Golabutron Product Description

In case anybody was wondering what Golabutron was all about, I should point you to this
Product Listing at The Prior-Art-O-Matic.

Golabutron is a false moustache that keeps your carpets clean! It recites haiku and chirps and whistles.

And for the more discerning customer, there’s always the upscale model:

Golabutron 3000
Golabutron 3000 is a trouser press that can be used on the move and boosts self-confidence.

Okay, I’m a sucker for these dorky text randomizer toys.


Bastichlabz is finally moving from WebIntellects to Lunar Pages. It’s in that funky in-between stage where sometimes the lookup goes to the old server and sometimes it goes to the new one.

What’s weird is that here at work, I was getting the new server this morning, but now I’m getting the old one again! Oh, that zany DNS! I guess I’ll just have to sit this out for a few more days until all of the DNS servers agree on the truth.

I’m switching because I’m a cheapskate. WebIntellects is a good company, but I’m paying an extra $10 per month for the privilege of having a MySQL database, which LunarPages provides at no additional cost.


Well, I should have seen this coming. This news is almost 2 weeks old and I just found out. Some friends told me about it, but I didn’t want to believe.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

I should be used to all of my favorite Sci-Fi shows getting canned, but it still stings.

The Sci-Fi Channel has decided not to pick up Farscape for season 5, even though the series had been optioned for both 4 and 5. The whole thing happened so fast that the moya sets have already been torn down and the show is pretty much kaput.

To be honest, this season has been kind of a disappointment to me, but it was still the best show on the air to my tastes. I’m not so upset that the show is ending; it’s more that it will be ending on such a bad note. They were just wrapping up the last episode when they got the news, so there was no time to try and set up an appropriate ending.

They were clearly building up to some big payoff for season 5 that we’ll never see. Season 4 will end on some huge cliffhanger like every season before it, only this time it will be worse because they thought they had a gurantee that the story could play out in the next season.

I’m still not totally believing this. There’s still a chance that somebody will come to save the day. Some huge outcry from fandom will lead to TNN picking it up or maybe A&E, TLC or BET. Babylon 5 was cancelled at the end of every season, and it still got through to the end, though that last season was painful. Maybe Farscape will find a way to continue, but for now it really seems like the show is dead.

Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck!

Why couldn’t it have been Alias or Buffy or some show that other people watch and not me, dammit!

I need to start watching shows that other people like, apparently.


Here is one of those blog entries the detractors hate the most.

$90.99 in balance adjustments since 09/02/2001!

Yes, my anal-retentive tendencies run so deep that I keep track of my cash spending in Quicken. I just ran a report to see how I’ve been doing on balance adjustments, and $90.99 was the damage.

That’s just under a quarter per day! When you consider that all of that error is from the last three months, I’ve really been losing track of a dollar per day. The first 9 months, I kept flawless records, and now I’ve really slipped. I guess gainful employment will do that. I spend more cash on lunch breaks now, and I don’t have the time to update Quicken before some of it has slipped from memory’s grasp.

Luckily it all goes to food anyway, so I can still run reliable monthly reports to satisfy my anal retentitude for all time!

WELCOME TO GOLABUTRON 3000 v0.999999999999B

The blog has now officially transfered to Movable Type on the future host of Bastich Labz. I’m waiting for my friend Alan to move his tech humor archive to the new server before switching the DNS. However, this URL will work before and after the switch unless you and your puritanical browser cower in the presence of redirects:


Big thanks go to Pat for writing a handy Python script for porting my Radio entries to MT. You saved me from a heap of cut-and-pasting, man!

All of my old comments are gone forever, now, but I’ll survive!


Golabutron 3000 is moving to its permanent home at BastichLabz.org as soon as I get the domain switched to the new host. My Radio evaluation period ends tomorrow, so the current URL will soon be invalid (or whatever they do to people who don’t pay up).

