Mensa, as you are no doubt aware, is the club for people with 98th percentile IQ's. According to the last IQ test I took. I have 98th percentile IQ. This alone leads me to believe that IQ tests are not really that accurate, since I seriously doubt that I am "smarter" than 98% of the people in the world. Plus I really really hate the notion that there is a standard measure of intelligence which makes one "smarter" or "dumber" than other people, since I am of the belief that there are all sorts of different kinds of intelligence, and even if someone is, by all outward appearances, a total dumbfuck, they are probably really really good at like... whittling, or something else I could never hope to do well.

Anyhow, at the same time I also take pride in having a high IQ, which is contradictory to my belief that an IQ score isn't really that important, which further reinforces the notion that an IQ is not a valid measure of intelligence, since obviously someone like myself, with a high IQ, can hold contradictory beliefs in their head and type run-on sentences. So, of course I would jsut love to discredit Mensa, as I'm sure lots of people do, and which I'm sure they are quite used to. At the same time, I think it would be cool to be a member (again with the contradictory beliefs), but am averse to the whole due-payment thing without knowing if Mensa's really that big a deal. Perhaps they offer a free trial period.

If I did join. I think it'd be really fun to find the Mensa members with the top 2% of IQ's, and form a meta-club called Mensa Mensa or Mensa2 for short which would generally deride the other Mensa members and light their drinks on fire with our minds.

Oh yeah. The reason I bring this up is because I bought this collection of Mensa Mighty Mind Benders Word Puzzles which I like to go through and try to solve just before going to bed if I'm pretty high as part of my ongoing experiment on the hypothesis that smoking does not impair one's cognitive ability (Conclusions reached thus far: G.I. Joe is hilarious, and Gummi Worms are awesome.), and so far I can still figure the damn things out, but the funny things is, they seem to rely on general knowledge just as much as the ability to relate elements, determine patterns, and other brain processing stuff. For example, they want the reader to descramble words into the names of famous scientists, or decrypt codes to find the names of famous baseball players. Thing is: I don't know that many baseball players, so these types of puzzles stump me. Ones where I do happen to possess the general knowledge required are typically pretty easy. So if I don't know these things, does that count against my intelligence?

One could argue that if one is truly intelligent, they will be able to find the information required, but I really don't feel like looking stuff up on the internet at midnight to do research for a friggin' word puzzle, and apparently, neither did their writers or editors. One of the puzzles requires that I arrange the letters which make up the names of a number of famous Hollywood actors across a grid in such a way that a diagonal through them creates the last name of another famous Hollywood actor. Thing is, one of the famous Hollywood actors given is "Keanu Reaves (sic)". Yeah, that's right, Reaves with an "a", which as you are no doubt aware, is not the way Keanu spells his last name. So take comfort in the fact that though Mensa members may enjoy the company of other brainiacs, they apparently do not proofread the stuff they publish. Let's all have a little chuckle at Mensa's expense. Heh heh heh. There, I know I feel better.

Someone should tell the U.S. hawks that Risk is not a viable model for conflict resolution.

Well, Iran is next on the list, I guess, but US officials have already said that both France and Canada are going to face "consequences". Hell, if we capture Canada, then we control the whole North American continent! Then we'll get extra armies on our next turn!


I have to admit that I have little interest in the Laci/Scott Peterson case, but an interesting spinoff of this particular scandal is how the fact that she was 8 months pregnant when she died reflects upon the whole controversy of feticide vs. abortion, i.e. if you can kill a fetus and be prosecuted for murder, doesn't that mean a fetus is alive, and that abortion is technically murder?

Not to me. The case should be proceed not as a double homocide, but simply as a really fucked-up homocide. Of course, Scott Peterson, assuming he did it, which I do, is a horrible bastard fucker who deserves to be strung up by his toes until his eyeballs pop, but he should be prosecuted for only one murder. Of course, the brutal nature of the murder and the fact that he knew his wife was pregnant with his own child should convince the jury that he is a psychotic fuck who should be killed post-haste.

If nothing else, I'd like to keep my opinions consistent, and if we start talking about prosecuting someone for two murders when a fetus is involved, things get complicated. Then the whole "when is it alive?" debate starts alllll over, and one has to consider how many months pregnant the person was when they were murdered. A slippery slope leads us to eventually debate whether it's a double homocide if Person A has unprotected sex with Person B and then kills her the following day.

