in an episode of the office
there's a shot of jim's room and he has a poster that has random pictures
and mathematical symbols on one side of an equation and on the other side
is "life?" it reminds me of dungey's class wherein he would mock scientists
who attempt to know ultimate truth through the use of math and science.
included picture below.
today was tedious and boring.
this week has been very slow. i'm really feeling like this is a job lately.
it's mostly that this park is almost more of a city park than a national
park. there are certainly nationally important features and histories to
be told regarding the area, but people here mostly just come to walk and
bike on the towpath trail (a paved trail that runs alongside the cuyahoga
river). it's lame because the towpath is paved and probably the least backwoodsy
of all the trails in the park.
i've come to the conclusion
that i don't want to work at this park for a living. i haven't ruled out
other parks, though. i think that yellowstone doesn't have the same problems.
in fact, i'd guess that any park that requires a fee is going to be quite
a bit different in this regard. people aren't going to pay $10-20 to walk
on a paved trail. they're more likely to show an interest in learning,
preservation, or witnessing wildlife. i'm not saying that yellowstone would
be without its drawbacks, though. for example, i'd probably be pissed at
all the idiots who wanted to feed the bears or nudge the bison out of the
way with their cars or whatnot. i guess my problem is my hatred of most
finally finished the william
didn't get to see all of
the ucla game because the place closed before the game was over. on the
radio i heard fsu score a td late in the 4th quarter, though, so i think
it's safe to say that ucla lost. the pac-10 is 0-3 so far in the bowl games.
usc, oregon state, and cal have yet to play, but they could all conceivably
lose because none of them are real consistent. pretty bad year for the
pac-10 even if they all end up winning.
looking forward to the
ucla/fsu game tonight. cal/texas a&m is tomorrow. i'll eat out so i
can watch both those games.
just got done talking with
frank and bill about the park and this area of ohio. we talked about other
areas as well, but mostly northeastern ohio and the process of getting
government jobs. mostly they just bitched about the procedures and regulations
for getting jobs with the government. they also complained about having
to worry about photo enforced intersections in the area. they also lamented
the fact that the cops would give you a hard time if you had a couple beers
and were driving. when i said that i only make $60/week, bill said that
i probably make out as well as him after everything. a gs5 maintenance
guy makes about what i was making at tower - $13.50/hour. so how he figures
the math on that one isn't quiet clear. i make in a week what he makes
in five hours. he said something about having a wife, land, and "a couple
kiddies," but i pointed out that he chose to have those things and that
i don't have any of those things. i'd love to have some land and a second
conversations like this
are what bring out the republican in me. he talks about not having much
money, but when talking about running red lights he flippantly says "well,
i'm going to do what i'm going to do and if they get me then so be it."
frank remarked that, in mississippi, they didn't make seat belts mandatory
until about 2003. i guess i'm an indoctrinated californian because i don't
mind stopping at red lights and preserving my life by not driving drunk
or wearing seat belts. i also acknowledge my role in being broke if i choose
to have a couple kids, some land, a wife and run red lights without regard
to the possibility of getting a ticket. i can certainly sympathize with
someone who gets a ticket for driving 2mph over the speed limit or something
as marginal as that, but i don't sympathize with people who are asking
spoke with an older volunteer
and janitor while at the visitor's center today. we talked about iraq,
america, native americans, etc. the janitor was in the army so he contended
that america is the only country in the world that is out there solving
the problems in the world. he realized that iraq was a mess, but said that
we need to do it. they both said that the rest of the world doesn't care
when something like katrina happens (not entirely true), yet we're always
the first to send the red cross to help them in times of need. i agree
that some neglect to mention the positive actions americans take abroad,
but i pointed out that that's kind of the price of being #1. i gave bill
gates as an example. if his house is destroyed by an earthquake very few
people are going to shed tears and no one is going to donate any money
to help him rebuild it. this is the cost of being so insanely rich. at
the same time we have to acknowledge that the bill and melinda gates foundation
does more around the world than any other privately funded charity. generally
when i come across people who think that iraq is a necessary fight, i attack
their logic on the basis of opportunity cost. i figure i'm not going to
win an ideological debate with them, so i just highlight the cost ($600
billion after this fiscal year) and mention some things that might have
aided our national security more effectively: port security, nuclear non-proliferation
and containment (esp. in the former ussr), scanning the cargo of airplanes,
etc. as well as domestic issues like the national park service, universal
health care, education, transportation infrastructure, and deficit reduction.
a big question seemed to
be: why are we (american blacks, whites, jews, catholics, muslims, etc.)
able to get along while factions in some other countries are not? i think
that the easiest thing to say is that many people don't feel they have
anything to live for. certainly, economic stability and hope would stem
a lot of the violence in countries across the globe. but i think it would
be disingenuous to not talk about religion as well. mexico doesn't have
high population growth rates because people are bored, it's more likely
because 89% of the country is catholic. that would be an interesting stat
- population growth amongst catholic countries vs. the rest of the world.
so i think you have to admit that religious extremism is an obvious issue
as well. of course you could contend that extremism wouldn't take hold
amongst a more educated and economically hopeful polity.
bought a world almanac
last week. pretty happy about that. i buy the new almanac whenever i see
the new one has come out.
stat of the day: greenhouse
gases from the u.s. since 1990, in million metric tons...
those numbers are for all
greenhouse gases. meanwhile, for carbon dioxide emissions alone, china
has gone from 2,241 in 1990 and 3,030 in 2000 to 4,707 in 2004. if that
doesn't tell a dangerous story i don't know what does. china has more than
doubled its CO2 emissions in 14 years, an increase of about 2,500 million
metric tons, while the u.s. pales in comparison - increasing "only" 1,100
million metric tons in that time. india was at about 1,100 in 2004, but
that was a 271% increase since 1990 whereas we increased 18% in that time.
one nation in the world's top 15 producers of greenhouse gases has actually
decreased their emissions since 1990 - the u.k. has seen a 3% decrease
in that time.
incidentally, as of 2004
the u.s. accounts for about 21.8% of the world's CO2, china is at 17.4%,
and russia (#3 on the list) is at 6.2%. if you look at it from a per capita
point of view the u.s. looks really bad, and china looks extremely scary.
if you look at it relative to gdp the u.s. doesn't seem as awful, japan
seems downright green, and canada looks pretty bad. i don't know how one
look at those numbers. does america have the right to put more emissions
in the air because it produces so much income and so many goods and bolsters
the world market? or does china have more of a right because they have
so many people?
gerald ford died today.
i know about two things about the guy: he pardoned nixon (bah) and he wasn't
elected. he has the distinction of being the only president who wasn't
elected. agnew was the vice president and stepped down before nixon because
of tax evasion. so nixon chose ford as his v.p. nixon/agnew, what a ticket
that was. in the 2004 republican convention arnold schwartzenegger recalled
a time when he was new to america and was watching a presidential debate
on tv. he saw nixon and asked his friend what party he was in and his friend
replied "he's a republican" to which arnold responded "well, then i'm a
from now on i should end
every entry with "fuck the world."
fuck the world.
didn't realize it until
today, but i have the next three days off.
been pretty bored lately.
bored with my job and bored with my time off.
played some madden 2007
with frank today. he's got a ps2 so that's nice.
it's too late to start
a movie and i don't have any projects that i want to work on right now.
one thing about school
that i think has worked to my disadvantage is that it associated essays
and research with obligation. i think about the research i should do for
my snowshoe program and i don't really feel like doing it. the only explanation
i can come up with is that the act of research has negative associations
as a result of school work. i like the subject matter (i chose it after
all), but i just don't feel motivated to learn more about it. i think the
other element is that i've never had a great deal of patience with tasks
that take more than a few days to complete. i like working on new things.
if i had to research for a different talk then i'd probably be motivated
to do that for a few days and, after that time, i'd feel like i feel now.
the same goes for carpentry projects. the ideal project is something that
i can plan in a couple days and execute in another couple days. this is
the major reason i'm not interested in fine woodworking. in general, i
think i'm an impatient person. maybe this is why traveling appeals to me.
