Category Archives: Uncategorized

TV Won’t Steal Your Vision After All

A recent Scientific American article offers up some insight regarding that modern-day question of the ages: Does TV ruin your eyesight? I know until I hit my mid-teens, my mother was always yelling at me and my brother to “sit back from the TV!” while we played the shit out of Metroid. No doubt her logic was motivated to some degree by the likes of this:

…back in the 1960s General Electric sold some new-fangled color TV sets that emitted excessive amounts of radiation—as much as 100,000 times more than federal health officials considered safe. GE quickly recalled and repaired the faulty TVs, but the stigma lingers to this day.

Nice to know, even though those old-school CRT televisions and computer monitors used to drive me nuts with their refresh rate / flicker. I had to limit my exposure to a few hours a day or else I got headaches. LCDs have removed this problem, but have, of course, opened the door to another: extended comfort while remaining completely sedentary during tantric coding sessions. Before LCDs I had to get up and walk around, do other things out of necessity; now it’s just a prudent suggestion if I want to keep the ol’ muscles from atrophying.

I do agree with the part of the article that mentions TV as not causing nearsightedness, but rather drawing attention to a person’s pre-existing vision problems. That’s how it worked for me. I started losing my 20/20 at an early age, but it wasn’t until I started playing video games habitually that I realized I couldn’t see Mario or Simon Belmont on the TV screen unless I was pressing my nose against the glass.

That’s still no excuse for inactivity. The basic theme here is moderation. It’s been said that the longest-lived residents of the world (the healthy ones, that is) practice lifestyles that involve frequent, low-impact activities distributed throughout each day—as opposed to the typical Western norm of lengthy office chair vigils broken only by occasional trips to the gym. As annoyingly cliche as the saying is, “use it or lose it” just about sums it up. But, then, our parents already knew that long ago, back when they used to tell us to put down our effing gamepads and play outside for a while.

The Topless Bikini

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a staunch supporter of the “-less” suffix when added to either the top or the bottom of a woman’s bikini. But can a topless bathing suit really be called a “suit” at this point? Isn’t it just…briefs?

According to the film short, the topless suit is advertised as “Half the Bikini, Twice as Sexy.”

As this is being touted by Victoria’s Secret, I’d say the slogan should be more like, “Half the Bikini, Twice the Price.” I can imagine the department store conversation between a guy and his girl:

“What do you think?” asks the girl, holding up the topless against herself.

“It looks nice,” says the guy, “but where’s the top?”

“There is no top. It’s a topless bathing suit.”

“Hm.” The guy glances at the price tag. “It’s kind of pricey for what it is.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s only half a bathing suit, now isn’t it?”

“No it isn’t,” says the girl.

The guy frowns, takes a two-piece bikini off a nearby rack, holds it up. “See this?” He removes the top from the hanger, tosses it away. “Half the price and just as stylish.”

“That’s not stylish,” the girl says, scowling. “That’s being cheap and buying only half a bikini.”

That’s half a bikini!” the guy insists, jabbing his finger at her.

“No, it’s a complete suit. It’s just topless.”

“Exactly—half!”

The girl shakes her head. “‘Half’ is taking a complete suit and throwing away the top to give it the appearance of a topless.”

“Ugh,” sighs the guy. “You’re ridiculous, you know that?”

“And you’re no fun,” sighs the girl. She sets the topless back on the rack and leaves the aisle.

The guy watches her go, and it dawns on him that she’d been about to buy a topless bathing suit.

Shit, he thinks to himself. Should’ve just kept my mouth shut.

On a semi-related note, I wonder, considering the apparent bikini fabric shortage plaguing the women’s fashion industry, if this means Calvin Klein will be putting out a bottomless swim suit for men?

Ugh…

Jesse: No new nothing from me until next week. Hopefully. It’s like The Stand around here. Buzzards are collecting outside my bedroom window. One of them chiseled the initials R.F. in the bark of a nearby tree. I’m screwed.

Theo: Oh. Well…feel better, I guess.

Eva: Yeah, feel better, Jesse.

Jan: Ditto.

(A moment of silence.)

Ernie: Fuck.

Oates Kill Fan Video #2

Abbey sent me this fan video by Salvador Solis:

It really is a love-hate thing with oatmeal, isn’t it? It either gets your day off to a healthy start—or it stalks you in an abandoned warehouse at the edge of town. Maybe that’s what turns on Wilford Brimley so much when he does those Quaker Oats commercials: taking a breakfast food that has polarized our society and bringing it a warm, slightly creepy grandfatherly image.

Nine, Ten, Nine

Hmf. I missed the whole “the world will end on a trio of nines!” thing until just now, when I spotted this article in my inbox:

Today’s date has the sort of symmetry which some people think will bring them good luck, while others claim it can only mean the end of life as we know it.

