Archive for May, 2008

Relationship Advice

So I learned some things recently.

When you are having a serious conversation about your relationship with your girlfriend, it is perfectly acceptable to:

1) Suggest that you roll a D20 every morning to decide whether or not to break up that day

2) Rickroll the conversation.

I suggest all readers try these methods with their significant others to see if it works out as well.

May 28, 2008 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

Ridiculously Musical Post

(Note: After writing this post, it occurred to me that it would be of no interest to anyone. You might just want to skip it and re-read the “SCIENCE!” post directly below)

(Seriously. This is so lame)

So awhile ago my friend Ben (whom I’ll have to tell you guys all about someday) did one of those surveys on Facebook where you create a soundtrack for your life. Considering I’m a huge film geek and love making soundtracks, this seemed like the perfect project for me. The results? Let’s take a look:

Opening Credits:
The 59th Street Bridge Song ~ Simon and Garfunkel

This one was hard to pick, and I’m not entirely sure I’m satisfied with it, but overall I think it’s good. Something light, upbeat, optimistic; I often find myself singing this when I walk place to place. Let’s go with it.

Waking Up:
Here Comes the Sun ~ The Beatles

I tried to keep this list from getting stacked with Beatles songs, but I do have a few on here. This is actually pretty straightforward; all about the sun coming up and better things ahead.

Falling In Love:
Starstruck ~ The Kinks
OR Geeks in Love ~ Lemon Demon

‘Starstruck’ is more about falling in love with a wild lifestyle, but it seems to match my real-life experiences of falling in love pretty closely. It’s only happened once, I got in way over my head, and ended up pretty messed up for awhile because of it. This is a story only my friend Alyssa and Dani knows, though I don’t think Dani knows she knows it.

Other than that, I’ve also had a lot of crushes of varying severity. ‘Geeks in Love’ is pretty much my idealized relationship; one where I find someone willing to talk at length about ridiculously nerdy things like space lasers. At the moment, I’m doing pretty well in that regard.

Fight Song:
The Will of One ~ The Protomen
OR Tribute ~ Tenacious D

For those who don’t know; “The Protomen” is both the name of the band and their first album, which is best described as a rock opera about Mega Man. In ‘The Will of One’, Mega Man vows to defeat the robots who have enslaved humanity in a dystopian future, one in which humanity may already be beyond redemption.

As a fan of dystopian little and robot fighting, I find this incredibly appealing.

‘Tribute’, meanwhile, is about a couple of musicians who defeat a demon by playing the greatest rock song in the world. Longtime friends and readers will understand why I like the idea of victory through the power of rock.

Depending on the situation (and how serious it was), I can see either making a kickin’ fight song.

Breaking Up:
Long, Long, Long ~ The Beatles
OR Famous Blue Raincoat ~ Leonard Cohen
OR Brown Eyed Girl ~ Van Morrison

All of these songs are about literal break-ups, though in different senses. ‘Long, Long, Long’ is a slow, slightly sad song about losing someone and potentially getting them back, though this could just be wishful thinking. It also has some nice piano. ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’, meanwhile, is about maintaining a strained relationship after infidelity. And ‘Brown Eyed Girl’ is happy reminiscing about good times gone forever. Again, depending on the situation any of them could fit.

Pet Sounds ~ The Beach Boys

A fantastic instrumental piece from the Beach Boy’s best album, also called “Pet Sounds”. Has a slightly trippy, otherworldly quality to it that I enjoy.

Prom night:
Don’t Stop me Now ~ Queen

Surely I’m not the only one for whom prom wasn’t a big deal, right? This song choice is intended for if prom was like the movies, rather than my real-life experiences.

Sunny Afternoon ~ The Kinks
OR Fine ~ Lemon Demon
OR On the Run ~ Pink Floyd

The first two songs combine optimism with my darker, more cynical streak. ‘Sunny Afternoon’ is about getting by despite life’s problems, and ‘Fine’ is an upbeat tune littered with violent imagery.

‘On the Run’, on the other hand, is pretty much straight-up cynicism. It’s included for when I can’t shake the feeling that I’ll never make anything of my life.

Mental Breakdown:
1995 Penny ~ The Fine Print
OR Sloop John B ~ The Beach Boys
OR Brain Damage ~ Pink Floyd

This list probably won’t make sense to anyone as the choices aren’t that logical; but then, mental breakdowns rarely are. ‘Sloop John B’ in particular is an odd choice, since it’s a catchy little ditty about a bad boat trip. Like many of the songs on this list, it only makes sense in the context of a scene for a movie I’d like to do which I’ve only ever told Dani about.