during the studio system
actors, writers, etc. had less freedom to move from studio to studio or
project to project. ostensibly this was bad for them, but i think that
the studio system provided something that is lost in the modern-day film
industry: stability and talent development. directors, actors, cinematographers
working with the same crew film after film has appreciable benefits for
all involved. further, a studio that signs an actor has his/her interests
in mind as well. sometimes actors might be frustrated by their lack of
"playing time," but i think that the stars of the period prove that the
system works in spite of any actors who felt they didn't get the roles
they felt they deserved. it's in the studios' interest to develop quality
actors, directors and crew members. today, though, a studio is less likely
to invest time in talent development because it is less likely to benefit
them later on down the line. in general i see the business back then as
more of a profession than it is today. people looked at it as a job as
well as an artistic craft and i think the overall quality (and quantity)
reflects that work ethic.
today was pretty average,
but i felt good.
i'm looking back at the
year's movies and preparing a top ten list. in looking back it occurred
to me that this has been a very good year for films. part of this is because
i've seen about 100 that were released this year. note: i've seen 130 movies
in the theater, but some of those were of films that were actually released
in 2005 so the number of films i've seen that are eligible for the top
ten is actually a good deal lower than the number i've seen in the theater
this year. at any rate, having 100 films from which to choose makes the
task all the more difficult. which film will emerge victorious? will it
be the most highly rated film of the year (united 93, which i gave an A-)?
or will it be a crowd favorite like borat? or a dark horse like little
miss sunshine? will scorsese finally score big with his toughest critic
(me), thus completing his career? will the beastie boys claim a top spot
in the film category just two years after releasing a #1 album? what about
the year's most laugh-inducing film - jackass number two - will it place?
and if so, where? stay tuned, time will tell all.
today has been somewhat
frustrating. things just don't seem to go the way they're supposed to.
bought a dvd writer today.
i had planned on holding off until later, but i grew impatient. having
a one-disc archive of my documents and essential programs is nice. it would
take two double layer discs to backup my pictures.
i wonder when movie studios
or theaters are going to start putting their little watermarked symbol
in the lower right hand corner of the screen like network stations do.
think that's ridiculous? 15 years ago there weren't commercials before
previews (more commercials) in the theater. we pay $10 to watch a movie
that starts 20 minutes after its advertised start time and if we show up
on time, or early, then we get a bunch of commercials selling soda and
i snuck in the theater
to see a second film and had to wait about 20 minutes before the next showtime.
while i was waiting they had some commercial program that features up and
coming new artists who pay for national exposure. they described an up
and coming band from california with world influences, etc. and i thought
to myself "that would be funny if it was (my old roommate) jordan's band,"
and, sure enough, it was. i don't want to give any free publicity to his
"band" (a duo the last time i checked) by naming it here, but if you know
him then you can figure it out (hint: he likes dave matthews band and is
self-absorbed). there was a 30 second clip that was preceded and followed
up by a little blurb about the band that essentially billed it as a rising
music act in california. somehow i find myself more repelled by the seemingly
harmless people like jordan than by the truly awful people like jeffrey
dahmer. at least dahmer is intellectually interesting. i guess this means
that jordan is national now. i'd say "good for him," but there's no accomplishment
in spending your parents' money so...
i'm so hateful sometimes.
if i had invented the cookie
recipe we wouldn't have cookies today. as soon as i made up a batch of
cookie dough i would have stopped, thinking that the recipe was perfect
already. after all, why would you want to ruin cookie dough by putting
it in the oven? the only advantage you gain by baking cookie dough is in
the gained ability to dunk the cookies in milk. that sounds real good right
went to akron today. drove
through, stopped at the minor league ballpark and looked through the gate
to see what the field was like. they're called the aeros and the place
seats about 8,000. it's a nice little park, too bad they won't be playing
while i'm here. the exterior is brick and the seats are blue. there didn't
seem to be any bleacher seats or outfield grass area even. akron itself
is okay. not much to say about it really. main street is lined with some
older looking buildings; mid-late 19th century i'd guess, but i really
couldn't say. it reminded me of a small pittsburgh, mainly because of the
way people dress, the homes, and the industrial aspects.
all this traveling has
definitely made me more interested in city planning, urban development
and resource management. the other day i downloaded google earth and looked
at brasilia. i've always (at least since i found out about it) wanted to
visit the place and see what it's like. the whole city is built on certain
concepts and a singular vision so it interests me quite a bit. looking
at it on google earth just piqued my interest more. i've seen pictures
of particular buildings, but i hadn't seen the layout from the air before.
next week, or maybe tomorrow,
i'll go to cleveland and check it out a little more. i'd like to see the
cavs play sometime before i leave as well.
any version of winamp past
3.0 has been crashing and burning on my system, not sure why. installed
ole reliable 2.61 and it's working just fine so far. doesn't recognize
half my mp3s since they're actually m4as, so i'm in the process of converting
those to mp3 format. yay. at least it gives me something to do.
jon sent me a vlookup formula
that makes the gpa on my movies index display in one column, instead of
two. after a couple tweaks i put it on the appropriate worksheets and it's
working fine. thanks to him for that. now i can have a chart for the gpa
progression of a given year. i'm not real sure why i want to do that, but
now i can.
so the internship has reached
a plateau lately. that said, this weekend has the potential for my first
ranger talk. if it snows then i'll be giving a talk on saturday about snowshoes
and animal tracking. i'll end it with a game and some crafts. hopefully
it doesn't snow.
definitely hasn't felt
like xmas here. there are decorations in stores, but i don't go very frequently.
there are houses around, but many of them are owned by the park service
and used as offices, so i don't pass by homes with xmas lights very often.
john is moving to la. that
guy has horrible timing. at least he still has a job though.
since i'm already running
out of movies from the library i have to start thinking of other ways to
occupy my time. reading more than a couple hours a day fries my brain and
just listening to music isn't usually all that entertaining. i keep feeling
compelled to make improvements to the webpage, but i'm running out of ideas.
the first and previous bullet points in this post made me think about profiling
my friends, but that would probably be cheesy. people always ask me which
john is which, since half my friends are named john in some form or another
(john, johnny, jon). anyway, i'm open to suggestions.
i have thought about organizing
my yearly archives in chronological order. it would be boring and take
a long time, but it makes recapping the year easier. one thing i've always
disliked about putting the most recent posts at the top is that the archives,
if read from top to bottom, take the mystery out of certain storylines
in my life. then again, i don't think the archives are accessed all that
unseasonably warm these
days, but most people don't seem to mind.
my episodes of the office
(uk) don't have any audio. not sure what happened there.
have the next two days
off. might goto akron or cleveland.
got a bill from a credit
card company which billed me for a year's subscription to sports illustrated.
apparently when i signed up for the card i signed up for si as well. so
i called the cc company and told them i didn't want it and that i didn't
activate the card. she reversed the interest fee, but said she couldn't
do anything about the sports illustrated because that was their dept. so
i called them and told them the story and she said: "well, this was part
of an introductory program. when a person signs up for the credit card
they are also signing up for a free trial of the magazine. if they don't
want it then it's up to them to cancel the subscription before the free
trial is up. after that point they will be charged $29.95 for a one year
subscription." i found it somewhat odd that she was using a pronoun other
than "you." i.e., she kept saying "a person signs up," rather than saying
"when you signed up..." i thought about explaining to her that i wasn't
at the address to receive the magazine and that i never intended on signing
up for the magazine, etc. but i figured i'd try the jedi technique instead.
so i simply said "well, go ahead and just refund the money and i'll be
happy." and she said "okay. this should show up on your statement in the
next 30-60 days." i'm coming to the conclusion lately that it is sometimes
better to just tell people what to do, rather than asking or explaining
your position. it's kinda sad, but i've learned a lot about dealing with
people in this way over the last couple years. as a manager sometimes it
was necessary to dispense with mincing words and just tell someone that
they were going to do something and that was that.
