Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Music videos 18

66 R.E.M.: “Imitation of Life”
This is an excellent and very underrated video. A snippet of events at a party is seen from multiple viewpoints using looped video. Really clever stuff from the director of the (also underrated in my opinion) recent film version of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy.


65 N.W.A.: “Straight Outta Compton”
I've slagged off some of the rap videos so far, but this is old-skool at its best. Quality stuff, and make sure you watch the video overdubbed with an amazing (I'm not being sarcastic) cover version by the folk singer Nina Gordon (which can be downloaded here).

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Christmas hangover


To even out from the post below, here's one that I've had hanging around since December that was too good not to post. Ben Goldacre (of badscience) wrote an excellent Christmas-themed article in the Guardian that extols the virtues of science far more elegantly than I ever could.

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Fair point

Monday, January 29, 2007

Music videos 17

68 B.G.: “Bling Bling”
Another deep-south rap tune. This is either quite funny (if it is knowing) or preposterous. They take the title of the song to ridiculous levels: they have candelabras, for goodness sake.


67 We’ve Got a Fuzzbox and We’re Going to Use It: “Love Is the Slug”
What the fuck? How did this get well above Come To Daddy? One of the worst videos that I have seen in some time, and I doubt I will see anything more stereotypically 80's for a while. Luckily, Stylus redeem themselves with a couple of goodies tomorrow.

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How common are you?


Find out how many people share your name in the UK at yournotme. 46 people share my name (Eduardo Velasquez).

Spectacular photo

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Music videos 16

70 Juvenile: “Back That Azz Up”
This certainly follows a whole lot of rap conventions: dancing women getting jiggy with it, lyrics about money and women, and a live performance. In the end though, it does look fun. That last sentence sounded pretty white, didn't it?


69 Daft Punk: “Da Funk”
Another Spike Jonze classic. Watch as the sad man-dog has a bad night on the streets of NYC. Kind of trigger happy-ish in that nobody thinks that it is strange for there to be a ghetto blaster-toting man-dog. Really great, and at the time it seemed pretty pioneering to relegate the music to the background for huge portions. Weep as you hear how good Daft Punk used to be.

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Smartosity


Are you clevererer than average? Take this short test to find out. Not to be smug or anythin, but I'm over 50% smarter than average. Actually, I will be smug, seeing as I am hugely intellegent.

Via kottke.

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Dr Who?


Gillian McKeith is a TV presenter, with various programmes about healthy eating and nutrition. She was even called Dr. Gillian Mckeith for a while, until it was noted that she had a false qualification. She has kept her shows, using them to peddle her false science and nutritional supplements. Not on some small satellite channel, but on Channel 4 with millions of viewers. She is basically an arsehole of the highest order. I should stop now, because once I get started on her I find it difficult to stop.

Gillian Mckeith on Wikipedia.

Some notes on Gillian McKeith: research on her lies and omissions.

Gillian McKeith on badscience. The Guardian science columnist Ben Goldacre also has it in for her, and this is an archive of him tearing her apart.

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Friday, January 26, 2007

C*nt


Just a quick one today as I went to see a film, Babel, that went on ALL FUCKING NIGHT. If you are the pretentious wanker who made this and want a quote for your poster, try "Nominated for best picture at this years Oscars? Hahahahahahahaha. Seriously? - Swish". This review hits the nail on the head.

Anyway, here's a fun little article on the word that must not be said. Someone at my work can't bear to hear it, which of course means that it is a major part of my vocabulary. Weird how I decided to post a link to the article after thinking about the director of Babel, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Isn't it? I mean, look at his picture up there. What a cock.

Via look at this.

EDIT: When I click on that link, the advert in the article is for Babel. Those targeted adverts are really reaching their target market...

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Music videos 15

72 OutKast: “Hey Ya”
Yes, it was over-played more than almost any other song this decade. But that was no reason for the world to fall out of love with it. A couple of years on, people are beginning to come to their senses and acknowledge Hey Ya as the all-time classic that it surely is. Amazing pop song, excellently-executed video.


