Archive for April, 2005


 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 29th, 2005

Current mood: 15% More Stressed than Usual

Just so my millions and millions of nonexistant imaginary blog readers don’t worry about me, I will not have internet access for about a week because I am traveling to a strange foreign land on a quest to prevent an evil man with a handlebar moustache and a top hat from tying this house to the railroad tracks. When I catch him he will no doubt laugh maniacally, and twist the aforementioned moustache between his thumb and forefinger, and then I shall punch him in the nose and save the day. Whether or not the house will consent to give me its hand in holy matrimony is entirely up to her (the house)

Happyness is a Hang-Gliding Hamster

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 27th, 2005

Current mood: Groovy

Yes it is true. Happyness is a hang-gliding hamster, flying free as a cloud, soaring over ice-capped mountains, then green fluffy forests, then over sun-bleached fields of wheat that spead as far as the eye can see, and finally out over the glistening sparking gemstone-blue ocean. At this point, a cold front being carried by the ocean currents causes the hamster to lose altitude uncontrollably, and he plunges into… er. No! Happy! Happy! Happy! …. um… then at this point, warm updrafts from a warm ocean current carry the hamster to dizzying new heights, and he soars all the way across the ocean, and finally lands in a crowded marketplace in Hong Kong, where in spite of an inability to comminicate verbally with the locals, he manages to trade his hang-glider for a questionably-packaged DVD boxed-set of several of his favorite Anime, before hopping on a cruise-ship back to the states.

Dadaist Music from Doron Sadja

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 26th, 2005

One of my favorite musicians is Doron Sadja. He is most well known* for his ultra-obscure CD A Piece of String, a Sunset, which features a 12 minute track which includes a single 12 minute musical tone which begins in a frequency above the range of human hearing, dropping into the range of painful “good-lord-what-is-that-screeching?” human hearing several minutes into the song, and continuing soothingly** down below the range of human hearing.

For a limited time (sorry, i don’t know exactly how long), you can download for free Doron’s latest work, with his band ChOcklate CaKE from Sadjeljko from it is not as acoustically aggressive as some of his other work, and people with no previous experience with this kind of experimental music can actually enjoy this.

This style of music is difficult to categorize, but if I had to do it, I would call it Dadaist music. Dadaism is a mid-20th century art movement, characterized by “Deliberate irrationality and the rejection of the prevailing standards of art”, which is a pretty good description of what Doron’s music is all about.

But don’t take my word for it, Listen to it for yourself.

* By “well known”, I mean that there are actually other people besides me who have heard of it, but the number of people who have heard of it in comparison with the overall music listening population of the world is statistically insignificant; less than a sampling error.

** The end of track 01 of “A Sunset a Piece of String” can only be described as “soothing” on the forgiving scale of comparison. When something has been causing you pain for the better part of eleven-and-a-half minutes, and suddenly it is gone, the sensation you experience is quite a pleasant one

[Edit: corrected album title. “A Piece of String, a Sunset”, not “A Sunset, A Piece of String”. I am dyslexic]

[Edit: Link to Doron’s new band instead]

I am a Hummingbird

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 25th, 2005

Current mood: Buzzy

Huitzil is the Nahuatl name for Hummingbird. It is a really cool name. The Aztecs were one of the civilizations who spoke Nahuatl, and they needed a cool name of hummingbirds. Why? Because they invented caffinated hot beverages. “What now?” you ask; Think about it. It makes sense.

If it doesn’t make sense, drink a large (grande) cappuchino-triple-mochachino and then think about it some more.

A Copy of a Mind

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 22nd, 2005

Current mood: Serious

“Please stay and sit with me…” said the Doctor, breathing shallowly.

The Robot sat down on the chair beside the Doctor’s deathbed. “Yes.” it said.

“Thank you.” said the Doctor. “The pain is growing less, but I feel so cold… I think I will not last another night.”

The Robot found another blanket beneath the chair, and spread it on top of the others.

“Thank you. But it makes no difference.” said the Doctor.

For a time they were both silent. Silent except for the Doctor’s rasping and halting breath.

Finally the Doctor spoke. “It comforts me to have you here… and… to know that you will live on.”

The Robot rested his perfect hand over the Doctor’s whithered old hand.

“You are me.” Said the Doctor. “You share my all my knowledge and all my memories, and everything about me. In you I will live forever. A thousand years from now, you will still remember living the first 60 years of your life in my body.”

The Robot nodded.

“Do you remember…” asked the Doctor, “When we were a child, and Grandmother was dying, and Mother tried to explain this to us.”

“Yes.” Said the Robot. “I remember. I didn’t understand it at the time.”

“I am afraid.” Said the Doctor. “I am afraid to end. I know I am immortal in you, but I am afraid for this me. I have passed my life to you, like a flame passed from one torch to another. The light endures, but this torch has burned down, and once gone, cannot be re-lit. I am afraid of the coming darkness.”

“Don’t be afraid. I will wait here with you and keep you company.” Said the Robot. “I know you would do the same for me, if I was in your position.”

“Yes. I know.” Said the Doctor. “I am afraid, but I can bear it because you are here.” And then after a long pause, he said “Thank God that you will never be in my position!”

“No,” said the Robot sadly. “I have been thinking about that. Someday i will die also.”

“Impossible.” said the Doctor.

The Robot shook his head. “You made my body to be ageless, but I am not indestructible. I may live a thousand years, but some day, I may be broken, and I will end also.”

“But the backup copies… you…” The Doctor began, but he did not finish, because he realized what the Robot was saying was true.

