New Blog

Posted by ADAM

If you want to follow Teresa from the Revolving Door Commune, you’re probably already reading her blog at Teresa Jusino Experience.

But now ADAM HAS A BLOG TOO!!!. I’m going to be posting about being a writer and whatever weird stuff happens to cross my mind. Please come by and visit often!

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Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 6:01 PM  Leave a Comment  

Propaganda

Posted by ADAM

I’m a Trekkie. But not one of those Trekkies who can speak Klingon. Up until today I’ve thought those people are totally lame. Then I saw this — a propaganda video for the Klingon Empire that a totally awesome fan posted online last week.

And, yes, the narration can actually be translated into more or less what the subtitles say (independant experts have confirmed it at Trekmovie.com). Whoever made this video has studied their Klingon vocabulary and grammar — and, for the first time in history, the fact that it is actually Klingon has made everything more awesome.

Not to be outdone, the Federation released this simple, to-the-point propaganda video in response.

Can I just say how nice it is to see Trekkies doing awesome, funny fan videos that poke fun at their show like the fans of other shows often do. You know, instead of being scary obsessed with every single detail and taking it all way too seriously. Way to go, guys.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 2:33 PM  Comments (2)  
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Brilliance

Posted by ADAM

Today Emily and I had a brilliant idea for a summer blockbuster that will shatter all box office records. It will be called:


VS.

Alien Vs. Panda

You all know who my money’s on.

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 7:21 PM  Comments (2)  

Copyright Adventures

Posted by ADAM

I’m sending three stories I wrote to publications this month and two of them weren’t protected by copyright. I’ve registered a number of copyrights in the past but I’ve always done it by mail. However, recently, the Copyright Office has been taking longer and longer to get back — the first time I registered a copyright, in 2004, they replied in four months, but for my latest copyright registration, in 2008, it took 19 months to receive my certificate (I just got it last month, in fact).

So I decided to get out of the dark ages and register my copyrights electronically. I created an account at Copyright.gov, a pretty standard online form — except that for some reason I couldn’t create a password that it would accept. I accessed the site’s help menu and found some information that I think should have been displayed a bit more prominently…

– Minimum password length must be 8 characters and consist of at least 2 alpha characters, 1 number and 1 special character [$, %, &, *, #] (but not an ampersand – &).
– A password must have no consecutive repeated characters.
– A password must not include your user name or any part thereof.
– A password must not include the names of a spouse, children, pets or one’s own name.
– A password must not include any regional sports teams or players.
– A password must not include any office symbols.
– A password must not include your social security number or any subset of your social security number that is more than a single number.
A password must not include words that can be found in any dictionary, whether English or any language.
– A password must not be any of the 11 most recently used passwords for the account.

First of all, who designed this list of requirements and have they sought psychiatric treatment for their raging paranoia? In addition to this list of rules which will surely result in a password that can’t be cracked by anyone — including the person who thought it up but will be completely unable to remember it — the system periodically e-mails you and requires you to change your password.

Also, who writes a list of requirements like this and puts the teeny, tiny requirement that you can’t use any word from any language at the very end, after having first taken the time to mentioned the names of pets and professional athletes?

Finally, if your system is going to have so many disqualifying requirements, it would be really nice if it didn’t make you fill in two more pages of forms before letting you know your password isn’t sufficient. It would also be nice if it told you WHY your password wasn’t good enough, because I tried ten more times but couldn’t figure it out until it suddenly dawned on me — it was the vowels!

“A” and “I” are words in English. “E” and “O” are words in Italian. “Y” is a word in Spanish. You can’t use these letters at all in your password. I thought that solved it for sure, but I still had to try three more times to come up with a password — eliminating all the vowels had created one case of repeating consonants and put together a pair of letters that appeared in my user name.

Finally I came up with a completely incomprehensible string of more than eight characters that includes more than two letters and numbers, a special symbol ($, %, &, *, #, but not & after all), no words in any language (with all those consonants, I was worried about Welsh), no family, pet or sports names, no consecutive repeating characters, no consecutive numerals that appear in my social security number, no consecutive characters that appear in my user name, and no office symbols (whatever those are).  And then I immediately wrote it down and put it in a prominent location because that was the only way in hell I was going to be able to remember it when I needed it. Now my account at the Copyright Office is impervious to high tech computer pirates but totally vulnerable to anybody who spends five minutes going through my desk.

