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Friday, February 29, 2008

TV Commercial in the movie theater


Before trailers before "Diving Bell and the Butterfly". Glad I paid for
this! :\
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BBQ Dog at The Stand in Westwood Village


This place just opened and while I'm always happy to see a new hot dog
place open, I just didn't care for this place. The service was really
friendly but not good. I asked for a BBQ dog with no onions and go
onions and no BBQ sauce. The bacon that was supposed to be on it was
like a tea-spoonful and as a result I couldn't even taste it. The dog
also seemed kinda scrawny and there could have been more fries.

All that for $5.50.

Luckily, the dog tasted good.
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Mirai Shonen Konan - Conan, Boy in the Future (1978)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? This series was recommended to me by a friend who claimed it was "the best anime ever." While I can't say I fully agree, I can say this is definitely one of the best anime series ever. It's truly amazing.



Technically any good? While made for kids, the director, one of Japan's answers to Walt Disney, Hayao Miyazaki, has the ability to create a real feeling of danger. He'll actually kill characters off, every once in a while, which is really surprising for a kids show. In fact, Miyazaki will put the 11 year-old lead character in incredibly dangerous, truly frightening moments and treat those moments with incredible realism for a show that I think is still perfectly safe for kids to watch. Yes, there are some typical anime and cultural cliches in this, but they are done well. The story keeps you guessing (for the most part) and is a total blast to watch even if you're an adult.



How did it leave me feeling? Wishing for a sequel series! There's just something about Conan's "never say die" spirit that I find incredibly inspirational. There are three things I think people should know about this:


1) The direct translation of the title is actually "Future Boy Conan." However, the series is about a boy in the future, not a time-traveling boy, as I assumed.


2) This show deals with a lot of black and white issues--sometimes blatantly so. The subtleties are in character, not in theme. In particular the evils of technology and the perfection of communism (!) probably would have gotten tiresome in anyone else's hands but Miyazaki's.


3) This series is not available on DVD in the US. I don't know why. Probably because of the handful of very scary scenes where Conan suffers physical violence. We Americans treat our kids too nicely, I think. Read more about Mirai Shonen Konan in its Wikipedia article.



Final Rating? FI - FIND IT! This show is a lot of fun and I think even the more cynical adult viewers will get sucked in after a few episodes.

Nate Ritter: How to Beat Time-Warner Hi-Jacking


On Monday, I blogged (here: http://thepete.com/…y-internet ) about how Time-Warner Cable (aka "Road Runner") was hi-jacking (high-jacking?) web searches. Essentially, if you type in an incomplete on incorrect URL each browser is supposed to do what you want in that situation. In the case of Firefox (the only browser I use), I believe, it defaults to using google to make a best guess as to what you were aiming for. T-W recently started usurping this feature and instead funnels you to an advertising-rich page (seen at the above-linked, uh, link). Internet savior Nate Ritter has come up with a solution.

Here's what he says in a recent post on his site (here: http://blog.perfectspace.com/…erception/ ):

I really hate their page. It honestly sucks.

So, I turned it off. I disabled it.

If you have the same issue and don't like it, you can disable that setting too. Here's how. Go to http://ww23.rr.com/prefs.php and choose "Disable" for the option labeled "Web Address Error Redirect Service: This preference allows you to opt in or out of Road Runner's non-existing domain landing service." Then click the "Save" button.


I did it and it worked for me. Have a look at the screencap above to see what the page looks like.

Be sure to swing by Nate's blog if you have a mo' and any interest in "community, entrepreneurship and business strategy". He's a great guy--during the San Diego fires last year he live-Twittered the entire experience. I found his Twitterstream infinitely more informative (and engrossing) than the news I would get from CNN or any other mainstream news source. Follow his Twitters here: http://twitter.com/nateritter
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Somehow today feels like it shouldn't exist...

Somehow today feels like it shouldn't exist... this leap year thing subverts the will of the gods! No, seriously--it does! They told me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Found an data DVD of old photos and html files from the late 90s. Trapped back in time for the foreseeable future-uh-past? O_O

TheXOVLog: Early Mesh Chat Bug (Fixed)

I'm FINALLY starting to post my videos of me messing around with my XO. Here's the first one--It demonstrates one of the bugs XO users (XOsers?) who got their XOs in December of 2007 had to deal with. On connecting to another XO for chat (or through a simulated Mesh network--xochat.org) the chat activity contained a bug that made the program virtually unusable. While the bug was eventually taken care of, it is a good indicator on how the XO's Sugar operating system was not quite ready for primetime.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

TheLatestLink for February 27th, 18:46

what is driving inflation?

TheTechVlog: Seesmic.com Flash Review



Check out this short, first impression review of Seesmic.com that I shot. It gives you and idea of how Seesmic works and how it doesn't and why I'll probably stick to Utterz.com despite the fact that there is at least one feature I like better on Seesmic.

ATTENTION ALL BLOGGERS! MAYBE GET FREE COFFEE!


