1-31-07 (18:39)
  • updated movies & index.
  • updated recommendations.

  • 1-29-07 (16:56)

  • once i went to the website for that awful show cheaters and i noticed that they had live chat support available from shrinks. since about 98% of the people who watch that show (and go to the webpage) are complete losers i guess it makes sense to offer life advice (for a small fee, of course) on their site. maybe i could offer life advice to losers online for $1/minute or something. "number one, get off the computer. number two, stop watching cheaters, judge judy, dr. phil or anything else on daytime television. number three, lose all your stupid friends. number four, stop parking your car on the lawn. number five, stop going out with guys who remind you of your drunken, womanizing, abusive father. number six, take your meds regularly. number seven, stop paying people to tell you what you probably already know."
  • updated movies & index.

  • 1-28-07 (22:14)

  • really tired tonight.
  • had another program earlier today. only one person showed up, but i took one of the volunteers along as well. talked about the ccc and land use issues, as usual. i've actually learned quite a bit since i've been here. i don't think a lot of the information is going to help me with any job i end up getting, but it does give me the confidence that i can learn things pretty quickly and effectively if i'm interested and have someone to ask questions of when i'm curious about something. i think the best part of this job has been the constant availability of park rangers. they all know me and i work around them enough that i can just ask any question about anything from sink holes to nitrates in the lakes caused by canadian geese, whenever i feel like it.
  • yesterday i watched the film that the departed was based upon. made me appreciate scorsese's version even more. watched it at the cleveland institute of art, which i had been to on the baseball trip. we parked outside of it thinking that it was the cleveland museum of art. turns out that the cleveland museum of art was (and still is) under construction so we ended up staying in the car. on my way there yesterday i took superior blvd. and passed by the laundromat that we stopped at while we were on the trip. it's nice to have at least some familiarity with so many places around the country.
  • perhaps i should work at AAA as a travel consultant or something. another job i thought about pursuing is a film projectionist. i don't know what kind of formal training you need to have for that or how you go about getting it, but it seems like a good gig. only trouble is that i'd work nights and i'd rather not.

  • 1-26-07 (23:39)

  • updated movies & index.
  • watched jesus camp today. strangely, the movie made me actually want the apocalypse to come.
  • been cold and snowy all week. tomorrow should be busy. haven't been looking forward to work lately.
  • funny.
  • having a stable source of income is my biggest concern these days. i've been broke my entire life. i've always been able to get by (with varying degrees of indebtedness), but i've never really had disposable income. i quit the best paying job i ever had (tower) as soon as i got out of debt. shortly after that i had more money than i'd ever had and i spent it on a great trip. now i have enough money for about a month's rent and moving expenses. i have a car that works and another car that (still) isn't in my name and sorta works. i don't have a whole heck of a lot in the way of marketable skills or experience either. my internship here is officially in the "nice experience" category, but won't get me a job anywhere in the bay area. the desire to sell out is very strong these days, but i don't even know who i'd sell out to. i think i'd only be truly happy if i worked for myself doing....?
  • i really only need about $1,000 a month in take home money, plus health insurance. so if i find a job that gives me $12k/year and health insurance then i'll be fine from a monetary point of view. of course if i ever want to own a house or buy a car that works, or has less than 235,000 miles on it, then i'd need more. back to the drawing board.

  • 1-25-07 (23:20)

  • watched the ucla/cal game today. ucla is definitely a second half team. in watching them last year and following their progress on the internet this year, it's clear that they don't really get things going until the second half. i love the way they play defense and shorten the game. howland is my favorite coach in basketball these days. collison has turned out to be better than i thought. my primary concern with him going into the year was his decision making. he's a bit too much like jason williams at times in that he can get a bit out of control or push the tempo at inopportune times. it looks like howland has kept that under control and he is in the top two in: three point percentage, steals and assists.
  • going to the library a lot lately. there are two libraries within 8 miles or so and they have decent dvd and cd collections as well as internet access. one of these days before i leave i'll have to take a bunch of photos of the buildings around here. the happy days visitor's center, the hudson library, some of the historic buildings in peninsula, etc. got a batch of dvds today that i'm excited about.