This URL should always work, though…


(Right now, this is a redirect back to this page, but soon it will go to my new Moveable Type setup)


Well, it looks like things for Marvel and the comics industry in general are going better than I thought:

(Some of this is pretty old news, but I haven’t been paying attention)

I wonder how long this current upward trend can continue… I want to believe that comics sales follow the quality of the output, which in my opinion would track perfectly with the slump that began in the mid-nineties and continued unfettered through to 2000. Obviously, inflation and the encroachment of anime and video games were big contributors to that slump, but it’s not the whole story. Comics rather sucked through most of the nineties. The Lee/Liefeld wannabes, the multiple embossed dice-cut holofoil covers, the 22 straight splash pages, how everybody started wearing bandoliers, strapped a beltfull of pockets on their thighs, ran around with dinner plates on their shoulders and two-fisted toaster guns. It was a horrid time.

But now, comics are good again. Marvel is making a lot of bizarre and rewarding editorial decisions, and the industry is following them back into prosperity. Of course, the Spider-Man flick is a huge part of this, but we know from the X-Men film that a blockbuster alone can’t get people to buy comics if they aren’t any good.

Maybe if comics continue not to suck, things will continue to get better. Eventually, the pulp will be left behind, and we’ll be readin comics online, but that’s not the death of the artform so I can live with it (even though I prefer paper aesthetically).

So, way to go Marvel! And everybody, quick! Sell your collection before the bubble bursts again!

BTW, go check out these guys… they are why I didn’t give up on comics while the mainstream was still sucking (yeah, I know, everybody’s list looks like this):


Newsarama has posted an update to the RADIX vs DOD story.

All right. A public apology has been issued by MIT to the Lai brothers for the use of their artwork in winning the $50 million military contract. I still believe that this was an honest mistake, and that the Lais should back down from their aggressive legal stance toward MIT.

The linked Newsaram article also has some words with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s legal counsel about the legality of what happened, which doesn’t seem to be under debate. At least, not any more. There was a period of time where MIT tried to cover up what happened and make excuses, but now they’ve come clean and admitted that they simply made a mistake.

The real culprit here is the artist who stole the images from Radix #1 and passed them off as her own. That has to be an “actionable” offense, as they say. It’s strange to me that nobody seems to want her side of the story, but she could be refusing to speak. If anybody owes the Lais restitution, it would be her.

Kat posted to her blog about this story last week, but her take was more on the bizarre relationship between Sci-Fi and real technological developments. A pretty decent discussion came out of the comments on that one. If there is anybody on the planet reading this who doesn’t read her blog, go there now!

I didn’t comment on that take initially because it doesn’t seem very strange to me that Science Fiction eventually becomes reality. To me, they’re both part of the same overall future-looking endeavor of human society. Or something like that. Sci-fi is just the artistic wing of innovation, and it’s basically their job to imagine what comes next while the real-life inventors are busy working on what’s happening right now.


Check out this article from Newsarama!

Copyright issues are a real bitch, aren’t they?

Take this recent semi-scandal between comic book artists Ben & Ray Lai and MIT. The Lai brothers put out a comic through Image a while ago called “Radix,” starring a hot chick in battle armor with mystical powers. Later on, they were surprised when an image that was an obvious swipe of their cover for issue #1 was all over the news as a conceptualization for a real-world, $50 million “Soldier of the Future” contract that MIT successfully won with the US Army.

The Lais were understandably upset to see that their artwork was used without their permission, and immediately issued a cease and desist to MIT to have them take the image down from their project website

MIT obliged, saying they had no idea the artist they commissioned had swiped the images, but the Lais aren’t satisfied. They claim that the very existence of this image calls into question their ownership of the armor design, which has hurt their chances to cash in on the Hollywood buying frenzy of comic book properties that kicked off when the Spider-Man movie turned out to be such a big hit.

But it’s also clear that there is some bitterness involved, considering that their art was used as part of a $50 million winning proposal, and they won’t be seeing any of that cash.
So the Lais are currently speaking with their lawyers… exploring their “options”…

What a mess!

First off, the proposal was in the area of 100 pages long. One would hope that the decision makers at the Army didn’t just look at the drawing and rubber-stamp their approval right away. What, did the competition all use stick figures? For all we know, the competition wrote Luis Royo a fat check to paint a mural of their super soldiers.

