in an episode of the office
there's a shot of jim's room and he has a poster that has random pictures
and mathematical symbols on one side of an equation and on the other side
is "life?" it reminds me of dungey's class wherein he would mock scientists
who attempt to know ultimate truth through the use of math and science.
included picture below.
today was tedious and boring.
this week has been very slow. i'm really feeling like this is a job lately.
it's mostly that this park is almost more of a city park than a national
park. there are certainly nationally important features and histories to
be told regarding the area, but people here mostly just come to walk and
bike on the towpath trail (a paved trail that runs alongside the cuyahoga
river). it's lame because the towpath is paved and probably the least backwoodsy
of all the trails in the park.
i've come to the conclusion
that i don't want to work at this park for a living. i haven't ruled out
other parks, though. i think that yellowstone doesn't have the same problems.
in fact, i'd guess that any park that requires a fee is going to be quite
a bit different in this regard. people aren't going to pay $10-20 to walk
on a paved trail. they're more likely to show an interest in learning,
preservation, or witnessing wildlife. i'm not saying that yellowstone would
be without its drawbacks, though. for example, i'd probably be pissed at
all the idiots who wanted to feed the bears or nudge the bison out of the
way with their cars or whatnot. i guess my problem is my hatred of most
finally finished the william
didn't get to see all of
the ucla game because the place closed before the game was over. on the
radio i heard fsu score a td late in the 4th quarter, though, so i think
it's safe to say that ucla lost. the pac-10 is 0-3 so far in the bowl games.
usc, oregon state, and cal have yet to play, but they could all conceivably
lose because none of them are real consistent. pretty bad year for the
pac-10 even if they all end up winning.
looking forward to the
ucla/fsu game tonight. cal/texas a&m is tomorrow. i'll eat out so i
can watch both those games.
just got done talking with
frank and bill about the park and this area of ohio. we talked about other
areas as well, but mostly northeastern ohio and the process of getting
government jobs. mostly they just bitched about the procedures and regulations
for getting jobs with the government. they also complained about having
to worry about photo enforced intersections in the area. they also lamented
the fact that the cops would give you a hard time if you had a couple beers
and were driving. when i said that i only make $60/week, bill said that
i probably make out as well as him after everything. a gs5 maintenance
guy makes about what i was making at tower - $13.50/hour. so how he figures
the math on that one isn't quiet clear. i make in a week what he makes
in five hours. he said something about having a wife, land, and "a couple
kiddies," but i pointed out that he chose to have those things and that
i don't have any of those things. i'd love to have some land and a second
conversations like this
are what bring out the republican in me. he talks about not having much
money, but when talking about running red lights he flippantly says "well,
i'm going to do what i'm going to do and if they get me then so be it."
frank remarked that, in mississippi, they didn't make seat belts mandatory
until about 2003. i guess i'm an indoctrinated californian because i don't
mind stopping at red lights and preserving my life by not driving drunk
or wearing seat belts. i also acknowledge my role in being broke if i choose
to have a couple kids, some land, a wife and run red lights without regard
to the possibility of getting a ticket. i can certainly sympathize with
someone who gets a ticket for driving 2mph over the speed limit or something
as marginal as that, but i don't sympathize with people who are asking
spoke with an older volunteer
and janitor while at the visitor's center today. we talked about iraq,
america, native americans, etc. the janitor was in the army so he contended
that america is the only country in the world that is out there solving
the problems in the world. he realized that iraq was a mess, but said that
we need to do it. they both said that the rest of the world doesn't care
when something like katrina happens (not entirely true), yet we're always
the first to send the red cross to help them in times of need. i agree
that some neglect to mention the positive actions americans take abroad,
but i pointed out that that's kind of the price of being #1. i gave bill
gates as an example. if his house is destroyed by an earthquake very few
people are going to shed tears and no one is going to donate any money
to help him rebuild it. this is the cost of being so insanely rich. at
the same time we have to acknowledge that the bill and melinda gates foundation
does more around the world than any other privately funded charity. generally
when i come across people who think that iraq is a necessary fight, i attack
their logic on the basis of opportunity cost. i figure i'm not going to
win an ideological debate with them, so i just highlight the cost ($600
billion after this fiscal year) and mention some things that might have
aided our national security more effectively: port security, nuclear non-proliferation
and containment (esp. in the former ussr), scanning the cargo of airplanes,
etc. as well as domestic issues like the national park service, universal
health care, education, transportation infrastructure, and deficit reduction.
a big question seemed to
be: why are we (american blacks, whites, jews, catholics, muslims, etc.)
able to get along while factions in some other countries are not? i think
that the easiest thing to say is that many people don't feel they have
anything to live for. certainly, economic stability and hope would stem
a lot of the violence in countries across the globe. but i think it would
be disingenuous to not talk about religion as well. mexico doesn't have
high population growth rates because people are bored, it's more likely
because 89% of the country is catholic. that would be an interesting stat
- population growth amongst catholic countries vs. the rest of the world.
so i think you have to admit that religious extremism is an obvious issue
as well. of course you could contend that extremism wouldn't take hold
amongst a more educated and economically hopeful polity.
bought a world almanac
last week. pretty happy about that. i buy the new almanac whenever i see
the new one has come out.
stat of the day: greenhouse
gases from the u.s. since 1990, in million metric tons...
those numbers are for all
greenhouse gases. meanwhile, for carbon dioxide emissions alone, china
has gone from 2,241 in 1990 and 3,030 in 2000 to 4,707 in 2004. if that
doesn't tell a dangerous story i don't know what does. china has more than
doubled its CO2 emissions in 14 years, an increase of about 2,500 million
metric tons, while the u.s. pales in comparison - increasing "only" 1,100
million metric tons in that time. india was at about 1,100 in 2004, but
that was a 271% increase since 1990 whereas we increased 18% in that time.
one nation in the world's top 15 producers of greenhouse gases has actually
decreased their emissions since 1990 - the u.k. has seen a 3% decrease
in that time.
incidentally, as of 2004
the u.s. accounts for about 21.8% of the world's CO2, china is at 17.4%,
and russia (#3 on the list) is at 6.2%. if you look at it from a per capita
point of view the u.s. looks really bad, and china looks extremely scary.
if you look at it relative to gdp the u.s. doesn't seem as awful, japan
seems downright green, and canada looks pretty bad. i don't know how one
look at those numbers. does america have the right to put more emissions
in the air because it produces so much income and so many goods and bolsters
the world market? or does china have more of a right because they have
so many people?
gerald ford died today.
i know about two things about the guy: he pardoned nixon (bah) and he wasn't
elected. he has the distinction of being the only president who wasn't
elected. agnew was the vice president and stepped down before nixon because
of tax evasion. so nixon chose ford as his v.p. nixon/agnew, what a ticket
that was. in the 2004 republican convention arnold schwartzenegger recalled
a time when he was new to america and was watching a presidential debate
on tv. he saw nixon and asked his friend what party he was in and his friend
replied "he's a republican" to which arnold responded "well, then i'm a
from now on i should end
every entry with "fuck the world."
fuck the world.
didn't realize it until
today, but i have the next three days off.
been pretty bored lately.
bored with my job and bored with my time off.
played some madden 2007
with frank today. he's got a ps2 so that's nice.
it's too late to start
a movie and i don't have any projects that i want to work on right now.
one thing about school
that i think has worked to my disadvantage is that it associated essays
and research with obligation. i think about the research i should do for
my snowshoe program and i don't really feel like doing it. the only explanation
i can come up with is that the act of research has negative associations
as a result of school work. i like the subject matter (i chose it after
all), but i just don't feel motivated to learn more about it. i think the
other element is that i've never had a great deal of patience with tasks
that take more than a few days to complete. i like working on new things.
if i had to research for a different talk then i'd probably be motivated
to do that for a few days and, after that time, i'd feel like i feel now.
the same goes for carpentry projects. the ideal project is something that
i can plan in a couple days and execute in another couple days. this is
the major reason i'm not interested in fine woodworking. in general, i
think i'm an impatient person. maybe this is why traveling appeals to me.
during the studio system
actors, writers, etc. had less freedom to move from studio to studio or
project to project. ostensibly this was bad for them, but i think that
the studio system provided something that is lost in the modern-day film
industry: stability and talent development. directors, actors, cinematographers
working with the same crew film after film has appreciable benefits for
all involved. further, a studio that signs an actor has his/her interests
in mind as well. sometimes actors might be frustrated by their lack of
"playing time," but i think that the stars of the period prove that the
system works in spite of any actors who felt they didn't get the roles
they felt they deserved. it's in the studios' interest to develop quality
actors, directors and crew members. today, though, a studio is less likely
to invest time in talent development because it is less likely to benefit
them later on down the line. in general i see the business back then as
more of a profession than it is today. people looked at it as a job as
well as an artistic craft and i think the overall quality (and quantity)
reflects that work ethic.
today was pretty average,
but i felt good.
i'm looking back at the
year's movies and preparing a top ten list. in looking back it occurred
to me that this has been a very good year for films. part of this is because
i've seen about 100 that were released this year. note: i've seen 130 movies
in the theater, but some of those were of films that were actually released
in 2005 so the number of films i've seen that are eligible for the top
ten is actually a good deal lower than the number i've seen in the theater
this year. at any rate, having 100 films from which to choose makes the
task all the more difficult. which film will emerge victorious? will it
be the most highly rated film of the year (united 93, which i gave an A-)?
or will it be a crowd favorite like borat? or a dark horse like little
miss sunshine? will scorsese finally score big with his toughest critic
(me), thus completing his career? will the beastie boys claim a top spot
in the film category just two years after releasing a #1 album? what about
the year's most laugh-inducing film - jackass number two - will it place?
and if so, where? stay tuned, time will tell all.
today has been somewhat
frustrating. things just don't seem to go the way they're supposed to.
bought a dvd writer today.
i had planned on holding off until later, but i grew impatient. having
a one-disc archive of my documents and essential programs is nice. it would
take two double layer discs to backup my pictures.
i wonder when movie studios
or theaters are going to start putting their little watermarked symbol
in the lower right hand corner of the screen like network stations do.
think that's ridiculous? 15 years ago there weren't commercials before
previews (more commercials) in the theater. we pay $10 to watch a movie
that starts 20 minutes after its advertised start time and if we show up
on time, or early, then we get a bunch of commercials selling soda and
i snuck in the theater
to see a second film and had to wait about 20 minutes before the next showtime.
while i was waiting they had some commercial program that features up and
coming new artists who pay for national exposure. they described an up
and coming band from california with world influences, etc. and i thought
to myself "that would be funny if it was (my old roommate) jordan's band,"
and, sure enough, it was. i don't want to give any free publicity to his
"band" (a duo the last time i checked) by naming it here, but if you know
him then you can figure it out (hint: he likes dave matthews band and is
self-absorbed). there was a 30 second clip that was preceded and followed
up by a little blurb about the band that essentially billed it as a rising
music act in california. somehow i find myself more repelled by the seemingly
harmless people like jordan than by the truly awful people like jeffrey
dahmer. at least dahmer is intellectually interesting. i guess this means
that jordan is national now. i'd say "good for him," but there's no accomplishment
in spending your parents' money so...
i'm so hateful sometimes.
if i had invented the cookie
recipe we wouldn't have cookies today. as soon as i made up a batch of
cookie dough i would have stopped, thinking that the recipe was perfect
already. after all, why would you want to ruin cookie dough by putting
it in the oven? the only advantage you gain by baking cookie dough is in
the gained ability to dunk the cookies in milk. that sounds real good right
went to akron today. drove
through, stopped at the minor league ballpark and looked through the gate
to see what the field was like. they're called the aeros and the place
seats about 8,000. it's a nice little park, too bad they won't be playing
while i'm here. the exterior is brick and the seats are blue. there didn't
seem to be any bleacher seats or outfield grass area even. akron itself
is okay. not much to say about it really. main street is lined with some
older looking buildings; mid-late 19th century i'd guess, but i really
couldn't say. it reminded me of a small pittsburgh, mainly because of the
way people dress, the homes, and the industrial aspects.
all this traveling has
definitely made me more interested in city planning, urban development
and resource management. the other day i downloaded google earth and looked
at brasilia. i've always (at least since i found out about it) wanted to
visit the place and see what it's like. the whole city is built on certain
concepts and a singular vision so it interests me quite a bit. looking
at it on google earth just piqued my interest more. i've seen pictures
of particular buildings, but i hadn't seen the layout from the air before.
next week, or maybe tomorrow,
i'll go to cleveland and check it out a little more. i'd like to see the
cavs play sometime before i leave as well.
any version of winamp past
3.0 has been crashing and burning on my system, not sure why. installed
ole reliable 2.61 and it's working just fine so far. doesn't recognize
half my mp3s since they're actually m4as, so i'm in the process of converting
those to mp3 format. yay. at least it gives me something to do.
jon sent me a vlookup formula
that makes the gpa on my movies index display in one column, instead of
two. after a couple tweaks i put it on the appropriate worksheets and it's
working fine. thanks to him for that. now i can have a chart for the gpa
progression of a given year. i'm not real sure why i want to do that, but
now i can.
so the internship has reached
a plateau lately. that said, this weekend has the potential for my first
ranger talk. if it snows then i'll be giving a talk on saturday about snowshoes
and animal tracking. i'll end it with a game and some crafts. hopefully
it doesn't snow.
definitely hasn't felt
like xmas here. there are decorations in stores, but i don't go very frequently.
there are houses around, but many of them are owned by the park service
and used as offices, so i don't pass by homes with xmas lights very often.
john is moving to la. that
guy has horrible timing. at least he still has a job though.
since i'm already running
out of movies from the library i have to start thinking of other ways to
occupy my time. reading more than a couple hours a day fries my brain and
just listening to music isn't usually all that entertaining. i keep feeling
compelled to make improvements to the webpage, but i'm running out of ideas.
the first and previous bullet points in this post made me think about profiling
my friends, but that would probably be cheesy. people always ask me which
john is which, since half my friends are named john in some form or another
(john, johnny, jon). anyway, i'm open to suggestions.
i have thought about organizing
my yearly archives in chronological order. it would be boring and take
a long time, but it makes recapping the year easier. one thing i've always
disliked about putting the most recent posts at the top is that the archives,
if read from top to bottom, take the mystery out of certain storylines
in my life. then again, i don't think the archives are accessed all that
unseasonably warm these
days, but most people don't seem to mind.
my episodes of the office
(uk) don't have any audio. not sure what happened there.
have the next two days
off. might goto akron or cleveland.
got a bill from a credit
card company which billed me for a year's subscription to sports illustrated.
apparently when i signed up for the card i signed up for si as well. so
i called the cc company and told them i didn't want it and that i didn't
activate the card. she reversed the interest fee, but said she couldn't
do anything about the sports illustrated because that was their dept. so
i called them and told them the story and she said: "well, this was part
of an introductory program. when a person signs up for the credit card
they are also signing up for a free trial of the magazine. if they don't
want it then it's up to them to cancel the subscription before the free
trial is up. after that point they will be charged $29.95 for a one year
subscription." i found it somewhat odd that she was using a pronoun other
than "you." i.e., she kept saying "a person signs up," rather than saying
"when you signed up..." i thought about explaining to her that i wasn't
at the address to receive the magazine and that i never intended on signing
up for the magazine, etc. but i figured i'd try the jedi technique instead.
so i simply said "well, go ahead and just refund the money and i'll be
happy." and she said "okay. this should show up on your statement in the
next 30-60 days." i'm coming to the conclusion lately that it is sometimes
better to just tell people what to do, rather than asking or explaining
your position. it's kinda sad, but i've learned a lot about dealing with
people in this way over the last couple years. as a manager sometimes it
was necessary to dispense with mincing words and just tell someone that
they were going to do something and that was that.
in some ways i'm the biggest
idiot of the interpretive staff, but in others i'm a relative genius. i
talked with paul about it in sort of a roundabout way. a lot of the rangers
will know everything there is to know about hydrology or birds or coyotes
or the history of the region, but won't have even heard of "the graduate"
or wilt chamberlin. i couldn't tell you which birds are considered songbirds
or perching birds or swifts or any of that crap. i can tell you that coyotes
are less solitary than foxes, but i don't know a whole hell of a lot more
than that. i think i'd rather know a little about a lot than a lot about
a little. of course our economy rewards the opposite - people who know
a lot about a little. it's not that the economy prefers is averse to renaissance
people, it's just that we generally pay more for specialized, or depth
of, knowledge and acquiring that specialized knowledge often precludes
acquiring a breadth of knowledge. i have found it true in my experience
that grad students hang out with other grad students, and generally for
their same departments. this leads to a greater depth of knowledge in their
area, but probably limits diverse learning. of course this varies by individual
and field of study. something like astrophysics might be much more focused
than something like colonial british history which might introduce you
to literature, geography, and the history of places like india.
too bad hanson isn't still
#1 on the charts. i have no idea what is #1 on the charts these days.
got my passport in the
mail today. now i can go to canada and come back without being hassled.
i still haven't seen about
six films on afi's top 100 of all-time. i should make that part of my 2007
still have problems with
winamp crashing. it crashes other programs as well so i'm beginning to
think it's something else that affects winamp more adversely. i love computer
i wonder what the impact
environmentally, economically, socially, biologically, etc. would be if
people held off from procreating for 15 years and then procreated as much
as they wanted for 5 years and repeated the cycle.
i kept notes on a couple
conversations with my grandpa and i read through them a bit today. i wish
i had called him more so i'd have more notes. here's a good quote regarding
bush: "(he) cares as much about the american people as a russian geologist"
i've been meeting a decent
number of people lately; at least by my standards. i'm not a huge fan of
meeting people normally since there's a lot of b.s. talk that goes on,
but it's been useful in this situation because i learn a good deal about
the area in the process. i've also been meeting people who are generally
at least twice my age so they're a little cooler. they no more, are more
well traveled and are nice. i haven't met any crazy right wingers yet so
that's good too.
my newest roommate, frank,
is a decent guy by most accounts. he's from mississippi and he lives in
atlanta (but he doesn't like it there). he's only a year older than i,
and i've probably talked more with him than my other roommates. he does,
however, consider women and alcohol his two favorite stress releases, so
i don't foresee us being best buds anytime soon. he also can't stand hippies,
but i got the impression that it was less an ideological thing and more
a smelly, dirty person stereotype that he was averse to.
there aren't a whole lot
of bumper stickers around these parts, but i get the impression that people
here are slightly to the left in this area. there are certainly a(n) (in)decent
number of republican "traditional values" type voters in the rural areas,
but it's not nearly as bad as it was in texas, even austin. i think it's
good to get first hand experience with people on various parts of the spectrum.
austin is considered liberal by texas standards and ohio is right in the
middle of the country. of course california is typically one of the furthest
left of the states. it's different to live amongst these strata, rather
than judging from afar. now that i've visited a few times and lived there,
i can officially say that texas sucks. so, if nothing else, it's nice to
have the authority to say that as a result of actual experience.
there are a lot of ford
tauruses (tauri?) here. maybe it's a combination of it being an american
car and it being a little more stable in snowy conditions. whatever the
reason, it's clearly a regional favorite.
i wonder how much of a
consideration the after market segment is for honda when designing new
civics. clearly there is a good portion of consumers who buy civics and
then modify them in some way. how much do they consider this segment when
designing the engine bore size or simplicity of the transmission? i'm sure
there's some site out there that tracks changes from year to year from
an after market perspective. is the engine of a 1998 civic more easily
re-bored to a 2.0 from the standard 1.8L? do they keep this in mind as
well when deciding the size of the wheel wells (so larger rims can be installed)?
if you know anyone at honda hq then pass on the question for me. thanks.
went on a nature hike yesterday.
learned a bit about how to identify signs of wildlife. learned that deer
are "perfect walkers" which means that their right rear foot will land
in the exact spot that their right front foot lands. this is confirmed
by tracks in mud, which only occasionally show a slight overlap. of course
this changes when they trot or run. learned a bit about cooper's hawks,
red tail hawks, squirrel nests, mud dauber wasps, hornets, raccoons, rabbits,
chipmunks, moles, owls, woodpeckers, and more. in general you're looking
for signs of them feeding or having fed. so you might see grass torn up
which can be a sign of a raccoon digging for grubs, or you might see some
scat that you can identify, or you might see a group of feathers in an
area which may indicate a hawk (more likely a cooper's hawk than a red-tailed
hawk) has killed a bird nearby, or you might see the bark of a tree ripped
off to expose carpenter ant homes (a sign that a woodpecker was there),
or you might see a small tree worn down by a deer's antlers.
met the park superintendent
today. he's the big boss in the park and he's held that position for at
least 15-20 years. there was a little open house thing that paul said i
should attend and i met a few big wigs while there. i talked with him a
bit and asked him about the partnership role in the parks system and how
common it is for parks to have partnerships the way cvnp does. he said
it's becoming more common, especially with the modern parks. apparently
it has more to do with complex legal arrangements than funding or anything
else. he said he could set aside an hour to talk about it in more depth
if i'd be interested. i figure i may as well give it a shot, it's not like
i have that much to lose. part of me wonders if that was just his stock
response to blow people off, or if he is really willing to talk with me.
there's only one way to find out.
went to kinko's and uploaded
the page. discovered that something got messed up with the index page links.
you should be able to click on a movie title and get that review, but all
the links referenced a local file so, when clicked, it would just come
back with a "page cannot be displayed" error page. fixed that while at
kinko's, luckily it didn't take too much effort. had planned on watching
a movie since more came out today, but didn't see anything playing that
piqued my interest.
there are two ways of looking
at the job i might have if i pursue an nps position: 1) i'll feel good
about the difference i'm making by educating people about land use issues,
natural resources and history, and 2) i'll feel real depressed because
i'll constantly be learning about the failures of man, and i'll be exposed
to widespread apathy exhibited by the park visitors on a daily basis. i
think it would be the latter. there are certainly some people who are concerned
with the environment, public policy, the future of humanity, etc., but
i believe that most people are more wrapped up in what they're going to
make for dinner that night and how they're going to pay for the cracked
radiator on their 1973 chevy.
speaking of which, assuming
the corrado is ever put in my name, i think i've come up with a good name
for it. that can't be unveiled until it's actually mine though, so...
nothing new has really
happened lately. i'm pretty well settled in now. i'm still learning, but
not at the same rate. i'm slowly putting together my programs. fridays
are pretty open days for me so tomorrow i plan on taking it easy, reading,
doing a few errands, making a couple calls and working on an outline for
the program that i give on the 23rd.
i finished the new sidebar
already. i'm pretty satisfied with the look, but everything loads differently
depending upon the computer so let me know if it looks like crap or if
it doesn't load properly on your computer. if activex and scripts are disabled
then it should just display everything as open, in which case the sidebar
on the left will be completely full and you'll have to scroll to see everything.
i even made a new archive
index page which doe the same thing as the java page loader above.
over all i'm happy with the recent changes i've made to the page. it's
still me - simple, practical, content-oriented - but it's also cleaner,
better looking and more well-organized.
i can't officially test
my new pages until i upload them and i can't do that until i get to kinko's.
probably next week sometime.
the next big project (which
will require constant internet access) will be to add real searchability
to the site.
i hate it when people will
talk to you and close their eyes at the same time. it's got to be the most
obnoxious trait a person can hold. it's a rare sight, but when it comes
up it irritates the hell out of me.
i was closing out the fee
box at the visitor's center today about 10 minutes early, in an attempt
to get a jump on the closing duties. part of closing out this particular
fee box is counting up the number of passes, making note of it and then
copying this and sending the paperwork/$ to the appropriate staff. there
are two passes - one for the elderly (golden age, $10) and one for the
disabled (golden access, free). the golden age will sell one a week or
so and the golden access will sell one a month. in the first 5 hours and
50 minutes that we were open we got 12 visitors and one of them bought
the golden access pass. so, i was finished closing up the fee box, making
the copies, etc. and about to lick the envelope when an older gentleman
walked in. he informed me that the visitor's center was hard to find, but
that he was happy he found it before we closed. then he informed me that
he wanted to buy a golden access pass. so i sold him one and did the whole
thing over again. that sucks, but it was the worst thing that happened
to me all day so it was a good day. for me anyway, not for the starving
people in bangladesh, or cleveland for that matter.
i think that in another
life i held the following positions: logistics manager, archivist, librarian,
updated my wish
list, too, since at least one person asked for that.
i've come to the conclusion
that an overhaul of the sidebar is necessary. luckily i began fiddling
with various java scripts before i left for ohio so i have something in
the works already. the biggest challenge, besides dealing with a new language,
will be compatibility across platforms/browsers/configurations. i've always
wanted the page to be easy to navigate. there are a couple menu types i'm
looking at. one slides out from the left hand side and reveals a menu on
mouseover. this, though, requires activex/scripts not be blocked to view
it at all, and that might limit some people. the other is a more simple
menu that gives headings and, when clicked, reveals subheadings that link
to the actual page. that one is functional regardless of the security settings.
so, i would have "friends" and "my writings," etc. on the sidebar. when
you click on those it reveals "johnny's page," "canadian," "interviewed,"
and so forth. this will allow me to revamp the headings and include more
stuff without adding clutter. i can even add redundancies without adding
clutter. so i can have a category for "film" which will house stuff like
film reviews and statistics and i can also have a category for "my writings"
which can also include a link to my film reviews. perhaps i'll have this
up an running by the time this post is uploaded. i feel all this is necessary
because i've added content like the film stats and double features and
because it's only a matter of time before i go on another road trip. having
a sidebar that scrolls down forever and ever just isn't acceptable.
messed with the millers
movies site a bit, but couldn't get it to look good so i kept it the same.
moved the movie statistics
page to its own place. i'd prefer to have all the movie stuff on the one
excel spreadsheet, but there's no way to link to worksheets within a file.
plus, a few people have mentioned that the tabs at the bottom are easy
to overlook. since there are so many pages, i might end up going with a
sidebar format like i have with this site. to me the current site is very
functional, but to new eyes i guess it doesn't make all that much sense.
i try to keep things simple, but in doing so i don't give enough information.
the main page, for example, has simple links like "listed" and "i own,"
but unless you know what those links mean or read the explanations at the
bottom, the simplicity defeats itself.
been working on fine adjustments
on the site a lot lately.
20% of south koreans have
"kim" as their last name.
jon should watch a movie
called primer (2004).
the last year has gone
a long way towards making me a singles oriented music listener. i hoped
that would never happen, but being away from my albums and only having
my stuff in mp3 form has done it.
the world is so fucked
up. i wish america learned from the failed colonialist policies of the
uk. here's to learning the hard way...
took a nap and it really
screwed me up.
spent way too much time
working on that stats page, but i like the way it looks and the stats that
spent a few hours gathering
various data on my movie-viewing habits since 2000. i included data through
the end of 2005, but didn't include anything from 2006. at first i was
only doing the first five years (through the end of 2004), but then i figured
i may as well include 2005. for monthly data i have included the 2006 info.
i've found that i enjoy looking at data and numbers. this is one reason
why i buy an almanac every year. excel makes everything so easy. stats
are now on the movies
listed page, just find the tab at the bottom.
haven't eaten dinner yet.
i think my greatest ability
is my ability to detect weaknesses in things. whether it's organizations,
businesses, people, policies, language use, film, society... this ability
has its uses, but it also probably makes me look like a cynic; which is
today was pretty uneventful.
got a new roommate yesterday.
didn't know that was coming. one month ago i thought i was going to have
the place to myself and now i have three roommates.
had enough snow from thursday
to allow us to rent snowshoes today. only rented five pairs, but that's
better than nothing. when paul asked our volunteer how much we received
in donations she replied "$2.14" and he said "oh wow." two bucks is apparently
big news around here.
had some issues with winamp
so i had to uninstall and reinstall. very odd. it would play a song and
die within a couple seconds. i have no idea why it happened all of a sudden.
might need an upgrade.
seen 16 movies this month,
saw 10 in june and 12 in july. since i arrived in ohio i've seen a movie
almost every day. since i started keeping grades in 2002, the lowest gpa
of a year has been 2.72 in 2005. this year the gpa is 2.63. perhaps that
is related to the high percentage of films i've seen in the theater this
year. if i wait for others to filter the films and watch movies on dvd,
then i inevitably avoid a lot of crap. another factor might be not having
access to my own dvds. when i have access to those i'm guaranteed a film
that will garner at least a B. if you figure in one or two dozen films
with a B or A grade then that might be enough to raise the gpa by a tenth
of a point or more. another factor is my recent lack of choices. netflix
takes forever to get here and the library doesn't have the best selection
in the world. in the last week i've seen three movies that have received
a D +/- and that's a direct result of the dvd selection. upon further investigation,
however, i've found that the gpa of the films i've seen since i've gotten
to ohio is actually 2.64, so that hasn't had an adverse effect on the overall
gpa. that said, it may be that i've gone through the best films already
and i'm not beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. the last 10 days
worth of movies have yielded a gpa of 2.6, so that might bolster that argument.
even further analysis reveals that the sxsw festival had a gpa of 2.63,
so there was no net gain or loss there relative to the year to date. the
lowest gpa seems to have come while i was on the trip (2.36). and, actually,
the three weeks prior to the trip had a gpa of only 1.94. in retrospect,
i remember those three weeks. it was a rough time movie-watching-wise.
i currently have charts
on my movies listed page that chart the year of release relative to the
time of the year. so, i can see that during a certain month i was watching
a lot of movies in the theater or a lot of movies from the 40s. i'd like
to have this same chart plot gpa as well. if you have suggestions on how
to do that lemme know. the major setback seems to be that the gpa calculation
takes up two columns so the numbers are in two columns instead of one.
i can get it to plot on two different trendlines, but that's not what i
in the 1932 summer olympics
the u.s. won 103 medals out of 116 events and 37 nations competed. in the
2004 summer olympics 202 nations participated and the u.s. won 103 medals
out of 301 events.
got a good amount of snow
last night and throughout the day today.
managment [sic] does a
song called "it just don't make cents" which samples "my dinner with andre."
specifically it samples wallace shawn (or shawn wallace, never can remember.
kinda like keith david) talking about money.
actually, i just figured
out that it's part of a compilation put out by a davis-based label called
"the after dinner collection." every song samples lines from the movie.
surprised i never noticed that before. great movie.
i opened and closed the
happy days visitor's center. all day there were only 5 visitors and 12
phone calls. certainly the weather explains a bit of that, but it's still
sad. one of the impressions i get, and i think it applies to all national
parks, is that the employees and volunteers really want visitors. i encourage
anyone reading this to go out and visit the national parks whenever you
get a chance. another impression i get, and it seems especially prevalent
at cuyahoga valley national park, is that there is an increased move towards
"partnerships" with other groups. sometimes that's a citizen's group like
the cuyahoga valley association or a community funded entity like the summit
county parks system and sometimes it's a private business or corporation.
part of that is a result of revenue problems. cuyahoga doesn't charge entrance
fees so it needs to make up for that money in other ways. an issue that
is specific to cuyahoga is that it is technically a national park, but
is administered in association with metro parks of summit county and other
local groups. i'm still not clear exactly how much control the nps has
over the lands that are part of the park, but maintained by the county.
paul has indicated that
later in the internship i might have a spare day to work on "career development."
essentially i'll have a free day to go to a division other than visitor
interpretation and learn how things work there. i've thought about seeing
what it's like in administration and i've also thought about talking with
the people responsible for the web content. there's so much more they could
be doing online, and much of it is fairly easy, so i'd like to probe the
people responsible to see what their thinking is on the subject. all in
all paul seems pretty good about developing my skills rather than just
using me as an assistant. paul has odd personality quirks and ticks. he
likes to say "yeah, that's really good" or "yeah, that'll be really great."
he repeats these often. he also has a little half chuckle that he sometimes
does at the end of sentences. he seems unaware of it and it's doesn't seem
to come up just in funny or uncomfortable or happy situations. it seems
fairly random. i found out the other day, though, that he was basically
struck by lightning, so that might explain some things. i don't mean that
in a hurtful way at all.
in general i've found the
rangers to be fairly unique and, frankly, rather geeky people. i think
you have to be a bit geeky and eccentric to do this kind of work. to start
you basically have to volunteer or get a really low paying internship (like
me). so there has to be a dedication to this kind of work that goes beyond
that of many professions. for some it might be similar to becoming a lawyer
or doctor (assuming you're not some hot shot corporate defense lawyer or
plastic surgeon). i think there's also a solitary element to the work.
i get the sense that there isn't a whole lot of outside interaction with
people who work in isolated jobs like this. at cuyahoga this is probably
less severe since it's near urban areas, but i would imagine a place like
arches or big bend might get pretty quiet and lonely. if you spend a lot
of time alone you get kinda strange after a while.
today i read about some
of the various fights local citizens' groups put up against proposed growth
projects in the area. a 2,000 unit housing development in the south end
of the park (before it was a national park), a sports coliseum, oil-derrick
style high-tension power lines, etc. the one against the cleveland electric
illuminating company was one of the more interesting and lengthy battles.
it essentially involved the building of high-tension power lines throughout
the cuyahoga valley. several citizens' groups and environmental organizations
opposed the proposal on the grounds that "scenic and cultural values would
be needlessly harmed and alternative routes were available." there was
so much legal jousting and maneuvering and, in the end, they compromised.
the whole ordeal took several years to sort out. it's fascinating to see
how each side plays the game. the electric company will site the state's
"hot wires" act and go ahead and begin construction despite a previous
court injunction. then the citizen's groups will challenge it. meanwhile
the power company will buy some land they feel will be critical to the
fight later on, only to end up giving to the park as a PR move and as part
of negotiations with the park. meanwhile politicians will try to figure
out where they should be on these issues and either pick a side or stay
neutral depending upon which way the wind is blowing. the same thing happened
with the coliseum, only it was even more complicated. there were all sorts
of additional factors to consider, like sewage and water run-off from the
immense parking lots. it's a wonder this place was ever made a national
park. one trend i notice throughout these fights is that the developers
always won at least a little bit. now, you might say "well that means that
the park or citizens' groups won as well; and that's what compromise is
all about - each side wins a little and loses a little." i think that's
partly true, but when it comes to preserving an area any development is
a loss for those who want to preserve it. to put it very crudely: the preservationists
are virgins and the developers are horny guys. in the end (no pun intended)
the developers only get to stick the tip in so they didn't really get their
way, but...well, you get the point.
