I'm on TechTV

I've been wanting to do this for a while, so last night I finally got a netcam set up and called into The Screen Savers with a question. The show is usually live, but yesterday they played an old episode on TV and recorded one that will air on June 11. So be sure to tune in. By then it will be called G4TechTV. My question is on about 45 minutes into the show. I'll post again soon to tell more about the process and show a picture of my netcam setup. And after the episode airs I'll upload a video of my segment. Not only did I get to have my face on TV and get my question answered by Patrick and Kevin, they're also sending me a free t-shirt for calling on a netcam.

Top 5 Essential Elements in a Teen Movie

The inspiration...
Danny's sister Jenny and I saw Mean Girls last Saturday, and I was inspired. Tina Fey wrote the screenplay and acts as a strange math teacher; Tim Meadows is the principal. This is my favorite quote, spoken by Tim Meadow's character. "I have a nephew named Anferny, and I know how much he hates it when I call him Anthony. Almost as much as I hate the fact that my sister named him Anferny." Okay, enough about this movie. Just go and see it, okay?

Now for this week's list...
5. The lame school dance
The popular cheerleader types are always in charge of the festivities, and annoy everyone else with their pro-dance rhetoric. The alterna-kids are equally against, but end up going anyway.

4. The geek/freak hook-up
These characters (the geek and the freak) have had their own plot lines throughout the movie, and may or may not cross paths with each other. But, by the end, we know they will end up together and live happily ever after. (Or at least until 7th period.)

3. The awesomely bad, totally unnecessary cover song
Why mess with a good thing? Because teen movies are targeted at one of the most fickle and clueless people groups on the planet--teen girls. Unfortunately, this group is often compeletely clueless about music, meaning that if the movie requires a certain song, it must be remade in order to sound 'trendy'. (Read: crappy.)

2. The food fight/other element of revenge
Usually occurs between the alterna-kids and the popular ones and involves some sort of gross-out theme.

1. The major life lesson
This goes without saying. Of course we all watch teen movies to learn how to function in real life. Who doesn't need advice about being yourself. Watch any movie in this category and you will see what I mean.

*I must say I am very impressed with the outpouring of comments on my 'Top 5 Worst Worship Songs' entry. It's great to know I'm not the only jerk.*

Break the Chain

I hate getting email chain letters. They're almost always false. I have enjoyed debunking a few of them, and that just got a lot easier. Here's a website devoted to exposing faike chain letters: BreakTheChain.org

Church and state

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

I'm thinking of writing an article on this for our church newsletter. My main thought right now is that church and state should be separate, for the good of the church and the good of the state. I ran across this quote from C.S. Lewis about why he doesn't want a theocracy.

What I don't know is to what degree they should be seperated and how that would look with specific issues, like gay marriage, 'In God We Trust' on money, the pledge of alligiance, prayer in school, evolution in school, etc. I know that when prayer was 'removed' from my school (teachers couldn't lead students in prayer) I was in junior high and I didn't panic. I knew that I could still pray silently. I didn't want teachers making me pray and I didn't really like listening to a sermon at the school Christmas and Easter assemblies.

So I'm not too sure about what I think, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to handle the backlash of questioning the generally accepted idea that separation is bad. Help me out here.

Take that, Ryan Seacrest

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

Sara and I just watched the second episode of The WB Superstar USA and it is awesome! It takes the best part of American Idol, the terrible singers that get eliminated, and makes that the whole show. All the bad singers are told that they're good and the good singers don't make it past the first two episodes. Everyone's in on it: the judges, the audiences, the dancers. The finale will be telling the sorry saps that they actually stink. It's so cruel, but so entertaining.

Vacation photos part I

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.


Our first stop was Brendan's graduation. The stupid disposable camera messed up the pictures of Brendan, so here's a picture of Smiles and Honzo.


Then we drove to Macon where we stayed with Joe and Amanda. (Joe's the one on the left.)


Amanda teaches graphic arts at a vo-tech school, so they let her use this beautiful G5 with a huge monitor. (Click on the pictures to see a larger version.)

Free Culture links

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

If you're interested in learning some more about culture and copyright issues, here are some links:

Free Culture
This is the web site for the book. If you want to download it or buy it, start here.

Lessig Blog
Lawrence Lessig's blog. He's a law professor at Stanford and a graduate of Cambridge and Yale. His blog can keep you informed.

