Monthly Archives: October 2012

Lifetime Network’s Newest Logo Is Kinda Nice


Like any red-blooded American male, I was watching the Lifetime Network* Sunday night when I noticed the logo in the corner. I noticed it because it was new as of May of 2012, which was weird since I watch the channel everyday and had passed over the rebranding consistently for a good few months.

I like the new logo, and the feminine capital “L” can also be confused for other things which coincidentally compliment the brand of the network:

  1. A lowercase “l” and a period.
  2. A poorly-drawn yingyang.
  3. An amputated clown foot.
  4. The icon of a spiral into the abyss.
  5. A penis with one testicle.
  6. A tampon.

What other themes relating to a smart, successful modern single/divorced woman, making her way in the world can be exegeted from this?

* AKA: The Empowered Victim Station, Hotter Than Average Mom Channel, “Men Are Like This, You Know” Network

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An Old Further Seems Forever Review

In honor of Further Seems Forever’s new album as a reunited band, Penny Black, I thought I’d post a review I did of their first album, The Moon Is Down.

I wrote it in early January of 2010, as part of the top albums of the 2000’s, for Buzzgrinder. The site is down but I was able to grab it with Google’s wonderful caching functionality.

At the time the review was something of mine I actually liked, especially since I’m not really the record review kind of guy. Reading back on it, though, there are some things in there I wouldn’t type today. Weird how a few years changes things.

Partnering with releases belonging to their scene’s peers — like Thursday’s Full CollapseThe Moon Is Down bridged the crucial gap between the feet-shuffling self-effacement of ’90s emo and the power-pop emo that would come after and propel the genre’s three letter appellation into mainstream, household use. The band — essentially Strongarm with a different vocalist (the singy-note kind) — and their debut full-length with the strange pink and white color scheme, acted as a stabilizing fulcrum that kind of kept either side of the seesaw from knocking everyone’s Buddy Holly glasses off.

Over a rolling bed of chord voicings — heretofore unused in indie rock circles — and drummer Steve Kleisath’s creative, trickster skin work, then-unknown vocalist Chris Carrabba wailed in his almost-falsetto about romance found dead or gettin’ dissed by once-good friends. So it seems, anyway; one can’t exactly tell.

There was an overhanging theme of alienation brought about by physical separation: a recurring rite of passage that bookended the college experience (Carrabba joined the band just shy of his quarter-century mark). His attempts to reconcile romance and friendships with incompatible geographies borderlined on the obsessive. To him, time may have healed all wounds, but distance ripped them back open. Travel was his savior.

His word choice and delivery were neither too forlorn nor too saccharine (a delicate balance that he obliterated, in my opinion, in Dashboard Confessional), but it was sufficiently sincere enough to make it attractive and unspecific to just about anyone yawning from all the screaming metal bands.

From the power waltz 3/4 of the opening title track to the jazz-slide seagull guitar of the album’s closer, “A New Desert Life,” the Colbert/Dominguez/Neptune signature songwriting is writ large. Further Seems Forever converted droves of hardcore kids into their kinda-sorta Christianized denomination of amalgamated emo and rock. For those still unfaithful to FSF, try listening to Carrabba’s optimism and the guitars’ hopeful echoing in the last half minute of “Snowbirds and Townies,” and feel your doubt drain away. I know it still gives me the shivers.

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The Downfall of Western Civilzation: Omegle, Part 1

On Omegle you can chat anonymously with another anonymous user, but you can also ask questions and watch two users discuss it, or stand on the other side and discuss a question with someone else. In between disturbingly sexual questions about the My Little Pony reboot and disturbingly sexual questions about everything else, you can stumble on an actual decent question.

Here’s one I asked in a bunch of sessions, just to see if I could get people to discuss it. Not just discuss it, but talk about it without getting into an insult match.

What are your beliefs on the origins of the universe? Be more specific than “God did it”/Big Bang one liners.