interestingly, i'm reading
a book called "rivers in the desert" about william mulholland and the quest
to bring water to los angeles from the owens valley. after that i'll finally
read jared diamond's newest book - "collapse." i think the two, coupled
with my cuyahoga valley knowledge will make for good learnin'. in the end
we need to figure out some way to balance preservation of resources and
natural beauty against our propensity to procreate. we're going to need
to be very organized and clever in doing this or we'll have a lot more
places like phoenix and las vegas. doing this in an economically viable
way may be the biggest challenge of all. you might hate the idea of los
angeles (a major city where there isn't enough natural water to support
it) or the reality of las vegas (an even worse manifestation of the major-city-in-a-desert
idea), but the reality is that not everyone can be fortunate enough to
live in a place where water is naturally plentiful. this is especially
true if we want to preserve places like yosemite which have a good supply
of water. how can we grow in places that aren't too terribly important
to preserve without draining/polluting lakes and re-directing rivers? how
can we keep our beautiful places beautiful and relatively untouched if
that's where people would like to live? how do we do this while keeping
things economically equitable? is it possible? ultimately it's a zero sum
game. people are going to make more people and those people are going to
need homes and water and they're going to make waste and more people. the
rich areas (you know where they are) or the politically active areas (like
cuyahoga valley) or the areas that are already too full (like nyc) are
going to be able to divert people away in the aggregate. but those people
are going to end up somewhere and they're going to need all those services
and resources. rich people can pay for their isolation by keeping land
values high and politically active people can slow growth in their area
through a lot of effort. so las vegas and phoenix will expand and new versions
will crop up and rivers and lakes will be dammed and drained. and some
will look derisively at those sprawling cities in the desert or say "at
least that growth isn't in my city," and i guess that's just the way it
i would guess that the
kind of city leadership that allows a place like phoenix or las vegas to
flourish and catch the overflow of people from california and elsewhere,
is the same kind of city government that doesn't worry too much about city
planning. that is, it might be very difficult to get a major city in the
desert that catches population overflows while maintaining intelligent
growth plans. perhaps it's their lack of growth planning that leads to
their success, population-wise. in a way i suppose it's analogous to competing
business ideologies. on the one had you have wal-mart (las vegas) which
is strictly about volume and revenues. on the other hand you have whole
foods which is about customer service and quality products. that plan works
well if you have the money, but if you just want/need a place to live (or,
in the analogy, get your products) then you go to the other place.
i think i'm rambling.
according to figures i've
heard in the media (and those may or may not be reliable) we have 20 million
illegal immigrants primarily from mexico. it makes me wonder why we've
had so many relatively recently. has our country gotten that much more
attractive (job opportunities, freedom, way of life)? has their country
gotten that much worse? is it nafta? have the borders gotten that much
easier to cross? i'm not making a judgment, just asking a valid question.
i would suspect it has something to do with nafta easing the north and
south borders, but i don't know.
i'm very pessimistic when
it comes to the ability of humans to get along. everyone just seems pissed
off at each other. not on the person to person scale, but on the macrocosmic
scale. you'll notice that the racist or bigot doesn't always have a problem
with every jew or african-american or woman or hispanic, s/he just has
a problem with the group. a palestinian might have a jewish friend or two,
but s/he might still hate israel or jewish people in general. a person
from california might not mind an individual person from texas, but they
might hate texans in general. i really feel as if it's futile to try to
do anything larger than help people on the individual level. george carlin
addressed this in an npr interview once. he talked about being jaded and
not voting since the 70s and how he feels the powers that be are so fully
entrenched that doing anything on a macro level is nearly impossible. as
a result he only hopes to help people on a person to person basis.
of ohio: "Per capital [sic]
personal income in 2003 was $30,129, 25th in the nation." which places
it in the middle (d.c. was included in the ranking). mississippi was 51st.
connecticut was 1st. i'm actually pretty happy with myself - after seeing
that ohio was 25th i tried thinking of the first and last place states
and got them on the first guess in each case. and just now it took me three
guesses to get the other two states which complete the middle of the list:
in 26th place is florida, in 27th place is missouri. my first guess was
actually tennessee, but that was a bad guess because of the mountain population.
the reason i guessed those three, though, is because they are key swing
states politically and i was working on the hunch that economic ranking
went along with political affiliation. other than tennessee, i was right.
out of curiosity i just looked up new york, it's 6th. i couldn't look up
california, because my program is blocking that entry.
this was taken at the
boston ledges a few days ago.
taken this morning
in back of my house
i don't think i bought
or listened to enough music this year to warrant a top ten of 2006. pretty
sad. the last four years i had more new music than i could handle and now
i don't even have enough to make a respectable top ten. it's weird to go
from being exposed to a few hundred new albums a year to being exposed
to just a few dozen.
watched four movies today.
i think there are two or three bond films that i haven't seen yet.
even before i got here
i started thinking about my route back home. i want to see more of canada,
i want to goto the great smoky mountains national park as well as see some
of nashville and the heart of the country, i want to see salt lake city,
i would always like to see yellowstone again. so, i think there are three
different ways i could go. the northern route through canada, the middle
route through salt lake city and yellowstone (or rocky mountains national
park), or the southern route through the great smoky mountains (most visited
np), tennessee (because of the rock and roll history), and the heartland.
since i'll be doing it in march it'll still be cold if i go north so that's
something to consider. i had even briefly considered making a huge detour
through alaska so i could finally say i've visited all the states, but
it's like a 30 hour detour, plus gas money. that's the other thing about
the northern route - i'd have to pay canadian gas prices for about 2,000
miles' worth of driving. tennessee has a full-size replica of the parthenon,
which would be kinda neat.
i've officially been without
the bulk of my posessions for over a year. all my dvds and cds, my tv,
my speakers, my furniture. i miss the ability to watch any movie i want
at any time. and i miss having a good audio/video system. i hadn't missed
my books too much until recently. most of my books are non-fiction and
reference books so those can be somewhat replaced by the internet. but
lately i don't have that so i miss my books. i wish i had "i'm a fugitive
from a chain gang" with my right now. i've been thinking about the final
shot of that film for a few days. sometimes one shot can crystalize a film's
thesis so well and stick in your head so much that it lifts a film from
really good to epic. that final shot does just that. rollerball (1975)
is another one that does that. bach playing over top of caan's face which
is paused still. jewison then cuts in closer and closer to his face until
you can see the tiny bits of film that make up the picture. it's great.
snowed yesterday, but you
can barely tell today. the day before yesterday it reached 19 degrees,
but, because of the wind chill, it felt like 8 degrees; this according
to weather.com. today it's cold, but not awful. the wind chill is what
really makes the weather bad. when it's just cold i can take it, but when
the sub-freezing wind hits your face and blows under your jacket or up
your pant legs, then that's unpleasant.
phone is still out of commission.
they came by yesterday and fixed the outside connection, but there's no
dial tone. i think they're under the impression that it's fixed so i'll
have to disavow them of that thought tomorrow when i have access to a phone.
tomorrow i'll be at happy
days visitor's center all day. it'll be good because it'll give me plenty
of time to read. on a thursday in the winter i'd be surprised if we got
more than 20 visitors in the six hours that we're open. it's pretty pathetic.
this is the third most visited park, but there's no way that that give
an accurate representation of park usage. there's no fee to enter the park,
it's between two major metropolitan areas, and the methodology for coming
to the 3.2 million visitors/year number is rather suspect. it easily allows
a single visitor to be counted several times and allows people who are
simply passing through to be counted as well. the trails get used pretty
frequently, but the visitor's centers don't.
i'll be giving two separate
talks during my hikes. one will be about snowshoeing (mostly its history)
and one will be about whatever topic i choose. i think that one is going
to be about how humans use land resources. it'll give me a chance to talk
about the human/natural history of cuyahoga valley and relate that to other
natural resource issues. i see it as a good opportunity to talk about resource
management in general, rather than having to focus solely on cuyahoga valley.
i just don't feel qualified enough to examine every facet of cuyahoga's
resource management, so i'll relate some information about the area to
information about other areas. for example, i might talk about the elimination
of forests and predators (like bear and wolf) in ohio's early history and
relate that to a larger view held by western settlers that the wildness
was an obstacle to be overcome and tamed. i might relate this to other
projects like the reshaping of niagara's profile or the elimination of
wolves in yellowstone which led to an over-abundance of elk and how that
parallels cuyahoga's ongoing problem with white-tailed deer.
there aren't a whole lot
of examples of untouched wilderness in the country, especially when that
wilderness was suitable for farming, living, recreation, etc. cuyahoga
valley is, by east coast standards, relatively untouched. that said, it
was (and is) used for farming, living, recreation, etc. some will look
at it, though, and remark how untouched and wild the country appears. and
in looking at some of the pictures, or walking some of the paths, i might
agree with them. until, that is, i actually go out and learn something.
i'm not a naturalist so before coming here i didn't know the difference
between an apple tree and a beech or hemlock or sassafras. but in learning
some of those things you are able to piece together the history of the
land. you see apple trees despite their not being native to the area. you
see wild turkeys, but they're the southwest variety which indicates that
they were reintroduced to the area after being near extinction. you see
coyotes, but no wolves or bears. you see a lot of forest, but the truth
is that 80% of ohio was once forest and that number is now below 20%. you
see the valley and its lush forests, but there aren't many old-growth forests
which indicates that the land has changed (to suit farming in this instance).
in the hilly areas of the valley you see more old-growth forests because
the land didn't suit people's farming needs.
why, some might ask, is
cuyahoga valley more preserved than some of the surrounding areas? certainly
humans/groups like john f. seiberling and the cuyahoga valley association
worked to fight growth like the sports coliseum in the area. but i think
that the valley's own defense against humans was more influential. in its
early history it was a lack of transportation. farmers couldn't get goods
to market in a profitable way so the area didn't grow. then came the canal
system which connected the area with new england. then came the railroad.
but still the cuyahoga valley didn't grow like akron or cleveland. natural
features like unstable slopes, flooding, and (ironically) lack of potable
water were the primary causes. the bedrock is actually slanted away from
the cuyahoga river (which runs through the middle of the valley) and carries
water outside of the valley. yet in times of immense rain, the valley floods.
so it's the worst of both worlds - cuyahoga valley has too much water when
they don't want it, and not enough when they do. all of this is to say
that much of the wilderness which is there isn't as it was before man,
in fact it differs quite a bit. and much of it that somewhat resembles
pre-human wilderness only looks that way because it didn't suit our needs.
had the valley been more suitable for growth i have no doubt that it would
be even more built up. luckily for us it wasn't and now it's a national
park which means it'll probably be fairly well-preserved for the foreseeable
future. so, happy ending. more or less.
i'm going to have to find
a way to say that sort of stuff in less pessimistic way. because as soon
as i wrote "happy ending," i wanted to add the following footnotes: the
deer population is 10 times what it should be which leads to a decrease
in wild flowers like trillium and an increase in invasive plants like garlic
mustard. of course this affects more than just cuyahoga valley. monarch
butterflies make their trip from canada to mexico and stop here along the
way. if they don't see the wildflowers they like then they won't stop here.
perhaps that just means we won't be able to see them on one stop of their
journey and perhaps it means their numbers will dwindle because of decreased
sustinance; we don't really know yet. of course, related to the deer problem
is the lack of natural predators. and all this goes without mentioning
the gypsy moth and other invasive plant and animal species. ultimately,
though, none of this is pessimistic if you don't really care about the
changes in the landscape. if that's the case then all of this is just interesting
here's a good bit of info
about connie mack: "Mack was also tight-fisted. Seeing baseball as a business,
he once confided that it was more profitable to have a team get off to
a hot start, then ultimately finish fourth. "A team like that will draw
well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the
year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win,"
he said. The most famous example of Mack's tight-fistedness came on July
10, 1932, when the Athletics played a one-game series with the Cleveland
Indians. To save train fare, Mack only brought two pitchers. The starting
pitcher was knocked out of the game in the first inning, leaving only knuckleballing
relief pitcher Eddie Rommel. Rommel pitched 17 innings and gave up 33 hits,
but won the game, 18-17."
having some access to wikipedia
and imdb offline has been pretty useful. my tomeraider isn't registered
so some entries are off-limits, and the imdb database lacks info as basic
as director and writer credits, but it still comes in handy.
watched the last of the
us version of the office that i had on my computer. pretty enjoyable show.
hopefully i'll find season three somewhere.
pretty bored right now.
nirvana had the ability
to make noise quite listenable. some of their songs aren't very noisy at
all, but others are very loud and feature a lot of screaming people and
guitars, yet they somehow manage to be melodious.
i've mentioned a couple
books i'd like to write lately, but i don't think i'd be good at writing
an entire book, maybe essay form would be better. one thing i'd like to
do is compile a list of first impressions or preconceived notions i had
early in life. i remember being in the back seat of the car when my mom
first told me that the government was in debt and had to buy things. i
was probably just 4-5 years old and i had always thought that people just
gave the government what it needed. why did i assume this rather than assuming
that the government had to buy things? a pessimist might say that i had
been brainwashed into some secular-loving mindset. someone else might say
that it's logical for a child to believe this since the government makes
the laws so they would naturally not have to worry about money. someone
else might say that i assumed the government was working for the people,
and by this logic, why wouldn't we do everything we could in order to help
the government? after all, we're all in this together, right?
"Other denominations of
bills have been created by individuals as practical jokes or as genuine
attempts at counterfeiting. In September 2003, an unknown individual in
North Carolina used a $200 bill (with George W. Bush's likeness on it)
at a Food Lion to purchase $150 in groceries. The cashier obligingly cashed
the fake bill and presented the perpetrator with $50 in change. There have
been other $200 incidents, including one where a man bought a $2 sundae
at Dairy Queen with a $200 bill (with George Bush on it) and received $198
back in change. In March 2004, Alice Regina Pike attempted to use a $1,000,000
bill to purchase goods from a Wal-Mart, for which she was then arrested."
my brain hasn't been all
that functional lately. dreams and reality are melding, i'm making bad
spelling errors, etc. not sure what's going on.
was listening to the o'reilly
radio show earlier today, as i am want to do from time to time, and he
mentioned a poll that he took of his listeners regarding the michael richards
thing. something like 80% of them felt that the michael richards outburst
was worse than the mel gibson one which made me feel good because it validates
my feeling to the contrary. generally, if bill o'reilly listeners are on
one end of an argument, it's good to be on the other end.
just finished rearranging
the baseball trip page. it's now in chronological order for better viewing.
maybe i'll do that one day with my daily updates as well. that would probably
take a couple weeks actually. i've been quietly revamping several pages.
trying to make things look better (more consistency, better use of color,
better fonts) and streamline where possible (e.g., i combined the separate
pages into one larger page). i've also tried to update pages like the best
of movies. i've also added a few pictures here and there and included
descriptions of some images. if you look at the cuyahoga directory, you'll
notice a comment for most of the images so you know what you're looking
at. if you find anything that isn't working, then lemme know.
was looking through
my archives directory and found a couple pictures i enjoy:
yesterday i was watching
a view to a kill and i heard a snap against the outside wall, but didn't
see any large branches or anything that may have hit the exterior so i
didn't think too much about it. turns out that that snap against the wall
was the phone line breaking and hitting the it. a medium sized tree fell
down because of the 50 mph gusts and took a couple lines with it. surprised
the power didn't go out.
just got back from the
usc/ucla game so i'm still disappointed by that. i didn't expect it, but
i'm not shocked by it either. wrote this last week"ucla is a big challenge
as well. they're not great this year, but they have a good defense so they
could give the trojans fits. and if they force a couple turnovers, usc
could be in trouble. so the regular season isn't over. usc has the rose
bowl cinched, but they want their fourth national championship bid in as
many years so hopefully they close it out next week." so i was partly right.
ucla only forced one turnover but it was the big one that killed usc. ucla's
defense is quite good and underrated this year. for some reason they had
trouble against oregon in the first quarter, but they did well in the last
three quarters. other than that i don't remember a game when they got really
lit up on defense. i like their coach too, i remember him seeming to be
a pretty good guy when i paid more attention to them last year. so, if
it had to happen, i'm glad it happened against ucla. i guess it's a good
thing when the biggest loss of the year means you'll be going to the rose
bowl instead of the national championship, but it still doesn't feel good.
four years in a row with a shot at the national championship would have
been nice. i don't really see them being much better next year either.
booty is a capable quarterback, but he's not great. take note that the
two losses came in games where the last offensive possession ended on a
pass of his being deflected. i made this observation a few games into the
season - he's tall enough, but too many of his passes get deflected. there
has to be a mechanical problem. c.j. gable and the offensive line were
pretty much shut down by the ucla defense so it rested on booty; and he
isn't going to win games for you, he's just not that type of quarterback.
next year they'll have to make the decision early to stick with him, and
his limited ability, or move on to the next guy in line. jarrett and smith
could be gone next year too. next year will probably be another 2 loss
year because i don't see anyone being a real superstar. then again i wasn't
sure leinert would be able to fill carson palmer's shoes...
if i were able to vote
i'd say osu #1, florida (assuming they beat arkansas) #2, michigan #3.
i'd put usc in the rose bowl against michigan. i think that would be a
good match up for the rose bowl and the national championship. watching
usc in ohio isn't easy. when that interception happened at the end of the
game everyone cheered and i could feel the eyes on me (because i was wearing
my usc shirt). i guess it's nice to know that osu fans fear usc, but it's
rough to have everyone rooting against your team. especially when their
team is better that year. they're getting pretty fucking smug up here actually.
osu is #1 in basketball as well (although they lost the other day so ucla
might unseat them) so people are pretty happy about their team. if i moved
to florida my journey would be complete. besides all the political stuff
which i wrote about before, there's the fact that ca, fl, oh, and tx all
have had top ten teams in two of the three major sports (baseball, basketball,
football). ca - ucla (basketball), usc (football). oh - osu (basketball/football).
tx - ut (baseball/football/basketball). fl - uof (basketball/football).
what a depressing day.
it was cold today (low
30s, should be mid-high 20s tonight), but there wasn't any snow. as a result,
the winter sports center saw only a few visitors. when there isn't snow
then people (obviously) don't come in to rent cross-country skis or snow
shoes. i read most of the day.
my latest review of cool
Hand Luke - truly great film. rosenberg wasn't really a great filmmaker,
but he was capable and was working with great people here. the cast does
a brilliant job with a great script, but conrad hall (american beauty,
road to perdition, marathon man, butch cassidy and the sundance kid) is
the most underrated member of the crew. his cinematography is visionary
and works well with the material. luke is a christ-like figure, but he
is more nietzschean than he is christian. he demands that people "stop
feeding off" him and wants only to inspire, not to lead. really, though,
he does both. he shifts the brutality and "yessir boss" attitude of the
camp into one that coalesces around an egg eating competition rather than
weekly boxing matches. the subservient attitude which once permeated the
group is replaced by one of self-impowerment and community. to me, luke
is probably the most inspirational of all film characters. he's a nearly
unflappable non-conformist whose power, panache, and charm are undeniable.
newman's role here has always felt similar to mcqueen's role in the great
escape and it's for this reason that i always compare the two actors. overall,
i think i prefer mcqueen, but newman's performance here is unmatched by
mcqueen or, for that matter, almost anyone in the history of cinema. my
favorite line: "Boss: Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job. You gotta
appreciate that. Luke: Nah - calling it your job don't make it right,
Boss." on paper this line doesn't play all that well, but in the context,
and with newman's delivery, it's a powerfully defiant mantra that highlights
a melancholy truism.
1967: graduate, cool
hand luke, bonnie and clyde, in the heat of the night, branded to kill,
dirty dozen...they don't make 'em like they used to. A+.
i think that if i read
that i'd be compelled to watch the film.
in addition to the books
about life philosophy through film, i think a film about film's use of
death would be interesting. more specifically, it would be interesting
to explore how films have used death at the beginning of a film.
noirs are the most obvious examples of films that show you the death of
a major character (usually the narrator) at the beginning, but films like
love story and modern noirs like american beauty have done this as well.
i think it's generally employed to enhance the themes of fate, but each
film uses it slightly differently. delving into the psychology of the viewer
would be interesting as well. why, despite knowing that a character is
going to die, do we still get emotionally involved? or maybe a better question
is: why did i ask that question? after all, that's how life is. we know
that everyone around us is going to die eventually, yet we still establish
emotional ties with them. why should it be any different in a film? maybe
noirs are just more honest than other films that choose to kill major characters,
because at least noirs acknowledge the inevitable death right up front.
another interesting film to use death at the beginning is the sixth sense
because it kills the protagonist early on, but you don't really know that
until the end. ghost dog is one of my favorite films when it comes to the
philosophy of death. the film as a whole isn't particularly amazing (though
it is very good), but whitaker's philosophy is fascinating and i reference
it relatively frequently.
some of immortal technique's
best songs are the ones where he doesn't rap, he just talks over a beat,
but says more profound shit than 90% of contemporary rap artists.
humans are pretty amazing
creatures in a lot of ways, mostly when you look at the brain, but in plenty
of other ways as well. if i was better at reading (i lack focus and retention
when getting information in that way) then i might have chosen to be a
biologist rather than a political scientist. with poli sci you can b.s.
a lot and don't have to do a lot of the route memorization. if i could
stand to read for more than half an hour at a time, and could retain a
decent amount of that information, i might have been good enough to pursue
the science end of my interests more. science is just so interesting that
i find it a shame that i haven't gotten into it more formally. read this
on wikipedia today "Apart from their importance from the economic standpoint,
aphids are chiefly remarkable for the phenomena connected with the propagation
of the species. For part or all of their life, most aphids are often found
to be parthenogenetic. Aphids have been known to have what is called telescoping
generations. With telescoping generations the female aphid will have a
daughter within her who is already parthenogenetically producing its own
daughter at the same time. This leads to the bizarre situation where the
diet of a female aphid can have inter-generational effects on the body
size and birth rate of aphids. In other words, what the aphid eats can
directly change the size and fertility of the aphid's daughters and grand-daughters
(Nevo and Coll 2001, Jahn et al. 2005)."
here's a picture
i took of some aphid droppings. pretty crazy stuff.
usc gets screwed.
i still think usc was the better team that year. and i still think that
the 2004 trojans were better than the 2005 trojans.
they have a satirical article
on the onion about bill walton gushing about his son (who plays for the
lakers) during a broadcast. i'm not a huge bill walton fan, but he actually
doesn't talk about his son favorably at all during the broadcasts. i've
seen a couple games that he has called while his son has been playing and
he's kinda hard on the guy, if anything. he does, however, gush about shaq
all the time.
an onion headline: "Wax-Museum
Fire Results In Hundreds Of New Danny DeVito Statues" harsh, but funny.
maybe i'm naive, but i
believe michael richards' apology and don't believe that he's a racist.
i'm much more inclined to believe that mel gibson is anti-semitic. how's
the saying go? in vino viritu...i should know since i took latin, but i
can't remember exactly. here's the thing: i think that richards was hurt
and he reacted in a shameful and base way. if you're on the playground
and someone who is heavyset makes fun of you then you might call them a
fat ass. that, in and of itself, doesn't make you anti-overweight people.
clearly there's more of a stigma associated with using the n-word, as we
now have to refer to it, but i don't see why it's all that worse than calling
someone a fat ass yet you see that in film and tv on a regular basis and
no one thinks too much of it.. maybe that's just a sad commentary on our
society. probably is. at any rate, i think it was more in that vein than
in the vein of him having some crazy rant about blacks being the root of
all our problems (as gibson said about the jews). i believe the authenticity
of his sorrow and regret about the situation, i put some merit into the
fact that seinfeld essentially vouched for him on letterman and i can understand
how an intense comic might get out of control. i don't condone what he
said, but i'm not going to crucify the guy. here's an excerpt from a daniel
tosh routine which i think is appropriate for the discussion. first some
context: daniel tosh is a fairly edgy (and very funny) comic. he's white
and i think he's gay, but i don't know and i don't really think it matters,
but it might make this excerpt more acceptable to some.
"what do you think of these
faggots getting married? (pause for laughter) i can say that, i'm black.
now that's a social experiment - figure out why that second statement softens
the first one. but that's how i know my job's pure. i still talk like that...
try that at your job...'hey, what do you think of these faggots getting
married? i can say that, i'm black. what? i'm fired, alright i'll see you
i think that in an ideal
world there would be consistency across the board - the n-word is out of
bounds for whites so it's out of bounds for blacks as well, faggot is out
of bounds for straight people so gays can't use it either - but in both
instances that isn't the case. there's a certain element of the oppressed
re-defining the word, but it doesn't really work. they take the power out
of the word a bit by using it amongst each other, but when the perceived
oppressor uses it all the power is back in it. it's an argument i've heard
intellectuals make, and it makes a bit of sense, but i don't think it's
practical. i think we live in a pretty sensitive society when it comes
to certain things or certain groups. i think you get more of an uprising
if there's a film wherein a black person is stereotyped than if you were
to stereotype an asian person. how much of that is about the stereotype
(e.g., foreboding criminal vs. doctor with glasses who mixes up "r"s and
"l"s) and how much is about the group being stereotyped? is one stereotype
more destructive than the other?
my sense is that it's probably
a combination of the stereotype and the group. asians have done well in
america (for whatever reason, i'm not going to speculate) and the stereotype
of rocket scientist or glasses-wearing geek probably isn't as damaging
as the stereotype of a criminal. notice, too, that some stereotypes are
overlooked - that of the star athlete for blacks or the doctor for asians
or the evil boss for whites. in general i think that stereotypes for whites
(irish people as drinking too much or germans as nazis) or males are overlooked
because the group has been in power in america for so long that any outcry
isn't well-received. it's kinda like ben wallace complaining about the
bulls not allowing him to wear a headband. the popular reaction is: fuck
you, whiner - you're making $60 million over the next four or five years,
i don't feel sorry for you. why there isn't more of an outcry from overweight
people who are stereotyped as stupid, lazy, or sloppy is beyond me. i think
there's a mild degree of sensitivity regarding the stereotyping of muslims
i think a lot of it comes
down to being organized. and a lot of that comes down to how much do you
associate your personal image with a certain trait - race, religion, weight,
eye-sight ability, etc. there's never going to be a public outcry from
people who wear glasses about their being typecast as smart doctors or
scientists because 1) it's not that bad to be stereotyped as being smart
and 2) there probably isn't any group of glasses-wearing people who are
dedicated to addressing these issues. wearing glasses certainly shapes
a person's experiences, but not enough, apparently, for people to define
themselves in those terms.
for me, i don't associate
being white or male or jewish or tall or whatever as a big part of who
i am so i'm not going to form or join any group dedicated to the issues
which might be pertinent to those traits. you can easily say that i don't
associate myself with those groups because, in being part of the majority
in those regards, i don't feel separate from the rest of society. that
is, if i were a native american woman, i would see popular culture as differing
from mine so i might feel more of a kinship with other native americans
or women since we're in the same minority boat together. the way i can
relate to that is less substantial. if i were to meet someone in ohio who
is a usc fan (good luck) i might feel a small bit of that same kind of
minority kinship, even though we don't have other things in common. if
that kinship feels large enough then you define yourself, in part, through
this minority status. so, i can understand this on some level, but on another
level i wish people would define themselves (and others) much more on what
they do, rather than how they're born. of course a big part of it, too,
is that some minorities tend to have similar experiences in life. and,
in general, similar life experiences lead to increased kinship. maybe it's
just as simple as blacks have a more uniform experience in america than
lastly. i think that any
group that is explicitly a male or white group is setting itself up for
an increased degree of ridicule. this is one of many reasons why there
might not be groups of whites railing against the stereotypes that depict
them as oppressors or as unable to jump high. charles barkley once made
the comment that white guys shouldn't be ashamed to shave their heads when
they start to get bald. i think it came up because his co-host, ernie johnson,
had recently shaved his head (because he has cancer). anyway, barkley said
that some white guys are afraid to shave their heads because they don't
know how their scalp will look - if it'll be too bumpy or whatever. i don't
think this is the reason at all. personally i'd feel like a fucking nazi
if i ever shaved my head. i would imagine that the association with shaved
head and "skin head oppressor" might keep more than a few white guys from
shaving their heads. like jim gaffigan, i prefer to not look like hitler's
poster child. so i've brought the discussion full circle - starting with
michael richards and onto a daniel tosh reference to a jim gaffigan reference;
both are great comics, check them out.
in viewing cultural texts
i get the idea that, even before world war ii, there was a sense in america
that we were all in the same boat. i can't be sure because i wasn't around
at the time to fully have my finger on the pulse of the culture, but that's
the sense i get from reading about the time, or hearing what my grandmother
has said about it (she's studied it fairly extensively), or watching films
from that era. after world war ii there was certainly that feeling that
we were all working towards a goal together. we all had to ration certain
goods and deal with food stamps, etc. but even before then i think there
was that idea and i think much of that probably came from the economic
hardships of the time. i think that today we're doing too well to truly
care about each other. prosperity, coupled with the increasing ability
to separate yourself from others, has led to our being relatively segregated.
as mr. lif says "systems exist so we never meet each other."
forgot to mention that
the image below was seen by johnny while i was at his place looking at
some of the photos from my trip. when he saw it he laughed, but not because
the van is stuck in a ravine. he laughed because he was there when it happened.
we were both in canada's banff national park at lake louise within 10-15
minutes of each other. he checked the time stamp on the photos he took
while he was there against the time stamp on my photos. pretty amazing
pretty busy day, but i
didn't do much of import. learned how to close one of the visitor's centers.
i'll have to do that next thursday so hopefully the brief training sticks
updated the baseball trip
page. split it into three smaller pages so it would load more easily.
met some people down the
road today. they're interns at the environmental education center and they
invited me over tonight. i stayed for about half an hour and just got back.
they're nice enough, but probably not going to be great friends or anything.
one guy was interesting because he had been to south korea as a teacher.
he looked a bit like steve, johnny's friend.
the other day i watched
three movies in the theater for the price of one ticket. had one free ticket
that i used to see a movie at the amc. paid for the fountain and snuck
into casino royale. timing didn't quite work out for a fourth movie. i
figure i can get all my theater movies out of the way in one day if i just
theater hop and watch 3-4 movies in a day. cheaper and it means i don't
have to make multiple trips.
glad to see that florida
lost their first game of the year today. in basketball one loss doesn't
mean that much, but i wanted their streak broken asap. i hate that city,
school, and its star player. lsu also lost. yay.
worked at a visitor's center
for the first time. it's pretty straightforward. the register is a cinch
and answering questions is generally limited to telling people where to
hike. there are a shitload of logs - visitation logs, sales logs, opening
and closing reports, etc. lots of paperwork to remember to fill out.
big news of the day was
the usc game. went to the local pub and watched the entire thing. like
the cal game, it wasn't as good a game as i expected, but i was fine with
that. i knew that notre dame wasn't going to stop the sc offense, but i
wasn't sure if the usc secondary was going to be able to contain quinn.
and, for the most part, they did. ucla is a big challenge as well. they're
not great this year, but they have a good defense so they could give the
trojans fits. and if they force a couple turnovers, usc could be in trouble.
so the regular season isn't over. usc has the rose bowl cinched, but they
want their fourth national championship bid in as many years so hopefully
they close it out next week.
ohio state is definitely
the #1 team in the country, there really isn't any doubt about that this
year. their defense is the best in the country and their offense is one
of the top five or so that i've seen. i think ohio state will beat usc
if that's who plays, but it'll be great to be back in the national championship
game either way. i think that usc's defense will hold its own, i just think
that the ohio state defense will present some problems when it comes to
running the ball. two things have turned the year around for usc. losing
was one and cj gable was the second. losing allowed them to relax a bit
and i think that it took some pressure off of booty. herbstreit actually
said this as well, but i had the thought before i heard him mention it.
c.j. gable has emerged as the #1 back and a pretty reliable source of yards.
he steps up when booty is struggling and gets big gains at opportune moments.
the rose bowl should be
interesting. cal and texas took themselves out of it with their losses,
so it looks like it could be michigan and notre dame for a rematch; but
i don't like rematches. michigan vs. lsu or florida might be good, but
i've never been real clear on which conferences get which bowls. where
does boise state figure in all of this? i think they should be allowed
to be in a major bowl, but i don't know how the system works. hopefully
they get a big opponent or two in the next couple years so they get the
opportunity to compete with the larger schools in terms of strength of
meanwhile the niners actually
have a shot at making the playoffs. seattle has been struggling lately
(though they've been injured) and they're only one game ahead of the niners.
i was in the bay area the week that the two sports bombs were dropped and
i listened to a lot of sports radio. it seemed like most of the callers
were pretty disappointed by the proposed move of the athletics and niners.
modern professional sports are pretty fucked up.
cousin mary by john coltrane
might be my favorite jazz track. freshman year i had that or giant steps
on our answering machine and i remember jon's dad asking what god awful
noise (or some thing to that effect) it was. i could see 'ascension' described
as awful noise (though i like it), but giant steps and cousin mary are
speaking of old people,
i met a guy named dick whitehead at the boston store today. boston is a
township inside the park and boston store is an old canal store that has
been converted into a visitor's center (i think they should punctuate it:
"visitors' center," but that's just me). anyway, we talked for at least
a couple hours about all sorts of things. he's between 75 and 80 years
old and has traveled quite a bit and been a chemist and was enlisted in
the army and has volunteered for the parks service and all sorts of things.
towards the end of the conversation he started talking about working at
bf goodrich as a chemist and doing spectrograph analysis of different polymers
and having to take the spectrograph analysis of the diamond upon which
the sample would be placed and essentially subtracting that spectrograph
from the end result. he got into the hardcore chemistry of different polymers
and how they'd add different chemicals to stabilize it, etc. most of it
was way over my head, but he seemed happy talking about it so i let him.
i don't know where i heard it, but i heard a quote to the effect of "you
should live the first half of your life so thoroughly that you can live
the second half purely on the memories of the first half." it's a pretty
cool idea and i think this guy has done that and then some.
if you watch enough movies,
or read enough books, or listen to enough folklore i think you're able
to apply the philosophies presented to most any situation in life. my cultural
texts of choice are films, but they could be anything from hip-hop lyrics
to written literature. i often relate different life philosophies or individual
ideas to moments in film. perhaps i will write a book near the end of my
life entitled "life philosophy via film" or "personal philosophy from jeff
webster to luke jackson." jeff webster is jimmy stewart's character in
far country and luke jackson is paul newman's character in cool hand luke.
that would be a fun one. in looking at some of the "memorable quotes" from
cool hand luke it occurred to me how many of them come off as so completely
flat on paper. but when you have paul newman, george kennedy and strother
martin breathing life into them, well it's completely different. strother
martin, there's an underrated character actor. completely unique, yet mostly
unknown to this generation.
