Thursday, January 28, 2010
Arrg...Spoilers May Be Below Mateys.
By now you have surely heard at least a little bit about the claims that the movie Avatar is racist (you can read a little bit about that here).
One claim is that it is an allegory for colonialism and therefore has some incorporates some race issues. I have no problems with this claim, I don't really even see it as a racially based criticism. It is more just an observation or social commentary on our past.
The other major claim is that is that it is a story where "the colored savages must be saved by a white savior." This argument just annoys me. Sure the main character happened to be white and he helped save the colored people but never once did I think that was the point. It was more about accepting people and cultures that are different than yours. Would it really be that much different if the main character was black? Not to me. The whole story is about coming to appreciate something that is different than yourself. If the blue aliens were instead white humans who seemed just like us humans - where would be the "leap of faith" required to connect with and care about their civilization? There would be none, it would then just be a war movie. It is the overcoming differences that creates the power of the story - it doesn't really matter who is white, who is black, who is blue - but somebody has to be different in SOME way or it doesn't work...and movies are a visual medium, skin tone is one quick and easy way to distinguish different peoples.
When this argument is used, they never point out that this basically makes us (as humans in general but more specifically caucasians) the "White Devil" who does nothing but destroys and steals. Isn't that racist too?*
Seriously people, just enjoy the movie. I've seen it a couple times. I don't think it is the greatest movie ever like some people. I thought it was OK. It is pretty and has good effects. Personally, I thought the story was a little generic...not necessarily bad but not great or innovative. I found several things that annoyed me more than the whole racist angle (but of course that is coming from a White Devil point of view) - the biggest of which was that they were mining for "Unobtanium." Really? It's almost unpossible to come up with a worse name. Might as well be looking for Magic Fairy Dust or Stupidium.
*Wait, I guess the Latina girl, and the Indian looking guy (pretty much the only dark skinned humans) did join the fight for the blue team...maybe it is racist!
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Fear not, you can still enjoy some good live recordings courtesy Internet Archive.
If you don't know what Internet Archive - it is basically an on-line repository for as much Public Domain digital information that they can get their hands on. Music, Videos, Books, Software...they have a little bit of everything. Unfortunately, I think they really need to work on their interface and make the information easier to find. They are making improvements. I've been playing with their live music archive for a couple years now and the embedded player (on many recordings), the ability to review quality, etc...are all great improvements.
The improvement...or at least the tip that I found the most useful was using this link to browse live music...instead of a huge 80,000+ item list, you can just browse through all artists. This alone has save me hours of time looking through the archive and helped me find many things that I might not have come across before.
So what do you find on Internet Archive? A little bit of everything...but mostly smaller bands. Since they try to get the permission from the bands before music can be uploaded for public consumption you are mostly going to encounter "Recording Friendly" artists. Unfortunately, this knocks out many big name artists by default. Can you imagine Metallica giving the OK to post their live shows? Yeah, me neither. You are probably also not going to find some long lost Beatles live recording...you know those get turned into cash. So mostly it is mid to small-size popularity bands. Note, this doesn't mean bad (although yes there is plenty on their that I don't care for either), it just means that they didn't achieve mass market commercial success.
There are exceptions if a mainstream artist has a Pro-recording stance - Smashing Pumpkins there are 369 live show recordings and The Grateful Dead has 7,273 shows on Internet Archive at the moment. These are extreme examples most bands with only have a few shows: Harvey Danger = 7 shows, Blind Melon = 14, Tenacious D = 33. Your mileage may vary on your musical tastes. I have found hours and hours of music to occupy my time...some has been high quality recordings taken directly from the soundboard to handheld recorders in someone's pocket.
The Internet Archive does have issues - the interface issues mentioned above and some standardization of the items posted - formats can vary all over the map, sometimes whole shows are one file, sometimes they are broken into songs(although they have gone a long way over the past year to fix a lot of this.). The thing that drives me the craziest is the naming and alphabitization of artists...Some artists have "The" at the beginning of their name...like The Beatles (as stated earlier you will not find The Beatles..."The" or otherwise). You would never go into a store and look for the The Beatles under T for The...you would obviously look under B. Many artists in IA (Internet Archive not Iowa) are alphabetized by T for The...The only band that should be categorized this way would be The The. Also alphabetization happens by first name instead of last. John Mayer is under John instead of Mayer. Its not a huge issue but one that I think needs to be addressed at some point. The faults do not overshadow the good that these people do.
I urge everyone to to go Internet Archive and look up some live shows from their favorite artists or try something new. There really is a little bit for everyone. Remember it is all free and legal!
Today I enjoyed this Harvey Danger show....sorry, I told you I was on an HD kick.
