All of 2006

12-30-06 (22:15)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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 people.
  • finally finished the william mulholland biography.

  • 12-27-06 (23:32)
  • 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.

  • 12-27-06 (17:25)

  • 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 income.
  • 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 for trouble.
  • 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 should 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 republican too."
  • from now on i should end every entry with "fuck the world."
  • fuck the world.

  • 12-23-06 (22:39)

  • 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.
  • i'm tired.

  • 12-21-06 (20:56)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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.

  • 12-20-06 (23:26)

  • 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.

  • 12-20-06 (18:52)

  • 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.

  • 12-19-06 (23:14)

  • 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 whatever else.
  • updated movies & list.
  • 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 about now.
  • 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.

  • 12-18-06 (17:41)

  • 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 frequently anyway.
  • 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 goal.
  • 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 problems.
  • 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"

  • 12-17-06 (22:37)

  • 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.

  • 12-15-06 (23:35)

  • 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...

  • 12-14-06 (23:40)

  • 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, carpenter, anti-christ.
  • updated my wish list, too, since at least one person asked for that.

  • 12-14-06 (18:21)

  • 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.

  • 12-12-06 (20:39)

  • messed with the millers movies site a bit, but couldn't get it to look good so i kept it the same.
  • updated movies & list.
  • 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.
  • read about trellis modulation today.
  • made plenty of updates to the best movies list.
  • 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...

  • 12-12-06 (02:02)

  • 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 it has.

  • 12-11-06 (22:40)

  • 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.

  • 12-11-06 (15:54)

  • 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 partly true.
  • 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.

  • 12-9-06 (22:49)

  • updated movies & list.
  • decided to make the movies listed page match the color scheme of the other pages. lemme know what you think. also fixed up the double features page.
  • updated recommendations.

  • 12-9-06 (17:43)

  • 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.

  • 12-8-06 (22:37)

  • 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.
  • updated movies& list.
  • 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 want.

  • 12-8-06 (18:03)

  • 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.

  • 12-7-06 (20:41)

  • 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 goes.
  • 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

    12-6-06 (22:42)
  • 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.
  • updated movies & list.
  • 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.

  • 12-6-06 (15:00)

  • 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 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.
  • updated movies & list.
  • 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 history.

  • 12-5-06 (18:50)

  • 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.

  • 12-3-06 (21:18)

  • 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." from wikipedia.
  • 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 recommendations 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:

    12-2-06 (20:02)

  • 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:

  • 04/27/06
    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.

  • 12-1-06 (01:33)

  • 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 later.'"
  • 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 as terrorists.
  • 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 asians.
  • 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."
  • updated movies & list.
  • 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 coincidence.

  • 11-29-06 (17:48)

  • 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 until then.

  • for johnny:

    11-28-06 (23:15)
  • updated recommendations.
  • updated the baseball trip page. split it into three smaller pages so it would load more easily.

  • 11-27-06 (23:20)

  • 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.
  • updated movies & list.

  • 11-26-06 (22:14)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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.

  • 11-25-06 (23:59)

  • 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 schedule.
  • 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 fairly tame.
  • 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.

  • 11-23-06 (20:55)

  • updated movies & list.
  • "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 soon.

  • 11-21-06 (22:49)

  • 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.
  • updated movies & list.
  • also updated my movie review highlights 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.

  • 11-21-06 (16:42)

  • 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? 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 work

    this is where i'll be working on the weekends:

    11-20-06 (14:40)

  • 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 state.

  • 11-19-06 (20:57)

  • 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 learning.

  • 11-17-06 (23:50)

  • 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 their teams.
  • 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 carroll.
  • 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 hilarious.
  • 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).

  • 11-16-06 (19:45)

  • 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.

  • 11-16-06 (15:48)

  • 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.
  • updated movies & list.

  • view outside my window. there's a road just below the edge of this picture.

