Back at Groundwork in Hollywood for my Saturdaily writing meeting with Chris.
Saturday, June 30, 2007
However, what I don't get is the instant assumption by some that it is definitely terrorism. In reference to the foiled car bomb from yesterday in London, [http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070630/D8Q38HGO0.html|an article dated today] from AP.org available at MyWay.com reports:
"One has to conclude ... these are linked," Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former head of Britain's joint intelligence committee, told Sky News. "This is a very young government, and we may yet see further attacks."
While this is par for the course these days, I have to say this kind of flippant, off-the-cuff commentary is very irresponsible coming from anyone inside or outside a government. Statistically the number of SUV accidents are a LOT higher than the number of terrorist attacks.
So, let's just chill out until we know for sure that the SUV shows residue of explosive material. Let the experts do their jobs and we'll go from there.
Of course, if there are a rash of car crashes this weekend all at public locations like airports or shopping malls, that would sway me, as well.
That said, let's wait for the explosives experts to voice their conclusions before we announce that the UK is definitely under attack by terrorists.
Friday, June 29, 2007
Something really cool and iPod related came in the mail today! WHAT IS IT??
The suspense is killing me!!!
GO HERE NOW
I'M SO HAPPY!
Thursday, June 28, 2007
I've got some very special unboxing photos to share with my readers, but I don't have them ready to post just yet. Please stop by later on today, after 2pm Pacific time to check them out.
iPod fans won't want to miss these unboxing pics!!
(Well, assuming they're as HARD CORE iPod fans as I am!)
"CNN is pretty consistently on the left, if you look at their choice of stories, what they play up. It's not what they say. It's what they highlight."
Well, YEAH, CNN is lefty when compared to Fox News.
The average Republican is left compared to Fox News.
Thanks for the "news" flash, Rupe! Of course, it's all just you putting out what you want us to think is true. CNN is actually just as right-wing as Foxy they're just less blatant about it. If they were truly left wing they'd be crying "IMPEACH BUSH NOW" stories.
That's when the extremist righties have their argument fall apart on them. See, if there really was a lefty network, or a "Leftwork," we'd know it--they'd be going on and on about how Bush, Cheney, etc, all need to be impeached hard with a rusty, steel pipe and how we all need to love the animals and kiss the Earth for she is our mother. You know, the exact opposite of Foxy.
Personally, I don't ever want to see a real leftwork because the extreme left is just as annoying and harmful as the extreme right. Believe it or not, we need both in the world. Sadly, we don't right now. As a result we have two wars we're losing and domestic things (economy, housing, poverty) getting worse every day.
Isn't it nice when you can't trust one of the most powerful men on Earth to tell the truth?
Bah, par for the course, these days.
You almost have to figure that if he's white, ridiculously rich, and ridiculously powerful, he's probably lying to you about something (often, the same goes for the non-white men of the same criteria, too).
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Check out my Movie Theater photoset at Flickr.com for more pics:
(scroll to the bottom)
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Jun 27, 2007 12:05 PM
Subject: Dick Cheney
To: Barbara Boxer
I'm sure you've heard about Cheney claiming he isn't part of the Executive Branch. I'm also sure you'll recall his claim of Executive Privilege a few years back when we all wanted to know who he met with on that energy commission of his. A quick visit to WhiteHouse.Gov, the website of the Executive Branch, and you can find that not only does the Vice President have a web page on the site, but the office is also described as a member of President Bush's Cabinet, which also falls within the Executive Branch.
Given that public approval numbers for Congress (you guys) and for the Bush Administration are so incredibly low, wouldn't it behoove you to perhaps look into the "i" word (impeachment) for Mr. Cheney? I'd think this would be especially true as Cheney is trying to fool the American people with an argument that wouldn't fool a 3rd grade student in a social studies or history class.
After everything else that the Bush Administration has put us through, (Afghanistan, Iraq, Katrina, etc, etc) including now an apparent ignorance of their place in the United States Government, shouldn't impeachment be put back on the table?
As a Californian who been has registered as an independent for over a decade, I see no reason not to believe that Democrats are not just one of the two heads of a single political party. As my favorite Democrat, I hope you'll prove me wrong.
Cement your place in history by speaking out against this administration and push for impeachment of Bush and Cheney. We may be in a time of war, but incompetent leadership during a time of war is a recipe for failure, as we are currently seeing in both Iraq and
It is my understanding that all that is required to begin impeachment proceedings is for the president or the vice president to have violated the public trust. After this latest excuse to avoid compliance with his own boss' order how can we believe for a moment longer that Cheney is even vaguely concerned with the public trust?
Please do something.
---------- End forwarded message ----------
I sent this off to Barbara Boxer's office earlier today.
Huzzah and shit.
Why not send something similar to [http://www.senate.gov/|your senator?]
Read more about this at MSNBC.com:
Or in the HUGE piece at WashingtonPost.Com:
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
There is something so very wrong about this.
I'm not even a fan of the musical or the film it's based on and I think this casting is absolutely brimming over with wrongability.
I mean, seriously, were there no ACTUAL fat actors available for this part?
Well, I suppose the casting is OK just so long as Travolta is forced to appear in the shot-for-shot remake of Pink Flamingos. I'd pay to see John Travolta eat real dog shit...
OK, well, I wouldn't, but just knowing he had to eat real dog shit would make my day a little better. :D
What our history books and history teachers conveniently forget, or at best gloss over, is that these men were slave owners and elitists who believe the only people who should be allowed to vote were land owners--who were all white and rich. Poor whites, women, ethnicities of any kind couldn't vote because in most cases they didn't own land.