  • 1-24-07 (22:32)

  • got my midterm review last week. boss said i was great and that i didn't really need to improve on anything. he said that i could vacuum the sports center and shave more often, but i'm perfect other than that. he's a funny guy.
  • when i took meryl to fairlawn (the nearest town with sizable theaters and places to eat) she said that it looked like the place we saw "the devil wears prada" when we were on the trip. after looking at the ticket stubs which we kept from the trip, it turns out she was right. pretty crazy that i had been there before and didn't realize it. i go there about once a week to watch movies and upload the webpage at the local kinko's (which we also stopped at while on the trip). goes to show two things: my memory is shit and all these damn strip mall towns look the fucking same.
  • price of gas was at $1.98 yesterday. today, after the state of the union address, the cost was up to $2.09 and even $2.17 at one station that had it below $2 yesterday. why is that? big swing for one day. i think that the price of gas is more closely watched than the price of anything else. as consumers, i think we take it into account a bit too much. if it goes up by 10 cents (a large increase or difference between stations, if you ask most people) then we will comment on it or make note of it. yet this is only a difference of $1-2 per fillup. if you're like my mom and you drive a lot then i can understand, but most people don't drive as much as she does. in fact, most people drive half as much as she does (i think the average two-way commute is about 25 miles). the obvious reason for this is that no other business puts their prices out for display with such regularity and profile, but i still find it interesting.
  • the 2008 presidential campaign is shaping up to be a fun one. two years before the president would take office and things are already heating up. most of the major contenders have formally announced or have announced exploratory committees. the primaries are a year away and i'm looking forward to those. now would be a fine time to buy stock in television companies. sell it sometime in december of 2008, or january of 2009 - after profits are announced. give me a small commission.
  • updated movies & index.
  • didn't listen to the state of the union address yesterday. watched a movie instead. it doesn't really matter, especially with bush. he'll say a lot of nice things (i'm generally not offended by what he says in his big speeches) and then go on doing whatever he feels like. he'll mention global warming as a serious problem and combat it through voluntary carbon emissions cutbacks. he'll appear visionary by talking about sending men to mars or increasing funding to combat aids, and then not act on it or increase funding for faith-based organizations that go to educate africans about aids (and jesus). it's pretty typical. i think speeches are pretty worthless. look at a person's voting record, who they get money from, and what they actually do; that's all that matters. everything else is filler in the ether.
  • i don't know if it's common sense or not, but most americans agree on principles: aids should be gotten rid of, terrorism is bad, iraq should be peaceful, global warming isn't good, etc. most of the debate is about policy. how do we get rid of aids or unemployment, make the economy grow, attain world peace, etc.? some people say we should let the corporations regulate themselves so that the economy will grow and people, through market forces, will reward those companies that act in a desirable fashion. others think the government should play a larger role. speeches don't talk about policy, rather they focus primarily on principle. remember the reaction willie stark (in all the king's men) gets when he tries talking about the nitty gritty details of his policy ideas?
  • there are so many fucked up things in this world.
  • i only get my news from google news and pbs/npr. google is good because it provides a variety of news sources and pbs/npr are good because i think they're relatively objective. i don't have the time or inclination to look into alternative news sources which report on the many news stories that are missed by major news organizations. as a result i assume that i'm missing a lot and let my imagination (and knowledge of history) fill in the blanks. for example, i don't know of this currently happening, but i assume that there are a couple senators who are currently working with large corporations to bring casinos to indian territory. these corporations will take advantage of the indians in some way and this will all be allowed as a result of collusion between corporate power and the government. i also assume that the u.s. military is engaged in a small war in some small country to uphold a dictatorship in spite of popular public opposition. there's also probably a corporation which is working with the u.s. military to secure water or mineral rights in an impoverished part of the world so said corporation can then sell water to the townspeople who once drew from the lake or aquifer for free, or that corporation could use those mineral rights to perform cyanide heap-leaching or any number of other environmentally harmful mining methods. by assuming these things i forego the surprise when i hear, see, or read of them later.
  • cyanide heap-leaching, by the way, is a method of extracting every last bit of gold from a site. they pile up tons of raw ore and spray cyanide over the mountain of rock. cyanide bonds with gold and that solution is pumped to a pond which is then processed and the gold is extracted. generally the leftover cyanide is either combined with more potent cyanide and the process is repeated, or it is merely sprayed over nearby vegetation. 50 tons of raw ore processed in this manner generally yields one ounce of gold. yay for science.