    11-15-06 (17:22)

  • 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.
  • video tour 1 and video tour 2
  • i've fallen behind quite a bit on the picture posting so here's the last couple weeks' worth of pics:

  • last of the bookcases being trucked away

    book room empty for the first time in 27 years

    driving to meryl's in the corrado

    the corrado

    somewhere in colorado with jon

    somewhere in nebraska with jon

    mcdonald's in ohio, looks different

    my room

    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 sure

    brandywine falls

    deep lock quarry. sandstone.

    ron jeremy lives in ohio

    11-14-06 (22:12)

  • 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.

  • 11-14-06 (17:32)

  • 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 tired.
  • 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 though.
  • 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.

  • 11-8-06 (21:10)

  • 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.

  • 11-4-06 (01:20)

  • 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 though.

  • 11-2-06 (13:21)

  • 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.

  • 11-2-06 (10:35)

  • 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.

  • 11-1-06 (14:26)

  • 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.

  • 10-30-06 (17:02)

  • updated movies & list.
  • went to amoeba today and picked up some stuff. updated cds and movies i own lists.
  • not liking the early sunset.

  • 10-29-06 (01:17)

  • updated movies & list.
  • didn't do much most of the day.
  • 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...

  • 10-28-06 (12:17)

  • updated movies & list.
  • in a week i'll be on my way out of la.
  • 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.

    10-26-06 (17:59)
  • joaquim noah sucks.

  • 10-25-06 (23:39)

  • 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 shot.
  • 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.

  • 10-24-06 (20:43)

  • 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 by tomorrow.

  • 10-23-06 (23:13)

  • 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.

  • 10-23-06 (17:00)

  • 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.
  • haven't seen any of the world series games yet.

  • book room and garage

    10-22-06 (20:18)

  • another car option.
  • 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 front door.
  • 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.

  • 10-20-06 (21:48)

  • best car i've found so far.
  • second best car so far.
  • pretty good new jib jab vid.

  • 10-20-06 (16:43)

  • found 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.
  • got 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.

  • 10-20-06 (10:31)

  • responded 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!
  • my 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.
  • clearing 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.
  • updated pictures 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.
  • took 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.
  • tomorrow 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.
  • found 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.

  • 10-19-06 (18:57)

  • looking for a car is exhausting.
  • sean hannity is a dumb fuck.
  • "god 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 bless us."
  • remember 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 makes my blood boil.
  • in 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

    10-18-06 (11:50)
  • took 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 la vie.
  • finally 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!"
  • i'm 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 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.
  • going 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.

    10-17-06 (16:27)

  • went 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.
  • it's 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.
  • sold 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.
  • people 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:

  • "hi
    it's still available, honey.
    Every time call me.


    10-17-06 (01:09)

  • this commercial is undeniably great.

  • 10-16-06 (20:03)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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.
  • updated recommendations.
  • 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. washington:

    10-15-06 (23:01)

  • the 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.
  • niners have an offense again, but their defense sucks ass.
  • i 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.
  • if 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.
  • got 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 a commitment.
  • there are several films i need to see. 49 up, the departed, little children, jesus camp, science of sleep, etc.
  • met 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 without success.
  • short, but sweet, story about inspiring moment's newest development.
  • "American 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.""
  • i love that last quote. "i'll never be perfect again."

  • 10-12-06 (17:20)

  • 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.
  • jim gaffigan to be on conan tonight. yay.

  • 10-11-06 (16:48)

  • tower's reunion site.

  • 10-11-06 (00:18)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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 possible.

  • 10-10-06 (14:01)

  • 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.
  • found the original article.

  • also found this one:
    hastert on fox - nice, peaceful background

    hastert on cnn - same press conference, different angle. he's in a freaking graveyard. what a moron.
  • 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.

  • 10-10-06 (08:05)
  • 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.

  • 10-8-06 (23:05)

  • 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.
  • updated movies & list.

  • 10-8-06 (17:53)

  • tower records is liquidating. pretty sad, but that's what happens when ownership throws cocaine parties and people steal music online. story here. might need to be registered to view it.