However, killing a person who is obviously pregnant, especially with one's own child, is a remarkably heinous thing to do, and should certainly be considered when prosecuting the killer. Just as there is no legal difference between killing a 60-year wino and a 16-year-old valedictorian except for how that reflects on the killer's mind in the eyes of the jury.

Of course, this does not mean that damaging a fetus during a crime could not be a law unto itself which is not technically murder. That would be fine, but prosecuting it as murder will simply lead to legal entanglements and debates the likes of which we are seeing now, and may confuse the cases.

Consider the following scenarios:

1 - Person A kills Person B, who happens to be pregnant. Thing is, she's only 2 months pregnant, and Person A was not aware of this fact, and it was not readily apparent. Should this scenario be prosecuted as a double homocide?

2 - Person A hates person B passionately, so much so that A will kill B if given an opportunity to do so. Person B is a live-in nurse who is caring for a bedridden invalid, Person C. Now, if Person B is on the way to care for Person C, and Person A spots Person B crossing the street, then runs him over with a car. Person C, as a consequence, does not receive the care he needs, and dies. Though Person A is indirectly responsible for Person C's death, should Person A be prosecuted on a double homocide?

One can see how it gets sticky. So, I must say that Scott Peterson, while a very bad man, did not commit a double homocide. I do, however, feel that he should get the death penalty. Ideally, by cloning the cells of his unborn son, tying Scott to a wall and implanting an embryo made from these cells inside of him (they can do that now apparently), and allowing the resulting child to tear its way free from the man in a gory, uber-oedipal birth/death. I think that would be sufficiently poetic and horrible.


More relationships are ruined by the phenomenon of not being able to pick a film at the rental store than for any other cause. It's true. I read a study or something. In order to avoid this pitfall, Ami and I have determined a set of rules for video store rental. Each time the store is visited, unless a mutually agreed-upon film is the object of our quest, we must revert to the rules.

Each time, the person who has to pick the movie cycles between the two of us. I pick, then she picks, then I pick, etc. The picker attempts to get a genre consensus with the non-picker (comedy, action, drama, etc.). If no particular genre is requested, that's fine. The picker then chooses a film and then seeks approval from the non-picker, who has the power to veto that particular film choice. However, after two vetoes the non-picker is not saddled with the task of picking the film.

The last two films Ami picked were Bloodsport and Kickboxer, part of our continuing Van Damme film festival. Maybe this isn't the normal course of things in a relationship, but so far Ami has shared with me these two films, plus Running Man and Robocop, none of which I had seen before. This is why she is rad.

For the first ten minutes of Kickboxer, I was running on the assumption that Kurt and Eric, the two stars of the film were actually gay lovers. Consider the following sequence: It is the late 80's. Two very muscular men are sharing a gondola cruising lazily down a river, one is wearing an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt and sporting a tidy moustache and jerry-curl mullet, the other is wearing an unbuttoned denim vest over his bare meat pillow chest. They laugh and point at various sights in the city, the denim-vest clad gentleman puts his arm around the other, then buys a boquet of flowers from a passing floating florist.

Only later did it become apparent that the two were brothers, not partners as previously assumed, but can you blame me for thinking that? I mean really, a denim vest with no shirt?

Today's Fun Fact: Did you know that Lingerie Kickboxer, Robo-Kickboxer - Power of Justice, or Kickboxer from Hell are all the titles of actual kickboxing-related films? It's true!


Media Mini-Review Quadrio:

Zelda: The Wind Waker: Simply put, this is the finest game I've played in some time. This doesn't necessarily mean that it is the most fun game I've played in some time, but it obviously was well-planned, with consideration given to nearly every moment of the user's experience. No portion of this game seems neglected. There's always something else to do if one gets stuck, and typically clues are available if needed. You would certainly do well to keep a pen and paper handy for notes. The world that Miyazaki has created for Link to adventure in is marvelously consistent and really requires players to make use of all the tools at their disposal. Every interaction one has with the game universe is a satisfying one, and one feels really rewarded for daring to explore and take chances.

