Tidbits: Flying, Weird Al, Humor, Slashdot, Muckraking, iTunes Music Store, PowerMac G5

Sunday, 2003-06-22; 04:39:00

Another tidbits post about flying in the Bay Area, some Weird Al Yankovic songs, some random humorous stuff, Slashdot, and, of course, the upcoming PowerMac G5, plus some interesting commentary about the iTunes Music Store.

It's come to my attention that a certain, shall we say, Windows/Microsoft (boooo) "apologist" *ahem* who reads my blog doesn't like reading about rumors of the INSANELY GREAT products with which Apple is going to come out. I'm not one to name names, so I'll keep him anonymous (let's just call him "E. Chase".... or maybe "Eric C." is better.... no, no, his name starts with an 'E' and rhymes with "Shmeric" -- bonus points to anybody who can name both of those references). Anyway, to appease this "person", I'll start keeping all Apple stuff to the end of my tidbits posts, so this person can conveniently ignore them. Anybody else who likes reading them can still do so at their leisure.



Yesterday my brother, my dad, and I flew up to Napa airport to visit my mom's cousin, since my mom's cousin's daughter just graduated from high school. (Side note: Anybody know the term for the direct relation to me? Are my mom's cousins my second cousins? And is my mom's cousin's daughter my cousin once removed? What's the term for having to go up two generations before coming back down to the same generation? I suppose I could look it up on the internet, but whatever. :p ) My brother worked until 6 PM, so we didn't particularly want to drive (since it takes about 2.5 hours to get up there by car). So we decided to fly instead! :) For all of you people who don't know (of which there are probably none), my brother's a pilot (he goes to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University), so we flew out from the Palo Alto Airport in a Cessna 182, and landed over at Napa Airport.

It was pretty cool flying, since you don't get stuck in all the stupid traffic, you can see everything from way up in the air (it's so different!), and you can cover much more ground in much less time. The total in flight time was about 30-40 minutes to get up to Napa, which is a really decent time. Of course, there's the 15 or so minutes to get to the Palo Alto airport, and the 30 minutes of pre-flight stuff.

My brother's been going to ERAU for 2 year now (he's going into his third year starting in August), and he's checked out to fly in single-engine and multi-engine planes that are below 12,500 pounds. It's pretty cool, because we've taken a few flights around other places -- like over Sedona down in Arizona, near where ERAU actually is, where there's a bunch of red rock formations which are really beautiful whether you're up in the air or down on the ground. When my gramma from Italy came over, we visited Gianni (my brother) down in Arizona, and she actually went up in the plane over Sedona, too, which was quite unexpected (since she seemed to be afraid of flying), and even a bit humorous when she put the headset on. :)

It's kind of funny when Gianni flies, though, because he's kind of a totally different person -- he's really serious and not immature as usual. ;) I must admit that it's really cool to have a brother who knows how to fly, even though half the time it's not that cool to have to live with him for three months out of the year. :p Maybe this summer won't be so bad after all since he's working and flying and all.


Ever heard of Weird Al Yankovic? The guy who parodies popular songs, and makes fun of them -- that guy. Well, I wasn't really ever that much of a fan of his (especially because of his annoying voice), but I found a few songs the other day that are absolutely hilarious. One, called "Ebay", is a really hilarious parody of "I Want it That Way" by the Backstreet Boys, about, you guessed it, buying useless stuff on Ebay. "A Complicated Song" is a parody of "Complicated" by Avril Lavigne, which is also a really funny parody about eating lots of pizza and getting decapitated (lol). "Couch Potato" is a parody of some popular Eminem song (I can't say I know exactly which, but I feel kind of ashamed that I know it's Eminem :p ). Sorry, but I'm gonna stop posting songs here since I don't want the RIAA coming after me (especially now that my blog is linked to my "company"'s website).

The last one, which is really funny and actually really catchy, is called "Hardware Store". It's a Weird Al original (i.e.: not a parody), and it's all about a guy who is so excited about a hardware store being built in his town. There's this REALLY hilarious part in the lyrics where he just lists out a whole BUNCH of stuff that might be sold at a hardware store all in one breath. It's a really long, exhausted list (look in the link to the lyrics), and it's quite amazing that he can say all that. He doesn't even sound out of breath. Of course, it could be that in creating the song he spliced in a few different takes, but it doesn't sound like it because it's super-fast.


A few days ago I found some really random humorous stuff that I thought I would repost here. The first was linked to by Lockergnome Bytes, a site which posts random links to notable things, ranging from political stuff to technological stuff. It was in reference to Sen. Orin Hatch, who suggested that there should be some way of destroying people's personal computers if they pirate copyright-protected materials. Of course, there's the obvious commentary that this is a totally stupid idea, that copyright owners should NOT be allowed to circumvent the U.S. justice system, that the copyright period should NOT be extended indefinitely by Congress so it's lame to impose legal action such as this, and that Sen. Orin Hatch himself is holding people to a double-standard. Disregarding that, however, the poster about the issue suggested that Sen. Hatch visit this link.

Needless to say, I laughed my head off for about a minute, literally. Hey, it was late at night, and it was just so stupid that it was funny, you know? It's kind of funny that people take the time to put things together like this. Poking around on that site, I also found this.

Oh my god, I laughed for about TWO minutes about that little movie. Yes, I know, the poor thing probably got hurt. But it's just so out of the ordinary, strange, and kind of stupid on the humans' part that I just couldn't help laughing.

