Are you bored of all of these coffee house shots yet? Maybe if I actually
visited more than just two different Internet cafes these pics would be a
bit more interesting. :( Anyway, so in this pic I'm back at the Playa Bean
on me lunch hour. YIPPEEEEE!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
"Well, the only way to see if it works on humans is if we try it. But how can we get their permission first if we have to wait until their heart stops to ask them?" is what I imagine Dr. Moron asking Dr. Dipshitz.
"You're right! Let's subject them to a potentially fatal test and not give any further thought to it!" replies Dr. Dipshitz.
Of course, they don't bother to even think about an alternative to violating human rights by publicizing that they need people to volunteer for the tests. And by "volunteering" I don't mean they should volunteer to have their heart suddenly stopped. If you thought that you're as dumb as Dr. Moron. What I mean is, publicize the hell out of this and get hundreds or even thousands of people to sign waivers saying "if I'm in a car accident, you can do the test on me."
Car accidents happen all the time--it's highly likely that the doctors would get "lucky." I'd much prefer their research get delayed over them testing something that won't work on me, thank you very much.
Read more about the specifics in [http://chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/nation/4839234.html|a May 26, 2007 article] from WashingtonPost.com but available at Chron.com.
So have a listen now!
It's silly and fun and is a pleasant departure from the depressing stuff I usually blog about :)
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Back in LA, at Boba Loca (as usual), this time at the bench by the door with
the Bruin movie theater in the background through the BL's window. When
this pic was taken I was busy working on/testing a script that will
automatically take a picture with my MacBook's built-in iSight AND upload it
to Flickr automatically. Isn't that cool? I'd make the script available to
everyone except it only works on my MacBook--it gets confused on my
PowerBook for some reason. Not sure why.
So, according to CNN, this extremist guy calling the US evil is the most important story. Meanwhile, Japanese news source, KyodoNews.co.jp reports:
Which do you think is more important? Some Iraqi militia leader guy calling names or NoKo firing test missiles at Japan?
I'm thinking that you know what I'm thinking...
Technically any good? While far from perfect cinema, this movie knows exactly what it's trying to do and it succeeds in doing it. There are definitely moments in the movie that needed second takes or better sound and even, very rarely, different cinematography. Still, the acting is spot-on, though it's not super challenging to pull off what this movie requires of its actors. Of course the comic timing that is required to pull a lot of the gags off is incredibly important and everyone nails it.
How did it leave me feeling? Incredibly entertained. After a really stressful week of all sorts of dumb, real-life stress, this was exactly the movie I needed to see. Special thanks to the fine folks at the NuArt for screening this movie at their Friday midnight show. If you're in LA, on the Westside and you're looking for a good midnight show, swing by the NuArt on Santa Monica Blvd, just west of the 405 freeway.
Final Rating? GSN!!! GO SEE NOW!! Or NETFLIX THIS PUPPY!
In the past I've been a pro-Chavez kind of guy. He was elected on a populist platform which means he appealed to the majority of the people and gave them what they wanted. Ironically, the majority of Venezuela are what many of us white folks would call peasants. Poor people with no power. I call them peasants because that's what some guy on CNN called them over the weekend when these riots started. See, Chavez grabbed a corporation-run TV station and turned it all public-accessy and stuff. There were riots by what, I assume, are the rich folks. The CNN guy said something like: "this extends beyond the TV station, though, right? It goes all the way to Chavez seizing people's land and giving it to peasants."
Isn't that neat how the good-looking, white, ethnocentric-as-fuck newscaster suggests there's a difference between "people" and "peasants"?
ANYway, so Chavez nabbed this station and gave it over to "the people". The thing is, the rich folks are right on this one--Chavez is wrong to silence anyone. If he wanted to look like a good guy, he'd leave the corporate station alone and give the poor folks buckets of money to produce their own shows.
Now he just comes off like a big brothery type guy who is only catering to the poor folks because they allow him to avoid fixing elections. As far as I know he's also still got the power to rule by decree. This power is supposed to run out after 18 months (I think) but it's only been like 6, if that.
Since I've been a supporter of Chavez in the past, I knew it was a good idea to speak up and say that I'm not down with taking away ANYone's voice. Like I said if Hugo wanted to do some good, he shouldn't take away the rich guy's megaphone, he should just give a PA system to the poor folks.
So what if this corporate station supported the 2002 coup against you, Hugo? You look really bad now--all Putiny and stuff.
To read some mainstream (ethnocentric/racist) coverage of this story check out [http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8PDFHC00&show_article=1bu|this May 28, 2007 article] from AP.org.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
So, the guy who said gays, liberals and abortionists were the reason 911 happened gets this kind of positive treatment. The dude was a bastard (my opinion) and a hate-monger (fact). All Drudge (and so many other "news" sources) can do is say good things about him.
As I've been saying for years now, we are living on Bizarro World...
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.