"on" is one of my favorite
tracks by aphex twin and it's made better by its video. there's a little
sound he buries in the background about 80 seconds into it that always
makes me think someone is calling my name. aphex twin has a handful of
tracks that just blow other artists out of the water.
i've been away from my
audio/video equipment and cds/dvds for 51 weeks now. one day i'll be able
to play my music and feel the bass or be able to watch "planes, trains
and automobiles" at a moment's notice. ptaa would be perfect for today
since it's the best thanksgiving movie of all-time. guess it'll have to
wait until next year.
today has been pretty uneventful
for me. i woke up late, played red alert 2, watched two movies, successfully
manipulated the antenna so we now get three channels, and watched a bit
of the cowboys game.
the black keys are from
akron which is about 15 miles away. i wonder if they'll be playing anytime
it's not even 11pm and
it feels really late. if i were in california i might be finishing up dinner
right now, getting ready to watch a couple movies. as is, i'm upstairs
in the dark listening to radiohead and both roommates are asleep.
also updated my movie review
list. it's mostly a list of the longer reviews i've written. sometimes
i included a review because of one good observation or well-worded sentence.
in other words, it didn't take too much to make the list. that said, considering
the number of reviews i've written, the highlights list isn't too out of
control. i created the list in large part to help inspire me.
not sure if this is conceited,
but reading my (better) reviews is the most inspiring thing i can do with
regards to getting in the mood to watch more films. reading the reviews
other people write or hearing other people talk about films is nice, but
it doesn't get me hungry to watch more films in the same way that reading
my own reviews does. i'll read a review about a film like "the wind will
carry us," a film i've only seen once, but it'll get me back into the mindset
i was in while watching the film originally, and that will inspire me to
watch it again or to watch another kiarostami film or something similar.
of course this makes sense since the reviews are perfectly suited to my
tastes and thoughts, so i guess it's not conceited at all.
having roommates is a drag,
i just remembered. i was trying to watch mr. smith goes to washington and
the two old guys were talking in the kitchen. with about three minutes
left in the film, bill came into the living room and, in the spirit of
my old roommate scott, started talking about being addicted to ebay and
wishing we had an internet connection. the guy's crazy.
i haven't seen as many
movies this year as i would have liked, but i've seen more movies in the
theater than i thought was possible. over 120 so far. going to a film festival
will do that. about half the films i've seen have been in the theater.
there are two parts of
my brain that are arguing over the subject of pop music. one side says
that pop music these days is crap compared to that of 40 years ago. the
other side says that pop music is pop music and i'm just an old fart inside.
musically i'm ill-equipped to give an informed opinion. pop music of the
00s is catchy and geared towards the single, just as it was during the
60s. then and now pop musicians rarely write their own music. beyond that
i can't make any sort of substantive claims about the quality of the musicianship.
i can, however, comment on the lyrical content. lyrics these days are more
sexualized, sensational, violent and less intelligent than they were in
the good ole days. jimmy mack by martha reeves and the vandellas is one
example that i was listening to today. it begins with simple lyrics that
go something like this: "jimmy mack, jimmy, oh jimmy mack when are you
coming back?...my arms are missing you. my lips feel the same way too."
it sets itself up as a very typical love song, but the next set of lines
go something like this: "i tried so hard to be true, like i promised i'd
do, but this boy keeps coming round...he calls me on the phone about three
times a day...this loneliness i have within keeps reaching out to be his
friend...jimmy mack, jimmy, oh jimmy mack, you better hurry back....i want
to say, i'm not getting any stronger, i can't hold out very much longer,
trying hard to be true, but jimmy he talks just as sweet as you."
if you compare this to
the simplistic lyrics of the 90s pop stars (backstreet boys, n'sync, britney
spears, etc.) it's clear that these are much more sophisticated and textured.
i compare jimmy mack to a modern song like fergie's "london bridges" which
is about, among other things, a woman who can't control herself around
a certain guy. in it fergie presents herself as a woman who is "such a
lady" but dances "like a hoe." in this sense she has the same competing
parts of her personality that martha reeves addresses in "jimmy mack."
after the typical "i'm here, step aside, i'm great" type introduction,
fergie launches into the chorus which goes something like "how come every
time you come around my london bridge wanna go down?" the song's theme
seems to be her inability to control her rock star world (she talks about
slurring her speech while drunk; she talks about being a lady, yet she's
dancing like a hoe; she talks about the paparazzi making her life front
page news and her reaction to this [spraying them with mace]). clearly
this is an anecdotal analysis, but i think it summarizes my thoughts on
the state of pop music rather well.
i've also thought quite
a bit about the abortion issue lately. i think it comes down to this: when
do i believe life begins? well, i've looked back at my old ap biology textbook
and found a clear definition of life, a definition that includes all lifeforms.
comparing this with fetal progression charts i've come to the conclusion
that human life occurs 392 hours after conception. so, my stated opinion
is that abortion should be legal before this scientifically proven timeframe.
after this time we must consider the child a human being, and thus abortion
would be considered murder. i am a reasonable person, though. i understand
that the woman is also a human with her own will, needs, wants, and rights.
thus i have developed a secondary solution for the time frame between the
392 hour non-human window and birth. henceforth we shall treat these baby
humans as renters, and the women as landlords. thus, the government will
pay the women a small rent on behalf of the child during this window. this,
of course, will be worked off by the child at a later date. further, if
the woman wishes to abort her child past the 392 hour window she must give
her renter one month notice. this notice must be filed in duplicate to
HUD (the department of housing and urban development) as well as a new
agency which will be created to link vacant landlords with renters looking
for a place to live. in other words, potential surrogates with unwanted
babies. if, after one month, the renter has not found a new landlord, the
woman is allowed to evict the squatter at her discretion.
and with that post i bury
all thoughts of ever holding public office.
yesterday i was at the
library and i saw three women talking about the osu/michigan game which
then led to talk about the browns/steelers game. this week i've actually
heard just as much talk about the browns game as about the osu game. both
teams are huge here.
i've got the next few days
off, but i think i'll hike and read anyway.
had to buy new hiking boots
yesterday because my old ones are too small to accomodate my orthotics.
they're not waterproof either. my new ones seem okay so far. getting the
right pair of boots is difficult.
two days after the fact,
i discovered that the niners won their last game. that's three in a row,
their first three game win streak in four years. i attribute it to a few
things: the acquisition of jennings and allen (is that the left tackle's
name?, can't remember), frank gore at running back, and the coaching. i
also read that bryant (their best receiver) was arrested for driving while
intoxicated. i just don't understand why people can't develop other habits.
like playing too much red alert 2 or watching too many movies.
also read that robert altman
passed away today. a good american filmmaker. a bit overrated for me, but
i guess i should wait until tomorrow to say that.
a few minutes ago there
was a family of deer in the clearing outside my window. they were running
around, then eating, then running some more. deer are a major problem here.
i forget the exact numbers, but a healthy deer population is around 10-20
per square mile, but the population at the park is around 100 per square
mile. since all their natural predators (except for humans) were killed
many years ago, the deer population goes unabated today. the park is working
on solutions, but i don't know what they are.
morning of first snow
car i drive while i
this is where i'll
be working on the weekends:
i see that usc is in third
place, just barely behind michigan in the bcs standings. in the harris
and usa today poll usc is in second, but the computer says otherwise. in
a rare instance, i agree with the computer on this one. i love usc as much
as the next guy, but here are the facts: usc has two fewer wins than michigan
and both teams have one loss. michigan lost to the best team in the country
and usc lost to an unranked oregon state. here's what i'll grant: usc lost
by only two points, but michigan lost by only three. ohio state, though,
played a fairly crappy game and still won by three points. in other words:
michigan played well, ohio state turned the ball over three times, and
michigan still couldn't win. michigan has one real quality win against
notre dame. they also beat wisconsin, iowa and penn state which are good
wins. usc, meanwhile, has beaten arkansas, cal, oregon and nebraska - all
are top 25 teams. i think that if usc runs the table then they will probably
end up at #2. if they do run the table (a big "if" since they still face
notre dame and ucla), then they probably deserve to get the #2 spot. further,
it wouldn't be all that exciting to see a rematch of michigan and ohio
just saw a program on niagara
falls on pbs. incidentally, we get two channels up here - pbs and some
weird channel that shows old tv shows and religious stuff. anyway, learned
about all the ways in which the falls have been changed by humans over
the years. the very shape of the falls has been changed, native americans
had (more) land taken in the 50s to make way for hydroelectric power, the
flow is a mere 25% of what it was before humans started messing with it,
etc. i knew that the flow was decreased, but i didn't know that it was
to that extent. i also didn't know that they changed the profile of the
falls for "safety" and aesthetics. the history surrounding the area is
fascinating and (largely) depressing.
paul is out of town for
the rest of the week so i'll be exploring the park and reading on my own
for the next two days, then i get three days off. these days i've been
doing a lot of trail walking and reading to get acquainted with the park
and ranger policies, etc.
been playing more red alert
2 than i should.
hopefully the 49ers won
today. it's a bit strange not having information readily available. i like
the change though.
went on a talk with a former
ranger who works at a county park. the subject was wild turkeys. i like
saw the second half of
the big game at a pub today. watching an ohio state vs. michigan game in
a pub in ohio is a rare experience. it's possibly the biggest college football
rivalry in the country and they're #1 and #2 so...there was one table of
michigan fans in the room i was in which made it a bit more interesting
as well. everyone was really into the game, doing the ohio state cheer,
yelling, etc. when the usc/cal game came on the pub didn't even have it
on the tv, i had to request that they changed the channel from the georgia
tech game. while the usc game was on there was a blues-rock band playing
and everyone was paying more attention to them than the number #3 and #17
teams playing. it's a football state, but i guess they only care about
the usc/cal game wasn't
as close as it has been the last few years. if you look at the stats i'd
bet that the turnovers would appear to be the problem for cal. in actuality,
though, they were a non-factor. they had two fumbles that they recovered,
so those wouldn't be recorded and didn't really make a difference. they
had one interception in the last minute when the game had been decided
so that doesn't count. they threw one interception, but that actually ended
up giving them two points (on a safety) so that, strangely enough, worked
to their advantage. usc's defense was the story. cal had 9 points, but
usc's defense only allowed 7. meanwhile usc's offense put up decent numbers
as usual and they won the game. at the beginning of the year i thought
usc's defense was in the top 3. i think they're probably not that good,
but they may be in the top 5. usc remains a second half team under pete
during the game the live
music act incited a man and woman to "dance." the woman was standing and
shaking, but not really dancing. and the guy was playing the air guitar
and gyrating, but, again, not really dancing in the typical sense. it was
a funny scene. as i was leaving i came across the guy at a crossroads and
he gestured with his arm that i should go, so i did. as i was walking towards
the door he said that he was heading outside to smoke a cigarette because
"it is good for me...not." other than in Borat
i don't think i've heard a "not" joke in many years; it was unintentionally
in the last year i've lived
in: austin - home of the 2005 national champion texas longhorns, los angeles
- home of the 2003 and 2004 national champion trojans, and ohio - home
of the probable 2006 national champion buckeyes. put another way i've lived
in: california, a strong blue state. texas, a strong red state. ohio, one
of the two (florida being the other) most infamous "purple" states (barely
won it for bush in 2004).
tim, the older, cooler
roommate, has offered to show me around the area. there's a antique market
type place, a mexican restaurant, and a mini hearst castle that he thought
i should check out.
i had planned on comparing
the gas prices a couple days before the election and a couple weeks after
the election, but i don't really see the point since they made it far more
obvious than i thought. i had figured on a subtle increase over the next
couple weeks, instead they waited a day and then increased the prices.
it was so obvious that even the mainstream media picked up on it. gall.
i'm about 70 movies behind
my annual goal of 300 a year. this lonely time should serve as a good opportunity
to meet and beat that goal in spite of the 77 day road trip and stressful
period without movie watching that followed it. i only have six dvds with
me and don't have any movies on the computer so that'll make it tougher.
netflix is likely to be slow out here as well. the local library has a
vhs/dvd/cd collection so i'll be tapping into that as early as tomorrow.
today i played quake for
the first time in several years.
internet access isn't great
around here and the laptop seems limited in its ability to download torrents.
argh. spent most of the day figuring that out. also got some foodstuffs.
view outside my window.
there's a road just below the edge of this picture.
first real day of work
is now complete. it wasn't really work though. paul, my boss, had his annual
meeting with other interpretive staff members so he sent me off to tour
the park on my own. i went to the major attractions, did a couple hikes,
introduced myself to various employees at the ranger stations and that
was about it. i have two days off and work again on saturday. missing the
football games is going to be an annoyance. maybe i can find a torrent
that has the games, download them, avoid learning the outcome, and watch
them afterwards. finding internet is going to be another challenge.
tim is the older roommate
and i talked with him tonight. he's a good guy and just as talkative as
the other roommate (bill), but in a better way.
i've fallen behind quite
a bit on the picture posting so here's the last couple weeks' worth of
last of the bookcases
being trucked away
book room empty for
the first time in 27 years
driving to meryl's
in the corrado
somewhere in colorado
somewhere in nebraska
mcdonald's in ohio,
canal lock at canal
visitor center in northern portion of cvnp (cuyahoga valley national park)
canal visitor center
near bridal veil falls
muskrat? beaver? not
deep lock quarry. sandstone.
ron jeremy lives in
this place is pretty lonely
already. roommates pretty much stick to themselves and there's not much
to do here. i don't feel as though the place is mine so that's a drag.
if i was here by myself it would be better.
watched a few episodes
of the office and ate dinner. the isolation will probably mean a lot of
movie watching and book reading. i miss meryl.
i'm in my new home, pretty
much everything is unpacked and settled. met my new boss and got an idea
of what i'll be doing for the next four months.
the last few weeks have
been as hectic as any i've ever had. tying up loose ends in southern california,
trying to get the car fixed and legal in northern california, visiting
people, last minute changes, strains on the budget, etc. long story short:
my mom gave me her car to use and she bought a new car a couple months
earlier than she had planned. the corrado is at her place and will hopefully
be legal soon enough. the biggest hang up ended up being the smog check
which couldn't move forward without doing some things that take longer
than i had. huge headache.
i have a lot of movies
to review, will get that done in the next couple days.
cuyahoga national park
wasn't made a national park until 2000. it gets 3.2 million visitors a
year, but that number is highly suspect because they basically just count
traffic through the park and the park's major trail (the towpath trail).
since the park is between akron and cleveland and is home to hundreds of
residents, it gets its share of non-park related traffic. during the baseball
trip i relayed the fact that cuyahoga is one of the top ten most visited
parks. seeing it, and knowing how the visits are counted, makes me want
to take it off the list. that said, i don't know how one would arrive at
a more accurate number. there aren't any park fees and the park will probably
always be used as somewhat of a thoroughfare between cleveland and akron
so that makes it difficult.
i'm hungry and somewhat
left for ohio on saturday
morning. i picked up jon in the corrado sometime after 8am and we left
for la. the corrado ran well from the bay area to la which made me wonder
if i should have just driven it to ohio after all. the rain of oil leaks
under the car, which i discovered while unpacking it, made me happy i didn't.
jon and i hit the road from la around 4pm. for the next two days we were
in the car 90% of the time. we slept in the car for two nights and drove
almost the entire time that we were awake. we made one stop in glenwood
springs, co which was a nice stopover town in the western part of the state.
after i dropped him off in chicago i drove straight through to cuyahoga
and found a hotel. getting a good night's sleep was nice. during the entire
trip the car ran like a dream in spite of having 235,000+ miles on it.
it's not too cold here right now, i'd guess somewhere in the low 30s. there
isn't any snow on the ground, but there usually is around the first week
of december. we get what's called "lake effect snow" here. the warm winds
(i thought they would have been cold) blow off of lake erie and hit the
cold air here. this temperature differential creates condensation which
falls in the form of snow. typically the area doesn't get much snow, which
is contrary to what i thought. it does get into the single digits in temperature
my boss is a nice guy,
but different from what i had envisioned. he's older and bigger than his
voice indicated. he is a bit on the strange side as well. i met one roommate
briefly while in the field and he seemed nice. he's a maintenance guy and
probably in his 50s. the other guy is real talkative, in his 40s, and a
little paranoid. should be an interesting four months.
couple things still need
work on the car, definitely coming down to the wire. everything in the
last weeks has cost more, and taken longer, than expected. for the last
two weeks i haven't been able to think about anything other than the car
and preparing to leave la/marin.
the next four months have
finally settled in. i started packing up the car and got a little sad and
nervous about the next chapter in my life. i've been so pre-occupied with
getting things in order that i haven't really had the time to think about
why i'm in such a rush. actually, i still don't. there are still a lot
of things i need to do. there are tiny things the car needs done to it,
things that will have to wait until i get to northern california.
i'm going to be pretty
spotty with email and updates for the next four months, but i'll be writing
and watching movies and doing stuff. uploads may be few and far between
a couple of guys are downstairs
right now loading the last of the bookcases. not all of them are going
to fit, but most of them will and the bookroom will be empty for the first
time since it was built. afterwards i should be on my way to pick up the
car and then drop it off at the dealership to get a little work done. things
are finally coming to a close. having things come down to the wire is stressful,
but when you depend upon others, that's what happens. i've gotten a lot
done since i've been here so that's a good feeling. the homes of jamie
gold, my mom, dad, uncle, and (especially) grandmother are all cleaner,
less cluttered, in better shape, and of better value than before i came.
i even managed to save two or three hundred bucks in the process. as well
as make $125 for my dad and a few thousand for my grandma. soon i'll be
off to ohio where i'll do more work basically for free ($60/week which
pays for food, gas, etc. and the leftover is my profit) and hopefully i
can feel just as good about it.
the kerry "controversy"
is such a laughable example of politics. it's sad that even mainstream
figures are referring to the joke as a botched joke about the soldiers.
if they were intelligent, looked at the context, or didn't buy what was
being sold to them so easily, then they would refer to it as a botched
joke about president bush. even newt gingrich, when pushed by colmes, admitted
that it was a joke about bush, but he quickly redirected by saying that
he thinks what kerry mistakenly said is actually closer to what he believes
than what he meant to say. i'm completely serious and i saw/heard this
myself. it's so ridiculous. when you see the quote in the context of him
making jokes about bush earlier in the speech then it's clear that he meant
to refer to bush, not the troops.
here's how one AP article
covers it: "Kerry got caught up in charges and countercharges with the
president for saying earlier in the week when he told California students
that if they did not do well on their school work they were likely to "get
stuck in Iraq."" i don't find that to be very accurate or honest. with
or without context it's very clear to me that kerry meant to say "get US
stuck in iraq;" a clear reference to bush's stupidity and (likely) his
biggest blunder. the right wingers saw a great opportunity to take the
quote out of context and tie it into a larger idea that democrats hate
america or whatever. they dug up his anti-vietnam speeches and mixed them
with this latest misrepresentation and created a troop-hating liberal named
kerry. this is nothing new, but it's remarkable that mainstream figures
(hillary clinton, "journalists," comedians like leno and o'brien, etc.)
are all buying into the lie wholesale. there's very little attempt at contextualizing
the statement. rovian politics at its finest.
i think this one will carry
for the next few days until the election and might be enough to sway a
few thousand votes or get a few thousand more republicans to show up to
the polls. it's amazing to me how easily people are swayed. everyone seemed
to jump off the dean bandwagon when he had that one excited speech and
now everyone's jumping all over kerry because of this joke.
getting the car is taking
longer than it should. guy took it to shop last week and they're taking
their time fixing it. should get it tonight or tomorrow. after that i can
begin packing up.
bookcases will be gone
from the bookroom/garage tomorrow.
watched a bit of basketball
last night. the heat looked awful. lakers looked pretty good. oh well.
saw phil for the first
time in a long time on monday.
dinner with mom tonight,
max tomorrow, dad the next day. leaving for northern california on saturday.
none of the next four months will settle in until i get a car.
the usc game was a disappointment
and a surprise, but i was pretty certain they wouldn't go undefeated this
year. booty just doesn't make great decisions and he has a propensity to
get his passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. my dad and i noted
this a couple weeks ago in one of their close wins. by all accounts this
is a year for rebuilding. what made it worse was that the cable signal
was coming in and out every second or so and it was very disrupting. but
with seven seconds left, the game's outcome having been decided, the signal
suddenly came in perfectly clear and without interruption. a perfect execution
of murphy's law.
saw two movies tonight.
two for the price of one free pass. beautiful. you have to be semi-rich
to stay up-to-date with movies these days. you're looking at anywhere from
$8-10 per movie with at least one film (independent or hollywood production)
a week being worthwhile. so i'm looking at at least $500 a year on movies
in the theater. good thing i cut my own hair and don't have a cellphone.
gotta make sacrifices somewhere...
there are 13 movies i want
to see before i leave, that's not going to happen. i also want to sell
some dvds, hike a hill, goto topanga state park, do some work for my mom,
get rid of the bookcases, pickup my car, and more.
my dad gets me free amc
tickets so that's a bonus. movies to see, in no order:
saw 3 - liked the first
two, may as well watch the third
prestige - christopher
nolan isn't quite a must-see director, but his brother co-writes this one
so that's a welcome change from his last two.
running with scissors
- good cast, snappy dialogue, looks like a rushmore-type comedy.
man of the year - topical,
robin williams is generally pretty funny.
catch a fire - tim
robbins is a good sign of a good film.
flags of our fathers
- it's clint eastwood and he's a must-see director
deliver us from evil
- documentary on interesting topic
bridge - same as above
babel - pretty good
director, looks topical
jesus camp - religious
people are crazy
science of sleep -
gondry is one of the most visually compelling directors making films today
us vs. john lennon
- dad recommends
shut up and sing -
barbara kopple directs, she did harlan county usa - a classic.
fox plaza, aka the
nakatomi building in die hard.
looks like jon will be
coming along with me to ohio. that'll be good since much of that trip is
going to be pretty boring. if i had a couple weeks to do it i'd visit promontory
point, homestead national monument, chicago, salt lake city, and maybe
dip down into rocky mountain national park, but i don't so it'll be a straight
came up with a quote today,
if i were mark twain it would be on some college kid's wall, but i'm not
so it won't. you can only know what you're willing to learn.
i think that everyone,
upon turning 16 (or 18), should be followed around for a couple weeks with
a camera. after that 2-4 week period they should be forced to watch the
footage. some people are beyond introspection and self-evaluation, but
i think it would prove valuable to most.
i also think that people
running for congress, at least at the house of representatives level, should
not be able to make more than double the median income of their constituents
for the two years prior to, and, if they win, following their bid at a
congressional seat. i think this one, relatively simple reform would go
a long way towards making elected officials work for the people. that is,
after all, what democracy is supposed to be about.
the dateline piece "to
catch a predator" wherein they set up a sting operation to look for pedophiles
online, is indicative of what is wrong with our penal system (no pun intended).
the goal of the show isn't to rehabilitate, rather it's to embarrass and
humiliate in a crass attempt at deterring future crime. the truth, though,
is that they've proven this tactic is futile. several times they have had
men caught in the sting who have seen the show before. in one instance
they even had a guy who was caught in the very same sting by dateline in
the past. when people do wrong things they're thinking they won't get caught.
in watching this show, it seems that pedophiles are more often thinking
"i shouldn't be doing this, but i feel compelled to anyway." i don't want
to call it a disease or illness, but clearly these people need something
beyond rudimentary discipline. but that's what our criminal justice system
does. don't get me wrong, pedophiles deserve to get a good ass raping,
but it's still a sad commentary on our society that we prefer to simply
isolate and punish, rather than trying to fix the cause of the problem.
ask foucault for more info on this.
started painting my uncle's
place today. hopefully i'll be done tomorrow.
still have a lot of stuff
to do in the next couple weeks.
several movies out that
i'd like to see as well.
pictures will be uploaded
updating pictures page
some more. added several hundred pictures, several directories, and made
folder icons larger. total now stands at 3,515 pictures.
they're reaching the bottom
of the barrel when they start saying that hillary clinton had plastic surgery.
maybe she did maybe she didn't, but isn't that one of the least substantive
issues to raise at this time?
i'll be working 35-40 hours
a week as an intern which means i'll have a decent amount of time to myself.
hopefully i'll watch a lot of movies and explore the park a lot.
the firing of the arizona
cardinals' offensive coordinator.
except for the musicals
and the screenplays, all the books in the general stock were taken away
on saturday. three guys came by with a huge truck and it took us about
six hours to get them all packed up. they had huge cardboard boxes (about
4 feet cubed) that they'd place on palettes and fill with books. after
one was full, they'd raise the platform and use a hand palette lifter to
move it into the truck. this was all made more difficult by the incline
that the truck was on. the palettes weighed at least a thousand pounds
each and would want to roll down the inside to the front of the truck.
it was quite an undertaking. just getting the truck parked and in position
took about 45 minutes. because there are a lot of trees and not much space
around the house, they had to do a lot of maneuvering. when they finally
got lined up the huge hill that leads to the driveway (which is also not
level) made it so that the back of the truck hit the ground before the
tires got to the hill. the picture below illustrates this effect more clearly
than my words. they were backing up, in the picture they were moving from
left to right. my solution to the problem was to pile a bunch of boards
under the spot where the tire needed more elevation. after some tinkering
and some thrown wood (it was a four wheel drive truck), we got it to work.
the thursday after next
they should pick up the bookcases.
started the purchase process
for the car today.
tentative departure date
for ohio is 11/11. thought about leaving from la after the usc/oregon game,
but i just can't do it. it's about 34 hours of driving according to mapquest
and i need to be there on 11/14 at 1pm. i'd have to do about 16 hours of
driving each day and i just don't know that i can commit to that. i did
it once, but i split driving time with meryl so it was different.
haven't watched a movie
in a while, that'll change now that the car situation seems settled and
the books are gone. i still have plenty of work to do around the houses
(grandmother, uncle, mom), but the two biggest things are done. also sent
off my internship paperwork so that should be done.
actually, it looks like
i'm going to buy a 1992 corrado
with 107k on it. the seats are great, it's in my price range, it's not
the v6 model so gas mileage is reasonable, and it's a volkswagen. the guy
who's selling it is really cool as well. he runs with the famous santa
monica track club, is an aussie and loves volkswagens. his father's a photographer
who had a poster of blow-up
(to my knowledge, the first film to feature full frontal nudity) by the
while searching for cars,
it occurred to me that my use of "proper" english is a detriment when dealing
with people who don't speak "proper" english. there were absolutely no
communication problems when talking to someone with an aussie accent and
aussie colloquialisms, yet speaking with american speakers is often quite
confusing. i think knowing how to use proper grammar and how to enunciate
can work to your disadvantage sometimes.
a pretty decent 1994 civic that's a bit above blue book, but has had a
lot of recent work done and the seller isn't a prick. thinking about pulling
the trigger on that deal, but don't have the cash yet.
a call from yellowstone national park today regarding an internship there.
i wasn't here, but max talked with the guy and told him that i had already
committed to cuyahoga and wouldn't consider dropping out of that commitment.
the guy said that that was a good thing and that i'm high on their list
already, but i'd be even higher on their list after the cuyahoga experience
(for a summer internship) and that i should give him a call about it. that's
the holy grail of internships so far as i'm concerned, so that's clearly
very exciting for me. maybe, if i pay my dues for a year or so, i could
get my pick of actual paying jobs at a national parks service site.
to an ad for a honda civic in culver city and got a reply. when i looked
at the fellow's name, i was very tempted to buy the car sight unseen. his
name was jon voight. oddly, if it was a car less desirable than a honda
civic i'd probably be more tempted. if you don't understand this seinfeld
reference then i deem you to be of weak moral character. go back to afghanistan!
search for a car has been dogged by a lack of prompt replies from various
people. there are a couple cars that i'd probably buy right away, but the
people aren't reachable for a test drive, etc. so...back in the day before
craigslist and easy online posting, i would sell old computer parts, etc.
on the recycler - a free classifieds newspaper in the area. people had
to call you to get more info and this meant that they were serious. these
days, though, it's so easy to send an e-mail or post something online,
that you never know when someone is serious about buying or selling an
item. we have cell phones and e-mail, yet it honestly seems more difficult
to reach people these days. typing "these days" twice in one paragraph
is a definite sign of old age.
out your inbox is a good feeling. when i first wrote that i typed "clearning"
instead of "clearing." maybe i should have left it that way since it's
a good combination of cleaning and clearing.
page. the program i use for displaying
the pictures is fantastic, but i haven't quite mastered the update function,
though i haven't messed with it much lately. so i've been updating the
entire album (all 5gigs worth), rather than just the stuff that is new.
it takes more time to upload and process, but i have it work overnight
so it doesn't really affect me.
apart my digital camera the other day. it's quite an ordeal to pry it apart
and get every little screw out. the inside is quite remarkable. very tightly
packed and inaccessible - now i understand why the camera shop advised
me to send it to canon. of course i'm about two months past the warranty
so that's not an option. at any rate, it was a good experience. i tried
to clean the area where i thought the image sensor might be located, but
i'm sure my efforts were fruitless. the lens and image sensor are encased
beneath a tight tangle of flat wires. it was neat to see how complicated
the camera is, but i don't think i did anything good for it. in fact, after
closing it all back up i was left with three screws so that was humorous
and cliché. to my credit, the screw holes are difficult to find
and the screws come in about 6 different sizes and head types.
the books will begin their exodus. many of them have probably been down
there over 20 years. i wonder how they feel about the situation. if anything,
books probably want to be read and appreciated. neither was happening for
them here so i'm happy for them.
out today that my $60/week stipend goes towards food and anything else
i need. i was afraid of that. i had hoped that there was a cafeteria plan
or something worked out with regards to food. oh well. looks like i'll
be lucky to break even with this internship. $660 for four months - food
and expenses, $0.19/mile for traveling to (and from?) the internship, and
a $75 clothing allowance. it'll be pretty barebones and lonely living,
but that'll be good for me.
for a car is exhausting.
hannity is a dumb fuck.
bless america" isn't really a complete sentence. what exactly does it mean.
when i try to parse it it doesn't make sense. is it a command? a hope?
if it were "god blessed america" that would be different. if it were "god,
bless america," that too would be different. but "god bless america" just
doesn't make sense to me. i think it's in the vein of dickens' famous "god
bless us, everyone." but neither really makes sense when you actually think
about it. the best i can figure is that it's sort of a prayer: "god, please
what the big story of the summer of 2001 was? the summer before "9/11"
the big story was....shark attacks and, if memory serves, gary condit killing
some chick. the press is so inept and ridiculous...it makes my blood boil.
a couple political science classes i took, i remember teachers citing research
that stated that stronger political parties would go a long way towards
bettering the country. i forget the exact logic involved, but i never agreed
with it. i think political party affiliation is pretty strong these days,
but for all the wrong reasons.
found this guy in the
book room downstairs
my digital camera in a week or two ago and they said that there was likely
something on the sensor and i'd have to send it in to canon. since the
camera is (barely) more than a year old it doesn't fall under warranty.
it'll cost (at least) $89 to fix or i can upgrade for $125, but the upgrade
is basically the same camera - no increase in megapixels, zoom, features,
etc. a new camera would cost twice that, but would be an actual upgrade.
i can choose to never take pictures of the sky, or i can do something about
the problem. i think i'm going to take a look at it myself and see if i
can fix it. if not then i guess i'll just have to live with it until i
have enough money to buy a new one. it's a shame because i really like
the camera and would have liked to have a long relationship with it. c'est
applied for a passport yesterday. spent over $100 on that. these days,
though, i think it's necessary. you never know when the ss or gestapo is
going to ask for "zee papers und documents!"
not going to have easy access to the internet while i'm in ohio. this sucks
primarily because i know there are going to be a lot of things that i'll
want to look up online. i wish there was some way of storing wikipedia.org
on my computer for offline access. actually, there are webpage downloaders,
but i've never had much success with them and i don't know how functional
the site would be. searching, etc. might be difficult.
to an auto auction tonight. we'll see how that goes.
here's a picture
from death valley that shows the problem fairly clearly. in the middle
of the picture you'll notice a dark spot in the sky. this is generally
only visible in pictures with the sky as the background.
out looking for used cars today. found a few that were appealing. test
drove a few. dealt with some pushy salesmen and some not so pushy ones.
new experiences are good.
going to be strange to, within the next month: buy a new car, drive across
country by myself, get a new job, work for someone i've never met, live
in a place i've never seen, buy new (nps approved) clothing, etc.
the books. max got half the money today and will get the other half on
saturday. she's decided to keep the screenplays and musicals, but the bulk
of the stuff will be gone.
are so fucking strange. wrote an email regarding a honda civic on craigslist,
all i asked was when i could see the car and here's the response i got:
still available, honey.
time call me.
saw the departed and was
impressed. good to know that gangs of queens (kidding) and bringing out
the dead were blips in scorsese's career. with the aviator and the departed
he seems to be back on track.
arizona's looking impressive
against chicago right now. hopefully they win. i like green and, of course,
leinart. i also like james' no nonsense approach, but couldn't support
him while he was a colt.
got a call from glen canyon
recreation area for an interview. they said i was on their top five candidates
for consideration, but i had to tell them that i had already committed
to cuyahoga. the lady said that i could look them up afterwards if i was
interested in the field so that's nice. i guess not many people are willing
to work for slave wages so when they see someone who is willing and well-traveled
they jump at it. people do seem to be impressed by my travels, and since
it relates a bit to the field i think it helps.
theisman is such a moron.
the bears were down by 13 in field goal range and it was 4th down with
9:25 left. theisman says "i think you have to go for it here." he went
on to explain that three points would only bring it down to a 10 point
deficit which means the bears would still need to score twice. i hate this
strategy and it's been proven incorrect several times. the best strategy
is to take the points that you can get most readily and here's why: let's
first assume (foolishly) what he was assuming - that the cardinals won't
score again. even if the defense holds an almost sure 10 point deficit
is better than a likely missed fourth down conversion and a 13 point deficit.
a 10 point deficit means you only have to get one touchdown and a field
goal to tie. that's not that bad. it's at least 30 yards easier to get
10 points than it is to get two touchdowns and 14 points. this is a big
difference. now, let's not assume that the cardinals don't score. what
if the cardinals drive the ball 40 or so yards and kick a field goal. a
13 point deficit becomes 16 which is two touchdowns and two (unlikely)
2 point conversions, or, more realistically, two touchdowns and a field
goal. no, theisman, you take the points and play defense. that's the smart
play with so much time left.
oh, and what happened on
that 4th down play? the cardinals intercepted it and nearly ran it back
for a touchdown. the interceptor was barely knocked onto his right knee
before running 60 yards for a touchdown which ended up getting called back.
so, yeah, great idea moron.
bears just returned a punt
for a touchdown to pull ahead by one. looks like the 4th down play is now
a moot point. my first thought was "fucking cardinals are blowing it,"
but my second thought was "it's leinart time." this is his first chance
to start crafting his legend. we'll see...
well, he did everything
he could. james didn't get a first down and rackers missed a field goal.
too bad. to me, though, the cardinals are starting to look as good as we
knew they could be after drafting leinart and picking up james. hopefully
they don't allow the loss to hurt them mentally. leinart's drive to field
goal range looked montana-esque to me. short, decisive passes coupled with
a command of the clock. fun game.
one thing that's good about
the shitstorm that is our political landscape is that people know that
voting actually matters now. before, people would claim that one vote doesn't
matter. while it's true that no vote to my knowledge has ever come down
to a single vote, that outlook is pretty well defeated by now. florida,
ohio, etc. we know that so many elections these days are going to be nail-biters
so maybe people are little more inspired by that fact. now, if we can get
every (legitimate) vote to actually count then we'll really be on to something...
from last week vs.
bcs standings came out today and are as mysterious as always. usc is #2,
but any human knows they shouldn't be that high. i love them, but they're
not that great this year and i've talked about why this is true in great
depth already. cal is ranked ahead of tennessee in spite of losing to that
team and both teams having the same record. that said, i think cal is actually
a better team right now, but it doesn't seem right to rank them ahead of
a team that beat them when both teams have the same record. lsu got screwed
in the bcs as well. i also think that west virginia, weak schedule and
all, should be ahead of auburn since they're undefeated.
have an offense again, but their defense sucks ass.
know that the american league is better than the national league since
they win the all-star game all the time (not that that's really an indicator
of anything as the all-star "team" isn't much of a team) and the national
league has won something like two games in the last three world series.
but, this year, the AL playoffs have sucked. three series and the losing
teams in all the series won a combined one game. the yankees beat the tigers
in the opening game and then lost three straight. the a's beat the twins
three straight and then lost four straight to the tigers. not very exciting.
the dodgers were swept, but the other two series have had some drama.
anyone can tell me the first teen flick to have that cheesy everyone-claps-in-the-end
type ending then lemme know. you know, the kind where a main character
does something inspirational and some secondary character starts clapping
slowly and everyone else joins in. they made fun of it in "not another
teen movie," and i've seen it used before, but i can't think of one that
did it early.
a call from paul at cuyahoga national park and he offered me the position.
i told him i needed a day to think about it. i've thought about it and
decided to take it. the biggest issue is getting a car. if anyone knows
someone who's going to get rid of a car for cheap then lemme know. i need
it to be good enough to get to ohio and back. it's gotta have a heater
and i'd prefer a/c and cruise control. more than anything it's got to be
reliable and cheap. other than that it sucks to be away from meryl and
it'll be weird going into an unsure situation. but i think it's a good
opportunity, i get paid a little and it give me a chance to live in another
state for a while. also, it's only about 11 weeks so it's not that huge
are several films i need to see. 49 up, the departed, little children,
jesus camp, science of sleep, etc.
up with james today. good guy. he's going to italy by himself tomorrow
for ten days. should be fun. we played some catch and talked about sports,
life, etc. we also recounted the high school days when he was on the football
team with steve smith. he recounted the time he tried to cover stevonne
but sweet, story
about inspiring moment's newest development.
