Archive for the 'Humor' Category

The Hitchhiker’s Guide on Zombies

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on Zombie combat

Zombies typical and primary means of attack are their talons; ideal for pulling their body across miles of scorching Saharan desert, capturing lovely fishes, and obtaining brains from various locales. A secondary attack is the deadly bite which, for dramatic purposes (27), is frequently hidden by the biteie so that he may turn in front of all his remaining friends at the climax of the story.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on Killing Zombies

The zed may be defeated by severing the connection between the brain and body. Alternatively, the brain may be perforated repeatedly to inhibit natural functions, customarily with a large gage ceremonial shotgun; the sort which is chronically low on ammunition.

A lesser known (though arguably more effective) weapon is the Earthdate 1990 era music video “Never Gonna Give You Up“, performed by Earthman Rick Ashley. While a low-grade weaponized edition of the song was tested with satisfactory results on a small selection of lone zeds, it is currently unknown what effects it would have on an entire horde.

A well known rumor holds that distinguished researchers of the Runge-Kutta star-system once produced an atomic dance remix of the tune. Further, it holds that the galactic council was thrown into an uproar at it’s premier and, in a rare fit of ethics, immolated it on the spot for the good of the universe.
It is the opinion of The Guide that such an outlandish rumor is untrustworthy and should be put to rest. The council is not renown for it’s ethos.


Kubuntu w/ KDE 4.1 stream of consciousness

I took a brief break from coding to try out KDE 4.1 in Ubuntu 8.04. I used the procedure to install outlined on the Kubuntu page. This release was billed long ago as the one which would be ready for users. Observe my amazing stream of cosciousness, typed in real time as I explored the basic KDE 4.1 desktop.

All the hotkeys on my laptop’s keyboard have been disabled. I can’t adjust the screen brightness, which defaults to “solar flare.”

Ripping off the Vista search-as-you-type style menu is only a good thing.

No Tango in the icon switcher? I thought one of the big deals about Tango was that it was one of the first complete icon themes to use the new-two-years-ago icon naming system?

The plasmoid whatever it is method of resizing the taskbar confused me for a while. Also, am I missing something? I messed around with these wierd tabstops and justification buttons that pop up when you want to resize the toolbar, but nothing happened. Don’t know what they’re supposed to control, but the UI metaphor isn’t working for me.

No obvious way to turn off text labels on toolbars

The menu that pops up when a flash drive is inserted is extremely nicely done. There is a my-computer style device icon persistent on the taskbar, and the popup dialog is attached to this icon. I don’t know. It takes up valuable space on the taskbar, but I like it. It would be nice if my home folder was in there, maybe with a separator to distinguish it from the devices or something.

Window compositing!
Alt-tab highly meh.
Can be replaced with Aero win-tab rip off or what looks like an itunes coverflow clone.
No compelling reason to use KWM with composite over compiz. Or even over KWM with no composite. Aside from shadows and the window becoming a little transparent when you move it, I’m not seeing a big difference.

The mouse pointer theme is under Keyboard & Mouse, not appearance. Which makes sense I guess, except that that icon is under the Computer Administration category. Even though every option in the mouse section easily falls under Look & Feel.

I don’t like single clicking to open folders. I don’t care if it’s more efficient, I want my double click back. Where is the option? It was around in previous iterations of KDE, but I can’t find it now.

If there are enough items for the scrollbar to kick in on the k-menu, the last one will be halfway off the screen.

Does this have integrated desktop search? Deskbar in Gnome hooks into tracker. The k-menu search should do something similar.

What is the deal with Lost & Found? Why did it just dump everything from my neatly organized Wine folder on the Gnome menu in there?

Why does the “Desktop theme” affect the taskbar, not the desktop? I went looking for the taskbar theme by right clicking on the taskbar first.

I installed some desktop theme using the “New Theme…” button and nothing happened. I thought I’d misclicked because the progress bar went by, but nothing happened.

Oh, you have to install it, then back out and select it on the list. I’d like to at least preview it though. The screenshots are too small, and going back and forth is annoying.

I *think* I installed the Haron theme using the interface, but it’s not in the list for some reason. Hey, it didn’t work twice in a row.

How can I get rid of that annoying button on the end of the taskbar? Oh, I can hide it by locking stuff.

Why is there an annoying button in the top right corner? Can I get rid of it? What the heck? Why would anyone want to zoom out their desktop like this? Is this for if you’ve got like 20 virtual desktops and they all need different widgets or something? Weird.

Gah. I’m going back to Gnome. My eyes can’t stand the glare anymore.

Ok, why are there choices for log out/standby/shutdown/restart on the menu, if they’re just going to pop up again as a seprate dialog when I click one of them?

Verdict: Kubuntu 8.04 with KDE 4.1 feels funky and unpolished. This isn’t nearly as usable as I expected. I’ll check back around 4.2.

Please don’t flame me. Gnome is good, Windows Vista is good UI-wise (until you need to configure something), but KDE feels pretty meh.

Save coinage on your semesterly educational bibliotheca

There are many ways to achieve the goal stated in the title of this post. Crime is one option. Several student bodies hold that organizations such as campus bookstores engage in it on a frequent, if not regular basis; though we can hardly blame “them.” We can, and do, blame semi-anonymous people on the internet however. People like “Thor”, who shoot lighting from their fists while cutting up cardboard yogurt boxes for use in shipping illicit materials via our great nation’s postal servicemen.