Adam Ostrow over at Mashable posted about this earlier today (here: http://mashable.com/…ee-coffee/ ) and I realized that a bunch of people who follow my posts are bloggers just like me, so why not pass this onto them?

Of course, you may have already blogged about it, I'm behind on my gReading. But just in case you haven't blogged about it (or even heard about it) here's the deal:

Joffreys.com is "beta testing" their new coffee called "Jamaican Me Crazy" and they want to snail mail samples to bloggers. The theory Ostrow postulates is that happily-caffinated bloggers means happily-reviewed coffee on said blogger's blogs.

So if you've got a blog head over to http://beta.joffreys.com/register/ and sign up. They'll check out your blog and if they like it, they will then send you an email with a link. You then follow the link and give them your snail mail address.

For their sake I hope the coffee's good!

OH and they'll also give your blog a "plug" of sorts by listing it in alphabetical order (NO FAIR!) here:

http://beta.joffreys.com/blogs
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SWEENEY TODD (2007)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yes, it was! Though it was very bloody, so be warned.


Technically any good? Over all the movie was a good adaption of the musical, I think. Only a few things really felt missing (like the opening "attend the tale of Sweeney Todd" bit, which wasn't there) and of course, the talent. I think Johnny Depp and Mrs. Tim Burton are both fine actors, but I felt that neither were quite right for the parts or quite good enough in the singing-department. Maybe Bonham Carter, but she seemed like she was holding back. The acting was pretty awesome, however and the look of the film was SUPERB. I gasped at the final shot of the movie. I very rarely gasp.

How did it leave me feeling? Like this is Tim Burton's best movie so far--and the one that best reflects his talents. I've always felt that his films had so much more potential than he'd let them reach. Save for Beatlejuice, I think Sweeney is the film that he let his darkness run free. Good for him--I hope his next film goes farther.

Final Rating? SIYL - See If You Like - while this is a musical, don't think it's some popcorn crap-fest--this movie is very bloody, disturbing and is a tragedy. If you like disturbing, bloody tragedies, then you'll love this movie, I'd say.

While I definitely appreciate the invite from...

While I definitely appreciate the invite from @fredericl I'm thinking iminta.com is just FriendFeed with too much design on it's hands.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bill O'Reilly: Hypocrite


I grabbed this video clip from http://MediaMatters.org/ back in 2006 shortly after Mike Farrell was on Bill O'Reilly's show on Fox. I added a few bits of text to make a point or two. This is relevant in light of O'Reilly's recent comments about lynching Barack Obama's wife.

In case you missed it, O'Reilly said this: "I don't want to go on a lynching party against Michelle Obama unless there's evidence, hard facts, that say this is how the woman really feels. If that's how she really feels--that America is a bad country or a flawed nation, whatever--then that's legit. We'll track it down."

Read more about it in the transcript to last Friday's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" here:



http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23337804/


I know everyone is overreacting the same way they did when Don Imus made his racist comments, but if we don't overreact things will never change.

Yes, it's obvious O'Reilly wasn't really talking about stringing her up from a tree-branch, but the comment is still racist. However, it's not the right exaggeration to use when referring to a black person.

Also, if you take O'Reilly's most recent comments, combine them with the examples in the clip and you'll see that this is a man who makes his career off of being a horrible person. Should this guy have a show on one of America's most popular "news" channels? I don't think so. I'm not saying he should be silenced nor am I saying we should somehow force Fox News to fire him.

All I'm saying is that he should SHUT UP!

;)

Nooo, I'm kidding! Free speech is our most important right. However, what he was doing was threatening Michelle Obama's life figuratively for something she said--she was critical of the United States and O'Reilly threatened to figuratively hang her from a figurative tree.

That's quite an attempt to squash free speech in itself, isn't it?

So, do we shut the man up? No, not completely. If I were Fox News I'd have fired his ass a long time ago but this is a good straw to break the camel's back. He'll still be able to say what he wants on the Internet.

No one's censoring him--he'd just have his volume turned down.

And wouldn't everyone appreciate that?
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Walking to the p. off. this afternoon I realized I couldn't see clearly past about 20 feet. Time to start taking breaks from the computer!

CAVEMAN'S VALENTINE


Click to buy!
Positive Experience/Entertaining? Undeniably! This movie is a new addition to my top 20 movies of all time. I really loved this movie.



Technically any good? In nearly all movies there are things that I, personally, would have done differently. With this film none come to mind. The story, the script, the acting, the direction--all of them--are solid and impressive. In particular I was very moved by the film's interpretation of what creativity feels like from inside the head of a creative person.



How did it leave me feeling? Stunned and enlightened. Oh and entertained, too. If only we could have more movies like this to enjoy.



Final Rating? STM - See This Movie - it will pry your skull open and climb in and I mean that in a good way!

So, Is This World War III, Yet?





I definitely feel like we're all suffering from that curse--you know the one I mean. The one that says "may you live in interesting times."

I feel like we're living in an important part of history. Bigger than Vietnam, bigger than Korea and approaching the level of importance of WWII. In fact, I'd almost say it's identical to the time before WWII.

