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ADVENTURES

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

HAPPY FRIGGIN' NEW... whatever

I love how everyone thinks that all the evils in the world will go away once the new year comes. Various friends and family alike have all told me how they are so glad 2003 is over. Like some how the forces of badness in everyone's lives use the same calendar that we do. Last time I checked all of the things that are bugging the crap out of me are still going to be there a few hours from now. I'll still have a sink full of dishes to wash, an employer that is unresponsive to my emails, my laptop will still be in the shop and Bush will still be in the White House...

January 1st, 2004... just another day...

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY!


...whatever...

Monday, December 29, 2003

NEW NEW NEW NEW!

Okay, it's a little early for the new 2004 version of TP.C, but I figured, I'm depressed, WHY NOT?

Why am I depressed? Well, my 3-month-old laptop's monitor freaked out and died. Well, it didn't fully die, but it's so flakey, working with it that I don't dare go more than 30 seconds without saving. Yes - it's that kind of screwy situation where some how it's not JUST a hardware issue... and no, this time, it's not a Windows machine - it's a MAC. Well, let me be honest - I love it MOST of the time. Then this thing comes along and it turns out that it's not even a unique problem - it has struck the iBooks of many other people since the white, dual-USB iBooks came along. I'll be doing a blog entry on just my iBook in the coming weeks. Hopefully AFTER I get it back.

So, I'm back on my PC and dealing with no longer being portable... GRR...

Christmas was mostly weak for me, but not in a bad way - in a welcome way. I find as I get older I care less for presents and stuff. What I got, I am very keen on, so don't worry. I was just totally swamped with work and didn't do anything family-wise. I did manage to see RETURN OF THE KING THREE TIMES, which was VERY cool.

PLENTY to report, but more for later...

PITTY ME!!! ;)

Or don't...

Either way, LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THE NEW LAYOUT!!

Thursday, December 25, 2003

Music from Mars

Hey, click the below link to listen to the Blur tune European scientists are listening for from their Mars probe that may or may not have landed on Mars on Christmas Day, 2003...

rtsp://real1.vmg.co.uk/blur/beagle_2.rm

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Monday, December 22, 2003

YOUR OPINION!

Hey, well, I was busy avoiding responsibility earlier today and decided to redo my site... AGAIN... well, this change isn't major, it's just a layout change. The idea behind the layout change was that I wanted to make it faster loading. Also, with the old layout, the page would sometimes load improperly. With this new layout I've come up with it only misloads when you're on a Mac using M$IE. So, who cares about that?

But I care about your opinion, so click here and tell me what you think. The only difference when the new layout goes live (if it goes live) is that instead of one blog entry, there will be the last ten entries, or so. So, check it out and tell me what you think by clicking the "comments?" link at the bottom of the blog entry. So, if it loads faster, let me know - but if you think the layout sucks, let me know, too.

DO IT NOW!!!

THANKS!

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Chad's review of Gothika!

Chad has Pocket Reviewed Gothika which was so bad that it should be out on video any moment now. Ironically, Chad does give it an RTV (Rent The Video).

Check out his Pocket Review right now!

Oh yeah, just saw ROTK again... if you haven't seen the LOTR trilogy, for GOD'S SAKE, RENT THE EXTENDED EDITION DVDs AND GO SEE RETURN OF THE KING!!

KURDS CAPTURED SADDAM 1st

Not that anyone will care about this, but Yahoo News is reporting that the reason Saddam was captured by the USMil had nothing (or little) to do with so called intelligence reports and/or tips that led the USMil to Saddam's "hiding place". Saddam, according to an AFP article at Yahoo News, was being held captive by the Kurdish Patriotic Front after he was betrayed to them by the father of a woman who was raped by Saddam's own son.

The KPF then left him in the hole for USMil forces to find.

Three cheers for the Washing(ton) Machine - in perpetual Spin Cycle...

Read the AFP article at Yahoo News.

UPDATE 12/22/3:
Read a Sydney Morning Herald Article that says Kurdish media reported to a Terhan-based news agency that all the USMil had to do was go to a farm that was identified to them by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.


Friday, December 19, 2003

Flyer in my email...

I got this flyer in my email recently. Sorry, it got a little crumpled in my inbox...

queereyeforsaddam (86k image)

Thursday, December 18, 2003

PATRIOT ACT II PASSED

Yep, you read it right. HR 2417 was signed into law December 13, 2003 by King George, himself. What does HR 2417 do? Well, not as much as the original Patriot Act II could do (luckily, that version never passed), but this version still has some people who can sift through the $3 words concerned for the rights of American citizens.

