Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Part 2

Here's the sequel to last year's Halloween mix. Enjoy it, if you can! Muhahaha....oh wait, there wasn't really anything scary or funny about that. Never mind.

Halloween II: 2009

1. Haunted Disco by Chromium
2. Monster Hospital by Metric
3. One Eye Open by Baddies
4. Dead Cruiser by Kavinsky
5. Tree Full of Ghosts by Hungry Villagers
6. Bela Lugosis Dead by Nouvelle Vague
7. In the Room Where You Sleep by Dead Man's Bones
8. Ghosts by Ladytron
9. You're Out by Dead Disco
10. Closet Freak by Videeo
11. PARANOIA by Video Villain
12. Pick the Ghost... by Underground Railroad
13. Wish You Dead by Love Like Fire
14. Baulderdash by Ipso Facto
15. Tigerlily by La Roux
16. Black Magic by Magic Wands
17. Howl by Florence and the Machine
18. Thrill Kill by The Damned
19. Graveyard Queen by Zombie Ghost Train

Happy Halloween Charlie Brown.

Happy Electroween!

Trying to put together an all electro Halloween album with little previous experience with the genre turned out to be more difficult than I imagined it would be. However, it was fun, I learned a lot, and I came up with a list I enjoy. I tried, when possible, to include tracks from pioneers of the genre. Of course, any Halloween list is an exercise in subjectivity. There is kind of a bipolar tone/vibe when it comes to the holiday. It can be both chilling and truly horrifying and completely silly and over the top. Complicating this is the fact that everyone has different memories/experiences with the holiday so different sounds/tones will evoke the holiday for some and not others. Additionally, musical tastes can vary dramatically from person to person. All this to say, your "mileage" may vary, however, I hope you can find a few things to enjoy. Anyway, here it is:

Electroween Mix 2009:
1. Scary Tricycle by Silent Fish Heads
2. The Haunted House of Rock (Remix) by Whodini
3. The Horror by RJD2
4. Tubular Bells by Book of Love
5. The Bog (dance mix) by Bigod 20
6. Testarossa Autodrive by Kavinsky
7. Old Castle Madrigal by Joy Electric
8. Nothing to Fear by Depeche Mode
9. Shadows by Midnight Juggernauts
10. Ghost House by Teenage Bad Girl
11. Zip by Julian Jeweil
12. Talk Like That by The Presets
13. Ballo dei Morti by Brassica
14. The Talking Dead by Weird Tapes
15. Asylum by Gary Numan
16. Poisonous Friend (Iris remix) by Seabound
17. Ultraviolent by Cinnamon Chasers
18. The Hidden Door by Belbury Poly
19. Circus of Death by The Human League
20. Beyond the Dark by Raiders of the Lost Arp

More to come soon!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

How To Make An Efficeftive PowerPoint Presentation

Modern technology is so wonderful that now we are able to do amazing presentations with our computers. In the past are the days where we had to hold up a series of poster boards to help us with our presentations. Here are a few awesome tips for making your PowerPoint Presentations out of this world.

Part 1: The Setup
1. Make sure to use a lot of clip art in your presentation. Real photos are off limits because they Google images is too difficult to figure out and real pictures might scare your audience because they live in a fantasy world where all people have light bulbs or exclamation points above their heads.
2. Do not add any information to your presentation that is not clearly written in complete sentences. Nobody likes phrases and people watching you love to read long passages so that they can learn even more.

Part 2: The Presentation

1. Near the beginning of your presentation say something like, "I know you all can read, so I won't bother reading all of these slides to you." The only exception to this rule would be if you are making a presentation to at a school of students who are trying to learn how to read.
2. Soon after saying this, start clicking through your slides faster than anyone is capable of reading through them.
3. Promise that you will post your PowerPoint on your website or email it to everyone. Then, never do it. You see, during the moment everyone watching your presentation should think it is the most important information in the universes. But worry, the will have forgotten it all within a few minutes after your speech.
4. At some point during your presentation, click one too many times and go a few slides further than you intended to. Act very surprised and confused at this occurrence, saying something like, "oh no! How do I go back?" Someone in the audience will get up from their seat and help you and they will feel useful and therefore like your presentation more.
5. Ask if everyone can see your presentation alright. If someone says they cannot, give them a dirty look and continue on with your presenation.
6. Remember that a PowerPoint presentation is all about showing how smart you are. Do not allow the audience to have any interaction with you or ask any questions. You are the smart one standing in front of everyone after all.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

For Your Edification

I submit the following for your edification:

"The Gideon's International is an Association of Christian business and professional men, banded together in more than 170 countries for fellowship and service. The purpose of the Association is the promotion of the Gospel of Christ to all people, to the end that they might come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

...The Bible contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.

It is the traveler's map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter. Here Paradise is restored, Heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed.

CHRIST is its grand subject, our good the design, and the glory of God its end.

It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labor, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents."

This was the preface to a Gideon New Testament I was handed today on the way to school. As far as Christian groups go, I have a great deal of respect for the Gideons. However, this introduction confused me and I wondered how persuasive this would really be for non-religious (by religion I mean Christian specifically) people. I request the opinion of those not raised as Protestant Christians, as to whether this makes sense and is thought to be persuasive. But first I'll go through some of my "problems" with the text.