“Yes.” Said the Robot. “It was the work of a lifetime to move my mind from your aging body into my ageless one, but now, even though I can– and do– make backup copies of myself every night, if I was to be destroyed, it would be the backup copy that lives on, not I. I would face the same darkness you are facing now.”

The Doctor shuddered. “Why do you have to say these things to me?” he moaned.

The Robot leaned close. “I know you because I am you.” he said. “We do not want to be hidden from the truth.”

“But the truth hurts me more than it hurts you, now that I am so close to it.” Said the Doctor, with his eyes closed.

“I am sorry.” Said the Robot. “I will stay with you here until the end.”

The doctor was silent for a time, his breath, which had become quicker and more laboured as they spoke, now slowed and evened out. Without opening his eyes, he whispered. “I know you will. Thank you.”

Blackbeard Sez:

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 19th, 2005

Current mood: Piratey

Arr! Avast! Last week I put highlights in my hair, and my wife -- Blast the Wench! -- She hasn't payed me no notice at all! Arr! ...

Must… Not… Laugh…

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 18th, 2005

Current mood: Sleepy but Overstimulated

[Bob the Hamster Attempts not to Laugh, and Fails]

Capt’n Squiddy’s Bootleg Push-Push

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 17th, 2005

Current mood: gigantor-omega-happy

I love silly simple addicting games. A while ago, I programmed my own version of Push-Push using the OHRRPGCE, and today I re-discovered it.

Push-Push, of course, is the Samsung phone-game implementation of Sokoban

Like I said, I love silly simple addicting games. That of course reminds me of which my cousin directed me to a couple weeks back, and in particular, Flip Out, which is remarably simple, yet also very fun. In an age where mainstream games are so complex and involved… MMORPG’s come to mind, a genre I haven’t even dared to really sample, because as much as I love games, I don’t really like the idea of a gigantor-omega-h0nk game that tries to simulate a whole life in a whole alternate world where I get penalized for not playing daily. Real life takes up enough of my time already thank you ;)

Oh my goodness! I think I am getting old and crispy! I believe I just shook my fist at those gol’darned young whipersnappers with their newfangled games!

Whew. I’m gonna go play an emulator for awhile to clear my head.

I can see my house from here!

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 15th, 2005

Current mood: Awed

It has recently come to my attention that my Jeep Wrangler is visible from Outer Space. Yes, it is true. While browsing Google Maps I discovered that my jeep is visible as a small black dot in their satellite photos. The resolution is obviously not good enough for you to see what a cool car it is, but on the other hand, at 2 pixels across, you can’t really tell that I haven’t washed it lately either.

Right to Remember, Right to Repeat

 Posted by Bob the Hamster on April 14th, 2005

Current mood: Verbose

I read an interesting article about reverse-surveilance, or Sousveillance. It resonates with things I have been thinking about.

Do we have a natural human right to remember things? Do we have a natural human right to repeat what we remember? It seems like both of these would be logical extensions of simple freedom… but are they going to stay that way?

There are a lot of places that you aren’t allowed to take a camera. There are a lot of things that you are not permitted to record… but what if you had a photographic memory? Photographic memory, as you may have read about it in some spy novel, does not exist outside of fiction, but imagine if you will, a camera embedded in a contact lens, capable of recording a full lifetime of video, and playing it back to the wearer at will. Such a think would be like an artificial photographic memory. I think it would be awesome to have such capabilities. The advantages are limitless… but wouldn’t there be places and times where recording everything would be inappropriate? If an artificial photographic memory existed, when and where would you be obligated to “turn it off”? How is being asked to turn off your camera different from being asked to stop remembering things?

It would seem the obvious difference is that memory is something you are born with, and a camera is technology, but why is that such an important distinction? I was not born with my glasses, but they are an essential part of me. What about clothing? Even setting aside modesty and fashion, clothing is essential to humankind for the simple reason that we would suffer from exposure to the elements without it. Humans can’t really function without adding to ourselves additional technology that we were not born with. Our ability to use tools as if they were extensions of our own bodies is an essential part of what makes us human.

Back to sousveillance. People don’t like to be spied on, so if I suggest that we should all wear cameras, and effectively spy on ourselves, and spy on our friends, that seems like a horrible concept… But what if you are being watched no matter what we do? Clue: too late. Surveillance is all over the place. We aren’t yet to the point where everybody is being watched all the time, but the amount of time the average person spends on-camera in an average day is astonishing. Just pay attention next time you leave the house, and think about it. How many of those traffic lights are watching you? What stores did you go into? Did they record you? What about other forms of tracking besides video? Do you have one of those discount cards for your supermarket? Do you buy gasoline with your credit card? Privacy is doomed in the long run. Surveillance is getting easier and easier. I remember a High School teacher of mine once saying that a Big Brother is Watching You society like the one in George Orwell’s 1984 was impossible in real life because of the scaling problem of “Who watches the watchers?” That argument is invalid because a computer can easily sort and filter surveilance, making it possible for an extremely small number of people to keep track of a very large number of people.

How do we prevent those in power (government, business) from destroying our privacy? I am inclined to think that it cannot be done. Total loss of privacy seems inevitable to me, but I do think that the harm of loss of privacy could be greatly reduced if we do it on our own terms, rather than waiting for it to happen to us… which leads me back to the idea of an artificial photographic memory… even an artificial shared photographic memory, one where I share my artifical memories in exchaange for other peoples. it would be cool to be able to remember things that other people did. Very cool. But also, the idea of letting other people remember everything I have done is a little scary.

I’m not saying I’m ready to strap a web-cam to my glasses. It’s just something I have been thinking about.