(removed embedded player since it was very slow to load, you can find the show here - Gubby 02/02/2010)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Your Mother Doesn't Work Here...
Your Mother Doesn't Work Here, You Must Clean Up After Yourself (or something similar)
I have hated this saying ever since I first heard it on the first day of Fifth Grade Physical Education and good ol' Mr Baltzly assigned us our lockers told us that "Your Mother doesn't work here, you have to pick up your own things." I understand what point they are trying to get across and it was probably appropriate for fifth graders. The problem is that now 20 years later, I still hear people using it...and they seem to think it is witty. It is not. We are all adults now. Seriously, if an asshole is leaving a mess be a dick to them and tell them to clean their shit up. Don't put up a cutesy passive aggressive sign...chances are the type of person that is going to make and mess and leave it is not the type of person that is going to be influenced by a sign.
We have one of these signs in the office break room where I work. I hate is so much...there was supposed to be a picture here but thanks to the Blackberry servers not wanting to cooperate it is not to be. And it is really too much effort on my part to track down a digital camera to take another picture. I know you can imagine though. It makes me angry every time I am in there.
If we have to have a sign, can't we just say "Please Clean Up After Yourself"? It looks and sounds so much more professional and just less stupid generally.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Friday, January 8, 2010
An Accountant! Shouldn't he know this? He is after all PAID to work with numbers. Thankfully, I don't work at the same company or I would be scared shitless for my job as I can't even imagine the accounting errors happening.
After tyring to explain it for a few minutes, I just had to lay it out like I was talking to a kid in fourth grade.
Me: OK, say you have something that is $100, and you want to increase the
price by 10%. How would you do that?
Him: Multiply it by 1.1.
Me: Right, you want to multiply the number by 1 plus an additional 10%.
So your $100 now equals $110.
Him: I increased it by 10%, so I should just be able to take 90% of that right?
Me: No, because you are now working with a higher starting number. 10% of
$100 = $10, so that is your increase, but 10% of $110 = $11. So if you decreased by that amount you will not get the original number, you would actually get a lower number $99.
Him: Oh, I get it! So how do you go from the higher number back to the original.
Me: It is a little more complicated and since it took you so long to understand the first part (about 15 minutes by this time), there is no way that I am going to go into that with you.
The whole conversation reminded me that the human race is probably doomed and reminded me of this great math quiz answer (even though it doesn't have an elephant).
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
I live! After what seems like forever (in these days of Tweets and constant Facebook updates, it must seem like an eternity to some)…finally a new post of substance1, after long hiatus due to insane work deadlines (sure I can do what normal would take a few months and hammer it out in a couple of weeks), a bout with a deadly illness2, a massive home construction project3, and a luxurious rock star-like two week vacation4, Gubbyblog is making a comeback.
On to the HATE:
Dramatizations in Commercials
I understand labeling reenactments and dramatizations on news and pseudo-news type programs where they reenact crimes or events. It is just a simple way of saying that it happened “something like this and these are actors and not the actual individuals…please don’t call the 1-800 crime line on our actors” (although I have heard that type of thing actually happens quite a bit. I also understand labeling something as a dramatization when something is reenacted very realistically just as part of journalistic responsibility. I don’t understand however all the scenes listed as dramatizations in commercials. Isn’t a commercial almost a dramatization by definition? But what really drives me insane is the rip-off products that list the most ridiculous content as a dramatization. Take Lipozene, for an example (I refuse to embed any of their videos because they piss me off and I am sure it is a total rip-off). I was actually a big fan of their “It’s not your fault that you’re fat” commercial from a few years ago because it made me crack up every time. However, I totally hate all their computer animations of fat on the body and then the giant pill opening and spraying the fat with molecules (it is at about the 55 second mark in the video in the upper right corner of their homepage). It is obviously a computer animated cartoon. Would anyone, anywhere actually confuse that with what the pill actually does? Was someone really mad that they didn’t get a two foot long pill that magically sprayed them with yellow dots? It always reminds me how over-cautious and litigious to the point of stupidity that our country can be at times.
Note – I do like the Windows 7 Was My Idea commercial where Steve says everything should work together. I’m sure it is done very tongue in cheek with Steve flashing back to a reenactment of his idea where he is much younger, much more muscular, and better looking. Makes me smile. That is the way to do a reenactment in a commercial.
1 Substance being a relative term here as I don't really think any of my posts have all that much substance because I am just not an interesting person. But at least it is closer to regular posting than I have had in a month.
2 The ever deadly common cold.
3 OK, I just installed baseboards…about a year after I finished installing my hardwood floors (I never claimed to be much more than a lazy, worthless human being.
4 Said rock star vacation being my companies normal holiday shutdown which consisted of the above two points of being sick, installing baseboards, and more than a little shoveling of snow…Rock on!