God bless computers.  They make our lives so much easier.  How did we ever live without them?

Published in: on October 18, 2009 at 1:44 PM  Comments (4)  
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Independent vs. Indie

Posted by ADAM

Here it is, ladies and germs. After four years they’ve finally made: a Strong Bad E-mail that can give “DEATH METAL” a run for its money!

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 12:03 AM  Leave a Comment  

There Was a Cat Who Really Was Gone

Posted by ADAM

Yesterday was Liz’s triumphant return to Albatross karaoke night. And I’m so glad I went because Liz, Emily and I discovered — for the first time — the glory that is Boney M’s “Rasputin.” Play the video. Your life will never be the same.

Published in: on August 1, 2009 at 5:23 PM  Leave a Comment  

Group Story

Posted by ADAM

A few years ago when I was living in France, Teresa and I wrote a story. One of us would write an installment in a notebook and send that notebook through the mail to the other who would write the next installment. We talked about doing it again on a blog ever since. Well, inspired by recent events, I would like to offer this beginning of a story for Teresa or any other of the Revolving Door bloggers to continue.

**

It was nine o’clock in the evening. It was Monday, June 29. The country was licking its wounds after another day of relentless attacks on green protestors by police and Basji vigilante groups. TVs were flipping on all over the country. Ali Khamenei flipped his on.

These had been troubling weeks and the Grand Ayatollah was working late. He’d been eating antacids like popcorn ever since the election and trying to wrap his mind around the Internet. To him, it belonged to a different world. Ali was a politician but he had been a spiritual man first and there was something crass about the web that had always repelled him. Add to that his country’s isolation, his age (he would turn seventy in less than a month) and the fact that he had spent twenty years, the entire life of the Internet, as his country’s Supreme Leader. He hadn’t driven a car himself in all that time. He hadn’t done his laundry. He certainly had never surfed the web, there were secretaries and assistants and advisors for that. It had always seemed like something beneath his interest but now when one silly girl gets herself shot at a protest and it’s all over the world in minutes now thanks to this pernicious invention.

“It’s like a new world,” he said to himself quietly, without bitterness, and then left off thinking about it. President Obama was about to speak on State Television.

For now the government station was running a piece about Ahmadinejad. What an idiot, Ali thought. Any fool could have fixed an election better. You only need 51 percent to win an election. The rest is just for your ego. Why not make the margin narrower and then engineer yourself a narrow victory in the second round? It would be more believable. Now every time Ali went on TV and claimed Mahmoud had won, fair and square, no one believed him. I look like an idiot too, he thought darkly. Only a fool would believe me. Fortunately we have plenty of those in Iran, like in any other country.

On the TV, Ali could see Obama walking to the podium in the White House press room, thousands of miles away. Ali prayed he would slip up. So far the American president hadn’t said much that Ali could use to fan fear of foreign involvement in the protests. Perhaps tonight.

“Tonight I have a message for the people of Iran,” said Obama, as a Persian translator dubbed his voice. “I want to dispel the vicious rumor that the United States and Israel rigged the disputed Iranian elections in President Admadineajad’s favor. There have been charges in certain quarters that the CIA and the Israeli Mossad manipulated the election because because President Admadineajad was more likely to give us an excuse to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. This is a patently false allegation. It slanders the character of the United States of America. Tonight I have a message for all Iranians. This nation desires nothing but continued peaceful co-existence with Iran.”

Obama spoke for a few more minutes but Ali didn’t need to listen. He knew that the massive network of e-mails and text messages and tweets of which he knew so little had already jumped to life with this new injection of information.

Obama’s gambit was clear enough. Firstly, Ali had never heard the rumor the President had mentioned. It had no following in Iran. If it existed at all it was very obscure. A presidential denial would do nothing but catapult it to global prominence. Ali knew the very idea that Americans and Israelis had influenced the election in Admadineajad’s favor was ridiculous. The whole Guardian Council knew Mahmoud had fixed the vote himself. But none of it mattered. The Internet moved ten times faster than the speed of reason. The only people Ali had had any luck in convincing that the election was real were the paranoid fools who believed Americans were inciting the protesters. The new rumor that Obama had just planted was just the sort of ridiculous thing they would latch onto.

Ali ate another antacid and buried his face in his hands. He had no idea what would happen next but he knew there would be sleepless nights to come.

