Sunday, November 20, 2005


One might find it odd that despite the title of this blog I have discussed neither anything Star Wars-related nor Paintball. This is basically because there's plenty of other Star Wars-discussion and, well, I don't play the paintball very often. I probably won't talk about either much if ever again but I figured I might as well explain what I'm talking about there.

Long, long ago on a camping trip that, well, really wasn't that far away, I mean, really, just north a couple hours. Not bad at all.

Ahem. This camping trip involved boredom. It was nice and sunny outside and there were fields and streams and trees and pine cones. We decided that this was the perfect opportunity to quantitatively test our force powers, taking our cue from how Obi Wan was training Luke on the Falcon in the original film. Some floating laser thing shot at Luke and he tried to deflect the laser blasts. Then he put on a helmet with an opaque blast shield and the thing shot at him again. This was our model. Sort of.

We gathered pine cones in paper grocery bags, fifty to a bag, selecting nice and uniform specimens. We each chose a nice hitting stick. And we found a blindfold. Thus: I'd stand there with a stick in my hand while fifty pine cones were thrown at me. Then, voluntarily, I was blindfolded so that fifty more pine cones could be thrown at me. You compare how many you hit the first time to how many you hit while blind.

Very little force power was demonstrated on that day, I can tell you that. We fell short of actually writing down our scores but it was fairly pathetic all around. It was all quite fun and not really that painful.

That is not, however, the end of the story. That would have left this blog titled Force Power Pine Cones... or, more likely, not been interesting enough to be recalled during that excruciating hour I spent trying to come up with something. So yes, there is more.

On a more recent camping trip (but still several years ago) my brother brought three paintball guns along. We (along with my younger sister) went off away from camp and tried to figure out what we could do. Paintball games are fun when they are massed groups attacking each other... duels are only fun for so long. Half an hour, if I recall correctly.

We tried skeet shooting with some frisbees... but that didn't work so well. We did end up finding a nice natural rock fortress which was just asking for a defender with the big gun to take pot shots at two attackers... but that's not why I'm here right now.

You see, we were trying to come up with games. We were trying to be creative. I wasn't being terribly critical with my ideas. We were being silly and having fun. I suggested that we test our force powers with the paintballs, much as before with pine cones.

After a lot of convincing my brother was pointing the big gun at me whilst I was standing there with a stick. This may seem odd considering I had been doing the convincing.

The first shot sailed well over my head, high and to the right. Seconds later I swung my stick to try and deflect it. My thoughts went like this: My brother is aiming at my head. My stick will not deflect any paintballs today. I can't quit now what with all the campaigning I did for this.

My brother asked if I was sure I still wanted to do this and I reassured him that yes, I did. The next shot was in tighter but still high and to the right. I pondered just holding my stick there for the next shot and claiming force powers. Instead, the next shot hit me in the neck. That was pretty much the end of that.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Update on Sony's Content Protection

Yay! I can actually stick to my plans to not buy any more content-protected CDs (see my earlier comments... though they don't actually include me making such a claim... and I seemed to be confused [maybe] thinking that it was more than just Sony and subsidiaries)... for a while longer, at least, because Sony says they're going to stop making them.

If I see a Content Protected version of Harmonies for the Haunted by Stellastarr* I'm totally going to get it. New, even.

The tipping point wasn't, however, folks like me complaining about the inconvenience/legality issues; rather it was on the heels of stories on how the hidden files leave computers vulnerable.
Sony's announcement came one day after leading security companies disclosed that hackers were distributing malicious programs over the Internet that exploited the antipiracy technology's ability to avoid detection. Hackers discovered they can effectively render their programs invisible by using names for computer files similar to ones cloaked by the Sony technology.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

It was fine

I was going well for a few days. I had several things about which I wanted to write but I figured I'd spread out the good stuff. Just resulted in a loss of momentum, me getting bored with the things which concerned me at the time. Maybe this is a good thing.

I had planned on seeing Go Betty Go again at the Big Fish Pub in Tempe but I really didn't feel like it. I quite enjoy their new album and their last show was great... but... ehh. I wasn't into it. The show which the Stiletto Formal headlined the night before at the Marquee (I can't get over that, they - and 7 other local bands - sold out the Marquee!) was mostly boring. I liked Lydia and the Stiletto Formal were good though not great [the new songs sounded better than the EP material. I've heard 10 songs from them, now, by the way. One song had something to do with Ambrose Bierce (the title, anyway), the other title I didn't understand at all] but I got there at 6:30 and nothing good happened until about 10pm. Lydia were really good, though. If I wasn't in the mood I was by the end of the night I would've gotten a CD. This reminds me, I need to check their MySpace to see what I can hear from them. Or maybe their regular website has mp3s.

I did make the performace of Brahms' Ein Deutsches Requiem. It was in English. It was the version accompanied by two people playing a piano rather than an orchestra. It was at a church. I knew (or figured) all of these things going in but the latter bothered me and is probably the reason I didn't feel like going to Go Betty Go. Though maybe I should change that to "put on by a religious group" as it wouldn't've mattered where they did it... it still would've bugged me. The conductor - who gave a short summary of the message before they started singing - either doesn't understand what Brahms was doing or willfully misrepresented the composer's intentions. Yes, I understand Johannes still chose Biblical texts but he was working within the system, that's how we know who he was (well, that and he was damn good at writing music.)

I probably shouldn't've gone but there were other reasons it was good that I went. And I basically was able to keep my mouth shut. I, for example, refrained from pointing out that Brahms, too, was an atheist.

Hmm. I was going to go into a few other things but I'm not sure about them. This post has had some topic shifts anyway... but that which has been cut (all before hitting Publish Post)... I don't want to get into that right right now.