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Friday, June 25, 2004

What a Weekend!

Well, it's been truly a Godzilla-rific weekend! I've seen a STACK of films starring the G-man himself. Most of them have been pretty damn good. My favorites so far have been GODZILLA TOKYO SOS and INVASION OF THE ASTROMONSTERS. Neither are my all time favorite kaiju (giant monster) film, but they're both pretty good.

I'll have to post more about this weekend, soon.

Movies, Movies and Other Crap, too!

Last night was GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA and FAHRENHEIT 911, read my Pocket Reviews for them here and here. I woke up dead tired and just not able to do much of anything. :( I blew off most of the day not dayjobbing (bad) but I still have time to work on TheKey before tonight's excursion and perhaps I can sneak in some dayjobbing afterwards, too.

Tonight I have GODZILLA TOKYO SOS, KING KONG Vs. GODZILLA and GIGANTIS, THE FIRE MONSTER, which is actually just the dubbed version of GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN. Watch for Pocket Reviews for them, too! Tomorrow I have only INVASION OF THE ASTRO MONSTER (aka GODZILLA Vs. MONSTER ZERO) to check out. However, I am going to see FAHRENHEIT 911 again with TheFiancee. Watch for a Pocket Review from her at some point down the road.

Then, on Sunday, it's a RODAN, GHIDORAH, H-MAN triple feature in the afternoon. That night we might check out a 2001, 2010 double feature at the New Beverly (as opposed to all these G-films that are screening at the Egyptian.) I might end up just seeing it by myself on Monday night, however. Depends on TheFiancee's schedule/interests.

Monday is a movie day off, unless it's to the NewBev for that 2001, 2010 double feature. But on Tuesday, I'll be heading back to the Egyptian again for a GODZILLA V.S. GIGAN, GODZILLA V.S. KING GHIDORAH double feature. Then, if my luck holds, I'll check out a midnight show of SPIDER-MAN 2, hopefully at the Chinese Theater just so I don't have to race across LA in order to make it back to Westwood.

Then, I need to pick whether I want to go to the Beat Takeshi double feature back at the NewBev on Wednesday or Thursday. I guess it depends on whether or not there's a SPIDER-MAN 2 midnight show Tuesday night that I can hit.

Finally, Friday night is a midnight screening at the NuArt of ZATOICHI PART 5. That's the Japanese period action adventure movie series about a blind swordsman. SWEET.

Then.... I'm out of movies for a while. :)

I don't normally see this many movies in such a short span of time, it's just that they all just happened to be playing this week! Luckily, I actually have money to spend... oh AND all the G-films my dad paid for as a birthday present, so, that's even better. Thanks, Dad!!

Right, gotta get some work done before I leave for Hollywood in 1hr15m!!

SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

FAHRENHEIT 911 (2004)

Fahrenheit 9/11Entertaining? Definitely and depressing as hell.
Technically any good? Well, I read a lot and there was nothing in this docu that I didn't already know. The good news is that while it is a slanted look, nothing that is presented is false, or even exaggerated.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Satisfied, for the most part. His message about society is consistent with his previous works, but I wish he had gone further. There's a LOT more that I know about that he didn't even start to go into. It's all out there, you just have to make your movie longer! ;) This a very important film that every American should see if they are interested in learning the full truth regarding what's going on in America today. If you're a conservative, you definitely need to see this because it's your values that they're selling out.
Final Rating? GSN

GODZILLA AGAINST MECHAGODZILLA (2002)

Godzilla Against MechagodzillaEntertaining? Definitely, but it's no GMK.
Technically any good? Nice character development, considering it's a return to the cheesier days of Godzilla movies, but virtually no time was spent on the character of the G-Man, himself. They didn't even bother trying to explain why he was messing with Tokyo this time.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Satisfied. It's a big, dumb kaiju film, but somehow it still managed to be less insulting than your average big, dumb American film.
Final Rating? OTV (Own The Video - it's one you can watch over and over because the fight scenes are so much fun.)

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Crazy Past Couple of Days

Wow, it's been nuts since Sunday. Sunday night, my friend Tim calls me and reminds me that he's getting up at 4am Monday morning to go drive out to Mojave to see SpaceShip One launch into space. Of course, I am a closet space-geek, so I'm like SURE, I'll get up after just 2 hours of sleep and go to Mojave!

And that's just what I did. Check out my blog for pics. Unfortunately, the pics did not come out so well because I forgot to turn on the auto-brightness feature, so all the pics are a bit too dark.

Then, I get home around 11am and a few hours later (after at least a little bit of napping) I get my new bookshelf delivered for my home office. Since I desperately need my home office to have more shelf space, I took a shower to wake up and then spent *literally* the rest of the day building it, rearranging my home office to get it to fit and then stocking the shelves with everything I needed to put on them--which was a lot. I also pulled up that plastic mat that I use to allow my office chair to roll smoothly because it was cracked all over the place and was threatening to pinch my delicate toes.

Then, today, I went and bought a new bag to go with my new PowerBook. It's from a company called "Incase" and the bag is called "the Sling." The Sling is much more streamlined and carries less stuff, but also hugs my body much better. With my old bag, I'd be constantly having it flop around and bang into stuff. Today I fed the cats with the new bag on and it was so light, I barely felt it was there. And it stuck to my back like it had more than just the one shoulder strap connecting it to me. Very nice design, although it could use about a half-inch more space for two notebooks instead of just allowing one. But so far, it's a huge improvement over my Kensington brand Apple bag. Of course, it had better be an improvement - my Kensington bag was $40 while my Sling was $60. Ouch...

