10.27.2009

Idiot Ad

So, the thing about google ads is that they're relatively unobtrusive. They don't play music, cover up your whole screen and make you click something, blink, or start video players that slow down a web page and cannot be stopped. But sometimes they're just stupid.



Why have an option to search FOR an email address BY the email address?

-headdesk-

8.22.2009

mopeds!

videoMoped mania!

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5.30.2009

Go Tigers! Whee! Game's almost starting!

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5.19.2009

My cat is pooped. :) He was like this when I walked in and I called his name and he just kind of opened his eyes.

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5.12.2009

A Spring Miracle.

My little tree that I adopted from the wild. I was weeding last summer and I found it, so I planted it in this pot. Over the winter, it turned brown, and since It's obviously a pine tree, I was sad cause I thought it died. But lo! It is alive, well, and growing! :)

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5.07.2009

videoI love retro video game greeting cards. :) These are so cool!

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4.26.2009

Mosaic

I first did this as a meme on facebook, but then I decided to do it with a purpose--search Flickr for photos, and paste their URLS into a mosaic maker site, and see what happens. I searched for doors with a variety of adjectives--colors, things like old, golden, unlocked, etc.

Here's what I came up with:




(click to see it in more detail. :) )

4.16.2009

I Don't Believe in Seeing Anymore



Yesterday, at work, Jesse told me about a strange phenomena in which an optical illusion(The video above shows the illusion she told me about--it's funny, even though I know the illusion, I can't get my eyes to see a concave mask.) is shown to schizophrenic people and mentally "normal" or healthy people. Odd conclusion: Every single "normal" person was fooled by the illusion. Every single schizophrenic person saw the image is at truly was. What does this mean about what we call "normal?" If a schizophrenic person sees the truth, does a schizophrenic person also hear the truth, while the rest of us are sort of paranormally "deaf?"

This makes me think of how limited we are by our senses. We make conclusions about what is true, real, relevant, etc., based on our five senses: sight, scent, touch, taste, and hearing. But should we always trust our senses explicitly? It occurs to me that the phrase "seeing is believing" has become obsolete. Certainly at one time, it was true. If you saw a great feat, it was true even if unlikely. But now--Now perhaps we can not always believe what we see.

Take Gollum for instance, in the Lord of the Rings movies. If seeing was indeed believing, we would be forced to conclude that that creature is real, alive, and existing in the universe. Of course, humans have been drawing likenesses and representations of fantastical animals and beings for many hundreds of years, and I am not tempted to consider them real. There is a question of realism and context.A sketch of a griffin or a hippogriff is clearly something created by a human. It is not, as an individual, a real creature. I can tell this because it is two dimensional, it does not move, and though the image is recognizable as a representation, it is not exact.

Gollum, relative to his landscape, in the context of the movie scene, satisfies many of my requirements for reality. He looks realistic, he appears to be solid, he interacts with the things and people around him, he makes sounds, appears to have thoughts and needs.

The only reason I know Gollum is not a real creature is because I have been told that he is fictional, that creatures like him do not exist. I have been taught which things are real and which are fantastical. But had I not been taught these things, I would certainly believe in Gollum. I have been deceived by talented artists and a clever computer program.

But now that I know such deception is possible, I must distrust anything I perceive with my five senses. Logically. But human beings are not, by nature, logical. We are emotional, often driven by what we want rather than what we need. What a human needs for survival and procreation is very simple: food, water, safety, moderate temperatures, and other humans. But our emotional, illogical natures allow us to suppose, to plan, to question, to imagine those things past hunger, thirst, safety, and sex. And as soon as we have thought of these kind of life-accessories, we are not satisfied with what we have. Survival is not enough anymore. We must also be happy. We have built a world to satisfy our curiosity and make ups happy. Sometimes the things we do backfire on us, and we end up destroying much that we've created. But our mistakes are inevitable, and the fact that we may learn from them makes us human.

