Sic Semper Socktopi

Welcome to my Autohagiography.

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Location: United States


Stalking Euell Gibbons (1911-1975)

I'm reading a great old book called Stalking The Healthful Herbs by Euell Gibbons. The title is a broken pun, being a follow-up to his book Stalking The Wild Asparagus.
His books are a travelogue of sorts about foraging wild plants for food and medicine. "Herbs" is both funny and informative and is highly recommended. Gibbons relates his attempts to make a chocolate substitute out of tree bark, and he turns every herb he collects into a new flavor of Jell-O, except for the ones he turns into new flavors of moonshine.

According to this biography, as a teenager during the depression, Gibbons fed his family with wild foods. They subsisted exclusively on pine nuts and cactus pears he collected from around his New Mexico home. Now that's badass.


I met Dan Bizarro Piraro at San Diego Comic Con and got a drawing from him after seeing his stage show, the Bizarro Bologna Show. Dan has a vegan page which singles out his vegan comics among other things.

I liked his Hamburger Helper.

First link via Vegan Porn again.


All I need now is a USB NES controller

Shouldn't you be playing free roms on the OSX NES emulator RockNES right now?

You can get "legal" NES roms here, in that these were never original cartridge games, but have been written in recent times specifically for emulators. I highly recommend the game "Escape From Pong" which is pong from the ball's point of view. "Escape From Pong" could have been written in 1975, but was actually born in 2003, weighing in at an awesome 1k.


Fish Lips!

You should buy this book. The parts I've read so far have made me laugh out loud, and not just because I'm mentioned on page 133. I'll tell you all why someday, but I figure the post below this one is enough writing for today.

Fun Fact: Video Game Crash of 1983!

Home video game consoles in 1982 were a $3 Billion industry; By 1985 the industry managed only $100 Million in sales. The video game crash of 1983 completely destroyed the video game market, with most analysts predicting that the video game "fad" that began with the first arcade hit, 1972's Pong, was over, and that home consoles would be relegated to history.

The crash of '83 resulted from a combination of stock market speculation, gross mismanagement at Atari, and a spate of third party cartridge producers who tried to cash in on the boom. Home consoles and arcade machines earned more money in 1981 than Hollywood AND Las Vegas gambling COMBINED. Profit margins were huge, and stock market speculation created unreal expectations that the pace of growth would continue. Meanwhile, Atari's execs seemed to agree that the console market would continue to expand unabated. In 1983, when Atari secured the rights to make the arcade sensation Pac-Man into a cartridge for home use, they decided to produce 12 million copies of it, even though only 10 million Atari 2600's existed at the time. The theory being that the ability to play Pac-Man at home would increase sales of the system to the point that their would soon be 12 million people who wanted a copy.

During the same period however, hundreds of new game companies had opened shop. Some like Activision were founded by ex-Atari employees, and these hundreds of new companies lured away Atari's most talented programmers. While certain third party manufacturers like Activision produced quality games, the majority were parasites that sold poorly made and derivative games. Suffering from this brain drain, Atari's Pac-Man was a substandard adaptation of the game. As a result Pac-Man sold 7 million copies, leaving Atari with 5 million extra cartridges of the game and 70% of their customers feeling hoodwinked with a crappy imitation of the arcade Pac-Man. Meanwhile, all those third party game makers were churning out cheap cartridges and the flood of overstock resulted in massive discounting and a perception among customers that most home video games were of low quality. In order to compete with the discounted titles, new games had to be sold at a reduced retail price, and the spiral of discounting continued.

Atari was selling the 2600 at a loss, with the plan to make profit by selling games. But the sheer volume of third party cartridges stopped this plan from working.

Atari thought it's salvation would be to license the rights to a game based on the movie E.T. After the success of the movie, they bought the rights and quickly wrote a game that they could release in time for Christmas. With many of their best programmers no longer working for them, and an extremely rushed production, the result an unplayable disaster. Seanbaby named it the #1 worst game of all time.

But Atari had decided to produce an initial run of 5 million copies of ET, anticipating a hot holiday seller. An Atari executive remarked, "nearly all of them came back."