So, then I come down to the boba house I always hang out at only to be greeted by a mass of people. It turns out that SPIDER-MAN 2 is premiering in Westwood tonight. Sheesh. Huge crowd. So big that when the stars came out to greet the crowds I couldn't get close. It was nice to see that the SpaceShip One launch yesterday morning got a bigger crowd that SPIDER-MAN 2. These days I wouldn't be sure.

So, that's up to date. I'm not needing to work on some labels for my MST3K home-DVD project next and after that it's back to TheKey Volume 3. I'm now calling them "volumes" because I think my editor didn't get that each book doesn't always stand on it's own. Some of her notes from Volume 2 were things like "you never explain X, Y or Z." Which is true, but Volume 2 has the unfortunate duty of setting up a LOT of stuff that happens down the road in the other volumes. A lot is left unexplained, intentionally.

Oh yeah and I also need to get back to work on the dayjob. Been unable to work for a while thanks to some beaurocratic stuff but now I can again. But I've been too busy watching spaceships fly, stars work crowds and building furniture to work. :) I know, I know, tough life... :satisfied:

Monday, June 21, 2004

GIVE UP YOUR NAME OR YOU'RE UNDER ARREST

Well, I wouldn't have believed it possible. But in the land of the free and the brave, if you refuse to tell your name to a police officer who requests it, he can arrest you.

The following comes from an article at the Christian Science Monitor website:
In what may become a major boost to US law enforcement and antiterrorism efforts, the US Supreme Court Monday upheld a Nevada law that makes it a criminal offense for anyone suspected of wrongdoing to refuse to identify himself to police.
So, if you're not wrong doing, but some cop decides you are, you better just cooperate or else you could end up in jail.

Actually, that's not entirely true. Here's something else from the same article:
"It's a green light to explore the bounds of how much personal information can be demanded on pain of arrest," says Timothy Lynch of the Cato Institute in Washington. "It also gives a green light to perhaps the Congress to move with a national law."
And:
The 5-to-4 decision says that neither the Fourth Amendment's right to privacy nor the Fifth Amendment's guarantee against self-incrimination bars states from passing laws requiring citizens to identify themselves.
SO, it's not quite as big brothery as it sounds, but it certainly sounds like the doors are open now in 50 states for precisely this kind of law to be passed. In fact, some police might not even wait for a law to be passed. In today's fear-filled climate, it seems that just about no personal freedom is safe.

Every day America seems to take another very tiny step toward recreated Nazi Germany.

YAY.

Read the June 22, 2004 article at CSMonitor.com.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

CUTE!

BlondPoleDancer (29k image)

911 COMMISSION FINALLY ADDRESSES ISSUE

From day 1, that would be September 11, 2001, I have been curious about why the four passenger liners hijacked by Al Qaeda were not shot down by USMil fighter aircraft. This has always bugged me because I remembered, even on 911, that there had been a golfer who was flying in a leer jet and there was some sort of problem aboard and everyone onboard the plane died. F-16s were scrambled within 15 minutes of the air traffic controllers losing contact with them. The F-16s escorted the leer jet as it impacted, killing no one. However, I remember reading, that if the plane was headed toward a populated area, or a building or home, they'd shoot it out of the sky.

Three years later, this issue is finally being dealt with by the so-called "independent" 911 commission. Of course, it's not being dealt with to my satisfaction. According to a couple of Reuters articles they have said that the "Pentagon's domestic air-defense command was disastrously unprepared" for 911 and that the chain of command was messed up when Rumsfeld was ignored by Cheney.

How about Bush?

He is supposed to be the top man, isn't he? This is from the article:
the White House shoot-down order was passed too late to Air Force fighter jets scrambled by the North American Aerospace Defense Command.
But it was my understanding that pilots don't need anyone's permission to shoot down passenger liners that threaten lives on the ground. If that's not the case, shouldn't it be?

And if the air-defense people were so woefully unprepared, how come that golfer's leer jet loses touch with air-traffic controllers and F-16s are scrambled and escort it to a safe crashing?

Sounds to me like we finally have an open lie to a question that should have been asked years ago. It's a lie because, clearly, the air-defense people can do their job, but for some reason they failed to do it on 911.

What was that reason?

Read the first of two Reuters articles that deals with 911 air-defense, this one talks about how disasterously unprepared they were.

Read the second Reuters article that talks about Rummy getting dicked-cheney around.

BUSH INSISTS OSAMA & SADAM, BUDS

In a June 17, 2004 Reuters article, Bush is reported as insisting that Sadam and Osama had "numerous contacts" but that he never claimed there was a connection between Sadam and 911.

This is getting truly absurd. Since when do we need qualifiers from our leaders? Our leaders should be saying what they mean, specifically, and clearly.

You don't get to turn around and say stuff like "I never said that."

Well, sir, it doesn't matter if you did or not--your intention was clear.

You were trying to manipulate the people of America into thinking that Sadam was at least partially to blame for 911.

This was an immoral lie and you know it.

It was immoral because you knew you were going to send people to their deaths should the lie be accepted as truth, which it was.

You are doing more damage to the White House, the office of the President and the credibility of the US Government than any blowjob could ever do.

Republicans are THE BIGGEST HYPOCRITES IN THE WORLD.

Democrats are only slightly better because they have no balls. I saw a guy on the Daily Show last night claim that Bush has united the Dems against him. I'll believe that when I see it. So far, I see a bunch of spineless losers who are too scared for their jobs than to rock the boat.

By offering up Kerry as their man in Novemeber, they are guaranteeing a replay of the 2000 election.

It's so frustrating looking at all of this mess and knowing precisely what's wrong with it. These fools don't realize that eventually history will judge them harshly.

May they finally catch a clue.

It's never too late, even I believe that.

Read more about Bush and his attitude that somehow "contacts with Al Qaeda" equates to a relationship with them in the Reuters article mentioned above.


