Friday, May 7, 2010

Maybe Put a Little More Thought into Your Billboards ...

Over the past few years I've seen some pointless billboards lining the Las Vegas highways. But these billboards aren't conventionally pointless, they take a bit of thought to realize that they're pointless, which I guess is the fun for me. Here's an example:

During Your Next Heart Attack, Think Southern Hills

The first billboard that struck me as a little odd was a billboard for heart surgery. I don't remember exactly what it said or which hospital it was advertising (so obviously it was an effective billboard, huh?), but the gist of it was, "Fast heart surgery! Come to Southern Hills!" My first thought was, What is that billboard's target demographic?

 I mean, think about it. I imagine a guy driving home from work and then suddenly getting one of those pesky little heart attacks. He thinks to himself, "Man, this heart attack sure is an inconvenience. I wish there were a hospital that ... oh! Awesome! Thanks, Mr. Billboard!"

I also don't really see heart surgery as much of a comparison shopping kind of field. I'm probably showing my ignorance here, I suppose, because I've never needed the surgery, but if you need heart surgery, do you really sit down and list all of the places you go and write down the pros and cons of each? "Well, Sunny Hills has great customer service, but that snazzy billboard says that Southern Hills is lickity split quick. Oh my, but Sandy Hills got a 5/5 on Urban Scalpel."

But then, I suppose heart surgery is expensive, so even a single person both miraculously remembering the billboard and being swayed by its persuasive powers is enough to justify the billboard from a financial perspective. So, I guess I can't give them too much crap.

On to the next one ...

But How Long is the Wait ... ?

I passed by this next one for a long while before it struck me that it's kinda sorta really dumb. The billboard showed a cell phone and was telling people, "Text ER to 4522 to get ER wait times!" (I guess I have a thing against medical billboards ...) This is another one of those Who-is-your-target-demographic? conundrums.

An emergency room is an emergency room for a reason. You don't have people sitting at home thinking, "Man, this mild cough just won't go away. I should head to the emergency room. Lemme get out my phone and see which one's got the shortest wait."

The demographic they're (apparently) gunning for is more along these lines: "Man, these multiple bullet wounds to the chest sure do itch. [Takes out cell phone with lone functional arm and texts ER to 4522.] Whew! Virgin Hills has one hour less of a wait than Promiscuous Hills. Thanks random ER wait-times phone number that I somehow remembered in this emergency situation!"

Ohhhh, THAT God


The final billboard that comes to mind is a simple one. Three big letters sprawl across the entirety of the billboard: GOD. No, don't worry, this isn't an anti-religious rant. What I don't get about this billboard is the same thing I don't get about the other two ... the target demographic.

So, who is the target demographic here? Non-believers? Believers of deities other than God? People who have mistakenly been worshiping Judas all of this time? ("Fuck, GOD, not Judas. Duh. I'll remember this time.") I can't see non-believers or worshipers of other religions seeing that and thinking, "Hmm ... touche, Christians. I concede my god and upgrade to your God. Capital Gs are a lot more fun, anyway." Or, on the atheist side: "Ahhhh ... that was the evidence I've been looking for all along. Right smack in front of me this whole time."

Or maybe they're just trying to strengthen belief among those who already believe? "Man, I've been having a super shitty day. There's obviously no God. Oh, wait, yes there is. Thanks, billboard. Glad I took this route home today, instead of the route with the ZEUS billboard ..."

So, to me this simply seems to scream of people patting themselves on the back. "I put up a GOD billboard today. I guess I did my Christian duty in trying to convert people. Move over Mother Teresa."


Anyone else seen any particularly dumb billboards?

-- SPG


(Note: Yes, yes, yes, I realize there are some flaws in my arguments against the billboards above, but pointing those out wouldn't have been nearly as funny, would it? Assholes.)

Friday, April 9, 2010

What Exactly is a Daffodil Penis?

OK, so those of you who are fans of Ragaboo.com on Facebook probably saw that my top-ranking referral keyword term on Google in March was fairly surprising -- although, I guess not that surprising considering some of the content on this blog.

Without further ado, my No. 1 referring Google keyword from last month was ... daffodils penis.

Yep.

No, I don't know, either. Maybe something like this?