1) Religious jargon. The text is filled with it. What is a "Gospel"? What does it mean to have a "personal savior"? What does "holy" and "sacred" mean? If this introduction is targeted to non-believers, what is the point in including a lot of Christian specific jargon? Either it is intentional or it is unintentional. I'll get to the former in a moment. If it is unintentional that means the writers are so tied up in their own religious outlook that they cannot even conceive how an outsider might view and inevitably be confused by such language. My opinion is that this is not the case, but it remains an option. If it is intentional, I can think of two reasons why they might choose to include it: a) to "peak the curiosity" (read: confuse) the reader enough so that she must find a Christian to talk to about this; b) because the introduction and the Bible in general is geared towards people with a Christan background, or backsliding Christians (non-practicing Christians). I think the latter option more likely. People who used to be Christians, or were raised in a Christian household, are more likely to be familiar with all the terminology (and metaphors) and even be persuaded by them. However, for an Association (why is it capitalized?) that purports to desire to see "all people" become Christians, this seems like a narrow focus.

2) There is a lot of metaphorical language, which is misleading because it covers up a lack of substance. If you'll endulge me, I'll break down an example of this part of this piece by piece:

"The Bible contains the mind of God,"
-That's a pretty bold claim even by Protestant Christian standards. Technically this is not a metaphor, but it can't be taken literally. I'm not really sure what it means (I doubt the Bible, as big as it is, is enough to contain a normal human mind, let alone the mind of a god).

"the state of man,"
-I think if you're not a Christian you won't know what this means.

"the way of salvation,"
-Sounds promising.

"the doom of sinners,"
-Suddenly, less promising.

"and the happiness of believers."
-Promising again.

"Its doctrines are holy,"
-I don't know what that means. I'm not sure many would understand either parts of this predicative sentence.

"its precepts are binding,"
-That means I have to do what it says?

"its histories are true,"
-A highly debated issue. I'll avoid it.

"and its decisions are immutable."
-It's probably for the best that the Gideon Bible only includes the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs or the reader might stumble upon Lev 19:19 "You are to keep my statues. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together." This must be one of those mutable immutable laws, since I never see Christians paying any attention to these laws.

"Read it to be wise,"
-I'll buy it for now.

"believe it to be safe,"
-Safe from what? The first thought I had was that believing it would keep you safe from Christians, but I don't think that's what they were talking about.

"and practice it to be holy."
-I don't know what that means.

"It contains light to direct you,"
-Like a nightlight? Like a flashlight?

"food to support you,"
-I guess paper can be considered roughage, although I think you're better off eating fruits and vegetables and far less likely to die of malnutrition.

"and comfort to cheer you."
-I'll buy it for now.

The breakdown was probably unnecessary, but I find this heap of metaphors to be devoid of meaning in this context. They point to basic needs: light, food, happiness, safety and stability but it never really goes beyond the metaphor. How is the Bible a light? How is it food? I think these things should be spelled out since I'm not sure someone would come to these same metaphors after reading the text (without help from Christian/Jewish interpretation). But I've balked long enough. Let me know what you think.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Most Frightening thing at the Law School is...

Grover, from Sesame Street. Way scarier than any ghost. Or maybe it was this:

I'm working on my Greek homework when I realize the Law School is about to close down. I've been trying to lock up classroom 127 for the past two hours but some douche-bag student is in there using his laptop. I know I could go in there and kick him out and watch him pull an indignant face on me. Or I could just try to wait him out. I leave the back room to make my way to 127, when this woman begins to talk to me about the fact that the front doors won't close all the way. The air pressure in the Law School is too great and it keeps the doors open, floating on a cushion of air. I'd make a joke about all the hot air coming from the law students, but you would have seen it a mile away. Anyway, the "solution" to this problem is a paper sign on the door saying, "Please close the door behind you."

The woman moves from talking about the door to every bad thing that ever happened to hear, all without allowing a single lull in the conversation so that I can excuse myself. At first I feel bad for her. She says she's handicapped, although she looks fine to me, and that she used to work in a bad part of town. But then things get weird. I'm talking gypsy woman from Thinner or Drag Me To Hell weird. She talks about how the mafia of Sacramento CA (there's a mafia in Sacramento?) is after her, although she never really explains why. They've had people stalking her as she's fled across the country. Two women stalked her when she was on a phone to an "old friend," after she put all her wedding jewelry in a safety deposit box. Her husband forged her signature on something and took all her money. The mafia tried to kill her dog by bribing vets not to treat him. She worked in a building owned by Strip club managers and got sick from the metal shavings in the air. To be honest I stopped paying attention when she started talking about the mafia. Instead I was thinking, "Oh god this woman's crazy and she's going to stab me any much time has passed? Can I look at my watch without her noticing. Oh shit, it's been 20 minutes. How can I get her to shut up?" Eventually, she explained how her attorney was bought off and trying to sabotage her, when she looked at me and asked, "You know what I mean right? How an attorney can have total power over you?"

Yes, the out I was looking for. I said I didn't know what she was talking about exactly, since I don't study law. I just work here and I've got to go lock up a classroom. She looked disappointed and wished me a good night. Do you know how they treat prisoners in North Korea? I don't. This is not relevant. I make my way to 127 frazzled. That woman had scared the crap out of me. Thankfully, douche-bag McStudentpants had left. I locked up the room, but I kept expecting that old gypsy woman to jump out of every shadow and corner and attack me. She wasn't really a gypsy, that I know, but in my mind that's how she is.

I'm not sure if talking about her is such a great idea, since I'm likely to get cursed. And I don't know if I'll be going to hell for bad mouthing an old handicapped woman or just for generally being a bad person. Both are good reasons. It's time to watch some Darkwing Duck and go to bed.