Pie star Tara Reid was devastated after her body was left ravaged by botched
breast implant and liposuction procedures. The star originally decided
to have plastic surgery to fix her lop-sided cleavage and ended up being
embarrassed to show her body in public. She tells American publication
Us Weekly, "I got my breasts done for the first time because my breasts
were uneven. I was a 34B, but the right one was always bigger than the
left. I weigh 110 pounds now, but I always used to fluctuate by 10 pounds,
so my skin was kind of saggy. I figured, 'I'm in Hollywood, I'm getting
older, I'm going to fix them.'" The 30-year-old says the operation went
wrong from the very beginning saying, "First of all, I asked for big Bs,
and he (the doctor) did not give me big Bs. He gave me Cs, and I didn't
want them. At all. Right after the surgery, I had some bumps along the
edges of my nipples, but the doctor said, 'Don't worry, it's going to be
better.' But after six months it started to get worse and worse." The actress
says her breast implants made her self-conscious - especially when it came
to being intimate. She says, "Guys I was dating would be like, 'What's
wrong with them? They look really bad. You know, you should really get
them fixed.' So embarrassing. I mean, you definitely need to turn the lights
off, that's for sure." Reid also underwent liposuction on her thin frame
at the same time to make her muscles appear more sculpted. She says, "I
got lipo because even though I was skinny, I wanted - I'm not going to
lie - a six-pack. I had body contouring, but it all went wrong. My stomach
became the most ripply, bulgy thing." Reid underwent reconstructive surgery
last month and has endured a painful recovery, but insists her life is
back on track. She adds, "I'll never be perfect again, but I've got my
self confidence back.""
love that last quote. "i'll never be perfect again."
been making a lot of aesthetic
changes to the site lately. added info bubbles on links (check the sidebar)
as well as the same info in the status bar. also made various secondary
pages match the color scheme of the main page. planning on reworking millersmovies
a bit as well. thinking about a new logo/layout. changed font to ms sans
serif for all secondary pages. tried to make uniform the movies reviewed
pages and the top ten pages.
been thinking implementing
buttons which will allow the user the ability to change the color scheme.
i think white on black is much better on the eyes, but some people might
like traditional white on black more. still thinking about that one.
you're looking at what
will likely be the new font so now's the time to bitch about it. will try
to test it out on a variety of displays before i commit to it fully.
started painting my uncle's
kitchen today. should be done tomorrow.
the remaining books (save
the musicals, screenplays, and most collectible items) are on ebay.
tried watching the new
version of "all the king's men" and couldn't finish it. it begins at the
end so you already know willie stark turns bad, and i found the acting
to be subpar and the storytelling to be uninspired. probably the best thing
about the original is that we trust willie stark in the beginning. seeing
his character turn and fall victim to the allure of power is fascinating,
striking and entertaining; by structuring the film the way they do in the
2006 version, they take all the bang out of this aspect. i also found sean
penn to be poorly cast. the heavy set broderick crawford works well because
he's big, lovable and innocent in the beginning, and menacing and scary
in the end. penn never achieves the first and i didn't stick around to
see whether he was able to achieve the latter (though i'm sure he did).
one reason i'm sure he did is because his entire post-fast times at ridgemont
high career seems to be geared towards living down the image of jeff spicoli.
in other words, he seems to seek out the most intense and serious roles
this line was apparently
in a respectable washington paper: "hastert and boehner need to get on
the same page, or republican troubles will continue to mount." freudian
slips don't get much better than that.
also found this one:
hastert on fox - nice,
hastert on cnn - same
press conference, different angle. he's in a freaking graveyard. what a
saw lisa lampanelli on
leno the other night. she specializes in stereotype/race comedy and is
dubbed the "queen of mean." she was making some joke about how she has
a latin boyfriend and she's worried that he'll steal her purse. ha ha ha.
anyway, they censored "steal" and "purse" in that joke and another innocuous
word in another, similar joke. i think they bleeped it to avoid getting
in trouble for the racist jokes, but bleeping words like "steal" and "purse"
is crazy. this is where we are in society.
i think the yankees should
have fired torre. it's easy and sensible to blame the players since they're
the ones who didn't hit, pitch, or field well enough to win, but i think
the problem is systemic. he's got to be responsible for creating a culture
of winning and not allowing them to feel sorry for themselves or allowing
them to think they will win without trying. the last five years they have
been great on paper and have failed to perform to expectations. the best
player in the league has seen a serious decline - more strikeouts and errors,
and a lower avg. that "murderer's row" lineup had insane numbers, yet they
went about 20 innings without a run. pathetic.
got a call at about 7:30
this morning from paul at cuyahoga national park. he conducted the interview
and told me i was in the top 2 candidates for the position. description:
"Preserving 33,000 acres of woodlands, meadows and ponds along the Cuyahoga
River, Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers outdoor education and
recreation opportunities within an urbanized region. Share these opportunities
with visitors as you educate others about winter recreation in the area.
Operate information desk
at the Winter Sports Center contact station, 45%; handle administrative
and other managerial duties, 35%; prepare and present winter recreation
programs (with emphasis on natural history) to the general public and different
age children, 10%; assist with staffing of a main visitor center, 5%; training
and project assistance, 5%." 11-13-06 to 3-5-07
sounds pretty cool and
is available very soon, which i think is desirable. i'd probably have to
get a car if i were to do it, but that's not that difficult. more a drain
than anything else. it sounds like a smooth enough transition since there
are retail elements to the job, instead of it being strictly about public
education. it would probably give me an opportunity to learn the history
and science of the park while doing other things. i'd get free housing,
accident insurance and $60 a week. so it's essentially a volunteer position,
but that's what all of them are. the longer programs pay $160 a week and
include free medical insurance. paul made it sound as if there are good
employment education opportunities so that would be a bonus as well.
i don't feel very sorry
for most of the administrative staff of tower records because i know, for
a fact, that they are much of the reason for the downfall. i do, however,
feel very sorry for all the clerks and lower level employees who, as usual,
are going to feel the brunt of the liquidation. they don't have severance
packages and they weren't the reason for the failure of the company.
got this from the leno
show, though i can't remember if it was him or his guest who uttered it:
"democrats like bookmarks, republicans prefer to bend over the page." zing!
GOP: grope our pages
i love that fox "news"
identified foley as a democrat. brilliant.
some are calling for the
end of the page program. i heard one guy say that the dems dropped the
ball by not getting rid of the program when they were in power. that's
politics at its most humorous. first, it deflects blame. second, it assumes
that congressmen are going to be inappropriate with their pages so, rather
than getting rid of those congressmen, we should just get rid of the temptation.
been relatively obsessed
with economic inequality and home ownership lately. ll cool j put it best:
"the world revolves on an economic axis."
hurt my back the other
day. feeling better, but not 100%.
job listing on craigslist
for a davis-based youth shelter like the one i worked at in woodland:
FamiliesFirst, Inc. in
the Davis location is seeking a School Counselor for our Non-Public School
in Davis, CA. Part time available.
Shift Time: 6:30am-2:30pm
M-F (part time 2-3 days/wk.)
School combines, rather than separates, elements of educational and therapeutic
treatment. Academic, interpersonal, and social lessons are taught by a
teacher and two classroom counselors in each eight-to-ten-student classroom.
Our school serves emotionally disturbed boys from the ages of seven through
fifteen. We have eight classrooms where students are appropriately placed
based on their chronological age, level of educational function and behavioral
Supervise, care for,
and provide counseling for children, one-on-one or in groups, help develop/implement
behavioral/treatment plans, plan activities, and maintain required documentation.
Participate in meetings and training. Perform other duties as required,
such as transporting children.
-Requires fifteen (15)
college units or 1 year of work experience with SED children or equivalent
combination of education and experience.
-Ability to speak clearly
and present information both verbally and in writing.
-Ability to read and
interpret documents e.g. safety rules and instructions
-Ability to write routine
-Some positions require
ability to lift 50 lbs.
-Various shifts available.
Starting Pay Range:
this is what's wrong with
the world. my grandmother's housekeeper makes $15/hour and people caring
for abused/neglected kids are getting 9.50/hour. nothing about that makes
sense. in my experience you generally get paid for: experience, knowledge,
responsibility, and risk; but that doesn't always seem to apply. i wonder
what a barista at starbuck's makes.
the yankees lineup is insane.
surprised that matsui and sheffield were both able to get back in time.
it's going to take a deep pitching staff to beat them. not just good starters
like the tigers have, but a team with a deep bullpen that can help the
starters late in the game. the yankees lineup makes the pitching staff
work like no other lineup - because they're deep and because they're picky
batters. guys like cano, jeter, giambi and (especially) abreu have high
per at-bat pitch counts which means the bullpen gets into the game quicker
and that's a weak point for a lot of teams. they're a lineup that beats
you with skill as much as attrition.
while i'm prognosticating...america
generally likes a split gov't - republicans in the executive and democrats
in the legislative. but history also favors the incumbents. so, in the
first place you have an indicator that favors dems making a big jump in
the upcoming election, but the second indicator is favorable for the republicans.
in general i'd think that the incumbent would win unless there is a scandal
(foley, burns, etc.) or the democratic challenger has raised quite a bit
more money. CT's districts 2 and 4 is somewhat interesting because there's
a republican incumbent who narrowly beat his competitor in 04. spending
is about equal, but CT is a democratic state. here, i would put my money
against the money and incumbency and bet on the democrat, but this is the
exception rather than the rule.
IL's district 6 is dead
even in cash raised. this is one of those that the democrats have to win
(since it's a blue state) in order to make a run for the majority. the
democrats picked a war hero who lost her legs in the war to go against
a guy who has been around for a while. if the dems can't win this one then
it's bad news. the santorum vs. casey race is also interesting. santorum
has raised about twice as much, but people think this one will be close.
this is one of those that i don't expect the dems to win because of the
10 million dollar gap in fund-raising, but if they do then it's more an
anti-bush referendum than anything else.
tennessee's senate race
is one that's polling close, but the republicans have raised a million
more. it's an open seat so there isn't any incumbency to consider. TN,
along with MO and KY, are the three states that have gone to the winner
of the presidency since 1964. in other words, those three states are as
good an indicator of the national mood as any. speaking of which...talent
(r) vs. mccaskill (d) in MO is another big race. talent has raised 19.6
million, mccaskill has raised 4.5 million. polling is slightly in favor
of talent, and that's where i'd put my money since he's raised so much
more and is the incumbent.
i don't see any "contract
with america" type national movement on the part of the dems this go
round so i don't think they'll win the majority. i think they'll gain a
couple seats, but it will be billed as an upset since so many thought they
were going to take back control of congress. thus, even in victory, they
will achieve a measure of defeat - it's the democratic way. further, i
fear even more for their success in 08. they seem to be running more against
bush, and incumbent support thereof, than for some plan of their
own. there's a little talk about what to do in iraq or on the homefront,
but overall there hasn't been much shaping of the debate by the lefties.
trying to connect foley and hastert is a good enough idea, but the republicans
will give it the lott treatment - cut off the cancer and move on. instead
of taking the untenable (but true) position that their is a fundamental
problem with the republican party, they need to make a case for the democrats
as the way of the future; not vis a vis the republicans, for in comparing
yourself to the republicans you give them power. the democrats must be
their own entity, separate from the republicans. let them self-destruct
and don't be so happy to bring it up when they do - it just makes you look
cuyahoga internship: "Preserving
33,000 acres of woodlands, meadows and ponds along the Cuyahoga River,
Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers outdoor education and recreation
opportunities within an urbanized region. Share these opportunities with
visitors as you educate others about winter recreation in the area.
Operate information desk
at the Winter Sports Center contact station, 45%; handle administrative
and other managerial duties, 35%; prepare and present winter recreation
programs (with emphasis on natural history) to the general public and different
age children, 10%; assist with staffing of a main visitor center, 5%; training
and project assistance, 5%." 11-13-06 to 3-5-07
homestead internship: "Are
you interested in learning all aspects of the National Park Service? Come
to Homestead National Monument of America in southeast Nebraska. Homestead
is a small NPS site that tells the large story of the Homestead Act of
1862. During your three months at Homestead you will be exposed natural
resource management, interpretation, and administrative duties. You will
leave with a well rounded view of the operation of the NPS that you would
not receive at a larger NPS site. Homestead National Monument of America
is located on the site of the very first 160 acre Homestead claim filed
in the USA. You will assist park staff with project work in the areas of
natural resource management, cultural resource management, interpretation,
and visitor services.
Assist in visitor reception
in the Visitor Center, operate audio-visual equipment, assist visitors
with questions concerning park resources and interpretive programs, maintain
stocks of free publications, special event planning, 50%; vegetation monitoring,
exotic and invasive plant control and monthly monitoring of water quality,
40%; clean and maintain historic furnishings in the Palmer-Epard Cabin
and Freeman School and assist park staff with cataloging and accessioning
museum objects, 10%." 2-5-07 to 4-28-07
dropped off meryl this
morning. she was only here for the weekend, but it was good to see her.
my first sca internship
opportunity was sent out today. it would be a three month internship at
Homestead National Monument of America in nebraska. not the greatest state,
but an important monument marking an important act. it's apparently a bit
on the smaller side and would allow me to learn more about the nps system
than if i were working at a larger park.
hurt my back friday so
i've been out of commission since.
got a free movie to attend
later tonight. it's the new sofia coppola effort, it'll likely be a pile
really happy about the
fact that all my reviews can now be accessed from the movies
listed page. worked on it for a few hours, but macros shaved days'
worth of work off of that task. also added the movies i watched at the
end of 1999.
ron livingston's job in
office space is to redo a bunch of bank software code for the y2k issue.
it occurred to me that something like this might normally date a film a
bit. in this case, though, it makes the film all the more meaningful. it's
such a useless, dated job that it amplifies the mundane futility of his
what the fuck is fucking
wrong with using fucking paper to fucking vote? why do we need fucking
diebold to fucking administer our fucking elections? it makes no fucking
sense to me.
the original rollerball
is on right now. jewison hit a homer with that one. the commentary, the
photography and that ending.... damn good.
the true measure of a president
is often seen after they're no longer in office. guys like carter and clinton
have done huge humanitarian things like global initiative and habitat for
humanity. meanwhile you've got ex-presidents like reagan or bush who have
done little to nothing. it's as if the presidential office hampers their
ability to do what they really want to do. the same thing goes for near
ex-presidents like al gore.
was watching a plastic
surgery show the other day and it was about a transgender person who was
going from being a man to a woman or vise versa, i don't remember. anyway,
they were getting breast work done (removed or implanted, again i don't
remember) and the show's censors blurred out the nipples when the person
had "female" breasts and didn't blur out the nipples when the breasts were
small. how freaking stupid. all of a sudden the same nipples were somehow
offensive one moment, but not the other.
the media keeps talking
about the democrats possibly taking back congress. i don't think it's going
to happen and i think the anticipation of it happening is going to be more
bad news for the democrats.
lionel richie kinda sucks.
i like conan o'brien and
all, but every show is the same. starts with the song, he does his running
in place thing, plays with the camera and then comments on the cheers.
then he says it's a great show and inserts one of the following: self-deprecating
joke, joke about the rest of the shows being crap, but this one actually
being good, or joke about him lying - it's not really a good show tonight.
then he does his monologue and goes to his desk. they do a skit which is
generally an extension of "natural" conversation about the show or something
in the business or a conversation with the band (usually max). commercial.
then they'll have a skit or a guest. when there's a guest you see his real
genius as a comedian. he's got a quick wit and it shows during the impromptu
portions of the interview. during the interview he'll always work in a
joke about being really white, having fluffy hair, being irish, being a
geek, or not being very good at his job. this is the formula so far as
i can tell for almost every single show. keep this in mind the next time
you watch it and tell me if i'm wrong.
heretofore is a cool word,
but you never hear people say "heretopost." rather they say "from now on."
heretopost i will try to use "heretopost" instead of "from now on." hopefully
it catches on.
just when you're beginning
to think that there isn't any follow through or competence in this world
your hopes are raised. i wrote this on 9-16-06 to a parks communication
officer at banff/jasper:
To Whom It May Concern:
I recently visited
Jasper and Banff National Parks and was struck by the beauty and size.
I've been to dozens of parks in Canada and the states and the vistas at
Jasper and Banff are among the best. That said, I was disappointed by a
few elements of the parks' relationship to its visitors.
Upon arrival to the
park from Calgary I found remarkably little information on the ecologic,
biologic, environmental and geologic issues affecting the park. It took
talking to several (difficult to find) rangers throughout the parks to
get an idea of how the park's mountains were formed, what the fire management
policies are, what wildlife issues the park was addressing, etc. It seemed
that the bulk of the visitor information services were geared less towards
education, information and preservation, and more towards recreation and
In sum, I loved the
parks and thought them to be great preserves of a rapidly vanishing landscape.
I urge you to increase ranger visibility and visitor education so that
more visitors will realize just how precious the parks are.
Thank you for your
time and consideration,
and today i received this:
I'm glad you enjoyed
our parks and I'm sorry you didn't run into more
education while you
were in the park. There IS quite a lot of stuff out
there, though it is
mostly "non-personal" as we have millions of visitors
and only a limited
number of "rangers". For example, a few years ago I
completed a set of
35 roadside panels all along the Bow Valley Parkway (the
scenic route from Banff
to Lake Louise, driven and biked by hundreds of
thousands of visitors
each year) that explain (for those who stop and read
them all!) exactly
the kinds of things you were looking for (e.g. how the
park's mountains were
formed, what the fire management policies are, what
wildlife issues the
park was addressing). There is also an entire exhibit
at the Lake Louise
Visitor Centre that interprets mountain formation
(mostly), with some
exhibits on mountain wildlife and the park's
There are also exhibits on wildlife research (past
and present) at the
Banff Park Museum in downtown Banff (run by Parks
Canada) and about the
creation of Canada's first national park at the Cave
and Basin National
Historic Site (also run by Parks Canada). Both Jasper
and Banff have self-guiding
trails and interpretation panels at popular
destinations like Sulphur
Mountain, Johnston Canyon, Lake Louise, Athabasca
Falls, Maligne Canyon,
and many more. All of these educational services and
facilities are described
in our The Mountain Guide, a Parks Canada
publication with maps
and descriptions of the 6 mountain national parks,
which you should have
received at the park gate, or wherever you purchased
your park pass. We
also have Park Interpreters roving every day at popular
throughout the parks, but with over 3 million visitors
a year we obviously
miss quite a few people (like you!).
It is also true that
we have the townsites of Banff and Jasper (run as
from Parks Canada -- this is certainly not the norm
within Canadian national
parks, something that happened a hundred years ago
that wouldn't happen
today) within these two national parks, so if you are
in those Townsites
it may appear that there is little education in
comparison to all the
other tourism infrastructure. Collectively, the
private sector has
many more staff than we do in Parks Canada. However,
there are many places
where you CAN find the information you were seeking!
I'm sorry you didn't
find it very easily, and appreciate you sending me
your perspective (we
have to make our stuff easier to find!). If you come
again, I hope you will
drop into one of our Information Centres and/or
check out our website
so we can help you find what you're after more
Banff National Park
the state of the world
is so depressing these days. generally i just turn off my brain when i
take in all the information i see, hear, read on a daily basis. every once
in a while, though, i'll think about it and it just depresses the hell
out of me.
went to the usc/nebraska
game yesterday with my dad. turned out to be quite an ordeal. game started
at 5pm and we got there about 3.5 hours early. pregame activities have
always been fairly lively, but it was out of control this time. there were
so many people there and all the parking spots ($20-40) were taken so we
ended up parking about two miles from the coliseum and just walking. we
played some catch, as is the custom, and then went to the campus. 92,000
were in attendance and we were in the student section so things were especially
crazy. we waited at the section entrance for over 45 minutes because a
couple people needed medical attention and the students (who don't have
assigned seats) were sitting in seats which were for ticket holders. quite
the experience. the game itself was good too. the defense is twice as good
as it was last year and the offense is about 65% of what it was last year.
looking for jobs is a depressing
process. i've been out of high school for almost ten years and i'm still
basically looking for entry level positions. i could go to more school
to enhance my poli sci degree - get teaching credentials or go to law school
- or i could go to school to become a carpenter, etc. but that requires
more money and time and, so far, school hasn't helped me get jobs so it
doesn't have much of a track record so far as i'm concerned. at age 16
kids should be allowed to enter whatever trade, profession, etc. that they
want. if they want to be lawyers they should start taking political science
and law-related courses. if they want to learn a trade then they should
get some hands on training in that field. i'm pretty dissatisfied with
my education at this point. it's helped me as a person and i learned a
good amount of stuff, but i've learned more (on a per day basis) from traveling
than i ever did in school. maybe i'm just bitter because i chose a useless
major. i guess what it comes down to is that i've made more money from
my experiences watching "this old house" than i have from the all college
courses i took. half the friends i know have jobs that have stemmed from
their interests, rather than their studies. i know that being a college
grad supposedly enhances your chances of getting entry level jobs, but
i'm not so sure that's how it really works.
looking forward to new
jackass and jet li pics.
niners won today so that's
good. didn't get to see the game though. the most encouraging thing is
that smith hasn't had an interception in the last two games.
pretty frustrated in general
lately. listing books on craigslist and soliciting sales is an exhausting
process. about 75% of the people "interested" through craigslist will send
one e-mail and then bow out. there's a real lack of follow through in general,
but especially through that venue. when trying to fix things around the
house there is invaribly some problem that arises as a result of a theorhetical
improvement. trying to clean out gutters, for example, reveals that there's
a broken downspout which leads to more work. trying to save some time on
patching holes by using "great stuff" turns out to be more of a pain than
one would expect. home depot doesn't have the quickly expanding kind so
i go with the slower kind which then spills all over the place and doesn't
do the job, thus creating more work. in general, i see people as flimsy,
capricious, ignorant and stupid.
eli manning's game winning
td was straight off the playground - turn head, lob as far as you can while
falling backwards, hope for the best.
my fantasy baseball team
has completely imploded this week.
finally finished applying
for a position with the sca. they provide
paid internships with various NPS run lands that range in time from 3-12
months. i saw about 200 positions available and i applied for about 15
ranging from alaska to tennessee. it would be nice to be able to do several
of them over the course of the next couple years and learn a shitload about
ecology, biology, geology, education, geography, etc. there's only one
in yellowstone and it's a winter internship, but i applied anyway. i have
no idea how many people apply for these positions so i have no idea what
my chances are.
cleaned out the gutters
on my grandma's house today. wish i had a house so i could do all these
things on my own place.
funny, the last two bulletpoints
are completely contradictory. i'd like to do a (barely) paid internship
for environmental causes, yet i'd like to have enough money to buy a house.
they're remaking vanishing
point now. when will it end?
was listening to the radio
and heard some idiot talking about the excessive coverage of the events
of 9/11. his main thesis was that we are all tired of it and it needs to
end. his theory on why we hear so much about it was that all the media
outlets are based in nyc and that 9/11 has become a nyc-centric memory.
i agree that it's gotten a little out of hand and that 9/11 is generally
portrayed in how it affected nyc, rather than d.c. or pa, but this is perfectly
understandable. i don't see the coverage as a conspiracy of any sort, rather
it's an extension of the fact that we only have footage from the two planes
at the wtc. furthermore, there is a symbolic element which said idiot clearly
didn't think about. a field in pa has no symbolic meaning and the pentagon,
which does have symbolic meaning, is back to normal. i think he was saying
all this to be outrageous more than anything else.
sports are the best example,
that i can think of, of a meritocracy in our society. people like latrell
sprewell, mike tyson, t.o., and ron artest are a testament to this fact.
if they were politicians they wouldn't be elected. in music, it's not about
your merits as a musician (which are admittedly subjective), rather it's
about your image. the same goes for people in film and tv. in many other
fields it's about bogus test scores, class, connections, or something other
than your ability. in sports, though, almost all things can be overlooked.
if you're in the ghetto it's not a problem - recruiters will come to you.
if you've got attitude problems or a criminal record, it's okay we'll work
with that too. of course there are limits. marcus vick is a very good athlete,
but not much of a qb or wide receiver, and he's a pain in the ass. still,
though, he's got a job on the second squad of the dolphins. even after
stepping on opposing players, getting in trouble with the law and getting
kicked off his college team, he still has a good chance of being in the
nfl. i'm not making a value judgment, i'm merely pointing it out. what's
more, is that many people don't seem to like sports because they
are meritocracies. they point out the seemingly unfair fact that those
guys who are a pain in the ass are able to still find teams, just because
they're good. what they're really pointing out is that it's unfair that
some people are better than others. of course it slices the other way as
well. teams will take into account what kind of locker room presence a
player has. jerry rice, at age 43, was still finding places to play because
he's a positive example. if he had a mike tyson attitude along with his
43 year old legs, he wouldn't have a job.
motown and soul is basically
just 50-60 year old pop, but the production so superlatively superior to
today's pop. just listen to the instrumentals on tracks like will you still
love me tomorrow, do i love you, locomotion, get ready, roadrunner, needle
in a haystack, heat wave, everything by brown and wonder, sliced tomatos
(sampled on rockafella skank), 1-2-3, mr big stuff, dancing in the street,
etc. and those don't even really get into the big hits like respect, gaye's
hits, the temptations' big hits, the supremes' big hits, etc.
afi has their 100 most
inspiring films on bravo right now. cool hand luke is only in the 70s,
as is dark passage. jeez. good watching nonetheless.
i have mixed feelings about
texas getting their ass kicked tonight. of course i'm happy to see them
get knocked down a peg, but i also harbored secret hopes that usc would
meet them again for the national championship. oh well.
day the earth stood still
is in the high 60s on the afi list. that was on amc the other day. great
shane is #53. brilliant
film, should be top 20.
there's some singles website
that advertises 6 free months of their service if you don't find love in
the first 6 months. i know that you can argue they're only trying to bring
people together and that's a nice service, but it's marketed fairly unscrupulously,
if you ask me.
shawshank redemption at
#23. definitely top 20 material.
on flew over the cuckoo's
nest #17. probably top five for me.
apollo 13 #12. way too
heard an interview with
one of the five fcc members trying to justify the various decisions they've
made recently. from the bono incident to the choice to allow saving private
ryan to be aired, unedited, on network tv. he admitted that they've tied
themselves into a legal knot because of their inconsistency. they allow
SPR to air because it's a realistic portrayal of real events and contributes
to society, but they don't allow the word "shit" to be uttered in a blues
documentary. there were several other examples that he gave, but it just
further proved to me how silly the whole institution is. apparently, legally
they're not allowed to outright ban words before the fact because that
would be a restriction of free speech, but they are allowed to fine networks
for indecency. the result is a self-policing that relies on inconsistent
rulings and unclear boundaries. as a result networks are increasingly reluctant
to test the boundaries. this would explain why, seemingly all of a sudden,
there seems to be an absence of utterances of "bitch" and "ass" on the
networks. not sure when all this changed, but i would imagine it was under
michael powell and around the time of the infamous 'wardrobe malfunction'.
breaking away #8. great
film, wouldn't place it in my top 10 though.
grapes of wrath #7. likely
top five for me.
it's a wonderful life #1.
overplayed for a reason.
a few they forgot graduate,
gabriel over the white house, rollerball, paths of glory, ikiru (not eligible
since it's not an american film, but i have to list it), magnolia, goodbye
mr. chips, beau geste, great escape...
alaska: land of over 3
10 ways to make yourself
popular at the office:
"10. Keep telling the
same person that they have bad breath even if they don't, and then punch
them in the mouth.
9. Announce in a meeting
that you have AIDS. After everyone gives you the sympathy remarks.. tell
everyone how you're just kidding.. and tell them that they are all a bunch
8. Before a meeting,
fill your mouth with custard- then during the meeting put one finger in
the air and make like you are hocking up a big loogie - then spit the custard
into a clear glass and hand it to the person next to you and say 'Beat
7. Inform a male coworker
that he 'wouldn't make a good hooker,' then piss in his coffee and tell
him he needs a good 'ass fucking.'
6. Always walk around
with a big smile and keep one hand down the front of your pants.
5. Answer every question
asked to you with 'fuck if I know!' then call the person a racial slur
that doesn't even match their race.
4. Brag about the fact
that you own a gun, and keep playing with your nuts. Get them really sweaty,
and then walk around shaking everyone's hand.
3. Run down the hall
with your dick out while urinating all over and yell, 'It won't stop! God
help me! It don't stop!' Then when it stops... look down and say... 'Oh!'
2. Ask to borrow someone's
pen- bring it to the bathroom - stick it in your butt - return it and tell
the person to smell it - when they tell you that it smells bad - be like,
'It should! I had it in my butt!'
1. Shit on the floor
in your office and when someone comes in and sees it, tell them it's the
fake plastic kind- when they try to pick it up, and realize that their
hand is full of shit, laugh and point."
that one's like an old
friend that i have to revisit every once in a while. it really doesn't
get old. hopefully i'll still laugh at that kind of base humor when (if)
i'm not too surprised by
notre dame's lackluster performance this weekend. i thought they were a
little overrated last year. they did have a great showing against usc,
but they had a couple close wins against ranked teams. top ten, but not
it's always funny to see
how people react after one week's worth of games. that said, it's sort
of justified - in no other major sport is one game so important. one loss
and you're likely out of the running for a national championship, that's
the only benefit of the bcs system. for cal (9) or miami (12) to make it
to the national championship they have to run the table and hope for losses
from a few teams at the top.
when i first heard about
steve irwin i laughed, but it's actually kinda sad. on the one hand he's
a fool because he was asking for it, on the other hand he helped educate
people about wildlife. that said, i don't particularly agree with his invasive
went to my mom's today
and did some house work. i should make buying a house a goal of mine. i've
always wanted one and i've always been interested in home repair, but i've
never been very interested in making money. probably need a job first.
tomorrow should be a key
day in determining how the next couple weeks will go.
the 2006 rose bowl and
seinfeld are similar in that if you're on the wrong side i can pretty much
guarantee you're not a friend of mine. if you dislike seinfeld or if you
rooted for texas then you're probably a bad person.
i've been very deprived
of music lately. on the trip i listened to a good amount, but lately i
haven't. to compound the problem i've been away from my system for a while.
can't wait till i fire it up again. there's nothing as good as loud music
on a good system.
murs references kamloops
canada in his (awesome) song "bad man." i've been there.
in light of their last
ten years, it's easy to lose sight of how good metallica actually were
at one time. oh well. i guess the same could be said about a lot of artists.
i have to wonder how much of michael jackson's former greatness can be
attributed to paul mccartney and quincy jones.
when i see katherine harris
i see pure evil. i also see someone who is trailing in the polls by about
35 points. bitch.
the mayor of salt lake
city just said that bush was a liar and called him a neocon. maybe there
is hope for the world.
the knock on dodgers fans
is that they come late and leave early. i didn't really find that to be
all that true at the game we attended last night. there were some stragglers
at the beginning of the game. and the dodgers were up by 5 in the last
inning so there was a bit of an exodus in the 8th, but i didn't find it
to be any more noticeable than many of the other places i've been.
the fans were really into
the game from the first pitch on. they're in first place in their division
so that may have an effect, but i think the dodger fans are pretty good
when rated against the most other major league teams. they're not as great
as the mets fans, but i'd rank them in the upper tier. the park itself
is pretty plain in many ways. it's a pretty straightforward big, concrete
design, but design-wise it's about baseball so i like that. there have
been some renovations over the years and they added screens that run around
the loge level. these screens are employed at many of the parks nowadays
because they're so versatile. my only knock on these is that they're often
used to sell motor oil and other products. even wrigley has one of these
under their scoreboard.
dodger games feature more
beachballs than any other park in the majors. in other parks the ushers
don't seem to really mind, but at dodger stadium there's a great dynamic
between the fans and the ushers; an us vs. them mentality that leads to
some great peripheral entertainment.
evil ushers are always
going after the beachballs:
on a day to day basis,
in real life interaction terms, i make myself less available than the average
person. i'm fairly reticent and you generally have to ask me a few questions
or get me interested in talking before i'll really open up and let you
know about myself. if people ask "how's it going" i'm likely to give a
one word answer, and this, i think, is indicative of my general reluctance
to be available. however, on this page i'm more available than pretty much
anyone i know. so, in the sum, it's relatively easy to know what's going
on in my life.
i'm a usc fan, but i don't
see why people are talking about them going to the national championship
game or being ranked in the top 3 at the beginning of the season. first
the good: their wide receivers (jarrett and smith) are good and coming
back. they had a good recruiting class. the bad: they lost two heisman
trophy winners. they lost a guy who had 26 touchdowns in one season. they
lost the most dynamic player in college football. they lost (literally)
90% of their offense in bush, white and leinert. they lost their best defensive
player (bing). they lost their best offensive lineman (justice). now, will
they be competitive? yes. will they be good? yes. will they go to a bowl
game? probably. will they go undefeated? probably not. their schedule is
pretty favorable (though the pac-10 is better these days), but i really
don't see them having a year like they have had over the last three years.
ohio state, notre dame, and miami should all be a step above usc this year.
if not then pete carroll is a genius.
i'm looking forward to
going to at least two or three of their games this year. as usual my dad's
mom got season tickets and i'll be around this year so i'll be able to
catch a few games.
bonds had his best game
in two years today. two homers and robbed francoeur of a homer. the giants
letterman has some guy
on demonstrating various household tips. one of them was how to open a
wine bottle without a corkscrew and letterman remarked that he felt like
ray milland. that's an old person's joke and i'd be willing to wager that
about only 5% of the people under 30 would get the reference. the only
reason i know it is because i like ray milland, billy wilder, and lost
weekend in particular. i also like rozsa and seitz who did the music
letterman also has zach
braff on the show and he's pitching his new film, the last kiss, and paul
shaeffer started playing the song 'last kiss.'
page should be just about fully functional and updated now. the various
galleries are sorted by year and theme. there's a slideshow option and
the thumbnails seem to load quickly, but aren't too small. i'm pretty happy
someone should write a
book called "they" about all the different ways "they" are referenced and
what social implications the use of the word has. i'm not talking about
two people discussing what a group of friends did yesterday e.g., "they
went to the movies and then had some dinner." rather i'm talking about
the way we all use it to describe the elite, the shapers, the intellectuals.
e.g., "i heard they cloned a chimp last week" or "they can slow light to
the speed of a walk" it says something about our society and i'm not sure
it's very good. i don't think tribal people employ "they" in the same manner
because there's a more communal element, the gap between the elite and
the "middle class" is probably much smaller. there probably isn't the same
degree of specialization as well.
saw a commercial the other
day for some car and it featured a man, a woman and two kids on vacation.
there are a few shots of them having fun and driving from place to place.
at the end the man gets out of the car, the woman stays in and the two
kids get out to say goodbye to him. they say "thanks for coming dad" and
give him a hug. while they're hugging he looks at the woman in the car
and says "thanks for inviting me." she smiles and says "sure." then the
commercial says something about the car company making bold moves and then
it ends. it's an amazing commercial on a couple different levels. nothing
is explicit, but we know that this is a divorce situation or, less likely,
the children are bastards (in the literal sense). it's also an amazing
commercial because it's not very frequent that you see a commercial that
is selling a product like this, from a major company, that will depict
the family unit in this way.
meryl left for the bay
area today. that's sad. we've been within 3 feet of each other for 99%
of the time for the last few months so it's odd.
started up the book business
today. sold one book for about $180 so that was a good way to kick off
the second push. bulk lots on ebay routinely sell for about a dime a book,
it's crazy. why don't people value books? if i had some way of bringing
the entire catalog of books to a flea market we'd probably have good luck,
but that's not practicable.
outside guadalupe mountains
national park we stayed at a motel, saw a walking stick:
car was pretty well
prickly pear cactus:
images from guadalupe
mountains national park:
back in la now.
from austin we drove to
big bend np and couldn't find a cheap place to sleep (the van was full
of stuff from the texas-california move) so we drove towards guadalupe
mountains np. the next day we went to guadalupe mountains np. it gets only
200k visitors a year. it's part of the chihuahuan desert which houses more
species of bird than the everglades and more species of mammal than yellowstone.
see, deserts are freaking great. the previous night we saw quite a good
number of wildlife - peccary, foxes, owl, kangaroo rats, cows, horses,
etc. west texas may not have much in terms of people, but the wildlife
is more impressive than you might think. the next day, on the way to the
guadalupe mountains, we even saw a group of bighorn sheep. after a shortish
visit at the park which included a talk with a ranger, a video and a hike,
we left for la.
we went via el paso, tucson
and phoenix, on I-10. it's a boring route, but it got us here quickly.
by 5:30am we were at my grandma's house. el paso is a shithole. i've been
in and through the city a few times now and have never been even mildly
impressed by the place. it's smoggy, dirty, ugly, rundown, in texas, and
just plain depressing. it also has an unusual number of abandoned and broken
down cars on the side of the highway.
updated trip page a bit.
i'll keep you updated on
the changes to the trip page as they happen.
the yankee/red sox series
is just silly right now. it's helping my fantasy team enormously. i have
damon and posada, but i also have beckett. luckily i did the right thing
and benched his ass before he gave up 9 runs today. the yankee lineup is
amazing: damon, jeter, rodriguez, giambi, abreu, cano, posada and sheffield
and matsui coming soon enough. if their pitching was decent they'd be unstoppable.
i think david ortiz is too highly rated. you hear about him as al mvp,
but not ramirez. their stats are similar yet manny plays baseball (ortiz
just bats, fuck the dh) and has fewer guys to bat in since ortiz bats so
many of them in for him. ortiz also has ramirez backing him up, while ramirez
has kapler or youkilis or someone else of a lesser quality. ramirez also
has a better obp and the same slg. sure he's not known to be clutch, but
he's a better everday player. all that said, i don't really care about
either of those players...i'm just saying.
the sacramento monarchs
are really fucking good. pinochiero and griffith are as close as they have
to stars, but neither really are. they're just a really good team, that's
why they won the championship last year.
trip can be found here,
notice the link on the left as well.