71 Lisa Loeb: “Stay (I Missed You)”
I don't really understand what this is doing here, so I'll just quote Stylus Magazine: "With some songs, it seems like there’s only one video that could possibly have been made for it. Appropriate for a song that never pauses even for a breath, the video for Lisa Loeb’s “Stay (I Missed You)” features little but an uninterrupted tracking shot of Lisa walking around her bare and desolate apartment. It feels so real and unforced that watching it almost seems intrusive—this actually seems like it could be Lisa just thinking out loud while pacing around her apartment". The video was directed by Ethan Hawke.

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I'm not a racist, but...


Britain seems to be emerging from the racist furore that has surrounded the current series of Celebrity Big Brother. Jade Goody still seems to be public enemy number one, though.

The show has had the positive effect of initiating a massive debate on racism in the UK, and I get the feeling that things have moved forward a lot, even in the last decade.

Of course, it gave the newspapers a chance to moralise and pontificate, with the Sun pulling off a bit of a classic on Monday. Near the front of the paper they attack Jade Goody for her apparent racism, then a few pages further in refer to a top snooker player from China as "pot noodle" throughout an article. Full details here.

Anyway, the point of this post was to draw attention to the fact that, as far as biology is concerned, race is an irrelevant subject. This article nicely sums up what scientists and right-thinkers know: the differences between people are more than skin-deep. There is more genetic variation within local populations than there is between populations across the world; your "geographic genetics" are far more important than things such as outward appearance.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Music videos 14

74 Aphex Twin: “Come to Daddy”
This one is undoubtedly in my top five music videos ever. The video for Aphex Twin's industrial death n' bass hit was directed by the awesome Chris Cunningham (more from him later). Eerie urban horror? Check. Creepily-masked children? Check. Demon? Check. Demon screaming directly into the face of a geriatric woman? Check. Guest rap from Peter Andre? Not quite...


73 Bjork: “It’s Oh So Quiet”
Whether you love or hate the song, the video is tremendously influential (including that Frosties advert with the kid that didn't kill himself). The first of a few from Spike Jonze in the chart, it fits the song snugly. And it has dancing chimneys.

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Whoah


This is incredible. The first picture (on the left here) doesn't look too bad, but scroll down and see how unlikely it was for the driver to survive this. Must be a million to one shot at least.

Via look at this.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Music videos 13

A comment was left on one of the video posts below by someone from music video archive, which seems to be pretty good. Check out the top rated videos or focus on a specific director.

76 New Order: “True Faith”
I don't hate all 80's videos, and just to prove it here is one that I love. Perfect from start to end. Good stuff.


75 Master P: “Make ‘em Say Uggh”
Nice to see a rap video without sex n' guns n' violence, but that's about all I can say about this. There's no way that it should be this high.

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Gone but not forgotten


There's quitting your job, and there's quitting your job in style. This resignation letter seems too good to be true, but if it is then it is awesome.

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So-nae

There has been some debate over whether that excellent Sony advert with the exploding and raining paint is real or CGI. Well, it's real and was filmed in Glasgow. The buildings were demolished yesterday. Here's a video of the advert being made, taken by a weegie onlooker:

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Music videos 12

78 Missy Elliot: “Gossip Folks”
The anti-Britney. Nothing else to say.


77 Nirvana: “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Certainly an epoch-making song and video, but kudos to Stylus for having it at as low as number 77. That feels about right.

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S'now problem


So winter seems to have finally arrived in Scotland. Snow Crystals has everything you could want to know about the science behind snow. There's explanations of how crystals form, galleries, and a guide to "snowflake hot spots". Marvel at the pretty pictures before the snow turns slushy and everyone is moaning about the cold, wet weather and paralysed transport network...

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How to tell if someone deserves a kicking, part 5

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Music videos 11

An odd couple tonight...

80 Britney Spears: “…Baby One More Time”
I suppose that it is hard to deny that this is a classic pop video, and was the archetype for many that followed too. The jail-bait theme didn't do it any harm in reaching outside its normal audience, either.


79 Three 6 Mafia f/ Young Buck, 8Ball & MJG: "Stay Fly"
I thought that I would hate this, but it's actually pretty good. This was the kind of sound that DJ Shadow was going for on his recent album. A stereotypical rap video, but it works perfectly with the song. The most unbelievable thing is the fact that this group won an Oscar last year for a similar song.

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Music videos 10

Back from my travels. I think I'll do double music videos today.