  • 10-5-06 (00:08)

  • updated movies & list.
  • 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%.

  • 10-3-06 (11:35)

  • 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.)
    FamiliesFirst's Non-Public 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 concerns.
    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 reports.
    -Some positions require ability to lift 50 lbs.
    -Various shifts available.
    Starting Pay Range: $9-9.50/hr. DOE
  • 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.

  • 10-3-06 (18:25)

  • 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 desperate.

  • 10-3-06 (14:29)

  • 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

  • 10-2-06 (10:53)

  • 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.

  • updated movies & list.

    9-28-06 (22:34)

  • the strings portion of eleanor rigby is a prelude to phillip glass' entire catalog, and that's not a bad thing.

  • 9-28-06 (16:13)

  • bonzi wells isn't a king anymore. things fall apart.
  • updated movies list.
  • coppola flick wasn't all that bad.
  • sold 808 books the other day. now my back hurts.

  • 9-27-06 (15:19)

  • got a free movie to attend later tonight. it's the new sofia coppola effort, it'll likely be a pile of dung.
  • 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.
  • updated movies list.
  • feeling really lazy today.

  • 9-24-06 (12:47)

  • 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 work.

  • 9-22-06 (21:23)

  • 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.
  • completed the "best reviews" page.

  • 9-22-06 (17:58)

  • internet is down so i can't check book orders.
  • was going to watch a movie tonight with james, but it's been moved to saturday.
  • washed the side of the house and the deck. otherwise the day has been slow.
  • worked on my "best reviews" page. finished 2005 and 2006.

  • 9-21-06 (17:34)

  • 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.
  • great site.

  • 9-21-06 (12:13)

  • good prank.
  • usc game madness.

  • 9-20-03 (23:22)

  • 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.
  • updated movies list.

  • 9-20-06 (19:36)

  • 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.

  • 9-20-06 (03:06)

  • 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.

  • 9-19-06 (18:51)

  • 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.

  • 9-18-06 (13:48)

  • 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 surface tourism.
    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,
    Chris Miller
  • and today i received this:

  • Hello Chris,

    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
    mountaineering heritage. 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
    visitor attractions 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
    municipalities separate 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

    Our website address is (or for Jasper: -- there's tons of info on there, though again, it's
    not always easy to find it. We're working on it!

    Ann Morrow
    Parks Canada
    Banff National Park

    9-18-06 (02:22)

  • 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.

  • 9-17-06 (21:10)

  • 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.

  • 9-15-06 (22:34)

  • 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. ha!
  • fascism.

  • 9-13-06 (22:52)

  • updated movies list.

  • 9-13-06 (15:36)

  • they're remaking vanishing point now. when will it end?

  • 9-11-06 (15:57)

  • 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.

  • 9-9-06 (20:43)

  • 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 film.
  • 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 high.
  • 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.
  • full list.
  • 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...

  • 9-7-06 (00:11)

  • alaska: land of over 3 million lakes.
  • 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 of queers.
    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 that!'
    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 87.

  • 9-5-06 (15:54)

  • 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 top five.
  • 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.

  • 9-4-06 (23:32)

  • 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 methods.
  • 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.
  • updated movies list.
  • 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.

  • 8-31-06 (16:49)

  • 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.
  • necessary viewing. but read this first for background info.
  • 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:

    8-29-06 (22:03)
  • 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 lost.
  • 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 and cinematography.
  • 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.'
  • pictures 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 about it.

  • my cousin:

    8-28-06 (11:18)
  • 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.
  • updated movies list.

  • outside guadalupe mountains national park we stayed at a motel, saw a walking stick:

    car was pretty well stuffed:

    prickly pear cactus:

    images from guadalupe mountains national park:

    8-23-06 (21:27)
  • 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.

  • 8-20-06 (00:41)

  • 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.

  • 8-16-06 (23:01)
    trip can be found here, notice the link on the left as well.

    End of Trip

    Middle Of Trip

    Beginning of Trip

    5-31-06 (16:00)

  • 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.