  • 1-23-07 (18:36)

  • watched babel and letters from iwo jima today. my top ten and awards for the year remain unchanged. also watched children of men since the awards and that didn't change my mind on anything either. babel was awful and letters from iwo jima was awful and uninteresting, but slightly better.

  • 1-21-07 (22:52)

  • stat of the day: after the liberal strongholds of california, new york and massachusetts, in which state did nader receive the most votes in 2000? btw, there were only two states that didn't have him on the ballot in that year. the hint is this: the fourth place candidate in the 2004 election (behind bush, kerry and nader) now resides in this state.............texas.
  • indy/new england game was good, but i didn't like the outcome. since peyton manning came into the nfl i thought he'd have a career like marino: great numbers, but no super bowl ring. now he's one game away from proving me wrong. go chicago.

  • 1-19-07 (23:34)

  • been watching a lot of classics lately. as part of my preparation for the quest to find the best year in film history i've decided to revisit several classics which i have forgotten or not thought all that much of in the past. films like gone with the wind, west side story, the godfather, etc. these are films that others hold very highly, but, when i first watched them some years ago, i didn't think were all that amazing. as it turns out, most of these films that i'm reevaluating are around, or over, three hours long. godfather, gone with the wind, lawrence of arabia, godfather II, sound of music... and the rest are over two hours...mutiny on the bounty, west side story, etc.
  • updated movies & index.
  • i think any rap album that doesn't start with an "intro" track is probably a good one.
  • been in the 20s most of the week and looks to continue. there are a couple inches of snow on the ground, but nothing too special. still not enough to go xc skiing. that said, the local ski resorts have made their own snow and are in business. there are two within about 5-7 miles of my house. i guess that would be cool if i liked to ski or snowboard. actually, skiing is nice and i've never gone snowboarding, but the whole venture is far too expensive for me so it's not going to happen.
  • i hope i'm able to find a good job in the bay area. if you're in the area and you hear of anything that pops up, lemme know.
  • the crest's song "the skeptic" is great. check it out.

  • 1-17-07 (23:04)

  • why no one has sampled the spencer davis group's "i'm a man" is beyond me. the opening 10 seconds are perfect for a rap song.
  • there's a part of cat stevens' "matthew and son" that sounds a lot like the gary jules version of "mad world."

  • 1-16-07 (21:20)

  • usually when people "go postal" or are found to be serial killers the media will interview neighbors and co-workers. most of the time they'll say stuff like "he seemed pretty normal. he kinda kept to himself, but was a nice guy. i never would have guessed it." in the case of my roommate, bill, i would have guessed it. so if he ever turns up on the news as having killed his family and raped the family rottweiler, then put me in the "not surprised" camp.

  • 1-16-07 (01:07)

  • had my first hike a couple days ago. it rained most of the early part of the day and cleared up about an hour before the hike. one couple showed up so i conducted an informal program. i essentially just walked with them while talking about different land-use issues and histories of the park. talked about the canal, railroad, private automobile, ccc, richfield coliseum, krejci dump, california, clean water act, superfund, yellowstone, los angeles, fire management issues, deforestation, etc. it was a good first program because it didn't have to be formal and all my research paid off. with the formal program i only have time to incorporate a limited fraction of all that i've learned. with a conversational program, though, it's possible to impart much more information. i'm not looking forward to having to conduct a real program in front of a larger group of people. i have to find some way to make even those programs interactive. even the socratic method has its limits, though.
  • the last few days have been very rainy. it's supposed to get very cold this week, but i don't have much faith in the weather forecasting abilities in this region.
  • today there were only 3 visitors to the winter sports center. i was there by myself half the day so that proved to be quite boring. i brought my laptop and worked on the best year in film list. i have 32 years that made the cut and then i've seeded them against each other in a playoff system to determine the best year in the history of film. i compiled all the films for each year (12 max. per year) and started the competition. it's not going to be finished for a while, though, because there are some films i want to see/revisit in order to give each year a more fair chance. of course i'll have to revisit the entire list every once in a while as i see more films and my tastes change. it's perfectly feasible that one or two films could tip the scales towards a different champion, so it'll be an ongoing effort.
  • besides learning a lot about the parks service, the area and nature in general, i think the best thing about this internship is the free time i have to dedicate to watching movies and adding fairly useless features to my page like the double features list or the stats breakdown or this newest quest for the best year in film.
  • updated movies & index.
  • not looking forward to finding a real job when i get to oakland. i think it would be ideal if someone wanted an apprentice in some interesting line of work and they were willing to pay a livable wage. i've never had anyone really dissatisfied with my work, so i know i'm somewhat capable at adapting to various jobs, it's just a matter of finding the right combination of something that's interesting (and not morally reprehensible), someone who will hire me and getting paid reasonably (anything over 20k/year is plenty for me).
  • speaking of which, i'm happy to see that the minimum wage bill passed through the house. it's about time. they should try to shove through an increased mpg standards bill as well; especially for trucks. i wouldn't mind federal smog standards on new cars being stricter either.


