3-30-08 (19:46)
  • the second half of the ucla game was the first time in the tourney that ucla played really well. i feel sorry for any team that has to face them if all their players are playing well at the same time. unfortunately for ucla, that hardly ever happens. shipp is still in his slump, mbah a moute finally had a good game yesterday and westbrook has been mostly average. the bench didn't play all that well yesterday either, but i guess they didn't have to. i think memphis might be too big and athletic for ucla, but ucla definitely has a chance and they're one of the toughest sports teams i've ever seen.
  • pickles a scam. how many people actually enjoy the pickle on the side of their turkey sandwich or the sliced pickles on a hamburger? what a waste.
  • went to (new) idria [also visit here] this weekend. left saturday after meryl got off of work (it was her first day working for the a's as an intern). got to idria late and didn't end up at the blm site that we had intended because of a wrong turn. ended up sleeping on the side of the road at a turn out several miles away from idria. went back there in the morning (today) and got to see the town in the light of day. definitely a ghost town, though not as eerie during the day as it was when we first saw it at night. there are "keep out" signs all over the place, but that didn't stop us from exploring. i think the pictures will tell a better story than i could, they're below. we tried to make it on a 13 mile road that connect idria to coalinga rd. which runs into the blm site that we had planned on camping at, but this was impassable to cars (though that didn't stop us from trying). later we talked with a couple of locals on motorbikes and they said that even jeeps couldn't make it through that road sometimes.
  • overall it was a great little trip and an interesting town to visit. hopefully it'll be a historic site at some point.

  • the town was abandoned in 1972


    this is the rotary furnace building







    this appeared to be a general store. the crap splattered on the walls was probably ketchup or salad dressing which filled the shelves to the left and right of this picture

    this is part of the rotary furnace building







    a treacherous stairway adjacent to the rotary furnace building

    taken above the rotary furnace building where employees likely lived/ate. most of the earth here was an orange-ish color.

    3-24-08 (23:05)

  • i've become an ikea expert over the course of the last week. spent over $5k there last week, assembled furniture for about 5 hours on saturday and another 4 hours or so today. went there another two times today; even had lunch there. hopefully i'll be done with the ikea furniture assembling project by this time next week.
  • josh shipp needs to break out of his slump, it's killing ucla. his shot block at the end of the last game was redemption for that game, but the competition gets tougher every game so he needs to snap out of it.
  • latest proposed waste of money at the alumni house is the transome window project. we had one carpenter come in and bid the project and he said that transome windows would be difficult to impossible in the space we wanted so he suggested a metal mesh or lexan window alternative. the metal mesh bid came in at over $3k. we got another quote last week because the suits at the alumni office don't want to spend that much money. the only thing the new guy could do for anywhere near $2k would be simply nailing up a couple sheets of plywood for about 80% of the 40 foot stretch with the remaining 20% to be covered by a metal mesh to allow for some airflow. in looking at the bid sheet i found some laughable elements: $300 to paint the plywood (we're talking three 4x8 sheets at the most, we have the paint so they wouldn't have to buy that, and it wouldn't take much more than 3 hours to paint for anyone who knows what they hell they're doing. last time i checked painters don't make anywhere near $100/hour), $1400 for the carpentry (it's a one day job for two guys, easy), $400 for materials (admittedly i don't know how much the metal mesh is, but you're talking less than a 2x6 foot piece so it can't be that much. a sheet of ac plywood costs $31 [i double checked today] and they wouldn't need more than 2 or 3 sheets), $50 for "equipment" (not sure what the hell that is, but it's probably bullshit), $30 for removal of debris (this one is actually the most reasonable, the dump will probably charge about half that, but you have to figure the labor/gas to haul it there), and the final line was the "overhead/profit" listed at a paltry $300 (yeah right). i guess we all have to make a living.