After reading King George's statement on the White House web site, you have to read it again, just to sift out all the crap. Basically, it boils down to this:

1) Bush can now get as much money as he needs for "intelligence activities" including those relating to terrorist activities with no oversight from the US Senate.

2) Bush can now decide how much he wants to tell Congress regarding any cases being investigated by the USGov. The idea being that he can choose to withold any information that might "impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative processes of the Executive, or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties."

In other words, if it pisses off the USGov's friends, the American people will never find out about it.

3)This next bit you can probably work out for yourself (bold added):
Section 502 purports to place restrictions on use of the U.S. Armed Forces and other personnel in certain operations. The executive branch shall construe the restrictions -in section 502 as advisory in nature, so that the provisions are consistent with the President's constitutional authority as Commander in Chief, including for the conduct of intelligence operations, and to supervise the unitary executive branch.
So, the restrictions are advisory? How are restrictions ever advisory??

Those are just from George's statement that's on the White House web site. On the Congressional Budget Office's web site, they explain that they can't estimate the total cost of HR 2417.
CBO was unable to obtain the necessary information to estimate the costs for the entire act because certain parts are classified.
The CBO web site also adds:
The provision also would extend the [National Commission for Review of Research and Development Programs of the U.S. Intelligence Community the] authority to accept and spend gifts.
Why would gifts be given to a USGov commission on R&D in the US Intelligence Community? Is this shorthand for kickbacks?

The CBO's page goes on to explain these donations:
Section 504 would establish an advisory panel to review and make recommendations on measurement and signatures intelligence programs. Under this provision, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency would be allowed to accept contributions to defray the expenses of the advisory panel.
So, in other words, kickbacks.

Finally, the page mentions that there have been three previous versions of HR 2417. Why have none of them made the mainstream news?

But wait, there's more! The Federation of American Scientists' web site has posted comments made against HR 2417 by Congresspeople. Check 'em out:

The Honorable Mark Udall of Colorado said on November 20, 2003, among other things:
Whereas currently banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are required to provide certain financial data to authorized intelligence agencies and the Treasury Department, this legislation would expand the list of institutions to include car dealers, pawnbrokers, travel agents, casinos, and other businesses.
...Casinos? Travel agencies? What other businesses?

On November 20, 2003, the Honorable Betty McCollum of Minnesota tore HR 2417 a new one:
The Republican Leadership inserted a controversial provision in the FY04 Intelligence Authorization Report that will expand the already far-reaching USA Patriot Act, threatening to further erode our cherished civil liberties. This provision gives the FBI power to demand financial and other records, without a judge's approval, from post offices, real estate agents, car dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and many other businesses. This provision was included with little or no public debate, including no consideration by the House Judiciary Committee, which is the committee of jurisdiction. It came as a surprise to most Members of this body.
She also mentions:
It is clear the Republican Leadership and the Administration would rather expand on the USA Patriot Act through deception and secrecy than debate such provisions in an open forum.
The Honorable Ron Paul, also on November 20, 2003, expressed his dislike of HR 2417:
What most concerns me about this conference report, though, is something that should outrage every single American citizen. I am referring to the stealth addition of language drastically expanding FBI powers to secretly and without court order snoop into the business and
financial transactions of American citizens. These expanded internal police powers will enable the FBI to demand transaction records from businesses, including auto dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and
more, without the approval or knowledge of a judge or grand jury. This was written into the bill at the 11th hour over the objections of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which would normally have jurisdiction over the FBI. The Judiciary Committee was frozen out of the process. It appears we are witnessing a stealth enactment of the enormously unpopular "Patriot II" legislation that was first leaked several months ago. Perhaps the national outcry when a draft of the Patriot II act was leaked has led its supporters to enact it one piece at a time in secret. Whatever the case, this is outrageous and unacceptable. I urge each of my colleagues to join me in rejecting this bill and its incredibly dangerous expansion of Federal police powers.
He added:
Despite the tens of billions we spend on these myriad intelligence agencies, it is impossible to ignore the failure of our federal intelligence community to detect and prevent the September 11 attacks. Additionally, it is becoming increasingly obvious that our intelligence community failed completely to accurately assess the nature of the Iraqi threat.
He also mentions something that is VERY important to be noted regarding ANY money put toward intelligence activities:
I am also concerned that our scarce resources are again being squandered pursuing a failed drug war in Colombia, as this bill continues to fund our disastrous Colombia policy. Billions of dollars
have been spent in Colombia to fight this drug war, yet more drugs than
ever are being produced abroad and shipped into the United States--
including a bumper crop of opium sent by our new allies in Afghanistan. [...] ...the solution to the drug problem lies not in attacking the producers abroad or in creating a militarized police state to go after the consumers at home, but rather in taking a close look at our seemingly insatiable desire for these substances. Until that issue is addressed we will continue wasting billions of dollars in a losing battle.
Finally on November 20, 2003, the Honorable Dennis Moore from Kansas rises in protest of HR 2417, saying:
This measure expands the definition of "financial institution" to provide enhanced authority for intelligence community collection activities designed to prevent, deter and disrupt terrorism and espionage directed against the United States and to enhance foreign intelligence efforts. Banks, credit unions and other financial institutions currently are required to provide certain
financial data to investigators generally without a court order or grand jury subpoena. The conference agreement expands the list to include car dealers, pawnbrokers, travel agents, casinos and other
businesses.
So, on Bizarro World, and our planet, as well, the phrase "financial institution" refers to things like pawnbrokers and travel agents. Moore also mentions:
The PATRIOT Act earlier had altered the standard for financial records that could be subject to National Security Letters to include the records of someone "sought for" an
investigation, not merely of the "target" of an investigation.
Just in case you didn't know...

