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Ugh, stop twitching
unforeseen consequences
horror Posted 2009-02-18 17:41:42 by Jim Crawford
Recently, my sister told me the story of how, in 4th grade, she was dissatisfied with her sex education class because they weren't allowed to tell her anything about boys anatomy. So she sneaked into to a bookstore and picked up one of those this-is-your-body books for young boys. A balding, middle-aged guy in a wife-beater noticed what she was reading and started following her around, even after she left the mall. She was a bright kid, she knew what he was after, but she wasn't sure how to bring the subject up, or whether doing so would scare him and make him violent. Eventually she found mom and the guy wandered off.

So, there's my new argument for better sex-ed.

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time travel
horror Posted 2008-03-25 23:25:20 by Jim Crawford
I watched The Mist last night. It was pretty amazing. There was one shot in particular that really dropped my jaw, and it totally made the movie for me; for all I know, maybe the rest of it was merely okay. If you've seen it, I'm curious if you know the shot I'm talking about.

I'm pretty sure the rest was good too, though. It seems like Lord of the Flies recast as an 50s-era monster movie, though set in the present, and with a Lovecraftian fear of the utterly alien thrown in. I'm really into that sort of thing, about how we become totally different people during unusual and stressful situations. It also seemed like a parable about how extreme faith and extreme rationality are both doomed, and the sanest path is in usually the middle. But I'm not positive that that still holds true when you're not a character in a Stephen King novel.

Harmonix patched Rock Band a few days ago.

. . .

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horror Posted 2007-04-04 10:48:21 by Jim Crawford
Last night at the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station, I saw a large man in a blue hoodie burst through the wheelchair access door next to the turnstile-equivalents, looking very determined. After about half a minute out of my range of vision, he asked a BART employee to call his mobile number, because someone had taken his mobile phone. A conversation ensued with a homeless-looking man that he apparently suspected. Homeless-Looking said something like “[do you] want to see it,” while taking something out of his pocket. Large-Blue-Hoodie read this as an admission of guilt -- it sounded like one to me too, at the time -- and took an aggressive step forward. Homeless-Looking opened the switchblade that he had taken out of his pocket. BART-Employee said something along the lines of “hey, hey, hey, hey.”

Large-Blue-Hoodie started chasing Homeless-Looking around the room. Megan and I headed upstairs to the train platform with haste. There was one person there, smoking a cigarette. I called 911 on a convenient pay phone, and interestingly enough, they told me they had already received a report and asked me if I could describe the men further. I did so, and they said they were on their way. Megan and I went around a corner so as to be hard to find in case one of them finished with the other and decided to go after witnesses.

I don't know what happened after that, but about five minutes later, people started appearing on the train platform again, so things had apparently cooled down. We never heard any sirens.
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don't drink blood, kids
horror Posted 2006-03-04 00:43:26 by Jim Crawford
Somebody got off the bus and started vomiting up blood onto the sidewalk this morning. She was facing away from me, so at first I wasn't sure what was happening, I thought maybe she was emptying a jar of tomato sauce. A passerby pointed out to me what was really happening, in a rare example of an obvious statement actually being informative, but nobody else seemed to notice and the driver closed the door and drove away. It occurred to me that I should've stopped the driver and gotten her help, but it was too late to reasonably do so before I could work up the nerve to speak.
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horror Posted 2006-02-06 05:51:26 by Jim Crawford
So the story is, Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten decided that the media was self-censoring Muslim issues, and in an effort to correct this, asked cartoonists to make fun of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad.

“Thousands of Muslims rampaged Sunday in Beirut, setting fire to the Danish Embassy, burning Danish flags and lobbing stones at a Maronite Catholic church as violent protests over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad spread from neighboring Syria. ... Syria blamed Denmark for the protests, criticizing the Scandinavian nation for refusing to apologize for the caricatures of Islam's holiest figure.”

When I saw this image, I assumed that the word “freedom” was just a word, a symbol that stood for the differences between Islam and the rest of the world. I assumed he was using it in much the same way that George Bush slings the word around to justify actions that are antithetical to freedom. But then I read this quote from Al-Thawra, a newspaper run by the Syrian Government:

“It is unjustifiable under any kind of personal freedoms to allow a person or a group to insult the beliefs of millions of Muslims.”

Refresh my memory, weren't the Japanese this backwards before we nuked them?

