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Adam Jaspering

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The internet is for [Jan. 28th, 2012|05:00 pm]
Adam Jaspering
Twitter is going to censor comments.
Google spies on people and sell our personal information.
Facebook takes whatever you post and copyrights it as their own material.
Youtube is a giant billboard for companies.
Amazon tries to drive locally owned and operated stores out of business.


Remind me again why I'm fighting so hard for net neutrality.
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Nobody Wants Lotto Scratchers [Dec. 23rd, 2011|11:19 pm]
Adam Jaspering
Christmas lists according to various carols:

Gayla Peevey - A Hippopotamus
Spike Jones - Two Front Teeth
Mariah Carey - You
Jose Feliciano - To Wish You a Merry Christmas
Bobby - A Pair of Skates
Susie - A Sled
Nellie - A Coloring Book, Yellow, Blue & Red
Joey Ramone - To Not Fight
Joni Mitchell - A River to Skate Away On
Simon & Theodore - A Plane That Loops-The-Loop
Alvin - A Hula Hoop
Billy Mack - To Have Santa Beside Me In Everything I Do
Bob and Doug McKenzie - A Beer
Two Random Children, C/O Chuck Berry - A Rock and Roll Electric Guitar; A Little Baby Doll That Can Cry, Sleep, and Wet
DJ Run - Cold Hundreds of G's; A Boat and Matching Car
The Waitresses - Completions and Connections Left From Last Year (Ski Shop Encounter, Most Interesting)
Eartha Kitt- Way Too Many to List
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A Gramme Is Better Than a Damn. [Dec. 5th, 2011|04:04 am]
Adam Jaspering

I went to Washington DC in 2002.

It was a family vacation. We did a bunch of things in northeast America, like Gettysburg and Hershey Park, but for brevity's sake, we called it the Washington DC vacation.

We did the basic touristy stuff on our first day: Strap on a fanny pack, tuck your polo shirt into your khaki shorts, and hit every single monument, memorial and statue on The Mall in one day. It was as fun as a five-mile hike crammed full of education could be.

It's the little things that I took away. For starters, the Lincoln Memorial. There was a twenty-foot tall statue of the Great Emancipator sitting in a chair, but for some reason, the Washington Tourist Board was more concerned with everybody realizing there was a gift shop in the basement. In the gift shop, you could buy souvenirs featuring images the Lincoln Memorial, with the signs advertising the gift shop notably absent.

The Vietnam Memorial was odd. I had always heard of it, but you really have to see it to understand it. It's not so much a wall as it is two black, obsidian slates, meeting at a 120 degree angle. It's not free-standing either. It's stuck into the side of a hill like a retaining wall.

The Korean War Memorial was much more interesting. The monument is a pretty breathtaking piece of sculpture art full of tiny, easy to miss details, none of which can be appreciated when you read about them later that night in the guide book your parents accidentally left behind in the hotel room.

What I remember most, however, is The White House. As I said, this was 2002. Just ten months after the September 11th attacks.  I don't remember the date because of that, but because Cardinals starting pitcher Darryl Kile and legendary sportscaster Jack Buck both died while we were on vacation. It was a grim week for St. Louis. Regardless, it was 2002. I remember seeing the White House and the gardens, and all the other stuff from the other side of a ten-foot, iron fence. And I remember seeing that ten-foot, iron fence from the other side of cement barricades. One fence was not enough. There needed to be two fences. That would surely ward off home invaders.

I was fairly certain I saw a secret serviceman with a rifle, but he was pretty far away. Besides, the President wasn't even in Washington while we were visiting; he was in China, or Europe, or somewhere. Which was pretty rude, all things considered. I'm not asking for a lot, but if someone ever visited me from out of town, I'd be courteous enough to rearrange my schedule to accommodate a face-to-face chat, however brief it may be. I wouldn't turn my house into the combination Leavenworth/Fort Knox without even leaving so much as a note on the door explaining that I had gone away on business.