Labor is cheap and our economy is weak (though I suppose it was back on track after the depression in the immediate years before WWII) and we're looking at war in "multiple theaters." "Multiple theater war" is just a Web 2.0-style phrase that describes a World War.

America, the Earth's last super-power has combat operations in Afhganistan and Iraq. We seem to have our sights set on Iran. Turkey has invaded northern Iraq as you can see from the above screencap from Google News (get updates here: http://news.google.com/ ). There are all sorts of military messes in Africa, Pakistan is unstable (to say the least), Kosovo has declared its independence and Israel and Palestine, well, let's just say they're still not getting along.

So, with all of these skirmishes, is it time we start calling this World War III?

I feel that if we start calling it what it is, we'll take it that much more seriously and work to end it. Since we're still thinking of it as "The War Against Terror" it seems a bit too close to "The War on Drugs." I don't think any of us took T.W.O.D. too seriously. Likewise, T.W.A.T. doesn't seem that much more like a "real" world than T.W.O.D. did. As a result, we're all very disconnected from the atrocities being committed in our name.

I feel like we Americans are not very good at facing the depressing realities of our world. And I say "we" as in me, too. Calling this a World at War just might hammer home the seriousness of what's going on.

Then again, American Idol might be on.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

How Not To Advertise Your Website Design Firm


I found this on my travels across the vast intertubes the other day.
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Los Angeles Wins Best Tasting Water





This story (and the screencap above) comes from KTLA.com (here: http://ktla.trb.com/…5930.story ). I've got to say this cracks me up. Some people with too much time on their hands decide which water, from around the world, tastes the best.

"Sparkling, tap and bottled water from 19 states and 9 foreign countries, including New Zealand, Romania, Macedonia and the Philippines, were judged by 10 journalists and food critics" the article reports.

Uh-huh, that's nice. Has anyone thought of testing the same water samples for the best health instead of the best taste?

See, if they had done that to my Los Angeles-provided tap water, I bet it wouldn't be winning any contests at all.

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CNN.com and Pals Do a Suck Job at News


By looking at CNN.com's main page as I type this you wouldn't know that:

America has troops in Iraq
America has troops in Afghanistan
Turkey has troops in Iraq
The US economy is in bad shape
Poverty is still a huge problem in the US
Katrina victims are still struggling

Granted, they are letting us know about the earthquake that just struck off of Sumatra, but they're also reporting that:

The US Mil is "pretty sure" they shot down that dead spy satellite with the toxic fuel aboard. I'm "pretty sure" I'm relieved knowing that!

Clinton and Obama are arguing about trade--well that's... different.

A woman was apparently refused life-saving oxygen on a plane. Sucks to be her for sure, but is one person's death worth the attention CNN.com is giving it?

Obama is upset over Clinton playing dirty politics. Well, that's... different.

Iraqis use animals and wheelchairs to blow things up. YOU DON'T SAY! HOW CLEVER OF THEM.

Two Cuban groups arrive in the US. That's, uh, nice. Care to tell us WHO THEY ARE?

Apparently an 8th grade kid who was shot was bullied first. This is important to know, if you happened to be the parent of an 8th grader who is currently being bullied and is about to be shot. Which is, you know, a lot of us, I'm sure.

The elephant population of *some* nation *somewhere* in the world has more than doubled. Said nation decides killing some is cool. That'll teach those damn elephants to, uh, procreate.

A man was trapped underwater in a backhoe--what was he doing with a backhoe underwater in the first place?

Places where lots of people died are locations living people are interested in. YOU'RE LYING! No one finds death fascinating!! You're so full of shit, CNN!

;)

The guy who won the lottery recently almost didn't buy a ticket this week, making the rest of us who did feel like asses for bothering.

Apparently, all the best actors aren't American and the Academy knows it.

Credit card debt is up three times the previous measured level and most people pay their bill late. WOW, THAT IS NEWS! I AM SORRY I DOUBTED YOU, CNN!

An iguana that eats it's own kind gets a toy lizard stuck in his throat. Ooo, they've got video of it! What is this America's Funniest Home Videos? Does Tom Bergeron work for CNN now???

Someone called Anne Geddes can't control the babies that she uses in her... project of some kind?

OH and the best bit is their top story--which comes complete with a picture of a "dead nuke plant." Check it out:

"Talk about descent. Eighteen months ago, North Korea could test fire a nuke. Now, the same plant that produced that feat has severed pipes and crumbling concrete. It's a far cry from the place that earned President Bush's 'evil' label."

Nice journalism.

"Talk about descent."??? I didn't go to journalism school or anything, but this doesn't strike me as a very balanced statement. Follow that up with the statement about how this plant is a "far cry" from the plant that made Bush call NoKo 'evil' and you're really tipping the scales. I mean, is the reporter an expert in judging the effects of aging on nuclear plants?

SERIOUSLY, CNN, you guys need to catch a clue before more people defect to MNSBC and Fox News--not that either of those guys are doing any sort of job either.