in some ways i'm the biggest
idiot of the interpretive staff, but in others i'm a relative genius. i
talked with paul about it in sort of a roundabout way. a lot of the rangers
will know everything there is to know about hydrology or birds or coyotes
or the history of the region, but won't have even heard of "the graduate"
or wilt chamberlin. i couldn't tell you which birds are considered songbirds
or perching birds or swifts or any of that crap. i can tell you that coyotes
are less solitary than foxes, but i don't know a whole hell of a lot more
than that. i think i'd rather know a little about a lot than a lot about
a little. of course our economy rewards the opposite - people who know
a lot about a little. it's not that the economy prefers is averse to renaissance
people, it's just that we generally pay more for specialized, or depth
of, knowledge and acquiring that specialized knowledge often precludes
acquiring a breadth of knowledge. i have found it true in my experience
that grad students hang out with other grad students, and generally for
their same departments. this leads to a greater depth of knowledge in their
area, but probably limits diverse learning. of course this varies by individual
and field of study. something like astrophysics might be much more focused
than something like colonial british history which might introduce you
to literature, geography, and the history of places like india.
too bad hanson isn't still
#1 on the charts. i have no idea what is #1 on the charts these days.
got my passport in the
mail today. now i can go to canada and come back without being hassled.
i still haven't seen about
six films on afi's top 100 of all-time. i should make that part of my 2007
still have problems with
winamp crashing. it crashes other programs as well so i'm beginning to
think it's something else that affects winamp more adversely. i love computer
i wonder what the impact
environmentally, economically, socially, biologically, etc. would be if
people held off from procreating for 15 years and then procreated as much
as they wanted for 5 years and repeated the cycle.
i kept notes on a couple
conversations with my grandpa and i read through them a bit today. i wish
i had called him more so i'd have more notes. here's a good quote regarding
bush: "(he) cares as much about the american people as a russian geologist"
i've been meeting a decent
number of people lately; at least by my standards. i'm not a huge fan of
meeting people normally since there's a lot of b.s. talk that goes on,
but it's been useful in this situation because i learn a good deal about
the area in the process. i've also been meeting people who are generally
at least twice my age so they're a little cooler. they no more, are more
well traveled and are nice. i haven't met any crazy right wingers yet so
that's good too.
my newest roommate, frank,
is a decent guy by most accounts. he's from mississippi and he lives in
atlanta (but he doesn't like it there). he's only a year older than i,
and i've probably talked more with him than my other roommates. he does,
however, consider women and alcohol his two favorite stress releases, so
i don't foresee us being best buds anytime soon. he also can't stand hippies,
but i got the impression that it was less an ideological thing and more
a smelly, dirty person stereotype that he was averse to.
there aren't a whole lot
of bumper stickers around these parts, but i get the impression that people
here are slightly to the left in this area. there are certainly a(n) (in)decent
number of republican "traditional values" type voters in the rural areas,
but it's not nearly as bad as it was in texas, even austin. i think it's
good to get first hand experience with people on various parts of the spectrum.
austin is considered liberal by texas standards and ohio is right in the
middle of the country. of course california is typically one of the furthest
left of the states. it's different to live amongst these strata, rather
than judging from afar. now that i've visited a few times and lived there,
i can officially say that texas sucks. so, if nothing else, it's nice to
have the authority to say that as a result of actual experience.
there are a lot of ford
tauruses (tauri?) here. maybe it's a combination of it being an american
car and it being a little more stable in snowy conditions. whatever the
reason, it's clearly a regional favorite.
i wonder how much of a
consideration the after market segment is for honda when designing new
civics. clearly there is a good portion of consumers who buy civics and
then modify them in some way. how much do they consider this segment when
designing the engine bore size or simplicity of the transmission? i'm sure
there's some site out there that tracks changes from year to year from
an after market perspective. is the engine of a 1998 civic more easily
re-bored to a 2.0 from the standard 1.8L? do they keep this in mind as
well when deciding the size of the wheel wells (so larger rims can be installed)?
if you know anyone at honda hq then pass on the question for me. thanks.
went on a nature hike yesterday.
learned a bit about how to identify signs of wildlife. learned that deer
are "perfect walkers" which means that their right rear foot will land
in the exact spot that their right front foot lands. this is confirmed
by tracks in mud, which only occasionally show a slight overlap. of course
this changes when they trot or run. learned a bit about cooper's hawks,
red tail hawks, squirrel nests, mud dauber wasps, hornets, raccoons, rabbits,
chipmunks, moles, owls, woodpeckers, and more. in general you're looking
for signs of them feeding or having fed. so you might see grass torn up
which can be a sign of a raccoon digging for grubs, or you might see some
scat that you can identify, or you might see a group of feathers in an
area which may indicate a hawk (more likely a cooper's hawk than a red-tailed
hawk) has killed a bird nearby, or you might see the bark of a tree ripped
off to expose carpenter ant homes (a sign that a woodpecker was there),
or you might see a small tree worn down by a deer's antlers.
met the park superintendent
today. he's the big boss in the park and he's held that position for at
least 15-20 years. there was a little open house thing that paul said i
should attend and i met a few big wigs while there. i talked with him a
bit and asked him about the partnership role in the parks system and how
common it is for parks to have partnerships the way cvnp does. he said
it's becoming more common, especially with the modern parks. apparently
it has more to do with complex legal arrangements than funding or anything
else. he said he could set aside an hour to talk about it in more depth
if i'd be interested. i figure i may as well give it a shot, it's not like
i have that much to lose. part of me wonders if that was just his stock
response to blow people off, or if he is really willing to talk with me.
there's only one way to find out.
went to kinko's and uploaded
the page. discovered that something got messed up with the index page links.
you should be able to click on a movie title and get that review, but all
the links referenced a local file so, when clicked, it would just come
back with a "page cannot be displayed" error page. fixed that while at
kinko's, luckily it didn't take too much effort. had planned on watching
a movie since more came out today, but didn't see anything playing that
piqued my interest.
there are two ways of looking
at the job i might have if i pursue an nps position: 1) i'll feel good
about the difference i'm making by educating people about land use issues,
natural resources and history, and 2) i'll feel real depressed because
i'll constantly be learning about the failures of man, and i'll be exposed
to widespread apathy exhibited by the park visitors on a daily basis. i
think it would be the latter. there are certainly some people who are concerned
with the environment, public policy, the future of humanity, etc., but
i believe that most people are more wrapped up in what they're going to
make for dinner that night and how they're going to pay for the cracked
radiator on their 1973 chevy.
speaking of which, assuming
the corrado is ever put in my name, i think i've come up with a good name
for it. that can't be unveiled until it's actually mine though, so...
nothing new has really
happened lately. i'm pretty well settled in now. i'm still learning, but
not at the same rate. i'm slowly putting together my programs. fridays
are pretty open days for me so tomorrow i plan on taking it easy, reading,
doing a few errands, making a couple calls and working on an outline for
the program that i give on the 23rd.
i finished the new sidebar
already. i'm pretty satisfied with the look, but everything loads differently
depending upon the computer so let me know if it looks like crap or if
it doesn't load properly on your computer. if activex and scripts are disabled
then it should just display everything as open, in which case the sidebar
on the left will be completely full and you'll have to scroll to see everything.
i even made a new archive
index page which doe the same thing as the java page loader above.
over all i'm happy with the recent changes i've made to the page. it's
still me - simple, practical, content-oriented - but it's also cleaner,
better looking and more well-organized.
i can't officially test
my new pages until i upload them and i can't do that until i get to kinko's.
probably next week sometime.
the next big project (which
will require constant internet access) will be to add real searchability
to the site.
i hate it when people will
talk to you and close their eyes at the same time. it's got to be the most
obnoxious trait a person can hold. it's a rare sight, but when it comes
up it irritates the hell out of me.
i was closing out the fee
box at the visitor's center today about 10 minutes early, in an attempt
to get a jump on the closing duties. part of closing out this particular
fee box is counting up the number of passes, making note of it and then
copying this and sending the paperwork/$ to the appropriate staff. there
are two passes - one for the elderly (golden age, $10) and one for the
disabled (golden access, free). the golden age will sell one a week or
so and the golden access will sell one a month. in the first 5 hours and
50 minutes that we were open we got 12 visitors and one of them bought
the golden access pass. so, i was finished closing up the fee box, making
the copies, etc. and about to lick the envelope when an older gentleman
walked in. he informed me that the visitor's center was hard to find, but
that he was happy he found it before we closed. then he informed me that
he wanted to buy a golden access pass. so i sold him one and did the whole
thing over again. that sucks, but it was the worst thing that happened
to me all day so it was a good day. for me anyway, not for the starving
people in bangladesh, or cleveland for that matter.