If we return to King George's statement at the White House web site as a sort of response to accusations of a "stealth law", old KG explains that the White House discourages "this practice of enacting secret laws" despite the fact that this law was signed into existence on December 13, 2003.

What's so special about December 13, 2003? That was the day Saddam Hussein was arrested.

Sift through the $3 words in King George's statement for yourself at the White House web site.

Check out the Congressional Budget Office's explanation of HR 2417 and sift through a few more $3 words...

Check out the comments of Congresspeople in protest of HR 2417 at the Federation of American Scientists' web site.

Check out a thread at GNN.tv regarding this story.



33k YEAR-OLD ART WORKS FOUND

33koldhorse (6k image)
Image: HILDE JENSEN/UNIVERSITY OF
TUBINGEN
For those archeologists who believe culture didn't just spring into being, some evidence to the contrary has been found. A deep cave in Germany has produced several extremely impressive sculptures of animals and other objects. An article at the Scientific American website reports that reports that the artifacts have been dated to between 30,000 and 33,000 years ago. Just to put that in perspective, that's 28,000 years further beyond the beginning of recorded history. (That unofficially begins around 3200 BC when the Egyptians started keeping track.)

The same article quotes scientists explaining that art of the level found indicates that ancient Europeans took to making impressive works of art quickly. But what they don't talk about is how odd it is to see talent like that suddenly spring into existence. Most archeologists agree that such ability takes years to develop, so logically, it's strange that no lesser quality art would be found in the same area.

At least, that's what usually happens in cases like this. After all, how do you learn to sculpt like a pro when pros won't exist for 30 millennia?

Read more about this story at the Scientific American website.


LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING (2003)

The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King (Platinum Series Special Extended Edition)Entertaining? YES!
Technically any good? YES! Not PERFECT, but does well enough with the important stuff and the FX are *astounding*.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Not to gush, but as the credits rolled, I felt honored to be able to have seen ROTK and the other films in the big screen. My feeling is to only see these films on the big screen. Over all, ROTK is the jewel in the crown of these movies.
Final Rating? GSN

IRAQUAGMIRE: HEAD US WMD INSPECTOR TO QUIT

Yep, following his wildly successful search for Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction in US occupied Iraq, head US Weapons Inspector, David Kay, will be leaving his post in Iraq.

Oh wait... his search for Iraqi WMD wasn't successful...

Maybe that's why he's quiting?

They found nothing. At best, Kay has said, indicators that there was a program in development, but he has not been able to find evidence of a full-on WMD program. This comes months after several high-level US and UK government officials (read: Bush and Blair) made a claim that Hussein could deliver a chemical or biological attack in 45 minutes.

Delivery in 45 minutes or less? Perhaps the American people should demmand their pizza... or at least their money back...

Read coverage of Kay leaving his post at Independent.co.uk.

Read the Voice of America's coverage of Kay's 'possible' exit from his post at their web site.


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

9/11 COMMISSION: 9/11 PREVENTABLE

CBSNews.com is reporting that Thomas Kean, former New Jersey governor and head of the USGov's commission on the 911 attacks has come forward and said that the 911 attacks were preventable. "This was not something that had to happen," he said speaking to CBS news about a report his commission will be soon releasing that will point fingers and name names.