This was the most protected private residence in the country. Probably in the world. Nobody was going to hop that fence, and if somebody did, they wouldn't make it twelve feet without receiving a backside full of buckshot. But no, that second fence wasn't about safety or security. It was about sending a message. Namely, "I'm in here, you're out there. And you'll never be in here, ever, so don't even try." I have reason to believe Dubya also had a hand-lettered sign near the front door reading "No citizins allowed (sic)."

I've been thinking more and more recently about that second fence. Our post-9/11 mindset is suffocating us. We earnestly believe there is no such thing as too much security. I remember Homeland Security once advised, without any basis or reasoning, to duct tape plastic sheeting to every ventilation point in our homes. And some people actually did it, including one family in Virginia (I always pick Virginia when I don't know what state something actually occurs). They sealed up their home so tightly, they were literally suffocated by their post-9/11 mindset.

We're at a point where every single one of us is scared out of our wits. Crazy shit has happened. Crazier shit is currently happening. And the craziest shit of all is going to happen soon, and we'll be powerless to stop it. When it all goes down, I want the most important question on my mind to be 'Where was I when I heard the news?' not 'Do I have enough canned ravioli to last me until the caravans return next spring?'

Earlier this year, authoritarian governments in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia were all toppled, aided by a great communication medium known collectively as, "The thing that's not like a truck, but like a series of tubes." Being able to rally support, organize the masses, and spread their small, oppressed voices to the listening ears across the world were the keys to victory. But those were brown people on a fairly inconsequential continent. It was an underdog story at best, right?

Then the same thing started happening in Spain. And this made powerful people nervous. Because Spain was practically a first-world country. If people on the cusp of being important were willing to fight for their basic human rights... *gulp* Americans might, too! Politicians and businesses and the media did their best to sweep this under the rug. 'What's a Spain?' they would ask. The media blacked out Spain. hotel prices and plane tickets to Spain jumped. Imports from Spain were slowed. American schools stopped teaching about Spain. Of course, this was coincidental. They also stopped teaching most other social studies, the arts, history not pertaining to America or World War II, grammar, spelling, classic literature, and every other subject not found on standardized tests.

Politics, Business and Media formed a pretty tight net. Business got lots of money. Politicians received a percentage of it, and made sure nobody interfered with the Businesses. Media received a percentage of it, and made sure nobody paid any attention to what Politicians or Businesses were doing.

That's why they're trying to shut down the internet. That's why they created SOPA and PIPA. The internet is a feral beast of information and communication. Businesses are losing money because of it. Politicians are losing control because of it. And media is being undercut by it.

They are being attacked.

And they want to build a second fence.

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Even the Fire Doesn't Want Them. [Oct. 17th, 2011|02:44 pm]
Adam Jaspering
What the hell are these?



These are abominations. These are nightmares in confectionery form. These are the simplest way to extract tears from children. These are a simple, unmistakeable, non-verbal indicator that you hate kids and everything good in the world.

They are just the worst.

Where does one even buy these things?

How is one's logic so far removed from normalcy that you genuinely believe children would enjoy these more than Snickers?

They look like they're homemade. They are not. They actually mass produce these somewhere. Probably at the same factory where they make DARE coloring books and the toys from Dairy Queen kids packs.

I've gotten weird things trick or treating before. A bag of barbecue chips. A can of soda. Seventeen cents. A chocolate Easter egg. Dry roasted peanuts. But these... these are just the worst.

Now watch, somebody will comment on how much they like these things.
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You Can't Always Get What You Want [Sep. 27th, 2011|08:57 pm]
Adam Jaspering
I like to consider myself a smart individual. I wear glasses. I went to college. I got mostly A's and B's in school. A C sometimes slipped in there, but that was due to apathy towards redundant homework assignments, not actual ignorance.

But there is one test of intelligence that will always put me on par with America's Got Talent viewers:
I will always download freeware on blind faith.

I can play Angry Birds right in my browser? Download that shit!
Flash-based face morph software? That could be fun.
Steampunk themes for Windows? Why the hell not?