  • 3-23-08 (17:18)

  • i check out the home repair newsgroups from time to time and found this one. the subject heading was "small hole in my roof"
  • "I have a small hole in my roof.  My father said it was probably caused by a small piece of a falling meteor or a piece of that destroyed satalite tv the government blew up in space a couple weeks ago.  I guess the cause of the hole dont really matter.  The thing is the hole is about the size of a penny and water drips in the kitchen sealing when it rains and sometimes when its not raining.  I called True Value Hardware and did not get any help because the guy was some kind of pervert.  He told me to buy a cocking gun and put a little cock in it. I'm not sure what a cocking gun is, but it sounds dangerous and I dont allow guns in my house.  And I dont have a "little" cock, I have a big one and it's too big to fit in the hole.  What can I use to fix this hole? - The Family Guy 1944"
  • davidson is looking good. that curry kid is something else. pure shooter and has some good moves. needs to bulk up, but could be a kevin martin type player in the nba.

  • 3-22-08 (22:53)

  • stanford barely escaped thanks to brook lopez's great shot. ucla also escaped a close one. shipp had zero points, but the game winning block so all is well in bruin country. great couple games. duke fell which is also nice, but hurts my bracket a bit. doesn't get much better than march madness. cal is up against ohio state on monday in the n.i.t. arizona state plays the evil empire (florida) on tuesday or wednesday, also in the n.i.t.

  • 3-21-08 (09:50)

  • confirmed that mississippi valley state had the fewest points in ncaa history (during the shot clock era). they said that "mississippi state setting a record for fewest point in a game..." i think they should have said "ucla set a record for allowing the fewest points in a game..." not only is it a nod to the excellent defense, it's also a more positive way of looking at it (great defense, as opposed to awful offense). gotta stay positive.
  • i don't think there has been any point in the last year that i haven't had a scab, scar, or burn on my arms or legs. construction is a bloody field.

  • 3-20-08 (22:56)

  • decent first day of march madness. usc was disappointing, didn't know that they had such a tough time rebounding. that was the entire difference of the game. if they had gotten half as many offensive rebounds vs. ksu then they would have won the game. ksu had something like a 20-5 offensive rebound advantage; that's just silly.
  • ucla looked impressive during the parts of that game that i saw. unfortunately it was such a blowout that they didn't show much of the game. my dad was there, though, so i'll get the full report from him later i'm sure. they allowed just 29 points, i think that's the lowest since the advent of the shot clock.
  • arizona lost, that was predictable. pac-10 looked either really great or bad today. stanford, ucla, and wash state all had big wins and arizona and usc lost.
  • duke looked like crap. they're overrated, but i think they have a somewhat easy road to the sweet 16/elite 8 so i think picked them to get to the final 8 and then lose to ucla.
  • my electrical class is done. will hopefully add the plumbing class next week when that one starts.

  • 3-18-08 (22:04)

  • been real busy lately with work and whatnot. worked until 1:30am on sunday and 9:30pm on saturday; about 20 hours in total. good news is that i got all three rooms painted (meryl helped for about 2 hours on saturday which was nice) and prepped for the carpet. that went in yesterday and the transformation is rewarding. had to trim a couple doors because the padding/carpet made them drag, installed some door stops, etc. going to ikea tomorrow to buy about $6500 worth of furniture which i will assemble and put in place over the course of the next week. the best part of the renovation so far was the installation of some conduit which added a receptacle to a wall which previously had none. this was bid at $1200 by a contractor. including a conduit bender, all the materials, and my labor it cost less than $200 to do it myself. did it to the same specs (3/4" emt, compression fittings, #12 awg thhn) for more than $1000 less. pretty sweet.
  • also did a minor electrical repair for jon and monique. electrical work is pretty fun, but i think i still prefer carpentry.
  • haven't seen any movies lately, hope to remedy that tonight with a late screening of dirty mary, crazy larry. 70s car chase movie (ala two lane blacktop and vanishing point). yay.

