TheKey Chronicle

$6 back issues!

Ballpoint Adventures mega-T
THE INKSTREME BALLPOINT
ADVENTURES

Wednesday, January 27, 1999

YEAH BUT WHAT DO I THINK?

Well, after reading the Big Bitch of the week, you're probably wondering what I want to see happen.

I of all people should have an opinion on what may or may not happen, especially seeing as I have an opinion on things that there is absolutely no reason for me to have an opinion of.

So, of course, I have an opinion here.

Initially, I didn't know what to think. When it became fairly obvious that Clinton had lied (possibly under oath) I didn't care, really, because it had nothing to do with his job as President. Even if you can prove a law was broken, why take the law to such an extreme? We should show compassion and temperance. We should know when the law is our friend and when it is our enemy. I was fine with him sticking around in office.

Sure, it would be nice if the President could be beyond reproach, but let's face it, we haven't had a President like that since Carter. And apparently, America got bored of him. But if the Drudge Report is the real deal and there is a woman in Arkansas who claims she has been raped by Bill Clinton, then I feel quite strongly that it's time for Bill to resign. Whether he did it or not (a twenty-year old rape is going to be a tough thing to prove) I don't think I could ever trust him. As I said above, how do you trust a man you know lied about something small?

A CIVIL ACTION, A BORING FILM

I finally got around to seeing A CIVIL ACTION starring Scientologist John Travolta and the guy who put the horse head in that movie guy's bed in THE GODFATHER (Robert Duval) and I must admit to being thoroughly unimpressed with it.

It was decently made and acted. I felt that Travolta's character was really trying to nail the bad guys. Robert Duval was wonderful as a seemingly harmless but immensely dangerous adversary. The supporting characters were also well played. I think the direction was adequate and the script to be fine. It just didn't move me.

There were wonderful little character things - mannerisms or ticks each character did that made them human - that were awesome. Technically, it was well put together. And maybe that's why I didn't like it. Although that's not really true - it's not that I didn't like it, I just didn't like it. I could take it or leave it. I think that's because it was technically well made, that doesn't make much of a difference because it didn't have much of a heart.

I will put up with all manner of bad quality if the film has a spirit about it. That's why I prefer the Classic Star Trek to the new stuff. No heart. Nice looking, but no substance. Yeah A CIVIL ACTION tries to fight for the underdog and shows a man who sacrifices everything for this one case, but it just didn't really make me want to care.

So if you're feeling like not feeling much for characters and that you just want to see a movie that is well made, check out A CIVIL ACTION. But in my humble opinion, it's an RTV - Rent The Video. Or better yet, RTB, Read The Book - I hear it's brilliant.

SO MUCH FOR CROSS-PLATFORM

Recently, I realized that the web pages I design look quite substantially different depending not just on which brand browser I use, but whether I browse on a PC or a MAC.

This frustrates me to no end.

As I am a writer, I tend to like to control exactly how you perceive the information I am presenting to you, whether it's in a script, a bit of prose, or one of my fun editorials on this page. It's RIDICULOUS how different a page looks. I pulled up the Funnies Page, here at spinninghead.com, on a Mac and was surprised to see what looked like grit on one of my Otis comic strips. Now mind you, on my PC, in PhotoShop, everything was pretty nicely clean when I posted it. Once I pulled it up on a Mac, forget about it!

Then, I thought, well, lets take a look at what some of my site looks like in Netscape. I discovered that Netscape suddenly underlines almost all of the text on most of my pages. WHAT'S WITH THAT?!?

Also, some of my JavaScript doesn't work in the Netscape browser. (Check out the SciFi Junk Drawer in NS to see an Episode 1 Countdown Clock that would have us believe the next Star Wars movie is already in theaters.) I mean, come on! I thought the web was supposed to be universal!

Imagine if TVs worked this way. I could flip on my Magnavox 19 incher to discover that any shows with Michael J. Fox in them would not display properly. Or perhaps thanks to a programming conflict in my older Magnavox, NEWSRADIO's Moira Tierney would appear topless. (Of course, for me this would be one of those happy accidents.) But you get my point - how can Netscape and Microsoft claim that their browsers both work properly when they both display pages differently? Magnavox and Sony are able to make TVs that display a video signal properly, so why can't NS and MS do the same?

CLINTON'S GOT ONE LAST SKELETON

And I'm not talking about the one that holds his skin and organs in place! On January 26, 1999, the Drudge Report covered a story about NBC holding off on running a story because it wanted a few more people to confirm it's validity before they went ahead and accused the leader of the free world of a pretty heinous crime.

