Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Worst Olympics EVAR.

All right, let's get the Olympics hate out of the way first.

Never mind China's horrifying human-rights record. Never mind the ongoing idiocy in Tibet. Never mind the government's blocking of websites which could sow dissent. (I guess I'm one of those, now.)

Let's talk about concrete things, easily-provable things. Let's start with the opening ceremonies. When I was in Iowa for Nordic Fest, they had fireworks. I love fireworks. But one thing I've felt for the last few years (and gave voice to when we were in Decorah), is the fact that I am very disappointed in today's fireworks. We can put people on the moon. We can put rovers on Mars. We can clone puppies. Why in the name of Al Gore are we unable to make fireworks like Gandalf's in The Lord of the Rings movie? I was impressed by some of the 4th of July fireworks we had here in New York. There were some cubes and some happy faces; pretty good. But why not letters? Why not complex shapes? We have the technology, get to it. So, I was thrilled to read about the giant "footprints" stomping across Beijing to the Bird's Nest. Well, I was, until we found out that it was all bloody computer-animated. For fuck's sake. Strike one.

Ah, yes, look. An adorable Chinese waif singing "The Ode to the Motherland" during the opening ceremonies. Isn't she cute? Isn't she just the paragon of Chinese childhood? Well, actually, yes, she is. Because she never sang a word. The girl who could actually sing was deemed "not cute enough" to appear on stage and camera, so China's darling lip-synced the entire thing. Click through to CNN to see the girl who sang behind a curtain. I think she's very cute. Strike two.

Hey, those gymnasts look sort of young, don't they? Hey, their birth dates for the last four years don't match their birth dates posted this year. China's response: they're 16. No further questions. Strike three.

Copyright law is interesting. I learned when I was running Rainbow Time magazine at Cornel Language School that classical pieces are considered to be in the public domain, but the arrangements and recordings of those pieces are not, and are protected by copyright law. Well, national anthems are the same way, and a Czech composer who arranged the anthems for the 2004 Olympics says that Beijing stole his arrangements whole hog. China's response is akin to the kid who lies, and then lies about lying. Strike four. Sigh.

Well, enough of all that. I'm glad it's over and we can all start looking forward to the next real Summer Olympics in 2012. London has nothing to worry about. Seriously, though, the Beijing "Games" are the George W. Bush of Olympic Games. How fitting that he was the first U.S. president to attend an Olympics not on American soil.

Final score: 0 [Epic fail.]

On to better things.

Katie just started her new job at the Montessori School on Manhattan's Upper West Side. I'm still toiling away in the salt mines. We're zooming up to Montreal next weekend for a Labour Day (or Labor Day) trip. Also, the time has come to renew my NAFTA visa, so off I go, distressingly-expensive lawyer-drafted paperwork in hand, to charm my way back into Murka for another year.

It looks as though my boss is moving the business to a part of Brooklyn called "DUMBO." (Which, in typical New York fashion, stands for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." Christ almighty.) I'm happy; it'll shave 30-45 minutes off my daily commute, both ways. That's an extra hour to hour-and-a-half that I can spend playing video games. (I need that time, too; I'm up to the 100-hour mark in Final Fantasy Tactics Advance 2: Grimoire of the Rift, and I'm replaying the first three Metal Gear Solid games in preparation for MGS4.)

We visited Katie's sister Abby and her fiancé, Matt, in Alexandria again a couple of weeks ago. Good fun, we got to watch a barful of drunken Murkans who could barely spell "olympic" lose their minds as some guy won a medal for swimming. Sheesh. We got to play Settlers of Catan, though, which was super fun.

I've added links at the top of the sidebar which provide instant access to the main page of this website, my collected photos on picasaweb, and my shiny new youtube channel. Enjoy!

Here's a really cool optical illusion. I spent like twenty minutes staring at it.

Speaking of optics, some Japanese researchers discovered a protein that transmits electrical signals from the eyes to the brain and went ahead and named it "Pikachurin." Japan is the best.

I've added three new games to the "Toys! Games!" list on the sidebar. Corpse Craft is a puzzle-RTS hybrid that's surprisingly fun for the first ten levels, then punishingly hard thereafter. The multiplayer is a laugh, though. I'm, predictably, "adamfirefist" if you want to play with me. Epic War is a typical tower defense game, only it's based in the Tolkien universe, so you also have squads of hobbits, elves and wizards at your disposal. Plays a lot like King Arthur's World on the SNES. Coign of Vantage is a weird little perspective-shifting game that will appeal to people who like sudoku. I say this based solely on the the fact that both games feature square grid pieces.

Wired alerts us that someone has gone to the trouble of finding out which body parts are most sung about in various genres. Unsurprisingly, "eyes" lead the pack across most genres, excepting blues and gospel (which favor "hands"), and, sigh, hip hop, which... well, see for yourself.

I'll leave you with this hilarious video.

http://view.break.com/536276 - Watch more free videos

Thanks for reading! Call me on Skype!

Now fuck off.

Love, Adam
How about it, Snake? Can you take one more?

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