Friday, June 15, 2007


Some Friday fun.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Burlesque Comedy

Quite possibly the best This Modern World comic. Ever.


Lately, I've reestablished my infatuation with the X-COM series, which is probably because of the recent release of UFO: Extraterrestrials. Although UFO: ET fell short, in a number of ways, of my expectations of the game, the various mods created by fans have helped to make UFO: ET much closer to the original X-COM: UFO Defense.

I remember when UFO: Aftermath was first released. Then, as now, I became excited that a new X-COM inspired game would be in my hands. Aftermath was a huge disappointment, a game which neither captured the same tension and suspense as the original X-COM nor the seamless gameplay. At least UFO: ET gets the turn-based part right and a bit of the atmosphere. Without the mods, though, that game would be in the dustbin with Aftermath already.

And all this excitement has brought to my attention that there are rumors that X-COM may finally get a proper sequel.

Monday, June 11, 2007

X-COM Videos Part 4

This is a video clip of the final mission, completed in one turn!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

X-COM Videos Part 3

Here's a video clip of X-COM: UFO Defense's sequel, X-COM: Terror from the Deep:

The sequel was built upon the same engine as the original, but the developers made it much more difficult. Many criticize Terror from the Deep because it's so similar to UFO Defense, but I think the game has its merits. This clip appears to be from about mid-way through the game.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

X-COM Videos Part 2

Another good youtube video:

This clip is from much later in the game and it has some commentary (the voice-over sounds a bit like Keanu Reeves, heh).

Friday, June 8, 2007

X-COM: UFO Defense

Here's a little introductory video of X-COM: UFO Defense that illustrates why this is possibly the greatest game of all time:

In the coming days ahead, I'll be posting youtube videos of X-COM that I think are worth watching. Enjoy!

The Criminalization of Sex

American injustice, served cold:

When he [Genarlow Wilson] was a senior in high school, he received oral sex from a 10th grader. He was 17. She was 15. Everyone, including the girl and the prosecution, agreed she initiated the act. But because of an archaic Georgia law, it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have sexual intercourse, but a felony for the same kids to have oral sex.


The trial finished [...] and the jury came back with [...] "guilty" on the aggravated child molestation.

He looked at the forewoman. She was crying, seeming to understand they'd just undone a promising future. Indeed, when the jurors found out there was a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, several were incensed. The prosecution told them to write a letter, then moved on to the next case.

And look what the prosecutor of the case, Eddie Barker, thinks about it:

Barker thinks five years is fair for receiving oral sex from a schoolmate.

Fair? Are you fucking kidding me? In what fantasyland is this punishment reasonable and how does this punishment serve justice? What wrong was corrected? Can barker even answer these questions without resorting to, "Well, I was just doing my job." You know what? The Nazis said the same shit.

Or could it be because of this?

The first time the Supreme Court voted on Genarlow's case, it was 4-3. The four judges who voted against the black teen were white. The three judges who voted for him were black.

Seems like this case is knee-deep in race issues. Consider this:

At the same time this trial was under way, a local high school teacher, a white female, was found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a student -- a true case of child molestation. The teacher received 90 days. Wilson received 3,650 days.

But there's some good news. CNN reports that the case will be reviewed and a decision on whether or not Wilson will be given back his freedom will be be issued Monday.

You can follow the case here.

This is yet another reason why mandatory sentences are bullshit. The blanket application of punishment doesn't take context into account, and then people who have wronged no one are charged with a crime. Not to mention that criminalizing sex between consenting minors itself is completely unreasonable. What purpose does this serve? Who is being protected? The consenting minors?


New Sightings

I just ordered the newest Sightings LP, Arrived In Gold. Expect a review when it arrives in the mail.

I'm looking forward to this one! A sample track can be heard on the Load Records website.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Police Brutality of the Day

This morning on the train, a friend of mine told me about an incident at a UCLA library in which police officers used unnecessary and unprovoked forced against a student. The college newspaper wrote a story about the incident when it happened in November of 2006 and also wrote a follow-up that includes links to video of the incident. That video can be found on youtube:

Despite the fact that the student, Mostafa Tabatabainejad, relented to the police's requests to leave the library when he failed to produce his student ID, the police stopped him from exiting the library and tased him. While on the floor, shocked and stunned and recuperating from the experience of having his muscles lock up, Tabatabainejad was ordered to "stand up or get tased again" by the police.

Police also refused to answer requests that they identify themselves by providing their badge numbers. One officer responded to such requests by threatening students -- "get back over there or you're gonna get tased too." Such a threat constitutes "illegal assault" by an officer.

In a follow-up from The Sanfrancisco Chronicle, the paper reports that
Tabatabainejad only refused to show his student ID because he felt that he was being unfairly targeted because he is Iranian-American. Tabatabainejad stated that he would show them his ID if the officers asked the other students to show their IDs. The police's response was to taser him. Tabatabainejad said, "Here’s your Patriot Act. Here’s your fucking abuse of power." While the police claim that he resisted them, the video evidence does not support that. Tabatabainejad even yelled, "I’m not fighting you" during the confrontation.

So far, the only facts coming out are that the student has filed a lawsuit again the University, the campus police and
officers Terrence Duren and Alexis Bicomong. I really hope these officers get nailed to the wall for this shit -- lose their badges and serve time in prison for abuse and assault.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Fuck American Anti-Intellectualism

Today, Eugene Robinson, or "Mean Eugene" as a good friend of mine is fond of calling him, has a column in The Washington Post advocating "an egghead for the oval office." The topic is built upon Al Gore's recent book, The Assault on Reason. I couldn't be more pleased that someone in the mainstream media is giving intellectualism its due credit!

Some highlights:

When I look at what the next president will have to deal with, I don't see much that can be solved with just a winning smile, a firm handshake and a ton of resolve. I see conundrums, dilemmas, quandaries, impasses, gnarly thickets of fateful possibility with no obvious way out.


I want a president who reads newspapers, who reads books other than those that confirm his worldview...


I want a president -- and it's amazing that I even have to put this on my wish list -- smart enough to know that Darwin was right.

Actually, I want a president smart enough to know a good deal about science.


I want the next president to be intellectually curious -- and also intellectually honest. I want him or her to understand the details, not just the big picture.


I don't want the candidates to pretend to be average people, because why would we choose an ordinary person for such an extraordinary job? I want to see what they've got -- how much they know, how readily they absorb new information, how effectively they analyze problems and evaluate solutions. If the next president is almost always the smartest person in the room, I won't mind a bit. After all, we're not in high school anymore.
Hopefully, more people will voice this concern. I, too, am sick of the rampant anti-intellectualism in this country. Why wouldn't we want the smartest and most capable person in America leading the country?

"Dig Your Claws Into My Organs"

Holy shit!