  • 3-12-08 (23:01)

  • pretty lame day overall.
  • next couple weeks will be more busy than usual. might end up working every from now to the end of the month. just depends upon how things go with the carpet installation, painting, conduit running, workstation building, and phone line installation at the alumni house. i'm saving them about $1000 by doing the electrical myself, probably more by doing the painting. it's funny, though, because the alumni association has so much money they probably don't even give a shit. the executive director constantly claims that they're a "world class" business, but i don't see it.
  • as of today these are the best picture winners i've yet to see. most are available on dvd and i can always goto reel on shattuck for the ones that aren't. i plan on watching them all by the end of the year. i may have seen the olivier version of hamlet, but i'm not certain (i know i own it though). i saw chariots of fire once, but was nodding off while watching it so i figured i should watch it again. saw the first part of last emperor when it came out. haven't seen the others. also own "you can't take it with you" but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  • wings
    broadway melody
    cimarron
    cavalcade
    great ziegfeld
    you canít take it with you
    mrs. miniver
    going my way
    hamlet
    greatest show on earth
    around the world in 80 days
    gigi
    tom jones
    a man for all seasons
    oliver!
    chariots of fire
    terms of endearment
    out of africa
    last emperor
    driving miss daisy
    english patient
    a beautiful mind

    3-11-08 (13:09)

  • couldn't sleep last night because i kept thinking about bending conduit for an electrical project i'm going to do as part of the basement renovation at the alumni house. something about electrical work that sticks in my brain more than other work. it's very strange.

  • 3-9-08 (22:38)

  • my future retirement home.
  • top 9 tv programs off the top of my head:
  • seinfeld, this old house, simpsons, twilight zone (original), south park, west wing, sopranos, family guy, star trek (original).

  • 3-8-08 (17:36)

  • ho hum, another day, another great ucla game. this time they played the other northern california basketball team in the cal bears. the bears lead about 39 minutes and 40 seconds of the game, unfortunately for them, only the final score matters. josh shipp's circus shot behind the backboard was amazingly lucky. the last two games could be seen as a good sign (they're able to win in spite of playing subpar games and they can come from behind, which shows a lot of mental/physical toughness) or a bad sign (they tend to fall behind big and that'll catch up with them in the tourney when they play better teams). at any rate, the game was another ucla classic. hopefully they learn from the mistakes they made rather than assuming all is well because of the outcome.
  • tuned up the bug a little today and it seems to run pretty well. will probably do some oil changes for our cars tomorrow. went to don's house today because he and a friend were pulling a camry engine. never been around when that was happening so it was cool to see how everything goes together and relates to the other parts of the car.

  • 3-6-08 (23:24)

  • great ucla/stanford game tonight. ucla just hung around all game after trailing from 4-2 onwards. tied it up at the end and went to ot. ended up winning by 10. vintage ucla basketball under ben howland - trail most of the game, come back and make it interesting. they did it against gonzaga, mich state, texas (lost by 1), stanford, etc. i love this team.
  • alumni house work is going to get crazy in a couple weeks. carpet goes in on the 17th and i have to clear the room out, paint it, remove a temporary wall, run some electrical conduit for a new outlet, etc. definitely going to be busy this month.

  • 3-3-08 (22:58)

  • installed the new carb on the bug. need to tune it, but that'll have to wait until next weekend when i have for myself again. though i'll probably work on saturday, so maybe it'll happen sunday. can't wait till the leap forward with the daylight savings time change. extending the time that we have more daylight is literally the best thing that bush has done while in office.
  • won the academy awards prediction contest i entered. i didn't honestly think that 17/24 was good enough to win, but apparently it was. i won a $200 membership to a marin-based film institute. it's rare that i win anything as a result of luck and/or skill.
  • work at the alumni house should be ramping up in a week or so. we've finally got a plan and the go ahead so the moving of offices and installation of carpet, new phone lines, transom windows, new furniture (which i still need to order) and painting of basement will take place within the month. means i'll be busy this month. plus there's march madness and a new class at laney starts on april 2nd. it's full right now, but i'm going to see if i can add it anyway.

  • 3-2-08 (10:58)

  • i think it's funny how people of different beliefs always use the same fear tactic of the world ending to make others believe whatever it is they're selling. whether it's crazy fundamentalists who claim that jesus is coming or environmentalists who say the world is going to be under water if we don't stop driving cars...they all have grand visions of the end of the world and they all think it's our fault. wonder what joseph campbell would say about it. it seems as ubiquitous as the martyr hero.

