Video Games Killed the Radio Star

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When I was in the sixth grade, I had a friend named Jeff.  He was allergic to just about everything and his favorite store was RadioShack (I think they call it “The Shack” these days, I’m not sure if the company thought it would make them cooler to have a nickname or if the realized that people don’t own radios anymore unless they’re in their cars).  Anyways, Jeff loved LEDs, Diodes, circuit boards, and other electronic gizmos I know very little about.  One weekend he built a radio transmitter, and me and my friends (myself, Jeff, and Aaron) had our own radio station.  We could say whatever we wanted (nothing important since we were twelve) and we could play whatever we wanted (as long as it was on one of our four cassettes we owned).  I still remember the first song we played, “I Swear” by Boyz II Men.  I wish I could say it something cool like Led Zeppelin or Iggy Pop, but unfortunately we were twelve, we had nothing to say and only four cassettes, and unfortunately that song now has a weird nostalgic place in my heart.

Pride and Prejudice: A Man’s Reading

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For those of you who have met me, you probably know that I like doing some unusual things solely for the experience. This time it came in the form of reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. So why did I choose this book, one traditionally beloved by women? Well maybe that was the point. So many of the women that I interact with and find interesting and intelligent, adore this novel.  Maybe if I read it, I too would understand why it is so cherished.  And I suppose I’d be lying if I didn’t secretly hope that I would magically stumble upon the secret to becoming a modern day Mr. Darcy.

Let me start by saying that I liked the book. The story is much more than a romance wrapped up in cliches that I have hated time and time again.  There are some great characters throughout whose humor kept me interested throughout the tale, especially during some of the lengthier plot points.  Also, I found that the historical bits about society entertaining, it was interesting to see how much society had changed in dealing with relationships  (and also how much it hasn’t) and also Jane Austen’s satirical views on those customs. I believe the reason women who read this book love it is because they identify with Elizabeth and all want to find their own Mr. Darcy. The novel doesn’t really describe Lizzie making it easier for the reader to be able to imagine themselves as her.  I, however, couldn’t identify with Lizzie in the way most women do, in fact there wasn’t really any character I could identify with (I suppose there is Mr. Bennet, except I think I’d considering shooting myself if I ended up with someone like Mrs. Bennet). While I liked the book I don’t think I could ever get obsessed about it like some fans. After all I don’t have any plans to watch the movie, read any other Jane Austen novels, or consume any of these other 176 books about Pride and Prejudice (Abigail Reynolds is an author who has published eleven books, all of them based on the classic book).  

I should mention, the most enjoyable part of Pride and Prejudice was the actual reading of Pride and Prejudice. I’m talking about the discussions I’ve had with women about the story and which version of the film I should watch, the awkward part of those conversation when they tell me how hot Colin Firth is, and me having to explain to my male co-workers why I’m reading Pride and Prejudice and describing to them the intricate relationships while trying to appear that I don’t care about some “chick book.” I look forward to future conversations about it, and perhaps I will learn more about why women love Mr. Darcy so much and how to be more like him.  While the novel didn’t teach me how to become Mr. Darcy maybe it taught me how to find my Elizabeth (or Jane… she seemed pretty cool too).           

Schrödinger’s Greedo: Did Han Solo Really Shoot First?

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It’s amazing how often I hear people cry out that Han shot first.  I, of course, am referring to the classic scene from Star Wars in which Han Solo shoots the Bounty Hunter Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. The “controversy” comes from the fact that originally in the 1977 version Han shoots Greedo in the famous scene, while in the re-release Greedo shoots first, misses, and Han responds by shooting the hired gun.  Any Star Wars fan can and will tell you that Han shoots first, and that it is important that this happens as it helps define the true spirit of Han Solo.  In fact, I’ve never heard ANYONE (except Lucas) ever seriously say that Greedo shot first.  Han shots first, plain and simple, we don’t need to ever bring it up again, but I propose a new theory.  In the latest release of Star Wars, I believe you have both versions of the movie included when you buy it.  In one universe Han shoots first, and in the latter Greedo.  I propose that we are stuck in a Schrödinger’s cat situation where simultaneously both versions are canon.  Maybe if we can accept this we won’t have to argue about this anymore and can get back to more important geek quandaries in our culture.  So next time you are asked “who shot first,” remember that you don’t have to answer because the answer is obvious… Han shot first

…but so did Greedo.

Why I Sleep Nine Minutes at a Time

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Like many people in the world, I have a job that requires me to wake up early in the morning. And like many people, my mornings often involve the snooze button. There’s something very soothing about the snooze button. It’s sort of like a rebellion to the day. A nine minute stand of sleep. It’s so great that often set my alarm early so I can hit the snooze button a couple of times. There’s only one problem I have found with the snooze button, the nine minutes. Why is it nine? I was supposed to get up at seven, I set the alarm for 6:45, hit the snooze 3 times… Carry the one… What time is it? The nine minutes creates more math for me in the morning. I did research on the topic and I came up relatively empty. No one seems to know why the grace period is set to a seemingly random number.  Some blame early clock makers for being poor at their craft, while others feel that people feel that ten minutes is too long of a time.  People had a lot of theories, but none of them seemed suitable.  I feel like I want to research this topic more and get to the bottom of it, but I suppose there are more important things for me to do with my time. Who cares why it’s nine minutes. After all, it’s nothing to loose sleep over.