MSNBC.com is currently reporting on:

The Oscars (important *entertainment* news)
The fact that existing-home sales have fallen to a 10-year low (important)
Clinton and Obama sharpening attacks (not important)
Computers are being taught to appreciate art (not important for top-story billing)
The spy-satellite shoot-down was successful (they should check out what CNN is reporting!)

...and a few other things that have nothing to do with the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the invasion of northern Iraq by Turkey and no mention of the Sumatran earthquake either.

Meanwhile Fox News is even worse. In a story on an American political scientist you've never heard of they actually use the LOLCatz method to announce he's in league with terrorism (to see, go here: http://thepete.com/lolfoxnooz ).

Either way, we're in a world of hurt, news-wise.

Part of a strong, healthy democracy is knowing what the hell is going on and when we know so little about the important stuff, we really can't make the best choice for our leaders. Kinda makes you wonder if this hasn't been going on for a while now.

I mean, look at the state of the Earth.
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LOLFoxNooz




LOLFoxNooz, originally uploaded by thepetecom.



For a post on the state of American news sources, I was researching what the various mainstream news sources were reporting today. I was immediately struck at how LOLCatz-esque the graphic of Finkelstein is.

Why didn't they just go with "HAYT AMERICA, LUVN TERROR"?

Ralph Nader - Hero or Ego?

Today's Topic of the Day at Utterz.com is "Ralph Nader - Hero or Ego?" as in: is he running because he seriously wants to lead America or is he running out of sheer ego? You can check out the original post on Utterz to see what everyone else is saying about Nader or click the play button below to listen to what I had to say.





Haven't had my caffeine yet this morning so apologies for the 4 minute post!



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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time-Warner Cable Hi-Jacking My Internet


So, one of the cool geeky things about using Firefox as a browser (as a scifi fan) is that if you want to get to the official website of Doctor Who, you just type in "dr" into the URL field and hit return. Doing that usually sends me right to http://bbc.co.uk/doctorwho

Well, tonight I tried it because I wanted to find out if they had announced the air dates in the UK for the new series of the show only to discover that Road Runner Internet (the official name for Time-Warner Cable) had cut me off at the pass and shoved a bunch of ads in my face instead of giving me what I wanted. See the above screencap to see what I saw.

So, we pay for cable TV and get programming with commercials. We pay for cable broadband and we get Internet... with commercials.

Does anyone else think this might be getting a little out of hand?
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UPDATED: http://thepete.com/nate-ritter-how-to-beat-time-warner-hi-jacking

The Cohen Bros. are drinking PTA's milk shake tonight...

The Cohen Bros. are drinking PTA's milk shake tonight. They're drinking it up! Luckily, Daniel Day Lewis got to drink his own. Yay!

Now spinning through the Oscars on the DVR...

Now spinning through the Oscars on the DVR--the only way to watch. Glad Bardem got it--sometimes the Oscars get it right, when it's obvious.

Note To Ted Stevens: Better to Be Assumed a Fool



Here's something I blogged on a while back--but recently stumbled across. It's a clip from the Daily Show that covered how (not) well Alaska Ted Stevens understood the Internet. Check out my original post on this from August 4, 2006: http://thepete.com/…lity-video

I tend to agree with Jon Stewart--seems to me the guy regulating the Internet should probably know what it is and how it works!

Or at the very least should know the difference between an "internet" and an "email."
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Two Good Things About the Knight Rider Remake





So, last week NBC aired their TV movie remake of the classic, cheesefest series "Knight Rider". I enjoyed the show a lot as a kid, but did not enjoy the three other attempts at remakes Universal has attempted. TheWife is a bigger fan of the original than I so we decided to check out the latest. Needless to say, neither of us were impressed.

A talking bullet-proof car that drives reeeally fast was cool in the 1980s, but here in the 21st century, it's pretty weak. I mean, *seriously* how could they expect a car with the *exact* same abilities to be at all interesting?

However, there were two things that TheWife and I thoroughly enjoyed about this Knight Rider remake and both were stupid and minor.

First is the wav file I uploaded along with this post. It's of the new KITT saying "That does... suck."

We both laughed at how funny the phrase is coming from suck an unemotional voice.

The other is the video I uploaded with this post. It's of a moment where the new driver of KITT, who happens to be in the passenger seat of the car in this scene says the following lines: "Your dad was always good to me... and my mom."

The thing is, the "and my mom" comes out of the actor's mouth in such a weird way that I swear I thought someone cut one on the set and no one on the production noticed. I had to back up my DVR to hear the sound again. The more I played it the more it sounded electronic and not like a real sound a human made. My wife explained what the line was to me, but it still just tweaked me something fierce.

It still makes me giggle.

Better luck next time, NBC!

Maybe you should have the car fly, or burrow underground or, I don't know, maybe just come up with a good story?

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ThePete.Com Update for 20080224

Welcome to ThePete.Com! There's plenty to look at--blog, videos, pictures and more all updated DAILY. Click around and see what you can see. Tags are only semi-functional, but I'm working on them.

