Nightmare Revisited.

Because everyone was just clamoring for a detailed review of the Nightmare Before Christmas cover CD "Nightmare Revisited."

Overall it's pretty good. There's an interesting mix of styles which aren't all on the geek-goth-metal continuum, and many of the artists do a good job of making songs from a musical sound like standalone songs in their own right. Nearly every track keeps Danny Elfman's themes intact while adding a good dose of originality.

Track-by-track rundownCollapse )

Jetpacks would suck anyway.

Today I connected a tiny device I carry in my pocket to an international network containing basically all the non-secret information in the world. I used the network to find a store, which we navigated to by another tiny device that communicates with satellites and knows every road in North America. Then I paid for my purchase by simply tapping my card against a reader. It went "boop."

There is not a goddamn thing I did today that would've been the same even five years ago. There are about three little electronic bricks I carry around (which could be consolidated into one if I had more money), summing less than a pound, that enable a lifestyle completely unlike the disconnected groping--maps! phonebooks! payphones! cash! pointy sticks!--of 2005.


Amazing(ly unfair) Grace.

I've long been bothered by the version of Evangelical Christianity (which I understand is not the only one) that holds that if you accept Jesus it's all good and if you don't accept Jesus it's all bad. Heaven for believers, Hell for unbelievers, a born-again child molester gets a harp and Ghandi gets a pitchfork. Even when it's not just about belief, the idea of such extreme judgement bothers me; I'd rather see murderers in Heaven than petty thieves in Hell.

But I'm not God. Deciding the afterlife I'd "rather" have has about as much bearing on reality as how much traffic I'd "rather" have on my morning commute. The world's not fair, and good people certainly suffer in this one--who promised me the next world would be different?

Still, two issues keep me from just taking Pascal's Wager and falling to my knees right here. (Well, three, if you count "oy vey, you'd break your poor bubbe's heart with such a shandah.")

1) Maybe God is unfair, but I can't take a human's word for that. I'd need to reach some very personal understanding of God as valuing faith over works before I accepted it as truth.

2) If God is that way, I don't know if I can sincerely love God. Believe, maybe, but it's hard to give trust and praise to a force that condemns some souls to eternal suffering. A storm may bring needed water to some and floods to others, but neither worships the rain. Either way it's something to be dealt with, but not something to be loved.

The closest thing to the stereotypical evangelical viewpoint that I can understand right now is that Heaven is God, and Hell is nothing but the absence of God, so coming to God isn't some prerequisite--it is coming to Heaven. I'm still not totally sure that makes sense though.


Two thumbs so way up.

Without giving too much away, I'll just say this in its favor: this movie wants you to have fun. It has no interest in killing your buzz or tugging your heartstrings, it's not Joss Whedon. It's just a blast and it doesn't stop being a blast. This is a movie you can trust, man.


A question raised by my new partner, and the answer may depend on what field you're in: who would you rather work with?

A) Someone who is unfailingly nice and pleasant and fun to be around, but is really dumb and makes a ton of mistakes when it comes to the technical aspects of the job


B) Someone who's excellent at their job, does things efficiently and correctly every time, but is a condescending and standoffish jerk to coworkers

Our consensus was "A, unless they're so dumb it's dangerous", but I know that in science and computers there are a lot of Bs out there.


I got a flu shot today. The pharmacist gave me a little coupon booklet, and all the coupons were for flu medications.

Reverse Dyslexia.

I keep thinking things are misspelled when they aren't. I'll read a sign that says "no smoking on hospital property" and think it says "nosmoking on hopsitial propety" until I look very carefully.

It doesn't impair my reading ability much, but it makes me think that people are illiterate when they're actually not. It's weird.


Today's fascination: American Sign Language!

All of the deaf people I've known personally have been able to speak and read lips, and when I encounter deaf people at work (who often lost their hearing late in life and don't sign) I generally write notes. But today I stumbled into YouTube videos of people signing in ASL and I got interested. This one is kind of sweet, this one is apparently hilarious but I have no idea, and this one is awesome.

And I noticed that the comments were typed funny. (YouTube comments usually are. Bear with me.) Some of the ones from deaf people had a very clipped syntax, with nouns and adjectives sort of flowing together, odd conjugations, and connector words often omitted.

Because Deaf are faulty that normal. i born deaf & YES happy accept it same normal same as hearing people. Deaf will never superior because limited like can't talk thru phone etc etc. Do I'm proud and PRIDE to be deaf ? No I'M HAPPY AS MYSELF :D I don't see myself as Deaf. That my life.
i, myself as a deaf and this adore me so much.
Yes it is obvious awareness of the deaf culture's way that I had been experience communication of the way from your explanation with three things exactly.

It made me realize: English is a second language for deaf people who sign. A language that they can learn only by reading and writing, which has to compound the difficulty--imagine only speaking English y escribir soló en Español. I had known before but this really drove the idea home that ASL is not signed English. It has its own syntax, and it's a syntax that cannot be rendered in speech or writing.

Check out the fascinating but nigh-incomprehensible Wikipedia article!

Now I want to learn ASL. Not just to communicate with deaf people, but because it's fascinating. I love the idea of a language that is not only practically but conceptually separate from sound. Multiple gestures can be simultaneous in a way multiple phonemes can't, and signs can convey information not just by their form but by their speed and location in space. It seems fantastically expressive and useful regardless of the signer's ability to hear.

I don't think I really have the time or motivation to learn ASL right now, sadly. But it's such a cool language.

EDIT: I had to replace one of my examples when I realized the writer was probably hearing and just illiterate. Sigh. Oh YouTube.