I said I didn't know, but I s'pose I kinda do. As far as "daffodils" is concerned, I had a blog entry titled "What Do Daffodils Have To Do With Rectal Bleeding?" So, I suppose I was asking for it. Also, apparently I use the word "penis" quite often. Nevertheless, the question has been begged: Why does one search for "daffodils penis"? Or, rather, why did I get FIVE Google referrals for that keyword phrase? (Yes, my top-referring keyword phrase from last month was from five referrals. Go fuck yourself.)

Further investigation was warranted, obviously. Step 1: Do the search myself. The first thing I'm looking for with that is where my site ranks in the results list. That only served to make the referrals even more surprising, as my blog entry didn't appear until the 24th result. If you know anything about Google search statistics (which you probably don't), the click-through rate plummets after the first and second results. Anything outside of the top 10 usually only gets a fraction of a percent of the total clickthroughs, since 11 and on require clicking through to at least one more page. (For instance, if 100 people searched for daffodils penis, 40 probably would click on the first result, maybe 25 on the second, 10 on the third, 5 on the fourth, and so on.)

My site coming up in 24th means it was on page 3 for the term. Based on my research, that means I probably get about 0.24% of the total number of people searching for daffodils penis to click through to my site. So, if I got 5 referrals (click-throughs), that means there were likely more than 2,000 searches for daffodils penis in the month of March. Why in the holy God damn fuck are 2,000 people searching for daffodils penis??

To answer that question, I came to Step 2: Take a look at the higher-ranking sites in the results to see if anything made any sense. The best lead I got was WikiAnswers, where someone asked what eating daffodil stems could do to you. The answer he got was that men have their penises enlarged, and women ... they grow penises. Seemed like a sound medical answer to me.

So, I gave up on getting a true explanation. But just for shits and giggles, here is a list of the other search terms that helped navigate people to my site:
  • How to make a spider rifle
  • Vagina machines
  • A rap song called this dicks like magic
  • How gynecologists help women have an orgasim (sic)
  • Huggies commercial, mozart, night music (yes, that's a single search)
  • Toothpaste fuck
  • Zap's famous pussy Shania Twain
(For bonus points, let's see if you can figure out which blog entries each of those searches led to.)

But possibly the most disappointing search term on the list -- not to say that the above terms were disappointing; I think it rocks that someone found me with "Vagina machines" -- was the highest-referring search term for my site.

The term that drew the most click-throughs was ... "Ragaboo."

You assholes are lazy as shit. You can't bring yourself to type in www. or .com? For fuck's sake, you don't even have to type in the www anymore -- it just fucking knows. You're really searching for Ragaboo, and then hitting enter, and then clicking on Ragaboo.com?

On second thought, I take it back -- that's not even lazy, it's a lazy attempt at being lazy, since it's dumb and actually results in more work.

-- SPG

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Exactly Does 'Skill' Even Mean?

Warning: This is part of my "For Seriously" series of blogs, meaning there isn't anything (intentionally) funny about it. If serious stuff bores the shit out of you, this one is safe to skip. But do not fret, as I've got another blog or two in my "Why So Serious?" series coming in the next few days. Nevertheless, I think a lot of people will find the arguments in this blog interesting.

Before I get to my main point in this entry, I want to put forth some statements that I'm hoping you'll agree with to get you into the right frame of mind:

Sports

I think it's safe to say that everyone would agree most sports involve skill. There are sometimes very clear distinctions between a great player/team and a merely OK player/team. However, in any given game, the great team can be defeated by the merely OK team. This does not mean that the lesser team is now better than the superior team, it simply means that the lesser team had a good day/got lucky, or the better team had a bad day/got unlucky -- or both. If these teams played 1,000 games, the better team would win the majority of the time, but it would likely not win 100% of the time.

As an example, in this year's March Madness NCAA basketball tournament, Butler started as a No. 5 seeded team, yet on its way to the finals, Butler defeated No. 1 seeded Syracuse and No. 2 seeded Kansas State. Does that mean Butler is a better team than both Syracuse and Kansas State? For those two games, yes, Butler was. If this tournament bracket played out 1,000 times, though, would you put money on Butler defeating Syracuse and Kansas State the majority of the time? I sincerely doubt most of you would, even with the knowledge of what happened this year.

