Jan 24

Friday Crap Roundup XXXIII: Crap I Like

When I started SB nearly a year ago the intent was to supplement what I wrote at Cracked. Unfortunately, as of today said contributions at Cracked comprise entirely of a single Photoplasty entry. I haven’t even sent them a proposal in months. It’s very much a lack of desire on my part, and also because I think they’ve slipped a bit recently. Don’t get me wrong, they still produce great stuff from time to time. I’m just not “feeling” them as much anymore.

halflife3

Too many movie and video game articles I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass about.
Image credit: Valve Corporation

That said, there’s plenty of other good stuff out there. That’s a good thing, given what kind of a slacker I am.

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Aug 15

This Post Sucks

Nearly 20 years ago, Primus came out with this little gem celebrating everyone’s favorite television cartoon fartnockers.

Poetry: “huh huh huh huh huh/huh huh huh m huh huh m/huh huh m uh huh”

Now why did I never buy that album? Oh yes, it was because they ruined it with a Cher duet. That sucked.

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Jul 14

Happy Bastille Day!

From all of us as SB (yes, even the cats). Happy Bastille Day!

Prise_de_la_Bastille

Nothing says “party!” like storming a prison.

What the hell is Bastille Day, you ask? Well, 224 years ago today it signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.

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Jun 30

Digital Foreshadowing

Σ shares my affinity for computers. For a variety of reasons, she also shares my childhood lack of access to computers.

TRS-80_Model_I_-_Rechnermuseum_Cropped

Entirely different reasons, mind you.
Image credit: Flominator

That means when she’s with me she tends to go a little nuts online. Today was a case in point.

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Jun 09

The Lamest Post Yet

Ack. Maybe I really should think about taking Sundays off. This afternoon over at YouTube I managed to take another much-needed swipe at “Here We Have Idaho,” but that’s all I had in the tank for today. Yes, I used Windows Movie Maker not 24 hours after dissing it in this space.

Told you it was lame.

If I ever needed an energy dome, it’s today. Hell, this post is so short I’m not even gonna bother with a jump.

800px-Devo_Energy_Dome

Whipped good.
Image credit: DarKrow

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Jun 08

Stupidity in Multimedia

My daughter went back to the 2T earlier today. Now I have time to catch up on my own projects. Projects such as buy laundry soap. Buy dish soap. Buy disinfectant. Buy batteries. Buy cat litter. Buy horse tranquilizers pale ale. And do it all at once.

oldbatteries

I tend to let things go.
Image credit: Dean Johnson

It also means I have time to go back inside my head. That’s a scary, surreal place indeed.

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May 17

Friday Crap Roundup XIV

It’s Friday, and I’m tired of writing about Wyoming. I’d much rather share this giant, larvae-filled ant colony Beachy and I found in Grandpa’s backyard this evening. It was pretty awesome.

The ants were not amused. They’ll be even less amused when Grandpa goes to spray them.

How’s that for an intro to this week’s FCR?

It Shouldn’t be THAT Difficult

My good friend Trevor Dodge, a fellow 2T refugee and an accomplished snarkologist in his own right, came across this little slice of heaven this week.

profitfromrapture

At the library, no less.
Image credit: Trevor Dodge

Now while I suppose there’s a market for such privileged information in case of a rapture (or more likely, an eruption of the Yellowstone Supervolcano), I really don’t see how one could write a whole book about it. After all, if what happened in Europe after the Black Death is any indication, all you’d have to do to prosper is show up.

Oh yeah, you might want to avoid Wyoming too. Just saying ….

Service With a Sneer

I normally don’t pay attention to reality TV, but when someone genuinely makes the likes of Gordon Ramsay look as calm, rational and unbiased as Walter Cronkite, it’s hard to look away.

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“Non-stick. And that’s the way it is.”
Image credit: Blofeld Dr.

Of course, I’m referring to Ramsay’s now-infamous encounter with the Scottsdale, Arizona-based Amy’s Baking Company as depicted on his series, Kitchen Nightmares. The utter lack of civility, decorum and common sense demonstrated by these restauranteurs – whom Ramsay declared beyond help – is breathtaking.

While there’s a great deal of speculation regarding Ramsay’s work in reality TV, specifically as to how much of it is actually “real,” that’s beside the point here. Among other things, no one in their right mind opens a sit-down restaurant and refuses to let servers keep their tips.

fans fighting

I don’t know about Arizona, but in Philadelphia that would get real ugly, real quick.

