Archive for February, 2004

I dislike loathe despise hate math!

Feb 19, 2004 in Personal

I have an Intermediate Algebra test tomorrow on rational expressions and equations, and I don’t think I’m going to do well.

This is the second time in my college career that I’ve plodded through the “math tard” curriculum of elementary and intermediate algebra. Oh, I did ok the first time. But after two years, I didn’t remember any of it. Rational expressions is where my brain skid to a grinding halt the last time. This time is not any better. Everything else up until now has been a cakewalk. But I still have the rest of this semester, plus a semester of college algebra, and I’m scared (and exceedingly frustrated). Please tell me this isn’t going to get any harder.

I’m going to repeat that old chestnut that every math teacher has heard countless times: WHEN THE HELL AM I EVER GOING TO USE THIS STUFF??

Somewhere in the future:

Me: Ok, so how do I figure out my interest rate?

Helpful bank person: Ok, well you just factor both expressions, find the LCD, multiply all terms of the equation by a factor equal to 1, perform the operation, cancel, factor again if neccesary, set both terms equal to 0, and solve for X.

Me: (curled up on the floor in fetal position)

Before enrolling in my current program, I was a computer programming tech major at community college. I took the basic and intermediate algebra, computer math (discrete math) and elementary stats (only got a C). And from what I know about programming, everything about algebra that applies to computer programming is learned in the first two weeks of the course. (This is assuming that you’re not programming graphics, engineering, or scientific applications).

It turns out that my problem is what psychologists call dyscalculia. The list of symptoms on this page describe me to a T:

Normal or accelerated language acquisition: verbal, reading, writing. Good visual memory for the printed word. Good in the areas of science (until a level requiring higher math skills is reached).
Difficulty with the abstract concepts of time and direction. May be chronically late.
Poor mental math ability.
Poor with money and credit.
May have difficulty grasping concepts of formal music education.
May have poor athletic coordination.

Great! Now when are they gonna come out with a pill to treat it?

Oh, and this is pretty funny too. For a discipline that is allegedly so rational, orderly and perfect, there certainly is a lot about it that seems arbitrary.

An Internet-style ass whooping

Feb 16, 2004 in Personal

This weekend, I learned one of the hard lessons of the Internet. The game files for the “Smack the Penguin” game that I was hosting on my tribute site proved so popular that my visitors used up all of my bandwidth (as well as all of next months bandwidth) in the space of 48 hours. My domain was down for three days, and I’m just hoping my sites haven’t lost any visitors. Oh well, c’est la vie.

In unrelated news, I have the flu (finally), but I’m functioning enough to write an article for my student newspaper on the Grey Album copyright controversy (see last post).

LiveJournal user budgie_ has kindly set up a LJ account for my syndicated feed. It hasn’t been tested yet, but if you’re an LJ user and want my blog to appear on your friend’s page, add andrews_feed to your Friends list. (This may only work for paid accounts, at least until I get more subcribers to the LJ feed).

What do you get when you mix the Black Album with the White Album?

Feb 14, 2004 in Music

Many of y’all have probably already heard about this, but DJ Danger Mouse took the vocals from Jay-Z’s the White Album and combined it with beats taken from the Beatles’ White Album. The result is probably one of the most creative remix/mash-ups to come along in a long while.

Despite a limited edition run of 3000 copies, the album has been reported on by several mainstream pubs, and as a result, EMI has threatened legal action against the producer.

Of course, the net effect of this is that even more people will get to hear it over the internet. Check your favorite file sharing service, or grab it now from here before it disappears.

Yeti Sports Part 2 out!

Feb 13, 2004 in Pop Culture has just released the sequel to the addictive, insanely popular “Smack the Penguin” game (the evolution of which is documented here, on my very own page).

This one involves an orca, which tosses penguins into the air with it’s tail. You, as the yeti, must lob snowballs at the airborne penguin, knocking it into a target.

This game is significantly more challenging than the first, as you not only have to hit the penguin with a snowball, but you have to hit it where it will fly as close to the bullseye as possible. You get 10 penguins to lodge into the side of the cliff.

I’ve been playing for about a half-hour now, and have yet to come up with an ideal strategy. You have to hit the penguin on it’s way down, though. Line up the mouse pointer over the penguin, and click to throw. Like the first game, you’ll get better accuracy by holding down the mouse pointer and letting go at the moment you want to throw. I’m still trying to figure out how to aim it to hit the bullseye.