Stock Market

Now let's jump to the stock market. Let's say I put $10,000 into a bunch of penny stocks for a 24-hour period with little or no research on the individual companies in an attempt to quickly make money. Would you consider that investing or gambling?

Now let's say I took that same $10,000 and spent a week researching stocks and asking friends/family/financial experts how best to put it into the stock market to save for my retirement. Would that be investing or gambling?

In both cases, I'm putting money into the stock market with the ultimate goal of increasing my funds, but most would consider the two methods to be radically different. The first scenario is pretty obviously gambling -- it's akin to putting all of your money on black at a roulette wheel -- and yet it is perfectly legal to do that with your money. The second scenario is clearly smart investing, is also perfectly legal, and is akin to ... well, poker.

Poker is a Skill Game

So, I suppose that brings me to my main point. I'm frankly fed up with uneducated, narrow-minded politicians, lobbyist groups, and the uninformed general public lumping poker into generic gambling categories. This lumping has caused some states to make it illegal to play online, illegal to play real-money home games, and so on. However, many of these same states allow lotteries -- which are pure gambling -- and all states allow you to gamble on the stock market.

Poker and the Stock Market

I've always liked the stock market analogy for poker. I could play poker like a gambler, just like I could play the stock market like a gambler. But it's a logical fallacy to say that just because one can gamble when playing poker that everyone who plays poker is gambling. That's like saying that just because someone can lose all of their money day-trading penny stocks that everyone who puts money into the stock market is a gambler.

Now, that isn't to say that there aren't risks in both poker and the stock market. I could do a bunch of research and spread my investments out across various indexes, company types, mutual funds, and so on, and yet still lose money. However, if I'm investing smartly, my risk of financial ruin is small, and my risk of long-term profit is quite high. Poker is the same; if you invest time in studying the game, gaining experience, and otherwise improving your play, you very likely can be a long-term winner.

In both cases, it's all about taking calculated risks. I've been playing poker for more than five years now, and I'm a consistent winner. My profits chart is below, spanning about five years of tracking on the CardPlayer.com Poker Stats Tracker. (See if you can guess whether I focus on cash games or tournament, haha.)


But it's not just me. Pretty much all of my friends are seasoned, experienced poker players with true passion for continuously improving their games. And guess what? The vast majority of them are long-term winning players.

Poker and Sports

A lot of people don't like calling poker a sport, or even comparing the game to sports. I actually agree -- poker is not a sport any more than chess is a sport. However, thinking about sports can help put some misconceptions about poker into perspective. In the sports statement with which I opened this blog, I hope I made it clear that better players will win in the long run, but they can lose on any given day. Play one game and a better team can lose to a worse team, but play 1,000 games and the better team will win more than 50% of the time.

Poker is much the same, but admittedly the edge that a good player has over a bad player is much smaller than it is in most sports, and it thus takes a larger sample size to see a distinct difference. Given a large enough sample size of hands/tournaments played, a good poker player will always rise to the top, but in a single hand, or a single day of playing cash games, or a single tournament, a good player could do very poorly and a bad player can do amazingly well.

Harrington on Hold 'em Expert Strategy for No Limit Tournaments, Vol. 1: Strategic PlayTo paraphrase one of my favorite quotes regarding this topic (I believe it comes from poker pro Dan Harrington, who wrote three indispensable poker books on tournament poker): A poker tournament is like a lottery in that anyone can win. The difference is that for the same $1 that gets most people a single lottery ticket, a winning player can get three tickets or more.

Poker and Casino Games

I tell people that I play poker semi-professionally. When they refer to me as a "Professional Gambler," I cringe -- big time. I cringe for two reasons: 1) I hate gambling, and I don't do it. Slots, craps, roulette ... they all bore the crap out of me because I have no real way to influence the result. Plus, I'm playing against the house, so I'm obviously a favorite to lose any given bet. Why would I do that to myself? No, I'm not a professional gambler. 2) I know that if they consider poker gambling, they don't know very much about poker, and their eyes would just glaze over if I even attempted to explain it to them ...

In traditional casino games, you're playing against the house (casino), and the house is smart enough only to play against you in games wherein it has an edge. When you play slot machines, every dollar you put into the machine pays you back $0.9999 or less over the long run, I guarantee it. You never have an edge over the house.