i think that in another
life i held the following positions: logistics manager, archivist, librarian,
updated my wish
list, too, since at least one person asked for that.
i've come to the conclusion
that an overhaul of the sidebar is necessary. luckily i began fiddling
with various java scripts before i left for ohio so i have something in
the works already. the biggest challenge, besides dealing with a new language,
will be compatibility across platforms/browsers/configurations. i've always
wanted the page to be easy to navigate. there are a couple menu types i'm
looking at. one slides out from the left hand side and reveals a menu on
mouseover. this, though, requires activex/scripts not be blocked to view
it at all, and that might limit some people. the other is a more simple
menu that gives headings and, when clicked, reveals subheadings that link
to the actual page. that one is functional regardless of the security settings.
so, i would have "friends" and "my writings," etc. on the sidebar. when
you click on those it reveals "johnny's page," "canadian," "interviewed,"
and so forth. this will allow me to revamp the headings and include more
stuff without adding clutter. i can even add redundancies without adding
clutter. so i can have a category for "film" which will house stuff like
film reviews and statistics and i can also have a category for "my writings"
which can also include a link to my film reviews. perhaps i'll have this
up an running by the time this post is uploaded. i feel all this is necessary
because i've added content like the film stats and double features and
because it's only a matter of time before i go on another road trip. having
a sidebar that scrolls down forever and ever just isn't acceptable.
messed with the millers
movies site a bit, but couldn't get it to look good so i kept it the same.
moved the movie statistics
page to its own place. i'd prefer to have all the movie stuff on the one
excel spreadsheet, but there's no way to link to worksheets within a file.
plus, a few people have mentioned that the tabs at the bottom are easy
to overlook. since there are so many pages, i might end up going with a
sidebar format like i have with this site. to me the current site is very
functional, but to new eyes i guess it doesn't make all that much sense.
i try to keep things simple, but in doing so i don't give enough information.
the main page, for example, has simple links like "listed" and "i own,"
but unless you know what those links mean or read the explanations at the
bottom, the simplicity defeats itself.
been working on fine adjustments
on the site a lot lately.
read about trellis modulation
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...
took a nap and it really
screwed me up.
spent way too much time
working on that stats page, but i like the way it looks and the stats that
spent a few hours gathering
various data on my movie-viewing habits since 2000. i included data through
the end of 2005, but didn't include anything from 2006. at first i was
only doing the first five years (through the end of 2004), but then i figured
i may as well include 2005. for monthly data i have included the 2006 info.
i've found that i enjoy looking at data and numbers. this is one reason
why i buy an almanac every year. excel makes everything so easy. stats
are now on the movies
listed page, just find the tab at the bottom.
haven't eaten dinner yet.
i think my greatest ability
is my ability to detect weaknesses in things. whether it's organizations,
businesses, people, policies, language use, film, society... this ability
has its uses, but it also probably makes me look like a cynic; which is
today was pretty uneventful.
got a new roommate yesterday.
didn't know that was coming. one month ago i thought i was going to have
the place to myself and now i have three roommates.
decided to make the movies
page match the color scheme of the other pages. lemme know what you think.
also fixed up the double
had enough snow from thursday
to allow us to rent snowshoes today. only rented five pairs, but that's
better than nothing. when paul asked our volunteer how much we received
in donations she replied "$2.14" and he said "oh wow." two bucks is apparently
big news around here.
had some issues with winamp
so i had to uninstall and reinstall. very odd. it would play a song and
die within a couple seconds. i have no idea why it happened all of a sudden.
might need an upgrade.
seen 16 movies this month,
saw 10 in june and 12 in july. since i arrived in ohio i've seen a movie
almost every day. since i started keeping grades in 2002, the lowest gpa
of a year has been 2.72 in 2005. this year the gpa is 2.63. perhaps that
is related to the high percentage of films i've seen in the theater this
year. if i wait for others to filter the films and watch movies on dvd,
then i inevitably avoid a lot of crap. another factor might be not having
access to my own dvds. when i have access to those i'm guaranteed a film
that will garner at least a B. if you figure in one or two dozen films
with a B or A grade then that might be enough to raise the gpa by a tenth
of a point or more. another factor is my recent lack of choices. netflix
takes forever to get here and the library doesn't have the best selection
in the world. in the last week i've seen three movies that have received
a D +/- and that's a direct result of the dvd selection. upon further investigation,
however, i've found that the gpa of the films i've seen since i've gotten
to ohio is actually 2.64, so that hasn't had an adverse effect on the overall
gpa. that said, it may be that i've gone through the best films already
and i'm not beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. the last 10 days
worth of movies have yielded a gpa of 2.6, so that might bolster that argument.
even further analysis reveals that the sxsw festival had a gpa of 2.63,
so there was no net gain or loss there relative to the year to date. the
lowest gpa seems to have come while i was on the trip (2.36). and, actually,
the three weeks prior to the trip had a gpa of only 1.94. in retrospect,
i remember those three weeks. it was a rough time movie-watching-wise.
i currently have charts
on my movies listed page that chart the year of release relative to the
time of the year. so, i can see that during a certain month i was watching
a lot of movies in the theater or a lot of movies from the 40s. i'd like
to have this same chart plot gpa as well. if you have suggestions on how
to do that lemme know. the major setback seems to be that the gpa calculation
takes up two columns so the numbers are in two columns instead of one.
i can get it to plot on two different trendlines, but that's not what i
in the 1932 summer olympics
the u.s. won 103 medals out of 116 events and 37 nations competed. in the
2004 summer olympics 202 nations participated and the u.s. won 103 medals
out of 301 events.
got a good amount of snow
last night and throughout the day today.
managment [sic] does a
song called "it just don't make cents" which samples "my dinner with andre."
specifically it samples wallace shawn (or shawn wallace, never can remember.
kinda like keith david) talking about money.
actually, i just figured
out that it's part of a compilation put out by a davis-based label called
"the after dinner collection." every song samples lines from the movie.
surprised i never noticed that before. great movie.
i opened and closed the
happy days visitor's center. all day there were only 5 visitors and 12
phone calls. certainly the weather explains a bit of that, but it's still
sad. one of the impressions i get, and i think it applies to all national
parks, is that the employees and volunteers really want visitors. i encourage
anyone reading this to go out and visit the national parks whenever you
get a chance. another impression i get, and it seems especially prevalent
at cuyahoga valley national park, is that there is an increased move towards
"partnerships" with other groups. sometimes that's a citizen's group like
the cuyahoga valley association or a community funded entity like the summit
county parks system and sometimes it's a private business or corporation.
part of that is a result of revenue problems. cuyahoga doesn't charge entrance
fees so it needs to make up for that money in other ways. an issue that
is specific to cuyahoga is that it is technically a national park, but
is administered in association with metro parks of summit county and other
local groups. i'm still not clear exactly how much control the nps has
over the lands that are part of the park, but maintained by the county.
paul has indicated that
later in the internship i might have a spare day to work on "career development."
essentially i'll have a free day to go to a division other than visitor
interpretation and learn how things work there. i've thought about seeing
what it's like in administration and i've also thought about talking with
the people responsible for the web content. there's so much more they could
be doing online, and much of it is fairly easy, so i'd like to probe the
people responsible to see what their thinking is on the subject. all in
all paul seems pretty good about developing my skills rather than just
using me as an assistant. paul has odd personality quirks and ticks. he
likes to say "yeah, that's really good" or "yeah, that'll be really great."
he repeats these often. he also has a little half chuckle that he sometimes
does at the end of sentences. he seems unaware of it and it's doesn't seem
to come up just in funny or uncomfortable or happy situations. it seems
fairly random. i found out the other day, though, that he was basically
struck by lightning, so that might explain some things. i don't mean that
in a hurtful way at all.