Does that sound like a free country to you?
Don't worry, this kind of white washing isn't limited to just the Founding Fathers of America. Another Founding Father, this one of physics, also had not so much of a dark side, but a weird side. Isaac Newton, the man who "discovered" gravity, also happened to be such a religious zealot that he was convinced that due to extensive study of the Bible, that he had determined the absolute earliest point at which the world would end.
[http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/article-23401099-details/The+world+will+end+in+2060%2C+according+to+Newton/article.do|A June 19, 2007 article] explains:
His famously analytical mind worked out the laws of gravity and unravelled the motion of the planets.
And when it came to predicting the end of the world, Sir Isaac Newton was just as precise.
He believed the Apocalypse would come in 2060 â€“ exactly 1,260 years after the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire, according to a recently published letter.
Luckily for modern scientists in awe of his achievements, Newton based this figure on religion rather than reasoning.
In a letter from 1704 which has gone on show in Jerusalem's Hebrew University, Newton uses the Bible's Book of Daniel to calculate the date for the Apocalypse.
The note reveals a deeply spiritual side to a man more usually regarded as a strict rationalist. Newton, known as the founder of modern physics, secured a royal exemption from ordination in the Church of England â€“ something normally expected of academics in his day â€“ so he would not have to follow its teachings.
But he confidently stated in the letter that the Bible proved the world would end in 2060, adding: "It may end later, but I see no reason for its ending sooner."
Continuing in a decidedly sniffy tone, he wrote: "This I mention not to assert when the time of the end shall be, but to put a stop to the rash conjectures of fanciful men who are frequently predicting the time of the end, and by doing so bring the sacred prophesies into discredit as often as their predictions fail."
The exact words from the Book of Daniel that inspired his prediction are not clear.
So, great. The founder of physics was convinced that a book written and re-written, edited, translated, interpreted and reinterpreted, roughly 1700 years before he was born is such a perfect book that it could accurately predict the earliest point at which the world would end.
No wonder it took an apple falling on this dude's head to get him to "discover" gravity.
I put "discover" in quotes because he sure as hell didn't discover it. He just explained it. Any time you trip or spill something or drop something you discover gravity. What he is famous for was something that someone else probably would have done if he hadn't. For all we know, someone else had done it. He was just the first rich white guy to do it.
Oh wait, I mean, he was the first, rich, white, Christian to do it.
Monday, June 25, 2007
EditorAndPublisher.Com reports in [http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003600551|a June 19, 2007 article] that 7 out of ever 10 Americans polled by Gallup feels that our economy is getting worse. Check out a cutting from the article:
A new Gallup Poll will only reinforce those who claim that while the rich get richer most Americans don't feel they are sharing in the growth in our economy. The stock market may be climbing and the unemployment remains relatively low, but 7 in 10 Americans believe the economy is getting worse -- the most negative reading in nearly six years.
"When asked about the most pressing financial problems their family faces today, Americans mention healthcare costs, lack of money or low wages, and oil and gas prices," Gallup reports. "Healthcare costs are mentioned by 16% of Americans while 13% say low wages and 11% say oil and gas prices. These percentages are virtually unchanged from last month."
So, I'm not the only freak who thinks things are on a downward slope. I see things getting worse (of course).
Oil prices may seem stable, but I haven't heard of any parties being thrown celebrating new oil being found anywhere. The official numbers may claim unemployment is down, but those numbers only measure how many people are making unemployment insurance claims. The value of the dollar is on a more-or-less perpetual downturn thanks to the miracle that is the Federal Reserve System (it's what we get for basing our money on nothing). Oh and I see businesses--strong, stable, mainstream businesses having trouble surviving in a big, American city like Los Angeles.
Anyone know what mortgages are like these days? Honestly, does anyone? I have no idea, but I'm guessing they're not good. I know I'd need to get a housing loan just to move into another apartment.
Of course, it could all change if only we stopped letting companies outsource to overseas labor and stopped letting companies hire cheap immigrant labor here in the US. If we started giving all those jobs back to Americans, I'd imagine the economy would swing upward. Of course, that would mean profits would be down. The difference is, we'd have more money staying here in the US, as opposed to going to Mexico, Asia or to rich, white guys' houses in Switzerland.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
TheWife and I inside the Pantages in Los Angeles waiting to see Wicked.
Too bad the show was kind of bleh. Great messages throughout, but it's one of those musicals where each song is a single emotion, rather than a tool for furthering the plot. Also, since I knew the premise of the show, I found myself waiting for them to get to the good bits that we all remember from the movie and/or original book. In other words, I was tapping my feet, not to the music, but because I was bored.
Great singing and performances, but a predictable story and a not so thrilling flesh to a great skeleton kinda made the show not so enjoyable to me. I mean, it was fun, but it was a little to simple and obvious for my tastes.
But hey, if you're a 14 year-old girl, you're gonna love it!
Inside the Pantages waiting for Wicked to start. Hurray for free theater tickets from dad-in-laws!
Actually, that looks less like the Pantages and more like a mothership coming down to take us up to see Richard Dreyfuss!
(Yes, I know, technically, it's "dads-in-law".)
Mitt Romney said Saturday that criticism of his Mormon religion by rival GOP presidential campaigns is happening too frequently.
"Clearly, any derogatory comments about anyone's faith - those comments are troubling. The fact they keep on coming up is even more troubling," Romney said during a fundraising trip in the home state of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This guy sounds like one of those idiots that thinks racism isn't a problem in America today.