In poker, you aren't playing against the house. The house has absolutely zero interest in whether or not you win a hand -- they get to rake in a percentage of the pot whether you win it or someone else does. You are not playing against the house, you're playing against other players. Can you have an edge over other players? Of course you can. You can make them fold the best hand by bluffing, or you can play better hands in better situations than they do. You maximize your profits and minimize your losses, all while trying to induce them to make mistakes and maximize their losses to you.

Can You Lose on Purpose? The Annie Duke Argument

Poker pro Annie Duke took another approach to the argument against poker being your typical casino game. (She attributes the argument to David Sklansky and her brother Howard Lederer.) Her argument goes a little something like this: Can you purposefully lose when you play slots or craps or roulette? Can you purposefully lose when you play poker?

The argument implies that with pure-chance casino games, nothing you do can in any way affect whether you win or lose -- you couldn't lose if you tried. With poker, you could lose every single cash game or tournament you played in very easily. I can fold every single hand throughout an entire tournament and I would eventually lose. FYI, I found this argument on the excellent Freakonomics blog at The New York Times website.

(Notice that blackjack is interestingly nestled in between: you play against the house, but you could purposefully lose most hands by hitting until you bust, unless you get "unlucky" enough to hit 21. However, if you can count cards well, you can have an edge over the house and actually be a long-term winning blackjack player. That's why they keep a very close eye on blackjack tables and kick out anyone they think may be counting cards.)

A Poker Study

But don't take my word for it. There's even a study that was done recently that took the data from 103 million hands of poker played by hundreds of thousands of poker players on PokerStars. The poker study [Scribd document of the entire study] revealed some interesting facts:
  • 75.7% of hands played never went to showdown. So, in essence, the actual cards that player held were ultimately less relevant than the betting players did more than 3/4 of the time.
  • Of the 24.3% of hands that did go to showdown, the best hand at the table (of every hand dealt to every player, including those folded) won 50.3% of the time. What this means is that half of the time the hand that wins at showdown is not that hand that would have won had every player taken their hand to showdown. In other words, even in the minority of hands that reach showdown, betting has caused what would have been the best hand to fold before showdown.
  • When considering every hand dealt, folded or otherwise, the best hand went to showdown and won the pot just 12% of the time.
  • Cigital, the firm that conducted the study, came to the conclusion that the above data show that poker is 88% skill.
/Rant

Anyway, you get my point. Plenty of incredibly smart, logical people make or try to make a living playing poker. The same can't be said about slot machines, craps, or roulette. Poker is very clearly a game dependent upon skill. The edges may be small in some cases -- like in some large buy-in tournament or in high-stakes cash games -- but in the vast majority of situations, it is easy to have a distinct advantage over the opposition in a game of poker.

There, I'm done with my rant, and I've gotten it out of my system. Hilarity will ensue in my next few blogs...

- SPG

    Thursday, March 25, 2010

    Why We'd Be Better Off Without Women, in Iambic Pentameter

    I'm not one to beat around the bush, so I'll answer the titular assertion immediately: I was being disingenuous as a means to con people into clicking through to read this blog entry. Women are actually pretty fucking great. But don't worry misogynists, if you keep reading I may throw you a bone toward the end.

    But I'll at least give you your promised iambic pentameter (sticking to the women-are-great theme):

    If I were told to pick my favorite thing /
    About the fairer sex lasjfl;nvkla nel;kfj awl;efj fljs  FUCK IAMBIC PENTAMETER

    And you know what? Screw poetry, too. When I try to write poetry, my skin crawls. Why did I think iambic pentameter would be a good idea?

    But wait. Hold on. Let's back up for a second. I say women are "pretty fucking great," but that isn't, of course, the entire truth. The best example I can give you of why women aren't great is my current girlfriend. (Don't worry, she won't read this.) (UPDATE: She read this. Crap. Change of plans ... ) She truly is pretty fucking great, but she's the primary reason I haven't posted an entry in a while.

    Put simply, time spent with her means time spent not blogging.

    Put complicatedly, time spent with a girlfriend when you have one girlfriend is greater than time spent with a girlfriend when you have zero girlfriends, and as all segments of time are percentages of a whole, when one segment increases, another decreases. (Note: You do not need to read the preceding paragraph. It is superfluous. Sorry for putting this note at the end.)



