Saturday Night (not so Live)

I’m supposed to be packing for my trip to the beach but I’m hooked on the episode of Saturday Night Live that NBC aired yesterday. It’s the very first episode, which featured George Carlin and they aired it as a tribute to him. It is consistently good; the sketches are much much shorter than they are today, there are way more musical acts and comedy routines, and there’s much less focus on popular culture, which means most everything still resonates today. I hope that by doing this they learn a little about how they should be doing the show today.

I’m trying to figure out what to pack. I need towels and a bathing suit, some clothes, and a nice shirt since my Dad is taking me out to an “executive” golf course (that means 9 holes and short ones at that). But the most important thing is board games! I had a request to bring Whoonu and Cineplexity (I’ll have to review that one when I get back). I think I’m also going to bring Rock Band, though I don’t know if I’ll have any takers on that. The adults all claim the songs are “noise” and are intimidated! Maybe if it’s a rainy day.

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Google downgraded me for some reason so my hits dropped and that was disheartening, also I just haven’t had too much to say. I’m not leaving for the beach until Tuesday but I’m going to be busy tomorrow night and am leaving straight from work, so unless I find some great Internet there (which is doubtful) there probably won’t be any posts in the near future, either.


Last Comic Standing: Season 6 Semifinals Part 1

This week: a semifinals episode, where half the comics are eliminated. This is the first of two two hour episodes, so we get four full hours of semifinals! I hope they are acceptably funny. Richard Belzer and Steve Schirripa (I remembered how to spell that from the last time he was a judge!) are back, having made the trip from New York to Vegas. Bill Bellamy was not on the top of his game warming up the crowd; reminded me of back when Jay Mohr was the host.

I’ll go over the comics in the order I thought they were, least funny to most funny. I came up with this order before I saw who got to move on. Comics who moved on are in bold. I also mention when the comics got to talk to Fearne or the judges.

Adam Hunter:
The pretty boy was very high energy, and seemed a little nervous. He went for a series of rapid fire jokes, one after the other, with not really very much transition. In the interview before he went on, he was very cocky He got a judges comment and an interview with Fearne.

Phil Palisoul:
He has a good personality and solid material but I didn’t really laugh.

Ron G:
Most of his set was him doing a funny voice, which was funny, but not super funny. I didn’t laugh.

Jeff Dye:
Many of his jokes got applause more than laughter; I think he did some pretty good physical comedy on exercise machines. He got an interview with Fearne.

The Meehan Brothers:
These guys do something totally different every time, which is respectable. They can think things up. I didn’t laugh at all, though, in the end.

Shazia Mirza:
Another instance where she got some applause as well as laughs for her jokes, and she did the rapid-fire delivery as well. It seemed like she was a little nervous. Fearne interviewed her and she seemed very nervous.

God’s Pottery:
They only have time to perform one song in the sets they show on the show. It’s hard to judge them just based on the one song but I don’t know if they will fit in well with the rest of the show. Judges comments: they never break character, which is respectable but a little creepy. They got a Fearne interview.

Andi Smith:
I’d go see her in West Virginia! Smiles all around but no laughing. She does the low-energy thing pretty well and she’s fun. No interviews!

Drennon Davis:
Lots of smiling from me, no laughing. He’s very much a personality and I respect anyone who can pull off a whole chorus and verse of a fake rap song. Fearne interview.

Paul Foot:
I didn’t want to like him, because I didn’t really like his set on the international show, and he comes off a little cocky, but I smiled throughout. He did alright. The judges talked him up, as did Fearne.

Lioz Shem Tov:
As a prop comic, it feels like he’s a bit of a long shot, has to prove himself. He might not have that much material, it appears, as I think we’ve seen the turtle before. No laughs, but he made me smile consistently from beginning to end, which was also the judges comment. He got judges and a Fearne interview.

Erin Jackson:
Produced some laughs, she has a very laid back personality. I think she would do well writing and starring in her own sitcom (it’s too bad NBC took that prize away this year, but it figures since none of the other winners ever got theirs). Again, she’s from DC so she has a hometown advantage for me. She got a Fearne interview.

Winston Spear:
I don’t remember seeing this sort of act from him before, the sort of nervous and strange footwork and posing. It worke for me, though. I laughed. Winston got to talk to the judges and they gave him somewhat negative comments which was unusual.

Erin Foley:
I would consider her very sardonic if I am right about what that word means. She was the fourth comic on stage and the first to make me laugh out loud.

Dale Jones:
A southerner with a little bit of a similar sensibility, though a little less crazy, won last year. He very much has an interesting personality. He definitely produced a guffaw or two from me during his set.

Dan Naturman:
Very funny, he produced some laughs in my case. He has kind of a Maxwell Smart delivery which I appreciate, and it’s timely!

Obviously the judges and/or producers did not agree with me at all! How very sad. Three of their selections were in my bottom four picks. I hope America is as disappointed as I am! If they choose this poorly next week, too, I might have to stop watching!

It seems like they went for diversity and charisma over funniness, which is pretty common with this show. They selected no females, though, so expect to see at least two females move on next week.

Four of the five winners got an interview with Fearne; eight out of sixteen performers did, so it seems like a Fearne interview is strongly correlated with being selected. We’ll see if that holds next week.

