Awesome Living Creature Thing for May 31, 2009: Cordyceps

I just discovered this. And, technically it’s not an animal. So sue me.

Cordyceps is a fungus that likes nothing more than to be ingested by animals. It’s kind of like a prank. One day, while Mr. Ant is walking around, minding his own business, all of a sudden WHAM he’ll feel a force not unlike what one would feel if a live prairie dog crawled through your intestines and decided to go through your whole body, eventually tunneling through your head (or other bodily part). And then long tubular fungus shoots out of Mr. Ant, having eaten away all his innards. Technically he will be dead by this time.

And thus does the cycle of nature continue…

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America Online, Part I: WinAMP

America Online and I have had a difficult relationship. No matter what I do, it just keeps on trying to shut me out. I never know what AOL is going to do next. One day, I think we’re all square up, and our relationship is going along fine, and then the very next day AOL decides to hide the keys to the house so I can’t get in. And then if I call the police to try to get into my own damn house AOL kills the police officers.

Recently I got a new program from AOL, called “WinAMP“, a music player like Windows Media Player or Apple’s iTunes, for a radio station I’ll build this summer. (I do realize most normal people do not actively attempt to make their own radio stations, but as you may have noticed by now, I am a highly unique individual, and I’d like to note for the record that my radio station, Radio Headroom, is totally legal, because it will have a broadcast radius of about ten feet.) WinAMP’s best feature is, of course, its mascot, which happens to be a llama. This is by far the best part of WinAMP from my perspective, anyway. Its other features aren’t so good. For example, when we’re playing a card game I happen to enjoy, called “Play Random Music”, and it tries to shuffle, it ends up making… well, a llama of itself.

(Just as an aside, the Max Headroom Incident is where “Radio Headroom” gets its name.)

Let me explain someting. When a normal, well adjusted human being or music player “shuffles”, he or she or it makes everything random. More importantly, though, you wouldn’t just shuffle a deck of cards once and be done with it. Every time you’d play a new game, you’d shuffle the cards again. My last music player, iTunes, did this. I would say, “Let’s play Random Music”, and it would shuffle the deck and play a random piece of music. It would not make a new list of music where it changed all the songs’ places on the list and then just play that for me over and over again. iTunes was normal like that.

Whereas when I play Random Music with WinAMP, it either doesn’t work or does exactly what I just described. (I should also note that neither of the linked forum threads are ones I posted in, just ones that somewhat describe the problems I had.) I’ll tell it, “Hey, why don’t we play some random music?” and it will make a new playlist instead and just play that over and over again. It’s as if you’re playing a game of blackjack and the dealer just shuffled the cards once and left them like that, for every game he played the rest of the day. Really, it’s enough to make me want to take tea with the Mad Hatter, but not really because the guy didn’t have anything by the Eagles.

So I decided that I did not like WinAMP, in spite of the fact that it had a llama as its mascot. While I knew I’d have to dig deep to find a music player mascot as cool as a llama, I decided to try to find a program whose features would work… on first install.

I looked around the Internet, and finally found Media Monkey. Now, most zoologists would classify Media Monkey’s mascot as a “monkey“. (I have linked to Wikipedia for those who do not know what a monkey is. I know, most of the people that come to this site are Americans and have never actually seen a monkey. My advice is to go to a zoo.) While I have to go through the hassle of feeding my media player a banana three times a day, it is quite good at shuffling music. It even uses its feet.

It also found old songs from all of the video games on my computer. You cannot understand the elation I felt when I heard, for the first time in several years, the theme song from the Sims. It was positively bizarre. I told my cousin of this development.

“Come here! You have to hear this! It’s the old Sims neighborhood theme 2!” I yelled from my room.

“Not now, I’m too busy watching Inuyasha,” I believe that was his response.

Part II continues here.