    So, for the seven Facebook fans that I lost, blame her. It's true that quite possibly her only flaw is that time with her is not time blogging. If she could somehow fix that one thing about herself, that'd be great. Kthanks.

    [Simple, logical transition goes here.]

    And that brings us to online dating sites.

    Online Dating

    I spent just about a year scouring online dating sites in an attempt to find a girl. I've never liked the idea of meeting a girl in a club or bar -- that just seems sleazy -- and I'm no longer attending college or working a retail or service job with a high turnover rate, so there wasn't really any good way to meet new women. Plus, I'll be honest, the geeky side of me salivates at the thought of filtering thousands of women by points of data. (See, misogynists? I just said I like thinking of women as data. That's gotta get your rocks off, huh? Bone thrown.)

    Here are some quick reviews of some of the most prominent dating sites out there:


    Match.com

    This one is expensive as fuck, but it's actually a lot of fun. There's just a shit-ton of people on there, even within the relatively narrow confines of my searches. There are a lot of details you can look at for each person, and a lot of pictures/personality to review. I gave myself an extra inch of height on the site, because those superficial bitches always put 5'10" as their cutoff.

    And I've come to realize that "Spiritual but not religious" means one of two things: 1) I'm too big of a pussy to call myself an atheist or 2) I believe in energy crystals and auras and The Secret and hugging moonbeams and Santa Claus. Those two standpoints are pretty fucking dissimilar, which makes these girls wildcards.

    eHarmony.com

    Fuck eHarmony. Seriously.

    For starters, I hate them on principle. For the longest time, they had you start your profile by asking if you were a "man seeking woman" or a "woman seeking man." Just those two options -- sorry gays. It's hearsay, but I'd heard that eHarmomy is owned by Mormons, and that the omission wasn't an oversight ... they really didn't want to allow gays.

    So, to recap, their two-pronged War on Homosexuality consists of 1) Preventing gays from finding love on dating sites and, in case that fails, 2) Banning gay marriage. It's a solid plan ... prevent the gays from procreating, thus nipping the gay flower at the bud. (Remember ... Mormons aren't good at biology. See evolution.)

    Another problem with eHarmony is their bullshit moneymaking scheme. You sign up, fill out your profile, and do their dumb marathon of a personality test, and then at the very end, they tell you they've found you a few matches ... but you can't see them yet.

    "No, no, no, it's not that we want you to have to pay to see them," says eHarmony, "it's that love is built on personality compatibility. Of course, if you want to see these three girls who match your personality perfectly and may very well be supermodels (or Goodyear blimps), you can pay us ... but we aren't forcing you."

    Fuck you, eHarmony. Of course looks are important. You just want me to have to pay before seeing that my three perfect matches all look like roadkill. A good relationship is based on both physical attraction and compatibility. You're saying it's not ... which means you're dumb and wrong -- you lose.

    PlentyOfFish.com

    This one'll be short:
    1. It's free.
    2. It looks like a blind, non-English-speaking, dyslexic, misanthropic, three-year-old quadruple amputee made the site.
    3. It's free.
    4. If you're clever, you can use a free Match.com account to find women, and then hopefully find them again on PlentyOfFish to contact them for free. (But hurry, if you stare at POF.com too long, your eyes will begin to drip blood uncontrollably. Possible solution: Place a saucer on your desk below your chin to collect the blood droplets.)
    HotOrNot.com

    This site used to be about telling people they were ugly or hot on a scale of 1-10. (I'm a 9.9, bitches! No, seriously, that wasn't a joke. It actually kinda hurts that you're laughing right now...) The owners realized as an afterthought that if you think someone is hot, you might want to date them. Eureka. So, they slapped on a little "meet me" feature that allows people to "double match" with each other if both people say they want to meet. If they both do, and they both have paid accounts, they can contact each other. This is kinda like the opposite of eHarmony. It's a site that says, "Personality? Can you fuck a personality?"



    I actually could go on about dating sites, but this entry is getting a bit long in the tooth.

    Until next time ...

    - SPG

    Wednesday, February 17, 2010

    Music -- How Not to Suck, Part 1

    There are plenty of ways not to suck as a musician, so I figured I'd preemptively make this a multi-part post, even though I have no immediate plans for additional parts. In the very least, "Part 1" indicates that what I'm writing here isn't an exhaustive list.