‘Brain Damage’, on the other hand, is pretty self-evident. I especially love the line “there’s someone in my head and it’s not me.”

The Ballad of John and Yoko ~ The Beatles

Another “this only makes sense in the context of a movie I’d like to do”. We might be best just moving on.

Strawberry Fields Forever ~ The Beatles

‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ is pretty much my favourite song of all time, and it has this great dreamlike quality that would lend itself well to a flashback.

Getting Back Together:
Hey Jupiter ~ Tori Amos
OR Kyle Quit the Band ~ Tenacious D

‘Hey Jupiter’ is a melancholy song for when you need someone to lean on; you know, that kind of ‘getting back together.

‘Kyle Quit the Band’, on the other hand, is for the badass kind of reunion where you and the old gang reunite for one last mission. If the League were to do a final heist/project/save the world, it would be to this tune.

Hey Jude ~ The Beatles

This is cliche, right? I can’t think of anything more cliche. Or anything more appropriate, really.

Let’s just move on with our lives.

Birth of Child:
Sea of Love ~ Cat Power

This, I mean… jeesh. I’m not even qualified to pick a song for this. What the fuck do I know about childbirth?

I’m just going to go with ‘Sea of Love’ and leave it at that.

Final Battle:
Video Killed the Radio Star ~ Buggles (as covered by Reel Big Fish)

Another choice that makes the most sense in the context of a story idea I had, in this case a League story I’ve talked to Dani about and should probably mention to Stephen and Jon sometime.

Beyond that, I love ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ and feel it would be thematically appropriate to fall in battle to a song eulogizing the end of an era. It would make a hell of a way to climax a movie.

Ending Medley of ‘Abbey Road’ (Golden Slumbers/Carry that Weight/The End) ~ The Beatles

I want to make it clear right now; “Abbey Road” is the greatest album ever crafted by mortal hands. Of particular note is the B Side, in which songs blend together to form a massive, three-act super medley.

Rather than rant further about this, I’m just going to demand you all go out and listen to “Abbey Road”. Why it is thematically appropriate should make itself clear.

Final Credits:
American Pie ~ Don McLean

Man, this is tough. It’s the end, the credits are rolling, and you have to pick a song to summarize not just the movie but your entire life. What do you go with?

‘American Pie’, that’s what. An epic eight-minute song that covers nearly the entire emotional spectrum (from youthful frivolity to righteous fury) and discusses growing up and the evolution of rock and roll in a series of extended metaphors.

Besides encompassing nearly every aspect of life worth discussing (an amazing feat, to be sure), this is another pick that has resonance in terms of “a movie idea I have that only Dani knows about”. So I guess there’s that.


Sheesh, this list seems so pointless and self-indulgent. I’m sorry for wasting your time, people.

Also, out of seventeen categories, I used eight Beatles songs (three of which are for the funeral scene). Nice.

May 19, 2008 at 7:58 pm Leave a comment

Adventures in Science

So the other day my girlfriend and I were having an extensive discussion about the space program and astronomy, and it occurs to us that technology is rife with the potential for awesome. Particularly, we were discussing problems of resource-management in space; sure, the asteroid belt is rich in iron and other minerals, but to mine it would require a huge fuel expenditure when said fuels are one of our most valuable (and limited) resources. So how can large-scale mining operations in space be economically feasible?

Easy. We strip-mine the Moon for tritium.

Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen (H3, specifically, meaning it’s atoms have three neutrons) that’s rare on Earth but abounds on the Moon. This is key, because Tritium is a key component in nuclear fusion. Assuming fusion power ever becomes feasible on a large scale, mining the Moon will give us access to an incredible powerful and clean fuel source.

It turned out, however, this conversation was just a precursor to three awesome ideas regarding space and astronomy, three things which will shake the very foundations of science and society to their core! They are:

Homemade Water

Another good use of hydrogen is in hydrogen fuel-cells. It’s actually ridiculously clean; when you’re done, the only waste you have is a bunch of water you’ve created as hydrogen combines with oxygen in the air.

Think about how obsessive people are today about bottled water and fancy (read: pretentious) imported waters. Think about how expensive even a practical fusion reactor would be.

I’m calling it first, right here and now. In the future, being able to make your own drinking water will be the ultimate status symbol.

Of course, the rich will find reasons to justify it. I fully expect to hear about how making your own water is the only way to assure ultimate freshness and purity. They’ll talk about how the fuel cells in the basement also provides power to the house (and most of the surrounding neighbourhood) and so they’re helping the community. But this isn’t really what it will be about. In reality, it will be a new way of saying “I’m so goddamn rich I can do something this ridiculous and impractical”.