I-10 in LA is in pretty
bad shape. it's a federal highway, but outside of LA the highway is in
fine shape, why? is it state responsibility to maintain the highway, was
it poor LA workmanship, is there an unusual amount of traffic along this
route because of the MS river and the N.O. port? please fill me in.
first sign of hurricane
damage was around the LA state line - several businesses had damaged signs.
we stopped in baton rouge
for a few hours. mostly did the driving tour thing. went to the campus
which was nice enough. there were some rundown parts around the LSU campus,
but overall the city was decent and easily the best part of louisiana to
my limited knowledge. lsu apparently boasts the best baseball attendance
in the country and athletics are clearly a big deal there. that goes for
the rest of the south as well.
a bad picture of an
awesome building. the old capitol building in baton rouge:
we arrived in new orleans
at night with the intentions of finding a suitable parking lot or campground
to spend the night. the campground that the gps system had listed was either
no longer in business or tucked away between industry and a railroad; either
way the area was in very bad shape and it didn't look safe. there was debris
all over the place, usually in piles. signs were half fallen, buildings
were abandoned, and cars were abandoned and in various stages of decay.
basically, much of the outside part of the city looked as close to a war
zone as i've ever seen.
it was late and we were
getting tired so we decided to find a public parking lot so we could park
and sleep. we drove towards downtown and eventually found a sporting goods
store with a sizable parking lot. i quickly pulled into the first parking
lot entryway that i saw and, as soon as i made the turn, i realized i was
entering the lot from an exit road. less than a second after that i noticed
a cop car following behind me. he proceeded to turn on his lights and i
parked in the parking lot. he told me to come to the rear of the vehicle,
but i didn't have my shoes on (it was hot and i don't like driving long
distances with my shoes on) so i bent down to pick them up and put them
on outside (so he wouldn't think i was reaching for a weapon). i gave him
my info and told him that i was looking for a place to rest and was so
excited by the sight of a large parking lot that i didn't have time to
notice what path i was taking. to be fair, neither meryl nor i noticed
any "one-way" or "wrong-way" signage. at any rate, he was nice and said
he just wanted to make sure i wasn't drunk.
sleeping in the parking
lot proved nearly impossible - it was very hot, even with the windows open,
and mosquitos were in full force. i wonder what the hurricane did for the
mosquito population of new orleans. after giving rest a try for about 1.5
hours we looked for the only hostel we found listed in our guide book.
we found the place, but it was closed. as we sat in the car looking for
nearby hotels/campgrounds meryl saw a couple guys walking towards the car
in a suspicious manner so she started the car and we got the hell out of
there. we went downtown to probe for hotel prices, but that proved to be
far too expensive so we decided that new orleans sucks and left. i've been
to new orleans pre and post-katrina and haven't been impressed either time.
it was rundown, dingy and unimpressive. the cop was the best part of the
city. speaking of cops, there seemed to be a good deal of cops on the streets
of new orleans, but i felt less safe there than in almost any other city
i've ever been in.
i feel bad for the city
since it's been through a lot and the community has an uphill battle for
the next few years. at the same time, other than its musical contributions,
i think new orleans is a shitty little city.
outside of new orleans
we looked for some reasonable lodging and came up empty. places were either
closed down or too expensive. while filling up the gas tank we saw a couple
junkies come out from behind a trashcan to wait for the bathroom to be
free. we ended up sleeping in the car outside of slidell, la. it was cooler,
there weren't any mosquitos and it was a hell of a lot safer.
today, while in alabama
we saw a sign for a local sheriff's race, the candidate it was for was
named Hoss Mack; that's perfect.
we drove through mobile
and montgomery today as well. while in montgomery we stopped at Chris'
hot dogs, which has been in business since 1917. the prices were good and
the food was too. it was a real down home cooking style experience. worth
checking out if you happen to be in the area.
we also saw the confederate
white house that jefferson davis occupied for a brief time. nice enough
from the outside, but it doesn't come close to some of the nicer southern
homes or new england homes. the wainscotting was fairly commonplace, the
floors looked like plainsawn (not quartersawn) oak, the plaster was in
disrepair and it wasn't as big as i would have imagined. in many ways i
supposed it embodied the entire confederate experiment - i'll let you decide
in what ways that applies.
confederate white house:
after checking out the
capitol building and the small downtown area we left for atlanta. right
now we're 11 miles from the GA border.
is driving now, we split up the driving today pretty well, so we each got
a good amount of passenger and driving time. When I drove to Houston last
weekend it made my knee hurt a lot. I seem to not be having that problem
so far on the trip, so that's good news to start off with.
got to Baton Rouge around 5:30 or so this evening. I saw the LSU campus
from the freeway, so of course in honor of Sarah (at work) we drove onto
the campus so I could look around at her alma mater. I figured the most
important thing to visit would be the football statdium, which was VERY
big, and old. It looks as if a lot of the original architecture is still
intact, but they were doing some repairs. All in all, LSU looked like a
pretty cool campus, good choice Sarah. We decided it was time for dinner,
and I attempted to navigate us to one of the Lonely Planet's recommended
restaurants. This of course is where my dad was right when he guessed that
I wouldn't be able to use the navigation system he got us properly. In
my first attempt at using it I got us lost. In true Meryl fashion, I got
completely pissed off and had Chris take over as naviator. We finally got
to Phil's Oyster Grill. It was pretty tasty. After dinner we roamed around
the shore of the Mississippi River. The Old State Capitol building was
down there. It was really cool, and at the same time pretty strange looking
for a capitol building - we figured it was because of the French architectural
influence, because it was very gothic looking.
to our navigation system - which I have now figured out - we are about
40 miles outside of New Orleans. The first day of our trip has been pretty
fun, even though mostly filled with driving. I've been counting down our
trip for months now, so it's very exciting to actually be on it.
on I-10E heading to new
orleans right now. we're about 20 miles from the LA border. meryl's dad
got a gps program for us and i've been messing with that for a while, pretty
fun. it has all sorts of info - local gas stations, points of interest,
theaters, restaurants, campgrounds, etc. of course it also does realtime
directions and the like.
rained very hard outside
lonely planet's guide to
the USA (i bought the 2006 edition because i forgot my other one in davis)
is fucking great. it gives a great, balanced look at the US. it has good
info on culture, media, sports, religion, history, etc. for the traveler.
it also does a good job of highlighting the unique elements of particular
regions and it doesn't pull its punches. they don't mind pointing out the
weaknesses of new orleans alongside raves about its musical impact, for
example. it also made me think about the fact that most of our culture
denies, at least outwardly, some of the unsavoury elements of our history,
but museums around the country generally do a great job of incorporating
the effects of slavery or europeans' impact on native civilizations. i
feel most patriotic when i'm travelling and seeing the potential and diversity
of the nation.
trip has officially started,
we're on the road.
bungey cord system
which currently holds clothes and sleeping pads on the roof. bungey cords
trip starts tomorrow. from
now on whenever meryl writes something it'll be in red and when i write
something it'll be in white.
this is meryl.
i'm going to keep all the
trip updates on this main page until the end of the trip, at which point
i'll move them to the BB Trip page on the sidebar.
some minute maid park pics:
cool buidling in downtown
our cat which has a
new owner. :(
so far we've gotten two
sets of free tickets - mets and reds (both in the national league) and
been rejected four times - nationals, blue jays, tigers and white sox (three
of which are in the american league).
The Cincinnati Reds
Community Relations department has recieved your ticket donation request.
It is with pleasure to inform you that the Reds will donate two view level
tickets for the 6/28 game to help with the finances of your trip.
i love how the debate on
privacy and freedom of information is being framed these days. a scandal
like the phone tapping thing is often premised by talking heads in the
following manner: "first, i'd like to say that any time we talk about this
we are undermining the efforts of the department of homeland security,
we are, in essence, making weakening our own security interests." or, regarding
the capitol building scare today: "the idea that we have to have a debate
about confidential material undermines the very idea of rule of law." i
heard some people espousing the belief that merely showing the pictures
of police response to this recent event weakens our overall security. sure,
it could easily be argued that this incident could have been used to see
what the response of law enforcement is, but that shouldn't mean that news
programs should refrain from showing things as they're happening. i'm very
disturbed by this increasing move to limit the amount of un-edited, un-screened
material we get to see.
monday will be my last
day of work. i've been packing and getting ready for the trip lately. there's
a lot to be done and the little things always take the longest.
haven't been updating webpage
or watching movies very much lately. will update page plenty when i'm on
i look at the phoenix suns
and see a fun team to watch with a great team dynamic so i like them for
that, but they're just not built for the playoffs. i know i'm saying this
after they won their first two series, but i just don't think a team can
win four seven game series while playing their run and gun style of basketball.
unlv was famous for their run and gun offense and you can do that successfully
in college in a one and out style tournament, but when you have to beat
a team four times i don't think the phoenix style is the way to go. they
don't make the same adjustments that great playoff teams make because they
play one style of game. they have no interior because stoudamire is injured
and because their style necessitates a big man who can run. very few big
men can dominate inside and on the glass, but still run with the suns.
again, their style weakens key aspects of a championship team. they've
gotten as far as most have expected, but i think that dallas will beat
them (though san antonio would have had an even better shot). even if phoenix
does make it to the finals they won't beat miami or detroit because both
teams have superior inside games, actually play defense, and know how to
ran errands all day yesterday.
yesterday we went to meryl's
dad's place. i worked on the car (coolant flush and trans fluid drain/refill)
with her dad and she took our cat to petco to see if we could find a potential
home. still not sure what's going to happen there.
last night the pistons
finally played the way they should have been playing the entire series.
the first two games were blow outs, but the pistons got by on great offense
more than great defense. last night they shut down the cavs and lebron.
he had only 5 points in the second half and only 2 assists all game. the
pistons rotated well, hustled, and protected the ball. in the end they
won by 18 and allowed only 61 points. to me the best indicator of how well
they're playing against the cavs is looking at tayshaun prince. when he
is scoring and making plays then he negates lebron and the pistons are
going to win. it would be interesting to see his production totals in the
wins vs. the losses in this series.
went to houston on saturday
to watch our first game of the trip. when we first arrived in houston (4th
largest city in the us) we were caught in traffic on the outskirts. traffic
that reminded me of the worst of la and dallas. it turned out that it was
more a result of bad road maintenance and construction plans than anything
else. eventually they'll be done and, presumably, the traffic will be much
better. but, for a saturday at noon, it was the worst traffic i had ever
been in. strike one. we drove into downtown and i was immediately struck
by the architecture and cleanliness of downtown. we drove around a bit
and admired the nice layout of downtown, but noted the lack of commerce;
downtown was remarkably empty. there are plenty of office buildings and
i'm told there's a condo building downtown as well, but there isn't much
in the way of shopping or entertainment. oddly, i didn't see any theaters
(live action or film) in the theater district. basically if you're not
going to work or going to a baseball game it didn't seem like you'd go
after we explored the downtown
area we drove around the adjacent areas. first we went to south houston
which has some nice apartment buildings, then to east houston which is
more run down (just like east austin) and industrial, then to west houston
which has some nice areas (including a huge, nice park) and some not so
nice areas. overall, it's a fairly spread out city, but it didn't seem
to have much commerce and it didn't look like the fourth largest city in
the country to me.
after looking around houston
we settled back into downtown where minute maid park is. what a baseball
park. it's designed by HOK, the same architectural firm that designed pacbell.
they look pretty similar with their lines in outfield and this one has
a train on the left field wall, just like pacbell has a trolley. it's famous
for its retractable roof (which we didn't see in action). according to
my baseball book it has a capacity of 40,950 (and it sells out 10% of the
time), but there must have been some upgrades or something because it wasn't
sold out and the attendance was 41,480. the astros fans get really into
the game. even with the 'stros down 6-0 in the late innings the crowd was
trying to pump up the team. during the 7th innning stretch they sang "take
me out to the ballgame" and "deep in the heart of texas," it was hilarious.
we were in the upper deck in left field and had trouble seeing all of left
field. otherwise the sightlines seemed pretty solid. around the park they
have cool info about baseballs, bats, pitches, the astros, etc. they're
also the first (maybe only) stadium to have a closed captioned screen;
it's in right field. the field is squarish - 436 to center field and only
326 to right. i wonder what the biggest gap between center and right/left
field is. during the national anthem they had the lyrics on the big screen
and the last line read: "O'er the land of the free and the home of the
brave?" i thought it odd to have a question mark at the end since it's
supposed to be a statement and we're in texas so i doubt it was some subtle
commentary. more likely a faux pax on someone's part. as nice as the park
was the field wasn't in great shape. the grass was pretty well worn in
the out field and deep infield. one last note, i think it's the first sports
stadium in which i've ever seen a church advertising. the astros lost 6-0,
pettite got pounded and that's not good for my fantasy baseball team.
we got another rejection
letter, this one from the tigers, saying they couldn't give us tickets.
it was signed and mentioned the trip so it was peronalized, so that's nice.
yahoo sports called lendale
white the steal of the draft. personally i thought the guy was a top 15
pick, but he ended up going in the second round.
i don't like tony parker.
it's hard to know who to
root for in the spurs/mavericks series, but i've settled on the mavericks.
i like avery johnson and i dislike the dallas players less than the san
antonio players. i'd say it's safe to say that most people in austin tend
towards the spurs - san antonio is closer and the spurs are a more popular
team because of their success since 1999. i have to say that it seems a
bit inconsistent that reggie evans didn't get suspended for his ball grab,
but terry got suspended for his ball punch.
even though the pistons
won today and will likely win at home on sunday, i'd like to point out
that i was in the minority when i pointed out some of my concerns about
the pistons, their new found style of play and decreased intensity on the
defensive end. here's what i wrote before:
i'm a bit worried about
the pistons' defense lately. the way they're playing right now seems to
be a step down from where they were playing last year at this time. that
said, the east is weak so they should still get to the eastern conference
finals, and probably even the finals...they're good enough to not have
to play their best.
cut and pasted response,
this one from an intern for the nationals:
Hell Ms. Phillips and
I am writing regarding
your complimentary ticket request. Unfortunately, we do not donate tickets
to independents. One of our donation requirements is that the group is
a 501c3 non-profit. I do still encourage you to come to the game, though!
You can get tickets for as cheap as $7/each if you check our website, www.nationals.com
. Plus an N.L. East Rival coming into town is exciting!
I do wish we could
help you out, but your trip sounds amazing. Have a fabulous time!
poorly written and a disappointing
outcome. fuck the expos, er nationals.
saw three more cases of
stupidity on the road in the last two days. first one was on a two-lane,
two-way road and it involved a truck which was towing a trailer. in the
trailer were two wheelbarrows. as the truck was driving by me on the street
i saw one of the wheelbarrows, which was apparently unsecured, fall off
the trailer and tumble in the middle of the street. the truck stopped,
a passenger got out and pulled the wheelbarrow off to the side of the road
while the truck turned into a nearby driveway. luckily there wasn't a car
right behind the truck when this happened. the second was on a large street
with a large tree on the sidewalk which hung about 12 feet over the right
most lane of the street. hanging in the tree, and i swear i'm not making
this up, was a twin size mattress. yes, a mattress hanging in a tree. only
in texas. the third one i saw today and it's become fairly commonplace
so it's hardly worth mentioning...i was driving down two way street which
is divided by a median and a woman turned left out of a driveway onto my
side of the street heading right at me. i think going the wrong way down
a street is less taboo here.
saw one.be.lo perform on
saturday. he only did a half hour set, but it was good. rjd2 and blueprint
(together they're sould position) were also there and they put on a decent
show. the crowd was on the small side considering it was rjd2, but i guess
he really isn't THAT well known yet. one.be.lo sold his own merchandise
so we got to talk with him a bit and meryl got a poster signed by him.
he seemed pretty down to earth overall.
i have a good amount of
work to do today so that's nice.
saw a bumper sticker that
read: "The Last Time Someone Listened to a Bush folks wandered the desert
for 40 years"
our cat is very cute. she
likes looking outside, she takes medicine well and she is very affectionate.
got a new boss at work.
she has her stuff together a lot more than the last girl so that's good.
ultimately it doesn't really matter though because i'm leaving in two weeks.
thanks mostly to the sxsw
film festival i'm only one film short of matching my personal record for
films seen in a theater in a single year. barring death or massive debilitation,
i'll be breaking that record shortly.
a while back i commented
that, because of the world situation, it would be a good time to invest
in gold. i see gold as a good long-term investment and the price increases
as things in the world appear less stable. that said, the recent increase
(20% in the last month) in gold prices is a bit worrisome. perhaps it's
tied to the issues in iran or maybe there's something larger going on.
either way it doesn't give me much confidence in the world market. normally
i don't pay attention to these things, and normally the media doesn't report
on them, but i think a 20% increase in 30 days is worth mentioning and
the mainstream media, so far as i know, has yet to make note of it. consider
the 6 month low and high: $466.75 and $725.00. btw, i checked the gold
prices relative to other currencies (indian rupee, euro, yen) and the change
is basically the same so it's not merely a drop in the dollar.
for further consideration...the
top image (from wikipedia.org) is of oil prices during the oil crisis of
the late 70s. the bottom image (from goldprice.org) is a chart of gold
prices over the last 30 years. it's interesting to see the parallels between
oil/gold then and now.
On the Pleasure of Hating
Kobe Bryant And the sadness of watching him exit the playoffs.
By Sam Anderson
Posted Monday, May
8, 2006, at 6:28 PM ET
When the Phoenix Suns
embarrassed Kobe Bryant's Lakers this weekend in what should have been
a classic Game 7, it marked the beginning of a kind of spiritual vacation
for me. I detest Kobe with such bilious overpowering fervor that, when
he's playing well, I have trouble doing much else with my life: an incapacitating
dark sludge floods my soul. Over the last few weeks—as Kobe threw dirty
elbows, made smug post-game comments, and beat the lovable Suns on a couple
of irritatingly great last-second shots—my Kobe-hatred swelled to alarmingly
high levels. With the Suns' victory, however, I felt the black tide begin
to recede. Its absence still feels strange.
I don't hate Kobe for
petty reasons: for his talent, for instance, which is beyond dispute and
often gorgeous to watch, or because he sold out Shaq, or because he's an
adulterer, or because his face looks like a weasel. I can forgive all of
that. I don't even hate him because the referees surround him with a sacred
halo of gentle touching (he was once so coddled in a playoff game that
Ralph Nader had to start agitpropping about it), or because he's skewed
the self-perceptions of pickup ball-hogs across the nation, or even because
he makes close to my yearly salary every time he scores a basket. This
is all irritating but peripheral. The true source of my rage is much, much
deeper: I hate Kobe Bryant's rotten and derivative soul.
Since Michael Jordan's
final title in 1998, NBA superstars have suffered mightily from what Harold
Bloom termed "anxiety of influence." The Jordan myth—a morality play about
how dedication, respect for the game, and loving your parents makes you
the undisputed greatest person in the world—has stifled an entire generation
of great players. But, as Jordan's most talented immediate successor, Kobe
has been uniquely warped. He's plagiarized MJ's game so expertly that,
in many ways, he's ahead of the master's curve—Kobe is stronger than the
27-year-old Jordan and has a deadlier outside shot. But for all his miraculous
skills, Kobe is painfully bad at mythmaking. Since he's a Jordan-like talent,
Kobe clearly thinks that he's entitled to the Jordan mythology, but he
doesn't have any of Jordan's charisma or imagination. As melodramatic and
managed as Jordan's career was, there was some authentic core—it was original
and seemed to mean something. Kobe exists entirely within quotation marks.
Jordan was a master
of pantomime. He built his empire largely on iconic celebratory gestures:
the tongue-wag, the splay-legged fist pump, the impish "Even I marvel at
my own divinity" shrug. Kobe's dramatic gestures are all either borrowed
or embarrassing. After his game-winner over the Suns in Game 4, Kobe held
his fist frozen in front of him exactly like MJ used to. But when he got
clotheslined by Raja Bell in the next game, there was no script to work
from: You could almost see him trying to remember if Come Fly With Me had
any footage of Jordan getting horse-collared by Joe Dumars. Kobe finally
improvised with a sassy hand-gesture shuffle. He wiped a pile of imaginary
dirt off of his shoulder for a while, then added a schoolmarm finger waggle
while making the least convincing tough-guy face I've ever seen. It was
like a high-school production of West Side Story.
The Phoenix crowd's
Game 7 chant of "Kobe sucks" brought on another round of awkward posturing.
Kobe cupped his hand to his ear, Hulk Hogan-style, and held it long enough
for TNT's cameras to swivel and zoom; then he nodded sarcastically with
his lips pursed for a good 10 seconds. It was supposed to look cocky and
defiant but came off as empty petulant theater. When play resumed he launched
into an incredible burst of scoring that made me wonder if the greatest
talent in the basketball universe is merely an expression of insecurity.
The circumstances surrounding
the Phoenix series made Kobe's image-manipulation comically transparent.
When word leaked out that Steve Nash had won the MVP again, essentially
for being the anti-Kobe, Bryant suddenly transformed his game into a mediocre
Nash impression, passing up good shots to get his teammates slightly worse
ones. Though the media congratulated him for his selflessness, his real
agenda—to prove that he was the snubbed MVP who can do it all—was painfully
obvious. Kobe is the only player in the league whose game is most showy
when he scores fewer than 30 points.
In the carefully scripted
after-school special of Kobe Bryant's career, this playoff series was the
part where he "selflessly" "matured" into a "leader." During TV timeouts,
he seized his teammates by their faces and shouted intense Jordan-esque
lectures directly into their ears, carefully exaggerating his gestures
so people in the cheap seats could admire his leadership. In the second
half of Game 7, with the Lakers needing a miracle only Kobe could provide,
he refused to shoot. Instead, he made a big show of deferring to the role
players. To the untrained, this looked like pouting, but you could see
him mentally adding another line to his resume: He had taught his teammates
not to rely on their superstar in a dire situation.
At some point over
the weekend, after Kobe had swished another fadeaway 20-foot turnaround
with a defender sitting on his shoulders, my wife wondered aloud whether
my hatred might be doing permanent damage to my heart. But I know it's
not. Hating an athlete isn't like hating an actual person. It's like hating
a character in a novel. My hatred is exceptionally pure and completely
contained within the parameters of the game. When Kobe went to the bench
with five minutes left and the Suns' lead hovering around 30, I felt an
unfamiliar emotion: a twinge of sadness followed by pity. I could feel
my Kobe-hatred slipping away, and it made me sad. I will miss it. Everyone
left in the playoffs is disturbingly likable. I have nothing to look forward
to until next year.
austin is stupid. actually,
austin is two cities - there's the one square mile around downtown, which
is cool - and there's everything else, which sucks. i was driving on the
freeway the other day and some truck didn't tie down some metal ducting
it was transporting well enough so it spilled out onto the road. there
are constantly accidents on the 35 freeway, there's always garbage and
abadoned vehicles on the side of the road...the other day we were coming
back home and about six kids were on the side of the freeway. three ran
across the freeway and the other three were waiting to follow. this was
during rush hour. two nights ago, i was coming back from a late night movie
and driving down one of the bigger downtown streets when i saw a beer bottle
just rolling down the street. a couple days a go i was driving to pick
up meryl on a street that is perpendicular to a main frontage road. the
street i was on was a two way street with four lanes divided equally by
a sizable median. as i was approaching the frontage road i see a truck
coming my way. some guy in a pizza hut truck missed the turn before the
median so he was driving the wrong way down the street. there's constantly
traffic and i think it's made worse by the piss poor roadway design. things
aren't well marked, there are often illogical or inefficient lane changes
and mergings/exits on the highways. it's a jungle out here. seeing a truck
exit a freeway by hopping the curb and driving over a median isn't at all
uncommon. what's more is that people out here don't wear their seatbelts.
i saw a stat that indicated about 80% of the accidents that occur in travis
county involved people who aren't wearing seatbelts. my own observations
have confirmed this.
so, as expected, adelman
was let go by the kings earlier this week. i feel bad for the guy since
he's gotten a lot of bad breaks, but the coach is ultimately responsible
for the success of the team and he just hasn't been able to produce results
equal to the expectations. artest's offer to play for free obviously didn't
sway the maloofs. i don't know who they're going to get. i've heard don
nelson's name thrown around the most, but i think that would be a foolish
choice. he's creative, but he hasn't proven the ability to coach the big
games and he preaches defense even less than adelman. here's a quote which
sums up the reason behind adelman's departure: "the Maloofs were publicly
upset after Game 2, when the Kings blew a critical road game against the
Spurs thanks to defensive lapses. Then, late in Game 5 in San Antonio,
Brad Miller was on the floor rather than Kings teammates who might have
provided better defense against the Spurs' Tim Duncan." if you'll recall,
i, too, was upset after those two games for those precise reasons. in game
two it was bibby's fault and in game five it was adelman's.
we got a cat the other
day. she's with us for a couple weeks because she's a foster cat waiting
for a home. she's cute and acts like a dog. she follows you around, will
come when you snap your fingers and is very affectionate. her name is "buzz,"
but that's a dumb name for a female cat.
i wonder what state consumes
the most meat per capita. to be fair i'll go ahead and include fish even
though most people don't consider it meat for some reason. colorado and
texas would be my guess. lemme know if you have some numbers on this.
i hope the clippers win
their series. the suns are good, but beatable and the clippers are better
than many think. it would be nice if they got to the final four because
then i'd be able to say that i saw two teams (live) that reached the final
four (ucla and the clippers). the clippers have sam cassell who constantly
elevates his team and kamen and brand are both too strong in the middle
for the suns' weak interior defense.
artest has offered to play
free for the kings if they resign bonzi wells and rick adelman (the coach).
this from a guy who, last year, was the nba's most infamous player. this
is the kind of thing that makes me like him so much and it's why i chose
him for my fantasy olympic team. whatever anger problems he has you can't
ever question his commitment to winning. a pessimist could call it a PR
move, but it would be a pretty expensive PR move from a guy who i don't
think cares too much about image. plus, if he's putting his money where
his mouth is i don't really see it as a mere gesture. additionally, this
is probably the last guy in the nba who has a bunch of endorsement deals
because of his history. so i don't see him making a shitload of money outside
of basketball. i love this guy. now the kings need a good backup point
guard and a new center.
here's an idea...according
to the cia, iran (4th in the world) produces approx. 4 million barrels
of oil a day. if, by merely rattling their sabre over nuclear energy, they
are able to raise the price of oil by $10/barrel then they stand to make
approx. that's an increased profit of $40 million a day. in december of
2005 the price per barrel was $52 now it's about $72 so that's $20 in five
months and probably half of that is because of "uncertainty" in iran. i
know about the custom blends (virginia added a new one, for example), the
summer blend, katrina, refinement issues, nigeria (9th in the world), venezuela
(8th in the world), etc. i don't think it was a purely economic decision,
but i think that this was an issue, yet i don't really hear it being talked
about in these terms. rather, the media focuses on the political/ideological
elements of the issue.
meryl wrote to a bunch
of baseball teams explaining the trip and asking for tickets. amazingly,
it has yielded one set of mets tickets: "Meryl,
We received your letter
and I am writing to inform you that we will leave 2 tickets at the Will
Call window for you on June 19th.
The Will Call Window
is located between Gates C & D to the left of the Mets Offices Entrance.
Good Luck with your
trip...It sounds like a lot of fun.