Since it’s now The Day After, and since I’m still here, I can only assume triple nines isn’t all that bad…unless they’re hanging upside down from a tree branch. Life seems fairly humdrum here at the beach. I did have an FML moment at the library yesterday. Does that count? This young / attractive / fit woman was studying at the next table over; as I considered striking up a whispered conversion (as one does in any library environment), she suddenly stood upright, started gathering her things—and farted something wicked. And you know how it is at the library: every rustle, every scratch, every keystroke echoes. Needless to say, the poor gal was down the stairs and out the door within seconds.

So, triple nines. Good luck for some, bad luck for others, and flatulence for the rest.

The New Literacy

Clive Thompson has an article over at Wired.com that hints reports of the death of writing may have been greatly exaggerated.

Before the Internet came along, most Americans never wrote anything, ever, that wasn’t a school assignment. Unless they got a job that required producing text (like in law, advertising, or media), they’d leave school and virtually never construct a paragraph again.

Nowadays a lot of folks are socializing online as often as (if not more often than) they meet in person, and this means text messages, Facebook, Twitter. Indeed, as Thompson mentions, those tweets add up. People are writing to each other about their lives all the time, and many of them haven’t bought a postage stamp in years. The proliferation of computer keyboards may have placed proper handwriting on the endangered species list, but apparently writing-slash-storytelling has never been more popular—even if it’s “just” tweets, blogs, or text messages. Kind of makes you wonder, though, if the trend will continue if and when effective video chat becomes the norm. Somehow, though, I don’t think a video call can ever replace the eloquence of a simple text—preferably something with the word “fuck” in it—explaining to your boss that you can’t come in to work today because you “have a cold”—when really you’re up to your elbows in lovin’.

(There’s a nice little mental image for you.)

Instant Oatmeal

Just so you know, we’re not the only ones wasting camera time on oatmeal:

The best thing about this video: the finger in the bowl, poised, patient, self-assured. It should have worked, but didn’t. Bachelorhood can be hell sometimes.

Nonchalant Dandruff: What You Need to Know

You find out the darnedest things when you research a project. For example, while preparing background details for The Oatmeal Man, I found out there really is no such thing as an oatmeal factory (oatmeal production is usually one part of a larger mill). I also discovered that Amboy, California, on which Happy End is loosely based, was pretty much killed off by the I-40’s opening nearby in 1973. But I think the most interesting tidbit I stumbled upon is something called nonchalant dandruff, as illustrated by this video posted on YouTube:

According to Sickipedia, nonchalant dandruff, which can be differentiated from regular dandruff by its sufferers’ marked nonchalance concerning the condition, is one of the initial symptoms of Oates’ Disease. While OD affects less than 1% of all factory workers worldwide, there seems to be a growing trend towards infusion-based diseases (IBDs) where shoddy working conditions and managerial negligence collide (Sunday’s The Oatmeal Man table read, for example). Symptoms of OD include the above-mentioned dandruff, elevated moles that eventually break off and become raisins, and the gradual, painful conversion of glucose to sucrose in the bloodstream.

Like Crohn’s Disease or narcolepsy before the Internet, OD is getting little or no attention from the mainstream media. Which figures. In today’s mass-produced society, it’s usually the individual worker who suffers quietly in the field or factory. IBDs can be easy to misdiagnose because all it takes is the slightest bit of current while you’re in contact with, say, a blob of Malt-O-Meal, or a box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies—and what family doctor is going to make that connection?

Today’s science fiction is tomorrow’s medicine. The Oatmeal Man is the fictional account of a man struggling with OD. If his story, embellished as it is, can save just one life, then I’ve done my job. ;)

FMyLife: I Have to Go Potty

Someone just recently introduced me to FMyLife.com, and I have to say it’s a fabulous way to burn time. Since I’m too fat and lazy to register for an account, here’s my FML contribution. There’s this cute-as-hell, totally-in-shape gal in my neighborhood who goes jogging every day with her dog. I go for walks every afternoon, so it’s inevitable that we’ve crossed paths several times before. Usually we just smile and say “hello” to each other, but the other day she actually stops to make smalltalk while she takes a breather. At last! My chance to get to know her a little better! Trouble is, I’d gotten a major urge to drop anchor five minutes earlier, and so was literally walking like some random Shaun of the Dead extra, legs squished together, spine bent in all the wrong places, hands stuffed in my pockets and grasping the edges of my underwear, sweat dribbling down my forehead, noxious gasses escaping my every orifice. My jogger angel jogs up to me, smiles prettily, asks me how I’m doing—and I just blast past her, mumbling, “I’m fine” out of the corner of my mouth. FML.

Besides shitting my pants in the presence of beautiful women, I’ve been quietly working on a new screenplay, this one about oatmeal. Pulsar Pictures is turning it into an independent film. You’ll never see another screenplay with as much fiber packed into a hundred pages. ;) That’s about all I can say right now. Some old Colossal Theatre buds will be in it. More info. when I’m allowed to blab…