Priorities, dude. Priorities.

If you’re looking to have a lunch meeting with officials from Belgium, don’t forget the cool ones. From the article:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – A lunch meeting between a leading parliamentarian in Belgium and counterparts from Iran has been canceled because the beer-loving Belgian could not stomach a ban on alcohol.

I’m usually not one to talk politics, but the Belgians fully have my vote.

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GOOGMaps API

The GOOG released an API for their maps product. People have been kluging together little (although useful!) applications with GOOGMaps since shortly after it came out. This should make it that much easier. the ‘Hoo, it turns out, has also provided an API for its maps product.

Both the GOOG and the ‘Hoo seem to be tripping over themselves to make it easy for their users to build useful things using their services. This is a wonderful turnaround from the bad old days of perl scrapers for every service out there — Net::Yahoo::Scraper::Stock::WorksPoorly::Undocumented and so forth — and companies that didn’t understand the power of opening up their services to an army of creative people. Now all we need is for Mindset to publish a web service.

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Razor Sharp ‘Toons

Sometimes you see a listing for an event and you know immediately that you can not pass it up. Stephanie called a few days back to tell me about ToonTime with THE RZA and we knew that this was such an event.

Musician/Actor/Writer/Icon-extraordinaire RZA — A.K.A. Bobby Digital — is the artist in residence at this year’s LA Film Festival. His duties include — amongst other things — selecting a few of the movies (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) and putting on a baddass show last night. Toon Time with THE RZA

The basic idea of the show was that RZA would lay down some tracks live to 1930’s-era cartoons. As he explained, this was something he’s been doing since "back in the Shaolin days, back in Staten Island." He also had a device that he called a "DJV" that allowed him to play with the speed, direction and timing of the video as easily as he did the audio. When he wasn’t changing up the music to go with the cartoons, he was changing up the cartoons to go with the music. It was some pretty amazing stuff.

His choices of music and cartoons were great as well. At one point, he had Superman fighting off an army of robot bank robbers to the sounds of Bobby Womack’s "Across 110th Street." He played some Tex Averey stuff, old pirate cartoons, etc. to motown, funk, disco, a little hip hop.

Seeing RZA live gave me a whole new universe of respect for him. He becomes the music when he performs. The beats take over his body, controlling his movements while he’s controlling the beats. It’s pretty cool stuff. The energy and intensity and fun he brings to the whole scene made the show even more perfect.

This was also our first show at the Ford Amphitheater. It’s like a smaller, much more intimate version of the Hollywood Bowl. The worst seat is 94′ from the stage, you can bring a picnic in and eat it at your seat or at one of the tables outside, and they don’t search your bags when you come in. Quite unusually, they let you smoke at the Ford. As this was an LA Film Festival event, the crowd was thick with hipsters, which at one point prompted Stephanie to say "I don’t know how much more American Spirit smoke I can stand."

Probably the strangest moment of the evening came before the show started. A rep from film aid came out to tell us about their good works (I believe a portion of the proceeds from the LA Film Festival goes to film aid). Now, this is well and good, and I’m all for chartable works, especially in developing nations. However, when the speaker told us that in Kenya, film had become "as important as food and water," it was all I could do to not laugh out loud (I think the people sitting next to us could see us doing our best in a losing effort to conceal uproarious laughter). I’m sure that they like movies over in Africa, but the odds are slim that they’d pass up clean water and a good meal for opening night tickets to War of the Worlds. I guess there’s nothing quite like amazing hubris to take away anything even vaguely resembling credibility.

RZA had a little treat for the Wu fans in the audience at the end of the show. He brought Method Man out to say "hi" to everybody and showed a video for Shimmy Shimmy Ya to give everybody their fix of the dearly departed ODB. His parting shot was "smoke that smoke, drink that drink, POW."

Wu-tang forever.

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FSM Cafepress Shop

There’s a Cafepress shop for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism warez. Represent!