Second, it’s not like the armor design is the most original one ever made. It has basically the same lines as a typical superhero outfit, only it’s bulkier and made of metal rather than spandex. This is exactly the kind of design I used to crank out every day when I was a kid. I’m not saying there is nothing unique to Radix (since I’ve never read it) but if there is, it’s definitely not the armor design. The same goes for the specific pose and detail of the artwork. It’s nothing you don’t see every day on the stands.

Third, there is no doubt who owns the armor design, since neither MIT nor the Army is contesting the allegation that the art was swiped (any more). So if Hollywood isn’t pounding down the Lais’ door now, it’s because they’ve found some other hot chick in battle armor to make a movie about.

Fourth, it was an honest mistake (at least for those at the top). One of the faculty members commissioned his daughter to do the drawing based on his description, and she’s the one who used Photoshop to composite scans from Radix #1 into the final art. Before the bid was won, the art was only seen by a handful of people. It wasn’t until the news broke that anybody saw it, and it wasn’t until they got the “cease and desist” that anybody even knew there was an infringement, and at that point they stopped using the image (at least at MIT).

So, all that said, it was still plagiarism. Would this be treated the same if the bid had been lost and only those involved in the bidding process had ever seen it? The big money and the news blitz cloud the issue, but at its core it was still one artist using the work of another artist and putting her own name on it.

If this were the People’s Court, I would probably have the artist give her commission to the Lais and call it a day.

Here’s an interview transcript from CNN with one the Lai brothers.

RANT: The iMac-Like PC (FAT CHANCE!)

(Thanks, kuch, for the link to this NYT article…)

I’m not sure what all of the confusion is about concerning the absence of a viable all-in-one Win32 system. There is a strong philosophical disconnect between Macintosh and PC thinking when it comes to prioritizing aesthetics versus economy for a desktop computer system.

PCs are there to “get the job done” in the fastest, most cobbled-together way possible. They’re not fun to use. Nobody complains that they’re not fun to use. Computers aren’t supposed to be fun… they’re for work, fool! If anybody does complain, they find themselves the target of ridicule.

People who buy Macs know what they’re putting their money into. I’m not sure PC manufacturers know just what that is. They always try to copy some surface aspect and then find it to be a total flop. PC all-in-one designs make the assumption that the user just wants a small case that fits the rough technical specs of an iMac, while Apple puts tons of resources into designing a machine that looks good sitting on the desk.

I’m not sure PC manufacturers even have the option of pulling off the same aesthetic appeal within the current environment. For one, as long as they rely on Windows as the user interface, it doesn’t really matter how pretty the box is, the thing is going to be a kludgey mess to use. But there are other reasons.

Mac users are accustomed to Apple’s monopoly over Macintosh hardware, and they’re used to getting no respect from hardware vendors when it comes to device drivers. They know they can’t go to the store and grab just any commodity part, plug it in, and have everything work. So buying an all-in-one Macintosh system is not much different from buying one of their towers if you think in terms of building out a Frankenstein box.

At least, it’s not as much of a difference as all-in-one means to the PC world. All-in-one PCs are almost as expensive as Macintosh all-in-ones, and they’re far uglier. You don’t get the usual PC advantage of being able to extend the life of the machine indefinitely by swapping in new parts over time. You’re stuck with a box that can’t be upgraded, in a market where constant innovation guarantees that your machine will become obsolete in no time.

In reality, most home users probably don’t upgrade their PCs often, or maybe ever. But they do seem to get old faster because the hardcore gamers and office users keep pushing the envelope, and applications continue to be written with the expectations that more and more resources will be available to them.

It’s a funny point to make, but I think innovation for its own sake has this side effect. Mac users can keep their computers longer basically because Apple’s absolute control over the architecture stifles innovation and keeps the app writers from getting greedy with system resources. So again, people keep their Macs longer and get more back on their investment before pawning that iMac off to a third cousin and getting a new one.

I’m not trying to be a Mac bigot here. Both systems have their advantages, but I can totally see why all-in-one PC systems just don’t cut it. It’s just opposite of what the PC architecture is all about. We don’t even call them “IBMs” any more! The PC philosophy just can’t be frozen in a little box and expected to stay put like a Mac can.