kajarainbow: (Sarah by Steve Burt)
A response to an email of complaint I sent after this computer repair place hung up on my relay service after telling the operator they wouldn't accept the call.

" *****,

Sorry we offended you, that was not our intent. We have recently received a number of calls being forwarded by tele-operators from people located in third world countries wanting to make large purchases of computer parts which they promise to pay for via a letter of credit. These calls are typically fraudulent and a big waste of time. When I asked the operator who was calling and from where, she was not able to answer me, so I assumed (and wrongly) that your call was another one of these over-seas scams. Sorry we were not able to help you, perhaps in the future.

Good luck to you…"

I'd heard of this kind of scam before, and sent a conciliatory email in return.

So frustrating what some people will do.

In other news, I saw brief glimpses of this show because someone left this television on. One thing I noticed is that laughter has a very different effect when it's just words rendered in closed captions on a television than when you can actually hear or see it. See, sound effects are shown as [laughter] or [applause] or the like. Very different effect. Honestly, seeing all those [laughter] captions made it feel like a tiresome laugh-track.

Incidentally, this guy had a guest who wrote a book about herself pretending to be a man for a while, or the like. And they were joking about it, hamming up the 'manliness thing' (and attempted to talk about sports before confessing they both knew nothing about it). Anyway, the host joked that he lived as a female stripper for two years. =P But then one of them asked the other out for dinner, and that line actually amused me for once, for some reason.

But, yeah. Stereotypes. Eh.
kajarainbow: (Anisha)
...You know, I burnt a fair few months of saved up cash within a few weeks on buying interesting books. Then again, right now I don't have much to spend my money on, because I can't afford the real items (like actual independent living), and I already am doing a lot of savings untouched by this spending spree.

Picked up a bunch of stuff at Borders while visiting my grandmother, that Cryptomicon thingy (will see if it's any good), a random Bruce Sterling book (Zenith Angle), Singularity Sky, and Rudy Rucker's White Light. Rudy Rucker is definitely an interesting writer, not afraid to run with whatever wild ideas strike him. Made for a strange fiction on infinite number sets and a warped version of a Christian afterlife, and more than just that. I enjoyed it, though the Christian stuff had less impact on me than it would on an actual Christian. Notable for the nifty visualizations of many levels of infinity (aleph zero, aleph one, "all of possible existence" and so on).

Some interesting inspiration material so far. Singularity Sky's notable for the Festival, too. Interstellar migrating information-eaters, who offer crazy deals in trade for novel knowledge of any kind. Stories, etc.

I want to read more good nonfiction, but there's so much of it out there and I have a less clear idea of where to start than with fiction.

While I'm on the subject, I was at ConnectiCon a couple of weeks ago. It basically was sufficiently local that I could simply go with my dad and then come home after we were done for the day. The big minus of this being I couldn't just stick around into the late night and watch some of the very few anime showings I was even marginally interested in. The only thing I really watched at any length was Mermaid's Forest (interesting somewhat horrific fantasy involving immortals who've eaten the flesh of a mermaid, and the terrible things it can do to them).

But it was cheaper. No paying for hotels. Mostly, I ended up wandering around the convention looking at all the things people was doing, and getting into brief written conversations with people. I bought a set of purple jaguar ears and tail (at least I think the spotting pattern is jaguar, could be leopard or something else) and put them on with the help of the vendor. (Later I figured out how to put them on myself.) It had interesting effects, as I spent most of the rest of the convention in a more cheerful mood than most. Alas, one of the ears is now lost.

I ended up somewhat befriending a few strangers, including a staff member, three or so cute girls who were hanging out together in similar costumes with nifty fake hair falls and one of them now and then had a leash hooked on someone, and someone working for the vendor I ended up buying a lot of comics from (they had the best manga selection in the dealer's room, though I had to go to another one for American comics). I'm still thinking that next year I would like to try a more elaborate outfit. I have a lot of things I would like to get accomplished before then, though.

Notable comics:
Planetes, the most romantic hard science fiction story I've read so far. Great for making you want to cheer on ventures into outer space, too.
Sexy Voice and Robo, which I was curious about from the first time I just heard the name. It turns out to be a fun romp of this teenage girl's amateur detective/spy adventures. She picked the code name "Sexy Voice" because of her 'phone club' work, and "Robo" is the socially awkward robot-obsessed geek guy she manages to pull into all her adventures. In a way, it reminds me of both Tintin and Encyclopedia Brown, but it has its own definite (somewhat more morally ambiguous) aesthetic. Great fun and remarkably wholesome for the topics it mentions.
Three more volumes of The Maxx (this one not a Japanese comic). The Maxx is... trippy. Screwed up people who either hallucinate or genuinely cross over to a surreal alternative-universe "Outback".

I was going to do a weird convention report narrating real events from a fictitious viewpoint, but ended up not doing that. I might try it later.
kajarainbow: (Default)
You know, most people probably wouldn't classify a comment about an old silent movie with the "pop culture" tag.

Anyway, silly intentionally campy time-travelling comic! Werewolf Roman centurions with assault rifles! http://www.heebink.com/metacops1.html
kajarainbow: (Default)
Using a striped hyena instead of a wolf. That definitely impacted my ability to take Nosferatu seriously. I'm still chuckling now and then whenever I think of it. It's like having a ninja in Medieval Europe.

Edit: this probably was more frightening when people were more unfamiliar with such creatures. And the movie does have its good moments, like the distinctly eerie/creepy manner in which Nosferatu slowly rose out of his coffin like a board being levered up.
kajarainbow: (Default)
Using my laptop in the front room, I catch glimpses from the television more often than I used to. (This and other reasons, including the tendency for it to be filled with vibrations just from people moving through, are why it's bad for me to be doing it here. I should move operations to somewhere more quiet yet not my own room which I tend to shut myself into. Like the den.) Most of the time those glimpses from the TV are shit. This particular time excepted.

This time it was Malcolm in the Middle. I saw a brief scene-fragment in which it is discovered that Malcolm has done a bad thing to his brother because someone in a lab coat had told him to. The teacher showing the video of it said, "We can't know whether we would betray someone that trusts us that much if someone in a lab coat tells us to. What we do know, however, is that Malcolm did."

That scene was perfect. It encompassed so much. The tendency of humans to think that negative things do not apply to them, simply because they have not experienced those particular situations that causes the negative effects (whether it is health problems or improper actions). The lack of full self-awareness. The wonderful, wonderful irony. As someone who's been picking up tiny bits of knowledge of psychological studies, I find it particularly entertaining.

Many, even most, people are more susceptible to pressures from their peers and from authorities and from situations in general than most. That, in fact, is why, for example, Al Ghraib happened. The Stanford Prison Experiment is a very good example of one out of the many research studies showing that perfectly average persons are capable of having their senses of morality highly distorted by the right conditions. Just the very conditions in Al Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, and other such highly secretive places to detain people labeled as bad and less worthy of humane treatment cause abuses. It is not a case of a few innately bad apples. It is the case of the very barrel itself writhing with worms, the barrel itself corrupting the apples within it.

That was more of a political digression than I initially intended, heh.

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