The 5 Minute Show Ep 9 Anti-War Rally Finale

Here is the final episode following ThePete's adventures at an anti-Iraq War rally back in 2003, before the invasion happened. Sure, it didn't do any good, but there were a lot of hot women at the protest! :D But seriously, it was fun to go and experience all those people who think war's a bad idea.

Weee, my actress wife is at rehearsal tonight so...

Weee, my actress wife is at rehearsal tonight so I've no reason to watch the Oscars. YAY! Isn't that ironic, dontchewthink?

Like Super-Hero Toys? Check Out My eBay Auctions


Like Spider-Man or the X-Men toys? I'm selling a bunch of my super-hero-related action figures!! I've got four auctions up on eBay right now and I'll be selling more super-hero stuff in the next couple weeks. Currently I've got up for auction the following:

GIANT 12-INCH BLACK SPIDER-MAN FIGURE OVER 20 JOINTS!

SECRET WARS WOLVERINE FROM 1984 + FORGE & CORSAIR

ARCHANGEL ANGEL DEATHBIRD AND PROFESSOR X X-MEN FIGURES

4 X-MEN HOTTIES: 2 JEAN GREY & 1 ROGUE ACTION FIGURE

Check out my auctions here:

http://snurl.com/theebay

I've got several more weeks' worth of auctions to go--I am running out of toys, however. This week and next are probably it for the toys.

After that, I'll be posting some laserdiscs, so if you're a video geek and like LDs, I'll be selling my Superman lasers and probably a few other LDs, too--like my original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie on LD, Judge Dredd and a couple others.

Once I'm done with those, it'll be all about the books that haven't sold yet on half.com.

Speaking of books, don't forget: my novel is still on sale here:

http://snurl.com/thekeybook

Thanks!!
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Saturday, February 23, 2008

So, why do people even bother with having a laptop if, when they get to a coffee house, they immediately plug in to an outlet?

On my way to TheSaturdaily to write...

On my way to TheSaturdaily to write with JUST my XO--no MacBook-safety-net! Wish me luck!

Why is it that when Hollywood let's women make movies...

Why is it that when Hollywood let's women make movies they make movies like "Point Break" and "Deep Impact"?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Nuclear States of America and Sarah Meyer


As everyone is zooming off to their weekend today, I thought I'd finish up my posts for the week with a truly depressing post on the state of American nuclear weapons.

Come on, does EVERY post on a Friday have to be "light" and "fun"? Of course not!! And hey, this isn't all bad, read on to see what I mean.

So, there's this woman called Sarah Meyer. Her website is: http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/

However, she's not your average blogger. She is part of the BRussels Tribunal Advisory Committee (http://www.brusselstribunal.org/ ) which is a left-leaning group that calls themselves "intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce the logic of permanent war promoted by the American government and its allies, affecting for the time being particularly one region in the world: the Middle East."

What she does is spend months gathering information on a specific important topic and then posts a literal bibliography of quality sources and excerpts from those sources regarding whatever the topic is. In January of 2008 (last month), she wrote about the state of nuclear America in a post you can read here:

http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/…-2007.html

Here is a quote from her post:

"NUCLEAR-armed states are criminal states. They have a legal obligation, confirmed by the World Court, to live up to Article 6 of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which calls on them to carry out good-faith negotiations to eliminate nuclear weapons entirely. None of the nuclear states has lived up to it. Noam Chomsky (10.08.07. khaleej times / ICH.)"

Another:

"The US-NATO Preemptive Nuclear Doctrine: Trigger a Middle East Nuclear Holocaust to Defend "The Western Way of Life"
11.02.08. Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research. The controversial NATO sponsored report entitled �Towards a Grand Strategy for an Uncertain World: Renewing Transatlantic Partnership". calls for a first strike use of nuclear weapons. The preemptive use of nukes would also be used to undermine an "increasingly brutal World" as well as a means to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction:

"They [the authors of the report] consider that nuclear war might soon become possible in an increasingly brutal world. They propose the first use of nuclear weapons must remain "in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction". (Paul Dibb, Sidney Morning Herald, 11 February 2008). Excellent article, must read!"

To read more about NATO's plan for preemptive nuclear war at GlobalResearch.ca you can go here: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php

To read more about American nukes in general, head over to Meyer's post: http://indexresearch.blogspot.com/…-2007.html

But be warned, it's very long and fairly depressing (I have yet to get through it all). However, I think you should take two important points away from my post:

1) It's great that there are people like Meyer who do this kind of research so that we all don't have to.

2) This kind of research works as a counter balance to the party line that is often spewed by the mainstream media who tend to parrot what the White House tells them to.

3) It's very important that we know more about America's own nuclear interests as it continues to rattle it's saber against Iran (read about US saber-rattling here: http://www.nytimes.com/…-Nuke.html.

On that happy note, have a great weekend everybody!
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The 5 Minute Show Episode 20030223 Anti-War Protest pt 2!