Published in: on June 24, 2009 at 4:48 PM  Leave a Comment  

Dad Was Right

Posted by ADAM

My dad never let me join the Boy Scouts because they were a paramilitary organization and he didn’t want me indoctrinated. Ridiculous, huh? I just wanted to hang out with my friends and learn how to tie knots.

Well, turns out my dad was right.

The Explorers program, a coeducational affiliate of the Boy Scouts of America that began 60 years ago, is training thousands of young people in skills used to confront terrorism, illegal immigration and escalating border violence — an intense ratcheting up of one of the group’s longtime missions to prepare youths for more traditional jobs as police officers and firefighters.

“This is about being a true-blooded American guy and girl,” said A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy here in Imperial County, whose life clock, he says, is set around the Explorers events he helps run. “It fits right in with the honor and bravery of the Boy Scouts.”

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 11:07 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Go Ninja Go Ninja Go

Posted by ADAM

Crispin Best, who is apparently a FREAKIN’ GENIUS, has written a suite a poems entitled Go Ninja Go Ninja Go. They are depressing character poems about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters.

Here’s a sample.

Krang used to date a girl.
She is sort of famous.
She did all the recordings that play on the number 11 tram, the ones that say the name of the next stop.
That is her voice.

She broke up with Krang because she wanted to have sex with her drama teacher.

Most days Krang buys a ticket and just rides around on the number 11 tram.
Krang listens to her voice saying the names of the stops and sits there and tries to be calm.
He listens to her voice and scrolls through old text messages on his phone.
He listens and after a while he looks up and looks at his hand pressing the red button that says ‘Stop’.

There are also poems for the four Turtles, Splinter, April O’Neill, the Shredder and Bebop and Rocksteady. Read them all, it’s well worth your time.

Via Slog

Published in: on May 14, 2009 at 7:13 AM  Leave a Comment  
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The Corporations Are Running Scared

Posted by ADAM

I just got this e-mail from Citibank, which is the lender on my student loans.

Dear ADAM [last name deleted],

Thank you for the opportunity to help you obtain the education of your choice. As a student loan provider for the past 50 years, Citi has provided financial aid assistance to millions of students and parents nationwide.

Given the challenging economy and continued increases in the cost of higher education, it is critical that the U.S. student lending system serves the best interests of students and their families. If you believe that competition and choice among student loan providers is valuable, you have an opportunity to make your voice heard.

Why Get Involved?
The government budget outline proposes offering federal student loans solely through the federal government’s Direct Lending Program starting July of next year. While this proposal will not impact a borrower’s ability to obtain a federal student loan, it will eliminate your ability to choose a student loan provider. It will also substantially increase the national debt since each and every federally-insured student loan will be funded by the Federal Treasury through the issuance of treasury securities. This proposal impacts you as a citizen – both as a taxpayer and as a borrower.

Why Does Competition And Choice Matter?
Without private lender involvement through the Federal Family Education Loan Program, students and their families will not enjoy the benefits that competition has made possible for more than 40 years. This competition has provided not only a choice of lenders, but also innovative products and services, such as:
– a variety of borrower benefits that lower your cost of borrowing
– financial literacy programs that educate you on how to borrow responsibly
– web-based tools and resources to advise you about your financing options
– default prevention services to help you pay back your loans

Competition also has driven increased customer satisfaction as a result of the responsiveness, personal attention and on-campus support that student loan lenders have provided to borrowers and schools nationwide.

Make Your Voice Heard
If you value the ability to shop for, evaluate and choose your student loan provider, make your voice heard by contacting your Members of Congress and by signing one of the online petitions that support borrower choice and competition in federal student lending.

Sincerely,
The Student Loan Corporation

I replied:

Dear Student Loan Corporation,

Respectfully, I believe direct government lending is a wonderful idea and will benefit college students greatly. If I were going to college now and not ten years ago, I would certain avail myself of that program. You wrote about the importance of competition. Competition from the government shouldn’t concern you unless your company works inefficiently, something that would indicate poor corporate structure. If you believe your company is flawed in this way, you should try to make it more efficent to better serve the needs of your clients and maximize your profit. That is the solution to competition from government loan providers, not a carefully worded e-mail designed to mobilize your clients on your behalf by giving them misleading information. Preying on their ignorance in this way is unlikely to work — they are all college graduates, after all.

Sincerely,
Adam [last name deleted]

Published in: on May 13, 2009 at 2:26 PM  Leave a Comment  
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