Thursday, October 26, 2006

The other IFOA

That's right. Assbike Magazine brings you the 2006 The International Festival Of Assholes. Here's our line-up.

David Cross. This is one funny mofoe. You know him as Dr. Tobias Fumke, but he is one all round funny asshole. Check out his albums ("It's Not Funny" and "Shut Up You Fucking Baby") and his stand up on tha You Tube.

Next up. Bill Maher. Real Time is the highlight of my week -- seriously. No ass kiss. No Guilty liberalism. Every Friday night Maher brings it.

Then there's all around shit disturber, troll and enfant terrible. Theo van Gogh. The islams killed him.

Oddly enough his killer looks kinda like David Cross.

....and finally the Assbike song for the the weekend. The Damned with Ballroom Blitz(3:30)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

You Tube Roundup

This is where I'm riding most days now. I have a pretty good setup, with tunes and videos on the screen and a fan to keep me cool. My trick is to put on a cycling vid with the sound a bit low and then tunes on top of that. But still it it ain't the real thing. Not even close.

That's why I like this donut ride video. It's not much, but it reminds me of spring and summer days days, the best days (like 3 mins.).

I love this little clip too. The spectacle of a bike race is like nothing else. 100+ riders all gong for the line (30 secs.)

....and some Assbike music to keep you going. "Electric Sweat", by the Mooney Suzuki (4 mins.).

Get ready ! Get Set ! What you get is Electric Sweat !

Special Edition.

Oscar Gamble gallery

Hallowe'en Costumes for '06

Uh oh. It New York Magazine busted open my idea for a costume this year.

The Crocodile Hunter would just be too obvious.

But they have other good ideas like Borat, and Kim Jong Il.

But with the Cardinals in the World Series there's always the Ozzie Smith Rookie card.

Hipster Sociology

A couple weeks ago I zipped through two of the hottest pop-sociology books. Levitt and Dubner's Freakonomics (2005) and Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point (2000).

Freakonomics is a collection of interesting observations, and a lot of it is backed up with studies and data (Hey there's a free manuscript version here). This is the book that made waves last year for promoting the possibility that the drop in crime in the U.S. in the 90s was due to legalized abortion in the 70s. There's lotsa other neat stuff in there, bu what the book needs are some graphs. If I could sum up the book in a sentence it would be : "Correlation does not imply causation". Although at times it gets dangerously close to making the argument that "Stronger correlation implies causation".

Gladwell's book is a relative lightweight. The Tipping Point story goes something like this: With any phenomena there are the mavens who are the first to learn about it, the connectors who are able to spread it and how well the phenomena catches is a function of the stickiness to the idea.

The book feels dated right from the first page; Gladwell uses the example to the sudden popularity of Hush Puppies. (Mid-90s Hush Puppies came out in styin' colours and they were hot with the proto-hipsters. they're too wimpy for Cdn. weaher so they never were very popular here). Hardly anyone even remembers that. He uses this as his primary example and he keeps coming back to it. It was stupid of him to stake his thesis on such a lame (and ephemeral) example. It's like someone's high school essay about Depeche Mode lyrics -- seemed profound at the time.

The other flaw is that he has a tidy little model of the Tipping Point, but he can't convincingly show through his examples that it is in fact at work.

It leaves you with the feeling you sorta understand how some shit works now, but you kinda have to take his word for large parts of it. For example the fixing broken windows theory (at least with respect to New York City under Giuliani) is shot down in Freakonomics. Also he looks like Sideshow Bob.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Let's get Raytarded

Pretty much the only thing I can watch on TV other than Mad Money and the occasional sport is the food channel (aka food porn).

I never figured the one food channel chef that would make it big would be the "Raytard"; Rachael Ray. She has her own Martha-style show now.

Before commercial a housewife-type (ie. a regular viewer like you) comes on and gives you a raytarded tip. Like this one : Wash your lettuce in the washing machine. Uhh...

Bacteria, Viruses Lurk in Washing Machine.

....recent study, of 50 homes in Tucson and 50 others in the Tampa Bay, Fla., area, has found that coliform bacteria, an indicator of unsanitary conditions, including the presence of diarrhea-causing E-coli, abound in many washing machines. Some linger even a load after you've washed your underwear, he says. "They originate in feces,...

OHHHH Yummm !! I'll pass on the salad when I'm at your place.

