The Cult of Lincoln

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Look! There, in my fridge! Is that... produce? Perish the thought!

Produce, and the word "Instant" nowhere to be found. What madness is this?

Priscilla said at 6:03 PM


Woo! CollegeBoxes found the duffel. Contents: A bunch of DVDs (yes, mom, including PotC and X2), sweaters, my lamps, a surge strip, my infamous sheep pajamas, and more! And the guy I talked to was really helpful, and he believes that they are indeed liable for stuff they break, so three cheers! Hopefully they'll be able to find my remaining items now they have a better idea of what they're looking for.

Priscilla said at 8:47 AM


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I finally got around to watching the "Cameron and Cuddy as Valley Girls" outtakes on Amazon. I am so amused.

Priscilla said at 7:23 PM


Back at Penn! For once, there was no plane drama. Instead, the great drama stemmed from CollegeBoxes storage service, which has temporarily misplaced my big tube containing all my posters, a suitcase full of clothes, and an enormous box full of odds and ends, including all my extension cords and surge protectors, my three-corner pillow, alarm clock, lamp, trash can, and some other stuff I can't remember. They also broke my fruit bowl and broke the glass on my framed image of Death. I've had fantastic service from them the previous two years, but this is not cool at all.


Priscilla said at 7:14 PM


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My usual regime is to work out on weights for 30 minutes, then do cardio on the treadmill for 45 minutes, which burns just under 300 calories. Today, I did weights as usual, then went for 70 minutes, going 4.8 miles, burning 600 calories. I could have stayed on longer, but Mum was waiting for me. Clearly, "I Rock" is not just a country plagued by sectarian violence and a crippled infrastructure. And here up until now, I always thought the "runner's high" was a great conspiratorial joke among jocks, invented to boggle the minds of the gullible sedentary.

In other news, the Good Omens movie appears to be back on! Helmed by Terry Gilliam, of course. And to my glee, Robin Williams is too busy to be Aziraphale! That casting made my brain hurt. Johnny Depp and Jonathan Pryce are out as well, probably due to PotC III-related issues, but I'm not bothered. I look forward to the rampant casting speculation!

Oh, and we have the cover for White Night, ninth in The Dresden Files, coming this April.

And Will sent me a video that the world must see: Star Trek does Monty Python.

And finally, if you have not seen the clip from the Emmys of Jon and Steven presenting the award for Best Reality Show, you need to now. Conan's opening montage and opening number are highly amusing, as well! There are a bunch more Daily Show-related clips here.

Priscilla said at 10:51 PM


Thursday, August 24, 2006

From here:
Effective November 1, 2006, the SCI FI Channel will change their name to SurgeTV, to reflect the changing demographic thrust of the successful long-running cable channel. In addition, deals are currently working out to bring back ECW for a three-times a week run in prime time, as well as reruns (Pre-WWE) of professional wrestling events.

SurgeTV hopes to tap into the newfound audience of science fiction wrestling fans, by promoting cross-over programming, including Eureka's Colin Ferguson's guest appearance in the ECW ring, and Season 2 of Stan Lee's Who Wants To Be A Superhero to include ring matches between competitors. Saucier, racier stories will be aired after the midnight hour, and in a change for the popular channel, may include R-rated material.

While much of the original programming the SCI FI Channel has produced will remain on air through the next year, SurgeTV expects sweeping changes to the network, shifting away from the so-called "nerd" demographic. This means that SurgeTV will try to appeal to it's growing number of "extreme" viewers by removing all of it's current re-run programming and replacing it with a new "brand" - Xtreme Surge At Night. Effective November 1, 2006, SurgeTV will begin broadcasting reruns of Hogan Knows Best and original WWE programming. Filling out the early morning hours will be the ground-breaking American (English language channel) debut of Lucha Libre sporting events.

SurgeTV will continue publishing Sci Fi magazine, which will remain uneffected by the format changes taking place on air.

SurgeTV is a television network where extreme action can be found. SurgeTV fuels the adrenaline of viewers with original series and events, blockbuster movies and classic wrestling programming, as well as a dynamic Web site ( and magazine. Launched in 1992, and currently in 85 million homes, SurgeTV is a network of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.
Away from the "nerd" demographic? But where will we geeks go? We've been cast out like little match girls, without the nerdery we love! Don't they realize that they filled a demographic hole? There are enough channels dedicated to wrestling. We don't need one more! Now I get why they're making Harry Dresden a hockey fan. *glowers*

And no "re-run" programming? I couldn't care less if they stopped airing Firefly reruns, but what about shows like Doctor Who, for which Sci-Fi provides the first run for fans in the US? If they discontinue this practice, there will be words exchanged. And in typical Mal-style, certain bullets.