A Bunch of Bull

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Today as we are still thinking about our New Year’s resolutions, I wanted to talk about change.

I remember when a photo of former bullfighter Álvaro Múnera spread across the internet.  The photo featured the bullfighter crying with his head bowed down in shame as a bull looks on.  The story that accompanied the photo described how Álvaro Múnera had to quit his profession of bullfighting after he couldn’t get the gentle creature to attack him in that fight.  Pretty inspiring stuff, right?  A young man at perhaps the height of his career decides to change for something he believes in.  The problem is that the story is apparently fake. Múnera never quit midway through a fight and in fact left the sport only after being paralyzed.

But maybe it isn’t all bullshit.  Álvaro Múnera is now is an advocate for getting rid of the sport and even claims he wanted to quit before his injury.  He once had to kill a heifer that was pregnant.  He describes in gruesome detail about seeing the exposed fetus and how it made him vomit and subsequently cry.  I feel like Múnera’s description shows enough brutality (perhaps more) to change enough people’s minds.  The only problem is that it’s hard to shake that first lie.  I’m sure Álvaro Múnera wasn’t the one who initially spread the viral photo, but now his credibility is questioned because of it.  Many people still don’t believe that he really cares and only believe that he quit due to the injury that left him in a wheelchair and killed his friend.  I suppose it also hurts you credence.  When you post it is your duty to also check facts.  When I originally drew this cartoon a year ago I imagined writing about the great bullfighter Álvaro Múnera and when he called out No Mas.  I suppose it’s a good thing I looked up the truth.  I would’ve hated to present fact that simply are not true.  I’m sometimes afraid to post anything on my blog.  I did research, but even the evidence I found I can’t be sure that it is true.

The only thing I feel sure about is this:  We need to change as a society.  We need to look at evidence.  We need to stop and think rationally.  We need to explore ideas and see what the possibilities are.  And we should stop bullfights.

 

 

 

All By Myself

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Strangers are interesting people.  Sometimes you’ll catch someone out in the world doing something odd and it becomes an odd story you remember for years.  Here’s one from a few weeks ago:

I was in a Michael’s (the craft store) so I could buy paper for these wonderful cartoons, and I was honestly feeling really down that day.  I had just gotten out of a relationship and I had learned a friend of mine had just passed away.  I felt all by myself.  I should mention that while I was stumbling around the store this evening, I was on the phone with a freelance opportunity trying to feel some excitement about a project that I knew was already going to be a huge pain. While on the phone I see a woman standing by a display and she beckoned me over to her.  As I approached, she asked me if I could help her out for a second.  I replied that I didn’t work here, but I mentioned that I was willing to help if I could.  She very blankly looked me in the eyes and said, “When I was young, I never needed anyone and that making love was just for fun.”  This phrase echoed in me and grabbed my attention.  After all, I had just gotten out of a relationship.  As she continued talking I couldn’t focus too much on the words, instead I just felt extremely empathetic.  She didn’t look crazy. Quite the opposite.  She looked well put together actually.  If she looked crazy, it would of been easier for me to just feel sorry for her and walk away, but I couldn’t walk away. I felt really sorry for her.  She continued, saying something about how she was living alone and something about her friends being gone…

“Can I call you back in a second?” I asked realizing I was still on the phone with my employer.  I hung up the phone and she continued speaking to me.  “All by myself… I don’t want to be all by myself anymore”.

Then something weirder happened. She turned into a broken record repeating herself over and over. “All by myself… I don’t want to be all by myself anymore”. I told her it sounded like she was just saying song lyrics, and all of a sudden she ran off.

In utter confusion I called back my employer.  Within seconds of him answering the phone, another woman came up to me.  This woman looked more put together then the first.  First of all, she wasn’t wearing a crazy scarf like the last woman and this lady also was carrying a clipboard.  She had just mentioned I was on hidden camera for the show Ellen.  This woman was going up to strangers and speaking in song lyrics.  Perhaps I should’ve recognized the Eric Carmen song, but then again I was relatively distracted.

“Can I call you back?” I repeated into the phone.

As I signed the release form the clipboard lady asked what was going through my mind during the event.  I told her that I felt bad the woman, that I was empathetic, and that I wished I could’ve done something for her.  I probably should’ve stopped there.  I continued telling the worker about how I had just got out of a serious relationship and how my friend died.  I explained to her that was the reason I was drawn into the conversation.  I realized now that I was rambling too much and that I probably I look like the crazy stranger now.  Perhaps now I am her bizarre stranger story that she tells everyone.

Anyways watch the video here