Sadly, the YouTube clips I watched were taken down. Still, I encourage you to find and watch the full episode rather than just the highlights. Absolutely stunning.

Track of the Week

While martinis can be made with vodka, purists argue this classic cocktail should always be made with gin.

Yes, I’m sure. Even in Wyoming.

May 11

Those Damn Ads

I’ve been on the Internet in some form for nearly 20 years. Back then the World Wide Web looked like this:

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“Graphics? Are you mad? You’ll crash the entire campus with those!”
Image credit: Russell Boltz

I often miss those days. Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) was in ASCII text. Social networking? That’s what a Telnet-based BBS was for. I still have an account at one. You should go visit them. They’re lonely.

Before 1996 or so there was a definite Wild West feel to being online, especially if you didn’t tie yourself down to some heinous monstrosity like AOL. If you knew what you were doing there were plenty of ways to interact with interesting people worldwide on a completely noncommercial basis.

aolcds

And you were never, ever short on coasters.
Image credit: techfun

Sadly, those days are long gone. While I’m all for making a buck online, I find it amazing that corporate America is still so bloody clueless about it all these years later. Banner ads? No one looks at those anymore. Pop-ups? Just about any decent web browser can block those. Video spots? Better keep those under 15 seconds, or we’re outta there.

Take YouTube as an example. Given that approximately 99.97 percent of the population clicks that “Skip Ad” button as soon as they see it, I wonder why people bother paying to put up ads upwards of two minutes long, knowing damn well virtually no one will watch more than the first five seconds.

youtubeskipad

“What were they selling? Who knows? Who cares? Play ‘Gangnam Style’ dammit!”

Some advertisers have grown wise to this and (I assume) plunk down more cash so YouTube will run their entire 15-second ad without a skip option. To YouTube’s credit I haven’t seen them force anything longer, at least not yet. Fifteen seconds is at the upper end of my tolerance, I’ll say that.

If you want something really irritating, check out those sites linked at Cracked and elsewhere which feature articles such as “15 Celebrities Who Are Living with Serious Medical Conditions.” You know, those sites so chock full of ads they take forever to load only to provide you with an absolute bare minimum of content? I had to sit through an entire Wendy’s commercial today, just to find out Kim Kardashian has psoriasis.

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Sneferu has more fulfilling moments when he’s licking my hair out of the bathtub.
Image credit: David Shankbone

I keep hoping technology will eventually allow us live in more enlightened times and that we’re just in a state of transition now. But damn, it’s a painful transition.

Apr 30

Repulsed by Radio

A couple days ago I regaled you with my thoughts on 1980s TV. I suppose it’s only fitting I make a few comments about 1980s pop music as well.

My fascination with music can be traced directly back to 15 July 1984, my 11th birthday. As a gift I received a small “boom box.” This in turn led me to an obsession with the weekly Top 40 show as hosted by Casey Kasem and later Rick Dees. It aired on at 4 pm on Sundays on the local Top 40 FM station, and I often taped the whole frickin’ thing.

Rickdees

There’s no cheese like the Dees.
Image credit: lax.hyundai

I freely admit I liked a lot of the stuff they played on Top 40 radio back then. Still do. However, as time wore on I increasingly came across songs I didn’t like. That’s to be expected, of course. Even so, there were some tracks I found so loathsome that just a few notes would compel me to turn the radio OFF until the offending audio went away.

The following are some of the worst offenders.

Anything by Prince

At roughly the same time I embraced the Top 40, a Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter named Prince Rogers Nelson released a film called Purple Rain, along with a soundtrack album of the same name. For approximately the next three years, Western civilization wouldn’t shut up about the guy. At certain times Prince seemed to be more overexposed than the King of 80s Cheese himself, Michael Jackson.

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I’d post a YouTube clip, but he’d probably have it taken down before I hit the “Publish” button.
Image credit: Yves Lorson

Why I hated it then: When I was 11 years old there were two things in this world I absolutely despised: Cabbage Patch Kids and Prince. There was no single reason for my loathing of the diminutive Minnesotan, but it probably had to do with his eyeliner, his ruffled shirts, a bouffant which put Kim Jong-il’s to shame, his repeated dissings of Weird Al Yankovic, and the fact he seemed to be everywhere for a very long time. Whatever it was, I couldn’t stand the guy.

