The Man Version

July 26, 2011

I lied!

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 3:06 pm

During the transfer to the new address, something got corrupt.

It’s all worked out now, but the old RSS feed is no longer valid. If you are an RSS subscriber, please delete the old feed and add this new one:

Do it quick! The 2011 Science Smackdown is starting!

The new blog address is

See you there!


July 25, 2011

Changing locations

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 2:02 pm

Hi all,

I am abandoning the site for my own site:

I’ve changed the RSS feed, and I’m working on getting the redirects set up properly, which should be within 24 hours. But if you have this page favorited or anything, please updated it to the address above.

Thanks!  See you on the other side!


July 23, 2011

Nice Job, Harry

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 1:11 pm

How awesome would it have been at the end of the last Harry Potter movie if it turned out Neville Longbottom had been The Chosen One all along?

I remember reading some fan theories along those lines before the last book came out. Watching Matthew Lewis infuse Neville with a degree of badassery not previously seen from the former comic relief, I could easily believe it. And he hooked up with Luna at the end! I don’t remember if that happened in the books, but the movie Luna is adorable. Well done, Neville.

So she babbles on about Crumple-Horned Snorkacks? A damn Neville does not give.

J.K. Rowling has said she’s not writing any more Harry Potter stories, but I would dive into Neville Longbottom and the Boots of Ass-Kicking in a heartbeat.

So now I’ve watched these kids grow through eight movies and ten years. I think my strongest memory was for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which I saw in Oxford, England. My friends Rich and Lisa were with me, and we had settled down at a pub for dinner first. But it was unbelievable slow, so we got our order to go and rushed into the theater with complete dinners in our bags. If you think smuggling candy into a theater is tough, try a full plate of bangers and mash with a side of chips.

The thing that most surprised me about this last film, apart from Neville auditioning for the British version of Die Hard, was Harry himself. Daniel Radcliffe has somehow achieved a level of gravitas that you couldn’t expect when seeing him moon over Cho Chang in whichever movie that was. But in this one he was channeling Stone Phillips covering a budget proposal. Not bad for an actor who’s shorter than everyone except Warwick Davis.

Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, not so much. Actingwise, Emma seems to have plateaued a couple of movies ago, and Rupert hit his peak when he started walking upright. Both of them might overcome it and become solid actors, but Daniel has pulled way ahead. Maybe showing your junk on stage is a learning experience.

While watching Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2, I couldn’t help but compare it to the Transformers movies. Both films have impressive set pieces and plenty of action, but only one of them has characters we like, or are at least interested in. Even the evil characters have motivations we can understand: fear of death, primarily. The Decepticons, not so much — and we didn’t care if they took over the world anyway, if the best the world had to offer was Sam Witwicky. Take notes, Mr. Bay and your legions of “it’s just a stupid action movie” apologists: you can have both.

So, it’s been a fun ride. The series had its problems, but overall I think the fans will be satisfied with the body of work. And if you’re one of the “oh, I can’t be bothered to read those silly Harry Potter books” folks — that’s your right, but you’re missing out on an adventure that won’t be matched by any number of pirates in the Caribbean.

July 22, 2011

Death and Mortality: It Could Be Worse

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 6:25 pm

So I’ve been thinking about death a lot the last week or so. And not just because songs about death would make a dreary mix tape. (Good god, they would, too. Don’t even think about it.)

You’re thinking “this is a blogger who knows how to party.” True enough, but we recently lost someone to whom I’d been close. That was more of a catalyst than coming up with pickup lines at a goth convention.

I’m sorry, that was annoyingly vague. I think most of you know what I’m talking about. For those that don’t, that isn’t really my story to tell.


July 20, 2011

Apple has ruined men forever, Part 2

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 2:58 pm

After writing Part 1, I remembered another online alternative to mix tapes. I didn’t want to go back and edit it into the original, because it was more than an hour later and I figured someone had already forwarded it on to The New Yorker.

Occasionally on Skype, I catch Hetero Life Partner Tim Farley, and there’s a Skype plugin that tells me what he’s listening to. Normally it’s a science or skepticism podcast, but sometimes it’s that weird bagpipe bluegrass shit that makes me worry so much about him. (Are you reading, Tim? If you need to hug it out, I am here for you, man.) Once I got thinking about it, I remembered other online services that announce the same sort of thing on Twitter or Facebook or, probably, Orkut. Maybe that would work?