    So, let's start with the easiest rules to follow so as not to suck:

    Rule No. 1: Don't make rap music.

    Sing For The Moment [Explicit]If I want someone to talk to me about how rich they are and about how bitches be all up ons -- all while some annoying, repetitive beat plays in the background -- then sure, I'll go ahead and tune in to a rap station. No, your lyrics are not fresh, and no, you do not have musical talent. And there's a reason why everyone's favorite part of songs like Eminem's "Sing for the Moment" is the part sampled out of an actually good song.

    Rule No. 2: Don't make country music.

    Country music is in an entirely different realm than rap music -- I actually respect the musicianship of a lot of country music. These guys and gals often actually can sing, and they usually can play instruments, to boot. So, why is this a rule to prevent suckage? Because country music is annoying as fuck. Not to sound cliché, but I truly don't give even half a fuck about your pickup truck, your dog, or how your wife done left you. And unless you came to play a concert fresh off of a cattle drive, leave your dumb little cowboy hat at home -- you're not a cowboy.

    That Don't Impress Me MuchSpecial Exception: You're allowed to be Shania Twain or Taylor Swift and not suck. Yes, I realize that publicly posting this exception causes immediate revocation of my Man Card. Truth be told, I have a feeling it was revoked years ago when I sang "That Don't Impress Me Much" at karaoke and fuckin' rocked the house. Yes, that happened.

    Rule No. 3: Don't suck live.

    If you suck live, it pretty much means you just suck.

    In most scenarios, this means that you really just aren't very good at what you do, and it takes the magic of multiple takes over weeks or months in the studio, as well as auto-tuning and other production tricks to get you to sound halfway decent. Truly good musicians record something that sounds great, and then they practice and practice and sound just as awesome when they get on stage. Why does Ashlee Simpson have to lip-sync when performing live? Because she sucks. Why does Muse refuse ever to lip-sync or pretend to play instruments when playing live? Because they're music gods and incredible musicians.

    The ResistanceMuse is so awesome that when they were told at the last minute by an Italian talk show that they had to lip sync, they decided to make it incredibly obvious by switching instruments and "playing" so horribly that they couldn't be taken seriously. The people hosting the show knew so little about Muse that they had no idea anything was awry. Pay particularly close attention to lead singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy as he rocks out on the drums one-handed at one point. (The drummer is "singing and playing bass," while the bassist is "playing guitar  and keyboard.")


    De-Loused in the ComatoriumYou also can suck live simply because you have too much faith in your jamming skill and how much people give a shit about said skills. Exhibit A: The Mars Volta. They're pretty amazing on albums, and they just throw a bunch of experimental shit in there and jam out to perfection in the studio, making like 10-minute-long songs that are generally enjoyable for the most part. Then they get on stage and think, "People obviously love it when we just go apeshit and jam. Let's take that to a level that no one wants! We're awesome!!" So they randomly pluck strings, flail on drums, and grunt into the microphone in the middle of songs and it simply sounds like a cacophony. No, it isn't good when you randomly rock out and jam. Plan that shit out so my ears don't bleed. Kthanks.

    CrashExhibit B: The Dave Matthews Band. I went to a concert and it was excellent until about 45 minutes in when a song decided that it wasn't going to end. They had about 30 minutes or so left to play, and they decided to fill that entire period up with a bunch of instrumental solos instead of playing more songs that we wanted to hear. Excellent choice, douchebags. The violin player would move to the center of the stage and rock out for 2-5 hours, and I envisioned him thinking to himself the entire time, "YEAH! Violin! Vi-oh-fucking-lin!" Then came the drummer, and he was all, "Drums! Drums! Drums! YEAH! Drums! Drums! Drums! YEEEEAH!" How about -- no. Just end your song and play another one we want to hear, idiots. Stop catering to all of the high people in your audience who aren't noticing how much time you're wasting.

    (UPDATE: Duh, a large majority of DMB concert-goers are high. Catering to the majority is a good business plan. My hat's off to you, DMB.)

    Note: Rule No. 3 also works in reverse. If your album isn't that great, but you put on a great show, I'll actually enjoy your album more next time I hear it.