America Online, Part II: Autoblog

On the subject of AOL-owned stuff, I have much the same problem with Autoblog as I had with WinAMP. Autoblog is a blog that talks about cars. Every day it has a new story on the automotive industry; how Ford no longer is the absolute most abhorrent automaker in the United States, having been replaced by the other two American auto companies, which will of course allow it to wait an extra two weeks before taking money from the government; how a Japanese automaker just released another one of those cars shaped like a packing crate that nobody likes except for old people with weird taste in everything;  and how President Barack “Limbaugh’s Archnemesis” Obama is planning on having the American automakers build cars that run on unicorn burps and fairy dust.

On Autoblog, I was one of the top commenters, until Autoblog apparently hid my password from me. I keep on typing it in, and Autoblog keeps on telling me that it is an “invalid password”, which I take to mean it’s depressed at me for some strange reason:

Me: Can I come in, honey?

Autoblog: INVALID PASSWORD AND EMAIL ADDRESS COMBINATION.

Me: Um, do you want flowers, sweetie?

Given my skills in wooing women, it’s no wonder Autoblog no longer allows me in. It could also have something to do with how I talked around Autoblog. My commentary was typical for Autoblog. Here’s a sample:

“Actually, JapaneseCarLover25000, I would argue that the Honda Civic is among the most craptacular pieces of crap that has ever existed on planet Earth, and would be the lowest if it weren’t for Autoblog’s authors, who are even more retarded than you. Can’t you morons make a comment system and news post that isn’t riddled with errors from here to the damn moon? Seriously. This site sucks so much ass.”

Well, all right, that’s actually a bit of an exaggeration, but still. This represents 99.9% of Autoblog posts, and actually around 99.9% of WinAMP posts as well, because from what I saw from the WinAMP forums most of the commentary revolved around how WinAMP’s shuffle system sucked and how the latest version didn’t work properly if equipped with Bento skin, plugins of any kind or if its owner was a Missouri synod Lutheran. However, it must be mentioned that WinAMP’s users all agreed that WinAMP was far better than iTunes. Their llama spits on iTunes, as is usually the case with dromedaries.

Nevermind. I’ll move to Jalopnik, and Media Monkey’s working well, and of course with both I won’t have to deal with AOL users. So you know what? I’m good. To hell with this post. I’m going to go play some Super Smash Brothers now. At least I don’t have to listen to Nintendo users.

I’ll be playing as Star Wolf. As if you couldn’t figure that out.

Important News for Furries: Wyoming Furry Relocation Program Begins

The following article, from the Wyoming Tribune Eagle:

—The Wyoming Furry Relocation Program—

Furries of the TwoKinds forums just today announced plans to relocate all furries currently living in the United States to Wyoming.

California was not chosen because it has scenic beaches and would be nice if not for all the liberals. Also, California, while generally being a terrible state, is filthy stinking rich. Finally, while it would be hilarious to see California Scientologists and furries attempting to coexist, it could also lead to their joining together to form a supergroup capable of world domination.

New Mexico was also considered, but a New Mexican drew the following picture, which makes the state ineligible:

Jew Mexico. Just disgusting, New Mexico, you racist bastards.

A terrible joke: "Jew Mexico". Just disgusting, New Mexico, you anti-Semitic bastards.

Finally, two more states, Florida and New York, were considered, as well as New Jersey. The last came very close to becoming the Furry State because nobody really likes New Jersey anyway, but it was disqualified; a New Jerseyan attempted to kill the leader of the Furry State Conference after having been insulted rudely in a sarcastic quip directed at his mother.

As such, Wyoming was chosen. Because Wyoming is the U.S. state with the fewest residents, other than Alaska which has all our oil and is freakish in its not really being a state at all, it will be easiest to move Wyomingans from the horrible sexual carnage that is about to ensue.

Furries will very much like Wyoming. For example, Old Faithful, under its new name Old Yifful, will have brand new and completely unforeseen connotations attached to it. Wyoming is devoid of people, which will appeal to furries’ lack of social abilities with humans.

There are many species of animals in Wyoming which are very rapable, including breeds like wolf, bear, and cow, which furries will also appreciate.