Dark Matter Found

From here the conversation moved to other impractical methods of getting power, particularly Dyson Spheres. For those who don’t know, a Dyson sphere is a theoretical construct in which an entire star is surrounded by solar panels (or, alternatively, a giant inside-out planet) so that 100% of it’s energy can be collected. Considering that currently we get less than a fraction of 1% of the Sun’s energy, this would result in a dramatic increase in the power available for our use.

Randall Munroe, the XKCD guy, has a great addition to this where a Dyson Sphere is combined lasing cavities to convert the entire star into a powerful laser, a literal Death Star.

What does this have to do with dark matter?

Put simply; observing how much matter should exist based on gravity, scientists are unable to account for 25% of all matter in any particular galaxy (and 75% of all matter in the universe as a whole). This missing galactic matter is referred to as “Dark Matter”; we can see it’s effects, so we know it’s there, but we can’t see it directly.

What would make it so we couldn’t see the missing matter? There’s a few possibilities. Scientists have considered both black holes and dim brown dwarfs, but neither exist in high enough quantities to explain all the missing matter. Something else has to be out there.

Remember how a Dyson sphere captures all the energy of a star? This means absolutely no light would escape. It’s gravitational effects would be felt, but it couldn’t be seen.

The logical conclusion; Dark Matter is actually stars surrounded by Dyson spheres and turned into powerful lasers by various alien races, for use in interstellar combat.

This bears repeating.

25% of all stars in the galaxy have been converted into death-rays.

Though incredibly unlikely, this theory is also incredibly awesome, explaining one of the fundamental mysteries of the universe in terms of badass wars in space. I expect my Nobel Prize any day now.

And finally, the third awesome thing to come from the conversation:


A little-known historical fact; Canada was the third country to launch and orbit it’s own man-made satellite, after the Soviet Union and the United States. This satellite, known as Alouette I, was created to study to ionosphere and transmitted results for 10 years before being shut off.

The interesting part about this; when it was shut off, it still had battery power left.

The really interesting part; 40 years later, it’s still orbiting.

In theory, the right radio signal could kick the satellite back online and get it transmitting again. Anyone with sufficient time, expertise and dedication could aim a signal at this thing and get their own private research satellite out of the deal.

On a related note, I’m living with a physicists and two computer scientists next year.

This would be the most awesome (if impractical) house project imaginable.

Editor’s Note: In the first draft of this post, I somehow confused hydrogen fusion and fuel-cells for the part on water creation. It was kind of an embarrassing error.

May 18, 2008 at 11:24 pm Leave a comment

The Post Without Videos

I tried to upload my videos to Youtube today, but it turns out I did compression all wrong. So look for those in the coming days.

Despite rumours, I am not actually living in Danielle’s house. In fact, I am living on the opposite side of the continent, in a small townhouse in Vancouver. I apologize to all of you for the inconvenience.

I recommend you come out and visit me, you lazy bums. I made the trip the last two times.

(Goddamn, I miss you guys)

The job search continues. At the moment, barring unforeseen disaster, I should be employed by the end of the week. It just remains to be seen how good of a job I can get by then.

Or there could be disaster and I end up starving in the streets. I guess we’ll see.

Editor’s Note: Shit, I didn’t post those videos yet. It has been six months. Epic fail.

May 12, 2008 at 7:58 am Leave a comment

Things Which be Going On

In the news:

I got an e-mail the other day saying that I got into the Film program. I find this utterly inexplicable, considering my final project (and thus the one responsible for getting me into the program) was edited in the span of a single day (a 16-hour marathon session) and riddled with technical faults. I’m not complaining, but it’s weird as shit.

Oddly enough, I was so sure I wasn’t going to get into the program that I was planning my third year around that.

I also moved into my summer house. It was… interesting? Housekeeping hadn’t been through the kitchen or bathrooms yet, and things were pretty rough. The entire living room had been converted into a miniature garbage dump, and it took about ten trips dragging stuff to a dumpster to clear it out. Now that it’s taking care of and housekeeping has been through, things are actually pretty nice here.

Meanwhile, I’ve been spending the last few days looking for a job to pay for this kickin’ pad (I promise I will never use that term again) and the food within it. Have a couple of interviews coming up in the next few days, so hopefully things will turn out okay.

And that’s my life right now.

May 8, 2008 at 7:25 pm Leave a comment

May 2008
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