New York Mets
Media Relations Coordinator"
i'm very surprised. i might
have to become a mets fan.
moved all my trips to one
"trips" directory. if you notice any broken links as a result then lemme
know asap. also added a baseball trip page which is in its nascent stage.
reminiscing about the hitchhiking
trip. that was epic. what a great time.
the thing about david blaine's
b.s. stunts is that, while they may be difficult, they're uninteresting.
no one really cares about the kind of stuff he does because it takes too
long and it's not relatable. people don't sit around thinking "i wish i
could sit in a box over a river in london for 44 days without eating."
sure, we realize it's tough, but i don't think most people really give
a shit. it's more remarkable seeing buff
jesus freaks tearing up phone books and breaking shit with their heads.
that crap is relatable and immediate; it's also hilarious. whereas blaine
is maudlin, boring and unrelatable.
criterion is coming out
with "harlan county usa" on dvd this month. i recommend this documentary
trip is in three weeks
or so. looking forward to that.
lately life has been pretty
slow and unspecial. i'm looking forward to the trip and i'm making plenty
of money with the census, but i don't have friends here and my job is so
simple that it doesn't really occupy my time. i've been looking for additional
temporary work, but haven't been too successful. i wish i had a house and
some land and could just work on home improvement all day. about a month
ago i was tossing around the idea of becoming a professional house flipper,
but it just doesn't make all that much sense. i don't have enough capital,
the profit margin isn't that great for the homes i'd be able to afford
and it would make more sense to rent the homes out than it would to sell
them. other than those issues, though, it would be a dream job.
had a pretty good sized
storm last night. high winds, lots of rain, lots of lightning, but very
little thunder. a few branches fell and the power went out a couple times.
there's an electric gate at our apartment complex and i don't think there's
backup power to open it. so, if the power's out, you wouldn't be able to
leave with your car. further, if there was a fire that was located near
the office the only way you could leave is by climbing over a brick wall
or if you had a car. this complex doesn't really have their shit together
leaving for the trip in
a few weeks. if you have any suggestions about places i should visit in
the u.s. or canada lemme know now, not three months from now when the trip
is over. we're going to the everglades so i'll finally visit that before
looking forward to the
kings game tomorrow. the nba playoffs have been better than the first games
seemed to foreshadow.
i have $50 riding on the
lakers winning game seven. actually, i bet my dad that they'd do better
in the playoffs than the clippers and that means they have to win this
series and then beat the clippers in the second round. i'll never bet for
a team i hate again. the logic was that i'd win either way. if they won
then i'd benefit monetarily, if they lost then i'd be happy inside.
finally got paid for the
pretty depressed about
the kings game. wasn't able to watch it at home because it was only on
nba tv. went to a sports bar which was about 85-90% spurs fans. here's
why the kings lost: rebounding - they were out rebounded by ten. adelman
- he chose to play miller in the last two minutes of the game instead of
abdur-rahim. miller proceeded to play "matador defense" on duncan and the
kings lost. artest did a good job on ginobili, but wasn't guarding him
the entire time and had to help miller on defense, which explains ginobili's
25 points. so, adelman, more than anyone else on the kings, is to blame
for this loss. by the way, the kings lost another game in which artest
took more than 15 shots. i don't think that this is his fault, i think
it's more a function of him trying to pick up the slack left by others.
the kings lost by 11, but most of those points came in trash time so the
game was actually much closer than the score indicates. adelman's defense
to my allegations might be that miller provides offense for the kings.
in most matchups this might be true, but not here. miller had twice as
many points, but played twice as many minutes; and i'm pretty sure he only
had 3 points in the fourth quarter. further, the offense didn't run through
miller as it often does in the high post. in those closing minutes the
offense was primarily an isolation offense with artest or wells. i don't
like this strategy and it should have left miller on the bench. critical
mistake here by adelman. we'll see how the kings respond at home in game
mike wilbon said that since
football is more of a tv sport than the other major sports, there isn't
much need to have a team in la. first, i think that there's plenty of desire
in la for a football team. second, and more important, football is the
LEAST tv friendly of the major sports. football on tv, even hdtv, is inferior
to the live experience. watching football on tv means missing the secondary
and most of the wide receivers' routes. when you're missing a third of
the players from the screen how can that be a superior experience? the
differences between a cover 2 vs. a dime package are lost when you watch
football on tv. wilbon is way off base here and takes another step down
in my book.
raja bell should get a
game suspension for his foul on kobe, if he doesn't then the league is
clearly out of wack. artest's suspension came as a result of a play that
was less harmful than the bell foul or the evans foul.
saw a guy with a tattoo
on his forearm today. at first glance it looked simply like a three inch
wide peace sign. upon closer inspection i saw that there was a confederate
flag on the inside of the peace sign. not really sure what that was supposed
hamilton elbowed redd in
the face on saturday and received a $10k fine. evans grabbed kamen's balls
and also received a $10k fine. neither were suspended, which makes me wonder
why artest was suspended. with artest in game two there's a good chance
that the kings would be up 3-1 in that series right now. pretty fucked
i'm not really sure how
i feel about the immigration issue. today's protest was an attempt to create
a scene like that film "a day without a mexican." in certain parts of the
country it seems to have been successful in making people aware just how
much of a part of society (primarily mexican) immigrants are. i don't completely
understand the purpose of the protests. first, while it shows the country
that immigrants are a large part of society, i'd think that this fact is
self-evident. second, to my eyes, it's not really an immigration issue
so much as it is an illegal immigration issue, or, at least, a south of
the border immigration issue. i haven't heard of great numbers of asian
immigrants marching in san francisco or new york, for example. so, if we
distill the issue a bit it seems that the issue is mainly about latino
immigrants. today's marches didn't do a very good job of stating their
position. maybe there isn't a cohesive position, or maybe the media has
failed to adequately cover the issue (almost all the coverage i've seen/heard/read
[pbs, npr, yahoo news] has focused on immigrants "flexing their economic
muscle"), or maybe the position is the simple one i heard from several
protesters: "we're here and we're not going to disappear." i made the point
before in my review for "a
day without a mexican" that this position should be self-evident. if
it's not then you're an insulated ignoramus, which is to say you belong
to the majority of the world.
at any rate, beyond the
"we're here and we're not leaving" message, what is the point of the protest/movement?
i think it's a response to two things: a move in the legislature that would
make felons of illegal immigrants and bush's guest worker program. i think
the first is silly and the second is surprisingly reasonable (though the
devil is in the details). in more theoretical terms, i don't know where
i stand. should people be allowed to cross the border as they wish? shouldn't
a country have jurisdiction over its own borders? how about the general
spirit (the "give us your, poor, your tired, your huddled masses" etc.
sentiment) of america? where do the stark realities and the idyllic speeches
intersect? do we owe mexicans something because they were here first, or
is there a statute of limitations on these claims? yes they give us cheap
labor, but does that entitle them to government services or, is the wage
sufficient compensation for their service to the economy? what about the
reality that many illegals already receive government services (public
schooling, hospitalization, etc.) yet don't generally pay an income tax?
should it be a strictly economic question? should economics have anything
to do with the discussion? if so, which is more their drain on government
services without paying income taxes or the low cost of construction, produce,
etc. which is largely thanks to their labor? honestly i don't think these
economic questions can be answered and i don't think they should matter.
either something is right or it's not. if it's right then you make the
economy work around the decision. slavery is the obvious example and isn't
that far away from this situation.
i don't think many people
are advocating simply making all illegals legal. i don't think this is
fair and i don't think it makes sense. i don't know what the process is
for becoming a legal citizen. i've been around people of different nationalities
who have gone through the process, but i can't recall much of the specifics.
further, most of them have been from countries which have a smaller influx
than mexico. for example, i had a friend from ghana who got a visa without
much trouble because he married (purely for the legal benefit) a u.s. citizen.
in other cases there are people from india or smaller countries who either
have a specialized skill or are from a country for which the u.s. gives
out a greater relative number of visas. in another instance i knew a couple
guys from sudan/u.a.e. who left the country essentially as political refugees.
they did it legally and, while it took a long time, i think this is a great
example of a good part of u.s. immigration policy. really, though, this
isn't part of the debate.
i don't know how many people
are legally allowed into the u.s. from mexico, but i'd be interested in
seeing those figures. anyway, where's the happy medium? it seems that right
now people have been largely content to sort of turn a blind eye to the
issue. illegals presumably know they're breaking the law and are content
enough so long as they're making money and not getting deported, and law
enforcement knows that a) they're too valuable and b) they're too numerous
to try to actually act on it. now, in the face of a couple different proposals,
i think they're raising up. i still don't know what the consensus opinion
is, or if there is one. i think most reasonable people can agree that people
living here already shouldn't be uprooted or mistreated. further, most
of us realize that living in fear illegally in the u.s. is probably less
preferable to living here legally, without fear. but what else do we agree
on? personally i don't think open borders are the way to go, but i don't
have a number of immigrants a year that i think should be allowed in, either.
i understand the basic economic drawbacks and advantages, but don't think
they should be taken into consideration as much as is being emphasized
(remember that the boycott is an economic statement much more than a political
one). i understand the u.s.'s past and how it has succeeded in large part
due to immigrants, but part of that past also includes the alien &
sedition acts as well as various other measures limiting immigration for
various reasons (good and bad). in sum, it's a complex issue and i think
it's silly to say that we should let everyone in or, conversely, we should
close our doors. there's a lot of muddling of the issues going on from
both sides and that certainly doesn't help. i just wish people would be
a little more honest and lucid when thinking and talking about issues like
this. i think part of the discussion is hindered by emotion and political
correctness. bah humbug to both.
i think the number one
attribute of an intelligent person is their level of intellectual curiousity.
you show me someone who is genuinely interested and curious about the way
things work and why things are the way they are and i'll show you someone
who is likely smarter than the average person. further, i think that there
is a causal link between intellectual curiousity and intelligence. to be
clear - intellectual curiousity i define separately from a general curiousity
e.g., "i wonder what time the store opens on sundays" or "i wonder what
i'm getting for christmas." i think that making a person smarter isn't
about teaching them why the sky is blue or what kant meant in his "critique
of pure reason" rather it's inspiring or instilling curiousity within them
so that they will seek out those answers on their own. when a person seeks
out answers to his own questions he asks more questions and this thirst
leads to knowledge and intelligence. eventually this person knows what
questions are good questions to ask in different situations and learns
to formulate his own opinions, etc. perhaps most importantly, this curiousity
leads to a questions of the status quo. learning to take things at face
value has almost no value in life and is not the mark of an intelligent
person. for example, george bush isn't as stupid a person as some claim,
but i do find his lack of curiousity shocking and unsettling. the katrina
tapes do as much to solidify this sentiment as any book or debate or speech
i've come across. it's not that bush doesn't care about black people, it's
more that he simply accepts things at face value. he doesn't ask the people
around him pointed or probing questions about potential outcomes. he doesn't
ask why things are happening or what can be done or what has happened in
similar situations in the past. rather, he takes what he's fed and processes
that data in a fairly mundane, ignorant and uncreative way.
the kings game last night
was good. the kings were one shot away from being up 3-1 in this series,
not in the same way as in 2002, but pretty similar. this is a great series
so far and now it comes down to a best of three. bonzi wells is a beast
and ron artest is shutting down one of the best drivers in the nba. it's
actually pretty amazing what he's been able to do thus far. all that said,
they still have to win at least one game on the road and i know the spurs
are going to be awake for game five. there are two aspects to the kings'
success thusfar: rebounding and defense. two years ago they would routinely
get outrebounded and their defense was generally spotty. geoff petrie (the
gm) brought in athletic players who play defense and can rebound. he's
a great gm. i've been disappointed by kenny thomas' production in the series.
i generally think of him as a good rebounder for his size, but he's matched
up against duncan so that's rough. wells and artest outsize their counterparts
so that's what's leading to their increased rebounding numbers.
the pistons were pathetic
in their last game. i still definitely have worries about their defense.
they just don't seem as focused as they have been in the last couple years.
texas isn't very good about
cleaning up their highways. the freeways around here are generally much
more cluttered than in california. of course part of that is that things
are always falling of trucks. maybe texans don't know how to secure their
so today immigrants across
the country are boycotting to make an obvious point. i listened to the
radio a bit and some of the more wacky stations over here have people saying
crazy stuff. one caller to a music station said that he works in construction
so he knows the value of mexicans. "blacks and whites are lazy, mexicans
are the only ones who work hard." another talk station had a couple guys
going back and forth about how illegals have put blacks out of the drywall
business and are waging war on the country. "they have already invaded
us with 14 million people...this is an all out war right now." people are
during the offseason the
titans (young and white) and cardinals (james, leinert and lutui [guard
from usc]) seem to have done a good enough job to be playoff contenders
in a couple years.
great finish to the kings
game tonight. happy that the kings won, but very aware of the fact that
the kings still need to win three of the next four games - a tall order.
obviously that game two loss means even more at this point.
regrettably, i think that
adelman will be gone next year. he's a good coach, i like him as a person,
and i like his offensive schemes, but he just hasn't preached defense consistently
enough to get his teams to the next level. i realize he's had some awful
bounces (webber missed a big shot against the timberwolves, horry's big
shot for the lakers, barry's big shot in game two, etc.) and some bad injuries
(miller, webber, peja), but he also hasn't realized the potential of the
teams he's had. i don't know of another coach who is available who will
do a better job, but his contract is up and i think the consensus is that
adelman has been given a fair shot and hasn't gotten it done. ironically,
this year they're playing the best defense they've played since the departure
of christie, yet adelman may still lose his job.
looked in on a bit of the
discussion on the imdb.com forum about united 93...
anyone else as baffled as I am at how such blatant exploitation of one
of the most tragic events in American history can be put out like this???
I had underestimated
how far and what boundries of human decency the studios would cross in
the name of greed. I guess that shows me... Charles Starr said it best,
"It's called United 93? That's some pretty egregious product placement.""
years on, I think there's enough perspective for a film like this. There
are movies about Pearl Harbor, World War II, the holocaust, the Civil War,
Vietnam, etc... All human tragedies, American or otherwise. I don't see
frame3_13 pearl harbor, world war II, the holocaust, the civil war, vietnam
war and so on have been made into movies BUT these incidents happened way
before we were probably even born. these events happened like 100s of years
ago while the movie for united 93 is being made only after 5 years since
the twin towers incident happened. The wars you have mentioned we have
won conquered and moved on (maybe not the vietnam war)while the tragedies
of 911 are still trying to be figured out. We have not yet conquered this
disaster nor de we know what was the real purpose and most of the terrorists
involved in the 911 disaster have not been captured. so to me this movie
is too soon maybe after a couple more years but not now its still to fresh
in peoples mind it seems kind of insensitive to all the people that lost
someone in 911 when these people who lost someone are trying to get over
there loss they make a movie about it bringing the tragedy back into there
minds. personally if i lost someone during 911 and they made a movie about
it i would be pissed beyond belief"
i think the einstein/hitler
quotes summarize my thoughts on this topic.
i'm glad that the texans
didn't draft bush. i can swallow his going to the saints or the titans
more than the texans. i was about 95% certain that the texans would draft
him and i guess i was wrong. i really don't understand what the texans
are doing - they have what they consider a good qb in carr, but they have
yet to put him in a situation where he can succeed; it just doesn't make
the whole reggie bush's
family thing is pretty annoying. i've never been given an adequate explanation
why college athletes can't talk with agents, accept money, etc. in other
professions colleges encourage internships, paid or not, and don't limit
your professional possibilities. why they do so with athletes makes no
sense to me. i can understand wanting to protect kids from leaches, but
limiting their options isn't the way to do it. of course the other factor
in this case is the fact that bush's family were the recipients, not bush
himself. the whole thing seems to be snowballing so i wouldn't doubt it
if usc or bush were reprimanded for it, but i think it's total bullshit.
lastly, it's pretty clear to me that major programs from usc and berkeley
to auburn and michigan are probably doing things that they shouldn't. i
think every major program has a skeleton or two in its closet - whether
it's a coach loaning a player some money or something more serious - i
basically have to assume that this stuff is going on all over the place.
frankly, the ncaa comes off as a fascist regime anytime one of these issues
comes to light and they crack down on the school.
further, i think sports
fans need to realize that all sports are littered with money grubbers,
felons (jayson williams), drug users (bonds, dwight gooden), sex addicts
(the vikings), and rule breakers (from sosa [corked bat] to webber). anytime
you have that much money coupled with pampered people in an ultra-competitive
culture, you're going to get some perversion of different types. i think
it's important for people to differentiate between those perversions that
are completely harmless (randy moss pretending to moon the crowd), those
that should be considered harmless (bush [allegedly], webber), and those
that are truly worth our shock (bonds [allegedly], jayson williams, etc.).
of course i don't think that these bad apples should taint the majority
of the athletes who are generally good people.
speaking of bad apples...took
the car into the shop and they wanted to replace the water pump. mechanics
always choose something like the water pump to pick on because it means
removing the engine and that means more money. i don't trust mechanics.
meryl and i saw cool hand
luke in the park last night. it was a strange choice of film for a public
exhibition of that type. they have harry potter and dazed and confused
also planned. to me, those make more sense since they're lighter and d&c
was directed by austin native richard linklater. all that said, it was
a good experience and any chance to see cool hand luke is a worthwhile
one. that capped our anniversary celebration which was a good one.
before bush fema was a
model organization and now they're talking about getting rid of it altogether.
what the fuck is wrong with people? if clinton was a failure as a moral
leader because of his lying about lewinski then bush is a failure as a
leader in general competence. perhaps he is the reason incompetence is
at an all-time high. i don't really buy that theory, but there were people
who derided clinton for his leadership in that instance and its impact
on the rest of the nation.
saw a sign at an apartment
complex that read: "Have A Nice" Day
i think that quotation
marks and apostrophes are the most misunderstood punctuation marks.
i'm a strong believer in
redemption and forgiveness and i hereby completely forgive bibby for his
transgressions. here's what he said about the barry 3-pointer that i discussed
in detail on the 4-26-06 (08:57) post. ""That shot could have been prevented,"
Bibby lamented Wednesday. "He was my guy (on defense). So it went in. It
took a bad bounce for us, and a good one for them. You can look at it either
way it goes, (but) I shouldn't have been off him anyway.""
yesterday was the one year
anniversary of meryl and me. grammatically that doesn't sound correct,
but i think it is. not sure.
she made me dress up and
we went to some crappy restaurant. seriously, the food was crappy, but
it was still a good time.
tonight we're going to
see cool hand luke which is playing downtown in some park. pretty cool.
work has been pretty slow
lately. i'm still getting my hours, but more because my supervisor tells
me to than because i'm actually working. frankly i don't see the purpose
of my position. i'm supposed to assist the crew leader, but her job seems
pretty simple and straightforward. overall i'd say that, other than this
week, her job should average about 30-40 hours a week. this week is different
because we're supposed to do three hours of observation per person in our
crew (13). since we split duties 30-40 hours a week becomes about 20 a
week for two people. it would seem more efficient to just hire one crew
leader and pay them ot on the few occasions that they would need it.
allergies are acting up
lately. i didn't acquire allergies until i moved to northern california.
i've been trying to craft
a sign to use at a giants game. i want it to encorporate a few elements
which i think are somewhat clever, but every wording i've been thinking
of is either too awkward or too long. i want it to be a barry bonds slight
that references michael milken's junk bond scandal. i feel it works on
a couple different levels: each word in "junk bonds" has two meanings.
junk can be a reference to the bogus bonds milken sold, but it can also
refer to drugs - as in, he's hopped up on junk. bonds refers both to pieces
of paper and Barry Bonds's last name. i'd like to make the meaning of both
words be obvious in a pithy one-liner. something like: "not even michael
milken would touch the junk (barry) bonds does" only better. the devil
is in the details. if you have something that words it better or more succinctly
then lemme know.
saw a great nova episode
about solar dimming. essentially, because we've polluted so much there
are enough particulates in the air to actually dim the sun's rays by the
time it hits the surface. this effect actually counterbalances the effect
of global warming because less heat is getting into our atmosphere. scientists
fear, though, that we've done a better job of reducing these particulates
than we've done of reducing greenhouse gases. as a result, we might have
an increase of greenhouse gases and a decrease in the particulates which
help to shield the sun. the science seemed solid and from many sources
so i take it seriously.
resources (energy and water
in particular) are extremely plentiful, it's just about collection. people
worry about water shortages and energy crises, and i understand why, but
i don't see either as too much of a threat to the long term health of the
race. both are merely about collection. in the case of water - it rains
plenty and there's enough ocean water to sustain humanity; it really comes
down to how much of that rainfall you can collect and how much of that
salt water you can treat/desalinize. it's the same with energy - there's
plenty of geothermal, wind, solar and hydroelectric potential energy -
it's just about harnessing this energy. for example, i heard and estimate
(on this old house) that a single bolt of lightning carries the same amount
of electricity as the entire US produces in six years. i think what people
get worried about is the amount of resources which will have to be diverted
to change the way we collect these things. so, the only thing we really
have to worry about is changing the process, rather than these resources
actually running out. it's more an economic worry than it is a worry that
the actual resources will run out.
sundays are a big deal
pretty typical parking
practice in austin:
the helmet on this building
is made out of a VW bug, pretty cool.
a freakishly small
the kings missed a great
opportunity last night. they showed some good character by bouncing back
after that awful loss in the first game, but they showed a lack of discipline
down the line last night. mike bibby was especially disappointing. offensively
he was a joke (3-16) and defensively he left his player in the most critical
play of the game. before this play i paused tivo and told meryl three things:
1) play defense against the three 2) don't foul 3) don't leave horry. when
you're up by three with 20 seconds to go you can't allow them to stop the
clock with a foul and you can't allow them to get back into it with one
shot. you have to force them to make a two and then you have to make your
free throws; that's how basketball works. instead, mike bibby was way out
of position and thought about helping defensively on ginobili on the baseline.
for a veteran this is a colossal blunder and one that cost them the game.
he left brent barry (a three point specialist) wide open, ran into an illegal
screen by duncan (which, of course, wasn't called) and barry knocked down
the shot. offensively it was a well drawn and well executed play, but bibby
is to blame. he should have been face guarding his man, there's just no
of course this feeds into
two recent themes in my life: my sports teams underperforming, and the
general incompetence of the populous. i'm not a genius, but i knew before
the play unfolded what the defensive scheme and approach should be. bibby
should have known this as well. either he didn't know or he lacks the discipline
to stick to the plan. either way it's pretty pathetic. of course the incompetence
of basketball players on individual plays is the least of society's worries.
but it's a microcosm of society in general. from the president to the census
bureau to the tower records corporate office - incompetence runs rampant
and it's depressing. maybe that's why i like this old house so much. they
expose the incompetence of previous builders and home owners and they fix
bibby was a zero in the
game and so was miller, but other than those two the team really stepped
up. martin, wells and abdur-rahim all had great games. actually, bibby
had a good first quarter - he was aggressive and was passing the ball very
effectively. overall i was happy with the performance and i felt that the
kings deserved to win, but you can't let the champs stick around at home,
you have to close the game out and the kings just didn't have the defense
when they needed it. the other story of the game was san antonio's three
point shooting. it kept them in the game every step of the way. after the
first half they were 8/13 and down by five. and of course that last shot
by barry was the most important. i think the series will go five games.
3/31 was the first day
i worked at the census and i still haven't gotten paid. the main census
office uses glorified cardboard boxes as desks. no joke. resourceful people
so i'm watching the kings
game and they're up 30-20 at the end of the first quarter. parker has the
ball at the top of the three point line and horry is waiting at the bend
of the three point line. there are about eight seconds left and i knew
what was going to happen before it happened. parker drives to the bucket,
abdur-rahim comes down to help on the drive, parker dishes it to horry
and horry makes the bucket as time expires. i've seen it a million times,
especially in the playoffs. that's what horry does and it annoys the hell
out of me that these players don't get it yet. he did it tonight, he did
it years ago, he did it against wallace last year...when are teams going
to figure out that you can't leave him open? it's just pure stupidity.
artest got suspended for
a game for his forearm to ginobili. total bullshit if you ask me. ginobili
was coming across the lane and artest bumped him a bit. the very worst
he should get is a fine. if duncan did the same thing the league wouldn't
have done anything. further, he got the same penalty for playing tough
as haslem got for throwing his mouthpiece at a referee. makes no sense.
the kings are doomed.
so far the nba playoffs
have been crap. the clippers game was close, but the others have been pretty
shitty. they should change the rankings so that a team's overall record
is all that matters - none of the divisional placement that they currently
have. also, they need to make the first round either 3 or 5 games. if it
were up to me i'd make the first round 3 games, the second round 5 games
and the other rounds 7 games. that would mean losing millions of bucks,
but it would make for a better playoff system. college basketball is so
much better right now.
jeff van gundy called hamilton
one of the most efficient shooters in the nba and that piqued my interest.
i thought van gundy to be mostly correct, but i wanted to know who, of
the top scorers, gets the most out of his field goal attempts. here's
what i found. i looked at all the players who average more than 20
points a game, as well as the top players in free throw attempts per game
(since these players are essentially getting free points relative to their
fg attempts), as well as the players with the top 3 point percentage and
top field goal percentage. as i thought, the inside players generally had
better numbers since they get hacked enough and take higher percentage
shots. i was surprised by the top four, especially chauncey billups. i
knew shaq and wade would be up there and i knew that mcgrady and webber
would be near the bottom. it turned out that both van gundy and i were
incorrect about hamilton - he was in the bottom ten, just behind bibby.
i was disappointed by bibby's number (1.25 points per field goal attempt).
the people who impressed me the most after looking at the numbers: billups,
wade, and curry.
the data can be interpreted
in all sorts of ways. iverson, wade and pierce lead the league in free
throws per game, but iverson is much lower on the list than the other two.
nash and billups have great 3pt%, but other players (lue, barbosa, bell,
mike james, ben gordon, bruce bowen) in the top ten for this category have
an efficiency rating of much lower. i think you could distill the information
simply: the guys at the top are those who choose their shots wisely. wade
is so efficient because he takes the ball to the basket a lot (like parker),
but gets more free throw attempts and doesn't take as many threes (only
one per game) as most guards. the analysis solidifies my picks of wade
and billups to my imaginary olympic team. at the same time, it's just one
of many numbers. i still think hamilton and bibby are great players, in
spite of their lower than average efficiency numbers. it also confirms
my thoughts about the number of shots webber, iverson and bryant take.
i think there's a certain degree of diminishing returns going on that is
confirmed by those numbers. shot selection should be emphasized with the
players at the bottom of this list.
i'm looking forward to
seeing united 93. it's done by paul greengrass who did bloody
sunday so that's definitely a good fit artistically. it features a
few people playing themselves so that's also a bonus. it's a bit odd to
have a british guy filming a movie about 9/11, but i don't think most people
will know/care about that.
trip is in about 5 weeks.
if you have any good ideas about places we should visit lemme know now.
straightened out the pay
situation. still haven't gotten paid, but got to the bottom of the problem
(i missed a digit on my account number). i'm retarded.
i know this is obvious
to most, but still...the proliferation of "reality" television is upsetting.
it's not that i care that people like this kind of entertainment, though
that does bring up myriad questions. rather, it's upsetting that people
take what they are seeing as real. it's deliberately edited to appear as
heightened reality. i've seen several shows lately on mtv or the networks
and, because i study film as a hobby, i notice the various ways in which
they mask the fact that something takes place over several days, yet is
portrayed as taking place in the same day. they manufacture conflict and
personality traits in more and more sophisticated ways. in the early days
it was easy to detect and it was less pronounced as well. nowadays, though,
they've honed the craft. they can manufacture so much through voice-overs,
creative editing, re-shoots, staged scenes, etc. re-shoots and staged scenes
are particularily telling and manipulative. you only notice it if you are
really thinking about where cameras would be if the scene were actually
unfolding in real time. if you view it this way you'll often see that extra
cuts are made and things are sometimes even reshot so that cameras won't
appear in the background.
it's not that i value reality
tv as a holy art form, quite the contrary. but i find it disturbing that
this stuff is so easily passed off as real. i think most semi-intelligent
viewers realize and admit that there is some artiface to the whole genre,
but i don't think they understand how deep it really runs.
dj shadow is great.
started the newest al franken
book the other day. pretty good so far, but not as good as lies and the
lying liars who tell them.
since meryl will share
the driving with me i think i'll have a good chance to update my webpage
a lot more during this trip. i'll also get a chance to get to read a bit.
i've been trying to compile
a definitive list of one.be.lo's lyrics to sonogram, but haven't been successful.
i've contacted him and his entourage. i've posted on his forum and done
various searches, but there are still about 8/22 tracks for which i don't
have the lyrics. transcribing them myself is difficult at best. some lyrics
i don't understand and it's a maddening process even if you do understand
all the lyrics. i want to parse the entire album in depth, cite references,
and highlight the many instances of wordplay and poignant commentary. i've
already begun a similar process for blackalicious's "release." though the
bulk of the lyrics from that song are more saul williams's than gift of
gab's. there's some brilliant poetry on that track as well as the sonogram
album. slow going.
there's been a lot of talk
lately about the texans not picking bush with the first pick. i think it's
bullshit. i'm about 90% sure they'll pick him. they don't want a quarterback
and i think young is the only guy they would pick over bush. everyone could
use a great defensive end, but bush is just too good an athlete with too
great an upside with too much hype to pass up. if you pass him up and he
turns out to be great or williams turns out to be just so-so then you look
foolish. they're testing the waters and no one will blame you for picking
bush, even if he turns out to be ryan leaf (which isn't going to happen
unless there is a major injury).
inch for inch, pound for
pound kenny thomas and bonzi wells are the kings's best rebounders. i mention
this because that was the key to tonight's victory. that and timely defense.
sure, i didn't see the game, but i can tell from the box score. they allowed
only 16 in the 4th quarter and were beat in almost all the statistical
categories - fg%, 3pt made, 3pt %, ft%, and blocks. but they took care
of the ball and rebounded well. thomas had 18 rebounds (8 offensive). artest
had an awful game - zero steals/blocks, 1/11 from the field, 3 turnovers,
3 rebounds and (one bright spot) 8 assists. i assume he was guarding lewis
who had 20 points - right on his average.
the kings are fairly deep
this year. they have a solid seven: bibby, artest, miller, wells, abdur-rahim,
thomas, and martin. hart brings a few good minutes off the bench at point,
but he's no bobby jackson. he's a strong defender, but he's undersized.
i'm fairly optimistic about their playoff chances this year, especially
if the lakers lose tomorrow (unlikely) which would mean it would be kings/suns
still haven't gotten paid
for the census stuff. should know by this time tomorrow. if i haven't gotten
paid then i'll be really hurting for money.
training new census employees
this week. most of the people are extremely slow and my supervisor is unorganized.
i generally just sit and play solitaire on the computer. they tried to
hide the games, but it's pretty easy to find them through windows explorer.
i've found that a lot of
time is lost when different people engage in the same conversation in multiple
layers. people come in on the conversation at varying times and with varying
degrees of knowledge and it makes for an irritating, but humorous, scene.
one person will have a question about hooking up the handheld computer
to a phone line and four people will chime in with their thoughts on the
matter. all of them will be at least partially wrong and this leads to
chaotic discussion about what to do. after a bit of this someone else will
ask what everyone is talking about and then things get more confused. in
a lot of ways it's as if these people have never used language before and
don't understand basic rules of deference when it comes to organized discussion.
i've tried yelling out the right answer, or simplifying their confusion,
but part of the problem's genesis comes from an inability or unwillingness
to listen so this method doesn't work. often, my supervisor holds little
respect because she is unsure and frequently searching to locate what's
going on, what the debate is over, etc.
perhaps my relative intelligence
is merely a manifestation of my personality. i am quiet and willing to
listen and that's served me well over the years. had i been loud, pushy,
and unreceptive to those around me i might not have been able to graduate
college, get 100% on the census test, or install a modem on a handheld
the good news about all
this wasted time in class is that i've been able to read. i finished freakonomics
and wasn't all that impressed. a lot of the methodology seemed bogus and
the authors far too self-assured and positive that "numbers don't lie."
as someone who leans more towards the post-modernist end of the spectrum
their work raised all sorts of fundamental flaws. many of their assumptions
were very presumptive and/or ludacris. the assumptions they make, the data
they choose to ignore, and the conclusions they draw are all fairly suspect
to me. the most striking example is their section on parenting. they look
at all sorts of data regarding children's test scores and their parents's
income, education, school location, whether they get spanked or not, etc.
they conclude that the things parents do makes much less of an impact
that who the parents are: "but it isn't so much a matter of what
you do as a parent; it's who you are. in this regard, an overbearing
parent is a lot like a political candidate who believes that money wins
elections, whereas in thruth, all the money in the world can't get a candidate
elected if the voters don't like him to start with." first, it assumes
that good parenting is measured by test scores, this is such a ridiculous
assumption and it's so quickly made and passed over that this entire section
should have been scrapped by the editor. second, i think i already addressed
the money=much better chance of winning elections issue. the more money
you have the more able you are to control public opinion, the more able
you are to control perception, the more able you are to control the public's
opinion of your opponent, etc. they gloss over the most important assumptions
because they're so eager to analyze the data. it's an interesting read,
but i'm not going to tout its data or conclusions any time soon.
i have some data to back
up my claims about artest's shot taking and the kings' success. at the
start of the fourth quarter they're beating the hornets by 15 and artest
has attempted only 9 shots so i'll go ahead and assume that a) the kings
will win and b) he'll shoot 15 or fewer shots. with that game included,
here are the stats since artest was traded to the kings: when artest shoots
more than 15 shots the kings are 10-11. when artest shoots 15 or fewer
times in a game they are 14-3.
don't know if i mentioned
this before, but my theory about artest is that the kings play better when
he limits his shots to 12-15. tonight she shot a crappy 3-13 and the kings
won by 18. his shot was so awful because he hurt his thumb so he gets a
pass, but it might be the best thing that could happen going into the playoffs.
it's my belief that great defenses win in the playoffs and the kings are
going to need to concentrate on d if they're going to beat san antonio.
of course their defense starts with artest and if he is forced, because
of an injury, to focus on his defense then that might rub off on the rest
of the team. the kings are 24-14 with artest, that's about 63% which places
them alongside teams like phoenix, miami, and better than contenders like
cleveland and new jersey. not the elite, but not the 8th seed that they're
likely to get, either. also, i think that, since webber left, the team
has been bibby's. on most nights, bibby should lead the team in points
and field goals attempted, not artest.
have a lot of movies to
i wonder what state has
the largest level of waste per capita. recycling isn't very big here in
texas and that's one reason i think it would be in the top 10. i think
wyoming and alaska would be in the bottom 10. i don't know what the recyling/land-fill
situation is in hawaii, but i would imagine that, space being so limited
and exporting being too costly, would keep waste down.
i've been watching a shitload
of this old house and this old house classics during the last couple months.
it's a top five show for me. i've always liked that show. favorite channels
are tcm and diy. tcm shows great movies unedited, no commercials and in
their proper aspect ratio (amc shows great movies that are censored, with
commercials and in fullscreen [tsk tsk]). diy shows all sorts of cool instructional
regarding the nba mvp race
- i think nash should get it again since he's so important to his team
and since his team has changed a lot since last year. that said, i wouldn't
mind if lebron won. but i do have a problem with the (many) people who
have mentioned kobe as an mvp candidate, but haven't mentioned iverson.
i've watched a good deal of coverage and here are the names that have been
mentioned, in order to most to least: lebron, nash, kobe, nowitzki, wade,
billups, brand, duncan. notice iverson's absence. i'll admit that numbers
shouldn't be the sole element of determining an mvp, but here are some
numbers to chew on: points - k: 35.1 ai: 33, assists - k: 4.6 ai: 7.5,
rebounds - k: 5.3 ai: 3.3, steals - k: 1.8 ai: 2. i ran the numbers giving
one point for points, rebounds and steals and two points for assists (since
an assist leads to at least two points). kobe's total: 51.4. ai's total:
53.3. add to that the fact that ai takes fewer shots, makes his teammates
better with his passing, and plays more minutes. kobe has only 2 games
with 10+ assists and ai has 18 games with 10+ assists. when kobe was out
for two games the lakers went 0-2. ai was out for 8 games and the 76ers
went 2-6. i also think that you have attribute some of the lakers's improvement
to the acquisition of one of the top five coaches of all time: phil jackson.
ergo, kobe and ai are pretty much equals and to mention kobe as an mvp,
but not iverson is lame.
i have to like the chances
of the spurs this year. teams in the east are either on the decline or
not made for a championship run. miami beat toronto by 9, but they allowed
too many points and shaq had a triple double. sure, wade was out, but so
was bosh - the best rebounder/scorer/shot blocker for toronto. meanwhile,
detroit is falling apart and not playing their brand of defense. the nets
are good now, but lack the depth needed to win it all. i'm not convinced
about dallas yet, but i haven't seen them play. phoenix is good, but they
don't play defense. at this point, my money is on the spurs.
did a good deal of housework
"when it came to a favorite
team and the players I admired most, the San Francisco 49ers of the Coach
Bill Walsh era with their West Coast offense got my allegiance. I grew
up a big 49er fan. At that time, they had Steve Young playing quarterback
and scrambling all over the field with an elusiveness that I envied. It
got him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And before him there was the
great Joe Montana, Mr. Cool in the clutches. Catching their passes was
Jerry Rice, the best receiver there ever was. Ricky Watters at running
back always managed to gain more than 1,000 yards on the ground – he was
one of five backs in NFL history to average more than 100 yards a game
in his 10 seasons in the league. He also scored three touchdowns when the
49ers crushed the Chargers in a Super Bowl game held in San Diego." - reggie
a month after doing the
interview i got a job offer at cd warehouse. pretty lame of them.
just about done with my
taxes, that's nice.
meryl's sorta walking again.
this week i'm supposed
to be studying my census material so i can train the enumerators next week.
95% of the material is amazingly simple and straightforward. there are
a few instances where things are unusual (vacant homes, added dwellings,
etc.), but it's generally very straightforward.
went to some block party
at meryl's dad's place on saturday and saw a dog kill a squirrel; it sucked.
went to get a cellphone
for meryl the other day. that was a bad experience. i didn't realize just
how much they screw you over, especially people who are poor. it's amazing
to me that you have to pay more for a phone if you don't have established
credit. it's like interest - people with money get paid for having money.
i understand the economics behind encouraging people to save money and
why the banks pay people to essentially use their money, but it still makes
watched 76 movies in march.