82 Eminem: “My Name Is”
A good rap video, so I suppose that needs celebrated. Funny, and interesting to see Eminem in the era before he was everywhere/annoying. Plus, Dr. Dre is actually dressed as a doctor in this video. A DOCTOR.


81 Radiohead: “Fake Plastic Trees”
One of the best Radiohead songs gives us one of the more "standard" Radiohead videos. I suppose a faceless supermarket is the best place to set a video about mass marketing and consumerism, though. This was released before Common People, and it looks to me like a section of that video was "inspired" by this. There is more Radiohead higher up the list.


More later

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Music videos 9

I've got a busy travel week this week, taking in London and Norway. So don't fear, dear readers reader, I'll be back on Friday for your viewing pleasure.

84 Bright Eyes: “First Day of My Life”
This is the loveliest video so far. Simple concept: film people while they listen to the song. Some of the looks that people give each other say much more than any actor ever could. I recognise the concept from a Nokia advert that is on at the moment. They must have seen the video too...


83 Peter Gabriel: “Shock the Monkey”
Hmm. It's no "Sledgehammer", is it? That is not really a massive vote of confidence, seeing that "Sledgehammer" is a bit bollocks.

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Manga-style Futurama


Click for bigger.

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Stephen Hawking and his wheels of steel


This is fun. This guy has got hold of the software that Hawking uses to help him speak, and recorded various karaoke pop songs using it. Particularly good are "hit me with your rhythm stick" and "everybody hurts"

Via b3ta

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Music videos 8

86 Orbital: “The Box”
Another excellent marriage of music and images in what must be one of the seminal dance music videos. Music videos seem to be a breeding-ground for pioneering or unusual styles, and the spooky effect of the sped-up backgrounds here is unforgettable.


85 Junior Senior: “Move Your Feet”
Another ace one. Lovely animation that is reminiscent of 80's computers, and a video and song combination that is greater than the sum of its parts. Catchy as hell.

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Latvian number plates


I do seem to remember seeing a couple of expensive-looking personalised number plates when Simon and I were in Riga last year. It seems that, if you have enough money, you can pretty much have whatever you want on your number plate. Here is a gallery of some of the best.

Via look at this.

Manga-style Simpsons


Click for bigger.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Tourette de France

Madness, pure madness.

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Music Videos 7

88 Nine Inch Nails: “Closer”
I like this one. It's an excellent example of video, music, and lyrics combining perfectly. The crucified monkey is very unsettling. Definitely not safe for work.


87 Duran Duran: “Hungry Like the Wolf”
As Stylus put it, this is "the most colonial video ever". I'm not sure a band could get away with this nowadays: it is at the least patronising. 80's videos have to work hard to please me, and this is nowhere near good enough. Plus it comes from the band that gave us the atrocity that is "Rio".


Another couple of good'uns are next.

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Hell, no


Whether you like what he is saying or not, Richard Dawkins sure knows how to push people's buttons. He wrote this article, entitled "why there almost certainly is no God", and instantly set the internets abuzz with debate. He certainly doesn't pull any punches. For balance, here is an article that takes a more critical view of him. Oh, and he is married to a former Doctor Who actress.

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Personal ad


P.s. nice mullet.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Music videos 6

90 The Chemical Brothers: “Let Forever Be”
The first of several videos directed by Michel Gondry, who also directed the amazing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Not the finest Chemical Brothers video, not the finest Michel Gondry video, and a little derivative of his own Around the World video for Daft Punk. Still better than most other videos, though.


89 Kid606: “Sometimes”
This is absolutely awesome, and has instantly become one of my favourite music videos. The video was made in 2000, but the imagery instantly takes you to September 11, 2001: it actually echoes the news footage in a creepy way. Really pretty, and goes wonderfully with the (pretty ambient) music. Would the video have been so powerful if the World Trade Center Towers had not fallen?

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Yes, we have no bananas


Did you know that the bananas that we eat now are not the same bananas that our parents were introduced to? In the 1950's the main dessert banana was the Gros Michel variety, but that was wiped out by disease in the 60's. It was replaced by the current banana, the Cavendish.

But now the Cavendish is going to go extinct as well, probably in the next decade. Currently there are no other bananas quite like it. What will we eat? Here is a fascinating story about the search for a replacement, which also touches on the themes of genetic modification against cross-breeding.

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Doh-bot

Blogger was being arsey last night, so i couldn't post.