3.11.2009

Geology, Story, and Finding Something Worth Doing

Hey. I'm a little drunk and I want to talk. I know, I haven't spoken to you in a while. But hey. What the hey. I've said “hey” too much. But hey. What's life for:?!

You know, I miss writing. I miss school. I miss people expecting things from me. Now, if I even go one step out of the way to do something at work, Erin, my sales rep, praises me to no end. “Thank you so much for doing that!” Hey, I say. Just doing my job. Job. Damn. I hate that. I hate that I'm the lowest person in the company. I'm worth more than that, dammit!

And that's why the decision has been made. It was made under my covers, with tears of frustration running down my face. Sobbing. “I want to be a geologist!” And it seemed like the world rolled out a red carpet before me.

It dawned on me. Literally. Like the sun coming up in the east, and flashing in my eyes so I had to squint. Why the hell not? If I could go back to school to teach, why couldn't I go to school to study rocks? School is school! And this time, I wouldn't go just for fun, like I did at Columbia. I would go with an aim to work in the field. If I could work with rocks, with the earth, and write when I got home, and marry the man I love and have children... the world would be a perfect place. I could do two of those things now—I could marry Gordon and write. And kids, I'm sure, would not be far behind. But I have missed geology ever since my class ended. And I love it. I mean, I'm so curious. Science intrigues me like no other. Especially about the earth.

My god! I love the earth! It's a fabulous, fantastic place, with interesting things at every turn! Maybe its because I live in Michigan, and my whole life has been shaped by the geology of the place. The lakes. The dunes. The inherent nature. I live in a mid-sized city that has not dominated the land, but thrived with it. Coming down the East Beltline northward as it turns into Northland Dr., I can see the lay of the land. It grieves me to see Lake Versluis, which is man-made, the evidence of a gravel pit that is now perhaps a quarter mile north. But other than that, I can see the hills! And looking out my front yard, I see a mass of greenery and trees, which hides a hill. I know that if I take Jupiter up to Post and drive up there, I'll be on top of the hill, but I have an urge to walk it. I want to dig into it, see what it's made of, and why it's there. I want to feel the land beneath my feet. One thing I love about geology is that you don't have to a far to experience it. It's at your feet, wherever you are. It is the science of the earth. And it affects you every single day. It tells the story of our tumultuous planet.

Another reason I love geology is because I love creativity. And perhaps I, personally, did not create the earth. But it was created. And I love reading the story of that creation. And all things are affected by the land. Land creates stories. It's a melding of things I love. I have been writing a story for a while now, than in my head I simply call, “Torin's Story.” He is on a quest. He is not a person of any renown. He is in fact, someone like me. He's studying, and working nothing-jobs. It's his friend, Amycus, who leads him to adventure. Torin experiences each of the seven hells, and in consequence, spends his life searching for the seven heavens. It is not like Dante at all, especially since I haven't referenced Dante to see what seven hells would be like. It is my own imagining. But during Torin's quest, he travells across his world. And the geology of his world influences the decisions he makes. It's like the actual shape of the ground beneath him leads to his story and conducts it. It is because Torin was born in a thriving harbor city that the chance to board a ship was available. And other reasons.

I was watching Naked Science today about a 114 degree Farenheit degree cave of enormous gypsum crystals. Perhaps Torin goes to a place like this. Who knows? I am still writing. I have recently read a book written by a cartographer and I learned that I must be careful not to let my love of geology weigh my stories down. The geology should enhance them.

And I should seek my bed.

To bed!Show all

Sweet dreams world. I surrender my waking self to thee. Goodnight!

2.25.2009

videoLAUNDRY CAT!

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1.29.2009

The Super Bowl

Yes, I've said it.

Not "the big game" or as I saw it on an advertisement for a pizza place, "the granddaddy of all football games." The Super Bowl is coming up.