The sad, but true reality of America today is that most of us are shallow, judgmental people who don't like what we can't immediately understand. I'm an Atheist and I catch flack for it at least once or twice a month--just in my every day life. Imagine if I were to run for president. There's no chance I'd win. An Atheist in the White House?
God wouldn't bless much then, would He? ;)
The point is, Romney's a little fricken baby to get his underpants in a bunch about this. Grow the hell up, man. People aren't always going to like everything about you no matter what you do or who you are. If it wasn't your Mormonism it would be something else. Religion is an easy target, so deal with it.
Besides, you've got to give critics of Mormonism some space. Don't you guys believe Jesus walked in America?
That's almost as crazy as believing in an all-seeing, all-powerful bearded white guy who "loves" us all!
I kid, but I love the Christians!
Saturday, June 23, 2007
If you live in LA and are looking for something different to do tonight, COME SEE MY WIFE!
The above is a screengrab taken from [http://sierrarein.com|her site]. I hope to see you there! Call for reservations fast because the house isn't huge and there's already a lot of people who are coming!
Friday, June 22, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
That IS what the last super power on Planet Earth is doing--though it may have competition soon. Check out this cutting from [http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/9970/|a June 15, 2007 article] from http://DailyExpress.co.uk which talks about the EU getting some guys together and, well, you'll see:
TONY Blair wants to hand the European Union radical new powers in his last act as Prime Minister, it emerged today.
The Prime Minister has welcomed controversial plans to bring back the troubled EU constitution by the back door - totally bypassing the need for public referendums on sweeping new powers for Brussels.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has suggested ditching the name "constitution" from the title and instead calling it an "amending treatyÃ“ - to avoid having to seek the approval of voters.
French and Dutch voters rejected the original plan - which would hand Brussels the power to represent individual countries at the UN and change national laws - two years ago.
Basically, the EU constitution would create a sort of "New European Order" that would most likely favor big businesses and ignore human rights. How do I know this? Simple: the EU government wouldn't have the power to usurp local laws unless they were going to do something the local lawmakers wouldn't like. Like passing laws that favor big businesses and ignoring human rights. :)
Why is Tony Blair being such a dick? Well, if you believe the Financial Times, it's because he doesn't want to retire from politricks. Check out this cutting from [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2bc60e12-1b72-11dc-bc55-000b5df10621.html|a June 15, 2007 article] at FT.com that tells us all about it:
Tony Blair, the British prime minister, could end up swapping Downing Street for a job as the first full-time European Union president, under a plan being actively touted by Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president.
Mr Sarkozy is understood to have discussed the idea with other EU leaders ahead of next weekâ€™s European summit, Mr Blairâ€™s last major international event as prime minister.
His support for Mr Blair taking on a big European job is a remarkable sign of Anglo-French rapprochement since Mr Sarkozy replaced Jacques Chirac as president last month.
Now, we all know Sarkozy is conservative, so it makes sense that he'd be interested in the whole EU superstate-thing, as well.
I used to think an EU superstate would be a good thing. But now with this constitution getting a second chance and Sarkozy pushing for Blair to be in? It all reeks of government doing more than it should.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
This was a funny pic. See, I was trying to get to TheWife's theater in
Silverlake, but the MTA buses were taking me through some seriously un-white
neighborhoods. Now, I've got nothing against the un-white, but I wouldn't
really hold it against them if they had something against my whiteness. So,
my survival instinct kicked in and kicked out my rational thought. Let's
just say I was stupidly scared for my safety there on the corner of Gage and
I think I took this pic so the police would know where to look for the body.
I'm currently waiting for a bus on the corner of Gage and Avalon in Los
Angeles, feeling like the sorest of sore thumbs. I'm feeling so white
right now. o_O
My point? Well, I'd like to see a 2nd iPhone--cheaper with fewer useless features like that fancy-shmancy voicemail that I couldn't care less about. Well, I don't even need to watch YouTube videos on my phone (I've got hours of vids on my 5g iPod already). The good news here is that Engadget.com is [http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/19/apple-prepping-a-cheaper-iphone-probably/|saying] that it just might happen.
A second iPhone is a great idea as the current one seems to have just enough features to make early adopters wet themselves while leaving us rational-thinking gadget freaks scratching our heads at the obvious failings of such a device.
A (much) cheaper pricepoint would allow us to forgive a lot of the problems we skeptics have had. I don't mind a good phone with some hobbled features (my aforementioned Sidekick 3 comes to mind), it's just paying six-hundred bucks for it that bugs me.
Check out the Engadget.com [http://www.engadget.com/2007/06/19/apple-prepping-a-cheaper-iphone-probably|article] for a very funny artist rendering of both an iPhone Nano and an iPhone Shuffle. :)
Technically any good? While it's definitely entertaining, I couldn't help but feel like I was missing some of the picture. We got to hear from some people regarding their creative choices as well as what their career/business choices were, which was great. Usually it is the latter we hear about in docus like this. However, because we only heard about some of the creative choices those involved made I felt like the film was deliberately trying to make certain people look better than others. The docu actually turned me off of seeing Wicked (though I'm being taken to it in a few days, so this film didn't make me hate Wicked). Over all, I think this movie does a great job of creating a story and characters you care about. In a way, it's more of a traditional movie that happens to be true and stars "actors" playing themselves. It's also too short.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied. I got to see inside the business of Broadway and felt like I got a pretty authentic look. It also made Broadway look like a lot of work, but a lot of fun, too.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - If you just don't care about the New York theater, I can't promise this film will entertain you--but it probably will.