One Christmas during this period there was a present for me under the tree which was clearly in a cassette tape box. For several days I feared some well-meaning but profoundly uninformed grownup bought me Purple Rain. As it turns out, it was The Best of Spike Jones. My sense of relief was enormous.

spikegun

Possibly the only time in recorded history anyone was so relieved to receive a Spike Jones album.

What I think of it now: My view of Prince has moderated considerably over the years. He’s an undisputed musical genius, and I have to to admit even today “When Doves Cry” is a hell of a dance track. Nevertheless, I still haven’t seen Purple Rain (or any of his other movies, for that matter).

“Always” by Atlantic Starr

If there ever was a song written specifically to be played at wedding receptions, this 1987 track is it. Apologies in advance if this is “your” song.

Perhaps the best-known single by this upstate New York R&B group, “Always” is four solid minutes of the most concentrated shlocky sweet cheese produced to date. Repeated exposure to this track is bound to cause hyperglycemia in just about anyone. Consider yourselves warned.

Atlantic Starr was responsible for many, many awkward high school slow dances.

Why I hated it then: This sort of thing is exactly what a sexually confused 13-year-old boy DOESN’T want to hear, especially in heavy rotation. Sweet YHWH this was a painful experience.

What I think of it now: OK, OK, they were a talented group and it’s crystal clear why newlyweds gravitated to them. Still, if I ever get married again I’d much rather hear Public Enemy’s “Bring the Noise” at my reception.

“Kyrie” by Mr. Mister

In 1986, someone at the Top 40 station in the 2T must have really, REALLY liked Mr. Mister, as they tortured the whole of south-central Idaho for months with these guys. Overplayed doesn’t begin to cover it.

Remember styling mousse? They do.

Why I hated it then: If it weren’t for the excessive overplay, Mr. Mister would have likely merited little more than a footnote in my memory. But once the damage was done, there was no holding my rage back.

What I think of it now: I still don’t miss it.

“Hippychick” by Soho

If you’ve never heard of this one-hit wonder or their reputed “hit,” you’re forgiven. “Hippychick” was released in 1990, did its requisite tour of the Top 40, and then was quickly forgotten. Or at least I wish it was.

In 1996, some years after I swore off the Top 40 (more on that in a moment), I was a regular listener of an “alternative” radio station out of the Sun Valley area called KSKI. At the time KSKI was an independent, free-wheeling station which wasn’t afraid to play good music, even after an infamous incident involving “special brownies” among the morning drive crew.

Good music, with the glaring exception of “Hippychick.”

Gah!

Why I hated it then: This song is essentially a clumsy sample of Johnny Marr’s iconic guitar riff from “How Soon is Now?” followed by a crappy dance tune. That alone is bad enough. What really set me off is that it was broadcast on KSKI, a station one could reasonably expect to actually play The Smiths. But instead of Morrissey’s plaintive wailing, you were presented with this. Gotcha! I wouldn’t be surprised if this turned out to be KSKI’s idea of a practical joke. If so, I sure as hell didn’t find it funny.

What I think of it now: No wonder why Queen fans hate Vanilla Ice.

“Do the Bartman” by The Simpsons

When The Simpsons premiered in December 1989 it was a big deal. I liked it. Possibly you liked it. In any event, it’s a TV show that’s still in first-run prime time nearly a quarter century later. It’s clearly a groundbreaking series.

Which is why we can almost forgive them for dropping the festering turd known as The Simpsons Sing the Blues on us a year later. “Do the Bartman” was the lead single.

I don’t care if he’s dead. I still want to bitchslap Michael Jackson for writing this.

Why I hated it then: Although by the time “Do the Bartman” came out I had given up on pop music (again, more on that in a moment), my hatred for it was nearly automatic. Unlike Mr. Mister, it didn’t need to be overplayed. Being the most ham-handed attempt to cash in on a fad since the advent of The Archies a generation earlier, there were plenty of other good reasons to despise it.

What I think of it now: Yeah, it still makes me want to go out and break stuff.

“Just a Friend” by Biz Markie

Oh my, this is the granddaddy of them all. Not only did this track elicit an immediate, visceral response, it also triggered a significant watershed moment in my life. For a variety of reasons, including some of the aforementioned songs, by the time the Biz hit the radio in late 1989 I was already quite disgruntled with the whole pop music thing. Then one fine day I was presented with this:

Absolutely stupefying.