I hope someone sends me a cease and desist letter for titling my blog with their precious copyrighted, trademarked, whatever-claimed two words.

I really don't understand what the big deal is. Why on earth would you want people to prevent the spreading around of the phrase "Super Bowl?" Is the NFL a secret society now? Don't they WANT people to watch it? Why do they turn down all this free advertising!?

Not that the Super Bowl needs to advertise itself--it's probably now tantamount to an instinct. Like the how birds feel the change in the weather and so know when to fly south. Three or four weeks after Christmas, most Americans instinctively stock up on pop and chips, have sudden cravings for buffalo wings and beer....

Now, this year, I couldn't care less about who wins or even plays in the Super Bowl. But it's a huge cultural event, so I'll probably watch its commercials, or at least ask someone who won, go, "Huh. Cool." and go on with my life. And I'd have to be blind and deaf not to be subjected to the advertisements for the parties, the sales, the events that go along with it all, so even though I care less than a sock who wins, it still annoys me that they're so anal that no one can even mention the Super Bowl.

It occurs to me to mention that I think people are a little neurotic about copyrights in general. Now, I don't want people taking credit for my work, or stealing my profit, but if I had a franchise of any sort, I can't think of a reason at all that I would want to keep people from mentioning the name or playing with my work. I'd welcome the word-of-mouth! Pah.

1.24.2009

Voo Doo You



Watch more cool animation and creative cartoons at aniBoom

This is a strikingly sad little video. The courage of that one little Voo Doo doll is more than most humans can claim. But of course, most humans don't get the chance, and they're lucky they don't!

But is that little doll any different from the other dolls on the rack? The other dolls certainly can't be labeled as courageous compared to the one who gives his life for his friends, because we don't see them do anything that requires courage. But the doll who sacrifices himself, though undoubtedly performed an act of courage, was the only one who was able to get down off those hooks. If the mortar and pestle hadn't been underneath him, he could never have gotten down off of that hook. If the mortar and pestle had been under any of the other dolls, wouldn't they have made the same sacrifice? If it was under you or me, would we make the same sacrifice?

I don't know. Would I have run, saved myself? Or sacrificed myself to save my friends? I would like to think that I would sacrifice myself, but I can't be sure I'd have enough courage. I think I'll settle for being thankful that I'm not in such a situation.

I must mention here the ideas of chance and prophecy. I have to mention Harry Potter. I'll be brief.

If it had been anyone besides Harry, would they have succeeded too?

I say yes. Anyone at all. Because the prophecy sets the rules in that game. The prophecy states that "the Dark Lord shall name him as his equal." So any boy (or girl) that Voldemort chose would have been equipped with the power and the motive to destroy the Dark Lord, even, I think, if it had been someone like Draco. Oh, there's a ton of room for variations. But I think, in the end, the prophecy would have its say, and the Dark Lord would have been vanquished.

But, like Aslan says repeatedly in CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, it is never given to people to know what would have been.

1.23.2009

CHIPOTLE IN Grand Rapids at last!

I'M SO HAPPY! MY CHIPOTLE IS OPEN!

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1.20.2009

Melissa's Tribute to Neville Longbottom



It's kind of like Neville is now Chuck Norris or something.

I adore this. And I adore that people understand Neville's absolute goodness. Man, it's the little things in life, and oftentimes, it's the little characters in stories that make it all worth it.

I'll accumulate some examples of these some day. How the little guy affects the outcome of the hero. The sidekick. Except Neville isn't even a side kick. He's not Ron or Hermione. He's not Robin, or Little John or or or, (insert expansive lists of side kicks here.) He's like, one under that. He's not in the Trio (Harry, Ron and Hermione,) he's in the Quartet (Harry, Ron, Hermione, Luna, Neville.)

More on this later.

No seriously, I mean it.

1.07.2009

Should Majority Rule?

I've been incubating an idea.