Unable to give them away for free, Atari decided to throw out millions of copies of Pac-Man and ET. "In order to keep the site from being looted, steamrollers crushed and flattened the games, and a concrete slab was poured over the remains." (I also read an article about a empty mine shaft that was filled with millions of copies of 5 or 6 games in 1983 and then sealed up, but can't fine that article online right now. They unsealed the mine shaft a few years ago, and you could (can?) buy the sealed games for a couple of bucks each.)

Atari reported a $536 million loss in 1983, and the home console market was decimated.

In order to prevent the crash of 1983 from happening again, when Nintendo released its 8-bit system in America in 1986 it issued a ban on unlicensed third party developers, suing violators. Some companies made games anyway, with interesting results like Bible Adventures, the recalled Tengen Tetris, and the rare pornographic Bubble Bath Babes.

Pork Cocktail

This Globe and Mail piece is the best article I've read in a long time, encompassing everything I like in a news story, including "Dr. Varki says he was hesitant to give a potentially harmful substance, (a pork cocktail,) to human volunteers." and "He also says there is reason to believe that antibodies to the sugar (that is found only in animal products) play a role in hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, infectious mononucleosis, rheumatoid arthritis, syphilis and leprosy." and "Their paper, published in a recent edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that everyone who doesn't follow a vegan diet is regularly inviting a foreign invader to reside permanently in their bodies, one that sometimes ends up in cancerous growths." and... Well, lots more, but I'll let you read the rest!

Thank you, Vegan Porn!


Fun Fact: Joystick Nation!
The first video game ever made was SpaceWar, a proto-Asteroids, written in 1961 by MIT graduate student Steve Russell for the PDP-1, a computer the size of three refrigerators. The game was displayed on an oscilloscope.

This page explains,
The first trackball (and thus, the first mouse) was a SpaceWar control at MIT. It is said that Ken Thompson salvaged a PDP-1 and created a new operating system, now called UNIX, so that he could play SpaceWar.

You can play many modern adaptations of the game yourself, including this java version. But it is 2 players, so you will need an opponent to play.

I am reading the video game history "Joystick Nation" - you can read the chapter on 1960's computer games here.

They should make it less funny, and then I would be less overwhelmed by it all.
Prank Calling My Mother, Four Transcripts

and the informative Actual Entries from Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary, Revised 1939 Edition

and An Open Letter To Umlaut


Presidential Action Revisionist Comics!
This week's Tom The Dancing Bug is worth watching a flash ad at Salon.

Cat In The Hat, a good film it's not/ All the producers should be
The Cat In The Hat live action film is pulling down monstrously bad reviews, inspiring many film critics to rhyme their dissatisfaction.
Here's a poetic pan by Chris Vognar "with apologies to Dr. Seuss"

Bigotry: Hilarious
Do any papers still carry BC? Maybe it's time they finally got around to dropping this stupid comic.


Peter Jennings is a Tool
ABC's JFK propaganda film tonight leaves me with no ability to trust Peter Jennings to deliver the news with a factual basis. I used to think he was one of the good ones. Does Jennings really believe this crap he's narrating?

Peter Jennings has been the subject of a surprising number of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) news alerts. 209 out of 2275 mention Jennings. "Bill O'Reilly" triggers only 47 returns.

It's a Secret To Everybody
Played entirely too much of the original NES Legend Of Zelda today and now I've started processing real stimuli using Zelda logic. I'll have to be careful that if I enter a dark room in my house tonight, I don't respond by burning it down with a candle.

On quest 2, finishing up level 8 right now. After completing the game, I think I'll do some "swordless questing" wherein I'll see how far I can get in the game without ever picking up the wooden sword offered to you at the very beginning. Also, maybe I'll write a Zelda Rock Opera.

I'm going to have Zelda dreams tonight.


The Grossest Drink Since Carbonated Milk
In what is apparently not a joke, Jones Soda Co is test marketing this new Turkey and Gravy flavored soda-pop.


An innocent copy-editing error

Democrats piled on with criticism of the administration for failing to make Iraq's reconstruction more of an international collaboration. "I think it's fair to say that the situation continues to worsen," Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle said on "Fox News Sunday."
The voice in the recording resembled Saddam's, but was huskier and the speaker seemed tired. "The evil ones now find themselves in crisis, and this is God's will for them," said Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat.
The only solution for Iraq, the speaker said, was for "the zealous Iraqi sons, who ran its affairs and brought it out of backwardness . . . to return . . . to run its affairs anew," he said, referring to the Baath leadership.