  • 5-30-06 (21:34)

  • Chris 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.
  • We 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.
  • According 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.

  • 5-30-06 (15:06)

  • 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 of houston.
  • 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.

  • 5-30-06 (10:46)

  • trip has officially started, we're on the road.

  • bungey cord system which currently holds clothes and sleeping pads on the roof. bungey cords are indispensible.

    5-29-06 (17:43)

  • 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.
  • hi, this is meryl.

  • 5-28-06 (10:15)

  • 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 houston.

    our cat which has a new owner. :(

    5-27-06 (19:56)

  • 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).

  • 5-27-06 (12:40)
    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.
    Best Regards.
    Nate Ingles

    5-26-06 (12:56)

  • 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.

  • 5-24-06 (10:48)

  • updated movies list.
  • haven't been updating webpage or watching movies very much lately. will update page plenty when i'm on the trip.
  • 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 rebound.
  • ran errands all day yesterday.

  • 5-22-06 (14:19)

  • 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.

  • 5-22-06 (08:57)

  • 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 downtown.
  • 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.

  • 5-19-06 (21:56)

  • 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:

  • 4-3-06 (19:28)

  • 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.

  • 5-19-06 (17:45)

  • cut and pasted response, this one from an intern for the nationals:

  • Hell Ms. Phillips and Mr. May:
    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, . 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.

  • 5-16-06 (17:45)

  • 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.

  • 5-16-06 (09:22)

  • saw 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. 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.

  • 5-15-06 (08:45)

  • 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.
  • updated movies list.
  • 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.

  • 5-12-06 (22:28)

  • 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 is of oil prices during the oil crisis of the late 70s. the bottom image (from is a chart of gold prices over the last 30 years. it's interesting to see the parallels between oil/gold then and now.

  • funny stuff. here and here.
  • 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.

    5-12-06 (10:09)

  • 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.

  • 5-9-06 (15:23)

  • 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.

  • 5-8-06 (23:23)

  • 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.

  • 5-8-06 (17:01)

  • 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.
    Donald Muller
    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.

  • 5-8-06 (12:34)

  • 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.

  • 5-7-06 (23:40)

  • criterion is coming out with "harlan county usa" on dvd this month. i recommend this documentary to all.
  • 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.
  • updated movies list.

  • 5-5-06 (09:50)

  • 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 it seems.
  • 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 it's gone.

  • 5-5-06 (01:51)

  • 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 census stuff.

  • 5-2-06 (23:32)

  • 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 six.
  • 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.

  • 5-2-06 (14:02)

  • 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 to mean.

  • 5-2-06 (00:27)

  • 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 up.
  • 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.

  • 5-1-06 (18:30)

  • 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.

  • 5-1-06 (08:58)

  • 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 cargo.
  • 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 crazy.

  • 4-30-06 (14:52)

  • updated movies list.
  • updated recommendations.

  • 4-29-06 (17:46)

  • 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.

  • 4-29-06 (00:30)

  • 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 forum about united 93...

  • chicken ruggles:"Is 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.""
    frame 3_13:"Five 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 the problem."
    pudgykid:"to 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.

  • 4-28-06 (10:37)

  • 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 sense.

  • 4-28-06 (15:43)

  • 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.

  • 4-28-06 (13:22)

  • 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.

  • 4-27-06 (15:09)

  • 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.""
  • updated movies list.

  • 4-27-06 (09:06)

  • 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.

  • 4-26-06 (21:11)
    sundays are a big deal in texas

    pretty typical parking practice in austin:

    the helmet on this building is made out of a VW bug, pretty cool.

    a freakishly small toe


    from texas?

    4-26-06 (08:57)

  • 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 excuse.
  • 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 those wrongs.
  • 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 i guess.

  • 4-25-06 (22:20)

  • 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.

  • 4-24-06 (13:09)

  • 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.

  • 4-23-06 (21:44)

  • 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.