Finally, within the next ten thousand years a stratovolcano (which furries have taken to naming “Big Yiff”) will kill all furries once and for all, destroying both them and their disgusting fursuits. It will be a long wait after which the land of Wyoming will forever be ruined, but it will be well worth it.

Currently, a massive fence has been erected around the state of Wyoming. Within the next three months, all laws in the state will be repealed, and furries will be allowed to have massive orgies in public unimpeded by things like common sense or human thought.

Furry State is considered a “zoological observatory” by government officials.

“We are uncertain what this will be like,” Furry State President Shaun Reveal (Y-Yiffburg) said in a live press conference. Speaking from his trademark kangaroo fursuit, Mr. Reveal revealed, “We expect the only rule in Furry State to be ‘rape as many animals as you possibly can, and kill any actual humans on sight.'”

Richard Katellis, the creator of Kit N’ Kay Boodle and Supreme Secretary General of Furry State, added that having sex will be mandatory.

“Everybody must yiff”, Katellis said. “People will be required to yiff at least three times a day.” Asked regarding old furries and furries with heart problems, Katellis added, “Survival of the fittest, that is furry law.” It is unknown whether Mr. Katellis considers being ostracised in school and spending the rest of one’s natural life wearing fursuits in a desperate attempt to be accepted by a sex group as “survival of the fittest.”

Regardless, many changes will be made immediately. As has already been reported, Wyoming’s name will now be “Furry State”, Yellowstone National Park will be referred to as “Yiffystone Zoological Bathhouse”, and the capital city of Cheyenne will now be called “Yiffburg” as per Katellis’ request.

“YIFF YIFF YIFF”, Katellis said.

Finally, there is the matter of the infamous “Wyoming Incident”.

In the Wyoming Incident videos, the numbers “333-333-333” appear on a screen with the phrase “THIS IS A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT”, cryptic messages appear on screen, and disembodied heads are displayed. All of these have been replaced by the following simulation, which will be broadcast on Wyoming television station K2TV at approximately 3:00 PM on the date July 4, 2009:

Updates will be given as information is received.

Car Post for May Number One: Nissan Frontier. Four Cylinder Engine. Discuss.

Note: This post is unfunny. I am actually making a point. See the May 4 post for attempts at humor.

The purpose of a compact truck, to my understanding, is for better fuel efficiency through smaller size, and/or off-road capability.

The Nissan Frontier answers the off-road capability question with a Pro 4X package which gives it good off-road capability.

With the second one, its four-cylinder work truck model has the smallest and least-efficient engine in its class. It struggles out 21 mpg with only 152 horsepower with manual transmission, versus 22 mpg and 159 horsepower for the Toyota Tacoma, and 143 horsepower and 23 mpg with the Ford Ranger. Properly equipped, a Chevy Colorado gets only 20 mpg–but does so with 190 horsepower, a 38-horsepower spread between the ‘Rado and the Fronty. To put that in perspective, the difference between the power of the base Frontier engine and the Chevrolet Colorado’s is one-horsepower more than the horsepower rating of the original 1959 Datsun pickup.

The Frontier’s weight is partly to blame; it’s the heaviest compact truck you can buy, but that makes it even weirder that its base engine is so weak. I mean, seriously, when are they going to offer a better base engine for this truck? Add a turbocharger, increase cylinder bore, anything.  People are complaining about having to whip the snot out of the Frontier four to get any power, killing mileage in the process. This truck’s engine is literally so small that it reduces overall fuel economy.

Finally, I’d like to point out that when the Ford F-150 debuts its Ecoboost V-6 engine, it’ll get around 19-20 mpg with an automatic–with over 400 horsepower. Currently, the four-cylinder Frontier struggles out 19 mpg–at best–with automatic.

So what’s the point of the Nissan Frontier, again? To me, it’s like the Dodge Dakota as it is–bad mileage, too heavy, and at least one engine that’s too weak. What should Nissan do with this truck? Leave answers below.