Most people will have seen the Honda advert with the cool robot:


Most people will not have seen Honda's cool robot falling down the stairs and dying:

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Music Videos 5

92 Alcazar: “Crying at the Discotheque”
One of the gayest videos I've ever seen, but the funniest one so far and oddly compelling.


91 The Futureheads: “Hounds of Love”
I'm sure that some of these are being chosen because someone likes the song, and not the video. Cliche. There is an absolutely awesmoe vide coming tomorrow though. I've just watched it and am still speechless (in a good way).

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Time-lapse picture of airliner taking off

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Hi, Jack


More plane stuff. Here's some amazing plane crash and incident stories from Wikipedia:

Iran Air Flight 655 (1988): A reminder that it isn't just now that the US armed forces are carrying out catastrophic, if not criminal, actions. An Iranian airliner leaves on a scheduled flight on a recognised flightpath. On a US ship, inside Iranian waters, an agressive Captain mis-identified the plane as a fighter and warned it (on military radio channels) that it was going to be shot down. Being civilian, it did not hear this and was shot down, killing 290. The US then attempted a cover-up.

Korean Air Lines Flight 007 (1983): Another tale of cold war madness. A flight between New York and Seoul drifted 50 miles into Soviet airspace. The plane was shot down with little attempt to warn the crew of the (again) obviously civilian airliner. 269 were killed, and as a response Reagan opened up GPS to civilian use to try and avoid a similar incident.

Miss Macao (1948): The first ever hijacking. The pilot was shot dead, causing the plane to crash. The only survivor of 27 was the lead hijacker.

KLM Constellation air disaster (1948): the first major British air disaster. KLM's chief pilot was in charge of the flight to Prestwick, and due to errors in the weather reporting (awful conditions) and fatal flaws in the KLM maps, the flight crashed into high ground near the airport. All 30 on board were killed, and weren't helped by emergency services arguing for over an hour about who was supposed to rescue them.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 (1972): The flight is hijacked, the pilots killed, the autopilot disengaged, and the plane crashes vertically into a swamp at massive speed. A hijacking with style.

Air New Zealand Flight 901 (1979): another interesting one. A sightseeing flight over Antarctica crashes into the side of a massive mountain, possibly due to a dangerously low flight and white-out conditions. This kind of old-skool madness just does not happen anymore.

British Airways Flight 5390 (1990): a more light-hearted one to finish with. A flight from Birmingham and Malaga was interrupted by an explosive decompression of one of the cockpit windows. In true action-film style, the captain was sucked out of the window, and grabbed by the co-pilot on his way out. The cabin crew managed to hold him by the legs (with the top half of his body outside) while an emergency landing was carried out. They landed safely at Southampton after the pilot had hung outside for almost 20 minutes.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Music videos 4

My Google Reader does not show the videos for some reason, but it works when I view this page. Odd.

94 David Bowie & Bing Crosby: “Little Drummer Boy”
This is what it's all about. I'm not being sarcastic, I swear. David Bowie and Bing Crosby. Bowie and Crosby. That's like Paul McCartney and Dizzee Rascal doing a duet, or like some other terrible analogy of mis-matched musicians. Lesser mortals would make the set-up and dialogue in this video seem awkward and un-natural, but these two pull it off with aplomb. Superb, and what youtube is for.


93 Cake: “The Distance”
Another one that I'm not sure is a top 100 video. I'm not sure how believable the band are in suits. Big business is bad, man.

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Going down


Talking of plane crashes, here is a fun article that plays on the fact that the airline safety briefing is a lie. I particularly like "In the event of a landing on water, an unprecedented miracle will have occurred, because in the history of aviation the number of wide-bodied aircraft that have made successful landings on water is zero". Via kottke.

P.s. click on the picture above for more of the same.

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Lost

I know people are firmly divided on this matter, but I'm in the Lost is ace camp. In between series 2 and 3, the creators ran the Lost Experience, which was an online game and story designed to provide background information and were basically clever adverts, tied in to commercial sites. Read all about it here. For the people who criticise the programme-makers for not answering any questions, this video (the outcome of the game) should help:



It tells us the purpose of the island, what the numbers mean, and what is happening in the "real world" outside the island.