One of the fired prosecutors, Bud Cummins in Little Rock, Ark., was replaced on an interim basis by Tim Griffin - a protege of presidential political adviser Karl Rove who worked at the Republican National Committee in 2004. The two senators Monday pointed to two e-mails to Griffin - titled "caging" and dated August 2004 - listing nearly 2,000 potential voters in Jacksonville, Fla.
The e-mails were posted on a political Web site critical of the Bush administration, but a White House spokeswoman said the Democrats did not doubt their authenticity.
"Caging" refers to efforts to disqualify voters who fail to sign for registered campaign mail sent to their houses. In theory, the practice identifies homes where voters no longer live. But the Democrats said in a letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that "there are many reasons why registered mail might be 'returned to sender' that have nothing to do with a voter's eligibility."
So, the theory goes that these address-confirmation letters get sent to poor folks (read: less educated) and people serving in the military (read: not likely to be home) and when they didn't reply, said voters had their votes challenged (read: not counted). Now, if you guess who those poor folks and military folks would vote for, you'll see why this was a sound tactic for the enemies of the poor and the friends to war.
So, this has the potential to explode all over the place, but will it?
It's up to the press to keep on this story and make sure people are aware. This is an obvious example of the Republicans doing something that was clearly meant to discourage votes from being counted. Probably also not illegal, but again VERY unethical. In fact, one might call it "a betrayal of the public trust." Which, coincidentally, is all you need to prove in an impeachment trial.
, originally uploaded by Todd Sternisha.
The pic above is a Fondant du Chocolat from Beard Papa (see: BeardPapa.com for more info) and it served as my birthday cake back on June 8, 2007. A single bite of this thing is more fulfilling than any cake I've ever eaten in my life. Trust me--if you're near a Beard Papa, order one of these! That aside, check out the below link to see more pics from the fun night I and my friends had in Hollywood. (Well, I hope everyone else had as good a time as me!)
Special thanks to Todd for snapping the pics! Great job, man! (Check out his page at Flickr.com here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sternisha/ )
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_fructose_corn_syrup|Read more about high fructose corn syrup] at Wikipedia.org. Please. It's kinda bad stuff and it's in so much crap.
| [asin: B0002NRRRY] |
not in 3-D
Technically any good? Anyone who says the FX in this suck needs to get a clue. The Creature's costume REALLY WORKED. The dude could survive underwater for (I think it was) fifteen or twenty minutes. And don't tell me there's nothing creepy or at the very least freaky about a man with a fish-face. The acting was stilted and overdone, but that's standard for these kinds of movies. The script was nice and solid and even had that subtle pro-environment element I mentioned above. Very cool.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied. Seeing it in 3-D on the big screen is definitely the best way to see this movie, though I've seen it on TV before and it's still pretty fun.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - if you dig classic horror that will make you laugh but still give you a couple decent scares this is a great film to check out.
Last night before I went to bed CNN.com had a "news alert" that 10,000 US troops had gone into Diyala and had already killed 22 insurgents. I wake up this morning and nothing is in the news anywhere.
I had to do a search on Google News to find anything.
Actually, in that Google News search, if you go far enough down the page, you can find the story of this raid and MSNBC.com is [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19301194/|reporting] on it, but CNN.com, USAToday.com, CBSNews.com and others clearly think 9 firefighters dying in South Carolina, a killer bear being killed, and that 78 Iraqis being killed in a truck bomb is all more important than 10,000 USGIs invading Diyala.
Seems a little odd to me.
I mean, CNN.com had the story as a "News Alert"...
It was red and stuff!!
Monday, June 18, 2007
My latest canvas!
It's a blank Vimobot from Mimoco.com. They've got a design contest that I'm
going to enter if I can actually get a design done by June 30.
Technically any good? While this film doesn't try to do much, it does succeed incredibly well at doing what it tries. Seriously--to the people that say this movie (and it's prequel) is stupid I have got to ask you what you were expecting where the head of the super team is all rubbery. COME ON people, the 1990s Batman movies didn't take this kind of heat and those films were cheesy and stupid as hell--the FF movies are SUPPOSED TO BE CHEESY. Read the comic for crying out loud. All that aside, the script was solid (but not perfect--I don't see how tackyon particles (particles that go faster than light and therefore back in time) can separate the Surfer from his board, but again, the lead hero in this movie has the ability to stretch his arms to infinite lengths. It just would have been nice if they had gotten right what little science they actually used. I didn't have a problem with the FX--the only vague problem I did have was that the Surfer's lip assignment was a little off. I did really like Doug Jones as the Surfer and could take or leave Fishburne as the voice. Oh yeah and as totally hot as Jessica Alba is, she reeeeeally should take some acting lessons. Email me Jess, I can recommend a place :)
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied. I really hope they keep making these because I strongly feel that we need more films that make intelligence look cool. I also like that the characters work as a time (most of the time) and that they are genuinely moral and heroic. It may not be the Das Boot of superhero movies, but it is worth seeing in my mind.
Final Rating? GSN - Go See Now - Just don't expect it to blow your mind.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
I'll give you one guess as to what's inside that Groundwork travel coffee
When there's bricks behind me and I'm sucking down something from my
Groundwork mug, you know it's Saturday, I'm meeting with my writer friend
Chris and it's Iced Coffee that's flowing through m veins! YESSSSS!
Friday, June 15, 2007
A couple of months ago, my friend Lisa and I were talking and she mentioned how she's been involved with this thing called Second Life. In case you're not familiar with it, it's a virtual world, like World of Warcraft, where you create a digital version of yourself to wonder around with and have adventures--or not. In the case of Second Life (SL) there's no structure beyond the fact that there is "land" and the ability to create objects from nothing using this scripting language that is supposed to be very easy to use.