More and more, these days, I am finding that I am feeling more and more like Heston's character in the first PotA movie (NOT the one with Marky Mark). I feel like I'm the smartest one around--even if it's by accident. Hell I've been officially off the sugar-drinks since the spring of 2003 just because I had read that sugar might be reeeally really horrible for you. So, here it is, four years later and it looks like I may have avoided having my very DNA diced and sliced by a nasty chemical in my Mountain Dew Code Red. But what IS that chemical. Well, here's more from the article:
Concerns centre on the safety of E211, known as sodium benzoate, a preservative used for decades by the Â£74bn global carbonated drinks industry. Sodium benzoate derives from benzoic acid. It occurs naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces.
Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer because when mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it causes benzene, a carcinogenic substance. A Food Standards Agency survey of benzene in drinks last year found high levels in four brands which were removed from sale.
Zowie. Well, I don't think Code Red is available in the UK, where the study occurred, so after a quick visit to [http://mountaindew.com/about_dew/product_info/cr.php|the Code Red product info page] at MountainDew.Com, I discovered that, yes, in fact, Code Red does contain Sodium Benzoate, which may very well mess with your health on the most basic of levels. Here's a bit more from the above linked article, this cutting refers to the unfortunately named scientist name behind the study:
Now, an expert in ageing at Sheffield University, who has been working on sodium benzoate since publishing a research paper in 1999, has decided to speak out about another danger. Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.
He told The Independent on Sunday: "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.
Sheeeit! That does sound pretty horrible, doesn't it? Well, let's not beat around the bush--HOW is it bad for you?
"The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."
And here I thought that perpetual fatigue I have felt since I was 23 was just a part of having a dayjob. Turns out there's a reason my energy level rose back in the spring of 2003.
So, if you were on the fence about jumping off the soda wagon in favor of the water wagon, good GOD, man! JUMP!! JUUUUMP!!!
JUMP FOR YOUR LIFE!!!
Technically any good? Almost everything good about the last two films was ignored and what was used in this film was used poorly. It felt as though the writers were bored with the concept and as a result, I think the script suffers. The acting was fine, but who cares? The same goes for the effects. Forget that they were gorgeous--the script was as muddled and confused as Spider-Man 3's script. Too many storylines going made for no clear throughline for us to grab onto. It was a serious mess that I couldn't even tell you about. Seriously, the plot is that muddy. It's NOT about bringing Jack Sparrow back from Davey Jones' Locker. It was about that, the East India Company trying to get the nine Pieces of Eight, Captain Barbosa releasing Davey Jones' ex-girlfriend from her fleshy prison, and uh... whether or not Will and Elizabeth should be together, and about Will trying to save his father, and.... you get the point.
How did it leave me feeling? Like I wasted the last 2 hours and 45 minutes of my life. Seriously, this movie could have been GREAT if it was forced to be 2 hours or less. I could have cut SO much to make this film better. What's sad is that, at the very least, the last two were crowd pleasers. While the last one was way more dumb than the first, this one completes the descent of the franchise. A fourth PotC movie? It won't be one I'll pay for.
Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See - Seriously. Netflix something. Seriously.
Monday, May 28, 2007
My caption would be: "Caught: Before They Could...Commit a Crime"
I suppose it is illegal to plan to commit a crime? I suppose it's illegal these days to even think about committing a crime.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
Me at this great little coffee house in Ventura called Latte 101. They've
got a great place that's the perfect middle ground between big and small,
they've got a huge and creative menu (Espresso Ice Blended!!!) and, of
course, free wifi. Check them out at Latte101.Com. I found them on
WifiFreeSpot.Com, which is where I found Boba Loca in Westwood Village,
where I've been going to for almost 4 years. If I lived up here I'd come
here all the time.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
TheWife and I after getting out of Dodge!! This is us in an Outback
Steakhouse in Oxnard.
See, In old westerns (usually taking place in an old western town called
"Dodge City") when the hero would get in trouble with the law or the local
band of gunslingers, they'd say "you've got to get out of Dodge!" So, when
ever I leave a city I spend way too much time in, I say the same thing. Of
course, an hour's drive up the 101 to Ventura doesn't fully count as getting
away from the big city, but it sure feels different up here!
Friday, May 25, 2007
Back at TheBean, but enshrouded in shadow! SHOOPER!!
That night we saw "Better Off Dead" at the NuArt's midnight show--bloody
brilliant film!! Netflix that puppy if you don't have it in your personal
video collection already!
The point is, if the guy in the White House starts spouting off about a new country threating America and there are plans drawn up by the Pentagon (as in Iran's case) odds are someone with American blood is already inside said country. CBSNews.com is [http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/23/eveningnews/main2843582.shtml|reporting] that not only do we have guys inside Iran, but they're mucking up the nuclear works. Here's a cutting:
CBS News has learned that Iran is continuing to make progress on its expanded efforts to enrich uranium â€” in spite of covert efforts by U.S. and other allied intelligence agencies to actively sabotage the country's nuclear program.