Via Atrios


This week marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and there are numerous television and media specials exploring the event. This week also marks the 40th anniversary of the use of disinformation to obscure the details of the murder, so it is interesting to compare the different theories being presented by different networks. This article has a rundown.

Interestingly, FOX News strays from the Warren Commission and presents a duel gunmen theory. Meanwhile, ABC is shilling for the Warren Commission sham. FOX News may be Republicans, but ABC is spelled CIA.

"The Men Who Killed Kennedy" on the History Channel has been the best investigation into the assassination yet. Watch it if you get a chance, it is in reruns all this week.

Poo Jar Full
Back from Santa Cruz. Buy this book with a forward by Ben Stein. Some well dressed anonymous writers whom I met in a parking garage leaked to me that there might be a new issue of the UCSC Stall Street Journal coming out soon. (Sadly, no link available.)

Nobody who worked on the Fish Rap Live! during the last five years, myself included, has gone on to get a really cool job. Those who graduated now staff PetCo, Cost Plus, and the campus dining Hall. One is a hobo. Two others haven't graduated after more than four years. At least one is in graduate film school. The rest are unaccounted for. This is the power of campus journalism. Go read Operation Fake-ulty


Elfin-Muppette Sought
"As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. And you know maybe Fox will want to sponsor it as a national contest or something. But in any event I would definitely want someone who would not just be there by my side, but be a working partner because I think we're in a day in age when partnerships are imperative to making anything happening in the world. And I certainly want a dynamic, out-spoken woman who was fearless in her desire for peace in the world and for universal single-payer health care and a full employment economy. If you are out there call me."
Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, 11/05/03

The Royal We
would be a good name for a band. Especially if you were a solo performer. You could tell everyone that you were originally called The We, but when you found out that name was taken you decided that instead of becoming The We UK, you would become The Royal We.


Product Launch, redux
Looks like I'm going to Santa Cruz to help Dandy Andy Lochrie promote his new book Fish Lips, which by the way, you should buy, and not just because I might be mentioned in it. Because I'm probably not mentioned in it. You should buy it because Lochrie's a funny writer and because it has a forward by Ben Stein, whom I met in the dining hall once. He ate spring rolls.


I can't stop blinking

I am officially out of things to post, so I'm going to go read a book and hope I learn fun facts I can share with you all, followed by my brilliant insight into the matter. Facts / insight like:

1 out of every 3 (American) women have an abortion during their lifetime / That seems like a lot.

Reefer Madness is an incredibly boring movie / Maybe you are supposed to be high when you watch it.

"In The Shadow Of Motown" wasn't so great, even if Ebert and the Other Guy gave it two thumbs up / Adult Swim really seems to like bassist James Jamerson though.

New Sealab 2021 this Sunday / Awesome.


Fun Facts about Ralph Nader
I read an old biography over the weekend called "Citizen Nader"

1) The only car Nader has ever owned was a 1949 Studebaker.
2) Ralph Nader is an old man. He turns 70 in February. He doesn't look that old...
3) Nader sleeps 4 hours starting slightly before dawn and works the remaining 20 hours every day.
4) Ralph Nader is a robot.

Hi again
No posts for the last four days because the carpet was getting professionally cleaned, and thus the computer was disconnected while the carpet dried. Now it smells funny. Life without internet access is like visiting a new town and not knowing what to do all day.


Harry Potter Slash
Don't say I've never done anything for you. Just say I've never done anything good for you.
A very wet, extremely furious, and wonderfully naked male figure was banging his head on the shower tiles.
And a whole list here

The Matrix is stupid, but the Meatrix is allright.

Harry Potter V
No posts for the last two days because I started reading the most recent Harry Potter and therefore did hardly anything else besides sleeping and snacking. Finished 750 pages in 48 hours, about 100 more to go. Can't wait to find out if Harry gets with the Chinese girl Cho Chang, whose name sounds like Cha Ching! Plotting the porn version in my mind right now. Will surely finish the book tonight, then feel like my life is incomplete without more to read. Supposedly some have "Hogwarts Headaches" from reading too much Potter, but I figure I'm much more likely to get post-Potter depression resembling drug withdrawal.

But right now, everything is right with the universe.