Phillip Rosedale (aka Linden), is the founder of SL and he describes it as a place where anything can happen. You can fly, create things, have real world business meetings and even make a real-life living inside Second Life. That's right--there's an economy inside SL filled with "Linden Dollars" which, Rosedale has said, are linked to US Dollars. Though I have yet to figure out how.
So, Lisa was going on and on about how cool this place is. Listening to her talk (and Rosedale) it's like a MySpace for adults who dig 3-D virtual worlds with semi-crappy graphics. Daily Show talked about about how John Edwards had a campaign office inside SL. Lisa even video blogs from inside SL, though I haven't brought myself to check out her clips yet.
Something about the whole thing has me thinking it's more for people who are sick of trying to change their "first" lives so they go into Second Life and change things instantly. Then again, if people make their real-life living in there, then, I thought, shouldn't I at least give it a try and see if I can use it to network or maybe even find myself a way to make a real-life living inside Second Life?
So, this past Tuesday night, at my favorite Internet cafe, I registered and started downloading the 64MB software package for Mac. Of course, the Winduhs version is only 34MBs. Typical. The other thing was that the download server was soooo sloooow. It was literally taking hours to DL those lousy 64 megs. It wasn't the connection at the cafe, either because I was surfing with no effort at all. Finally, about two hours later, I paused the DL in Firefox, went home and continued DLing it. It still was taking forever to come down, so I opened up Flock (a tweaked version of Firefox) and downloaded the entire 64MB package in about ten minutes (if that). Of course, it was already pretty late at that point, so I didn't get a chance to install it or even try it out.
Wednesday night, I get home after spending almost three hours working on a screenplay at the Boba Loca (the aforementioned Internet cafe), and I fire up the Second Life software, login, and get an error message telling me that there's a newer version of Second Life I have to download before I can enter Second Life.
Sheesh, so I start to DL it from inside SL and suddenly my connection flakes! I shut down SL and my wireless card and then unplug my cable modem and wifi router. After thirty seconds or so, I plug everything back in and turn everything back on, pull up SL again and begin DLing the new version of the software.
Finally, I'm ready to go.
I log in and I get a basic avatar, white guy, white T-shirt, blue jeans, brown hair. Well, I've got blond hair and a brown chin-only beard. I start tweaking my hair--blond is fine, but I can't come close to the buzzcut I actually sport in "First Life". I get as close as I can and end up making myself look like one my neighbors from my days living in West Hollywood. The thing is, there are so many odd settings that it took me twenty minutes to get my hair and clothes right (and most of that was hair--no, I'm not gay or fashion obsessed, it's just damn hard to get the hair even vaguely right). So, almost s soon as I have the hair right, I give myself a red T-shirt, black jeans and red shoes (similar to my standard look in First Life). Then, it's too late and I have to go to bed.
It's late Wednesday and I feel like I should be writing more, but I decide to login to SL and see if I can track down Lisa inside of SL. It's then when I see just how un-intuitive the controls are. The world is so complicated, moving around is the only thing you can do easily. Everything else is harder. To "interact" with a billboard (read the smaller print) you have to click on it and download what I imagine is a text file which is then displayed in a special pop-up window. Picking up items is also a bit complicated. I found a freebie place and only some of the articles of clothing were I able to pick up. I got myself a cool pair of black angel wings. I'll have to take some pictures for my next entry. As it was, I was too busy trying to figure out how to make the thing go.
Ultimately, I never found out. I'm far from giving up, but I'm far from seeing this as the revolution some people seem to think it is. The interface is overly complicated and cryptic and when I did ask some people for help, they were too busy picking each other up to bother helping me. Check out this paraphrased conversation I witnessed:
Adonis McHandsomy: So, how old are you?Those aren't their real names but that is almost what they said and they did definitely blow me off.
Baroness Von Cleavage: 18
Adonis McHandsomy: Sweet.
Baroness Von Cleavage: Where are you from?
Adonis McHandsomy: Utah.
So, that's my experience with Second Life so far.
I'll try to continue this chronicle of my exploration of this "amazing" new "revolution." Anyone care to join me? My screen name is ThePete Writer. Look me up in there if you can work out how to do it. And if you do work it out, can you tell me?
Thursday, June 14, 2007
In response to this sameness (or more boredom of it), I'll probably be blogging a bit less than usual. At the very least I'll be blogging less about current events. I'm supposed to be working on a screenplay, but I just didn't feel like working on it last night due to a bit of depression about the world. I'm trying to think a bit less about all that stuff and have signed up for Second Life. I don't expect to be a convert. In fact, I honestly don't get what the point is to that beyond the "everyone can fly" factor. I think people who turn to Second Life to do things they can't do in real life give up too easily. Then again, if I can find a better job, or maybe get paid as a writer inside SL, then why not?
In the meantime, if you find yourself missing my wacky opinion on life, the universe and crap, check out my opinion on life, the universe and crap from the late 20th Century. I've been reposting old content from old versions of my site (previously called SpinningHead, The Bitch Page and GodDamnFriggin). You can check these old posts out by clicking on [http://thepete.com/index.php#thearchives|TheArchives]. I'm posting stuff from 1999 currently, though I have "new" old stuff to post straight up to 2001, I believe. What's amazing is how much I have changed. I've been reading a LOT since back then. Plus I'm a Mac guy now. 1999 ThePete would never have thunk it!
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
This is the evil me who only lurks in the shadows and contemplates doing
truly evil things like eating too many sweets and spending too much time
playing Lego Star Wars II...
Actually, this is me horribly backlit while sitting in Boba Loca, in
Westwood, CA. HUZZAH!