I always check for viruses and spyware first. Don't get me wrong. I just frequently and repeatedly believe that any piece of software I find on the internet for free will work perfectly.

After all, if it's free, it has to be quality.

Earlier this evening I downloaded something that promised me quick and easy downloads of any streaming video on any website. Just watch the video, click the button, and presto, an MP4 all of my own.

It sounds so simple! And it's free! How could I lose?

After downloading the software, and installing the software, and installing the toolbar, and downloading the supporting software, and downloading the supporting software's toolbar, I was ready to watch some videos.

Just need to reboot the computer first...

Here we go, ready to download some-- hey, where's Firefox?

Alright, find Firefox, launch Firefox, add icon to my desktop and we're ready. Let's go to Youtube.

What? No I don't want to change my homepage to Bing. Get out of here.

Um, okay. I'll update Java. I thought I was using the most recent model, but you're the computer. Let's just get that updated, and download.

Rrgh. Okay, watch video in its entirety first, and then download. Okay, piece of cake. Let's see if it worked.

... No. No, this is the State Farm commercial that played before my video. This isn't what I wanted. Try again.

Try again.

*Click* *Click* *Click*

Hello, mister crazy app? I said download.

Okay, supporting software, why don't you try.

*Click* *click* *click*

Oh, right. I have NoScript running. Let's just accept that and...

*Click* *click* *click*

Application has timed out? When the hell did you even start? Elevator door close buttons are more responsive than this.

Okay, let's try IE. It's not my first choice, but maybe there's just a bug in Firefox the programmer couldn't work around.

Watching the video...

Downloading the video...

IT'S THE STATE FARM COMMERCIAL AGAIN!

Dagh! Let's try the supporting software again. Open, insert link, run. Allow program to run. Yes, allow permission. Wow. Three security prompts. That's always a good sign.

...

"Java has timed out. This can happen if you rejected the security request. Restart your browser and try again (This time accept the security request.)" I am dead serious.

Lather rinse repeat, and you now know how I spent two hours of my Tuesday evening.

But it wasn't a complete loss. I found this site that let's you download hundreds of free songs with no membership fee.
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Bodacious [Sep. 20th, 2011|01:07 am]
Adam Jaspering
The Eighteen Eightiest Eighties Songs

Take On Me - A-Ha
The Look of Love - ABC
Tarzan Boy - Baltimora
Holding Out For a Hero - Bonnie Tyler
Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
Just Can't Get Enough - Depeche Mode
Rio - Duran Duran
Take Me Home Tonight - Eddie Money
She Drives Me Crazy - Fine Young Cannibals
Don't You Want Me - Human League
Walking on Sunshine - Katrina and The Waves
Holiday - Madonna
The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
I Melt With You - Modern English
Two of Hearts - Stacy Q
Head Over Heels - The Go-Gos
Africa - Toto
Jump - Van Halen

Honorable mention for the entire career of Cyndi Lauper
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SCTV is on the Air! [Sep. 6th, 2011|01:03 pm]
Adam Jaspering
There's this channel called TeenNick. It's basically another version of Nickelodeon, focusing on a slightly older demographic. And by that, I mean they play the exact same shows on Nickelodeon, plus Degrassi: TNG.

I pretty much shrug it off entirely. I don't care about Nickelodeon's well-being anymore. They've become completely bottom-line. They're at war with Disney Channel, and that's the way it will be for the remainder of time. Nickelodeon is perfectly content with razing their legacy as the first network for kids, abandoning their once-proud penchant for original programming in favor of eight-hour blocks of iCarly reruns. As long as it moves officially sanctioned Wal-Mart t-shirts, right? Ren & Stimpy had three glorious seasons and is one of the most revered series of all time, animated or otherwise. Spongebob has been on for half my life, and averages 12 episodes per year.

I take nostalgia very seriously. I didn't abandon things from my childhood, I just temporarily set them aside to pursue other things. I know I'm not viewing my past entirely through rose-colored glasses. I picked up DVDs of The Adventures of Pete and Pete and torrented the entirety of Legends of the Hidden Temple during my Freshman year of college, and those shows still hold up. If anything, I like them better.

