Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In which the Internet is Threatened, and the Author is Lazy

The Federal Communications Commission is about to pass regulations that will let internet providers limit what applications can be used on their networks, and even allow paid prioritization of speed for certain sites and services. Net Neutrality is threatened, and because of the way our wishy-washy government does things, loopholes in this legislation aboundeth.

I'm a supporter of Net Neutrality, which by definitions means this: if you have a nifty idea, game, service, site, or what have you, you get the same kinds of speed, the same kind of service, and the same chance for viewer attention as any big company (with the exception that they have more cash to spend on advertising than you do).

This regulation should really not become law because it is not only extremely broadly tailored, it also doesn't serve a compelling government interest, and actually harms public interest. There are loopholes in it large enough to drive an intergalactic cruise liner through. For example, Verizon and AT&T could block all access to Skype on their internet services and on their phones. While it seems reasonable to say 'well, we don't want people using our phones for free,' it's also been my opinion that since people are paying something like forty dollars per month for unlimited data transmission, they should be able to use it for anything they want, VOIP programs like Skype included. I'm paying forty dollars a month just for phone service, much less any kind of internet.

Worse yet, paid prioritization of speed is only 'discouraged,' not banned. This means that if you really like, oh, say, Wordpress to blog on rather than Blogger, Wordpress can pay the internet provider to make their site load faster, upload faster, et cetera. What does this mean for a few years down the road, when Revelation hits the fan? Will sites with Christian agendas just be shunted down to the lowest tier of pokey slow? Or does this pave the way for blocking it entirely, and that this regulation is just the beginning of censorship and an erosion of our First Amendment rights? FEAR MY PARANOIA!!! (AND MY CAPITALS AND EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!)

End of rant.

As for my non-ranting personal life, I have been exceptionally lazy for the last few days. I dedicated my first day of winter break to doing nothing constructive whatsoever. I'd forgotten how relaxing it is to just be totally worthless as far as productivity goes. I couldn't keep it up, though. The next day, I wrote about 1,200 words on my next book (!!!) and wrote another song for my musical. It may be the only piece of literature (if that's what you can call it) that contains the lines "You may kiss the bride. You may now defend the bride from bandits."

Less back pain is always a good thing. Those shots I got the other day continue to work their medicinal magic, and I'm feeling good enough to get back to work. They have a followup with me on January 11 to get another round of them, but things should be pretty shiny after that. The sooner I don't have to deal with very long, very uncomfortable needles, the better.

I'm going to nip out and get a haircut now. The amount of shagginess this mane of hair has developed is starting to get inconvenient. My fedora no longer fits. Fortunately there's a place in town that does 5 dollar haircuts. Perfect for my famished college student budget.

You may now continue your pedestrian existences, peasants. May the Force be With You, and may your internets always be free of regulation.

Friday, December 17, 2010

In which the Delay is Explained, and the Reader gets a Lesson on why Orcs are like Cats

Pinched spinal columns hurt. But no worries, jamming giant needles in the spine fixes the problem, right?

Anyway, via a combination of wrapping up a semester, intense back pain, and the release of Fallout: New Vegas, I haven't written a post for this blog in ages, and am now remedying the situation.

All the News in Fits of Print:

Long stories short, I've still been working on the musical. Sometimes I make headway, sometimes I don't. I'm still looking for a person to help me with the actual songwriting. No such luck acquiring a talented musician as of yet (at least not one who's willing to work on speculation instead of cold hard cash). But see below in Things you should Look At. I found a hilarious music site thanks to one of the followers of this blog. Kudos to you, Jess.

I had a two month dating-style relationship with a Jewish girl whose mother is from the Ukraine. It was great. She was really funny, a goofball, and we had a lot of geeky interests in common. Unfortunately what we didn't have in common was a religious belief of any kind. She was Jewish by culture not faith, and I guess I was "too Christian." I'm sad that it's over, but I know God's got someone for me out there who's just as geeky and screwball who doesn't think He's a fairy tale.

Marcher Lord Press has inducted a new member to our fold of spec-fic weirdos. Sharon Hinck, who writes, get this, Old Testament Fantasy Fiction, has joined the MLP crowd, and I really want to read her books. I've wanted to write a fantasy/Hero thing about King David's Mighty Men of Valor for a long time, and her writing sounds right up my alley, at least as far as deliberately Christian fiction goes. I recommend you take a look at Restorer's Journey, which I will be liberally borrowing (read stealing) ideas from.

Got a Cortisone shot (two actually) in my spine. The needles hurt a lot, but it's lessening my back pain already and it's been less than 24 hours. God willing, I'll be back to full mobility in time for the next semester (and for work, as being off the schedule has had a dramatic shallowing effect on my pockets).

Things you should go look at:
* SONGS TO WEAR PANTS TO: http://www.songstowearpantsto.com/
You should check this out, especially "We Are the Robot Pirates" and his cover of Jonathan Coulton's "Still Alive." This guy takes emailed suggestions (and paid commissions too) and turns them into funny short songs. The guy's name is Andrew, and he's super talented. His musical style is incredibly eclectic, hitting genres from rap and pop to electronica, bluegrass, and even some really silly satire pieces about zombies. If you value your sanity, do not, repeat, DO NOT listen to "Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows." Also for his more serious work (Drum n' Bass Classical Rock covers of things like Rihanna's "Only Girl" and some of his original, very heartfelt pieces) check out his channel on Youtube called Suture Sound.

As soon as I have about four hundred dollars, I am paying this guy to produce an orchestrated version of one of my songs from my musical, "Sneaky Sneaky." He already said he liked it, but couldn't do it for free. Phooey. Why's everything gotta be about money these days?

* THE BENNY HILLIFIER: http://bennyhillifier.com/
I don't know who runs this, but it amuses the crap out of me. You know the song "Yakety Sax" that a lot of comedy sketches play during silly chase scenes? Well, this critter can take any Youtube video and replace the sound on it with that song. It can turn a lackluster fight scene (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-yG-8fryCM) into THIS: http://bennyhillifier.com/?id=J-yG-8fryCM

Great for funny cat videos, Matrix fight scenes, funeral videos etc.

Courtesy of a conversation with an insufferable Brit/Indian half-breed friend of mine, Orcs are apparently like cats for a number of reasons. The conversation mostly consisted of saying things about cats, and then almost falling over laughing when we imagined that Orcs do these things too.

1. They like to sleep in hot places
2. They claim territory/things by scent marking them
3. They eat their food off the floor
4. They get grouchy if they are tired, hungry, thirsty, full, drunk, sober, awake, or currently existing in any fashion.

-it just devolved from here-

5. They poop in a box
6. They go into heat
7. If you touch a baby Orc the mother won't recognize its scent, and will eat it
8. They shed everywhere
10. They bathe by licking themselves
11. They'll sleep on your couch and not move even if you want them to
12. It is impossible to get up off a couch when an Orc is laying on you
13. They purr
14. Orc Hair is impossible to get off white clothing
15. Paper bags are amusing to them
16. They are easily distracted by laser pointers

It went on from there, but those are the "best of" or maybe "worst of."

That is all, you may now return to your lives. The next post will not be quite so long in coming.

Responses for my followers:
* Angelica: Yeah, sorry about the delay. Fortunately as the semester is now over, I have some extra time to write blog posts. Whoopee. I don't like making myself a liar, so more posts cometh.