Pentagon Considered Building "Gay Bomb"
Meanwhile the Pentagon has confirmed it once considered building a chemical weapon that could turn enemy soldiers into homosexuals and make them more interested in sex than fighting. Newly declassified documents show the Ohio Air Force lab asked for $7.5 million in 1994 to develop a so-called "gay bomb."
I didn't know Viagra started out as a DARPA program! ;)
Someone tell me this is not true--I don't have time to research it--but it's GOT to be from The Onion... I hope!
UPDATE 6/13/7: IT'S TRUE. Check out this link for more info from a mainstream news source:
Nearly two-thirds of Chinese cities suffered from air pollution last year and had no centralized sewage treatment facilities, state media reported on Tuesday.
Only 37.6 percent of 585 cities surveyed had air quality "indicating a clean and healthy environment," down 7.3 percentage points from 2005, the China Daily said, citing a report by the State Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
Thirty-nine cities, many scattered across the northern coal-rich province of Shanxi and China's northeastern rustbelt province of Liaoning, suffered "severe" air pollution, the paper said.
"The report also found that the ratio of quality water in the major urban areas, either for drinking or industrial use, had dropped by 7.24 percent," the paper said.
Two hundred cities had no "centralized sewage management system" and 187 had no garbage disposal plants, it said.
The report comes as the capital Beijing on Tuesday was shrouded in thick smog, which local media said was exacerbated by smoke blown into the city from crop burning in neighboring provinces.
On Monday night, an index measuring air pollution from Beijing's southern Daxing county read over 850 particles of "particulate matter" per square meter, which was eight times the norm, the Beijing News said.
Then again, maybe the US can learn something since this quite negative news comes from China's state-run media. A generally amoral government (think: legal prison labor, legal buying/selling human organs, etc.) essentially tells it's people it's done a rotten job of regulating against pollution. That's a far cry from a government that lied to 911 rescue workers and told them that the air they were breathing was safe. That's a far cry from a government that did virtually nothing for Louisiana during the build up and even much of the aftermath of Katrina.
Sure, I'm still damn glad to live in America, but our media and our government could be more upfront and honest like the, ugh, like the Chinese.
Mind you, I've got nothing against the Chinese people. Of course, I do wish they would exert more pull over their government to make some moral choices, but I don't feel like I'm in a place to criticize the Chinese too much when my fellow Americans fail to lift an effective finger after two apparent fixed elections, our government fails to protect us against 911 and Katrina and getting us in to two wars that have only made the world more dangerous.
It's less a problem I have with America or China as it is a problem I have with humanity.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Then on Saturday I woke up thinking I had to meet my writer-friend Chris in H'wood only to remember he was out of town. So, I spent the day cleaning up the homecube (still not done) and transferring more MST3K episodes to DVD--I used to think this was a never ending project, but I'm almost out of Joel episodes! MST fans will know what that means. For those that don't, it means that I'm more than half-way through the series.
The other thing I did with my Saturday was FINALLY start my screenplay for ScriptFrenzy.org. I'm over a week late, but when it comes to scripts, I'm pretty
cocky comfy with the plan to finish by June 3. I wrote 18 pages on Saturday with a personal goal of 120 pages total. But I'm really excited about this script since it's a redo of an unfinished script I started years ago. Starting over from scratch was a great idea because this time 'round things are pushed much further. This, in turn, helps me stay excited to keep writing, as opposed to what happened with the first attempt at this story.
Then on Sunday I slept WAY in, waking up at 11:30am, of course I was up until 4am writing, so don't think that I'm some lazy bum. :) After that - did some more homecube cleaning, some more VHS-to-DVD dubbing and then hit Trader Joe's for some groceries. Once that was done it was a quick dinner and off to see the new Satoshi Kon anime movie at the new Landmark theater at the Westside Pavillion mall just minutes from my home.
Sadly, the movie kind of sucked, which is a shame since Kon's last two movies, Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers were really wonderful, well-made films. Paprika, his latest just didn't do it for me. Watch for a Pocket Review in the next day or so.
I think that's enough for one weekend! Now back to that screenplay! (And maybe some blogging after that!)
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 9, 2007
What else do you do the night after your birthday celebration aside from
color your hair? You can't see it here, but I'm even MORE blond now!!
Friday, June 8, 2007
Here's me and my very close friend MandarinDeli showing off how much we think alike. :) Of course, her shoes are legit Chuck Taylors made in a sweatshop in Asia while mine are imitation Chucks made by an unionized Asian sweatshop. They still get paid peanuts but they can take bathroom breaks. :)
This photo was taken the night of my birthday shindig, at Beard Papa while we all enjoyed oishiiyo (very delicious) pastries made with a recipe from Japan. It was my birthday party, so I was off my anti-sugar diet. :)
This photo was taken by the brilliant photographer Todd Sternisha. Check out the other pics from this event here:
Thanks for shooting, Todd!!
Technically any good? The writers really understood that in a sequel (this is a sequel to YOJIMBO) you have to give the audience something familiar but but change things some how to keep things interesting. While there are new challenges facing Sanjuro, he actually kind of has an easier time of it this time 'round so the story doesn't feel as intense. However, what the film loses in intensity it gains in emotional resonance. There was something more desperate with Sanjuro as a character. He seemed more regretful regarding the violence. I liked this and made me care about him and the people who followed his example. In short, the acting is as strong as you'd expect from Mifune and everything else was as strong as you'd expect from a Kurosawa film. Oh yeah and there's actual blood in this movie.