"Industrial sabotage is a way to stop the program, without military action, without fingerprints on the operation, and really, it is ideal, if it works," says Mark Fitzpatrick, the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Non-Proliferation and now Senior Fellow in Non-Proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
I mean, wait--the sabotage isn't working, so the Iranian "nuculer" program (as too many people are calling it) is moving on.
Forget that I've heard Iran is still 4 or 5 years away from having enough weapons grade radioactive stuff to make a bomb (let alone the time to make the bomb itself).
Forget that the Iranians keep telling us they only want nuke energy not nuke weapons.
No, Iran is clearly a threat--or at least, that seems to be what the Bushies want us to believe. This is why CBS got the info about the US folks inside Iran dropping some monkeys into the wrench factories (how else do you make monkeywrenches??).
Doesn't this all seem wonderfully familiar?
Thursday, May 24, 2007
AGAIN with the blurry bottle! Well, in case you can't tell, that's a bottle
of Dr. Pepper. Boba Loca (where I am in the shot) sells this really cool
version of Dr. P that doesn't used refined sugar, but instead uses cane
sugar. Sure, it's still bad for you but not as bad as refined. It also
tastes hellabetter than regular Dr. P, which I like just fine, but it's
pretty damn sweet. I don't need so much sweet and this version gives it to
This version of Dr. Pepper is becoming a Thursday night (payday) tradition!
Not unless they up the storage or drop the price dramatically. I have two phones that do the same stuff the iPhone does and they both have a tactile keyboard/pad. That said, the next new iPod is much more likely to be the next gadget I buy. WHAT new iPod, you ask?
The one that PiperJaffray is predicting, according to [http://www.tuaw.com/2007/05/24/piperjaffray-analyst-predicts-autumn-6g-ipod/|a May 24, 2007 post] at TUAW.com. [http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/news/index.cfm?newsid=9482|The article] the TUAW blog post references doesn't mention any specifics beyond the wide, touchable screen and a $399 pricepoint (duh) but I'm going to have a hard time saying no to this one. A wide screen iPod? Damn, if it recorded mp4 video for immediate playback I'd sell an organ to buy it if it came out tomorrow. However, I'll just be sitting tight, saving my pennies starting now.
When will this 6g iPod come out? PJ says we should look for it come autumn.
I think I can scrape $400+tax together by then...
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Scientists: CO2 Emissions Unexpectedly Soared Since 2000
Meanwhile in related news, a team of international scientists reported on Monday that worldwide carbon dioxide levels have taken a sudden and alarming jump since the year 2000. The scientists found that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels are increasing at three times the rate experienced in the 1990s.
Don't worry, [http://www.smh.com.au/news/World/CO2-emissions-sped-up-after-2000-study/2007/05/22/1179601366748.html|Sydney Morning Herald is reporting the same thing]. Here's what they say about the study that found the numbers DN reported on:
"This paper should be a rallying cry," said Chris Field, a co-author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Noting recent media reports about countries and companies making serious commitments to combat climate change, Field said: "This basically says what the challenge is, how serious they need to be."
Field, of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology in Stanford, California, said the study found that between 2000 and 2004, worldwide carbon dioxide emissions increased by 3.1 per cent a year, about three times as fast as the 1.1 per cent rate of increase in the 1990s.
In addition to energy intensity, the speed-up is also due to a rise in how much carbon it takes to make the energy people use. Other factors include growth in world population and individual gross domestic product, the study said.
Field noted the scientific consensus that carbon emissions contribute to global climate change.
Much of the accelerated carbon dioxide emissions come from China, where a fast-growing economy is powered largely by coal-fired energy.
So, there ya have it. It's time to stop looking for a single solution to oil and just start using SOMEthing other than it for everything. Ethanol, solar, wind, hydro, hydrogen, ANYthing other than oil.
No single thing will replace oil, but we've got to start diversifying.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Ha-HAH! Here's a nice variation on the theme! I'm in a coffee house (my
favorite: Boba Loca, in Westwood) and I'm NOT ACTUALLY DRINKING A CAFFINATED BEVERAGE! I'm not even DRINKING a beverage that ISN'T EVEN CAFFINATED!!
Dig that blurry bottle!
Sunday, May 20, 2007
Just me in the homecube. Have no idea what the hell I was thinking or why I
took this pic. I think I noticed my Applescript was kicking in so I just
smiled at the camera. Easy. breezy, cover girl--uh, boy!
Of course, the main reason you should pay a visit to CustomToyLab.Com right now is that OUR OLD PAL CHALKY IS FEATURED!! Check out the link below and be sure to leave a comment on how cool you think he is!!
In case you don't remember who Chalky is, here's a refresher:
Awww, isn't he adorable? Don't you just want to hug him and wipe all of that chalky goodness onto your shirt?
