February 20, 2007

We're all gonna DIE!

A contingent of astronauts, astronomers and yes, rocket scientists, are urging the U.N. to do something about an asteroid that's heading straight for Earth.

On April 13, 2036, the asteroid "Apophis" is scheduled to pass near our little blue planet and will have a 1 in 45,000 chance of colliding with us. The identified space object is 460 feet long, (which is about where I max out with my 8 iron) or about a football field and a half for those who are length-measurement challenged.

I think it's funny that they're asking the UN to aid in absolving a potential crisis almost 30 years away. This is an organization that has made minimal efforts to combat terrorism and has been hit and miss on averting genocide... not to mention the Secretary General's position being loaded with so many funny multi-cultural names.

The project to 'deflect' the asteroid could cost $300 million, which is less than one tenth of one percent of what the Iraq war has cost -and it could potentially save the world. Priorities, priorities.

February 18, 2007

Escape Club: Wild Wild West

Nowadays it's rare to actually see the music video for a current song. It's even rarer to see the video for an 80's song, as it requires tuning into VH1 Classic at exactly the right time to catch it. Thank god for the internet though- YouTube provides a place for us to find all of these outdated video goodies.

Here's the video for Escape Club's Wild Wild West. I've known this song for as long as I can remember, but have never seen the video. I'm not sure what exactly I expected, but it certainly wasn't this. Really, this video seems like a demonstration of one particular video effect.

Video Director (to video editors): What kind of effects can you guys do?
Editors: We can do wipes, captions, fluorescents, that sort of thing.
Director: Seen it. Anything new?
Editors: We can take specified part of a shot and mirror it, like an arm or something. (Editor demonstrates)
Director: Perfect. I want four minutes of that.

February 08, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith Dead at 39

Forgive me in advance for speaking ill of the dead, or blasphemy, or whatever. Anna Nicole Smith was found dead today in her hotel room, and I can't say I'm all that choked up about it. I'd never wish such an ill upon anyone, so it's not like that, but I certainly won't be in tears over her passing.

Anna Nicole Smith has annoyed me for years. She came to fame with a pretty face (I actually find her gummy smile sorta gross) and a place in Playboy. She became even more famous when she married an 89 year old billionaire, who then died shortly thereafter. That's what really brought her to the center of entertainment news. She was caught up in legal disputes for years regarding his money, as the man's family, friends, the media, and quite possibly the entire American public believed Smith was just after his money.

Later, she starred in her very own "reality" show, which focused on her wealthy life. In every tv appearance, news story, or other media coverage, I always thought she fulfilled the stereotype of the ditsy blond she was. The media in and of itself was her vehicle to stardom. In the end, she became famous because she was famous, in a situation reminiscent of Paris Hilton. Smith had no positive impact on society, and never accomplished anything more than establish a 'party girl' image.

Doctors have already stated that her body had high levels of methadone and anti-depressants. For those who don't know, methadone is a heroine substitute that is used to ween addicts off of the real stuff. Much of the time, heroin users are just as addicted to methadone as they were to heroin, but because it's considered a "treatment" drug, they can acquire it much more easily.

The media has already begun 24 hour coverage of Smith's death, and no doubt will continue for days. Look for coverage of her death on every channel from CNN to E to the major news networks and beyond. I'm sure Larry King will have a few words about her too. I fear that the death of Anna Nicole will spiral into one of those decade long controversies that are inescapable- sort of like Jean Benet Ramsay, Marilyn Monroe or Kurt Cobain. Because her death wasn't witnessed, the media will produce new theories about it for years to come.

Maybe me writing this now is a tad premature. In fact, yeah, it probably is. But I thought I should say something before she is canonized on tv. CNN already called her a modern Marilyn Monroe. The fact is that Anna Nicole Smith was a con artist junkie who brought on her own death by using countless drugs. She leaves behind a 4(?) month old child with an unknown father, and several lawsuits regarding her children and late husband. Her other son, who was older, died last fall as well. The investigation on her son suggests that it may have been foul play, and Anna Nicole could potentially have been involved.

I'm not going to let the media fool me into thinking she was an angel whose life was tragically cut short, because I'm in tune with reality enough to know that that is not the case.

February 06, 2007

Proof that life isn't fair.

One of the chief duties of my current job is to process new-hire paperwork. The recruitment side of human resources takes care of the actual hiring, then after the person comes in for orientation and fills out all of the tax paperwork and whatnot, we put it into a legible form then file it away.

Included in these packets of papers from orientation is everything that was used during the process. This includes a copy of their resume, job application, interview schedule, interview notes, offer letter, and other related info. Of course, I end up seeing all of these documents as they come across my desk. I’m required to pull certain information from each of these papers then sort them as needed.

While most of the hiring that I see is of qualified applicants with substantial industry experience, once in a while I get one that just doesn’t belong. This company imports employees from all over the world. I’ve seen many visas from Europe, Asia and Australia, and a group of people just walked by speaking in Spanish. When a company goes through this much trouble to gather the best workforce it can, it really makes me wonder how some people can slip through the cracks.

Today I did the paperwork for a new HR coordinator for the New York City office, at a salary that is easily three times what I make. The recruit had no relevant work experience. Not even a little. They were a former minor Broadway actor who had appeared in several shows, but had never worked in an office before. They also had no college degree, and went to a ‘fine arts’ type high school. In essence, this person isn’t qualified to run the copy machine, let alone be in charge of recruiting, hiring, and managing employees at one of the company’s biggest offices.

As if that wasn’t enough, I also saw the interview notes. These were actually written down in his application packet. The highlights:
-“No relevant work experience”
-“No degree”
-“incoherent at times”
-“communication skills are a bit poor”
-“struggled through specific questions”

And my favorite:
-“would be a big risk”

And this guy has a job, but not me.

February 02, 2007

Nintendo 22 years old. Holy crap.

It caught me off guard because I really haven't thought about it in a while. The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, is 22 years old.

This device was pretty definitive of my childhood... that is until super nintendo came out in 1991ish. For the record, the N64 probably ate up more of my time then the two combined, and don't even get me started on the PS2.

I'm sure many of us remember the glory days of the NES. It was the first truly mainstream in-home video game player. Sure, atari and commodore 64 preceded it, but those didn't have the pizazz of an 8 button controller a zapper and plumbing duo. Duck hunt, mario, dr mario, mario 2, mario 3... a lot of mario really. That was the bread & butter of the NES, though it didn't blossom into much of a blockbuster in theaters (1993).

It's still pretty easy to find a working NES console. I know my family has at least one or two around the house, and it generally works. You usually have to wiggle the cartridge a little bit from one side to the other and have to blow the contacts to get a game to play, but wasn't that half the fun?

Maybe not, but it's something we all dealt with at one time or another. After all, who's never played NES? I always wondered how much good came from blowing into the cartridge. I mean yeah, it could get the 'dust' off of the contacts, but how much of the true benefit was just taking it out and readjusting the cartridge when you put it back in? And how much damage did it do when you'd blow into it and get spittle all over the place? I remember that happening more often than not.

Those games were so much simpler. About 75% of the time, the objective was just to move the character from one side of the screen to the other. Come hell or high water (or goombas) you could get the hero, often clad in ninja attire or overalls, to the right side and move on to the next "world". Those games are too easy and too simple for today's youth who have grown up without ever seeing an actual music video on MTV, or played a video game that involved fewer than 12 buttons and an optical drive.

What brought the notion of 22 years of NES to my attention was the following comic from xkcd.com. I think us NESers can relate.