Apparently, I'm not alone. TeenNick, realizing an untapped market exists, recently established a late-nite programming block: "The 90s Are All That." Yeah, I don't much care for the name either. But still, my television watching experiences have come full circle. It's pretty much the nicest thing television has done for me since Sundance began running My So-Called Life repeats.

TeenNick has promised a rotating set of programs. Originally, it started with the quartet of All That, Kenan & Kel, Clarissa Explains it All, and Doug. Since it's inception, Clarissa and Doug have been since replaced by Hey Arnold and Rocko's Modern Life.

After six weeks (give or take), that is my analysis? Are these shows as good as I remember, or were they simply shows I watched because they were something to watch?

Kenan & Kel certainly has not aged well. I never much cared for it back in elementary school, but my God, I can barely tolerate it now. It's just so cliche, and every episode is practically the same. There are no real jokes, just Kenan & Kel aping for the camera. I'm sorry, but when I watch an entire episode revolving around Kel's fascination with orange soda, nothing else needs to be said.

All That fares better, but suffers from the same problems. There are a lot of funny ideas. Ideas. And maybe that's why the show is remembered fondly. The ideas of Good Burger and Earboy still seem funny fourteen years on, but serving as the basis of an entire five-minute comedy sketch... egh. To it's benefit, Vital Information, Pierre Escargot, and Katrina Johnson's Ross Perot impression are every bit as impressive as I remember.

Clarissa Explains it All had one major problem: It starred a girl. When you're a young boy, you're intimidated by your obligations to the male gender. You don't want to disappoint the other men of the world, so you feel guilty and ashamed watching any piece of media represented by a woman, as if somehow you were letting everybody down. As if there was some silent enclave monitoring your television watching habits, silently shaking their heads anytime you watched anything with a female lead, even if it wasn't exclusively aimed at the female demographic. It's a direct result of patriarchal society: shows featuring girls are for girls, show featuring boys are for everybody.

But now that I'm old enough to know better, I know nobody's watching or judging me. Well, actually, lots of people are watching me. We live in an Orwellian society, but that's beside the point. Clarissa actually isn't that bad. It's a product of the early-90s, and it revels in that, but it's still watchable. It's not great, but it's still fairly enjoyable. I give it a pass.

Doug is still Doug. I always liked it, it's a low-key slice-of-life show. It was a primer for King of the Hill. And I have nothing else to say about it.

Rocko's Modern Life and Hey Arnold, I admit, I cheated with. I watched the entirety of both series online before distribution companies forced Netflix to raise their rates (Netflix, I'm sorry I badmouthed you. I didn't know the whole story, and I didn't realize you were the victim. You're still my number-one choice for home-viewing entertainment, and I hope you're still coming over Wednesday for pizza night.)

Hey Arnold is surprisingly deep and insightful for an animated series, but never quite makes the leap to full-on excellent. I don't know what the writers were trying to accomplish, but I wish they had chosen a definite direction to take the show. The characters are wildly inconsistent, the morals are ground in like grass stains, and I still have no idea what the theme song is supposed to be. But still, several episodes are impactful, the characters can be very sympathetic, and the humor is always there. So, I call it quality with notable flaws. The very definition of a 4/5 star review.

I never realized Rocko's Modern Life was such biting satire back in the day. I mean, I understood the title and premise and everything, I just didn't pay it much attention. I always viewed it as the spiritual successor of Ren & Stimpy, and only focused on the gross-out humor. But whereas R&S aimed for insanity and obliqueness, Rocko's Modern Life is both hilarious and insightful. They layer the social commentary on awfully thick, almost negating the purpose of satire, but the satire is there. It actually has gotten better with age. And I still love that awesome B-52s theme song.