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Must... concentrate... on... SOMETHING... I don't remember this pic even
being snapped--I have an automatic script set up on my Mac now to snap a pic
with the built-in iSight every three hours, regardless of where it is or who
is in front of it. I must have been stressing about my website acting wonky
Friday, May 18, 2007
Here's a nice switch from yesterday's picture of me in a coffee house. This
one is an image of me I'm way more sick of seeing than you, I bet--it's me
in my cube at work. Bleh. Booooring!! But hey, at least it's not a shot
of me on a bus or sucking down some caffeine, right? (Though I could have
used some caffeine there, in my cube!)
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Tired of this shot yet?? Pics of me sucking on some sort of caffinated
beverage are becoming the new version of pics of me on a bus. ENOUGH
Oh, who am I kidding. I LOVE COFFEE!!
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
TheWife and I at a performance of "Yellow Face," a new play by the guy who wrote M. Butterfly. It was VERY good and don't worry, it's written by an Asian dude so we're not allowed to be offended by the title ;)
Seriously, aside from the overly preachy ending (which really did NOT have to be preachy at all) this play was very cool and very much worth checking out if you happen to have a chance to see it. We saw it at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. Check out the play's web page at MarkTaperForum.com. It's performing until July 1, 2007.
I'm all for gay rights, equal rights for women and minorities, I'm for animal rights, a people's sovereign rights, religious rights, reproductive rights and anything else that guarantees a basic level of stasis for humanity. One thing I'm against is hate crime legislation. To me, it's a form of prosecution that George Orwell called "WrongThinking". In his novel, 1984, people are punished simply for thinking certain things. This is obviously bad. However, are laws that punish you more for a hate crime any different? It's not like you killed a person more than you would have if you didn't hate them for being gay or black or whatever. I mean, dead is dead. What difference does it make why I did it? All that matters is that I did it.
Of course, the defense is that these laws are trying to discourage these kinds of crimes from happening. It's less bad to kill for greed or jealousy's sake, but kill a man because he likes other men and that's worse? Basically, the people behind these laws are trying to legislate thought. Essentially outlawing these kinds of thoughts. I think it's a slippery slope to arresting people for what they think. Now, DemocracyNow.Org reports in [http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/05/16/140212|today's headlines] that we're inching a bit further down that slippery slope in naming environmentalists who commit crimes terrorists. Here's how DN reported it today:
Prosecutors Environmental Activists to Be Sentenced as Terrorists
Federal prosecutors in Oregon said yesterday that a group of 10 environmental and animal rights activists should be considered terrorists for their involvement in a series of politically-motivated arsons. One attorney for the Bush administration likened the activists to the Ku Klux Klan. Attorneys for the activists condemned the government's move.
Lauren Regan of the Civil Liberties Defense Center: "The government in this case is seeking to apply the terrorist enhancement to individuals who are accused of environmentally motivated property crimes alone. This is the first time in the history of our country that the government is seeking this enhancement for crimes did not involve the murder or the attempted murder of humans. The reason is obviously political."
Sentencing for the activists is scheduled to begin next week. If the judge determines the activists to be terrorists it could add 20 years to their prison sentences.
So, now setting an empty SUV on fire is equivalent to suicide bombing and crashing planes into buildings.
See what happens when you let the motivation for a crime determine how serious it is?
How serious a crime is should be based on the act, itself.
If a guy cuts off a man's head with a hatchet, that's much more barbaric than simply shooting a man in the chest.
Do this any other way and we get into determining what should and should not legally go on in someone's head. Hence, the coming of wrongthinking as a crime.
1984 may be still yet to come, folks. However, we can stop it if we just pay attention and keep questioning.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Technically any good? The acting was about the only thing I liked--not that they got to do much more than play believable people running from zombies. The script was littered with contrivances, including one that made the whole movie go. Without it, the film has no story. And, like I said, similar contrivances were everywhere. The script was also very ham-fisted and manipulative. The fell back on every trick in the book to get the audience to feel sympathy ASIDE from actually creating interesting and dynamic characters. They cast good looking people in all of the lead roles (unlike 28 Days Later), they cast kids that are no more interesting than Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace and the camera/sound techniques that worked were stolen from the the film's prequel. Then there were the stupid characters doing stupid things. I could go on, really, I could. The zombie FX and gore were reasonable enough but without a decent story, who cares?
How did it leave me feeling? UNsatisfied, for sure. Just more of the same from the first film, without the cool social commentary and BASIC LOGIC that made 28 Days Later as good as it was. Seriously, as the premise of the film slowly became clear, I found myself wondering "why the hell do they want to do that??" As in: "Why do these people want to move back to London just 28 weeks after a virus drove everyone mad??" Seriously, it made no sense. If that happened to Los Angeles, I'd never go back.
Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See
Monday, May 14, 2007
Yeah, here's me in the reflection of a "clever" bus stop ad for the french
store. This bus stop is located on Le Conte, right across from the Best Buy
and Ralph's and right on the southern edge of UCLA, just in case you cared.