How did it leave me feeling? Definitely satisfied and even a little teary-eyed. It's always cool when characters not only evolve but help evolve the world around them, too. This movie does that.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - It's still a samurai movie and, like I said, there's actually blood in this one so some of the killing is even more brutal than in other Kurosawa films.
Click the poster image above to buy this movie on DVD or buy it with it's prequel YOJIMBO!
Thursday, June 7, 2007
This made me uneasy. Great, I get to sit in a line and possibly not even get in on my birthday.
While I used to be fine with being a rabid fanboy, standing in lines for hours (4.5 just to get Phantom Menace tickets and another 8 to get in the night of), maybe it's my birthday or maybe "fandom" has grown tiresome. In short, I almost didn't make the trip into Hollywood. On a literal whim today at around 2pm I thought to myself "Well, it's either Paprika, the new anime film from Satoshi Kon (director of Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers) or possibly a wasted afternoon/evening in H'wood OR possibly a blast seeing actors and producers I respect and some BSG on the big screen. Screw it, let's take a bus ride!"
I hope I'm not the only person who refers to himself as a separate person...
Anyway, so I make the trek and get there around 3:30pm to see probably only 80 or 90 people in line. Or it could have been close to 200--I'm terrible at estimating--all that matters is that it was nothing like 500, so I decided that I'd get in. I snapped a quick pic on my phone (see above) and thought about pulling out my laptop to start work on a screenplay I was supposed to start on June 1 (see: ScriptFrenzy.org). However, there are these fountains at the Dome now that spritz water on you when the wind blows and didn't want to subject my new lappie to such moist torture. So, I stood around and hoped that TheWife would join me soon.
Before she did, the folks sponsoring the screening (the SciFi channel, I believe) had this dude who was trying to get the crowd fired up. He held a little trivia contest and gave the winners all T-shirts. Of course, this was kind of a waste of time since:
1) We all got free the same T-shirts just for showing up.
2) We're Battlestar Galactica fans, not Trekkies. Trivia? Contests? Free prizes? We like good story, character and drama. I knew this judgment was accurate when I saw the very lukewarm response from the crowd (certainly lukewarm compared to the responses I remember before my retirement from Trekkie-dom).
Still, I do like my free T-shirt--it says in tiny, red print on the front "Frak Off". BSG fans will get what that means.
So, then we go in, watch the season 3 finale on the big screen (which was pretty cool) and then got to see Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck), Jamie Bamber (Apollo), Mary McDonnell (Roslin), Edward "Eddie" James Olmos (Adama), David Eick (exec producer), Ron Moore (exec-producer/writer), and Lucy Lawless (one of the cylons) talk about the show and answer questions. They did run a preview of the new mini-series/2 hour special (not sure what it is) Battlestar Galactica: Razor which will air in November.
The Q&A was brilliant--they're all smart, sharp actors and of course, Ron Moore talking is enough for me to want to listen. The guy wrote some of the best eps of Next Gen and his stuff is even more brilliant on BSG. The clip was a bit of a let down as it wasn't for the new season of BSG--after the season 3 cliffhanger, I want to know what's going to happen in the new season, damn it!
Still, it was a great and special evening for my birthday and I felt lucky to have known about the event at all, let alone have gotten into it.
I think the show is really great, in case you hadn't noticed. If you haven't watched it, I highly recommend Netflixing the DVDs and get watching. I've got most of the series on my iPod and when I've got nothing else to do or watch, I'll put on an ep.
Oh and James Callis (who wasn't there but plays Baltar) makes me want to be an actor soooo bad.
He's enough to make me want to fool myself into thinking I have some talent in that arena... :)
I took some other pics at the event and will post them in the next day or two.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007
Technically any good? This film is simply a long sequence of World War II movies and stock footage cut together with Beatles cover songs slapped on top of it. In only very rare occasions does the movie actually take advantage of its own cinematic structure and make commentary--even silly commentary. It's a real shame this film wasn't better because the idea was so strong. However, not only did the director fail to make more than a few real comments on anything, the film ends up being pro-American propaganda. It completely ignores any footage from Dresden and shows a single atomic explosion so we see nothing about Japan.
How did it leave me feeling? VERY disappointed. I can only recommend this film to total cinema/history buffs. Sorry, but it's really not worth it.
Final Rating? NFI - NetFlix It - Again, only if you're passionate for movies and/or history. Actually, I'm not even sure it's on DVD. :(
The Fleeting Expletives
"Fleeting expletives" happens to be what the FCC calls off-handed swears uttered by folks on TV who maybe didn't mean to say them. The appeals court has said this rule banning such off-the-cuff fucking and shitting is unconstitutional.
I mean, uuh... wait, this is the Web, FUCK, YEAH, that's what I meant!
*Apologies to my mom who actually reads this blog.
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
OK, I shouldn't be quite so dark about this. But that thing you're reading this text on has this stuff in it called coltan--coltan is what they call columbite-tantalite in Africa and it's used to make a number of basic computer parts that are also common in just about any gadget you own. What does this have to do with yummy blood? Well, it turns out that coltan is mined in the Congo and illegal mining operations have been used as financial sources for the military occupation of the Congo. Think of it like Blood Coltan, you know, like Blood Diamonds, only no Leonardo DiCaprio.
According to [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coltan|the Coltan page] at Wikipedia.org:
Owing to the difficulty of distinguishing legitimate from illegitimate mining operations, several electronics manufacturers have decided to forgo central African coltan altogether, relying on other sources.
All three countries named by the United Nations as smugglers of coltan have denied being involved. Austrian journalist Klaus Werner has documented links between multi-national companies and the illegal coltan traffic.