  • 3-1-08 (21:40)

  • article below is interesting. it's about a film critic who watches a few classics that, for one bogus reason or another, he hasn't gotten around to seeing before. in the end i was left with the feeling that lasalle essentially didn't learn anything from watching the films. he basically just took the attitude that he's a big shot reviewer and that all the classics he watched weren't worthy of watching for one reason or another anyway. either he had seen all the good parts or he was too busy to watch them or they're overrated or they're good technically, but not really worthy of liking, etc. whatever. it's your job to have seen these films and you didn't do your job. you're a 48 year old film critic/film teacher and you've never seen blade runner, 2001, and to kill a mockingbird? pathetic. to make it worse he once taught at uc berkeley only to become a teacher at stanfurd. what a douche. i'm not a film teacher or film critic yet i've made it a point to seek out films like cabaret because i want to see all the classics and supposed greats. i'd like to think that if it were my job i'd make an even greater effort than i currently do.
  • Sunday, February 24, 2008 (SF Chronicle)

  • Film critic sees classics for the first time
    Mick LaSalle
       No film critic has seen everything, and all film critics have famous
    classic movies that they have yet to see. I know one major film critic,
    for example, who has never seen "Citizen Kane." But this one critic (who
    shall also remain both nameless and genderless) would never say this
    publicly or admit this, except to close friends. You can imagine that when
    "Citizen Kane" comes up this critic just smiles and nods and waits for a
    chance to change the subject.
       There's good reason to change the subject: Even though people know
    intellectually that it's impossible for any critic to have seen
    everything, they do expect critics to have seen everything they've seen,
    and they tend to get annoyed when they find out otherwise. Recently, I got
    a bucket of mail when I mentioned never having seen "An Affair to
    Remember." Some people were actually angry about it.
       That's what prompted the concept for this article. I figured I'd pick five
    famous classics that I haven't seen (or have seen only in small parts) and
    watch them, and then write about the experience. In the process, I'd have
    an excuse to see "Blade Runner," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Young
    Frankenstein," "2001: A Space Odyssey" and, of course, "An Affair to
    Remember."
       Before talking about these individual movies, I should answer an obvious
    question: How is it possible for a film critic not see "Citizen Kane" or,
    for that matter, "To Kill a Mockingbird"? From an outsider's perspective,
    it just doesn't make sense. So let me explain.
       Film critics see a lot of movies. But most film critics actually like
    movies, so that's not so bad. In my leisure hours, I often watch movies,
    but those leisure hours are precious, so when I do watch a movie, it has
    to be something I really want to see. There are plenty of classics that I
    want to see, plenty that I'm excited to see, but then there are titles
    that seem merely obligatory - and it's very easy to postpone seeing the
    obligatory ones, and to keep postponing them indefinitely.
       Also, especially if you're a critic, there are some titles that you will
    have heard so much about that you feel as if you've seen them already.
    Some have been anthologized in documentaries, so that you've seen the key
    scenes. To sit through them feels like going through the motions.
       There's another thing. Everyone who watches movies prefers one genre or
    actor over another. Critics are no different, but just in the course of
    doing our work, we end up seeing movies in all genres. I'm not
    particularly fond of action movies, but I've given lots of good reviews to
    action movies, simply because I can tell a good one from a bad one. But
    that doesn't mean that, in my leisure time, I'd put on a "Stone Cold"
    Steve Austin picture. Likewise, if science fiction isn't a favorite, you
    could easily end up going years before strapping yourself into a seat to
    sit through "2001: A Space Odyssey" - especially if you've been warned by
    just about everyone (including people who like it) that it's the most
    boring movie on earth.
       What follows are impressions of five classics I watched as part of my
    self-imposed film festival:
       "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1962): This one surprised me. Over the years,
    I've become familiar with many of the good moments contained in this film,
    and I thought I knew what to expect. I didn't. First, I didn't realize
    that the movie is entirely seen through the eyes of the three children,
    particularly Scout (Mary Badham), which presents a problem. Much of the
    first hour is taken up with the kids' fascination and fear of their
