I'm just an animal looking for a home

January 12, 2012
by mitcharf


I’m incredibly happy right now, and not just because it’s my birthday!  Normally I don’t like to post deliberately mysterious stuff like this, but for now you will just have to wonder about the cause of my happiness.  So there!

January 10, 2012
by mitcharf
1 Comment

Google chat

This morning a message popped up in my Gmail window, saying that someone named sweetiesharxo1@aol.com wanted to chat with me, and asking if I would grant permission for this.  Feeling benevolent, I did so.  This is a transcript of our conversation:

sweetiesharxo1:  hey there
Sent at 10:49 AM on Tuesday
me:  Hello, mysterious person named sweetiesharxo1!
sweetiesharxo1:  hey i’ve been sitting around sooo bored and figured i’d say hii.. hope i didn’t bother u
me:  I do agree that sharks are pretty sweet, though
sweetiesharxo1:  there is like no one around to talk to anymore.. 20/female here how bout u??
me:  Well, sweet as in awesome, not so much sweet as in kind and generous
What is your favorite thing about sharks?
sweetiesharxo1:  oh cool so what’s up?
me:  Not much.  Just drinking coffee, thinking about sharks.  You?
sweetiesharxo1:  its so boring on here now i can’t stand it
me:  You can do what I always do when I am bored — make up a story about a shark.  Or a poem.  Whichever works better for you.
sweetiesharxo1:  weIIII l have an idea if u wanna have sum fun!!!! i was gonna get on my cam and “play around” a lil u should cumm join ;)
i found this really fun sitethat is just like facebook but w/o the stupid trolls… wanna check it out???
me:  Are there sharks?
sweetiesharxo1:  it only takes asecond to signup and it’s 100% free 2!! URL redacted just click the ‘join FREE” at the top of thepage
once u signup u’ll be allgood and u can join my private chat and tell me what 2 do ;-)
me:  If not sharks, are there at least manatees?  Manta rays?  Sea lions?
sweetiesharxo1:  yeah you do need a cc of sum kind but they wiII not charge u a thing!!!!!!
me:  Do they accept payment in sand dollars?
sweetiesharxo1:  i can not wait this is going to be so much fun… wait till u see what i’m wearing right now lol i think u’ll like it;-)
me:  Ooh, is it a shark-themed jumpsuit and a shark fin hat?  If so, we’re twins!
sweetiesharxo1:  are u in babe??? i’m going to go get some “toys” but ill brb and hopefully u’ll be in when i get back hurry uppp
me:  I get the impression you don’t really think sharks are sweet…
Sent at 10:56 AM on Tuesday
You have blocked sweetiesharxo1. You can no longer see each other online or chat together.

Is this a thing spammers do now?  Use bots to initiate chats with random people?  What a brave new world that hath such spammers in it!

October 16, 2011
by mitcharf
1 Comment

From the creator of Chewlumbo* and the visionaries who brought you Shrekuiem For A Dream** and Ghost Dad: Way Of The Samurai*** comes a new series that will change television forever:

Spider Man is having one hell of a night. Attacked by a werewolf and bitten by a vampire, he is transformed into the world’s first undead lyncanthropic superhero. [But there’s a twist!] Little does he know that his real adventure is just about to begin. The very next day he…

[choose your favorite]

  • is named, due to an obscure link of genealogy, the new king of England
  • inherits ownership of a struggling minor league hockey team that has no end of problems but lots of heart
  • is selected by NASA to lead a space mission to blow up a giant meteor hurtling toward Earth
  • time travels back to World War II where he has to fight both the Nazis and the ill-tempered sergeant who has it in for him
  • adopts a blind puppy who teaches him the true meaning of love

Coming this Fall!

* I did not come up with the brilliant idea of Chewlumbo, a detective series starring a crossover between Chewbacca and Columbo. This is my brother Matt’s creation.
** Nor did I come up with Shrekuiem For A Dream! My brother Matt told me about it, although it’s unclear if he made it up himself.
*** GD: WotS is totally mine.

July 25, 2011
by mitcharf

Turntable hints and tips

I’ve created my turntable hints and tips page.  (What is turntable?)  There is a tab at the top of the window which links to it, or you can just click here.  My plan is to keep it updated as I find more hints and tips and such, rather than bury that stuff in regular posts.  I’m also probably going to add a section to it which lists my current favorite rooms on the site, but it’s not there yet.