The Japanese have a concept called Sabi: Beauty in impermanence. Cable channels are always best in their early years. In their infancy, they buy up syndication rights to older series, and pepper the prime-time slots with original programming. The original programming finds an audience, and when they raise the duckets necessary, they focus entirely on original programming. This is the golden age. Appreciate it. It will not last.

Because network decay will soon follow. G4 used to focus on the world and culture of video games. Now it shows Cops reruns all the time. MTV used to show music videos, music news, concerts, interviews with musicians, and more music videos. Now it shows spoiled prostitots and orange people from New Jersey. TLC used to show science and nature documentaries, now they talk about pregnancy, weddings, dwarves, chocolatiers, and dwarf chocolatiers. Cartoon Network has live-action shows. The Weather Channel shows more than just the weather. The History Channel shows speculative, conspiracy-laden documentaries. TV Land used to show nothing but reruns of classic shows. Now it makes original programming. How did they fuck that up?

Don't fret though. Your memories have been logged and time-stamped. They're sitting in a vault somewhere under Ted Turner's mansion. Someday they'll surface. Someday, a network will devote itself to airing nothing but the shows you remember. And you'll be happy. Until the inevitable recursion occurs, and your new-favorite network slowly degrades into nothing but b-grade horror films and live feeds of the Panama Canal.
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I still exist. [Aug. 22nd, 2011|05:51 pm]
Adam Jaspering
I have not abandoned Livejournal, I'm just engaging in a neverending war with spambots. They've gotten pretty bad.
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Flux Capicator... Fluxing [Jul. 1st, 2011|02:36 am]
Adam Jaspering
I left the house a little later than usual today.

I was afraid I was going to be late for work. As I got into the car, I silently hoped I wouldn't be late.

As I turned the key in the ignition, I was confronted by a cacophony of clocks, chimes, ticking instrumentation, ringing all over. Bells, cuckoos, and gongs of timepieces big and small.

Actually, it was just the beginning of Time by Pink Floyd. The radio was tuned to the classic rock station, and I accidentally nudged the volume knob way up with my knee. But I didn't know this yet.

For a brief moment, I thought my careless wishing had been answered by some nearby fantastical force. That the laws of time and space had become undone, all because I wanted to see the end of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and didn't want to face the consequences. That somehow the laws of quantum physics no longer applied, and I was to be hurtled through the fifth dimension because I was afraid of hitting lunch hour traffic on Olive Blvd.

Then I realized it wasn't so much Tock the Watchdog as it was Roger Waters and the guys at K-Hits 96FM.

I like it when a day begins with a little surreality.
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The Great State of Vermont Will Not Apologize for its Cheese [Jun. 21st, 2011|12:06 pm]
Adam Jaspering
I'm sure you've all seen this by now: http://beta.news.yahoo.com/fda-unveils-graphic-images-cigarette-packs-130408193.html

I would like to quote a few lines by Denis Leary, who predicted this whole mess back in 1993.

"...Apparently this is just his life's dream because he is going from country to country. He has a senate hearing in this country coming up in a couple of weeks. And this is what he wants to do. He wants to make the warnings on the packs bigger. Yeah! He wants the whole front of the pack to be the warning.

Like the problem is we just haven't noticed yet.

Right? Like he's going to get his way and all of the sudden smokers around the world are going to be going, "Yeah, Bill, I've got some cigarettes.. HOLY SHIT! These things are bad for you! Shit, I thought they were good for you! I thought they had Vitamin C in them and stuff!"

You fucking dolt.

Doesn't matter how big the warnings are. You could have cigarettes that were called "Warnings." You could have cigarettes that come in a black pack, with a skull and a crossbones on the front, called "Tumors," and smokers would be lined up around the block going, "I can't wait to get my hands on these fucking things! I bet you get a tumor as soon as you light up! Numm Numm Numm Numm Numm"

Doesn't matter how big the warnings are or how much they cost. Keep raising the prices, we'll break into your houses to get the fucking cigarettes, ok!? They're a drug, we're addicted, ok!? Numm Numm Numm Numm Numm *wheeze*"
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