in general i've found the
rangers to be fairly unique and, frankly, rather geeky people. i think
you have to be a bit geeky and eccentric to do this kind of work. to start
you basically have to volunteer or get a really low paying internship (like
me). so there has to be a dedication to this kind of work that goes beyond
that of many professions. for some it might be similar to becoming a lawyer
or doctor (assuming you're not some hot shot corporate defense lawyer or
plastic surgeon). i think there's also a solitary element to the work.
i get the sense that there isn't a whole lot of outside interaction with
people who work in isolated jobs like this. at cuyahoga this is probably
less severe since it's near urban areas, but i would imagine a place like
arches or big bend might get pretty quiet and lonely. if you spend a lot
of time alone you get kinda strange after a while.
today i read about some
of the various fights local citizens' groups put up against proposed growth
projects in the area. a 2,000 unit housing development in the south end
of the park (before it was a national park), a sports coliseum, oil-derrick
style high-tension power lines, etc. the one against the cleveland electric
illuminating company was one of the more interesting and lengthy battles.
it essentially involved the building of high-tension power lines throughout
the cuyahoga valley. several citizens' groups and environmental organizations
opposed the proposal on the grounds that "scenic and cultural values would
be needlessly harmed and alternative routes were available." there was
so much legal jousting and maneuvering and, in the end, they compromised.
the whole ordeal took several years to sort out. it's fascinating to see
how each side plays the game. the electric company will site the state's
"hot wires" act and go ahead and begin construction despite a previous
court injunction. then the citizen's groups will challenge it. meanwhile
the power company will buy some land they feel will be critical to the
fight later on, only to end up giving to the park as a PR move and as part
of negotiations with the park. meanwhile politicians will try to figure
out where they should be on these issues and either pick a side or stay
neutral depending upon which way the wind is blowing. the same thing happened
with the coliseum, only it was even more complicated. there were all sorts
of additional factors to consider, like sewage and water run-off from the
immense parking lots. it's a wonder this place was ever made a national
park. one trend i notice throughout these fights is that the developers
always won at least a little bit. now, you might say "well that means that
the park or citizens' groups won as well; and that's what compromise is
all about - each side wins a little and loses a little." i think that's
partly true, but when it comes to preserving an area any development is
a loss for those who want to preserve it. to put it very crudely: the preservationists
are virgins and the developers are horny guys. in the end (no pun intended)
the developers only get to stick the tip in so they didn't really get their
way, but...well, you get the point.
interestingly, i'm reading
a book called "rivers in the desert" about william mulholland and the quest
to bring water to los angeles from the owens valley. after that i'll finally
read jared diamond's newest book - "collapse." i think the two, coupled
with my cuyahoga valley knowledge will make for good learnin'. in the end
we need to figure out some way to balance preservation of resources and
natural beauty against our propensity to procreate. we're going to need
to be very organized and clever in doing this or we'll have a lot more
places like phoenix and las vegas. doing this in an economically viable
way may be the biggest challenge of all. you might hate the idea of los
angeles (a major city where there isn't enough natural water to support
it) or the reality of las vegas (an even worse manifestation of the major-city-in-a-desert
idea), but the reality is that not everyone can be fortunate enough to
live in a place where water is naturally plentiful. this is especially
true if we want to preserve places like yosemite which have a good supply
of water. how can we grow in places that aren't too terribly important
to preserve without draining/polluting lakes and re-directing rivers? how
can we keep our beautiful places beautiful and relatively untouched if
that's where people would like to live? how do we do this while keeping
things economically equitable? is it possible? ultimately it's a zero sum
game. people are going to make more people and those people are going to
need homes and water and they're going to make waste and more people. the
rich areas (you know where they are) or the politically active areas (like
cuyahoga valley) or the areas that are already too full (like nyc) are
going to be able to divert people away in the aggregate. but those people
are going to end up somewhere and they're going to need all those services
and resources. rich people can pay for their isolation by keeping land
values high and politically active people can slow growth in their area
through a lot of effort. so las vegas and phoenix will expand and new versions
will crop up and rivers and lakes will be dammed and drained. and some
will look derisively at those sprawling cities in the desert or say "at
least that growth isn't in my city," and i guess that's just the way it
i would guess that the
kind of city leadership that allows a place like phoenix or las vegas to
flourish and catch the overflow of people from california and elsewhere,
is the same kind of city government that doesn't worry too much about city
planning. that is, it might be very difficult to get a major city in the
desert that catches population overflows while maintaining intelligent
growth plans. perhaps it's their lack of growth planning that leads to
their success, population-wise. in a way i suppose it's analogous to competing
business ideologies. on the one had you have wal-mart (las vegas) which
is strictly about volume and revenues. on the other hand you have whole
foods which is about customer service and quality products. that plan works
well if you have the money, but if you just want/need a place to live (or,
in the analogy, get your products) then you go to the other place.
i think i'm rambling.
according to figures i've
heard in the media (and those may or may not be reliable) we have 20 million
illegal immigrants primarily from mexico. it makes me wonder why we've
had so many relatively recently. has our country gotten that much more
attractive (job opportunities, freedom, way of life)? has their country
gotten that much worse? is it nafta? have the borders gotten that much
easier to cross? i'm not making a judgment, just asking a valid question.
i would suspect it has something to do with nafta easing the north and
south borders, but i don't know.
i'm very pessimistic when
it comes to the ability of humans to get along. everyone just seems pissed
off at each other. not on the person to person scale, but on the macrocosmic
scale. you'll notice that the racist or bigot doesn't always have a problem
with every jew or african-american or woman or hispanic, s/he just has
a problem with the group. a palestinian might have a jewish friend or two,
but s/he might still hate israel or jewish people in general. a person
from california might not mind an individual person from texas, but they
might hate texans in general. i really feel as if it's futile to try to
do anything larger than help people on the individual level. george carlin
addressed this in an npr interview once. he talked about being jaded and
not voting since the 70s and how he feels the powers that be are so fully
entrenched that doing anything on a macro level is nearly impossible. as
a result he only hopes to help people on a person to person basis.
of ohio: "Per capital [sic]
personal income in 2003 was $30,129, 25th in the nation." which places
it in the middle (d.c. was included in the ranking). mississippi was 51st.
connecticut was 1st. i'm actually pretty happy with myself - after seeing
that ohio was 25th i tried thinking of the first and last place states
and got them on the first guess in each case. and just now it took me three
guesses to get the other two states which complete the middle of the list:
in 26th place is florida, in 27th place is missouri. my first guess was
actually tennessee, but that was a bad guess because of the mountain population.
the reason i guessed those three, though, is because they are key swing
states politically and i was working on the hunch that economic ranking
went along with political affiliation. other than tennessee, i was right.
out of curiosity i just looked up new york, it's 6th. i couldn't look up
california, because my program is blocking that entry.
this was taken at the
boston ledges a few days ago.
taken this morning
in back of my house
i don't think i bought
or listened to enough music this year to warrant a top ten of 2006. pretty
sad. the last four years i had more new music than i could handle and now
i don't even have enough to make a respectable top ten. it's weird to go
from being exposed to a few hundred new albums a year to being exposed
to just a few dozen.
watched four movies today.
i think there are two or three bond films that i haven't seen yet.
even before i got here
i started thinking about my route back home. i want to see more of canada,
i want to goto the great smoky mountains national park as well as see some
of nashville and the heart of the country, i want to see salt lake city,
i would always like to see yellowstone again. so, i think there are three
different ways i could go. the northern route through canada, the middle
route through salt lake city and yellowstone (or rocky mountains national
park), or the southern route through the great smoky mountains (most visited
np), tennessee (because of the rock and roll history), and the heartland.
since i'll be doing it in march it'll still be cold if i go north so that's
something to consider. i had even briefly considered making a huge detour
through alaska so i could finally say i've visited all the states, but
it's like a 30 hour detour, plus gas money. that's the other thing about
the northern route - i'd have to pay canadian gas prices for about 2,000
miles' worth of driving. tennessee has a full-size replica of the parthenon,
which would be kinda neat.