Why I hated it then: As I recall my initial reaction was something to the effect of, “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME!?!?!?” Don’t get me wrong, I like old-school rap. At this point I was the proud owner of Run-DMC and Public Enemy albums. But this … this made Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” sound like Sgt. Pepper.

It was at that moment I shut off the radio and resolved never to willingly listen to a Top 40 station ever again. Over 20 years later I continue to make good on that promise. Not long after I started discovering the good stuff, including Living Colour, R.E.M., The Police, Jane’s Addiction, The Dead Milkmen, Erasure, the Pixies and – of course – Rush.

What I think of it now: In all seriousness, I think today is the very first time I managed to listen to “Just a Friend” the whole way through. In an odd way, I’m almost thankful to Biz Markie for delivering the coup de grâce to my Top 40 habit.

Damn, I feel dirty now. I think I need to take a shower and listen to Permanent Waves for awhile.

Apr 12

Friday Crap Roundup IX

It’s Friday and I’m in the 2T again. Beachy has one of those teacher inservice days, so I had to interrupt her Smosh and Fred Figglehorn habit to write today’s FCR. Believe me, that’s not an easy task. Once I’m done I get to take her to Hop 2 It. Oh joy. At least she’s paying her own way this time ….

Smartcard2

NOTICE: FATHER CARRIES NO CASH
Image credit: Channel R

But First, A Shameless Plug

I’ve known Travis Hill since we were in fifth grade or something like that. He’s into hockey, writing and snark, just like me. If you enjoy SB, I venture to guess you’ll like his stuff too. You can find it here, here and here.

He doesn’t know I’m doing this, and when he finds out he’ll probably have some off-color remark for me. That’s part of his charm.

Speaking of Remarks …

SB got its first real comment in well over a month earlier this week. Feel free to comment at this site, you slackers. Constantly deleting Engrish spam hawking fake Air Jordans gets old after a few weeks.

Anyway, commenting on “Messing With Spammers,” Ray told SB he also encountered the infamous “gr8tits2play.” He wrote in part:

How can I report this user? That ISP address or whatever. Oh well my only option is to report it on Fling and hopefully they will warn others. I didn’t sign up for the other site because I couldn’t find her user name, so I Googled – you guessed it – gr8tits2play. should I respond back with something, or don’t reply?

(Ed note: link NSFW)

Good questions, Ray. You did the right thing by reporting the account to Fling and by NOT signing up to “her” site. The dating site is probably not going to “warn others,” but it should delete the offending account with extreme prejudice. I imagine they’ve already done so as of this writing. I don’t recommend responding unless you’re going to troll them like I do. That just invites more spam.

As for tracking where the e-mail came from, what I do is find the originating IP address in the e-mail source. A “View Source” option should be available in e-mail clients such as Thunderbird and Outlook. Finding the source in web-based e-mail, such as Hotmail, can be problematic.

The source consists of a bunch of computer gobbledygook. What you want is something that looks like “Received: from [1.2.3.4].” The numbers in the brackets are the IP address. There may be several lines like this; the one you want is usually the last one.

Once you have the IP, do a search on an IP lookup site such as IP2Location. The result should tell you where the IP originates and what ISP it’s registered with. This doesn’t work every time, but it’s the best way I know of to track an e-mail’s origin. If someone out there knows a better way, please share with the class.

Of course this only works with an actual e-mail. If all you have is the communication on Fling (or wherever), you’re not going to be able to track the original IP, although the site admins can if they so choose.

By the way, if you do troll them let me know. Definitely share if it nets you hilarious results.

My Message in Your Modem

SB reached an auspicious milestone earlier today. All you Rush fans out there should appreciate this:

2112views

And the geeks shall inherit the earth.

Let’s Network … Or Something

Hey! Now you can “like” me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. The Mayor of Boise, members of the Idaho Legislature, and the Idaho Statesman all follow me. Why not you?

324px-Flag_of_Boise,_Idaho.svg

In other words, the city knows my every move.

Oh yeah, for what it’s worth I have a Pinterest account too. I don’t use that much, though.

Track of the Week

I like me some trance, y’all.

We’re not in Kansas anymore.