronoun, and because it seems to me that, translated from cuneiform, it probably would’ve been “mi” if it had been said that way.
I checked out this survey on a prompt from Pharyngula. I recommend that you do the same. We may indeed be giving the creator of the survey food for thought, but what I found was that it was a good, concrete way to think about my own beliefs, hang-ups, and tendencies. I think it’s a great tool for self-discovery.
Although it takes for ever, so wait until you’ve some time on your hands.
I’ve been debating about sharing this link for the past week. It has nothing to do with religion or feminism or science fiction (though I’m sure if we worked hard enough we could make some kind of connection), but it is simultaneously the (hermaphroditic) Queen and King of the Internet Mashup,
If you haven’t seen this video, you were probably living on a internetless fundamentalist polygamist compound (religion and feminism connection) or were abducted by aliens with an aversion to streaming Flash video (SF link) two weeks ago and only just now woke up in the middle of a crop circle with no underwear. Or maybe you get all your entertainment off of that pre-internet device known as Teevee, where they don’t have YouTubes. Sure, they may play the occasional Weezer video, but you can’t share (well, maybe you can call the kids in).
If you haven’t seen this video, in it you’ll find references 80% of the most popular video phenomena from the long history of YouTube, including the Dramatic Prairie Dog, Afro Ninja, History of Dance, Diet Coke and Mentos and Miss Teen South Carolina with a map (of The Iraq, perhaps?) in a blender.
To sum up, it’s a complete reappropriation of existing work by industry professionals and 100% calculated to generate buzz. And I, predictably, am sharing it with you.
I’m a bit picky about memes, since I treat Mind on Fire as a topical blog, and not a personal one, but it’s hard for me to pass up this book-related blog meme from Zach (the coolest nontheist Quaker you’ll ever encounter, on line or off). Here are the rules;
- Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
- Find page 123
- Find the first 5 sentences
- Post the next 3 sentences
- Tag 5 people
Here’s my excerpt (I lucked out and got a super run-on sentence rich in description):
The smell is of our own flesh, an organic smell, sweat and a tinge of iron, fro the blood on the sheet, and another smell, more animal, that’s coming, it must be, from Janine: a smell of dens, of inhabited caves, the smell of the plaid blanket on the bed when the cat gave birth on it, once, before she was spayed. Smell of matrix.
“Breathe, breathe,” we chant, as we have been taught.
From Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which I’m reading for the Feminist SF segment of my graduate directed readings in Science Fiction and Religion.
I’m tagging bloggers who are likely to have an intriguing text on hand:
I look forward to reading your responses!
First, there was John’s dabbling in mapping lolCats onto traditional religious images. Then, the folks over at Cracked gave us some awesome lolReligion interspersed in their 10 Things Christians and Atheists Can Agree On (scroll down for the lolDog in need of a
Catholic exorcism). But it didn’t stop there, oh no! Someone linked John to Agnostic Kitteh who in turn showed us the lolBible (any translation of the Song of Solomon that includes the phrase “U iz so cute! U iz so hawt!” has to be good). [I skipped the lolPrayer that would be ever so useful if anyone had the cell number of The Divine.] But yesterday, while perusing teh intarnets, I discovered a host (and I mean that in the full, angels-singing, sky-filled-with-heavenly- meaning of the word) of lolReligion. I’m not saying that it’s John’s fault (or that he deserves the credit), but this is so up our alley here at MoF. I’m just sorry I didn’t think of some of these: Read more >>
this was just shared with me today: my sister’s mother-in-law wishes everyone happy birthday for everyone’s birthday. This may either be a Dutch tradition, an Indonesian tradition, a Dutch-Indonesian tradition, or just the mother-in-law in question. So she calls my sister on her husband’s birthday and says “Happy your husband’s birthday!”
I think this is awesome because I always want to say, “you, too!” when I’m wished a happy happy. I think we should propagate this tradition. In that vein, happy my birthday, everyone!
One of my sisters & I have discussed the fact & agreed that we are, in fact, of different generations, even if she only has 10 years on me. The Brazen Careerist has come up with an amusing test for identifying cultural generation based upon (perhaps biased) current-culture abilities and knowledge-sets (copied whole-sale from the above link):
Do you have your own web page? (1 point) Have you made a web page for someone else? (2 points) Do you IM your friends? (1 point) Do you text your friends? (2 points) Do you watch videos on YouTube? (1 point) Do you remix video files from the Internet? (2 points) Have you paid for and downloaded music from the Internet? (1 point) Do you know where to download free (illegal) music from the Internet? (2 points) Do you blog for professional reasons? (1 point) Do you blog as a way to keep an online diary? (2 points) Have you visited MySpace at least five times? (1 point) Do you communicate with friends on Facebook? (2 points) Do you use email to communicate with your parents? (1 point) Did you text to communicate with your parents? (2 points) Do you take photos with your phone? (1 point) Do you share your photos from your phone with your friends? (2 points)
Incidentally, this puts me excessively (17) in “Generation Y” and all of my sisters in “Baby Boomer”. So perhaps this ought to be more of a pass/fail test for the “Internet Generation”, which is what I would say I self-identify as. Do you pass?