Wednesday, June 16, 2004

SAVED! (2004)

Saved!Entertaining? Definitely. Funny, irreverent, but not insulting, unless you're very hardcore Christian.
Technically any good? Very realistic up to the climax at which point it becomes very idealized and, frankly, unrealistic. But it's a hopeful ending that suggests we can all get along.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Very satisfied. This movie does a good job of portraying true believers in Jesus as people who both believe too much, too little and in between. It's not a perfect film, but it does mean well. If you're interested in a movie that makes fun of extreme Christianity, check this out. If you don't like your people being made fun of, it's probably not for you. But if you are Chirstian and you have a sense of humor, you'll probably enjoy this movie just fine.
Final Rating? SIYL

GHOST IN THE SHELL (1995)

Ghost in the ShellEntertaining? YES! This is my favorite anime feature of all time. But see it in Japanese if you can - the English dub is TERRIBLE.
Technically any good? The story is pretty dry. Based on the original manga (Japanese comic), it's a fairly good adaption, but to follow everything you really need to pay attention. They talk about a lot of future, fictional politics as well as concepts of sentients and God.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Satisfied. This movie is not for everyone. It's for people who love to think about life, the universe and everything. ;)
Final Rating? SIYL (it's dry, but really cool.)

SOYLENT GREEN (1973)

Soylent GreenEntertaining? Definitely!! Heston is so awesome in this movie and the movie, itself, is awesome.
Technically any good? While it's fairly dated, the heart of the story is still very strong. Also, the direction, acting and story choices are very strong and interesting. You also really care for the characters. Although, why the lead love-interest falls for Heston is beyond me.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Satisfied. I think this movie features one of the most realistic looks at the future. By the way, this is a pretty good partner to Omega Man in a double feature, where I saw it on the big screen.
Final Rating? GSN

OMEGA MAN (1971)

The Omega ManEntertaining? Yeah, definitely! It's dated, but it's still a fairly smart movie. It's an adaptation of "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson and it follows the adventures of the last survivor in Los Angeles after the world was overtaken by a plague. Those that survived the plague end up with pale skin, sores and are somewhat insane. They become obsessed with the lead character and are bent on killing him.
Technically any good? Well, some of the make-up wasn't the greatest and there was this really absurd helicopter crash, but the script was fairly solid and stuck to its own rules, for the most part.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? Entertained. It was a fun armageddony kind of movie. Not the best of it's kind, but not the worst, either. This was a pretty good partner in a double feature with Soylent Green, by the way.
Final Rating? SIYL

BUSH 43 A CRAPPY LEADER AND A LIAR!

Well, Bush 43 got a double blow (not the kind Clinton used to get), when two different groups of people spoke out and essentially contradicted things he and his administration have said regarding Iraq and the world.

First off, we have an AP article that starts off with:
Bluntly contradicting the Bush administration, the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks reported Wednesday there was "no credible evidence" that Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaida target the United States.
Didn't we already know this? Well, maybe we did, but maybe wer forgot. This is also from the same AP article:
On Monday, Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech that the Iraqi dictator "had long established ties with al-Qaida."
So, essentially, Bush 43 and his administration are lying about this connection.

I think it's official. The people of America and the people of the world, have no reason whatsoever to believe anything the USGov says.

Which brings us to a Washington Post article that chronicles the press conference held on June 16, 2004 by the group calling itself "Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change." That article begins with:
The Bush administration does not understand the world it faces and is unable to handle "in either style or substance" the responsibilities of global leadership, an eminent group of 27 retired diplomats and military commanders charged today.

"Our security has been weakened," the former ambassadors and four-star commanders said in a statement read at a packed Washington news conference.

"Never in the two and a quarter centuries of our history has the United States been so isolated among the nations, so broadly feared and distrusted."


Didn't Bush 43 campaign on being a "uniter not a divider"? Based on that campaign promise alone, it would seem that he's not been truthful with the American people. Combine that early lie with the lies he's spouted since then and we get that he's a chronic liar. Now, these experienced diplomats and military people are saying he's a crappy leader, too. They also say he's made the world hate us.

Sounds like Bush 43 is a divider and not a uniter.

Read the AP article on the 911 Commission failing to uncover any credible link between Saddam and Osama over at My Way News. One side note, the headline for a similar story posted on the web by the Voice of America website read something like "Commission Casts Doubt on Iraq-Al Qaeda Connection." I'd say finding no credible evidence is a big difference from "casting doubt."

Check out the Washington Post article about the Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change press conference and read more about what they had to say. (I tried to find their website, but they don't seem to have one.)

FEELING DEPRESSED? JUST TURN UP YOUR IMPLANT!

Oh, boy--here's one for the books. The FDA has just cleared the way for the approval of an implant that will cure people suffering from "treatment-resistant" depression. That's right, this implant is a small machine that will send electric shocks to the parts of the brain that doctor's believe controls mood.

I hope I'm not the only person who sees what is totally messed up about this.

What I want to know is how it's come to this point. First off, why is depression such a bad thing to suffer from? Okay, so, your depressed, perhaps there's a reason for it? The diet can effect your moods, believe it or not. So can upbringing and the world around you.

That's the problem here. Doctors are trying to force the person to change, rather than looking at what might be causing the clinical depression in the first place. Sure, they say there are simply chemical imbalances in the brain - but what causes them?

Have we become so blind to the flaws of our own society and culture that we feel that there is nothing in them that could be causing those members of our society more prone to depression to fall prey to it completely? Is our society that perfect?

Is our culture so perfect that rather than finding other, more humane, methods to induce a positive mood, we must develop a machine that will deliver electric shocks to parts of the brain 24 hours a day, even when people sleep? Because that's what this device does.