Not bad for two years later, huh?

The USGov managed to get Sadam, too bad he's done nothing directly to us, while the guy responsible for 911 is still out there. Remember Osama?

Read the whole article at CBSNews.com.


Tuesday, December 16, 2003

LORD OF THE RINGS TRILOGY: 'NUFF SAID!

aragorn01 (77k image)
GOOD.


Just got back from seeing all three in a row.

I can die now...

Well, okay, maybe not die, but I can sure stop watching other movies since nothing can hold a candle to LOTR. At this point, I want to pack up all my Star Wars shit and start buying some swords and chainmail...

CLICK HERE TO READ MY POCKET REVIEW

Saturday, December 13, 2003

So, where were you when Saddam was captured?

saddamcaptured (7k image)
Arrested? I'm here for the Santa Claus auditions!
(HO! HO! HOkay, don't shoot!)


Well, TheFiancee and I were in the car, trapped in a massive rain storm somwhere between our friend Alejandro's house and TheFiancee's sister's house when the local San Francisco radio news announced Saddam's capture.

Where were you? I bet you were asleep! Well, I bet you found out hours later, when you woke up...

Leave me alone, it's 4:50am - I just finished watching the damn press conference! Click the comment link below or talk about this in TheForum!

In NoCal!!

Well, TheFiancee and I are in NoCal for the weekend. The objective is to perform a pre-emptive holiday strike that then allows us to avoid our In-Person-Holiday-Obligations. This way, we get reasonable quality time with each family we visit with as opposed to what normally happens during the holidays. You know, everyone runs around like mad-hatters, trying to get everything JUST right, when it's all quite nearly impossible.

We're having a good time up here, though. Hung with my dad and step-mother last night and with TheFiancee's mom today. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be time spent with TheFiancee's dad's fam. There's a big party featuring a performance by her sister who is a singer and activist and stuff. It should be fun. Then, on Sunday, we're back in LA! WOOHOO!

And that's the excitement on this end.

Please keep good thoughts in your mind for my good friend, Chad, who had a major operation this morning. He should be recouperating by now, but could use whatever help he can get. He's a good guy and a fellow MSTie, so you know he's a cool dude.

Anyway, I gotta crash... been wandering around San Francisco for most of the day! UGH!

PS Post to TheForums!

Saturday, December 6, 2003

FREEDOM TASTES YUMMY!

Freedom tastes YUMMY! Well, mostly... here's a recent picture from the Associated Press for you:

iraqigirl (7k image)
An Iraqi girl covers her face as U.S. army soldiers
search for insurgents in the center of Baghdad,
Saturday, Nov 29 2003. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)


Life without Saddam Hussein is good, but life without the US Occupation will be even better, hopefully...

Until then, keep hiding your eyes, kiddo! Hopefully, you won't get hit by any stray American bullets or bathed in radiation from the depleted uranium used in American ordinance. Hey, maybe Santa will bring you a Play Station for Christmas!

The American Way (tm), it's FANTASTIC!

Friday, December 5, 2003

THE MATRIX MAKES YOU MURDER? NOT EXACTLY...

Well, according to a December 5, 2003 article at the Maryland news web site, SunSpot.net, the scifi blockbuster movie The MAtrix has been used once again as an excuse for murder. This time in the case of John Lee Malvo, one of the accused Washington DC-area snipers. His defense is claiming that he was so obsessed with the film that he used it to justify violence against people. However, the film has been used as a defense in other cases. A couple of times, it was even used successfully.

From the article:
The 1999 film has been used, with some success, in at least three other murder cases in which young defendants attempted to justify their crimes with allusions to the movie's philosophy that the world people live in is only a dream sequence controlled by a computer. Violence is condoned as a way to get out of the fake, oppressive world of The Matrix.


People like Malvo, claim to see fellow humans as illusory, fictional beings that when killed, aren't really killed, since you can't kill a digital simulation. Of course (we hope, anyway), this is not the case, but Malvo and others seem to believe otherwise. That's really the danger of writing a series of movies featuring characters who's only escape into "the real world" is made by death. Sure, it doesn't happen often, but you can't say it's not going to. This isn't to suggest that writers should censor themselves. This is to suggest that a greater attempt should probably be made to write stories that are less likely to make people think that killing and death is a reasonable solution in any situation.

Just a suggestion, of course...