Allow me to elaborate. One of the used textbooks we bought off Amazon arrived today with the phrase, “EXAMINATION COPY” plastered in large, unfriendly letters across the front cover. An explosiony star-burst encouraged instructors to “keep the cost of textbooks down!” by “See back cover.” It was an intriguing invitation, though I am but a student. Yet, must not all good instructors frequently lower themselves to the status of student in order to expand their mind and return to professoring refreshed anew? Having thoroughly rationalized my position in the matter, I flipped the tome over. There were several lengthy paragraphs to which the star-burst indubitiously referred, but as the son of a lawyer my eyes were immediately drawn to the small print at the bottom.

Behold! Engraved in ink was a message from the publisher informing me that dissemination or resale of the work was prohibited.

I sensed irony.

In which I become a terrible diplomat

A new wifi network appeared this morning, “Punknet.” Yes, Punknet. Seriously? I’m tempted to treat as I would an insolent newbie speaking in leet who endeavors to build a castle on a previously undiscovered tiny island just off the coast of my magnificent kingdom. Namely, by leading a raiding party party out to investigate and extend it either a boon of friendship or notification of doom. In this case, the signal pretty weak, so my glorious civilization and his rather less glorious might-be-mistaken-for civilization will probably be at peace. But one can never be too careful about anything with the word “punk” in it.

On the other hand, my wifi network is named after our cocker spaniel, so I suppose I can’t complain much about stupid names. Except that spaniels aren’t stupid. They’re amazing. How amazing? Cry  ‘Havoc,’ and let slip the dogs of war!

Hootenanny and Humor Desensitization

So, there’s a third round of Hootenanny auditions. Huzzah!This means the chances of skit from James entering in the running again is much higher than it was several days ago, when the chances were zero.

We even have (extremely busy and pressed for time) actors this time.

To prepare (and because most of the penn2ers are noobs and needed to see it anyway), I watched about half an hour of the show from last year. My previous skit? Painful. Horribly painful and embarrassing. We were nervous, we fudged up lines, and most of the (extremely frequent) puns were either too subtle to show up in dialog, or not funny when they did. Overall, it just didn’t flow well at all.

Part of the issue was just how long and elaborate the lines were. Having taken speech since than, I now realize that part of the issue was that the script was not written to be verbal. One of the great and unique things about authors like Dickens and Wodehouse is that most of their work reads great on paper and sounds great when read out loud. I definitely lack that gift. Hence, the target time for this year is two to three minutes. Much longer than that, and the audience looses interest.

Another part of it was just The Stage and Preparation. Joking around and having fun with a skit while auditioning was great. We were all loose, we had scripts, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that what we had was a decent skit. I was wrong, but it didn’t really matter at that point because we didn’t know I was wrong, and it’s much easier to convince people that your skit is funny if you think it’s funny.

However, as the event drew closer, I became completely immersed in the dialog. I began to doubt that it was really as humorous as I’d previously supposed. Others in the cast felt the same way, so we began to edit. Humor is so much easier to deliver if you know exactly what part is supposed to be humorous. You can build up to it, emphasize it, and all sorts of wonderful things like that. But after going through the same lines so many times, we lost track of what was funny.

The writer behind Portal was interviewed recently, and he said something that resonated with me.

“Tough guy dialogue is just about as macho the 50th time you hear it. Funny dialogue is funny once — maybe.”

I can’t really say much about macho dialog as I can’t write it without instantly deleting my work and washing my hands to get rid of the slimy cliche,  but the latter part is definitely true about humor. This year, I am relying much more heavily on 3rd parties to see how much they laugh when reading the script.

But there are still issues. Especially tying it off neatly. Everyone loves a climax directly followed by a witty comment. Do you have any idea how insane that is to write? This is why half my skits don’t even have real endings and sort of trail off into the distance, much like this post.

Ah, well. At least I can write code.

The Moon is a Lie!

This is how I spend so much stupid time not doing homework.

  1. I need to do physics homework like a good student
  2. It’s online! How handy. Let’s go to Lon-Cappa
  3. Hmm. This problem requires that I use the gravitational acceleration constant for the moon. I don’t know that, and it’s not stated in the problem or the book.
  4. I know! Wikipedia. Not always 100% reliable, but can be handy for things like this.
  5. That’s a really short article. Doesn’t have the number I need. But hey, look! It’s a reference to faked moon landings. Wow!
  6. Ok, don’t get distracted. Some other website must have it.
  7. Volia! 1.62m/s^2. How easy!
  8. Gah! It says the answer was wrong! Stupid site gave me bad info. Good thing I’ve still got four tries left on the problem.
  9. Click! I close the tab of the treacherous website. Oh, look. It’s the wikipedia page on faked moon landings.
  10. Time passes…
  11. Wait, it’s how late? Gah!

Tune in next week, when James SSHes to letnet… and certain doom!

New slang word of the day

Titanic: To fail horribly and miserably at something. An epic failure.

“Some guy in the dorm burned popcorn, set off the smoke detectors, and got the building evacuated. It was titanic.”

“Man, I totally titanisized on that test today.”

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