On the other hand, this is a promising reaction which will hopefully prove enlightening to somebody.
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horror Posted 2005-06-23 22:51:13 by Jim Crawford

The short version of this is that the government used to be able to seize your home in order to build public works, like hyperspace bypasses, and now the government is allowed to seize your home so that the Wal*Mart corporation can build a new Wal*Mart in its place. I'm shocked that three of the supreme court justices nominated by republicans voted for this, because seizure of private property for the public good is about as communist an idea as they come.

Putting how evil this ruling is aside, seizure of property is not a wise move on the part of the local government. Okay, so yes, the Wal*Mart is probably going to pay more taxes than the erstwhile homeowners were. But how long do you think you're going to have homeowners in your constituency when they have to live in fear that the gestapo will come for their houses while they sleep?

So don't worry, this will only be abused if your local government is in bed with big business!

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and all it costs is your self-worth
horror Posted 2004-09-11 18:59:48 by Jim Crawford
This is some repugnant shit. The short version: sign up for some promotional offers and get five others to do the same, listing you as a referrer, and they send you an iPod.

Maybe I'm biased, because my first taste of the “Free iPod!!” syndrome was spam on my entry about how my grandfather had just died. I'm seeing see it everywhere now, in Slashdot signatures, in sponsored links, and on weblogs of people I used to respect. It's pretty clear to me at this point that it's a legitimate company and a legitimate offer, in the same way that you really can get cash money for sucking cocks on the street.

It does not please me that grass-roots spam is becoming socially acceptable. At least in the cocksucking situation, you're generally not expected to convince five others to do the same thing.

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i've been scooped!
horror Posted 2004-06-05 21:20:26 by Jim Crawford
Exhibit A:Exhibit B:

Look at that! On the left, there's the famed modern 2D platformer Gish, featuring what looks to me to be a good real-time lighting engine.

On the right, there's Swarm, my modern 2D platformer thats languishing in squalor, because I don't have the motivation (or artistic talent) to get it done, featuring what I know is a good real-time lighting engine, because I wrote the damn thing.

I was really, really hoping mine would be a first ... but I'm not bitter. Well, maybe a lot.

Also note that while my levels are completely free-form and non tiled, Gish's levels actually look good.

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horror Posted 2004-01-13 10:58:26 by Jim Crawford
LA Weekly:
The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking the fast track for new laws to ban face coverings, gas masks or even goggles at public demonstrations, where the devices could weaken officers who want to control crowds with pepper spray and other chemicals. ... If protesters wear scarves around their noses and mouths and swim goggles to protect their eyes at public gatherings, Hillman told the commission, “the ability of that officer to gain compliance is restricted.”

Well, cry me a fuckin' river. I guess I forgot that as a criminal, it's my responsibility to avoid inconveniencing my arresting officer. I suppose I ought to stop wearing this bulletproof vest, too, in case a cop decides it's in his best interest to shoot me.

Hey, police, why don't you take a cue from us criminals? Remember those “The Club” commercials? If we're planning to steal a car, but it has “The Club” installed, we move on to an easier target. So when you see a demonstrator you want to arrest, but he or she is wearing goggles, just move on to another demonstrator! There are plenty to go around. I'm sure you'll be able to make your quota.

Seriously though, what happened to freedom of assembly? I guess that's a rhetorical question, but I'm also genuinely curious.

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threat part ii, redux
horror Posted 2003-08-15 17:45:50 by Jim Crawford
Mike Hawash has plead guilty to his charges recently, and I just wanted to make it clear that his confession doesn't change a goddamn thing. The situation of his incarceration was still illegal and immoral.

In fact, his confessing brings up a point that most people don't seem to be aware of: Criminal rights exist so that the police can't torture a confession out of a suspect. Yeah, there's a little more to it than that, but that's the gist of it. And the reason that incarceration and trial are required to be public is to prove that the police aren't torturing a confession out of a suspect.

This is why people are afraid of an unwatched government. If Authorities are not constantly proving that they're not being evil, how can you assume anything other than that they are? If you think you can trust a bureaucracy to refrain from some abuse of power because it's “wrong,” then you're a fool -- only individuals base their actions on that sort of judgement. A bureaucracy does whatever it thinks will cause it to win. The only reason it might refrain from doing something “wrong” is fear of a repercussion big enough to cause it to stop winning.

So when, as is happening with Mike Hawash, Authorities refuse to prove that they are doing nothing evil, you can bet they are, and that they think the repercussions would be very, very big.

Oh, and I haven't heard anything about Jose Padilla recently. I wonder what they've been doing with him?

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