i've officially been without
the bulk of my posessions for over a year. all my dvds and cds, my tv,
my speakers, my furniture. i miss the ability to watch any movie i want
at any time. and i miss having a good audio/video system. i hadn't missed
my books too much until recently. most of my books are non-fiction and
reference books so those can be somewhat replaced by the internet. but
lately i don't have that so i miss my books. i wish i had "i'm a fugitive
from a chain gang" with my right now. i've been thinking about the final
shot of that film for a few days. sometimes one shot can crystalize a film's
thesis so well and stick in your head so much that it lifts a film from
really good to epic. that final shot does just that. rollerball (1975)
is another one that does that. bach playing over top of caan's face which
is paused still. jewison then cuts in closer and closer to his face until
you can see the tiny bits of film that make up the picture. it's great.
snowed yesterday, but you
can barely tell today. the day before yesterday it reached 19 degrees,
but, because of the wind chill, it felt like 8 degrees; this according
to weather.com. today it's cold, but not awful. the wind chill is what
really makes the weather bad. when it's just cold i can take it, but when
the sub-freezing wind hits your face and blows under your jacket or up
your pant legs, then that's unpleasant.
phone is still out of commission.
they came by yesterday and fixed the outside connection, but there's no
dial tone. i think they're under the impression that it's fixed so i'll
have to disavow them of that thought tomorrow when i have access to a phone.
tomorrow i'll be at happy
days visitor's center all day. it'll be good because it'll give me plenty
of time to read. on a thursday in the winter i'd be surprised if we got
more than 20 visitors in the six hours that we're open. it's pretty pathetic.
this is the third most visited park, but there's no way that that give
an accurate representation of park usage. there's no fee to enter the park,
it's between two major metropolitan areas, and the methodology for coming
to the 3.2 million visitors/year number is rather suspect. it easily allows
a single visitor to be counted several times and allows people who are
simply passing through to be counted as well. the trails get used pretty
frequently, but the visitor's centers don't.
i'll be giving two separate
talks during my hikes. one will be about snowshoeing (mostly its history)
and one will be about whatever topic i choose. i think that one is going
to be about how humans use land resources. it'll give me a chance to talk
about the human/natural history of cuyahoga valley and relate that to other
natural resource issues. i see it as a good opportunity to talk about resource
management in general, rather than having to focus solely on cuyahoga valley.
i just don't feel qualified enough to examine every facet of cuyahoga's
resource management, so i'll relate some information about the area to
information about other areas. for example, i might talk about the elimination
of forests and predators (like bear and wolf) in ohio's early history and
relate that to a larger view held by western settlers that the wildness
was an obstacle to be overcome and tamed. i might relate this to other
projects like the reshaping of niagara's profile or the elimination of
wolves in yellowstone which led to an over-abundance of elk and how that
parallels cuyahoga's ongoing problem with white-tailed deer.
there aren't a whole lot
of examples of untouched wilderness in the country, especially when that
wilderness was suitable for farming, living, recreation, etc. cuyahoga
valley is, by east coast standards, relatively untouched. that said, it
was (and is) used for farming, living, recreation, etc. some will look
at it, though, and remark how untouched and wild the country appears. and
in looking at some of the pictures, or walking some of the paths, i might
agree with them. until, that is, i actually go out and learn something.
i'm not a naturalist so before coming here i didn't know the difference
between an apple tree and a beech or hemlock or sassafras. but in learning
some of those things you are able to piece together the history of the
land. you see apple trees despite their not being native to the area. you
see wild turkeys, but they're the southwest variety which indicates that
they were reintroduced to the area after being near extinction. you see
coyotes, but no wolves or bears. you see a lot of forest, but the truth
is that 80% of ohio was once forest and that number is now below 20%. you
see the valley and its lush forests, but there aren't many old-growth forests
which indicates that the land has changed (to suit farming in this instance).
in the hilly areas of the valley you see more old-growth forests because
the land didn't suit people's farming needs.
why, some might ask, is
cuyahoga valley more preserved than some of the surrounding areas? certainly
humans/groups like john f. seiberling and the cuyahoga valley association
worked to fight growth like the sports coliseum in the area. but i think
that the valley's own defense against humans was more influential. in its
early history it was a lack of transportation. farmers couldn't get goods
to market in a profitable way so the area didn't grow. then came the canal
system which connected the area with new england. then came the railroad.
but still the cuyahoga valley didn't grow like akron or cleveland. natural
features like unstable slopes, flooding, and (ironically) lack of potable
water were the primary causes. the bedrock is actually slanted away from
the cuyahoga river (which runs through the middle of the valley) and carries
water outside of the valley. yet in times of immense rain, the valley floods.
so it's the worst of both worlds - cuyahoga valley has too much water when
they don't want it, and not enough when they do. all of this is to say
that much of the wilderness which is there isn't as it was before man,
in fact it differs quite a bit. and much of it that somewhat resembles
pre-human wilderness only looks that way because it didn't suit our needs.
had the valley been more suitable for growth i have no doubt that it would
be even more built up. luckily for us it wasn't and now it's a national
park which means it'll probably be fairly well-preserved for the foreseeable
future. so, happy ending. more or less.
i'm going to have to find
a way to say that sort of stuff in less pessimistic way. because as soon
as i wrote "happy ending," i wanted to add the following footnotes: the
deer population is 10 times what it should be which leads to a decrease
in wild flowers like trillium and an increase in invasive plants like garlic
mustard. of course this affects more than just cuyahoga valley. monarch
butterflies make their trip from canada to mexico and stop here along the
way. if they don't see the wildflowers they like then they won't stop here.
perhaps that just means we won't be able to see them on one stop of their
journey and perhaps it means their numbers will dwindle because of decreased
sustinance; we don't really know yet. of course, related to the deer problem
is the lack of natural predators. and all this goes without mentioning
the gypsy moth and other invasive plant and animal species. ultimately,
though, none of this is pessimistic if you don't really care about the
changes in the landscape. if that's the case then all of this is just interesting
here's a good bit of info
about connie mack: "Mack was also tight-fisted. Seeing baseball as a business,
he once confided that it was more profitable to have a team get off to
a hot start, then ultimately finish fourth. "A team like that will draw
well enough during the first part of the season to show a profit for the
year, and you don't have to give the players raises when they don't win,"
he said. The most famous example of Mack's tight-fistedness came on July
10, 1932, when the Athletics played a one-game series with the Cleveland
Indians. To save train fare, Mack only brought two pitchers. The starting
pitcher was knocked out of the game in the first inning, leaving only knuckleballing
relief pitcher Eddie Rommel. Rommel pitched 17 innings and gave up 33 hits,
but won the game, 18-17."
having some access to wikipedia
and imdb offline has been pretty useful. my tomeraider isn't registered
so some entries are off-limits, and the imdb database lacks info as basic
as director and writer credits, but it still comes in handy.
watched the last of the
us version of the office that i had on my computer. pretty enjoyable show.
hopefully i'll find season three somewhere.
pretty bored right now.
nirvana had the ability
to make noise quite listenable. some of their songs aren't very noisy at
all, but others are very loud and feature a lot of screaming people and
guitars, yet they somehow manage to be melodious.
i've mentioned a couple
books i'd like to write lately, but i don't think i'd be good at writing
an entire book, maybe essay form would be better. one thing i'd like to
do is compile a list of first impressions or preconceived notions i had
early in life. i remember being in the back seat of the car when my mom
first told me that the government was in debt and had to buy things. i
was probably just 4-5 years old and i had always thought that people just
gave the government what it needed. why did i assume this rather than assuming
that the government had to buy things? a pessimist might say that i had
been brainwashed into some secular-loving mindset. someone else might say
that it's logical for a child to believe this since the government makes
the laws so they would naturally not have to worry about money. someone
else might say that i assumed the government was working for the people,
and by this logic, why wouldn't we do everything we could in order to help
the government? after all, we're all in this together, right?