Plus I only noiced two text errors and one major collision issue, so for a large and dynamic game, it has surprisingly few apparent glitches.

This game really is an example of how interaction design can be elevated to an art form. I still think that Nintendo shouldn't let Miyamoto anywhere near the hardware design department, but when he directs a game, look out. This game does for me what Link to the Past did for me in the 16-bit era. It is truly the next Zelda, and what more can one ask for?

Super Monkey Ball: I think a better name for this game would be Super Monkey Fuck Goddammit Fuck. At least, the single-player mode should be called that. I request that Sega provide documentation proving that the game has ever been completed on Expert Mode by anyone ever. It's essentially one of those old labyrinth games with the two dials which the player must use to guide a ball bearing through a maze by tilting the plane upon which the maze rests. Remember those? Those were really hard, huh? Same deal here.

The major flaw lies in the camera. In the single-player mode, the landscape tilts just like one of those labyrinth games, leading one to believe that one is controlling the landscape rather than the monkey inside the ball. However, the auto-camera goes against this intuitive concept, seing around the ball as the player changes direction, so it's more like you're controlling the vector of the ball itself rather then the landscape. This half-and-half control scheme is initially very frustrating, and I cannot stress the need for either an independent camera control, or the option to turn off the land-tilt effect in this game.

Despite having an incredibly steep learning curve, it is really really fun. The straightforward concept makes it one of those minute-to-learn-lifetime-to-master sorts of games. Where the game truly sines is in multiplayer. Sega took the basic physics model and then ran with it, creating a handful of multiplayer games including a form of sumo wrestling/boxing, racing, hanggliding, golf and more. The multi-player mode has done more for inter-roomate relations in my house in the past few days than any amount of rational discourse could ever have.

Also, it has monkeys.

Teen Witch: Features witchcraft, Lauper-esque 80's clothing with hot pink tu-tus and all, nerds, a locker-room cheerleading dance sequence set to the tune "I Like Boys", and a trio of posturing white rappers singing "I'm hot, and you're not, but if you wanna hang with me, then I'll give it a shot."

Only available on VHS, and very hard to find, but so worth it. I have seen no other movie than manages to encompass so much stereotypical 80's cheese in one film.

Also, it has the scary midget lady from Poltergeist.

Shaolin Soccer: See this movie RIGHT NOW. I had had this film recommended to me before, but I saw a trailer for it before the home video version of Spy Kids 2, which made it out to be a Nickelodeon-esque comedy. Which is apparently what it is going to be when it is released stateside in August. The American release will have nearly a half an hour of the footage removed in order to make it more palettable to American Audiences and essentially kiddie-fy it for a younger market. The original version which I saw is so fucking awesome I cannot rightly put into words, and features plenty of swearing, sexual innuendo, and savage beatings.

Typically, I find Hong Kong comedy, especially the Stephen Chow films I have seen, is not easily "gotten" by western audiences, myself included. Many of them seem have pretty jarring changes in theme, from comedic to serious, to mock-serious, that's it's easy to lose where the joke lies. I ten dto enjoy them because they are so bizarre, not necessarily because they are laugh-out-loud funny. It's not every film where a a shit-eating joke is bordered by serious dramatic or violent scenes, but it's run of the mill in many Chow films. This tends to be pretty disorienting, and although there is a lot of that in Shaolin Soccer, the comedy is just so incredibly over-the-top ridiculous that it's liable to reduce you to tears.

The film is awash in Matrixy computer-generated shots and bullet-time wire-fu camera trickery, much like many aciton films today. All of these effects seem significantly hokier than is typically seen in action films. This is not an action film, however, it is an action comedy, and comedically, it works great. Every kick is more preposterously powerful than the last, the soccer ball churning up huge tornadoes of flying turf, morphing into a flaming tiger comet, and knocking players sideways like so many ten-pins. Every tme anything happened I would have to struggle for something more expressive of my utter awe then "Holy shit!", which I still said about a dozen times. Now this kind of comedy is very accessible to anyone who's been over-exposed to this kind of stuff in every damn action film that's been released since 1999. Genuine action films will have a very difficult time impressing me after this.

See it. Go out and buy the original version now before everyone you know tells you that you have to run out and see this weird new martial arts film about soccer. You must trust me on this. That is all.