December 21, 2005

Facebook hijinx

So they've added some new features to Facebook recently.

This one is great: "how do you know this person?" There is unlimited potential for abuse. (See below.)

I also enjoy "Pulse," which supposedly tracks "trends" at your college and compares them to national "trends." One such "trend" I noticed yesterday: "23 percent of Minnesota student prefer MPIRG to Target." Hmm. I didn't know you could compare a liberal political organization to a multinational corporation, but whatev. Also: "2.1% of Minnesota enjoys Jack Johnson." So the other 97.9% don't? ...Yep, seems about right. It's also depressing to see that The Notebook is, statistically, Minnesota's (and the nation's) favorite movie.

The photos thing, which debuted a few months ago, is also pretty cool. But overall, facebook is going downhill with all the ads and sell-out "sponsored groups" they're doing now. Ah well, such is life.

Posted by smit2174 at 10:32 PM

December 18, 2005


Did you know?

«Родина-мать зовёт!» ("Mother Motherland Is Calling"), a statue in Volgograd, Russia, commemorating the Battle of Stalingrad in WWII. Height of statue: 85 meters (feet to tip of sword; the statue's body is 52 meters tall.)

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Height of statue: 46 meters (feet to tip of torch)

This message brought to you by Pat, with help from Wikipedia-->Make a donation, if you feel so inclined.

Posted by smit2174 at 1:42 PM

Five fave flicks for oh-five... fee fi fo fum

Welp, the year is almost ovum, and it's time for a slate of unoriginal list posts. This first one will be dedicated to films I thought were good. I don't have any specific ideas as to what makes a "good" film... but I know it when I see it. OK, here goes...

The Life Aquatic: I know a lot of people hated this, or "didn't get it." I thought it was great. Also, this is the first movie Melissa and I ever went to see together (that was my second time seeing it.) I think she's great, too.
update: Well, IMDB lists this as coming out in 2004, but I remember seeing it in 2005. So it stays.

The Constant Gardener: I recall seeing two "political thrillers" this year (the other was the pretty-good-but-not-great Syriana.) This was the superior film. Not only does its political message resonate, it is emotional, suspenseful, well-paced, exquisitely acted, and beautifully shot.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: I don't get the people who hated this because it wasn't the original. So what? Why can't you like both? I'm not a huge Johnny Depp fan, but he strikes the right chord as a childish, creepy Willy Wonka. There are some great lines ("That's called cannibalism, and it's frowned upon in most human societies"), and the musical numbers are hilarious. Overall there was not a better way to spend... ummm... 115 minutes this year.

The Aristocrats: Disgusting, obscene, vulgar, nearly vomit-inducing at times. Also, pretty effing hilarious at most times. It's not the joke, it's how you tell it.

Cinderella Man: Overall, I guess I'd have to say this is the best 2005 movie I've seen so far. Sure, it's a cliched story. We've seen this plot over and over again. But there's something to be said for a movie that takes a familiar story and tells it better than it's ever been done before, with beautiful cinematography and stellar acting from Zellweger, Crowe, and Giamatti. This movie really didn't deserve to flop at the box office. Please, I beg of you, rent it on DVD... before it's too late...

Other movies I enjoyed: the new Wallace and Gromit, Syriana, the 4th Harry Potter, Jarhead, Kingdom of Heaven. I also enjoyed Wedding Crashers and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, though they weren't as great as everyone claimed.

Movies I still must see: Munich (!); King Kong (for some reason, I'm not as psyched for this as I probably should be, but I still want to see it); A History of Violence; Broken Flowers; Good Night, and Good Luck; Capote; Brokeback Mountain; that Sarah Silverman movie (Jesus is Magic). And there's probably more that I forgot, as well. Can you blame me? It's 2:30 AM and I've had less than 15 hours of sleep in the past three nights. And with that, I must retire...

Posted by smit2174 at 2:07 AM

December 15, 2005

1 down...

Well, my first final is done (Biology.) I wasn't too worried about it, obviously, because I only started studying last night. (Not that I had a choice. Waaaay too much stuff going on this week.) But did I need to worry? Umm... no. I calculated that I only needed a 32/60 on a relatively easy multiple-choice test to get an A for the semester. There were a few tough questions, but overall it was anticlimactic.

Now I just have a 10-page paper to write and then one more final that's not 'til next Wednesday. Wish me luck. I wish you luck, as well.

Posted by smit2174 at 11:05 AM

December 12, 2005

Technical difficulties.