"Other denominations of
bills have been created by individuals as practical jokes or as genuine
attempts at counterfeiting. In September 2003, an unknown individual in
North Carolina used a $200 bill (with George W. Bush's likeness on it)
at a Food Lion to purchase $150 in groceries. The cashier obligingly cashed
the fake bill and presented the perpetrator with $50 in change. There have
been other $200 incidents, including one where a man bought a $2 sundae
at Dairy Queen with a $200 bill (with George Bush on it) and received $198
back in change. In March 2004, Alice Regina Pike attempted to use a $1,000,000
bill to purchase goods from a Wal-Mart, for which she was then arrested."
my brain hasn't been all
that functional lately. dreams and reality are melding, i'm making bad
spelling errors, etc. not sure what's going on.
was listening to the o'reilly
radio show earlier today, as i am want to do from time to time, and he
mentioned a poll that he took of his listeners regarding the michael richards
thing. something like 80% of them felt that the michael richards outburst
was worse than the mel gibson one which made me feel good because it validates
my feeling to the contrary. generally, if bill o'reilly listeners are on
one end of an argument, it's good to be on the other end.
just finished rearranging
the baseball trip page. it's now in chronological order for better viewing.
maybe i'll do that one day with my daily updates as well. that would probably
take a couple weeks actually. i've been quietly revamping several pages.
trying to make things look better (more consistency, better use of color,
better fonts) and streamline where possible (e.g., i combined the separate
pages into one larger page). i've also tried to update pages like the best
of movies. i've also added a few pictures here and there and included
descriptions of some images. if you look at the cuyahoga directory, you'll
notice a comment for most of the images so you know what you're looking
at. if you find anything that isn't working, then lemme know.
was looking through
my archives directory and found a couple pictures i enjoy:
yesterday i was watching
a view to a kill and i heard a snap against the outside wall, but didn't
see any large branches or anything that may have hit the exterior so i
didn't think too much about it. turns out that that snap against the wall
was the phone line breaking and hitting the it. a medium sized tree fell
down because of the 50 mph gusts and took a couple lines with it. surprised
the power didn't go out.
just got back from the
usc/ucla game so i'm still disappointed by that. i didn't expect it, but
i'm not shocked by it either. wrote this last week"ucla is a big challenge
as well. they're not great this year, but they have a good defense so they
could give the trojans fits. and if they force a couple turnovers, usc
could be in trouble. so the regular season isn't over. usc has the rose
bowl cinched, but they want their fourth national championship bid in as
many years so hopefully they close it out next week." so i was partly right.
ucla only forced one turnover but it was the big one that killed usc. ucla's
defense is quite good and underrated this year. for some reason they had
trouble against oregon in the first quarter, but they did well in the last
three quarters. other than that i don't remember a game when they got really
lit up on defense. i like their coach too, i remember him seeming to be
a pretty good guy when i paid more attention to them last year. so, if
it had to happen, i'm glad it happened against ucla. i guess it's a good
thing when the biggest loss of the year means you'll be going to the rose
bowl instead of the national championship, but it still doesn't feel good.
four years in a row with a shot at the national championship would have
been nice. i don't really see them being much better next year either.
booty is a capable quarterback, but he's not great. take note that the
two losses came in games where the last offensive possession ended on a
pass of his being deflected. i made this observation a few games into the
season - he's tall enough, but too many of his passes get deflected. there
has to be a mechanical problem. c.j. gable and the offensive line were
pretty much shut down by the ucla defense so it rested on booty; and he
isn't going to win games for you, he's just not that type of quarterback.
next year they'll have to make the decision early to stick with him, and
his limited ability, or move on to the next guy in line. jarrett and smith
could be gone next year too. next year will probably be another 2 loss
year because i don't see anyone being a real superstar. then again i wasn't
sure leinert would be able to fill carson palmer's shoes...
if i were able to vote
i'd say osu #1, florida (assuming they beat arkansas) #2, michigan #3.
i'd put usc in the rose bowl against michigan. i think that would be a
good match up for the rose bowl and the national championship. watching
usc in ohio isn't easy. when that interception happened at the end of the
game everyone cheered and i could feel the eyes on me (because i was wearing
my usc shirt). i guess it's nice to know that osu fans fear usc, but it's
rough to have everyone rooting against your team. especially when their
team is better that year. they're getting pretty fucking smug up here actually.
osu is #1 in basketball as well (although they lost the other day so ucla
might unseat them) so people are pretty happy about their team. if i moved
to florida my journey would be complete. besides all the political stuff
which i wrote about before, there's the fact that ca, fl, oh, and tx all
have had top ten teams in two of the three major sports (baseball, basketball,
football). ca - ucla (basketball), usc (football). oh - osu (basketball/football).
tx - ut (baseball/football/basketball). fl - uof (basketball/football).
what a depressing day.
it was cold today (low
30s, should be mid-high 20s tonight), but there wasn't any snow. as a result,
the winter sports center saw only a few visitors. when there isn't snow
then people (obviously) don't come in to rent cross-country skis or snow
shoes. i read most of the day.
my latest review of cool
Hand Luke - truly great film. rosenberg wasn't really a great filmmaker,
but he was capable and was working with great people here. the cast does
a brilliant job with a great script, but conrad hall (american beauty,
road to perdition, marathon man, butch cassidy and the sundance kid) is
the most underrated member of the crew. his cinematography is visionary
and works well with the material. luke is a christ-like figure, but he
is more nietzschean than he is christian. he demands that people "stop
feeding off" him and wants only to inspire, not to lead. really, though,
he does both. he shifts the brutality and "yessir boss" attitude of the
camp into one that coalesces around an egg eating competition rather than
weekly boxing matches. the subservient attitude which once permeated the
group is replaced by one of self-impowerment and community. to me, luke
is probably the most inspirational of all film characters. he's a nearly
unflappable non-conformist whose power, panache, and charm are undeniable.
newman's role here has always felt similar to mcqueen's role in the great
escape and it's for this reason that i always compare the two actors. overall,
i think i prefer mcqueen, but newman's performance here is unmatched by
mcqueen or, for that matter, almost anyone in the history of cinema. my
favorite line: "Boss: Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job. You gotta
appreciate that. Luke: Nah - calling it your job don't make it right,
Boss." on paper this line doesn't play all that well, but in the context,
and with newman's delivery, it's a powerfully defiant mantra that highlights
a melancholy truism.
1967: graduate, cool
hand luke, bonnie and clyde, in the heat of the night, branded to kill,
dirty dozen...they don't make 'em like they used to. A+.
i think that if i read
that i'd be compelled to watch the film.
in addition to the books
about life philosophy through film, i think a film about film's use of
death would be interesting. more specifically, it would be interesting
to explore how films have used death at the beginning of a film.
noirs are the most obvious examples of films that show you the death of
a major character (usually the narrator) at the beginning, but films like
love story and modern noirs like american beauty have done this as well.
i think it's generally employed to enhance the themes of fate, but each
film uses it slightly differently. delving into the psychology of the viewer
would be interesting as well. why, despite knowing that a character is
going to die, do we still get emotionally involved? or maybe a better question
is: why did i ask that question? after all, that's how life is. we know
that everyone around us is going to die eventually, yet we still establish
emotional ties with them. why should it be any different in a film? maybe
noirs are just more honest than other films that choose to kill major characters,
because at least noirs acknowledge the inevitable death right up front.
another interesting film to use death at the beginning is the sixth sense
because it kills the protagonist early on, but you don't really know that
until the end. ghost dog is one of my favorite films when it comes to the
philosophy of death. the film as a whole isn't particularly amazing (though
it is very good), but whitaker's philosophy is fascinating and i reference
it relatively frequently.
some of immortal technique's
best songs are the ones where he doesn't rap, he just talks over a beat,
but says more profound shit than 90% of contemporary rap artists.
humans are pretty amazing
creatures in a lot of ways, mostly when you look at the brain, but in plenty
of other ways as well. if i was better at reading (i lack focus and retention
when getting information in that way) then i might have chosen to be a
biologist rather than a political scientist. with poli sci you can b.s.