If you see your mom this weekend, be sure and tell her, SATAN, SATAN, SATAN!!

Feb 12, 2004 in Music

Black Metal Nation - New York Press

This amusing book review by Mark Ames compares and contrasts the black metal cult classic Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground with An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror, the new book by neo-con hawks Richard Perle and David Frum.

As a recovering teenage metalhead, I can only say that the existence of the Norwegian metal underground is a bit of an abberation (I’m sure many of you have already seen the news article concerning Norwegian band Gorgoth on Polish TV). By the time black metal came on the scene, satanism was considered old hat in metal music; cheesy and overdone. But I remember a time when most non-metal listeners mistakenly believed the only thing that separated Bon Jovi from bands like Metallica was the latter’s devotion to the dark lord Beelzebub.

Ad found on

Feb 10, 2004 in Humor


Blogger RSS feeds

Feb 10, 2004 in Uncategorized

Another piece of useful blog-related info from yours truly. Blogger just started offering Atom feeds for their blogs (at least for Blogspot, I don’t know about hosted blogs). If you use a newsreader to read RSS feeds, you can now subscribe to Blogspot blogs.

The first thing to try is just use your newsreader subscription bookmarklet to see if it finds the feed automatically. In the root directory of the blog should be an atom.xml file. If it doesn’t find it automatically, try appending “atom.xml” to the URL of the blog to get the RSS feed.


Feb 10, 2004 in Music

Holy Pop Relic - Why Brian Wilson should leave the unfinished Beach Boy masterpiece Smile alone. By Jeff Turrentine

I once wrote an essay about the Beach Boys late ’60s output. Smile is the centerpiece of this period; a dauntingly ambitious album that was perhaps too ambitious. The project was ultimately scrapped, and piece by piece, songs from the unfinished albums started appearing in other Beach Boys works, the Good Vibrations boxset, and on muddy sounding bootlegs.

The bootlegs are rare and expensive; I once paid $20 for a CD-R version of the famed Vigotone bootleg that consisted mostly of outtakes, alternate versions and crude mixes. If you’re curious to hear Smile, there are mp3s available on the Web. This site has some good-sounding mp3s from one of the better bootlegs. (Get ‘em now, before the RIAA gets to them!)

You have mail from Coeducation V. Acorns!

Feb 06, 2004 in Humor links to a NYT article concerning those unusual names that have been showing up in the sender line of spam messages lately.

This is so much fun that, of course, I’ll have to make my own list, culled directly from my spam-ridden Yahoo account:

Borders E. Anklets
Clay H. Cannibalism
Carbohydrate L. Keystroked
Digressions H. Kens
Fraternization P. Mincemeat
Clef D. Shrubberies
Hacksaws J. Overhand

…and on and on. I’m sure you can make your own list from your own spam folder.

I used to post strange and funny spam subject lines in my LiveJournal, about a year or so ago. But the subject lines just aren’t funny anymore. They’re still awful, and they still have that English-as-a-second-language feel to them. But “Extra Heat for Orgy Armageddon!” isn’t as funny as it once was. (Oh wait, yeah it is!)

Now, on second glance, this is all so pathetic. Spammers are so desperate now to get their email through the filters that they’re willing to make their emails illegible, ineffective, and just plain obvious. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when you received spam with a convincing name and an ordinary subject line like “Hi”. If spam ever comes to an end, it’ll be because it’s no longer profitable.

Full-frontal nudity now!

Feb 05, 2004 in Uncategorized

“Boobgate” (

Dear media,

We are getting tired of hearing about the partial exposure of a certain performer’s breast during a musical performance at a recent major sporting event. You know who we’re talking about: the sister of another well-known performer who is currently facing charges for child molestation, who was performing with the ex-lead vocalist of a boy band who is not the Backstreet Boys.

I’m not even going to mention their names, because I refuse to contribute anymore to the critical mass that this event has generated. Isn’t it odd how we as Americans are simultaneously attracted to and repelled by the sight of a woman’s breasts? On one hand, it was the most replayed Tivo moment in history, as well as the new all-time top search term. On the other hand, we’ll be lucky if we even get to see cleavage again on network TV anytime soon. Even nude male butts on cop shows are now verboten.

And it probably isn’t worth mentioning that CBS thought it inappropriate to air an anti-Bush ad, yet found it quite alright to air crotch-grabbing, bodice ripping performers during halftime. And has anyone else noticed that no one has really been talking about the game itself?