And here are the continuing adventures of ThePete at an Anti-Iraq War protest shortly before we went to war in Iraq. :(

Chrome Bugatti: WANT but Will Never HAVE


I'm quite a nut for avoiding the old ICE cars (those automobiles with Internal Combustion Engines in them). I don't own a car, myself (I live in Los Angeles WTF?) and have promised myself that if I do ever buy another car it'll be a Mini Cooper, a Smart Car, or a hybrid.

HOWEVER, when I saw the above car at TechEblog.com (here: http://www.techeblog.com/…n-the-wild ), I literally got chills.

Holeemolee, does this car look awesome. They made only five and charge $300 grand for one.

If you follow the link there's even a video of it on the road. Maybe after I sell my first million dollar script I'll pick one up and then hack a hybrid engine into it ^_^
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THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? HELL, YES. Wow, up until now I've really not liked Paul Thomas Anderson as a director, but this movie was positively Stanley-Kubrickesque.

Technically any good? WAS IT EVER. On every level this movie did impressive things with itself. First off, the story was perfectly solid--granted, it's a little cliche, but it's done really well. The script was INCREDIBLE with no dialogue for a goodly chunk of the movie. Then, the acting was equally incredible by all involved--Daniel Day Lewis is the Caucasian Javier Bardem. INSANELY good he was in this. In fact, it was his voice in the commercials that made me want to see this movie in the first place. The direction, while GREAT is evident--as in, this doesn't feel like other movies. You sense a director's hand in this simply because it's so good. It's kind of like that amazing view of a mountain or an ocean that makes you think you're looking at God's handiwork. Not to say that PTA is God--I'm just saying it feels like an artist made it. This can be both good and bad, depending on your point of view. Personally, I'll take this kind of more obvious direction over any other kind any day.

Oh yeah and the music was great, too--minimal, for sure--but still great.

How did it leave me feeling? Stunned--I was really, really happy with this movie. Don't let me over-hype it, though. I'm sure some people found this movie jarring, disturbing and depressing--I know I did--but that's what art makes you do sometimes. This is the first movie I really wanted to see again in the theater.

Final Rating? STM - SEE THIS MOVIE - FIVE STARS!!! Don't wait for DVD! Go see it now!!

And once you've seen it, check out IDrinkYourMilkShake.com to see what other folks are saying about this movie.

Is America Getting Copyright/Patent Crazy?


The above screencap comes from a TUAW.com post (here: http://www.tuaw.com/…ion-cards/ ) on a lawsuit being brought against Apple Inc for violating a patent on "retail point of sale for online merchandising"--aka gift cards you buy in a store and redeem online. This is a seriously absurd idea to me--does someone own a patent on gift cards you buy in a store and use in a store? Does someone own a patent on buying things with a credit card? How can you patent a concept so common and logical that you'd expect that it's just a natural part of evolving commerce?

A few weeks back, I posted the first part of my vlog series on waiting for my XO laptop to show up (see it here: http://tv.thepete.com/…-day-4-pt1 ). I posted it to Revver who, at first, rejected it because it contained footage of me on hold. What's that got to do with anything? Well, the hold music was copyrighted. They didn't want to get sued if the copyright-holder of the crappy music got mad. Of course, my video is a documentary, technically, so the music was part of the event I was documenting--so, it falls under fair-use. Still, it was enough for Revver to be paranoid. After telling them to send any interested lawyers my way, they let the video get posted.

Then, while shooting another Vlog entry just a few weeks later, I wondered if my footage of Hollywood Boulevard would get my vlog entry rejected from Revver because of all the copyrighted logos I was capturing outside the Hillary/Obama debate that night. The vlog post didn't get rejected and you can see it here: http://tv.thepete.com/…and-barack

Still, it made me think about one of my favorite shows on TV--"Mythbusters" and how every time they have a brand name logo on a T-shirt, bucket or anywhere else, the post-production guys have to blur said logo out.

Then there was the case of the YouTube video that inspired Prince's lawyers to send a C&D letter because one of his songs played in the background of the video which featured a baby doing something cute.

It's one thing to protect yourself or your company from a genuine loss of business, revenue or reputation. However, to me, suing because of any of the above examples seems idiotic and greedy. Not EVERY use of copyrighted material or patented processes equates to lost revenue or a ruined reputation.

Remember that time Oprah said she wouldn't eat hamburgers ever again?

First off, yeah RIGHT.

Second off, she got sued by a bunch of meat industry guys.

So much for free speech, huh?

I mean, I HATE Oprah--her saying she'd never eat a hamburger again made me WANT to eat more burgers!!

Publicity is publicity, guys. Unless you're some fool who decided patenting a process as basic as selling gift cards you redeem online. That's just the dumbest thing I've ever heard. Why not patent coupons?

Here's an idea, let's patent "the process of displaying logos, products and slogans with the intent to entice monetary transfer in exchange for product or service included in display."

We'll call it "ADVERTISING!"