July 22, 2011
by mitcharf

New turntable extension

Thanks to my friend Ryan for sharing a new Google Chrome extension he found for turntable.fm.  It is called Turntabler and it allows you to do a few things on turntable even if you don’t have the browser window in front of you.  Specifically, the current version allows you to awesome the current song, lame the current song, mute/unmute the current song, and add the current song to your queue.  Just the awesome/lame function is a selling point for me, because I often use turntable while I am working on other stuff, and it can be annoying to switch browser tabs just to click “awesome” when I like a song.

Also, soon I will be writing a new omnibus post about turntable, so I can have one post which contains all relevant links and information about the site.    Oooh, or maybe I’ll make it a “page”.  I think that probably makes more sense.  Anyway, stay tuned for that exciting update.  :)

July 21, 2011
by mitcharf

Two more comics!

From the Perry Bible Fellowship (click on the comic to view it on its original page):

From Wondermark (again, click on the image to view the comic on its original page):

this has happened to me about three times now

July 20, 2011
by mitcharf

Three comics!

Two funny comics and one serious one.

One of my all-time favorites from the Perry Bible Fellowship (click on the comic to view it on its original page):

A favorite from Wondermark (again, click on the image to view the comic on its original page):


Finally, a comic written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Jouni Koponen.  This one is a multi-page affair, so you’ll need to click on this link to check it out.  It is entitled Babycakes.


July 19, 2011
by mitcharf


I find both of these comics funny.

First, from the Perry Bible Fellowship (click on the comic to view it on its original page):

And from Wondermark (again, click on the image to view the comic on its original page):

the backbone of marriage is about to get a shiv shoved through it

July 17, 2011
by mitcharf


Lying in bed this morning I was thinking about stereotypes.  First I was trying to come up with a good definition for what it meant to stereotype someone.  Eventually I came up with something like “Assigning certain attributes to someone because they possess some other, usually seemingly unrelated attribute.”  For example, assuming someone is dumb because they are blond(e).  Everyone is taught that stereotyping is bad, so of course I was trying to come up with an example of when it may not be bad.  The best I could come up with was from my younger years when I would go to Las Vegas to play poker.  Poker is fundamentally a game of incomplete information.  At the most basic level, you have incomplete information about the cards.  But if you’re playing at a casino, you usually also have incomplete information about your opponents.  Yet you will be required to make decisions, and the information you are missing would likely have a bearing on these decisions.  For example, if you knew that your opponent loves to bluff, then it would help you decide whether or not to call the large bet they just made.  And here is a case where I think stereotypes can be useful.  If it becomes clear to me that someone is a local and is known by most of the dealers, then I tend to assume they are an experienced player who isn’t going to be bluffing wildly.  I could be wrong, but provided I am careful in constructing my stereotypes, I think they end up being more helpful than harmful.  Obviously I have to keep my eyes open for evidence that I’ve miscategorized someone.

Anyway, that was just a fun mental exercise to see if I could think of a situation where I would knowingly engage in stereotyping.  This is not to say I approve of stereotyping in general.  It is fraught with danger.  Some stereotypes are just silly, like ones which tie hair color to intelligence.  But some are more dangerous than that.  Racists love to cite statistics about minorities being more likely to commit crimes.  But they don’t talk about the fact that crack cocaine is punished far more severely than powder cocaine, even though the only real difference between the two is that one is more prevalent in the ghetto and one is more prevalent among the wealthy.  These drug laws have the effect of criminalizing poor drug users far more so than wealthy ones.  And partly due to the history of race relations in our country, minorities tend to be poorer than non-minorities.  So when people throw around stereotypes tying race to crime, they really need to look at the bigger picture.

Or look at the many gender stereotypes.  Some people will defend them by saying that a lot of people bear them out.  It is true that many women act “stereotypically feminine” and many men act “stereotypically masculine”.  But society TRAINS people to behave in particular ways.  Parents, schools, the media, and society as a whole combine to form these stereotypes and to enforce them.  So the feminine stereotypes, for example, don’t necessarily have anything to do with being female.  And one can see this to some extent just by looking at how different cultures view the concepts of masculinity and femininity.

So I guess in summary, I feel like stereotyping can be useful if done consciously and carefully — at least in situations where decisions must be made and they rely on incomplete information.  Kind of like actuarial tables, I guess.  Own a red car, pay a higher insurance premium.  Choose to smoke, pay more for life insurance.  And so on.

This post is kind of scattered.  Sorry about that.  I actually have another post I want to write about human sexuality.  While thinking about that topic, I got side-tracked about stereotypes.  Blah.  I just want to click “Publish” and wash my hands of this post.  It is exhausting me to write this paragraph.  So…bye bye!

July 14, 2011
by mitcharf

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this song.

I would say 95% of the time when I wish I could time travel it is so I could go back and see a band live in concert.  Wall Of Voodoo has definitely provoked such a thought more than once.