I remember watching a episode of Ren & Stimpy where Stimpy is sad to see Ren depressed, so he builds Ren an invention - The Happy Helmet. Ren doesn't want to wear it at first, but Stimpy forces him. Ren is then forced into "happiness" by the helmet, and eventually resorts to singing the "HAPPY! HAPPY! JOY! JOY!" song.

Now, for those of us who remember that episode of Ren and Stimpy, don't we all remember just how absurd that helmet was?

How is this new implant any different?

According to a press release from Cyberonics, the company that produces the implant, the implant sends "mild, intermittent electrical pulses" to a nerve in the neck. But here's how a Washington Post article describes it:
The implant involves connecting a wire to the left vagus nerve in the side of the neck; a battery is implanted high in the left chest or under the armpit, and the amount of current can be regulated externally. Typically, the implant sends a 30-second pulse of current followed by a five-minute pause, 24 hours a day.
That's a little different from "intermittent," wouldn't you say?

If we start allowing this type of treatment to be performed on people who want it, how long will it be before someone who doesn't want it is forced to go through it? There are many cases throughout the 20th century of people going through electro-shock therapy against their will. And even if this form of electro-shock therapy is "mild," it's still zapping your brain into submission with electric shocks.

Is this really the way we want people to live? I don't know what clinical depression is like, but I've got to think electric shocks are not the way to go to avoid it. I suppose if you try it and it works for you, then fine. But shouldn't we try to find other solutions? Solutions aside from even drugs?

Just a thought...

Read about this new implant at the Washington Post website.

Read more about the implant and it's company from a business perspective at the CBS Marketwatch website.

Check out the Citizens Commission on Human Rights web page for the "Psychiatry Kills" exhibit at the CCHR building in Hollywood, California.

ALL CAPITALISM, ALL THE TIME?

Ever ask yourself if complete capitalism is fine, even if it's all across every facet of the world? Ever wonder if there is such a thing as limitless growth and ever consider that maybe that's not such a good thing?

Well, French electrical workers seem to think too much capitalism is not a good thing. The energy supply "industry" of France is actually a public utility run by the French government. Debates in that same government have begun over privatizing energy production, turning various sections of the government-run operation into private companies. Apparently, employees don't think it's such a good idea, so they cut the power to the presidential palace and a few other major French landmarks in protest.

What's the problem with private companies supplying France and a good chunk of Europe's power? Well, the workers seem to think their jobs might be threatened and they also felt that the French tradition of public service my go by the wayside in the interest of big profits.

Hm, now why would they think big profits would be a motivation for a big energy company?

Well, I wish these guys luck. These days big government is in the back pocket of big business and protests like the ones the French utility workers staged are the only way that their voices will be heard. Of course, that doesn't mean their voice will be listened to.

Read an article from Reuters covering this story at the Reuters website.


IRAN MASSING TROOPS?

The following is from a UPI article posted at the Washington Times website:
Beirut, Lebanon, Jun. 15 (UPI) -- Iran reportedly is readying troops to move into Iraq if U.S. troops pull out, leaving a security vacuum.

The Saudi daily Al-Sharq al-Awsat, monitored in Beirut, reports Iran has massed four battalions at the border.

Al-Sharq al-Awsat quoted "reliable Iraqi sources" as saying, "Iran moved part of its regular military forces towards the Iraqi border in the southern sector at a time its military intelligence agents were operating inside Iraqi territory."
Why the hell is this happenning?

Any idiot knows that the USGov is NEVER going to pull out US troops, even after the handover. It's called modern colonialism, people.

So, why would Iran be massing troops?

Are they thinking about attacking the USMil in Iraq??

Read the UPI article yourself over at the Washington Times website.


Monday, June 14, 2004

Another Good Weekend - Watch Out for Hell Freezing Over...

This is starting to get very strange. :(

This past weekend is the second good weekend I've had in a row. Last weekend was probably one of the best birthday weekends I've had in my life. This weekend I got very little done, but nothing tremendous really went wrong. I spent most of the weekend outfitting my new PowerBook. But everything went so well with it, I can't complain. Friday night we saw a midnight screening of my favorite anime movie "Ghost in the Shell." For you Japanese people out there who may not have heard of it, in Japan it's called "Kokaku Kidotai." Anyway, it's about what it means to be human, to have a soul, and an identity. Oh yeah, and it's about cyborgs. :) It was the terribly dubbed version, but it's always cool to see my favorite anime on the big screen. (But the dub is really TERRIBLE!)

Then, Sunday night, almost on a complete whim, TheFiancee and I went up to Universal Citywalk and had a really nice night there, too. Check out TheMoBlog for pics. While there, we did a bit of window shopping, bought the most kick ass Gamera figure I've ever owned/seen and saw a really fun movie called "Saved!" It's a nice little film about how extreme religion in social situations can sometimes cause problems. Although if you're a hardcore believer in the power of Jesus to transform your life for the best, you probably won't want to see this movie that tells the story of how one high school girl's love of Jesus transformed her life for the worst.

So, the weekend passes and I'm up a pleasant few days, a computer, a good anime, a good live action movie and a great Gamera fig.

So, you can see why I'm concerned.

I feel like something terrible is going to happen, like, an earthquake, or a terrorist attack will occur just because I've had so many good times all in a row. Honestly, I have so little to complain about that I'm worried that I'll take one step outside my apartment today and a safe will land on my head.

Maybe I'm just finally being punished with good times for a decade of abuse from my career choice, or my PC-use, or general abundance of crappy dayjobs. Maybe it's all of the above.

That reminds me, I've got to get to work!!

Saturday, June 12, 2004

My New Laptop! (Take 2)

meandlm (37k image)


Yep, it came yesterday. It's so sweet. I missed OSX a lot. Glad to be using it again and the PowerBook is a joy to use. It's just a better machine than the iBook. More on my adventures, soon.