Sorry, I tend to be cranky in the mornings.
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Awake, but wish I wasn't. Cold, tired-just busywork...

Awake, but wish I wasn't. Cold, tired-just busywork to do all day it seems. At least I plan on winning the lottery tonight. That'll be nice.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Once again, I'm up way too late. Partly, I was working on a script and partly, I was fuming about the remake of the BBC show "Life on Mars".

ThePete.Cam: Working on a Radio Script



And yes, those are my XO's little ears, listening for wifi, even though I'm just working on a script.



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OK, finished with my taxes (I hope I didn't screw anything up!) and now it's chore time. Vacuuming, dishes and more! YAAAAAAY!

Doing My Taxes: Ottoman Turkish Empire Payments?


So, I'm doing my state taxes this afternoon with TurboTax Online and I see a tax credit for "Ottoman Turkish Empire Settlement Payments".

Are offspring of the victims of the Ottoman empire actually getting reparations??? I can't think of anything else that could mean...

I was sooo tempted to leave that check mark there and claim it, but I didn't. I'm so HONEST!! :)
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Trying to "Free File" through H&R Block's website...

Trying to "Free File" through H&R Block's website, but as soon as you log in the phrase "Free File" vanishes. o_O

GITMO TRIALS RIGGED TO END IN CONVICTION?


Here's another gem from http://DemocracyNow.org/. On yesterday's show, they reported on the former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo's military commissions who told the Nation magazine that there was no way any of those six guys accused of taking part in the 911 attacks would get a fair trial. Here's a bit from the show's transcript (get the whole thing here: http://www.democracynow.org/…guantanamo ): "The 9/11 trials for the six Guantanamo prisoners charged by the Pentagon last week with conspiracy to commit war crimes might have been rigged from the start to rule out the possibility of any acquittals, this according to the latest statements to The Nation magazine from Colonel Morris Davis, the former chief prosecutor for Guantanamo's military commissions.

Colonel Davis recounted a 2005 meeting with the Bush administration-appointed Pentagon General Counsel William Haynes, who now oversees the prosecutions and the defense for the tribunal process. Haynes said, "We can't have acquittals. If we've been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can't have acquittals, we've got to have convictions"

Colonel Davis resigned from the military commissions in October 2007, saying the system had become 'politicized' and he could no longer be effective. His latest statements to The Nation magazine offer the most pointed evidence of the military commission's bias and undermine the Bush administration's claims of ensuring fair trials for the accused."

Weeee! This is the biggest thorn in my side regarding all of this "Post-911 Thinking" going on. In one of our country's founding documents we make the statement that all humans are equal, right? I'm paraphrasing, but that's what is accepted, right?

Well, the exact phrasing is: "all men are created equal."

Please note: it doesn't say that all "Americans" are created equal.

Therefore, EVERY human on the planet deserves the same rights as any American citizen.

So, even if these six guys in Gitmo are guilty of what they are accused of, they STILL deserve a fair trial! I don't care if they're criminals, war criminals or "enemy combatants" (whatever the hell those are). They should still get fair trials and the same rights any other human gets.

If we don't provide what we promise how can anyone outside of the US trust what any of us say?

Now, to me, this doesn't sound like the trials are rigged. However, if the guys in charge of the trials say something like "there can be no acquittals" you have to admit, that screams "unfair bias" all over the damn place.

Just a sidenote here: there have been no convictions for the 911 attacks. There have been just a handful of convictions of terror suspects involved in other attacks not on US soil. We've invaded two countries and ended hundreds of thousands of lives in the interest of catching terrorists, yet we can't seem to convict hardly anyone in a court of law.

How much you wanna bet those six dudes in Guantanamo have exactly nada to do with 911?
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FULL METAL ALCHEMIST CONQUEROR OF SHAMBALLA (2006)

Positive Experience/Entertaining? Yes, but it wasn't super memorable, sadly.

Technically any good? The animation is beautiful--it looks better than the series. The voice acting (I'm referring to the original Japanese, not the dubbed version) is as solid and brilliant as it was in the series, but sadly the story ends up being on the weak side. Sadly, just too many of the interesting story-arcs from the series have already been tied up, so the few things left to do aren't quite enough to make this a worth-while follow-up.

How did it leave me feeling? Satisfied, but not overly so. Ultimately, it felt like a last grab at cash for the folks that made the series. Still worth seeing if you're a fan of the series--just don't expect your mind to be blown or anything.

Final Rating? NFI - NetFlix It - A bit too intense for little kids, remember, Japanese Animation is often NOT for children. This is NOT Pokemon or Yu-Gi-Oh--this is WAY better and much easier for us adults to enjoy, though I recommend the series if you're looking for REALLY good story.

LINTOP 2: Linux Computer the Size of a Paperback


Wow, this thing is pretty sweet--see it up there? That little black box that's mounted on the back of that LCD monitor? Yeah, that's a computer.