Here is a key piece of evidence in the case against American-born Jose Padilla, whose federal trial begins Monday in Miami â€” an Al Qaeda job application form. (Click [http://abcnews.go.com/images/TheLaw/padilladoc.pdf|here] to read an English translation of the Al Qaeda application, as well as the original Arabic.)
The application â€” obtained by ABC News' Law & Justice Unit â€” provides a window into a highly sophisticated organization with a corporate structure that resembles that of large American companies.
"It's a membership application â€” just the way you or I would fill out an application for a credit card company,'' said Jack Cloonan, former head of the FBI's Osama bin Laden squad in New York and now an ABC News consultant, who reviewed the document. "They're no different.''
A job application.
You have got to be shitting me. You can't expect us to believe this!
How absurd is the idea that AQ would need you to fill out an application. THEY'RE TERRORISTS!! And what an incredibly absurd thing for that ABC News consultant to say: "It's a membership application - just the way you or I would fill out an application for a credit card company, They're no different."
Yeah, except that the credit card doesn't authorize you for jihad! WTF! But here are some problems I have with the application itself:
1) First off, it doesn't say that it's an Al Qaeda application anywhere. The header on the first page proclaims "IN THE NAME OF GOD, THE MERCIFUL, THE COMPASSIONATE, Mujahideen Data Form, New Comers Form"
See? It makes no reference to being a form used by the AQ Human Resources department. It's simply a form for freedom fighters (that's what Mujahideen means). Seriously? This form could be for any group, even a few that aren't terrorists. Think I'm kidding about the AQ Human Resources department? Keep reading.
2) Below the header, it actually claims that the form is from "The Military Administration, Personnel Branch". So, according to people claiming this form is legit, AQ does, in fact, have an HR department.
3) This form is supposed to be hypothetical Jose Padilla's application to sign up with AQ and yet it's far from completely filled out. If this guy can't fill out a fracking form how do you think he's going to whip up a dirty bomb to use on innocent folks??
4) The form actually asks the question "Who referred you to us?" What's even funnier than a terrorist organization asking for the name of the guy who told you about this "way-cool terror group that's fightin' America" is that Padilla answered the question. How do we expect people so stupid as to not cover their tracks to actually threaten us?
5) There's even a section labeled "for administration use."
Come on, guys! These are TERRORISTS. Does ANYone really think this application form is legit?
I seriously don't. This seems like a fake, to me. Though I'm surely no expert.
Technically any good? The script was about as solid as it could be. There were a couple moments I would have changed, but these were not big enough to be any really mistakes, in my mind. The acting was, well, how do you think the acting was with Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench in the leads? About the only actor I thought could have done a better job was the kid but since he wasn't in the film all that much, I was OK with it. Oh and Bill Nighy was brilliant as always.
How did it leave me feeling? Very satisfied. I would have liked a more satisfying ending, but I think it's perfectly reasonable to end the film the way the director ended it. If you like great acting without a lot of complex plot machinations, check out this movie. It's not overly simple or anything but it doesn't over-think things either. As the Brits say, it's "spot on."
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - Just a good, solid film.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Don't know what the hell was up with this pic--I think I was getting ready
to go rollerblading or something. That's pretty much the only time I wear a
hat... I gotta start uploading these pics a bit closer to when I take them!
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Me at the Groundwork coffee house in Hollywood, chatting with my fellow
writer Chris (he's on the other side of the table, but trust me! He was
Friday, May 11, 2007
Yesterday evening, I'm walking from my dayjob to the bus stop and this Latino dude walking in the opposite direction smiles at me and holds out a day pass for the bus. "Hey, do you need this?"
He wasn't some freaky idiot or anything. He was a dude who recognized me from the bus--I didn't recognize him at all (even now, sadly), but I'm one of the only bleach-blond white guys that takes a bus in LA, so I can understand why he remembered me. Regardless of any of that, I was really struck by how this dude's natural instinct when he realized he no longer needed a day pass was to find someone else who might need one. I had to turn him down because I already have a monthly pass. However, it was still pretty cool of him to offer.
OK, now I'd like to do some armchair cultural analyzation. This analyzation will be based solely on stereotypes since any Latinos I know are much more assimilated into "white" culture and this guy looked and sounded like he was just smuggled in. Though to be honest I have no idea if he was an illegal. All I know for sure is that he was real nice.
But the assumption that jumped into my head was that he was pretty seriously Christian (as the Mexican stereotype suggests). It was Christianity that taught him that being nice to total strangers is good. Funny how white folks who are Christian aren't always that nice. It makes you wonder how different the two "colors" of Christianity are. Or perhaps the Mexican takes his religion more seriously than us white folks do.
Just some random musings, I guess.
Then, last night, I dashed out of my favorite Internet cafe to see (by total coincidence) TheWife's car passing directly in front of me and stopping at a light. She saw me, and after the light change, pulled over and picked me up. At the next light she handed one of those small, plastic shopping bags.