Yes, the site looks a little different and a lot crappier. Sorry. I've been fiddling around with the templates, something I probably shouldn't have done. I don't have the time right now to get it back to where it was, so I will just leave it as is for now. I promise a redesign is coming soon. Sometime after finals, or after winter break, or... well... sometime before the Apocalypse. I promise.

Check out my stylesheet test blog to see what features I'm testing out.

Posted by smit2174 at 1:52 AM

December 10, 2005

Bush: Constitution is "just a goddamned piece of paper"

Well, this explains a lot.

Last month, Republican Congressional leaders filed into the Oval Office to meet with President George W. Bush and talk about renewing the controversial USA Patriot Act.

Several provisions of the act, passed in the shell shocked period immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, caused enough anger that liberal groups like the American Civil Liberties Union had joined forces with prominent conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly and Bob Barr to oppose renewal.

GOP leaders told Bush that his hardcore push to renew the more onerous provisions of the act could further alienate conservatives still mad at the President from his botched attempt to nominate White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.

“I don’t give a goddamn,? Bush retorted. “I’m the President and the Commander-in-Chief. Do it my way.?

“Mr. President,? one aide in the meeting said. “There is a valid case that the provisions in this law undermine the Constitution.?

“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,? Bush screamed back. “It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!?

Posted by smit2174 at 10:41 PM

This is getting ridiculous.

Is this the record for most books checked out of the library at once?
But wait, there's more...
I may share the paper on Richard Wright's Native Son I am currently working on. So far I have done probably 15 hours of research and I am nowhere close to even starting it yet. But who cares... there's something exhilirating about sitting in the library for hours, reading obscure sources, which in turn lead to more sources and ideas. My favorite so far was the Soviet literature journal International Literature, for which there is not even an index in the library. So I went through the table of contents for each edition from 1932-1940, seeking out any reference to Dostoevsky. There's some really cool stuff in there. If you have the time, check it out.

Posted by smit2174 at 7:43 PM



I thought this was pretty good. Read the original here.

And now it's off to the library for me.

Posted by smit2174 at 12:54 PM

December 9, 2005

Hobbits: Secret Masters of Jeopardy!?

Melissa and Pat are once again victorious at NES Jeopardy.

For when you're bored...

Posted by smit2174 at 10:31 PM

December 7, 2005

"They live, son..."

[UPDATE] OK, I discovered this website is a hoax. But it is very convincing. And you have to admire any creationist/intelligent design advocate who actually comes up with a scientific experiment to test their theory. (Not that finding a pterosaurus would prove anything. But it would be friggin' sweet.)

"Kids love pterosaurs! Once Project Pterosaur is complete, children's eyes will be opened to the wonder of Creation."

Wow! Great plan, guys! Let's disprove evolution by launching a quest-- nay, a Project Pterosaur!-- to find real, live pterosaurs in the mountains of Africa. I can't believe no one has thought of this before. Darwin believed he'd thought of everything-- but he didn't think of this. Make sure to read up on the history of human-pterosaur interaction, so you can impress your friends with your knowledge when these intrepid souls at last deliver the proof of creationism.

Also still living:

Velociraptors: Today terrorize the goat herders of Puerto Rico and are rumored to guard the remains of the Ark. They have become vicious since the Fall as the result of the effects of genetic entropy, making them too dangerous for the sort of interactive public experience we have in mind.

Well, thank God they've at least watched Jurassic Park... so they know what they're getting into.

Posted by smit2174 at 10:27 PM

December 6, 2005

Most literate cities

Minneapolis is apparently the nation's second-most-literate city. St. Paul clocks in tied for 9th. Overall, not too shabby... but we've still got a long way to go. See the study here.

P.S. If Minneapolis wants to stay at the top of the heap in literacy next year, it's gonna have to work on those library hours-- and that means more funding.

Posted by smit2174 at 11:44 PM

December 3, 2005

I heart parachute pants... and by heart I mean LOVE... and by "love" I mean "wear"


Folks, we have our first entry in the official coloring contest. I witnessed the creative process for this one, and let me tell you, it's going to be tough to attain the right state of mental enlightenment to produce something this... amazing. Let's all give a warm round of applause to M. Shelsby. If no one else enters, I guess she will win the GRAND PRIZE. (The secret grand prize.)

Posted by smit2174 at 8:45 PM

Red Eye: the Road to Obesity?

The Gophers After Dark website promotes rampant overeating (a clinical eating disorder.)

Worth buying the big bag of popcorn and box of Milk Duds – you’ll find yourself anxiously finishing them within the first few minutes of this Wes Craven thriller.
Posted by smit2174 at 8:13 PM