This inspired me to make this Warhol-lookin' knock-off

You go girl!

PS. Oh yeah, by the way. I wash my shower curtain in bleach in my washing machine every couple weeks -- just to make sure I'm not getting someone's poo-molecules all over my clothes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Weekend Ride

Here's some pics from this weekend's ride

I haven't been in any kind of "event" in over a year.

This is me going off the back. Weeks off the bike have not been good. Fitness is fleeting ... and luckily so is fat.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Best free computer stuff

1)Firefox and Google: Google isn't a prgram, but it's almost an operating system in itself and it meshes well with the 'fox. This is good if you use Windows, because Windows doesn't come with anything useful. 'fox has the integrated search which links right to Wikipedia and IMDb and with the google toolbar you can do instant text searches on webpages and it auto completes search terms for you.

'fox also has these nifty plugins I use:
FireFTP, a GUI ftp client and
Sage an RSS reader/aggregator

they both work inside a firefox window/tab.

I got on the gmail train pretty early, and googletalk is awesome. Lately I've been using writely, google's online word processor.

When I heard about the idea of storing your files and using applications online, it sounded stupid, but now that's exactly what I do. I can move from compuer to computer, operating system to operating system and all my files and the programs I use are always there.

The reason I used writely in the first place is I didn't have a way to make pdfs (windows doesn't come with one). With writely you can save a file, convert it to pdf and and download it, all for free. I also use google calendar and google analytics to track y'all bitches reading this.

Along with the "Google Operating System" I use a bunch of programs, the common trait being they are all simple, small, fast and just do one set of tasks really well :

2)Foxit: I used to dread clicking on a pdf, that would launch acrobat which is like getting hit with a 20 sec timeout every time. If you're constantly opening and closng pdfs this can really bog yr ass down. Foxit is a superfast pdf reader, mainly because it doesn't load a whole bunch o crap APIs (whatev they is) on startup.

3)VLC: Is a tiny little program that will play almost any video. It supports subtitles and plays incomplete files -- two things Windows Media Player don't do.

I don't know if it's a deliberate effort, but all Apple software for windows (Quicktime, iTunes) is a virus. If you install Quicktime or iTunes on your Windows computer you will fuck it up. Wth VLC you can play .mov files without Quicktime (which you have to buy or steal - only the plugin is free) and you can play iPod video files.

4)Irfanview: This is another little program that does one thing, but really well. Irfanview is a picture viewer, but it also has easy tools for photo-manipulation. Simple but powerful. Messing with colours, sizes, cropping, tilting, effects, but it's not a drawing program. It also reads and saves in many formats. Irfan view can also batch process files, so you can resize and rename thousands of photos with one command and even generate a HTML thumbnail gallery. Unlike many other programs that do that, everything about the look and format of the gallery is customizable (with CSS of course!).

5)Foobar 2000: Foobar is a no-nonsense music player. It has a simple interface (with multiple playlist tabs!) and uses less memory than winamp. It also has some "smart" features winamp doesn't.

6)CDisplay: I'm not a huge comic book guy but I do have a few (mainly Tintin). CDisplay is a comic book viewer. Unlike plan ole text, to enjoy comics on the screen you have to exerience it in the same format and reproduction quality of the printed product.

Comic book people figured out the best way to store and read comics on a computer is scan the pages into sequential bitmap images (JPEGs) and zip them together and read them with a dedicated viewer. These are given the filename extension .cbz

CDisplay simply displays the pages on a FULLSCREEN using the FULL WIDTH of the monitor and lets you flip and scroll through the pages, as if you have the book in front of you. Powerpoint and Acrobat also let you see a document full in fullscreen mode, but since most documents don't have the same aspect ratio as a computer screen, they don't use the full width in full screen mode.

(left a PDF fullscreen, right CDisplay)

Everyone still pretty much stores documents and books as PDF, but it is hard to read a long document on the screen. Either the print is too small or it doesn't allow you to scan the page quickly enough. A viewer like CDisplay is the ideal way to read a book on the screen. Maybe the next Foxit will have this feature and maybe then e-books will really take off.

(CDisplay is no longer maintained by the original author, so the link goes not to the CDisplay page, but to the CDisplay Wikipedia entry. There are new versions and there is an open source version called CDisplayEx - which is what I use).