Monday, October 27, 2008

Random Observations (October-November)

  • Does anyone else hate Wolf Blitzer? Seriously, he is not even a journalist... more a robot. He won't even banter with his coworkers on-air.
  • I predict that the anticipated James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace is going to suck, but everyone will think it's good until about one week later (much like Indiana Jones 4).
  • Is anyone else bored with the NFL this year? When the Bills and the Titans are the best teams, and the two most famous quarterbacks are down and out, there isn't much left.
  • Roland Martin and Rachel Maddow get an A+ for becoming the anti-Bill O'Reillys. Keep it up!
  • Dear Hollywood: STOP MAKING VAMPIRE MOVIES AND TELEVISION SHOWS. It is beaten to death (and undeath). Sincerely, Original Film Ideas.
  • It should be mandatory for every American citizen to watch at least 3 hours of the People's Court. I promise you will learn something about common law and how to get things in writing.
  • Guns N' Roses' Chinese Democracy is going to be murdered by the critics when it finally appears. Personally, I miss the non-indie music and the big rock acts of old. Remember Nirvana and David Bowie? They're still awesome.
  • I think we need another Great Depression for good measure. Wall Street did not get the message when the stocks plummeted, because they still have central heating and air in their penthouses.
  • Penn State better go to the championship game, or else.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Startup directory: Stupid

One thing that's been around since the early days of Microsoft Windows is the Startup directory. You probably don't know about it unless you've had one of those moments, feverishly deleting anything that booted with Windows.

Basically, if you plop any executable (or shortcut to executable) in the folder, it will magically start after Windows has booted up. Right now, I have over 10 applications starting up with Windows (you probably have more than I do). But none of these are in the designated Startup folder!

Basically, software writers thought that the \Startup\ directory was too out in the open. They thought (wrongly) that users would see the startup folder in the Start Menu and go apeshit. Programmers started writing directly to the registry, into \CurrentVersion\Run\, burying the true startup programs. Fast-forward to Windows XP and the commonality of the internet. Malware goes hogwild, and utilizes the same registry trick to hide. Even those who know about msconfig still have a huge job of cleaning up cryptic startup programs.

So, what does Microsoft learn? Nothing. They have yet to close the loophole. The registry folder is still there in Vista!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lyric Entry #0004

Look at those cunts on MTV
with cars and cribs and rings and shit.
Is that what being a celebrity means?
Look boys and girls, here's BBC.
See corpses, rapes and amputees.
What do you think now of the American dream?

And our soccer moms and dads
who raised us brats on those TV ads
I know that they sleep at night.
Their conscience is intact
they've convinced themselves of that.
Giving money to Jesus fucking H. Christ.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

American Education Reform

I was watching the final 2008 presidental debate, and had to weigh in about the final question: education problems. Both candidates gave dubious responses. OK, let's break this down a tad. For years and years, international surveys (look up Programme for International Student Assessment) have been throwing stats at public schools about how we're ranked below this country and that dictatorship. Here is why: our schools are unfocused; theirs are more focused. Do you think public schools in India have marching bands or tennis teams? Let me elaborate.

The "three R's": reading, writing, arithmetic. These are the basic, fundamental skills that all humans need to know to exist in any society or culture. Many, many of our public schoolteachers are absolutely obsessed with throwing out the traditional curriculum and teaching kids things such as rap music, computer games, Armenian culture, fashion, politics (and the list continues). Basically putting "fun" into school. These topics are not bad, but are they necessary to exist in any society or culture? And, is school supposed to be fun for the teacher?

I remember when I moved from primary school (K-3rd) to elementary school (4th-6th), and my 3-year-younger sister was taking PE with the same teacher I did previously. She got to go swimming at the local university pool with the rest of her class. I was upset. I never did anythingthat fun in PE, other than once using a traffic cone as a megaphone. There were zero PE field trips in my day. Would you rather see your kid in a pool, or accepting a Nobel prize?

One can say that reading is the most important skill that can be taught (other than listening, of course). If you can read, you can crack open any goddamned book and learn about things like quantum mechanics, linguistics, sports, art and geometry. Basically, learning to read well is the key to everything else. So, why are schoolteachers spending time on those secondary skills, like cooking and horsemanship? Don't get me started on music (which has no place in schools, because it exists everywhere else).

To get back to the stats about other countries dominating our 300-million-strong nation of idiots, these stats do have merit. We are ignorant because we lack focus on the fundamentals. While I am not a fundamentalist, and more obsessed with football than finding pi, I know that I could not appreciate or comprehend life without the bare necessities. More time must be spent on the basics (e.g. maybe showing teachers how to make reading more fun?). When the basics are there, the secondary skills fall into place. America has at least 300 million people. Name another country with any number near that, with better schools.

Movies watched in 2020

Here's my annual list. I beat 2019 by about 60 . I stopped tracking TV series, too. The only films I saw in theaters were: Star Wars IX,...