  • 4-23-06 (10:53)

  • 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.

  • 4-20-06 (21:05)

  • 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'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).

  • 4-20-06 (19:00)

  • updated movies list.

  • 4-18-06 (23:35)

  • 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 and lakers/spurs.
  • 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.

  • 4-18-06 (16:26)

  • jesus christ.
  • 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 computer.
  • 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.

  • 4-18-06 (00:39)

  • updated movies list.

  • 4-16-06 (21:46)

  • 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.

  • 4-15-06 (23:57)

  • 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 review.

  • 4-14-06 (21:10)

  • 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 programs.

  • 4-14-06 (18:57)

  • 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.

  • 4-11-06 (22:35)

  • 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 today.
  • "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 bush

  • 4-11-06 (15:45)

  • 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.

  • 4-10-06 (12:09)

  • 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 me mad.
  • updated movies list.

  • 4-6-06 (19:33)

  • 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 for me.
  • 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.

  • 4-5-06 (21:31)

  • 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.
  • good one.
  • 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.
  • a good allocation of resources.
  • holy christ this is depressing.

  • 4-3-06 (22:42)

  • 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 appearences.
  • 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.
  • blah.
  • updated movies list.

  • 4-3-06 (19:28)

  • 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 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.

  • 4-2-06 (19:09)

  • losing an hour sucks, but i love that it's light so much later.
  • meryl's knee is doing fairly well.
  • 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.

  • 4-2-06 (01:21)

  • 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.

  • 4-1-06 (22:24)

  • 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.

  • 3-30-06 (22:33)

  • 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.

  • 3-30-06 (11:27)

  • 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 for me.

  • 3-29-06 (00:22)

  • 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 cleveland bracket.
    12 out of 15 in the albuquerque bracket.
    14 out of 15 in the bridgeport bracket.
    12 out of 15 in the san antonio bracket.
    that's 87%
  • 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, 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 on friday.
  • 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.

  • 3-27-06 (00:18)

  • 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.

  • 3-26-06 (15:20)

  • 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.

  • 3-25-06 (00:26)

  • got the carpentry job offered to me today. so i have two offers and i'm still not sure what to do about it.
  • 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.

  • 3-24-06 (00:46)

  • 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 i wanted.
  • 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.

  • 3-23-06 (18:39)

  • 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.

  • 3-23-06 (16:04)

  • 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.

  • 3-22-06 (19:38)

  • updated movies list.

  • 3-22-06 (12:58)

  • updated movies list.
  • 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 much.
  • 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.

  • 3-21-06 (14:45)

  • 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.
  • updated movies list. finally finished.

  • 3-20-06 (21:25)

  • sxsw 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 context.
  • updated movies list.

  • 3-20-06 (00:14)

  • 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 interviews.
  • 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.

  • 3-19-06 (17:36)

  • 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 offensive production.

  • 3-16-06 (09:46)

  • 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. who knows.

  • 3-15-06 (03:53)

  • updated movies list.
  • it's very late. wrote a bunch of reviews, but still have a few to go.

  • 3-15-06 (02:24)

  • very few pieces of art affect me the way koyaanisqatsi does. listening to the soundtrack right now.

  • 3-14-06 (23:06)

  • 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 points, really.
  • off to see my third midnight screening in three days.

  • 3-13-06 (13:12)

  • 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.

  • 3-13-06 (08:48)

  • 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.

  • 3-10-06 (23:55)

  • 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 b.s.
  • updated movies list. big update today - seven movies, which includes two films from the sxsw film festival.

  • 3-9-06 (13:49)

  • 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.

  • 3-9-06 (08:47)

  • 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.
  • updated movies list.
  • 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'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 so well.
  • 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.

  • 3-8-06 (01:51)

  • updated movies list.

  • 3-7-06 (20:49)

  • 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).
  • updated recommendations.

  • 3-6-06 (21:15)

  • 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 good.
  • 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 by anyone.
  • 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.
  • andy 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.