It's not an executable idea. It's not something that once I decide whether it's good or bad, I can implement it. It's one of those ideas about the way a person views the world. It's a decision I'll make, and it affects some pretty big things about how I think, how I work, how I vote, and how I grow.

When I incubate ideas, sometimes subconsciously over a period of years, I give them names. Key words. This one I think of as faith and leadership. When I conceive of something like this, have the idea for the very first time, I kind of tuck it away in the back of my mind and set it there to simmer. To incubate. Think of it like a Google news alert. Google allows a user to receive e-mail alerts based on a keyword. So If you put in "Barack Obama," not only will your inbox explode, Google will e-mail you every time their search engine returns news results that mention Barack Obama. In the same fashion, every time I come across something that adds to, contradicts, or reaffirms this idea conception I have, the idea itself becomes deeper, more complete and I understand more about it.

This idea, faith and leadership, started probably six or seven years ago. I was a part of an internet community that featured a mailing list, a website, chats, and other interactive activities. The girls who organized it all tried to keep their growing community in order, but some of the members seemed upset. Why was this not done faster? Why were they not allowed to do this? Why was this person not accepted into the group? Why was this thing not done fairly? One of the girls who organized it all got fed up and sent an e-mail out to everyone that basically said, "Listen, it takes a lot of planning, organization, and time to run this, and we do it for fun, and so you can have fun. We made the choices we made for a reason, and although we realize that you are all valued members, we are the ones who can see the whole picture. So sometimes you're just going to have to trust that we're making the right decision."

Hm, I thought to myself. Sometimes you just have to have faith in leaders. And the idea was conceived. It popped up again from time to time in fantasy books I'd read, where kings and queens made difficult, sometimes unpopular decisions. The leaders were valiant and wise, and the people, who would then experience better conditions, would soon see that their leader had made the correct choice.

In other things, I'd realize that blind faith, following leaders who are not in fact making wise choices, is not desirable at all. Consoling oneself with my idea, with the rationale "well, he must know more than I do," to justify political apathy isn't acceptable. It isn't very American. In America, the people insist on being heard. All affairs are not up to the leader. It is not considered wise to simply have faith.

To bounce back like a bouncy ball, I recently saw this article: Bush says he didn't compromise soul to be popular. He says, "What do you expect? We've got a major economic problem and I'm the president during the major economic problem. I mean, do people approve of the economy? No. I don't approve of the economy. ... I've been a wartime president. I've dealt with two economic recessions now. I've had, hell, a lot of serious challenges. What matters to me is I didn't compromise my soul to be a popular guy." Which to me, is a valid sentiment. I mean, in many of my classrooms I've seen a banner: "What is right is not always popular, what is popular is not always right." And certainly, just because many of my contemporaries are running into a busy street doesn't mean that I'm not assessing the situation for myself.

But we've been taught that majority rules. Our country is built on this principle. Every person has a voice, every person has a vote. Beyond voting, we can contact members of congress. We have freedom of press, we can gather supporters. We can impeach leaders we don't approve of. We have a lot of say.

But for the same reason that we need to trust our leaders to make decisions, the idea that they have a wider view of a decisions effects, are we qualified to have this vote? The majority rules: what if the majority rules badly? What if the majority is not qualified to rule? How on earth would we know? Think of the world as a cosmic game of chess. If we can only see one or two of the chess pieces near us, but there is one person with a vantage point who can see the entire board, even if there are more people with limited vision, wouldn't you trust the person who can see?

Perhaps not. Perhaps the person who can see could lose on purpose. Perhaps the person who can see won't relay truthful information. Perhaps the person who can see is a great climber, but not a great chess player.

I think the answer to this is the answer to most of the conflicting ideas I have: There must be a middle ground. In the chessboard analogy, perhaps the game could be played if the many on the board who have limited views all shared their views and made a sort of conglomerate image of the game. Perhaps the answer is not blind faith in a farther-seeing leader. Perhaps the answer is a responsible majority, who work together.