  • 1-12-07 (22:04)
  • updated movies & index.
  • got district 13 today. good movie.
  • tomorrow my first hike is scheduled. two people signed up, we'll see if they actually show up. i'm mostly nervous. right now i'm thinking that being a teacher or ranger is a nice idea, but that i function as an educator much more effectively on an individual level. i wouldn't be able to give a lecture on any film or film technique or anything, but i could talk for hours and hours with a single person or small (the only size there is) group of friends about the same topic.

  • 1-11-07 (21:23)

  • fact of the day: there are 390 units in the national park system. there is only one state that doesn't have at least one unit. i would have guessed rhode island just because it seems an easy choice, but it's actually delaware. speaking of which, i've updated my nps areas i've visited list. i added the two national parks in texas as well as a few national monuments which i forgot about.
  • meryl made me one of the best presents i've ever gotten. she compiled a bunch of info on all the national parks and put it all in one massive, four inch binder. it's hundreds of pages long and has all the info from the individual websites - flora/fauna, geology, cultural history, history of the park, etc. very cool.
  • here's my tentative plan for my trip back to california: cuyahoga to the blue ridge parkway (i want to see it again) to the great smoky mountains national park (reagan called them the "big smoky mountains") then to mammoth cave n.p., nashville, memphis, little rock, hot springs n.p., and onto oklahoma city. from there i haven't decided. it gets a lot more complicated in the west because there's so much to see and things are so far apart. i'd like to see salt lake city. rocky mountain n.p. won't really be open, though, so taking a northern route loses some of its attraction. taking a southern route through great sand dunes and canyons of the ancients national monument and then up to salt lake city is an option, but a long one. of course i could skip salt lake city and hit up a bunch of the national monuments, etc. that i've passed by in the past. northern az and southern utah are rife with nps lands. i'd also like to see boulder dam and lake mead nra again. on the one hand i know i'll be back to the southwest again so i could take advantage of the opportunity to go through salt lake city. on the other hand i like the southwest more than i'm likely to enjoy salt lake city. i also don't know what the road situation will be like from salt lake city to oakland.
  • in fourth grade we were given an assignment to plan a trip. i don't remember what we were supposed to learn or what the limits (time/money) were, but i remember getting a lot of info from aaa and planning out every turn of a tour of california. my mom helped me with it quite a bit and i remember getting really psyched about it. there's not much better than traveling. driving from film festival to film festival would probably be as close to a dream job as i can imagine.
  • finished the rocky series today.

  • 1-10-07 (22:30)

  • updated movies & index.
  • thinking about putting together a series page. it would include reviews from film series like rocky, the bond films, star wars, etc. other than just compiling the reviews in one place, i might include an overview of the films in that series and the importance, evolution, social relevance of the series as a whole. that might be a larger project than i want to undertake.
  • i need to find hobbies that pay. from what i understand, no one is really willing to pay for film reviews these days. so that doesn't really seem to be an option. maybe i could write essays on film for students who don't want to do their own work.
  • i've actually ended up liking the rocky series recently. i never disliked it, but i did, at one point, look down on it as a whole. i've come to respect it more than i thought i ever would.
  • i finished season two of the office while meryl was here. now i have to get season three.
  • james stewart has a new biography out. one of these days i'll have to read it. you'll notice he's atop my list of favorite actors.
  • updated recommendations.