Also? Your new name would be more befitting a gay porn channel. Just saying.

Edit: Aaaaaand it was a hoax! We nerds can breathe a collective sigh of relief. :D

Priscilla said at 11:13 AM


I'd like to add Michael Noer to my list of "People I wouldn't feel guilty about lighting on fire." After a barrage of enfuriated emails, Forbes curtailed his article and added a counterpoint by Elizabeth Corcoran, but I think his original article should be preserved for posterity.
Don't Marry Career Women, Michael Noer, 08.22.06, 6:00 AM ET

Guys: A word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Why? Because if many social scientists are to be believed, you run a higher risk of having a rocky marriage. While everyone knows that marriage can be stressful, recent studies have found professional women are more likely to get divorced, more likely to cheat, less likely to have children, and, if they do have kids, they are more likely to be unhappy about it. A recent study in Social Forces, a research journal, found that women--even those with a "feminist" outlook--are happier when their husband is the primary breadwinner.

Not a happy conclusion, especially given that many men, particularly successful men, are attracted to women with similar goals and aspirations. And why not? After all, your typical career girl is well-educated, ambitious, informed and engaged. All seemingly good things, right? Sure…at least until you get married. Then, to put it bluntly, the more successful she is the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you. Sound familiar?

In Pictures: Nine Reasons To Steer Clear Of Career Women

Many factors contribute to a stable marriage, including the marital status of your spouse's parents (folks with divorced parents are significantly more likely to get divorced themselves), age at first marriage, race, religious beliefs and socio-economic status. And, of course, many working women are indeed happily and fruitfully married--it's just that they are less likely to be so than non-working women. And that, statistically speaking, is the rub.

To be clear, we're not talking about a high-school dropout minding a cash register. For our purposes, a "career girl" has a university-level (or higher) education, works more than 35 hours a week outside the home and makes more than $30,000 a year.

If a host of studies are to be believed, marrying these women is asking for trouble. If they quit their jobs and stay home with the kids, they will be unhappy ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2003). They will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Social Forces, 2006). You will be unhappy if they make more money than you do ( Journal of Marriage and Family, 2001). You will be more likely to fall ill ( American Journal of Sociology). Even your house will be dirtier ( Institute for Social Research).

Why? Well, despite the fact that the link between work, women and divorce rates is complex and controversial, much of the reasoning is based on a lot of economic theory and a bit of common sense. In classic economics, a marriage is, at least in part, an exercise in labor specialization. Traditionally men have tended to do "market" or paid work outside the home and women have tended to do "non-market" or household work, including raising children. All of the work must get done by somebody, and this pairing, regardless of who is in the home and who is outside the home, accomplishes that goal. Nobel laureate Gary S. Becker argued that when the labor specialization in a marriage decreases--if, for example, both spouses have careers--the overall value of the marriage is lower for both partners because less of the total needed work is getting done, making life harder for both partners and divorce more likely. And, indeed, empirical studies have concluded just that.

In 2004, John H. Johnson examined data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation and concluded that gender has a significant influence on the relationship between work hours and increases in the probability of divorce. Women's work hours consistently increase divorce, whereas increases in men's work hours often have no statistical effect. "I also find that the incidence in divorce is far higher in couples where both spouses are working than in couples where only one spouse is employed," Johnson says. A few other studies, which have focused on employment (as opposed to working hours) have concluded that working outside the home actually increases marital stability, at least when the marriage is a happy one. But even in these studies, wives' employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the marriage is of "low marital quality."

The other reason a career can hurt a marriage will be obvious to anyone who has seen their mate run off with a co-worker: When your spouse works outside the home, chances increase they'll meet someone they like more than you. "The work environment provides a host of potential partners," researcher Adrian J. Blow reported in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, "and individuals frequently find themselves spending a great deal of time with these individuals."

There's more: According to a wide-ranging review of the published literature, highly educated people are more likely to have had extra-marital sex (those with graduate degrees are 1.75 more likely to have cheated than those with high school diplomas.) Additionally, individuals who earn more than $30,000 a year are more likely to cheat.

And if the cheating leads to divorce, you're really in trouble. Divorce has been positively correlated with higher rates of alcoholism, clinical depression and suicide. Other studies have associated divorce with increased rates of cancer, stroke, and sexually-transmitted disease. Plus divorce is financially devastating. According to one recent study on "Marriage and Divorce's Impact on Wealth," published in The Journal of Sociology, divorced people see their overall net worth drop an average of 77%.