So far, though, so good. :D

Check out my MoBlog to see a couple other pics of me and it.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

I Enjoy Spending Money Way Too Much

Guess what I just bought...

You'll find out tomorrow... :)

...when it gets delivered... :) :)





:D

Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Monday, June 7, 2004

A Finale, at Last!

ibookrefundcheck (35k image)


Ahhhh, sweet, sweet satisfaction... Now I just need to save up a few more hundred bucks for that PowerBook! That'll probably happen around the 18th or so. Actually, I'll need to save up for more than just the PowerBook. I'll need to buy another set of RAM, as well as a new AirPort Extreme card. OH yeah and an extra battery. That's going to work out to be something like $300+. Although I suppose those can wait until the next, next paycheck. Le sigh. :P

Anyway, so this is it for MacStories for now. When I do get my new PowerBook, I'll post my further MacStories, then.

Thanks for reading!

Well, My Weekend Was a Good One!

This post is link heavy so be sure to click on any link you see for either a site or a pic!!

I celebrated YET another birthday yesterday, but aside from that, it was a pretty good weekend! ;) Friday was great - I saw TheFiancee in her show and man was it good! Everyone was really solid and the show inspired me to do a standing "O" which I don't think I've ever done for a show I saw in LA. (Or anywhere else, for that matter.) I also got TheKey Books 1 and 2 to my proofreader/editor so that was good for Friday, too. I also enjoyed a couple of corndogs at the mall where I also visited my favorite anime shop in town, Power Anime and bought some Ghost in the Shell toys. I also picked up a Microman figure (Automaster Ryan) from Suncoast video.

Saturday, we saw the new Harry Potter film, the Pocket Review for which you can read here. Saturday before the movie we ran over to Meltdown Comics, where I bought a Spider-Man/Gwen Stacey mini-figure double-pack and a lame AstroBoy figure. The mini-figs are cool, but the AstroBoy gfig sucks. It's barely posable and is only really effective hanging from a string thanks to him being permanently stuck in "I'm flying" mode. Then, after Harry Potter I just chilled at home, working on the computer, wishing for my iBook refund check to come.

Sunday, which was my birthday, proper, started out with TheFiancee giving me my pressies. She completed my collection of Micromen, which are action figures based on the Micronauts from the 70s. She also gave me a stuff Ein from Cowboy Bebop and the 5th MST3K DVD boxset. All, way-cool gifts!! Then, I drove TheFiancee to her matinee performance and then drove her car (since I don't own one) to Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre (Pictures: here, here & here.) where I bought tickets for a stack of Godzilla movies they're running in conjunction with the big G's 50th Anniversary. This was my dad's B-Day present to me. Thanks, Dad!!

After that, I went to my favorite hot dog place in Hollywood, Skooby's and enjoyed two garlic dogs.

After that, I checked out a new shopping center in West Hollywood (my old stomping grounds), it's anything but a strip mall, check out pics here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. At the huge Best Buy there I bought a Cutey Honey anime DVD for $13!! 240 minutes of animation for $13!!! How could I not snap that deal up? When I got back, I found a good place in the apartment for the model Delorean my pal Chad sent me for my bday. Thanks Chad!! It's sitting atop the Atari 2600 case.

TheFiancee then took me to dinner at this Fish & Chips place not far from a movie theater we later saw a Chuck Heston double feature of The Omega Man and Soylent Green. I'd never seen The Omega Man before but enjoyed it while I always seem to catch new details when I watch Soylent Green. Watch for my Pocket Reviews for both in the next couple of days.

I also got calls from both sets of parents, one of my best friends (thanks Tammy!!), a couple of cards (Thanks Carmen, Peter & Nana!), and still no refund check from Apple :crazy:

And that was pretty much that. As you can tell, it was a damn fine weekend!! I couldn't ask for a better birthday weekend to be perfectly honest.

But now it's Monday and I have an absolute BUTTLOAD of work to do!!!

EXPERTS SAY AMERICANS PREFER SAFETY TO FREEDOM

Not THIS American... :angry:

According to a June 7, 2004 Reuters article, experts in social history and political behavior say that Americans throughout history, don't mind if their rights are infringed if it's for a good reason.

This is how much most Americans paid attention in history class. The Founding Fathers make this big deal about liberty and freedoms over all else and the minute we're in danger nobody cares about civil rights anymore. And history can prove it. The following is from the article:
Historians cite the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798, when a threat of war with France led to the law making it illegal to speak critically of the United States. Editors were arrested, and newspapers closed down.

In the U.S. Civil War, Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus writs, which protect against unlawful imprisonment.

During World War One, fear of rising communism led to anti-immigrant sentiment, deportations and a violent crackdown on the labor movement. The 1917 Espionage Act prohibited anti-war activity and under the 1918 Sedition Act no one could "utter, print, write, or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language" about the government.

Cold War fears of communist infiltration helped fuel the powerful House Un-American Activities Committee and a "Red Scare" led to discrimination and detention. Under the Smith Act, one could not advocate overthrow of the U.S. government.
I was more than surprised upon reading that these laws were actually on the books.

So, our rights are inalienable, except in times of war? Our rights are inalienable except when the guy in the White House says we are at war?

Frankly, that's bullshit.

Our rights are our rights and time of war, or no, they stay our rights. Our rights are not to be given or taken away by another man. If you're a believer in a higher power you know that only God gives rights and takes them away.

The article goes on to quote these experts as explaining that we're far from a fascist dictatorship. One expert is quoted in the article as saying "Were the denials of civil liberties to really spread to the mainstream population and outside aspects of terrorism, then I think there would be a hue and cry which you do not hear now."

Do we really want to wait that long? Isn't it enough that some people's rights are already being actively infringed upon? Do we really need to wait until the USGov commits furhter illegal acts before there is an outcry?