    Obviously there are plenty more rules I have in mind, but let's let these marinate for a while before I come back for part 2. These are pretty good starting points, though.

    Oh, wait, there's one more really easy one:

    Rule No. 4: Don't be Nickelback.

    That's the entire rule, really. Kinda speaks for itself.

    But you know what? Here are some examples of why, anyway:

    1) Listen to this MP3 with headphones. The two first Nickelback singles played one out of each headphone. They're the exact same length and have the exact same song composition. Pretty sad.

    2) Here's Nickelback having rocks thrown at them at a concert for sucking too badly:


    -- SPG

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    My Rap Song -- I'll Die When I'm Famous

    Update: The MP3 shared with Google Docs stripped the .mp3 extension for some reason. If you downloaded that, simply rename the file with .mp3 and it should work. But I've uploaded it on a new site just to make sure. Re-download it here and it should be functional.

    I went through a phase during college when I had got some royalty-free samples and music-creation software and just kinda went apeshit. Most of the songs were complete shit, but one of them, in particular, likely will become the one thing that I am remembered for -- for all time.

    It was a rap song titled "I'll Die When I'm Famous."

    It was almost exactly five years ago. I wrote and recorded it in one day. Inspiration hit me like a giant, gold, diamond-encrusted dollar-sign pendant, and creativity spattered from my fingers onto the computer screen like a fucking Jackson Pollock painting. I could tell I had something huge here -- massive. I threw together dozens of samples to compose a song that probably could cure AIDS if it were a biological compound. It came out more quickly and naturally than walking.

    From there, I went on to listen to the backing music hundreds of times as I wrote accompanying lyrics. The lyrics tell the tale of a young, fledgling rapper who at first doesn't believe in himself, but he aspires to make a name for himself and prove his family wrong. (Like fools, they did not appreciate his genius.) The story ends in a hopeful tone -- indeed, one of the final lyrics, "I'll be livin' to the max," beautifully brings the listener to the realization that this optimistic fellow will not give up on his dreams. He will not die ... until he is famous.

    I probably could expand the story in this song into a full-length novel/feature movie, but I need to let the song itself get legs first and make the journey it needs to make.

    But at this point, you're surely curious to hear the final product. Well, I'll do you one better. I'll give you an MP3 of the final song so you can take a listen, and after you're done, you can listen again while reading the accompanying  lyrics, which have author notes in the margins for certain parts of the song. (Not hand-written notes, of course, because that's so 1980s. They're MS Word notes.) It is not often you have the chance to catch a glimpse of genius in progress.

    Enjoy.

    I'll Die When I'm Famous (MP3)

    I'll Die When I'm Famous (Lyrics, JPG so all can read them with notes)

    - SPG

    Wednesday, January 20, 2010

    Sorry For Being Creepy ... But It's Your Fault For Stretching

    All right, so it’s no secret that men are creepy in the gym. To be fair, it’s hard for us. Take all of those stretches you girls do, for instance. You come to the gym in incredibly short shorts and a sports bra (only) and proceed to contort yourself into as many sexual positions as possible in an area of the gym surrounded by mirrors. And I’m pretty sure half of those stretches you girls do don’t actually stretch anything relevant and only serve to convert otherwise innocent men into creepy-as-fuck voyeurs.

    Technically speaking, every machine in the gym is sexually infused if a gorgeous girl is using it (except for maybe when a girl is bench pressing more weight than I could -- which sadly encompasses pretty much any woman on a bench-press machine). And then there are devices like the Shake Weight, which is simply unfair to men:



    What’s more, there’s a row of weight machines that I’m convinced were conceived by some perverted guy in his basement. An example of a machine in this row can be seen at Exhibit A, at right. With that machine, you basically face everyone in the gym while you slowly open and close your sweaty thighs. Uh huh. Not sexual at all, right? Have you ever seen a man on one of those machines? Wait, I should clarify: Have you ever seen a man on one of those machines who didn’t look lost and confused? No, of course not, because it’s called the Vagina Machine.

    The sexuality of women who use that machine grows exponentially with each observed rep. If a merely OK girl sat down and did 10 reps as some guy watched, his opinion would slowly transform from “Meh,” to “Ya know, I think I'd like to have sex with that girl.” If a stunningly attractive girl sat down and did 40 reps, an observing guy is liable to sell his mother into slavery to buy the girl a lifetime membership to that gym.