"An early birthday present," she said.
I looked inside the bag--there were two cans of [wiki: Haggis]!! I love Haggis and I had been talking about going to this British shoppe (their spelling, not mine!) in Santa Monica to pick some up. Turns out she was in SM yesterday so she decided to pick up a couple cans for us to have a special Scottish dinner tonight.
Now, it wasn't just that people were nice to me, but I was nice to TheWife, too. I picked up a little anime-themed trading figure for her.
So, three nice things in just one day, in just one person's life. If we could all just only do nice things for people (and ourselves) the world would be a much happier place.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Me doing one of my rare health-splurges. Here I am drinking classic Dr.
Pepper--but it's a special recipe. It's made with cane sugar instead of
regular refined sugar. Your body has an easier time digesting it (in
theory) because it's not as refined as the sugar you normally find in Dr.
P. It tastes a little better than regular Dr. P, too.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
Not sure what the hell's up with this pic. It's me in the homecube, but I'm
not sure what's going on inside my head. But that's what most people say
about me. :)
Of course, the defender of the USG's fear-mongery would point out the recent arrest of some guys in New Jersey who were planning on killing some folks at Ft. Dix, an army base in New Jersey (I actually did some training there myself, back in my ROTC days as a wee Jersey boy). But like those religious loonies down in Florida last year, these guys don't exactly seem like a grave threat to America, let alone anyone at Ft. Dix.
First off, these guys had no major weapons. They were trying to get them, but they didn't have any. According to [http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21702283-663,00.html|a May 10, 2007 article] at http://News.Com.au they:
spent nearly 16 months hatching the plot, which included firearms training, reconnaissance trips to the base at Fort Dix, and making arrangements to buy weapons such as assault rifles and a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.The last time I checked, it's not illegal to own a firearm or undergo "firearms training" in the US. Nor is it illegal to talk tough on video tape, which is what really got them in trouble. More from the article:
"My intent is to hit a heavy concentration of soldiers" at Fort Dix, one suspect allegedly told a co-operating witness.So, they puff up their chests in a video where they shoot guns and talk about killing some people inside an army base and this means they're criminals and terrorists? Dude, THIS IS AN ARMY BASE, we're talking about here.
"This is exactly what we are looking for. You hit four, five or six Humvees and light the whole place (up) and retreat completely without any losses."
Bravado and a desire to videotape themselves preparing for the attack, had led to the suspects' undoing, authorities said.
A videotape of a training session and an alert store clerk got the FBI on the case.
There's this little thing called... SECURITY.
These guys weren't even affiliated with Al Qaeda and we're supposed to think that they were threats?
New Jersey attorney Christopher Christie said the suspects, who range in age from 22 to 28 and came to the United States from Jordan, Turkey and the former Yugoslavia, were not part of any international terrorist organisation.So, an attack on soldiers at a US army base INSIDE of America is not an attack on a grand scale?
"Terrorist attacks are not always on a grand scale," Mr Christie said after the six were formally charged.
He described the group as serious, capable of carrying out the plot and the "model" for a new type of terrorism. "It could have been a disaster," he said.
Guess what, bright eyes! It'd have to be on a grand scale to get past the security at that base.
This is one of the grand ironies, here. So, these guys are trumped up as a big threat--so, a handful of guys with guns could have caused a "disaster"? Doesn't that sell our troops and their security a bit short? Who's not supporting the troops now? So, our troops can't defend themselves against SIX MEN with no actual connection to Al Qaeda?
This is just more crap, folks. More bullshit meant to keep us quaking in our boots against our darker-skinned neighbors.
Another grand irony here is that the more of these kinds of arrests that the United States Government performs, the more people will get pissed at them for it. These extremists already point at the USG and call it imperialist, fascist and tyrannical. A great way to encourage that sentiment is to prove them right by arresting people for things they haven't done yet.
If you're still not convinced that this is intentional fear mongering, check out the last paragraph of the above-linked article:
"Today we dodged a bullet," added Jody Weis, special agent in charge of the FBI's Philadelphia office. "They were forming a platoon to take out an army."It's as though they don't even realize how their poor choice of words will alarm people.
SIX guys were forming a "platoon" ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platoon|usually 30 to 50 men]) and were going to "take out an army"?
Monday, May 7, 2007
Sometimes I think we have Homer Simpson in the White House.
Most of the time I think we have a sociopathic idiot in there.
Here I am beneath the Los Angeles Federal Building. My post office is
also beneath it (to my right, though not in the shot) and I had just
checked my PO box. No fan mail today :(
OK, so I know I said I wouldn't say much more about this movie, but I felt like I wanted to be a bit more specific and profanity-free. Now on to the review!