If you're an American reading this, the answer is probably yes.

NIMBY. Not In My Back Yard. Everything's fine until it happens to you or a neigbor.

THEN, you'll care. THEN you'lll give a crap.

The thing is if we'd stop trying to label people as liberals, activists, conspiracy theorists, foreigners, savages, and barbarians, we'd realize we're all each other's neighbors. If it weren't for our country's borders and the power of religion over all of us, all humans would probably get along just fine.

We are all in this together and the sooner we realize that when something bad happens to one of us it means it can happen to any of us. One human's rights being infringed upon anywhere in the world means that we are all at risk. If any American's rights are infringed upon it harms every American for a number of reasons.

1) Obviously, it means any of our rights can be infringed upon.
2) Don't think that being a law abiding citizen makes a difference. Mistakes and abuse of the law happen all the time.
3) When we, as a people, allow our own rights to be infringed upon we look like hipocrites to the rest of the world.

America is the torch bearer for freedom, human rights and equality. When any of those things are compromised, even slightly, you run into the fourth way it harms every American.

4) History will look poorly on us.

Does America stand for something? Or not?

Read more about these experts' comments at Netscape News.

Read about a 2002 USAToday poll that suggests four in five Americans would be willing to give up some freedoms to imrpove security.

Saturday, June 5, 2004

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004)

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)Entertaining? Sure, definitely. It's a crowd pleaser.
Technically any good? It was predictable, plot-holey and meandering. There's no real climax and what climax there is pops out of nowhere and leaves just as quickly.
How did I feel as the credits rolled? I didn't like this movie because the script just wasn't thought out completely. It leaves gaping plot holes everywhere (like why was Black imprisoned?). That said, most folks will probably enjoy it just fine.
Final Rating? SAM (like I did, but try to PAY for a matinee price, UNLIKE, me... damn, stupid cashier!)

New Stuff!!

Here are some new things I've added/created recently:

Harry Potter 3 Pocket Review
My Deviant Art Page (not that there's much there, yet...
My MoBlog (Mobile Blog)
My Movie Journal
My New Ghost in the Shell toy picture gallery

Go check 'em out! :)

RONNY RAY-GUN IS DEAD

Okay, I've decided it. Reagan is dead and I'M going to be the one to do what everyone else won't do. Bag on the guy. But first off, a reminder of where he came from:
reagan (81k image)


Now, Reagan started out as an actor. But then he decided to make even more money by hawking cancer sticks. Sure, sure, nobody thought cigarette smoking was bad for you back then. In fact, most people thought it was cool. Well, fine. Then let's just bag on him for hawking anything. He had fans and no doubt those fans smoked more cigarettes because of the guy endorsing Chesterfields. So, more people smoked these little things that make you cough when you inhale what they produce. That is, until you force your body into submission by continual inhalation of what they produce. What they produce also happens to smell lousy, get in clothes and in the furniture and permiate walls and floors, therefore making all of them smell bad, too. In short, it doesn't take a lung surgeon to work out that cigarette smoking is a filthy, disgusting habit. And there's Reagan up there hawking them.

Now, I grew up on the east coast of America, so I have no concept of what Reagan was like as the governor of California. I only can tell you what I though of his as a teen, growing up three hours north of where he was living at the time, down in Washington DC. It was a very serious time for everyone. I had determined that I would die before I was 30, most likely in a nuclear fireball. The cold war effected many of us that way. But coming as almost a distraction from the Iran-Contra scandal, the cold war ended and everyone laid the responsibility for it at Reagan's feet. But what most people didn't have was an education regarding just who "we" were "fighting" during that cold war. I, however, did.

I had studied both the Soviet Union and the Russian language for a time in high school. Certainly not enough to be a master of either, but enough to know that there was just no money in Communism. Think about it, it's a way of life where everyone works for the common good, and all are supposed to be perfectly equal. But that's not how it worked, was it? The Soviet government was dishonest and corrupt. They would reward their dutiful servants with wealth that had to come from somwhere. That was where the average citizens came in. They lived lives not as equals but as poor people. There was nothing equal about them when compared to the elite.

In the end Communism, Soviet Communism, would have failed no matter what. There just wasn't any money in it. That's why Communism continues to dwindle to this day.

Reagan did nothing to "win" the cold war. It's just that his enemy's way of life collapsed on his watch.

Saying Reagan won the cold war is a like saying Al Gore created the Internet. Or that George W was responsible for 911 happening. (Well, actually, the honest jury's still out on that one.)

The impression I had of Reagan in 1986 was the same many people had of George W before 911. He was a puppet who seemed to mean well. Of course, Reagan was still a better actor.

This is not to say Ronny didn't do some good. His hopefully, optimistic (and sometimes naive) demeanor made a lot of people hopeful that they wouldn't die in a nuclear fireball.

However, Reagan also called the Soviet Union "the Evil Empire." This is hardly a rational person who thinks his enemy is so simple-minded as to be simply "evil." Any child can imagine the evil Soviet prime minister plotting like a mad scientist for world domination. But all an adult needs to do is look at the Soviet's efforts to take over the world.

They got China and Cuba. They couldn't even get Afghanistan.

Clearly, Reagan's use of the phrase "evil empire" was meant to mislead us into thinking every single Soviet citizen was against us. That is, unless he was just a puppet and was so simple-minded on his own to believe that things could be boiled down to such simple terms as "good vs. evil."

In this case, he was just a puppet doing the job of his masters.

Which is how I will always remember him. If he wasn't hawking cigarettes, he was hawking something else. Trying to sell us on how Soviet citizens were evil people, or the idea of lasers in space or the idea that he actually knew nothing about Iran-Contra.

Always selling something, like a good actor does.

While his mind has been gone for so long the press wouldn't bother showing him on TV or talking with him at all, he's finally dead, now, at the age of 93.

