January 30, 2008

Political links

  • BBC documentary on the fiction of al Quaeda - Reddit comments then contain a quick flurry of other recommended documentaries viewable online.
  • "What Our Top Spy Doesn't Get: Security and Privacy Aren't Opposites" by Bruce Schneier - As usual, he hits it out of the park. Money quote: Security and privacy are not opposite ends of a seesaw; you don't have to accept less of one to get more of the other. Think of a door lock, a burglar alarm and a tall fence. Think of guns, anti-counterfeiting measures on currency and that dumb liquid ban at airports. Security affects privacy only when it's based on identity, and there are limitations to that sort of approach.
  • NPR fact-checks the SOTU - A quick look at each of his points. SOTUs are an easy target because they tend towards the rose-colored end of the spectrum of glasses, but Bush's was just wildly disconnected from reality (surprise?).
posted by sstrader at 7:24 AM in Politics | permalink

January 29, 2008

Where was I?

Spent the first two weeks of January doing Scott's Patented Slash and Burn Diet. Monday through Thursday only 1000 calories per day; weekends do whatever I want (within reason, no setting hobos on fire). I was in a sad fatty fatty fatso state from the holidays and needed to take control. Success!

Beginning of January was spent caulking and puddying the molding my brother helped me put in in December (250 feet around the entire condo). We threw away my college bookshelves and just purchased new bookshelves from The Container Store but there are still continents of books distributed throughout.

Last weekend at a cabin in Blairsville with A & D and S & R. Hell ride up through Friday traffic down 85, over 285, then up 75 to pick up Lisa and get supplies for the gang at Total Wine on Barrett Parkway. Quick 2-hour trip once we got out of rush hour traffic and we were rewarded with a meal of lamb, couscous, and asparagus. And wine. Saturday was wandering around outside (I forded a Major Waterway), extended session of Oh Hell (re-dubbed "I'm Fucked"), dancing, Cabin Fever, etc. Sunday was another session of Oh Hell and considerable denial drinking. Great weekend and now Lisa & I are on the hunt for some North Georgia land on which to build a cabin.

Tomorrow night is our 9th anniversary at Aquaknox and Saturday is Cathy and Steve's 0th anniversary. No other big plans AFAIK.

posted by sstrader at 12:40 PM in Where was I? | tagged annual cabin weekend with friends | permalink

January 25, 2008

albatar (definition)

n. An avatar you create that accumulates bad karma and/or associations, but that is indelibly linked to you and so unavoidable

[Origin: 2008; overheard from a friend who had just learned about avatars but was not familiar with the word]

posted by sstrader at 8:00 PM in Language & Literature | permalink

January 23, 2008


Childish? Yes. But man, I hope these guys that have declared war against Scientology keep up the fun:

[ updated 24 January 2008 ]

Wired News has a more complete summary of the e-carnage.

[ updated 2 February 2008 ]

And Huffington Post has some praise for Anonymous and their tactics.

posted by sstrader at 4:39 PM in Culture & Society | tagged anonymous | permalink

January 22, 2008

Alive in Joburg

Cool independent video posted in a scathing review of Cloverfield. I disagree with the review, but loved the video:

~6 minutes of mock-documentary about a very odd alien invasion...

posted by sstrader at 1:24 PM in Cinema | permalink

January 18, 2008

Cloverfield (4/5)

Yes. [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]

posted by sstrader at 1:57 AM in Cinema | permalink

January 16, 2008


A major Italian university has agreed with many of its academic and student protesters and barred the Pope from speaking at the opening of the academic year. Their protest stems from when Ratzinger had, 18 years ago, defended the church's prosecution of Galileo. He invoked, and I am not making this up, postmodern philosopher of epistemology Paul Feyerabend in his support of Galileo's Renaissance incarceration. Who knew that the Pope could be a fan of the iconoclastic approach of postmodern writers. Oddly enough, the Pope is crying censorship.

Would Christians allow an atheist to christen their new church? How useful would that be? Stephen Jay Gould would refuse to debate creationists arguing simply that they had nothing to bring to the table. He suffered/suffers accusations of censorship. Is it really so odd for science to refuse to spend time with kooks, no matter how organized? There are many flat-earthers out there. The Pope insists that science is subordinate to faith. This is, obviously, stupid and what I'd expect from an intellect base enough to equate atheism with evil.

Many scientists are theists. Despite the protesters' statement that Knowledge needs neither fathers nor priests, there's no reason for such religious posturing--from either fear or arrogance.

posted by sstrader at 1:17 PM in Science & Technology | permalink

January 11, 2008


Just started watching the 2nd season of Extras last night (Orlando Bloom, David Bowie). Amazing. The scenes with Gervais and Ashley Jensen are funny and charming and painful. Their relationship from the first season, and to a great degree the pathos of the last episode, is added to even when she's only providing a dull-witted stare into space (on par with Seinfeld's Puddy). The bleak purgatory of Gervais's The Office is relocated and somewhat softened with less hateful characters. Again, it is reminiscent of the lovable misanthropy of Seinfeld yet with a stronger commentary on human nature.