  • 1-10-07 (16:43)

  • the worst thing about the cold weather is the layers of clothing you have to take off when you enter a heated area. it gets obnoxious.
  • meryl came on saturday and left yesterday. we had a good time. i showed her the park and the surrounding area. we went for a hike. it even snowed a little for her.
  • today it snowed about 2 inches.
  • working on my programs a lot lately. trying to make the outlines into a story that flows. right now it's just a series of facts and would be presented in the same style as my writing. short sentences that are to the point, but not very colorful.
  • there has been a bald eagle flying around the park lately. today a visitor said she saw one by hunt farm, which is very close to where i live. i've never seen a bald eagle so hopefully that'll be rectified by the time i leave ohio.
  • national championship was disappointing, both in outcome and level of play. i think that usc would have done a much better job against florida's offense. usc has a proactive, blitzing style of defense that would have shaken things up a bit. osu's defense, meanwhile, is much more of a wait-and-react style that allowed florida's misdirection and speed to dictate the flow of the game. troy smith also had the worst game of his career and their best wide receiver was out after just one play (that one play, though, was a touchdown kick return).
  • got seven samurai (3 disc edition) and the pusher (including "gambler" documentary) in the mail today. those are good additions to my dvd collection.
  • saw rocky balboa again. since the first time i saw it i've seen rocky 1, 2 and 3. will see 4 and 5 soon.
  • meryl and i started watching a movie called thr3e and then walked out. it was unbelievably bad. it was essentially a christian version of saw, done very very badly. the author, dekker, is apparently quite popular in certain circles, though. he's had a couple best sellers and is considered one of the leaders of the christian fiction genre. the film is distributed by foxfaith, a subdivsion of fox. look it up.
  • christian fiction. isn't that redundant or something?

  • 1-5-07 (22:51)

  • too bad the propellerheads never released a second album.
  • updated movies & index. watched four movies today.

  • 1-3-07 (23:38)

  • just got back from watching about 3/4 of the notre dame game. they were losing by 13. they can potentially come back with a turnover and some brady quinn magic like they did against michigan state, but it's not likely.
  • updated movies & index.

  • 1-3-07 (18:15)

  • smart money is on lsu over notre dame, but i'm hoping notre dame wins.
  • found several problems in my movies i own list. for some reason there were some years that were incorrect and directors which were spelled incorrectly. it's a dispiriting revelation. i've fixed the ones i noticed, but there's no telling how many others remain. other than that, it's nice to look over the list. i had forgotten how many movies i actually have. 113 movies on criterion dvds, about a thousand movies/tv shows in total, over 300 foreign films, every film in my top 25 and almost every film in my best of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s lists. actually, i'm only missing three films from the 30s list and two of those were added recently.

  • 1-2-07 (00:59)

