Coming to terms with being human.


Free Jolly Jenkins!

Aaron McGruder's The Boondocks is coming to Adult Swim. There are very few mass media daily comics that deserve even a passing glance nowadays. McGruder's work is both fun and insightful which makes me wonder what it is doing in American papers. I had heard about the plan to animate The Boondocks a year or so ago and was skeptical for two reasons. The first, I doubted that McGruder's political tones would be voiced loudly on any channel. Thankfully, Adult Swim has developed into a safety zone for "unsafe" animation so I am hopeful. The second doubt still lingers. Can McGruder translate his style to animation? It's one thing to write a humorous and intelligent strip in four panels and quite another to sustain a story for 15-30 minutes. Still, I am willing to give the show a shot. The TIVO has been set.

UPDATE: The show is now scheduled to premier on Nov. 6th.


Obligatory Box Reference

So you’re up on Pandora, right? She’s the streaming radio music swapping buzz darling of the moment. I have to say, Pandora may deserve the hype. I’ve done the “make your own station” thing before. Watching in horror as Gwen Stefani gets rolled into my Bjork fixation, I usually give up on these services (all the quicker if they eventually expect me to pay). But Pandora is different. Pleasingly so.
Pandora breaks down individual songs not by genre, artist, or popular opinion but by using over 400 aspects of music. I’ve had a song chosen because of mild rhythmic syncopation, a subtle use of vocal harmony, major key tonality, and mixed electronic and acoustic instrumentation. Another mentioned my penchant for throaty female vocalists and excessive vamping. All this to say that mentioning two favorite artists and one good song is enough to make a station that will give you uninterrupted goodness. Those other services often require days of tweaking to get a decent playlist.
So why add to the hundred so reviews of this service? Because I have a simple hack that turns Pandora’s gift of ten free hours into a lifetime of aural pleasure. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you sit around your computer 24/7 then three bucks a month for really good tunes is worth it. But I was in an experimental mood last night. The first thought, how does Pandora keep track of my station preferences without any personal information entered by my own hand? I first assumed IP address (a symptom of P2P users fear). So I made Pandora believe I was from Slovenia. Yet a quick trip to Pandora brought up my stations. Hmmm…cookie anyone? IP faked, cookies wiped, stations still there. Well, Pandora does use a Flash interface. I wonder if wiping out all the saved Flash info would, bingo! Stations disappear and my ten hours are reset.
Of course this means that my station tweaking is all for naught. That’s why I write down a short list of good station groundwork for quick restructuring. So to end this, here are two of my favorite starters so far.

Hanging Tree Swing: Elliott Smith/ Tom Waits/ Two Gallants and Deadweight On Velveteen by Jose Gonzalez

A Peppy Dementia: Parry the Wind High, Low by Frank Black/ Details of Attraction by Consonant/ The View by Modest Mouse/ My Friends by Red Hot Chili Peppers


I Wish I Had Testosterone

The Gender Genie says I'm a man. My understanding of biology is confirmed.

The Genie scans text and then judges the author's sex based off of word usage. The theory is that females and males use various words at different frequencies. If the concept proves accurate this device could prove useful in training forty year old men to be better teen girls on AOL. Actually, this type of use is the only one that makes sense of the Gender Genie name. A genie grants wishes. I'm all for alliteration but would anyone waste a wish on deciphering the gender of a blogger? The Sex Psychic would be more apt, or the Menstruation Mystic....the Dinghy Detective?


I'm a level 60 Investor

Wells Fargo has entered the world of MMORPGs. Using the world of Second Life, Wells Fargo is attempting to help young people raise their financial awareness. My favorite quote from the BBC article,
A pilot version of Stagecoach Island was launched for young adult Texans in San Diego and Austin over the Labor Day weekend earlier this month.

Um, young Texans in San Diego? Anyway, I suspect some sort of western theme to go along with the Wells Fargo mystique. Makes me wonder if I can rob a stagecoach on horseback. That would be pretty neat.
In other news, emotionless bastards make the best financial traders. It seems that people with psychopathic tendencies score better on financial tests. This reminds me of studies that show clinically depressed individuals have a more realistic self image than "normal" people. So the suicidal are the best students of human nature and psychopaths are rational actors. What a beautiful world. Of course, maybe this explains the Wells Fargo MMORPG fascination. They can mix money with elf slaying and get the ultimate psycho fix. Prepare for turn-based ATMing.


CNN + Stress = Funny