I'm still using my computer and you should too. I just think it's important that those of us who can afford computers (and other gadgets) understand where they come from and part of why they are affordable to us.
Sure, some of the coltan in your electronics may not be Bloody, but like the diamond in any piece of jewelry, you can't be completely sure someone didn't die for it. This is still true even if the company that made the device promises that they didn't get the coltan from the Congo.
Personally, I'm going to assume my laptop is bloody and use that quiet guilt to further inspire my continuing work to change things, even if I am only able to change things a little.
Any change is better than nothing, right?
Technically any good? Bleh--no. Not at all. It was slow, heavy-handed and ultimately one-sided. I was shocked at how bored I was. The good thing I can say about it was that it was nice to see so few white people on screen and it was nice to see so many black people who weren't gangsta-types. Sadly, these blacks were largely poverty-stricken citizens of the African nation of Mali, but still. How often do you get to see an African movie about African people starring actual Africans?
How did it leave me feeling? Asleep. So, buy a ticket or a DVD to support the cause of raising awareness of how the World Bank and the IMF treat developing countries like Mali. It's seriously messed up.
Final Rating? DNS - Do Not See - Alright, do not watch but support the cause for sure.
The following cutting comes from [http://imdb.com/news/sb/2007-06-04/#tv5|a June 4, 2007 post] at IMDB.com:
A Chicago man has found himself caught in a tangled web after admitting that he found four never-before-broadcast episodes of Fox's 24 on an unnamed website, then uploaded them in January to the website LiveDigital.com. Acknowledging that the man, Jorge Romero, was not the first to post the pirated copies on the Internet, the FBI said that he was nevertheless being charged with distributing them. He was identified after Fox TV, which airs 24, subpoenaed LiveDigital demanding that the uploader by identified. In a statement, Fox said that it hopes Romero's case "will serve as a powerful warning that uploading copyrighted TV shows and movies to the Internet can be a crime with significant penalties and will be prosecuted as such."
YEP, that's right--the FBI is going after, not the men behind 911, not the guys in the White House (who have broken a few laws, themselves), not again drug runners, but are in fact going after (apparently) something much more important, bootleggers. That's right, uploading unaired episodes of 24 can get you in front of a judge.
This is so unbelievably absurd, it's not even funny!
"So, Agent Johnson, you got any leads on domestic terrorism?" Agent Smith asks.
"Oh, no, but I'm real close to nailing this guy who watches 24 illegally!"
"Snap! Get that bastard! Uh, say, did you have to snag any episodes, you know, for evidence? I hear the new shows are kind of good."
"Of course, man! I'll email them to you!"
OK, so the dude in Chicago got in trouble for distributing the episodes, not just watching them. But so friggin' what? Is the money the Fox people lost worth a man's freedom? Worth more than putting FBI agents on jobs that actually keep humanity safe, as opposed to oppressed?
I used to know a guy who worked in the (paraphrasing here) Copyright Enforcement Department at Warner Brothers. I asked him how he handled bootleggers when he found them. He told me they'd find them at scifi conventions and rather than arrest the bootleggers they'd just scoop up the tapes and throw them away because actually prosecuting these guys would cost more than the company was losing.
Of course, now they don't have to do it themselves, they just call the FBI who are more than happy to put aside their jobs protecting Americans to protect their big, fat bottom line.
Don't you just love it when companies get better treatment than us normal citizens?
Monday, June 4, 2007
Check it out! I'm NOT in a coffee house!!
Actually, I'm trying to see if there is free WiFi at the mall closest to my
temp gig. Sadly, there was not. However, it is a pleasant change of pace!
So, why does the US President get to name the head of the World Bank when there is nothing that promises him/her the right? Apparently, it was a courtesy that stuck. After WWII, back, when the WB (the World Bank, not the defunct TV network) and the IMF (the International Monetary Fund, not the Impossible Mission Force) were founded, Europe was allowed to select the head of the latter and the US Prez was allowed to choose the former.
And this has been the FACT-O-THE-DAY!
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!
Technically any good? About the only problem I ever have with period samurai movies is the lighting. I mean, it's the 1800s, Japan is still largely isolated from the west, it's night, and they're indoors yet no one has candles, torches or any other flames exposed to light the scene, yet, it's lit! Acting-wise, it's great stuff, of course--it's not "realistic" in a modern American sense since it's a Samurai movie. Samurai movies are to Japan what Shakespeare is to the west. That said, this movie was incredibly well acted (Mifune has his reputation for a reason) and the story is awesome. Everything is solid with this movie. If you haven't seen it and dig samurai movies, I highly recommend it.
How did it leave me feeling? Very satisfied. While not as good as other Kurosawa films, this movie is definitely worth seeing.
Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like this kind of movie - Samurai films are not everyone's cup of green tea.
Click the poster image above to buy this movie on DVD or buy it with it's sequel SANJURO!
Sunday, June 3, 2007
BUTT, BUTT, BUTT!!!
Me on a bench at a bus stop after having seen an Akira Kurosawa double
feature of YOJIMBO and SANJURO at the New Beverly in Hollywood. Check out
NewBevCinema.com for more info!
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Yes, it's another coffee house shot, but it's a NEW coffee house shot!! As
in, a new coffee house that I went to! Well, I've been there before, just
never took a pic of myself. So, this is the Amsterdam Cafe on Magnolia,
just east of Vineland. I was there to meet with some fellow veterans of
NaNoWriMo.org. :) The wall behind me has a mural painted on it of a brick
wall that's been partially knocked down to reveal not North Hollywood (where
the AC is) but a forest--very cool! Check out http://Amsterdamcafe.us for