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Flying Spaghetti Monster is My Homeboy

Via BB, I give you an Open Letter to the Kansas School Board. It puts forth a theory — equally valid to Intelligent Design — that states that the earth was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster, backing it up with the sort of irrefutable statistical facts that we’ve become accustomed to by the Intelligent Design debate.

There’s one glaring problem with Flying Spaghetti Monsterism. If, in the issue of fairness, the Kansas School Board agrees to devote equal time to the theory of Intelligent Design by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, students will be placed in horrible peril. The letter states that "…it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia." Now, everybody knows that dressing up as a pirate is the best way to get totally wailed on by a Ninja. This isn’t something that we should wish upon Kansas’ students lightly.

For further discussion: Do the statistical facts presented by the letter prove conclusively that Ninjas are responsible for Global Warming?

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Home Brew of Mediocre Magnitude

Ryan Clancey, A.K.A. Home Brew of Mediocre Magnitude, has just done a large and glorious redesign of his brewing site. It is beer-colored and wonderful, contains information about HBMM’s beers, brewing in general, and as far as I know, people, feelings, and bowling. Why shouldn’t it be so?

Clancey has everything it takes to be a top tier brewer: A love for beer, a good appreciation of craft, and his own bowling shoes (this is more important than you might imagine). I can’t wait for the Chip Shop to carry HBMM beers. That will truly be a wonderful day.

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Family Helpdesk

If there’s one thing that every person of the technical persuasion fears, it’s the helpdesk call from the family. Mom or Dad are on the phone and they’ve got some sort of virus or they’ve deleted some sort of template or they want to hook a new wireless router up their circa 1983 green bar line printer. They’re infuriating calls and I can understand why everyone dreads them. What’s funny is that I do not get them, and it wasn’t until today that I knew why.

I thought it was because when I was first learning about computers, things didn’t always go 100% smoothly. Well, perhaps I understate things here. Back in the day, I use to break the hell out of every computer in the house. Regularly. I’m better now — honest. Years of depending upon technology entirely for my income has made me a much more sensitive and appreciative user of computers and networks. Some wounds never heal, though. Bringing down the home network twelve hours in to a fourteen hour job that my dad was running, I always though, was one of them. Thus they never call me when they have computer problems.

Maybe they thought I was too busy. Perhaps they just didn’t use computers any more. I didn’t really care. I was happy so long as I wasn’t having to restore a corrupted registry from 1,000 miles away at 8:00 on a Saturday morning. A phone call my mother received during my most recent visit gave me the real reason why they didn’t ask me for help: they get the helpdesk calls from the rest of the family.

My aunt called my mother early on a Saturday afternoon asking for help with her resume. It turns out that she wanted to put something in small caps and didn’t have the foggiest notion of how she might go about that. Mother walked her through the steps over the course of five minutes or so and went on to ask my aunt to email the resume to her so she could look it over. Apparently this was also a process that my mom would have to walk her sister through; she started with asking her to save the document. "How do you do that?"

I had instant and ultimate appreciation for my parents never calling me for computer help. They don’t have to — they already know more than enough to keep themselves running, and they are the helpdesk for a good chunk of the family. So thanks, Mom and Dad, for staying up on things and not giving me any family helpdesk war stories to tell. I’m sure my son will thank you as well when I start bugging him for help twenty years from now because I honestly don’t know how annoying it really must be to get those calls.

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Hello World

There it is. The "Hello World" post. As far as I can tell, it’s the way these newfangled blog things are started. Hell, the software I’m using to do this filled the title in for me. Very kind of it, that.

"Hello World" has been around since 1973 (Wikipedia’s "Hello world program" entry). I know this because, well, because I looked it up on Wikipedia. Also because I’ve been doing the whole "Hello World" thing for a while now, and it seems the natural way to start this sort of thing. It’s comforting to know that the tradition that comes along with new endeavors in my field is older than I am. It makes the whole thing feel solid, grounded.

So there we have it. I’m Corey. I write software. This is my blog. Enjoy.

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