Read the original article at SunSpot.Net


BUSH DOESN'T COME FACE TO FACE WITH FAMILIES US BOMBING DESTROYED

In Bush 43's recent Turkey Day visit to the US troops in Iraq, Bush 43 was within spitting distance of the families he changed forever by ordering the Iraq Attack. According to IraqBodyCount.Net almost 10,000 civilians have been killed since the Iraq Attack began earlier this spring. But when Bush 43 visited the occupied country, he chose to stay safe and protected inside a fortified military base where he visited with US troops, as opposed to visiting with the people whose lives he's changed irrevocably or destroyed entirely thanks to his illegal Iraq Attack.

That's right, Paul Wolfowitz, himself, refered to the Iraq Attack as illegal according to International Law. This is something that everyone knew, well, anyone who has bothered to read the UN Charter. The same charter the USGov helped to write. But, Wolfowitz said something to the effect of, sometimes the right thing is illegal.

Which is a pretty powerful statement. He just gave us all permission to break the laws we think are wrong. So, if we think smoking pot is the right thing to do because of whatever reason, we can do it. If we think downloading music or movies to avoid paying insane prices for it is the right thing to do, we can do it.

Meanwhile, Bush doesn't have to do what is right, which is facing, head-on, the faces of the families who lost family members to the war he began to "protect the world from Saddam Hussein". The same man who has moved aggressively toward all of two countries and was able to hang on to neither of them for any amount of time.

Every day is Turkey Day in Washington DC.

Thursday, December 4, 2003

Okay, this made me laugh...

Color me insensitive, but I thought this was funny:

Ask Adolph


You might also go here for more funny stuff...

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

MORE LOTR ROTK PREMIERE PICS!

MORE PICS:

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{{popup 01viggo01.jpg 01viggo01 600x450}}01viggo01 (109k image)


I got pretty close to a few of them. Click here to check out the rest of the pics I took! The thumb nails on that page are clickable. Be sure to click on them to see the bigger versions! Feel free to steal them for your own site, but please DON'T steal my bandwidth. I'd appreciate a link back to my site, too. :)

Hope you enjoy them!

Pics from the LOTR ROTK premiere in LA!

This was the scene at around 3pm PST, today as PR crews began decorating the heart of Westwood village for the big premiere.

{{popup lotrrotkprem01.jpg lotrrotkprem01 600x450}}lotrrotkprem01 (109k image)


The area for the fans is thin at this time of day as you can see:
{{popup lotrrotkprem02.jpg lotrrotkprem02 600x450}}lotrrotkprem02 (121k image)


But the fans were gathering on corners opposite the two theaters screening the third installment of the Lord of the Rings series.
{{popup lotrrotkprem03.jpg lotrrotkprem03 600x450}}lotrrotkprem03 (121k image)


Hey, even Gandalf was there. Of course, he was dressed light because of the hot LA winter weather...
{{popup lotrrotkprem04gandalf.jpg lotrrotkprem04gandalf 375x500}}lotrrotkprem04gandalf (98k image)


Possibly more pics to come - depending on how crazy it is. As I sit here at my favorite boba place, the crowd has expanded two-fold. The crowd might get too crazy...

Monday, December 1, 2003

New stuff on the way!

Well, I've got a new Otis and a new Ballpoint strip, but the Otis just needs to get scanned in. I've also just started a new screenplay (because I'm an IDIOT and can't finish other stuff I start, first) and I'm also about to begin editing strips for the first-time-in-print Ballpoint Adventures compilation! I am also in the stupid-slow process of editing a book. The first of many. Oh yeah and I have a job to pay the bills with because none of the other stuff I've mentioned makes me any money whatsoever (yet).

Anyway, so that's what I've been up to. I need to do more work around the site, like do more news blog entries and I still need to add more pics to my new photos section.

And now I must decide, edit the book or work more on the screenplay... decisions, decisions...

LAST SAMURAI (2003)

The Last Samurai (Widescreen Edition)Entertaining? Sure, it's a real crowd pleaser.
Technically any good? No. The movie is patronizing as all get out. We get about two lines of character, two lines of motivation and a universe that was clearly created by someone who doesn't know much about Samurai culture.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Very disappointed, but not surprised. Edward Zwick is a patronizing filmmaker. Calling his stuff "PC" is putting it lightly. Saying this film is drenched with "white guilt" is putting it lightly, too. It's entertaining, but if you actually feel anything, it's because you are being played by the film. It explores nothing and is about as deep as a Japanese tourist brochure written by someone who's never been to Japan.
Final Rating? DNS (But if you do see it, you will be entertained - but it'll only be "oo, look at those fights! Wow, Japan is pretty! Aw, someone died :(" But genuine emotional movement? Nope.)