According to the Drudge Report, a Little Rock, Arkansas woman gave an interview to NBC claiming that Bill Clinton raped her when he was Attorney General of Arkansas back in the 1970s. It seems as though the fate of the President lies in the hands of NBC's News Director.

Why?

Simple. If NBC doesn't run the story, the only thing that could remove him from office is this whole thing with the Senate. But that won't happen because there just aren't enough votes in the Senate to kick him out. (The Republicans must get two-thirds of the Senate to vote to give Bill the old heave-ho and since everything is so partisan-ized that won't happen.)

If NBC DOES run the story and this woman is seen on national TV saying: "Yes, the President raped me." Just how can Clinton deny it? Not too long ago, he went on national TV and made it clear that he did not have a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinski. Well, we know that was a lie, under oath or not - he did have a relationship with her. So how can we believe him now when he is accused of rape? If he lied about sticking a cigar up an intern's hoohah, wouldn't he lie about this? Hey check it out, I think we elected a criminal. I don't think I'll ever vote again.

Thursday, January 21, 1999

GUYS SUCK

I am a guy and I think we suck, so you must take my word as gospel on this.

I don't have the gripes that any women or homosexual men might have, but I am annoyed with my fellow-penis-possessors quite a bit. They're a lazy bunch of beings aren't they? I recently traveled back east to visit some old friends of mine from college. Alas, most of them were with family for the holidays, understandably. But when I finally heard anything from them, it was a short email from the one friend who was there and that was simply to respond to an email I had sent him.

In that email he explained that my other friends were very sad to have missed me when I was on the East Coast (which I only visit once ever three years or so).

Yeah, they were so sad to have missed me they had someone else email me for them.

Yeah, they missed me so much that they never email me anything except for the occasional stupid-ass-email-forward which is basically the only hint that they are even alive.

I did manage to get a short volley of emails going with one friend, only to discover that he had forgotten to tell me that he was ENGAGED!! I feel comfortable talking about these dweebs because I know in a thousand years they'll never be supportive enough of the incredibly close friend of theirs who is out-of-sight and therefore, out-of-mind. In fact, Steve and Ryan, I am personally inviting you to prove me wrong be emailing me after you finish reading this. Yeah right, I'll hear from them real soon.

WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH TV ADS?

I am so puzzled as to what goes on in advertising execs heads.

I recently saw the TV commercial for the latest remake from the creatively bankrupt town known as Hollywood. The ad for MY FAVORITE MARTIAN was so depressing. Now, for those of you who may be too young to have seen the reruns of this fun, silly show was about a good-natured Martian (Ray Walston) who crashed on Earth and was unable to repair his ship. He therefore found himself stranded on our planet living with the equally good-natured young man (Bill Bixby) who found him.

Now, this show was sweet and fun and really didn't do much for American culture, but it had a nice heart, so I have nothing against it. The TV ad ran clips of copious visual gags the most offensive of which featured the Martian shrinking the car of the good natured young man (now played by not-so-young Jeff Daniels) allowing it to drive into the sewers and drive up to someone's toilet just as a big fat man is about to drop his load. That's the clip the commercial went out on and thusly we must assume that this is the impression the marketers want us to have.

The sight of a fat guy almost taking a dump on a miniaturized Jeff Daniels and Christopher Lloyd (as the Martian) is not going to make me or anyone I know want to blow 8 bucks on that film. I mean, who's their target audience? 12 year-olds???

LUCAS=ANNOYING GAMES

I really LOVE "Rogue Squadron" from LucasArts, BUT: it's so good, I hate when I lose and have to sit through the seemingly ENDLESS start up screens.

Check this out: I just crashed my last A-Wing on one of the game's harder levels. I am super pumped to jump right back in to the game, but nope! First I have to see the high score screen which is ridiculous since it's just me and my girlfriend who play the game and we both pretty much suck.

Then, we go to the setup screen where I can change my settings which I don't want to do since I've already set my settings. NOW I must sit through the "level selection" screen, where I get to decide what level to play. Seeing as I am all fired up to retry the level that just kicked my ass, it's pretty obvious I'm going to go right back into the same level - but NO, I must select the SAME level. Then, to the game?

NOT QUITE!

I now must select the ship I'm going to use during that level, and seeing as I haven't beaten it once (you can't choose other ships until you beat that level) I won't have any choice but to fly the default ship - but I still have to select it. And FINALLY, I get to the game - ALMOST.