a lot and don't have to do a lot of the route memorization. if i could
stand to read for more than half an hour at a time, and could retain a
decent amount of that information, i might have been good enough to pursue
the science end of my interests more. science is just so interesting that
i find it a shame that i haven't gotten into it more formally. read this
on wikipedia today "Apart from their importance from the economic standpoint,
aphids are chiefly remarkable for the phenomena connected with the propagation
of the species. For part or all of their life, most aphids are often found
to be parthenogenetic. Aphids have been known to have what is called telescoping
generations. With telescoping generations the female aphid will have a
daughter within her who is already parthenogenetically producing its own
daughter at the same time. This leads to the bizarre situation where the
diet of a female aphid can have inter-generational effects on the body
size and birth rate of aphids. In other words, what the aphid eats can
directly change the size and fertility of the aphid's daughters and grand-daughters
(Nevo and Coll 2001, Jahn et al. 2005)."
here's a picture
i took of some aphid droppings. pretty crazy stuff.
usc gets screwed.
i still think usc was the better team that year. and i still think that
the 2004 trojans were better than the 2005 trojans.
they have a satirical article
on the onion about bill walton gushing about his son (who plays for the
lakers) during a broadcast. i'm not a huge bill walton fan, but he actually
doesn't talk about his son favorably at all during the broadcasts. i've
seen a couple games that he has called while his son has been playing and
he's kinda hard on the guy, if anything. he does, however, gush about shaq
all the time.
an onion headline: "Wax-Museum
Fire Results In Hundreds Of New Danny DeVito Statues" harsh, but funny.
maybe i'm naive, but i
believe michael richards' apology and don't believe that he's a racist.
i'm much more inclined to believe that mel gibson is anti-semitic. how's
the saying go? in vino viritu...i should know since i took latin, but i
can't remember exactly. here's the thing: i think that richards was hurt
and he reacted in a shameful and base way. if you're on the playground
and someone who is heavyset makes fun of you then you might call them a
fat ass. that, in and of itself, doesn't make you anti-overweight people.
clearly there's more of a stigma associated with using the n-word, as we
now have to refer to it, but i don't see why it's all that worse than calling
someone a fat ass yet you see that in film and tv on a regular basis and
no one thinks too much of it.. maybe that's just a sad commentary on our
society. probably is. at any rate, i think it was more in that vein than
in the vein of him having some crazy rant about blacks being the root of
all our problems (as gibson said about the jews). i believe the authenticity
of his sorrow and regret about the situation, i put some merit into the
fact that seinfeld essentially vouched for him on letterman and i can understand
how an intense comic might get out of control. i don't condone what he
said, but i'm not going to crucify the guy. here's an excerpt from a daniel
tosh routine which i think is appropriate for the discussion. first some
context: daniel tosh is a fairly edgy (and very funny) comic. he's white
and i think he's gay, but i don't know and i don't really think it matters,
but it might make this excerpt more acceptable to some.
"what do you think of these
faggots getting married? (pause for laughter) i can say that, i'm black.
now that's a social experiment - figure out why that second statement softens
the first one. but that's how i know my job's pure. i still talk like that...
try that at your job...'hey, what do you think of these faggots getting
married? i can say that, i'm black. what? i'm fired, alright i'll see you
i think that in an ideal
world there would be consistency across the board - the n-word is out of
bounds for whites so it's out of bounds for blacks as well, faggot is out
of bounds for straight people so gays can't use it either - but in both
instances that isn't the case. there's a certain element of the oppressed
re-defining the word, but it doesn't really work. they take the power out
of the word a bit by using it amongst each other, but when the perceived
oppressor uses it all the power is back in it. it's an argument i've heard
intellectuals make, and it makes a bit of sense, but i don't think it's
practical. i think we live in a pretty sensitive society when it comes
to certain things or certain groups. i think you get more of an uprising
if there's a film wherein a black person is stereotyped than if you were
to stereotype an asian person. how much of that is about the stereotype
(e.g., foreboding criminal vs. doctor with glasses who mixes up "r"s and
"l"s) and how much is about the group being stereotyped? is one stereotype
more destructive than the other?
my sense is that it's probably
a combination of the stereotype and the group. asians have done well in
america (for whatever reason, i'm not going to speculate) and the stereotype
of rocket scientist or glasses-wearing geek probably isn't as damaging
as the stereotype of a criminal. notice, too, that some stereotypes are
overlooked - that of the star athlete for blacks or the doctor for asians
or the evil boss for whites. in general i think that stereotypes for whites
(irish people as drinking too much or germans as nazis) or males are overlooked
because the group has been in power in america for so long that any outcry
isn't well-received. it's kinda like ben wallace complaining about the
bulls not allowing him to wear a headband. the popular reaction is: fuck
you, whiner - you're making $60 million over the next four or five years,
i don't feel sorry for you. why there isn't more of an outcry from overweight
people who are stereotyped as stupid, lazy, or sloppy is beyond me. i think
there's a mild degree of sensitivity regarding the stereotyping of muslims
i think a lot of it comes
down to being organized. and a lot of that comes down to how much do you
associate your personal image with a certain trait - race, religion, weight,
eye-sight ability, etc. there's never going to be a public outcry from
people who wear glasses about their being typecast as smart doctors or
scientists because 1) it's not that bad to be stereotyped as being smart
and 2) there probably isn't any group of glasses-wearing people who are
dedicated to addressing these issues. wearing glasses certainly shapes
a person's experiences, but not enough, apparently, for people to define
themselves in those terms.
for me, i don't associate
being white or male or jewish or tall or whatever as a big part of who
i am so i'm not going to form or join any group dedicated to the issues
which might be pertinent to those traits. you can easily say that i don't
associate myself with those groups because, in being part of the majority
in those regards, i don't feel separate from the rest of society. that
is, if i were a native american woman, i would see popular culture as differing
from mine so i might feel more of a kinship with other native americans
or women since we're in the same minority boat together. the way i can
relate to that is less substantial. if i were to meet someone in ohio who
is a usc fan (good luck) i might feel a small bit of that same kind of
minority kinship, even though we don't have other things in common. if
that kinship feels large enough then you define yourself, in part, through
this minority status. so, i can understand this on some level, but on another
level i wish people would define themselves (and others) much more on what
they do, rather than how they're born. of course a big part of it, too,
is that some minorities tend to have similar experiences in life. and,
in general, similar life experiences lead to increased kinship. maybe it's
just as simple as blacks have a more uniform experience in america than
lastly. i think that any
group that is explicitly a male or white group is setting itself up for
an increased degree of ridicule. this is one of many reasons why there
might not be groups of whites railing against the stereotypes that depict
them as oppressors or as unable to jump high. charles barkley once made
the comment that white guys shouldn't be ashamed to shave their heads when
they start to get bald. i think it came up because his co-host, ernie johnson,
had recently shaved his head (because he has cancer). anyway, barkley said
that some white guys are afraid to shave their heads because they don't
know how their scalp will look - if it'll be too bumpy or whatever. i don't
think this is the reason at all. personally i'd feel like a fucking nazi
if i ever shaved my head. i would imagine that the association with shaved
head and "skin head oppressor" might keep more than a few white guys from
shaving their heads. like jim gaffigan, i prefer to not look like hitler's
poster child. so i've brought the discussion full circle - starting with
michael richards and onto a daniel tosh reference to a jim gaffigan reference;
both are great comics, check them out.
in viewing cultural texts
i get the idea that, even before world war ii, there was a sense in america
that we were all in the same boat. i can't be sure because i wasn't around
at the time to fully have my finger on the pulse of the culture, but that's
the sense i get from reading about the time, or hearing what my grandmother
has said about it (she's studied it fairly extensively), or watching films
from that era. after world war ii there was certainly that feeling that
we were all working towards a goal together. we all had to ration certain
goods and deal with food stamps, etc. but even before then i think there
was that idea and i think much of that probably came from the economic
hardships of the time. i think that today we're doing too well to truly
care about each other. prosperity, coupled with the increasing ability
to separate yourself from others, has led to our being relatively segregated.
as mr. lif says "systems exist so we never meet each other."
forgot to mention that
the image below was seen by johnny while i was at his place looking at
some of the photos from my trip. when he saw it he laughed, but not because
the van is stuck in a ravine. he laughed because he was there when it happened.
we were both in canada's banff national park at lake louise within 10-15
minutes of each other. he checked the time stamp on the photos he took
while he was there against the time stamp on my photos. pretty amazing