There are also a few other funny things in that same directory, but be warned that some are more crude than these two. I also found this picture quite funny (probably it's better put in context; registration may be required), but again, it's also quite crude.


I've noticed that I go through "fads" on the internet. The first time I really got onto the internet was in 1998, when I got Apple's very first iMac. It was kind of funny because before that I had an old Mac IIsi, and the only internet I really knew was CompuServe. That was nothing like using an internet browser -- I was actually kind of ignorant about the internet then, because I thought CompuServe WAS basically the internet, when I think Netscape 2.0 or whatever was already out around then. Kind of funny how things change in a matter of a few years.

My first fad was Hotline. I used to go on that all the time and chat with random people I would meet on the internet (I actually met a few in person), and then Hotline Communications started releasing poorer versions of the Hotline software, and there were some events that kind of turned some of the servers up on their heads, and eventually I got tired of it and stopped going on Hotline.

Then it was GameRanger, which I also used to go on all the time to chat with people and play games that GameRanger supported (or to arrange a StarCraft game with other random people on the internet). I keep in touch with one good internet friend that I met on GameRanger, but I can't say that I keep in touch with anybody else. They have a big chat room where you can talk and stuff, but I ended up realizing that it was mainly a bunch of immature kids, the conversation wasn't that compelling, and I never ended up playing games that often anyway. Plus, Mac OS X was out, and I was tired of having to launch the Classic environment to run GameRanger all the time (this guy's development schedule smelled a bit spooky), so that expedited the elimination of GameRanger from my habits. See how long I've stayed off GameRanger (do a search for member number 8063)? :)

Next came online bulletin boards, especially the one at MacOSX.com, which I must say was a great online community and resource for help, but a few people ruined it after a while. My account's still active, and every rare once in a while (when I'm bored), I'll mosey on over and quickly glance at the topics, but I never post anymore. Basically there was a few guys who where a bit arrogant (and I must admit that sometimes on the internet some arrogance shines through in me as well), but what really pissed me off was the admin who started putting banners on the site that showed a guy pointing to the Bible with the words "All You Need". I don't have anything against religion, but when somebody actively promotes it (especially when it comes across as being THE best and THE one viewpoint), I really boil up inside. So as long as that site is operational and is run by the same person, I'm not going back. Incidentally, I still do post on a number of other Mac forums (like MacRumors and MacOSXHints), but not nearly as much as I used to over at MacOSX.com . Just do a search for posts by "simX" and you'll see how many posts I racked up in a year. :p

Now it's mainly instant messenging (or is it "messaging"?) that I do on the internet, but I've noticed that I've started frequenting a bunch of sites that post links and commentaries to random things that occur during the day. Slashdot is the main one, but also Lockergnome Bytes, and I also recently heard about Fark (which is at times a bit "adult"). It's actually quite cool to visit these sites because you keep up on current events, whether they be technological, political, or otherwise, and they often post humorous stuff. Definitely check these three sites out -- they're worth a bookmark.


This is something of which I do not approve. While their intentions may be admirable, I don't think it's right to create something like that and go muckraking about George Bush. In my opinion, it's much more effective to hit G.W. on the actual issues, citing examples, rather than creating a dumbed-down sound bite of the message that you want to get across.

Doing things like this just degenerates democracy into bickering. Bickering is not a debate. Yes, G.W. probably is trying to pack the Supreme Court with right wing ideologues which do not represent American values. Nonetheless, the Democratic party should not go creating Flash movies like this.

Worst of all, the Democrats have been taking most of G.W.'s policies sitting down, so they should take a good look at themselves before they go around doing things like this. Good thing that groups like MoveOn.org have alerted people to the issues and forced Democrats to stand up for what their constituents believe in, even if it's only to secure their re-election for their next term in Congress. In my opinion, we don't have a two-party system here in the United States, but a one-party system: the Democratic-Republican party. Unfortunately, the average American loses out when Congress passes things like the DMCA (the Digital Millenium Copyright Act), horrendous tax cuts, and the Patriot Act.


While semi-related to the iTunes Music Store, this has more to do with the thievery of the RIAA. It's a shame that the big lunk of a dinosaur that is the RIAA still dictates the shots in the music industry, especially when artists get so little of the money. Things like the iTMS are definitely welcome, but I really hope that they don't stop the RIAA from going kaput.

It's also things like this that are quite lame. I should have the right to buy only that music to which I will listen. Message to those artists that are crying out about not being able to force consumers to buy albums: maybe if you started making good music, then you wouldn't have to worry about consumers only wanting a few songs. Furthermore, fully half the songs purchased via the iTMS have been in album form, so it seems like consumers still like this format. So quit your stupid whining and start making some decent tunes already!


Last but not least, we come to the venerable Power Mac G5. Microsoft/Windows apologist, you can stop here. :) Also, if you want some semblance of surprise tomorrow, I'd suggest you stop here too.

OK, then. Don't tell me I didn't warn you about any spoilers!

Apple inadvertently posted the specs of the new PMG5s to the online Apple Store late Thursday night. Of course, hawks as we are, some Mac rumormongers immediately noticed it and pounced on them. You can see a text version of the specs here. If those specs turn out to be true, I think the performance gap between Macs and PCs just snapped shut.


That's it for today!

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