Dvorakification

This just in from the because why not department, I'm converting my keyboards to and teaching myself to use the Dvorak keyboard layout. Supposedly Dvorak is faster and loss likely to cause carpal tunnel but I'm not trying it for those reasons; I'm trying Dvorak because it fits into my ongoing policy of cultivating eccentricities quite well.

So far, it's mostly just annoying not knowing how to type anymore but, even so, I'm starting to get the hang of some of the vowels and more commonly used keys. Aside from my eccentricity goals, I'm inclined to believe that there might just be something to this crazy layout. That said, I do have one big complaint already, I can't use a mouse with my right hand and press Ctrl-X/C/V with my left hand on its home row.

A Maturing Party Style

I attended a few parties thrown by some MIT-folk this weekend and I've come to two conclusions; I now understand dinner parties and I'm getting old. At 3:30a Sunday, when I left a house-warming party, of sorts, that began around 10p Saturday, I found myself thinking that I'd had rather a good time but it would have been nice if it started closer to 7p or 8p and I'd left closer to 11p or 12a so as to let me get to sleep earlier. Get to sleep earlier?! I've always prided myself on my nocturnal nature and my desire to stay up late socializing and here I am wanting to go to sleep earlier! Now, the obvious reason for this is that I'm chronically under-sleeping these days and having to regularly wake up early. Of course, I don't like obvious reasons, so instead I'll go with having been in similar situations before and not wanted to go to sleep earlier so I can only assume that I'm, in some ways, growing up, which, incidentally, is lamer than Thor's goat. I did manage to get past the non-functional leg aspects of things and think about parties from a more practical standpoint, in which it occurred to me that it would have been quite nice if such a party started around 5p or 6p involved cocktails, a meal and more cocktails; wait, that sounds an awful lot like a dinner party now doesn't it.

The obvious thing that I, or you for that matter, can take from this is that someday in my (or your) life, dinner and cocktail parties should be run in the vein of college parties. Of course, I must add a caveat here; namely, if you like those despicable binge drink-a-thons where they serve endless supplies of terrible beer and plastic bottle liquor, don't run cocktail parties like your college parties. Actually, I guess what I'm really saying is that the parties I've attended recently remind me more of the idea of a cocktail party than of a stereotypical college party and I think that's a good thing.

My Magic Scooter

Ok kiddies, random bizarro dream time:

<dream>

I spent an awful lot of time riding around on my magic scooter. I remember being in Cambridge mostly, riding from place to place, visiting with various friends and having a jolly good time. The portion that I recall most vividly was riding along the Fresh Pond Parkway from Memorial Drive to Route 2. I remember stopping at the light where the Fresh Pond Parkway crosses Huron Avenue and passing a truck to be the first one to the halfway point of the intersection. Of course, the details really aren't very important, the point is I had a scooter and I was having a jolly good time riding around on it.

Now, my scooter was in no way an ordinary scooter, it was a magical scooter (possibly in a Clarke's third law sense). To explain how the scooter was special, I want you to start by thinking about a generic scooter, like a Vespa or such, that's pretty much how my magic scooter worked. Now, despite working a lot like any other scooter, my magic scooter was more like a pair of shoes than an ordinary scooter; basically, I just had to stand with my feet in a line, one in front of the other, sit down a bit, grasp imaginary handle bars and go. My scooter was magic in so far as it wasn't even there.

</dream>

I know it's not all that interesting a story but think about it from the conceptual level; how awesome would it be to have a scooter built into your shoes. I wonder if someone could manufacture such an interface; boots with pop out wheels and tiny motors with wireless connections to special control gloves.

Let's get a clonin'

At this point, cloning science is starting to get to the point where we can do some pretty solid stuff. There have been issues as far as cloned animals have decreased life spans but I don't much consider that a big issue, we only need them to be around long enough to breed. If we can clone one generation and get it to breed a subsequent generation then that species is back and we're good to go. This approach wouldn't work too well for wild species as there'd be no good way to introduce them into the wild in sufficient numbers to survive but I figure there're plenty of extinct animals that'd do mighty well in captivity. I'm sure that I could come up with others, given a bit of time, but here's a short list of a few animals that I think we should clone back into existence and why:

Dodo Birds: The dodo strikes me as an excellent alternative to chicken. The fact that they were dumb enough to stand around and get killed off by sailor means that they're probably dumb enough to be raised just the same as chickens. Additionally, they're larger than chickens--more turkey sized--and thus able to provide more meat. What is comes down to, really, is that I've seen stuffed dodos in museums and I think that the things look like they'd be mighty tasty.