Uuuum, Spider-Man 3 sucks beyond suckage. It's got 5 subplots and no actual main plot. Sure, Spider-Man is the title character, but the film constantly shifts focus away from him to one of the supporting characters and from them onto another and so on and so on so that every time you start to care for someone you get jerked around to another set of characters. Back on MST3k, Joel/Mike and the 'bots would be referring to each subplot as it's own movie. "Meanwhile, in yet another movie."
Of course, each subplot deserved to be its own movie, frankly, since all of the bad guys were definitely interesting enough to merit their own 120 minute spectacle opposite the hero who suffers from more contrived character motivations than the last movie he was in.
In the first Spider-Man movie, I found myself 90 percent happy with director Sam Raimi's choices. Over all, I felt that it was a Spider-Man Movie in a proper sense. The spirit of the character and the comic were both captured on screen. The second Spider-Man movie was fine, but it wasn't a proper Spider-Man movie. It was a typical Sam Raimi movie. As I recall, it was filled with a lot of cute screaming girls and scariness with a lot of absurd action and plot directions lacking motivation. Peter Parker has trouble feeling like he's living up to his Spider-Powers so he loses them. It's not Doc Ock that steals them from him, like in an actual comic--noooo! It's his own psyche--makes no sense. When he finally realizes he has to live up to his great power equalling responsibility, he simply decides to make his powers come back. They do and voila, the end of the movie can happen.
Likewise Spider-Man 3 is littered with plot devices and plot points that seem to be there solely to keep the plot going and do not exist through any inherent logic. Like the meteorite that delivers Spidey's black costume. For no apparent reason, the costume goes to great lengths to target Peter Parker. Of course, if Sam Raimi had Peter examine the meteorite as part of a class experiment, the costume leaping from the meteorite onto him would have made sense. Instead, the film has the costume, in its goo form, leap onto the back of Peter's moped as Peter drives MJ home. It remains in hiding for a quite a lot of screen time before it finally jumps on Peter.
Elsewhere in the film, fashion model, lab partner to Peter, daughter of the police chief, and MAJOR character from the comic Gwen Stacy, is doing a modeling gig in a sky scraper when a nearby construction crane goes out of control, seemingly targeting her. She is the ONLY person to fall from the building when the crane tears two holes in the 'scraper and no other buildings are harmed by the rabid crane. Spidey saves her and knowing that she's such a major character from the comic, one naturally assumes that she'll be a major character in the rest of the movie.
She could be any woman. The only reason she is Gwen is because Sam Raimi and his co-writers wanted her to be Gwen Stacy.
The few critics that like this film cite the action scenes as being incredible. I beg to differ. While most of them looked realistic, as with the last Spider-Man movie, I found them physically unbelievable. Sure, it's a comic book movie, so it's supposed to be fake, but not fakey. The Spider-Man comic is best known for being very realistically written. Peter Parker isn't Clark Kent. When Spider-Man has to fight crime in a bad rain storm, he can't just fly above the clouds like Superman. He's got real problems too, like rent and his job and his studies and MJ. The whole point of seeing a live-action Spider-Man movie is to see it more real than it is in the comic--not less real. We want realistic action, not cartoon action. Sadly, it's all so horribly fake and out there (but not very clever or interesting) that you just know that things are going to work out so you sit back and wait for them to do exactly that.
Then there's the dance number. See, while the costume in the comic only changed Peter's personality in that he was more violent and loved web-swinging more, the movie had to dumb it down. The costume makes Peter evil--of course, Sam Raimi defines evil as basic douchebaggedness and comic relief, too. In Jar-Jar Binks, case, I'd say comic relief characters CAN be truly evil in film, but when you make your hero do simply embarrassing things on top of things that are just absurd, inside the confines of a super-hero action movie, you're violating the trust of the people who paid to see your movie. This is why (and when) I walked out.
Sure, action movies can be funny, but don't ask me to like a character that shames himself and don't ask me to like a movie that suddenly becomes a movie I'd have never paid for if I had known it was that kind of movie (a musical).
I brought up Jar-Jar Binks for another reason. This film reminds me of Phantom Menace in that it's just horrible. There are snippets of good stuff (as with TPM), but generally speaking, it's atrocious on par with George Lucas' First Big Mistake.
As friend of ThePete [http://thefelties.blogspot.com/|Andrew Moore] put it, Sam Raimi Schumachered it, taking an otherwise reasonable franchise and making it so comedic, absurd and cartoony as to repulse any reasonable adults from theater seats.
Sunday, May 6, 2007
On my way back from a toy show in Pasadena. Didn't buy anything, but I did
get to take the subway to and from. This is me feeling weird being in a
subway in Los Angeles, instead of DC or NYC or London...not that I was
scared of earthquakes. Talk about living in fear.
Saturday, May 5, 2007
Yes, you must obey me and yep, it's Saturday so I'm back at Groundwork in
Hollywood trying to work on my novel. Of course, I still haven't gotten
everything up to speed on my new laptop, so that's what I spent three or
four hours doing. Also, my good friend Andrew stopped by and we talked
about Spider-Man 3, which he hadn't seen yet.