19 of them were shorts which means i watched 57 feature length films. in
october of 2003 i watched 56 feature length films so this is a new record
incidentally, rollins is
going for 57 straight games with a hit this year. i think it would be a
great accomplishment but 1) i don't think it should count since it's over
the course of two years and 2) i don't think he'll do it. that said, he
seems like a good guy so good luck to him.
sacramento has been having
trouble lately. they lost by a bunch yesterday, but won by 10 over the
spurs today. their defense has been too uneven and artest has been taking
too many shots. i think artest should take 12-17 shots a game and focus
on his defense. their biggest problem, though, is their rebounding. it's
been a problem since i've been a fan, and it comes as a result of their
offensive scheme which brings the center to the top of the key to run the
offense. they also focus on getting big guys who can pass rather than play
the typical role of a big man. it's a trade-off.
i really don't like that
joakim noah guy. he's so sleezy and into himself it's sick.
that maryland/duke women's
basketball championship last night was pretty sweet. i watch the last 15
minutes or so and md was down by 12 (their biggest deficit was 13) when
i turned it on. they came back in chunks and made a big shot to push it
into overtime. close game.
saw a bumper sticker that
had the word "secede" over a texan flag.
the census training moves
so slowly. i think that the job itself will be better, but the training
is so exhaustive and assumes that the audience is operating on a submoron
level. as a result we've gone over basic things like holding onto a handrail
when using the stairs as well as repeating basic operations over and over
and over and over again. a parallel example: to open windows explorer i
might give someone the following instructions: goto the start menu, choose
programs, then accessories and then click on the windows explorer icon.
done. it would take the average person about 5 seconds to figure out, but
the same level of instructions might take 2 minutes and people will still
ask questions. it's ridiculous.
very disappointed about
the game tonight. ucla just didn't make the plays that they should have
made. i think that noah's early blocks really got into the heads of mbah
a moute and hollins and that set the tone for the game. florida obviously
executed well on offense and ucla had their worst game of the tourney.
afflalo didn't get into it until about 10 minutes left and mbah a moute
just seemed a fraction of a second behind the plays, whereas he was ahead
of the plays in the previous games. cbs made a pretty glaring error when,
at the half, they reported that 36 points was the most that ucla had allowed
during the entire tourney. immediately i knew that was incorrect - they
allowed 42 points in the first half against gonzaga.
collison was a zero, mata
was a zero, fey didn't play. afflalo shot horribly in the first half, hollins
was intimidated, bozeman kept them in it very early in the game, mbah a
moute didn't get into it until trash time, and florida's humphrey made
two huge threes at the beginning of the second half (again).
my biggest complaint was
a lack of focus and intelligent play on the part of some ucla players.
collison trying to lead a 2 on 4 break, some poor passes, and some bad
defensive rotation include some of the lowlights.
i'm pretty surprised that
the former block total in a ncaa championship game was only 4. i know they
didn't count blocks when alcinder, walton and russell were around, but
they must not have counted them when ewing and akeem were playing either.
certainly they would have gotten more than four blocks in their finals
i'm also pretty disappointed
by the last three games of an otherwise very exciting tournament. all three
games were decided early on and i expected all three to be fairly tight.
this game wasn't as depressing
as the rose bowl because it was decided early on, whereas the rose bowl
was tight the whole time. also, i hate texas even more than i hate florida.
lastly, i was looking forward to the rose bowl pretty much all year, whereas
this was less of a foregone conclusion. i'll be depressed about this for
less time than the rose bowl which will stick with me until the next time
usc wins a national championship.
i'm a bit worried about
the pistons' defense lately. the way they're playing right now seems to
be a step down from where they were playing last year at this time. that
said, the east is weak so they should still get to the eastern conference
finals, and probably even the finals...they're good enough to not have
to play their best.
looking forward to the
ucla/florida game all day. since 1990 here's how the teams i legimately
care about have fared: sacramento kings - western conference finals, seven
games against the eventual champion lakers - the best seven game series
i've ever seen except for the red sox comeback against the yankees. la
kings - in 1993 they made it to the stanley cup finals with robataille,
zhitnick, gretzky, kelly hrudey in net, mcsorely, blake, sandstrom, granato,
kurri, and barry melrose at the helm; they fell to patrick roy and montreal.
the 49ers won a super bowl in 1995 while i was in sacramento for stupid
youth in government. i missed the damn game against the chargers...though
it wasn't very good (competitive) i would have liked to see it. ucla basketball
- 1995 they also won a national championship and stupid youth and government
got in the way of that one as well. actually, i saw the final, but i missed
the tyus edney comeback with 4.8 seconds left vs. missouri; i'll never
forget my dad picking me up and telling me about what a great game i missed.
there were a few great/important games in the couple years following that
which i missed. after that i vowed not to miss anymore big games. usc football
- after many years of continually losing to notre dame, and everyone in
general, pete carroll came along and lifted us to a first place tie in
2003, a national championship in 2004 and a disappointing end to 2005.
so, of the teams i care about only one has won a championship in the last
10 years, maybe tonight ucla will add another. the niners were among the
worst teams in the nfl for the last couple years, the sacramento kings
are barely in the playoffs and the la kings are a couple games out of the
playoffs right now.
i remember the losses more
than the wins, i think it's true of most sports fans, but maybe not. i
remember the seventh game against the lakers, the webber timeout against
unc (i had $20 on the game against my racist grandpa so there was a lot
on the line even though i don't consider myself a michigan basketball fan),
the kings loss to the canadiens, the rose bowl loss last year, the niners
vs. the packers in 96 (i think), etc. those stick with me more than the
wins. although i do remember the wins pretty well when i was there...game
two of the kings/lakers and the first time in like 15 meetings that usc
beat notre dame were the biggest of those.
in 2005 everyone talked
about usc of 2005 being the best college football team of all time. most
of the critics agreed that they were in the top 2 or 3 teams of all-time,
but none of them mentioned what i feel was a better team - the 2004 team.
i never quite understood that.
census job isn't very exciting
so far. i've done 16 hours of training and it could have been condensed
into about 2 hours, no joke. one thing that's cool is that everyone gets
a little palm pilot type computer with gps and a modem. of course it's
not to keep, but it's still cool to use. i don't even really know what
my job is going to be. i'm in between the area leaders and the enumerators
(the people who go door to door), but, from what i've heard, it doesn't
seem like there needs to be someone between those two groups of employees.
working for the government is like working for your family. you get paid
well for not doing much and they're pretty relaxed. actually, i work a
lot harder for my relatives than i do for the government. when i did the
clerk thing on election day i didn't get paid much, but the job was really
easy. with this i'm getting paid really well and so far i haven't done
much, they're training me and i don't have much responsibility. it's odd
because generally you get paid based upon a few things: experience, responsibility,
effort, hazard. this job has none of those things and yet the pay is almost
three times minimum wage. working for the government is the way to go.
losing an hour sucks, but
i love that it's light so much later.
meryl's knee is doing fairly
the simpsons had a little
tivo gag during the opening sequence which i thought was pretty funny.
last week they had a live action version of the opening sequence. they
also had a visual/musical reference to koyaanisqatsi that was subtle, but
clear. they also had a reference to the method of suicide introduced in
soylent green. i think the writing on this show is getting a little better
than it had in the last few years.
signed up to volunteer
for habitat for humanity. i did it once in davis, but they never followed
up. i think i'll follow up on this one.
i have the gonzaga/ucla
game on tivo so i watch it whenever i'm bored. i've seen it about 3 times
now. there's one point in the second half when ucla chips away at the lead
and comes to within 6 points. the next play is a three pointer by morrison
and he makes it and is fouled by afflalo - his fourth (you foul out on
your fifth). morrison completes the rare four point play with the free
throw and the lead is back to double digits - 10. had ucla lost, that would
have been the play of the game. ucla was on a run and it goes from a 6
point lead to a 10 point lead. in the same play you lose your best defensive
and offensive player for several minutes of the game. the point is moot
now, though, because they won despite that awful play.
mbah a moute is an under-rated
talent...he reads the passing lanes extraordinarily well and has an uncanny
sense for the ball on the offensive boards. i really like his game.
pretty psyched about the
ucla/lsu game tonight. i was very nervous about it because of ucla's relative
weakness inside. but what they lacked in inside strength they made up for
in length, hustle and toughness. i'm very excited about monday night's
game. mata came up big and so did mbah a moute. fey didn't even play a
role in the outcome, i guess his size wasn't as necessary as i thought
it was going to be. four of the five starters for ucla are from l.a. so
that also adds a level of enjoyment to the victory.
first day of the census
job was pretty tedious and boring, but $14.50/hr is more than i made at
tower and it seems like a less stressful job. also, it's only a temporary
job so i don't have to worry about leaving early because of the trip.
first day of new job is
tomorrow, not too excited; i'm always more nervous for a first day of work
than anything else. that said, it's not really going to be work, i don't
think. i'm pretty sure the first week is just 8 hours of training a day,
which seems tedious, but i like learning so maybe it'll be interesting.
saw the classic 1983 ncaa
championship game tonight. nc state vs. houston. houston (led by olajuwon
and drexler) was the heavy favorite, but nc state won on that last second
air ball that was turned into an alley oop. it's a great play and most
of the game was fun enough, but the last couple of minutes were odd. there
was no shot clock or three point line back then so nc state had to foul
houston even though there were a couple minutes left and they were only
down by 4 points. the most exciting thing was how on fire nc state got
- they made like 5 three-point distance jumpers in a row to catch up. otherwise
it was all houston. overall it was a nice game, but it just didn't live
up to the hype and it had that unusual rhythm because of the fouling. that's
one thing that i really liked about the ucla/gonzaga game - i don't think
ucla fouled gonzaga at all in the last 3 minutes - so the rhythm was much
better. the houston/nc state game was jerky and then just sorta ended suddenly.
houston was in a trap defense so nc state couldn't get into any offense
for the last 30 seconds of the game. very unusual.
i hear that charlie rose
is having surgery. hopefully that guy will stick around for a while longer.
there's a shortage of great interviewers and he's near the top of the list
watched a bit of the duke/uconn
game today. there's a lot less parity in women's ncaa basketball than there
is in men's ncaa basketball. for example, in this year's tourney the lower
seeded team won:
14 out of 15 in the
12 out of 15 in the
14 out of 15 in the
12 out of 15 in the
san antonio bracket.
compare that to the men's
bracket...i'll just look at the atlanta bracket (i picked it randomly,
but if you really care you can compare all the brackets) 10 out of 15 (67%)
lower seeds won in that bracket...so, 8 underdogs won in the entire women's
tournament so far vs. 5 in just one fourth of the regional brackets in
the men's tourney. further, only one underdog won more than one game in
the women's tourney and 3 of the final 4 are number one seeds. in the men's
tourney there are 0 number one seeds in the final four and there are several
examples of underdogs winning more than one game. i think that the ncaa
tourney has benefitted from guys like kobe, amare, lebron, garnett, etc.
going straight to the nba. typically these guys would go straight to a
top tier team - these days that would likely be unc, uconn, duke, or kentucky
- instead they go to the nba and the other teams are forced to fight over
a talent pool that is more level. that said, there are still going to be
great players in college - morrison, redick, ray, powe, etc. are all talented
and fun to watch.
been kinda depressed lately.
i called the carpenter guy on monday and told him i'd have to leave at
the end of may, but would still very much like the job. he said he'd get
back to me and he hasn't. i'll call tomorrow to follow up, but i doubt
that he'll still want me. i don't foresee liking the census job very much
and the hours will suck even if i do so i'm not looking forward to it.
i'm pretty broke so i have to work so i can save money for the next couple
months. i wish things were more simple.
meryl's getting knee surgery
stephen colbert properly
points out the connection between jesus and our celebration of easter with
an egg hunt: jesus died for us, just as eggs have been dyed for us.
florida looked pretty good
today; they're a more balanced team than i previously thought. i knew about
noah's athleticism and good footwork, but i didn't know that their entire
team was pretty solid. villanova's weak interior was definitely exposed.
i'm extremely happy that uconn went down today. they played like a team
that felt they were a team of destiny. and, frankly, i felt that way as
well. they looked like the lakers of 2000-2002. during those years someone
would always find a way to come up with the big shot when it was needed
- horry, kobe, fisher, etc. with about a minute left in regulation uconn
was down by 4 or 6 points and i told meryl that it would be interesting
to see how they were going to win this one...i didn't say it sarcastically,
i said it in a resigned way. sure enough they pushed it into overtime and
had a shot to win it. i felt that they should have last two days ago against
washington so i'm glad that george mason took them out today.
everyone likes an underdog
and george mason is about as big an underdog as they come. they took out
three teams that were in the final four last year and that's pretty amazing.
they're a lot tougher inside than i thought, but i think that florida will
end their run. i'd like to see george mason pull it out though.
i think ucla is going to
have a tough time with lsu's interior they have a good low post game and
their interior defense is also tough. memphis put ucla to the line 39 times.
to me this is a sign of 1) ucla's aggressiveness 2) memphis being out of
position defensively. when you're out of position with your feet on defense,
whether for a rebound or when playing man to man, you tend to play defense
with your hands and that leads to fouls. i'm glad that ucla was more aggressive
in getting to the basket against memphis; they're going to have to do the
same thing against lsu. hollins is going to have to continue to improve
and fey and mata are going to have to contribute some good defensive minutes.
offensively i think ucla will miss the injured josh shipp more than ever.
i don't know why they haven't mentioned his absence on tv at all. he was
generally the number three scorer behind afflalo and farmar.
pretty excited that ucla
beat memphis last night. it was a tight game most of the way and it was
all about defense. ucla really should have won by 10+ points, but they
couldn't make their free throws. then again, memphis didn't make their
3s. then again, you could certainly attribute that to ucla's defense. in
their first meeting this season memphis beat ucla 88-80, in this game memphis
scored just half that many points (45). my biggest concern about ucla at
this point is their interior strength. mata is okay for a few minutes and
hollins is good, but i don't know how they'll fare against davis and thomas
(i think that's his name) at lsu or uconn's interior. i really credit ben
howland with ucla's transformation the last couple years. he's a great
coach and i like his positivity - he's always congratulating and complimenting
his players and opponents.
got the carpentry job offered
to me today. so i have two offers and i'm still not sure what to do about
washington blew it tonight.
i don't think all that much of uconn, but they have a way of flipping the
switch in time to win it. bc put up a good fight against villanova.
keyshawn johnson signed
with the panthers which means him and steve smith will be a pretty dangerous
tandem. carolina still needs a consistent running threat, though, and i'm
not sure that foster can fill that need.
the niners picked up larry
allen which means they have at least one very good lineman. right now they're
slotted to draft d'brickashaw ferguson, ot from virginia, but i don't know
about that after signing allen. i think the defensive lineman from oregon
is a more likely choice, but i'd like to see them trade a pick or two so
they could get lendale white and the lineman from oregon. if they did something
like that then they'd have a starting lineman on each side of the ball
and a running back who could likely start opening day as well. it would
be a huge impact all around.
the pistons are a good
team, but, watching them play the heat the other day, made me realize that
they might not have what it takes to make it all the way. flip saunders
(their new coach) has done a decent job of upgrading their offense, but
i think that it's come at a cost of the overall plan. in the past the pistons
played a style of game that sought to limit the number of total posessions
in a game. they pressured the ball, rebounded well, and didn't turn the
ball over. all these focus points were designed to, essentially, shorten
the game. their new style is much more open, and it appears to me that
they're not playing with the same level of intensity and focus that they
played with under larry brown. this style of game is pretty much the exact
opposite of the phoenix suns style.
the ucla/gonzaga game was
just amazing. they were down by as much as 17 and looked intimidated. they
weren't shooting the ball well, they weren't taking the ball to the hoop
and they weren't rebounding cleanly. once afflalo picked up his fourth
foul i got really worried; he only played 28 minutes. i consider him our
best all around player and he clearly sets the tone on the defensive end.
i thought that bozeman did a pretty good job on morrison with afflalo out.
hollins had a good game, but has some learning to do. he made up for some
of his defensive mistakes with his athleticism. it was 71-62 with 3:27
left in the game and ucla closed out the game with a 11-0 run. it was beautiful.
ucla has made a couple big mistakes in this tourney and lived through them.
in the last game they choked on their free throws and survived. in this
game they came out sluggish and intimidated, scoring only 29 points. in
the second half they held gonzaga to 29 and scored 44. hopefully they've
learned from their mistakes.
in the last two minutes
of the game there were several critical posessions. farmar's runner towards
the baseline was a very difficult shot that he made. in the next posession
farmar went up against morrison (a clear mismatch, i think morrison is
7 inches taller) and farmar played solid defense and morrison missed one
of a few misses in the last couple minutes. another big play was the collison
drive to the basket which should have counted and been a three point opportunity,
instead the officials waved off the basket and collison missed the front
end of a one and one. three potential points turned into zero. it was one
of many awful calls (about 75% of which went gonzaga's way) and collison
compounded it by missing the free throw. with under 30 seconds, bozeman
made a huge steal, farmar picked it up and made a good pass. mbah a moute
jumped for the pass (which looked to be intended as an alley oop), gathered
himself and laid it up. it was a good decision to not force the lay up
while he was in the air. what's even better is that he came back quickly
on defense and made a big steal as gonzaga brought it up court. ucla only
led once the entire game. the final, desperation play was another nail
biter. it clearly brought up memories of grant hill passing to laettner
in the 1992 game against kentucky. the big difference was that in that
play i belive kentucky elected to NOT guard the inbound pass. here, howland
brought in the seven foot hollins to make the inbound pass difficult. that
said, the pass was quite good and, despite being double teamed, batista
got off a very makeable shot; he bricked it and the game ended.
all in all it was a thrilling
game and it brought back memories of other great games that i was emotionally
invested in. michigan/unc, kings/lakers, usc/texas being the big ones.
this one wasn't as big, but it was the only one that turned out the way
gonzaga, meanwhile, has
only gone to the elite 8 once in their history and it was when no one knew
about them. ever since then they've basically underperformed in the tourney.
they played only five ranked teams and lost to three of them. the two wins
came against a weak maryland team that didn't even make the tourney and
a three point win over michigan state (which lost in the first round of
the tourney). despite morrison's disappearance in the last three minutes
of this game, i think he'll be a better nba player than redick. he's taller
and can create his own shots. both need to learn to play defense, but that's
a problem with about 85% of the nba-bound basketball talent.
so far the best team in
the tourney, to my eye, has been villanova. i really like noah from florida.
i also like BC. they're all in the same region so that's too bad for them.
hopefully washington represents for the pac-10 tomorrow. a big part of
me would also like to see texas/ucla so i california can get a chance to
avenge the rose bowl loss.
i thought that len elmore's
color commentary during the ucla/gonzaga game was quite good.
final jeopardy answer:
"the last british king not named george, william or edward was named this."
only two got to the final and they guessed richard and henry. my wild guess
was james and it turned out to be right. i've found that 75% of jeopardy
is just having a decent guess or picking up on the cues from the writing
of the answer.
i've given thought in the
past to alternate rating scales for films. i currently use letter grades,
but i've thought about attaching a monetary value to a film - for example,
you'd have to pay me $100 to see gigli and i'd pay $100 to see the graduate.
for comedies i've thought about an equivalency scale - for example, date
movie produces as many laughs as 0 minutes of seinfeld and planes, trains,
and automobiles (93 minutes long) produces as many laughs as 100 minutes
of seinfeld. both are flawed systems, but i came up with another one today
- how long a film stays with you, or gauging a film's effect on the viewer.
so, cool hand luke is a film that will stay with me forever so it gets
an "eternity" ranking. the good thing about the ranking system is that
forgettable films get a ranking equivalent to their running time and films
that have a lasting impact get their due. there are lots of films that
are nice enough, but don't really stick with you and this ranking system
captures that. the problem is that a film like gigli gets the same ranking
as cool hand luke since it's so bad that it stays with you for life.
got a job with the census.
the pros: it pays anywhere from $11-16/hour and it's probably meant to
be a temporary job so there won't be any guilt associated with my leaving
in late may. the cons: it might not be 40 hours a week, i'd probably get
the enumerator ($14.50/hr) job which means i'd have to go door to door
asking people census related questions, i don't think i'd like it very
i had an interview last
week with cd warehouse and it went okay, but i don't think i'm getting
that job. had another interview with a custom garage door manufacturer
and that went pretty well. if i get a call back i don't know what i'll
do. pros: i love carpentry - always have - and it's a good chance to get
some experience in the field, the guy seemed pretty cool, it's close to
home. cons: it'll probably pay about $8/hr for an entry level job, it's
a long term thing so i'd feel bad about leaving in may, the hours might
be earlier and it would be tougher to arrange a ride.
further proof of my piss
poor memory...and i'm being completely honest with this account: i watched
"harlan county, usa" about 10 minutes ago and was going online to see what
else the director (barbara kopple) had done. the name sounded familiar,
but i wasn't sure if it was because i had heard her name associated with
harlan county, usa or some other film. i looked at her filmography and
came upon a film called "american
dream." looking at the imdb entry i couldn't determine whether or not
i had seen it. i saw the user comments which were titled "add this to your
list," and decided to see what the user said about the film. if you go
to the link then you'll understand why my memory is crap.
was checking out another
director (leon gast) because i knew i had heard his name before. turns
out that he's done two films that i own - one love and when we were kings.
i looked at the imdb description of one love and got another surprise
in the user comments section.
film awards. regrettably, i didn't see most of those. i can tell you
that the documentary feature winner was probably the most advertised of
the documentaries so that may have been part of why it won. i can also
say that the runner-up was decent, but not as good as heart of the game
(which was screened at the theater furthest from the epicenter) or summercamp.
so, i'm disappointed that i couldn't comment on many of the winners, but
i also know that a lot of it is about getting people in the theater rather
than making a great film.
film is great. with most
of my reviews i lack a clear goal. sometimes i write a review for myself
and give all sorts of spoilers which would be obnoxious to the casual reader,
but help me when i read my reviews at a later date. sometimes i write reviews
in the hopes that someone will read them and be turned onto a film. other
times i just write a review because i have to. sometimes i write a review
from an academic or compare/contrast point of view. sometimes, and these
are usually the longest and most interesting reviews, i use the review
process as a springboard for my thoughts on whatever issues the film addresses.
in those cases i would categorize the review as life commentary in a filmic
saw a road named after
confederate general robert e. lee while driving in south austin the other
day. that's sad.
the alamo theaters in austin
were called the best theater in america by entertainment weekly and i might
have to agree. there are plenty of theaters in la that come close or are
better in one way or another (bigger, better interiors/curtains/atmosphere,
better staff, better programming, etc.), but there i can't think of any
that i've been to that has it all in one place. they have good programming,
a good menu of food which they bring to your seat, and they have attitude.
examples: they have free midnight showings on wednesdays and thursdays.
they have a set of promos which discourage talking during the film - one
features (ex-texas governor) ann richards taking a call from the theater
manager to help take out a rowdy member of the audience. at the end the
subtitle reads "don't talk during the movie or ann richards will take your
ass out." they also have a slo-motion film festival, a screening of the
world's best commercials, an air guitar contest, an open screen night (people
from the audience can bring in anything they want to show), a videoke (karaoke
for films) night, and other nifty stuff. their programming doesn't match
that of the silent theater, or the nuart, or the nuwilshire in la; and
they don't fit as many people as the national, mann's chinese, the dome,
the villiage or many others in la; and they don't have the nice interiors
of the crest. but, overall, the alamo theaters are pretty sweet.
the whole south park "closet"
episode controversy is pretty funny. isaac hayes quit the show citing religious
intolerance. meanwhile, the creators, rightly, pointed out his silence
when they made fun of catholics, christians, mormons and muslims. scientologists
are certifiably crazy and i'm glad south park is around to make fun of
everyone equally and, in the process, serve as a reminder that none of
this crap is worth getting all fussy about.
i think that the best job
for me in the long run would be as a social critic. it's something i'm
pretty good at and i know that there are people who actually do it for
a living so it's not completely unreasonable.
went to the screening of
the new beastie boys film the other day. will review later, but had to
mention that they showed up and did a q&a
afterwards. i've seen them live before, but it was different than seeing
them just a few feet away. we sat in the second row so they were pretty
close then, but i also saw them as they entered the theater. i sorta hung
around the lobby waiting for them. more than anything i was struck with
how small they seemed. they're more thin and short than i had realized.
i don't think any of them is over 5'9". mca looked older than usual because
he's getting gray and had the beard fully grown. they were funny as always
and it was cool to see them. mca waved at meryl after she waved to him.
we were looking up at them as they reached the balcony and it was before
other people in the theater realized they were there. that was a highlight
of the festival. cheesy
kings have lost the last
two in a row. the "in a row" part of the sentence is unnecessary.
writing reviews for the
last couple hours, but my reviews are too long lately.
sxsw is over. it's going
to take a couple days to review the 23 films and shorts that i've seen
in the last few days.
also in the midst of watching
the ncaa tourney which is shaping up pretty nicely. ucla is looking as
good as they have since 1995, but i worry about their rebounding and bench
read the sports illustrated
stuff on bonds. it's a lot of reading, but i think it still boiled down
to one thing: do you believe that he didn't know what was going on, or
do you believe his ex-girlfriend and trainers who said he did. it's possible
he had a policy of willful ignorance, but even that is pretty damn pathetic
of him. i'd say that i'm about 80% that he did steroids, but i don't like
the trend of trying him in the public arena. i really think that, like
the michael jackson issue, you have to let a court, or some formal investigation,
decide. instead i see a lot of people who are basing their conclusions
on hearsay. granted, it's a lot of hearsay, but you could easily make the
argument that his girlfriend is doing it for revenge and his trainers are
doing it to get themselves off. that said, it appears from the article
that their stories line up pretty well. but how much do you trust the guys
writing the article - their motives could be questioned as well. mccovey
has backed bonds by pulling the race card and that just taints the entire
thing even more. it's a damn big mess if you ask me.
one thing that the article
looked at was circumstantial evidence - some test taking body fat% and
weight and figuring out how likely it is that a person is taking steroids.
apparently bonds's score was something like 27 and anything over 25 is
considered suspect. the test sounds suspect to me. they also looked at
his sharp incline in homeruns per at bat from 98-present which is more
compelling. they also looked at pictures of him in the 90s compared to
now which may or may not mean anything. here's some circumstantial evidence
for you though - he has 9 at bats (hardly enough for statisical analysis,
but...) so far in spring training (hardly the real thing, but...) and he
has three homers and 7 total hits. that's a .777 average. we have to assume
he isn't doing roids anymore...if he were, under this scrutiny, then he'd
be dumber than anything thought possible (that said, see einstein quote
above)...yet he's still playing extremely well. what happens if he hits
50 homers this year? is it safe to assume he isn't doping? like i said,
i think he'd be an extraordinary idiot if he were and if we assume that
then a good year from him might convince some people of his legitimacy.
it's very late. wrote a
bunch of reviews, but still have a few to go.
very few pieces of art
affect me the way koyaanisqatsi does. listening to the soundtrack right
really would have liked
to see the kings/lakers game tonight. not living on the west coast definitely
has its drawbacks. before the game artest said that he was going to shut
kobe down. i agreed. i predicted one of a few things would happen: he'd
shoot under 40%, he'd score under 30 points, or he'd score more than 30,
but the lakers would lose. with 3:45 left in the game the kings are up
by 14, artest has 28 points (on 10 fewer shot attempts) vs. kobe's 24,
and kobe is 10/24 (42%). so, he's doing a bit better than i expected overall.
anyway, i'm loving the way the kings are playing these days; i just wish
i could watch the games.
game just ended. kobe made
two threes in the last 1:30 to increase his shooting percentage to 43%
and his point total to 30. i'd still say artest shut him down. the game
was over by the time kobe score 8, or more, of his points so they're trash
off to see my third midnight
screening in three days.
was reading over my film
reviews from 2004 (my best year in quantity and quality) and it reminded
me just how much went into that year. there were very few days when i missed
a movie and there were very few reviews that were less than a few sentences
long. it was a thoughtful time. the more i watch, the more i review and
the better the reviews get. not to be conceited, but i love some of my
reviews. a lot of the stuff i have completely forgotten, and that makes
it all the more interesting to read them. who's afraid of virginia woolf
has a good review, heat has a great review, there are plenty others. i
need to get back to that form.
have an interview for a
cd place today.
watching all these movies
is starting to take a toll. it's more the energy involved with travelling,
finding parking and waiting in line than anything else. you have to get
there 30 minutes early to have a good chance of getting in and the theaters
are as much as 15 miles apart. it just adds a lot of overhead to the process
which makes watching 2-4 films a day somewhat difficult. there are a couple
films i might watch at 11am today, but i might choose to write reviews
and rest instead.
ucla looked very solid
against cal the other day. i saw them play live when cal beat them, but
they were depleated by injury and still hadn't found themselves. i think
they're a solid team overall.
the kings beat a good dallas
team 85-80 last night. they're getting better.
first day of the sxsw (south
by southwest) film festival began today. i got a film pass for $65 which
allows me to watch as many movies in the next 9 days as i can. i'm planning
on watching about 25 movies, plus some short films. hopefully i'll stay
on top of things and update regularly.
another big day for gerry
mcnamara: "McNamara hit another big 3-pointer to get the Orange (22-11)
within one with 52 seconds left, assisted on Eric Devendorf's go-ahead
basket and caused a turnover with 1.5 seconds left in a 58-57 victory over
No. 23 Georgetown in the semifinals Friday night."
on 3/1/06 i referenced
something about coach k, but the link was invalid here
is the proper link. i'm still adjusting to the notepad as html editor
updated movieslist. big update today
- seven movies, which includes two films from the sxsw film festival.
just saw the uconn/syracuse
game. great game. mcnamara had a good game (17 pts, 13 assists, 5 rebounds)
and hit another huge shot. uconn can really make you pay for your mistakes.
and syracuse is stronger inside than i thought. they had some big blocks
in the final minutes. mcnamara is good, but i don't think his skills will
be enough to get him by in the nba. he's a solid, smart player, but i think
he'll likely be a role player like steve kerr or damon jones. he's not
very athletic and he's on the small side. he's not as quick or strong as
mike bibby, much less a guy like wade or iverson. i hope he does well because
i like guys who play smart ball and shoot well, he just needs to work on
strength and quickness.
pretty good sized storm
came and went in about 30 minutes last night. that sort of thing is pretty
typical around here, from what i hear.
been pretty good about
watching movies lately. i guess it's easy when you don't have a job.
chappelle's "black white
supremacist" skit is probably my favorite and certainly one of his most
well-conceived. from a social perspective it's absolutely razor sharp.
for those who don't know...it's about an old blind black man (played by
chappelle) who is a leading white supremacist. he doesn't know he's black
and his racist friends don't tell him because "he's too important to the
cause." it works so well on so many levels. first, it's one of his more
funny skits because of the idea and the execution. second, it works as
a commentary on the stupidity of the racist ideology. you have a man who
is so blinded by his hate that he eventually ends up hating himself and
his wife (because she is "a nigger lover"). at the same time you have his
racist friends who are, oddly, racist enough to put up with one black guy
if he helps their cause. another element in the sketch is the scene wherein
chappelle is being driven to a klan meeting and a few white guys roll up
in a convertible blasting hip-hop. chappelle berates them and calls them
"niggers" because he assumes as much from hearing the music. the white
guys, ironically, love this and see it as an accomplishment. the whole
skit just works as a brilliant commentary on the many facets of race relations
speaking of which...crash
was a poor choice as best picture. i watched brokeback mountain last night
and felt that it would have been a better choice. that said, i still think
munich was the best picture of the five nominees. i also think that jeff
daniels should have received a best actor nomination instead of heath ledger.
i also think it's lame that gyllenhaal was able to be nominated for the
best supporting actor category. i don't mind a beatrice straight situation...she
won a best supporting actress award in 1976 for four minutes of screen
time in network. but i do mind a guy who appears in a film for more than
an hour and gets a "supporting" nomination. that's bullshit. but anyway,
crash was one of the worst choices for best picture in the last 15 years.
others include: chicago, shakespeare in love, and titanic.
i think that bush still
gets off easy sometimes because of lowered expectations. people just expect
it and think of him as such a dumbass that when the economy doesn't tank
or only a few hundred people die as a result of his negligence, he looks
relatively good. i think that the reality of his presidency is catching
up with him a little, but not as much, or as quickly, as it should.
my only problem with artest
is that his shot isn't quite as consistent as possible.
miami is a good team, but
it takes 35 points from shaq on his birthday or 40 points by wade for them
to win competitive games.
d. willis gave up five
runs in under 3 innings yesterday. not too impressed by the us pitching
yesterday. the next game should be fine since clemens is starting.
south park is great. like
chappelle's "black white supremacist" skit, they often cut into the inconsistency,
irony and sheer stupidity of our culture. saw an episode last night which
did this quite well. mr. garrison (the gay teacher) feels that he is a
woman trapped in a man's body so he goes to a doctor to get a sex change
operation. meanwhile, kyle tries out for the basketball team, but finds
himself unable to compete with athletes who are much bigger and stronger
than he. the coach essentially tells him that jewish kids can't play basketball
and to come back when he's tall and black. if you know south park you know
this is done humorously, though it may not translate in my recollection.
kyle goes to the doctor and asks him about the operation he performed for
mr. garrison. kyle reasons that if the doctor can do an operation for a
man who feels like he's a woman trapped in a man's body then he should
be able to do an operation for kyle who feels like a tall black man trapped
in a little jewish boy's body. the doctor agrees and performs the operation.
later, he performs an operation on kyle's father who feels like a dolphin
trapped in a man's body. i love that south park takes an issue like this
cuts to its warped core and then takes it a step too far. it functions
as great commentary and humor.
the most tragic loss of
the week isn't the early death of kirby puckett, it's the loss of Malian
bluesman Ali Farka Toure. great artist who released two albums last year
(one being a double disc reissue of red/green).
kings are looking dangerous
these days. they beat new jersey at home today by 25. nj is leading their
division with a 32-27 record and didn't have any injuries for today's game.
martin scored only 7 points and the kings shot under 50% so it wasn't like
they had an amazing game. artest and wells had three steals each. looking
i've always wondered what
people say about me while i'm not around. i also wonder what people will
say about me when i'm gone. i guess everyone wonders those things.
been watching a lot of
the nfl combine workouts lately. not sure why. it's sorta interesting,
but most of the big names don't bother (understandably). haven't been wowed
took a test today to be
a census worker. i think i did well, but i'm not sure if i'd want the job,
despite the high pay.
i like matt dillon, but
his performance in crash was inferior to his performances in: there's something
about mary, drugstore cowboy and my bodyguard.
during one of the montage
sequences in the oscars they showed the clip in e.t with the kids flying
over the cop cars on their bikes. sadly, they chose the censored version
over the original one(both are available on the dvd release). the censored
version shows the cops holding walkie talkies instead of rifles. pathetic.
also noticed that when
they showed robert wise (who died the same day as guy green) during the
"we'll miss these people" montage, they labeled him a director. i would
have credited him as an editor/director since he edited films like: the
magnificent ambersons, the devil and daniel webster and citizen kane.
serkis may one day be seen as a great innovator. he's the guy who did
the movements for king kong and gollum in the lotr trilogy. this kind of
acting is only going to get more popular as the technology becomes cheaper.
people don't seem to have any objections either.
seinfeld is about as close
as i get to having a bible. it's a cultural text to which i turn when i
have questions about life and i reference it on a daily basis.
here's my review for crash:
- short cuts and magnolia-esque in its storytelling, cast-type, and ending,
but nowhere near the tour-de-force that magnolia is. it begins just after
a car crash and this, along with mark isham's (who also did short cuts)
ethereal score, sets the dream-like tone for the rest of the picture; to
view the film as a realistic set of events would mean a less enjoyable
experience. the film ends with another car crash as the camera tracks along
the street and eventually ascends to give larger meaning to the picture.
it's certainly an ambitious film, but one that falls short several times.
matt dillion and don
cheadle were stand-outs in the packed cast, but matt dillion's character
was one of the least well-drawn in the film. it was either too easy to
hate him or too easy to forgive him. either way it came off as simple,
lazy or cliché. already the film is in imdb.com's top #250 (though
i'm sure it won't last) and this is testament to the ease with which some
people are manipulated. clearly this film lacks subtlety from time to time,
and yet people were sucked in. all this isn't to say that the picture was
without redeeming qualities, it's just that the picture is too neat and
when dealing with a subject matter as unsavory, complex and faceted as
racism, neat shouldn't be the desired effect. on the positive side were
some good performances, a good, complementary score and some good dialogue.
paul haggis also wrote million dollar baby. C+.
i haven't seen brokeback
mountain so i can't really comment on that, but in general the films that
were nominated seem like pictures which had good or ambitious ideas/themes,
but fell short on execution. and, frankly, i think i'd rather see a well
executed film about a trite or frivolous topic than a poorly executed film
about something topical.
it was very sad to hear
jon stewart point out that triple six mafia have one oscar and martin scorsese
has zero. the academy can be full of shit sometimes. that said, i was actually
hoping they would win. i thought it was a good song and it fit well with
heard a story on npr today
about gay men who take an anti-hiv drug called T (which is short for something
that i can't remember) in order to prevent aids. npr story here.
this sort of thing is quite troubling to me.