Now, I'm not second-guessing my purchase of an XO or anything, but you have to admit, a Linux PC you can fit into your jacket pocket is pretty damn cool. Predictably, specs aren't that impressive on this little guy, it's got an 800 Mhz processor, 512MB of RAM (expandable to 1 gig), 1GB SSD (no hard drive), a standard VGA output (yikes!) and four USB ports. The thing also pulls about 8 watts of power, unlike your average laptop which pulls closer to 80 (the XO pulls about 6, I've read).

You get all that for just $415 plus shipping--not bad, but there are a few things you need to think about. For starters, there's no battery supply. This one's for the wall. Of course, you could easily drop another hundred-ish on a Tekkeon MyPower battery pack (http://www.amazon.com/…42-0253201 mypower&x=0&y=0 ), but then what about a monitor? You'd need to grab some sort of portable monitor that also could pull power from the Tekkeon or maybe buy a second Tekkeon to power the monitor?

By then, though, you're pulling a LOT more than just 8 watts and you're spending a lot more than $415 plus shipping. :(

Of course, it's ideal if you don't need it to be portable, have an extra monitor laying around, and need a tiny-PC without a lot of processor power behind it.

Read more about it in an Engadget post from today: http://www.engadget.com/…r-desktop/

Or, check out it's home page at Lintop.com : http://www.linutop.com/…p2.en.html



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I am just not feeling "today" today.

I am just not feeling "today" today. Do Thursdays have a ctrl+alt+del key combo? A restart is definitely in order.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

iPod Shuffle Prices Drop--I Smell a New Model!

 




Just got this email from Apple saying that Apple is dropping the price of a 1 gig iPod shuffle to $49. That's down from the original price of $79. That's a HUGE price drop and it's one I don't think we'd see unless they were trying to get rid of their supply to make room for......a NEW iPOD SHUFFLE MODEL!!Wahoo!



OK, so, replacing the lowest end of the iPod line isn't that exciting, but hey, I like cheap tech! And who knows? Maybe the replacement will come with a display screen or maybe we'll see the Nano drop in price to $79, which is really how much a video player with a screen that tiny is worth.


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UPDATE: Whoopsie pants!  Turns out they've already announced  a new 2GB Shuffle for just $69.  Ah, well.  So much for the idea of an uber-cheap Nano!  Read more at TUAW.com here: http://www.tuaw.com/2008/02/19/shuffle-price-drop/

Just got back from the outside world...

Just got back from the outside world. Accompanied TheWife to TheBank and then to lunch at TheFamima. LOVE Famima!! だいすきですよ!

Heading out to enjoy the sun-according to the forecast...

Heading out to enjoy the sun-according to the forecast, it won't last. Winter finally hits Los Angeles! I'll just have to enjoy the wetness!

Gay Sex Causes Earthquakes But There is a Cure!


The above screencap comes to us from an article at Ynetnews.com (get it here: http://www.ynetnews.com/…63,00.html ) and reports on Knesset Member Shlomo Benizri who has made a claim that gays caused the recent earthquake in Israel. Here's a bit from the article: ""But I no {sic} of another way to prevent earthquakes; the Gemara mentions a number of causes of earthquakes, one of which is homosexuality, which the Knesset legitimizes," Benizri said.

An earthquake registering 5.3 on the Richter Scale was felt by residents across Israel at 12:36 pm Friday. The trembling lasted for 19 seconds and shook structures in many major towns and cities."

Yep, in today's day and age, in one of America's strongest allies in the world, there are politicians that actually believe a little man-on-man action some how makes the ground angry.

My Atheism *entirely* aside, one can easily make the case that this claim is absurd. If God hated TheGay he'd have sent San Francisco into the sea decades ago and razed West Hollywood to the ground. Then again, Greece did get hit with a quake today. O_O

But seriously, gays=earthquakes?

Well, even if it is true, we shouldn't worry because THERE IS A CURE FOR GAY!



Just last night, after a 3-hour marathon of "America's Funniest Videos" on ABC Family, said family network ran an episode of Pat Robertson's "The 700 Club." If you've never seen it, "The 700 Club" is a religious "show that is one-part "news" show and one part "Regis and Kathy Lee". On the episode last night they ran a story about "recovering gays."

That is to say, former gays and lesbians who are now "healing" themselves and choosing to serve Jesus. Luckily, I hit record on my DVR the moment I realized what they were talking about. That's where the video in this post comes from. Essentially, they claim that "therapy" can bring you back to heterosexuality.

Two words:

Ah-stounding.

Is there really a cure for loving who you love?

For those gays and lesbians who believe they weren't given a choice in the matter, is there any real "heterosexuality" for them to go back to?

Again, my Atheism *entirely* aside, it is a fact that homosexuality exists in humanity and has for more than 2000 years (probably for much longer than that). It's also practiced in animal cultures, like the Bonobos (look 'em up). In the 21s Century, it seems positively ostrich-head-in-the-sand-like to make claims that:

1) Gays cause earthquakes
2) Gays can be cured

I have no problems with religion when they can accept reality--or at the very least when they don't force their views onto people. I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I'm entitled to mine, too.
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