Woolly Mammoths: Ok, elephants are totally awesome; they're giant, intelligent, hulks, capable of exerting incredible amounts of force and performing tons of work. Mammoths have pretty much all the advantages of elephants but they're also mighty cold tolerant creatures because of that whole ice age thing. So basically, what I'm talking about here is having elephants that you could ride around on in the winter. How awesome would it be to spend a weekend in New Hampshire, camping and riding mammoths around. The mammoths could carry enough stuff to live in total luxury and you could build a shelter on their back so that you could be out in harsher weather. I'm imagining having a mammoth gang and riding around the Midwest and Canada, kind of like the Hell's Angels, but with mammoths.

Pygmy Mammoths and Dwarf Elephants: Ok, having established that elephant like things are pretty keen, we should remember to bring back the varieties that were in the 4-8 foot tall range. Don't get me wrong, I love dogs; dogs are great, but wouldn't it be pretty damned sweet to have a little elephant too. I don't know what I'd do with one, ride it around, just play with it, I don't know but I think they'd make totally sweet pets.

Dire Wolves: You might be wondering why in the heck, I'd want dire wolves around again and the answer is that I don't. Why is it on this list, then? Simple, I want to infuse dire wolf genetic material into the modern canine gene pool. I'm really just talking about getting some very large canine breeding stock. Oh man, imagine breeding them with huskies and getting five foot tall sled dogs. Actually, this could probably be accomplished by breeding Timber Wolves with dogs; maybe we should just forgo the cloning and do that.

Elephant Birds: Gigantic flightless birds and I do mean gigantic, sometimes >10 feet tall and >½ ton. I don't really have any good reason or domesticable use for elephant birds so let's just go with because I think they're neat besides people could use them for whatever people use ostriches and emus for.

A discussion of cloning extinct animals because they're awesome wouldn't be complete without mention of dinosaurs so I'll just say that I agree with Jurassic Park; they are too unmanageable for zoos right now.

Wisdom Teeth and Jewelry

Today, two of my teeth migrated from in my mouth to out of my mouth. In other words, I got my remaining two wisdom teeth yanked. Between being a pack rat and not liking to lose parts of myself, I obviously kept the teeth. I must say, teeth are pretty keen little things, structurally and aesthetically; heck, I can totally understand the appeal of a necklace of teeth, especially molars. Ooh, I like this, if anyone out there is getting or has had their wisdom teeth pulled and doesn't really want the teeth, please send or give them to me; if I get enough teeth, I'll make a necklace and I promise you that I'll wear it.

If you would like to donate your teeth to my cause, leave a message here, e-mail me, IM me, hand them to me or mail them to me (relevant contact information can be found on my homepage. I promise that it'll be a nice necklace too, I'd probably spring for a nice gold or silver chain to hold the teeth together.

OMFGSBBQ! Wonder Showzen!

The insanely awesome (awesomely insane?) television show Wonder Showzen is back for season 2. My first experience with Wonder Showzen was in the form of a wonderful little file that I came across on, the now defunct, suprnova that had a file name of kidshow2.wmv and a description of "kids show (not for kids)". Kids Show turned out to be a pilot episode, which got picked up by MTV2 and turned into the glory that is Wonder Showzen. The entirety of Wonder Showzen season 1 was pure genius and hopefully season 2 will meet the high expectations set forth for it.

Silly Nintendo

Just this morning, I was thinking about Nintendo's upcoming video game console, codename Revolution. At the time I was thinking about how fantastic a marketing and hype-building job Nintendo has been doing. The end line of my thinking was the only thing that Nintendo could do wrong at this point is choose a bad release name for the console and they've done just that; they've decided to call it the Nintendo Wii (pronounced like "we"). Now, certainly part of my dislike for the new name is based on having considered it the Revolution for so long and having a general repugnance for the practice of name changing (that's a whole other discussion in and of itself); I expect that I won't dislike "Wii" as much when I get used to it. That said, "Wii" is a terrible name for the US market; "Xbox" and "PlayStation" aren't great either but at least they can be pronounced without ambiguity and have some recognizable traits. In Nintendo's defense, I think they've got "Revolution" planted firmly in a lot of heads so people are going to buy it regardless of the name and call it what they feel like; heck, I might just call mine a "Nintendo".