So why not just stay single? Because, academically speaking, a solid marriage has a host of benefits beyond just individual "happiness." There are broader social and health implications as well. According to a 2004 paper entitled "What Do Social Scientists Know About the Benefits of Marriage?" marriage is positively associated with "better outcomes for children under most circumstances," higher earnings for adult men, and "being married and being in a satisfying marriage are positively associated with health and negatively associated with mortality." In other words, a good marriage is associated with a higher income, a longer, healthier life and better-adjusted kids.

A word of caution, though: As with any social scientific study, it's important not to confuse correlation with causation. In other words, just because married folks are healthier than single people, it doesn't mean that marriage is causing the health gains. It could just be that healthier people are more likely to be married.
Here's my advice, ladies: Don't marry a man that isn't infuriated by this article.

Priscilla said at 10:48 AM


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Bwee! Astonishing X-Men #16 comes out today! What a pleasant surprise. :D Also, the Season 2 DVD sets for House and Veronica Mars came out yesterday.

Priscilla said at 11:10 AM


There's something deeply disturbing about modeling the baby Jesus' crotch. I love my job.

Priscilla said at 10:13 AM


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

(This entry was started Sunday night, but oh well.)

I come home to fandom horrors! Well, not really horrors per se, but at least mild irritation.

It turns out that there are only eight episodes of Psych in the first series. After next week, there won't be any new episodes until the new year. I guess I'll have to look forward to January for new episodes of time-travelling aliens, paranormal detectives, and fake psychics.

Also, it turns out I missed the much-touted 200th episode of Stargate, which I had down as September 18th rather than August 18th. Ah well. It's going to be replayed this Friday at 6/5c.

But then, there's oodles of fandom glee to offset it! I will soothe my ire with this list of hilarious Psych quotes. Remind me... why aren't you watching? And speaking (in passing) of time-travelling aliens, check out this awesome Barty Crouch fanvid thingy. I need to see GoF again. And maybe some second series Doctor Who. David Tennant is so much fun to watch!

Snakes on a Plane music video filk of Band on the Run. (Thanks to Rebecca!) And Tanja's inspired Snakes on a Plane as The Little Prince and Rebecca's Snakes on a Roadtrip.

I've never seen Scrubs, but I just might watch the musical episode written by the Avenue Q team.

A hilarious post I had to link to: Astronomers are as bad as Fandom.

Apparently the V for Vendetta DVD has Natalie Portman's SNL video as an Easter Egg.

Subway maps for your ipod!

Insanely awesome: Firefox crop circle!

The Areas of My Expertise: Paperback Edition! Now even more complete! And check out John's snazzy touring info! He's coming to the Free Library of Philadelphia at 19th and Vine (where I first met Terry Pratchett) October 5th. And Jonathan Coulton will be there, too! W00t!

Priscilla said at 9:21 PM


Monday, August 21, 2006

OH MY FREAKING GOD! NEIL GAIMAN + JOHN HODGMAN! I don't care how much homework I have that night, I am SO there! Man, that WEEK OF ROCK just exploded from the awesome.

Priscilla said at 11:58 PM


...and everything is fixed! Except the Photoshop, of course.

Priscilla said at 4:27 PM


In my absence, they reimaged my computer at work. The following are no longer functional:

  • Maya -- there's a licensing issue and it refuses to open
  • Photoshop -- apparently I wasn't supposed to have a license in the first place. Not so problematic, but definitely irritating.
  • My Email -- not letting me log in
  • My mouse (!!!) -- pathetic to begin with, it finally stopped responding altogether. In the meantime, I'm using a mouse I brought from home.

    On the other hand, they finally installed Mozilla, which fills my heart with sunbeams. And at least I have plenty of assignments! Which I will dive into when stuff is actually working. Now where are those tech guys...

  • Priscilla said at 3:25 PM


    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    Off to my aunt and uncle's place in Colorado! I'll be back Sunday afternoon. Don't burn anything while I'm gone!

    Priscilla said at 9:01 AM


    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    Priscilla said at 7:54 PM


    Major congrats to Joe and Jimmy of Comic News Insider! Episode 50, woohoo! Check it out, and be sure to plug your ears and hum loudly during my congratulatory message, as I sound like a total dweeb. :D

    And unrelated, but for potential Psych fans: USA is holding a Psych marathon this Saturday, starting at 12:30 PM EST and continuing to 8 PM. You know you want to!