Friday, May 4, 2007
WARNING: This review of Spider-Man 3 is VERY R-Rated and should not be read by people who don't like foul language, graphic descriptions of unpleasant things (I'm looking at you, Mom!) or commentary that tears Sam Raimi a new one.
Oh and don't read any further unless you are looking for a reason not to see this movie or would like to be warned away from seeing it if you'd rather not waste your time on a movie that should really have been much better.
OK, here's the review:
Here's me actually a bit excited to see Spider-Man 3. How disappointed was
I? Well, I walked out . Haven't done that since "Family Business" starring
Sean Connery, Dustin Hoffman and Matthew Broderick. That glowing phallic
symbol behind me is the Fox Village tower atop the Mann's Village Theater we
saw SM3 in. The line was all the way around two corners, so that tower is on the opposite side of a square block. And all for SM3. What a bunch of suckers!!
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Ha-HAH! Here's a nice variation on the theme! I'm in a coffee house (my
favorite: Boba Loca, in Westwood) and I'm NOT ACTUALLY DRINKING A CAFFINATED
BEVERAGE! I'm not even DRINKING a beverage that ISN'T EVEN CAFFINATED!!
Dig that blurry bottle!
Ah, man! I LOVE my new laptop! The iSight camera that is built in to this
puppy is BRILLIANT! This is me surfing at the Playa Park during my lunch
What do you want? He's a nerd! I think this way, too. Only I think it would be cool to squeeze a PC into my toy R2-D2. Anyway...
So, this kid uploads a digital version of his campus and let's people explore it online. Let me let [http://www.joystiq.com/2007/05/02/student-arrested-for-making-a-map-of-his-school/|a May 2, 2007 post] at Joystiq.com explain the rest:
A Chinese student was removed from Clements High School in Fort Bend, Texas after parents complained he had re-created the school grounds in a game and uploaded the map for his friends to play. The boy was placed in the district's alternate education school and later arrested, as the police considered him a "terroristic threat".The post goes on to explain that while no charges will be filed the kid won't be able to attend his graduation.
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention before the excerpt that he's a Chinese student. I have no idea why that is relevent. The point is, he was assumed a criminal, a "terroristic" person, just because he translated his school campus into ones and zeroes.
Can someone PLEASE tell me how this could be viewed as a "terroristic" threat?
Did they think he would do a virtual dry run of a VT-style massacre inside the cyber-school? What's to stop EVERY student from using the real school to do the same?
This is just a classic case of people letting their fears get the better of them.
It is this kind of moronic behavior on the part of the "concerned" parents and school officials that is exactly what FDR warned us against when he said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Come on, folks. Grow up and smell the fact that you are SERIOUSLY more likely to die in your car today than you are to be killed in a high school massacre.
And, uh, also:
Did I mention, "09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0"?
Oh yeah and HD-DVD stands for "High Definition Digital Versatile Disc" and the creators of this format of disc say it is perfectly secure from digital pirates.
Not that I'm a digital pirate. I wouldn't know how to use a bunch of numbers and letters to crack encryption. I'm much more low rent. If it doesn't have a GUI, I'm useless.
For instance, that number just right there, above, (here it is again in case you missed it: 09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0), I wouldn't know what to do with a number like that.
Of course, the government doesn't want you or anyone else to see the number "09f911029d74e35bd84156c5635688c0".
Now that you've seen it, don't you feel dangerous?
Can you feel civilization falling apart?
That's a pretty funny way of showing support for the troops, Bush.
You want to give them money, but you don't want them out of harms way.
Good plan, George. Can you at least tell us how many American GIs will have to die before you change your mind?
My kingdom for a reporter who would ask that question of him!!
Seriously, I'll give this month's rent to the person who asks that question to Bush's face and gets some sort of response.
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
The following comes to us from [http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Murtha_revises_Impeachment_on_table_0430.html|an April 30, 2007 article] at RawStory.Com and it is hopeful, if not good, news:
Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) revised the much publicized statements he made yesterday and told National Public Radio late on Monday afternoon that impeaching President George W. Bush was "on the table."
"I'm just saying that's one of the options that Congress has on the table, I'm getting more and more calls from the public about impeachment," the long-time Congressman, who is a veteran of the US Marines, told NPR's Melissa Block on the program All Things Considered.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but THEY SAID THE "I" WORD!!
And check it out!! PEOPLE ARE ACTUALLY CALLING MURTHA ABOUT IMPEACHING BUSH!!
Do you live in Pennsylvania? CONTACT MURTHA, DAMMIT! Do it by clicking below:
Not living in PA? Well, contact your local rep!! Check out the link below to do it now and tell your local rep that you want to see Bush IMPEACHED:
After ALL of the lies, it takes so little effort to express your frustration and help save the planet Earth from any more of Bush's mess!
If you do it, I'll thank you! Your country will thank you and probably most of hte world will, too!!