  • just got done watching one of the better bowl games i've ever seen. boise state vs. oklahoma. i was rooting for bsu because they're underdogs, i hate oklahoma, and i'd like to see small schools get more equitable treatment in the bcs system. they jumped out to an 18 point lead and then got conservative in their play calling. oklahoma scored 25 unanswered points, including an interception for a touchdown with about a minute left in the game. at this point they were up 7 points and bsu had the ball with 1:02 to go. bsu put together an impressive drive including a catch and lateral for a touchdown. wonderfully executed play, and a truly ballsy playcall. overtime began with peterson scoring a touchdown on the first play. boise state got their shot and sort of stagnated around the 10 yard line after a failed run to the right by johnson. on 4th and 2 the qb (zabransky) went in motion and became a receiver. the ball was hiked, the new qb bootlegged towards the sideline and threw the ball up to the tight end, who made a nice catch in the endzone. at this point they were one point behind with the chance to tie with a point after or win with a two point conversion. oklahoma called a timeout after boise state showed that they were going for two. boise state comes out of the timeout and decides to still go for the two point conversion. if they convert they win the bowl game and go undefeated for the year. if they don't convert then they lose and will be questioned forever about the decision to go for the risky two point play for the win, rather than the nearly automatic one point play to tie and keep the game going. the ball is hiked, zabransky fakes a pass to his right and subtley pitches the ball to johnson who his just behind him. johnson, with blockers out in front, and the defense completely fooled by the fake pass, sprints to the left part of the endzone.
  • boise state is probably the best coached team i've seen play this year. they have inferior talent relative to other top ten teams, yet went undefeated. they kept adrian peterson under control. they used some crafty plays in critical places, but mostly relied on solid, smart play to win games. great game, great effort.
  • rule #1 in reporting: don't bury the lead. oh well, guess i'll never be a reporter. the lead should have been usc's domination of michigan. went to applebee's and watched the game. i was surprised to see how dominant usc was, especially their defensive line. hart, who had gotten at least 90 yards in every game this year, was held totally in check. michigan actually had -8 yards running at the half. that's the kind of stuff you only see in video games. i had expected michigan to create problems for the weak usc running game and i expected that that would shift the burden to john david booty. i figured that this would cause major problems for usc. i was half right. michigan did a good job against the run, but that didn't much matter. booty was able to make great reads and accurate throws throughout the game and had a career performance. i still think he's inconsistent. maybe he does better when more is on the line (notre dame, michigan, cal) or when he has time to prepare. i don't know what his problem is, but he was great today. jarrett was also great, though a bit of a showboat for my tastes. very happy that usc did well tonight.
  • i think they ended up winning 32-18, but 7 of those points by michigan came in the last two minutes so they don't really count when evaluating the game. also, usc missed two extra point attempts, not sure what the hell happened there. so, one might say that the score "should have been" 34-11. either way, usc dominated and it begs the question - ohio state, unamious #1 team in the country beats michigan 41-38 and usc beats them 32-18 (or 32-11, if you're willing to take out the trash time points). so what would happen if ohio state and usc were to play? we'll never know. anyway, i'm not a huge fan of the transitive property when applied to football. i.e., i don't think that just because usc dominated michigan and michigan almost beat osu, that usc would definitely beat osu. there's a lot to take into account - matchups, rivalries, when each team faced the common opponent, amount of time to prepare, etc. but just for the sake of argument....usc beat nebraska by 18 (if memory serves) and nebraska lost by 3 to auburn. that would mean that usc is better than auburn and everyone they beat (which would include lsu and florida).
  • usc's defense proved to me that it's one of the 2-3 best in the country against the run. if they had this defense last year then they would have beaten texas by about 14. offensively they could certainly use a better running game. overall, though, i think they redeemed themselves with the big win. pac-10 goes 3-3 in bowl games. i guess that's not too bad. hopefully oregon and ucla will return to top 25 status next year.
  • good day for football. the usc win in the rose bowl helps get the taste out of my mouth from last year's deflating defeat. i'll never cease to get sad when i think about it though. maybe they'll stop showing the highlights from that game before every goddamn usc game now.
  • i'm working on a best year in film feature. i'm going to try to determine the best year in the history of world cinema, in my humble opinion. most would say that 1939 is the frontrunner, but that only accounts for domestic pictures. when you take into account foreign films and my own personal tastes the field is a lot more open. of course if you have any nominations lemme know.
  • in related news i updated the best of film list.

  • 1-1-07 (14:58)

  • updated archives.
  • updated movies & index.
  • yesterday was like any other day, except that i did a bunch of end of year webpage-related stuff. worked on end of the year movie viewing stats, added charts for gpa and year of release, etc.
  • watched a lot of movies in the theater this year, but didn't watch very many foreign or older films. will try to do better in both categories next year. watched 49 movies in december, a december record. in that sense this year was a year for records. march and december saw all time highs for the month, while january, may, june and july saw all time lows. march had the best streak of all-time. not in terms of consecutive days of seeing a movie, but in most films seen during a streak. i saw at least one movie for 29 days straight and saw 76 films in that time period. the previous record came last year when i saw at least one movie for 52 days and saw 73 movies in that time. somewhat sadly i didn't see any of my seven most seen films this year. i also didn't see any movies by hitchcock, kubrick, or kurosawa. i attribute both of these stats to the fact that i was away from my dvd collection for the entire year. this must end. 43.6% of the films i saw this year were in the theater. conversely on 13.1% of the films i saw were released outside of the us. i didn't add any countries to the current list of 42 countries from which i've seen at least one film. 42 seems low, i'll work on watching films from less represented countries this year.
  • just finished watching the nebraska/auburn game. nebraska did better than i thought, but lost by 3. usc game starts at 5pm my time.
  • hopefully i don't get a cold this year. that's as good a goal as any, i suppose.
  • uploaded top ten list.