Public Library of Science
This is a project Lessig has worked with. It's a solution to the problem of the high cost of scientific journals, which makes it hard for libraries to offer journals for free. Scientists can upload articles, which are peer reviewed and then offered to the public for free.

Electronic Frontier Foundation
"A nonprofit group of passionate people--lawyers, volunteers and visionaries--working to protect your digital rights." You can find links about lots of legal issues here.

Creative Commons
"Some rights reserved." An alternative license that creators can use to give more rights to their readers. I'm going to look into choosing a CC license for this blog.

Free Software Foundation
The home of the GNU project, which gave us Linux and lots of other open source software. Their huge philosophy page can explain why this is so important to them.

Internet Archive
This is my favorite. It's a project to record as much information as is legally and technically possible. It includes the Wayback Machine (enter an address and see how what a site used to say) and a great audio section. I downloaded an entire live show from Waterdeep.

Free Culture and file sharing

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

No up-to-date book on copyright law would be complete without a section on music file-sharing. Free Culture doesn't deal with it much, but Lessig does have some comments in the afterword that are worth repeating. He says that file=sharing is a complicated problem because there are different types of sharing.

A. There are some who are using sharing networks as substitutes for purchasing CDs.

B. There are also some who are using sharing networks to sample, on the way to purchasing CDs.

C. There are many who are using file-sharing networks to get access to content that is no longer sold but is still under copyright or that would have been too cumbersome to buy off the Net.

D. There are many who are using file-sharing networks to get access to content that is not copyrighted or to get access that the copyright owner plainly endorses
(302).

Type A sharing is illegal and for good reason. It's still up for debate whether file sharing hurts cd sales, but this type of sharing goes against the spirit and the letter of copyright law, which is designed to promote progress by giving artists access to the benefits of their creation. Type D sharing is totally legal and very useful. The tricky thing for lawmakers and programmers is to find a way to cut down on type A sharing without inhibiting type D. But what about types B and C, are they wrong? Is downloading a song to see if you want to buy a cd any worse than listening to the radio? Is downloading a song that can't be bought on cd any different from rescuing a tape from the dumpster behind the record store? The RIAA wants to fight type A sharing, but they treat all p2p sharing as if it were this type. They don't care about the fact that Napster had several legal uses. If the different kinds of sharing can be understood, then maybe we can come up with some reasonable regulations.

I should also point out that when the big companies and lobbyists start panicing about piracy, they're usually wrong. They were sure that the VCR would decimate the box office. It didn't. They thought CD burners would eliminate CD sales. Nope. Now they're saying the DVD burners and back-up software will kill DVD sales. Don't count on it. And p2p file sharing won't send P. Diddy to the poorhouse

Free culture and lobbyists

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

More from Free Culture:

So long as legislation can be bought (albeit indirectly), there will be all the incentive in the world to buy further extensions of copyright. In the lobbying that led to the passage of the Sonny Bono Copy-right Term Extension Act, this "theory" about incentives was proved real. Ten of the thirteen original sponsors of the act in the House received the maximum contribution from Disney's political action committee; in the Senate, eight of the twelve sponsors received contributions. The RIAA and the MPAA are estimated to have spent over $1.5 million lobbying in the 1998 election cycle. They paid out more than $200,000 in campaign contributions. Disney is estimated to have contributed more than $800,000 to reelection campaigns in the 1998 cycle (226).

This is a big problem, and not just with the copyright issue. We shouldn't really blame the companies, what they're doing is legal. But it's a bad system. If legislators have to think about the interests of their favorite lobbyists, then how can we expect laws that make sense for everyone else?

Well, I just finished reading the book on my PDA. I ordered a print copy because Sara wants to read it, too. In the end Lessig finally gives some concrete ideas on where to go from here. I'll post some of those soon, but next up I'll take a look at his thoughts on music file swapping.

Mike to play guitar in Kansas City

This post was written before I became an atheist and does not represent my current views. You can find more up-to-date posts on religion in my faith/skepticism category.

mikeyhendrix.jpgMy brother Mike is in a pop group (aka cover band) with his school that tours around North America putting on shows to promote the school. He plays lead guitar in the band, as you can see on the right. The FC Friends will be performing at the North Kansas City high school on Saturday, May 29, at 7 pm. Click here for a map.

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