Omegle attracts a lot of people worldwide, so there’s an opportunity to reach people of varying belief systems beyond the nominal theist/skeptic dichotomy in America. Kind of like this:
Omegle Cosmology Question 1

Most of the time you will get goofball/stoner-inspired responses like this, if neither of the strangers disconnects right away:

Sometimes people confuse the question as concerning the origin of life on earth, not the cosmological angle:

I think Stranger 2 here tried to type out “Allahu Ackbar“, but embraced total failure in trying to type it phonetically:

I’m always suspicious of people like Stranger 2 here, who is just streaming theoretical physics-babble. How can someone come to these conclusions with an amount of certainty? The “spy” Stranger 1 refers to is the questioner (me):

I have no idea why Stranger 2 is so amazed at the “intelligence” of a 14 year old typed that out an incoherent non-sentence. Maybe there’s a film reference I’m not getting. They reference Mean Girls and Big Bang Theory*, so their intellectual reach might not be that extensive:

Speaking of not answering the question, Stranger 2 here answered immediately (probably cut and pasted) and coolly trolled Stranger 1 pretty hard. There’s nothing of value here other than seeing Stranger 1 jump on the bait.

I’m going to do another post further down the road with some hopefully more meaty responses. Given the nature of Omegle I don’t know how much better they’ll be.

* Nice try, but liking a show about smart people does not mean you like “smart” things nor does it make you smart.

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Evolutionary Argument Against The State?

Rock the vote!

Alvin Plantinga argued for the evolutionary argument against naturalism (PDF link): if modern humans macroly evolved over a large period of time, our cognitive processes are tailored more towards seeking survival rather than truth.

If evolutionary theory were true, that would mean that modern forms of government came extremely late in the game. It could be argued that we are biologically adapted to form tribes and to seek leadership or eldership as a form of guidance for a tribal collective. In that sense, some form of government is a natural outgrowth of biomechanics that could be trimmed through trial and error.

But if the state gets too large and authoritative, it can (and does) seek to disconnect and rewire our natural tendencies, for good or bad, through a series of perverse and conflicting incentives, backed by the use of force. So, for instance, we have a highway system, built by a large, centralized government, with laws concerning its use. This makes drivers feel safer and therefore drive faster (enforced safety rules begets higher risk-taking), but then there’s the artificial disincentive of speeding tickets which is a contradicting incentive to drive slower. This adds an additional layer of risk management that our minds wouldn’t normally need to reconcile.

This is all assuming that roads and their usage would be different under a free market system, but you can see where I’m going with this. Large governments (“large”, as in, a larger set of administers and executors than what we’d get from a tribal, semi-panarchist structure…I don’t know the numbers) have incentives to grow itself, and to convince people to “allow” them growth is to create problems that aren’t really there and offer itself as the only avenue of resolution. The methods are insidious, i.e., Marxism aims to fix am inequal class structure based on arbitrary levels of income and somewhat unarbitrary social status, state-sponsored feminism aims to reconcile an inequal balance of power of genders, that may just be a automatic, uncoerced division of labor brought about by millions of years of biochemical tinkering by God/nature.

There’s more but I’m too uneducated to go much deeper. The point is, how is it that so many lawmakers think they can, right or wrong, wish away the conclusions of evolution—the automata of human drive and adaptability—by fiat and force? People, individually or in small groups, tend to discourage the initiation of force applied against it, but the use of force has become institutionalized and even supported by most of the group in the form of governments. The power of managing risk under a government seems unsuited to the mental skillset of the evolved human brain (pure coincidence, in a new Stephan Molyneux video he mentions human adaptability vis-a-vis the state).

There’s a danger of falling into an argument from antiquity with this, and it can apply to other aspects of civilization as well. Does anyone know if this question has been explored at all?

* I am mostly undecided on the evolution debate. I swing between orthodox evolution to that one form of “animals and plants evolved, humans experienced direct creation” type of theistic evolution. The amount of knowledge needed, both biologically and theologically, to make an informed decision is too large for me to be overly concerned with it.

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These Cartoon Bags Will Completely Destroy Your Perception Of Reality

Large enough to hold the most unfathomably destroyed mind!

My friend Marcia recently linked to JumpFromPaper, a niche fashion design duo that create cartoon-aesthetic bags. I haven’t decoded it yet, but my first thought was that “JumpFromPaper” is code for “rewiring everyone cerebral functions so that non-Euclidian geometric space and the furthest reaches of Humean skepticism fuse together into a Lovecraftian, infernal mental existence.” So now my brain is a set of Meshuggah lyrics.

I want to link this somehow back to different methods of natural epistemology contradicting each other (i.e., sight perception vs. deductive reasoning) that I’ve been lately kicking around on this dot com, but I’m too engaged with reconstructing my tattered mind to bother.

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