The repetition of guest stars suffering from Shallowhollywooditis works, but you have to be in the know. That is: I'm not familiar with some of the lesser-known actors who appear, and so their exasperating flaws don't resonate as much as those of Kate Winslet or Patrick Stewart. Still, it's the leads that win the day. Brilliant.

posted by sstrader at 7:04 PM in Cinema | permalink

January 7, 2008

Auto Focus (3/5), Permanent Midnight (3/5)

Auto Focus [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ]. Permanent Midnight [ IMDB | Rotten Tomatoes ].

Two NetFlix flix that have been sitting around for months because we didn't want to be depressed but I would have been equally depressed if we returned them without watching them.

Our queue is seldom ordered, and these two just happened to come up at the same time, being perfectly paired if you want to feel low afterwards. Both are buoyed by strong leads in unflattering roles and both leads' downfalls are difficult to watch. Add to that the fact that both scripts kept me engaged for similar reasons: they provided a view into the quirky life of a successful-ish television star (Bob Crane) and a successful-ish television writer (Jerry Stahl). Auto Focus was more successful overall as a movie. Ben Stiller was too over-the-top at times, and I never believed that his wife would have stayed with him. The over-the-top was part of the style (it had a rushing, second-half-of-Goodfellas feel through much of it) but just seemed to fall apart at times. And the Sheherazade aspect of the first two thirds seemed clumsy in how the story was being told compared to the story being told.

Time to cleanse the palate with some Collected Three Stooges Volume 1.

posted by sstrader at 11:29 PM in Cinema | permalink

Michel Gondry videos

  • Bjork, "Bachelorette" - This is what hooked me on Gondry. The vivid depiction of a mediated life whose only content is the mediation. Told in ~five-and-a-half minutes.

  • Cibo Matto, "Sugar Water" - "Bachelorette" was dazzling in its structural recursion and slight social commentary. "Sugar Water" presents a similar structural coup in a split-screen crab canon. Instead of looking forced or overly technical, it is thoroughly enjoyable. Like one of the YouTube commenters, I have to admit that I don't fully understand how Gondry pulled it off. Stunning.

  • Less stunning, but still notable for his theatrical staging, is Radiohead's "Knives Out". Simple and creative is Gary Jules' "Mad World".
posted by sstrader at 12:10 AM in Cinema | permalink

January 6, 2008

Child rules

Children are coddled by: "politically correct" editing of shows and movies, too many safety labels, awards for losers. So says the angry right/middle-class.

Children are endangered by: predators that are everywhere, suggestive shows that involve sex (though violence is OK), foreign toys that are too dangerous. So says the angry right/middle-class.

So what is it? Are kids rotting with liberal caution or liberal permissiveness? Or maybe it's just immigrants.

posted by sstrader at 10:09 PM in Culture & Society | permalink

January 5, 2008

IMSLP news for the new year

IMSLP (the story of its sad demise here) is looking more likely to return! From the forums, ArcticWind7 sez: It is not on a knife-edge, or even close. It IS coming back, there's no question. There's a (currently inactive) Google group that can be joined or subscribed to to receive announcements here. Not a week goes by when I don't have a need to browse IMSLP's scores. Man, I miss them.

posted by sstrader at 10:21 AM in Music | permalink

January 2, 2008


[ updated 23 Jul 2014]

Years represent New Year's Eve year!

Our various New Year's celebrations (how come I can't remember more?!?):

  • 1998 (?) - Dinner with Lisa and my brother and his wife at South of France (closed)
  • 1999 - Millenium fun at Pricci, private room with around 15 friends
  • 2000 (?) - Romantic dinner at home
  • 2001 (?) - in New Orleans for a bowl game and craziness on the streets
  • 2002 - Big party at the Georgia Tech Conference Center with multiple DJs and craziness
  • 2003 - Big party at our pad
  • 2004 - Dinner at Nakato with friends
  • 2005 - Party at Stacey and Alby's
  • 2006 (?)
  • 2007 - Charleston, SC, dinner at Cyprus with Lisa

    [ updated 23 Jul 2014]

    Lisa found what we did in SC:

    Hotel: The King Charles Inn: http://kingcharlesinn.com/ Not "inexpensive" but worth it. We hung out in the pub every night, before we struck out for the evening and upon our return from the evening.

    Dinners: Two great dinners... We rang NYE in at Cypress; one of 3 sibling restaurants that all get great buzz (Blossom and Magnolias are the other two; Cypress is the newest): http://www.magnolias-blossom-cypress.com/

    Another night was spent at 82 Queen: Nestled into an old home with a huge magnolia in the courtyard: http://www.82queen.com/

    Brunch before we left: Poogan's Porch, tucked away in a very quaint home: http://www.poogansporch.com/gallery/

  • 2008 - Palate and Feast with Shelby and Robert

[ updated 23 Jul 2014]

Later years:

posted by sstrader at 9:22 PM in Personal | tagged new orleans, new years | permalink