The Water God’s Balloon Tree of Destiny

In terms of the arts, I am what you would call an ultra-sophisticated hardcore latte-sipping Apple-using artiste. Of course, that’s only if you don’t count the artiste, Apple-using, latte-sipping, hardcore and ultra-sophisticated parts. But still, I’m one ultra-artistic individual. Or at least, now that I’m in college.

All right, all right. Realistically, I am the spawn of rednecks whose concept of awesome art boils down to posters of wolves and mountains all over the house. At my house, we have numerous rooms, named primarily by the type of art we have in them. For example, one room is named the “Wolf Room”, where I keep my wolf memorabilia. We have our “Living Room”, named for the pictures of buffalo we have on the wall facing the big-screen TV. In addition, we also have real life in our living room, in the form of various types of mold floating about in the air from the remains of childrens’ forgotten peanut butter sandwiches. We have a “Lego Room”, where I keep my urbane and sophisticated Lego bricks; and our “Utility Room”, where we keep our fine wines and soda pop.

And yes, we have Pepsi Throwback. And sardines. That is the kind of sophistication my family has.

Anyway, my artistic background goes along these lines. And so for me, building my Water God costume was the highlight of the art I have created so far. The Water God is a noble concept, one which I pondered for quite a long time before I finally got around to actually building it. I built it in the hopes that I can get into architecture school and design buildings for a living, because, let’s be honest here, Legos can only go so far, and whenever I have ambitions of building a working radio station out of Lego bricks my ambitions have gone where Legos can carry me no further.

The Water God, or Water Pope, consists of a rain slick and a large cone-shaped hat made of cardboard and duct tape. Out of the top sticks a sprinkler head, which shoots water up five feet in the air. I wear gloves with water hoses duct-taped to them. When somebody turns on the garden hose, water shoots out of my wrists, out the top of my hat, and out a water spigot attached to my nose, because I also attached a garden hose there.

Don’t laugh! I really did build this contraption! I can’t show pictures of it yet, but the basic gist of the concept is that I was required to build something that would enable me to do something I otherwise could not do. My decision was that, although touching both ends of a room with your fingertips would be cool, it was nothing like being able to shoot water from your head, nose and wrists at the same time.

Out at the back of the art building at my school I was standing, in this dark raincoat and black cone-shaped hat, with blue tape attached to make it look like  a tribal mask, and when the water came out, the feeling was electric. I was the Water God. I could shoot water from my head, nose and wrists at the same time! It was a powerful feeling. And, best of all, I didn’t get wet, except for my shoes.

My latest project, the Balloon Tree of Destiny, is set to be wayyyyy cooler than even the Water God. It only requires standard household balloons, duct tape, fifty feet of water hose, at least a dozen water bottles, a Home Depot “Homer Bucket”, several packets of yeast, sugar, water, aluminum foil, and probably at least one Anglican priest. In the end, however, it transforms into something beautiful: A giant thing made of balloons, hose and duct tape that kind of looks like a tree if you squint really hard.

This is going to be a powerful statement regarding trees, generally. Trees are important to me. They are green, and green is my favorite color, and sometimes trees have squirrels in them, which are adorable furry woodland creatures that you can hug and get mauled by.

The Balloon Tree of Destiny is a dissection of Man’s respect and reverence of trees. It represents themes as complex as the ancient caveman, who liked to pretend that trees had evil spirits in them, which they don’t; everybody knows that trees are inanimate objects, they have as much life as a pencil sharpener or a rock. My project represents Johnny Appleseed, who, as with my project, proved that a man with far too much time on his hands can do incredible things that nobody with half a brain would ever do, such as plant apple trees all over New England, or build a pretend tree out of garden hose and inflatable balloons. My project represents emos, via the very famous tree in California that you can drive through, because that tree had a hole in it that no emo’s ear piercing can ever match.

And, frankly, my tree represents God. Much more so, in fact, than a Water God ever could. Water Gods may come and go, but a tree will always serve as a natural lightning rod, and that’s something a Water God could probably do if he felt like it. So there.