July 19, 2011

Apple has ruined men forever

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 10:04 pm

I didn’t actually attend TAM 9. I went to the same hotel at the same time, but didn’t do the actual conference. I’d seen most of the speakers countless times before anyway. After this last year, I wanted to get away to reconnect with old friends and maybe make a few new ones. Happily, I did both.

One of the people I was fortunate enough to meet was Melissa Lee, unrepentant humidiphobe and current leader of the Minnesota Skeptics. I think they’re in Wisconsin. She told me about her response to the ridiculous “Elevatorgate” scandal centered around Rebecca Watson.

Speaking of Rebecca, she has accepted her new role of Speaker for All Women with grace and poise, and has decreed that from now on all women must only drink cheap beer. Later on, I heard her mutter “fuck skepticism, I’m getting Pabst money.”

But back to Melissa and the service she’s providing. (And if you just now grabbed your junk and said “I gots a service she can provide,” then you probably need to read her post all the way to the end. If you only grabbed your junk because it was scratchy time, then carry on. Solidarity, brother.) She’s taking questions from men (mostly) about how to interact with women — specially, how to not come across like a leering creep or violent psychopath. It turns out the ladies don’t always like that. (I KNOW! Why were we not told that before?  I mean, more recently than kindergarten?)

Melissa’s post is terrific and you should all read it.

However, I think she missed something crucial about modern life that has seriously hamstrung the men and our seducological skills: mix tapes are a thing of the past.


June 10, 2011

Need some help from Whoville

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 7:45 am

Hi all!

As both my regular readers remember, last year I watched the episode Blink in an attempt to understand what was up with the Dr. Who fans. I wasn’t converted, although there were aspects of that episode I liked. Turned out one of those aspects was an abundance of Carey Mulligan and a relative paucity of David Tennant, which  apparently isn’t the case in most episodes. But I went back to the beginning of the Christopher Eccelston run and started watching.

Halfway through David Tennant’s run, I ground to a halt. Sorry, it’s not my thing.

Tennant demonstraing the emotion of "slightly surprised"

Sorry, David. Don't look at me like that, if you can help it.

But recently I went back and finished the Tennant episodes, and I learned I didn’t understand something fundamental about the Doctor mythos: what is actually happening when he regenerates into a new body?

When the Doctor changes actors, I thought it was a transference of memories and personality into a new body. The new Doctor is really the same Doctor — there can be only one, after all — with a new face. We get an episode where he roams around wondering what he looks like. The TARDIS, for all its wonders, doesn’t have a shaving mirror. In Eccelston’s case, since Rose stuck around, he gets to explain what’s going on, but it seems like they generally cycle the cast around.

Anyway – when it came time for Tennant’s departure, we got him moaning that he didn’t want to go. We saw several minutes of him visiting his old friends like Martha, dropping in on Rose from the past (the current Rose of course shunted off to another reality with Evil Alternate Universe Doctor) and so on. Then, in a death scene that would have made Shatner proud, he explodes like a Lady Gaga costume change, and we are staring at the bright eyes and enormous head of Matt Smith.

Believe it, baby

Oh yeah. I went there.

(BTW, I’ve only seen one Matt Smith episode, but so far I approve. He’s bringing a subtlety to the character that I didn’t see in the last two actors. And Amy? Giggity.)

My question: what the hell? What am I missing? Is this not the same character we’ve had since the 60s with new skin? He’s transferring his consciousness, right? He’s not melding with a new conscious host like a Trill from Star Trek. Remember Jadzia Dax? Jadzia was the 20-something girl and Dax was the ancient slug thing, and they kept the combined memories of the two individuals. That’s not what’s happening with the Doctor, right? Matt Smith wasn’t walking around as a normal mortal and all of a sudden gets whisked into the TARDIS.

So why the death walk? He’s not actually dying. He doesn’t need to wave sadly at Martha – he can come back later in a new body and take her to dinner and ask her why the hell she’s with Rose’s doofus ex-boyfriend. Tennant’s final 20 minutes as the Doctor seemed like throwing a wake for someone who’s gone to change shirts.