    But I did say that a girl’s sexuality grows exponentially, and this holds true even for horribly ugly women with repulsive (negative) sexuality. What happens when you multiply negatives, though? It’s still fucking negative -- just incredibly more so. If you accidentally catch a glimpse of the sweaty hams of Orca Woman as she tortures this beloved machine (seen at left), it is entirely possible that your whole family could die in the safety of your home miles away simply due to the sheer force of the negative energy being emitted from your brain as it tries to collapse upon itself to prevent your eyes from functioning any longer. In the very least, you’ll be all kinds of sad that you saw it.

    One last point is that you girls usually have a special ladies-only gym within the gym if you don’t want to be ogled. Not that you should have to “resort” to that, but if you want to spend all day in skimpy clothing while wrapping your legs around your neck or arching your back to push your breasts out or doing 10,000 reps on each machine in Sex Row -- and you want to do all of that without attracting the attention of men -- use your special room. Whenever I pass by the women-only room, I usually see between zero and two women in there, and they’re almost always horribly ugly.

    Ugly women do not need this room; they’re wasting it.

    - SPG

    Saturday, January 9, 2010

    FML ... Mozart Wins.

    I have a weird perspective on growing older. For me, the tragedy is not that I'm continuously getting closer to death, the real sorrow lies in the fact that every year that passes by is another year in which I can no longer one-up some asshole genius' accomplishments.

    Take Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, for instance. By the age of five, he was already a composer. That's right, young asshat Mozart (shown at left looking like a five-year-old douche) was concocting symphonies at five years old. When I was five years old, I still wet the bed.

    (No, I'm not kidding. Yes, I wish I were. My parents actually had to buy me an electric blanket to get me to stop wetting the bed. Not your normal electric blanket, but literally a blanket filled with electricity that'd fuckin' zap the shit out of me if it got wet. The thought of being electrocuted in my sleep tightened my bladder up right quick.)

    So, to recap:

    Five-Year-Old Mozart = Symphonies
    Five-Year-Old SPG = Diapers

    So how is Mozart a role model? Role models are people you're supposed to aspire to be like. Great, I'll look up to Mozart and aspire to be a composer by the age of five.

    Oh, wait, I'm 26. Fuck my life -- Mozart wins.

    Who cares if I compose a symphony at 26? Other people have done it by age five. Now I have no desire to do it. Meh. Thanks for being a role model Mozart -- you prick.

    One area in which I can best Mozart, and in which he may serve as a role model for me, is not dying by the age of 35. Captain Fancypants got sick and died like a bitch in his mid-30s. When I'm 36, instead of a birthday party, I'm going to wear a powdered wig all day and celebrate "How's It Feel to be a Genius Now, Cockbag?" Day.

    In a further attempt to make me feel like an unaccomplished, useless human being, Fox had a show called Our Little Genius that they planned to release in mid-January. The show featured six- to 12-year-olds answering Ph.D level questions versus people who actually have doctorates. From the sounds of it, though, a little bit of a scandal broke out regarding the show involving the little tykes having privileged "information" (the studio claims "information" does not mean answers) before the shows. So, they scrapped it for now and are deciding whether to re-shoot it or can it entirely.

    (On a side-note, does that sounds like the movie Quiz Show to anyone else?)

    If that show ever comes out (and the little fuckers actually are that smart and aren't memorizing answers), I'm going to stop trying to accomplish anything ever again -- what's the point?

    When I was in high school -- and this is no joke -- I told myself that I needed to publish a novel before I turned 18. Why? Well, if I didn't, I'd just be some adult who published a book. Whoop-dee-fuckin-doo. At least if I got a published book under my belt before I was 18, I could say that I had done so when I was a kid. As soon as 18 came and went, I'd lost all drive to hurry and write a book. What was the rush now?

    In conclusion, geniuses are anti-role models. They give us reasons not to feel good about ourselves.

    -- SPG

    Friday, January 1, 2010

    NOTE: THIS ENTRY HAS MOVED. The Abridged, Reworded Story of Jesus

    I've decided to create a blog specific to talking about atheism since I think any of my rants on that topic would severely detract from the spirit of this blog. This post is now at my blog The Atheist Apologist.

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