Not a bad run, if you ask me. Even for a puppet.


UPDATED 6/7/4: Looks like I'm not the only person on the planet who remembers Reagan as a less than perfect man.

Greg Palast calls Reagan a conman, a killer and a coward.

Ted Rall thinks Reagan is now getting crispy brown in a short rant at his website. (As I type this, Rall's site was having trouble coming up - I wonder why that could be... but hopefully by the time you're reading this, he's got his problems cleared up.)


Friday, June 4, 2004

Yeah, I'd Like a Gmail Account, WHAT'S IT TO YOU?

What's GMail? First things, first! So, I'm going through this weird phase where I am jonesing to sign up for new and cool things on the 'net, right? I have a page at Deviant Art, I now keep a MoBlog at TextAmerica, and I even joined Orkut. But one thing that I can't sign up for is what I want to sign up for most of all. What is this thing?

GMail.

GMail is short for Google Mail. I can't explain precisely the urge I was having to join up. Maybe it was the 1 gig of storage space, maybe it was the fact that Google is one of the coolest, most subtle sites out there, despite it's immense popularity. I just don't know.

So, I hit the GMail page just to see if they're offering the service yet. As usual, they are not. You can read all about this cool new service, but for some reason, they haven't opened the service up to the public. So, naturally, I get curious, when are they going to open up registration to the public? So, I search Google News for news on Google Mail. What do I find? Nothing specific regarding dates, but I do find this article that talks about how a GMail account is the hip-new-cool thing to have/want on the 'net. It turns out that Google is only giving out GMail accounts to a select few during it's beta testing period. What's worse is that Google seems to hand accounts out divinely, moving in very mysterious ways. This has created quite a furvor, causing many, many people to become damn-near obsessed with getting a GMail account for themselves.

And here, I thought I was the only one.

Boy was I wrong! In fact, people want a GMail accound so bad that this site has apparently taken off like gangbusters. It's a site called "Gmailswap.com" and it's basically a board that allows you to post what you would trade for a GMail account. Yes, it's gone that far.

The only thing I am wondering is just what I have to trade to turn this: gmailwannabe@thepete.com into this: thepete@gmail.com.

Well, a guy's gotta have his dreams, doesn't he?

Thursday, June 3, 2004

Damn It!! Why Do I Never Have Enough???

I NEED MORE PAPER!!! ARG!!!

It's 11:30pm and no place has paper!!!


Actually, Ralph's had paper, but it was $5.99 for 500 sheets!! What's up with THAT??

Well, Book 1 is printed out and so is MOST of Book 2. :cry:

Got 200 more pages to go.

Anyone live near Westwood, CA and could drop a few hundred sheets by tonight? :D

Red Dwarf Toy News!!

starbugbox (29k image)


It's true!! A Starbug playset complete with figures!! Alas, it's not going to be out until October of this year, but that's just FOUR short months away... I think I can wait! Click the above pic to go to the official site of the Starbug playset!

For those of you who are good scifi impaired, Red Dwarf is the funniest damn scifi show ever created. It's also the reason TheFiancee and I ever met. Basically, I am a sucker for anything Red Dwarf, despite the fact that I don't watch the episodes all the time, like other, lesser, fanatics. See, I've all but memorized every damn bit of dialogue, so watching them is like watching the original version of the Star Wars trilogy.

So, PRAISE CLOISTER! THE STARBUT PLAYSET IS SOON TO BE UPON US!!

Translation: Finally, there will be Red Dwarf toys after more than ten years of being a fan!

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Book One is Done!

Dat's RIGHT!!! TheKey Book 1 is FINISHED. Well, I finished the polish on the 3rd draft. Now it's time to print it out and get it proofed one last time. Yeehaw.

The even better news is now I can get back to Book 3, which I'm not a month behind on. Sheesh. Gotta catch up on that puppy, fast!

So, now the objective is simple. Print out Books 1 & 2, and get 1 proofed and the other edited. Book 2 should move more smoothly than book 1 simply because I was doing a better job by that point. Plus all the characters are established and you really are supposed to view it as picking up right where Book 1 leaves off.

After all that, I do the cover and it's publishing time!! YEEEEEHAW!!!!

Sorry, is it wrong for me to be excited about my own work? ;)

CHENEY, QUIT YOU-ING US AROUND!

cheneylookingevil (20k image)Wow, well, in case you didn't hear, despite all of Dick Cheney's admissions to the opposite, he apparently did have control over at least one no-bid contract deal with Haliburton.

OOPS!

Seriously, here's a quote from a Time.Com article:
Vice President Dick Cheney was a guest on NBC's Meet the Press last September when host Tim Russert brought up Halliburton. Citing the company's role in rebuilding Iraq as well as Cheney's prior service as Halliburton's CEO, Russert asked, "Were you involved in any way in the awarding of those contracts?" Cheney's reply: "Of course not, Tim ... And as Vice President, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the [Army] Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the Federal Government."

Cheney's relationship with Halliburton has been nothing but trouble since he left the company in 2000. Both he and the company say they have no ongoing connections. But TIME has obtained an internal Pentagon e-mail sent by an Army Corps of Engineers official—whose name was blacked out by the Pentagon—that raises questions about Cheney's arm's-length policy toward his old employer. Dated March 5, 2003, the e-mail says "action" on a multibillion-dollar Halliburton contract was "coordinated" with Cheney's office. The e-mail says Douglas Feith, a high-ranking Pentagon hawk, got the "authority to execute RIO," or Restore Iraqi Oil, from his boss, who is Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. RIO is one of several large contracts the U.S. awarded to Halliburton last year.
And there's proof that Cheney did have influence over at least once contract.