    mysterious neighbor, Boo Radley (Robert Duvall, in his first film role).
    Maybe this played as exciting in 1962, but today that whole section drags
    and drags.
       The movie's real interest surrounds the trial in which Scout's father,
    Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), defends a black man (Brock Peters) on a
    bogus rape charge. That begins a full 67 minutes into the film. It's where
    one might expect the movie to turn into a searing courtroom drama, but the
    energy remains low-key. Most surprisingly, Finch's summation to the jury
    is fairly limp. Considering that he is addressing 12 Southern racists in
    1932, you'd think he might pull out the stops and try to shame them into
    doing the right thing, through every possible rhetorical means. Instead,
    he just stands there and more or less invites these dirt-poor knuckleheads
    to join him on his lofty moral plane. I knew that wouldn't work before the
    jury came in. Throughout, Peck is just great at projecting moral decency,
    but in the emotional moments his acting is less convincing.
       Finally, the reversal at the end, involving Boo Radley, is too pat, and
    the atmosphere of emotional uplift feels misplaced. Sure, it's nice that
    Boo is in some way redeemed, but by the end everyone seems to have
    forgotten that an innocent man is dead because of some evil woman's
    accusation and the racist complicity of the community. Certainly, the
    death of this black man doesn't seem to have had a long-term affect on any
    white person's mood.
       The redemption of Boo Radley is meant to imply that there may be some hope
    for the community, but in a movie that turns on racism, the redemption of
    a white man hardly feels like a fitting climax. If you really look at it,
    "To Kill a Mockingbird" is saying that in this community the biggest
    weirdo can find peace, even if he's guilty of manslaughter, as long as
    he's white. But a hardworking, decent, law-abiding, intelligent black man
    stands a good chance of ending up dead ... but that's OK, because Boo
    Radley has made friends with Scout. Huh?
       "To Kill a Mockingbird" strikes me as a movie classic that has outlived
    its shelf life and is maintaining its classic status based on false memory
    and reputation.
       "Young Frankenstein" (1974): As is typical of Mel Brooks, this movie is a
    mix of dumb jokes that aren't funny, dumb jokes that are funny and
    brilliant, inspired bits that are classic and nothing can diminish them.
    The "Puttin' on the Ritz" number, the scene between the Monster (Peter
    Boyle) and the blind man (Gene Hackman) and just about any scene featuring
    Madeline Kahn are all hysterical - and, of course, I'd seen all of them
    before, in documentaries, on YouTube, everywhere. Watching the actual
    movie straight through was amusing, though hardly necessary. Somehow
    everything good about the movie has entered the culture, including the
    horses squealing at the name "Frau Blucher."
       "An Affair to Remember" (1957): I liked this a lot more than I thought I
    would, and it was not quite the sappy indulgence that I expected. I
    thoroughly enjoyed the first hour, in which Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr
    meet on a ship, and I thought the scenes with the grandmother, played by
    Cathleen Nesbitt were genuinely touching - and I could see how that visit
    could become the catalyst for a romance. Unfortunately, the movie struck
    me as an 85-minute feature that insisted on being 114 minutes long, and so
    roughly the last half has a stretched-out feeling, and some of the ways in
    which it's stretched are ridiculous (unnecessary musical interludes, for
    example). And yet, despite these flaws, the desire to see the two
    protagonists get together, as well as our belief in them and their needs
    as people, remains undiminished. All in all, it's a good movie, and I'm
    glad I saw it.
       "Blade Runner" (1982): I never saw "Blade Runner" when it was in theaters
    because I wasn't much of a sci-fi fan, and I didn't see it later because I
    didn't know what version to see. Having consulted aficionados, I decided
    to watch the latest version, which people tell me is the best. It's an
    excellent movie, and if I were reviewing it I'd have to give it the
    highest rating. At the same time, it's not what I look for in
    entertainment, and I didn't particularly enjoy it so much as
    intellectually appreciate its virtues. It's eerie, beautiful to behold and
    an impressively realized imaginative universe.
       "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968): Stanley Kubrick's compositions have a
    fascination in themselves, and there's something to be said for the
    movie's adventurous subject matter and its vision of the future. It's
    worth remembering that the film was made a year before the first moon
    landing. But having said all that, "2001: A Space Odyssey" is virtually
    unwatchable, a boring, impenetrable experience that I'm glad to finally
    have behind me.