    Priscilla said at 11:10 AM


    Tuesday, August 15, 2006

    Interesting that the battery I've been using the past year is one of the flawed ones, and the backup battery I thought I'd need but haven't touched until now is perfectly safe.

    Find out here if your battery is subject to recall, too.

    Priscilla said at 7:24 AM


    Monday, August 14, 2006

    I'm typing this entry on a Dell laptop purchased between April 2004 and July 18th of this year, powered by a Lithium ion battery. Should I flee the building?

    Priscilla said at 7:46 PM


    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    More sqeeful stuff for that last week of September:
    • Series 2 of the new Doctor Who premieres in the US on SciFi September 29th at 9/8c. It'll be a two hour season premiere: The Christmas Invasion followed by New Earth.
    • My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, a short story collection featuring one by Jim Butcher (presumably about the marriage of werewolves Billy and Georgia), comes out October 3rd.
    I honestly believe that week is going to explode from the awesome.

    Edit: Though Renata points out that ASoUE #13 comes out October 13th (Friday!), not October 1st. Stupid Amazon lists the first on their Search page but the 13th on the individual page for the book. (It also lists The Beatrice Letters as coming out on September 1st on their Search Page but the 5th on the individual page. What kind of crack are you smoking, Amazon?) Thank you, Renata! I'm so glad I didn't place my massive preorder yet! :D

    Priscilla said at 10:09 AM


    Thursday, August 10, 2006

    So remind me. Why haven't we caught Osama bin Laden yet? Oh yeah! Because the war in Iraq is making us safer!

    Priscilla said at 9:18 AM


    I have no brain. I changed my template, but I didn't republish, so what I copied and pasted was still the old, outdated version. It's times like this that I wish the RSS feed didn't prevent me from editing entries!

    So that's:
    house -- 9/5
    studio 60 -- 9/18 (pilot now available on Netflix)
    heroes -- 9/25 (pilot on iTunes 9/1)
    vm s3 -- 10/3
    bsg s3 -- 10/6

    Also, Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things comes out 9/26, making that week even MORE awesome!

    Priscilla said at 7:38 AM


    Wednesday, August 09, 2006

    Apparently almost all of my season/series premiere dates were incredibly off. Thanks to Will for bringing them to my attention and supplying me with the correct dates! They can now be seen in the sidebar, pasted here for those that read the feed (with a need for speed).

    house -- 9/5
    heroes -- 9/18 -- pilot available for free download on iTunes 9/01!
    bsg s3 -- 9/24
    vm s3 -- 10/3

    And speaking of the teevee, the assistant at the cooking class my mom and I attended tonight was a dead ringer for David Tennant. Well, in profile he was. It was fun. :D

    Priscilla said at 10:32 PM


    Woo! Weird Al's next album, Straight Outta Lynwood, comes out September 26th!

    That's going to be the best week ever.
    Sunday the 24th: BSG Season Premiere
    Monday the 25th: Artemis Fowl #5
    Wednesday the 26th: Weird Al!
    Thursday the 28th: Terry Pratchett's Wintersmith
    Friday the 29th through Sunday the 1st: PhauxCon
    Sunday the 1st: A Series of Unfortunate Events #13

    Plus my mom's birthday on the 21st and the season premiere of Veronica Mars on the 3rd. If my professors assign any homework at all, I will weep.

    Priscilla said at 3:33 PM


    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    NED LAMONT, FOR THE WIN! Eat it, Lieberman!

    Priscilla said at 11:49 PM


    Prompted by a haiku vs. limericks challenge on McAnally's, I wrote some Dresden Files limericks. I amuse myself far too easily, but I wouldn't have it any other way!

    There once was a wizard named Harry
    Who fought against monsters quite scary
    'Til he cried out "I'm done!,"
    Tossed his staff and his gun,
    And picked up Little House on the Prairie.

    The sexy reporter named Susan
    Was the lady of our wizard's choosin'.
    But one vamping later,
    Her strength is much greater:
    More suited for bringin' the bruisin'.

    There once was a copper named Karrin
    (One half of my favourite pairin')
    Though she can be quite kind
    She will sure speak her mind
    When asked "How is your love life farin'?"

    There once was a spirit named Bob
    Remembering things was his job.
    Like how to make potions
    From calamine lotions
    Or flee from a ravening mob.

    Priscilla said at 9:51 AM


    Registered Democrats of Connecticut: VOTE LAMONT! The primary is today!

    If you're not yet convinced, take 8 minutes to see Lamont on The Colbert Report and sift through some of the Lieberman articles on the delightfully biased Crooks and Liars.