I then must listen to General Whosisname explain the mission to me. THEN I get to play the game. Now MIND YOU - by pressing the "fire" button (or the return key) I can skip past these screens, BUT if you don't have a Pentium 6000 processor chip, it takes a second for each screen to come up. So here's a message to LucasArts: LOSE THOSE START UP SCREENS!! THEY SUCK! YOU MADE A KICK ASS GAME, NOW LET ME PLAY IT!!

WHO CAN I TALK TO?

Have you ever wondered whom you can call to complain about things?

Has a price or a distinct lack of quality in a product ever ticked you off?

Have you ever had the urge to call the guy who runs the company who made that product and YELL at them?

Well, you've got at least one person to keep you company - ME. I am CONTINUALLY frustrated by badly designed products, oddly setup programs and other just plain ass-backwards things aimed at us powerless consumers.

WHO CAN WE CALL?

No one. At least, none that I can tell. I picked a company to see how high I could get in their hierarchy, not even with a complaint, and I could get one level from the shmoe I called in the first place.

Why isn't there a law that forces the dweebs who run a company to be more accessible to the consumers it sells to? The lame thing is, I don't even know whom I can write to about a law! ARG! If only our world was designed to facilitate the education of all people in regards to government, laws and business. Why the hell was I forced to take shop class where I learned how to make a shelf, instead of being forced to take a more practical course like: "How to Get a Law Passed in Your Spare Time 101"?

Monday, January 11, 1999

NEVER ENOUGH TIME AND AGAIN

Why do we take vacations? Some people say it's to get away from the every day. Others say it's to get things done around the house that you don't normally have time for. But EVERYONE knows neither actually happens.

We end up spending too much time going places, goofing off, or spending time dealing with family. I just spent three and a half days in Northern California visiting my girlfriend's parents and my dad. It was like we were playing parental hopscotch. We had no time to actually stop and enjoy the company of the people were visiting, just a conversation or two and then off to the next parent. I also brought a bit of work along thinking that during travel time I'd be able to get something done. Who was I kidding?

So, not only did I not "get away from it all", I didn't get any work done. I did manage to enjoy my short visits with my dad and her mom and dad, but if I blinked, I swear I woulda missed the whole weekend. So what am I gonna do for my next break? Probably stay right here at home and not plan on doing anything. Doesn't that sound nice?

I CANCELLED MY SUBSCRIPTION TO THE TV NEWS MAGAZINES

These news magazines are just NUTS! Every DAY it's another story about how they'll give me information I NEED TO KNOW before I go whitewater rafting, or cross-country skiing - neither of which I do!! Or they ask me some question that really has nothing to do with me and then mentions how: "THE ANSWER MAY SURPRISE YOU."

So little surprises me these days, so this doesn't get me all jazzed up to watch their stupid news magazines. 90% of the stories they cover are things NONE OF US need to hear about yet, they always go into marketing overdrive. These are the CHEAPEST SHOWS to make after those stupid "America's Funniest Hidden Car Chases Caught on Tape" shows, so why is it that they need to advertise every damn episode of these news mags as though they're the latest edition of the bible?? Say no to these pieces of crap and watch a documentary on the History Channel or hey - turn off the box and read a book!

NO HOPE = REFORMATTING

Well, this is SO annoying. Sometimes I wonder why I don't just find some old IBM Selectric in some second-hand shop and write on one of those as opposed to my present PC. I feel like I'm JFK at a US Government Black Ops Reunion.

My machine has this lovely habit of locking-up at random moments. These lock-ups have NOTHING to do with ANYTHING. Actually I shouldn't say that - it only happens when I am loading a web page into my browser. Not EVERY web page, just some randomly selected by God/nature/fate/the powers that be. Now, Avi, my good friend and favorite computer-guru, has told me what he thinks I need to do. Remove each peripheral, and application until the problem is solved. Problem #1) This will take FOREVER. Problem #2) Everything I have on my computer (both connected to and installed on) I WANT on that computer. Solution? Reformat the damn thing and REconnect and REinstal EVERYTHING. Until the problem returns. But that would take just as long. The ACTUAL SOLUTION: Give up hope and secretly plot Bill Gates' doom.

THE SENATE'S STILL AT IT?

What is the deal?? I think we have all been exposed to this whole Monicagate thing for LONG ENOUGH! Kick-outable or not kick-outable, MY CATS know which side of the Clinton fence they stand on. So why is it that after two weeks of being away, I return to cnn.com to discover that 100 supposedly well educated, well dressed people haven't budged AN INCH in TWO WEEKS!! Why is that? WHAT THE HELL do we pay our taxes for? Why is it that small rodents know which way they'd vote if they were Senators and those dweebs we elected HAVE FIGURED IT OUT YET?!?!