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Saturday, January 06, 2007

Music videos 3

96 Robert Palmer: “Addicted to Love”
I suppose this is in because it always is in this kind of thing. I don't like 80's music much, and this sexless piece of nonsense exemplifies that decade.


95 Billy Joel: “Pressure”
This song and video sure are BOMBASTIC. Did I say that I don't like the 80's? I can only assume that the cool Stylus magazine only put this in for sarcastic/ironic purposes. There's a classic tomorrow that will wipe the memories of this away.

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I've been playing about with longer exposures now that I have a tripod

Dancing star

More on my flickr page.

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How to tell if someone deserves a kicking, part 4


Their baby is in this.

Via engadget.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

Music Videos 2

98 The Cure: “Lovesong”
Robert Smith is Weird. This video is weird. The goths will love it.


97 Modest Mouse: “Ocean Breathes Salty”
This is the first one that I have really liked. Vibrant colours and a fun concept.

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Breathing Earth


This is one of those animated websites that is hypnotising to watch. Breathing Earth shows you an animation of births, deaths, and carbon emissions across the earth in real-time. Neat.

Mis-judged TV

TV commissioners really are wankers, aren't they? Channel 4 are showing a documentary called "Tourettes de France" next week (surely OK'd on name alone) in which Keith Allen takes a group of Scottish Tourette sufferers to the hospital in Paris where the condition was first recognised, and "looks at the humorous side of society's reaction to Tourettes".

Here's some programmes that were cancelled after a single episode, the most infamous of which is surely "Heil Honey I'm Home", in which the Hitlers move in next door to a Jewish couple. Luckily someone has stuck it up on youtube for us to see this terrific concept.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

Music Videos 1

On a more pleasing musical note, here is the first in a long series of posts with the top 100 music videos, as chosen by Stylus Magazine. It gets really good once it hits the top 50 (about a month if I post 2 a day). The first 2 are an interesting start, but not a patch on some of the later ones.

100 The Geto Boys: “Mind Playing Tricks on Me”
An antidote to the usual hip hop cliches, this video has a gangster worrying about being shot, rather than saying that he is ace at sex and shoots people.


99 Blackstreet featuring Dr. Dre & Queen Pen: “No Diggity”
This is more like what you would expect! Dr. Dre looking dodgy and rubbish dungarees. Those puppets are a bit creepy, though.

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How to tell if someone deserves a kicking, part 3


They are wearing one of these belts.

Via Idiot Toys

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Most depressing thing ever


Maybe that's a slight exaggeration: I had almost forgotten about the new DJ Shadow album. Oh and of course all the tragic happenings in the world like war and famine and other "worthy" stuff.

Anyway, Virgin Radio listeners have been voting for the top 500 songs of all time, and the results are in. Ignoring the fact that Razorlight are in the top 10, the horrible truth is that their best song of all time is "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol. I know that the average Virgin listener is a terrible, terrible, awful person (hi Joe!), but the selection of a track which is the audio equivalent of watching paint dry is desperately worrying. At least when Westlife get to number one you can have a good old rant about simpering Irish wankers. With Snow Patrol, it's just background noise. They may as well have voted for

Actually, fuck it. And fuck you, Virgin listeners.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Games


To help fill up the three months before my next post. here are some fun online games for you to play, via Kottke.

By the way, in my absence I have been up to stuff. Check out my flickr page for some photos.

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The Corrections


Tonight a few links wrapping up stuff from last year.

Regret the Error is a website that specialises in errors and omissions in the media. Here are their highlights of 2006. I love the story of worker bees being "commanded by Queen Elizabeth".

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New Year, New Blogger

And I'm back. Insert some crap here about not having enough time and neglecting the blog blah blah blah blah. Me = lazy. Anyway, here I am. I upgraded to the new blogger and it still works. Hooray.

Mark thinks I should mention the day-to-day happenings of my fascinating life as well as put up some links. Seriously dude, you don't know how boring that would be. For example, the most interesting thing that happened to me today was standing for an hour waiting for a bus to take me to work on my first day back after the holidays. Little was I (and everyone else at the stop) to know, but January 3rd is treated as a Sunday, rather than the NORMAL DAY that it is. So I missed a bus today. Rock and Roll, baby. More good stuff like that is headed your way soon.

To take away the horrible memory of that terrible anecdote, here is a bus crashing:


And a bus driver going doolally-apeshit:

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