Meanwhile, House Dems have begun "urging" for a special counsel (remember Ken Starr?) to look into whether or not this means Cheney broke the law. Regardless of that, it's proof that he's a liar. It's proof that rather than respecting the American people with the truth, he'd rather treat us all like dumb children by telling us that everything is fine and that we should just go back to sleep.

Well, it ain't fine, Cheney.

You should be impeached right along with "W." Both of you for lying to the American people. To get impeached all that must be proven is that you acted outside the interests of the American people.

Every day, I'm more tempted to vote for you and Bush. I don't want you to get away with what you guys are trying to pull. We can't impeach you now because it's an election year. But if you do some how lose (HA, yeah, right), Kerry will just pardon your ass, just like every other president who followed a law-breaker.

I hate to be shallow, but just look at how long he's had that suspicious look to him:
cheneyashcroft (42k image)
Yes, that's Rumsfeld on the right. I wish I knew where they were and what they were doing when this pic was taken. I just found it some place, I don't even remember where...

The point is, he brickwalls the GAO on the energy task force and lies about this Haliburton contract.

What does it take for a guy to get impeached in a Republican-dominated government?

I know, I know... a democrat getting a hummer in the oval office...

hummer (27k image)?
No, not THAT kind of hummer!!

Ohhh, just use your imagination!!!

Read the Time article covering the "smoking email."

Read a Reuters article covering the Dems pushing for a probe to find out if Cheney broke the law when he coordinated that Haliburton contract.

THE PAST IS PROLOGUE

Ben Franklin once said "What's past is prologue." If that man was right, consider these two news bites:

CIA to Investigate Chalabi. Considering this is the guy the USGov got all of their pre-Iraq-Attack WMD info from, perhaps they should have done this sooner????

This is a good idea, however, considering the next news bite, I hope it's not because Chalabi is their source, again!

U.S. Says Iran Hiding Nuke Bomb Program from UN. Hopefully, the USGov will do a little more homework before they go and bomb the crap out of Tehran.

Good luck, Mahmut!


That's Mahmut and the last boba drink he made for me. Many of you know that myself and TheFiancee hang out a lot at a local boba house called Boba Loca. (I hang out less there since my iBook fiasco, but once I'm wireless again, I'll be back down there some more.) Mahmut, as of today, was one of the guys who worked there and served up some great boba drinks. Always smiling and friendly, Mahmut would make drinks fast and well. But recently, he got accepted to grad school in Ohio. So, today he leaves to spend two months with family back in his native Turkey and in August returns the US to begin two years in Ohio...

Oh yeah, he'll be missing LA before too long! ;)

But we'll be missing him, too.

Good luck, Mahmut! Don't forget to email!!

Click the above pic to visit my MoBlog and to comment on the pic above, or just comment with the link below.

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The MacBitch Returns!

Well, as you may recall from the last installment of my MacStories adventures, I was waiting for a check. Jennifer from Apple CR had said that it would take about two weeks to cut a check for me. Well, as the two week deadline approaches, I've been curious. Last Thursday I called Jennifer to ask her where the check was in the pipeline. She had said that I could call if I had any questions. So, I did. I didn't hear back from her and when I called on Friday I got her voice mail once again, this time it said she'd be out of the office until June 1st. It would have been nice if she could have made a 30 second phone call to me letting me know what was up, but no, she just had to take off early for her long weekend.

Well, today she calls back and is all curt and blunt with me on the phone. She explained that it would take Apple 2-4 weeks to cut the check "as I told you." I immediately corrected her explaining that she had left me with the idea that it would take 2 weeks, not 2-4. She then replied that it shouldn't take more than two weeks but that the check is handled by another department that she is not a part of and therefore has no way of tracking where in the pipeline the check is.

"Well, is there any way you can put me in touch with that department?"

"No, that department is completely internal."

"Huh. Okay, well, thanks anyway."

Click.

That "click" was her, not me. She decided that I didn't have any more questions worth answering. She decided that despite here enthusiastic asurances, she wasn't going to be nice to me any more because I actually took her up on her offer of courtesy and actually called her with a question. In fact, the whole "conversation" she was incredibly aloof with me. We've had a few conversations with each other, during them I've mentioned that the number she had was my cell phone and yet when I answered her call she asked for me. How many people have someone else answer their cell phone calls?? Maybe she forgot? WHY did she forget something simple like that?

Regardless, she went from polite and helpful over a week ago to being a typical corporate-minded, "why are you making me do my job, you dickweed" drone worker.

Why is it that people find it so hard to 1) do the jobs they're paid to do and 2) be nice to people in the process? If your job is customer relations, the least you should be able to do is be nice to people.

Perhaps they think I'm no longer a customer of Apple. I still own an iPod and I'm planning on buying an Apple in the future thanks to the wonderful abundance of computer choices open to me. [sarcasm mode cancel] What worse is that I feel like they don't care about the inconvenience they put me through. All they are doing is treating me like shit and not compensating me for the hours and hours of time I've lost with their lemon-of-a-computer. The very least they could do is be nice to me.

What it comes down to is this, it's not Micro$oft that has a monopoly on computers, it's the corporations that have the monopoly. They charge what they want to charge, do what they want to do and treat us the way they want to treat us. And the way they want to treat us is like the troglodites they see us as. The corporate world is the feudal system returned and we are the serfs, the peasants, those poor saps who have no choice but to eat the well packaged fecal matter that they feed us. Maybe that's why they call us consumers.

And who do we have to complain to for this corporate mal-treatment? Them? Clearly that gets us nowhere. The press? Oh yeah, with all the killing going on in the world, a story about some sap who got treated poorly is really going to rake in the advertising money...

Well, as useless as it will be, I'll fight the good fight and send another nasty email to Steve Jobs should I not get my check by next Monday. I don't know what I'll do after that.

Is it so difficult to be nice?