All my last comic standing posts.

Rhino be thine Beetle

Guest post: by poober

Rhinoceros Beetle

So today at work I stumbled across a redonkulously ginormous beetle and me being me had to scoop it up and take it home with me. I didn’t figure out what kind of beetle it was until I got back and googled it. It is a Giant North American Rhinoceros Beetle: otherwise known as Grant’s Rhinoceros Beetle.

I originally took it back for a friend who has a collection of crazy looking bugs, but on the drive home (as he scrambled around in a Gatorade bottle with holes punched in it) I grew mildly attached to him. After getting all sorts of information from the Internets I found out that these beetles eat fruit and nectar, can’t bite or harm you in anyway, and are all around excellent pets. He loves to climb all over my arms and though he has pincer claws on his legs and a huge horn on his head, he tickles more than hurts.

The website I looked at said they could fly very well, but mine doesn’t appear to be able to. While they spend three years as larvae, they only spend one year as actual beetles, so I hope he may be a young beetle and hasn’t developed his wings yet. My friend with the bug collection gave me a nice terrarium and the rhino beetle is playfully bulldozing sliced apples in it right now so I think I’ll try and keep him as he is very fun to play with and seems like little maintenance.

The only problem I have now is what to name him.

I’m thinking Cervantes, but I’d love some other input. Cant remember what the beetle from Godzilla was called. Anywho, for more information on Rhino Beetles check out where I got my info.

thesporiest: Round 1, FIGHT!

So yesterday at Mayorga my brother let me play around with his Spore creature creator. I was hoping there would be some nerdy girls around who might be enticed by the creative geekiness of it all, but no luck. And yet! We created some pretty excellent monsters.

Unfortunately you can’t actually play with the monsters until the game comes out. But no worries, we can have our very own monster battle on this very site! Sort of a sort of thing, except only once, and you don’t really get to vote unless you comment.

My brother sent me these and I forget the names; they didn’t show up in the e-mails. Which Spore creature is better? Mine is on the bottom! (hint, hint, nudge nudge)

Poober\'s Spore Creature
Gregorus\'s Spore Creature

The Technological Single-arity

Over the past week I did something of an experiment: I gave up instant messaging. One of my favorite ways to explore my own habits and my own willpower is to give things up. For example, at the beginning of the week I also gave up my car for a few days, and that helped me learn that taking the bus to work and back isn’t all so bad. In short, I like giving things up.

Giving up instant messaging wasn’t too hard; it didn’t take a lot of willpower to just sign out and not click the sign in button for a few days. All I missed was the feeling that somehow I was “in the loop,” but even that passed after a few days.

I mainly did this experiment to see if being a little more bored (not talking to people) and a little less tied down to the computer would lead me to do anything differently.  I was changing the incentives:  e-mail is more exciting when you’re away from the computer a little while so you have a chance to accumulate a few.  I don’t think this worked as well as I would have hoped, but it did work.  I ended up doing a little more reading and being a little better on chores.  I didn’t end up going out more and seeking out new experiences and new people, which is what I thought might happen.

In any case, I’m back on IM now, though I may be on less than I was.  Giving it up was overall a positive experience but there are a few people I chat with that I missed terribly.  I grew up chatting online and had given it up for a great number of years, and things are very different now than they were 10 years ago.  Technology marches on.

Last Comic Standing: Season 6, Episode 5

The “international” episode of Last Comic Standing this season was a little less exciting than previous seasons…

Continue reading

Mini-Review: Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

Those of you who saw my bookcase filled with recommendations may have noticed two books on there by Cory Doctorow: Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom and Eastern Standard Tribe. I am a fan of Doctorow’s work, and his newest title, Little Brother, did not change that. Like all of Doctorow’s books, you can read it online for free. This is the first book of his where I went that route instead of buying the hard copy.

Ostensibly written for the young adult crowd, Little Brother is the story of a young man from San Francisco who gets caught up in a DHS dragnet after a terrorist attack.  He is treated like a suspected terrorist and vows to take his revenge the only way he knows how: by using and spreading technology that will help people keep themselves safe and secure, and that will foil any DHS plans that violate the bill of rights and the freedom of Americans.

Doctorow always writes very simply and forthrightly, and I think that he did not have to work very hard to fit his style to the young adult genre.  The book is perfectly accessible to adult audiences as well, and actually some of the simplified explanation of various technologies such as cryptography and DNS is helpful to the average adult reader as well.

I thought the book very good; I generally don’t review things I don’t like, but I did find a few faults, and no review would be complete without at least mentioning them.  The characterization, I felt, was pretty weak.  I didn’t identify with the characters as strongly as I thought I would; I generally share their politics and their passion for technology but their personality and personal details were left very vague.  The somewhat stilted nature of the romantic and sex scenes didn’t help.

Overall the strength and passion of the politics of the book are what make it worth reading.  What is a society like when everyone is a suspected terrorist?  What is it like to be arrested and imprisoned as an enemy combatant?  Why is the bill of rights important and in what ways is it being trampled?  Do we have a responsibility to fight for freedoms we cherish dearly?  I’ll leave you with a quotation from the Declaration of Independence which features prominently in the book:

Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Revolutionary!  Read this book!