  • 3-6-06 (8:51)

  • here's my review for crash:

  • 5-17-05
    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'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 the film.
  • 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 medicine.
  • home prices in austin are often under six figures. this place is cheap. i want a house.

  • 3-4-06 (12:27)

  • 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 job.
  • 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 (or so).
  • need to review some movies, including the belated review of match point.
  • updated movies list.
  • 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.

  • 3-2-06 (18:31)

  • "hello, i love you" by the doors should be sampled. it's got a great riff.

  • 3-1-06 (21:02)

  • 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 center.

  • 2-26-06 (16:12)

  • 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.

  • 2-25-06 (16:43)

  • 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 purpose.
  • 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.

  • 2-25-06 (15:17)

  • "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.

  • 2-22-06 (17:03)

  • 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.

  • 2-20-06 (22:01)

  • 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.
  • updated movies list.

  • 2-19-06 (21:01)

  • 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 them all.
  • "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.

  • 2-18-06 (12:29)

  • 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 him.
  • 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.

  • 2-13-06 (22:42)

  • 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.

  • 2-10-06 (17:30)

  • 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 to do.""
  • brilliance.
  • 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.

  • 2-8-06 (21:43)

  • link 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.

  • 2-7-06 (23:42)

  • updated movies list.

  • 2-7-06 (22:48)

  • working on catching up on movie reviews. watched three more movies in the last two days so that's making it tough.

  • 2-6-06 (20:03)

  • 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.
  • funny site.
  • i should have realized that detroit has a dome. oops.
  • in n out 100x100!
  • mo funny shit.
  • trying to catch up on movie reviews. jon is working on a new layout for 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.
  • updated the recommendations.
  • updated movies list.
  • 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.

  • 2-5-06 (9:20)

  • 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 solid leader.
  • steelers are basically playing a home game in detroit. weather is cold and it's bettis' home town.

  • 2-4-06 (11:06)

  • 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:
  • 2-2-06 (22:58)

  • updated movies list. reviews forthcoming.
  • 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.
  • my oscar picks.
  • 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.

  • 1-31-06 (19:17)

  • 15 hours of sandpapering in the last two days. i'm not a painter, i'm a sander.

  • 1-29-06 (12:20)

  • 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 differences.
  • 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.

  • 1-25-06 (17:00)

  • 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. tough decision.
  • 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 offense.

  • 1-23-06 (17:06)

  • 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 list.

  • 1-21-06 (14:33)

  • 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 aspect ratio.

  • 1-20-06 (09:44)

  • updated movies list.
  • 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 jobs.
  • 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, 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 very funny.""

  • 1-18-06 (20:15)

  • officially living in texas now.
  • lots of rose bowl reminders here which is depressing. also lots of wasted space. city/roadway planning isn't very good around here.

  • 1-18-06 (18:34)

  • will update soon.

  • 1-11-06 (11:43)

  • 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.

  • 1-10-06 (11:14)

  • 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 style.

  • 1-10-06 (02:01)

  • 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.

  • 1-9-06 (22:50)

  • looks like marcus vick is in even more trouble now. that guy is self-destructing. pretty pathetic. wasted potential.

  • 1-08-06 (00:20)

  • 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, rodney harrison.
  • 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

  • 01-06-06 (22:46)

  • "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.

  • 01-06-06 (13:27)

  • 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.

  • 01-05-06 (23:39)

  • 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 showdown 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 one.
  • at the end, o'reilly waves to the audience, but it looks an awful lot more like a hitler salute than a wave.
  • overall it seems that letterman's sentiments won the (partial) audience which is encouraging. it was good to see letterman take the gloves off.

  • 01-04-06 (09:01)

  • 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 movies list. includes 2005 chart and updated "all" listings.
  • looking forward to the big game tonight.
  • it was nice to have meryl here for new year's.
  • only had one cold in 2005. happy about that.
  • updated movies i own list.
  • added a search engine. hopefully it works well.
  • updated as well. now includes links to 1999 and 2006.