1. some of them take the
drug so that they can have unprotected sex and (they think) avoid getting
hiv. 2. a side effect of this behavior might be a strain of hiv that is
resistant to the drug. the interviewees mulled over the various potential
effects of this behavior: the increase of a drug-resistant strain, the
increase of unprotected sex because of the perception that the drug protects
them, the potential proliferation of the disease in general as a result,
etc. to me the whole thing is completely ridiculous. i can't understand
why it's so hard to use a condom or avoid the risk altogether. we're talking
about your life and the lives of others. if your negligent behavior leads
to a drug-resistant strain that subsequently kills more people more quickly
then that's a problem. one doctor saw it as a choice between allowing his
patients (who he described as very sophisticated, i'd contend that they're
very sophomoric) to have unprotected sex and get hiv or prescribing them
the drug with the hope that it'll stem the spread of the virus and protect
his patients in the process. it seems to be an irresponsible way to practice
home prices in austin are
often under six figures. this place is cheap. i want a house.
not working as a painter
anymore. got let go yesterday. it's sort of a long story, but the essence
of it is that i don't work fast enough. i work hard and he liked the work
i did, but i just didn't do it quickly enough. with painting i've always
worked at my own pace. jon, vern and i never really had to bust ass to
get a job done and the jobs i've done since then for my grandmother, my
mom and my uncle haven't had a strict time schedule. if i feel like getting
into it i may document the full story later, but it's all pretty unclear
and a lot of it is based upon suspicions and assumptions. one thing about
it that really made me mad is that he always said i was doing a good job
when he stopped by. on fridays, when he gave me my check, he'd say good
job and that would be that. so i definitely feel a little slighted and
kinda bad about myself. now it's back to the awful task of finding a new
was reading some updates
from april of 2000 and it reminded me of the roommate debate we were going
through at the time. i really don't remember what happened, but i remember
that jon, monique, vern and i were supposed to live together but something
didn't work out. my memory is, apparently, quite bad because i wrote about
it a couple times so it was obviously on my mind enough to remember.
kings won again last night.
they're playing well. bonzi wells played his first game after missing 10
need to review some movies,
including the belated review of match point.
looking forward to the
south by southwest festival. plenty of great music shows will be here.
so far these are the must sees: immortal technique/jedi mind tricks, jean
grae/talib kweli, and blackalicious/mr. lif. others of interest to me:
eagles of death metal, k-os, gomez, atmosphere/brother ali/soul position,
why?, bettye lavette/black heart procession/archie bronson outfit/arctic
monkeys, blockhead, brian jonestown massacre, self-scientific/dj muggs/supernatural/
visionaries, lady sovereign and more. then i have a pass to see as many
movies as i can during those 10 days. it's going to be a busy time.
"hello, i love you" by
the doors should be sampled. it's got a great riff.
kings are 9-6 with artest
after a win tonight. artest held lebron to 7 for 21 tonight. they held
the cavs to exactly 90.
team USA isn't going to
extend an invitation to iverson. i think that's a big mistake. in selecting
my team i struggled with my choice to leave him
off the roster. i think my major reason for leaving him off is that i think
he's a little too stuck in his role as the primary shooter. in selecting
my team i wanted guys who would be comfortable in running a set offense
and adapting to the coach's style. iverson is a great player and i've always
been a fan of his game, but i went with wade instead. he can break down
defenses pretty well, has a solid shot, isn't as good defensively, but
appears a little more coachable at this point.
speaking of team usa...a
while back i said
that they should just allow coach k (of duke) to choose the team himself.
they essentially took my advice on that one. he's the coach of team usa
and coangelo is the team director. related
story. "He picked Duke's Mike Krzyzewski to coach the team that he
said will not be a collection of superstars, but rather a true national
team complete with role players. Colangelo is requiring a three-year commitment
from the players." it looks like their roster is 22 players long and mine
was only 12 players long. if i had one more space i'd pick iverson. after
that i'd pick up a big man who can play defense and rebound. mourning comes
to mind for a few solid minutes. offensively he's a liability and he can't
play many minutes, but he's hungry, a good citizen and a great, prototypical
started reading freakonomics
today. so far i've only read the introduction and i can't say that i'm
impressed. they argue that the roe v. wade decision is responsible for
the decline in juvenile violence in the 90s, and then give a lecture on
the importance of causation vs. correlation. in that argument they give
no hard data on abortions or crime rates, rather they offer this simplistic
reasoning: "as far as crime is concerned, it turns out that not all children
are born equal....millions of women most likely to have an abortion in
the wake of roe v. wade - poor, unmarried, and teenage mothers for whom
illegal abortions had been too expensive or too hard to get - were often
models of adversity. they were the very women whose children, if born,
would have been much more liekly than average to become criminals."
they also challenge the
well-established notion that money helps buy elections. to my knowledge,
the factors that best predict the success of a candidate are: incumbency
and money raised. in two pages, though, they minimalize and trivialize
this fact which has been proven over and over by political scientists.
again, they do this without showing hard data: "the amount of money spent
by the candidates hardly matters at all. a winning candidate can
cut his spending in half and lose only 1 percent of the vote....what really
matters for a political candidate is not how much you spend; what matters
is who you are...some politicians are inhereently attractive to voters
and others simply aren't." they go on to trivialize the amount of money
spent in an average election cycle: about $1 billion is spent per year
- which sounds like a lot of money, unless you care to measure it against
something seemingly less important than democratic elections. it is the
same amount, for instance, that americans spend every year on chewing gum."
they don't mention the role that money plays in the political process,
they way corporations exert undue influence on the process because of the
access that their money buys, instead they trivialize the amount spent,
and pretend it doesn't matter.
lastly, in their bit about
the legalization of abortion and the lower crime rates, they cite two papers
done by one of the authors. pretty weak academics if you ask me.
slept too much last night.
this old house is one of
my favorite shows ever, but last week's final episode of the season had
me a bit concerned. they did a final walk through on one of the most expensive
remodels i've ever seen. it was a beautiful house, but the details that
they had in that place seemed to put the project beyond the bourgeois.
it seemed beyond the usual upgrade of an older place. it wasn't about restoration,
it was about a multi-millionaire getting his dream house. it's still nice
to see the new technology and the construction, but i thought that the
show was beginning to lose its center. then, today's episode ushered in
the new season. it takes place in a row house in D.C. a company bought
it for $1 from the city with the caveat that they must sell it to a low-middle
class family. they have a $250K budget and they're going to need it. the
house had a fire and plenty of associated water damage, was once used as
a crack house, and was completely neglected. it'll be fun to see them work
on it with a fixed budget and for a better cause than some rich guy who
wants an exotic water feature leading up to his custom made 200 lb. solid
wood front door.
olympics are almost over.
i didn't think sasha cohen was going to medal after her falls. that means
at least two silver medals went to people who fell in their final program.
i'm not a huge fan of the new system, though i understand its origins and
mancuso redeemed herself
a bit, but i still agree with picabo street who cited a lack of professionalism
on the woman's ski team. i'd have to throw bode miller into that as well.
"New York Knicks: Do I
have to explain? This is like a broken record. Another couple of overdribbling,
overpaid players (Jalen Rose and Steve Francis) come to New York, where
they'll team with other overdribbling, overpaid players. Larry Brown will
pull his hair out trying to make these guys try to play "the right way."
Meanwhile, the Knicks' payroll spirals further out of control. Apparently,
Isiah Thomas has the same budget as our federal government." - steve kerr
on trades in the nba.
started working at a new
location today. scraped some popcorn off a few ceilings. i like moving
on to new work.
kings are starting to gel.
they beat golden state by 25 the other night and pulled ahead of them in
the standings as a result. granted, baron davis didn't play, but it's still
a good sign that they held the warriors to under 80.
juan and i get into conversations
about god and religion every once in a while. we talked about the existence
of god and what i believed. he said that evil is everywhere and that it's
because of adam and eve. it's hard talking to anyone about this stuff,
especially when they don't have a full grasp of the language. that said,
he doesn't shove it down my throat or preach to me while we're working
so i'm okay with it at this point.
sister's birthday today.
if i could just get everyone
in the world to say "couldn't care less" instead of "could care less" i
would die a happy man. they mean to say "couldn't" instead of "could" but
people don't think about it. i've heard it several times on the olympics
from athletes and anchors quoting them.
bode miller is more notable
for his bullshit antics and near crashes than anything else. pretty disappointed
by the hype that that guy generated.
olympic hockey seems more
exciting that nhl hockey. i think a couple major reasons include: less
holding, size of the ice, fewer traps, quicker style of play (the icing
rule comes to mind), and more. that said, i haven't watched nhl hockey
since the strike. i'll watch during the playoffs when the games mean something.
it seems that some of the
american athletes have taken to making excuses for their performances.
with weir it was that he didn't catch the bus on time, with ohno it's the
"team play" of s. korea, etc. it's kinda sad to hear some of them talk
about why they haven't done as well as they were expected to.
shani davis is kind of
a punk. i sorta understood his not wanting to participate in the team race,
but his "interview" after winning the gold was just plain rude. from what
i understand he feels slighted by the institutions associated with american
speed skating, but that doesn't really excuse his behavior. oh well.
just saw the skiing relay.
the final leg of the italian team slowe down toward the end, got a flag
and basically walked to the finish line while directing the crowd. i thought
it a bit distasteful. i think it was probably worse than jacobellis' method
air near the finish line. what makes her's worse is that she didn't do
it successfully. i think that celebration after the competition is one
thing, celebration before is where i personally draw the line. when crawford,
gatlin and company rejoiced after the competition i thought it was maybe
a bit too much, but i was fine with it. when people, like the italian today,
leon lett in the superbowl (i thought of that example before nbc mentioned
him) and jacobellis yesterday, showboat before it's over then i get upset.
relatedly, lendale white
is my favorite player coming out of the draft this year. i'm not saying
he'll be better than bush or leinert, but i like him more. when he gets
a touchdown (and he ran for more than anyone this year) he hands the ball
to the ref and jogs to the sideline. classy guy. it shows everyone that
he's been there before. i'd be thrilled if the niners picked him up in
the draft this year. he's projected to go anywhere from 13 to 17, the niners
have the 7th pick and are projected to take vernon davis, te from maryland.
overall, these olympic
games have been less exciting than some of the recent ones i remember.
that said, it's still the olympics.
an amazing thing happened
today: for the first time in several years i saw an episode of seinfeld
that was completely new to me. "the lockbox" i thought that i had seen
"I am very concerned about
our national heritage, and I am very concerned that the films that I watched
when I was young and the films that I watched throughout my life are preserved,
so that my children can see them." - george lucas regarding the colorization
of the three stooges on dvd. what a hypocrite.
got sick on wednesday night.
went to work thursday and friday but felt like shit.
my olympic basketball roster:
PG: billups, wade. SG: lebron, hamilton. SF: artest, bowen. PF: duncan,
marion. C: shaq, b. wallace. reserves: garnett, kidd. i went for solid
team players who had the fundamentals: ball control, shot making, rebounding
and defense. the point guards take care of the ball, distribute it well,
don't shoot too much and play good defense.
wade has a sweet 12-18
foot shot, billups is money from beyond the arc and makes as many big shots
as anyone else in the league. kidd is the best rebounding guard in the
league and passes as well as anyone i've ever seen. lebron is great all
around. he scores, rebounds and passes well. a true team player. hamilton
is a great shooter, esp. from beyond the arc. he plays good team ball and
moves well without the ball. artest is probably the best defender in the
league and plays as hard as anyone. sometimes he takes a few too many shots,
but i think that being amongst great offensive players will stem that a
bit. bowen is another great defender and is consistently one of the best,
and most timely three point shooters in the game. he's been in big games
several times before so the olympic stage won't phase him at all. duncan
is the consumate team player with a great understanding of the fundamentals;
an obvious pick. marion finishes extremely well and may even be the high
scorer on this team since guys like billups, wade, kidd and lebron all
distribute the ball so well and play so unselfishly. he cleans up the boards
with the best of them, is extremely athletic and blocks a lot of shots.
great player. shaq is simply too big and fundamentally strong for anyone
in the world to guard. he'll roll over opponents and get a lot of easy
rebounds. ben wallace is a bit undersized at center in the nba, but will
be fine in the olympics. he plays hard, is a good inside presence and rebounds
very well, esp. on the offensive end. he won't contribute much on the offensive
end, but, like artest and bowen, i picked him primarily for his defense.
garnett is an all-around player. he passes well for a big man, rebounds,
can score, but doesn't shoot too much, and is athletic.
none of these guys are
prima donnas, all of them would rather win than be the best player on the
team. i left out guys like iverson and kobe because they take too many
shots. i left out guys like vince carter because, though they may be good,
they would rather put on a good show than play fundamental basketball.
my coach would be greg popovich and the assistant coach would be up to
speaking of people who
would rather show off than close the deal...this jacobellis chick who lost
the gold yesterday because she did a trick on the penultimate jump of her
snowboard cross race. afterwards she tried to say that she was just trying
to balance herself. later on in the interview she sorta admitted that she
was excited and trying to showboat a bit. it's obnoxious that she didn't
own up to it right away. it's also annoying because it just feeds the stereotype
of americans and snowboarders. she's a young girl and she's got time to
make mistakes, but i still think it was a very stupid thing to do and it
disappointed me a lot. i also feel it was a bit hypocritical of nbc to
give her shit about it when we all know they would have played it over
and over again if she had pulled the trick off without falling. tv loves
the sensational and they would have rewarded her showboating by replaying
it throughout their olympics coverage. to turn around and chastise her
for her attempt to create an "olympic moment" is disingenuous. that said,
i'm not saying it was their fault. it's her's.
movies and updates are
going to be few and far between during the olympics. i love the olympics
and my life basically shuts down during the two weeks that they're on.
kings looked great last
night. granted they beat the hawks, who suck, but a 25 point win and allowing
under 90 points (again) is still big for them. artest had six steals to
go with 20 points and six assists. it's good to see that kenny thomas is
back to last season's form. i'm not sure why abdur-rahim isn't doing as
well lately. kevin martin is finding his legs offensively and that's good.
he's been a good scorer for a while now, but it's just taken him some time
to find his place in the offense. they should be really strong in the playoffs
when wells comes back. yes, i said the playoffs.
detroit didn't look too
hot in the 4th quarter against the heat. wade plays well in the clutch
and the pistons just didn't knock down their shots.
i like fridays
i like britney's quote
here. she really is a great modern mind..."Britney Spears has defended
her controversial decision to take off through heavy Malibu, California
traffic with her baby son on her lap, but accepts she made a mistake. The
pop superstar drew criticism from family groups when she drove away from
paparazzi with Sean Preston unrestrained on her lap, but she insists she
had to speed off for her 'safety.' She says, "It is what it is... I made
a mistake. Being put in the situation that I was in it was kinda bad, with
the paparazzi." Spears reveals she feared a repeat of a traumatic snapper
onslaught last week. She adds, "Last week my mom, we went out and they
just kind of were really on us bad, so you do instinctively what you need
i'd be plenty happy if
i could just roll paint 8 hours a day. i love rolling paint. it looks so
good when you're applying it. i like clean lines and it feels a lot more
rewarding than prep work.
went to see the harlem
globetrotters yesterday. good, funny show. too many jokes about usc for
my taste, but otherwise pretty good. there was some kid (10-11 years old)
from the stands who got asked onto the court to take a few shots. he missed
a couple and they joked that it was because he was wearing usc colors.
the crowd booed the kid and then a heckler behind us started yelling stuff
like "i'm going to kill your family" and "you couldn't get into UT."
i still think about the
rose bowl everyday because there are constant reminders of it. people still
wear rose bowl shirts and store marquees still read "congratulations longhorns"
and the like. still depressing.
the kings are looking better
and better these days. seven games into the trade, ron artest has made
all the difference. i think that peja was good, but he just wasn't a competitor
and his defense has always been suspect. ron artest is a true shut down
guy and he can score and rebound as well. i love that acquisition and i
think it instantly gives the kings a chance at the playoffs. since he's
become a king they have allowed over 90 points only three times. one was
in OT, which they lost, and they won the other two. they only allowed 100+
in one game - the one that went to OT. in the seven games previous to peja's
trade, the kings allowed over 90 points five times, and over 100 four times.
in those games the kings were 3-4. with artest they're 4-3, but they've
won the last three.
to blog entry about the death of an old friend. as best i can tell he was
spiraling and ended up shooting himself. we were pretty good friends in
high school. he was on the track and cross-country team and we hung out
pretty much every day after school/running at the local library. he was
a funny and smart guy, but also had bouts of depression from time to time.
after we went to separate colleges and he hooked up with my ex-girlfriend
we stopped talking to each other.
i thought about him, high
school, drugs, and suicide pretty much all day yesterday. the whole thing
is pretty sad. he was a good guy and certainly had plenty to offer so it
sucks that he's gone.
working on catching up
on movie reviews. watched three more movies in the last two days so that's
making it tough.
super bowl was a bit of
a disappointment. not because of the outcome, i was rooting for the steelers
(mostly because they're john's favorite team), rather because it seemed
a bit on the sloppy side. it wasn't very well refereed either.
trying to catch up on movie
reviews. jon is working on a new layout for millersmovies.com. it'll have
interactivity, more features, and should look a bit better as well. we're
going to try it out and see if we can get some ad dollars as well. there
will always be the ad-free stuff through this site though.
getting used to using notepad
for all my html stuff. it takes more time, especially to do little formatting
stuff like changing fonts, font sizes, styles, colors, etc. looking forward
to getting composer back in several months.
kobe and iverson are great,
but i think that it's probably fair to say that lebron is better than either
at this point. his team is finally winning and i think it's in large part
because he takes fewer shots than either of those guys. he takes four fewer
shots than iverson and five fewer than kobe, per game. kobe is averaging
35.7 ppg, iverson is averaging 33.7, and james is averaging 31.0. not that
big a difference, yet james takes 4-5 shots fewer which means his teammates
get 4-5 shots more. he handles the ball less than either kobe or iverson
yet has more assists than kobe and only 1.2 assists less than iverson.
he out rebounds kobe by 1.3 and iverson by 3.5. he gets more blocks, has
a higher fg% and is between the two of them in steals. the most important
stat is that his team is winning. i like iverson more and i think kobe
has just as much talent, but james is making those around him better by
taking fewer shots, passing when the other two would shoot, and being a
steelers are basically
playing a home game in detroit. weather is cold and it's bettis' home town.
i'm pretty sure that larry
david does the voice of george steinbrenner on seinfeld. never really noticed
that until this week.
don't know if i made my
superbowl prediction yet. i'm picking the steelers because i feel their
defense is better and they're more battle-tested than the seahawks. i don't
think fatigue will be an issue. i think the linebackers and safety help
of the steelers will be able to keep alexander under 100 yards and that'll
put more pressure on hasselbeck. i think that the steelers have the ability
to put up a lot of points, even though their numbers during the regular
season pale compared to seattle's. steelers by four.
"saw" is a film with a
great title. really, that film could only have one title. "saw" because
the perpetrator saw everything and because of the hacksaw which figures
prominently in the plot.
i've had this image in
my head for a few years now, but have lacked the time/energy/motivation
to put it together. i told meryl about it and, since she's great and a
graphic designer with time on her hands, she made it for me:
been really busy lately.
work is tough. i think most of the sanding is done though, so that's good.
i hate how much stuff i
have to do on the computer. i wish i had my computer with me so i could
use netscape composer and some other tools i have.
i'm pretty disappointed
by the list of oscar nominations. i haven't seen all the films, most notably
memoirs of a geisha, brokeback mountain and walk the line (will likely
see two of those before oscar time); but i still am less than thrilled
by the selections. best motion picture, in particular, seems a no-brainer
to me: munich. it had the best direction, the most compelling story and
the most interesting characters. in a word: brokeback mountain: unseen.
capote: hoffman. crash: over-rated. good night, and good luck: lifeless.
none of the films outside of munich was real best picture material. if
paul haggis gets an academy for his direction in crash i'll probably shit
myself. it had some good performances which can't be attributed to him
and some of the direction was just plain laughable. the locksmith scene
towards the end comes to mind.
syriana was disappointing
and i can't really understand the pick for best screenplay on that one.
it felt really murky, underdeveloped, and not intentionally so. there was
also a lack of characterization, also a problem in clooney's other big
film - good night, and good luck. overall, i think there was some good
stuff that got missed (e.g., squid and the whale, and the performances
therein), and some topical stuff that got pushed along.
it occured to me that i'll
probably never be anyone's best man. i also don't know who my best man
would be if that issue were to arise. that makes me a little sad.
15 hours of sandpapering
in the last two days. i'm not a painter, i'm a sander.
been a while. the local
market (randall's, which is the texas version of safeway) doesn't have
the usual conveyor belt setup that markets in CA have. instead, you just
roll your cart up and the checker takes the groceries out for you. the
first thing i thought about that is that it must suck for them. having
to bend over all day to take stuff out of carts likely puts quite a toll
on their body. it makes much more sense to have the customer do it. i think
it's quicker for all, and better for the health of the worker. that same
market also doesn't seem to sell hard liquor. they also have their birth
control stuff locked in a glass case next to the pharmacy. it's the little
first week of work is done.
it's good to have a job that makes you feel productive. i like the feeling
of accomplishment i get after i see all the stuff i've prepped or painted.
friday was a tough day. i was sanding doors, crown molding, baseboards,
etc. for about 6 hours straight. my body is sore, but it's a good feeling.
i also got a good sized paycheck on friday since i'm not getting taxed
and i worked 38.5 hours. i work entirely with latinos (i think they're
all mexican, but to be p.c....). juan, the leader of our three man crew,
is from mexico and we talk a bit over the lunch that he buys me (very nice
of him). he's lived in austin for 15 years, but sometimes his english isn't
great. wilson is the other painter i work with, but he doesn't speak english
at all. there are other contractors around the house (a two story place
built in the 20s) who are working on tiling or cabinets or counters or
landscaping. i'm the only white guy who is there on a regular basis. the
owner is a white lady and the only other white guys who ever come by are
the contractors who just stop in to see what progress is being made. it's
a bit like a spanish immersion program, and i like that. i took about 3
days of spanish in high school before i, stupidly, chose to transfer to
latin. i can't speak or understand spanish, but i know a few words here
and there, and i know how to say "how do you say," so that can come in
handy. overall, it's a fun time, but a lot of work.
earlier this week we planned
out our tour of the baseball stadiums. it looks like we'll have to miss
a few games, but we'll at least visit all the stadiums and probably see
every team play at least once. the all-star break was a pain, and the places
that have two teams make it difficult because they don't have both teams
in town at the same time. other than that, though, our schedule seems pretty
practical and practicable.
there are a shitload of
dining options in austin. there are lots of bbq places, mexican food places,
and burger stands.
went to see the squid and
the whale last night at the dobie theaters yesterday. thought it was very
good. the theater was interesting as well. it had an egyptian motif inside
and the seating had two parts that were angled like a "V" with the screen
at the vertex. at the very back there was a glassed off room with a couple
seats. don't know what it's for, but it could be used for people who like
to talk during a film or who just want their own private area. don't know
if it's a pay more kind of arrangement, or if a it's a first come, first
served deal. so far, i've been mostly impressed by the austin indie theaters.
that said, the bigger theaters aren't all that great.
i've got three days of
painting under my belt now. i think i'm going to get paid weekly so that's
nice. the first two days of work were pretty lame, but today was good.
the guy who hired me, eric, is a general contractor and doesn't seem to
know that much about painting. he's also not the most organized guy. the
shitty thing about the first couple days was that i had to fix a bunch
of problems midstream. now, things have sort of settled and things are
going well. juan, the other guy i work with, has been painting a long time
(though his first day with eric was also on monday) and he knows what he's
doing. another thing that makes this job a tough one is that we're using
some oil-based paint, some water-based paint, some semi-gloss, some eggshell,
some flat, and several different colors. i hate oil-based paint. it's a
pain to work with and clean-up is obnoxious.
my interview with the valet
company went well. i think i may get an offer, but i'm not sure if i'll
take it. it's only $4/hour because, like waiters, you work mostly for tips.
that said, the tips are apparently pretty good and non-taxable so that's
nice. i've already been a painter before so being a valet would be a nice,
new experience. at the same time, juan is a good guy to work with and i
know i'll learn a lot from him; painting is also a much more valuable skill
than being a valet. the other mitigating factor is the hours. so far, the
painting job has allowed good flexibility of hours - the other day i had
to leave a couple hours early and no one had a problem with it. whereas
the valet job would require weekend work and nights, at least at first.
i'm pretty happy that i
found work pretty quickly. it's giving me something to do, i like feeling
productive, and of course it's nice to have money as well.
glad that the steelers
won the other day. sad that the panthers lost. guess that's what happens
when you're playing with your fourth string running back, your qb has a
bad day, and your offensive line gets chewed up. i look for the steelers
to take the super bowl. i don't feel that the seahawks have been battle-tested
yet. they haven't had to play any really good, healthy teams. if they had
done as well against the panthers with davis and foster, then i'd think
differently. i think the steelers have a better defense and a pretty well-balanced
just got back from my first
day at work in texas. did some painting for a contractor who is working
on a pretty large renovation. it seems like the kind of work that could
last at least a few weeks if that's what i chose/needed to do.
i have an interview with
a valet company tomorrow. overall i think i might rather go with the valet
job. it'll pay about the same, i'll make good money on tips, it's easier
on my body, and the commute works out fine as well. the downside is that
i'll have to be nice to people and i'll probably have to dress nicely.
my knee hurts a bit from
crouching down a lot.
need to update my movies
updating on notepad is
a lot less exciting than using composer.
might have a painting job
on monday. i don't need the money that much right now, but i could use
the work. sitting around isn't very exciting.
there's a lot of wasted
space in texas; and i'm not just talking about the fat people. roadways
are larger than they need to be, parking lots are huge and sprawling, lanes
are wider, space between roadways are larger, etc.
played football with meryl
yesterday. i like playing football.
the apartment is pretty
nice, it suits me. it's north of downtown and relatively close to shopping,
movies, and good places to eat. unfortunately this area isn't pedestrian
friendly so we drive most places.
monday we went to meryl's
dad's place. before we went we realized that there was a flat tire so i
changed the tire, but broke two wheel studs in the process. wheel studs
are made of aluminum and the lugnuts are made of steel so when they rotate
tires and over-tighten the nuts with the pneumatic drill it fucks up the
threading. after that happened we had to drive to the shop and get the
studs repaired. after that we got a new tire because the old one was slashed
on the side wall. because meryl was there, a four hour detour was a good
adventure instead of a big pain in the ass.
watching uncle buck right
now. it was on amc the other day and we tivoed it. amc has good movies,
but they have commercials, they censor stuff, and it's not in the proper
i haven't found any html
editor as good as netscape composer. it's so simple, intuitive and easy
to use. everything else is cumbersome, obnoxious or too busy.
texas is full of people
who don't pay attention to their surroundings. it's also full of people
who are very nice. southern hospitality still exists.
tivo is great.
pretty settled in. still
looking for employment. i have a couple leads so far. i hate looking for
i loved this episode: "Tom
Cruise has reportedly stopped an episode of South Park that mocks him from
being aired in Britain. The show, in which Nicole Kidman and Cruise's fellow
Scientologist John Travolta are depicted attempting to coax an animated
version of the actor out of a closet caused controversy when broadcast
in the US. The cartoon Kidman tells Cruise, "Don't you think this has gone
on long enough? It's time for you to come out of the closet. You're not
fooling anyone." - referring to allegations about Cruise's sexuality. According
to TheRegister.co.uk, Paramount has agreed not to show the episode again,
after Cruise complained. A source tells the site, "Tom is famously very
litigious and will go to great lengths to protect his reputation. Tom was
said not to like the episode and Paramount just didn't dare risk showing
it again. It's a shame that UK audiences will never see it because it's
officially living in texas
lots of rose bowl reminders
here which is depressing. also lots of wasted space. city/roadway planning
isn't very good around here.
will update soon.
painting the office is
taking longer than expected. actually the wall prep is the holdup. it's
a very obnoxious wall.
went to the clippers/magic
game yesterday. the magic were without grant hill and the clippers were
without maggette and brand. it was amateur night most of the game. cassell
and francis both had bad games. chris kaman was the most impressive player,
which is pretty sad. the clippers won which is good because it's an la
team over a florida team. but bad because i bet my dad that the lakers
would end with a better record than the clippers.
other evidence of right
wing football conspiracy: san francisco plays houston in the final game
of the season. it is known as the "reggie" bowl because the loser probably
wins the first pick in the draft. it goes to OT and houston loses the game,
thus acquiring first pick. they'll pick up USC's reggie bush. tell me two
cities that embody the culture war more than houston and san francisco.
i think that game was fixed too. bush was so distraught by the fact that
he would be drafted by houston that it caused him to play a subpar game
in the rose bowl. or, better yet, they brainwashed bush manchurian candidate
busy day today, but i got
a lot done.
shipped a bunch of books,
started the painting process in my grandma's office, went to a movie, finally
replaced a door latch that has been vexing me since i came here, and more.
tomorrow should be just as busy.
leaving for austin on sunday
so i have a lot to do between now and then. projects for a few family members,
book business stuff, final get togethers with family/friends, and more.
sleep comes first.
watched munich tonight.
golda meir (prime minister of israel, as played by lynn cohen) has a couple
scenes early in the film. we have a signed/inscribed copy of her autobiography
if anyone is interested.
looks like marcus vick
is in even more
trouble now. that guy is self-destructing. pretty pathetic. wasted
marcus vick isn't at the
top of my list.
patriots are looking pretty
tough in spite of the fact that they lack their best defensive player,
pac-10 basketball looks
competitive, but probably not very good. when cal and asu push ucla (ranked
17) to the edge, that's bad. when washington loses twice in 10 days to
other pac-10 teams
"that was not just the
worst loss in the history of stanford's program; that was the worst loss
in the history of anybody's program. it was possibly the greatest upset
in the history of college football." - jim rome on the 20-17 victory by
uc davis over stanford.
jim rome is great at exaggeration,
but it is true that that victory last september was damn huge.
"i live completely on impulse.
i don't analyze myself." - angelina jolie, as transcribed by me.
further evidence of a rose
bowl conspiracy: who woke up mack brown (coach of texas) with a phone call
the morning of the game? george w. bush. add that to the fact that sandra
day o'connor did the coin toss and you've got some good, mounting evidence.
i'll keep my eyes out for more.
the texas/usc game made
me sick. usc played about as badly in the first half as they have all year
(the only other time they may have played worse was against ASU) and the
coaching was pathetic. the 4th and 1 call in the first half was fine, but
it was a poor play choice. should have been a run by white, not a qb sneak.
bush made a terrible error with the lateral. leinert played very poorly
in the first half. the defensive plan was piss poor. i always knew the
linebackers were a weakness (because of year long injuries and freshmen
filling in), but i felt they still should have had the mic linebacker as
a qb spy on about half the plays. everyone knew the whole offense runs
through young so why not have a qb spy formation? all that said it was
a great game to watch. young had what i consider to be the best performance
of his career and he led his team to a 3 point victory over the 2nd or
3rd best team of all-time. i think you can put this game on three things:
the coaching, the linebackers and the 4th and 1 play where white didn't
convert; in that order.
the game meant a lot to
me. with sandra day o'connor (the swing vote in the 2000 selection of bush)
throwing the coin toss and the texas vs. california theme i felt this was
a red state vs. blue state game. according to my dad, espn did a poll before
the game to see what states thought which team would win. apparently it
was split the same way that the election was, right down to the fact that
ohio and florida were too close to call. this game was about a lot more
than just one university versus another. this game was about north vs.
south, red vs. blue, right vs. wrong. and when the final seconds ticked
off i was way more depressed than i was when bush was selected in 2000
and then elected in 2004.
with politics it's hard
to say that someone is definitely right or definitely wrong. most reasonable
people will allow for some wiggle room based on preference and ideology.
with sports that isn't as true. sure, i can say that usc played one of
the worst first halfs of the last couple years (true) and that they had
some injuries (true), but the truth is that texas played better than them
last night. if it were a best of 3 or 5 or 7 i have almost no doubt that
usc would win, but that's not how it works and we'll never really know.
one nice thing about sports is that there is often the ability to completely
shut a person down by saying "look at the scoreboard." there is no scoreboard
in politics, or life in general. winning is measured differently to everyone
when it comes to life and politics, but that's not really the case with
sports. it would have been nice to say "texas isn't as good as california,
period." they can say that and we can't. and i know for a fact that they
are. i know that it doesn't really matter, but it does; and it sucks.
i can't watch sportscenter
or think about sports for a while because it's just too damn depressing.
saw the letterman/o'reilly
today. pretty good shit overall i encourage you to check it out. that said,
letterman isn't much of a debater. some things to notice:
letterman dips his pencil
in o'reilly's cup. o'reilly later drinks from it. ha ha.
paul shaffer's band plays
the who's "won't get fooled again" as the intro song for o'reilly. what
a perfect, subtle commentary. bet only 10% of the audience caught that
at the end, o'reilly waves
to the audience, but it looks an awful lot more like a hitler salute than
overall it seems that letterman's
sentiments won the (partial) audience which is encouraging. it was good
to see letterman take the gloves off.
just dropped meryl off
at the airport. i'll be living with here in less than two weeks.
my official departure date
is the 15th. nervous to live in a new city without a job or friends.
updated movieslist. includes 2005
chart and updated "all" listings.