Help me, Who fans. You’re my only hope. I’m going to stick with Matt Smith and Amy (giggity), but this nagging feeling that I don’t know what’s going on is distracting me.

May 31, 2011

So Fort Wayne, Indiana, is doomed

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Man Version @ 5:33 am

Several chilling reports these days from Fort Wayne, Indiana. If Fort Wayne is home for anyone who owes you money or any loved ones, you might consider evacuating them.

“But Christian,” you are perhaps shrieking. “Surely you aren’t referring to the Harry Baals controversy? That wasn’t dangerous, was it?”

Calm down with the shrieking, you drama queen. I am not talking about Harry Baals. That was hilarious. I live not far from Athens, Georgia, which is home to Butt Smear Hall. I have developed a keen sense of the awesome name.

No, I’m talking about the chilling plan to combat the Fort Wayne mosquito problem: introducing guppies.

Mosquitoes are undoubtedly a problem. While we don’t get a lot of malaria in the States anymore (although that will change if Jenny McCarthy gets her way), there are also several kinds of encephalitis still out there. And you don’t want to show up at work with Dengue Fever. Also, if you have some warm, friendly pets (or even any cats), they can get heartworms. I am totally on board with the War on Skeeter.

But guppies?

Yes, guppies eat mosquito larvae. They need the energy from that larvae to make more guppies. You don’t get fat guppies, you get millions of hungry guppies looking for something to eat. They’ll decimate the local fish populations and the area will be blanketed by sad-faced PSAs from Peyton Manning.

By this time next year, Fort Wayne officials will be under pressure to do something about the damn guppies. They will already be exhausted from the angry calls by local mosquito repellant manufacturers whose livelihood has been stolen. They will attack the problem the only way they know how: introducing a predator into the environment. I hope we get video of confused Fort Wayne municipal employees pitching live tuna into local streams and ponds.

The tuna will be happy. The guppies will be gone. The mosquitoes might eventually come back, but things should be fine until the next election (which is the limit of elected official planning capabilities).

Then in 2013, you’ll be able to walk across the pond in E. Swinney Park without getting your feet wet, on the backs of hungry, grumpy tuna. I have no idea what a stream choked with 200 lb fish would be like, but it’s got to have some ecological consequences. Is tuna poop an aphrodisiac in any culture? There might be a bright side.

To deal with the tuna, the surely-by-now-lame-duck city government, no longer giving a damn and feeling more than a little homicidal towards their constituents, bus in some bears. This is roughly when the credits roll on Fort Wayne.

I have already sent this scenario in to Syfy, so don’t even think about it. It’s going to be called Terrorsquito vs. the Guppy Swarm: The Fort Wayne Chronicles, Part I. I have already received a phone call from Jon Voight asking to be attached to the project. (My answer: “How did you get this number?”) If you are in an indie band that does a cover of that “Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly” song, I’d like to hear your demo tape.

Don’t mess with nature, folks. And to the good people of Fort Wayne — just ask yourself “what would Harry Baals do?” and rub on some DEET.

September 15, 2010

Dragon*Con: Let’s Give Atheism the Weekend Off

Filed under: Dragon*Con,skepticism — The Man Version @ 9:08 am

Note: I’m following up my last post with a series of smaller posts instead of one long one. These are specific topics ordered by “how they occurred to me when I was writing my list.” I hope it’s easier to digest for any other readers who happen by.

When I said I would follow-up on my last post over the weekend, I had forgotten how much sitting aroud with my feet up I had scheduled for the weekend. Also, I went to a Jon Anderson concert, who makes me feel like I’m a lousy skeptic. But that’s a future post.

I want to thank everyone who commented on my previous post. There were some great ideas and some points I had either not considered or had glossed over too quickly. Your comments there definitely informed my comments here.

And here we are — the first of a handful of suggestions for broadening the appeal of the Skeptrack.

What’s the problem with atheism?


September 8, 2010

Dancing with Ourselves

Filed under: Dragon*Con,skepticism — The Man Version @ 10:35 am

This is an expansion of some sleep-deprived comments I made at the end of Dragon*Con. As you can tell, I have my concerns.

I’m going to have more to say on this. I don’t know if anyone who reads this blog cares very much, or if the people who care read this blog. But I don’t want to just grumble to myself. Please bear with me, and I’ll go back to teasing Phil Plait soon.


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