    Priscilla said at 8:02 AM


    Friday, August 04, 2006


    Highlights included:
    • The 20-minute Effects Omelette presentation on the creation of 1933 New York for King Kong. I was blown away. And the presenter had so much material, he could have had a half-day course devoted to the subject. The huge amount of research coupled with a phenomenal new automated building generation system coupled with droolworthy crowd-creation tool Massive = GUH.
    • ILM and Rhythm & Hues both taking credit for creating the creature construction kits for Narnia. I can see why they'd want to! It's an amazing piece of technology that allows riggers to near-seamlessly apply rigging dynamics from one animal to another or even combine existing animal rigs to create hybrid rigs.
    • The admission that the basis for Aslan's facial expressions is Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird.
    • ILM's presentation on creature creation for PotC, described in the previous entry.
    • The Penn students and grads lunch, in which we grilled my friend Paul (now working at Pixar) on how Cars procreate.
    • The Zbrush demos. I'm emailing Amy and begging her to get some licenses for Penn, because OMG WANT!
    • Hobnobbing with the Laika folks and fishing for info on Coraline. I kept hearing conflicting info (that it would be a mix of stop-motion and CG, that it would be mostly CG with some stop-motion, etc), and now the story is finally straight! To my glee, it's going to be entirely stop-motion with a touch of CG effects (smoke, etc). Originally, they'd planned to make the Real World CG and the Other World stop-motion, but after a few animation tests, they felt that Joe Average Viewer wouldn't be able to distinguish between them and wouldn't particularly care. Three cheers for stop-motion!
    • The Electronic Theatre, a showcasing of the best of the best of the best of computer animation (3d, 2d, and hybrid). Personal favourite: Guinness "noitulovE", by Framestore CFC (who also brought us the Golden Gate Bridge scene in X3. *hearts*) I'll have to see if I can rustle up any of the other great animations I saw.
    And now, to lunch!

    Priscilla said at 1:27 PM


    Tuesday, August 01, 2006

    Hijinks from Siggraph today!

    Check out The PotC:II Artists' Gag Reel (if these don't make the DVD, I will weep bitter tears)

    Also 3d me (from some medical imaging place thing whose name I do not recall) and me with the poster for Coraline at the Laika booth.

    Full post later, when I'm not exhausted from the nerdglee!

    Priscilla said at 11:24 PM


    (This was mostly written Tuesday night, though I've since made minor changes)

    There are not enough EEEs in SQUEEE! to describe today. While the courses and panels and such at SIGGRAPH are intriguing, it's difficult to compare with the sheer emotional drive and sensory overload of the Exhibition, which started today. The event began with the traditional mad race to the Pixar booth for posters, which resembled a toy store at opening time the day before Christmas. Then, swag-lust abated somewhat, we started winding around to nearby booths and basking in the electronic glory. Many of the larger companies set up teaching centers and/or demos. It was hard to decide where to go for each scheduled tutorial! There was just so much stuff going on, all at the same time. WILD.

    One constantly bustling venue was the AutoDesk (publishers of the industry standard 3D software Maya, for one) fortress, which ran demos of all its latest products, including MAYA FREAKING 8. And here I was, dangerously close to upgrading to Maya 7! Truly, God smiles on the procrastinators.

    My most frequent repeat visits were the displays for ILM and The Art Institutes. At ILM's huge display, I fist saw a demo of the next-gen A.I. for the upcoming Indiana Jones game, which is SWEET. Then I got a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the CG creatures of Pirates of the Caribbean II, specifically on the the tentacle effects for Davy Jones (effects aside, Bill Nighy is even more my hero than he was before), which was fascinating. They also spoke briefly about the matte painting and rotoscoping used in the film, which was far more extensive than I'd thought. This seems to be a theme for me in a lot of effects films. I was equally thrown by the amount of background augmentation in King Kong and HHGTG, to name a few. Anyway, the tentacle effects thing ran short, so they showed a short blooper reel, which I captured on my digital camera and will hopefully share with you tonight. [Edit: Here it is!]

    At the Art Institutes, I took a tutorial in Avid, where we learned a few of the most common features, plus some of the editing tricks used in 24 like splitscreening. I'd never used the software before, so it's nice to get some brief experience, at least. Who knows when it'll come in handy? Then I squeezed into the tutorial on Matte Painting, which presented an approach to photo manipulation in Photoshop completely different from my experience in the past. I'll have to see where I can implement these tricks in my own work!

    Priscilla said at 4:43 PM


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