500% higher traffic today... Are you all from Vegan Porn!? Somebody should really leave a comment...


Nerd Alert
Wizards Of The Coast, which makes Magic The Gathering cards, is running a "You Make The Card" survey on their site. The result is, as might be expected, a broken card. It's so broken that even though I haven't bought a magic card since 1995 I immediately realized that using the fan-designed card I could gain infinite life on my first turn. And infinite mana, if I desired, at the same time. And then I could cast an infinite fireball and win with infinite life versus negative infinite minus 20 life. And then to be fair, I'd probably let you take a turn.

(Click on the card above to go the article,click on the card names below to open a new window with a picture of the card)

The key is FastBond which allows you to play as many lands as you like per turn at a cost of 1 life per land.
But Zuran Orb is an artifact that allows you to sacrifice a land to gain 2 life.
And of course Black Lotus gives you three mana in the color of your choice to get the party started even faster.

So if I use a Black Lotus and a mountain to play Crucible Of Worlds and a FastBond and a Zuran Orb, I can sacrifice a land, play if from the graveyard (costs 1 life from FastBond) and sacrifice it again for 2 life to the Orb. Doing that an infinite number of times would be fun. And since the lands don't have to be untapped to sacrifice them to the orb, I can tap them before sacrificing to get infinite mana of whatever color my land was. A mountain and I could Fireball for a 1,000,000,028 damage. An Island and I could BrainGeyser to make my opponent draw 10,000 cards.

I can't wait for this card to come out so I can build a degenerate deck based solely on putting this combo into play. Even without the Black Lotus, it could be played on your first turn if you got the correct 7 cards by playing a forest and casting the FastBond and then paying 3 life to play 3 more lands, casting the Crucible and the Orb.

This is my favorite blog post ever.

Don't let them throw out my Rainbow Brite TurnTable!
This Onion article describes what will happen to my stuff when I die.

Now Here's A Man Who Looks Like He Drinks A Lot Of Carbonated Milk

"Carbonated Milk" is a new "healthy" drink that is "good for you" because it is soda with milk powder added to it. If you drink enough of it, you will have strong bones just like its grossly obese inventor. Unfortunately, the online photo has been cropped, cutting almost half of him out of the picture.

UPDATE: The cropped photo leaves open the possibility that I am exaggerating the carbonated-milk-man's girth. So I scanned the picture from my paper:

Looks like Dr. Phil has some competition in the 'overweight-people-selling-"health food"' market.


Slashdot reports that a crazy person has grafted a tomato and a tobacco plant together that resulted in a tomato that very likely contains nicotine.

Also: Skittlebrau

Personal Update
Got my unofficial CBEST essay score via email...
It's lower than I'd like, but passing is passing.

I'm now qualified to substitute teach! I still have to wait for the official scores by snail mail before I can submit my job application. But I could be in the classroom by December, I hope.

Now Back to the impersonal stuff...

Ravi Chand: Superhero

Ravi gets written up in this Sentinel article.

Recipe #7
Coconut Water/Pomegranate Juice

My neighbors have a pomegranate tree in their back yard which hangs over my fence, entitling me to free pomegranates and thus, the need to find fun things to do with pomegranates.
I've tried juicing them, but found the result way to strong. Today I tried blending some pomegranate pods with coconut water, then straining the seeds out. The coconut completely neutralizes the bitterness of the pomegranate and reveals its more subtle fruity flavor.

Try 1 medium pomegranate per 1/2 C coconut water. It's weird, but good.

When the revolution comes, it's going to be your back against the wall

When I open Microsoft Word, it asks what type of file I'd like to create but I just want to have the program open so I can select an existing file from "Recent Documents," so I select "CANCEL" - Which OPENS A NEW FUCKING DOCUMENT. Who designs this crap where "Start" means "Shut Down" and "Cancel" means "Proceed"?

This calls for the use of the enraged string of bangs that degenerates into numerals.

Socktopi Mad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111111

Googlism Baiting
sex is optional since our son's birth.
Peter Ammon (is surprisingly not a partial differential equation)
Wil Wheaton is not gay.

Jason Van Glass is a cultural kleptomaniac.

war “could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months.”

Don't miss this helpful Week In Review from the Center For American Progress, the new liberal think tank.


You know what a good name for a Strokes tribute band would be?